All posts tagged: security

From the Archive: A Security Fantasia

This week saw the Obama administration distance itself from a U.S. partner of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, as street demonstrations transformed into street clashes between anti-government protesters and pro-government supporters in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. The consequence of nearly 30 years of ruling Egypt with an iron fist and over $1 billion in security assistance a year from the U.S., the revolution on the streets of Egypt appears to have taken Washington by surprise. Just last week, Vice-President Joe Biden stated that Mubarak was not a dictator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Sunday morning shows that the longstanding relationship was something the Americans were balancing closely with contemporary events. By mid-week White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs bolstered Obama’s demand that “change must begin now,” more of a faint echo to Obama’s own presidential campaign of 2008 than it was reminiscent of the last time an American president issued an ultimatum to a dictator, by suggesting that “now means yesterday.” In between last week and this week, Foreign Policy ran …

The Moment: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan Throws a Book at My Head

The Moment: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan Throws a Book at My Head Fortnight Journal November 12, 2010 Erzurum, Turkey on August 13, 2010, 4:04 P.M. I was in Turkey, following the route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia until its end in the mouth of the Mediterranean bay of Yumurtalik, on a Young Explorers Grant from the National Geographic Society. Erzurum, Turkey was by far the most conservative point we had come across along the route. It is the most conservative of Turkish cities in a country where the secular designs of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk prevail. Unlike the rest of Turkey, accommodations regarding principles of faith are scant in Erzurum. Aug. 13 was the third day of Ramadan and almost everyone in the city fasts for the occasion. To eat in Erzurum, we had to inquire in restaurant after restaurant if they would serve us. When they did, they hid us far from the windows where potential customers could not complain and suggest they were un-Islamic for serving a cafir, or infidel—something …

NYT: “China Investigates Extralegal Petitioner Detentions”

In today’s New York Times, my friend Xu Zhiyong, “a public interest lawyer whose organization has investigated black jails,” is quoted in the story the story, “China Investigates Extralegal Petitioner Detentions” by Andrew Jacobs: “The Anyuanding affair [named after a security company which allegedly operated black jails inside of China] is so sinister and damaging, it appears that the public security authorities were left with little choice but to intervene and investigate,” Mr. Xu said. What the article did not mention was that just over a year ago, Xu found himself disappeared when guards pulled him from his apartment early one morning in August 2009 before resurfacing in a Beijing jail where he was being held on the pretext of tax evasion charges. Earlier this year, I wrote about the experience of uncovering the news that he was missing for Foreign Policy in an article entitled “Raging Against the Machine”: Xu Zhiyong was watching the 2004 Democratic convention in a shared common area at a Columbia University dormitory when we first met. After just a …