New articles in Human Rights: freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, redress

Paul Krugman on the ease with which consensus on illusory claims and false policies can dominate media. (click)

Matt Taibbi explores the many social elements involved in prosecuting WikiLeaks for revealing damaging secrets. (click)

Chris Hedges describes the ways that corporate interests control TV news – on both the liberal and conservative sides. “Television news celebrities are in the business of sales, not journalism. They peddle the ideology of the corporate state. And too many of us are buying….The lie of omission is still a lie.” He traces this back to 2003 when Phil Donahue was fired and Bill Moyers was pressured for opposing the Iraq war. (click)

New articles in Human Rights: freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, redress

Chinese intellectuals urge government to endorse human rights treaty. (click)

Stéphane Hessel. Co-author of the Declaration of Human Rights, is dead. Read this 2010 interview where he discusses the balancing of the desirable values of the Enlightenment and the impact of extreme capitalism. (click)

Mattea Kramer and Chris Hellman on Homeland Security department’s unclear mission and enormous budget. (click).

Chris Hedges eloquently defends Bradley Manning on several grounds that humanists should be discussing. “The war against Bradley Manning is a war against us all.” (click)

Posts below are from May 2012 to January 2013

Fox News has signed Dennis Kucinich.


What is an Assange? Part 2. John Cusack’s conversations continue here about freedom of information (with links to part 1 and many other important parts of this struggle).


Daniel Ellsberg discusses the well-known as well as the psychological deterrents to whistle-blowers in military and intelligence branches of government and its contractors. Equally important is his discussion of the many other areas where whistle-blowing has seemed morally desirable. <The information was vital to Constitutional processes of decision-making on an ongoing war in which tens of thousands of US citizens and millions of Vietnamese had been-in effect-lied to death.> This is tough language. But the <honor code> also prevents a democratic legislature from learning about undemocratic acts by am executive branch, for instance.


Chris Hedges deplores the widening surveillance of activist citizens.


Noam Chomsky at Alexander Cockburn memorial.


The NDAA. Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, and Daniel Ellsberg are suing Obama over the issue of indefinite military detention of US citizens. Read Hedges’ account of the issues. <The corporate state knows that the steady deterioration of the economy and the increasingly savage effects of climate change will create widespread social instability. It knows that rage will mount as the elites squander diminishing resources while the poor, as well as the working and middle classes, are driven into destitution. It wants to have the legal measures to keep us cowed, afraid and under control. It does not, I suspect, trust the police to maintain order.>


Court rules activists can sue government spies who infiltrate.


Blasphemy laws and the UN. Report from Human Rights First.


Surveillance to continue, unregulated. Senate momentarily becomes bipartisan in continuing the worst of the Bush-Cheney destruction of the Constitution. Glenn Greenwald’s story runs in Guardian. Would any MSM dare to publish it?


Watch Thom Hartmann on the defeat of three amendments to preserve some civil liberties.


Craig Brown discusses the ways in which FBI, Homeland Security, and corporate interests coordinated in suppressing Occupy movements.


Juan Cole contends that FBI violated Constitution in terming Occupy a terrorist threat.


Naomi Wolf details the implications of <fusion centers> linking government and private organizations to deal with Occupy <terrorists.>


Smothering Wikileaks by closing off its donor sources. Jillian York describes this unprecedented violation of journalistic freedom — and suggests some work-arounds.


Juan Cole discusses charges that Israel targets journalists.


Charges dismissed against <Vandenberg 15.>


Al Jazeera posts excellent video on the increasing growth of our surveillance state.


Humanist lists have had lengthy discussions regarding WikiLeaks and the ethics of whistle-blowing. Andy Greenberg’s history of some of those issues would seem essential reading. Evgeny Morozof reviews.


Obituary of Nguyen Chi Thien. A reminder of what totalitarian governments regularly do to their dissidents.


Given the range of comments on the recent murders in Libya (and the media misquoting of Sec. Clinton, for instance), Roy Speckhardt’s Huffington Post is a strong humanist defense of religious freedom. We should circulate it.


Jimmy Carter’s forthright letter on the disgraceful human rights record of the US in the past decade. “The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights….our country can no longer speak with moral authority on

these critical issues. record.html


Noam Chomsky helped the University of St. Andrews celebrate with his warnings about the shredding of human rights.

A speech to contemplate and to distribute the-shredding-of-our-fundamental-rights


Noam Chomsky on how we destroyed the Commons Engelhardt-120723-39.html


Noam Chomsky reminds us that we only denounce the human rights abuses of our enemies — not our own or those of our allies and dominated nations


Paul Craig Roberts: US second only to Israel as a human rights violator


David Kirkpatrick gets beyond simple religious affront in seeking causes for the violence occasioned by the recent video. “…[T]he traditionalism of people of both faiths in the region conflicted with Western individualism and secularism.”


Stephen Colbert and Cardinal Dolan, both Catholic. Read Laurie Goodstein’s account of their encounter (that won’t, alas,

be on YouTube).


Michiko Kakutani’s review of Salman Rushdie’s new book points to the terrorism of that initial fatwa and the

development of radical Islam. Mishra best sums up Rushdie’s situation: “The Satanic Verses itself is less about the

immigrant condition than a helplessly Anglophilic Indian’s profound ambivalence about a British ruling class that

regards him as a wog.”


David Remnick on Rushdie’s “Joseph Anton.”


Pankaj Mishra on Rushdie’s “Joseph Anton.”


Tom Friedman cites examples of religious hate speech as a problem with many cultures. But he stops short of an absolute defense of free speech.


Mark Juergensmeyer, long-time scholar of inter-religious tensions, probes the politics behind the American-based Coptic filmmaker and the angry Arab protesters. “Both are extremists with a political agenda, and both want to use this incident to discredit the legitimacy of the moderate governments in power in their respective countries.”


Reuters summarizes latest Pew study that there are increasing restrictions and harassment of religions. (Which, if any, restrictions are morally justifiable? Polygamy? Female genital mutilation? Male circumcision? Home schooling? Non-schooling? Child marriage? Medical avoidance? Nudity? Concealing female clothing? Child- and wife beating? Death penalties for apostasy, adultery, blasphemy?


Bruce Lawrence discusses journalistic perceptions of Muslim rage/outrage in our times of instant image sharing and issues of censorship. He also explores the lines between hate speech and free speech.


Katha Pollitt argues that there is no way to outlaw “blasphemy” without curtailing free speech.– and makes the important case that humanity has progressed via blasphemy against such things as theocracy.


Bruce Lawrence explores the timing and intentions of the viral film now upsetting the Muslim world.


Pope in Beirut argues for religious freedom.


Austin Dacey on the current state of “blasphemy” discussions.


human rights first posts a detailed analysis of blasphemy laws.


Amy Goodman interviews Tavis Smiley and Cornel West as they begin new Poverty Tour 2.0.


Rob Kall, always worth reading, probes the virality of the anti-Mohammed video.


Full Frontal Freedom. A viral anti-Romney video illustrating the depths to which US political discourse has fallen.


The rights of whistle-blowers. A new test case.


Peter Singer on the uses and abuses of religious freedom


Supreme Court on TV >indecency< (nudity and curses) in terms of 1st Amendment rights.


Philadelphia. Msgr. Lynn convicted on child endangerment, the first case of a church official being convicted in connection with handling child abuse issues.