Tag Archives | Human Rights

Russian Artist Forced to Seek Asylum After Painting Putin in Drag

IT"S NOT FUNNY YOU GUYS, VLAD IS SO TOTALLY NOT GAY

IT”S NOT FUNNY YOU GUYS, VLAD IS SO TOTALLY NOT A SELF-HATING, CLOSETED GAY MAN.

Europe’s biggest closet case, Vladimir Putin, is having an official hissy fit because an artist painted him in drag. Apparently he’s never heard of the Streisand Effect.

Raw Story:

A Russian artist said Thursday he has fled to France and is applying for asylum after police seized his painting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in women’s underwear.

Police on Tuesday raided an exhibition in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg, which next week hosts the G20 summit, and confiscated works including a painting of Putin in a strappy nightie and Medvedev in a bra and skimpy knickers.

The artist, Konstantin Altunin, 45, said by telephone from Paris that he had requested political asylum and was now gathering the necessary documents.

“Yesterday I went to the prefecture in Paris… and made this request.

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United States Refusing To Extradite Bolivia’s Ex-President Facing Genocide Charges

bolivia

Compare and contrast with other ongoing asylum controversies. Via the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald writes:

In October 2003, the intensely pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sent his security forces to suppress growing popular protests against the government’s energy and globalization policies.

Using high-powered rifles and machine guns, his military forces killed 67 men, women and children, and injured 400 more, almost all of whom were poor and from the nation’s indigenous Aymara communities. Dozens of protesters had been killed by government forces in the prior months when troops were sent to suppress them.

The resulting outrage drove Sanchez de Lozada from office and then into exile in the United States, where he was welcomed by his close allies in the Bush administration. He has lived under a shield of asylum in the US ever since.

The Bolivians, however, have never stopped attempting to bring their former leader to justice for ordering the killing of indigenous peaceful protesters in cold blood (as Time Magazine put it: “according to witnesses, the military fired indiscriminately and without warning in El Alto neighborhoods”).

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It’s Time To Introduce A Global Minimum Wage

global minimum wage

Al Jazeera, Dr. Jason Hickel argues that a global minimum wage is not only just, but doable:

Because of neoliberal economic policies imposed over the past few decades, companies now have the power to rove the globe in search of what CEOs refer to as the “best investment conditions”.

So workers are made to face a stark choice: accept dangerous conditions and minimum wages of $0.21 per hour, or lose their jobs. The constant threat of replacement keeps workers cheap and docile, to the tremendous benefit of corporate profits.

The problem with globalisation is that capital has been globalised while the rules that protect people from it have not. If we’re going to have a global labour market, it stands to reason that we need a global system of labour standards [and] a global minimum wage.

Not only is it now conceivable to have a global minimum wage system, it’s also – for the first time in history – quite doable.

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The Five Demands Of California’s 30,000 Hunger Striking Prisoners

prisonersVia Prison Photography, the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU Short Corridor Collective’s statement on the demands of the protest on behalf of which many California prisoners are willing to risk death (with ending long-term solitary confinement being the most significant issue):

1. Eliminate group punishments. Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race.

2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Prisoners are accused of being active or inactive participants of prison gangs using false or highly dubious evidence, and are then sent to longterm isolation (SHU).

3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement. Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for more than thirty years.

4. Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations.

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30,000 California Prisoners Go On Hunger Strike Against Conditions

The Los Angeles Times reports on the largest prisoner protest in state history:
California officials don’t plan until Tuesday afternoon to update the situation in prisons throughout the state, where 30,000 inmates on Monday began refusing meals. The mass protest was called for months ago by a group of inmate leaders in isolation at Pelican Bay State Prison over conditions in solitary confinement, where inmates may be held indefinitely without access to phone calls. But inmates in at least five other prisons have provided their own lists of demands. They seek such things as warmer clothing, cleaning supplies, and better food, as well as changes in how suspected gang activity is investigated and punished. Lawyers for a group of Pelican Bay hunger strike leaders, who also are suing in federal court over what they contend are inhumane conditions, are to meet with their clients Tuesday.
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The Rapper Formerly Known As Mos Def Undergoes Force-Feeding In Protest Of Guantanamo

The pressure is being mounted on President Obama to take steps to end the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Wondering just how brutal force-feeding is? Yasiin Bey (better known as Mos Def) collaborated with the human rights organization Reprieve and filmmaker Asif Kapadia to document himself actually undergoing the procedure, in accordance with the standard operating guidelines found in leaked military documents. The resulting four-minute film is extremely disturbing:
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Guantanamo-Style Force Feeding Occurs In U.S. Prisons Every Day

force feedingVia Common Dreams, Ann Neumann on barbaric force feeding occurring onshore and offshore against prisoners who see hunger striking as their last available method of protest:

I know a hunger-striking prisoner who hasn’t eaten solid food in more than five years. He is being force-fed by the medical staff where he’s incarcerated. Starving himself, he told me last year, is the only way he has to exercise his first amendment rights and to protest his conviction.

The fact that force feedings are being discussed in the context of Guantánamo obscures the routine use of feeding tubes in American prisons. Other recent feeding tube cases have taken place in Washington state, Utah, Illinois and Wisconsin. No sweeping study of force-feeding has been done, so statistics on usage don’t exist. Only three states have laws against force-feeding prisoners: Florida, Georgia and California, where a hunger strike in 2011 at a facility in Pelican Bay effectively caused a court examination of prison conditions.

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Former Guatemalan Dictator Convicted Of Genocide

guatemalan dictator

The military dictatorship led by Montt slaughtered thousands upon thousands of villagers in an effort to exterminate Guatemala’s indigenous ethnic Mayan population, which it regarded as sympathetic to leftist rebels. No word on whether the CIA and Ronald Reagan will be tried posthumously as accessories. Reuters reports:

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty on Friday of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 80 years in prison. It was the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide in his or her own country.

Montt, now 86, took power after a coup in 1982 and implemented a scorched-earth policy in which troops massacred thousands of indigenous villagers thought to be helping leftist rebels.

Prosecutors say Montt turned a blind eye as soldiers used rape, torture and arson to try to rid Guatemala of leftist rebels during his 1982-1983 rule, the most violent period of a 1960-1996 civil war in which as many as 250,000 people died.

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China Releases Its 2012 Report On Human Rights In The United States

human rightsIt may be a bit ludicrous for the Chinese government to criticize other nations over human rights, but that doesn’t mean that their observations are wrong.

Via China Daily, excerpts from the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China’s report titled “Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012,” released a week ago:

The State Department of the United States recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, posing as “the world judge of human rights” again. However, the U.S. turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and never said a word about it.

In the U.S., elections could not fully embody the real will of its citizens. Political contributions had, to a great extent, influenced the electoral procedures and policy direction. During the 2012 presidential election, the voter turnout was only 57.5 percent.

The U.S. has become one of the developed countries with the greatest income gap.

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“Human Beings Have No Right to Water” and Other Words of Wisdom From Your Friendly Neighborhood Global Oligarch

Picture: Awesome Satan mask by Schell Studios. schellstudio.com

Picture: Awesome Satan mask by Schell Studios. schellstudio.com

Andrew Gavin Marshall writes:

In the 2005 documentary, We Feed the World, then-CEO of Nestlé, the world’s largest foodstuff corporation, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, shared some of his own views and ‘wisdom’ about the world and humanity. Brabeck believes that nature is not “good,” that there is nothing to worry about with GMO foods, that profits matter above all else, that people should work more, and that human beings do not have a right to water.

Today, he explained, “people believe that everything that comes from Nature is good,” marking a large change in perception, as previously, “we always learnt that Nature could be pitiless.” Humanity, Brabeck stated, “is now in the position of being able to provide some balance to Nature, but in spite of this we have something approaching a shibboleth that everything that comes from Nature is good.” He then referenced the “organic movement” as an example of this thinking, premising that “organic is best.” But rest assured, he corrected, “organic is not best.” In 15 years of GMO food consumption in the United States, “not one single case of illness has occurred.” In spite of this, he noted, “we’re all so uneasy about it in Europe, that something might happen to us.” This view, according to Brabeck, is “hypocrisy more than anything else.”

Water, Brabeck correctly pointed out, “is of course the most important raw material we have today in the world,” but added: “It’s a question of whether we should privatize the normal water supply for the population.

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