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.

The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition (with participation from England, France, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, USA, Canada and Australia) condemns the ongoing Israeli military assault on Palestinian civilians in Gaza, denounces the failure of the international community to stop the assault, and renews its opposition to the Israeli economic blockade on Palestinians in Gaza as well as the collaboration of other governments. 

We note that the demand to lift the blockade is a central feature of talks on ending the violence, and that governments who reject the blockade should use their influence now to ensure that an agreement that ends the violence, also ends the destructive blockade. 

Press coverage of this ugly war on Gaza has only served to remind us of the fundamental problem that has plagued the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the very beginning: Israelis are seen as real individual people; while Palestinians are an abstraction— objects of contempt, scorn, or pity—but not real people with whom we can relate.

Because Israel knows how important it is to maintain this unbalanced equation, in any battle they rely on their ability to dominate and shape media messages and images to the same extent that they depend on their military to win battles. And because the Israelis have cultivated all too compliant partners in the press and in politics, their narrative of events often trumps reality.  

New powers have today come into force that allow Home Secretary Theresa May to deprive naturalised Brits of their citizenship, even where doing so would render them stateless.

The new powers, which fall under section 40 of the 1981 British Nationality Act, were passed in the Commons earlier this year, having been brought forward at the last minute. 

Jul 29

Clean, Green and Hypocritical

By David Krause, The Street Sheet | Op-Ed

What do teenage manual laborers, new patrol officers, and cuts in renewable energy have in common? All are coming to the City of San Francisco, thanks to City Supervisor Scott Wiener.

On June 26th, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Mr. Wiener’s “Clean, Green, and Safe” budget proposal, which will double the number of patrol officers, grow funding for the Recreations and Parks Department which has an ongoing program that enlists school students in tree trimming and weed pulling, and give money to the Department of Public Works (DPW) which is currently spraying San Francisco’s sidewalks with water four hours per day, five days per week, during California’s ongoing severe drought.

Jul 29

Fact-Checking "Fact Check Argentina"

By Mike LaSusa, SpeakOut | News Analysis

In 2001, Argentina defaulted on its national debt. More than 90% of lenders subsequently agreed to restructuring deals that allowed the country to exchange new bonds for the defaulted ones at a significant loss for the creditors. However, some investment firms labelled "vulture funds" by their critics - most of which are based in the Cayman Islands - bought up Argentine bonds at discount prices, hoping to use the US legal system to force the country to repay their full value.

One such firm, NML Capital, purchased a chunk of discounted Argentine debt for $48 million and has fought a six-year legal battle to force the nation to pay up. After a series of decisions in favor of the so-called "holdouts" (creditors who did not accept the restructuring deals, like the vulture funds) NML is now poised to collect more than $1 billion from the country.

Oakland, California - A new report from the Oakland Institute, Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict, exposes how the international financial institutions swooped in on the heels of the political upheaval and are vying to deregulate and throw open Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector to foreign investors. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU Association agreement in favor of a Russian deal was a major factor in the crisis that led to his ouster in February 2014. Immediately following the change to a pro-EU government, the country’s pivot to the West was solidified with a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an additional $3.5 billion aid package from the World Bank, both of which require significant economic reforms and austerity measures that are set to have disastrous effects within the nation.

Jul 28

After the Demonstrations Are Over

By David Palumbo-Liu, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The massive, worldwide protests against the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza are unlike any other we have ever witnessed with regard to Israel-Palestine.  One can fairly say that at this moment more people are learning about this topic than ever before - we are witnessing an historic elevation of global consciousness with regard to Israel-Palestine.  If the Holocaust shaped the awareness of Israel for those born after the Second World War, for this generation, Israel will be known by Gaza 2014.

While the mainstream media has covered the largest ones that have occurred in well-known metropolitan cities, the site TheWorldStandsWithPalestine documents as well much smaller but still impressive demonstrations in tiny hamlets, suburbs, and towns around the world.


Jul 28

Open Letter to President Obama

By Jose Angel N., El Beisman | Op-Ed

Dear President Obama,

I know you will probably never read this letter. But, as a good Mexican, I’ve been taught to expect disappointment in advance, so there is no harm in trying. 

My name is José Ángel N., and I am an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. I have lived in Chicago most of my life, and the night you were elected U.S. President I watched with my face pressed against a chain-link fence as you delivered an impassioned speech at Grant Park.

After a decade of grassroots advocacy, my personal belief is that the greatest obstacle to positive change in the world isn’t corporations, the government, or the 1%, but lack of movement solidarity.

And no, I’m not pretending to be some modern day Moses bringing the divine truths down from the mountain. I’m just someone who has participated in the entire spectrum of the environmental movement — from mainstream to “radical,” on both coasts — who has witnessed a lot of unnecessary failures over the years, in large part because people can’t figure out how to work together.

Two days after the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to investigate violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a result of Israel's "Operation Protective Edge," people lined Main Street in Carbondale, Ill., to show solidarity with Gaza and condemn the Israeli assault.

When the Human Rights Council convened an emergency meeting on July 23 and adopted the resolution for an inquiry into potential human rights law violations, the United States was the only nation to cast a negative vote against it.