The Vatican’s trouble with women

23/1/15; Tina Beattie It has been an interesting month for Catholic gender politics. First, the Pontifical Council for Culture announced that its 4-7 February assembly would be on “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference”. The council produced a short video, encouraging women around the world to submit a photo or make a one-minute video about their […] read more…

Think Of Us When You Are Warm: Rebuilding Gaza, Or Maybe, Mournfully, Not

22/1/15; Abby Zimet, staff writer Astoundingly, yet more bad news for Gaza: Officials with the U.N.’s Relief and Works Agency say a program to rebuild homes for some 100,000 people left homeless by Israel’s 50-day war last summer will be suspended at the end of the month because world donors have reneged on funding promises […] read more…

Drone Addiction on the Border (2)

27/1/15 Tom Engelhardt; TomDispatch Lothar Eckardt, right, executive director of National Air Security Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, speaks with a Customs and Border Patrol agent prior to a drone aircraft flight, Wednesday, Sept 24, 2014 at Ft. Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Ariz. The U.S. government now patrols nearly half the Mexican border […] read more…

27/1/15; Lauren McCauley, staff writer Mohammed Saleh Qayed Taeiman, described as ‘a normal kid,’ killed four years after father and brother were both killed in 2011 drone strike A sixth grade Yemeni boy was among the three victims killed by a U.S. drone strike on Monday, a human rights group has said. The alleged CIA strike, which marked the first reported U.S. drone strike in Yemen this year, came just two days after U.S. military officials announced that the drone campaign would not by deterred by ongoing unrest in the region. According to reports, the three victims were killed while traveling in a vehicle in central-southern Yemen near the Hareeb, Shabwa-Mareb border. Though the deceased were reportedly members of the local militant group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), local human rights organization Yemeni National Organisation for Drone Victims (NODV) confirmed to Reuters that one of the victims, Mohammed Saleh Qayed Taeiman, was a child. “He was in sixth grade, so his age was between about 11-13 years old,” said NODV head Mohammed al-Qawli. He described him as “a normal kid.” NODV said that Taeiman’s 65-year-old father, Saleh Qayed Taeiman, died along with one of his sons called Jalal, 16, in the 2011 drone strike. A third brother, 17-year-old Ezz el-Deen, survived another drone strike, but still has shrapnel in his body, NODV said. NODV said that one of the other victims in Monday’s strike was identified as Abdallah Khaled Aziz al-Zindani, a farm worker married to a woman from the Taeiman clan, which was due to meet with other tribes in the area to discuss their response. Earlier, Baraa Shiban, Yemen-based project coordinator with the international human rights organization Reprieve, also offered details about the age of the youngest victim in a series of posts on Twitter. On Sunday, President Barack Obama defended his ongoing drone campaign in Yemen, saying: “It is not neat and it is not simple, but it is the best option that we have.” The Monday strike was the first since the U.S.-allied Yemeni President Abed Mansour Hadi and his cabinet were forced to resign by Houthi rebels, who had seized control of the capital Sana’a. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that as many as 85 confirmed U.S. drone strikes in Yemen have killed up to 544 people since 2002. However, the group notes as many as one hundred additional drone strikes may have occurred during that time. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/01/27/us-drone-kills-sixth-grade-boy-yemen-says-human-rights-group; This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Medea Benjamin – Drone Warfare – Killings by remote control As the years wore on, the number of drone strikes grew and grew and grew, especially under President Obama. When George Bush was president, the US carried out forty-five to fifty-two drone strikes in Pakistan; President Obama carried out six times that number in his […] read more…

US Drone Kills Sixth Grade Boy in Yemen, says Human Rights Group (1)

27/1/15; Lauren McCauley, staff writer Mohammed Saleh Qayed Taeiman, described as ‘a normal kid,’ killed four years after father and brother were both killed in 2011 drone strike A sixth grade Yemeni boy was among the three victims killed by a U.S. drone strike on Monday, a human rights group has said. The alleged CIA […] read more…

Torture If You Must, But Do Not Under Any Circumstances Call the New York Times (3

28/1/15; Dan Froomkin Monday’s guilty verdict in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on espionage charges — for talking to a newspaper reporter — is the latest milepost on the dark and dismal path Barack Obama has traveled since his inaugural promises to usher in a “new era of openness.” Far from rejecting […] read more…

Secret ‘BADASS’ Intelligence Program Spied on Smartphones (2)

26/1/15; Micah Lee, The Intercept British and Canadian spy agencies accumulated sensitive data on smartphone users, including location, app preferences, and unique device identifiers, by piggybacking on ubiquitous software from advertising and analytics companies, according to a document obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The document, included in a trove of Snowden material released by […] read more…

Mass Surveillance Endangers ‘Fundamental Human Rights': Report (1)

26/1/15; Nadia Prupis, staff writer European human rights body finds spying programs endanger lives, consume valuable anti-terrorist resources. Government intelligence programs threaten fundamental human rights, a top rights body said Monday. Mass surveillance programs threaten fundamental human rights and may do more harm than good in the anti-terrorism fight, the top human rights organization in […] read more…

Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou Speaks

20/1/15; Andrew Jerell Jones; @sluggahjells John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee to go to prison in connection with the agency’s torture program. Not because he tortured anyone, but because he revealed information on torture to a reporter. Kiriakou is the Central Intelligence Agency officer who told ABC News in 2007 that the CIA waterboarded […] read more…

Papuan governor unhappy with Freeport plan to build ‘outside’ smelter

26/1/15; Rangga Prakoso Papua disapproves of mining giant Freeport Indonesia’s plan to build a smelter facility outside Papua – Grasberg Mine, operated by US-based Freeport-McMoRan – calling the move indicative of the company’s lack of good deeds to Indonesia’s easternmost province. Papua governor Lukas Enembe said on Friday that for the past 50 years, Freeport […] read more…

US releases Qatari held as ‘enemy combatant’

18/1/15; Jenifer Fenton Ali al-Marri, convicted of aiding Al-Qaeda, arrived in Doha Saturday after his release from military custody. Ali al-Marri, the only non-citizen “enemy combatant” held on U.S. soil, was released from federal criminal custody Friday and deported back to Doha, Qatar. “His case demonstrated one of the most extreme and lawless exercises of […] read more…

‘Here the dead are dead, and the living are dead’

8/1/15; 26/1/15; Nour Samaha @Nour_Samaha Syrian refugees struggle not only to stay alive but also to find land and money to lay loved ones to rest When Syrian refugee Khairallah Jdeir died after being hit by a car in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, his son was forced to bring the body back to his tent for […] read more…

UN slams Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes (1)

24/1/15; Renee Lewis Israel displaced 77 Palestinians — mostly children — this week, raising ire from the United Nations The United Nations has slammed Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and unfair, after a series of demolitions this week left dozens of Palestinians—mostly children—homeless. “In the […] read more…

Groups Demand Accountability as BP Faces Final Judgement (2)

20/1/15; Lauren McCauley, staff writer Oil giant threatened with maximum penalty of $13.7 billion for hand in worst oil spill in history Gulf Coast residents and environmentalists demanded accountability on the part of BP as a New Orleans court on Tuesday commenced the penalty phase of the years-long trial for the worst environmental disaster in […] read more…

Protesters Welcome New Pennsylvania Governor to Office With Simple Message: Ban Fracking Now (1)

21/1/15; Andrea Germanos, staff writer Hundreds of protesters rallied outside Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s inauguration on Tuesday in a grassroots show of force against fracking. The action, organized by the newly formed Pennsylvanians Against Fracking coalition, kicked off at a Harrisburg church, followed by a march to and rally at the inauguration site, where they […] read more…

Latest FBI Claim of Disrupted Terror Plot Deserves Much Scrutiny and Skepticism

17/1/15; Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman; The Justice Department on Wednesday issued a press release trumpeting its latest success in disrupting a domestic terrorism plot, announcing that “the Joint Terrorism Task Force has arrested a Cincinnati-area man for a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol and kill government officials.” The alleged would-be terrorist is 20-year-old […] read more…
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