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We Asked a War Correspondent About the Origins of ISIS


Anand Gopal’s job is to report from the front lines of conflict. He spent years as the Wall Street Journal’s reporter in Afghanistan, and in a few months he will be heading to Iraq to take stock of the chaos enveloping the region. In the wake of the Islamic State’s murder of photojournalist James Foley, VICE checked in with Gopal to find out what he thinks of the situation unfolding in Iraq and the risks inherent in reporting from a war zone. VICE: You spent years living in and reporting from Afghanistan, first… Read More »

Seattle’s Former Police Chief Speaks Out Against Police Brutality

Seattle Police

In recent weeks, incidents of lethal police violence against unarmed young black men have occurred in cities across the country, not just Ferguson. But in Ferguson more than anywhere, police doubled down on their role as a hostile occupying force in the community, showing off theirmassive collection of military-grade equipment and weaponry in a crude (and so far unsuccessful) attempt to intimidate the local population it purports to serve. This isn’t the first time a local police force has turned an American city into something resembling a war zone in the name of civilian crowd control…. Read More »

“We Have Become the Kurdish Air Force” — Former State Department Official Matthew Hoh Makes the Case For Non-Intervention in Iraq


Matthew Hoh is a former Marine who served two tours in Iraq before being stationed in Afghanistan as a high-ranking foreign service officer. In 2009, Hoh resigned in protest from the State Department over the U.S.’ misguided occupation of Afghanistan. Leighton Woodhouse, who interviewed Hoh, writes for Capital & Main. Note: This interview was conducted before the Obama administration announced that it would not send in ground troops to evacuate refugees on Mount Sinjar. You’ve written that sending U.S. troops back into Iraq, bombing the Islamic State, or otherwise engaging militarily in Iraq’s civil war… Read More »

Fear for the First: Is Activist Speech Terrorism?


On Monday, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a request to the U.S. Supreme Court for judicial review of Blum v. Holder, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.The request, and the history that led up to it, provides a glimpse into the ways in which the free speech rights of political activists continue to be eroded as a result of the defining legal and constitutional framework of our era, the “War on Terror.” The brainchild of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the AETA was crafted as a direct response to the extraordinary… Read More »

Refugee Children Seek Representation in Courts


The clock is ticking for six refugee children from El Salvador and Guatemala who are plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit that seeks to compel the Obama administration to ensure access to legal representation for tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors facing deportation proceedings. The plaintiffs are among the more than 50,000 Central American children who have illegally crossed the border into the Southwestern United States in recent months, fleeing threats of violence by transnational street gangs that arguably exert more effective control over the daily lives of residents in large swathes of El Salvador, Guatemala… Read More »

Alone and Afraid: Refugee Children Face Deportation Without Legal Representation


Isabel Mejia was 17 years old when she arrived in the United States from El Salvador, having fled her home country for reasons even the most hardened immigration opponent might have trouble dismissing. Some local gang members had decided to conscript her as the “gang’s girlfriend” — to force her into a life of sexual slavery. At home, the situation was no better: She had been a victim of domestic sexual violence. Faced with rape, death or flight, she chose to flee. Today, Isabel (not her real name), now 18, lives in… Read More »

Alternative Black History: Negroes With Guns


Anyone who has ever seen a film or documentary depicting the violent atrocities that routinely occurred during the Civil Rights movement in America knows the scene well: a young black boy looks at a white woman in a way that makes her uncomfortable. A black woman walks home alone past a group of white boys. A civil rights leader angers the wrong group of businessmen in town, and violence erupts in the form of lynchings, rapes, burning crosses, murder … Inspired by Gandhi’s success with non-violence and passive resistance in… Read More »

Alternative Black History: Five Films


This post originally appeared in Capital & Main: Every year for Black History Month, the TV networks and premium movie channels roll out the same programming: Malcolm X, Mississippi Burning, The Color Purple…. It’s not that these films aren’t great; they are. It’s just that every year for as long as they have been around, they’re all that come on during February. I can quote The Color Purple line for line. The history of black folks is larger and more diverse than the Civil Rights Movement and slavery. Let’s give… Read More »

Boycott Angora


This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post and Alternet. It would be dishonest of me to say that I recommend watching PETA Asia’s video exposing the barbaric methods employed by Chinese laborers in the manufacture of angora fabrics. Even by the standards of animal cruelty investigative videos, PETA Asia’s footage is hard to watch. If you’re not prepared to see it for yourself, allow this description to suffice: bunny rabbits are shown strapped to boards, having their fur torn out at the roots by hand until they’re bald, screaming throughout the entire… Read More »

Steve King’s Farm Bill Amendment Hurts Animals — and California Farmers

Steve King

This article was first published as an op-ed in The Hill. Iowa Congressman Steve King is an interesting kind of conservative. Last year, when a seemingly non-controversial amendment was attached to the 2012 Farm Bill making it a federal crime to attend or to bring a minor to an organized animal fighting event, King strenuously objected, lashing out at those who seek to “elevate animals above humans.” Later, in the face of criticism for his apparent support of criminal dogfighting and cockfighting rings, he tried to explain himself by arguing that enactment and enforcement of… Read More »