HARVEY WASSERMAN – For the third time in a decade, a major fire/explosion has ripped apart a transformer at the Indian Point reactor complex.
REPRESENT.US WEBSITE – According to a Princeton University study, public opinion has “near-zero” impact on U.S. law.
YASMIN KAYE – Saudi Arabia is said to have taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapons from ally Pakistan, senior US officials told the Sunday Times. Sunni Arab states are increasingly concerned of the repercussions of a deal currently being negotiated between world powers and Shi’ite rival Iran, which they fear may still be able to develop a nuclear bomb.
DAVID SUZUKI – Recent events in Canada have shown not only that change is possible, but that people won’t stand for having corporate interests put before their own.
DAVID SWANSON – Reading Nick Turse’s new book, Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, raises the question of whether black lives in Africa matter to the U.S. military any more than black lives in the United States matter to the police lately trained and armed by that military.
DANIEL STEVENS – Monday, April 20, marked the deadline for companies and organizations to file their 2015 first quarter federal lobbying disclosure reports. Below is a list of the top ten organizations and how much they spent lobbying Congress and federal agencies between January 1, 2015, and March 31, 2015.
PATRICK T. HILLER – It is easy to be a cynic listening to some of the more nonsensical chatter coming out of Congress. Despite the most comprehensive international agreement between the United States and its P5+1 partners (the members of the UN Security Council and Germany) with Iran on its nuclear program, the calls to bomb Iran are still too loud for them to be dismissed.
ABBY ZIMET – May Day saw the Berlin unveiling of Anything To Say?, a public art project and “monument to courage” featuring life-size bronze statues of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, all of whom have “lost their freedom for the truth.” The installation in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, a project conceived by American journalist Charles Glass and created by Italian sculptor Davide Dormino, features the three whistleblowers upright on chairs, with a fourth empty chair inviting passersby to express their solidarity or their views, to “stand up, get a better view and share their courageous stance.” Says Dormino, “It is for you.”
JOHN LAFORGE – An Appeals Court has vacated the sabotage convictions of peace activists Greg-Boertje-Obed, of Duluth, Min., and his co-defendants Michael Walli of Washington, DC, and Sr. Megan Rice of New York City. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found that federal prosecutors failed to prove — and that “no rational jury could find” — that the three had intended to damage “national defense.”
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – A nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who splashed blood on the walls of a bunker holding weapons-grade uranium — exposing vulnerabilities in the nation’s nuclear security — were wrongly convicted of sabotage, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
DAVID SWANSON – There just might be a big boost in government honesty soon, as both houses of Congress have now passed with two-thirds votes and sent to the states for ratification a potential 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution bearing the unofficial title “The Truth in Advertising Amendment.” This is the text as passed by Congress: Amendment 28.
ALICE SLATER – Global Momentum is building for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. While the world has banned chemical and biological weapons, there is no explicit legal prohibition of nuclear weapons, although the International Court of Justice ruled unanimously that there is an obligation to bring to a conclusion negotiations for their total elimination. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), negotiated in 1970 required the five existing nuclear weapons states, the US, Russia, UK, France and China (P-5) to make “good faith efforts” to eliminate their nuclear weapons, while the rest of the world promised not to acquire them (except for India, Pakistan, Israel, who never signed the NPT). North Korea relied on the NPT Faustian bargain for “peaceful” nuclear power to build its own bomb, and then walked out of the treaty.
JOHN LAFORGE – Here at the United Nations, talk is focused on the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (N-P.T.). At about 11 a.m. Apr. 28, I was handcuffed with 21 other nuclear realists after blocking an entrance to the US Mission. I say “realists” because US media won’t pay much attention to US violations of nuclear weapons treaties unless somebody is taken off to jail. Barrels of ink are used detailing Iran’s non-existent nuclear arsenal. The US has about 2,000 nuclear weapons ready to launch and used as ticking time bombs every day by presidents — the way gunslingers can get the dough without ever pulling the trigger. Deterrence it is not.
JOHN HANRAHAN – On Monday, April 27, seven prominent national security whistleblowers called for a number of wide-ranging reforms — including passage of the “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” which would repeal the USA Patriot Act — in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment right to be free from government spying. Several of the whistleblowers also said that the recent lenient sentence of probation and a fine for General David Petraeus — for his providing of classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell — underscores the double standard of justice at work in the area of classified information handling.