* SOMEBODY ELSE’S ATROCITIES – HOW THE US CO-OPTED HUMAN RIGHTS
By Noam Chomsky, Stop the War Coalition
In his penetrating study “Ideal Illusions: How the US Government Co-Opted Human Rights,” international affairs scholar James Peck observes, “In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us” – whoever “us” is.
Almost any moment in history yields innumerable illustrations. Let’s keep to the past few weeks.
On May 10, the Summer Olympics were inaugurated at the Greek birthplace of the ancient games.
A few days before, virtually unnoticed, the government of Vietnam addressed a letter to the International Olympic Committee expressing the “profound concerns of the Government and people of Viet Nam about the decision of IOC to accept the Dow Chemical Company as a global partner sponsoring the Olympic Movement.”
Dow provided the chemicals that Washington used from 1961 onward to destroy crops and forests in South Vietnam, drenching the country with Agent Orange.
These poisons contain dioxin, one of the most lethal carcinogens known, affecting millions of Vietnamese and many US soldiers. To this day in Vietnam, aborted fetuses and deformed infants are very likely the effects of these crimes – though, in light of Washington’s refusal to investigate, we have only the studies of Vietnamese scientists and independent analysts.
Joining the Vietnamese appeal against Dow are the government of India, the Indian Olympic Association, and the survivors of the horrendous 1984 Bhopal gas leak, one of history’s worst industrial disasters, which killed thousands and injured more than half a million.
Union Carbide, the corporation responsible for the disaster, was taken over by Dow, for whom the matter is of no slight concern. In February, Wikileaks revealed that Dow hired the US private investigative agency Stratfor to monitor activists seeking compensation for the victims and prosecution of those responsible. […]
* ADVICE FOR THOSE CONSIDERING JOINING THE MILITARY
* SOLDIERS ARE COMING HOME INJURED AND ADDICTED — WILL WE PAY OUR DEBT TO VETS?
Soldiers come home from the two wars with a staggering rate of brain injuries and the addictions paired with them, but to treat them could cost $1 trillion.
By Katie Drummand, AlterNet
Robert LeHeup will be the first to admit that he’s an alcoholic. “I drink so that I don’t go to shit,” says LeHeup, a 30-year-old bartender living in Columbus, South Carolina. “I drink because I have to.”
LeHeup is a former Marine sergeant, who served two grueling tours in Afghanistan during the US invasion and early occupation. He drinks to dull memories of the everyday chaos and carnage. He drinks to tolerate his disgust at the raucous bar-goers who have no idea how easy life is in America, compared to the casual violence and grinding poverty of Afghanistan. He drinks because, in the Marines, that is just what everybody does.
“There was this drive to prove to each other that we can handle our liquor,” recalls LeHeup, who increasingly channels much of his distress more productively into his burgeoning writing career. “In the Marines, when I was stateside, I drank a fifth before I went out drinking, you know what I mean?”
LeHeup, in his ongoing struggle with alcoholism, is anything but an outlier among this generation of military service-members. In fact, more than a decade after the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, an unprecedented number of men and women in the US military are currently in the throes of addiction. […]
* NATO SUMMIT HIGHLIGHTS NEO-CON / NEO-LIBERAL OVERLAP
By Paul Rosenberg, Information Clearing House
[…] This is not how most people expected things to be. Obama had, after all, given an anti-war speech in October 2002, hadn’t he? And that was a major reason netroots activists gave him a decisive advantage in the 2008 Democratic primary. He was the candidate people trusted to end Bush’s wars, and set out a new direction. Once in office, however, Obama’s policies showed far more continuity than change when compared to Bush’s – a pattern that’s only grown more pronounced over time, as the NATO summit clearly underscored.
This isn’t to say there aren’t some important differences between neo-cons and neo-liberals. Two in particular stand out: First off, the neo-cons only represent one faction of the conservative ideological kaleidescope, with their focus and influence limited largely to foreign affairs. In contrast, neo-liberals represent an integrated economic, military/foreign policy, social issues policy framework, applying naïve faith in market-based solutions to anything that moves. Second, the neo-cons are stupendously reckless, impulsive, undisciplined and dangerous, and could easily plunge the world into any number of military disasters, while the calmer, more methodical neo-liberals are far more prone toward drifting, or bumbling into disaster, rather than enthusiastically plunging in head first. These temperamental differences also lead the neo-liberals to be more multi-lateralist.
In the long run, however, the end results tend to be depressingly similar. Allies may find the neo-liberals more pleasant and less unpredictable to work with, but it’s all the same empire in the end. Neither the neo-cons nor the neo-liberals have any intention to realistically face up to the facts of imperial decline or the damage America’s empire does to its own democracy, much less anyone else’s. And neither group has any clue about how to build a sustainable economy with broad prosperity for all. […]
* WITH CONTROL OF DRONE STRIKES, IS COUNTER TERROR CHIEF JOHN BRENNAN THE “ASSASSINATION CZAR”?
By Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales, Democracy Now!
* ALL 67 FLORIDA ELECTION SUPERVISORS SUSPEND GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT’S VOTER PURGE
By Judd, Legum, Think Progress
[…] The Palm Beach Post reports:
Florida elections supervisors said Friday they will discontinue a state-directed effort to remove names from county voter rolls because they believe the state data is flawed and because the U.S. Department of Justice has said the process violates federal voting laws...
The Justice Department letter and mistakes that the 67 county elections supervisors have found in the state list make the scrub undoable, said Martin County Elections Supervisor Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections…
Ron Labasky, the association’s general counsel, sent a memo to the 67 supervisors Friday telling them to stop processing the list.
“I recommend that Supervisors of Elections cease any further action until the issues raised by the Department of Justice are resolved between the parties or by a Court,” Labasky wrote. […]
* LAND OF THE ”FREE”
By Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales, Democracy Now!
* GREEK LEFT PREPARES NATIONALIZATION OF ENERGY / TELECOM INDUSTRIES, KEY INFRASTRUCTURE
By Matt Stoller, Naked Capitalism
[…] So what does Syriza actually want? Their political platform is fairly interesting. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras admires FDR’s nationalization of the American banking system in the 1930s and the stimulus pursued by Obama in 2009. But it seems like he may go much further.
SYRIZA will present on Friday its economic manifesto with nine major sectors, including privatization and nationalization issues, salaries and pensions increases and the introduction of a new tax system.
Proto Thema newspaper published an article last Sunday saying that members of SYRIZA announced different measures each time. As a result, the party decided to give a complete answer to such allegations.
One of the party’s main issues will be the nationalization of several former public institutions, including telecommunications and energy companies, as well as airports and ports. SYRIZA members state that, despite yet unknown, their party will find the appropriate way of re-nationalizing these companies, when the time is good for such an action.
Furthermore, the economic team of SYRIZA appears to have found some ways of increasing the country’s income, so that they can make a new tax system based on social justice, development and productive reconstruction. The minimum wage change is a crucial subject, which SYRIZA promises to improve.
And as the Memorandum is of great importance for Greeks, SYRIZA does not clarify whether they will abolish it or just renegotiate it. “It depends on the Europeans’ reactions,” they state, but also stress the fact that the funding provided by Troika serves only their interests and not its budget. […]
* LET CALCUTTA SURPRISE YOU