Tariq Ali, in this exclusive interview, seamlessly switches from contemporary historian to scholar-at-large to polemicist to raconteur, as he tackles many of the impinging issues of our times. By SASHI KUMAR, Frontline
He was in southern India after nearly 30 years. He had come to Kerala to deliver the Chinta Ravindran Memorial Lecture at Thrissur. My friend, the well-known writer Paul Zacharia and I were showing him the sights and we had just been to the site of the archaeological dig at Pattanam near Kodungalloor where he saw the unearthed pottery and artefacts that were reconstructing the fascinating story of an early society in these parts, already in maritime contact with West Asian ports and ancient Rome. From there we proceeded to the nearby Cheraman juma masjid, considered the first mosque in India, and perhaps the second in the world, dating back to A.D. 629. There was only a little evidence of that ancient patrimony left; the quaint old native structure had been all but pulled down some 50 years back and a more commodious, more standardised edifice built around it. All that was left were some pillars, a section of a doorway, another of a beamed ceiling and a crumbling staircase leading up to the attic, all in wood. But a photograph of the structure, as it was in 1905, hung on the wall. Continue reading “The New World Disorder”
Asif Mohiuddin has since been arrested. This is a section from a mail he wrote just prior to his arrest: “I love my country very much and will fight for my rights till the end but now I am mentally and physically very?upset, so I am asking for your help”
Dated: 18.01.2013:?In an exclusive telephone interview Asif Mohiuddin tells Deutsche Welle?s Bengali Service he thinks “fundamentalists may be involved in the attack” on him Monday evening in Bangladesh.
The injuries Mohiuddin sustained left doctors in no doubt that his attackers intended to kill him. Meanwhile, Mohiuddin’s family expressed concern for Asif’s safety, since he has no police protection in the hospital. His family fears there may be another attempt on his life.
11 bloggers on Bangladesh government’s hit list (ed)
By Benjamin Ismail: Reporters sans frontiers
Asif Mohiuddin, a?militant atheist blogger?who has been hounded by Bangladeshi Islamists and officials, was arrested today by the Detective Branch of the Dhaka police and is currently being interrogated about his recent posts. The police say he could be taken before a judge tomorrow.
?We call for Mohiuddin?s immediate and unconditional release,? Reporters Without Borders said. ?After being the victim of knife attack in January, he is in very poor health and needs constant medical attention. The Detective Branch told us he is being ?treated well? but the opposite is happening ? he continues to be held in deplorable conditions of hygiene and lack of access to medical treatment. Continue reading “Blogger Asif Mohiuddin arrested over ?blasphemous? blog posts”
MUMBAI: Mumbai police have set up India’s first “social media lab” to monitor Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites, sparking concerns about freedom of speech online. Continue reading “Indian police set up lab to monitor social media”
Saudi Arabia Implements SMS–Tracking System
HASSAN AMMAR / AFP / GETTY IMAGES?Saudi women have few travel choices: they either must take a taxi or have a male companion drive. But a new campaign encourages women to flout the ban.
Reports emerged of the system last week when?Manal al-Sherif, a women?s rights campaigner who has urged women to defy the driving ban, was alerted by a husband who received a message from the immigration authorities advising him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh. He happened to be traveling with her.
(MORE😕IKEA Edits Women Out of Saudi Arabian Catalog)
Women are treated as legal minors in the Saudi guardianship system, requiring permission from their male guardian if they want to work or study. Women who want to travel outside the country need their male guardian to sign what is known as a ?yellow sheet? at the airport or border.
Badriya al-Bishr a columnist critical of the Kingdom?s conservative interpretation of Islamic law,?said to the AFP?that women were being held under a ?state of slavery?,?adding?that ?this is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned.?
The system notifying male guardians that their dependents?which includes their wife, children and foreign workers sponsored by them?had left the country appears to have been in place for a couple of years now.?Ahmed Al Omran, a Saudi blogger, explains that?it appears that this service, which in the past was an opt-out service, is now reaching those who had previously registered their details with the Ministry of Interior.
?The problem is not that there is now an electronic system that sends an SMS when women travel,??writes Omran. ?The problem is that the government is enforcing rules of male guardianships even on the rest of us who don?t believe in such rules.?
There are signs that the Kingdom is slowly changing its approach to the rights of women. Last year King Abdullah granted women the right to vote and run in the 2015 municipal elections. What impact that will have on the guardianship system however is yet to be determined.
If you think that 24/7 tracking of citizens by biometric recognition systems is paranoid fantasy, just read the industry newsletters
Yes, I know: it sounds like a paranoid rant.
Except that it?turned out to be true.?News21, supported by the Carnegie and Knight foundations, reports that Disney sites are indeed controlled by face-recognition technology, that the military is interested in the technology, and that the face-recognition contractor, Identix, has contracts with the US government ? for technology that identifies individuals in a crowd. Continue reading “The New Totalitarianism of Surveillance Technology”
Annie Machon: ex-MI-5 whistle-blower, activist and author joins Jack Etkin for an elucidating and revealing look at ‘Deep State’ and high-level national and international intelligence and security methodologies. Annie covers subjects such as false-flag/black operations, the MI-5’s botched attempt on Gaddafi’s life, the London Tube bombing (7/7), 9/11 and others. This penetrating and articulate interview is a must see.