The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index is based on 60 indicators grouped in five different categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture. The Index was first produced in 2006, with updates produced in 2008 and 2010.
United States ranked 17th and United Kingdom 19th. Iran among 167 countries is ranked 158th.
The top ten countries in 2010 Rankings are:
1. Norway, 2. Iceland, 3. Denmark, 4. Sweden, 5. New Zealand, 6. Australia, 7. Finland, 8. Switzerland, 9. Canada, 10. Netherlands
For detailed report refer to: Democracy Index
Ryan Jones – December 30, 2010
At least one critic said Schnabel had “forfeited his talent to please his collaborator” – his Palestinian girlfriend. With those kinds of reviews, and the “foreign film” feel of it all, such a movie would ordinarily be relegated to the status of a minor release, not pushed as a potential blockbuster. But the latter is precisely with the entertainment industry in the US appears to be doing. Israel Today has learned from a number of people in the US that trailers of “Miral” are being shown before currently playing major feature films at American movie theaters. The lead-up to major feature films is usually reserved for the trailers of movies that the studios believe will become blockbusters, or want to push to become blockbusters. We have all known for decades that the mainstream American press is no friend of Israel. But is anti-Israel propaganda finally breaking through into mainstream entertainment as well?
Source: Israel Today Magazine
Guardian.co.uk – Saeed Kamali – December 29, 2010
In a literal application of the law of an eye for an eye, an Iranian man convicted of blinding another man in an acid attack has been sentenced to lose an eye and an ear. The man, identified only as Hamid, was also ordered to pay blood money after he was found guilty of the 2005 attack, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. Hamid told police he had mistaken his victim – identified only as Davoud – for a former classmate who had bullied him at school. “In high school, some of the classmates bullied me so much that we had to move from the city I was living in to another one. This was carved in my mind and I couldn’t get over it,” he said, according to Fars.”I bought acid and went back to my former high school and waited for some of the classmates to come out. When he [Davoud] came out, I followed him and threw acid on him and I also injured my own legs by doing so.”Davoud, who was 22 at the time of the attack, denied ever meeting Hamid, and said the two-year age difference between them meant they could never have been in the same class. In a similar case in November 2008, Majid Movahedi was sentenced to lose both eyes after being found guilty of throwing acid at Ameneh Bahramia woman who refused to marry him. It has not been confirmed whether the sentence has been carried out. However, in October Iran amputated the hand of a convicted thief at a prison in the central city of Yazd. Recently Iran has come under fire for sentencing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, to be stoned to death for adultery. She has so far escaped the sentence because of an international outcry. Iran has executed at least 200 people in the past 10 months, according the human rights website rahana.org. Source: Guardian
Press TV – December 28, 2010
Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani has warned the United States and Israel against their aggressive efforts, saying the two would surely face “minefields.”
“After the disgrace in (US-brokered) talks (between the Palestinian Authority and Israel), certain clumsy measures taken in Lebanon are another defeated adventurism,” IRNA quoted Larijani as saying in an address to the open session of Majlis on Tuesday. “The US and the Zionist regime (Israel) will definitely face minefields at this juncture,” he added. Larijani pointed to the second anniversary of a devastating war Israel launched on the Gaza Strip in December 2008, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Gazans and urged the West to learn from the past mistakes. “Two years of blockades against the oppressed Gazans on the one hand and brave resistance of the Palestinians on the other should be a lesson for the West not to play with the fire of wrath of the Palestinian people,” he noted. Tel Aviv staged an all-out war on the densely populated coastal sliver three days before the turn of 2009. Twenty-two days of land, sea and air strikes left more than 1,400 Palestinians, including at least 300 children, dead and nearly 5,000 more injured.
The offensive leveled 4,000 houses in the blockaded territory and devastated a large portion of infrastructure. More than 50,000 people were displaced as the result of the three-week war.
NewsScotsman.com – Joe Becker – Dec. 26, 2010
THE US government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars of business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism despite sanctions and trade embargoes, an investigation has found. At the behest of a host of companies – from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks – a little-known office of the Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 licences for deals involving countries cast into eco-nomic purgatory, supposedly beyond the reach of American business. Most of the licences were approved under a decade-old law mandating that agricultural and medical humanitarian aid be exempted from sanctions. But the law, pushed by the farm lobby and other industry groups, was written so broadly that allowable ‘humanitarian aid’ has included cigarettes, Wrigley’s gum, Louisiana hot sauce, weight-loss remedies, bodybuilding supplements and sports rehabilitation equipment sold to the institute that trains Iran’s Olympic athletes. Hundreds of other licences were approved because they were deemed to serve US foreign policy goals. In an interview, the Obama administration’s point man on sanctions, Stuart A Levey, said that focusing on the exceptions “misses the forest for the trees.” Indeed, the exceptions represent only a small counterweight to the overall force of America’s trade sanctions, which are among the toughest in the world. Now they are particularly focused on Iran, where on top of a broad embargo that prohibits most trade, the United States and its allies this year adopted a new round of sanctions that have effectively shut Iran off from much of the international financial system.
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BBC News – December 25, 2010
Amnesty International has appealed to Iran to commute the death sentence of an Iranian Kurdish student who it says is expected to be executed on Sunday. Habibollah Latifi, 29, has been found “guilty of waging war against God” by co-operating with a banned Kurdish rebel group – a charge he denies. The human rights group says his trial was held behind closed doors with no legal representation and was unfair. It says Tehran should now “show clemency” and halt the execution. Between 20 and 30 people protested on Saturday night outside the Iranian embassy in Paris against the impending execution. Several chained themselves to railings. “While we recognise that governments have a responsibility to bring to justice those who commit crimes, this must be done according to international standards for fair trial,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director. “It is clear that Habibollah Latifi did not receive a fair trial by international standards, which makes the news of his impending execution all the more abhorrent.” Habibollah Latifi was sentenced to death in 2008 for waging war against God (mohareb) by committing acts of violence as a member of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) in Iran’s western province of Kordestan in 2007.
His death sentence was upheld by an appeals court in 2009. The law student admitted being a PJAK supporter but denied committing any violence, his lawyer says. He says that the execution is scheduled at a prison in Sanandaj – the capital of Kordestan – early on Sunday. Source: BBC News
Today a number of activists in Toronto gathered at the Mel Lastman Square in solidarity with Habibollah Laitif, a Kurdish Iranian activist who is set to be executed Sunday morning Iran time, in the central Sanandaj Prison. Habibollah is a 29 year old activist who was sentenced to death after an unfair “trial” and after being subjected to brutal torture for months, in order to force a false confession from him. According to news from Iran currently activists have gathered in front of the Central Sanandaj Prison in Iran, protesting against the execution of Mr.
Latifi. Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran. Long Live Freedom in Iran
RezaHiwa | December 24, 2010
The Iranian government has set the Date of 26th Dec to hang Habibollah Latifian, a 28 Krudish Student, a peaceful Human Righta campaigner. An exiled poet (Reza Hiwa) is sending his message to Madam Navanethem Pillay, a High Commissioner for Human Rights in United Nation to help stop the execution.
20071305 – December 24, 2010
“A Merry Christmas?” in Islamic Countries جهاد بلز
The New York Times – Jo Becker – December 23, 2010
Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government has granted special licenses allowing American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism, an examination by The New York Times has found. At the behest of a host of companies — from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks — a little-known office of the Treasury Department has made nearly 10,000 exceptions to American sanctions rules, approving deals involving countries that have been cast into economic purgatory, beyond the reach of American business. Most of the licenses were approved under a decade-old law mandating that agricultural and medical humanitarian aid be exempted from sanctions. But the law, pushed by the farm lobby and other industry groups, was written so broadly that allowable humanitarian aid has included cigarettes, Wrigley’s gum, Louisiana hot sauce, weight-loss remedies, body-building supplements and sports rehabilitation equipment sold to the institute that trains Iran’s Olympic athletes. Hundreds of other licenses were approved because they passed a litmus test: They were deemed to serve American foreign policy goals. And many clearly do, among them deals to provide famine relief in North Korea or to improve Internet connections — and nurture democracy — in Iran. But the examination also found cases in which the foreign-policy benefits were considerably less clear. ……………. In one instance, an American company was permitted to bid on a pipeline job that would have helped Iran sell natural gas to Europe, even though the United States opposes such projects. Several other American businesses were permitted to deal with foreign companies believed to be involved in terrorism or weapons proliferation. In one such case, involving equipment bought by a medical waste disposal plant in Hawaii, the government was preparing to deny the license until an influential politician intervened. ……………….
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In Public the Western Powers’ political authorities talk about imposing harsh sanction on Iran but behind the curtain they allow flood of U.S. exports to the country and permit diverse business bidding with Iran. No wonder, the criminal leaders of Islamic government in Iran cheekily announce in public that the sanction does not have any bit effect on them.
This pattern of U.S. exports to Iran has been there all long during all U.S. Presidency since the time of Ayatollah Jimmy Carter, it grew more than tenfold during GWB and now continues during Mullah Obama.
This is what happens when the Western Powers’ political authorities are not chosen to serve their people but to serve Oil Cartels and Corporate Owners.
URGENT: Habbillah Latifi a Kurdish Iranian Activist Set to be Executed on Sunday, by the Islamic Regime in Iran
“The culture of freedom still has enemies, and extremely dangerous enemy: communism has been replaced by Islamic fundamentalism as the main enemy of the culture of democracy in the world today,” said the writer during intervention that concluded an international forum held in Santiago on public policy. He said Islamic extremism “is not as strong as was the Soviet Union, but it is a challenge because of militant fanatics (are) convinced that with the destruction of Western culture and everything it stands, they will earn paradise. “ “The religious fanatic is extremely dangerous, especially if he is willing to sacrifice his life in the name of the model which he believes,” said the writer. Mario Vargas Llosa was invited to Chile by a think tank focused on the right, Libertad y Desarrollo (Liberty and Development), on the occasion of his 20th birthday. “Islamic fundamentalism, which has killed more Muslims than Christians or pagans, is a minority, and is based on political and religious beliefs that are so anachronistic and incompatible with modernity that they never could overcome the Western culture,” said the Peruvian writer. “But we need to know to defend ourselves, not to allow that by using the institutions of freedom, they infiltrate our societies and spread terror,” he added. Mario Vargas Llosa said in conclusion that the struggle of democracy against extremism should not lead to violations of freedoms. “Terror has often led the democracies to abandon the fundamental democratic achievements, but we can not afford it. Democracy cannot begin using the weapons to terrorists,” he said. Source: DiscloseTV