Ah, Israeli occupation, the best time of my life
16 Aug 2010

What could be funnier than an Israeli soldier posting pictures of blind-folded Palestinians?


Post apartheid troubles in South Africa
16 Aug 2010

When democracies start trying to silence brave journalism, be afraid:

Royal sex scandals rarely come riper. A government minister is caught in bed with the king’s wife – in fact, one of the king’s 14 wives. Ndumiso Mamba, justice minister in Swaziland, is forced to resign and could yet face much worse from King Mswati III.
But just about the last people to read this story were those in Swaziland itself. The censorious atmosphere in the tiny, impoverished kingdom contrasts with South Africa, where newspapers had a field day.
Such freedom is the envy of much of the continent. South African papers have repeatedly exposed bribery and corruption in high places, including a tainted multibillion pound arms deal investigated by the Mail & Guardian. President Jacob Zuma‘s business and romantic relationships do not escape scrutiny either.
But now South African journalists are facing their most serious threat since the persecution of the apartheid regime. The governing African National Congress is proposing new laws that would make it illegal to leak or publish information deemed classified by the government, with the offence punishable by up to 25 years in jail. The ANC wants to create a media tribunal to regulate journalists’ work.


Finding a safe home for Wikileaks
 15 Aug 2010

How many Western nations believe in protecting organisations that make governments truly uncomfortable?

The founder of WikiLeaks says he will seek a publishing license for his controversial operation in Sweden where whistleblower protections are strong.
Julian Assange said he would apply for a Swedish publishing license this week in order to maximize legal protections for the sources who provide WikiLeaks with documents that some governments don’t want released to the public.
“We’re dealing with organizations that don’t obey the law,” Assange told the Swedish news agency TT. “We’re dealing with intelligence agencies.”
WikiLeaks made its biggest international splash earlier this year with the release of a huge number of documents from the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
TT said Sunday that WikiLeaks moved its computer servers to Sweden in 2007 and currently operates in the Scandinavian nation. Legal analysts, however, say a publishing license would ensure that WikiLeaks was fully covered by the whistleblower shield law.


Fighting the spin of “progress” in Afghanistan
 15 Aug 2010
The real face of Hamas is appearing and it ain’t pretty
15 Aug 2010

Amira Hass in Haaretz on the growing intolerance of dissent by Hamas in Gaza:

Senior Hamas officials may watch their language when they talk with representatives of the depleted left, but the real attitude shines through in the conduct of younger activists and people lower in the hierarchy. They don’t stand so much on pretense and openly express the spirit of the times.
But the shamelessly brutal suppression of the protest shows just how scared the Gaza government is. It has suppressed all activities by Fatah in the Strip, be it public or internal.
Last week, it prevented a protest by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the al-Maghazi refugee camp, also based on the electricity crisis. It even banned a celebration by the Khan Yunis refugee committee for students who passed their matriculation exams.
This is because any activity not controlled by Hamas or protesting the Israeli siege is defined as a threat to the movement’s rule. If Hamas felt it still had public support, it wouldn’t need to suppress any activity that it didn’t initiate or finds unflattering.

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