Archive for January 5, 2013

https://prospect.org/article/purity-culture-rape-culture Her intestines were removed because the six men used a rusty metal rod during the “rape.” That fact—the rusty metal rod—is what’s haunted me about the violent incident that has outraged India and the world. Six men held a 23-year-old woman and her male friend in a private bus for hours while they assaulted her so brutally that, after several surgeries to repair her insides, she died. What happened to this young woman was a gang assault. It can be called a sexual assault because among other things, they brutalized her vagina. Or it can be called a sexual assault because it was driven by rage at the female sex. Since Susan Brownmiller first wrote Against Our Will—the landmark feminist reconceptualization of rape—feminists have worked on clarifying the fact that rape is less about sex than it is about rage and power. Too many people still conceive of rape as a man’s overwhelming urge to enjoy the body of a woman who has provoked him by being attractive and within reach. As is true in many “traditional” cultures, much of India still imagines that the violation was one against her chastity, as Aswini Anburajan writes at Buzzfeed. But conceiving it as primarily a sexual violation places the burden on women to protect their bodies’ purity. It means that the question that gets asked is this one: Why was she out so late at night, provoking men into rage by being openly female? But seen from a woman’s own point of view, rape is quite different: It’s punishment for daring to exist as an independent being, for one’s own purposes, not for others’ use. Sexual assault is a form of brutalization based, quite simply, on the idea that women have no place in the world except the place that a man assigns them—and that men should be free to patrol women’s lives, threatening them if they dare step into view. It is fully in keeping with bride-burnings, acid attacks, street harassment, and sex-selective abortions that delete women before they are born. I’ve now read a number of commentaries exposing India’s, particularly New Delhi’s, culture of street violence against women. The most memorable, by Sonia Faleiro in The New York Times, talks about the fear that was instilled in her during her 24 years living in Delhi: Read the full report here

http://www.lbcgroup.tv/news/67340/report-israel-to-launch-largest-military-exercise Sources in Israel revealed that 100 warplanes and a number of air weapons will be used in one of the largest air drills on short and long range attacks and defense operations. The Israeli forces did not hide the fact that these drills will include trainings on operations which are similar to those carried out by the NATO in Libya and which led to the toppling of the regime. The Israeli Air Defense anticipated the arrival of officers and pilots from participating countries to carry out drills using a plane named “the Red Plane”. A Mega 29 plane will also be used for long-range targets. Within what Israel is promoting, the drills include coordination and cooperation on operations that might take place in Syria if the decision of striking the chemical weapons warehouses were taken. Sources close to the Mossad said that various meetings were held between Israeli officials and leaders of Syrian rebels in the framework of the Israeli American preparations for a joint military operation in Syria in order to defend the Golan Heights. Read the full report here

http://m.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jan/03/peru-indigenous-people-gas-exploration Peru’s biggest indigenous federation, the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (Aidesep), intends to use the courts to halt the planned $70m (£43m) expansion of the country’s largest natural gas reserve further into territory set aside for isolated Amazon tribes. Aidesep said the plans by Peru’s energy and mines ministry to increase exploration and drilling in Block 88, the largest gasfield leased by the Camisea consortium, risk the existence of nomadic groups living in “voluntary isolation” in the Nahua-Kupakagori indigenous reserve, 23% of which overlaps the gas block in the country’s south-eastern jungle. The expansion within the part of Block 88 has already been approved. It includes 18 new drilling sites and intensive seismic testing. Before Camisea became operational in 2004 – and ever since – indigenous and environmental groups have lobbied international lenders to prohibit further expansion within the reserve. However, Ivan Lanegra, the ministry of culture’s vice-minister for intercultural affairs, said the prohibition applies only to new projects. The Camisea consortium, led by Argentinian oil firm Pluspetrol and including Hunt Oil, a US firm, and Spain’s Repsol, can continue to drill new wells in the part of the gas block that overlaps the reserve, subject to approval by his ministry. Julio Ibanez, a lawyer for Aidesep, which serves as an umbrella group for 67 indigenous federations, said he will file a lawsuit against the Peruvian state in January because it has breached the “inviolability” of the reserve and threatened the “physical and cultural survival” of the “isolated peoples” who live in it. That could lead to their “extermination”, he said. The risks of “unwanted” contact are well-documented. Around 60% of the isolated Nahua people died during a series of epidemics after their first contact with outsiders soon after oil company Shell discovered the gasfields in 1984. Read the full report via UK guardian

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/01/04/the-secrecy-veiling-obamas-drone-war/ It’s rare for a judge to express regret over her own ruling. But that’s what happened Wednesday, when Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York reluctantly ruled that the Obama administration does not need to provide public justification for its deadly drone war. The memos requested by two New York Times reporters and the American Civil Liberties Union, McMahon wrote, “implicate serious issues about the limits on the power of the Executive Branch under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and about whether we are indeed a nation of laws, not of men.” Still, the Freedom of Information Act allows the executive branch to keep many things secret. In this case, McMahon ruled, the administration’s justifications for the killing of select individuals — including American citizens — without so much as a hearing, constitute an internal “deliberative process” by the government that need not be disclosed. McMahon did not hide her disappointment. “The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me,” she wrote, “but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules – a veritable Catch-22.” She explained, “I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.” Read the full report via Reuters