Archive for the ‘Freedom of speech’ Category

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Man arrested/convicted for complaining to gov’t

June 15, 2009


Update June 20, 2009 Yep Freedom to petition gov’t – BYE BYE
(What is so striking about this recent update is that in my google search for printed articles, there are NO MAINSTREAM media sources. I wonder why?
)

U.S Judge Fines 40 people $80.000 for signing petition 6-18-09

Could this have happened 15 years ago in full view of the media? A citizen arrested and convicted for writing too many letters to his representative complaining of a menace to the community?

Anyone who saw the Shawshank Redemption and admired Andy Dufreyne for tirelessly writing letters to the governor requesting a better library for the prison – and got action…get your mind right…because this is now deemed ‘harassing’ the government.

Man arrested and convicted
for complaining about government

Sunday, June 14th, 2009
Source

Marshall Pappert waged a passionate, perhaps slightly obsessive, campaign of protest letter writing to Bridgeville, Pa. politicians and city officials to express his opposition to concrete plant. The city has responded, by arresting him, for criminally harassing the government.

View Video

ABC News Pittsburg reports: A Bridgeville man who was arrested and convicted after making repeated complaints to his local government took his appeal to one of Pennsylvania’s highest courts on Tuesday.Team 4 investigative reporter Jim Parsons, who originally broke the story, was in Superior Court for the arguments. At issue: How many letters to borough officials does it take to constitute a crime?

Marshall Pappert freely admits that when you add up all of the letters he has written to government officials — and include the copies of those letters he has sent to other public officials — the number of letters is about 350.While waiting for his case to be called, Pappert made no apologies for his letter-writing campaign to Bridgeville Borough.

“I did what any citizen should do when you see something that’s unhealthy to the community,” Pappert said. Pappert lives across Union Street from a Bridgeville concrete plant. The dust, the noise, the idling diesel trucks all combined to cause him to complain to the borough.

He wrote letter after letter — hundreds of them — and he left voice mail messages for the borough manager.In one message, Pappert said, “I’m asking you as a Bridgeville resident of 56 years to resign and get off of your position. Do the right thing.”

Instead, Pappert got arrested on a harassment charge and was convicted.At Tuesday’s appeal hearing, Assistant District Attorney Peggy Ivory told the court that Pappert “clearly crossed the line to a course of conduct designed to harass” the borough manager. Ivory declined an interview with Team 4 on Tuesday.

”We really maintain that this is about the First Amendment and that public officials just have to tolerate it,” said Bruce Boni, an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union who’s representing Pappert. Bridgeville Councilman Pat DeBlasio said he doesn’t just tolerate Pappert’s actions, he embraces them.”We go to Memorial Day and stand there and listen to ‘Taps’ and honor the people who died. Well, they didn’t die so we could have five different choices of breakfast cereal. They sacrificed their lives so that you have the right to complain when you see something wrong,” DeBlasio said.

”If you can’t talk and do what I did to your government, what can you do? What are they going to do next to you?” Pappert said. A decision on whether to overturn Pappert’s criminal conviction is not expected until sometime in the summer.

Team 4 also learned on Tuesday that Ed Bogats — who arrested Pappert — submitted his resignation as Bridgeville police chief last month.The borough council unanimously accepted Bogats’ resignation. DeBlasio said Bogats cited medical reasons.Bogats did not return Team 4’s call to his home on Tuesday.

Thanks to Jonathan Turley
Phil Leggiere
http://mondoglobo.wftk.org/blog/qa/

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Gilad Atzmon – Interview

January 22, 2009


Conversation with Gilad Atzmon, world-renowned Jazzist: Bring justice to the Israeli criminals, today!

Palestine Think Tank
Wed, 21 Jan 2009
Source

Interview by: Kourosh Ziabari, MMN

Gilad Atzmon is unique in his stance, unprecedented in his voice and unequivocal in his statements. As an Israel-born jazz musician and anti-Zionist activist, he propagates and chants his anti-Israeli contemplations explicitly and once he finds the opportunity.

As a musician who plays soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet, sol, zurna and flute, Atzmon has won several international awards so far, including the BBC Jazz Award 2003, and is considered as one of the most prosperous artists of his rank.

In the position of an anti-Zionist activist, despite being Israeli originally, Gilad Atzmon incessantly denounces his belonging to the Jewish state and proclaims that he merely was born there and no more, which was perceptibly out of his knack and election, and that he feels no sympathy, compassion or nostalgia toward the occupying state of Israel.

During the past years, he has written a stack of articles and given a batch of lectures, performs regularly to condemn the historical belligerence of Israel in the occupied territories of Palestine and currently is lobbying dynamically by traveling to different countries so as to augment the cognition of public opinions about the massacre of Gaza and the butchery of innocent civilians, children and women in the strip.

In his recent trip to Greece, which he departed for a few days ago, Atzmon conducted quite a lot of interviews and appeared on a number of TV, Radio programs so as to express his sharp censure of Israeli genocides in Gaza. He believes that the people of Greece are hopefully much more knowledgeable, well-informed and that’s why they have made great efforts to convey their sympathy and patronage to the people in Gaza.

Following is the full text of an exclusive interview with Gilad Atzmon in which a variety of topics related to the ongoing slaughter of Gaza, Israeli crimes against humanity and the necessity of holding a trial for the Israeli officials in a just and objective international court is discussed:

Kourosh Ziabari: First, I would like to ask your opinion about the ongoing conflict of Gaza which some named “the most catastrophic battle” in the last decade. What’s your idea about the carnage of civilians, children, women and infants in Gaza?

Gilad Atzmon: What we see in Gaza is holocaust denial in its making. The Jewish state exercises hardcore barbarism. Yet, the world keeps silent. Once again we are confronted with the realization that giving a mandate for a national home for the Jewish people has been demonstrated to be a grave lethal mistake. The only question is how to dismantle this monstrous suicidal hawkish creature without turning our planet into a fireball.

Kourosh Ziabari: You criticize the Israeli state so sharply; nevertheless, you may have noted that the Israeli media and statesmen simply stick a label of “traitor” to each of the Israeli citizens, journalists, professors or rhetoricians who uses to blame the Jewish state for its butcheries and onslaughts. How do you solve this?

Gilad Atzmon: To start with, it is not such a bad thing to be a ‘traitor’ in a murderous state. However, I do not regard myself as an Israeli. I was born there but I haven’t lived or visited there for many years. Once I realized that I was residing on stolen land as an oppressor I packed my saxes and left. To a certain extent, I can be regarded as a ‘proud self hating Jew’. I am full of shame of myself and those who were my co-nationals. I talk about my shame; I write about it and compose music trying to deal with it.

Kourosh Ziabari: Israeli officials claim that they are just seeking retaliation by attacking the bases of Hamas, merely killing the individuals of army and military. In the other side, they disallow the entrance of journalists and media correspondents into the occupied Gaza Strip and ban them from broadcasting the reality. How can they justify this contradiction? Why they don’t allow the journalists into Gaza if they are righteous about their pretensions?

Gilad Atzmon: I do not think that Israelis are concerned at all with contradictions or logical discrepancies. Israelis are not concerned at all with their image either.

I will try to elaborate. Israel is now the largest Jewish Ghetto ever. The Jewish Ghetto is basically a place where Jews can celebrate their symptoms collectively among themselves, without being shy about what they say, think or feel. Israel has already surrounded itself with gigantic walls just to give segregation a real significant meaning. And yet, the Israeli Jewish Ghetto is very different from the East European one. While in the European Ghetto the Jews were intimidated by their surrounding reality, in the Israeli Ghetto the Jews intimidate others. They insist that the entire Middle East must be kept in a state of constant anxiety.

The Ghetto mentality is a very helpful analytic tool. It helps us, for instance, to grasp why Prime Minister Olmert allowed himself to brag in public about humiliating President Bush and Secretary of State Rice. In the Ghetto Jews feel safe, they can speak their mind while being pretty sure that nothing would leak out to the Goyim. In the Ghetto only one logic applies, the Jewish logic.

However, in the 1950’s PM Ben Gurion adopted the Jewish Ghetto framework into an Israeli political mantra which he eloquently articulated as follows: “It doesn’t matter what the Goyim say, the only thing that matters is what the Jews do”. Seemingly, the Jewish Ghetto mantra à la Ben Gurion succeeded in separating the Israelis from the rest of humanity. But it goes further, as we see in Gaza and in any Israeli conflict; it detaches the Hebraic paradigm from any notion of humanist ethics.

This very philosophy is translated easily into Israeli lethal military pragmatism. ‘It obviously doesn’t really matter what the UN or world’s media thinks, all that matters is what the IDF does’.

Now, I will try to address the foreign Journalist topic. Israeli military leaders knew in advance that Gaza was about to become a bloodbath for Palestinian civilians. They obviously knew in advance the weaponry they were about to employ. The last thing they needed was foreign journalists reporting to their media outlets about a massacre in Gaza. World media and the ‘right to know’ is not an Israeli interest. In the Jewish Ghetto state, all that matters is what the IDF is doing.

The Israelis wanted to finish their job first, to kill many Palestinians, to destroy Gaza and to dismantle its infrastructure so they retrieve their power of deterrence which they have lost many years ago. Journalists reporting from Gaza could simply stand in the way.

Kourosh Ziabari: given such an intricate description, what’s the main reason, in your view, for Israel blocking the humanitarian aid ships heading to Gaza? Is there something wrong with the admittance of foods, medicine and first aid to a multitude of people who do not have the least access to the outside world?

Gilad Atzmon: The answer is almost etymological. Talking about ‘Humanitarian effort’ presumes a deep familiarity with the notion of humanism. Since Israelis have zero commitment to ethics or universal humanism, we cannot expect them to succumb to any humanitarian effort or humanist issue. In the last few days, Israel bombarded hospitals, schools, refugee centers and UN aid distribution centers. We better admit it: the Jewish state is a boiling criminal setting with no comparison. We cannot and should not expect them to follow a humanist call. We should instead anticipate Israel to perform as embodiment of the ultimate evil, and sadly, I must say, they indeed never disappoint here.

Kourosh Ziabari: The employment of white phosphorus in the bombs that the Israeli army unleashes on the heads of civilians and their houses in Gaza seems to be an evident violation of international regulations and the Geneva Convention, significantly. Is there any way of recompensing these war crimes?

Gilad Atzmon: I am not a legal expert so cannot address this question properly. However, it is very interesting to note that in spite of large worldwide condemnation of Israel for using white phosphorus bombs, the Israeli army didn’t stop employing this tactic, and it’s not the first time they’ve used unconventional weapons against civilians in the face of international outrage. Every day we see those lethal bombs bursting over civilian targets. Once again we see that it doesn’t matter at all what the Goyim say, all that matters is what the Jews do, i.e., kill Palestinian civilians. I would further add that the Israelis lament in continuation about “potential” weapons of mass destruction that other nations might have, it seems to be pathetic while possessing an obscene arsenal of nuclear warheads themselves. If they have no regard for international law, why would they care what world opinion is?

Kourosh Ziabari: Provisionally, even if the war ends now and Israel withdraws from the occupied territories, the result of fatal conflict is more than 1300 dead people and 70% of the infrastructure, buildings, public places has been destroyed. How the real justice could be administered about Israel and its crimes against humanity?

Gilad Atzmon: Again, I am not a legal expert. Yet I do not hold my breath. However, my subject of study is Jewish and Israeli identity. I am interested in the metaphysics of the Israeli genocidal inclination. I am elaborating on the Identity that can inflict so much pain and carnage on innocent civilians. I am interested in the banality of evil as exposed by Israel’s ultimate barbarism and the Jewish institutional support of that evil around the world. I believe that once we start to realize what we are up against, we may know how to fight it. I honestly do not believe in international tribunals.A general widely accepted acknowledgment that the Jewish state is nothing but crude barbarism seems to me far more effective.

Kourosh Ziabari: For the last question, what’s your message, as an Israeli artist, to the people of Palestine; those mothers who have lost their children or those traumatized children who undergo the aftershocks of losing their parents?

Gilad Atzmon: My Dearest brothers and sisters. It is heartbreaking to watch the death and carnage inflicted on you by the Jewish state. We all see what you are going through and we all know that justice is on your side. I beg you not to lose hope. Evil always comes to an end and Israeli evil is no different. Israel will come to an end though we may have to do something to bring this end about.

However, one thing is rather clear. The so called ‘liberal’ west failed to save you, sadly enough; the Arab states failed to join your struggle yet. As sad as it may be, as much as justice is on your side, you are alone here confronted with the ultimate evil.

Israel has many bombs in its arsenal. But you Palestinian brothers and sisters have a few things they do not have: Justice is in your side, humanity is in your streets, you have the spirit and you have the ultimate bomb, namely the demographic one.

Palestine is the land, Israel is a state;
States come and go, land stays forever.
Long live Palestine.

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Things I read Jan 22, 2009 – Welcome to Bizzaro World

January 22, 2009


200,000 war veterans homeless in US
Mission accomplished!


Jimmy Carter’s Wise Counsel
You cannot have prosperity and liberty if you are always at war. Whereas other recent presidents have seemed oblivious to this fact, the Vietnam experience seems to have made Carter realize it.

Obama throngs replaced by March for Life crowds
Wouldn’t it be interesting to know if these protesters also condemn the death penalty and the slaughter of Gaza’s & Iraq’s innocent (already born) children?


SKorean blogger charged with spreading false info
Better watch what you say on the net.

Life is strange and cruel.
Beauty queen loses hands and feet.

Argentine prez: Fidel Castro ‘believes in Obama’
Who am I to argue with Fidel? “Earlier Wednesday, Raul Castro said Obama “seemed like a good man” and wished him luck.”


2 condemned to death for role in China milk crisis
How quickly corporations would protect consumers and the environment if they were treated as the criminals they are. It’s one way to save the planet. Right on China…Monsanto…you are next.

Report: Belgian court petitioned to arrest Livni upon arrival in Brussels
A good idea – and the only way to chastise monsters…arrest them if they set foot in the EU. This might also restore the faith of EU citizens in the EU.

U.S. To Sharpen Cyber-Weaponry
Bye bye internet freedom…don’t you know…this is a war zone?

Big brother filter plan insults parents
Australian parental role to be assumed by Big Brother. Your country is next.

Spanking = Terrorism
My daughter’s boyfriend was convicted of ‘terrorist’ threats 3 years ago for calling her while drunk and belligerent. Yep, we are all terrorists now.

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News you WANT to read – Shoe parties and libraries

January 19, 2009

It’s not easy to find ‘News you want to read’ on a wintery Monday in January.  Cheap thrills are the only options.

Iraqi guards throw party for shoe-Bush-basher

Zeidi celebrates 30th birthday in jail
with two-hour visit from brother,
but concerns on his welfare remain
.

By Kim Gamel
BAGHDAD
Source

The Iraqi journalist jailed since throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush got a visit from his brother Friday and a birthday party from his guards as he turned 30.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who has gained cult status for his bizarre protest, is in good shape but has been denied access to his lawyer, relatives said after his brother Maitham visited him for two hours in his detention cell in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

Al-Zeidi has been in custody since the Dec. 14 outburst at Bush’s joint news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Thousands demonstrated for al-Zeidi’s release and hailed his gesture.

But concern was raised about his welfare after allegations that he had been severely beaten and tortured in detention.

The case’s investigating judge has said the journalist was struck about the face and eyes, apparently by security agents who wrestled him to the floor after he hurled his shoes, forcing Bush to duck for cover.

Maitham al-Zeidi was not available to comment on the visit, but another brother, Dhargham, told The Associated Press that he was told the wounds had healed.

“Muntadhar was in a good shape … and his morale was high. Yesterday was his birthday and some patriotic officers there organized a party for him and brought birthday cake,” Dhargham al-Zeidi said.

The case became a focus for Iraqis and others in the Muslim world who resent the US invasion and occupation. But it also embarrassed al-Maliki, who was standing next to Bush at the time. Neither leader was injured.

Al-Zeidi had been due to face a trial in December on a charge of assaulting a foreign leader, which his defense team said carried a maximum sentence of 15 years. But an appellate court is considering a motion to reduce the charges to simply insulting Bush.

Defense lawyer Dhia al-Saadi said it was a matter of freedom of expression.

“Al-Zeidi’s act was symbolic and in no way was it a murder attempt,” he said, adding that he had been allowed to meet his client only once.

“I submitted many petitions to the judge of the case and I expect to meet Muntadhar next week,” he said.

Al-Zeidi’s act of defiance transformed the obscure reporter from an employee of a minor TV station into a national hero to many Iraqis fed up with the nearly six-year US presence here.

But his brother said information about the international wave of support had been kept from the journalist.

“Some officers told him that half of the Iraqis were against him. But he was very happy when he heard that all the Iraqis support him. He even cried when he heard that there were demonstrations on his behalf even in the United States,” Dhargham al-Zeidi said.

The brother who met with Muntadhar al-Zeidi was taken by bus to the detention center, and two army officers supervised the meeting.

The journalist is currently being held alone in a comfortable room with a bed and a TV set, his brother said. “He is being visited frequently by doctors. The food is very good,” the brother added.

Al-Zeidi stood by his attack on Bush. He stressed that he meant no offense to the Iraqi prime minister but didn’t want to miss his chance to send Bush a message, the brother said.

“He said he could not wait until al-Maliki left the room to throw his shoes because then Bush would also leave and that historic opportunity would be lost,” he said.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi actually feared he would be killed by guards after throwing his shoes and read his last prayers before going to the news conference, his brother said.

“So for him it does not matter for how long he would be imprisoned,” his brother said, “because the important thing is that he restored the honor of the Iraqi people.”

The Bush Library rooms finalised

by allan on December 29, 2008
Source

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages. The Library will include:

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room which no one has yet been able to find.

The Hurricane Katrina Room which is still under construction.

The Alberto Gonzales Room where you won’t be able to remember anything.

The Texas Air National Guard Room where you don’t even have to show up.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room where they don’t let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room where they don’t let you out.

The National Debt Room which is huge and has no ceiling.

The Tax Cut Room with entry restricted to the wealthy.

The Economy Room which is in the toilet.

The Iraq War Room: After you complete your first tour, they make you go back for a second, third, fourth and sometimes fifth tour.

The Dick Cheney Room in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.

The Environmental Conservation Room still empty, but very warm.

The Supreme Court Gift Shop where you can buy an election.

The Decider Room complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins and straws.

Additionally, the museum will have a 20-electron microscope to help you locate the president’s accomplishments.

Admission: Republicans – free; Democrats – $1000 or 3 Euros

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Things I read – Jan 12, 2009 Oh Big Brother, Where are thou?

January 12, 2009

The integration of new technology and traditional society proceeds at a mind numbing rate. The march to a One World Database, population control and genetic engineering is unstoppable bar a catastrophic natural disaster. Other references to this phenomenon can be found
here.

UK Approves Police Hacking Home Computers
Oops, there goes another civil right.
America’s demonization next step in New World Order?
An unusual twist on NWO. One wonders the cost in human lives and suffering as a means to such an end. Population control?

Anticipatory Conformity: Will the Growing Surveillance Panopticon Cause us to Self-censor?
How will our behaviour and culture change as a result of constantly being watched?

The Global Elite Speak
…Of a New World Order
Videos and Transcript. No you are not paranoid; they really are out to get you.


DNA Database Information Archive
The pace of technological innovation fare outstrips the ability of societies to put proper protections in place to retain civil rights. Part of the problem is that in the information age, few have time to keep up with the ‘new’ information available that affects the quality of life for our children. Here in one place, is a collection of articles on what we can expect from DNA mapping in government hands. Quite a shocking read. For the movie version, take a look at Gattaca.

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Shhhhh! Baby censorship napping

January 9, 2009


Of all the articles about Gaza, this is one of the scariest for me: it effectively means censorship on the net of organising activities for those who disagree with government. It also means a blogger in one country potentially could be charged by and deported to another country for violating ‘censor’ laws (this is not far fetching, the EU is currently implementing such a plan for member states.) I am afraid this is the writing on the wall for internet freedom (see yesterday’s post here).

Freedom of speech is in grave danger of disappearing in cyberspace. Our connections in this realm are very fragile. Read and weep.

Gaza war sparks torrent of fiery comment on the Internet

Pro-Palestinian commentary pushes Internet chat to become rear-guard battleground of public opinion.

Source
PARIS – European and US media and social network websites are struggling to cope with a deluge of reader comments sparked by the Gaza conflict, most fiercely partisan and some explicitly anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim, according to the sites’ administrators.

Emotions on both sides are running high as the war enters its third week, and the Internet has become a rear-guard battleground of public opinion.

The torrent of highly-charged commentary — especially when it violates in-house rules or national hate-speech laws — poses at least two serious problems, representatives of the sites said.

One is logistic. All major news media sites filter reader views, and vetting hundreds, or thousands, of submissions — not all of them coherent or concise — is labour-intensive.

“The number of comments has exploded since the start of the conflict in Gaza,” said Alberto Piccinini, an editor at the left-wing Il Manifesto in Italy.

“The debate is very lively, often virulent,” he said, adding that most comments were pro-Palestinian and that some were bordered anti-Jewish.

The influx of views was so heavy at discussion forums of some French media sites that administrators simply shut the doors.

“The moderators were overwhelmed,” said Clemence Lemaistre of 20minutes.fr.

Some published comments were seen as anti-Jewish by some readers while other remarks were viewed as anti-Muslim by other readers, prompting chat mediators to reject all contributions at the end.

The same action was taken at left-leaning Liberation, where the comments “very quickly degenerated into a spiral of hate and insults, with no end in site,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

Two online debates hosted by BBC attracted nearly 40,000 comments.

Social network sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace do not vet content before it goes online, depending on community members to signal posts that may go beyond the pale.

But all these websites confront the even thornier problem of where to draw the line between an opinion that might virulent but acceptable, and one that could be interpreted as a racist insult.

The criteria for exclusion are not always clear, and rarely made explicit on a case-by-case basis.

Yassine Ayari, a 29-year old engineer in Paris, said that a pro-Palestinian discusssion group he created on website on December 29 was shut down on Wednesday by the website’s administrators.

“My aim was to link up as many people as possible to centralise initiatives of support for Gaza,” he said, adding that the group attracted more than 1000 members.

The space was blocked hours after Ayari receiving a boilerplate warning by email from the website, which followed up with a second email stating that “hateful, threatening, or obscene groups are not allowed.”

Neither email, however, specified what was objectionable, and Ayari said he was careful to remove potentially injurious comments.

According to Facebook spokeswoman Debbie Frost, “The goal is to strike a very delicate balance between giving Facebook users the freedom to express opinions and beliefs, while also insuring that individuals and groups do not feel threatened or endangered.”

That balance can shift depending on cultural norms and national laws. “There are no legal restrictions on comment in the US,” said YouTube spokesman Scott Rubin.

The video-sharing platform “gives the power to our community to control the comments of their videos,” but draws the line at “hate speech or incitement to violence.”

Digg, a site that builds discussion groups around news items, has borrowed from a popular US parenting technique to keep debate civil.

If alerted to a statement that may cross the line, “our first step is to place that commenter in a ‘time out’ which prevents them from commenting, though they are able to access their account,” said spokeswoman Jen Burton,

This technique works with people “who are otherwise good but occasionally lose their cool in an argument or just start acting out,” she said in an email.