Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Η δασκάλα που διχάζει

του Ηλία Κανέλλη

Τα Νέα

29 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Η βράβευση της δασκάλας Χαράς Νικοπούλου από την Ακαδηµία Αθηνών «για τηναυταπάρνηση και την εθνοπρεπή της στάση κατά τη διάρκεια της υπηρεσίας της ως δασκάλας στο Μεγάλο Δέρειο του Νοµού Εβρου τα έτη 2004-08» είναι, επιεικώς, ατυχής. Πιθανόν, τα μέλη της Ακαδηµίας να πείσθηκαν ότι η στάση τής άλλοτε «δασκάλας του Εβρου» ήταν εθνοπρεπής από τους επαίνους που της απονεµήθηκαν σε τηλεοπτικές εκποµπές με ροπή προς τη συνωµοσιολογία και τα ΟΥΦΟ.

Στην πραγµατικότητα, βράβευσαν μια εκπαιδευτικό η οποία παρέκαµψε τα αναλυτικά προγράµµατα του υπουργείου Παιδείας, αγνόησε την ιδιαιτερότητα της μειονοτικής περιοχής και, θεωρώντας ότι αυτό είναι το πατριωτικό της καθήκον, επιχείρησε να καταργήσει την εκπαίδευση στη μειονοτική γλώσσα και, γενικώς, χώρισε τους μαθητές της βάσει γλωσσικών και θρησκευτικών διαφορών. Ενδεικτική της μεθόδου της είναι η εικόνα που εύκολα μπορεί κανείς να βρει στο Ιντερνετ, όταν την 25η Μαρτίου ένα κορίτσι της μειονότητας, η μικρή Εµινέ, είπε το «πατριωτικό» ποίηµα: «Βάλε τους Τούρκους εµπροστά / σαν τον χασάπη τα τραγιά κ.λπ.».

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Patriot Gays

by William Saletan

Slate
December 20, 2010

"Don't ask, don't tell" is history. The House and Senate votes to repeal it, backed by President Obama's promised signature, are a cultural milestone. But where is this revolution going? Are we abandoning moral judgments about sex, or just rethinking them?

To social conservatives, DADT's demise is a collapse of values. It's an abandonment of "character," an attempt at "reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality" that would "destroy the military's moral backbone." A focus group participant sums up their fear: "People view the military as the last bastion of morals and what is good. If we break that down here … What's left?" The initial worry of these groups, bolstered by the military's report on repealing DADT, is that straight, unmarried personnel will demand the same partner benefits accorded to gays.

Conservatives tend to exaggerate the slippery slope from homosexuality to anything-goes. But many of the arguments for repealing DADT, coupled with ongoing efforts to reform military sex laws, do point in that direction. During the Senate debate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and his colleagues repeatedly argued that the military shouldn't care "who you love." They called that question a matter of "personal liberty." Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, told her colleagues that after repealing DADT, "there is more work we have to do on this whole issue. There is still a lot of unfairness in our laws—partners not being able to have the same rights as married couples. That is another whole issue we will work on."

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Senate Repeals ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

New York Times
December 18, 2010

Capping a 17-year political struggle, the Senate on Saturday repealed the Pentagon’s ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.

By a vote of 65 to 31, the Senate sent the bill to President Obama, who had campaigned on ending the Clinton-era policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allows gay members of the armed forces to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret. A cloture vote of 63-33 earlier in the day had indicated that there was easily enough support to push the measure to final passage. The House had passed the measure, 250 to 175, on Wednesday.

“By ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the cloture vote. “And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”

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Η συμμαχία Χίτλερ-Στάλιν ευνόησε το Ολοκαύτωμα

της Κατερίνας Οικονομάκου

Ελευθεροτυπία

18 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Πρόκειται για ένα από τα πιο φιλόδοξα και πολυσυζητημένα βιβλία ευρωπαϊκής Ιστορίας του 20ού αιώνα, που εκδόθηκαν τα τελευταία χρόνια. Ξανακοιτάζοντας τον Β' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, ο Τίμοθι Σνάιντερ θέτει νέα ερωτήματα, κάνοντας χρήση όλων των πηγών που έχει στη διάθεσή του ο σύγχρονος ερευνητής μετά τη διάλυση της ΕΣΣΔ.

Το βιβλίο αρχίζει με μια παρατήρηση για τον χώρο και το χρόνο: ανάμεσα στη Βαλτική και τη Μαύρη Θάλασσα, ανάμεσα στο Βερολίνο και τη Μόσχα, εκτείνεται μια γεωγραφική ζώνη την οποία ο Σνάιντερ αποκαλεί «πεδία αίματος». Σήμερα αυτή η ζώνη περικλείει τη δυτική Ρωσία, τα κράτη της Βαλτικής, τη Λευκορωσία, την Ουκρανία και το μεγαλύτερο τμήμα της Πολωνίας.

«Αν εξετάσει κανείς αυτήν την περιοχή, θα διαπιστώσει ότι τα περισσότερα ναζιστικά εγκλήματα και ένα δυσανάλογα μεγάλο ποσοστό από τα σοβιετικά εγκλήματα έλαβαν χώρα εκεί και όχι κάπου αλλού», λέει ο Σνάιντερ, καθηγητής Ιστορίας στο Yale. «Η περίοδος κατά την οποία και ο Χίτλερ και ο Στάλιν είναι στην εξουσία, είναι η ιστορική στιγμή κατά την οποία σε αυτή την περιοχή έχουμε το Ολοκαύτωμα αλλά και τις μαζικότερες δολοφονίες στην ιστορία της Ευρώπης».

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Ελευθερολογία πριν και μετά το Διαδίκτυο

του Πάσχου Mανδραβέλη

Καθημερινή

17 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Συνήθως τα έγγραφα που οι κυβερνήσεις θέλουν να μείνουν κρυφά, έρχονται στη δημοσιότητα κατά μερικές δεκάδες σελίδες. Τόσες συνήθως μπορούν να φωτοτυπηθούν και να διαρρεύσουν στον Τύπο. Οχι όμως στην εποχή της πληροφορικής τεχνολογίας. Χωρίς αυτή δεν θα μπορούσε να υπάρχει κάτι σαν το κίνημα των WikiLeaks. Για ένα απλό λόγο: 251.287 διπλωματικά έγγραφα, που ήταν η τελευταία φουρνιά, είναι αδύνατον να φωτοτυπηθούν και να μοιραστούν. Μπορούν όμως να αντιγραφούν και να αποσταλούν ψηφιακά με το πάτημα ενός κουμπιού.

Στην εποχή προ της πληροφορικής τεχνολογίας υπάρχει μόνο μια σχετικά μεγάλη διαρροή εγγράφων. Το 1967, ο υπουργός Αμυνας των ΗΠΑ Ρόμπερτ Μακναμάρα, έδωσε εντολή να αποτυπωθεί η πορεία και η κατάσταση του πολέμου στο Βιετνάμ. Το έργο των 36 αναλυτών, που πήρε την ονομασία «Εγγραφα του Πενταγώνου», απαρτιζόταν από 3.000 σελίδες ιστορικής ανάλυσης για τον πόλεμο και 4.000 επίσημα έγγραφα. Από αυτές τις 7.000 σελίδες διέρρευσε ένα μεγάλο κομμάτι κατ' αρχήν στους New York Times και κατόπιν σε 15 ακόμη εφημερίδες των ΗΠΑ.

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Margaret Thatcher: Free Society Speech (1975)

Margaret Thatcher does a spot of spring cleaning and sweeps away socialism in this early rallying speech from the Conservative Party Conference of 1975. Four years later, Thatcher would become Prime Minister and this speech bodly outlines the kind of values upheld by her government and exemplifies her commitment to the free market, a property-owning democracy and the rights of the individual.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

British Court Orders Leader of WikiLeaks Freed on Bail

New York Times
December 14, 2010

After a week in detention facing possible extradition, Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks antisecrecy group, was ordered released on $310,000 bail by a court on Tuesday as he challenges a Swedish prosecutor’s demand for his extradition to face questioning about alleged sex offenses.

Judge Howard Riddle ordered that Mr. Assange appear again in court on Jan. 11. He also said that between then and now he must reside at Ellingham Hall, a Georgian mansion in Bungay, eastern England, owned by Vaughan Smith, the founder of the Frontline Club, which is used mainly by journalists. Mr. Assange must spend every night at the mansion and will be electronically tagged so the police can track his movements, the judge said.

Additionally, Mr. Assange will be under curfew every day from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be required to report daily to the police from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. His passport is already with the police and, under the terms of his bail, he is not permitted to try to travel abroad.

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Focus on the Policy, Not WikiLeaks

by Ron Paul

LewRockwell.com

December 13, 2010

We may never know the whole story behind the recent publication of sensitive U.S. government documents by the WikiLeaks organization, but we certainly can draw some important conclusions from the reaction of so many in government and media.

At its core, the WikiLeaks controversy serves as a diversion from the real issue of what our foreign policy should be. But the mainstream media, along with neoconservatives from both political parties, insist on asking the wrong question. When presented with embarrassing disclosures about U.S. spying and meddling, the policy that requires so much spying and meddling is not questioned. Instead, the media focus on how so much sensitive information could have been leaked, or how authorities might prosecute the publishers of such information.

No one questions the status quo or suggests a wholesale rethinking of our foreign policy. No one suggests that the White House or the State Department should be embarrassed that the U.S. engages in spying and meddling. The only embarrassment is that it was made public. This allows ordinary people to actually know and talk about what the government does. But state secrecy is anathema to a free society. Why exactly should Americans be prevented from knowing what their government is doing in their name?

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

John Lennon vs. Bono: The death of the celebrity activist

by William Easterly

Washington Post

December 10, 2010

The recent release of the Beatles' music on iTunes, coupled with the anniversary of John Lennon's tragic death in New York City 30 years ago this past Wednesday, has brought on a wave of Beatles nostalgia. For so many of my generation, growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, Lennon was a hero, not just for his music but for his fearless activism against the Vietnam War.

Is there a celebrity activist today who matches Lennon's impact and appeal? The closest counterpart to Lennon now is U2's Bono, another transcendent musical talent championing another cause: the battle against global poverty. But there is a fundamental difference between Lennon's activism and Bono's, and it underscores the sad evolution of celebrity activism in recent years.

Lennon was a rebel. Bono is not.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Liu Xiaobo Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony: China Among 19 Countries To Turn Down Invitation

Associated Press/Huffington Post
December 7, 2010

China and 18 other countries have declined to attend this year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, Nobel officials said Tuesday as China unleashed a new barrage deriding the decision.

Chinese officials in Beijing called Liu's backers "clowns" in an anti-Chinese farce – comments that came only three days before the Dec. 10 Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo.

Beijing considers Liu's recognition an attack on China's political and legal system, and says the country's policies will not be swayed by outside forces in what it calls "flagrant interference in China's sovereignty."

Liu, 54, is serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges brought after he co-authored a bold call for sweeping changes to China's one-party communist political system known as Charter 08.

Countries that have turned down an invitation to Friday's ceremony include Chinese allies Pakistan, Venezuela and Cuba, Chinese neighbors such as Russia, the Philippines and Kazakhstan, and Chinese business partners such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Other countries not appearing at the Oslo City Hall ceremony include Ukraine, Colombia, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Serbia and Morocco.

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The Death of Neoconservatism: Six Questions for C. Bradley Thompson

by Scott Horton

Harper's Magazine

December 2010

C. Bradley Thompson, a political science professor at Clemson University, has recently teamed up with Yaron Brook to write Neoconservatism: An Obiturary for an Idea, a classical-liberal critique of the neoconservative movement. The book systematically examines the economic, political, and cultural underpinnings of neoconservatism, exploring its relationship to the philosophy of Leo Strauss and its influential and menacing ideas about warfare. I put six questions to Thompson about the book:

1. At the core of your book is the notion that neoconservatism is dead. But consider that Politico recently published an analysis of Obama’s Middle East policies in which ten of eleven persons quoted were neocons (the eleventh was a Palestinian). The Washington Post’s editorial page is rapidly becoming a neocon fortress. Is it really time to talk about the “death” of neoconservatism?

The short answer is both “no” and “yes.” The neocons still dominate the conservative think-tank world, and they are a major presence in the media. They play a major role in defining the ideas of the conservative intellectual movement and the policies of the Republican Party. On one level, they are far from irrelevant and must be taken seriously.

Why then an obituary? The title plays off the title of one of Irving Kristol’s most important essays, “Socialism: An Obituary for an Idea,” which was as much prognostic as it was diagnostic. Professional obituarists also often write the biographical parts of a death notice long before their subjects die. Our book, then, should be read as prolegomena to any future obituary. We also hope our obituary for neoconservatism serves, paradoxically, as the murder weapon as well. Readers might imagine Charlotte Corday writing and publishing Marat’s obituary as she traveled to Paris.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Conditions Deplored for Migrants Being Held in Greece at Turkish Border

New York Times
December 7, 2010

While Frontex, the European Union border agency, has sent a special force to close the Greek-Turkish land border to illegal immigration, a human rights group visiting the area said on Monday that they had found more than 800 migrants being held in “inhumane” conditions in Greece, with 120 minors including 9 girls locked up in one overcrowded facility containing 450 people.

Greece’s northeastern land border has become a big crossing point for economic migrants and refugees trying to enter the European Union now that sea routes to Italy and Malta have been closed. In October, Greece requested help from Frontex, which on Nov. 2 sent 175 agents, a helicopter and detector equipment to the region to halt the arrivals.

Gil Arias Fernández, deputy executive director of Warsaw-based Frontex, said in Athens last week that migrant numbers had dropped by 44 percent since the operation began, with 4,720 people intercepted in November compared with 7,586 the previous month; 13 smugglers had been arrested, too.

But members of Human Rights Watch, a Washington-based rights body, issued a statement in Brussels on Monday saying that they had found Afghans, Eritreans, Iraqis, Algerians, Syrians, Iranians and Moroccans in “degrading” conditions at four of the five detention centers along the border, and that Frontex could not “turn a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis for migrants in the Greek border region.”

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Εικόνες ντροπής από τη κράτηση μεταναστών στον Έβρο καταγράφει η Human Rights Watch

Το Βήμα
6 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Τους «υπερπλήρεις χώρους κράτησης» των αλλοδαπών στον Έβρο, τις κακές συνθήκες υγιεινής και τους τρόπους πίεσης για να μην υποβάλλονται αιτήσεις για πολιτικό άσυλο καταγράφει η διεθνής οργάνωση Human Rights Watch σε έκθεσή της υπό τον τίτλο «Ελλάδα: Τέλος στις Απάνθρωπες Συνθήκες Κράτησης για τους Μετανάστες».

Η οργάνωση συστήνει στις ελληνικές Αρχές να μεταφέρουν άμεσα στο άδειο κέντρο κράτησης στη Σάμο τους αλλοδαπούς που βρίσκονται στους υπερπλήρεις χώρους κράτησης στον Έβρο ενώ κρούει τον κώδωνα κινδύνου για τα 120 ασυνόδευτα ανήλικα που κρατούνται για εβδομάδες στο Κέντρο Κράτησης Φυλακίου από Αφγανιστάν, Ερυθραία, Ιράκ, Αλγερία, Συρία, Ιράν, Μαρόκο.

Συγχρόνως, συστήνεται η κατάσταση στην Ελλάδα να τεθεί ως επείγον θέμα στη προσεχή διάσκεψη των υπουργών Εσωτερικών στις Βρυξέλλες στις 9 και 10 Δεκεμβρίου.

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Greece: End Inhumane Detention Conditions for Migrants

Human Rights Watch
December 6, 2010

Greek officials should immediately transfer migrants from overcrowded and inhumane detention sites in the Evros region to an empty facility on Samos Island and protect the 120 unaccompanied migrant children among them, Human Rights Watch said today. These migrants have crossed into Greece from Turkey in recent weeks and months, and come from countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Algeria, Syria, Iran, and Morocco.

The number of migrants arriving in northern Greece from Turkey has risen dramatically in 2010. They include asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, single women, and families with young children. Human Rights Watch conducted research in the northern region of Greece during the first week of December and witnessed conditions so overcrowded that detainees cannot even lie down to sleep. Women and children are crammed in cells with men. Toilet facilities are so limited that guards sometimes escort detainees to defecate and urinate in nearby fields. These conditions clearly risk the health and safety of detainees, and constitute inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of binding international law, Human Rights Watch said.

"Authorities told Human Rights Watch last year that they transferred migrants from the islands to the north to prevent overcrowding." said Simone Troller, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch. "But now they need to respond to the overcrowding in the north, which is creating dangerous, unhealthy conditions."

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Athens mosque plan faces new hurdles

Guardian
November 28, 2010

A controversial bid to build a mosque in Athens has assumed new, more dramatic proportions amid threats by the far-right to stop its construction and a denial by the renowned Anglo-Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, that she is involved in its design.

Tensions have soared in the only EU capital where Muslims are still forced to pray in underground basement flats and garages in the absence of a proper place of worship.

Two weeks after a neo-fascist party won its first-ever seat on Athens council in local elections – highlighting growing Greek hostility over the country's rising immigrant population –opposition to the decades-old project has grown.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Russia’s Dictatorship of Law

New York Times
Editorial
November 20, 2010


Russia’s newly outrageous legal treatment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former owner of the country’s largest oil company, is a reminder that Russia has yet to grasp the idea of equal justice under law — especially when the Kremlin decides someone is in the way.

Mr. Khodorkovsky was convicted in 2005 on trumped-up charges of fraud and disobeying a court order and lost his company to Kremlin loyalists. Russians call his sort of case “telephone law,” imposed by the politically powerful through a call to the courthouse. With his sentence almost up, he was just tried again on suspect charges of embezzling and money-laundering. The judge is expected to reach a decision in December.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Myanmar patients face eviction after Suu Kyi visit

Associated Press/Yahoo News
November 20, 2010

Myanmar's government ordered more than 80 people at a shelter for patients with HIV and AIDS to leave following a visit by newly freed democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the center's organizers said Saturday.

Suu Kyi, released a week ago from seven years under house arrest, visited the shelter on the outskirts of Yangon on Wednesday, promising to provide it with badly needed medicines. She also addressed a crowd of more than 600 who came to see her.

A day after her visit, government officials told patients they would have to leave by next week or face legal action because the center's permit was not being renewed, said Phyu Phyu Thin, a pro-democracy activist who founded the operation. By law, home owners must seek government permission every two weeks to allow visitors to stay overnight.

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Rap and Metal on Planet Islam

by James M. Dorsey

Reason

December 2010

Nabyl Guennouni, 30, is a heavy metal singer and band manager in Morocco. He also sits on a jury that selects rising talents to perform at Casablanca’s annual L’Boulevard des Jeunes Musiciens, a six-day extravaganza in two soccer stadiums that has become North Africa’s largest underground music festival, with some 160,000 visitors each year. This marks a dramatic change for Guennouni. When he and 13 other black-shirted, baseball-capped, middle-class headbangers tried to organize a music festival seven years ago, the police dragged them from their homes and charged them with wooing young Moroccans into Satanism, with a bonus count of promoting prostitution. Morocco’s legal system allows a maximum sentence of three years for such attempts to convert Muslims to another faith.

Egged on by conservative Islamist politicians, who six months earlier had doubled their number of seats in parliament, prosecutors produced as evidence against Guennouni fake skeletons and skulls, plaster cobras, a latex brain, T-shirts depicting the devil, and “a collection of diabolical CDs,” which they described as “un-Islamic” and “objects that breach morality.” In cross-examination, the government attorneys asked the defendants such questions as, “Why do you cut the throats of cats and drink their blood?” Al Attajdid, a conservative daily, depicted the musicians as part of a movement that “encourages all forms of delinquency, alcohol and licentiousness which are ignored by the authorities.” One of the trial judges maintained that “normal people go to concerts wearing suits and ties” and that it was “suspicious” that some of the musicians’ lyrics had been penned in English.

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Vikram David Amar A Preview of Possible Outcomes of the Upcoming Proposition 8 Argument Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

by Vikram David Amar

FindLaw
November 19, 2010

On December 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear oral argument in the federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8 -- California's voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage. While the identity of the three judges to whom the appeal has been assigned won't be known until a week before the argument, the time is ripe to sketch out at least some of the possible outcomes of the Ninth Circuit proceedings.

On one hand, the Ninth Circuit might decide the merits of the constitutional challenge and affirm U.S. District Judge Walker's conclusion that Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment because discrimination against same-sex couples in the marriage context violates their fundamental liberty rights under the U.S. Constitution's due process clause, and/or is irrational under its equal protection clause.

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«Είδα μητέρα με το οκτώ μηνών μωρό της σε κελί-τεκέ»

Το Βήμα
20 Νοεμβρίου 2010

Ενα βήμα πριν από τον διασυρμό βρίσκεται η Ελλάδα καθώς έχει λάβει αυστηρή προειδοποίηση από το Συμβούλιο της Ευρώπης να αντιμετωπίσει την αστυνομική βία, διαφορετικά θα εκδοθεί δημόσια καταγγελία εναντίον της. «Στα 20 χρόνια ύπαρξης της Επιτροπής για την Πρόληψη των Βασανιστηρίων και της Απάνθρωπης Συμπεριφοράς έχουν πραγματοποιηθεί μόνο τέσσερις ή πέντε δημόσιες καταγγελίες» λέει σε αποκλειστική συνέντευξή του προς το Βήμα ο Μάριο Φελίτσε, επικεφαλής της αντιπροσωπείας που επισκέφθηκε την Ελλάδα τον Σεπτέμβριο του 2009 και έδωσε την περασμένη εβδομάδα στη δημοσιότητα μια έκθεση-καταπέλτη για την συμπεριφορά των αστυνομικών, τις συνθήκες κράτησης των λαθρομεταναστών και την κατάσταση των ελληνικών φυλακών.

Αστυνομικό τμήμα οδού Μοναστηρίου στη Θεσσαλονίκη. Η Επιτροπή του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης βλέπει ένα μωρό οκτώ μηνών να κρατείται μαζί με τη μητέρα του σε ένα κελί το οποίο μοιράζονται με μια κρατούμενη που καπνίζει σαν φουγάρο. «Η μητέρα ήταν μη καπνίστρια.Ακόμη και μόνη της,δεν έπρεπε να κρατείται στο ίδιο κελί με κάποια που καπνίζει συνέχεια, πόσω μάλλον που είχε και το μωρό» λέει ο κ. Φελίτσε. «Οι αρχές οφείλουν να δείχνουν μεγαλύτερη ευαισθησία». Επιπλέον, «δεν υπήρχε ζεστό νερό για να πλύνει το παιδί ούτε της παρείχαν πάνες ή άλλα προϊόντα για την υγιεινή του».

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Παραβιάσεις

Το Βήμα
Κύριο Άρθρο
20 Νοεμβρίου 2010


Η έκθεση του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης περιγράφει με μελανά χρώματα την κατάσταση στις ελληνικές φυλακές. Ξυλοδαρμοί, βασανιστήρια, ναρκωτικά, συνωστισμός, κανένας σεβασμός στα δικαιώματα των γυναικών κρατουμένων και συνθήκες άθλιες στα κρατητήρια των αστυνομικών τμημάτων. Αυτή η κατάφωρη παραβίαση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων δεν είναι ανεκτή κατάσταση σε μια σύγχρονη Δημοκρατία.

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Δείτε επίσης

TV Channel, Part Owned by Murdoch, Gets Threats in Iran

New York Times
November 19, 2010

In little more than a year, the Persian-language satellite television channel beamed into Iran by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and a prominent Afghan family has rapidly become one of the most popular stations in the country.

A little too popular, it appears.

This week, a long-running campaign led by the Iranian government to undermine the channel, Farsi1, took a menacing turn: A group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army hacked into Farsi1’s Web site, as well as several sites owned by the Mohseni family, and posted a cryptic but sinister warning.

“The allies of Zionism should know this,” said the message, which stayed on the Web sites for about six hours on Thursday. “Dreams of destroying the foundation of the family will lead straight to the graveyard.”

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Honoring Liu Xiaobo

New York Times
Editorial
November 19, 2010


China’s autocrats have tried pretty much everything they can think of to stop the world from celebrating the courage of Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned democracy activist. It tried to bully the Nobel committee into not awarding Mr. Liu this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. When the committee went ahead, China confined Mr. Liu’s wife to her home, barred others from attending the ceremony, and warned governments not to go.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has rightly decided to proceed with the Dec. 10 awards ceremony. The rules say the prize must be presented to the winner or a member of his family. So the committee is expected to postpone bestowing the medal and the $1.5 million award but read some of Mr. Liu’s writings aloud.

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The Uproar Over Pat-Downs

New York Times
Editorial
November 19, 2010


Americans understand the need for security screenings at airports and are remarkably patient. So there is no excuse for the bumbling, arrogant way the Transportation Security Administration has handled questions and complaints about its new body-scanning machines and more aggressive pat-downs.

The Times reported on Friday that civil liberties groups have collected more than 400 complaints since the new pat-downs began three weeks ago. That is a minuscule number compared with all the people who flew. But there are far too many reports of T.S.A. agents groping passengers, using male agents to search female passengers, mocking passengers and disdaining complaints.

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Why I Still Believe in the Future

by Bernard Baruch

Wall Street Journal

November 20, 2010

Baruch (1870-1965) was a financier and an adviser to Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt and Truman. He read this text over CBS radio in 1953; it has been reprinted many times since, including in the book, "Edward R. Murrow's This I Believe: Selections from the 1950s Radio Series" (2010).

When I was a younger man, I believed that progress was inevitable—that the world would be better tomorrow and better still the day after. The thunder of war, the stench of concentration camps, the mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb are, however, not conducive to optimism. All our tomorrows for years to come will be clouded by the threat of a terrible holocaust.

Yet my faith in the future, though somewhat shaken, is not destroyed. I still believe in it. If I sometimes doubt that man will achieve his mortal potentialities, I never doubt that he can.

I believe that these potentialities promise all men a measure beyond reckoning of the joys and comforts, material and spiritual, that life offers. Not utopia, to be sure. I do not believe in utopias. Man may achieve all but perfection.

Paradise is not for this world. All men cannot be masters, but none need to be a slave. We cannot cast out pain from the world, but needless suffering we can. Tragedy will be with us in some degree as long as there is life, but misery we can banish. Injustice will raise its head in the best of all possible worlds, but tyranny we can conquer. Evil will invade some men's hearts, intolerance will twist some men's minds, but decency is a far more common human attribute, and it can be made to prevail in our daily lives.

I believe all this because I believe, above all else, in reason—in the power of the human mind to cope with the problems of life. Any calamity visited upon man, either by his own hand or by a more omnipotent nature, could have been avoided or at least mitigated by a measure of thought. To nothing so much as the abandonment of reason does humanity owe its sorrows. Whatever failures I have known, whatever errors I have committed, whatever follies I have witnessed in private and public life, have been the consequence of action without thought.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Freedom from fear

Economist
November 18, 2010

It was hard not to be moved both by the demeanour of Aung San Suu Kyi when she was freed from house arrest in Yangon on November 13th, and by the popular reaction to her freedom. Her grace, courage and good humour seem undiminished. Meanwhile, the thousands who flocked to her gate demolished the myth that she is no longer central to Myanmar’s politics. Yet in the euphoria of the moment, it was easy to forget that those politics, too, are in essence unchanged. The foundations for the optimism she herself professes seem flimsy.

Since she was first locked up in 1989, Miss Suu Kyi has twice before been “freed”, only for it to become apparent that she had in effect simply been moved into a larger prison, so strict were the limits on her activities. This time she emerges into a changed world. Until this week she had, for instance, never used a mobile phone or surfed the internet. The political landscape in Myanmar is also altered, even if the first elections for 20 years, held on November 7th, were designed to strengthen the grip on power of the ruling junta, whose party has claimed a massive victory.

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Repeal It. Now.

New York Times
Editorial
November 18, 2010


Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, made the right call this week in pledging to push for repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy during the lame-duck session of Congress. The odds of ridding the country of the destructive ban on gay soldiers serving openly will diminish greatly in the next Congress when Republicans take over the House and gain strength in the Senate.

The House has approved a bill authorizing repeal, pending completion of a Pentagon review, and the Senate tried to do the same in September only to be blocked by the threat of a Republican-led filibuster. Now it is urgent for the Obama administration and Senate Democrats to try again in the brief lame-duck session.

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The Ghailani Verdict

New York Times
November 18, 2010

The verdict in the first federal trial of a former Guantánamo detainee has unleashed the usual chest-thumping and fear-mongering from the usual politicians. They are disappointed that the defendant was only convicted of one count of conspiring to blow up American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 — a crime for which he will probably serve a life sentence.

That clearly wasn’t enough for Representative Peter King, a Long Island Republican who will be the next chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He showed a shocking disdain for the 12 jurors, who deliberated more than four days. He described their verdict as a “total miscarriage of justice.”

Senator John McCain proclaimed on the “Imus in the Morning” program that the verdict proved that all terrorism cases should be tried in military commissions, which he said were set up to “get the job done.”

It’s not clear what job Mr. McCain had in mind, unless he meant guaranteeing guilty verdicts, on all counts, all of the time, no matter what the facts are in a case. President George W. Bush created such a system. The Supreme Court rightly declared it unconstitutional.

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Chinese Woman Imprisoned for Twitter Message

New York Times
November 18, 2010

A Chinese woman was sentenced to one year in a labor camp on Wednesday after she forwarded a satirical microblog message that urged recipients to attack the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, human rights groups said Thursday.

The woman, Cheng Jianping, 46, was accused of “disturbing social order” for resending a Twitter message from her fiancé that mocked young nationalists who held anti-Japanese rallies in several cities last month. The original message sarcastically goaded protesters to go beyond the smashing of Japanese products and express their fury at the heavily policed expo site.

Ms. Cheng added the words: “Charge, angry youth.”

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Nobel Winner’s Absence May Delay Awarding of Prize

Wall Street Journal
November 18, 2010

During the depths of the cold war, when the Soviet physicist and human rights advocate Andrei D. Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Kremlin barred him from leaving the country. But the authorities allowed his wife to collect the award in his stead.

Confronted with a similar challenge in 1983, the Polish authorities permitted the wife of the trade unionist Lech Walesa to travel to Oslo on his behalf. In 1991, the son of the Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered the acceptance speech for his mother, who was being held under house arrest.

But the Chinese government has come up with a less magnanimous approach to the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to give the peace prize to the dissident Liu Xiaobo, 54, who is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion. Mr. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, has been held incommunicado since news of the award broke last month, and the government has been waging a muscular offensive to rebrand the prize as a Western ploy to undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power.

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Thank the Courts

by Linda Greenhouse

New York Times
November 18, 2010

“America has reached a fork in the road, and the time has come to make a decisive choice,” Daniel J. Popeo, chairman of the Washington Legal Foundation, wrote this week in his monthly column in The Washington Examiner. The choice he posited was between continuing to endure judicial intervention in the conduct of the war on terrorism and “returning control over national and homeland security decisions to the executive and legislative branches.”

I don’t mean to single out the Washington Legal Foundation, a respected conservative research and litigation organization. It is hardly alone in its ritualized framing of a dichotomy between law and national security.

And that’s the point. That the courts — and the lawyers who bring cases to them — are a threat to the country is a trope that has penetrated deep into public consciousness. The typical accompanying warning against “Miranda rights for terrorists” resonates with the doom-saying of an earlier generation of conservatives to the effect that courts make it impossible to keep the streets safe from common criminals.

Now, as then, politicians who would stand up for the courts do so at their peril, or presumed peril. Mark the Obama administration’s painful indecision about what to do with the self-described mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, as Exhibit A. A New York jury’s acquittal this week of Ahmed Ghailani, the accused embassy bomber, on all but one of many charges provided an utterly predictable platform for Republican politicians to denounce the use of civilian courts to try terrorism cases.

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Αφγανός μετανάστης κατήγγειλε ξυλοδαρμό από αστυνομικούς

Τα Νέα
19 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Τον ξυλοδαρμό του από αστυνομικούς καταγγέλλει Αφγανός μετανάστης και δηλώνει ότι θα καταθέσει εναντίον τους μήνυση. Ο 43χρονος Αφγανός συνελήφθη μαζί με το 2,5 χρονών παιδί του έξω από σούπερ μάρκετ στο Περιστέρι και οδηγήθηκε στο ΑΤ Περιστερίου, όπου υπέστη το βασανισμό. Οι αντιρατσιστικές οργανώσεις έχουν ενημερώσει για το περιστατικό την Ύπατη Αρμοστεία του ΟΗΕ για τους Πρόσφυγες και τη Διεθνή Αμνηστία και ζητούν την διεξαγωγή έρευνας και την απόδοση ευθυνών.

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U.S. Worries Over Nobel Pick's Wife

Wall Street Journal
November 19, 2010

The top U.S. diplomat in Hong Kong said the continued silence of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo's wife, held under virtual house arrest in Beijing, was a "cause for concern."

Liu Xia, Mr. Liu's wife, has been under increasingly strict surveillance by police since the announcement of the award last month. Chinese authorities appear unwilling to allow Ms. Liu to go to Oslo to accept the award on behalf of her husband in December.

Authorities have cut off her phone and Internet access, and U.S. Embassy officials say they hadn't heard from her in several weeks.

A prominent dissident writer, Mr. Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion handed down after he cowrote a call for an overhaul of China's authoritarian, one-party political system.

A spokeswoman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the matter is an internal one.

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AZ boycott over immigration law sees mixed results

Associated Press
November 18, 2010

A boycott brought on by Arizona's controversial immigration crackdown raised the specter of vacant convention centers, desolate sports arenas and struggling businesses throughout the state.

Seven months later, the boycott's effects are coming into focus, showing it has been a disruptive force but nowhere near as crippling as originally feared.

Businesses have lost lucrative contracts and conventions have relocated, performers called off concerts, and cities and counties in about a dozen states passed resolutions to avoid doing business with Arizona. A report released Thursday says the boycott has cost the state $141 million in lost meeting and convention business since Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law in April.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA is delivering naked insecurity

by Ralph Nader

USA Today
November 18, 2010

To airline passengers: Get ready for naked insecurity.

To the Department of Homeland Security: If you thought this week was bad, brace yourself for a tsunami of protests in the days ahead.

This month Homeland Security has implemented a new rule calling for extremely invasive pat-downs of commercial airline passengers who decline to use full-body, "backscatter technology" scanners that use low-level X-rays. Pregnant women, parents with young children, adherents of religions, amputees and people with wireless insulin pumps or embedded medical devices are increasingly saying, "No thanks." They do not believe they should be exposed to technology that could pose risks, may malfunction, and certainly invades their privacy. So Homeland Security has doubled its trouble by turning to the invasive pat-downs. What the department should do is reconsider its use of these scanners, but after reading Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's full-throated defense of the technology and procedures on this page this past Monday, I'm not hopeful.

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When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

by M.V. Lee Badgett

Winner of the 2010 Distinguished Book Award from the American Psychological Association’s 44th Division (the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues)

The summer of 2008 was the summer of love and commitment for gays and lesbians in the United States. Thousands of same-sex couples stood in line for wedding licenses all over California in the first few days after same-sex marriage was legalized. On the other side of the country, Massachusetts, the very first state to give gay couples marriage rights, took the last step to full equality by allowing same-sex couples from other states to marry there as well. These happy times for same-sex couples were the hallmark of true equality for some, yet others questioned whether the very bedrock of society was crumbling. What would this new step portend?

In order to find out the impact of same-sex marriage, M.V. Lee Badgett traveled to a land where it has been legal for same-sex couples to marry since 2001: the Netherlands. Badgett interviews gay couples to find out how this step has affected their lives. We learn about the often surprising changes to their relationships, the reactions of their families, and work colleagues. Moreover, Badgett is interested in the ways that the institution itself has been altered for the larger society. How has the concept of marriage changed? When Gay People Get Married gives readers a primer on the current state of the same-sex marriage debate, and a new way of framing the issue that provides valuable new insights into the political, social, and personal stakes involved.

The experiences of other countries and these pioneering American states serve as a crystal ball as we grapple with this polarizing issue in the American context. The evidence shows both that marriage changes gay people more than gay people change marriage, and that it is the most liberal countries and states making the first move to recognize gay couples. In the end, Badgett compellingly shows that allowing gay couples to marry does not destroy the institution of marriage and that many gay couples do benefit, in expected as well as surprising ways, from the legal, social, and political rights that the institution offers.

M. V. Lee Badgett is Professor of Economics and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and also serves as research director of the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA School of Law. She is the author of Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men and co-editor of Sexual Orientation Discrimination: An International Perspective.

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Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality

edited by Jonathan M. Metzl and Anna Kirkland

You see someone smoking a cigarette and say,“Smoking is bad for your health,” when what you mean is, “You are a bad person because you smoke.” You encounter someone whose body size you deem excessive, and say, “Obesity is bad for your health,” when what you mean is, “You are lazy, unsightly, or weak of will.” You see a woman bottle-feeding an infant and say,“Breastfeeding is better for that child’s health,” when what you mean is that the woman must be a bad parent. You see the smokers, the overeaters, the bottle-feeders, and affirm your own health in the process. In these and countless other instances, the perception of your own health depends in part on your value judgments about others, and appealing to health allows for a set of moral assumptions to fly stealthily under the radar.

Against Health argues that health is a concept, a norm, and a set of bodily practices whose ideological work is often rendered invisible by the assumption that it is a monolithic, universal good. And, that disparities in the incidence and prevalence of disease are closely linked to disparities in income and social support. To be clear, the book's stand against health is not a stand against the authenticity of people's attempts to ward off suffering. Against Health instead claims that individual strivings for health are, in some instances, rendered more difficult by the ways in which health is culturally configured and socially sustained.

The book intervenes into current political debates about health in two ways. First, Against Health compellingly unpacks the divergent cultural meanings of health and explores the ideologies involved in its construction. Second, the authors present strategies for moving forward. They ask, what new possibilities and alliances arise? What new forms of activism or coalition can we create? What are our prospects for well-being? In short, what have we got if we ain't got health? Against Health ultimately argues that the conversations doctors, patients, politicians, activists, consumers, and policymakers have about health are enriched by recognizing that, when talking about health, they are not all talking about the same thing. And, that articulating the disparate valences of “health” can lead to deeper, more productive, and indeed more healthy interactions about our bodies.

Jonathan M. Metzl is associate professor in the women’s studies department and the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, where he also directs the program in culture, Health, and medicine. He is the author of Prozac on the Couch: Prescribing Gender in the Era of Wonder Drugs and Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease.

Anna Kirkland is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Political Science at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Fat Rights: Dilemmas of Difference and Personhood (NYU Press).

Love of Country Lost and Found

by Rick Zedník

Wall Street Journal
November 17, 2010

Young Juraj did not think he was leaving Czechoslovakia for good in 1968. For an educated, ambitious 22-year-old, the country held his past, but he soon decided that the regime did not offer a future.

To be sure, a boy's life in Bratislava in the 1950s and 1960s had its charms: After-school ice-hockey games on the frozen ponds of the Carpathian foothills. Friday nights strolling and flirting with girls along the Danube's left bank, weekend train trips to hike or ski in the Tatra mountains.

But there were limits, and they were close at hand and they were harsh. From Bratislava's castle hill, Juraj and his friends could see Austrian fields and villages just beyond the Danube. But they could not bike over to them because of the barbed-wire fences and armed soldiers in towers guarding the border in between.

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The Sickly State of the First Amendment

by Nat Hentoff

Cato Institute
November 17, 2010

The premier historian of the Bill of Rights, professor Leonard Levy, explained why our Constitution was not fully operative until the first 10 amendments became part of it: "We have a Bill of Rights because the state, even the democratic state, cannot be trusted. A Bill of Rights is a bill of restraint against the state."

A consensus of polls — and the daily news — reveal a deep distrust of Congress and of this president, as was also true of his predecessor. Accordingly, the state of health of the First Amendment, from which all our individual liberties against the state flow — freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and persistent petition of government for redress of grievances — is vital to all of us. Our voices need to be heard.

Every year, I watch for the State of the First Amendment national survey by the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and in Washington. In Name That Freedom (New York Times, Oct. 24), John Schwartz concisely and disturbingly reports on the most recent survey by the Center:

While 61 percent of those surveyed this year knew that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, just 23 percent volunteered that it also supports freedom of religion, and 18 percent cited freedom of the press. Freedom of association? Fourteen percent. Only 6 percent of those polled could cite the right to petition the government for grievances, the fifth major freedom guaranteed under the First Amendment.

How many of you knew the First Amendment's five freedoms?

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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Greece

Council of Europe
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Strasbourg, 17.11.2010

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its fifth periodic visit to Greece in September 2009, together with the response of the Greek Government. These documents have been made public at the request of the Greek authorities.

In the course of the 2009 visit, the CPT’s delegation reviewed the measures taken by the Greek authorities to implement recommendations made by the Committee after its previous visits. It focused in particular on the treatment and safeguards afforded to persons deprived of their liberty by law enforcement officials, and examined the conditions of detention in police and border guard stations, coast guard posts and in special facilities for irregular migrants. The CPT’s delegation also visited a number of prisons, examining the treatment and conditions of detention of inmates, including the activities offered to them and health care provision.

In their response to the various recommendations made in the CPT’s visit report, the Greek authorities provide information on the measures being taken to address the concerns raised by the Committee.

Read the Report

Read the Response of the Greek Government

Let's Talk About Waterboarding

by Joanne Mariner

FindLaw

November 17, 2010

Last week saw a few more steps toward the banalization of torture. On Monday night, it was former President George W. Bush on television, acknowledging his personal responsibility for ordering the waterboarding of Al Qaeda suspects in CIA custody.

On Tuesday, it was the Department of Justice, announcing that Acting US Attorney John Durham would not pursue criminal charges for the CIA's destruction of videotapes showing the abusive interrogation of terrorism suspects.

And on Wednesday, it was the op-ed page of the New York Times, with an apparently unrelated item: an opinion piece about an arms control treaty currently awaiting ratification by the Senate. A co-author of the piece was John Yoo, who, during his tenure with the Bush administration at the Justice Department, was the author of legal memos purporting to justify torture.

Taken together, these episodes send an ugly but resounding message: Senior U.S. officials face no real consequences for the crime of torture. Not only do they seem immune from prosecution in a court of law, they are even welcome on the op-ed pages of elite publications.

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Activist Artist Goes on Trial in Beijing

New York Times
November 17, 2010

In a case that has galvanized the Chinese arts community, a prominent artist who helped lead a short-lived demonstration along the nation’s most politically hallowed thoroughfare went on trial Wednesday on assault charges that supporters say are aimed at punishing him for his political activism.

The defendant, Wu Yuren, 39, is accused of assaulting a group of police officers at a Beijing police station last May. He had gone to the station house with a friend who was seeking to file a complaint against his landlord, but Mr. Wu ended up in a verbal confrontation with several officers after they grabbed his cellphone, said the friend, Yang Licai.

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China’s Censors Misfire in Abuse-of-Power Case

New York Times
November 17, 2010

One night in late October, a college student named Chen Xiaofeng was in-line skating with a friend on the grounds of Hebei University in central China. They were gliding past the campus grocery when a Volkswagen sedan raced down a narrow lane and struck them head-on.

The impact sent Ms. Chen flying and broke the other woman’s leg. The 22-year-old driver, who was intoxicated, tried to speed away. Security guards intercepted him, but he was undeterred. He warned them, “My father is Li Gang!”

“The two girls were motionless,” one passer-by that night, a student who identified himself only by his surname, Duan, said this week. “There was a small pool of blood.” The next day, Ms. Chen was dead.

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The Tough Existence Living Life on Euro’s Periphery

by David Roman

Wall Street Journal

November 17, 2010

You know things are getting dicey when your best hope is a deflationary recession. Thus is Spain’s and Portugal’s predicament.

Like fellow euro zone trouble cases such as Greece and Ireland, Spain and Portugal emerged from the 2008-2009 financial crisis with domestic demand clobbered and a big competitiveness problem.

Germany had controlled output costs during the last decade by keeping a lid on wages and flirting with deflation. By contrast, for countries such as Spain and Portugal — considered to be on the euro zone “periphery” – big wage increases and above-average inflation sent relative output costs soaring.

The result is that the periphery is stuck with large trade deficits and can’t compete for foreign markets with Germany, which remains the euro zone export powerhouse.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Body Scanners: The Naked Truth

by David Rittgers

New York Post
November 17, 2010

The body scanners coming to your local airport provide marginal benefits -- if any -- in detecting weapons and explosives hidden on travelers. They aren't worth the cost in money -- let alone in civil liberties.

The Transportation Security Administration has put these machines -- X-ray and radio-wave booths that look beneath clothing to perform virtual strip searches -- across the nation and around the world. Industry advocates claim the technology's needed to stop terrorists with explosives hidden under their clothes like Christmas bomber Farouk Abdulmutallab.

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Tom Toles (Washington Post, November 16, 2010)

Suu Kyi Fights to Reinstate Party

Reuters/Wall Street Journal
November 16, 2010

Three days after her release, democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi begins the legal process to reinstate her party and meets with her supporters.

Η θανατική ποινή είναι φόνος;

του Umberto Eco

Βήμα
17 Νοεμβρίου 2010

Τον περασμένο Σεπτέμβριο, στη Βιρτζίνια, η Τερέζα Λιούις εκτελέστηκε με θανατηφόρο ένεση. Ουδείς θα τιμωρηθεί για τη δολοφονία της, επειδή είχε καταδικαστεί νομίμως σε θάνατο. Είχε οργανώσει τη δολοφονία του συζύγου της και του θετού γιου της - κάτι που βεβαίως είναι αντίθετο με τον νόμο-, ενώ εκείνοι που τη σκότωσαν το έκαναν με την ευλογία των Αρχών.

Θα έπρεπε ίσως να επαναδιατυπώσουμε την Εκτη Εντολή ως εξής: «Ου φονεύσεις άνευ αδείας». Στο κάτω-κάτω, επί αιώνες λατρέψαμε τις σημαίες που έφεραν οι στρατιώτες, οι οποίοι στον πόλεμο είχαν την άδεια να σκοτώνουν, όπως ακριβώς και ο Τζέιμς Μποντ.


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Επέτειος εξέγερσης Πολυτεχνείου: όχι στον φασισμό

του Διονύση Γουσέτη

Καθημερινή

17 Νοεμβρίου 2010

Τριακοστή έβδομη επέτειος, σήμερα, της εξέγερσης του Πολυτεχνείου ενάντια στον φασισμό. Παρότι κανένας «-ισμός» δεν στεριώνει ως ιδεολογία στην κατακερματισμένη κοινωνία μας, εντούτοις οι φασιστικές συμπεριφορές είναι σήμερα περισσότερο εξαπλωμένες στη χώρα μας απ’ όσο το 1973. Τότε ανήκαν στη δικτατορική κυβέρνηση. Σήμερα έχουν διευρυνθεί.

Εδραιώθηκε η ατιμώρητη παραβίαση της νομοθεσίας, κατ’ εξοχήν φασιστική συμπεριφορά. Δημόσια κτίρια καταλαμβάνονται, νόμοι αγνοούνται, διόδια δεν πληρώνονται, βουλευτής καπνίζει θρασύτατα σε κλειστό χώρο εξευτελίζοντας τον νόμο που ψήφισε, συντεχνίες διακόπτουν την κυκλοφορία, φασίστες διαδηλωτές πυρπολούν εργαζομένους. Το ΚΚΕ προώθησε και εξωράισε την τζάμπα αυθαιρεσία ως δήθεν «πολιτική ανυπακοή».

Υιοθετείται η ναζιστική αρχή της συλλογικής ευθύνης, με συνθήματα όπως «μπάτσοι, γουρούνια, δολοφόνοι» ή «αλήτες, ρουφιάνοι, δημοσιογράφοι». Στοχοποιούνται ευάλωτες κοινωνικές ομάδες: μειονότητες, Ρομά, μετανάστες, πρόσφυγες. Κυριαρχούν καταστροφές, εμπρησμοί, πλιάτσικο, με αιχμή τον Δεκέμβρη του 2008. Πολιτικοί αντίπαλοι φιμώνονται: ο κ. Παυλόπουλος, ως ΥΠΕΣ, απαγόρευσε στη «Δράση» να προβληθεί τηλεοπτικά στις ευρωεκλογές, ακόμα και με δικά της έξοδα. Η Δράση δικαιώθηκε από το ΣτΕ, αλλά ένα χρόνο αργότερα!

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Αρνητική η έκθεση της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής κατά των Βασανιστηρίων για την Ελλάδα

LawNet
17 Νοεμβρίου 2010

Σοβαρά περιστατικά κακομεταχείρισης και βασανιστηρίων σε συνδυασμό με ατιμωρησία των υπευθύνων καταλογίζει στην Ελλάδα η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή για την Πρόληψη των Βασανιστηρίων και της Απάνθρωπης Συμπεριφοράς. Στην έκθεσή της για το 2009, η Επιτροπή, για ακόμη μία φορά, καταγράφει σωρεία περιστατικών άσκησης σωματικής βίας κατά τη σύλληψη και την ανάκριση από την Ασφάλεια, σε σημεία τόσο ευαίσθητα όσο τα πέλματα των ποδιών και τα δάκτυλα. Όπως χαρακτηριστικά επισημαίνεται στην έκθεση, πρόκειται για συμπεριφορές και πρακτικές που προσιδιάζουν με βασανισμό.

Επιπλέον, η Επιτροπή αναφέρεται και σε συγκεκριμένες καταγγελίες παράνομων συμπεριφορών εντός του ελλαδικού χώρου. Σύμφωνα με μία εξ αυτών, τα μέλη του τμήματος Ασφαλείας Σερρών τύλιξαν σε σακούλα το κεφάλι υπόπτου κατά τη διάρκεια της ανάκρισης, ενώ αστυνομικοί στη Θεσσαλονίκη υιοθέτησαν τη μέθοδο του εικονικού βιασμού.
Στην έκθεσή της, η Επιτροπή επισημαίνει ότι η Ελλάδα αρνείται να εξετάσει τα εν λόγω περιστατικά μέσω της μη θεσμοθέτησης αξιόπιστου, ανεξάρτητου και αποτελεσματικού μηχανισμού ελέγχου ώστε να προσάγονται και να τιμωρούνται οι επίορκοι αστυνομικοί.

Η απροθυμία των αρχών να διερευνήσει τα περιστατικά αυτά επιβεβαιώνεται και από το γεγονός ότι η Επιτροπή έχει παράσχει στις ελληνικές αρχές λεπτομερείς πληροφορίες για περιστατικά κακομεταχείρισης ελπίζοντας ότι θα ελεγχθούν, χωρίς ποτέ να έχει ενημερωθεί για την εξέλιξη οποιασδήποτε υπόθεσης.


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Διάβασε την έκθεση

Accountability for Torture (in Britain)

New York Times
Editorial
November 16, 2010


The contrast could not be more distressing.

The British government has decided to pay former detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, tens of millions of dollars in compensation and conduct an independent investigation into its role in the mistreatment of prisoners.

The United States still operates the Guantánamo camp, with no end in sight. None of the truly dangerous terrorists there have been brought to justice, while many prisoners are still held who never should have been. The government not only refuses to come clean on this ignoble history, but it is covering up the Bush administration’s abuses by denying victims a day in court.

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Burmese Farce

Wall Street Journal
Editorial
November 16, 2010


Saturday's nominal release of Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi from seven years of house arrest is being compared by some misty-eyed Western well-wishers to Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990. Would that it were so. Mr. Mandela's freedom was a clear signal that South Africa's white rulers intended to do away with apartheid. Ms. Suu Kyi's release is yet another gambit by the Burmese regime to extend its grip on power.

This is not the first time Ms. Suu Kyi has been "freed" by the regime that first imprisoned her in 1989. On previous occasions—amounting to six years out of the last 21—she has been at some liberty to receive visitors in her home and even make or receive phone calls.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fundamentally unconstitutional

by Jameel Jaffer and Maria LaHood

USA Today
November 16, 2010

The Obama administration is making the unprecedented claim that it has the unilateral authority to kill any American it deems to pose a threat to the country. If the administration is correct, then the president can compile secret kill lists that include Americans who have never set foot on any actual battlefield, and no court will ever review the evidence on which the lists are based.

There is no doubt the president has both the authority and the responsibility to protect the country. But the president also has a duty to protect the Constitution, as his oath of office makes clear. A program that allows the president to impose the death penalty without charge or trial is fundamentally unconstitutional.

Our organizations recently filed a lawsuit to press this point. While the lawsuit does not challenge the government's power to use lethal force on actual battlefields, we argue that the government can carry out targeted killings away from the battlefield only as a last resort to address imminent threats to life. We also argue that the courts have a role to play in setting the standards under which the government can use lethal force outside war zones, and in ensuring that these standards are honored.

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Judith Butler: War Empathizer

by Mike Rowe

Utne Reader
November-December 2010

In 2004 Americans gaped in shame and anger at images of nude, hooded prisoners heaped on top of one another, menaced with dogs or forced to masturbate by members of the U.S. armed forces at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Major media outlets soon settled on an angle for the story: Those responsible for the abuse—keen to exploit Islamic taboos on public nudity and homosexuality—cruelly crafted methods of torture to disgrace conservative Muslims.

In her recent book Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler retells this story but boldly revises the conclusion. First, she asks, who would not have suffered at the end of a leash in Abu Ghraib? Second, she asserts that by envisioning the violence at Abu Ghraib as torture tailored for Muslims, we have caricatured them as members of a backward culture. We imagine that they hold retrogressive beliefs about modesty and propriety that make them particularly vulnerable to sexual humiliation. While it is true that cultural sensitivities were exploited, Butler argues, emphasizing this perspective falsely elevates our own progressiveness. We assume our own superiority by believing that Abu Ghraib’s victims were uniquely suited to suffer as they did.

Butler’s trenchant and brilliant book is all about this kind of “frame,” an image or a discussion that allows us to think of certain people as natural victims of violence. Her work suggests that by defining people as residents of war zones, we have, so to speak, zoned them for war. We don’t grieve their deaths, and the call for nonviolence is shouted down because we haven’t recognized their lives as fully livable.

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Oklahoma's faith-baiting initiative

Washington Post
November 16, 2010

Just to be on the safe side, voters in Oklahoma this month overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that prevents the Talibanization of the Sooner State. Henceforth, there will be no public stonings in Ponca City, no forced burqa wearing in Bartlesville, no sharia law in Lawton.

Even supporters of the referendum - which forbade state courts from considering sharia in their deliberations - admitted that the threat from Oklahoma's 30,000 Muslims couldn't be called "imminent."

"It's not a problem and we want to keep it that way," explains state Sen. Anthony Sykes. Sharia law, according to state Rep. Rex Duncan, is a "cancer that must be removed with a preemptive strike."

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The Split-Screen Struggle Over Gay Rights

by Arianna Huffington

Huffington Post
November 15, 2010

Protesters chaining themselves to the White House gate today, objecting to what they called the "silent homophobia of those who purport to be our friends and do nothing," capped a tumultuous few days in the fight to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- and the larger fight for equality.

There was the one step forward represented by the leak of a Pentagon study showing that 70 percent of active-duty and reserve troops surveyed thought lifting DADT wouldn't have a negative impact on America's armed forced. Followed by the two steps back of the Supreme Court's order on Friday allowing the ban on openly gay soldiers to remain in effect while the Obama administration fights a federal appeals court ruling that the policy is unconstitutional, and John McCain -- who has said in the past that he'd be open to repealing DADT -- making it clear that, in fact, he wouldn't. Not now. Not yet.

America finds itself at a real turning point in the struggle for gay rights. And, as during all turning points, it's as if we are watching the struggle unfold on a split screen: progress on one side, setbacks on the other.

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Libertarians on the Shrink's Couch

by Gene Healy

Washington Examiner
November 15, 2010

We libertarians tend to think of ourselves as a tiny, embattled sect, ignored when we're not reviled. Lately, though -- with Hayek's Road to Serfdom shooting up the Amazon charts and Tea Partiers with "Don't Tread on Me" flags storming Capitol Hill -- there's increasing interest in figuring out how this strange tribe thinks.

A team of social psychologists, including the University of Virginia's Jonathan Haidt, provides some of the most detailed answers yet, putting libertarians on the couch in a new study, "Understanding Libertarian Morality."

"Libertarian morality?" you say. "Isn't that an oxymoron, like 'military intelligence' or 'law school talent show'?" No, smartass, it isn't. "Libertarians are not amoral," Haidt and his colleagues report. (Whew!) We simply have "a unique moral-psychological profile." That profile helps explain both why we can be hard to get along with and why we're needed, now more than ever.

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Get the Government Out of Our Pants

by Steve Chapman

Reason
November 15, 2010

When it comes to protecting against terrorism, this is how things usually go: A danger presents itself. The federal government responds with new rules that erode privacy, treat innocent people as suspicious, and blur the distinction between life in a free society and life in a correctional facility. And we all tamely accept the new intrusions, like sheep being shorn.

Maybe not this time.

The war on terrorism is going to get personal. Very personal. Americans have long resented the hassles that go with air travel ever since 9/11—long security lines, limits on liquids, forced removal of footwear, and so on. But if the Transportation Security Administration has its way, we will look back to 2009 as the good old days.

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In Russia, Jury Is Something to Work Around

New York Times
November 15, 2010

Iosif L. Nagle was watching a final curtain at his small theater company when he saw two young men waiting for him in the audience. They didn’t look like patrons of the arts — something about their faces marked them as law enforcement — and Mr. Nagle bundled up and followed them out into the cold.

A few minutes later the three of them were talking over glasses of vodka. The subject was the jury that Mr. Nagle sat on, which, after four months of testimony, was leaning toward acquittal on some charges brought by the government.

The visitors, showing him cards that identified them as security officers, said it would be awful if such a bunch of criminals went unpunished. Would he consider, one of them said, withdrawing from the jury on the grounds of illness? Mr. Nagle said he had refused without a thought.

“I told them, ‘Why should I say I’m sick? You did your job badly, guys,’ ” said Mr. Nagle, 56. “ ‘Why did you bring an unsubstantiated case to court?’ ”

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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Propriety of Liberty

by Duncan Kelly

In this book, Duncan Kelly excavates, from the history of modern political thought, a largely forgotten claim about liberty as a form of propriety. By rethinking the intellectual and historical foundations of modern accounts of freedom, he brings into focus how this major vision of liberty developed between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries.

In his framework, celebrated political writers, including John Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Hill Green pursue the claim that freedom is best understood as a form of responsible agency or propriety, and they do so by reconciling key moral and philosophical claims with classical and contemporary political theory. Their approach broadly assumes that only those persons who appropriately regulate their conduct can be thought of as free and responsible. At the same time, however, they recognize that such internal forms of self-propriety must be judged within the wider context of social and political life. Kelly shows how the intellectual and practical demands of such a synthesis require these great writers to consider freedom as part of a broader set of arguments about the nature of personhood, the potentially irrational impact of the passions, and the obstinate problems of individual and political judgement. By exploring these relationships, The Propriety of Liberty not only revises the intellectual history of modern political thought, but also sheds light on contemporary debates about freedom and agency.

Duncan Kelly is university senior lecturer in political theory in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, and fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. He is the author of The State of the Political.

Gays in the military

Washington Post
Editorial
November 15, 2010


The last possible rationale for maintaining the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy appears to have been pulverized.

The Post's Ed O'Keefe and Greg Jaffe report that 70 percent of respondents in a survey of more than 500,000 military personnel saw little risk in repealing the policy that prevents gay and lesbian service members from serving openly. A Pentagon task force studying repeal sent out the survey; its full report is expected by Dec. 1.

President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have called for the elimination of "don't ask, don't tell." They must review a proposed rollback plan to ensure that it does not hurt morale, recruitment or troop readiness. But they cannot unilaterally adopt a new policy unless Congress votes to eliminate the shortsighted and discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" law. Some on Capitol Hill, most notably Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and some military brass have resisted, citing concerns about possible disruptions that could be particularly acute because of the country's involvement in two wars. The Pentagon's findings should allay those fears.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Burma's chance

Washington Post
Editorial
November 14, 2010


It tells you a lot about Burma that of two ostensibly historic events last week - its first national election in 20 years and the release from house arrest of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi - the one that captured the world's attention, and has the potential to put the nation on a more positive path, was not the election.

In turn, it tells you just about everything you need to know about the election that the observer mission was led by North Korean diplomats. Burma (also known as Myanmar), a Southeast Asian nation of 50 million people, is rivaled in Asia only by North Korea for the repressiveness of its regime and the contrast between the wretched poverty of its population and the isolated splendor of its rulers' lives. When the regime allowed a free election in 1990, the overwhelming winner was the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who even then was under house arrest. The generals ignored the results and jailed many of the winners.

No doubt Burmese leader Than Shwe hoped that last week's election would erase, finally, the memory of that 1990 poll. But the vote was so rigged, it had the opposite effect. Rules were written so that, no matter how people voted, the military would retain control; but even so, the regime could not resist Election Day intimidation and ballot-box stuffing. So it remains as true as ever that the only players with claim to political legitimacy are the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi.

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