Apr. 25th, 2011

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Telecoms engineers in eastern Libya have managed to outwit government moves to sever the region's communications.

The survival of a mobile phone network in eastern Libya, where the communications crackdown has driven the price of Libyana SIM cards to around $111 on the black market, is almost an accident.
Al-Madar, the country's other mobile provider, has been shut down in the east since the revolt began. Gaddafi's government in Tripoli not only ordered the General Post and Telecommunications Company to switch off access from the main offices in the capital, it also severed Libya's main "backbone" fibre optic cable, which connected eastern phone and internet networks to the main servers in the west.

Faisal Safi, who runs telecommunications in Benghazi, said internet service will return in days [Al Jazeera]

The cable, which runs under water along the coast from Tobruk in the east to Ras Ajdir in the west, was cut – either physically or electronically – somewhere between the cities of Misurata and Khomas, the engineers said.

That killed the east's access to Madar and the Libya Telecom and Technology company (LTT), the country's internet service provider.

But Libyana got lucky. Founded in 2004, eight years after Madar, it was less centralised and less beholden to the regime-controlled management in Tripoli. Best of all, engineers in Benghazi had their own HLR, or home location register.
The HLR stored subscriber information for every Libyana user. When a Libyana phone turned on and dialled a number, the HLR recognised the phone's ID and connected it to the network. Such databases are essential to a functioning mobile phone system, and Madar's were in Tripoli. Libyana had kept one in Benghazi as a back-up.

"I think Gaddafi made a mistake by leaving all that equipment here," said Faisal Safi, the local telecommunications and transport chief for Benghazi's opposition council.

Mahdawi, the top Libyana engineer in the city, worked with his team to install the HLR and configure it for use. No one had previous experience setting one up. After the team installed the hardware, Libyana service returned to the east, relayed via the existing array of antenna towers.

The engineers made mobile service free, but with Madar shut down, they experienced a surge of users, all of whom now had unlimited minutes.

The flood overwhelmed the network, and Mahdawi spent the next week at home, tweaking the system from his personal computer.

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What happened?

Bhutanese Refugees: The Story of a Forgotten People

Bhutan’s 650,000 people comprise three main groups, along with other small groups.

The Ngalongs of the western mountains and the central Bhutanese with whom they have intermarried form the elite. They form a minority alongside the more numerous Sharchhops (“easterners”). Both Ngalongs and Sharchhops are Buddhist.

The Lhotshampa, who live mainly in the south of the country, are the third largest group in Bhutan. Originally from Nepal, they speak Nepali and most practise Hinduism.

Read more... )

Government Repression of Southern Bhutanese[Lhotshampas]

In 1985 the government began its defense of Drukpa culture and traditions. A new citizenship act was passed that applied new criteria of citizenship, and made them retrospective, declaring all previous legislations null and void. The new citizenship Act of 1985, One Nation One People policy, Driglam Namza, Compulsory Labour, and No Objection Certificate were the vivid government repressions against the Nepali speaking Lhotshampas that resulted the democracy movement of 1990.

One Nation One People Policy

In the name of national integration, government's drive for "One Nation One People'' policy made all the southern Bhutanese liable to a fine or imprisonment if they ventured out in anything other than western traditional costume, and Nepali language was removed from the school curriculum. Many southern Bhutanese were fined and imprisoned for not complying with this order. The wearing of 'gho' and 'kira' , traditional Drukpa male and female garments was unsuited to the heat of southern Bhutan.

Driglam Namza, an ancient code of social etiquette of the western Bhutanese which dictates how to eat, how to sit, how to talk, how to dress or how to bow before the authority, and what hair style to adopt, was made mandatory to all the Bhutanese despite their cultural diversity.


And now?

No Homecoming for Bhutanese Refugees

KATHMANDU, Apr 20, 2011 (IPS) - A knock on the door of his home in Bhutan one midnight turned middle-level government official Balaram Paudyal into a fugitive overnight, after he managed to elude policemen arresting him for "anti-government activities", and then fled the country.

Twenty-two years later, Paudyal is living in a refugee camp in Nepal, along with thousands of fellow Bhutanese driven away in the 1980s. Last week, Bhutan agreed to resume talks to have them repatriated, raising hopes of a possible homecoming. But those hopes were dashed the next day, when the government insisted on screening the refugees, and verifying their identities.

The refugees have reacted with anger, saying Bhutan is simply stalling. "Nepal and Bhutan jointly verified refugees of Khudunabari, one of seven camps, some years back," says T. P. Mishra, the 28- year-old editor of the Bhutan News Service (BNS) that operates from exile. "Though most of them were categorised as genuine Bhutanese, not a single refugee has been repatriated."


Read more... )

Lhotshampa eclipse?

Its numbers increasingly scattered across the globe, Bhutanese Nepali-speakers are wondering how to ensure the continuation of their unique lifestyle.

Read more... )
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Rare glimpse into Nepal's defunct monarchy

KATHMANDU - Nepal's monarchy was too feared and too revered to be discussed in public. Traditional as well as legal restrictions made palace life inaccessible to scholars or reporters striving for insight into the world's last Hindu monarchy, which was abolished in 2008. 

This remained the case until one retired army general who had a three-decade long association with the palace embarked on a writing project, and now his efforts are paying off handsomely. 

Just a few weeks after his book Maile Dekheko Durbar (The Palace As I Saw It) was launched at the end of 2010, Vivek Kumar Shah has found himself reaping rich dividends in gold and glory. He has become a sought-after personality for radio and television shows as well as newspaper articles. 

"I became a celebrity of sorts overnight," a visibly exhilarated Shah told this correspondent, discussing his royal expose. The 599-page book, hailed by the public and critics alike, seems destined to become part of Nepal's historical heritage. 

The political tumult in Nepal that began in 2006, with the monarchy abolished two years later, not only ended the 240-year history of the latest dynasty - the Shahs - it marked the end of a monarchical tradition that spanned over 2,000 years. 

Shah's book gives a glimpse into the policies, approaches and working style of a palace that ruled the country with absolute power, with nominated prime ministers maintaining a facade of democracy to the outside world. 

Read more... )
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Are Your Papers in Order?

Tracked for nearly a mile by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies last May, when the Dodge still ran, Elaine [Sanchez] became alarmed, and then terrified, as the lawmen followed closely without ever turning on their lights. Her anxiety surpassed anything associated with an ordinary ticket; her family had already exchanged tales about this sort of enforcement.

For more Joe Arpaio's abuses of power, see our special report section. Elaine drove the van into her backyard. After banging on the back door and screaming for her own mother, she was wrestled to the ground by the sheriff's men. Sanchez's boys emerged from their home to find their mother flat in the dirt with a deputy's knee in her back as she was roughly handcuffed.The light over her license plate was out.
This is not an unknown crime in Elaine's neighborhood.

Indeed, Elaine Sanchez was no stranger to the sheriff's deputies who'd wrangled with her on the ground; one of them later volunteered that he recognized her from an earlier visit.
Sanchez and her family believe they have been targeted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's men as part of the fallout from the lawman's infamous anti-immigrant sweep in Guadalupe.

And here's the rub: In spite of their last name, none of the Sanchezes is Mexican. None of them is in the United States illegally.
All members of the Sanchez family are Yaqui Indians. They are all American citizens. They are as legal as the sheriff's family. They are, however, brown.

On March 4, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Mississippi) worried aloud that the 287(g) program — the enabling act that turns cops into immigration officers — was "using minor traffic violations instead of major crimes" to harass Hispanics.
Thompson, chairman of the
House Homeland Security Committee, has no idea. The genteel concerns of an uninformed Mississippi legislator are so beside the point as to be quaint.

Motorists in Maricopa County are confronted today by deputies in ski masks, guns drawn.
Ski masks.
The slightest pretext elicits the question: Are your papers in order?

With this article, we begin an occasional series to introduce the people swept up in this madness. The individuals you will meet in this installment are all Americans. But eventually, you will also shake hands with illegal aliens. Neighbors, one and all.And the WTFs keep coming
Hell why isn't this a national scandal, seeing as we are so post racial and all? These people are leaving in a motherfucking POLICE STATE. Are we going to wait until it takes over the WHOLE DAMN COUNTRY and is affecting us persoanlly to take fucking action??? HOW THE HELL IS HE NOT IN FUCKING JAIL AND HIS ENTIRE DEPT. DISMANTLED????
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xposted to journal

The Guardian says that it got the documents from the NYT, which claims that the document dump is not from Wikileaks. Everyone else is claiming its a Wiki dump. *shrugs* I have no idea.

Guantánamo leaks lift lid on world's most controversial prison

• Innocent people interrogated for years on slimmest pretexts
• Children, elderly and mentally ill among those wrongfully held
• 172 prisoners remain, some with no prospect of trial or release
Interactive guide to all 779 detainees

Read more... )

Digby points out re: the suicides that the American political and miliatry response... was to accuse the detainees of conducting asymetrical warfare. Yes, yes they did:Wiki Dump

Read more... )

What are the Guantanomo Files

Read more... )


The Guantanomo Files: Al Quadea assasin worked for MI-6

Anti-extremist author framed and whisked to CubaAbdul Badr Mannan was handed over to Americans who later came to believe Pakistani intelligence had set him up

Guantánamo Bay files: Casio wristwatch 'the sign of al-Qaida'Casio F-91W, a cheap digital watch sold around the world, was taken as evidence of detainees having bomb-making training

Guantánamo Bay files: Star informer freed after implicating 123 prisonersMohammed Basardah rewarded despite unsupported claims and interrogators' doubts about sheer number of names he gave up You can also view a PDF about two men who supposedly gave up a quarter of the detainees there.


President Obama speaks on Manning and the rule of law

Protesters yesterday interrupted President Obama's speech at a $5,000/ticket San Francisco fundraiser to demand improved treatment for Bradley Manning. After the speech, one of the protesters, Logan Price, approached Obama and questioned him. Obama's responses are revealing on multiple levels.Read more... )

The Washington Post has an article: Guantanamo Bay: Why Obama hasn’t fulfilled his promise to close the facility


Read more... )


Taliban Help Hundreds Tunnel Out of Prison’s Political Wing


Read more... )
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Hello New Orleans! Your time in the sun: WARNING: POLICE BRUTALITY that escalates to MURDER MOST FOUL. No limits to the law in NoLa

Something terrible lies at the heart of New Orleans - a rampant, widespread and apparently uncontrollable brutality on the part of its police force and its prison service. The horrors of its criminal justice system from decades before Hurricane Katrina and up to now lie somewhere between, with little exaggeration, Candide and Stalin's Gulags.

Spit on the sidewalk here, and you may be arrested - New Orleans has the highest incarceration rate of any city in the United States - and if you're poor and black and can't pay bail, you will enter a place where any protection under the American constitution and the Bill of Rights is stripped away. You will wait weeks or months to be charged, whether innocent or not, and in the meantime you will be subjected to foul, overcrowded jail conditions, prisoner-to-prisoner violence and the brutality of the deputies who guard you. God help you if you have a medical condition, or a mental-health problem, or if you're pregnant (you may deliver in leg chains - it has happened). "A minor offence in New Orleans," one civil rights attorney told me, "can get you into a hellish place."

On 17 March this year, the federal department of justice (DoJ) decided that enough was enough and it has made moves to have the New Orleans police department (NOPD) placed under the supervision of a federal judge. The New Orleans jail system will likely follow.


The department released a report covering only the past two years and ignoring several current federal investigations of police officers for murder. It says, more or less, that the NOPD is incapable on any level; that it is racist; that it systemically violates civil rights, routinely using "unnecessary and unreasonable force"; that it is "largely indifferent to widespread violations of law and policy by its police officers" and appears to have gone to great lengths to cover up its shootings of civilians. "NOPD's mishandling of officer-involved shooting investigations," the report says, "was so blatant and egregious that it appeared intentional in some respects."

The department can't even handle its sniffer dogs: "We found that NOPD's canines were uncontrollable to the point where they repeatedly attacked their own handlers."

Absolutely SICKENING details at ontd_political

At this point, I'm going wholesale. Dismantle the entire system and replace with restorative justice techniques. Fuck "retributive justice" all to hell. I need an icon that says "OPEN YOUR GODDAMN EYES, JUSTICE!!! CAUSE YOUR SCALES ARE NOT FUCKING LEVEL!!!!"

Post on restorative justice techniques and iniatives coming up at some point during three weeks for dreamwidth. This is the fucking 21st century. We claim that we are civilized. PAST time that we act like it.


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