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July 04 2013

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“Imprisoned former CIA officer John Kiriakou has written a letter supporting Snowden’s decision to leak information about the massive surveillance apparatus employed by the US. Kiriakou was the first CIA officer to publicly acknowledge that torture treated as legal under former president George W. Bush. He was convicted in October 2012 of disclosing the name of an officer who worked in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program to a reporter and sentenced to thirty months behind bars earlier this year.

Kiriakou, in his second note published by Firedog Lake, advised Snowden to ‘find the best national security attorneys money can buy,’ while recommending the American Civil Liberties Union and Government Accountability Project as two potential leads.

‘You’re going to need the support of prominent Americans and groups who can explain to the public why what you did is so important,’ Kiriakou wrote, while adding that the ‘most important advice’ he can offer is to ‘not, under any circumstances, cooperate with the FBI.’”

NSA leak fallout: LIVE UPDATES

June 19 2013


China: Liu Xia’s open letter to President Xi Jinping

from Reporters Without Borders (Jun. 18 2013):

President Xi Jinping,

I am Liu Xia, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. I have enjoyed no individual freedom since October 2010, having been placed under house arrest. No one has explained to me why this was done. I have come to suppose that, in this country, being Liu Xiaobo’s wife is a “crime.”

I regard the verdict that my younger brother Liu Hui received on 9 June as completely unjust. I seriously question the legitimacy of the judicial apparatus, as I do that of the entire government.

Under the rule of law, a country’s authorities should render justice, not indulge in relentless persecution based on violence. Whenever individuals are denied their rights, a tragedy can ensue that casts a bleak shadow over the halo of legitimacy that should surround a government.

Criminal justice reveals itself only through the cases it handles. In this particular case, I cannot imagine that the justice we desire can be rendered if the rights of the defendant are ignored and even scorned.

Mr. President, the “Chinese dream” you have mentioned will only be achieved by realizing every citizen’s dream. I hope that this Chinese dream will not become for me and for these citizens a “Chinese nightmare.”

Today is the day of the traditional Chinese festival of the dragon boats. Can you imagine the state of our family’s spirit at this moment?

Liu Xia, citizen

Reposted byriceball riceball

December 24 2012


US Congress: Letter to President Obama on Tibet

via International Campaign for Tibet (Dec. 21 2012):

December 20, 2012

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.20500

Dear President Obama,

We write to strongly urge you to make Tibet one of your top priorities for U.S. advocacy, especially given the desperate protests occurring in Tibet this past year. It is critical that the U.S. take a leading role and engage actively with partner nations on measures that could bring near-term improvements in the human rights situation in Tibet. As you consider candidates to be the next Secretary of State, we urge you to nominate someone who will champion this issue.

It has long been U.S. policy to promote dialogue without preconditions to advance a solution on Tibet and to press for respect for human rights and the preservation of Tibetan religion, language and cultural heritage.

Regrettably, the policies of the Chinese government towards the Tibetan people have only increased in their level of repression, their intrusion into all Tibetan institutions, most particularly religious and educational, and their denigration of Tibetan culture. These repressive conditions have led to the self-immolations and protests by Tibetans. As incidents of self-immolation increased in frequency, so have reports of mass gatherings of Tibetans to mourn and express solidarity with those who have undertaken these often mortal acts of protest. Continued crackdowns by Beijing threaten to escalate the situation.

It is in this context that we welcome the strong November 2nd statement on Tibet by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. She cited “continuing allegations of violence against Tibetans seeking to exercise their fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, association and religion,” and pointed to “reports of detentions and disappearances, of excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and curbs on the cultural rights of Tibetans.”

We believe Commissioner Pillay’s statement requires stronger efforts on the part of the United States and the international community to press China to respect human rights in Tibet. It should serve as a clarion call for a new level of collaborative and coordinated pressure and engagement with the Chinese government on the Tibetan issue, including but not limited to allowing access by independent and impartial monitors to assess conditions on the ground, including the 12 outstanding requests for official visits by U.N. special rapporteurs; adoption by the Chinese government of policies recommended by U.N. special rapporteurs, such as suspension and review of Chinese policies and incentives that promote the settlement of mainland Chinese into Tibet; the suspension of non-voluntary resettlement of Tibetan nomadic herders; an independent inquiry into alleged excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators of 2008, and allegations of torture and ill-treatment against those arrested and detained; lifting restrictions on media access to the region; respect for Tibetans’ rights to peaceful assembly, expression and religious practice, and the release of anyone detained for exercising those rights; and renewed engagement in dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives without preconditions.

The Chinese government appears to believe that by sealing off Tibet, international interest and concern will diminish. It will not. We were therefore pleased to see the recent statements by Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Under Secretary Maria Otero and by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner expressing U.S. concern over the increasing frequency of self-immolations by Tibetans and rejection of the continuing violence by Chinese authorities in Tibetan areas. But much more must be done.

We urge you, Mr. President, to take a leading role in support of Commissioner Pillay’s statement and actively engage partner nations on measures that could bring near-term improvements in the human rights situation in Tibet and serve to de-escalate rising tensions brought about by hard-line and destructive Chinese policies and actions. In addition, continued attention must be paid to promoting dialogue between Chinese officials and Tibetan leaders in order to achieve a negotiated solution to the problems afflicting Tibet and the Tibetan people.

We have the moral obligation to speak out for the Tibetan people and confront China about these abuses, to convey the aspirations for change that are being expressed so desperately by the Tibetan people directly to those who have the responsibility to heed Tibetans’ demands for change, respect and basic dignity. We ask that you make this a top priority and lead the way.


James P. McGovern (MA)
Frank R. Wolf (VA)
Michael E. Capuano (MA)
Jim McDermott (WA)
Edolphus Towns (NY)
Henry A. Waxman (CA)
Jared Polis (CO)
Barbara Lee (CA)
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)
John F. Tierney (MA)
John W. Olver (MA)
Keith Ellison (MN)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
Peter A. DeFazio (OR)
John Lewis (GA)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)
Betty McCollum (MN)
Timothy J. Walz (MN)
John Garamendi (CA)
Janice D. Schakowsky (IL)
Sam Farr (CA)
Ed Markey (MA)
William Keating (MA)
Mike Turner (R-OH)
Joseph Pitts (R-PA)
Gerry Connolly (VA)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
Maxine Waters (CA)
Collin Peterson (MN)
Stephen Lynch (MA)
Mike Michaud (ME)
Steve Chabot (OH)
André Carson (IN)
Lois Capps (CA)
Jackie Speier (CA)
Alcee Hastings (FL)
Chris Smith (NJ)
Earl Blumenauer (OR)
Rush Holt (NJ)
Richard Neal (MA)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
Chris Van Hollen (MD)
Judy Chu (CA)
Mike Honda (CA)
Yvette Clarke (NY)
Albio Sires (NJ)
Joe Courtney (CT)
Peter Welch (VT)
Donna Edwards (MD)
Rosa DeLauro (CT)
Al Green (TX)
Leonard Lance (NJ)
Charles Rangel (NY)
Jim Moran (VA)
David Cicilline (RI)
Jim Himes (CT)
Adam Smith (WA)
Niki Tsongas (MA)

December 10 2012

As you will be aware, sixty years of China's failed policies in Tibet have contributed to a state of turmoil, with at least 90 Tibetans confirmed to have set themselves alight - more than 70 of them fatally - protesting China's rule, calling for freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. Mass demonstrations continue to take place on a regular basis, despite often brutal suppression, arrests and harsh sentencings. There has been no meeting between Chinese officials and representatives of the Dalai Lama since January 2010, and no apparent prospect of such meetings resuming; indeed the Dalai Lama's envoys earlier this year resigned their posts. This crisis has reached a peak as we write, with 28 acts of self-immolation in November alone. This is a desperately urgent crisis situation which the world must respond to, and we look to the European Union, with its stated commitment to multi-lateralism in conflict prevention and crisis management, to lead the way.
Open Letter to Leaders of European Union, awardees of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 (International Tibet Network, Dec. 10 2012)
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