Chomsky on Muhammed caricatures

I’m sure you are aware of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. What is your opinion on this debate?

Chomsky: just take it from the Danish press. One of the main newspapers, Information, I think, published on 15 February a background of what had happened. They reported that the Minister of Culture in Denmark

gave a speech at a conservative conference, where they quoted some abusive, vicious, racist speech attacking the Muslim minority for not being truly Danes, and not conforming to Danish culture, and virtually called for an attack on the Muslim minority, which I think is seven per cent. And a couple of days later Jyllandsposten printed the cartoons. They regarded it as a consequence; they said, yes, it was a consequence of the Minister of Culture’s decision to wage an ideological war on the Muslim minority. It was no issue of freedom of press; it was no issue of freedom of expression. This is just ordinary racism under cover of freedom of expression. And, yes, they should have the right to. The New York Times should have the right to publish anti-Semitic Nazi caricatures on the front page. That should be a legal right. Are they going to exercise their right? No. So if you do it is another reason. In fact Jyllandsposten, as you probably know, a couple of years earlier had turned down cartoons caricaturing Jesus, on the grounds that it would create a public uproar. I mean, this is just pure hypocrisy, quite apart from that fact that in Europe freedom of speech and freedom of the press is barely
protected, in fact barely understood, including even in England which has terrible laws and practices regarding freedom of the press. In fact this is one respect where the United States really stands out. It is the only country I know of which there is real judicial protection for freedom of speech. I don’t know Norway that well, but the main countries in Europe don’t have it. And even the concept is not understood, literally, it’s not understood. One example, which is far from the worst: the British passed a law, it hasn’t been implemented yet, there is some debate about how to formulate it. But the Blair government is going to push a law making it a crime to glorify terrorism. When a Muslim cleric was imprisoned recently on charges of having glorified terrorism, the London Guardian had a lead editorial praising the judicial decision because people shouldn’t be permitted to spew hatred and to glorify violent acts, they should be stopped. Under that law virtually all the British press and publishers should be closed down. Do they incite hatred and violence? Yes. Do they support invading Iraq? Yes. That is supporting hatred and violence. I mean everyone agrees that even how awful terrorism is, aggression is far more severe than terrorism. So therefore if glorifying terrorism is a crime and inciting popular support for terrorism is a crime, then glorifying aggression, and helping incite popular support for aggression is a far more severe crime. Why don’t we put them all in jail? Do you hear anybody talking about that? No, and the reason is that nobody cares about freedom of speech. What they care about is using state power to shut down the kind of speech they don’t like. Even Stalin would have agreed with that. Fortsätt läsa ”Chomsky on Muhammed caricatures”


Venezuelan Elections views from outside

Last Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012

Venezuelan elections from abroad?

The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is a political figure who goes beyond the borders of their own country and now faces what appears to be its most serious challenge at the polls by the opposition Henrique Capriles. But how much attention you are paying to the elections abroad?

BBC takes a look at the countries where Venezuela’s elections have, or where you expect them to have a particular interest.


In U.S. attention to the elections in Venezuela is being overshadowed by the presidential race itself in this country. ”All politics is local”, as the saying goes, and in this case, both the public and the media and the parties are investing their efforts in what happens within its own borders.

Naturally, foreign policy is part of the debate between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but the subject-including Venezuelan Hugo Chavez as its central character, is very difficult to compete against other issues such as Iran and its alleged nuclear threat, or Syria and stability in the Middle East.

More, the Obama administration has maintained a foreign agenda with Latin America as frugal that what happens in the region barely registers on the radar. As he told BBC analyst Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington (COHA, for its acronym in English), ”Latin America virtually disappeared from the list of interests for the United States.”

The histrionics of Chavez or his fight against cancer to still give the occasional headline in the press or some politician try giving concrete form to an ephemeral threat spectrum can conjure to advance their partisan interests. The most recent was the Romney campaign that warned of the course that made Chavez endorsement to U.S. President when declared Sunday ”if I were American, I would vote for Obama.”

Americans are too focused on their own elections …

The Washington Post, the largest newspaper in the U.S. capital, spent half page color photo on the crowded congregation last weekend around the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, but interest was more in the off chance his triumph and in two violent deaths that occurred in another event.

On the true political, social and economic development of Venezuelan elections, the radical change that Chavez has imposed or proposed Capriles, the analysis has been poor, lower interest and no public knowledge.

William Marquez, BBC correspondent in Washington


On September 25, a regular exchange with the press, a reporter asked the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei if large home loans granted to Venezuela could tip the outcome of elections.

Cooperation between China and Venezuela is held on the basis of mutual benefit, said Hong, who explained that the money is used primarily in infrastructure, agriculture and energy sector.

”To suggest that China loans can influence politics in Venezuela is unfounded,” he said.

Days before the elections take place Venezuelan cooperation between the two countries seems to have reached one of its highest points, is something planned coincidence. Fortsätt läsa ”Venezuelan Elections views from outside”

Valet i Venezuela 2012

Det är val snart i Venezuela, bara några dagar kvar. Jag läser mitt flöde av nyheter som vanligt, och försöker se om jag kan komma över källor med information och kunskap som är intressant och nyttigt/berikande. Åtminstone tjänar det delvis som god allmänbildning. Maria har också varit en faktor till ett fördjupade intresset för landet och den vackra huvudstaden Caracas. Det är alltid så, med en personlig dimension blir allting, oaktat vilket ämne, mycket mer levande och intellektuellt intressant.

Här nedtecknar jag således en del länkar och utdrag:

Caracas vivió histórica concentración en cierre de campaña de Hugo Chávez

The Street Gangs of Caracas | TIME LightBox

A ‘human river’ flows through Caracas | blogger

Barrios in Caracas


Rain water hope in Venezuela

Capriles Campaign Closes with Mass Rally in Caracas | video

Fears abound ahead of close Venezuelan elections

The Marco Civil da Internet – Civil Rights Framework for the Internet

Today the Brazilian congress is voting on the Marco Civil (”Civil Rights Framework for Internet in Brazil)! A very remarkable multi-stakeholder effort which is an inspiring example of how the democratic process can work in the internet era. The IRP have signed on to a letter from the Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade (CTS-FGV) urging congress to pass the Marco Civil.


The Marco Civil, a ‘bill of rights for Internet’ users in Brazil, will come to a vote on August 8, 2012. While the majority seems to support the approval of the law, some are against the broad freedom that the initiative will bring.

One reason is that Brazil is a rather young democracy. From 1964 to 1985 the country was governed by a military regime, which imposed strict censorship rules. Major artists, newspapers, and tv networks had to submit their activities to prior approval by a censorship board. When democracy was reestablished in 1986, censorship was eliminated, but the trauma of 20 years of repression had been painfully imprinted in the Brazilian society. This trauma has made Brazil very sensitive to new threats of censorship, in its many forms.

Another factor is that president Dilma Rousseff has been taking a public stance in favor of freedom of expression. It makes sense. In the 1960s, she was imprisoned and tortured during the military regime for participating in a dissident group. Unswervingly, she declared at a recent human rights conference that she “prefers the noise of the press to the silence of the dictatorship”.

The Marco Civil is also unique in that it was developed in a highlyparticipatory style. Lawmakers were not the only entities involved in drafting the law–academic experts, civil society groups, and Internet users had a critical role in developing the law’s text as well.

The [Marco Civil da Internet] was written with the participation of society…its essential goal is to create exceptions and limitations for new legislation on the Internet, creating a layer of protection for a free and democratic society…

Lawmakers partnered with scholars at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, the country’s leading social science research institution, to draft the preliminary text for the law. It was then posted for an open online consultation where all Brazilians were invited to comment and make suggestions for the bill through Cultura Digital, the website of the Ministry of Culture. The process reflected a potent vision for Internet policymaking, one in which all individuals who hold stake in the social and technological power and functioning of the Internet can have a say in how it is governed. Visit Cultura Digital [pt] to see the online forum.

Over the past decade, Brazil has pioneered a digital policymaking approach that many countries have looked to as a model for promoting innovation and openness online. During the administration of Ignacio “Lula” da Silva, Minister of Culture and acclaimed musician Gilberto Gil developed a policy agenda that focused on increasing Internet access and digital education for all Brazilians.

Iran’s Dam Policy and the Case of the Lake Urmia

Ercan Ayboğa & Akgün Ilhan 
April 2012

Iran is one of the states with the highest rate of dam construction worldwide in the recent years. The construction of hundreds of dams on rivers combined with a non-participative and non-democratic approach has lead to numerous ecological, social, cultural and political problems and conflicts in the past years. There is much public criticism over the intense dam building policy about these impacts. In particular, the case of the Lake Urmia has led to hot debates and many protests within the Iranian society regarding the destructive dams in the country.


The first dam constructions started in Iran in the 1950s. Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, only fourteen large dams were built, usually with the dominant involvement of foreign banks and companies. After the establishment of the new political system, particularly after the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, the dam building activities have intensified significantly. Today Iran has achieved the capacity to build small and middle large dams without any foreign participation. The objectives of dam building in Iran are mainly the hydroelectricity, irrigation and drinking water supply at which the two latter reasons are less dominant than the first one. Untill now the construction of 541 small and large damsi have been completedii. While in 2007 totally large and small 88 dams were under construction in Iraniii, this number increased in 2011 up to 135 dams and 546 dams were in the planning phaseiv. On average, close to two billion cubic meters of water are added to the country’s water reserves annually. In end of 2011 the storage of dam reservoirs has rached the capacity of 65 billion cubic meters. These figures show that there are plans to impound almost all rivers in Iran which carry regulary water. Fortsätt läsa ”Iran’s Dam Policy and the Case of the Lake Urmia”

The Drones’ True Damage

JULY 26, 2012, 12:00 PM


PARIS – If a reporter learns anything from covering conflict it is that distant assumptions are routinely wrong.

Fresh assessments in the United States say drone missiles are a good idea. That is not how it looks at the receiving end.

Soon after 9/11, I found a father in Kabul staring in despair at a crater where, moments earlier, his daughter had been playing. An American drone had swooped in and missed its target, the nearby airport.

He saw what had happened, a tragic mistake, and he could work out his response to fate. I think of him when drones take such unintended victims a decade and some later. Rather than resigned closure, there is lasting hatred.

Vietnam made it clear that ideological wars are not won from the air. With their body counts, generals in Washington assured they were winning by attrition. In fact, they stiffened resolve among civilians along with combatants. Fortsätt läsa ”The Drones’ True Damage”


Så The Pirate Bay är blockerad på din arbetsplats, ditt bibliotek, hos din Internetleverantör eller ditt land? Läs TPBs meddelande här istället.

2012 is the year of the storm.

The Pirate Bay will reach an age of 9 years. Experiencing raids, espionage and death threats, we’re still here. We’ve been through hell and back and it has made us tougher than ever.

The people running the site has changed during the years. No sane human being would put up with this kind of pressure for 8 years in a row. An insane hobby that takes time from our families, our work (sorry boss) and our studies.

What binds us all together is a strong belief that what we do is good. That it is something we one day can tell our grandchildren about with pride. People from all over the world confirm this. We read testimonials from people in Syria longing for freedom, thanking us for what we provide. We receive more than 100 visits daily from North Korea and we sure know that they need it. If there’s something that will bring peace to this world it is the understanding and appreciation of your fellow man. What better way to do that than with this vast library of culture? Fortsätt läsa ”Pirates”