The death of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, announced on Feb. 16, 2024, lays bare to the world the costs of political persecutions. Although his cause of death remains unknown, the 47-year-old died while serving a 19-year sentence in a Siberian penal colony.
Advocacy groups who support changes to a U.S. government spying program that targets foreigners but sweeps up Americans’ data on Friday joined calls for Congressman Mike Turner to step down from his leadership role in the House of Representatives after the Ohio Republican made moves suspected as an attempt to kill bipartisan surveillance reform efforts.
In a letter to Turner first reported by Politico, Demand Progress, Due Process Institute, FreedomWorks, and Restore the Fourth called for his resignation as chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), writing that “it appears you exploited your privileged access to intelligence to scare your colleagues in an effort to undermine reform of warrantless surveillance laws—and in so doing have undermined your credibility, your committee, and national security.”
As Pakistanis prepare to head to the polls with the country’s most popular politician behind bars on dubious charges, human rights groups sounded the alarm on a wide range of election-related repression.
Dozens of Pakistanis were killed Wednesday in two bombings targeting political offices on the eve of highly contentious parliamentary elections from which the country’s most popular leader—who is jailed on what critics say are politically motivated charges—is banned.
The blasts both occurred in the southwestern province of Balochistan, homeland of the nomadic Baloch people, who also inhabit a large swath of southeastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. Government officials said the first bombing, which targeted independent candidate Asfandyar Khan’s office in the Pashin district, killed 18 people. A second blast approximately 80 miles away then killed at least 12 people at the Qilla Saifullah office of the Sunni fundamentalist Jamiat Ulema Islam party, which has close ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
As The New York Times reported Sunday that more than 1,000 Black American pastors have joined the widespread call for a cease-fire in Gaza, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi suggested the demand was “Putin’s message” and said the FBI should investigate groups that are speaking out about Biden’s pro-Israel policies.
On CNN, the former House speaker, a California Democrat, told Dana Bash that the “call for a cease-fire is [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s message” and said she thinks some of the protests that have erupted across the U.S. since October to demand the U.S. push for an end to Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza “are connected to Russia.”
“In general, it’s hard to prove an intention of genocide because no public statements to that effect are made during the fighting,” said one expert. “But these irresponsible statements about erasing Gaza will require Israel to explain why they don’t reflect such an intention.”
Top officials in the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli government have reportedly been warned by a top legal expert that the International Court of Justice could issue an injunction requiring the country to halt its bombardment of Gaza, following a motion filed by South Africa last week.
Haaretz reported that the Israeli “security establishment and the state attorney’s office are concerned” that the court could soon take action to force a cease-fire to protect civilian lives.
The request would remove most conditions on Israel’s use of a U.S. weapons stash, including a requirement that it only use surplus or obsolete weapons and a cap on how much the U.S. can spend resupplying the stash.
President Joe Biden has requested that Congress to lift most of the restrictions on Israel’s access to a U.S. stockpile of weapons in the country, The Intercept reported Saturday.
The request came in the administration’s supplemental budget request to the U.S. Senate, sent October 20. It concerns the War Reserve Stockpile Allies-Israel (WRSA-I) that the U.S. has stored in Israel since the 1980s for its own use in a potential conflict in the region. The U.S. allows Israel to access the stockpile under certain conditions, but Biden’s request would remove most of these conditions, including a requirement that Israel only use surplus or obsolete weapons and a cap on how much the U.S. can spend resupplying the stash.
Nearly eight decades after the United States dropped an atomic bomb codenamed “Fat Man” on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday was among the voices around the world renewing calls for eliminating nuclear weapons.
In a message to the Nagasaki Peace Memorial on the 78th anniversary of the 1945 bombing, Guterres said that “this ceremony is an opportunity to remember a moment of unmatched horror for humanity.”
Local, national, and global leaders warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons as they commemorated the 78th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima Sunday.
This year’s anniversary comes as the release of the film Oppenheimer has offered a high-profile reminder of the history of the atomic bomb and as nuclear tensions in the current day have heightened, in part due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At the start of the year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved their doomsday clock to 90 seconds to midnight.
NATO really is on a roll thanks to Vladimir Putin, but even as its immediate prospects look good, the whole future of the alliance should be open to question.
For now, as Finland and Sweden join, Putin finds an enlarged alliance ranged against him. NATO’s reputation is so bound up with the fate of Ukraine that, in the unlikely event that Russia makes substantial military gains in the conflict, Kyiv cannot be allowed to lose. From Putin’s perspective, his warning early last year of the threat posed to Russia from NATO has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This does at least mean he can claim ‘I told you so’ – which is helping maintain some domestic support.