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A few picks from AFSC staff this week:

“A year after Freddie Gray's death, a look at media's coverage of the Baltimore uprising,” by Kenrya Rankin, Colorlines

April 19 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray and the uprising in Baltimore that followed. A new video shows what the media covered, what they left out, and how media bias can shape public opinion.

“As we remember the life of Gray—who was just 25 years old when his spine was nearly severed during a ‘rough ride’ in a police van—a new video from progressive nonprofit Media Matters for America looks at how media ostensibly covered Gray’s death and the ensuing uprising, while shaping a negative, inaccurate, and racially biased narrative about the situation on the ground that ignored the socioeconomic issues that caused it.”


“Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq,” by Ali Issa, Tadween Publishing

Published in 2015 by the War Resisters League and Tawdeen Publishing, “Against all Odds” chronicles the inspiring struggles of Iraqi students, feminists, labor unions, activists, artists, and community members to build progressive movements in Iraq in the face of ongoing U.S.-led war and violence.

According to Issa, “Hearing Iraqis speak about their political work, analyses, struggles, and visions allows people all over the world—academics, journalists, organizers, or artists—to zoom in from the broader geopolitics and elite-centered interests and build a commitment to understanding what Iraqis are doing on the ground. … People in Iraq are trying out political solutions and strategies in practice, and media commentators and solidarity organizers would do well to take those living efforts as their starting points.”


“Panama Papers include one of U.S.’s biggest wartime military contractors,” by Adam Weinstein, Catherine Dunn, and Miriti Murungi,

The Panama Papers reveal the dangerous ability of U.S. military contractors to operate with limited oversite and enormous contracts from the Department of Defense. Fusion investigators show how these contractors use shell companies to limit legal liability and conceal the source of funds. “That’s a dangerous brew in the hands of military security contractors, said Erica Razook, a former anti-corruption legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative. ‘In an industry centered on the use of force and violence, to base operations in jurisdictions where those two things—the money and people coming into the operation—are being shielded from any kind of authority is particularly concerning.’”