The Insurrection Index Exists to Defend American Democracy

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The Insurrection Index launches today to defend democracy in the United States from internal attacks on democratic institutions. The focus of the initiative is clearly in response to, and all about, the failed coup and insurrection attempt that happened on this day last year. Multiple organizations joined together to create the index to promote democratic transparency around who (and what organizations) helped try to overthrow the government in support of former president Trump. By making the names of people involved in the extreme anti-democratic action it will be easier to keep those people out of office by exposing their anti-American actions.

It’s good to see that there is a concerted effort in the USA to defend their struggling democracy. Let’s hope that this marks a turning point in the country to more open, honest, and better defended democratic institutions.

The index is the brainchild of Public Wise, a voting rights group whose mission is to fight for government that reflects the will and the rights of voters. Christina Baal-Owens, the group’s executive director, said that the index was conceived as an ongoing campaign designed to keep insurrectionists out of office.

“These are folks who silenced the voices of American voters, who took a validly held election and created fraudulent information to try to silence voters. They have no business being near legislation or being able to affect the lives of American people,” she said.

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Big Box Stores Remove Products Used to Violate Human Rights

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Two of the largest retail chains in the United States have stopped the sale of Chinese-made surveillance products used by the Chinese government to violate human rights. This move to ban the sale of particular Chinese surveillance goods is a direct reaction to those companies benefiting from the ongoing Uyghur genocide happening in China. Indeed, Chinese companies are both using forced labour to produce products and using those products to further suppress the Uyghurs.

The pressure from human rights groups seems to have worked to convince Best Buy and Home Depot to stop selling these goods made to oppress people.

The U.S. government says Beijing relies heavily on Hikvision, Dahua and other technology companies to supply the surveillance equipment to surveil the Uighur population. The Biden administration called the human rights abuses in Xinjiang a “genocide,” and blamed Chinese video surveillance manufacturers of having “been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups.”

Dolkun Isa, the president of the World Uyghur Congress, welcomed the “meaningful actions” by the U.S. government with bans on forced labor and sanctions for Chinese companies, but said that it’s “unacceptable that there are still American companies directly helping further the repression.”

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Greenland Bans Oil Extraction

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Greenland will no longer allow exploration for new oil fields in their territorial waters and newly exposed land. Climate change obviously impacts the country greatly with their ice fields melting at increasing rates. They’ve been experiencing the effects of burning too much oil first hand and refuse to participate it in to protect future generations. This change in policy shows that Greenland is serious on climate change as they’re giving up potential billions of dollars to protect the planet.

“The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect we have much more to gain,” the Greenland government said in a statement. The government said it “wants to take co-responsibility for combating the global climate crisis.”

The government’s decision to stop oil exploration was welcomed by environmental group Greenpeace, which called the decision “fantastic.”

“And my understanding is that the licences that are left have very limited potential,” Mads Flarup Christensen, Greenpeace Nordic’s general secretary, told weekly Danish tech-magazine Ingenioeren.

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Refugees Who Helped Snowden Landed in Canada

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Edward Snowden did a very brave thing of exposing how the American government spies on its citizens, foreigners, and allied nations. Thanks to his efforts the web is now a safer place from spying by large corporations and governments.

When Snowden needed help fleeing from the long spying arm of the American military he turned to refugees. While in Hong Kong Snowden stayed with people who also fled to the city for protection. It’s a story of people fleeing prosecution from overbearing governments helping one another.

Last week some of those kind and brave refugees landed in Canada and granted asylum.

There are a few more refugees who helped Snowden in Hong Kong, you can support them over at For the Refugees.

Canada granted asylum to four people who hid former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in their tiny Hong Kong apartments when he was on the run after stealing a trove of classified documents.

The four – Supun Thilina Kellapatha, Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their children Sethumdi and Dinath – landed in Toronto on Tuesday and were due to go on to Montreal to “start their new lives”, non-profit For the Refugees said in a statement.

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Opening A Pandora’s Box of Elite Financial Trickery

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Yesterday the Pandora Papers were released to the public by a team of investigative journalists. It exposed how 35 world leaders and 300 other public officials used complex financial arrangements to not pay taxes and avoid potential corruption charges. While the rest of us get in trouble for not paying taxes, the elite continue to eschew taxes by using offshore accounts and a constant movement of money only the wealthy can afford.

It’s important to expose this behaviour of the rich to show they aren’t above the law nor can the mooch off the rest of us by using services our taxes provide while not paying their share. What’s more, it’s the elite who contribute the most to climate change yet they hog all the money to solve the issue.

Let’s keep looking into their financial management.

Much like the Panama Papers leak in 2016 or the Paradise Papers the following year, the secret files provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how certain global elites — or in other cases, high-profile criminals — take advantage of financial wizardry or opaque corporate structures to either shield assets, wriggle out of their tax obligations, or hide wealth entirely.  

“When we published the Panama Papers a few years ago, there was a lot of outcry around the world saying that this was a system that needed to end,” said Gerard Ryle, the ICIJ’s director. “But we’re now seeing the very people who could end the system … themselves benefiting from it.” 

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