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Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

It’s been a while. Last week got a bit nutty with election coverage. But I’ve done a ton of reading and now you get a super sized-order of links.

  • NYT: Sane people in NYC have run the stats on NYPD’s stop-and-frisk campaign and they aren’t pretty. Of course minorities were stopped more frequently. It turns out that more than 30% of the 2.8 million stops between 2004-2009 probably weren’t justified. Thank God activists are filing a lawsuit. The cop-bullies need to be punched in the nose for this one.
  • Via Tyler Cowen, IT World: Demands a clickthrough, just to see the heartbreaking photo of a 23-year-old North Korean girl who could easily be mistaken for a malnourished preteen. Enjoy your cognac, Kim Jong-Il. If there’s a hell, you’re going to be roasting in it. If there’s not, hopefully your people manage to Ceausescu you first.
  • LewRockwell.com blog: Johannes Mehserle, the Oakland cop who murdered Oscar Grant, received a two-year sentence. With time served, he could be out in just over six months. It’s their country, we just live in it.
  • Via Radley Balko at Reason, poker player Terrence Chan: U.S. customs thugs turn the tourist Chan away twice at the border, even after he gave them personal documents with the insulting level of private information they wanted from him. These people are out of control. Let’s not even get into the right of free people to cross borders. Let’s just leave it at the sheer idiocy of customs bullies keeping people from spending money in our economy during a recession. How smart, you scumbags.
  • Justin Raimondo: Running down a murderer’s row of happy little accomplices to state-sanctioned murder who are about to find themselves holding leadership positions in the House. Yuck. But as Raimondo points out, at least the utterly vile war criminal Ilario Pantano lost his campaign. Thank God.
  • IMPORTANT — English-language PDF of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s final remarks at his showtrial in the gulags. I don’t agree with every word, but I know that we must not forget this man. He abused a corrupt system, he probably did some extremely shady things in Russia’s early capitalist era, and he would have never become as rich as he did if not for state power. But that doesn’t mean he deserves to end up serving a life sentence in prison whilst men who did worse roam free.
  • Glenn Greenwald: Having a field day with the slavish U.S. media’s attempts to blame the letter bomb campaign on al-Awlaki. This is Greenwald at his best, pointing out the near-total lack of evidence for any involvement by al-Awlaki…except for the very convenient fact that he is a U.S. citizen Obama wants to murder targeted-kill.
  • The Economist: They’re getting bolder–after the FBI provoked a man into supporting one of their little agent-provocateur fake terrorist attacks on the Washington Metro, transit police wanted to start searching bags the next day. You didn’t keep us safe from anything, you losers. This guy would have never done anything if he wasn’t put up to it. Don’t you dare try to take away more of our rights.
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus: Pitching “instant recall” voting with “None of the above” as an option. If “None of the above” wins, Mickey wants a fresh election with all new candidates. This is how sick democracy is. Even when you don’t want anyone, they make you pick someone, just to make the system look legitimate. Here’s an idea: “None of the above” as an option and the office ceases to exist if it wins.
  • NYT: “Well wouldn’t you know it, most politicians didn’t want to talk about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in their election campaigns.” Is this surprising to anyone? Both parties support our imperialist agenda of death. Of course they aren’t going to remind people of the two evil wars we are fighting.
  • National Post: Columnist says “Embrace the hypocrisy,” regarding the U.S. and Canada’s positions on torture. We condemn other countries for it and condone it ourselves. It’s disgusting to see things have come to this. It’s even more disgusting to watch the supposedly anti-torture left roll over and play dead now that Obama is president.
  • MacLean’s: Using the absurd Randy Quaid refugee case to say Canada shouldn’t accept refugee claims from the U.S. Boo! If I thought I could go to Canada and win a refugee hearing on the grounds of my opposition to the warfare state that operates in my name and with my tax dollars, I would. Americans need Canada to be our safety valve of last resort.
  • Der Spiegel: Reporting on child labor in the Uzbek cotton harvest. I know a lot of Uzbeks. Almost everyone of them had a story about being part of cotton-picking student labor gangs. No, people aren’t dying as under military conscription, but sending 11-year-old girls to cotton fields and paying them nine cents for a day’s labor is SICK.
  • The Globe & Mail: Looking back on liberal interventionism, seven years after we invaded Iraq. It’s not looking too good. Of course, this isn’t stopping Michael Ignatieff from trying to run to the interventionist right of Stephen Harper on foreign policy. For Americans, you can think of Ignatieff’s foreign policy as basically identical to Clinton’s, or you could just read this article about it.
  • Jacob Sullum at Reason: Destroying the Four-Loko witchhunters on the basis of their own stats. Four-Loko, the new caffeinated beer tallboy, actually has less caffeine than coffee, but this isn’t stopping news hacks from claiming it causes heart attacks. I bought 24 of them for our newsroom last week and drank part of one myself. It’s vile sludge, but we’re all still alive. Of course, this didn’t stop Michigan from banning it last Thursday.
  • The Moscow Times: When two governments suck at once. Canada institutes a new visa questionnaire that could require some Russians to reveal national security info they are prohibited from revealing by law. Canada—get rid of your visas. Russia–stop telling your citizens what they are allowed to say.
  • Tyler Cowen, in the NYT: Immigrants create jobs. Suck it, Lou Dobbs.
  • National Post: Reporting on blatant lying used by nanny state health tyrants. I think our food system is messed up. I hate to see people drink soda. Obesity is out of control here. But trying to assert control over people’s right to ingest things into their own bodies is repugnant, especially when it is hatched on the basis of lies.
  • Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason: Covering Montana, the latest state to cap payday loan interest rates. “Capping interest rates” is just a polite way of saying “Drives out of business.” Payday loan rates are so high because they are for at-risk clients. In addition, no one makes anyone take one out. Damn these politicians and their populist demagoguery.
  • National Post: A math professor at U of Manitoba sues the school over their decision to award a PhD to a guy who failed his comprehensive exams twice, only to have the requirement waived because of his “extreme examination anxiety.” It gets better–he didn’t even take the required courseload. Rock on, Gabor Lukacs, you principled academe!
  • The Globe & Mail: Requesting Canada get rid of its dairy and poultry protectionism. Amen.
  • NYT: The ugly side of Thailand–censorship. If you haven’t already heard of Thailand’s horrifying lese majeste laws, read up now.
  • NYT: How about some good news? Russia’s brave opposition has absorbed the blows and continued their fight and now they have won a bit of breathing room for their protests. Things are still horribly restricted, but these opposition activists are heroes, people who really put their lives on the line for freedom. Wonderful news. Поздравляю вас, Стратегия-31!
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, LA Times: The specifics of San Francisco’s health-fascist Happy Meal ban. Nice job respecting our right to choose, you fascist guttersnipes.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: Cops will charge a 72-year-old man who fired his gun at suspected robbers entering his house during a poker game. Turns out it was a SWAT team. What would have happened if a SWAT thug shot an unarmed person inside? Paid administrative leave? A commendation?
  • Via LewRockwell.com blog, WaPo: Federal judge rules to limit the liability of the Washington Metro in a lawsuit over an accident that killed nine people. And people really think a court system in which the referee plays for one of the teams only could ever be a fair court system.
  • The Globe & Mail: Discussing the Harper’s government sick hypocrisy in blocking the foreign takeover of Saskatchewan’s Potash Corp. Harper the guy who wrote his Master’s about free market economics blocked the deal to win some votes in Saskatchewan. This columnist seems to feel bad for him. No. This was unprincipled opportunism of the lowest order.
  • Ross Kenyon at Center for a Stateless Society: Attacking the proposed “Robin Hood tax” on the financial sector from both the left and the right. Great piece.
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Tired of failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, embarrassed neocons have accelerated their push to have Iran be the next invasion-point in the war on terror. But hey, war-making fun isn’t just for neocons! Glenn Greenwald hits the Obama administration hard on how the supposedly “serious,” pragmatic guys at the top of Obama’s security team are already treating Yemen as the next theater of operations in the war that never ends.

The lede is delicious:

Could Barack Obama become the first person in history to win the Nobel Peace Prize two consecutive years?  It is hard to dispute the premise that awarding him the Prize this year would be every bit as justifiable as last year’s award.  Fresh off his Nobel-winning escalation of the war in Afghanistan, we now have this monument to world peace: (various press clippings about drone strikes in Yemen)

I was seething over Obama’s Nobel win last year coming right on the heels of his Afghan escalation, and then he had the audacity to lecture the rest of the world about the necessity of fighting wars in his acceptance speech. This is why you can’t award speculative prizes based on what you hope to get out of someone. We hoped to get an anti-war president who would close Guantanamo Bay out of Obama, and instead we got a wimpy loser who is pushed around by the military and probably will never close Guantanamo Bay. It’s Bush III, but with more college basketball tournament brackets and The View appearances.

One more devastating quote:

The illogic and propaganda driving this is so familiar because it’s what has been driving the American National Security State for the last decade.  There is anti-Americanism and radicalism in Yemen; therefore, to solve that problem, we’re going to bomb them more with flying killer robots, because nothing helps reduce anti-American sentiments like slaughtering civilians and dropping cluster bombs from the sky.

Yes, blowback is real. The terrorists don’t hate us for our freedoms. The terrorists hate us because we are occupying their countries, flushing Korans down toilets at due process-free prison camps and dropping bombs on wedding parties. But that answer is too complicated and inconvenient for an American public that loves to be scared and a bunch of death-worshiping politicians who love to scare them.

Read the article. We need more Greenwalds in this country. It’s pretty clear that most Democrats only opposed war some of the time under Bush because Bush was in charge; now that Obama is in charge, it’s perfectly ok to go back to being stooges in the service of the military-industrial complex. And the Republicans don’t appear to be interested in changing horses mid-stream since that could easily give Democrats the first real chance they’ve had at reversing the Republicans’ huge advantage on military and defense issues that probably goes back George McGovern. The war is going to have to be ended by little, insignificant people like us.

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NYT: “Closing Guantanamo Fades as a Priority

The lede:

WASHINGTON — Stymied by political opposition and focused on competing priorities, the Obama administration has sidelined efforts to close the Guantánamo prison, making it unlikely that President Obama will fulfill his promise to close it before his term ends in 2013.

Don’t forget, the 2013 pledge was only made because Obama broke his vow to have it closed by January 2010. The real money quote:

One category — detainees cleared for release who cannot be repatriated for their own safety — is on a path to extinction: allies have accepted 33, and just 22 await resettlement. Another — those who will be held without trials — has been narrowed to 48.

Still, the administration has faced a worsening problem in dealing with the prison’s large Yemeni population, including 58 low-level detainees who would already have been repatriated had they been from a more stable country, officials say.

The administration asked Saudi Arabia to put some Yemenis through a program aimed at rehabilitating jihadists but was rebuffed, officials said. And Mr. Obama imposed a moratorium on Yemen transfers after the failed Dec. 25 attack, planned by a Yemen-based branch of Al Qaeda whose members include two former Guantánamo detainees from Saudi Arabia.

As a result, the Obama administration has been further entangled in practices many of its officials lamented during the Bush administration. […]

So even if the prison closes, we are committed to holding nearly 50 prisoners without trial as well as nearly 60 Yemenis who we are holding onto because we deemed their country too chaotic. This is not the rule of law. This is now on Obama’s hands. This broken pledge stings worse than any other he has issued not just because innocent men’s lives are being ruined, but also because this issue of whether we respect the rule of law is an existential one.

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