Turkey will build a 2.5-kilometer wall along the Cilvegözü post on the border with Syria to prevent illegal crossings, Trade and Customs Minister Hayati Yazıcı announced May 23. The border crossing lies within 10 kilometers from Reyhanlı town, where a twin bomb attack killed 51 and wounded more than 100 on May 11. A protocol with the Turkish Armed Forces has already been signed for the construction of the wall, Yazıcı said. (Hürriyet Daily News via France24, May 24)
OK readers, I am back in New York after three weeks on assignment in Peru. I did not have time to blog from Peru, but I will be working hard in the coming days to bring the Daily Report up to date, including with accounts on indigenous struggles in the Andes that have received no coverage in English. Alas, World War 4 Report has come back to something of a crisis. Both the website and my personal computer need upgrades in order to function—and three weeks of work on them while I was away in South America seems to have been insufficient. So, already in an economic hole, it looks like we are about to go deeper into red. Among the things we are working on is getting the daily tsunami of spam posts under control, so that we can again publish reader comments. This requires money...
US President Barack Obama delivered a speech May 23 on US counterterrorism policy and efforts, outlining plans to restrict the use of unmanned drone strikes and to renew efforts to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay. In Obama's first major speech on counterterrorism since his re-election, he said: "Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue, but this war, like all wars, must end. That's what history advises. That's what our democracy demands." But rather than introduce new sweeping policies, Obama's speech reaffirmed his national security priorities.
US District Judge Murray Snow ruled May 24 that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office illegally engaged in racial profiling, and prohibited deputies from using race as a factor in law-enforcement decisions, from detaining people solely for suspected immigration violations, and from contacting federal immigration authorities to arrest suspected undocumented immigrants who are not accused of committing state crimes. Critics of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's controversial immigration enforcement efforts said they felt vindicated by the ruling. "In my mind, people have been very abused in our communities," said Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. "We knew racial profiling was taking place and it was very hard to prove it."
Former Argentine dictator Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla (1976-1981) died the morning of May 17 in the Marcos Paz prison in Buenos Aires province, where he was serving a 50-year sentence for crimes against humanity. He was 87. Videla led the coup that removed then-president Isabel Perón from office on Mar. 24, 1976 and started a period of military rule that lasted until 1983. Videla himself was made de facto president on March 29, 1976 and held the office until March 1981, when he was replaced by Gen. Roberto Viola.
The death of former Argentine dictator Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla (1976-1981) on May 17 brings to seven the number of Latin American and Caribbean de facto heads of state who are now in prison or facing criminal charges for their acts while in power. All but one were charged in the last decade.
A total of 3,099 families have been removed from their homes in Rio de Janeiro and another 7,843 have been threatened with removal as part of Brazil's preparations for hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, according to a study released on May 15 by the Popular Committee of the World Cup and the Olympics. The group estimates that 30,000 people have been affected, based on the average number of people in the households. The study, "Mega-Events and Human Rights Violations in Rio de Janeiro," was produced with the collaboration of the impacted communities, the Institute for Urban and Regional Research and Planning (Ippur) and groups including the nongovernmental organization Global Justice.
Four activists from the Mexican branch of the international environmental organization Greenpeace climbed the Estela de Luz monument in downtown Mexico City on May 16 to protest efforts by multinational companies to increase the commercial use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country's corn crops. The protesters unfurled a 70-meter banner reading "No GMO" and showing an ear of corn with a time bomb. Near the monument Greenpeace spokesperson Aleira Lara told reporters that transgenic corn is a time bomb for the Mexican countryside, since it endangers the 59 native strains of corn. The activists continued the protest for four hours and then left in a van; the Mexico City police made no effort to arrest them.