Category Archives: Uncategorized

Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update November 23-29

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Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

CHARITY CORNER

This week we call your attention to Reporters Without Borders. Reporters Without Borders (RWB), or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press. We invite you to see their press freedom rankings and to make a donation. You can also check out where your country ranks.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

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Takwarentxia with a monkey, Juriti community, Brazil.
© Fiona Watson/Survival

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery. The good news from California–The good news from California–

Goal:

To support our partner Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), asking Governor Brown to sign new laws that apply to California that would help end victims of modern slavery from being criminalized for crimes they were forced to commit.

Summary:

Five bills that aim to help human trafficking victims caught in the criminal justice system were under consideration in the Californian Assembly. We gathered signatures calling for Governor Brown to support the two bills that offered the best protections possible. These were AB 1761 (Affirmative Defense for Human Trafficking Victims ), which will ensure that human trafficking victims are not convicted of crimes their traffickers forced them to commit, and AB 1762 (Vacating Convictions for Human Trafficking Victims), which will help protect trafficking victims from being haunted by their past convictions and remove barriers to employment and housing.

Outcome:

AB 1761 was signed into law by Governor Brown in September of 2016, but AB 1762 was vetoed

A step forward.

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

 

 

MALAYSIA

Urgent Action Victory! Investigations Into Human Rights Defender Closed

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The Malaysian police have officially closed all investigations into Maria Chin Abdullah, who was detained under security laws for organizing a rally on free and fair elections. Placed in solitary confinement for ten days in November 2016, she was released on 28 November 2016 and has continued with her human rights work. She is grateful for all the support and no further action is needed.

INDIA

Urgent Action Update: Grave Health Fears For Paralyzed Activist In Prison

Profile Shoot Of Professor GN Saibaba

Disabled activist and teacher, G N Saibaba was convicted under a draconian anti-terror law on 7 March 2017 and continues to be denied access to adequate medical treatment in Nagpur Central Jail. Due to chronic health issues, his family fear that he will not survive the winter if he is not provided immediate and adequate access to medical care.

TAKE ACTION

BURUNDI

Urgent Action: Defender Accused Of Undermining State Security

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Nestor Nibitanga, a former member of the deregistered Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), was arrested in Gitega on 21 November. Burundian police have accused him of undermining state security.

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USA

Urgent Action: Border Officials Forcibly Separate Families

US border agency officials forcibly separated four Central American asylum-seeking fathers from their children after their arrival to the US, in violation of US standards on family unity during immigration detention. The parents are subsequently suffering from emotional distress, and the whereabouts of two of the children are still unknown.

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SINGAPORE

Urgent Action: Activist Faces Seven Charges For Peaceful Protest

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Singapore activist Jolovan Wham is facing seven charges for organizing several peaceful assemblies over a one year period, including a vigil protesting the execution of Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan in July 2017. If found guilty, he could face up to 3 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of SGD$11,000 (USD$ 8,100).

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LIBYA

End campaign of intimidation against Nermin Al-Sharif

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Nermin Al-Sharif, leader of the Dockers’ and Seafarers’ Union of Libya, works relentlessly for the protection and advancement of human, workers’ and women’s rights in Libya, in the Arab region, and globally. As a result, she has been subject to ongoing attacks on her freedom and personal safety including several attempts on her life. Please join the protest.

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update October 19-25

miriam

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

 

We apologize for missing a week because of a hospital stay. Alas, the bad guys always seem to be healthy and active. In our feature image above,

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention again to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar. We ask you to support Doctors Without Borders. a four star charity that is up-scaling its efforts there. Please donate to this worthy cause. We in Israel should donate more and  blush for shame since our government is providing weapons to the Myanmar army.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. Tribal  people suffer from a variety of forms of discrimination, including blatant racism.

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A Bushman child in Botswana where her people suffer racism

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section ofthe blog is to invite you to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery. You can about the subject at our freedom university.

URGENT ACTION CASES

USA

Urgent Action Victory! Texas Court Issues Stay Of Execution

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted a stay of execution to Clinton Young, who was due to be put to death on 26 October. The case is remanded to the trial court for resolution of the claim that false or misleading testimony was introduced at his trial.

Clinton Young was convicted in 2003 of the fatal shootings of Doyle Douglas and Samuel Petrey committed over the course of two days in November 2001. The jury’s finding that Clinton Young killed the second victim was a prerequisite for his capital conviction and death sentence. The only evidence that identified him as the person who shot Samuel Petrey was the testimony of David Page, the other person present at that shooting. He testified that Clinton Young shot Samuel Petrey from six to 10 feet (two to three and a half metres) away, but the victim had marks on his wounds showing he was shot at close range, from a distance of no more than two feet (60 cms). Since the trial, four people have provided sworn statements supporting Clinton Young’s claim that he did not shoot Samuel Petrey. According to Clinton Young’s lawyers, gunshot residue testing of a pair of gloves found at the Samuel Petrey murder scene also supports his claim of innocence.

On 2 October 2017, the lawyers filed a petition raising a number of claims, including that false or misleading testimony was introduced against him at trial. In an order issued on 18 October, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) noted that in a separate case in December 2009, it had ruled that the “knowing or unknowing use of false or perjured testimony violates due process”. Because this decision had been issued after Clinton Young’s previous habeas corpus application (in March 2009), and so this legal basis was not available at that time, he had met the requirements under Texas law for filing a subsequent petition. The TCCA issued a stay of execution and remanded the claim to the trial court for resolution.

There have been 1,461 executions in the USA since 1976. Texas accounts for 544 of these executions and six of the 20 carried out so far this year.

No further action by the UA Network is requested at this stage. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

UKRAINE

Urgent Action Update: Crimean Tatar Leader Sentenced To Prison

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Prominent Crimean Tatar activist Ilmi Umerov was sentenced to two years in penal colony on 27 September for his criticism of the Russian occupation of Crimea. The court also imposed a two-year ban on his public activities. Ilmi Umerov’s sentence should be quashed immediately and the charges against him dropped.
TAKE ACTION

ANGOLA

Urgent Action: Human Rights Defender And Journalist Charged

Human rights defender Rafael Marques de Morais

 

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and journalist Mariano Brás Lourenço

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have formally been charged with ‘defamation of a public authority’ and ‘outrage to a sovereign body’ in relation to an article they published on questionable acquisition of public land by the Angolan General Public Prosecutor. Both charges carry a penalty of one year in prison and three years in prison respectively.

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SOUTH SUDAN

Urgent Action: Man Held In Poor Conditions, Denied Family Visits

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James Gatdet, who was unlawfully transferred from Kenya, has been charged with several offenses among them ‘Treason’ which carries the death penalty, or life imprisonment. He is being held at the National Security Service (NSS) headquarters under poor detention conditions. He has been denied visits from his lawyers and family since 15 September.

TAKE ACTION

MAURITIUS

School cleaners on hunger strike

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Two union leaders and five cleaners are on hunger strike against poverty pay at Mauritian schools. Low wages of US $43 per month and casual employment through contractors for 333 women cleaners at Mauritian government-run primary and secondary schools prompted the Confédération des Travailleurs du Secteur Publique et Privé president Reeaz Chutto and general secretary, Jane Ragoo, and five women cleaners to start a hunger strike on 13 October.

Please join the protest.

 

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update September 7-13

miriam

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

In our featured image above Mercy Corps emergency responder Javier assesses needs in Cap Haitien, Haiti.  Mercy Corps is also active in Nepal, USA and other emergency sites. ALL PHOTOS: Ezra Millstein/Mercy Corps

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we call your attention to the Mercy Corps a charity that helps out suffering people world-wide and is actively helping hurricane victims in the Caribbean. They have an excellent record of efficiency and use of resources. Please donate to them.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. Tribal  people suffer from a variety of forms of discrimination, such as attacks uncontacted tribes. Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. They face catastrophe unless their land is protected. We’re doing everything we can to secure their land for them, and to give them the chance to determine their own futures. Please act for them.

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When uncontacted tribes’ rights are respected, they continue to thrive.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery.

Help End Forced Marriage in Lebanon

ALERT: READ UPDATE

Momentum is growing to repeal laws that enable convicted rapists to marry their victims to avoid punishment. As well as the horrors endured by victims, this law means many women and girls where these laws exist are then forced into marriage against their will.

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URGENT ACTION CASES

ISRAEL/OPT

Urgent Action Victory! Palestinian Circus Performer Released

Palestinian circus performer and teacher Mohamed Faisal Abu Sakha was released on 30 August from Ketziot Prison in Israel. He spent nearly two years in administrative detention without being charged or tried. He has now returned home to his family in Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

MEXICO

Urgent Action Victory! Security Measures For Defender Implemented

In recent weeks authorities have implemented some security measures for Mario Luna, human rights defender and leader of the Indigenous Yaquí community in Sonora state, northern Mexico, following an incident on 27 June where assailants burned the car of the wife, Anahí Ochoa. During July and August Amnesty International and other organizations placed pressure on authorities to achieve advances in his protection measures.

Mario Luna Romero and Victoria Anahí Ochoa Domínguez have suffered a series of attacks over the years, including his politically-motivated imprisonment, assault against family members and, most recently, an arson attack on Anahí Ochoa’s vehicle at their home on 27 June. For the first time, the government of Sonora state and the Guaymas municipal government have implemented some measures to protect Mario Luna and his colleagues in this context, who are all traditional Indigenous Yaquí authorities in the town of Vicam in Sonora state. For security reasons, it is not possible to disclose which protection measures have been taken and which ones remain outstanding.

Amnesty International will continue to work with Mario Luna, Anahí Ochoa and other Indigenous Yaquí leaders in order to ensure all the protection measures that have been committed to are implemented and the attack investigated. Any follow up actions will be shared on Amnesty International’s online platform on attacks against human rights defenders working on issues of territory, land and the environment in the Americas here: .

No further action is required of the UA network at this time. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

VENEZUELA

Urgent Action Update: Detainee Held Incommunicado Again

After being disappeared for 23 days, Raúl Isaías Baduel is once again being held incommunicado at the National Intelligence Service facilities in Caracas, denied access to his family and lawyers. His family is concerned for his physical and mental integrity.

TAKE ACTION

VIET NAM

Urgent Action: Activists Held Incommunicado May Face Life In Prison

Three Vietnamese activists, Trương Minh Đức, Nguyễn Trung Tôn, and Phạm Văn Trội, are being held incommunicado at B14 prison in Hà Nội after their arrests on 30 July 2017. They have a range of pre-existing health conditions that require treatment and face a sentence of up to life imprisonment or capital punishment.

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RUSSIA FEDERATION

Urgent Action: Chechen Man’s Whereabouts In Russian Unknown

Imran Salamov is a 39-year old Chechen man who was forcibly returned from Belarus to Russia on 5 September. His whereabouts are currently unknown and he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

TAKE ACTION

EGYPT

14-year-old boy tortured to confess: Aser Mohamed

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Egypt’s National Security Agency subjected 14-year-old Aser Mohamed to enforced disappearance for 34 days. The boy claims that he was tortured and ill-treated to confess to offenses he did not commit. He is at risk of an unfair trial based on his “confessions” obtained under torture. If convicted he could face up to 15 years imprisonment.

Click for action:

Prometheus and Pandora VII

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Prometheus forms man

The World's Legends: Pandora's Box of Trouble

Pandora cannot control her curiosity

Thanks to Judy for sending us the ultimate scientific controversy of history as seen above. Obviously more C^2 is needed in our imperfect world.

 

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action site. Prometheus and Pandora hope that you will visit there, take the actions and make the donations.

IN MEMORIAM Dick Gregory 1932-2017

This great comedian, who was a pioneering force of comedy in the 1960s and parlayed his career as a stand-up comic into a life of social and political activism, died Saturday of heart failure.

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Dick Gregory in 2016. He believed that within a well-delivered joke lies power. Credit Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic, via Getty Images

“It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr. Dick Gregory, departed this earth tonight in Washington, D.C.,” his son Christian Gregory said via a statement from his father’s rep. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Early in his career, Mr. Gregory insisted in interviews that his first order of business onstage was to get laughs, not to change how white America treated Negroes (the accepted word for African-Americans at the time). “Humor can no more find the
solution to race problems than it can cure cancer,” he said. Nonetheless, as the civil rights movement was kicking into high gear, whites who caught his club act or listened to his routines on records came away with a deeper feel for the nation’s shameful racial history.

He broke into mainstream comedy with a replacement gig at the Playboy club in Chicago in 1961. On the big night, club managers had misgivings; the house was packed with businessmen from the Deep South. No matter, Mr. Gregory said. He insisted on performing.

“I understand there are a great many Southerners in the room tonight,” he began his act. “I know the South very well. I spent 20 years there one night.” He so won over the crowd that Playboy’s Hugh Hefner signed him for three more weeks, then extended the contract.

He used the comedy stage as a means of getting white America to look in the mirror and see its own injustice.Some lines became classics, like the one about a restaurant waitress in the segregated South who told him, “We don’t serve colored people here,” to which Mr. Gregory replied: “That’s all right, I don’t eat colored people. Just bring me a whole fried chicken.” Lunch-counter sit-ins, central to the early civil rights protests, did not always
work out as planned. “I sat in at a lunch counter for nine months,” he said. “When they finally integrated, they didn’t have what I wanted.”

He marched, demonstrated, was arrested and beaten by police, but gave all for the movement. In a Birmingham, Ala., jail in 1963, he wrote, he endured “the first really good beating I ever had in my
life.”

He added: “It was just body pain, though. The Negro has a callus
growing on his soul, and it’s getting harder and harder to hurt him
there.”

Full obituaries can be found in the NYTimes and the Guardian. Rest
in peace brother.

AUGUST MILESTONES

BORN IN AUGUST

August 4, 1961 Barack Obama Politician US President 2009-2017

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Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States, and the
first African American to serve in the office. First elected to the
presidency in 2008, he won a second term in 2012.

August 14, 1959 Magic Johnson Basketball player

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He is 5-time NBA champion, 3-time Finals MVP (Most Valuable Player) and 3-time NBA MVP who spent his entire
13-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was named to 12 NBA All-Star games and led the league in assists four times.

August 18, 1750 Antonio Salieri Composer

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Antonio Salieri  created some of the most popular operas of the day, becoming a
leading musical figure in Viennese, Parisian and Italian circles. He later focused on religious compositions and was a court musical director, also becoming a sought-after teacher of other classical greats. Salieri died on May 7, 1825. His rivalry with Mozart gave
rise to the book and film Amadeus. (Prometheus and Pandora cannot resist chuckling a bit at the stupidity of the editors of the bio web site who define his profession as “songwriter.”)

 

August 29, 1936 John McCain Politician

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The 2008 Republican Presidential nominee who was a prisoner of war for five years
during the Vietnam War. He became a United States Senator from Arizona in 1987. He is known for his advocacy of campaign finance reform in the Senate and most notably co-wrote the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act. He is known for his courage and integrity and unfortunately has been found to be suffering from a brain tumor.

August 29, 1920 Charlie Parker Jazz saxophonist

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He was widely known for his solo improvisations. Parker  is considered one of the founders of the genre of bebop and was often referred to by his fans as “Yardbird.”

DIED IN AUGUST

August 12, 1955 Thomas Mann Author(1875–1955) German novelist, short-story and essay writer.

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Thomas Mann won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929. One of his best-known novels is Death in Venice.

August 16, 1977 Elvis Presley   Actor, Film Actor, Singer(1935–1977) Born on January 8, 1935.

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Elvis Presley came from very humble beginnings and grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll. By the mid-1950s, he had appeared on the radio, television and the silver screen. On August 16, 1977, at age 42, he died of heart failure, which was
related to his drug addiction. Since his death, Presley has remained one of the world’s most popular music icons.

August 19, 1977 Groucho Marx  Actor, Film Actor, Comedian(1890–1977)

Groucho

Comedian and film actor Groucho Marx was one of the Marx Brothers. He spent nearly seven decades making people laugh with his snappy one-liners and sharp wit.

August 23, 1806 Charles de Coulomb Physicist, Scientist(1736–1806)

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French engineer and physicist Charles de Coulomb made pioneering discoveries in electricity and magnetism, and came up with the theory called Coulomb’s Law.

August 25, 2012 Neil Armstrong Pilot, Explorer, Astronaut(1930–2012)

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Astronaut, military pilot, and educator, Neil Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, by becoming the first man to walk on the moon.

RANTS OF THE MONTH

Before getting into our regular rant, there is something that calls for a shout from Prometheus and Pandora–the pardon of the criminal sheriff, infamous for his persecution of Latinos and his disregard for the courts and the rule of law.

 

Jeff Danziger cartoon

Once you get into the mood for pardoning, things can really get out of hand says Mike Lukovich:

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WHO IS A MONSTER? WHERE LIES JUSTICE?

The memory of the atrocities committed by Germans and their collaborators in WWII is fading as those who experienced them first hand as victims or perpetrators pass out of the world. In the meantime, the lessons of the Nuremberg trials were not really learned even by the powers who pronounced judgement on the Nazis. If we look at the opening statement of chief US prosecutor Robert H. Jackson, in which we find the trial’s most famous words, we see that indeed we need to look into our hearts and ask hard questions:

“We must never forget that the record on which we judge these
defendants today is the record on which history will judge us
tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it
to our own lips as well. We must summon such detachment and
intellectual integrity to our task that this Trial will commend
itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity’s aspirations to do
justice.”

With this in mind, Prometheus and Pandora would like to share with you a review in the NYRB by Ian Buruma of a documentary film:

The Memory of Justice
a documentary film directed by Marcel Ophuls, restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with Paramount Pictures and the Film Foundation
available on HBO

The film, made in 1976, shows interviews with the Nazi criminals and also goes on to the French atrocities in Algeria and those of the Americans in Viet Nam. Of course, Ophuls makes no claim to put these crimes on the same level as those of the Germans and their collaborators, despite such unfair criticism from some who accused Ophuls of trivialization. One shocking interview is with a lawyer, Otto Kranzbühler, who served for the defense at Nuremberg and went on to have a career defending the likes of of Alfred Krupp against accusations of having exploited slave labor. His formulation of his own role during the the era of the Reich:

“if you were ignorant of what went on, you were a fool; if you knew, but looked the other way, you were a coward; if you knew, and took part, you were a criminal.”

A major point made by Yehudi Menuhin is that this all happened in Germany, but it could have happened anywhere. This is the main point of Ophuls’s film as well: there was nothing special about the Germans that predisposed them to become killers or, more often, to look away when the killings were done. There is no such thing as a criminal people. This point may be arguable since, as pointed out by the historian R.O. Paxton, Germany and Italy were the only states in Europe that evolved into  full-fledged fascist entities in the 20th  century.  Prometheus and Pandora will address this issue in a future blog. We accept the point that any  quiet-spoken young architect can end up with more blood on his hands than a Jew-baiting thug. This  is what Yehudi Menuhin meant by his warning. When Hannah Arendt covering the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker made the same point about the banality of evil, she was crucified by Jewish public opinion around the world.

This issue is extremely important for those of us in Israel who refuse to be fools, cowards or criminals. Our sons and daughters whom we send to serve in the army are far too easily seduced into becoming monsters enforcing the Occupation of the West Bank and the remote control of Gaza by means of artillery and air power, to say nothing of power outages and general brutality. Watch this film of soldiers from the elite Golani brigade dealing with an eight year old child in the city of Hebron. These soldiers abused a child with total impunity–neither they nor their superiors were sanctioned for this. The child is left with a trauma, the soldiers with a taint in their souls that will prevent them from ever really becoming decent human beings.  They are true criminals.

ARBITRARY REVOKING OF CITIZENSHIP

The Israeli government is revoking the citizenship of Bedouin residents of the Negev including some who have served in the Army or whose family members have served. The process is completely arbitrary with no readily available avenue of appeal. The claim of the Ministry of the Interior is that in these cases citizenship was granted “in error.” Prometheus and Pandora suspect that there is more behind this than meets the eye.

Abu Garud Salame from the village of Bir Hadaj also had is citizenship revoked CREDIT Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Adala, the human rights organization has taken the matter in hand–Adalah’s appeal to the interior minister and the attorney general demands an immediate halt to the citizenship cancellation policy.  Attorney Sausan Zahar from the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel argued that the people affected by it don’t even have the right to a hearing before their Israeli citizenship is taken away from them. In addition to infringing on their right to citizenship, she wrote, the policy blatantly infringes on their right to equality. It is discriminatory based on nationality, since no Jewish citizen has had his citizenship revoked due to a mistake in his parents’ or grandparents’ registration under the Law of Return.

“I’m afraid that what has been exposed is only the tip of the iceberg and what hasn’t been revealed yet is even more serious,” says Touma-Suliman. She says that if Dery and Mendelblit do not resolve the issue soon, it will go to the High Court of Justice. “There is no justification for this policy,” she says. “The ministry is blatantly violating the law. It’s unacceptable that in one family living under one roof, half the children are citizens while the other half are residents or people with indeterminate status.”

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Bedouin encampment in the area of Abu Nuwar, May 24, 2015. Anadolu Agency
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.806053

This is unconscionable, but it is what we can expect from a racist regime like the present government of Israel. We see the despicable action of the occupation authorities who confiscated solar panels from Bedouin even while the issue was in court and indeed a restraining order was issued, but after the confiscation.

TIDBITS FROM SCIENCE

MAPPING A STAR

To the unaided eye the famous, bright star Antares shines with a strong red tint in the heart of the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion). It is a huge and comparatively cool red supergiant star in the late stages of its life, on the way to becoming a supernova.

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Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer astronomers have constructed the most detailed image ever of a star — the red supergiant star Antares.  The results were published in the journal Nature.

A team of astronomers, led by Keiichi Ohnaka, of the Universidad Católica del Norte in Chile, has now used ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile to map Antares’s surface and to measure the motions of the surface material. This is the best image of the surface and atmosphere of any star other than the Sun.

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The velocity is estimated for the positions where the intensity is higher than 1.5% of the peak intensity. The black, ring-shaped gap corresponds to the limb of the star, where the velocity could not be measured. This is because the spatially resolved spectra on the limb show neither absorption nor emission because the absorption and emission cancel out owing to the finite beam size (shown in the lower left corner). North is up, east is to the left.

As stated by the authors in their paper in Nature-“The two-dimensional velocity field map obtained from our near-infrared spectro-interferometric imaging reveals vigorous upwelling and downdrafting motions of several huge gas clumps at velocities ranging from about −20 to +20 kilometers per second in the atmosphere, which extends out to about 1.7 stellar radii. Convection alone cannot explain the observed turbulent motions and atmospheric extension, suggesting that an unidentified process is operating in the extended atmosphere.”
This is a very exciting development  and we are all looking forward to continued research at both Antares and other such stars. Cheers say Prometheus and Pandora.

CASSINI GOES OUT WITH A BLAST

Cassini is about to terminate its mission at Saturn.  If this link fails to open for you, you can find a write up on Cassini here. We were involved in the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) until it was, alas, turned off in 2011 to keep it from endangering the entire mission because of its electrical malfunctions including short circuits. Now the spacecraft is on its death trajectory. On the final orbit, Cassini will plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere, sending back new and unique science to the very end. After losing contact with Earth, the spacecraft will burn up like a meteor, becoming part of the planet itself. This will eliminate the danger of pollution of a prebiotic satellite with terrestrial bacteria that would confound findings.

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Titan and Dione pose for Cassini

 

Farewell Cassini. “It’s hard not to anthropomorphize the spacecraft,” says Matthew Tiscareno of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., who has been working on Cassini since it entered Saturn’s orbit in 2004. “We’ve been riding on its back for these 13 years, and it’s done everything we’ve asked. I think it’s the most spectacularly successful mission that NASA has ever run.”

Here is a shot of back lit Saturn:

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NFL COMING UP

As the NFL season approaches, we feel guilty about watching these millionaires who work for billionaires bashing each other’s brains out: Signe Wilkinson puts it well.

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SILLY TIME

What If–

Stop Jupiter

I understand that the New Horizons craft used gravity assist from Jupiter to increase its speed on the way to Pluto. I also understand that by doing this, Jupiter slowed down very slightly. How many flyby runs would it take to stop Jupiter completely?

—Dillon

Certainly more than humanity could afford. Randal answers very well.

For anyone who has a guardhouse lawyer kid…

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WUMO please forgive us for posting your cartoon, Prometheus and Pandora could not resist:

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update August 24-30

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Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we call your attention to Books for Africa.

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Mission statement:

A simple name for an organization with a simple mission. We collect, sort, ship, and distribute books to students of all ages in Africa. Our goal: to end the book famine in Africa.

Books For Africa remains the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent, shipping over 39 million books to 49 different countries since 1988.  Over the past 12 months we have shipped three million books, 93 computers and e-readers containing 223,000 digital books, as well as 10 new law and human rights libraries to 18 African countries. More than $2.5 million was raised last year to ship the books to the students of Africa.

It is highly rated by Charity Navigator and certainly worthy of your support.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. Tribal  people suffer from a variety of forms of discrimination, including abuse by so-called conservation organization. In fact, tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world. But they are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands in the name of conservation. They face arrest and beatings, torture and death, while big game trophy hunters are encouraged. Please act.

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THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery.worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery. Child slavery is widespread. Join the call and help in the struggle. A protest march is coming up in India.

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Child slaves in India

URGENT ACTION CASES

USA Urgent Action Victory! Arkansas Governor To Commute Death Sentence

On 25 August, the Governor of Arkansas announced his intent to commute the death sentence of Jason McGehee, who had been scheduled for execution on 27 April, when he received a stay from a federal judge, and the parole board recommended clemency. The governor has now accepted that recommendation.

ZAMBIA

Urgent Action Victory! Zambia Opposition Leader Released

Leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Hakainde Hichilema and five others accused with him have been released. He, together with five others had been arrested in April and charged with treason over allegations of obstructing the Presidential motorcade as it was on the way to a traditional ceremony in the Western Province.

Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the UPND, was released on 16 August.

CHINA

Urgent Action Victory! Six Activists Commemorating Liu Xiabo Released

Detained Guangdong activists who held seaside memorial for Liu Xiaobo
Six activists who were criminally detained in July 2017, after taking part in a seaside memorial for Liu Xiaobo in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, have all been released on bail. While still subjected to some restrictions, they have all been returned to their respective hometowns.

Thanks to all who participated in the actions.

CUBA

Urgent Action: Urban Artist At Risk In Cuba

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After being arbitrarily detained on 17 August, Yulier Perez, a graffiti artist known for painting dilapidated walls in Havana, is at risk of being imprisoned again, after months of intimidation and harassment from authorities.

TAKE ACTION

CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Website Founder Faces An Additional Charge

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Formally arrested for “inciting subversion of state power” in December 2016, Liu Feiyue, founder and director of Hubei-based human rights website “Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch” (www.msguancha.com), is to face an additional charge of “leaking state secrets”. He could face a sentence of life imprisonment if convicted of this additional charge.

TAKE ACTION

KENYA

Urgent Action: Worrying Crackdown On Kenyan Defenders

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Maina Kiai former UN Special Rapporteur

Kenya’s NGO Coordination Board threatened to arrest George Kegoro, Executive Director of Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Gladwell Otieno, Executive Director of African Center for Open Governance (AfriCOG) and Maina Kiai (pictured), former UN Special Rapporteur and a member of AfriCOG’s Board of Directors on 16 August.

TAKE ACTION

IRAN

Free Reza Shahabi and Esmail Abdi

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In Iran, trade unionists are subjected to continued persecution by the authorities. Their trade union rights and civil liberties are denied and trade union leaders are detained for reasons connected with their activities in defense of the interests of workers. The Education International and the International Transport Workers’ Federation are particularly concerned about the fate of two of them: Reza Shahabi and Esmail Abdi.
Please join the protest.

 

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update July 13-19

The featured image above is

Liu Xiaobo, (1955 – 2017) Nobel laureate and political prisoner who died in Chinese custody, may he rest in peace and may we be worthy of his struggle.

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Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

 

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

EMBASSY FINDER

Survival International provides a useful tool for locating the embassy of any country in your country. http://embassy.goabroad.com/ You can also find embassies at https://embassy-finder.com/

CHARITY CORNER

This week we call your attention to the birthday of Nelson Mandela and join Charity Navigator in proposing support for charities that serve to fight poverty in South Africa and around the world.

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We recommend the following:

This year, the day is focused on taking #ActionAgainstPoverty in South Africa. In this spirit, consider volunteering with a charity in your area or supporting one of the awesome, highly rated charities below:

Matthew 25: Ministries Caring for a needy world with the things we throw away

CHOICE Humanitarian The end of poverty is building people, not projects

Concern Worldwide US, Inc. Targeting extreme poverty

CARE Defending dignity, fighting poverty

endPoverty.org Transforming lives through microenterprise

Oxfam America The power of people against poverty

KickStart International A systematic approach to the end of poverty

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INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. Tribal  people suffer from a variety of forms of discrimination, such as forced “development.”

Forcing “development” or “progress” on tribal people does not make them happier or healthier. In fact, the effects are disastrous. The most important factor by far for tribal peoples’ well-being is whether their land rights are respected.

Tell the UN to recognize that progress can kill

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© Antonio Ribeiro/Survival

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery. Call on your government to ratify Protocol of 20141 to Convention 29.

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A child worker in Africa

URGENT ACTION CASES

EL SALVADOR

Urgent Action: Woman Convicted Under Unfair Anti-Abortion Law

While Salvadoran legislators have, for months, been postponing the debate on the Criminal Code reform that would decriminalize abortion, another rape survivor has been sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment for having suffered pregnancy-related complications.
TAKE ACTION

UKRAINE

Urgent Action: De-Facto Authorities Deny Holding Journalist

The self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) in eastern Ukraine since 2 June. The pro-Russian separatist authorities in Donetsk deny having any information regarding his whereabouts but Amnesty International has heard from a confidential source that he is under the custody of the de-facto “Ministry of State Security.”
TAKE ACTION

VIET NAM

Urgent Action Update: Ten Years In Prison For Human Rights Defender

Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, also known as blogger Mẹ Nấm (Mother Mushroom), was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment on 29 June 2017 for “conducting propaganda” against the state under Article 88 of the Penal Code. She is currently held incommunicado, preventing her lawyers from finalizing her appeal.
TAKE ACTION

IRAN

Haft Tapeh sugar workers in Iran are fighting for their wages, pensions and rights. Please click and support their struggle.

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TURKEY

Update 18/07/2017: Idil Eser and all of the 9 others have been charged with assisting a terrorist organization.

Idil, and five others were remanded in custody a few minutes ago. The remaining four have been released on bail.

The accusations set out by the prosecutor are tragically absurd and referred to routine NGO activities – including some Amnesty letter writing actions.

Idil herself is accused of supporting multiple terrorist organizations despite the fact that they are all ideologically opposed to one another.

ACT NOW

Malala Yousafzai human rights fighter

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update June 28-July 5

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Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

 

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

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The bad people trying to make the world worse never take a day off, so why should I?

EMBASSY FINDER

Survival International provides a useful tool for locating the embassy of any country in your country. http://embassy.goabroad.com/ You can also find embassies at https://embassy-finder.com/

CHARITY CORNER

This week we promote the Champions for Global Reproductive Rights aka PAI.They promote family planning around the world, especially in countries where it is most important.

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A woman in a rural area of Kenya examines an intrauterine device during a visit from a outreach team sent by a family planning organization.
Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images

Now they have to struggle with the gag orders of the Trump administration and need all the help they can get. They have a high rating with Charity Navigator. The charity is most worthy of your support. Please donate.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

This week we return to the topic of land theft.

Industrialized societies subject tribal peoples to genocidal violence, slavery and racism so they can steal their lands, resources and labor in the name of “progress” and “civilization.” Please take these actions.

Sign a petition to help tribes across Brazil maintain their hard-won land rights!

Guarani leaders are being killed. Help us stop this.

Please watch this video and donate to help.

 

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section to the blog iso join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery. Raise your voice against slavery in the chicken industry of Thailand.

URGENT ACTION CASES

MYANMAR

Urgent Action: Three Media Workers Detained And Charged

Three journalists have been detained and are facing up to three years in prison simply for peacefully carrying out their work in conflict-affected northern Shan State in Myanmar. They are prisoners of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.

TAKE ACTION

 

ANGOLA:

Urgent Action: Human Rights Defender And Journalist Charged

Human rights defender Rafael Marques de Morais and journalist Mariano Brás Lourenço have formally been charged with ‘defamation of a public authority’ and ‘outrage to a sovereign body’ in relation to an article they published on questionable acquisition of public land by the Angolan General Public Prosecutor. Both charges carry a penalty of one year in prison and three years in prison respectively.

TAKE ACTION

 

TURKEY

Urgent Action: Hundreds At Imminent Risk Of Forced Eviction

Hundreds of residents in neighborhood of the Sur district in Diyarbakır province, south eastern Turkey, are at imminent risk of forced eviction. For over a month now, their water and electricity supplies have been cut off, in an apparent attempt to force them out. They have not been adequately consulted or compensated.
TAKE ACTION

WORLDWIDE

Keep the workplace safe for housekeeping workers.

The work exposes housekeepers to multiple hazards – repetitive strain and heavy lifting injuries, chemicals in cleaning products, sexual harassment and physical and verbal abuse. Please join the campaign on behalf of these exploited and abused workers and make their struggle go viral by posting on all your social networks.

MOROCCO

Moroccan fish canner DOHA drops charges against union leader – now the company must reinstate 540 dismissed workers!

The company, with the help of compliant legal and political authorities, has sought to dissolve the union, dismiss its members, criminalize and punish the strikers and confiscate the union leader’s home. Please join the demand for justice and decency.

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update June 21-28

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Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

The bad people trying to make the world worse never take a day off, so why should I?

CHARITY CORNER

This week we recommend Daughters of Eve, a charity in the UK devoted to stopping female genital mutilation aka FGM. FGM is the deliberate mutilation of female genitalia. This is often the removal or cutting of the labia and clitoris. The World Health Organization describes FGM as any procedure that injures the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM has no health benefits and is in fact very harmful to health in many ways. In the latest issue of our  parallel blog Prometheus and Pandora V, we discussed it in detail.

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Please donate to this worthy cause.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

We call your attention to a plea from the indigenous people of Brazil.

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Please respond to this desperate call from the indigenous tribes of Brazil.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery.

This week we call your attention to the activity of a Canadian corporation, Nevsun Resources Ltd – a Canadian Mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Nevsun operates the Bisha mine and subcontracts work there to a state-run company Segen Construction Company – known to make extensive use of conscript labor from the national service program.

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CALL ON NEVSUN’S SHAREHOLDERS TO DIVEST FROM SLAVERY OPEN THE LINK AND RAISE YOUR VOICE!!!

URGENT ACTION CASES

MYANMAR

Urgent Action Update: Detained Rohingya Child Dies In Custody

The confirmed death in custody of a child detained in November 2016 in northern Rakhine State as part of “clearance operations” increases fears for the safety of hundreds of detained Rohingya men and boys. All remain at risk of torture and other ill-treatment and of being subjected to unfair trials.
TAKE ACTION

INDIA

Urgent Action: University Students Arrested After Protest

Eight university students and three members of a political party’s student wing in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh have been in detention since 7 June. The students had participated in a protest against the Lucknow University and the state Chief Minister by carrying black flags and trying to block the state Chief Minister’s convoy. A local court in Lucknow has denied them bail.

TAKE ACTION

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Urgent Action Update: Urge Congress To Decriminalize Abortion

In May 2017, the Dominican Senate voted to reject the President’s recommendations to decriminalize abortion. The President’s recommendations are now being discussed by the Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, which is expected to vote on the recommendations soon. If the Chamber also rejects the President’s recommendations, the Dominican Republic’s Criminal Code will continue to violate the rights of women and girls.

TAKE ACTION

VIET NAM

URGENT ACTION:  DEATH THREAT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER AND FAMILY

Human rights lawyer Lê Quốc Quân has received warnings from Việt Nam’s Ministry of Public Security officials that he and his family could be killed if he meets with visiting foreign dignitaries. They are under surveillance and at risk of being assaulted, injured or killed.
TAKE ACTION

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update June 14-21

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

Uncontacted tribes

Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. They face catastrophe unless their land is protected. We’re doing everything we can to secure their land for them, and to give them the chance to determine their own futures.

This week we return to the issue of uncontacted tribes. They should be left alone to pursue their traditional life style.

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Uncontacted tribes thrive when their lands are protected.  © G. Miranda/FUNAI/Survival

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery.

Call to Close Libyan Slave Markets

“The men on the pick-up were brought to a square, or parking lot, where a kind of slave trade was happening. There were locals – he described them as Arabs – buying sub-Saharan migrants.” Livia Manante, IOM officer.1

TAKE ACTION

URGENT ACTION CASES

 MALDIVES

Urgent Action Victory! Opposition Politician Released

Opposition politician Adam Azim has been released after spending nearly a week in detention in Maldives. He was arrested and faced trumped up charges after criticizing the government in a TV interview. Thanks to all who helped.

ZAMBIA

Leader Held In Inhumane Conditions

There is fear for safety of Hakainde Hichilema after he was transferred from Lusaka Central Correctional Facility in Lusaka Province to Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility in Central Province. He is being held under degrading and inhumane conditions at the Maximum Security Prison. The conditions to which he is subjected may amount to torture and other ill-treatment. Hakainde Hichilema is facing the charge of treason together with five others for allegedly obstructing a Presidential Motorcade.

TAKE ACTION

USA

URGENT ACTION DELUSIONAL DISORDER DIAGNOSED, EXECUTION SET

William Morva, a 35-year-old US-Hungarian national, is due to be executed in Virginia on 6 July. A psychiatrist has diagnosed him with delusional disorder, and concluded that this contributed to the crimes for which he was sentenced to death. The jury was not told that he had this serious mental disability.

TAKE ACTION

SYRIA

URGENT ACTION SYRIAN KURDISH ACTIVISTS ARBITRARILY DETAINED

Syrian Kurdish opposition activists Mohsen Taher, Amin Hussam and Bashar Amin have been arrested by the Asayish, the police force of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)-led Autonomous Administration, in the north-eastern region of Syria. The first two activists were detained on 9 May, and the third one on 21 May. All three men are currently held in poor conditions at Allaya prison in Qamishli, north-eastern Syria, without being charged.

TAKE ACTION

 PHILIPPINES

Strike action looms as rights abuses continue at luxury Manila Peninsula Hotel

Please join the protest.

Prometheus and Pandora V

Prometheus

https://image.slidesharecdn.com/mitodeprometeo-110107174827-phpapp01/95/mito-de-prometeo-3-728.jpg?cb=1294424453

and his beloved Pandora

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She must have let Trump out

are with you again to share rants, opinions, a bit of science and literature and whatever comes into their minds. They wish all their Muslim friends:

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as Ramadan ends and the festival begins on June 25.

They also wish their Canadian friends a happy Canada Day on July 1

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and their USA friends a happy Independence Day on July 4:

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action site. Prometheus and Pandora hope that you will visit there, take the actions and make the donations.

CONGRATULATIONS

Prometheus and Pandora, along with their imaginary playmates YandA, congratulate the Israeli writer David Grossman on his winning the Man Booker International prize for the year’s best fiction in translation.  The GBP50,000 prize will be shared with his translator. It was awarded for his novel A Horse Walks into a Bar.  We say cheers–we are all long time fans of Grossman and are fortunate enough to read him in the original Hebrew. We quote the citation:

“David Grossman has attempted an ambitious high-wire act of a novel, and he’s pulled it off spectacularly,” said the chair of judges and director of the Edinburgh international book festival Nick Barley. “A Horse Walks into a Bar shines a spotlight on the effects of grief, without any hint of sentimentality. The central character is challenging and flawed, but completely compelling. We were bowled over by Grossman’s willingness to take emotional as well as stylistic risks: every sentence counts, every word matters in this supreme example of the writer’s craft.”

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High-wire act’ … David Grossman poses with his book A Horse Walks Into a Bar. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

WELCOME THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

The summer solstice is about to occur and summer will be with us officially. The data on the event for this year can be found here.

 

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Summer solstice at Stonehenge, with the sun rising in the distance. Credit: Paul Grover for the Telegraph

The stone circle at Stonehenge comes into use–it was build over 3000 years ago to mark the beginning of summer and the sun will reach it maximum northern declination June 21, 2017 at 4:24 UTC. We have solstices on Earth because Earth does not orbit upright. Instead, our world is tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, and our Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the  light and warmth of the Sun most directly.

At the June solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that our North Pole is leaning most toward the sun. As seen from Earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon 23 1/2 degrees north of the equator, at an imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Cancer named after the constellation Cancer the Crab. This is as far north as the sun ever gets. Here is a map of its progress last year

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The sunset has been making its way north, as illustrated in this 2016 photo composite by Abhijit Juvekar.

People, including Druids and tourists gather at Stonehenge to see the sunrise through the slit aimed for it eons ago.

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The Pagan monument Stonehenge is famously aligned to the solstices.  Credit: Paul Grover for the Telegraph

IN MEMORIAM

The victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in London

On Wednesday, June 14 fire broke out at the Grenfell Tower apartment building in North Kensington, London. The fire started shortly before 1 a.m. local time (UTC+1). Hundreds of firefighters and 45 fire engines were involved in efforts to control the fire. Firefighters were trying to control pockets of fire on the higher floors after most of the rest of the building had been gutted. The number of dead may rise to over 100 and public anger at the failures of the government to enforce building safety regulations is growing.

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JUNE MILESTONES

Born in June

4 June 1975 Angelina Jolie

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Actress, Activist, Director, Producer, Film Actor/Film Actress, Film Actress, Activist(1975–)

14 June 1946 Donald Trump

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Business Leader, Reality Television Star, U.S. President(1946–)

24 June Lionel Messi

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Argentinian footballer, plays for Barcelona, considers one of the all time great players (1987-).

His attitude towards the game: ““I have changed nothing, my style of play is still that of a child. I know that above all it is my job and that I should approach it in another way, but one must not lose sight of the fact that football is a game. It is imperative one plays to amuse oneself, to be happy. That is what children do and I do the same thing.” (total Barca)

28 June 1491 Henry VIII Tudor (1491-1547) 

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King of England 1509-1547 His religious reformation turned England into a Protestant nation

“Two beheadings out of six wives is too many.”

28 June 1971 Elon Musk

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South African-American Engineer, Inventor, Explorer

Died in June

3 June 1924 Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

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Czech author Franz Kafka explored the human struggle for understanding and security in his novels such as Amerika, The Trial and The Castle.

Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

10 June 2004 Ray Charles (1930-2004)

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Pianist, Songwriter, Singer: He was a pioneer of soul music, integrating R&B, gospel, pop and country to create hits like “Unchain My Heart,” “Hit the Road Jack” and “Georgia on My Mind.” A blind genius, he is considered one of the greatest artists of all time.

15 June 1996 Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

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American jazz and song vocalist known as the “First Lady of Song” and “Lady Ella,” the first African-American woman to win a Grammy Award. Over her career she won 13 Grammys in total and sold more than 40 million albums.

18 June 1936 Maxim Gorky (1868-1936)

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Maxim Gorky rose from poverty to become a leading Russian author. He was a Bolshevik supporter, but became a critic when Vladimir Lenin seized power in 1917.

25 June 1997 Jacques Cousteau (1910–1997)

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He was a French undersea explorer, researcher, photographer and documentary host who invented diving and scuba devices, including the Aqua-Lung. He also conducted underwater expeditions and produced films and television series, including the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.

RANT–FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

Prometheus and Pandora as well as YandA are furious opponents of female genital mutilation aka FGM. This is a brutal practice in which the genital organs of girls are cut and mutilated in various ways. The World Health Organization defines four major types of FGM, which vary with ethnicity:

Current estimates (from surveys of women older than 15 years old) indicate that around 90% of female genital mutilation cases include either:

  • Types I (mainly clitoridectomy)
  • II (excision) or
  • Type III (infibulation). Infibulation, which is the most severe form of FGM, is mostly practiced in the north-eastern region of Africa: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan. In West-Africa (Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, etc.), the tendency is to
    remove flesh (clitoridectomy and/or excision) without sewing the labia minora and/or majora together.
  • IV (“nicking” without flesh removed), and about10% (over 8 million women)

This map shows the distribution of the procedure by country in Africa.

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Lest anyone in the so-called civilized West be complacent, we note that FGM is a global problem. Three million girls are cut every year across the world. As you may note, in some African, Middle Eastern and Indonesian countries the majority of women have had FGM.

FGM takes place all over the world, even in countries where the practice is illegal. It is estimated that 23,000 girls are cut in the UK every year. We note that the practice has
recently been discovered in the United States. Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency room physician in Detroit, is accused of performing the procedure on girls aged between six and eight and then lying to investigators when confronted.

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Jumana Nagarwala. Photograph: Handout

The crime is not confined to Muslim cultures. A white American girl was subjected to a clitoridectomy at age three to keep her from masturbating!

Human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch  and Amnesty International have come out against it, especially Daughters of Eve who are taking a leading role in the struggle.

CONFLICT IN MYANMAR

Amnesty International has brought out a new report on the human rights abuses taking place in the northern provinces of Myanmar. The conflict in Myanmar’s Kachin and northern Shan States has now entered its seventh year, pitting the Myanmar Army against a range of ethnic armed groups in areas near the border with China. An escalation in fighting since November 2016 has seen a rise in the Army’s violations against civilians, which in some cases amount to war crimes. Ethnic armed groups have also committed serious abuses.

On three visits to the conflict between March and May 2017, Amnesty International has documented a shocking pattern of violations against civilians.

A forgotten conflict by the numbers

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98,000 Civilians displaced by the conflict in northern Myanmar as of June 2017

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65 Recorded civilian casualties in first half of 2017 from landmines or explosive remnants of war in Kachin and Shan States

 

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6 Years since fighting resumed in northern Myanmar following a 17-year ceasefire

The Myanmar Army

Although a quasi-civilian government came to power under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership in March 2016, the Myanmar Army retains considerable political and economic power. It is free from any civilian oversight. In Parliament, the military holds a quarter of the seats, and it also has overall control of the Ministries of Defense, Border Affairs and Home Affairs. All three ministries are key in protecting and upholding human rights. The Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, has the authority to ensure that serious violations are investigated and prosecuted. Amnesty International is calling on him to bring such violations to an end, remove the perpetrators from front line duties and ensure accountability.

 

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Aung San Suu Kyi

Prometheus and Pandora ask where is the human rights leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi. When she was under house arrest by the army, we worked tirelessly on her behalf. She failed us on the issue of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Now when we find a similar pattern of abuse of abuse of other minority groups in Kachin and northern Shan states, her efforts do not seem effective.

To be fair, we must note that her government and party have made the peace process and national reconciliation one of their top priorities, and held major peace conferences in August 2016 and May 2017.

Despite these efforts, the conflicts in Kachin and northern Shan States have not only continued but intensified over the past seven months. In order for the process to succeed, it will have to be rooted in accountability and respect for the rights of all civilians, including ethnic minorities. Prometheus and Pandora join the call of the international community  to intensify all efforts to bring this calamity to an end.

HOME SWEET HOME

There are countless things worthy of rants going on in Israel as usual. Prometheus and Pandora would like to focus on the Occupation as they note the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and the calamity it generated. Several studies of the situation have been published and David Shulman reviews five of them in the New York Review of Books.

Shulman analyzes the conflict as described from various aspects in these five books.  The main conclusion is that there will be no peace as long as Israel has the option of not making sacrifices for peace. The point made by Thrall that only coercion  can cause Israel to take steps toward a settlement is fully consistent with the historical record. When Baker and the elder Bush applied arm twisting in the form of stopping aid to Israel or not providing guarantees for billions of dollars in loans from banks, Shamir, the PM at the time went to the Madrid conference and then the Oslo peace agreements came about. It is no accident that the real process of  peace between Israel and the Palestinians was scuppered  by the assassination of Rabin.
The peace treaty with Egypt was facilitated by the pressure applied by Carter and the treaty with Jordan and the agreement with the Palestinian leadership was helped greatly by Clinton. Since then, no American or European leader has put real pressure on Israel to come to reasonable terms with the Palestinians. The ins and outs of the  history of the Occupation are discussed in detail in the reviews of these five books.
The main issue emphasized by Shulman is the moral decay of the Israeli nation caused by the half century of oppressing a people and the corruption of moral values of generations of young soldiers. To quote Shulman:
“In the end, it is this ongoing moral failure of the country as a whole that is most consequential, most dangerous, and most unacceptable. This failure weighs more heavily on our humanity than any of the concerns mentioned earlier. We are, so we claim, the children of the prophets. Once, they say, we were slaves in Egypt. We know all that can be known about slavery, suffering, prejudice, ghettos, hate, expulsions, exile. I still find it astonishing that we, of all people, have reinvented apartheid in the West Bank.”
Prometheus and Pandora share his sorrow and concern.

SOMETHING FROM SCIENCE

JUNO GIVES US A NEW JUPITER

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Juno spacecraft

Juno is in a polar orbit around Jupiter, and the majority of each orbit is spent well away from the gas giant. But, once every 53 days, its trajectory approaches Jupiter from above its north pole, where it begins a two-hour transit (from pole to pole) flying north to south with its eight science instruments collecting data and its JunoCam public outreach
camera snapping pictures. The download of six megabytes of data collected during the transit can take 1.5 days.

The early data indicate that our preconceived knowledge of the giant planet will require major revision. We congratulate our friends and colleagues who are participating in this great project and wish them all success. Nature will never cease to confound and captivate us.

 

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GIF showing infrared emission from Jupiter, as observed by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.
Credit: S.J. Bolton et al., Science (2017)

 SILLY TIME

What If has something funny this time.

$2 Undecillion Lawsuit

What if Au Bon Pain lost this lawsuit and had to pay the plaintiff $2 undecillion?

—Kevin Underhill

Think about it–2*10**36 bucks, more money than there is in the world. Cheers Mr. Purisma.

WUMO AND WE HAVE HAD IT WITH ISRAELIS APPLAUDING EVERY LANDING

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