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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Human Rights & Civil Liberties

The Appalling Cowardice of the NY Times and the Rest of America's Big Newspapers -- Too Scared to Say 'Torture'

Before 2004, the newspapers called waterboarding torture. After the revelations of Gitmo and black sites of the Bush years, they've gone silent.

Will Bunch, Media Matters for America

On the one hand, waterboarding is torture.

On the other hand....

I'm sorry -- there is no other hand. Waterboarding is torture, period. It's been that way for decades -- it was torture when we went after Japanese war criminals who used the ancient and inhumane interrogation tactic, it was torture when Pol Pot and some of the worst dictators known to mankind used it against their own people, and it was torture to the U.S. military which once punished soldiers who adopted the grim practice.

And waterboarding was described as "torture," almost without fail, in America's newspapers.

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Change? Obama's "Crimmigration" Policies Mimic Bush's

  • The Obama administration has chosen to follow its predecessor in pursuing the criminal prosecution of unauthorized immigrants for minor, nonviolent offenses.
  • DHS under the Obama administration is needlessly clogging the federal courts with people who have not committed any serious crime.

Walter Ewing, Immigration Impact

It would seem that the Obama administration has chosen to mimic its predecessor in its zeal to pursue the criminal prosecution of unauthorized immigrants for minor, nonviolent offenses such as crossing the border. As the Associated Press reported recently, “federal prosecutions of immigrants soared to new levels this spring, as the Obama administration continued an aggressive enforcement strategy championed under President George W. Bush.”

However, the IPC has noted that this “dramatic increase in criminal prosecutions can be traced in large part to Operation Streamline, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program which mandates federal criminal prosecution and subsequent imprisonment of all persons caught crossing the border unlawfully.” Yet large numbers of these federal immigration prosecutions “have focused on non-violent border crossers.” In other words, DHS under the Obama administration is needlessly clogging the federal courts with people who have not committed any serious crime.

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Related:

Federal prosecutions of immigrants soar, Garance Burke, Associated Press, on MSNBC
Obama continues enforcement tactic championed under Bush

Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Teary-Eyed Defense Of Ground Zero Islamic Center

  • "We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That's life and it's part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11," he said.
  • Zero Tolerance
  • Ground Zero Mosque Appeal: Conservative Law Firm Will Fight Go-Ahead Vote

Sara Yin, Huffington Post

Speaking on Governor's Island, misty-eyed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised a decision to allow an Islamic center to be built near Ground Zero.

Bloomberg choked up during his delivery, which highlighted the spirit of religious tolerance and freedoms once sought by New York's earliest settlers.

"We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That's life and it's part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11," he said.

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Related:

Zero Tolerance, Progress Report, in Newsvine.com

  • Debate Over Ground Zero Mosque Is About American Values
  • Right-wing Freak Out
  • Mainstreaming Bigotry

Religion News Service

Ground Zero Mosque Appeal: Conservative Religious Law Firm Will Fight Go-Ahead Vote, Alfredo Garcia, Religion News Service, in Huffington Post

A conservative religious law firm plans to appeal a decision that grants a green light for the construction of an Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero.

Zero Tolerance

  • Debate Over Ground Zero Mosque Is About American Values
  • Right-wing Freak Out
  • Mainstreaming Bigotry
  • Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Teary-Eyed Defense Of Ground Zero Islamic Center

Progress Report, in Newsvine.com

In December (2009), the New York Times reported that "for months," hundreds of Muslims had been gathering every Friday at an abandoned building two blocks north of the World Trade Center for prayer and readings from the Qur'an in Arabic. A group of Muslims purchased the building -- which had been damaged from debris resulting from the 9/11 attacks  -- and now, led by the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) and the Cordoba Initiative, plan to build a 15-story Islamic community center there that will include a mosque, an arts center, a workout facility, and other public spaces.

ASMA founder Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said the project "sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11." "We want to push back against the extremists," he added. Other faith leaders offered support for the project. "[Abdul Rauf] subscribes to my credo: 'Live and let live,'" said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a spiritual leader at a nearby synagogue. "Building so close is owning the tragedy. It's a way of saying: 'This is something done by people who call themselves Muslims. We want to be here to repair the breach, as the Bible says,'" said Joan Brown Campbell, a Christian leader in New York. Despite interfaith support for the project, the idea of having a Muslim center anywhere near Ground Zero has set off right-wing outrage based in bigotry, paranoia, bias, racism, and intolerance.

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Related:

Debate Over Ground Zero Mosque Is About American Values, Think Progress
In 1790, President George Washington wrote a letter to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island, affirming the values of tolerance and religious freedom that he saw as the bedrock of the country that he had had helped found and done so much to secure. “The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy,” Washington wrote. It was “a policy worthy of imitation.”

Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Teary-Eyed Defense Of Ground Zero Islamic Center, Sara Yin, Huffington Post

  • "We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That's life and it's part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11," he said.
  • Zero Tolerance
  • Ground Zero Mosque Appeal: Conservative Law Firm Will Fight Go-Ahead Vote

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