30 Jun 2012
The star of this year’s China Police Expo at the Beijing International Convention Center was a 7.62 mm Gatling machine gun built by the Chongqing Jianshe Industry Group. It can fire anywhere from 2500 to 6000 rounds per minute. To some Chinese netizens, it’s a terrifying icon of public security. “This is a fucking policeman’s machine gun,” writes the blog Fantastic Record. Weibo user WildhouseNEWS asks, “Who are the police going to mow down with this gun? The American imperialists or the Japanese devils? Who are they selling this thing to?”
It’s not clear which foreign police forces put their money on this gun, but netizens suspect it gets plenty of use at home. It looks like China is at war with itself.
29 Jun 2012
WikiLeaks has compiled this CD as a way for people to support us. We have been under and unlawful banking blockade by US institutions, despite the US treasury finding in our favor. Supporters have kindly donated their songs to help us “Beat the Blockade”. - WikiLeaks: Beat the Blockade CD
27 Jun 2012
Nina Rosenwald, (she's the heir to the Sears-Roebuck fortune) has spent about $2.8 million specifically on funding anti-Muslim figures and groups in the last ten years. But this money has gone a long way. And this is similar to a piece I did about another millionaire, named Aubrey Chernick, who spent around the same amount of money funding many of the same figures. And through this coordinated campaign of funding, they have been able to drive the Islamophobia industry and put the anti-Muslim agenda on the front of the American political radar.
Geert Wilders (the far-right Dutch political leader), who is—until recently, really held the key to the Dutch governing coalition, until he pulled out in protest of austerity measures being imposed on the Netherlands by the European Union, which made him sort of populist hero, and who is really the leading Islamophobia in the world—I mean, this is a guy who went on trial for hate speech in his own country for calling Muhammad a pedophile, for calling for burning the—for calling for banning—an unofficial ban on the Quran—was brought to New York City not once but twice by Nina Rosenwald, through her think tank Hudson NYC, which grew out of the Hudson Institute, a major neoconservative think tank which is no longer affiliated with it. And she hosted a fundraiser. According to her website, it cost $10,000 per person to get in. I don't know if this money went to Geert Wilders' legal fees, for his battle against hate speech, if it went into his campaign chest or what, but this is really remarkable. And she's apparently hosting these fundraisers at her apartment in New York City.
She's a major socialite. She's very close to Norman Podhoretz, the neoconservative godfather who is the publisher of Commentary magazine. And she's also close to people like former NSA chief Michael Hayden, who sits on the board of MEMRI with her, a think tank, another anti-Muslim think tank. She's close to a whole host of national security figures.
The white haze that hangs over many major cities could become a familiar sight everywhere if the world decides to try geoengineering to create a cooler planet.
Scientists have long suspected that one oft-discussed geoengineering technique -- shooting tiny sulfate particles into the upper atmosphere to deflect sunlight -- could turn the blue sky white. Nature has already provided a basic proof of concept. When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, spewing tons of sulfate particles in the atmosphere, it temporarily whitened the sky.
Now a new study by researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science attempts to determine just how big the effect from man-made geoengineering would be.
Circumcising young boys on religious grounds causes grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision that the Jewish community said trampled on parents’ religious rights.
The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”, a judgment that is expected to set a legal precedent.
“The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised,” the court added.
A compilation of Christopher Hitchens at his best, speaking primarily on religion and god. Watch and pass on the GOOD NEWS!
25 Jun 2012
In a continuing effort to both curb access to abortion and reiterate their own opinion that there is never any situation where abortion could be necessary for a patient's well-being, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts has decided in favor of revoking Dr. Ann Neuhaus's medical license. Neuhaus, a colleague of Dr. George Tiller, assisted him by providing second opinions for mental health exceptions for late abortions.
According to the Associated Press, Neuhaus was hoping to have her full medical license restored after spending years only allowed to provide limited medical care for charity work. Instead, an ongoing investigation into 11 patient cases obtained by Operation Rescue became the center of a movement to have her license stripped all together.
The cases all involved girls who sought abortions due to mental health issues from depression to suicide, with an age range from 17 years old to as young as 10. The board alleged that Neuhaus's exams were not thorough enough based on the available records provided, and that her follow up care was inadequate, as she did not recommend counseling or hospitalization afterwards.
Neuhaus called the accusations ridiculous. She said she refused to put too much identifying information in the records because she knew that they could eventually end up in the hands of outsiders and violate the patients' privacy. As for abortions not being necessary, Neuhaus found that laughable as well.
24 Jun 2012
Official trailer for the upcoming movie Roadmap to Apartheid. Narrated by Alice Walker.
There are many lessons to draw from the South African experience of Apartheid relevant to conflicts all over the world. Roadmap to Apartheid explores in detail the apartheid comparison as it is used in the enduring Israel-Palestine conflict. As much an historical document of the rise and fall of apartheid, the film shows us why many Palestinians feel they are living in an apartheid system today, and why an increasing number of people around the world agree with them.
For more information go to http://roadmaptoapartheid.org
Several hundred thousand people – 700,000 according to organizers – took part Saturday in the Gay Pride in Berlin under the theme “Knowledge can accept.”
The parade, rich in fantastic costumes, and accompanied by techno music began in the cosmopolitan district of Kreuzberg, north of the German capital, to join in the late afternoon the Brandenburg Gate (downtown) , where DJs and artists were to succeed on stage until midnight.
Social Democratic and gay mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, gave the kickoff of the event which provides an annual opportunity for its participants to demonstrate originality and humor in their disguises. 34th “Christopher Street Day” held in Berlin also draw attention to the plight of homosexuals in Russia, especially with a giant portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, reworked in the style kitsch gay French artists Pierre et Gilles.
23 Jun 2012
Alan Turing, the British mathematical genius and codebreaker born 100 years ago on 23 June, may not have committed suicide, as is widely believed. At a conference in Oxford on Saturday, Turing expert Prof Jack Copeland will question the evidence that was presented at the 1954 inquest. He believes the evidence would not today be accepted as sufficient to establish a suicide verdict.
Indeed, he argues, Turing's death may equally probably have been an accident. What is well known and accepted is that Alan Turing died of cyanide poisoning. His housekeeper famously found the 41-year-old mathematician dead in his bed, with a half-eaten apple on his bedside table.
It is widely said that Turing had been haunted by the story of the poisoned apple in the fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and had resorted to the same desperate measure to end the persecution he was suffering as a result of his homosexuality. But according to Prof Copeland, it was Turing's habit to take an apple at bedtime, and that it was quite usual for him not to finish it; the half-eaten remains found near his body cannot be seen as an indication of a deliberate act. Indeed, the police never tested the apple for the presence of cyanide.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth has another reason to be cheerful in her Diamond Jubilee year - her annual pay is about to jump by 20 percent to 36 million pounds ($56 million).
Her property holdings, known as the Crown Estate, posted a record profit of 240.2 million pounds ($377.4 million), a net rise of 4 percent in the year through March 2012 largely due to strong tenant demand for its shops in the upmarket Regent Street and St James's districts of London.
At a time when Britain is in recession and many families are feeling the pinch of higher household costs and taxes, the Queen's allowance will rise to 36 million pounds from 30 million pounds, the level at which it was frozen in October 2010 under new laws which peg her pay to the estate's profits.
22 Jun 2012
Israeli police detained a woman at the Western Wall plaza after she donned a prayer shawl, Israel Radio reported on Thursday. The woman, from the Women of the Wall organization which campaigns for equal rights at Judaism’s holiest site, was brought in for acting against regulations governing the Westen Wall.
The plaza is administered by the Chief Rabbinate, which prohibits women there from wearing prayer shawls or phylacteries, and reading aloud from the Torah, as a contravention of traditional Jewish norms.
A few dozen members of Women of the Wall began an impromptu prayer and song protest outside the police station where the woman was being held until officers declared the assembly an unlicensed gathering and ordered them to disperse.
The Women of the Wall declared in a statement that the Western Wall is not an ultra-Orthodox synagogue and the Jewish people have “70 ways” — not only one — to express their Judaism at the religion’s holiest place.
21 Jun 2012
Ali Farzat founded in 2001 Syria's first satirical weekly, Ad Domari. In August 2011, he was attacked by Bashar al-Assad's militia who broke his hands. The incident prompted international condemnation of the Assad regime. Farzat was awarded the European parliament Sakharov prize for freedom of thought.
"John Smith" from the UK (a.k.a. YouTuber Sunderb00t) called the show twice last year (during episodes #631 and #634), but still doesn't have much intelligent to say. It isn't clear if this caller actually hears voices, or if he just likes to listen to his own voice, but the hosts have now come to the conclusion that he is mentally ill.
20 Jun 2012
The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has said police are warning him to stay away from the court hearing on his lawsuit against a tax agency, which he accuses of illegally fining his company 15m yuan (£1.5m).
Meanwhile Ai's legal consultant, Liu Xiaoyuan, has been unreachable since he was told to meet state security officers on Tuesday night, according to Ai and one of his employees, Liu Yanping. Liu Xiaoyuan did not answer calls to his mobile phone. Beijing's Chaoyang district court agreed last month to hear the lawsuit from the company that markets Ai's work, a departure from the courts' consistent refusal to give dissidents any hearing.
His supporters say the tax case, due to be heard later on Wednesday, is part of the government's drive to muzzle the outspoken social critic. Despite the court's acceptance of his lawsuit, Ai told Reuters that police called him repeatedly on Tuesday afternoon warning him not to turn up at the courthouse. "'You can never make it. Don't even try,'" Ai, 55, said police told him. He said they gave no reason.
Julian Assange has dramatically sought political asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, days after the supreme court rejected the last of his appeals against extradition to Sweden to face sex crime accusations and after what he called a "declaration of abandonment" by his own government in Australia.
In a move that appears to have surprised even some of his closest supporters, the WikiLeaks founder walked into the country's embassy in Knightsbridge and asked for asylum, citing the UN declaration of human rights. "I can confirm I arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum," Assange said in a statement. "This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito. I am grateful to the Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application."
The audacious bid came less than a week after the supreme court finally rejected his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with accusations of the rape of one woman and sexual assault on another in August 2010, which he denies. Assange and his supporters have argued that his removal to Sweden could be followed by a possible onward extradition to the US on potential espionage charges, saying he is at risk of the death penalty.
The United States and Israel jointly developed the Flame virus, which collected intelligence for a cyber-attack on Iran’s nuclear program. This has been confirmed by a number of Western officials familiar with classified data on the effort.
The CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Israeli military were all involved in developing malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, the officials confirmed. “This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” noted one official, as quoted by The Washington Post. “Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”
Experts say Flame was designed to replicate even on highly secure networks. It allowed its creators to monitor the infected computer, activate microphones and cameras, take screenshots, log keyboard strokes, extract geolocational data from images and send and receive commands via Bluetooth wireless technology.
The virus came to light last month, when Iran detected cyber-attacks on its Oil Ministry and oil export facilities. “The virus penetrated some fields — one of them was the oil sector,” Gholam Reza Jalali, an Iranian military official told the country’s state radio at that time. “Fortunately, we detected and controlled this single incident.”
Some US officials were unsatisfied with the attack. They say it was the result of a unilateral decision by Israel, which failed to consult its American partners on the move.
19 Jun 2012
This is footage from Fullerton California of Fullerton police officers beating and tasering Kelly Thomas to death. Kelly Thomas was a homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia who was beaten by six police officers on suspicion of possessing stolen property. Kelly Thomas was hospitalized at UCI Medical Center where he slipped into a coma and died less than a week after the incident took place. Despite the fact that this event took place last July. Let this be a clear representation that not every police officer is out to serve and protect. A world without police would be a world of complete chaos, but we damn sure do not need people like this holding the power of a police officer.
Several weeks back, Israel was rocked by a night of right-wing race-riots targeting African refugees in Tel Aviv. The thuggery was frightening – refugees were attacked, African-owned businesses and stores were vandalized and a community was forced to hunker down behind closed doors in fear for their lives.
Perhaps more disturbing still was that the riots, which began with an anti-immigrant demonstration, were incited by Israeli politicians representing the increasingly influential hard-right. They fired up the crowd, calling the refugees “infiltrators,” and a “cancer,” and accusing them of violence and rape. It was a classic example of “othering” – eliminationist rhetoric that led directly to action by the xenophobic crowd.
While a small number of people carried out the violence, they represented the views of many Israelis. A poll released this week found that 52 percent of respondents agreed with the characterization of African refugees as “a cancer,” and a third condoned violence against them.
18 Jun 2012
There has been an alarming rise in the number of times governments attempted to censor the internet in last six months, according to a report from Google. Since the search engine last published its bi-annual transparency report, it said it had seen a troubling increase in requests to remove political content. Many of these requests came from western democracies not typically associated with censorship.
It said Spanish regulators asked Google to remove 270 links to blogs and newspaper articles critical of public figures. It did not comply. In Poland, it was asked to remove an article critical of the Polish agency for enterprise development and eight other results that linked to the article. Again, the company did not comply.
Google was asked by Canadian officials to remove a YouTube video of a citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet. It refused.
Thai authorities asked Google to remove 149 YouTube videos for allegedly insulting the monarchy, a violation of Thailand's lèse-majesté law. The company complied with 70% of the requests.
Pakistan asked Google to remove six YouTube videos that satirised its army and senior politicians. Google refused.
UK police asked the company to remove five YouTube accounts for allegedly promoting terrorism. Google agreed. In the US most requests related to alleged harassment of people on YouTube. The authorities asked for 187 pieces to be removed. Google complied with 42% of them.
17 Jun 2012
Some of the best footage ever taken from all over the world. These events are being filmed every day from video cameras and on news channels. From Mexico to USA, to England to Australia to Colombia to South Korea.
In the movie 2012, there is 2 scenes which make a clear reference to the 2012 London Olympics, the first proof is a scene which shows the TV News Broadcast reporting that the London Olympics have been suspended because of a terrorist attack. This scene does not make sense because the movie 2012 is supposed to take place on December 2012 while the London Olympic Games are scheduled for August 2012, which proves that this scene was actually part of the illuminati predictive mind programming on the masses.
It’s all a bit far fetched, but who knows… Truth is stranger than fiction.
16 Jun 2012
Alastair Campbell, a former spin doctor for Tony Blair, claims Rupert Murdoch pressed the Prime Minister over the timing of the war and pledged the support of News International. In the last instalment of his diaries, Mr Campbell discloses that the chairman and CEO of News Corporation made a telephone call warning about the dangers of delaying Britain's involvement.
He writes: ''Both TB [Tony Blair] and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy. Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got.'' The next day, he claims, Mr Blair felt the conversation was "odd, not very clever.'' Mr Murdoch has previously told the Levisohn Inquiry into media ethics that he has "'never asked a prime minister for anything''.
15 Jun 2012
Radio caller nails interviewer and the Queen and royal family - followed by a lady who personifies why this corrupt and nonsensical institution has survived this long.
Judges appointed by Hosni Mubarak have dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament and ruled his former prime minister eligible for the presidential runoff election this weekend - setting the stage for the military and remnants of the old regime to stay in power.
Thursday's politically charged rulings dealt a heavy blow to the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, with one senior member calling the decisions a "full-fledged coup", and the group vowed to rally the public against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak.
The decision by the Supreme Constitutional Court effectively erased the tenuous progress from Egypt's troubled transition in the past year, leaving the country with no parliament and concentrating power even more firmly in the hands of the generals who took over from Mubarak.
Greek far right party Golden Dawn has no plans on gaining international acceptance anytime soon, it seems. According to Helen Smith of the Guardian, party MP Ilias Panagiotaros recently told a rally in Athens:
If Chrysi Avgi [Golden Dawn] gets into parliament [as polls predict], it will carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and it will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place."
The comments came after reports that medical supplies and beds at hospitals are in short supply. Smith reports that the threat earned loud applause. This weekend, Greece is preparing for their second general election this year. The last election in May saw Golden Dawn receive almost 7% of total votes.
13 Jun 2012
Wednesday the 13th of June 35,000 white handkerchiefs will be handed out nearby the football stadium of Kharkov in the spirit of ’Goodbye Racism’. With the handkerchiefs tens of thousands of football fans will wave goodbye to racism during the game Netherlands – Germany. This idea was brought into existence because of the excessive hooligan violence, racism and homophobia in Poland and Ukraine demonstrated in BBC’s ‘Stadium of Hate’.
Goodbye Racism is an initiative of Dutch entrepreneurs Duncan Stutterheim (party organiser id&t) and Jurriaan Bakker (creative agency blend bureaux) in collaboration with Victoria Koblenko (Dutch actress of Ukrainian origin) and Dutch football connoisseur Barbara Barends.
This initiative came into being because of the documentary ‘Stadiums of Hate’ which was broadcasted by the BBC recently. Reporter Chris Rogers travelled to the two countries that are hosting the UEFA cup this year, and what he encountered was shocking: Polish and Ukrainian supporters wearing T-shirts with anti-Semitic slogans who use excessive violence, scoff at football players of colour, beat up supporters of Asian or Indian descent (even though they are supporting the same team) and do the Nazi salute. The police are just observing and feel no need to interfere.
Jose Padilla, a United States citizen, was incarcerated for four years without trial for an alleged 2002 "dirty bomb" plot and has been trying to sue U.S. officials for his mistreatment while detained in a military brig in South Carolina.
Despite Padilla receiving direct support by the ACLU, he has been unsuccessful at attempting to hold accountable those who have been responsible for his horrendous treatment. Padilla's case has come to represent the overall demand by Guantanamo detainees that their cases be objectively considered.
Yesterday, June 11, all cases filed by detainees were rejected by the United States Supreme Court, leaving little doubt as to the path this country is heading toward with its conclusion that American citizen or not, your rights end where the U.S. government says they end, regardless of Constitutional principles or legal review.
Jose Padilla has been dealt legal blow after legal blow; first having Atlanta's 11 Circuit Court of Appeals rule against U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in September 2011, who noted that Padilla had been confined under harsh conditions and had not injured anyone, among other considerations. The majority issued their opinion in vague language that alluded to "an impermissible comparison to sentences imposed in other terrorism cases, and was based in part on inappropriate factors," as well as his suspected Al Qaeda training. (Source)
In January of this year, Padilla was then denied by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virgina as having any right to even file suit for his claims of illegal detention and torture.
12 Jun 2012
British Government proposals for gay marriage would dilute an institution "vastly" important to a healthy society, the Church of England has warned. Responding to a consultation on the issue in England and Wales, the Church said the legislation was "shallow".
Government plans to open marriage to gay couples by 2015 could undermine its status as the state church, it said. The Home Office said religious bodies would not have to conduct gay marriages and that it was considering all views. Gay rights campaigners accused the Church of "scaremongering".
25 year old chinese photographer, di liu has been awarded the 2010 lacoste elysée prize. twelve nominees were selected and given carte blanche to capture and adapt photographically, the codes of the famous lacoste polo shirt, L. 12.12. each of the selected artists were given a scholarship of CHF 3,000 and had three months to undertake and develop three photographs. liu's achievement was announced at the art basel miami beach.
11 Jun 2012
A wave of police raids searching through the homes of opposition figures has been taking place in about 10 different locations in Moscow. Police say they are investigating acts of violence that took place on the eve of President Putin’s inauguration on May 7th.
“The police are doing this not only to crack down ahead of Tuesday’s demo, but also to “calm” opponents and discourage them from taking action by searching them and their homes. We don’t know what will happen subsequently,” said lawyer Vadim Prokhorov.
The raids are just the latest example of how the authorities are cracking down on protest. Last week a bill massively increasing fines for those found guilty of illegal demonstrations or accused of violence during them came into law, and leaders due to lead tomorrow’s march now have to report in to police stations, lessening their effectiveness.
10 Jun 2012
On May 18, 1944, Joseph Stalin deported 218,000 Crimean Tatars to Central Asia. Using personal testimonies, this film tells the story of the Tatars' expulsion from their homeland and their long struggle to return.
It was only in 1989, with the opening up of the Soviet Union, that they were able to come back in large numbers. Most, finding Russians living in their former homes, built shacks in which to live. Today, 300,000 Tatars live in Crimea - 5,000 of them still in shacks. Even those with houses suffer because they only have minority status. Despite this, 150,000 more are still hoping to return home.
London is facing an unprecedented surge in the number of companies offering concierge and other special services to the very wealthy, as new groups of rich émigrés relocate to the UK to escape instability abroad.
Russians have been joined by Indians and continental Europeans among the overseas buyers that have purchased 60% of the prime property available in central London in the past few years, according to estate agents. The growth in foreign purchases appears to be matched by the growth in companies that are willing to do anything for their clients – any time, any place, anywhere.
Alistair Gill, the manager of Mayfair Concierge, which started business last month, said companies such as his were there to open doors, simplify procedures and obtain the unobtainable for those who could afford it. "While times are tough, there are still a lot of people who enjoy a high quality of life – who are cash-rich and time-poor. It's a growth market," he said.
This story about an elderly widow who was hit with a major tax burden because she was married to a woman and not a man is a sad read. The women were together for decades and made a series of great real estate buys, amassing quite a bit of wealth.
Ms. Windsor (the surviving wife) cared for her partner for years through an illness, to which her wife eventually succumbed. Then, because of the Defense of Marriage Act, she was forced to pay enormous sums on her wife’s share of their assets — sums she would not have had to pay if she had been married to a man. Yes, it’s Rich People Things, but it’s still a wildly unfair application of the estate tax. The end of the piece, though, particularly stood out to me:
The Justice Department under President Obama has refused to defend the law, but the Republican majority in the House of Representatives is paying for lawyers to argue that it should be upheld.
(music starts at 2:00) Will and the People are more than just a band. They are a way of life. Living, rehearsing, being together, who are on a journey beyond the realms of conventional popular music. Will and the People have percolated into the gaps of the live music scene in the UK with their own unique sound, honest and fresh...
The band have naturally created their vibrations through a shared vivacity for all types of music... Though they will proudly state their main influence as being Bob Marley and his Wailers, the sound they make is thoroughly theirs, eloquently glistened and scattered with tones from many corners of song world.
9 Jun 2012
In 2005, Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat bought his first video camera. Originally intending to record the birth of his son, Burnat ended up capturing five years of turmoil and non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village under increasing threat from Israeli settlements. Burnat uses his five cameras — each one broken successively during conflicts between villagers and the occupying forces — to document the struggle for Bil’in, as farms are bulldozed, new Israeli homes are built, and protests intensify. “I know they may knock on my door at any moment,” says Burnat, “But I’ll just keep filming. It helps me confront life and survive.”
8 Jun 2012
Jason Bermas interviews Luke Rudkowski outside the Westfield Marriot in Chantilly, Virgina. During the first day of the Bilderberg Meetings, Luke released twelve different confrontation videos including a video that shows Ted Turner talking about reducing the population by two thirds.
7 Jun 2012
Golden Dawn's Ilias Kasidiaris slaps the Communist Party's Liana Kanelli three times in the face during a live broadcast of a morning news show on Antenna TV. Kanelli had stood up to challenge Kasidiaris after he had thrown water at Radical Left Coalition member Rena Dourou, amid a slagging match between the three, who were all elected MPs on May 6. 7 June 2012. Full story on Athens News
Secrecy laws planned for South Africa fundamentally threaten free speech and investigative journalism, and could have a chilling effect on the rest of Africa, a united front of human rights lawyers, newspaper editors and Nobel prize-winning writers have warned in interviews with the Guardian.
The protection of state information bill – dubbed the "secrecy bill" – envisages draconian penalties of up to 25 years in prison for whistleblowers and journalists who possess, leak or publish state secrets. It has been described as the first piece of legislation since the end of apartheid in 1994 to undermine South Africa's democracy.
Opponents of the bill fear that, with South Africa often regarded as a beacon of democracy and freedom on the continent, it could be used as an excuse by repressive African regimes for renewed crackdowns on journalists and activists.
Among those to attack the proposed legislation is JM Coetzee, the Nobel laureate and double Booker prize winner, making a rare public intervention. "The legislation is transparently intended to make life difficult for pesky investigative journalists, and generally to save incompetent or corrupt bureaucrats from being embarrassed," Coetzee, born in Cape Town but now resident in Australia, said in an email. "Its sponsors have very likely been emboldened by the push that has taken place all over the western world since 2001 to erect a wall of secrecy around the more dubious actions of the state, and to make it a crime to breach that wall."
6 Jun 2012
Catholic Cardinal Authorized $20K To Pay Off Paedophile Priests, Then Railed Against ‘Immorality’ Of Gay Marriage
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has led the charge against same-sex marriage, describing gay and lesbian unions as “unjust,” “immoral,” and unnatural. “This is a very violation of what we consider natural law that’s embedded in every man and woman and we’re really worried as Americans that it’s going to be detrimental to the common good,” Dolan said in a radio interview in June, as New York prepared to legalize marriage equality. “[W]e still worry about the detrimental effect upon society, upon culture, and certainly upon our individual churches.”
But church documents showing that Dolan paid off priests who had been accused of sexually abusing minors suggest that the prominent Catholic leader was willing to overlook these very same religious convictions to help colleagues accused of egregious wrong doing. The documents, obtained by the New York Times, also show that Dolan lied to reporters when he initially dismissed news of the payments as “false, preposterous and unjust”:
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee. […] But a document unearthed during bankruptcy proceedings for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and made public by victims’ advocates reveals that the archdiocese did make such payments to multiple accused priests to encourage them to seek dismissal, thereby allowing the church to remove them from the payroll.
5 Jun 2012
Reporter John Sweeney's last investigation into the Church of Scientology resulted in an explosive confrontation with church officials. This time, in a Panorama Special, one of those officials has turned whistleblower to help him reveal the dark secrets of the church, which boasts Hollywood A-listers Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its devotees.
See BBC Panorama website for follow ups
In 1979, Sister Theresa Kane was given a very special task. As president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group for most orders of U.S. Catholic nuns, Kane was asked to deliver four minutes of welcoming remarks, on behalf of American sisters, to the newly elected Pope John Paul II during his first papal visit to the United States.
At a gathering inside the grand church in Washington, D.C., known as the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Kane offered the pope a warm greeting, and then launched into this:
As I share this privileged moment with you, Your Holiness, I urge you to be mindful of the intense suffering and pain which is part of the life of many women in these United States. I call upon you to listen with compassion and to hear the call of women...As women, we have heard the powerful messages of our church addressing the dignity [of] and reverence for all persons. As women, we have pondered these words. Our contemplation leads us to state that the church, in its struggle to be true to its call to reverence and dignity for all persons, must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of the church."
All ministries -- including, of course, the priesthood. Her meaning was not lost on the pope or, it seems, his henchmen in cassocks.
Chief among the new pope's enforcers was Joseph Ratzinger, the bishop from Bavaria, whom, three years later, JPII would appoint to the position of prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine the Faith, an entity once known as the Roman Inquisition. As prefect, Ratzinger soon had his Congregation all but living up to its historical inquisitive reputation as he conducted a jihad against liberal bishops, clerics and nuns in the U.S., and around the world. Today, the former prefect is known as Pope Benedict the XVI, still an enforcer, and one with a long memory.
A mystical child, then a tormented teenager, he studied mathematics half-heartedly. It was only logical that he headed naturally, though initially in an erratic manner, for the mysterious universe of artistic creation.
His slow progression in this field led him to try out many kinds of expression and material, from oil to gouache to ink, from comic strips to canvas, and also bas-relief in stone. However, the hidden logic of events (what sceptical people call luck) led him to focus on three-dimensional volumes, a small sample of which he presents on this website…
4 Jun 2012
Mitt Romney’s senior campaign adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, on Sunday said that social issues important to women, like contraception coverage and abortion rights, were “shiny objects” that were being used to distract voters.
David Plouffe, one of President Barack Obama’s top aides, last week told New York Magazine that Democrats needed to be clear about what a Romney presidency would mean for women’s rights and other social issues. “Potentially abortion will be criminalized,” Plouffe said.”Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.”
British anti-monarchy demonstrators have staged a protest on the banks of the Thames River in London amid what they describe as “the official news blackout on Jubilee protests.”
With the British Queen and her family in the lead barge of a 1000-boat flotilla on the Thames, marking her 60th year on the throne, republican demonstrators have gathered on the banks of the Thames to protest “the hereditary system” in Britain, which they consider as an offence to “all democratic values”.
Reports by the protesters posted on the Twitter profile of the anti-monarchy campaign Republic say “over a thousand protesters” are on Tooley Street which runs past Tower Bridge on the Southwark/Bermondsey side of the Thames.
“We were told the pageant wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny. Now the bill is £3.5m, excluding security,” Republic posted on Twitter. Republic says the British monarchy is offensive to all “democratic values” and “the jubilee represents a celebration of everything we, as republicans, oppose. In the 21st century, the British people should have the right to elect their head of state. It should not be imposed upon us,” said British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.