Quoted: ABC News Radio | “Amnesty Int’l Challenges Obama to Bring Female Driver to Saudi Arabia”

ABC News Radio:  Amnesty Int’l Challenges Obama to Bring Female Driver to Saudi Arabia

By Carmen Cox

March 27, 2014

…Amnesty International also weighed in, urging the president to bring along a female Secret Service agent as his driver while in the Kingdom.

“President Obama should show his support by bringing a female Secret Service driver with him to the country,” said Sunjeev Bery, the group’s Middle East North Africa advocacy director….

Dollar vs. Dollar: U.S. Consumers Battle U.S. Taxpayers in Global Drug War

The Huffington Post
Posted: February 3, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

Although the reporting has improved in recent years, U.S. media coverage of the “war on drugs” continues to ignore the economic realities of just who is fighting who in the conflict. The drug war is best understood as a battle of dollar versus dollar — a bloody war between the dollars of U.S. taxpayers and the dollars of U.S. consumers.

Continue reading “Dollar vs. Dollar: U.S. Consumers Battle U.S. Taxpayers in Global Drug War”

Dollar vs. Dollar

Until recently, a fundamental reality has been missing from U.S. media coverage of the “drug wars” in Latin America.    Time and again, our headlines have pointed to the scary “other” — the corrupt Mexican police officer, the Colombian drug trafficker, the peasant farmer who ekes out a living growing a poisonous crop.

A case in point:   Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over, Alarming U.S.  (NY Times)

You don’t have to dig into the article, just take a look at the headline.  The scary violence of America’s next-door neighbor is suddenly threatening us.

In this telling, we Americans are the besieged victims — the people who are subjected to a flood of poison from violent smugglers and cartels.  But this approach only works if one ignores basic economics.  The narrative of “governments vs. traffickers” or “U.S. vs. foreign cartels” misses the point.

The drug war is best understood as a battle of dollar versus dollar — a bloody war between the dollars of U.S. taxpayers and the dollars of U.S. consumers.

Continue reading “Dollar vs. Dollar”

It’s time to ask Ashcroft questions about civil rights: Even 9/11 panel is criticizing some legislation

 

 

San Jose Mercury News
October 13, 2004

By Sanjeev Bery

Despite Republican and Democrat concerns about the USA Patriot Act, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is supporting efforts to expand this controversial law. At a time when Congress should slow down and take a look at the fine print, Ashcroft continues to recklessly charge ahead.

Today at noon, a select group of Silicon Valley professionals will have the chance to ask Ashcroft directly about these new proposals. Ashcroft will be speaking at the Software & Information Industry Association at San Jose’s Fairmont Hotel. If he uses his podium to laud the Patriot Act, he should be asked how these new proposals would affect our freedom.

Specifically, Congress is rushing to pass legislation that it claims will implement the 9/11 commission’s recommendations. But as always, election year fog obscures reality. Some of the legislation that supposedly will make us safer is even being criticized by a majority of the bipartisan 9/11 commission.

One such bill is HR 10, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives. This bill contains provisions that go well beyond the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. Consider the following provisions:

• Law enforcement would be able to get secret court approval to spy on individual non-citizens. Currently, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the government expanded access to these powers — but only when targeting representatives of “foreign powers” or international terrorist groups.

• Immigrants could be denied basic judicial review over unfair, arbitrary or otherwise abusive deportations.

• Asylum seekers would have to “corroborate” their claim of persecution. Not surprisingly, asylum-seekers have difficulty obtaining corroborating documents from the very governments that persecute them. Imagine a hypothetical Christian refugee fleeing Sudan’s genocide, for example.

These provisions are just a few examples of how HR 10 bows to the demands of those who seek to expand anti-immigrant laws and the already-controversial Patriot Act. They are taking advantage of this bill to advance their own agenda.

The bad news is that the House has already passed these provisions. The good news is that the Senate’s version of the bill does not include them.

But in an election year, rhetoric sometimes trumps reality. That is why it is important to remind our government officials that now is the time to take a closer look at the original Patriot Act and anti-immigrant laws — before they decide to add more.

Today, a number of Silicon Valley residents may have the opportunity to put these concerns directly to the attorney general. It is high time that the U.S. Department of Justice listens.

SANJEEV BERY is field organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. He wrote this column for the Mercury News.