Category Archives: Civil Rights/Liberties

Articles and thoughts on torture, Afghanistan and the environment

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 »


Washington Post (Incorrectly) Asserts that Torture Worked

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »


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Great article in The Nation Magazine: “Beer and Sympathy”

Gary Younge wrote a great article in the August 17, 2009 edition of The Nation about the “beer summit” that took place between President Barack Obama, Officer James Crowley and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. I particularly liked these passages: Read the rest of this entry »


President Barack Obama Speaks to NAACP at Centennial

Obama had some nice words to say. However, I thought it was all empty rhetoric.


Gitmo Rally Speech (March 6, 2008)

Perhaps the biggest moment that changed my life was the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was thirteen at the time and I almost remember that day like it was yesterday. Before 9/11, I believed that America was safe and never did I imagine such an attack would occur in my country. That event destroyed my sense of security. What made 9/11 even more personal for me is the fact that my cousin used to work at the World Trade Center – on the 89th floor. Fortunately, he was late for work that day and when he got off the subway, he was told to go back because the first plane had hit. As the events of the day unfolded I, my family and my friends stared at our TV screens in shock, horror and confusion. I realized that my life would never be the same. As I approach the age of twenty, I am more cognizant of the world and the suffering that exists within it. Read the rest of this entry »


Delta Gents Speech (given February 20, 2008)

On December 23, 1776, Thomas Paine wrote in The American Crisis:

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Obviously, the times Thomas Paine talked about are different from today but his words capture the essence of the emergency this nation is in today. Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, this nation, through fear, has been led down a dangerous path that could erode the most sacred principles on which it was built. Read the rest of this entry »

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