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Inside the Devastation of America’s Drone Wars

Source: Tom Dispatch

In a trio of recent action-packed movies, good guys watch terrorists mingling with innocent women and children via real-time video feeds from halfway across the world. A clock ticks and we, the audience, are let in on the secret that mayhem is going to break loose. After much agonized soul-searching about possible collateral damage, the good guys call in a missile strike from a U.S. drone to try to save the day by taking out a set of terrorists.

Such is the premise of Gavin Hood’s Eye in the Sky, Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill, and Rick Rosenthal’s Drones. In reality, in Washington’s drone wars neither the “good guys” nor the helpless, endangered villagers under those robotic aircraft actually survive the not-so secret drone war that the Obama administration has been waging relentlessly across the Greater Middle East — not, at least, without some kind of collateral damage.  In addition to those they kill, Washington’s drones turn out to wound (in ways both physical and psychological) their own operators and the populations who live under their constant surveillance. They leave behind very real victims with all-too-real damage, often in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder on opposite sides of the globe. read more

Killing by Committee in the Global Wild West

The myth of the lone drone warrior is now well established and threatens to become as enduring as that of the lone lawman with a white horse and a silver bullet who rode out into the Wild West to find the bad guys. In a similar fashion, the unsung hero of Washington’s modern War on Terror in the wild backlands of the planet is sometimes portrayed as a mysterious Central Intelligence Agency officer.

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U.S. Attorneys General Form Secret Alliance To Help Energy Companies

Source: CorpWatch

Major energy companies have effectively created a secret law firm of conservative attorneys general to persuade Washington lawmakers to gut environmental regulations, according to an investigation by the New York Times. In return, these senior government officials have received millions of dollars to help them win political campaigns.

Attorneys general are the top law enforcement officers for each of the 50 U.S. states, wielding considerable power to sue individuals and companies in the public interest. The Times has documented how at least 12 of these attorney generals – all from the Republican party – have switched sides to become cheerleaders for private industry. (43 of the 50 have to run for election while most of the others are appointed) read more

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Fast Food Workers Hold Biggest Ever Strike For Wages in U.S.

Source: Corpwatch

Hundreds of low wage fast food workers were arrested at strikes and protests in some 100 cities around the U.S. on September 4. They were demanding that companies like Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s and Wendy’s pay workers a living wage of $15 an hour.

The “Low Pay Is Not OK” campaign began in July 2012, when workers in New York city went on strike, an unusual event in an industry that has few unions and little worker organizing. The average fast food worker makes $8.74 an hour, or about $17,500 a year if they are able to get full time work (which is quite rare). This is despite the fact that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that a family of four needs to make more than $23,000 to stay out of poverty. read more

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Anglo American Workers Strike Against Contract Labor Conditions in Chile

Source: Corpwatch

Some 4,000 contract workers at Los Bronces copper mine in Chile went on strike against Anglo American, a UK-based mining multinational from South Africa. The strike is the latest in a series of protests against the Chilean copper industry, the world’s largest producers of the metal.

Copper is Chile’s most important product.
One fifth of Chile’s gross domestic product is derived from copper and the metal makes up 60 percent of exports. As much as a third of global production of copper comes from Chile with the bulk shipped to China for manufacturing. (Copper is also extremely valuable in China, so much so that it is often used as a backing for bank loans)
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