Governments Buy More Weapons In First Year Of COVID-19

In 2020, when the global economy contracted over 3.1% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global arms trade recorded an increase of 1.3%, as per latest data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday, December 6. The growth in arms trade, both domestic and international, reveals how governments worldwide chose to maintain or increase their spending on arms despite the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. 

According to SIPRI, arms trade by the world’s top 100 companies in the sector touched USD 531 billion in 2020, making it the sixth consecutive year of growth since 2015.

According to Alexander Marksteiner, a researcher with SIPRI, the main reason for the growth in arms trade in spite of the global economic slump was “sustained government demand for military goods and services.”

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Who Will Pay For The Damage From Climate Change?

To people in developing countries, it seems clear, the wealthy countries that caused most of the problem of climate change should pay the most to adapt to it and to solve the problem.  But instead, countries like the United States lecture low low-emitting countries to do more while they extract their resources and destroy their forests.

For example, Nicaragua was an outspoken critic of the Paris climate talks because they did not go far enough. It is one of the countries most impacted by climate change, yet its own greenhouse gas footprint is one of the smallest.  Nicaragua initially insisted that the Paris Accord did not reduce emissions enough (a position that was later adopted by a majority of countries and the IPCC).  Dr. Paul Oquist, Nicaraguan Minister and envoy to the talks, insisted in Paris that developing countries should receive the billions of dollars promised by the big greenhouse gas emitters to pay for greenhouse gas mitigation programs. 

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Verdict In The Case Of Black, Brown And Indigenous Peoples

The fact that the United States has committed an array of human rights abuses against Black, Brown, and Indigenous Peoples should be as uncontroversial as it is incontrovertible. There is widespread agreement that settler colonialists committed genocide and other crimes against the Indigenous populations while taking their lands. No one would disagree that enslaved Africans were forced to work the settler colonial lands for hundreds of years in subhuman conditions.

The historical record tells the story of additional human rights abuses committed against Mexicans and other groups as the US expanded West and colonized countries like Puerto Rico. No one doubts that Japanese were forced into concentration camps during World War II or that Blacks were lynched and brutalized during Jim Crow.

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International Tribunal Seeks To Charge US Government With Crimes Against Humanity

In this era of police violence, pandemic worries, and economic crisis, it is no surprise that U.S. (and local) government agencies have a poor track record of sharing information honestly and directly—especially information about their own complicity in actions and policies that are undemocratic, militaristic, racist, sexist or otherwise oppressive.

Basic truths about the society we live in are actively suppressed and denied—including truths about the imprisonment of those whose political views and actions challenge the powers that be.

Though the growth of the prison industry has been well documented, there is virtually no documentation and even less news about the imprisonment of many who would be considered political prisoners by any international human rights standards.

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America’s Fate: Oligarchy Or Autocracy

The competing systems of power in the United States are divided between oligarchy and autocracy. There are no other alternatives. Neither are pleasant. Each have peculiar and distasteful characteristics. Each pays lip service to the fictions of democracy and constitutional rights. And each exacerbates the widening social and political divide and the potential for violent conflict.

The oligarchs from the establishment Republican Party, figures such as Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, George and Jeb Bush and Bill Kristol, have joined forces with the oligarchs in the Democratic Party to defy the autocrats in the new Republican Party who have coalesced in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump or, if he does not run again for president, his inevitable Frankensteinian doppelgänger. 

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Report: Among Richest Countries, US Last in Healthcare

The U.S. health care system ranked last among 11 wealthy countries despite spending the highest percentage of its gross domestic product on health care, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund.

Researchers behind the report surveyed tens of thousands of patients and doctors in each country and used data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report considered 71 performance measures that fell under five categories: access to care, the care process, administrative efficiency, equity and health care outcomes. Countries analyzed in the report include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

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On Contact: The Corporatization Of Science

Science in the United States almost exclusively serves the interests of corporate and military power. Science historian Clifford Conner writes that the corruption of scientific endeavor exploded with the 1942-1945 Manhattan Project, the first “big science” venture, in which the government spent massively on developing the atom bomb. Science, from this point forward, became big business. Scientists are employed in “hypothesis-driven” research to promote the interests of the food industry, the tobacco industry, and the fossil fuel industry, attacking or silencing scientific studies that cast doubt on the claims of these industries. The result is a society awash in lies, many of them buttressed by bogus scientific studies carried out to reach the conclusions demanded by those who pay for the studies.

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Fascist Plots: Contemporary Lessons From The 1934 ‘Business Plot’

Six months ago, on January 6, 2021, a racist mob, incited by outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump, stormed the U.S. Capitol in a chaotic attempt to prevent the congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election results, a necessary step before the inauguration of Joe Biden.

The assault on the Capitol was led by militarized fascist groups composed of many current or former military and police.[1] Some of the leaders of the organizations involved, such as Enrique Tarrio and Joseph Biggs of the Proud Boys, had direct ties to U.S. intelligence agencies, having served as FBI informants.[2] Only one fifth of Capitol Police were on duty that day, and they were unprepared and under-equipped, even though the U.S. national security state had advance knowledge of the plot.

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The US Isn’t An Israel Puppet, Israel Isn’t A US Puppet

Nearly 200,000 protesters attended a pro-Palestine demonstration in Central London on Saturday afternoon, another clear sign that support for Palestinian rights is becoming increasingly mainstream and the imperialists are losing control of the Israel narrative.

The real consequence of this is that people will begin losing trust in the government and media institutions which support Israel, because without trust the empire can’t propagandize people, and without the ability to propagandize us our rulers cannot rule. There’s no risk for Israel of losing US backing due to the US government suddenly evolving a conscience or listening to its constituents, that won’t happen, but losing control of the narrative poses a major problem for the empire.

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Democrats Give ‘A’ Grade To Joe Biden’s Brand Of Corporate Rule

Democrats Give an “A” Grade to Joe Biden’s Brand of Corporate Rule. Should the Left?

Democrats have treated the Biden presidency’s first 100 days as the calm after the Trumpian storm. Yet the real storm of U.S. corporate rule continues, this time without the partisan opposition that existed under Donald J. Trump. So-called progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asserted that Biden has exceeded her expectations while Pramila Jayapal gave Biden an “A” grade for his performance thus far. Long before these overtures, The Washington Post declared Biden’s bid to “tame” the left a smashing success.

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Police Killing Black Americans Amounts To Crimes Against Humanity

The systematic killing and maiming of unarmed African Americans by police amount to crimes against humanity that should be investigated and prosecuted under international law, an inquiry into US police brutality by leading human rights lawyers from around the globe has found.

A week after the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in George Floyd’s death, the unabated epidemic of police killings of Black men and women in the US has now attracted scorching international attention.

In a devastating report running to 188 pages, human rights experts from 11 countries hold the US accountable for what they say is a long history of violations of international law that rise in some cases to the level of crimes against humanity.

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The Necessity Of Dismantling The US

On February 26th, I interviewed Ajamu Baraka for my podcast. Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. He is an internationally recognized leader of the emerging human rights movement in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S. for more than 25 years. He is a National Organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace, whose activities we discussed.

Baraka has taught political science at various universities and has been a guest lecturer at academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

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We Sampled Tap Water Across The US

In Connecticut, a condo had lead in its drinking water at levels more than double what the federal government deems acceptable. At a church in North Carolina, the water was contaminated with extremely high levels of potentially toxic PFAS chemicals (a group of compounds found in hundreds of household products). The water flowing into a Texas home had both – and concerning amounts of arsenic too.

All three were among locations that had water tested as part of a nine-month investigation by Consumer Reports (CR) and the Guardian into the US’s drinking water.

Since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, access to safe water for all Americans has been a US government goal.

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Epidemiologist Warns That A Fourth COVID-19 Surge Is Under Way

Leading US epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy in Minneapolis, gave a stark warning of a devastating new stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in interviews Sunday on two national television networks.

Dr. Osterholm explained the context and real dangers hinted at in the statement by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when she declared last Monday that she was afraid and felt a sense of “impending doom” about the pandemic.

On Sunday, speaking with host Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” Osterholm said, “At this time, we are in a category five hurricane status with regard to the rest of the world.

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No Talks Needed For US Return To Iran Nuclear Deal

Last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Tehran is in “no hurry” to return to its obligations under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and is prepared to wait until the US lifts its illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has stated that a possible US decision to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, also known asthe Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), does not require any talks.

Speaking to the deal’s remaining signatories during a virtual meeting on Friday, Araqchi added that “Iran will suspend its steps [scaling back compliance with the deal’s terms] as soon as [US] sanctions are lifted and this is verified”.

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