Protecting “honour” in the Islamic Republic
Posted: 12 Sep 2010

Following the recent extensive essays by Robert Fisk on honour killings around the world, here’s another shocking case:

Tehran, Iran. Farsnews reported that on April 25th, 2010 police found a 24 year old woman dead in her apartment, on Shariati St. After an initial investigation it became apparent the woman was called Mahsa and was a transsexual that had undergone sex-change assignment (his name before sex-change was Masood). Mahsa was strangled, and the police found out that her brothers were perpetrators. In addition the brothers stole money they found on her. The two brothers confessed to the killing of Mahsa, and mentioned the reason as “opposing her immorality”. Their father, who in Iranian Shari’a law is the Vali’ye Dam (Masa’s blood-owner), forgave his two sons for the murder. One brother was sentenced to 8 years in prison, with five years suspended jail time and the other for three with two years suspended jail time. In other words the brothers would only serve three and one year respectively in prison for murder!
This is a painful example of how Iranian law concedes if not indirectly sanctions honour killings in defense of any family “dishonour.” This is further proof that for all of Iran’s trumpeting of their so called “progressive” policies towards sex-change, many of the laws of the Iranian Islamic Republic actively encourages terror, violence and murder. Such policies terrorises LGBT minorities in Iran and incites direct violence that damages families and whole communities. GME calls upon the Iranian Supreme Leader and the judicial system to repeal these laws and decriminalise homosexuality and any discrimination against sexual minorities. In an exclusive interview to GME, Saghi Ghahranman, CEO of the Toronto based Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) stated that “it is possible to advocate and educate parents to understand and accept their children if the law is not supporting murder, and if it does not force a fabricated morality over loving family bonds.” She added that: “this is why we think it is most crucial for the penal code to change in a way that preserves rather than destroys a loving family.” Saghi believes that such imposed morality is at the core of the legislations that encourages Honour Killings that are becoming common place Iran.


News of the World needs to learn what ethics are all about
Posted: 12 Sep 2010

Hello my name is Rupert and I make money from finding the mobile phone numbers of famous people:

The News of the World paid a private detective to provide hundreds of pieces of confidential information, often using illegal means, a confidential document obtained by The Independent on Sunday has revealed.
The “Blue Book”, a ledger of work carried out by Steve Whittamore for News International titles, including the NoW and The Sunday Times, details a series of transactions including obtaining ex-directory phone numbers, telephone accounts, criminal records checks and withheld mobile numbers. It reveals the itemised details of checks on public figures, including Peter Mandelson, ordered and paid for – at up to £750 a time – by reporters working for the redtop. Staff from a number of other national newspapers made similar requests, and their details are contained in further dossiers held by the Information Commissioner, the privacy watchdog.
Among the journalists requesting information from Mr Whittamore, who was later convicted of offences committed under the Data Protection Act, was the former NoW editor Rebekah Wade, now Rebekah Brooks.


The corrupting influence of Jewish money
Posted: 12 Sep 2010

Gideon Levy in Haaretz:

Just as the benefit to Israel of the belligerent and heavy-handed U.S. Jewish lobby is quite dubious – to the extent that for a long time it has seemed it would be better for Israel if it disappeared altogether – so, too, we must now question the Jewish money flowing to Israel from those who choose not to live here: Does Israel actually benefit from this practice, or does this merely serve as a bed for degenerative rot?


Now why would China want to work with the US on net censorship?
Posted: 12 Sep 2010

Is this our web future?
A Chinese writer calls for a global coalition to fight material that powerful interests don’t like, such as the recent Wikileaks revelations about the failed Afghan war.


Blair the mendacious
Posted: 12 Sep 2010

These kinds of revelations just keep on coming (yet so many in the corporate press can’t stop fawning over the former British Prime Minister).

Tony Blair mounted an intense political lobbying campaign to rescue a struggling mobile-phone business owned by a client of the bank that pays him a £2 million annual salary.
The firm, Wataniya, had already built a brand-new network in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank.
But it almost collapsed before launching its service, jeopardising a £450 million investment, because Israel’s government was refusing to let it use the frequencies it needed to operate.

Acting in his capacity as the international Middle East peace envoy, Mr Blair helped to save the company by spending months putting pressure on Israel’s prime minister and his colleagues in a bid to change their minds.



Controlling the Murdoch empire is both necessary and just
Posted: 12 Sep 2010

Here’s something you will virtually never see in Australia. A mainstream newspaper (in this case, the London Observer) taking on the Murdoch empire, front and centre, calling it out for its smears and lack of rigorous ethics (to put it mildly):

Rupert Murdoch‘s News International (NI) is drawing up plans to sponsor an academy school in a move that is likely to trigger anxiety about the media mogul’s influence.
The Observer understands that executives at NI, which owns the Times, the Sun, the Sunday Times and the News of the World (NoW), are actively discussing sponsoring a school in east London, close to the company’s headquarters in Wapping.
The idea, which is being spearheaded by Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the Sun, who is now chief executive of NI, has been under discussion for several months but is still at an early stage, according to sources.
The plan will alarm Murdoch’s critics who claim the tycoon’s media empire, which spans broadcasting, publishing and internet interests around the world, already wields formidable influence over the UK’s political system and society.

And this commentary, from the same paper today:

When Rupert Murdoch appeared on his own Fox News Channel last week and was, astonishingly, asked about the News of the World phone-hacking scandal – “the story that was really buzzing around the country and certainly here in New York”, as the anchorman put it – Murdoch cut him off with the words: “I’m not talking about that issue at all today. I’m sorry.”
Seen against the background of Sun Valley, Idaho, and in short sleeves and sunglasses, Murdoch appeared more like a gangster fighting extradition proceedings than the attendee of a media conference. For some reason, the vicious agility of the elderly Hyman Roth in The Godfather, Part II came to mind. Naturally, the Fox News anchor didn’t challenge the man he called Mr Chairman and the matter of the mass hacking of phones belonging to MPs, public figures and celebrities was dropped as Murdoch moved to praise his own organisation for its robust criticism of the Obama administration, delivering one swift jab at a competitor, the Financial Times, in the process.
Murdoch is a problem for British society and the News of the World phone-hacking story – given further impetus over the last 10 days by the New York Times and the Guardian – is a symptom of the chronic malignity of his power. In the last 40 years, we have grown used to News International (NI), so that it is difficult to imagine Britain without Murdoch’s occupation, without, for instance, the leaders of the main parties humiliating themselves and our political system to gain his endorsement, or News International journalists and executives treating the law, national institutions and Parliament with disdain.
Murdoch has become one of the political issues of our time, as menacing in his own special way to democracy and conduct of politics as many other threats our society faces, only we do not see it, because his power is used behind the scenes to extend his commercial influence and so his grip on the flow of so much of the information in Britain. He and his equally unappealing son, James, (probable salary £1.3m) may bellyache about the BBC, but when you set the advertising spend and income of BSkyBnewspapers and websites into the equation, you realise that Murdoch is by far the greatest force. alongside those of ITV and the BBC and add his
In February, I evoked the nightmare of Berlusconi’s Italy when commenting on the fact that News International had concealed the truth about the extent of the phone hacking and that people such as Rebekah Brooks, formerly editor of the Sun and News of the World and now chief executive of NI, had refused to turn up to answer questions from the Commons culture, media and sport select committee. This is wrong in one respect. Berlusconi is at least an Italian operating in his own land. As an American citizen, Murdoch appears to have scant interest in the plurality of information in Britain and therefore the health of British society.
His overriding concern is that the government remains covertly in step with his plans for expansion and that the flow of profits to News Corp remains uninterrupted. It is as though we had handed over a huge chunk of British agricultural land or given up our food distribution networks to a relentless foreign corporation.
But the amazing thing about Murdoch’s power is that it is maintained even though we owe him absolutely nothing and he is, theoretically, at the mercy of laws and regulations that can be activated to control him. His power is in a sense illusory, maintained because people choose to believe it.


Zionist settlers are just like you and me, except for illegally occupying another people’s land
Posted: 11 Sep 2010

This story really needs to be circulated. Occupation is now as Zionist as hatred of Palestinians but better PR may convince the most gullible people who believe that “nice” people live in the colonies and should be allowed to stay. Oh sure, they have no legal right to do so, Palestinians are given virtually no services or backing by the state and abuses occur daily.
But the settlers seem like charming people:

In the past, West Bank settlers marketed their presence as of vital importance to national security and strategy. But these threats failed to conquer their audience, and two years ago, Yossi Dagan, assistant to the Samaria Regional Council head and chief of its strategy department, decided to change the tune. He came to the conclusion that the average Israeli preferred to sample fine wine than hear about rockets falling on Tel Aviv, and set himself a goal: to bring as many media personalities and opinion-makers as possible on tours of the West Bank.
The tours are neatly tailored to suit the character of each group. Most of them begin at Bruchin, where guests are told that while the settlement was established in the wake of a government decision and had received most of the required permits, it was still termed an (illegal ) “outpost” by the official report authored by Talia Sasson. Visitors continue to a tasting at the Tura Winery in Rechalim, where they receive a bottle as a gift, intended to show them the high quality of life on the other side of the Green Line. From there they go to the Giv’ot Olam (Hills of Eternity ) organic farm of Avri Ran.
In the past, Ran’s farm was synonymous with violence against Palestinians and hostility toward journalists. These days, visitors are invited to sit with Ran’s children, drink homemade yogurt and eat omelets made from organic eggs and bread baked on site, while listening to tales of local agriculture and settlement. Dagan has managed to attract many government ministers, as well as media personality Avri Gilad, poet/columnist Menachem Benn and the former head of the Israel Bar Association, Shlomo Cohen.
Following his visit, Benn moved to the Nofim settlement, where he pays NIS 2,800 a month to rent a seven-room house. Gilad, a radio presenter for 25 years, suddenly discovered the West Bank. The day after his visit, he said on Army Radio: “I went on a tour that revolutionized my awareness of settlements in Samaria. I visited places I was raised to detest. I returned in a state of confusion: confused about the injustice done to citizens who were called on by the state to settle, given building permits and then frozen out. I was surprised to meet people with whom I had a lot to talk about, with great warmth and intimacy. Most of the discussion [about settlers] on the left is hatred. What really surprised me was the proximity – 23 minutes and you are deep into the area.”


Our selective amnesia when outrages occur
Posted: 11 Sep 2010

Guy Rundle writes in the Sunday Age of “the contradictions and hypocrisies of much human rights campaigning these days.”
It’s so much easier to get outraged over Iranian abuses than to focus closer to home.


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