Category Archives: Terrorism

Victory Over ‘Civil Liberties Train Wreck’ as Federal Judge Rules US Terror Watchlist Unconstitutional

After years of abuse and secrecy, court’s decision seen by rights advocates as very welcome but “long overdue”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-5-2019

A Transportation Security Administration agent at a checkpoint verifying passenger identification in John Glenn Columbus International Airport. (Photo: Michael Ball/cc)

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the government’s terror watchlist violates the civil rights of Americans placed on it, opening the door for a major piece of legislation from the global war on terror being overturned.

“This is a really important ruling, long overdue,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “The watchlist is overbroad, opaque, and arbitrary—a civil liberties train wreck.” Continue reading

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Citing Racist Massacres and ‘Inexcusable’ Prevalence of Guns, Foreign Countries Issue Travel Safety Warnings for United States

“The world is watching.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-6-2019

Screenshot: Fox News

While President Donald Trump and the Republican Party have spent the past several years claiming foreign migrants and refugees pose a threat to Americans, a pair of massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend has compelled two Latin American countries to warn their own  citizens of the travel dangers lurking in the United States.

The foreign ministries of Venezuela and Uruguay issued urgent warnings to people in their countries who may travel to the U.S. following the deaths of 31 people in the two mass shootings. Both countries informed their citizens of the “indiscriminate possession” of guns by the U.S. population and the refusal of the federal government to address the problem. Continue reading

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There’s a dark political history to language that strips people of their dignity

 

Baltimore’s inner harbor. Photo: needpix

William A. Donohue, Michigan State University

Dehumanizing language often precedes genocide.

One tragic example: Extreme dehumanizing language was a strong contributor to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. As I have written, the Hutu majority used a popular radio station to continually refer to Tutsi tribal members, a minority in Rwanda, as “cockroaches.”

As support for this characterization grew among Hutus, it essentially stripped away any moral obligation to see Tutsis as fellow humans. They were just vermin that needed to be eradicated. Continue reading

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Following Death Threats, Human Rights Defenders Demand Israeli Authorities Stand Up for Civil Society

“This is the result of the ongoing incitement campaign against aid and human rights organizations in Israel—with the encouragement and backing of politicians and public figures.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-31-2019

On Wednesday, death threats were found spray-painted outside the offices of Amnesty International in Tel Aviv and ASSAF, an organization which advocates for refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. (Photo: @AmnestyIsrael/Twitter)

Human rights defenders in Israel on Wednesday linked recent threats at three civil society organizations to the rhetoric and policies of the country’s government, which has worked to intimidate and suppress groups critical of its treatment of Palestinians and other marginalized people.

Staff members at Amnesty Israel in Tel Aviv and the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF) on Wednesday found death threats written in spray paint on walls outside the organizations’ offices. A box containing death threats and a dead mouse was found around the same time at the Elifelet Children’s Activity Center, which cares for refugee children. Continue reading

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Iraqi President: US Has No Right to Use Iraq as ‘Staging Post’ for Attack on Iran

“There is no military solution to this problem.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-26-19

raqi President Barham Salih speaking in an interview that aired Tuesday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. (Screengrab/CNN)

Iraqi President Barham Salih said Tuesday that the United States has no right to use his country as a launchpad for a strike against Iran.

Salih, in his interview with CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, also talked about the adverse impacts his own country has felt as a result of U.S. imposed sanctions, stressed the need to prevent another war, and warned that tearing up the nuclear deal entirely “could be disastrous for the entire neighborhood as a whole.” Continue reading

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Despite Christchurch Massacre and Others, Trump Refuses to Join ‘Unprecedented’ Global Effort to Tackle Racist Extremism Online

“To be honest, I do not understand the United States,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-15-2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron this week launched the Christchurch Call, a global initiative to combat online extremism. (Photo: @JaneCoombsNZ/Twitter)

The White House announced Wednesday it will not join a global initiative, launched in the wake of a massacre in New Zealand two months ago, to tackle racist and extremist online content.

“By not standing alongside other world leaders to fight hate,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center in response, “President Trump has shown once again that he doesn’t understand the importance of white supremacy in fueling terrorism.” Continue reading

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Just Like Trump, Media Outlets Rarely Label Far-Right Attacks ‘Terrorism’: Study

A rare exception in the glaring trend came last month when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was swift to characterize the massacre in Christchurch as the work of a white nationalist terrorist

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-10-2019

Governor Wolf Joins Pittsburgh in mourning after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. Photo: Governor Tom Wolf/flickr

A new study shows that media outlets frequently echo the instinct of political leaders like President Donald Trump when they refuse to label the violence of far-right assailants as “terrorism” while showing significantly less reluctance if an attack was carried out by an Islamic extremist.

The British media monitoring firm Signal AI found that most news sources are quick to draw links between incidents identified as “Islamist” attacks and terrorism, but are far less likely to do the same when an attack suspect is linked to far-right ideologies like white nationalism. Continue reading

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Syria’s Rukban Now Little More Than a US-Controlled Concentration Camp – and the Pentagon Won’t Let Refugees Leave

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a concentration camp is defined as “a place where large numbers of people are kept as prisoners in extremely bad conditions, especially for political reasons.” It is undeniable that the Rukban camp fits this definition to the letter.

By Whitney Webb. Published 3- 28-2019 by MintPress News

The residents of al-Rukban camp suffer from severe humanitarian conditions especially during the winter. There are no heating elements, which forces the children of the camp to build mud houses rather than tents to alleviate the cold weather and storms that hit the area. Photo: Syria Live Map

The United States military has rejected offers to resolve the growing humanitarian crisis in the Rukban refugee camp in Syria, which sits inside a 55 km zone occupied by the U.S. along the Syria-Jordan border. The U.S. has also refused to let any of the estimated 40,000 refugees — the majority of which are women and children — leave the camp voluntarily, even though children are dying in droves from lack of food, adequate shelter and medical care. The U.S. has also not provided humanitarian aid to the camp even though a U.S. military base is located just 20 km (12.4 miles) away.

The growing desperation inside the Rukban camp has received sparse media coverage, likely because of the U.S.’ control over the area in which the camp is located. The U.S. has been accused of refusing to let civilians leave the area — even though nearly all have expressed a desire to either return to Syrian government-held territory or seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey — because the camp’s presence helps to justify the U.S.’ illegal occupation of the area. Continue reading

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‘Illegal Boondoggle’: US Government Rebuked for Giving 1,400 Private Companies Access to Dubious Terrorism Watchlist

“We call on congressional leadership to investigate the private sector dissemination of watchlisting information that stigmatizes the innocent and makes none of us safer.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-20-2019

“The indiscriminate dissemination of the watchlist is but the latest indication that the federal government’s watchlisting system is an illegal boondoggle,” said CAIR litigation director Lena Masri. (Screenshot/The Intercept)

Denouncing the database as “an illegal boondoggle,” a civil rights organization on Wednesday is calling for a congressional probe after the FBI admitted it lied for years when it insisted federal authorities do not share the so-called terrorist watchlist with private entities.

In fact, as the Associated Press first reported, the federal government has shared the

controversial Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) with 1,441 private entities including universities, detention facilities, and hospitals. Continue reading

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Replicating Regime Change Playbook, Pompeo Says US Obligated to ‘Take Down’ Hezbollah in Venezuela

“It’s no coincidence that this seems copy/paste from Bush’s lies to justify his wars.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-7-2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday claimed the designated terrorist organization Hezbollah “has active cells” in Venezuela. (Photo: Fox Business)

As a U.S.-backed effort to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro continues,U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late Wednesday that Hezbollah “has active cells” in Venezuela—a claim that was immediately scrutinized and compared with the second Bush administration’s lies to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Hezbollah, a political and militant Shi’ite Muslim group based in Lebanon, has been on the U.S. State Department’s “Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations” list since 1997. In the interview with Fox Business, Pompeo, who previously served as President Donald Trump’s CIA director, also charged that Iran and Cuba are strongly influencing the country. Continue reading

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