Wednesday, July 15, 2009

'Torture' - The Song



Ironically, this song was not written in relation to current events. Here is the story:

In 1992, Tony-nominated lyric writer, Ellen Fitzhugh, and Jan Hammer, who wrote the music for "Miami Vice," were hired to write the songs for a projected "Star Wars" musical. The song, "Torture," was written to be sung by a robot under the direction of Darth Vader, but the musical went nowhere, and the song went nowhere with it.

In 1992, no one expected that a song entitled "Torture" would ever be timely. No one expected that we would have a vice-president who would frequently be likened to Darth Vader. No one expected torture to become standard operating procedure for the treatment of America's suspected enemies. And no one expected that after the torture administration left office, the next president, President Obama, would refuse to try the torturers for possible breaches of American law.


"Torture" is written from a gleeful, pro-torture point of view, as befits a song meant to be sung by a soulless robot of The Empire. But it is the position of Ms. Fitzhugh and Mr. Hammer that citizens of a democracy should not be soulless robots, and that a full public debate about torture (the practice, not the song) is an absolute necessity. With that in mind, they have released this song, in the hope that it will help to keep this issue before the public.

Greece's Kristallnacht - The Right rears its ugly head with a vengeance

Reports from Athens and international IMC's:

Greece: Anarchists march in solidarity with immigrants


Wednesday, July 08 2009

Contributed by: Collin Sick

Anarchists from Greece marched in solidarity with repressed immigrants and clashed with cops and fascists while setting streets and ATMs on fire.

Recently the Greek state and its neonazi thugs seek to intensify their attacks on poor immigrants. Anarchists (most of them are of the anarchist-communist variety, those who read Bakunin and Kropotkin) and antiauthoritarians (a label that includes anyone fighting against state oppresion, not necessarily an anarchist) from Greece called for a march in Athens on 7 July 2009 at 19.00 o'clock, against what they call a "modern apartheid" (refering to the recent attempts by fascists in the Saint Pandeleimonas district, where immigrants many stay, to disallow immigrants from entering into communal spaces such as playing grounds or parks, but also to the cop operations in central Athens "clearing" the city of unwanted immigrants en masse with no regard for their human rights). It worths mentioning that the Greek press and television has taken extreme xenophobic views recently, fully supporting the government's attempt to drive people's attention away from the economic crisis. There are also alarming government plans for all unwanted immigrants to be arrested and held at concentration camps for years.

The call to march was publicised on many places, including the Athens Indymedia (athens.indymedia.org) website, which operates from occupied computing equipment in the Athens Polytechnic university (NTUA), and the government and OTE (the major ex-public Greek telecom company) are desperately trying to locate and shut down. Anarchists in Greece also publicise their news and calls with wall posters, graffiti messages, anonymous blogs, through gatherings at occupied buildings or university campuses, and pirate radio stations (some of them operating from university campuses or near them). It is for these reasons that the Greek state seeks to end the anonymity of blogs and put cops inside university campuses, which are one of the few places in Greece still free of cops (the other one being the Exarchia district in Athens downtown which is traditionally controlled by anarchists and any cops there are attacked with molotov cocktails, even though it is only a few hundred metres away from the high-society bourgouoise district of Kolonaki and the police headquarters in Alexandras Avenue).

The march began at 20.00 o'clock in Omonoia Square, downtown Athens, the capital city of Greece.

Hundreds of counter-information flyers were distributed and a speech was made. The march (as shown in the photos) had about 2500 comrades, and this made the cops to keep themselves at safe distance.

During the march various texts were distributed, anarchist graffiti was drawn, security cameras were destroyed, as well as bank ATMs. The march proceeded towards Saint Pandeleimonas (a neighbourhood in Athens were lots of immigrants stay, who have recently came under attack by fascists) and when the head of the march was about to enter the district the cops immediately fired tear gas and shock grenades, with the comrades replying with stones and flare bombs.

The march had good defence and moved towards ASOEE (a public university in Athens specializing in economics; comrades in Greece take advantage of a sanctuary's law, called asylum, that disallows the cops to enter university premises). There was somewhat of a chaos there for a while, as some comrades where entering the university campus while others were leaving to go fight the cops in the nearby Patision street. The whole Patision street was in fire.

Barricades built with trashbins set on fire were keeping the cops away and after the usual (for Greece) violent fighting between anarchist comrades and the cops (and the huge amount of chemicals released by them) the cops came under a well-organized attack that forced them to take cover in the 3rd September street, while the whole Patision street was again set on fire.

Many immigrants were participating in the march and they attacked Delta guards (Deltades) in Victoria Square (Deltades are stupid thugs the state uses as light-cops until real cops can arrive): when comrades informed the immigrants that real cops were coming to Victoria Square (so that those with no passports could leave in time to avoid arrest and forced repatriation), the immigrants, disregarding their own individual self-interest, attacked the Deltades thugs, who took cover at the nearby OTE bulding (OTE is the Greek National Telecommunications Company, recently privatized and sold to German T-Telekom).

After the march, the Saint Pandeleimonas district was full of immigrants and clear of fascist scum or cops. The fascists supported the cops in their attempt to drive the march out of Saint Pandeleimonas.

A fascist accidentaly set himself on fire while trying to use the anarchists' weapons against them, a sport the fascists aren't good at.

The anarchists carried multilingual banners in Greek, English, French, Arabic, Albanian, and other languages known to the immigrants. A banner held by comrades carrying black and red flags, both men and women, read: "war against bosses - solidarity to immigrants".

Some of the graffiti created during the march included: "death to fascists" on a bank's window and signed with the anarchists' circled-A symbol; "don't touch the Efetio" on the OTE building (telecom company) walls (the Efetio at the Sokratous Street is a big occupied courts building in Athens downtown where lots of immigrants live rent-free and was recently attacked by neonazi thugs and cops, with the government eyeing to re-take it by force); "cops - TV - neonazis, all the bastards work together" on a shop's security walls and signed with the anarchist circled-A symbol; "immigrants, my siblings, all of us together, black flag we rise to any authority" on a wall and signed with the circled-A; and a big circled-A symbol painted on a bank's advertisement immediately under the advert's words: "we are besides you".

A block of EEK members (EEK or Workers' Revolutionary Party is a Greek Trotskyist political party with about 6,000 votes) was also seen marching in the streets near the anarchists but not really intermingling with them. Anarchists in Greece generally boycott the elections, but a few antiauthoritarians sometimes do vote for small leftist parties. But even the bigger political parties on the left of the political spectrum, such as the Syriza coalition, try to persuade antiauthoritarians that they support their views, because they want to capture for their interests the dynamism of the anarchist and antiauthoritarian scene, which is particularly powerful and influential in Greece, especially amongst the youth. While antiauthoritarians in Greece sometimes do support particular parties, anarchists keep true to Kropotkin and other classical anarchists' call for revolution without representatives. The fact that leftist parties carry on trying to win votes from antiauthoritarians and the anarchist-influenced youth reveals the strong influence of anarchism in contemporary youth culture in Greece, and also explains why the Greek government is so desperate to upgrade its repression and surveillance apparatus (it recently asked the Scotland Yard for help and plans to introduce DNA databases and ban anonymous mobile phones).

A march also took place in Thessaloniki in northern Greece (the second biggest city of the country). Bank ATMs were also set on fire there.

Fire engines were seen driving out of downtown Athens by 21.30-22.00 o'clock after their attempts to put down the fires and the revolutionary spirit with them. But no matter how many fires they put down, they and the whole state apparatus won't succeed to put down the coming revolution, because that's what the people want.

Eleni

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/07/434041.html


Fascists attack Villa Amalia squat in Greece

Fascists under the cover of cops attacked the oldest anarchist squat in Greece with molotov cocktails and beaten a youth. Our comrades successfully driven away the fascists. The squat, Villa Amalia, suffered no damage.


From Wikipedia: "Villa Amalia is one of the first anarchist squats in Athens, Greece. It was first occupied in 1990. It is located in the corner of Acharnon and Cheyden streets, near "Victoria" square. Many punk, rock, hardcore and generally underground events take place at Villa Amalia. The police have evicted the squatters three times, but Villa Amalia has always re-occupied later on."

Many comrades consider it the oldest anarchist squat in Greece and a symbol for the local anarchist movement. In Greek it is called Villa Amalias (Βίλλα Αμαλίας).

During the night of 9 July 2009 at 23:50, a gang of about 30 neonazi fascists supported by cops (both MAT, the Greek riot police, and Deltas) attacked the Villa Amalia squat in central Athens with molotov cocktails. The anarchists successfully defended their social centre against the fascists and driven them away, but not before they severely beat a youth nearby who needed an ambulance (still unclear whether he is a comrade).

The attack must have been pre-arranged by the cops and the fascists; after all their collaboration is well-known in Greece and is becoming more and more official (with dignitaries paying visits to the fascists). We cannot explain in any other way the fact that, according to still unconfirmed information, comrades who were on the nearby Liosion street at 21:00 spotted about 70 cops (of the Deltas team, not riot police). If true, then we must assume that they were the same cops who, together with riot police, were seen protecting the fascists during their attack against the anarchist squat.

The fascists, who must haven been members of the Golden Dawn neonazi association, approached the squat first, keeping themselves at a distance of about 50 metres, and shortly afterwards Delta cops appeared. MAT riot cops quickly came when more anarchists gathered in solidarity to defend their squat, Villa Amalia.

The fascists threw two molotov cocktails, the traditional people's street weapon, against the symbolic Villa Amalia squat, but they failed to damage it due to their lack of skill in molotov throwing. The anarchists successfully driven out the fascists towards the Acharnon street, but the fascists then took cover behind a group of Delta cops, who together with the MAT riot police protected the fascists.

The fascists then severely beat a youth outside the squat, but it is still unclear whether he is a comrade. He had to be taken away by an ambulance, due to the hatred released on his body by the neonazis.

By 24:10 all the fascists were driven away by anarchists, of both genders, who were determined to selflessly defend their freedom and the oldest anarchist squat of Greece with a history of two decades. By 24:20 the surrounding streets were still infected with cops (Deltas and 2 or 3 MAT riot police squadrons who were seen talking with the fascists). Lots of comrades were gathered outside the squat to protect it in case the cops decided to raid it, but the cops preferred to back down and leave, knowing how dangerous people fighting for their freedom can be.

At 24:30 about 30-40 Delta cops were spotted leaving the region towards the Patisia district.

The fascists with their molotov cocktails apparently not only wanted to damage the squat but also to injure comrades, but they failed miserably to do either. Their only 'success' was that they managed to hide behind the cops and leave. But in their panic, they left behind lots of traces. They had a rucksack full of molotov cocktails and smoke bombs, but they only managed to throw two molotovs and two smoke bombs, the latter two thrown at the pedestrian strip opposite the squat. As the anarchists moved to defend their squat, the fascists threw their rucksack on the street in their panic as they were running to hide behind the cops.

At 2:00 the a popular news network, as is usual with all capitalist spoonfed news outlets, said that an incident took place in central Athens and spread the propaganda that the cops are searching for the perpetrator of the molotov-throwing incident. But as every reader of Indymedia IMC knows, the cops' real job is to protect the fascists during their attacks.

It is interesting to note that while the left feels paralyzed in Greece, the anarchist movement wins the hearts of more and more dissatisfied people and seems to be the only social movement capable of revolutionary groundbreaking social change.

As a final note, we should say that the anarchist movement is very old, but now that the capitalist class implements its globalization project and social democracy and communism have failed, we should expect more popular support for anarchism worldwide. Perhaps the society envisaged by Kropotkin, Bakunin, and even more ancient thinkers will soon come true.

Inside the Villa Amalia squat there is a banner on a wall containing a verse written by an Ancient Greek philosopher:

in Ancient Greek: "Ούτε γαρ άρχειν, ούτε άρχεσθαι εθέλω" - Ηρόδοτος

in Modern Greek: "Ούτε να κυβερνώ θέλω, ούτε να με κυβερνούν" - Ηροδότου ιστοριών 3:83

translation in English: "I want neither to rule nor to be ruled" - Herodotus Histories 3:83

More information in Greek:
http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1056072

The Villa Amalia squat's blog: http://villa-amalias.blogspot.com/

Article (in Greek) and photos from the squat:
http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=70592

Wikipedia article on Villa Amalia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Amalia_(Athens)


A strange night in Greece

11 July 2009, Athens, Greece: Comrades (and the media) report three important incidents:

First, someone fired a gun against the cops (no injuries).

Second, someone from his car fired gunshoots against immigrants, injuring three. They were taken to a hospital by an ambulance.

Third, fascists set multiple floors of a building occupied by homeless immigrants (the Efetio) on fire.

All these happened in the centre of Athens. Comrades are sure that the perpetrators of these attacks were fascists, including the gunshoot against the cops.

This is fascism. Will the people answer back?

Updates in Greek:

http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1056822

http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1056767

http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1056843

http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1056612

http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1056743


Patras’ Crystal Night (refugee camp set on fire, flattened, evicted)
by 'after the greek riots'


In the early hours of Sunday, July 12 the refugee settlement adjacent to the port of Patras was “mysteriously” set on fire during a police operation. According to eye-witness reports, the police cordoned off the area surrounding the settlement at about 5 a.m. Four greek citizens in solidarity who were near the settlement were immediately detained. Moments later the cops started ID’ing and arresting the refugees inside the camp. At the same time, a fire “mysteriously” started from one end of the settlement - while the police were present in the settlement. The fire burnt for a few hours, destroying a large part of the settlement. The houses not burnt were demolished later.

The smoke of the fire makes it evidently clear: The greek state is resorting to totalitarian, fascist practices as a last resort to cover up the lack of whatever legitimacy it previously enjoyed - and to desperately grip control of the situation. Through the flames, we can see: The state’s “social peace” is war; the tranquility and quiet safeguarded by the ”ordinary people just doing their job”, is death.


Police continues operations against immigrants - Patras’ Immigration Camp Demolished and Burned down

Sunday July 12, 2009

The immigration camp in the city of Patras, southern Greece was demolished Sunday 12/7 and the immigrants were transferred to reception centres. In the meantime, fire broke out and soon spread. Firefighters rushed to the site and contained the fire before spreading to nearby buildings. Dozens of shanties were burnt down, but there were no injuries. Police brought 15 minors and 44 adults who lacked documents to the police station for questioning.

Enforcement forces (over 15 crates, and thousands of police officers, special forces, security forces from Athens, Thessalonica, Corinth, Agrinion) once excluded - banned the movement of a large section of the city by imposing a system of unprecedented police arrests made, and burned down the camp.

We condemn the continuous operations against immigrants.

The Political Committee of the "Movement for the Reorganisation of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55"

Can a place name be weirder than Braintree?

Gropecunt Lane

Gropecunt Lane (pronounced /ˈɡroʊpkʌnt ˈlɛɪn/) was a street name found in English towns and cities during the Middle Ages, believed to be a reference to the prostitution centred on those areas; it was normal practice for a medieval street name to reflect the street's function or the economic activity taking place within it. Gropecunt, the earliest known use of which is in about 1230, appears to have been derived as a compound of the words grope and cunt.[1] Streets with that name were often in the busiest parts of medieval towns and cities, and at least one appears to have been an important thoroughfare.

Although the name was once common throughout England,[2] changes in attitude resulted in its being replaced by more innocuous versions such as Grape Lane. Gropecunt was last recorded as a street name in 1561.

Toponymy

Variations include Gropecunte, Gropecountelane, Gropecontelane, Groppecountelane, and Gropekuntelane. There were once many such street names in England, but all have now been bowdlerised.[3] In the city of York, for instance, Grapcunt Lane—grāp is the Old English word for grope[4]—was renamed as the more acceptable Grape Lane.

The first record of the word 'grope' being used in the indecent sense of sexual touching appears in 1380;[4] cunt has been used to describe the female external genital organs since at least 1230, and corresponds to the Old Norse kunta, although its etymology is uncertain.[5]

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Auburn man’s anti-military statements draw reaction

Opelika-Auburn News - 8 Jul, 2009

Emotions are running high after Auburn native and antiwar activist Matthis Chiroux likened the U.S. Army to the Fourth Reich and accused it of encouraging fear, racism and sexism.

“When you hear somebody compare our military to the Fourth Reich, you kind of realize that this guy isn’t really worth listening to,” said Janine Babbitt, whose husband Maj. Erich Babbitt, an active duty Army National Guard member, has been deployed in Afghanistan for about a week.

Chiroux, who made headlines a year ago when he refused a deployment to Iraq, made his most recent comments during a service at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Sunday.

An Opelika-Auburn News story about the event published Monday has attracted nearly 60 comments as of Wednesday night from people on both sides of the issue.

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Game show looks to convert atheists

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists?

Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers.

The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists.

But religious authorities in Muslim but secular Turkey are not amused by the twist on the popular reality game show format and the Religious Affairs Directorate is refusing to provide an imam for the show.

"Doing something like this for the sake of ratings is disrespectful to all religions. Religion should not be a subject for entertainment programs," High Board of Religious Affairs Chairman Hamza Aktan told state news agency Anatolian after news of the planned program emerged.

The makers of "Penitents Compete" are unrepentant and reject claims that the show, scheduled to begin broadcasting in September, will cheapen religion.

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Fortuna Box

French government destroys 551 images by Henri Cartier-Bresson

British Journal of Photography - 9 Jul, 2009

More than 500 images taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson have been destroyed or thrown away by the French government, Le Monde newspaper revealed today

The images were lost in 1991, however, for the first time in two decades, Martine Franck, a photographer and widow of Cartier-Bresson has revealed new details about the loss to the French newspaper.

Of the 551 photos that have been destroyed or thrown away, 426 of them formed part of Cartier-Bresson’s first exhibition in France in 1955. For the show, which took place in the Louvre museum, the images were glued on cardboard and fixed to wooden panels. The prints were made in 1954 and included some of the photographer’s work in Moscow, America, India and China.

The exhibition travelled around the world for another five years. In 1960, Cartier-Bresson donated the prints to the French government, which stocked them in the National Library until 1968. That year, the photographer asked for the images to be moved to the National Centre of Contemporary Arts (CNAC) to prevent the ‘images from being buried,’ Cartier-Bresson said at the time.

The shots, including an additional 104 photos from the 1970 ‘In France’ exhibition and 21 portraits, remained in the CNAC’s basement until 1991. In an attempt to move the images to a new location that the French government realised they had suffered water damage. The CNAC asked Cartier-Bresson whether it could destroy the images. ‘I remember, I’m with Henri,’ says Franck. ‘Two people from the Culture Ministry ask him if they can have the entire exhibition destroyed. Henri, la mort dans l’âme, agrees.’ The images were, allegedly destroyed.

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Flu mutating

Mother Jones - 9 Jul, 2009

Barack Obama warned today of a resurgence of flu this autumn. But it's summer in the northern hemisphere. Hard to fret in warm weather. Right?

Well here are some developments worth the worry, summed up by New Scientist.

In June, more than 98 percent of genotyped flu cases in the US were caused by the pandemic swine flu—which is to be expected, since seasonal flus tend to die out in summer.

But the same high percentages of pandemic flu are appearing in the southern hemisphere, where swine flu, A(H1N1), is replacing the seasonal flu.

In the Australian state of Victoria, swine flu now accounts for 99 percent of all flu cases, with similar numbers from South America. The seasonal vaccine is proving useless.

The pandemics of 1918, 1957, and 1968 also completely replaced their seasonal flus.

Yet many drug companies are still laboring to produce seasonal flu vaccines for use later this year for the northern hemisphere—when they might well prove useless.

It's also possible that three viruses will be circulating later this year: the milder H1N1, plus H3N2, plus the swine flu A(H1N1). In this complicated scenario, seasonal and pandemic vaccines would be needed with people in different age groups requiring vaccines based on their exposure to past flus.

During previous pandemics, the pandemic virus mutated and its effects worsened. Some ominous signs are emerging now with swine flu, including a mutation to the virus's polymerase enzyme that allows it to replicate more efficiently. This mutation appeared in Shanghai and could make the virus more contagious or more virulent or both.

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Insurance companies vs. Michael Moore



Bill Moyers interviews former health insurance industry executive Wendell Potter, who left the field after almost 20 years to become a health reform advocate. Check out Potter's take on the campaign against Michael Moore's film 'Sicko'...

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07102009/profile.htmlHealth

Haiti is the American Revolution

By Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD for Black Commentator - 9 Jul, 2009

Our revolt rises up like the cry of the storm bird over the lapping waters of the stinking swamps.

- Jacques Roumain, “A New Black Sermon”
We spent most of yesterday telling stories. Someone says, Krik? You answer, Krak! And they say, I have many stories I could tell you, and then they go on and tell these stories to you, but mostly to themselves.
- Edwidge Danticat, “Children of the Sea,” Krik? Krak!
Not a word from President Barack Obama, the man of CHANGE, or the newly appointed UN Special Envoy, former President Bill Clinton, man from HOPE, condemning the UN’s shooting of, as Marguerite “Ezili Danto” Laurent reports, “peaceful, unarmed protesters in Haiti” June 18, 2009. The shooting took place at the funeral for Father Jean Juste outside the Port au Prince Cathedral.

Laurent, Human Rights Lawyer and President of Haitian Lawyer Leadership Network, writes that mourners were shot at as they exited the cathedral. People immediately took the body of Father Juste to protect it from being vandalized. Mourners also picked up the body of a fallen protester and “marched it to the National Palace” while UN soldiers continued to shoot into the crowd.

This isn’t the first attack on the people carried out by MINUSTAH, the United Nation’s Stabilization Mission in Haiti. The UN “peacekeeping” mission patrol the poor neighborhoods “in armored personnel vehicles, [with] their automatic weapons, rather than their hands, extended to the Haitian people,” write Mario Joseph and Brian Coconnon, Americas. IRC-online.org. According to the School of Americas Watch, The UN troops were particularly disturbed by the poor and the religious priests (like Father Juste) who actually served to protect the poor. In December, January, and February, 2007, repeated assaults on the crowd in the poor neighborhoods of Cite Soleil left dozens of women, children and elderly dead. A UN spokesperson claimed that the 22,000 bullets fired into the crowd were meant for “gang members.”

From this window, Haiti is the American Revolution. Haiti is the face of revolution in the Southern Hemisphere of the Americas. Haiti is the face of enslaved rebellion against capitalist tyrants.

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The Fibonacci in Tool's 'Lateralus'



"...When the 13 tracks of this Tool album are reordered in a Fibonacci sequence, they flow better: the end of each track exactly matches the beginning of the next one..."

Pope calls for "world political authority"

Edmonton Journal - 7 Jul, 2009

Pope Benedict on Tuesday called for a "world political authority" to manage the global economy and for more government regulation of national economies to pull the world out of the current crisis and avoid a repeat.

The pope's call for a re-think of the way the world economy is run came in new encyclical which touched on a number of social issues but whose main connecting thread was how the current crisis has affected both rich and poor nations.

Called "Charity in Truth," parts of the encyclical appeared bound to upset conservatives because of its underlying rejection of unbridled capitalism and unregulated market forces, which he said had led to "thoroughly destructive" abuse of the system.

The pope said every economic decision has a moral consequence and called for "forms of redistribution" of wealth overseen by governments to help those most affected by crises.

Benedict said "there is an urgent need of a true world political authority" whose task would be "to manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result."

Such an authority would have to be "regulated by law" and "would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights."

"Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties, and also with the co-ordinated measures adopted in various international forums," he said.

The United Nations, economic institutions and international finance all had to be reformed "even in the midst of a global recession," he said in the encyclical, a booklet of 141 pages.

An encyclical is the highest form of papal writing and gives the clearest indication to the world's 1.1 billion Catholics as well as non-Catholics of what the pope and the Vatican think about specific social and moral issues.

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Artist flees Turkey after Erdogan insult

The First Post - 29 Jun, 2009

A British artist, Michael Dickinson, has fled Turkey after learning that he could be jailed for insulting the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in a collage he made called Good Dog (above), which shows the PM as a dog on a Stars and Stripes lead.

Dickinson had been acquitted last September on charges of insulting Erdogan when the judge decided that though the artwork was insulting according to Turkish standards, it would not be according to standards in the European Union. And because Turkey was trying to join the EU, Dickinson's collage should not be seen as a crime.

Such enlightened thinking was welcomed by Dickinson and fellow artists. But a week ago he heard that the public prosecutor had overturned the acquittal and Dickinson was going to be retried. He decided to drop everything and leave the country where he has lived for 23 years.

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Letter from an Israeli Jail, by Cynthia McKinney

It's now been six days since the Israeli military attacked the Free Gaza organization's ship in international waters - for the second time - which is a serious crime, and despite the fact that a prominent US politician and a Nobel Laureate were on board, the media has yet to cover the story.

This is Cynthia McKinney and I'm speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies - and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children.

While we were on our way to Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis high-jacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza. We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

At the outbreak of Israel's Operation ‘Cast Lead' [in December 2008], I boarded a Free Gaza boat with one day's notice and tried, as the US representative in a multi-national delegation, to deliver 3 tons of medical supplies to an already besieged and ravaged Gaza.

During Operation Cast Lead, U.S.-supplied F-16's rained hellfire on a trapped people. Ethnic cleansing became full scale outright genocide. U.S.-supplied white phosphorus, depleted uranium, robotic technology, DIME weapons, and cluster bombs - new weapons creating injuries never treated before by Jordanian and Norwegian doctors. I was later told by doctors who were there in Gaza during Israel's onslaught that Gaza had become Israel's veritable weapons testing laboratory, people used to test and improve the kill ratio of their weapons.

The world saw Israel's despicable violence thanks to al-Jazeera Arabic and Press TV that broadcast in English. I saw those broadcasts live and around the clock, not from the USA but from Lebanon, where my first attempt to get into Gaza had ended because the Israeli military rammed the boat I was on in international water ... It's a miracle that I'm even here to write about my second encounter with the Israeli military, again a humanitarian mission aborted by the Israeli military.

The Israeli authorities have tried to get us to confess that we committed a crime ... I am now known as Israeli prisoner number 88794. How can I be in prison for delivering crayons to kids?

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13 doctors demand inquest into Dr David Kelly's death

Daily Mail - 13 Jul, 2009

The death of Government scientist David Kelly returned to haunt Labour today as a group of doctors announced that they were mounting a legal challenge to overturn the finding of suicide.

Dr Kelly's body was found six years ago this week in woods close to his Oxfordshire home, shortly after he was exposed as the source of a BBC news report questioning the grounds for war in Iraq.

Unusually, no coroner's inquest was held into his death.

The only official verdict has come from the Hutton Inquiry, commissioned by Tony Blair, which concluded that Dr Kelly, 59, died from loss of blood after cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife.

Critics regarded the report as a 'whitewash', and Mr Blair remains acutely sensitive to the accusation that he has 'blood on his hands' over the scientist's death.

But now a team of 13 specialist doctors has compiled a detailed medical dossier that rejects the Hutton conclusion on the grounds that a cut to the ulnar artery, which is small and difficult to access, could not have caused death.

It will be used by their lawyers to demand a formal inquest and the release of Dr Kelly's autopsy report, which has never been published. It will also be sent to Sir John Chilcot's forthcoming inquiry into the Iraq War.

The 12-page opinion, a copy of which has been seen by The Mail on Sunday, concludes: 'The bleeding from Dr Kelly's ulnar artery is highly unlikely to have been so voluminous and rapid that it was the cause of death.

~ more... ~

Letter sparks investigation of Baxter vaccine by New Zealand Minister of Health

NaturalNews - 8 Jul, 2009

The New Zealand Minister of Health, Hon Tony Ryall, has asked the Ministry of Health officials to urgently advise him on issues raised about a "swine flu" vaccine produced by Baxter International Inc. This follows his receipt of a letter raising concerns about whether vaccines produced by Baxter for "swine flu" can be trusted.

In an open letter to all members of the New Zealand House of Parliament, Penny Bright, Media Spokesperson for Water Pressure Group, a judicially recognized Public Watchdog for Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters, raises a series of questions and concerns about the safety of the vaccine. She demands to know whether Baxter products are currently being used in New Zealand for the "swine flu", "bird flu" or any other type of flu.

Bright highlights the fact that Baxter is currently facing criminal charges for producing contaminated "bird flu" vaccine that date back to February of this year when it became known that the company had sent out 72 kilos of live "bird flu" virus supplied by the World Health Organization in the winter of 2009 to 16 laboratories in four countries.

~ more... ~

Colombian paramilitaries admits to killing 21,000

Jamaica Observer [AFP] - 14 Jul, 2009

Colombian right-wing paramilitaries have admitted to killing 21,000 people, prosecutors said yesterday.

"We are up to 21,000 murders that have been confessed to," Luis Gonzalez, of the public prosecutor's office, told local radio.

The confessions by the former fighters spanned a three-year period and are part of a peace deal that includes a drive to demobilise 31,000 former fighters, know as the United Colombian Self-Defence Forces, or Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC).

Gonzalez told Radio Caracol that the full extent of the "horrors" may be unknown "because there are still many murders to confess to".

"We have documented around 246,000 cases that occurred in the regions that had the Autodefensa forces," he said.

"The important thing is that we are learning the truth, who participated, who benefited from these killings."

In April, the government in Bogota declared that the AUC had ceased to exist.

Over 600 AUC leaders and members have agreed to subject themselves to controversial "justice and peace" laws that limit punishment for fighters found guilty of major crimes to eight years in prison.

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