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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Obama and the CIA

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  • The CIA goes its own way, seemingly oblivious to what presidents or anybody else has to say, even if Obama is disingenuous in his public statements.
  • Lack of Intelligence
  • Chomsky: Obama ‘Determined To Demolish The Foundations Of Our Civil Liberties’ 

Melvin A. Goodman, Counterpunch

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10/goodman1.jpegJuly 16, 2014 | The political embarrassments for President Barack Obama from the intelligence community, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, continue to mount, but there is no sign whatsoever that the president is interested in reversing the pattern.  The German government’s unprecedented expulsion of the CIA station chief in Berlin because of the unnecessary recruitment of two German national security officials should have been the kind of shot across the bow that would lead to a response from the Obama administration.  The fact that the president had no early warning of these awkward recruitments from CIA director John Brennan and that Brennan’s initial forays with the Germans were so clumsy only added to the embarrassment.

Brennan never should have been appointed CIA director in the first place.  During his campaign for the presidency in 2007-2008, Obama spoke out against the militarization and politicization of the intelligence community, and promised more transparency in the community and an end to intelligence abuses.  Nevertheless, before his election, Obama appointed an intelligence advisory staff that was headed by former associates of George Tenet, whose failed stewardship of the CIA included the phony intelligence that was used to justify the use of force against Iraq.  Tenet’s deputy, John McLaughlin, who supported CIA programs of renditions and detentions and helped to draft the spurious speech of Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN in the run-up to the war, was part of the advisory group.  It was McLaughlin who delivered the infamous “slam dunk” briefing to President George H.W. Bush in January 2003.

Melvin A. Goodman (and Carolyn McGiffert Ekedahl) are the co-authors of “The Wars of Eduard Shevardnadze” (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997).  Goodman is also the author of National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism (City Lights Publishers, 2013).

Full story … 

Related:

Chomsky: Obama ‘Determined To Demolish The Foundations Of Our Civil Liberties’, Noam Chomsky, Daily Caller

  • “It is of no slight import that the project is being executed in one of the freest countries in the world, and in radical violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which protects citizens from ‘unreasonable searches and seizures,’ and guarantees the privacy of their persons, houses, papers and effects,” Chomsky said.
  • NSA Spying

 

Israel Is Captive to Its ‘Destructive Process’

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The belief that a race or class is contaminated is used by ruling elites to justify quarantining the people of that group. But quarantine is only the first step. 

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

 

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palestinians-search-rubble-gaza-destructive-process-590.jpgPalestinians salvage what they can of their belongings from the rubble of a house destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. AP/Khalil Hamra 

Jul 14, 2014 | Raul Hilberg in his monumental work “The Destruction of the European Jews” chronicled a process of repression that at first was “relatively mild” but led, step by step, to the Holocaust. It started with legal discrimination and ended with mass murder. “The destructive process was a development that was begun with caution and ended without restraint,” Hilberg wrote.

The Palestinians over the past few decades have endured a similar “destructive process.” They have gradually been stripped of basic civil liberties, robbed of assets including much of their land and often their homes, have suffered from mounting restrictions on their physical movements, been blocked from trading and business, especially the selling of produce, and found themselves increasingly impoverished and finally trapped behind walls and security fences erected around Gaza and the West Bank.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

Full story … 

From the Archives | Undocumented immigration: paying the price of NAFTA

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  • A study published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in December 2009 explains how this worked out in practice. ("Rethinking Trade Policy for Development: Lessons from Mexico under NAFTA")
  • The Economics of Immigration Reform

Emile Schepers, People's World

Tue, 08/03/2010 | The rationale for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), which came into force Jan. 1, 1994, was Ricardian (after the Anglo-Italian classical economist David Ricardo, who thought that each country should specialize in the production that most suited its climate and other characteristics).

Much of Mexico's rural population was engaged in maize and wheat farming, which is much more productive in the vast plains of the central United States and Canada than in Mexico's more rugged terrain. So the idea was to push the grain farmers off the land and move them into specialized fruit and vegetable farming, and into manufacturing which was supposed to be attracted to Mexico by the cheap labor of displaced farmers.

INS%20Visa%20Approval%20Stamp.jpg More... 

Related:

The Economics Of Immigration Reform, Matt Corley and others, Think Progress
While anti-immigrant groups use anecdotal evidence to erroneously claim <http://cis.org/UnemploymentAmongNativeWorkers>  that legalization would be disastrous for the American worker, passing comprehensive immigration reform would not only strengthen the labor market, it would promote needed economic growth.

The 25th Hour

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  • Still Living With Jack Bauer in a Terrified New American World 
  • A nation of cowards
  • Chomsky: Obama ‘Determined To Demolish The Foundations Of Our Civil Liberties

Rebecca Gordon, Tom Dispatch

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9780199336432.jpgJuly 10, 2014 | Once upon a time, if a character on TV or in a movie tortured someone, it was a sure sign that he was a bad guy. Now, the torturers are the all-American heroes. From 24 to Zero Dark Thirty, it’s been the good guys who wielded the pliers and the waterboards. We’re not only living in a post-9/11 world, we’re stuck with Jack Bauer in the 25th hour.

In 2002, Cofer Black, the former Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, told a Senate committee, “All I want to say is that there was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off.” He wanted them to understand that Americans now live in a changed world, where, from the point of view of the national security state, anything goes. It was, as he and various top officials in the Bush administration saw it, a dangerous place in which terrorists might be lurking in any airport security line and who knew where else.

one-nation-under-surveillance.jpgRebecca Gordon is the author of Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States (Oxford University Press). She teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She has also spent several decades working in a variety of national and international movements for peace and justice, and is a member of the War Times/Tiempo de Guerras collective.

Full story … 

 

Related:

Chomsky: Obama ‘Determined To Demolish The Foundations Of Our Civil Liberties, Noam Chomsky, Daily Caller

  • “It is of no slight import that the project is being executed in one of the freest countries in the world, and in radical violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which protects citizens from ‘unreasonable searches and seizures,’ and guarantees the privacy of their persons, houses, papers and effects,” Chomsky said.
  • NSA Spying

 

Rethinking the Fourth of July

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  • Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852 said, "What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license..." 
  • This July 4, our nation plans the massive deportation of thousands of immigrant children.
  • Trying to Feel Patriotic on the Fourth of July

Bill Begelow, Huffington Post

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no%20slavery%20-%20July%204th.jpg?itok=Dn2RMqkO "No Slavery" broadside, (1850s), courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society The Zinn Education Project

July 2, 2014 | In Portland, Oregon, where I live, the Fourth of July holiday offers an excuse for a wonderful annual blues festival downtown in Waterfront Park. Unfortunately, in my neighborhood, it also provides cover for people to blow off fireworks that terrify young children and animals and turn the air thick with smoke and errant  projectiles. Last year the fire department here reported 35 fires sparked by toy missiles, defective firecrackers, and other items of explosive revelry. The Washington State Department of Ecology warns:

Breathing fine particles in fireworks smoke can cause or contribute to serious short- or long-term health problems. They include:

  • Risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Lung inflammation.
  • Reduced lung function.
  • Asthma-like symptoms.
  • Asthma attacks.

Bill Bigelow: Co-director, Zinn Education Project; Curriculum editor, Rethinking Schools

Full story … 

Related:

Trying to Feel Patriotic on the Fourth of July, Gary G. Kohls, Duty to Warn, Evergreene Digest

  • Anyone who honestly reads Howard Zinn, Martin Luther King, Noam Chomsky, and  Chris Hedges can’t help but become disillusioned with America’s history and the massive propaganda by which the vast majority of us Americans have been duped into sometimes very sincerely believing that the US is the new shining light of the world, working courageously and endlessly for justice and peace.
  • Howard Zinn’s July 4 Wisdom: Put Away Your Flags

 

When will this insanity end?

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Just in case you're angry about the three Israeli kids kidnapped (and you should be) but are unaware that our media isn't telling anything like the whole story. The things included here go on all the time, every damned day, but U.S. media entirely ignores almost all of it.  In this country, Palestinian kids, or just Palestinian lives, seem to have no value. -- Jim Fuller

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights Newsletter

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor James Fuller

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palestine-refugee-camp.jpgPalestinian refugee camp

Monday, June 30, 2014 | A sadly familiar scene over the past two weeks here in occupied Palestine:

10 Palestinians (including a 7 and 15 year old)  and three Israeli settlers (16 – 19 year old) were killed. Dozens of Palestinian homes were demolished in the past two weeks. Over 570 more Palestinians were kidnapped in these two weeks making more than 6000 abductees languishing in Israeli gulags/prisons. 1500 Palestinian homes invaded without due process. 12 million native Palestinians still await their freedom from colonial occupation and displacement. And Israeli leaders are promising to “do more” (genocidal mayhem?). 

But the question remains when will this insanity end?

Can it end by negotiations between occupied and occupier; negotiations that have been going on for 22 years while Israel gets $12 billion profit every year from its occupation? (That is not counting the billions from US taxpayers.)

Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. He was chairman of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and currently serves on the board of Al-Rowwad Children's Theater Center in Aida Refugee Camp. His main interest is media activism and public education.  

Full story … 

Tea Party’s winning xenophobia: Why a broadly popular policy is all but dead

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  • A new report shows how immigration reform is hostage to a misinformed minority of Fox News-watching wingnuts
  • Leaked Photos Show Immigrant Children Packed In Crowded Texas Border Facilities

Simon Maloy, Salon

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backburn_gohmert-620x412.jpg Marsha Blackburn, Louie Gohmert (Credit: AP/Chris Usher/Carolyn Kaster)

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 | The Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution have a new report out taking the public’s temperature on immigration reform, and the findings are pretty dispiriting. To put it simply: (quite nearly) everyone wants immigration reform, but it’s not happening because of the disproportionately large influence of a small, determined minority.

According to the report, a full 62 percent of America favors allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they meet certain requirements. Support for that policy outcome isn’t just broad, it’s also bipartisan: 70 percent of Democrats favor it, 51 percent of Republicans, and 61 percent of independents. The opposition comes from self-identified Tea Partyers, who are split evenly between citizenship and deportation, with 37 percent backing each policy outcome.

Here’s how the report describes this oppositional group.

Simon Maloy is Salon's political writer.

Full story … 

Related:

Leaked Photos Show Immigrant Children Packed In Crowded Texas Border Facilities, Kolten Parker, San Francisco (CA) Gate / Popular Resistance

  • “The influx of unaccompanied children across the southwest border has resulted in an urgent humanitarian situation,” the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson said. “It requires a whole of government coordinated and sustained response.”
  • Take Action: End U.S. Military Aid to Colombia's Army

 

 

How the US is Fueling Military Repression in Honduras

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  • Military repression in Honduras is a direct legacy of U.S. meddling in the country.
  • The Humanitarian Crisis At The Border Is Actually A Foreign Policy Crisis.

Lynn HollandForeign Policy in Focus

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honduras-military-rule-coup-zelaya-us-support-repression-722x413.jpgThe Honduran military was a front-line enforcer of U.S. goals in Central America during the Cold War. The country is still paying the price to this day. (Photo: Charlie Company / Flickr)

Wednesday, June 24, 2014 | A few weeks ago in Honduras, six Americans were arrested and thrown in jail while salvaging from the ocean floor off the northern coast. Their charge: possession of illegal weapons while on board the ship. A spokesman for the salvage company the men work for said that port officials had approved the guns in advance for purposes of protection. Since their arrest, there have been reports that the men are poorly fed, the jail is foul and mosquito-infested, and vicious fights have broken out among the other inmates.

Publicity over the case has pried the lid off the longstanding human rights crisis in Honduras. Harassment, arbitrary arrest, crowded prisons, and a host of other human rights abuses are a way of life for many Hondurans, and especially the poor. Unionists, peasant activists, environmentalists, indigenous people, and the journalists, lawyers, and others who support them are particularly vulnerable to threats, disappearance, and murder. Over the years, politically motivated killings, along with other factors, have given Honduras the highest murder rate in the world.

Lynn Holland is a professor at the University of Denver where she teaches illicit markets in Latin America and political economic development in Latin America as well as graduate courses in international political economy, comparative politics, and the international system.

Full story … 

Related:

The Humanitarian Crisis At The Border Is Actually A Foreign Policy Crisis, SOA Watch

  • SOAW%20banner.jpgThe Root Causes of Migration: End U.S. Funding of the Drug War and the Corrupt Honduran Regime
  • The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 SOA-graduate led coup, the abusive policies of the resulting Honduran regimes, and the shameful U.S. support for these corrupt governments that emerged after dubious elections in 2009 and 2013.

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