May 12, 2022

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 Headlines

The Edge

The Ukraine War Must Be Stopped Before It Goes Nuclear

How Independent Media Is Filling the Void

FLEFF Retrospective: Filmmaker Aisha Sultan

Watch Aisha Sultan on “33 and Counting” and “Other People”

Climate Crisis

Humanity Is Nearing the Brink of 1.5 Degrees Warming, Report Finds | Mother Jones

Rich Nations Must Cut Off Oil and Gas by 2034 to Keep Climate Hopes Alive: Report | Common Dreams

Revealed: the ‘Carbon Bombs’ Set to Trigger Catastrophic Climate Breakdown | The Guardian

Roe v. Wade

In Response to Peaceful Protests, Senate Expands Police Presence for SCOTUS Justices | Truthout

The Increasingly Violent Antiabortion Movement Is the Real Threat to Public Safety | Jacobin

The Edge

The Ukraine War Must Be Stopped Before It Goes Nuclear

Dave Lindorff, 2019 Izzy Award winner, examines how the continuation of the Russia-Ukraine war and the U.S.’s military support to Ukraine presents an increasing threat of nuclear conflict. So far, Mutual Assured Destruction has led to 77 years of war without nuclear bombs and without direct action between the militaries of two nuclear nations.

But, Lindorff points out, “The problem is that the Ukraine crisis is also showing us the Achilles heel of MAD: If one nuclear nation, as the U.S. appears to be doing, attempts to defeat the other nuclear nation’s military only using non-nuclear weapons, the pressure to avoid losing could cause the other nation to use its nukes in desperation, leading to a full-blown nuclear war.

“That tells us we’ve survived on good luck long enough and now have to get rid of the damned things.”

Read Lindorff’s full commentary on The Edge.

How Independent Media Is Filling the Void

This year’s Izzy Award celebrated five journalists and organizations that worked to hold governments and institutions accountable while raising voices missing from mainstream narratives. In his opening remarks for the award ceremony, PCIM Director Raza Rumi elaborated on the need for such exemplary work, especially in the face of five afflictions harming today’s media ecosystem.

Rumi cites media conglomeration and the U.S.’s suffering local journalism as detriments to information access, saying, “If information is a citizen right, and a means to consolidate democracy at the grassroots level, then surely this trend is a stark reminder of why polarization, disinformation, and fascist ideologies are on the rise.”

Read how this year’s Izzy winners are helping to combat these media afflictions.

Watch Rumi and the winners speak at the Izzy Award ceremony.

FLEFF Retrospective: Filmmaker Aisha Sultan

On April 4, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival and the Park Center for Independent Media hosted an online talkback with journalist and filmmaker Aisha Sultan. PCIM Director Raza Rumi joined Sultan to discuss her documentary “33 and Counting,” which tells the story of 70-year-old grandmother Patty Prewitt from rural Missouri serving a life sentence for a murder she says her rapist committed.

Describing her investigation of Prewitt’s incarceration, Sultan said, “I knew when a story gripped me and compelled me, and I knew when there was something of value in it for the world to see.”

Sultan also discussed her making of the narrative short film “Other People,” which depicts a South Asian Muslim father as he navigates a princess party with his daughter. She said, “there is no neat or tidy resolution to it because there is no neat and tidy resolution to how people of color find our space or negotiate predominantly white spaces.”

Read more from Sultan and Rumi on The Edge.

Watch their entire discussion here.

Climate Crisis

Humanity Is Nearing the Brink of 1.5 Degrees Warming, Report Finds

According to a forecast by the UK Met Office, the year is fast approaching that the world will pass for the first time the 1.5 C  global heating limit set by international governments. The probability that one of the next five years exceeds this limit is now 50%, though it had been completely unlikely as recently as 2015. This surged to 20% in 2020 and 40% in 2021, when the global average temperature was 1.1 C above pre-industrial levels.

Professor Petteri Taalas, head of the World Meteorological Organization, explained, “The 1.5 C figure is not some random statistic. It is rather an indicator of the point at which climate impacts will become increasingly harmful for people and indeed the entire planet.” These harmful effects include warmer oceans, sea level rise, and more extreme weather.

A recent investigation from The Guardian showed that, despite this, some of the world’s largest fossil fuel corporations are planning or currently operating nearly 200 “carbon bombs.” These are massive oil and gas projects that can emit at least 1 billion metric tons of CO2 over their lifetimes, or a combined total of 646 billion.

Rich nations, including the leading source of potential emissions, the U.S., must rapidly phase out and prevent the ramping up of fossil fuels to rein in climate disaster.

Roe v. Wade

The Increasingly Violent Antiabortion Movement Is the Real Threat to Public Safety

On Monday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that would provide Supreme Court Justices added security for their family members, reported Truthout. This is in response to a wave of protests across the country, and in front of justices’ homes, following the leak of a supreme court opinion showing the conservative majority is set to reverse abortion protections established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Republicans, Democrats, and media voices alike have denounced the protests, with the White House condemning “violence, threats, or vandalism” that never happened. Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic pointed out that these detractions more accurately describe the anti-abortion movement.

Ten doctors, clinic employees, and doctor and patient escorts have been murdered by antiabortion extremists since 1993, and 11 since 1977. Marcetic said “if we’re talking about the use of violence to intimidate people into doing or not doing something, those deaths have an outsize effect beyond just the actual victims. It also happens to be 11 more deaths than the Supreme Court has suffered at the hands of any pro-choice activists.”

Since the pandemic, death threats, battery outside clinics, and phone and mail harassment have hugely increased.

In Other News

1. Evacuations ordered in Colorado Springs as homes destroyed in California | The Independent

2. The Democrats Really Are That Dense About Climate Change | The Atlantic

3. Palestinians Mourn Al Jazeera Journalist They Say Israeli Soldiers Killed | HuffPost

4. Fierce US abortion debate spills over into Canada | BBC

5. Capitol attack panel subpoenas five Republicans in unprecedented step | The Guardian 

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

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.