- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Law Enforcement
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Support freedom of speech in Sweden and throughout the worldThe Documentary Ukraine - Masks of Revolution (In Swedish: Ukraina - Revolutionens mörka sida) on the massacre in Odessa May 2, 2014 will be aired in Sweden May 23, 2016. The broadcast has been postponed twice. Maidan Norway, a Swedish Human Rights organization (Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter), Ukrainian organizations, the Ukrainian embassy and journalists have protested against the documentary. In 2015, Ukrainian organizations stopped an exhibition on the massacre in Odessa May 2, 2014. Sweden’s largest organization for adult education (ABF) had admitted it in their program but the exhibition was prevented. The same Ukrainian organizations together with others now seek to slander and defame a documentary which premiered February 1, 2016 on Canal+ in France and is directed by the renowned and award-winning French journalist Paul Moreira. The documentary is based on witness statements from all sides and on facts about events that took place in Odessa May 2, 2014. Those who protest against this documentary refer to an article authored by the journalist John Færseth and published in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Færseth opposes what the documentary proves. The film shows a Ukrainian-nationalistic mob setting a trade union building on fire and this leads to 42 fatalities among supporters of a referendum on federalisation of the country. The Norwegian journalist instead believes that a lot suggests that the main responsibility for the fatalities lies on the fire brigade who arrived late at the scene of the fire. Færseth also suggests that the role of right-wing extremism in Ukraine is grossly exaggerated in the entire documentary about the dark elements of the Ukrainian revolution. The campaign against the documentary aims to provide people, who have this lack of moral and who excuse a mass murder, the possibility to "comment" the documentary in connection to the broadcast. Their aim is to promote their so-called critical voices so that they can make the documentary appear as if it is based on conspiracy theories. Do not let a narrative that excuses right-wing extremist violence, wherever it occurs, get the final say in mass media. Defend freedom of speech and freedom of information against any government and their followers who want to impose their views and biased narrative as the only valid truth on their own people or upon people in other countries. This open letter will be sent to the media and the public in Sweden and in neighboring countries. Help us support peace, freedom of speech, freedom of information and to expose the right-wing extremist violence. Initiators Ukrainabulletinen Platform Peace on earth and peace with earth Support for conflict resolution and yes to peace negotiations - no to war. Yes to common security - no to rearmament. Yes to investments for social justice and the environment - no to austerity policies in Ukraine, Europe and the world. Editorial team Tord Björk, editor, Ukrainabulletinen Stig Broqvist, active in Friends of the Earth Helsingborg Lars Drake, assistant professor Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU) Jan Wiklund, popular movement researcher Supporters Goran Brankovic, peace activist Mika Böök, peace activist Susanne Gerstenberg, peace activist Thomas Gunnarsson, peasant Joel Holmdahl, peasant Jake Kayzer, peace activist Thorsten Laxvik, peasant Markus Limmergård, board member FiB/K Oleg Mezjuev, Ukraine observer Eddie Olsson, active in Friends of the Earth Europe Anders Romelsjö, professor emeritus, radical blogger Bo Sundbäck, teacher Maj Wechselmann, documentary film maker International supporters Mika Böök, Finland Noam Chomsky, USA Pål Steigan, Norway We who have initiated this international action come from diverse backgrounds. As farmers we are concerned about the agriculture in Ukraine with its 7 million farmers who are protesting against the policies imposed upon them by the EU and IMF being austerity policies directed against small and middle sized farmers: policies only in the interest of the big corporations. As employees in the public sector we are concerned that the future society is put in the hands of companies that are replacing social rights with privatized social services to make profit off the needs of people. As pacifists and environmentalists we are concerned about the secretary general of NATO claiming that environmental movements with its protests against fracking were in the hands of Russia. We are also concerned about how Russia or any other country is portrayed as an enemy in Sweden with the purpose to promote rearmament and war rather than peace building. We are, as activists for human rights very concerned about the selective use of the indivisible human rights including both social and political dimensions with double standards that weaken the struggle for human rights everywhere. The campaign against the documentary was supported by Maidan Norway, Ukrainian organizations and a Swedish Human Rights organization (Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter). Others who opposed the documentary had their background in a think tank funded by Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (In Swedish: Svenskt Näringsliv), defense research, the Ukrainian embassy, Swedish public service radio and human rights organizations that share the Swedish Government’s position on the conflict in Ukraine. Find more back ground material at the campaign web site.
Stop Unclear Voluntary Benefits PoliciesVoluntary benefits policies offering critical illness coverage is an important option for employees to have these days, but there are too many policies that are complicated and unclear about their coverage. We must put an end to this and demand that insurance companies make selecting and paying for health insurance coverage a simple and straightforward one, so that hardworking employees don’t get stuck with paying for the expenses they thought were covered when they unexpectedly get sick. We have a plan to help overcome this common issue. By making consumers aware that their coverage may not be what they think it is, hopefully causing them to take a closer look at their policies and current coverage to make sure they are getting the benefits they need and deserve in case of any unexpected health-related life event. What you can do today. Contact your benefits company and ask for an updated version of your policy. Once you get that policy, read it over. If you don’t understand what it says, then bring it to an attorney or someone you trust to help you understand what kind of coverage you actually have and learn if your condition or less common conditions are covered in your plan. So many individuals and families don’t actually know and understand what they are paying for and sadly, this has left them with little to no options or virtually no coverage when they get sick. Some people lose everything they have, unnecessarily adding more stress and pressure into the mix. We invite you to join the movement to gain greater awareness and understanding about your voluntary benefits policy, so you can feel confident with your choice, or shop around for better coverage if necessary. Sign our petition today!
Abolish War, Save Article 9The movement to maintain Article 9 is important because Article 9 is such a positive force for Japanese people and for other nations globally. What makes the movement even stronger is that the movement leaders also want to revise the constitution in their own image - that is, to make it a constitution of the 21st century removed from the influence of World War II. They are supported by important thinkers and activists such as Noam Chomsky, Akihiko Kimijima and Helen Caldicott who stress that Article 9 should be a role model for the world to follow. All emphasize that living in the nuclear age our survival is at stake. To embrace Article 9 is to support the United Nations mandate to abolish war and "turn your swords into ploughshares." But we must remain consistent over a long period of time. We must outlast big money lobby groups over a long time - and we must be very creative in our strategy. The public at large becomes quickly bored and apathetic unless the new movement is able to stimulate their imaginations and motivate them to take action in support of the protesters. Both General Douglas MacArthur and Prime Minister Kijuro Shidehara were very successful in motivating the voting public to embrace the new peace constitution in 1946. So in conclusion I truly believe there is hope for Article 9, but it will take hard work and consistency. Join hands, hearts and minds to support and promote this wonderful constitution.
Petition for a United Nations Peace Conversion ConferenceWarfare is obsolete, and is destroying the human environment, slaughtering innocent people, exhausting the world economy, and generating tens of millions of desperate refugees. I’m asking all people and groups to call for a United Nations Peace Conversion Conference, to make practical plans to move away from warfare and military confrontation in international affairs, and phase out military industries, with an orderly transition to peaceful production to meet basic human needs worldwide. We taxpayers support a military-industrial complex which generates endless warfare, and has set up a complex and edgy thermonuclear weapons confrontation involving nine nuclear-armed nations. Many nations today would join the call for a United Nations Peace Conversion Conference. We can each be the center of a Worldwide Peace Conversion Network, living peace conversion with each other as we do this delightful work.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, keep Speaking Truth to PowerSince 1979, the US interventionist foreign policy has created civil wars or failed states all over the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe -- the so-called "arc of instability" that the US has itself created. Most obviously, we have seen sectarian killing in Iraq, a failed state in Libya dominated by ISIS, and now an ISIS terrorist state in Syria and Iraq. These interventions do not serve the interests of the American people. In fact, they have violated American ideals of human rights, self determination, the rule of law and, in most cases, democracy. They have also resulted in blowback from people seeking revenge and indoctrinated with the extreme Islamism of our purported allies. They serve only the interests of arms manufacturers, military contractors and the minority of US military, CIA and State Department personnel who are motivated by personal aggrandizement rather than true patriotism. Rep. Gabbard is a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq and a member of the House Armed Services committee. She has spoken out against these policies, for example in interviews with Wolf Blitzer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7Q8X60KQ9Q) and Scott Simon (http://www.npr.org/2015/12/12/459464247/are-efforts-to-overthrow-assad-counter-productive), and in the halls of Congress itself. Rep. Gabbard, please keep doing what you are doing. Know that Americans who are paying attention appreciate all that you do and that we "have your back." Please share this with others of both parties who are speaking out against these bipartisan neocon/liberal interventionist policies.
Portland No More GuantanamosThere are 52 detainees at Guantanamo Bay who have never been charged with any crime and have been cleared by all levels of government for transfer, meaning they have been found to pose no security threat to the U.S. or the world. Most of these detainees were cleared for transfer in 2009 but have remained at the facility because of complications with returning them to their home countries. Their continued and indefinite detention is a violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and human rights treaties to which the United States is a party. The U.S. Congress refuses to accept these cleared detainees onto our own soil because the American people have been misinformed on the subject and continue to believe that all detainees at the facility represent “the worst of the worst.” The Obama Administration, which is working to close the facility, is sending ambassadors around the world asking for sanctuary for these detainees in other countries. We as a country need to step up and take responsibility for our own mistakes; if these detainees are no security risk, as the government asserts, we should be ready to accept them on our own soil. Progressive, informed U.S. cities must take the lead on this, if the U.S. Congress will not. If this resolution passes, it will be a victory for human rights law and will send a message to our own community that we do not subscribe to Islamophobic fears based on ignorance and misinformation. It will promote a more inclusive city that is welcoming to people of all backgrounds, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Other cities have already passed such resolutions: ◦ Berkeley, CA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/berkeleytresolutionclosingguantanamo ◦ Amherst, MA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/proclamationunitednationsinternationaldaysupportvictimstorture ◦ Leverett, MA resolution: http://www.nogitmos.org/resolutiontownleverettmaassistsaferesettlementclearedguant%C3%A1namodetainees
No New Pipeline Construction in Charlottesville/AlbemarleAs corporate fracking and gas pipeline proposals proliferate across the region promising jobs and cheap energy, the reality of the situation is that almost all of the fracked natural gas expected to transit our state will be shipped overseas, and very few permanent jobs will be created. Pipelines are dangerous, often exploding and leaking. Pipelines devalue land and hurt local farmers and forests. Our political leaders need to act decisively in the interest of the land, the wildlife, the farmers and the people. Join members of the Sierra Club, the Charlottesville Center for Peace & Justice, Wild Virginia, Appalachian Voices, and Friends of Nelson County in telling the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the Charlottesville City Council to adopt a resolution banning new pipeline construction in their areas! [This petition was created by Kirk Bowers and Evan Knappenberger of the Charlottesville Center for Peace & Justice.]
Clean up Unexploded Bombs in LaosThe USA has been EXTRAORDINARILY NEGLIGENT in dealing with the problems it caused by dropping 240 million bombs on Laos without even declaring war. (The last time the USA declared war was in 1941.) The donations the USA makes to the clean up effort are miniscule. Pathetic is a word that comes to mind. You need to have a head honcho, office space in Vientiane and a few secretaries and that eats up most of the funds so there is precious little left over for actual cleaning up of the 80 million unexploded bombs. I would like to set up a bomb clearing project in Laos using HeroRats as used by apopo.org in Mozambique and now Cambodia to sniff out unexploded ordnance.
Ask United Nations members to fund 4th EstateOVERVIEW Please consider putting your name to this petition. It calls for United Nations members to recognise the Global Journalism Crisis and support rapid expansion of emergency funding. An initial target is 0.7% of global aid spending, amounting to US$1.4 billion. This is equivalent to 14,000 global news positions. BACKGROUND Global aid targets aim for 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product, worldwide. The Journalism Agenda 2025 narrows that target by calling for 0.7% of global aid to go towards globalising the 4th Estate. Why? News media have suffered increasingly severe cutbacks ever since the Pentagon Papers, and Watergate. GLOBALISATION Journalism has fallen far behind globalisation. Evidence for this comes in the form of a war on terror started on misleading information, and a global financial crisis missed completely by news media too busy cheerleading “free” markets. Averting global collapse of social cohesion requires strong, independent journalism not tied to corporate and/or political interests. INDUSTRY TARGET Longer term, the agenda targets the communications industry to share 0.7% of their own communication spending, to go towards independent, investigative journalism. Ethics-based, solutions-focused and forward thinking, JA2025 applies multiple layers of crowd-sourced media accountability systems. Ranging from Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, and LinkedIn thumbs up, JA2025 adds survey or wizard-based responses to each story for complaints, praise, corrections or fresh details. FINE-GRAIN GROUND-TRUTH As an additional layer of accountability, these surveys can then also be compared with existing reputation rankings via social networks, e.g. pwik, opendns, klout, and/or the web of trust. Such an approach enables a finer-grain response to each issue, enabling journalists to build ground-truths into the institutional memory of the 4th Estate. This is an example of JA2025 proposals using open newsroom standards. JA2025 is platform neutral – no proprietary software means we can network with anyone, anywhere, using their tools not ‘ours.’ POLICY EQUITY Creating policy equity with legislators, executives and the judiciary, @jagenda2025 drafts out a 10 year plan to rescue journalism, and rebuild the 4th Estate into a worldwide institution. Journalism aid could include investing a recommended ratio towards a permanent trust fund. To put that in context, the US alone has fired 20,000 journalists since the Global Financial Crisis. There are now just 39,000 journalists left in the United States. The US figures suggest an estimate of 50,000 or more also being sacked, worldwide. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT Journalism was a public good. No longer functioning as the 4th Estate, journalism cannot hold power to account and protect human rights, anywhere. Newsroom pay rolls began shrinking in 1990, beginning a 25 year decline in journalism jobs. WHY JOURNALISM IS A PUBLIC GOOD A strong, independent press is the globe’s best chance of responding to looming challenges from climate change. Informing the public is the most sacred duty of our local, national, regional and international representatives. There can be no public unless there is public media. Publicly or privately owned, news media are a public service. WHAT IT IS We, the undersigned, petition world authorities to fund independent, investigative journalism. JA2025, the global journalism agenda, calls for at least 0.7% of aid to be quarantined for news media. That slice equals aid funding of US$1.4 billion, representing equivalent spending on 14,000 new journalist positions, about 10% of newsroom jobs lost worldwide since 1975. CHALLENGE A challenge will be issued to NGOs, governments and companies to match this funding. This challenge calls for another 0.7% sliver, of all communications, public relations and other corporate messaging, a further US$3.6 billion in funding for independent, investigative journalism. SOURCES Pew Institute, state of the media US Census figures European Journalism Centre Media Rights Agenda (Africa) Asia-Pacific Association of Press Clubs Media, Arts and Entertainment Alliance (Aus, NZ) Pacific Freedom Forum
No U.S. Nuclear Weapons in EuropeThe United States keeps nuclear weapons in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey, in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which bans the transfer of nuclear weapons from a nuclear weapon state to a non-nuclear weapon state. Now, the U.S. wants to upgrade its nukes in Europe, to make them "precision" and "guided," and therefore more likely to be used, even as tensions build between the United States and Russia. The U.S. plans to deploy newly designed type B 61-12 nuclear bombs. Instead it should remove existing nuclear bombs. The NATO strategy of so-called "nuclear sharing" is a violation of Articles 1 and 2 of the NPT. Those provisions state that every party to the treaty promises "not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly" and also promises that every "non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons." The policy of placing U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe also violates local laws. For example, the German Parliament (the Bundestag) voted in March 2010, by a large majority, that the German Government should "press for the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany."