By António Guterres*
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 19 2017 (IPS) – I will travel to the Central African Republic early next week to spend United Nations Day with a peacekeeping operation in order to pay tribute to peacekeepers across the world.
Peacekeeping operations are among the international community’s most effective tools for meeting the challenges of global peace and security. Peacekeepers show tremendous courage in volatile environments and great dedication in helping countries rise from the depths of armed conflict.
By HANNAH BEECH* – The New York Times
BANGKOK — It was an anti-Communist blood bath of at least half a million Indonesians. And American officials watched it happen without raising any public objections, at times even applauding the forces behind the killing, according to newly declassified State Department files that show diplomats meticulously documenting the purge in 1965-66.
In one of the documents, released on Tuesday, an American political affairs counselor describes how Indonesian officials dealt with prisons overflowing with suspected members of the Indonesian Communist Party, known by the acronym P.K.I.
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD – The New York Times
Americans have long struggled with the question of whether this country should be more involved in world affairs, or less. The contest of ideas between internationalists and isolationists has been particularly fierce among Republicans, going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft and continuing on to the beginning of World War II.
By Baher Kamal
ROME, Oct 18 2017 (IPS) – The world is running out of antibiotics to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) warned while announcing the World Antibiotic Awareness Week on 13-19 November.
The reason, according to WHO, is that most of the drugs currently in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions. See: The World Is Running Out of Much Needed New Antibiotics
By Joan Walsh* – The Nation
The torrent of #MeToo stories reveals just how much time we spend dealing with this shit.
You’ve seen the hashtag: #MeToo, posted by women testifying that they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, just as Harvey Weinstein’s long list of victims were. And Donald Trump’s. This is my “me too.” And mea culpa.
The stories about Weinstein are particularly painful because they’re emerging almost exactly a year after Trump’s so-called Access Hollywood tape, on which he bragged about sexually assaulting women, which he could get away with because he was “a star.” Now he is our president—even after at least a dozen other women came forward and accused him of similar behavior, or worse. In the wake of the multiple complaints, a great many women shared their own stories of abuse, and even rape, by other men. Stories they had never told anyone before. Yet 53 percent of white women voted for a confessed sexual predator nonetheless.
By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 17 2017 (IPS) – Civil society groups have called on the United States to reverse its decision to withdraw from a UN body, citing concerns for press freedom and journalists’ safety.
Citing anti-Israel bias and concern over the inclusion of Palestine, the Donald Trump Administration announced that it will end its membership in the UN Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) by December 2018.
By Farhang Jahanpour* – TFF Associates (http://blog.transnational.org/)
As was expected, President Trump has decertified Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal or, to give it its full name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite the fact that he certified it twice before. As recently as 14 September 2017, Trump also waived certain sanctions against Iran as required under the terms of the deal.
Yet, in an extremely belligerent and hostile speech, he put out his new policy towards Iran.
By International Organization for Migration
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Oct 2017 (IOM) – An estimated 536,000 people have fled Myanmar and arrived in Cox’s Bazar, southern Bangladesh, over the past 47 days, according to the IOM-hosted Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) of aid agencies. Numbers spiked again this week when some 15,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh between 9-11 October.
By Paul Butler* – The Nation
The nation’s largest police organization pursues policies that have deadly consequences for communities of color.
“A pack of rabid animals.” That’s how John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, described local Black Lives Matter activists who picketed outside the home of a Philly cop who shot black suspects in the back on two separate occasions. After the officer was suspended, the local FOP had a fund-raiser for him, with proceeds from the $40-per-ticket event going toward the officer’s living expenses.
By Eli Rosenberg* – The Washington Post
The State Department announced Oct. 12 the U.S. plans to withdraw from UNESCO, alleging a “need for fundamental reform” and “anti-Israel bias.” (The Washington Post)
The United States plans to withdraw from UNESCO, citing financial reasons, as well as what it said was anti-Israel bias at the U.N.’s educational, science and cultural organization.
UNESCO was notified Thursday morning of the U.S. intention to withdraw at the end of 2018. The State Department said the United States would like to remain involved as a nonmember observer state.
By Mikhail Gorbachev *
This December will mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the treaty between the Soviet Union and United States on the elimination of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. This was the start of the process of radically cutting back nuclear arsenals, which was continued with the 1991 and 2010 strategic arms reduction treaties and the agreements reducing tactical nuclear weapons.
Robert J. Burrowes*
In Las Vegas on 1 October 2017, it appears that one man (although it might have been more) killed 59 people and shot and injured another 241 (with almost 300 more injured while fleeing). The incident got a lot of publicity, partly because the man managed to kill more people than most mass killers. However, because the killer was a white American and had a Christian name, he was not immediately labeled a terrorist, even though his death toll considerably exceeded that achieved in many ‘terrorist attacks’, including those that occur in war zones (such as US drone murders of innocent people attending weddings).
By Rick Noack – The Washington Post
BERLIN, October 11 — When Catalonia’s president, Carles Puigdemont, affirmed the region’s right to be an independent country on Tuesday, it was one of the most closely watched moments in the history of European secessionist movements. In the end, however, Puigdemont stopped short of declaring an independent polity.
By ALEX GUILLÉN and ERIC WOLFF (*) – POLITICO
Tuesday’s move to repeal a landmark power plant rule is just one of many steps the administration is taking to help fossil fuels maintain their dominance.
The Trump administration is gutting President Barack Obama’s climate legacy with a series of moves designed to favor the fossil fuel industry while punishing solar and wind energy producers — and Tuesday’s proposal to repeal an Environmental Protection Agency rule on power plants is just the most visible.
Federico Mayor Zaragoza* – International Commission Against the Death Penalty
Opinion editorial for 10 October 2017
We observe today the 15th World Day against the Death Penalty. As of today, 105 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. In the past 25 years, 60 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and the number of States that carry out executions has fallen by nearly half.
Gary Younge* – The Guardian
The United States needs new gun laws. But first it needs to shed the myths that sustain its reliance on weapons
Around 3.30am on 23 November 2013 a stray bullet shattered the window of an apartment in Indianapolis where a couple watched television while their two-month-old baby slept. The man called 911, with panic in his voice. “I need to get out of here,” he told the dispatcher. “Can you get a car so I can get out of here?”
Words by Larry Siems*
Chronology of significant events
Rahman wearing only socks and diaper; supervisor has concern regarding hypothermia
Rahman subjected to 48 hours of sleep deprivation, rough treatment, cold shower and other measures but remained noncompliant.—
Subjected to cold conditions and minimum food and sleep… confused due to dehydration and fatigue.—
Cable recommends future use of continued environmental deprivations with interrogations 18 out of 24 hours daily—
Linguist asks questions about the temperature at which hypothermia occurs
November 19 2200 hrs
guard check – Rahman is alive.
guard check – Rahman is alive.
November 20 0400 hrs
guard check – Rahman is alive.
guard check – Rahman is alive.
guard check – Rahman is dead.
Words by Larry Siems
There were twenty cells inside the prison, each a stand-alone concrete box. In sixteen, prisoners were shackled to a metal ring in the wall. In four, designed for sleep deprivation, they stood chained by the wrists to an overhead bar. Those in the regular cells had a plastic bucket; those in sleep deprivation wore diapers. When diapers weren’t available, guards crafted substitutes with duct tape, or prisoners were chained naked in their cells. The cellblock was unheated, pitch black day and night, with music blaring around the clock.
Paul Krugman – The New York Times
I’m still thinking about Kevin Hassett’s appearance at the Tax Policy Center, where he repaid his hosts’ graciousness by gratuitously impugning their integrity. But insults aside, he offered a new analysis of corporate tax incidence – an approach that is novel, innovative, and completely boneheaded. Oh, and it just happens to say what his political masters want to hear.
As I see it, this is part of a broader pattern.
By Rick Noack* – The Washington Post
BERLIN — The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) appeared like a logical step at a time when fears of nuclear conflicts dominate the political agenda. And yet, the organization’s track record also indicates how long the path toward a nuclear weapons-free world will be.
In its announcement, the Norwegian Nobel Committee referred to the organization’s support for the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was approved by the United Nations in July.
Paul Krugman - The New York Times
By all accounts, Rex Tillerson has demoralized and degraded the State Department to the point of uselessness. Tom Price did much the same to Health and Human Services before jetting off. Scott Pruitt has moved rapidly to eliminate the “protection” aspect of the Environmental Protection Agency. And similar stories are unfolding throughout the executive branch.
Donald Trump has, in short, been like a Category 5 hurricane sweeping through the U.S. government, leaving devastation in his wake. And one question I don’t see being asked often enough is, will the same thing happen to the Federal Reserve? And if it does, how disastrous will that end up being for the world economy?