Aug 01 2014

Daily News Flash with Maya Rockeymoore on CIA Spying on Senators, Lack of Diversity in Environmental Movement, and Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law Overturned – Plus Latest on Gaza

Uprising’s guest expert Maya Rockeymoore, President of the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a social change non-profit dedicated to making policy work for people and their environment, analyzes today’s news headlines:

An internal CIA investigation has found that the agency spied on members of a Senate Committee tasked with oversight. Confirming the assertions made by Sen. Dianne Feinstein earlier this year, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, the CIA has found that its officers did indeed monitor Senators’ emails, and, according to the New York Times, “sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department based on false information.” The committee was investigating the agency’s role in the use of torture during the Bush Administration. In the wake of the revelations, Sen. Mark Udall has called upon President Obama to demand the resignation of CIA chief John Brennan. Brennan had earlier repeatedly denied that the CIA was spying on Senators. Click here for a New York Times article about the story, and here for a Commondreams article.

A new study conducted at the University of Michigan has found a stunning lack of diversity in the environmental movement. Examining the demographics of hundreds of leading environmental organizations, government agencies, and foundations, the study found a dismal average of 16% of all staff to be people of color. Nonwhites, who are 38% of the US population, and often disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change, are especially underrepresented in leadership positions. The study went as far as referring to the “insiders clubs” that promote a mostly white male leadership and impose a so-called “green ceiling” on minorities. Apparently even corporate America has more diverse executive hiring policies. Click here to download the study.

Uganda’s anti-gay law that garnered international outrage, has been overturned – at least for now. A constitutional court ruled this week that the country’s legislature did not have sufficient quorum when it passed the law. Despite the law being overturned on a technicality, the move is being celebrated by gay rights activists worldwide. It is possible that the government may appeal the ruling to Uganda’s Supreme Court. The law allowed for people accused of being homosexual to serve life sentences. Anti-gay laws and ordinances in some African countries like Uganda and Kenya are apparently the result of US evangelical influence. Click here for a Time.com article about the story.

Update on Gaza:

A 72 hour truce signed between Israel and Hamas collapsed in just hours after Israel declared that one of its soldiers might have been captured. According to the LA Times, “Historically, Israelis regard troop abductions as akin to a family tragedy, and public opinion supports dramatic measures to win captives’ freedom,” and “If confirmed, the soldier’s capture could dramatically change the equation confronting mediators seeking to put a humanitarian truce in place.”

Israeli shelling led to the deaths of 40 Palestinians earlier today, taking the total death toll to about 1,400. At least 300 are children. Despite denunciations of attacks on schools and hospitals by the Obama Administration, the Pentagon apparently just released a large stockpile of ammunition to Israeli Defense Forces in response to request by the Israeli military a week ago.

Meanwhile, it has come to light that a group inside Israel called “Boycott from Within” sent a letter to the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. The letter stated, “We are citizens of Israel who oppose our government’s policies of colonialism, occupation and apartheid against the Palestinian people and its actions which may amount to genocide, and that, “We demand that you take immediate action to prevent Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people.”

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