Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

ID Laws – Israel Teaches Arizona A Lesson

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Thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank may soon be evicted or face criminal charges by Israeli authorities, the Israeli daily Haaretz has said.

An amendment to an Israeli military order on “preventing infiltration” could soon stipulate that residents of the West Bank without ID cards may now need one issued by the occupying authorities.

Anyone without such a document could either be expelled or jailed.

Haaretz said the new order would likely be used first against Palestinians in the West Bank with Gaza ID cards and the foreign spouses of Palestinians living in the territory.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland explains.


Written by Aaron Nee

May 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm

The Cloud and Your Mind

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If you have played online games like ESP, you may be working for free .  Clever entrepreneurs have been finding ways to get the public to do menial jobs for little or no pay via online games, and game like programs.   The new strategy for soliciting people around the world to gather and sift through information has tremendous potential and raises a myriad of ethical questions.  All the participant knows is that they are identifying images or arranging shapes.  They don’t necessarily know who the work is being done for and what will be done with the information.

In his presentation “Minds For Sale”  Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School and social theorist, illustrates the great potential of this new labor model, while also raising the extraordinary dangers and ethical concerns the model presents.  It seems that with every new bit of internet ingenuity comes a morass of ethical and philosophical concerns, that we cannot afford to ignore, but also emerging are surprising testaments to the good will and trustworthiness of the vast majority of internet users, which Zittrain is zealous to point out.   I strongly encourage taking time to listen to at least one of Zittrain’s talks.

I have embeded Zittrain’s short presentation at TED as a means of getting acquainted with him and the insights he has to offer.  If you find the talk of interest, then I highly recommend his longer presentation, outlined and embedded bellow.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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From Guantanamo to Palau

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This video is not new but I’ve only just been introduced to it thanks to my friendship with folks from Witness Against Torture who, among other things, do advocacy and demonstrations on behalf of Guantanamo detainees.  This segment from a British news show, Dateline, addresses the temporary resettlement in Palau of several Uighur men who had been imprisoned at Guantanamo for the last eight years.  There are interviews with the men, shots of their first opportunity to cook, discussion of the pressure from China that keeps these men from reaching their hoped for destination (Australia), etc.  I found the account is particularly poignant when watched in light of the following  words from an attorney, “These men have never committed any terrorist acts…never had any terrorist training…”

Written by amynee

May 4, 2010 at 6:37 am

Beyond The 6 Million Dollar Man – Nano Technology and the Future of the Human Race

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We are a strange creature, us humans.  Rather than wait around for natural selection to weed out a defective trait, we have learned to use our tool making abilities to fashion some bit of technology that will correct the defect.  Eyes aren’t working well?  No need to let that diminish your fitness, we’ll just make glasses and you’re good as new.  Irregular heartbeat?  We’ll make you a pacemaker and you’re back in business.

Thus far there has been little outcry about the ethical implications of glasses, pacemakers, prosthetics and other restorative technology.  Our species has, however, reached a new threshold.  Through advances in genetic engineering and nano technology, we are entering the territory of not mere human restoration, but human enhancement.  We have moved beyond short circuiting our evolution, and now have begun exploring designing the human of the future.

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Your Thoughts & Wants Are Not Your Own

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Duke University did an interesting study on the effectiveness of subliminal marketing.  What they found was that the result of subliminal marketing appears to be a notable effect not only on ones awareness and interest in a marketed brand, but an influence toward the behavior associated with the brand.  The BBC reported on a similar study and offers interesting insights into theories related to subliminal manipulation.

Written by Aaron Nee

April 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

Free Book, But Today Only

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Bellow is from JR Woodward’s blog:

InterVarsity Press is celebrating Earth Day by giving away Julie Clawson’s recent book – Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices.  You can download a free copy for your Kindle or PC – today only!

Here is a description of the book from the Everyday Justice website:  “Where does your chocolate come from?  Does it matter if your coffee is fair trade or not?  It matters – more than you might think.

Julie Clawson takes us on a tour of everyday life and shows how our ordinary lifestyle choices have big implications for justice around the world.  She unpacks how we get our food and clothing and shows us the surprising costs of consumer waste.

How we live can make a difference not only for our own health but also for the well-being of people across the globe.  The more sustainable our lifestyle, the more just our world will be.  Everyday justice is one way of loving our neighbors. We can live more ethnically, through the little and big decisions we make every day.” This book tells you how and you can.  Download it free today only.  HT J. Fowler at SustainableTraditions

Written by Aaron Nee

April 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

The Cable That Solved The Mystery

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On the 21st of December, 1976 a car bomb detonated in downtown Washington DC, killing former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier and his 26-year old American colleague, Ronni Karpen Moffitt.  The assassination was part of “Condor”, a multinational collaboration between Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and several other Latin American military dictatorships.   Condor’s aim was to find and kill opponents of the conspiring regimes.  Senior US State Department officials were tipped off to the assassination plans and arrangements were made to send a diplomatic démarche which expressed “our deep concern” over “plans for the assassination of subversives, politicians, and prominent figures both within the national borders of certain Southern Cone countries and abroad.”  The US ambassador’s instructions to deliver the démarche however were rescinded and five days latter one of the Condor assassinations exploded in DC.

A long standing mystery has been Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s role in rescinding the Condor démarche, but with the uncovering of Kissinger’s cable, the answer to that mystery has finally come to light.  Earlier this week, The National Security Archive published it’s report on the new revelation that it was in fact Kissinger himself who blocked any further action being taken to deter the “Condor scheme”.

IF you want to learn more on the subject of Kissinger, Chile and Pinochet, a wealth of information can be found at the National Security Archives.  Also, audio recordings of Kissinger and Nixon discussing Chile were posted on Knosha in 2008 and are worth going back to for a listen.  While you’re at it, you may want to give this a listen too: