The governments of Mexico and several other countries, along with the Anti-Defamation League filed amicus briefs on June 16 in support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) class action lawsuit against Georgia's new immigration law. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru all filed briefs in support of the ACLU. In its brief, Mexico said the law will irreparably harm diplomatic interests between the US and Mexico. The suit is scheduled for its first hearing next week, where Judge Thomas Thrash is expected to rule on the ACLU's request for an injunction and Georgia's motion for dismissal.
We noted last year the FBI raids on activists in the midwest over their alleged ties to the PFLP and the FARC. We've also noted the hardline proclivities of federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, whose harsh "anti-terrorist" measures have bottlenecked free speech before. Now, this story from the Washington Post of June 13 connects the dots. We are not privy to the details, but it certainly doesn't sound good...
In what is surely a great moment in bad timing, the killing of Osama bin Laden—and the news that the Navy SEALS had code-named him "Geronimo"—came just days before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee had scheduled a hearing entitled "Stolen Identities: The Impact of Racist Stereotypes on Indigenous People." As Indian Country Today reported, this provided an opportunity for Harlyn Geronimo—great-grandson of the famous Apache warrior—to register his protest to the nation. Rightly calling the use of his forebear's name a "subversion of history" and "unpardonable slander of Native America and its most famous leader in history," he went on to make demands since taken up by other Native American voices:
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law on May 13 an "Arizona style" anti-illegal immigration bill, HB 87, that allows law enforcement officers to ask about immigration status when questioning suspects in criminal investigations. The law also imposes fines and prison sentences of up to one year for anyone who knowingly transports illegal immigrants during the commission of a crime, and requires businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to check the immigration status of potential employees, providing that workers convicted of using fake identification to gain employment could face up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. A CNN report described the measure as "one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration measures enacted by an individual state." In addition to demonstrations outside the capitol, the legislation has drawn threats of both lawsuits and boycotts, as have similar recent measures in other states.
Republicans going in for the kill on public radio were notoriously dealt a coup by the secretly taped sting interview given by NPR top fundraiser Ronald Schiller to undercover conservatives posing as potential donors from a non-existent Muslim group. Both Ronald and NPR executive Vivian Schiller (no relation) stepped down in the aftermath—part of an almost uniformly craven response on the part of public broadcasters and liberals in general. Those who aren't retreating are merely crying foul. Among lefty commentators, Jason Linkins on Huffington Post March 14 charges that "deceptive editing" made Ron Schiller's comments seem worse than they really were. That strikes us as somewhat beside the point. It would also be a little beside the point to complain about how widespread this game of "gotcha" has become (the left having pulled off similar stings of Scott Walker and Sarah Palin), and the effect this is having on our intellectual climate—although it is pretty funny to watch right-wing websites and left-wing websites each complaining that the "biased" media are giving coverage to the other side's stings at the expense of their own. But there are some far more serious points here that nobody seems to get.
Muslim student Yasir Afifi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit against the FBI on March 2 after Afifi discovered a global positioning system (GPS) device on the undercarriage of his car. The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that Afifi's rights were violated when FBI agents attempted to retrieve their tracking device, without explanation for why Afifi was being tracked. Afifi's suit alleges civil rights and constitutional violations, specifically unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment, chilling and recording of First Amendment activities, and unlawful agency action:
Last month, Louisiana's Sen. David Vitter and Kentucky's Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation aimed at amending the Fourteenth Amendment—specifically, denying birthright citizenship to those born to undocumented immigrants. (The State Column, Jan. 30) This idea was notoriously broached last year ("worth considering," he said) by then-House Minority Leader—today House Speaker—John Boehner. (CNN, Aug. 8, 2010) This would be an alarming enough development, if it were not happening amid a sinister mainstreaming of pro-Confederacy revisionism...
For the second year in a row, a federal court in Columbus, Georgia, has sentenced activists to six-month prison terms for trespassing on the US Army's Fort Benning base during protests against the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the US Army School of the Americas (SOA). This is the maximum sentence for the offense, and US federal magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth surprised observers when he imposed the penalty on three activists in January 2010.