Links to Start Your Week 11/30/14


An Afghani woman led her family, including her daughter and daughter-in-law, in an assault against Taliban militants after they killed her son at a police checkpoint. 25 militants were killed; the woman, Rezagul, is credited with killing 10 of them.

Health workers providing polio vaccines were attacked in Pakistan this week. There are rumors that the vaccinations are cover for a campaign to sterilize the local population. The job of health workers in Pakistan have been complicated by the CIA’s use of a vaccination campaign as cover for their efforts to track Osama bin Laden.

Pakistanis fleeing violence between the Pakistani Taliban and the military are seeking refuge in Afghanistan, but have to cross minefields to get it.


I am very excited to read the new ebook published by Africa is a Country, entitled: Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy.

Latin America

Being an environmentalist in Latin America is a deadly occupation. From 2002 to 2013, 908 people that we know of for sure were killed for their involvement in environmental or land reform based activism. Two-thirds of those were killed in Latin America.

Middle East

Human Rights Watch is reporting that Jordan has begun forcing some Syrian refugees to return to their country. Jordan is already host to huge populations of Palestinian refugees.

Kurdish activists are saying that ISIL is launching attacks on the town of Kobane from Turkey. Turkey denies the allegations.

The Arab League is backing a Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N.

Civil Liberties

My good friend Lily over at Slate wrote an excellent guide to knowing your cell phone rights when attending protests.

There continue to be protests following the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown Jr. In some cities, protesters have successfully shut down highways with their demonstrations.

Jacobin has an article about the need for a mass movement against police brutality.

Ferguson activists are marching from Ferguson to the state capital of Jefferson City to protest Michael Brown’s killing and the lack of accountability.

CityLab has a look at how police rules of engagement vary around the world.

They also have an interesting piece on a program in Seattle that pairs female police officers in Seattle with immigrant women new to city to promote greater understanding between the two groups and ultimately enable police to provide better service.

Fun fact about the sunset provisions on the Patriot Act, and specifically the Section 215 provisions that allow for “secret court orders to collect ‘tangible things’…relevant to a government investigation, a far lower threshold and more expansive reach than a warrant based on probable cause.” Apparently, even when this provision of the act is set to expire, that will not affect any still-open investigations.

Fast food workers are planning a nationwide strike on December 4. Follow Low Pay Is Not Okay on Twitter to find out about events near you.

There are about two dozen Americans fighting for sanctuary in Canada after deserting from the U.S. military as conscientious objectors to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Canada is considering deporting them back to the U.S.

Ohio might pass the most secretive bill in the country covering the way they handle executions.

Native American children experience the same rates of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) as combat war veterans.

Apple and other tech companies are considering making some encryption standard on their devices. Predictably, FBI director James Comey has responded by making misleading and incorrect statements about the FBI’s rights to access your information.


Countries in the Global South are beginning to emphasize low-carbon solutions and climate resilience in their development plans.

Researchers are using data from Twitter to try and predict travel patterns in future disasters, using New York during Hurricane Sandy as a case study.

National Security

Just Security looks at America’s obligations under the Convention Against Torture, and how they are failing to live up to them in regard to the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo.


Wi-Fi could be broadcast through old, unused TV frequencies.


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