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Tag: authoritarianism

Data Storage

From the New York Times: Not so long ago, even the most aggressive government surveillance had to be selective: the cost of data storage was too high and the capacity too low to keep everything. Not anymore. John Villasenor, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles, studied the plummeting cost of computer […]

Spying on Scientists

Note that this is all taking place under the Obama Administration: A wide-ranging surveillance operation by the Food and Drug Administration against a group of its own scientists used an enemies list of sorts as it secretly captured thousands of e-mails that the disgruntled scientists sent privately to members of Congress, lawyers, labor officials, journalists […]

Julian Assange TV

Incidentally, Julian Assange has a new TV show, and it looks awesome. Episode 5: An interview with former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg, along with an activist for current detainees, human rights lawyer Asim Qureshi, regarding “the plight of Muslims in the post 9/11 world, the thin line between terror and self-defense, and how Obama has ushered […]

Obama Spies on You

An excerpt from typically-brilliant piece from Glenn Greenwald regarding warrantless wiretapping: In 2006, The New York Times‘ James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won the Pulitzer Prize for their December, 2005 article revealing that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans without the warrants required by the FISA law (headline: “Bush Lets U.S. […]

Israel is Right

This kind of thing cannot be allowed to stand: Israel has declared the German author Guenter Grass “persona non grata” and barred him from entering the country. Grass, a Nobel laureate, recently criticised Israel in a poem. In it, Grass condemned German arms sales to Israel, and said the Jewish state must not be allowed […]

Ikea Illegal

The BBC Reports: A French newspaper has claimed that Swedish furniture giant Ikea paid for illegal access to police files on its staff and customers. The weekly Le Canard Enchaine published what it said were emails where Ikea managers asked police for information. More than 200 checks on criminal records and vehicle registrations were asked […]


From a tweeter: “Gaddafi didn’t get a trial”: tell that to Mansour Al-Kikhiya or Fathi Al-Jahmi or Hamed Al-Shuwehdi’s families #Libya #Justice Oh, okay. I guess that goes for all murderers then, because they have victims and their victims received no due process. Accused of murder? Too bad, no trial for you! Don’t get accused, […]


Part of a much longer and brilliant reflection: This summer, I started hearing a new slogan: “Existence is resistance.” If you remain on the land, then the game isn’t over.  And if you can bring attention to the occupation, while you remain in place, so much the better. In June, Alá Shelaldeh, the 13-year-old violinist, […]

War on Terror

One afternoon three years ago, Francis Van Asten drove to the Mall of America, near Minneapolis, and started recording. First he filmed driving to the mall. Then he filmed a plane landing at the nearby airport, and then he strolled inside the mall and kept recording as he walked. He says he was taking a […]


For your information: The Israeli parliament has passed a controversial law that will punish any Israeli individual or organisation boycotting West Bank settlements. Rights groups say the legislation stifles freedom of speech and compromises Israeli democracy. After failed attempts to delay debate, it was voted through 47-36. It follows several Israeli calls to boycott institutions […]

Thank God for Rand Paul

From TPM: If Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) keeps holding up the PATRIOT Act by insisting on voting on his amendments, it could have “dire consequences” for our nation’s national security, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) charged on the floor of the Senate Wednesday. “When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we will be giving terrorists […]

Government on Your Phone

You know, when I got my latest mobile phone, I thought to myself, “It’s a nice model. Sure is a shame it doesn’t have more government on it.” Mobile phone emergency alert system to launch in US The system will allow the federal government and local authorities to reach people on their mobile phones to […]

Police Brutality

Digby is awesome, as usual: But that’s not the worst story I’ve heard this week about police violence: A Goodwater police officer shot a defendant twice inside the municipal courthouse Thursday after the man became unruly in response to a jail sentence, eyewitnesses said. Struck by at least one bullet, the man, identified by witnesses […]

Web Attacks

From the BBC, regarding efforts by the hacktivist group Anonymous to crash websites hosted by the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Yemeni government regimes opposing protestors: “If you aren’t prepared to go and throw rocks, then maybe you should think again about clogging up websites with traffic,” he added. So says a security expert. Because throwing rocks, […]

More On Wikileaks

This is ridiculous: I was forwarded this email — it comes from a SIPA student at Columbia. Seems the ambitious young things studying IR and considering a foreign service careers are being warned not to touch Cablegate: From: “Office of Career Services” <> Date: November 30, 2010 15:26:53 ESTTo: Hi students, We received a call […]

Private Prisons

Remember that hugely controversial Arizona Immigration law? But while the debate raged, few people were aware of how the law came about. NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona […]

More on TSA

Sigh. This is useful context on the pornography and groping from TSA. It’s context you almost never hear though, because the authorities are too busy saying “just trust us and shut up” to anyone who’ll listen. Of course we aren’t listening and can’t really be expected to trust the TSA/security agencies given their recent history […]

Airport Security

The Transportation Security Agency now has x-ray machines that are invasive in the sense that they create unclothed images of those sent through them. They’re controversial enough that, if you’re randomly selected to use them, you can choose not to and instead submit yourself to a physical pat-down which includes contact with the groin and […]

On Blair and Iraq

Let me quote from a BBC interview with Tony Blair: Speaking on BBC One’s Fern Britton Meets programme, Mr Blair was asked whether he would still have gone on with invasion plans had he known at the time that there were no WMDs. He said: “I would still have thought it right to remove him. […]

Prison Healthcare

Another snippet from Natasha: Prison healthcare is egregious, and I’ve read a number of stories about people dying or suffering terribly because of denial of care. But denying medical treatment to a pregnant woman in jail for traffic violations surely deserves a promininent place in the annals of prison inhumanity. It’s not quite at the […]