A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
Look at Azerbaijan! But look beyond the shiny Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) which will be held tomorrow in Baku. Look at the “Dirty Secrets” [SLYT, BBC Panorama, 30 min., English] and at independent film maker Liz Mermin’s film “Glanz und Schatten in Azerbaidschan” [SLYT, 30 min. German but more informative IMHO]. > Locals that voted in the music contest for a country that was not in favor of the ruling family were investigated by the police. And then there is the story of two expensive donkeys (€42,000 each) and a comedic video that landed a young man in jail. Let’s not forget the story of a journalist who was blackmailed with secretly shot sex tapes. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch often report of restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Azerbaijan. Shortly before the ESC young musician Jamal Ali fled the country. While US peace corps volunteers don’t feel like criticizing much and sing a song of their own [SLYT], we see more arrests in Baku today.>
London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
Recent troubles with Muslim women's clothes have lead to the Quebec Government to begin proposing legislation on the issue of face covering and access to public services. The niqab has become a central symbol in the anti-muslim rhetoric of nationalist parties in Europe (political poster examples: France, Switzerland, and Britain) about the threat Islam poses to tolerant secular societies. [more inside]
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.
China's secret plot to tame Tibet. "Internal Communist party documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month." Meanwhile, the military has sealed off several monasteries in Lhasa, keeping over 1,000 monks locked up. Another 1,000 monks have mysteriously disappeared, and may have been sent to prisons in a neighbouring province to keep them silent through the Olympics.
In the same spirit as the Open Net Initiative and Committee to Protect Bloggers that both track global internet filtering, Sami ben Gharbia's Access Denied Map tries to track the blocking of sites like Blogger, Flickr, YouTube and others by governments, as well as efforts by activists to keep them accessible or to challenge their blockage.
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]
China Praises Its Progress Toward Olympics. With one year to go before the 2008 Olympics, China still has many challenges ahead, like dealing with Beijing's terrible air pollution. There is still much criticism over China's record on human rights and freedom of the press, and some protests. But perhaps the most embarrassing public relations setback is that one of the official mascots, Yingsel (aka Yingying) the Tibetan Antelope, has defected from China's Olympic team and gone underground to campaign for a free Tibet. [Some links via BB and MoFi.]
The Navy's detention facility at Hanrahan has a created a secret prison-within-a-prison and, per the article, developed elaborate plans to dodge public scrutiny of its operations to detain enemy combatants. "In detaining American citizens, full constitutional rights are afforded except where curtailed by higher guidance or accepted prison practice," the report said.
The Beginning of the End of America. (YouTube, Keith Olbermann)