Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Tuesday, February 26, 2002 Permanent link to this day
How can we justify...

A Prayer for America: Representative Dennis Kucinich speaks out against the continued expansion of the War of Terror both abroad and at home.

Let us pray that our nation will remember that the unfolding of the promise of democracy in our nation paralleled the striving for civil rights. That is why we must challenge the rationale of the Patriot Act. We must ask why should America put aside guarantees of constitutional justice?

How can we justify in effect canceling the First Amendment and the right of free speech, the right to peaceably assemble?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Fourth Amendment, probable cause, the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Fifth Amendment, nullifying due process, and allowing for indefinite incarceration without a trial?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Sixth Amendment, the right to prompt and public trial?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Eighth Amendment, which protects against cruel and unusual punishment?

We cannot justify widespread wiretaps and Internet surveillance without judicial supervision, let alone with it. We cannot justify secret searches without a warrant. We cannot justify giving the Attorney General the ability to designate domestic terror groups. We cannot justify giving the FBI total access to any type of data which may exist in any system anywhere such as medical records and financial records.

We cannot justify giving the CIA the ability to target people in this country for intelligence surveillance. We cannot justify a government which takes from the people our right to privacy and then assumes for its own operations a right to total secrecy. The Attorney General recently covered up a statue of Lady Justice showing her bosom as if to underscore there is no danger of justice exposing herself at this time, before this administration.

[via Follow Me Here]

I can stop any time

Turning into digital goldfish

If you are spending too much time on the internet and are concerned that it is affecting your concentration, you are not alone.

The addictive nature of web browsing can leave you with an attention span of nine seconds - the same as a goldfish.

Hey, did you see the U.S. version of the Register? [via Plep]

Mir viruses

Virus 2: The Real Story of the 'Mir' Threat: do mutating viruses from the Mir pose a threat to the Earth, now that the space station has come crashing home?

Throughout Mir's life in space, the number of microorganisms grew continuously, one generation replacing another every 20-30 minutes. If in 1990 there were registered 94 species, in 2001 they numbered 140. But the real problem was not the species increasing in number but their growing aggressiveness: each new generation seemed to be more ferocious than the last.

[via abuddhas memes]

Analyzing the treason tape

What lies behind Zimbabwe's treason tape

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe has analysed the video tape and says that a version broadcast relentlessly on Zimbabwe television has a video timer on the screen, which also demonstrates "that the video had been cut and rearranged in a manner that appeared to suit the assassination conspiracy theory".

"The timer... changed repeatedly from, 9.45am to 9.25am; and from 9.25am to 9.43am and then back to 9.27am; and from 9.52am to 9.44am," says the MMPZ.

It's not clear the weekly reports from the MMPZ are archived regularly, so I'm mirroring that issue below.

Dispersing influence

The Office of Strategic Influence, which caused a stir earlier this month, is being shut down and its functions distributed to other organizations. Rumsfeld blames inaccurate reporting on the office being "so damaged" that it couldn't function.

"We did a whole series of things that are characterized as influence or strategic influence or information operations," Rumsfeld said. "And we have done that in past, and we will do that in the future ... There's lots of things we have to do. And we will do those things. We'll just do them in different offices."

Asked directly whether disinformation would be part of the effort, Rumsfeld replied, "It most clearly is not."

Poppy production unleashed

A drug on the market

Neither individual Afghans nor foreign governments have cause to mourn the collapse of the Taliban regime. But in one respect, it is already being missed abroad if not at home: it managed to eradicate most of Afghanistan’s cultivation of the opium poppy. Now the Taliban are defeated, the country may once again reclaim the dubious honour of being the world’s biggest producer, and the dominant force in the world heroin trade. Rival South-East Asian producers are now scrambling to beat them to market. Police and customs forces throughout Central Asia and Europe are bracing themselves for an influx of cheap heroin, and the United Nations (UN) International Narcotics Control Board, in its annual report, to be published on Tuesday February 26th, will appeal for action to prevent renewed Afghan production.

Columbia's war

A slide back to war: on how Columbia returned to civil war after 3 years of peace efforts.

Six weeks ago, President Andres Pastrana threatened to call off peace talks with his country’s main guerrilla army, the FARC, only to back down in a display of brinkmanship as the rebels agreed to speed up talks on a ceasefire. But on February 21st, Mr Pastrana’s government began bombing rebel enclaves, the day after announcing that he was ending the talks, and ordering the armed forces to recapture a guerrilla-controlled “demilitarised zone” he had sanctioned to promote peace. Another negotiating ploy? Not this time, it seemed. The president ordered the arrest of guerrilla leaders even as the air force began to bomb and strafe FARC camps and other targets, such as landing strips, in the zone. In the past few days, Colombian troops have invaded the enclave and retaken the major towns and cities, though FARC guerrillas still control much of the countryside.

Iceland's fuel cells

Will Fuel Cells Make Iceland the 'Kuwait of the North?'

As the political situation in unstable petroleum-producing regions continues to heat up, and evidence of global warming continues to mount, more people are beginning to look to hydrogen-powered fuel cells for an escape.

War against the press

The Pentagon's War Against the Press

If you want a good idea of what's missing from the news coverage of our ongoing "war on terrorism," take a trip down to your local library or bookstore and check out the anthologies "Reporting World War II" and "Reporting Vietnam," both published by the Library of America.

Compare what you've been reading in the papers and hearing on radio and television over the past few months with the work of such great reporters as Homer Bigart, Ernie Pyle, A.J. Liebling, Martha Gellhorn, Malcolm Browne, Michael Herr, Gloria Emerson and Peter Arnett -- just to name a few -- that are found within the covers of these two collections. The difference is astounding.

[via Unknown News]


The Patriot Act: Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

The Patriot Act is not antiterrorism legislation; it's antispeech legislation, and is no more a direct response to the September 11 attacks than the Children's Internet Protection Act is a direct result of sincere concern by members of Congress about the safety of minors. The cold, cynical reality is that the Patriot Act is a bloated hodgepodge of speech-chilling law that lurked in congressional corridors not only before September 11 but in large part before the Bush administration. It was hustled into reality in the post-9/11 environment so quickly, secretively, and undemocratically that our Bill of Rights had been clocked with a one-two punch well before any of us realized it was under attack.

[via Unknown News]

Get a grip

US threat to peace, says vicar, in a parish magazine, circulation 500, article. A parishioner filed a complaint that the vicar was "inciting racial hatred against Americans" and British police are investigating. [via Unknown News]

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Copyright © 2001-2002 by Wes Cowley