Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

PN

Land Destroyer

Image: The US now openly supports chaos on the streets of Hong Kong, this
after condemning “occupy” protests in Bangkok earlier this year. The
difference being in Thailand, protests sought to oust a US proxy, Hong Kong
protests seek to put one into power. 

September 30, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – The “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong continue on – destabilizing the small southern Chinese island famous as an international hub for corporate-financier interests, and before that, the colonial ambitions of the British Empire. Those interests have been conspiring for years to peel the island away from Beijing after it was begrudgingly returned to China in the late 1990’s, and use it as a springboard to further destabilize mainland China.

Behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests, which masquerade as a “pro-democracy” movement seeking “universal suffrage” and “full democracy,” is a deep and insidious…

View original post 1,706 more words

Whoever came up with the list of items in schedule six of the Queensland government’s G20 (Safety and Security) Act has a heck of a criminal imagination.

They contemplated and then explicitly prohibited in legislation a most extensive list of threats from which world leaders and finance ministers must be protected during their brief visit to the Sunshine State.

Continue to full report

PN

nsnbc international
Aug 5, 2014

TCP : British Baroness and cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi resigned from her position Tuesday morning, protesting the British government’s Gaza policy regarding the conflict between Israel and Gaza.

“With deep regret, I have this morning written to the Prime Minister (and) tendered my registration. I can no longer support Govt, policy on #Gaza”, wrote Warsi on her official Twitter account.

Warsi_UK“Can people stop trying to justify the killing of children? Whatever our policies there can never be justification”, surly only regret #Gaza” Warsi added, on her Twitter account, criticizing Israel’s actions in Gaza.

British Labour leader Ed Miliband on his official Twitter feed seconded Warsi, posting ” I think Baroness Warsi has acted with principle and integrity. People around Britain have been shocked by the suffering we have seen i Gaza”.

On 4 September 2012 Warsi was appointed as Senior Minister of State for Foreign…

View original post 233 more words

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين

Free press advocates advise newspaper to ignore such censorship, but incident raises larger questions in debate over coverage of ongoing conflict

AUDIO: The Myth of a Free Press

Following its reporting of the latest events in the Gaza Strip on Friday, including available details about an IDF soldier captured by Hamas soldiers early in the day, the New York Times was contacted by Israel’s military censor and told that future reporting related to the capture would need to be run through its office before publication.

The Times updated their original story by adding:

“…the military’s censor informed The New York Times that further information related to the soldier would have to be submitted for prior review. Journalists for foreign news organizations must agree in writing to the military censorship system to work in Israel. This was the first censorship notification The Times had received in more than two years.

View original post 984 more words

Ben Tavener

Anadolu Agency

RIO DE JANEIRO – Police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets at anti-World Cup protesters who clashed violently with riot police at a rally near the Maracanã stadium in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, as the tournament final between Germany and Argentina was about to kick off.

As well as voicing anger over World Cup spending by the government, protesters also demanded an end to what they see as police repression and denounced the preemptive arrests of 37 protesters ahead of the rally.

The rally was held 1.2km from the stadium, and a mixture of military, riot and mounted police forces heavily outnumbered the 300 protesters present, some of whom identified themselves as from the anarchic “Black Bloc” movement.

View original post 350 more words

Silent War Journal

Source: Relief Web

Bangladesh said Thursday it has barred official marriages between its nationals and Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya refugees, whom it claims are attempting to wed to gain citizenship.

Law minister Syed Anisul Haque said he has ordered marriage registrars not to officiate any unions between Bangladeshi nationals and Rohingyas and also between Rohingyas themselves, thousands of whom have fled to Bangladesh.

He said Rohingyas try to use the resulting wedding certificate to gain Bangladeshi passports and other documents, while Rohingyas who marry Bangladeshis could automatically qualify for citizenship.

“By registering their marriage in Bangladesh they try to prove that they’re Bangladeshi citizens,” he told AFP.

“We’ve told the marriage registers not to list any marriage of Rohingyas and also between a Rohingya and a Bangladeshi citizen in Bangladesh.”

Law ministry spokesman Abdullah Al Shahin said marriage registrars have been warned of punitive action if they officiate any such marriages.

View original post 130 more words

Dandelion Salad

Dandelion Salad

with Noam Chomsky

Prof. Noam Chomsky Image by Nuclear Age Peace Foundation via Flickr

ZKM | Karlsruhe Jun 5, 2014

May 30, 2014

Social critic and peace activist Noam Chomsky is the most cited public intellectual of today.

His works in linguistics, philosophy and cognitive science have earned him the title the “father of modern linguistics”. His critical publications on mass media, politics and globalization have put him on the forefront of civil activism starting as anti-war activist in the 1960s and now as supporter of the Occupy movement.

View original post 67 more words

Tibet, Activism And Information

Image:news.cn

What does the British ‘Foreign Office’ (the equivalent of the State Department) say about China’s policy of forced sterilizations? Well usually absolutely nothing, a tradition followed by its sister organization the ‘Department For International Development’. However there were raised hopes on the release of its 2014 Human Rights and Democracy Report which mentioned at least the issue. Yet before rushing off those congratulatory emails best to closely read what the English Mandarins decided to say on the matter:

“There were continued reports of illegal coercive implementation of family planning policies, including forced abortions and sterilisations.” (Emphasis Added) SOURCE

Well of course absolutely nothing to do with those nice folks at China’s regime, just the criminal excesses of a few over-zealous birth-control officials. right? Wrong! The British authorities know very well that the atrocities arising from China’s population control program are centrally engineered, resourced, endorsed and administered by the…

View original post 136 more words

CounterPsyOps

9 juin 2014 – Police locked Sao Paolo metro stations and fired tear gas at protesters as a metro-driver strike paralysed the country, sparking hundreds of miles of traffic jams in major cites presently making final preparations for the World Cup. Over the past year hundreds of thousands took part in massive social unrest at corruption and high prices.

View original post

PN

Syrian Girl
May 13, 2014

Rebels have cut off the water supply to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, now for the tenth day , people are drinking from dirty inner city streams with makeshift water pumps. abu Ayman an Emir of Jabhat AL Nusra AKA AlQaeda working with the “Islamic Front” formely the FSA, shut down main pumps at Slieman Halabi station. cutting off the water from western aleppo which is under the Syrian Army’s control”, apperantly they accidently cut off the water to their own areas too. I point out that the human rights organisations are ignoring this, the media is either ignoring it or lying about it.

View original post

AUSPalestine

February 2014: Corporate Watch’s new briefing exposes how the Israeli economy profits from the siege of health services in Gaza and highlights calls from Palestinian health workers to boycott Israeli pharmaceutical companies.

Besieging health services in Gaza: a profitable business

besieging_health_coverOverview

The Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip prevents the proper functioning of Palestinian health services and the effective treatment of sick patients. At the same time the Israeli economy, and particularly Israeli pharmaceutical and transport companies, benefit from the captive market provided by a population living under occupation.

In summary, the interviews below show that the Israeli siege is detrimental to health services in Gaza in the following ways:

  • Health services, health workers and their patients are subject to direct military attacks.
  • Health services have a shortage of medicines, fuel, medical equipment and spare parts as a result of the siege.
  • Sick patients are often prevented from travelling outside…

View original post 6,723 more words

2012 The Awakening

I have put this document together to assist others and is based on my own personal experience and research.

REMEMBER;

YOU ARE STANDING WITHIN YOU RIGHTS UNDER COMMON LAW. NO DEAD CORPORATION HAS ANY AUTHORITY OVER YOU UNLESS YOU GIVE IT CONSENT TO STAND OVER YOU.

My approach in this is based on the OPPT UCC filings that were effective on 25 December 2012. I chose this approach as my research on this action resonated with me as being the most logical remedy that is available to anyone and is the most user-friendly method of lawful remedy against the current unlawful corporate system.

My experience only covers consumer lending products as I have never had, or will have a mortgage. From the experience of others, the battle over land holding is vastly more complex as ultimately you are fighting the Crown that allegedly owns the land.

The information below is…

View original post 1,907 more words

PN

by Terry Wilson
Canadian Awareness Network
Apr 24, 2014

In recent weeks I have seen articles and memes floating around on social media stating that the Harper government is attempting to sabotage or destroy the publicly funded Canadian health care system.

Leadnow.ca has a petition with nearly 50,000 signatures titled: Tell Prime Minister Harper: Don’t Sabotage Our Public Health Care. The petition states:

“Today, the Harper Conservatives had their first chance to make major changes to Canada’s health care since getting a majority government, and they launched a brutal sneak attack. They just sabotaged the Health Accord that protects equal care for all Canadians, and they’re cutting your public health funding by $36 billion over the next 10 years.1 2 It’s the start of Harper’s long-term plan to destroy our public health care system, and we have to stop it. The Canada Health Accord is the deal between the federal…

View original post 397 more words

Dandelion Salad

Dandelion Salad

by Greg Butterfield
www.workers.org
April 25, 2014

April 25 — Pushed and prodded by U.S. officials, the far-right coup regime in Kiev is now in the twelfth day of an on-again, off-again military offensive against the rebellious working-class cities of southeastern Ukraine.

The so-called “anti-terrorist campaign” was launched after a visit by CIA Director John Brennan to Kiev on April 12-13. Following humiliating setbacks, including the desertion of many troops the regime had believed loyal, the attack resumed immediately after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden flew to Kiev on April 22 to apply more pressure and promise more aid.

View original post 1,420 more words

Dandelion Salad

by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from PressTV
April 26, 2014

Capitalism Kills Image by Infinite Ache via Flickr

Workers in Western countries are now paid so badly that businesses are reportedly finding it profitable to return from China – having relocated to Asia in the first place to exploit cheap labor there.

It is an astounding indictment of how capitalism has created a global race to the bottom of misery for workers – yet the Western corporate news media actively conceal this abomination.

View original post 1,036 more words

Exclusive: Fifteen doctors write letter detailing ‘gross departures’ from medical norms towards detainees on Christmas Island

Source:

theguardian.com, Friday 20 December 2013 10.13 AEST

Christmas Island asylum seekers
A group of asylum seekers arrive on Christmas Island in December. Serious concerns have been raised about the medical standards on the island. Photograph: Jon Faulkner/AAP

A group of doctors has revealed the shocking standard of medical care they are made to provide asylum seekers at the Christmas Island detention centre in a 92-page “letter of concern” given to their employer in November.

The forensic report, written by 15 doctors and obtained by Guardian Australia, is the most comprehensive document yet on the failings of medical procedure inside detention centres and is a damning indictment of the Australian government’s care for refugees.

The report documents “numerous unsafe practices and gross departures from generally accepted medical standards which have posed significant risk to patients and caused considerable harm”.

It paints a vivid picture of the indignity of detention through distressing and detailed case studies.

The doctors claim:

• asylum seekers are examined while exhausted, dehydrated and filthy, their clothing “soiled with urine and faeces” because there are no toilets on the boats

• patients are “begging for treatment”

• asylum seekers must queue for up to three hours for medication. Some have to queue four times a day

• antenatal care is unsafe, inadequate and does not comply with Australian standards; there is an ultrasound machine on the island but rarely anyone who knows how to use it

• there is a high risk of depression among children and no effective system for identifying children at risk

• basic medical stocks are low; drugs requested by doctors are not provided

• long delays in transferring patients to mainland hospitals are leading to “risks of life-threatening deterioration”.

The doctors claim their professional integrity has been put at risk and that they are being paid to compromise their medical ethics.

They describe a fundamental conflict of interest between their employer, IHMS (International Health and Medical Services) and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

They write: “We have concerns that decisions made by IHMS regarding the provision of care to patients have been compromised by their relationship with the DIBP. As a result, these decisions are not always in the best interest of the patient.”

They fear exposing themselves to possible repercussions for working in such a system. “It is of concern that practitioners working within IHMS may be putting any registration they have with Ahpra [Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency] at risk by participating in unethical conduct and in gross departures from clinical standards,” they say.

The report was written in November at the invitation of IHMS, which provides medical care to more than 2,000 asylum seekers detained on Christmas Island and the many thousands of men, women and children processed there on their way to camps on Manus and Nauru.

Glimpses of the medical troubles on Christmas Island have been given in the past by whistleblowers and peak bodies such as the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. But the doctors’ report to IHMS is the most comprehensive account yet of failings in medical care and practice on the island.

They write: “Even when mitigating factors, such as the remote location and the practical limitations imposed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection are considered, many aspects of the IHMS health service fall well below accepted standards for clinical practice and are unnecessarily dangerous.”

The doctors claim the problems begin the moment asylum seekers reach Christmas Island. They say flaws in initial health assessments are made even worse by the Abbott government’s demand that all asylum seekers who can must depart within 48 hours for Manus or Nauru.

The doctors document with case studies unsafe and inadequate antenatal care; inadequate medical care for children; the risk of life-threatening deterioration in patients waiting to be flown to hospitals on the Australian mainland; shortages of facilities, equipment and medications; unsafe prescribing practices; poor treatment of diabetes; and inadequate programs to prevent the spread of infectious diseases among detainees.

IHMS told Guardian Australia they were taking the letter “seriously” and that senior medical staff had held discussions with “the majority of co-signatories regarding the issues raised”.

The statement continued: “As per the terms of our contract, and recognising the range of issues, we have shared the letter with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection”.

Guardian Australia understands the letter was passed to the department shortly after it was delivered to IHMS in November.

IHMS said they do not accept that is any under a conflict of interest with their obligation to their patients and the department of immigration and border protection.

“IHMS values the contribution of all of our professional medical staff to ensure our care to people in detention remains of the highest standards.”

IHMS identified Dr John-Paul Sanggaran as the principal author of the letter.

IHMS said thatDr Sanggaran was employed on Christmas Island in September and October 2013. “This was during a period of high intensity, with an unprecedented number of arrivals and an increased number of people presenting with a range of significant complex medical conditions.”

They added: “We look forward to working constructively with Dr Sanggaran to review these matters and to resolve his concerns.”

Dr Sanggaran told Guardian Australia: “I’m hopeful that there will be improvements in the care of those detained on Christmas Island and that improvements already made can be maintained.”

Despite repeated requests, the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, would not provide a comment.

Health induction assessments (HIAs) on arrival:

Asylum seekers are examined while exhausted, dehydrated and filthy, their clothing “soiled with urine and faeces” because there are no toilets on the boats.

“The arrivals frequently express their embarrassment at their state. They apologise for the smell and filth they are covered in.”

Christmas Island screen grab
An extract from the letter of concern documents the conditions that most asylum seekers experience on arrival by boat

At busy times the assessment may take as little as five minutes. The doctors report a case of TB that went undiagnosed for 44 days. “Potentially the entire camp has been exposed.”

The asylum seekers’ own medical records have been thrown away. “This is a serious patient safety issue.”

Their medications have also been discarded without being recorded. Glasses, hearing aids and prosthetics are confiscated and often destroyed.

“A single replacement hearing aid has not been seen by any undersigned doctor working for IHMS.”

A number of hitherto standard health checks were abandoned in July and September this year as Canberra demanded faster transfer to Manus and Nauru.

The doctors conclude: “HIAs, as carried out by IHMS, are not fit for purpose and unreliable. They cannot and should not be relied upon for any reasonable assessment of a person’s health.”

Transfers

The most urgent cases are supposed to be flown to the mainland within two weeks. “Despite this, few category one patients leave before four weeks and some wait at least as long as two months. There have been periods of time where no patients have left the island despite needing immediate tertiary attention.”

Among the case studies in the report are a baby needing heart surgery who waited two months to be flown to the mainland; a child placed on the transfer list for more than two months who was flown instead to Nauru; a man eventually sent to the mainland who returned to the island not having been treated; and others with disabilities and significant injuries still waiting for transfer at the time of the writing of the report.

Antenatal care

“Antenatal care provided by IHMS is unsafe and inadequate and does not comply with Australian standards.” The doctors are particularly concerned by the difficulty of conducting ultrasounds. There is a machine at the island hospital. “However, there are usually no ultrasonographers available, as they only visit every few months and cater primarily for local residents.”

A woman with a “very high-risk pregnancy” – thought to be twins by medical authorities in Indonesia and on Christmas Island – was transferred to Nauru. The doctors write: “IHMS management stated to staff the Department of Immigration and Border Protection were ‘setting an example’.”

Paediatrics

Backed by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and UNHCR, the doctors view detention as “unsuitable for children and a contravention of human rights”. They believe their duty of care to children requires “advocating for their immediate removal from the detention environment”.

The doctors say there is inadequate screening for nutritional deficiencies, inadequate testing of sight and hearing and no monitoring of growth and development for the hundreds of children detained on the island.

“None of the scheduled physical and developmental assessments that would normally occur in the community (typically by a maternal child health nurse) occur at Christmas Island immigration detention centre.”

They say there is “no effective system in place” to detect children and adolescents at risk because of “the deleterious effect of indefinite detention” and “no child specific mental health services on the island (i.e. no paediatric psychologist or psychiatrist)”.

Disabilities

“Christmas Island immigration detention centre is unsuitable for any person living with significant intellectual or physical disability. The detention environment exacerbates their burden of care and the facilities and medical services provided are inadequate to accommodate their needs.”

A young woman with cerebral palsy resulting in severe physical disability is wheelchair bound in one of the island compounds. “She was flagged by several medical officers from her arrival as not suitable for the detention environment.” At the time of writing the report, though exhibiting signs of mental distress, she had not been transferred.

Conduct and ethics

The doctors claim they have been complaining about these issues to IHMS for some time, hence the invitation of the health contractor for them to put their complaints in writing.

The doctors see at the heart of the problems on Christmas Island a conflict of interest between the demands placed on IHMS by the Department of Immigration and their own duty of care to their patients.

Christmas Island screen grab
An extract from the letter of concern records a September 2013 meeting in which doctors are told they are ‘being paid to accept the risk’

The doctors reject the view they say was expressed by IHMS management in September that they are “being paid to accept the risk”. The doctors argue that “payment for risk is clearly in conflict with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency code of conduct for doctors”.

They write: “IHMS must therefore not put its doctors or itself in a situation where financial inducement means that its care for patients is compromised.”

According to the doctors the same IHMS manager told them in September: “There will one day be a royal commission into what is taking place on Christmas Island. He suggested we document well.”

Source: Click Here

Further Reading: Articles via Google Scholar

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Region: ,
In-depth Report:
David-Cameron-2791753

Hypocrisy, the most protected of vices.”  Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622-1673.)

Last week a little more was learned as to the circumventions in Whitehall and Washington delaying the publication of the findings of Sir John Chilcot’s marathon Inquiry in to the background of the Iraq invasion.

The UK’s Chilcot Inquiry, was convened under then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to establish the decisions taken by the UK government and military, pre and post invasion. It ran from 24th November 2009 until 2nd February 2011 and cost an estimated £7.5 million. The as yet unpublished Report is believed to run to 1000,000 words.

The stumbling block – more of an Israeli-style “separation barrier” in reality – has been the correspondence between Tony Blair and George W. Bush, prior to an invasion and occupation, which former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan finally told the BBC was: “illegal” and that: “painful lessons” had been learned. (BBC 16th September 2004.) “Lessons” clearly not learned by the current British government.

The communications, in Sir John Chilcot’s words to former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell related to: “The question when and how the Prime Minister (Tony Blair) made commitments to the US about the UK’s involvement in military action in Iraq, and subsequent decisions on the UK’s continuing involvement, is central to its considerations.”(Guardian 17th July 2013.)

Further: “Chilcot said the release of notes of the conversations between Blair and Bush would serve to ‘illuminate Mr Blair’s position at critical points’ in the run up to war.”

The Inquiry had also been seeking clarification from O’Donnell’s successor Sir Jeremy Heywood regarding inclusion of references to: “the content of Mr Blair’s notes to President Bush, and to the records of discussions between Mr Blair and Presidents Bush and Obama.” The wall remains in place.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, now the country’s most senior civil servant, was Tony Blair’s Private Secretary during the period of the trans-Atlantic lies that led to the Iraq war and during the creation of the Blair regime’s “dodgy dossiers.”

Interestingly too: “O’Donnell had consulted Blair before saying the notes must remain secret.” Effectively, one of the accused, in an action which has destroyed a country, lynched the President, murdered his sons and teenage nephew and caused the deaths of perhaps one and a half million people, decides what evidence can be presented before the Court. Chilcot, has seen the documents but seemingly needs the accused permission to publish them.

A stitch-up of which any “rogue” or “totalitarian” regime, would surely be proud.

Center to the dispute between the Inquiry, Cameron and his ennobled  gate keepers is material requested for inclusion in the final Report: “to reflect its analysis of discussions in Cabinet and Cabinet Committees and their significance.”

The documents being denied to the Inquiry include twenty five pieces of correspondence sent by Tony Blair to George W. Bush and one hundred and thirty documents relating to conversations between these lead plotters of Iraq’s destruction. Additionally: “dozens of records of Cabinet meetings.”(i)

Ironically on 31st October 2006, David Cameron voted in favour of a motion brought by the Scottish National Party and Wales’ Plaid Cymru (“The Party of Wales”) calling for an Inquiry into the Blair government’s conduct of the Gulf war.

On 15th June 2009, in a parliamentary debate, the terms of the Chilcot Inquiry were presented in detail, duly recorded in Hansard, the parliamentary records.(ii.)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Blair’s successor stated: “In order that the committee is as objective and non-partisan as possible, the membership of the committee will consist entirely of non-partisan public figures acknowledged to be experts and leaders in their fields. There will be no representatives of political parties from either side of this House.”

David Cameron, then Leader of Opposition stated piously:

“The whole point of having an Inquiry is that it has to be able to make clear recommendations, to go wherever the evidence leads, to establish the full truth and to ensure that the right lessons are learned … in a way that builds public confidence.”

Cameron was particularly concerned about: “openness.” How times change.

Further, said Cameron:

“The inquiry needs to be, and needs to be seen to be, truly independent and not an establishment stitch-up … The Prime Minister was very clear that the inquiry would have access to all British documents and all British witnesses. Does that mean that the inquiry may not have access to documents from the USA … On the scope of the inquiry, will the Prime Minister confirm that it will cover relations with the United States …”

Cameron concluded with again a demand for “openness and transparency.”

In response, Gordon Brown stated:

“ … I cannot think of an Inquiry with a more comprehensive, wider or broader remit than the one that I have just announced. Far from being restricted, it will cover eight years, from 2001 to 2009. Far from being restricted, it will have access to any documents that are available, and that will include foreign documents that are available in British archives. (Emphasis mine.)

However, four years is a long time in politics and last week, as David Cameron traveled to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, it transpired that the documents Sir John Chilcot had been pursuing and been denied for six months have been also blocked by: “officials in the White House and the US Department of State who have refused to sanction any declassification of critical pre-and post-war communications between George W. Bush and Tony Blair.”

David Cameron is apparently also blocking evidence: “ … on Washington’s orders, from being included in the report of an expensive and lengthy British Inquiry.”(iii) Confirmation, were it ever needed, that Britain is the US 51st State, whose puppet Prime Ministers simply obey their Master’s voice.

However, “shame” clearly not being a word in Cameron’s lexicon, he landed in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon, a British Colony 1815-1948) as the above shoddy details broke, in full colonial mode.

Spectacular welcoming ceremonies barely over, he launched in to an entirely undiplomatic, public tirade, at this gathering of the  “Commonwealth family of nations” alleging that his host, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was guilty of war crimes during the civil war with the Tamil Tigers. Not disputed is, as any conflict, that terrible crimes were committed on both sides. But these are accusations from the man both covering up the genesis of massacres of genocidal magnitude – and who enjoined in the near destruction of Libya, the resultant lynching of the country’s leader, the murder of his sons and small grand children and uncounted others in another decimation of a country who had threatened no other.

Cameron’s Libya, is Blair’s Iraq. As Iraq, the dying continues daily.

The pontification also from a Prime Minister backing funding for the cannibalistic orientated insurgents in Syria, the beheading, dismembering, looting, displacing, kidnapping, chemical weapons lobbying, child killing, infanticide-bent crazies, including those from his own country.

In Sri Lanka he demanded the country ensure: “credible, transparent and independent investigations into alleged war crimes” and said if this did not happen by the March deadline he arbitrarily imposed, he would press the UN Human Rights Council to hold an international inquiry. Further: “truth telling”, he said, was essential. To cite hypocrisy of breathtaking proportions has become a redundant accusation, but words are failing.

In the event Cameron: “ … left Colombo having failed to secure any concessions from President Rajapaksa or persuade fellow leaders to criticise Sri Lanka’s record in a communique”, reported the Guardian (16th November.)

As the Prime Minster slunk out, President Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered an apt, withering reaction: “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”, he responded.

Ironically, in spite a tragic recent past, Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia rated high on the Human Development Index. The UK and “allies” recent victims, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan barely make it to the bottom.

David Cameron returned to Britain still having to grapple with how to evade delivering truth to the Chilcot Inquiry.

Hopefully he will read a letter from writer Lesley Docksey (Independent, 18th November 2013.)

“It was British taxpayers’ money that funded the Chilcot Inquiry, and this taxpayer wants her money’s worth.  All the British government papers concerning the sorry affair of an invasion of another country belong to this nation, not to the United States, not to Tony Blair, not to the current government.  Taxpayers aren’t here to save the faces of politicians.

“Nor is it, in the words of the Cabinet Office, ‘in the public’s interest’ that exchanges between the UK Prime Minister and the US President are kept secret’ – sorry, ‘privileged’ – from those who are paying their wages.  The phrase ‘in the public interest’ only ever means the interests of the government of the day.

“Unless Sir John Chilcot and his team can publish a full and honest report, no lessons will be learnt by future governments.  But then, if those lessons were learnt, and we the public knew (as in fact we do) what they were, this country would find it difficult to ever invade anywhere ever again.

“So, Sir John, in the words of a former PM, the Duke of Wellington, ‘Publish and be damned!’

Oh, and as David Cameron was lecturing Sri Lanka on “transparency”, the Conservatives were removing: ‘ a decade of speeches from their website and from the main internet library – including one in which David Cameron claimed that being able to search the web would democratise politics by making “more information available to more people.” ’.

“The party removed records of speeches and press releases from 2000 until May 2010. The effect will be to remove any speeches and articles during the Tories’ modernisation period …” (iv.)

Comment again redundant.

Notes

i. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36879.htm

ii. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090615/debtext/90615-0004.htm

iii. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-us-blocks-publication-of-chilcots-report-on-how-britain-went-to-war-with-iraq-8937772.html

iv. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/13/conservative-party-archive-speeches-internet

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Rebels Endanger, Kill Civilians; Damage Churches
November 19, 2013
  • Destroyed church pews were found at Mar Mikhael Church in Sadad, Syria, after opposition fighters occupied the church in October 2013.

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
  • The interior of a bloodstained well in Sadad, Syria, where village residents discovered the bodies of six of their neighbors after opposition fighters retreated on October 28. The victims’ hands were tied, they wore blindfolds, and their bodies bore gunshot wounds, a witness said.

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
  • Graffiti mars the renowned frescoes of Mar Sarkis Church in Sadad, Syria, after opposition fighters occupied the church in October 2013. The graffiti reads, “No banner but the banner of Islam. Down with Bashar. Jabhat al-Nusra, Liwa al-Tawhid. “

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
Opposition fighters came into Sadad claiming they would not harm civilians, but they did just that.There is no excuse for indiscriminate or targeted attacks against civilians or civilian sites.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director

(New York) – Opposition fighters in Syria apparently executed civilians and others in their custody during an offensive in the Christian village of Sadad from October 21 to 28, 2013. Other civilians were also killed unlawfully by opposition sniper fire. Civilians killed by opposition shelling, as fighting between government and opposition forces in the village continued, may have been killed unlawfully.

During the offensive against government forces in Sadad, 100 kilometers northeast of Damascus, rebel fighters refused to allow residents of the village to leave their homes in areas with active fighting, residents told Human Rights Watch. In at least one case, fighters allegedly used a resident as a human shield. Residents also said that opposition fighters also stole personal items, and vandalized, stole, and damaged property in at least three churches of local and historical significance.

“Opposition fighters came into Sadad claiming they would not harm civilians, but they did just that,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “There is no excuse for indiscriminate or targeted attacks against civilians or civilian sites.”

Opposition fighters should never execute or directly target civilians or anyone in their custody or target civilian sites, including religious sites, Human Rights Watch said. They should take precautions to protect civilians from harm during operations in residential areas including by easing the way for residents to leave the area if they wish to. They should not subject civilians to additional risk by using them as human shields.

Opposition groups referred to the Sadad operation as part of the “Battle of God’s Doors Do Not Shut” on social media sites, where several groups also announced their participation in the operation and released footage apparently showing their members fighting in Sadad. The groups involved in the operation include al-Maghaweer of the Dera’ al-Islam battalion of the Free Syrian Army (FSA),Ahel al-Athar battalion of the FSA, Liwa al-Huq, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Khadra’ battalion, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). According to a post by al-Khadra’ battalion on Twitter, al-Khadra’’s leader commanded al-Khadra’, ISIS, and Jabhat al-Nusra forces during the operation. Abu Ayham is the field commander of Dera’ al-Islam.

In most cases, Human Rights Watch has not been able to establish which of the participating opposition groups were responsible for the abuses that Human Rights Watch documented. One resident told Human Rights Watch that fighters who identified themselves as Jabhat al-Nusra used him as a human shield, and Human Rights Watch observed graffiti damaging a church in Sadad apparently left by Liwa al-Huq, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Liwa al-Tawhid.

Human Rights Watch visited Sadad during an investigative mission to Syria with permission from the Syrian government and interviewed 10 residents and the mayor, Sleiman Khalil. Human Rights Watch also later spoke to three residents by phone. Human Rights Watch interviewed each resident separately in various locations in the village. The mayor was interviewed in the municipal offices. Except for the mayor himself during his own interview, no Syrian government officials were present during the interviews. The names of those interviewed have been changed for their safety.

Residents of Sadad said that armed opposition fighters entered their ancient village of 12,000 people on the morning of October 21, and battled government forces, who sent reinforcements to the village over the course of the next week. The village, which borders Qalamoon to the south, Mheen to the east, Hissya to the west, and an-Na`amiyah to the north, is one of the many residential areas affected by the ongoing fighting between government and opposition forces in the “Battle of God’s Doors Do Not Shut.”

Residents of Sadad said that over the week that opposition fighters were in the village, fighters mostly did not target or abuse residents, but that in some instances, they endangered and killed civilians and people in their custody and intentionally damaged and looted civilian sites, including churches. Rebel fighters forced residents to stay in areas with active fighting, allegedly used at least one resident as a human shield, and apparently executed residents and killed others with sniper fire. As opposition forces battled government forces in the village some residents were also killed by opposition shelling which may have been indiscriminate.

Human Rights Watch identified the names of 46 people from Sadad killed in the village during the weeklong operation. Forty-one of the dead were civilians, residents told Human Rights Watch, including 14 women and two children. Three of the dead were police officers, one a soldier in the reserves who was not currently serving, and another an off-duty soldier on home leave from his service, residents said. If correct, only the soldier on home leave and police – if participating in counterinsurgency operations- would have been combatants. In 22 of the 46 cases, Human Rights Watch spoke to residents who described how the other residents were killed. In the remaining cases, Human Rights Watch received the names of the dead from local church officials who coordinated the burials. Human Rights Watch received reports that Syrian government and opposition fighters also died in the course of fighting, but has not confirmed the number of those killed.

Human Rights Watch urges the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). An ICC referral would be a crucial first step toward achieving justice for victims of atrocities by all sides in Syria’s armed conflict and would send a strong message that serious crimes will not be tolerated. Over the last two and a half years Human Rights Watch has extensively documented abuses by government and pro-government forces during ground operations including executions, indiscriminate shelling and sniper attacks, and the use of human shields. Human Rights Watch has also documented indiscriminate shelling, and executions and kidnapping by opposition forces during ground operations.

Currently, 64 countries, including six Security Council members, have expressed support for an ICC referral. Russia has described the effort to seek a referral as “ill-timed and counterproductive.” Security Council members such as the United States that have not yet supported an ICC referral should publicly do so, and should take all available steps to encourage Russia to drop its opposition, Human Rights Watch said.

“An ICC referral would strip all sides of their sense of impunity and make clear that abuses could land them behind bars in The Hague,” Whitson said. “It’s long past time for the Security Council to overcome the current stalemate on justice for the serious ongoing crimes in Syria.”

For detailed accounts of the killings and other abuses, please see below.

The Villagers’ Accounts

In interviews in Sadad on November 11, five residents and the mayor told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters entered the village on October 21 at approximately 6:15 a.m. The mayor said that the fighters approached from the south, north, and east, and gained access after they set off two nearly simultaneous explosions at army checkpoints to the east and west, killing a number of government soldiers. In announcements on social media sites, some opposition groups said that the twin bomb attacks were suicide operations.

The mayor said that approximately 2,000 armed fighters, predominately Syrians, but also some foreigners from Libya, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, entered the village on its three main roads in about 50 pickup trucks. They took control of the local police station and a political security facility, two government security buildings in the area.

Rebel fighters fanned out throughout the village, and, the mayor said, announced over a bullhorn that they meant the residents no harm. Soon Syrian army soldiers came from neighboring areas and entered Sadad to fight them. Throughout the following week, the rebels engaged government forces in battles from their positions in the village. On October 28, the rebels retreated from the village.

Apparent Executions

The mayor told Human Rights Watch that in the initial assault on the village, opposition fighters executed three police officers and one resident who was a reserve soldier, all of them unarmed and in the custody of opposition fighters. The mayor told Human Rights Watch that they were seized at approximately 6:30 a.m. on October 21 on their way from the municipal building, where they had met the mayor, to the police station. He said that he saw the officers get into the clearly marked municipal vehicle unarmed on their way to the police station.

A video Dera’ al-Islam published on October 25 on its YouTube channel shows opposition fighters in Sadad with five dead bodies in civilian clothes bearing bullet wounds – people the videographer calls “the dogs of Bashar.” The mayor identified four of them as the officers who were killed. The four bodies appear in the video lying in a row.

The position of their bodies appears to indicate that they were lined up and shot in the chest from approximately the same distance, and that the velocity of the shots had spun some of them around. The absence of blood splattered on the ground, except for immediately around the bodies, or any marks in the dirt, also suggests that the bodies had not been dragged or moved, but rather that the men were placed in a line and then shot. Further investigation is required to establish the exact circumstances of their deaths. Parties to a conflict who execute anyone, combatants or civilians, in their formal or effective custody, are guilty of war crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

The mayor and several residents also told Human Rights Watch that days after government forces pushed opposition fighters out of the village, residents followed a putrid odor to locate – and, with the help of the civil defense forces, retrieve – six corpses that someone had apparently thrown into a well. They identified the bodies as civilian residents from one family: Najla Mtanes al-Sheikh, 45; Fadi Sarkis Drouj, 16, and Ranim Sarkis Drouj, 18, Najla’s sons; Mtanes Sleiman al-Sheikh, Najla’s elderly father; Habbsa Nassif al-Sheikh, 75; and Maryam Nassif al-Sheikh, 90. The age of the three elderly residents and the presence of one child killed with his brother and mother, support the residents’ claim that these family members were civilians. A neighbor who was present when the bodies were retrieved said the victims were blindfolded with their hands tied and had been shot in the head.

The neighbor told Human Rights Watch that before the rebels withdrew, he had been helping people leave the village. On October 24, he had called Najla, whose family was among the last to remain in a neighborhood under opposition control, to try to arrange her escape. He said she told him it would be impossible for her to leave because she had three elderly relatives with her. The next morning, when the neighbor called her again, there was no answer.

Later that day, Syrian government soldiers regained control of the central part of the village, where Najla and her family lived. The neighbor said he asked soldiers to check on Najla and her family, but the soldiers told him they saw no sign of them. The neighbor told Human Rights Watch that the well where the bodies were later found was four houses and about 25 meters away from where Najla and her family had lived.

Human Rights Watch visited the well and observed bloodstains on its inner and outer walls and what appeared to be two bullet markings on the interior wall of the well but did not locate any witnesses to the killings. Further investigation is required to establish who killed the family.

Endangering Civilians: Restrictions on Movement

The mayor of Sadad told Human Rights Watch that as soon as opposition fighters entered the village, he recognized that some of them were from neighboring villages. He said he began reaching out to local and international humanitarian agencies and community leaders, including Christian and Sunni Muslim religious leaders from neighboring areas, to try to negotiate a ceasefire to enable civilians to flee. A local Christian religious leader who participated in the negotiations also told Human Rights Watch attempts were made to negotiate a ceasefire.

But residents told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters in some instances had stopped them from leaving their homes, with devastating consequences.

Antonious, who lives on the main road on the western side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that on the first day of the opposition offensive, he and his family stayed inside their home, listening to calls of “Allah Akbar” outside. The next day, he tried to convince the rebel fighters to allow him and his relatives to move to a safer area, but they refused, he said. Antonious said that on the third day, out of the sight of opposition fighters, he and his relatives used a ladder to climb over a small wall behind the house to go to his uncle’s house, which seemed safer because it was off the main road. But around 3 or 3:30 p.m., he said, an enormous explosion sounded and the uncle’s entire house collapsed. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine the cause of the explosion or whether it was due to an attack by opposition or government forces.

I was in the garden, so I was okay, but my mom, brother, dad, and my uncle’s wife were all killed. My uncle was also in the garden … Both the houses, ours and theirs, were gone … After that, they let us go to a house [in a safer area] with other neighbors and there we stayed in the basement.

Jamil, who also lives with his family on the western side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that on October 21, opposition fighters surrounded and entered his neighborhood, positioned their rocket launcher 2 to 3 meters in front of his home, and told him that he and his family could not go anywhere because of ongoing fighting. On October 25, he said, his house caught fire after government forces shelled the opposition military position in front of his house. He and his relatives managed to escape, but the house was destroyed. After the attack, he said, opposition fighters transported his family and several of their neighbors to a safer area.

‘Ala, who lives on the eastern side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters evicted his family from their home to occupy it. He said that enabled 16 family members to escape fighting, while the fighters forced their neighbors to stay put.

Under the laws of war, parties to a conflict must take all feasible precautions during military operations to minimize loss of civilian life and must, to the extent feasible, remove civilians under their control from areas where they are deploying their military forces.

Endangering Civilians: Alleged Use of a Human Shield

In at least one instance, opposition fighters allegedly seized a man from his house, apparently to use him as a human shield as they passed within range of a government sniper. The man, Fouad, lives with his wife and three young children near Mar Elias Church on Sadad’s main road. He said that on October 26, three fighters who identified themselves as members of Jabhat al-Nusra came into his house and demanded his money, cell phone, and ID card.

His children were terrified, Fouad said. The fighters told everyone else to be quiet, and interrogated Fouad about his phone calls, apparently trying to assess whether he was contacting people to help the government. Fouad said one fighter redialed the last phone number Fouad had called – his sister – and told him not to say a word while the fighter determined who she was. Fouad said that as his mother, niece, wife, and three children looked on, the men told him to lie down and then hit him with their rifle butts. One of them said, “We kill Nasara [Christians],” Fouad said.

Later, Fouad said: “Two of them took me with them to walk down the street, walking on either side of me until we passed the [government] sniper, so he wouldn’t shoot. And then they left me. When we were walking, the sniper didn’t shoot at us.”

Opposition fighters should not endanger civilians by restricting the ability to flee or by using them as human shields, Human Rights Watch said.

The use of human shields – using the presence of civilians to prevent the targeting of military objectives – is prohibited under international humanitarian law. Combatants who deliberately use civilians as human shields to deter attacks on their forces are responsible for war crimes.

Civilian Deaths from Sniper Shots, Shelling

Residents told Human Rights Watch that rebel sniper fire and indiscriminate shelling killed their family members and neighbors.

‘Ala told Human Rights Watch that on October 25 or 26, a sniper in the opposition-controlled eastern section of Sadad killed his cousin, Jamil Asfour, 35, his uncle’s wife, Shamsa al-Boufi, 65, and her mother, Fouda al-Boufi, in her 80s, as they tried to flee to a safer part of the village. He said that after Syrian government soldiers pushed the rebel fighters back, soldiers found the bodies with gunshot wounds in the eastern section of the village. A second relative who lives in the eastern section also told Human Rights Watch that these three family members had been killed by a sniper positioned there.

Another resident, Sarah, told Human Rights Watch that five people, including her son, were delivering food, unarmed, to besieged neighbors in the northern part of Sadad on October 25 when shelling killed three of the five, including her son. One of the survivors, who was injured, told her that the mortar shell that killed her son came from an opposition position, from which fighters were striking toward a government-controlled area in the north of the village. There were no government positions in their neighborhood, however.

Human Rights Watch spoke to one of the men injured in the strike, whose father had died in the attack. He said that on October 25, government soldiers passed through his neighborhood to search for fighters and reassure residents. After government forces were no longer in the area, at around 2:15 p.m., three shells landed in his neighborhood, one right after the other. He said that the third strike killed the three people delivering food, and injured him and a fifth person, and that after the attack, government soldiers came to the neighborhood and transported the dead and wounded to nearby hospitals. He gave Human Rights Watch the names of the dead and injured.

The absence of military targets in the area hit by shells fired by opposition forces reflects that their method of attack or the attacks themselves may have been indiscriminate, Human Rights Watch said. Combatants should only target military objects and should take precautions to not harm civilians.

Theft and Destruction of Property, Including at Religious Sites
Four Sadad residents told Human Rights Watch that fighters broke into their homes or cars and stole their property. Residents also described damage to several of the churches in Sadad. Human Rights Watch visited three churches that residents said were among the worst damaged.

Two residents said they saw opposition fighters enter Mar Theodore Church on October 25. When government forces retook the village, the residents said, items were missing from the church and it had damage that appeared intentional.

When Human Rights Watch visited the church on November 11, residents had already cleaned up much of the damage they described. Human Rights Watch observed a broken candelabra, and a broken door on a locked cabinet behind the church altar, where residents said a sound system had been stolen, leaving wires dangling. Human Rights Watch also saw two crowns intended to be worn by priests of the church that appeared to be intentionally flattened and bent in half. The residents also said that opposition fighters had stolen copper candlesticks and chalices, along with religious relics. Shelling – whose origin was unclear – also damaged the church roof, leaving the wooden ceiling visibly damaged.

In Mar Sarkis Church, which residents said is hundreds of years old, Human Rights Watch observed graffiti tags on the interior walls, some on the edges of the church’s rare and renowned frescos. One tag read, “Saqar the Libyan passed through here freedom for Mheen [a nearby village],” a town where rebels were fighting the government. Others said, “Liwa al-Huq,” “Jabhat al-Nusra,” and “Liwa al-Tawhid,” names of opposition groups, some of which announced their participation in the battle in Sadad. The glass on the doors to the church was shattered near the knobs, suggesting a forced entry.

In Mar Mikhael Church, Human Rights Watch observed bullet holes in the ceiling and walls, and in several religious paintings, in patterns suggesting vandalism rather than firefights. A resident told Human Rights Watch that he saw rebel fighters occupy the church, and showed Human Rights Watch some food and personal items he said they left behind. Human Rights Watch observed destroyed religious icons, pews with smashed wooden legs, seats, and backs, and the church’s broken and empty collection box. A resident told Human Rights Watch that religious relics were also missing.

Under international humanitarian law, parties in an armed conflict have a responsibility not to intentionally attack religious buildings that are not being used for military purposes. They are prohibited from seizing, destroying, or willfully damaging religious buildings or institutions, and from theft, pillage, or vandalism directed against important cultural property. Pillaging and deliberate attacks on religious sites that are not military objectives are war crimes.

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين

[ PIC 05/11/2013 – 10:21 AM ]

images_News_2013_11_05_qassem_300_0

NABLUS, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) refused to allow treatment of Dr. Abdulsattar Qassem, a lecturer of political science at Najah university, in Jerusalem.

He said in a terse statement on Monday that the IOA refused to give him permission to enter Jerusalem for medical treatment.

He added that his request for treatment at Makased hospital was turned down for “security reasons”.

Qassem said that he asked for a similar permission a few weeks ago but was also rejected, adding that doctors had recommended his treatment in Jerusalem due to presence of better treatment for him there.

View original post

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين


[ PIC 08/11/2013 – 10:46 AM ]

images_News_2013_11_08_-1428870521_300_0

GAZA, (PIC)– The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expressed in a statement deep concern over the deterioration of humanitarian conditions of the civilian population due to the aggravation of the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip.

PCHR is deeply concerned that the current crisis may impact the access of 1.7 million Palestinians to vital services, including the supply of drinking water, and that this crisis may result in the suspension of work in some vital sectors, such as health, sanitation and education, according to the statement.

According to PCHR’s follow-up of the chronic power crisis in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Energy Authority in Gaza announced that the operation of the Gaza Power plant was totally stopped on Friday morning, 01 November 2012.

PCHR confirmed that the shutdown of the Gaza plant power has left serious consequences on the humanitarian conditions of…

View original post 580 more words

Can the Million Mask March turn a vendetta into a victory?

Patrick Henningsen is a writer, investigative journalist, and filmmaker and founder of the news website 21stCentury Wire.com.

Published time: November 08, 2013 19:49

People participate in a march to the U.S. Captiol during the "Million Mask March" November 5, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla)People participate in a march to the U.S. Captiol during the “Million Mask March” November 5, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla)

As a general rule, state-run and corporate mainstream media networks will only allocate coverage to certain demonstrations, namely those that are aligned with either state-sanctioned political parties or advocacy groups.

Anything else outside of that is normally swept under the control desk. The amnesty-immigration rally that took place on the National Mall in Washington DC during the government shutdown was given prime time by the media because it promoted a political party agenda. This is the globalist, corporatist way of keeping control over “consensus reality” regarding dissident movements. In other words: if it’s not on the BBC, or CNN, then it didn’t really happen.

That old stratagem of control is becoming less and less effective as word of mouth has also become globalized.

Despite the media blackout, this one was still hard to miss – an international Million Mask March organized by demonstrators around the globe and fronted by the hackivist confab known as Anonymous.

The million masks they are referring to are that of the Guy Fawkes caricature made hugely famous by the blockbuster film, “V for Vendetta,” which was adopted as the public face of hacker group Anonymous.

Marches took place at 450 locations in cities all over the world. Different regional groups had various, long lists of grievances, but you could boil it down to systemic corruption throughout government and censorship in the media – all for the benefit of corporations. It’s hard to argue that this isn’t the case everywhere.

Sparse mainstream media coverage of one of the largest events, in central London, was almost exclusively fashioned around celebrity personalities in attendance, like Russell Brand, who could be seen tweeting from Trafalgar Square, and who, amidst all the Guy Fawkes masks and black balaclavas – provided a recognizable anchor for media photographers and journalists.

At first, I was skeptical of this march for a number of reasons, not least of all because of the opaque nature of this version of civil disobedience – hiding behind a mask. Beyond the Hollywood references, what does it really mean?

 

AFP Photo / Chip SomodevillaAFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla

This is perhaps the most profound – but not the most surprising aspect, of our brave new post-Snowden world, where a very significant social trend is defined by a disguise. It’s the idea that surveillance has become so pervasive that dissenters no longer wish to show their faces whilst protesting in public or in their parallel world online. Question: doesn’t this approach actually empower the state in the long run?

Where Hollywood forges a new reality, the real world tends to bend it back into place. Besides the obvious theatrical benefits, in the movie “V for Vendetta” the masked march was vindicated because the objective was achieved – parliament was successfully blown up, and the corrupt head of state and inner circle of corrupt politicians exposed and brought to justice. The scenes in London and Washington DC didn’t have as desirable an ending as maybe fans of the film might prefer. British police could be seen in their usual show of force – storm troopers bullying crowds, cherry-picking young males and bundling them into the back of police vans, and then driving onto the sidewalk with lights and sirens blaring. Crowds eventually dispersed and returned home.

It is an extraordinary thing that a piece of British tradition and folklore such as Guy Fawkes Day has made the rounds on the global popular culture circuit, and even more incredible that this mantelpiece of culture would be imported into America with such fervor. That was made possible because that piece of British history was first transformed into a DC Comics edition, and then into a larger-than-life mythology recreated by Hollywood, and not just for entertainment – but for profit, giant profits in fact. Turns out that the rights to the iconic Guy Fawkes mask made famous by the “V for Vendetta” film are owned by Warner Brothers – so a royalty on every mask purchased goes directly into the pockets of Hollywood fat cats. The irony for both the Million Mask March and Anonymous cannot be ignored. Both would aid in the transfer of millions of dollars out of the pockets of demonstrators, before trickling up to the very institutions and intellectual property moguls who are their sworn enemies, often referred to as “the 1 percent.”

In 2013, the 99 percent are still heavily reliant on the 1 percent for most things, from their smart phones to their symbology, and even for their counterculture. Why can’t the 99 percent fashion their own symbols and market the kind of iconography which Hollywood managed with the Guy Fawkes mask? No doubt, a few media executives and shareholders are snickering at this unique situation.

To get a better understanding of the Million Mask March, I decided to spend a few hours riding shotgun via the Internet. I joined their DC march around 4pm EST just before dusk on the East Coast from my remote viewing location in London via a Livestream link, courtesy of one demonstrator known as “James From The Internet.” The demonstration had split into two or three main groups; I was following the group heading toward the White House.

 

AFP Photo / Chip SomodevillaAFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla

For anyone who hasn’t yet followed a live event through an independent video stream, you are missing what is probably the purist experience in live media – all the sights and sounds of a live event, with essential commentary, and no commercial breaks.

Video operator James was well prepared for the long DC march with his GoPro camera and a backpack full of extra batteries to power his camera and phone for the duration of the Livestream link. James was what every media ground correspondent should be, but so often isn’t – accessible, down to earth, and friendly.

At first glance, the event in DC resembled the Occupy movement in many ways – appearing to attract subscribers from a similar demographic, and using much of the same language and strap lines – “We are the 99 percent,” and decrying the crimes of “the 1 percent.” Occupy slogans were being chanted by the crowds. “Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like!” was followed by, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

You could hear the crowd chanting the famous Guy Fawkes line as they marched down Constitution Avenue, “Remember, remember, the 5th of November…”

Here is when I came to understand that this young crowd marching in DC was not at all one-dimensional, or as robotic as your garden-variety Occupy crowds. The chants continued to expand on previous calls, shouting, “Whose world? Our world!”

Things got more interesting as the column marched towards the US Federal Reserve building, chanting, “End the Fed, end the Fed!” A small group stopped for a brief rally at the steps of the building.

Passing the Federal Reserve, crowds pointed, and shouted: “Show me what hypocrisy looks like – that is what hypocrisy looks like!”

The conversation progressed: “We go to war in a foreign country, when all we have at home is bulls*** and hypocrisy!”

Up to this point, police had been mostly playing the role of shepherd, with some instigating and a few minor altercations. One masked marcher could be heard describing a brush with the police: “One cop kept asking us, ‘Who is the leader? We need to speak to him,” to which the protester replied, “There is no leader!” That exchange summed up how detached and out of touch law enforcement really is with what was going on that day.

Crowds were now closing in on the White House, chanting: “White House, Our House!”

Now in front of the White House lawn, this was perhaps the most encouraging part of this political adventure, and the point you knew this was not a Democrat party-steered, “Occupy-Lite” exercise. These kids had character, that was for sure. You could hear the crowd booming:

“Obama come out, we got some s*** to talk about! Obama come out, we got some s*** to talk about!”

Police moved in swiftly to form a barrier between the White House lawn gates and the masked crowd. One police officer could be heard asking people, “Please move back.” The crowd responded in kind. Soon after, James ended his Livestream transmission.

 

AFP Photo / Chip SomodevillaAFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla

The age of the globally-coordinated flash protest has arrived. In the last few months alone, a number of well-organized and highly intelligent global demonstrations have been staged to protest a range of issues, from western military intervention in Syria to the cartel activities of GMO giants such as Monsanto. In Britain, the anti-fracking protests and the rally against the privatization of the NHS outside of the Tory Party conference were also significant. Both delivered the numbers and their message, but were blanked by the mainstream media.

The Million Mask March delivered the numbers, but somehow the message got lost somewhere behind the mask. But what this group lacked in succinct communication and a packaged political message, they made up for in hard graft, commitment and determination. The level of mental and physical commitment should be applauded – 10 hours of continuous demonstrations and marching. Contrast this to the veterans’ march a few weeks earlier, where demonstrators were active and even dumped metal barriers at the White House gates, but only congregated for about three to four hours, before they dispersed and headed home.

Aside from that, this DC march showed a level of independence, political realism and intelligence that cut right through the stale left versus right political paradigm. If systemic corruption in government and collusion with corporate raiders is going to be reformed, then we will certainly need crowds who can elevate the conversation to a higher level – like this crowd did on the Million Mask March in DC.

This crowd was young, creative and energetic and used most of the tools available to them. They clearly have chosen this homogeneous mask as their means of self-expression, which may seem contradictory on the surface, but indicates a far deeper psychological argument. Everyone should pay attention, stop and ask why young people are reaching for the mask. It speaks volumes in terms of where social politics are for this generation.

Now for the next challenge: How will they make their V move from just a Vendetta to a Victory? If you remember, at the end of the film, everyone took their masks off revealing a sea of individuals sharing similar values.

In real political terms, that’s where the real power is.

Source: rt.com

Tibet, Activism And Information


Image via @tibettruth

The Anonymous assault against China’s regime continues to see Chinese government websites being hacked as part of an action called ‘Operation Tibet’. Yesterday, following news that 17 Tibetans had been arrested by Chinese paramilitary forces in Nagchu, Eastern Tibet, hack-tivists responded by crashing the site http://www.naqu.gov.cn for that region.

Today another Chinese government site has been hacked, http://www.pgsafety.gov.cn/ thanks to our friends over on Twitter for the heads-up on this latest action.

View original post

PN

RT
November 6, 2013

In London a bonfire lit outside the gates of Buckingham Palace with crowds wearing white masks involved in scuffles with police. There were similar scenes near parliament too. RT’s Sara Firth reports. Read more http://on.rt.com/0t3ysl

[related:

RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air

Subscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…

Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com
Follow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rt
Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT

RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

View original post

Silver Lining

by Catherine Shakdam, source

As the world is busy debating whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did indeed use chemical weapons against its own people or if he is instead the victim of a somber plot hatched by foreign powers to “legitimize” their invasion of yet another Muslim country, Israel is calculatingly moving against Islam’s beating heart, the al-Aqsa Mosque in al-Quds (Jerusalem).

While Muslims worldwide are dissecting and assessing their political affiliations — pro or anti — the Zionist entity of Israel is using such engineered confusion to inconspicuously carry out an aggression against Islam of such magnitude that only a few have dared fathom it, let alone warned against it.

Israel is looking to build a temple on the ground of al-Aqsa Mosque, thus desecrating Islam’s third most sacred place after Mecca and Medina, thus sullying the very ground which the prophet of God, Mohammed (PBUH), walked upon, which…

View original post 857 more words

Tibet, Activism And Information

Image: https://www.anonyme.com/View/49220c02-b192-4eb5-a6e0-03619d6c001e

The image above was today posted on an Anonymous Blog called ‘OpTibet’ and reports another Chinese government site http://www.qionghai.gov.cn/ was crashed for over 48 hours following a denial of service attack, in the ongoing Anonymous action called Operation Tibet. Many thanks to @AnonymousTibet for the heads-up on this,which is another embarrassing reminder for China’s regime that its sites are being successfully targeted in support of Tibet and its people.

View original post