Archive for  September 2011

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This story was something special! This dog was lost, so he took the subway, went pass 7 stopps to get home! Now that is the type of dog I want to have!

Here you cand find the story in Swedish: Eira tog t-banan hem till matte – DN.SE.

Det låter osannolikt, men både polis och matte Caroline intygar att historien är sann. Labradortiken Eira åkte sju stationer med tunnelbanan hem till Gullmarsplan – själv. Hade hon inte blivit omhändertagen av vakter hade matte fått sig en överraskning vid porten till trapphuset hemma.

NYU to Host Screening of Documentary on Lives and Works of Female Iranian Artists—Sept. 29

NYU to Host Screening of Documentary on Lives and Works of Female Iranian Artists—Sept. 29

September 12, 2011
New York University will host a screening of Robert Adanto’s “Pearls on the Ocean Floor,” a documentary on the lives and works of female Iranian artists, followed by a panel discussion moderated by journalist Laura Secor, on Thursday, September 29, 7 p.m. at the university’s Cantor Film Center (36 East 8th Street at University Place).

“Pearls on the Ocean Floor” examines the lives and works of female Iranian artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic. The work features interviews with art luminaries Shirin Neshat, Shadi Ghadirian, Parastou Forouhar, Sara Rahbar, who express what is seldom seen in the western media: unique individual perspectives regarding issues of identity, gender, and the role that art plays in challenging the traditional stereotypes often associated with women in Iran.

Following the screening, Secor, who covers contemporary Iran for the New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine, will moderate a panel discussion featuring: Adanto, who directed and produced the film; Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran; Shouleh Vatanabadi, a professor in NYU’s Global Liberal Studies program and co-editor of A Feast in the Mirror: A Collection of Short Stories by Iranian Women, among other works.

The screening is presented by NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies and the university’s Iranian Studies Initiative.

Tickets, which may be purchased at the door, are $10 and $3 for students with a valid ID. For more information, call 212.998.8877. Subways: N, R (8th Street); 6 (Astor Place).

“Pearls on the Ocean Floor” was an Official Selection at the UK Iranian Film Festival in London, the Glasgow International Film Festival, the New Orleans Middle East Film Festival, and the Petaluma International Film Festival. It received the Bronze Palm award for Best Documentary at the 2011 Mexican International Film Festival.  Adanto holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Press Contact: James Devitt | (212) 998-6808

NYU to Host Screening of Documentary on Lives and Works of Female Iranian Artists—Sept. 29

NYU will host a screening of Robert Adanto’s “Pearls on the Ocean Floor,” a documentary on the lives and works of female Iranian artists, followed by a panel discussion moderated by journalist Laura Secor, on Thursday, September 29. The above image is courtesy of Shadi Ghadirian’s “Qajar Series”.

Reminds me of a book by the Swedish author Sven Lidqvist:


As the Drone Flies… | Common Dreams

As the Drone Flies…

The fast developing predator drone technology, officially called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, is becoming so dominant and so beyond any restraining framework of law or ethics, that its use by the U.S. government around the world may invite a horrific blowback.

First some background. The Pentagon has about 7,000 aerial drones. Ten years ago there were less than 50. According to the website, they have destroyed about 1900 insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal regions. How these fighters are so clearly distinguished from civilians in those mountain areas is not clear.

Nor is it clear how or from whom the government gets such “precise” information about the guerilla leaders’ whereabouts night and day. The drones are beyond any counterattack–flying often at 50,000 feet. But the Air Force has recognized that a third of the Predators have crashed by themselves.

Compared to mass transit, housing, energy technology, infection control, food and drug safety, the innovation in the world of drones is incredible. Coming soon are hummingbird sized drones, submersible drones and software driven autonomous UAVs. The Washington Post described these inventions as “aircraft [that] would hunt, identify and fire at [the] enemy–all on its own.” It is called “lethal autonomy” in the trade.

Military ethicists and legal experts inside and outside the government are debating how far UAVs can go and still stay within what one imaginative booster, Ronald C. Arkin, called international humanitarian law and the rules of engagement. Concerns over restraint can already be considered academic. Drones are going anywhere their governors want them to go already–Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and countries in North Africa to name a few known jurisdictions.

Last year a worried group of robotic specialists, philosophers and human rights activists formed the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) ( They fear that such instruments may make wars more likely by the strong against the weak because there will be fewer human casualties by those waging robotic war. But proliferation is now a fact. Forty countries are reported to be working on drone technology or acquiring it. Some experts at the founding conference of ICRAC forshadowed hostile states or terrorist organizations hacking into robotic systems to redirect them.

ICRAC wants an international treaty against machines of lethal autonomy along the lines of the ones banning land mines and cluster bombs. The trouble is that the United States, unlike over one hundred signatory nations, does not belong to either the land mines treaty or the more recent anti-cluster bomb treaty. Historically, the U.S. has been a major manufacturer and deployer of both. Don’t count on the Obama White House to take the lead anytime soon.

Columnist David Ignatius wrote that “A world where drones are constantly buzzing overhead–waiting to zap those deemed threats under a cloaked and controversial process–risks being, even more, a world of lawlessness and chaos.”

Consider how terrifying it must be to the populations, especially the children, living under the threat of drones that can attack through clouds and dark skies. UAVs are hardly visible but sometimes audible through their frightful whining sound. Polls show Pakistanis overwhelmingly believe most of the drone-driven fatalities are civilians.

US Air Force Colonel Matt Martin has written a book titled Predator. He was a remote operator sitting in the control room in Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada watching “suspects” transversing a mountain ridge in Afghanistan eight thousand miles away. In a review of Martin’s book, Christian Cary writes “The eerie acuity of vision afforded by the Predator’s multiple high-powered video cameras enables him to watch as the objects of his interest light up cigarettes, go to the bathroom, or engage in amorous adventures with animals on the other side of the world, never suspecting that they are under observation as they do.”

For most of a decade the asymmetrical warfare between the most modern, military force in world history and Iraqi and Afghani fighters has left the latter with little conventional aerial or land-based weaponry other than rifles, rocket propelled grenades, roadside IEDs and suicide belted youths.

People who see invaders occupying their land with military domination that is beyond reach will resort to ever more desperate counterattacks, however primitive in nature. When the time comes that robotic weapons of physics cannot be counteracted at all with these simple handmade weapons because the occupier’s arsenals are remote, deadly and without the need for soldiers, what will be the blowback?

Already, people like retired Admiral Dennis Blair, former director of National Intelligence under President Obama is saying, according to POLITICO, that the Administration should curtail U.S.-led drone strikes on suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia because the missiles fired from unmanned aircraft are fueling anti-American sentiment and undercutting reform efforts in those countries.

While scores of physicists and engineers are working on refining further advances in UAVs, thousands of others are staying silent. In prior years, their counterparts spoke out against the nuclear arms race or exposed the unworkability of long-range missile defense. They need to re-engage. Because the next blowback may soon move into chemical and biological resistance against invaders. Suicide belts may contain pathogens–bacterial and viral–and chemical agents deposited in food and water supplies.

Professions are supposed to operate within an ethical code and exercise independent judgment. Doctors have a duty to prevent harm. Biologists and chemists should urge their colleagues in physics to take a greater role as to where their know-how is leading this tormented world of ours before the blowback spills over into even more lethally indefensible chemical and biological attacks.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book – and first novel – is, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

Saudi Woman Sentenced to 10 Lashes for Driving, Others Await Trial

Source: My Right2Dignity Initiative.

Breaking News: We have received unfortunate news about a Saudi lady, Shaimaa, who was called in court for driving her car, she has attended three sessions in Jeddah and they have sentenced her for 10 lashes. She rejected the verdict and will appeal in court. This is completely unacceptable and certainly breaks laws and regulations as well as international treaties that Saudi Arabia has signed. Two other ladies have been called to court, Ms. Najlaa Al Hariri was forced to sign a pledge not to drive again and is scheduled to appear in court for trial in one month in Jeddah and another lady is under trial in the Eastern Province. What is happening to our women today is unfortunate and violates the rule of law and legal rights and is contrary to the reformist direction that was launched by The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. We deplore what has happened and what is happening, and we appeal to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, to look into our [Saudi women driving] issue which has long been silenced and which has caused shedding off our rights, and our dignity. A right that was promised to be granted to us by King Abdullah and one which has been legitimized by laws and codes yet was seized by so-called customs. We declare [once again] that there is no legal provision that criminalize women for driving their cars, and which if found, would legally be considered a flagrant violation of women rights and would infringe treaties and conventions that was signed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, such as the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). We hereby announce that The Initiative will offer lawyers, if needed, for any woman who is subjected to legal accusations for driving her car, and we shall continue this until The King hears our voices. We will send telegrams to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, on the issue of Ms. Najla Al Hariri for driving her car, and other ladies who have been interrogated or prosecuted for driving their cars. We hope that other citizens who denounce the above incidents will communicate with officials by sending telegrams or by callingTelegraph on 969 from any phone owned by the person to bring our collective voices to key decision-makers.

Signed, My Right2Dignity Initiative

Source: My Right2Dignity Initiative.

وردتنا اخباء مؤسفه عن استدعاء السيدة شيماء لمحاكمتها بسبب قيادتها سيارتها و حضرت ثلاث جلسات في المحكمة قبل الحكم عليها بالجلد عشر جلدات ، هذا الامر بالتأكيد غير مقبول تماما و قد كسر القوانين و اللوائح و المعهدات الدولية التي وقعت عليها المملكة العربية السعودية ، مثل معاهدة سيداو ،، كذلك تم استدعاء سيدتين أخريين للمحاكمة بسبب قيادة السيارة ، احداهن في رلمنطقة الشرقية و الأخرى السيدة نجلاء حريري التي اجبرت على توقيع تعهد بعدم القيادة و حددت لها جلسة في المحكمة الشهر القادم في جدة ،، ما يحدث مع نساءنا اليوم شيء مؤسف و مخالف للقواعد الشرعية و القانونية و يخالف بالوقت ذاته التوجهات الإصلاحية التي دشنها خادم الحرمين الشريفين. ونحن نشجب ما حدث ويحدث ونناشد خادم الحرمين الشريفين بالنظر لموضوعنا الذي طال السكوت عنه وأريقت كرامتنا مرات ومرات بسبب مطالبتنا بحق شرعي بشر به الملك عبدالله و كفلته كل القوانين والشرائع وصادرته أعراف ما أنزل الله بها من سلطان. ونعلن مرة أخرى أنه لا يوجد أي نص قانوني يجرم أو يمنع قيادة المرأه للسيارة وأنه لو وجد فسيعد انتهاك صارخ لحقوق المرأة ونقض لكل المعاهدات والمواثيق الدولية التي وقعتها المملكة العربية السعودية ومنها اتفاقية سيداو لازالة كافة أشكال التمييز ضد المرأة. وهنا نعلن أن المبادرة ستتكفل بتوكيل محامين لأي سيدة تتعرض لمسائلة قانونية عند قيادتها للسيارة ولن نمل حتى يصل صوتنا لخادم الحرمين الشريفين. مبادرة حقي كرامتي