Trouser Ban For Women in France Repealed After 213 Years …


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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The French government has finally repealed an archaic law imposed on November 17, 1800 banning women in Paris from wearing trousers. This law had, in effect, already been rescinded because of its incompatibility.

According to this law, women had to obtain permission from the  préfecture de police to wear trousers like men. The law was amended slightly in 1892 and again in 1909 to allow trousers only “if the woman is holding the handlebars of a bicycle or the reins of a horse.”

This lady is particularly happy with the change in the law.

This lady is particularly happy with the change in the law.

Since 1946, the French constitution considers men and women equal. In early 2010, the French  launched a campaign to do away with the obscure 213-year-old law that made it technically illegal for women in France to wear trousers. According to the Nouvel Observateur, a group of 10 MPs submitted a bill in the National Assembly calling for the ordnance to be struck off the statute book. The then-President Nicolas Sarkozy reacted to this move and said in a magazine interview that parliament in the second half of that year the parliament would review old French laws that should be repealed.

According to Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French minister for women’s rights, the ban was incompatible with modern French values. “First of all, this order was aimed at limiting the access of women to certain offices or occupations by preventing them from dressing in the manner of men,” she said.

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Congress Party in India Not for Chemical Castration


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Peaceful Protest against Delhi gangrape

Peaceful Protest against Delhi gang-rape.

Congress leaders like Renuka Chaudhary had sought chemical castration of rapists.

Unlike surgical castration, where the testicles or ovaries are removed through an incision in the body, chemical castration involves the administration of anti-androgen drugs, such as cyproterone acetate or the birth-control drug Depo-Provera, given as an injection every three months. The antipsychotic agent Benperidol can also be injected for this purpose. Chemical castration does not actually castrate the person, nor is it a form of sterilization.

Chemical castration does not castrate the person, nor is it a form of sterilization. Although reversible on discontinuation of treatment, sometimes permanent changes in body chemistry can be seen, such as bone loss of density due to the use of Depo Provera for a length of time.

From time to time, chemical castration used as an instrument of public and/or judicial policy despite has evoked concerns over possible side effects and human rights.

On Saturday, January 5, 2013, submitted its suggestions on stringent laws for crimes against women to the three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma.

The Verma Committee set up on December 23, 2012, with a mandate to review the present statute and give recommendations on amending laws to provide speedy justice and greater punishment, in cases of aggravated sexual assault, has to submit its report in 30 days.

The Congress party made it clear that its party chief Sonia Gandhi has not made any suggestion to The Verma Committee regarding chemical castration.

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The Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Without the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, the American revolutionary war would not have taken place at all; or would have been delayed for many decades more.

Boston Tea Party - 01

Canada, France, and the United Kingdom use the name Seven Years’ War to describe the European and Asian conflicts, as well as the North American conflict.

The “French and Indian War” (1754–1763) is the American nomenclature for the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War fought primarily between the colonies of British America and New France, with both sides supported by military units from their parent countries, namely Great Britain and France. However, many historians and scholars in America, such as Fred Anderson like their colleagues in other countries refer to the conflict as the “Seven Years’ War”, regardless of the theatre.

The British distracted by the French and Indian war were losing control over their colonial governments that were increasingly vying for independence. The wars proved costly for the British. The Imperial Crown wanted to reestablish sovereign control over their colonies. At the end of the war in 1763, as a means of recouping the war expenses, King George III and his government contemplated on taxing the American colonies.

The Stamp Act (1765), the Townshend Acts (1767) and the Boston Massacre (1770) infuriated the colonists in America, straining relations with the mother country.

In the 17th century, Europeans developed a taste for tea and many companies in Europe imported tea from China. In 1698, the English Parliament gave the monopoly to the East India Company to import tea. Until 1767, the East India Company paid an ad valorem tax of about 25% on tea that it imported into Great Britain.

Soon tea became popular in the British colonies. The East India Company did not export tea to the colonies; the law required the company to sell the tea it imported to wholesalers at auctions in England. British firms bought this tea and exported it to the colonies, where they resold it to merchants in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

The Dutch government did not tax tea imported into Holland. However, the English Parliament imposed additional taxes on tea sold for consumption in Britain. These high taxes impelled the Britons and the British Americans to buy smuggled Dutch tea at much cheaper prices. Soon England became the biggest market for smuggled tea. In 1760s, the East India Company was losing £400,000 per year to smugglers in Great Britain. At the same time, British America smuggled Dutch tea in significant quantities because they did not have to bear the 25% tax on tea which the East India Company paid to the British government.

In 1767, to help the East India Company compete with smuggled Dutch tea, the English Parliament passed the Indemnity Act which lowered the tax on tea consumed in Great Britain. It also gave the East India Company a refund of the 25% duty on tea re-exported to the colonies. This move reduced the price of legally imported tea. Even so, the colonists concerned with a variety of other issues protested.

To offset the loss of government revenue, the English Parliament passed the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767, which levied new taxes in the colonies. Townshend’s taxes rekindled the controversy about the right of the English Parliament to tax the colonies. This laid the groundwork for the American Revolution.

In early 1770s, the British East India Company was in financial difficulties. It held a massive surplus of tea in its London warehouses. To help the struggling company survive, and also to undercut the price of tea smuggled into Britain’s North American colonies, the English Parliament presented the Tea Act of 1773. This Act granted the British East India Company the right to ship its tea directly to North America and the right to the duty-free export of tea from Britain. However, the tax imposed by the Townshend Acts and collected in the colonies remained in force. The Tea Act received the royal assent on May 10, 1773.

To offset the loss of government revenue, the English Parliament passed the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767, which levied new taxes in the colonies. Townshend’s taxes rekindled the controversy about the right of the English Parliament to tax the colonies. This laid the groundwork for the American Revolution.

The Indemnity Act of 1767, which gave the British East India Company a refund of duty on re-exported tea to the colonies, expired in 1772. This left the Company in serious financial crisis. It held a massive surplus of tea in its London warehouses.

To help the struggling company survive, and also to undercut the price of tea smuggled into Britain’s North American colonies, the English Parliament presented the Tea Act of 1773.

The Tea Act forced the colonies to import tea only from Great Britain. This Act granted the British East India Company the right to ship its tea directly to North America and the right to the duty-free export of tea from Britain. However, the tax imposed by the Townshend Acts and collected in the colonies remained in force. The Tea Act received the royal assent on May 10, 1773.

The Tea Act allowed the British East India Company to reduce costs of the tea by eliminating the middlemen who bought the tea at wholesale auctions in London. In July 1773, the Company selected colonial merchants in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Charleston to receive the tea on consignment. The consignees would in turn sell the tea for a commission.

Nathaniel Dance Lord North

Prime Minister Frederick North

However, the Tea Act retained the three pence Townshend duty on tea imported to the colonies. Some members of the English Parliament argued that there was no reason to provoke another controversy since the Americans would not accept the tea if the Townshend duty remained; even so, Prime Minister Fredriclk North did not want to give up the revenue from the Townshend tax that primarily served to pay the salaries of colonial officials. He maintained the right of taxing the Americans was a secondary concern. According to historian Benjamin Labaree, “A stubborn Lord North had unwittingly hammered a nail in the coffin of the old British Empire.”

In September and October 1773, seven ships carrying more than 2,000 chests containing nearly 600,000 pounds of East India Company tea set sail to the American colonies – four bound for Boston and one each for New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

While the ships were en route, Americans learned the details of the Tea Act. Whigs (a nickname for Patriots), sometimes calling themselves Sons of Liberty mobilized a coalition of merchants and artisans to oppose the delivery and distribution of the inbound tea. They began a campaign to raise awareness about the implications of the provisions in the Tea Acts, namely, implicitly agreeing to accept English Parliament’s right of taxation.

The colonies sent no representatives to the British Parliament, and so they had no influence over the taxes raised, levied, or how they would be spent. Therefore, they objected to the Tea Act because they believed it violated their rights as Englishmen to be taxed without their consent. They raised the slogan:

“No Taxation Without Representation”

Colonial merchants, some of them smugglers, played a significant role in the protests. Because the Tea Act made legally imported tea cheaper, it threatened to put the smugglers of Dutch tea out of business. Other legitimate importers of tea, not chosen as consignees by the British East India Company, also faced financial ruin because of the Tea Act. Most American merchants feared that this type of government-created monopoly might be extended to include other goods in the future.

Governor Thomas Hutchinson

Thomas Hutchinson, the last civilian Royal Governor of the Massachusetts Colony.

The Whigs convinced, and in some instances harassed the Company’s authorized consignees to resign, in the same way the stamp distributors were forced to resign during the 1765 Stamp Act crisis. They successfully prevented the unloading of taxed tea in three colonies and forced the ships to turn back to England. They could not do so in Massachusetts. In Boston, Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned to England. He convinced the tea consignees, two of whom were his sons, not to back down.

Dr. Benjamin Rush, painted by Charles Willson

Dr. Benjamin Rush, painted by Charles Willson

Benjamin Franklin said the British were trying to use cheap tea to “overcome all the patriotism of an American”. Benjamin Rush, a Founding Father of the United States who lived in the state of Pennsylvania urged his fellow Americans to oppose the landing of the tea, because the cargo contained “the seeds of slavery”.

When the Philadelphians received word that the East India Company’s tea shipments were on their way, on October 16th, Dr. Benjamin Rush, Colonel William Bradford, Thomas Mifflin, Dr. Thomas Cadwalader, and other local leaders and members of the Philadelphia Sons of Liberty organized a meeting at the Pennsylvania State House. They adopted eight resolutions, one of which stated: “That the duty imposed by Parliament upon tea landed in America is a tax on the Americans, or levying contributions on them without their consent.” The most important one read:

“That the resolution lately entered into by the East India Company, to send out their tea to America subject to the payment of duties on its being landed here, is an open attempt to enforce the ministerial plan, and a violent attack upon the liberties of America.”

Printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette, these declarations comprised the first public protest against the importation of taxed tea from England.

Samuel Adams -  one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Samuel Adams – one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

In Boston, Whig leader Samuel Adams called for a mass meeting to be held at Faneuil Hall. Three weeks later, on November 5, 1773, at a town meeting at Faneuil Hall the Bostonians adopted the same resolutions that Philadelphians had promulgated earlier. In their resolution the Bostonians declared:

“That the Sense of the Town cannot be better expressed on this Occasion, than in the words of certain Judicious Resolves lately entered into by our worthy Brethren the Citizens of Philadelphia”

(fromResolutions Of The Town Of Boston, November 5, 1773“, Boston Record Commissioner’s Report, vol. xviii., pp. 142, 143; a draft of the preamble, in the handwriting of Adams, is in the Mellen Chamberlain collection, Boston Public Library.)

The tea ship Dartmouth arrived in the Boston Harbor in late November, 1773. On Monday morning, November 29th, a handbill posted all over Boston, contained the following words:

“Friends! Brethren! Countrymen! – That worst of plagues, the detested tea, shipped for this port by the East India Company, is now arrived in the harbor.”

That day Whig leader, Samuel Adams called for a mass meeting, to be held at Faneuil Hall. As thousands of people arrived, the meeting shifted to a larger venue – the Old South Meeting House. The assembled passed a resolution, introduced by Adams urging the captain of the Dartmouth to turn back to England without paying the import duty. Meanwhile, the meeting assigned twenty-five men to watch the ship and prevent unloading of the tea from the ship.

British law required the Dartmouth to unload its cargo of tea and pay the customs duties within twenty days; if not the customs officials could confiscate the cargo. Governor Hutchinson refused to grant permission for the Dartmouth to leave without paying the duty.

Two more tea ships, the Eleanor and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor. Another ship, the William headed for Boston encountered a storm and sank before it could reach Boston.

On December 16th, the last day of the Dartmouth’s deadline to pay the customs duties, about 7,000 people gathered around the Old South Meeting House. After receiving a report that Governor Hutchinson had again refused to let the ships leave, Samuel Adams announced: “This meeting can do nothing further to save the country”.

Immediately, people poured out of the Old South Meeting House. Samuel Adams tried to reassert control of the meeting, but the throng headed out to prepare to take action.

Gadsden flag

Gadsden flag

mohawkSome donned elaborately prepared Mohawk costumes, disguising their faces, because of the illegality of their protest. Dressing as a Mohawk warrior was a specific and symbolic choice. As with the rattlesnake on the Gadsden Flag, the historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike, and the use of the Bald Eagle as the national symbol, this displayed something specifically American overriding any traditional European symbolism. This gesture showed the British that the Sons of Liberty identified themselves with America and derided their official status as subjects of Great Britain.

In the evening, a group of 30 to 130 men some disguised as Mohawk warriors, boarded the three vessels – Dartmouth, Eleanor and the Beaver. Over the course of three hours, they dumped 342 chests of tea into the water.

Eventually, the Boston Tea Party proved to be one of the many courses that culminated in the American Revolutionary War.

Click on the image below to see video

Boston Tea Party - 02
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Let Us Celebrate the 64th Annual Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012


“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” – Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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My Voice Counts, Human Rights Day - 1

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During the Second World War, the allies adopted the following Four Freedoms, as their basic war aims:

      • Freedom of speech
      • Freedom of religion
      • Freedom from fear
      • Freedom from want

The United Nations Charter “reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person” and committed all member states to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

After the Second World War, the world became aware of the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany. The world community concurred that the United Nations Charter did not sufficiently define the rights it referenced above. Hence arose the necessity for an universal declaration that specified the rights of individuals to give effect to the Charter’s provisions on human rights.

At the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 4 December 1950, the members decided to celebrate Human Rights Day on December 10 every year because on December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was the first worldwide proclamation of human rights, and also one of the major achievements of the new United Nations. The General Assembly declared resolution 423(V), inviting all member states and any other interested organizations to celebrate the day.

Traditionally, on December 10th, the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded.

This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people – women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized and to make their voices heard in public life and to include them in political decision-making.

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The Concept of Marital Rape Is Not Recognised in Indian Law


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

“Rape is rape regardless of the relationship between the rapist and the victim. It can be a total stranger; someone you recognise by sight, but have never really communicated with; someone you know superficially, a neighbour or a colleague; a friend, a boy-friend or a former boyfriend; a live-in partner, or a former partner; someone you are married to or have been married to in the past.” – What is Marital Rape ? (http://www.blessedmember.com)

Raped wife

Criminal law considers rape as sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person incapable of valid consent, such as unconscious, or incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent.

In every contention of rape, the absence of consent of the victim to have sexual intercourse with the aggressor is extremely important. Consent does not need to be conveyed, and may perhaps be implied from the perspective, and from the rapport existing between the individuals. However, the lack of protest does not itself constitute consent to have intercourse. Consent can always be withdrawn at any time. So any further sexual activity after the withdrawal of consent constitutes rape.

Lack of consent may be a result of either forcible compulsion by the aggressor or an incapacity to consent on the part of the victim like persons asleep, intoxicated or psychologically vulnerable.

Generally, we come across the following  categories of rape: date rape, gang rape, incest rape, child sexual abuse, prison rape, acquaintance rape, war rape, statutory rape, marital rape, etc.

Some research literature may extend the use of the term spousal/marital rape to include divorced/legally separated ex-spouses, or unmarried cohabiting partners. However, current state laws often treat rape by ex-spouses or intimate partners as different from marital rape, and legally equivalent to rape, by a stranger. However, it does not seem to be so in India. Three days ago, I saw this news in hindustantimes:

PTI
New Delhi, December 04, 2012

A man has been discharged by a Delhi court of charges of raping his wife on the ground that having sexual relation with his spouse, even forcibly, does not amount to “marital rape.” District Judge JR Aryan let off accused Hazi Ahmed Saeed, agreeing with his counsel’s submission that the Indian Penal Code does not recognise any concept of “marital rape.”

Defence counsel rightly argued that IPC does not recognise any such concept of martial rape. If complainant was a legally-wedded wife of accused, the sexual intercourse with her by accused would not constitute offence of rape even if it was by force or against her wishes,” the court said.

The court remanded the case back to a magisterial court as rest of the alleged offences, including those of causing hurt, criminal intimidation and theft, for which the accused was charge-sheeted, were triable by a magistrate.

The case was committed to the district judge after the charge sheet was filed by the police as the offence of rape was tried by sessions court.

The woman had filed the case in 2007 alleging that after her first husband’s death, accused Saeed started visiting her and by expressing sympathy, he asked her to marry him.

She had told the court that she married Saeed in February 2006, but later she came to know that the accused had married her only to grab her property which was then sold by him and his four sons.

The police had said in its charge sheet that Saeed had maintained physical relations with the complainant after their marriage and it could be a possibility that those physical relations were against her consent and wish. (sic)

What a shame?

In a non-consensual sex offense, if the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse, we call it marital rape or spousal rape. This offense can be considered as a form of partner rape, or domestic violence, or sexual abuse.

Once widely condoned and ignored by law, now international conventions repudiate spousal rape and increasingly criminalize it. However, in present-day India, like in medieval Europe, a stranger can legally marry a woman with her parents’ consent and without hers. After getting married, she could no longer refuse to consent to sex. Her husband can force her to have sex with him at any time he has the urge since the society widely condones his wish, and the law does not consider it as an act of violence, but accepts it as a husband’s prerogative.

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“The Dark And Secret Dungeons Of Iraq: Horror Stories Of Female Prisoners” by Wijhat Nadhar


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By Wijhat Nadhar

An Iraqi Woman

.When women in Iraq are arrested, they routinely go through three gruesome phases, starting with humiliation, followed by torture, and often ending with rape. I have received disturbing information from two different, well informed sources: one from qualified social workers in Al-Kadimiyah Women Prison, the other from three national guards officers who worked in the prison.

The common procedure is as follows:

During the Arrest

The torture journey starts when security forces raid and search the houses, through random raids or ordered raids. The Fourth Commander of the Second Brigade – Team 6, Major Jumaa Al-Musawi, has confirmed this information. This man has a criminal record, and he was assigned to this position by the American Forces during their first training courses in intelligence gathering. He used to live in Al-Thawra (now called Sadr City) / Sector 87. In his own words:

“When we receive the raid and search orders from the Brigade Intelligence, we usually start with a little party and drink alcohol, or take some drugs. We choose the most cruel soldiers to carry out such operations. The first thing we do is to lock the men and youngsters in a room, and the women and children in another room. We start to steal what can be taken fast, like jewelry, and we mess up the house, like throwing the women’s underwear here and there; some soldiers even steal some of this underwear. After that, we start to do a body search on the women, and having fun touching their private parts or breasts. We threaten them to arrest the men in the house when they refuse to be touched. If those women are pretty, we usually rape them immediately, and leave the house when we find no weapons or incriminating material. In case we find some weapons, every man and youngster in the house will be arrested, and if there are no men at home, we arrest all the women instead. This is totally according to the orders we receive.”

What follows is one of many stories about the crimes committed by these corrupt creatures, who shamelessly brag about their misdeeds to each other. Al-Musawi and his assistant Lt. Rafid Al-Darraji (another criminal who was imprisoned in Abu-Ghraib and sentenced to death, but was released by the Americans, using him as a guardian, along with their own guard dogs, giving him the Lt. rank. He used to live in Al-Nuariyah District. Here is what they state:

“In July 2006, we received an order to raid and search the house of one of the fabric merchants in Karradah (his name is not mentioned). When we reached his house at 1:00 a.m., we didn’t find the man, we only found his wife and his 17 year old son. During the search we found a rifle, which – according to our law – is permitted for the personal protection of civilians. But we threatened the woman that we would arrest her son if she didn’t let us rape her. So, we handcuffed the son and locked him in a room, and one soldier after the other raped the lady in the other room. The other soldiers stole what they could find, then we headed to a well-known brothel in Al-Doura District in Um Alaa’s house to enjoy the rest of the night there.”

They continue: “The first thing we do when an arrested woman is being transported to the detention location, is that every part of her body is touched by all the soldiers in the vehicle, while using dirty language. When we reach the detention facility, we leave her in the investigation room, supervised by the intelligence officer and his assistants. They directly take all her clothes off, blindfold her, handcuff her, then the intelligence officer starts to rape her with his assistant. And later they ask her some questions: if she’s guilty or innocent and so on. Then they blackmail her, saying that she should be cooperative and give important information about the District where she lives, otherwise they would distribute photos of her while she was naked and being raped. They would accuse her of false charges if she would file a complaint about harrassment and torture. If she receives a “guilty” verdict, she usually stays in the same location for a period of one to three months, in order to finish the procedures of her “case”, to be sent to the headquarters. During these months, every single intelligence officer and soldier in the Brigade will rape her. After that, she will be sent to Al Tasfeerat Prison in Shaab Stadium, or to Al-Muthanna Airport Prison. Sometimes the prisoner is transferred to the facility of the Chief Commander’s Office in the Green Zone, which is a cellar under the building of the Baghdad Operations Headquarter, supervised by Major General Adnan Al-Musawi. This place is one of the most dangerous, dirtiest prisons of Al-Maliki.

Al-Tasfeerat Prisons

This is the second stage of the unfair arrest journey. The female detainee will be sent either to Shaab Stadium Prison or the notorious Al-Muthanna Airport Prison. A group of the worst psychopaths in the government is supervising these prisons, a corrupt committee of criminals of the Military Intelligence, the Intelligence services of the Ministry of Interior, and an Intelligence and Security Representative from the Chief Commander’s Office. This management is appointed by the Iraqi Correction Office through the Ministry of Justice. 45% of its employees are Al-Mahdi Militia members, 30% from the Badr Organisation. The other 25% is divided among the other criminal parties of the government.

This phase is considered as the most barbaric. The security forces, prison guards and members of the prison management practice the most terrible ways of torture, humiliation, profanation, deprivation, blackmailing the prisoners, ethnic and sectarian and political discrimination, and raping men and women without exception. Female prisoners are detained for very long periods, without legitimate accusations or investigating their case. In criminal Maliki’s jails, there are many women who were imprisoned for periods between one year and six years, without any legal representation or procedures regarding their case.

There are many examples of the immoral and brutal practices being committed against female and male prisoners in Al-Tasfeerat Prisons. Some officers from the Ministries of Interior and Defense, the Office of the Chief of Command, and some partisan and criminal militia leaders visit these prisons, and choose some detainees to be tortured for hours and raping them for sectarian reasons. Some of the prisoners die as a result of this brutal torture. Between 2008-2012 Al-Rasafah Tasfeerat Prison recorded the death of more than 250 prisoners, among them 17 women. During the same period Al-Muthanna Airport Prison recorded the death of 125 prisoners, among them three women.

And these torture practices do not only take place in Al-Tasfeerat Prisons, but in all the prisons supervised by the Ministry of Justice, especially the Juveniles Prison, Al-Kadimiyah Women Prison, the notorious Abu-Ghraib Prison, in addition to the secret prisons of Al-Maliki where no accurate records are available about the male and female detainees who died because of the brutal torture they faced there.

It’s worth mentioning that under Al Maliki’s rule, some notorious high risk level prisoners – men and women alike- were released or secretly smuggled out Al-Tasfeerat Prisons, after destroying all the documents and papers related to their cases, on the orders of Ministers and VIPs in the Ministries of Interior and Defense, and the Commanding Chief’s Office. Here are some of prisoners who were “released”:

Radiyah Kadum Muhsin : she was one of the prominent leaders of the Dawa Party, and was released after an order from Al-Maliki himself, and under the supervision of his Intelligence and Security Consultant. She was accused of leading one of the biggest human trafficking criminal gangs that kidnap children and sell them, in addition to prostitution, seducing some officers and government officials, and blackmailing them with their own pornographic photos, or even eliminating them. She was also accused of drug dealing, and forging official documents.

Adnan Abdulzahra Al-Aaraji: he is one of the prominent leaders of the Mahdi Militia, and the head of one of the most notorious gangs known in Iraqi history in terms of sadism, criminality and discrimination. He was arrested by the Americans while he was trying to smuggle 5000 corpses of his victims to Iran during the sectarian wars in 2006. Those corpses were sent to Iran in three cooled vehicles for the sake of human organs trade. He was accused of smuggling antiques, explosives, weapons, and drugs. We mentioned here only two of the prisoners who were “released” from Al-Maliki prisons.

After The Trial

Here begins the real tragedy. After the arrest, the prisoner – if she’s still alive – has physical wounds all over her body, having many psychological problems because of the unfair trials and the terrible treatment she faced during the time in prison, including torture and rape.

And here is another serious hardship the female prisoners are facing inside the detention centres.

There are women in these prisons with criminal records, convicted for various crimes. The prison supervisors use those inmates to bully the arbitrarily detained, innocent female detainees, imprisoned for sectarian reasons, because of false accusations or reports by secret informants. Those inmates are scaring the arbitrarily detained, watching them, blackmailing them through continuous attempts to find out things about their personal lives. Then that information is used against these innocent women to break them psychologically, through disinformation and lies about the families of those innocent prisoners.

Various Ways of Torture of Iraqi Female Prisoners

1- Physical and Psychological Torture:

The prison supervisors use many different forms of physical and psychological torture, which they learned from their Americans and the Iranians supervisors. These methods include:

Taking off the clothes of the prisoners for more than two hours, while insulting them.

Beating them hard with sticks, or kicking them hard in the loins.

Electrical shocks in their breasts, loins and head.

Using all kinds of sexual harassment (we will not reveal more details because of the extreme shameful nature).

Recurrent rape after midnight by the guards and other persons who work in the prison, in the presence of the prison manager, because the rape often happens in his room.
Those criminals: the prison manager and the other supervisors, continuously repeat their disgusting acts. They invite other security officers from the Ministries of Interior and Defense to participate in their savage orgies, that always end in rape of the prisoners.

I will mention only one incident I witnessed in Al-Kadimiyah Prison in 2008 and can be confirmed by a social assistant who works there:

In one of the secret prisons of Al-Maliki in the Green Zone, there was a prisoner named A.A.Al-Zaidi. He was a Police Colonel before, and also held a position in the Intelligence Dept of the Badr Org., known as one of the terrorist extremist militias. His task was to assist the Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in getting information, names and addresses of security and intelligence officers from Saddam’s regime, so that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards could find them and eliminate them. His wife was helping him too, along with her cousin who is a lieutenant in the Ministry of Interior Special Commandos, called Sayid Jalal Al-Magsoosi.

A.A.Al-Zaidi was also responsible for recruiting women to carry out suicide attacks in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Sunni areas in Iraq, especially Diyala and Baghdad. He was arrested by the American Forces while he was trying to illegally enter Jordan with his wife and other three women, carrying spying equipments. His wife and the three women were put in Al-Kadimiyah Prison, but he was taken to Al-Maliki’s secret prison in the Green Zone.

On New Year’s Eve, while the intelligence officers and some interrogators were partying and drinking in the prison, they told one of the guards to bring A.A.Al-Zaidi. The prisoner entered and the drunken officers asked whether he wanted to talk to his wife on the phone. They phoned the manager of Al-Kadimiyah Prison, asking him to bring the prisoner’s wife. The two talked on the phone, and the prisoner was taken to his cell again.

After that, the chief interrogator talked to the wife and said: “we want to party with you and five other pretty friends of yours. We will be coming within an hour to the women prison, so you should all be ready. You will be five and we are six. The prison manager prepared a room for them, and all the prisoners were raped many times by the officers and two of the prison guards. While they were partying and raping the women, they cheered: “hail to Al-Maliki, the pimp, the liar, the thief of Baghdad!”

2- Deprivation:

This word does not accurately describe the dire situation of the women in prisons who are devoid from the simplest rights and needs, like;

Deprivation of family visits, phone calls, and all kinds of contact.
Deprivation of health services, health care, and other sanitary needs.
Deprivation of legal rights, no authorization to see or consult a lawyer.
Deprivation of regular exposure to sunlight, and having no detergents or necessary disinfectants.
Deprivation of complaining to the concerned committees, prisoners are threatened that they should not complain to those committees or else… And even if the prisoners file a complaint, no one will ever listen, because those committees will hear the complaints and then neglect them.

3- Blackmail and Terrorization:

Female prisoners often receive threats that their family members will be arrested and false accusations are made against the families of the prisoners. The prisoner has to pay a huge amount of money and has to beg to make a phone call to her family. Those who have not enough money can sell their bodies to make a phone call.

This is just a brief account of what is happening in the women prisons. Baghdad alone has more than 3000 women imprisoned. The prisoners are distributed among the following jails:

Al-Kadimiyah Prison
Al-Tasfeerat Prison in Shaab Stadium.
Al-Muthanna Airport Prison.
Al-Baladiyyat Prison.
Al-Rustumiyah Prison.

There’s another secret prison supervised by the Chief Commander’s Office, containing 65 imprisoned women. The site of this prison is changed regularly. in addition to these prisons other small detention centres are located in different security and intelligence operations headquarters.

Translation from Arabic: Lubna Al Rudaini

Editing: Dirk AdriaensensRe-posted from Countercurrents.org (December 12, 2012)

The Ant in the Ear of the Elephant


DAVID BRADLEY REPORTS BACK ON HIS OVERLY EVENTFUL TRIP TO KOONDANKULAM AND THE NEED FOR AUSTRALIANS TO TAKE NOTICE OF WHERE OUR URANIUM IS GOING AND THE HAVOC AND DANGER IT IS CAUSING!Dr Helen Caldicott

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By David Bradbury

I knew we were in trouble when the young auto-rickshaw driver pulled his vehicle off to the side of the road to take a phone call. Normally Indian taxi drivers take their mobile phone calls while driving at breakneck speed weaving in and out of traffic with an inch to spare either side. This was unusual.

We had just slipped past the police barricades at the entrance to Kundakalum town with the plastic flaps of the rickshaw down protecting us from the monsoon rains and the lazy eyes of police on the lookout for any foreigners or troublemakers who dared to stray into this forbidden zone.

When the driver started to turn around to head back into town, my instincts automatically kicked in to bail out of the rickshaw: I grabbed my suitcase, tripod, camera bag and a perplexed three-year-old Omar. Partner Treena jumped out as well.

The next few minutes are a blur. A mad frantic phone call from the driver back to the police in nearby Kundakalum reported our attempts to do a runner. I thought of wrestling his mobile out of his hand but then thought better of it. Next I dashed to the side of the road, little better than a goat track, and tried flagging down a car and then a young lad on a motorbike. God knows how I intended to fit two adults, a toddler, plus a heavy suitcase and camera equipment on the motie – had the kid stopped. Some old women collecting firewood seemed to know our purpose and gave encouraging fist waves to keep going.

A lumbering fish truck returning to our intended destination of the seaside village of Indinthakarai came into view. Like a man possessed, I stepped into the middle of the road to flag it down. By now a plainclothes cop on a motorbike had appeared. But I wasn’t to be stopped. Having flown over 10,000km to record our prime minister Julia Gillard offering to sell uranium to the Indian PM and then another 3,000km from New Delhi to the southernmost tip of India, I wanted to reach the valiant anti-nuke fisherfolk of Indinthakarai. This where the Russians have built two nuclear power plants on a seismic fault line – right where the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 swept nearly two thousand locals to their deaths and demolished all buildings in its wake.

Two carloads of police soon turned up and we were bundled into the 4WD headed back to the Kundakalum cop shop. With his bullet-bald head and an impressive handlebar moustache, deputy superintendant NK Stanley Jones was an Indian cross between Kojak and Jimmy Edwards. He was decidedly unimpressed with my feeble story that Omar had a fascination with fishing boats and wanted to visit the seaside fishing village of Indinthakarai. Why this particular part of the coastline, I would have immediately asked, when there are thousands of kilometres of beachfront around India?

‘It is a prohibited zone!’ he said, eye-balling me from across the table to see any falter, any slippery eye movement as Treena and I gave him our made-up-on-the-spot pitch.

‘The people there are dangerous!’ Stanley Jones told us.

We showed Stanley our passports and gave him our mobile phone numbers to be duly recorded – which left me paranoid for the rest of the trip, as the activist phones there are all tapped by Indian state security. We’re talking national security and big bikkies here – $140 billion in nuclear power contracts if the Centre Government has its way.

He repeated that the area was a prohibited zone under Section 144. I didn’t bother to draw the parallel for him that this was exactly the same rationale used by the South Australian coppers two months earlier in arbitrarily arresting people at Lizards Revenge outside Olympic Dam uranium mine. There, SA police in similarly threatening Orwellian tones repeatedly warned us over loudspeakers, ‘You are now entering a Protective Security Zone. Under the Protective Security Act of the South Australian Parliament 2007, you are subject to arbitrary arrest, strip search and detention…’

It would seem the nuclear lobby worldwide has a special dispensation for suspending people’s normal rights of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of non-violent protest.

I was smart enough this time to travel on a business visa. It cost four times as much as a normal tourist visa but worth every penny now that push had come to shove. I could truthfully say I was in India on business as a film producer and this was a side visit en route to the Kolkata film festival in a few weeks’ time.

He looked at me over his handlebar moustache to see if he could detect any smug Anglo-Saxon superiority in my bearing or any other legitimate pretext to immediately deport me from the country. Three weeks earlier, three Japanese activists travelling on tourist visas didn’t get past the airport inquisition before being deported. Indian Security had intercepted their emails to Kundakalum activists before they arrived and were waiting for them.

We were escorted out of town and sent packing. Back at our hotel the booking clerk was decidedly rattled. He’d been rung by police and his friendly attitude had changed. He demanded our passports again. We decided to pack our bags quickly and leave town before police googled my anti-nuke track record and came back. We hailed a passing bus and threw our suitcases and film gear onto it with the help of locals. I felt a huge surge of relief as we headed out of town.

Four nights later, under cloak of darkness, I found myself bumping along another goat track entering the seaside village of Indinthakarai. A lit-up Virgin Mary bobbed along on the dash of the 4WD, turning blue to brilliant red to lime green and flashing purple as a very happy-go-lucky 74-year-old priest clapped along to a popular Bollywood song, and three strong anti-nuke activist women from Indinthakarai sang heartily. The priest told me he was married with a special dispensation from the pope in Rome and had two grown-up children. I felt like I was trapped inside a Graham Greene novel: all we lacked was the bottle of whisky. We were headed towards Indinthakarai via a little-known potholed road that hugged the sea coast.

The next morning the village and I awoke to the bells of Lourdes church summoning people to early morning mass at 5.40am. The priest’s melodic voice incanted over the loudspeaker across the rooftops, for any worshippers too lazy to get out of bed. I watched as Leon the fisherman rubbed ‘440 days’ off the whiteboard and added a ‘1’ to it. For 441 days the people of Indinthakarai have resisted the dictates of the Centre Government 3,000km away in New Delhi to incorporate their village into the grand scheme of things.

The growing Indian economy needs power. Power. More POWER to ‘beat’ China. To fill still more the overflowing pockets and black Swiss bank accounts of the burghers of Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. To put kids into sweatshops and factories at 10 years of age – dragged from finishing their schooling to make cheap acid-washed jeans, footwear and toys for a dollar a day for people living in western ‘democracies’ like Australia – items that last a day or two before they are sent off to landfill.

The latest round of opposition to stop the opening of the Kundakalum nuclear power plants has raged for more than ten years now, with this last year seeing opposition to the Russian-built nuclear power plants at Indinthakarai reach fever pitch. They are a hair’s breath away from being fully operational. The nuclear fuel rods have been loaded. Tests are being done and are only waiting now for the green light. Maybe President Putin’s visit to India in December will be the symbolic moment for the plants to start generating power.

However, seaside villages all along the coast, not just Indinthakarai at ground zero, have opposed the opening of the first two of six planned nuclear reactors every step along the way. Tens of thousands of fisher folk who live off the ocean have taken part in a series of hunger strikes and imaginative land- and sea-based demonstrations and peaceful blockades. They’ve buried themselves up to the neck in sand at the approach to the plants. They’ve immersed themselves in the ocean and blockaded the harbour with their fishing boats.

These rolling protests, born out of the non-violent leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, have been continuous since 15 August last year – India’s day of Independence. Since then there have been two major police raids in March and September involving thousands of police each time. In the last raid, the police lathi charged (with bamboo sticks) peaceful protestors and beat everyone in their path who could not flee fast enough: children, the crippled, old men and women. One fisherman was shot dead. Another fell down and died from his injuries. People threw themselves into the sea as they tried to escape the tear gas and baton charges. The tear gas shells used showed an expiry date of 2002, ‘Made in the USA’, and they caused permanent horrible sores on the faces of the kids and those exposed to the outdated chemicals. The police entered the Lourdes church, broke the statue of Mary and urinated in the foyer area of the church. All of this I was given as firsthand witness accounts. That is the price to people’s lives of going nuclear.

I filmed for the next ten days and was given a very humbling and wonderful insight into the life of this courageous little village. It will form the basis of my next film which could be called simply ‘Business As Usual’ or more enigmatically, ‘The Ant in the Ear of the Elephant’ – an expression used by one of the leaders in Indinthakarai to sum up their chances of winning against the huge nuclear beast. An ant biting in the right place in the ear of an elephant can inflict a lot of pain and trip the animal up. That’s what’s happening in India right now.

Certainly I enjoy the challenge and the adventure of going to places where authority and corrupt governance don’t want others to go and point a camera. It’s often quite nerve-wracking though, and sometimes dangerous to one’s life.

However, I don’t go to the edge for the sense of the adventure it brings. I go there so I can inform other Australians and my local community about what’s really going on and the hidden agendas operating. If taking the risks involved – physical, psychological and financial – result only in a pat on the back for the courage it takes, that’s not enough for me. I want my community, my fellow Australians, to take ACTION with the information I bring back.

Other communities who entrust me to film do so believing I can help them in their struggle. That’s the punchline for me. You have to take the information and run with it, and find ways of supporting the people of Indinthakarai by hassling the Indian government through the local High Commission in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. Let both the Australian and Indian governments know you don’t appreciate this brave community being put through outrageous and anti-democratic actions any more than you appreciate our government opening up our local area to CSG mining and so spoiling the aquifers forever. It’s about human greed by a few at the expense of the majority of us. And it needs ACTION.

I’ve just been informed 30 people including the woman who helped me get to Indinthakarai have been arrested and detained by Tamil Nadu police. They join another 54 others who were arrested in September and have been refused bail, wasting away in dirty conditions in jail after a big police operation invaded their village and beat the daylights out of anyone who could not run away fast enough. These activists have been charged with various offences including sedition, being ‘terrorists’ and waging war against the state. Some charges carry the death penalty. They are ordinary people like you and me. The police couldn’t get away with putting me in jail, but they can do this to their own people. We have to agitate for their release. They are only exercising their democratic rights to non-violently oppose the spoiling of their ancient environment, the same as people opposing coal-seam gas fracking here.

If anyone wants to contribute a tax-deductible donation to seeing the film completed contact david@frontlinefilms.com.au or 6684 0015.

Source: Echonetdaily

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Which Countries Voted for Palestine …


Palestine vote

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The UN general assembly has just voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a state. An astounding 138 nations chose to support the path of peace and justice.

Just weeks ago, the vote was expected to be much closer, with Israel and the US lobbying hard to deny Palestine key European support. But in the face of major public pressure and vigorous campaigning by the Avaaz community, countries such as France, Spain, Belgium and Sweden decided to vote yes to statehood for Palestine. In the end, just nine countries ended up on the wrong side of history: Israel, the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

Celebrate this historic moment, share this map with everyone.

[Update: This map has been corrected to show New Zealand also voted in favor, rather than abstaining.]

Source: AVAAZ.ORG

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Police Say Pinki Pramanik Is a Male. Doctors Contest That Claim.


On June 14, 2012, the West Bengal police arrested 27-year-old Indian track athlete Pinki Pramanik after the West Bengal police received a complaint from her live-in partner, 30-year-old Anamika Acharya.

Anamika alleged that Pinki being a man had raped her.

The following day the court turned down Pinki’s bail plea and remanded her to a 14-day judicial custody and lodged her in the Dumdum correctional home.

Next the police took the sprinter to a private nursing home in North 24 Parganas district for medical tests to determine her gender. Subsequently, a 29-second MMS went viral online showing the athlete naked and undergoing tests at the nursing home.

The tests conducted at the district hospital were inconclusive. Initial private tests claimed to show Pinki to be male. She disagreed with these results, and police ordered a separate government-led test as part of the trial. The Court then directed a chromosome pattern test (Karyotyping) to be conducted at the West Bengal University of Technology.

On July 10, 2012,  the 11-member medical board of Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital (SSKM Government Hospital) in Kolkata, formed to determine the gender of Pinki Pramanik, after studying the reports of the Karyotyping concluded that Pramanik has 46, XY Karyotype which is common in a normal male. This came on a day a local court in Barasat granted Pramanik bail in the rape case.

A member of the medical board, who did not want to be named, told The Indian Express, “Normal Karyotypes for females contain two X chromosomes and are denoted as 46, XX. Males have an X and a Y chromosome and are denoted 46, XY. Test reports revealed that Pramanik has predominantly male features. The test reports, along with our observations, have been submitted to the court.”

“At the same time, Pramanik has the disorder of sexual development. In medical science, not everything can be said in black and white. This case has shades of gray. Pramanik does not have all the features that a normal adult male has,” the doctor said. When asked if such a person can rape someone, he said that it was “very difficult” to tell.

However, Tuhin Roy, Pinki’s lawyer, said that based on the medical reports, the district and sessions judge’s court held that the athlete is “physically incapable of committing rape” and granted Pramanik bail after 25 days in custody.

Now sharp differences have emerged between the police and the members of the medical board after the former submitted a charge sheet declaring Pinki Pramanik as being a male and proceeding to accuse the person of raping a woman. However, the doctors contest the claim by the police and say that Pinki is not a male but a “male pseudo hermaphrodite.”

Defending the police version, Shantomay Basu additional public prosecutor said, “The medical board that examined Pinki Pramanik declared Pramanik as being a male having the ability to rape. The police have filed the charge sheet in this regard.”

Members of the medical board told Hindustan Times they differed with the police. “Pinki Pramanik is neither a male nor a female. Pramanik is a male pseudo hermaphrodite. It is a genetic disorder. That’s the medical opinion. It’s now for the court to deliberate,” Dr BN Kahali, board chairman, said.

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Several States in the USA now Want To Leave The Union


“My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.”— President Barack Obama

The petition submitted on Friday November 9, 2012 from the State of Texas requests the Obama administration to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.”

The petition appeared in the White House website “We the People” that invites users with a U.S. zip code to submit or sign petitions about policy changes they would like to see with the condition that such a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days, by December 9th, 2012, for the Obama administration to comment on it.

Surprisingly, today at 3:22 p.m., the number of signatures zoomed past the needed 25,000 mark.

When I last checked the page on the White House website “We the People” at 11:00 pm the total signatures on the petition was 50,885.

Here is the text of the petition as displayed in the White House website “We the People”:

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.

The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

Created: Nov 09, 2012

So far, the president has not commented on the petition and there is no guarantee that he will. The terms of participation give the president some loopholes.

“To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition,” the site says.

At least, 19 other states have submitted similar petitions requesting secession on the “We the People” forum, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Click the name of the State to know the current number of signatories to their petition:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Colorado
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Indiana
  7. Kentucky
  8. Louisiana
  9. Michigan
  10. Mississippi
  11. Missouri
  12. Montana 
  13. New Jersey
  14. New York
  15. North Carolina
  16. North Dakota
  17. Oregon
  18. South Carolina
  19. Tennessee
  20. Texas
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