Posted 25 April, 2011 by Christopher Wilson


Post-revolutionary justice continues to be a popular, if ephemaral, ambition, as Tunisian authorities this week announced their intention to charge Ben Ali with 18 criminal offences, including voluntary manslaughter and drug-trafficking. In Egypt, a military fact-finding committee concluded that former Interior Minister al-Adly had ordered the shooting on protesters, an Egyptian “ceramics tycoon” was charged with plotting the “Battle of the Camel,” and Egypt’s new Interior Minister announced a number of measures towards reform for the newly established National Security Agency, including “administrative rehabilitation programs”, the exlclusion of officers previously involved in rights abuses, and a new website to engage with citizens.

The Egyptian military meanwhile ratified a law criminalizing protests, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights convened north-African activists for a training in Tunisia on how to litigate in the African human rights system, and the Egyptian prime minister planned a trip to assure regional governments that the Egyptian revolution would not spread.

On this week’s Defiant Friday, Yemenese protesters were unimpressed by Saleh’s promise to step down in exchange for immunity, Iraqis refused to protest in football fieldsSyria cracked down hard on protesters, killing 90 (things appear to be deteriorating steadily, with a tank invasion early this [monday] morning), and popular committees from across Egypt convened in Tahrir to work towards”securing the revolution.”

Elsewhere in Egypt, presidential candidate Moussa proclaimed that the Camp David Accords had expired, while officials announced that Egypt would join the ICC, but that al-Bashir need not worry, and would be free to visit Egypt without fear of the ICC enditement being enforced. Following pro-tourism marches by German ciizens and revelations that a German company had supplied Mubarak regime with hacking technology, the German government announced that it had formed a committee to “support the Egyptian revolution” (by helping to attract FDI). Salafis mobilized for protests over a missing convert as well as a Coptic governor appointed to Quena–who drew even larger protests for his alleged affiliations and actions under the former regime. Wael Ghonim caused a ruckus at the IMF spring meetings.

Social Media giants hosted a number of political scuffles this week, as the Ugandan government blocked access to Twitter and Facebook in response to popular “walk to work” protests, and Canadian officials announced that it was illegal to tweet or FB-post election results. Meanwhile, the US government subpoenaed Twitter for “relevant” information about users suspected of links with WikiLeaks for an “ongoing criminal investigation,” and the Obama townhall Facebook page was temporarily disabled by “Online Conservative Army” commenting. Syrian governtment sympathisers meanwhile launched an army of spambots on Twitter, washing out protest news with white noise from @lovelysyria.

From the desk of miscellany, and largely overshadowed by the revalation that Apple devices are tracking your every move (!), it was revealed that a whole new breed of apps are now using smartphone cameras and mics to surruptitiously gather marketing data : “The apps use ambient sounds to figure out what you’re paying attention to. It’s the next best thing to reading your mind,” notes Computer World. Meanwhile, Global Voices Advocacy pages were blocked by the National Science Foundation, US activists received no State Department help in protecting their websites against Chinese hackers, and the US government selected android for its mobile battlefield network. In India, Right to Information petitions and bribery by were documented to be equally efficient mechanisms for  slum dwellers and the middle class to access information, while the UK government launched a public data-analysis contest to support its terrorism research, and Brazilian police announced that they intend to use robotic facial-recognition goggles to spot criminals at the 2014 World Cup.

Pilot-less US war drones killed 26-32 (mostly civilians) in Pakistan and were authorized for use in Lybia. Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) declared 3 days of prayer for rain (for “Texans of all faiths and traditions”), and LucasFilm stopped attempts to crowdsource construction of an AT-AT to “make America awesome again.”

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