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THE INDEX - June 15, 2010

Even in prisons, the drug violence in Mexico continues. In a number of incidents, 29 inmates were killed this week in attacks relating to drug gangs, and in two separate incidents 13 police officers died.

Swadesh M. Rana: Guantánamo's Detainees — Diplomatic Quagmire or Security Risk?

America's European partners in its war on terror are not committing on when or whether to take in any detainees from Guantánamo. "There was nobody very hot about this, that's perfectly true," said Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on January 26, after a meeting of the European Union. His nation holds the rotating presidency of the 27 member EU which includes 21 of the 26 members of NATO. Austria is against taking any released prisoners. The parliament of Finland is split on the issue. Denmark would need to change its asylum laws to accept any detainees. Sweden sees no political or national security benefit in admitting them. Poland has no experience in dealing with this kind of prisoners. Italy and Spain would consider a U.S. request only if endorsed by the EU. European opposition to this plan is vociferous. "I do not understand why we give the impression that Germany needs to accept prisoners. Guantánamo was established by the U.S. We did not run it. We did not use it," says Wolfgang Bosbach, deputy leader of the Christian Democrats. "Don't forget these inmates are not kittens-it's a risk for us to bring them into Europe." says the Dutch Foreign Minister, Maxime Verhagen. London has already made a "significant contribution," said U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband. England has already accepted nine of its citizens and six of its residents formerly imprisoned at Guantánamo. France has found little support for its plan to lead an EU fact-finding mission to Guantánamo to ascertain the background of the current detainees and assess the security risks in accepting at least 60 persons who, while they face no charges in the United States, are likely to be tortured or persecuted if returned to the countries of their origin.

Shaun Randol: The Rise of China’s Human Flesh Search Engine

One of the many reasons Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympic Games was that, it was hoped, a massive influx of international visitors—journalists in tow—would help push the central government to lessen restrictions on China’s own domestic media. One dramatic outcome would have been a lasting breach in the Great Firewall of China, the country’s highly advanced internet censorship apparatus. While policies relaxed for foreign journalists reporting from China during the Olympics appear to be a welcome, permanent fixture, citizens reporting on events within China still have their work cut out for them. Four months after the lighting of the Olympic torch there seems to be little official progress in the movement to expand internet free speech to the masses of the great Middle Kingdom. China’s citizens, however, think otherwise. Glowing praise issued from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the success of the Beijing games conveniently did not mention the few crackdowns, arrests, and internet censorship activities that occurred during the month-long spectacle. Such admonishment was left to others, like Human Rights Watch’s Minky Worden, who chastised the IOC for leaving out of its fact sheets “the extent to which the International Olympic Committee lowered its standards on human rights around the Beijing Olympic Games.” Similarly, Bob Dietz of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) commented, “I think, in the end, the government’s approach to the media hasn’t changed that much.” Indeed, a recent report from CPJ concludes “more Internet journalists are jailed worldwide today than journalists working in any other medium...45 percent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors.” China continues its ten-year streak at the top of this list.

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