A few days before the new year rang in, I made three predictions for Turnstyle News about what’s in store for the year 2013. The first was a “drawdown but not a complete end to the war in Afghanistan”, the second was “continuation of drone strikes and targeted killing”, and the third was “indefinite detention of U.S. citizens will remain”. It’s a few days into 2013 but a few recent events show that the dismal state of peace and civil liberties will not cease any time soon. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Civil Rights/Liberties
I wrote a piece in Turnstyle News about the growing domestic use of drones. It’s the second in a series of two articles I wrote about drones.
Imagine hearing a buzzing sound over your head in the sky everyday. It’s not a bug. Nor is it an airplane. It’s an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), also known as a drone. There is no pilot inside the vehicle; it’s being controlled by remote control in a secret location a few dozen or hundreds of miles away from you. The drone flies over you, tracking your movements every day. Everywhere you go — to work, to school, to visit friends, or even to a protest or party — the drone buzzes over your head and watches what you do.
On May 29, 2012, the New York Times published a long report (based on interviews with three dozen current and former Obama administration advisers) revealing how President Obama personally authorizes every drone strike against individuals suspected of being terrorists. Every Tuesday, the President, with two dozen counterterrorism officials, pore over mug shots and biographies of each suspect. The goal of these meetings is to determine which of these suspects is enough of a national security threat to warrant kill or capture — of which, the New York Times puts it, “the capture part has become largely theoretical”. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think of the popular Japanese manga “Death Note” (which also became an anime series, a live-action film, and was banned in China). “Death Note” is a perfect allegory for the insidious moral implications of Obama’s targeted killing policy. Read the rest of this entry »
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll reveals something quite depressing. The poll shows that a majority of Americans, including many Democrats, support President Obama’s counterterrorism policies of keeping Guantanamo Bay prison open and drone strikes against suspected terrorists abroad. These are policies that Obama and many liberals criticized Bush for doing. But now that Obama is carrying them out, there’s ample support these policies.
I haven’t written about current events lately so I thought I would take the time out to write some of my thoughts and post some good articles about the latest events.
On Friday, October 16, 2009, the British High Court issued a ruling that rejected the U.S./British cover-up of torture evidence. Binyam Mohamed, a British resident of Ethiopian descent who was suspected to be involved in terrorism, was tortured by the CIA in Pakistan and other countries he was rendered to by the U.S. The CIA told British intelligence exactly what they did to him and the British recorded this on various memos. Last year, the British High Court ruled that Mohamed – who was at Guantanamo then – had the right to obtain those documents from British intelligence in order to prove that his statements to the CIA were the result of coercion. Read the rest of this entry »
Trying to provide a justification for the effectiveness of torture, the Washington Post published an article, on August 29, called “How a Detainee Became An Asset: Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding”. The article’s main argument can summed up in these paragraphs:
“After enduring the CIA’s harshest interrogation methods and spending more than a year in the agency’s secret prisons, Khalid Sheik Mohammed stood before U.S. intelligence officers in a makeshift lecture hall, leading what they called ‘terrorist tutorials.’…
These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its ‘preeminent source’ on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques….
[F]or for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general’s report and other documents released this week indicate.”