August 1, 2014 archive
Aug 01 2014
Aug 01 2014
Boko Haram kidnaps wife of vice prime minister in Cameroon
July 27, 2014 11:29AM ET
Boko Haram fighters on Sunday kidnapped the wife of Cameroon’s vice prime minister in an attack that also killed three people, according to a government spokesman.
The Islamist fighters targeted the home of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali in the town of Kolofata, in the Far North Region, according to Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary. A local religious leader, or lamido, also was kidnapped in a separate attack on his home.
“I can confirm that the home of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata came under a savage attack from Boko Haram militants,” Issa Tchiroma told Reuters.
“They unfortunately took away his wife. They also attacked the lamido’s residence and he was also kidnapped,” he said, adding that at least three people were killed in the attack.
The Real News Network
Baba Aye, a trade union educator and Deputy National Secretary of the Labour Party, is the National Convener of United Action for Democracy, the largest rights-based CSOs coalition in Nigeria. He has been very active over the past three decades in the various trenches of struggle for democratic rights and is the author of the book Era of Crises and Revolts: Perspectives for Workers and Youth (2012).
According to Human Rights Watch, in Nigeria, Boko Haram, the groups most people regard as a terrorist group, have killed in the last six months more than 2,053 civilians. Some people suggest that number has also been reached by the government of Goodluck Jonathan, who some say has killed as many people over the same period, but Human Rights Watch mentions only a few abuses in the same report.
How does all this come to be? Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa now, more than–bigger than South Africa. It’s the sixth-largest oil exporting country in the world. Why such chaos?
Now joining us to talk about the historical roots of all of this is Baba Aye. He’s a trade union educator, deputy national secretary of the Labour Party. He’s the national convener of United Action for Democracy, the largest rights-based organization coalition in Nigeria.
Aug 01 2014
Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when
we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Everyone’s welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.
Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
This Day in History
Aug 01 2014
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
Click on images to enlarge
August 1 is the 213th day of the year (214th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 152 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1981, MTV, Music Television, goes on the air for the first time ever, with the words (spoken by one of MTV’s creators, John Lack): “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first music video to air on the new cable television channel, which initially was available only to households in parts of New Jersey. MTV went on to revolutionize the music industry and become an influential source of pop culture and entertainment in the United States and other parts of the world, including Europe, Asia and Latin America, which all have MTV-branded channels.
In MTV’s early days, its programming consisted of basic music videos that were introduced by VJs (video jockeys) and provided for free by record companies. As the record industry recognized MTV’s value as a promotional vehicle, money was invested in making creative, cutting-edge videos. Some directors, including Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Three Kings) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), worked on music videos before segueing into feature films. In the 1980s, MTV was instrumental in promoting the careers of performers such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince and Duran Duran, whose videos played in heavy rotation.
Aug 01 2014
In a joint statement, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch released a 120 page report documenting how mass surveillance by the US is undermining constitutional rights to freedom of the press and legal council
The 120-page report, “With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy,” is based on extensive interviews with dozens of journalists, lawyers, and senior US government officials. It documents how national security journalists and lawyers are adopting elaborate steps or otherwise modifying their practices to keep communications, sources, and other confidential information secure in light of revelations of unprecedented US government surveillance of electronic communications and transactions. The report finds that government surveillance and secrecy are undermining press freedom, the public’s right to information, and the right to counsel, all human rights essential to a healthy democracy.
Amy Goodman and Aaron Mate sat down with Alex Sinha, Aryeh Neier fellow at Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, and Jeremy Scahill, staff reporter with The Intercept to discuss the threat to Americans’ liberties.
In a new report, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union warn that “large-scale surveillance is seriously hampering U.S.-based journalists and lawyers in their work.” The report is based on interviews with dozens of reporters and lawyers. They describe a media climate where journalists take cumbersome security steps that slows down their reporting. Sources are afraid of talking, as aggressive prosecutions scare government officials into staying silent, even about issues that are unclassified. For lawyers, the threat of surveillance is stoking fears they will be unable to protect a client’s right to privacy. Some defendants are afraid of speaking openly to their own counsel, undermining a lawyer’s ability provide the best possible defense.
Transcript can be read here
Journalism under fire: America’s freedom of the press is in danger
By Heather Digby Parton, Salon
If there’s one thing that civil libertarians across the American political spectrum tend to agree upon, it’s that the Bill of Rights is a guiding document. It doesn’t say everything but it says a lot. The various political factions do sometimes differ in their emphasis and interpretation, with the right’s civil libertarians often tending to focus more closely on the 1st Amendment’s establishment clause and the 2nd Amendment while the left-leaning civil libertarians take a harder line on freedom of speech and the 4th amendment. This is of course a sweeping generalization which can be disproved in dozens of individual cases, but for the sake of argument, it can probably be stipulated that those who concern themselves with the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution all agree on the Bill of Rights’ importance to our constitutional order. And they tend to agree across the board, with equal fervor, on the necessity of a free press to a functioning democracy. [..]
Considering the reaction of many people in the government toward reporters involved in the NSA revelation, it’s clear they have reason to be paranoid. There are government officials awho consider them to be spies and have said they should be punished as such. Even fellow journalists have brought up the question of “aiding and abetting” as if it’s a legitimate line of inquiry.
The atmosphere of mistrust is also rampant within the government, as with the administration having cracked down on contacts between the intelligence community and issuing threats of legal action even before the Snowden revelations. The institutionalized, government-wide initiative called the Insider Threat Program could have any federal employee looking over his shoulder and worrying that his innocent behavior might be construed as suspicious. [..]
And it’s not just national security agencies that are subject to this program. They are in effect in departments as disparate as the Department of Education and the Peace Corps.
Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel
By Dan Froomkin, The Intercept
Not even the strongest versions of NSA reform being considered in Congress come anywhere close to addressing the chilling effects on basic freedoms that the new survey describes.
“If the US fails to address these concerns promptly and effectively,” report author G. Alex Sinha writes, “it could do serious, long-term damage to the fabric of democracy in the country.”
Even before the Snowden revelations, reporters trying to cover important defense, intelligence and counter-terrorism issues were reeling from the effects of unprecedented secrecy and attacks on whistleblowers.
But newfound awareness of the numerous ways the government can follow electronic trails – previously considered the stuff of paranoid fantasy – has led sources to grow considerably more fearful.