Sorry blogging has been light/non-existent lately. With the wedding it’s been crazy. And now we looked at a house and are dealing with contracts and realtors and lenders and gah! I really like the house and hope they accept our offer. It’s got an acre of backyard, backs onto a seven acre preserve to the south, and to the west is a few hundred feet of heavily wooded ravine and hill, so it’s like being in the country, yet it’s 10 miles from downtown Dallas.
FBI to Wikipedia: Remove our seal:
“The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has threatened Wikipedia with legal action if the online encyclopedia doesn’t remove the FBI’s seal from its site.
The seal is featured in an encyclopedia entry about the FBI.
Wikipedia isn’t backing down, however. The online encyclopedia — which is run by a nonprofit group and is edited by the public — sent a chiding letter to the FBI, explaining why, in its view, the FBI is off its legal rocker.
“In short, then, we are compelled as a matter of law and principle to deny your demand for removal of the FBI Seal from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons,” the Wikimedia Foundation’s general counsel, Mike Godwin, wrote in a letter to the FBI, which was posted online by the New York Times.
“We are in contact with outside counsel in this matter, and we are prepared to argue our view in court.”
The whimsically written letter from Wikipedia says the FBI’s reading of relevant law is both “idiosyncratic” and “more importantly, incorrect.” It also notes that the FBI’s seal appears on other websites, including in an online entry from Encyclopedia Britannica.
In a letter dated July 22, and also posted online by the Times, the FBI told Wikipedia it must remove the bureau’s seal because the FBI had not approved use of the image.
“The FBI has not authorized use of the FBI seal on Wikipedia,” the letter says. “The inclusion of a high quality graphic of the FBI seal on Wikipedia is particularly problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting” copying and reprinting of the seal’s image.
The FBI’s deputy general counsel, David Larson, cities a particular law that says duplicating an official “insignia” is illegal without permission.
But Wikipedia strikes back on that point, saying the FBI redacted the most important part of that U.S. code, which defines an insignia as “any badge, identification card, or other insignia.”
“Badges and identification cards are physical manifestations that may be used by a possessor to invoke the authority of the federal government. An encyclopedia article is not,” Wikipedia’s letter says. “The use of the image on Wikipedia is not for the purpose of deception or falsely to represent anyone as an agent of the federal government.”
The Wikipedia letter also adds:
“Even if it could be proved that someone, somewhere, found a way to use a Wikipedia article illustration to facilitate a fraudulent representation, that would not render the illustration itself unlawful under the statute.”
It’s unclear if this tussle — which has already made its way into a Wikipedia entry on the FBI’s seal — will be taken to court. For now, the tech press is weighing in, often with amazement.
On the blog BoingBoing, Rob Beschizza writes that this is a no-win situation for the FBI.
“The part that’s hard to understand is why the FBI would seek to abuse the law in such petulant fashion,” he writes, “knowing that it will be subject to public ridicule for its actions.”
The magazine Vanity Fair posted the FBI’s seal on its website in a symbol of jest. And, as the blog Geekosystem says, an editor on the site aggregator Reddit jokes that maybe the FBI got Wikipedia confused with WikiLeaks — the site that’s been causing a stir lately over leaked war documents.
Cindy Cohn, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the New York Times, which first reported this story, that she found the whole ordeal to be “silly” and “troubling.””
Wonder if I’ll get a notice now?
Sudan’s ‘Arrow Boys’ Lash Out At Vicious Militants
“Since being displaced from Uganda four years ago, a vicious group of militants — known as the Lord’s Resistance Army — has pillaged, murdered and raped its way through the remote forests of Central Africa and southern Sudan.
A new bill in Congress calls on the United States to come up with a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the cult-like group’s leader, Joseph Kony, and helping bring an end to the horrific violence. But civilians continue to suffer. Tired of waiting for help, many villagers in South Sudan are trying to fight back.
To protect themselves, residents of Western Equatoria state have formed self-defense forces in dozens of villages. The ad hoc commandos call themselves “Arrow Boys” after their most popular weapon — arrows dipped in poison.
The Conflict’s Toll
In Yambio, the small capital of Western Equatoria, the wailing starts when Land Cruisers appear at the end of a red dirt lane.
The first vehicle is full of soldiers bristling with AK-47s. The next car holds the bodies of a star education minister and his driver. The cars inch into a packed courtyard between low concrete houses, as a sobbing crowd presses up against the windows.
After decades of civil war, mourners like John Ngong are used to death. But for the many people gathered here, it is how the men died that disturbs them most: Ambushed while driving north to their home village of Tambura, the men were shot, hacked and burned to death by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
“Even if they kill somebody, they say they want to crush all the heads,” Ngong says. “Most of our people are being killed like dogs. … We are praying [to] God that the world can look into our problem and see what they can do for us.”
But it is unclear how closely the world is looking into this problem. The LRA, which was born in Uganda 20 years ago, has spent the past four years ravaging the forest communities of Central Africa. The United Nations says they have killed thousands and displaced nearly 100,000 in South Sudan alone.
Although pursued by the Ugandan army, LRA’s fighters continue to target civilians.
In a crowded hospital, Tereza Polino lies with her arm in a cast, cinder holes in her only dress. The wiry widow was wounded in an attack near Tambura, a one-street town north of Yambio, where the forest meets the savanna.
A few days earlier, Polino says, a large group of dreadlocked, bearded LRA fighters had come to her home.
“They were smelling like animals,” she says. “They entered into my room, and they started collecting my clothes. Then, that time I attacked the person … then he took off the stick from me and beat my hand with it. … I fell down. He burnt my house.”
Like Polino, Arrow Boys are also fighting back.
The commander of the Arrow Boys in Tambura is a mild-mannered trader. An unlikely warrior, Michael Baiku sits in front of his brother’s trading posts, selling packets of crackers, Chinese underwear, soap and soft drinks.
It’s Sunday afternoon and everyone has had a couple of beers. It’s doesn’t feel like the town is under siege. But the Arrow Boys’ commander says it is.
“If we don’t patrol here … those people will come and enter the town,” Baiku says.
Later, Baiku and a sidekick take motorcycles 30 minutes outside of town, finally pulling up under a tree where a group of 50 Arrow Boys wait in the dusk. They have just returned from tracking a small band of LRA. Young and old, they carry spears, handmade guns forged over charcoal fires, the odd AK-47, and bow and arrows. Their leader, a thin farmer named Charles, has a bow and sports an extra-large neon orange T-shirt.
No one defends us, he says, not even the South Sudan army.
“Nobody followed up … looked after the dead people. And then that is why we formed our group,” Charles says. “Meanwhile, the LRA are killing us, so far better we can try to fight with them.”
A Wary Government
Arrow Boys are proud of their efforts. But the government isn’t as comfortable with locals taking matters into their own hands.
“At one stage, you feel like strengthening them by giving them more arms and ammo … but again you are cautious because they are not military people. They may end up shooting each other, or they may end up going to an ambush of an organized force, who will just shoot all of them or shoot most of them,” says Alfred Ngbakogbe, the state’s secretary-general.
And regardless of the Arrow Boys’ efforts, the LRA continues to kill — and families continue to flee. More than 15,000 people have been displaced in these recent attacks.
Today, Polino’s village is empty. The bustle of village life has been replaced by bird song. Many of the circular huts are reduced to ashes. Melted shoes, charred flashlights, pots of burnt maize are scattered on the ground.
On the outskirts of Tambura, Polino’s community surrounds a relief truck delivering shelters and blankets. Arrow Boys secure the area while babies cry and mothers wait patiently — displaced by a meaningless conflict, only miles from their home.“