It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.
In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era." The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions -- BDS for short -- was born.
Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves.… This international backing must stop."
Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009
It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.
As the Israeli military continues to pound the crowded, impoverished and imprisoned population of the Gaza Strip with the full force of its military might, Israel's strongest ally, the United States, announced plans to ship large amounts of ammunition to the Israeli forces – as it did during Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon, when the Israelis ran out of (internationally-banned) cluster bombs, and the US shipped them tens of thousands more.
The US Military Sealift Command, on December 31st, published a solicitation for bids from shipping companies to ship two boats, each containing 168 TEU's (twenty-foot equivalent container units) of ammunition, from Greece to Israel.
The description of the vessels required was brief:
“Required: Request US or foreign flag container vessel (coaster) to move approximately 168 TEU's [standard twenty-foot containers] in each of two consecutive voyages both containing ammunition.”
Bids were requested by January 5th, but it is unclear whether bids were submitted or if a contract was awarded by January 8th.
According to the US Military's solicitation, "Funds are not currently available for this procurement. In the event funds remain unavailable, this procurement will be cancelled without an award being made."~ more... ~
Declaration by the Athens Anti-Authoritarian Movement circulated in yesterday's (9 Jan 2009) protest march
The volleys that were fired and that wounded the riot policeman did not deal a blow to the establishment nor to 'democracy' as all the parliamentary forces and journalism's golden boys would like us to believe. The volleys were fired against the multifaceted December movement, against the December uprising, and even against the popular force of the rebellion for which the ones who fired them supposedly give a damn.
Every armed action is not necessarily political. And just by their symbolism both the ones that took place at the University campus and Exarchia were definitely not political.
During periods of popular rebellion all of us lower each political or ideological identification. We know that no one can supplant the movement, to consider that they can make it wear their own 'hat' and define it according to their own pursuits.
This uprising has demanded freedom and dignity. This movement - beautiful, beautiful and lawless - could offer the oppressed the ability to storm the center of political life. The school and university students, the unemployed, the immigrants, the prisoners, the workers have retaken the public arena, asserting their life anew.
The movement is not ebbing. It is not taking a single step back. The movement does not apologize for actions that are alien to it. Its prospects and impetus lie before us: the school and university occupations, the direct democracy assemblies, the mobilizations for those imprisoned culminating in the massive pan-Helladic demonstration in Larisa on the 17th of January. The movement's demands are timely as ever: Disarm the police! Dissolve the riot police! Release those arrested! Abolish the terror-laws and bring down the murderers' regime!
ATHENS ANTI-AUTHORITARIAN MOVEMENT
The film director Theo Angelopoulos talks to openDemocracy's Jane Gabriel about the turmoil in Greece and about his new film 'The Dust of Time'
Theo Angelopoulos: We have reached a dead end point in the social and political life of Greece; and if we add to this the economic crisis, we find superimposed on each other three parallel crises, social, political and economic. It is a very severe situation. Who suffers from this? Obviously the more vulnerable social and economic classes, but some other groups as well. Who? The young people. Ahead of them there is a closed horizon, there is no reference point, no future prospect: they live in a world where whatever we hear about public life is scandal, corruption, crises, weaknesses and compromises. Young people become tangled up in this story; they feel the full burden and the weight of this story. The result is that without having full consciousness of what is going on, they have a profound need to break out of this shell, and they take to the streets.
The story in Athens now might not have assumed these wide dimensions had there not been an assassination, which I would say - a little ahead of time - brought about an explosion, which otherwise might have taken more time to mature and led to genuine rebellion. My sense is that we have reached what you would call a fin de saison and that there will be a return of these uprisings, which will become ever more frequent. I also believe that this is not an exclusively Greek phenomenon, I have a feeling that this will turn out to be a European wide phenomenon in the future. In contrast to earlier youth uprisings, like May 1968 or the equivalent uprisings in Greece prior to the installation of the junta, which were focussed around specific political demands, at this particular moment there are no specific demands. There is an opposition, it's as if people are waiting in a waiting room and can hear from outside the door all kinds of alarming sounds and noises, and they reach the point when they want to open the door and see what is going on outside.
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It's been so long since JD Salinger published anything that it's surprising to realize he's still around and celebrating birthdays - his 90th on New Year's Day.
But for a writer whose last published work was in 1965, Jerome David Salinger's fame has hardly faded. His most famous work, Catcher in the Rye, which foreshadowed the youth rebellion of the 1960s, has remained in print since it first appeared in 1951.
As early as 1944, Ernest Hemingway recognized Salinger as having a "helluva talent." The two met in Europe during World War II, where Salinger served in the US Army.
Salinger's most famous character was Holden Caulfield, the foul- mouthed 16-year-old prep school reject who rebelled against the hypocrisy of adulthood. Caulfield, who has been compared to Johann Wolfgang van Goethe's Werther, first appeared in 1946 in a short story in the elite New Yorker magazine, under the title Slight Rebellion off Madison, and then was fleshed out in Catcher in the Rye - Salinger's only novel.
Salinger's last published work appeared 43 years ago in the New Yorker, a novella Hapworth 16, 1924, part of his series on the Glass family.
But the Glass series remains unfinished, and whatever might be going on in his life as he turns 90 remains a closely held secret.
Repelled by the demands of almost cult-like fame that came with Catcher and his successive works - Nine Stories in 1953 and Franny and Zooey in 1961 - Salinger retreated into an isolated life behind a high fence in Cornish, a small village in the hills of New Hampshire in the US north-east.
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Suh: These days, everybody is talking about a crisis. But everyone has a different definition of crisis. Some talk about a financial crisis, others about a more general economic crisis, including production. Still others talk about a crisis of neoliberalism, a crisis of American hegemony, and, of course, some talk about a crisis of capitalism. I would like to start by asking how you define the current crisis.
Wallerstein: First, I think the word crisis is used very loosely. As most people use it, it simply means a situation in which some curve is going down that had been going up. And they call that a crisis. I don't use the term that way. But, in fact, I think we are in a crisis and a crisis is a very rare thing.
[ ... ]
The second thing that happens when you have a Kondratieff B phase is that people who want to make a lot of money shift to the financial sphere; basically, speculation through debt mechanisms of various kinds. I see this from the point of view of the powerful economic players circa the 1970s, the United States, Western Europe and Japan. I call it exporting unemployment. Since there is a relative amount of unemployment in the world system as a result of the decline of industrial production, the question is: Who is going to suffer? So each tries to export the unemployment to the other. And my analysis is that in the 1970s Europe did well, and in the 1980s Japan did well, and in the beginning of the 1990s the United States did well. Basically, by various mechanisms -- I don't want to go into the details of the analysis of how they did it -- but financial speculation always leads to a bust. It's been doing that for 500 years, why should it stop now? It comes at the end of a Kondratieff B phase. Here we are. So what the people are calling a financial crisis is simply the bust. This recent business of Bernard Madoff and his incredible Ponzi scheme is just the most perfect example of the impossibility of continuing to make profits off financial speculation. At some point, it goes. If you want to call it a financial crisis, be my guest. That's not important.
Suh: What is particularly interesting about the current phase of the Kondratieff cycle, to use your preferred term, is that the world economy is reaching the bottom of the cycle just as U.S. hegemony is being questioned more seriously than before. It has been declining for some time, perhaps for about 30 years since its defeat in Vietnam. Various U.S. administrations have tried to reverse the process by various means. Some tried human rights diplomacy or some version of liberal measures. Others attempted more realist policies by expanding military capability or turning to high-tech military power such as “Star Wars.” None were able to reverse the process, but everyone sought to find the most efficient way to manage the world with less power. What happened in recent years is that George W. Bush came along with the neocons who thought they were going to reverse this by policy of militarism and unilateralism. But instead of reversing the process and restoring U.S. hegemony, they accelerated the process of decline.
Financial Crisis/Geopolitical Crisis
Wallerstein: Here we are, about to be 2009, and we are in a multi-polar situation, which is irreversible from the point of view of the United States and a very complicated messy one. And we are in a so-called financial collapse. We are in a depression. I think that all this pussy-footing about language is nonsense. We are in a depression. There will be serious deflation. The deflation, conceivably might take the form of runaway inflation but that's just another form of deflation, as far as I'm concerned. We might not come out of that for four or five years.
It takes awhile. Now all of that is what I think of as normal occurrences within the framework of the capitalist-run system. That's how it operates. That's how it always has operated. There's nothing new in the decline of hegemony. There's nothing new in the Kondratieff B phase and so forth. That's normal.
[ ... ]
Suh: What's different about this time, you suggest, is that we are entering not only a particularly turbulent Kondratieff B phase but we have also entered the terminal crisis of the world economy. If we have been in this terminal stage for some time, what does the current economic crisis do? What does it mean?
A Terminal Crisis of Capitalism?
Wallerstein: It means that the normal mechanisms of getting out of it won't work any longer. We've had this kind of depression before; one in '29. We've had many such depressions: 1873-96 was our Kondratieff B phase, 1873-96 was like this period. There have been many over the last four, five hundred years. The way you get out of it, there are standard modes of getting out of it. The modes of getting out of it aren't working this time because it's too hard. The standard modes of getting out of it; one of them is you create a new, productive leading industry, which you monopolize and get high profits and protect it very well, and so forth. You do a little bit of redistribution so that there are markets for these things. So, we've gotten out of it before, but it's not going to be so easy this time. That is to say, there may be an upturn. It's not impossible that there will be a relative upturn five years from now. It accentuates the problem because the upturn itself is raising the three basic curves, making them higher and higher and higher. There was an analysis done in the physical sciences a long time ago, which showed if a curve moves up towards an asymptote and gets to about 70, 80 percent of the way, at that point what happens is it begins to shake enormously. That's the analogy. We're at the 70, 80 percent point on these three essential curves and it is shaking enormously. There are great fluctuations and is very unstable; that is why we talk about being chaotic. But it can't move up another 10 percent because it's just too near. We haven't had that problem before because when the curve was way down here at 20 percent, it worked very well. And you go from 30 to 40 percent, it worked very well. When you get all the way up there, there's nowhere to go. That's what the concept of asymptote is. I want to analyze this in terms of percentages of possible sales prices. The whole point is you can't just expand the amount of money which you demand indefinitely for selling because people don't want to buy at a certain point, because it's just too much. And they don't.
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Five Falconer Central School freshmen may at first seem an unlikely source of aid for Uganda, the East African landlocked country that has been involved in the continent's longest civil war.
However, they are well on their way to collecting 10,000 books for the children who have become victims of the country's 23-year-old conflict.
Gaby Garver, a 14-year-old freshman, began the book drive after she watched a documentary on the victims of Uganda's civil war at a Levant Wesleyan Church youth group meeting. The documentary was created by the Web site, www.invisiblechildren.com, and is where Gaby went home to explore how she could contribute.
The term ''invisible children'' is used to describe the children of Uganda who would travel by night to escape abduction and forced enlistment in Joseph Kony's Lords Resistance Army. As part of the LRA's rebellion, thousands of men, women and children have been killed.
In Uganda, Joseph Kony has been leading the LRA on a decades long rebellion and has abducted an estimated 20,000 children to use as child soldiers and sex slaves. Since 1988, Kony has attacked, killed and abducted the people of Uganda in his attempt to establish theocratic control of the country.
He is considered a terrorist by the United Stated government and has been indicted, along with his top generals, for 12 crimes against humanity, and 21 counts of war crimes by the International Criminal Court in 2005.
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Five years ago, young Muslims across the United States began reading and passing along a blurry, photocopied novel called “The Taqwacores,” about imaginary punk rock Muslims in Buffalo.
“This book helped me create my identity,” said Naina Syed, 14, a high school freshman in Coventry, Conn.
A Muslim born in Pakistan, Naina said she spent hours on the phone listening to her older sister read the novel to her. “When I finally read the book for myself,” she said, “it was an amazing experience.”
The novel is “The Catcher in the Rye” for young Muslims, said Carl W. Ernst, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Springing from the imagination of Michael Muhammad Knight, it inspired disaffected young Muslims in the United States to form real Muslim punk bands and build their own subculture.
Now the underground success of Muslim punk has resulted in a low-budget independent film based on the book.
A group of punk artists living in a communal house in Cleveland called the Tower of Treason offered the house as the set for the movie. The crumbling streets and boarded-up storefronts of their neighborhood resemble parts of Buffalo. Filming took place in October, and the movie will be released next year, said Eyad Zahra, the director.
“To see these characters that used to live only inside my head out here walking around, and to think of all these kids living out parts of the book, it's totally surreal,” Mr. Muhammad Knight, 31, said as he roamed the movie set.
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Maria Dimitriadi was a brilliant singer. Born in 1951 in Athens, she made a risky visit in 1968 to Mikis Theodorakis, then under house arrest at the seaside resort at Vrahati, breaking through the police presence surrounding his home. Mikis gave her his songs, and urged her to go abroad and join Maria Farantouri and his band, to let the world know what was going on in Greece. She did, and for several years toured Europe with Mikis' band (and with Mikis when the junta allowed him to leave the country), and recorded some of his most-beloved anti-junta songs of the period. But at Mikis' side, she always stood in Maria Farantouri's shadow, always the "other Maria".
Dimitriadi really came into her own with the fall of the dictatorship, when Thanos Mikroutsikos, a new composer, chose her as his muse. She was the princip[al] singer on his first 6 albums, issued in 1975-79. Mikroutsikos introduced jazz and rock elements into Greek pop music, and these early works were very political -- songs with lyrics by Turkish communist poet Nazim Hikmet, East German dissident Wolf Birman, Greek communist Yannis Ritsos, Bertolt Brecht, Vladimir Mayakovsky and others. Maria embodied the genre of "political song" which dominated the early post-junta years. She sang at demonstrations and rallies, on picket lines with striking workers, at leftwing youth festivals.
These were the songs of my late teens and early college years, when I was fervently energized by the communist ideals which swept up Greek youth (even though I lived here in the U.S.). While my fellow students at OSU listened to Springsteen (someone I would not discover til I'd been out of college for 4-5 years), Rush, and who knows who else, I was listening to Dimitriadi singing her red heart out, singing songs about Roza Luxembourg, about executed Greek communists, about peasant rebellions in Spain, about how "the whole world would become red". I saw Maria perform live a few times, once in 1978 at a stadium rally to send off the Greek delegation to the International Youth Festival in Cuba, where she and Mikroutsikos debuted their "Songs of Freedom", later that summer at the Communist Youth Festival in Athens, and a couple of years later at a small club in Thessaloniki the winter that I attended the University there, where I sat at a table right up against the stage. (Somewhere I have a cassette tape I recorded of that show, though I have no idea where it is, it's been twenty-five years or more since I last listened to it.). A couple of years later, I saw her perform with Manos Hadjidakis at another small club beneath the Acropolis.
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But war tells only part and an equivocal part of the story. As the classical scholar Professor Gilbert Murray suggests, 'One felt that he went to the wars because he hated wars as he hated all oppressions, all infliction of suffering by the weak on the strong'. The memorial meeting has been organised by the National Council for Civil Liberties and English P.E.N (Poets, Essayists and Novelists). Nevinson has been president of both. The former suffragette Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence pays tribute to his commitment to women's suffrage. Other speeches dwell on his support for Irish freedom and his campaigning in the British press against slavery in West Africa. Nevinson's services to literature are praised. Vera Brittain, who suggested the event, reads some of his exquisite prose. His fellow radical journalist and friend H. N. Brailsford stresses Nevinson's service to the progressive press, placing special emphasis on his literary craftsmanship and poetry. He explains how proud Nevinson was of 'having served two great teams under two great captains, 'on the Manchester Guardian under C. P. Scott and on the weekly paper The Nation under Massingham'. And it is particularly appropriate that we are meeting this evening in The Newsroom as the Manchester Guardian was one of the three daily British newspapers for which Nevinson wrote for decades. He undertook a dozen overseas assignments for the paper starting in 1907 as well as covering some controversial issues at home too. He became known as an outstanding war and special correspondent, as a literary figure and as a champion of what today we call human rights. Indeed, the societies represented at Nevinson's memorial suggest the catholicity of his interests: they included the Anti-Slavery Society, the Women's Liberal Federation, the Rationalist Press Association, the Poetry Society, Labour Party, Society of Authors, National Guild of Co-operators, English Folk Dance and Song Society, West Indian Students in Great Britain, the Electrical Trades Union, the Suffragette Fellowship and the BBC. Messages came from countries such as Greece, the USSR (of which he had been very critical) and Czechoslovakia.
E. M. Forster who presided at the memorial, wrote an article in the mid-twenties for the New Leader entitled 'Literature or Life? Henry W. Nevinson; The Boy Who Never Stuck'. In this talk I want to look back to see how such how such a varied group of people came together to celebrate Nevinson's life. And I wish to explore a little further the tensions inherent in the story of this war and special correspondent committed to literary pursuits who, perhaps above all, saw himself as a champion of justice. And in so doing I'll be drawing on issues and events that he wrote about in the Manchester Guardian (the MG) as well as the wonderfully rich diary that Nevinson kept. Henry Woodd Nevinson was born exactly a hundred and fifty years ago in mid century, in the Midlands and into a somewhat dull, middle class family. They were fervent Evangelicals. Perhaps all this is not surprising - rebels have, after all, to rebel against something and it can anyway be argued that Nevinson's passionate championing of the rights of others owes not a little to that Evangelical background even though it was now divested of religious fervour. And the Bible, along with the passion for classical Greek that he developed at Shrewsbury School, certainly had an impact on the sculpting of his distinctive style. Nevinson did not, however, move easily into the ranks of the newspaper correspondent: far from it. And he never had any training for the job, let alone counselling after his traumatic experiences. He wasn't even employed on the staff of a newspaper when he got his first commission. And, although he became hailed as the last of the great Victorian war correspondents, the first war that Nevinson covered was not until 1897. Moreover, he was 40, an age which then signalled slowing down rather than rushing off to participate in a conflict in remote mountainous areas of northern Greece.
~ more... ~
To Robert Traill Spence Lowell Jr.
28 January 1948 Rome, Italy (MS: Houghton)
Via Santo Stefano Rotondo, 6
Rome, Jan. 28, 1948
[ ... ]
The bombing for the sake of "frightfulness" (an imitation of the Germans) and the insolent demand for unconditional surrender, and the blind policy with Russia were all blunders as well as wrongs, and have produced a stale-mate where materially there was a clear victory. If you had been a Catholic at that time your confesser would nevertheless have advised you to submit to the regulations of the established government of your country; but your refusal to do so marked the idealistic absolutism of the Protestant conscience which does not respect matter as much as the Church does, as I think, wisely. I had made inquiries about you in various quarters, and had heard that you had been in a "working camp" for "conscientious objectors", but not that you had been in prison or scrubbing floors; also that you had been to College at Kenyon, but not that you had been first for a year and a half at Harvard. Both these points are important in explaining what has puzzled me a little in your poems, a certain animosity (against King's Chapel, for instance). You have not merely found these things irrational (as I did) but you have been made to suffer by them, as I never did, because they didn't belong to me nor I really to them. You^r^ position, if not your independence, was not like mine. You were more deeply involved, and more rebellious by nature; for few things seem to me worth rebelling against. I say, "Non ragionam di lor, ma guarda e passa" The meanness of that additional day in your sentence shows how prepotent authorities have become even in America, and public opinion how intolerant. In my youth New England was horrified at anything "emancipated" in fact, but everybody was "liberal" in theory. But in general I feel that America has grown up and improved immensely in these last fifty years and deserves the leadership it has acquired in material things (which require human virtue to manage them): insight will come later.
~ more... ~
The Uprising continues...
The Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza, the UN's most senior human rights official said tonight, as Israeli troops pressed on with their increasingly deadly offensive in defiance of a UN security council resolution demanding a ceasefire.
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, singled out the killing this week of up to 30 Palestinians in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, when Israel shelled a house where its troops had told about 110 civilians to take shelter.
Pillay, a former international criminal court judge from South Africa, told the BBC the incident "appears to have all the elements of war crimes". She called for "credible, independent and transparent" investigations into possible violations of humanitarian law.
The accusation came as Israel kept up its two-week-old air and ground offensive in Gaza and dismissed as "unworkable" the UN security council resolution calling for "an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire". Protests against the offensive were held across the world today as diplomacy to halt the conflict appeared to falter.
With the Palestinian casualty toll rising to around 780 dead and more than 3,100 injured, fresh evidence emerged today of the Zeitoun killings.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in a report it was "one of the gravest incidents since the beginning of operations" against Hamas militants in Gaza by the Israeli military on 27 December.
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Authorities' reaction was tougher than in previous demonstrations, with riot police dragging youths into police buses and charging at demonstrators.
Police said 33 people had been detained, and three of those were later formally arrested. The rest would be released, authorities said.
Earlier, local media had reported more than 60 people had been detained, and at least five were injured. Protesters said many of those detained, including a group of lawyers, had not been involved in any violence.
"They treated the lawyers as if they were the people who were throwing stones or petrol bombs," said Dimitris Vervesos, vice-president of the Athens Bar Association. He said all the attorneys were released.
But after more than a month of frequent demonstrations, tempers were clearly frayed. Riot police scuffled with journalists and local residents, spraying some with tear gas during one attempt to detain suspects. Nearby, heated arguments broke out between residents and youths setting trash bins on fire to ward off the effects of tear gas.
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This document is a working document. The current version is being circulated for consultation. It is not an official publication of STOA or of the European Parliament.
This document does not necessarily represent the views of the European Parliament.
AN APPRAISAL OF THE TECHNOLOGY OF POLITICAL CONTROL
The objectives of this report are fourfold: (i) to provide Members of the European Parliament with a guide to recent advances in the technology of political control; (ii) to identify, analyse and describe the current state of the art of the most salient developments; (iii) to present members with an account of current trends, both in Europe and Worldwide; and (iv) to develop policy recommendations covering regulatory strategies for their management and future control.
The report contains seven substantive sections which cover respectively:
(i) The role and function of the technology of political control;
(ii) Recent trends and innovations (including the implications of globalisation, militarisation of police equipment, convergence of control systems deployed worldwide and the implications of increasing technology and decision drift);
(iii) Developments in surveillance technology (including the emergence of new forms of local, national and international communications interceptions networks and the creation of human recognition and tracking devices);
(iv) Innovations in crowd control weapons (including the evolution of a 2nd. generation of so called 'less-lethal weapons' from nuclear labs in the USA).
(v) The emergence of prisoner control as a privatised industry, whilst state prisons face increasing pressure to substitute technology for staff in cost cutting exercises and the social and political implications of replacing policies of rehabilitation with strategies of human warehousing.
(v) The use of science and technology to devise new efficient mark-free interrogation and torture technologies and their proliferation from the US & Europe.
(vi) The implications of vertical and horizontal proliferation of this technology and the need for an adequate political response by the EU, to ensure it neither threatens civil liberties in Europe, nor reaches the hands of tyrants.
The report makes a series of policy recommendations including the need for appropriate codes of practice. It ends by proposing specific areas where further research is needed to make such regulatory controls effective. The report includes a comprehensive bibliographical survey of some of the most relevant literature.
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One of the most striking features of the recent series of revolts, rebellions and riots in Greece over the last few weeks has been the use of social media to relay events to a wider audience. What has been witnessed is a form of internet hyper - Darwinism in which the forces of change which usually take years have been compressed into a time frame measured in weeks.
Before the recent troubles the use of Twitter, blogs, video sharing services and the like was a pretty limited affair. Many of those on the Left, and much of Greek political life saw the internet as irrelevant as TV, newspapers, public meetings, leafleting and marches were the order of the day. Such a stance reflecting a general distrust of the medium, an extension of the Greek Left's ambivalent relationship with the media in general.
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In yesterday's actions in Athens, riot police refused to identify themselves to lawyers and even to 2 magistrates. This is reminiscent of their tactic at a major demonstration three decades ago against the current prime minister's uncle, also named Constantine Karamanlis (yes nepotism is alive and well in the land that coined the term). At the time there was an outbreak of major protests when police arrested a group of 'terrorists' with evidence against them including - among other dangerous objects - can openers! The riot police had covered the serial numbers on their epaulets in a display of democratic sensitivities.
Presently, the police have received emergency supplies of tear gas from Israel and Germany.
The most troubling development is being hushed up. In parliament, Coalition of the Left president Alekos Alavanos asked the government why the Greek military has been inviting bids for the supply of crowd control equipment. The issue was pooh-poohed by Minister of Defence Evangelos Meimarakis who insinuated Alavanos was up to the old commie tactic of fear mongering.
Greek journalists Friday attacked police conduct at a demonstration in central Athens with the interior minister conceding that there might have been excesses.
Fourteen lawyers were among those detained after an estimated 3,000 people, chiefly teachers and students, took part in a demonstration, at times violent, against the government.
The march was organised on the anniversary of the 1991 murder of Nikos Temponeras, a teacher who was bludgeoned to death by a right-wing unionist.
Initial skirmishes broke out near the university between dozens of young people wearing hoods and anti-riot police who fired gas to disperse them.
Bins were set on fire and sticks and stones thrown at the security forces.
Clashes continued in the area which was closed to traffic and where hundreds of demonstrators remained for an hour.
There were repeated police charges and several arrests were made. Later police headquarters were sealed off.
The detained lawyers were released after the intervention of their professional association.
The influential Athens journalists' union (ESHEA) protested to the interior ministry about "the brutal attacks and beatings" to which reporters and camera crews had been subjected.
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