• A public divided: Americans’ attitudes about torture

    Opinions January 15, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Huffington Post. The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA use of torture in interrogations of suspected terrorists has renewed the debate over what the U.S. should or should not do to its prisoners in the war on terror. Where does the public stand — and have their views changed over time?

  • In the forefront for those in the background #CloseGitmo

    Opinions January 14, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Muslim Matters. With my Islamic principles in mind and on the 13th year of the anniversary of Guantanamo’s opening to house prisoners of the War on Terror, I took the lead in organizing a Muslim contingent to be present at the annual protests in front of the White House. I organized the contingent with the premise that we, as Muslims, had to be present and that our presence must be intentional. As Muslims, I saw it as imperative that we stand in solidarity with our brothers to challenge and draw attention to the torture and degrading treatment that they have suffered at the hands of the US government. Moreover, in a climate where Muslim organizations feel repeatedly compelled to condemn violence perpetrated by a small minority of Muslims, we were present to condemn a government that has harmed members of our ummah with our tax dollars. Thus, #MuslimsRally2CloseGitmo was born.

  • Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism

    Opinions January 13, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Workers World. “The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012 the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication. French law allows for the prosecution of “public insults” based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action. However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted Muslims or the prophet Muhammed. . . . Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.”

  • Charlie Hebdo and western liberalism

    Opinions January 10, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Al Jazeera. “Another horrific tragedy has struck a western capital in the violent murder of French journalists and cartoonists at a satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. The culprits appear to have done so in response to the magazine’s publication of cartoons deemed offensive to Muslims, though they were also thought to have been radicalised by the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. . . . As with most incidents of violence involving Muslims, however, the ensuing public discussion has revolved largely around resolute vows to uphold a fundamental value of western civilisation – the freedom of expression – and degenerated into recriminations about Islam’s purported assault on that very freedom. . . . It is only by uncritically adopting the hegemonic narrative of western liberalism that one could reach the conclusion that the biggest threats to freedom of expression in the world today are Islam and North Korea. To frame these events without accounting for the broader context and power relationships at work inhibits any sensible understanding of the deep conflicts plaguing our world at present. “

  • Must counterterrorism cancel democracy?

    Opinions January 8, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The New York Review of Books. “Increasingly, our governments seem to be insisting that our lives be transparent to them, while their policies remain hidden from us. For the sake of democracy itself, we must do all we can to resist that impulse.”

  • What about the case of Aafia Siddiqui?

    Opinions December 26, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: The Final Call. “The troubling case of Aafia Siddiqui becomes more embarrassing with the passing of time for those of us who believe that the United States, in its ideals and history, has something positive to offer the rest of the world. Do we not defend human rights? We are the good guys, are we not,” said Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, president of the Minaret of Freedom Institute at a press conference December 10, on International Human Rights Day.The case of Aafiq Siddiqui mobilized supporters around the country that day to once again call for her release from FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas and return to Pakistan. Since she has not been seen by family or friends in months, her physical and psychological status is questioned by her supporters. They are calling for an independent medical team to conduct a full examination of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

  • ‘Why the innocent plead guilty’: An exchange

    Opinions December 26, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: The New York Review of Books. “Judge Jed S. Rakoff’s article “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty” [NYR, November 20, 2014] is spot on, but doesn’t go far enough. True, we have a federal plea system, not a trial system. True, to call the process “plea bargaining” is a cruel misnomer. There is nothing here remotely like fair bargaining between equal parties with equal resources or equal information. The prosecutors’ power—as Judge Rakoff describes—is extraordinary, far surpassing that of prosecutors of years past, and in most cases, far surpassing the judge’s.”

  • ‘Disturbing’ & ‘Misleading’

    Op-Eds, Opinions February 13, 2013 at 0 comments

    Source: New York Review of Books. Zero Dark Thirty was constructed to bring viewers to the edges of their seats, and judging by its critical reception, for many viewers it has succeeded in that respect. Its faults as journalism matter because they may well affect the unresolved public debate about torture, to which the film makes a distorted contribution.

  • There’s No Room for Civil Liberties in Obama’s Inauguration View of America

    Op-Eds, Opinions January 23, 2013 at 0 comments

    Source: The Atlantic. As the president’s speech Monday made clear, the authoritarian right and egalitarian left meet in the middle on at least one issue: Neither side values the rights of the individual.

  • Keeping the Internet Safe From Governments

    Op-Eds, Opinions January 23, 2013 at 0 comments

    Source: NYT. The petition was the brainchild of Bill Woodcock, the Berkeley-based research director of Packet Clearing House, a nonprofit institute. “This is really about whether people should be allowed to say what they think,” Mr. Woodcock said. “The Internet enables free speech, and that makes it very dangerous to countries that try to control public discourse.”