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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.

Jul 24

An Open Letter for the People in Gaza

By Staff, The Lancet | Press Release

More than 20 leading doctors and scientists* from the UK and Italy denounce ongoing Israeli military aggression in Gaza in a letter to The Lancet, published today [Tuesday 22 July]. 

“On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel,” write the authors. “We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression.”

New Hampshire has passed a law that prohibits the automatic release of student information to military recruiters gained through the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test in the state’s high schools.

Jul 23

Gaza's Resistance Will Not Be Crushed

By Ramzy Baroud, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

On the 13th day of Israel’s so-called Operation Protective Edge, stories of entire families collectively pulverized, women and children keenly targeted by Israeli soldiers saturate the media. Until now, 430 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children, and 18 Israel soldiers been killed at the hands of the Resistance. In Shejaiya, elders, mothers and children scrambled for cover as shells mercilessly rained down, stealing the souls of countless innocents.

The destruction is overwhelming, and everywhere, Palestinians lament there is nowhere that is safe. Regardless, resolve is strong and the people of Gaza will not resign themselves to surrender.

Washington, DC – With U.S. corporations fleeing, or planning to flee, the country to avoid taxes, and the Senate Finance Committee scheduled to hold hearings on the U.S. tax code with an emphasis on corporate inversions, the FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition supports efforts to ensure that U.S. multinational corporations remain in the country and pay their fair share of taxes.

The news has been filled lately with U.S. companies announcing plans to invert, or completing an inversion: Pharmaceutical companies AbbVie and ShireAllergan and ValeantWalgreen’s “moving” to Switzerland, and even the failed merger of Pfizer and AstaZeneca (which may be coming back).

There's a chance to watch DRONES, the movie, online on July 30th and then to join a discussion with filmmakers and experts.  There's a preview video below. The movie's website is at http://dronesthefilm.com and the free screening is at http://demandprogress.tv/drones.

I saw a screening of this film back in November at the drone summit in DC. It's wonderful. I was a bit put-off and staggered, to be frank, at the time, because someone involved with the film bragged about how inexpensively it had been made, and yet the budget was so unfathomably huge that I knew that if an anti-war organization had that kind of money we could hire organizers all over the world and quite possibly make the abolition of war a major mainstream force. 

Jul 23

Harassing the Drones

By Kathy Kelly, TeleSUR | News Analysis

Kabul - On July 10, 2014, in New York State, Judge David Gideon sentenced Mary Anne Grady Flores to a year in prison and fined her $1,000 for photographing a peaceful demonstration at the U.S. Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field  (near Syracuse) where weaponized Reaper drones are remotely piloted in lethal flights over Afghanistan.  Dozens have been sentenced, previously, for peaceful protest there. But uniquely, the court convicted her under laws meant to punish stalkers, deciding that by taking pictures outside the heavily guarded base she violated a previous order of protection not to stalk or harass the commanding officer.

Mary Anne is a 58 year-old grandmother of three, from Ithaca, New York, where she is part of the Upstate Drone Action

The stain of death spreads below,

but from my cockpit I see none of it.

I only drop bombs as I have been trained

and then, far above the haze and blood,

I speed toward home. 

The case brought by a husband and wife subjected to a 2004 ‘rendition,’ jointly organised by MI6, the CIA and Libyan intelligence, is being heard today by the Court of Appeal in London.

Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, an anti-Gaddafi dissident, and his wife Fatima Boudchar, who was five months pregnant at the time, were kidnapped and flown to Muammar Gaddafi’s prisons in 2004, where Mr Belhaj then suffered years of imprisonment and torture. En route to Libya the couple were first tortured at a CIA ‘black site’ in Bangkok. These renditions to Libya are generally thought to have been the dark underside to the so-called "deal in the desert" struck between Tony Blair and Gaddafi in 2004 - the infamous meeting in which Blair embraced Gaddafi in a tent took place the same month as this operation.

Ten years ago, when John "Ahni" Schertow launched the award-winning magazine Intercontinental Cry, about 50 Indigenous Nations led their own front-line struggles to save some of the last intact habitats on Earth from the ravages of modern industrial development. Now more than 500 such struggles are raging around the globe. You'd never know it, even if you were a dedicated reader of mainstream and alternative media – unless one of those publications happened to be Intercontinental Cry. IC has had a hand in bringing some of those struggles to the international stage, most notably with the publication of the crucial essay by First Nations writer and activist Russell Diabo, which played a vital role in helping to spark the Idle No More movement. Diabo was the first to fully expose Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to terminate First Nations treaty rights, and the world first learned about it at IC.

Schertow, from his bunker in a home office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has taken up residence on those front lines, watching as the global indigenous movement has grown exponentially. He's dedicated himself to telling the stories and to building a worldwide network of indigenous and non-indigenous reporters to serve as his eyes and ears. On any given day, he might be editing an eye-opening article from a writer in a far-flung land like the Philippines or Papua New Guinea; or investigating a fracking project threatening to contaminate the waters of an indigenous community in Canada or Botswana; or editing and designing the annual best-of collection, People Land Truth. How he does it all without a paid staff, a newsroom or even a journalism degree is worth a story in itself. 

Members of Veterans For Peace will deliver a letter to Israel's Embassy, 3514 International Dr. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, at 1:30 pm Monday afternoon, July 21. The letter calls on the government of Israel to immediately halt the bombing of Palestinian civilians and to withdraw all its troops and military assets from Gaza.  Colonel Ann Wright, who has visited Palestine and Israel several times, will head up the delegation.

The letter reads as follows: