True North Humanist Perspective - Summer Special 2013 #1


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Arab atheists, though few, inch out of the shadows

Being a self-described atheist is rare in the Muslim-majority Arab world — but this tiny minority is taking small steps to emerge and find a voice

By Diaa Hadid 
Times of Israel
04 August 2013Rafat Awad fervently preached Islam at his university, encouraging his fellow students to read the Quran and pray. But throughout, the young Palestinian-born pharmacist had gnawing doubts. The more he tried to resolve them, the more they grew.

Finally he told his parents, both devout Muslims, that he was an atheist. They brought home clerics to talk with him, trying in vain to bring him back to the faith. Finally, they gave up.

“It was the domino effect — you hit the first pin and it keeps on going and going,” Said Awad, 23, who grew up in the United Arab Emirates and lives there. “I thought: It doesn’t make sense anymore. I became a new person then.” (More)


Recognizing same-sex unions brings us closer

to apocalypse' - Head of Russian Orthodox Church

23 July 2013 MOSCOW Russia — The Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill sees the recognition of same-sex unions by Western countries as a portent of doom. He called upon Russians to ensure that sin is never formalized by the rule of law.

"We face enormous temptations when countries start approving sin and codifying it into law in order to justify it,” Itar-Tass quoted the patriarch as saying after the Sunday service in the Kazan Cathedral on Red Square.

Those who follow their conscience and “fight such laws imposed by the minority are subjected to repressions,” he added.

Kirill urged Russians to ensure that sin is never formalized in the rule of law.

“This is a very dangerous apocalyptic symptom, and we must do everything in our powers to ensure that sin is never sanctioned in Russia by state law, because that would mean that the nation has embarked on a path of self-destruction,” Kirill said. (More)



Gutless, greedy Hollywood bowed to Hitler

How Hollywood censored films and how an MGM executive even divorced his Jewish wife just to keep Hitler happpy (she was sent to a concentration camp)

By Harriet Alexander The Telegraph UK

01 August 2013 — Hollywood producers and studio executives censored films, cut Jewish staff from the credits and pulled the plug on movies critical of the Nazis in an attempt to appease Hitler, a new book has claimed.

Germany was an important outlet for American films and the heads of Hollywood in the 1930s were keen to maximise their revenues in Europe.

“Throughout the 1930s, the term ‘collaboration’ was used repeatedly to describe dealings that took place in Hollywood,” according to Ben Urwand, the author of The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler, which is published next month.

“Soon every studio started making deep concessions to the German government, and when Hitler came to power in January 1933, they dealt with his representatives directly.”

Urwand discovered that when a film scored by a Jewish composer was banned, Paramount offered to dub Give Us This Night with music by a German composer. A member of the Nazi Party, Paul Thiefes, was chosen by Paramount in 1937 as its new manager in Germany. (More)



CIA bungle in secret shipment of missiles to Syria rebels

and State Department collusion led to Benghazi disaster

By Arthur Stern
World Policymic
New information about circumstances surrounding the attack on the US consulate on Sept. 11, 2012 raises concern about the US's involvement in Libya and Syria. According to Joe DiGenova, an attorney for whistleblower Thompson, the State Department's deputy coordinator of operations, 400 U.S. missiles were sent to Libya covertly and have since been stolen by an unidentified group.
The night this fatal assault occurred, 35 CIA operatives were said to have been working in an "annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armories to Syrian rebels."
Since then, the CIA has undergone incredible lengths to suppress information about the incident from leaking out. This suppression of information indicates that the CIA has something to hide. It is crucial that an open investigation be conducted to figure out the missile's whereabouts, as leaving this mystery unresolved could result in the weapons landing in the wrong hands. (More)
06 August 2013 WASHINGTON - US newspapers are increasingly turning to deep-pocketed white knights to keep them alive as free news on the Internet hijacks readers and erodes profits.

Monday's (August 5) stunning announcement that the Washington Post was being sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos followed the sale just days before of the Boston Globe to John Henry, the billionaire owner of the Red Sox baseball team.

And over the past two years, investment star Warren Buffett has snapped up more than two dozen newspapers via his Berkshire Hathaway company for some $350 million.

More deals are likely. In July, the Tribune Company hived off its money-losing newspapers - including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun - into a separate company, keeping its focus on its profitable television stations. (More)


The deconstruction of Barack Obama

Lifting the mask from he who promised hope and change

'For Obama, the truth of Manning and Snowden is, literally, terrifying and he will go to great lengths to silence it.'

'The adult Obama lacks integrity: his mind is not integrated in such a way that memories, thoughts, feelings and conscience, function seamlessly to drive his behaviour in a consistent direction. And this is why he is such a useful tool of those corporate elites who selected him to govern the United States. Like most people who (unconsciously) feel unloved (an outcome of the fact that loving his father didn’t gain him love in return), he now has the unconscious desire to please and to gain approval. And Obama wants this approval from his corporate masters (not merely American voters); it’s not love but it’s better than nothing. In turn, he has the pleasant face and oratory which they can use to both mask and ‘sell’ their ruthless exploitation of the people of America and elsewhere around the world, including when he must lie outright to do so (as he did when he denied that the NSA spies on US citizens).'

By Robert J. Burrowes

17 July 2013 — Some people have been surprised or disappointed by certain decisions of President Barack Obama. His war-making, his use of illegal drone strikes, his failure to close Guantanamo, his failure to genuinely help those ordinary Americans who voted him into office, and even his pursuit of whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have all raised concerns among those with the audacity to hope that he would be different.

But there is no reason for surprise. Obama told us all about himself in his autobiography ‘Dreams From My Father’. Most of us just chose not to listen and to then analyse the significance of what he told us. (More)



The ugly hand of misogyny is exposed

as Georgian women protest 'virginity inspections'

By Nino Tarkhnishvili 
Georgian Politics Women's Rights

01 August 2013 EurasiaNet RFE/RL GEORGIA — For many in socially conservative Georgia, a woman's virginity remains a virtue. Virginity tests are another matter, however.

A recent news report on Georgia's Imedi television raised howls of protest when it revealed that Georgia's National Forensics Bureau was performing as many as 200 "virginity inspections" a year.

The report showed a bureau doctor describing the process, in which three medical experts use basic gynecological equipment and a head-mounted lamp to examine young women for telltale breaks in their hymen -- the traditional sign of sexual activity. (More)


And halfway around the world . . .

State-sanctioned rape in Texas: Business as usual

By Candice Bernd
08 August 2013 —While accusations of misogyny in Texas have been highlighted more recently in the battle for abortion rights that has been unfolding across the state, the most vulnerable women — those incarcerated in Texas state prisons and county jails — have reported experiencing wide-ranging assault in a pattern that reveals a larger rape culture in Texas law enforcement.
In June, two women filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Corpus Christi against Live Oak County and three former jail guards with the Live Oak County Jail. According to their suit, the guards ran a “rape camp” at the jail, repeatedly raping and humiliating the two detainees awaiting trial as other guards looked on during an extended period of time. (More)

The courage of Bradley Manning

will inspire others to seize their Moment of Truth

By John Pilger
Truthout | Op-Ed
John Pilger, Australian-born, London-based journalist, filmmaker and author. For his foreign and war reporting, ranging from Vietnam and Cambodia to the Middle East, he has twice won Britain's highest award for journalism. For his documentary films, he won a British Academy Award and an American Emmy. In 2009, he was awarded Australia's human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize. His most recent film is The War on Democracy. His new film, Utopia, will be previewed at the National Film Theatre, London, in the autumn.
08 August 2013 — The critical moment in the political trial of the century was on February 28, 2013, when Bradley Manning stood and explained why he had risked his life to leak tens of thousands of official files. It was a statement of morality, conscience and truth: the very qualities that distinguish human beings. This was not deemed mainstream news in America, and were it not for Alexa O'Brien, an independent freelance journalist, Manning's voice would have been silenced. Working through the night, she transcribed and released his every word. It is a rare, revealing document. (More)

Russian police crack down on homophobes

Nazi-linked Russian vigilantes busted in bullying footage probe


08 August 2013 — Russian police are probing members of a group that gained notoriety over publishing online videos showing bullying of people they claimed to be sex offenders. A cache of weapons was confiscated in a recent raid.

Police suspect three in the small town of Kamensk-Uralsk in the Russian Urals, of at least 11 beatings of different victims between April and June. The bust on the alleged assailants’ homes last week resulted in confiscation of dozens of weapons, including knives, knuckles, maces, baseball bats, a flail, nunchucks, and some ninja stars. (More)



Obama, Mandela and a dangerous mythology

By Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. Her blog is Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, e-Mail Margaret.Kimberley(at)

05 July 2013 — Centuries of oppression have made black people particularly susceptible to the tempting siren song which comes with the image of black success. It is harmless to want a black person to win some coveted acclaim like a Pulitzer prize or even an Oscar, but quite another to be rendered stupid by the sight. Our history teaches us that we must be wary lest we be carried away by emotion that is without substance.

Barack Obama is the most obvious example of this phenomenon and its pernicious influence. A black man being elected as president of the United States was long hoped for but seemingly impossible. The realization of what had long been imagined and the often racist attacks against this dream create common cause with Obama and intense personal happiness on his behalf. Yet what seems inspirational is in fact anything but. The feelings of affection for Obama have been a negative force which impede rational thought and political common sense. The people who most epitomized the American search for true democracy have given it up completely because they love seeing a black man wearing a POTUS jacket and get angry when white people don’t like seeing it. (More)