Sunday, November 13, 2005

Reporting from outside the US mainstream media

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton said Sunday that she supports the separation fence Israel is building along the edges of the West Bank, and that the onus is on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism.
"This is not against the Palestinian people," Clinton, a New York Democrat, said during a tour of a section of the barrier being built around Jerusalem. "This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism."

Kara e-mails to note the above from By Lily Galili and Roni Singer 's "Sen. Clinton: I support W. Bank fence, PA must fight terrorism" (Haaretz).

Kara's enraged by Hillary's "stupid statements." I'd agree that they are uniformed and completely in keeping with her restyling as a War Hawk. The fence Junior Bully Hilly supports decimates the areas and keeps the Palestinians removed from land and resources. Hillary's no fool, she knows that.

Her "logic" is laughable as she pushes all responsibility and blame off on the Palestinians. By the way, her lecture on what the Palestinians need to do? It was given to the Israelies. Crowd pleaser that Hillary.

Dominick e-mails to note Will Lester's "Most Americans believe Bush is dishonest, new poll reveals" (Irish Examiner):

MOST Americans say they aren't impressed by the ethics and honesty of the Bush administration, already under scrutiny for its justifications for an unpopular war in Iraq and its role in the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity.
Almost six-in-10 - 57% - said they do not think the Bush administration has high ethical standards. The same portion says George Bush is not honest, the AP-Ipsos poll found.
Whites, Southerners and evangelicals were most likely to believe Mr Bush is honest. Mr Bush, who promised in the 2000 campaign to uphold "honour and integrity", last week ordered White House workers to attend ethics classes. Some 82%, described Mr Bush as "stubborn".

Why might people see the Bully Boy as "stubborn"? Oh, we could count the ways. Instead, we'll note something DK e-mailed a perfect example of how the Bully Boy inflames hatred around the world, Michael Ratner and Sara Miles' "Is America above the Geneva Conventions?" (Germany's Der Spiegel):

Inside the Pentagon, officials are arguing with Vice President Dick Cheney about a new set of US Defense Department guidelines for interrogating suspected terrorists. The debate over an anti-torture bill is a sad moment for a country that once stood for human rights.
As someone who has spent decades representing clients who have been tortured under dictatorships, in dirty wars and by lawless governments around the world, I'm having a rough week here at home. My friend Sister Dianna Ortiz, an Ursuline nun whom I represented after she'd been abducted, raped and tortured by security forces in Guatemala, told me she was having a hard time too.

"Torture destroys trust," she said. "Since my torture, 16 years ago, I've tried to rebuild that trust, but now my government has shattered it yet again. Fear returns..."
For Sister Dianna and other victims of torture, this moment represents what she calls "a choice between courage and cowardice, human decency and depravity." Inside the Pentagon, officials are arguing with Vice President Dick Cheney and some of his aides about a whether a new set of Defense Department guidelines for interrogating suspected terrorists should prohibit the "cruel, humiliating, and degrading" treatment of prisoners.
In the Congress, Sen. John McCain, with support from 89 colleagues, is pushing a separate measure to ban cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of any detainee in U.S. custody -- against veto threats from the White House and fierce opposition from Cheney and his new chief of staff, David Addington, who are maneuvering to exempt clandestine CIA activities from oversight. And reporters have uncovered a network of "black sites" in Eastern Europe and elsewhere -- secret detention camps run by the CIA, where suspects are being held and brutally interrogated.
The idea that torture could be so publicly defensible -- and the news that the United States is maintaining secret facilities in former Soviet-era prisons for torturing nameless and disappeared people -- fills me with shame and horror. And while it's encouraging that John McCain, who was himself tortured as a prisoner of war, wants to make it illegal to strap naked prisoners to boards and hold them under water, electrocute them or mock-execute them, it's profoundly depressing that the discourse about torture has come to this point.
Cruelty in war may be universal: but an international code acknowledging limits on cruelty has been, until now, a fundamental part of civilization. The Geneva Conventions, adopted in 1949, put it plainly: Even in war, all persons are to be treated "humanely"; "cruel treatment and torture and outrages upon personal dignity" are prohibited. The United States and countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, 192 in all, have agreed that freedom from torture, degradation, and cruel or inhuman treatment is one of the most basic of human rights, transcending national boundaries.
As Judge Irving Kaufman of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1980 -- in a landmark case we at the Center for Constitutional Rights brought in a U.S. court against the Paraguayan general who tortured Joel Filartiga to death -- "for purposes of civil liability, the torturer has become like the pirate and slave trader before him hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind."

On Nepal, Liang e-mails to note Marty Logan's "Court Refuses to Restrain King's Gov't" (IPS):

The future of one of Nepal's best known radio stations, and the country's entire media, was hazy Friday after the Supreme Court refused to issue an order preventing the government from acting against Kantipur FM. According to sketchy reports in the local media, the court rejected a number of petitions submitted after government officials, backed by soldiers, raided the radio station and seized equipment last month.
Kantipur FM is one of many assets in a media group that has been especially critical of King Gyanendra's takeover of the government on Feb. 1. Officials justified the raid and seizure of transmission equipment by pointing to an ordinance issued days before. It amended the country's media laws to, among other things, ban news broadcasts on all FM stations. The ordinance also prohibits one entity from owning holdings among the three types of media, widens laws against criticism of the king to include the entire royal family and multiplies 10-fold the penalties for violating the laws.
After raiding the station Oct. 21, officials ordered Kantipur's owners to explain, within 24 hours, why the station should not be closed for violating the new laws. Almost immediately, the Supreme Court stayed that order but on Friday, a special panel, led by Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel, refused to extend that into an interim order, said news reports.
The decision comes as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and their supporters launched a fresh wave of protests against the government, which said it would begin to enforce a new NGO code of conduct. By mid-afternoon Friday, local media were reporting that five people had been arrested for trying to torch the code in eastern Saptari district. A protest rally was reportedly planned for later in the day in the capital Kathmandu.
The code of conduct and the media ordinance are the most visible indications that the king is going beyond the mandate he announced when he seized power on Feb. 1: to return the country to peace. Instead, it appears the monarch is attempting to reverse social changes introduced since democracy was restored here in 1990.

James in Brighton also notes a report on Nepal, "India seeks 'democratic' Nepal" (BBC):

India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked Nepal's King Gyanendra to take concrete steps towards restoring multi-party democracy in his country.
The two South Asian leaders held talks at the two-day summit of South Asian leaders in Dhaka.
The king took control of the Himalayan kingdom in February, saying the government had not done enough to quell a Maoist insurgency.
He has announced that parliamentary elections will be held by April 2007.
Opposition parties say they plan to boycott any election called by the king, because they say his government is unconstitutional.

Olive e-mails to note "Woman arrested over Jordan bombings makes TV confession" (Australia's ABC):

A woman arrested by Jordanian authorities and accused of carrying out a failed suicide mission in last week's Amman hotel bombings has given a televised confession wearing her suicide belt.
Jordanian police arrested the Iraqi woman on Sunday, saying she concealed explosives that failed to detonate but her husband managed to blow himself apart in a mission that targeted two other hotels and killed 57 people.
"My name is Sajida Mabruk Atrous Rishawi, [I was] born in 1970 in Ramadi. I entered Jordan on November 5 with falsified Iraq passports in which the name of my husband was Ali Hussein Ali and mine was Sajida Abdel Kader Latif," she said, wearing a white headscarf and a black coat.

Sasha e-mails to note Catherine Belton's "Khodorkovsky Sets Out Vision for 2020" (The Moscow Times):

Mikhail Khodorkovsky attacked President Vladimir Putin's regime in a withering missive from his east Siberian prison camp that said time was up for the "parasitic" policies of the current elite and, for the first time, presented what appeared to be his own manifesto for the presidency.
In his first major article since he was sent to serve out his sentence in the remote Chita region near the Chinese border, Khodorkovsky called for Putin to step down "not a day before nor an hour later" than the legal end of his term in 2008. He called for a "new responsible elite" to run the country in place of the bureaucrats who he said currently sought office only for the opportunity to win assets. Without a major shift toward more paternalistic, left-wing economic policies, the country is heading toward collapse, he said.
"This parasitic approach no longer works," he wrote in the article, which took up a full page in Kommersant on Friday. "The country is not capable of being competitive, and the strategic reserve of endurance and infrastructure built up from the Soviet era has run out."
Attempts by the Kremlin to justify its authoritarian rule by encouraging extremist groups would lead to "sorry" consequences and long-term instability, he said.

Gareth e-mails to note Louise Cotton's "The man who might hold the secret to defeating Aids" (The Independent of London):

The man who may hold the key to a cure for Aids was urged by doctors last night to come forward for the sake of millions of virus carriers worldwide.
The case of Andrew Stimpson, 25, who was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 2002 but found to be clear of the virus in 2003, has stunned the medical world. If doctors can establish why this happened, without treatment, it could benefit the 34.9 million virus carriers worldwide.
But Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust, which carried out the initial diagnosis tests, said Mr Stimpson has so far declined to undergo further tests with it.
A spokeswoman for the Trust said: "I can confirm that he has a positive and a negative test.
"When we became aware of his HIV-negative result we offered him further tests to help us investigate and find an explanation. So far he has declined to do so."
Mr Stimpson subsequently tried to sue the hospital, believing his initial positive test was inaccurate. But he was told there was no case to answer because both tests were correct. The Trust spokeswoman insisted there was no chance a mistake had crept into the testing system.

Pru e-mails to note "France: rage of the poor" (UK's The Socialist Worker):

Simon Assaf reports from Paris as days of rioting have engulfed French cities.
The slums of France have risen in revolt.
Young people have burned cars, and attacked police and government buildings. Their rebellion has engulfed towns and cities from the Mediterranean coast to the German border--and now threatens the survival of the government.
Night after night, rioters have confronted the forces of law and order in what the French police have labelled a "civil war". The chief of police has even called for the army to intervene.
The right wing minister of the interior, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made no secret of his presidential ambitions, has staked his political career on taming the riots. His failure to rapidly quell the violence has led to growing pressure for him to resign.
The rebellion began on Saturday 26 October. Two teenagers in the Parisian banlieue (suburb) of Clichy-sous-Bois were electrocuted when they tried to hide from police in a power substation.
Their deaths sparked off a night of rioting. On Sunday the CRS riot police flooded the area and fired tear gas into a mosque causing panic among Muslim worshippers celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The CRS attack unleashed years of pent-up anger.
In Clichy-sous-Bois and the neighbouring banlieue of Aulnay-sous-Bois the whole community rebelled.
Hanane is a young Muslim woman from Seine-Saint-Denis, which includes the sink estates of Clichy and Aulnay.
"Before, if a young man was picked up by the police, his parents would say, 'You must have done something,' or 'It’s your fault for hanging around the streets at night.' But now parents are telling their sons 'Get into the streets and defend our neighbourhood'," she said.
While the media and the politicians are blaming "vandals" for the riots, Hanane says on the first day of the riots in Clichy-sous-Bois the whole community was behind the youths. "During the height of the riot both old and young were leaning over their balconies pelting the police with anything to hand."
The banlieues of Seine-Saint-Denis have come to represent the belts of misery and grinding poverty that exist on the edges of many towns and cities across France.
In some areas of Clichy-sous-Bois half the population are unemployed. This is an area with no station, by-passed by all the major roads and bus routes through Paris.
Antoine is a teacher who has worked in the run-down schools of Seine-Saint-Denis for seven years. "The sons and daughters of Arab and African immigrants face terrible discrimination," he said. "Often their CVs would be set aside simply because of their names.
"This racism has bred despair and these youngsters find it difficult to find a route out of poverty. "Meanwhile they face daily harassment by the police, especially from the anti-criminal brigade, or Bac, plainclothes policemen who rule the banlieues like an army of occupation."
"The Bac are like cowboys," said Hanane. "They are the hotheads of the police. They hang around the entrances to tower blocks harassing any youth they see. They are cruel and violent.
"They stop you and ask for your ID papers. If you say anything you get a slap in the mouth. If you resist you get a beating and end up in jail. One lad I know was stopped ten times in one day by the same policemen.
"They knew who he was and they knew he had done nothing but they just provoked him then they pounced on him. This is not an isolated experience. This is unfortunately the daily reality for many people."
Through the first week of November the government's response to the troubles was mass arrests and increased repression.
Over 1,000 CRS riot police descended on Seine-Saint-Denis in a massive act of intimidation, but the focus shifted to other towns and cities.
Over the following ten days riots spread to Marseille, Lille, Dijon, and Saint-Etienne. Even the resorts of Nice and Cannes were touched by the revolt.
The increased repression has fuelled deep mistrust and anger among the peoples in the banlieues, Hanane said. "The Bac act with impunity, they know that if they shoot you nothing will happen to them.
"It is for this reason that the two young lads tried to hide in an electricity substation—they were terrified of the police."
The nightly rioting has almost become a personal battle between Sarkozy and the young "casseurs", or vandals, as they are known. "This scum," Sarkozy declared in one of his provocative visits to a banlieue last week, "will be washed off the streets."
For the youth, the tally of cars torched or buildings attacked has become an affirmation that Sarkozy and the police no longer control their estates.
"But the young are fighting on their own doorstep," warned Hanane. "The political parties have abandoned them. It is easy to say that these lads are simply destroying their communities, and although I think it is wrong just to torch cars, no one is providing them with an alternative."
Hanane said that the "community leaders" have no solution to the despair.
"Now the rebellion is not just against the police, but also against the elders in the community, whose only answer is to invite the chief of police and right wing politicians for 'dialogue'. But it is these people who are behind the racism. Why are we having a dialogue with them?"
She added that Sarkozy was appealing to supporters of the fascist Front National in his bid to win the 2007 presidential election, and that he was sending the Bac, the "political children" of Front National leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, onto her estate.
Aziz al-Jawari runs the Tawhid cultural centre in Seine-Saint-Denis. He dismissed out of hand any suggestion that the young rioters were driven by fundamentalist ideas, a frequent accusation in the media.
"They say we are trying to build an 'alternative France', and the banlieues have become hotbeds of Islamic radicalism," he said.
"They say the Arab youth are under the control of 'foreign forces'. Their logic runs: 'Islam means terrorism, so all Muslims are terrorists.'
"The young are not rioting because they are immigrants, or because of Palestine, the war on Iraq or even Islam. They are rioting because they are French.
"Their parents may have been immigrants who came to live in a new country.
"They expected little and received even less. But this generation were born here and went to school here. French is their mother tongue.
"They are angry because even though they are French, they are treated as second class citizens."
"We don't live in the banlieues out of choice," said Hanane. "Our parents did not come here and say, 'We want to be poor and live in ghettos.' We are forced into these areas by the deep racism in French society.
"I don’t travel into the centre of Paris because I wear a veil and I'm sick of the dirty looks I get. There is an unofficial curfew for young blacks and Arabs.
"If they are caught in the centre at night they will be get trouble from the police. So we have no choice, we have to stay in our areas.
"It is the racists who want a divided France, not the immigrants or the children of immigrants.
"No matter how many generations have lived here, we cannot change the colour of our skin. We cannot become white, so for them we will never be acceptable."
The following should be read alongside this article:

» Despair behind the French riots
» Unrest shows the need to resist the elite’s agenda
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