State Department

Human Rights in ChinaChris Buckley reports for Reuters:

The United States is beset by violence, racism and torture and has no authority to condemn other governments’ human rights problems, China said on Sunday, countering U.S. criticism of Beijing’s crackdown.

The row between Beijing and Washington over human rights has intensified since China’s ruling Communist Party extended its clampdown on dissidents and rights activists, a move which has sparked an outcry from Washington and other Western governments.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is the most prominent of the activists to be detained by police or held in secretive custody in the latest crackdown.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday she was “deeply concerned” about it, and cited “negative trends” including Ai’s detention.

Assange has only released around 2,000 of the U.S. embassy cables WikiLeaks obtained but now a Norwegian paper is claiming access to the 250,000 cable motherload. If this is true, prepare for…

Richard HolbrookeJason Ditz writes on

Family members are reporting that the late Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan who died yesterday following heart surgery, gave as his last words “you’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”

The dying words stand in stark contrast to Holbrooke’s living words, which were almost uniformly supportive of President Obama’s repeated escalations of the Afghan War. They’re also a major inconvenience to the president at a time when he’s trying to spin the ever worsening war as a runaway success.

Indeed, President Obama has already released a statement praising Holbrooke and saying he deserves much of the credit for the “progress” in the disastrous conflict, and reiterated that “he understood” how important the war is. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement on Holbrooke, and it too centered on how important the escalation of the war was.

A Jester?Sounds like a comic book villain. Richard Allen Greene & Nicola Hughes report for CNN:

A computer hacker who calls himself “The Jester” claimed responsibility for the cyber attack which took down the WikiLeaks site Sunday, shortly before it started posting hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables.

The Jester, who describes himself as a “hacktivist for good,” said he took the controversial site down “for attempting to endanger the lives of our troops, ‘other assets’ & foreign relations.”

He normally attacks Islamist websites, announcing “TANGO DOWN” on his Twitter account when claiming to have attacked a site. “Tango Down” is Special Forces jargon for having eliminated a terrorist.

The Jester describes himself as “an ex-soldier with a rather famous unit, country purposely not specified.”

“I was involved with supporting Special Forces, I have served in (and around) Afghanistan amongst other places,” he told the website early this year.