Category Archives: Politics: International

Egypt Cuts Internet Access & SMS

Reports are coming in that Egypt is now under an Internet and SMS blackout, just hours before a new series of major protests are planned against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

Sebone, a major Egyptian service provider based in Italy, is reporting that no Internet traffic is entering or exiting the country as of 12:30 AM Egyptian time.

via Internet Access & SMS Blocked in Egypt as Protests Escalate. See also C.Net’s Reports: Internet disruptions hit Egypt.

At present, the US government only wants the power to monitor all communications, and to require intermediaries to store them for a couple of years in case law enforcement wants them later, not the power to pull a kill switch.  That, fortunately, could never happen here.

Nor, of course, could torture.

UPDATE: On Twitter follow the #jan25 and #jan28 hash tags for user reports.

Tech reports at BGPMon, Internet in Egypt offline and Renesys, Egypt Leaves the Internet.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Internet, Politics: International | 5 Comments

YouTube – Rimjin-gang News From Inside North Korea ASIAPRESS

I have no idea if this video claiming to have images from North Korea is authentic, but I am prepared to believe that it is. And the initial image of the woman starving in the fields is certainly … unforgettable. Not for the faint of heart.

Rimjin-gang News From Inside North Korea ASIAPRESS:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh4CtTGAzKw

Rimjin-gang claims to be “The first-ever independent publication in the world written directly by people of North Korea.”

North Korea is usually considered to be one of the few, maybe the only, Internet-impervious state.

Posted in Politics: International | 13 Comments

Richard Holbrooke’s Last Words

“You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”

Really.

Update: Then again, maybe not exactly.

Posted in Politics: International | Leave a comment

Swedish Video on Health Care

It would be an exaggeration to say that this video — Emelie behöver inga fler skattesänkningar — is the biggest issue in the upcoming Swedish election. Rather, this video illustrates what has all of a sudden become a defining issue in the election, the undermining of Sweden’s national health care system. Watch it — and be patient because when the audio starts it is in English, with Swedish subtitles.

Somehow, I doubt the technique would work here, though.

Posted in Politics: International | 8 Comments

Corollary to Zawinski’s Law

RC3 has proposed a new Corollary to Zawinski's law.

Zawinski’s law states:

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

I wonder if there’s a corollary that applies to imperialism.

Every empire attempts to expand until it can occupy Afghanistan. Those empires which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

It even provides a testable hypothesis.

Posted in Politics: International | Leave a comment

Two Words MIA

Exit Strategy: The two words that you don't hear anymore in the Afghanistan policy debate.

Where did they go?

Posted in Politics: International | 4 Comments

Obama Wins Nobel Prize for Not Being Bush

In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy.

In all frankness, this is undeserved. Most charitably, Mr. Obama has yet to achieve much on the international front, save substantive re-engagement with North Korea and some good atmospherics with much of the rest of the world. These are good things, maybe great things compared to the Bush legacy, but not worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. Less charitably, while the US is partially withdrawing from Iraq — but only partially — there are no signs of withdrawal in Afghanistan, Predator drones are still shooting people, Guantanamo is still open, what appear to be war crimes by people in high places are not being investigated.

Here is the full text of the citation,

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the United States is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Nuclear weapons? I don't see much progress there, did I miss something? At first blush this seems the least defensible choice since 1994, or maybe 1973. (Full list of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates — make your own nomination for 'least defensible choice since….')

I hope some good comes of it, somehow.

Best case for the award I can come up: Obama has moved away from the Bush administration policy of pre-emptive self defense. That indeed does contribute significantly to world peace. But it's not noted in the citation, except maybe by implication. Plus, have we officially repudiated the unilateralist elements of the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States yet?

Posted in Politics: International | 8 Comments