Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bush Hasn't Talked w/Disaster Govs, Mayors, Senators

White House Press Briefing With Scott McClellan
August 31, 2005

Q Has he talked to anybody in the region, any governors or mayors or senators, today?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't believe so. I know that Secretary Card this morning, in addition to speaking with Mike Brown even before this video conference meeting, spoke with the mayor of New Orleans. And he's been -- I know Secretary Card has been in touch with other officials. I think that from the President's standpoint, it's the video conference, but I'll double check with him when he gets here.

Like a Dim Bulb, Miles Away, Bush Focuses on New Orleans

It would be highly incorrect to say that President Bush has focused like a laser beam in on the unprecedented devastation that has hit New Orleans this week. Bush's attention on this nationally significant disaster has been like a dim bulb, from miles away.

For proof of Bush's concern about New Orleans and the surrounding area, check out these two pix.

White House photo #1

White House photo #2
FBI: 780 pages of Cheney's File for $68

To recap: My assorted FOIA requests and appeals for the FBI files on Bush and Cheney continue to wend their way through the FBI's maze, more than a year after I filed the FOIA requests.

Here's the correspondence I've received from the FBI, outlining what they've discovered in their records connected to my request for Cheney's file.

I hope to soon have in my possession all of the 780 pages the agency says it has available.

If you'd like to contribute to the costs of obtaining the 780 pages, please send funds through my PayPal account, on my blog. Thanks.


August 25, 2005

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC

Mr. Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

Request No.: 1001868-000

Dear Mr. Petrelis:

This is in reference to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

We have located approximately 780 pages which appear to relate to your request. Under Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Sections 16.11 and 16.49, there is a duplication fee of ten cents per page for every page released over 100.

These regulations require us to notify requesters when anticipated charges exceed $25, and if all the pages are released, you will owe $68.00 in duplication costs. Please remember this is only an estimate; and if some of the pages are withheld or are not identifiable with your subject, the actual charges could be less.

Since the cost indicated is only an estimate, no payment should be made at this time. Please advise us if you are willing to incur these costs. If you fail to respond within thirty days from the date of this letter, your request will be limited to the first 100 releaseable pages.

If you have any questions concerning this matter, please do not hesitate to telephone my representative, Mr. Loren Shaver, at 202-220-1012.

Sincerely yours,
David M. Hardy
Section Chief, Record/Information Dissemination Section
Federal Bureau of Investigation

- - -

August 31, 2005

David M. Hardy
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. Hardy:

I am in receipt of your letter regarding the 780 pages the agency has located in its files related to my request for Vice President Dick Cheney's dossier.

As I said in my two voice mail messages to Mr. Loren Shaver, I will bear the estimated $68.00 duplication costs.

Please continue processing my FOIA request and send me all 780 pages you reference, along with a bill for the costs incurred.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

Monday, August 29, 2005

BAR Fires Political Gossip Columnist

In a message dated 8/26/2005 2:48:42 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, M Petrelis writes:

Former aide to Supervisor Chris Daly and current Bay Area Reporter political gossip columnist Bill Barnes has been spilling buckets of positive ink lately for Treasurer Jose Cisneros and his race to keep his office.

Just this week, Barnes wrote that, as a member of the Democratic County Central Committee, he voted to endorse Cisneros.

But what he hasn't written about is his $100 donation to Cisneros in May.

I think reporters, editors and columnists should all participate in civic life, and that includes making donations to politicians, even ones they write about.

However, what I don't support is failure to continually disclose such contributions, especially in print, so readers know of the journalist's biases.

That lack of disclosure seems part of the BAR's ethical guidelines.

When founding publisher Bob Ross was alive and ex-police commissioner Wayne Friday served as the political editor and gossip writer, both hid their donations from readers.

One only knew about their political contributions by checking campaign disclosure web sites.

In order to help persuade the BAR to show some ethical backbone and transparency, I've searched the city and state campaign finance disclosure sites to learn how much, when and to whom Barnes has made donations, which follow.

The BAR has a journalistic responsibility to print this information, just so readers know who Barnes supports with money.

Bill Barnes' local donations:

Cisneros For Treasurer

Bustos For Supervisor

Committee To Elect Michael O'connor

Bill Barnes For District 5

Susan Leal For Mayor

Radulovich For Supervisor

Matt Gonzalez For Supervisor District 5

Committee To Re-Elect Terence Hallinan District Attorney

Bill Barnes' state donations:





State Assembly 13
- - -

San Francisco Sentinel

August 29, 2005

Right now I’m out on the playa at Burning Man, but last week I promised to write a column and I want to keep my word. Here goes.

Late Friday afternoon before I left town, Publisher Tom Horn and Editor Cynthia Laird informed me I would no longer be the political columnist. Although Tom, Cynthia and I had earlier discussed my service on the Democratic County Central Committee and decided it wouldn’t pose a conflict, after I cast endorsement votes, Tom said it does create a conflict. Although this view differs from our original agreement, I respect that the publisher has reached a new conclusion. My understanding is that the paper will devote more of its political space to focus on marriage equality.

Twice in my short time in San Francisco, I’ve been asked to fill some pretty big shoes in the LGBT community. When Mayor Willie Brown named me to succeed Dick Pabich as the City’s AIDS policy adviser, and when Tom Horn and Cynthia Laird asked to write a column in the space that had contained Wayne Friday’s words, I was honored. The LGBT community is stronger when we recognize those who have gone before us, building upon their efforts and adding our own voices. I want to thank everyone in the BAR family, especially the reporters who track down stories and the unsung heroes who
design and distribute the paper. I also want to thank the BAR and all the readers who’ve given a young gay black man the opportunity to share some of my thoughts about politics. I know I see the world through a different set of eyes because of my life, and I hope people find some value in that.

One Final Correction

Last week, two letter writers personally attacked me because of observations I made about Assemblyman Mark Leno. The prior week, a letter from board members of Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club took issue with some comments, but didn’t level personal criticism. One signer told me that the Assemblyman requested folks send the letters. Other folks have reported receiving calls from the Assemblyman related to me and some items in the column.

According to Tom Horn, none of these calls or personal attacks was the basis for ending the column. I would be remiss, however, if I did not correct inaccurate statements made about me just last week. Although some publications let a writer respond to letters to the editor the same time they appear, the first time I saw the text of these letters was in print last week, so this is my first chance to respond.

One letter came from Nanette Lee Miller, (she was the treasurer for the PG&E backed campaign to kill public power, 2001’s No on I). She took issue with my comments about the Plumbers’ Hall evictions, but I’ve already addressed that so I’m not going to revisit it. Ms. Miller also states that I personally attacked Tom Ammiano by describing the problems his bond measure was facing and “without naming names, Mr. Barnes claims there is mounting opposition to Ammiano’s measure,” implying that I was simply making it up.

To name names, opponents include Supervisor Sean Elsbernd (who wrote the official opponent argument), State Senator Carole Migden (who voted no at the Central Committee), the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and the San Francisco Taxpayers’ Union, a group of real estate interests and
fiscal watchdogs. It’s hard to get two-thirds without opposition -- a well funded No campaign usually kills a bond. That’s a political fact of life, not an attack on Supervisor Ammiano or his generally good works.

Then, Julius Turman wrote that the origins of my report about a political contribution Assemblyman Mark Leno received, and has now returned, from Badlands owner Les Natali “are similarly suspect,” and continues on to say that I had “previously campaigned for Mark Leno’s opponents in both the
Board of Supervisors and Assembly races.” That’s just untrue.

In 1998, when citywide elections were in place, I supported Supervisor Leno’s first election. In 2000, even when I was managing Chris Daly’s campaign, I backed Leno in District 8 for re-election. For what it’s worth, Leno and I endorsed the same candidate to succeed him in 2002 -- BART Director Tom Radulovich. It is true that in March 2002, I supported Harry Britt over Leno, and I’ve got no regrets. Harry Britt ran in 1987 for Congress, in a race that Dick Pabich managed. He was brave enough to fill Harvey Milk’s shoes after Harvey was assassinated and I’m sure if he won, Harry Britt would be doing a great job in Sacramento. That doesn’t mean I haven’t also supported Leno, which I have in the General Election in 2002 and both elections in 2004. I’ve supported Harry Britt in one of one election and
endorsed Mark Leno in five of six elections.

I’ve known Mark Leno since before he was appointed to the Board of Supervisors. He was one of the first people I met when I moved to San Francisco in 1997, when I was 19 and he was an older person I looked up to.

For a time, he was a close personal friend and that meant a lot. In 1999 he appointed me to the San Francisco Youth Commission. I still believe that he might be a decent person. During the last few weeks however, I’ve felt the unbridled power of a powerful state legislator calling on people in our town to attack me because I wrote things he didn’t want in the paper, namely public contribution information from the Secretary of State’s website.

People associated with the Assemblyman have attacked me in print and are privately saying that I crossed the Badlands picket line (simply untrue). I’m sure there are those among the political elite who will believe my departure comes as the result of some of the Assemblyman’s phone calls. Despite all of the other San Franciscans he’s called, the Assemblyman’s never picked up the phone to take issue with me about any of the facts about him in the column. To me, that speaks volumes.

I’m wrapping up this run with my head held high, and I’m still young and trusting enough to believe that the reasons for my departure are completely unrelated to these efforts by a powerful politician. I just hope we get to a day in the LGBT community where all of us spend our energies building the community we envision rather than grasping for that elusive 16th minute of personal fame.
HIV's Dr. Ho Makes Correction to Medical Journal

Six months in the world of AIDS can seem like such a long time and for many of us an AIDS transparency issue from the winter of 2005 may be ancient history, but I want to call your attention to a correction in a medical journal about famed researcher Dr. David Ho.

The August 30 issue of PLoS Medicine printed the following:

"Correction: A Shot in the Arm for AIDS Vaccine Research

"Citation: Ho DD (2005) Correction: A Shot in the Arm for AIDS Vaccine Research. PLoS Med 2(8): e299

"David D. Ho states that he should have declared as a competing interest that two members of his research team and Ho himself are co-inventors on two candidate vaccines that are in clinical development. For this effort, they also receive funding from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative."

You may remember that I sent a letter to the editor of PLoS Medicine in early March requesting full disclosure of Ho's many competing interests, some of which he now acknowledges in the correction.

My letter said, in part: "The February 2005 issue of your medical journal ran an article by Dr. David Ho of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, A Shot in the Arm for AIDS Vaccine Research.

"Dr. Ho, in his competing interests statement, claimed he had no competing interests, which is simply not the truth on his part.

"I have sent Dr. Ho the attached letter about his many ties to competing interests, including his relationship with
ViroLogic, where he sits on the firm's scientific advisory board and has stock options in the company, and to GlaxoSmithKline, where he advises the drug giant on awarding annual grants in AIDS drug research."

Even though Ho doesn't reveal all of his competing interests in the PLoS Medicine correction, just having him do so at this time is a giant step forward for AIDS transparency, and we need much more of it.

For a full list of Ho's many competing interests, go to this previous post.
Conflicting Updates: Death Row Gays in Arak, Iran

I'm sharing these conflicting and definitely confusing emails about the situation in Arak, where two homosexuals are in jail, awaiting execution, for a number of crimes, because I hope that in posting the emails, more information will be revealed from additional sources.

There may be stories in Farsi about the homosexuals in Arak and their plight, and if you have the articles or their URLs, please send them to me. I can have them translated.

At this point in time, I doubt articles in English regarding developments in Arak are in print somewhere, making monitoring the Farsi-language media and blogs all the more crucial.

Forwarded Message:
Subj: Re: Fwd: IRNA reports on possible gay executions in Iran??
Date: 8/29/2005 12:16:40 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time

I looked into the alleged execution of two homosexuals described below and did not find an IRNA report that refers to this issue.

I did find, however, a report from the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), which says that the Arak prosecutor, Hamzeh Pakbin, denied reports that two males under the age of 18 have been sentenced to death for homosexual activities.

Pakbin described two current cases. He said Ahmad Choqa is 25 and worked as a taxi driver. He took a 22 year old male passenger at knifepoint to his home, and he and two confederates kept the man there from midnight until 9 in the morning. The 22 year old male escaped and made it to the police, who subesquently arrested Choqa and his confederates. Choqa has a lengthy criminal record that includes fighting with police, drinking, rape, highway robbery, and pickpocketting. The only "criminal" behavior that could relate to his sexual preference is, according to the official from Arak, relations with a member of the same gender (lavat in Persian). He has not been sentenced yet. The 25 year old Mahbod Kord Afshar was sentenced to six years in prison in 2002, and he has served three years of his sentence.

Capital punishment is used with some frequency in Iran, and the charges that are used can be vague -- e.g. "at war with God," "corruption on earth." Therefore, it is not impossible that the formal reason given for executing an individual does not, in fact, have any connection with the real reason.

Nevertheless, I should advise you that Iranian opposition groups frequently fabricate such reports. They seek to manipulate Western concerns and to enlist foreigners' support in pursuit of their objectives.

Bill Samii

A. William Samii, M.Phil., Ph.D. (Cantab.)
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.
voice: 1-202-457-6973
fax: 1-202-457-6992
mobile: 1-202-236-7213

Dear Friends:

Our Russian friend sent this email today. I've searched and searched the Islamic Republic News Agency site, , and have not found anything about the alleged August 28 story regarding the supposed execution of two homosexuals over the weekend in Arak.

I am forwarding this information along to you in the hope that you can either verify or debunk what is claimed regarding the IRNA news report from yesterday.

If you have any other information, please share it with me.

Michael Petrelis

Dear Michael,

This is what I received today. We did not publish anything on the site and as want to try to verify the information we received. Just let me know if you have more on that.

Have a nice day


For more information please contact:
Farshad Hoseini on 0031630414073

International Federation of Iranian refugees (IFIR)
28 August 2005

The world could stop on coming two executions of homosexuals in Iran

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) On Sunday 28th August, 2005 has reported on Execution of two homosexuals in Iran. IRNA reported from Public prosecutor of Arak Mr. Hamzeh Pakbin that the news bye France press on oncoming execution of two under legal age (18) is not correct.

Mr. Pakbin said that the Paris mayor claim on execution of two under legal age named Farid Mostear and Ahmad shoka is totally wrong. He said there is not any criminal with these names and identities here.

Mr. Pakbin said that at the moment we have just two files with name of Ahmad Choqa, 24 years old and Mahbod kord Afshar, 26 years old. He said Ahmad choqa is under the procedure of sentences on the charges of kidnapping and rape to a student. He said their death sentences have not decided yet and the Islamic Judiciary is going to decide about them".

This news of IRNA and denial of Iranian authorities on execution of two homosexuals proves that our news on executions is true. Islamic Republic of Iran under the international pressures uses false rape charges in order to execution of homos. We strongly believe that Iran executes people for engaging in consensual homosexual acts and hides this by charging them with rape.

At the moment and after world wide protest against this barbaric act of IRI, they retreat and could to stop it. With worlds human we could till now save the lives of two innocent people on obvious death penalty. Without world solidarities Ahmad and Farid (or Amir) could be simply dying.

The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) appreciate and welcoming to these world solidarities against executions in Iran. We urge all Human rights organizations to keep these solidarities with large number of people who are in row of execution in Iran.
Warsaw Gays Protest Iran's Executions

The gist of this report from Poland is that thirty gays and lesbians protested Iran's killing of gay juveniles and the country's death penalty on August 25.

The Polish gays also called on Iran to halt the scheduled executions of two homosexuals in Arak.

As far as I can determine, this action is the only one that's been organized to focus attention on the Arak situation.

For a photo of the protest in Warsaw last week, click on the link below.

If anyone out there knows Polish and can translate this report, I'd be grateful. Thanks.


Demonstracja przeciwko karze ?mierci w Iranie

?ukasz Pa?ucki :

W Warszawie odby?a si? demonstracja pod ambasad? Iranu, jako reakcja na przewidzian? na niedziel? egzekucj? dwóch ira?skich gejów w Ira?skim mie?cie Akar.

"Kara ?mierci – barbarzy?stwo!" – skandowali uczestnicy czwartkowej pikiety pod ambasad? Iranu. Oko?o 30 osób protestowa?o przeciw planowanej na niedziel? egzekucji dwóch osób w Iranie skazanych za homoseksualizm. W manifestacji zorganizowanej przez Platform? Programowa SDPL „Prawa Cz?owieka i Podstawowe Wolno?ci” wzi?li udzia? przedstawiciele Zielonych 2004, SLD, Unii Lewicy. - Polska po najbli?szych wyborach mo?e by? bli?ej dzisiejszego Iranu, bo autor wizji IV RP nienawidzi gejów i lesbijek na równi z w?adzami Iranu i zapewne nie mia?by nic przeciwko wprowadzeniu w naszym kraju kary ?mierci – powiedzia? Bartosz Dominiak, wiceprzewodnicz?cy SDPL. Organizatorzy pikiety przekazali list do ambasadora Iranu w Polsce.

Poni?ej kopia listu do ambasadora Iranu:

Mohammad Mehdi Pourmohammadi
Ambasador Islamskiej Republiki Iranu

Szanowny Panie Ambasadorze!

Platforma Programowa Socjaldemokracji Polskiej „Prawa Cz?owieka i Podstawowe Wolno?ci” wyra?a zdecydowany protest w zwi?zku z planowanym na 28 sierpnia br. w ira?skim mie?cie Arak wykonaniu kary ?mierci na dwóch osobach: Farbod Mostaar oraz Ahmad Chooka, oskar?anych przez w?adze ira?skie o homoseksualizm i gwa?t.

Jeste?my przeciwnikami wymierzania i wykonywania kary ?mierci. Nic nie mo?e usprawiedliwia? pa?stwa, które przewiduje, a co gorsza stosuje kar? ?mierci. Takie pa?stwo i jego urz?dnicy zas?uguj? na pot?pienie ze strony wszystkich tych, dla których ?ycie drugiego cz?owieka stanowi najwy?sz? warto??.

Uwa?amy, ?e nie ma ?adnego usprawiedliwienia dla wymierzania i wykonywania kary ?mierci przez jakikolwiek rz?d. I nie ma tu znaczenia rodzaj pope?nionego przez osob? skazan? przest?pstwa. ?aden rz?d, a tym bardziej ?aden urz?dnik pa?stwowy, nawet je?li jest s?dzi?, nie ma prawa decydowa? o ?yciu i ?mierci drugiego cz?owieka. Je?li jakikolwiek rz?d lub urz?dnik publiczny ro?ci sobie prawo do skazywania drugiego cz?owieka na ?mier?, to z w?asnego wyboru staje w jednym szeregu z pospolitymi mordercami.

Zwracamy si? do Pana o przekazanie w?adzom Iranu naszego protestu, który jest jednocze?nie pro?b? o:

· niezw?ocznie wstrzymanie przez rz?d ira?ski wykonania kary ?mierci na Farbod Mostaar oraz Ahmad Chooka,

· przeprowadzenie uczciwego i sprawiedliwego procesu s?dowego dla ww. osób, dost?pnego dla obserwatorów mi?dzynarodowych,

· wykre?lenie kary ?mierci z katalogu stosowanych w Iranie kar,

· wykre?lenie z katalogu przest?pstw takich rzekomych zbrodni jak homoseksualizm.

Z powa?aniem

?ukasz Pa?ucki
/ - /
Koordynator Zespo?u LGBT
w Platformie Programowej SDPL
„Prawa Cz?owieka i Podstawowe Wolno?ci”

Bartosz Dominiak
/ - /
Koordynator Krajowy
Platformy Programowej SDPL
„Prawa Cz?owieka i Podstawowe Wolno?ci”
oraz Wiceprzewodnicz?cy Socjaldemokracji Polskiej

Friday, August 26, 2005

Amnesty: Iran Must Halt Teenage Executions

Amnesty release

August 26, 2005
Iran: Two teenagers face execution in defiance of international law
Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to prevent the execution of two teenagers in Iran sentenced to death in defiance of the international ban on executing child offenders. Iran has reportedly already executed at least seven child offenders so far this year.

The boys - Mostafa (surname unknown), a student, aged, 16, and Sina (surname unknown), a musician, aged 17- are at risk of imminent execution for murder.

Their sentences have reportedly been upheld by the Supreme Court, and could be carried out at any time.

According to the Iranian daily newspaper E'temad, Mostafa was convicted of killing a drunken man in the Pars district of Tehran.

The drunken man was reportedly harassing a girl when Mostafa intervened to stop him. The man reportedly started hitting Mostafa, who eventually killed him in the ensuing scuffle.

E'temad also reported that Sina, a musician and music teacher in Tehran, was convicted of murder after a dispute with a man over cannabis in October 2004.

Sina reportedly told the court that he was addicted to drugs and had gone to a park in Tehran on the day of the incident to try and obtain cannabis from a drug dealer.

He allegedly stabbed the drug dealer to death during a fight.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"The Iranian authorities should act immediately to prevent the execution of these two teenage boys.

"Iran's defiance of the international ban on executing child offenders is a growing concern and calls into question Iran's willingness to abide by international human rights standards.

"By halting these executions, suspending all other death sentences imposed on child offenders and abolishing all such executions, Iran would be signalling its willingness to respect its own human rights commitments."

As a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were less than 18 years old.

For approximately four years, the Iranian authorities have been considering legislation that would prohibit the use of the death penalty for offences committed under the age of 18.

Iran has executed at least seven child offenders in 2005. Most recently, Kayhan newspaper reported that a 17-year-old was among four men under the age of 23, named only as A.P., B.K., H.K. and H.J., who were executed on 23 August in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran.

They were reportedly convicted of kidnapping, rape and theft. A.P. and B.K. reportedly received 74 lashes each before they were executed.

In 2004 Iran executed three child offenders, including a 16-year-old girl - Atefeh Rajabi - who was publicly hanged in the street for "acts incompatible with chastity".

In total there were at least 159 executions in Iran in 2004, the second-highest figure for any country in the world.
B.A.R. Political Gossip Writer's Donations

Former aide to Supervisor Chris Daly and current Bay Area Reporter political gossip columnist Bill Barnes has been spilling buckets of positive ink lately for Treasurer Jose Cisneros and his race to keep his office.

Just this week, Barnes wrote that, as a member of the Democratic County Central Committee, he voted to endorse Cisneros.

But what he hasn't written about is his $100 donation to Cisneros in May.

I think reporters, editors and columnists should all participate in civic life, and that includes making donations to politicians, even ones they write about.

However, what I don't support is failure to continually disclose such contributions, especially in print, so readers know of the journalist's biases.

That lack of disclosure seems part of the BAR's ethical guidelines.

When founding publisher Bob Ross was alive and ex-police commissioner Wayne Friday served as the political editor and gossip writer, both hid their donations from readers.

One only knew about their political contributions by checking campaign disclosure web sites.

In order to help persuade the BAR to show some ethical backbone and transparency, I've searched the city and state campaign finance disclosure sites to learn how much, when and to whom Barnes has made donations, which follow.

The BAR has a journalistic responsibility to print this information, just so readers know who Barnes supports with money.

Bill Barnes' local donations:

Cisneros For Treasurer

Bustos For Supervisor

Committee To Elect Michael O'connor

Bill Barnes For District 5

Susan Leal For Mayor

Radulovich For Supervisor

Matt Gonzalez For Supervisor District 5

Committee To Re-Elect Terence Hallinan District Attorney

Bill Barnes' state donations:





State Assembly 13

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Metro Weekly: Why Iran Matters & Gays Should Oppose the Death Penalty

Here is an excerpt of my column on why I'm concerned over the plight of Iranian gays and lesbians and the need for gays to oppose the death penalty. Many thanks to Metro Weekly and its editor Sean Bugg, for not only running the piece, but for also making many fine edits.

Why Iran Matters
Opinion: Town Square
by Michael Petrelis
Published on 08/25/2005

A friend and I were recently shooting the breeze over a pot of coffee when he asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks and put me on the defensive.

''Why are you so upset over Iran executing two boys convicted of rape? Even if they were gay, I wouldn't waste my time worrying about their deaths or gays in Iran,'' said my friend Bob.

Seeing the graphic images on the web of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni with blindfolds covering their eyes and nooses tightening around their young necks, moments before their gruesome public hangings in Mashad on July 19, stirred my conscience as a gay human rights activist who believes capital punishment should be abolished.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Did Sean Penn Meet Lesbians in Iran?

Oscar-winning actor and perennial bad boy Sean Penn traveled to Iran in June and the San Francisco Chronicle is running his essays about his trip all this week.

I find Penn's thoughts and writing a fascinating window into his personal and political experiences while in the Islamist republic this year.

Frankly, I didn't expect possible lesbian or sexual freedom issues to part of his visit to Iran, but they were, as you can see in this small excerpt from his lengthy column of August 23, in which he recalls chatting with young Iranians in a cafe.

"Two of the women lived together. It seemed that they might have been insinuating that they were a lesbian couple, but I can’t say for sure. I refer to my internal manual of ethics, and there it is right there, in 'questions unbecoming a gentleman': Don’t ask two women you just met if they’re lesbians. I’m big on prudish restraint.

"Yet without asking, they do make it clear that their holing up together is frowned upon by their families and society alike. A single woman may live with her parents, perhaps on her own if she is able, but with another single young woman, everybody’s back gets itchy.

"Yet, whatever the private truth of these two women, 'sexual freedom' would make for a difficult movement to mount, as even uttering those two words together is against religious law in the Iranian republic," wrote Penn.

Whether Penn met lesbians or not, I'm pleased he raises the possibility the women he spoke with may be same-gender loving women and that he showed restraint about his questions regarding their sexual orientation. Two cheers for Penn for writing about these women and for including the matter of sexual freedom in Iran in his essay.

Here's the link to his full August 23 San Francisco Chronicle column.
S.F. Spends Almost $1M in Federal Money on AIDS Meetings

[This letter was snail mailed to HRSA today.]

Dr. Deborah Parham Hopson
Associate Administrator for HIV/AIDS
HRSA/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857

Re: Almost $1M for Ryan White CARE Council Meetings in S.F.

Dear Dr. Parham Hopson:

The minutes from the July 17 meeting of the San Francisco Health Commission show the commission voted to approve a request from the local Ryan White CARE Council to spend $889,457 in federal dollars over two-year period for the council’s administrative services.

I today formally request that you and the Department of Health and Human Services immediately cut the excessive amount spent (and wasted) by the San Francisco council for overhead expenses.

This is the pertinent section of the minutes I wish to bring to your attention:

“AIDS OFFICE-HIV Health Services - Request for approval of a contract modification with Shanti, in the amount of $179,734, for a total 2-year contract amount of $889,457 ($305,563 for year one and $583,894 for year two), to provide HIV Health Services Planning Council Support services, for the period of March 1, 2004 through February 28, 2006.” (Source: S.F. health department)

I must strongly object to almost $1 million dollars of Ryan White money being spent simply to run the San Francisco council responsible for dispersing the $28 million the city receives annually through the CARE Act. Administrative frugality is not one of this council’s core values, to the detriment of people with AIDS and HIV everywhere.

It is financially questionable why this local council allocates so much money for its meetings, professional minute-takers, highly paid ethicists and meeting facilitators.

The nearly $1 million should, in my opinion, be cut down to $10,000 yearly for the council’s support costs.

If you took the $889,457, reduced it by $20,000, for two years of San Francisco council meetings and support, and redirected the $869,457 left over into buying AIDS cocktails for patients, you’d be able to provide forty-eight people with AIDS a year’s worth of drugs.

Instead of allowing this council to allocate such a large sum for administration, redirect money from San Francisco to a program that purchases life-extending medicines for AIDS patients in Alabama.

Now, what’s more important? Getting life-extending drugs into bodies of patients, or, keeping the San Francisco CARE Council’s bureaucracy bloated?

While San Francisco spends an obscene amount in HRSA grants on infrastructure, Michelle Lampkin, an African-American woman living with AIDS in Alabama, is on a waiting list for AIDS drugs and other health care needs. Lampkin was featured on the cover of the July 2005 edition of POZ magazine.

In a heart-breaking story of her valiant struggle to receive a regular supply of AIDS drugs, readers learn about her desperate needs and those like her in the southern state. If you haven’t yet read about Lampkin, please go to the POZ site and read the article.

There simply is no justification for San Francisco to squander nearly $1 million of Ryan White grants, as people with AIDS around the country beg for medicines.

I repeat my request: Cut San Francisco’s amount for CARE Council expenses and ship the money saved to Alabama.

Michael Petrelis

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Candadian Foreign Minister Condemns Iran's Teen Executions

My blogger activist heart bleeds with happiness learning that a fellow gay blogger in Canada is calling the press office for his country's foreign minister's office.

It would be so fantastic if political and gay bloggers got in the habit of telephoning the U.S. State Department or their foreign ministers, asking for comments about the terrible situation in Iran and elsewhere around the world for gays and lesbians.

All I can say to Finn Kovaltsenko, the Vancouver-based man behind the Aideen Greer Report, is "Go, Finn! Go!"

Finn Kovaltsenko, is setting a fine example of what bloggers should consider doing more of: calling government officials for comments, and when the politician says something about an issue of importance, posting the politician's statement to his or her blog.

Finn's Great Web Site

I have to give Pierre Pettigrew - Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs credit where credit is due. He was on it pretty quick. He didn't use the word homosexual, but at least he mentioned minorities. See press release #141. I don't think he is going to back down like the previous spineless Minister who didn't want to offend anyone. Well, when it comes to someones life, one must do whatever they can.

I got hold of the Media Relations Office of the Foreign Affairs Department. I will stay on top of them in future to keep everyone informed. They are quite amiable to talk to and seem to be very helpful.

August 5, 2005 (4:15 p.m. EDT)
No. 141">News Release


Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew today expressed concern over Iran’s human rights situation and its intention to resume uranium conversion at its facility in Isfahan as the country’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, assumes office:

“As Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assumes the office of President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and appoints his new government, we call on Iran to turn words into action and honour its commitments to both its people and the international community.

“We are extremely concerned over the deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran as underlined in a recent report on Iran’s judicial system by Tehran’s Chief Justice. We deplore Iran’s continued refusal to reopen the investigation into the brutal murder of Zahra Kazemi. We protest the recent arrest of lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, following his July 25, 2005, court appearance on behalf of the Kazemi family, and we call for his immediate release. Likewise, we protest the incarceration of respected journalist Akbar Ganji and call for his immediate and unconditional release. We condemn the recent hanging of two teenagers and encourage Iran to respect its obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We further call attention to the persecution of minorities in Iran, including members of the Baha’i faith.

“As no real improvement in Iran’s human rights conditions has been noted to date, consultations have begun between Canada and its like-minded partners regarding a possible new resolution on Iran’s human rights situation before the UN General Assembly in the fall of 2005.

“Iran’s nuclear program also remains of great concern, especially its recent decision to resume uranium conversion. Such action not only would violate Iran’s agreement with the E3 nations to suspend such activities during negotiations, but would ignore International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors resolutions on Iran’s nuclear program. We urge Iran to continue its negotiations for a long-term resolution of this issue, and to participate constructively in the special IAEA Board of Governors meeting next week. If this issue is not resolved, Canada sees no alternative but to support referral of the matter to the UN Security Council.

“Only meaningful change by President Ahmadinejad’s new government on Iran’s position on human rights and nuclear proliferation can lead to an improvement in our relationship. Further to our announcement of May 17, 2005, the Government of Canada will continue to limit contact with the Iranian government. We hope, however, that Iran’s new president will usher in an era of change that will enable us to rebuild our relationship.”

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Sébastien Théberge
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
(613) 995-1851
S.F. Supervisors Strongly Condemn Iran's Executions

[Dear Friends:

I send all of you tremendous thanks for your emotional and political support during the past few weeks as we have worked together to demand an end to Iran's barbaric death penalty practices.

As we move towards organizing to stop the August 27 executions of two homosexuals in Arak, I now ask for your financial support. Funding is needed for many things related to my anti-death penalty advocacy, especially for money to pay for telephone calls, and soon faxes, to Iran.

If you can afford a donation, I'd greatly appreciate your monetary assistance. Donations can be made through my PayPal account, which you can link to at Just click on the "Make A Donation" button.

Should you wish to make a donation by check, email me and I'll send you my snail mail address.

Today's news from San Francisco is that the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor of the following resolution, condemning Iran's executions, in general, and in particular its killing of juveniles and homosexuals.

The resolution was spearheaded by one of the gays on the Board, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, with great assistance from Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who is of Iranian heritage. Much credit also goes to the other gay Board member, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, and to Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, a Latino.

My heartfelt thanks go out to all of the Supervisors, with special debt of gratitude to Dufty, Mirkarimi and their respective staffers for expeditiously moving to send a message to world that San Francisco opposes the death penalty and its tragic practice in Iran.

For further comment from Dufty, call 1-415-554-6968. And to reach Mirkarimi, phone 1-415-554-7630.

Again, thanks. --Michael Petrelis]


San Francisco Board of Supervisors Resolution
Passed Unanimously on Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Resolution urging the United States Department of State to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran’s execution of two teenagers [Mahmoud Asgari, Ayaz Marhoni], and the impending execution of two young men [Farid Mostaar, Ahmad Chooka], for conducting homosexual acts allegedly charged as “rape.”

WHEREAS, On July 19, 2005, in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Iran, two teenagers, 16-year-old Ayaz Marhoni and 18-year-old Mahmoud Asgari, were publicly hanged for a crime involving homosexual sex – they were accused of raping an unidentified 13-year-old boy, although unheard evidence suggested otherwise; and,

WHEREAS, Before the execution, Marhoni and Asgari were detained for approximately fourteen months and received 228 lashes each for drinking, disturbing the peace and minor theft; and,

WHEREAS, Despite appeals from Iranian human rights activists, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, and many other Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s), the Iranian Supreme Court upheld the verdict and death sentence of Marhoni and Asgari ; and,

WHEREAS, The Iranian Supreme Court in Arak, has sentenced two more young Iranian men, Farid Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka, to death by public hanging – scheduled on August 27, 2005 - the charge - homosexual intercourse and “rape”; and,

WHEREAS, These executions are a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Iran is a signatory to both), which prohibit the execution of minors; and,

WHEREAS, In 2004, 97 percent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Vietnam and the United States; in the number of juvenile executions since 1990, Iran ranks second (executed 14) to the United States (executed 19); and,

WHEREAS, The execution of juveniles in Iran sheds light on the execution of juveniles within the United States, challenging how our prism of an enlightened, secular, humane Western society is pitted against an Islamic-theocratic, oppressive society; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco hereby deplores the persecution and execution of all Iranians who are denied the due process of the law and are, or are perceived to be, of the LGBT community; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco urges the U.S. State Department and its European partners to issue a strong condemnation against the Islamic Republic of Iran for their national practice of civil rights abuses and executions of homosexuals, and demand the cessation of further executions and denial of due process of law.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Did Iran Hang a Homosexual on Aug 14?

Roberto Rodriguez
International Lesbian and Gay Association

Dear Mr. Rodriguez:

In your August 15 open letter from sources inside Iran, the following was written:

"Even today another man has been executed in Arak for homosexuality and
killing another man ( We and our sources are not sure that the claim about
killing or... are correct as the islamic republic and its court always add
to gays so called crime)."

After I read your source's information, I recalled this story from the Iran Focus news web site:

"Tehran, Iran, Aug. 14 – An Iranian man was hanged on Sunday morning in front of a crowd at a public square in the city of Arak, central Iran.

"The man, identified by his first name Mehdi, was 21 years old at the time of his arrest on homicide charges. Another prisoner, identified by his first name Yaghoub, will be hanged in public in Arak in the coming days, according to the government-owned news agency Fars.

"Mehdi was originally sentenced to flogging, jail time, and execution, and his sentence was upheld by the clergy-dominated Supreme Court."

I've checked the Iranian government new agency Fars' web site for more information about the hanging yesterday, and unfortunately the English version of the Fars news site was unavailable.

My question for you and your sources in Iran is, was the publicly hanged 21 year old man named Mehdi in the Iran Focus news story the same man mentioned by your Iranian sources?

I'd appreciate any information about my question that you and your sources can provide.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA
ILGA: Iran to Execute Two Homosexuals

From: Roberto Rodriguez

Two pieces of information that arrived yesterday from one of our contacts
in Iran. He has requested that his name is not disclosed.

Best regards,
Roberto Rodriguez


International Lesbian and Gay Association
Avenue des Villas, 34 1060 Brussels
+32 (0)2 502 24 71

More about the two sentensed gays in Arak:

The two boys one of them known as Farbod ( seems that his real name is
Amir) and Ahmad both 27 years old. They are friends and have a music shop
together but financially not in a good position.

The Tird man : his name is Ali, 22 years Old, attractive and weldressed.
His father is a SARHANG in the army ( Sarhang=high military title). Ali is
a student in Arak university, has been having conflict with his family:
his parents havn't been happy about the cloth he wear and the way he fix
his hear and recently has been thinking of moving out of family and find
own place to live. It seems that Ali has been know to be bisexual and our
source in Arak ( a gay man) knows him but not very well.

The cliams that Farbod (Amir) and Ahmad had abducted Ali and raped him
seems to be true. The two sentebnsed have had a good lawyer but beacause
they don't had enough money, he has not done his best( We are not sure
about such claim). It seems that Ali had mentioned what had happened to
him, first to his father and some days later Ali had been taken to doctor
to check if his cliam is correct)

The two men have been sentensed by a court in Arak .

We are trying to find a way to contact the lawyer.

Even today another man has been executed in Arak for homosexuality and
killing another man ( We and our sources are not sure that the claim about
killing or... are correct as the islamic republic and its court always add
to gays so called crime).

There is another theory: Islamic republic want to show that international
presure is not going to help and they are going to start killing
homosexuals as they did in 1979 when they took the power in the country.


Two gay men in ARAK ( a city outside Tehran) are going to be executed in
12 days time.

After the news about plan for execution of 2 gaymen in Arak, we have been
in contact with a number of people to get the correct information.

The first info we have received is:

That the both of the sentenced men who are in jail now, have been
attracted to a third man. This man has not been interested of any of them
( not clear if he is not gay or he is gay but simply not interested). and
the two men decide to abduct him and have sex with him.

It seems that the man has gone to the police and reported it.

It is clear now that the two men will be executed in 5:th Shahrivar ( next
month in Iranian Calender but 5:th Shahrivar is 12 days from today)

Please note: this is the first info we have got and our source is: two gay
friends ( one living in Arak and the other is his friend from Tehran).

We have asked a lot of qoestions and asked these two freinds to find more
info. We will be in touch when we get more info.

----- End of forwarded message from Roberto Rodriguez -----
Gays in Milan, Rome Protest Iran's Gay Executions

Dozens of our gay brothers and sisters took to the streets of Milan, Italy, on July 27, 2005, to protest Iran's recent executions of two boys who may have been gay. The demonstration in Milan took place in front of Iran's consulate and photos from the protest were recently posted to the web. Here are some photos from that action:

#1, #2, #3, #4.

Down in Rome on the following day, July 28, more of our brothers and sisters demonstrated at the Iranian embassy in that city. A report from that action, in Italian, can be found at the GayRoma site, where you'll also find several photos from the protest.

As far as I can determine, gays and our allies who oppose the death penalty have demonstrated against Iran's July 19 killing of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni in Dublin, London, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow, San Francisco, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Montpellier and now Milan and Rome.

My question today is what will we do to stop Iran from executing Farid Mostaar and Ahman Chooka, two homosexuals, on August 27 in Arak?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Iran to Execute Two Gays on Aug 27; Rice Asked for Condemnation

[The following letter was today faxed to 1-202-647-2293, which is Secretary Rice's fax number.]

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
U.S. State Department
Washington, DC

Re: Iran's upcoming execution of two homosexuals

Dear Secretary Rice:

A story on the Farsi language news site
reports that Iran is scheduled to execute two
homosexuals by hanging on August 27. The story is
located at

I asked two individuals who speak Farsi to translate
the article, and, independent of each other, they
provided me with the following translations:

First translation: "According to Islamic Republic
officials in Arak city (a city close to Tehran) two
more gays have been condemned to death by hanging.
They are being held in Arak city at the moment. The
two are, Farid Mostaar and Ahmad Choka and they are
scheduled to be hanged by August 27th in the city's
main public square."

The second translation: "According to a report, two
people have been convicted of homosexuality in an Arak
court and sentenced to be hanged. At present, the two,
Farid Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka are held in Arak. The
Islamic regime has announced the two will be publicly
hanged on 5 Shahrivar (27 August), in one of Arak's
squares/roundabouts. A little while ago, the Islamic
republic hanged two people convicted of homosexuality
in Khorasan province, which aroused the protests of
the international community."

Even though the U.S. does not maintain diplomatic
relations with Iran, you have spoken out on many
occasions about matters of concern related to
relations between Iran and the United States.

Based on the news account about Iran's
anticipated killing of the two homosexuals, Farid
Mostaar and Ahman Chooka, in Arak on August 27, I ask
that you denounce in the strongest terms possible the
planned executions and call on other nations to join
with the U.S. to demand Iran immediately cease such
state-sanctioned killings.

A prompt reply is formally requested.

Michael Petrelis

Henry T. Wooster, US State Dept's Iran Desk
Leslie M. Phillips, US State Dept's Press Office
Gay Mexican With AIDS Granted US Asylum

The San Francisco Chronicle today reports that the U.S. government has given asylum to a gay Mexican man with AIDS. This is an important story that should be of interest to gay and human rights activists across the globe.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Nation Weighs in on Iran's July Killings

Richard Kim of The Nation has written a comprehensive article about Iran's execution of two teenagers in July. The full story is available here.
Translation Needed: Story in Farsi, Upcoming Gay Killings

After I read an email earlier today from Rex Wockner about Iran possibly getting ready to hang two homosexuals later this month, I contacted Mr. Dolat and asked him for more information about the case. He replied with this message.

I went to the URL for the news story he cited, but could not find an English translation on the site.

Since I've not been able to locate a free site that can translate Farsi into English, I am turning to you for help. Do you know Farsi, or someone who does, or maybe of a free site that can translate the article? If you do, please let me know.

The original article in Farsi appears after Mr. Dolat's message.


Sent from the Internet (Details)

Dear friends:

I, too, have searched the Internet and most Iranian sites and have only found this site that has reported the case:

I hope that site is able to reveal their source and give you further information about the executions.

Kindest regards,
Ardeshir Dolat
State Dept Asked: Iran Ready to Kill Two Homosexuals?

Henry T. Wooster
Iran Desk
U.S. State Department
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. Wooster:

Reports are circulating on the web among activists in the anti death penalty, human rights and gay communities that Iran may soon execute two homosexual men.

The only information I have about this matter comes from the emails below.

I have searched many news sites with daily coverage on Iran and have thus far not found any additional information about these two men, possibly facing the death penalty.

Since you are the analyst for the State Department who monitors the political and social situations in Iran, I ask you, what information, if any, do you possess about the case of Farid Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka in Arak, Iran?

Please let know if the State Department is aware of this case and the department is monitoring the developments in the case.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 13:20:34 -0400
From: Scott Long
To: Rex Wockner
Subject: RE: IRAN again

Versions of this alert have been all over the Internet this morning,
coming from various groups, but none of them seem to be the originator or
indicate what the source is (presumably) inside Iran. We are trying now to
track down the original source and get more information. Will let you
know more very soon, I hope.

Scott Long
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Project
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY USA 10118
Tel. +01 (212) 216-1297
Fax +01 (212) 216-1876

-----Original Message-----
From: Roberto Rodriguez []
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 9:49 AM
To: Rex Wockner; OutRage!News Service; Scott Long; Paula Ettelbrick
Subject: IRAN again
Importance: High

I just received this. Have you heard anything about it?


Roberto Rodriguez

International Lesbian and Gay Association
Avenue des Villas, 34 1060 Brussels
+32 (0)2 502 24 71

The following information has been submitted in the ILGA's contact query
Date: 12.08.2005
First Name: ardeshir
Last Name: dolat
Message: Dear Friends

We hereby bring it to your attention that two more homosexuals in Iran are
due to be publicly executed in the city of Arak, in central Iran on 27
August 2005. It is incumbent upon all of us to do all we can to stop the
Iranian regime from this atrocity against Farid Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka.
Whilst an overwhelming majority of the countries and world population
accept the rights of homosexualls, the Iranian regime still punishes
homosexuals by way of the barbaric, inhumane and totally unjustifiable
death penalty, which can never be an adequate punishment for any crime let
alone for homosexuality. Please do all you can to put pressure on the
barbaric and medieval Islamic regime of Iran to reconsider their penal
system regarding the death penalty in its entirety. Furthermore, we urge
you to contact other appropriate organisations on behalf of Ahmad and
Farid so that an international pressure can be affected on the Islamic
regime of Iran to save Ahmad's and Farid's lives.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

SF Mayor Condemns Iran Killing Teenager; 50 at Protest

Close to fifty people showed up at Harvey Milk Plaza on August 11 over the course of a one-hour vigil to deplore the death penalty, Iran's recent public hanging of two teenagers who may have been gay and U.S. government indifference to antigay human rights abuses domestically and abroad.

I was honored to read the following statement from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, strongly condemning Iran's state-sanctioned executions, which had been provided to me just one hour prior to the start of the vigil.

"I am both outraged and appalled by what can only be described as a most
horrific atrocity effecting human lives in Iran. The hanging of two
teenage boys for their alleged sexual orientation is an affront not only to
justice but to all of our sense of humanity. Any one who lives in a
civilized and free society must not take these events lightly. We must
challenge the Iranian Government to put an immediate end to these senseless
killings. I proudly join in with all those who stand for freedom, liberty
and true equality. We demand that the Iranian Government cease these
barbaric acts." -- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Aug 11, 2005.

Dozens of activists held aloft images of the two Iranians boys with nooses around their necks and "R.I.P. Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni" printed underneath the photo of them, moments before their executions on July 19. Banners and placards from Death Penalty Focus, emblazoned with generic anti-death penalty demands, were displayed across newspaper vending machines.

Some of the community members who spoke to the press included political artist Clinton Fein, labor organizer Howard Wallace, gay Episcoplanian Michael B. Music, and two nuns from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who wore their order's full regalia.

Three photos, for free and without copyright, are available thanks to Clinton Fein at his site.




Earlier in the day, Supervisor Bevan Dufty sent a letter of concern to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. By the end of the afternoon, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi announced he will introduce a resolution about Iran's death penalty and gays at the next Board of Supervisors meeting.

Quite a number of reporters, gay photographers, queer bloggers, and TV cameramen came from KGO-TV, the Ming Pao Chinese Daily, the Bay Area Reporter and the Bay Times.

I thank all the many people in San Francisco who stepped forward on extremely short notice to pull this successful vigil and press conference together, because today we stood for abolishing capitol punishment and respect for the human rights of gays everywhere.

Today, San Francisco joined Dublin, Paris, Montpellier, London, Moscow, Amersterdam, Stockholm and Vancouver in staging a public action about Iran's killing of two boys who could have been gay, and regardless of their sexual leanings and alleged crimes, should not have been hanged.

Finally, I am asking for community discussion about confronting Iran's president in September when he comes to New York to address the U.N.'s General Assembly.

Here's my proposal: Let's organize a news conference and hold a picket at Iran's mission to the U.N., the day before the Iranian leader makes his debut at the world body.

We should not pass up the opportunity to push antigay human rights abuses onto the world stage this September in New York.

Give me your feedback about this idea for September.


Received Thursday, 11 August 2005 20:20:00 GMT

PARIS, Aug 11 (AFP) - Some 150 protestors rallied in central Paris Thursday to condemn the July 19 execution of two teenagers who were sentenced to public hanging in Iran because they were gay, event organizers said.

Gathered in front of the Pompidou Centre, demonstrators chanted "Iran: homophobic state, murderous state", and "As in Tehran, as in Paris, sodomy is life."

Protestors wielded signs reading "Homophobia kills" and "Enough homophobia: 4,000 homos killed legally in Iran."

The rally was organized by 17 organizations, including the Gay and Lesbian Academy, Act-Up Paris, the Collective Against Homophobia, and Together Against the Death Penalty.

The groups called for Iranian authorities to abolish the death penalty, and for French authorities to issue an "official condemnation of these executions."

The Iranian daily newspaper Quds reported that the youths, aged 16 and 18, had been convicted of raping a 13-year-old boy at knife-point.

However organizers of Thursday's demonstration in Paris said several sources indicated that "in reality (the teenagers) were executed because of their sexual orientation."

At least 159 people were executed in Iran in 2004 -- the highest rate in the world after China -- according to Amnesty International.

Iran's capital offences include murder, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, blasphemy, serious drug trafficking, repeated sodomy, adultery or prostitution, treason and espionage.
SF Supervisor Sends Letter to Rice on Iran's Killings

The following letter is from Bevan Dufty, longtime gay and human rights activist who is also the openly gay member of the Board of Supervisors for the Castro district. Needless to say, I am quite proud of Dufty's letter to Secretary Rice protesting Iran's killing of two teenagers. Dufty will be at our action tonight, Thursday, Aug 11 at 5:00 p.m. at Harvey Milk Plaza, which is at Castro and Market Streets. Join us!


August 10, 2005

Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

I wish to express my deep concern over reports of the horrific public execution of two Iranian youth in Edalat Square, Mashad on July 19, 2005.

According to reports, at least one of the boys was under 18 years of age when he committed his crime. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child both forbid the execution of persons who were under age 18 at the time of their crime. The Iranian government’s actions directly break the country’s obligations under these two agreements.

This latest execution is one more example of Iran’s consistent practices of flouting international human rights law and refusing to cooperate with international investigations of human rights practices.

I would like to echo the U.S. State Department’s concern about Iran’s judicial process that does not follow a due process of law nor provide adequate procedural safeguards.

I would also like to second U.S. Representative Tom Lantos, D-California, who has urged the U.S. State Department to do everything possible to investigate and clarify the circumstances of this case. If it is, in fact, true that these two boys were charged and convicted for engaging in consensual homosexual activity, I urge the U.S. State Department and the United Nations to issue a strong condemnation of such vicious executions as well as for Iran’s national policy of persecution of homosexuals.

If I can be of support in our country’s effort to bring an end to these awful practices, please let me know.

Iran executions: London protest

London - 11 August 2005

One hundred people protested outside the Iranian Embassy in London
today, 11 August 2005 – coinciding with simultaneous US and European
protests against Iran’s “tyrannical, homophobic, misogynistic and
fundamentalist regime.”

“We condemn the execution of two teenage boys in Iran on charges
involving homosexual acts. One of them was a minor at the time of his
execution; both were minors when they committed their offences.
OutRage! urges an end to the death penalty. We express our solidarity
with Iranians campaigning for democracy and human rights,” said
protester Aaron Saeed, Muslim affairs spokesperson of the LGBT human
rights group OutRage!, which coordinated today’s demo.

“The London protest was one of five simultaneous international
demonstrations. The others were in Dublin, San Francisco, Paris and
Montpelier. These protests were against Iran’s use of the death
penalty and its persecution of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

“Among the London protesters were members of LGBT, socialist and human
rights groups, and Iranian left-wingers, exiles and asylum seekers;
including an Iranian woman whose 16 year old brother was executed and
his body dragged through the streets,” said Mr Saeed.

Photos of the protest (free use, no charge):

Mahmoud Asgari (16) and Ayaz Marhoni (18) were hanged in Edalat
(Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in north east Iran, on 19
July 2005.

Photos of their execution can be seen at:

“Some reports say the youths were hanged for gay sex. The Iranian
government claims they were hanged for the rape of a 13 year old boy,”
reports Ramzi Isalam of the LGBT human rights group OutRage!.

Fact: Iran executes lesbians and gays. The Iranian government has
executed 4,000 homosexuals since 1979, according to estimates in the
mid-1990s by the exiled Iranian gay rights group, Homan.

Fact: The Iranian government often pins false charges on the victims
of its murderous policies in order to discredit them and discourage
public protests.

“We are not prepared to give the violently homophobic Iranian
government the benefit of the doubt. It has previously lied to justify
public executions. In any case, the death penalty is a
disproportionate punishment. It is barbaric and should be abolished,”
added Mr Isalam.

Email, phone, fax and write your protests to the Iranian Ambassador:

Tel: 020 7225 3000
Fax: 020 7589 4440

Iranian Ambassador
Embassy of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT

More info:

“OutRage!’s sources for this story include clandestine gay and lesbian
activists inside Iran, members of the democratic and left Iranian
opposition, and the websites of government-sanctioned news agencies in
Iran,” added Aaron Saeed of OutRage!

“The Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran enforces Sharia law, which
dictates the death penalty for gay sex: variously including hanging,
stoning, beheading or dropping from a high place like a tall building
or cliff-top.

“The teenagers admitted to having gay sex, probably under torture, but
claimed in their defence that their crime was common and they were not
aware it was punishable by death.

“Prior to their execution, the teenagers were held in prison for 14
months and severely beaten with 228 lashes.

“Their length of detention suggests that they committed the so-called
offences more than a year earlier, when Mahmoud was 15 and Ayaz was
17. In other words, both youths were minors at the time of the

”Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the youngest boy (16), had appealed
that he was too young to be executed and that the court should take
into account his tender age. He was quoted by the IRIN news agency as
saying that “the judiciary had trampled on its own laws”, explaining
that the Iranian courts usually commute death sentences on children to
five year jail.

“Despite his pleas, the Supreme Court in Tehran ordered Mahmoud to be

“Under the Iranian penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as
young as 15 can be hanged.

“Three other young gay Iranians are being hunted by the police in
connection with the same so-called crime. They have gone into hiding
and cannot be found. If caught, they will probably also face
execution,“ said Mr Saeed.

“The allegation of rape may be a trumped up charge to undermine public
sympathy for the youths. The Iranian regime often resorts to smears
and false allegations to discredit people it has executed and to
undermine human rights campaigns,” continued OutRage! campaign
coordinator, Brett Lock

“It could be that the 13 year old was a willing participant but that
Iranian law (like the laws of many western nations) deems that no
person aged 13 is capable of sexual consent and that therefore even
consensual sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be
statutory rape.
“The use of torture is routine in Iran. These two boys were violently
abused in prison, receiving more than 200 lashes.
“Iran is a fascist-style tyranny based on a fundamentalist version of
Islam. We join with progressive Muslims to denounce the
fundamentalists and to support democratic and left Iranians striving
to topple the Ayatollahs.

“OutRage! wholeheartedly supports the struggle of the Iranian people
to overthrow clerical tyranny and to secure democracy and human

“Without an end to the fundamentalist regime, there can never be
justice for LGBT people, women, trade unionists and minority religions
and nationalities in Iran.

“The lack of liberal and left support for the victims of the Iranian
tyranny is truly shocking. We deplore the absence of international
solidarity with Iranians fighting for freedom,” concluded Mr Lock.

Photos of the protest (free use, no charge):

Further information: Brett Lock or OutRage! on 0770 843 5917
HRC, Gay Russians' Replies on Aug 11 Pleas

Earlier this week I both called and emailed staffers at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington to ask what, if anything, America's largest gay rights groups would do on August 11 in support of demonstrations around the globe against the death penalty and Iran's recent execution of two teenagers, who may have been gay.

Here is the reply from HRC: "_______________________."

Yes, silence has been HRC's reply to my questions about their possible involvement with actions on August 11.

Compare HRC's silence and inaction about the public hangings of the teenagers in Iran last month with the response below from our gay brothers and sisters in Russia.

While I am extremely disappointed in HRC's lack of a response, it gives me great pleasure knowing gays in Russia have spoken out and taken several actions over the executions in Iran.

Maybe one day HRC will wise up, oppose the death penalty in general, and work on death penalty cases around the world involving gays. Heck, it would also be fantastic for HRC to learn lessons in courage from the brave Russian gays who will not be silent about antigay abuses.


August 10, 2005

Dear Michael and all our friends,

We did all we could for attracting attention to the executions in Iran. We did an interview from inside Iran with the acting gay activists. It can be found here:
Gay Russia site.

We sent letters to President Putin and to the Iranian Ambassador in Russia on 23rd July, almost right after the executions and the news came out. The news on that is here:
Gay Russia site.

We also conducted a special press conference on the issue of Iran executions of children and for the so called crime of homosexuality. The news on the press conference given on 28th July is here:
Gay Russia site.

Photos from the press conference in Moscow on Iran can be found in the Russian version of the article. On the photos me, Nikolai Alekseev, and Evgeniya Debryanskaya, lesbian activist. Of course these photos can be used for your reports or news releases.
Gay Russia site.

We got the news on that and the letters we sent published in the central papers in Russia and by the news agencies. It is already unbelievable as nothing of the kind happened in Russia. We havent got any responces to the letters yet but they might come one day.

We will hardly be able to conduct a protest near the Iranian Embassy in Moscow as we need a special authorisation for that according to the law and it takes time to get it and I doubt the authorities will give it taking into account the topic of the protest.

That is why we did this press conference and it was one of the first of its kind on the issue of Iran in the world. So, please do not hesitate to use any of the info I gave to you about our actions in Russia. We will not be able to do more as we already did all we could. The news is out and the authorities are aware. We can only hope for their reaction.

At the same time we continue to follow the story on Iran and we publish all the information on the this event on our website. We just published the news about the protests that will take place tomorrow in 5 cities and also what happened in Amsterdam on Saturday. I think there was really a lot done and we are very glad that we managed to unite in this fight against barbarism in Iran. We have to be closer to act together on many other events as well. It will make the progress of gay emancipation much faster.

You can always rely on us in all undertakings!!!
Always ready to help with everything.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Plea to Gay Russians for Aug 11 Iran Action


Dear Brother Nikolai:

Gay greetings to you and all of our family members in Russia. Thanks for your great work regarding the troubles of our brothers and sisters inside Iran.

Please organize an event in Russia on August 11, or August 12 since you are on much different time zone and all, in solidarity with the actions in the United Kingdom, France, San Francisco, and the actions that have already happened in the last week in Amsterdam and Stockholm.

Can you stage a news conference at the Iranian embassy in Moscow? Maybe deliver a letter to Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin?

I beg you to do even a small event, such as lighting candles at a gay establishment in Moscow, on behalf of Iranian gays and opposing the death penalty on Aug 11 or Aug 12.

I will of course do everything I can to alert the gay community and many reporters about any actions in Russia called by your group as part of the Aug 11 global day of protest against the death penalty and for support of gay and all human rights advocates in Iran.


In a message dated 8/10/2005 2:33:07 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
Thanks a lot for all the information you are sending!!!
It is very important to exchange it.
Translation of Swedish Story on Iran Protest

Thanks to my good friend H.A. in Washington, we now have a rough translation of the article from Sweden about the protest last week in Stockholm.

Basically, RFSL and the Iranian Refugees Association were protesting Friday, August 5, against Sweden's government's stand that LGBT-people in Iran are not at risk for discrimination, death, etc.

Theresa Hulthen continued and demanded an immediate stop for all rejections of LGBT refugees from Iran.

She even read greetings from Farnosh Danahkar, who has received several rejections regarding asylum and who now is in hiding somewhere in Sweden.

In Iran 2001, Farnosh (17 years old) was sentenced to 99 lashings for "illegal relations and a certain conduct that is against the moral rules."

His "crime" was that he at a beach had kissed a one year younger guy. Soon after the incident he came to Sweden seeking political asylum. He did not receive asylum and later the Swedish Immigration Department refused to consider several new applications, as it is presumed that Farnosh is not at risk for execution or discrimination if he returns to Iran.

On Friday the Immigration Department informed that at present they are not trying to deport Iranian LGBT-refugees.

We have until further notice about delayed deportations of homosexuals to Iran due to the execution a few weeks back which we are investigating, said Alicia Bengtsson, Information officer, Immigration Department to Stockholm City.
Swedes Protest Iran's Executions

Based on the photos posted at the web site for Sweden's gay rights group RFSL - Riksförbundet För Sexuellt Likaberättigande , I believe a protest was held in Stockholm last week to protest Iran's public hanging of two teenagers, who may have been gay.

If someone who knows Swedish can translate this article into English, I'd really appreciate it and will post the translation on my blog.

August 5, 2005

Protest hölls mot avvisningar till Iran

RFSL höll under fredagen, i samarbete med Iranska Flyktingars Riksförening, ett protestmöte på Medborgarplatsen i Stockholm till stöd för asyl åt iranska hbt-flyktingar. Migrationsverket meddelar samtidigt att man tills vidare, efter avrättningarna den 19 juli av två unga män som kan ha skett endast på grund av att de haft sex med varandra, skjuter upp alla avvisningar av hbt-flyktingar till Iran. Detta i avvaktan på att en ny utvärdering görs av situationen för hbt-personer där.

– Vi är här för att visa vår ilska och avsky mot den svenska regeringen som vägrar tro på Farnosh och andra drabbade hbt-personer, förklarade RFSL:s vice förbundsordförande Therese Hulthén i sitt tal under protestmötet.

– Sveriges regering väljer tyvärr att stå fast i sin uppfattning om att hbt-personer i Iran inte löper risk för förföljelse, trakasserier eller dödsstraff, fortsatte hon och krävde ett omedelbart stopp för alla avvisningar av hbt-flyktingar till Iran.

Hon läste även upp en hälsning från Farnosh Danehkar, som fått flera avslag på ansökan om asyl och nu gömmer sig i Sverige. I Iran dömdes Farnosh 2001, 17 år gammal, till 99 piskrapp för ”förbjuden relation och ett sådant uppförande som strider emot anständigheten”. Brottet bestod i att hon på en badstrand kysst en ett år yngre tjej. Kort efter händelsen kom hon till Sverige som asylsökande. Hon beviljades dock inget uppehållstillstånd och sedan har Utlänningsnämnden avslagit flera nya ansökningar, då man menar att Farnosh inte löper risk att drabbas av förföljelse om hon återvänder till Iran.

Under fredagen meddelade Migrationsverket att man för närvarande inte kommer försöka genomföra några avvisningar av iranska hbt-flyktingar.

– Vi har tills vidare uppskjutit avvisningen av homosexuella till Iran på grund av en avrättning för ett par veckor sedan som vi vill utreda vidare, säger Alicia Bengtsson, informatör på Migrationsverket, till Stockholm City.

Migrationsminister Barbro Holmberg (s) meddalar i ett samlat svar på frågor från flera riksdagsledamöter om utvisningar av iranska hbt-personer att Migrationsverket och Utlänningsnämnden ”nu även har information om de aktuella avrättningarna, vilken kan beaktas framöver i prövningen av asylärenden”. Hon framhåller att det finns en rätt för asylsökande "att få stanna i Sverige om de känner välgrundad fruktan för förföljelse på grund av kön eller sexuell läggning”.

Stig-Åke Petersson, som i många år för RFSL:s räkning agerat som ombud åt asylsökande, tror dock inte att regeringen är särskilt intresserad av att se till att Migrationsverket och Utlänningsnämnden efterlever lagstiftningen och beviljar asyl åt skyddsbehövande hbt-personer från Iran och andra länder.

– Man kommer att ligga lågt ett tag och vänta på att stormen bedarrar, sedan kommer man fortsätta med avvisningarna, befarar han.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Urgent Plea to Human Rights Campaign & DC Gays

You are desperately needed on August 11 at the Iranian interests section office in Washington to condemn Iran's July public hanging of two teenagers.

Protests in Dublin, London, Montpilier, Paris and San Francisco will demand an end to the death penalty and single out Iran's state-sanctioned killing machine.

I beg of you, in the name of the gays worldwide who can't speak out for abolishing the death penalty and antigay human rights abuses, especially those in Iran, stage a news conference and picket line on August 11 at the only location in Washington that officially represents the Iranian government.

Add Washington to the list of cities around the world that on August 11 will participate in deploring the death penalty and demanding protections of gay people across the planet.


Read more about where to protest in Washington on August 11 at this Daily Kos diary. The diary was started by Mike Meyer.

Obviously, these murders have caused Iran embarrassment. As I did in my earlier diary, I plead for action.

Being horrified is not enough. These boys are calling to you, begging for you to do something that redresses this injustice. Let these boys not become just two more kids who trudged to their deaths quaking before forces too powerful to be resisted but altogether doomed from the start to be forgotten, ignored like so much sand on a desert wind.

As they cry out to me, so also do they cry out to you.

As I said in my original diary on this subject, the Interest Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United States has a web site. They provide as an e-mail address.

You can write and fax:

Iranian Representative
Interest Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: (202) 965-4990
Fax: (202) 965-1073

You may write, telephone, or fax the Iranian ambassador in Canada:

Ambassador Seyed Mouhammad Ali Moosavi, Embassy of Iran, 245 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, Ontario .K2P 2K2 Canada Telephone (OO1-613- 235-4726, 233-4726; Fax, 233-5712.

In addition, you may report your concerns about the horror visited on Mahmoud and Ayaz to:

The Bureau of Human Rights
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Phone: (202) 647-1442.
Doug Ireland: Update on Iran's Hanging of Teenagers

One of the first, and most comprehensive, reports on Iran's public hanging of two teenagers who may have been gay came from veteran leftist gay journalist Doug Ireland. He's written an update on the case and provides full information and links to the August 11 global day of protest over Iran's executions. Cruise on over to Ireland's site for the latest details. And participate in calling attention to abolishing the death penalty and condemning Iran's death machine.
S.F. Gays Join Aug. 11 Global Protest Against Iran's Killing of Teenagers

For Immediate Release
August 9, 2005
Contact: Michael Petrelis,
Ph: 415-621-6267

(San Francisco, CA) - A protest will be held in San Francisco to condemn Iran's recent public hanging of two teenagers, who may have been gay. The action is part of a worldwide day of action focusing attention on Iran's barbaric capitol punishment laws and executions.

WHO: Gays Against Executions

WHAT: Press Conference and Protest

WHERE: Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets

DATE: August 11

TIME: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

The Mayor of San Francisco and members of the Board of Supervisors have been invited to speak at the press conference.

Gays who support abolishing capitol punishment and Iran's executions of teenagers, regardless of their "crimes" or sexual orientations, will be holding similar actions in Dublin, London, Montpelier and Paris.

One of the San Francisco organizers, Michael Petrelis, said the following information from OutRage!, the UK-based gay human rights pressure group, must be widely known throughout the U.S. gay community:

The two Iranian teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari (16) and Ayaz Marhoni (18) were hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad on July 19, 2005. Some reports say they were hanged for gay sex. The Iranian government claims they were hanged for the rape of a 13 year old boy.

Fact: Iran executes lesbians and gays. The Iranian government has executed an estimated 4,000 LGBT people since 1979. In these circumstances, we are not prepared to give the violently homophobic Iranian government the benefit of the doubt. It has previously lied to justify public executions, noted OutRage!.

Petrelis said, "Gays must take two public stands: oppose capitol punishment as human rights activists and hold all governments accountable for their antigay human rights abuses."

Monday, August 08, 2005

HHS Reviews Audit Request for S.F. AIDS Stats

The following letter arrived from Washington in today's snail mail and while it's not about HHS agreeing to my request last month that federal auditors verify San Francisco's AIDS statistics, the letter nonetheless represents a step forward because HHS has sent my concerns along its chain of command.

We'll just have to wait and see if HHS understands the importance of determining the validity of the AIDS caseload in San Francisco, before the Ryan White CARE Act is reauthorized by Congress in the fall.

August 4, 2005

Dear Mr. Petrelis:

This is in response to your email of July 11, 2005, in which you requested that the Department of Health and Human Service, Office of Inspector General, review your concerns regarding potential irregularities in the San Francisco Department of Public Health's reporting of HIV/AIDS statistics.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

We are forwarding your concerns to the appropriate program office for consideration.

Donald L. Dille
Assistant Inspector General for Audit Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Inspector General
Washington, DC 20201

Sunday, August 07, 2005

State Dept Denies Gay Blogger Press Credentials

Sean McCormack
Deputy Secretary
Press and Public Affairs
State Department
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. McCormack:

Please be informed that this letter serves as my formal request for an appeal of the State Department's press office decision denying me credentials, as a blogger, to attend your daily press briefings.

Considering the White House press office in March began granting daily press passes to bloggers, I think State should forthwith follow the example of allowing bloggers access to media briefings. If bloggers qualify as journalists worthy of admission by the White House into press briefings, why should State have a different standard on this matter?

As I said in my original request to your office for press credentials, I am a political writer and blogger who will be in Washington later this month and would like to attend State's press briefings while in town.

But Ms. Leslie M. Phillips, one of your associates, left a voice mail message for me on August 4, in which she said the public affairs office will not grant me press credentials because bloggers are not considered by State as part of the mainstream media.

This is the transcript of Ms. Phillips' message:

"Hi Michael. This is Leslie at the State Department press office.

"I want you to know I looked into your question and right now our policy is that the general public cannot attend press briefings, and we consider bloggers to be still in the public realm, not being an employee of a mainstream news organization.

"So unfortunately you're not going to be able to come in to attend the briefings.

"Of course, you're welcome to get the transcripts and view them on our web site when they're completed.

"If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call and we can discuss further, but that is the current policy. 202-647-2494. Thank you."

I'm the sole employee of my blog, which, granted, is not mainstream in the traditional definition, but I nonetheless report news of interest to readers both in the U.S. and abroad. Therefore, I feel entitled to be treated in the same manner as other journalists with a foreign beat.

In this day and age of bloggers covering politics, federal agencies and scores of social matters, and in effect providing news and analysis all too often overlooked by mainstream media outlets, I believe it's time for State to reconsider its rules governing who gets to attend daily press briefings.

Please reverse the decision prohibiting me from attending State's daily press briefings while I'm in Washington.

Again, I request a daily press pass to get into your briefings with reporters, as a veteran blogger covering matters related to U.S. foreign policy and gays.

Michael Petrelis


[Original request for State Department press credentials.]

August 3, 2005

State Department
Office of Press Relations
2201 C Street, NW
Room 2109
Washington, DC 20520-6180

Re: Press Credentials Requested

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am an independent political writer with a blog and I write today to request press credentials so I can attend State Department press briefings.

You can visit my blog at to verify my status as a political writer and blogger.

I will be in Washington later this month and will need a daily press pass in order to attend State Department briefings on the following dates: August 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31 and September 1.

Please advise me on how to obtain the proper press credentials for these dates, before I depart from San Francisco.

If you have any questions about my request, please call me at 415-621-6267. You can also email me at

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this request.

Michael Petrelis