Member since: Fri Sep 23, 2011, 05:20 PM
Number of posts: 3,847
Number of posts: 3,847
(Reuters) - Sergei Bobylyov once ran a successful chain of computer shops in Russia called Sunrise. Now, the 43-year-old father of two is serving nine years for fraud in a case his family blames on a corrupt legal system abused by people out to steal his business.
His wife and daughters hope though that a six-month amnesty for jailed entrepreneurs, ordered by President Vladimir Putin and signed into law by parliament last week, will set him free.
More than 100,000 businessmen, many of whom are innocent, are in prison or face criminal proceedings, according to Boris Titov, hired in 2012 by Putin to protect entrepreneurs' rights.
Under the amnesty, between 3,000 and 10,000 people may be freed, according to official and lobby group estimates.
Critics point out that the amnesty fails to address corruption or tackle flaws in the legal system. Lengthy jail terms are too often handed down in cases that should be settled by civil suits and judges are too easily bought, with some publishing verdicts direct from the prosecutor's charge sheet - including spelling mistakes, they say.
They also say Putin tailored the amnesty to keep political opponents, former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky in particular, behind bars.
Calling it "an act of humanity", Putin announced the amnesty to applause from investors at an investor conference in St Petersburg last month, saying it was vital to create a more business-friendly environment in Russia.
The hostile legal environment has made it hard to succeed in business, legitimately, in Russia. A recent poll by the Levada Center, an independent opinion research group, said 38 percent of entrepreneurs want to emigrate.
At the centre of the problem is a legal system in which the collusion of law enforcement and justice officials is widely available, at a price.
"Someone needs to think about the law, and the system of law enforcement, prosecutors and judges, and change it from the bottom up," said Yana Yakovleva of Business Solidarity, a business rights campaigner.
On top of bureaucracy, criminal prosecution is another all-too-real problem for Russia's businesses. By 2011, one in six businesspeople in Russia had faced criminal charges, according to research by the Moscow-based Center for Legal and Economic Studies. About 120,000 people are serving prison sentences in Russia for economic crimes.
Yakovleva, the head of the business advocacy group, was a co-owner of a chemical company in 2006 when she was thrown in jail. She spent seven months in custody before her case was dropped. She claims the charges were brought by anti-narcotics police after she and her business partner refused to pay kickbacks on sales of an industrial solvent used in drug production.
"It doesn't matter if you abide by all the laws," said Yakovleva. " can always pay you a visit and accuse you of any absurd thing, which will then be approved by a court."
Posted by uhnope | Fri Jan 9, 2015, 05:51 PM (0 replies)
"Cult" might be too strong--they seem pretty harmless. But a hilarious vid.
In 1992 Richard Metzger produced a show which intended to expose the stranger cultural facets of America. Popular alternative icons of the time were asked to act as hosts of the show, interviewing different people in places that fit the model for the show.
Unarius, a cult based out of El Cajon, California, which believes in the existence of UFO's, who allegedly have direct contact with the "Space Brothers," aliens, many of which live in an underground city in Mars, and who practice "Past Life Therapy," among other unique practices and beliefs, were a perfect subject for the show.
Metzger recruited Jello Biafra (original frontman for the Dead Kennedys) to do an in depth interview of Unarius, questioning members and key leaders of the movement, including their founder,"Archangel Uriel" aka Ruth Norman.
Soon after filming this interview in 1992, all of the original footage was stolen and never recovered.
In 2014 Jello Biafra gave a copy of the rough footage to his friend Erleen Nada (musician and video artist), who had a long time fascination with Unarius. Driven by a need to share this incredible interview with the world, Erleen Nada edited the footage (with Richard Metzger's approval), to make it comprehensive for public viewing, and available for viewing on the internet.
Here for the first time ever, 22 years after the filming of this show, is the fascinating interview between Jello Biafra and Unarius.
Fore more info on this interview visit Dangerous Minds.net:
Posted by uhnope | Thu Jan 8, 2015, 11:19 PM (4 replies)
Pro-Kremlin news site Lifenews.ru:
Russian website Lifenews.ru ran an interview with a political analyst named Alexei Martynov, who suggested the militants were "the US intelligence services." Claiming the notion that the Muhammad cartoons motivated the attack "looks funny," Martynov said, "I am sure that American 'curators' are behind the events in Paris, behind those Islamists, in one way or another. The US is conveniently wreaking havoc in Europe with the goal of muzzling the common sense voices that are calling to restore cooperation with Russia."
Rush Limbaugh claimed that Obama's proclamation in his 2012 United Nations speech following the Benghazi attacks—"the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam"—emboldened the Paris attackers. "You have the president of the United States rationalizing barbaric behavior," Limbaugh said. "These actions have consequences."
Posted by uhnope | Thu Jan 8, 2015, 05:58 PM (2 replies)
Strange bedfellows: Putin, the Chomskyite left and the ghosts of the Cold War
So-called radicals who side with the Russian despot on Ukraine are stuck in a poisoned Cold War narrative
One of the weirder side effects of the Ukraine crisis and the West’s heated confrontation with Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been the reappearance of all kinds of complicated ideological rifts and conflicts left over from the Cold War. It’s as if the disease that afflicted and divided the world between 1946 and 1991 went into remission for 20-odd years but was never cured; given the right combination of rising temperatures, demagoguery and widespread confusion, the virus woke up and spread in all directions. Another way of looking at this question is that Cold War fever never abated in America but was diverted to other purposes, most notably the unsatisfying and amorphous “war on terror,” in which the goals, the tactics, the strategy and even the enemy were never entirely clear. In that context, the rise of a renewed Russian imperial power was almost a relief to the powers that be. It was like encountering a high school sweetheart who’s still looking foxy at the 20-year reunion dance.
The principal symptom of Cold War virus is a form of bipolar disorder, an insistence on viewing the world in Manichaean terms, divided into warring camps of good and evil, light and darkness. This seems to be such a fundamental component of human psychology that none of us ever resists it entirely; maybe it’s necessary to find absolute moral bedrock somewhere. Among the radical or progressive left, those people most likely to take a critical view of American policy and power, this bipolar disorder has produced many varieties of arcane self-torment and infighting over the years. In the old days, someone on the left was always available to apologize for the worst excesses of Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot or whomever: OK, maybe the Khmer Rouge prison-state wasn’t exactly paradise on earth, but Western aggression was mostly to blame and at least the cadres were fighting Yankee imperialism.
This lamentable tendency to make excuses for the inexcusable, and not infrequently to embrace tinpot tyrants on the flimsiest of ideological grounds, has reappeared alongside other symptoms of Cold War disease. Here’s where my own version of the disorder kicks in, I suppose: I identify with the impulse behind this tendency, but not so much with the results. It’s never a bad thing to be suspicious of the official narrative, as supplied by the State Department and the New York Times, which seeks to present the current Ukrainian crisis as a simplistic confrontation between the “forces of democracy” and the sinister, vodka-infused and quasi-totalitarian Black Hand of Sauron — I mean Putin. Amid the genuine worldwide shock and grief over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a heinous war crime presumably committed by pro-Russian rebels with Russian-supplied missiles, it takes rigor and courage (not to mention a certain analytical coldness) to observe that we’re not necessarily seeing the bigger picture.
Read more http://www.salon.com/2014/07/26/strange_bedfellows_putin_the_chomskyite_left_and_the_ghosts_of_the_cold_war/
Posted by uhnope | Tue Jan 6, 2015, 05:06 PM (9 replies)
Source: Mother Jones / AP
President Barack Obama is planning to veto a bill that would force approval of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, according to the Associated Press:
Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/01/breaking-president-obama-would-veto-congress-keystone-xl-pipeline-legislation-wh
Posted by uhnope | Tue Jan 6, 2015, 01:52 PM (25 replies)
ODESSA, Ukraine — On Sunday night a powerful explosion shook the heart of Ukraine’s most elegant city. The bomb went off right on the porch of the local Euro-Maidan Coordination Council, where volunteers store humanitarian aid for Ukrainian soldiers fighting Russian-backed forces in the east of the country. Authorities categorized the incident as “an act of terrorism,” the seventh bombing targeting strategic points of Odessa in the past few weeks.
The explosion destroyed the Council’s porch, tearing the entrance door to pieces, breaking windows in apartments on upper floors, and terrifying pedestrians on Gimnazicheskaya Avenue. Fortunately nobody was hurt seriously. But such are the tensions here that last week the central government in Kiev deployed two units of National Guards to launch an anti-terror operation in Odessa.
“We are convinced that money for terrorism comes from Moscow,” says Vitaliy Kozhukhar, a commander of Odessa’s self-defense forces. The special services of Russian President Vladimir Putin “seem to be happily organizing explosions in order to destabilize life in our peaceful city, which to their frustration does not want to become a part of Russia.”
Terrorism is bad news anywhere, but especially rough on Odessa, where the city motto seems to be “make love, not war.” It is the only tourist center Ukraine has left on the Black Sea, since Russia annexed Crimea last spring. Its graceful hotels and beautiful restaurants are totally dependent on the tourist trade. But most visitors stopped coming after the tragic events of May 2, when over 40 pro-Russian activists from the separatist movement and Ukrainian soccer fans were killed in a fire and in the violent clashes that surrounded it.
Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/06/is-putin-turning-to-terrorism-in-ukraine.html
Posted by uhnope | Tue Jan 6, 2015, 01:47 PM (4 replies)
As I listen to the news about the nightmare in the Middle East, it occurs to me that the current situation is a good match for the warnings/predictions of the antiwar forces--that if Bush went on with his private war to pretty much destroy Iraq, the destabilization would have unforeseeable results and could yield power to all sorts of extremist forces. Well now an army of beheaders claim their own country larger in area than the UK and their own oil-producing region.
I can't believe that Bush along with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Rice etc. aren't being tarred and feather daily
Posted by uhnope | Mon Jan 5, 2015, 05:51 PM (29 replies)
Incredible 20 minute report. Putin's patriotic youth organization "Nashi" is funded by the Kremlin and Big Business. Video from 2011--it's worse now.
Beginning: The police are afraid to stop these Nashi youths when they break the law
4:40: Nashi youth have the power to arrest and act as enforcers of shakedown/protection rackets
8:30 "N**GERS" Racism in Nashi
9:00 Nashi Putin cult of personality
0:30 Nashi death squad for dissidents?
1:00 Nashi harassing environmentalists protesting the clearcutting of old-growth forest for Putin crony business project
1:50 Nashi like "Hitler Youth" says environmentalist protester
6:00 Husband of dissident journalist sent to Siberia
9:00 police break up rally by small investors who lost money in government scam
10:00 positive signs: justice still possible
Unreported World: Vlad's Army - Putin's brave new world
Vladimir Putin's strongarm tactics are turning back Russia's clock to a time of corruption, intimidation and violence against dissenters, as seen in a new documentary
Posted by uhnope | Fri Jan 2, 2015, 08:39 PM (6 replies)
Ведьмы из Pussy Riot чистят Манежку
Manezhka Square is on the edge of the Kremlin and is the site of recent protests against the Putin regime.
Pussy Riot has released a new video ahead of the Russian court's verdict against opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The video, "Witches of Pussy Riot Clean Manezhka," calls for people to demonstrate outside the Kremlin on Tuesday. The clip features group members Masha Alekhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova cleaning Moscow's Manezh Square in preparation for the protests. “This is above all a propaganda video,” Tolokonnikova told BuzzFeed News.
Maria Baronova, an opposition activist, and Elena Kostyuchenko, a journalist and LGBT activist, join the band for the song, which repeats the same four words over in Russian: "Clean. Honest. Word. Deed."
Posted by uhnope | Wed Dec 31, 2014, 04:40 PM (2 replies)
Source: Guardian UK
Twenty activists including Masha Alyokhina from Pussy Riot were arrested in Moscow on Wednesday yesterday, after staging an all-night protest against the conviction of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg.
Several thousand anti-Putin demonstrators gathered in central Moscow on Tuesday after a court handed Navalny – Vladimir Putin’s most high-profile opponent – a suspended sentence, but jailed his brother for three-and-a-half years. Navalny broke a house arrest order to attend the rally and was swiftly detained. Riot police arrested more than 100 people.
A small group of activists including Alyokhina, and the anti-Putin blogger Arseny Bobrovsky, took refuge in a giant Christmas ball on Moscow’s Manezh Square, directly in front of the Kremlin. Despite freezing conditions they spent the night inside. They held up banners saying that they would “occupy the globe” until Oleg Navalny was freed.
At 8am Moscow time, the police moved in and arrested those inside. “They came from two directions, took everyone’s documents, and then literally used their arms to drag us out,” Alyokhina told the news portal Mediazona. She added: “I consider all those who came out and spent the night in the ball to be heroes. It was -20C.”
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/31/pussy-riot-activist-masha-alyokhina-arrested-alexei-navalny-protest
Posted by uhnope | Wed Dec 31, 2014, 03:56 PM (4 replies)