Nora Ephron From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nora Ephron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Nora Ephron

Ephron in New York City, 2010
Born May 19, 1941
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died June 26, 2012 (aged 71)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia
Residence New York City, New York
Nationality American
Alma mater Wellesley College
Occupation Actress, screenwriter, producer, director, journalist, playwright
Years active 1973–2012
Notable work(s) SilkwoodWhen Harry Met Sally…Sleepless in Seattle,Julie & Julia
Home town New York City, New York
Spouse Dan Greenburg
(m. 1967-1976; divorced)
Carl Bernstein
(m. 1976-1980; divorced)
Nicholas Pileggi
(m. 1987–2012; her death)
Parents Henry Ephron,
Phoebe Wolkind
Awards BAFTA Award (1994), Crystal Award (1994), Ian McLellan Hunter Award (2003), Golden Apple Award (2009)

Nora Ephron (May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012) was an American filmmakerdirectorproducerscreenwriternovelistplaywright,journalistauthor, and blogger.

She is best known for her romantic comedies and was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay): for SilkwoodWhen Harry Met Sally… and Sleepless in Seattle. She won a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay forWhen Harry Met Sally…. She sometimes wrote with her sister Delia Ephron.[1] Her last film was Julie & Julia.[1] She also co-authored the Drama Desk Award-winning theatrical production Love, Loss, and What I Wore.[1][2]

Contents

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Early life

Ephron was born on May 19, 1941, in the Manhattan borough of New York City. She was the daughter of Phoebe (née Wolkind) andHenry Ephron.[1] Her parents were both screenwriters, born and raised on the US East Coast. Ephron was the eldest of four daughters in a Jewish family. When she was four years old, the family moved to Beverly Hills, California. She remained there until she graduated from Beverly Hills High School[1] and moved back East to attend Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.[3][4]

Ephron’s sisters Delia and Amy are also screenwriters, while her sister Hallie Ephron is a journalist, book reviewer and novelist who writes crime fiction. Ephron’s parents based Sandra Dee‘s character in the play and the Jimmy Stewart film Take Her, She’s Mine on their 22-year-old daughter Nora and her letters to them from college.[5] Both parents became alcoholics during their declining years.[4]Ephron graduated from Beverly Hills High in 1958. It was during her junior year there that she became interested in journalism.[6] She majored in political science and wrote for the weekly newspaper at Wellesley, from which she graduated in 1962.[6][7]

Career

This section incorporates text from this source, which is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this articleby adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(June 2012)

After Ephron graduated, she worked briefly as an intern in the White House of President John F. Kennedy,[8] and then moved to New York and became a “mail girl” at Newsweek.[9] She held that position for a year.[citation needed]

When New York City’s newspapers suspended publication during a strike by the International Typographical Union, Ephron and some of her friends, including the young Calvin Trillin, put out their own satirical newspaper. Ephron’s parodies of New York Post columnists caught the eye of the Post’s publisher, Dorothy Schiff. When the strike was over, Schiff hired Ephron as a reporter. The 1960s were a lively time for journalism in New York and Dorothy Schiff’s Post, at that time a liberal-leaning afternoon tabloid, offered Ephron a free hand to explore her favorite city from top to bottom.[8]

In 1966, she broke the news in the Post that Bob Dylan had married Sara Lownds in a private ceremony three-and-a-half months earlier.[10] While working at the Post, Ephron also began writing occasional essays for publications such as New York magazine,Esquire and The New York Times Magazine. Her work as a reporter won acclaim as part of the “New Journalism” movement of the 1960s, in which the author’s personal voice became part of the story. Her humorous 1972 essay, “A Few Words About Breasts,” made her name as an essayist. As a regular columnist for Esquire, and she became one of America’s best-known humorists. Her essays, often focusing on sex, food and New York City, were collected in a series of best-selling volumes, Wallflower at the Orgy, Crazy Salad, and Scribble, Scribble.[8]

In this position, Ephron made a name for herself by taking on subjects as wide-ranging as Dorothy Schiff, her former boss and owner of the Post; Betty Friedan, whom she chastised for pursuing a feud with Gloria Steinem; and her alma mater Wellesley, which she said had turned out a generation of “docile” women.”[5] A 1968 send-up of Women’s Wear Daily in Cosmopolitan resulted in threats of a lawsuit from WWD.[5]

While married to Carl Bernstein in the mid-1970s, at his and Bob Woodward‘s request she helped Bernstein re-write William Goldman‘s script for All the President’s Men, because the two journalists were not happy with it. The Ephron-Bernstein script was not used in the end, but was seen by someone who offered Ephron her first screenwriting job, for a television movie.[5]

Ephron enjoyed her greatest writing success with When Harry Met Sally (1989), a romantic comedy directed by Rob Reiner, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. The film struck an instant chord with audiences and became an international hit. Ephron had seen her parents’ writing careers falter in the 1950s,[citation needed] as they both fell prey to alcohol and the fickle fashions of Hollywood.[8] Ephron contemplated a transition to directing, in part to protect her own writing career in an industry still largely inhospitable to films by or about women.[citation needed] Unfortunately, This Is My Life (1992), her directing debut, about the struggles of a single mother working as a stand-up comic, was a box office disappointment.[citation needed] Ephron knew her future as a director would stand or fall with her next assignment.[8]

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) was co-written by Nora Ephron and her younger sister, Delia. Director Nora cast Harry and Sally star Meg Ryan, teaming her with Tom Hanks. The resulting film was an enormous success, and Ephron was now established as Hollywood’s foremost creator of romantic comedies. A follow-up film, Mixed Nuts (1994), was a commercial disappointment, but Michael (1996), starring John Travolta as an angel, enjoyed solid success at the box office. In You’ve Got Mail (1998), Ephron re-united Sleeplessstars Hanks and Ryan in a contemporary variation on the classic comedy, The Shop Around the Corner (1940). Ephron’s film also serves as a love letter to her beloved Upper West Side. With You’ve Got Mail, the team of Ephron, Ryan and Hanks scored another huge success.[8]

In the following years, Ephron pursued a wide variety of projects. She made an unexpected foray into writing for the stage with her 2002 play Imaginary Friends, based on the turbulent rivalry of authors Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy. She coauthored the play Love, Loss, and What I Wore (based on the book by Ilene Beckerman) with her sister, Delia and it has played to sold out audiences in Canada, New York City, and The Geffen Playhouse in California. She took another unusual tack with an offbeat big-screen adaptation of the 1960s television series Bewitched, starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell.

In 1994, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award.[11]

In 1996 she gave the commencement address at Wellesley College, her alma mater.[7]

In 2002 she produced New York Tribute, a film of collected clips from New York movies for the 2002 Academy Awards. Her 2006 collection of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman, immediately shot to number one on the The New York Times Best Seller list. In 2007, Ephron appeared in the feature-length documentary Dreams on Spec, which profiled three aspiring Hollywood screenwriters and offered wisdom from big-name writers like James L. BrooksCarrie Fisher, and herself.[citation needed]

In her film Julie & Julia (2009), she returned to a favorite subject — food — by telling the parallel stories of prominent food writer Julia Child and a contemporary Manhattan woman who sets out to cook her way through every recipe in Childs’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The film starred Ephron’s friend and previous collaborator, Meryl Streep, as Julia Child. In addition to her books, plays and movies, Ephron wrote a regular blog for the online news site The Huffington Post. Her 2010 collection of essays, I Remember Nothing, takes a humorous look at the aging process and other topics.[8]

Personal life

Ephron was married three times. Her first marriage, to writer Dan Greenburg, ended in divorce after nine years.[4] Her second was in 1976 to journalist Carl Bernstein, involved in exposing Watergate.[12] Ephron had an infant son, Jacob, and was pregnant with her second son, Max, in 1979 when she found out that Bernstein was having an affair with their mutual friend,[13] the married British politician Margaret Jay. These events inspired Ephron to write the 1983 novel Heartburn,[14][12]which was made into a 1986 film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep with a screenplay by Ephron. In the book, she wrote of a husband named Mark, who was “capable of having sex with a Venetian blind“.[4] She also said that the character Thelma (based on Margaret Jay) looked like a giraffe with big feet.[4] Bernstein threatened to sue over the book and film, but he never did.[5]

Ephron was married for more than 20 years to her third husband, screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, with whom she lived in New York City until her death.[12]

Although Jewish by birth, Ephron was not religious. “You can never have too much butter – that is my belief. If I have a religion, that’s it,” she quipped in an NPR interview about her 2009 movie, Julie & Julia.[15]

Ephron and Deep Throat

For many years, Ephron claimed to be among only a handful of people who knew the identity of Deep Throat, the source for news articles written by her husband Carl Bernsteinduring the Watergate scandal.[16] Ephron claims to have guessed the identity of Deep Throat through clues left by Bernstein.[16] Among them was the fact that Bernstein referred to the source as “My Friend”, the same initials as Mark Felt, whom some (correctly) suspected to be Bernstein’s source.[16]

Ephron’s marriage with Bernstein ended acrimoniously, and Ephron was not secretive about the identity of Deep Throat.[4] She told her son Jacob and has said that she told anyone who asked. “I would give speeches to 500 people and someone would say, ‘Do you know who Deep Throat is?’ And I would say, ‘It’s Mark Felt.'”[4] Classmates of Jacob Bernstein at the Dalton School and Vassar College recall Jacob revealing to numerous people that Felt was Deep Throat. The claims did not garner attention from the media during the many years that the identity of Deep Throat was a mystery. Ephron was invited by Arianna Huffington to write about the experience in The Huffington Post, and she went on to blog regularly for the site.[1][12][16]

Death

On June 26, 2012, at the age of 71,[1] Ephron died from pneumonia, a complication resulting from acute myeloid leukemia,[1] a condition with which she was diagnosed in 2006.[17]In her most recent book, I Remember Nothing (2010), Ephron left clues that something was wrong or that she was sick.[18] There was widespread reaction to her death with celebrities such as Meryl StreepBilly CrystalMeg RyanTom HanksAlbert Brooks and Ron Howard commenting on her brilliance, warmth and wit.[19][20]

Filmography

Awards and nominations

Essay collections

  • Wallflower at the Orgy (1970)
  • Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (1975), ISBN 978-0394497358
  • The Boston Photographs (1975)
  • Scribble, Scribble: Notes on the Media (1978), ISBN 978-0394501253
  • I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (2006)
  • I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections (2010)

Quotes

  • “Like most of my contemporaries, I first read The Fountainhead when I was 18 years old. I loved it. I too missed the point. I thought it was a book about a strong-willed architect…and his love life….I deliberately skipped over all the passages about egoism and altruism. And I spent the next year hoping I would meet a gaunt, orange-haired architect who would rape me. Or failing that, an architect who would rape me. Or failing that, an architect. I am certain that The Fountainhead did a great deal more for architects than Architectural Forum ever dreamed.” The New York Times Book Review (1968)
  • “…you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” Heartburn
  • “Maybe young women don’t wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case any of you are wondering, of course you can have it all.” 1996 Wellesley commencement.[7]

References

  1. a b c d e f g h Charles Mcgrath (June 26, 2012). “Writer and Filmmaker With a Genius for Humor”The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  2. ^ “Ragtime, The Scottsboro Boys, The Addams Family and Finian’s Rainbow Top Nominations for 2010 Drama Desk Awards”. May 3, 2010.
  3. ^ Telegraph obituary
  4. a b c d e f g Hawkins, Ed (March 4, 2007). “Get real – ageing’s not all Helen Mirren”.The Times (London). Retrieved August 16, 2007.[verification needed]
  5. a b c d e Brockes, Emma (March 2, 2007). “Everything is copy”The Guardian(London). Retrieved August 16, 2007.
  6. a b Keller, George (April 1970). “Nora Ephron: Tattling on Academe”. Change 10 (4): 38–41. DOI:10.2307/40177053JSTOR 40177053.
  7. a b c “Nora Ephron ’62 addressed the graduates in 1996”. Wellesley College.
  8. a b c d e f g “Nora Ephron Biography”. American Academy of Achievement. November 9, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  9. ^ Gail Collins (June 27, 2012). “The Best Mailgirl ever”The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  10. ^ “No Direction Home”. Da Capo Press. 1986. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
  11. ^ “Past Recipients: Crystal Award”. Women In Film. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  12. a b c d “Writer-filmmaker Nora Ephron dies at 71”. The Washington Examiner. 2012-06-27. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  13. ^ “For the truly vengeful, the pen (or word processor) is mightier than the sword”.Cosmopolitan. July 1, 1996. Retrieved August 17, 2007.
  14. ^ Rusty Unger (July 31, 2001). “Baroness Jay’s political progress”BBC News Online. Retrieved August 16, 2007.
  15. ^ Powell, Julie (2009-08-07). “Nora Ephron On Julie, Julia And Cooking Like A Child”.NPR. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  16. a b c d Ephron, Nora (May 31, 2005). “Deep Throat and Me: Now It Can Be Told, and Not for the First Time Either”The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  17. ^ Adam Bernstein (June 26, 2012). “Nora Ephron, prolific author and screenwriter, dies at age 71”The Washington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  18. ^ Friedman, Roger (June 26, 2012). “Nora Ephron Left Clues About Dying In Her Final Book”. Showbiz411.com. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  19. ^ “Celebrities react to the death of Nora Ephron”The Philadelphia Inquirer. Associated Press. June 27, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  20. ^ Matt Donnelly (June 26, 2012). “Nora Ephron: Celebs, Hollywood react to her death”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  21. ^ “Nora Ephron- Awards”. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved May 3, 2012.

External links

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Films directed by Nora Ephron
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Flystrike and Mulesing

Mulesing

 

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/mulesing.php

 

Flystrike and Mulesing

Flystrike is a major problem for sheep in the Australian wool industry. When a strike occurs, blowfly eggs laid on the skin of the sheep hatch into larvae, which feed on the sheep’s tissue. Flystrike can produce inflammation, general systemic toxaemia, and even death.

It is estimated that around 3 million sheep a year die as a result of flystrike in Australia (Wardhaugh and Morton, 1990). Many more are affected by non-fatal strikes.  
Very careful husbandry can protect sheep from flystrike without surgery (i.e. regular surveillance, crutching, insecticides etc). Unfortunately, given the large numbers run over extensive areas in Australia, and with very low labour levels, sheep do not receive this sort of care and attention.

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What is Mulesing?

Mulesing

In an attempt to reduce the incidence of flystrike in Australia, the ‘Mules’ operation was introduced in the 1930s.   Skin is sliced from the buttocks of lambs without anaesthetic to produce a scar free of wool, faecal/urine stains, and skin wrinkles.  Over 20 million merino breed lambs are currently mulesed each year.  Most will have their tail cut off and the males will be castrated (‘marked’) at the same time.

Mulesing involves cutting a crescent-shaped slice of skin from each side of the buttock area; the usual cut on each side is 5 – 7cm in width and extends slightly less than half way from the anus to the hock of the back leg in length. Skin is also stripped from the sides and the end of the tail stump. This surgical procedure is usually done without any anaesthetic1.

Mulesing does reduce (but does not eliminate) the incidence of breech strike, that is, flystrike around the buttocks.  Mulesing has no effect on the incidence of flystrike on parts of the body other than the buttocks.

 

 

 

On this page…

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Mulesing Causes Pain

There is also no doubt that mulesing is extremely painful.  In addition to the scientific measurement of highly elevate cortisol levels in mulesed lambs, researchers have also measured behavioural indicators.  When mulesed sheep were first released into a paddock they grazed and moved freely at first, suggesting some temporary pain relief from the endorphins. Soon, however, they showed abnormal behaviour which persisted to some degree for 72 hours and was described by Fell and Shutt (1989, p.2872) as follows: “Characteristically they stood with head down, nose almost touching the ground, back arched and body hunched and, maintaining this posture, they made sudden brief runs with a short, mincing gait quite unlike the steady walking of the controls.”

The mulesed lambs also showed strong avoidance of the person who mulesed them for 37 days. The work done by these researchers shows that lambs are in pain for at least 3 days following mulesing.  The large scars left after mulesing take several weeks to heal and are susceptible to infection and flystrike.

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Current Situation

In 2004 the Australian wool industry, concerned by the threat to their international wool markets due to revelations about the prevalence of this mutilation to lambs, and newly challenged by international animal rights group PETA, set itself a deadline of 2010 to phase out the practice. 

Since 2004 industry and government funding has been significantly increased to find alternate methods to reduce flystrike incidence (other than via mulesing).  Several methods are being trialled including the application of clips which stretch the skin and ultimately atrophy and thus remove the excess wrinkled skin, chemical compounds injected beneath the skin of the buttocks to have the excess wrinkles slough off, and projects to select and breed sheep with bare (wool-less) breach areas.

In the interim (until 2010) a new ‘appendix’ to the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – the Sheep, was introduced in 2006.  It provides further guidance on the best mulesing method, but is a voluntary code.  Because mulesing is described in this code and is thus considered an ‘acceptable husbandry’ practice, it is therefore exempt from the cruelty provisions of animal welfare laws.

Mulesing contractors – who go onto farms to mules (tail dock and castrate) lambs – are now required to be ‘accredited’ and new training courses have been introduced in the last two years.  Famers who mules their own lambs need not be trained and accredited until the end of 2008.

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Recent Developments

In March 2008 the NSW Farmers Association called for an immediate ban on mulesing in order to stave off threatened boycotts of Australian wool by up to 60 foreign (mostly European) retailers following further negative publicity in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. 

On the same day the Western Australian Department of Agriculture announced that it would end mulesing of lambs on its research stations forthwith.

What You Can Do

The most powerful message each of us can send to the wool industry is that caring consumers and community members will not support animal cruelty.  If you choose to buy wool products, enquire of the retailer whether the wool is ethically sourced (from sheep that are not mulesed—as a minimum!).  

Show Australia’s decision makers that the Australian public is appalled by the Australian wool industry’s cruel treatment of animals. Use the following key points to compose a letter to the editor of your local paper:

  • Mulesing, which involves cutting skin from the backside of an animal without pain relief is cruel and outdated.
  • Whilst the Australian wool industry continues to mules sheep, factory farm sheep for ‘ultra-fine’ wool and export live animals, they taint Australia’s international reputation.
  • Retailers throughout Europe have boycotted Australian wool from mulesed sheep in response to consumer concerns about animal cruelty.
  • In the past the Federal Government has unquestionably backed the wool industry. It’s time for the Australian government and the wool industry to wake up to the fact that Australians and the international public alike, will not tolerate animal cruelty.

Footnotes

1. Recently a topical analgesic spray ‘Trisolfen’ has been released under an APVMA trial, but its use in voluntary and not widespread
2. Fell, L. & Shutt, D. (1989), “Behavioural and hormonal responses to acute surgical stress”, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol 22 (283-294)

 

US court absolves Union Carbide of liability in Bhopal tragedy – asafeworldforwomen.org

http://www.asafeworldforwomen.org/economics-poverty/ec-central-and-southasia/2725-court-absolves-union-carbide.html

 

A group of survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy hold placards during a protest against Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the London Olympics, in Bhopal on Wednesday. Photo: A. M. Faruqui

 

A group of survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy hold placards during a protest against Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the London Olympics, in Bhopal on Wednesday. Photo: A. M. Faruqui

US court absolves Union Carbide of liability in Bhopal tragedy

Source: The Hindu (Additional Text: Wikipedia)

In a setback to 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy victims, a US court has held that neither Union Carbide nor its former chairman Warren Anderson were liable for environmental remediation or pollution-related claims at the firm’s former chemical plant in Bhopal.

US District Judge John Keena in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit accusing the company of causing soil and water pollution around the Bhopal plant due to the disaster, and ruled that Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and Mr. Anderson were not liable for remediation or pollution-related claims.

Bhopal disaster

The Bhopal disaster (commonly referred to as Bhopal gas tragedy) was a gas leak incident in India, considered one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes.

It occurred on the night of December 2–3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.

A leak of methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals from the plant resulted in the exposure of hundreds of thousands of people.

The toxic substance made its way in and around the shantytowns located near the plant. Estimates vary on the death toll. The official immediate death toll was 2,259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Others estimate 3,000 died within weeks and another 8,000 have since died from gas-related diseases.

A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.

The court ruled that it was Union Carbide India Ltd, and not its parent company UCC that was responsible for the generation and disposal of the waste that polluted drinking water, and the liability rests with the State government.

Plaintiffs Janki Bai Sahu and others had alleged that “toxic substances seeped into a ground aquifer, polluting the soil and drinking water supply in residential communities surrounding the former Bhopal Plant site”.

“The summary judgement record certainly indicates that UCIL consulted with UCC about its waste disposal plans and on non-environmental business matter like its strategic plan. However, nothing in the evidence suggests the necessity of UCC’s approval for the actions about which plaintiffs complain,” the court said in its order.

“Moreover, there is no evidence in this extensive record indicating that UCIL manufactured pesticides on UCC’s behalf, entered into contracts or other business dealings on UCC’s behalf, or otherwise acted in UCC’s name,” it said.

The industrial accident, the worst in Indian history, led to the leak of poisonous methyl isocyanate, claiming thousands of lives in the Madhya Pradesh capital.

In his written opinion, Judge Keenan concluded that UCC is not directly liable, nor liable as an agent of UCIL, nor liable under a veil-piercing analysis.

Reprieve – Listen to Linda Carty on BBC Radio 5 Live By Anita Digernes on 28 June 2012

http://www.reprieve.org.uk/tvandradio/2012_06_28_linda_carty_bbc_radio_5live/

Listen to Linda Carty on BBC Radio 5 Live

By Anita Digernes on 28 June 2012

Linda Carty

After having spent 10 years on death row in the US state of Texas, British grandmother Linda Cartyremains optimistic and is fighting to prove her innocence.

The British consulate was not notified of Linda’s arrest, nor that she was being charged with capital murder, and was therefore not able to assist with her case at this crucial stage. A catastrophically flawed trial led to her death sentence in February 2002. Since then, Reprieve has gathered significant evidence which – if presented at her trial – Reprieve believes could have proved her innocence.

In this interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Linda talks about life in prison, the case and her fight for the right to live.

With thanks to BBC Radio 5 Live.

Downloads

SATURDAY, JUNE 09, 2012 Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, The Very Definition of a Freedom Fighter

http://azarmehr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/hossein-ronaghi-maleki-very-definition.html

This weblog was created to act as a platform for the voice of secular pro-democracy activists in and outside Iran who are struggling against the religious dictatorship of the Islamic clerics in Iran. My favourite quote: “Evil only prevails when the good stay silent”

SATURDAY, JUNE 09, 2012

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, The Very Definition of a Freedom Fighter

Well before a fraudster named Austin Heap, was fooling the world that his non-existent Haystack software was breaking the internet filter barriers in Iran, a young Iranian computer genius, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, was the real hero who was helping the people of Iran achieve their inalienable right: ‘access to free information’.

At the time when Austin Heap was receiving Guardian’s Media Innovation Award and getting state department exemptions for a product that never existed, Hossein Ronaghi‘s proxies were demolishing the regime’s fortress walls which were attempting to contain and  control the flow of information to the Iranian people.

Hossein’s proxies which circumvented the regime’s online censorship, were released under the name of Babak Khorramdin, an ancient Iranian hero from the Azeri part of Iran, who resisted the Arab invasion for 22 years and died defiant like a true hero.

To pay for the costs of his proxies, Hossein, a computer student from Arak university, laboured on building sites. He had even bought a server inside Iran and continued to release his proxies during the post-election protests at the height of the internet censorship in Iran. Much of the footage that came through, which showed the regime’s brutality to the world, would not have come through, had it not been because of Hossein’s anti-filter proxies. In fact the Green Movement seemed to subside after Hossein’s arrest. Information was the life line of the Green Movement and the forces of the darkness had stifled it by imprisoning the modern day Babak Khorramdin.

Islamic Republic’s security agents were after Hossein Ronaghi ever since 2004. Mojtaba Saminejad, an Iranian blogger who was imprisoned in 2004, said his interrogators were pressuring him to say who Babak Khorramdin was in 2005. It was just lucky that Mjtaba didn’t know either.

Finally after many years of slipping through the regime’s net, Hossein was arrested in his home town of Malekan in East Azerbaijan province.

Iran’s intelligence ministry, furious at Hossein having given them the chase for so many years, came down on him with everything they had. Hossein was sentenced to 15 years in prison. His sentence sparked outrage amongst human rights organisations. Amnesty International said he is “held solely on account of his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression”.

In Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, Hossein spent 376 days in solitary confinement. His health has deteriorated and he has developed kidney problems. The Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards who are holding Hossein in Evin prison, are still raging at this one man who singlehandedly helped so much to promote freedom and have so far denied him medical attention.

Hossein however; has remained as resolute and as true to the spirit of the Iranian hero, Babak Khorramdin. His hunger strike in protest at his treatment and denial of his basic prisoner rights has caused deep concern and anxiety amongst many of his friends and supporters. The intelligence ministry agents even threatened Hossein’s father, telling him “if you speak too much, you too will be put in jail”. A threat they could easily carry out. Last week, Arash Sadeghi‘s 80 year old grand father was imprisoned for protesting ‘too much’ against his grandson’s conditions.

Unknown and un-praised in the West, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, is the true definition of a freedom fighter; who deserves much more international support.

As part of the campaign to release Hossein, many Iranian activists have emailed and written to Heather Gautney, the Fordham universitylecturer who recently went to the Islamic Republic and showered praise on the religious dictatorship in Iran. The campaigners want Heather Gautney to call for the release of Hossein from prison.

After all the propaganda the Islamic Republic made from Gautney’s trip and the interviews she gave, it would be hugely costly for the regime, if she only makes a simple public statement and asks for Hossein’s release.

As yet, this Wall Street Occupier and US university lecturer who lectures her Fordham University students on ‘social movements’ and is about to earn some extra cash from her latest book on “Global Justice”, has chosen to remain silent and not say anything to help release Hossein Ronaghi Maleki. 

Posted by at 2:47 AM 

Campaign to send emails for the jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki URGENT

  •  

    Campaign to send emails for the

     jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki  

    Iranian blogger on hunger strike close to death, warn fellow prisoners

    Hossein Ronaghi Maleki has been sentenced to 15 years for ‘insulting’ the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

    Hossein Ronaghi Maleki

    Iranian blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki

    Human rights activists have raised serious concerns about the health of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, an Iranian blogger on hunger strike in protest at his 15-year jail sentence and the authorities’ refusal to grant him prison leave despite severe medical conditions.

    Ronaghi Maleki, 27, was arrested in December 2009 following the unrest in the aftermath of Iran‘s disputed presidential elections. He was picked up from his father’s house in the city of Malekan in Iran’s province of East Azerbaijan and taken to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison where he spent 376 days in solitary confinement.

    Maleki who blogged under the nickname Babak Khorramdin (a reference to an ancient Persian freedom fighter from Azerbaijan) was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2010 on charges of “spreading propaganda against the regime”, “membership of the internet group Iran Proxy” and “insulting the Iranian supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] and the president [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad]”.

    According to the Committee for Human Rights Reporters in Iran, Maleki’s expertise was in computer programming and setting up websites aimed at circumventing online censorship and establishing ways to access blocked addresses.

    His sentence has sparked outrage among human rights groups including Amnesty International, which said he is “held solely on account of his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression”.

    While in jail, Maleki has developed a kidney disease and undergone at least four operations. He is currently kept in Tehran’s Hashemi-Nejad hospital awaiting another operation. He started his latest hunger strike on May 26.

    According to the blogger’s father, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, the authorities have so far refused to grant him medical leave despite receiving a doctor’s order to do so.

    This week more than 100 of Maleki’s fellow prisoners in Evin wrote a letter to the authorities warning that the blogger would die if not provided with appropriate medical care. In their letter, the prisoners warned Maleki might experience the same fate of Hoda Saber, a political prisoner who died last June on hunger strike.

    Hoda Saber, a 52-year-old activist from the opposition Nationalist-Religious movement, died after a cardiac complication, which his wife claimed at the time that was brought on by his hunger strike.

    ———————————–

  • We are asking everyone to send an email to US academic and friend of the Islamic Republic, Heather Gautney [gautney@fordham.edu] to speak for Hossein and ask for his release.

     Fordham university lecturer and Wall Street occupier, Heather Gautney, went on a trip to the Islamic Republic and showered praise on the religious dictatorship in Iran. She held several interviews after her trip where she continued to praise the regime and even went as far as saying She “did not come across one negative thing” during her trip.

    If Heather Gautney does decide to speak for Hossein, it will be a massive blow to the regime, after all the propaganda they made of Gautney’s visit. Even if she remains silent, it will show people like Gautney that going to bed with the Islamic Republic will have consequences.

    We hope you will take time and write a few lines and email Heather Gautney. We hope she will receive thousands of emails in her inbox about Hossein.

    You can find out more about Heather Gautney here:
    http://azarmehr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/heather-gautney-when-political-retards.html
    http://us.macmillan.com/author/heathergautney
    http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/15/an-occupier-in-tehran

    This weblog was created to act as a platform for the voice of secular pro-democracy activists in and outside Iran who are struggling against the religious dictatorship of the Islamic clerics in Iran. My favourite quote: “Evil only prevails when the good stay silent”

 

How Facebook Helped a Small Town Fight Back Against a Crooked Cop

http://prisonmovement.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/how-facebook-helped-a-small-town-fight-back-against-a-crooked-cop/

 

How Facebook Helped a Small Town Fight Back Against a Crooked Cop

27JUN

Friends and family of a woman murdered by a bad cop used social media to get answers and justice

 

 

Justice For Patricia Cook Page on FaceBook

 

Fifty-four-year-old Patricia Cook was shot to death on February 9 just outside a church parking lot in Culpeper, Virginia. The first two rounds, fired at point-blank range, tore into Cook’s face and arm. Another round, fired as Cook was driving away from the shooter, entered her brain. A fourth round severed her spine and veered into her heart, killing her. A telephone pole brought her Jeep Wrangler to a halt.

That week, local media in Culpeper (pop. 16,000) reported these few facts: Patricia Cook had been parked in front of Epiphany Catholic School for a long time and refused to leave. The school called the police. A Culpeper police officer confronted Cook. Cook rolled up the officer’s arm in her window and punched the gas. The officer did what he had to do to stop the vehicle and save his own life. The Virginia State Police were handling the investigation.

Cook was a 54-year-old homemaker and Methodist Sunday school teacher who hadn’t received so much as a speeding ticket since the 1970s. She enjoyedquilting and cooking for her congregation at Culpeper United Methodist Church. The Culpeper PD’s story didn’t sit well with Cook’s friends and family, but for months, it was the only one they would hear.

“After about the third week of February there was nothing else in the newspaper, or any other bigger outlet, on the story,” says James Jennings, the Culpeper resident who helped bring Cook’s story to the attention of national media. “By the end of March, it had been completely forgotten.”

Jennings, 56, is a former elementary school teacher and retired network engineer who’s lived in Culpeper since 1994. He didn’t know Cook personally, but says they shared some mutual friends. The week after the shooting, he read local media with a hawk’s eye, waiting for more information on the case. None came. (Anita Sherman, managing editor of the weekly Culpeper Times, rebuts this claim. “The Culpeper Times has carried stories relating to the Cook case on: 2/16, 2/23, 3/15, 3/22, 4/5, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, 6/7, 6/14, and 6/28,” Sherman wrote in an email.)

Local residents flooded the comment boards of the Star-Exponent*. Under the guise of anonymity, they defended “Pat” Cook, and called for an investigation into the Culpeper Police Department. “Two weeks after the shooting, [the publication] stopped that,” Jennings says of the message boards. “It deleted all the existing comments and all the existing discussion on that.” The paper relaunched with Facebook commenting, requiring people to identify themselves. At that point, the message boards for the small-town paper went silent. “I think people were afraid to speak up,” Jennings says, adding, “there are a couple of bullies in town.”

Once the commenting stopped, it was like Patricia Cook had never existed.

The sudden absence of concern about how and why Cook died filled Jennings with guilt. “I felt like, boy, you know, here’s somebody just needs to speak up and say something. And in town there was just a lot of pressure against people speaking up and saying anything. So finally I just decided that I had to do something about it. I’m a Christian,” Jennings added, “and I just kept thinking of verses, ‘I was hungry, you fed me. I was naked, you clothed me.’ And then I thought, ‘My life was taken from me, will you speak up for me?’”

Jennings created the Facebook page “Justice for Patricia Cook” on April 23. The About section reads, “Please consider joining our community, encouraging justice for the unarmed 54 year old woman who was shot by a Culpeper Police Officer, under questionable circumstances.” Beneath that description are the following questions: “What if it was your wife? What if it was your mother, sister, daughter? Would you be willing to sit quietly and say nothing? What if you pulled the trigger? Wouldn’t you want to see justice?” Jennings also created a petition on Change.org, calling for a special prosecutor to bring charges against the officer who killed Cook.

The page Jennings created caught the attention of regional media. On April 28, the Star Exponent ran a story titled, “Citizen seeks answers in Pat Cook shooting.” On May 1, the local CBS affiliate WUSA 9 ran a story titled, “Citizen Wants ‘Open Investigation’ Into Officer-Involved Shooting Of Patricia Cook.” On May 14, the Charlottesville-based alternative weekly The Hook reported on Jennings’ petition, which had caught the attention of Albemarle Sheriff Chip Harding, a leading authority on using DNA in criminal investigations. ”Culpeper silence: Citizens, top cop slam shooting inquest,” read The Hook‘s headline. After nearly three months of government silence, Jennings had turned Patricia Cook’s death into Virginia’s biggest story in just two-and-a-half weeks.

The increased attention eventually led to the discovery of a witness whose testimony turned the entire Culpeper story upside down. Kris Buchele, a carpenter who was working near Epiphany on Feb. 9, told WUSA9 that “[Harmon-Wright] was not dragged and that he shot [Cook] before she drove away”; that “he didn’t have his arm caught because the officer’s left hand was on the door handle and right hand was holding a weapon”; that “he distinctly saw her roll up the window all the way before the officer shot out the glass and killed her.”

In other words, the official report initially parroted by Culpeper media and the Virginia State Police had some pretty big holes.

The coverage generated by Jennings’ Facebook page and petition finally broke the wall of silence. The Fauqier County special prosecutor told media outlets in late April that a special grand jury had been convened, and that its investigation would be done by June. (The indictment came early: Harmon-Wright was charged with Cook’s murder on May 29; his mother, a former administrative assistant with the Culpeper PD, was also indicted for altering her son’s records to hide a history rife with police abuse and department reprimands.)

By June 21, the day the Culpeper Police Department concluded its own investigation and fired Harmon-Wright, eight regional media outlets, includingThe Washington Post, were filing daily reports about the Patricia Cook case.

The investigation into Harmon-Wright likely would have gone forward regardless of Jennings’ creation of a Facebook page. It may have even concluded in his indictment without pressure from the media. This is, for instance, Sherman’s take. “As far as Jennings Facebook page, he has caused quite a stir with it dividing many in the community and forcing them to take sides,” she wrote in an email to Reason. “I wouldn’t give him credit for pushing the process forward. It has moved at its pace and can be perceived as moving slowly or expeditiously depending on your perspective.”

Continue Reading @ Reason.com

 

 

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