U.S. Prisons Making Thousands Phychotic

Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons making Thousands Phychotic
by Sherwood Ross
The United States today is housing tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement, a form of numbing mental torture that drives about one-third of them psychotic, induces irrational anger in 90 percent, and ups the likelihood they will commit violent crimes upon release.

“It’s an awful thing, solitary,” U.S. Senator John McCain once wrote of his two years spent in a fifteen by fifteen foot prison cell in Viet Nam. “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.” Testimony from other notables that have endured long stretches in solitary have elicited like comments.

Yet, the U.S. today has the dubious distinction of incarcerating “the vast majority of prisoners who are in long-term solitary confinement” around the world, according to an article in the March 30th The New Yorker magazine. And they make up a growing portion of our 2.3 million inmates, a shameful statistic that ranks America first among all nations. Gawande’s article is titled “Hellhole.”
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Parched Baghdad: Cholera Outbreaks Forecast for Spring

Baghdad in a time of cholera
Matthew Schofield: Baghdad's drinking water is so polluted that an outbreak of cholera is expected. Iraq's dangerous uncertain future Leila Fadel: Iraqis will hold America accountable for what happens next.
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Evidence Of Israeli War Crimes In Gaza

Incriminating Evidence Of Israeli War Crimes In Gaza
by Stephen Lendman
Throughout its history, Israel has willfully and repeatedly committed crimes of war and against humanity, always with impunity. Yet under customary legal standards and norms (including Geneva, Hague, the UN Charter, S.C. and G.A. resolutions), it's lawless, a serial abuser, a threat to the region and humanity, mostly as an oppressive occupier. Attacking Gaza is the latest episode in its six-decade reign of terror satisfying the definition of genocide against defenseless Palestinian civilians. This article covers more evidence from some disturbing but unsurprising newly published information.

On March 19, in the first of a series of articles, Haaretz headlined: "IDF killed civilians in Gaza under loose rules of engagement." Military correspondent Amos Harel revealed Israeli soldier and pilot ("dirty secret") testimonies of being ordered to kill unarmed civilians and destroy their property - accounts at variance with official claims that only military targets were attacked and that "Israeli troops observed a high level of moral behavior during the operation." Defense Minister Ehud Barak calls the IDF "the most moral army in the world."

"Moral" examples included an infantry squad leader recounting the shooting of a mother and her two children: "There was a house with a family inside....We put them in a room. Later we left the house and another platoon entered it, and a few days after that there was an order to release the family....The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn't understand and went to the left," after which a rooftop sniper "shot them straight away....I don't think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he (followed orders, and, besides, Palestinian lives are) less important" than our own soldiers.
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Declaration on the withdrawal of ROBIN WOOD e.V. from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-International)

Key German NGO quits FSC in disgust at plantation certifications
Another long-standing European NGO member of FSC has announced its intention to withdraw its membership of the organisation in protest at what it sees as FSC's failure to prevent the certification of non-compliant companies.
The Hamburg-based Robin Wood has been a member of FSC for 12 years. The group says in a statement issued on March 16th that it will continue working with the German national FSC group, but will end cooperation with FSC international.
As with a growing number of NGOs, Robin Wood acknowledges that FSC is 'the most credible' forest certification system - but seemingly no longer credible enough to be associated with.
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Why America Can't Resist

Five reasons why Americans won't resist
by Mickey Z.
Protest (American, definitely not a verb): Wait for UFPJ or ANSWER to stage a parade (I mean, demonstration) on a weekend afternoon so no one misses work or school or in any way disrupts the flow of commerce. Don't make a sign; the organizers will make one for you.
March in an orderly fashion, be polite to the occupying army (I mean, cops), and be sure to stay in designated free speech zones. Blame the Republicans. Wear costumes. Make puppets. Exclude anarchists. Hold a candlelight vigil. Sign a petition. Chant. Vote for a Democrat and hope for change. Need I continue?

With the stakes never higher than they are now, why aren't activists ramping up the pressure and looking beyond tactics that are allowed by those in power?
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U.N. Human Rights Rapporteur: Gaza "War Crime of Greatest Magnitude"

HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk
In the light of resolution S-9 adopted by the Human Rights Council at its ninth special session, the present report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 focuses on the main international law and human rights issues raised by Israel military operations commencing on 27 December 2008 and ending on 18 January 2009. He challenges the widespread emphasis on whether Israeli force was disproportionate in relation to Palestinian threats to Israeli security, and focuses on the prior question of whether Israeli force was legally justified at all.
He concludes that such recourse to force was not legally justified given the circumstances and diplomatic alternatives available, and was potentially a crime against peace.

The Special Rapporteur also gives relevance to the pre-existing blockade of Gaza, which was in massive violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, suggesting the presence of war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. He considers the tactics pursued during the attacks by both sides, condemning the firing of rockets at Israeli civilian targets, and suggests the unlawfulness of disallowing civilians in Gaza to have an option to leave the war zone to become refugees, as well as the charges of unlawful weapons and combat tactics. He recommends that an expert inquiry into these matters be conducted to confirm the status under international law of war crimes allegations, and to consider alternative approaches to accountability.

Finally, the Special Rapporteur insists that Israeli security and the realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination are fundamentally connected, and that the recognition of this aspect of the situation suggests the importance of an intensified diplomatic effort, respect by all parties of relevant international law rights, and implementation of the long deferred Israeli withdrawal from occupied Palestine as initially prescribed by the Security Council in its resolution 242 (1967). Until such steps are taken the Palestinian right of resistance within the limits of international humanitarian law and Israeli security policy will inevitably clash, giving rise to ever new cycles of violence. The Special Rapporteur also recommends action in response to the denial by Israel of entry to him on 14 December 2008.
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Pipeline Postcards from the Near Future

Liquid War: Postcard from Pipelineistan
by Pepe Escobar
What happens on the immense battlefield for the control of Eurasia will provide the ultimate plot line in the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order, also known as the New Great Game.
Our good ol' friend the nonsensical "Global War on Terror," which the Pentagon has slyly rebranded "the Long War," sports a far more important, if half-hidden, twin -- a global energy war. I like to think of it as the Liquid War, because its bloodstream is the pipelines that crisscross the potential imperial battlefields of the planet.
Put another way, if its crucial embattled frontier these days is the Caspian Basin, the whole of Eurasia is its chessboard. Think of it, geographically, as Pipelineistan.
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"GOONS" Alive and Well on the Reservation

"Killer Crossroads" in Akwesasne - colonial terror specially aimed at Indigenous youth
by MNN
There have been many high speed chases, violence, injuries and deaths at or near the "killer crossroads" in front of the Cornwall Island border checkpoint at Akwesasne.  Women, men, youth and children are being constantly harassed and brutalized here.  The Canada-U.S. border is illegally situated in the middle of our community.  

Canadian Border Services Agents, CSIS, RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, Akwesasne Mohawk "Indian" Police and other government "spotters" finger our people at the toll booth.  We can be targeted for assault, harassment, false charges, delayed for hours for no reason, raped, groped or almost murdered.  Recently more and more of our men are being chased and rammed by wild delirious "Indian" cops who are desperate to suck up to their colonial "masters".  The band or tribal cops are ordered by provincial, state and federal cops to attack their own people and relatives.
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Langford: Why the Mayor, Deputy, and Chief Planner Should Step Down

Are Langford Officials Biased? - Why the mayor, deputy mayor, and chief planner should step down, and why everyone else should speak up
by Zoe Blunt
On April 6, Langford City Council is expected to adopt a development re-zoning bylaw for South Skirt Mountain, located between the new interchange on Highway 1 and Bear Mountain Resort.
Langford Mayor, Stew Young: Conflicted?
Four landowners propose to build roads and condo towers with 2800 units adjoining Goldstream Provincial Park to the west and Florence Lake to the east. North of the interchange, a half-built road (Bear Mountain Parkway) zig-zags up South Skirt Mountain to Bear Mountain Resort.

In their haste to approve this development, we submit that Langford's mayor and council have acted in bad faith, ignored due process, and disrespected procedural fairness. In addition, their application for a federal grant for the road and the interchange appears to violate the Community Charter, which prohibits municipalities from giving cash grants and other handouts to private companies.
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Who Will Foot the Bill for America's Moral Bailout?

America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout
by Chris Hedges (Truthdig)
In decaying societies, politics become theater. The elite, who have hollowed out the democratic system to serve the corporate state, rule through image and presentation. They express indignation at AIG bonuses and empathy with a working class they have spent the last few decades disenfranchising, and make promises to desperate families that they know will never be fulfilled. Once the spotlights go on they read their lines with appropriate emotion. Once the lights go off, they make sure Goldman Sachs and a host of other large corporations have the hundreds of billions of dollars in losses they incurred playing casino capitalism repaid with taxpayer money.  

We live in an age of moral nihilism. We have trashed our universities, turning them into vocational factories that produce corporate drones and chase after defense-related grants and funding. The humanities, the discipline that forces us to stand back and ask the broad moral questions of meaning and purpose, that challenges the validity of structures, that trains us to be self-reflective and critical of all cultural assumptions, have withered. Our press, which should promote such intellectual and moral questioning, confuses bread and circus with news and refuses to give a voice to critics who challenge not this bonus payment or that bailout but the pernicious superstructure of the corporate state itself. We kneel before a cult of the self, elaborately constructed by the architects of our consumer society, which dismisses compassion, sacrifice for the less fortunate, and honesty.
The methods used to attain what we want, we are told by reality television programs, business schools and self-help gurus, are irrelevant. Success, always defined in terms of money and power, is its own justification. The capacity for manipulation is what is most highly prized. And our moral collapse is as terrifying, and as dangerous, as our economic collapse.
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How Canada Shows Support for War Resisters

How we show our support for War Resisters
by www.resisters.ca
Hi everyone; so much is on the line right now for war resisters, particularly 3 of the families in Toronto. Kimberly Rivera and her family face deportation on March 26, next Thursday. Patrick Hart and family is awaiting an order to depart any day now. Jeremy Hinzman and family are waiting for a judgement from the Federal Court.

Please continue calling and writing to the government to demand their respect of international law, Canadian parliament and Canadians regarding the War Resister issue. Our fellow campaigners in Toronto have been doing a phenomenal job of keeping these folks and their issue in the spotlight and not letting Immigration Minister Kenney rest. Please follow this link for excellent coverage of their efforts this week:
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A Judicial Document

A Judicial Document
by Uri Avnery
The most important sentence written in Israel this week was lost in the general tumult of exciting events. Really exciting: In a final act of villainy, typical of his whole tenure as Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert abandoned the captive soldier, Gilad Shalit. Ehud Barak decided that the Labor Party must join the ultra-right government, which includes outright fascists.

And this, too: the former President of Israel was officially indicted for rape.

In this cacophony, who would pay any attention to a sentence written by lawyers in a document submitted to the Supreme Court? The judicial debate concerns one of the most revolting laws ever enacted in Israel. It says that the wife of an Israeli citizen is not allowed to join him in Israel if she is living in the occupied Palestinian territories or in a “hostile” Arab country.
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