Protest Targets Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, Accused Of Raping Kimberly HanksProtesters appeared outside a Tucson, Arizona, military base on Thursday to denounce the Air Force for transferring Lt. Col. James Wilkerson to the base after his rape conviction was overturned.
According to the Associated Press, about 50 people demonstrated for 45 minutes outside the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. They were led by family members of Kimberly Hanks, whom Wilkerson was originally convicted of raping at his home.
The protesters rallied because Wilkerson was transferred to the Tuscon, where many of Hanks’ family members live.
“They could send him to a number of places,” said Stephen Hanks, the brother of Kimberly Hanks. “Why send him to a place where her family lives? It makes no sense.” More…
Tragedies don’t give law enforcement carte blanche to arrest weird Americans
April is historically a tragic month. In 2013, the Boston Marathon bombings joined an already depressing list of American anniversaries, including the Columbine school shooting and the Branch Davidian siege.
But there’s another tragedy quietly unfolding across the country. Names like Paul Kevin Curtis, Jared Marcum and Bob Miller are poised to join the ranks of Richard Jewell and Steven J. Hatfill.
What do these men have in common? Their rights have all been trampled in the name of justice.
Jewell, you may recall, was considered the prime suspect in the 1996 Olympic bombings. He eventually was hailed as a hero. Hatfill, a former Army scientist, was thought to be behind the post-9/11 anthrax scare. He later sued over the false accusations.
It’s a lot easier to dismiss the village idiot rambling in the town square than it is to decipher the veracity of an online missive.
Strangely, it almost seems un-American to focus on the lost liberty of citizens when faced with a national tragedy. Our instinct to double-down on law enforcement is a good one, but there’s a fine line between hunting down actual terrorists and arbitrarily jailing ordinary — albeit strange — Americans. More…
Trial of Russian dissident leader may be bigger than Pussy Riot
The trial of Alexei Navalny, the leader of the Russian opposition, begins today after a week’s recess. Navalny is the best known opponent of Putin in the country and the trial may turn out to be an even greater event for Russians than Pussy Riot was.
Navalny is a lawyer and popular blogger, who coined the nickname “the party of crooks and thieves” to describe Putin’s United Russia Party. He believes that Putin has never forgiven him for this and is personally involved in bringing him to court. The authorities are saying that Navalny himself is guilty of embezzlement, but Navalny says this is all based on fabricated evidence and is intended to undermine his own accusations of corruption against the regime. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes a supporter of his and prominent opposition activist, Ilya Yashin, who says that the prosecution has no case and are in disarray. “The investigators” he says “have become confused and can’t even determine what damage was caused. The numbers are different and they are contradictory.”
Much like Pussy Riot, Navalny believes that the trial is entirely politically motivated and he thinks that the regime is also using the case to thwart his ambitions to stand for the presidency, which he announced recently.
There seems to be more than a hint of truth in this. RIA Novosti reported that while “The Kremlin and investigators dismiss allegations that the charges against Navalny are politically motivated…..a spokesman for the Investigative Committee, an FBI-style body answerable only to Putin, admitted earlier this month that Navalny’s high-profile “taunting” of the authorities had intensified scrutiny of his activities. More…
Protests at Bangladesh building collapse
Dhaka – Hundreds of thousands of garment workers walked out of their factories in Bangladesh on Thursday, police said, to protest the deaths of 200 people in a building collapse, in the latest tragedy to hit the sector.
Grief turned to anger as the workers, some carrying sticks, blockaded key highways in at least three industrial areas just outside the capital Dhaka, forcing factory owners to declare a day’s holiday.
“There were hundreds of thousands of them,” said Abdul Baten, police chief of Gazipur district, where hundreds of large garment factories are based. “They occupied roads for a while and then dispersed.”
Police inspector Kamrul Islam said the workers had attacked several factories whose bosses had refused to give employees the day off. More…
Police arrest protesters outside Bush library
DALLAS — Police have arrested at least three people during a protest march in Dallas near the dedication site of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
The three people were placed in patrol cars Thursday as about 200 people marched and chanted near the campus of Southern Methodist University. Police Lt. A.W. Williams says the three were charged with being a pedestrian in a roadway, a misdemeanor. They were taken to the Dallas County jail.
Demonstrations were restricted to a zone cordoned off by barricades and separated from the center by a highway. More…
Veterans and Iraqis join to protest Bush Library
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were the focus of protests Tuesday on a small patch of grass across North Central Expressway from the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
Veterans of those wars joined Iraqi citizens in the second day of a week of planned demonstrations leading up the center’s dedication Thursday. The demonstrations were slightly larger and more intense than Monday’s.
“We are here to remind the world that the Bush legacy has nothing honorable about it,” said Farah Mushin, who is from Baghdad.
Another Iraqi, Salam Talib, representing the Dallas Peace Center, said the war had made Bush unpopular with the people he claimed to have liberated.
“Why is he opening a library here and not in Iraq?” Talib said. “I guarantee if he tried to open one in Iraq, it would not last very long.” More…
3 Tibetans die in self-immolation protests
BEIJING: Two Buddhist monks and a Tibetan woman died after setting themselves on fire in southwestern China on Thursday as self-immolation protests against Chinese rule in the restive Himalayan region, resumed after a brief lull.
The protests coincide with the visit of French President Francois Hollande and European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to Beijing.
Two Tibetan monks aged 20 and 23 set themselves on fire at the Kirti monastery in Aba county in Sichuan province, according to US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Britain-based rights group Free Tibet. More…
Anti-government protests in Iraq devolve into sectarian fighting
Reports indicate that 128 people have been killed since clashes erupted between security forces and mostly Sunni protesters calling for the resignation of Shiite Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki.
Scores of Iraqis have been killed in two days of sectarian fighting in central Iraq, raising concerns about a new Sunni uprising against the Shiite central government.
Agence France-Presse reports that 128 people have been killed and 269 wounded since Tuesday in fighting between security forces and anti-government protesters in Sunni-majority regions of the mostly Shiite country. The protesters have been calling for the resignation of Shiite Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki, whose government they say has been targeting Sunnis. More…
Indian protests against rape continue
Protests continue in India as people vent their anger over sexual violence and police incompetence. Authorities are accused of trying to bribe the parents of a raped five-year-old girl to keep the case quiet.
The outrage over the rape comes just months after the brutal gang rape of a student in New Delhi who later died in hospital in Singapore triggered widespread protests across the country. The capital has earned the nickname “rape capital of the world.”
The Indologist Renate Syed from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich explains that there is a long tradition of female subordination in India that can be traced back to ancient texts. She examines discrimination against women in ancient and modern India in her book “The daughter is misfortune.” More…
CPS protests: Students reject tests
Two different groups of protesters gathered Wednesday outside the Chicago Public Schools headquarters to make their voices heard.
One group, Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, included juniors who boycotted school on the day they should have been taking a standardized test that determines whether they will go on to 12th grade.
They object to standardized testing, which they said was one of the criteria to select the 53 elementary schools and one high schools slated for closing in June. They asked CPS to put a moratorium on those closings More…
Green Party urges passage of Wall Street transaction tax
WASHINGTON, DC — The Green Party of the United States is calling for passage of legislation to impose a “Wall Street transaction tax,” which will stabilize the stock market, discourage reckless ‘casino’ trading, and generate revenue.
Green Shadow Cabinet: http://www.greenshadowcabinet.us
Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minn.) has introduced such a bill, titled the “Inclusive Prosperity Act” (http://ellison.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=907&catid=86).
As Ralph Nader noted in his endorsement of the bill, “A small financial transaction tax of 0.5 percent or less – depending upon the financial instrument being taxed – could produce hundreds of billions of dollars annually, perhaps as much as $350 billion. This revenue could be generated from a tax that would be minuscule – half a penny or less on each dollar of the transaction value.” (https://www.facebook.com/ralphnader/posts/559074687456801)
“Passing a securities transaction tax would be an effective step towards ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share. The Green Party supports the principle that those who make money from speculation should contribute more than those who make money from hard work,” said Laura Wells, Green candidate for Governor of California in 2010. More…
What recovery? US rich get richer, middleclass treading water
Income inequality surged during the first two years of the economic recovery, as the top 7 percent of American households was the only group to experience an increase in their net worth.
“Inequality is as dear to the American heart as liberty itself,” William Dean Howells once observed. But this quaint aphorism notwithstanding, the latest report on wealth polarization in the US may be difficult for many Americans to accept.
The top 7 percent of Americans saw their average net worth explode by 28 percent between 2009 and 2011, while the wealth of the remaining 93 percent of the population steadily declined during the same period, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
From 2009 to 2011, the average net worth of the country’s 8 million wealthiest households surged from an estimated $2.7 million to $3.2 million, the Pew study said. For the 111 million households that make up the bottom 93 percent, average net worth plunged 4 percent, from $140,000 to an estimated $134,000. More…