Links to Start Your Week 12/22/13

Economy

A movement to give every citizen a basic guaranteed income in Europe is gaining traction. Readers may recall I wrote about the Guaranteed Basic Income several months ago. The obvious lesson here is that policy makers around the world should follow my blog and take my suggestions. And maybe get crazy and pay me.

Security

The way drones kill their targets is not actually that much different form other forms of warfare. So why has there been so much attention focused on them in particular? Part of it might be that “drones ensure a perhaps unique climate of fear.”

An FBI agent made an internal manual on agency interrogation guidelines available to the Library of Congress, where anyone with a library card can read it. Meanwhile, the ACLU had been trying for years to get the FBI to release a copy of the manual. Neither party was aware that it was already available for public consumption.

Middle East

In an echo of the unfortunate trend around the world, Israel basically criminalizes refugees and asylum seekers, keeping them in prison camps that even the government’s own legal advisor recognizes as illegal.

Meanwhile, revelations of U.S. programs spying on Israel have prompted a renewed focus on the case of an Israeli-American in a U.S. prison for spying on the U.S. for Israel.

Africa

South Sudan, the world’s newest state, is close to the verge of a civil war, but mediators from around the continent still hope to avert more violence. Some of the conflict centers over control of the country’s major oil fields.

In Malawi and other parts of Africa, the rise of Pentecostalism (an evangelical form of Protestant Christianity,) is linked to witch-hunts and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

A South African newspaper, The Daily Maverick, provides two versions of 2013 in review: one for optimists and one for pessimists. It’s a good summary of some of the biggest stories in Africa this year, I think.

Russia

Vladimir Putin pardoned oil tycoon and former political opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky. However, Khodorkovsky says he was basically forced to leave the country when he was freed from prison. The imprisoned members of the band Pussy Riot will also reportedly be released.

Asia

This is a really interesting profile of a little-known region of Pakistan, near the border with China, called Gilgit-Baltistan. It’s a little long, but I think worth the read. (If you are super interested in that region, and some of the other states nearby, I would recommend the book Silk Road to Ruin, which gives you both historical perspective and insight into the current political situation.)

Europe

Ukraine’s opposition calls for continued protests and is working to establish a political bloc of opposition parties.

Latin America

Covert CIA and NSA programs helped the Colombian government kill at least 24 leaders of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC,) the nation’s biggest guerrilla group. The program started in the early 2000s under Bush and continued under Obama. The FARC has been involved in drug trafficking, and these revelations are just another instance of how some of the tools and intelligence activities developed for the War on Terror have crept into use in the War on Drugs.

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