Early Day Motion For Mehdi Kazemi

Via the fabulously named Stroppyblog, if you are a UK citizen (ie you have an MP) click here have a look at the motion and if your representative isn’t signed on…then contact your MP to get them to sign it. Find your MP & details at They Work For You.

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Latin America Solidarity Coalition- Petition Presidential Candidates To Commit To Closing SOA/WHINSEC

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Given the way the primaries have been going, we are currently having more leverage with the U.S. presidential candidates than at any other time. Let’s use it! Committing one or more of them to come out publicly for the closure of the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) is a realistic and attainable goal. Once the candidate is elected president, we can hold him or her accountable to follow through and to close the school by executive order.

The Latin America Solidarity Coalition (LASC) is circulating this petition to the Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. Urge them to take a public stand for the closure of the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) and to commit to close this notorious institution by executive order if they will be elected as the next President of the United States.

Sign the petition here

Text of petition below

Read the rest of this entry »

Mehdi Kazemi Now At The Mercy Of The Home Office

Which is not a good situation to be in. So boys and girls, here we go, the background-

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to London to study English in 2004 but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.

In a phone conversation with his father in Tehran, Mr Kazemi was told that, before the execution in April 2006, his boyfriend had been questioned about sexual relations he had with other men and under interrogation had named Mr Kazemi. Fearing for his own life if he returned to Iran, Mr Kazemi claimed asylum in Britain. Late last year, his claim was refused. Terror-stricken at the prospect of being deported, he made a desperate attempt to evade deportation by fleeing to the Netherlands

What happened in the Netherlands (from Paul Canning’s blog)-

As you may be aware from the BBC, the 19 year old gay Iranian refugee Mehdi Kazemi has lost his case in the Netherlands and the Dutch are refusing to reconsider.

The United Kingdom had sent a formal request to Holland asking for Mehdi’s return to Britain, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.

Now then the Home Office/Border and Immigration Agency are (well not fit for the purpose) operating a policy of appeasing immigration demagoguing scum stoked by tabloid imbecility so they routinely ignore the dangers people face if forced back to their countries. In this case it also reveals their absurd and bigoted hypocrisy-

Home Office’s position is that people like Mehdi can be homosexual ‘on the quiet’, therefore no ‘risk’, therefore we can send them back. That somehow homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle choice’. Meaning that they ‘choose’ to be persecuted, they ‘choose to break laws’.

The problem is a homophobic Home Office whose actual policy towards gay refugees is interchangeable with Iranian policy towards gays: it’s a ‘choice’.

So current state of play- he is on his way back to Britain where sufficient pressure and visibility will force the Home Office to actually live up to their pretence that they do not deport people who would be in danger. So, bring the noise-

Home Secretary, The Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP
House of Commons, Westminster,
London, SW1A 0AA
By Telephone and Fax : 01527 523355

By E mail: smithjj@parliament.uk
Home Office email
public.enquiries@ homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

indpublicenquiries@ ind.homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

And of course sane and intelligent people can do this without it meaning bombing Iran is a splendid idea. I’m sorry I have to always say this, but right wingers & war pimps really are that stupid.

Amnesty On Ben Griffin, Avaaz On Gaza

Following the injunction granted on 28 February 2008 by the High Court of England and Wales to prevent Ben Griffin, a former member of the UK Special Forces (UKSF) Special Air Services (SAS), from making any further disclosures relating to the work of the SAS, Amnesty International’s Senior Adviser, Anne FitzGerald, said:Rather than seeking to silence people who might have credible evidence of alleged human rights violations, which may include war crimes, the UK authorities should be seeking to investigate those allegations.’

‘Amnesty International repeatedly makes calls for the UK to ensure that full and independent investigations are carried out wherever there are credible allegations that agents of the UK, including members of the armed forces, may have been responsible for grave violations of human rights law or for war crimes. Those calls all too often go unheeded: only last week Amnesty International repeated its call for such an investigation into the UK’s alleged involvement in the US-led programme of renditions and secret detention, following official confirmation, after years of denial, that rendition flights did indeed touch down in the UK territory of Diego Garcia.’

‘There can be no accountability without transparency: people – including former soldiers – who have information that may constitute evidence of war crimes or of grave human rights violations must be reassured that they can safely make that information public, without fear of punitive legal action against them. If the government of the UK succeeds in gagging Ben Griffin and burying any significant information he may possess, it risks preventing others from coming forward who may have evidence of serious violations.’

And AVAAZ have a petition should you feel it might have an effect on any parties involved-

The Gaza-Israel crisis is out of control. It’s come to this: bloody full-scale invasion, or a cease-fire. With rockets raining down on both sides, Israel launched a ground assault into the Gaza Strip this weekend. Over a hundred combatants and civilians from both sides lie dead. The next 48 hours are crucial — Israel’s cabinet will discuss a larger invasion Wednesday. But Hamas floated a Gaza ceasefire months ago, and 64% of Israelis support the idea.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_ceasefire_now/3.php?cl=58186486

Stop Blair!

Via (fittingly) Blairwatch– Stop Blair ! Petition against the nomination of Tony Blair as “President of the European Union.

www.stopblair.eu

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Stop The Execution Of Zohreh & Azar Kabir

Via Women’s Field:

Both Zohreh Kabiri, 27 years old and Azar Kabiri, 28 years old, have been sentenced to stoning for adultery. Their sentence is awaiting execution. At their first trial, conducted in the absence of a defence attorney, the Judge interrogated the two sisters and unlawfully obtained a dubious confession for adultery. The women have reported that questions asked of them were manipulative and ambiguous and they had no idea as to the full consequences of their responses. The Judge then used these illegal confession and statements, along with his ‘instinct’ or ‘knowledge’ in order to justify a sentence of stoning for the defendants.

Action here.

details for UK and US contacts here:-

Email to: info@iran-embassy.org.uk

Ambassador Rasoul Movahedian,
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince´s Gate
London SW7 1PT

Also the UN Ambassador is Javad Zarif email-
iran@un.int

There is not an Iranian embassy in the US, but the Pakistan embassy handles their interests so you could email to ask for clemency to this address-
requests@daftar.org

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19th March, 5th Anniversary Of The Iraq Invasion- Blogswarm

This March 19th will be 5 years of the Iraq war. Consequently the prescient GodlessLiberalHomo has come up with a blogswarm and inveigled me into helping getting it going. Neither he nor I own this, we’re just getting it going, this is everyone’s who wants to participate. So you may have questions, what is a blogswarm?

This blogswarm will promote blog postings opposing the war in Iraq and calling for a full withdrawal of foreign occupying forces in Iraq. Five years of an illegal and catastrophic war is five years too many. On the March 19 anniversary of the conquest of Iraq by the Bush Administration, there needs to be a loud volume of voices countering the pro-war propaganda from far too many politicians and corporate media outlets.

Q. How do I become involved?

Go to the swarm homeblog march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com and- Post a comment with your blog’s title and URL. If you join up by the fifth anniversary of mass actions against the war, February 15, 2008, you will be included in the listing of “Charter Blogs” displayed on the home blogs menu.

Q. Hey, how about some badges? I’m glad you asked-

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You can just save them to your computer and post onto your blog linking to

http://march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com/

…if you wish. Making up your own badges/promotions is heartily encouraged, which leads to…

Q. How do I help promote the blogswarm to make it an enormous chorus of disapproval for the Iraq war ? Well for now the basic approach is the well worn spreading the word by commenting on blogs you frequent/know of, leaving information about the blogswarm and including a link to the homeblog http://march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com/ and emailing your friends/contacts.

Q. What is the point? Wars are bad, we should be doing less of them. It isn’t rocket science. The blogswarm is not a replacement for other actions it is as well as anything else you might be doing. Around the 5th anniversary you can be sure the same people who lied us into this war will be unapologetically continuing their propaganda and unless we counter that there will be more conflict and more death. Specifically for Iraq it could mean a long term occupation that would most likely not end until the last drop of oil is sucked out of the ground, that would mean an unending insurgency and counter insurgency which is the dirtiest most brutal kind of warfare there is. Quite apart from the fact that the invasion was an illegal war of aggression and it continues killing people on all sides and causing generational damage in all those involved, from homeless veterans to traumatised children.

Q. And on the day? Write something or several somethings relevant to the the Iraq war, raise a chorus of voices. Let’s not be having to do this for the 10th anniversary. In fact this is an election year in the US, let’s not let year 6 go by without withdrawals.

Q. This question and answer format is a bit overused, unoriginal and tedious isn’t it? Quite possibly, just so long as you participate in countering the pro-war narrative, you really need to do nothing more than post about the Iraq war on/around the 19th March and notify http://march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com/ of it, so more people see your work and thoughts, ideas and passions are exchanged and shared. There are forces in the world who want war, people who rarely pay the price but often reap a profit, we can do better than let them run the Earth.

“Freedom of the press only applies to people who own printing presses. And now everyone with net access owns a printing press.”

Blogswarm!

Spread the Word.