The Seattle Globalist http://www.seattleglobalist.com Where Seattle Meets the World Sat, 31 Jan 2015 02:54:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 FBI’s Seattle Somali community outreach programs targeted for spying, reports say http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/30/seattle-fbi-community-outreach-fbi-spy-plans/33068 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/30/seattle-fbi-community-outreach-fbi-spy-plans/33068#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 02:54:51 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=33068 A report says the Seattle FBI community outreach program received orders in 2009 to gather intelligence on Somali community.

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FBI agents

An FBI community outreach program in Seattle received orders to gather intelligence on the Somali community, according to reports released this week by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis.

Seattle was one of six cities targeted in a 2009 plan to use the FBI’s community outreach programs to gather intelligence on Somali immigrants, according to documents obtained and published by Michael Price, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. The order was rescinded in 2010.

While the Brennan Center report said the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area was identified as the program’s top priority, the Star-Tribune reported that the Minneapolis FBI officials told reporters it resisted the spy orders because the bureau’s outreach specialists did not want to jeopardize their relationships with community members.

Seattle FBI field office spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams told the Globalist that the FBI’s community outreach relationships are important to build trust.

“Unfortunately in Seattle, we’ve seen a number of incidents with bias crime,” she said, referring to several recent attacks on immigrant cab drivers. “It’s for things like that, so that people know that we have a commitment to investigate.”

She said in the al-Shabab case in Minneapolis, it was members of the Somali community who came to FBI agents to report that their family members had been radicalized.

“They came to us; we’re not suspicious of them. They want to protect their families,” she said.

The FBI has long had community outreach programs and fostered relationships with community groups, to provide mentorship and to build trust in law enforcement, according to the agency’s website.

According to the Brennan Center, after 22 young men from the Minneapolis area joined al-Shabab in Somalia in 2007 and 2009, the FBI designed the “Specialized Community Outreach Team” (SCOT) to focus on outreach to Somali immigrants as a counter-terrorism measure.

Instead of focusing on mentorship and bridge-building, like previous FBI community outreach efforts, Price writes that the main aim of SCOT was to collect information.

SCOT intentionally commingled community outreach with intelligence gathering and investigative activity. Indeed, according to the memo, one of the primary benefits of the SCOT program was the support it provided to Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) and ‘operational programs throughout the Bureau,’ ” Price wrote.

The program description outlines plans to expand to Cincinnati; Seattle; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; and Denver, according to the document obtained by the Brennan Center.

The Seattle FBI office said it was working on a response to the specific reports late Friday. The Globalist will follow up with this story as information is received.

The program ended in December 2010, after the field offices received an order to separate community outreach efforts with field operations. The 2010 orders specifically “forbids using community outreach to conduct ‘Domain Assessments,’  prohibits (Community Outreach Program) personnel from reporting to the ‘Field Intelligence Group’ (FIG) or to an operational squad or task force, and requires segregation of community outreach files,” according to Price of the Brennan Center.

However, Price questioned continued uses of FBI community outreach, including a 2012 incident in Seattle when FBI agents came unannounced to the home of an immigrant and questioned her about calls to her family in Afghanistan. When she and her daughter asked why the agents were there, the agents reportedly cited “community outreach,” according to a letter to FBI from CAIR-WA.

Price wrote:

Genuine efforts at community outreach are praiseworthy and have the potential to strengthen our national security. The FBI took a step in the right direction by establishing rules to keep outreach and intelligence separate. But even the best of intentions will not have an impact if the FBI does not follow its own rules or seeks to sidestep them.

And despite the denial that any spying went on in the Minnesota programs, Minneapolis Public Radio reported that news released this week about the intelligence-gathering program have made some Muslims wary of new FBI community outreach efforts in the Twin Cities.

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Vietnamese dual language program a big hit at White Center school http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/30/vietnamese-dual-language-white-center-bilingual-school/33059 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/30/vietnamese-dual-language-white-center-bilingual-school/33059#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:58:04 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=33059 Educators behind a new Vietnamese-language immersion program at White Center Heights Elementary School hope to prove the power of dual-language learning.

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Tu Thanh Dinh, a first grade teacher at White Center Heights Elementary in Burien, leads a lesson to his first grade students in their  Vietnamese immersion language class. (Photo by Ellen Banner / The Seattle Times)

Tu Thanh Dinh, a first grade teacher at White Center Heights Elementary in Burien, leads a lesson to his first grade students in their Vietnamese immersion language class. (Photo by Ellen Banner / The Seattle Times)

If you’re like me, any foreign language you learned in school is now a distant memory of vocabulary drills and embarrassing skits (I wrote an inspired one about riding my vélo to the boulangerie for my Ballard High School French class).

Sure, it was a daily dose of international culture, but 20 years later my language skills don’t extend much beyond a pastry case.

As the world has grown smaller, our country more diverse and language skills increasingly coveted, many in my generation feel trapped in one language or frustrated to have learned a European language when others — say Mandarin or Arabic — seem far more relevant (and marketable).

But a new Vietnamese-language immersion program at White Center Heights Elementary School in the Highline School District hopes to prove the power of dual language learning — especially when it’s done with the local community in mind.

“Biliterate and bilingual, that’s the goal,” says White Center Heights Principal Anne Reece, who considers the two teachers and 50 students in this 1½-year-old program “pioneers.”

At a glance, this pioneering first-grade class looks pretty average. There’s a wall of cubbyholes and puffy winter coats on pegs and a dozen or so students reading colorful books in miniature turquoise chairs. But then you notice that many of those books are in Vietnamese — as are the posted classroom rules.

These kids will spend half their day here and the second half in English-language classrooms.

“There are the cultural reasons, the economic reasons and the cognitive reasons,” says Highline Language Learning Director Bernard Koontz of the district goal to graduate all of its students biliterate and bilingual by 2026.

There are the jobs and the academic advantages to consider but also, says Koontz, the powerful rewards that come with teaching in a “community language” — or locally spoken language — such as Vietnamese (which is widely spoken in the White Center neighborhood).

“By valuing other languages, we just change the whole game on how we treat kids,” says Koontz, whose district is home to some of the most intense linguistic diversity in the region with what he estimates are “100-plus languages spoken.”

Of those 100-plus languages, Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali, Amharic and Punjabi top the list after English. And while there are some Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin dual-immersion programs available in other local public schools (White Center Heights has a Spanish-immersion program as well), this is the first Vietnamese program in the state.

There is a lack of language programs for public school students in the international community.  Students can study Spanish, French and German but there are no East African languages and very few Asian languages despite the fact that we have many speakers from those regions. The White Center Heights dual langauge Vietnamese program is one exception. (Photo by Ellen Banner / The Seattle Times)

There is a lack of language programs for public school students in the international community. Students can study Spanish, French and German but there are no East African languages and very few Asian languages despite the fact that we have many speakers from those regions. The White Center Heights dual langauge Vietnamese program is one exception. (Photo by Ellen Banner / The Seattle Times)

There’s no doubt parents are interested. Koontz says there’s more of a problem with overflow than recruitment at White Center Heights, which is intended to be the first step in a program that will offer Vietnamese-English and Spanish-English dual-language learning through high school.

And, it’s important to note, not all of those eager families are ethnically Vietnamese. A quick scan of the classroom reveals students of all different backgrounds — a crucial element to the success of a dual-language program, which can run the risk of isolating or segregating certain groups of kids.

Instead, says Reece, you see the opposite.

“What I’ve noticed is once you have the language [taught] at the school it gives it social status,” she says, adding that school awards ceremonies and assemblies are conducted in English, Spanish and Vietnamese now.

That idea, of Vietnamese as a prestigious language in an American school, is exciting to Thao Tran, who teaches kindergarten in the program. Tran, who was recruited for this position straight out of graduate school at the University of Washington, grew up in a Vietnamese-speaking household but went to school in English.

“As a kid I didn’t really realize the importance of my heritage language,” she says, explaining her decision to take this experimental new job where she can teach something different to her students, “… I am here because I answered the call.”

The job is rewarding but challenging, too — it can be difficult to locate Vietnamese-language materials and to find colleagues who share the language-specific issues these teachers may face.

But it’s worth it, she says a few minutes before kids start bustling back in from recess.

Because it might be too late for Tran and me to have the bilingual education we wanted — but it’s not too late for them.

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New chef will bring Mexican traditions to Nacho Borracho http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/30/nacho-borracho-authentic-mexican-monica-dimas/32675 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/30/nacho-borracho-authentic-mexican-monica-dimas/32675#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=32675 Capitol Hill favorite Nacho Borracho is trading bar food for authentic Mexican fare under new chef Monica Dimas.

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Capitol Hill bar Nacho Borracho will be undergoing major changes as chef Monica Dimas prepares to take over the kitchen to revamp the menu. (Photo by Suzi Pratt)

Capitol Hill bar Nacho Borracho will be undergoing major changes as chef Monica Dimas prepares to take over the kitchen and revamp the menu. (Photo by Suzi Pratt)

With its dangling red light-up chili peppers and colorful paper cutouts, Broadway hole-in-the-wall Nacho Borracho has become a fixture of the Capitol Hill bar scene.

Snacky bar food like the signature Dorito nachos or the Sonoran dog, a bacon-wrapped hot dog, feed the cravings of the throngs of late-night inebriates that give the place its name.

But Nacho Borracho’s bar fare will soon be revamped as Seattle chef Monica Dimas, with experience at well-known eateries like Spinasse, Monsoon, and Ethan Stowell’s Mkt., prepares to take over the kitchen.

In February, Dimas will be overhauling the menu to instead serve the authentic Mexican cuisine she grew up on as the daughter of Mexican immigrants — dishes like pork belly tacos, sweet breads, chicharrones.

The bar at Nacho Borracho will remain intact, but an indoor window will added at the back for customers to order. The new food window will have its own name and Dimas plans to create a street food-style operation so customers can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine at affordable prices.

Nacho Borracho's menu will be undergoing major changes, but a version of the nachos will remain for those late night cravings. (Photo by Nicole Einbinder)

Nacho Borracho’s menu will be undergoing major changes, but a version of the nachos will remain for those late night cravings. (Photo by Nicole Einbinder)

Dimas’ shift to running the kitchen at a bar is a little odd given her fine dining experience. But Nacho Borracho co-owner Kate Opatz says it seemed like a natural fit.

“We’ve known Monica for a while and I knew she was wanting to have her own kitchen,” says co-owner Kate Opatz. “She always seemed like kind of a badass.”

Dimas, who began to cook professionally at the age of 18, says the close-knit environment in Seattle’s food scene mimics her home life growing. She was the middle of five children in what she describes as a “cheerleader family.” Their closeness also centered around food — every night they would sit down for dinner together to take a break from their busy lives and enjoy both her mother’s food and the company.

“I remember an ex-boyfriend grew up eating boxed mac and cheese,” Dimas says with a laugh. “And when I told my mom that she was like ‘I feel so sad for his childhood.’ It’s just something not okay in our world.”

Her family’s emphasis on food stems from her parent’s growing up in Mexico, where her mother was raised on a farm.

Although Dimas did not cook often when she was younger, she loved to watch her mom try out new things in the kitchen — from making stir-fry to cooking a mean fried chicken. During the holiday season, she always prepared her signature pozole, a traditional Mexican stew.

“My mom would make these tacos, adobada tacos,” Dimas says. “It’s this marinated pork taco and she would fry the tortillas. That was definitely a favorite.”

Día de los Muertos skulls at Nacho Borracho liven the atmosphere and provide a dose of Mexican-themed flair. (Photo by Nicole Einbinder)

Día de los Muertos skulls at Nacho Borracho liven the atmosphere and provide a dose of Mexican-themed flair. (Photo by Nicole Einbinder)

Leslie Kelly, editor of Zagat Seattle, describes Seattle’s Mexican food scene as centering around more Americanized Mexican food: huge dishes drowning in cheese and rice and beans.

But Kelly says she’s excited for the evolution of the city’s Mexican cuisine, both with the changes to Nacho Borracho and the recent opening of more up-scale restaurants.

Dimas’ pivot away from fine dining is in line with another city wide trend: a boom in street food.

In July of 2011, the Seattle City Council adopted legislation to make street food more accessible within the city and in accordance with the policies of the King County Health Department. In 2014 alone, 173 food vending permits were granted, a 54 percent increase from the previous year.

While an eclectic street food scene is flourishing in neighborhoods like South Lake Union, Capitol Hill remains limited to nightly hot dog stands.

“I would love to see more diverse street food,” Dimas says. “It would be great if there were more tacos, but also Japanese street food, ramen pop-up stands, just whatever else is out there.”

As Dimas prepares for the grand debut of her own kitchen, she will have the chance to encourage such diversity while recreating the traditional Mexican cuisine she grew up eating with her family.

When I ask Dimas what her favorite meal to cook is, the answer is easy:

“I love making pozole.”

You can sample that an array of other new menu items starting this Sunday, but you’ll have to wait for the following weekend’s brunch to try the pozole. And don’t worry, they’re still serving a version of the nachos that made them famous too.

Nacho Borracho is at 209 Broadway E. and is open until 2 a.m., 7 days a week.

The new menu debuts February 1 and will feature a taco special in honor of the Super Bowl, with half-off tacos every time the Seahawks score.

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What’s happening in Saudi Arabia and Yemen (and what it means for us) http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/29/saudi-arabia-yemen-us-relations/32879 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/29/saudi-arabia-yemen-us-relations/32879#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 19:24:04 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=32879 Making sense of the recent political changes on the Arabian Peninsula.

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Yemen Saudi coup government

(Illustration by Sarah Glidden)

Two major shifts in government on the Arabian Peninsula last week signal increasing instability and long-term impacts for the U.S.

Here’s what happened:

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died on Friday after almost 10 years on the throne. Leadership was passed to his more conservative brother, King Salman, 79.

The Saudi government is an absolute monarchy influenced by the ultraconservative Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam. Nonetheless, they’ve been a close ally to the U.S. and a key strategic partner in anti-terrorism campaigns across the Middle East.

“These religious beliefs are fused with a family that maintains absolute power and through the benefits that they get from the oil industry, being as profitable as its been, they kind of buy their way into not having to democratize,” said Dr. Arbella Bet-Shlimon, Assistant Professor in the UW History Department and Jackson School of International Studies.

The Saudis monarchs have maintained control through strong religious beliefs and oil wealth, but the younger generation is starting to buck that system.

“They technically live by Islamic law, but its more complicated that that. The young Saudis are modern. They use technology, they’re educated, and they want to live in the modern world,” said Dr. Jawed Zouari, a Ph.D in History of the Middle East and current professor of Political Science at Seattle Central College.

King Abdullah was remembered by some as a reformer, making moves towards freedom of expression and more rights for women. But King Salam is known to be much more conservative.

“King Salam’s policies will be more stringent. He will probably be tougher on the Shia, tougher on the young Saudis who are rallying for rights and for freedom of expression,” Zouari said.

Saudi Arabia is home the major Muslim holy sites as well as some of the world's largest oil reserves. (Photo by Omar Chatriwala / Al Jazeera English)

Saudi Arabia is home the major Muslim holy sites as well as some of the world’s largest oil reserves. (Photo by Omar Chatriwala / Al Jazeera English)

A young Saudi blogger was recently sentenced to 1,000 lashes for speaking out against the influence of religion in his country. He was hospitalized after the first 50 lashes — but the punishment is set to continue once he recovers. A number of other young people have been imprisoned recently on similar charges.

The U.S. government obviously holds freedom of expression as a core value, but they remain strong allies of Saudi Arabia — at least in part because they have some of the world’s largest oil reserves.

There was another major upheaval just to the south of Saudi Arabia, in the much poorer country of Yemen.

The Houthis, a Shia minority group that has been gaining political power and followers since 2004, overthrew the Yemeni government. U.S. ally, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, signed a peace treaty with the Houthis and resigned the presidency.

So far it’s unclear what U.S. relations will be with the new Houthi government, but Saudi Arabia has stopped all aid payments that they have been giving to Yemen. The majority of Saudis are Sunni, while the Houthis are part of a Shia minority.

“The stability of Yemen is very important to Saudi Arabia. Saudis invest heavily in Yemen in order to support the government. They have a lot of strategic interest but also cultural interest because of historical and cultural links,” said Robert Burrowes, Professor Emeritus with a specialty in Yemen studies at the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies. “They are trying to undermine the Houthi minority but they’re actually undermining the entire Yemeni population.”

Burrowes believes that the Houthis were able to take control not because of their strength as a group, but because the country as a whole was very weak.

“There is no state in Yemen. There is no sovereign power that’s able to assert control over all major parts of society. It’s really is something like anarchy,” Burrowes explained.

The U.S. is concerned with Yemen because it’s been a hub for Al Qaeda activity.

“The U.S. is convinced that of all the spin offs of the Al Qaeda, the Yemeni branch in the Arabian Peninsula is the one that has demonstrated interest in striking at the western powers and especially at the United States,” Burrowes said.

The Houthis, however, are not affiliated with the Al Qaeda.

“They are very strongly opposed to [Al Qaeda], if only because of the Sunni-Shia divide. Ideologically, religiously, they are very different groups,” Shlimon said.

So the Houthis are anti- Al Qaeda. However, they also dislike Americans and denounce the imperial influence of the western on their region. There is a long history of anti-imperialism that is directed towards the United States and Europe in the Arab world in general and in Yemen in particular.

Now deposed Yemeni President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi visits the Pentagon 2013. (Photo by Glenn Fawcett via Flickr)

Now deposed Yemeni President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi visits the Pentagon 2013. (Photo by Glenn Fawcett via Flickr)

The former Yemeni president had been supportive of American activity, and cooperated with U.S. drone strikes against Al Qaeda. The problem was, they didn’t always hit their target.

“Sometimes they’d take out the Al-Qaeda. Sometimes they’d take out schools, and families. They recently hit a wedding party and killed 25 people,” Burrowes said.

Shlimon explained that the Houthis will probably not support American policy in the way the former president did because they see that as a violation of their sovereignty.

So what does this new regime in Yemen mean for America? No one is sure. Americans rightfully fear Al Qaeda activity in Yemen, but with the lack of control in the government it remains to be seen if the threat will strengthen or wane in the future.

Shlimon suggests that Americans should take a more nuanced approach the region, and focus on the well being of the country as a whole.

“We need to go beyond a simplistic assessment of the way the government looks at it, beyond oil and al Qaeda. If the conflict in Yemen gets any more unstable we could end up with yet another proxy war situation, not unlike what has happened in Iraq and Syria. Every time this happens, it destabilizes the entire region and it produces profound suffering for the people in that country,” Shlimon said.

So should Americans look beyond our immediate interests in the oil industry and our fear of terrorist activity?

“The Middle East is often portrayed as these cinder blocks and barbed wire,” Shlimon said, “But that’s not what it looks like at all. There are people in the streets, there are little kids carrying balloon animals and cotton candy, it’s a vibrant busy place. It’s often portrayed as a warzone but that’s not what this region really looks like. Even where there is civil war and conflict going on, there is also life.”

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Seattle teacher pepper sprayed at MLK Day protest, files claim (video) http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/28/seattle-teacher-pepper-sprayed-mlk-day-protest-files-claim-video/32899 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/28/seattle-teacher-pepper-sprayed-mlk-day-protest-files-claim-video/32899#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:55:20 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=32899 Video captures a Seattle police officer pepper spraying Garfield High School teacher Jesse Hagopian, on the phone at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day protest.

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Seattle teacher and author Jesse Hagopian pepper sprayed at the Black Lives Matter rally on  Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Seattle teacher and author Jesse Hagopian pepper sprayed at the Black Lives Matter rally on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Provided by James Bible via YouTube screen shot.)

Garfield High School teacher and commentator/author Jesse Hagopian filed a $500,000 claim against the city of Seattle on Wednesday, nine days after being pepper sprayed at a “Black Lives Matter” rally on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, according to The Stranger and KIRO TV, and other reports.

The incident occurred on South Lake Union, shortly after Hagopian delivered a speech to the crowd, according to a press release to the news outlets sent by Hagopian’s attorney, James Bible.

Bible told reporters in the statement that Hagopian had been talking to his mother about being picked up for his son’s birthday party when a Seattle police officer deployed the pepper spray, directly hitting him.

A video posted to YouTube shows Hagopian talking on the phone and walking onto the sidewalk near a line of Seattle police officers on bicycles, with one officer yelling, “Get back! Seattle Police Department!” just before using the spray.

The Seattle Police Department declined statements to KIRO TV and The Stranger, but Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released a statement on Wednesday that Seattle was investigating use-of-force incidents during the MLK Day protests.

“Ingrained in my values – and the values of our city – is ensuring that people are able to protest peacefully to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of expression while providing the resources, support and training necessary for our police department to do their jobs and protect the public’s safety at these protests,” the statement read in part.

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New state proposal would still allow undocumented immigrant drivers http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/28/washington-undocumented-immigrant-drivers-license/32609 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/28/washington-undocumented-immigrant-drivers-license/32609#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 01:03:19 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=32609 State lawmakers want to keep questions about citizenship optional for standard Washington driver's licenses and ID cards.

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A driver displays sample passport cards and Washington state enhanced IDs, which are acceptable at the 'Ready Lane' at the border crossing between Washington and British Columbia.

A driver displays sample passport cards and Washington state enhanced IDs, which are acceptable at the ‘Ready Lane’ at the border crossing between Washington and British Columbia. (Photo by U.S. Embassy in Canada, via Flickr.)

State lawmakers are trying to balance new federal regulations on ID cards with Washington’s existing laws that allow undocumented immigrants to access driver’s licenses.

Currently, applicants don’t have to disclose their U.S. citizenship or residency status when applying for a driver’s license or identification card in Washington state.

Under a proposal being considered in the state legislature, the Washington Department of Licensing would keep questions of citizenship optional for standard IDs.

The Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID program requires states to ask for proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency for state-issued identification that would be acceptable for entry into federal buildings. By next year, such IDs could be the only state-issued identification that the Transportation Security Administration accepts for boarding commercial aircraft.

Under Washington state’s proposed plan, U.S. citizens who live in this state would have the option to ask for an enhanced license or identification card compliant with the Department of Homeland Security’s program.

But that type of license would not be a requirement, and those who opt out will get a standard license or identification card. Those cards could not be used as federal identification. The proposal also bars people who don’t live in the state from getting a Washington license.

Our plan maintains the access to driver’s licenses and identification cards to all eligible persons in the state,” Tony Sermonti, Department of Licensing legislative liaison, told state senators this week.

The proposal expands the state’s enhanced license and identification card system. Permanent residents who are not U.S. citizens cannot get an enhanced license, but standard driver’s licenses and identification cards would still be available to them, the Department of Licensing told the Globalist.

Washington, New MexicoCalifornia are the only states that do not require proof of U.S. residency or citizenship for standard driver’s licenses and state identification cards. Seven other states issue limited licenses, according to the National Immigration Law Center. Other states do not issue licenses to people who cannot prove their U.S. resident status.

The National Immigration Law Center says that barring undocumented immigrants from getting licensed reduces road safety and makes law enforcement more difficult. The center also says that laws requiring proof of citizenship or legal residency have prevented some U.S. citizens from getting licenses because many states require more than just a passport.

Under the Washington Department of Licensing’s plan, people who do not provide residency information would have wording similar to “not valid for federal purposes” stamped on the front of their cards, which is required by federal law. Sermonti told lawmakers at a work session this week the DOL will work on that phrasing.

Homeland Security has been phasing in those requirements for entry to federal buildings. The Transportation Security Administration plans to use the REAL ID cards as the only state-issued identification acceptable for commercial air travel, possibly as soon as next year.

People who do not have REAL ID cards would be able to use documents such as a passport or a passport card for those purposes, according to the Homeland Security.

Washington has been one of four states on the Canadian border to offer enhanced driver’s licenses or identification cards. These cards can be used for crossing international borders in the Western Hemisphere. The cards also allow border patrol agents to pull up information about the holder, through a radio frequency identification system.

While permanent residents who are not U.S. citizens will not be eligible for Washington’s enhanced licenses, they can use federal residency documentation or their passports in situations that would require a federal identification, said Department of Licensing spokesman Brad Benfield.

The enhanced licenses and ID cards also will cost an additional $18 over the standard fees, but neither the standard nor enhanced ID will be considered the “default” card in the state, Benfield told the Globalist.

“It’s going to be their choice,” Benfield said.

The Department of Licensing also would need additional funding to expand the enhanced license system, because enhanced licensing has additional steps and is not available at every local DOL office, Benfield said.

Currently, 423,000 people have enhanced driver’s licenses out of approximately 6.5 million driver license in the state — about 6.5 percent, Benfield said, though the DOL expects those numbers to rise as the change in airport security comes on-line.

Washington was granted an extension until Oct. 10 to comply with Homeland Security’s REAL ID program because of the proposed plan, according to the Associated PressMore than 20 states have an extension on implementing the REAL ID law, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

In 2007, the Washington state legislature passed a bill opposing the federal REAL ID mandates.

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Local Gambians turn out in support of coup attempt http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/27/seattle-gambians-coup-gambia-yahya-jammeh/32654 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/27/seattle-gambians-coup-gambia-yahya-jammeh/32654#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:22:31 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=32654 Were U.S. authorities wrong to arrest two immigrants for trying to overthrow the Gambian government?

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Gambian American protestors gather outside the Federal Courthouse on Monday. (Photo by Alex Garland)

Gambian American protestors gather outside the Federal Courthouse on Monday. (Photo by Alex Garland)

A group of 15 Gambian Americans demonstrated in front of the Federal Courthouse in Seattle yesterday in support of 2 men accused of trying to overthrow the government of the tiny West African nation.

Cherno M. Njie, 57 and Papa Faal, both U.S. citizens born in Gambia, have been charged by American authorities for a December attempt to depose Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

But members of Seattle’s Gambian community defended the failed coup attempt. During the protest they spoke out about persecution of gays and lesbians in their home country, and charged that U.S. authorities were siding with a dictator because he had cooperated with a War on Terror rendition program.

“There’s no strategy, no benefit, except for the rendition program, which according to Obama isn’t happening anymore,” said Ousman Ceesay during the protest. “There is no oil in that place. So why not tell him the truth? Gambians are living in poverty, the guy has a multimillion dollar home in Maryland. Come on, put a freeze on his assets.”

Njie and Faal have been charged under the U.S. Neutrality Act, which prohibits American citizens from waging war against foreign governments during peacetime.

Ousman Ceesay, a Gambian American living in Seattle, turned out to show his support for two American citizens charged with trying to overthrow Gambia's dictatorship. (Photo by Alex Garland)

Ousman Ceesay, a Gambian American living in Seattle, turned out to show his support for two American citizens charged with trying to overthrow Gambia’s dictatorship. (Photo by Alex Garland)

Dictator Yahya Jammeh has been president of the nation of 1.8 million, which lines the banks of the Gambia River, ever since he took power in a military coup of his own in 1994.

Though small, the Seattle protest was part of wave of demonstrations held in D.C. and London and elsewhere. Protesters send letters sent to the UN, the EU, and the American and British governments with an extensive list of human rights violations and the grievances from Gambian expatriate communities.

The local protestors sent their own letter to Senator Maria Cantwell where they expressed “grave concerns for continued human rights violations and political oppressions” in Gambia and accused Jammeh’s government of “arresting and torturing people believed to be gay or lesbian, in accordance with a new law which threatens life imprisonment for those guilty of ‘aggravated homosexuality.'”

Protestors likened Gambia to “the North Korea of Africa” and held signs reading “U.S. should stand with democracy, not dictatorship” and “We want freedom for all Gambians.”

“I have family in Gambia and I worry for their safety,” said Ceesay, referencing some of his fellow protesters request to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals back in Gambia, “but you have to stand for something. You can’t live in perpetual fear of one man.”

Gambian protest coup

(Photo by Alex Garland)

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Seattle taught me to ‘eat like I give a damn’ http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/27/portage-bay-cafe-taiwan-organic-food-movement-seattle/29702 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/27/portage-bay-cafe-taiwan-organic-food-movement-seattle/29702#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=29702 With food safety scandals plaguing Asia, the Northwest's zest for organic eating is a welcome change.

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Organic fruit on the breakfast bar at Portage Bay Cafe. (Photo by Irene Lu)

Organic fruit on the breakfast bar at Portage Bay Cafe. (Photo by Irene Lu)

Portage Bay Cafe is one of the best known brunch places in Seattle. As soon as I walked into this organic café for the first time last year, the smell of pancakes and the bowl ablaze with bright red strawberries turned me into a loyal customer.

It didn’t take long to notice the slogan “Eat Like You Give A Damn” on mugs, aprons, and on the top right corner of their menu, right next to the missions of servince local, organic, and sustainable foods.

As an international student from Taiwan, I was surprised by the devotion to organic foods here in Seattle, from the farmers’ markets that pop up around the city each weekend, to the big numbers of organic restaurants with four star Yelp ratings.

Back home in Taiwan I’d grown desensitized to stories about expired meat at local McDonald’spigs that died from disease sent to butcher shops, and even soy sauce made out of human hair.

These kinds of food scandals sprung up shockingly often during my childhood, and they haven’t stopped.

The most recent one broke out during mid-Autumn harvest festival in 2014, when Chinese families spend the full moon giving thanks and eating moon cakes together. The use of cheap gutter oil in Taiwan lead to millions of moon cakes and pineapple cakes going to waste all over East Asia. Gutter oil is a mixture of waste oil and animal byproducts, used by suppliers to save money over standard oil. Many popular brands such as Hong Kong’s largest food corporation Maxim, and China’s largest instant noodle maker Ting Hsin were involved in the scandal.

All these food safety scandals point to a big problem — we don’t give a damn about what we eat. We’d rather buy food that’s cheap than food we know is safe, and unscrupulous merchants exploit that for profit.

Pens in an industrial hog farm. (Photo from EPA)

Pens in an industrial hog farm. (Photo from EPA)

In many developing countries in Asia, having enough food to eat isn’t taken for granted like it is here. Consumers will prioritize quantity over quality, and not think much about health. Concepts like organic, sustainable and local have just started to appear in recent years, and aren’t widespread the way they are in the U.S.

“In order to enforce sustainability, we have to do businesses with conscience,” said Yu-Lung Chuang, the chair of Taiwan Farmers Management Association. “The government can’t just look at the output. They should focus on protecting and taking care of the land, so our generations can live here forever.”

‘Conscience’ is the keyword that everyone in the food businesses should keep in mind — and so should consumers like you and I.

“The concept will continue to develop,” says Jeff Smith, the manager of Portage Bay Cafe. “We have a great number of places now that are catching on. Even some of the cooperative gardens are looking to sell us produce because they’ve gotten their stuff to be grown organically.”

There are plenty of local farms ready to supply conscientious restaurants and diners in Washington, from Uli’s sausages from the Pike Place Market, to Fonte coffee in downtown Seattle, or Full Circle Farms in the Snoqualmie Valley. Cutting out the middle man and long distance shipping not only improves the quality of foods, but also gives us a better connection to our meals and how they’re grown.

“This is a national movement,” says Lucy Norris, the director of the Puget Sound Food Hub, a community network for farmers and businesses that aggregates and distributes local products and promotes sustainable farming in the Pacific Northwest, “It goes beyond farmer’s market.”

Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture announced a $52 million budget to support local and organic farming. Although the organic market remains a very small portion of the entire foods market, it’s growing fast.

Packed tables filled with customers seeking organic, locally sourced brunch. (Photo by Irene Lu)

Packed tables filled with customers seeking organic, locally sourced brunch. (Photo by Irene Lu)

The long lines outside Portage Bay Cafe every morning are a testament to the growing numbers of people in the Northwest who value health over savings. Ting Lee, a fellow international student from Taiwan who is regular customer of the cafe, drools over the signature breakfast bar with seasonal fruits and whipped cream.

“The use of organic foods [does] make me feel safer,” said Lee, “you know, there are a lot of genetically-modified foods in the states,”

She might have been remembering a GMO wheat scare in Eastern Oregon in 2013 that aroused fear as far away as Japan and Korea.

Even if Washington isn’t ready to pass a genetically modified food labeling requirement, here in the Northwest, Norris says, farmers don’t have to try too hard persuade people to buy local, organic foods.

If Asian countries are willing to set higher standards for food and embrace the concept of sustainability, food safety scandals like the ones I experienced growing up could be prevented. Many of these same countries demonstrated their commitment to protecting domestic farmers and agribusiness when they recently banned imports of Washington poultry after a bird-flu scare. Now if only they could take the same strong stance when it came to protecting consumers.

Focusing on short term profits is not only damaging to people’s health, it is also damaging their reputation as food suppliers.

“’Eat like you give a damn.’ It simply means you are aware of what kinds of food you’re putting into your body,” Smith said, “It’s greater than just organics. It’s more of the idea of trying to live in harmony with the environment.“

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ICHS nurse practitioner residency program taking applications http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/26/ichs-residency-nurse-practitioner-program-taking-applications/32589 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/26/ichs-residency-nurse-practitioner-program-taking-applications/32589#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:54:04 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=32589 International Community Health Services (ICHS) Family Nurse Practitioner Residency Program is taking applications through April 1.

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DoQuyen Huynh, DNP-FNP, (right) ICHS ARNP Residency Program Administrator, conducts a briefing on clinical work assignments and issues with program residents (from left) Jean Baumgardner, Kimberly Lee-Cooper, Megan Wilbert, and the program's deputy administrator, Chris Yee, M.D. (Photo courtesy International Community Health Services)

DoQuyen Huynh, DNP-FNP, (right) ICHS ARNP Residency Program Administrator, conducts a briefing on clinical work assignments and issues with program residents (from left) Jean Baumgardner, Kimberly Lee-Cooper, Megan Wilbert, and the program’s deputy administrator, Chris Yee, M.D. (Photo courtesy International Community Health Services)

New graduated nurse practitioners can get experience in a community health setting, through the International Community Health Services (ICHS) Family Nurse Practitioner Residency Program, which is taking applications through April 1.

The program, now in its second year, offers an opportunity for nurse practitioners to serve traditionally underserved populations, said DoQuyen Huynh, ICHS ARNP Residency Program Administrator, in a prepared statement.

“ICHS has a very unique population. We serve many new immigrants, refugees, low-income, and other patients who often fall through the cracks due to health care access barriers,” Huynh said. “Nurse practitioners who want to work with these populations tend to be very passionate about what they do. However, unless they receive training in this kind of setting, they are often overwhelmed with the population complexity, or burn out quickly. What we do is we take their passion to the next level, to better prepare them for a career in community health.”

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who undergo additional training so they can provide primary care to patients. Nurse practitioners have an emphasis on disease prevention and health management, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

ICHS is a nonprofit community health center that offers affordable health care services to Asian and Pacific Islander and other underserved communities. The health center provides culturally appropriate and multilingual care at its medical and dental clinics in the International District, Holly Park, Bellevue and Shoreline.

According to ICHS, nursing practitioner residents will be accepted to a one-year salaried intensive education program, focused on family practice with specialty clinical rotations. The residency is open to recent graduates of accredited nurse practitioner programs in the United States.

More information about the ICHS Family Nurse Practitioner Residency Program and application forms are available at www.ichs.com.

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France’s double standard on free speech http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/26/france-charlie-hebdo-free-speech/32583 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/01/26/france-charlie-hebdo-free-speech/32583#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:42:23 +0000 http://www.seattleglobalist.com/?p=32583 Rallies for free speech in France following the Charlie Hebdo attacks have ironically given way to calls for censorship of anti-Semetism.

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Vigils expressing solidarity widespread immediately following the Charlie Hebdo attacks. But consensus about the limitations of free speech has since fallen apart. (Photo from Flicrk by Valentina Calà)

Vigils expressing solidarity widespread immediately following the Charlie Hebdo attacks. But consensus about the limitations of free speech has since fallen apart. (Photo from Flicrk by Valentina Calà)

As a kid with two passports — one American, and one French — I was taught that both of my home countries share similar values. Freedom of expression is what made both the French and American revolutions so important to history.

But as I grow older, I realize time and again that this is not true.

The honeymoon of unity following the Charlie Hebdo attacks is over.

I stayed silent and cringed as I watched the parade of world leaders lock arms and lead the somber procession along the streets of Paris. In an ugly parody of de Gaulle’s famous post-liberation march down the Champs-Élysées, the leaders and representatives of Russia, Israel, the UAE, Egypt, and Turkey locked arms with the heads of the French Republic. They held their chins high, as if to say:

“We are all Charlie. We are all champions of free speech. There are no journalists languishing in Egypt and Turkey’s dungeons. There were no journalists killed in Gaza or murdered in Russia.”

The leaders of various nations were permitted to pretend for a very brief moment that they had something in common with their people, who have taken to the streets to denounce their very brutality. This was a moment of solidarity in which these leaders did not deserve to partake.

I will not adopt the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” because I disliked the xenophobia of the ill-fated magazine before the atrocity, and I continue to dislike it today.

The author (left, during French bicentennial celebrations in 1989) torn between differing French and American concepts of free speech. (Courtesy photo)

The author (left, during French bicentennial celebrations in 1989) torn between differing French and American concepts of free speech. (Courtesy photo)

The French should not be criticized for adopting the slogan as an act of defiance, because no one should live in fear of murder or persecution for their words or drawings. But I choose not to.

If the principle of fighting for free speech — even offensive or disagreeable speech — is what people fight for, then the leaders of the French Republic have not gotten the memo.

The comedy of the French is that they think they are fundamentally different from one another, that they are not all plagued by hilariously similar hypocrisies, paranoia, racism and double standards.

France is as sectarian as the nations and creeds it so deeply resents. But the French hide their sectarianism behind clever secular arguments:

Anti-Semetic Comedian Dieudonne M’Bala claims that his inverted Nazi salute is not anti-Semitic, but anti-system. Marine Le Pen claims that the religious language of her crusade against Muslim immigrants and Jews is not in defense of a racial hierarchy, but in defense of secularism against Islam. Bernard Henry Levy pretends his insistence that Islamophobia is high art, but that anti-Semitism should be censored, is purely Voltairian. The leaders of the French state claim that a ban on religious iconography in public schools, which targets only Muslims, exists in defense of secular principles.

The hypocrisy of French discourse on free speech is both jarring and underreported. People are routinely arrested for “making apologies for terrorism,” a law which often targets drunks and fools who mouth off at police and are given lengthy prison sentences.

Rallies in support of over 1,000 innocents killed in Gaza were deemed unworthy of free expression when Hollande declared them illegal last summer. In stark contrast, the solidarity rallies for the murdered cartoonists are practically sanctioned by the state. One could argue that the atrocious targeting of synagogues by right wingers during last year’s summer of hatred justified banning peaceful rallies because of their anti-Israeli politic. The problem with this view is that it would also have to apply to the Hebdo solidarity rallies, which occurred in the wake of attacks on French mosques and the firebombing of a Halal restaurant.

Following the Hyper Cacher (“Super Kosher”) murders, Manuel Valls’ deeply hypocritical reaction was to call for the banning of anti-Semitic materials, bringing the Je Suis Charlie argument full circle.

France has laws limiting Holocaust denial, which is, admittedly, one the most disgusting concepts a person can verbalize. But we should retaliate against such ugly lies with words of truth, rather than by limiting the expression of the lies in the first place. This double standard is best exemplified by the fact that members of the French government and political class routinely deny the torture and mass murder of up to a million souls that occurred under France’s shameful tenure as Algeria’s overlord.

In a free country, wouldn’t these two atrocities serve as a point of unity between Jews and Arabs, who are in many ways citizens of the same diaspora and victims of French state terror?

Lassana Bathily, a Muslim employee from Mali who helped Jewish shoppers hide from an islamist gunman during the Hyper Cacher attack. Bathily was rewarded with French citizenship for his heroics. (Photo by Francois Guillot / AFP)

Lassana Bathily, a Muslim employee from Mali who helped Jewish shoppers hide from an islamist gunman during the Hyper Cacher attack. Bathily was rewarded with French citizenship for his heroics. (Photo by Francois Guillot / AFP)

On what it is to be French, the right and left both get it wrong.

The “Hyper Cacher” murderer was not acting out some righteous anger at being dispossessed when he hunted down and murdered Jews the way the Nazis did. The killers were not some threat from the east as the fascists say. Both the Hebdo attackers were raised in foster homes as wards of the French State, with no connection to Islam. They are children of the Republic, literally and figuratively. Whatever hatred and madness they learned, they acquired in France.

The killers were terribly French, as were the victims and the Muslim hero Lassana Bathily, born in Mali, who saved 15 citizens of his new country.

The policeman who died trying to save the French people (who made a living mocking his religion) was likewise a Muslim and a Frenchman. The extremists who know nothing about Islam have attempted to posthumously strip Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet of his religion, and the fascists who know nothing about what it means to be French have tried to rob him of his French identity.

If anyone is a hero of the Voltairian principle of defending everyone’s right to free speech, it is Merabet. If anyone is a hero of the Islamic principle that people of the book and scholars should be protected, it is again Merabet.

Hebdo’s dead are exalted as martyrs to the principal of freedom of expression and creativity — a view that is not unfounded. In stark contrast, anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné M’bala is considered a threat worthy of abandoning that very principal for, as he has just been arrested for a deeply offensive Facebook post. Admittedly, Dieudonné’s material is far more hateful than that of the dead Hebdo journalists, and I will continue to call him an anti-Semite even as I defend his right to speak despicable words.

Are we all Charlie? If so, aren’t we all Dieudonné as well? I choose to not identify myself as Charlie because I do not ever, ever want to be identified with Dieudonné.

As I get older, I learn through experience that French and American values around free speech are strikingly incompatible. I learn that the fight for freedom of expression is not exemplified by a fuzzy feeling of unity, but by making peace with one’s enemies and embracing discord of thought.

Deep down in my gut I want Dieudonné and his creepy sycophants to be censored. However, I also realize that my disgust with his opinion is exactly why he should be free to express himself.

There is an expression that “for every Frenchman there are five opinions.” I would like it to stay that way.

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