Jun 25 2015

Newsflash: Obama’s Hostage Policies, Terrorism in US, Climate Justice Victories

Daily News Flash | Published 25 Jun 2015, 10:45 am | Comments Off on Newsflash: Obama’s Hostage Policies, Terrorism in US, Climate Justice Victories -

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Uprising’s guest expert Robert Jensen, author and a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzes today’s news headlines:

President Obama has announced a major change in the way the government will deal with US citizens who are captured by terrorist organizations abroad. After intense criticism from the families of those executed by groups like the Islamic State, Mr. Obama admitted that government policy has been detrimental to the well-being of hostages and their families. He said, “there have been times where our government, regardless of good intentions, has let them down. I promised them that we can do better.” Leaving in place the long-standing policy of never paying ransoms to kidnappers, the government will now not prevent families from trying to pay them. They will also allow communication between the families and hostage takers. The President was accompanied by the families of Kayla Mueller, Peter Kassig and Steven J. Sotloff when he made the announcement yesterday. Some European governments have ended up paying ransoms to ISIS in exchange for hostage lives. Click here for a New York Times article about the story.

Just a week after the brutal massacre of 9 African Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, a new report was released on right-wing terrorism in the US. New America Media issued the report entitled Homegrown Extremism 2001-2015, and found that right-wing ideologues killed twice as many people within US borders as those motivated by Islamic extremism. One Muslim spokesperson told the New York Times, “With non-Muslims, the media bends over backward to identify some psychological traits that may have pushed them over the edge. Whereas if it’s a Muslim, the assumption is that they must have done it because of their religion.” The report’s authors used the commonly accepted definition of terrorism as “an act of political violence against a civilian target by someone other than a state.” The report came on the same day that the Boston Marathon Bomber, Dzhokar Tsarnaev was formally sentenced to death for his actions which were considered terrorist. Last week’s massacre by white racist Dylann Roof was officially deemed by the government to not be a terrorist act. Click here for an NPR report about the story, and here for the actual study.

A major lawsuit on climate change in the Netherlands may be a game-changer for the fate of the planet. More than 800 Dutch citizens successfully sued their government for failing to protect their human rights by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. A court in the Hague has ordered the Dutch government to cut emissions by a whopping 25% in only five years. The victory is major, not in terms of its actual impact, but in how it could inspire similar legal actions in other nations. Meanwhile, here in the United States, the oil giant Exxon Mobil has been forced to temporarily shut down operations at three of its offshore oil rigs after Santa Barbara County in California refused to issue an emergency trucking permit. Exxon Mobil applied for the permit after a major oil pipeline carrying crude oil burst near the beach, covering sand and water with fuel. The spill killed hundreds of marine birds and animals. Click here for a Guardian article about the Hague case, and here for a Christian Science Monitor article about Exxon Mobil.

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