The earthquake in Nepal last week killed at least 5,800 people. As Nepal struggles to recover, it also “finds itself jammed between India and China in the geopolitical sense. Like the Himalayas themselves, Nepal lies between the two hulking giants of Asia that, from the days of Mao and Nehru, have historically had competing ideological visions for how to lead the poorer parts of the continent toward economic and political development.” Not surprisingly, both India and China are using the opportunity to try to extend their influence in the country. Once again, humanitarian aid has a political purpose.
In the aftermath of this week’s “Charlie Hebdo” attack, many editorialists and much of the public have adopted the slogan: Je Suis “Charlie Hebdo” (“I am Charlie Hebdo”) in solidarity with the slain cartoonists and to demonstrate that they will not be intimidated into giving up their right to freedom of speech. Yet many others are conflicted. While they support the right to freedom of speech and do not advocate censuring publications such as Charlie Hebdo, they find the publication’s material offensive and do not want to let themselves be goaded into proclaiming “Je Suis Charlie Hebdo”.
Here are a couple of articles from both positions:
“The right to blaspheme religion is one of the most elemental exercises of political liberalism. One cannot defend the right without defending the practice.”
“Charlie Hebdo and the Right to Commit Blasphemy” By Jonathan Chait http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/charlie-hebdo-and-the-right-to-commit-blasphemy.html
“I am offended when those already oppressed in a society are deliberately insulted. I don’t want to participate. This crime in Paris does not suspend my political or ethical judgment, or persuade me that scatologically smearing a marginal minority’s identity and beliefs is a reasonable thing to do. Yet this means rejecting the only authorized reaction to the atrocity.”
“Why I am not Charlie” http://paper-bird.net/2015/01/09/why-i-am-not-charlie/
Contrary to a well-orchestrated PR campaign: “The vast majority of the intelligence” about the Qaeda courier who led the agency to Bin Laden “was originally acquired from sources unrelated to the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program, and the most accurate information acquired from a C.I.A. detainee was provided prior to the C.I.A. subjecting the detainee to the C.I.A.’s enhanced interrogation techniques,” the Senate report said.
Continue reading the main story”.
It added that most of “the documents, statements and testimony” from the C.I.A. regarding a connection between the torture of detainees and the Bin Laden hunt were “inaccurate and incongruent with C.I.A. records.”
A senate report on the CIA’s 2002-2008 detention and interrogation program was released today. The Washington Post has a cover story and several follow-up pieces of analysis. Below them is a link to a time-line from the New York Times. The last link is to the full document (525 pages) on Motherjones.
“An exhaustive, five-year Senate investigation of the CIA’s secret interrogations of terrorism suspects renders a strikingly bleak verdict of a program launched in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, describing levels of brutality, dishonesty and seemingly arbitrary violence that at times brought even agency employees to moments of anguish.
The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee delivers new allegations of cruelty in a program whose severe tactics have been abundantly documented, revealing that agency medical personnel voiced alarm that waterboarding methods had deteriorated to “a series of near drownings” and that agency employees subjected detainees to “rectal rehydration” and other painful procedures that were never approved.”