January 27 is the UN designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was liberated. Two Jewish men, who had survived months in that hell, finally tasted freedom that day, and went on to teach the world the lessons of the Holocaust.These men moved on to become authors and speakers; both are intelligent, thoughtful, and well-spoken, yet have arrived at very different conclusions about what the lessons of the Holocaust actually are.This enigma has puzzled me for years: how can two people with such similar backgrounds and experiences come away with such different viewpoints? What could explain the differences in their views?In the case of Elie Wiesel, the paragon of human rights champion, who protested against South African Apartheid, delivered food to starving Cambodians, and said that although the world knew what was happening in the Nazi concentration camps people did nothing. “That is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” Yet when it comes to Palestinians he can’t quite see their suffering and humiliation. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Yet another thorn for China: Newly formed Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Wisconsin pledge to fight until Tibet is Free

Madison, WI – On October 9, 2010Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Wisconsin celebrated the 41st Anniversary of the Tibetan Youth Congress Founding Day in association with RTYC-MN with a live band performance from Melong.The event began with speeches from the Presidents of RTYC-WI, RTYC-MN, and Wisconsin’s Tibetan Association Secretary. Wisconsin’s seven executive board members took a pledge to follow and uphold the Tibetan Youth Congress mission and bylaws in front of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s portrait. Over 150 Tibetans from the community came to support the newly formed RTYC chapter.The Founding event was successful. The support RTYC-WI received from the Tibetan community, RTYC-MN board members, and the inspirational songs from the band Melong reminded Tibetan youth just how far they have come since the inception of the Tibetan Youth Congress, inspiring board members to keep the Rangzen flame lit.The RTYC board members are a diverse group of young residents around Madison, brought together by Rangzen goals. There are a number of reasons they felt the need to start an RTYC-WI chapter.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Human Rights Day Demonstration, Thurs., Dec. 10, 11:00 – 1:00, U.S. Courthouse, Minneapolis

We are running out of time. In 2002, the United States began an official policy of torture. It was “legalized,” authorized and ordered at the highest levels of our government. 
Torture and conspiracy to torture are federal crimes. 18 U.S.C. Secs. 2340 and 2340A is the federal statute that criminalizes torture. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Endorsing China’s lies cannot change the truth

Tibetan Hopes During his maiden visit to China, President Barack Obama became the first American President in history to publicly make an acknowledgement that “we recognize that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China”. This recognition of Communist China’s spurious claims of sovereignty over occupied Tibet, drawn from a cynical cauldron of economic interest and geo-political considerations, has generated a sense of profound disappointment across the broader Tibetan community and also among those who cherish values of justice and democracy. FREE SPEECH ZONE The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. There was a genuine sense of belief that the President would transfer his message of change, hope and integrity to America’s somewhat tainted foreign policy. In the weeks prior to President Obama’s trip to China, Tibetans dared to hope that at last their struggle for freedom and human rights was strengthened by a statesman whose commitment to democratic principles and justice would mean that the rights of the Tibetan people are not ignored or marginalized. Continue Reading

Minnesota torture critics weigh in on Bush-era memos

The Minnesota Independent contacted four outspoken critics of America’s torture policies and practices for reaction to revelations about Bush-era treatment of prisoners. None of them said, “I told you so.” But the truth is … they told us so. On Monday, just as the nation’s interest in the torture issue was resurging, Miles’ 2006 book Oath Betrayed: America’s Torture Doctors came out in paperback. The new, updated edition reworks the original subtitle (”Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror”), delves into whether psychologists used interrogations to perform coercive experiments and provides a handy guide for book groups. Miles, a physician and University of Minnesota professor of bioethics, lauds the Obama administration for releasing four “torture memos” last week, but says that move alone is far from sufficient:
The decision [to release the memos] is another step to restoring international law and the United States’ role as a leader for civil society. Continue Reading

Minnesota Tenants Union Amicus Curiae Letter Defends Sheriff Dart’s Moratorium on Evicting Tenants from Foreclosed Buildings

Just One Example of the Fight for Recognition that Housing is a Human Right, More Important than Property Interest
The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.In coalition with tenant advocacy groups nationwide, the Minnesota Tenants Union has submitted a grass-roots Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) Letter to the Cook County judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by a California mortgage company to force Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart to evict tenants from foreclosed property. The Amicus Curiae Letter (see below) is co-sponsored by 8 tenant advocacy groups in New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis and calls on the judge to dismiss the mortgage company’s suit asserting that the company’s actions violated the human right to housing and the company’s failure to serve notice of its suit and underlying foreclosure action on the real parties in interest, the affected tenants. Sheriff Dart gained national attention earlier this month by publicly declaring a moratorium on evicting tenants from foreclosed properties in Cook County (Chicago area). His action brought a supportive response from tenant groups and others applauding his stand. Continue Reading