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Showing posts from February 19, 2014

Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters

By Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher

 - "First Look" - Top-secret documents from the National Security Agency and its British counterpart reveal for the first time how the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom targeted WikiLeaks and other activist groups with tactics ranging from covert surveillance to prosecution.

The efforts – detailed in documents provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – included a broad campaign of international pressure aimed not only at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but at what the U.S. government calls “the human network that supports WikiLeaks.” The documents also contain internal discussions about targeting the file-sharing site Pirate Bay and hacktivist collectives such as Anonymous.

One classified document from Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s top spy agency, shows that GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site. By exploiting its ability to tap into the …

Ukraine: The Crisis Sees Its Deadliest Day Yet

Tuesday was the deadliest day yet in Ukraine's political crisis as protesters fought with police outside the parliament building in Kiev. At least 19 people were killed in the clashes, which escalated after the parliament failed to consider the opposition's proposals for constitutional reforms. Police have since advanced on Independence Square, the heart of the anti-government movement, but so far they have yet to enter it; its occupants erected barricades that they then set on fire. A spokesman for Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has insisted that the government does not want to disperse the protesters forcibly.

Hundreds of protesters carrying sticks and incendiary devices occupied a building belonging to the Ministry of Defense, but what differentiates Tuesday's protests from earlier ones is that Ukrainians actually set fire to government buildings, including the ruling Party of Regions' headquarters and the Kiev city administration building. The protests have a…

Taiwan: Challenges to Regional Economic Integration

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (C), Vice President Wu Den-yih (L) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (R) at a flag-raising ceremony in Taipei on Jan. 1. (Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary
Taiwanese envoys to 16 countries in the greater Pacific Ocean basin region convened in Taipei on Feb. 17. They received an update on Taiwan's efforts to join the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. China is a key negotiator in the latter of the two prospective multilateral trade agreements. The seminar is one of several indicators that Taipei does not intend to let the island stray too far into China's unilateral economic orbit, even as it looks to cement new trade agreements with the mainland.

Joining international institutions such as the World Trade Organization -- and cementing bilateral trade agreements with regional partners such as Singapore and New Zealand -- is not only a means to enhance Taiwan's economic competitiveness. More fundame…

A Rebel Offensive in South Sudan Jeopardizes Peace Talks

South Sudanese government troops at their headquarters in South Sudan on Feb. 15. (FABIO BUCCIARELLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Skirmishes between South Sudanese government and rebel forces have continued despite a January cease-fire, but a renewed offensive by the rebels to recapture Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, marks a return to more intense military confrontation. Malakal is located in southwest Upper Nile, which is the country's most significant oil-producing state. The fighting will complicate a peace process that had already stalled. The government may refuse to cooperate with rebel leader Riek Machar, the country's former vice president, if he ordered the assault to improve his side's bargaining position. At the same time, if Machar did not order the offensive, Juba would no longer view him as a valid representative of the rebels.

The offensive is unlikely to directly affect oil production in Upper Nile state. However, it could increase regional support f…