TISH O’DELL [Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund] – With the oil and gas industry already reveling in a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision stripping local control on fracking and other extraction activities away from communities, the Secretary of State has now handed the industry another victory, opening the door for fracking infrastructure projects to spread even faster across Ohio.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – The awareness that must emerge from a decade-and-counting of torture revelations is that absolute power over others does not keep us safe and should not be pursued. And torture is only a minute fraction of the wrong we promulgate through unchecked militarism, the aim of which is domination of the planet. Step one in the unhealthy pursuit of power is the dehumanization of â€œthe enemy.â€ The consequences of what we do after that will always haunt us.
REV. JOHN DEAR – Los Alamos sits above the second poorest county in the U.S. and is located in New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the country. The land was originally stolen from indigenous peoples by the U.S. government. Radioactive waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory was routinely dumped into the canyons below and has poisoned the water, the land, the animals, and the indigenous people. Annually, Los Alamos Labs spends $2 billion for the sole purpose of preparing the weapons that have the potential to kill millions of people. Thatâ€™s why I call Los Alamos â€œthe worldâ€™s greatest terrorist training camp.â€
DAVID SWANSON – If both proponents and opponents of the nuclear agreement with Iran depict Iran falsely as a nuclear threat, the danger of a U.S. war on Iran is going to continue, with or without the deal. The deal could end with the election of a new president or Congress. Ending the agreement could be the first act of a Republican president or a Schumerian Democratic Leader. So, don’t just urge the right vote while pushing the propaganda. Oppose the propaganda as well.
EWEN MACASKILL – Whistleblower Edward Snowden received several standing ovations in the Swedish parliament after being given the Right Livelihood award for his revelations of the scale of state surveillance.
PATRICK T. HILLER – I donâ€™t know any of the 13 activists who lowered themselves from the St. John â€™s Bridge in Portland, Oregon, nor any of the dozens of kayakers paddling in the Willamette River below them, but they succeeded in a temporary blockade of the Shell-leased Arctic-bound icebreaker MSV Fennica. I know that the activists participated in our democracyâ€”they were nonviolent and far more civil than many members of Congress. The ship was in Portland for repairs of damage to the hull, which ironically occurred when it was scheduled to leave for the Arctic as part of the safety conditions Royal Dutch Shell Oil needed to fulfill for federal approval to drill for oil after a series of accidents in 2013.
NORMAN SOLOMAN – [In late June] CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling went to prison. If he were white, he probably wouldnâ€™t be there.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Academician Dr. Lawrence Wittner performed many literature reviews in his scholarly career; this essay is a mini-version of US citizen opinion on the questions surrounding our growing gap between rich and everyone else, as well as the decimation of the middle class. In this clear and objective logical survey of the wishes of the American people on serious questions, Wittner poses the unstated query: If we want it, why can’t we get it? The more times we ask this, the closer we come to saying it out loud and acting on it.
IBRAHIM S. BAHATI – Since Osama bin Ladenâ€™s death 2 May 2011, the official account of the Navy Sealsâ€™ raid has been challenged, most recently and cogently by journalist Seymour Hersh, alleging that â€œWashington’s official account of the hunt for Bin Laden and the raid that led to his death was a lie.â€ In fact, there have been more â€œconspiracy-factual theoriesâ€ about this event than there are on Illuminati. Was OBL there? Was he even alive then? Is he still?
DAVID SOLEIL – As thoughtful, caring parents, we would never want to teach our kids that violence is the answer to any or every problem. We want our children to learn to get along with others, share, be kind, say “excuse me,” and try their best at an empathetic, “I’m sorry.” I thought I was attuned to the violence that surrounds us in American culture. However, a trip to our local department store with my kids yesterday was shocking. We stepped into the toy aisles. Here is a quick rundown of the toys and action figures, in order…
ALEX GORDON – I had done this a few dozen times myself, 6,000 miles away from my Alexandria, Va., apartment. As an Army infantryman in Iraq, Iâ€™d always been on the trigger side of the weapon. Now that I was on the barrel side, I recalled basic trainingâ€™s most important firearm rule: Aim only at something you intend to kill. I had conducted the same kind of raid on suspected bombmakers and high-value insurgents. But the Fairfax County officers in my apartment were aiming their weapons at a target whose rap sheet consisted only of parking tickets and an overdue library book.
MEL GURTOV – One of the predictable outcomes of any US effort to reset relations with an adversary is that allies start whining about their vulnerability and demanding some sort of compensation for it. Thus, no sooner was the nuclear deal with Iran concluded than the Israelis, Saudis, and other Middle East partners criticize it as representing abandonment and emboldening Iran to become a stronger meddler in neighborsâ€™ affairs. All sorts of dire predictions about horrendous consequences are already on record, clearly intended to influence the Obama administration to give these folks something for their painâ€”like money, arms (both of which they get in abundance), and especially new commitments.
DAVID SWANSON – Climate change is apparently encouraging the spread of Lyme disease, and a report by NBC News dares to say so. This may seem like a fresh breath of honest sanity in a media context in which even the weather reports usually avoid the topic of human global destruction. However, another topic is clearly still off limits: the topic of who created Lyme disease.
TOM H. HASTINGS – The US has delivered the first batch of F16 fighter jets to Iraq. How long until ISIS grabs them? How long before Iraqâ€™s BFF Iran reverse engineers them from nose to tail? How exactly is this even remotely in the interest of the security of the US citizens whose government approved this deal?
ROBERT KOEHLER – The more that people lose touch with their own humanity, the more, I fear, they will feel the need to be armed â€“ desperately imagining itâ€™s the same thing as being secure. And the news cycle will continue, endlessly bringing us more of the same.
STEPHANIE VAN HOOK – When Gandhi met with the British viceroy Lord Irwin after his imprisonment following the 1930 Salt Satyagraha, they shared a pot of tea. Gandhi, mischieviously took out a package of contraband salt, opened it and sprinkled a bit into his cup. Looking at the astounded Lord Irwin he told him he did so in remembrance of the Boston Tea Party.