The establishment of a modern secular Turkey nearly a hundred years ago marked an important turning point in the history of Middle Eastern Islamic practices. The Turkish constitution made clear that no party which endeavored to establish religious doctrine as the basis of Turkish law was to be allowed to exist. Turkey’s Constitutional Court is presently hearing charges levied by the Public Prosecutor to close down the Justice and Development Party(AKK) on grounds it has violated the constitution by its pro-religious efforts. Yush Kanli, writing in the Turkish Daily News who regards himself as a believer in secularism expressed his opposition to the effort to close down the AKP. “Some have gone to the extent of accusing me of ‘betraying the secular democratic Republic.”
He writes with passion, “Self-catering democrats, self-catering secularists, self-caterng supporters of individual rights and liberties may not of course comprehend the need to demand justice for all, equality of all in the need to demand justice for all, equality of all in front of justice, to oppose all anti-democratic moves without discrimination and e ven to be able to say, ‘if in principle I am against closure of political parties by a military junta or by by the Constitutional Court, I am against–in principles- the closure of the AKP as well through like many people I have very strong doubts that the ruling party has an agenda incompatible with the secular democratic Republic.”
Kanli raises the important issue of respecting the right of free speech of those you believe may well seek to destroy free speech. He believes the AKP is aware of past history in which other Islamist parties were closed down and will be careful to avoid angering secularist institutions such as the Army and the Constitutional Court. We hope he is correct and agree with his views on democracy for all viewpoints.
China’s booming Internet population has defied attempts by its government to exert control and continues growing at the fastest rate of any nation in the world. There are currently 253,000,000 Chinese on the Internet compared to 223.1 million Americans. The Chinese figure represents a 56% increase from a year ago. This means approximately 19% of the Chinese population is online compared to 71% in the United States. It represents the first time another nation has soared ahead of the United States in access to the Internet. Of course, one dramatic difference is the extent of government interference with use of the Internet by Chinese authorities. Beijing blocks access to Web sites run by dissidents, human rights groups, and some foreign news media. For example, the Chinese population was blocked from seeing pictures or stories concerning Tibetan protests several months ago.
The research firm BOA China, says China’s online population should keep growing by 18% annually and will reach about 490 million by 2012, a number that exceeds the population of the United States. The bad news is continued Chinese government efforts to suppress dissident voices on the Internet. The good news is this spurt in Internet membership offers possibilities the creative ingenuity of those on Internet may one day surpass the ability of any government to suppress the voices of freedom.
Three officers who work with missiles at the 91st Space Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, fell asleep while holding a classified “code component” — a hardware dev ice containing the codes needed to activate the control system for Minot’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. The device, kept in a locked case, installs the codes that allow the missile launch control center to command the ICBMs in the missile silos. One piece of hardware is installed and the old one is removed, somewhat akin to changing hard drives in a computer. Four officers had completed the process of changes the codes for the system underground in the launch control center and returned upside to the large living center which contains a kitchen and bedrooms. Like Goldilocks, they went to some beds and fell sound asleep.
Last August, airmen of Minot’s 5th bomb Wing mistakenly loaded six nuclear warheads onto a B-52 which then flew to Barksdale, Louisiana. The bomber sat on the runway for about 12 hours before someone noticed the error.
The incident of sleeping officers, in itself, may not be anything more than three tired men who lay down for a nap and forgot to take necessary precautions. But, the rash of such incidents raises questions about oversight on our nuclear program.