Posts Tagged ‘legal’
July 24, 2012 by Common DreamsA wave of US based religious rightwing groups working in several African countries are expanding their drive to promote both homophobia and anti-abortion stereotypes and governmental policies, according to a new study by Boston-based Political Research Associates (PRA).
The report, Colonizing African Values: How the US Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa, claims that far right groups such as the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson, the Catholic group Human Life International and the Mormon group Family Watch International, work with local people and governments to rally against LGBTI rights and craft anti-LGBTI legislation.
The report traces the “cultural colonization” of Africa. Over the the past five years, “[the groups] have launched or expanded Africa-based offices dedicated to promoting their Christian right worldview,” the report states.
“A loose network of rightwing charismatic Christians called the transformation movement joins them in fanning the flames of the culture wars over homosexuality and abortion by backing prominent African campaigners and political leaders.”
The ACLJ have opened offices in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda in which they train lawyers to work on constitutions that reflect “Christian values” and include phrases such as “life begins at conception,” the Guardian reports.
For instance, a law instituting the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” in Uganda was created and introduced by a far right christian group in 2009. The bill was thought to have been defeated after PRA exposed the instigators, but has since been reintroduced in Uganda’s Parliament. Similar anti-gay laws passed in Burundi in 2009, Malawi in 2010 and Nigeria in 2011.
CAMPBELL CLARK, The Globe and Mail, Jul. 04 2012A group of nine senators has warned the United Church of Canada that it could spark a rift with the Jewish community if it approves the boycott of goods from Israeli settlements in occupied lands.
The senators, all United Church members and from both the Conservative and Liberal parties, have waded publicly into a controversial issue before it comes to a vote in mid-August.
It’s a debate in which the lines between church and state have already been crossed several times as the United Church considers a new foray into the electrified world of Mideast politics.
A working group established by the church has issued a report that proposes a boycott of all products from Jewish settlements in occupied lands, arguing the settlements are illegally eating away Palestinian lands and the hope for a two-state solution. But it also rejects a wholesale boycott of all Israeli goods.
The nine senators have warned in a letter to United Church moderator Mardi Tindal that the distinction drawn with the narrower boycott will “be lost upon” Israelis and Canada’s Jewish community.
“What will be made clear to them is that the United Church has chosen sides, declaring Israel guilty and the Palestinians the only injured party,” the senators wrote.
Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth noted that she has no objection to the church wading into weighty international politics, but fears that members of the Jewish community will see itself as being singled out by an anti-Israel-sentiment.
“I’d say it’s a matter of diplomacy,” she said. “I don’t think it will be helpful for Jewish-Christian relations.
The church’s working group said it struggled with that issue. But its report maintained that arguments about the complexity of affairs in the Middle East are not an excuse for silence.
The YouTube video of 12-year-old Victoria Grant speaking at the Public Banking in America conference last month has gone viral, topping a million views on various web sites.
Monetary reform – the contention that governments, not banks, should create and lend a nation’s money – has rarely even made the news, so this is a first. Either the times they are a-changin’, or Victoria managed to frame the message in a way that was so simple and clear that even a child could understand it.
Basically, her message was that banks create money “out of thin air” and lend it to people and governments at interest. If governments borrowed from their own banks, they could keep the interest and save a lot of money for the taxpayers.
She said her own country of Canada actually did this, from 1939 to 1974. During that time, the government’s debt was low and sustainable and it funded all sorts of remarkable things. Only when the government switched to borrowing privately did it acquire a crippling national debt.
Borrowing privately means selling bonds at market rates of interest (which in Canada quickly shot up to 22 percent), and the money for these bonds is ultimately created by private banks. For the latter point, Victoria quoted Graham Towers, head of the Bank of Canada for the first twenty years of its history. He said:
Each and every time a bank makes a loan, new bank credit is created – new deposits – brand new money. Broadly speaking, all new money comes out of a Bank in the form of loans. As loans are debts, then under the present system all money is debt.
Towers was asked, “Will you tell me why a government with power to create money, should give that power away to a private monopoly and then borrow that which Parliament can create itself, back at interest, to the point of national bankruptcy?” He replied, “If Parliament wants to change the form of operating the banking system, then certainly that is within the power of Parliament.”
In other words, said Victoria, “If the Canadian government needs money, they can borrow it directly from the Bank of Canada.
By DOUGLAS DALBY, Published: May 3, 2012, New York TimesDUBLIN — Pressure is building on the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, to resign in the wake of damaging accusations made against him in a BBC television documentary about his role in a secret inquiry into clerical sexual abuse.
Abuse survivors, senior government ministers, serving priests, canon lawyers, newspaper editorials, police officials, human rights groups and the head of the country’s biggest children’s charity were among those calling on the cardinal to step down Thursday over his failure 37 years ago to report damning evidence against the Rev. Brendan Smyth. That failure allowed Father Smyth to continue abusing children for at least 13 more years.
Father Smyth, who died in prison at age 70, was convicted in the 1990s and admitted to molesting and raping about 100 children in Ireland and the United States.
Speaking in Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore on Thursday described the disclosures in the BBC program as “another horrific episode of failure by senior members of the Catholic Church to protect children” and said the cardinal should resign for failing to report the accusations.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who delivered a landmark speech last year denouncing Vatican interference in investigations into clerical sexual abuse, said the office he held precluded him from calling for the cardinal’s resignation, but on Wednesday he said the primate should “reflect” on the contents of the BBC program.
Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, a Catholic, said the cardinal’s decision to stay on would “leave many Catholics wondering whether anything is to be done by the leadership of the Catholic Church to ring the changes which many believe are required at such a sad time for all.”
The Huffington Post | By Laura Hibbard | Posted: 03/27/2012 Updated: 03/28/2012 6:18 pm
A shaken 14-year-old told the station two men came into the room with guns, pulled pillow cases over some of their heads, and pushed them into a van.
“They pulled my chair out from underneath me and then they told me to get on the ground,” the unnamed girl tearfully told WHTM. “And I was the first person to go into the van. I had my hands behind my back they said ‘just do as I say and you won’t be hurt.’”
The “kidnapped” youth group was then taken to their pastor’s house, where it looked like the minister was being attacked.
The girl showed the station the bruises she suffered from the event, and claims the men laughed while she cried in the van.
Despite claims from officials that the incident was only meant to teach teens what it’s like to be a persecuted Christian missionary, there could be serious repercussions for the church.
“It’s actually quite serious,” First Deputy District Attorney of Dauphin County Fran Chardo told the station in a separate report. “False imprisonment of a child, someone under the age of 18, is a second-degree felony punishable up to 10 years [sic] in prison.”
Since the teens never agreed to take part in the “lesson,” church officials could be in legal trouble for the incident. WHTM also reported the man who “kidnapped” the teens was an off-duty cop, using a real, but unloaded, gun.
In the midst of potential legal ramifications, Andrew Jordan, the church’s pastor, told WHPTV he will still continue to carry out this lesson, but he will ask for parental permission.
By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Magazine, 13 March 2012
I honestly don’t believe that anyone knows anymore what in hell we’re supposed to be doing over there.This weekend, everything about the United States policy in Afghanistan stopped making whatever sense it ever made in the first place.
An American soldier, Christ alone knows why, committed an act of terrorism against the Afghan people. According to reports, the soldier wandered off the base and into an Afghan village, where he systematically went door to door and murdered 16 people, including nine children. There are now the low, mumbling noises of regret from the U.S. government, and the general tone of the commentary in this country is to ponder deeply how this might affect the American “mission” in Afghanistan.
(Also, if I see one more headline calling this thing a “spree,” I may be forced to regret my own career choice. A spree is when some drunken frat-boy shoots out the streetlights on campus. This was mass murder, no different from the mass murders committed by Richard Speck or Jeffrey Dahmer or William Calley. If the American press tries to soften the edges of what happened with euphemism, which is what I suspect is already underway, the American press is guilty of one more crime against truth.)
I honestly don’t believe that anyone knows anymore what in hell we’re supposed to be doing over there. The main stated goal of our military operations – the destruction of the Afghan-based al Qaeda, including the killing of Osama bin Laden – has been accomplished. You hear a lot of vague talk about making Afghanistan “safe” for the Afghan people, and about how we have to be sure that Hamid Karzai’s government is secure, and about how we’re training the Afghan military to perform that task because we can’t allow the Taliban “to make a comeback.” Even if you accept them as legitimate, and, in poll after poll, the American people keep saying they don’t, how do the events of just the past two months render those goals anything but obviously futile? Our soldiers shoot up civilians. Afghan men in police and army uniforms shoot up our soldiers. After almost 11 years of our occupying a Muslim country, somebody in our military still is stupid enough to burn Korans in a garbage pit, or get photographed urinating on dead Afghans. More violence ensues. You’ll pardon me if I start to believe that the whole place is simply turning from a war into a madhouse. Better empires than ours have gone crazy in Afghanistan. Now, apparently, it’s our turn.
20 January 2012, Embassy – www.parliamentnow.ca
By Alex Neve – secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.
Obama should show leadership and recommit to his earlier promise to close the prison, and Harper should call on him to stick with that promise. There can be no second decade.Last week marked an ignominious anniversary—ten years of injustice at Guantanamo Bay. It defies belief, but one decade on, that global icon of human rights gone so terribly wrong in the ‘war on terror’ is still in business.
To say that the incalculable human cost, the mountainous financial cost and the debilitating cost to the integrity of universal human rights protection have all been staggering would be woefully inadequate. Equally disconcerting is that there is no end to the whole sorry debacle anywhere on the horizon.
The first prisoners began to arrive on Jan. 11, 2002. At least 12 of that original group remain there today. Since that time, 779 prisoners have been held at Guantanamo.
The overwhelming majority were eventually released—usually after years of being held illegally without charge or trial, suffering torture or ill-treatment, and being cut off from the outside world.
They had been described by various United States officials as being among the world’s most dangerous men; but most were set free with very little fanfare. With each release it has become clearer that Guantanamo’s overwhelming legacy is not one of reducing insecurity but deepening injustice.
The numbers say so much. Of the 779 prisoners held at Guantanamo during the past decade, only six individuals have been convicted. Four of them, including Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, were convicted on the basis of plea deals. Only two had full trials. Ten years on, 171 men from 20 countries are still held at the base. None appear to be going anywhere at any foreseeable time in the future and only a handful face any prospect of being brought to trial.
Among the 171 is Omar Khadr. Under his plea deal he became eligible for possible transfer back to Canada anytime after Oct. 31, 2011—but that has not yet come to pass.
Not much of a surprise, as promises and possibilities come and go regularly at Guantanamo. More than two months of waiting for Omar Khadr. More widely, US President Barack Obama’s principled post-inauguration pledge that the infamous prison camp would be closed by January 2010 has been a broken promise for almost two full years now.
QMI AGENCY | JANUARY 19, 2012 | Toronto SunA Prince Edward Island school board says it doesn’t plan to stop handing Bibles out to students despite receiving a complaint from a parent.
Ricky Hood, superintendent for the Eastern School District, said the Gideon Society has been handing out Bibles to students for 46 years, and it doesn’t take up any instructional time, reports Charlottetown’s Guardian newspaper.
He told the paper there is nothing taught about or said about the Bibles in class at district schools.
A father complained after students at L.M. Montgomery Elementary were given forms to take home asking parents if they wanted their children to receive a Bible. The form asks them to opt out if they don’t, according to the Guardian.
Hood said it’s a service, just like notifications the school sends out for groups like Girl Guides or about sports tournaments, and that a single complaint isn’t likely to change procedures.
The debate over Bibles distributed at schools has also been taking place in Ont. The Bluewater District School Board is reviewing the matter after a parent complained in December. Meanwhile, a school board in Waterloo banned the practice as of last year.
Ont. premier Dalton McGuinty has left the decision up to school trustees.
Hood said his district won’t be looking to review the process.
“We don’t stop doing things because someone doesn’t like it,” he told the paper.