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daily archive: 04/11/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Andrea Dworkin
I haven't read any of Andrea Dworkin's books but I don't agree with the thesis that pornography is a violation of women's civil rights; what about the men who take part in porno films? Don't they have civil rights? Besides, both men and women could find other jobs, no one is forcing them to be porn stars. And one more thing: I don't believe that reading or watching pornography necessarily leads to rape and violence; Ms Dworkin has stated that "pornography is used in rape." Well, so are genitals. Feminist Andrea Dworkin Dies at 58
Andrea Dworkin, a feminist who viewed pornography as a violation of women's civil rights and a direct cause of rape and violence, has died, her agent and family said Monday. She was 58.

Dworkin died Saturday at her home in Washington, D.C., said John Stoltenberg, who married Dworkin in 1998 after living with her for three decades. She had been ill several years, and suffered from ailments including osteoarthritis.

"Pornography is used in rape — to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act," Dworkin testified before the New York Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in 1986, according to a transcript posted on her Web site.

Dworkin's first book, "Woman Hating," published when she was 27, launched her lifelong advocacy on the ways pornography harms women. She campaigned frequently on the subject, helping to draft a 1983 law that defined pornography as a civil rights violation against women, her agent, Elaine Markson, said in a statement.

The law was inspired by the case of Linda Marchiano, who as Linda Lovelace appeared in the pornographic film "Deep Throat," the statement noted.

"In every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve," said fellow feminist Gloria Steinem. "Andrea is one of them."

Dworkin, originally from Camden, N.J., wrote more than a dozen books, including "Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation," which won the American Book Award in 2001. She was working on a book with the working title "Writing America: How Novelists Invented and Gendered a Nation," when she died, Stoltenberg said.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Palestinian Cairo Agreements
On March 17, Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and several smaller Palestinian organizations agreed in Cairo to extend the current "lull" (tahdi’a) in military operations until the end of 2005 and to implement a series of reforms in Palestinian political institutions. This agreement constitutes a landmark in the current phase of Israeli-Palestinian relationships as well as in internal Palestinian politics.

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kianb in Pahlaver:
'No FreedomTV for Iran But Let's Spend our $3M Anyway'
According to USAToday, our proposed FreedomTV for Iran project was strongly rejected by US Department of State and they are going ahead with their own $3M plan to spend it inside Iran which, in all honesty, looks so french and bill clinton-ish:
Awards are contingent upon the availability of Fiscal Year 2005 funds. Up to $3,000,000 may be available under the Economic Support Fund for projects that address Bureau objectives in countries in the Muslim World. The Bureau anticipates awarding between 3 - 12 grants in amounts of $250,000 - $1,000,000.
It's a very common routine in Iran that when mullahs arrest a political activist, they will confiscate all his/her belongings too. For the leaders of a movement, it means the regime will confiscate all their computers, bank accounts, real estate and all other financial supports; they will harass their family members until they confess to whatever the regime wants. So no matter how much money you want to spend on some fancy projects inside, there is no warranty that all won't vanish in a night.

It can also be used by the mullahs as a new source of income: They wait till the Americans pay, then they will just raid any financed project, confiscating anything, torturing activists and their families until they 'confess' in Iranian TV that they are American and Israeli 'spies'.

My best guess is that this is for only building connections and thinking, 'Let's put $3M on the table and let's see what will happen', because it's very clear at this stage that they have no clue about the politics inside Iran and how the mullahs legislate any insult they are planning to put on Iranian people.

If this is all what we have to expect from the US government in 2005, it will be a very quiet year for the Iranian people and a very busy year for Shirin Ebadi and the like to receive money for promoting human rights in Iran while spending it to criticize America for 'maltreating' the terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. How many more of these dinosaurs do we need to produce and how many more times do we need to disappoint Iranian people with our wrong policies so we can finally admit our mistakes and choose a stronger and more serious path against the tyranny of Tehran?

It's a symbolic pose... on paper.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Nazi who saved Jews
Israeli Holocaust Museum Honors Nazi
A German military officer who became known as the "Nazi who saved Jews" was honored Monday by Israel's Holocaust memorial for rescuing hundreds of Jews from death camps during World War II.

Maj. Karl Plagge was named "Righteous among the nations" in a posthumous ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem. The honor is reserved for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, when Nazis killed 6 million Jews.

Plagge served as a Nazi officer in Lithuania from 1941-1944, where he was in charge of a factory that employed hundreds of Jews. According to Yad Vashem, Plagge employed unqualified people to save them from deportation, and warned his workers in June 1944 that German troops were approaching and they would be handed over to the Nazis. The warning enabled some 200 people to escape and survive.

"The experience of human-made horror is frequently accompanied by hope," said Johann-Dietrich Worner, president of the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. "Karl Plagge and similar examples prove that even in the darkness of misdeeds there exists the light of hope, of humanity in inhuman situations."

Worner accepted the honor on behalf of Plagge, who was a graduate of the university. Plagge, who died in 1957, has no surviving relatives.

During the ceremony, Dr. Simon Malkes thanked Plagge for saving his life and the lives of many other Jews. Later, the participants congregated outdoors in the Garden of the Righteous Among Nations, where Plagge's name was unveiled on a wall.

The ceremony capped a six-year effort by Michael Good, an American physician from Durham, Conn., whose mother was among those rescued by Plagge.

Good began his search for Plagge in 1999 only to learn that Plagge and his wife had no children. The effort grew into a major project that included Good's recently published book, "The Search for Major Plagge: The Nazi Who Saved Jews."

Good's research included documents dating to World War II and its aftermath, as well as hundreds of e-mails a week from survivors and their children at the military vehicle repair camp run by Plagge in Vilnius.

Good's mother, Pearl, unveiled Plagge's name on the memorial wall during Monday's ceremony.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Monday Winds of War: April 11/05
My briefing with Bill Roggio is up! (Actually it has been up for a few hours, but I've been getting my beauty sleep).

Winds of Change.NET: Monday Winds of War April 11/05 Topics include:
Iran wants us to get used to its nuclear plans; More mortars from Gaza; Hezbollah plots; Qatari intel digs; RFID passports bad idea; the dangers of nuke cooling pools; bye-bye TSA; GSPC back at it in Algeria; USA bases in Morocco?; Piracy in the Malacca Straits; Brits worry about a repeat of Madrid bombings; More European legal problems; Chechen choppings; and much, much more…
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Indian-American Political Influence
First of all, I had no idea that Indian-Americans were America's wealthiest ethnic group (I imagine panzer pants will have a stroke at the news) and good for them. I am also very happy to see the Indian-American community critically examining itself; let that be a lesson for the rest of us.

Indians in U.S. look back home
When Nishrin Hussain moved to the United States in 1990, she left her parents behind in India. But her American life was tragically interrupted when her father, a Muslim, was burned alive by a Hindu mob during the 2002 riots that shook India's Gujarat state.

Since then, she has become a force in Indian politics - from her home in Delaware. Like a growing number of other Indian-Americans, Hussain is using the considerable power of the pocketbook and other forms of political activism to influence events half a world away.

And their efforts can have an impact: In March the State Department, largely because of the protests of Indian-Americans, canceled an upcoming tour in the United States by Narendra Modi, Gujarat's chief minister, for the role he played in the riots three years ago.

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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Dr. Shazia Khalid: more unpunished rape in Pakistan
A stunning new case of unpunished rape in Pakistan tells me that things haven't changed, and aren't changing soon. When Pervez Musharraf, the two-faced friendly dictator himself, deigns to inform the rape victim that her rapist is "not guilty", can there be any doubt that the appeals court decision to free Mukhtar Mai's rapists came as an unwelcome surprise to him? I'm beginning to think he may have orchestrated it, given his behavior in this case.
Pakistan's deep social divisions are on display yet again in the case of two women, Mukhtar Mai and Dr Shazia Khalid, who have been raped but are finding it difficult to secure justice. The feudal system demands that they commit suicide so that the crimes can be hushed up and the criminals let off the hook. In unprecedented acts of courage, both women have refused to oblige. The case of Mukhtar Mai (who was born Mukhtaran Bibi) has been going on for nearly three years; Dr Shazia Khalid's is more recent: she was raped on January 3. Yet the two cases illustrate some of the many things that are deeply awry in Pakistani societies. Both women, like many hundred others, are victims of a feudal system underpinned by a military oligarchy that recognizes no human dignity, especially of those that are weak or poor.


The story of Dr Shazia Khalid, raped by an army captain in her room at the Sui gas plant in Baluchistan on the night of January 3, is almost equally harrowing. Her employers at Sui Gas tried to pressure her into remaining silent, and two company doctors even conspired to keep her drugged for two days so that incriminating evidence could be removed from her room. When she persisted in lodging a complaint, she was flown to a psychiatric hospital in Karachi so that a case could be built that she is mentally unstable. After nine days she was able to send a message to her husband, who was working in Libya; he rushed back to Pakistan. Supported by her husband, she lodged a complaint with the police: a courageous act indeed, especially because her husband's grandfather was insisting that she commit suicide because she had "sullied" the family name. In their interrogation of her, the police insinuated that she had brought this upon herself because of her loose moral character. Her case led to an uprising by the Bugti tribe in the volatile Baluchistan province, disrupting the supply of gas to much of the country for several weeks. Even general Pervez Musharraf waded into the controversy, saying that the defendant, one captain Hammad, was "not guilty". The deeply traumatized Dr Shazia Khalid's real crime is that she dared to point an accusing finger at a member of Pakistan's ruling clan, namely the Pakistani army. On March 18 she left Pakistan on a flight to London, apparently under a deal struck with the government whereby she would withdraw her allegations.

Whether the criminals in the Mukhtar Mai and Dr Shazia Khalid cases will ever be punished in this world is debatable. The victims have taken on the rich and powerful in a land where ‘justice' is delivered or withheld at the pleasure or whim of the mighty and the well-connected. .But these two women have helped to expose the ugly realities of Pakistani society, where feudal lords and soldiers get away with rape and murder, yet pretend to the outside world that they are working to usher in "enlightened moderation".

Some enlightenment, and some moderation.

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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Congress pushing to punish China over unreasonably cheap Renminbi
US set to punish China: one reason China's export-led boom has been so successful is China's incredibly cheap labor. Another is China's refusal to value its currency at a rational market level,and some in Congress are fed up enough to do something about it.
The US Senate will vote no later than July on legislation that would slap across-the-board tariffs on imports of Chinese goods unless China agrees to revalue its currency.

The agreement, worked out by the Senate leadership on Thursday, is the strongest sign yet that Congress might pass overtly protectionist legislation if the US trade balance with China continues to deteriorate.

The Senate failed on Wednesday on a 67-33 vote to kill the legislation, offered by Charles Schumer, Democratic senator, which would give China six months to revalue the renminbi or face a 27.5 per cent tariff on all its imports. The Senate leadership agreed to a final vote on the measure later this year to avoid having it attached to a bill authorising State
Department programmes.

In the House of Representatives, Duncan Hunter, the powerful Republican chairman of the armed services committee, on Thursday also introduced legislation that would define currency manipulation by a foreign government as an export subsidy. This could then allow the US to offset the subsidy by imposing duties on imports.

"Clearly the mood on China is getting more and more intense. There is a lot of surprise at the amount of Republican support," said Frank Vargo of the National Association of Manufacturers, which wants tough action on China but opposes the Schumer bill as a violation of World Trade Organisation rules.

In a sharp exchange yesterday with John Snow, Treasury secretary, Mr Schumer charged that "this administration, on this issue, has had the strength of a wet noodle".

The anger in Congress is being driven in part by the rapid increase in the US trade deficit with China. According to Chinese customs figures compiled by Global Trade Information Services, a US data company, US imports from China rose 37 per cent in January and February, while US exports to China fell by 10 per cent. Official US trade data for February will be released next week.

While most of the focus has been on growing Chinese textile and apparel sales since the lifting of quotas on January 1, exports have also grown sharply in basic materials like steel and chemicals as well as heavier
machinery sectors where China was until recently a net importer.

The rumblings in Congress are increasing pressure on the administration to declare that China is manipulating its currency. The US Treasury is set later this month to release its semi-annual report to Congress on exchange rates. Mr Vargo said: "They just can't find again that China is not manipulating its currency."

Mr Snow on Thursday would not say what the Treasury would conclude in the report. But Rob Nichols, Treasury spokesman, signalled the administration
would resist such pressure. "The administration's financial diplomacy approach has been effective and progress is being made in moving China to a flexible exchange rate regime," he said.
This year for the first time, China has a trade surplus with the world.
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