Chinese Authorities Seize Adopted Children

China recently conducted a census assuring people they could list children adopted or born without official approval under that nation’s |one-child policy| without fearing government sanction. Many people apparently took that at face value, only to have the government remove adopted children from their homes based on the census data.

The BBC reports that the Chinese Southern Weekend newspaper recently said that adopted children had been removed from at least 18 families in raids in the southern province of Fujian. Chinese authorities claimed that since the adoptions had not been officially registered with the state, they were illegal.

Ominously the Southern Weekend reported that only male children had been removed from families and placed with other families since, as the BBC put it, “nobody would want a female child.” The paper went on to suggest that the babies were removed to avoid embarrassment by authorities at the number of unregistered children.

According to the BBC, one of the many problems with the one-child policy is that it has encouraged rings of kidnappers who procure babies to sell to families who cannot get permission to have children.

Source:

Chinese officials seize adopted children. Duncan Hewitt, The BBC, February 12, 2001.

A Weekend of Animal Rights Violence in Great Britain

Animal rights terrorists in the United Kingdom went on a tear over the weekend as more letter bombs were discovered in an ongoing terrorist campaign in which animal rights activists are the leading suspects, while a mob of up to 1,000 animal rights activists trashed facilities owned by pharmaceutical companies in the UK.

On the letter bomb front, army bomb disposal experts were called on to disarm a letter bomb sent to an unnamed agricultural business and a farm. At least nine people have been injured during the letter bomb campaign which has been directed at animal enterprises including farms, restaurants, pet pest control companies, and pet suppliers over the past couple months.

Police again urged that any business in the UK associated with animals be extremely cautious opening mail and contact police if they find any suspicious packages.

Meanwhile, as many as 1,000 animal rights activists took part in well-planned assaults on facilities owned by GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer and three other pharmaceutical companies in Great Britain.

According to The Independent (London), protesters first met at a church parking lot in an action organized by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. At the parking lot the protesters were divided into a white and a yellow team and given detail instructions on routes to take to their targets as well as instructions on what to do once at the targets.

In all there were nine separate actions throughout the day. At a Bayer facility, activists stormed offices, smashed windows, destroyed machinery, and overturned cabinets and other office equipment shortly before 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Shortly after that, the activists targeted a factory owned by GlaxoSmithKline, smashing windows and damaging the building before participating in a sit down protest on the roads outside the company.

Police made more than 80 arrests of animal activists and were studying security camera tapes to identify other activists to arrest.

Protesters also surrounded the homes of several directors of pharmaceutical companies.

Chris Avery, SHAC spokesman, took credit for the violent assaults saying, “The protests were aimed at five different companies who are customers of Huntingdon Life Sciences and are paying for 500 animals to die every day.”

SHAC spokeswoman Heather James had a more ominous take on the day’s events saying, “We asked them if they were going to continue to use Huntingdon and they have refused to answer. They are being targeted now and will be targeted from now on. They certainly know they have been demonstrated against today. We’ve said we mean business and we do. People out there today were very, very angry. All those companies have underestimated how determined we are.”

GlaxoSmithKline issued a statement that the company “wholeheartedly condemns this violent action … which was clearly designed to disrupt work and terrorize employees.”

Police promise to track down and charge as many activists as possible. The main product of this day of mob action may be to strengthen Home Secretary Jack Straw’s call for more serious laws to curb animal rights extremists.

Sources:

Police vow to catch animal rights wreckers. Ananova, February 11, 2001.

Animal rights mobs invade drug companies Sally Pook, The Daily Telegraph, February 12, 2001.

Animal rights mobs synchronise attacks. Adrian Shaw, The Mirror, February 12, 2001.

Protesters held after 400 target Huntingdon. Paul Peachey, The Independent (London), February 12, 2001.

Pharmaceutical firms attacked. David Brown, The Guardian (London), February 12, 2001.

Protesters attack drugs groups’ premises. The Financial Times (London), February 12, 2001.

Firms ransacked during six-hour rampage as 87 are arrested; 1,000 animal rights activists in mass protest. Steve Hartley, The Express, February 12, 2001.

Animal rights mob of 1,000 on rampage. Ben Taylor and Gordon Rayner, Daily Mail (London), February 12, 2001.

Farming businesses on alert after letter bombs find. Paul Sims, Press Association, February 12, 2001.

Letter bomb defused by army experts. Paul Sims, Press Association, February 12, 2001.

Executive Order 9066

In case you haven’t heard by now, there’s a new book out claiming that a) IBM created a data collection system for Nazi Germany that specifically allowed it to track racial categories and b) IBM should have known (or did in fact known) that this system would be used in an effort to murder Jews and others “undesirables.” The law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll filed suit today in U.S. District Court seeking damages against IBM for its alleged collaboration with the Nazis.

The book has been seriously embargoed — even from Holocaust experts — so there’s no way at this point to assess how accurate the claims are. My question, however, is if this suit is valid then where does that leave Executive Order 9066?

The various stories about the Nazi/IBM connection act as if Nazi Germany was the only country at the time classifying people by race for possible later confinement in a concentration camp. In fact the United States was also busy engaged in such a practice and Franklin Roosevelt put America’s own racial profiling plan into effect by signing, in February 1942, Executive Order 9066 which ordered all Japanese Americans confined to concentration camps.

Despite the fact that a review carried out by the State Department reported that there was almost no chance of any serious organized rebellion by Japanese Americans, Roosevelt ordered the round-up of 93,000 residents of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens.

Rarely a man of principle, Roosevelt waited until after his re-election in 1944 to formally order the dismantling of the campus (Roosevelt was afraid that he might lose California if he ordered the campus abolished sooner). It would not be until March 21, 1946, however, that the last camp would formally close.

Estimates of the total income lost by Japanese citizens for the four year period of confinement is on the order of $6 to $7 billion. It is interesting that the lawsuit against IBM was filed in New York, because a lawsuit brought by survivors of the Japan failed completely. You can sue over German war crimes in U.S. courts but you can’t sue over U.S. war crimes because of a little thing called sovereign immunity — it doesn’t matter that the U.S. committed a crime, they’re the government and can’t be sued for such things.

Congress did take up the issue and George Bush signed a bill vacating the sentences of all victims of the internment who resisted it as well as giving a lump sum $20,000 pay out to each internee, which was a few billion short. Also that settlement did not apply to Japanese nationals living in Latin America who were shipped, on the orders of the United States, to the United States and held in the internment camps. The bill signed by Bush pretends those people simply didn’t exist, although there were more than 2,000 of them (the law only gives the pay out to Japanese nationals who became U.S. citizens by 1952.

Somebody had to create the lists of Japanese nationals and Japanese American citizens. Why not sue the people who knowingly created that list? Because for the most part the data necessary for the Japanese roundup was produced by the U.S. Census Bureau — the same Census Bureau, you might remember, who told Americans last year not to worry, that the data they provide for the Census is completely confidential.

In fact the Census department was so eager to aid in the internment of Japanese Americans that it didn’t even wait to be formally asked for such data. Just two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Census Bureau on its own initiative produced a report for the government, “Japanese Population of the United States, Its Territories and Possessions” followed by another report on December 10, 1941, giving block-by-block data on the location of Japanese living in California.

When will we see a lawsuit allowed in U.S. district court over that miscarriage of justice? Don’t hold your breath.

Google Changes

Jim Roepcke seems to have his finger on the pulse of the search engine world, finding these two stories which highlight important, very positive changes at Google:

Google Acquires Deja’s Usenet Discussion Service

Google Ventures into the Invisible Web: The Web’s First Large-Scale PDF Search

Adding the ability to quickly search through hundreds of millions of Usenet posts and PDF files should dramatically improve what was already the best search engine on the Internet. I especially like the Google’s willingness to show me a text version of a PDF file, though fear it Google may find itself in litigation over that feature (since I suspect it will be more objectionable to some content providers than the “cached version” of HTML pages that Google currently provides).

NASA to Webcast NEAR Landing on Eos

The Register and other news sources are reporting that NASA will webcast the landing of its Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)/ Shoemaker space probe onto the surface of the asteroid Eros today.

Eros is important, among other things. because it is one of about 200 known asteroids which is larger than 1 km and crosses the Earth’s orbit (at its maximum, for example, Eros is never more than 1.78 astronomical units away from the Sun. Mars, by contrast, is about 1.49 AUs from the Sun). Eros sometimes comes within 20 million kilometers of the Earth. If an asteroid such as Eros ever struck the Earth, the impact would release energy equivalent to 240 billion Hiroshima bombs and likely obliterate almost all life on Earth.

The NEAR/Shoemaker probe is a much better use of federal funding for spacecraft. It cost only about a tenth as much as putting a single module on the International Space Station — coming in at about $220 million for construction and launch costs — and will probably yield a lot more information than the ISS. The NEAR probe has been circling Eros for the last year providing a very detailed surface map of the asteroid and collected other data that will help provide more definitive answers to scientific speculation about asteroids.

NASA needs to focus more on truly relevant missions such as the Eros probe rather than simply dreaming up new and expensive missions for the shuttle (which has proven to be a complete boondoggle).

Launching Your Tax Dollars Into Space

CNN describes the “successful” completion of the Space Shuttle’s latest mission. Lets see, they spent roughly $600 million to launch the shuttle to install a $1.4 billion(!) module onto the International Space Station. That’s $2 billion for a 15 ton lab which is an insane price.

It’s sad to think about how much more we could be learning about space or get closer to a manned Mars mission with this money rather than wasting it all on this pork barrel ISS which often seems like it is nothing more than a public works project to justify the huge amount of money necessary to maintain and launch the Space Shuttle.