Witness Against Torture demonstrates for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay offshore prison. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)
Human rights advocates on Friday welcomed reporting, confirmed by the White House, that President Joe Biden intends to close the Guantánamo Bay offshore military prison, which has long drawn global condemnation for torture and detention conditions.
“We are pleased to hear that the Biden administration wants to review the U.S. policy of almost 20 years of indefinite detention without charge of Muslim men at an offshore prison,” said Daphne Eviatar, director of the Security With Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA, in a statement. Continue reading →
The Capitol ambush was a low point for US democracy. Screenshot: CBS News
Earlier this month, the world was shocked by the Capitol rioters’ assault on US democracy. But more chilling still is that those who swore to protect the institutions of state may have been among the attackers.
One US army captain is under investigation for taking part in the 6 January rally that eventually led to the breach of the Capitol in Washington DC, while a former marine was reported to be among the mob that descended on the building. Two off-duty police officers have been charged in connection with the riots.
18-year-old Saida Ahmad Baghili is bed-ridden and unable to eat, surviving on a diet of juice, milk and tea. Screenshot: ABC News
Advocates for a more just U.S. foreign policy on Monday denounced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, a move that progressives say will disrupt the ability of humanitarian agencies to provide life-saving aid in an effort to alleviate widespread civilian suffering generated by the U.S.-backed Saudi regime’s assault on the country.
In a statement released Monday, Oxfam criticized Pompeo’s decision to label the Houthis a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO), calling it a “counter-productive and dangerous policy that will put innocent lives at risk.” Continue reading →
Proud Boys in Washington DC on December 12, 2020. Photo: Julie Pillay/Twitter
At least four people were stabbed Saturday as supporters of President Donald Trump, including maskless Proud Boys in helmets and bulletproof vests, descended on the nation’s capital and clashed with counterprotesters—violence that some critics tied to the president’s pre-election directive to the self-described “western chauvinists.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley | Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II, DOD, CC BY 2.0
The United States responded to the 9/11 attacks by terminating the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and quashing al-Qaida. At the time there was widespread domestic support for the action and most allied states were also in agreement, at least at first. A few analysts were more cautious and the openDemocracy view at the time was that al-Qaida wanted a war, to show how significant it was but also to trap Western forces in Afghanistan and drag the United States down in much the same way as Soviet Union had been in the 1980s.
Now, there are signs that precisely that is happening, with the Afghan government and the Taliban agreeing to an outline of how negotiations on a peace settlement might be achieved. This comes after two months of talks in Qatar that have really been between the United States and the Taliban. The main topic of the talks was the withdrawal of all uniformed US forces by next May in return for a Taliban ceasefire and a pledge from Taliban leadership that they would not allow al-Qaida or ISIS to maintain a presence in the country. Continue reading →
The Washington Post on Wednesday published an extraordinary interactive report that names hundreds of civilians killed by coalition airstrikes during the U.S.-led war against the so-called Islamic State.
The report, which contains harrowing survivor testimonies, draws upon data from the U.S. military and the U.K.-based journalistic monitor group Airwars to name each victim, as well as when and where they were killed. The paper mentions “thousands” of civilian casualties since President Barack Obama launched the war against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria in 2014, but focuses only on the approximately 1,400 deaths acknowledged by both the Pentagon and Airwars. Continue reading →
The United States on Monday faced criticism over its human rights record from allies and adversaries alike at the United Nations as the country submitted to its first Universal Periodic Review of the Trump administration.
All 193 U.N. member states must undergo UPRs, which are held at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC)—from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018 over alleged anti-Israel bias—in Geneva, Switzerland every five years. Continue reading →
In the run-up to November’s US election, a sub-plot of the Trump campaign will be his claimed success at “bringing our boys back”. And indeed there will have been substantial troop withdrawals from Afghanistan as well as a more modest drawdown in Iraq, although that will still involve a reduction from 5,200 to 3,500.
Some of the Iraqi changes are redeployments to neighbouring states but there has certainly been an overall decrease in Afghanistan, even if few figures are available about the thousands of private security personnel operating under various government contracts. Continue reading →
Kyle Rittenhouse walks past police in Kenosha after allegedly shooting three people, killing two of them. Photo: Rod Breslau/Twitter
As law enforcement agencies and lawmakers respond to nationwide outrage over countless police shootings of Black Americans with pledges to address racial profiling and “implicit bias,” the Brennan Center for Justice released a report Thursday on what it called “an especially harmful form of bias, which remains entrenched within law enforcement: explicit racism.”
The presence of virulent racism within police ranks across the country has grown over the past two decades, Brennan Center fellow and former FBI special agent Michael German wrote in the report, as white supremacist and far-right militant groups have infiltrated law enforcement agencies. Continue reading →
Activists, the UN, and even mainstream news outlets expressed dismay at the Trump administration’s decision to appoint regime-change champion Elliot Abrahams to the role of Special Representative for Iran.
Elliott Abrams speaking at the 2012 CPAC in Washington, D.C. Photo:Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC
The Trump administration has appointed disgraced neoconservative hawk Elliott Abrams to the new position of chief advisor on Iran after former insider Brian Hook handed in his resignation earlier this week. “Special Representative Hook has been my point person on Iran for over two years and he has achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday, “Following a transition period with Brian Hook, Elliott Abrams will assume the position of Special Representative for Iran, in addition to his responsibilities as Special Representative for Venezuela.” Continue reading →