October 20, 2021

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The Edge
Media’s ‘Border Theater’ Ignores Constant U.S. Brutality

“[The Border] has been designed, across administrations, both Democrat and Republican, over decades, to inflict violence on some of the poorest people in the hemisphere.”

Todd Miller, author of “Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders,” writes on what the media misses when it flocks to the U.S.-Mexico border only to deliver sensational stories. The recent cycle covering thousands of Haitians arriving to Del Rio showed only a “glimpse into the everyday” actions of the Border Patrol to deter migrants.

Read Miller’s full commentary on The Edge.

See him talk at Ithaca College and over Zoom.

U.S. Group Opposing Drone Attacks Demands Reparations for Afghan Family

On August 29, after hours of surveillance on what it believed to be a vehicle containing an ISIS bomb, the U.S. military fired a drone strike on civilian driver Zemari Ahmadi in Kabul, Afghanistan. The military stated the strike may have killed three civilians, though reporting by the New York Times showed it killed 10, including seven children, of the Ahmadi family.

Ban Killer Drones, a national network resisting the use of drone attacks, is calling for reparations to the Ahmadi family, saying thousands of others killed by U.S. drones deserve similar payments, which should be made under the oversight of Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Read the full report on The Edge.

Digital Repression around the World Becoming a ‘Smokescreen for Bloodshed’

On October 19, the International Forum for Democratic Studies and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted an online discussion to examine the critical issues surrounding digital repression.

Members of the Digital Democracy Network, a diverse group of cutting-edge thinker-activists engaged in work on technology and politics, sat down to discuss how recent developments in technology and its governance are also presenting new opportunities for authoritarian abuse.

“Shutdowns tend to arise as a culmination of the terrible journey of repressive tactics,” said panelist Jan Rydzak, who added, “authorities are increasingly opting for using shutdowns in what I think is the most egregious way, which is as a smokescreen for bloodshed.”

Read more on the panel and its remarks on The Edge.

Upcoming Events
10/28 Book Talk: “Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders”

Thursday, October 28, at 6:00 p.m. at Ithaca College Textor 101 and via Zoom. Join on Zoom here.

Award winning journalist and author Todd Miller will speak about his new book where he asks the question: “Is it possible to create a borderless world?” In a series of anecdotes, he relates his encounters with U.S. Border Patrol agents, deportees, migrants, human-rights activists, and scholars, taking readers on a journey from the deserts of the Southwest to the mountains of Guatemala, and to border zones across the globe. 

Read more here.

10/26: Environmental Justice Scholar Dr. Prakash Kashwan

Tuesday, October 26, at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. Join on Zoom here.

Dr. Prakash Kashwan and Dr. Jake Brenner (Environmental Studies and Sciences) will be in conversation discussing climate justice.

Kashwan is a professor of Political Science and a prolific scholar-activist in the fields of climate and environmental justice at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. His interests are far-reaching, including human rights, environmental justice, south Asia in world politics, climate justice, geoengineering, tree-planting, forest and water conservation, power dynamics, collective action, the commons, and youth activism.

Read more here.

More from the Edge
Excerpt: “Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders”

“We are all at the border now. I see a man on the edge of the road. He looks both desperate and ragged and waves his arms for me to pull over my car. We are in southern Arizona, about twenty miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Behind the man is the Sonoran Desert — beautiful twisting saguaros, prickly pear, and cholla cacti — the living earth historically inhabited by the indigenous communities of the Tohono O’odham Nation. As I stop, the man rushes to my side of the car. Speaking in Spanish, he tells me his name is Juan Carlos. He tells me he is from Guatemala. He gulps down the water I offer him and asks if I can give him a ride to the nearest town.”

For more than fifteen years, Todd Miller has researched and written about borders and the conflicts they create. “Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders,” is his fourth book on border issues.

Miller invites us to envision a borderless world, and reflects on the ways in which the artificial lines that separate nations create the problems that drive immigration, and how a world without borders could be a more sustainable, habitable place for all.

In this excerpt published at The Edge, Miller describes an encounter near the U.S.-Mexico border and considers the dilemmas brought up when kindness and humanity are considered a criminal act.

See Miller speak about his newest book at Ithaca College on Thursday, October 28.

Vaccine Patent Waiver Languishes as Moderna Avoids Poor Countries

In October 2020, India and South Africa introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patent protections for coronavirus vaccines to boost the inadequate global supply. One year and about 3.5 million deaths later, negotiations remain at a standstill.

Meanwhile, Moderna, the American company that currently appears to be the world’s best defense against COVID-19, has been supplying its shots to almost exclusively wealthy nations, gaining billions in profit and leaving poorer countries waiting.

Read the full roundup on The Edge.

In Other News

1.Why are activists calling for Cop26 to be cancelled? (The Independent)

2. The Key Insight That Defined 50 Years of Climate Science (The Atlantic)

3. Police Increasingly Cite Climate Disasters When Seeking Military Gear, Documents Show (HuffPost)

4. Covid: Brazil’s Bolsonaro ‘should be charged with crimes against humanity’ (BBC)

5. Senate Republicans secure votes to block advancement of key voting rights bill (The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.