| Oscar Pistorius Indicted for Murder of Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp!

Oscar Pistorius Indicted for Murder of Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp ~ Devon Maylie, Speakeasy, WSJ.

Getty Images
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius appears in Pretoria Magistrates Court for an indictment hearing on August 19, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa.

PRETORIA – Oscar Pistorius stood in the middle of the courtroom holding back tears. Behind him to his right, family members sat with their arms wrapped around each other — every now and then breaking into impromptu prayer sessions. To his back left, the best friends of his slain girlfriend,Reeva Steenkamp, sat teary eyed.

Neither side spoke to one another. Although physically separated by only a foot-wide aisle, the distance between the two camps appeared much wider.

Mr. Pistorius, nicknamed the “Blade Runner” for his carbon fiber prosthesis, will return to court next March (2014) to face the charge of premeditated murder for the killing of Ms. Steenkamp. On Monday, the state submitted its indictment sheet—but he wasn’t formally charged.

Monday would have been Ms. Steenkamp’s 30th birthday.

The Myers family, close friends of the blonde fashion model and paralegal Ms. Steenkamp, made sure those in attendance didn’t forget the woman at the center of the case. As the Pistorius family filed out of court, the Myers family lawyer read out a statement.

“Not a day has gone by that anyone who ever came into contact with Reeva Steenkamp hasn’t thought about her,” the Myers family said. Instead of celebrating her birthday, they said, the day “will now mark a court appearance relating to her untimely passing six months ago.”

Little was said during the 10 minute court appearance. Judge Desmond Nair asked how the athlete was doing.

“I’m OK under the circumstances, your honor,” Mr. Pistorius replied in a hushed voice absent of all the confidence he once exuded on the track. The Olympic and Paralympic athlete Monday looked tired, less fit and – like many others in the courtroom — ready to cry. Mr. Pistorius sobbed through his first court appearance in February, after the Valentine’s Day shooting.

Ms. Steenkamp was killed by three of four bullets Mr. Pistorius fired through the bathroom door. Mr. Pistorius said at the time he believed a burglar was inside. The state said in its indictment sheet Monday that it has witnesses who heard a woman screaming, followed by the sound of gunshots.

The usual media crowds showed up for the latest chapter of the Pistorius saga, the unlikely story of how a 26-year old runner with no legs became famous and rich through sponsorship deals – and how it all came crashing down with the shooting of his girlfriend.  Cameramen clamored on top of one another to push their lenses within a few inches of “Blade Runner’s” face.

But the frenzy had died down.

Six months ago, reporters elbowed their way past burly security guards for a coveted seat in the tiny Pretoria Magistrate Court courtroom C. Some came away with black eyes. On Monday, the courtroom was full, but no one had to fight for a space. Fewer international media flew in for the court appearance.

The Pistorius family said it’s eager to move forward – even if it’s toward a trial that will bring more intense media scrutiny. “We are grateful that a trial date has been set and that we can now start preparing for the court case,” his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said later in the day.

Meanwhile, Ms. Steenkamp’s closest friends gathered to remember her at the Meyers’ home in Johannesburg, opening a bottle of champagne in a quiet gathering, the family’s lawyer Ian Levitt said. He said Ms. Steenkamp had wanted to be in Las Vegas for her 30th birthday.



| Stephen Hawking and 7 other celebrities who’ve Boycotted Israel!

Stephen Hawking Israel Boycott: 7 Celebrities Who’ve Done It Too ~


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British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has announced his withdrawal from the upcoming Israeli conference in Jerusalem as part of an academic boycott to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

After initially agreeing to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference, hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, the world-renowned scientist has now changed his mind.

According to a statement by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, Hawking’s move was “his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.”

Hawking’s decision to boycott, however, is not unaccompanied.

Here’s a list of numerous celebrities from across the globe who have also boycotted the country in an effort to promote the Palestinian cause:

1. Stevie Wonder

Performer Stevie Wonder decided not to perform as a gala benefit for Friends of the Israel Defence Forces’ in Los Angeles last December. 

“Given the current and very delicate situation in the Middle East, and with a heart that has always cried for world unity, I will not be performing at the FIDF Gala,” Wonder said in a Guardian article. “I am and have always been against war, any war, anywhere.”

2. Meg Ryan

In 2010, Hollywood actress Meg Ryan cancelled plans to attend the Jerusalem film festival after an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla left nine dead earlier that year.

Although Ryan did not specifically cite the country’s actions as a reason for opting out of the event, associate director of the Jerusalem Cinemateque, Yigal Molad Hayo, said “it became quite clear that [it] was the reason.”

“A day after the flotilla incident we got an email saying she was not going to attend,” said Hayo in a Guardian article. “Although they claimed it was because she was too busy it was clear to me that it probably had something to do with what had happened.”

3. Dustin Hoffman

Actor Dustin Hoffman also joined his colleague Meg Ryan in opting out of the annual Jerusalem film festival following Israel’s raid in 2010.

4. Elvis Costello

In 2010, Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello cancelled two summer performances in Israel citing that it was “a matter of instinct and conscience” to protest the treatment of Palestinians.

“There are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act …” Costello wrote on his website. “And it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.”

5. Julianne Moore 

In August 2010, a new cultural hall in the West Bank settlement of Ariel prompted a group of Israeli directors, actors and playwrights to perform in the building in protest of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians.

Oscar-nominated actress Julianne Moore joined numerous other Hollywood stars in lending her support to the boycott by signing a statement by the group Jewish Voice for Peace that praised the Israeli artists for having “refused to allow their work to be used to normalize a cruel occupation which they know to be wrong, which violates international law and which is impeding the hope for a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

6. Ken Loach

British-based director Ken Loach pulled his film Looking for Eric out of the Melbourne International Film festival in 2009 after organizers refused to reject Israeli government sponsorship. 

According to a Daily Telegraph article, Loach, who objected to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, were “part of an orchestrated campaign to target events that receive financial support from Israel.”

7. Emma Thompson

Two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson joined a group of 35 other artists protesting the participation of Tel Aviv’s Habima theatre at the Globe to Globe festival in London last summer. The Israeli theatre group was invited to perform The Merchant of Venice at the Shakespeare festival.

Thompson together with her fellow actors and industry artists signed a letter that argued Habima had “a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory. Last year, two large Israeli settlements established “halls of culture” and asked Israeli theatre groups to perform there. A number of Israeli theatre professionals — actors, stage directors, playwrights — declared they would not take part.”




| Morrissey issues second statement on Thatcher!

Morrissey issues second statement on Thatcher ~ Art, SUPAJAM.


Here’s another statement The Smiths‘ singer Morrissey made about the passing of Margaret Thatcher today, even more cutting than the one he made yesterday:

The difficulty with giving a comment on Margaret Thatcher’s death to the British tabloids is that, no matter how calmly and measured you speak, the comment must be reported as an “outburst” or an ”explosive attack” if your view is not pro-establishment.

If you reference “the Malvinas”, it will be switched to “the Falklands”, and your “Thatcher” will be softened to a “Maggie.” This is generally how things are structured in a non-democratic society. Thatcher’s name must be protected not because of all the wrong that she had done, but because the people around her allowed her to do it, and therefore any criticism of Thatcher throws a dangerously absurd light on the entire machinery of British politics.  

Thatcher was not a strong or formidable leader. She simply did not give a shit about people, and this coarseness has been neatly transformed into bravery by the British press who are attempting to re-write history in order to protect patriotism. As a result, any opposing view is stifled or ridiculed, whereas we must all endure the obligatory praise for Thatcher from David Cameron without any suggestion from the BBC that his praise just might be an outburst of pro-Thatcher extremism  from someone whose praise might possibly protect his own current interests.

The fact that Thatcher ignited the British public into street-riots, violent demonstrations and a social disorder previously unseen in British history is completely ignored by David Cameron in 2013. In truth, of course, no British politician has ever been more despised by the British people than Margaret Thatcher.

Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday will be heavily policed for fear that the British tax-payer will want to finally express their view of Thatcher. They are certain to be tear-gassed out of sight by the police.

United Kingdom? Syria? China? What’s the difference?”



| Her gig cancelled after tirade, Michelle Shocked plays outside in protest!

Her Gig Canceled After Tirade, Michelle Shocked Plays Outside in Protest ~ LARRY ROHTER, New York Times.

Michelle Shocked outside Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Thomas Vincent Mendoza/Associated Press. Michelle Shocked outside Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz, Calif.

After the punk-folk singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked made remarks critical of homosexuality and same-sex marriage while performing in San Francisco two weekends ago, clubs around the country responded bycanceling bookings they had made with her. But that hasn’t stopped her: Thursday night she turned up outside one such club with her face covered and her mouth taped shut to protest the way she is being treated.

The site of the sit-in staged by Ms. Shocked, who in the past has acknowledged being involved in lesbian relationships but now describes herself as a born-again Christian, was Moe’s Alley, in the university town and hippie haven of Santa Cruz, Calif., south of San Francisco. Seated outside the club with a mask across her mouth that read “Silenced by Fear,” she did not comment about the backlash against her onstage outburst, but instead pointed to a series of posters that had been placed above her head.

Her scheduled performance was canceled after she made anti-gay remarks at a show in San Francisco.
Thomas Vincent Mendoza/Associated PressHer scheduled performance was canceled after she made anti-gay remarks at a show in San Francisco.

“Does speech really scare you that much?” one inquired. Another asked “Is it possible Michelle Shocked was a target of fear-mongering in the name of a protection racket?” The most prominent reflected directly on the recent controversy: “What would you say to Michelle Shocked if you had waited to hear her side of the story vs. what was reported? Were you there?”

Dressed in a disposable safety suit, on the back of which was written “Gimme Wit Not Spit,” Ms. Shocked, 51, sat on the ground outside the club and strummed an acoustic guitar. Rather than engage spectators in conversation, she pointed to another sign, which invited people to use a marker and write their comments on her all-white outfit.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Shocked, who was raised in a religiously conservative household and is reported to have spent some time as a teenager in a psychiatric hospital, issued a Twitter message advising followers of what she planned to do. “It’s an art project,” she wrote. “’My Summer Vacation.’ I want your autograph. Bring Sharpie.”

At one point, the owner of Moe’s Alley, Bill Welch, came out to talk to Ms. Shocked. But he later told The Associated Press that he neither planned to rehire her nor take further steps against her. “We will not be bashing Michelle Shocked,” he said. “Rather we will celebrate music, diversity and send some healing Santa Cruz energy her way.”


free bird2


| Rebekah Brooks’s cringe-worthy text to David Cameron but WHERE’VE his replies gone?

Rebekah Brooks’s text to David CameronGEORGE EATON, New Statesman.

“Let’s discuss over country supper soon … professionally we are in this together.”

David Cameron with Rebekah Brooks. Photograph: Getty Images.
David Cameron with former Sun editor and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks. Photograph: Getty Images.

Here’s the full version of Rebekah Brooks’s cringe-making text to David Cameron, which has just been revealed during the latter’s appearance at the Leveson inquiry.

Sent 7 October 2009 16:45

But seriously I do understand the issue with the Times, let’s discuss over country supper soon. On the party that’s because I had invited a number of NI people to Manchester post-endorsement … I am so rooting for you, not just as a personal friend but because professionally we are in this together. Speech of your life? Yes he Cam!

Cameron was visibly embarrassed by the text but I suspect that Downing Street will be relieved if this is as bad as it gets. The publication of a sycophantic message from Cameron to Brooks (of which there are likely many) would have been far more damaging.


Leveson inquiry: Cameron struggles over ‘Yes he Cam!’ text from Brooks 

Rebekah Brooks messaged PM ‘I am so rooting for you’ and ‘we’re definitely in this together!’, Leveson inquiry hears!  ~  and guardian.co.uk.