An investigation reveals that from 1978 to 1998, Dr. Richard Strauss sexually abused nearly 180 men at Ohio State University. The investigation also reveals that officials knew of abuse as early as 1979. The investigation does not suggest that Rep. Jim Jordan, who was a wrestling coach during some of the 20 years of abuse, knew about the abuse. The investigation fails to even mention Jordan at all.
China is not taking the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada lightly and responded by leveling spurious spying charges against two Canadian citizens. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are accused of stealing state secrets and could face years in prison and possibly the death penalty.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday enacted the first ban by a major city on the use of facial recognition technology by police and all other municipal agencies. Matt Cagle, an attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, summed up the broad concerns of critics Tuesday. Facial recognition technology, he said, “provides government with unprecedented power to track people going about their daily lives. That’s incompatible with a healthy democracy.”
The Trump administration considered a plan to arrest parents and children in 10 cities with large populations of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, specifically New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. But then-Immigrations and Customs Enforcement head Ron Vitiello and then-Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen set the proposal aside over concerns about diverting resources from the border, a lack of detention space, and the possibility of renewed public outrage over treatment of families.
Under the guise of rooting out Islamic extremism, China started state-sponsored persecution of Muslim and other ethnic minorities three years ago. Today, hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other minorities are imprisoned in Xinjiang province. If one is so lucky to not be in prison, they are under constant surveillance by the Chinese state and are at risk for imprisonment at any time.
Avoiding another Khashoggi-like event, the CIA tipped Norwegian officials that an Arab activist currently claiming asylum in Norway has a threat to his life from Saudi Arabia. The activist is a frequent critic of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia is now under the protection of Norwegian authorities.
Egyptian police believed Giulio Regeni was a British spy. He was tortured and murdered while in the country on an exchange program. Egypt previously claimed that he had been killed in a car accident, but then changed the story, saying a “gang of criminals” had murdered him. Later this gang had conveniently been eliminated in a shootout with police officers.
“Far from hiding this totalitarianism of the 21st century, Beijing is seeking to export it to other countries. That’s one reason what is happening in Xinjiang ought to be disturbing to anyone concerned about preserving basic freedoms as technology rapidly evolves. There are concrete steps that can be taken, from banning the sale to China of equipment that can be used in this repression, to sanctioning its architects — including Xinjiang party boss Chen Quanguo. Legislation pending in Congress, including the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, is a start; it should be taken up and passed.”
After being freed from house arrest by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, former political prisoner and Maduro foe Leopoldo Lopez has now sought and received asylum at the Chilean embassy in Caracas.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi about the detention of the Uighur minority in the Xinjiang province. Guterres also met with Chinese president Xi Jinping, but does not appear to have raised the issue directly with Xi.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin shocked Ukraine last week by suggesting that he would ease the requirements for Ukrainians to become Russian citizens, Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky rejected the idea. He said that being Ukrainian gives people many human rights, and to be Russian means to have “the right to be arrested for peaceful protest.” To Zelensky, the choice between being free in Ukraine and losing rights in Russia is an easy decision to make.
Navy SEALs who witnessed their platoon chief commit war crimes in Iraq were encouraged not to speak out, and told they could lose their jobs for reporting him at a private meeting with a superior officer last year. A confidential Navy criminal investigation reveals that the commandos saw Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stab and kill an unarmed teenage captive, shoot to death a young girl and old man, and fire indiscriminately into crowds of civilians.
Many of the 37 men beheaded in a mass execution in Saudi Arabia this week had been forced to confess to crimes they did not commit. 11 were found guilty of spying for Iran and 14 were alleged to be part of a terrorist network that was active in anti-government protests in 2012. The men were reportedly forced to sign a letter confessing their crimes to make the torture stop.
North Korea in 2017 reportedly issued a $2 million bill to the U.S. for the hospital care of American Otto Warmbier, who was in a coma when he was returned to the U.S. and died without regaining consciousness. North Korea insisted that a U.S. official sign a pledge to pay the bill before returning Warmbier, and the U.S. envoy who retrieved Warmbier signed it on instructions from President Trump. It’s unclear if the Trump administration ultimately paid the bill.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded 37 of its citizens, including crucifying one, alleging that they participated in crimes related to terrorism. The body and severed head of one person killed in the mass execution was pinned to a pole as a warning to others.
The armed militia group that detained migrants in New Mexico was found to be trespassing on Union Pacific property. The militia members were given 30 minutes to decamp and vacate Union Pacific property. The militia agreed to comply with the order.
After documenting the massacre of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were sentenced to prison in 2017 for breaking the Official Secrets Act. Their final appeal has been rejected by Myanmar’s supreme court.
Larry Hopkins, leader of the New Mexico militia group which captured thousands of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, was arrested by the FBI on weapons charges. In a court filing, prosecutors revealed that Hopkins boasted of assassination training and that he sought to assassinate Barack Obama and financier George Soros.
A California couple was sentenced to 25 years to life on charges of torture, child abuse, and false imprisonment. For years, the couple abused their 13 children, denying them food, medicine, and other necessities.
After reporting her headmaster to the police for sexual assault, Nusrat Jahan Rafi was confronted by peers. The peers wanted her to drop the allegations and when she refused, she was doused in kerosene and set on fire. She died a few days later but not before identifying her attackers.
“Alas, even this halfhearted shunning of Saudi Arabia was brief. Whatever ties the international banking and business community pretended to sever back then have since been officially, enthusiastically double-knotted. Because there’s just too much money to be made, as a bond sale that closed this month illustrates…Perhaps it is naive to ask investment banks, at best amoral, to suddenly sprout a moral compass. What, then, is our government’s excuse?”
The first Iranian female boxer to compete in a competitive match will not be traveling home. Sadef Khadem, who had won her first professional match in France, competed without wearing a hijab and with a male trainer, causing Iran to issue a warrant for her arrest.
While an easy option for politicians seeking to coalesce their base, dehumanizing an out-group in society can have dangerous consequences. Rwanda is an example of how dehumanizing language can lead outbreaks of violence and hatred against any group. Hutu’s were pushed to dehumanize Tutsi’s and over a million people died. World leaders would be wise to heed the lessons found in Rwanda 25 years ago.
“Smartphones and the internet gave the Uighurs a sense of their own identity – but now the Chinese state is using technology to strip them of it. Although there was often no real evidence of a crime according to any legal standard, the digital footprint of unauthorised Islamic practice, or even a connection to someone who had committed one of these vague violations, was enough to land Uighurs in a detention centre.”
On Wednesday, the president lamented the fact that the military can’t be more “rough” with migrants coming to America. After telling reporters in Texas on Wednesday that he wants more troops at the U.S.-Mexico border, he added, “Our military, don’t forget, can’t act like a military would act. Because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy.” The reason? “They have all these horrible laws that the Democrats won’t change [and] they will not change them.” Human rights laws maybe?
The International Committee of the Red Cross has been permitted to visit Venezuelan military prisons and jails. The Red Cross has been unable to enter Venezuela since 2012, but the worsening condition of the country has pushed Maduro to allow the organization to enter.
In Sudan, government protesters, medical professionals, and journalists risk secret detentions, brutal beatings, psychological torture, and even the death penalty, as the Trump administration holds talks on whether to normalize relations with the north African country. “For the U.S. government to normalize the relationship with a country that is led by a person who is indicted by the ICC, who is wanted for crimes against humanity, I don’t think that is a moral thing to do,” said a Sudanese-American activist.
A military helicopter killed up to 30 Rohingya Muslims while the victims were gathering bamboo. While the Myanmar military is the likeliest of suspects, Myanmar denies responsibility and says that it may be an attack led by a terrorist group allied with the Myanmar government.
“In 2017, 41 percent of women and girls killed in Honduras showed signs of mutilation, disfigurement and cruelty beyond what was needed to kill them, according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras…President Trump calls immigrants ‘criminals’ — drug dealers and rapists intent on plundering America. But the truth, as I saw so clearly over a monthlong reporting trip in Honduras, is that migrants are fleeing a society controlled by criminals…Some of them are coming because they don’t want to die.”
Last week, an American tourist and her tour guide were kidnapped by a group of assailants in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ugandan authorities are now reporting that the tourist, Kimberly Sue Endicott, and her tour guide were successfully rescued.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame led Rwandans in a ceremony remembering the genocide that led to the death of 10% of the country a quarter of a century ago. Rwandans will now begin 100 days of mourning to represent the 100 days of slaughter.
Civil rights advocates are condemning a proposed Texas law they say opens the door to discrimination against the LGBT community and religious minorities. The Texas state senate passed Senate Bill 17 earlier this week, which would protect the right of state-licensed workers such as doctors, teachers and counselors to refuse to provide their services based on “a sincerely held religious belief”, except in cases where medical services are necessary to “prevent death or imminent serious bodily injury”.
Fourty-four Nobel Prize laureates in various disciplines have co-signed a letter expressing concern over what they call deteriorating conditions for democracy and human rights in Guatemala. The letter released Thursday urges Guatemalan authorities to safeguard peace and democracy. Jody Williams (Peace Prize, 1997) said progress to combat corruption and impunity for abuses dating to the country’s civil war has suffered a reversal and needs support from the international community.
The Chinese have detained hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uighurs in the Northwestern province of Xinjiang, China. Under the guise of protecting against terrorism, the Chinese have devised an intricate network of surveillance systems to watch the Muslim Uighurs wherever they go. If they are found to be out of line with the Chinese state, they can be expected to be sent to camps.
Of Venezuela’s 30 million residents, some 3.4 million have fled and are refugees in foreign countries. Colombia has received nearly 1.2 million of those refugees. Colombia’s foreign minister says, “This is the largest movement of refugees — outside of Syria — in the world. … This is a humanitarian catastrophe right in our region.”
Saudi Arabia has arrested eight people, including two dual U.S.-Saudi citizens, in an apparent crackdown on supporters of women activists whose trial has drawn condemnation from the West. The 11 women on trial had campaigned for the right to drive and an end to the kingdom’s male guardianship system.
50 women are sueing Salesforce, claiming it helped the website Backpage.com in sex trafficking. The women identify themselves as victims of sex trafficking, rape and abuse, and are claiming Salesforce built customer tools for the Backpage, upselling the now-defunct website on higher priced packages and additional services.
“Sadly, the most submissive figure in this story is President Trump. Even after irrefutable evidence came to light showing the Saudis had lied about [Jamal] Khashoggi’s death, Trump proclaimed Mohammed bin Salman a ‘great ally’ and protested that the crown prince might well be innocent. Perhaps most egregiously, Trump has abdicated the responsibilities of his office, refusing to comply with the Magnitsky Act’s requirements that the administration present its findings on the Khashoggi case to Congress. In this impotent response, Trump isn’t just violating the law. He is also undermining the credibility and moral authority of the United States.”