Children’s Society says coalition’s universal credit, as currently envisaged, seems a step backward
The “no fly” list procedures that are used to prevent individuals who may present a security hazard from flying on commercial aircraft are being revised to make them more transparent and easier to challenge, government attorneys said Friday. They asked a court to suspend a lawsuit disputing the constitutionality of the “no fly” procedures for two months until the revisions are complete.
“The Government… is currently reviewing and revising the administrative redress procedures for denials of boarding,” Justice Department attorneys said in a November 14 memorandum in support of a motion for a stay of proceedings in the lawsuit Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder.
“The Government is revising current redress procedures to increase transparency of the process for certain persons denied boarding on commercial aircraft,” the memorandum said.
A tribute to one of the greatest men that the 20th Century witnessed who died almost a year ago.
For more information on his struggle against Apartheid and his unifying of South Africa visit http://www.nelsonmandela.org/
Mr Singh is expected to write to Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to explain why he will not be attending the summit which will put political pressure on other counties to take a stronger stance against the allegations of war crimes committed in the war the countries national party and the Tamil Tigers during the 25 year conflict.
The absence of the leader of the Commonwealth’s biggest member state may embarrass David Cameron who has defended his attendance in Sri Lanka because it would allow him to personally deliver a a “tough message” about its human rights record.
The Sri Lankan government has conducted a repressive regime that has silenced resistance to the national party but recent reports of deliberate targeting of civilians in the conflict and crimes committed by its armed forces against violent Tamil separatists in the north of the country.
A British parliamentary committee has noted “continuing human rights abuses” in Sri Lanka with the UN also critical over a lack of effort towards over reconciliation between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority.
Officials at the Indian foreign ministry have downplayed the decision to boycott the summit, which was reportedly taken by senior Congress party officials last Friday. They said it was not unusual for a prime minister to be unable to attend the meeting – however it will send a tough message on India’s Foreign policy against it’s neighbouring country.
The military judge who’ll be determining the sentence of Private Bradley Manning on Monday said will determine how long said his acts were “wanton and reckless.” Bradley Manning will be sentenced over what has been called the biggest breach of classified data in the US history on Monday
Judge Colonel Denise Lind last month found Manning, 25, guilty of 20 criminal counts which include include charges of espionage and theft of military property when he handed over 700,000 secret US documents to WikiLeaks. He was caught when he confided to Adrian Lamo a computer hacker whom he’d built a online relationship with about about his activities. He pleaded guilty in February 2013 to 10 of the 22 charges, and the trial on the remaining charges began on 3 June 2013.
Manning is expected to face up to 90 years in prison for his role in a case that put the whistle-blowing and anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and in particular its founder, Julian Assange, into the world spotlight.
“Manning’s conduct was of a heedless nature that made it actually and imminently dangerous to others. His conduct was both wanton and reckless,” Lind said in a series of written findings issued after prosecutors finished their sentencing arguments yesterday.
Civil Right’s groups in the US and worldwide will watch with great interest the sentencing of Bradley Manning with many groups actually having called for him to be merited for his work in exposing US Government secrecy.
Manning was working as a low-level intelligence analyst at a military base in Baghdad in 2010 when he handed diplomatic cables and other documents to WikiLeaks. At the time he’d only hoped his actions would create broad debate about US foreign activity.
Military prosecutors have argued that his actions have aided al-Qaida and harmed the United States, though proof of this would be hard to get as this would inevitably be classified information.
Manning’s lawyers this week presented their case for giving the defendant a mild sentence. Witnesses including military mental health specialists and members of Manning’s family testified that the soldier, who is gay, showed signs that he was unsuitable for overseas deployment, including violent outbursts.
Manning, slightly built and dressed in his uniform and glasses, his hair cropped close, on Wednesday addressed the court for the first time since February, saying that he was “sorry” and understood that he “must pay a price” for his actions.
Before the prosecutors rested their case Friday, they presented a written statement from army criminal investigation command special agent David Shaver, who said chat logs and e-mail he found on Manning’s computer in Iraq indicated he was responsible for leaking the classified documents.
There is a website that has been set up to support Bradley Manning it’s website address http://www.bradleymanning.org/
Last night was a dark moment for British justice as odious Government plans for Secret Courts moved to the brink of becoming law. The House of Lords voted against introducing safeguards to the Justice and Security Bill ensuring that so-called Closed Material Procedures (CMPs) were used only as a last resort. The margin was tight, but the legislation was passed in its entirety and now heads for Royal Assent and the statute book in all of its foul, shadowy glory. Not only are Secret Courts infesting our civil law system – minor restrictions making them slightly less deplorable have also been dismissed.
Peers voted by 174 to 158 against a Labour amendment which would allow CMPs only where a judge decided a fair verdict was impossible by other means. The proposed safeguard won cross-party support, with 26 Liberal Democrats rebelling alongside 16 crossbenchers, six non-affiliated peers, one Conservative and 109 Labour counterparts to back the amendment. Regrettably it wasn’t to be, and we now move towards a world where Ministers will be able to rely upon secret evidence – never disclosed to the claimant, let alone public or press – during cosy private chats with judges behind closed doors.
And yet the principled opposition to Secret Courts was clear throughout the Upper House. Labour opposition spokesperson for justice Lord Beecham, moving the amendment, urged peers to help “minimise the damage threatened to the most valued elements of our jurisprudence and judicial system”.
Liberal Democrat peer and former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald of River Glaven QC observed: “Nothing would be more corrosive of justice and public confidence in justice than the routine intrusion into our system of closed procedures, of secret courts, of excluded defendants, of confidential meetings between government lawyers and the judge.”
“I have never been convinced of the Government’s position that expelling one party to the proceedings and running the risk of evidence not being challenged is better justice than excluding some evidence, not a party, from the hearing,” said Conservative peer Baroness Berridge, a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. “It is better for the Government, but not for justice.”
And former Attorney-General and Labour peer Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws QC told the House of Lords: “Openness will sometimes be more important for the health of the nation because of the poison that is released by secrecy.”
“This legislation involves so radical a departure from the cardinal principle of open justice in civil proceedings, so sensitive an aspect of the court’s processes, that everything that can possibly help minimise the number of occasions when the power is used should be recognised and should appear in the legislation itself,” added non-affiliated peer and former Justice of the Supreme Court Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood.
We also mustn’t forget the mountain of outside opposition which the Government ignored in forcing the Bill through. Lawyers, the international community, the Scottish Government and much of the national press rejected the legislation, along with politicians of all political stripes and hordes of Liberal Democrat supporters. Liberty members also fought the proposals determinedly and we salute their dedicated campaigning.
That the Government failed to make the case for Secret Courts is beyond debate. There wasn’t a shred of evidence suggesting they were necessary; not a single previous case where the existing system for handling sensitive material had fallen short. Clearly the argument was won, but not quite the politics. Needless to say we’ll continue working hard on this – starting as soon as the Bill is rolled out.
Source – Liberty
Amnesty International UK will host a free screening of the acclaimed documentary about the notorious case of the “Angola 3” on Tuesday 10 July.
The 2010 film – In the Land of the Free, with narration by Samuel L Jackson – tells the story of how three men – Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King – were placed in solitary confinement at Louisiana State Penitentiary (known as Angola prison) in the USA in 1972.
Wallace and Woodfox – who were convicted of the murder of prison guard Brent Miller, a crime they have vigorously denied – have now spent the last 40 years in solitary. King, who was convicted of a different crime, spent 29 years in solitary confinement at Angola until his release in 2001. He will appear on a panel with the film’s director to discuss the case after the film screening.
Amnesty is currently calling on the Louisiana authorities to remove Wallace and Woodfox from solitary confinement, and is challenging the authorities’ contention that the pair remain a threat to prison employees and others (see http://amn.st/MQcp2U). Meanwhile, Woodfox’s lawyers are pursuing a claim of racial discrimination in jury selection at his 1998 retrial. This could see his conviction overturned (for the third time) and lead to his release.
ORG’s April and May Global Monthly Security Briefings covered the current status of the al-Qaeda movement, and a loosely related development, the growth of the radical Boko Haram Islamist group in northern Nigeria. Since those briefings, there have been further developments. One issue of current concern relates to recent events in the West African state of Mali. Paul Rogers discusses the current security situation in Mali its context and assesses the implications of a possible foreign military intervention.
Source : Oxford Research Group
It has grown to an international movement – and it all started with putting a pen to paper to help another human being gain their human rights (as provided in Universal Declaration of Human Rights created after the World War II).
On a personal note – I learned to letter write a lot by this organization and have been privileged to write to many people to call for the release or fair trial of other people and urge any person to enjoy the wonderful experience of also having the opportunity to do so by joining their local group.
Manchester, where I’m currently living meets every second Wednesday of the month at Cross Street Unitarian Church.
As Rt. Hon Jack Straw MP, says in this documentary – “If people do nothing, nothing will happen!”
Below is it’s history. Go to Amnesty
Courtesy: BBC Four/Amnesty International/AP/ITV
Assange, the bombastic founder of Wikileaks, fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Tuesday. He had been under house arrest in England while awaiting the outcome of an appeal of his extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors wish to question Assange.
Assange had appealed his extradition to the European Court of Justice after losing on appeal in the Supreme Court of England, but the European Court had not yet decided whether to take up the appeal. Assange is supposed to be extradited to Stockholm by June 28.
Swedish prosecutors wish to interview Assange about two cases of alleged rape and sexual molestation, in which Assange allegedly refused to wear a condom as requested by his partners, and hid the fact until they were done with intercourse. Assange has claimed he is innocent of all charges, and that the case is nothing but a smear campaign orchestrated by the Pentagon. Assange has also complained of Sweden’s tough anti-rape laws, calling the Scandinavian country the “Saudi Arabia of feminism.”
In the past few days the Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers, along with two mobile health units and six doctors, have treated dozens of people in the Syrian town of Houla, where more than 100 people were killed last week.
As well as food parcels, they have distributed hygiene kits, kitchen sets and blankets to families who have fled their homes due to the ongoing fighting.
British aid worker Khalil Dale, who was kidnapped in Pakistan in January of this year has been found dead, the Foreign Office have confirmed.
Responding to his murder Red Cross have described the health programme workers killing as “barbaric”.
It is understood the militants holding him had asked for a ransom which could not be paid. The Foreign Secretary has described his murder as “senseless and cruel”.
Mr Dale worked for the ICRC and the British Red Cross for many years, carrying out assignments in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He had been abducted by unidentified armed men while on his way home from work in Quetta. It is now feared that most international aid agencies will move further foreign staff out of Quetta as they will now be concerned for their staff’s safety.
The ICRC commenting on the aid worker’s work that he was “a trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member who significantly contributed to the humanitarian cause.”
Children’s Society says coalition’s universal credit, as currently envisaged, seems a step backward
In a report entitled Fair and Square, the charity says the proposed universal credit system, which comes into force in October 2013, will stop paying for certain benefits if a household earns more than £7,500.
At present the welfare system compensates poor families with cash from the tax credit system.
The result is that 120,000 poorer families are likely lose free school meals, worth £367 a year, unless they dropped their earnings below the threshold of £7,500. This would mean parents having to cut the numbers of hours worked or take a pay cut to keep their benefits.
Source: The Guardian
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking in Geneva said that presently this is a critical point for Syria, and the world is watching with skepticism due to previous promises being broken by the government of Syria. He has said that Syria’s words on a ceasefire should be will be matched by their deeds, but that UN military action to get Syria would not be an option. Obviously Syria’s adherence to the ceasefire is therefore voluntary.
Many including the Arab-envoy Kofi Annan are concerned that Syria may not comply with all the points in the peace plan set down by the UN. Under these terms the six- point peace plan agreed to by Syria, all violence and fighting was to stop on today.
Mr Ban Ki-Moon said today: “Joint special envoy Kofi Annan and I and many world leaders have made it quite clear that any militarization or any military operation is not an option. It will only complicate and worsen the situation and thus arming opposition forces is not desirable.”
Today’s ceasefire followed Kofi Annan receiving a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria informing him of the Syrian Governments decision “to cease all military fighting throughout Syrian territory as of 6 a.m. Damascus time 12 April” but it also said it wanted to keep the right to respond to any attacks carried out by terrorist groups or civilians against “government forces or public and private property.”
The House of Deputies approved the law in a close 58-56 vote, seven years after it was first proposed. The Senate passed the law in November. Some passages remain to be finalized in a commission of senators and House lawmakers.
President Sebastian Pinera had urged lawmakers to accelerate approval of the law after 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio died March 27. Zamudio’s death came more than three weeks after he was attacked, and his case set off a national debate about hate crimes in Chile.
Source : Huffington Post
The current news from the BBC Internet News service concerning Syria
A BBC correspondent there describes almost constant blasts, in the fiercest attack in the 11-month uprising.
Fantastic News! Jabbar Savalan the young activist from from Azerbaijan has been released and recieved a pardon for his detention. today. He is now at home with his family. This is fantastic news however, 16 prisoners of conscience remain in jail in Azerbaijan.
He originally was detainedby Azerbaijan authorities after he’d posted messages against the government rule in the country on Facebook he was charged with ‘drug offences’ and detained on 4 May 2011 for two and a half years in prison. Amnesty International considered Jabbar a prisoner of conscience and many activisits worldwide have been campaigning for his release. A call for his immediate release and the right of freedom of expression to be upheld in the country.
Initially on the 4th February 2011 Jabbar had posted calls for protests against the government. The next evening he was arrested on his way home from a meeting of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party.
Project MKUltra was one of many experiments that the american secret service (CIA) and Department of Defence carried out between the 1950s and 1970s and was eventually declassified and exposed to the world by the Church Commission in 1975
Film’s such as “Jacob’s Ladder” starring Tim Robbins probably did a lot to bring the subject of the secret experiments that ‘volunteers’ from within US academic campuses and US defence staff – however many of the subjects had no idea as to the fact they being administered with hallucinogenic drugs and amphetamines in these experiments and some of these drugs such as BZ or 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate whose compound is shown here:
Is probably one of the most hallucinogenic and probably one of the most potent drugs ever produced.
There are some people who have the misguided impression that the internet is not regulated, want it either not regulated or self-regulated – actually it is and by many agencies.
So who are the agencies well there are the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) in the US that provides digital forensics; international agencies like CEOP monitoring the safety of children, in Britain Scotland Yard has the Serious Organised Crime Agency computer department also Metropolitan Police Service – Specialist Crime Department , the Police Central e-crime unit within the Metropolitan Police, other well-known involve International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA) a international business organisation and Interpol as the international Policing organisation itself. The Government has also announced as of 2013 that it is to set up CERT-UK which will be part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2011. The Agency will monitor security and this new UK unit is currently part of CESG
Those that think it safe to search into a search engine hopefully realise that Google has stored every single search since it started – it says to improve its engine, but it stores the particular search IP tracing route, and search engines are obligated to provide any activity that a federal government and police organisations across the world require of them. Newsgroups are monitored which led very only onto to every US and now worldwide universities flagging known ‘.alt’ newsgroups that carried discussion or video and imagery that is suspicious. Those using anonymizing software or privately browsing are also not above the law as every agency has the power to trace those users and even file sharing and torrent searching is of course monitored by clients and law enforcement.
Viral services and viral videos are monitored of course – one famous example was of animal abuse, where users of YouTube who found a video of a dog being thrown off a bridge immediately reported the abuse within the video to YouTube who then not only removed the video but sent information to police authorities in Lithuania who used image recognition and enhancement software to not only trace the bridges location and through local investigation of residents were able to track the two individuals – both the person recording the footage and the animal abuser – no viral of this actual video is now to be found but a viral of their apology to angry people outside the court before their subsequent sentencing is in existence.
Famously the technology of organization is the UK such as M.I.5 and CESG (part of GCHQ) monitors every text, internet activity and telephone with special tracking software and utilizing the enhanced tracking and keyword software from companies such as NARUS or sound analyzer in milliseconds and plans to record a database have also been discussed. More recently the finding and subsequent sending of a specialist SEAL unit flown into Pakistan by new specialist stealth helicopter would never have occurred unless the CIA had been able to monitor through a database of thousands of Islamic extremist with al-Qaeda connections one telephone call out of millions its computers were tracking and observing that led to a particular runner of al-Qaeda into Pakistan leading then to spy plane and satellite activity in tracking down the of the Abbottabad compound in Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of people around the world are participating in Amnesty’s annual Global Write-a-thon, joining together to write letters that can save lives.
Now’s the time to finally put pen to paper.
Don’t forget to shine a light, literally — download our powerful paper lanterns to help illuminate your letter-writing event.
And you can watch videos about all the cases at your event — check out our Write for Rights video playlist on YouTube.
Even if you’re writing as an individual, you won’t be alone. Join the conversation with your fellow writers — live! We’ve set up a live blog on our Write for Rights homepage. Send in comments and pictures with your writing experiences — and you can even upload video messages straight from your webcam!
It all starts tomorrow. Write letters to amplify the voices governments are attempting to silence. Write letters demanding freedom. Write letters of solidarity.
Above is the amazing Amnesty International “Ink” animation – which carries the important message of just how powerful a person’s signature can be!