Just Google it

You, like me, probably think Google Earth is pretty impressive. Along with Google Map (and quite a few other G products it has to be said!) I think the search tools are nothing short of amazing. (I especially like the hybrid map view, where you get both geography and overlays of key roads).

 

Seems that Palestinian militants like the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Islamic Jihad are fans too. The Guardian has a startling front-page story about how these groups are using Google Earth to help pinpoint military and other targets in Israel.

Google is saying that it takes all necessary security precautions and that anyway a lot of their image information is already commercially available. Sounds like a fair point. What remains true, though, is that the people firing Qassam rockets are using often out-of-date info (Google Earth only updates periodically) and their missiles are themselves unguided and woefully inaccurate. (The Guardian has what they claim is exclusive video footage of the rockets being fired: see their site).

Anyway, put all this together and youve got indiscriminate attacks (war crimes in other words) where civilians are inevitably going to get killed.

Talking of indiscriminate measures. On the other side theres also a new threat from Israel to cut off electricity for whole sections of Gazas 1.4-million population in response to the rocket attacks. "We will dramatically reduce the flow of electricity from Israel over several weeks, Israels deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai is quoted saying. Mr Vilnai doesnt seem to have heard that two wrongs dont make a right. Retaliating to indiscriminate attacks with er, indiscriminate attacks is pretty poor logic.

As we were saying only yesterday in the blog, the vicious in-fighting between rival Hamas and Fatah supporters in the separate territories of Gaza and the West Bank has already become scarred by human rights abuses. Adding more economic suffering for hundreds of thousands of innocent people isnt going to make the situation better. Heck, it might even make it worse.

Bizarre news from the States: CBS is planning a new reality tv show called "Kid Detention." Evidently its a boot camp thing recreating wait for it . Guantanamo Bay. And its apparently going to be set in, yes, youre ahead of me, Guantanamo Bay (presumably in Cuba, but not in the actual military base). The shows slogan: "One detention camp. Forty kids. No lawyers." Check out some of the early US comment here, here and here.

Staying with tv, Channel 4s Britz is getting a lot of advance publicity. A topic like the effect of British anti-terrorism laws on Muslim Britons is ripe for television dramatisation and were definitely going to be checking it out here in the office. Its good to hear that the director Peter Kosminisky used Amnesty info as part of his research. More on this when weve seen the programme.

Finally, breaking news just coming in: Fat squirrel gets stuck in bird-feeder. Too many nuts apparently. Obese children, overweight adults, stocky squirrels. Whats happening to our great and once lean country? I dont know Im afraid.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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