Human Rights

Terrorism Hype Backfires

The detention and subsequent charging of an Indian-born doctor, Mohamed Haneef, under draconian anti-terrorism laws has turned into a PR nightmare for the Australian government. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) charged Haneef with providing support to a terrorist organization, claiming that he had provided a mobile phone SIM card to a relative who had it with him when he recently crashed his car into Glasgow airport terminal. The AFP subsequently conceded that the SIM card was with another relative hundreds of kilometers away at the time of the airport attack.


More on "Strange Culture"

I've been asked how people can find the movie, "Strange Culture," the documentary about the trial of artist-activist Steve Kurtz that I described in my blog post earlier this week. The director of the film, Lynn Hershman Leeson, has her own website as well as a separate movie website, which includes sales and exhibition information. YouTube also has a brief video that features interviews with Kurtz and the director, as well as the movie trailer.

Strange Culture

Eduardo Kac's "GFP Bunny"Eduardo Kac's "GFP Bunny"
Slate magazine has an online slide show this week about "bio art" — in which people use genetic manipulation to insert coded messages into DNA, or produce a transgenic rabbit using a gene derived from a jellyfish that makes it glow fluorescent green.

I was a little disappointed, though, that Slate failed to mention the work of Steve Kurtz, a bio artist whose work goes further than most in provoking debate about the ethical issues involved with genetic engineering — so far, in fact, that he is currently awaiting trial on charges that could land him in prison for 20 years.

The "Family Jewels" Show: The More Things Change...

On June 25, the Central Intelligence Agency will declassify its "full 693-page file amassed on CIA's illegal activities by order of then-CIA director James Schlesinger in 1973 -- the so-called 'family jewels.'" The non-governmental research institute National Security Archive "separately obtained ...


Yahoo: Notice What We Say, Not What We Do

One day after the mother of Chinese reporter Shi Tao announced she was suing the Internet company Yahoo for helping Chinese officials imprison her son, Yahoo said it was "dismayed that citizens in China have been imprisoned for expressing their political views on the Internet." Yahoo's brief statement did not mention Shi Tao, who received a 10 year jail sentence for "leaking state secrets" in 2005. He had forwarded an email describing media restrictions placed by the Chinese government. The court that sentenced Mr.


Hughes' New Public Diplomacy Plan More of the Same

Karen Hughes in IndonesiaA new public diplomacy plan, authored by Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, says the United States must "offer a positive vision of hope and opportunity that is rooted in our most basic values." The "U.S. National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication" promotes a Hughes favorite, the "diplomacy of deeds," which is defined as "providing health care, education, economic opportunity, food and shelter, training for political participation, help after disasters." Also put forward is a "Counterterrorism Communications Center," to develop "messages and strategies to discredit terrorists and their ideology." The Center is "now being formed at the State Department and [is] staffed heavily with military and intelligence officers," reports Warren Strobel. The new plan stresses that "all communication and public diplomacy activities" should "support those who struggle for freedom and democracy." Former State Department official Price Floyd countered, "When people hear that, they stop and say, 'What about Abu Ghraib? What about Guantanamo?'"



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