Chinese lawyer Xu Zhiyong, who is known for his work in defending migrant workers, has been detained by Chinese authorities, shaking up the country’s “nascent legal rights movement,” according to The New York Times. Lawyers who push for change in China have long put themselves at risk, but nevertheless the legal movement, despite its pitfalls, seemed like the most promising way to secure rights for Chinese citizens and to bring their country closer to democracy -- or at least this was the argument that American lawyers made.
It is still not clear what we are doing in Afghanistan, or why we are there, or what we hope to achieve, as shown by the fact that President Obama still does not have a credible way of measuring success in that country and that a review of the metrics is now underway, as The New York Timesreports.
Americans may have been surprised by the war between Russia and Georgia, which unfolded a year ago this week, but there were early signs of trouble. In fact, the decisions that led to the war date back to 1999, wroteQuentin Peel in the Financial Times today, citing the work of Andrei Illarionov, a former economic adviser to Putin.
A recent Supreme Court filing from Obama's lawyers included a section about the state-secrets privilege, arguing that it was rooted in the Constitution in much the same way that Bush-era lawyers had once done. The passage was not an important part of the filing itself, but it reflected the position of Obama administration lawyers and was troubling for many liberals. “On the campaign trail and in more recent statements, President Obama has indicated that he wants to limit the use of the state secrets privilege,” wroteAdam Liptak in today’s New York Times. In courtrooms, however, there has been little evidence of a new approach.” Liberals have a right to be concerned.
The body of Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher has been discovered in a grave in a remote part of Anbar province, the area where his jet went down in January 1991 at the onset of the Persian Gulf War. The story of his disappearance and the nearly two-decades long search for him captures the enduring myth of conspiracy and cover-up in this country, keeping false hope alive about his fate and -- in this case -- apparently serving the interest of a military eager to stoke enthusiasm for the second Iraq war.
In late 2002, military officials announced that Speicher, who had been listed as a fatality in 1991, was actually “missing / captured.”