18 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Ex-marine from Missouri is suspected of planning an ambush in Baton Rouge that killed three officers and wounded three others. Gavin Long, who was later shot dead by other officers, had urged people to ‘fight back’ against police violence

Gavin Long, the man identified on Sunday as the deadly shooter of police officers in Baton Rouge, left behind an online trail to web pages featuring complaints about the treatment of African Americans by police.

Using the pseudonym “Cosmo Setepenra”, Long, 29, railed in a series of videos, photographs and online writings at perceived injustices against black people.

“You gotta fight back,” he urged viewers in a video recorded a week ago.

Describing the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, earlier this month as “justice”, Long urged black men to make sacrifices for their race.

Styling himself as a life coach and “spiritual advisor,” Long distanced himself, however, from well-known groups campaigning for African American rights.

“I thought my own thoughts, I made my own decisions – I’m the one who’s gotta listen to the judgment,” he said in another clip………………

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EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, concerned that President Erdo?an will use unrest to purge political opponents

People wave Turkish flags in front of an electronic billboard displaying the face of Erdo?an.

People wave Turkish flags in front of an electronic billboard displaying the face of Erdo?an. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

European politicians have called on Turkey to respect the rule of law amid a purge of state institutions in the aftermath of this weekend’s botched coup.

Speaking before a meeting of the EU’s 28 foreign ministers – including the UK’s Boris Johnson – the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the group intended to send a strong message to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.

Mogherini said: “[Just as we were] the first ones to say in that tragic night [of the coup on Friday] that the democratic and legitimate institutions needed to be protected, today we will say, together with the ministers, that this obviously doesn’t meant that the rule of law and the system of checks and balances in the country doesn’t count. On the contrary, it needs to be protected for the sake of the country itself. So we will send a strong message on that.”

Turkish officials deny the suggestion that they are acting inappropriately, let alone outside of legal norms.

Mogherini was among several leading politicians to stand by Erdo?an in the early hours of Saturday morning, calling for the coup plotters to back down and respect Turkey’s democratic process.

But there are now concerns that Erdo?an is using the aftermath of the attempted coup to crack down not just on its perpetrators but also on political opponents who were not involved in the rebellion……………..

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US, China, Japan, Germany, France and UK accommodate just 2.1 million refugees, according to Oxfam report

Syrian refugee families arrive at their new homes on the Isle of Bute, Scotland.

Syrian refugee families arrive at their new homes on the Isle of Bute, Scotland. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The six wealthiest countries in the world, which between them account for almost 60% of the global economy, host less than 9% of the world’s refugees, while poorer countries shoulder most of the burden, Oxfam has said.

According to a report released by the charity on Monday, the US, China, Japan, Germany, France and the UK, which together make up 56.6% of global GDP, between them host just 2.1 million refugees: 8.9% of the world’s total.

Of these 2.1 million people, roughly a third are hosted by Germany (736,740), while the remaining 1.4 million are split between the other five countries. The UK hosts 168,937 refugees, a figure Oxfam GB chief executive, Mark Goldring, has called shameful.

In contrast, more than half of the world’s refugees – almost 12 million people – live in Jordan, Turkey, Palestine, Pakistan, Lebanon and South Africa, despite the fact these places make up less than 2% of the world’s economy.

Oxfam is calling on governments to host more refugees and to do more to help poorer countries which provide shelter to the majority of the world’s refugees. “This is one of the greatest challenges of our time yet poorer countries, and poorer people, are left to shoulder the responsibility,” said Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB. “It is a complex crisis that requires a coordinated, global response with the richest countries doing their fair share by welcoming more refugees and doing more to help and protect them wherever they are.

“Now more than ever, the UK needs to show that it is an open, tolerant society that is prepared to play its part in solving this crisis. It is shameful that as one of the richest economies the UK has provided shelter for less than 1% of refugees.”…………..

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As Republicans prepare to gather in Cleveland, Samaria Rice says the party’s presumptive nominee doesn’t care about deaths of young men killed by police

Samaria Rice stands in front of the location where Cleveland police killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014.

Samaria Rice stands in front of the location where Cleveland police killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014. Photograph: Mae Ryan for the Guardian

Samaria Rice has one message for Donald Trump, the tycoon who is in Cleveland this week to be anointed as the Republican party’s candidate for president: “I wish he wasn’t coming here.

“Donald Trump doesn’t really care about the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and other young men,” Rice said, sat on a bench close to the spot where, in November 2014, her 12 year-old son was shot dead by a white Cleveland police officer as he played with a plastic pellet gun.

“I don’t really think that he has a need to care, because I don’t believe that he cares for African American people anyway,” she said.

Rice, 39, has taken a decision to leave town when the Republican national convention begins on Monday. As an expected 50,000 people descend on Cleveland, she will be in New York, mourning with the family of Eric Garner on the two-year anniversary of the 43-year-old’s death in police custody.

“I don’t know why he [Trump] felt the need to come to Cleveland and bring his entourage down here to mess up this beautiful city,” Rice said.

America’s already divisive debate on race and policing has intensified in the past two weeks as the fatal shootings of Castile in Minnesota and Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were followed by the fatal shooting of five officers in Dallas………….

The Republican national convention is being held in Cleveland, Ohio, where the police department has been under intense scrutiny for years. Tamir Rice, 12, was playing with a toy gun when Cleveland police officers shot him dead within seconds of arriving on the scene in 2014. Tamir Rice’s mother and sister speak about their experiences with the police and why they will be staying far away from the RNC this week

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America needs to have difficult conversations about race and guns. This requires unity – but as Republicans gather, divisive voices are likely to prevail

Police guard the emergency room entrance of Our Lady Of The Lake Medical Center, in Baton Rouge, where wounded officers were brought.

Police guard the emergency room entrance of Our Lady Of The Lake Medical Center, in Baton Rouge, where wounded officers were brought. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

The frequency of senseless gun-related deaths in America continues unabated. Despite countless pleas for calm and unity, three Baton Rouge police officers have been killed by an assailant armed with deadly weapons.

The Republican National Convention is about to open, followed by its Democratic counterpart. America needs its political leaders to present peaceful, unifying solutions to this tragic violence, and not make statements that further division and increase national tension.

Based upon the list of speakers lined up to address the Republican Convention in Cleveland, which includes former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and others who have demonized the Black Lives Matter movement, it is not hard to envision a week filled with divisive rhetoric.

Following the shooting in Dallas that killed five police officers, Giuliani upset many by labelling BLM “inherently racist because, number one, it divides us … All lives matter: white lives, black lives, all lives.”

Sheriff of Milwaukee County, David Clarke, an African American, is also scheduled to speak. He recently wrote an an op-ed denouncing BLM as a group that only seeks “one end – and that is discord, alienation among Americans, rise in hate, and destruction of community bonds,” blaming it for the horrific Dallas murders.

And following the shooting in Baton Rouge, Trump posted a response that stated “We grieve for the officers killed in Baton Rouge today. How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order.”

It’s no surprise that a candidate for president will claim that the party he opposes lacks leadership, but the ambiguity inherent in his demand will only add to the problems. Maybe during the convention he’ll present his strategy for ensuring law and order, but if it includes increased militarization of the police and an authoritarian approach to law enforcement, especially among minority communities, he will be making things worse.

In contrast, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeted out a message with an emphasis on combating hate: “We mourn the tragic murder of three police officers in #BatonRouge. We must work to #DisarmHate in all of its forms.” President Obama has also condemned the killings, “in the strongest sense of the word” and stated that attacks on “public servants” have to stop.

There is a sense of inevitability about rising racial tension in America, but violence as a consequence of it isn’t inevitable. Right now our greatest hope is that people do not choose to express this tension with deadly force. We know, however, that the tension will not simply go away. Indeed, it resides in all of us as we grapple with questions about the nature of American society, the legacies of its foundation and our own identities…………..

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