American Justice, Ashcroft-Style

by Keith Feldman
published in MER224

The Bush administration's large-scale detentions of Arab and Muslim men -- without charge -- and draconian immigration restrictions are only two of its initiatives to erode civil liberties, civil rights and norms of procedural justice under cover of the "war on terrorism." Many initiatives were enabled by the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, signed into law by George W. Bush on October 26, 2001, after little public debate and no public hearing. The USA PATRIOT Act, approaching its first anniversary on the books, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 356 to 66. Only one senator, Russell Feingold (D-WI), voted to stop it.

Arabs, Race and the Post-September 11 National Security State

by Salah Hassan
published in MER224

In the face of a post-September 11 wave of racially motivated attacks against people from the Middle East and South Asia, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division announced in a September 13, 2001 press release that "any threats of violence or discrimination against Arab or Muslim Americans or Americans of South Asian descent are not just wrong and un-American, but also are unlawful and will be treated as such."

Behind the Baker Plan for Western Sahara

by Toby Shelley | published August 1, 2003

On July 31, 2003, the UN Security Council voted to "support strongly" former Secretary of State James Baker's proposals for resolving the Western Sahara dispute, the last Africa file remaining open at the UN Decolonization Committee. Baker has been the personal envoy of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan since 1997, charged with making progress in the 1991 Settlement Plan for the Western Sahara even after Annan had damned it as a "zero-sum game," while also pursuing alternatives.

“Our Letter to Khatami Was a Farewell”

An Interview with Saeed Razavi-Faqih

by Kaveh Ehsani | published July 15, 2003

Using and Abusing the UN, Redux

by Marc Lynch
published in MER225

On September 12, 2002, George W. Bush delivered a forceful address to the United Nations General Assembly to rally support for an American campaign against Iraq. Challenging the UN to enforce its own resolutions, Bush warned the assembled delegates that failure to back the US war against Iraq would condemn the institution to irrelevance. While the speech contained little that was new -- most notably, it failed to offer the long-promised evidence of Iraqi nuclear weapons -- it did succeed in returning the UN to the center of the developing US-Iraqi showdown. Bush received numerous plaudits, even among those who oppose war, mainly for the simple fact that he approached the UN at all.