Tag Archives: terrorism

EU Enacts Landmark Social Media Law to End Self-Regulation by Big Tech

“As the U.S. agonizes over misinformation and hate speech on social media and the harm it does to democracy,” said one journalist, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act “to tackle the problem.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 4-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Jason Howie/flickr/CC

The European Union on Saturday passed a landmark law that seeks to reduce social media’s harmful effects by requiring Big Tech corporations to quash disinformation and illicit content on their platforms or else face multibillion-dollar fines.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) would compel Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and other platforms “to set up new policies and procedures to remove flagged hate speech, terrorist propaganda, and other material defined as illegal by countries within the European Union,” the New York Times reported. Continue reading

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Declassified Docs Show CIA Used Prisoner as a Torture Training Prop

“Twenty years later, none of the those responsible for the CIA’s heinous regime of torture were ever prosecuted,” lamented Rep. Ilhan Omar. “Instead they got promotions.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Guantánamo prisoner and alleged 9/11 co-plotter Ammar al-Baluchi was used as a torture training prop at a CIA “black site” in Afghanistan, documents declassified in March 2022 affirmed. (Photo: International Committee of the Red Cross)

A prisoner at a Central Intelligence Agency “black site” in Afghanistan was used as a training prop to teach U.S. operatives how to torture other prisoners, leaving him with serious brain damage and other ailments, newly declassified documents published this week affirmed.

Ammar al-Baluchi, a 44-year-old Kuwaiti national, is currently imprisoned at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he is one of five men awaiting trial by military commission for alleged involvement in plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The case, which has been delayed due to disputes over the admissibility of defendant testimony extracted through torture, has been in pre-trial hearings for more than a decade. Continue reading

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‘Death Sentence for Untold Numbers of Civilians’: Biden to Permanently Seize Afghan Assets

“I can’t think of a worse betrayal of the people of Afghanistan than to freeze their assets and give it to 9/11 families,” said one person whose brother was killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

By Jon Queally. Published 2-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Humanitarians—including those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks of 2001—responded with condemnation Friday after it was reported that President Joe Biden has decided to permanently seize $7 billion of currently frozen Afghan assets even as the people of the war-torn and poverty-stricken nation suffer a broken economy, a collapsed healthcare system, and widespread starvation.

According to the New York Times, the Biden administration will soon formally announce a plan to make half of the $7 billion available to pay off legal claims by those who lost families members on 9/11 while the other half would be set aside for humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people. Continue reading

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2021 Was Deadliest Year for Palestinians Since 2014: Israeli Human Rights Group

According to analysis, Israeli forces and settlers killed over 300 people in the occupied territories and left nearly 900 homeless.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Israeli strikes have destroyed buildings and infrastructure in Gaza. Photo: UNOCHA/Samar Elouf

A Jerusalem-based human rights group on Tuesday released new statistics revealing that Israeli security forces and armed settlers‘ violence against Palestinians in the illegally occupied territories escalated in 2021 to the highest levels in seven years.

Last year was the deadliest year for Palestinians living under occupation since 2014, when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge and killed thousands in the Gaza Strip, according to B’Tselem – the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Continue reading

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Over 200 ‘Vigils for Democracy’ Planned Across US to Commemorate January 6

“We must not forget what happened last January 6,” say organizers, “and we must demand action from our leaders to prevent another attack on our democracy.”

By Julia Conley  Published 1-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Makeshift Fence Memorials to Capitol Police Officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood o January 12, 2021. Photo: Elvert Barnes/Wikimedia/CC

To mark the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and demand free and fair elections, more than 200 grassroots-organized candlelit vigils are planned for Thursday in cities and towns across the United States.

The vigils will be held in nearly every state in the country, with some gatherings including voter registration drives and voter outreach events to counteract what organizers say is an effort by “the same faction that attacked our country on January 6” to restrict voting rights and attack fair voting districts all while “quietly preparing future attempts to sabotage free and fair elections and with [them] our democracy.” Continue reading

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A crisis of democracy in the US – what to watch for in 2022

The future is gloomy, with abortion rights threatened, rampant voter suppression and radical Republicans undermining democracy at every turn

By Chrissy Stroop  Published 12-30-2021 by openDemocracy

The March to Save America rally on January 6 2021 that preceded the US Capitol ‘insurrection. Photo: Blink O’fanaye/flickr/CC

Sad to say, when it comes to political life and civil society in the United States, 2021 has not given proponents of democracy and human rights much to celebrate.

The year was dominated by three negative trends: the authoritarian Right’s ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 presidential election was ‘stolen’ from former president Donald Trump; the impact of Republican stacking of the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, with far-Right extremists; and the relative impotence of President Joe Biden’s administration to pursue necessary reforms in the face of Republican obstruction, even with a nominal legislative majority. Continue reading

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‘Anti-Democratic and Cowardly’: US Building New Secret Courtroom at Guantánamo

“The entire enterprise,” said one critic of the tribunal process, “makes a mockery out of what the U.S. pretends to stand for.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-30-2021 by Common Dreams

Witness Against Torture demonstrates for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay offshore prison. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates and attorneys representing Guantánamo Bay detainees on Thursday decried a secret new courtroom reportedly being built by the Pentagon at the notorious offshore U.S. prison.

The New York Times reports Gitmo’s new second courtroom—which will cost $4 million—will not allow members of the public to witness proceedings against detainees to be tried for alleged terrorism-related offenses. People wishing to view those trials will have the option of watching delayed video footage in a separate building. Continue reading

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UN fails to agree on ‘killer robot’ ban as nations pour billions into autonomous weapons research

Humanitarian groups have been calling for a ban on autonomous weapons.
Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

James Dawes, Macalester College

Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

The United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons debated the question of banning autonomous weapons at its once-every-five-years review meeting in Geneva Dec. 13-17, 2021, but didn’t reach consensus on a ban. Established in 1983, the convention has been updated regularly to restrict some of the world’s cruelest conventional weapons, including land mines, booby traps and incendiary weapons. Continue reading

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New Analysis Reveals Why Repealing 2001 AUMF ‘Will Not Be Enough to Kill the War on Terror’

As the executive branch’s power to authorize military activities has metastasized under four administrations since 9/11, oversight of “counterterrorism operations” across the globe has crumbled.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-14-2021 by Common Dreams

new-analysis-reveals-why-repealing-2001-aumf-will-not-be-enough-kill-war-terror

A new analysis published Tuesday by the Costs of War Project details how the power of U.S. presidents to greenlight military activities has grown since the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force was first enacted, demonstrating why simply repealing the measure now won’t be enough to end so-called “counterterrorism operations” across the globe.

Drawing on Congressional Research Service data updated through August 6, the report documents where and how the 2001 AUMF has been used—and also highlights how counterterrorism operations have taken place in dozens of additional nations without the aid of the law that launched the so-called “War on Terror” just one week after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Continue reading

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Modern-day culture wars are playing out on historic tours of slaveholding plantations

These statues of enslaved young boys are part of a modern-day depiction of southern plantation life at the Whitney Museum in Louisiana.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Kelley Fanto Deetz, University of California, Berkeley

Located on nearly 2,000 acres along the banks of the Potomac River, Stratford Hall Plantation is the birthplace of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the home of four generations of the Lee family, including two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee.

It was also the home of hundreds of enslaved Africans and African Americans. From sunup to sundown, they worked in the fields and in the Great House. Until fairly recently, the stories of these enslaved Africans and of their brothers and sisters toiling at plantations across the Southern U.S. were absent from any discussions during modern-day tours of plantations such as Stratford Hall. Continue reading

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