There is an inordinately large amount of reporting coming out of Mali these days. Apparently news travels fast about the influence that Al Qaeda in the Magreb is playing in that country. Adam Nossiter of the New York Times reports on the fear that is taking over the country, and on reports by government officials on human rights violations to the ICC in The Hague.
Many individuals are looking critically at this December’s conference in Dubai to revise the International Telecommunications Regulations, the treaty developed by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union. Senator Marco Rubio is just the latest person to announce his opposition to proposals that may give the UN agency authority over the internet in a fashion that mirrors its authority over telecommunications, radio, and satellite. Brendan Sasso and Jennifer Martinez at The Hill have the story.
We might not have to worry too much about the UN’s role in internet regulation, though, since countries like Russia are passing legislation to strengthen their own control over the internet within their borders. The New York Times’ Ellen Barry reports on the news from Moscow.
In our own debate over cybersecurity legislation, retiring Senator Jeff Bingaman plans to offer an amendment that would authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to set and enforce standards for cybersecurity related to the power grid in emergencies. Read his amendment, S. 1342, here, and Jack Colman of The Hill’s story here.
Congressman Darrell Issa, Reddit, and Mozilla are launching the “Internet Defense League,” which is rallying opponents of legislation that it considers will threaten internet freedom. Brendan Sasso has the scoop at The Hill. Other lawmakers who support the IDL’s efforts include Senators Ron Wyden and Jerry Moran. Senator Wyden, by the way, hasn’t yet announced his views on the Lieberman-Collins cybersecurity bill, writes Jennifer Martinez at The Hill.
Over at the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf has a beef with that data from Peter Bergen and the New America Foundation on the number individuals killed in drone strikes. Here’s the gist of his gripe:
Despite these alleged errors, the New America Foundation data is a valuable resource shedding light on a secretive military campaign that is very difficult to report on thoroughly and accurately. What’s needed is greater awareness of its limits. It cannot tell us how many drone strikes occurred in a given year—only the approximation of how many were reported in the media. It cannot tell us how many “militants” were killed, how many civilians were killed, or the ratio between them. It can only tell us the minimum number of civilians reported to have been killed in the media. It cannot tell us whether the rate of civilian deaths has gone down—only that the anonymous Pakistani officials relied upon for the majority of press reports say there are fewer civilian deaths. What if the Pakistanis feeding information to Western journalists have changed the way that they classify someone a militant in much the same way that President Obama did?
Matthew Rosenberg at the New York Times writes on an Afghan military court’s conviction (the first of its kind) of an Afghan soldier for opening fire on its NATO allies that killed four French soldiers.
A suicide bomber in Bulgaria who killed a number of Israeli tourists (the number is disputed) used a fake Michigan driver’s license. Nicholas Kulish and Matthew Brunwasser at the Times write on the aftermath.
Georgetown Law Professor Gary Solis has this op-ed in BBC News on drone strikes and international law.
Alan Cowell of the Times shares the news that British police have charged five individuals with terrorism offenses. The UK says the offenses are not related to the opening of the Olympics.
Amnesty International has this post on the plea bargain reached between the U.S. and Majid Khan. Categorizing the U.S. decision as a “a leap of faith,” AI writes:
While Khan has decided to plead guilty and assume responsibility for the acts the USA accused him of, official accountability remains notable by its absence when it comes to the human rights violations committed against him and others in the CIA secret detention and rendition programmes.
The violations include enforced disappearance and torture, both crimes under international law. Obliging Majid Khan in his plea bargain to keep secret and give up any right to a remedy for such abuses itself violates the USA’s explicit obligation under international human rights law to provide access to effective remedies to anyone who alleges he has been subjected to such human rights violations.
The AP has picked up on the lawsuit filed by Kuwaiti family members of Gitmo detainees Al Kandari and Al Odah against the Kuwaiti government.
ProPublica has this piece on two motions by defense counsel for KSM and his fellow alleged co-conspirators challenging whether the government has the authority to classify “any and all statements” by the detainees as “presumptively classified.”
Business Insider’s Michael Kelley gives us a tour of the Guantanamo detention center.
Walter Pincus of the Post warns Republican members of Congress to proceed carefully as they investigate how the media learned of the U.S. role in the development and deployment of the Stuxnet virus.
The Economist’s Schumpeter blog writes on the hearing held earlier this week in the Senate on revelations that HSBC’s U.S. affiliate served as banker to drug cartels, Iran, the Taliban, and Syrian terrorists (among others).
Readers may recall that the Taliban has imposed a ban on polio vaccinations in northwest Pakistan to protest the use of drone strikes by the United States. It is estimated that about 280,000 children will thus miss their chance to be immunized from the disease, according to the WHO. CNN‘s Madison Park has details from the report.
For those of you who would prefer to read about drones in fiction, as opposed to in reality, Daniel Suarez has a new thrilled out called Kill Decision. The AP reviews the book here.
And after all this depressing news, I’m going to take a look at the latest thing that’s gone viral on the web.
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