Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Judge Napolitano speaking to the un-Constitutionality of the ‘Super Congress’ being established by the debt ceiling rape and pillage deal now being sent to the Senate for approval. For those that do not know the details of this hidden goodie in the bill, six republicans and six democrats will form a commission to come up with $1.5 Trillion of cuts with the real congress only being allowed an up or down vote on their recommendations. How’s that for representative government? Still think the Tea Party and Ron Paul are the crazy extremist terrorists or that the Tenth Amendment Center’s ‘Nullification’ movement is unnecessary? Still think there is a two party system operating the country and fighting over issues?
Tea Party grassroots members have believed for well over a week that the whole kabuki dance was cover for getting this ‘Super Congress’ established. The fall of the republic will happen when it passes the Senate as the Council of Governors and Obama’s Rural Council have already been established by executive order. Hmmmm..........If he really wanted to destroy America would he do anything different?Ht:LogisticsMonster.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan 4.8 , Indonesia 5.2! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- "Goodbye Constitution?" - Super Congress Getting Even More Super Powers In Debt Deal.(Blacklistednews).Last weekend, HuffPost reported on the extraordinary powers being delegated to the emerging super Congress, but most beltway media has largely dismissing the group as just another Washington commission.On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sought to disabuse everyone of that notion.“The joint committee — there are no constraints,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “They can look at any program we have in government, any program. … It has the ability to look at everything.”“Let me emphasize the joint committee,” McConnell said Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “In the early stages of this discussion, the press was talking about another commission. This is not a commission. This is a powerful, joint committee with a equal number of Republicans and Senate — equal number of Republicans and Democrats, and, to make recommendation back to the Senate and House by Thanksgiving of this year for an up or down vote. Think of the base closing legislation that we passed a few years ago for an up or down vote in the Senate.”The sticking point, said McConnell and sources, was that Republicans were insisting on “triggers” that would automatically fire at beneficiaries of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare if the super Congress doesn’t act.The 50-50 compromise appears to have resolved the impasse, but rank-and-file House and Senate members still had to sign on. And the defense cuts — brokered the White House — should have the consequence of enlisting defense lobbyists to push for entitlement cuts to stave off their own reductions.If seniors didn’t have enough to worry about, they could now be on the opposite side of Washington’s most entrenched lobby.The progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org also fired out a statement condemning the reported framework reached between the White House and congressional Republicans, including the proposed super Congress and its triggers.“The reason Republicans want a “Super Congress,” especially one that triggers automatic cuts if it fails to reach agreement, is because it would let them slash Medicare and other vital services with no accountability,” said MoveOn.org Executive Director Justin Ruben. “It is extremely troubling that it now appears that some Democrats are willing to give in to Republican demands to make this already disastrous plan worse for working families.If both chambers of Congress swallow the scheme, the next vital component will be which legislators are picked to be the all-powerful members of the budget board.“It will be essential to choose members with minds willing to consider every option, even when the options are tough pills to swallow for both parties,” Reid warned. “Cooperation is the only way forward. Compromise is the only way forward.”Hmmmm..........."Compromise" another word for betraying what you once believed in.No tea party members in the 'super congress'?Read the full story here.
- Fiscal Conservatives Barred from Supercommittee.(WeeklyStandard).The debt ceiling deal will pass the Senate early this afternoon. No suspense there. But the vote will be worth watching for another reason: Three Republican Senate sources tell TWS that senators who vote against the deal will be ineligible to serve on the so-called “supercommittee” for deficit reduction that the legislation creates.While there’s certain logic to such a policy, it could be self-defeating. Excluding those who vote against the debt deal will ensure that some of the most fiscally conservative members of the Senate Republican caucus, including most of its freshmen, will be reading about the committee’s activities in the newspaper rather than guiding its decisions. Among those who have already declared their opposition to the deal: libertarian-leaning senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul; Jim DeMint, the aggressive fiscal hawk from South Carolina; conservative reformers Ron Johnson from Wisconsin and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania; the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions; and Florida’s Marco Rubio, already one of the highest-profile conservatives in Congress.More worrisome for conservatives, however, is that private whip counts in the Senate found that some 20 Republicans expressed support for the proposals that came out of the Gang of Six. And while many of the components of that plan have merit as individual policy proposals, the package involves compromises on taxes anathema to most conservatives. Picking a Gang of Six member – or supporter – would further antagonize conservatives skeptical of the debt ceiling deal.There’s the problem. If, say, a dozen of the strongest fiscal conservatives vote against the deal, the pool of Republicans that can be expected to hold the line on taxes shrinks very quickly. And if a key Republican objective for the committee is to block tax increases, the exclusion of these strong fiscal conservatives makes meeting that goal more difficult.Mitch McConnell, who will make the selections, isn’t worried. He told Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto yesterday that the likelihood of tax hikes coming out of the committee is “pretty low.”“What I can pretty certainly say to the American people, the chances of any kind of tax increase passing with this, with the appointees of John Boehner and I, are going to put in there are pretty low,” said McConnell. He added: “I’m comfortable we aren’t going to raise taxes coming out of this joint committee.” Hmmmmmm..........Woooow look a unicorn!Read the full story here.
- Fareed Zakaria: Tea Party ‘Fundamentally Anti-Democratic,‘ Will ’Blow the Country Up’.(TheBlaze).CNN host Fareed Zakaria railed against the Tea Party Friday night, hours after the Senate blocked the House Republican debt plan. Speaking on “Anderson Cooper 360,“ Zakaria accused the Tea Party of being ”fundamentally anti-democratic“ and guilty of ”an extraordinary act of hostage-taking.”“Instead of accepting some compromise that can get through the democratic process, what they‘re saying is we’ll blow up the country if you don’t listen to us,” Zakaria said. “We’ll hold hostage the credit of the United States, the good standing of the United States and we’ll blow it up….it’s an extraordinary act of hostage-taking.”Agreeing with Charles Krauthammer’s reference to the strategy as “counter-constitutional,” Zakaria took it a step further, charging the Tea Party doesn’t “understand the workings of democracy.”“They have not been elected dictators of the United States, they have been elected to one house of one branch of the American government,” Zakaria said.Likening the current fiscal state to a “kind of national emergency almost like a war,” Zakaria hoped President Barack Obama would just fix the situation unilaterally.“I hope that President Obama is seriously exploring the possibility of invoking the 14th Amendment,” Zakaria said, adding that he thinks the Supreme Court would allow it given the “level of dysfunction.”Hmmmmm.......Flashback - CNN's Fareed Zakaria said on Thursday that he has been having regular discussions with President Obama about national security and foreign policy. He then posted a "clarification" of his statement on Saturday.Asked by Eliot Spitzer on Thursday's "In The Arena" if Obama has been calling him up lately, Zakaria said, "mostly it's been face-to-face meetings...usually organized by Tom Donilon, the national security adviser."Advising the President on the Teaparty"?Read the full story here.
- Obama's Top Four Power Grabs.The president stretches executive power to expand the warfare state and the regulatory state.(Reason).Candidates never keep their promises once in office. But even by the unlovely standards of his political peers, President Obama has pulled a rather impressive switcheroo from the anti-Bush to Bush-plus. He ran on a platform to undo President George W. Bush’s legacy and restore government accountability, even signing the pledge from the Reason Foundation (where I work) to “fully and robustly” work toward “open, transparent, and accountable government principles.”Instead, he has expanded executive power to czar-like proportions on fronts where even Bush feared to tread. Progressive crazies such as The New York Times’ columnist Paul Krugman are chiding Obama for being squeamish about using his executive authority to raise the debt ceiling, choosing, instead, to negotiate cuts in government spending—a crime and an abomination in their book—with a Tea Party-cowed GOP. But the 14th Amendment gives Congress, not the president, the authority on debt-related matters. Doing an end run around the amendment would have precipitated a constitutional crisis that the Obama presidency might well have been unable to weather.But the fact of the matter is that when Obama can get away with deploying his executive power to accomplish his agenda, he does so without pause or hesitation, constitutional niceties such as checks-and-balances be damned. His many power grabs are worthy of a book. But below are four of the truly unprecedented ones, two that expand the war state and two that expand the regulatory state.
1. War-making powers.
2. Civil liberties.
3. Legislating through bureaucrats.
4. Killing the auto industry through regulatory fiat.
Reportedly, Obama used to omit the separation-of-powers doctrine when he taught constitutional law. But he must have also skipped school when the doctrine was covered because he evidently doesn’t get it. Bush was a bad student. What’s Obama’s excuse?Hmmmmm.........He wants to "CHANGE" America?Read the full story here.
- 'For God and country - Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo': The words the SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden radioed home.(DailyMail).When he pulled the trigger on his silenced rifle in a darkened bedroom in Pakistan and shot a tall, unarmed man with a straggly beard in a prayer cap and shalwar kameez, he ended a nine-year manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, the man who claimed 2,973 lives on September 11, 2001.But no-one - not even President Barack Obama - will ever know the name of that SEAL, nor of the comrade who wrapped Bin Laden's wives in a huge bear hug and dragged them aside in case they were wearing suicide bomb vests, knowing he would absorb most of the blast and save the men behind him.For the first time, the full fascinating details of that world-changing raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan have been revealed, from the CostCo sandwiches the White House ordered for the Situation Room to the SEAL's first words after he killed the world's most-wanted man: 'For God and country - Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.'According to the article in this week's New Yorker, it also emerged 'there was never any question of detaining or capturing' Bin Laden - even though the White House always insisted the terror leader would not have died if he'd surrendered.It also revealed that the SEALs were not wearing cameras on their helmets, and Mr Obama and his colleagues spent nearly 25 minutes anxiously waiting to hear from the 23 SEALs, one translator and a Belgian Malinois dog named Cairo who were engaged in the covert raid to kill the Al Qaeda mastermind.As they waited, Vice President Joe Biden nervously fingered his rosary. After the first dramatic words from Abbottabad, the SEAL added: 'Geronimo E.K.I.A - enemy killed in action.' Geronimo was the codename for a hit on Bin Laden.Read the full story here.
- Ramadan - the 'holy Month'.(IslamVersusEurope).President Barack Obama has sent his greetings to Muslims around the world for Ramadan, the holiest month on the Islamic calendar.In a statement Monday, the president said Ramadan is a time for deep reflection and sacrifice, and that it also draws families and communities together for prayers and iftars - shared meals that break the daybreak-to-sunset fast.A fascinating study was conducted in Algeria during Ramadan in the year 2007. The heads of various large public and private organisations, such as hospital managers, police commissioners, fire station chiefs, company directors, etc. were approached and asked to provide statistics on notable changes that occurred during Ramadan compared to other months. The results, shown below, prove that Ramadan is a menace to the public weal. There should be immediate follow-up studies to see whether these results are replicated among Muslim colonist communities living in western nations. If the results are corroborated here, too, politicians and the media should stop subsidising Ramadan events, and stop pretending that Ramadan is some joyous public occasion. Instead, there should be public recognition of the fact that Ramadan represents a clear and present danger to both Muslims and everyone who comes into contact with them.
Hospital emergency services
- Work accidents: + 150% compared to yearly average
- Medical emergencies: + 300%
- Domestic accidents: + 250% compared to other months of the year
- Fights and disputes causing injuries: +400%
- Traffic accidents: + 42%
- Food poisoning: + 39%
- Deterioration and complications of chronic illnesses: +80%
- Death: +18%
- Petty crime: +220%
- Fights, disputes, battery, assaults: + 320%
- Women and children beaten in the home during Ramadan: +120%
- Number of criminal complaints filed: +40%
- Offences relating to the sale and consumption of drugs and other narcotics: +96%
- Car theft, fraud, forgery and use of forgeries: +180%.
- Traffic accidents: +52%
- Fights and public order offences: +320%
- Women and children beaten in the home during Ramadan: +72%
- Serious work accidents, fires: +20%
- Physical attacks with cuts and injuries, battery: +160%
- Thefts and fraud: +42%
Company directors, public and private sector
- Absenteeism in the workplace: +120%
- Output: – 62%
- Lateness: + 132%
- Total absences at work during the month of Ramadan (various kinds of leave) + 240%
- Work accidents: +72%
- Conflicts at work: + 32%
Price and hygiene monitoring services
- Illegal and unjustified increases in prices: +420%
- Illegal or unauthorised commercial activity: +340%
- Lack of hygiene in large shopping spaces: +140%
- Products unfit for consumption: +540%
- Products of dubious or unknown origin: + 640%
- Commercial activity not compliant with corporate status: 167%
- Merchandise fraud and labelling problems: 212%
- Unauthorised sale on public highway: +620%
- On-site interventions: +520%
- Number of accidents: + 410%
- Domestic accidents: +295%
- Work accidents: +156%
- Number of evacuations to hospital casualty department: +245%
- Number of injured: + 214%
- Number of dead: +80%
- Telephone calls to emergency and safety services: +520%.
Hmmmm.......More global studies would be welcome.Read the full story here.
- Arab Regimes Fear Ramadan will Be Month of Violence.(IsraelNationalNews).Arab governments in the Middle East are preparing for increased tensions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which may reignite the smoldering flames of uprisings that swept the region this year."Throughout history, Ramadan has been the month of revolutions and victory," Abdullah al-Amadi, director of the Qatar-based Islamonline website, explained to AFP. "I think it will inspire the youths of the Arab Spring to complete their struggles against injustice and tyranny."Amadi said the Arab struggle could peak in the final ten days of Ramadan, believed to be the holiest of the month.Authorities in Syria fear that the "Taraweeh" nightly Ramadan prayers will transform every day into a Friday, the Muslim holy day which is also the customary day for violence and mayhem.AFP quoted a Facebook group called The Syrian Revolution 2011, which it called "a driving force of the protest movement," as writing: "The regime is afraid of Ramadan and the Taraweeh prayers," amid calls by Syrian activists for protests every night until dawn.In Libya, a rebel fighting Muammar Qaddafi vowed to fast during the fighting: "If it's war and we're tired, we'll eat. But if we remain in a defensive position, we will fast. God is with us," said Hatem al-Jadi, 24, in Gualish, south of Tripoli.Protesters camped out at a square Yemen's capital San'a since February say they are determined to revive their movement during Ramadan and finish the task of overthrowing President Ali Abdullah Saleh. "This will be the month of change, especially since Ali Abdullah Saleh is not in Yemen," said Walid al-Omari, an activist from Yemen's "Youth Revolution" group.Other Arab governments are closely monitoring the prices of goods, which usually soar during Ramadan, in order to keep their people happy and unrebellious.In Egypt, the government is taking measures to maintain the subsidy system that keeps very low prices for basic foodstuffs such as bread. In Saudi Arabia, the ministry of commerce has forced dairy producers to reconsider their decision to increase prices, and may cut the price of imported barley to prevent an increase in meat prices. And in the neighboring United Arab Emirates, the president has ordered that rice be subsidized during Ramadan.Hmmmmm.......The religion of peace.Read the full story here.
- "Messieurs : les Talibans. Tirez les premiers?"Afghanistan: US May Halt Attacks Next Month Out Of Respect For Ramadan.(BigPeace).KABUL, Afghanistan — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has until mid-October to submit a plan for the initial withdrawal of American troops, decisions that may hinge in part on whether the latest surge in attacks continues through the holy month of Ramadan.Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says commanders are hearing that Taliban leaders may leave their fighters in the country to try to regain lost ground during the Islamic holy period, which begins Monday.Speaking to reporters traveling with him in Afghanistan, Mullen said Marine Gen. John Allen, who has just taken over as top U.S. commander here, needs time to evaluate the combat, training and other requirements before presenting a detailed withdrawal plan.Mullen’s comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Allen to structure the planned withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year, as announced by President Obama.“The next month will be very telling,” said Mullen, noting that often the Taliban leaders will travel back to Pakistan for Ramadan. It’s unclear at this point what they will do, or if there will be any decline in the fighting.A Western official said that while Taliban leaders have pushed for an increase in violence through Ramadan, information suggests there will be some spikes but that they don’t have the ability to carry off a sustained surge. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said some leaders and fighters had already left Afghanistan to cross the border into Pakistan, but it is too soon to tell how many may stay.Mullen, who arrived Friday in Afghanistan, met Saturday with commanders in southern Afghanistan. He was traveling in the east Sunday.He said that so far commanders are saying they are seeing some signs of improved security, but his comments came amid a series of spectacular deadly attacks across the south, including a bombing Sunday outside the main gate of the police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah. The suicide bomber killed at least 11 people in a city where Afghans had only recently taken control of security.Hmmmm.....After 'courageous restraint' 'courageous morons'?Read the full 'story' here.
- 64 Percent of U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan Happened on Obama’s Watch.(Hapblog). At least 1,019 U.S. troops have died in and around Afghanistan since President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, according to CNSNews.com’s count, which runs through July 31, 2011.Those 1,019 deaths represent about 64 percent of the total 1,588 deaths that have occurred since Oct. 7, 2001, when U.S. forces began fighting in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime that was harboring al Qaeda. At least 32 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan last month.So far this year, from January through the end of July, there have been at least 230 U.S. military deaths, 35 fewer then the tally from the same period last year.The 497 American soldiers who died in Afghanistan in 2010 make that year the deadliest since the war started in October 2001.The majority of American fatalities in the Afghanistan war have been combat-related. Of the 1,019 deaths under President Obama’s watch, at least 932 (about 91 percent) have been combat-related.Hmmmm......."Courageous restraint"?Read the full story here.
- Interview with Tea Party Co-Founder Mark Meckler.'We Have Compromised Our Way Into Disaster'.(Spiegel).Mark Meckler, 49, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots in the United States, talks to SPIEGEL about the US debt ceiling, the radical right's uncompromising fight against the national debt and the "complete economic disaster" he claims President Barack Obama has created.
SPIEGEL: Speaker Boehner failed several times to rally Republicans around his plans. Does he need to go?
Meckler: We have polled our membership and 74 percent of our members in our 3,500 chapters said it is time to look at new leadership.
SPIEGEL: And should he be replaced by a Tea Party representative?
Meckler: The ultimate goal is to have somebody in the House who is fiscally responsible. We have changed the debate in the United States, which is a pretty radical thing to do in such a short period of time. The question back then was: "How much more will we spend next year, not how much can we cut?" But you will see much more profound change in 2012.
SPIEGEL: Who could be the Tea Party candidate in the next presidential election?
Meckler: The movement has no clear preference. Our members are taking a cool and careful look at all the candidates on the Republican side. I am actually glad people are not more excited and blown away. The last time we saw that on the campaign trail, the country got Barack Obama in the White House -- and that led to complete economic disaster.Read the full interview here.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to negotiate a border with a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 cease-fire lines that mark off the West Bank.(CNSNews).JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli TV station has disclosed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to negotiate a border with a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 cease-fire lines that mark off the West Bank.A senior Israeli official said he would not deny the report.Up to now Netanyahu refused to accept the formula, insisting that Israel would not withdraw from all of the West Bank. The report said Netanyahu agrees to use the cease-fire line as a basis, while trading territory with the Palestinians to allow Israel to keep its main West Bank settlements, in line with a proposal by President Barack Obama.The official spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because contacts are ongoing.The official said Netanyahu insists the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian officials said Monday they plan to begin mass marches against Israel's occupation of the West Bank on Sept. 20, the eve of a largely symbolic U.N. vote expected to recognize their independence.Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo said leaders hope to attract millions, and the protest will be the first of a prolonged effort. He said the campaign would be called "Palestine 194," since the Palestinians hope to become the 194th member of the United Nations."The appeal to the U.N. is a battle for all Palestinians, and in order to succeed, it needs millions to pour into streets," he said.With peace talks stalled, the Palestinians have decided to ask the U.N. to endorse their independence. They plan to ask the powerful Security Council, whose decisions are legally binding, for approval as a full member of the world body.The U.S. opposes the Palestinian initiative and has signaled it will use its veto power in the council to defeat the measure.That would force the Palestinians to turn to the much larger General Assembly, where they enjoy widespread support. While a vote there would be symbolic, the Palestinians believe any international endorsement will isolate Israel and improve their position if negotiations resume.Israeli-Palestinian talks have been stalled for nearly three years, and the Palestinians refuse to resume negotiations unless Israel halts settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — captured areas claimed by the Palestinians for a future state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the U.N. move and says all issues, including settlements and the borders of a future Palestinian state, must be solved through negotiations. U.S. mediators have been unable to find a formula to restart talks.While Abed Rabbo said all Palestinian demonstrations would be nonviolent, Israeli security officials have repeatedly expressed concern that mass unrest could quickly turn violent.Israel's military chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, warned a parliamentary committee this week that "there is potential for a confrontation in September."He said the military expects "many thousands of people to conduct a quiet and nonviolent protest" that would move toward Israeli settlements or Israel proper. "The military will not be able to place the settlements at risk in such cases," he was quoted as saying.Gantz's comments were relayed by a participant in Sunday's meeting. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the testimony was in a closed session.Israeli leaders have appealed to the Palestinians to drop their U.N. initiative. Abed Rabbo said Monday that Netanyahu scuttled a secret meeting last week meant to head off the looming diplomatic showdown.He said Israeli President Shimon Peres called his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, and asked to meet, promising to bring some creative ideas for defusing the crisis.Abed Rabbo said Abbas traveled to neighboring Jordan for the secret meeting last Thursday, but at the last minute, Peres called to cancel, saying that Netanyahu opposed his ideas.Both Peres' and Netanyahu's offices declined comment.Read the full story here.
- Turkish female bodybuilding champion victim of battering, files for divorce.(HurriyetDaily).Işıl Okan Aktan, a journalist and Turkey's bodybuilding, fitness and wellness champion, has filed for divorce from her husband on the grounds of domestic violence, daily Hürriyet reported on its website.Aktan claimed her husband, İbrahim Okan, assaulted her and threatened to throw her out their apartment.The couple was arguing about household finances when Okan threatened to throw his wife out on the street on the grounds that he had paid the rent, the report said."Then he pulled my hair and threw me to the ground," Aktan said. "He sat on me and started hitting me on the neck. When I got up, he told me to retaliate, to use my muscle. I carry a female spirit, I couldn't have hit the man I married."A woman is never supposed to surpass a man, it seems," Okan said. "Not in muscle, not in spirit, not in money."Okan said her husband had slapped her several times in the past and she only had put up with him because of their child.A march will be staged on Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue at 6 p.m. Monday to show support for Aktan and other victims of domestic violence.Hmmmmm.......A study has found that 42 per cent of Turkish women suffer physical or sexual violence at the hands of their husband or partner.Read the full story here.
- China blames unrest on Muslim ‘terrorists’.(HurriyetDaily).China on Monday blamed Muslim separatist “terrorists” trained in neighboring Pakistan for an outbreak of deadly violence and imposed heavy security in a bid to prevent further unrest.“The heads of the group had learned skills of making explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the terrorist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang,” the online statement said. Nineteen people were killed in two separate incidents in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar over the weekend in the latest wave of violence to hit the restive Xinjiang region, home to a mainly Muslim Uighur minority. The Kashgar local government said in a statement on its website the assailants behind one attack that left six dead had learned explosive-making skills in terrorist-run camps in Pakistan.The attackers adhered to“extremist religious ideology” and advocated “jihad,” the statement also said. Chinese authorities have accused the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, which wants an independent homeland for Xinjiang’s Uighurs, of orchestrating attacks in the region on many occasions.The U.S. and the U.N. have listed the ETIM as a “terrorist” organization, and China has previously said it has operations in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. Many of Xinjiang’s eight million Turkic-speaking Uighurs are unhappy with what they say has been decades of political and religious repression, and the unwanted immigration of China’s dominant Han ethnic group.Meanwhile, residents of Kashgar reported that the streets had reopened after a lockdown on Sunday, but remained quiet with a heavy police presence.Read the full story here.
- An Italian woman in Kuwait takes a lift, gets raped in Kuwait.(Emirates24/7).An Italian woman in Kuwait made a grave mistake when she accepted a lift by two seemingly gentlemen after her car failed to start. Instead of dropping her at home, they took her to an apartment and raped her.The unnamed woman told police she accepted the lift after the two tried to repair her vehicle and politely offered to take her home in their “luxury” car.In the car, their behavior suddenly changed as they threatened to kill her if she screams and took her to an apartment, where they took turns in raping her.“Police tried to locate the apartment but the woman said she does not know the area as she is a newcomer to Kuwait,” Alanba newspaper said on Tuesday.“They then put her in a police car and roamed through the capital…when they reached Al-Raqi area, she told them the flat is likely somewhere there.”Hmmmm.........Read the full story here.
- Minsk bombing suspects risk death penalty.(HurriyetDaily).The two suspects arrested over the deadly April bombing in the Minsk metro could face the death penalty after being charged with terrorism, Belarus' deputy chief prosecutor said on Monday."The maximum punishment envisaged under the grave charge of terrorism is the death penalty," Andrei Shved told reporters, for the first time raising the possibility the accused could face capital punishment.Belarus is the only country in Europe to actively employ the death penalty and local media reports said last month that two people convicted of a triple murder had been executed.The strike on the Minsk metro killed 15 people and wounded dozens more, in by far the deadliest attack in the country in the two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union.Shved confirmed that the authorities arrested two men – named as Kovalyev and Konovalov -- on suspicion of being behind the bombing as well as more minor attacks in Minsk in 2008 and the city of Vitebsk in 2005.He announced that the preliminary investigation was now over and the authorities had charged the two men with terrorism. The first names of the suspects were not given."The accused have started to acquaint themselves with the charges and according to the law this will take a month. Afterwards the case will go to court," Shved said.He said it appeared the two men acted alone and did not have any further sponsors who could have ordered the crimes. Their criminal activities started in 2000, Shved added.The Minsk metro bombings stunned Belarus and coincided with a massive government crackdown on the opposition following strongman President Alexander Lukashenko's controversial re-election victory in December.The authorities have never explained in detail the motivations of the suspects in carrying out the bombings but some officials have pointed to nationalist extremism.The state border committee of Belarus has confirmed the self-confessed perpetrator of last month's massacre in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, visited the country in March 2005.But Shved denied any link to the Norway attack, saying there was "no such information" and any such speculation was "journalistic rubbish".Belarus' continued use of the death penalty has earned it international condemnation but is has so far shown no sign of imposing any moratorium.The state-run Vecherny Grodno newspaper on July 20 reported that Oleg Grishkovets, 28, and Andrei Burdyka, 29, were executed by shooting for a triple murder. The pair were residents of the northwestern city of Grodno.Executions in Belarus are carried out with a shot to the back of the head."If confirmed, these latest executions are another important setback to the Council of Europe's aspiration to bring Belarus closer to European values," the secretary general of the pan-European rights body, Thorbjoern Jagland, said after the report.Britain's Minister for Europe David Lidington said he "was gravely concerned to learn that Belarus has recently carried out the death penalty on two of its citizens."Lukashenko, once labeled Europe's last dictator by the United States, has faced increasing isolation by the West after the elections but responded by jailing rivals and cracking down on opposition protests.Read the full story here.
- Saudi Arabia - Lingerie shops dragging feet over deadline to hire women.(SaudiGazette).JEDDAH – Lingerie stores are dragging their feet on an official deadline to avoid embarrassing female shoppers by replacing their male sales clerks with women, saying the change will create staff problems, lose them customers and cost them money. Women in the Kingdom still have to buy their intimate clothing from male salesmen, despite several petitions and two government decrees ordering businesses to hire women.In an effort to enforce the regulations, the Labor Ministry threatened on July 11 to close any lingerie shops that failed to replace all male staff within six months.“We read about the order in newspapers but we did not receive any instructions (from management)... This plan can work but not at the speed they are expecting. The women have to be trained from scratch,” said Tarek, a store manager at a lingerie shop.Shops that hire females must bear the cost of training them, cover their display windows to block the view into the stores and hire a male security guard, for at least 3,500 riyals ($930) a month, during work hours to keep men from entering.One of Saudi Arabia’s leading lingerie brands, Nayomi, made the switch after the first government decree was issued in 2004, staffing their 45 stores with female clerks only to revert to male employees a year later.“In 2004, we implemented the order and hired women... we faced a lot of problems,” said a manager at Nayomi, who asked not to be identified. “The experience lasted about a year and we lost a lot of money, over 10 million riyals.”Poor sales owing to a lack of male customers, the high cost of ensuring security, the inability to lure customers with a window display and the reluctance of some women employees to work late shifts in a country where shops stay open until 11 P.M. led to the losses.The Nayomi manager estimated that a switch to women only staff now would cost over SR2 million.Pressure to hire women is driven by growing unemployment among the 18 million Saudis. Unemployment reached 10 percent in 2010 but for women the rate is estimated around 28 percent.While many lingerie shops are not taking the threat too seriously, a small number have begun preparations.The Fawaz Abdulaziz Al-Hokair Group, which has 400 male employees in its three lingerie brands throughout the Kingdom, has started training 200 females to take over their stores soon.“We have joined with a private company to train the women. There are no trained women here because they did not work in that field before,” said Ahmad Sheikh Al-Shabab, brand manager of La Senza, one of Al-Hokair’s lingerie brands.Read the full story here.
- Women’s movement activists release statement in protest to increase in violence against women in Iran.(Persian2English).Please read and sign on to show your support.
Physical and sexual violence against women in Iran, including violence perpetrated by state security forces, is rapidly increasing. News releases in official media, which usually censor such topics, have surprisingly reported on incidents of gang rape and assaults against women. Examples include incidents in the provinces of Isfahan (where 10 women were gang raped by 14 men), Golestan (where a village doctor was raped and assaulted by 4 men and a young girl was murdered by 2 men), and Khorasan. Reports of similar developments continue to emerge.
Following the attack and rape of a group of women, who had come together for a family gathering, in a private garden in Khomeini Shahr, by a group of thugs, the residents of the town demonstrated in front of the courthouse demanding that officials find and prosecute the perpetrators. However, the judicial officials not only remained silent, but through public declarations began to blame the victims. The local Friday prayer leader said: “the victims of rape were not proper Muslims either.” Even the head of Isfahan’s intelligence service, which is ostensibly responsible for the safety of the citizens, announced: “perhaps these women would not have been harassed in the garden if they had at least kept their veils on.” A similar comment was made by an official at Mashhad University, following a rape and assault of a young female student. The University official said: “a young woman has to maintain her hijab in order to remain safe and to avoid such incidents.”
Such statements stem from a patriarchal mentality that denies men’s responsibility for their sexual behavior. Men are seen as creatures with uncontrollable sexual desires, who are not bound by any moral sense and who could not care less about the consent of the other side. According to this mentality, the only way to prevent such incidents is to make sure that men are not sexually stimulated. This means that all responsibility for male sexual action and aggression paradoxically lies with women. However, rape occurs all over the world, regardless of the way women are dressed and even when they are fully covered in a veil. Devoid of any sympathy, government officials heartlessly pour salt on the wounds of rape victims with such comments, and in essence encourage a culture of assault and violence against women. Along these lines too, they do not describe rape as a crime but as a common sexual response to female sexuality inherent in male nature.
As feminist and anti-rape movements around the world have shown, rape is a common feature of patriarchal societies, which maintain male domination through violence against and intimidation of oppressed groups, especially women. Rape is nothing new, neither in Iran, nor in other countries. In Iran, however, the recent reports of rape and sexual assault reveal the hypocrisy of a State that attempts to present itself as a “model Islamic society” adhering to ethical and religious values. Moreover, rape is being used as a political tool of repression by the state’s security apparatus. For many years reports and testimonies have shown the prevalence of physical, sexual, psychological violence and torture against political prisoners in many of Iran’s prisons. In recent years, during and after the mass protests against Ahmadinejad’s contested re-election (June 2009), rape was used as a systematic tool to intimidate green movement protestors and other dissenters both women and men. The Kahrizak prison tragedy, the attack on Tehran University’s student dormitory, and the harassments in the basement of the Interior Ministry building are among the few incidents that were publicly disclosed. Several courageous rape survivors have broken the silence. The recent video of the testimony of a 22 year old woman released by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is one example.
These rapes have been occurring at the same time as a broader crackdown against women’s social participation is underway, intent on preventing gender equality. Reintroduction of 1980s’ policies such as gender segregation in universities, strict control over students’ dress code, applied gender quotas in academic fields to limit women’s admission, and a requirement that female students study in their home cities or regions encompass only some of the recent attacks against women. They demonstrate the extent of misogyny of the Iranian state authorities.
Police violence against women has also taken a more public face. Women have been targeted for violence on the streets under the guise of morality and under a policy called “guidance and discipline,” which includes programs such as “fighting against those inappropriately dressed,” “chastity,” or “heightening moral security.” Police have targeted, violated and humiliated women while labeling them as “improperly dressed or poorly covered.” Violence and rape committed by the police, security officers, basijis and plainclothes security forces have been supplemented by thugs disguised as government agents attacking, intimidating and raping women. Even religious leaders have been using official podiums at places such as the Friday prayers, to express their anger towards women, describing them as “biting and devouring” creatures. The regime’s insistence on maintaining an Islamic facade for the country manifests mainly through forcing hijab on women. The Islamic dress code for women is not a religious but a political symbol of sovereignty of the Islamic state, which the regime wants to maintain at the price of sexual and physical violence against women. Different fractions of the regime, regardless of their internal conflicts, come together over their hostility toward women.However, these policies have been ineffective and have led to women’s increased resistance to police violence.
As women and women’s rights activists, we are protesting against systematic violence, constant insults and humiliation, and the blaming of victims for acts of sexual violence against them, by government authorities. We insist on our right to choose our clothing.
Instead of worrying about controlling women’s style of dress or their hair, we call on all Iranian authorities and responsible institutions, such as the judicial and security forces, to take their responsibilities to ensure the life and security of Iranian citizens seriously who are constantly being subject to threats and violence.We call on the judicial and security authorities in Iran to be accountable with respect to the systematic sexual violence and rape of female and male prisoners being carried out in state prisons.We call on judicial and security authorities as well as all religious leaders who insult women and accuse them of being guilty of provoking sexual assault, to stop these destructive accusations and use their same podiums for expressing apologies.Victims of violence are in urgent need of medical care as well as the emotional and social support of the entire community. They are not responsible for the violence they have suffered. We therefore call on medical and social work professionals as well as the entire citizenry to treat victims of rape with sympathy and to support them in their attempt to return to their normal lives.We ask Mr. Ahmad Shahid, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, to call attention to discrimination and violence against women in Iran and pay his respect to them by arranging meetings with women activists and rape survivors on his visit to the country.As a first step, while protesting the recent escalation of violence against women in Iran, we, as Iranian women, affirm our solidarity with our sisters in the region and the rest of the world and with the global campaigns for ending sexual, physical, gender-based and police violence. In honor of our collective struggle, we put on purple bracelets as a symbol of our voices all over the world and in protest to violence against women.Read the full story here.