"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Teh Politix

Frankly it's a bummer out there. American politics is stuck in a quagmire. This is why I trust Stoller as a proxy.

In the past year, nothing seemed more vital than this:

bq.. Internet geeks share a common style, and Ko Latt and his four friends would not be out of place in cyber cafés across the world. They have the skinny arms and the long hair, the dark T-shirts and the jokey nicknames. But few such figures have ever taken the risks that they have in the past few weeks, or achieved so much in a noble and dangerous cause.

Since last month Ko Latt, 28, his friends Arca, Eye, Sun and Superman, and scores of others like them have been the third pillar of Burma’s Saffron Revolution. While the veteran democracy activists, and then the Buddhist monks, marched in their tens of thousands against the military regime, it is the country’s amateur bloggers and internet enthusiasts who have brought the images to the outside world.

Armed with small digital cameras, they have documented the spectacular growth of the demonstrations from crowds of a few hundred to as many as 100,000. On weblogs they have recorded in words and pictures the regime’s bloody crackdown, in a city where only a handful of foreign journalists work undercover. With downloaded software, they have dodged and weaved around the regime’s increasingly desperate attempts to thwart their work. Now the bloggers, too, have been crushed. Having failed to stop the cyber-dissidents broadcasting to the world, the authorities have simply switched off the internet.

Now Ko Latt and his blogging comrades have abandoned their keyboards and gone underground, sleeping in a different place every night, watching and waiting to see if the democracy movement has been truly crushed or is simply on hold. “When things were hot on the streets, we were not the main worry,” Ko Latt says. “But as the situation cools down, they will follow us. They know who we are, they know we are bloggers, and I am afraid.”

p. By the way, american technology companies are complicit in the persecution of these kids. The junta has already shown its willingness to kill monks. I don't think they'll spare the geeks either. Tragedy.


just curious

Cisco is the biggest networking hardware provider, regionally, and Nortel has also done a lot of work over there. They built "the great firewall of China" and considering that Burma is China's little buddy it stands to reason that they're involved there as well.

In terms of external sites, Yahoo, MSN, and Google (to name the big three) all have policies of cooperating with the local authorities in whatever legal framework they have going, including to track down individual users of their services (e.g. people posting "undesirable" things on the internet). This has been true in China, but also Singapore and a few other countries.