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.

Sep 04

Cruise Missile Law Enforcement

By David Swanson, War Is a Crime | Op-Ed

The White House is treating the Syrian government like a potential drone strike victim.

President Barack Obama's preferred method for dealing with targeted individuals is not to throw them into lawless prisons. But it's also not to indict and prosecute them.

On June 7th, Yemeni tribal leader Saleh Bin Fareed told Democracy Now that Anwar al Awlaki could have been turned over and put on trial, but "they never asked us." In numerous other cases it is evident that drone strike victims could have been arrested if that avenue had ever been attempted.

Sep 03

Married to Organized Labor

By Dallas Darling, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Union organizers, like Rose Schneiderman, not only understood the vital importance of organizing labor in challenging increasing economic disparity, but they did so in an era of union-corporate wars. Labor organizers literally laid their lives on the line by challenging anti-union hysteria and a antagonistic government. Organizers were shadowed and spied on, intimidated and beaten, ambushed and shot at, kidnapped and tortured and left for dead, and sometimes assassinated. Monopolists and their company guards, along with sheriffs, detectives, state militias and even federal troops targeted labor leaders.

Sep 03

We Coming

By Jasiri X, SpeakOut | Video

We Coming" was inspired by the Dream Defenders, BYP100, and the movement of fast food and low wage workers to get $15 an hour and the right to form a union. "We Coming" was shot on location in Milwaukee, WI during the 8/29 Strike that took place in over 50 cities around the country. "We Coming" was produced by GM3, shot by Paradise Gray, and based off a chant by Artist and Activist Jazz Hudson. Young people are rising up all over the country and the world, believe me when I say, "WE COMING"!

Sep 03

Obama Just Challenged Pathology of Power

By Dallas Darling, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Given the immensity and enormous power of the U.S. military with its advanced weaponry systems, the greatest threat to global security since the end of World War Two has not been nuclear weapons but the misuse and abuse of presidential military power. It was therefore a stunning surprise for civic constitutionalists when President Barack Obama announced he would seek Congress's approval before using military force against Syria. While opponents dismissed his reversal as indecisiveness, a lame duck presidency, even cowardice-"red lines" to a "yellow streak," did he just challenge a pathological disease in which presidents have unwisely and immorally used military power?

On Thursday, August 22nd, travelers to Iceland received an e-mail from the United States Embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland, that discouraged US citizens from participating in political protest against the actions of the US government. It also labeled a peaceful advocacy organization a potential security threat, representing the increased used of a tactic to describe protesters using the language of terrorism. These actions have deep implications for the right of US citizens to dissent.

Titled "United States Embassy Reykjavik, Iceland Security Message for US Citizens," the e-mail would first appear to warn of a terror threat or natural disaster. In context, the message arrives at the tail of the shutdown and evacuation of several embassies across the Middle East following an Al Qaeda terror threat.

So the State Department recently announced that Shaun Casey, professor of Christian theology and ethics, will head a new office of "Religious Engagement." This is a curious phrase in a country with constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state. Far more worrisome is the notice that this new office will "focus on engagement with faith-based organizations and religious institutions around the world to strengthen U.S. development and diplomacy and advance America's interests and values."

Sep 03

Welcome Chef Djamel

By Doug Minkler, Berkeley No More Guantanamos | Press Release

chefsmallIn October 2011 the Berkeley City Council passed a Resolution to close Guantanamo Prison and welcome cleared-for-release detainees to settle in Berkeley.

This makes Berkeley the first city in the U.S. to welcome detainees. Djamel Ameziane is a famous Algerian-born European-trained chef who the U.S. cleared for release in 2008, but he's still stuck in Guantanamo.

Cablevision workers from Brooklyn ask CEO James Dolan: Where the papers at? in this awesome new video. Performed live on stage at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

Sep 03

How To Invent A Misleading Statistic

By Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters | Report

The Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold hyped the size of the federal government out of context, presenting an excellent example of how to construct a misleading statistic.

Writing on the size of the federal workforce, Fahrenhold claims:

Measured another way -- not in dollars, but in people -- the government has about 4.1 million employees today, military and civilian. That's more than the populations of 24 states.

Sep 02

Taking Sides In Egypt

By Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analysis | News Analysis

There are a series of historical precedents that can give us insight into the problems now seen in Egypt. These precedents are from both the West and the Middle East. Both are relevant because the conflict in Egypt has modern structural qualities that are transcultural. Among others, these qualities are: a traditional military caste allied to a reactionary police force, to a reactionary judiciary and to "big business" elements; a middle class most of whose members have a stated aspiration for both stability and a democratic society; and a bete noire (dark beast) factor – a fear shared by the first two groups of a third group. In the European/U.S. context this bete noire group is usually identified as a politically organized left designated as Communist. In the context of the Middle East this role is usually played by politically active Islamist organizations. In both cases the bete noire element may represent a significant portion of the population.