Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A conservative Saudi cleric was told to stop giving unauthorized edicts after he called for a boycott of a supermarket chain that employs women as cashiers, the office of the kingdom's most senior religious leader said Thursday.
The move is the first public reprimand of a prominent cleric following a royal decree that limits the issuance of fatwas to the country's most senior group of clerics. Fatwas are religious edicts that provide guidance in matters of everyday life to pious Muslims.
Sheik Youssef al-Ahmed had urged people not to shop at Panda Supermarket because women there work in jobs that allow for the mingling of the sexes, which the cleric said was a violation of Islamic law.
Saudi media reported that al-Ahmed's fatwa forced the supermarket management to reassign 11 of its women employees to other positions on Wednesday. The chain could not be reached for comment.
Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al Sheik's office said Thursday he had summoned al-Ahmed and ordered the cleric to refrain from issuing unauthorized fatwas.
The office said it "received a pledge from al-Ahmed not to issue any fatwas" without approval.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
TAIJI, Japan – As children in inner tubes bob on the calm waters of this small ocean cove, a 550-pound (250-kilogram) dolphin zips through the crowd in pursuit of raw squid tossed out by a trainer.
Niru, a Risso's dolphin caught locally, seems unbothered by all the people and the squeals of surprise and delight. The cove is packed — it's a bright summer Sunday and hundreds of families have come.
But in two weeks, the waters of the cove will turn blood red, as it becomes a holding pen for annual hunts that capture and kill hundreds of dolphins each year.
The ancient village of Taiji, portrayed in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove," has a long and complex relationship with the dolphin. The film portrays the dolphin hunts as a sinister secret, cruel and dangerous because the animals have high mercury levels.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
While President Barack Obama pressures Palestinians to re-engage in direct peace talks, and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu loftily counsels President Mahmoud Abbas not to miss the opportunity, recent demolitions within the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel continue unabated and unaddressed.
According to OCHA, July and August have marked the highest number of demolitions this year. As of the end of July, OCHA reports Israeli forces have destroyed over 230 structures effectively displacing and/or affecting over 1100 Palestinians, including 400 children since the beginning of 2010. Over 50% of said destruction has taken place in July alone. OCHA further comments that the Israeli Civil Administration will be stepping up demolitions in the West Bank per orders by the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
In the Jordan Valley, Israeli forces have demolished the village of al Farisyia twice within the span of 10 days; first on July 19th and again on August 5th. These have resulted in the destruction of 116 structures and the displacement of 129 people, 63 of whom are children. In the second round of demolitions, 10 structures not previously harmed were demolished along with 27 structures and materials provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Israel has flagrantly disavowed its peace rhetoric by issuing additional demolition orders to be meted out on August 15th & 16th.
Moreover, Israeli authorities are proving complicit in vigilante activity among Jewish settlers in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. In the early morning hours of July 29th Jewish settlers stormed the Kirrech house, home to 9 Palestinian families, without sanction. Of these families, only one has been allowed restitution to their home by court order. The other eight families continue to be displaced while waiting for their case to be tried in court.
While UN bodies have condemned these demolitions, absent actionable measures, the condemnations alone fall short of the United Nations' obligations to maintain peace and security and to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Under international law the State is obliged to prevent, investigate, and provide remedy, and when it fails to do so the international community becomes responsible for providing victims with effective protection. Violence by non-state actors (settlers) should not be seen merely as provocative actions; but as part of an overarching policy backed by State authority. By stopping at rhetoric, the United Nations, States, and international organizations fail to adequately respond to Israel’s human rights abuses that both fuel the humanitarian crisis and undermine the peace process.
In fact, even if Netanyahu’s recent statements were to be considered sincere, Israel's actions are a flagrant rejection of the peace process and its underlying documents including the Oslo Accords which reserve settlements as a final status issue and the Road Map which outright prohibits settlement expansion.
Under the cover of its calls for the resumption for peace talks, Israel is also infringing on the rights of its own Palestinian citizens. Israeli forces have demolished Al Araqib, a Bedouin village in the Negev, 4 times from July 27th to August 17th, displacing 300 Palestinian citizens of Israel at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan forcing them to endure a recent heat wave living in the open air atop their cemetery. According to MK Talab al-Sana, "This is a test for democracy in Israel; and democracy is failing. Al Araqib is a test of how much Israelis can live in peace with their own Palestinian citizens; so, how can [Israel] live in peace with Palestinians [within Palestine]."
Demolitions and the denial of basic human rights, such as shelter, are features of Israel’s apartheid regime and are indicative of the root causes of the ongoing humanitarian crises in the OPT. At best, Israel's recent demolitions can be considered attempts at colonization, at worst they can be interpreted as ethnic cleansing.
Taking these actions into account, one cannot help but be confused by the good faith underpinning the most recent calls for peace' talks. We call upon States, UN bodies, international organizations, and the international community at large to reconcile peace talks with humanitarian and human rights law in an effort to create an environment where peace may actually be sought instead of paying lip service to peace in the shadow of demolitions and displacement.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin among the scheduled speakers, will take place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech there.
The conservative talk show host announced in November that he wanted to reveal a "100 year plan for America" at the Lincoln Memorial. More recently, he said that the purpose of his Aug. 28 event is to restore the country's "values" and to pay tribute to military families.
"There will be absolutely no politics involved," he said. "This rally will honor the troops, unite the American people under the principles of integrity and truth, and make a pledge to restore honor within ourselves and our country."
Civil rights leaders have denounced Beck's plans, questioning his motives for choosing the date and place, which they said are historically symbolic of the country's civil rights movement.
Responding to the criticism on his show June 28, Beck said he believes it was "divine providence" that the rally was scheduled on the anniversary of the King speech. He said he had initially planned the event for Sept. 12 and then realized it was a Sunday. "I'm not going to ask anyone to work on the Sabbath," he said. He rescheduled the rally for Aug. 28 because it was the best day for the schedules of the people involved, he said.
"It was not my intention to select 8-28 because of the Martin Luther King tie. It is the day he made that speech. I had no idea until I announced it and I walked offstage and my researchers said, New York Times has already just published that this is [the same day as the King speech] -- and I said, 'Oh, jeez.' "
Monday, August 16, 2010
I would like to bring your close attention to a recent case of land grabbing has happened here in Cambodia. Today, Monday 16th August, Mu Sochua took part in a Press Conference organized in the context of a recent land dispute case (in Kompong Thom Province). Local representative, Lem Nath, has been physically abused and thrown into prison for stepping up in the case of local land grabbing. As Mu Sochua declared, “the Press Conference was held to shine the light on the illegal way she was arrested and the misuse of police power and court illegal mishandling of the case. [Further], the purpose is to educate the public about the law and the false practices by the court.”
Please read for full details on Mu Sochua's blog:
This case of human rights violation is one of many happening every day here in Cambodia. We are raising awareness about this terrible case. Please forward on this information in Cambodia and abroad.
We are raising funds for Lem Nath’s legal fees. If you would like to donate to her case, please follow this link (http://sochua.wordpress.com/donate/) to donate to Strey Khmer, our organization which arranged the press conference and handles the donations.
Also, do not hesitate to contact us for any further information.
The UK supplies Israel with a steady stream of arms on a ‘case-by-case basis’, although none of them are supposed to be used inside the Occupied Territories. In practice there is no way of knowing what Israel does with the kit it buys, so British companies are restricted from selling things, including fighter parts and missile systems, that have been used in the Occupied Territories in the past. But under the current rules the US can still tranship this kind of hardware to Israel through the UK.
‘The UK government is keen to maintain good relations with the US defence industry so they leave it to the exporter to decide what is to be transhipped,’ Ian Prichard from the Campaign against the Arms Trade told me. ‘Since Israel is not one of the blacklisted nations for arms exports, apart from Category A and B goods which are very few, if the US considers it is OK to export something to Israel then it is OK for us.’
Category A goods include cluster munitions and equipment designed for execution and torture; Category B includes most small arms, long range missiles and unmanned air vehicles. All other military equipment is Category C, which means the US can still export to Israel the weapons that have wreaked most of the destruction in the Occupied Territories in past conflicts.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Circulating the internet, TEA PARTY COMICS. A blatant rip of many of America's beloved superheroes taking on a supervillian, President Barack Obama.
In what could be a sign of what is brewing in the conservative movement is a potentially damaging comic book that depicts the president in blackface.
The author of the comic is unknown, but the gripes that the comics present are the same talking points generated by talk radio, Fox News and conservative blogs.
A number of tea party leaders disavowed the comic books last week, claiming that they're an obvious plant by tea party opponents.
Tom Kalb and His Amazingly Racist Tea Party Comics by Dan LinehanAn extremely racist "underground conservative comic" has began making the rounds online after an excited Tea Party member in Corpus Christie apparently sold it to a blog, Comics with Problems, who promptly scanned it in and posted it online for the world to see.
For some time now, the origins of the comic have been indeterminate. No one seemed to want to take credit for the extremely racist series, and Comics with Problems is still describing the underground comic as, "artist and organization unknown, presumably year 2009-2010, each issue forty pages."
What we have known however, was that the creator of the series seemed to have quite an extensive knowledge of comic book history. Many of the illustrations were penned to directly parody classic Superman, Spider-Man, and even DuckTales comic book covers.
After doing some research on eBay, it turns out the comics seem to all be coming from precisely one source: Tom Kalb, the middle-aged owner of a small, strip-mall comic book store named Caveman Comics and Books, in Mesa, AZ. Mr. Kalb had been been producing and distributing the Tea Party Comix series as "underground conservative comics" on his eBay store throughout the last month.
Here are a couple screenshots from the (now expired) auction that Tom was running. He was advertising that he still has "more than 10" first print editions of the comic series available, even after he had made nine first edition sales throughout the month. I wonder how someone would obtain more than twenty first run sets. Mysterious.
Click for full-size images.
Of course, it makes perfect sense that the series was produced by a comic store owner due to the satirical nature of many of the illustrations.
It remains to be seen whether Tom Kalb is really as racist as his Tea Party Comix make him seem to be, or if the series is actually a form of advanced satire aimed at conservatives in general and the Tea Party movement specifically.
While many people are saying that the comics must have been made to mock the Tea Party, mainly based on the logic that no one in their right mind would ever release anything so blatantly racist without it being satirical, I'm not entirely convinced. Judging from Tom's alternating use of uppercase and lowercase sentences on his eBay store, all the wingnut whargarbl indicators are present and accounted for:
I WILL BE ON VACATION STARTING SUNDAY NIGHT, MAY 23rd. The store will be CLOSED for about 5 days (M-F). On MONDAY (the 23rd) I will fill all orders placed and paid for by Monday morning. The store will NOT be accessible for FIVE days, but I will still take emails and payments (for older orders). I WILL NOT BE GOING TO THE POST OFFICE BETWEEN TUESDAY AND FRIDAY!! ...IF YOU HAVE AN OUTSTANDING ORDER OR THERE IS SOME OTHER PROBLEM, DO NOT GO NUTS WITH FEAR! I'm still here. I have not run off to Mexico with your $22.50... THANKS! .................................................................Then again, it is eBay. (A++++++ TOP SELLER!!)
Beyond the grammatical issues, there are also quite a few concepts mentioned in the comics that probably wouldn't make much sense to someone unless they were following right wing politics fairly closely: accusations of free abortions, depictions of Obama printing massive amounts of fiat money, showing the President missing his birth certificate. The comic even goes so far as to engage in some good, ol' fashioned vaccination fear-mongering. These don't seem like issues someone non-partisan would know or care about, but they are right in line with the fears of many right wingers.
If any readers happen to be in Mesa, Arizona, feel free to check out Caveman Comics & Books and see if Tom is still carrying any more first editions of the Tea Party Comix. And while you're there, ask him whether he is really a Tea Party member; we're dying to know.
Caveman Comics & Books
500 West Southern Avenue, Suite 32
Mesa, AZ 85210
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) About 30 Pingpu tribespeople gathered in front of the Presidential Office on the United Nations' International Day of the World's Indigenous People Monday, calling on President Ma Ying-jeou to recognize Pingpu people as aboriginals.
Escorted by police officers, 10 of the protesters entered the Presidential Office to deliver a petition to President Ma Ying-jeou after participating in an ancestor worship ceremony at Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the presidential building.
Historian Lin Sheng-yi, who heads the Ketagalan of Taiwan Indigenous Culture Alliance, said that in addition to petitioning for official recognition of the tribes, they also demanded the restoration of a 4,400-year-old Ketagalan historical site in Gongliao in Taipei County and an investigation into the destruction of the site.
Ketagalan are a Taiwanese aboriginal tribe originating in what is now the Taipei Basin.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
But the real reason, apparently, is that the government was concerned that granting compensation might 'open the floodgates' and cause other victims to come forward. Well, we can't have that now, can we? It might make the police look bad! It might cost money which could be spent on tax cuts for the rich! So instead, the government has to deny justice - and reality.
With this decision, National has shown that it does not care about women, and it does not care about justice. Neither attitude is acceptable from our government."
Several professional organizations and activist groups made up of medical and mental health practitioners have condemned the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere in the so-called war on terror. In particular, they have denounced the idea that members of their professions should play any role in that treatment. But as Metzner and Fellner point out, there has been “scant professional or academic attention to the unique ethics-related quandary of physicians and other health-care professionals when prisons isolate inmates with mental illness.” This despite the fact that for some prisoners, “isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture.”"
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
MEMO, August 9, 2010
The female Palestinian prisoners of Al-Damon prison have called on the International Red Cross to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to close the "the worst jail ever," as they "experience tragic conditions in Al-Damon."
In a statement issued by the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) on Sunday August 8, it stressed that the circumstances and conditions faced by detainees in Israeli prisons and detention centres are "very difficult", particularly in light of the abusive policies exercised by the prison services "keeping Al-Damon prisoners in a small department that is cold in the winter, hot in summer, and full of insects."
The PPC drew attention to the policy of "medical neglect" being applied by the Israeli prisons authorities against Palestinian prisoners of both genders. The statement claimed that authorities prevent external doctors from coming into prisons to treat prisoners. Al-Damon contains a large number of those who suffer from acute and chronic illnesses such as joint pain, acute shortness of breath, toothache, allergies, tonsil infections, acute weight loss, and other chronic diseases "which require surgery or specialists counselling."
The captive women’s movement in Al-Damon renewed its invitation to the Red Cross to visit the prison and witness the physical and psychological condition the female prisoners are forced to live in under the tightening policies imposed on them by the Occupation Authorities.
Monday, August 09, 2010
[wsws.org] The visit by MSNBC news program host Rachel Maddow to Afghanistan in early July was as revealing as it was repugnant. Maddow is a principal voice of the liberal-left in the American media mainstream. When her program first aired in September 2008, the press made much of the fact that the she was the first “openly gay anchor” to host a prime-time news program in the US.
Maddow spent several days in Afghanistan this month, interviewing American officers and soldiers, touring Kandahar and Kabul, discussing counter-insurgency strategy and the overall state of the US military occupation. Whatever misgivings she might have about the ultimate fate of the American and allied effort in Afghanistan, Maddow solidarized herself fully with the occupation and the US military, endorsing the bloody suppression of the insurgency.
In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, there were those in the US and elsewhere who were deceived into thinking that the American invasion of Afghanistan had something to do with bringing terrorists and their Taliban sponsors to justice. Nine years of the conflict—with the location and fate of Osama bin Laden largely dropped and the number of Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan calculated, by US officials, to be between 50 and 100—have clarified the issues.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Huffington Post Article: The White American Media Attack First Lady Michelle Obama Because She Is A Black Woman. | GayBlackCanadianman
People, what are your thoughts on First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to Spain? Please feel free to express your opinion. Don't be afraid.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Detroit -- A murder suspect at the center of a botched police raid claims authorities tricked him into signing a confession by taking advantage of his grief over the death of a 7-year-old girl, who was killed when officers stormed her home.
A lawyer for Chauncey Owens, 34, has filed a motion asking a judge to throw out the confession and prohibit Wayne County prosecutors from using the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones against him by forging a link in front of a jury between the fatal police action and allegations that Owens murdered a 17-year-old high school student.
"The story of Aiyana Stanley-Jones is an unrelated incident and has nothing to do with the facts of this case," Owens' lawyer, Pamella Szydlak, wrote in court documents. "Media coverage has made it seem they are one in the same. Defense is fearful that the prosecution will follow the same path."
Owens is in the Wayne County Jail charged with the May 14 slaying of Jerean Blake. Witnesses have testified that Owens picked a fight with Blake in the parking lot of a Mack Avenue convenience store and minutes later returned with friends and a handgun to shoot the youth.
Two days later, Aiyana was killed by a police bullet after officers threw in a stun grenade and burst through the front door of her home in the middle of the night. She had been sleeping on a sofa next to the front door. Officers arrested Owens without incident when they simultaneously raided an upstairs flat in the same building; Aiyana's family lived downstairs.
Witnesses have testified that Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, was among those who accompanied Owens at the time of Blake's shooting. Charles Jones hasn't been charged.
According to motions filed with Wayne Circuit Judge Richard Skutt, Owens was taken into custody wearing nothing but boxer shorts. He was drunk and under the influence of drugs and desperate to learn the condition of the girl, who was the niece of his fiancee.
Five African-Americans killed in knife attacks; 7 other assaults appear to be linked
Doug Guthrie and Micki Steele / The Detroit News
Flint Police are searching for a man they believe has slain five and attacked seven slightly built or vulnerable African-American men in three months, with no apparent reason other than to kill.
"He's killed five people," Flint Police Sgt. J. Leigh Golden said Thursday. "He's just killing them, not robbing them."
Police warn that the serial killer appears to be targeting smaller-framed or otherwise vulnerable victims.
The latest victim was Arnold Minor, 49, stabbed to death early Monday on the city's south side, near Saginaw Street, where several of the assaults have occurred.
On Sunday, Minor and his sister, Stephanie Ward of Flint, had dinner at their brother's home on the north side, and later visited their mother who lives nearby.
Ward said Minor decided to stay late and sat and talked with other family members in the warm night air. Ward said she last saw her brother around 11 p.m. when she left her mother's and drove home to the south side of Flint.
Minor realized too late that city buses had stopped running, so he began the 10-mile southward journey home about 1:30 a.m. on foot, his sister said.
"When they found him, he wasn't far from home," Ward said. "He bled to death on the street. You don't know what goes through somebody's mind to do something like that."
Police believe at least 10 stabbings in the city since mid-May are the work of one man, whom they would only describe as white with light-colored hair who stands a muscular 6 feet tall or more.
Michigan State Police are coordinating an investigation of three more knife assaults in nearby Burton, Genesee Township and Flint Township that are believed to be linked.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Last fall, the CRCC received $600,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, and hired 11 additional staff members."
"Here's a horrifying story from the Los Angeles Times about South-Central LA in 1984-1994 (recently renamed South LA to shed some memories):
Multiple killers, more than 100 victims
By Scott Gold and Andrew Blankstein
During a 10-year period beginning in 1984, several serial killers operated in South Los Angeles, all of them targeting young, poor, African American women."
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant, faces up to 16 years in prison. His crime? He videotaped his March encounter with a state trooper who pulled him over for speeding on a motorcycle. Then Graber put the video - which could put the officer in a bad light - up on YouTube.
It doesn't sound like much. But Graber is not the only person being slapped down by the long arm of the law for the simple act of videotaping the police in a public place. Prosecutors across the U.S. claim the videotaping violates wiretap laws - a stretch, to put it mildly.
These days, it's not hard to see why police are wary of being filmed. In 1991, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) beating of Rodney King was captured on video by a private citizen. It was shown repeatedly on television and caused a national uproar. As a result, four LAPD officers were put on trial, and when they were not convicted, riots broke out, leaving more than 50 people dead and thousands injured (two officers were later convicted on federal civil rights charges). (See TIME's special: "15 Years After Rodney King.")
More recently, a New York Police Department officer was thrown off the force - and convicted of filing a false report - because of a video of his actions at a bicycle rally in Times Square. The officer can plainly be seen going up to a man on a bike and shoving him to the ground. The officer claimed the cyclist was trying to collide with him, and in the past, it might have been hard to disprove the police account. But this time there was an amateur video of the encounter - which quickly became an Internet sensation, viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube alone. (Read about the hidden side of the NYPD.)
In the Graber case, the trooper also apparently had reason to want to keep his actions off the Internet. He cut Graber off in an unmarked vehicle, approached Graber in plain clothes and yelled while brandishing a gun before identifying himself as a trooper.
Back when King was beaten, it was unusual for bystanders to have video cameras. But today, everyone is a moviemaker. Lots of people carry video cameras in their pockets, on iPhones, BlackBerrys and even their MP3 players. They also have an easy distribution system: the Internet. A video can get millions of viewers worldwide if it goes viral, bouncing from blog to blog, e-mail to e-mail, and Facebook friend to Facebook friend. (See photos from inside Facebook's headquarters.)
No wonder, then, that civil rights groups have embraced amateur videos. Last year, the NAACP announced an initiative in which it encouraged ordinary citizens to tape police misconduct with their cell phones and send the videos to the group's website, www.naacp.org.
Law enforcement is fighting back. In the case of Graber - a young husband and father who had never been arrested - the police searched his residence and seized computers. Graber spent 26 hours in jail even before facing the wiretapping charges that could conceivably put him away for 16 years. (It is hard to believe he will actually get anything like that, however. One point on his side: the Maryland attorney general's office recently gave its opinion that a court would likely find that the wiretap law does not apply to traffic stops.)