Thursday, March 31, 2011

unh...edit: Our most dangerous DEllusion...

American Peace Activist Jonathan Schell
Our Most Dangerous Illusion Is that We Can Control Nuclear Energy

In a SPIEGEL interview, peace activist and author Jonathan Schell discusses the lessons of the Fukushima disaster, mankind's false impression that it can somehow safely produce electricity from the atom, and why he thinks the partial meltdown in Japan could mark a turning point for the world.

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SPIEGEL: Mr. Schell, what unsettled you the most about the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe?

Schell: Clearly this whole accident just went completely off the charts of what had been prepared for. If you look at the manuals for dealing with nuclear safety accidents, you're not going to find a section that says muster your military helicopters, dip buckets into the sea and then try as best you can to splash water onto the reactor and see if you can hit a spent fuel pool. There's going to be no instruction saying, go and get your riot control trucks to spray the reactor, only to find that you're driven back by radiation. The potential for total disaster was clearly demonstrated.

SPIEGEL: But supporters of nuclear energy are already preparing a different narrative. They say that an old, outdated nuclear power plant was hit by a monster tsunami and an earthquake at the same time -- and, yet, so far only a handful of people have been exposed to radioactive energy. Not a single person has died.

Schell: Clearly it's better than if you had had a massive Chernobyl-type release of energy. But I think that any reasonable analysis will show that this was not a power plant that was under control. The operators were thrown back on wild improvisation. The worst sort of disaster was a desperate mistake or two away. Through a bunch of workarounds and frantic fixes, technicians at Fukushima headed that off, but that was no sure thing. No one will be able honestly to portray this event as a model of nuclear safety. It would be like saying that the Cuban missile crisis showed the safety of nuclear arsenals.

SPIEGEL: It is not just in Germany, but also in the United States and China that people are stockpiling supplies of iodine tablets. And shipments from Japan are supposed to be tested for radioactivity. Where does this profound fear of nuclear energy come from?

Schell: In the public mind, nuclear power is associated with nuclear weapons. In both, a nuclear chain reaction is, in fact, the source of power. It's true that you can't have an atomic explosion in a nuclear power plant, but people are quite right to make that association. For example there is also the proliferation connection. In other words, the problem with the association of nuclear power with nuclear weapons goes beyond the escape of radiation and Chernobyl-type accidents. The third big challenge is, of course, the waste problem. You have to keep that waste underground for maybe a half-million years. So we're acting in a kind of cosmic way in the terrestrial setting, even though we just don't have the wisdom and staying power to do so.

SPIEGEL: You say that dealing with nuclear energy is like gambling with "Mother Nature's power." Why is it so totally different from other sources of energy?

Schell: Because it's so colossally more powerful. Comparable energy can be found, at best, in the center of stars. It's basically not found on earth naturally, and it's only through our own scientific brilliance that we've been able to introduce it into the terrestrial setting. But, unfortunately, we're not as advanced morally, practically and politically as we are scientifically, so we are not prepared to control this force properly. The most dangerous illusion we have concerning nuclear energy is that we can control it.

SPIEGEL: Despite all these concerns, we have seen an emerging renaissance in nuclear energy in recent years.

Schell: I don't think there really was a nuclear renaissance. There was the phrase "nuclear renaissance," but already in many parts of the world the financial aspects of nuclear power were not working out. The bankers were not stepping forward to finance new power plants. Insurance companies were reluctant to cover the risk.

SPIEGEL: Many environmentalists are now even calling for an expansion of nuclear power -- because they see it as the only way to limit climate change.

Schell: I find their arguments weak. In the first place, there are about 450 nuclear power plants around the world. To make a serious dent in carbon emissions, you would have to double or triple that --and not only in countries as technically sophisticated as Japan. More importantly, I fear the attempted solution would be self-defeating in its own terms. Think how the high the cost will be if we pour our scarce resources into this faulty one and then there is a truly catastrophic accident down the road, and we were forced by this to liquidate the investment. This would be not only a disaster in its own right, but a disaster for the overall effort to head off global warming.

SPIEGEL: German Chancellor Angela Merkel had always been a supporter of nuclear energy. Now she is talking about expediting Germany's planned phase-out of nuclear power. Will Germany be able to succeed in eschewing nuclear power entirely?

Schell: The anti-nuclear movement certainly has been stronger in Germany than in practically any other country, even before the Fukushima incident. I'd say it looks quite possible that Germany will go back to the phase-out policy, and that its nuclear power plants will be taken offline quickly. And I'd be surprised if Japan did not go in the same direction.

SPIEGEL: Why don't we see similar anti-nuclear protests in the United States?

Schell: The whole nuclear industry has had a low profile in the United States, perhaps, in part, because we haven't seen the construction of new power plants since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

SPIEGEL: But President Barack Obama has now announced the construction of new nuclear power plants.

Schell: … and people in the US don't seem to be bothered by it so far. That's been true, until now. New polls show that support for nuclear power has dropped sharply. Honestly, I don't think Americans have been thinking about this issue very much. Now the Fukushima accident will concentrate people's minds.

SPIEGEL: Will Obama abandon his pro-nuclear energy policies?

Schell: There's a real chance that, in practice, he will back off -- also for budgetary reasons. If you try to add in all kinds of new safety features, then you raise the price. The cost of building a nuclear power plant today already costs tens of billions of dollars.

SPIEGEL: The greatest enthusiasm to be found anywhere once permeated the US shortly after the discovery of nuclear energy. During the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration enthusiastically promoted its "Atoms for Peace" program.

Schell: That story is interesting because with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, we see the close connection at every stage of nuclear power with nuclear weapons. Eisenhower increased the US arsenal from around 1,400 to 20,000 nuclear weapons. But he also wanted an element of peace in his policy. This is where the "Atoms for Peace" program came in, whereby countries would be given technology to produce nuclear power, the "friendly atom," in exchange for constraints on proliferation of nuclear weapons -- the "destructive atom." That rationale is still embodied today in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

SPIEGEL: Obama has outlined his vision of a world without nuclear weapons. But the reaction to it has been lukewarm, even within his own team.

Schell: Within the Obama administration, it seems to be the president himself -- and possibly even the president alone -- who really believes in this vision. But he has the public on his side. If you ask people if they would like to live in a world without nuclear weapons, a very high majority answer in the affirmative. On the other hand, there is a powerful bureaucratic infrastructure left in the Pentagon, in the State Department, in the Energy Department that is not ready to translate Obama's vision into action and works to thwart it. He needs more supporters among his own officials.






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Fukushima forecast: radioactive particles to be concentrated over midwest on april 1, 2

our predominant weather patterns flow from west....to east...across the pacific...over the mountains...across the prairies, right on over to the soon to be irradiated great lakes lowlands. sweet.





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Where is Eman al-Obeidi?

Libya’s Eman al-Obeidi Remains Missing Since Risking Life to Tell Story of Rape by Gaddafi’s Forces



A woman who says she was raped by forces loyal to Libyan Col. Muammar Gaddafi remains missing five days after she was arrested for bursting into a hotel full of international reporters in Tripoli and recounting her ordeal. The woman, Eman al-Obeidi, said she had been held against her will for two days and raped by 15 of Gadaffi’s men. Obeidi’s face and legs were bruised and she had blood on her right thigh. We speak with journalist Mona Eltahawy about sexual assaults against Libyan women under the Gaddafi regime.

Family of Eman Al-Obeidi DENY claims she is free, sister now missing too


facebook: free eman al-obeidi


























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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We watched this documentary just now...





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Does anyone who was there have study notes people over here can at least skim before next time?

March 26 London Anti-Austerity Demo "Hijacked by Anarchists"

Contributed by blackandred at mostly water on Mon, 2011/03/28 - 11:45am SchNEWS emergency bulletin on the M26 demos in London

By SchNEWS; Monday, March 28, 2011 - Infoshop News
http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=201103281705

"HUNDREDS of anti-royal anarchists ran riot across central London yesterday, turning a peaceful demonstration about spending cuts into a class war" - Sunday Express

Well, somebody had to do it. The [Trade Union Congress'] glad-hand fest was never going to change the ConDEMS course by even one degree. It was hijacked by anarchists and it deserved to be. The TUC mobilised its masses and did everything they could to make sure that genuine dissent didn't rear its ugly head. The emphasis was to be on a family-friendly day out without frightening the horses. Quite who they think is going to hand out prizes for niceness in the shark tank that is global capitalism remains a mystery.

For those who went to the endpoint rally in Hyde Park, even moderate voices like Bob Crow of the RMT and Caroline Lucas MP of the Green Party were not allowed to speak. They were left out in favour of Ed Millaround the gormless puppet who's now trying to pass off the Labour Party as a revitalised radical alternative to the Tories - less than eleven months after they were run out of office. Is this then the TUCs strategy? Wait four years, and then vote in a business friendly Labour government - and they wonder why union membership is at an all time low.

While dressing himself up as the re-incarnation of Emily Pankhurst and Martin Luther King, and the bearer of Mandela's torch, Milliband junior was emphatic about yesterday’s disorder, condemning it roundly while ignoring the fact that all the struggles he was paying homage to involved breaking more than a few windows.

Earlier that morning, the feeder marches, all condemned as unauthorised by the TUC, made their way largely unhindered to greet the masses gathered at Embankment. A half-hearted attempt by cops to put a line across Westminster bridge in front of the Radical Workers block that had left from Kennington Park was shrugged aside.

The anarchist block split from the main march past Embankment Station, as a voice over a megaphone beckoned marchers to come with them for a sight-seeing tour around London. The break off bloc poured past Trafalgar Square, past the front of the TUC demo where hundreds of disenchanted activists decided to sack off the A to B marching exercise and join the black bloc. By the time the bloc had made its way through Covent Garden to Oxford Street it numbered several thousand.

Trudging along with the masses, other anarchists filtered through the crowd to UK Uncut's pre-arranged meet up on Oxford St at 2pm. UK Uncut had called for occupations of corporate tax dodgers. The police tactic for the day was clearly the protection of known UK Uncut targets, with lines of police in front of branches of Boots, Vodaphone and Topshop. The cops even seemed willing to protect Topshop at the expense of more traditional anti-capitalist targets, with unfortified McDonalds and Starbucks getting done over anyway, showing that this was far from a single issue demo.

And that was where the fun really started - Topshop, one of UK Uncuts main targets was the first to get it and then, for over an hour and a half a rag-tag black block, numbering around a thousand, ran cops ragged around Soho and Piccadilly Circus. Selected corporate targets were attacked with smoke flares, paint and street furniture. Banks bore the brunt of the anger with branches of HSBC, Santander and Lloyds getting the paint and broken glass treatment. The HSBC in Cambridge Circus got given some special attention. As 'Smash the banks' was daubed across the window, the crowd began to move on, until, bearing in mind the complete absence of Old Bill, people decided to take the advice. Windows were smashed and a green wheelie bin was used to batter open the doors. The inside of the bank was turned over before activists did a runner as the plod [cops] turned up. Watch the video here. The F.I.T team were chased off in Cambridge Circus. Even London's Boris bikes scheme wasn't ignored, with activists peeling off the Barclay's stickers while leaving the machines intact. It might have been a touch violent but it wasn't mindless.

At the Ann Summers shop, militant queer action emerged from the crowd, spray-painting Ann Summers shiny shop front [by] apparently taking a stand against "mainstream heteronormatively constructed sexuality", and finally putting a bin right through the window.

Police coming into the area were harassed, with street signs and wheelie bins hurled under vehicles. Riot vans were liberally re-decorated. Some incredibly loud bangers or thunder flashes caused cops to flinch. Plumes of coloured smoke could be seen. Often groups of cops were rushing to protect targets that had been left by the fluid and swift-moving crowd. Uncontained, the block, waving red and black flags, moved along Piccadilly towards the Ritz. The chant went up - "The Ritz, the Ritz - we're gonna get rid of the Ritz" as tables smashed through the windows.

The block then re-united with the main march, giving many a chance to de-mask and slip away. Nearing Hyde Park, no doubt fearing an outburst of sentimental centre left rhetoric, they split off back into Mayfair. Symbols of wealth, including a Porsche dealership and several overpriced sports cars were done, along with a couple of shops selling overwhelmingly priced status antiques. Every corner turned in Mayfair showed just how much grotesque wealth is still out there waiting to be redistributed.

Meanwhile at 3.30 pm on Oxford Circus, UK Uncuts pre-arranged meet up was underway. After converging demonstrators were slipped a card which told them which colour flag to follow, with the aim of separating into branches then joining forces for the occupation of the target.

The target - Fortnum & Mason, was well chosen, grocers to the Queen and corporate tax dodgers. Unfortunately the sheer size of the protests meant the different crowds didn't arrive simultaneously and there was a stand-off with protestors inside the building and police lines forming outside. A push and shove ensued but due to the pavement barriers not enough of the crowd could get behind the push and the cops remained unbudged, blockading the entrances. The two to three hundred protesters who were already inside, were left to soak up the atmosphere, and eying up bargains like the twenty quid jam and £65 napkin rings. Others took a more direct route and climbed up a street lamp onto the first floor.

Unfortunately here, as during the rest of the day, there seemed to be more people filming than actually getting involved in any action. Anyone who wanted to get stuck in had to push their way through a line of happy snappers first. Where does all this footage end up? Think before you get [your] zoom lens out kids, 'cos careless shots cost lives.

The rest of the day was a mix of stand-offs and running skirmishes. The Peace horse was torched outside Oxford Street tube. By this time the block was being pushed back onto Piccadilly circus as, freed of the obligation to police the TUC demo that was safely in Hyde Park, more cops began arriving. Sealing off Fortnum and Masons they made numerous arrests.

A number of the crowd gathered in Trafalgar Square, where some had suggested a 24 hr occupation. Described to SchNEWS by one eyewitness as "just a party, really", the cops seized their opportunity to wade in. A kettle was put in place and despite a fight being put up the crowd was dispersed or arrested by 1 a.m.

According to Green & Black Cross legal support there have been over 200 arrests - and that's just those who've contacted the help-line. Most are being bailed now (Sunday evening) many having had their clothes and phones seized. Interestingly, they are receiving bail conditions to stay away from central London on the day of the next TUC mobilisation [on the] 1st of May and on the 29th April, the date of Kate & Wills happy nuptials.

If you were arrested then there's a Defendants' meeting - Saturday 2nd April - 2pm - University of London Student Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY

Otherwise - See you on the streets!






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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Radiation blowing out to sea is a...good...thing...?






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Monday, March 28, 2011

Its author doesn't define as political...

but its subject matter is of massive significance...

Atlas Of The Conflict: Israel-Palestine

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Each month, we conduct a review of a recent book that deals with issues relating to Palestine and/or the Israel/Palestine conflict. Books that are chosen for review can be academic or non-academic, historical or fictional. Next month we will be reviewing
Threads of Identity: Preserving Palestinian Costume and Heritage by Widad Kamel Kawar. If you would like to suggest a book for review, please contact the Palestine Center.

Atlas Of The Conflict: Israel-Palestine
written by Malkit Shoshan

Hardcover: 320 pages, 010 Publishers; 1st edition (10 October 2010)

By Yousef Munayyer Shoshan Atlas

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been characterized as being about several things. Some argue it’s about ethnicity, some say religion, while still others say politics or ideology. Whatever your persuasion, there is one undeniable reality about this conflict: it’s a people struggling to stay connected to their land. The territorial aspect lies at the heart of every facet of the Palestinian struggle, whether it’s the location of depopulated villages, the border that denotes the boundaries of Jerusalem or the Armistice Line which separates territory recognized as occupied from that which is recognized as Israel. Maps tell the story of the Palestinian cause better than any testimony from a refugee, than any human rights report, than any party or leader. The documentation, in black and white, of one people usurping the land of another, year after year, decade after decade, is a simple and straightforward explanation of exactly how the injustice facing the Palestinians was and continues to be carried out.

Palestinians have valued the history of Palestine’s geography greatly. They know that the documentation of how Palestine was may be the only record proving a connection between Palestinians and their land into the future, given ongoing Israel colonization. Many atlases or historical works documenting the depopulation of Palestine stand as testimonies to crimes committed. Walid Khalidi’s seminal All the Remains and Salman Abu Sitta’s ├╝ber-comprehensive Atlas of Palestine: 1948 are two that come to mind.

But Malkit Shoshan’s contribution, Atlas of the Conflict: Israel-Palestine, is different. Shoshan is an Israeli. Yet, while the contributions of Palestinian historians and geographers may have been motivated by a patriotic yearning, Shoshan’s drive to document these territorial changes comes from a different and still noble origin. As discussed in her atlas, Shoshan was an Israeli architecture student at the Technion a decade ago when she was asked to design a shopping mall for an empty plot of land near Tel Aviv. When doing preliminary site research she discovered the plot to be a destroyed Palestinian cemetery. She decided then to stop designing and instead "learn the history of [her] country, - a history that is never directly told." She writes:

Driven by curiosity, I started collecting illustrations, maps, photographs, diagrams and other visual materials. Textual testimonies, although important, simply weren’t tangible enough for my purposes, as the lack a sense of scale. I wanted to know what the image of over 500 destroyed Palestinian localities would look like, on a map with a relative scale, in space, and in comparison to the thousands of newly-built Israeli localities.

It is extremely difficult to grasp an architectural project on the scale of a state or a nation. To plan, design and construct a building takes years. To destroy a whole country and build another one on top of it took a couple of decades. For me, this new sense of scale and its realities resulted in a personal episode of complete bewilderment...I was brought up in a Zionist context. We were overwhelmingly and completely appreciative of Israel, considering it a miracle: a nation that had constructed itself almost seamlessly from thousands of years in the past right up to the present day. The 2,000 years of exile were absent in my historical consciousness. You can say I had been led to believe that Israel had always been there, and that the tragedy of Palestine has nothing to do with it: that it was just an incidental episode.

As maps are usually drawn by whoever is in power, the powerless can so easily disappear from them.

The process by which Shoshan put together her atlas was clearly an awakening for her, and those who are unfamiliar with the history and geography of Palestine in the last 100 years will encounter a similar awakening. She goes far beyond the mapping of Palestine’s depopulation from 1947-1949 and includes the history of recent Zionist settlement, the destruction of villages after 1948, the changing maps after various Arab-Israeli wars, maps of settlement patterns in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem, as well as detailed maps of the apartheid wall that runs through Palestinian territory.

A downside to the book is that it is quite small in dimension which occasionally makes the reading of detailed maps difficult to read. However, this is simultaneously an upside because Shoshan’s atlas retains all the detail of a much heavier and unwieldy atlas in a convenient size allowing it to fit nicely on a bookshelf or desk for regular reference. Jam-packed with information, detail, maps, images and explanations, Malkit Shoshan’s atlas may lead those unfamiliar with the geography of this conflict to experience an epiphany like the one that led the author to undertake this impressive work.



Yousef Munayyer is Executive Director of the Palestine Center. This book review may be used without permission but with proper attribution to the Center



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Hmmmm...i wonder what made them change their minds about malalai joya...

Obama Administration Relents and Grants Visa to Leading Afghan Antiwar Campaigner Malalai Joya Into U.S.

Former Afghan member of parliament, Malalai Joya, joins us for her first broadcast interview since arriving in the United States on Friday after officials initially denied her application for a travel visa. Her visa was approved Thursday following a protest campaign that included letters from the American Civil Liberties Union and nine members of Congress. Asked why the United States at first refused her visit, Joya says, “I am talking about the blind bombardment by the NATO forces, and about the occupation of my country. I think these are the reasons that the U.S. and NATO are afraid of me.”







and obamarama's administration wants to apologize? for this?

from der spiegel

The images are repulsive. A group of rogue US Army soldiers in Afghanistan killed innocent civilians and then posed with their bodies. On Monday, SPIEGEL published some of the photos -- and the US military responded promptly with an apology. Still, NATO fears that reactions in Afghanistan could be violent.

The United States and NATO are concerned that reactions could be intense to the publication of images documenting killings committed by US soldiers in Afghanistan. The images appeared in the most recent edition of SPIEGEL, which hit the newsstands on Monday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already telephoned with her Afghan counterpart to discuss the situation. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon has likewise made contact with officials in Kabul. The case threatens to strain already fragile US-Afghan relations at a time when the two countries are negotiating over the establishment of permanent US military bases in Afghanistan.

In a statement released by Colonel Thomas Collins, the US Army, which is currently preparing a court martial to try a total of 12 suspects in connection with the killings, apologized for the suffering the photos have caused. The actions depicted in the photos, the statement read, are "repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States."

The suspected perpetrators are part of a group of US soldiers accused of several killings. Their court martials are expected to start soon. The photos, the army statement said, stand "in stark contrast to the discipline, professionalism and respect that have characterized our soldiers' performance during nearly 10 years of sustained operations."

Major Public Backlash

At NATO headquarters, there are fears that the coming days could see angry protests in Afghanistan or even potential attacks against NATO units. "The images have an enormous potential here in Afghanistan," one NATO general told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Experience shows that it might take a couple of days, but then people's anger will be vented."

NATO, under the leadership of the US Army, has been preparing for possible publication of the photos for close to 100 days. In dozens of high-level talks with their Afghan partners, military leaders have sought to pursue the same strategy used by the US diplomatic corps in the case of the sensitive diplomatic cables released late last year by WikiLeaks. They warned those most directly affected and made preparations for the photos' appearance in the public sphere. This "strategic communication" was aimed at preventing a major public backlash.

The high ranks of those involved in the talks show just how seriously Washington has taken the problem. US Vice President Joe Biden recently spoke about the case with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The head of all NATO troops in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, likewise met with Karzai.

By apologizing and by promising that those responsible will be prosecuted, the US is hoping to prevent Karzai from making any angry public statements on the case.

Whether the effort will ultimately be successful remains to be seen. On Tuesday, Karzai is scheduled to address his country to talk about the transfer of responsibility for his country's security from NATO to Afghanistan. With him will be members of the NATO leadership and the US ambassador to Afghanistan. Karzai's address contains no mention of the so-called "kill team," but the Afghan president is notorious for being unpredictable.

Political Conflict with the US

Observers say the fact that there hasn't been any serious reaction or demonstrations so far doesn't mean the danger has passed. One fact could be that Monday is a holiday in Afghanistan. A high-ranking official in the Afghan Foreign Ministry, who is close to President Karzai, said he believed the development would trigger a serious political conflict with the US.

"I assume we won't see the full effect of this matter until tomorrow, at the very soonest, when people return to work. Many people have Monday off," he told SPIEGEL ONLINE. He said the incidents had been "too outrageous" not to spark protests. "That this is engaging people can be seen by the fact that it is already being discussed on the Internet," he added.

In neighboring Pakistan, where relations with the United States are likewise strained, officials are also watching the matter closely. "We are acknowledging it, but for now it is a matter for the Afghan government to make any charges," a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad said. The release of CIA employee Raymond Davis, who shot two men at the end of January and was let go after paying blood money, as well as the increase in US drone attacks in the western part of the country, triggered angry protests in Pakistan.

The SPIEGEL story printed on Monday includes new details about a series of murders of innocent Afghans committed by a group of US soldiers. One of the accused, Corporal Jeremy Morlock, 22, confessed to the murders three months ago. Morlock is scheduled to face a general court-martial on Thursday. In total, 12 US soldiers who were allegedly part of what has been described as a "kill team" in Afghanistan are expected to go on trial soon.

'They Mowed Him Down'

The piece in SPIEGEL reconstructs some of the atrocities and includes three previously unknown photographs. Among other things, they show two of the suspected killers posing next to a corpse. The victim in the image is Gul Mudin, an Afghan man killed on Jan. 15, 2010 in the village of La Mohammed Kalay. In total, SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL TV has obtained a significant number of photos and videos.

The suspects are accused of having killed civilians for no reason and then of trying to make it look as though the killings had been acts of self-defense. Some of the accused have said the acts had been tightly scripted.

In one incident, which has been reconstructed based on documents from the investigation, the soldiers themselves detonate a hand grenade in order to make it look like they were the subjects of an attack before killing a man. One of those who allegedly participated, Adam Winfield, 21, described the incident to his father in a chat on the social networking site Facebook. "They made it look like the guy threw a grenade at them and mowed him down," SPIEGEL quotes Winfield as having written in the chat.

In a second incident on Feb. 22, 2010, one of the members of the "kill team" who had been carrying an old Russian Kalashnikov, fired it before pulling out another gun and shooting 22-year-old Afghan Marach Agha. In a third incident on May 2, 2010, it appears that a hand grenade attack was again staged before the shooting and killing of Mullah Allah Dad.

The 12 men are also facing further charges of desecration of corpses, illegal possession of photos of corpses, drug abuse and acts of bodily injury against comrades.

-- with wire reports and additional reporting by Yassin Musharbash




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This has been in my head for a few days...




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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Been trying to explain to nine year old about the addictive effects of video games on a child's brain...

she thinks i've got problems because i keep saying that video games will rot her brain. or at least she did, until the three adult trekkies sat down with her and watched this gem a few hours ago. she's...re-processing video games. went to bed reading about early hominids with her brother four and a half year old. :)








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Nine year old has been doing surgery online...

better than super mario or donkey kong, i figure. i'm wondering if it's the doctor butchers scoping out new talent, headhunting little people online. scary thought. she's been doing knee surgery. good. i'm sure i'll be needing her skills with a nicely sharpened and sterilized steak knife in another ten years or so.

edheads - activate your mind...























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Just call me Fauxlivia...

buttertart taped a new ring for my cell. yipPEE!




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Friday, March 25, 2011

No big love...now, only sister wives...

not particularly interested in kody, who seems very impressed with himself and with is ability to benefit from the work of the wimmin around him. him eating his elder mother's breakfast because he can, because she let's him, because he is more important than she is, is gross and very telling.

nonetheless, as someone doing a whole other version of multiple partnered relationship, what kody's mother and her co-wife said, the basic truths they shared really resonated for me. they were honest about the struggle of making multiple partners work. they were honest as the younger wimmin haven't been because they've been too busy doing indirect communication, passive aggressive maneuvers, public relations and making everything look sweet.
heh.
i see/read between their lines, 'though. things are definitely bumpy for those five people and between those four wimmin regardless of how much they smile and laugh and tell cute anecdotes about their little struggles.





sheryl: there is a certain shaking up that happens. everyone is insecure at a time. but yet after the dust settles it just adds assets to the family.

janelle (kody's mother): we call it kind of like a wheel. and there are certain spokes in the wheel. each wife is a spoke in the wheel. well, when another wife comes in and every one of those spokes has to move -

sheryl: - to be ballanced.

janelle (kody's mother): and the more spokes in the wheel, the stronger the wheel is.


backstory:

janelle (kody's wife): i've said in the past that most of my family disowned meor was appalled when i made the decision to join the faith. the only exception is actually my mother who was trying very hard to support me. so, she came with me to visit the family just to see what it was all about. and i dunno...she also became very intrigued with the faith. and so, she made the conversion to the faith and she actually married kody's dad.


the co-wives revealing...

sheryl: i got to know winn and i became quite attached. it didn't work that way at first with janelle and i.

janelle (kody's mother): nooo...


_______________

janelle (kody's mother): when sheryl came into the family, i had a difficult time because i was jealous. she was beautiful. she was educated. she was vibrant. and i took care of kids and she took care of winn. (laughs) and so, it was a difficult thing for me for quite a while.

sheryl: it's taken some time but we've finally have worked through all those things.

janelle: i consider her one of my best very best friends, now.

sheryl: and me too. me too.

janelle: she just is a delight to be around.


_________________


sheryl: each wife contributes to the marriage her own self, her own personality. and she is a strength in and of herself. janelle has attributes about herself that give our family situation strength. and i do, too. but they're not the same. but if you learn to look at it to where what she's got that you don't have is an asset, the fact that you don't have it is a liability.


_________________


yup. kody's useless. but his mother and her co-wife are just...heartbreakingly truthful...real...working at their relationship.





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Japan - I think they're still trying to spin doctor/hide it...

Nuclear situation 'grave' Japan PM warns
Naoto Kan says the situation at disaster-hit power plant is unpredictable as officials fear breach at one reactor.

there's a video i couldn't embed. it's here...

Japan's prime minister has warned the situation at the country's quake-hit nuclear power plant remains "unpredictable" after officials said they suspected a breach in the reactor core of a unit at the complex.

"The current situation is still very unpredictable. We're working to stop the situation from worsening. We need to continue to be extremely vigilant," Naoto Kan said on Friday.

He also praised emergency workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan, which was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami two weeks ago, for "risking their lives" in the battle to control the situation.

Earlier, officials from the plant's operator said there was possible damage at reactor number three at the complex, meaning more radioactive contamination may have leaked into the environment.

"It is possible that the pressure vessel containing the fuel rods in the reactor is damaged," a spokesman from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) told the AFP news agency.

Radioactive leaks

Japan's nuclear safety agency said radioactive substances had leaked to places "far from the reactor".

"As far as the data show, we believe there is a certain level of containment ability but it's highly possible that the reactor is damaged," Hideyuki Nishiyama, a spokesman for the agency, said.

Reactor number three is of particular concern because it uses a potentially volatile mix of uranium and plutonium.

Several workers at the plant were evacuated on Thursday with suspected radiation burns and a further two workers were taken on Friday morning after radiation-contaminated water seeped over the top of their protective boots, the AP news agency said.

However it is understood that two of the reactors at the nuclear complex, 240km north of Tokyo, are now regarded as "safe" in what is termed a "cold shutdown". The other four reactors at the plant remain volatile, belching smoke and steam as work continues to cool fuel rods.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan's northeast coast on March 11 knocked out the crucial reactor cooling systems at the plant, which lies 250 km from Tokyo, the capital, and caused a number of explosions and fires..

Emergency workers and engineers have been battling to cool overheating reactors and fuel rod pools, by pumping in sea water.

The United States is shipping two million litres of fresh water in a pair of barges to the plant. But there are concerns that, as the water boils off, salt is left behind - coating the mixed oxide fuel rods and preventing them from being efficiently cooled.

Higher radioactivity has also been detected in the ocean near the Fukushima plant on Japan's Pacific coast, raising public fears about the safety of fish and seaweed, which are traditional staples in the island nation's diet.

China's customs authorities told Reuters on Friday that two Japanese travellers entering China were found to have radiation levels "seriously exceeding limits". The pair were given medical treatment and presented no risk to others, said officials.

The report followed news of bottled water shortages after panic buying broke out in cities across Japan, as "higher than normal" levels of radiation were this week found in tap water near Tokyo.

Singapore, Australia, The Philippines and Taiwan have joined the US and Hong Kong in restricting food and milk imports from the zone around the crippled nuclear power plant.

German shipping companies were reportedly avoiding the Tokyo Bay area ports due to radiation fears, as shipping industry officials said the country could face supply chain bottlenecks as vessels get diverted.

Yet ports in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kawasaki and Ichikawa are "very safe", said Japan's transport ministry on Friday. Transport officials added that all 15 ports damaged by the earthquake and tsunami are now operational for recovery and reconstruction efforts.

Meanwhile the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami has now topped 10,000, officials said.

At least 17,400 people are still missing, said the National Police Agency, two weeks after the disasters triggered further emergencies after damaging the cooling system at a nuclear power plant.




wow! they're really insane...





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Smart people making intelligent and beautiful street level things...

i needed to see this...

Art challenges Tunisian revolutionaries
The Artocracy project, featuring photos of ordinary Tunisians, has proven art can be just as provocative as politics.
Yasmine Ryan



LE KRAM, TUNISIA — A crowd has gathered to ponder the black-and-white photographs which have been pasted across the face of building that was, until recent, the local offices of the former president's much-loathed party.

"I have no idea what these photos mean. Do you know?" Meddeb Nejeb, a high school teacher, asks Al Jazeera.

He might be yet to grasp the meaning of the photographs, but Nejeb wants to know more.

For the artists behind what is one of the most ambitious contemporary street art projects to vibrate the Arab world, the artwork is about replacing the once all-pervasive presidential photography with mosaics of ordinary, anonymous Tunisians who rose up against their government.

The group are using street art to kick-start conversations and to challenge their compatriots to see the familiar in a new, post-revolutionary, light.

In the spirit of people-power, the project, titled "INSIDE OUT: Artocracy in Tunisia", features a hundred ordinary Tunisians, putting their images where only presidents once hung. The portraits were taken by six Tunisian photographers, in collaboration with the renowned French street artist known as JR and other international artists.

Artocracy is part of an ongoing international project by JR and his collaborators, who have previously used such surprising canvases as the favelas of Brazil and the wall separating Palestine and Israel lands.

JR used some of the money he won as recipient of the 2011 TED Prize to seed the Tunisia project. Next stop for the INSIDE OUT team is probably Egypt, with other uprising-affected countries in the region likely to follow.

Marco Berrebi, a Tunisian photographer who has worked closely with JR on several of his previous projects, says that Artocracy is about giving people the freedom to debate the photographs and to come to their own conclusions.

"After 50 years of silence, people are willing to discuss, to talk, to challenge your ideas," says Berrebi, who had long hoped to bring this type of street art to his home country.

"If people want to tear them down, or write something on them, that's part of the project, that's okay."

Indeed, the group's message of tolerance and the celebration of diversity has been met by lively debate wherever they have gone.

In spite of government authorisation, they had to abandon their first attempt to paste the images on a fortress La Goulette, a suburb north of the capital, after a crowd of locals turned angry. Posters the artists pasted during the night on the Porte de France, central Tunis, were torn down by 7am.

Learning from their mistakes, the Artocracy team took a more collaborative approach in Sfax, Sidi Bouzid and Le Kram, where they arrived earlier to explain the project and locals helped to create the collages on politically significant monuments.

Revolutionary fire still burns

Slim Zeghal, a Tunisian businessman who helped bring the project to Tunisia, says that the group did not expect to encounter the kind of opposition they met at La Goulette, and that the experience had reminded them that sensitivities are still raw.

"If you scratch beneath the surface, the fire's still there," Zeghal says. "We didn't want to push things to the limit."

Surprise might work with street art projects elsewhere, but the artists quickly realised dialogue is just as crucial to the artistic scene as it is to the political sphere in post-uprising Tunisia.

Aziz Tnani, one of the Tunisian photographers involved in the project, said that the experiences in La Goulette and Porte de France underlined the importance of consulting with local people.

"We didn't involve people. They woke up and just found the pictures," Tnani says of the first attempts to display the photos.

"Some people told us 'we saw so many pictures for so many years, we don't want anyone to impose their pictures anymore,'" he says.

When they arrived in Le Kram on Monday, the artists were working in collaboration with local community organisations, as they had in Sfax and Sidi Bouzid.

Sami Belhadj, a member of a recently-formed organisation that is focusing on building cultural, economic and social activity in the working-class neighbourhood, says his organisation willingly gave its support to the Artocracy project.

"They got in touch with us, and we said we would support them," Belhadj says on Monday evening, speaking shortly after the images had gone up.

Despite participation from some of the locals, however, many people in Le Kram are opposed to the photos.

Belhadj and other members of the local organisation are standing below the building, trying to protect the images from those who wanted to take them down.

Looted and vandalised with the fall of Zine El Abdine Ben Ali's regime, the building in Le Kram has since remained empty, aside from two homeless families who moved in.

With the RCD party formally dissolved earlier this month, the controversial structure, like many others across the country, has yet to be given a new official role in the new Tunisia.

Now the dozens of locals were debating whether these images have a place in their midst.

Belhadj was particularly worried about a small group of men who say the photos must come down because the portrayal of human beings is a violation of Islam.

"We know they will try to destroy them," he says. "Before the Islamists were clandestine. This is the first confrontation we've had with them."

Hassen Ben Zaied, another man standing in the crowd on Monday, was opposed to the portraits not for religious reasons, but because he thinks they are a needless provocation.

"We don't need this kind of thing right now. All artistic projects belong in galleries or official spaces, not on the street," Ben Zaied argues.

"You shouldn't pray in the street, have alcohol in the street, or show photos that have no meaning."

During the night, someone broke into the building. Only the outline of the heads was left, their faces scratched out.

Awatef Djebali, a divorced woman living with her daughter Norhane in the former RCD building, says whoever came during the night did so without waking them.

It was Norhane who told her mother that the photos were gone.

"The photos of the grandfathers are gone!" the eight-year-old exclaimed on Tuesday morning, her mother says.

Djebali says it could have been anyone. She suspects the culprit came from the ranks of the many young unemployed men who frequent the cafes with a view of the photos.

"They would have liked to see photos of pretty young women, not sad old men!" she laughs, noting the reaction from those who spend hours taking their coffee and cigarettes opposite the old RCD building.

A day earlier in Sidi Bouzid, the artists confronted similar issues. They were welcomed warmly by the people, many of whom helped to paste the portraits around their central Tunisian town.

One of the artists, Wissal Darguiche, was questioned by some people about why they weren't using the photographs to commemorate those who died during the uprising.

"I responded that my photography was about showing life and the future," she says, an argument many seemed to appreciate.

She suggested to local people that they create their own art to remember the fallen, and some said they would continue the project after the artists left.

While some of the younger men voiced their opposition to the images for religious reasons, many older men were vocally supportive of the art.

Yet many of the portraits were quickly taken down by men who argued they were too close to a mosque.

In the flux of Tunisia's political transition, everything is contested after decades of imposed silence.

As the Artocracy project shows, public art is no exception.

"This discussion is sound and we should have this discussion, because that's how we can prove Tunisia is a free country," Berrebi says.

You can follow Yasmine on twitter @yasmineryan.









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Get in your car, get on a train or a bus...

go do work with elementary school children in your city.
do anti-classism work.
do anti-racism work.
do meaningful, grounded, non-self serving, intelligent, tangible anti-oppression work at the elementary school level in affluent middle and upper middle class school environments.
train the children of those who shore up the power structure you say you are combating.
share knowledge of the various backpacks of privilege in child terms with the children you encounter.
nothing about oppression will stop until the children of the dominated stop encountering the evil ass ways of the children of the occupier/colonizer/dominator.
fix your children, fix your nieces and nephews, fix the children of your cousins.
if you're white and/or come from a middle class or upper middle class or just plain affluent family don't confuse yourself with bullshit about how the working classes are all the people who have to work.
that's fucking denial.
you use it to maintain a sense that you don't have class privilege.
instead of blocking your own fucking consciousness with crap like that just fucking deal with your privilege, deal with the people you come from.
if you're white and/or middle class just fucking deal with the children who have been birthed and positioned to replicate power and domination in your families, in your communities, in your cities.
don't fucking run off, run away to do work with people of colour or with working class or working poor people.
that's charity work, missionary work, masturbatory work.
deal with where you come from and with what/who is being created to come behind you.
stop that process.
block it.
derail it.
knock the racist, classist, all-round oppressive consciousness of the children who walk with privilege off the fast track to becoming amerikkka's and kkkanada's next top dominator and you will have made a difference.
go into privileged high schools and speak about your experiences with recognizing and challenging oppression in your own selves.
share ethical knowledge with the children of the people who make things easy for you and yours.
challenge them to not target, torment or undermine the educations of the children of the colonized/the occupied/the dominated.
want to tear down systems of domination?
just go home...
and do whatever you can to make sure that the children of the damned survive your pint sized peoples...
that the children of the colonized make it out of the school system alive.


all the resources are stockpiled and hoarded there...if the children can survive the experience.
black children in white schools




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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The wimmin should never be jailed, targeted or harmed in any way in an effort to end the trade...

'Prostitution and Women's Equality: Imagining More for Women' -- Part 1

This episode of Needs No Introduction is the first in a three-part series on prostitution and features a talk by Gunilla Ekberg. In the midst of heated debate around prostitution laws in Canada, this talk, entitled "Prostitution and Women's Equality: Imagining More for Women," was organized in an effort to debunk myths about the legalization of prostitution and explore alternatives. Gunilla Ekberg is a radical feminist, a lawyer and a human-rights consultant. She has spent much of her life fighting against prostitution, and and worked for 6 years as Special Advisor to the Swedish government on human trafficking. Ekberg advocates for what is referred to as the Nordic model (sometimes also known as the Swedish model), a unique approach to prostitution which includes de-criminalizing sex-workers, criminalizing their pimps and buyers, and funding strategies for workers trying to leave the industry. This talk was held on March 10, 2011 at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, B.C. and was recorded by Laura Wood and produced by Meghan Murphy.



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The house was swirling around me with chaos in full effect when I wrote that post about rape mythology and the slut walk...

i went back to look at it and found more than my usual crop of typos and incoherencies (yes, i know that's probably not a word but you get what i'm sayin', right?).

so, i worked on it some more and filled it out so that it made more sense...to me, at least. :)

i've never needed permission nor been able to access any protection for walking the streets dressed as i please/d...

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm fiddling with my design...

bear with.



if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

I've never needed permission nor been able to access any protection for walking the streets dressed as i please/d...

...except as a young immigrant child unsure of the world around me, as an uncomfortable, lacking in self-esteem teen trying out various bits of (what i understood as) adult female aesthetic and as a very new black lesbian separatist feminist who couldn't figure out why it was that i was dressed from head to toe in butch wear, with short barber faded haircut, men's underwear, men's shoes and still had men leering at me on the streets. but...i was all covered up...

i'm a grown woman of 43. looking back and looking at how i move through the world and occupy or sometimes choose to not occupy space, public space...
i think i have benefited from the privilege of being fairly large, able bodied, not raised by christians, class mobile, cisgendered, north amerikkkan located, very well educated with access to so much feminist, black, queer, class, sexually radical theory. this combined with being (demonized uncontrollably scaaaary booooo...) black woman while being conscious, uncrushed and brave enough to not embrace the submissive, accommodating, incessantly smiling female gender role stereotyped woman.
all these combined have allowed me access to a shifting and greyed area where i have often been able to capitalize (still at a price) over the years in a way that has bought me a kind of truce/d "safety" that has allowed me to leave the house night and/or day dressed in some fairly revealing/sexualized clothing for community events, book launches, spoken word performances, pride and such.

i don't do it as much any more...i tend more toward working more covered femme for daily interactions. but i still do reserve the right.

it has crossed my mind from time to time, especially when i felt much more under attack by some fairly conservative community grass roots people in different circles who did not take kindly to me exposing as much flesh as i reserved the right to, that i could be sexually assaulted, raped while out gallivanting at night and no one would say a thing...no one would support me.

i wondered whether any of the political types i'd ever encountered who clucked their teeth at what they saw or who made jokes about me, conflating my lack of clothing with lack of intellect, would whisper behind their hands in gossiping groups: "oh, she deserved it. look at how she was dressed. tramp. slut. jamette."

the whole - stay covered, stay "pure", be kept "safe" and be defined as "nice", as well behaved and therefore as having value - approach to dressing for wimmin is so racist, so classist, so all-round oppressive.

in most communities, wimmin who are considered proper, those who are respectable (meaning understood to be deserving of respect), those who are not defined as sexually accessible by virtue of dress and demeanour, those who are considered of good stock, are most often middle and upper class wimmin.

these are the "good" girls.

they are "nice".

they are the intelligent ones. you can tell they amazingly gifted intellectually because truly intelligent wimmin always cover themselves up.

for a woman to be considered automatically rape-able with impunity, rape-able meaning easily identified a target, as prey - she needs to meet certain requirements.

for one thing, if her attacker would like to rape her and be fairly certain he will not be punished, she should ideally be from any subjugated community. these are the wimmin the society as a whole considers discardable, prey, deviant, dirtied, touchable, of low value, automatically vulnerable to the oppressive gaze and handling of the patriarchy.

i don't mean to say that all wimmin are not vulnerable to rape. what i do mean to say is that wimmin of colour, poor wimmin and all other wimmin who are not able to access sufficient buffering power/privilege, but specifically those who are defined as deviant, as nasty, as sexually accessible, are coded in ways that iconically communicate to men with a fair amount of certainty that they will be able to get away with rape, that many will understand that these wimmin deserve it, that the society as a whole will turn the other way.

certain wimmin and girl children are defined in an abusive and dominating racist, classist, misogynist, sexually conflicted and controlled, white dominated, patriarchal culture as more tarnishable, perceived as more deserving of the oppressive, violating, patriarchal male gaze and touch because of who they/we are, but also insanely, because of how they/we are dressed or because of how they/we behave.

they/we have been defined as appropriately designated hate, abuse, violence, sperm receptacles, for all intents and purposes - garbage cans.

i'm thinking right now about white people in slave times obsessed with making sure that black african men did not even look, did not dare even raise their eyes to gaze upon the supposed beauty and purity of white wimmin. they could be genitally maimed, tortured and killed for even looking at white wimmin's flesh, already spoken for, already possessed, ridden, utilized for the pleasure and perpetuation of white male dominated middle/upper class patriarchy.

meantime, every male, every white and class privileged male, was able to visually and tangibly access the black woman via her lack of classed and raced status leading to social vulnerability, via imposed and unavoidable nakedness upon demand, via her inherent (meaning: constructed) sexual deviance. every male with more power and privilege than her was able to access the body, the flesh of any old piece of paper bag, door mat, mule of the world, black slave woman. through an intricate, murderous, denial based, dominating belief system, privileging whiteness and white maleness, she was constructed a fair game, as rape-ready.

she/we were considered appropriate prey, communally owned beasts, breeder cows, labouring pack animals of considerably lower value than white wimmin. we could be stripped naked and violated by pretty much anyone. as in ancient times, our nudity or available on request nudity, was as much a mark of our lack of race and class standing, our lack of privilege as was our very existence as slaves.

in "freedom" times, times when classed and racist relations still existed ubiquitously, but everyone had agreed to participate in the mass delusion of "emancipation", and in more modern, present day times since, black wimmin of "quality", of "good stock", from "good families", have been taught that their/our only hope of even attempting to avoid the sexualized gaze of any man, of all men was through dressing with asexual care.

cover up. show as little flesh as possible at all times.

it's clear that we cannot stop the disgusting rape, free access fantasies of white men, of any men of any class for that matter. we all know that the powers that be will do nothing reliable to protect us if we attract "unwelcome attention". why, they can't even protect white wimmin. although the men who prey on middle and upper class white wimmin are hunted down and prosecuted with much more frequency than are those who rape lower caste wimmin.

wimmin who lack massive amounts of systemic domination don't have the racist, classist, all-round privilege accorded to more well placed wimmin, who are defined, through their status as exalted breeder cows of white, middle/upper classed, privileged babies of domination, maintainers of dominant culture...we don't have that unearned privilege, however slight, however relative, to draw on, to protect ourselves from rapists or to demand and reasonably expect a fair day in court ending with arrest and imprisonment.

we do, however, have the power to police ourselves and each other's clothing choices and behaviour.

all wimmin, in the face of a violent rape/porn culture, can always remember that it's how we dress and how we behave that decides whether we will be raped our not. and so, it is necessary to police behaviour and police dress at all times if we are going to not be raped.

this is how we are taught by our mothers to protect ourselves and each other as best as we can from the violent brute force of the patriarchy aimed at our hearts, spirits, bodies and genitals.

we are told that this is our first and last line of defense.

heh. no one ever bothered to explain that this defense is of absolutely no use, whatsoever. obsessively covering up does not do a damned thing.

you see...
men rape 95 year old grandmothers in polyester house dresses who have never worn a pair of daisy dukes/batty ridas or a push up bra.

men rape comatose female patients who are rarely washed, who do not wear one lick of make-up, no mascara, no red lipstick, who domiciled in dilapidated care facilities where they are neglected and abandoned by their families.

men rape three month old girl children who have never worn a mini skirt or high heels.

rape doesn't happen because of how we're dressed or because of how we paint our faces or because of what time we leave the house or because of...anything except power and domination.

because of power and domination, experienced in different ways depending on social positioning, we are all considered rape-ready (defined by me as deserving of attack from one or more men).

there are so many ways a woman can be considered automatically rape-ready or defined as being dressed or behaving in a rape-ready fashion.

the fucking clothes we wear are considered rape traps we set for our own selves.

anything that patriarchal violent rape culture can utilize as a collective noose around our very necks, as the rationale for rape will be used against us regardless of how carefully we police ourselves and each other.

it's a mind fuck, really, because there is nothing a woman or girlchild could ever do to deserve the horror and trauma and pain and stigma of being raped.

it's only a murderously abusive male dominated culture that seeks to harm our most intimate and core parts that would blame even our choice of the clothes on our backs, how we walked, how we smiled, what time of night we were fucking out rather than blame an animal who could not keep his hands, body, fists, mouth and genitals to himself.

we blame ourselves because we are taught by a society that blames us.

if we are not dressed in a fashion considered to be rape-ready and we are still raped, we might find ourselves in an endless feedback loop wondering what we, not the rapist, did wrong.

if we have breasts exposed, leg exposed, belly exposed, buttocks emphasized and are raped, the victim blaming narrative says that at lease our attackers, the police, our families, our lovers/partners and our children will understand that it was our fault because we were dressed like accessible pieces of meat who should have known better to be caught out dressed in ways that clearly screamed: "please fuck me against my will."

disgusting. moronic. dangerous. annoying. oppressive. insidious.

i found out about this today. henh. maybe i'll go. but it will not contribute to or detract from the sense of safety or threat i personally feel when i walk the streets one iota.

the optics and iconic significance of a hoard of fearless, conscious, challenging, demonstrating wimmin, as seen by the society at large, in the macro, may or may not shift a thing. but i believe in a diversity of tactics and this seems to fit the bill...


SlutWalk Toronto

BECAUSE WE’VE HAD ENOUGH!

On January 24th, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police gave shocking insight into the Force’s view of sexual assault by stating: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.

As the city’s major protective service, the Toronto Police have perpetuated the myth and stereotype of ‘the slut’, and in doing so have failed us. With sexual assault already a significantly under-reported crime, survivors have now been given even less of a reason to go to the Police, for fear that they could be blamed. Being assaulted isn’t about what you wear; it’s not even about sex; but using a pejorative term to rationalize inexcusable behaviour creates an environment in which it’s okay to blame the victim.

Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.

We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.

We are a movement demanding that our voices be heard. We are here to call foul on our Police Force and demand change. We want Toronto Police Services to take serious steps to regain our trust. We want to feel that we will be respected and protected should we ever need them, but more importantly be certain that those charged with our safety have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

We are tired of speeches filled with lip service and the apologies that accompany them. What we want is meaningful dialogue and we are doing something about it: WE ARE COMING TOGETHER. Not only as women, but as people from all gender expressions and orientations, all walks of life, levels of employment and education, all races, ages, abilities, and backgrounds, from all points of this city and elsewhere.

We are asking you to join us for SlutWalk, to make a unified statement about sexual assault and victims’ rights and to demand respect for all. Whether a fellow slut or simply an ally, you don’t have to wear your sexual proclivities on your sleeve, we just ask that you come. Any gender-identification, any age. Singles, couples, parents, sisters, brothers, children, friends. Come walk or roll or strut or holler or stomp with us.

Join us in our mission to spread the word that those those who experience sexual assault are not the ones at fault, without exception.

To find learn more of the specific event details, please stay tuned to our WHAT/WHERE/WHEN section.






if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

I haven't read this poem before...

Rape
Adrienne Rich

There is a cop who is both prowler and father:
he comes from your block, grew up with your brothers,
had certain ideals.
You hardly know him in his boots and silver badge,
on horseback, one hand touching his gun.

You hardly know him but you have to get to know him:
he has access to machinery that could kill you.
He and his stallion clop like warlords among the trash,
his ideals stand in the air, a frozen cloud
from between his unsmiling lips.

And so, when the time comes, you have to turn to him,
the maniac's sperm still greasing your thighs,
your mind whirling like crazy. You have to confess
to him, you are guilty of the crime
of having been forced.

And you see his blue eyes, the blue eyes of all the family
whom you used to know, grow narrow and glisten,
his hand types out the details
and he wants them all
but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best.

You hardly know him but now he thinks he knows you:
he has taken down your worst moment
on a machine and filed it in a file.
He knows, or thinks he knows, how much you imagined;
he knows, or thinks he knows, what you secretly wanted.

He has access to machinery that could get you put away;
and if, in the sickening light of the precinct,
and if, in the sickening light of the precinct,
your details sound like a portrait of your confessor,
will you swallow, will you deny them, will you lie your way home?


"Rape is an expression of power and control. It is used as a weapon of war: in Africa, Kosovo, Iraq, and countless other places affected by war, women are routinely raped by the invading forces. Metaphorically, rape is a good scale down of the act of war, whereby we invade and control. To rape is to seize power."




if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Wordless...'no means no' and (definitely) 'yes means yes' just seem so cliche...empty...puerile...

Rape Culture and How it Betrays Women
Marina DelVecchio
Contributing Writer, The New Agenda
Posted: March 21, 2011 08:51 PM

In 1972, Adrienne Rich, a revolutionary poet and feminist of her time, wrote a poem called "Rape," originally published in a collection of poems titled Diving into the Wreck (1971-72). "Rape" sets the scene of a young girl sitting before a cop and reporting her rape:

...the maniac's sperm still greasing your thighs,
your mind whirling like crazy. You have to confess
to him, you are guilty of the crime
of having been forced. (12-15)

Rich draws on the fact that because the girl had to share the most horrific moment of her existence, this cop now thinks he knows her -- she wanted it, she asked for it, she provoked the rapist's advances, and now wants to make it go away. There is a part in him that revels in the "hysteria" in her voice as she outlines the details of her rape -- she deserved it somehow. The last stanza of the poem focuses on the fear that the girl experiences, not because she was raped, but because she could be found guilty of someone else's crime. Because she is a woman in a patriarchal machine, the victim becomes the "confessor," and her fear of the rapist is superseded by her fear of the machine: the cops, the courts that will undoubtedly place her on trial for being victimized, and the news that will paint tawdry portraits of how she somehow dressed a certain way or acted older than her age or put herself in the wrong place.

Although this was written in 1972 in order to create awareness of rape and the unconscious attitude people had towards rape victims, this can still be applied today, which is quite appalling. In light of this, the past few weeks have brought to our attention the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Texas by 18 males, their ages ranging from 14-18, who recorded the assault on their cell phones and published them to the public.

What is interesting about the news coverage of this story is that the girl's experience is silenced. The New York Times reported on the community's response to the girl's dress and appearance, implying that she asked for it. The Daily Beast focused on how this crime has divided the town of Cleveland, TX and has affected the reputation of this nice and hospitable place. A Fox News piece is centered on the difficult defense of the suspects and on the fact that they all knew the girl was 11. Another article from Fox News Houston brings to light the perspective of Quanell X, the new Black Panther Leader, who stands up for the suspects, all black males.

The central points posited on the case are framed around the topics of the way the girl was dressed and why she was hanging out in that part of town, racial profiling, absentee parenting, and how this is an "alleged" rape, because she stuck around to be gang raped by all these guys.

The only one who wrote about this case with honesty and with repulsion at what is really happening here, is Akiba Solomon in Colorlines:

In this framework, girls of color are the predators, the fast-asses, the hot-asses, the hooker-hos, the groupie bitches, the trick-ass bitches, the bust-it-babies and the lil' freaks who are willing to let dudes "run a train" on them. Too often let translates into, "she was rolling with a bunch of dudes" or "she showed poor judgement" or "she appropriated male-identified sexual bravado to fit in," or "she's a child who has been sexually exploited or abused.


This double standard also renders black men and boys as victims of their own sexuality. They're big-dick goon and goblin niggas just doing what niggas do when a smiling, or at least not-protesting young girl comes around. She's 11? OK, but I didn't know she was 11, so I didn't do anything wrong, or violent, or exploitative or dangerous. My responsibility begins and ends with a request for ID.

But where is the girl? Where is her voice? Where is the empathy for a young child, a 6th grader, who had to experience physical assault countless times in a few hours, by different men, one after the other, as they took turns climbing on top of her and filling her slight body with rage, power, and the kind of knowledge no woman, let alone a small girl, should ever experience?"

In the eyes of the world, the news coverage of our country, members of her own community, and perhaps even her friends all believe that she is "guilty of the crime/of having being forced (Rich 14-15). Not much has changed since Adrienne Rich wrote "Rape." People continue to blame the victim, while finding reasons to excuse the suspects of their crime. They didn't know she was 11. She said she was 17. She was willing to go "for a ride" with two of the suspects. She was always hanging out in the Quarter, dressing like she was 20. She didn't fight. Didn't fight back. Didn't scratch, and scream, and try to flee the attack. No, she wouldn't. She is a 6th grader.

She found herself in the company of 18 males who warned her that if she didn't take her clothes off, they would have her beaten. She is a 6th grader who found herself surrounded by male libido, machismo, violence, and their belief that they had a right to take her, rape her, use her little body up, pass it around, and then toss it aside as if it didn't belong to a face, to a soul, to a human being who felt pain, fear, and panic. And above all that has been said about this case, this is what is most distressing, disheartening: that these high school boys and young men felt they had a right to do what they did, and that there would be no consequences. Their conceit, their sense of power is evident in the fact that they whipped our their cell phones and recorded themselves sexually assaulting a minor. No fear.

What does this all mean? How do we inhabit this kind of world where boys as young as fourteen feel they can rape a young girl and not feel anything -- guilt, repulsion, empathy? How do we get to the point that when we learn about the sexual assault of a minor, we consider her dress, her appearance, her behavior, and immediately question what she has done to get herself in this situation? How do we focus on race and class and how to excuse the suspects of their violence? And why do we silence and stigmatize the victim by accusing her of seduction, ignorance, passivity, and complicity? If we should stand on anyone's side, it should be the victim's -- the girl's. No one deserves to be raped, let alone gang raped. No one asks for such a thing -- such a vile, invasive, and violent attack on one's body and mind. How is all of this possible in our day and time?

In an impassioned piece called "On Rape, The Media and The New York Times," Stephanie Rogers, a writer who analyzes the roles of women in film, discusses the rape culture that we live in and how news coverage, movies, television shows, and advertising all contribute to the sexual violence against women because they bombard the public with incessant images and storylines in which girls and women are abused, beaten, raped, and/or murdered. She states:

It contributes to rape because it normalizes violence against women. Men rape to control, to overpower, to humiliate, to reinforce the patriarchal structure. And the media, which is vastly controlled by men, participates in reproducing already existing prejudices and inequalities, rather than seeking to transform them.

Under Helium's Feminism and Women's Rights, Rape culture is defined as a "culture in which rape is common, and can be condoned through cultural attitudes and behaviors, including the way its victims are portrayed in the media, and the objectification of certain people (usually women) that seems to make their bodies open to violation." The author of this piece goes on to make some very interesting points in regard to rape and culture:

"Rape is an expression of power and control. It is used as a weapon of war: in Africa, Kosovo, Iraq, and countless other places affected by war, women are routinely raped by the invading forces. Metaphorically, rape is a good scale down of the act of war, whereby we invade and control. To rape is to seize power."

This is interesting because it goes against the oft believed notion that what women wear, how much make-up they use on their faces, and how short their skirts are has something to do with inviting sexual assaults by men. Rape is not about lust or desire -- it is about control, arrogance, and conceit -- and it is all about the perpetrator, the rapist, the attacker -- the one who needs to assert his physical prowess and reign over another human being, usually a small and helpless one who looks at him with fear in her eyes and who knows better than to fight back.

The University of California-Davis has produced an insightful and convincing document called Defining Rape Culture, which posits that the burden of prevention is laid upon women. They have to be careful where they go, at what time of the evening, who to associate with, how to pick up signals of impending violence from another person, and really, how to control their movements and behaviors so that they do not put themselves in a situation that may result with an attack against them.

According to the findings of this piece, "The high incidence of rape in this country is a result of the power imbalance between men and women. Women are expected to assume a subordinate relationship to men" (2). In other words, women cannot control being victims of sexual assaults by men because the problem rests in the culture: the way women are taught to be passive and reliant on men, and the way men are taught to be aggressive and more powerful than women. To change this, we must alter the way the culture reacts to the roles of women and men; their perceptions of women and men; shake off the imbalance that exists in female and male power; and make it a political problem that affects everyone -- not just women -- not just victims. Governments, politicians, neighbors, schools, and everyone who makes up a community must become involved in order for this rape culture to be expunged from our constant reality. Here are some suggestions the UC-Davis article suggests for making this happen:

A few awareness strategies that can be employed in neighborhoods are:
  1. Organizing meetings and educational programs

  2. Block organizing (small groups to meet to discuss safety and planning to organize neighborhood)

  3. Neighborhood lobbying (i.e. letter writing)

  4. Whistle alert (Whistle sounded for help)

  5. Shelter houses (women in neighborhood make their homes available for temporary refuge)

  6. Watch programs (patrol programs, with assistance of experienced community organizers)

  7. Lobbying for preventive education to be included in the public school curriculum

  8. Take Back The Night March (symbolically supporting women's right to walk at night.

In essence, attention must be drawn to the focus of rape. Rape must be viewed as a political issue, not just another crime or mental health problem. It must be seen as an issue which affects all women. However, rape is not just a women's problem-it is a community problem.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda, where this piece first appeared.






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