Jul 02 2014

Daily News Flash with Rahul Mahajan on NSA Surveillance, African Union Vote on Immunity, and Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Movement

Uprising’s guest expert Rahul Mahajan, a sociologist and news analyst and author of Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond, analyzes today’s news headlines:

Newly released documents from Edward Snowden reveal that a FISA court authorized the NSA to spy on almost all the nations of the world. The Washington Post published an exposé on how, “Virtually no foreign government is off-limits for the National Security Agency, which has been authorized to intercept information “concerning” all but four countries.” Those four are Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which together with the US, are part of a sinister sounding group called Five Eyes. While the NSA’s reach was known before, these new documents show, “a far more elastic authority than previously known” Meanwhile, a five member federal panel appointed by President Obama endorsed, with minimal reservations, the legality of the NSA’s programs. Click here for the Washington Post article about the NSA story, and here for an Al Jazeera story on the federal panel.

Members of the African Union passed an amendment at a summit meeting in Equatorial Guinea late last week, to give themselves immunity from prosecution for genocide and crimes against humanity by the newly established African Court of Justice and Human Rights. The Associated Press reports that “News of the vote was imparted obliquely in a statement on Monday night about the summit outcomes.” A spokesperson for Amnesty International called the vote, “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights.” The timing of the decision is notable, given that several African heads of state are facing charges at the International Criminal Court at the Hague. The ICC has for years faced accusations of prejudice against African leaders, singling them out for crimes while ignoring the actions of Western leaders. Click here for an AP report on the story.

Political turmoil in Hong Kong has drawn attention to that city’s growing anger toward China. Following a vote to have greater control over democratic institutions, hundreds of thousands of people among Hong Kong’s 7 million strong population have been protesting. Hong Kong is under a special administrative rule by China. The latest protests, which were organized by a group calling itself Occupy Central, resulted in over 500 people being arrested. Click here for a USA Today article about the story.

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