UPDATE, 7 JANUARY 2010: As groundviews' citizen journalist Sanjana Hattotuwa tells us in the comments field below, the UN has just confirmed the authenticity of the video and called on the Sri Lankan government to take appropriate action. Read the full press release here (thanks Sanjana!).
UPDATE, 15 DECEMBER: According to an independent investigator specializing in video forensics hired by The Times (UK), the Sri Lanka execution video is indeed authentic. According to the investigator, who is an instructor at the FBI National Academy, the video contains no evidence of editing, digital manipulation, or other special effects, but does contain subtle details consistent with a real shooting, such as smoke coming from gun barrels after shots are fired. Additionally, the expert found strong evidence that actors were not used - at that range, blanks would still cause serious injury or death, and the victims fall backward in a very realistic motion after being shot. The video was also found to have an embedded code matching the software found in Nokia mobile phones (The Sri Lankan government's investigators had claimed the video was shot on a sophisticated camera, not a mobile phone, as Channel 4 News had said).
Also contributing to the mounting evidence against the Sri Lankan government are the statements of retired General Sarath Fonseka, who claims that Sri Lankan Defense Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ordered the army to shoot surrendering Tamil leaders rather than imprison them. Fonseka is currently running for president against Rajapaksa, and has said he is not against a war crimes investigation.
UPDATE, 26 OCTOBER: Two new claims have been made concerning the veracity of the Sri Lanka video and investigations into its authenticity. Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a U.S.-based pressure group, sponsored a study of the video by an as yet unnamed U.S.-based forensics company. According to TamilNet, the study found that the video was not tampered with or doctored. The study also cast doubt on the Sri Lankan inquiry that deemed the video fraudulent, stating that the experts had analyzed a second generation video from News Channel 4's Web site, not the original footage.
Here's a remarkable video showing a Twitter revolt in action:
US: Detention without due process? Call on Congress to Restore Fairness
Jean Pierre-Kamwa came to the U.S. seeking shelter and freedom from persecution after being subjected to torture in Cameroon. Instead, he was greeted with 5 months of mandatory detention before ultimately being granted asylum.
June Everett lost her sister - a 53-year-old grandmother - after she was allegedly denied proper medical treatment whilst in immigration detention.
Ana Galindo, a legal permanent resident of the U.S., had her home raided without a warrant by armed immigration officers.
...and every story can create change.
Over the past year, WITNESS has partnered around the world with human rights defenders to tell the stories, on video, of human rights abuses. We've worked on the disappearances of women and girls in Mexico, the discrimination of women in Yemen, and the stories of political violence against women in Zimbabwe. Victims of human rights abuses tell their stories on video and those stories are used to create change.
Gary's Story: Take Action to Support Choice in Housing
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“When you break your arm, they put it in a cast. When your arm heals, they take the cast off—they don’t leave it on forever. If they left the cast on, your arm would become useless. Well, adult homes are like that. I went to an adult home when I couldn’t take care of myself, but when I got better, I needed to get out and take care of myself again. I didn’t need to be stuck there forever.” -- Gary
*This is the second post of our weekly series on Indigenous media.
Since I first heard of what folks were calling a 'YouTube for indigenous media' in early 2008, the word about IsumaTV has been spreading: in its first nine months the site registered almost 4 million hits. Since its birth, the internet portal for global Indigenous media has been reaching out and making a significant contribution to the online Indigenous media landscape. Though IsumaTV emerged out of a very interesting and prolific history of Inuit filmmaking practice, in this post I will be discussing the platform's increasingly global and political focus, made possible by a growing user base, new networking capabilities, and issue-based curation. The post is quite long, so if you are short on time, read up to the fold and bookmark IsumaTV to check out later. If you're really interested, keep scrolling!
For 30 years, New York State has placed people with psychiatric disabilities in large, institutionalized adult homes where many remain for the rest of their lives. On September 8, a Federal judge ordered New York to offer residents of large adult homes an opportunity to move into community-based supported apartments. NY State could appeal the judge's decision and delay action for many more months, if not years. We're calling on residents, friends, family members, and mental health practitioners to join our letter-writing campaign and ask Governor Paterson NOT to appeal this case. It's time to provide “decent housing, not warehousing,” for New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities.
UPDATE, 22 SEPTEMBER: Good news, but your help is still urgently needed! U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus released a list of proposed amendments that he was immediately accepting for addition to the health care legislation. This document - called the "Chairman's Mark" - includes the original health reform legislation plus the automatically adopted amendments. This will likely the base text that the Committee members will debate. The good news: the Elder Justice Act (EJA) was included in the Chairman's Mark. What does this mean for the EJA? It means that if the Finance Committee approves its version of health reform legislation later this week or next, the Senate will have once again approved the EJA. But we still need the U.S. House of Representatives for the EJA to become law. It also means that your voice is crucial for securing House support for the EJA - please act now.