Thursday, April 02, 2009

Report: North Korea planning to put American reporters on trial

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two American journalists detained in North Korea entered the country illegally and intended "hostile acts," according to the nation's state-run news service, KCNA.

The journalists are reporters for the San Francisco, California-based media outlet Current TV."The illegal entry of U.S. reporters into the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and their suspected hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their statements, according to the results of [an] intermediary investigation" conducted by North Korean officials, KCNA reported Monday. Preparations are being made to try the journalists "on the basis of the already-confirmed suspicions," the report said. The news agency added that the journalists are allowed consular contact and their treatment is governed by relevant international laws while the investigation is under way. The State Department said earlier Monday that a Swedish diplomat met with the two journalists over the weekend. Acting on behalf of the United States, the Swedish representative met with each American once, said department spokesman Gordon Duguid. He would give no details of the meeting or of the journalists' health or condition. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were taken into custody March 17 along the China-North Korea border. They are reporters for the San Francisco, California-based media outlet Current TV. Earlier, the State Department said it had received information that the journalists were being treated well.

Source: CNN and Rosemary's Thoughts.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Baghdad celebrates first public Christmas amid hope, memories

By Jill Dougherty, CNN

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- From a distance, it looks like an apparition: a huge multi-colored hot-air balloon floating in the Baghdad sky, bearing a large poster of Jesus Christ. Below it, an Iraqi flag.

Santa and his helpers stand under palm trees at Baghdad's first public Christmas festival.
1 of 3 more photos »



Welcome to the first-ever public Christmas celebration in Baghdad, held Saturday and sponsored by the Iraqi Interior Ministry. Once thought to be infiltrated by death squads, the Ministry now is trying to root out sectarian violence -- as well as improve its P.R. image.

The event takes place in a public park in eastern Baghdad, ringed with security checkpoints. Interior Ministry forces deployed on surrounding rooftops peer down at the scene: a Christmas tree decorated with ornaments and tinsel; a red-costumed Santa Claus waving to the crowd, an Iraqi flag draped over his shoulders; a red-and-black-uniformed military band playing stirring martial music, not Christmas carols.

On a large stage, children dressed in costumes representing Iraq's many ethnic and religious groups -- Kurds, Turkmen, Yazidis, Christians, Arab Muslims not defined as Sunni or Shiite -- hold their hands aloft and sing "We are building Iraq!" Two young boys, a mini-policeman and a mini-soldier sporting painted-on mustaches, march stiffly and salute. Watch the celebration in Baghdad »


Even before I can ask Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul Karim Khalaf a question, he greets me with a big smile. "All Iraqis are Christian today!" he says.

Khalaf says sectarian and ethnic violence killed thousands of Iraqis. "Now that we have crossed that hurdle and destroyed the incubators of terrorism," he says, "and the security situation is good, we have to go back and strengthen community ties."

In spite of his claim, the spokesman is surrounded by heavy security. Yet this celebration shows that the security situation in Baghdad is improving.

Many of the people attending the Christmas celebration appear to be Muslims, with women wearing head scarves. Suad Mahmoud, holding her 16-month-old daughter, Sara, tells me she is indeed Muslim, but she's very happy to be here. "My mother's birthday also is this month, so we celebrate all occasions," she says, "especially in this lovely month of Christmas and New Year."

Father Saad Sirop Hanna, a Chaldean Christian priest, is here too. He was kidnapped by militants in 2006 and held for 28 days. He knows firsthand how difficult the lot of Christians in Iraq is but, he tells me, "We are just attesting that things are changing in Baghdad, slowly, but we hope that this change actually is real. We will wait for the future to tell us the truth about this."

He just returned from Rome. "I came back to Iraq because I believe that we can live here," he says. "I have so many [Muslim] friends and we are so happy they started to think about things from another point of view and we want to help them."

The Christmas celebration has tables loaded with cookies and cakes. Families fill plates and chat in the warm winter sun. Santa balloons hang from trees. An artist uses oil paint to create a portrait of Jesus.

In the middle of the park there's an art exhibit, the creation of 11- and 12-year-olds: six displays, each about three feet wide, constructed of cardboard and Styrofoam, filled with tiny dolls dressed like ordinary people, along with model soldiers and police. They look like model movie sets depicting everyday life in Baghdad.

Afnan, 12 years old, shows me her model called "Arresting the Terrorists."

"These are the terrorists," she tells me. "They were trying to blow up the school." In the middle of the street a dead "terrorist" sprawls on the asphalt, his bloody arm torn from his body by an explosion. Afnan tells me she used red nail polish to paint the blood. A little plastic dog stands nearby. "What is he doing?" I ask. "He looks for terrorists and searches for weapons and explosives," Afnan says.

Her mother, the children's art teacher, Raja, shows me another child's display called "Baghdad Today."

"This is a wedding," Raja explains. "Despite the terrorism, our celebrations still go ahead. This is a park, families enjoying time. And this is a market where people go shopping without fear of bombings. This is a mosque where people can pray with no fear."

In the middle is a black mound that looks like a body bag. Policemen and Interior Ministry forces surround it. "This is terrorism," she tells me. "We killed it and destroyed it, and our lives went back to normal."

A Christmas tale perhaps, I think, but one that many Iraqis hope will come true.

Source: CNN.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

U.S. destroyers on move as N. Korea prepares rocket launch

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As North Korea prepares for an expected rocket launch next month, the U.S. Navy says it is moving to the Sea of Japan ships capable of shooting down ballistic missiles.

The ships, with powerful Aegis radar that can track ballistic missile launches, are on regularly planned deployments but are "prepared to track a launch or more, if afforded," according to a U.S. Navy official who could not be named because of the sensitivity of the information.

The United States generally has a number of Aegis-capable ships in the Sea of Japan because of the threat by North Korea to launch missiles. The ships monitor the region and are designed to track and if need be shoot down ballistic missiles.

North Korea says it will launch a commercial satellite on top of a rocket sometime between April 4 and April 8. But Western governments fear the North Koreans will put a long-range missile on top of the rocket.

If North Korea launches, the Obama administration may have has little as five minutes to decide whether it is a threat and, if necessary, try to shoot it down.

The USS Hopper, a destroyer with the Aegis radar system aboard was scheduled for a port call in Japan in coming days. But the port call was canceled and the ship will remain in the Sea of Japan ahead of the launch, the official said.

Two other U.S. Navy Aegis-capable destroyers, the USS Chaffee and USS McCain, are leaving the port in Sasebo, Japan, and are heading to South Korea for a ceremony in the coming days, according to the U.S. Navy official with direct knowledge of the operations.

The U.S. Navy just wrapped up military exercises with the South Korean military that brought a number of U.S. ships into the region.

Source: CNN and Rosemary's Thoughts.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama Hates the First and Second Amendment

Because of Obama's hatred towards freedom of speech, Dan Riehl suggested hosting the NRA ads Obama's lawyers are trying to silence on our blogs. Obliged.
Cross posted from Stop the ACLU

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Was Hamdan's Trial Fair?

Crossposted from STACLU:

After years of litigation a verdict was finally reached for Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden’s driver and detainee accused of war crimes. While cleared of conspiracy he was convicted on multiple counts of material support for terrorism. Legal groups like the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights quickly criticized the ruling. Certain media elements were not far behind. Much of the criticism was understandable, and much was distorted through the lens of bias. Most of the criticism ended up being deflated after a surprisingly lenient sentence of five and a half years, including five years and a month already served. This sentence fell short of the thirty years to life the prosecutors wanted. Even one of Salim’s defense attorneys admitted the verdict was fair and just. However, a fair outcome doesn’t necessarily reflect a fair process. So, are the military tribunals for the Guantanamo detainees fair? To answer this question we must critically look at both sides of the argument, the details of the process itself, and understand how we arrived at this point.

When war has been declared the United States has made use of military tribunals to try captured enemies outside the scope of conventional civil and criminal matters, historically providing a trial for combatants acting in violation to the Rules of War. The Geneva Conventions established what most countries have adopted as the international standard regarding such rules.

The perception pushed by some is that combatants held at Guantanamo deserve protection under the provisions provided by the Geneva Convention. Others argued that the essence of the Convention is the distinction between lawful combatants and civilians and that terrorists violate this by being non-uniformed, negating this distinction and endangering innocent civilians. This argument applies that Prisoner of War status and the rights that come with that should not extend to those that violate its rules. The Supreme Court settled this argument in 2006 in favor of extending many of these rights to captured combatants held at Guantanamo. This decision was Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld which extended certain rights to the detainees and placed limits on the authority of the executive branch. This decision was the catalyst for Congress to pass the Military Commissions Act of 2006 authorizing the establishment of military commissions within the parameters set by the Supreme Court.

The 5-4 ruling in Boumediene vs. Bush threw another wrench into the efforts to prosecute prisoners at Guantanamo by determining that habeas corpus rights extend to these prisoners and that the Military Commissions Act unconstitutionally suspended those rights. Defense lawyers used this ruling in an attempt to delay the military trial of Salim Hamdan, but were unsuccessful in their argument that the procedures violated certain constitutional rights. District Judge James Robertson ruled against delaying the trial on the grounds that these arguments could be raised on appeal after the completion of the trial. How this ruling’s precedent will affect future proceedings against Guantanamo detainees is yet to be seen.

Determining whether the military commission process is fair requires looking at several factors. Hamdan’s trial served as a test case for the government prosecutors and the detainee defense lawyers. Behind Hamdan there are around 80 other Guantanamo detainees, including five alleged September 11th plotters, the Pentagon intends to try before the commissions. It is important to observe Hamdan’s case to determine the probability of fairness in future military commissions because of the precedents it has set.

Most of the key criticisms in Hamdan’s case were addressed. The concern that evidence obtained through coercive interrogation would be used was alleviated when the judge excluded statements obtained from Hamdan prior to his arrival at Guantanamo. Concerns remained over allowed statements obtained after his arrival due to defense allegations they were obtained through abusive procedures. However, no convincing evidence was presented to prove these allegations. Defense attorneys were also given adequate opportunity and access to challenge secret evidence. Many other points exist in favor of the fairness in this trial including the fact that Hamdan’s conviction is automatically appealed to a military appellate court. That court can reduce, but cannot increase, his sentence. Hamdan can then appeal to U.S. civilian courts as well. However, many legal concerns remain such as the question of whether his prosecution violated the Constitution’s prohibition of ex post facto laws. Concerns addressed in Hamdan’s case do not guarantee future trials will be addressed similarly, but recognized respect of precedent makes it probable.

In my opinion, Salim Hamdan received a fair trial and a lenient but just sentencing. The system in place for future military trials is still not perfect, but provides more protections and rights for captured enemy combatants than ever provided in history. Certain elements definitely need to be addressed while others are yet to be determined. The legal journey to refine the process has only begun.

Posted as a part of a Stop the ACLU Blogburst. Visit Stop the ACLU if you would like to participate...email jay-at-stoptheaclu-dot-com.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Google Shuts Down Anti-Obama Sites on its Blogger Platform

-By Warner Todd Huston

It looks like Google has officially joined the Barack Obama campaign and decided that its contribution would be to shut down any blog on the Google owned Blogspot.com blogging system that has an anti-Obama message. Yes, it sure seems that Google has begun to go through its many thousands of blogs to lock out the owners of anti-Obama blogs so that the noObama message is effectively squelched. Thus far, Google has terminated the access by blog owners to 7 such sites and the list may be growing. Boy, it must be nice for Barack Obama to have an ally powerful enough to silence his opponents like that!

It isn't just conservative sites that Google's Blogger platform is eliminating. For instance, www.comealongway.blogspot.com has been frozen and this one is a Hillary supporting site. The operator of Come a Long Way has a mirror site off the Blogspot platform and has today posted this notice:
I used to have a happy internet home on Blogger: www.comealongway.blogspot.com. Then on Wednesday night, June 25, I received the following e-mail:

Dear Blogger user,

This is a message from the Blogger team.

Your blog, at http://comealongway.blogspot.com/, has been identified as a potential spam blog. You will not be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and confirm that it is not a spam blog.

Sincerely,

The Blogger Team
It turns out that there is an interesting pattern where it concerns the blogs that Google's Blogspot team have summarily locked down on their service. They all belong to the Just Say No Deal coalition, a group of blogs that are standing against the Obama campaign. It seems the largest portion of these blogs are Hillary supporting blogs, too.

All I can say is, WOW! If Google is willing to abuse its power like this even against fellow leftists, what does it plan against conservatives, the folks Google hates even more!?
Read more »

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Plan your trip to the Flight 93 crash site for the weekend of August 2nd!

Blogburst logo, petition



Are you thinking of visiting the Flight 93 crash site? If you plan your visit for the weekend of August 2nd, you can help stop the gigantic terrorist memorial mosque that will soon start rising from the ground there.



August 2nd is the next scheduled public meeting of the Memorial Project, where anyone can sign up to speak during the public comment period. Tom Burnett Sr. (whose son Tom Jr. broke into the cockpit of the hijacked airplane) announced last Friday that he and Alec Rawls will be traveling to Somerset for the August meeting. They will be rallying outdoors, speaking at the public meeting, and visiting the crash site.



Mr. Burnett is asking other concerned parties who can make it to please come. The crash site is a beautiful and meaningful place to visit in any case, and here is a chance to make your visit even more meaningful. It is an opportunity to in some small way follow the lead of the heroes of Flight 93 by helping to stop the re-hijacking of Flight 93.



Mr. Burnett's announcement came on the Mancow Muller radio show, where Congressman Tancredo was also a guest. When controversy over the Crescent of Embrace design first arose back in 2005, Tom Tancredo was instrumental in forcing the Park Service to alter the design. Last fall he noted that the giant crescent remains unchanged in the so-called redesign and asked the Park Service to scrap the design entirely. On Friday he said that he would help Mancow Muller and Tom Burnett to stop the crescent design (audio, 19 seconds):
Certainly I will do everything I can to help you. I will bring it to the attention of my colleagues. I'll use the time I have on the floor of the House to rail against it.
THANK YOU CONGRESSMAN TANCREDO!



Mr. Burnett said that he would join Mancow in going to jail for taking sledgehammers to the crescent memorial if this tribute to the terrorists actually gets built. (Audio, 25 seconds.)



Cao has the whole segment of Mancow and the two Toms up as a YouTube video, with her own background graphics.





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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

ACLU Supports Legalized Unregulated Prostitution

Crossposted from STACLU

Since New York Governor Eliot Spitzer brought the topic into the national discussion, I thought it would be interesting to dust off this oldy but goody. I know that some more libertarian leaning people actually agree with the ACLU on this, but I don't. It will be interesting to watch the debate in the comments.

Keep in mind that all laws are based on some moral code. That code isn't necessarily that of any one specific religion, but a reflection of the collective morals of the community and general public. It is my belief that issues like this one should be decided at the state level by the representatives of the people.

Also keep in mind that even in States where prostitution is legal it is regulated. The ACLU believe it should be unregulated. I think this is the most retarded and absolutist position that the ACLU has on this one. I don't know about you, but I don't want someone being pimped on the same corner my kid catches the school bus.

Not only have the ACLU argued before a federal appeals court that having a ban on federal funds to organizations that promote commercial sex work inhibits free speech, but they even advocate the legalization of unregulated prostitution themselves.

The ACLU's Policy 211 is straightforward. "The ACLU supports the decriminalization of prostitution and opposes state regulation of prostitution". They base their argument on several points, including that existing laws are discrimination against women, and the right of individual privacy. They argue that what two consenting adults in private do is their own business. However, when you also oppose zoning laws, and regulation you can hardly argue that prostitution is a private business.

As for it being a privacy issue, it seems a contradiction to me when they also state that the "public" solicitation of prostitution is "entitled to the protection of the First Amendment". "It's not just the bedroom that the ACLU wishes to make off-limits to public censure, but also the local street corner, presumably even if that corner is regularly used by school children crossing the street." Source

And what good would it do for women's rights to decriminalize this? One could argue that women should not be punished for their own exploitation. But how does decriminalizing pimps, buyers, procurers, brothels or other sex establishments offer any solution to this? Decriminalization would do nothing but expand the sex industry and send a message to society that it is acceptable. And a system unregulated would do nothing for women's health, and would only promote the spread disease.

They don't belive in zoning laws, and do believe in fully legalalized, and unregulated prostitution. So there wouldn't be any law that could keep a prostitution house from being a certain distance from your neighborhood, your Church, or your child's preschool. This is especially disturbing when they think child pornography distribution and possession should be legal, and fight for convicted child molesters to live across the street from elementary schools and parks.

This is just one of many in a very long list of extremist positions of the ACLU.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Send the ACLU a Christmas Card

Crossposted from: Stop The ACLU:

Its become a popular yearly tradition now to send the Anti-Christian Liars Union grinches a Christmas card. I personally think its ineffective, and that the money you waste on a stamp for the organization to toss in the shredder would be better served towards a good cause. So, I encourage you to save that money, dig a little deeper, and contribute to an organization that fights the ACLU and defends Christmas. The Alliance Defense Fund, and the ACLJ are both great organizations that defend Christmas each year. The Alliance Defense Fund does it for free. Why not help groups like that out this year?

However, from experience last year...I know that many will insist on sending the ACLU a Christmas card. Afterall, it is tradition. If that is how you want to make your message...we have some great greeting cards and postcards available at our online store. Plenty of other great Christmas gifts too.

Send your Christmas card to the ACLU at:

ACLU
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York , NY 10004




Thursday, October 04, 2007

Video: History of the ACLU Part V

Crossposted from Stop The ACLU

In case you missed them: Part I

Part II and III

Part IV

...and now...Part V



ACLU and National Abortion Federation Criticize Decision by U.S. Supreme Court Upholding Federal Abortion Ban
Justice Ginsburg: Watchdog Plan ‘Scary’
Ginsburg And Foreign Law In Interpreting Our Constitution
The Problem with the Culture of Drive-Thru Abortions
ACLU Loses Court Battle to DoD and Boy Scouts

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

ACLU History Video Series

Crossposted from Stop The ACLU

Part I
Part II and III

Here is Part IV:



Here is more detailed information on the stated positions in the video:

The ACLU's Policy to Legalize Child Porn
ACLU Wants All Drugs Legal
Oppose Tax Exemptions for Satanist but not for Churches
ACLU for Legalized Unregulated Prostitution
The ACLU's Top Priority: Abortion

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ACLU Hypocrisy On Privacy

Crossposted from Stop The ACLU

Recently, the ACLU set their doomsday clock at six minutes before midnight! Once it reaches the ‘dark hour’ of midnight…we will be slaves to the ominous and evil ’surviellance society’. This isn’t science fiction. This is typical scare tactics from the ACLU.

They prey upon the paranoid. This is how they get donations to fund their machine. They cry about "American citizens being spied upon" when in fact there is no evidence that anyone has been hurt by the government's terrorist surviellance program.

While the ACLU cry that they are the guardian's of liberty, and that privacy is one of those liberties....they have been exposed as being violators of that very liberty. They have a massive database of their own member's private financial information they use for soliciting donations.

The group’s new data collection practices were implemented without the board’s approval or knowledge and were in violation of the ACLU’s privacy policy at the time, according to Michael Meyers, vice president of the organization and a frequent internal critic. He said he had learned about the new research by accident Nov. 7 during a meeting of the committee that is organizing the group’s Biennial Conference in July.

He objected to the practices, and the next day, the privacy policy on the group’s Web site was changed. “They took out all the language that would show that they were violating their own policy,” Meyers said. “In doing so, they sanctified their procedure while still keeping it secret.”


Now the ACLU are proudly defending Rep. Larry Craig on grounds of privacy. In another recent case they are defending a "pre-operative transsexual" anatomically male's "right" to use the female public restroom. Terrence Jeffrey calls out the 'privacy hypocrisy' on this one.

"The government does not have a constitutionally sufficient justification for making private sex a crime," said the ACLU. "It follows that an invitation to have private sex is constitutionally protected and may not be made a crime. This is so even where the proposition occurs in a public place, whether in a bar or a restroom."

But then the ACLU went a step further, arguing that there is not only a right to solicit sex, but also to engage in it, in a public restroom.

"The Minnesota Supreme Court," said the ACLU, "has already ruled that two men engaged in sexual activity in a department store restroom with the stall door closed had a reasonable expectation of privacy. They were, the Court held, therefore acting in a private, not a public place."

The conflated logic of the ACLU's bathroom briefs seems to be that someone entering a public restroom intending to use it for traditional purposes has no protection either from the gender sign posted at the door or from the otherwise vaunted right to privacy. Someone entering a public restroom intending to solicit and engage in sex, on the other hand, is protected by both the First Amendment and the right to privacy.

What else would you expect from a group that embraces an ideology that holds that partially born babies have no right to keep their skulls intact?


Indeed. As my good friend Glib Fortuna puts it:

This about sums up the ACLU’s worldview. To the ACLU, the only “freedom” the ACLU truly believes in is “sexual freedom” and the concomitant “right” of people who choose aberrant sexual behavior to be free of any criticism and free from anyone else exercising common sense (and more threateningly, religious liberty) if it “infringes” on these “rights” recently invented by the ACLU and its partisans.


This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at Jay@stoptheaclu.com or Gribbit at GribbitR@gmail.com. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 200 blogs already onboard.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Why Stop The ACLU? Here Is Ten Reasons

I wanted to put something up for Labor Day here to get some inspirations sparked. For a while my priorities have been shifted. I want to announce that we will be more active in our original cause and want to thank everyone that has supported us thus far. To get our blogburst reinvigorated, I thought I'd pull out a classic...one that explains why we started and what we are all about...

Stop The ACLU was started on February 9th, 2004. We started with high hopes, and we realized we were facing a goliath. There were many reasons why we thought the ACLU needed to be countered, and they are numerous. We wanted to provide a way to inform the public of the ACLU's agenda, as the MSM sugar coated it. We wanted to be a central database for people to gather, exchange ideas, and get actively involved in real ways of stopping them. It is a monumental task, exhausting, time consuming, and often frustrating. But it is a fight worth fighting.

We would be nothing without our supporters. To all of you, we appreciate the continued support. We have called you to action and you have answered.

There are many reasons to stop the ACLU. For this blogburst I decided to list my top ten list.

10. The ACLU was founded by Communist, with communist ideals, communist goals, and they continue to impose a Communist like agenda on America daily. The founder of the ACLU, Roger Baldwin stated clearly...

My chief aversion is the system of greed, private profit, privilege and violence which makes up the control of the world today, and which has brought it to the tragic crisis of unprecedented hunger and unemployment�Therefore, I am for Socialism, disarmament and ultimately, for the abolishing of the State itself�I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal."


9. The ACLU does not believe in the Second Amendment.

ACLU POLICY �The ACLU agrees with the Supreme Court�s long-standing interpretation of the Second Amendment [as set forth in the 1939 case, U.S. v. Miller] that the individual�s right to bear arms applies only to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia. Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected. Therefore, there is no constitutional impediment to the regulation of firearms.�ACLU Policy #47


#8. Their outright hatred of the Boyscouts. They are currently doing everything in their power to hurt this organization. They attacked their free speech right to exclude gays, and are threatening schools, and fighting in court to get their charters shut down. The oppose the military supporting them, and will sue the pants off any school that attempts to charter them.

#7. The ACLU are pro-death. Not only is the ACLU Pro-abortion, it's the ACLU's top priority. It most definitely takes a backseat to free speech for the ACLU. As a matter of fact, the ACLU has fought against the free speech rights of those that oppose it. If its abortion or euthanasia, as long as its pro-death you can count on the ACLU to support it. The only exception to the ACLU's pro-death stance, is if it is a convicted criminal; in this case they are against death.

#6. The ACLU advocate open borders. Not only have the ACLU opposed the Minute Men, a group who are simply exercizing their freedom of speech, protesting and stepping up where the government is failing, but they have helped illegals cross the border.

#5. The ACLU is anti-Christian. The list is endless on this one. Under the guise of "seperation of Church and State", the ACLU have made a name for theirself on being rabidly anti-Christian. This is one area where they are most hypocritical. They oppose tax exemptions for all churches, but fight for them for Wiccans. They are against Christianity in school, but oddly remain silent as our children are taught to be Muslims. Whether its baby Jesus, ten commandments, or tiny crosses on county seals, the ACLU will be there to secularize America, and rewrite our history.

#4. The ACLU Opposes National Security. The ACLU have opposed almost every effort in the arena of national security. From the bird flu to bag searches, the ACLU have been against it. No matter what kind of search someone tries to do to protect people, the ACLU have proved they are against them across the board. Its kind of ironic that they don't practice the principles they preach.

Take a walk into the NYCLU�s Manhattan headquarters - which it shares with other organizations - and you�ll find a sign warning visitors that all bags are subject to search.


#3. The ACLU Defend the enemy. They have a long history of this one. They defended the P.L.O. in 1985. They defended Quadafi in the 1980's. And they continue today. They have told Gitmo detainees they have the right to remain silent, as in not talking to interrogators. One issue that really disturbs me is their refusal of funds from organizations such as the United Way that were concerned the money would be used to support terrorism.

In October of 2004, the ACLU turned down $1.15 million in funding from two of it�s most generous and loyal contributors, the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, saying new anti-terrorism restrictions demanded by the institutions make it unable to accept their funds.

�The Ford Foundation now bars recipients of its funds from engaging in any activity that �promotes violence, terrorism, bigotry, or the destruction of any state.�

The Rockefeller Foundation�s provisions state that recipients of its funds may not �directly or indirectly engage in, promote, or support other organizations or individuals who engage in or promote terrorist activity.�


#2. The ACLU supports child porn distribution and child molesters like NAMBLA.

As legislative counsel for the ACLU in 1985, Barry Lynn told the U.S. Attorney General�s Commission on Pornography (of which Focus on the Family President Dr. James C. Dobson was a member) that child pornography was protected by the First Amendment. While production of child porn could be prevented by law, he argued, its distribution could not be.


There is no doubt the The ACLU are perverting the Constitution.

#1. The ACLU fufills its agenda using my tax money. What more can I say on this one?

There are countless reasons the ACLU needs to be stopped. So don't just stand by and complain, do something. Get involved. Here are some ways you can get involved to help us stop the ACLU.

Support and donate to organizations fighting them in Court. Here are the ones at the forefront.

ACLJ
Alliance Defense Fund
Thomas More Law Center

Join the Stop The ACLU Coalition

Help us write Churches to get involved.

Tell your Congress to support the Public Expression of Relgion Act of 2005. This legislation seeks to limit attorney's fees in Establishment Clause cases to injunctive relief only.

SIGN THE PETITION TO STOP TAXPAYER FUNDING OF THE ACLU


This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at Jay@stoptheaclu.com or Gribbit at GribbitR@gmail.com. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 115 blogs already onboard.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sierra Leone: President Threatens to Declare Emergency

In the process of being moved to Rosemary's Thoughts. Right now, this copy is at Help me move all of blogs over at WordPress. When I get everything together, it will be at Rosemary's Thoughts. Sorry about the inconveniece. ;)

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Sierra Leone leader warns of possible state of emergency

Source: CNN.

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (Reuters) -- Sierra Leone's President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah has warned he could declare a state of emergency across the former British colony if violence ahead of next month's presidential run-off vote worsens.

Police declared a curfew in the eastern border region with Liberia on Monday, a center of the illegal diamond mining trade which fueled a 1991-2002 civil war, after dispersing more than a thousand demonstrators from rival political groups.

The unrest spread to the suburbs of the capital Freetown late on Monday, where supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party and the opposition All People's Congress took to the streets with machetes, local radio said.

U.N. sources said one person was believed to have been killed in the violence.

"The people of this country have suffered long enough," Kabbah said in an address broadcast late on Monday.

"I'm deeply distressed by events at the weekend. ... From henceforth the government shall not hesitate to declare a state of emergency," he said.

The polls in the West African country are the first since United Nations peacekeepers left two years ago following the civil war, a brutal conflict in which children were drugged and forced to fight and civilians were mutilated with machetes.

The British army has retrained Sierra Leone's armed forces and the security situation is much improved, but corruption among politicians -- one of the root causes of the war -- is rampant and the country remains mired in poverty.

Main opposition candidate Ernest Bai Koroma of the APC won 44 percent of the vote in the August 11 first round, followed by Vice President Soloman Berewa of the SLPP on 38 percent.

Koroma is being backed in the run-off by the third-placed candidate Charles Margai, who polled 14 percent.

Deep fault lines in the country have resurfaced during the polls, with the APC winning strong support among the northern ethnic Temne and Limba groups but the SLPP backed by the southern Mende population.

With about 100,000 votes separating Koroma and Berewa in the first round, the run-off will depend largely on whether Margai, who took over 250,000 votes, can convince his southern Mende heartland to switch to the northern-based APC.

Analysts say that means ethnic politics are likely to play a role in campaigning but note that the unrest so far has been relatively minor and localized.

Sierra Leone's Independent Media Commission has already issued warnings to two radio stations -- one owned by the SLPP, the other by the APC -- for broadcasting programs liable to stir unrest.

"Several people within the community are perturbed by the incitative statements from the two radio stations," Commissioner Bernadette Cole told Reuters. "If left unchecked their activities may lead to chaos, mayhem and public disorder."

"Members of the Security Council called on leaders of all parties and their followers ... to respect the results of the elections as they are confirmed and to resolve any disputes through exclusively peaceful and legal channels," the U.N. Security Council said in a statement.

Don't Miss
Run-off in Sierra Leone presidential poll.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Propaganda Redux

This is one article I am copying from Opinion Journal, because I want to be able to recall it. This is exactly what I have been trying to get across to people, but I do believe that someone with this type of background may have some more aurority so that the people will listen. Please do. If you do not, you do not at your own peril...and mine, too.
Take it from this old KGB hand: The left is abetting America's enemies with its intemperate attacks on President Bush.

BY ION MIHAI PACEPA.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT.

During last week's two-day summit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown thanked President Bush for leading the global war on terror. Mr. Brown acknowledged "the debt the world owes to the U.S. for its leadership in this fight against international terrorism" and vowed to follow Winston Churchill's lead and make Britain's ties with America even stronger.

Mr. Brown's statements elicited anger from many of Mr. Bush's domestic detractors, who claim the president concocted the war on terror for personal gain. But as someone who escaped from communist Romania--with two death sentences on his head--in order to become a citizen of this great country, I have a hard time understanding why some of our top political leaders can dare in a time of war to call our commander in chief a "liar," a "deceiver" and a "fraud."

I spent decades scrutinizing the U.S. from Europe, and I learned that international respect for America is directly proportional to America's own respect for its president.

My father spent most of his life working for General Motors in Romania and had a picture of President Truman in our house in Bucharest. While "America" was a vague place somewhere thousands of miles away, he was her tangible symbol. For us, it was he who had helped save civilization from the Nazi barbarians, and it was he who helped restore our freedom after the war--if only for a brief while. We learned that America loved Truman, and we loved America. It was as simple as that.

Later, when I headed Romania's intelligence station in West Germany, everyone there admired America too. People would often tell me that the "Amis" meant the difference between night and day in their lives. By "night" they meant East Germany, where their former compatriots were scraping along under economic privation and Stasi brutality. That was then.

But in September 2002, a German cabinet minister, Herta Dauebler-Gmelin, had the nerve to compare Mr. Bush to Hitler. In one post-Iraq-war poll 40% of Canada's teenagers called the U.S. "evil," and even before the fall of Saddam 57% of Greeks answered "neither" when asked which country was more democratic, the U.S. or Iraq.

Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels. This same strategy is at work today, but it is regarded as bad manners to point out the Soviet parallels. For communists, only the leader counted, no matter the country, friend or foe. At home, they deified their own ruler--as to a certain extent still holds true in Russia. Abroad, they asserted that a fish starts smelling from the head, and they did everything in their power to make the head of the Free World stink.

The communist effort to generate hatred for the American president began soon after President Truman set up NATO and propelled the three Western occupation forces to unite their zones to form a new West German nation. We were tasked to take advantage of the reawakened patriotic feelings stirring in the European countries that had been subjugated by the Nazis, in order to shift their hatred for Hitler over into hatred for Truman--the leader of the new "occupation power." Western Europe was still grateful to the U.S. for having restored its freedom, but it had strong leftist movements that we secretly financed. They were like putty in our hands.

The European leftists, like any totalitarians, needed a tangible enemy, and we gave them one. In no time they began beating their drums decrying President Truman as the "butcher of Hiroshima." We went on to spend many years and many billions of dollars disparaging subsequent presidents: Eisenhower as a war-mongering "shark" run by the military-industrial complex, Johnson as a mafia boss who had bumped off his predecessor, Nixon as a petty tyrant, Ford as a dimwitted football player and Jimmy Carter as a bumbling peanut farmer. In 1978, when I left Romania for good, the bloc intelligence community had already collected 700 million signatures on a "Yankees-Go-Home" petition, at the same time launching the slogan "Europe for the Europeans."

During the Vietnam War we spread vitriolic stories around the world, pretending that America's presidents sent Genghis Khan-style barbarian soldiers to Vietnam who raped at random, taped electrical wires to human genitals, cut off limbs, blew up bodies and razed entire villages. Those weren't facts. They were our tales, but some seven million Americans ended up being convinced their own president, not communism, was the enemy. As Yuri Andropov, who conceived this dezinformatsiya war against the U.S., used to tell me, people are more willing to believe smut than holiness.

The final goal of our anti-American offensive was to discourage the U.S. from protecting the world against communist terrorism and expansion. Sadly, we succeeded. After U.S. forces precipitously pulled out of Vietnam, the victorious communists massacred some two million people in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Another million tried to escape, but many died in the attempt. This tragedy also created a credibility gap between America and the rest of the world, damaged the cohesion of American foreign policy, and poisoned domestic debate in the U.S.

Unfortunately, partisans today have taken a page from the old Soviet playbook. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, for example, Bush critics continued our mud-slinging at America's commander in chief. One speaker, Martin O'Malley, now governor of Maryland, had earlier in the summer stated he was more worried about the actions of the Bush administration than about al Qaeda. On another occasion, retired four-star general Wesley Clark gave Michael Moore a platform to denounce the American commander in chief as a "deserter." And visitors to the national chairman of the Democratic Party had to step across a doormat depicting the American president surrounded by the words, "Give Bush the Boot."

Competition is indeed the engine that has driven the American dream forward, but unity in time of war has made America the leader of the world. During World War II, 405,399 Americans died to defeat Nazism, but their country of immigrants remained sturdily united. The U.S. held national elections during the war, but those running for office entertained no thought of damaging America's international prestige in their quest for personal victory. Republican challenger Thomas Dewey declined to criticize President Roosevelt's war policy. At the end of that war, a united America rebuilt its vanquished enemies. It took seven years to turn Nazi Germany and imperial Japan into democracies, but that effort generated an unprecedented technological explosion and 50 years of unmatched prosperity for us all.

Now we are again at war. It is not the president's war. It is America's war, authorized by 296 House members and 76 senators. I do not intend to join the armchair experts on the Iraq war. I do not know how we should handle this war, and they don't know either. But I do know that if America's political leaders, Democrat and Republican, join together as they did during World War II, America will win. Otherwise, terrorism will win. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi predicted just before being killed: "We fight today in Iraq, tomorrow in the land of the Holy Places, and after there in the West."

On July 28, I celebrated 29 years since President Carter signed off on my request for political asylum, and I am still tremendously proud that the leader of the Free World granted me my freedom. During these years I have lived here under five presidents--some better than others--but I have always felt that I was living in paradise. My American citizenship has given me a feeling of pride, hope and security that is surpassed only by the joy of simply being alive. There are millions of other immigrants who are equally proud that they restarted their lives from scratch in order to be in this magnanimous country. I appeal to them to help keep our beloved America united and honorable. We may not be able to change the habits of our current political representatives, but we may be able to introduce healthy new blood into the U.S. Congress.

For once, the communists got it right. It is America's leader that counts. Let's return to the traditions of presidents who accepted nothing short of unconditional surrender from our deadly enemies. Let's vote next year for people who believe in America's future, not for the ones who live in the Cold War past.

Lt. Gen. Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the Soviet bloc. His new book, "Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination" (Ivan R. Dee) will be published in November.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Opposition declares victory in by-election


BEIRUT (Reuters) Test of strength weeks before electing new president.

A Maronite Christian opposition candidate won a by-election to Lebanon’s parliament yesterday, an opposition leader said, dealing a blow to the country’s Western-backed ruling coalition.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese voted to choose successors to two assassinated anti-Syrian lawmakers in the latest showdown between the government and its opponents.

Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun said his candidate closely beat Amin Gemayel, a former president and a key member of the ruling coalition, in a by-election in the Metn district northeast of Beirut.

The race to win the Maronite seat left empty after Pierre Gemayel was killed in November had shaped up as a test of strength between the ruling coalition and the opposition weeks before parliament was due to elect a Maronite as president.

There was no official confirmation of Aoun’s announcement but opposition sources said Camille Khoury had won by a margin of some 500 votes from around 75,000 cast.

Earlier, unofficial results showed pro-government candidate Mohammad Amin Itani winning by a large margin the Sunni Muslim seat in a Beirut district vacated by the killing of MP Walid Eido in June.

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora hailed the peaceful by-elections as a civilised response to political assassination.

“Democracy in Lebanon will defeat terrorism,” he said in a statement.

A nine-month-old political struggle has caused the worst civil strife since the 1975-1990 war, and some feared a new outbreak of violence during voting.

But no major incidents were reported at polling stations in the Christian heartland, where turnout was reported to be at around 45 per cent.

Thousands of Lebanese troops and police tightened security in the area, where flags and posters of the rival parties adorned balconies, electricity poles and cars.

Both Aoun and Gemayel, Pierre’s father and leader of the Phalange Party, had savaged each other during campaigning and both camps exchanged charges of forgery and vote-buying on election day.

Gemayel is a key player in the anti-Syrian majority coalition, which is supported by the United States, France and Saudi Arabia. Aoun is the main Christian leader in the opposition, which includes Hizbollah.

An independent monitoring body, Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, said the polls were generally democratic but reported some violations.

The by-election for a Sunni seat in a Beirut district to chose a successor to Eido, who was assassinated in a car bomb attack in June, was a low-key affair. The winner, Itani, is a member of the main Sunni Future group of Saad Hariri.

The opposition had not launched a full-hearted challenge in Beirut due to the support Hariri enjoyed in that district. Turnout was around 20 per cent.

“This battle is to complete (Lebanon’s) sovereignty, confirm Cedar Revolution and accomplish the goals of the independence uprising,” Gemayel said, in reference to street protests that forced Syria to end its 29-year military presence back in 2005.

“Our main goal is participation (in government). We extend our arm to all the Lebanese to rebuild Lebanon and to salvage it from this big crisis,” Khoury said after voting.

Source: Bahrain Tribune.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Scores of Tibetans Detained for Protesting at Festival

KATHMANDUChinese authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan have detained scores of people for protesting at a traditional holiday picnic, sources in the region have told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Rongyal Adrak, of the Yonru nomadic group, called at a festival in Lithang (in Chinese, Litang) on Aug. 1 for the Tibetan exiled leader, the Dalai Lama, to be permitted back into Tibetan territory under Chinese control, sources told RFA’s Tibetan service.

“Rongyal Adrak is generally a religious and good person, but because he was frustrated at being unable to meet the Dalai Lama...he shouted in the midst of all the people that the Dalai Lama must be invited home,” one source said.

Many people detained

“[He said,] ‘If we cannot invite the Dalai Lama home, we will not have freedom of religion and happiness in Tibet .’”

“He raised a protest and then others joined him” at a traditional picnic Aug. 1, the day Chinese citizens celebrate the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, the source said. Aug. 1-15 also marks a fortnight of horse-racing and other celebrations among Tibetans, when the local weather is ideal.

“About 20 persons, young and old, belonging to the Yonru group are now behind bars. Then others from outside the jail also raised a protest...and now some 200 Tibetans have been taken into custody,” the source said.

Another source who witnessed the protest said Yongyal Adrak had thrown a khatak, or ceremonial white scarf, into the crowd before “snatching the microphone from the Chinese [official] on the ceremony platform and asking, ‘Should the Dalai Lama return home or not ?’”

“The crowd yelled ‘yes,’” the witness said. “He then asked, ‘Should the Panchen Lama be released ?’ Everyone responded, ‘Yes.’”

“Then the Chinese official snatched the microphone back, and a monk from the local monastery who had earlier called the Dalai Lama a ‘splittist’ was verbally attacked by the crowd,” the source said.

Local Chinese security officials, contacted by telephone, reported that the incident had been brought under control, but they declined to comment further.

Last year's horse festival cut short.

Sources in the area reported hearing gunshots near the local jail, but they said no one appeared to have been injured.

A year ago, Tibetan nomads ransacked a local police station in Lithang after a dispute over the results in a major annual horse race.

The Lithang Horse Race Festival, which drew tens of thousands of spectators, was cut short because of clashes over who won third place. Four men were beaten by police, according to witnesses, when they tried to complain about cronyism. They refused to seek medical attention and instead commandeered a stage at the festival that was to have been used for a cultural performance.

The festival is a major event in the region and has drawn up to 50,000 participants and spectators from all over China in previous years.

At 4,000 meters above sea level, Lithang is one of the highest human settlements on Earth. It is home to the 16th-century Lithang Monastery, now rebuilt after being bombed in the 1950s.

Original reporting by Lobsang Choepel for RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Benpa Topgyal. Service director: Jigme Ngapo. Written for the Web by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news and information in nine East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media. The purpose of RFA is to provide a forum for a variety of opinions and voices from within these Asian countries. Our Web site adds a global dimension to this objective. RFA is funded by an annual grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors. To add your name to our mailing list, send an e-mail to Join.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sex-abuse case dropped because of delays in search for interpreter

Source: CNN.

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (AP) -- Charges against a man accused of raping and repeatedly molesting a 7-year-old girl have been dropped because the court took too long to find an interpreter fluent in his native West African language.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Katherine D. Savage dismissed the nearly three-year-old case against Mahamu Kanneh last week, saying the delays had violated the Liberian immigrant's right to a speedy trial.

"This is one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in a long time," Savage said from the bench Tuesday. She said she was mindful of "the gravity of this case and the community's concern about offenses of this type."

Prosecutors are considering whether to appeal the dismissal. They cannot refile the charges.

Police arrested Kanneh, of Gaithersburg, in August 2004 after witnesses told police he assaulted the girl multiple times. He spent one night in jail and was released on a $10,000 bond with the restriction that he have no contact with minors.

Prosecutors at first maintained Kanneh could understand the proceedings without translation into his native Vai, a tribal language that linguists estimate is spoken by about 100,000 people mostly in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Prosecutors pointed out that Kanneh attended high school and community college in Montgomery and spoke to detectives in English.

A court-appointed psychiatrist recommended that an interpreter be appointed and judges who handled subsequent hearings heeded that advice. But officials could not find a competent interpreter of Vai who would stay.

The first interpreter stormed out of the courtroom in tears because she found the facts of the case disturbing. A second interpreter was rejected for faulty work. A third Vai interpreter was located, but at the last minute, that person had to tend to a family emergency.

In recent weeks court officials had found a suitable interpreter, but Savage ruled that too much time had already passed.

Prosecutor Maura Lynch had argued that dismissing the indictment "after all the efforts the state has made to accommodate the defendant would be fundamentally unfair."

Kanneh's attorney, Theresa Chernosky, declined to comment.

Loretta E. Knight, the court clerk responsible for finding interpreters, said her office searched exhaustively for a speaker of Vai. She said court officials contacted the Liberian Embassy and courts in all but three states.

The Washington Post reported that it identified three Vai interpreters Thursday with help from the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters, including one in Gaithersburg.

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U.S. to build missile shield in Poland

Source: CNN.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A U.S. missile-defense system will be built in Poland despite Russia's anger over the plans, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said on Monday after a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Kaczynski expressed confidence over the proposed system, although Poland has held off a formal agreement to host it and pressed for concessions on issues including related military contracts.

"The matter of the shield is largely a foregone conclusion," Kaczynski said at a news conference following the meeting.

"The shield will exist because for Poland this will be a very good thing," he said.
Washington wants to place up to 10 ground-based interceptor missiles in northern Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic to protect against attacks from what it calls "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

Kaczynski said several issues still have to be ironed out, including the size of the base and the number of U.S. soldiers to be stationed there.

"The location on the technical level is already decided, but we will soon announce where," Kaczynski said.

The Czech Republic has already agreed to the radar site.

Russian President Vladimir Putin late last week suspended Moscow's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe, or CFE, treaty from mid-December, in a move widely seen as an effort to raise pressure over the U.S. plans.

Bush and Kaczynski insisted the system was not aimed at Russia.

Rather, it would provide security for Europe from countries where "leaders don't particularly care for our way of life and, or, are in the process of trying to develop serious weapons of mass destruction," Bush said with Kaczynski at his side in the Oval Office.

Kaczynski is one of Moscow's most outspoken critics and a key U.S. ally in Europe. He said he wanted to emphasize the "defensive" nature of the proposed missile shield.

NATO expressed concern on Monday at Russia's decision to suspend participation in the CFE treaty, which covers the deployment of armed forces in post-Cold War Europe.

The White House said it would keep working with Russia on missile defense.
Bush and Putin met earlier this month at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, in an attempt to improve ties that have become frayed partly over the missile shield.

Putin made a new counter-proposal that expanded on his previous offer to use a radar system in Azerbaijan as an alternative to the U.S. plan.

He suggested incorporating a radar system in southern Russia and bringing more European countries into the decision-making through the Russia-NATO Council.

"The comments that the Russian president made up in Kennebunkport offered a certain amount of promise for moving forward. We continue to have discussions with them on it," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

Polish and U.S. negotiators held talks on the shield in late June in Washington and will resume them later this summer.

Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, who represents Poland in the talks, has said he expects a deal in September or October.

On Tuesday, Kaczynski will visit Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where the United States has been testing missile-defense technology and plans to place four interceptors by 2011.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Girls, Women forced into labor camps; Uyghur, Asia

Uyghur Girls, Young Women Forced Into Labor Far From Home.

WASHINGTON—Several girls and young women belonging to the Muslim Uyghur minority in northwest China are stranded in a coastal Chinese province after “training” programs offered by local officials became effective slave labor, parents and officials have told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

“Two officials from the village came and told us that they would be responsible. They told us that they made a deal with a factory there to train our daughters for one year. They also told us that they would get paid,” Uyghur farmer Tohti, a resident of No. 8 hamlet near Kachung village said.

“But after they took them there, they didn’t pay. Now, the girls are calling, asking their parents to bring them back home. They cannot come back on their own, so they have been calling their parents. The parents are sending what they have to their children, so they can pay for their travel expenses. Many parents are facing huge difficulties and suffering a lot,” Tohti told RFA's Uyghur service.

Reports published on Web sites in the Uyghur region said 213 girls had been co-opted into a work training program by Chinese officials in Yarkand county, near Kashgar, in March.

While their parents—many of whom live in extreme poverty—were reluctant to send them, officials said they would take responsibility for their daughters’ progress. The location of the factory in which the girls were to work wasn’t made clear.

The girls were promised 500 yuan a month at the beginning and during training, the reports said. In later stages, they were promised between 900 and 1,100 yuan monthly, and they were told they would be paid on time.

But the girls went unpaid until June 28, when at least two of them fled into hiding in Urumqi , capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Girls unpaid.

Patigul Yunus, one of the girls from No. 8 hamlet who escaped, was quoted as saying: “When we asked them about our salary, they told us: ‘We have already given it to the man who handed you to us. You will not get paid.’”

The girls’ parents were told that their daughters—who included junior high-school student Kurbanisa Nurmemet and 15-year-old Risalet Turdimemet—would be taken to the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang . Instead, the girls ended up in northern Shandong , a local village official said.

The head of No. 8 hamlet, Tursun Barat, said the parents of the girls, some of whom were as young as 15, opposed the plan.

“I took the farmers to the village—to the village chief. I told him that their parents don’t want them to go. We should not force them,” he said.

“The chief didn’t listen. Instead, he tried to convince them and screamed at me: ‘Why did you bring the farmers? Why didn’t you bring the girls themselves?’ And he also dismissed the chief of the second division from his post because he didn’t bring people,” he said, adding that the girls themselves were actually willing to go.

“Don’t believe what the girls say,” he said. “You must also listen to what we say.”

Tursun Barat said he tried and failed during a visit to Urumqi to meet with Patigul Yunus, who had escaped. He later spoke with the county chief instead.

“The [county] chief said that it was a mistake and to correct the mistake...He said, ‘The government did not force the people, and it has stressed that it was voluntary, but you made a mistake in Kachung. From now on you have to be careful.’”

Asked about reports that some of the girls had been raped, Tursun Barat said: “The government has forced them to go, so the government should respond to this. We have told the chief of the village.”

“It’s true that, at the beginning, we forced them. We borrowed 5,000 yuan for travel expenses for nine girls [from this village], and the girls were supposed to pay that money back. But we don’t know what kind of work they did there.”

“We wanted to give them money if they didn’t have money and bring them back,” he said of his trip to Urumqi .

Parents could be punished.

He denied reports that the girls would be punished if they returned home. But he also revealed that the Kachung authorities were already retaliating against the families of the escaped girls.

“I haven’t heard that if they come here, they will be punished,” he said. “But I have heard that the parents of the girls who came back here have been subjected to forced labor [in Uyghur, hasha].”

The leader of hamlet No. 8 said in an interview that this information had originated with government irrigation officials.

Meanwhile, distraught father Tohti called on local officials to bring his daughter home. “The government and party took our daughters, so we are expecting that they will do something to bring them back. The officials who took our children haven’t come back yet either. Two female officials took those girls with them.”

“We are very concerned about our children, because we don’t know where they are. We would like to bring them back. But we are afraid because two girls who have returned have been fined, and the officials are forcing their parents to send them back to the same place. They say that this is a Party order.”

Hasha, or forced, unpaid labor, is still used frequently by Chinese authorities in Yarkand, which with its 29 villages is the largest county in Kashgar. It economy is based on agriculture and horticulture, and it has a population of more than 670,000.

A hasha recruitment drive to expand an almond plantation was reported by RFA’s Uyghur service in March. In a series of interviews with RFA in 2004, Chinese government officials in Xinjiang confirmed that hasha still exists, although the system has long since been eliminated in other parts of China .

Uyghurs, who number more than 16 million, constitute a distinct, Turkic-speaking, Muslim minority in northwestern China and Central Asia . They declared a short-lived East Turkestan Republic in Xinjiang in the late 1930s and 40s but have remained under Beijing 's control since 1949.

Original reporting in Uyghur by Erkin. RFA Uyghur service director: Dolkun Kamberi. Written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie and edited by Sarah Jackson-Han and Enver Kadir.

Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news and information in nine East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media. The purpose of RFA is to provide a forum for a variety of opinions and voices from within these Asian countries. Our Web site adds a global dimension to this objective. RFA is funded by an annual grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Arabs pile into Darfur to take land 'cleansed' by janjaweed

Source: The Independent on Sunday.
By Steve Bloomfield, Africa Correspondent
Published: 14 July 2007
.

Arabs from Chad and Niger are crossing into Darfur in "unprecedented" numbers, prompting claims that the Sudanese government is trying systematically to repopulate the war- ravaged region.

An internal UN report, obtained by The Independent, shows that up to 30,000 Arabs have crossed the border in the past two months. Most arrived with all their belongings and large flocks. They were greeted by Sudanese Arabs who took them to empty villages cleared by government and janjaweed forces.

One UN official said the process "appeared to have been well planned". The official continued: "This movement is very large. We have not seen such numbers come into west Darfur before."

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, sent a team to the border with Chad at the end of May to interview the new arrivals. Fighting in eastern Chad has been steadily increasing and it was thought that many could be refugees. But only a very small number have required support from UNHCR.

"Most have been relocated by Sudanese Arabs to former villages of IDPs (internally displaced people) and more or less invited to stay there," said the UN official.

The arrivals have been issued with official Sudanese identity cards and awarded citizenship, and analysts say that by encouraging Arabs from Chad, Niger and other parts of Sudan to move to Darfur the Sudanese government is making it "virtually impossible" for displaced people to return home.

James Smith, chief executive of the Aegis Trust, said the revelations proved that the Sudanese government was "cynically trying to change the demographics of the whole region", adding: "If the ethnic cleansing has been consolidated because the land has been repopulated it will become irreversible. The peace process will fall to pieces."

Repopulation has also been happening in south Darfur where Arabs from elsewhere in Sudan have been allowed to move into villages that were once home to local tribes. Aid agency workers said the Arabs were presented as "returning IDPs".

Before the conflict started in 2003, Darfur was home to seven million people, mainly from three African tribes, Fur, Marsalit and Zargahwa. Darfur literally translates as "Land of the Fur". But some 2.5 million have now been forced to flee their homes after attacks by Sudanese troops and planes, and Arab militia on horseback known as janjaweed.

Most are now in camps around Darfur's main towns, relying on handouts from international aid agencies. About 250,000 have become refugees in Chad. A further 1.5 million have been affected by the conflict, meaning at least four million people are now reliant on the 80 or so international aid agencies in the region. More than 200,000 people are believed to have been killed so far during the four-and-a-half-year conflict.

And if Khartoum is moving Arabs from abroad to replace them, diplomats fear that Darfur rebels may try to remove them forcibly. "It could be quite explosive," said one western diplomat. "It is a very serious situation."

Nomadic Arab tribes have been crossing the border between Chad and Sudan for centuries, long before lines were drawn on a map. It is normal for tribes to follow the rains from west to east and back again, searching for fertile grazing land for their cattle. Straight lines carve out the northern borders of the five countries which spread across the Sahel, taking no notice of traditional tribal links and nomadic routes.

In Mauritania and Sudan, both countries long ruled by Arabs, black African tribes have suffered most. In Mali, Niger and Chad, the Arab and Tuareg nomads have been suppressed.

Towards the end of last year, Niger announced that it planned forcibly to remove more than 150,000 Arab nomads into Chad. Many of the Arabs, known as Mahamid, moved from Chad in the 1970s after a serious drought. Although the government later rescinded the order, it is thought that many decided to return to Chad voluntarily.

Apart from the 30,000 Arabs from Chad and Niger cited in the UNHCR report there have been consistent rumours that a further 45,000 Arabs from Niger have also crossed over. For most nomads citizenship means very little; the lines that separate the countries of the Sahel have not created a sense of nationality. But for the Khartoum regime it could be pivotal. Elections are to be held in two years, the first since President Omar al-Bashir seized power in a coup in 1989.

Although opinion polling is not very advanced, it is thought that no party is likely to win an overall majority. By providing citizenship for the new arrivals, one Khartoum-based diplomat said, President Bashir could be hoping to bolster his election chances.

For the Arabs who have crossed into Darfur there are both push and pull factors. Drought in parts of northern Africa has forced nomads to look further afield for fertile land. Although the spread of desert is rapidly reducing the amount of land available for farmers and nomads in Darfur, much of the area cleared by the janjaweed and government forces is fertile.

An ethnic cleansing and colonisation strategy that stretches back through history

* EAST TIMOR: The poorest country in Asia, much of East Timor's instability stems from the country's repeated colonisation. Invaded and occupied by Indonesia from 1975 to 1999, hundreds of thousands of Javanese migrants flooded the former Portuguese colony from nearby islands as part of a government-sponsored programme. This led to decades of violent clashes between the indigenous Timorese population, which is 90 per cent Roman Catholic, and the Muslim Javanese migrants. There has been little improvement following the Indonesian withdrawal and East Timor's subsequent independence; in 2006 150,000 East Timor residents were displaced due to conflicts.

* SOVIET UNION: Russia deliberately exported ethnic Russians to restive republics during Soviet times.

Thirty per cent of the population of the Baltic state of Estonia was implanted during the Soviet regime. In 1949, following the annexation of the Baltic states, Stalin, right, deported 42,000 Latvians to Siberia. As a result, the proportion of ethnic Russians there increased from 8.8 per cent in 1935 to 34 per cent by 1989. Stalin's ethnic cleansing - involving 3 million people between 1941 and 1949 - included the deportation of 200,000 Crimean Tatars to central Asia.

* KOSOVO: Currently administered by the UN, this disputed land-locked province in southern Serbia endured conflicts throughout the 1990s, fuelled by ethnic divisions and repression. With Serbian and ethnic Albanian inhabitants vying for supremacy, these struggles came to a head in the mid-1990s, when Serbian forces began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Kosovo's mainly Muslim Albanians. Thousands of people died and hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to neighbouring states. Reconciliation between Kosovo's 1.5 million ethnic Albanians and its 100,000 Serbs remains elusive, pending approval of an internationally backed draft plan for virtual independence.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

U.S. envoy says Sudan bombing civilians in Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan (Reuters) -- The top U.S. envoy for Darfur on Friday accused the Sudanese government of bombing civilian targets in its war-ravaged western region and rebels of cynically obstructing international efforts to end the conflict.

Andrew Natsios told a news conference in Khartoum following a visit to Darfur that both sides were to blame for the conflict that has created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. "After a halt in the bombing between the beginning of February and the end of April in 2007, the Sudanese government has resumed bombing in Darfur," Natsios said. "This should end, and the ceasefire that was agreed to sometime ago should be respected. We urge the Sudanese government to end all bombing in Darfur immediately," he said.

Khartoum signed a ceasefire agreement with the two main rebel groups in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement, in 2004, but violence has continued. A May 2006 Darfur peace deal was signed by only one rebel faction. Since then, rebels have split into a dozen groups. "Some of them are descending into warlordism and criminality and this is not a good trend in Darfur, which is all the more reason why we need to accelerate the political process for a peace agreement," Natsios said.

"Some rebel leaders are cynically obstructing the peace process and the United States government is very disturbed by this. It needs to end now," he continued. Natsios said the bombing by the Sudanese military focused on the Jebel Marra region, a strong-hold of Abdul Wahid Mohammed Nour, leader of a faction of one of the Darfur rebel groups, and other targets in West and North Darfur.

"I think there were four attacks in Jebel Marra Mountains. We are troubled by this, because these have been stable areas before," the U.S. envoy said. "And there had been other bombings I think in West Darfur and North Darfur of civilian targets," he added.

The Sudanese military could not be immediately reached for comment.Natsios also said the United States was disturbed by reports that the Sudanese government was deliberately trying to change Darfur's demography by settling non-Sudanese Arab tribes there.

"It is a very provocative action that concerns us all and will complicate any future political process for reconciliation in Sudan and particularly in Darfur," he said. "Because when a settlement is reached and people go back to their homes and they find out someone is living on their land and farming it, this will simply create a new war."

The U.S. envoy's comments came as Britain, France and Ghana circulated a draft resolution in the U.N. Security Council for a joint African Union-U.N. force for Darfur, which also threatened force against those who attack civilians, relief workers and obstruct peace efforts. The resolution, expected to be adopted this month, allows the U.N. to formally recruit troops for the mission.

Under sustained international pressure, Sudan agreed last month to a combined U.N.-AU peacekeeping force of more than 20,000 troops and police to bolster the cash-strapped AU force of 7,000 already operating in Darfur. The AU troops have failed to stem the violence.

International experts estimate 200,000 [It has been 400,000 for 2 years now!] people have died as a result of ethnic[, religious] and political conflict in Darfur since it flared in 2003 when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms after accusing the central government of neglect. [LIE! It was the Arab janjaweed that was raping, pillaging, murdering, flash burning the land, and committing genocide that started the war.] Washington calls the violence genocide, and blames the government and its allied militia. Khartoum rejects the term and says only 9,000 have died.

Other sources: AlertNet, AlertNet, Reuters, by Simon Apiku, U.S. envoy blasts Sudan for attacks (San Jose Mercury News, written by MOHAMED OSMAN Associated Press Writer), etc. May I also add that they are ALL using the same Reuters article! Will someone please explain to me why everyone goes to journalist school if they are only going to copy/paste? Just asking...

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Friday, July 13, 2007

NK wants direct military talks with U.S.

SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) - North Korea called on Friday for military talks with the United States for peace and security on the peninsula, with Washington saying it can discuss a peace treaty after Pyongyang abandons its nuclear program.

Pyongyang, which often muddies the waters ahead of crucial moves concerning its atomic ambitions, is set to receive a team of U.N. nuclear personnel on Saturday who are to oversee the shutdown of its reactor and source of weapons-grade plutonium.

Six-way talks on ending North Korea's nuclear arms programs are set to resume on Wednesday in Beijing. The North, which has long sought direct talks with the United States, usually holds bilateral meetings with U.S. officials within those discussions.

"The Korean People's Army side proposes having talks between the DPRK and U.S. militaries to be attended by a U.N. representative," the North's military said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The North, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, said the talks would be for "discussing the issues related to ensuring the peace and security on the Korean peninsula".

U.S. officials have said in recent weeks that Washington is ready to discuss normalizing ties and a peace treaty to end the Korean War if the North follows up on its recent progress in disarmament and completely scraps its atomic arms program.

An analyst said this may be a ploy from reclusive North Korea to drive a wedge between the United States and it ally, the South.

"The comments appear to be intended to exclude South Korea and China in any talks for a peace treaty and to include the subject of removing U.S. troops from the South as part of the talks," head of North Korean military research at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, Baek Seung-joo said.

There have been reports in the South Korean media that officials are seeking a four-way dialogue among China, the two Koreas and the United States to examine a peace treaty. The North may have been responding to these reports, Baek said.

The 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a truce. The United States, which led U.N. forces, was a signatory to the armistice as well as North Korea and its ally, China. South Korea did not sign.

The United States stations about 30,000 troops in the South to support the country's some 670,000 strong military against an attack by the North.

The North repeated an often used line that the United States is bringing the peninsula to the brink of nuclear war and called on it to stop joint military drills with the South as well as cut out what it saw as a hostile policy to stifle it.

"It is the undeniable and legitimate right of the DPRK to have in place all the necessary self-defensive means to cope with the threat and blackmail of the U.S. in order to protect its right to existence," the North's statement said.

In a February deal among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, the North agreed to shut down its antiquated reactor in return for 50,000 tonnes of oil aid. E-mail to a friend.

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