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Mass violence continues in Egypt amidst the bloodiest period in the country’s modern history. Around 900 people have been killed since state forces attacked Muslim Brotherhood protest encampments five days ago. At least 173 people were killed in a “Day of Rage” protest called by the Brotherhood on Friday, followed by at least 79 deaths on Saturday. Around 90 police officers and soldiers have died in the violence, but Islamist supporters of the Brotherhood and ousted President Mohamed Morsi account for the bulk of the victims. On Sunday, at least 36 prisoners were killed in Cairo after guards said they tried to escape while being transferred. But the Muslim Brotherhood accused state forces of a “cold-blooded killing” and demanded an international probe. And earlier today, at least 24 police officers were reportedly killed in the northern Sinai after coming under attack by militants. In breaking news, judicial authorities have ordered the release of jailed dictator Hosni Mubarak after clearing him in a corruption case. An attorney for Mubarak says he expects his release within 48 hours.
A team of United Nations chemical weapons inspectors has begun its mission in Syria after months of delay. The inspectors arrived on Sunday shortly after a U.N. spokesperson said an agreement had been formalized.
Eduardo del Buey: “In a statement yesterday afternoon, the secretary-general announced the government of Syria’s formal acceptance of the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the mission to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. The departure of the team is now imminent. As agreed with the government of Syria, the team will remain in the country to conduct its activities, including on-site visits, for a period of up to 14 days, extendable upon mutual request — consent.”
The U.N. team will visit three sites and analyze only whether chemical weapons were used — not whether the Assad regime or anti-government rebels were responsible. Each side has accused the other of launching chemical attacks.
The British government is being accused of abusing press freedom after detaining the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is well known for his series of exposés on U.S. government surveillance based on the leaks of Edward Snowden. On Sunday, Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was held and interrogated at London’s Heathrow Airport while traveling home to Brazil. Miranda had spent the previous week in Berlin with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has worked with Greenwald in reporting Snowden’s leaks. Miranda was held without an attorney under Section 7 of the British Terrorism Act for nine hours — the maximum time he could be detained without charge. He was finally released after British authorities seized his mobile phone, laptop, camera, DVDs, games consoles, and encrypted thumb drives carrying documents leaked by Edward Snowden. In a statement, Greenwald called his partner’s detention “a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ” (the NSA’s British counterpart). Greenwald added: “The last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists. … it will only embolden us to continue to report aggressively.”
In other press freedom news, a prominent journalist has declared his support for the extrajudicial murder of WikiLeaks’ founder and publisher Julian Assange. Time magazine’s senior national correspondent, Michael Grunwald, tweeted: “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.” WikiLeaks responded by calling for Grunwald’s dismissal. Grunwald has since deleted his tweet.
New York City has taken the first step in appealing last week’s court ruling that said police “stop-and-frisk” tactics are unconstitutional. The city filed a notice of appeal on Friday, giving it three months to submit a formal brief. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly claimed that curbing “stop-and-frisk” would result in more violent crime.
David Gregory: “If a program like 'stop-and-frisk' is abandoned, will people die?”
Ray Kelly: “Well, I think, no question about it, violent crime will go up. And again, this is not a program. This is something that’s integral to policing. This happens throughout America in any police jurisdiction. You have to do it. Officers have to have the right of inquiry, if they see some suspicious behavior. So I can assure you this is not just a New York City issue. It’s an issue throughout America.”
Last week’s court ruling found that “stop-and-frisk” as it is currently used discriminates against African Americans and Latinos. Also appearing on “Meet the Press,” Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke out against the program.
Sybrina Fulton: “You have to give not only civilians, but you have to give the police officers the right direction. You can’t give people the authority, whether it’s a civilian or police officers, the right to just stop somebody because of the color of their skin.”
A Pennsylvania judge has again blocked the state’s election law requiring voters to show photo identification. Pennsylvania’s law allowed voting only to those who could produce a state driver’s license, government employee ID or a state non-driver ID card. It has been blocked in two prior elections but still remains on the books. On Friday, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley issued a decision that would prevent the law’s use in the upcoming November 5 general election.
Pennsylvania State University has reached its first settlement with a victim of the child sex abuse committed by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky is serving a sentence of 30 to 60 years for sexually abusing 10 young boys. The school has allocated around $60 million to handle the victims’ claims. Last month, three former top Penn State officials were ordered to stand trial for their alleged role in the cover-up of Sandusky’s crimes. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier and two other top administrators are accused of a “conspiracy of silence” for failing to report Sandusky to police despite evidence Sandusky was abusing young boys.
A Chicago field house whose proposed demolition sparked a three-year community protest has been razed to the ground. The Whittier Elementary School field house was dubbed “La Casita” by the neighborhood parents and children who used it as a community center and library. After the city declared the building unsafe, the parents fought its demolition with an over month-long sit-in in 2010. On Saturday, 10 people were arrested while trying to block city bulldozers from carrying out the demolition. Outraged parents stood by.
Parent: “It breaks our heart to see this. But we know, we know what kind of government we have, that don’t care about us. And we know what we have to do to make sure that our voice is represented from now on.”
Parent 2: “They talk about safe passage. They talk about the violence. We were an answer. We were providing the answer for free, at no cost to [Chicago Pubic Schools], and this is how they repay us.”
Chicago officials say the building posed a safety threat and that parents had failed to uphold an agreement for its repair. Instead of replacing the library, the city plans to build a sports field in its place.
The banking giant JPMorgan is under federal investigation for alleged bribery in China. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether JPMorgan hired the children of influential Chinese officials in order to win lucrative contracts. JPMorgan currently faces separate probes from eight federal agencies, one state regulator and two foreign governments.
Hundreds of people have converged in southern Britain for protest camps against the gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracking. Members of the group “No Dash for Gas” have gathered near the town of Balcombe to support local residents in their fight against the gas drilling company Cuadrilla. They’ve dubbed their encampment “Reclaim the Power.”
Sue Taylor: “Obviously, because we are in the village, we’ve done so much research on it, and we believe this is very dangerous technology. And if it’s been banned in France and the Netherlands and Germany, why is it safe here?”
Will McCallum: “All that they want to see is that drill taken away and never coming back. And so, and they’re willing to put their bodies on the line to do that.”
The protesters are carrying out civil disobedience at the drilling site as part of a two-day action that began today.
A group of Australian and West Papuan activists have set sail on a “freedom flotilla” bound for the Indonesian territory of West Papua. Organizers say they are seeking to draw attention to West Papua’s struggle for independence and to human rights abuses during 50 years of Indonesian rule.
Jacob Rumbiak: “On behalf of the people of West Papua, and also on behalf of our leader inside prison today, President Yaboisembut and also Prime Minister Edison Waromi, we call to the world to put their eyes to this mission. We want to talk about the truth, because, soon or late, the truth will coming.”
Kevin Buzzacott: “We’ve got to free West Papua. We’re hear the call from our brothers and sisters up there, and we’re going up there. Also, we are renewing and reviving our cultural ties to that country. We’re carrying sacred water that comes from that area. We’re linking back to water and linking our ties again.”
It is estimated that as many as 500,000 West Papuans have been killed since the 1960s when Indonesia took control. The Indonesian military has reportedly been ordered to prepare to intercept the boats, which will be entering Indonesian waters without proper permission.
The CIA has finally admitted its role in the overthrow of Iran’s nationalist government 60 years ago today. On August 19, 1953, the government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh was toppled in a coup organized by U.S. and British intelligence. Mossadegh was targeted after nationalizing Iran’s oil industry, sidelining the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which later became known as British Petroleum, or BP. The crushing of Iran’s first democratic government ushered in more than two decades of dictatorship under the Shah, who relied heavily on U.S. aid and arms. The CIA has now fully declassified an internal report acknowledging the coup “was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy.” See our related coverage here of the CIA’s role in the 1953 Iran Coup.