One Year: Deadly Force From Missouri to Minnesota

Protestors, activists, and community members listen to speeches at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark on November 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Protestors, activists, and community members listen to speeches at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark on November 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

One year ago today, on the evening of November 24, 2014, I remember watching one of the most anticipated legal decisions since the O.J. Simpson verdict.  This was the night that St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting of Mr. Michael Brown.

One year later, my thoughts are 550 miles away in Minneapolis, MN, dealing with another police shooting of an unarmed black man. As in Ferguson, the community is protesting the targeting of black lives and the shooting of Mr. Jamar Clark. Community members are being arrested for expressing their constitutional right to peacefully assemble while the victim is being demonized as a criminal without the opportunity to defend himself, and the officers protected from the scrutiny of the citizens that they are sworn to protect. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Make a Call to Stand up for Refugee Rights in the United States

Refugees - Macedonia

This is a critical moment to stand up for refugee rights in the United States. Join us and call your Senator immediately to vote NO on the upcoming bill limiting entry to the U.S. to Iraqi and Syrian refugees.

The “American SAFE Act of 2015” that passed the House Thursday, Nov 19, now moves to the Senate. This bill would add increased and unnecessary screening and barriers for Syrian and Iraqi refugees (including requiring the Secretary of Homeland security, the Head of the FBI, and the Director of National Intelligence to sign off on every individual refugee from Iraq and Syria).  If it were to become law, thousands of desperate refugees fleeing the armed group calling itself the Islamic State and other violence would pay the price.

Please, call your senator NOW. Click here to find your Senators by state. Ring both Senators to express your support for refugees and your rejection of this bill. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

4 Reasons Why Syrian Refugee Resettlement Is the Right Policy for the US

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Three weeks ago, two Syrian activist journalists, Ibrahim Abd al-Qader and Fares Hamadi, both refugees who had survived harassment from the Assad regime, were killed in Urfa, Turkey, presumably by ISIS. They were added to the list of more than 220,000 Syrian dead, caught between the violence of both the Assad regime and ISIS and other armed groups.

Their murders highlight the continuing dangers Syrian refugees face. These are the people we should be supporting; these are the people who are essential to keeping hope the original vision of the Syrian uprising in 2011: a vision of a Syria built on respect for human rights.  Instead, political leaders threatening to ban Syrian resettlement are threatening to shut the door on them.

Take action to end refugee-bashing here. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

One in 10 Death Row Inmates Are Veterans


By Mark Berman via The Washington Post

One-tenth of those who currently on death row in the United States are military veterans, including some with post-traumatic stress disorder that was not factored into their sentences, according to a new report released on the eve of Veterans Day.

This report arrives as the country’s use of the death penalty is simultaneously declining and facing increased scrutiny, something that has been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and on the presidential campaign trail this year.

While it is not known exactly how many veterans have been sentenced to death, the report released Tuesday by the Death Penalty Information Center says that about 300 of the country’s more than 3,000 death-row inmates have served in the military. Read more

This is an excerpt from a piece published by The Washington Post. Click here to read the full article

Everyone Has the Right to Seek Asylum

Hundreds of Myanmar's Rohingya refugees arrived in Indonesia on May 15, 2015. Thousands more are believed to still be stranded at sea reportedly with no country in the region willing to take them in. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Hundreds of Rohingya refugees arrived in Indonesia on May 15, 2015. Thousands more are believed to still be stranded at sea reportedly with no country willing to take them in. Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

We all have an obligation to help

The right to flee from danger and seek safe haven ought to be something we all innately understand. And yet, one need only turn on the television, browse the Internet or pick up a paper to find arguments against it. Under international law, states have an obligation to help people fleeing persecution by not sending them back in to danger. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

After 13 years, Shaker Aamer Is Leaving Guantanamo: Here are 5 Things You Should Know


By Gay Gardner, Amnesty International USA member

I’m an activist with Amnesty International, and today is a reminder of why I have been doing this for more than 30 years. Shaker Aamer is finally returning to his family in the U.K., after being held without charge at Guantanamo for more than 13 years. Amnesty’s campaign, along with the work of countless activists around the world, has helped get the U.S. government to release him. It is the unwavering defense of the dignity of individuals such as Shaker Aamer that inspires me and keeps me active in Amnesty. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, Replies to Amnesty International USA Board of Directors

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

James Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Ann Burroughs and Pratap Chatterjee, Members of AIUSA Board of Directors

James Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, sent a reply to a letter from the Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) Board of Directors asking the Obama administration to conduct a review of U.S. signals intelligence practices that threaten the human rights of millions of people worldwide. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Posted in USA

The Secrets Are Out on Drones


The secrets are out. Today, The Intercept published a series of articles allegedly based on leaked documents that expose the inner workings of the lethal drone program. While we are not in a position to independently verify them, they underscore the Obama administration’s long-standing failure to bring transparency to the drones program. Here are three reasons this is such a big deal:

1. There is new evidence that aspects of the drone program may be unlawful. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Shaker Aamer Will Be Transferred Home After 13 Years in Guantanamo


This is big news. At long last, the Obama administration has reportedly notified both Congress and the UK government that Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer will be transferred home to the UK after 13 years. Shaker’s case has for years compelled the Amnesty movement, along with many others, to call loudly for him to be transferred back to the UK. So today’s news is, to say the least, heartening. But as we celebrate, let us not forget – there is much more to be done, and not much time left to do it. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

#KellyOnMyMind: Georgia Set to Execute First Woman in 70 Years

The state of Georgia is set to execute Kelly Gissendaner next week, on Tuesday September 29. In some ways this case is unusual, even exceptional; in other ways, it’s business as usual – especially in a state like Georgia.

What makes Kelly Gissendaner’s case different? For one thing, she’s a woman. Gissendaner is the only woman on Georgia’s death row. If she’s executed, she’ll the first woman put to death by the State of Georgia in 70 years. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST