We’ve Got You Covered

Posted on May 08, 2014 in Countdown
On April 25th we hosted our annual Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Awards Gala here in Washington and social media was a buzz throughout the event. This year, we honored Senator George J. Mitchell for his extraordinary career in public service, Participant Media for their vision and leadership in social justice, and Martin Luther King III for the legacy of his family and the work he does to keep their vision alive. Gibran was an evening for our community to reconnect, celebrate our achievements, and reflect on the path that lies ahead.
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Naughty or Nice?

Posted on March 20, 2014 in Countdown
With elections season on its way, political commentators more often than not love to interpret special elections and significant political events as a sign of things to come in November. The prevailing notion right now - even among some Democrats, it seems - is that Democrats are toast in November because of Obamacare, and will likely lose the Senate as a result.
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Shaking in Their Boots

Posted on March 12, 2014 in Countdown
Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), won’t bash the National Security Agency (NSA) for spying on everyday Americans - in fact she stood by the NSA after the Snowden revelations - but if you spy on her Senate staff, she’s coming after you. That’s the lesson CIA Director John Brennan is learning right now after Senator Feinstein’s heated speech on the Senate floor yesterday.
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The Day We Fight Back

Posted on February 19, 2014 in Countdown
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech directly to 300 Israeli students and youth leaders in Ramallah to discuss the peace process. Taking a page from the Obama playbook, Abbas went over Netanyahu’s head and spoke directly to the Israeli public to outline the Palestinian position on peace negotiations.
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Living in Limbo

Posted on February 12, 2014 in Countdown
We don’t have to tell you that resolving the crisis in Syria hasn’t been easy. Russia has offered to meet directly with the United States to discuss Syria after the first Geneva II negotiations did not produce much substance, and it was also revealed that Syria is behind schedule in shipping out its chemical weapons arsenal. Still, there is a small piece of good news that could have a big impact for those suffering in Syria: in a welcome step, the Obama administration announced it will ease some restrictions to allow more Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States.
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Obama’s NSA Remarks Fell Short of Expectations

Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Blog
On Friday, January 17, 2014, President Obama offered his much anticipated speech on surveillance. While advocates were hopeful that the President's remarks would support significant reforms to curb mass surveillance, his remarks fell short of expectations.
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President’s Review Board Slams NSA’s Overbroad Surveillance Operation

Posted by on December 19, 2013 in Blog
The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, tasked with reviewing the NSA’s surveillance program, released its highly anticipated report yesterday. President Obama did not offer any statements assessing the Group’s recommendations, but in a released statement, the White House said, “Over the next several weeks, as we bring to a close the Administration’s overall review of signals intelligence, the President will work with his national security team to study the Review Group’s report, and to determine which recommendations we should implement. The President will also continue consulting with Congress as reform proposals are considered in each chamber.”
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Federal Court Rules NSA Data Collection likely Unconstitutional

Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Blog
By Isaac Levey Legal Fellow The controversial National Security Agency (NSA) program that collects Americans’ phone records received its first public judicial setback yesterday, with a federal court finding that it probably violates the United States Constitution. The ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that the program most likely violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the government from conducting “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The government will almost certainly appeal, and Judge Richard J. Leon’s order to stop collection won’t take effect until the appellate process is complete.
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Countdown to 2014

Posted on December 17, 2013 in Countdown
We know, it’s sad, but yes, this is in fact the last Countdown of the year. We promise to come back in 2014 with even better material as we aim to give you a unique breakdown and topical analysis of issues in the U.S. and Middle East.
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Spying, Prying and Justifying

Posted on October 21, 2013 in Countdown
You don’t need us to tell you we like what we see from Bill de Blasio, the progressive Democrat who seems a shoo-in for the next mayor of New York City and has been harshly critical of the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s unconstitutional stop-and-frisk program. But this week he gave us the best reason yet to support his election in two weeks: he promised to end NYPD’s pervasive, widespread surveillance of Arab Americans and American Muslim New Yorkers.
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