The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) requires that all military personnel obey lawful orders. Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice says, “A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States….” Both the Nuremberg Principles and the Army Field Manuals create a duty to disobey unlawful orders.
“Sending troops to the US border with Mexico is as immoral and illegal as sending them to invade and occupy foreign lands,” Gerry Condon, president of Veterans For Peace, told Truthout. “Donald Trump is carrying out a racist war against asylum seekers who are fleeing extreme violence, which in turn is caused by decades of US support for repressive regimes in Central America.”
Members of Veterans For Peace are fanning out along the US/Mexico border from California to Texas in order to reach out to the troops that Trump has ordered to the border.
Condon added, “Soldiers who follow their conscience and refuse to follow illegal orders will have our support. We can also put GIs in contact with legal resources to help them get honorably discharged from the military.”
This is what we’ve waited for This is it, boys, this is war The president is on the line As ninety-nine red balloons go by …
— Nena, “99 Luftballons”
"That is the election in a nutshell, an amalgam of joy and sorrow. It is inspiring for what did happen and utterly galling for what might have been. Democrats handily won control of the House but lost ground in the Senate, a harrowing fact when one notes that Democratic Senate candidates collectively got 10 million more votes than their Republican opponents. Power in the Senate is further devolving to a hard-right Republican majority who only represent about 18 percent of the country. Nothing good comes from this."
While the rebirth of social democracy in the United States would be an important step in minimizing suffering and mobilizing the working class, it is crucial that the left also look beyond social democracy. Read the Article →
The docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly" has brought much needed attention to the oft-ignored experiences of Black women, who have long endured exploitation and abuse in the US. As more stories surface of Black survivors and casualties of violence, it's clear we have much work to do to create a culture that recognizes the value of the lives of Black women. Read the Article →
Undercover investigations at poultry slaughter facilities and documented evidence found by USDA inspectors reveals a systematic mistreatment of birds destined for slaughter. Yet, despite the fact that mistreatment of live birds negatively affects meat quality, the USDA has been reluctant to enforce its guidelines and offend the poultry industry, arguing instead that it's up to Congress to address the humane treatment of birds at slaughter. Read the Article →
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Progressives in recent weeks have applauded Democrats' refusal to bend to President Donald Trump's demands for a wall at the US-Mexico border. But on Friday, digital rights advocates launched a campaign to fight against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's suggestion that a so-called "technological wall" would be an appropriate alternative to Trump's planned wall. Read the Article →
Hoping to earn its share of the $3.5 trillion health care market, the medical industry is pouring more money than ever into advertising its products -- from high-priced prescriptions to do-it-yourself genetic tests. Advertising doesn't just persuade people to pick one brand over another, it makes people worry about diseases they don't have and ask for drugs or exams they don't need. Read the Article →
Mainstream media elites serve up a lot of palaver about free speech, but often use their megaphones to circumscribe conversation to make it appear that ideas that threaten their interests aren't serious ideas. Chip Gibbons, policy and legislative counsel at Defending Rights & Dissent, discusses recent pushes by the Trump administration to limit free expression and mainstream media's complicit role in it. Read the Interview and Listen to the Audio →
In the process of dreaming that constitutes our radicalisms, we often retreat into ahistorical and erasing revisionisms as opposed to situating our political visions within some concrete foundation. Within radical politics, Africa often exists far more comfortably as a site of the ultimate myth-making within political imaginaries than it does as a geographically bounded plexus of messy and sometimes contradictory material realities. Read the Article →
From the beginning, the Trump administration has waged a ruthless assault on women -- from our right to workplaces free of sexual harassment to the ability to make our own decisions about reproductive rights. As a result, it's been up to ordinary people to turn out in the streets to show that there is resistance to the hate Trump peddles. Read the Article →
When he was attorney general under Bush Sr., William Barr endorsed a report titled "The Case for More Incarceration," which criticized efforts to reduce prison populations and called for building more jails and prisons. Now that Trump has nominated Barr to replace Jeff Sessions, advocates worry that he will continue Sessions's assault on civil rights. Read the Article →
We are witnessing presidential malpractice on a towering scale. The first death by food poisoning due to uninspected meat, the first person murdered because she could not access a domestic violence shelter, the first reservation resident to die from lack of available medical care, will be the sole responsibility of master dealmaker Donald Trump. Read the Article →
Atlantic Coast Pipeline Faces Native American Resistance
Two Native American tribes in North Carolina are among the groups seeking to join a court challenge to federal regulators' decision to approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5 billion project proposed by utility giants Dominion and Duke Energy. The 600-mile pipeline would carry fracked gas from West Virginia through Virginia to eastern North Carolina, which is home to many Native Americans.
On Feb. 23, the state-recognized Haliwa-Saponi and Lumbee tribes along with 17 public-interest groups led by climate watchdog NC WARN formally asked to join an appeal of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) approval of the pipeline issued last fall. The appeal was originally filed in January with the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, by the Southern Environmental Law Center and Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of 11 conservation nonprofits.
The tribes' move came one day after the Lumbee Tribal Council held an emergency meeting where it unanimously passed a resolution calling on FERC to formally consult with it about the pipeline's impacts.
"North Carolina tribes have been left out of the Environmental Impact Study," said Jan Lowery, chair of the Lumbee Tribe's Health Committee. "The study did not include the concerns of tribes, and the goal is to get a structured consultation."
The Lumbees' resolution noted the tribe's concerns about how the pipeline could affect unmarked ancestral burial grounds, sacred places, and the environment. It also pointed out that the National Congress of American Indians -- the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaskan Native tribal governments -- passed a resolution calling on all regulatory agencies to engage in meaningful consultation with the Indian tribal nations that would be affected by the proposed pipeline's construction and operation.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would pass through the territories of four tribes in North Carolina. In addition to the Lumbee and Haliwa-Saponi, Coharie and Meherrin communities would also be affected. In a letter that appeared last year in Science magazine, NC State University professor Ryan Emanuel documented the flaws in FERC's environmental justice analysis that obscured the disproportionate impact the project would have on Native Americans:
The nearly 30,000 Native Americans who live within [1 mile] of the proposed pipeline make up 13.2% of the impacted population in North Carolina, where only 1.2% of the people is Native American. Yet, the [draft environmental impact statement] reported that fewer than half of the areas along the proposed route had minority populations higher than county-level baseline proportions. The discrepancy stems from the DEIS's failure to account for large differences in population size in the studied areas; large minority populations in some places were masked by much smaller nonminority populations elsewhere. The analysis also failed to account for large differences in baseline demographics among counties, where minority populations range from less than 1% to nearly 70%. These large differences prevented meaningful comparisons among areas in different counties. Together, these flaws rendered FERC's analysis incapable of detecting large Native American populations along the route, leading to false conclusions about the project's impacts.
"We Want to Be Heard"
Similar concerns that FERC's environmental assessment ignored Native Americans were raised in recent years over the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners that carries crude shale oil from North Dakota to Illinois, and sparked mass protests near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. While the Obama administration halted construction in order to prepare a more comprehensive environmental assessment, the Trump administration reversed that decision. The pipeline began operating commercially last June.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline opponents are shifting their focus back to the federal government following North Carolina's January decision to grant a water quality permit to the project. That decision is mired in controversy because a $58 million mitigation fund financed by the pipeline's developers was announced the same day the permit was granted. Republicans state lawmakers and some pipeline opponents have accused Gov. Roy Cooper (D) -- who recently hired as his legislative director a former lobbyist for Dominion and the American Petroleum Institute -- of engaging in quid-pro-quo politics with the fund's creation.
Many of the groups seeking to join the lawsuit at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals are part of an alliance that filed a rehearing request with FERC following the agency's October approval of the project. The request said FERC made a mockery of the legal process by allowing Dominion and Duke to supplement their application numerous times after the comment period ended, leaving the public with no avenue to respond to the companies' claims.
In addition, the groups' request charged FERC with cutting corners on assessing the need for the pipeline, its cumulative health impacts, and environmental justice implications. The pipeline will also have a disproportionate effect on African-American communities in eastern North Carolina, as was documented in a 2017 report by the NAACP and Clean Air Task Force.
Furthermore, the request pointed to FERC's failure to consider the pipeline's climate effects. Pipelines are a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas pollutant. The agency's neglect to consider the climate when evaluating pipeline proposals is in the spotlight following a federal court's ruling last year that has put construction of the Sabal Trail Pipeline in Florida -- another project involving Duke Energy -- in question.
But rather than grant or deny the request for a rehearing within the allotted 30 days, FERC issued what's known as a "tolling order," which allows it to delay the decision indefinitely while construction is allowed to proceed.
"FERC has this habit of just delaying stuff," said John Runkle, an attorney for NC WARN who filed the rehearing request as well as the motion to intervene in the federal lawsuit. "We want to make sure we will be heard."
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.
Sue is editorial director at the Institute for Southern Studies, which she joined in November 2005 as director of the Institute's Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch, a project to document and investigate the post-Katrina recovery. A former staff writer for the Raleigh News & Observer and Independent Weekly (Durham, North Carolina), Sue directs and regularly contributes to the Institute's online magazine, Facing South, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. Sue is the author or coauthor of five Institute reports, including "Faith in the Gulf" (August/September 2008), "Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement" (January 2008) and "Blueprint for Gulf Renewal" (August/September 2007). Sue holds a master's degree in journalism from New York University.
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Sue Sturgis, Facing South: Two Native American tribes in North Carolina are among the groups seeking to join a court challenge to federal regulators' decision to approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5 billion project proposed by utility giants Dominion and Duke Energy.
Chris Gottlieb, Amsterdam News: The platinum anniversary of the most important shift in American child welfare policy in a generation just passed without notice or public discussion. The Adoption and Safe Families Act, touted during the Clinton administration as a victory for children, has instead put the US first in the world in the legal destruction of families.