News Releases

Did U.S. Ukraine Policy Help Crush Pakistani Democracy?


Ryan Grim of The Intercept reports: “U.S. helped Pakistan cancel elections with a controversial IMF bailout–funded by a secret Ukraine weapons program.” He writes: “Pakistani arms sales to the U.S. helped to facilitate a controversial bailout from the International Monetary Fund earlier this year, according to two sources with knowledge of the arrangement, with confirmation from internal Pakistani and American government documents. The arms sales were made for the purpose of supplying the Ukrainian military — marking Pakistani involvement in a conflict it had faced U.S. pressure to take sides on.    “The revelation is a window into the kind of behind-the-scenes maneuvering between financial and political elites that rarely is exposed to the public, even as the public pays the price. Harsh structural policy reforms demanded by the IMF as terms for its recent bailout kicked off an ongoing round of protests in the country. Major strikes have taken place throughout Pakistan in recent weeks in response to the measures.    “The protests are the latest chapter in a year-and-a-half-long political crisis roiling the country. In April 2022, the Pakistani military, with the encouragement of the U.S., helped organize a no-confidence vote to remove Prime Minister Imran Khan. Ahead of the ouster, State Department diplomats privately expressed anger to their Pakistani counterparts over what they called Pakistan’s ‘aggressively neutral’ stance on the Ukraine war under Khan. They warned of dire consequences if Khan remained in power and promised ‘all would be forgiven’ if he were removed.    “Since Khan’s ouster, Pakistan has emerged as a useful supporter of the U.S. and its allies in the war, assistance that has now been repaid with an IMF loan. The emergency loan allowed the new Pakistani government to put off a looming economic catastrophe and indefinitely postpone elections — time it used to launch a nationwide crackdown on civil society and jail Khan.”

Last month, Ryan Grim and Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept reported: “Secret Pakistan Cable Documents U.S. Pressure to Remove Imran Khan.”

The following are available for interviews on these reports and the wider context:
ABDUL JABBAR,    Jabbar is emeritus professor of interdisciplinary studies, City College of San Francisco, California.
Ahmad teaches law, religion, and world politics in Pakistan and is the director of the Center for the Study of Islam and Decoloniality.

Illinois Becomes First State to End Money Bail


On Tuesday, Illinois implements the Pretrial Fairness Act and becomes the first state in the country to completely end the use of money bail.

The Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice has been a major force in backing the Act. They released a statement: “The Pretrial Fairness Act provides Illinois communities with the opportunity to begin healing from the decades of damage caused by wealth-based incarceration. Every year, the money bond system extracted millions of dollars from our state’s most marginalized communities. For years, community members were forced to pool resources together to purchase their loved ones’ freedom while they awaited trial. Despite these efforts, tens of thousands of people lost their jobs, housing, and even custody of their children simply because they couldn’t afford to pay for their freedom. Tomorrow, Illinois begins the process of reducing pretrial jailing by taking the price tag off of one of our most fundamental rights: the presumption of innocence.

“As Illinois reduces the number of people incarcerated in county jails, it is essential that we work together to ensure that any economic benefits from these changes are passed on to the communities most harmed by pretrial jailing. Across Illinois, Black people have been disproportionately jailed by unaffordable money bonds. Communities most impacted by crime have also been those most impacted by wealth-based jailing; this has created a cycle of trauma that we have the opportunity to stop. As a state, we must ensure that the money once used to jail those who couldn’t buy their freedom is funneled into essential services like healthcare, community-based substance use and mental health treatment, affordable housing, and quality education.” See full statement

Matthew McLoughlin,,
    McLoughlin is with the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice and can coordinate interviews with members.

New Push to Reduce Injuries Among Warehouse Workers


A coalition of labor organizations, small businesses and community organizations in New York is pushing for the state to pass legislation that would help prevent occupational injuries for warehouse workers. The bill, the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act, was introduced last year and passed in the state Senate. Similar legislation has been enacted in states like Minnesota and California. 

    Hayden is the campaign coordinator for the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition. 

Hayden told the Institute for Public Accuracy: New York’s bill “follows a rising tide of warehouse interventions happening across the country.”

She said: “New York’s warehouse industry is the fastest-growing industry in [the] state and the most dangerous for workers. A May 2022 report from [the] New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition revealed that injury rates spiked 64 percent in Amazon’s New York warehouses while the company doubled its facilities in the state. And serious injury rates at Amazon facilities are 40 percent higher than at non-Amazon facilities statewide. Warehouse workers are also injured at three times the rate of other workers in New York.”

Warehouse workers are exposed to specific types of injuries, Hayden added. “Lifting and twisting with heavy boxes can cause muscle strains, sprains, and tendonitis. These injuries can be cumulative, so over time, the repeated motions make injuries worse and worse and can take individuals out of the workforce for long periods of time or force them to change jobs. Neither federal law nor New York State law currently require employers to design jobs in a manner that prevents worker injuries. 

“With the rise of e-commerce in the past few years, alongside skyrocketing injury rates, it’s past time that we begin those interventions to protect warehouse workers who handle a huge volume of packages every day on the job. Corporations like Amazon are putting profit over the well-being of workers, driving down the workplace standards for all warehouse workers. In the absence of federal or state ergonomics standards, the risk of injury abounds at these warehouses.

“The Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act would ensure warehouses protect workers first, requiring employers to implement injury reduction or ergonomics plans to identify and minimize hazards and undergo annual evaluations by certified safety experts known as ergonomists. Through better job design, safety standards, comprehensive worker training, and improved on-site medical care, the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act will prevent worksite injuries and hold warehouse companies responsible for worker health and safety.

“If you turn on cable television whenever Prime Day or holiday seasons are coming up, it always focuses on the deals that you can get on the latest TV or microwave. What’s missing in the media coverage and general consciousness is how during these times, the risks of injuries for workers are the greatest. What’s missing is how Amazon workers are organizing across the country for better work conditions, especially during peak shopping seasons.”

UN Meeting


According to a news report about the UN General Assembly meetings this week, “the leaders of four of the five countries that hold permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council are expected to skip the annual event, which draws heads of state and government from all over the world.” Biden is scheduled to speak on Tuesday. CBS reports: “He’s expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Assembly.”

ALFRED DE ZAYAS,    Alfred de Zayas is a law professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and served as a UN Independent Expert on International Order 2012-18. He is the author of ten books including Building a Just World Order, 2021.

He said today: “Refusing to negotiate peace is a crime against peace and a crime against humanity.

    “The Object and Purpose of the United Nations is ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.’ … But it seems that the United States and NATO need war to keep their economies running and perpetuate their unipolar world fantasies.    “The Preamble of the UN Charter commits all States ‘to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.’    “This is not possible when Western States practice a ‘culture of cheating’ e.g. breaching the commitment that NATO would not expand one inch eastward. Already in 1997 U.S. Ambassador George Kennan wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled ‘A Fatal Error,’ in which he warned against NATO expansion, because it would be perceived as an existential threat by many countries, including Russia and Belarus — and ultimately by China.    “U.S. Professors John Mearsheimer, Richard Falk, Jeffrey Sachs, Stephen Kinzer, Dan Kovalik repeatedly condemned the coup against the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, and installing a rabidly anti-Russian government in Kiev. The legislation adopted by the Putsch-cabinet violated article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which prohibits incitement to hatred and violence. Predictably, the Russian-speaking peoples of Ukraine felt menaced and held referendums to express their wish to secede pursuant to the right of self-determination all peoples stipulated in UN Charter articles, 1, 55 and Chapters XI and XII, further strengthened in article 1 ICCPR. This is the crux of the Ukrainian crisis. There is zero evidence that Russia had any plan to attack Ukraine in 2014. It did so in 2022 after eight years of trying to solve the Donbas crisis peacefully and the systematic breach of the Minsk agreements by Ukraine. …
    “It is nonsense to pretend that the war was ‘unprovoked.’ It was a result of the 2014 coup and the non-stop shelling of Russian populations in Donbas.      “Article 2, paragraph 3, of the UN Charter commits all member States to settle their differences by peaceful means. Russia tried it. Ukraine and its masters refused. Even the peace mediation by Turkish President Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Bennett were rebuffed by NATO. The world needs a cease fire today. Let’s start rebuilding.”

UAW Strike as Big Three Post $21 Billion in Profits


Labor Notes reports: “The first-ever simultaneous strike at the Big 3 automakers — General Motors, Ford, Stellantis — started September 15 with 13,000 workers walking out of three assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri. There are 146,000 Auto Workers (UAW) members at the Big 3.“The UAW is calling its strategy the ‘stand-up strike,’ a nod to the Flint sit-down strike of 1936-1937 that helped establish the union.“The shot across the bow came two hours shy of midnight via a very short Facebook Live video where UAW President Shawn Fain shared the strike targets…”

Labor Notes has also reported: “The Big 3 have reported a combined $21 billion in profits in the first half of 2023. This comes on top of profits of $250 billion over the last 10 years.”

MAXIMILLIAN ALVAREZ,    Alvarez is editor-in-chief of The Real News and author of The Work of Living. He has been reporting on the prospect of a United Auto Workers strike for The Real News and for Breaking Points.

With Biden Polls Low, Step Aside Joe Campaign Urges: “Face Reality”


The indictment of Joe Biden’s son Hunter on gun charges this afternoon is another setback for the president’s re-election prospects. Hours before the indictment was announced, the Step Aside Joe campaign issued a statement today calling for Biden to “make way for an open primary process that could place a stronger candidate at the top of the ticket.”

Today’s statement is posted here.The Step Aside Joe campaign is sponsored by available: SAM ROSENTHAL,     Rosenthal is RootsAction’s political director, based in Washington, DC. He previously served as the political director at Our Revolution and in elected leadership with Central Brooklyn Democratic Socialists of America.JEFF COHEN,     Cohen is a co-founder of RootsAction. He is a retired journalism professor who founded the media watch group FAIR in 1986. For years, he was a regular pundit on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC discussing issues of media and politics.

Ahead of UN Meeting: Earth Constitution Solution


While many are focusing on the rivalries of various blocks of nations — from the G7 to BRICS — an effort is being made to assert world citizenship of people.

This effort starts Friday, Sept. 15, which is World Democracy Day.

Proponents report such efforts are gaining some traction in India, which just hosted the G20 summit, as well as parts of Africa. Both India and Africa have been denied permanent seats at the UN Security Council.

The UN General Debate will take place next week, featuring the pronouncements of heads of state.

Earth Constitution Institute states that it and other advocates for “democratic world federation are announcing the formation of World Electoral Districts (WEDs or Districts) on four continents, with the aim of electing delegates to the Provisional World Parliament to be held next spring in Pondicherry, India.” An online event will be held at 1 p.m. ET on Sept. 16.

The president of the group, Glen T. Martin, is author of numerous books including The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet. He said: “Interest in our work is accelerating due to the UN’s collapse in the face of unsolved maladies like climate change and futile conflicts such as the war in Ukraine,” said Martin. “Our legitimacy springs from our status as a grassroots organization with fervent activists worldwide who are publically calling for constitutional world democracy.” He lists the group’s aims as “abolishing war, establishing global justice through enforceable global law, and seating a world parliament elected by the world’s people.”

For background, see the piece in Toward FreedomThe World is My Country” about the efforts of Garry Davis, a leading proponent of world citizenship. Such efforts have been endorsed by people as diverse as Albert Einstein and encouraged by Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1950s. Much later, such solutions were embraced by Walter Cronkite.

Contact: Byron Belitsos,

Belitsos is co-author of One World Democracy: A Progressive Vision for Enforceable Global Law

[Note: producers might want to use Sara Thomsen’s song “Is it for Freedom?” as lead in, which begins: “Rulers of the nations, as you fuss and fight…”]

Oslo at 30: How it Undermined International Law and Perpetuated Occupation


Thirty years ago this week, on September 13, 1993, amid much hype, the Clinton administration and major media depicted the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization as a beneficial solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sourani is executive director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, which, among other things, produces a weekly update on Israeli human rights violations. Sourani is a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award.

He said today: “Oslo accords did not mention one word about end of Israeli belligerent occupation, Geneva Conventions, international law, international humanitarian law, self-determination or independence of a Palestinian state.

“That is why we opposed the Oslo accords, and why we never ever believed it would lead to peace.

“After 30 years, we have Gaza separated from the West Bank, Gaza and the West Bank separated from Jerusalem, ethnic cleaning for Palestinians and judaization of Jerusalem, willful killings, land confiscation, house demolition, criminal illegal blockade on Gaza, war crime and crimes against humanity, collective punishment and the civilians in the eye of the storm.”

He added that Israel is succeeding in minimizing discussion of Palestine, with virtually “nobody talking any more about end of occupation, self determination, Palestinian state.” There have been a series of steps “normalizing” relations between Morocco, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries brokered by successive U.S. administrations.

Sourani said: “Israel is implementing a new brand of apartheid and that is due to world double standards, politicization and selective application of international law as well as the deep mentality of colonialism and racism in the West.”

Despite it all, he added, “we will never ever give up, we know we are on the right side of history, we know we are defenders of what is just, fair and right. This causes us to keep our strategic optimism.”

Is Use of Depleted Uranium a War Crime?


AP reports: “The U.S. has announced it’s sending depleted uranium anti-tank rounds to Ukraine, following Britain’s lead.”

LaForge is a co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

He recently wrote the piece “U.S. Depleted Uranium to Make Ukraine War Dirtier,” which states: “If the shells are used in the Ukraine war, the soil, water, crops, and livestock of the territory being contested will likely be contaminated with uranium and the other radioactive materials that are in the armor-piercing munitions. This is because when DU smashes through tank armor, it becomes an aerosol of dust or gas-like particles that can be inhaled and carried long distances on the wind.

“In 2003, experts at the Pentagon and the United Nations estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 tonnes of DU were used by U.S.-led forces during their attack on Iraq in March and April that year. That same year, the British Royal Society, declared that hundreds of tons of DU used by Britain and the U.S. against Iraq should be removed to protect the civilian population, contradicting Pentagon claims it was not necessary. (“Scientists Urge Shell Clear-Up to Protect Civilians, Royal Society spells out dangers of depleted uranium,” Guardian, April 17, 2003)

“After NATO’s use of DU weapons in Kosovo in 1999, the Council of Europe called for a world-wide ban on the production, testing, use, and sale of DU weapons, asserting that DU pollution would have ‘long term effects on health and quality of life in South-East Europe, affecting future generations.’ The call went unheeded.”

Reuters reported in 2001 in “U.S. expert says use of DU munitions a ‘war crime’“: “The man who led the U.S. army’s depleted uranium (DU) assessment team in the 1991 Gulf War said yesterday that the continued use of such weapons was a ‘war crime’ which should be stopped immediately.

“Speaking at a news conference at Britain’s Parliament, Dr. Doug Rokke, a major in the U.S. army reserves, said he told his government as far back as 1991 of the health hazards of depleted uranium, but his warnings had been consistently ignored. … ‘When you deliberately and wilfully take radioactive waste … and throw it down in places in the world where children can pick it up and be exposed to it … that’s a crime against humanity and it is a war crime,’ he said.”

Biden in Vietnam: The Reality Beyond “Fantasyland”


JAMES BRADLEY, ‪[in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam] james [at], Skype: JamesOnSound
Bradley is author of several bestsellers focused on U.S. policy in the Pacific and Asia, including The China Mirage and The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War. He is perhaps most well known for Flags of Our Fathers.

He is currently at work on a book on the Vietnam War and is doing extensive interviews with Vietnamese soldiers who led the charge against the U.S. and who have never spoken to outside media. He said today: “The U.S. military was basically defeated by hordes of teenagers. …

“Major media are reporting that somehow Biden is going to woo Vietnam from China. This is fantasyland. Vietnam kicked the U.S. out. They don’t love China, but it’s their biggest trading partner. There are 1.4 billion Chinese right next door. Vietnam is going to do business with whomever, that’s their concern now, providing a better economic standard of living. It’s not going to grant favors to the U.S.

“Obama tried for years to woo Vietnam. He failed. Biden doesn’t have a real hand to play here. Vietnam is strong and it’s a sealed society. Unlike others in the region, the U.S. can’t bully Vietnam.

“There’s some talk about Biden pressuring Vietnam regarding ‘repression.’ There are whole villages in Vietnam of people still suffering from the Agent Orange chemical weapons the U.S. used in Vietnam, many who can’t talk. I financially adopted a Vietnamese girl who was born with no arms and no legs because of Agent Orange poisoning. Still the U.S. government won’t take responsibility for this horror show they inflicted. So, Biden might want to deal with the log in his own eye before going on about the spec in the Vietnamese eye. You can’t walk in one third of neighboring Laos because of all the U.S. munitions still there, unexploded.”

Next Page »