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Posts tagged ‘Human rights’

UK, US Spies Stored Millions of Yahoo Webcam Images.


Britain’s communications spy agency GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted and stored images from webcams used by millions of Yahoo users, the Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday.

GCHQ files leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reportedly revealed how the Optic Nerve programme collected still images of webcam chats regardless of whether individual users were suspects or not.

In one six-month period in 2008, the British spy agency collected webcam imagery from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts around the world, the Guardian said.

Yahoo, which was apparently chosen because its webcam system was known to be used by GCHQ targets, expressed outrage at the reported surveillance.

“We were not aware of nor would we condone this reported activity,” a spokeswoman for the US technology firm told AFP in an email statement.

“This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy that is completely unacceptable.

“We are committed to preserving our users’ trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services.”

Leaked GCHQ documents from 2008 to 2010 explicitly refer to the surveillance programme, although the Guardian said later information suggests it was still active in 2012.

The data was used for experiments in automated facial recognition, as well as to monitor existing GCHQ targets and discover new ones, the British paper said.

The programme reportedly saved one image every five minutes from a webcam user’s feed, partly to comply with human rights legislation and partly to cut down the sheer amount of data being collected.

GCHQ analysts were able to search the metadata, such as location and length of webcam chat, and they could view the actual images where the username was similar to a surveillance target.

The data collected, which was available to NSA analysts through routine information sharing, contained a significant amount of sexual content, the newspaper added.

It cited one document as saying: “It would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.”

In a statement to the Guardian, GCHQ said all of its work was “carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate”.

ar/dk/mfp

© AFP 2014
Source: Newsmax.com

Luis Rosales: Time for World to Join Venezuela’s Fight for Democracy.


Everyone who believes in democracy, freedom and human rights today should be standing with Leopoldo López, the brave young opposition leader who is defying the growing radicalization of the ruling government in Venezuela.

López, a charismatic, Harvard-educated former mayor of Caracas’ Chacao district, has emerged as the face of the growing opposition to the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez. On Tuesday, López was arrested on what international human rights groups have called baseless charges for the deaths of three people killed in an anti-government demonstration earlier this month.

Although President Maduro has called him a fascist, Lopez is completely the opposite. He is an honest politician who really believes in democracy. He has devoted his life to helping his country stand up to the growing authoritarianism of Maduro. He has long been persecuted by a government that controls most of the country’s media and its corrupt judiciary.

From the beginning, when he was first elected mayor in 2000, Lopez challenged this repressive system. Chavez ordered judges to ban him from holding further office after saddling him with trumped up charges. The government consistently has used this method to eliminate popular opponents. As one of the three most popular political leaders in the country, Lopez stepped back and unselfishly endorsed another opposition candidate for president, Henrique Capriles, in order not to fracture the anti-Chavez opposition.

Chavez died in March, 2013. Maduro, a declared Marxist who many observers consider to be a puppet of Cuba’s Castro regime, succeeded him and was elected after a very controversial process fraught with charges of fraud. The opposition believed it was robbed. But the official apparatus, tightly controlled by the Chavistas, ignored the claims and stifled any official audit of the vote.

That was Maduro’s original sin, the first of many. His rule has been an unmitigated disaster. Venezuela, a global oil power, leads the South American continent in inflation. As the economy has collapsed, it also has taken the lead in other negative indicators like the rate of crime and domestic violence. And that is what feeds the growing opposition movement.

Over the last several weeks, millions have taken to the streets across the country to express their discontent. The government has responded by mobilizing its own armed mobs, backed by both the military and the police, to attack peaceful demonstrators. This, in turn, has divided the opposition.

Capriles leads a group that believes that change can be encouraged through dialogue and nonviolent demonstration. Lopez, however, believes that a repressive government must be challenged with strength when it attacks its own people. He believes that Maduro, like Lenin and Castro before him, is trying to create the conditions for a “proletarian dictatorship,” the first step toward totalitarian socialism.

The history of the last century is replete with nations that have succumbed to this tactic: Russia, the nations of Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea and Cuba to name just a few.

In every case, when socialists took power, they immediately suspended individual liberties, freedom of press and private ownership to end what they considered an “outdated” capitalist and bourgeois systems. The new elites, backed by a massive, authoritarian bureaucracy, never saw any reason to reverse course. What emerged were single party states with either no elections or cruel parodies of them, without freedom, and heavily militarized at all levels of society.

This is the system that Leopoldo López fears will emerge in Venezuela if the people do not stand up and fight now. And it’s going to take democrats and human rights activists from all over the world to help him in his fight. There needs to be a push now to stop Maduro from repressing students and other demonstrators and force him to release Lopez before it’s too late.

We the people have to put international pressure on Maduro’s regime and push our democratic governments and elected representatives to do the same. And we need to do this now, not only for the sake of Lopez, but also for the future of Venezuela and Latin America.

Luis Rosales is a political strategist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the author of the new book, “Francis: A Pope for Our Times.”

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Tough time awaits Boko Haram – Jonathan.


 

President-jonathan-05

President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that with the appointment  of new Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs, tough time awaits Boko  Haram, even as the House of Representatives ordered investigation into  the arrest of 320 suspected terrorists in Rivers State.
The President’s assurance came 48 hours after gunmen suspected to be  Boko Haram killed over 70 people including worshippers and villagers in  Adamawa and Borno states last Sunday.
In one attack, some men armed with guns and explosives killed 18  people at a Catholic church during a morning mass in Waga Chakawa  village in Adamawa State.
The community is in Madagali Local Government, which is a boundary  area with Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State. The area is known  for series of insurgent attacks since the declaration of the state of  emergency.
Jonathan, who paid homage to the Lamido Adamawa, Alhaji  Barkindo Mustapha at his palace in Adamawa State yesterday, stressed  that the excesses of the terrorist group will be curtailed.
The President, who condoled with the people of Adamawa State for the  killings, congratulated the state for producing the current Chief of  Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh. Jonathan said, “he is  somebody I have worked with before and I believe with him and the other  service chiefs definitely, the security equation will change. They have  not been cleared by the National Assembly, which I believe will be done  this week.
“I believe by next week, we will have our first security council  meeting and I believe that the tempo will change. The police, working  with the Armed Forces, the excesses of Boko Haram will be reduced”, he  said.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday asked its  Committees on Police and Human Rights to investigate the reported arrest  of 320 suspected Boko  Haram members in Rivers State.
It also set up an 18-man panel to visit Borno State and commiserate  with the families of people killed by insurgents in Maiduguri recently.
The resolution followed  a motion moved by the Deputy Minority  Leader, Hon  Suleiman Abdularahman Kawu on the need to investigate the  arrest of 320 suspected Boko Haram members in Rivers State.
The motion was passed when the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, put the motion to vote.
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE and Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja.

Source: Radio Biafra.

OWERRI — police in Imo State have arrested a pastor for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl.


 

child sex

OWERRI — The Police in Imo State have arrested the General Overseer and head of a popular church in Ikeduru council area of the state, for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl.This followed a petition written to the Owerri Police Area Command by the lawyer to the father of the alleged rape victim, Mr Emperor Iwuala.The father of the victim,  a widower and does not want his name in print, had alleged that the pastor severally raped his daughter between 2010 and 2013.According to him, “Between 2010 and 2013, I was sick and a friend of mine introduced me to the prophet. Because of my sickness, I lost my job as a luxury bus driver and also my accommodation in Naze Owerri.“Consequently, the prophet offered me accommodation in his house which he also uses as church. I moved in with my two little daughters. Because of my condition then, I did not know that the prophet was taking advantage of my predicament to defile one of my daughters.“One of the days, his wife caught him trying to abuse my daughter and she raised the alarm, which made the husband to send her packing.“Because of that, I sent my children away but the prophet threatened me, saying that I must bring my children back to the church. It was when my daughters went out of the prophet’s custody that they could narrate their ordeal to me.“Ironically, the prophet went to the police recently to report that I arranged to kidnap my daughters from his house.”Confirming the  petition,  Iwuala also disclosed that the said prophet was currently under investigation by the police for buying an alleged stolen vehicle.  He applauded the security operatives for the impressive manner they are handling the matter.When the suspect’s prayer house was visited, a worshipper who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that the pastor was arrested by the police and was still in their custody.

Are Homosexuals Human Beings? By Ogaga Ifowodo.


Columnist:

Ogaga Ifowodo

The theme of the 1993 United Nations world conference on human rights in Vienna was Women’s Rights Are Human Rights. I was with the Civil Liberties Organization then and attended the conference. Why was it necessary, you might ask, to state that incontestable fact 45 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the very first article of which asserts unequivocally that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights?” Aren’t women human beings? Funny as it may sound, the status of woman as human wasn’t always “settled.” Indeed, a much earlier conference is believed to have been convened in France, circa 586 A.D., to resolve the question whether or not women were human!  It was my former colleague at the CLO, Chidi Anselm Odnkalu, now chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, who first mentioned this outrageous outcome of prejudice born of the fear of difference—whether it be racial, gender, religious, sexual, or even plainly ideological.

In having her humanity doubted, woman, the primal Other of history, the first to embody difference (ab-normal-ity, deviance from the perceived norm), shared a common fate with Africans, other so-called persons of color, and many oppressed groups. Thus, as the great white men behind the American Declaration of Independence proclaimed the fact that “all men are born equal” to be a “self-evident” truth, their diction betrayed the exclusion of women from equal humanity. And it was not until 1920 that the 19th Amendment ensured political equality for American women by making them voting citizens in the self-vaunted land of freedom.

One of the disingenuous yet appealing justifications for the frightful antipathy to gays and lesbians in Nigeria is that same sex relations are foreign to African culture. Those who bay for the blood of homosexuals, who would have them jailed for 14 years even when billion-dollar thieves in government and business are awarded national honors—not to mention election riggers, wife beaters, child deserters and abusers, rapists, pedophiles, Daddy Overseers who fleece their flock and sleep with their female congregants (married and unmarried), etc.—justify their lack of Christian love, charity, or plain fellow feeling by resort to a cheap and convenient cultural nationalism. Respect for the equal humanity of gay persons, they say, is a foreign concept being imposed on us by the imperialistic West. And then without batting an eyelid, they quote from the Bible or the Koran—as if Christianity and Islam were African religions! But they fail to cite one African religious or cultural practice that punishes homosexuals with the force of law. Or an African jurisprudence that sanctions imprisonment as a form of penal justice.

In a series of essays published in December 2011 and January 2012 on the dangerous tide of homophobia in our land—see “Homosexuality and Nigeria’s Enochs and Josephs,” “Homosexuality, Biology and the Bible,” and “Sex and the Church’s Missionary Position” (The Guardian, 19 and 28 December 2011 and 9 and 10 January 2012), as well as “Ekwe and the Raging Army of God’s Protectors” (Vanguard, 23 January 2013); also available online, particularly at http://saharareporters.com/columnist/ogaga-ifowodo—I asked the venerable Rev. Jasper Akinola, the spiritual-cum-political leader of the anti-gay movement, why, if he was the über-cultural nationalist that he claims to be, he scorned the Church of Orunmila and chose to be a priest of the Church of England? An Anglican congregation, if he needs to be reminded, founded and headed by King Henry VIII in protest against the Roman Catholic Church’s refusal to indulge his appetite for adultery.

A church, moreover, that was the ideological bulwark in Britain’s imperialist mission of colonial conquest through the “wiping out of the tribal (read cultural) memory” of the natives (to adapt Major Pilkings’s apt rebuke, in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, of Joseph, his native houseboy who, converted yesterday, had become the next day an unwilling native informer on the “primitive,” unchristian, ways of his recently colonized Yoruba people). I am yet to receive an answer from the retired primate of King Henry’s Nigerian converts. We know, however, that the purported defense of African values (defined by whom?) is only a fig leaf to cover an onerous legacy of the Abrahamic faiths: making a sin of sexual desire, whether it be hetero- or homo-social in nature. Not even after marriage—a social undertaking not to be confused with the natural, hormone-driven, impulse of sexual orientation—was sanctioned as an inconvenient solution was the problem solved.

But in blaming the West for something that has been present in every human society and in the animal world as well from the origin of time, the self-righteous army of God forgets that the West persecuted homosexuals until quite recently. Now more Catholic than the pope, they cannot bear to hear the same West that brought them the bible change its mind about any of its creeds and catechisms. “How dare you admit,” they shout, foaming at the mouth and wagging a finger at the Archbishop of Canterbury, “that gay people do not choose their sexuality any more than heterosexuals choose theirs, and then proceed to treat them as human beings equal to us virtuous heterosexuals? How dare you ordain a gay bishop in OUR church?”

The zealotry of Nigeria’s army of the faithful fits perfectly the ungovernable fervour of the reformed sinner who, once converted, must prove him- or herself more devoted to the cross or crescent than his pastor or imam. Thus, if Pope Francis, reminded of Christ’s admonition, “Judge not that ye may not be judged,” can say in response to the question of gay priests, “Who am I to judge?”, Nigeria and Africa’s religious leaders say, “We are the ones to judge and punish. God is too merciful and his judgment too long in coming.” This is the sort of holy frenzy that makes full-grown African men and women sing with all pious sincerity, “Wash me [Lord Jesus] and I shall be whiter than snow!”

But the question is inescapable: are homosexuals human beings? If the answer is yes, then they must be accorded their human rights and dignity. Sexual relations among consenting adults are no more harmful to society in same sex relations than in opposite sex relationships. If there be any harm, it is the mad rush in the name of a strange and false notion of African values and the dictates of foreign religious doctrines imposed by conquest, to erode the laws of privacy and civilized behavior to criminalize what is at worst a sin, as if God cannot be trusted to punish that among other sins on judgment day. Yet, by pandering to the prejudices of a majority closed to reason, that cannot be persuaded by logic—recall that it was the majority that freed Barabbas the murderer and crucified Jesus—or scientific evidence such as is changing the mind of the West that once thought homosexuality was a disease, the result of a psychiatric disorder, to authorize the Draconian re-criminalisation of same-sex relations, President Jonathan may have unwittingly done the gay and lesbian community, all of rational humanity, a favor.

For the law will not make homosexuals disappear from, or cease to be born in, Nigeria. After all, where do homosexuals come from, if not from heterosexual parents? Persecuting them will only make that barbaric stance solidify Nigeria’s reputation as a country quick to descend on the weak, poor and vulnerable while straining every muscle to protect and honour the rich and powerful. Yet, it is invariably the case that whenever power has to resort to maximum force to have its way, it has lost the moral ground and is very close to defeat. And so to our brothers and sisters persecuted for being gay, I say take courage: the darkest hour of night is just before dawn.

omoliho@gmail.com.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.Nigerian Ar

Arab Contractors Expatriate Pushes Down His Biafran Colleague From A 2 Storey Building In Enugu.


 

Arab attack

A Nigerian, simply identified as Arinze, was feared dead yesterday, after an immigrant working with the Arab Contractors Construction Company (O.A.O) threw him down from the second-floor of a two-storey building undergoing construction at the new Enugu State Secretariat, Enugu.According to theParadigm, the immigrant worker, identified as Abdul Lateef, apparently from one of the Arab-speaking countries, allegedly pushed the deceased down from the building at about 11.30 a.m.
The immigrant worker whom sources said is feared by many in the company for his brutality, pushed the deceased down after their disagreement on how a particular task should be carried out at the site.
Workers of the company had attempted to lynch the expatriate, but for the timely intervention of the
police, who took him away.
Meanwhile, the Enugu State Police Command said it has commenced “a full-scale investigations into the alleged incident”.
A release made available to reporters in Enugu by the command’s public relations officer, Ebere Amaraizu, said “ the victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where he is now responding to treatment”.But the South-eastern zone of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) insisted that “the Nigerian who was pushed down by the expatriate has died.
In a statement by its zonal director, Olu Omotayo, the CLO described the action of the expatriate as:
“a barbaric act in all ramifications. This is not the first time we are receiving complaints of torture and brutalisation of Nigerians by expatriates of some of these construction companies. These actions show how Nigerians have always been treated with disdain by these so-called expatriates in the construction companies.”Omotayo further condemned the brutal killing of Arinze and demanded that the police charge Abdul Lateef for murder.
“Nigerians cannot continue to be treated like animals in their own country,” he stated.

Source: Radio Biafra,

Revealed: I Suffered Depression From Chime’s Treatment – Fmr. Enugu First Lady – ChannelsTV.


Wife of the Enugu State Governor, Clara Chime, has finally broken her silence in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, as she recounted her ordeal in the hands of her husband.

As Governor Sullivan Chime’s wife, she was in the public eye for about 5years. She has however been in the news recently because of the controversy surrounding her life in the Government House of Enugu State.

Things fell apart when she reached out to some members of the human right community and legal practitioner, Femi Falana, to save her from her husband.

Her appeal generated reactions from Nigerians and the civil society with several accusations, most of which bothered on unlawful detention and violence against women, given the physical and psychological suffering she was reported to be facing.

In this exclusive video, while recounting her experience, she also debunked claims that she had mental problem.

She said: “I suffered from depression and the treatment I got from my husband led to it.”

She also thanked Nigerians for coming to her rescue, expressing her joy that she is “now liberated.”

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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