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Index June 2009

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Progress can kill

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How imposed development destroys the health of tribal peoples

Linked with Survival International.

Published on Survival International /publications. – Forcing ‘development’ or ‘progress’ on tribal people does not make them happier or healthier. In fact, the effects are disastrous. The most important factor by far for tribal peoples’ well-being is whether their land rights are respected. Learn why here:

Forcing ‘development’ or ‘progress’ on tribal people does not make them happier or healthier. In fact, the effects are disastrous. The most important factor by far for tribal peoples’ well-being is whether their land rights are respected. (full text publications).

Peru: Congress repeals controversial Amazon laws

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Linked with Survival International.

Published on Survival International, 22 June 2009.

The Peruvian Congress has voted to repeal two controversial Amazonian laws after protests that led to the death of an unknown number of policemen and indigenous people …

… Peru’s president, Alan Garcia, admitted that the laws were passed without consulting the Amazon’s indigenous inhabitants and that a ‘succession of errors’ was made in the government’s handling of the protests.

The government’s official figure is that 24 policemen and 10 indigenous people were killed during the protests, but those figures are disputed by local sources. According to reports, the mayor of local town Bagua has said that up to sixty indigenous people are still missing. Continue Reading…

Ellagic Acid’s Effect on Abnormal Cells

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Linked with Safe Alternative Medecine.

Published on Safe Alternative Medecine, not dated.

Ellagic acid is a remarkable antioxidant. It is contained in found raspberries, walnuts and strawberries. Clinical studies in humans have shown that ellagic acid found in these fruits is easily absorbed by the body. It has many beneficial effects, including prevention of cancer and boosting the immune system.

The benefits of ellagitannins in raspberries:   Continue Reading…

Getting Off the Grid

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Posted on Truth Dig, by David Sirota, June 25, 2009.

As you read this, I am somewhere in rural China, probably disoriented, perhaps eating a fish eye, and certainly not paying attention to the news. This column was the last thing I wrote before embarking on what’s become an all-too-rare experiment in human life: I decided to see what will happen when I go fully off the grid.

Because I am completely cut off, you cannot call or text me from your phone; you cannot IM, Friend or Tweet me from your computer; and you cannot message me via my avatar on Xbox Live. You cannot even e-mail me or leave me a voice mail—my mailboxes tell you that all messages are being deleted, and that you will have to recontact me when I’m back. (Legend has it that Napoleon waited until he received two letters to respond to requests, figuring that most problems become moot in the interim—I guess I’ll find out if he is right).  Continue Reading…

The tragic journey of a displaced Tamil family in Sri Lanka

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Published on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, by Nanda Wickremasinghe, 27 June 2009.

On June 24, Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court held a second hearing in a case challenging the violation of the basic legal rights of Tamil civilians interned in military-controlled camps in the island’s north. The case has been filed on behalf of five members of the same family who were separated in detention.

The government of President Mahinda Rajapakse has incarcerated almost 300,000 Tamils who faced intense army shelling and fled the fighting in the final phase of the war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The government and the military assert that the camps are relief centres or welfare villages. In reality, they are detention centres guarded by soldiers and surrounded by barbed and razor wire. The detainees cannot leave the camps and even movement within the camps is restricted. Continue Reading…

Iran and public opinion

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Published on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, by Barry Grey and David North, 27 June 2009.

The World Socialist Web Site receives scores of letters each week which reflect a broad range of views—from the warmly supportive to the ferociously hostile. They all are read with interest. Occasionally we receive letters—whether supportive or hostile—that strike us as particularly significant because they express with exceptional clarity a definite and broadly-based political and social outlook.

Following the publication of the Perspective column of June 25, entitled “International issues in the Iranian crisis,” we received two such letters from one correspondent which angrily denounced our coverage of Iranian developments. The Perspective to which he objected examined the power struggle in Iran within the context of the long and bloody involvement of the United States in the affairs of that oppressed country. We explained the critical interests that underlay the massive propaganda campaign unleashed in the American media following the election …  Continue Reading…

Q&A: U.N.’s Enormous Potential Being Marginalised

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Linked with A tale of two paradigms.

Published on IPS, by Thalif Deen, June 23, 2009.

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 23 (IPS) – An international conference on the global financial crisis – hosted by the United Nations – is being marginalised by Western countries which have refused to send any of their political leaders to the meeting. Thalif Deen interviews MIGUEL D’ESCOTO BROCKMANN, President of the General Assembly.

Of the 126 countries participating in the three-day conference, scheduled to take place Jun. 24-26, there will be two heads of state, four vice presidents, 10 heads of government, three deputy prime ministers and 32 ministers.  Continue Reading…

The Secret Sentry Declassified

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National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 278

Linked with the National Security Agency NSA.

Published on NSA, by Matthew Aid, June 19, 2009 – Declassified Documents Reveal the Inner Workings and Intelligence Gathering Operations of the National Security Agency.

Washington, D.C., June 19, 2009 – Declassified documents confirm that prior to the launch of the first spy satellites into orbit by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in the early 1960s, the Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) collected by the National Security Agency and its predecessor organizations was virtually the only viable means of gathering intelligence information about what was going on inside the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, North Vietnam, and other communist nations.  Yet, for the most part, the NSA and its foreign partners could collect only bits and pieces of huge numbers of low-level, uncoded, plaintext messages, according to Archive visiting fellow, Matthew M. Aid, who today posted a collection of declassified documents obtained for his new book The Secret Sentry on the Archive’s Web site:  Continue Reading…

What Did You Sacrifice to Afford Health Care?

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We’ve Been Trapped Inside a Bad Health Care System So Long, We Don’t Even Know How Much We’re Missing

Published on AlterNet, by Sara Robinson, Campaign for America’s Future, June 26, 2009.

Think about it. Get angry. The current system has robbed us of the chance to save, educate ourselves, see the world and live to a robust old age.

Sometimes, when you’re up to your chin in alligators, it’s hard to focus on the fact that there’s a big, broad, alligator-free world waiting somewhere out there, beyond the edge of the swamp. Continue Reading…

People power

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The Iranian elections show that the people’s democratic will can no longer be held in, writes Hamid Dabashi*

Published on AlAhram, by Hamid Dabashi*, June 25, 2009.

(Khonak an qomarbazi keh bebakht har cheh budash,
Benamand hichash ella havas e qomar e digar.
[Lucky that gambler who lost all he had,
Left with nothing but the urge for yet another game]
– Anonymous Persian poet
)

The Iranian presidential election of June 2009 will go down in history as one of the most magnificent manifestations of a people’s indomitable will to achieve enduring democratic institutions. The beleaguered custodians of the Islamic Republic, thoroughly aware of their own lack of legitimacy, were quick to use the occasion as a vindication of their illegitimate rule. They are wrong. This was not a vote for their legitimacy. It was a vote against it — albeit within the mediaeval juridical fortress they have built around the notions and principles of citizenry in a free and democratic republic. The feeble “opposition” to the clerics abroad also rushed to admonish those who participated in the election, insisting on regime change, at a time when upward of 80 per cent of eligible voters willingly participated in the election. Both these desperate, hasty, and banal readings of the election, predicated on bankrupt positions are false …  Continue Reading…

Iran’s Democratic Upsurge

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Published on Zmag (Source: Al-Ahram Weekly), by Hamid Dabash, June 25, 2009.

… On the heels of the Lebanese elections, the cause and the march of democracy took an even bolder leap in Iran, and that leap is not because of US promotion of democracy, but in fact is despite and against it. At time of writing, millions of Iranians inside and out of their homeland are angry and heartbroken with the official results. Some go so far as considering what happened a coup d’état. There are perfectly legitimate reasons to question the validity of the official results that have declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the clear winner. The only point of which Iranians can be sure and proud is the extraordinary manifestation of their collective will to participate in their politics. This unprecedented participation neither lends legitimacy to the illegitimate apparatus of the Islamic Republic and its manifestly undemocratic organs nor should be abused by bankrupt oppositional forces outside Iran to denounce and denigrate a glorious page in modern Iranian history.  Continue Reading…

Behind the Protests, Social Upheaval in Iran

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Published on RoomForDebate, by the editors, June 23, 2009.

… We asked three Iranian-American scholars, including two who are writing from Iran – plus an artist – to give their thoughts on what the uprising has revealed about the schisms in Iranian society:

  • Hamid Dabashi, professor of Iranian studies
  • Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, economics professor
  • Babak Rahimi, Islamic studies professor
  • Shirin Neshat, Iranian artist

Looking for Their Martin Luther King Jr. (Hamid Dabashi):

  • Though the violent events of the past week have jolted me, many aspects of the current crisis in Iran are not surprising at all. That the ruling apparatus of the Islamic Republic is out of touch with the ideals and aspirations of a new generation of Iranians has been evident at least since the presidential election of 1997 that brought the icon of the reformist movement Mohammad Khatami to power … (full text).

Economic Fears and Discontents (Djavad Salehi-Isfahani):

  • A friend in Tehran has stopped going to work this week because of the crisis in the streets. He is staying at home not to protest the killing of demonstrators but to make sure his youngsters do not join them. He is part of 1.3 million families throughout Iran who are biting their nails waiting for this week’s national entrance exams to universities, the concour, to be over. (Many more have children taking exams in grade schools and universities.) These families had planned for a quiet week of no TV or socializing to keep their young contestants undisturbed … (full text).

New Martyrs (Babak Rahimi):

  • Driving through the Vali Asr Square, Tehran, I encounter hundreds of men dressed in plain-clothes, making their presence felt with their heavy black helmets and AK-47s. These armed men belong to the Basij, the state paramilitary organization in charge of suppressing civil unrest and mass demonstrations. They are the most feared agents of Iran’s theocratic state, a political system now undergoing a major crisis of legitimacy over allegations of a fraudulent presidential election … (full text).

An Uncertain Future (Shirin Neshat):

  • As a self-exiled Iranian, my take is that Iranian youth are fed up with their oppressive lives under the current regime. This is not an ideological war, like it was for those who demonstrated during the Islamic revolution of 1979, it is simply a loud and clear cry for basic human rights: freedom, democracy and justice.
  • In their peaceful protests, this new generation, most of whom were born after 1979, are not seeking to uproot the current regime, instead they are calling for reform. But for the government, any type of reform is a threat. So in a desperate measure — shamelessly, and as the world watches — Iran commits atrocities on its own people … (full text).

Links:

Interviews and Commentary on Iran Election Crisis, updated June 26, 2009.

The Arab World Reacts (or Doesn’t), June 23, 2009;

Diary of a Defiance: Iran un-Interrupted, 16 June 2009;

Where Will the Power Lie in Iran
? June 16, 2009;

Why Iran Freed Roxana Saberi
, May 11, 2009;

Behind Bars in Iran
, April 20, 2009;

Iranian cleric says “rioters” should be executed

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Published on Reuters.com, by Parisa Hafezi, June 26, 2009.

TEHRAN (Reuters) – A hardline Iranian cleric called on Friday for the execution of leading “rioters” to teach a lesson to the tens of thousands who have protested against the result of the presidential election two weeks ago.

(EDITORS’ NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to report, film or take pictures in Tehran).

Iran’s top legislative body, the Guardian Council, said it had found no major violations in the election, which it described as the “healthiest” since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but said 10 percent of ballot boxes would be recounted.  Continue Reading…

Obama pushes health care overhaul

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Was failure to invest behind D.C. train wreck?

Published on Peoples Weekly World PWW, by John Wojcik, June 23, 2009.

WASHINGTON – At a news conference Tuesday at the White House President Barack Obama called for the creation of a national health care system that would cover the 47 million now without insurance, a clean energy economy, and for the Iranian government to stop its attacks on political opponents.

During the press conference the president came out swinging against right-wing critics who have kept up a continual drumbeat of attacks against administration policies on health care, the economy, the deficit and Iran. He also took issue with those who are saying his administration has bitten off more than it can chew. Continue Reading…

Iran’s Tudeh Party: Unity, Struggle and Solidarity Can Overcome Repression

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Published on political affairs.net pa (Original source: People’s Weekly World), by Tudeh Party of Iran

The following is a June 21 statement from the Central Committee of the Tudeh* Party of Iran:

Following the speech of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader and the commander of the coup d’état, in the Friday prayers in Tehran – which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called “authoritative and unraveling” – the armed thugs of the regime, including the forces of the Basij militia, Intelligence Ministry and units of the Revolutionary Corps brutally attacked peaceful and righteous-seeking demonstrations of the people.

According to the latest reports by news agencies around the world, tens of people were killed and injured. Continue Reading…

Do the Geneva Conventions still stand up?

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Published on Peoples Weekliy World PWW, by IRIN, June 23, 2009.

DAKAR, 23 June 2009 (IRIN) – One hundred fifty years ago the battle of Solferino left 40,000 soldiers and civilians either wounded or killed. With too few doctors on hand, Swiss civilian Henry Dunant helped villagers care for the victims. Underscoring the direct and dire impact of war on civilians, his experience led him to found the International Red Cross Movement, which celebrates its anniversary on 24 June.

The Red Cross Movement initiated a convention to establish the laws of war, which was eventually passed in 1949 as the Geneva Conventions, which set out to protect combatants, prisoners and non-combatants in conflict. Additional protocols in 1977 stipulated protection of civilians in international and internal conflict. Continue Reading…

CIA and Pentagon Deploy RFID Death Chips

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radio-frequency identification chips RFID

Published on Voltairenet.org, June 16, 2009.

Coming Soon to a Product Near You! – A conspiracy theory? Think again:

First it was cattle. Then it was pets. Then Mexicans. Now the tribal areas of Pakistan where the CIA is equipping Pakistani tribesmen with secret transmitters to call in airstrikes targeting al-Qaida and Taliban militants. A drone, guided by the signal from the chip, destroys the building with a salvo of missiles scattering body parts everywhere. Will Americans and the rest of the “free world” be next? Long perceived as a crazy conspiracy theory, radio-frequency identification chips (RFID) have surreptitiously penetrated every aspect of society and may soon literally get under our skin for full-spectrum control. Back to Orwell … “The future is now” as Burghardt admonishes …

… The RFID (Counter) Revolution:   Continue Reading…

Virginity Movement on the Defensive, Scrambling to Rebrand

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Published on AlterNet, by Jessica Valenti, June 23, 2009.

Progressives have to fight to ensure that abstinence groups don’t regain their cultural footing.

Keith Deltano has a high school student tied up onstage and is precariously dangling a cinder block over the young man’s genital region. Deltano is not a school bully or an escaped lunatic. He’s an abstinence proponent, a comedian who uses this brick trick to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of condoms (although the actual lesson learned may be to steer clear of comics brandishing bricks).

Under the Bush administration, stories like this were commonplace. There was the Virginia Beach teacher who told her ninth graders they could be arrested for having premarital sex. And the abstinence teacher who explained to the young women in his class that women are like wrapped lollipops, and that after having sex they’re nothing more than “poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled suckers.”  Continue Reading…

A public pledge to end Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting in Gambia

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Linked with Inter-African Committee (IAC) on Traditional Practices, and with .

Published on UNICEF, by Alison Parker, 22 June 2009.

… The festive atmosphere in this village in the Upper River Region was reminiscent of a wedding. But the singing and dancing was, in fact, part of celebration at which 24 neighbouring villages publicly declared the end of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) practises in their communities.

Kobaie Nyabaly a former FGM/C practitioner walked briskly to the podium and boldly gave her testimony before the crowd of more than 600 onlookers, including religious leaders, village chiefs, and youth groups …

…  Harmful tradition:  Continue Reading…

Comprendre le drame du Darfour

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Lié avec Urgence Darfour, et avec Une étude rappelle la tragédie des femmes darfouries violées.

Publié  sur Urgence Darfour, par Simone DUMOULIN, non daté.

Qualifiées par la commission d’enquête de l’ONU de crimes contre l’humanité, les exactions commises depuis maintenant deux ans au Darfour, une région de la taille de la France, plongent la population dans l’horreur des massacres, des exodes forcés et de la famine, et compromettent la stabilité de toute une partie de l’Afrique. La gravité de cette situation est niée par un régime politique soudanais centralisateur, violent et corrompu, alors que les preuves abondent de son implication directe dans ces massacres. Qualifiées par la commission d’enquête de l’ONU L’analyse des événements tout aussi dramatiques et même souvent encore plus meurtriers qu’au Darfour survenus dans d’autres régions du Soudan, montre que la seule réponse du régime politique soudanais aux crises internes est le massacre ; le gouvernement soudanais lui-même étant parfaitement illégitime puisque il est issu d’un coup d’Etat. Prise dans un faisceau d’intérêts contradictoires, la communauté internationale peine à faire cesser ces crimes, ce qui rendrait pourtant aux populations du Soudan un espoir érodé par les vingt ans de guerre et les 2 millions de morts du Sud-Soudan, chrétien et animiste … Continue Reading…

Une étude rappelle la tragédie des femmes darfouries violées

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Lié avec Urgence Darfour, et avec Comprendre le drame du Darfour.

Publié  dans Urgence Darfour, par Bernard SCHALSCHA, non datée.

Une étude menée par l’ONG américaine Physicians for Human Rights (Médecins pour les droits humains) auprès de femmes darfouries ayant fui au Tchad montre qu’un tiers ont été violées et que la plupart redoutent d’être victimes de sévices sexuels dans les camps de réfugiés où elles vivent dorénavant. Le rapport souligne que ces femmes ne bénéficient d’aucun soutien moral ou juridique.

L’équipe américaine, constituée de quatre femmes dont trois médecins, a interrogé 88 femmes en novembre 2008 au camp de réfugiés de Farchana, au Tchad, où plus de 20.000 personnes déplacées du Darfour sont sous la garde de 2.000 soldats tchadiens, à 55 km de la frontière avec le Soudan. Son rapport, publié le 31 mai (http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/sudan/news/nowhere-to-turn.pdf) précise qu’un peu plus de la moitié des viols ont été commis par les miliciens janjawids utilisés par le gouvernement de Karthoum, et le reste par des villageois tchadiens, près des camps de réfugiés gérés par l’ONU, qui s’attaquent aux femmes quand elles sortent du camp pour chercher du bois ou du fourrage pour le bétail. Continue Reading…

The Cost of Denial

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Linked with The International Association of Genocide Scholars IAGS.

Published on International Association of Genocide Scholars, by Dr. Gregory Stanton, 23 April 2008.

… Again the United States surrendered to the ninety year campaign of denial by the government of Turkey.  The State Department and the White House have continued the cowardly policies of every Secretary of State since Lansing, who have considered it more important to placate the Turkish government than to be truthful about history.

The tactics of genocide denial are predictable, and the Turkish government has used them all.  Question and minimize the statistics.  Attack the motivations of the truth-tellers.  Blame “out of control” forces for committing the killings.  Claim that the massacres don’t fit the legal definition of genocide, even though over a million Armenians were killed!

Today, the Turkish government has three favorites:  Continue Reading…

Right to Education website survey

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Received by e-mail:
From: Peter Hyll-Larsen
Date: 16/06/2009

Dear colleagues, The Right to Education website aims to connect human rights, education and development communities, sharing information and promoting advocacy for mobilization and legal accountability. It was launched in December 2008, with many features inspired by a previous online consultation. It is now a very popular tool with an increasing number of users.

Please help improve the website by taking this short survey on Right to Education Website Consultation -  1. Introduction.   Continue Reading…

U.N. Downgrades Scrutiny of Sudan

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Received by e-mail:
From: UN Watch
Date: 19/06/2009

Latest: U.N. Rights Council Renews But Downgrades Mandate on Sudan GENEVA, June 18, 2009 — We welcome the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 20-18 vote today renewing the mandate of its investigator into abuses in Sudan, but regret that her rank was downgraded in order to win support from non-Western countries.

It was a small but rare victory today at the council, where for a change the supporters of human rights outnumbered the spoilers, with Sudan and its allies in the African and Arab blocs, as well as Russia and China, narrowly defeated.

Those who supported keeping close scutiny of abuses in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan were France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Zambia. Continue Reading…