David Graeber’s “The Democracy Project” and the anarchist revival. "Is the current arrangement of our democracy unstable? Should we start thinking about what might come next?"
London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
Can the Burmese people rescue themselves? A powerful piece by George Packer in the New Yorker on the recent history and current conditions in Burma.
A 15-year-old in London is being prosecuted for holding a sign calling Scientology a "cult", during a peaceful demonstration (0:55-1:40). The teenager refused to back down, quoting a 1984 high court ruling from Mr Justice Latey, in which he described the Church of Scientology as a "cult" ... The City of London police came under fire two years ago when it emerged that more than 20 officers, ranging from constable to chief superintendent, had accepted gifts worth thousands of pounds from the Church of Scientology. The City of London Chief Superintendent, Kevin Hurley, praised Scientology for "raising the spiritual wealth of society" during the opening of its headquarters in 2006. Last year a video praising Scientology emerged featuring Ken Stewart, another of the City of London's chief superintendents via
Risking all: the Burmese jokers who laugh in the face of danger. In Burma (Myanmar), comedians are targets in the junta's war on words. [Via BB.] [more inside]
Russia's attack on independent voices. In 2005, Alexandra Poolos interviewed Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya. Two years later, Politkovskaya is one of fourteen journalists murdered since Vladimir Putin came to power, and Frontline sent Poolos to Russia to investigate the Kremlin's crackdown on independent voices. She reports on voices struggling to survive -- the last independent newspaper, a persecuted Chechen activist -- amidst a booming economy and resurgent authoritarianism.
Harold Pinter at 75. In One for the Road, the protagonist is Nicolas, a whisky-sodden interrogator who has brought in a family for questioning (and, it is implied, raping and torturing). In the short, sharp shock of The New World Order, we eavesdrop on a conversation between two torturers, held over the top of their mute, blindfolded victim's head ("We haven't even finished with him. We haven't begun."). In Ashes to Ashes, the interrogation of Rebecca by Devlin takes a sinister turn as we learn that her ex-lover participated in state-sponsored violence. In Mountain Language, a sadistic guard plays power games with a group of mountain dwellers, who are forbidden from speaking in anything but the language of the state. In Party Time, Pinter lampoons the smug security of the middle classes, portraying an insufferably élite party which carries on regardless of the violence and terror on the streets outside. Now, for Pinter's 75th birthday, some of the tormentors and the tormented so potently etched in his later plays are assembled together in a new dramatic work with a musical setting by the composer James Clarke.
China's non-interventionist approach to Africa. They recently lifted 200 million of their own people out of poverty. Unlike the G8, they aren't concerned about corruption, aid, debt relief, social impact, human rights, the environment, or spreading democratic ideology. They build governments, hotels and industrial plants in Sierra Leone, export 60% of oil from the 'genocidal' Sudanese, sell weapons to both sides in war zones and deal arms to embargoed dictators like Mugabe. They'll be the third largest investor in Africa at the end of this year. The People's Republic of China: threatening - or Jeffersonian?