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Showing posts from February 19, 2009

Democracy Now! | Penn. Judges Get Kickbacks for Placing Youths in Privately Owned Jails

Democracy Now! | Penn. Judges Get Kickbacks for Placing Youths in Privately Owned Jails: "An unprecedented case of judicial corruption is unfolding in Pennsylvania. Several hundred families have filed a class-action lawsuit against two former judges who have pleaded guilty to taking bribes in return for placing youths in privately owned jails. Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are said to have received $2.6 million for ensuring juvenile suspects were jailed in prisons operated by the companies PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care. Some of the youths were jailed over the objections of their probation officers. An estimated 5,000 juveniles have been sentenced by Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2002. We speak to two youths sentenced by Ciavarella and to Bob Schwartz of the Juvenile Law Center. [includes rush transcript]"

   Jailing Kids for Cash           : Information Clearing House - ICH

Jailing Kids for Cash : Information Clearing House - ICH: "As many as 5,000 children in Pennsylvania have been found guilty, and up to 2,000 of them jailed, by two corrupt judges who received kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities that benefited. The two judges pleaded guilty in a stunning case of greed and corruption that is still unfolding. Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan received $2.6 million in kickbacks while imprisoning children who often had no access to a lawyer. The case offers an extraordinary glimpse into the shameful private prison industry that is flourishing in the United States.

Take the story of Jamie Quinn. When she was 14 years old, she was imprisoned for almost a year. Jamie, now 18, described the incident that led to her incarceration:"

SudanTribune article : The difference between being an Ethiopian and being Habesha.

SudanTribune article : The difference between being an Ethiopian and being Habesha.By Magn NyangFebruary 17, 2009 — Recently, a 22-year old young girl from Anyuak of Gambella won the beauty contest of Ms. Ethiopia. Lots of responses went out on media from Ethiopians all over the world about her win. Even though, most respondents seemed very knowledgeable about the differences between being an Ethiopian and being Habesha, few seemed confused about the differences. In their writings, the confused ones, wrote as if they own Ethiopia and as if being an Ethiopian means being Habesha. This article seeks to show the differences between being an Ethiopian and being Habesha.The Habesha are those people who are from the North part of Ethiopia, specifically, the Tigre, the Agew, the Beta Israel and the Amhara. The Anyuaks of Gambella are from Southwest of Ethiopia. These two groups led their lives and their history seperately. The Anyuaks had their own history in the Southwest dating back to 2,0…

ei: Did Egypt sabotage deal over Gaza, Shalit?

ei: Did Egypt sabotage deal over Gaza, Shalit?: "The complicity of the Egyptian regime extends to the negotiations mediated by Cairo. In fact, that regime is not a mediator between two sides or an honest deal maker; its interests meet those of Israel to the extent that it is functioning as a broker on behalf of Israel. The war on Gaza left us with one eye set on the scenes of carnage in Gaza itself and another on Cairo, where the Egyptian negotiating team was trying to pressure the Palestinians (through Hamas) into surrender, something that Israel was not able to achieve by sheer military force. The international outcry, Hamas' ability to absorb the Israeli attacks and the resolve of Palestinians in Gaza provided the Hamas delegation in Cairo with a political leverage that allowed it to resist Egyptian pressure and intimidation. And as has been revealed through some recent leaks to the press, the Egyptians have utilized various intimidating techniques in order to force Hamas …

Iran and the West: A History of Violence by Eric Margolis

Iran and the West: A History of Violence by Eric Margolis: "The Allies deposed Iran’s ruler, Reza Shah, and installed his weak, pliant son, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, on the throne as the latest puppet ruler in the British Empire.

But in 1951, a highly popular Iranian democratic leader, Mohammed Mossadegh, became prime minister and promptly nationalized Iran’s British-owned oil industry, ordering its profits be used to lift Iran from poverty rather than enriching Britain. The Shah and his entourage of western advisors fled.

Two years later, US and British intelligence mounted a coup that overthrew Mossadegh, ending Iran’s first democratic government. The Shah was restored to the Peacock Throne. Iran’s oil wealth returned to British and, now, US control. Washington and London proclaimed they had won an important victory against 'Communism.'"

Do we still pretend that we abide by treaties? - Glenn Greenwald -

Do we still pretend that we abide by treaties? - Glenn Greenwald - "The U.S. really has bound itself to a treaty called the Convention Against Torture, signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1994. When there are credible allegations that government officials have participated or been complicit in torture, that Convention really does compel all signatories -- in language as clear as can be devised -- to 'submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution' (Art. 7(1)). And the treaty explicitly bars the standard excuses that America's political class is currently offering for refusing to investigate and prosecute: 'No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture' and 'an order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justif…

Truthdig - Reports - America’s Confused Cause in Central Asia

Truthdig - Reports - America’s Confused Cause in Central Asia: "Exactly what do we think we are doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Are we there to liberalize their forms of religious observance, or conduct a war over theology, or take permanent control of Afghanistan (or Pakistan) and establish permanent NATO bases there (as some Afghans are convinced); or are we searching for Osama bin Laden and his principal collaborators, in order to bring them to justice for the 2001 attacks carried out against the New York World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon?

It seems that we are doing all of these things at the same time. But why?

It is essential that the new Obama administration give us an answer. Clearly we want Osama bin Laden, but it is equally clear (on the basis of present experience there, as in Iraq) that adding another 40,000 troops to the 40,000 already there, plus the NATO forces present, offers absolutely no assurance of success in capturing the head of al-Qaida.

Is it that …

Afghanistan: Slipping out of control - Asia, World - The Independent

Afghanistan: Slipping out of control - Asia, World - The Independent: "A grim picture of spiralling violence and a disintegrating society has emerged in Afghanistan in a confidential Nato report, just as Barack Obama vowed to send 17,000 extra American troops to the country in an attempt to stem a tide of insurgency.

Direct attacks on the increasingly precarious Afghan government more than doubled last year, while there was a 50 per cent increase in kidnappings and assassinations. Fatalities among Western forces, including British, went up by 35 per cent while the civilian death toll climbed by 46 per cent, more than the UN had estimated. Violent attacks were up by a third and roadside bombings, the most lethal source of Western casualties, by a quarter. There was also a 67 per cent rise in attacks on aircraft from the ground, a source of concern to Nato which depends hugely on air power in the conflict."

Afghan Civilian Casualties May Surge as Well - by Ali Gharib

Afghan Civilian Casualties May Surge as Well - by Ali Gharib: "In a report released Tuesday, CIVIC said that despite efforts already underway, the international community must do more to ensure that compensation reaches civilian victims of the conflict.

The recommendation is particularly acute as last year's death toll for the conflict shows a staggering increase in civilian casualties. The U.N. reported Tuesday that such deaths were up nearly 40 percent in 2008, to a total of 2,118 civilians killed. As a result, the popularity of the seven-year-old campaign is plummeting among Afghans.

A poll of Afghan public opinion released last week by ABC News, the BBC, and ARD said that a slight majority of Afghans view the U.S. unfavorably. In 2005, by comparison, the U.S. garnered an 83 percent favorable rating."