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JOHN HILARY, jhilary[at]waronwant.org, @WarOnWant
Executive director of War on Want, Hilary is author of the book The Poverty of Capitalism: Economic Meltdown and the Struggle for what Comes Next. He said today: “The vote in favor of Brexit has been a rejection of the EU’s vision of a world run by and for big business. It is also a rejection of the European political elite and their contempt for ordinary people, clearly seen in the promotion of the EU-US trade deal, TTIP, in the face of massive public opposition. The EU must now take a long, hard look at itself and consider a fundamental change of its policies in favor of social justice. If it seeks to continue as if nothing has happened, it will disintegrate.”

NICK DEARDEN, via Kevin Smith: kevin.smith[at]globaljustice.org.uk, @GlobalJusticeUK
Dearden is the director of Global Justice Now. He said in a statement just after the vote: “Britain’s decision to leave the European Union opens up a world of uncertainty in which we must now navigate in a positive direction. It’s hardly surprising that people have voiced such distrust towards the EU when it negotiates exploitative trade deals like TTIP, visits economic destruction on its own member states, and treats refugees as if they were criminals. But the mainstream ‘leave’ campaigns have done a great deal of damage by pandering to nationalism, building a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and fostering the spurious notion that outside the EU we can return to an age when Britain was the world’s foremost ‘great power’….”

TOM BARKER, tom.p.barker[at]googlemail.com
Barker recently wrote the piece “How ‘Left Remain’ Campaigners Abandoned the Working Class: Lesser Evilism in the EU Referendum” for CounterPunch just before the vote.

He said today: “One of the main reasons so many people defied so-called ‘expert’ advice is that the EU referendum was seen as a stick with which to beat the establishment politicians, whether in Brussels or the UK.

“People are understandably angry at the lack of principles in politics, fed up with lies and doublespeak of those elected to represent them. More than that, however, they are incensed at years of austerity. This referendum was a way of passing verdict on these issues.

“In this respect, Left Remainers made a huge miscalculation.

“By sidling up to the forces of world capitalism — the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Confederation of British Industry, and bourgeois economists, as well as all the leaders of the pro-austerity parties — Left Remainers lined up alongside the enforcers of the oppressive status-quo.

“Cameron has aleady been forced to resign and the weak mandate and division within the Tory party opens up the real prospect of a general election. This is not an answer in itself, as without a clear anti-austerity alternative the door will be left open to the right.

“The task now, as the Socialist Party have said throughout the EU campaign, is to build an organised, unified movement against austerity and the dictat of the banks.

“A general election can be a huge opportunity for the left and trade union movement to rally working class anger in a direction that can change society, a mass movement against austerity, to hold the super-rich to account and defend the rights of workers and immigrants.”

Barker is an independent journalist and PhD student in aesthetics and politics. See his papers, including: “The War for the British Labour Party: Re-selecting Socialism,” and “Corbyn’s Enemies Within: Working Class Heroes or Right Wing Populists,” at durham.academia.edu/ThomasBarker.

Slain Activist Reportedly on Honduran Hit List; State Dept. and Clinton Facing Scrutiny

berta official

Nina Lakhani in the Guardian reports: “Berta Cáceres, the murdered environmental campaigner, appeared on a hitlist distributed to U.S.-trained special forces units of the Honduran military months before her death, a former soldier has claimed.”

See: “Democracy Now” report from Thursday: “State Department Faces Questioning over U.S. Military Aid to Honduras.”

The Guardian continues: “Lists featuring the names and photographs of dozens of social and environmental activists were given to two elite units, with orders to eliminate each target, according to First Sergeant Rodrigo Cruz, 20.

“Cruz’s unit commander, a 24-year-old lieutenant, deserted rather than comply with the order. Cruz — who asked to be identified by a pseudonym for fear of reprisal — followed suit, and fled to a neighbouring country. Several other members of the unit have disappeared and are feared dead.

“’If I went home, they’d kill me. Ten of my former colleagues are missing. I’m 100 percent certain that Berta Cáceres was killed by the army,’ Cruz told the Guardian.

“Cáceres, an indigenous Lenca leader who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for a campaign against the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, was shot dead in her home in March. Before her murder, she had reported 33 death threats linked to the campaign and had warned international human rights delegates that her name was on a hitlist.

“According to Cruz, Cáceres’s name appeared on a list given to a military police unit in the Inter-institutional Security Force (Fusina), which last summer received training from 300 U.S. marines and FBI agents.

“Five men have been arrested for her murder, including Maj Mariano Díaz Chávez, an active-duty major in the Honduran army. Díaz had previously participated in joint U.S.-Honduran military operations in Iraq, and is reported by local media to be a graduate of the elite Tesón special operations course which is partly taught by U.S. special forces. Diaz was a military police instructor when arrested, but has since been given a dishonorable discharge.”

SILVIO CARRILLO, silvio.carrillo[at]gmail.com, @justiceforberta
Carrillo is the nephew of Berta Cáceres. He runs the website BertaCaceres.org. He said today: “On June 15th hundreds of people in at least 17 countries around the world participated in a tribute and protest for Berta Cáceres, the Honduran indigenous human rights leader assassinated on March 3rd of this year. That same day Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) introduced a bill (H.R. 5474) introduced a bill in her name, ‘The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act.’ …

“The U.S. government has not only given millions of dollars for military and security programs to the government of Honduras, but they have actively supported the conservative regimes that have allowed and encouraged corruption to flourish since the U.S.-supported coup in 2009 that removed a democratically-elected president from office. For this tacit support, the conservative governments promise stability and U.S. access to their military assets.

“The security programs the U.S. is funding are to contain the mass exodus of people leaving because of skyrocketing crimes rate and rampant impunity in Honduras since the 2009 coup.

“The money allocated to the military pays for training. But, details of that training are unclear. A recent report by The Guardian documents how a U.S.-trained unit in the Honduran army had my aunt on a hitlist and the whistleblower believes they are responsible for her assassination. Yet, the U,S, State Department denies anything is wrong in Honduras. “And at this time, there’s no specific credible allegations of gross violations of human rights that exists in this or any other case involving the security forces that receive U.S. Government assistance,”said State Department spokesperson, John Kirby recently when asked repeatedly about the report in the Guardian.”

“Apparently, the hundreds of dead bodies and reams of documentation by civil society and international NGOs isn’t evidence enough? Is this what Berta died for?”

See also, in The Nation: “Before Her Murder, Berta Cáceres Singled Out Hillary Clinton for Criticism.”

A Banner Year for Third Parties with Clinton and Trump’s Negatives?

Untitled design (2) CNN is telecasting a “Town Hall” with the Libertarian Party ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld on Wednesday night.

Politico reports in “Think You’ve Got It Locked, Hillary? Meet Jill Stein” that: The longtime Massachusetts environmental activist and presumptive Green Party nominee (the Green convention is not until August 4) is hungrily eyeing disgruntled Sanders voters — many of whom have been saying that even now, with the nomination all but locked up, they still won’t vote for Hillary.”

DARCY RICHARDSON, darcyrichardson[at]comcast.net
Richardson is author of Others — a four volume series work on U.S. third parties. His most recent book is Bernie: A Lifelong Crusade Against Wall Street and Wealth. His previous books include A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign.

He said today: “As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continue to register unusually high negatives in what is clearly shaping up as a classic duopoly battle between the despised, the country’s nationally-organized third parties have a genuine opportunity to be more than a minor footnote in the 2016 presidential election.

“Most pundits — those who have been consistently wrong throughout this entire topsy-turvy election cycle — believe that former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee, will most likely be the chief beneficiary of the widespread discontent with the two major-party candidates. In 2012, Johnson garnered 1,275,000 votes, or about one percent nationally. It was the party’s highest popular vote total in a presidential election.

“The amiable Libertarian candidate, who is expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states this autumn, has been averaging approximately 9 percent of the vote in recent polls. Johnson and his vice-presidential running mate, William Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, have also received the lion’s share of the mainstream media coverage devoted to third-party candidates at this relatively early stage in the campaign, a whirlwind of publicity over the past few weeks continues on CNN tonight.

“Conventional wisdom in this most unconventional year of all suggests that the Libertarian nominee will almost certainly be the most serious threat to two-party hegemony in November, but that role might actually be filled by Jill Stein, a Harvard-educated physician and pioneering environmental and health activist waging her second bid for the White House on the Green Party ticket.

“Unlike Johnson, who called for an immediate $1.4 trillion cut in federal spending four years ago — a draconian austerity measure that would have virtually destroyed the nation’s social safety net while wreaking havoc on the U.S. and global economy — and recently came out in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Stein is uniquely positioned to tap into the nearly 13 million voters who supported Bernie Sanders’ feisty insurgent candidacy in the Democratic primaries, many of whom can’t bring themselves to support Hillary Clinton. (A McClatchy-Marist poll in April showed that 25 percent of Sanders backers wouldn’t support the former Secretary of State.)

“The Green Party’s longstanding commitment to economic and social justice, particularly the party’s laser-like focus on the issues of income inequality, single-payer national health insurance, tough Wall Street regulation, climate change and racial justice, could very well be viewed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Bernie’s uncompromising and principled supporters as the most logical way to continue the Vermont lawmaker’s ‘political revolution.’

“Stein, who has largely kept pace with her higher-profile Libertarian opponent in terms of fundraising — netting $652,138 to Johnson’s $699,231 as of May 31 — despite receiving only a small fraction of the media attention lathered on the little-scrutinized Libertarian nominee, will probably appear on the ballot in 40-45 states this fall, but could still plausibly qualify in as many as 47 states.

“The Constitution Party’s Darrell L. Castle of Memphis, a former Marine officer who trained under Oliver North and served in Vietnam before eventually becoming a bankruptcy and personal injury attorney, could also make some headway in this year’s presidential campaign. Promising strict adherence to the constitution while vowing to end the Federal Reserve’s control over U.S. monetary policy, the relatively obscure Castle is realistically expected to appear on the ballot in 25-27 states, and possibly as many as 29.

“While it’s highly unlikely that we’ll witness anything remotely similar to the presidential election of 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt and his hastily-formed Bull Moose Party snorted and thundered against his major-party opposition and finished ahead of a sitting president with more than 27 percent of the vote while Socialist Eugene V. Debs garnered nearly 6 percent and little-known Prohibitionist Eugene W. Chafin tallied another 1.4 percent, this nevertheless could be a banner year for America’s minor parties.”

 

Orlando: FBI Only Releasing What Makes Government Look Good

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MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel[at]gmail.com, @emptywheel
Available for a limited number of interviews, Wheeler writes widely about the legal aspects of the “war on terror” and its effects on civil liberties. She blogs at emptywheel.net.

Her past pieces include: “Why Was Omar Mateen Researching Specific Law Enforcement Offices before His Attack?

She just wrote the article “Discrepancies between Past Versions of Mateen’s Calls and the ‘Transcript’.

Wheeler writes: “Predictably, the FBI censored details that should have led them to raise questions about Mateen’s invocation of ISIS. It made no mention of what [FBI Director James] Comey did: that Mateen also invoked al-Nusra and the Tsarnaev brothers (presumably in the calls to the crisis negotiation team), which doesn’t make sense. So rather than elucidating, this ‘transcript’ actually covers over one of the problems with FBI’s reaction.

“As noted, there’s also a (more explicable) discrepancy between this ‘transcript’ and what survivor Patience Carter has said (7:16 and following). She said that Mateen said he wanted the U.S. to stop bombing ‘his country,’ which reports on this have interpreted to mean Afghanistan. Given the unbelievable amount of stress she must have been under, I would expect discrepancies in any case. But since she doesn’t specify precisely what he said that she interpreted to mean, ‘his country,’ I don’t think this is a significant discrepancy.

“Update: FBI and DOJ have now released the name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (calling it the ‘complete’ transcript), but not the other things that would make them look bad.”

On an Institute for Public Accuracy news release last week, Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College in Connecticut, stated: “What’s interesting about this particular killer is that not only, of course, was he deeply disturbed in many ways, including … [being] a man with great homophobia. Not only do we know all this, but his views regarding, let’s say, what the Clinton and Trump campaigns call ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ seems rather incoherent. At some times he apparently said he was a member of Hezbollah, which is the Lebanon-based militia group, largely a Shia group. At the other moment he says that he is sympathetic to somebody with Al-Qaeda, the next minute with the Islamic State.

“Now, each of these groups is antithetical to the other. There perhaps is no greater enemy at this time of Al-Qaeda than Hezbollah, because they are fighting directly in Western Syria. … So this young man seemed deeply, deeply incoherent in his understanding of Islamic movements. I think this was largely — and I agree here with his father — an attempt by this man to make his own very ugly act something greater than what it was, which was, principally an act of extreme, radical homophobia.”

Note: Michael Tracey, a columnist at VICE, notes that Omar Mateen apparently stated that “I’m doing this to protest the U.S. bombing in Syria and Iraq and the killing of women and children.” Tracey notes that while many reported his “declaration of allegiance to ISIS” — this “bit was curiously left out.”

Post-Coup Brazil: Indigenous Killings, Land Grabbing, TIAA Profits

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The Council on Hemispheric Affairs reports in the just-posted article “Indigenous Leader Killed in Land Dispute in Brazil” that: “On June 14, 2016 approximately 70 armed men approached a small group of Guaraní-Kaiowá families and, after terrorizing them by burning their belongings, opened fire, killing 26-year-old indigenous leader Clodiodi Aquileu Rodrigues de Souza Guaraní-Kaiowá. Among those shot, at least 10 other people were injured, including a twelve-year-old boy who was shot in the stomach.” Indian Country Today reported last week: “Gunmen attacked a Guarani Kaiowa village in northern Brazil this week, killing one man and wounding six others, including a 12-year old boy.”

MARIA LUISA MENDONÇA, marialuisam222[at]gmail.com
Currently in the U.S., Mendonça is director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights. She is also a professor in the international relations department at the University of Rio de Janeiro.

She just wrote the piece “International Financial Capital Targets Farmland in Brazil.” She said today: “This apparent spike in violence against indigenous people is really alarming. It’s tied to one of the goals of the coup government, which revoked land demarcations of indigenous communities and eliminated the Ministry of Agrarian Development, responsible for land reform and policies for small farmers, including the promotion of ecological agriculture.”

Her article states: “Historically, Indigenous and peasant communities in Brazil have resisted against violence and displacement. Land concentration is a root cause of social and economic inequality, in a country where 1 percent of large landowners control over 90 percent of agricultural land. In the past 12 years, 390 Guarani Kaiowa Indigenous people were assassinated in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where agribusiness corporations and local large landowners have expanded monocropping of commodities.

“The BAMAPITO region, which combines the states of Bahia, Maranhão, Piauí and Tocantins, has also become a target for land speculation and the expansion of agribusiness. This savanna area, rich in biodiversity, has been the home of traditional peasant communities for hundreds of years. Recently, this so-called ‘last agricultural frontier’ is at risk of destruction by a wave of land speculation, deforestation and pollution of water sources. Land market speculation consists of the same logic as the stock market, by the ‘secret’ purchase of ‘cheap’ land and its negotiation at higher prices.

“Especially since the global economic crisis that erupted in 2008, financial corporations have created new mechanisms to invest in farmland in the global South. After the collapse of real estate markets in the United States and Europe, pension funds, banks and other financial institutions targeted farmland as a ‘safe’ asset or as a ‘material’ base that could facilitate the flow of international financial capital.

“By 2012, over 1,200 land deals by foreign investors were identified, covering 83.2 million hectares, or 1.7 percent of the world’s agricultural lands. This global trend represents a massive transfer of natural resources from rural communities to agribusiness and financial corporations. Pension funds from Europe and the United States have made large investments in farmland in recent years.

“By November 2012, Radar Corporation had acquired 392 farms in Brazil, covering 151,468 hectares, with an estimated value of around US$1 billion. Radar’s main source of funding is an international pension fund linked to the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association — College Retirement Equities Fund Corporation (TIAA-CREF). This company manages pension funds in the United States with an estimated value of US$886 billion, and owns TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture LLC (TCGA), which operates on international land markets.”

Before Orlando Massacre, FBI Tried To “Lure” Mateen in Terror Plot

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Max Blumenthal and Sarah Lazare report for AlterNet: “Before Omar Mateen gunned down 49 patrons at the LGBTQ Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the FBI attempted to induce his participation in a terror plot. Sheriff Ken Mascara of Florida’s St. Lucie County told the Vero Beach Press Journal that after Mateen threatened a courthouse deputy in 2013 by claiming he could order Al Qaeda operatives to kill his family, the FBI dispatched an informant to ‘lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite.’

“While self-styled terror experts and former counter-terror officials have criticized the FBI for failing to stop Mateen before he committed a massacre, the new revelation raises the question of whether the FBI played a role in shifting his mindset toward an act of violence. All that is known at present is that an FBI informant attempted to push Mateen into agreeing to stage a terror attack in hopes that he would fall into the law enforcement dragnet.” The piece is part of AlterNet’s Grayzone Project.

SUE UDRY, [in D.C], sue.udry[at]defendingdissent.org, @defenddissent
Udry is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation. She has tracked the misuse of informants and sting operations by the FBI and other agencies against Muslims and others.

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan[at]earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002.

She is quoted in the AlterNet piece: “It looks like it’s pretty much standard operating procedure for preliminary inquiries to interview the subject or pitch the person to become an informant and/or plant an undercover or informant close by to see if the person bites on the suggestion. … In the case of Mateen, since he already worked for a security contractor [G4S], he was either too savvy to bite on the pitch or he may have even become indignant that he was targeted in that fashion. These pitches and use of people can backfire.”

AlterNet notes: “To highlight the danger of relying on informants, Rowley pointed to the case of Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian physician whom the CIA used to gather intelligence on Al Qaeda. The CIA ignored obvious warning signs like Balawi’s extremist online manifestos and never subjected him to a vetting process. While Balawi claimed to have penetrated Al Qaeda’s inner circle, he was actually exploiting his CIA security clearance to plan a major attack. On December 30, 2009, Balawi strode into Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, and detonated an explosive vest that killed seven CIA agents and wounded six more — the deadliest attack on CIA personnel in 25 years. …

“‘The FBI should scrutinize the operating procedure where they use undercovers and informants and pitch people to become informants,’ said Rowley. ‘They must recognize that, in this case [with Mateen], it had horrible consequences if it did, in fact, backfire.'”

Obama Meets with Saudis, U.S. Armed and Attacking Yemen

Untitled design (6) The British Independent reports: President Barack Obama will meet with Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the White House has said. [The meeting was scheduled for 10:15 a.m. EDT.]

“Mr. Obama is expected to discuss tensions in the Middle East, in particular the trouble posed by Islamic State and potential ways to tackle it.

“Prince bin Salman, the son of King Salman, who has been described as the most dangerous man in the world, will join the President at his home as part of a visit to the United States aimed at improving relations with Washington and to put plans into motion to reduce the country’s dependence on oil revenues.”

See: “Obama, Heeding Close House Vote, Should Press Saudis to End Yemen War” by Robert Naiman. Also see “Kerry and Saudi prince pledge to fight extremism after Orlando shooting, while LGBT Saudis face execution,” by Ben Norton.

WILLIAM HARTUNG, williamhartung55@gmail.com@williamhartung
Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior adviser to the Security Assistance Monitor.

The New York Times recently published his piece “Obama Shouldn’t Trade Cluster Bombs for Saudi Arabia’s Friendship,” which states: “He should avoid doing what he did at Camp David last May, the last time he met with [the Gulf Cooperation Council]: promise more arms sales. Since Mr. Obama hosted that meeting, the United States has offered over $33 billion in weaponry to its Persian Gulf allies, with the bulk of it going to Saudi Arabia. The results have been deadly.

“The Saudi-American arms deals are a continuation of a booming business that has developed between Washington and Riyadh during the Obama years. In the first six years of the Obama administration, the United States entered into agreements to transfer nearly $50 billion in weaponry to Saudi Arabia, with tens of billions of dollars of additional offers in the pipeline. …

“Human Rights Watch has reported that two Saudi strikes on a market in the Yemeni village of Mastaba in mid-March killed at least 97 civilians, including 25 children. This was just one in a series of Saudi strikes on marketplaces, hospitals and other civilian targets, attacks that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have said may constitute war crimes. …

“Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, and Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, have introduced legislation that would stop transfers of air-to-ground munitions to Saudi Arabia until the kingdom focuses its efforts in Yemen on attacking terrorist organizations and takes ‘all feasible precautions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.’ This is a good start.”

Is Clinton’s Campaign Controlling Haitian Policy?

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AP is reporting today: “Haiti appeared to enter into another leaderless drift Wednesday as the provisional president’s 120-day mandate came to a close amid backroom negotiations and delays by the deeply polarized country’s political class.”

NIKOLAS BARRY-SHAW [in Canada], nik[at]ijdh.org, @haitivoteblog
Barry-Shaw is the voting rights associate for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. He recently wrote the piece in Jacobin: “Clinton’s Long Shadow.” He also appeared on The Real News: “Clinton Fuelled a Crisis in Haiti: Why Is Nobody Talking About It?

He said today: “The mandate of Haiti’s interim president expired yesterday with no successor to take his place, raising questions about who will carry forward the country’s stalled electoral process. Dates for new elections were announced last week, after a verification panel ruled that the previous rounds of voting were so riddled by fraud and irregularities that the process should recommence at zero.

“The U.S. State Department opposed the verification process and sought to finish Haiti’s elections before the U.S. general election campaign begins in earnest this summer. The department’s overriding — though unofficial — concern has been that undue attention to Haiti might negatively affect Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. It desperately wants to keep the results of Clinton’s involvement in Haiti as secretary of state out of the media glare. But this policy could backfire badly.

“Ricardo Seitenfus, a Brazilian diplomat who served in Haiti when Clinton was secretary of state, publicly accused the State Department of wanting ‘to quickly elect a president in Haiti in order to not make any waves, so that Hillary Clinton’s campaign goes smoothly.’ The accusation has been echoed by other diplomats, Haitian businessmen and Haiti policy experts in the US.”

“The concern, according to Seitenfus, stems from the fact that Martelly’s five years of corrupt and authoritarian rule were a direct consequence of Clinton’s intervention in the 2010–11 elections. Another unflattering reality that the Clinton campaign would rather not draw attention to is the evident failure of Haiti’s post-earthquake reconstruction. Clinton and her chief of staff Cheryl Mills closely managed the internationally financed effort to rebuild Haiti after the 2010 quake. Bill Clinton pitched in as co-chair of a commission tasked with approving reconstruction projects. But six years later, there is no hiding the fact that the Clintons have not helped many ordinary Haitians.”

“Perhaps most troubling from the Clinton campaign’s perspective: the tiny handful of players who did profit from Haiti’s reconstruction includes several members of her inner circle, like Tony Rodham (Hillary’s brother) and Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien, a fact that Peter Schweizer and other Republican critics delight in pointing out.”

PROSPERE CHARLES, prospere.charles[at]1804institute.org, @1804institute
Charles is executive director of the 1804 Institute. He is a public policy analyst and social researcher with extensive experience in developmental issues and program management in Haiti.

Charles recently wrote a piece titled “Political Earthquake in Haiti,” which states: “The dictatorship of the international community is determined to replace the will of authentic Haitians. A return to slavery, in the form of corporate exploitation, is very much possible in Haiti right now. A return to the form of thinking that considers poor black Haitians as incapable of assuming their destiny seems to be the driving theory behind the actions of the UN, the Core Group, and the so-called Haitian elite, whose roots are keenly associated with politics of slavery and exploitation. That all of this is happening under the eyes of a black U.S. President, whose forefathers may owe a thing or two to this once heroic nation of Haiti, is unbelievable.”

Attacks, Foreign Policy and Homophobia

BARRY LANDO, [in London], barrylando[at]gmail.com
Lando, who lives in London and Paris, is a former producer with “60 Minutes.” His books include Web of Deceitabout the history of Iraq. He has written for numerous publications including the International Herald Tribune, Salon, Counterpunch and Truthdig. He just wrote the piece “Terrorism: Paris & Orlando — an Existential Crisis,” which states: “Paris today is also staggered by another bloody terrorist killing. … Orlando and Paris are thousands of miles apart, but what is striking are some of the parallels between the two attackers. Though both claimed they were acting in the name of ISIS, they also both appeared to have carried out their vicious attacks on their own, on targets of their choosing. … What is startling however, is that neither in France nor the U.S. in all the endless TV coverage and ‘expert’ talking heads, in all the campaign speeches and tweets, is anyone addressing one of the major issues. That is, the problem is not just one of police resources, intelligence failures or flawed immigration laws, but foreign policy.”

VIJAY PRASHAD, Vijay.Prashad[at]trincoll.edu, @vijayprashad
Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College in Connecticut. He is the author of twenty books, including The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. He was just on The Real News: “Orlando Shooter Proclaimed Allegiance to Rival Terrorist Organizations.”

Said Prashad: “What’s interesting about this particular killer is that not only, of course, was he deeply disturbed in many ways, including … [being] a man with great homophobia. Not only do we know all this, but his views regarding, let’s say, what the Clinton and Trump campaigns call ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ seems rather incoherent. At some times he apparently said he was a member of Hezbollah, which is the Lebanon-based militia group, largely a Shia group. At the other moment he says that he is sympathetic to somebody with Al-Qaeda, the next minute with the Islamic State.

“Now, each of these groups is antithetical to the other. There perhaps is no greater enemy at this time of Al-Qaeda than Hezbollah, because they are fighting directly in Western Syria. … So this young man seemed deeply, deeply incoherent in his understanding of Islamic movements. I think this was largely — and I agree here with his father — an attempt by this man to make his own very ugly act something greater than what it was, which was, principally an act of extreme, radical homophobia.”

Note: Michael Tracey, a columnist at VICE, notes that Omar Mateen apparently stated that “I’m doing this to protest the U.S. bombing in Syria and Iraq and the killing of women and children.” Tracey notes that while many reported his “declaration of allegiance to ISIS” — this “bit was curiously left out.”

LGBT Activists Against Militarization and Surveillance

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See in the Guardian: “Omar Mateen’s interest in gay men makes this no ordinary act of terrorism,” by David Shariatmadari.

Chelsea E. Manning, currently in prison for leaking information, including the “Collateral Murder” video to WikiLeaks, writes: “We must not let the Orlando nightclub terror further strangle our civil liberties.”

YASMIN NAIR, nairyasmin[at]gmail.com, @NairYasmin
Nair is a freelance writer, activist, academic, and commentator based in Chicago. She is the co-founder of the editorial collective Against Equality and a member of Gender JUST, a radical queer grassroots organization based in Chicago. She just appeared on The Real News segment: “Why is the Orlando Shooter Branded as a Muslim Instead of a Homophobe?” [She also recently appeared on KPFA.]

EVAN GREER, evangreer[at]gmail.com, @evan_greer
Greer is campaign director for Fight for the Future, which works for free expression on the internet. She said today: “More surveillance would not have stopped this horrific attack on our LGBTQ community. That’s because mass government surveillance is not intended to keep us safe, it’s intended to keep us in line. The population of queer people of color, predominantly latinxs, who were targeted by this attack, are already disproportionately endangered by corporate and government surveillance and the runaway systems of policing and incarceration that it enables. Politicians’ and the media’s focus on ‘radical Islam’ as the root cause of this attack is nothing but thinly veiled racism. There are homophobic and transphobic attacks every day in the United States, many of them carried out by law enforcement and government officials themselves. I’m sickened by politicians who never cared about our lives or our safety until they saw an opportunity to advance their Islamophobic, imperialist agenda.”

MATTILDA B. SYCAMORE, nobodypasses[at]gmail.com, @mbsycamore
Sycamore’s books include The End of San Francisco and Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?

She wrote on her Facebook page: “Sometimes I wake up, and I glance at the news, and there’s something so horrifying that I cannot stop crying. I mean today. When I saw that at least 50 people have been killed in a mass shooting at a gay bar in Orlando, and at least 53 more have been hospitalized. Watching the video of a guy talking about using his bandanna to plug a bullet hole in someone’s neck, and how he had never seen so much blood in his life. … We should not allow anyone, gay, or straight (or queer) to justify even more Islamophobia, serving as cover for U.S. military aggression around the world and oppression here in the U.S.”

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