Nonviolent Action around the World – 18 August 2009 (Part 1)

August 18, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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ELECTION AND REPRESSION IN IRAN

Iran police clash with protesters over newspaper’s closure
By: Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, August 18, 2009
Iranian police used batons to disperse dozens of opposition supporters chanting “death to the dictator” in central Tehran Monday to protest against the closure of a reformist newspaper, a witness said. The latest street unrest after Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential vote took place near the offices of the Etemad-e Melli, the daily of leading pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi.
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Testimony in Iran trial purports to tie Mousavi to unrest
By: Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, August 17, 2009
Iranian authorities put on trial Sunday a group of demonstrators who said they were directed by campaign officials of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi to destroy public property in the chaotic aftermath of the June 12 election. The arrested demonstrators made their statements, which could become part of a case against Mousavi if he is arrested, in the third session of a mass trial of politicians, journalists and academics. There has been widespread criticism of the confessions, which many government opponents say are coerced.
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Iran puts 28 more detainees on trial: Photos
By: Aya Batrawy, VOA, August 17, 2009
Iranian media report that 28 more people have been put on trial for their alleged involvement in the unrest following the presidential election in June. Those in court Sunday are being tried on charges of plotting the violence for years.
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Independent investigation needed into rape and torture in detention in Iran
By: Amnesty International, August 17, 2009
Allegations that election protesters were tortured and raped in detention must be urgently investigated by the Iranian authorities, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said on Saturday. Irene Khan called on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to institute an immediate, independent inquiry into the allegations, and to invite international experts – including the UN’s experts on torture and extrajudicial killings – to help carry it out.
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France urges Iran to drop charges against bailed teacher
By: AFP, August 17, 2009
France on Monday renewed its demand for Tehran to drop charges against a French academic who was accused of spying during post-election unrest in Iran, after she was released from prison on bail. University teaching assistant Clotilde Reiss, 24, was freed from the capital’s Evin prison late Sunday and transferred to the French embassy to await a verdict, after appearing in a televised mass trial on August 8.
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Persian awakening: Using collective nonviolence for achieving reform in 2009 post-election Iran
By: Nicholas Patler, Word Press Weblog, August 17, 2009
Consider adopting the most powerful weapon at your disposal for achieving your objectives in the post-election period: a mass campaign of organized, strategic nonviolence. The great Muslim nonviolent leader, Badshah Khan, told his people that “no power on earth could stand against” the power of nonviolence.
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Iran: Brother of Ahmadinejad rival becomes new chief judge
By: Gulf News, August 17, 2009
Cairo: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has nominated hard-line loyalists to his Cabinet as he seeks to tighten his grip on power in the face of unrelenting opposition over his disputed re-election. Most notably, Sadeq Larijani was sworn in Monday as the head of the judiciary. Larijani is the brother of parliament speaker Ali Larijani, seen as the most prominent conservative rival of Ahmadinejad.
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Iran’s Ahmadinejad criticizes rival Rafsanjani
By: CNN, August 17, 2009
The simmering tensions between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and one of the nation’s most powerful clerics became quickly evident at a major ceremony in Tehran on Monday. Ahmadinejad and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani were attending the inauguration of Sadeq Larijani — brother of Iran’s prominent parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani — who was tapped by Iran’s supreme leader to be the new judiciary chief.
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Iran defies condemnation, expands opposition trial
By: AP, August 16, 2009
Iran expanded a mass trial of opposition supporters on Sunday with the addition of 25 defendants _ including a Jewish teenager _ in defiance of international condemnation, as France said Iran agreed to release a French woman held on spying charges from prison.
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Khomeini ally now leads Iran dissidents
By: Iran Quest, August 17, 2009
Three decades ago, Moshen Sazegara quit his studies at the University of Illinois to join Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s return from exile to lead Iran’s Islamic revolution. A close aide to Ayatollah Khomeini, Mr. Sazegara was a founder of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, but an eventual falling-out with the clerical regime sent him back to the United States as an exile. Today, he has become a global leader for Iranian dissidents who have risen up in opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the clerics who have endorsed his disputed re-election.
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Reformist Iran newspaper shut down
By: Hossein Jaseb, Reuters, August 17, 2009
Iran has temporarily closed down the newspaper of leading reformist Mehdi Karoubi, who angered hardliners by saying some opposition protesters had been raped in jail, the website of his party said. Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi denied that the Etemad-e Melli daily, which together with the party website offers a way for Karoubi to reach his supporters, had been banned, Mehr News Agency reported.
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Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a political shadow
By: Hossein Bastani, Open Democracy, August 17,2009
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was formally sworn in as president of Iran on 5 August 2009 amid criticism and scorn from millions of Iranians who doubted the integrity of the election of 12 June that awarded him a second term. What is striking is that at the time, and even more in the aftermath of the event, there has also been rising criticism of Ahmadinejad from his fellow conservatives.
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Iranian dissident launches Web movement
By: Denver Post, August 16, 2009
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi announced the formation of a social and political movement on his website Saturday, defying a renewed government campaign of intimidation aimed at him and his supporters. The movement is not a political party – which would require a government permit – but a “grass-roots and social network” that will promote democracy and adherence to the law, Mousavi wrote in a statement on his site.
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Clerics’ call for removal challenges Iran leader
By: Robert Worth and Nazila Fathi, NY Times, August 16, 2009
A group of Iranian clerics has issued an anonymous letter calling Iran’s supreme leader a dictator and demanding his removal, the latest and perhaps strongest rhetorical attack on him yet in the country’s post-election turmoil. While the impact of the clerics’ letter, posted late Saturday on opposition Web sites, may have been diluted by the withholding of their signatures, two Iranian experts vouched for its authenticity. Its publication followed other unusual verbal attacks on the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in recent days.
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Iran is self-destructing
By: Al-Ahram, August 13, 2009
The point of no return has been passed: Iran’s violent theocratic tyranny is now facing the people, and it will lose, writes Hamid Dabashi. Within minutes of the picture of a frail and fragile Mohammad Ali Abtahi appearing on the Internet, the blogosphere was flooded with split images of him before and after his predicament. Former vice president under President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005), a leading reformist, and particularly popular with bloggers because of his own weblog, Abtahi’s case was particularly heart- wrenching to his young admirers.
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The new Iran sanctions: Worse than the old ones
By: Gal Luft, Foreign Policy, August 11, 2009
In an effort to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, the U.S. Congress has set its sights on the Islamic Republic’s foreign gasoline dependence. The logic is straightforward: Iran, it has been widely reported, is an oil giant that nonetheless imports 40 percent of its gasoline; internationally coordinated sanctions stopping it from obtaining enough could pain the regime into rethinking its nuclear ambitions. Little wonder the bipartisan Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, introduced in both the Senate and the House, enjoys the support of at least 74 senators and 294 representatives.
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TOP

 

CRISIS IN HONDURAS

US forces deny role in Honduras coup
By: AP, August 17, 2009
The US military said yesterday that its troops in Honduras did not know of and played no role in a flight that took ousted President Manuel Zelaya to exile during a military coup. Zelaya says the Honduran military plane that flew him to Costa Rica on June 28 stopped to refuel at Soto Cano, a Honduran air base that is home to 600 US soldiers, sailors, and airmen engaged in counternarcotics operations and other missions in Central America.
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I debated the Honduras coup with lobbyist and Clinton confidant Lanny Davis – Here’s how he lied
By: Greg Grandin, AlterNet, August 17, 2009
Last Friday, I debated lawyer-turned-lobbyist Lanny Davis, now working for the business backers of the recent Honduran coup, on Democracy Now. It actually wasn’t much of a debate — as Davis was fast out of the box, pre-emptively trying to paint host Amy Goodman and me as “ideologues.” Now Davis finds himself defending another de facto regime, in Honduras, that is engaging in “grave and systemic” political repression, suspending due process, harassing independent journalists, killing or disappearing at least 10 people and detaining hundreds as “constitutional.”
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Honduras government lays sedition charges against Zelaya supporters
By: Ximena Marinero, Jurist, August 16, 2009
The Honduran Office of the Prosecutor of Common Crimes indicted 24 supporters of ousted president Manuel Zelaya [JURIST news archive] on charges of sedition and damages Friday. All 24 were accused [La Prensa report, in Spanish] of robbery, sedition, damages to private property, and illegal demonstrations stemming from protests on Wednesday. Eleven of the protestors are still detained at the National Penitentiary and 13 have been released conditionally.
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Pro-democracy demonstrations continue in Honduras
By: Emile Schepers, People’s Weekly World Newspaper, August 15, 2009
On June 28, the Honduran army overthrew the democratically elected government of left-wing president Manuel “Mel” Zelaya and bundled him onto an airplane into exile in Costa Rica. This action, in spite of being given a constitutional veneer, was not accepted by workers and poor farmers in Honduras, who constitute Zelaya’s support base, or by the international community.
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Toppling a coup, part V: The resistance cracks the oligarchy
By: Al Giordano, Narcosphere, August 15, 2009
It’s hard to be a pro-coup newspaper when the regime you’re trying to prop up keeps attacking your own reporters. Such is the evolving reality for the daily El Tiempo in San Pedro Sula, owned by one of the top families, the Rosenthals, some say the wealthiest in Honduras’ oligarchic pantheon. In the past week or so, though, a series of violent attacks by coup police and military against peaceful demonstrators – and the press that covers them – in the second-largest city of San Pedro Sula have apparently pricked the conscience of El Tiempo and its coverage has taken a 180-degree turn. This can be seen as a barometer of how the coup is losing support even among the highest echelons of the oligarchy.
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Honduras: Attack against offices of Vía Campesina
By: Vía Campesina, Upside Down World, August 12, 2009
Last night at 11:23 p.m., unknown individuals driving a cream colour Toyota Turismo with the license plate PCA1981 fired bullets at the office of Vía Campesina located in the Alameda neighbourhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras which is coordinated by Rafael Alegría. The act was a clear attack against our social organizations and leaders who are part of the National Front Against the Coup. In addition to the recent attack on Vía Campesina, a bomb capable of killing 15 people went off in the building of the Beverage Workers Union (STIBYS, by its Spanish initials) on July 26th 2009. Both organizations are part of the National Front Against the Coup.
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AFRICA

Clinton puts spotlight on women’s issues in Africa
By: Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, Augist 18, 2009
She talked chickens with female farmers in Kenya. She listened to the excruciating stories of rape victims in war-torn eastern Congo. And in South Africa, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited a housing project built by poor women, where she danced with a choir singing “Heel-a-ree! Heel-a-ree!” Clinton’s just-concluded 11-day trip to Africa has sent the clearest signal yet that she intends to make women’s rights one of her signature issues and a higher priority than ever before in American diplomacy.  
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Eritrea media watch
By: Michael Abraha, American Chronicle, August 17, 2009
As the Obama Administration threatens to punish Eritrea for its involvement in strife stricken Somalia, there are reports of an assassination attempt on the life of President Isayas Afewerki. Quoting sources from inside the ocuntry, two Eritrean Diaspora websites, Assenna and Asmarino, said the attack on the president´s vehicle occurred on August 13 on the road between Asmara and the Red Sea port of Massawa. The attempt would come as no surprise to Eritreans and foreign observers given the government´s brutal and repressive policies. The Eritrean government has denied the report.
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Niger: Who needs presidential term limits?
By: Kathryn Sturman, All Africa, August 17, 2009
President Mamadou Tandja of Niger has joined the club of leaders who have overturned constitutions to overstay their welcome in recent years. Following victory in a referendum held on August 4, he is the twelfth African leader in a decade to engineer a third term of office. Has the tide turned against the “third wave” of democratization in Africa?
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Hillary Clinton’s stop in Congo strikes a chord in Africa
By: Robyn Dixon, LA Times, Aaugust 17, 2009
The secretary of State made an impression with a heartfelt visit to eastern Congo, which is rocked by violence, particularly rape. Some have hope that U.S. efforts can end the conflict. When Clinton ignored security advice and flew to Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, her focus on the region’s rape crisis resonated with some of the continent’s most powerless people: women.
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Zimbabwe: Top student leader arrested
By: University World News, August 16, 2009
Zimbabwean police arrested 12 students at the country’s top higher education institution just two days after it reopened, as the state’s attack on academic freedoms continues. Police said four of the students would appear in court on public disorder charges. The arrests at the University of Zimbabwe in the capital Harare followed a student meeting held on campus to chart a way forward regarding continued closure of halls of residence and unaffordable tuition fees- which many students have failed to raise.
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Morocco – last dance for Berbers
By: Daan Bauwens, IPS, August 13, 2009
The satellite receiver has speeded up the process of wiping out the cultural heritage of Morocco’s Berbers. Old traditions are now dying out under the influence of television imams. Berbers are an indigenous people of North Africa. There are an estimated 30 to 40 million in the region, mostly in Algeria and Morocco. Now their old practices are considered in popular Islamic interpretation to be ‘satanic’ or ‘heathen’.
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