Front-paged at BoomanTribune.com
Besides just reading that Bush has waived sanctions for Saudi slave trafficking, I learn that Robert Fisk was barred from traveling to the U.S.:
U.S. immigration officials refused Tuesday to allow Robert Fisk, longtime Middle East correspondent for the London newspaper, The Independent, to board a plane from Toronto to Denver. Fisk was on his way to Santa Fe for a sold-out appearance in the Lannan Foundation's readings-and-conversations series Wednesday night. ... Fisk was told that his papers were not in order.
Davis made last-minute arrangements Wednesday for Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica Radio's daily news show, Democracy Now!, to interview Fisk via satellite from a television station in Toronto. He appeared on a large screen onstage ...
The controversial British journalist, who is based in Beirut, filed many eyewitness reports on the U.S. invasion of Iraq and criticized Western reporters for "hotel journalism," a phrase he coined to describe correspondents who covered the war from heavily fortified hotel[s]. (The Free NewMexican, via News Dissector) (Emphases mine.)
Since posting a story last night at BoomanTribune.com on the new U.N. report that anti-terrorist policies are increasing racism and religious intolerance
, I also caught these other two items:
- that "Greyhound bus company, the nation's largest intercity bus company, has threatened to fire employees who sell bus tickets to undocumented immigrants." (DN!)
- "President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Washington's closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism, for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers. (Yahoo News, via the BuzzMachine via The Daou Report's "BUZZ" items)
More on the Greyhound story, via Democracy Now!:
Greyhound to Fire Employees Who Sell Tix to Undocumented Immigrants
The Greyhound bus company, the nation's largest intercity bus company, has threatened to fire employees who sell bus tickets to undocumented immigrants.
The company's so-called "Transportation of Illegal Aliens" policy warns Greyhound's customer service employees to beware of people in large groups, moving in single file and traveling with little or no luggage.
It says other telltale signs include people "trying to hide or stay out of plain view" or large groups led by a "guide" who holds everyone's tickets.
Greyhound also says immigrant smugglers give themselves away by calling bus stations to ask if immigration authorities are present, and by loitering, repeatedly buying large numbers of tickets for other people and using phrases like, "These guys just crossed the line," "my cargo," and "I've got to move my people."
The policy warns that failure to comply could result in the employee's firing and possibly arrest.
The policy was largely unknown outside the company until La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper in Los Angeles, reported on it earlier this month.
More on Bush's waiver of sanctions against Saudi Arabia:
... In June, the State Department listed 14 countries as failing to adequately address trafficking problems, subjecting them all to possible sanctions if they did not crack down.
Of those 14, Bush concluded that Bolivia, Jamaica, Qatar, Sudan, Togo and the United Arab Emirates had made enough improvements to avoid any cut in U.S. aid or, in the case of countries that get no American financial assistance, the barring of their officials from cultural and educational events, said Darla Jordan, a State Department spokeswoman.
Cambodia and Venezuela were not considered to have made similar adequate improvements. But Bush cleared them nonetheless to receive limited assistance, for such things as combatting trafficking. In the case of Venezuela -- which has had a tense relationship with the United States under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez, one of Latin America's most outspoken critics of U.S. foreign policy -- Bush also allowed funding for strengthening the political party system and supporting electoral observation [I'll bet Bush does want to observe those elections in Venezuela.].
In addition to Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Kuwait -- another U.S. ally in the Middle East -- were given a complete pass on any sanctions, Jordan said. Despite periodic differences, oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United States have a tight alliance built on economic and military cooperation.
That left Myanmar, Cuba and North Korea as the only nations in the list of 14 barred completely from receiving certain kinds of foreign aid. The act does not include cutting off trade assistance or humanitarian aid, Jordan said.
The White House statement offered no explanation of why countries were regarded differently. Jordan also could not provide one. ... READ ALL at Yahoo News
As the United Nations report said, we are sliding backwards in time, in human rights, in protections against racism and religious persecution:
"The General Assembly is invited to draw the attention of Member States to the alarming signs of a retreat in the struggle against racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia as a result of the growing number of counter-terrorism policies that generate new forms of discrimination against groups and entire communities, religions and spiritual traditions," writes Doudou Diene, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on racism and related intolerance.
The hyper-vigilance and you're-guilty-until-proven-innocent policies of the U.S. -- and those of more and more U.S. corporations such as Greyhound -- do not bode well for human rights around the world, as more and more countries get away with more and more human rights violations, and the U.S. government fosters racist, anti-humanitarian, and anti-freedom-of-speech policies within its borders, and beyond.