Archive for the ‘Features’ Category
by Jamison Maeda
Last week’s defeat in the Dáil by 114 votes to 20 for the banning of live hare coursing will no doubt disappoint many animal rights activists. The support from the general public for the ban is overwhelming. But again, our politicians lag behind public opinion; stuck in a conservative mindset that would stand over a violent and barbarous cruelty because they lack the vision and decency to bring this backward behaviour to an end.
But the campaign must continue for the sake of the defenseless animals that are victim to abuse and cruelty in the name of entertainment. After decades of tireless efforts by animal welfare activists in the U.S., Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus phased out its live elephant acts and moved their elephants to the Ringling Bros. center for elephants in Florida.
On May 1, 2016, Ringling Bros. held its final live elephant performance. Feld Entertainment stated that the retirement of the elephant acts was due to increasing animal safety regulations and restrictions in cities where they performed. In addition to legislation protecting animals, Ringling Bros. faced multiple lawsuits regarding its treatment of animals. In 2011 Ringling Bros. was fined by the United States Department of Agriculture for violating the Animal Welfare Act. For this, Ringling Bros. paid $270,000.
The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.
This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life.
A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.
Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East – irst Iraq, now Syria – are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and Nato. Before that, there was the wilful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.
The pith helmets may have long gone, but the blood has never dried. A nineteenth century contempt for countries and peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centrepiece of modern “globalisation”, with its perverse socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to labour; its perfidious politicians and politicised civil servants.
All this has now come home to Europe, enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and disempowering millions. On 23 June, the British said no more.
Read the full article on John Pilger’s website, here.
by Jamison Maeda
Native American activist and six-time Nobel Prize nominee, Leonard Peltier, has been in prison in the US for 40 years for a crime he claims he didn’t commit. And thousands of people around the world believe him.
“…Leonard Peltier has committed no crime whatsoever,” said former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark.
In addition to Clark, the list of Peltier’s supporters over the years included Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Coretta Scott King, Amnesty International, Robert Redford, multiple Native American nations, documentarian Michael Moore, and it goes on. The Soviet Union cited Peltier’s case as an example of human rights abuses in the US.
The US justice system failing poor people and people of color is not news. But even in a climate of institutionalized discrimination and racial prejudice Peltier’s case stands out.
This 3:49 minute video documentary by Peter Kearney aims to tell the story of the conviction of Brendan McConville through the words of his parents Willie and Eileen. McConville was convicted on 30 March 2012, for the murder of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll on 9 March 2009. He was arrested and held in prison since 10 March 2009. A group calling itself “The Continuity IRA” claimed responsibility.
McConville was convicted along with John Paul Wootton by a non-jury trial and they remain in prison to this day, despite their claims and the claims of campaigners (Justice for the Craigavon Two – JFTC2) that it was a miscarriage of justice. Campaigners know McConville and Wootton as “The Craigavon Two”.
While a 15-minute documentary is currently being produced and due for release in mid August 2016, this short documentary tells the story from the point of view of Brendan’s parents, Willie and Eileen.
Read more about the Craigavon Two and the documentary here.