Autoexploitation .
Mar 31st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Auto­ex­ploita­tion. Eugene Volokh links to news that police have brought up a Latrobe, PA, res­i­dent on child porn charges for cir­cu­lat­ing pho­tos of a 15-year-old girl on the Inter­net. Which sounds like good news… except the per­son they’ve charged is the 15-year-old girl, who uploaded the pho­tos her­self. Now, I don’t know the details; prob­a­bly the girl could use a lit­tle coun­sel­ing if, at that age, she’s shoot­ing strangers in chat rooms pics of “her­self in var­i­ous states of undress and per­form­ing a vari­ety of sex­u­al acts.” But it seems a touch bizarre to pun­ish her for exploit­ing… her­self. [Hit & Run]

Vic­tim­less crimes have been pop­u­lar with the gov­ern­ment for years, but this is the first time I’ve heard of them charg­ing a “vic­tim” with the crime that she was sup­pos­ed­ly the vic­tim of.

Maybe None of Them are Terrorists .
Mar 31st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Maybe None of Them are Terrorists. Consider this theoretical possibility: if no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, is it also possible that there are no al-Qaida terrorists in Guantánamo? It seems far fetched, put so bluntly. If only by chance, it would seem likely that some of the detainees might be terrorists. The US secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, argues that the inhumane incarceration, the secrecy and the abuse of any principles of justice are all justified by the fact that these prisoners are the hardest of hard cases. But given what we know of those who have been released, the refusal of the US to open the evidence to challenge, and the secrecy that surrounds the prison and all who languish there, the proposition is worth considering. And since none of us have been allowed to know much, it is worth listening to those who know a little more.

Lt Commander Charles Smith of the US navy is one of the five serving officers assigned to the defense of Guantánamo prisoners who attended a meeting in Oxford last weekend to discuss the realities rather than the myths of Guantánamo. Smith has visited Guantánamo Bay several times and has come closer than most non-inmates to what happens there...

...Smith, a military defense attorney for more than seven years, went to Guantánamo expecting his client to be a hardened terrorist. Instead, he met a Yemeni migrant who had got a job driving agricultural workers on Osama bin Laden's farm near Kandahar and had ended up as one of several drivers who chauffeured the man himself. Appalled by September 11 and by Bin Laden's reaction to it, he left his job as soon as he safely could, then, as war was imminent, took his wife to safety in Pakistan. He had returned to Afghanistan to try to sell his car and pack up when he was detained and handed over to US forces.

It makes sense to Smith that his client should have been detained as a potentially valuable intelligence source and a useful witness. But, he says: "Would you charge Al Capone's chauffeur with Al Capone's crimes? I had to ask myself, after I'd met him, is this really the best they've got? Are there no real terrorists in Guantánamo Bay?"

Out of more than 600 people, only six have been designated for trial. Nearly 100 detainees have been released with no more explanation than had been given for their detention. One Afghan detainee was handed $100 by a US military officer as he arrived at Kabul airport, as though he were a taxi driver being tipped for carrying his bags. (link)

The comparison with Iraq is particularly apt. This is an administration that we know either uses completely unreliable intelligence or is lying to the American people. They've presented "evidence" before that doesn't prove what they claim it proves. How far has the rot spread? Shouldn't we try to find out? [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]

This raises a good question. Given what we know about the Feds grabbing hundreds of innocent people after 9/11 and later releasing them, I would be at all surprised if most of the so-called terrorists are actually innocent.

Iraqis Drag Four Corpses Through Streets [ AP World News ] The author of the article noticed the similarity to events in
Mar 31st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Iraqis Drag Four Corpses Through Streets [AP World News]

The author of the article noticed the similarity to events in Somalia.

Report: iTunes Pepsi Promo .
Mar 31st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Report: iTunes Pep­si Pro­mo. It ends today! [Mac­In­Touch]

The pro­mo­tion­al Pep­si bot­tles nev­er did appear in Los Ange­les. I saw them in Austin dur­ing my trip there last week, but I didn’t have any luck with the four bot­tles I pur­chased there.

Hero of Peace and Capitalism .
Mar 30th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Hero of Peace and Cap­i­tal­ism. The great Kiyoshi Amemiya of Hitachi, the busi­ness­man who–after see­ing the hor­rif­ic results of US land­mines in Cambodia–built the world’s first mine-clearing machine, which he gives away, but will not sell to any mil­i­tary. (Link thanks to Aaron Gunn) Read… [ Blog]

Does passenger screening system target dissenters? .
Mar 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Does passenger screening system target dissenters?. I was there when it happened. Our fact-finding group from TransAfrica Forum had just returned from Venezuela and was waiting for our baggage to be unloaded from the plane at the Miami International Airport. We had cleared immigration with no problem and were almost ready for connecting flights after a grueling weeklong tour.

After a significant wait, our bags eventually started to arrive on the carousel. But nothing came for Danny Glover.

The actor, known for his roles in the Lethal Weapon films, is also a human rights activist. As chair of TransAfrica Forum's board, he was a member of our Venezuela delegation. When his things finally arrived, we immediately noticed that two of his boxes had been opened by U.S. Customs officials. They were damaged and crisscrossed with green tape. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "This has been happening to me every time I return from overseas."

On each of his four most recent trips abroad, he has endured intrusive searches or extra scrutiny by Customs.

As we pushed for answers, an airline representative confirmed that Customs had indeed gone through Mr. Glover's items. Is there evidence that he is a smuggler of contraband? A security risk? An illegal immigrant? Is there any reason to suggest that his activities should be scrutinized?

For some unknown reason he has been flagged. (link)

There have been a lot of stories floating around about activists and critics of the Bush administration having trouble whenever they fly. Fun fact: Glover has endorsed Kucinich for president and done a lot of campaigning for him. [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]

It's not just Communist actors having trouble, either. As I wrote a few weeks ago, pro-freedom writer Frank Ney isn't just subject to harrassment--he's not allowed to fly at all.

Counterterrorism (by Government) is Impossible .
Mar 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Coun­tert­er­ror­ism (by Gov­ern­ment) is Impos­si­ble. The gov­ern­ment can spend many years and bil­lions of dol­lars pre­vent­ing attacks that have already occurred by doing things it might have wished it had done years or decades ago. But note that there has been no dis­cus­sion at all of the actu­al poli­cies that every­one knows inspired the attacks and made them eas­i­er to car­ry out.

Just to men­tion a few: the sta­tion­ing of troops in Sau­di Ara­bia, the sanc­tions against Iraq, the con­tin­u­ing inter­ven­tion in the ever-lasting Israel-Palestine con­flict, the prop­ping up of sec­u­lar dic­ta­tor­ships all over the Arab world, the rais­ing up and fund­ing of Islam­ic rad­i­cals to counter Sovi­et influ­ence in Afghanistan, and the reg­u­la­to­ry pro­hi­bi­tions in the US against per­mit­ting air­lines to man­age their own secu­ri­ty issues. The US gov­ern­ment can­not pur­sue all these poli­cies and then react in shock when it turns out that some peo­ple exploit them with vio­lent intent.

Many observers of these poli­cies pre­dict­ed that some­thing along these lines would take place. You don’t need to be a “coun­tert­er­ror­ism” bureau­crat to see it. The response to the events of 9–11 around the world was very telling. While the world felt awful for Amer­i­ca, most every­one (except Amer­i­cans) believed that some­thing like this was inevitable. As for who was respon­si­ble, the ene­mies of the US have become count­less. The government’s response was to make ever more ene­mies, which is what the recent US pol­i­cy in Iraq has done. [Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute]

Mar 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler


this Mil­lion Moms Meet­up page
: [high­road]
“I am very con­cerned about pro­lif­er­a­tion of small arms among the
peo­ple most like­ly to mis­use it: police offi­cers, Trea­sury, BLM and
FDA employ­ees. I’d like MMM to address that press­ing prob­lem.” — Oleg
[End the War on Free­dom]

Freedom of the Press in Liberated Iraq .
Mar 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Freedom of the Press in Liberated Iraq. U.S. soliders shut down an Iraqi opposition newspaper. The ban, from the office of Iraqi strongman Paul Bremer, is supposed to last 60 days. [Hit & Run]

This sort of thing is likely to be representative of the sort of "democracy" the Feds plan to create--everyone will be free to vote, but the only candidates allowed will be those who the US government approves of.

I’ve posted my notes from REAL World 2004 in a Stuffit file .
Mar 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

I’ve post­ed my notes from REAL World 2004 in a Stuffit file. The notes are in a “Tin­der­box” doc­u­ment, so if you want to read them and don’t already have Tin­der­box you’ll need to down­load the demo ver­sion.

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