May 20 2014

Daily News Flash with Robert Jensen on Martial Law in Thailand, New CIA Policy to Not Use Health Workers, and Gov. Brown’s Climate Hypocrisy

Uprising’s guest expert Robert Jensen, an author and professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzes today’s news headlines:

Just days after Thai Prime Minister Yingluck was ousted, Thailand’s army has declared martial law and deployed troops in the capital, Bangkok. The Thai Army’s move to assume temporary power is the latest in the internal conflict that has roiled the East Asian nation. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from power earlier in the month by a court. According to the Guardian newspaper, “the move has done little to resolve the political conflict that pits the rural poor majority, who support Yingluck, against her opponents who are largely drawn from the urban middle and upper class.” Thailand’s army has been involved in nearly a dozen coups since 1932. Click here for a Guardian Newspaper article about the story.

The US CIA has announced this week that it now has a policy in place to not involve health workers in intelligence programs. When it became known that the US used vaccination teams in rural areas of Pakistan to spy on the Abbottabad compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding out, Pakistani suspicion of health workers increased, possibly leading to the current Polio epidemic in that country. The deans of a dozen public health schools in the US urged President Obama to stop using public health programs as “cover for covert operations.” The Obama Administration replied to them this week that the CIA “directed in August 2013 that the agency make no operational use of vaccination programs, which includes vaccination workers.” Click here for a Commondreams article about the story.

California’s on-going drought and its unusually early fire season, that started some weeks ago, has prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to make a strong public statement about climate change. Brown called California an “epicenter” of climate change saying “Now there’s no doubt that the evidence has been strong for quite a while, and it is getting even stronger.” Public officials are worried that this year will be the worst on record for wildfires in the state’s history. Among his policy proposals to combat climate change, Brown has championed the so-called “cap and trade” program, and called for 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2025. In his announcement he made no mention of his support for fracking operations that contribute directly to climate change and air and water pollution. Click here for a New York Times article about the story.

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