Revolution 99% Updates: Kicking Ass and Naming Names
CODEPINK Repeatedly Disrupts Brennan Hearing Calling Out Names of Civilians Killed in Drone Strikes
Thursday’s confirmation hearing for CIA nominee John Brennan was briefly postponed to clear the room of activists from CODEPINK after they repeatedly disrupted Brennan’s testimony. One woman held a list of Pakistani children killed in U.S. drone strikes. Former U.S. diplomat Col. Ann Wright interrupted Brennan while wearing a sign around her neck with the name of Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old Pakistani boy who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Wright and seven others were arrested. We speak to CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin, who also disrupted the meeting and recently visited Pakistan to speak with victims of drone strikes. “It’s not only the killing, it’s the terrorizing of entire populations, where they hear the drones buzzing overhead 24 hours a day, where they’re afraid to go to school, afraid to go to the markets, to funerals, to weddings, where it disrupts entire communities,” Benjamin says. “And we are trying to get this information to our elected officials, to say, ‘You are making us unsafe here at home,’ to say nothing of how illegal, immoral and inhumane these policies are.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange urges leak of US drone rules
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has urged US officials to leak secret documents on drone strikes, saying that the broad discretion to kill citizens shows a “collapse” in the American system.
Mr Assange, who has angered US officials by releasing thousands of secret memos, used a rare US television appearance to condemn President Barack Obama’s controversial green light to kill American citizens who conspire with al-Qaida.
“I can’t see a greater collapse when the executive can kill its own citizens arbitrarily, at will, in secret, without any of the decision-making becoming public,” Mr Assange told the HBO talk show Real Time with Bill Maher.
“That’s why we need organisations like WikiLeaks. I encourage anyone in the White House who has access to those rules and procedures, work them on over to us. We’ll keep you secret and reveal it to the public.” More…
The complaint filed Wednesday alleges the group’s conviction violates four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing freedom of speech, the right to liberty and security, the prohibition of torture and the right to a fair trial.
Maria Alekhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Natalia Tolokonnikova were sentenced to two years in prison for their irreverent “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral last February against Vladimir Putin’s return to Russian presidency. Samutsevich was later released on appeal.
Their conviction on charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” has sparked global outrage, drawing attention to Russia’s intolerance of dissent under Putin.
Tolokonnikova returned to a prison colony in the central province of Mordovia Wednesday after spending some time at a hospital, her husband, Pyotr Verzliov, wrote on Twitter. More…
Prominent trade unionists and opposition members of parliament marched Saturday alongside citizens facing a sixth year of cuts since a financial crisis plunged Ireland’s banking system into a debt spiral.
The size of the protest was reminiscent of the early days of Ireland’s financial crisis; in recent years demonstrations have waned despite ever-rising taxes and spending cuts.
A deal with the European Central Bank allowing Ireland to stretch out the cost of bailing out Anglo Irish Bank did not dampen the turnout for the protests, organised weeks in advance by an umbrella group for Irish trade unions.
For protesters struggling with cuts in living standards, mortgage arrears or unemployment, the deal is scant consolation. More…
Scores demonstrate in rare Saudi protest over political prisoners
Protests against the detention of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia led to a number of arrests on Saturday, as security forces blocked roads in the capital.
Residents of Riyadh told AP more than 100 people demonstrated against the imprisonment of thousands of Saudis without charge in recent years, many of whom are in jail on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.
Protests are rare in the Western-aligned Kingdom. Demonstrations turned into protests against the Saudi regime in November 2011, when security forces killed five protesters. From albawaba.com
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Protests turn violent in Egypt
Clashes between police and protesters have erupted across Egypt, leaving at least 126 people wounded.
In Cairo protesters marched on the presidential palace, pelting the walls with petrol bombs and rocks. Police responded with tear gas, driving into the crowd to scatter them.
Demonstrators took to the streets last month to decry what they saw as Islamist President Mohamed Mursi’s attempts to monopolise power. Last week, the main opposition party signed an agreement with the ruling Muslim Brotherhood rejecting the violence which has claimed 59 lives since January 25th.
Two years on from the Arab Spring which overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, commentators say we are witnessing an Arab winter with many unhappy with what they see as a lack of improvement in their lives since the revolution. More…
Soybean Farmer Takes Monsanto to Supreme Court
A single 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer in rural southwestern Indiana is taking on the multibillion dollar agricultural giant Monsanto over the issue of who controls the rights to seeds planted in the ground.
When confronted with the David vs. Goliath nature of his battle, Vernon Hugh Bowman told The Guardian: “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong.”
In the next few weeks, legal teams representing Bowman and Monsanto will face off in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. The dispute pertains to Monsanto’s “aggressive protection” of a proprietary soybean it calls Roundup Ready. The bean has been genetically engineered to resist its Roundup herbicide and the product’s generic equivalents.
The company maintains that when farmers like Bowman plant Monsanto’s seeds, they are obligated to harvest only the resulting crop and not use any of it for planting the following year. The arrangement means that farmers have to buy new Monsanto seeds each year. More…
Fukushima survivors to file class action lawsuit against Japanese govt, plant operator
At least 350 people affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown will file a class action lawsuit against the Japanese government and the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on the second anniversary of the disaster.
Lawyers representing residents whose homes and farms were hit by radiation in the wake of the disaster said it was the largest suit on the issue filed against the government.
The plaintiffs will further seek some US$535 each in compensation from TEPCO for every month they have been displaced as a result of the accident.
They also plan to seek a court injunction that will require both the government and TEPCO to reduce radiation levels in the affected area to pre-disaster levels. More…