October 23rd, 2006

Chris Keeley

Paranoia

LiveJournal's link with Russian 'net co sparks KGB data-share fears

Rebecca McKinnon writes:
These badges were created by Russian LiveJournal users who are very suspicious (to put it mildly) of a new partnership between SixApart's LiveJournal and the Russian Internet company SUP. I learned about this controversy by reading Veronica Khokholva's latest post over at Global Voices Online. She writes:

 

The Russian-language blogosphere (commonly known as ZheZhe) is on fire: some users are shutting down their blogs, others are emigrating to the virtual Trinidad & Tobago - all because LiveJournal.com's owner Six Apart has decided to team up with the Russian internet company Sup, founded this year by Aleksandr Mamut, a Russian "oligarch," and Andrew Paulson, an American entrepreneur.
...
Assurances from managers of Six Apart and Sup have left many unconvinced and still concerned over whether the Russian security services would gain access to their personal information and whether the new Abuse Team would carry out ruthless purges.

[read the whole thing here]

Apparently there is a certain element of anti-Semitisim coming from some of the ethnic Russian LJ users which is of course very bad.   But there is another issue at play here which I think really needs to be taken seriously: local users don't trust local internet companies not to sell them out to Russian security forces.

Read the full text of Rebecca's post, including responses from SixApart folks, here.

posted by Xeni Jardin

Chris Keeley

Boeing

THE C.I.A.’S TRAVEL AGENT
by Jane Mayer
Issue of 2006-10-30
Posted 2006-10-23

On the official Web site of Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, there is a section devoted to a subsidiary called Jeppesen International Trip Planning, based in San Jose, California. The write-up mentions that the division “offers everything needed for efficient, hassle-free, international flight operations,” spanning the globe “from Aachen to Zhengzhou.” The paragraph concludes, “Jeppesen has done it all.”

Boeing does not mention, either on its Web site or in its annual report, that Jeppesen’s clients include the C.I.A., and that among the international trips that the company plans for the agency are secret “extraordinary rendition” flights for terrorism suspects. Most of the planes used in rendition flights are owned and operated by tiny charter airlines that function as C.I.A. front companies, but it is not widely known that the agency has turned to a division of Boeing, the publicly traded blue-chip behemoth, to handle many of the logistical and navigational details for these trips, including flight plans, clearance to fly over other countries, hotel reservations, and ground-crew arrangements. 

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Chris Keeley

HUMAN SHIELD

“Rachel Corrie” is a ventriloquist’s act in which the bright, fine-boned Megan Dodds, who radiates a sense of both privilege and pluck, resuscitates from diary entries and e-mails the voice and being of the American pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie, who died at the age of twenty-three. For most of her life, Corrie was haunted by the suffering in the world. In the play, which is a kind of ghost story, she returns to haunt us.

HUMAN SHIELD
by JOHN LAHR
The making of an activist.
Issue of 2006-10-30
Posted 2006-10-23

In a one-person show, the most important question is not where to start the story but why to tell it. The actor needs a compelling reason, beyond vanity, to step from the wings onto the stage. There has to be both need and news; there rarely is. One exception is the riveting “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” (at the Minetta Lane, under the deft direction of Alan Rickman, who also co-edited the play, with the journalist Katharine Viner). “Rachel Corrie” is a ventriloquist’s act in which the bright, fine-boned Megan Dodds, who radiates a sense of both privilege and pluck, resuscitates from diary entries and e-mails the voice and being of the American pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie, who died at the age of twenty-three. For most of her life, Corrie was haunted by the suffering in the world. In the play, which is a kind of ghost story, she returns to haunt us.

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Chris Keeley

Somehow, the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in c

Bush Gives Recess Appointment to New Mining Official
President Bush has named the mining executive Richard Stickler the new head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The president gave him a recess appointment after the Senate twice refused to confirm him. 

Brother of Pat Tillman Slams Iraq War and Bush Administration
The brother of Pat Tillman has spoken out about his brother’s death in Afghanistan and has condemned the Bush administration’s war on terror. Pat Tillman was the star football player who gave up his playing career to fight in Afghanistan. He was killed in a friendly fire incident, but for years the Pentagon lied about the circumstances. His brother Kevin fought with Pat in Afghanistan. In his article posted on the website Truthdig, Tillman wrote "Somehow, the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country. Somehow, this is tolerated. Somehow, nobody is accountable for this." Tillman goes on to write "Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.” 

Israel Admits It Fired Phosphorus Shells in Lebanon
The Israeli military has admitted for the first time that it fired phosphorus shells at Hezbollah targets during its month-long attack on Lebanon. The phosphorous shells were used despite widespread calls by human rights groups for a worldwide ban on the munitions because they cause undue suffering through severe burns. During the war there were reports that Lebanese victims had suffered serious burns from phosphorous. One doctor reported seeing three corpses entirely shriveled with black and green skin -- a phenomenon characteristic of phosphorus injuries.

Cluster Bomb Kills 12-Year-Old Boy In Lebanon
In other news from Lebanon, a twelve-year-old boy died Sunday in the southern village of Halta after a cluster bomb exploded. The boy died while picking olives with his brother. At least 21 people have died in southern Lebanon from cluster bombs since the Israeli war ended in August. 

U.S. Diplomat: U.S. Displays Arrogance & Stupidity in Iraq
Meanwhile a senior U.S. diplomat publicly accused the United States of displaying arrogance and stupidity in Iraq. The State Department official Alberto Fernandez made the comment during an interview conducted in Arabic on Al Jazeera.

  • Alberto Fernandez: "We tried to do our best (in Iraq) but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq."

The State Department initially claimed Fernandez’s comments were mistranslated. Later Fernandez issued a written apology through the State Department press office. He wrote “I seriously misspoke by using the phrase 'there has been arrogance and stupidity' by the U.S. in Iraq. This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department. I apologize."

U.S. Moves Closer to Building New Stockpile of Nuclear Weapons
The Washington Post is reporting the United States has moved a step closer toward building a new stockpile of nuclear weapons that would last well into the 21st century. Late last week, Bush administration officials announced the start of a multiyear process to repair and replace eight facilities where the nuclear weapons would be developed and assembled. The Bush administration is planning to replace its aging stockpile of warheads with two thousand two hundred new nuclear weapons that would last for decades. The nation's two nuclear weapons laboratories, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore, are competing to design a new nuclear warhead.