Posted: December 17, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Russia, Terrorism, War Room, White House | Tags: Aleppo, Barack Obama, Dana Perino, Fox News, Human rights, media, news, Refugees, Syria, video
Posted: August 7, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Think Tank | Tags: Human rights, Illegal drug trade, Iraq, Police, Police officer, United States, War on Drugs, War on Terror
Despite what supporters of police militarization claim, being a cop doesn’t require increasingly deadly kit. It’s not even particularly dangerous.
Daniel Bier writes: Defenders of police militarization, such as that on display in Ferguson, Missouri, often claim that it’s necessary to provide military gear to cops, given how dangerous law enforcement has become.
Indeed, in the name of the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, the federal government has provided thousands of pieces of military-grade body armor, mine-resistant armored personnel carriers, assault rifles, grenade launchers, helicopters, and night-vision goggles to local police and sheriffs. Almost every county in Americahas received equipment from these programs.
But has policing really become so dangerous that we need to arm peace officers like an invading army? The answer is no. It’s never been safer to be a cop.
To start with, few police officers die in the line of duty. Since 1900, only 18,781 police officers have died from any work-related injury. That’s an average of 164 a year. In absolute terms, officer fatalities peaked in 1930 (during alcohol prohibition) at 297, spiking again in the 1970s before steadily declining since.
[Read the full story here, at Foundation for Economic Education]
If you look at police fatalities adjusted for the US population, the decline is even starker. 2013 was the safest year for American policing since 1875.
In 2013, out of approximately 900,000 sworn officers, just 100 died from a job-related injury. That’s about 11.1 per 100,000, or a rate of 0.01%. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 8, 2016 Filed under: Asia, China, Crime & Corruption, Reading Room | Tags: Amnesty International, Ban Ki-moon, Beijing, China, Human rights, Human Rights Watch, Missile defense, President of the People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea–United States relations, Xi Jinping
An outspoken Hong Kong bookseller who has become a symbol of opposition to China’s authoritarian government has accused Chinese security agents of behaving like the notorious triad gangs in a bid to silence the publishers of provocative books about the country’s leaders.
Lam Wing-kee shot to prominence in June when he revealed how he had been spirited into secret detention in eastern China by a mysterious group of agents supposedly acting on the orders of the Communist party leadership.
Writing in the Diplomat, Amnesty International’s China researcher William Nee said Lam’s testimony had provided “a blow-by-blow account of the abusive tools that have become Chinese authorities’ modus operandi to silence critics since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012”. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 4, 2016 Filed under: Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Amnesty International, Human rights, International humanitarian law, International law, Saudi Arabia, Shia Islam, United Nations Human Rights Council, United States Department of State, Yemen
Riyadh (AFP) – Three suicide bombers struck in Saudi Arabia on Monday in a rare incidence of multiple attacks in the kingdom where the Islamic State group has previously staged deadly attacks.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility.
The latest explosion occurred at one of Islam’s three holiest sites, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in the kingdom’s west where Mohammed is buried, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel reported.
Other blasts occurred in the Red Sea city of Jeddah near the US consulate and in Shiite-dominated Qatif on the other side of the country.
The interior ministry said two security officers were wounded in the Jeddah bombing.
Residents of Qatif said only the bomber died in that attack, blowing his body apart near a Shiite mosque.
Al-Arabiya said the Medina incident occurred during sunset prayers after which Muslims break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan, which ends Tuesday.
It showed images of fire raging in a security forces parking lot with at least one body nearby.
The Prophet’s Mosque is particularly crowded during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is supposed to be a time of charity but has seen spectacular attacks around the region.
Sunni extremists from IS claimed, or weer blamed for, a suicide bombing in Baghdad on Sunday that killed more than 200 people as well as other attacks in Bangladesh and at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.
At about the same time as the Medina blast, another bomber killed himself in Qatif, residents there said.
“Suicide bomber for sure. I can see the body” torn apart, said one witness to the attack in Qatif.
Nasima al-Sada, another resident, told AFP that “one bomber blew himself up near the mosque”, frequented by Shiites in downtown Qatif on the Gulf coast. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 22, 2016 Filed under: Economics, Global, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: African American, African immigration to the United States, Alain Resnais, Christiane Taubira, EUROPE, François Hollande, France, French Parliament, Human rights, Immigration to the United States
“It makes sense politically, rationally, electorally, to gain political power by saying all sorts of terrible things about immigrant groups, but at a certain point, the math doesn’t work out,” says Joel Fetzer, a professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University*, and author of the new book new book Open Borders and International Migration Policy: The Effects of Unrestricted Immigration in the United States, France, and Ireland.
The bookexamines three cases of massive and at times nearly unrestricted immigration made famous in the movies: the influx of Central European immigrants to Ireland in the early 2000s as portrayed in the film Once, the flood of Algerians into Marseilles in the wake of the Algerian war as seen in the French film Samia, and the Cubans who ended up in South Florida after Castro’s purging of the so-called “scum” of Cuban society, some results of which are memorably portrayed in Scarface.
Fetzer, Fetzer sat down with us to discuss what these three natural experiments in mass migration tell us about the arguments for, and against, opening our borders. These are some of his key findings: Unrestricted migration does not lead to job loss for natives, and in some cases even may lead to reduced unemployment. Mass immigration is not a net drain on public resources. Only in the Cuban case did violent crime spike, a phenomenon Fetzer attributes to the fact that Castro purposely sent criminals to America. Burglaries did increase slightly in all cases for a short time, and in at least one case it appeared that migrants may have more often been victims than perpetrators of the crimes. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 24, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Crime & Corruption, Terrorism | Tags: Air quality index, Beijing, Communist Party of China, Human rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Particulates, Tiananmen Square, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, United States Department of Homeland Security, Xi Jinping
Carlos Tejada reports: The U.S. Embassy in Beijing issued a rare security alert for Westerners in the Chinese capital city on Christmas Eve, prompting a number of other foreign embassies to follow suit.
The notice posted on Thursday said the embassy had received “information of possible threats against Westerners” patronizing the area around Sanlitun, the site of a number of tony shops and restaurants catering to foreigners and affluent Chinese alike. The area is also close to a number of embassies, though not the U.S. embassy.
It said U.S. citizens should be vigilant. An embassy spokesman said he didn’t have additional information.
A number of other embassies — including those for the U.K., the Netherlands, and Italy – issued their own alerts, with many citing the U.S.
Beijing police didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Via social media, they issued their own security alert, though it didn’t specify any specific threats. It wasn’t clear whether the police notice was related to the embassy advisories. Chinese authorities have routinely issued security notices during holidays, even during foreign holidays such as Christmas.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman referred questions to other authorities. He added that Chinese authorities would do their best to ensure the safety of foreigners in the country.
[Read the full story here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]
A small group of armed troops were stationed in front of the Tai Koo Li mall, a high-end shopping center famous for housing an Apple Store that is sometimes the scene of scuffles when the gadget maker updates one of its popular products. Chinese security personnel also erected spiked barricades near embassies in the area. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 10, 2015 Filed under: Education, Law & Justice, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: CATO, Human rights
Posted: October 12, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Global, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, Bahá'í Faith, Barack Obama, Committee to Protect Journalists, Evin Prison, Human rights, Iran, Jersey City, Maziar Bahari, New Jersey, Politics of Iran, Saeed Abedini, Tehran, United Nations General Assembly
John Hayward reports: “News of a verdict in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court initially came early Sunday, but court spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei did not specify the judgment,” reports Rezaian’s paper, the Washington Post. “In a state TV report late Sunday, Ejei said definitively that Rezaian was found guilty.”
“The judge who heard the case is known for handing down harsh sentences, and Rezaian potentially faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years. It is not even known if Rezaian himself has been informed of the conviction.”
The Iranians have not specified what Rezaian is guilty of or what his sentence will be. The “trial” wrapped up two months ago. Rezaian has already been imprisoned in Iran for 14 months. He has now been held hostage longer than the Americans seized in Tehran under President Jimmy Carter, a milestone Rezaian passed over the weekend.
“The judge who heard the case is known for handing down harsh sentences, and Rezaian potentially faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years,” the Post ominously notes. “It is not even known if Rezaian himself has been informed of the conviction.” His Iranian lawyer also appeared to be unaware of the conviction.
[Read the full text here, at Breitbart.com]
“Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing,” said Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 9, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Self Defense, War Room, White House | Tags: American Thinker, Anti-Defamation League, Antisemitism, Ben Carson, Civil Rights, Flags of the Confederate States of America, Gun control, Human rights, Israel, Jonathan Greenblatt, Nazi salute, Nazism, propaganda, Self-defense, Smear Campaign, The Holocaust, Time Magazine, United States
BEN CARSON IS RIGHT: YES, JEWS SHOULD HAVE HAD GUNS IN THE HOLOCAUST
Anyone who would deny such people guns because ‘it wouldn’t have mattered anyway’ ought to be cut off from the class of decent human beings.
Ben Shapiro writes: On Thursday, Republican 2016 presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson stated on CNN that the Holocaust would have been less likely had Jews been armed.
In his new book, A More Perfect Union, Carson contends, “Through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.” He defended that argument on national television, explaining, “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed. I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first.”
“The Nazi genocide against Jews relied on two factors: a population that, understandably, believed no sane or rational force on the planet, let alone the highly civilized Germans, would systematically murder civilians for no discernable purpose; and disarming that population before they could recognize the truth. Gun control had a long history in Germany long before the Holocaust.”
The media cynically objected to Carson’s language. Good Morning America labeled Carson’s comments “bizarre.” Politico accused Carson of “linking Hitler to gun control” – a ridiculous notion, given that Hitler is the one who linked Hitler with gun control.
“Just because the Nazis shot those who tried to resist them with armed force does not mean that Jews should not have had the ability to fight the Nazis. It is difficult to think of a more evil argument than the argument that you will undoubtedly be killed whether or not you have a gun, so we might as well remove your ability to defend your life.”
The media quickly ran to its leftist allies in the Anti-Defamation League, a longtime opponent of gun rights. “Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate,” National Director Jonathan Greenblatt told Yahoo! News. “The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”
“Defending your own life is a basic human right. Jews are human beings, even if the media would hope to treat them as less than that. Ask any Holocaust survivor whether they would, in retrospect, have preferred to have a gun rather than being forced at gunpoint onto a train and then into Auschwitz, separated from their soon-to-be-gassed families, and then forced into starvation for years.”
Well, of course the “small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews” wouldn’t have prevented the Holocaust. That was the entire goal of prohibiting Jews from owning firearms over the course of years….
[Read the full text here, at Breitbart.com]
…In 1933, upon Hitler’s assumption of power, “non-Nazis throughout Germany were disarmed as ‘Communists,’” according to legal scholar Stephen Halbrook; simultaneously, Nazis were armed. The Nazis banned ownership of any “military” firearms by non-Nazi civilians, but naturally put special emphasis on seizing any guns from Jews. Handgun importation was banned.
“The argument against Carson has serious real-world consequences that extend beyond the argument against domestic gun seizures.”
Finally, in 1938, the Nazis enacted the Weapons Law, which banned weapons ownership without a license, just like the 1928 law; the law itself did not explicitly deny licenses to Jews. But the law did ban Jews from firearms businesses, and further required full government-available records of all gun sales. After Kristallnacht, the Nazis utilized the law to ban guns from all Jews after utilizing the media to blame “armed Jews” for unrest…
[Order Ben Carson’s book “A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties“ from Amazon.com]
…German Jewish leadership said that any failure to comply would only drive more brutality. This strategy, needless to say, led to catastrophe.
Nonetheless, the media continue to lay out arguments that Carson was wrong, and that presumably, the Jews should have avoided guns even as the Germans came for their children. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 26, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China, Global | Tags: Barack Obama, Beijing, China, Human rights, Human rights defender, Human rights in China, President of the People's Republic of China, United States, Virginia Shooting, Xi Jinping
Shootings are rare in China, which largely outlaws private gun ownership. But knifings have occurred there with some frequency in recent years, including an assault at a school in central China in December 2012 that injured 22 children and one adult.
Bethany Allen Ebrahimian writes: On the morning of August 26, a reporter and a cameraman for a local Virginia television station were fatally shot during a live television interview. The alleged gunman, now dead, apparently shot himself before being apprehended by police.
“The tragedy occurred shortly after 6:45 in the morning, Eastern Standard Time, or around 6:45 p.m., Beijing time. That’s significant, because despite the evening hour, media outlets across China were quick to provide front-page coverage of the breaking story.”
— Weibo user
The shooting quickly made national news in the United States, and outlets across the country have provided regular updates. The tragedy occurred shortly after 6:45 in the morning, Eastern Standard Time, or around 6:45 p.m., Beijing time. That’s significant, because despite the evening hour, media outlets across China were quick to provide front-page coverage of the breaking story.
State new agency Xinhua featured the shooting among its online list of top ten news items. By 10:30 p.m. in Beijing. Chinese news website NetEase had created a separate live-update webpage for the shootings. By 11 p.m. in Beijing, the state-run, often fervently nationalist Global Times had made a related photo its website’s cover photo, accompanied by a report with details of the shootings.
“The United States is a major preoccupation within China, often as a geopolitical rival held up as a kind of foil. It’s a focus for many everyday Chinese, as an object of scorn, an object of desire…or both.”
The United States is a major preoccupation within China, often as a geopolitical rival held up as a kind of foil. It’s a focus for many everyday Chinese, as an object of scorn, an object of desire — even Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his daughter to Harvard to study — or both. Within China, the high rate of gun violence in the United States is widely known and often seen as a flaw in the U.S. political system, a criticism repeated after the Virginia shooting.
[Read the full text here, at ForeignPolicy.com]
Though Chinese media reports on the Virgina incident were strictly factual, the accompanying social media commentary quickly became a domestic political battleground. Around 9:20 p.m., Beijing time, Chinese web giant Sina began live-blogging about the shooting on its official news account on microblogging platform Weibo, with one post garnering more than 570 comments. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 11, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Asia, Censorship, China | Tags: Anti-Corruption, China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, Communist Party of China, Gao Yu (journalist), Hong Kong, Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, Human rights, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Rule of Law, Xi Jinping
How do you boost a song’s popularity? In China, now there’s a new option: put it on a government blacklist.
Hu Xin reports: China’s Ministry of Culture this week banned 120 songs for “containing content that promotes sex, violence or crime, or harms public morality.” According to a notice posted on the ministry’s website late Monday, streaming music sites and karaoke parlors must remove the offending songs within 15 days or else face an unspecified “severe punishment.” The songs are also banned from commercial performance.
Of the 120 blacklisted tunes, many contain explicit language or touch on amorous themes, with lyrics about “making love” and “one night stands.”
“You see why China will never have its own Eminem now. Hip-hop is popular in America because you can sing everything you want.”
— Music fan on Weibo
Some stars such as Taiwan’s Ayal Komod and MC Hotdog have songs that made the list. Yet about one-fifth of the banned songs were penned by two Chinese hip-hop groups, In 3 and Xinjiekou. While lauded by fans of the genre, the two bands – who sing about their daily lives and sometimes voice their anger towards society — are little-known outside mainland hip-hop circles.
“Have they really listened to those songs or did they just judge them based on their titles?”
MC Han, one of the founders of Xinjiekou, told China Real Time in a phone interview Tuesday that he is not frustrated by the sudden blacklisting of eight of his songs.
[Read the full story here, at WSJ]
“It actually serves as a reminder for composers like us and helps guide our music creation,” he said of the ban. “Those songs were written to express our true feelings when we were less mature.”
“We aim to spread ‘positive energy’ and an optimistic attitude through hip-hop,” he added, borrowing a signature phrase of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 10, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China, Diplomacy, Law & Justice | Tags: 2008 Summer Olympics, 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing, China, Human rights, Human Rights Watch, International Olympic Committee, Kuala Lumpur, Olympic games, Winter Olympic Games
Not Such Good American Friends.
Every foreign business or nonprofit in China has to balance its principles with the realities of operating in a dictatorship. But what’s the point of claiming to promote the rule of law in China if your presence and silence serve as political cover for the worst legal abuses?
China’s recent arrests of human-rights lawyers have drawn protests from around the world, but there’s a notable, mumbling exception: the American Bar Association.
“ABA leaders acknowledge that the development of a just rule of law is a continuing struggle in every nation, including the United States.”
— ABA President William Hubbard
State security agents rounded up some 235 lawyers and other legal activists around the country last month, some of them grabbed, hooded and not heard from since. Beijing officials have railed against a “major criminal gang” of lawyers “plotting to stir up sensitive cases.”
Amnesty International staged a protest outside the Chinese embassy to demand the release of over 200 human rights lawyers and activists in China. AFP/ Nicolas ASFOURI
Some brave voices inside China have spoken up for these political prisoners, as have legal groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The New York City Bar Association expressed “grave concern” and called on Beijing to “immediately release” those lawlessly detained, more than 20 of whom it cited by name. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 28, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China, Global | Tags: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Barack Obama, Beijing, Communist Party of China, Government of the People's Republic of China, Great Hall of the People, Human rights, Law firm, Media of China, Pakistan, President of the People's Republic of China, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping
Mission: Control online discourse, reduce U.S. influence
SHANGHAI— James T. Areddy writes: As social media helped topple regimes in the Middle East and northern Africa, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army publicly warned that an Internet dominated by the U.S. threatened to overthrow China’s Communist Party.
Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings. Beijing had better pay attention.
Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention. Its government is pushing to rewrite the rules of the global Internet, aiming to draw the world’s largest group of Internet users away from an interconnected global commons and to increasingly run parts of the Internet on China’s terms.
“Many Western companies are surrendering to Beijing’s rules so they can build a position in China, with an online population nearing 700 million.”
It envisions a future in which governments patrol online discourse like border-control agents, rather than let the U.S., long the world’s digital leader, dictate the rules.
“Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings.”
President Xi Jinping—with the help of conservatives in government, academia, military and the technology industry—is moving to exert influence over virtually every part of the digital world in China, from semiconductors to social media. In doing so, Mr. Xi is trying to fracture the international system that makes the Internet basically the same everywhere, and is pressuring foreign companies to help.
“Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention.”
On July 1, China’s legislature passed a new security law asserting the nation’s sovereignty extends into cyberspace and calling for network technology to be “controllable.” A week later, China released a draft law to tighten controls over the domestic Internet, including codifying the power to cut access during public-security emergencies.
[Read the full story here, at WSJ]
Other draft laws under consideration would encourage Chinese companies to find local replacements for technology equipment purchased abroad and force foreign vendors to give local authorities encryption keys that would let them control the equipment.
Chinese officials referred questions about Internet policy to the Cyberspace Administration of China, a recently formed government body. That agency declined to make an official available to comment for this article. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 8, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Asia, China, Comics, Entertainment | Tags: Beijing, China, Chinese yuan, Human rights, Military strategy, People's Liberation Army, People's Liberation Army Navy, State Council Information Office, White paper, Xinhua News Agency
Josh Chin writes: China offered an almost exclusively positive portrait of its human rights situation in a white paper released Monday that cited progress in a wide range of areas. Near the top of the list: development of the country’s film and cartoon industries.
“The white paper has departed so much from reality that its claims that the government has made ‘great achievements’ on human rights are absurd. The government could have counted the number of pandas as a sign of rights progress.”
— Ms. Wang
The annual white paper, which weighed in at 21,000 characters this year, is China’s response to frequent foreign criticisms of its human rights record. In contrast to its critics, who tend to emphasize the rights of the individual, China advocates a broader definition of human rights that puts greater weight on social goods, such as economic and cultural development.
And, evidently, entertainment.
In the report’s first section, titled “Right to Development,” this year’s white paper backed up Beijing’s claim to have better protected the Chinese people’s cultural rights by pointing to, among other things, China’s burgeoning television, cartoon and film production.
”The tremendous achievements China has made in its human rights endeavors fully demonstrate that it is taking the correct path of human rights development that suits its national conditions.”
In 2014, the paper noted, China produced 429 TV series, accounting for 15,983 episodes, and cartoon programs amounting to 138,496 minutes. The report also flagged growth on the silver screen, saying the country produced a total of 618 feature films — 36 of which earned more than 100 million yuan each — and racked up total box office revenues of 26.9 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) last year.
[Read the full text here at China Real Time Report – WSJ]
The latter figure represented a 36% increase over 2013, the white paper said. It wasn’t clear from the report how that growth related to human rights. The State Council Information Office, which produced the report, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 30, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Mediasphere | Tags: Actress, France, Human rights, Israel, Jew, Natalie Portman, Paris, Photography
Posted: December 18, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, Science & Technology, War Room | Tags: Cyberwarfare, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hacker (computer security), Hong Song-nam, Human rights, James Franco, National security, North Korea, Seth Rogen, Sony, Sony Pictures Entertainment
“For something like this to happen, it had to happen over a long period of time. You cannot just exfiltrate one terabyte or 100 terabytes of data in a matter of weeks.”
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A former hacker for Anonymous doesn’t believe North Korea has the infrastructure to be behind the Sony hack attack.
“Do you really think a bunch of nerds from North Korea are going to fly to New York and start blowing up movie theaters? No. It’s not realistic. It’s not about ‘The Interview.’ It’s about money. It’s a professional job.”
Hector Monsegur told “CBS This Morning” that the communist regime doesn’t have the technical capabilities to pull off the hack.
This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP
“In my personal opinion, it’s not. Look at the bandwidth going into North Korea. I mean, the pipelines, the pipes going in, handling data, they only have one major ISP across their entire nation. That kind of information flowing at one time would have shut down North Korean Internet completely…They don’t have the technical capabilities.”
— Hector Monsegur
He continued, “They do have state-sponsored hackers very similar to China, very similar to Russia and very similar to our good, old USA.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment took the unprecedented step of canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.”
A former CIA official, though, believes that North Korea could pull of this type of cyberattack.
“North Korea has significant cyber capabilities. They use them quite frequently against South Korea. For a backwards state that might be a little surprising but they also have a nuclear weapon. They are capable of achieving things when they focus on them.”
— Mike Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA
The cancellation announced Wednesday was a startling blow to the Hollywood studio that has been shaken by hacker leaks and intimidations over the last several weeks by an anonymous group calling itself Guardians of Peace.
“This attack went to the heart and core of Sony’s business — and succeeded. We haven’t seen any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history.”
— Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at research firm Gartner
A U.S. official said Wednesday that federal investigators have now connected the Sony hacking to North Korea and may make an announcement in the near future. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to openly discuss an ongoing criminal case.
“It doesn’t tell me much. I’ve seen Russian hackers pretending to be Indian. I’ve seen Ukrainian hackers pretending to be Peruvian. There’s hackers that pretend they’re little girls. They do this for misinformation, disinformation, covering their tracks.”
Monsegur stated that Sony’s hacking had to have happened over a long period of time. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 5, 2014 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, War Room | Tags: 100 Women, China, Dublin, Gobi Desert, Human rights, International Criminal Court, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, Leopoldo López, North Korea, North Korean defectors, South Korea, United Nations Security Council
Yeonmi Park tells her story of life in North Korea and calls for action against such human rights violators. Yeonmi was speaking at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin. Click here to see the full transcript in Korean.
I have to do this because this is not just I am speaking… This is for the people who want to tell the world what they want to say.
North Korea is an unnatural country. There is only one channel on TV and there is no internet. We aren’t free to sing, say, wear or think what we want.
North Korea is the only country in the world that executes people for making unauthorized international phone calls.
North Koreans are being terrorized today.
When I was growing up in North Korea, I never saw anything about love stories between man and woman, no books, no songs, no press, no movies about love stories. There is no Romeo and Juliet, every stories were propagandized to brainwash about the Kim dictators.
I was born in 1993 and I was abducted at birth even before I knew the words ‘freedom’ or ‘human rights’. North Koreans are desperately seeking and dying for freedom at this moment…
When I was 9 years old, I saw my friend’s mother publicly executed. Her crime? Watching a Hollywood movie.
Expressing doubt about the regime can get 3 generations of whole family imprisoned or executed.
When I was 4 years old, I was warned by my mother, not to even whisper, the birds and mice could hear me. I admitted it. I thought the North Korean dictator could read my mind. My father died in China after we escaped North Korea. And I have to bury him at 3 am in secret. I was only 14 years old. I couldn’t even cry, I was afraid to be sent back to North Korea.
The day I escaped North Korea, I saw my mother raped. The rapist was a Chinese broker. He had targeted me. I was only 13 years old. There is a saying in North Korea, “Women are weak, but mothers are strong”. My mother allowed herself to be raped in order to protect me.
North Korean refugees, about 300,000 are roaming over in China. 70 percent of North Korean women and teenage girls are being victimized and sometimes sold for as a little as 200 dollars. We walked across the Gobi desert following a compass and when it stopped working, we followed the stars to freedom. I felt only the stars are with us. Mongolia was our freedom moment.
Death or dignity; I was with the knife, we were prepared to kill ourselves if we are going to be send back to North Korea. We wanted to live as humans…
People often ask me, “How can we help North Koreans?”. There are many ways but I would like to mention 3 for now.
One, as you care yourself, you can raise awareness about human crisis in North Korea.
Two, help and support North Korean refugees who are trying to escape for freedom.
Three, petition China to stop repatriation. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 10, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, War Room | Tags: Human rights, Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize, Norway
Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, and Indian children’s rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Yousafzai, 17, is the youngest winner of the award. She was honored for “her heroic struggle” and becoming “a leading spokesperson for girls’ right to education,” said Thorbjørn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. “Despite her youth, Malala … has shown by example that children and young people can contribute to improving their own situation.”
Satyarthi, 60, has been a lifelong campaigner against the exploitation of children for financial gain. “The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism,” Jagland added. “It has been calculated that there are 168 million child laborers around the world today. In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labor.” Yousafazi, who received a standing ovation when she made a powerful address to the United Nations on her 16th birthday, is still receiving treatment in Britain for her injuries. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 23, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, History, War Room | Tags: A&E, Arnhem, Audrey Hepburn, Belgium, Brussels, France, Hollywood, Human rights, Nazi Occupation, Netherlands, Roman Holiday, World War II
Audrey Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. Her mother was a Dutch baroness, and her father, who was of English and Austrian descent, worked in business.
After her parents divorced, Audrey went to London with her mother where she went to a private girls school. Later, when her mother moved back to the Netherlands, she attended private schools as well. While she vacationed with her mother in Arnhem, Netherlands, Hitler’s army took over the town. It was here that she fell on hard times during the Nazi occupation. Audrey suffered from depression and malnutrition.
After the liberation, she went to a ballet school in London on a scholarship and later began a modeling career. As a model, she was graceful and, it seemed, she had found her niche in life–until the film producers came calling. In 1948, after being spotted modeling by a producer, she was signed to a bit part in the European film Dutch in Seven Lessons(1948).
Later, she had a speaking role in the 1951 film, Young Wives’ Tale (1951) as Eve Lester. The part still wasn’t much, so she headed to America to try her luck there. Audrey gained immediate prominence in the US with her role in Roman Holiday (1953) in 1953. This film turned out to be a smashing success, and she won an Oscar as Best Actress. This gained her enormous popularity and more plum roles…(read more)
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 16, 2014 Filed under: Censorship, China, Global | Tags: Beijing, CaoShunli, China, China Digital Times, Hu Jia, Human rights, Reuters, Universal Periodic Review
For China Digital Times, Samuel Wade reports: Human rights activist Cao Shunli has died in hospital after being denied treatment for tuberculosis, liver disease and other conditions until last month. Cao was detained on September 14th after taking part in a two-month sit-in outside the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, calling for public participation in a U.N.-mandated national human rights report.
For China Digital Times, Samuel Wade reports: Human rights activist Cao Shunli has died in hospital after being denied treatment for tuberculosis, liver disease and other conditions until last month. Cao was detained on September 14th after taking part in a two-month sit-in outside the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, calling for public participation in a U.N.-mandated national human rights report. She was formally arrested the following month for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” From Sui-Lee Wee at Reuters:
“On Sept 14 … she was perfectly fine and going to Europe for a trip. Now she’s gone. Cao Shunli’s wishes were never accomplished,” dissident Hu Jia told Reuters.
“When the weather gets warmer, we will stand outside the door of the foreign ministry, continue to petition and call for the supervision of the government’s actions. We will remember this date.”
[…] Cao’s family saw wounds on her body, Liu Weiguo, a lawyer who has been acting for Cao, told Reuters, citing another of her lawyers, Wang Yu. But it is unclear how they were inflicted.
“The hospital is not willing to let the lawyer and the family look at the body,” Liu said. [Source]
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 17, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Global | Tags: Amnesty International, Capital punishment, Human rights, Iran, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Islamic republic, Middle East
AP Photo/ISNA, Amir Pourmand)
Adam Kredo writes: Iran has gone on an execution binge in the past two weeks, hanging some 40 people, including 19 in one day, according to international human rights groups inside and outside of Iran.
Iran hanged a total of 19 prisoners on Tuesday, including one who was executed publicly, according to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), which tracks the Islamic Republic’s flawed judicial system.
Forty executions have taken place since the beginning of January, including 33 in just the past week, according to human rights group Amnesty International.
Iran, which human rights activists say is one of the world’s leaders in the abuse of prisoners, hit an all time execution peak in 2013 when it killed some 529 citizens.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 26, 2013 Filed under: Censorship, Global, Law & Justice | Tags: Arab Spring, Demonstration (people), Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Human rights, Islamism, Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood
A demonstration on Sunday marked 100 days since the mass killing at Rabaa al-Adawiya, a square in Cairo where security forces fired on protesters while trying to break up an Islamist sit-in.
CAIRO — David D. Kirkpatrick writes: Egypt’s military-backed government has issued a law that all but bans street protests by applying jail time or heavy fines to the public demonstrations that have felled the last two presidents and regularly roiled the capital since the Arab Spring revolt.
The new law, promulgated on Sunday, is the latest evidence of a return to authoritarianism in the aftermath of the military takeover that removed President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July. It criminalizes the kind of free assembly and public expression that many Egyptians had embraced as a cherished foundation of their new democracy after the 2011 ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. And the relatively muted outcry against the law, mainly from human rights advocates, demonstrated how far public sentiment has swung.
Rights activists said the new law appeared even stricter than those in place under Mr. Mubarak. It effectively replaces a three-month “state of emergency” declared in August, when the government used deadly force to crush street protests by Islamist opponents of the July 3 takeover, killing more than a thousand. The state of emergency — which suspended protections against police abuse — expired last weekend, but the new protest law now grants the police other added powers that they could use to squelch any attempt to mobilize.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 19, 2013 Filed under: Art & Culture, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Animal print, Creative director, Dennis Rodman, Elle, fashion, Human rights, Joe Zee, North Korea, Tailor, trending
Jessica Roy reports: Alongside heart-themed jewelry and animal print flats, what trends have the sartorially skilled staff of Elle excited for fall? If this ABCs of Fall Fashion Trends list is to be believed, it’s a country well-known for its human rights abuses.
Yes, when it came to the letter “N” in the alphabetical list, Elle creative director Joe Zee appears to have been so thoroughly stumped that he just gave up and named “North Korea Chic” a trend.
Zee notes that North Korea Chic is a lot like military-inspired apparel, but is “edgier, even dangerous, with sharp buckles and clasps and take-no-prisoners tailoring.” (Never mind the fact that North Korea is actually quite fond of taking prisoners.)
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 2, 2013 Filed under: Asia, China, Think Tank | Tags: Catholic University of America, Chen, Chen Guangcheng, China, Human rights, Linyi, New York University, Witherspoon Institute
Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations on May 31, 2012 in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages)
Sophie Beach posts: Exiled activist Chen Guangcheng has announced that he will become a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ, a think tank which focuses on conservative causes, including opposition to gay marriage and abortion. From Reuters:
Chen will become a distinguished fellow in human rights at Witherspoon, which is based in Princeton, New Jersey, for the next three years. He will also be affiliated with The Catholic University of America and the more liberal-leaning Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice, Luis Tellez, Witherspoon’s president, said in a telephone interview.
[…] Witherspoon, which Tellez says is guided by Catholic principles, is best known for its articles and studies opposing abortion, stem-cell research and same-sex marriage.
[…] He said Chen, who is not a Christian, would not be expected to espouse or even share Witherspoon’s views on social issues.
“I do not know Mr. Chen’s views on same-sex marriage,” Tellez said. “I never asked him. I don’t intend to ask him.” [Source]
Before arriving in the U.S., Chen, who is blind, was an advocate for victims of civil rights abuses in China, including forced abortions. Earlier this year, Chen left New York University, which had hosted him after he fled illegal house arrest, under a cloud of controversy and amid allegations that his agenda was being manipulated by influential members of the religious right.
Back in China, Chen’s relatives in his hometown of Linyi, Shandong, have been continually targeted by local authorities. Last week, Chen spoke to reporters about his family’s situation. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 24, 2013 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China | Tags: China, Civil society, Hongkong, Human rights, United Nation, United Nations Human Rights Council, United States, Universal Periodic Review
As the government of China continues its crackdown on civil society actors, especially those who have publicly endorsed or claimed membership in the New Citizen’s Movement, human rights activists gathered in Hong Kong to do something many like minded Chinese citizens are forbidden from doing within the Chinese mainland under the 1989 Law on Assemblies, Processions, and Demonstrations: engage in collective action to express their grievances. A small coalition of rights groups from Hong Kong, including the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, and the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, organized the demonstration for a few days before the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival. Read the rest of this entry »