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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pakistani Party Claims to Blow Cover of Top CIA Spy

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by former cricket star Imran Khan, named a man it claimed was the CIA’s most senior officer in Pakistan and demanded that he be charged for murder as one of the people responsible for a drone strike on November 21st in a letter to the police. The letter also said John Brennan, the CIA director, should be accused of murder and “waging war against Pakistan.”

This is an escalation of the party’s campaign to end American drone strikes in Pakistan, and if the man’s identity is confirmed, he would be the second CIA station chief in Pakistan to be unmasked by anti-drone campaigners.

NSA Spied on Porn Habits to Discredit ‘Radicalizers’

The NSA has been gathering records of the online sexual activity and porn habits of six targets, all Muslim, in an attempt to use ‘personal vulnerabilities’ to undermine their credibility, reputation and authority. At least one of the targets is a “US person.” While all of them dislike the US, none are accused of being involved in terrorist plotsOnly 1% of all of 6 targets’ contacts (7 people total) were affiliated with an extremist group. Bizarrely, the NSA believed the targets’ lack of terrorist connections made them worse because their ‘target audience includes individuals who do not yet hold extremist views.’

While none the targets seem particularly sympathetic, these documents once again prove the NSA is not just spying on terrorist communications to prevent an attack – they’re using private information to assassinate the characters of civilians they dislike.

Latvian Prime Minister Resigns After Supermarket Collapse

Latvia’s prime minister, Valdis Dombrovskis, unexpectedly announced his resignation – and thereby, the fall of his entire government – in the wake of the deadly collapse of a supermarket that killed at least 54 and wounded over 40 and just two weeks before Latvia will adopt the Euro as its currency. Police have opened a criminal investigation into the cause of the tragedy, with possible explanations including flawed design, substandard construction materials and corruption.

Dombrovskis was Latvia’s longest-serving prime minister and has been credited with steering the country from the brink of economic disaster, but his budget-slashing government may have weakened oversight that could have caught potential building flaws.

Egypt Beats and Arrests Protesters and Activists

Egyptians peacefully protesting a newly-adopted law requiring police approval for gatherings of more than 10 people were attacked by riot police, shot with water cannons, sexually harassed, beaten and arrested. An activist charged with ‘inciting’ others to break the protest law said, “Even under Mubarak we could hold protests.” Two members of Egypt’s constitution panel – tasked with amending the constitution pushed through by ousted president Mohamed Morsi – walked out in protest over the arrests.

Today, Egyptian authorities handed down heavy prison sentences to a group of female Morsi supporters and ordered the detention of two dozen prominent secular activists. 7 girls aged 15-16 were sentenced to prison until they turned 18; the rest were sentenced to 11 years in jail for protesting.

Mali Coup Leader Arrested

General Amadou Haya Sanogo, who led the March 2012 coup, was arrested today and charged with kidnapping. He is also accused of post-coup violence that included systematically torturing and executing soldiers who questioned his rise to power. Despite stepping down, he held onto a huge amount of power, and this move demonstrates that Mali’s newly elected president is not afraid to stand up to him. Others fear, however, that this could provoke a mutiny in the army.

Long Weekend Reads: Rumsfeld’s War

A political history of Donald Rumsfeld, from the Nixon years to a war in Iraq that he promised would be over in months. Via The New York Review of Books.

Riders on the Storm

An examination of Colorado’s mental health care system after the Aurora theater shooting. Via 5280 Magazine.

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