Elizabeth Warren's plan to denazify America

Elizabeth Warren has released a characteristically detailed campaign plan to counter white nationalist violence in the USA, whose multi-pronged approach includes directing the DoJ to be more vigorous in pursuing white nationalist groups (and to lay off the Cointelpro-style surveillance of groups that advocate for protections for racialized people); centralized data collection on white nationalist violence; FBI assistance in local investigations of white nationalist groups; global collaboration to disrupt international white terrorist organizations; purges of Nazis in the US military; using background checks to deny firearms to members and supporters of violent white nationalist groups; reforming school curriculum to head off white nationalist trends; creating an interagency task-force to combat white nationalism; and to "combat violent extremist content on the Internet in a manner consistent with freedom of expression" (a neat trick if she can manage it). Read the rest

Indigenous elder on Sidewalk Labs's Toronto consultation: "like being given blankets and gun powder and whisky to trade for our participation"

Sidewalk Labs (previously) is a "smart city" company that was spun out of Google, though it remains owned by Alphabet, Google's parent company; Sidewalk Labs's first major outing is a planned "experimental city" on Toronto's lakeshore, and it's been a disaster, from the bullying it used to get the project's initial approval to being outed for sneaking a massive expansion into the agreement and then lying about it, to mass resignations by its privacy advisors, who denounced the project as a corporate surveillance city whose "privacy protections" were mere figleafs for unfettered, nonconsensual collection and exploitation of residents' data. Read the rest

Latvia opens up its KGB files and names 4,000+ "informants," many of whom claim they were framed

When Latvia attained independence in 1991, the retreating KGB left behind two sacks and two briefcases containing indexed records of the secret informants who had been paid to turn in their neighbors for offenses including anti-Kremlin activism and watching pornography. Read the rest

Obama's policy on Bush's crimes is how Kavanaugh got to the Supreme Court

When Obama took office, he took over from one of the least popular presidents in US history, 22% George Bush, a liar who tortured and spied his way through an illegitimate war that we're still fighting, and next year's deployment will include soldiers who weren't even born when the war started. Read the rest

#Metoo: from the Balkans to Twitter

A friend asked me to follow the flow, and write this hashtag #metoo. Cavafi, the Greek poet who lived all his life by the sea and wrote about everything but the sea, before dying he said: Let me too say something about the sea. Read the rest

Less than Human, More than Human

Mary Shelley had four children and buried three as infants. Her last son Percy survived her and died of old age. But Frankenstein, her ultimate creation, has lived on. Her literary science fictional monster child became a myth, an aspiration, an ambition and even somewhat a reality in the past 200 years.

The English Method: UK taught modern torture to Brazil's dictators

Brazil's 21-year military dictatorship was a torturing, brutal regime -- among their victims was the current president, Dilma Rousseff. At first, the generals tortured by flogging and shocks, but British officials taught them to torture without leaving marks, helping the regime to rehabilitate its international human rights image. The techniques the UK taught to Brazil's torturers were developed for Malay rebels and perfected on Northern Irish Republicans, and these techniques came to be known as "The English Method."

Other governments -- Germany, France, Panama, and, of course, the USA -- also trained Brazil's torturers, but the UK methods were the best. British agents travelled to Brazil to train the torturers personally. More details of the British "foreign aid" program are coming to light as the UK government finally succumbs to the rule of law and releases files from the National Archives at Kew, a move that has been steadfastly refused for obvious reasons.

One document that's come to light is a letter from then-British Ambassador, David Hunt, called "Torture in Brazil," which praises the Brazilian regime for cleaning up its appearance of brutality by "taking a leaf out of the British book." Read the rest