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28 Feb

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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chicago black site postcard

‘We follow the rules,’ Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday night. The next evening, social media was flooded with outcry over allegations of police abuse at Homan Square. Photograph: @ChicagoRising

Gitmo2Chicago: protests target police ‘black site’

Homan Square abuse allegations encircle mayor Rahm Emanuel as Anonymous, Occupy and Black Lives Matter take to social media and streets beyond Chicago

The Chicago police facility Homan Square was becoming the focus of an organized protest movement this weekend, as the hacktivist collective Anonymous and organizers associated with the Black Lives Matter movement seized on allegations of unconstitutional abuse at the secretive warehouse.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former top adviser to Barack Obama suddenly facing a runoff for re-election, remained at the political fulcrum of a mounting campaign both on social media and the streets of Chicago, where demonstrations were planned for Saturday outside what coordinated campaigners described as mirroring a CIA “black site”.

Organizer Travis McDermott said Saturday’s “Shut Down Homan Square” protest was one of several being planned as far away as Los Angeles.

“Hopefully with the presence we expect to have, that will put a little bit of pressure to say, ‘Hey, look – this isn’t going to go away,’” he said.

On Friday night, campaigners associated with the Occupy and Anonymous collectives took to Twitter, Instagram and other social-media platforms with the hashtag #Gitmo2Chicago to decry allegations of what users alternatively labeled as a “secret prison” and “torture soon coming to a city near you”.

Six people and multiple Chicago attorneys came forward to the Guardian this week with detailed accounts of police holding suspects and witnesses for sustained periods of detention inside Homan Square, without public records, access to attorneys or being read their most basic rights – involving what they said included shackling, physical abuse and being “disappeared” from legal counsel and family. The Guardian’s recent investigation into Chicago police brutality began the week before, with a two-part account of the tactics of Detective Richard Zuley, who went from Chicago homicide investigator to Guantánamo Bay torturer………………….

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World leaders condemn murder of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov

The McGlynn: Hilarious ………….”Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the president would take the investigation into Nemtsov’s death under “personal control”, and that he believed the killing to be a provocation.”………………

Former deputy PM and critic of Vladimir Putin who was due to lead major rally on Sunday was killed near the Kremlin

World leaders led by David Cameron and Barack Obama have condemned the killing of prominent Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead in Moscow on Friday evening.

Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and a sharp critic of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was reportedly shot four times in the back by a killer in a passing car.

Cameron said the callous murder must be “fully, rapidly and transparently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice”.

“His life was dedicated to speaking up tirelessly for the Russian people, to demanding their right to democracy and liberty under the rule of law, and to an end to corruption,” the prime minister said. “He did so without fear, and never gave in to intimidation……………………..

The body of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov lies near St Basil’s cathedral.

The body of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov lies near St Basil’s cathedral. Photograph: Dmitry Sereryakov/AFP/Getty Images

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Barack Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu

Binyamin Netanyahu listens as President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting at the White House in October. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Netanyahu’s Congress speech scuppers bipartisan unity on support for Israel

Israeli PM is accused of ‘conspiring’ with Republicans to condemn Obama’s policy on Iranian nuclear talks

A set piece of the annual gathering of one of the most powerful political lobbies in Washington is the “roll call” of support in Congress for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac).

Members of Congress are invited to stand one by one to be acknowledged for their support for Israel, or for Aipac’s hawkish brand of it. It typically takes half an hour as the names of around two-thirds of representatives and senators are called. It is intended to demonstrate that on one issue at least, the Jewish state, there are no partisan differences. It is also a reminder of the lock Aipac has long had on Congress with a menacing suggestion of the political risks of going against the lobby group.

But as Aipac’s convention opens, the carefully forged image of Democrats and Republicans at one on Israel has been battered by the furious reaction to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned address to Congress on Tuesday, when he is expected to accuse Barack Obama of endangering the very existence of the Jewish state in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme.

Nearly 30 members have said they will not attend Netanyahu’s speech in protest at the extraordinary spectacle of Republicans inviting a foreign leader to Washington to denounce the president. They have described Netanyahu’s decision to speak as “sabotage” and “extremely dangerous”.

The dispute has also divided some of America’s most prominent Jewish organisations, with accusations flying of betrayal. But through it all Aipac has been all but silent as it struggles with the implications of the breach in the bipartisan wall as members of Congress with strong records of support for Israel challenge Netanyahu…………………

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni arrive for a joint press conference in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

Netanyahu’s ‘scaremongering’ will not stop nuclear deal, says Iranian official

Mohammad Javad Zarif said Israeli leader’s speech to the US Congress next week will not undermine world powers’ efforts to reach final nuclear deal

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said on Saturday that “scaremongering” by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t stop the Islamic Republic and world powers from reaching a final nuclear deal.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the world should not allow the hard-line Israeli leader to undermine peace. He was referring to Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress next week on the emerging nuclear deal that he considers dangerous.

“Through scaremongering, falsification, propaganda and creating a false atmosphere even inside other countries, [Israel] is attempting to prevent peace,” Zarif told reporters during a joint news conference with his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni. “I believe that these attempts are in vain and should not impede reaching a [nuclear] agreement.”

In his sharpest criticism yet, Netanyahu said earlier this week that world powers “have given up” on stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons in ongoing negotiations. Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as threatening its very existence………………….

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Other News

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pol bears

A mother and her cubs

International Polar Bear Day – in pictures

Wildlife guide and presenter Paul Goldstein brings together his favourite polar bear photos from Spitsbergen, Norway, to celebrate Ursus maritimus

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