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Captive Islamic State Militant says Mass Rapes were ‘Normal’

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Hussein said his emirs, or local Islamic State commanders, gave him and others a green light to rape as many Yazidi and other women as they wanted.

Michael Georgy reports: Islamic State militant Amar Hussein says he reads the Koran all day in his tiny jail cell to become a better person. He also says he raped more than 200 women from Iraqi minorities, and shows few regrets.

“Young men need this. This is normal.”

Kurdish intelligence authorities gave Reuters rare access to Hussein and another Islamic State militant who were both captured during an assault on the city of Kirkuk in October that killed 99 civilians and members of the security forces. Sixty-three Islamic State militants died.

Hussein said his emirs, or local Islamic State commanders, gave him and others a green light to rape as many Yazidi and other women as they wanted.

“Young men need this,” Hussein told Reuters in an interview after a Kurdish counter-terrorism agent removed a black hood from his head. “This is normal.”

Hussein said he moved from house to house in several Iraqi cities raping women from the Yazidi sect and other minorities at a time when Islamic State was grabbing more and more territory from Iraqi security forces.

Kurdish security officials say they have evidence of Hussein raping and killing but they don’t know what the scale is.

Reuters could not independently verify Hussein’s account.

Witnesses and Iraqi officials say Islamic State fighters raped many Yazidi women after the group rampaged through northern Iraq in 2014. It also abducted many Yazidi women as sex slaves and killed some of their male relatives, they said.

Human rights groups have chronicled widespread abuses by Islamic State against the Yazidis. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Flemming Rose Against the Worldwide Suppression of Speech

Flemming Rose isn’t going to watch the decline of free speech without a fight. In 2005, while an editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Rose commissioned twelve cartoons about Muhammad in order to overcome self-censorship. Extremists responded to the cartoons with attacks on western embassies and riots, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people.

Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Go to reason.com for a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and old left-right opinion magazines.

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Now Rose has written The Tyranny of Silence, a defense of his decision to publish the cartoons and a guide to unfettered expression in the 21st century. “I’m not willing to sacrifice freedom of expression on the altar of cultural diversity,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »


SCMP: Special Police Units to Prevent Trouble When Hongkongers Vote

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South China Morning Post reports: Hong Kong police will hold unprecedented election security drills next week ahead of the Legislative Council polls, and mobilise all regional response teams set up after the 2014 Occupy protests to tackle social or political disturbances, the Post has learned.

“We will discuss tactics to be used during the elections. They need to update their knowledge about the latest equipment. So that everyone is on the same page about the operation. We learned a lesson from the Mong Kok riot. We want no blunders.”

Some 2,000 officers in five Regional Response Contingents drawn from the elite Police Tactical Unit and Emergency Units, among others, will be on standby for any mob violence on September 4, when more than 3.7 million eligible voters fan out across 595 polling stations to vote in the city’s most critical elections to date.

A senior police source told the Post that the risk level during the election period was “not very high”, based on initial assessments, but the force would not take any chances, especially given concerns about protest action by radical localists.

“The five regional teams will stand by during this period and will be deployed immediately in case of any trouble. They know their districts the best and have laid out clear manpower arrangements. A heavy police presence could put pressure on voters and impact the way they vote. So we have to be very careful.”

“Potential threats are there, especially with two returning officers receiving threatening letters just recently after disqualifying localist hopefuls,” the source said.

“The five regional teams will stand by during this period and will be deployed immediately in case of any trouble. They know their districts the best and have laid out clear manpower arrangements.” But the source also noted: “A heavy police presence could put pressure on voters and impact the way they vote. So we have to be very careful.”

The backlash so far has not been violent against the government’s recent decision to disqualify Legco candidates who advocate independence for Hong Kong, but some election officials responsible have received threats by mail.

The manpower arrangements were adopted as part of lessons learned during the 2014 civil disobedience campaign and the Mong Kok riot in February. The force established the response teams in the Hong Kong Island, Kowloon East and West, and New Territories North and South regions last year. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Chinese Agents Acted Like Triads’, says Bookseller in Abduction Row

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An outspoken Hong Kong bookseller who has become a symbol of opposition to China’s authoritarian government has accused Chinese security agents of behaving like the notorious triad gangs in a bid to silence the publishers of provocative books about the country’s leaders.

Lam Wing-kee shot to prominence in June when he revealed how he had been spirited into secret detention in eastern China by a mysterious group of agents supposedly acting on the orders of the Communist party leadership.

Writing in the Diplomat, Amnesty International’s China researcher William Nee said Lam’s testimony had provided “a blow-by-blow account of the abusive tools that have become Chinese authorities’ modus operandi to silence critics since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012”.  Read the rest of this entry »


Multiple Suicide Blasts Hit Saudi Arabia

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Riyadh (AFP) – Three suicide bombers struck in Saudi Arabia on Monday in a rare incidence of multiple attacks in the kingdom where the Islamic State group has previously staged deadly attacks.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

The latest explosion occurred at one of Islam’s three holiest sites, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in the kingdom’s west where Mohammed is buried, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel reported.

Other blasts occurred in the Red Sea city of Jeddah near the US consulate and in Shiite-dominated Qatif on the other side of the country.

The interior ministry said two security officers were wounded in the Jeddah bombing.

Residents of Qatif said only the bomber died in that attack, blowing his body apart near a Shiite mosque.

Al-Arabiya said the Medina incident occurred during sunset prayers after which Muslims break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan, which ends Tuesday.

It showed images of fire raging in a security forces parking lot with at least one body nearby.

The Prophet’s Mosque is particularly crowded during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is supposed to be a time of charity but has seen spectacular attacks around the region.

Sunni extremists from IS claimed, or weer blamed for, a suicide bombing in Baghdad on Sunday that killed more than 200 people as well as other attacks in Bangladesh and at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.

At about the same time as the Medina blast, another bomber killed himself in Qatif, residents there said.

“Suicide bomber for sure. I can see the body” torn apart, said one witness to the attack in Qatif.

Nasima al-Sada, another resident, told AFP that “one bomber blew himself up near the mosque”, frequented by Shiites in downtown Qatif on the Gulf coast. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] #ShiiteClericsLivesMatter Protesters Storm Saudi Embassy, Set it On Fire 

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TEHRAN, Jan. 2 (UPI) — Following the execution of an outspoken Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, setting fire to part of the building.

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Rocket fire on the Saudi Embassy

The New York Times reported protesters gathered outside of the embassy and began throwing Molotov cocktails at the building. They proceed to break windows and smash furniture.

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Molotov cocktail, anyone?

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was executed along with 46 others convicted of terrorism-related offenses in Saudi Arabia Saturday. The mass-execution one of the largest in Saudi Arabia in decades. The Saudi kingdom executed 157 people in 2015, its most in nearly 20 years.

Sheikh Nimr was a vocal critic of the monarchy. During the Arab Spring, Shiite protesters adopted Nimr as a symbolic leader. Because of this, his execution is seen as part of a rivalry. Amnesty International had warned of the impending execution in November…(read more)

Developing…

Source: UPI/Breitbart


Political Chill in Beijing: Xi Turns Back the Clock on Women’s Rights in China

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An emboldened Beijing clamps down on civil liberties

Andrew Browne writes: Although it would be almost unthinkable today, as a political chill descends over Beijing, two decades ago close to 30,000 women from around the world converged on a muddy tent village outside the Chinese capital to
promote a host of social and political causes.

“Even though the so-called ‘Feminist Five’ were released from custody in April, they say they are still being treated as criminal suspects.”

The carnival-style NGO Forum on Women made the authorities nervous, but it was part of the U.N.’s Fourth World Conference on Women, which China agreed to host as a way to polish its international image still tarnished by the army’s brutal suppression of student protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Hard-liners in charge at the time evidently figured the political discomfort was worth the gains to China’s global prestige.
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“Just as President Xi Jinping prepares to attend a U.N. summit in New York in September to mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark women’s conference, his administration has begun to clamp down on independent women’s groups for the first time since the NGO Forum.”

Tibetan activists set up stalls. Amnesty International, in China for the first time, rebuked the Chinese government over its human rights practices at a news conference. Then U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, one of the celebrity attendees, made herself popular with the women by lecturing her Chinese hosts about free speech and assembly after they withheld visas for some of the delegates.

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The event became a watershed moment for the Chinese women’s movement. Because foreign NGOs would be there, Chinese authorities had to allow local NGOs to set up and participate.

They never looked back—until now.

Ironically, just as President Xi Jinping prepares to attend a U.N. summit in New York in September to mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark women’s conference, his administration has begun to clamp down on independent women’s groups for the first time since the NGO Forum.

The restrictions underscore just how far Mr. Xi is turning back the clock on civil liberties in China—all the way to the days of harsh political repression that followed the crushing of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

They also reveal a transformation in the mind-set of the government, still fearful of organized political opposition but so confident in China’s elevated place in the world that it no longer feels much compulsion to make concessions to its international critics. Read the rest of this entry »


CENSORSHIP: She’s 28. She Drew a Cartoon. Now She’s On Trial in Iran. #freeAtena

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Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani stands trial for charges that include insulting members of parliament and spreading propaganda against the system.

Mahsa Alimardani reports: First, Iran’s leaders restricted access to contraception. Then artist Atena Farghadani wrote a cartoon depicting them as animals.

“The image that led to her arrest came while Iran sought to outlaw IUDs and vasectomies, as Iran’s leaders pushed to increase the nation’s population.”

What came next for the 28-year-old artist? Arrest. Solitary confinement. A heart attack. And on Tuesday, the start of her trial on charges of spreading anti-Tehran propaganda and insulting the country’s lawmakers and supreme leader.

The image that led to her arrest came while Iran sought to outlaw IUDs and vasectomies, as Iran’s leaders pushed to increase the nation’s population.

She was initially jailed for five months in 2014 at the notorious Evin prison. She was released in December, but was detained again after publicly discussing her mistreatment by prison guards.

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“She was initially jailed for five months in 2014 at the notorious Evin prison. She was released in December, but was detained again after publicly discussing her mistreatment by prison guards.”

Three weeks after her second confinement, Atena went on a hunger strike to protest the poor prison conditions. The move led to a heart attack and a brief loss of consciousness in February, her lawyer told Amnesty International. Atena Farghadani has since been moved to another detention center and stopped her hunger strike, the human rights group reports, but advocates remain concerned about her health. Read the rest of this entry »


Putin Enacts Law Banning ‘Undesirable’ NGOs

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Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country

Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning “undesirable” non-governmental organisations, the Kremlin said Saturday, in a move condemned by human rights groups and the United States.

“We are concerned this new power will further restrict the work of civil society in Russia and is a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.”

— State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf

The law allows authorities to bar foreign civil society groups seen as threatening Russia’s “defence capabilities” or “consitutional foundations” and go after local activists working with them, the Kremlin statement said.

Supporters presented the law as a “preventative measure”, necessary after the wave of Western sanctions put in place over the Ukraine conflict.

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Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country.

It also allows them to block the bank accounts of the organisations until the NGOs “account for their actions” to the Russian authorities.

Lawmakers cited the need to stop “destructive organisations” working in Russia, which could threaten the “value of the Russian state” and stir up “colour revolutions”, the name given to pro-Western movements seen in some former Soviet republics over the last several years.

Critics have said that the vague wording of the law—which gives Russia’s general prosecutor the right to impose the “undesirable” tag without going to court—could allow officials to target foreign businesses working in Russia. Read the rest of this entry »


Items Taken from Persecuted Christians Return to Nagaski in Rare Exhibition

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Miracles Protected by the Virgin Mary — Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki runs at the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture until April 15

KYODO – Shinichi Koike reports: More than 500 items confiscated from Japanese Christians during their brutal persecution in the 19th century from the late Edo Period to the early Meiji Era are back in Nagasaki for the first time in about 150 years.

“The exhibition is taking place because the central government has recommended that churches and other Christian locations in Nagasaki be listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites.” 

Some 550 items are on display in the special exhibition “Miracles Protected by the Virgin Mary — Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki,” which runs at the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture until April 15. They include 212 important cultural properties loaned by the Tokyo National Museum, which rarely loans so many important objects at one time.

This Cathedral is the largest Catholic church in Japan. In that day,priests and all Catholics who were in Urakami Cathedral died.

The largest Catholic church in Japan. In that day,priests and all Catholics who were in Urakami Cathedral died.

“It shows the history of Christianity in Japan from the introduction of the faith by Francis Xavier in 1549, to the birth of the “hidden Christians” caused by brutal crackdowns and the confession of their beliefs to a foreign priest by a small group of Japanese in 1865.”

“We made a special decision to loan them because this is a well-planned exhibition,” said Toyonobu Tani, chief curator of the Tokyo museum, which received an application for the Nagasaki Prefectural Government last June.

The Christian martyrs of Nagasaki. 17th-century Japanese painting.

The Christian martyrs of Nagasaki. 17th-century Japanese painting (not part of collection, historical reference only)

The exhibition is taking place because the central government has recommended that churches and other Christian locations in Nagasaki be listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. It shows the history of Christianity in Japan from the introduction of the faith by Francis Xavier in 1549, to the birth of the “hidden Christians” caused by brutal crackdowns and the confession of their beliefs to a foreign priest by a small group of Japanese in 1865.

Monument to Kirishitan martyrs in Nagasaki.

Monument to Kirishitan martyrs in Nagasaki.

“The last crackdown aroused fierce protests from European countries, prompting the Meiji government to lift its ban on Christianity in 1873.”

Satoshi Ohori, head of the Nagasaki museum, said the availability of the national treasures makes the exhibition “epoch-making” because it shows the proud history of Christianity in Japan and the highly christ-nagasakispiritual nature of the Japanese.

Crosses, rosaries and other items on display were confiscated from Christians in the village of Urakami and never returned. A Tokyo museum official described them as “negative heritage,” and there are calls in Nagasaki for their return.

The exhibition, which includes a portrait of Xavier and Pope Gregory XII, who met four young Japanese boys sent by Christian Lord Otomo Sorin in 1585 as part of the first Japanese embassy to Europe, is thus seen as a step toward conciliation between descendants of persecuted Christians and the central government.

Members of a cultural committee formed by descendants belonging to St. Mary’s Cathedral, better known as Urakami Cathedral, in the city of Nagasaki, were invited to a private viewing of the show on Feb. 19.

“We saw proof of our ancestors’ belief,” said Katsutoshi Noguchi, one of the members. “I hope (the exhibition) will enable lots of people to share recognition that this sad history should not be repeated.”

The confession of faith by a small group of hidden Christians was seen as a miracle overseas, but the Tokugawa shogunate carried out a series of brutal crackdowns on them in Urakami.

The last and biggest of four crackdowns, triggered by the arrest of the whole village by the Nagasaki magistrate in 1867, expelled some 3,400 villagers to various parts of Japan. The crackdown also resulted in the deaths of more than 600 through torture, execution and other methods used to force people to renounce their faith. Read the rest of this entry »


The White House Portrait of a Crumbling Terror Group is Contradicted by Documents Seized in the Bin Laden Raid

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How America Was Misled on al Qaeda’s Demise

Stephen Hayes and Tomas Joscelyn write: In the early-morning hours of May 2, 2011, a small team of American military and intelligence professionals landed inside the high white walls of a mysterious compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The team’s mission, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, had two primary objectives: capture or kill Osama bin Laden and gather as much intelligence as possible about the al Qaeda leader and his network. A bullet to bin Laden’s head accomplished the first; the quick work of the Sensitive Site Exploitation team accomplished the second.

“The leadership down at Central Command wanted to know what were we learning from these documents. We were still facing a growing al Qaeda threat. And it was not just Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iraq. But we saw it growing in Yemen. We clearly saw it growing still in East Africa…The threat wasn’t going away, and we wanted to know: What can we learn from these documents?”

— Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

It was quite a haul: 10 hard drives, nearly 100 thumb drives and a dozen cellphones. There were DVDs, audio and video tapes, data cards, reams of handwritten materials, newspapers and magazines. At a Pentagon briefing days after the raid, a senior military intelligence official described it as “the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.”

[Also see – Stephen F. Hayes: Why Haven’t We Seen the Documents Retrieved in the Bin Laden Raid?]

The United States had gotten its hands on al Qaeda’s playbook—its recent history, its current operations, its future plans. An interagency team led by the Central Intelligence Agency got the first look at the cache. They performed a hasty scrub—a “triage”—on a small sliver of the document collection, looking for actionable intelligence. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the team produced more than 400 separate reports based on information in the documents.

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But it is what happened next that is truly stunning: nothing. The analysis of the materials—the “document exploitation,” in the parlance of intelligence professionals—came to an abrupt stop. According to five senior U.S. intelligence officials, the documents sat largely untouched for months—perhaps as long as a year.

[More – NYT: Despite our assurances, it turns out Benghazi was an al-Qaeda-linked attack – hotair.com]

In spring 2012, a year after the raid that killed bin Laden and six months before the 2012 presidential election, the Obama administration launched a concerted campaign to persuade the American people that the long war with al Qaeda was ending.

“At precisely the time Mr. Obama was campaigning on the imminent death of al Qaeda, those with access to the bin Laden documents were seeing, in bin Laden’s own words, that the opposite was true. Says Lt. Gen. Flynn: ‘By that time, they probably had grown by about—I’d say close to doubling by that time. And we knew that.’”

In a speech commemorating the anniversary of the raid, John Brennan , Mr. Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser and later his CIA director, predicted the imminent demise of al Qaeda. The next day, on May 1, 2012, Mr. Obama made a bold claim: “The goal that I set—to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild—is now within our reach.”

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The White House provided 17 handpicked documents to the Combatting Terror Center at the West Point military academy, where a team of analysts reached the conclusion the Obama administration wanted. Bin Laden, they found, had been isolated and relatively powerless, a sad and lonely man sitting atop a crumbling terror network.

“This wasn’t what the Obama White House wanted to hear. So the administration cut off DIA access to the documents and instructed DIA officials to stop producing analyses based on them.”

It was a reassuring portrayal. It was also wrong. And those responsible for winning the war—as opposed to an election—couldn’t afford to engage in such dangerous self-delusion. Read the rest of this entry »


The Spreading Menace of Boko Haram

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The jihadist group in Nigeria killed 11,245 people last year. Now their rampage seems ready to escalate in 2015

Emad Mostaque writes: The new year began with terror attacks in Paris inspired or orchestrated by al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula and ISIS and then reports of up to 2,000 residents killed by Boko Haram in a days-long massacre in Baga, Nigeria. While Paris has grabbed the majority of media attention, the events in Baga may prove to be the most significant as Boko Haram expands in northeastern Nigeria. This weekend the group captured the town of Monguno and its military barracks while simultaneously attacking the state capital, Maiduguri.

“While Paris has grabbed the majority of media attention, the events in Baga may prove to be the most significant as Boko Haram expands in northeastern Nigeria.”

A key goal of all terrorists is to provoke outsize reactions by committing heinous deeds. This is particularly true of jihadists, whose main feature is the takfir they impose on the majority of other Muslims—declaring them not to be “true” believers and thus outside of their group and liable for death. High-profile attacks aim to polarize societies and create animus against mainstream Muslims, creating more potential recruits for the radical Islamists.

A key goal of all terrorists is to provoke outsize reactions by committing heinous deeds. This is particularly true of jihadists, whose main feature is the takfir they impose on the majority of other Muslims—declaring them not to be ‘true’ believers and thus outside of their group and liable for death.”

ISIS has intensified its bloodletting over the last year, using social media to amplify its mass beheadings and other fearsome deeds—and thus the group’s power and threat—in line with the recommendations outlined in jihad theoretician Abu Bakr Naji ’s 2006 text “The Management of Savagery.” However, ISIS has reached the limits of unopposed and easy expansion in Iraq as it now faces well-armed forces in non-Sunni areas, bolstered by coalition airstrikes. ISIS gains in Syria continue, but the group appears more contained, having failed to take Kobani from its Kurdish defenders. Read the rest of this entry »


Satellite Images Reveal Scale of Destruction in Boko Haram Massacre in Nigeria

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Drew Hinshaw in Accra, Ghana and Gbenga Akingbule reporting from Abuja, NigeriaBoko Haram killed hundreds of people and burned down almost an entire town this month, Amnesty International said Thursday, citing satellite photos to offer the clearest indication to date of the damage the Nigerian insurgency wrought.

Not from a satellite photo

Not from a satellite photo

More than 3,700 buildings, including homes, schools, and clinics, were torched by Boko Haram in and around the remote town of Baga during an assault that began on Jan. 3, the human rights group said. Satellite photos showed the entire town of Doron-Baga, which is next to Baga, had been effectively burned down.

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Amnesty said the pictures corroborate the stories of refugees who have spoken of many hundreds killed in the remote area, which is dangerous and inaccessible for journalists and aid workers. Residents who fled have described walking through a countryside littered with bodies. Read the rest of this entry »


Christian Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy in Pakistan

People gather after Friday congregational prayers to protest for the release of Mumtaz Qadri, one of the elite police guard who killed Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011

People gather after Friday congregational prayers to protest for the release of Mumtaz Qadri, one of the elite police guard who killed Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011

Arrest of Sawan Masih after drunken row last year prompted Muslim mob to burn hundreds of homes in eastern city of Lahore

The Telegraph‘sRob Crilly reports: A Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to his lawyer, following an incident last year that prompted a Muslim mob to torch hundreds of homes.

It is the latest in a string of convictions prompting calls from religious minorities for the law to be reformed.

“The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to settle personal vendettas.”

— Xavier William, president of the Christian pressure group Life for All Pakistan

Naeem Shakir said his client, Sawan Masih, was convicted during a hearing held in jail for fear of violent protests.

Masih, a cleaner, was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during a conversation with a Muslim friend in the eastern city of Lahore. Within hours, about 3000 protesters had set light to Christian homes and churches in an area known as Joseph Colony.

Read the rest of this entry »


Strange Fruit: Iran Hangs 40 People in 2 Weeks, 19 in One Day

AP Photo/ISNA, Amir Pourmand)

AP Photo/ISNA, Amir Pourmand)

  writes:  Iran has gone on an execution binge in the past two weeks, hanging some 40 people, including 19 in one day, according to international human rights groups inside and outside of Iran.

Iran hanged a total of 19 prisoners on Tuesday, including one who was executed publicly, according to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), which tracks the Islamic Republic’s flawed judicial system.

Forty executions have taken place since the beginning of January, including 33 in just the past week, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

Iran, which human rights activists say is one of the world’s leaders in the abuse of prisoners, hit an all time execution peak in 2013 when it killed some 529 citizens.

Read the rest of this entry »


Communism-Leninism’s Most Perfect State: What All Left-Wing Movements Aspire to

North Korean Prison Guard Who Escaped the Gulag Sketches its Staggering Inhumanity 

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Jonathan Kay reports:  Of all the defectors who have escaped North Korea, few know more about Pyongyang’s methods for crushing human souls than Ahn Myong-Chol, who worked as a guard at four North Korean prison camps before fleeing to China, and then South Korea, in 1994. Last month, I met him in Toronto, and he told me his story.

During training, Ahn was taught to treat gulag prisoners as expendable subhumans: They were to be kept alive only insofar as their labour output justified the gulags’ cost of operation.

Read the rest of this entry »


NAACP leader Benjamin Jealous resigns, will leave in December

Ben_Jealous_t580Benjamin Todd Jealous will step down as president of the NAACP after five years as president of the oldest and largest U.S. civil rights organization, he announced Sunday.

“The NAACP has always been the largest civil rights organization in the streets, and today it is also the largest civil rights organization online, on mobile and at the ballot box too,” Jealous said in a statement issued Sunday afternoon. “I am proud to leave the Association financially sound, sustainable, focused, and more powerful than ever.” Read the rest of this entry »