Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium has effectively labeled unfettered capitalism a 'tyranny' (previously). [more inside]
Abdellatif Kechiche, whose film La Vie d’Adèle / Blue is the Warmest Color recently won the 2013 Palmes d'Or at Cannes, has "let loose everything he has on his heart" (lâche tout ce qu’il a sur le cœur) in a long text submitted to the French magazine Rue89 (in French; moderately good English translation here). [more inside]
In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
Monks Succeed in Cyclone Relief as Junta Falters. In Burma (Myanmar) the Buddhist monks are doing more than anyone to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis. At the same time, Burmese officials are trying to stem the influence of the monks by forcing survivors who have sought refuge in monasteries to return to their shattered homes. [Via Barbara's Buddhism Blog.]
Questioning the banality of evil. "There is a widespread consensus amongst psychologists that tyranny triumphs either because ordinary people blindly follow orders or else because they mindlessly conform to powerful roles. However, recent evidence concerning historical events challenges these views. In particular, studies of the Nazi regime reveal that its functionaries engaged actively and creatively with their tasks. Re-examination of classic social psychological studies points to the same dynamics at work. This article summarises these developments and lays out the case for an updated social psychology of tyranny that explains both the influence of tyrannical leaders and the active contributions of their followers." [Via Mind Hacks.]
The Pentagon has set down the rules regarding trials of terrorist suspects facing trial in the new military commissions court system. At least one US military attorney, Major Michael Mori, who is defending Australian terror suspect David Hicks, has blasted the new rules saying that the Pentagon still do not include fundamental rights such as habeas corpus.
Cheney's Cheney and the Unitary Executive Theory. An excellent article from the New Yorker on the mysterious forces at work behind the Bush administration's expansion of executive powers.
James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper No. 47:Power Grab
The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many...may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
That extraordinary powers have, under Bush, been accumulated in the "same hands" is now undeniable. For the first time in more than thirty years, and to a greater extent than even then, our constitutional form of government is in jeopardy.
Adel is innocent. I don't mean he claims to be. I mean the military says so. It held a secret tribunal and ruled that he is not al Qaeda, not Taliban, not a terrorist. The whole thing was a mistake: The Pentagon paid $5,000 to a bounty hunter, and it got taken. The military people reached this conclusion, and they wrote it down on a memo, and then they classified the memo and Adel went from the hearing room back to his prison cell. He is a prisoner today, eight months later.
The Psychology of Tyranny - A 1971 Stanford University experiment seemed to prove that power corrupts, and absolute power corrects absolutely - and perhaps recent world and national events would bear that out. But is it really power that's the problem? A recent study [more from researchers, here] from the Universities of St Andrews and Exeter suggests that it isn't power - but the failure of those who are anti-tyranny to themselves exercise appropriate power and to work together - that is more to blame for tyranny's results. If true, what needs to change to push back against tyranny in the world today? [first post, btw]
The web won't topple tyranny. "The myth that the Internet will utterly transform capitalism has died. The myth that the Web will destroy tyranny should perish as well." [Via /.]