Quick Links: Hamas Votes, Psiphon and State Power, Japan in Central Asia, John Woo on FISA, and Beer

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Today’s Quick Links
1. Hamas: Winning the Candidates, not Votes?

Via Chief Wiggum and Coming Anarchy, comes this interesting story:

A close look at the final results of last month’s Palestinian election shows that the apparent landslide that gave Hamas 74 of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council and only 45 to the once-dominant Fatah movement was, in the words of one analyst, “an optical illusion.”

Read more Here

2. Can “Psiphon” Beat China’s State Censorship?

Non-State actors continues to undermine state control over information:

[A] band of Internet volunteers headquartered in Cambridge has launched the Tor Project, which uses people’s spare Internet bandwidth to help others bypass the censors. And in Canada, computer scientists at the University of Toronto are working on a similar project, called Psiphon.

Anonymizer and Tor have attracted strong support from the US government. American military and intelligence services are major customers of Anonymizer, because it lets them scan foreign Internet sites without revealing their identities. The Voice of America, a broadcasting service sponsored by the US government, uses Anonymizer to help people in Iran tune in, despite their country’s efforts to block the signal.

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3. Forget Russia, China and Russia, there’s also Japan in Central Asia

From PINR (published by Asia Times):

Japan added a new dimension to its engagement with Central Asia with the formation of the Central Asia Plus Japan (including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan) initiative in August 2004. While low-key compared with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), Japan through the Central Asia Plus Japan initiative is likely to play an increasingly significant geopolitical role, not just in Central Asia but also in Eurasia. An important question is how Japan’s new regional initiative will impact the SCO, which is largely considered the de facto regional organization in Central Asia.

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4. John Yoo on FISA and the War on Terror

Interesting short interview by Foreign Policy:

While an attorney with the U.S. Justice Department after September 11, his legal memos helped lay the groundwork for what some see as the Bush administration’s constitutional power grabs—from the treatment of enemy prisoners to domestic wiretapping. FP recently asked Yoo, now a law professor at Berkeley, about amending FISA, ending the war on terror, and whether torture works.

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5. Refrigerator with Built-In Beer Tap!

Words cannot describe StrategyUnit’s Joy: