Friday, October 2, 2009

NEWS UPDATES : Torture/Ethics//Sacred Heart of the Broken Ocean (ways to help)

Please GO to top of SEPT Archive for News Items on War and Peace from Sept 30 - Oct 4th

A Truly Shocking Guantanamo Story: Judge Confirms That an Innocent Man Was Tortured to Make False Confessions
By Andy Worthington: In four years of researching and writing about Guantánamo, I have become used to uncovering shocking information, but for sheer cynicism, I am struggling to think of anything that compares to the revelations contained in the unclassified ruling in the habeas corpus petition of Fouad al-Rabiah, a Kuwaiti prisoner whose release was ordered last week by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

ACLU: Troubling Start for Patriot Act Reauthorization

(some of these are of course War and Torture related as well)
here Other items at CREW: here includes Tom Delay "Dancing with the Stars" video and URL to Maureen Dowd editorial.

ETHICS in GOVERNMENT: CREW and Obama Administration Reach Historic Deal - White House to Post Visitor Records Online -On September 3rd, CREW and the Obama administration reached a historic settlement in four lawsuits CREW filed for access to White House visitor records. As part of the settlement, and in a drastic reversal from the Bush administration's stance, the Obama administration announced an unprecedented new policy of publically posting White House visitor records online on an ongoing basis.

HUMAN RIGHTS in general
COLUMBIA: Successes - Six Month Anniversary of Human Rights First: Report Reveals Real Gains - Issue Nineteen: October 01, 2009
Six months ago Human Rights First launched a groundbreaking report, Baseless Prosecutions of Human Rights Defenders: In the Dock and Under the Gun. The report was the first to document the widespread use of baseless prosecutions to stigmatize and silence Colombian human rights defenders. With your help, it has made a big impact. More than a dozen Colombian human rights defenders have been released from prison... READ more including reports of one who remains incarcerated:Carmelo Agamez. And re: UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, concerns about "patterns of harassment and persecution" of activists. HRF joined with more than 200 organizations from 20 nations to launch a campaign to better protect Colombian defenders. Other activists have been detained, including Winston Gallego. Over 1,000 of HRF emails were given to President Obama, which combined with an influential Op Ed in the Boston Globe, quotes in the Washington Post, the Hill and Colombian press shaped the public debate.HRF was invited to brief President Obama's National Security Council- Obama most of HRW's concerns and stated that the US will work to protect Colombian human rights defenders and expressed serious concerns about specific human rights issues - a welcome departure from President Bush's uncritical tone...
THE BROKEN HEART of the Sacred Ocean

Without Media, Samoans Left in the Dark

New America Media, Commentary, Jean Melesaine, Posted: Oct 02, 2009 Review it on NewsTrust

Editor’s Note: After being ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami, Samoa -- the “sacred heart” of the ocean -- is broken. And with few media outlets to provide news on the island, those of us on the outside are left in the dark, writes Samoan American Jean Melesaine, a 23-year-old writer for Silicon Valley De-Bug.

"Sa" means sacred and "Moa" means center or heart.

When I found out that an earthquake had hit Samoa, where my family is from, my heart was heavy, my mind quiet. Local Samoan organizers were texting me to give me updates on family members and plan what we could do. I was on Facebook all day asking folks if they had any information about what was going on.

My mother was trying to reach "home" all night, streaming the only live radio show that was reporting updates. Listeners were calling in searching for their families, saying the names of their siblings with a crack in their voices. My family in Western Samoa only had shattered windows. My father’s village, Falealili, is gone, completely destroyed. An uncle who lives offshore is still missing.

My mother cried when I showed her albums of Tsunami photos on the web. Samoa is her only escape when the "American dream" eats at her soul. "Ota fefe, all the children are going to be hungry," she whispered.

We have been filling crates with things to take to Samoa when our family goes back to visit in November.

According to Webster’s dictionary, the term “looting” means anything taken by dishonesty, force or stealth. International media, headquartered in places like Australia and New Zealand, are calling Samoans who are simply trying to survive "looters." This, in a land that is now called “American” Samoa.

There are few reliable sources of media on the island. Social networking barely exists.

In Samoa, you either hear about what is happening or you don’t. The island is so small that people see each other every day. They have their own style of communication that relies heavily on word of mouth.

My friend Lisa, who works for Pacific Islander media companies Pacific Wave Media and Kribat Video says, "Next to consultants, overseas media are the next biggest opportunists."

Samoa needs reliable media run by the community, and this disaster proves this. My mother has been on the phone talking to friends in Samoa all night. She has heard all the news by word of mouth and she trusts it more than what is being reported by New Zealand Television.

The death toll rises and falls with each overseas media report, playing with my mother’s heart. At first 14 people are reported dead, then 40, a number drops back down to 20. She just says in her broken English, "They lie. I'll ask my sister." My aunt told her that 54 people are officially dead, but there are more than 100 still missing and unaccounted for that they know of.

The 45-second earthquake struck in the morning while kids were heading to school. The driver of the school bus carrying my younger cousins was about to drive across a bridge when he heard an alert on the radio. He turned around toward Mount Vaea in Upolu, where he met up with the other bus drivers.

People are barely surviving. The poorer villages haven't gotten as much attention as the big cities.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Oceania communities are uniting and organizing quickly. Vigils are planned for this weekend, benefit concerts are in the works and makeshift donation centers have been created.

We all have our ideas about the causes of tsunamis: they're natural, they just happen. They say climate change and global warming, colonialism and capitalism, have nothing to do with any of this. Who’s to say that isn’t true? But who’s to say Mother Nature isn't alive either?

The sacred heart of the ocean has been beating so hard for hundreds of years.

My mother comes from a bloodline of shamans and medicine women. She says in her beautiful broken English to me, "They knew something was coming." Besides all the politics surrounding the situation, that’s what I heard from my mama, and that’s what I'll believe.

Typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis have wrought death and destruction in the Asia Pacific region this week...the GVN Team has launched an Asia Pacific Emergency
appeal to assist two communities in desperate need who are particularly dear to our hearts - CERV, our partner in the Philippines, and Samoa, the island neighbour to our headquarters here in New Zealand. 100% OF YOUR DONATION WILL GO DIRECTLY TO THE FUND.

Click to donate: here
Typhoon Ketsana has rampaged through the Philippines, killing over 330 people and forcing millions to flee their homes. Officials have reported that 2.3 million people had their homes flooded, and 400,000 were seeking help in relief centers.

Click to donate: here Disaster struck when a powerful 8.0-magnitude undersea quake unleashed tsunamis on the vulnerable Pacific islands. Four tsunami waves up to six metres high roared ashore in Samoa, travelling up to 1.6km inland - tossing cars into trees, razing buildings and sweeping its victims back out to sea.

Please remember that every little bit helps, every dollar will MAKE A DIFFERENCE, and these communities really need us right now.

Kind Regards,

Colin Salisbury
Global Volunteer Network GVN

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