Archive for the ‘Internet Freedom’ Category
Free Raif Badawi !
It is exactly three years ago today that the pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi was arrested and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, the Saudi Supreme Court upheld the draconian sentence handed down for his ‘crime’ of setting up a liberal website: ten years jail and 1,000 lashes.
Meanwhile, Badawi’s lawyer and brother-in-law, Waleed Abu Al-Khair – himself a human rights activist and founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia – had his 15 year jail sentence confirmed in February.
This is happening in a country that successive British governments have allied with, diplomatically and militarily, despite its tyrannical nature and its sharp divergence from our stated democratic, liberal and human rights values. Our foreign policy on Saudi Arabia doesn’t match what we say we stand for.
Indeed, as well as Raif’s and Waleed’s persecution, Amnesty international has documented ten different forms of gross human rights abuse perpetrated by the regime in Riyadh.
Despite UK government silence, human rights campaigners have kept the Badawi case in the public eye. English PEN has been holding weekly vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London, and the Amnesty International petition calling for his release has over 1 million signatures. People worldwide are sharing the #FreeRaif appeal on social media, calling for his immediate, unconditional release.
Badawi is one of the human rights heroes of our age. He has been awarded several prizes, including PEN Canada’s One Humanity Award, and has been nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Numerous Nobel laureates have voiced their support for Raif, as have well-known public figures such as Patti Smith, Jimmy Wales, Salman Rushdie and Noam Chomsky.
Today, on this third anniversary of Badawi’s arrest, we will be taking our campaign to Downing Street, with a delegation including representatives from Campaign Against the Arms Trade, English PEN, Index on Censorship, International Front for Secularism and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
Our letter to the Prime Minister urges him to publicly call for the release of Raif and other political prisoners, and to condemn all human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. We also want David Cameron to make trade with Riyadh conditional on the regime’s respect for human rights and ethical norms of governance – particularly in relation to the sale of weapons that could be used to oppress Saudi citizens. These demands will be reiterated at a public meeting this evening in the Houses of Parliament with MPs, peers and campaigners.
Until it conforms to international human rights standards, Saudi Arabia should be treated as a pariah state. Arms sales must end, the British ambassador should be recalled, and key regime figures sanctioned internationally.
Dear Prime Minister
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is currently imprisoned in a Saudi Arabian jail having received the first 50 of a threatened 1,000 lashes. If Raif survives these floggings he faces another 10 years in jail. His ‘crime’ was to have set up a website that called for peaceful change of the Saudi regime away from the repressive and religiously exclusive regime that it is.
In another shameful act his lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair, and other human rights activists were also later arrested. On February 20th this year Waleed had his sentence confirmed as 15 years in prison.
The European Parliament in its resolution of Feb 12th made clear its demands on Saudi Arabia to release Raif, as well as his lawyer Waleed and others imprisoned there for exercising their freedom of speech.
But to free Raif from this nightmare needs more than politicians saying that they disapprove of his punishment.
The total EU trade with the Saudi regime is currently close to €64 billion a year. The UK alone has approaching £12 billion invested in Saudi Arabia whilst it continues to invite Saudi investment in the UK, particularly in the property market. Saudi investment in the UK is currently over £62.5 billion.
As the regime inflicts beheadings and floggings on its people, questions have to be asked about why more cannot be done to promote the human rights of citizens of a country with which there is such extensive business. Particularly questions have to be asked about the morality of providing such a regime with arms, particularly the weaponry and facilities they use in their brutal penal system.
We ask that you make publicly clear your complete opposition to the human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and demand the immediate release of Raif and Waleed as the EU parliament has done. We also ask that you make publicly clear what measures you will take as a government to put any trading with this regime on an ethical basis and what conditions you will demand from the Saudi regime if all of that trade is to continue – particularly in relation to weapons that might be used in oppression or imprisonment.
If nothing is done to stop the brutality, beheadings and floggings that are committed there – then any moral stand taken against similar horrors committed elsewhere by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria can only be compromised.
In the spirit of consistency, transparency and humanity we ask you to take action to Free Raif and promote human rights in Saudi Arabia
List of Signatures and more information: Free Raif Badawi.
Day of action for Raif Badawi (from English PEN).
British newspaper sends undercover journalists to gathering featuring speakers from Spain, Canada, UK and US
Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers gathered for a secret meeting at a London hotel last week, sparking outrage and prompting many to call for a police investigation, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.
The gathering, which took place last Saturday at the Orient Suite in London’s Grosvenor Hotel, reportedly drew a range of speakers from Spain, Canada, the UK and the US.
“The material from this white supremacist group makes ugly reading,” Jonathan Arkush, VP of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was quoted by the Mail as saying. “On the face of it, their proceedings should be investigated to ascertain whether criminal offenses have been committed, including incitement to racial hatred.”
The British daily sent an undercover team of journalists to listen in on the event, which was attended by 113 people.
We would not normally cite the Daily Mail.
But this is important.
Nazi sympathisers at meeting laughed at Charlie Hebdo massacre and cheered at the mention of Spanish Fascists
In a room draped with the Union Flag, as the event called the London Forum unfolded, the audience:
- Sniggered at the mention of ‘ashes rising from the death camps’ crematoria’;
- Applauded as they were urged to ‘identify, counter and break … Jewish-Zionist domination’;
- Laughed at the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and as an African leader at the Paris memorial ceremony was described as ‘some Negro’;
- Cheered at the mention of a brigade of Spanish Fascists who fought for the Nazis;
- Heard gay parents branded ‘monster families’ and mixed race children described as ‘blackos’.
Last night, there were calls from Jewish community leaders for police to investigate the group for race hate crimes.
‘The material from this white supremacist group makes ugly reading,’ said barrister Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
‘On the face of it, their proceedings should be investigated to ascertain whether criminal offences have been committed.
There are many points to be made about the ideology and activities of these people.
This is just one.
The next time people claiming to be on the left indulge in hate-speech against Charlie Hebdo, we hope they remember how the Nazis at this meeting reacted to the deaths of our beloved martyrs.
Cabu – who spent his life caricaturing political figures – says Merde! to Japanese Manga drawer, Hayao Miyazaki, who instructs them not to make fun of holy figures from other cultures and restrict themselves to their own politicians (from here)
Charlie Hebdo: the Joy of Liberty. Andrew Coates.
From the latest Chartist magazine. (‘For Democratic Socialism’).
7th of January 2015, “I called my mother. For a moment, in tears, I was unable to speak. It was as if we’d lost members of our family.” (Le Monde 30.1.15) Millions in France, and across the world, shared the reactions to the slaughter at the office of Charlie Hebdo, expressed in images by the cartoonist Lisa Mandel. 11 people, from well-known artists to technical staff and police guards, had already lost their lives.
On the 8th of January a municipal policeman was killed at Montrouge. The following day the murderer, Amedy Coulibaly, left four hostages dead at the kosher supermarket, Hyper Cacher, Porte de Vinceness. He was shot by the security forces, as were the two Charlie attackers, tracked down by the police to Dammartin-en-goële.
The butchers, the two Kouchai brothers and Coulibaly, underlined the Islamist character of their ‘synchronised’ action. The first pair shouted, “We have avenged the Prophet Mohamed!” They claimed to spare woman, but murdered the Jewish psychoanalyst and Charlie columnist Elsa Cayat. Coulibaly could not have made his anti-Semitism clearer. He claimed affiliation to the Islamic State in the Levant and Syria (Isis). A more certain link to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula emerged.
The reaction to the atrocities was overwhelming. An avalanche of Je suis Charlies circulated on social media. On the 11 of January millions demonstrated in France. In Paris the French political class – except the Front National – and foreign leaders, including representatives of countries not noted for tolerating freedom of expression stood in the march.
The crowds celebrated Charlie in the Place de la Bastille. Some criticised the appeal to ‘national unity’. The vast majority of the left, the Front de Gauche, the Parti Socialiste, joined in. There were flags of every description, Puerto Rican, Kurdish, and French. Far from endorsing a ‘union sacrée’ hundreds of thousands of people were there simply to share their common grief.
Appearing after these events Charlie Hebdo (14th of January) stated, “In a week, Charlie, an atheist paper, has achieved more miracles than all the saints and the prophets together … Charlie has masses of new friends: people without a name, world celebrities, the lowest and the most privileged, sinners and religious dignitaries, the sincere and the Jesuitical, those who’ll be with us for life, and those who are only here for a short time.”
Charlie does not only have friends. Over the years there have been many attempts to silence the Weekly. Since its relaunch in 1992 legal challenges have mostly come from the extreme-right and Catholic fundamentalists. But in 2006 their publication of the Mohammed cartoons of Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, led to a court action brought by Muslim organisations. The case failed. In November 2011 they announced the production of a special Charia Charlie (Sharia Charlie) with Mohammed as Editor, to ‘celebrate’ the victory in Tunisia of the right-wing Islamist party, Ennahdha. Their offices were burnt out. The paper was still published.
In Britain some on the left also loathe Charlie. People who have seen no more than a few of its front pages have heaped ordure on the Weekly. Charlie wasn’t just printing a “‘depiction’ of the prophet, but repeated pornographic humiliation.” (Seumas Milne, Guardian. 15.1.15) Charlie, was “blatantly Islamophobic and increasingly Zionist.” (Tim Sanders. Socialist Review 2015)
For a wide range of critics the underlying cause of the massacre was Western intervention in Islamic countries and the Republic’s mistreatment of French Muslims. As Milne says, “So long as we allow this war to continue indefinitely, the threats will grow.” Charlie had played a role in the battle. Its secularist humiliation of these believers put it in the camp of the West.
Yet nobody could ignore that the weekly’s humour is informed by radical leftism. Charb, the Editor, backed the Front de gauche. His cartoons, like those of Wolinski, regularly appeared in the communist daily, l’Humanité. Cabu, one of the gentlest and most loved of all French cartoonists, was a libertarian anti-militarist green. Other Charlie authors are from the same stable. There views are as varied as any cross section of the left. Attempts to expell them from their own political family are not likely to succeed.
Charlie Hebdo defends secularism, laïcité, as part of the left’s identity, along with feminism and human rights. It is accused of haughty disdain for religion. But few can ignore that radical Islamism – only one of their targets but the one that it at stake here targets – is against the left’s central values. Charlie does not make the arrogant assumption that any religion is a single ‘community’. It wants the public sphere to be open to all, free of any religious domination. They state, “All of those who claim to defend Muslims, and who accept a totalitarian religious discourse, defend in effect their own butchers. The first victims of Islamic fascism are Muslims.”
“The killers have failed,” observes Serge Halmi, “they have given eternal life to the Weekly they wanted to annihilate” (le Monde Diplomatique. February 2015) More than that, Charlie, is loved.
Je suis Charlie!
Watching the march yesterday was profoundly moving.
The Tendance has expressed our love for Charlie, our dismay at the murders of our beloved comrades who worked there, and the anti-Semitic killings.
Olivier starts by talking of the attack on Charlie, and how the news was reacted to in the UK.
Turkey: Chuck Press that offends the Palace into the Bosphorus!
Some time ago it was claimed that Turkey was an example of democratic, tolerant and pluralist Islamism. That the Erdogan governments had established a more open country – at least in comparison to the nationalist Atatürk parties and military regimes. Western leaders praised Erdogan’s pro-market policies. It was suggested that political Islam was evolving a home-grown democratic culture, with parallels to European Christian democracy.
How long ago this seems now!
The 2013 – 2014 protests in Taksim Gezi Park indicated that not everybody in Turkey admired or accepted the politics of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The crack down on media outlets associated with the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (whose politics have been critically examined on Tendance Coatesy, Gulen Movement, an Islamic Opus Dei?) perhaps marks the moment when Erdogan has passed beyond the threshold of authoritarianism towards – crazed – dictatorship.
Turkey’s President has drawn ridicule internationally for claiming that Islamic explorers discovered the Americas three centuries before Columbus, and for his Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işı’s assertion that it was Muslims who first found that the Earth is round.
Erdogan’s Palace has equally drawn attention to himself, “It is reportedly larger than the White House, the Kremlin and Buckingham Palace: Turkey’s new presidential palace spreads over some 50 acres of forest land, boasts 1,000 rooms, an underground tunnel system, state-of-the-art anti-espionage technology and a blend of modernist and medieval architecture. The ornate palace reportedly cost more than $350 million.”
A third bridge across the Bosphorous has been named after the 16th century Sultan Yavuz Sultan Selim – responsible for massacring tens of thousands of members of the liberal religious group the Alevis. Selim was in many ways a forerunner of today’s Islamist genociders (1)
Plans to teach the old Ottoman language (in a form of Arabic script) indicate that the country’s leader looks to its own imperial past, rather than to democracy.
Turkey has been accused of playing an ambiguous game in Syria, covertly supporting jihadists and other Islamist reactionaries.
Earlier this year the Turkish state restricted use of Twitter alleging it was “biased” and had been used for “systematic character assassination” of….Erdogan.
Now there is this.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) shows no signs of reigning Erdogan back from his actions.
Monday’s newspapers cover the government-orchestrated crackdown on local media figures and police officials across Turkey
The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
On Monday, Turkish media outlets largely covered the government-orchestrated crackdown on local media figures and police officials in 13 provinces across Turkey.
All the people detained are alleged to have links to the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his so-called “Gulen movement.”
MILLIYET headlines “December 14 Operation,” and says the operation has been on Turkey’s agenda for a while. The total number of people in custody has risen to 25 since the crackdown began.
The daily said police took Ekrem Dumanli, the editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Zaman daily, into custody. There were some formal difficulties with detaining Dumanli initially, due to the lack of a necessary document.
Dumanli, who is a staunch critic of the government, dismissed all the allegations against him, and protested his innocence in a speech at the daily, before he was taken away by the police.
ZAMAN runs with the headline “Black Day for Democracy,” changing its logo and the whole front page into black, and says December 14 marked the worst day in Turkey’s history for freedom of speech.
The daily said the detainees were taken into custody after Parliament passed a law that enabled prosecutors to detain the people based on reasonable suspicion.
Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu said he has ordered the detention of 31 people on charges of forgery, fabricating evidence and forming an alleged crime syndicate to overthrow the government. Earlier, it was reported that the prosecutor’s office had given the order for 32 detentions, but Salihoglu revised down the figure to 31.
Hidayet Karaca, chairman of the Samanyolu Media Group, is another senior media figure who was detained earlier in the day.
Producer Salih Aslan and Director Engin Koc of a Samanyolu TV series were also taken into custody in Eskisehir province and sent to Istanbul, police said.
The front page of Monday’s HURRIYET reads, “First the Headline, Later Detention,” referring to the ZAMAN daily’s editor-in-chief holding an editorial meeting for Monday’s paper at 3 a.m., and then being taken into custody at midday.
The Zaman newspaper is alleged to be close to the so-called “Gulen movement.”
Turkish newspapers also covered Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s remarks about the wave of arrests across the country on Sunday.
VATAN quoted Davutoglu on its front page: “Those who infiltrated state institutions and wiretapped the president and prime minister must know that their actions have consequences.”
In December 2013, an anti-graft probe targeted several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading Turkish businessmen.
The government then denounced the December probe as a “dirty plot” constructed by a “parallel structure,” an alleged group of bureaucrats embedded in the country’s institutions, including in the judiciary and the police.
Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained on charges of eavesdropping on Turkey’s top officials, disclosing highly-sensitive information, forming an organization to commit crimes, violating privacy, illegally seizing personal information and forgery of official documents.
(1) From Ottoman Persecution of the Alevis (Wikipedia).
“Typical persecution methods
From the early 16th century the Ottoman administration was specialized in “chasing” Qizilbāshes. This century was perhaps the most harsh century for the Alevis (Qizilbāshes). They were persecuted for both sympathizing with the Safavid struggle, but also because of their “heretical” beliefs. In order to capture Qizilbāshes the Ottoman state used several methods.
Being “Qizilbāsh” was a crime on its own and Qizilbāshes were kept under constant surveillance. Some of the most frequently used surveillance and persecution methods in the Ottoman Empire were:
- Persecution based on others’ reports / notifications.
- Open or secret persecution.
- By asking people who were regarded as more “credible” or “objective”, for example officials or Sunnis.
Typical punishment methods
The Ottomans also had different methods of punishment against Qizilbāshes. Most of the punishments took place by fabricating a reason to kill them.These false accusations were often led into the formal procedures to make them seem more realistic.In cases where the accused Qizilbāshes had many sympathizers or relatives, the Ottoman regime tried to avoid riots by not killing too many at a time.
Some of the most common punishments were:
- Expulsion: Many Qizilbāshs were expelled to Cyprus and cut off from their villages and families, but the Qizilbāshes who were halifes were executed immediately. The most typical displacement locations were Cyprus, Modon, Coroni, Budun(?) and Plovdiv.
- Imprisonment: Some were also jailed and then usually expelled to Cyprus to cut them off from their families.
- Forced labour: A second method of punishment was to send Qizilbāshs for forced labor on galleys (Kürek mahkumiyeti) where they should work as oarsmen.
- Drowning: Some Qizilbāshes was executed by being drowned in the Halys River (Kızılırmak)
- others were executed “on the spot”. Other times Qizilbāshswere executed with the sole purpose, to deter other Qizilbāshs and give them a “lesson”.
- Execution: This method, often termed siyaset or hakkından gelme in the Ottoman archives, was perhaps the most widely used method of punishment of Qizilbāshes.
- Stoning: Although stoning was normally only used against people who had committed adultery, this punishment method was also used on Qizilbāshes. There is an example of a Qizilbāsh named “Koyun Baba” who was stoned because of his faith.
The BBC reports,
A Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 295 people has crashed in east Ukraine on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
There are no signs of survivors at the scene of the crash near the village of Grabovo, in rebel-held territory close to the border with Russia.
Both sides in Ukraine’s civil conflict accused each other of shooting down the plane with a missile. It is still not clear why the plane came down
It was only an instant and the conspiracy theorists ran over the fresh graves of the victims of the crash.
“The US has spent over $5 Billion to destabilize the Ukraine, and that doesn’t even include money from classified budgets. The US/NATO has already been widely accused of Operation Gladio false flag terrorist attacks in the Ukraine.”
Russia Today carried this story at one point,
Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane was travelling almost the same route as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s jet shortly before the crash that killed 298, Interfax news agency reports citing sources.
“I can say that Putin’s plane and the Malaysian Boeing intersected at the same point and the same echelon. That was close to Warsaw on 330-m echelon at the height of 10,100 meters. The presidential jet was there at 16:21 Moscow time and the Malaysian aircraft – 15:44 Moscow time,” a source told the news agency on condition of anonymity.
“The contours of the aircrafts are similar, linear dimensions are also very similar, as for the coloring, at a quite remote distance they are almost identical”, the source added.
Before it’s News raved,
Stephen: Like many of you, on first hearing today that a Malaysian Airlines Flight (MH17) with 295 people on board has been shot down over the eastern Ukraine, the first thought that comes to mind is false flag – that this must be another last ditch effort to retain power.This has also occurred just as Israel has sent tanks into Gaza. A tragic distraction perhaps? It’s all too convenient, no?
1) Malaysian Air involved AGAIN after their “lost plane” false flag event a few months back.
2) The markets were looking for an excuse to hit the collapse button
3) Gold and Silver have been rumored to be “allowed” to run up very soon.
4) European banks are in deep, deep trouble and need an excuse.
5) Ukrainian gov’t came out immediately after the news hit with a story that they know that the Russians shot the plane down.
6) Obama and the EU have just laid new sanctions on Russia and are looking for support from the world.
All of the above leans me towards the conclusion that this is just another false flag event in a long, long string of many that our controllers have pulled off.
Let me be clear…this is just my hunch and it usually takes a few weeks/months before all the “conspiracy facts” come out proving the motives and methods behind the occurrence.
We are living in dangerous times so look at everything with a skeptical eye.
May the Road you choose be the Right Road.
The there is this,
777 Shot Down Over Ukraine : Getting Past The Lies
By Gordon Duff with Jim W. Dean, Veterans Today – July 18, 2014 – http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/07/17/777-shot-down-over-ukraine/
Unconfirmed: Malaysian plane mistaken for Putin’s private jet which had flown over the area only moments before, leaving Israel and the Kiev junta as prime suspects. This may well have been an assassination attempt on Putin.
We have people on the scene now (1:45PM EST) who have found a bag of passports and medical equipment. We will keep you updated.
With the beginning of the Israeli ground attack on Gaza, might they well claim the plane was:
1: An “Egyptian horse barge,” shot down by mistake
2: Spying on Israeli troop movements
(ref: USS Liberty Israeli cover stories)
Not to mention this,
As to the plot or reason, simply blaming Israel is not supportable, no more than blaming Hamas for murdering the 3 children a few short weeks ago.
Thus, we assume these as high probability:
◾An aircraft was used, most likely an American built F15 because of range and capability.
◾Azerbaijan was used because we know of clandestine bases there, which were confirmed by military officers who defected to Iran in 2013.
◾We know Israel has some role, yet undefined, because they are spreading stories blaming Russia.
◾As this is a second Malaysian Airlines plane to go down, we look for false stories regarding Israel and Malaysian planes and reassess their meaning.
◾As is always the case, que bono, who benefits?
We ask readers to watch the world news and those in the region, report directly to our bureau there.
A French site, Le Nouvel Ordre Mondial, suggests that this may have been involved (and links it to the flight MH370 which disappeared en route from Malaysia to China in March).
un message occulte qui était en fait un ordre secret donné à quelqu’un, afin de préparer un sacrifice rituel ou de créer une opération sous fausse bannière (false flag attack)?
A hidden message, which was in reality a secret order to somebody, to prepare a ritual sacrifice, or to create a false flag attack.
In the US there is this,
Rush Limbaugh couldn’t help himself on Thursday after news broke that a Malaysian Airlines jet had crashed in eastern Ukraine.
The radio show host called the disaster “an opportunity” for media outlets to distract viewers from the controversy surrounding President Obama and US border security. He suspected that CNN had already swept the immigration crisis under the rug andretreated back to its “wall-to-wall” coverage of the plane.
Limbaugh called the whole thing “very eery.”
“Talk about an opportunity to abandon the bad Obama news at the border,” he said. “I’m not suggesting anything other than how the media operates.
Socialist Unity star writer, John Wight, has also a unique take on the tragedy,
….the mind boggles that a civilian passenger aircraft should be flying anywhere near a war zone, especially one in which fighter jets, military aircraft, and military transport aircraft are playing such a key role in hostilities.
The alacrity with which Washington and its allies have sought to exploit this tragedy to attack Russia is as unedifying as it’s despicable. Whoever was responsible for downing the Malaysian passenger jet, it was clearly an accident. Moreover, the underlying causes of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, despite efforts to argue otherwise, is the toppling of the last legitimate democratically elected Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich by an armed mob in Kiev in February, in which avowed fascists and neo-Nazis played a key role. Those fascists now occupy ministerial offices in the regime led by Petro Poroshenko and are prevalent in the violence that has been visited on the people in the east of the country, who have risen up in resistance to Kiev and its sponsors in the West.
To mild criticism Wight responds,
I’m not surprised this is your response. I just have to think back to your support for the ‘revolution’ in Libya and the ‘revolutionaries’ in Syria to be reminded of the left cover you continually provide for your own government and its foreign policy.
I still chuckle when I recall you stating during the Maidan riots that you would be on the side of the Right Sector thugs in attacking the police, doing your best of course to ensure you were throwing your rocks from a separate pile than theirs.
Trotsky, I’m sure, would be proud of the political movement he has spawned.