What do you think? Should we suspend foreign aid to Egypt?
What do you think? Should we suspend foreign aid to Egypt?
By Frank Luba
VANCOUVER — Activist and actor George Takei, best known as helmsman Lt. Sulu in the original Star Trek series, is boldly going where tens of thousands have gone before, denouncing Russia’s anti-gay laws, calling instead for the 2014 Games to move to Vancouver from Sochi.
He’s the latest celebrity to weigh in on the Olympic controversy, endorsing a petition at Change.org that had garnered more than 55,000 supporters by Wednesday afternoon.
Russia “intends to enforce its laws against visiting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) athletes, trainers and fans, meaning anyone even so much as waving a rainbow flag (and I presume many men enthusiastically watching and dramatically commenting on figure skating) would be arrested, held for weeks and then deported,” he wrote in a blog post posted Tuesday.
Takei noted Vancouver’s facilities are still in good condition and the city would be the easiest of possible alternatives. Moving the Games, he said, would be much better than a boycott — one of the options touted by some activists.
“A boycott of the games would punish athletes who have trained for years to participate, and a boycott of Russian vodka isn’t going to affect the kind of change needed,” he wrote.
Pop star Lady Gaga is speaking out on Twitter against the anti-LGBT violence in Russia and the country’s ban on gay activism.
Activists around the world have been pressing the international community to help stop Russia’s anti-LGBT laws that prohibit the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” Under the law, promoting gay pride or speeches, kissing or holding hands in public, or even being suspected of being gay could mean jail time for both citizens and tourists.
In messages posted to her feed Monday, Lady Gaga offered her support to gay and lesbian Russians.
[See Link Earlier in Post]
By James Nichols
Despite assurance by the International Olympic Committee July 26 that attendees of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi would not be held under the jurisdiction of Russia’s anti-gay legislation, the law’s co-sponsor is now articulating a different set of circumstances. Vitaly Milonov, the politician responsible for the “gay propaganda” ban in St. Petersburg later adopted by the country as a whole, claims that the law cannot be selectively enforced nor suspended.
In an interview with Interfax, Milonov stated:
I haven’t heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law. And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.
In effect, it seems as if foreign athletes and spectators at the 2014 Olympic Games will, in fact, be subject to the legalities of Russia’s recent stream of anti-LGBT legislation. Signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on June 30, the legislation gives the Russian government agency to detain gay or “pro-gay” foreigners up to 14 days before facing expulsion from the country.
Perhaps most disturbing out of this recent interview with Milonov is the claim that he has “spoken with many American politicians” and that “they support the stance I’ve taken on this issue.” He also cites support from German legislators surrounding the anti-gay crackdown.
NBC NEWS/ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES
MOSCOW – National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wants asylum in Russia and is willing to stop sharing information as a trade-off for such a deal, according to a lawmaker who was among a dozen activists and officials to meet with him Friday at the Moscow airport where he has been marooned for weeks.
Human Rights Watch provided a photo of Snowden at the meeting, the first new image to appear of the former NSA systems analyst since the Guardian newspaper broke the story of widespread U.S. Internet surveillance based on his leaks.
Whether Russia would be willing to take Snowden up on his request is unclear. The Kremlin has signaled that it wants Snowden out. But granting asylum would be a diplomatically risky move, threatening to worsen Moscow-Washington already strained by U.S. criticism of President Vladimir Putin‘s crackdown on the country’s opposition and Putin’s allegation that the U.S. is meddling in Russian affairs.
Yes, these are the leaders of our nation.
Our $Billion in foreign aid to Egypt
should continue only if
the military sets up a truer democracy
with a guarantee of
peace with Israel.
An Associated Press video journalist at the scene says protesters stormed the six-story building in an eastern Cairo district Monday morning, leaving the heavily fortified villa with furniture and files.
Footage on local TV networks showed smashed windows and smoke billowing out of the building. One protester was seen removing the Muslim Brotherhood sign from the building’s front wall.
The storming of the Brotherhood’s headquarters followed overnight clashes between armed Morsi supporters barricaded inside the building and young protesters pelting it with firebombs and rocks.
At least 10 people were killed during Sunday’s protests, five of them in provinces south of the capital Cairo. Activists said five more were killed outside the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Sunday, supporters of the Islamist leader barricaded inside the Brotherhood office opened fire on protesters pelting the suburban villa with rocks and firebombs. A fire broke out in the heavily fortified building.
“He is a transit passenger in the transit zone and is still there now,” Putin said. “Mr. Snowden is a free man. The sooner he selects his final destination point, the better both for us and for himself.”
Putin said Snowden’s arrival in Russia was “completely unexpected.”
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 12:00 am
BOGOTA, Colombia The three Latin American countries said to be helping Edward Snowden flee from American authorities are united in their opposition to the Obama administration and pursue foreign policy objectives designed to counter U.S. influence.
As Snowden, the intelligence contractor who disclosed documents about U.S. surveillance programs, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday, Russian media reported that he was booked on a flight to the Cuban capital of Havana, and from there on to Caracas, Venezuela.