Notes on Civil Liberties for July 20
Here’s today’s blog for the latest news and updates on civil liberties and digital freedom issues. If you have any news tips and would like to contact me, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- US State Embassy cables show Thailand is a refuge for fugitives. The New York Times reports on a March 2009 cable that reads, “Thailand has traditionally been one of the top source countries for extradition of criminals to the US,” and then notes the cable lists “the wide variety of fugitives nabbed in Thailand over the years: child molesters, narcotics traffickers, money launderers and cybercriminals, among others.”
- US played a key role in the interim government of Haiti after ousting Haiti President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a coup. Cables from WikiLeaks on Haiti show US was deeply involved in the internal affairs for Haiti from March 2004 to June 2006.
- Library of Congress removes “extremist website” subject header classification for books on WikiLeaks. The removal comes as a result of a grassroots movement among Twitter users led by a group of writers at WL Central (which this author used to write and publish to before officially joining the FDL crew).
- Andy Worthington has a column on Congress and its dangerous drive toward creating a military state. He describes how, “if lawmakers are successful, anyone regarded as a terrorist must be held in military detention, where, it is planned, they may be subjected to abuse with impunity, and, if required, held forever without a trial and without any rights.”
- Black Agenda Report’s Margaret Kimberley on the “incarceration state” in America: She writes, “The prison and jail system is perfecting its methods of extracting free labor. Perhaps the system ought to be called the new slavery.”
- Seventy percent of anti-LGBT murder victims are people of color. National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program released its annual report. The report “documents 27 anti-LGBT murders”—second highest annual total since 1996.
- FBI interviews Syrian activists in Washington, who not surprisingly are concerned about their safety under the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.
- Drones are added to the Pakistan navy’s fleet. The drones are equipped with sensors and will be used in coastal areas, making the possibility of “bugsplat” much more possible.
- Director of Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University thinks he’s found a capital punishment case that will give him his first success in fighting the death penalty. For thirty years, he has been trying to fight the death penalty, a state where 232 people have been put to death over the past decade. Der Spiegel covers the case that he thinks will give him a victory.
- Missouri state legislators have passed bills that seriously impact women’s reproductive freedom. Aimed at instituting more bans on abortion, they actually eliminate “health exceptions” that “protect women facing serious pregnancy-related complications.”
- Hate speech, boycotts and censorship in Israel: Washington Post publishes this op-ed on the impact of a new Israeli law on boycotts
- Harvard internet hero Aaron Swartz arrested for downloading articles from JSTOR. Here’s a brief biography of Swartz and a bit of an explanation of why the government is going after him.
- Greenpeace breaks Twitter injunction that Cairn energy won. The Scottish energy company tried to get people to not protest and post pictures of people dressed as polar bears but hundreds of people around the world broke the injunction. The group had been prohibited from “disseminating, printing, uploading, sharing, copying or otherwise publishing any images, photographs, pictures or other material (or copies thereof) taken or recorded by Greenpeace activists.”
Now, for some culture —
Chris Floyd has written and recorded this great song on what happens to a society that treads the path of militarism and does nothing to challenge such the transformation of society by militarism.
And, here’s an example of why parody is great. A song that is one of the worst pop songs ever recorded in the 21st century becomes beautifully transformed by rewriting the lyrics so they tell a story about the News Corp phone hacking scandal.