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Monday, August 30, 2010

CNN, NY Times whites out writer voices — FAIR

Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett
A study by the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) examined episodes of CNN’s “After Words” (March 2008-January 2010) and of the New York Times Book Reviews (January 2009-February 2010) focused on politically themed books. Their finding was this:
The New York Times Book Review and C-SPAN’s book show ‘After Words’ share an exceedingly narrow view of whose political books deserve review—and who is fit to discuss these books. …
White and male authors, reviewers and interviewers overwhelmingly dominated these important media venues for discussion of newly published books.
“Ideological diversity is vitally important,” the study’s authors conclude, “but book discussions heavily dependent on white male authors, reviewers and commentators do more than deny full voice to women and people of color—who, together, represent far more than half the U.S. population.”

The censor’s quotas loaded up with white male authors, reviewers and commentators “also deprive ALL readers and viewers of exposure to the variety of experiences and sensibilities women and people of color would bring to discussions.”

Sources and notes
“Who Gets to Review and Be Reviewed? Authors, book critics drawn from narrow pool” (Steve Rendall, Zachary Tomanelli, Research assistance, Daniel de Corral), Extra! Magazine, August 2010, http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4119; http://www.fair.org

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR], founded in 1986, is a national media watch group offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship.

FAIR works to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.

As an anti-censorship organization, FAIR exposes neglected news stories and defends working journalists when they are muzzled. FAIR is a progressive group that believes structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, to establish independent public broadcasting, and to promote strong non-profit sources of information.

FAIR works with activists and journalists and maintains regular dialogue with reporters at news outlets across the country, providing constructive critiques when called for and applauding exceptional, hard-hitting journalism. FAIR encourages the public to contact media with their concerns, to become media activists rather than passive consumers of news. FAIR publishes Extra, a hard-hitting magazine of media criticism, and produces the weekly radio program CounterSpin, a show that goes behind the headlines to bring news. http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=100

Sunday, August 29, 2010

East-West Governments brandishing religion against —

Editing, re-reporting by Carolyn Bennett
People’s reasons for secularism, against veiled or blatant State Religion

“Religion is a private issue unrelated to political issues and government,” writes Afghan social activist and politician Malalai Joya. She is speaking mainly about Afghanistan and Islam but her thoughts have relevance for many countries, governments and religions of the east and west.

“Too often extremists invoke [religion] to justify crimes against the people. … Politicians invoke [religion] rather than focusing on policies they will implement.

“People have [religion] in their hearts and minds. They don’t need those who are a shame to [their religion] to impose their rules on them in the name of [religion]. They don’t need religion in their government and they do not need anyone — certainly not politicians — to guide them in their faith.

“Instead of this dangerous conflation of religion and politics …what we [need is] a secular government, one that [will] remain distinct from religion, which is a matter of personal faith.” Contrary to claims of fundamentalists, “secularism is not to be feared.” Secularism means simply “a separation of religion from politics;” and so defined, secularism “safeguards and guarantees the rights of citizens to freedom of religion and belief.”

Another reason against State Religion —
Governors’ ole time religion persists at war

Rich natural resources, oil and waterways, mercenary and military industries, foreign interference and exploitation RELIGION


“The U.S. fiasco in Iraq and Afghanistan has exposed the limits of the superpower’s military capacity to win wars — let alone hearts and minds — in faraway lands. … Western wars in Eastern lands have spread chaos and exposed its [the superpower’s] weaknesses. Yet in addition to hundreds of military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military continues to deploy its forces in more than 100,000 structures, in over 700 bases, in more than 100 countries around the world.” Al Jazeera was reporting in an episode of its  “Empire” program that began last Wednesday.

In an estimated 400 bases, there are now more than 140,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan (from 100,000 Americans to three Austrians).

The U.S. State Department decision to hire and deploy a private army of some 7,000 additional mercenaries in Iraq — added to an estimated 200,000 private contractors already deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan — further militarizes its diplomatic presence in the region.

Unaccountable private contractors are carrying out other cover operations, complicating U.S. missions and rules of engagement.

Although the covert operations are defended as less costly in terms of ‘collateral damage’ or human losses, their use comes in addition to — not instead of — military operations. “‘Terrorismologists’” call this, “using the ‘scalpel’ in addition to — not instead of — the ‘hammer.’”

As of September 2010, 50,000 U.S. soldiers in more than 100 military bases will remain in Iraq.

Afghanistan last week
Twenty-one “fighters” died and four NATO soldiers suffered wounds in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday. Also on Saturday the “NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said its forces had mistakenly killed two private security contractors after one of its patrols came under fire from fighters in Wardak province, west of the capital, Kabul.” http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/08/201082832726175137.html

Iraq last week
Eight members of the government-backed Awakening Council (Sahwa) militia died Thursday in eastern Iraq. The attack on the U.S.-organized Sunni force came after a spate of bombings and shootings, mostly targeting security forces, left at least 50 Iraqis dead on Wednesday. Wednesday attacks also left at least 15 dead and 58 wounded in the north of Baghdad, and at least ten people dead in southern Iraq’s Wasit province. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/08/201082682343489618.html

Nigeria last week
Twelve and more people died in separate incidents in recent weeks in this country’s north ahead of expected January presidential, legislative and state elections. http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20100828/twl-nigeria-politics-violence-4bdc673.html

Pakistan since the monsoons
Fifteen thousand and more people have died. An estimated 72,000 children have been affected by severe malnutrition in the flood-affected areas and are at high risk of death.

Seventeen million and more people have been significantly affected by the floods and about 1.2 million homes have been destroyed or badly damaged.

More than 175,000 people have fled Pakistan’s southern city of Thatta, leaving it virtually empty, as flood waters threatened to submerge the city's outskirts. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/08/201082873211738615.html

Somalia last week
Eleven civilians died in Friday night clashes in south Mogadishu when “Islamist insurgents continued whittling away areas controlled by government forces.” http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20100828/twl-somalia-unrest-4bdc673.html

Yemen last week
Thirty-three (est.) people died in clashes between alleged “Al-Qaeda militants and the army in Loder, in northern Abyan.” http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20100829/twl-yemen-unrest-qaeda-4bdc673.html

How many (est.) in two-theater
Casualty sites reporting
August 29, 2010 (accurate totals unknown)
• Anti-war dot com Casualties in Iraq since March 19, 2003
[U.S. war dead since the Obama inauguration January 20, 2009: 188]
Wounded 31,911-100,000
U.S. veterans with brain injuries 320,000
Suicides [estimated] 18 a day
Latest update on this site August 24
Iraq Body Count figures
97,461 – 106,348
• ICasualties IRAQ: 4,416 U.S., 4,734 Coalition
AFGHANISTAN: 1,256 U.S., 2,040 Coalition

More sources

A Woman among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice by Malalai Joya and Derrick O'Keefe, pages 97-98

Excerpted from PDF excerpt from A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice by Malalai Joya and Derrick O'Keefe published by Scribner 2009, ZNet: The Spirit of Resistance Lives, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, By Malalai Joya and Derrick O'Keefe Saturday, December 5, 2009, www.zcommunications.org/a-woman-among-warlords-the-extraordinary-story-of-an-afghan-who-dared-to-raise-her-voice-by-malalai-joya.pdf

“In Afghanistan, democratic-minded people have been struggling for human and women’s rights for decades. Our history proves that these values cannot be imposed by foreign troops. … No nation can donate liberation to another nation. These values must be fought for and won by the people themselves. They can only grow and flourish when they are planted by the people in their own soil and watered by their own blood and tears.” [Malalai Joya]

Al Jazera’s Empire program “U.S. wars: People vs. Generals” (Marwan Bishara in Imperium on August 25, 2010, episode runs Wednesday-Sunday, August 25-29) http://blogs.aljazeera.net/imperium/2010/08/25/us-wars-people-vs-generals

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Listening to levees ─ Katrina at year five

“The Big Uneasy” opens nationwide August 30
Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

“The Big Uneasy”  marks the beginning of the end of five years of ignorance about what happened
to one of our nation’s most treasured cities ─
and serves as a stark reminder that
the same agency that failed to protect New Orleans
still exists in other cities across America.
─ International Documentary Association─

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on an August morning five years ago. Floods broke through catastrophically failed levees. Eighty percent of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes fell gradually under raging waters. Floodwaters lingered for weeks. In his feature-length documentary ‘The Big Uneasy,’ Harry Shearer goes to the people in the storm and “gets the inside story of a disaster that could have been prevented.”

Shearer talks with investigators who poked through the muck as the water receded and a whistleblower from the Army Corps of Engineers, revealing that some of the same flawed methods responsible for the levee failure during Katrina are being used to rebuild the system expected to protect the New Orleans from future peril.

Shearer’s mix of documents and previously unseen footage and new interviews with people such as the former deputy director of the [Louisiana State University] Hurricane Center and a whistleblower at the Army Corps of Engineers produces, what Kevin Allman calls, “a damning report on the Corps, its disastrous civil engineering and the sad outcome for the New Orleans metro area.…

“Defective pumps: do you remove them and leave the city with no protection while new ones are built, or do you work with what you have? Can Americans understand (or will they care) about the difference between Option 1 and Option 2 levees … What of the American cities protected by the more than 100 other levees maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers? How safe are other places ─ How will we know?”

“The Big Uneasy,” Allman writes at the Best of New Orleans website, answers many questions and raises others about failures of the levees.

Shearer presents a straightforward account, Allman says; “but, as a near-full-time resident of New Orleans, it is clear where [Shearer’s] sympathies lie. His hurt and outrage are palpable, despite his documentarian, dispassionate tone.”

“The Big Uneasy” opens, simultaneously, in theaters across the United States on Monday, August 30. After a 7:30 p.m. screening at New Orleans’ Prytania Theater, Shearer will appear for a question and answer session.

Sources and notes
Harry Shearer, self-described, is “first and foremost an actor [and] also an author, director, satirist, musician, radio host, playwright, multi-media artist and record label owner.” http://www.harryshearer.com/about/

The Big Uneasy Event Type: Screening, 08/30/2010 @ 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, International Documentary Association, August 26, 2010, http://www.documentary.org/calendar/big-uneasy
http://www.screenvision.com/s/showing/TheBigUneasy/; http://www.screenvision.com/s/showing/register/

“The Big Uneasy Harry Shearer’s documentary premieres nationally” (Kevin Allman), August 23, 2010, http://bestofneworleans.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A80196

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

U.S.’s bloody, lawless march across Arabia

Amnesty International, news sources
Edited excerpts by Carolyn Bennett

“It is particularly worrying that states such as Saudi Arabia and the USA are directly or indirectly aiding the Yemeni government in a downward spiral away from previously improving human rights record,” Amnesty reported today.

“An extremely worrying trend has developed where the Yemeni authorities, under pressure from the USA and others to fight al-Qa’ida [al-Qaeda], and Saudi Arabia to deal with the Huthis, have been citing national security as a pretext to deal with opposition and stifle all criticism.”

The number of death sentences passed in trials of people accused of having links to al-Qa’ida [al-Qaeda], or to the Huthi armed group has noticeably increased. In 2009, at least 34 people accused of links to Huthi armed groups were sentenced to death.

The security forces have killed at least 113 people since 2009 in operations the government says target ‘terrorists.’ Attacks have become more frequent since December 2009 with security forces in some cases making no attempt to detain suspects before killing them.

At least 41 people were killed, 21 of them children and 14 of them women, on December 17, 2009, when their settlement in al-Ma’jalah area in the southern district of Abyan was hit by missiles.

“All measures taken in the name of countering terrorism or other security challenges in Yemen must have at its heart the protection of human rights.”

“The Yemeni authorities have a duty to ensure public safety and to bring to justice those engaged in attacks that deliberately target members of the public, but when doing so they must abide by international law. … Enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and extrajudicial executions are never permissible, and the Yemeni authorities must immediately cease these violations.”

Reports from Yemen today
Yemeni officials were reported saying Yemen’s army has killed 12 anti-government fighters and retaken control of a southern town after several days of fighting. The reports late yesterday said the army had begun its assault on the town of Loder after a Friday ambush left 11 soldiers dead.

Sources and notes

Yemen abandons human rights in the name of countering terrorism” (quoted Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme), © Amnesty International, the Yemeni security forces have killed at least 113 people since 2009, © ASSOCIATED PRESS, August 25, 2010, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/yemen-abandons-human-rights-name-countering-terrorism-2010-08-24

“Yemen kills ‘al-Qaeda fighters,’” August 25, 2010, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/08/2010825132359773721.html

Geopolitical implications
[U. S. in Middle East and S/Central Asia, Horn of Africa region)

Yemen (officially Republic of Yemen, Arabic Al-Yaman or Al-Jumhūrīyah al-Yamanīyah) is situated at the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

Most of Yemen’s northern frontier with Saudi Arabia traverses the great desert of the peninsula and remains without demarcation, as does the eastern frontier with Oman. In the west and the south, Yemen is bounded by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, respectively.

Its territory includes a number of islands including the Kamaran group located in the Red Sea near Al-Ḥudaydah; Perim (Barīm) in the Bab el-Mandeb, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Africa; the most important and largest island, Socotra (Suqutrā), located in the Arabian Sea nearly 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) east of Aden; and The Brothers, small islets near Socotra.

The present Yemen came into being in May 1990, when the former Yemen Arab Republic, or North Yemen, merged with the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, also called South Yemen [Britannica notes].

Arabic (“Island of the Arabs”) is a peninsular region together with offshore islands located in the extreme southwestern corner of Asia.

The Arabian Peninsula is bounded by the Red Sea on the west and southwest, the Gulf of Aden on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south and southeast, and the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf (also called the Arabian Gulf) on the northeast. Geographically the peninsula and the Syrian Desert merge in the north with no clear line of demarcation, but the northern boundaries of Saudi Arabia and of Kuwait are generally taken as marking the limit of Arabia there.

The peninsula’s total area is about 1,000,000 square miles (2,590,000 square kilometers). The length, bordering the Red Sea, is approximately 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) and the maximum breadth, from Yemen to Oman, 1,300 miles.

The largest political division is Saudi Arabia followed, in order of size, by Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain.

The island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean, about 200 miles southeast of the mainland, has strong ethnographic links to Arabia; politically it is part of Yemen [Britannica notes].

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crimes of empire inseparable, endlessly cyclical

War, occupation, exploitation, poverty, injustice, climate change, conflict, poverty … To speak ─ as the U.S. does ─ of mere “democracy” amidst these crimes against nature is worst than ridiculous. It affronts, offends, insults, demeans all that lives or exists in any form.
Re-reporting, editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett


U.S. Pakistan

“The U.S. currently spends at least $12 billion each month prosecuting the war in Afghanistan and the broader ‘war on terror.’ Congressional Research Service estimates that the U.S. spends $1 million per soldier per year in the AfPak theatre. …

“Imagine how Pakistanis would respond,” Mark LeVine writes in an opinion piece, “if, instead of competing with the Taliban or al-Qaeda via drones, missiles and IEDs, the U.S. were clearly at the forefront of a massive relief and rebuilding effort.

“Imagine if U.S. and other coalition officials, relief specialists and personnel worked with grassroots organizations… and began the process of building bonds of trust and solidarity with the very groups who are currently so suspicious of American intentions and goals.…

“How would [poor Pakistanis] respond if, instead of handing over ‘crops, fertilizers, and seed’ (in the UN secretary-general’s words) to the country’s corrupt landed elite, the U.S. led the drive to work with grassroots forces to break the cycle of dependency and corruption by empowering small farmers to take control of the country’s agricultural system?

“Such a strategy has a chance of working where the current one of bombs and aid to the government has met with failure.”

U.S. Afghanistan

Four U.S. soldiers died in three separate incidents Sunday in Afghanistan. The second-in-command of security for the inter-provincial Kandahar-Uruzgan highway also died early Sunday, Agence France Presse is reporting.

Afghanistan is preparing for what occupied Iraq tried and failed to accomplish (and which is impossible to properly) accomplish in the midst of war, occupation and unending conflict with thousands of foreigners (combatants or not officially ncombatants) on their soil: Parliamentary elections.

In a war-torn, conflict ridden country of fellow citizens and foreigners, it is hard to tell who is who and which side is killing which side.

Foreign forces “apologized” last week for firing a missile and 30-millimeter rounds from helicopters that killed and wounded Afghan National Police. Three Afghan police died Friday in a NATO airstrike in north Afghanistan [EPA]. Nine Afghan police died in two separate incidents in the north and south of Afghanistan. “Bodies of six police officers were found in their station house in Greskh district of southern Helmand province on Saturday.”

A botched NATO airstrike in July “killed six Afghan soldiers in Ghazni province in the east.”

Thirty-eight members of the international coalition, including 24 Americans, have died so far this month. The United Nations is reporting that Afghan civilian dead (est. 1,271) and wounded (1,997) soared to 31 percent in the first six months of 2010.

Hundreds of Afghan villagers some chanting anti-American slogans such as ‘down with Obama’ and ‘down with foreign forces’ closed the highway connecting Jalalabad to Pakistan on Wednesday. The villagers blocking a highway in eastern Afghanistan were protesting a night raid by NATO and Afghan soldiers that left two people dead.

Jalalabad lies on the route from Kābul, the Afghan capital, via the Khyber Pass to Peshāwar, Pakistan, and handles much of Afghanistan’s trade with Pakistan and India.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) disputed the villagers’ labeling of the dead. Afghans have staged a number of similar protests in recent months all related to the killing (or disputed killings) of civilians.

U.S. India

The Union Carbide chemical disaster perpetrated on the people of Bhopal, India, represents the world’s worst and most unjustly adjudicated disaster in history. However, reports last week said U.S. officials are attempting to silence “the uproar over ‘alleged malfeasance’ on the Bhopal issue.”

India’s media have released leaked emails suggesting that senior U.S. officials told India to end its ‘noise’ about the chemical disaster, in order to secure loans from the World Bank. U.S. deputy national security adviser Mike Froman writes in an email released on Wednesday, “‘I trust you are monitoring it carefully ... I think we want to avoid developments which put a chilling effect on our investment relationship.’”

U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit India in November and is “hoping to sign a series of investment agreements, particularly in the nuclear sector.”

Many Indians feel U.S. companies (Union Carbide then Dow Chemical) have not faced justice for the 1984 chemical disaster [AFP]. The U.S. has refused to extradite Warren Anderson, the former Union Carbide CEO who has been blamed for the disaster.

In December 1984, general references report, “Bhopal was the site of the worst industrial accident in history. An estimated 45 tons of the dangerous gas methyl isocyanate escaped from an insecticide plant owned by the Indian subsidiary of the U.S. firm Union Carbide Corporation.

“The gas drifted over the densely populated neighborhoods around the plant, killing thousands of people immediately and creating a panic as tens of thousands of others attempted to flee the city.

“The final death toll was estimated to be between 15,000 and 20,000, and some half million survivors suffered respiratory problems, eye irritation or blindness, and other maladies resulting from exposure to the toxic gas. Soil and water contamination in the area has been blamed for chronic health problems of the area’s inhabitants. Investigations later established that substandard operating and safety procedures at the understaffed plant had led to the catastrophe.”

U.S. Iraq

Sixty people died and an estimated 125 suffered wounds Tuesday when a bomb hit an army recruitment center in central Baghdad. The location of the massacre was the historical site of Iraq’s defense ministry, a building that had been turned into an army recruitment center and military base after the United States invaded the country in 2003. Iraq is still without a coalition government and the incident last week demonstrates the rising violence in that U.S.-occupied country. Violence hit a two-year high in July. This latest incident has been recorded as “the deadliest attack in Iraq this year.”

Unraveling war lies spinning “success”
Edited excerpt from Professor Hannah Gurman’s article “The Iraq withdrawal: An Orwellian success”

…In recent weeks, we have reached another historic juncture. The Iraq war, or at least the American military’s role in it, is drawing to a symbolic close. To mark this moment, the U.S. Ministry of Information has put its spin machine in high gear. …

The official version championed in its earlier moments by President Bush, Gen. Petraeus and the congressional hawks, and now trumpeted almost as loudly by the White House and U.S. State Department is this: Violence is down. Iraqis are finally … taking responsibility for their own security. The March elections were a great step forward. Iraq, we can safely say, is on the path to a brighter future. This story marks the last chapter in the surge narrative that took root in 2006, a narrative in which Petraeus is credited with turning the war around.

Proponents of this story know better than to declare victory, a word that has largely fallen out of the official lexicon. But the word ‘success,’ which has taken its place, is everywhere; and while it doesn’t quite afford that nationalist sense of superiority to which Americans have long been accustomed, success does provide a certain contentment and satisfaction over a job well done. It allows for that perennial optimism that never quite goes out of fashion in the American way of war.…

As the deadline for troop withdrawal has neared, Ambassador Christopher Hill has become a more visible prop in the administration’s official spin machine, deflecting any arrows aimed at the armor that is the official success narrative.

However, the success story is a bit harder to feed to the Iraqis who actually experience the realities on the ground in Iraq, and who, unlike Hill, will continue to face these realities on a daily basis.

No matter how much the U.S government erases the past or predicts the future of Iraq, ordinary Iraqis will continue to face the messy and complicated realities of the present. I dare [U.S. President] Obama and everyone else in the spin machine to go to Iraq and look a child in the eyes ─ A child who, seven years after the U.S. invasion, still lacks adequate housing, drinking water, sanitation, electricity and education. Then tell that child that the war in Iraq was a success.

“The Iraq withdrawal: An Orwellian success ─ The symbolic end of America’s involvement in the war has arrived, but the propaganda rages on” (Hannah Gurman, posted at Salon dot com), August 15, 2010, http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/08/15/iraq_withdrawal_success. Also at CounterSpin (8/20/10-8/26/10): “Hannah Gurman on Iraq, Norman Solomon on Petraeus and Afghanistan,” http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4138

Hannah Gurman is an Assistant Professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Her dissertation “The dissent papers: the voice of diplomats in the cold war and beyond,” received Columbia University’s Bancroft Prize. She has published articles and reviews about U.S. foreign policy in numerous venues including Salon, Small Wars Journal, and Foreign Policy in Focus as well as The Journal of Contemporary History and Diplomatic History.

How many (est.) in two-theater
Casualty sites reporting
August 22, 2010 (accurate totals unknown)
• Anti-war dot com Casualties in Iraq since March 19, 2003
[U.S. war dead since the Obama inauguration January 20, 2009: 187]
Wounded 31,907-100,000
U.S. veterans with brain injuries 320,000
Suicides [estimated] 18 a day
Latest update on this site August 16
Iraq Body Count figures
97,361 – 106,245
• ICasualties IRAQ: 4,417 U.S., 4,735 Coalition
AFGHANISTAN: 1,241 U.S., 2,019 Coalition

Sources and notes
“The real war on ‘terror’ must begin” (Mark LeVine, OPINION), August 18, 2010,http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/08/201081612554999771.html
Mark LeVine an author and a professor of Middle East history at the University of California, Irvine.
“Four U.S. soldiers killed in day of Afghan violence” (AFP), August 23, 2010, http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20100822/twl-afghanistan-unrest-575b600.html
“Policemen targeted in Afghanistan,” August 21, 2010, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/08/2010821142838886939.html
Jalalabad lies on the route from Kābul, the Afghan capital (110 mi [177 km] north-northwest), via the Khyber Pass to Peshāwar, Pakistan, and handles much of Afghanistan’s trade with Pakistan and India. The town stands at an important strategic position, commanding the entrances to the Laghmān and Konar (Kunar) valleys. It is a military center, with an airfield.
Jalālābād (formerly Jalālkot) is the capital of Nangarhār velāyat (province) in eastern Afghanistan on the Kābul River [Britannica notes]
“Afghan villagers protest night raid,” August 18, 2010,
Bhopal is situated in an agricultural area in the fertile plain of the Malwa Plateau. The region was formerly a part of the Bhopal princely state, which was founded in 1723 by Dost Mohammad Khan, an Afghan adventurer, and was the second largest Muslim principality of the British Empire [Britannica notes].
“Al-Qaeda ‘claims’ Baghdad attack,” August 20, 2010, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/08/20108204250505178.html
“Scores die in Baghdad bombings,” August 18, 2010,

Friday, August 20, 2010

We have stake in impartial, nonpartisan judiciary

Excerpting and editing by Carolyn Bennett
Explosion in judicial campaign spending, much of it poured in by ‘super spender’ organizations seeking to sway the courts
Parallel surge of nasty and costly TV ads as a prerequisite to gaining a state Supreme Court seat
Emergence of secretive state and national campaigns to tilt state Supreme Court elections
Litigation about judicial campaigns, some of which could boost special-interest pressure on judges
Growing public concern about the threat to fair and impartial justice—and support for meaningful reforms
The Justice at Stake Campaign, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and the National Institute of Money in State Politics have released a new, critical issues report in the public interest: “The New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2000-2009: Decade of Change”

The report leads, “State judicial elections have been transformed during the past decade. The story of [the United States’] 2000–2009 high court contests—tens of millions of dollars raised by candidates from parties who may appear before them, millions more poured in by interest groups, nasty and misleading ads, and pressure on judges to signal courtroom rulings on the campaign trail—has become the new normal.

“For more than a decade, partisans and special interests of all stripes have been growing more organized in their efforts to use elections to tilt the scales of justice their way. Many Americans have come to fear that justice is for sale.…”

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor writes, “This report, the latest in a series begun in 2000, provides a comprehensive review of the threat posed by money and special interest pressure on fair and impartial courts. . . .
“In too many states, judicial elections are becoming political prizefights where partisans and special interests seek to install judges who will answer to them instead of the law and the Constitution…
“We all have a stake in ensuring that courts remain fair, impartial, and independent.”

Sources and notes
James Sample, Adam Skaggs, Jonathan Blitzer, Linda Casey, and Charles Hall are the authors and editors of “The New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2000-2009: Decade of Change,” August 16, 2010. The Justice at Stake Campaign, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and the National Institute of Money in State Politics report covers not just individual elections but the whole decade [http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/the_new_politics_of_judicial_elections
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, 161 Avenue of the Americas, 12th Floor , New York, NY 10013, brennancenter@nyu.edu].

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. The work of the center ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, racial justice in criminal law to presidential power in the fight against terrorism. The institution describes itself as part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group, combining scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector [http://www.brennancenter.org/pages/about/].

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Social Forums struggle toward “no bases,” peace

Editing, excerpting, notes by Carolyn Bennett
“Abolishing foreign military bases around the world and working toward demilitarization is essential in the struggle against war ─ one step to establishing another world that is possible and necessary,” asserts the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases.

Bringing home the case are foreign military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, torture at the bases in Guantanamo [Cuba] and Diego Garcia [Indian Ocean], construction of new bases in Okinawa [Japan], ‘realignment’ of military alliances in Asia, dramatic increases in joint military exercises ─ as part of the so-called ‘global war against terror.’ These acts of aggression and occupation demonstrate how foreign military bases, other forms of military presence, and militarization of whole societies are being used to secure the interests of particular states and corporations ─ to the detriment of democracy, justice, and sovereignty around the world.

“Another world will not be possible,” the Network continues, “without abolishing these bases and demilitarizing global and national societies.…

“Around the world, communities, social movements, women’s organizations, political parties, environmental groups, intellectuals and religious groups have been campaigning in various ways through the years against foreign military presence, militarization, and military interventions. In some cases, such efforts have taken the form of specific single-issue campaigns. In others, the campaign has been part of broader movements for independence and social justice.

“For these campaigns, the issue of foreign military presence has served as a rallying and unifying cause that has driven grassroots organizing, educational campaigns, and political mobilization. In a number of places, notably in the Philippines or in Puerto Rico, popular movements against foreign bases succeeded in adding to the social pressure that led to the termination of basing agreements with the United States. Even then, campaigns to force the U.S. to clean up the toxic legacy of their vacated military bases continue. In many places, such as Korea or Japan, the campaigns have been going on for generations. In others, such as Ecuador, Paraguay, Uzbekistan or Bulgaria, the struggle has only recently begun.

“Until 2004, most of these movements and campaigns have been mostly local or national in character ─ even if the reach of foreign military presence itself is global. While often very vibrant and dynamic, these movements were often isolated and disparate.

“Given the similar tactics the U.S. uses to guarantee its military presence, as well as the similar experiences of those hosting them, much can be gained from greater and deeper linkages among local and national campaigns and movements across the globe.

“Local groups around the world can learn and benefit from sharing information, experiences, and strategies with each other.…

“Globally coordinated actions and campaigns can highlight the reach and scale of the resistance to foreign military presence around the world. With the trend of rising militarization and resort to the use of force around the world, there is now an urgent and compelling need to establish and strengthen an international network of campaigners, organizations, and movements working with a special and strategic focus on foreign military presence and, ultimately, working towards a lasting and just system of peace.

“…In an international anti-war meeting in Jakarta in May 2003, just a few weeks after the start of the invasion of Iraq, a global campaign against military bases was proposed as a priority action of the global anti-war and justice and solidarity movements.…

“A project to comprehensively map the locations and forms of foreign military installations around the world is currently in full operation. Efforts to organize and expand the Network are also ongoing, with workshops and seminars on foreign military bases now a regular presence in various Social Forums such as the European Social Forum in Paris in 2003 and in London in 2004, the Americas Social Forum in Ecuador in August 2004 and the Mediterranean Social Forum in Spain 2005.

“One of the biggest gatherings of anti-bases activists … has been the series of workshops on military bases held at the World Social Forum in India in January 2004. …One year after the gathering in Mumbai, four sessions were organized by the Network during the World Social Forum in Por to Alegre, Brazil. The sessions managed to draw in new participants, and exchange updated analyses between Network members. …”

This past week, Marc Becker reported to Free Speech Radio News from Asuncion, Paraguay, “Ten thousand people gathered in Paraguay for the Americas Social Forum,” part of World Social forums that began as civil society’s response to neoliberal economic policies and militarization. “Even under sympathetic ‘leftist’ governments, the struggle for demilitarization in Latin America remains a key issue at World Social forums.”

Sources and notes
Free Speech Radio News, Marc Becker reported from Asuncion, Paraguay, August 16, 2010, http://www.fsrn.org/audio/americas-social-forum-targets-militarization-latin-america/7325

No Bases, The international network for the abolition of foreign military bases
http://www.no-bases.org/, March 2007, Call to an international gathering for the abolition of all foreign military bases, Ecuador, March 5 - 9, 2007

International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases
No Bases Coalition Ecuador
American Friends Service Committee (USA) Asian Peace Alliance - Japan
Bangladesh Krishok Federation Bangladesh Sramajibi Kendra (Bangladesh)
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK) Focus on the Global South (Filipinas)
Campaña por la Desmilitarización de las Américas (CADA) For Mother Earth (Belgium)
Fellowship for Reconciliation (US) Gathering for Peace (The Philippines)
Japan Peace Committee (Japan) LALIT (Diego Garcia / Mauritius)
Movimiento cubano por la Paz y la Soberanía (Cuba) Nonviolence International (US)
Pakistan Peace Coalition (Pakistan) SEATINI (South Africa)
People's Task Force for Bases Clean-Up (Philippines) Stop the War Coalition (Greece)
Transnational Institute US Peace Council (US)

“The Americas Social Forum (ASF) is part of the World Social Forum (WSF) process initiated in 2001 and has become the largest space for the articulation of social initiatives, the development of critical thinking, and the construction of alternatives to the neoliberal order, under the common belief that ‘Another World is Possible,’” http://www.forosocialamericas.org/the-americas-social-forum

Britannica notes:

Diego Garcia is the largest and southernmost member of the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean. It occupies an area of about 10.5 square miles (27 square km) and has a waterway that is open at the north end. In the late 1990s, islanders from the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia, sued for the right to return home. In 2000, a British court ruled that the 1971 ordinance banning them from the islands was unlawful. U.S. and British officials fought attempts for resettlement. In 2003, a British court rejected the islanders’ lawsuit.

Jakarta whose area is 256 square miles (664 square km), estimated. Population 9,604,900, was formerly (until 1949) Batavia or (1949–72) Djakarta. It is the largest city and capital of Indonesia. Coextensive with the metropolitan district of Jakarta Raya, it lies at the mouth of the Ciliwung (Liwung River) on the northwest coast of Java. Jakarta has long been a major trade and financial center and has become an important industrial city and a center for education.
Pôrto Alegre city, the capital of the Rio Grande do Sul state, is in southern Brazil. Pôrto Alegre lies near the Atlantic Ocean coast at the northern end of the freshwater Patos Lagoon [shallow connecting waterway] along an arm of the lagoon known as the Guaíba River. The city sits at the junction of five short but deep rivers that flow into the Patos Lagoon. Colonists from the Azores [Portuguese in North Atlantic] founded it in 1742–43, first known as Pôrto dos Casais (or Pôrto dos Cazaes). German immigrants settled near the site in 1825 and Italian settlers followed. The administrative centre of Rio Grande do Sul moved in 1773 from Rio Grande to Pôrto Alegre, officially becoming the state capital in 1807.

Rio Grande is a port city of southeastern Rio Grande do Sul estado (state) in southern Brazil. The city lies along the Rio Grande (river), which is the outlet to the Atlantic Ocean of the Patos Lagoon. Rio Grande sits on a low peninsula, barely 5 feet (1.5 metres) above sea level and 8 miles (13 km) from the river’s mouth.

Geographical and geopolitical notes (2008) Encyclopedia Britannica Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica

Monday, August 16, 2010

“‘Flipper’ committed suicide, stop dolphin capture” ─ O’Barry

Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett
Dolphin activist Richard O’Barry appeared today on the Democracy Now program with Amy Goodman.

To stop Dolphin kills, O’Barry said, “Don’t buy a ticket for a dolphin show.… If we stop buying tickets for silly dolphin shows, the problem will go away real quick.… “

The captured dolphin starring in the 1960s NBC television series “was a wild animal that lived in Biscayne Bay before we … dragged her kicking and screaming to the Miami Sea Aquarium and put her in a tank and gave her a stage name, Flipper. Her name was really [Kathy]. Her real name was [a whistle]. Dolphins have a signature whistle given to them by their mothers.”

Captivity kills. “The killers of dolphins are pollution, fishing nets, and captivity.”

Dolphins “are sonic creatures. They live in a world of sound. Their primary sense is sound. They’re sound-oriented. [Humans] are light-oriented, visually oriented…To place a free-ranging sonic creature in a concrete box for casual amusement is simply wrong. …”

Source and notes
“Filmmakers, Activists Try to Save Dolphins from Slaughter in Oscar-Winning Doc ‘The Cove,’” August 16, 2010, http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/16/filmmakers_activists_try_to_save_dolphins

First recognized in the 1960s for capturing and training five dolphins used in the well-known TV series “Flipper,” Richard (Ric) O’Barry (born c. 1941) transitioned “from training dolphins in captivity to assertively combating the captivity industry.” He appears in “‘The Cove,’ a film that uses covert techniques to expose the yearly dolphin-drive hunting that goes on in Taiji, Japan.”

O’Barry says one of the “Flipper” dolphins died while in his arms a couple of days before the first Earth Day commemoration, April 22, 1970.

Flipper was played at first by a female dolphin named Suzy, though primarily by another female, Kathy; and occasionally by other females named Patty, Scotty and Squirt. Female dolphins were chosen because they are less aggressive than males and their skins (unlike the skin of male dolphins) are usually free from scars and other disfigurations acquired in altercations with other dolphins” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flipper_(1964_TV_series)].

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Never violate “rights” for “democracy”—Broadbent

No nation knows it all
Excerpt, editing, compilation, notes by Carolyn Bennett

“[English philosopher Michael] Oakeshott warned of the folly of attempting to impose our institutions and values on other people. ‘Only they can truly understand themselves, their traditions and institutions and find appropriate answers to their political problems.” Canadian Ed Broadbent was writing in 2008.

“‘No nation has all the answers.

“‘Nations can and do learn from another’s mistakes and successes but in the end each nation must make its own decisions and innovations in the context of its own traditions, institutions, and particular circumstances.’

“This emphasis on respect for the traditions and values of each particular society raises hard questions about where and how to draw the line between respect for cultural differences and a belief in certain universal human rights.

“Most of the world now believes young girls should have the same opportunities as young boys. Unfortunately, many remain who do not share this belief in equality. There is no easy answer to this but we can certainly adopt a basic rule of thumb in practice.

“The International Bill of Human Rights must be the global standard. However, when it comes to the details of implementation in any given country, it is up to the human rights activists within that country to take the lead …. They know best their own culture and circumstances.

“… We should not be passive. We should promote the global development of democracy and rights …but also we must show modesty and tolerance: Tolerance to accept that there is more than one legitimate road to democracy; Modesty in understanding that our particular institutions may not be best for others. Modesty in understanding that, in the real world, the best plans can have disastrous consequences.

“We must never in the name of democracy, violate fundamental rights in order to achieve our goal of democracy.”

Sources and notes
“Global Democratic Development: What should and should not be done — how can we best encourage the growth of genuinely democratic governments in countries where it is now absent… ‘No Nation Has All the Answers’” (Ed Broadbent), Peace Magazine, April-June 2008, http://www.peacemagazine.org/archive/v24n2p12.htm
John Edward ‘Ed’ Broadbent (PC, CC, Ph D, LL.D; born March 21, 1936, Oshawa, Ontario), is a Canadian social democratic politician and political scientist; 1975-1989 leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP). In the 2004 federal election, he returned to Parliament for one additional term as the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre. Briefly, in the 1980s, he was “the most popular politician in Canada, scoring higher in public opinion polls than then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Broadbent stepped down as leader of the federal New Democratic Party in 1989 after what he called a disappointing election result. The party had just won the most seats in its history, but Broadbent wanted more.” NDP leader Jack Layton “coaxed Broadbent back into politics and [he] ran for and won a seat in Ottawa Centre in 2004. He quit politics in 2005 because of his wife's illness.” CBC News, INDEPTH: ED BROADBENT, Timeline
CBC News Online May 4, 2005, http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/broadbent/
Also at Wikipedia and Rights and Democracy
English philosopher Michael Joseph Oakeshott (December 11, 1901 – December 19, 1990) wrote about political thought and the philosophy of history, religion, aesthetics and law. He is widely regarded as one of the most important conservative intellectuals of the twentieth century as well a liberal thinker [Wikipedia].

Nevertheless Occupation continues
How many (est.) in two-theater
Casualty sites reporting
August 9, 2010 (accurate totals unknown)
• Anti-war dot com Casualties in Iraq since March 19, 2003
[U.S. war dead since the Obama inauguration January 20, 2009: 186]
Wounded 31,902-100,000
U.S. veterans with brain injuries 320,000
Suicides [estimated] 18 a day
Latest update on this site July 23
Iraq Body Count figures
97,196 – 106,071
• ICasualties IRAQ: 4,414 U.S., 4,732 Coalition
AFGHANISTAN: 1,226 U.S., 2,002 Coalition

August 14, 2010
Today is Independence Day in Pakistan:
63 years of independence from British colonial rule

Six people died and three suffered injuries today in Quetta when armed men opened fire. The victims were reportedly “painting a home that was stormed by the assailants.” Last night ten people died when armed men attacked a bus in Aab-e-Gum in the southwest of the Pakistan, 75 kilometers from the border city of Quetta. Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, close to the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan “is currently suffering its worst ever flooding since becoming a state.”

Pakistan’s slow-motion disaster: millions suffering, thirty-seven bridges out, water contaminated

Sixteen hundred (1,600) people have died since July 29 in the flooding in Pakistan and “the UN fears the final death toll could be far higher.” Millions of acres of crops are under water. Fourteen to 20 million people are suffering ─ “7 million cases of diarrhea of which 300,000 can be cholera.”

The United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross are warning of at least six million people already without clean drinking water.

August 12, 2010
“‘Death to the United States’” hundreds of villagers shouted, as they blocked a main road in eastern Afghanistan after a NATO raid Wednesday night killed three people. Zarin Khil village Elders (Wardak province) said U.S. troops stormed into a family house and shot dead three brothers before taking their father into custody; [and] for several hours, an estimated 300 protesters blocked the highway linking Kabul and southern Afghanistan.

The United Nations reported this week that the number of civilian casualties was up one-third in the first half of 2010, with fighters killing seven times more civilians than NATO-led troops; however, 386 civilians died at the hand of NATO or Afghan government forces, including 41 during search-and-seizure operations such as night raids.

Civilian casualties have been a sensitive issue in Afghanistan where 150,000 (est.) foreign troops’ military campaign approaches nine years.

August 10, 2010
Four people died and 21 people suffered wounds Tuesday in Baghdad when a series of improvised explosive devices detonated. Two other explosions in the Iraqi capital involved bombs attached to vehicles.

August 11, 2010
Across the world, more than one billion Muslims begin observance of Ramadan. For 30 days, adherents to Islam practice abstinences in observance of their holiest month of days.

Invasion, occupation sources and notes
“Deadly attack on Pakistan bus,” http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/08/20108148414139876.html
“Pakistan floods stoke cholera fears,” http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/08/201081442342515262.htm
“Civilian deaths spark Afghan unrest,” http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/08/201081214759771683.html
“Deadly blast hits Baghdad,” news/middleeast/2010/08/2010810123223488123.html
“Muslims begin Ramadan observance,” http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/08/2010811122934556812.html

Friday, August 13, 2010

SPORTSWOMEN ─ insult, ridicule, sexualize, ignore them

From Dave Zirin’s interview with Mike Messner, USC professor of sociology and gender studies
Edited excerpt, notes of note by Carolyn Bennett

Decrease in women’s leagues and play coverage

Amidst a continuing rise in participation and interest in women’s sports, Messner and Zirin say TV news and highlights shows consciously fail to keep pace.

“In 1989 and 1999, the big chunk of women’s sports coverage we [saw] on these shows was what we called insulting or trivialization or humorous sexualization of women athletes ─ e.g., a nude bungee jumper or leering court reports on tennis players like [Russian-born American] Anna Kournikova or later [former World No. 1 Russian] Maria Sharapova.

“In 2004 and 2009, those kinds of stories declined to the point where we saw almost none of that insulting stuff about women athletes but … when [sports reporters stopped] doing insulting or humorous sexualization stories on women athletes, it seems they don’t know how to talk about women and women sports at all.”

Dearth, insult, ridicule motive
Boys club mind, institutional sexism, subconscious or conscious decisions (?)

“[Broadcasters] make conscious decisions about what they cover everyday but … there is a tremendous amount of inertia as well.

“Only a part of it has to do with the fact [that] men are making most of these decisions. Men are capable of doing good sports reporting on women’s sports and a lot of men really like women’s sports but many of these reporters fear not staying with Big Three sports.”

Source and notes
“The Dramatic Drop in Women’s Sports Coverage: A Dave Zirin Interview with Mike Messner,” a professor of sociology and gender studies at the University of Southern California (USC). Dave Zirin is author of Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games we Love, http://edgeofsports.com/2010-07-06-548/index.html
August 9, 2010, on Women’s Magazine … part of a speech by Dave Zirin on women and sports given at the 2009 Socialism Conference in San Francisco … program segments available at kpfawomensmag.blogspot.com, http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/63157

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rising unemployed generation unable to support itself

World economic crisis spurs record rise in youth unemployment ─ ILO Consequences of young people lacking decent earnings, dropping out of work
Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

“The youth unemployment rate has reached its highest level on record,” says an International Labor Organization report, and the rate will rise through the year. At the launch of International Youth Day, the ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2010 says “81 million youth” in a total of “some 620 million economically active youth aged 15 to 24 years were unemployed at the end of 2009.” This figure is the highest ever.


Down the road, the report warns, as new waves of youth join the already unemployed, the world will face “a crisis legacy, a ‘lost generation’” of youth labor-market dropouts who have “lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living.”

Idleness in substantive work among youth means, “Societies lose their investment in education. Governments fail to receive contributions to social security systems and are coerced to increase spending on remedial services.”

Relentless Poverty

The ILO report estimates that 152 million young people (about 28 percent of all the young workers in the world) worked but remained in extreme poverty in households [trying to survive] on less than $1.25 (U.S.) per person per day in 2008.

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said, “In developing countries, crisis pervades the daily life of the poor [and] the effects of the economic and financial crisis threaten to exacerbate the pre-existing decent work deficits among youth.” Consequentially “the number of young people stuck in working poverty grows and the cycle of working poverty persists through at least another generation.”

In developed and some emerging economies, the crisis impact on youth is felt mainly in terms of rising unemployment and the social hazards associated with discouragement and prolonged inactivity. In the lower income countries, the impact of the crisis is felt more in shorter hours and reduced wages for the few who maintain wage and salaried employment and in rising vulnerable employment in an ‘increasingly crowded’ informal economy.

Global youth labor-market trends

Youth unemployment increased by 7.8 million: 1.1 million in 2007/08 and 6.7 million in 2008/09. In the ten-year period prior to the current crisis (1996/97 to 2006/07), the number of unemployed youth increased, on average, by 191,000 per year.
Youth unemployment rate rose from 11.9 to 13.0 per cent between 2007 and 2009. Between 2008 and 2009, the rate increased by 1 percentage point, marking the largest annual change over the 20 years of available global estimates and reversing the pre-crisis trend of declining youth unemployment rates since 2002.
The number of unemployed youth ─ between 2008 and 2009 ─ increased by 9.0 percent, compared to a 14.6 percent increase in the number of unemployed adults. However, in terms of unemployment rates, the impact on youth has proven to be greater than that of adults. The youth rate over 2008/09 increased by 1.0 percentage point compared to 0.5 points for the adult rate.
Young people in 2008 accounted for 24 per cent of the world’s working poor, versus 18.1 percent of total global employment.
Female youth unemployment rate in 2009 stood at 13.2 percent compared to the male rate of 12.9 per cent (a gap of 0.3 percentage point, the same gender gap seen in 2007).
Somavia says the crisis offers “an opportunity to reassess strategies for addressing the serious disadvantages that young people face as they enter the labor market. It is important to focus on comprehensive and integrated strategies that combine education and training policies with targeted employment policies for youth.”

Sources and notes
“Global employment trends for youth, 2010 - world economic crisis has spurred a record increase in youth unemployment says ILO,” August 12,2010, http://www.ilocarib.org.tt/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1404&Itemid=368

ILO Reported Regional trends:
In Developed Economies and the European Union between 2008 and 2009, youth unemployment rates rose by 4.6 percentage points. The youth unemployment rate of 17.7 percent in 2009 in the Developed Economies and European Union is the highest the region has seen since regional estimates have been available (since 1991).
In Central and South-Eastern Europe (non-EU) and CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States], youth unemployment rates rose by 3.5 points.
In some countries, including Spain and the United Kingdom, there was an increase in inactivity among youth in the crisis years. This implies an increase in discouragement, whereby growing unemployment has led some young people to give up the job search.
Young women in most regions continued to be the hardest hit by unemployment. Only in the Developed Economies and European Union were young males harder hit: the increase in the male youth unemployment rate between 2007 and 2009 was 6.8 percentage points compared to 3.9 points for young women.
In developing economies, the crisis adds to the ranks of vulnerable employment and informal sector employment. There is supporting evidence of such an increase in Latin America where between 2008 and 2009 the number of own-account workers increased by 1.7 per cent and the number of contributing family workers by 3.8 per cent. The region also experienced an increase in the share of teenagers engaged in informal-sector employment during the crisis.
For almost all regions, there are forecasts of slight improvements compared with the peak unemployment years (2010 in most cases).
In today’s news Deutsche Welle reported, “UN labor report shows drastic increase in youth unemployment,” August 12, 2010, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5895285,00.html

Black man serving white power destroys Black women

Centuries Ole entrenched feud, corruption, judicial misconduct, sisters sacrificed
Re-reporting, editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

“The absurd and vicious incrimination of the Scott sisters,” a blogger writes for “free the sisters” posted at IndyBay news, “is the result of a vendetta by former Sheriff Glenn Warren… because the father of the Scott Sisters, James ‘Hawk’ Rasco, and other family members refused to be intimidated by a Mississippi county system of white power and corruption.” A cousin who had had to pay a bribe to the former sheriff in order to sell illegal alcohol in his club testified against Warren in a case investigating ‘a bootlegging operation, which may have also involved the judge who presided in the trial of the Scott sisters.’ After the cousin and former sheriff bribery incident, the Scott sisters’ father, James Rasco, bought the nightclub from his nephew and refused to go along with the official corruption. Marvin Williams, the new sheriff, “a Black man at the service of white power, swore that the family would pay dearly.…

“On the night of December 23, 1992, the Scott sisters (Gladys, 19, and Jamie, 22) left a local Minit Mart. They had car trouble and asked two young Black men for a ride. The men agreed and drove the sisters to their home. Later that night, three teenagers of the Patrick family robbed the men who earlier had driven the sisters to their home.

“The teenagers confessed to the robbery. The next morning Sheriff Marvin Williams showed up at Scott sisters’ house and arrested them.”

On elements of facts in the case, Nordette Adams wrote in an article published this past June, “[I have] not seen documentation that indicates Deputy Sheriff Marvin Williams has been charged with extortion or any other crime. That allegation by the family and advocates does not appear in the official transcripts of the first trial and would be considered hearsay without the testimony of ‘Hawk’ [James] Rasco [the Scott Sisters’ father], who is deceased.

“However, one of the young robbers, who was 14 at the time of the trial and who received a plea deal, said under cross examination by the sisters’ first attorney, Firnist J. Alexander, Jr., that Williams and another officer threatened to send him to the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman if he did not testify against the Scott sisters.

“He said they told him inmates there would ‘make me out a female,’ meaning he would be raped (This testimony appears around page 93 of the PDF transcript). If the teen testified as they asked, however, he could go home. As a result, he signed a statement, which he said under oath he neither wrote nor read. He said that Williams brought it to him already typed. He simply had to sign it to go free and testify at trial to get his plea deal. …”

These Black women, The Scott Sisters, are serving double life sentences for a robbery they did not commit that netted the thieves $11. The women have endured imprisonment for more than 15 years, their lives ruined by apparent prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, abuse by entrenched power.

Until his death from a heart attack in 2003, the father of the Scott sisters, James Rasco, reportedly grieved in his inability to help his daughters. Mrs. Evelyn Rasco now cares for her children and the children of Gladys and Jamie Scott. Seeking help to free her daughters, Mrs. Rasco knocks on doors, writes letters, calls officials and civil rights groups. The official response has been unhelpful. In recent years, demonstrators for justice for the Scott Sisters have appeared at the Mississippi State Capitol and more information about the case has come to light.

The upshot of the case is this, Adams writes, “If you should find yourself falsely accused and facing prison time, or worse, in prison serving time for a crime you did not commit or for a crime you committed but received an excessively harsh sentence ─ you’ll need a good attorney. Almost as much as an attorney, you may need social activists ─ who understand social media ─ to take up your cause.”

Sources and notes
Kambiz Mostofi, Spokesman for the family of the Scott Sisters, spoke with Flashpoints [KPFA} on Wednesday, August 11, 2010, http://www.flashpoints.net/
“The case of the Scott Sisters of Mississippi goes to Washington, DC” (Carolina Saldaña and Dr. Lenore Daniels in the Black Commentator) , June 20, 2010,
For more information, see: http://freethescottsisters.blogspot.com/
y http://www.grayhairedwitnesses.blogspot.com/ .
“The Scott Sisters of Mississippi: Social Justice Meets Social Media” (Nordette Adams in News and Politics, a BlogHer), June 16, 2010, http://www.blogher.com/social-media-takes-freeing-scott-sisters-mississippi
Scott Sisters:
Jamie Scott #19197
Area 3, Clinic Bed 7
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8550
Gladys Scott #19142
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8550