SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

Oct 04

Torture Opponents Say Ban Dick Cheney from Canada or Prosecute Him

By War Criminals Watch, WCW | Press Release

Torture suspect and former U.S. Vice President Richard (Dick) Cheney is scheduled to speak at the Toronto Global Forum, October 31, 2013, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event is hosted by the International Economic Forum of the Americas.

Lawyers and others are urging Canada to either bar Dick Cheney from Canada as a person credibly accused of torture – or to arrest and prosecute him on arrival, as required by the Convention against Torture. That Dick Cheney authorized, directed and failed to prevent the widespread use of torture by US officials on non-Americans detained in off-shore prisons is no longer open to question. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has determined that torture suspects temporarily in Canada must be dealt with in accordance with the Convention.

Oct 04

Living a Death

By Zulfiqar Shah, Truthout | Op-Ed

I am in Delhi undergoing medical treatment, including detoxification and treatment for other damage caused by heavy metal poisoning applied in Kathmandu, Nepal on December 18, 2012. Although I repeatedly forget things due to my associated memory loss, I keep on writing to make myself feel my own existence still counts since I am no longer an activist on the ground in Sindh, Pakistan. In fact, I believe I was given heavy metal poisoning by the Pakistani intelligence agencies Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) with local facilitation in Nepal.

NEW YORK, NY - Today, Free & Equal – the unprecedented UN public information campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality – released a compelling three-minute video of the first-ever ministerial meeting on LGBT rights at the United Nations held on 26 September, 2013. The video captures strong statements by several attendees, who included the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.S. Secretary of State, the Argentine, Brazilian, Croatian, Dutch and Norwegian foreign ministers, the French Minister of Development Cooperation, senior officials from the European Union, Japan and New Zealand, and the directors of Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Two young women were shot in the back in Cato Crest on Monday. They were both shot in the back while running away from the police. Nqobile Nzuza was shot in her back and in the back of her head and died on the scene. Luleka Makhwenkwana was shot in her arm, also from the back, and was taken to hospital but has now been discharged. Police spokespeople Jay Naicker and Solomon Makgale have been telling the media all kinds of lies about these shootings.

We wish to make it clear that the police are lying just as they lied after the massacre on the mountain in Marikana last year.

The United States has the largest economic system in the world: one that was created long ago by the early Americans through the acquisition of land that did not belong to them and the multiple mass genocides of Native American and African people. Though we tend not to speak about those horrific periods in our history, it is within those times that America built this strong economic system the United States stands on. And although our wealth is constructed solely of colored people’s sweat and blood, it is the white supremacist government that still holds the power of the economic system and the majority of the wealth in the United States of America.

Those of you who keep up with such things will have noticed a growing consensus in the media: after 42 long, hard years, the war on drugs has failed. This rhetoric is attractive, but misleading. While the war on drugs has been undeniably costly, devastating society while doing little to genuinely address drug use or abuse, the narrative of failure does not address the primary reason the war was created in the first place.

The war on drugs was designed as a tool to win votes. It was never about drugs, but about the exploitation of racial resentment and fear for political power. As such, it has succeeded more than any other political scheme of the last half of the twentieth century.

Oct 03

What on Earth are Nuclear Weapons For?

By Winslow Myers, PeaceVoice | Op-Ed

Eric Schlosser’s hair-raising new book about actual and potential accidents with nuclear weapons, “Command and Control,” sharpens the dialogue, such as it is, between the anti-nuclear peace movement and nuclear strategists who maintain that these weapons still enhance the security of nations. 

We can imagine a hypothetical moment somewhere in time. No one can say when exactly, but for my money it is definitely far in the past. Before that moment—perhaps it was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, or perhaps one of the terrifying incidents Schlosser describes, when computer glitches caused the Soviets or the Americans to misperceive that nuclear missiles had been launched—realists could argue that the deterrent effect of the balance of terror was preventing world war. After that moment, the more nuclear weapons, the more risk and insecurity for the planet as a whole and therefore for all nations whether they have the weapons or not.

Are we living in a time of inverted totalitarianism? Pulitzer prize-winning author Chris Hedges tells me we are in this first episode of the Moment of Clarity Show - SEASON TWO! This episode was made possible by Coalition Films and our generous Kickstarter supporters!

Oct 02

Think Twice

By Marsha Calvert, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

You have to think of the circumstances that exist in this world. For example, discrimination based on ethnicity, class level, income, etc. Do these not count? YOUR destiny is never in YOUR hands. It is in the hands of the system and society. Let us take a look at the Trayvon Martin case. A 17-year-old African American boy in Florida comes home from the corner store with a bag of skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea. What occurs? He gets shot by a white man (George Zimmerman). Zimmerman was found not guilty, for supposedly using self-defense. What was Martin doing to him? Nothing. Was that just? Did Trayvon Martin have control of his destiny? What if he was a white male? Would he still have gotten shot?

Oct 02

Racial Judgment

By Stacie Jimenez, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Obama spends his time speaking about the decisions people make for themselves, but it's also the government who plays a big role in the choices that people make. According to Barack Obama, "We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices... But one of the things you've learned over the last four years is that there's no longer any room for excuses... And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured - and overcame."