Friday, September 29, 2006


The word AKSHAR in Sanskrit not only means the letter or the alphabet but also describes the smallest unit that cannot be destroyed. Thus AKSHAR is a wonderful symbol of faith in language and its elementary power, and is an appropriate name for the Indo-German Writers in Residence project.

The entries of the following authors are now online:

Georg Martin Oswald (Bangalore, 27.05. – 18.06.2006)

Guy Helminger (Hyderabad, 11.06. – 15.07.2006)

Angela Krauß (Chennai, 23.06. – 01.08.2006)

Sandra Hoffmann (Mumbai, 24.07. – 21.08.2006)

Kristof Magnusson (Pune, 16.08. – 08.09.2006)

Martin Mosebach (New Delhi, 07.09. – 27.09.2006)

Adyasha Das (Frankfurt, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Josef Winkler (Kolkata, 01.09. – 24.09.2006)

Mahesh Dattani (Stuttgart, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Rajula Shah (Hamburg, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Bhupinder Aziz Parihar (Cologne, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Mogalli Ganesh (Munich, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Swapnamoy Chakraborti (Berlin, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Librarians and Torture

Amnesty International:
The US Congress is currently considering legislation which would have major implications for the treatment, detention and possible trial of people held in US custody in the "war on terror", and would fail to uphold the USA's international legal obligations.
Salon reports:
With George W. Bush eager for a star-spangled signing ceremony as Congress adjourns this week for the election season, the House approved the administration bill by a 253-168 margin, while the Senate was expected Thursday to reject the last four amendments standing in the way of passage.

The legislation, which was prompted by a June Supreme Court decision applying the Geneva Conventions to prisoners held by U.S. forces, had originally provoked a well-publicized struggle over placing legal limits on interrogation techniques.

The American Library Association has passed this resolution against torture:

Resolution Against the Use of Torture as a Violation of Our Basic Values as Librarians

The following resolution was adopted unanimously by the elected representatives of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) on June 26, 2004. An amended version of this resolution was passed by ALA Council on June 30, 2004.

This SRRT resolution represents a revision of the SRRT resolution On Intellectual Freedom & the Use of Torture in War or Peace, approved by SRRT Action Council on January 19, 2002. No vote on that resolution was taken in ALA Council in January 2002 due to the lack of a quorum.

SRRT is a body within the American Library Association but does not and should not be taken to speak for the Association as a whole. In this resolution SRRT speaks only on its own behalf.

WHEREAS, The American Library Association (ALA) is among the preeminent defenders of intellectual freedom and government openness in the US; and

WHEREAS, Intellectual freedom, our primary value as librarians, cannot be more seriously violated than by forcing speech or enforcing silence through systematic violence by government against detained individuals; and

WHEREAS, The US government has proven its readiness to use torture (including practices such as hooding, shackling, drugging, sleep deprivation, etc.) in the interrogation of suspected terrorists or their suspected accomplices in its "war on terror"; and

WHEREAS, The use of torture and coercive interrogative practices is inhumane, illegal, and destructive of the democratic sensibilities of a free society, to which we as an Association and as a profession are committed; and

WHEREAS, The secrecy which attends the use of torture violates our commitment to open government and the dissemination of true and accurate information of our government's actions; and

WHEREAS, The violence of torture violates our commitment to the rule of law as a protector of the integrity and dignity of the human person; and

WHEREAS, The barbarity of torture fundamentally violates our commitment to the preservation of the human spirit; and

WHEREAS, The threat of torture or the use of torture and similar practices of coercing testimony, confessions, information is universally condemned under international law [e.g. the Geneva Convention, Article 3 and 31 and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 5] and (a) the Fourth Amendment's right to be free of unreasonable search or seizure (which encompasses the right not to be abused by the police), (b) the Fifth Amendment's right against self-incrimination (which encompasses the right to remain silent during interrogations), (c) the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments' guarantees of due process (ensuring fundamental fairness in criminal justice system) and (d) the Eighth Amendment's right to be free of cruel or unusual punishment];

BE IT RESOLVED, That ALA condemns the use or threat of torture by the US government as a barbarous violation of human rights, intellectual freedom and the rule of law. The ALA decries--along with the practice of torture anywhere--the suggestion by the US government that under a `state of emergency' in this country, or in territories it occupies, torture is in any case an acceptable tool in pursuit of its goals; and

BE IT RESOLVED, That this resolution be widely publicized, including the press, the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and members of the United States Congress.

Respectfully submitted by Mark C. Rosenzweig, ALA Councilor at large
second Al Kagan, SRRT Councilor


The legal basis for this follows, including some explication of issues
raised by these references:

*Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 5 states: "No one
shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment."

*Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), ratified by 153 countries, including the U.S. in 1992

*Convention against Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment (the Convention against Torture), ratified by 136 countries,
including the U.S. in 1994.

*European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

*American Convention on Human Rights [Signed at the Inter-American
Specialized Conference on Human Rights, San JosÈ, Costa Rica, 22 November

*The 'Laws of War': the prohibition against torture is also fundamental to
international humanitarian law which governs the conduct of parties during
armed conflict.

Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions, for example, bans "violence of life
and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment
and torture" as well as "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular
humiliating and degrading treatment."

Article 31 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: "No physical or moral coercion
shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain
information from them or from third parties."

1999 Initial Report of the United States to the U.N. Committee against
Torture: in the United States, the use of torture "is categorically
denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority

No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or
military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit
torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form

Every act of torture [...]" is illegal under the [Convention against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, G.A.
res. 39/46, [annex, 39 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 51) at 197, U.N. Doc. A/39/51
(1984)], entered into force June 26, 1987]. is illegal under existing
federal and state law, and any individual who commits such an act is
subject to penal sanctions as specified in criminal statutes."

*The US Constitution: Torture violates rights established by the Bill of

The U.S. courts have located constitutional protections against
interrogations under torture in

a)the Fourth Amendment's right to be free of unreasonable search or
seizure (which encompasses the right not be abused by the police)

b)the Fifth Amendment's right against self-incrimination (which
encompasses the right to remain silent during interrogations),

c)the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments' guarantees of due process
(ensuring fundamental fairness in criminal justice system), and

d)the Eighth Amendment's right to be free of cruel or unusual punishment.

*In numerous cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has condemned the use of force
amounting to torture or other forms of ill treatment during interrogations,
including such practices as whipping, slapping, depriving a victim of food,
water, or sleep, keeping him naked or in a small cell for prolonged
periods, holding a gun to his head, or threatening him with mob violence.

*"Miranda v Arizona: The U.S. Supreme Court in 1966 also established a
rule requiring the police who seek to question detainees to inform them of
their "Miranda" rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present
during the questioning [Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)].

In explaining the need for this rule, the Court noted the continuing
police practice of using physical force to extract confessions, citing, as
an example, a case in which police beat, kicked and burned with lighted
cigarette butts a potential witness under interrogation.

*Torture would also violate state constitutions, whose provisions
generally parallel the protections set forth in the federal Bill of Rights.
Article 4 of the Convention against Torture obligates state parties to
ensure that all acts of torture are criminal offenses under domestic

*The principal federal law that would apply to torture against detainees
is 18 U.S.C. 242, which makes it a criminal offense for any public official
to willfully to deprive a person of any right protected by the Constitution
or laws of the United States.

*Neither international nor domestic law conditions the right not to be
subjected to torture on citizenship or nationality. No detainee held by
U.S. authorities - regardless of nationality, regardless of whether held in
the U.S. or in another country, and regardless of whether the person is
deemed a combatant or civilian - may be tortured. All applicable
international law applies to U.S. officials operating abroad, including the
Convention against Torture and the Geneva Conventions.

Some explication relevant to the particular questions raised by the
government's consideration of the use of torture in its "War Against

1)The prohibition against torture is universal and covers all countries
both regarding U.S. citizens and persons of other nationalities.

2)The Convention against Torture provides that any statement that has been
made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any
proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that
the statement was made.

3)Under customary international law as well as under international human
rights treaties, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is
prohibited at all times and in all circumstances. It is a non-derogable
right, one of those core rights that may never be suspended, even during
times of war, when national security is threatened, or during other public

4)According to the U.S. government, " U.S. law contains no provision
permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent
circumstances (for example, during a "state of public emergency") or on
orders from a superior officer or public authority."

5)The European Court of Human Rights has applied the prohibition against
torture contained in European Convention on Human Rights in several cases
involving alleged terrorists. As it noted in one case, "The Court is well
aware of the immense difficulties faced by States in modern times in
protecting their communities from terrorist violence. However, even in
these circumstances, the Convention prohibits in absolute terms torture or
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, irrespective of the victim's
conduct." (Chahal v. United Kingdom, Nov. 15, 1996)

6)The Committee against Torture, reviewing Israel's use of torture as a
method of interrogation against suspected Palestinian terrorists, stated,
"The Committee acknowledges the terrible dilemma that Israel confronts in
dealing with terrorist threats to its security, but as a State party to the
Convention Israel is precluded from raising before this Committee
exceptional circumstances as justification for [prohibited] acts" [United
Nations Committee against Torture. "Concluding observations of the
Committee against Torture" (1997), A/52/44,paras.253-260. (15 Nov. 2001).]

Some people argue that the goal of saving innocent lives must override a
person's right not to be tortured. Although such an exception might appear
to be highly limited, experience shows that the exception readily becomes
the standard practice. For example, how imminent must the attack be to
trigger the exception and justify torture - an hour, a week, a year? How
certain must the government be that the detainee actually has the necessary

The international community, however, rejected the use of torture even in
this type of case. International human rights law - as well as U.S. law -
do not contain any exceptions to the prohibition against torture.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Rosenzweig
ALA Councilor at large

Page last modified October 15, 2004.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Children's Poet Laureate

The NYTimes reports: The Poetry Foundation has named Jack Prelutsky its first children's poet laureate, in the hopes that the appointment will raise awareness of the genre and encourage more poets to write for children. Mr. Prelutsky, 66, is the author of more than 35 books, including "Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, and Other Poems" (Greenwillow). Collectively his books and anthologies have sold more than a million copies.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Chavez Book Club

If Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's vitriolic speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, proved anything, it's that there is no such thing as bad press. During his two-hour rant on Bush's satanic identity, the communist leader took time to plug Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Domination.
Chavez's impassioned endorsement has jolted sales of the linguist's 2003 book from relative obscurity to Amazon's top 5 in less than 36 hours.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Broward Library Site of Historic Announcement Regarding First Black Lieutenant Governor Candidate in Florida Hstory.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jim Davis named former state Sen. Daryl Jones as his running mate Thursday, a choice that could lead to the first black lieutenant governor in Florida history.

Davis made the official announcement at the Broward County Library, joined by state House Democratic leader Chris Smith, of Fort Lauderdale, and incoming House Democratic leader Dan Gelber, of Miami Beach. Both were considered as possible Davis running mates.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Vicente Huidobro & creacionismo

Vicente Huidobro -1893-1948.

Papers at the Getty.

. Correspondence and personal papers
"Croniquilla diesiochesa, 4 pp.," A drama without title with characters Dona Pilar, Done José, etc., 10 pp., "El Loco de Antonia, 24 pp." fourth act of Gilles de Raiz, 7 pp.

Altazor or a Voyage in a Parachute/1919, a Poem in VII Cantos (Palabra sur.)

Site for Poemas.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bush Disinformation. Miami Herald Fires Two Reporters for Taking Pay from US Government

Miami Herald Fires Two Reporters for Taking Pay from US Government

At least 10 Florida journalists received regular payments from a U.S. government program aimed at undermining the Cuban government of Fidel Castro, The Miami Herald reported on Friday.
Pablo Alfonso, who reports on Cuba and wrote an opinion column for El Nuevo Herald, was paid almost $175,000 since 2001 to host shows on Radio and TV Marti, U.S. government programs that promote democracy in Cuba, according to government documents obtained by The Miami Herald.
Olga Connor, a freelance reporter who wrote about Cuban culture for El Nuevo Herald, received about $71,000 from the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and staff reporter Wilfredo Cancio Isla, who covered the Cuban exile community and politics, was paid almost $15,000 in the last five years, the Herald said.

The newspaper said Alfonso and Cancio were fired and Connor's freelance relationship was severed.

Buddy Johnson, Elections Supervisor in Hillsborough County, FL is GOP Crony

Buddy Johnson, Hillsborough County FLORIDA Supervisor of Elections has hired a GOP firm....lections office work went not to a solitary attorney but to as many as 10 Broad and Cassel lawyers and paralegals who racked up hundreds of hours of work.n Broad and Cassel provided tens of thousands of dollars of free legal work to Johnson’s office.In May, for instance, the firm did $69,322 worth of work for the elections office, yet billed Johnson for $13,442.- In funneling nonpartisan elections issues to outside attorneys, Johnson selected one of the most politically connected law firms in the Tampa Bay area.
Steven G. Burton, Broad and Cassel’s managing partner, has deep roots in GOP politics. He has provided support to Republicans at every level of government, from President Bush to Gov. Jeb Bush to Johnson himself. In 2004, Burton was part of the legal team for the campaign to re-elect Bush-Cheney. In 2002, he was among the lawyers working for Gov. Jeb Bush’s re-election campaign. In 2000, Burton sued the county’s Canvassing Board — an arm of the elections office — on behalf of the Bush-Cheney ticket to seek validation of overseas military ballots.

Buddy Johnson has also failed to answer why Supervisor of Elections office isn't answering questions about why a fired employee got a hefty severance check in return for his silence.$24,000 Agreement To Keep Quiet Looks A Lot Like Hush Money

Why Does Hillsborough Cty. Elections Sup. Buddy Johnson call Office "The Company.?
Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 06:55:54 AM EDT
The St. Pete Times editorial for 9/1/2006 asks: What should citizens think of an elections supervisor who calls his agency "the Company," pays hush money to a former aide and declares that employees of his government office must sign confidentiality agreements?

This is the culture Buddy Johnson has brought to Hillsborough County's elections office. An agency responsible for involving citizens in their democracy and running clean elections looks more like the closed world of some corporate conglomerate. Johnson was a Jeb Bush appointee.

"I don't know what the big deal is," Johnson told a [Tampa]Tribune reporter Mark Holan this week.

Repub. Elections Chief Pays Hush Money in Hillsborough

Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 10:37:38 AM EDT
Buddy Johnson(R)-Hillsborough Election Supervisor Pays $24,000 in "Hush Money" reports the Tampa Tribune on Aug 26, 2006....Indeed, Johnson's spending spree on severance pay, employee raises and a revolving door of new hires makes one question how he is running the elections office. He has asked the county for $1.2 million more than the $7.3 million he budgeted for next year. Commissioners should use this opportunity to ask tough questions about his liberal spending ways... Johnson gave his assistant supervisor of elections five raises since 2005. Altogether, Johnson and his top two employees make $409,813 annually. By contrast, Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark and her two assistants make $284,274, the paper reported.

Voters expect Johnson to run a competent and transparent office, while demonstrating a measure of fiscal conservatism.So long as their elections supervisor chooses to keep secrets, it will be hard to have confidence in him.
Discuss :: (1 Comments )

Buddy Johnson and the Hillsborough "Company."
Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 08:10:08 AM EDT
Hillsborough Tax dollars go for HUSH MONEY

In the office of Hillsborough Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson, the public information director is not a civil service employee. He serves at Johnson's pleasure and can be fired at his whim.

But last month, when Johnson abruptly asked for the resignation of public information director Steve Holub, it came with an unusual offer. Johnson promised to pay Holub $24,142 if he agreed not to sue the office and pledged to keep his mouth shut about anything he had observed during his eight months of employment there....

The five-page agreement, patterned after corporate releases, refers to the public elections office as "the Company," and warns that disclosing the terms of the agreement may result in "the Company" seeking "legal damages."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Scholastic squashes 'The Path to 9/11' guide

Children's publishing company Scholastic said that it is removing materials from its Web site originally created for use in conjunction with ABC's "The Path to 9/11" amid growing controversy over the docudrama...."After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues," Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic said in a statement. They will be replaced with materials stressing critical thinking and media literacy.

Media Matters for America review of The Path to 9/11 "resource sheets" and "discussion guide[s]" provided to teachers has found that the material omits critical information regarding the Bush administration's pre-Iraq war weapons of mass destruction claims; falsely suggests a tie between Iraq and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; gives upbeat accounts of reportedly dire conditions on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan; suggests that military responses to Osama bin Laden by the Clinton administration could have "hinder[ed] the U.S. stance on the war on terror"; and asks students to debate whether the media "hinder our national security."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Jeb Bush's Voucher Candidate Voted Down in Miami-Dade

In Florida's meanest and most expensive state Senate race, Miami Sen. Alex Villalobos was reelected Tuesday night, overcoming the millions spent by third-party attack groups and the ire of Gov. Jeb Bush, who helped run a candidate against the moderate Republican.

Villalobos said his squeaker of a victory over Miami-Dade School Board member Frank Bolaños was a triumph of the little guy over ''special interests'' in the state capital, which could face political gridlock with his return. He was to be Florida's first Cuban-American Senate president before he was cast out by the leaders of his own party.

Another reason for Villalobos' win: The unprecedented negative advertising blitz targeting him backfired on Bolaños and his supporters, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and an education lobby group, All Children Matter, that was miffed that he voted against a Bush school-voucher plan. [bankrolled by the families that founded Wal-mart and Amway.]

The group, All Children Matter, supports candidates nationwide who favor using public voucher money to send poor children to private schools. Also contribued was $10,000 from Betsy DeVos, whose family built the marketing company Amway and owns the Orlando Magic. The families have long been active in the school-choice movement.

[Frank Bolaños is one of the Miami-Dade School Board members who voted to censor a book about Cuba}.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Jeb's Bootlickers

Daniel Ruth in the Tampa Tribune satirizes the toadying,real-deal sycophantic,Jeb Bush lemmings.
the real conservative in this race since .. would wear a lampshade on his head and squeal like a pig if Jeb Bush so much as nodded in his direction."

See: The Battle to be Jeb's Lotion Boy.