Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Argument settled

My previous post discussed the role of social media in political uprisings. Thanks for your comments, by the way.

This photograph of Tunisians protesting outside the USA Saudi Arabian embassy very neatly highlights the positive role of new media, specifically Facebook - clearly Tunisians have been using the service to pass around information: probably the Wikileaks cables in which American diplomats assessed the scale of President Ben Ali's corruption. The demonstrators clearly think that all the other local dictators are vulnerable to the free flow of information.

Ironically, of course, Saudi Arabia is one of the worst human rights-abusing dictatorships in the world -- but it does control a lot of oil and buys a lot of American and British weaponry, so let's not dwell on it.

Unless this is a Facebook marketing stunt, of course.

Other states are looking foolish too. I particularly enjoyed this Wikileaks spat, on the illegal kidnapping of terror suspects for torture:

"The Turkish government and state never played a part [in the secret transfers] ... and never will."
Leaked American document:
"The Turkish military had allowed us to use Incirlik as a refuelling stop for Operation Fundamental Justice detainee movement operations since 2002, but revoked this permission in February of this year. We understand OSD [office of the secretary of defence] and JCS [joint chiefs of staff] have been discussing whether to approach Turkey to seek to reverse this decision"

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