After years of political wrangling, the suppressed section of a 2002 congressional report that detailed possible ties between the Saudi government and the 9/11 terrorist attacks was released today. The classified documents have been the source of heated speculation for years, as they highlighted alleged links between high-ranking members of the Saudi royal family and the 9/11 hijackers.
Many political figures who had previously seen the report led the charge calling for its release, including former Sen. Bob Graham, who said the 28 pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia,” and Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan, who said the pages “confirm that much of the rhetoric preceding the U.S. attack on Iraq was terribly wrong.”
The suppressed pages, redacted in parts, detail circumstantial evidence of ties among Saudi government officials, intelligence agents, and several of the hijackers.
“While in the United States, some of the September 11th hijackers were in contact with or received assistance from, individuals who may be connected with the Saudi government,” reads the report, which added that FBI sources believed at least two of those individuals were Saudi intelligence agents.
The report also mentions that numbers found in the phonebook of Abu Zubaydah, a detainee currently held in Guantánamo, could be traced to a company in Denver, Colorado, connected to former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
One of the most notable figures mentioned is Omar al-Bayoumi, alleged by the report to have likely been a Saudi intelligence agent. Al-Bayoumi was in close contact with hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, providing them financial assistance during their time in the United States and even helping them find an apartment. Bayoumi in turn is believed to have been on the payroll of the Saudi Ministry of Defense and was regularly in receipt of large lump sums of money from the Saudi Ministry of Finance and other undisclosed arms of the government.
Another figure highlighted in the documents is Osama Bassnan, a Saudi citizen who was an associate of al-Bayoumi and lived in an apartment nearby al-Hazmi and al-Midhar. According to the report, Bassnan “made a comment to an FBI source after the attacks suggesting that he did more for the hijackers than al-Bayoumi did.” Bassnan and his wife received regular payments from the wife of Bandar bin Sultan. On one occasion, Bassnan is said to have received a check directly from Bandar’s account.
Fahd al-Thumairy, a former Saudi consular officer in the United States who served as an imam at a mosque attended by al-Hazmi and al-Midhar, is also mentioned briefly, as is Saleh al-Hussayen, who is described in the report as a “Saudi Interior Ministry employee/official.” Al-Hussayen stayed at the same hotel as one of the hijackers in the days before the attack. While being interviewed by FBI agents after the attacks, al-Hussayen “either passed out or feigned a seizure,” causing the interview to be terminated. He later managed to successfully flee the country.
Much of the information in the 28 pages is not new and has been mentioned in previously released documents on the 9/11 investigation. As such, the public release of these suppressed pages is unlikely to precipitate major changes in the relationship between the United States and the Saudi government. In a statement issued on Friday, the Saudi Embassy in the United States said that it “welcomes the release” of the suppressed pages, saying that they exonerate Riyadh of any direct role in the attacks.
While the report does not find any smoking gun pointing to official Saudi involvement, it does highlight one consistently troubling theme of the kingdom’s response to the attacks: its refusal to cooperate with investigators seeking to uncover information about the hijackers. As the report notes, “In testimony and interviews, a number of FBI agents and CIA officers complained to the [inquiry] about a lack of Saudi cooperation in terrorism investigations both before and after the September 11th attacks.”
Referencing a May 1996 Director of Central Intelligence memo, the report cited agency beliefs that “the Saudis had stopped providing background information or other assistance on Bin Ladin because Bin Ladin had ‘too much information about official Saudi dealings with Islamic extremists in the 1980s for Riyadh to deliver him into U.S. hands.’”
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Die Türkei ist seit dem Beitritt zur NATO einer der größten Abnehmer deutscher Waffen. Deutschland ist aus türkischer Sicht der Haupthandelspartner in Sachen Beschaffung von Rüstungsgütern. 1967 Erhielt das Land eine eigene Produktionslizenz für das G3-Sturmgewehr. Diese Waffen wurden Daraufhin im Kurdenkonflikt für die Bekämpfung der PKK eingesetzt.
Jetzt sind diese Waffen auch im versuchten Militärputsch gegen den demokratisch gewählten Präsidenten Erdogan im Einsatz. Bleibt nur noch zu hoffen das der Putsch friedlich verläuft und es nicht zu gewaltsamen Ausschreitungen in der Türkei kommt.
Not much is yet known about Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the 31-year-old man French police say is responsible for a horrific act of mass murder last night in the southern city of Nice. In the wake of the killings, French President Francois Hollande has denounced the attack as “Islamist terrorism” linked to the militant group the Islamic State. Supporters of ISIS online have echoed these statements, claiming responsibility for the attack as another blow against its enemies in Western Europe.
While the motive for the attack is still under investigation, it is worth examining why the Islamic State is so eager to claim such incidents as its own. On the surface, ramming a truck into a crowd of people gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks seems like an act of pure nihilism. No military target was hit. Initial reports suggest that the killings may lead to French attacks on ISIS’s already-diminishing territories in Iraq and Syria. And French Muslims, many of whom were reportedly killed in the attack, will likely face security crackdowns and popular backlash from a public angry and fearful in the wake of another incomprehensible act of mass murder.
But the Islamic State’s statements and history show that such an outcome is exactly what it seeks. In the February 2015 issue of its online magazine Dabiq, the group called for acts of violence in the West that would “[eliminate] the grayzone” by sowing division and creating an insoluble conflict in Western societies between Muslims and non-Muslims. Such a conflict would force Muslims living in the West to “either apostatize … or [migrate] to the Islamic State, and thereby escape persecution from the crusader governments and citizens.”
This strategy of using violence to force divisions in society mimics the group’s tactics in Iraq, where it used provocative attacks against the Shiite population to deliberately trigger a sectarian conflict, one that continues to rage to this day.
It may be that the Islamic State had no direct line of communication to Bouhlel. Unlike many other previous attackers, he had not been on the radar of French security services. There is no indication that he had received training or traveled to ISIS territory. Initial reports from those who knew him paint a picture of a depressed and angry man who “spent a lot of his time at a bar down the street where he gambled and drank.” He had a history of petty crime, including an arrest this past May following a road-rage incident.
But in a way, these details don’t matter. ISIS’s model for terrorism relies on the weaponization of individuals such as Bouhlel; the group calls on the young, angry, and purposeless around the world to lash out at those around them in its name. In this way, the power of desperate insurgents is magnified through a combination of social media and propaganda of the deed. An influential text used by the group, titled The Management of Savagery, prescribes terrorist attacks as a means of “inflam[ing] opposition,” to drag ordinary people into conflict whether “willing or unwilling, such that each individual will go to the side which he supports.”
In the West, deadly attacks in Paris, Brussels, Orlando, and elsewhere are bringing the Islamic State’s goal of a divided world closer to fruition. Far-right parties hostile to minorities are growing in popularity in Europe, while in the United States, polls show significant public support for once-unthinkable measures like banning non-citizen Muslims from the country. Like a hurricane in slow motion, every act of violence seems to do incremental damage to the possibility of a tolerant, liberal society.
After yesterday’s attack in Nice, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich piled on by calling for “[testing] every person here who is of a Muslim background” and adding, “If they believe in Sharia, they should be deported.” It was a somewhat ironic statement for Gingrich, who in years past helped arrange space for Muslim staffers to pray on Capitol Hill and took part in planning sessions for the Islamic Free Market Institute, a free-market advocacy group that supports Sharia-finance products.
Gingrich’s outburst, however impracticable, does reflect hardening public sentiments. As time goes on and attacks by lone wolves and others in the name of ISIS continue, it’s not unfathomable that proposals such as his could gain traction.
But from both a strategic and moral perspective, the worst thing that could be done in response to the horror of incidents like Nice would be to give ISIS what it says it wants: polarization and communal hatred. Proposals for ethnic cleansing or “civilizational war” may satisfy a desire to project toughness, but in reality, they feed into the group’s narrative of a world irrevocably divided along religious lines.
Western Europe has faced down greater waves of terrorism in the past without giving into the strategy of the terrorists or sacrificing its intrinsic values. The crisis of the Islamic State will require a similar degree of steadfastness. But only by recognizing the trap it has set can we avoid inflicting a defeat on ourselves far worse than a desperate, fanatical insurgent group could ever hope to achieve on its own.
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Ministerpräsident Matteo Renzi möchte den Geldhäusern des Landes helfen, aber die EU bremst –
Von HUBERT BEYERLE, 15. Juli 2016 –
In Italien, dem Land, das die Banken erfunden hat, kommt es zur Feuertaufe für die neuen Regeln der EU-Bankenaufsicht. Seit Anfang 2016 gelten in der Europäischen Union strengere Restriktionen für das Retten von Geldinstituten. Wenn eine Bank in Schwierigkeiten kommt, darf der Staat nicht mehr einfach zu Hilfe kommen. Erst wenn die Gläubiger des Instituts ihren Beitrag geleistet haben, darf ein Rettungsfonds angezapft und erst dann Steuergeld eingesetzt werden. Faire Lastenverteilung oder burden sharing nennen die Banken-Fachleute das. Doch der Teufel
The parched field in the town of Leer, South Sudan, was covered in a carpet of dried grass. Nearby was a sheet of corrugated metal — a roof to a home that, like most in this town, was now in ruins. Lying in the field were scattered clothes: a desert camouflage shirt in the pattern the U.S. military calls “chocolate chip,” a blue T-shirt that read “Bird Game” with characters resembling those of the video game Angry Birds.
Not far away was a human spinal column, pelvis, and rib cage. A few paces farther lay a femur and part of another spine. To the left sat a gleaming white skull; several more lay not far away. Human remains — ribs and femurs, among other bones — were strewn across the area.
This was the scene in Leer a few months back, during a lull in the atrocity-filled civil war that began in December 2013, decimated this town in 2015, and flared again last week, leading to five days of violence that left hundreds dead.
Leer was all but razed to the ground by government soldiers and allied militias who attacked the town for months before and after a peace deal was signed last August by President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and opposition leader Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer. After forming a unity government, troops loyal to both men were stationed in the capital, Juba, leading to lethal skirmishes last Thursday and Friday that exploded into urban warfare over the weekend and running street battles that only ended on Monday.
The fighting coincided with the fifth anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, the product of a long struggle with Sudan that left millions dead and displaced, as well as copious U.S. political, economic, and military assistance. Both current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of State and now Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have referred to the U.S. as South Sudan’s “midwife.”
At least 42,000 people are estimated to have been displaced by the fighting in Juba. Many in the capital have sought safety at two bases run by the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, including one that was already sheltering tens of thousands of displaced Nuers. At least eight civilians and two U.N. peacekeepers were killed on or near the bases.
“Both U.N. camps in Juba have sustained impacts from small arms and heavy weapons fire,” said Ellen Loej, the special representative of the secretary-general in South Sudan.
Government soldiers also employed helicopter gunships and tanks against Machar’s lightly armed forces, overrunning one of their bases in Juba.
“Several hundred people have already been killed, including civilians seeking refuge. Some of the civilians killed were reportedly targeted based on their ethnicity,” said Adama Dieng, United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide, on Monday. Echoing statements by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he called on Kiir and Machar “to de-escalate hostilities immediately and ensure the withdrawal of their forces to their bases. If they fail to do so, South Sudan could be plunged back into civil war, at unimaginable human cost.”
Initial government reports said at least 272 people, including 33 civilians, were killed in the recent fighting. “But I would believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg,” U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, suggesting the number could rise in the coming days.
In the meantime, an uneasy ceasefire in place since late Monday remains in effect in Juba, where government troops maintain control. Both army and rebel forces are, however, mobilizing around the towns of Malakal and Leer, according to Ladsous.
Shantal Persaud, a spokesperson for the U.N. Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, told The Intercept that the organization had received reports of small arms fire around Leer, Machar’s hometown, on Wednesday. Hundreds of civilians have reportedly sought refuge at the U.N. base in the town.
Questions linger about the ability of Kiir and Machar to control their forces and stop a war that has splintered into a complex collection of sub-conflicts and increasing instability driven by political, tribal, and ethnic tensions, corruption, land grabs, economic woes, food insecurity, and a host of other factors — including the tremendous quantity of weapons and ammunition in the country.
On Monday, Secretary-General Ban called for an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan, something the Security Council has been unwilling to impose since the war’s outbreak. The U.S. State Department would not commit to outright support for Ban’s call. “While I’m not going to get ahead of our negotiations in New York, we believe the proposal for an imposition of an arms embargo should be taken very seriously and are currently in discussions with our fellow members of the Security Council on what additional tools the international community requires to address this dire situation,” State Department spokesperson Jeffrey Loree told The Intercept.
For some in South Sudan, the latest round of violence evokes fears about the potential for a slaughter akin to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when up to 1 million men, women, and children were killed in just 100 days.
“The international community should act urgently if they don’t want to see ‘Rwanda again,’” Edmund Yakani, a prominent civil society leader, told The Intercept, adding that the key is to strengthen the U.N. mission’s ability to protect civilians.
“The five days of violence in Juba have proved clearly that [Mission in the Republic of South Sudan] has no capacity for protecting civilians,” he said.
Yakani supports an arms embargo but notes that it won’t protect civilians in the near term. Ultimately, he says, the future of the country rests with its leaders and their choices for a path forward. “The big question is: Does South Sudan have the leadership that wishes to see the country peaceful and stable? Or does the leadership wish to embrace violence more than a nonviolent approach for resolving their political differences?”
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During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has made the decision to go to war in Iraq a major foreign policy litmus test, concluding that Hillary Clinton was “trigger-happy” for supporting what he called a “disaster.” But his apparent vice presidential pick, Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence, was a major proponent of that conflict.
Pence was a congressman then, and not only voted to authorize the Iraq War but was a co-sponsor of the war resolution.
“There is a nation, some 50 nations, that stand ready to end [Iraqis’] oppression, to dry their tears, and to lead Iraq into a new dawn of civilization, a new dawn of freedom from oppression and torture and the abuse of women and the stifling of basic civil and human rights,” he told the House of Representatives on the eve of the war, offering a messianic justification for invading the country that today suffers more from terrorism than any other in the world.
In 2007, as the United States escalated its troops presence in a bid to quell the country’s civil war, Pence visited Baghdad and proclaimed it to be “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.” Three months earlier, a suicide bomber detonated himself in the market, killing 88 people.
The vice presidency is often seen as a ceremonial role, but the person who holds the title often serves as an important foreign policy adviser — few would argue that Dick Cheney did not play a dominating role in the Bush administration’s torture and war policy. The Pence pick signals that Trump may not be so committed to the more restrained foreign policy he has flirted with on the trail.
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In a landmark decision, an appellate court ruled Thursday that the U.S. government could not obtain personal data held overseas by issuing a domestic warrant.
Microsoft appealed an earlier ruling in the Southern District of New York that held the company in contempt of court because it refused to hand over data stored in Dublin, Ireland during a narcotics investigation. The target’s citizenship wasn’t disclosed to the court.
The New York based Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision in what digital rights advocates are celebrating as a victory for privacy in an increasingly connected digital age—though it’s expected the government will appeal.
“Microsoft’s victory over the U.S. government is a resounding affirmation of the endurance of privacy in an age marked by constant data transfers in the cloud, Internet of Things and big data applications,” Omar Tene, Vice President of research and education at the International Association of Privacy Professionals, said in a statement to The Intercept.
“When, in 1986, Congress passed the Stored Communications Act as part of the broader Electronic Communications Privacy Act, its aim was to protect user privacy in the context of new technology that required a user’s interaction with a service provider,” wrote Judge Susan L. Carney in the decision.
Just because companies routinely conduct business across international borders, doesn’t mean a warrant is any more or less powerful, argued the unanimous panel of three Judges. “Neither explicitly nor implicitly does the statute envision the application of its warrant provisions overseas.”
To access data across borders, there are other structures in place, called Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, the court argued. Those agreements allow law enforcement to exchange information in criminal investigations—and the U.S. has an arrangement in place with Ireland. (The U.S. government described that process as “cumbersome.”)
The U.S. and Britain are already negotiating an agreement where both partners could directly serve companies with wiretap orders and warrants—to intercept real-time communications and to collect stored communications. But neither country has announced a formal agreement yet.
In response to the appellate decision, many are calling for legal reforms to better address the needs of law enforcement to access data overseas and to protect the privacy of citizens worldwide.
“The decision underlines the need for reform to address legitimate law enforcement demands for data stored abroad,” Greg Nojeim, the director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Freedom, Security and Technology Project, said in a statement. “It should spur Congress to act by finally updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and advancing legislation that would reform the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) process.”
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While Hillary Clinton runs ads criticizing Donald Trump for praising dictators, Clinton herself has a history of alliances with strongmen in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Honduras.
Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s top foreign policy advisor, warned last week that Trump’s “praise for brutal strongmen knows no bounds.” The Clinton campaign released a video compilation of Trump’s comments about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladamir Putin, and former Iraqi and Libyan dictators Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.
At a California rally, Clinton accused Trump of trying to become a dictator himself. “We’re trying to elect a President,” said Clinton, “not a dictator.”
Practically speaking, however, the choice voters will face in November will be between a candidate who praises dictators and a candidate who befriends them.
Clinton has described former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and his wife as “friends of my family.” Mubarak ruled Egypt under a perpetual “state of emergency” rule, that involved disappearing and torturing dissidents, police killings, and persecution of LGBT people. The U.S. gave Mubarak $1.3 billion in military aid per year, and when Arab Spring protests threatened his grip on power, Clinton warned the administration not to “push a longtime partner out the door,” according to her book Hard Choices.
After Arab Spring protests unseated Mubarak and led to democratic elections, the Egyptian military, led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, staged a coup. El-Sisi suspended the country’s 2012 Constitution, appointed officials from the former dictatorship, and moved to silence opposition.
Sisi traveled to the U.S. in 2014 and met with Clinton and her husband, and posed for a photo. The Obama administration last year lifted a hold on the transfer of weapons and cash to el-Sisi’s government.
Meanwhile, repression in Egypt continues to escalate. By the government’s own admission, it has imprisoned more than 34,000 people – and sentenced huge numbers to die. Amnesty International released a report Tuesday documenting forced disappearances and torture by the el-Sisi regime, including one account of a 14-year-old who was kidnapped by government forces and raped repeatedly with a wooden stick to extract a confession.
El-Sisi continues to receive $1.3 billion dollars in military aid each year from the Obama administration.
Egypt is far from the only military dictatorship that Clinton has supported. During her tenure as Secretary of State, Clinton approved tens of billions of dollars of weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia – including fighter jets now being used to bomb Yemen. Clinton played a central role in legitimizing a 2009 military coup in Honduras, and once called Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad a “reformer.” And in return for approving arms deals to gulf state monarchies, Clinton accepted tens of millions of dollars in donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton has also boasted about receiving advice from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was notorious for his support of dictators. According to records from the National Security Archive, Kissinger oversaw a plot to assassinate the Chilean President Salvador Allende and install the brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet.
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Antonio Sabato Jr., who will speak at the Republican National Convention next week at the invitation of Donald Trump, frequently bashes Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Twitter. Last month, he said that Clinton and Obama should be sent to Guantánamo.
— Antonio Sabáto Jr (@antoniosabatojr) June 21, 2016
The Italian immigrant became prominent in the 1990s as a Calvin Klein model, Janet Jackson backup dancer, and actor on the soap opera General Hospital. He starred in a reality show called My Antonio, where women competed to become his girlfriend (his ex-wife, whom he had divorced 16 years prior, came in third place).
Today he spends his time at shooting ranges, on talk shows, dancing at Chippendale’s in Las Vegas — and cheering for Trump.
In January, Sabato appeared in a photo with Trump, posting on Instagram: “Our next president !! Back you up pal anytime anywhere.” He endorsed the presidential hopeful on Fox News in April. He recently asked for a job in the White House.
— Antonio Sabáto Jr (@antoniosabatojr) May 15, 2016
Sabato frequently calls for Hillary Clinton to be sent to prison, citing controversies around Benghazi and her private email server.
— Antonio Sabáto Jr (@antoniosabatojr) June 30, 2016
Deleting is after all what your great at . Please @FBI hurry up and put her behind bars and concrete walls and lots of barbs wire
— Antonio Sabáto Jr (@antoniosabatojr) June 9, 2016
— Antonio Sabáto Jr (@antoniosabatojr) June 9, 2016
— Antonio Sabáto Jr (@antoniosabatojr) June 17, 2016
— Antonio Sabáto Jr (@antoniosabatojr) June 12, 2016
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Auch die Zusammenkunft des NATO-Russland-Rates brachte kaum Entspannung, nachdem das westliche Militärbündnis am Wochenende beschlossen hatte, an seiner Ostflanke aufzurüsten –
Von SEBASTIAN RANGE, 14. Juli 2016 –
Im Konflikt zwischen Russland und der NATO ist es trotz neuer Gespräche im Rahmen des NATO-Russland-Rats zu keiner spürbaren Entspannung gekommen. Beide Seiten beschrieben die Atmosphäre bei den Gesprächen am Mittwoch in Brüssel zwar als gut. Gleichzeitig betonten sie, sich nicht einig zu sein. „Es war eine gute Gelegenheit, um sich gegenseitig die Positionen zu erklären“, kommentierte NATO-Generalsekretär Jens Stoltenberg am Mittwochabend. Der russische NATO-Botschafter Alexander Gruschko nannte den Austausch „offen und ehrlich“.
The Baton Rouge Police Department and state law enforcement officials were sued in federal court on Wednesday for violating the First Amendment rights of dozens of protesters detained at demonstrations in the city last weekend.
The suit, which asks for a restraining order to prohibit officers from arresting or intimidating protesters rallying to express their anger at the killing of Alton Sterling, was filed by a coalition of rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild.
— JJ Rosenbaum (@RosenbaumJJ) July 13, 2016
The lawyers note that a litany of violations can be seen in video recorded by protesters and journalists as more than 180 arrests were made over the weekend by heavily armed police officers, including:
a. Excluding lawful protestors from public forum space, including sidewalks, neutral ground, and public property;
b. Engaging with peaceful protestors in a militarized fashion, including full body gear, threatening the use of chemical agents, and keeping live automatic weapons trained on peaceful crowds;
c. Arresting protestors for “obstruction” of a highway in the absence of any impact on traffic or vehicle safety;
d. Giving contradictory and confusing ad hoc orders to protestors, then arresting individuals for noncompliance;
e. Arresting legal observers and members of the press without probable cause;
As The Intercept reported previously, images of officers dressed for battle confronting and arresting peaceful protesters in Baton Rouge provoked sharp reactions on social networks over the weekend.
More video has come to light in the days since, along with firsthand accounts from protesters and journalists who were detained.
Among the activists arrested on Sunday were Blair Imani, 22, a former student at Louisiana State University who now works for Planned Parenthood, and her partner, Akeem Muhammad, 24, who is also a former student at LSU.
Imani told The Intercept in a telephone interview that she and Muhammad took part in a protest at the State Capitol building in downtown Baton Rouge on Sunday. “Afterward, people felt energized, so we wanted to march,” she said. As video recorded by Muhammad shows, several hundred protesters were then blocked from continuing through a residential neighborhood by a large number of police officers in body armor, many wearing gas masks and toting automatic weapons.
State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson later described the second part of the protest as separate from the rally at the Capitol, but Imani disputed that on Twitter, pointing to images of herself, in a red jacket emblazoned with the words “Stay Woke” and a white hijab, at both locations, and Muhammad holding up a sign with the number to call at the National Lawyers Guild in case of arrest.
— Blair Imani (@BlairImani) July 13, 2016
If you or someone you know has been or is being arrested from protesting, call this number! pic.twitter.com/QYXhhcwu8A
— MELANIE (@Melanized) July 10, 2016
Imani explained that she and Muhammad, who was streaming live video using Twitter’s Periscope app, did not expect to get arrested themselves, since they were making an effort to understand the police orders and get the protesters to comply. “We were trying to quell antagonism — instead of shouting ‘F the Police,’ we were trying to get people to shout Alton Sterling’s name,” she said. That effort failed to stop the officers from escalating the confrontation with more aggressive tactics, Imani added. “When we started chanting, ‘The whole world is watching,’ they were enraged,” she said.
Imani added that when the police started roughly arresting protesters, she was particularly worried for a friend, the rapper and activist Sellassie Blackwell, who recently went on hunger strike to protest police violence in San Francisco. As the police moved in, Sellassie was photographed standing defiantly before them, wearing a T-shirt with a quote from Frederick Douglass: “I will united with anyone to do right, but with no one to do wrong.”
Muhammad later posted more than 10 minutes of his footage on YouTube. That video begins with the police driving an armored vehicle with a blaring siren directly at the protesters, and ends with Muhammad and Imani advising protesters who did not want to disperse but had largely cleared the streets that a resident of the area had invited protesters onto her property, hoping to shield them from arrest.
That effort, in the end, proved fruitless, as officers stormed the woman’s yard and roughly arrested protesters, including Imani and Muhammad.
— Deep South Justice (@deepsouthjustic) July 12, 2016
“The police said being on private property is not good enough, you have to leave the area,” Imani recalled, “but we were flanked in all sides.”
Imani, who lost her red jacket in the mayhem, was photographed screaming as she was dragged away. She told The Intercept she had been trampled during her arrest, had watched her partner be tackled, and was concerned for her safety. “I heard one of the officers shout, ‘Really give it to her,’” she said. “They were marching me to the other side of the SWAT vehicle,” she added, explaining that her fear was of being beaten out of view of the cameras and other observers. “I started screaming, and that was because I was fearing for my life,” she said. “And they made the zip tie so tight, my hands turned purple.”
When she was processed later, another officer who took her details apologized to her for the tightness of the plastic cuffs. “He said, ‘I hate when they do this,’” she recalled.
Imani also noted that none of the officers who arrested her read her her rights, even though she asked them to do so.
Muhammad told NPR later that he too had been roughly treated.
They slammed me on to the ground. They jammed their knee into the back of my neck and to my back, and they put the zip ties on as tight as they possibly could. And then they — as we were walking down the street, I guess, I was walking too fast for one of the officers. And they said slow down. This is our show now.
More video of the protesters being boxed in and roughly arrested was streamed live to Facebook by another demonstrator.
That footage, the ACLU noted, shows the impossible position the police put the protesters in:
First the police told protesters to get off the street. So protesters went to the sidewalks. Then they were told to get off the sidewalks — and a private property owner offered refuge. So the cops told people the assembly was no longer lawful, and they’d be arrested. Where, exactly, do government officials expect their citizens to protest? It’s looking, unfortunately, like the answer is “nowhere.”
As Bill Quigley, a professor of law at Loyola University in New Orleans, noted in the Huffington Post, one of the journalists arrested a day earlier outside the Baton Rouge police headquarters, Ryan Kailath of NPR, had shared video of the moment he was detained for supposedly obstructing traffic that plainly showed he was standing next to the road, not on it.
— Ryan Kailath (@ryankailath) July 9, 2016
1. Thank you SO much everyone for your concern. Here's the last 13 seconds before I was arrested on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/aFkr6ZwBaj
— Ryan Kailath (@ryankailath) July 11, 2016
Thing is, I'm not black. I'm Indian, yet booked as a black male. Cop: "I'm tired of y'all saying you're journalists" https://t.co/Q54NLTBkuE
— Ryan Kailath (@ryankailath) July 11, 2016
— deray mckesson (@deray) July 13, 2016
— Vell SC: DPARTYBOI (@TheLifeOfDParty) July 13, 2016
The lawsuit against the Baton Rouge police filed on behalf of the protesters was not the only one related to the killing of Alton Sterling last week to go forward. The owner of the local Triple S Food Mart, Abdullah Muflahi, who witnessed the fatal shooting of Sterling by an officer, is seeking compensation for having been detained in a locked police car for four hours and the confiscation of his surveillance camera footage by the police.
Muflahi, who also recorded footage of the shooting, has opened his store to protesters demanding justice. He was seen at the start of a moving video about the protests posted online this week.
No More!!! pic.twitter.com/JqsU79jZLz
— August Alsina (@AugustAlsina) July 12, 2016
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Cleveland, Ohio, has spent $50 million preparing for next week’s Republican convention, earning the city a lawsuit and much criticism in the process. But as the fraught relationship between police and black communities was thrust back into the national spotlight last week after police killings in Louisiana and Minnesota, the ensuing protests, and the sniper attack in Dallas, many fear the convention could descend into chaos.
Police officials, who for months have said they are confident they have the best possible security plans in place, said they were adjusting them following the Dallas attack, though they have declined to elaborate. “We have got to make some changes without a doubt,” Ed Tomba, the city’s deputy police chief and head of convention security, told Reuters. “We will have plenty of people watching over different locations. We are beefing up the intelligence component, too. They are going to be very, very active.”
Cleveland’s press office, which is handling all convention-related media requests, including to the police, did not respond to requests for comment, but Jay McDonald, the president of Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police, who’s not directly involved in convention security, told The Intercept that the city has been preparing to handle all protests “professionally.”
“I certainly think that there’s a sense of uneasiness — I would feel unease — but they’re going to do their jobs,” he said. “The day after the murders in Dallas, officers all across the country got up and went to work and served their communities just like they did the day before, because they’re professionals and they do their jobs, and they’ll do their jobs in Cleveland as well.”
But official reassurances have not dissipated fears of violent attacks against police like the one in Dallas, particularly after three people were arrested Tuesday in an alleged plot to shoot officers in Louisiana — or concerns that anxious police officers might respond violently to peaceful protesters as they did in Baton Rouge.
At least one event, a march led by civil rights activist Al Sharpton, was called off following last week’s unrest. “In the current uncertain environment nationwide, we are concerned for police officers who would be charged with protecting our marchers and advocates as well as for the safety and well-being of our march participants,” Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said in a statement.
With some exceptions, the Cleveland Division of Police has generally responded to past protests with restraint, but it has nonetheless come under scrutiny for its discriminatory practices and excessive use of force in everyday policing, and is perhaps most infamous for the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014. In December 2014, the Department of Justice issued a damning report on Cleveland’s policing. And last year, as part of a settlement with the DOJ, city officials formed the Cleveland Community Police Commission, made up mostly of civilians, to develop plans for comprehensive police reform in the city. Mario Clopton, co-chair of the committee, told The Intercept that the city has promised a “community policing” approach to the convention, with officers on bikes and in regular uniforms greeting people and helping visitors out. Riot gear, police told the commission, would be deployed only “if a situation requires it to be used.”
“I don’t fault police officers for having that on their mindset. In my day job I’m an educator and every time a school shooting happens I’m more alert,” he said, referring to the possible impact of the Dallas attack on officers policing the convention. “Officers are human too so there’s a risk of just having an emotional response to the incident last week. However that is where the training is supposed to come in.”
But police reassurances that they are ready for the convention have done little to appease activists and civil rights advocates who accused the city of being badly prepared for the influx of visitors and protesters, and who said surveillance tactics deployed in the weeks preceding the convention — including law enforcement showing up unannounced at local activists’ homes — have already crossed a line.
In the aftermath of the Dallas attack, police departments nationwide called for more military equipment and training, including robots capable of delivering lethal force such as the one used against the Dallas shooter. As images and videos emerged last week of protesters in Baton Rouge meeting a disproportionately equipped police force, demands for the demilitarization of police departments were renewed.
In Cleveland, officials are estimated to have spent at least $20 million in federal funds on equipment ranging from bicycles and steel barriers to 2,000 sets of riot gear, 2,000 retractable steel batons, body armor, surveillance equipment, 10,000 sets of plastic flex cuffs, and 16 laser aiming systems, which a technology retailer describes as being used for “night direct-fire aiming and illumination.” And while the city has not fully disclosed all the equipment it has acquired for the convention, Ohio’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which has been monitoring the preparations, raised concerns that police might be planning to deploy Stingray devices, used to monitor and track cellphones, as well as a Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), a sonic crowd-control weapon that emits painfully loud sounds.
Activists and organizations who have been pushing for police reform criticized the push to militarize police departments. “Dallas was a horrible tragedy, but we’re talking about one guy with a gun and some body armor. It’s unfortunate some are taking that as an opportunity to push back against the demands of the movement,” said Scott Roberts, a campaign director for Color of Change, a racial justice group that this week launched a campaign to defund abusive police departments. “If you look at the images coming out of Baton Rouge, you see that police departments are overly prepared for these types of incidents, I don’t think that’s a solution frankly.”
“My biggest concern about what’s happening in Cleveland and the $50 million the federal government has given them for public safety is what happens afterwards,” Roberts said. “We’re concerned about Cleveland law enforcement being more heavily militarized in the future when there are protests, and cameras from around the world are not there. All the equipment just stays in place, and you end up with a whole different degree of militarized law enforcement and surveillance long after the convention leaves.”A Cautious Movement
Dozens of groups from across the political spectrum have applied for permits to protest at the Republican convention — and many others are expected to do so without asking for permission. The groups range from Trump supporters to anti-war activists and Occupy Wall Street veterans. Some local groups calling for police accountability and racial justice are also expected to show up, but at least until last week, organizers under the coordinated but diverse movement for black lives were focusing most of their energy on the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, where representatives are planning to introduce a policy platform to a party they believe will be more receptive to it. Some, wary of the possibility of violence, have decided to skip Cleveland altogether.
“I have heard from some activists, What is the value of going to the RNC? Put yourself and your people in danger when it’s clear that those folks are not interested in engaging with us?” Roberts told The Intercept. “I know people are looking to Black Lives Matter and the movement for black lives to be out protesting, confronting the police, but really in the last year we’ve spent a ton of time being into the solutions we want, and strategy.”
The nationwide protests sparked last week by the killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota were in many ways reminiscent of similar actions that spontaneously erupted in Ferguson, New York, Baltimore and other cities in 2014 and 2015. But the more recent protests are now relying on a network of local and national groups that have grown increasingly connected, coordinated, and strategic. “Two years ago, when Ferguson happened, I was immediately on the phone with so many people saying, What do we want? What are we going to do? We have all this energy,” said Roberts. “Now we’ve been preparing, not necessarily expecting a moment like this, but trying to intervene in dialogue and pushing forward a vision. We’re just in a different place, we have a lot more clarity about what we want to say right now.”
According to the ACLU of Ohio, which sued Cleveland and won a settlement easing restrictions on protests, the convention should offer an opportunity for the pain manifested last week to be discussed publicly and safely. “The way that policing and racial tensions have been highlighted lately underscores the need to have this space where people can have the freedom to speak and express themselves,” said Steve David, a spokesperson for the group. “These are conversations that are touching people all across the country and it’s really important, when all eyes are going to be focused on Cleveland, that folks have a space where they can speak up and be heard.”
Clopton, of the Cleveland Community Police Commission, hopes local law enforcement will allow that space. “The United States was kind of turned upside down last week. There is anger and frustration on all points, and that’s all valid. We need to use that anger and frustration and funnel it into progressive change,” he said. “The idea is not to go back into our individual corners and stare each other down. It’s our job as citizens to exercise our rights, and it’s the job of the police to make sure that everyone is safe while doing that.”
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Refuser Tair Kaminer has been exempted from the army for 'bad behaviour'. We say: if everyone 'behaved badly' in this way, the world would be a much safer place!
Tair spent over 150 days in prison for her refusal.
The American Civil Liberties Union is preparing to fight a deluge of unconstitutional acts should Donald Trump become president.
“If implemented, Donald Trump’s policies will spark a constitutional and legal challenge that will require all hands on deck at the ACLU,” said Executive Director Anthony Romero.
In a 27 page memo released Thursday, the ACLU accuses Trump of “police-state tactics” and says his proposals on counterterrorism, border security, and women’s rights would routinely violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments.
The report says Trump’s plan for a border wall and “deportation force” would escalate the militarization of border communities, “promising a border security approach akin to the fortified shoot-to-kill zones dividing the Koreas.”
And Trump’s pledge to deport 11 million immigrants within two years would require in excess of 15,000 arrests a day, which the ACLU notes could only be achieved with suspicionless arrests, electronic surveillance, and home raids on an unprecedented scale.
Much of the report expresses concerns for the rights of American Muslims – referencing Trump’s advocacy of profiling and banning Muslim immigrants. The ACLU notes “there has never… been an immigration ban on the basis of religion,” even during periods of racial exclusion in the 1800s.
The report also calls attention to Trump’s apparent ignorance of the law. In addition to raising Constitutional concerns about Trump’s plan to “open up the libel laws,” the ACLU points out that Trump doesn’t seem to know that there is no federal libel law to “open up.”
The ACLU, which is the nation’s largest public interest law firm, is a non-partisan organization, so it does not endorse candidates. It made clear on that a review of Hillary Clinton’s policies was “forthcoming,” but singled out Trump’s policies as especially dangerous.
The ACLU regularly issues non-partisan reports on politician’s civil liberties records, but it is unusual for the organization to pledge its resources ahead of time to fighting a specific candidate’s policies.
But Trump is a special case. “The ACLU and its more than 300 attorneys in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. stand ready to challenge and impede implementation of his unlawful proposals, should he attempt to see them through,” Romero said.
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Stellungnahme der Redaktion von www.bds-kampagne.de zu dem Artikel von Tobias Lill in der Huffington Post am 9. Juli 2016 zur internationalen BDS-Kampagne
Der Artikel von Tobias Lill enthält eine Reihe von Diffamierungen des sogenannten Experten Sebastian Mohr und einer nicht namentlich genannten Sprecherin des Zentralrats der Juden in Deutschland. Beide Quellen sind für die uneingeschränkte Unterstützung der Politik Israels bekannt. Ihre Haltung zur internationalen BDS-Kampagne ist daher folgerichtig, denn die Kampagne richtet sich gegen die Politik Israels. Zur Aufklärung darüber, was die BDS-Kampagne ist, sind diese beiden Quellen demzufolge gänzlich ungeeignet. Sie helfen nur, wenn es darum geht die Kampagne zu diffamieren. Und diesen Eindruck haben wir.