Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Democracy, yes. Freedom, not so much.

People are funny. Give them a little bit of agency in their own lives, and you just never know what http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifthey'll do with it. Take Iraq, for example, where early results in the much-touted elections show religious hardliners with a significant lead. I'm sure this will turn out well.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

NSA spies on Americans without warrants

The New York Times revealed yesterday that President Bush secretly authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on phone calls without court-approved warrants. “While many details about the program remain secret, officials familiar with it say the N.S.A. eavesdrops without warrants on up to 500 people in the United States at any given time.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

North Korea has been printing fake US$100 bills for 25 years

According to the Los Angeles Times:
The counterfeiting operation began a quarter of a century ago, he recalled, at a government mint built into a mountain in the North Korean capital.

Using equipment from Japan, paper from Hong Kong and ink from France, a team of experts was ordered to make fake U.S. $100 bills, said a former North Korean chemist who said his job was to draw the design.


By 1989, millions of dollars' worth of high-quality fakes were showing up around the world. U.S. investigators dubbed them "supernotes" because they were virtually indistinguishable from American currency. The flow of forged bills has continued ever since, U.S. officials say, despite a redesign intended to make the cash harder to replicate.
U.S. officials called the operation an economic act of war.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Race riots in Sydney

A mob of five thousand angry white Australians smashed windows, kicked doors, stomped on parked cars, pelted girls with empty beer bottles, and roamed a Sydney beach and side streets looking for Lebanese immigrants to beat up this Sunday.

That night, “gangs of youths, mainly of Middle Eastern background, attacked several people with baseball bats, vandalized cars and were involved in rock-throwing skirmishes with police for a second night, officials said.” The violence continued and spread Monday night.

Parliament promptly granted Sydney police new powers to declare “lockdowns”, confiscate vehicles, and control alcohol sales. Jail sentences were increased as well. Fighting in public in New South Wales will now get you ten years.

Friday, December 09, 2005


In the Chinese fishing village of Dongzhou, 20 are dead and dozens more missing after police opened fire on protesting villagers. The region has been flooded with security forces.

The New York Times reports, “Villagers said that in addition to the regular security forces, the authorities had enlisted thugs from local organized crime groups to help put down the demonstration.”

No one is being allowed in or out.