Archives for August 2008

China Detentions Update

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Chris Vallance | 13:29 UK time, Monday, 25 August 2008

This email arrived Sunday, regarding the detention of Alive in Baghdad's Brian Conley in China .

"We just got word that Brian and friends are on a plane to Los Angeles, arriving Monday morning. He was released with 7 other US citizen detainees[...]

They have been released 6 days early, largely (we believe) because of political pressure and media attention that forced the US Embassy to take action."

Also today we learn that UK Tibet protestor Mandy McKeown has been deported home. Background to her detention here

CPB: Brian Conley Arrested

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Chris Vallance | 10:23 UK time, Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Committee to Protect Bloggers reports that Brian Conley of Alive in Baghdad and four other bloggers, have been arrested in Beijing. More here

UPDATE: Iraqi blogger Chikitita sends the following email from the campaign in support of Brian, it includes this statement from Brian's wife, part of which I've excerpted below:

Statement from Eowyn Rieke: My husband, Brian Conley, has dedicated his life to helping oppressed people communicate their struggles to the world. Since 2004 he has worked on the video blog Alive in Baghdad which produces and distributes weekly video segments about daily life in Iraq and the impact of the war.

Brian went to China to document pro-Tibet protests taking place concurrent with the Olympics. He was not participating in political actions, only documenting them as any journalist would. On August 19, 2008, he was arrested by Chinese authorities for this work, along with 5 others working with Students for a Free Tibet, Jeff Rae (who also works with Alive in Baghdad), James Powderly, Jeff Goldin, Michael Liss, and Tom Grant. Under China's repressive government it is illegal to record expressions of free speech and work as a journalist without state supervision.

South Ossetia Feeds Translated

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Chris Vallance | 12:45 UK time, Monday, 11 August 2008

Following Graham's post about translating RSS feeds, I've put a few searches of key terms Graham identified through the Social Media News Tacker I built in Pipes and fed the resulting feeds into Moolvi's tanslation system. A reminder that the BBC isn't responsible for the content of external sites (particularly random forum and livejournal postings). Click at your own risk.

The searches thow up some interesting, if very much unverified results.

There's further information about the cyberconflict running parallel to the actual conflict, at Computer World. In that article a security expert wisely points out, "Use caution with any Web sites that appear of a Georgia official source but are without any recent news [such as those dated Saturday, Aug. 9, or Sunday, Aug. 10], as these may be fraudulent"

South Ossetia in social media

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Chris Vallance | 01:10 UK time, Saturday, 9 August 2008

Solana Larsen of Global Voices emails to highlight their extensive coverage of the conflict in South Ossetia. If you are looking for background there's a good roundup at American Footprints

There's clearly a lot of discussion of the issue taking place online in languages other than English. Relying on robotic translation is always dangerous, but Google translate throws up some interesting results. Would be good to have a human linguist explore them further (note in comments anyone?)

If you've seen other blog coverage of events please do leave a note in comments or email and I'll forward it to the Up All Night team

UPDATE: Extensive coverage over at Civil Georgia is a daily news online service devoted to delivering quality news and analysis about Georgia. Civil.Ge is run by The UN Association of Georgia, a Georgian non-governmental organization, in frames of 'National Integration and Tolerance in Georgia' Program financed by USAID.

UPDATE II This post on Wired's Danger Room is provoking significant reaction (not all positive)

UPDATE III The Frontline Club blog has some helpful suggestions in this regard - though it's worth noting there are more languages than just Russian involved here.

Miss Wagstaff considered

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Chris Vallance | 17:14 UK time, Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Matt Wardman, often heard on the Britblog Roundup on Pods and Blogs, has been on BBC Radio Wales talking about Miss Wagstaff and a Welsh Facebook controversy. It's well worth a listen.

Podcast Notes: Detained Doctors, Radiohead and Pro-Gamers

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Chris Vallance | 15:46 UK time, Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Back after a short absence, this will be the last Pods and Blogs for around six weeks as we make way for races of the Olympic and US political kind.

This week the programme featured:

If you have a suggestion for next week's programme please email podsandblogs [at]

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Interruptions to Pods and Blogs

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Chris Vallance | 12:30 UK time, Monday, 4 August 2008

Pods and blogs is back this Tuesday (tonight), after a break but I'm afraid after that we'll be interrupted by the Olympics and US politics till mid September.

And apologies for the break over the past two weeks - I took some leave at short notice to deal with a bereavement in the family.

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