Resources updated between Monday, February 03, 2014 and Sunday, February 09, 2014
February 8, 2014
"Thousands of Saudis vented their anger online over a report Thursday that staff at a Riyadh university had barred male paramedics from entering a women's-only campus to assist a student who had suffered a heart attack and later died. The Okaz newspaper said administrators at the King Saud University impeded efforts by the paramedics to save the student's life because of rules banning men from being onsite. According to the paper, the incident took place on Wednesday and the university staff took an hour before allowing the paramedics in...Her death sparked a debate on Twitter by Saudis who created a hashtag to talk about the incident. In the debate, many Saudis said the kingdom's strictly enforced rules governing the segregation of the sexes were to blame for the delay in helping Bawazeer. Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam. Sexes are segregated in schools and almost all Saudi universities. Women also have separate seating areas and often separate entrances in "family" sections of restaurants and cafes where single males are not allowed. The kingdom's top cleric has warned against the mixing of the genders, saying it poses a threat to female chastity and society."
February 7, 2014
On February 6, 2014, Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak inadvertently revealed that some showers in Sochi have "surveillance cameras pointed toward them". The New York Daily News reports that "The blunder happened when Dmitry Kozak was asked about conditions in hotels and the lack of water, the subjects of ongoing media criticism. Kozak suddenly became defensive and blurted: 'We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day'...Russian officials quickly shut down a potential deluge of followup questions on the peeping policy by hurrying Kozak away from the podium. There has been evidence in Sochi of Internet surveillance aimed at news media, but never before of visual surveillance inside hotel rooms."
February 6, 2014
On January 27 and 31, 2014 the UN Human Rights Council reviewed the human rights situation in Afghanistan. The UN review mechanism, called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), is touted as the Council's single most important innovation for protecting human rights. In reality, the UPR has become a place where human rights abusers are applauded and are able to misrepresent themselves successfully on the world stage. See for yourself how the UN's top human rights body dealt with Afghanistan's atrocious human rights record.
Russia is continuing to run circles around the United States at the Security Council, this time over humanitarian aid to Syria. The Obama administration is seeking a Council resolution on feeding the hungry and the Russians say that's "political." A Russian veto threat means they win and US UN Ambassador Samantha Power is sidelined, again.
Report: "Council diplomats said they expect to circulate a draft humanitarian resolution this week, following the failure of peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition to achieve any concrete results, especially on possible humanitarian aid convoys to besieged parts of the city of Homs. "We are against moving to a resolution now in the Security Council." Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told a press briefing that a council resolution would "politicize the problem." "Churkin told reporters at Russia's U.N. Mission. "We believe that it's a wrong move. It's not a good time to have any resolution discussed in the Security Council." Russia and China, which support the Syrian government, have vetoed three previous Western-backed resolutions that would have pressured President Bashar Assad to end the violence."
February 5, 2014
After 3 years of violence, for the first time the UN Secretary-General has reported to the Security Council on the horrendous violations of children's rights in Syria. Covering the period from 1 March 2011 to 15 November 2013, the report provides information on grave violations against children committed by Assad's forces and members of the opposition.
The UN report concludes that "suffering endured by Syrian children is unspeakable." Yet John Kerry and the State Department are spending more time and energy speaking about (and pressuring) democratic Israel than any other nation - as has the UN. What can Syria's children now expect? Another report next year.
Here are just some of the facts:
• "By 2013, landscape of parties in Syria completely changed, w/ increased al-Qaida affiliates."
• "By early October 2013, there were 6.5 million people displaced and in need of assistance inside the Syrian Arab Republic, including approximately 3 million children, and over 2.1 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, including 1.1 million children."
• As of October 2013, "more than 100,000 individuals had been killed, including more than 10,000 children, and many more injured since March 2011.
• There are "patterns of killing and maiming of children and for recurrent attacks against schools..."
• Government forces "were responsible for the arrest, arbitrary detention and torture of children for their perceived or actual association with the opposition, and for using children as human shields."
• Children "as young as 11 years old suffered ill treatment and acts tantamount to torture to extract confessions or humiliate them or to pressure a relative to surrender or confess."
• Government forces committed "grave sexual violence against children."
• "An estimated 2.26 million children in the Syrian Arab Republic were not attending school or were attending irregularly."
• In Homs, "50 per cent of all doctors were believed to have fled. In the Aleppo area, 36 doctors remained practising, compared to 5,000 before the conflict."
• "13 United Nations national staff had been killed, while another 22 remained detained, missing or abducted."
Harris Schoenberg writes this open letter on the terrible situation of his childhood friend Warren Weinstein.
"Only days away from returning home, Warren Weinstein was abducted in August 2011 from his residence in Lahore, Pakistan where he had worked for seven years on a US AID project teaching Pakistanis how to start or improve their businesses. He has been held by al-Qaida for over two years, and his family appears to have given up hope that the Obama Administration is doing anything useful to get him home. The last video of him released in December shows him emaciated and missing a tooth...Warren made no secret of the fact that he is Jewish. Indeed, he had studied as a child at a yeshiva, and his wife taught at a Jewish school. Yet, in the Pakistani English language newspapers that reported on his abduction in August 2011 the Pakistanis he worked with praised him without exception...(When asked) what the Obama Administration is doing for Warren, Warren's older daughter Jennifer responds: 'We're on our own. They're aware of the situation, but we're very much alone.' A State Department spokesperson offers a formulaic answer: We're 'extremely concerned.' We 'work with the Pakistani authorities' and provide 'consular assistance as appropriate.'... 'The family finds itself helpless.'"
February 4, 2014
"Officials in Afghanistan say gunmen have shot dead two aides of Afghan presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah in Herat on the eve of the official election campaign. The spokesman for Mr Abdullah, Sayed Fazel Sangcharaki says armed men killed Dr Ahmad Hamdard who was to lead their election campaign team and another team member. He says the incident at the beginning of the election campaign is a bad sign....Chief Electoral Officer for the Independent Election Commission, Ziaulhaq Amarkhil says the election on April 5 will be a crucial election for the nation. He says there will be a 'huge difference' between the coming vote and the previous two presidential elections, in 2009 and 2004. 'This is the first time from an elected president we are going to go to another elected president,' he said."
"Married Iranian women, even if they hold a valid passport, require their husband's permission to depart the country, regardless of age. For obtaining or renewing a passport, a notarized permit from the spouse is required. Husbands can easily refrain from allowing their wives to obtain or renew their passport...Fatemeh Rahbar, head of the Majles' Women and Family Affairs Committee, also gave her two cents on the matter, saying that the number of women who have misbehaved while traveling outside Iranian borders is too small to restrict every woman's travels: 'Around 76 women who have traveled outside the country have behaved inappropriately, and therefore are forbidden from departure without an eligible male's notarized permission for each individual trip. Passports are equal to international birth certificates and cannot be denied to women, unless there is hard evidence proving a woman's misbehavior outside the country, which we obviously take quite seriously.' Shahla Mirgalou-Bayat, a physician and member of the Majles' Women and Family Affairs Committee, said passing and implementing these regulations are vital to protecting women and ensuring their safety while traveling. In a recent interview, Mirgalou-Bayat said that since men could easily tend to their sexual needs through concubines and women cannot, it is safer for women to travel only if they must, and only if cleared by their male guardian. Mirgalou-Bayat added, 'Women have different desires and needs than men, and implementing further restrictions for women is actually beneficial to women themselves. I approach this fact as a physician, from a physiological standpoint and considering the difference between male and female bodies.'"
"As the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics comes closer, harassment against civil society activists has intensified...
Evgeny Vitishko was arrested today in Tuapse, part of the Sochi area where the Games will take place. He has been reportedly charged with "petty hooliganism", allegedly for swearing previously at a bus stop.
At a court hearing today he was sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention...
Yevgeniy Vitishko and his fellow activists have been actively involved in protests regarding the deforestation and illegal construction and fencing in areas of protected forest around Sochi.
In 2012, he received a suspended sentence in connection with an environmental protest. Last December, a court in Tuapse ruled that he should serve three years in prison for violating a curfew associated with the suspended sentence. His appeal hearing was reportedly scheduled for 22 February 2014, but now all information regarding it has been conspicuously removed from the court's website."
Danske Bank which last week cut off its banking business with Israel's Bank Hapoalim on "legal and ethical grounds", helped finance the North Korean Tanchon company that sold ballistic missiles to Iran. DEBKA file reports that according to a State Department cable of 2009, first revealed by Wikileaks "The missiles the bank financed were sold to Shahid Hernmat Industrial Group, which develops Iran's liquid-fuel ballistic missile program and was designated under UN Security Council Resolution 1737 for an asset freeze. After two State Department reminders, Dankse finally declared in 2010 it had cut off ties with the North Korean company."
On February 2, 2014 Denmark's Danske Bank, the largest Danish bank, blacklisted one of Israel's three biggest banks, Bank Hapoalim, for maintaining branches "across the Green Line." Two other Israeli banks, Leumi and Mizrahi-Tefahot, faced the "demand" to "immediately make public their operations in the West Bank".
Denmark doesn't have an ethical problem with countries that starve and brutalize their entire populations, sponsor terrorism around the world, and publicly commit to genocide. Just with living, breathing Jews tilling the land.
Whistleblower.org reports that State Department officials have long known that the U.N. fails to protect whistleblowers and thereby fails to Congressional statutory funding requirements. But in order to avoid controversy, the State Department has remained silent instead of formally refusing to certify compliance. Under a new law, they no longer have that option.
On January 17, 2014 President Obama signed the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Section 7048. (a) of the Act requires the Secretary of State to certify that each agency at the United Nations which receives U.S. contributions is adhering to "best practices" for the protection of whistleblowers. Agencies that lack such certification would lose 15 percent of their U.S. funding.
The "best practices" include "the protection of whistleblowers from retaliation, including ...
(i) protection against retaliation for internal and lawful public disclosures;
(ii) legal burdens of proof;
(iii) statutes of limitation for reporting retaliation;
(iv) access to independent adjudicative bodies, including external arbitration; and
(v) results that eliminate the effects of proven retaliation."
This condition, however, can be waived on a "case-by-case basis" if the Secretary of State determines it is "important to the national interest of the United States."
"In early March 2013 the Russian government launched an unprecedented, nation wide campaign of inspections of thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to identify advocacy groups the government deems 'foreign agents' and force them to register as such. The list below tracks the legal consequences of the law on dozens of NGOs. Since the beginning of the 'foreign agents' campaign, various prosecutors' offices and the Ministry of Justice filed nine administrative cases against NGOs and an additional five administrative cases against NGO leaders for failure to register under the 'foreign agents' law."
February 3, 2014
Richard Falk is a UN "expert," antisemite, Boston-marathon apologist, and 9/11 conspiracy advocate. Now added to that list, Falk writes of his fond memories of meeting Ayatollah Khomeini, the glorious Islamic revolution, and his own time in Iran. What does Falk remember about Iran? The revolution was a time of "the largest mass display of joy that I have ever witnessed." Mass murderer and genocide advocate Khomeini, has "shining eyes." He was a religious man who would just "resume the religious life" upon his return to Iran from Paris. The place of Jews in Iran? The familiar antisemitic trope: pay to get out. "Minorities felt uncomfortable living in an Islamic theocracy, and if they possessed the resources, mainly emigrated to friendlier national habitats." Falk's offers the ultimate excuse of a bigot to bigotry: it's the victim's fault, in particular, the fault of the United States. "...[I]t seemed rather obvious why the regime resorted to rough justice. Many of those who had shaped the revolutionary process had studied in Europe or America, and were recipients of economic assistance from Western governments and maybe performed political roles." That Richard Falk has been a UN "human rights expert" for six years, is a testament to the sickness of the UN "human rights" system. That he has been the "expert" on Israel, is a testament to the overt antisemitism behind the UN's war on the Jewish state.
"An Austrian woman who was raped in Dubai has been arrested for having extra martial sex and was told by police she could only avoid jail if she married her attacker.
The 29-year-old student from Vienna was facing a jail sentence having been accused of having sex outside of marriage and drinking alcohol, both of which are illegal in the United Arab Emirate capital.
It was only after the Austrian Foreign Ministry intervened, that she was able to leave the country and return home...
She said the attack happened in an underground car park after a Yemeni man in Dubai approached her.
When she reported it to police, she was arrested and told she could only escape being charged if she agreed to marry the man she said had attacked her...
Her case has been compared the eventual pardon of a 24-year-old Norwegian woman who was given a prison sentence of one year and four months by a Dubai court after she reported her own rape last year. Instead of being treated as a victim, she was found guilty of alcohol abuse and extramarital sex."