Latest news of note:

  • Why copyright laws hurt culture (Thanks to for alerting me to this story.
      DUBLIN, Ireland — American copyright laws have gotten so out of hand that they are causing the death of culture and the loss of the world’s intellectual history, according to Stanford technology law professor Lawrence Lessig.

      Copyright has bloated from providing 14 years of protection a century ago to 70 years beyond the creator’s death now, he said, and has become a tool of large corporations eager to indefinitely prolong their control of a market. Irving Berlin’s songs, for example, will not go off copyright for 140 years, he said….

  • Newsweek: He’s a really good boy: The parents of the American Talib describe their son – This young man needs to be brought to justice in a fair trial in the United States, not in a secret military tribunal. What he allegedly did by joining the Taliban was evil and wrong, but that does not negate the requirement for a fair trial.
  • Washington Post: Next target: al-Qaida ‘sleeper cells,’ U.S. to focus on terror threat as Afghan effort winds down
  • MSNBC: Sharon pledges to win war on terror: In blunt message to Arafat, Israel strikes targets at Gaza HQ – It looks like WWIII is raging on. The fronts may be changing, but the war is far from over.
  • MSNBC: Afghan talks make slow progress
  • MSNBC: Debit-card use outstrips credit cards
  • Newsweek: Justice kept in the dark – This is one of the best comprehensive stories on how justice has been twisted and denied to the detaineees. Here are a few notable exceprts:
      MORE HUMILIATION was to follow. He was thrown into a cell in Passaic, N.J., with nearly three dozen other men. The men, all Muslims, asked to hold on to their food trays so they could observe the Ramadan fast and eat after sundown. The guard wasn’t having any of it. “I don’t care about f—king Ramadan,” the turnkey said. The U.S. government never filed any charges against Irshaid. After three weeks, he was finally released. Irshaid says he was so happy he would have jumped for joy, had he not still been shackled and chained in leg irons. “This doesn’t change my love of America,” he told NEWSWEEK. “But with all due respect to Mr. Ashcroft, if somebody wants to accuse you of something, they should tell you what it is.” …

    The next excerpt shows the likelihood that the CIA is already using torture as a means to extract information. This is vile and shows that America has become rank in its hypocrisy. The nation I knew and loved would never tolerate this kind of behavior. I don’t the founding fathers would recognize what Ashcroft’s minions are doing.

      According to a senior Arab intelligence official, the Qataris “asked the Americans, ‘Where should we send this guy?’ ” The answer was, not the United States. The man was sent to Jordan instead. The Jordanians have been good about sharing intelligence with the United States. The CIA prefers not to ask how the Jordanians obtain that intelligence. …

    The next excerpt is a case of prison brutality. It is not exceptional (this happens every day in prisons across are land), except that the guards were aware of it and even allowed it to take place for a considerable amount of time before intervening. I think the guards and prisoners involved should be standing trial for this, but that won’t happen because this is America and the rights of prisoners are worth less than a counterfeit penny in the eyes of Uncle Sam.

      Some of the 1,200 men swept up in the FBI’s dragnet since September 11 feel as though they might as well have been sent to a Third World dungeon. On Sept. 18, Hasnain Javed, 20, a Pakistani national who lives with his aunt in Houston, was on his way back to Queensborough College in New York to study computer information systems. In Alabama, he was pulled off the bus by the federal Border Patrol, who discovered that Javed was carrying an expired visa. They sent him to a county jail in Wiggins, Miss., where he was put in a cell with 10 other inmates. What happened next was out of a bad movie.

      One inmate, perhaps kindly, perhaps coldly, suggested that he better ring for the guard. Javed rang the bell, but it went unanswered for more than 20 minutes. During that time, several inmates beat him severely, breaking one of his teeth, fracturing a couple of ribs and rupturing his eardrum. As they kicked and pummeled the Pakistani youth, they jeeringly called him “bin Laden.” Then they stripped him naked and beat him some more. “I was crying and telling them I had nothing to do with it,” said Javed. “They were kicking me and punching me and pinned my head to the floor.” Finally, four guards arrived—and watched. Struggling to his feet, Javed begged for help, and at last the officers stopped the beating. Javed was put into solitary confinement and eventually released on $5,000 bail. He is now so traumatized he is afraid to appear in public. “I’ve never felt this way,” he told NEWSWEEK. “I go out and worry if someone is looking at me funny. If I see a police officer, I wonder if he is going to say something to me, question me.”

    This final excerpt from this accounting of evils conducted in the name of freedom and justice is of Dr. Al-Hazmi. He ended up better than most since he knew his rights and refused to speak to the cops until he had a lawyer present. Still, what happened to him was shameful and wrong.

      On Monday, Sept. 24, (Dr. Al-Hazmi) was released, without his glasses or clothes, in blue jail pants and a black top. He went home to San Antonio. He is thinking about quitting his job at University Hospital, where he is now treated with suspicion by some colleagues, and moving back to Saudi Arabia. He says he is not angry at the U.S. government. “Forgiveness is one of the principles of Islam,” he told NEWSWEEK. But he worries about his children. His son, 8, cried all time while he was in custody and still does not seem quite right. His daughter, 6, said to him, “You were in jail.” His eyes filling with tears, Al-Hazmi says, “How can you explain to innocent kids what happened? I’m embarrassed, ashamed to explain.” … .
  • AP: Strikes an Apparent Response to Weekend’s Wave of Bombings
      GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli helicopter gunships struck a security compound near Yasser Arafat’s headquarters with missiles Monday, destroying two of his helicopters. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced a war on terrorism and blamed the Palestinian leader for anti-Israeli attacks.

      Israeli F-16 warplanes struck in the West Bank city of Jenin, hitting police building, Palestinian officials said. The strikes were Israel’s first retaliation for Palestinian suicide bombings in two Israeli cities and a gun attack that killed 26 people over the weekend.

      In a televised address, Sharon did not say what further steps would be taken but announced a “war on terrorism” and said Arafat had chosen “a strategy of terror.”

      “Arafat is responsible for everything that is happening,” Sharon said ahead of a Cabinet meeting that was expected to decide on the Israeli response…

    My question is this… why is violence considered “a response to terrorism” or “an act of war” when a western state commits it, but is considered “terrorism” when a third world nation or group does it? I think violence is always wrong, so don’t take this as a defense for the actions of the Palestinians. What I am saying is that the US and Israel are doing the very same things they condemn in others… inflicting military strikes with no concern for civilian casualties.

  • NY Times: An Inventor Unveils His Mysterious Personal Transportation Device – very, very interesting. What I find most promising is this line…
      At an average speed of 8 miles an hour, or three times walking pace, Mr. Kamen says the Segway can go 15 miles on a six- hour charge, for less than a dime’s worth of electricity from a standard wall socket..

    What that would mean in practical terms is that one could travel for 150+ miles on a dollar’s worth of electricity, as compared to 20-30 miles on a dollar’s worth of gas (at today’s prices)

    However, having to stand up when riding this doesn’t seem that attractive to me. The speed is comparable to that of a bicycle, and the cost is much higher. I would assume that a battery-powered personal mobility devise would popular among the elderly or those who find bicycling tiring, however those same people wouldn’t want to stand up to ride it.

    The idea is interesting, but overall I think it is an expensive gizmo that does not compare with the utility of a bicycle.

    Also here is another story on it from MSNBC. (The two stories differ in what they say are the top speeds of the Segway vehicle.)

  • NY Times: Calls for New Push Into Iraq Gain Power in Washington
  • NY Times: Canada Altering Its System of Vigilance Against Terror
  • NY Times: Spy, citing fears, fights return to China
  • NY Times: A Backyard That Belongs to No One and Everyone
  • NY Times: Couple killed in East Harlem; 6 others are slain in NYC in last 24 hours