While Slaughter in the Philippines Continues, President Obama is Notably Silent

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte walks past honour guards before Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa's Assumption of Command Ceremony at the Camp Crame in Manila on July 1, 2016.  Authoritarian firebrand Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines' president on June 30, after promising a ruthless and deeply controversial war on crime would be the main focus of his six-year term. / AFP / NOEL CELIS        (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

( NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

By T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director, Amnesty International USA

Media reports indicate that in the Philippines number of people killed by the police could be as high as 400 to 800 in the last few weeks. These cold blooded murders are committed by the police and vigilantes by the active encouragement and support of the President Duterte and his “shoot to kill” directive.  In essence President Duterte has become the “Cheer Leader” for these killings.

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Will President Obama Respect Indian Judiciary?

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US President Barack Obama speaks on US - India relations during a townhall event at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on January 27, 2015. US President Barack Obama warned January 27 that the world does not "stand a chance against climate change" unless developing countries such as India reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks on US – India relations during a townhall event at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

By T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director for Amnesty International USA

As President Obama is about to host Indian Prime Minister Modi on June 7th to discuss series of issues, one issue is not going to be on the table. The case in point is the summons served by an Indian court to a US based multinational company for the deaths of thousands as a result of a poisonous gas leak in Bhopal in India over thirty years ago. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

President Obama Must Appoint ATF Director to Stop the Flow of Illegal Guns

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US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms.   AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Last month, President Obama unveiled a number of actions his administration will take to help curb the increasing number of gun violence incidents in the United States. Included in those actions are new guidelines to strengthen background checks, provide increased access to mental health care, explore gun safety technology and implement more aggressive enforcement of current laws.

One of the agencies tasked with helping to enforce those laws is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). As a bureau within the Department of Justice, the ATF plays a key role in stopping the illegal use and trafficking of firearms. This is an issue that doesn’t just impact people in the United States but also individuals around the world; for example, 70 percent of the more than 104,850 guns seized by Mexican authorities from 2009-2014 can be traced back to the United States. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

This is Why Obama’s Speech on American Muslims Matters

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US President Barack Obama speaks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, in Windsor Mill, Maryland on February 3, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, in Windsor Mill, Maryland on February 3, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

I never thought it would happen, and it may never happen again. On Wednesday, President Obama visited a U.S. mosque for the first time in his presidency. He quoted from the Islamic holy book, the Quran. And he unequivocally denounced anti-Muslim hate.

This may sound uneventful, but it was actually bold. Muslims, Islam and the Quran are nearly dirty words in the U.S. political mainstream right now. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

When Life is Disposable: Muslim Bodies as Precarious in the War on Terror

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(Photo: Justin Norman)

By Dr. Maha Hilal, Executive Director at National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

“[W]hat counts as a livable life and a grievable death?”

(Judith Butler, 2004, p. xv)

The Muslim body in the so-called War on Terror has been treated as if it is without value and inconsequential. Muslim bodies have been detained, extradited, tortured, and unlawfully killed. Muslim lives have been drowned in a sea of policy and rhetoric that justifies the loss of lives as “collateral damage” in the name of protecting U.S. security.  Methods which would otherwise be considered brutal and inconsistent with the U.S. government claims to uphold democracy and human rights position Muslims as less than human, and in this way their lives and their deaths are treated as inconsequential. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Guantanamo Has Been Open Longer Under President Obama Than President Bush

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As of January 30th, 2016, Guantanamo will be open under President Obama longer than it was open under President Bush. Here is one detainee’s story—and he is not alone:

“When I used to go for interrogations, I was unable to walk because of the restraints on my legs and tightness on my feet. I would fall down to the ground and scream that I cannot walk. They would pick me up from the ground and I would walk with them while they are hitting me on the way to the interrogation until I would bleed from my feet. When I would fall to the ground, they would drag me while I am on the ground. … Sometimes they would put a weapon on my head threatening to kill me….”

This is how Guantánamo detainee Toffiq al-Bihani described the treatment he suffered at the hands of the CIA before coming to Guantánamo. Starting in early 2002 the U.S. government detained and interrogated Toffiq for about a year. After being subjected to the infamous CIA torture program, he was transferred to Guantánamo in early 2003. That’s where he remains to this day.

As of January 30, 2016, the detention camp has been open under President Obama longer than it was open under President Bush. Despite multiple promises to close Guantánamo, President Obama oversees the continued detention of 91 individuals including Toffiq. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Reaping the Harvest of Fear: The Obama Administration Deports Asylum Seekers

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Central American migrants walk over the tracks to catch the train north, Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, Mexico, 28 June 2009.  Junio 28, 2009. Líneas férreas de Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, México. Migrantes centroamericanos en espera de la salida del tren hacia el norte. Migrants make their way toward Mexico’s northern border by foot, bus and most commonly on the top of a network of freight trains. Here migrants in Tierra Blanca, Veracruz state, board “La Bestia” (The Beast) also known as “El tren de la muerte” (The Death Train).

Central American migrants walk over the tracks to catch the train north, Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, Mexico, 28 June 2009.

By Esmeralda López and Adotei Akwei

Urias (a 32-year-old mother from Usulután Province, El Salvador) says ICE agents showed up at the door of her apartment in Atlanta at 11 a.m. Sunday, but she wouldn’t let them in. Then they called her and said they were actually there because her ankle monitor was broken. So she opened the door. Once inside, they told her to get her kids together and go with them. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

As the mother of a 9/11 victim, I want justice – not Guantanamo

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By Phyllis Rodriguez, Activist and mother of 9/11 Victim Greg Rodriguez

My son Greg was 31 years old and worked on the 103rd floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center.

I first learned he was there on the morning of September 11. But it wasn’t until 36 hours later that I learned he had perished. Through the shock and pain of my grief, I was afraid of what our government was going to do in the name of my son and my family. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Guantanamo’s Poetry: 14 Years Too Many

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Can you imagine needing to write? What if you needed to write so badly that’d you use toothpaste instead of a pen, a Styrofoam cup instead of paper, if that’s all you had?

What would it be like if this writing – this poetry – was the only way to preserve your sanity? Your humanity?

That’s how it was – how it may still be – for the prisoners at Guantánamo. As the prison enters its 15th year of operation, there are 107 people still there, and most are held without charge. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST