Posts tagged: USA
This is appalling. If the allegations made by Mrs. Seema Jilani on her Op-Ed piece titled “My Racist Encounter at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner”, as published in the Huffington Post, are confirmed to be correct, there is absolutely no excuse for what happened here, and in a White House-sponsored event no less. I believe the WHCA should issue a formal and public apology to Mrs. Jilani as well as a public reprimand to the security company responsible for this incident—one that includes a petition to fire the employees involved in this regrettable and shaming episode. It is frankly outrageous that this may have happened in an event directly linked to the political home of our nation; a nation that espouses freedom and justice for all, and who considers itself a champion of progressiveness and human rights the world over.
And I must add that this experience is not exclusive to Muslim Americans; it is a mainstay for many other ethnic minority groups in the United States who fit a distorted, jingoistic, ignorant, and racist view of “brownness”; a view that instantly equates the color of someone’s skin with the word “terrorist”. Let us look at the experiences of Sikhs or Hindus in America; let us look at the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin last year: its perpetrator went on a murderous rampage believing the people he was killing were Muslims. In effect, they were Sikhs: which is to say that “they”, in their “brownness”, end up being all alike.
54countries aided CIA renditions of U.S. detainees, according to a report from the Open Society Justice Initiative.
136people have been subjected to the renditions program, sent to third party countries for interrogation and/or torture and detention which would not be legal in the United States. source
April 25th 1898: Spanish-American War begins
On this day in 1898, the United States of America declared war on Spain, thus beginning the Spanish-American War. The war was a result of American intervention in the Cuban War of Independence as Cuba revolted against Spanish rule. The war was over within the year. Cuban independence was secured, and the US had temporary control of Cuba and authority over Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.
This is a disgrace: that the America of the free, home of the brave, would willfully let someone languish in a cell for years on end without furnishing any real explanation or indictment of wrongdoing or criminal charges; a person who’s been cleared (twice now) of any wrongdoing by two different, and politically competing, administrations. This is tragic, it is absurd, and it is wrong; and it does nothing but breed precisely the kind of thing we’re trying to eradicate. Let’s end this. Now.
[via The Atlantic Cities]
A nice, clean infographic, if a very grim one.
919. Yesterday marked 31 days since the Newtown massacre… The National Post used the crowd-sourced data from Slateand Slate’s @gundeaths, and created an infographic to represent the 919 firearm deaths that have happened in the US in the time since. As they note, the information is crowd-sourced and there are potential inconsistencies.
Click through for the larger graphic.
Visualizing Gun Laws State by State
The Guardian has a great interactive showing the broad variation in state gun laws.
For example, take “Shoot First” laws:
Twenty-seven states have enacted “shoot first” laws that allow a person to defend themselves in public using deadly force with no duty to retreat. Some of those states have slightly restrictive laws that only apply when a shooter is in a vehicle and others have weak laws that are defined through a combination of case law, jury decisions and statutes, and only provide shoot-first protections during criminal trials, among other circumstances.
Image: Screenshot, Gun Laws in the US — State by State showing an overview of Iowa, via The Guardian. Select to embiggen.
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
- This morning: a suicide bomber has detonated in the Malian city of Gao in the north. This is the first incident of its kind in Mali, according to military sources.
- France wants the current African-led mission in Mali to be replaced with a UN-led peacekeeping mission by April.
- “A decade of missteps” in US counterterrorism policies in Africa.
- According to the UNHCR, 5,000 Syrians flee every day.
- CJ Chivers profiles Hajji Marea, a Syrian rebel commander.
- On Saturday, the leader of the Syrian opposition council. Sheikh Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, met separately in Munich with representatives from the US and Russia.
- The Sunday Times has told British war photographer Rick Findler not to submit any more photos out of Syria in order to not encourage freelancers to put themselves at risk for a photo.
- A former English teacher in Aleppo has become known as Guevara by some and by others as simply “the female sniper.”
- 23 members of Hamas, three of them lawmakers, were arrested by Israel in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
- The 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Co-operation opened in Cairo Wednesday.
- The Egyptian opposition is claiming that the police tortured 28-year-old activist Mohammed El-Gindy to death.
- Jailed Moroccan rapper El Haqed (Mouad Belghouat) is on hunger strike to protest the conditions of his imprisonment.
- The assassination of leading Tunisian opposition figure Chokri Belaid has led to protests and clashes and a greater sense of threat for the nation’s pro-democracy movement.
- Today: gunmen in Kano, Nigeria, killed two health workers administering polio vaccines.
- The UN-backed tribunal in Rwanda overturned two 2011 genocide convictions for two former ministers: Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza, who were sentenced to thirty years in prison.
- According to a new report, Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army killed far fewer civilians this year than in the past two years. 51 seems like a pretty sizable number of civilians, but that’s the lowest that number has been since 2007. In 2010 and 2011 it was 706 and 154 respectively.
- The US widened its sanctions on Iran this week with actions that included blacklisting the state broadcasting authority.
- Iran has rejected the idea of direct nuclear talks with Washington while sanctions remain in place.
- Iranian President Ahmedinejad is involved in a feud with one of the country’s notable families.
- Vietnam jailed 22 people for “subversion.”
- North Korea released a YouTube video which depicted a young man dreaming of a destroyed US set to an instrumental version of “We Are the World.”
- A new report from the watchdog group Open Society Justice Initiative reveals that 54 countries aided in 136 CIA renditions (the transfer of a detainee by the US to another country for interrogation).
- From NBC, the DOJ’s white paper justifying the overseas drone strike program.
- The release of the Obama administration’s own legal analysis and justification of the drone program has created a serious public debate over the validity of those arguments and of the drone program.
- David Cole took part in that dialogue with his NYRB response “How We Made Killing Easy.”
- David Cole also has 13 questions for John Brennan.
- Drone strikes also dominated the discussion at Brennan’s rocky confirmation hearings for director of the CIA.
- The CIA runs a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia, established two years ago. Media outlets knew about the base, but refrained from reporting on the request of the administration.
- A secret legal review has asserted the President’s broad powers to order a pre-emptive strike if there is credible evidence a major incoming cyberattack.
- A new lawsuit asserts that the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims violates rules against spying that were created in the 60s and 70s to protect political activists.
- Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that torture was unnecessary to the discovery of bin Laden’s whereabouts.
- According to a new GAO report, the US has spent $97 million in Central America over the past 4 years to fight the war on drugs. It’s questionable how much success that money bought.
- The UK has plans to install spy devices throughout the country’s telecoms network, surveilling citizens’ uses of overseas services like Twitter. These “probes” are part of a larger eventual scheme to track everything the Brits do online.
- Canada is considering changing its laws to allow the possibility of revoking Canadian citizenship for those dual citizens who commit acts of terrorism.
- Slain French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik’s work is on display as an exhibition titled “Revolutions: Photographs of the Arab Spring by Rémi Ochlik” at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University through February 22nd. Ochlik was killed in Syria last year.
- Listen to Iraq war vet Brian Turner, a soldier-poet, read some of his poems for NPR.
- What does Richard III’s body tell us, not just about him, but about the Battle of Bosworth and war in general?
Photo: Damascus, Syria. Insurgents run for cover during fighting. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters.