Negotiators at a crucial United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, have released a first draft of the COP26 “final decision text” — and it’s being blasted by environmentalists as “exceptionally weak.” Greenpeace noted the 850-word document fails to acknowledge that fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis, while making no commitment to tangible actions to end global reliance on coal, oil and gas. The draft text’s release came as former President Barack Obama traveled to Glasgow, where he called on world leaders to step up their actions to avert climate disaster, while blasting China and Russia for hindering progress on the climate emergency. Mitzi Tan, a youth climate activist from the Philippines, said Obama’s words ring hollow.
Mitzi Tan: “The U.S. is the country that is historically most responsible for the climate crisis, and yet they have barely done anything. They have promised so much, they have pledged so much, but they’re still not doing enough. Even their pledges, which they don’t even have actual milestones to get through and plans to get through, aren’t enough, considering the amount of emissions, amount of pollution, amount of injustices that they have done to the rest of the world.”
This comes as a Washington Post investigation has found most countries’ pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are built on flawed data. The Post examined 196 country reports and found a giant gap between what nations declare their emissions to be versus the greenhouse gases they are actually sending into the atmosphere.
Elsewhere in Glasgow, police reportedly used a battering ram early Monday morning to break into a disused former homeless shelter that had been converted into a temporary squat for climate activists. Witnesses described Metropolitan police and Welsh forces going from room to room with batons drawn. The officers’ conduct reportedly shocked Scottish police who arrived on the scene soon after the raid. Activists say they’ve since reopened the space. After headlines, we’ll go to Glasgow for the latest on the COP26 climate summit.
The U.S.-Mexico border reopened Monday for nonessential travelers with visas who are fully vaccinated, allowing many binational families and loved ones to reunite for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions were enacted over a year and a half ago. This is a resident of Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Lazaro Araujo: “It really is a very special day, because everyone who lives near the border knows we are like one big city. The way we live and get along is unique. And that’s why today is special, because a lot of people spent the last 20 months without seeing each other, without visiting. Today is a celebration for us.”
Loved ones also celebrated reunions at U.S. airports as restrictions were lifted for fully vaccinated international travelers. This comes as immigrant justice advocates reported that while the U.S. lifted its restrictions for nonessential travelers, Customs and Border Protection agents at U.S. ports of entry across the southern border are still blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S., including unaccompanied children.
In related news, the Biden administration is launching an operation this week to start deportation proceedings for some 78,000 migrants who crossed into the U.S. this year but were not immediately expelled or taken to an immigration jail.
In Europe, the Polish government has deployed thousands more soldiers and riot police to its eastern border with Belarus as it intensifies its violent crackdown on migrants and refugees — mostly from the Middle East and Africa — who are fleeing violence, poverty and the impacts of the climate catastrophe. One Kurdish refugee from Syria who gained asylum in Austria traveled to the border to help his parents try to cross into Poland from Belarus.
Gordi: “First of all, I am not helping just any old person. I’m helping my parents. I think in the laws of all countries, of all religions, it is not forbidden for a person to help their parents. Second of all, the people there, aside from my parents, they’re also human beings. They need help.”
In Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega has declared victory and will be serving a fourth term after winning Sunday’s election by a landslide. The United States, European Union and others quickly announced they won’t recognize the election results — denounced by opponents as illegitimate after Ortega’s government jailed at least seven presidential hopefuls, accusing them of being U.S. allies. Ortega, alongside vice president and first lady Rosario Murillo, celebrated their reelection Monday in Managua’s Revolution Plaza. Ortega blasted the U.S. government for supporting a coup attempt in 2018 and for continuing to interfere in Nicaragua. Many have also denounced ongoing and devastating U.S. sanctions on Nicaragua.
Mobile phones belonging to at least six Palestinian human rights activists were hacked with the Israeli firm NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. The findings were published in a joint report by Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. Those hacked include workers with Palestinian nonprofits that were designated terrorist groups by Israel last month.
In related news, a U.S. appeals court is allowing the WhatsApp messaging service to move forward with a lawsuit against NSO Group over allegedly targeting some of its servers in California to infect about 1,400 mobile devices with malware — a violation of state and federal law.
This comes as Israel is lobbying the U.S. government to remove the NSO Group from a trade blacklist, arguing its software is crucial to Israel’s foreign policy. The NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used by governments to target hundreds of activists, journalists and government officials.
The Justice Department said Monday it has indicted two hackers behind major ransomware attacks in the U.S. and has recovered more than $6 million in cryptocurrency payments. Attorney General Merrick Garland said one of the two men, a Russian hacker with the REvil ransomware gang, remained at large, while a Ukrainian co-conspirator had been arrested in Poland and would be extradited to the U.S. for trial. Garland said the criminal gang’s ransomware has infected over 175,000 computers worldwide, with at least $200 million paid in ransom.
An alleged Capitol rioter wanted by the FBI is seeking political asylum in Belarus. Evan Neumann is wanted for violent entry, disorderly conduct and assaulting and resisting law enforcement. On Monday, Neumann appeared on a Belarusian state TV segment titled “Goodbye, America.”
Meanwhile, a House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection has subpoenaed six allies of former President Trump, including his disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Lawmakers want details on how the allies’ false claims of voter fraud whipped up the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol. In the days before the riot, Michael Flynn publicly called for a military coup to overthrow the U.S. government and, during an Oval Office meeting, discussed seizing voting machines and invoking a national emergency.
On Friday, President Trump’s former acting assistant attorney general at the time of the insurrection, Jeffrey Clark, refused to testify to congressional investigators — though he did appear before the committee — citing Trump’s claims of executive privilege. In response, January 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson said he was weighing criminal contempt charges for Clark. Clark was a key player in Donald Trump’s efforts to enlist the Justice Department to sow doubt over results of the presidential election in Georgia.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case that will determine whether three Muslim men from California can sue the FBI for illegally spying on them after the 9/11 attacks. Lawyers for the bureau argue the suit should be dismissed under the “state secrets” privilege.
In 2006 and ’07, the FBI recruited a man named Craig Monteilh to pose as a Muslim convert in order to infiltrate mosques and Islamic groups around Orange County, where he secretly recorded conversations. The former imam at one mosque, Sheikh Yassir Fazaga, who is now lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, says Monteilh planted a recording device in his office.
Sheikh Yassir Fazaga: “And to me, that’s a very, very sensitive area. I am a therapist, where people come in, and they share their issues with me. But to know that the FBI potentially was recording these sessions, that is illegal, it is unethical, it is not constitutional, and it puts a lot of people’s lives in jeopardy, and their well-being and their rights of privacy.”