Tag Archives: Patrick Leahy

Critics Call Upcoming Pentagon Visit by Indonesian Defense Minister—Accused of Horrific Atrocities—a ‘Human Rights Catastrophe’

Prabowo Subianto—who led a notorious commando unit implicated in genocidal violence—was invited to Washington by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-15-2020

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. Photo: Prabowo Subianto / CC BY-SA

Human rights advocates this week sounded the alarm on a meeting scheduled for Friday between American Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, a former U.S.-trained general in an elite army unit implicated in genocidal violence and other atrocities in East Timor, West Papua, Jakarta, and elsewhere in the archipelago nation in the late decades of the last century.

Since 2000, Prabowo has been banned from entering the United States by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. However, Esper last week invited the 68-year-old to Washington as the Trump administration seeks closer relations with the nation of 268 million people in a bid to counter China’s growing clout. Continue reading

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If This ‘Doesn’t Give You Chills I Don’t Know What Will’: McConnell Patriot Act Expansion Would Hand AG Barr Unprecedented Spy Powers

“These amendments would pretty much guarantee the ability of an incumbent administration to spy on its political opponents without consequence.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-13-2020

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Sen. Ron Wyden was joined by privacy advocates Wednesday in forcefully condemning a new proposed amendment to the PATRIOT Act put forward by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that would greatly expand the U.S. attorney general’s surveillance powers under FISA.

McConnell’s amendment, which the Senate began debating Wednesday as lawmakers took up the reauthorization of the 2001 PATRIOT Act, would explicitly permit the FBI to collect records of Americans’ internet search and browsing histories without a warrant. It would also mandate that Attorney General William Barr, and his successors, conduct an annual review of the FBI’s submissions into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. Continue reading

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Bringing Back ‘Archaic and Gruesome Weapons,’ Trump Reverses US Restrictions on Landmines

“The United States is doing a 180 on the near-global consensus to ban the abhorrent and inhumane use of landmines.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-31-2020

Pita Roque, a land mine victim in Mozambique. Photo: Ton Rulkens/CC

The Trump administration announced Friday that it was officially rolling back restrictions on the U.S. military’s ability to use landmines.

“In case you didn’t know, because they’re from one of the most draconian chapters of 20th century, the victims of landmines are mostly innocent civilians and especially children,” said immigration attorney Curtis Morrison. Continue reading

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Challenging EPA’s New FOIA Rule, Suit Seeks to Stop Trump’s “Shameful Attempt to Keep Americans in the Dark”

“We have a right to know what EPA is trying to hide and which Trump appointee is trying to hide it.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2019

EPA headquarters in Washington. EPA/Flickr

A new lawsuit seeks to kill a recent Trump administration rule that critics say deals a blow to transparency by giving the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to shoot down public information requests.

The new rule—put in place without public input—was published on the Federal Register June 26 and goes into effect July 26. Continue reading

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Senators Demand Federal Limits for Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water Amid Reports of ‘Unconscionable’ Inaction by Trump’s EPA

“We now face a serious challenge: aggressively addressing the health and environmental threats connected with PFAS.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-1-2019

Twenty senators are calling for federal limits on a pair of chemicals linked to various cancers and other health issues. (Photo: Peter Werkman/Flickr/cc)

In response to reports this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t plan to impose drinking water limits on two toxic chemicals linked to various forms of cancer and other health issues, 20 senators on Friday sent a letter to acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler imploring him to craft nationwide restrictions.

The chemicals in question are PFOA and PFOS, which belong to a group called PFASPolitico reported Tuesday that Wheeler had signed off on an unreleased plan that would leave the pair off the list of materials regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Continue reading

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Demanding End to ‘Unprecedented’ Secrecy, Senators Say Kavanaugh May Have Perjured Himself About Role in Post-9/11 Torture Program

“Release documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the White House in the same manner as was done for all previous Supreme Court nominees. The truth should not be hidden from the Senate or the American people.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-17-2018

Then-President George W. Bush looks on as Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on June 1, 2006. (Photo: Eric Draper/White House)

Three Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee claimed Thursday that documents suggest “wildly unpopular” U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied to lawmakers about his role in the George W. Bush administration’s torture program during his 2006 confirmation hearing to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org—one of the groups leading the #StopKavanaugh effort that has grown out of concerns about Kavanaugh’s record on reproductive rights, the environmenthuman rightslabor, healthcare, and net neutrality—tweeted: Continue reading

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