Perú: Revuelta en el Amazonas - Entrevista a Daysi Zapata, ahora presidenta de la AIDESEP (Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana): "La ministra mandó a la policía meter bala" - por Juan Jesús Aznáres para El País, Madrid, 14-6-09 - La represión policial de los indígenas sublevados en Perú contra la privatización parcial de la Amazonia comenzó desde un helicóptero, continuó en tierra y causó la muerte de más de cien indígenas, según la denuncia de Daysi Zapata, de 38 años. Esta mujer encabeza la rebelión desde que el chamán Alberto Pizango, de 40 años, de la etnia shawi, padre de cinco hijos y maestro de escuela, recibiera asilo político en la Embajada de Nicaragua al ser perseguido por cargos de homicidio, sedición y rebeldía.
Perú - El conflicto amazónico y el papel de las mujeres - Por Zoraida Portillo (1.541 palabras/8.007 caracteres) Las mujeres se han convertido en protagonistas de primera línea en el conflicto amazónico que mantiene enfrentado al estado peruano con las etnias de la selva de este país. La única persona dentro del gabinete de Alan García que ha tenido el gesto de renunciar, por estar en desacuerdo con el tratamiento que el gobierno viene dando al conflicto, ha sido la Ministra de la Mujer, Carmen Vildoso.
México - Donde alguna vez hubo mar, hoy todo está negro - Por Sara Lovera (1.400 palabras/7.234 caracteres) - La abogada Paula Landeros Beltrán señala con el índice, como queriendo abarcar todo el paisaje, y dice: "Mire, todo es negrura". Cuenta que las mujeres tienen cáncer y los niños problemas en la piel, enfermedades respiratorias, que ya no hay vegetación, los cinco ríos de la zona están secos y se miran puros cráteres. "Nadie nos escucha", se lamenta. Ella representa a las y los vecinos de antiguos ejidos, especialmente de la Purísima y Santa María.
Colombia - Severas sanciones contra pornografía infantil y turismo sexual
Por Ángela Castellanos Aranguren (1.157 palabras/6,028 caracteres) - La muerte de Yesid Torres, de apenas 15 años, conmovió a los habitantes de la ciudad colombiana de Cartagena de Indias, donde la explotación sexual de infantes y adolescentes, y en especial el turismo sexual de menores, han proliferado en años recientes.
Cuba - Cantar y vivir después del sida - Por Sara Más (1.475 palabras/6.858 caracteres)
"O cantas o te mueres". Esa idea le pasa muchas veces por la mente; otras, lo hizo callar, o lo llenó de nostalgias y dolor, después de saber el veredicto de una prueba que, para él, no pasaba de pura rutina, hasta saber el resultado: VIH positivo.
Paraguay- Por la no discriminación sexual en los medios - Por Alba Trejo (1.235 palabras/6.295 caracteres) "Soy educador y gay asumido", dice Gumersindo Arrúa, actual funcionario del Ministerio de Educación y Cultura de Paraguay. Como él, unas 90 personas asistieron a la primera Charla/Debate sobre Homofobia y Medios de Comunicación, coordinada por la organización SOMOSGAY y realizada en el Club Francés, de esta capital.
Bolivia - Súper Cholita, una heroína poco convencional - Por Liliana Aguirre F. (504 palabras/2.392 caracteres) Al igual que muchos súper héroes, puede volar gracias a sus superpoderes, persigue a los villanos o malhechores y busca la justicia. Sin embargo, la diferencia radica en que es del sexo femenino y, aunque ya exista una mujer maravilla en el mundo de las historietas, la Súper Cholita la supera porque no necesita de un traje sexy o medidas corporales perfectas para conseguir lectores.
Trata de blancas, un flagelo que asciende en América Latina – por Valeria Vázquez Mundo - La prostitución es uno de los oficios más antiguos de la historia de la humanidad. Considerar si es moral o inmoral su ejercicio, si afecta a terceros o no es discutible ideológicamente, pero data de largo tiempo que la trata de blancas en Latinoamérica es considerada un flagelo regional con expansión continental.
leer la nota en:agencia de noticias John Reed
MEXICO: Registra CNDH 9,758 plagios de migrantes en sólo seis meses, con ganancia de 25 mdd -La mayoría los comete la delincuencia organizada, pero hay casos con participación policial -Veracruz y Tabasco, estados preferidos por los secuestradores; atacan principalmente a hondureños - Víctor Ballinas , junio 16, 2009 - El presidente de la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH), José Luis Soberanes Fernández, denunció ayer que en sólo en seis meses, entre septiembre de 2008 y febrero pasado, el organismo que encabeza documentó el secuestro de 9 mil 758 migrantes, mil 600 al mes, más de 50 al día. El beneficio que obtuvo la delincuencia organizada por estos secuestros fue de 25 millones de dólares, y que se estima que al año el número de migrantes puede ascender a 20 mil.
Al presentar ayer el Informe especial sobre los casos de secuestro contra migrantes, el ombudsman nacional indicó que la investigación de este órgano documentó 198 casos de secuestro de migrantes, que incluyen a 9 mil 758 personas privadas de su libertad, ya que la mayoría fueron plagios colectivos. En 9 mil 194 casos el delito fue cometido por bandas organizadas, y el resto por autoridades, o la combinación delincuentes-servidores públicos.
GUATEMALA: Maquilas en Guatemala, discriminación y esclavitud para mujeres - Por Alba Trejo - Guatemala, 11 junio 09 (CIMAC/SEMlac).- En las maquilas está prohibido embarazarse, orinar más de dos veces al día e incluso tomar agua durante la jornada de trabajo. También esta vedado quejarse o faltar un solo día por enfermedad.
Guatemala: aflora estructura paramilitar - Los asesinatos del empresario Musa, su hija y su abogado dejan al descubierto la lucha de poderes - Blanche Petrich/ I Enviada, La Jornada, junio 17, 2009 - Guatemala, 16 de junio. Transcurrido un mes de la llamada crisis de mayo, desencadenada por un dramático video en el que el abogado Rodrigo Rosenberg dice impasible ante la cámara: Si ustedes están viendo este mensaje es porque fui asesinado por el señor presidente Álvaro Colom, los aires de conspiración han quedado en suspenso mientras se esperan los primeros resultados de la investigación que corre a cargo de una instancia de la Organización de Naciones Unidas, la Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG).
La mujer, sólo un objeto de decoración en los países árabes: Muamar Kadafi . Es necesaria una revolución femenina, dice el líder libio en Roma - Dpa y Afp - Roma, 12 de junio./ El líder libio Muamar Kadafi afirmó este viernes aquí, en un auditorio de Roma, que en los países árabes la mujer no es más que un objeto de decoración, por lo que es necesaria una revolución femenina.
En Demasiados héroes Laura Restrepo recuerda, sin desencanto, su historia de resistencia / México es un país triturado por la guerra contra el narcotráfico - Armando G. Tejeda, La Jornada, Madrid, 13 de junio. - La escritora colombiana Laura Restrepo ha vivido desde joven la pasión y el arrebato por la política, por la utopía libertaria, por el hallazgo vital de la resistencia. Desde su trinchera literaria ha escrito sobre escenarios extremos –la violencia que desata el narcotráfico, los desplazamientos forzados o la realidad doliente de los pueblos indígenas–, pero sólo hasta ahora, con su nueva novela, Demasiados héroes (Alfaguara), decidió recordar con palabras su propia historia de resistencia durante la dictadura de las juntas militares argentinas.
Rinden homenaje a las mujeres valientes que impulsan el cambio - Artista mexicano estrenó en Bonn coreografía inspirada en la única ópera de Beethoven / Leonore fue aclamada por un auditorio repleto, en esa ciudad alemana/ - Eva Usi, Especial para La Jornada, junio 17, 2009 - Bonn. Leonore, una composición coreográfica basada en Fidelio, como se conoce hoy día a la única ópera escrita por Ludwig van Beethoven, tuvo un apoteósico estreno en la Ópera de Bonn.
Un auditorio repleto ovacionó de pie a las figuras estelares: más de un centenar de niños y niñas, jóvenes bailarines provenientes de cuatro distintas escuelas de Bonn que pisaban por primera vez el escenario de un gran teatro alternando con cantantes de ópera profesionales, como la soprano Ingeborg Zwitzers (Leonore), el tenor Ünüsan Kuloglu (Florestan), la soprano Sigrun Palmadottir (Marzeline), el bajo Ramaz Chikviladze (Rocco) y el barítono Martin Tzonev (Pizarro).
CAJON DE SASTRE
El neoliberalismo, raíz común de las crisis actuales: Chomsky /Deplora que casi todos se refieran a los problemas financieros y pocos a la hambruna mundial / ¿Por qué no ocupar una planta para producir transporte masivo?, cuestiona en referencia a GM – Por David Brooks para La Jornada - Nueva York, 14 de junio. - Cuando se habla de la crisis, casi todos se refieren a la financiera, ya que afecta directamente a los ricos, pero la crisis de los mil millones de seres humanos que enfrentan hambruna –entre ellos unos 40 millones en Estados Unidos– no es la de mayor prioridad, porque todos los aquejados son pobres, afirmó Noam Chomsky.
Can You Love a Child of Rape?- Fifteen years after the genocide, Rwandan women are raising the children of their attackers - by Jonathan Torgovnik for Mother Jones, May/June 2009 Issue - In 2006, photographer Jonathan Torgovnik began work on what became a three-year project photographing and interviewing Rwandan women who had children as the result of being raped during the genocide. Torgovnik won the 2007 National Portrait Gallery’s Photographic Portrait Prize for an image from this work. The culmination of his project is an exhibition and book, Intended Consequences: Rwandan Children Born of Rape, published by the Aperture Foundation. Inspired by the people he met on this project, Torgovnik co-founded Foundation Rwanda, established to improve the lives of Rwandan children born of rape... Be sure to also visit MediaStorm's multimedia presentation of "Intended Consquences."
I Know What Rape Really Looks Like; How Can the Media Glamorize It? - By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Huffington Post. Posted June 17, 2009., - Rape is vicious, cruel, painful and damaging. I shouldn't have to explain this to you. But from the way our media treats rape, apparently I do.- Rope burns circled her wrists, her fingernails were bloody and torn and she had a deep purple bruise on one forearm that inappropriately made me think of hoagie sandwiches, such was its size and shape. But what was most haunting were her eyes. They were not bright with tears, nor flashing with anger, nor did they even show animal fear -- they were just still. And dead. Those dead eyes would haunt me for months afterward.
Of silk scarves and chadors / Beware of oversimplifying the symbolism of Iranian women's head coverings in opposition protests – by Tracy Clark-Flory for salon.com, Jun. 18, 2009 | Swelling crowds, burning cars, baton-wielding police, bloodied protesters -- these are some of the most arresting images of the unrest currently rocking Iran. Some comparably peaceful images, though, seem to be competing for some people's attention: Those of the Iranian women on the front lines of the movement against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. From the New York Times to Flickr, images abound of young women wearing sunglasses, bright red nail polish and colorful, loosely tied head scarves -- some pinned back, a la Audrey Hepburn, to reveal a sweep of highlighted or teased hair. Others, with their hijab nudged back on their head and green bands wrapped around their foreheads, look like fierce warriors. In contrast, we've seen images of Ahmadinejad's heavily cloaked female supporters. But the opposition movement is no longer "just young, liberal rich kids anymore," reports the Associated Press, even conservative married women in black chadors are joining the protest.
The Deadly Toll of Abortion by Amateurs - By Denise Grady for The New York Times, June 2, 2009 - Berega, Tanzania — A handwritten ledger at the hospital tells a grim story. For the month of January, 17 of the 31 minor surgical procedures here were done to repair the results of “incomplete abortions.” A few may have been miscarriages, but most were botched operations by untrained, clumsy hands.
Abortion is illegal in Tanzania (except to save the mother’s life or health), so women and girls turn to amateurs, who may dose them with herbs or other concoctions, pummel their bellies or insert objects vaginally. Infections, bleeding and punctures of the uterus or bowel can result, and can be fatal. Doctors treating women after these bungled attempts sometimes have no choice but to remove the uterus.
Scholarships for virgins? / Sierra Leone offers financial incentives to girls who remain pure / by Frieda Klotz for Salon.com, Jun. 17, 2009 | Girls living in a small province of Sierra Leone called northern Biriwa are being offered scholarships to college -- but only if they can prove they are virgins, an African news website has reported. A community nurse will perform the test, and if the girls pass, they may receive “a lucrative scholarship … for girls between 12 years to 16 years and they could even go to universities with all expenses paid,” said Samuel Kamara, administrative secretary of the Biriwa Youth Alliance for Development Organisation.
This comes on the back of another local ruling from March 2009that if a girl becomes pregnant, both she and the boy who impregnated her should drop out of school. The aim of these decrees is to combat Sierra Leone’s extremely high child pregnancy and HIV-infection rates.
Hidden teens on the Thai-Burma border / Local activists take great risks to improve the sexual health of refugee youth – by Lynn Harris for Salon.com, Jun. 17, 2009 | Now for a small peek at a faraway, often forgotten corner of the world, the teenagers who've fled there from conflict and oppression in their homeland, and the people endeavoring to help them find their way. The Thai-Burma border and environs are home to over 1 million Burmese refugees, many of whom eke out a dreary, even dangerous living as illegal migrant workers. Undocumented refugees and migrants there have limited access to, well, everything -- including, of course, healthcare. Teenagers (and women) there are especially vulnerable, with deaths from abortion and childbirth common, and resources scarce. Those family planning and HIV prevention programs that are available often focus on adults or women who already have children, according to the local grass-roots Adolescent Reproductive Health Network (ARHN). Even health services in refugee camps remain out of reach "due to cultural traditions and perceived inaccessibility." A report released yesterday by ARHN both illustrates how bad things are -- and offers a wisp of hope for future help.
Voluntary childlessness "unnatural" and "evil" - It can't be coincidental that vitriol directed at child-free women looks so much like antiabortion rhetoric. - by Kate Harding for Salon.com, Jun. 15, 2009 |"It's an admission that invites suspicion and pity. To be a thirtysomething woman in 2009 and not want a child so desperately that you think you might die is simply not allowed," writes Polly Vernon in the Guardian's Comment Is Free. After admitting in a February Guardian essay that she never intended to procreate, Vernon received a cascade of reader correspondence "condemning me, expressing disgust. I was denounced as bitter, selfish, un-sisterly, unnatural, evil." She notes that Cameron Diaz recently told Cosmo, "I think women are afraid to say that they don't want children because they're going to get shunned," and replies, "yes, Cameron Diaz, I can tell you from experience that you are right. Admit that you don't ache for children with every fibre of your being and you will be shunned. Shunning's the tip of the iceberg. I wish I'd been shunned. Shunning would have been blissful, relatively."
Civic-Minded Chinese Find a Voice Online - By Michael Wines for The New York Times, June 17, 2009 - Beijing — There was a time when the story of the 21-year-old waitress who fatally stabbed a Communist Party official as he tried to force himself on her would have never left the rural byways of Hubei Province where it took place.
Instead, her arrest last month on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter erupted into an online furor that turned her into a national hero and reverberated all the way to China’s capital, where censors ordered incendiary comments banned. Local Hubei officials even restricted television coverage and tried to block travel to the small town where the assault occurred.
Domestic Workers Fight for Bill of Rights – From Democracy Now! , june 12, 2009 - The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, if passed, would amend New York state labor law and guarantee the over 200,000 nannies and housekeepers in New York state a living wage, overtime pay, sick leave, severance and health benefits, and protection from employment discrimination. It would be the first such bill in the country to challenge the exclusion of the nearly two million domestic workers countrywide from national labor law and set an important precedent for other states. We speak with a nanny-turned-organizer.
15 Shocking Tales of How Sex Laws Are Screwing the American People - By Ellen Friedrichs, for AlterNet. Posted on June 12, 2009 - The older I get, the luckier I feel not to have been busted for breaking a sex law. It’s not that I have been doing anything particularly scandalous. Public sex sure isn’t my thing, and I’m not in the habit of spamming my friends and colleagues with XXX emails. But in a world where a teen can get arrested for texting a boyfriend her own nudie shots, I don't want to take anything for granted.Really though, my clean record probably has as much to do with where I've lived, as with what I've done. Growing up in Canada, meant that I didn’t worry about the legal ramifications of losing my virginity to my high school boyfriend. Had I spent those angst-ridden years in Texas, or even Maine, I could have been charged with the crime of underage sex.
New Declaration Says "Sexuality Is an Essential Part of Humanity" - By Marcela Valente, IPS News. Posted June 13, 2009., - Buenos aires, Jun 10 (IPS) - In an effort to promote the free enjoyment of human sexuality, separate from reproduction, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) launched the world's first declaration of sexual rights in the Argentine capital on Wednesday.
"Sexy Ukrainian Women Looking for Love": The Fight Against Sex Tourism - By Marina Kamenev , Ms. Magazine. Posted June 11, 2009. Ukrainian feminists are trying to curb a growing sex tourism industry that exploits women and children. - Late last year, as Ukraine started getting seriously hit by the financial crisis, a man in a faux-leather jacket stood on Kiev’s main avenue, Khreschatik Boulevard, strapped into a red-lettered billboard offering "Sexy Ukrainian Women Looking for Love." Next to him on a small table was a folder of pictures of potential "brides."
TO READ THIS SUMMER:
You Still Can't Buy a Vibrator in Alabama - By Paul Krassner, Cleis Press
Posted on June 13, 2009, The following are excerpts from In Praise of Indecency by Paul Krassner. Copyright 2009 by Paul Krassner.
At the request of defense lawyers, a Nebraska judge ordered a college student who was raped not to use the words “rape,” “victim,” “assailant” or “sexual assault” on the witness stand for fear of prejudicing the jury
In March 2007, on International Women’s Day, a public high school in Westchester, New York suspended three 16-year-old girls for saying the word “vagina” during a reading from The Vagina Monologues.
In Praise of Indecency - The late Harry Reasoner, who was an ABC News anchor and a Sixty Minutes correspondent, wrote in his 1981 memoir, Before the Colors Fade:
“I’ve only been aware of two figures in the news during my career with whom I would not have shaken hands if called to deal with them professionally. I suppose that what Thomas Jefferson called a decent respect for the opinion of mankind requires me to identify those two. They were Senator Joseph McCarthy and a man named Paul Krassner or something like that who published a magazine called The Realist in the 1960s. I guess everyone knows who McCarthy was. Krassner and his Realist were part of a ‘60s fad -- publications attacking the values of the establishment -- which produced some very good papers and some very bad ones. Krassner not only attacked establishment values; he attacked decency in general, notably with an alleged ‘lost chapter’ from William Manchester’s book, The Death of a President.”
Women's Bodies Remain Battlegrounds in the Culture Wars - By Sarah Seltzer, RH Reality Check. Posted on June 15, 2009 - This spring and summer have been remarkable ones for books about sex, gender and reproduction -- the avid women's issues reader has been up to her ears in provocative feminist tomes. What's amazing about the books discussed below is not just the powerful arguments they make individually, but the way they together paint a complete picture of our culture wars at home and abroad. That broad picture reveals the ugly truth that women's bodies remain battlegrounds for ideological struggles all over the world.
Too Poor to Make the News - By Barbara Ehrenreich for The New York Times, June 14, 2009 - The human side of the recession, in the new media genre that’s been called “recession porn,” is the story of an incremental descent from excess to frugality, from ease to austerity. The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee’s. In some accounts, the recession is even described as the “great leveler,” smudging the dizzying levels of inequality that characterized the last couple of decades and squeezing everyone into a single great class, the Nouveau Poor, in which we will all drive tiny fuel-efficient cars and grow tomatoes on our porches.
But the outlook is not so cozy when we look at the effects of the recession on a group generally omitted from all the vivid narratives of downward mobility — the already poor, the estimated 20 percent to 30 percent of the population who struggle to get by in the best of times. This demographic, the working poor, have already been living in an economic depression of their own. From their point of view “the economy,” as a shared condition, is a fiction.
Scant Role for Women in Albany Mess - By Susan Dominus for The New York Times, June 13, 2009 - Locked out of their chamber after staging a leadership coup by nabbing the support of two Democrats, New York State’s Republican senators let themselves back in Thursday afternoon apparently with the use of, as The New York Times put it, “a mysterious set of keys.”
A mysterious set of keys — now that’s strategic maneuvering to inspire envy in the Dungeons and Dragons crowd. What will the Democrats counter with? A cloak of invisibility and a plus-two sword? Maybe that magically empowering invisibility is what the Democrats were going for at the outset of the crisis, when the best idea they could come up with, after the Republicans claimed control on Monday, was to turn out the lights.
Women Bridging Gap in Science Opportunities - By Cornelia Dean for The New York Times, June 3, 2009 - The prospects for women who are scientists and engineers at major research universities have improved, although women continue to face inequalities in salary and access to some other resources, a panel of the National Research Council concludes in a new report.
In recent years “men and women faculty in science, engineering and mathematics have enjoyed comparable opportunities,” the panel said in its report, released on Tuesday. It found that women who apply for university jobs and, once they have them, for promotion and tenure, are at least as likely to succeed as men. But compared with their numbers among new Ph.D.’s, women are still underrepresented in applicant pools, a puzzle that offers an opportunity for further research, the panel said.
India's sartorial police fight harassment ... by forbidding women to wear jeans. Also: A U.S. city criminalizes G-strings. - Tracy Clark-Flory for Salon.com, Jun. 11, 2009 | Colleges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh are finally taking campus sexual harassment seriously. Only the plan of attack is, oh, massively troubling: They're telling female students to stop asking for it by wearing jeans and other Western wear. It's the familiar sartorial panic defense: Your sexy clothing made me do it. Any girls who refuse to follow the new dress code "will be expelled," said Meeta Jamal, the principal of a local school. "This is the only way to stop crime against women."I guess punishing harassers is out of the question?
Blog hoax captivates pro-lifers. A woman lies about her terminally ill baby and is heaped with prayers and praise - Tracy Clark-Flory for Salon.com, Jun. 12, 2009 | When "B" found out that she was pregnant with a terminally ill child, she turned to God and the Internet for support. The latter was quick to respond: Thousands of abortion opponents flocked to her blog with prayers for her "miracle baby" and high praise for her righteous refusal to terminate. Web followers wept over her story, mailed gifts and hand-written letters, bought t-shirts to show solidarity and swapped deeply personal heart-wrenching stories. On Sunday, the young Chicago woman wrote that she had given birth to April, a beautiful baby girl, and shared photos of the precious newborn. Then she delivered some much-feared news: April died hours later. The real tragedy, however, is that it was all a lie.
Change feminists can believe in? / Age and race play an unprecedented role in the campaign to replace retiring NOW president Kim Gandy – by Judy Berman for Salon.com, Jun. 15, 2009 | A young, black candidate who promises diversity and change faces off against an older, white candidate who, for many, represents preservation of the status quo. Sound familiar? Well, despite the obvious referent, it also describes the current campaign to replace Kim Gandy as president of the National Organization for Women (NOW). The group will elect a new leader at its national conference in Indianapolis, which begins Friday.
The Fiat-ization of the American male / Can a nation of dudes whose sexual self-image was built on macho Jeeps survive the rise of the Little Mouse? - By Gary Kamiya for Salon.com, Jun. 11, 2009 |On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court in its wisdom poured a large bucket of iced Pellegrino on that most delicate of objects, the American male libido. I refer to the court's removal of the last legal obstacle to an impending deal in which the Italian automaker Fiat will take control of Chrysler, the once mighty Detroit company that currently reposes on blocks, its precious fluids drained and tires removed, in that ever expanding vacant lot known as bankruptcy.
Whether or not this deal makes business sense for Chrysler's employees and shareholders — who now include the American people — is not within my area of expertise. But a much more serious problem looms: the potentially deflating effects on 100 million American men of outsourcing their sexual self-image to a company whose most famous product was known as the "little mouse."
Infanticide Case Mesmerizes France - Woman Confessed to Killing 3 Newborns; Husband Was Unaware of Pregnancies - By Edward Cody for Washington Post Foreign Service, Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - Paris, June 15 -- When South Korean authorities announced in 2006 that they had found the bodies of two newborns in the home freezer of a French expatriate couple, the first reaction among friends and family was disbelief.
GAY AND LESBIAN RIGTHS
A Bad Call on Gay Rights – New York Times Editorial, June 16, 2009 - The Obama administration, which came to office promising to protect gay rights but so far has not done much, actually struck a blow for the other side last week. It submitted a disturbing brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the law that protects the right of states to not recognize same-sex marriages and denies same-sex married couples federal benefits. The administration needs a new direction on gay rights.
FROM THE PROGRESS REPORT: The Human Rights Campaign sent a letter to President Obama yesterday "to protest the administration's recent legal backing of the Defense of Marriage Act." "This brief would not have seen the light of day if someone in your administration who truly recognized our humanity and equality had weighed in with you," the letter said. The New York Times criticizes the administration's decision as a "bad call on gay rights."
U.S. to Extend Its Job Benefits to Gay Partners - By Jeff Zeleny for The New York Times, June 17, 2009 - President Obama will sign a presidential memorandum on Wednesday to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, administration officials said Tuesday evening, but he will stop short of pledging full health insurance coverage.
Mr. Obama, in an Oval Office announcement, is expected to offer details about which benefits will be provided. It is the most significant statement he has made on gay issues, and it comes as he faces intense criticism from several gay rights leaders over what they suggest has been a failure to live up to campaign promises in the first months of his presidency.
CIVIL RIGHTS AND IMMIGRATION
FROM THE PROGRESS REPORT: The Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday that it is "temporarily freezing a policy of deporting widows and widowers of U.S. citizens." Under the Bush administration's immigration crackdown, "immigrants who had been married for less than two years or whose green-card process hadn't been completed when their spouses died" would have faced deportation.
FROM THE PROGRESS REPORT: A new report from the State Department finds that "the global economic crisis is boosting the demand for human trafficking because of a growing demand for cheap goods and services. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton writes today in the Washington Post, "The United States is committed to building partnerships with governments and organizations around the world, to finding new and more effective ways to take on the scourge of human trafficking."
FROM THE PROGRESS REPORT: 9/11 MASTERMIND SAYS HE MADE UP STORIES IN RESPONSE TO TORTURE: Newly declassified documents show that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammad said he lied about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden after being subjected to torture. "I make up stories, Muhammad said when talking about his reaction to the techniques personally authorized by President Bush. When told to reveal the location of bin Laden, Muhammad said he would relent and say, "Yes, he is in this area." This information "underscores the unreliability of statements obtained by torture," saidJameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, the group that fought for the release of the documents. The documents also undercut Vice President Cheney's assertion that torture techniques resulted in "first-rate intelligence." According to the documents, which include transcripts ofCombatant Status Review Tribunals at Gitmo, detainee Abu Zubaydah, who was waterboarded 83 times, said the CIA told him that "they had mistakenly thought he was the No. 3 man in the organization's hierarchy and a partner of Osama bin Laden." "They told me, 'Sorry, we discover that you are not Number 3, not a partner, not even a fighter,'" Zubaydah said. Ben Wizner, the ACLU's lead lawyer in the lawsuit, said there was no reason to keep the reports of detainee abuse secret. "There is only one explanation for the continued suppression. It is not to protect national security, it is to protect the CIA from accountability," Wizner said.
Neo-Nazis are in the Army now - Why the U.S. military is ignoring its own regulations and permitting white supremacists to join its ranks. - By Matt Kennard for Salon.com, Editor's note: Research support for this article was provided by the Nation Institute's Investigative Fund. Jun. 15, 2009 | On a muggy Florida evening in 2008, I meet Iraq War veteran Forrest Fogarty in the Winghouse, a little bar-restaurant on the outskirts of Tampa, his favorite hangout. He told me on the phone I would recognize him by his skinhead. Sure enough, when I spot a white guy at a table by the door with a shaved head, white tank top and bulging muscles, I know it can only be him.Over a plate of chicken wings, he tells me about his path into the white-power movement.