Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

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Iran’s barbaric treatment of women

July 10, 2010

Sakineh Ashtiani

Sakineh Ashtiani

Mother of two Sakineh Ashtiani was convicted of adultery (she insists that she was tortured into making a confession) and sentenced to death by stoning. She has already been in prison for 4 years and has been subjected to physical punishment (flogging).

Yesterday, in the face of mounting international condemnation, the Iranian government “commuted” Sakineh’s sentence from death by stoning to death by hanging.

Iran has now imposed a media blackout on reporting of the case, but the death sentence is believed to be “imminent”.

You can help save this woman’s life by emailing the Iranian public relations office at:

Info@Ad.gov.ir

and letting them know how you feel about their barbaric laws and their reprehensible treatment of women.

And/or by signing this petition:

http://www.petitiononline.com/Ashtiani/petition-sign.html

If you are on facebook, go to:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Save-Sakineh-Mohammadi-Ashtiani-from-being-Stoned-to-Death-in-Iran/123908540984923?ref=search

You can find out more about this case at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/10565103.stm

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The social network spy

July 3, 2010

Anna Chapman - Spymistress?

Anna Chapman, one of ten people accused of being part of a Russian spy ring, is being portrayed in the media as a kind of “Mata Hari” figure; a glamorous femme fatale who used her “womanly charms” to insinuate her way into the lives and the homes (and, it is insinuated in the media, the beds) of rich and influential members of American and British high society.

I was particularly interested in her because, like me, she ran – and, as far as I can see, continues to run – a successful real estate portal. Her website – which markets Russian property – is at: www.domdot.ru

I wondered if she had a facebook page (doesn’t everyone, these days?), and, sure enough, it only took me a minute to find her profile here.

Chapman gives her favourite quotation as “Trust no one”, while her “Likes and Interests” are listed as: “Corrections officer, Federal Bureau of Investigation”.
Under “Books” she has “Agatha Christie Novels”, and under “Movies” she’s written “Spy Games”.
For “University” she’s written “Jail”.

Quite the wit for a person in her predicament, facing, we are told, the possibility of life in prison. You’d think she’d be too busy getting water-boarded by the CIA and rehearsing her story with her defense lawyers to take the time to add jokey comments to her facebook page.

Could it be because she knows perfectly well that she isn’t going to spend more than a wet day in jail and is looking forward to a stellar career as a highly-paid TV talk-show guest (or even host)? I’ll give you odds of 100-1 that this savvy spy will be back in Moscow in time for Christmas, where she will be feted as a heroine and a sex symbol.

But hold the fone, Joe! Isn’t Chapman charged with being a dangerous spy? An enemy of the state? In which case how come she’s still at liberty to access the Internet to update her social network profile? Not to mention run a business in Russia? Surely she could be sending all kinds of information and secret messages to all kinds of people in the Kremlin?

Given the high level of security that has prevailed in the US in recent years – in which people have been locked up in solitary confinement just for “looking foreign” or taking part in peaceful public protests – isn’t it a bit odd that Ms. Chapman – or, to use her real name, Anya Kuschenko – is being allowed so much freedom of movement?

And why doesn’t the US president have anything to say about this whole business? So far he has made no comment other than to express the hope that the uproar would not damage the friendship and trust that has developed between the US and Russia.

Friendship and trust, eh?

If Obama bends any further backwards to appease Vladimir Putin, he’ll qualify for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records in the Limbo Dancing category.

It seems to me that there’s something decidedly fishy going on when the FBI catches a network of Russian spies operating in the United States, and it is the Russian president who expresses his outrage!

The (commie?) plot thickens…