Summer is the killing season in American cities. The temperature rises and, yes, tempers do, too. […] In Los Angeles County, with an estimated 450 gangs that have 45,000 members, about half the murders are gang related. […] In Chicago, gang and gun violence is endemic, with 12 shootings last weekend and one death. And in New York, although the murder rate is much lower than the other cities, in the rougher parts of town that’s no guarantee of immunity. Between Friday and Sunday the first weekend in June, 26 people were shot and seven of them killed. […] The embattled streets of the city and the gunland of the heartland are wildly different places, and the failure to understand that difference, and overcome it, is the great American tragedy of our time.
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Writers with TomDispatch writes on “how America became a third world country.” They cite the unsettling political sphere in America with the poor economy and the new society America has. Give it a read here.
ICYMI: White House released over 100 pages of emails about Benghazi (PDF)
For starters: 17 May 2013
Things to watch today: Egypt with a possible million man march against its president Morsi, Syria with its conflict unraveling and international relations regarding the war occurring there. Follow @patrickdehahn for updates all day.
Turkey detains a new prime suspect in car bombings near their country’s Syrian border (Reuters)
United Nations’ UNCHR say that more than 1.5 million people have fled Syria since January of this year (Reuters)
Bahrain’s opposition say security forces raided top cleric’s house (Reuters)
A new revolutionary group in Egypt says they have collected millions of signatures against their president Morsi (Al Jazeera)
Nigerian forces bomb Islamist rebel camps using jets and attack helicopters in the northeastern part of their country (Reuters)
Two bombings hit mosques in Pakistan killed twelve people after Friday prayers (Al Jazeera)
Myanmar frees 23 political prisoners before President Thein Sein leaves to visit the United States (Reuters)
Philippine “massacre clan” enjoys election wins, even with their historic political crimes (AFP)
Obama pins hopes on more peace talks regarding Syria, while maintaining a cautious approach (The Guardian)
Guantanamo hunger strike reaches 100th day (CNN)
‘But as U.S. president for the last 4-1/2 years,Barack Obama has faced accusation after accusation of impinging on civil liberties, disappointing his liberal Democratic base and providing fodder for rival Republicans as he deals with the realities of office.
News in the past week of the federal seizure of phone records from the Associated Press news agency and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative Tea Party groups, has intensified criticism already simmering over the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and aerial drone strikes abroad.
Asked at a news conference on Tuesday why the administration had not done more for civil liberties, Attorney General Eric Holder said: “I’m proud of what we have done” and emphasized the administration’s shift from Bush era harsh interrogation practices of terrorism suspects that had drawn international criticism.
When he took office in 2009, Obama promised to close the Guantanamo camp for foreign terrorism suspects, but it remains open with 166 detainees, many on hunger strikes in protest at indefinite detentions. Obama said last month he would revisit that pledge and blamed Congress for blocking his plan to close the camp, partly through restrictions on transfers of detainees.
The administration has defended its aerial drone strikes abroad, which have included targeting a U.S.-born terrorism suspect, as essential to the fight against al Qaeda and other militants in places such as Pakistan and Yemen.’
For starters: 30 April 2013
United States sends extra medics to prison Guantanamo Bay as two-thirds (100) detainees go on hunger strike
Mexico ends open relationship with United States security agencies in fight against drugs and organized crime
Cyprus parliament decides on a bailout plan with a thin majority that voted yes
Spain sinks even deeper into national recession in first quarter
Huge explosion in Damascus kills 13, wounds another 70, Syrian state TV reports
Syrian opposition frustrated with level of outside support
Israel carries out first deadly airstrike in Gaza since November truce, killing one Palestinian
Turkey taking special precautions when treating Syrians after chemical weapons allegations
Database tracks China’s secretive aid to Africa
Egypt walks out of round of global nuclear talks in protest
Siri Lankan government now intensifying crackdown on journalists, judiciary, activists, Amnesty reports
China says they detained 19 and seized weapons after Xinjiang unrest
United States and South Korea finish up joint military drills in hopes to ease North Korea tensions
Malaysia braces for tight election
Thai security chief dismisses southern rebels’ demands
To American politicians, what is Egypt?
“These are concepts belonging to an era that came to an end more than two decades ago, yet continue to serve as the foundations of U.S.-Egypt relations. They were outdated even before the uprising that toppled Mubarak. Washington could always tell itself that the aging autocrat was an asset because he kept the Suez Canal open, maintained the peace with Israel, and kept the Islamists down. But following the political turmoil of the past two years and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, that faulty logic is even clearer — President Mohamed Morsy, after all, hasn’t moved to overturn the regional political order or challenge the peace treaty with Israel. As the Cold War has receded from memory, American policymakers have had a hard time articulating the rationale for an increasingly outmoded relationship. They have been left sputtering about ‘wanting what Egyptians want,’ or leaving well enough alone because the relationship ‘worked.’” Whew.
The list of those nations includes a range of American allies (Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany) and familiar Middle Eastern partners in the messy fight against radical Islam (Jordan, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates). Their alleged levels of participation vary widely, from countries like Poland, which agreed to host CIA black-site prisons, to nations like Portugal and Finland, which merely allowed their airspace and airports to be used for rendition flights.
NBC hosts an exclusive on a U.S. Department of Justice memo revealsling the government’s legal case for drone strikes on Americans
“A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be ‘senior operational leaders’ of al-Qaida or ‘an associated force’ — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.”
U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, compiled by the New America Foundation based on reports (each strike has a source listed)