Links to Start Your Week 1/26/14

Human Rights

The American Psychological Association has decided not to pursue any disciplinary action against a member who was present and participated in torture of a detainee at Guantanamo Bay.

National Security

Defense spending is a super expensive and inefficient way to create jobs.

Drone Wars

The Senate sneaked a provision into an appropriations bill that would block the Obama administration’s efforts to move control of drone programs from the CIA to the Pentagon. Nominally, this is to protect civilians. The Duck of Minerva points out several serious flaws in that reasoning.

The U.S. has to prepare for a world in which it does not have a monopoly on drone technology.

Economics/Africa

A new city for the super rich is rising off the coast of Nigeria, with some arguing that it represents a future of “climate apartheid,” a situation in which the wealthy would be able to afford high rise cities beyond the reach of rising oceans, while the poor were condemned to struggle for ever smaller and less hospitable living areas.

Middle East

The Iraqis are trying their own version of the 2007 American strategy known as the Sunni Awakening: arming local and tribal militias to fight Islamist militants. However, many of those Sunni fighters are embittered by what they see as a governmental failure to live up to the promises they were given in return for their service during the 2006-2008 period. So the success of the program remains to be seen.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations tend to focus on the former’s need for security and the latter’s desire for sovereignty. But that ignores the security needs of the Palestinians, whose villages are increasingly victim to attacks from Israeli settlers. Israeli officials have commented that they are currently receiving the best security cooperation they ever have from Palestinians, but that has not been reciprocated.

Saudi Arabia has signed a new Defense Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia, with a particular goal of working and training together in counterterrorism operations. This may be part of efforts by Saudi Arabia to build stronger ties to predominantly Muslim countries beyond its immediate Middle Eastern region to counter Iranian influence in international relations.

Asia

About 75% of China’s web domain name servers redirected their Internet traffic through a house in Wyoming. This same house has been in the news before due to the fact that it is the address for some 2,000 corporations. Essentially, it is set up with a lot of mailboxes and someone working there to answer phones and sort mail, and allows corporations that may function elsewhere to obscure certain financial activity.

Ethnic cleansing of Burmese Muslims is on the rise again, after a brief but tense lull.

Latin America

As Mexican drug cartel violence continues, other Mexican citizens have taken to forming militias for self-defense, and in some cases revenge. Some of their leaders are deported from the United States.

U.S.

The U.S. is starting to focus more on illegal trading in antiquities, a practice that, besides robbing countries of their cultural heritage, can be used for money laundering. This will also hopefully prove positive for international cooperation.

The Obama administration, faced with an extremely intransigent Congress, is turning towards working within the executive branch to enact more of his policy goals, following a longstanding model of governance exemplified by former president Clinton.

More revelations are coming out about sexual harassment and assault, drinking on duty, gambling, and more problems among the American military’s top officers

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