Saturday, July 23, 2011

Norway: appears now to be a local extremist, not radical Islam

The events in Norway are horrific, but they do not appear right now to be related to Islamic extremism. They appear more to be someone locally disgruntled, a kind of McVeigh. But the reports are still vague, and the picture could change quickly.

I visited Norway for a week in the summer of 1972.  I stayed with some people I knew from the church that I grew up in. I then went to Bergen, flew to Trondheim, took the train and bus up to Narvik, and another train across to Kiruna in Sweden and back down to Stockholm. We had a heat wave that week. 

Update: July 24

I guess the word "manifesto" will have a bad reputation again, since Anders Breivik had posted a 1500 page manifesto on the web, with Reuters describing it here.  The resurrection of the Knights Templar is curious an. (movie review of "The Last Templar" on movies blog, Jan. 26, 2009, as well as Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code"). 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Al Qaeda reported placing saboteurs inside US utilities, as it is "easy" to pass background checks

ABC's Brian Ross reports that Al Qaeda is trying to gain "insider access" to various electric grid or oil and gas infrastructures in order to inflict damage.  Richard Clark says that many can pass background checks to get jobs in the United States where they could inflict sabotage (as in Alfred Hitchcock's famous film "Saboteur"). Some have already been "hired".

Some have been recruited through an extremist site called "Inspire", as described on this website called "Public Intelligence" here.

Something else about this disturbs:  One of my own concerns is the use of social media and blogs for "background checks" for employment because, not only of "free speech" issues, but because of the likelihood that much information is wrong or planted by hostile third parties, or people could be misidentified.  This issue really begs the question of social media BI's.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Libyan rebels gain recognition; wait for funds

The United States andUnited Nations have recognized the rebel government, or Libyan Transitional National Council, as the sovereign entity for Libya. The Bloomberg story, by Nicole Gaouette and Flavika Kruase-Jackson, is here

There are apparently some technical steps in releasing some of the Gadhafy'  funds to the group.

Gadhafy remains held up in Tripoli. But it seems as if Libya will resolve with a whimper before a bang, and no sudden Sunday night announcement after some “recklessness”.  Howevr, Gadhafy still remains to be fully evicted from power.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hello, South Sudan!

There is a new country, South Sudan, just recognized by the U.S.  Voice of America has the story on its independence here  Population, 8 million.  It will have ten states and a capital of Juba. It is the 54th country in Africa.

I’m not sure how this relates to the struggles over the people of Darfur, the subject of several independent films recently.

A story about President Obama’s recognition today of the country is on AFP here

ABC’s story is here

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Release of Chinese artist on bail again points to China's Internet censorship

Chinese artist Al Weiwei and social critic has been “freed”, but completely silenced, to the point that the Chinese are trying to censor any mention or metaphoric allusion (“The Fat Guy”) on the Internet.
Weiwei was arrested in April trying to go to Hong Kong but never formally charged.

Visitors may enjoy this account of a recent exhibit in New York, “The Travelogue of Dr. Brain Damages”, by Kenneth Hung, on blogger, here with some explanations of the metaphors for Chinese Internet censorship, “Fa Ke You” or “River Crab”. 

Visitors might want to ponder the list of major websites banned in the People’s Republic of China (or the People’s Republic of Capitalism, as Ted Koppel calls it), on Wikipedia, here.     That would include this blog.

And they say Mark Zuckerberg studies Chinese.