“Obama’s speech is like a joke for me,” said Numan Qadis, 47, as he smoked his water pipe. He mocked Obama’s calls for Israel to give up land in the Palestinian territories based on the Jewish state’s pre-1967 war borders. “That is funny, there are tens of U.N. Security Council resolutions that call for that, and Israel is ignoring them all,” Qadis said. “He has done nothing for poor Palestinians who die every day in Gaza. He will do nothing for them or for us. Rather, he talks in mere slogans seeking to increase his popularity. I think his only achievement was killing Bin Laden, that is all, man.”
During testimony before a House panel, Peace Corps volunteers speak of rape overseas and the lack of help and compassion received back in the U.S. The program says it’s committed to reforms. Julie Mianecki reports:
“I was sent to speak with a Peace Corps staff investigator, who said, ‘I am so sick of you girls going over there, drinking, dancing and partying, and then if a guy comes on to you, you say you were raped,’” Koenen told a congressional committee Wednesday. “My final straw was when my Peace Corps country director said to me, ‘It’s your word against his. He said you wanted to have sex, and we believe him.’”
“On his last day in prison Scott Howard was sexually assaulted by his cellmate, a gang member who had assaulted him before. He explained this to the guard escorting him to his cell; she was indifferent.”—More than 217,000 prisoners, including at least 17,000 juveniles, were raped or sexually abused in America in 2008. Efforts to stop the crime are welcome. They are also overdue. (via theeconomist)
Syria detains hundreds, hindering protesters' efforts to organize
At this point, the death toll is estimated to have topped 800, according to human rights groups in contact with people in the country, and tanks and troops are deployed in several cities, imposing curfews and communication blackouts. Large numbers of military troops and tanks moved into Homs, Banias and Tafas, outside Deraa, on Sunday.
Reports vary about the number of newly dead in those cities, Homs in particular. All reports cite gunfire and casualties.
The widespread arrests and climbing death toll have sent activists into hiding at a time when the leaderless uprising was expected to begin coalescing behind figureheads, according to the Associated Press. Turnout for Friday’s protests across the country was 30 percent lower than for the previous week’s protests, at least partially because of security forces’ use of detention and intimidation. Estimates of the number of detained run as high as 10,000.
CNN has also reported that Syrian forces are using soccer stadiums as prisons for detainees.
Dozens of African migrants were left to die in the Mediterranean after a number of European and Nato military units apparently ignored their cries for help, the Guardian has learned.
A boat carrying 72 passengers, including several women, young children and political refugees, ran into trouble in late March after leaving Tripoli for the Italian island of Lampedusa. Despite alarms being raised with the Italian coastguard and the boat making contact with a military helicopter and a Nato warship, no rescue effort was attempted.
All but 11 of those on board died from thirst and hunger after their vessel was left to drift in open waters for 16 days. “Every morning we would wake up and find more bodies, which we would leave for 24 hours and then throw overboard,” said Abu Kurke, one of only nine survivors. “By the final days, we didn’t know ourselves … everyone was either praying, or dying.” [read more]
“Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes ‘Jew’ and ‘Gypsy’.”—Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to bin Laden’s Death (via kateoplis)
Suleiman Fortiya, Misrata’s representative to the National Transitional Council said that he had seen helicopters marked with the emblems of the aid agencies dropping mines into Misrata on Friday. He said, “They had Red Crescent and Red Cross markers so that anyone who sees them thinks it is for humanitarian aid.”
NATO says that it is aware of the reports, although it could not confirm.
In its first full year in office (FY 2010), the Obama administration generated a record-breaking 224,724 “new secrets” — a 22.6 percent increase over the year before, according to the Information Security Oversight Office and first reported by Secrecy News….