Editorial voices from the U.S., elsewhere

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Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:


Los Angeles Times

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen suspected of planting bombs at the Boston Marathon, was charged Monday with using a “weapon of mass destruction” against people and property, and he faces an aggressive prosecution and the possibility of the death penalty.


But that’s not good enough for Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). Because Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, “were not common criminals, but terrorists trying to injure, maim and kill innocent Americans,” the two senators would rather see Tsarnaev plucked from the judicial system, classified as an enemy combatant, deprived of a lawyer and placed in military detention.


To its credit, the Obama administration rejected the senators’ counsel. On Monday, a federal magistrate finally informed Tsarnaev of his rights. We hope that, in the days and hours before that intervention, his interrogators didn’t exploit his ignorance to build their case. A public safety exception so broad that it swallows the Miranda rule would be bad for the constitutional rights of all Americans.


The Miami Herald

The State Department’s latest report on human-rights practices effectively puts the lie to the idea that the piecemeal and illusory changes in Cuba under Gen. Raúl Castro represent a genuine political opening toward greater freedom.


If anything, things are getting worse. The report, which covers 2012, says the independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights and Reconciliation counted 6,602 short-term detentions during the year, compared with 4,123 in 2011. In March 2012, the same commission recorded a 30-year record high of 1,158 short-term detentions in a single month just before the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.


As in any dictatorship, telling the truth is a crime: Independent journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, the first to report on the cholera outbreak in Cuba, was jailed in September for the crime of desacato (insulting speech) and remained there until last week.


The regime is willing to undertake some meek economic reforms to keep people employed. It has even dared to relax its travel requirements to allow more Cubans to leave the country if they can get a passport.


Both of these are short-term survival measures, designed as escape valves for growing internal pressure. But when it comes to free speech, political activity and freedom of association – the building blocks of a free society – the report is a depressing chronicle of human-rights abuses and a valuable reminder that repression is the Castro regime’s only response to those who demand a genuinely free Cuba. Fundamental reform? Not a chance.


The Star, Toronto

As the shock of Canada’s brush with an alleged al Qaida-directed terror plot recedes, it’s comforting to learn that a prominent Toronto Muslim cleric played a key role in foiling the attack. More than a year ago he alerted the authorities to someone he felt was an extremist who was radicalizing young people.


That speaks to something very Canadian: The sense that we can count on each other to do the right thing for the wider community, that we are all in this together. The VIA Rail passenger trains that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police say the alleged plotters had in their sights might just as easily have been carrying innocent Muslim passengers as anyone else. The imam who spoke up was motivated by a sense of civic duty and a concern for human life – values the vast majority of Canada’s 650,000 Muslims share with their neighbours, but for which they are not always given credit.


Or as another Toronto Muslim leader, Muhammad Robert Heft, put it, Canada is “our country, our tribe. We want safety for all Canadians regardless of their religion.”


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