Pro-gay demonstration when pope will visit Spain


Pope Benedict XVI and condoms, cartoon

From thinkSpain:

Lesbian and gay couples will kiss in front of the Pope

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SAME-SEX couples from all over the world have planned to snog each other in the Cathedral square in Barcelona in front of the Pope next month.

A group on Facebook, Queer Kissing Flashmob, which managed to get 12,000 users to agree to go along on November 7 and display their love in public, has been shut down by Facebook, claim the organisers.

This has added more fuel to the fire, and one of the organisers, Marylène Carole, expressed her ‘disbelief’ that a couple kissing in public could be considered ‘outrageous’ in this day and age.

“It’s difficult to understand how the noble and loving act of kissing your partner can still be defined as ‘revolutionary’ in the 21st century,” she commented.

“It appears to be a form of censorship – and yet it was only started by a group of friends who have no connections to any political group or any kind of gay association.”

Those who intend to go to Barcelona on November 7 say they will make a point of kissing their other halves in the Cathedral square just as Pope Benedict XVI walks out of the door.

USA: Every time the Obama administration stands up and defends an offensive and bigoted law, it conveys a message that being gay is a weakness, a problem and a reason to be treated with less respect than everybody else: here.

USA: Newly released documents show Catholic Diocese in San Diego covered up for pedophile priests: here.

Goldcrest and tits


This is a goldcrest video.

In a big coniferous tree near the river Rhine today, goldcrests, great tits and blue tits; all calling.

Half an hour later, the tree was silent. The birds probably had moved on to another tree.

This week’s featured bird is bold, beautiful and brazen – the golden-crowned kinglet. Unlike its ruby-crowned cousin, there is no missing or mistaking this bird’s bright yellow crown, and while it may be more difficult to see the streak of orange that male birds wear in that crown, the yellow and black head markings are very distinctive and easily recognizable. That’s a good thing, too, because these tiny birds are hyperactive and all a birder may see is a blurry streak of gold, white and black! Fortunately, these kinglets are also curious, and they will often respond to pishing and come out in the open to give birders a good look: here.
BirdLife has published a map showing the location of over 10,000 of the world’s most important sites for birds and biodiversity, and their protection status: here.

Investigate torture in Iraq, UN says


This video is called: Iraqis respond to WikiLeaks files.

From the Press Trust of India:

Probe rights abuses after WikiLeaks’ exposure: UN to US

Press Trust of India, Updated: October 24, 2010 09:31 IST

New York: The UN has asked the US administration to probe the involvement of American forces’ in human rights abuses, summary executions and war crimes in following the “largest classified military leak” detailing accounts of torture and killing of over 66,000 civilians.

In the “largest classified military leak” in the US history, whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks has released nearly 400,000 secret American documents on [the] Iraq war detailing graphic accounts of torture, killing of over 66,000 civilians and Iran’s role in the conflict.

The call for probe by the UN’s chief investigator on torture, Manfred Nowak, came as Phil Shiner, human rights specialist at Public Interest Lawyers in the UK, warned that some of the deaths documented in the Iraq war logs could have involved British forces and would be pursued through the UK courts.

According to a report in the British daily The Guardian, which has analysed the 400,000 documents, found 15,000 previously unreported civilian deaths.

Nowak demanded a public inquiry into allegations that British troops were responsible for civilian deaths during the conflict.

Nowak said the Obama administration had an obligation to investigate them if the “classified military leak” pointed to clear violations of the UN Convention Against Torture, according to the British newspaper.

He said it would be up to the Obama administration to launch an “independent and objective” investigation with a view not only to “bring the perpetrators to justice but also to provide the victims with adequate remedy and reparation”.

The logs show how US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and generally unpunished, the report in the British daily said.

The logs paint a disturbing picture of the relationship between US and Iraqi forces. Nowak underlined that the UN human rights agreements made it obligatory on the parts of states to criminalise all forms of torture, whether directly or indirectly, and probe any allegations of abuse.

Nowak said the Obama administration had a legal and moral obligation to fully investigate credible claims of US forces’ complicity in torture.

The latest leaked documents chronicling the Iraq war from 2004 to 2009 provide a new picture of how many Iraqi civilians were killed, open a new window on the role that Iran played in supporting Iraqi militants and give many accounts of abuse by Iraqi army and police, said ‘The New York Times’, one of the news organisations which got early access to the papers.

WikiLeaks, which released the documents despite Pentagon’s warning that it could endanger informants and reveal war strategy, called the document drop “the largest classified military leak in history.”

In a news release, the group said the documents detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, encompassing 66,081 civilians, 23,984 insurgents, 15,196 Iraqi government forces and 3,771 coalition forces, according to the classifications used by the US military.

Here is a Dutch TV video about this.

Britain: WikiLeaks Iraq war logs: Nick Clegg calls for investigation of abuse claims: here.

USA: Obama Administration Handed Over Detainees Despite Reports of Torture: here.

In 2002, as the Bush administration was turning to torture and other brutal techniques for interrogating “war on terror” detainees, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz loosened rules against human experimentation, an apparent recognition of legal problems regarding the novel strategies for extracting and evaluating information from the prisoners: here.

THERE was a ‘bloodbath on every corner’ in Iraq, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told a press conference in London on Saturday: here.

Afghan feminist against the war


This video is called Malalai Joya – Afghan MP Calls for Troops out of Afghanistan.

From Green Left Weekly in Australia:

Afghan feminist: Why foreign troops should leave

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Malalai Joya, now 32, was the youngest woman elected to the Afghan Parliament in 2005. A feminist activist who has defied the Taliban, Joya is also an outspoken opponent of the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan. Joya says the war is a crime against her people that is propping up corrupt warlords and fundamentalists no better than the Taliban.

Joya will be speaking at Deakin University in Melbourne as part of the “The World in Crisis — Business as Usual?” conference over November 11-13. Joya will also speak in Syndey on November 16 at UTS. See the calendar for full details.

The speech below is an excerpt of an address Joya gave in Vancouver on October 12 at an event organised by the Canadian StopWar.ca Coalition. It is reprinted from Rabble.ca.

* * *

In the United States, many looked to the ballot box and hoped for real change when Barack Obama was elected President in 2008.

To be honest, I never expected that he would be any different for Afghanistan than George Bush. The truth is that Obama’s war policies have turned out to be even more of a nightmare than most people expected.

Obama talked a lot about hope and change, but for Afghanistan the only change has been for the worse.

The Afghan war has been promoted and justified by the entire US establishment as vital to the “war on terror.” But now, to better serve US interests in Central Asia, sections of the Taliban are apparently to be brought in from the cold: here.