October 13, 2021

The Park Center for Independent Media circulates the Indy Brief. Subscribe for a weekly selection of news stories from journalists operating outside traditional corporate systems.

The Edge
“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.

Roundtable on Raoul Peck’s “Exterminate All The Brutes”

On October 4, the Park Center for Independent Media and the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival presented an international discussion on the HBO docuseries “Exterminate All The Brutes” as part of the Global Doc Media Series.

The roundtable was held in both English and Spanish, with panelists on multiple continents providing insights to Peck’s arresting interrogation of European colonialism and genocide.

“Working with 600 years of history is not an easy feat,” Vicente Sánchez-Biosca explained. “I feel like this series constitutes more of an act than a film. It is a questioning of the official narrative and the foundation of American culture.”

Watch the full discussion here.

Upcoming Events
October Events Calendar

Save the dates for these upcoming PCIM events concerning journalism and environmental justice.
Thursday, October 28, at 6:00 p.m.
Todd Miller: “Build Bridges Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders.”
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 on Miller’s appearance here. 

Tuesday, October 26, at 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Prakash Kashwan and Dr. Jake Brenner (Environmental Studies and Sciences) will be in conversation discussing climate justice.

Find out more about each event here.

More from the Edge
Corporate Media Myths About the Chaos on Capitol Hill

“If you get your news about politics from corporate media, you’re getting myths from journalists and pundits instead of clarity.”

FAIR founder and former PCIM Director Jeff Cohen analyzes mainstream coverage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIF) and the Democrat-only Build Back Better (BBB) reconciliation proposal — measures that commentators have falsely labeled as the “biggest” current spending bills.

“The supposedly $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August and was delayed Thursday in the House actually would provide only $550 billion in new spending — and that’s over a period of 5 years — to modernize infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports, airports, transit systems, Internet and water systems.”

Read Cohen’s full criticism on The Edge.

Pandora Papers: Investigative Consortium Exposes Massive Global Corruption

Millions of secret documents uncovered by the biggest journalism partnership in history have exposed the corrupt offshore dealings of world leaders and politicians in 91 countries and territories.

The records reveal that many powerful figures could help end this offshore system, but instead benefit from it while their governments ignore “a global stream of illicit money that enriches criminals and impoverishes nations.”

These 11.9 million leaked documents are known as the Pandora Papers. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained them with a team of more than 600 journalists from 150 news outlets that spent two years tracking sources and digging through public documents from dozens of countries.

Read a summary of the ICIJ’s findings on The Edge.

Post-9/11 War Spending Exceeds $8 Trillion — The Costs of War Project

“[Over] the past 20 years, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the cost of the wars — neither in terms of dollars nor lives lost. These costs have been largely hidden from public view. Of course, in some respects, the public didn’t even realize we were still at war.”

On September 14, Heidi Peltier talked with PCIM Director Raza Rumi about the Costs of War Project’s findings on the impacts of the United States’ bloated defense budget on American citizens and the world.

Professor Peltier is the Director of the Costs of War Project’s “20 Years of War” research series at the Pardee Center, launched in October 2019 in collaboration with Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Read or watch the full interview on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Judge orders Justice Department to investigate treatment of Capitol riot suspects as he finds DC jail officials in contempt (The Independent)

2. The Energy Crunch, in Six Paragraphs (The Atlantic)

3. New European Vaccine Proposal Offers Limited Help To Developing Countries (HuffPost)

4. North Korea: Vulnerable at risk of starvation, UN expert says (BBC)

5. More than 700 firefighters battling wildfire spreading along California coast (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.