Posted by Rick Stine
on March 22, 2010
Hugo Chavez will be happy to know that for a price, the following url is available: www.totalitarian.com.
The Venezuelan president announced during his Sunday TV program that he plans to create his own blog so that he can communicate with the world. He plans to respond to questions from both supporters and critics. “I’m going to have my own battle trench on the Internet,” he declared.
So, is this akin to “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?” Chavez recently suggested his government would look for ways to control the Internet after charging that anyone who criticized him by using Twitter, the Internet or even text messaging was engaging in “terrorism.”
No start date was announced for the blog.
My colleagues report that some or all of the four Rio Tinto employees on trial in China for alleged bribery said they accepted payments of one sort or another. Given the lack of clarity and transparency in the process – which began with their detentions last summer – it’s impossible to know whether the defendants are acting voluntarily or under duress. Also, we don’t know what has happened to the alleged bribers – the employees of Chinese steel mills who offered the alleged bribes to the Rio Four. Are they getting away with alleged crimes? Have they been secretly detained, tried and punished? Why is it we know about the people who allegedly accepted bribes but not those who paid them, and whose enterprises allegedly benefited? You may recall that the saga began last July when China imprisoned the Rio employees – one Australian citizen and four Chinese nationals – on allegations they stole national secrets. Later, Beijing decided it was a routine criminal matter. Even as the closed trial began today in Shanghai, Rio Tinto’s CEO Tom Albanese was shaking hands with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.