Thursday, March 31, 2005

from the New York Times:

SINCE 1977, the United States State Department has issued an annual global report card called the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

The document has long been a thorn in the side of authoritarian governments, including China's, which responds with a nettled review of its own, called "The Human Rights Record of the United States," the 2004 version of which was recently released.

link to full text of the report in English at China's People's Daily.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Iraqi 'justice' by television

An Iraqi confesses on TV to attacking US forces
'Self-confessed' insurgents are portrayed as morally bankrupt

Every night the government-run al-Iraqiya television station carries lengthy confessions, under interrogation, from people like Ibrahim, who it says are captured insurgents.

The broadcasts have stirred a lot of interest among the Iraqi people, but unease among foreign observers who see it as an echo of the ousted Baathist regime's discredited practices.

The televised confessions, on a programme called "Terror in the Hands of Justice", are shown at prime time every night, and are clearly aimed at shocking the Iraqi public.

Link to BBC.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Congressman calls for IRA to disband



Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams, center, wearing glasses, is welcomed as he arrives, Saturday, March 12, 2005, in Cincinnati. Adams went to the United States on Saturday in search of foreign support, but back home in Northern Ireland a controversy over the IRA's killing of a Catholic man refused to go away. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

DUBLIN, Ireland -- In a major departure, Sinn Fein's leading backer in the U.S. Congress called Sunday for the Irish Republican Army to disband because it was standing in the way of peace in Northern Ireland.

Representative Peter King, who for more than two decades has been an ardent supporter of the Sinn Fein-IRA movement, accused the outlawed IRA of making a series of poor decisions that have fueled growing hostility within Irish-American circles.

King said IRA activities were preventing a potential new power-sharing deal between Sinn Fein, which represents most Catholics in Northern Ireland, and Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists, the territory's major British Protestant party.

AP story here.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Children as young as 11 were held at Abu Ghraib

US held youngsters at Abu Ghraib
A US military intelligence officer leads an Iraqi prisoner at Abu Ghraib
The US military says no children suffered abuse at Abu Ghraib
Children as young as 11 years old were held at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison at the centre of the US prisoner abuse scandal, official documents reveal.

Brig Gen Janis Karpinski, formerly in charge of the jail, gave details of young people and women held there.

Her assertion was among documents obtained via legal action by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The Pentagon has admitted juveniles were among the detainees, but said no child was subject to any abuse.

Brig Gen Karpinski made her remarks in an interview with a general investigating the abuses at the prison.

AP story here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Taco Bell, tomato pickers reach agreement

A group of tomato pickers from Florida announced an end to a boycott of Taco Bell yesterday after the fast-food chain and its parent company agreed to meet demands to improve wages and working conditions for the farmworkers.

In what both sides called an unprecedented agreement, the fast-food company said it will increase the amount it pays for tomatoes by a penny per pound, with the increase to go directly to workers' wages. Taco Bell said it will help the farmworkers' efforts to improve working and living conditions.
Washington Post story here.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

John Bolton chosen as U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

WASHINGTON (AP) - John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice to be U.N. ambassador, once said it wouldn't matter if 10 stories of the world body's headquarters simply vanished. He has also said the United States is the world's only real authority.

AP story at the Guardian here.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Carlos Mesa pondrá su renuncia hoy ante el Congreso de Bolivia

Solecito "No habrá muertos sobre mi espalda", dice, y reta a Evo Morales a gobernar el país

Solecito Se mantienen los bloqueos carreteros; alteños ratifican su decisión de radicalizar el paro

Solecito Manifestaciones de apoyo al mandatario en La Paz y anuncian movilizaciones para este lunes

La Paz, 6 de marzo. El presidente de Bolivia, Carlos Mesa, anunció este domingo en un mensaje radiotelevisado que presentará el lunes su renuncia a su investidura ante el Congreso nacional en medio de un rebrote de las demandas sociales y del llamado a la radicalización de los bloqueos en todo el país.

"He decidido presentar a la consideración del país, a la consideración de ustedes ciudadanos de Bolivia, como manda la Constitución, mediante el Congreso nacional, mi renuncia al cargo de presidente de la República", señaló Mesa en un mensaje desde el palacio de gobierno.

Link to La Jornada.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

2nd test, this time with title

this is an audio post - click to play
this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, March 04, 2005

OFW's Remit a Record 8.5 Billion Dollars in 2004

According to the Philippine Central Bank remittances by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), reached an all time high in 2004. A total of 8.5 billion dollars were sent home to the Philippines from cities and towns around the globe. From the Americas, the EU, the Middle East, and Asia, OFWs remitted their hard-earned cash, and in the process kept the country's economy afloat. This loyal army of overseas benefactors, forced by cruel circumstance to leave their towns and barrios and travel to the far reaches of our planet just to earn a living wage and feed their family, has once again delivered--as expected.

Link to

Cuban Cardinal Questioned By Homeland Security

Cuba's highest ranking Catholic official Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the Archbishop of Havana, released a statement yesterday confirming weekend press reports that he was harassed by Homeland Security officers in the Miami International Airport last Friday when he arrived on a charter flight from Havana. News reports said that Ortega was questioned about issues unrelated to his travel, including his views on the Castro government and the U.S. economic blockade on the island. Ortega said that an agent indicated that he was opening a file on Ortega reserved for "dangerous persons" and that in order to enter the U.S., the Cardinal had to answer his questions. The Cardinal carries a diplomatic passport issued by the Vatican and has a multiple entry visa issued by the U.S. State Department.

Link to Periodico 26 Las Tunas, Cuba.

UPDATE Self-censoring media: Her Syndicate Runs Edited Version of Ann Coulter Column

Ann Coulter, no stranger to controversy, stirred the pot some more this past week, when she took up the the still-simmering story of ex-White House reporter James Guckert, better known as Jeff Gannon, formerly of Talon News.

Writing in her Feb. 23 column for Universal Press Syndicate, Coulter observed, among other things, that Guckert/Gannon was a better reporter than The New York Times' Maureen Dowd and his "only offense is that he may be gay." Nothing unexpected there, but Coulter also wrote: "Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president."

Link to Editor & Publisher.

Arab Americans Criticize "Racist" Writer's Remarks

Arab Americans have taken a swipe at "racist" and "outrageous" remarks against Helen Thomas, one of the first female journalists and the dean of the White House Press Corps, because of her Arab descent.

"Ann Coulter uses this context as an opportunity for Arab bashing and perpetuating Arab phobia," Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) (ADC) said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by, on Thursday, March 3.

In an article published on February 23, Coulter, a syndicated writer and journalist, said that "press passes can't be hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president."

Link to Islam-Online.

The American Witness

American soldiers are trained to shoot at the enemy. They're prepared to be shot at. But what young men like Brian Steidle are not equipped for is witnessing a genocide but being unable to protect the civilians pleading for help.

Link to The New York Times (free regiistration required).

Five acquitted in Mukhtar Mai case

A division bench of the Lahore High Court Multan
Bench on Thursday acquitted five of six men
sentenced to death in the Mukhtar Mai gang-rape
case, quashing the judgement of an anti-terrorism
court (ATC) in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Link to Pakisatn Daily Times.

UPDATE: Carlos Mauricio

For more information on Carlos Mauricio's case visit the Center for Justice and Accountability.

Link to

A federal appeals court has reversed a multimillion dollar 2002 verdict by a West Palm Beach jury against two former Salvadoran generals.

A federal appeals court has reversed a $54.6 million verdict against two retired Salvadoran generals -- one of them a Broward County resident -- accused of turning a blind eye to the torture of citizens during their country's bloody civil war two decades ago.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said Monday that the three plaintiffs -- a church worker, a rural doctor and a university professor who were labeled subversives and brutalized by Salvadoran soldiers -- waited more than 10 years, or beyond a statute of limitations, to bring legal action.

The court said the statute of limitations had expired before the generals were sued in a U.S. court in 1999 under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, which allows U.S. courts to assess damages against perpetrators of human rights abuses committed abroad.

The ruling reverses a civil verdict reached by a federal jury in West Palm Beach in July 2002 after listening to weeks of chilling testimony from the three torture victims.

The jury decided the generals were liable for the brutality carried out by their men against those perceived to oppose the Salvadoran government.

''It's the right decision. I'm just surprised it took the court this long to rule,'' said Miami attorney Kurt Klaus, who represents the two generals, José Guillermo García, 72, of Plantation, and Carlos Vides Casanova, 67, of Palm Coast.

Link to The Miami Herald article hosted on