Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Control Iran Petrol

Entitled "Hands Off Iran"

Source: http://www.aref-adib.com/

The Art of Flight - Documentary on Sudan & Darfur Refugees

This guerrilla documentary was shot illegally in Egypt, and the filmmaker was nearly arrested three times during the course of shooting. The film traces the personal tales of refugees fleeing Sudan’s civil war for Egypt. It tells the story of three people – a refugee from southern Sudan, a human rights activist from northern Sudan and an American journalist in self-imposed exile – all living in Cairo. The film delves deep into questions about the nature of charity, the consequences of American empire and the price of transience.

Length: 1:09

Watch Video Here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6467988025807238754&q=Nomads+Land+Films+-+The+Art+of+flight

Sex Traffickers Target Women in War-Torn Iraq

This news from IRIN. IRIN is part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, but its news service is editorially independent. It is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mariam, 16, relives the day her father in Baghdad sold her off as a domestic worker in one of the prosperous Gulf nations. Instead, she was forced into the sex trade.

“I was a virgin and didn’t understand what sex was. I was told that they [the traffickers] were going to get good money for my first night with an old local man who paid for my virginity. He was aggressive and hit me all the time,” Mariam, who refused to reveal her real name, told IRIN.

Thousands of Iraqi women are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous sex worker traffickers seeking to exploit young girls’ desperate socio-economic situation for profit, United Nations agencies have reported.

In Mariam’s case, she was taken to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and kept in a house with 20 young girls, all of them sex workers, she said.

Before she left Iraq, she and her three sisters were being cared for by her father. Their mother was killed during the US-led invasion of the country in 2003. Mariam said her father couldn’t cope with looking after the children on his own and wanted her to go abroad, particularly given the increasing insecurity and daily violence in Iraq.

In November 2005, a member of a trafficking ring offered Mariam’s father an advance payment of US $6,000 for her, saying she would work for a family in Dubai. He was promised that his daughter would be returned to Iraq after finishing a one-year contract.

Mariam said she faced daily threats in Dubai from the traffickers, warning her not to try to leave. However, she managed to escape and is now back in Baghdad being looked after by a local NGO, the Organisation for Women's Freedom.

More on the story from the source: http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=56065&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ-SYRIA-UNITED_ARAB_EMIRATES

Monday, October 30, 2006

U.S. Army Monitors Soldiers' Blogs

AP News - A Virginia-based operation, the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell, monitors official and unofficial blogs and other Web sites for anything that may compromise security. The team scans for official documents, personal contact information and pictures of weapons or entrances to camps.

In one incident, a blogger was describing his duties as a guard, providing pictures of his post and discussing how to exploit its vulnerabilities. Other Soldiers posted photos of an Army weapons system that was damaged by enemy attack, and another showed personal information that could have endangered his family.

The oversight mission, made up of active-duty Soldiers and contractors, as well as Guard and Reserve members from Maryland, Texas and Washington state, began in 2002 and was expanded in August 2005 to include sites in the public domain, including blogs.

Warnock said the Web risk assessment team has reviewed hundreds of thousands of sites every month, sometimes e-mailing or calling Soldiers asking them to take material down. If the blogger doesn't comply with the request, the team can work with the Soldier's commanders to fix the problem - that is, if the blogger doesn't post anonymously.

According to Hartley, the Army had forced him to stop the blog even before the oversight operation existed, citing pictures he had posted of Iraqi detainees and discussions of how he loaded a weapon and the route his unit took to get to Iraq.

Source: http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,117978,00.html?wh=wh

Blogs and websites maintained by U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan can give you a raw and unfilltered look at un-edited pictures from the front. You can also be a voyeur in the world of discussion forums (link) where personnel divulge about the latest headlines or happenings.

Largest Index of Military Blogs

Veiled Iranian Female Karate Team to Boycott Doha Games

This news is out of a Tehran based news company (ie: regime-friendly). I only have one comment, and that is . . . . . . LOL!!!!!!!!!! Don't worry, they can still play taekwondo.

Iran's female karate team are to boycott the Asian Gamses in Doha (Dec. 1, 2006) after the Asian Karate Federation refused to approve the wearing of Islamic head scarves during bouts.

"The ban on headscarves for the karate team had been imposed due to a technical matter related to what to do if the garment slips during a bout." Iranian Karate Federation.

Iranian female athletes in taekwondo, another martial art in which Iran traditionally excels, will not be affected as in that sport fighters wear head guards that fully secure the headscarf in a fight.

Source: http://www.mehrnews.com/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=399363

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Health Care Reformers

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking
and inhumane." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Did you know there actually exists groups of doctors and laymen who are highly organized in their goal to reform the health care delivery system of both the U.S. and WA State (where I currently reside).

1) Physicians for a National Health Program
"Health Care is a Human Right" - A single issue organization since 1987 advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 14,000 members across the U.S. NOTE: Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Their website has a great FAQ section, ie: Is national health insurance “socialized medicine”? Won’t this raise my taxes? Won’t this result in rationing like in Canada?

2) Health Care for All - Washington
Advocate for secure, affordable, and comprehensive health care coverage for all WA residents implemented through a unified financing system. They meet regularly and you can download their presentations online. Start a chapter in your county!

3) Washington Fair Share Health Care Coalition
A group of labor, business, religious and health provider interests, working together to expand access to health care coverage in Washington state. They have some really heavy hitters on their Endoresee List.

(Gov. Gregoire at SeaMar Clinic in Seattle)

4) WA State Governor's Office - Blue Ribbon Commissionon on Health Care Costs and Access
One page summary of: The Problem and the Goals (PDF)

Governor's Priorities: Health Care


Extra thumbs up to WA State's program (Basic Health) for low-income families, mothers of young children, and individuals. Most states do NOT even have such a program. Don't believe me, do a search for your state. It is also very very affordable, as little as $17/month for a single person with a part time minimum wage job.

"Basic Health contracts with health plans all over Washington State to provide reduced-cost health care coverage to qualified Washington State residents."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Problem with Big Media (& Listing of NW Community Radio Stations)

In 2003, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) attempted to loosen media ownership rules that would have unleashed a massive wave of corporate consolidation of radio, television and newspapers entities across the country. The courts sent these rules back to the FCC for a rewrite. Now, the FCC embarks upon writing new rules.

Source: http://www.stopbigmedia.com/=learn#

COA News (compiles independent news stories and presents them daily): http://www.coanews.org/

Chart that maps out the 8 most concentrated companies & their control over all forms of news, entertainment and information: http://www.stopbigmedia.com/chart.php


(Click Left Picture) Website listing of all independent community based radio stations in WA, OR, AK, ID, BC, and HI w/ a direct link to their website & live audio stream.

Documentary about the Palestinian-Arab Conflict & the Media

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in the U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and the need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

Length - 1:19

Watch Now - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7828123714384920696

Spy on Thy Neighbor, Demands NY Transit

A group of artists have used their skills to subvert the MTA (New York’s public transportation system) by poking fun at its acquiescence in the Patriot-era spy society. Apparently, the poster instigated a confrontation at the NY Public Library.

Mickey Z. (author of "50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know") has written a hilarious article on spotting the MTA posters in the NY subway:
"IF I see suspicious activity on the platform or train? What do they mean “if”? This is the goddamned New York City subway: The subterranean tunnels of transportation voted most likely to host a felony. As Lou Reed droned, “You got a black .38 and a gravity knife; you still have to ride the train.”

However, being that the world has changed forever after 9/11, I knew I had to change my attitude, buckle down, and do my part. After all, if I saw something without saying something, the terrorists would win, wouldn’t they?

Eyes darting around like a seasoned securer of the homeland, I settled upon my first “something”: a run-of-the-mill straphanger “looking” for the train. This is chronic suspicious activity. Time and time again, commuters lean way over to see if the train is coming. What purpose could this possibly serve? Whether one looks or not, the train will arrive when it arrives. Leaning over to watch does nothing at all except increase the risk that some frustrated individual will choose you to blame for their plight and unceremoniously shove you onto the tracks, earning you the dubious honor of appearing on the front page of tomorrow’s New York Post.

One minute, you’re a sweaty commuter looking for a train, the next you’re: BLOOD ON THE TRACKS.

I decided not to “say something.” With terror lurking behind every subway column, the authorities shouldn’t be bothered with such foolishness.

Thump...thump...thump. The ominous sound caused my heart to leap and my mind to race: What devious act of evil was afoot and how could I be of service? What would Ashcroft do?
The source of the thumping was two black girls, maybe 13 years old, bouncing a basketball off the subway wall.

Thankfully, a strapping white cop came along and admonished them to stop throwing the ball around. The girls frowned and watched him walk away.
One of the girls took the ball and gave it one more toss against the wall...her intransigence undoubtedly inspiring evildoers everywhere.

Channeling Jagger, “when the train came in the station,” I most certainly “looked her in the eye.” I needed to make sure she knew she was being watched as I whispered to myself: 1-888-NYC-Safe...1-888-NYC-Safe...1-888-NYC-Safe.

"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.” -"The Sound of Silence,” Paul Simon Huddled in a corner seat was a woman of at least 60. She was filthy, wearing tattered clothes, and emaciated. In her hand was a coffee cup...adorned with images of ancient Greek architecture. The woman shook the cup so the few coins inside might rattle a bit. In a tiny voice, she asked: “Spare a quarter?”

No one seemed to notice this woman. Hundreds of fellow humans were looking past her as if she did not exist. Surely this qualified as “suspicious activity.” I was seconds away from alerting a Transit cop when I heard a drone-like female voice booming over the subway loudspeaker: “Ladies and Gentlemen, pan-handling is against the law. Please do not give to law-breakers. Please give instead to charities that support those in need. Thank you.”

That’s when I understood that the only thing suspicious about this activity was the frail woman’s brazen illegality. Doesn’t she know we’re at war?"

Friday, October 20, 2006

Man Not Allowed on Plane Unless A Translator Could Come Read the Arabic on his T-Shirt

Synopsis: Mr. Jarrar is a resident of California and of Iraqi ethnicity. He is a peace activist. He explains his dramatic and illegal ordeal when taking a domestic flight from JFK, in which he was told by airport security and JetBlue that he was not permitted to get on the plane unless he removed his t-shirt with Arabic script. One week later, in an experimental protest, four anglo-women wore the same shirts en masse and had no trouble at all.

Source (where you can purchase above depicted T-Shirts as well): http://www.thecriticalvoice.org

"I went to JFK in the morning to catch my Jet Blue plane to California. I reached Terminal 6 at around 7:15 am, issued a boarding pass, and checked all my bags in, and then walked to the security checkpoint. For the first time in my life, I was taken to a secondary search . My shoes were searched, and I was asked for my boarding pass and ID. After passing the security, I walked to check where gate 16 was, then I went to get something to eat. I got some cheese and grapes with some orange juice and I went back to Gate 16 and sat down in the boarding area enjoying my breakfast and some sunshine.

At around 8:30, two men approached me while I was checking my phone. One of them asked me if I had a minute and he showed me his badge, I said: "sure". We walked some few steps and stood in front of the boarding counter where I found out that they were accompanied by another person, a woman from Jet Blue.

One of the two men who approached me first, Inspector Harris, asked for my id card and boarding pass. I gave him my boarding pass and driver's license. He said "people are feeling offended because of your t-shirt". I looked at my t-shirt: I was wearing my shirt which states in both Arabic and English "we will not be silent". You can take a look at it in this picture taken during our Jordan meetings with Iraqi MPs. I said "I am very sorry if I offended anyone, I didnt know that this t-shirt will be offensive". He asked me if I had any other T-shirts to put on, and I told him that I had checked in all of my bags and I asked him "why do you want me to take off my t-shirt? Isn't it my constitutional right to express myself in this way?" The second man in a greenish suit interfered and said "people here in the US don't understand these things about constitutional rights". So I answered him "I live in the US, and I understand it is my right to wear this t-shirt".

Then I once again asked the three of them : "How come you are asking me to change my t-shirt? Isn't this my constitutional right to wear it? I am ready to change it if you tell me why I should. Do you have an order against Arabic t-shirts? Is there such a law against Arabic script?" so inspector Harris answered "you can't wear a t-shirt with Arabic script and come to an airport. It is like wearing a t-shirt that reads "I am a robber" and going to a bank". I said "but the message on my t-shirt is not offensive, it just says "we will not be silent". I got this t-shirt from Washington DC. There are more than a 1000 t-shirts printed with the same slogan, you can google them or email them at wewillnotbesilent@gmail.com . It is printed in many other languages: Arabic, Farsi, Spanish, English, etc." Inspector Harris said: "We cant make sure that your t-shirt means we will not be silent, we don't have a translator. Maybe it means something else". I said: "But as you can see, the statement is in both Arabic and English". He said "maybe it is not the same message". So based on the fact that Jet Blue doesn't have a translator, anything in Arabic is suspicious because maybe it'll mean something bad!

Meanwhile, a third man walked in our direction. He stood with us without introducing himself, and he looked at inspector Harris's notes and asks him: "is that his information?", inspector Harris answered "yes". The third man, Mr. Harmon, asks inspector Harris : "can I copy this information?", and inspector Harris says "yes, sure". Inspector Harris said: "You don't have to take of your t-shirt, just put it on inside-out". I refused to put on my shirt inside-out. So the woman interfered and said "let's reach a compromise. I will buy you a new t-shirt and you can put it on on top of this one". I said "I want to keep this t-shirt on". Both inspector Harris and Mr. Harmon said "No, we can't let you get on that airplane with your t-shirt". I said "I am ready to put on another t-shirt if you tell me what is the law that requires such a thing. I want to talk to your supervisor". Inspector Harris said "You don't have to talk to anyone. Many people called and complained about your t-shirt. Jetblue customers were calling before you reached the checkpoint, and costumers called when you were waiting here in the boarding area". It was then that I realized that my t-shirt was the reason why I had been taken to the secondary checking. I asked the four people again to let me talk to any supervisor, and they refused.

The Jet Blue woman was asking me again to end this problem by just putting on a new t-shirt, and I felt threatened by Mr. Harmon's remarks as in "Let's end this the nice way". Taking in consideration what happens to other Arabs and Muslims in US airports, and realizing that I will miss my flight unless I covered the Arabic script on my t-shirt as I was told by the four agents, I asked the Jet Blue woman to buy me a t-shirt and I said "I don't want to miss my flight."
She asked, what kind of t-shirts do you like. Should I get you an "I heart new york t-shirt?". So Mr. Harmon said "No, we shouldn't ask him to go from one extreme to another". I asked mr. harmon why does he assume I hate new york if I had some Arabic script on my t-shirt, but he didn't answer.

The woman went away for 3 minutes, and she came back with a gray t-shirt reading "new york". I put the t-shirt on and removed the price tag. I told the four people who were involved in the conversation: "I feel very sad that my personal freedom was taken away like this. I grew up under authoritarian governments in the Middle East, and one of the reasons I chose to move to the US was that I don't want an officer to make me change my t-shirt. I will pursue this incident today through a Constitutional rights organization, and I am sure we will meet soon". Everyone said okay and left, and I went back to my seat. At 8:50 I was called again by a fourth young man, standing with the same jetblue woman. He asked for my boarding pass, so I gave it to him, and stood in front of the boarding counter. I asked the woman: "is everything okay?", she responded: "Yes, sure. We just have to change your seat". I said: "but I want this seat, that's why I chose it online 4 weeks ago", the fourth man said " there is a lady with a toddler sitting there. We need the seat."

Then they re-issued me a small boarding pass for seat 24a, instead of seat 3a. They said that I can go to the airplane now. I was the first person who entered the airplane, and I was really annoyed about being assigned this seat in the back of the airplane too. It smelled like the bathrooms, which is why I had originally chosen a seat which would be far from that area.

It sucks to be an Arab/Muslim living in the US these days. When you go to the middle east, you are a US tax-payer destroying people's houses with your money, and when you come back to the US, you are a suspected terrorist and plane hijacker."