US Imperial News – 1/12/11

Welll, this one loses the links and the embedded videos and pix. I don’t have this problem with blogger, more experimentation needed….

INDEX

Haiti: 2011—”year of revolt” or more of the same?
from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update

Haiti: “Core Group” contemplated election day coup
from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update

Argentina: agribusinesses accused of enslaving workers
from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update

A year in jail not enough punishment for protesting
from The Only Democracy? by Jesse Bacon

Shabak Humiliates Female Arab Journalists at Netanyahu Press Event
from Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place by Richard Silverstein

Death Penalty for Blasphemy Rare in Muslim World
from Informed Comment by Juan

Biden: US Could be in Afghanistan Past 2014; Bombing Shakes Capital
from Informed Comment by Juan

Headlines for January 11, 2011
from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
Obama Heads to Tucson for Shooting Memorial
Giffords’ Brother-in-Law Sends Message of Peace from Space
Lawmakers to Introduce Gun Control Legislation
Colorado Man Arrested for Threatening Sen. Bennet
Tom DeLay Sentenced to Three Years in Jail
Gates: North Korea is Becoming a “Direct Threat” to U.S.
Biden: U.S. Troops May Stay in Afghanistan After 2014
Ex-Mossad Head Criticized for Admitting Iran Does Not Pose Imminent Nuclear Threat
Israel Demolishes Palestinian Hotel to Build More Settlements
Death Toll in Tunisia Rises to 35; Schools Indefinitely Shut Down
10 Dead, 78 Missing After Massive Floods in Australia
Lori Berenson Returns to Court in Peru
British Police Office Exposed for Infiltrating Green Groups
Duke-Progress Merger Creates Nation’s Largest Utility Company
WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Appears in London Court
Anti-Torture Activists Mark 9th Anniversary of Opening of Guantánamo

Haiti: 2011—”year of revolt” or more of the same?
from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update
Criticism of both the Haitian government and the international community continues to mount as the Jan. 12 anniversary of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake approaches. The quake killed as many as 250,000 people and destroyed much of Port-au-Prince and other cities in southern and western Haiti, leaving more than 1.5 million people homeless. One year later the majority of the displaced still live in improvised shelters without proper nutrition, sanitation or medical care.

read more

Haiti: “Core Group” contemplated election day coup
from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update
As of Jan. 7 it was still unclear when or whether the second round of Haiti’s controversial Nov. 28 presidential and legislative elections would take place. A runoff was originally scheduled for Jan. 16 but has been postponed indefinitely as a result of charges that political groups, including the Unity party of President René Préval, compromised the voting through fraud [see Update #1060]. A 12-member technical team from the Organization of American States (OAS) was in Port-au-Prince analyzing the voting results and was expected to issue a report early in the week of Jan. 10 on the validity of the elections.

read more

Argentina: agribusinesses accused of enslaving workers
from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update
Labor ministry inspectors from the Argentine national government and the Buenos Aires provincial government said they found 199 farm workers in conditions close to slavery during raids carried out at the end of December and the beginning of January on estates in the area of San Pedro, about 100 km west of the national capital. The inspectors said 130 of the laborers, including some 30 children and adolescents, were producing for the Dutch-based multinational Nidera, and 69 were producing for the Argentine company Southern Seeds Production SA; the workers appear to have been subcontracted through temporary agencies.

read more

A year in jail not enough punishment for protesting
from The Only Democracy? by Jesse Bacon
Israel’s military went to court for the right to keep holding in jail Palestinian organizer Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the cousin of slain protester Jawaher Abu Rahmah. Happily for the Israeli Army, it’s a military court so they complied. Abdallah is now to serve an additional 2-3 months. Presumably they believe that’s enough that when Abdallah is released, Palestinians won’t mind having their land stolen or their political and human rights denied. I wouldn’t bet on it. I think the fact that a man committed to unarmed protest can end up in millitary court tells you everything you need to know about the Israeli regime. This will definitely be an example to others, but not the way the military wants it to be.e.

Here’s the account from Popular Struggle of the harshening of Abdallah’s sentence on appeal.

After ordering to keep Abdallah Abu Rahmah in detention past his release date on the 18th of November 2010, the Military Court of Appeals sided with the prosecution’s appeal demanding to aggravate the one-year sentence imposed on Abu Rahmah. The prosecution asked the court to harshen the sentence so that it exceeds two years imprisonment. However, the judge gave a sentence of a total of sixteen months. He has been in jail for exactly thirteen months and one day. He will now serve three more months to complete the sixteen month sentence.

Shabak Humiliates Female Arab Journalists at Netanyahu Press Event
from Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place by Richard Silverstein

Shabak exposes dangerous Arab female journalist-terrorists

The Shabak demanded that three female journalists from Al Jazeera TV remove their bras before allowing them to enter an annual toast hosted by Bibi Netanyahu for foreign journalists. When they refused they were ejected from the event. Turkish journalists also claimed they were humiliated during their security check. After complaining to the government press office about their treatment, the Turkish contingent decided to attend but the Al Jazeera reporters did not.

The Israeli press flak who organized the event apologized for the treatment, but the matter was solely in the Shabak’s hands and not his own. That’s what happens in a state in which major decisions are made by the secret police and removed from the hands of political leaders.

Death Penalty for Blasphemy Rare in Muslim World
from Informed Comment by Juan

Pakistani campaigners against the country’s blasphemy laws are pointing out that out of 54 Muslim-majority countries in the world, at most 5 permit capital punishment for blasphemy. They are Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and possibly Afghanistan (the new Afghan constitution incorporates human rights norms that could affect statutes treating blasphemy as a capital crime).

Note that three of these countries with harsh penalties for blasphemy are close allies of the United States.

Blasphemy laws are of course objectionable on their face, though they also exist in Christendom. (For what it is worth, there is a wikipedia survey of such laws.) As recently as 1969 a man in Finland was fined for a blasphemous piece of artwork entitled “Pig Messiah.” Some provinces of Australia, still have such laws on their books, though the last prosecution was in Victoria in 1918. Brazil, Austria, Denmark, etc. have anti-blasphemy laws, though they have not been used any time recently and the penalties are fines and jail time. It is more common nowadays in Europe for individuals to be prosecuted on charges of hate speech toward a religious community. Ironically, Germany used its anti-blasphemy law, originally designed to protect Christianity, to convict a man of defaming Islam in 2006. Israel also has a law against blasphemy, and in India it is illegal maliciously to defame someone’s religion. Blasphemy laws in many Muslim countries resemble those in Christendom in involving fines and jail time.

Biden: US Could be in Afghanistan Past 2014; Bombing Shakes Capital
from Informed Comment by Juan

Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday in Kabul that the US might keep troops in Afghanistan after 2014 if asked to do so by the Afghanistan government. He thus reversed his earlier pledge that the US would be out of that country by that date, “come hell or high water.” He has been under pressure to qualify his earlier comment (presumably directed at his Democratic Party base domestically) because the Afghan Taliban and other insurgents are expected to attempt simply to wait out the US if they have fair confidence that it is on the way out. On the other hand, consistent policy is more likely to succeed.

Also in Kabul on Tuesday, a suicide bomber on motorbike killed 4 and wounded 31 when he sidled up next to a minibus carrying Afghan National Directory of Security staffers and detonated his payload. The explosion, near the Parliament building, shook the capital. That he was able to target that NDS minibus suggests to me that it was an inside job, and that someone somewhere in the Afghanistan government let the radical know when and where to attack. Such penetration of the Afghan security forces by Taliban or other insurgents is in turn highly disturbing. This bombing was the third in the capital in the past month, a worrisome sign. But even more unnerving was the successful assassination of a high intelligence official.

The Afghanistan government is claiming that the US military operation in Qandahar and its environs has cost $100 mn..

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