Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Guantanamo Redux: New News Is No News

The president’s such a peaceful man I guess he’s got some kind of plan They say we’re torturing prisoners of war But I don’t believe that stuff no more … I wish this war was over and through But what do you expect me to do? Cutting-edge stuff, eh? Hot off the notebook of a modern writer of “protest songs”? Wrong: troubadour Tom Paxton wrote We Didn’t Know in 1965. The war was Vietnam. Forty years and six presidents later, the lyric is still up to date. I didn’t have to change a word. One of the odd things about “the news” is how often it isn’t news at all – it’s just an update on the fact that little or nothing has changed. The Iraq war began 16 months ago, at a time when the government had already spent 2½ rounding up “persons of interest” in the wake of 9/11. Since then, the round-ups have continued and been broadened. Hundreds of people are being detained without being charged with a crime or given access to counsel – more than a year since the U.S. Supreme Court (not exactly a hard-core gaggle of anti- ruled that the administration’s disregard for basic federal and international guarantees of human rights cannot stand. The disregard stands. The abuses and violations continue. On July 13, attorneys for the Center for Constitutional Rights faulted the Bush administration’s continuing refusal to hold military decision-makers accountable for prisoner abuse at Guantánamo base in Cuba and elsewhere. Experienced FBI investigators who witnessed widespread abuse at Guantánamo have been among those testifying before Congress of ongoing abuse. The Department of Defense denies it all. Is anyone on this planet who is even marginally interested in world affairs unaware of what is going on? Where is the anger? Where is the blood in the streets? Those denouncing Bush administration policy are not all crackpots. A lengthy military investigation overseen by Air Force Lieutenant General Randall Schmidt following the well-documented outrages at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and incessant charges of prisoner abuse at the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo, Cuba, unveiled horror story after horror story of marginally “suspicious” people — of many nationalities — whom the United States subjects to shame, indignity, threats and outright brutality. They include Canadians, Germans, Australians, Yemenese – and oh, yes: Americans. A preliminary version of the report was released in May; a final, official version was released on July 14. According to the Schmidt report, Guantánamo prisoners routinely have been subject to beatings, sleep deprivation, humiliation, intimidation by dogs, extended solitary confinement and withholding medical care Military officials have impersonated FBI agents, and State Department officials and lawyers. There is much, much more. The report has been posted and summarized on dozens of Web sites. Of course – revisiting the odd premise of non-news as news – anyone who has read Chelsea Green Publishing’s Guantánamo: What the World Should Know by Michael Ratner and Ellen Ray has long known about it. That book –a litany of damning information about systemic American abuse of prisoners in a place that Amnesty International calls “the gulag of our time” — was released in July 2004. In other news, White House chief of staff Karl Rove has admitted in recent weeks to committing what appears to be a serious federal crime: “outing” a CIA agent. Felons convicted of far less serious crimes (with fewer friends in high places, apparently) have been convicted of treason and jailed. But Rove remains still on the White House payroll. Funny: it was almost exactly five years ago (July 2000) when presidential candidate George W. Bush promised to restore integrity to the White House.” Any time, Mr. President. Any time.

Use Systems Thinking to Make Lasting Social Change

What can be done when our best intentions create unintended problems—such as temporary shelters increasing homelessness or food aid accelerating starvation?After decades of helping change-makers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors address tough social problems, systems-thinking expert David Stroh shares the pioneering framework that both demystifies systems thinking and shows how it can lead […] Read More..

Let’s Make Bernie Sanders a Bestseller!

As the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders continues to climb in the polls, crushing online fundraising records and frustrating party insiders and pundits along the way, we’re looking to put Bernie’s message on bestseller lists everywhere in time for the national debates this fall!With the second Democratic debate to be held on November 14th in Des Moines, it’s […] Read More..

Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..
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