Category Archives: National Security vs Police State

How to get elected dictator of Turkey: A ten-step guide

Turkish ‘democracy’ has become two Grey Wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

By Dr. Thoreau Redcrow, Published 4-18-2017 by Kurdish Question

It appears that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gotten himself elected dictator of Turkey through 2029, by a conveniently slim margin of 51-49%. So for other autocratic world leaders out there hoping to replicate his feat—who are tired of pesky Constitutions and Executive limitations—here are a few helpful steps he took that you can follow:

(1) Stage a military coup against your authoritarian regime and blame the so-called conspiracy on an America-living cleric (Fethullah Gulen), who you can then accuse of being a shadowy foreign puppet. And don’t worry if you’re actually a member of NATO and host U.S. military bases on your territory, most of your paranoid lumpen supporters will barely notice the disconnect between your words and reality. Continue reading

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‘New Step in Long Walk to Freedom’: Palestinian Prisoners Launch Mass Hunger Strike

As many as 1,500 political detainees are taking part in the demonstration demanding ‘freedom and dignity’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4–17-2017

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails began a hunger strike on Monday, protesting dismal conditions as well as “Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation.”

Some said as many as 1,500 political prisoners in six jails across Israel were participating in the open-ended strike, commemorating Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and coming ahead of June’s 50-year anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, when the occupation began. Solidarity rallies were also taking place in the occupied cities of Ramallah, Hebron, and Nablus. Continue reading

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Erdoğan Claims Ultimate Power in Turkey After Nearly Split Vote

As one opponent of the referendum noted: “Threats, oppression, imprisonment, censorship, defamation—and yet half of the people of Turkey voted” against.

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-16-2017

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, image via internet blogspot

In a very close—and closely watched—referendum vote, Turks on Sunday handed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan what many say is authoritarian rule.

With more than 99 percent of ballots counted, Erdoğan claimed a win with 51.36 percent voting in favor of the referendum and 48.64 voting against.

However, the Guardian reported, Continue reading

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Will Turkey Hand Erdoğan Authoritarian Rule With Referendum Vote?

Polls show the public is split ahead of historic vote, but the government’s crackdown on dissent has silenced the opposition

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-14-2017

Turkish women are leading the opposition. “This is not a coincidence,” writes author and activist Elif Shafak. “When societies slide into authoritarianism, ultranationalism and fanaticism, women have much more to lose than men.” (Photo: Guido Menato/cc/flickr)

Turkish citizens head to the polls on Sunday to vote on a historic referendum that could potentially cement autocratic rule in the nation, consolidating power for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

If the referendum passes, “it will abolish the office of prime minister, enabling the president to centralize all state bureaucracy under his control and also to appoint cabinet ministers,” AFP reports. Erdoğan would also “control the judiciary” and essentially “rule by decree,” Foreign Policy in Focus columnist Conn Hallinan further noted. Continue reading

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In Russia, 26 March continues

Two weeks after Russia’s anti-corruption protests, activists and participants are still being tried, arrested and intimidated across the country.

By OVD-Info. Published 4-7-2017 by openDemocracy

Andrei Osipov, who took part in 26 March protests in Cheboksary, is detained during an orchestral recital on 31 March. Source: Sergei Zakharov / Youtube.

The events of 26 March across Russia are going to continue to be felt for a while. People are being taken to court, fined and sent to carry out community service works for their participation in unsanctioned demonstrations, and in cities like Blagoveshchensk, the police are still arresting the demonstration organisers. Meanwhile, Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a new criminal case into calls for mass unrest after announcements that another protest was to be held on Red Square on 2 April were made online (Russia’s General Prosecutor Office later ordered these announcements to be blocked.)

On the same day, there were further arrests in Moscow in connection with five different events, and practically everybody who was arrested was questioned (and threatened) by investigators working on this new case. That said, all the investigators’ questions concerned 26 March. And on 6 April, the Investigative Committee had already announced that a suspect was in custody. Continue reading

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And you thought Trump was bad

European leaders have found their nemesis in Viktor Orbán, whose legislation closing down the Central European University constitutes an ethno-nationalist and authoritarian challenge to Europe’s liberal order.

By Michael Stewart. Published 4-6-2017 by openDemocracy

Viktor Orbán. Photo: Andrucha

If guests questioned the significance of a university to its founder, the former President and Rector of Central European University, John Shattuck, liked to remind them that unlike most human institutions, universities can boast longevity. Which significant institutions live on, he would ask, from the years of renaissance glory in Florence, Venice or Padua? Their universities. Or, to put the matter in more familiar terms, what other British corporation founded in 1421 survives and thrives 600 years on, as does King’s College Cambridge?

But after yesterday’s news from Budapest, it may be that the distinguished diplomat and former head of Harvard Library, spoke too soon. Continue reading

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UN: Americans’ Right to Protest is in Grave Danger Under Trump

At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attack the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president

By Common Dreams. Published 4-2-2017

Demonstrators in Arizona, such as these workers striking for higher wages at a Walmart in Phoenix, could face racketeering charges and asset forfeiture under the law passed by the state senate. (Photo: Deanna Dent/UFCW International Union/flickr/cc)

At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attack the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president, an “alarming and undemocratic” trend, U.N. human rights investigators said this week.

Maina Kiai and David Kaye, independent U.N. experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression respectively, are calling on lawmakers in the United States to stop the “alarming” trend of “undemocratic” anti-protest bills designed to criminalize or impede the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. Continue reading

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Minnesota churches face tough questions in offering sanctuary to immigrants

Protecting immigrants is vital work, but what happens when the police arrive at your door?

By Christopher Zumski Finke. Published 3-17-2017 by YES! Magazine

Police monitoring the crowds at the Minnesota Women’s March. Credit: Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

In 1982, a man by the pseudonym René Hurtado found himself living in a suburban church in Minnesota. He had fled El Salvador, his home country, after participating in a U.S.-backed military unit during a civil war. After coming to the United States, he spoke out about the terrible things he had done—torturing prisoners with electrocution and needles, for example—as a member of the CIA-trained Salvadoran military. El Salvador wanted him back, and the U.S. government wanted him deported. Instead, Hurtado hunkered down at St. Luke Presbyterian Church in Hennepin County, Minnesota, while his case played out in the national media and in immigration courts.

Hurtado still lives in Minnesota more than 30 years later. Today, his story has new relevance as Minnesota’s churches again embrace their role as sanctuary spaces, this time in response to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and aggressive deportation policies. Continue reading

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Seeking ‘To Create a Police State,’ AG Sessions Threatens Sanctuary Cities

But “state and local governments and law enforcement have broad authority under the Constitution to not participate in federal immigration enforcement,” says New York’s attorney general

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-27-2017

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who on Monday said federal grants would be withheld from sanctuary cities. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday took aim at sanctuary cities, saying such communities must end and that his Department of Justice would deprive them of federal grants—a move that prompted the New York attorney general to vow his continued resolution in resisting the Trump administration’s “draconian policies.”

“Such policies cannot continue. They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the streets,” he said during a White House press briefing.

“We intend to use all the lawful authorities we have to make sure our state and local officials … are in sync with the federal government,” Sessions said. Continue reading

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Injustice is the foundation of the new Turkish state

With the media focusing on Erdogan’s April referendum, it is easy to lose sight of, or cover up, the tensions and serious abuses in the Kurdish areas in the south-east of the country.

By Lutz Oette. Published 3-25-2017 by openDemocracy

The Turkish government’s response to the 2016 coup attempt is well known. In the name of national security, it has pursued a concerted campaign to crack down on the media, academics, the independence of institutions, human rights defenders and political opponents.

According to Erdogan’s critics, we are witnessing a barely veiled attempt to establish a new sultanate. The speed and magnitude of measures taken is dazzling. With the media focusing on Erdogan’s April referendum, it is easy to lose sight of, or cover up, the tensions and serious abuses in the Kurdish areas in the south-east of the country. Continue reading

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