Julian Assange Backs Brexit, Says Cameron Govt ‘Launders’ Decisions to EU

Image Source: Surian Soosay, Flickr, Creative Commons
WikiLeaks Julian Assange

The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for four years already, expressed his support for Brexit, because the current UK government is using the EU to justify their own decisions.

Julian Assange, the founder of world-famous WikiLeaks website, said in his interview for ITV channel that he “pretty much” believes that the UK should vote to leave the EU on June 23.

Assange backs Leave because, as he sees it, David Cameron’s government is using EU legislation as an excuse for its own decision-making.

“It launders things to the EU and then claims that it can’t do anything about it,” he said.

Julian Assange is wanted in Sweden for sexual assault, a charge that he has repeatedly denied. Assange believes that, should he be extradited back to Sweden, he will then be handed over to the US, where he will be quizzed about the activities of WikiLeaks. He found refuge in Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has stayed for four years already.

The June 1981 Coup: The Stolen Narrative of the Iranian Revolution

"Iran in its region" by TUBS -

We can fundamentally transform our understanding of the Iranian revolution by letting the untold stories to be told.

DemilaRouseff calls her impeachment a coup d’état. Many academics and political experts agree that the old guard and corrupt capitalist elite in Brazil have overthrown the president, despite the fact that all the legal procedures for her impeachment have been observed. As one pro-Rouseff Brazilian protester remarked, this is a ‘civilian coup – capitalism doesn’t need guns and soldiers; it is enough to have an anti-democratic judicial system’.

Now go back 35 years to Iran. The 1979 Iranian Revolution is less than two-and-a-half years old. The clergy have, gradually, monopolized the state. The aim is, as the head of the Islamic Republic Party (Ayatollah Beheshti) has stated, to establish a ‘despotism of the pious’. The only remaining obstacle to the total monopolization of power is the office of the recently elected president, Abolhassan Banisadr. He insists upon defending the democratic goals of the revolution despite being offered increased powers to reject them, therefore he writes to Khomeini:

The No-Fly List: Who is Really Barred from Commercial Air Travel?

Image Source: Jagz Mario, Flickr, Creative Commons
Terrorism definition

In a move that surprised Democrats and Republicans alike, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday, “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no-fly list, to buy guns.”

Trump has been one of the main opponents of stronger gun control laws throughout his campaign, and his tweet has rekindled discussions around the dubious and often arbitrary terror watchlist and the secretive no-fly list.

Federal guidelines for watchlisting allow the government to quietly place people on watch lists without “concrete facts,” “irrefutable evidence,” or demonstrable ties to terror groups.

What Sparked the Yan Zhou Unrest? China’s Information Deficit in the Spotlight

Image Source: sean mason, Flickr, Creative Commons
An Army of Propaganda

The video below shows angry crowds turning over two police vehicles while police officers from Yan Zhou city in Shandong province escorted a woman from a crime scene June 8.

What made hundreds of people so angry? Why was their rage directed towards police?

The Shandong police released a report via their official Weibo and major state-affiliated media outlets, saying the uproar was caused by a misunderstanding related to a quarrel between two women, while the majority of Chinese netizens had a different explanation of events.

The Developing World is Awash in Pesticides. Does it Have to be?

Image Source: jetsandzeppelins, Flickr, Creative Commons
Pesticide spraying

Herbicides, insecticides and fungicides threaten the environment and human health in many parts of the world. But research is pointing to a better approach.

In today’s globalized world, it is not inconceivable that one might drink coffee from Colombia in the morning, munch cashews from Vietnam for lunch and gobble grains from Ethiopia for dinner. That we can enjoy these products is thanks, in large part, to expanded pesticide use across the developing world.

Every year, some 3.5 billion kilograms (7.7 billion pounds) of pesticides — a catch-all term for the herbicides, insecticides and fungicides applied to crops from seed to harvest — are used to preserve the quality and quantity of fruits, vegetables and grains. Herbicides, such as Monsanto’s weed killer glyphosate, make up the bulk of the pesticides applied worldwide.

Cuba Struggles as Venezuela Oil Subsidies Dwindle

Green oil.

Image Source: Sergio Russo, Flickr, Creative Commons

Blackouts on the Island Have Lasted Between Four and Eight Hours

Raúl Castro has decided to implement austerity measures in Cuba as the oil the Venezuelan government has been sending over the past years has decreased and is no longer sufficient to cover for public sector expenses.

According to news outlet Cubanet, island officials are trying to fight the fuel deficit by reducing consumption of oil and electricity by 20 percent, which means a partial paralyzing of production.

Zapatistas side with Oaxaca’s teachers

Image Source: Cat Branchman, Flickr, Creative Commons
Viva Las Zapatistas!

The Zapatistas have sided with the teachers who are engaged in a massive and sometimes violent dispute with the Mexican government. The group released a statement, reprinted in full below. The Zapatistas are a militant group best known for their fight in Chiapas, Mexico. It is unclear if the Zapatistas plan on engaging in any militant actions on behalf of the community.

“Faced with the cowardly repressive attack suffered by the teachers and the community in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca—in which the Mexican state reminds us that this is a war on all—the peoples, nations, and tribes who make up the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation say to the dignified teachers that they are not alone, that we know that reason and truth are on their side, that the collective dignity from which they speak their resistance is unbreakable, and that this the principal weapon of those of us below.

We condemn the escalation of repression with which the neoliberal capitalist reform, supposedly about “education,” is being imposed across the entire country and principally in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, and Michoacán. With threats, persecutions, beatings, unjust imprisonments and now murders they try to break the dignity of the teachers in rebellion.”

FBI Request to Tech Companies Made Public for the First Time

FBI logo

For several years internet and tech companies have been struggling with federal agencies, including the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI, over whether companies must legally furnish private user data without a warrant.

This ongoing conflict, happening largely behind the scenes, was brought to public attention earlier this month when Yahoo published three national security letters (NSL), government requests for user information, on their website. A close reading by experts reveals that the FBI may have overstepped its legal boundaries in at least one of the NSLs, by asking for subscriber information, headers and browser histories.

Yahoo went public with the requests after receiving a letter from the FBI stating, “consistent with the requirements of the USA Freedom Act of 2015 and the Termination Procedures for NSL Nondisclosure Requirement, the FBI … reviewed whether to continue the nondisclosure requirement,” in three NSLs issued to us, “and … determined that nondisclosure is no longer necessary.”

ISIS Must Love Trump

Radical Haters Unite an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib.

As the sun set over New York on June 12, hundreds of Muslims gathered in Hudson River Park to break their Ramadan fast together.

Iftar, the evening Ramadan meal, is often a joyous celebration of faith and family. But the mood that Sunday was solemn: That morning, news had broken of the ghastly massacre of LGBTQ revelers at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

A lone Muslim had allegedly perpetrated the attack. Here by the Hudson, over 200 knelt in prayer.

“We’re praying for those who were lost,” one woman explained in a video circulated by the Huffington Post, her voice breaking. “As Muslims, we’re united in our outrage over this senseless act of violence.”

Tradecraft: Phone Security 201

Image Source: Eduardo Woo, Flickr, Creative Commons
Apps de mensajería

Activists today have access to technology that many could not even dream of not long ago.

Though many of the issues that plague our society are not new, the ability to record and publicize them easily in near real time is simply amazing. Most of us carry around a mobile computing device in our pocket that is capable of great feats, however this is merely the base upon which to build your toolkit.

The plethora of applications freely available for your use allow you to greatly expand your capability and reach beyond your personal social network, so it is important that you understand some of these tools and how they can help you in whatever fight you choose to undertake, whether it is against the abuse of State agents, a move toward justice for the oppressed, or whatever your calling may be. The first step in fully utilizing your mobile computing device, or “smart phone”, is some basic security measures. I recommend that you read and implement the simple measures introduced in the article “Tradecraft: Phone Security 101”.

Rojava Revolution: How Deep is the Change?

Image Source: Kurdishstruggle, Flickr, Creative Commons

Kurdish YPG Fighter 

Is optimism in the future of revolutionary change misplaced in a region torn apart by war and a society where patriarchy has been so entrenched? Part 6 of Witnessing the Rojava revolution.

This is the obvious question to ask – but an extremely difficult one to answer, especially when the situation is as fluid as it is in Rojava. All the women I interviewed while I was there talked about how deeply embedded patriarchy was in their social fabric, how the revolution had made a start in all the ways that I have described in this six-part series on Witnessing the Revolution in Rojava, and yet gave no concrete examples of the ways in which it continued to plague their lives. From the homes I stayed in, it appeared that domestic work was still primarily the responsibility of the women. Oddly this seems to be the last frontier of patriarchy, the double burden that women carried even in the heady days of the revolution in places like the Soviet Union when they were taking on all the jobs conventionally done by men. I say ‘oddly’ because domestic chores seem like a small loss of privilege in comparison to the loss of status and income from jobs traditionally reserved for men. Having said that, the younger men appeared to be more self-servicing; Khaleel, who drove the official car of Kongra Star, the women’s umbrella organisation, said he shared the domestic duties of cooking, cleaning and shopping.

Banning “Assault Weapons” Will Not Save Lives

Image Source: Michael Saechang ,Flickr, Creative Commons
Gun Wall

Last weekend, America regrettably witnessed one of the deadliest mass shootings in the country’s history at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people were murdered and over 50 injured. The atrocity was carried out by a fanatic who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, using a civilian semi-automatic rifle, the Sig Sauer MCX. (Early reports that it was an AR-15 were mistaken.)

In the wake of this attack, many people have laid the blame on America’s relatively lax gun laws, arguing that so-called “assault weapons” (more appropriately known as semi-automatic rifles) and high-capacity magazines should be banned from civilian use.

They note that many of the deadliest shootings in American history have involved rifles like the AR-15, and they propose that such rifles should be banned to prevent heinous crimes like the Orlando massacre from occurring in the future.

UN Panel Reports on ISIS Crimes on Yezidis

"263827 A pair of girls giggle with one another during a Kurdish New Year celebration in the Qarah Anir region of Kirkuk, Iraq, March 21 in 2010" by U.S. Navy photo by PO1 Matthew Leistikow -

“Unimaginable Horrors”

The “unimaginable horrors” that the Islamic State (ISIS) is committing against the minority Yezidis, documented in a report released on June 16 by the UN-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic, shows the urgent need for concrete steps to ensure justice for these crimes.

In August 2014, ISIS fighters overran Yezidi towns and villages around Sinjar, in northwestern Iraq, executing many men and capturing women and girls. Their intent soon became clear in slave markets ISIS set up in Mosul and elsewhere, where they sold the women and girls to their fighters into sexual or domestic slavery.

The COI report found that the crimes against the minority Yezidis amount to genocide.

The Right to Online Anonymity

Anonymous: The Corrupt Fear Us.

Human rights should be considered proportionally in any governmental policy related to the Internet, in a way which will hopefully spur the private sector to follow.

The Internet has become an essential platform for the exercise of free speech, especially in oppressive environments where freedom of expression, freedom of association, and/or freedom of assembly are hindered. The main reason why the Internet is the preferred channel for dissidents is the possibility of maintaining one’s anonymity, which is vital for protecting citizens from state power.
It is a remarkable achievement how the Internet has revolutionized traditional communications channels by allowing more virtual space for the activist community in order to exercise its rights.

Police vs Teachers leaves 12 Dead, 100 injured: What’s really happening in Oaxaca?

Image Source: TUBS, Creative Commons

The headlines are terrifying. The images are poignant. A battle in the street between teachers and cops has caught the world’s attention, but the story doesn’t begin there, nor is it likely to end there.

The protests that sprang up recently were triggered by a bizarre series of arrests made by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s President. The arrests targeted leaders of the teacher’s union. By most accounts, the charges are bogus or at least severely inflated. One of the union officials was arrested for stealing textbooks. Even in corruption prone Mexico, a black market for school textbooks has yet to show its face. Unsurprisingly, those arrested were also political opponents of Enrique Peña Nieto. The teacher’s union adamantly opposes the President’s reforms. The reforms are part of the President’s neoliberal campaign promises, and many in the union see them as a death blow to education in Mexico, particularly for the rural and indigenous communities. Some in the union are fearful of massive layoffs.

US Policies Helped Create Daesh: Ex-US Official

Islamic State

"İD bayrağı ile bir militan" by Unknown -

The US government’s interventionist policies toward the Middle East helped the rise and expansion of the Daesh (also known as ISIL and ISIS) terrorist group in the region, a former US Department of State’s official said.

“I don’t think America or any other country “created ISIS” but I do think, in Iraq, America created the conditions that birthed ISIS. I do not think it was purposeful or policy, just another unintended consequence of that terrible, wasteful and unnecessary war. But once that was done, I think America took advantage of the formation of ISIS as an excuse to return to Iraq, and invade Syria, militarily,” Peter Van Buren told Habilian news website recently.

Peter Van Buren, a former United States Foreign Service employee, blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during the Iraqi reconstruction in a book titled “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People”.

America’s One-Party Government

Image Source: DAVID HOLT, Flickr, Creative Commons
Iran 2007 025 Famous mural of Statue of Liberty with a skull face in front of an American flag, former US Embassy, Tehran.

Today’s United States is a more realistic version of the type of society that George Orwell fictionally described in his allegorical novel 1984.

Like in 1984, the American public don’t know that they’re merely the tools of some unseen aristocracy who manipulate them by fear of ‘the other’, some ‘enemy’ group – manipulate the public via the media, which the aristocracy controls. But the big failing of Orwell’s model as a portrayal of the (when he wrote it) coming fascist-corporate dystopia was that he misunderstood how and why the public would falsely believe that they live in a democracy. His central character Winston Smith worked in an unrealistically portrayed propaganda-mill. But in some other fundamentals, Orwell had it right. The public don’t know that their real enemy is their own nation’s aristocracy who are mentally holding the public in bondage by lies systematically implanted into their beliefs, by means of ‘news’ media that are controlled by their own nation’s aristocracy, who own those media and/or control the government by bribery (sometimes subtle) of the politicians whom the aristocracy’s media are being paid to promote. In any case, the aristocracy control the public’s mind to accept the fundamental legitimacy of the regime the aristocrats are imposing. Aristocrats hire the ‘news’ media.

When two nations’ aristocracies are at war against each other, the public in each is deceived to think that, in the other, the rulers are evil and reign over their public by dictatorship, but that in one’s own nation, the rulers are truly representative of the public and therefore in some high sense are legitimate or even a democracy: rule by the public, instead of by any aristocracy at all. In some of these ‘democratic’ dictatorships, it’s called rule by ‘the people’ or ‘the Volk’ (such as in Hitler’s Germany), but in others, it’s called simply ‘democracy’.

UN Body Calls for Immediate Release of Bahareh Hedayat

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Imprisonment of Prominent Women and Human Rights Defender Is Against International Law, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Rules

The United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has issued an opinion on the case of the Iranian women’s rights activist and human rights defender, Bahareh Hedayat, demanding her immediate release. The opinion ruled Hedayat’s imprisonment since 2009 is arbitrary and against international law.

WGAD’s consideration and ruling of Hedayat’s case, adopted on April, 19, 2016 and released on May 26, 2016, comes in response to a submission to the WGAD by
the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

We Need To Talk About Fascist Terrorism

Image Source: Nicolas Raymond, Flickr, Creative Commons
UK Grunge Flag 
Grunge textured flag of the United Kingdom on vintage paper

Jo Cox was murdered by a man with links to neo-Nazi and fascist groups. Britain was warned about the risk of far-right violence. Something has to change.

Let’s start with a few things we know.

We know that Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was murdered yesterday. She was a woman who stood up against gender violence, a politician who spoke up for multiculturalism and an activist for some of the most oppressed peoples in the world. Each of these things is significant.

We also know that Thomas Mair, who has been arrested in connection with the murder, was listed in 2006 on the website springbokcybernewsletter as a subscriber to the magazine S.A. Patriot (“the South African patriot in exile”). This is the publication of the White Rhino Club, a white supremacist organization for supporters of a return to apartheid in Southern Africa. It claims to be in favour, among other things, of ‘imperial solidarity’, ‘global Western leadership’ and ‘separate development’ (ie, racial segregation).