Notes on Civil Liberties for July 19
Here’s today’s blog for the latest news and updates on civil liberties and digital freedom issues. If you have any news tips and would like to contact me, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has announced a third anti-Muslim hearing. This hearing will look at how the Somali extremist group Al Shabaab is “radicalizing” Muslim-Americans and posing a threat to the “homeland.” [The Dissenter will definitely be liveblogging this hearing, which looks like this generation’s version of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).]
- Tale of an Iraqi torture victim: Ali Methboub was picked up on a July afternoon in 2008 by a joint US-Iraqi patrol. He and his family were “dragged into a world of torture and intimidation, forced confession and legal ambiguity, of bribes demanded and paid that has destroyed the lives of thousands of Iraqis.”
- Sixteeen individuals alleged to be part of Anonymous arrested. The Department of Justice’s press release details 14 of the individuals were arrested on “charges related to their alleged involvement in a cyber attack on PayPal’s website as part of an action claimed by the group.
- Anti-gay hate crimes are on the rise in New York City. According to new numbers, there were 114 “bias attacks against gay males” in 2010, a 40 percent increase from 82 attacks in 2009.
- Defense for Saudi man accused of being involved in al Qaeda’s bombing of USS Cole in 2000 allege case is too tainted for death penalty trial. Carol Rosenberg, who consistently publishes superb reports on Guantanamo and torture, details that on Friday lawyers sought to spare Guantanamo captive Abd al Rahim al Nashiri from being given the death penalty. While at a CIA prison, Nashiri had an agent rev a power drill near his head and was also subjected to waterboarding.
- China shuns Palau for taking Uighurs. Six former Guantanamo detainees have led China to reduce investment in the Pacific nation that decided to accept the Uighurs in 2009.
- 2011 has set a record for anti-abortion laws. So far this year 19 states have enacted 162 new laws on reproductive health and nearly half restrict access to abortion services. Right wing state legislatures across the country can congratulate themselves for smashing the record of 34 legalized restrictions passed in 2005.
- Actor Martin Sheen was on Capitol Hill advocating for funding for Drug Courts. Sheen spoke about the impact he has seen Drug Courts in cities in California.
- Kevin Cooper has been on death row in San Quentin for 26 years. BayView details how this man is likely innocent and may be put to death very soon. Cooper says he is the only person on death row who has a federal circuit judge saying he was framed.
- Activists are headed to Washington confront President Obama on his broken promises on immigration and deportations.
- Pelican Bay prisoner and hunger striker Richard Johnson has suffered a recent heart attack and been denied medicine. BayView has been publishing his writing on “Who is watching the guards.” Here is his third piece.
- Republicans want to know why President Obama doesn’t have a better policy for capturing “terrorists” outside war zones. They write a letter to Obama “questioning why the administration decided to try a suspected Somali terrorist in a civilian court in New York rather than in a military commission at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
- Conviction of man who posted messages threatening Barack Obama during 2008 Election overturned. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals found Walter Bagdasarian’s “violent and racist screeds against Obama were ‘repugnant’ but not criminal.”
- Ralph Nader on the corporate Supreme Court: He pens this op-ed that opens with this sentence, “Five Supreme Court Justices–Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy are entrenching, in a whirlwind of judicial dictates, judicial legislating and sheer ideological judgments, a mega-corporate supremacy over the rights and remedies of individuals.”
- One year after Toronto G20, here’s a recounting of how Canada was transformed into a police state. Craig McKee of Bay Area IndyMedia writes, “In true Orwellian fashion, masked rioters were allowed free reign to go on a destructive rampage while peaceful protesters were beaten, rounded up and denied any semblance of their civil rights.”