The big thing around here is that UCLA Police tasered a student for refusing to show his ID or leave the library. This was caught on camera and can be found on YouTube, though I should post a WARNING: THIS VIDEO IS VERY DISTRUBING, AND WATCHING IT MADE ME PHYSICALLY SICK. If you are still interested, here is the video. The UCLA administration has ordered an independent investigation into the matter, while the student has hired a civil rights attorney and filed a lawsuit for brutal excessive force.
In other news, the US has decided to trade nuclear technology with India. I think this is an absolutely horrible move on many different fronts. India has not signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and may very well restart its arms race and standoff with Pakistan. Part of the fuel sent to India will be used in civilian reactors, but part is also reserved for military applications that the UN will not be allowed to examine. Finally, this gives the US even less bargaining power to get Iran to stop its neclear programme (which I am given to understand is completely non-weapons oriented; they seem to be pursuing only energy). I got to see Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector in Iraq (who resigned because he was convinced they didn’t have WMDs when the politicians kept saying they did), a couple weeks ago, and he said at the time that as soon as the election was over, Bush was going to start pushing the Iran nuclear weapons thing again (which has already started: the US navy has begun moving troops into the Persian Gulf). Ritter, as a former weapons inspector, has pored over the reports of the current weapons inspectors in Iran, and is confident that they have done a good, solid job but have found absolutely no evidence whatsoever of a nuclear weapons programme in the country. I’ve gone off on a tangent, but the main idea is that the US is trying to lie about Iran, and their actions with India are only undermining their position further.
Finally, the scariest news for today: the Military Commissions Act was signed into law today. Among other things, it allows people, even US citizens, to be detained and tortured (by the definition in the Geneva Conventions) without ever being charged or told why they are being held, at the sole discretion of the president. The scariest part about this is that if there are abuses, there is absolutely no way they will ever be disclosed or appealed. If you are wrongfully imprisoned by this law, you will never be given access to a lawyer, you will never be allowed to challenge the legality of your detainment, and you will never be heard from again. I feel very frustrated that the majority of Congresspeople were in favour of this. Due to laws like this, combined with the Real ID Act of 2005 (which requires a National ID card to be carried by everyone starting in 2008, and which was introduced by civil liberties foe Jim Sensenbrenner), it seems that our country has become alarmingly protofascist. It’s really scary stuff.