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It turns out that even a high tech company like Intel can fail to understand the power of social media in the hands of activists – and so far, their public relations response has been a gaffe a minute for the past several days.

It was all part of a grassroots campaign using Facebook in a new way to get support for the bipartisan Conflict Minerals Trade Act that is making its way through Congress. The bill would regulate the global trade in conflict minerals that has fueled years of civil wars in which more than 5 million people have died in the Congo. These conflicts feature rape as a war weapon and some of the most horrific mass atrocities the world has ever seen. Intel and other tech companies benefit from the conflict minerals trade.


When a tech company chokes in full view of social media, it's called...

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Mon Mar 08, 2010 at 04:34 AM PST

Iman: Supermodel, Activist, Refugee

by jhutson

The world knows Iman as a supermodel, a successful businesswoman with her own cosmetics company and as a fashion icon alongside her husband David Bowie.

That’s only half the story. Iman also is a refugee whose family fled war in Somalia. In this exclusive interview in honor of International Women’s Day, Iman shares her incredible story of leaving Somalia for Kenya, being discovered by a fashion photographer, and finding global fame.


To celebrate International Women's Day, I will

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As a blogger, you know the power of passionate expression and insightful analysis. Don't you wish you saw more of that on the op-ed pages (print and online) of major magazines and newspapers? Would you like to place your own op-eds in widely read publications that expand your outreach?

Like blog posts, well-written and timely opinion pieces help you create visibility for a cause and steer public discourse by offering a clear viewpoint on important and controversial issues.

But few know how to plan, pitch and publish op-eds. So getting that well-written op-ed into a chosen news outlet can be a mind-numbing, nail-biting, wall-hitting process.

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Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) CEO Frank Donaghue issued the following statement upon learning of the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy:

"In our lifetime, no one has done more to champion health as a universal right than Senator Ted Kennedy. He was a passionate advocate for quality, affordable, accessible healthcare for the many, not just for the few, and a tireless champion of the human rights of all people everywhere. During his career spanning five decades, he passed landmark legislation to secure the right to health for all.

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NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross has broadcast an unsettling interview with three representatives of Physicians for Human Rights who describe in disturbing detail a seven-year investigation of a mass grave in the desert of Dasht-e-Leili, near Sheberghan, Afghanistan.

On July 11, The New York Times published a front-page piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen, who reported that Bush administration officials had repeatedly discouraged efforts to investigate the mass killing of as many as 2,000 Taliban prisoners by the forces of a US-backed warlord, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, in November 2001. General Dostum, the Times revealed, was on the CIA payroll.

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The Dasht-e-Leili mass grave case is garnering increased media attention, after more than seven years of investigation and advocacy by Physicians for Human Rights. A large part of the credit for the media coverage goes to early and significant coverage and analysis by blogs, many of whom are named below as part of this media round-up.

The significant new information in the case is that, according to The New York Times, the Bush Administration impeded at least three federal probes into alleged war crimes and that recent analysis of satellite images by the American Association for the Advancement of Science indicates evidence-tampering at the site where bodies are suspected to be buried in a mass grave.

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The notorious Afghan warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum takes offense at front-page coverage by The New York Times of the Dasht-e-Leili mass grave case. Apparently, he doesn't care for belly-aching about mass atrocities, cover-ups of alleged war crimes, and other violations of the Geneva Conventions.

Today, General Dostum let fly with a screed (one imagines with a huff and a puff) denying that such a massacre ever occurred. At the same time, he made a significant admission that the prisoners had surrendered jointly to US forces and to his US-allied Northern Alliance forces outside Konduz, Afghanistan in November 2001.

Dostum's denial overlooks a mountain of documentation gathered over the past seven years. This includes recent analysis of satellite imagery which indicates evidence-tampering at the Dasht-e-Leili site.

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Alleged war criminals, beware: eyes in the sky may be watching you. Satellite images may indicate apparent evidence tampering at a mass grave in Afghanistan.

In the summer of 2006, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Bush Administration, seeking documents relating to an alleged massacre of Taliban prisoners in November 2001. The prisoners' bodies had reportedly been dumped into a mass grave in the desert of Dasht-e-Leili, near Sheberghan, Afghanistan.

Six weeks after PHR filed its FOIA request, satellite images indicate possible evidence tampering at the alleged mass grave site at Dasht-e-Leili.

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President Barack Obama told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he has directed his national security team to look into the 2001 deaths of Taliban prisoners who allegedly were massacred by US-backed forces in Afghanistan. The President stated that the government needs to find out whether actions by the US contributed to possible war crimes.

The comments to Anderson Cooper were aired on CNN on Sunday as it promoted excerpts from Cooper’s exclusive interview with the President in Ghana that will air in full at 10 PM Eastern on Monday, July 13. Cooper raised new evidence from a New York Times report by James Risen that the Bush Administration impeded at least three federal investigations into an alleged massacre of as many as 2,000 prisoners in Afghanistan. The excerpts as transcribed by Physicians for Human Rights follow at the end of this post.

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Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) -- where I serve as Chief Communications Officer -- has posted an explosive new video in the wake of today's front-page New York Times piece by Pultizer Prize-winning journalist James Risen, revealing new evidence that the Bush Administration impeded at least three federal investigations into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

PHR's new video, "War Crimes and the White House: The Bush Administration's Cover-Up of the Dasht-e Leili Massacre" is now available online at

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The New York Times is reporting new evidence that the Bush Administration impeded at least three federal investigations into an alleged massacre of as many as 2,000 prisoners in Afghanistan. This major investigative piece, now available online and slated for the front page of the July 11 print edition, represents the culmination of nearly eight years of investigation by Physicians for Human Rights, where I serve as Chief Communications Officer.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has issued a call for a criminal probe in the wake of a major New York Times story with new evidence that the Bush Administration impeded at least three federal investigations into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan in 2002.

PHR is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate why the Bush Administration impeded an FBI criminal probe of the alleged Dasht-e-Leili massacre.

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On the eve of World Health Day, April 7, the New York Review of Books published a long-secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which concludes that health professionals who participated in interrogations in CIA secret detention centers committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases participated in torture.

The ICRC's confidential report lays bare an ethical crisis in the healing professions. It provides additional confirmation of what Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has been charging for years: that health professionals violated ethical duties by participating in the torture and abuse of detainees in US custody.

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