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.

Jan 04

The Silences of Pope Francis

By Vincent Navarro, Truthout | Op-Ed

When Catholic Church leaders chose the new pope, for the most part the media responded favorably; they underlined how Francis' style diverged from that of his predecessors, and how the new pope seemed to already assume a distinctive and progressive new role in the Church. Some, including myself, however, expressed reservations. We were wary of the silence maintained by former Argentine Bishop Bergoglio during the brutal human rights violations under the Argentine dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s. The dictatorship, established in defense of the more privileged groups in Argentina, was especially brutal to any dissidents and opponents of its reign. This silence reflected a lack of sensitivity to gross human rights violations carried out by dictatorships with close ties to the Catholic Church.

Jan 04

Corporatocracy and Our Toxic Beliefs

By Fatima Bacot, Truthout | Op-Ed

As we progress into the first days and quarter of 2014, numerous global crises are revealing more than ever a sickening corporatocracy that railroads, lies, subverts and legislates to guarantee profit, power and privilege for the few at the expense of humanity and the Earth. It employs continual warfare (pre-emptive, false-flag, illegal and otherwise);  the killing of millions of people through these wars, extrajudicial assassinations, poverty;  violation of international, national and personal data through global surveillance networks;  rigged markets, premeditated government shutdowns and currency wars;  corporate-centralized media spewing endless propaganda and spin; increasingly brutal police crackdowns;  ‘trade’ agreement coups, manufactured in secret; silencing and criminalization of journalists, boycotters, whistleblowers and dissenters, etc.

December 31, 2013, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement in response to the transfer of the three remaining Uighur detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Slovakia:

We are grateful to Slovakia for resettling the three remaining Uighurs from Guantánamo, ending one of the most tragic chapters in Guantánamo’s twelve-year history. This is a profound humanitarian gesture toward three men the U.S. government long recognized were innocent of any wrongdoing and never should have been brought to Guantánamo. Unfortunately, their release was delayed for a decade during which they endured terrible physical and psychological abuse at Guantánamo.

Santa Rosa, California - Mothers in White plan to converge on the regular meeting of the governing Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for a peaceful, dignified action on January 7, Tuesday, at 1 PM. They demand justice for 13-year-old Andy Lopez killed October 22 by sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus, who claims he thought the boy's toy rifle was a real gun.

A front-page "2013 in Review" by the daily mainstream Press Democrat ranked the killing of Andy as last year's number one local story. Many feel that it is the most important local story in this county of some 500,000 people in decades. A large picture of Andy's father Rodrigo and his mother Sujey clutching their son's coffin spreads across the top of the paper.

Ever since the American Studies Association had the nerve to decide through a democratic vote that it would impose an academic boycott on Israel, the news media has been on a feeding frenzy. And it's just the beginning. The much larger and much more powerful Modern Languages Association will take up the matter of academic freedom and the Palestinians in about a week. Hang on to your seats. No doubt I will file a dispatch or two about that one. But for right now, I'd like to suggest we take a pause in the debate about the ASA.

Jan 03

Racing to Save My Deer Friends

By John Morlino, The ETHIC | Op-Ed

I was halfway through my run when I saw her. Per our custom, we both stopped to gaze at each other. She was graceful, silent and beautiful. Then as quickly as she appeared, she was gone.

Moments later, I found myself at the edge of a thoroughfare, wondering whether I should cross the road and continue on the trail or double back. Since it was getting dark, I decided on the latter. That’s when I noticed the sign posted on the tree beside me.

Jan 02

Gitmo Attorneys Respond to Uighur Transfers

By Staff, The Center for Constitutional Rights | Press Release

We are grateful to Slovakia for resettling the three remaining Uighurs from Guantánamo, ending one of the most tragic chapters in Guantánamo’s twelve-year history.  This is a profound humanitarian gesture toward three men the U.S. government long recognized were innocent of any wrongdoing and never should have been brought to Guantánamo.  Unfortunately, their release was delayed for a decade during which they endured terrible physical and psychological abuse at Guantánamo. 

It is important to remember that the Uighurs were pawns in a geopolitical saga that involved an agreement by the United States to hold them as “terrorists” in exchange for China’s agreement not to interfere with U.S. efforts to obtain a UN Security Council resolution that would pave the way for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.  It is especially heartbreaking that when the Uighurs were turned over to U.S. forces following the invasion of Afghanistan, they thought they had been saved.  They viewed America as the only superpower capable of standing up to China, and thought that they would be treated fairly and humanely.  Sadly, they came to symbolize the tragedy of Guantánamo.

Jan 02

The Challenges of the New Year

By Dr James J Zogby, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

A few months back, the Arab World was shaken by a New York Times article claiming to detail the Obama administration's efforts to disengage from the Middle East in order to facilitate its "pivot toward the East". It didn't matter that the President had just delivered his annual address the United Nations General Assembly in which he spelled out his priorities for the year - largely focused on his commitment to address: the Israel-Palestinian conflict; the war in Syria; the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program; and the effort to build more democratic societies. Despite his words and the actions that followed, the perception that the US was abandoning the region persisted.

As we begin 2014, it is clear that concerns over US abandonment are unfounded. The US isn't going anywhere, and the Middle East promises to be every bit as complicated and challenging to US policy-makers as it has been in the year just ending. There is a dizzying array of conflicts and crises unfolding across the region - all of which will involve the US in the year to come.

Jan 02

Revamp of the US Financial Industry

By Apek Mulay, Apek Mulay's Website | News Analysis

The United States has world’s most creative, comprehensive and competitive financial services Industry. This industry offers the greatest array of financial instruments and products to allow consumers to manage risk, create wealth, and meet financial needs . Financial services and products help facilitate and finance the export of U.S. manufactured goods and agricultural products.

In order to take advantage of the financial services sector in US, 132 of Global Fortune 500 companies have located their corporate headquarters in US . Investing in US financial services have offered significantly good return on investments for the financial firms. However, these services have primarily benefited the top 1% of population who exercise their control on the financial industry and not the ordinary middle class and poor Americans who invest their hard earned money in this industry with a hope of growing their hard earned money with rising inflation.

Dec 30

Duck Dynasty: A Final Word

By Charles M Smith, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Truthout readers have been provided a few comments on the suspension of the “Duck Dynasty" patriarch for extremely bigoted comments regarding gay and black people. In the wider “news” world this has become a recurring topic. In this short piece I would like to point out several key elements of the ensuing debate.

This is not a freedom of speech issue! The Constitution, in Amendment 1, states that Congress shall make no law restricting this freedom. Under the doctrine of incorporation, the Supreme Court has held this prohibition also applies to state and local government. Robertson had every right to say what he did. He will not be arrested for doing so.