Human Rights

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Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011

Jonathan Turley, Blog, January 2, 2012 President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country ... and citizens partied only blissfully into the New Year. Ironically, in addition to breaking his promise not to sign the law, Obama broke his promise on signing statements and attached a statement that he really does not want to detain citizens indefinitely. ... Final

So what is our foreign policy?

Per Fagereng, January 2, 2012

Perhaps the most honest statement came from George Kennan. In February 1948, Kennan wrote Presidential Policy Statement 23, which said:
"The US has 50 percent of the world's wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which permits us to maintain this position of disparity ... To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming, and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.

Obama's New Year's resolution against Bill of Rights

Jill Stein, January 1, 2012 Yesterday, New Year's Eve, on the same day that most Americans were busy with celebrations, and the news media was out of the office, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into statute. As I described in a video last week, the NDAA authorizes this or any future president to declare anyone - even US citizens on US soil - a terrorist subject to indefinite detention, without trial. This is the kind of unlimited power granted to government leaders in dictatorships, not democracies. ... Obama

Obama Crowned Himself on New Year's Eve

David Swanson, War Is A Crime, December 31, 2011 These were among the complaints registered the last time this nation had a king: "He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. ..." Obama

Slip-Sliding to War with Iran

Having apparently learned nothing from the Iraq disaster, many of the same political/media players are reprising their tough-guy roles in a new drama regarding Iran. These retread performances may make another war, with Iran, hard to avoid, writes Robert Parry. Robert Parry, Consortium News, December 29, 2011 Indeed, even if they want to, the various sides might have trouble backing down enough to defuse today's explosive situation. ... Slip-Sliding

Civilian contractors playing key roles in US drone operations

Relying on contractors has brought companies that operate for profit into some of America's most sensitive military and intelligence operations. And using civilians makes some in the military uneasy. David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2011 After a US airstrike mistakenly killed at least 15 Afghans in 2010, the Army officer investigating the accident was surprised to discover that an American civilian had played a central role: analyzing video feeds from a Predator drone keeping watch from above. ... Civilian

Vote Obama – if you want a centrist Republican for US president

Because Barack Obama has adopted so many core Republican beliefs, the US opposition race is a shambles. Glenn Greenwald, Guardian, December 27, 2011 American presidential elections are increasingly indistinguishable from the reality TV competitions drowning the nation's airwaves. Both are vapid, personality-driven and painfully protracted affairs, with the winners crowned by virtue of their ability to appear slightly more tolerable than the cast of annoying rejects whom the public eliminates one by one. When America's tawdriest (and one of its most-watched) reality TV show hosts, Donald Trump, inserted himself into the campaign circus ... Vote

War On OWS

Berkeley Police Threaten To Shoot Protesters With Same Deadly Tear Gas Grenade Launcher Used Against Palestinian Protesters ... Yasha Levine, The eXiled, December 26, 2011 A video recorded by OccupyNewsandMedia during last week’s early-morning raid on Occupy Berkeley shows a burly Berkeley cop strutting around with a repeat-fire tear gas grenade launcher, menacingly pointing it at protesters without provocation. At one point the bloodlusting cop threatens to shoot pointblank the guy with the camera, telling him “You back up ... you may not understand it til’ I use this, but you better back up” – before charging ... War

The second cold war and South America

New strategic directions on the part of the United States. Raúl Zibechi, Latin America in Movement, December 24, 2011 The "war against terror" inaugurated by George W. Bush as a response to the September 11 2001 attack is now giving way to a strategy of "containment" of China, the new strategy laid out by the Pentagon to encircle, and eventually stifle the asiatic power, with the objective of maintaining US global supremacy. The new course of the Empire includes South America. The change of course appeared in November. "In our plans and proposals for the future, we shall dedicate resources to maintain our strong military presence in the region", said Barack Obama on November 17 ... The

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Israel, Palestine and American Christian Hypocrites.
Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law, December 2011

It was December of 1991 and I was serving as Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in Washington, DC. The Israelis were stalling, not even negotiating in bad faith, and the Americans under Baker and Ross were doing nothing to get the negotiations started.

Palestinian residents of Bethlehem fear Israeli expansion

Sheera Frenkel, McClatchy Newspapers, December 22, 2011 Bethlehem - The Alam family used to boast of their biblical view over the lush valley outside the Palestinian city of Bethlehem. Grape orchards were carved into the terraced hills and shepherds brought their flocks to graze in the valley basin. "You could look and imagine what it would have been like in the time of Jesus," said the Reverend Ibrahim Shomalia, a local priest. But recent years have brought changes to the valley - none more dramatic than the recent announcements by Israel that it plans, within the coming months, to construct a circle of Jewish settlements around the city ... Palestinian

Palestinian factions agree on unified government

President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal finalise groundbreaking deal in Cairo after heated negotiations. Phoebe Greenwood, Guardian, December 22, 2011 Rival Palestinian factions have agreed to form a unified government, which will be sworn in by the end of January. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal met in Cairo to agree the groundbreaking deal late on Wednesday after days of heated negotiation between representatives of Palestinian political groups led by Hamas and Fatah. The talks, mediated by Egypt, are part of ongoing efforts to mend the factional divisions ... Palestinian

President Obama to Issue a Signing Statement on National Defense Authorization Act

Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartman Program, December 22, 2011 You need to know this. Despite protests from the Left and Right, the President will not veto the highly controversial National Defense Authorization Act that includes indefinite detention provisions. However – Attorney General Eric Holder told the Wall Street Journal that the President intends to issue a signing statement when he approves the new law. Presidents often use signing statements to justify ignoring certain aspects of a law passed by Congress.  In fact – George W. Bush issued 161 signing statements during his presidency ... On

Outraged Egyptian Women Say "We Have No Fear" - video

Real News Network, December 21, 2011 Jihan Hafiz reports on a historic march of 10,000 women mobilized in central Cairo against military rule ... Outraged

Did Congress Just Endorse Rendition for Americans?

You've heard about indefinite detention in the defense bill. But it also contains some eyebrow-raising language regarding the transfer of terrorist suspects to foreign countries. Nick Baumann, Mother Jones, December 21, 2011 A defense spending bill that passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly and is set to be signed by President Barack Obama as early as this week could make it easier for the government to transfer American terrorist suspects to foreign regimes and security forces. The National Defense Authorization Act contains a section that says the president has the power to transfer suspected members and supporters ... Did

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