Voices from Russia

Monday, 8 May 2017

Dissent Denied: “Emergency” US State Law to Silence Protesters

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New laws intended to punish those exercising their constitutional right to disagree with existing legislation and policy will now see possible fines of up to 1 million USD (58.1 million Roubles. 6.9 million Renminbi. 64.3 million INR. 1.37 million CAD. 1.35 million AUD. 910,000 Euros. 770,000 UK Pounds) in the US state of Oklahoma after legislators rushed “emergency” anti-protest laws into effect. The new laws allow for increased fines on those found guilty in Oklahoma of engaging in protest actions that result in the damage of infrastructure, especially oil and gas equipment. They also include a new wrinkle, in which the state could fine those who support, or “conspire” (in the terms of the bill), with the protest up to one hundred times the amount levied on the guilty party. The new statutes allow fines for up to 10,000 USD (581,000 Roubles. 6,900 Renminbi. 643,000 INR. 13,700 CAD. 13,500 AUD. 9,100 Euros. 7,700 UK Pounds) against anyone found guilty of simply intending to destroy infrastructure. The state can assess fines up to 100,000 USD (5.81 million Roubles. 690,000 Renminbi. 6.43 million INR. 137,000 CAD. 135,000 AUD. 91,000 Euros. 77,000 UK Pounds) if protestors actually do real damage. However, the real kicker is a 1 million USD fine for any person or organisation found to be supporting an activist found guilty, including, ostensibly, human rights groups or medical, legal, and logistical assistance at the protest site.

The laws are in direct correlation with increased attempts across America to stymie any dissent against new petrochemical infrastructure, including pipelines and fracking wells. Considered a major oil and gas transfer hub for much of the USA, Oklahoma has a long history of its state government acting as a front for oil companies. According to The Intercept, the town of Cushing OK (the so-called “Oil Pipeline Crossroads of the World”) and surrounding regions saw a striking rise in earthquakes during the fracking boom due to the pumping of a toxic mix of wastewater and chemicals directly into the ground. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is a vocal supporter of the new legislation.

Many are suspicious of the loose wording of the new Oklahoma anti-protest laws, however. Doug Parr, a lawyer who has represented several environmental activists in Oklahoma, told The Intercept that the statute’s claims are too broad:

Say they lock themselves to a piece of construction equipment, and a claim can be made that there were damages from that trespass. Does this statute create a civil action for a pipeline company to then go after a person or organisation that posted a bond or helped pay for a lawyer for that civil disobedience? Those organising peaceful actions of civil disobedience can now be heavily penalised if any attendee chooses to take on a solo act, such as spray-painting a message on a wall. Suppose an organisation decides they want to support a perfectly legal, no civil disobedience, action. Somebody in that crowd, who came to the protest at the request of that organisation, then jumps the fence and runs in there, and spray-paints on a storage tank, “This equipment causes earthquakes. Shut it down”. These statutes could be used to attack that organisation and impose financial liability on them.

The Sierra Club’s Oklahoma head, Johnson Bridgwater, pointed out the possibly illegal ramifications of the new laws, stating:

We don’t necessarily know everyone who’s attending the events. There’s a strong and real fear that this could be used as an attempt to crush a group or a chapter of Sierra Club unfairly.

Common Dreams identified 19 new anti-protest bills in the USA, as of April 2. Similar legislation in Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota aims directly at civil disobedience actions that seek to stop or limit the expansion of petrochemical operations. Many see new laws in Minnesota and other states as responses to previous protest actions blocking roads and highways after white police killed unarmed black men and women in US cities. Referring to an earlier high-profile action of civil disobedience seeking to shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Sierra Club’s Bridgwater observed:

We see all of these bills as nothing more than corporate America being fearful of how successful the Standing Rock protests were.

8 May 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/business/201705081053369767-us-state-law-silences-protest/

Friday, 3 October 2014

3 October 2014. As Seen by Vitaly Podvitsky. It Looks Like the West Has “Bird Flu!” 2014

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. Well, it looks like the west has 'bird flu'. 2014

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The USA should’ve kept its big mouth SHUT on the Hong Kong disturbances. Now, they’ve made the Chinese “lose face” in public, and it takes the Chinese DECADES to get over what they perceive as insults. They won’t say anything… but they wait for the opportune moment to get even. The Bear smiles… the clueless Anglo American toddlers did it again. Don’t they EVER learn?

BMD

Friday, 24 May 2013

Patriarch Ilia Regrets Clergy’s Ill-Advised Actions in 17 May Events

georgian-church-in-moscow

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On Wednesday, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili, the First Hierarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, said that Orthodox priests acted in an ill-advised manner during the developments on 17 May in downtown Tbilisi when a crowd led by Orthodox clergy disrupted an attempted anti-homophobia rally. Patriarch Ilia said at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, “What happened on 17 May is very regrettable. The ideas that [gay rights activists] wanted to propagate here are completely unacceptable in Georgia. However, it’s also very regrettable that Georgian clergy acted in an ill-advised manner, and I want to urge everyone to remain calm”.

Later that same day, the Georgian Patriarchate released a written statement expressing “regret” over the 17 May developments, saying that the Church would take “appropriate measure” against those clerics involved in the violence. The statement said that an attempt to hold a gay rights rally in downtown Tbilisi “was of provocative nature. In a country where the absolute majority of the population follows Christianity and other traditional religions, such rallies are perceived by the population as propaganda of homosexuality, which causes their fair protest”.

It said that venue of the intended rally, outside the former parliamentary building on Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, Rustaveli Avenue, was “an additional irritating and provocative factor”. It described the venue as having “strong emotional ties” to Georgia’s “historical memory and traditions”. The statement went on to say, “The country can’t tolerate legalisation of a sin. The Church loves human beings and because of this love, it fights against sin for the salvation of souls. Despite that, there’s no excuse for violence. We unequivocally distance ourselves from the aggressive actions from the part of demonstrators, which weren’t within either legal or religious norms. It’s regrettable that clerics were involved in these processes. These separate individuals damaged the entire Church. The Patriarchate will examine their actions and we’ll take appropriate measures. It should also be noted that if were not for the efforts of large part of clergy and brave actions of the police, consequences would have been much more severe”.

23 May 2013

Civil Georgia

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=26099

Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep it simple. Patriarch Ilia is going to lower the boom on the clerics nicked by the coppers. Then, he’ll say, “See, we disciplined these jabronies, there’s no need for you to act”. Trust me, that’s going to be the result. The Church CONDEMNS violence, even when it’s supposedly for a “good cause”, especially, when clerics egg people on to such acts. The Church paid bitterly for tolerating the Black Hundreds… I do daresay that it learned its lessons. The konvertsy can be quiet…  Patriarch Ilia’s gonna act, for charges have been laid against at least two of the clerics. We’re in Christ‘s Church, NOT the Church of the Grand Inquisitor.

BMD

 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Patriarch Ilia Called for Calm After Orthodox Groups Thwarted Gay Rights Rally

00 Patriarch Ilie of Georgia. 20.01.13

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Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, called for calm after violence erupted after aggressive anti-gay protesters, led by Orthodox clergy, thwarted a rally by a small group of gay rights activists to mark International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May. Patriarch Ilia said in televised remarks on Friday evening, “We distance ourselves from violence”. However, in reference to the gay rights rally, he said, “It’s something that shouldn’t be propagandised. We should know that this is a sin before God. We can express our sorrow without interfering in anyone’s private life. I hope that everything will calm down. I call on our people on all sides to go from the streets and return back home and to pray for each other”.

On 16 May, the Patriarch released a written statement calling on the authorities to ban the gay rights rally in downtown Tbilisi. Speaking to Orthodox believers gathered in Holy Trinity Cathedral, after the 17 May developments in Tbilisi, a senior cleric, Bishop Jakob Iakobishvili of Gardabani and Martqopi, said, “What happened today was an order coming from the nation. You know very well that the United National Movement required two-and-a-half months to gather 5,000 people [for its 19 April rally], then, they boasted, ‘See how many people we gathered’. Today, people came into [the streets] on their own initiative… Several millions would’ve come [into the streets] if needed”.

17 May 2013

Civil Georgia

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=26071

Editor’s Note:

What the Church opposes absolutely is “gay propaganda”… that is, the suborning of minors and gay rights marches are beyond the pale. On the other hand, the Church takes a nuanced view of individual homosexuals… unlike the crazed konvertsy in the USA and their hysterical leaders such as Paffhausen and Moriak (Paffhausen shouldn’t have thrown stones given his mentor and hierarchical sponsor… the roads in his case DO lead to Platina and Dallas). The Church does NOT agree with sectarian Evangelical nonsense.

In short… some people overreacted and the Patriarch made it clear that the Church doesn’t condone violence… even violence supposedly in the service of “morality”. We don’t resort to the iron boot to impose “moral behaviour” (such is a contradiction in terms, no?). That’s the way of it in Christ’s Church…

BMD

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