Monday, May 05, 2003

When is a child not a child?

A couple of stories in the Guardian on ChoicePoint, a story still ignored by American papers. A quote: Literature that ChoicePoint produced to advertise its services to the department of justice promised, in the case of Colombia, a "national registry file of all adult Colombians, including date and place of birth, gender, parentage, physical description, marital status, passport number, and registered profession". It is illegal under Colombian law for government agencies to disclose such information, except in response to a request for data on a named individual.

Also, while the company is busy denying it illegally acquired Mexican electoral registration information, its own advertising says it can offer "nationwide listing of all Mexican citizens registered to vote as of the 2000 general election - updated annually".

The US gov will also be trying to get credit card information on any foreigner entering the country.

Speaking of privacy, the State Dept’s annual report on international terrorism contains harsh criticism of Canada. Evidently it doesn’t have enough police and its citizens have too many privacy rights, inhibiting its ability to deliver up information on Canadians when the US demands it.

I saw only the excerpts from the first Democratic debate, which was more than enough. It was held in the all-important state of South Carolina, whose 3 registered Democrats are pivotal, as we know. Polled later, all 3 said that it was the first time they’d seen a Jew up close. Joe the Jew chided the other candidates for not being Republican enough. Kerry is running on his record as the only candidate to fight in the Vietnam War, which I suspect doesn’t even impress Vietnam vets all that much, much less anyone else. And if Kerry can be made that peevish by the incomparably bland Howard Dean, how on earth does he expect to be able to deal with Jacques Chirac or Kim Jong Il?

The incredibly corrupt prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, testified today at his own bribery trial, trying to implicate as many other people as possible (including former PMs Craxi and Prodi), claiming the judges are “reds,” and saying that he won’t resign even if he’s convicted. He has systematically destroyed the Italian justice system and taken over the nation’s media. And the Italian people don’t care. A good report.

The Pentagon is to release the child prisoners held at Guantanamo, or possibly just transfer them to jails in their own countries. Amazing what a little publicity can do. Rummy defended the detentions, saying the 13 to 15-year olds were dangerous and were “not children.”

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