Wednesday, April 26, 2006

1,000 flights

So the European Parliament is conducting an investigation into the secret CIA rendition flights, on which prisoners were transported to foreign countries so that they could be tortured.

How can we possibly claim to hold a monopoly on to the moral high ground when we secretly arrest people, hold them for years without trial, then shuttle them around on secret flights all over the world so that we can torture them without fear of legal repercussions? What is wrong with this country?

VOA story - linky

Tony Snow

has finally been promoted from his "unofficial" role as Bush press secretary. He now no longer works for for Fox News, and is now officially on the white house payroll. This should come as no surprise to many, but maybe this will help make people realize how worthless Fox is as a source of information.

Friday, April 21, 2006



Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Little Brother is watching

I've always been opposed to putting video cameras all over the place. I believe that a system which puts its citizens under constant surveillance is inherently wrong, and more importantly, is a slippery slope to even more invasive observation, whose logical extrapolation can only be to the creation of a totalitarian state. This simply cannot be allowed to happen, regardless of benefits, perceived or otherwise.

Linked on boingboing is an interesing page which collects abuses of surveillance cameras. Some of it is amusing (cops zooming in on hot chicks as they walk down the street), and some of it is just plain sick (a guy in a school filming kids in the school locker room and keeping copies at home).


Thursday, April 13, 2006

More on EFF vs. ATT

Mark Klein, a retured 22 year AT&T employee has come out with 140 pages of documents that will support the EFF's case against AT&T.

According to a statement released by Klein's attorney, an NSA agent showed up at the San Francisco switching center in 2002 to interview a management-level technician for a special job. In January 2003, Klein observed a new room being built adjacent to the room housing AT&T's #4ESS switching equipment, which is responsible for routing long distance and international calls.

"I learned that the person whom the NSA interviewed for the secret job was the person working to install equipment in this room," Klein wrote. "The regular technician work force was not allowed in the room."

Klein's job eventually included connecting internet circuits to a splitting cabinet that led to the secret room. During the course of that work, he learned from a co-worker that similar cabinets were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Big brother is listening.

wired article - linky

Just following orders

So there is guy in the British armed forces, a doctor called Malcolm Kendall-Smith, two time veteran of Iraq, decorated in Afghanistan. He has just been sentenced to 8 months in prison for refusing to go to Iraq, as he feels the war is illegal.

What makes this case interesting is his citation of the Nuremberg war tribunals. (Quick history lesson - Nazi soldiers were on trial for war crimes, they told the judges that they should not go to jail because they were just following orders, the judges said following orders is not an acceptable defence for war crimes, you should have refused to follow orders that you knew were wrong).

These are not the actions of a coward. This guy is an officer, and a doctor. More than likely he would be serving well behind the lines at a field hospital, so its not like he is going to jail because he doesn't want to die, he is going to jail because our war is illegal and he wants no part of it. Also note that he did not have to go to prison. In the words of his defender -

"I have the honour to present to you an officer of impeccable character. He has an exemplary record. He served Her Majesty the Queen and her country not once, not twice but three times," he said. "He could have followed an easier route, the conscientious objector route, but he had not chosen to go down that route. He could have and would have been deployed anywhere in the world."

It is a sad, sad day when we are compared to the Nazis.

Guardian story - linky

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

M for Must See

If there is one movie you go see this year, it must be V for Vendetta.

Friday, April 07, 2006

EFF vs. AT&T

So apparently AT&T has been secretly fowarding all internet traffic to the NSA. The government is secretly reading every email we send, every page we go to, every article we read, every purchase we make, everything. Note that this is exactly the same as what happens in other bastions of freedom such as China, North Korea and Iraq.

The Electronic Freedom Foundation has started the proceedings for a class action suit against AT&T.

The evidence that we are filing supports our claim that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "More than just threatening individuals' privacy, AT&T's apparent choice to give the government secret, direct access to millions of ordinary Americans' Internet communications is a threat to the Constitution itself. We are asking the Court to put a stop to it now.

So much for the Fourth Amendment.

EFF press release - linky

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

London Calling

So there is this guy called Harraj Mann. He got into a taxi and was going to take a flight from Durham to London. Along the way, he was playing music on his iPod and singing along. And when he got to the airport, he was escorted from the plane, and held for questioning. The problem you see, was that he was singing. The Clash. London Calling. (You might have heard of it, it was the title track on the album that Rolling Stone ranks #8 on its list of the greatest 500 albums of all time, and that Entertainment Weekly calls the greatest rock album, ever).

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared - and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard,you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the reign of that truncheon thing

The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
Cause London is burning and I live by the river

Two buildings, 3,000 people, and now we are now so terribly terribly afraid that singing in public will get you detained by the police.

The terrorists have won.

BBC - linky

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Bugman is gone

Years of corruption, money laundering and bribery have finally caught up with him. Tom "The Bugman" DeLay, former Majority Leader of Congress is resigning from his congressional seat, presumably so that he can devote all his energy to staying out of prison. This is good news for America.

Wikipedia entry on Delay - linky