Sunday, May 15, 2011

Freedom Riders inspire new generation of Arab protest leaders

By John Blake, CNN

Joan Mulholland was watching television one day when something flashed across the screen that gave her chills.

Unarmed young men and women blocked rows of tanks. Giddy demonstrators placed flowers in soldier's bayonets. Protesters sang "We Shall Overcome" -- with an Arabic accent.

The images hurled the retired schoolteacher back to another moment in spring when she was a teenager risking her life for change. In May 1961, Mulholland joined the "Freedom Rides." She was part of an interracial group of college students who were attacked by mobs and imprisoned simply because they decided to ride passenger buses together through the Deep South.

"So much of what has happened in Egypt is like déjà vu," says Mulholland, who appears on PBS Monday at 9 p.m. in a mesmerizing documentary called "Freedom Riders."

"The pictures that have been in the news have been almost interchangeable with the civil rights movement here years ago," she says about the Egyptian protests that toppled a dictator. "I've seen so many visual parallels that I'm starting to save pictures in a scrapbook."

The Freedom Riders were called communists and outside agitators. As they commemorate the 50th anniversary of their rides this month, another group of people in the Middle East is calling them something else -- inspiration.

Several leaders in the protests sweeping the Middle East say they are using the same nonviolent playbook Freedom Riders and other civil rights activists used years ago to resist oppression.

Dalia Ziada, North Africa director of the American Islamic Congress, a group that promotes interfaith tolerance, says some Egyptian protesters took heart from the disciplined nonviolent resistance activists once displayed during civil rights campaigns like the Freedom Rides.

Russian Warning Issued Over “Controlled” Comet Headed Towards Earth

A chilling report prepared for President Medvedev by Minister Serdyukov of the Russian Defense Ministry on the building of an additional 5,000 underground ‘bomb’ shelters in Moscow warns that even though progress is being made, the appearance of the new Comet Elenin [photo right] in our Solar System means “additional resources” will have to be added “immediately” as the 2012 timeline for completion “may not be soon enough”.

Sparking the fears of Minister Serdyukov, he says in this report, is that based upon the new orbit calculations for Comet Elenin, it appears in “all likelihood” that this celestial object is under some type of “intelligent control” and will approach our Earth “much closer” than originally thought this coming fall season.

Comet Elenin was discovered by Doctor-Scientist Leonid Elenin on 10 December 2010 from his research facility in Lyubertsy utilizing images acquired from the 18-inch (45-cm) telescope at the ISON-NM Observatory near Mayhill, New Mexico and confirmed by Doctor-Scientists Aleksei Sergeyev and Artem Novichenko from the Maidanak Observatory in Uzbekistan.

Upon its discovery Comet Elenin was traveling very near the ecliptic plane at more than 4 Astronomical Units (375 million miles) from the Sun and headed inbound towards it. Its original perihelion [point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid or comet where it is nearest to the Sun] was calculated to occur well inside Earth’s orbit at about 0.45 Astronomical Units (42 million miles) from the Sun to occur on or about 5 September 2011 making it visible to the naked eye in the pre-dawn skies in the Constellation of Leo.
Most ominous in Minister Serdyukov’s report is his assertion that Comet Elenin appears to be in “direct contact” with the mysterious Jupiter-sized planet discovered beyond the orbit of Pluto that is, also, headed inbound towards our Sun.



World in the Throes of a Human Rights Revolution, Says Amnesty

By Thalif Deen, IPS


The growing demands for democratic reforms spreading across the Middle East and North Africa - along with the dramatic rise of social media networks - have triggered "a human rights revolution on the threshold of a historic change", says Amnesty International (AI).

"People are rejecting fear," as spontaneous political uprisings have ousted repressive regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and authoritarian governments in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria have been jolted by mass protests and street battles.

"Not since the end of the Cold War have so many repressive governments faced such a challenge to their stranglehold on power," says AI Secretary-General Salil Shetty.

In its annual global human rights report released Friday, the London-based organisation says courageous people, led largely by youth, are standing up and speaking out in the face of bullets, beatings, tear gas and battle tanks.

This bravery, combined with new technology that is helping activists to outflank and expose government suppression of free speech and peaceful protest, "is sending a signal to repressive governments that their days are numbered".

"Now there are whispers of discontent being heard from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe," says the report, released on the eve of AI's 50th anniversary, which falls on May 28.



This calls for celebration! Mexico's Los Beatniks with Tampico Twist from 1962:


... and the Surfaris with Wipe Out:

Musical Innerlube: Days Of The New - Shelf In The Room

Music video by Days Of The New performing Shelf In The Room. (C) 1998 Geffen Records Courtesy of Outpost Recordings/Geffen Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises

Top French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn dragged off flight at JFK, accused of assaulting maid

According to the New Nork Daily News:


A top French politician nicknamed "the great seducer" was dragged off a flight at Kennedy Airport Saturday after he was accused of sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid.

Port Authority cops grabbed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and a presidential hopeful in France, moments before his Air France plane took off about 4:45 p.m.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, allegedly crept up behind a maid after she entered his room and forced her to perform oral sex on him, sources said.

The woman broke free and ran out of the room. Strauss-Kahn quickly headed for the airport, sources said.

Charges against Strauss-Kahn, who is married to well-known French TV journalist Anne Sinclair, were pending Saturday night, sources said.

Hours before Strauss-Kahn was pulled from the flight, a close Socialist Party ally claimed he was the target of a smear campaign by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"There is now a totally structured and orchestrated campaign, which has already been announced by Mr. Sarkozy and his closest allies, to attack the character of Strauss-Kahn," Socialist politician Jean-Marie Le Guen told Europe 1 radio.

This is not the first time Strauss-Kahn has been embroiled in a sex scandal.

Two years ago, the former French finance minister was accused of having a fling with a former underling at the Davos international forum.

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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