Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Free Belarus sending SOS to International Red Cross and Red Crescent

By Denis Baranov

Now, that we know the prisons where the arrestees were taken it is possible to request medical attention to them.

According to reports from people who managed to use their cell phones while in police custody, the conditions are inhumane. I'll save the gory details. This story by an AFP reporter is just a preview.

Many of the arrestees including the presidential candidates were badly beaten during the police action. Some have concussions and fractures. Meanwhile, it is known that only 1 person (well-known activist Krystsina Shatsikava) was taken to a hospital because she was badly beaten en route to prison. Vladimir Niekliaev and Vital Rymashevksi managed to see doctors before being detained. Conditions of the rest are not known for sure.

The problem is that Red Cross Belarus is staffed with local people who are afraid to take any action on their own. Therefore, we need to call on International Red Cross & Red Crescent to request medical missions to be sent to the 3-4 prisons.

There is no time to petition, so we are looking for direct contacts in the IRC management. 

Related news:
'Take her!' Detained in Minsk
Opposition in Minsk Suspect Authorities of Provoking Riots


Monday, December 20, 2010

Obama Administration Declares Belarusian Presidential Elections Illegitimate

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by the Press Secretary on Belarusian Elections and Political Violence

The United States strongly condemns the actions that the Government of Belarus has taken to undermine the democratic process and use disproportionate force against political activists, civil society representatives and journalists, and we call for the immediate release of all presidential candidates and the hundreds of protestors who were detained on December 19 and 20.  The United States cannot accept as legitimate the results of the presidential election announced by the Belarusian Central Election Commission December 20.  We regret, as the OSCE’s election observer mission assessment made clear, that limited progress in the political environment prior to yesterday’s elections did not lead to a free and fair outcome or a transparent vote count.   We are also concerned by indications that independent internet media have been disrupted and call on the Government of Belarus to take measures to protect its citizens’ right to free media.  As we reiterated in the U.S.-Belarus Joint Statement of December 1, the further development of relations is contingent upon the Government of Belarus’s respect for human rights and the democratic process.  The actions taken over the last 24 hours, however, are a clear step backwards on issues central to our relationship with Belarus.
Source: WhiteHouse.gov 

Related news:  The Moscow Power Game Behind Belarus' Election Crackdown


Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Dan," Dong "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is DEAD!!

Gay hero Lt. Daniel Choi, arrested in front of White House
By CNN News Staff

The military's prohibition of openly gay people serving within its ranks is one step closer to ending, after the Senate voted Saturday to repeal the armed forces' "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Eight Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut joined the chamber's Democrats to back the legislation, which passed around 3 p.m. by a 65-31 margin. The bill needed a simple majority -- meaning support from 51 of the Senate's 100 members -- to pass.

"I want to thank all of the gay men and women who are fighting for us today," said Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who pushed hard for the measure. "We honor your service, and now we can do so openly." 

President Barack Obama will sign the bill into law next week, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a Twitter post moments after the Senate vote.

"Gay and lesbian service members -- brave Americans who enable our freedoms -- will no longer have to hide who they are," Obama said in an e-mailed statement to supporters. "The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one."

CNN story continues here....


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Asking for Help Now- to Include UAFA – Green Cards for Same Sex Permanent Partners

By Melanie Nathan

The Senate is going to be taking up DREAM ACT any soon, perhaps any moment. We need to start pressuring our senators to add UAFA as a senate amendment. I’ve already called my Senators Boxer (co-sponsor) and Feinstein (who is not a co-sponsor.) Could the Uniting American Families Act – UAFA be an amendment that gets tacked on …and approved as an after thought?

WE WILL NEVER KNOW IF WE DO NOT TRY. …. the motto I live by -”you say: impossible – I say: have you tried – you say: no -I say: then not impossible!”

UAFA is a one page bill and has more support than it gets credit for. It is simple to understand. Perhaps it can be “dealed” in……..

If anyone should be pushing like crazy it is you – the LGBT person – each and everyone of you please pick up a phone today – even if it does not concern you directly. Please..

Call your Senators and ask them to include UAFA with the DREAM Act – the rescue of exiled LGBT Americans and those separated, by the fact that American gays and lesbians cannot sponsor their partners for green cards, are desperate for passage.

Abide the motto – try and then tell me it was impossible. Try in this instance is collective – it will take hundred of calls ….

Source: LezGetReal.com


Michael Moore: "Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange"

By Michael Moore

Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.

Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.

So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:

**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks "has violated the Espionage Act."

**The New Yorker's George Packer calls Assange "super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal."

**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."

**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."

**Republican Mary Matalin says "he's a psychopath, a sociopath ... He's a terrorist."

**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."

And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!

WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks ("they've released little that's new!") or have painted them as simple anarchists ("WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!"). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.

I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That's Mr. Bush about to be handed a "secret" document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings." Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.

But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden's impending attack using hijacked planes?

But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time's 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)

Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read "secret" memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the "facts" he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched -- or rather, wouldn't there have been calls for Cheney's arrest?

Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 -- after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin -- there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.

Instead, secrets killed them.

For those of you who think it's wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he's being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money -- and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.

Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that's the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you're up to. You simply can't be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.

And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.

I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.

P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.

P.P.S. If you're reading this in London, please go support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks at a demonstration at 1 PM today, Tuesday the 14th, in front of the Westminster court.

Source MichaelMoore.com 

Related News:
(Dec. 22, 2010)  Michael Moore says Assange rape allegations should be taken 'very seriously'  (news.yahoo.com) 


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Prestigious U.S. Civil and Human Rights Coalition (LCCR) Endorses the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)

By Steve Ralls

Earlier today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR)— the nation's premiere civil and human rights coalition — offered its endorsement of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). LCCR is one of the country's most influential voices on civil rights issues, and represents more than 200 national organizations — including the Immigration Equality Action Fund — dedicated to advancing civil and human rights issues at the federal level.

LCCR was founded in 1950 and has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957. It is committed to working toward "the goal of a more open and just society — an America as good as its ideals."

The organization's endorsement of UAFA is significant, and puts the group on-record, with Congressional lawmakers, in support of the legislation. In announcing its endorsement, LCCR leaders specifically applauded the Immigration Equality Action Fund's policy team for educating member organizations on the critical need to support UAFA.

As the group's website notes, "The Leadership Conference was founded in 1950 by A. Philip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Roy Wilkins of the NAACP; and Arnold Aronson, a leader of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council. Their visionary leadership was grounded in their commitment to social justice and the firm conviction that the struggle for civil rights would be won ... through coalition [strategies]."

Steve Ralls' news announcement continues here....   (immigrationequalityactionfund.org)


Monday, December 6, 2010

Constitutional Scholar Examines Obama’s ‘Wily’ Effort to End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

While high-profile members of the Obama administration, including the president, have repeatedly knocked "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as ineffective and discriminatory, the Justice Department has defended it in federal court causing plenty of consternation from opponents of the law. The administration has responded to the howls of indignation that it is following a longstanding policy of many administrations to defend congressional acts in the courts.

Adam Winkler, a UCLA School of Law professor, in a piece for The Huffington Post asks whether it's possible "that the president is employing a wily, covert strategy that all but guarantees the courts will find the law unconstitutional?"

Winkler notes the Pentagon report issued last week that includes a survey showing strong support among service members for repealing the law, which bars lesbians and gay men from serving openly. The Pentagon study also concluded that allowing gays to serve openly presents little risk to the military, and was accompanied by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' call for Congress to act quickly to repeal the law. Obama also issued a press statement saying the policy "diminishes our military readiness," and "violates fundamental American principles of fairness and equality." As Winkler notes, Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have also issued similar statements.

Winkler suggests that the administration's rhetoric calling for an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," even as it defends the law in federal court might well be a strategy aimed at ensuring the law's demise. (Earlier this year, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips ruled that the law violates the Constitution's First and Fifth Amendments and issued an injunction against the policy. The Department of Justice appealed the ruling and won a stay of the injunction as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit considers the case.)

Winkler writes:

That's where these strong statements about how the law is unnecessary for military readiness and combat effectiveness come in. These could be seen as simply rhetorical flourishes designed to appease his base of support. President Obama may yet have another reason for the public comments. His statements and those of the top military officials could be designed to insure that courts strike down ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' 

Obama's statements fundamentally undermine the argument that ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' is required for military effectiveness. He's said, in fact, that the policy actually undermines that goal. So even though the Justice Department is arguing in court that the policy is needed, top military commanders, including the Commander-in-Chief, have admitted that the policy harms the military.

University of Chicago School Law School Professor Geoffrey R. Stone, also an ACS Board member, noted in a piece for The Huffington Post that recent polling shows most Americans, including Republicans, strongly favor repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." But he notes that stubborn opposition from Republican senators is making it likely that the courts may have the final say on the law.

Stone writes:

Ordinarily, we think of the Constitution as designed in no small part to protect minorities from overbearing and intolerant majorities. ...

We rely on the courts, which are not accountable to those majorities, to have the independence and backbone to stand up for the rights of the underrepresented, the downtrodden, and the disadvantaged.

In the "don't ask, don't tell" debate, a federal court has held the policy unconstitutional, and that judgment is pending on appeal. If 41 Republicans in the Senate, representing the views of only 23 percent of the American people, use the filibuster or other procedural devices to prevent an overwhelming majority of the American people and their representatives from bringing fairness, equality and common sense to our national policies, then it will fall to the courts to act. As much as we need courts to protect us against the "tyranny of the majority," it is even more essential for them to protect us against the "tyranny of the minority." 

Adam Winkler's full commentary at the Huffington Post continues here....

Source: American Constitutional Society Blog (acslaw.org)


Friday, December 3, 2010

Belarusian Presidential Candidate Andrei Sannikov Publishes His Platform


Russian Gays Not Banned from Military Service Says Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin: Photo: © RIA Novosti. Alexey Nikolsky

RIA Novosti

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said during an interview with U.S. talk show host Larry King that gays are not banned from serving in the Russian armed forces but that the government does not support same-sex marriages.

When King asked Putin if Russian gays and lesbians are allowed to serve openly in the military, Putin said, "We have no ban. Sodomy, as it was called, was a criminal offense in the Soviet Union but under the current legislation it is not a crime."

However, Putin said that same-sex marriages do not help solve the demographic problems in the country.

"As you know, same-sex couples cannot give birth to children. Therefore, our attitude to sexual minorities is rather tolerant but we believe that the government should support childbirth, maternity and childhood and take care of [its citizens'] health," Putin said.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993 and the law that sent gays and lesbians to psychiatric wards was annulled six years later but Russia is still considered a homophobic nation by the West as the country's gay community for years has unsuccessfully lobbied the government to sanction their pride parades.

In October 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia had violated the rights of gay activists by refusing to allow them to openly protest, and ordered the government to pay a fine and damages amounting to about $40,000.


Similar to 'Enron': WikiLeaks Plans to Release a U.S. Bank's Documents

Mohammad Zarghami

The founder of whistle-blower website WikiLeaks plans to release tens of thousands of internal documents from a major U.S. bank early next year, Forbes Magazine reported on Monday.

Julian Assange declined in an interview with Forbes to identify the bank, but he said that he expected that the disclosures, which follow his group's release of U.S. military and diplomatic documents, would lead to investigations.

"We have one related to a bank coming up, that's a megaleak. It's not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but it's either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it," Assange said in the interview posted on the Forbes website.

He declined to identify the bank, describing it only as a major U.S. bank that is still in existence.

Asked what he wanted to be the result of the disclosure, he replied: "I'm not sure. It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume."

He compared this release to emails that were unveiled as a result of the collapse of disgraced energy company Enron Corp.
Reuters' story continues here....


Egyptian Archeologist Admits that Pyramids Contain UFO Information

By Ray Alex

In a shock statement, head of the Cairo University Archaeology Department, Dr Ala Shaheen has told an audience that there might be truth to the theory that aliens helped the ancient Egyptians build the oldest of pyramids, the Pyramids of Giza. On being further questioned by Mr Marek Novak, a delegate from Poland as to whether the pyramid might still contain alien technology or even a UFO with its structure, Dr Shaheen, was vague and replied “I can not confirm or deny this, but there is something inside the pyramid that is “not of this world”. Delegates to the conference on ancient Egyptian architecture were left shocked, however Dr Shaheen has refused to comment further or elaborate on his UFO and alien related statements.

Ray's article continues on his blog here...


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Arsenic-feeding bacteria expands traditional notions of life

Halamonadaceae Bacteria
Scientists have discovered a form of bacteria that can thrive largely on arsenic - an element generally considered toxic - dramatically expanding both traditional notions of how life is sustained and the range of where it might be found in the universe, NASA funded-researchers announced Thursday.

"Life as we know it requires particular chemical elements and excludes others," Arizona State University researcher Ariel Anbar said in a news release. "But are those the only options? How different could life be?"

The bacterium - strain GFAJ-1 of the Halomonadaceae family of Gammaproteobacteria - was scooped from sediment in California's Mono Lake, an area rife with naturally high levels of arsenic, it said.

Scientists were able to grow the microbes from the lake using only small portions of phosphorous - considered an essential nutrient in the biomolecules of a naturally occurring bacterium.

Source:   news.blogs.cnn.com


WikiLeaks: Belarus and Russia are Described as "Virtual Mafia States"

Russia's secret service and politicians have close links with organised crime, according to details from leaked confidential US diplomatic documents published in a Spanish newspaper Thursday.

The daily El Pais is one of several newspapers given advance access to 250,000 US diplomatic cables by the online whistleblower WikiLeaks.

Spanish prosecutor Jose Grinda, who investigated activities of Russian criminals in Spain, described Belarus, Russia and Chechnya as "virtual mafia states", US diplomats reported after meeting with him in Madrid in 2008.

Grinda said he agreed with former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko, who died of poisoning in London in 2006. Litvinenko had said that Russian intelligence and security services controlled criminal groups.
Organised crime had a "tremendous" control over strategic economic sectors such as aluminium, Grinda was quoted as saying.

The Russian government used criminals to commit acts that the state could not commit, such as selling arms to Kurds in an attempt to destabilise Turkey, according to Grinda.

The secret services might kill or jail criminals who refused to cooperate with them, the prosecutor suggested.

Some Russian political parties worked "hand in hand" with organised crime, he also said.

Senior US officials believed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin may have known about the murder of dissident former spy Litvinenko, WikiLeaks documents also showed.

US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said Putin's attention to detail meant it would have been difficult for such an operation to be carried out without his knowledge.

Source: NDTV.com


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

US embassy cables culprit should be executed, says Republican Presidential Hopeful Mike Huckabee

By Haroon Siddiqui and Matthew Weaver

Republican presidential hopeful wants the person responsible for the WikiLeaks cables to face capital punishment for treason
U. S. Republican Mike Huckabee
The Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has called for whoever leaked the 250,000 US diplomatic cables to be executed.

Huckabee, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination at the last election but is one of the favourites for 2012, joined a growing number of people demanding the severest punishment possible for those behind the leak, which has prompted a global diplomatic crisis.

His fellow potential Republican nominee Sarah Palin had already called for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be "hunted down", and an adviser to the Canadian prime minister has echoed her comments.

Huckabee said: "Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty."

Haroon Siddiqui's and Matthew Weaver's new story continues here....

Photo: HuckabeeFanClub.com


WikiLeaks Founder Assange to TIME: Clinton 'Should Resign'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon

By Howard Chua-Eoan

Hillary Clinton, Julian Assange said, "should resign." Speaking over Skype from an undisclosed location on Tuesday, the WikiLeaks founder was replying to a question by TIME managing editor Richard Stengel over the diplomatic-cable dump that Assange's organization loosed on the world this past weekend. Stengel had said the U.S. Secretary of State was looking like "the fall guy" in the ensuing controversy, and had asked whether her firing or resignation was an outcome that Assange wanted. "I don't think it would make much of a difference either way," Assange said. "But she should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up. Yes, she should resign over that."

Assange spoke about the latest tranche of documents from WikiLeaks in a 36-minute interview with TIME (the full audio will be available soon on TIME.com). He said there would be more: "We're doing about 80 a day, presently, and that will gradually step up as the other media partners step in." Indeed, every region of the world appears to be bracing for its turn in the WikiLeaks mill. Pakistani officials are almost certain that more revealing documents focusing on their country will come out soon. And the Russian media are anxious to see if future leaks will detail any behind-the-scenes dealings over the August 2008 Russia-Georgia war. (See a TIME profile of Julian Assange.)

Assange said that all the documents were redacted "carefully." "They are all reviewed, and they're all redacted either by us or by the newspapers concerned," he said. He added that WikiLeaks "formally asked the State Department for assistance with that. That request was formally rejected."

Asked what his "moral calculus" was to justify publishing the leaks and whether he considered what he was doing to be "civil disobedience," Assange said, "Not at all. This organization practices civil obedience, that is, we are an organization that tries to make the world more civil and act against abusive organizations that are pushing it in the opposite direction." As for whether WikiLeaks was breaking the law, he said, "We have now in our four-year history, and over 100 legal attacks of various kinds, been victorious in all of those matters." He added, "It's very important to remember the law is not what, not simply what, powerful people would want others to believe it is. The law is not what a general says it is. The law is not what Hillary Clinton says it is." (See a TIME video with Julian Assange on the top 10 leaks.)

Howard Chua-Eoan's news story continued here....

Source: (news.yahoo.com)  

Related news:
Clinton and UN Chief Discuss WikiLeaks Revelations