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 13

Is the Baby-Making Business Selling False Hopes?

By Women Make Movies, WMM | Report

NEW YORK, NY - Infertility patients, women's health advocates and medical professionals are launching a national initiative to draw long over-due attention to the rarely reported enduring traumas, societal impacts, health risks and myths associated with infertility, childlessness and assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments--including annual global failure rates as high as 77 percent in 2012 (1).

Fashion chains Mango and Benetton today face heavy criticism for shunning discussions on compensation for Bangladeshi victims of the Rana Plaza disaster, despite both retailers admitting to have recent orders or production in factories located in the building.
The charity War on Want slammed Mango and Benetton for their failure to take part in the negotiations, after reports that neither have met the deadline to confirm their attendance at the talks, which the International Labour Organisation will host tomorrow in the Swiss city Geneva.
It warns that injured workers, and families whose breadwinners died at Rana Plaza, face destitution unless they get full compensation from retailers that sourced from the factories in the block.

Sep 12

Anti-Drone Protestors Refuse Fines, Sentencing Statements

By National Lawyers Guild/Sacramento, NLGSAC | Press Release

SACRAMENTO - Five peace advocates convicted of trespassing at a demonstration opposing the Obama Administrations killer drone program at Beale AFB near Marysville were sentenced hereMonday to only 10 hours community service – after they said they rather go to prison than accept a fine and probation.

Judge Carolyn Delaney listened to passionate statements (below this release) by the defendants, who told the judge they were willing to go to federal prison rather than pay any fines or accept 3 years probation. They faced up to six months in federal prison and a $5,000 fine each for trespassing at Beale.

Sep 12

Keeping Guantánamo on American Minds

By Palina Prasasouk, Close Gitmo | Op-Ed

On Friday, September 6, 2013 dozens witnessed in front of the White House, a live force-feed of 52-year-old Andres Conteris on his 61st day of a water-only hunger strike. Thousands more would watch from home via live stream, RT and Huffington Post. Conteris began a hunger strike on July 8, 2013 in solidarity with Guantánamo Bay and the California prison, Pelican Bay. Among the dozens of witnesses was a crowd of international press covering the event. American press was absent with the exception of Ryan J. Reilly, a justice reporter for The Huffington Post who earlier this spring, traveled to Guantánamo.

All agree that chemical weapons were used (even Assad agrees); the Administration says that we have overwhelming evidence that Assad's forces deployed these chemicals (Assad denies).

1. What evidence exists to specifically lay blame on Assad's forces and NOT on Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda forces operating in Syria?  Just because the chemicals were detonated in a “rebel” controlled neighborhood doesn’t mean Assad’s forces deployed them. Could it be that Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda groups had (smuggled in? or pilfered from Assad’s storage depots?) these chemical weapons, and they were used to heighten tensions or exploded prematurely by accident?

A coalition of fair housing and civil right groups filed an amicus brief in federal court today, supporting the City of Richmond’s opposition to a motion for preliminary injunction filed by trustees Wells Fargo Bank and Deutsche Bank. The trustees (Wells and Deutsche Bank) seek to block the City’s plan to help homeowners by restructuring underwater mortgages.

The brief, filed by the law firm Relman, Dane, & Colfax PLLC, on behalf of the National Housing Law Project, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, Bay Area Legal Aid, the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, and the California Reinvestment Coalition, argues that the actions the securitization industry has threatened to take to block the program, known as Richmond CARES, would amount to illegal redlining and would violate federal and state fair housing and fair lending laws, including the federal Fair Housing Act.

Sep 12

Learning From World War I

By David Krieger, Truthout | Op-Ed

We are approaching the 100th anniversary of the onset of World War I. One of the lessons of that horrendous war was that chemical weapons cause inhumane suffering and death and that they are not reliable weapons. Their effectiveness depends on which way the wind is blowing, a situation subject to change. After the war, the use of chemical and biological weapons in warfare was banned by the Geneva Protocol of 1925. More recently, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997, and today 189 countries are parties to this treaty.

The situation in Syria is an object of serious preoccupation and once more the United States, assuming the role of the world's policeman, proposes to invade Syria in the name of "Freedom" and "Human Rights".

Your predecessor George W. Bush, in his messianic madness, invoked religious fundamentalism to launch his messianic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When he declared that he talked with God, and God told him that he had to attack Iraq, he did so claiming it was the message of God to export "freedom" to the world.

Sep 11

LEAKED: The Internet Must Go

By John Wooley, SpeakOut | Video

In 2012, I was dispatched to help the big ISPs to figure out how to sell their vision for a "faster," "cleaner" internet. Six months later I produced this report -- and leaked it to the world. Learn more and take action.

I now ask the people of Japan for help. My country is no longer the country I once knew, a country moving at least in the direction of providing opportunity for all, regardless of income. The tendency to paranoia and international law-breaking was always there, at a low fever, in clandestine and semi-clandestine actions around the world, driven by visions of American exceptionalism pandered onto an all too naïve public. Though I like to believe that there was the intention at least to make the world a better place, in fact these actions were frankly not just frequently amateurish and inept, they resulted in the suffering and death of many. Nor it seems, have any of the lessons been learnt. Since 9/11, the United States has adopted a national security policy that can most charitably be described as one of anaphylactic shock. Terrorism ranks with shark attacks in terms of real risk. We have, however, so over-reacted, and misreacted to the tragedy that we have become a danger both to ourselves and to others.