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Apr 2013 30

by D.S. Wood

D.S. Wood is a Canuck journalist who occasionally takes an interest in news outside the scope of his day job in the mainstream media. He reached out to the family of Sunil Tripathi to get their take on amateur sleuths and mainstream media failing their lost loved one, and spoke with Sangeeta Tripathi, Sunil’s sister, for 45-minutes by phone.


Sunil Tripathi (center) with his sister, Sangeeta Tripathi (left) and brother, Ravi Tripathi (right).

Shaken by bomb blasts in Boston, Sangeeta Tripathi returned to Providence to discover the missing younger brother she’d moved there to find was labeled a suspect.

He was called a terrorist.

He was called a killer.

He was called one of the most wanted men in America.

Sunil Tripathi was none of these things.

He was a 22-year-old student at Brown who left his apartment early in the morning March 16 never to come back.

He was not a terrorist.

He was not a killer.

He was not among America’s most wanted until someone – who in a grainy image pulled from a surveillance camera maybe bore a slight resemblance to him – planted homemade bombs about the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15.

“It was striking and painful for us,” Sangeeta says.

As those first pics of suspects are released, the internet decides it’s going to find the terrorists.

On Reddit, a user says they recognize one of them. Went to school with this guy, looks just like him –– name’s Sunil Tripathi. On Twitter, somebody says they heard that name spoken over Boston Police Department radio waves. All over The internet word is spread, complete with Photoshopped images showing that grainy surveillance pic alongside one swiped off the Facebook page of a family desperately trying to find out what’s become of a missing member.

Retweet, retweet, retweet.

Three days after the bomb blasts, that Facebook page was hit with accusatory message after accusatory message and Sangeeta says her phone rang off the hook with media calls requesting words with the family of the bomber.

“It got way out of control,” Sangeeta says.

“Hearing the confidence that people on multiple media platforms were speaking with (without evidence) was absolutely shocking…if that’s the bar, it’s a pretty worrisome bar.

“We were 100% completely sure this was not Sunil at all.”

By the end of the week the authorities had two suspects accounted for –– one dead and one probably just wishing he was –– and sure enough, neither was an Indo-American Brown student.

***

Sangeeta always told “Sunny” he was too smart for her. He was apt with computers –– if something wasn’t working the way it was supposed to you took it to him.

He was musically inclined — he played the saxophone. He had just a year left at Brown, taking philosophy. Boy genius.

Then, in the early morning hours of March 16, it seemed the world opened up and swallowed him, leaving no real trace to be found.

He was just gone.

“He was taking a bit of time off to slow down a bit and get things together,” Sangeeta says. The night before he disappeared, Sunil had gone out to dinner with his best friend, phoned his grandmother, and sent a text message to his aunt.

“He turned off his computer at 1:14 AM (and then) he left at 1:34 AM,” Sangeeta says. “He left alone…His wallet, IDs, book bag, bicycle –– he left everything in his apartment.”

It wasn’t long before Sunil’s doting family descended on Providence, with no intention of leaving until they found him.

It brought the family closer together; Sangeeta doesn’t remember the last time the lot of them were under one roof day in and day out like that, and she thinks it’s helped each of them deal with what has otherwise been a nightmare.

“It’s been very beautiful and interesting to watch,” she says.

A private family, there was a lot of hesitance to take the effort online –– and they couldn’t have known then the turn it would take –– but they made a choice to set up a Facebook page. They figured social media could only help.

***

It’s ironic, Sangeeta says, that she, her other brother and their uncle were in Boston for the marathon and the madness that ended it, given what happened after.

One of Sunil’s friends, who had joined the search in Providence, was in the event, and they’d come out to support him, she explains. Maybe 10 blocks away from them, one explosive went off, and then another one quickly followed.

***

On the one-month anniversary of Sunil’s disappearance, instead of renewing the push to find him, his family was shutting it down. When connections were made between one of their own and the horror they’d witnessed, they went dark.

They closed the Facebook page.

They stopped taking calls.

They sat and waited for this second nightmare to run its course.

“We felt that any statement from any family member wouldn’t be the best use of our energy,” Sangeeta says.

“No,” she says, when asked if, in hindsight, she thinks speaking out might’ve made any difference. “There were many strong currents at play and those strong currents were bigger than us…[We were in] the challenging position of trying to sit tight.”

Their emotional reserves already low, Sunil’s family watched helplessly as the online footprint of their missing loved one suddenly grew, greatly, but into something far, far darker.

Nothing dies on the internet.

Nothing goes away.

It all lives forever, waiting for the right combination of keywords to be typed into search engines.

In the aftermath of the Boston bombing, the right combination was simply “Sunil Tripathi.”

Even now his family is still waiting for it to end.

“If you search his name right now there’s still a lot of traffic that’s not associated with our love and our search for him,” Sangeeta says.

Because someone said they thought they recognized someone.

Because someone said they thought they heard something.

Because someone with basic Photoshop skills had nothing to do one night.

***

The internet gave a collective “Oops” when done praising itself for inching out the traditional media that week, which had been taking cues from Twitter feeds and cop scanners anyway.

After the Tsarnaev brothers were identified, Sunil’s family re-opened the Facebook page and those accusatory voices were replaced by apologetic ones. Sangeeta says several media outlets have phoned her back to express regret.

On Reddit, a blog post from the site’s general manager Erik Martin states:

“Though started with noble intentions, some of the activity on Reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties…

“We have apologized privately to the family of missing college student Sunil Tripathi, as have various users and moderators. We want to take this opportunity to apologize publicly for the pain they have had to endure…”

What the family of Sunil wanted was for the search to move forward –– he was still missing and still missed –– and sadly that’s exactly what happened.

After a month with no answers, Sangeeta and the others finally have one. But it’s the last one they would have wanted: Sunil Tripathi is dead.

A body was pulled from the water off of Providence April 23 and the family has released a statement saying it is indeed their loved one.

Along with expressions of grief over his loss and gratitude to those who aided the quest to solve the mystery of his disappearance, in a statement from the family, which Sangeeta emailed to me, was one last thought on the unexpected, unwanted circus that surrounded the family:

“As these days have shown us, the media is a powerful tool to be used carefully. We hope you continue to exercise caution and treat human lives with delicacy…This last month has changed our lives forever, and we hope it will change yours too.

“Take care of one another. Be gentle, be compassionate. Be open to letting someone in when it is you who is faltering. Lend your hand. We need it. The world needs it.”

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Apr 2013 30

by Dustin Slaughter

Oral histories of political movements give us glimpses of the participants who helped shape the world we know today. They often provide raw, personal first-hand accounts of peoples’ struggles. These projects also help to maintain historical truths that are often tainted by government revisionism and lost to cultural amnesia.

Tacit confidentiality agreements between historians and interviewees are naturally crucial to the birth of these histories.

So what happens when the Department of Justice and the Police Service of Northern Ireland decide to violate the spirit of a treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom by subpoenaing a confidential collection of taped interviews detailing Northern Ireland’s militant past?

The purity of historical record, as well as fundamental First Amendment issues like freedom of the press, and more specifically source confidentiality, are now under attack by none other than US prosecutor Carmen Ortiz – the same district attorney criticized for what many people called overzealous prosecution that likely led to activist Aaron Swartz committing suicide – and the DOJ, at the behest of Northern Ireland’s police forces. These parties apparently see fit to enflame a tenuous peace in Northern Ireland by tearing open historical wounds through their desire to prosecute former Irish Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries for unsolved crimes.

Beginning three years after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, heralded by some as the beginning of a new – and peaceful – chapter between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, journalists Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre began tape recording interviews with members of Irish paramilitaries and their Loyalist foes. Their objective was to contribute a better academic understanding of what motivated otherwise ordinary individuals to join the armed conflict, as well as document the turbulent and important history known as The Troubles. They concluded their interviews in 2006 and the Belfast Project is stored today in Boston College’s Burns Library.

The lynchpin of the project was the confidentiality agreement McIntyre and Maloney forged with participants – from both sides of the conflict – some of whom divulged the names of militants. The stories were not to be released without their written consent or until their death.

Fast forward to 2011, when the Department of Justice, by way of a Clinton-era initiative called the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), attempted to force Boston College to release the tapes by recklessly (and improperly, as I’ll address below) subpoenaing these confidential interviews at the behest of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Authorities claim that Belfast Project interviews will assist in investigating the re-opened case of Jean McConville, who was kidnapped and murdered by the Provisional IRA in 1972. Current Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, among others, have been implicated in the crime. Republican militants admitted their culpability some 20 years later.

Some, like Anthony McIntyre – a writer, historian and former IRA member who was jailed for 18 years in Northern Ireland’s infamous Long Kesh prison and was released in 1996, believe the motivation for the subpoena is more complicated – and sinister – than a mere desire to solve a horrible crime that happened in 1972 however.

“[The justice angle] does not have much traction, given that the PSNI was heavily involved in using law enforcement to break the law and immerse itself as a player in the conflict [during the Troubles],” he tells me through email.

“It is certainly not interested in solving homicides per se. It is interested in the selective solving of some homicides. Hence we have killings involving state agents not being pursued but others involving people opposed to the state pursued.”

The checkered history of Northern Ireland’s security forces supports McIntyre’s suspicion that the subpoena is politically motivated. The former incarnation of the PSNI, from 1922 until 2001, was the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). This law enforcement organization has a storied history of human rights transgressions, as detailed in a number of reports, including one issued in 1991 by Human Rights Watch, which cite a wide range of abuses against Irish nationalists and which also point out numerous instances of RUC collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries.

Most notably, two members of a special anti-terrorist unit within the RUC known as the Special Patrol Group were convicted in 1980 of giving aid to Loyalist forces in the form of transportation, kidnappings, shootings and bombing attacks.

Besides these two Special Patrol Group members, no RUC or PSNI officers have ever been charged with crimes.

But it is what McIntyre calls the “retire and rehire” phenomenon taking place within the RUC-turned-PSNI that gives him the greatest doubt that Good Friday Agreement reforms have changed the police force’s apparent anti-nationalist leanings. A watchdog audit of the PSNI in 2011 found that almost 20% of the over 5,000 RUC officers laid off under reforms were rehired. The report describes the organization’s apparent reversion to its RUC roots as “out of control,” according to the Guardian, which ran the story in October 2011. The push to enter more Irish Catholics into the police force, a key reform from Good Friday, is clearly being rolled back.

And the Boston College subpoena, in light of all this, may very well be a political fishing expedition designed, at least in part, on hunting down old enemies of the British state.

Two plausible scenarios could emerge if the DOJ and PSNI are successful in accessing the Belfast Project interviews: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will face prosecution for his alleged involvement in Jean McConville’s murder. Irish nationalist rage would likely spill out into the streets of Belfast.

Conversely, the PSNI may do nothing with the archive. If that happens, McIntyre tells me, “the British government decides it is too politically sensitive – not least for what may be revealed about their own knowledge and activities – to bring forward any criminal prosecution. Loyalist reaction to this will be, predictably, outrage. They will hardly accept, especially given the lengths that the British are going to obtain this material, that it was worthless.”

Clearly, either outcome could set off the tinderbox – and the two journalists who created the project have, since 2011, been consumed with preventing the potential unraveling of Northern Ireland’s peace process.

They’ve also rushed to protect what they correctly perceive as an erosion of journalistic freedoms enshrined by the First Amendment here in the U.S. More on this latter point shortly.

Anthony McIntyre and Ed Maloney began their protracted legal battle with prosecutor Ortiz after Boston College refused to appeal a lower court’s decision that the DOJ’s grab at the archives was legitimate. The two men found support from the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Irish American Coalition, all of which added amicus briefs to the case. After two years of overturned appeals, McIntyre and Maloney finally kicked the case up to the Supreme Court – only to have the High Court refuse to hear it last week.

With that final blow, every legal avenue is now exhausted.

This leaves only a political redress through a newly-minted Secretary of State John Kerry who, before taking the post this year, served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In a January 2012 letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kerry expressed concern “about the impact that [the subpoena] may have on the continued success of the Northern Ireland peace process.”

Senator Kerry added: “It is possible that some former parties to the conflict may perceive the effort by the U.K. authorities to obtain this information as contravening the spirit of the Good Friday Accords.”

As noted earlier, the DOJ’s actions most certainly violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the U.S. – U.K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. In a report submitted by Senator Richard Luger in September 2006, Luger states:

“The Senate’s understanding [is] that the purpose of the Treaty is to strengthen law enforcement cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom by modernizing the extradition process for all serious offenses and that it is not intended to reopen issues addressed in the Belfast Agreement or to impede any further efforts to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland.”

Kerry and Luger were not alone in their concern.

New York Senator Charles Schumer expressed consternation that the DOJ’s subpoena not only threatened to destroy a fragile peace across the Atlantic, but that it targeted freedom of the press. In a letter sent to both Secretary of State Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder, Schumer stated:

“There are significant issues of journalistic confidentiality and academic freedom that are called into question as a result of this legal maneuver that make it dubious…I have always been a champion of protecting sensitive source material that is gathered by researchers – journalists and academics alike—and I am concerned that this action presents an infringement on that underpinning of the First Amendment.”

One need only look at the DOJ’s dogged pursuit of activists, such as the late Aaron Swartz, to see how far the Justice Department will go to score wins in court. It is not a stretch to believe they could use subpoenas to violate journalist-source confidentiality in future cases.

With over 100 similar bilateral assistance treaties between the U.S. and other countries in existence today, the threat this subpoena poses may have far-reaching – and unimaginable – consequences for international political movements, freedom of dissent and our own First Amendment.

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Apr 2013 24

by Blogbot

This Thursday April 25th on SuicideGirls Radio we’ll be discussing the myriad of problems associated with the antiquated and arcane Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the dire consequences online activists are facing because of it. Hosts Nicole Powers and Moxi Suicide will be joined in studio by filmmakers Brian Knappenberger (@KnappB) and George Russell (@HollywoodDIT), who are making two very different documentaries that explore the plights of hacktivists ensnared by the CFAA’s very arbitrary web.

Brian’s film, The Internet’s Own Boy, will focus on Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January of this year after being relentlessly pursued by prosecutors. George’s film, The Hedgehog & The Hare, is centered around the case of Andrew Auernheimer (a.k.a. Weev), who was recently jailed for three and a half years for little more than embarrassing the fuck out of AT&T.

We’ll also be joined via Skype by Andrew’s attorney, Tor Ekeland (@TorEkelandPC), who is also currently defending former Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys against charges related to hacking. Additionally, infamous and hilarious Twitter personality and friend of Andrew’s Jaime Cochran (@asshurtACKFlags) and human rights activist Sara Jafary (@shokufeyesib), who is helping with jail support for Andrew, will be Skyping in to the show.

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

***

_About Aaron Swartz Documentary – The Internet’s Own Boy

The new film by Brian Knappenberger, director of We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, follows internet activist and programming pioneer Aaron Swartz from his teenage emergence on the internet scene and involvement in RSS and Reddit, to his increased interest in political advocacy and the controversial actions he allegedly took in downloading nearly four million academic articles from the online service JSTOR. The film explores Aaron’s arrest, the prosecution’s tactics in bringing the case to trial through the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the impact a seemingly small hacking gesture had on Aaron’s life and the future of information access on the internet.

Help make this documentary happen by donating to the Kickstarter for The Internet’s Own Boy.

***

_About The Hedgehog & The Hare – Andrew Auernheimer & the CFAA

After the tragedy of Aaron Swartz and his prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act gained international attention, filmmakers Krystof Andres and George Russell began to hear about Andrew Auernheimer. Andrew’s CFAA case seemed even worse than Aaron’s from a legal perspective because Andrew had never actually hacked anything: he simply gave publicly available email addresses on an AT&T webpage to a journalist, with the aim of revealing the cavalier attitude which corporations can often take toward protecting customer’s private information. No reasonable person would say Andrew had committed a crime, let alone one that merited three and a half years in federal prison (he was sentenced in March). The Hedgehog & The Hare will tell Andrew’s story and ask the question: why would most of the media and our government get it so wrong?

Help make this documentary happen by donating to the Kickstarter for The Hedgehog & The Hare.

***

_About Tor Ekeland

Tor handles business transactions and litigates civil and criminal matters in Federal and New York State courts. His clients include small business owners and creatives who need solutions tailored to their unique circumstances. After starting Tor Ekeland, P.C. in December 2011 he immediately began defending alleged AT&T iPad email hacker Andrew Auernheimer (aka “Weev”) in his federal criminal prosecution for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He is currently on the legal team defending former Reuters Social Media editor Matthew Keys.

For more information on Tor and his work visit torekeland.com/.

***

_About Sara Jafary

Born in the United States and raised in Iran, Sara Jafary returned to America at the age of 16 to go to college. She has always been concerned with social and economical issues. During the aftermath of Iran’s fraudulent election, she participated and helped organize over 50 high profile protests highlighting the plight of the Iranian people. During this time, she witnessed how internet freedom played an integral role in the spread of information and aided in protecting the lives of those who were reporting the atrocities of the Iranian government. Because of this, she started to gather knowledge on how to circumvent surveillance and became proficient in anonymity. During the Occupy Wall Street uprising, she branched out into activism for social justice for all, not just Iran. She considers internet freedom to be the saving grace our generation and something we need to protect at all costs. The speed at which, it provides and spreads knowledge and truth, has turned lying into a very difficult task. Laws such as CFAA, have only been implemented when spreading the truth has been destructive to a powerful entity. Its inherit vagueness allows for a very broad interpretation, which subsequently leads to disproportionate punishments that do not fit the “crime” or non-crime in Andrew Auernheimer’s case. “Andrew sacrificed his freedom to appeal and abolish this law,” says Sara, “the least we can do is to ensure that we are helping him accomplish this task.”

For more on Sara, follow her on Twitter.

**UPDATE**

ICYMI You can view last night’s show – which features a surprise appearance from the legendary Danny Dantalion – at tradiov.com or via the player below.



Video streaming by Ustream

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Apr 2013 23

We’re pleased to announce that activist comedian and SG contributor Lee Camp, who made his name bringing laughter to OWS encampments across the nation (and for calling Fox News a “parade of propaganda” and a “festival of ignorance”), has been appointed to the Green Shadow Cabinet.

Here’s an excerpt from an official Green Shadow Cabinet statement which explains how this alternative opposition American government will work:

Dr. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, the 2012 Green Party presidential and vice-presidential nominees, marked the beginning of Earth Week by announcing a new Green Shadow Cabinet that will serve as an independent voice in U.S. politics, putting the needs of people and protection of the planet ahead of profits for big corporations. The Cabinet will operate in the tradition of shadow cabinets in other countries, such as the United Kingdom and France, responding to actions of the government in office, and demonstrating that another government is possible. The Green Shadow Cabinet, includes nearly 100 prominent scientists, community and labor leaders, physicians, cultural workers, veterans, and more, and will provide an ongoing opposition and alternative voice to the dysfunctional government in Washington D.C..

And here’s a few words from the Green Shadow Cabinet’s new Secretary of Comedy & Arts…

The Ridiculous Reality of Government Has Surpassed Humor and Satire

by Lee Camp

I’m honored to have been chosen as the Secretary of Comedy and Arts for the Green Shadow Cabinet. However, I must say that I feel I have the hardest job in the entire governmental body — far more difficult than, say, the President or that other guy who makes the President’s decisions. Why do I believe I have the hardest job? Because we live in a country where reality has lapped satire and surpassed humor altogether.

We live in a country where Congress is unwilling or unable to pass any sort of meaningful Wall Street reform immediately following the largest financial crime and collapse, mankind has ever seen. We have a government that passes the STOCK Act to stop government officials from trading on insider knowledge, but then just last week they pass a new bill UNANIMOUSLY that guts the prior one. We have a government that prosecutes whistleblowers far more strenuously than they go after the fraudsters, banksters, and murderers exposed by those whistleblowers. How am I supposed to create comedy when reality is as ridiculous as anything can be?! Only fiction like Catch-22 and 1984 can EVEN BEGIN to describe the reality in which we live.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is set to be the largest trade deal in history, likely giving international corporations the right to bring legal action against the United States for enforcing our own environmental laws. So we’re passing a trade deal to give other countries the right to tell us what to do on our own land?! How does a comedian go about exaggerating that? We live in a hyperbole! We exist in an inflated dark metaphor that cannot be topped!

On the warfront, the Pentagon, to their credit, realized we were killing too many civilians in Afghanistan. So they came up with a bold new solution. They changed the definition of the word “civilian” to exclude anybody of military age. The military now has the power to change the definition of words?! Up is down. Right is wrong. Inside is out. And it’s my job to mock it?! I can’t mock it — I’m too dizzy!

My point is simply that I’m honored to hold this position at which I can’t possibly succeed. In a world where the reality is comedy, I guess I’m just the anchorman.

Lee Camp is the Secretary of Comedy and Arts for the Green Shadow Cabinet. He is a comedian whose website is www.LeeCamp.net, has web video show YouTube. He has appeared in numerous forums, notably Showtime’s “Green Room with Paul Provenza” and “Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann

[..]

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Apr 2013 23

by Brad Warner

Every once in a while I meet someone who says she became interested in Buddhism because Buddhists were never involved in religious persecution or holy wars. I always hate to break the news to them that this is, unfortunately, not entirely true.

It is true that Buddhism has been largely free of really large scale wars and persecutions based directly on religion such as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the conflicts in Israel and Northern Ireland and so on. In fact, if you go to Wikipedia’s page on religious persecutions and religious wars, you find no major persecutions by Buddhists, and the only religious war listed involving Buddhists is an uprising of the Buddhist majority in Vietnam against the pro-Catholic policies of Ngo Dinh Diem in 1966. Not exactly a war in which one religion sought to conquer or convert another by force.

But that doesn’t mean that just because someone declares him or herself to be Buddhist that the person is free from ever behaving like a dick. Brian Victoria caused a lot of people to question their belief in perpetually peaceful Buddhists when he published Zen At War, a book that examined how Buddhist institutions in Japan were co-opted by the government to support the cause of nationalistic violence during World War II – much like the Catholic church was similarly co-opted by the Nazis. Even today similar stuff keeps happening.

The latest of those who would try to use Buddhism as a way of promoting intolerance and violence on a national level is U Wirathu, an ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk in Burma who has been accused of inciting violence against Muslims in his country as leader of the “969 movement.” He has become known as the “Buddhist bin Laden” for his activities. In Sri Lanka, Sinhalese Buddhists have formed what they call the “Buddhist Strength Force,” another group seeking to persecute Muslims in the name of Buddhism. Just last week three Bhutanese Buddhist monks were accused of raping a teenage girl in India. You can read about all of these incidents in detail here. I’m sure this won’t be the last we’ll see of violence and stupidity in the name of Buddhism.

The easiest response to all of this would be to say that those involved weren’t really Buddhists, even if they were legitimately ordained since they failed to understand the most basic teachings of Buddhism. Some people have argued that certain verses in the Qur’an or the Bible can be used to justify violence and religious intolerance. But it would take a lot of work to find anything similar among the Buddhist literature, although the Buddhist sutras far outnumber the canonical religious writings of Christianity or Islam, so I’m sure someone could dig something out of there if they tried hard enough. There’s nothing I’m aware of but there are mountains of sutras out there and you could probably find some little snippet that sounds nasty if you wanted to sift though a lot of stuff.

Even so, none of the reports I’ve seen have mentioned any of these Buddhist bully-boy organizations citing the scriptures and teachings of Buddhism as a justification for their actions the way other religions often do. The closest thing I’ve come across to that is that the Sri Lankan group apparently opposes the Muslim practice of halal butchering and meat preparation as being against the Buddhist teachings of non-violence toward animals. But this seems to me like a real reach for some kind of scriptural justification. And I don’t see how you can enforce non-violence against animals by engaging in violence against humans.

Some folks were getting upset over the fact that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was not speaking out more strongly against the Buddhist based violence in Burma and Sri Lanka. However, this is actually a smart move on his part. Most Buddhists in Burma and Sri Lanka don’t regard the Dalai Lama as their leader. Far from it. They regard him something like the way Irish Protestants view the Pope, as kind of an interloper who has no business telling them about their religion. It would only incite more violence if the Dalai Lama took a strong stand.

Generally we Americans and Europeans don’t know much about Buddhism, so we make a lot of incorrect assumptions. This is excusable because all we have to go on is what we get from our woefully ill-informed mass media and cartoonish references in pop culture.

But interestingly it’s we Westerners who seem to grasp the basics of Buddhism enough to see the innate absurdity of stuff like the Buddhist persecutions in Sri Lanka and Burma better than lots of the folks in those countries. While I’m sure there are plenty of Burmese and Sri Lankan Buddhists who know how ridiculous this is, this stuff wouldn’t be happening at all unless there were also plenty of people in those countries who consider themselves Buddhists but really have no clue at all what the whole point of Buddhism is.

That’s pretty sad. But it’s no sadder than Christians murdering Muslims in their quest to spread Jesus’ philosophy of love or Muslims murdering Christians to spread Mohammed’s message of brotherhood. Religions divide people. And when Buddhism is viewed as a religion, it can be used almost effectively as any other as an excuse for viciousness and just plain human foolishness. You have to stretch things a bit, but it can be done. Human beings are good at that. We’ll find a way.

But the rest of us don’t have to accept it. We can and should point out how ridiculous this is. If we can shame the assholes persecuting others on the basis of Buddhism by knowing their religion better than they do, then we ought to do just that. Not in a malicious way, mind you. But it might be useful to subtly make some of the folks over there who are participating in this kind of nonsense aware that there are people far away who actually take “their” religion more seriously than they apparently do.

It’s disappointing to discover that even those proclaiming themselves to be Buddhists can still act like real jerks. But people are what they are. Acting like a jerk, however, is definitely not what the Buddha taught.

[..]

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Apr 2013 17

by Blogbot

This Thursday April 18th on SuicideGirls Radio hosts Nicole Powers and Moxi Suicide will be joined in studio by Katherine Pawlak, Jake Hogenson, and Nicolas Perez a.k.a. the awesome LA indie-pop band Sad Robot.

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

_About Sad Robot

Sad Robot is an LA-based band on the rise. Their songs feature an unwavering theme of revolt against the big machine. Perhaps that is why this powerhouse group has yet to sign with a major label. From their fervent ballads to their banging anthems, Sad Robot walks a tightrope of their own design just above what is expected from pop-inspired indie rock. The x-factor that makes Sad Robot stand out from other indie bands is their soul. Frontwoman and keyboardist Katherine Pawlak brings an Adele-like sound to the group’s vocals. With Jake Hogenson on drums and Nicolas Perez on guitar, Sad Robot is a uniquely balanced ‘Holy Trinity’ of sorts. Because they draw from a wide variety of genres for inspiration, Sad Robot’s song repertoire is guaranteed to have something for everyone.

Sad Robot released their debut album, The Beginning of the End, in 2011. They are twice nominated by the Hollywood Music and Media awards in the alternative category. Their music has been featured in numerous films, on the 2013 Winter X Games, as well as on the Oxygen network show Bad Girls Club and the promo for the popular Fox TV series Bones.

For more info, friend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

**UPDATE**
ICYMI: The recording of our April 18th show featuring an interview with, and amazing live performances from, Sad Robot can now be viewed on Ustream, and via the player below.



Video streaming by Ustream

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Apr 2013 12

by Laurelin

Throughout my life I have prided myself in being an individual. I know most people think that of themselves and it is true. There are also those who change with their surroundings, chameleons in the light of day who will adapt and like what you like for the sake of being agreeable. These people have a mind of their own, buried somewhere beneath the need to fit in. I tend to scoff at these people, because even with their blending they stand out simply for being… lost. I see myself in these people sometimes, and it makes me want to cry.

In high school Zack rode BMX bikes and my girlfriends and I decided that we wanted to do that too. I saved up $200 and bought a Gary Fischer bike, and we would ride with the boys after school. I wasn’t good at it, but it made him happy and I wanted that. I fell and bruised my tailbone going down a half pipe once, mainly because I had no business even attempting that shit. Zack rode bikes down half pipes, not me.

After him it was John. John loved house and trance music. I didn’t really get it in the beginning, but when he held my hand and kissed me for the first time at Crobar in New York City at a Tiesto show I was hooked. I listened to everything I could get my hands on, and even after he was long gone I still craved that beat, breathing in the music like it was a drug. I’ve got Tiesto lyrics painted in ink and needles on my left ankle, so I never forget that the music was beautiful, the best thing to come out of what John and I had.

John also wore a lot of black. He had spiked black bracelets on his right wrist and black jelly bracelets on his left. He had metal 10-gauged earrings that clinked together when I touched his face, and for years after him I wore the same bracelets. To this day my 10 gauged metal earrings clink when anyone touches my face.

JC and Ryan both played the drums and they were gone I took a few drums lessons. I wore a skirt to my first one and my teacher laughed and laughed. We made it work and as the weeks went on, I realized I couldn’t hold a steady beat to save my life.

Then there was Dave…he loved professional wrestling. We watched Monday Night Raw every week and I would sit with his roommate’s girlfriend staring blankly at the TV, not quite understanding what was going on. As time went on, I started figuring it out. I started recognizing people week to week, learning their entrance music and being able to say, “I like that guy! He does flips.” Dave struggled to get me to like it, and by the end I would admit to only tolerating it mildly.

However, that mild tolerating came in handy when I met a guy who actually does that stuff — I wound up being able to catch a live pro wrestling event while visiting some friends from college in Washington DC and I was hooked. The crowd, the bright lights, I was just captivated. When Dave found out what I was getting into he couldn’t hide his annoyance: “I tried to get you into this for years and you wouldn’t have it: you meet one guy who DOES it and you change your tune?”

In my defense, it’s a lot cooler up close and way more fun when you can cheer for someone you know is a good dude who loves his job.

I also wasn’t aware of how much athleticism is involved, and as someone who is constantly looking for ways to make working out interesting, this fascinated me. This was a whole world I had never even really been open to, but all of a sudden it was all consuming. A local women’s wrestling group took me in almost immediately, saying they had had their eye on me through a friend of a friend for a while and I could just start coming to practice. After my first one, I was hooked.

A few months later I was approached by a local independent men’s wrestling group who wanted to start having women wrestle for them; I was familiar with them and immediately said yes. I start training at their pro-wrestling facility next week. I couldn’t be any more excited, but I can’t help but look back and wonder whose life it belongs to. If you were to have asked me last year if I’d consider taking up wrestling, I would have laughed and called you crazy. Now I’m wearing shiny gold spandex, body slamming and dropping microphones. And I’m not bad at it!

I guess I’ve always been a little wild, a little boy crazy. When these boys leave I have parts of them with me even if I don’t mean to and that’s a hard thing to admit. I wonder if they carry any pieces of me with them. And I wonder if they ever feel lost…

[..]

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Apr 2013 11

by Blogbot

This Thursday April 11th on SuicideGirls Radio hosts Nicole Powers and Moxi Suicide will be joined in studio by SG model Bradley Suicide, extreme piercer Chris Saint, and punk rock princess The Fabulous Miss Wendy. We’ll be talking sex, piercing, and rock & roll – and may be doing two out of three LIVE on air!

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

_About Bradley Suicide

Raised to be the epitome of a California Girl, Bradley Suicide has the blonde beach girl thing on lock. She grew up in the town of Sonoma in the heart of California wine country, but just wasn’t cut out for small town life. She got the tattoo and party itch at a young age and hasn’t looked back since.

Upon graduating from culinary school with a degree in Baking and Pastry Bradley moved to Huntington Beach and then, most recently to Las Vegas where she keeps the party going, double fisting drinks and sending ridiculous tweets – all while covered in glitter.

Highlights of Bradley’s days, on the rare occasion that she is not working, include skateboarding, relaxing by the pool (drink in hand), and creeping on people’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. She loves the beach, cheap wine, good beer, spicy food, boys with accents and tattoos, and baseball season.

Bradley has modeled for SuicideGirls.com since 2010, has been featured in Inked Magazine, appears in music videos, and is the writer of the Confessions of A Reluctant Dater column as featured on SuicideGirls.com.

For more info find Bradley on SuicideGirls and follow/friend her on Twitter and Facebook.

_About Chris Saint

English born and raised, Chris Saint restarted his piercing career by relocating to Los Angeles in 2007. Working in the heart of Hollywood, Chris focused himself on precision, creativity and presentation, and before long had succeeded in building a solid reputation within the piercing community.

To date Chris’ work, including his surface anchor arrangements, can be seen in publications worldwide, on television networks including MTV, FUSE, OXYGEN, E!, and in music videos by artists such as From First Till Last, Angels & Airwaves & Marilyn Manson.

Chris has been a member of SuicideGirls since 2007, and is now an extremely proud member of the Club Tattoo, Las Vegas Team.

For more info visit Chris’ Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

_About The Fabulous Miss Wendy

After touring with Slash, Hollywood’s punk-inspired rock princess The Fabulous Miss Wendy is co-headlining the national Femme Fest 2013 tour with Hear Kitty Kitty and openers The Theodora Kelly Project and Mahi Gato. Wendy is taking to the highways in support of her new album No One Can Stop Me!” (Not Dead Yet Records), produced by the legendary Kim Fowley (The Runaways).

No One Can Stop Me! is a street-level battle cry that resonates from the underbelly of Hollywood. The opening title track of the album speaks to Wendy’s unbeatable determination and passion while “Miami” is the true story of sultry adventures and steamy parties under the hot Florida sun. Her song “Silicon Assassin” is also the theme song for the new sci-fi web series by the same name and starring Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica).

In true DIY style, Wendy initially turned to Kickstarter to complete the funding for her album. She got it from 112 backers and then hit the studio with producer Kim Fowley who, among many other accomplishments, discovered The Runaways.

Wendy started her music career with only $20, but she was eventually nominated for LOGO’s “Ultimate Sexiest Videos” weekly contest alongside videos by the likes of Lady Gaga. Wendy did two tours of duty to play for American troops in Iraq before going on to tour with Slash.

For more info visit Wendy’s website, Facebook and Twitter.

**UPDATE**
ICYMI: The recorded of our April 11t show featuring SG model Bradley Suicide, extreme piercer Chris Saint, and punk rock princess The Fabulous Miss Wendy is now up on Ustream and can be viewed via the player below.



Video streaming by Ustream

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