“Minority Report” flashback

I am getting one of those uneasy flashbacks, this time to a movie I saw ages ago, called “Minority Report“.

“In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.”

We are really getting the preview of that now in the wake of the shootings in American schools. Some software company claims that their software can alert the schools to future crimes by monitoring students’ social network posts.

Yeah, I know, how stupid would you be to post stuff to your social network when you know there is a program monitoring you. But that aside, we are actually looking at the situation so vividly depicted in the “Minority Report”.

Should this kind of monitoring be welcomed, the students will receive punishments before they actually commit any misdeeds. Okay, that may prevent some of the crimes from happening but are you willing to bet your life that the students would actually commit them if they were left alone? We do not have the presumption of innocence for nothing. Employing the “punishment before crime” system changes that presumption into “presumed to commit crime even though actually didn’t and never will”.

That just does not work in my book. Parents must watch over their children and must bring them up as stable and responsible human beings. When parents fail, we must not give in to the temptation of technology. Remember that those who are willing to sacrifice their freedom for their safety deserve neither.

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What awaits Ukraine – an interview with Rostislav Ishchenko

Rostislav Ishchenko, the president of the Center for Systems Analysis and Forecasting, gave an interview to “Prague Telegraph”.

Question 1: In response to recent events in Ukraine how probable is an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Russia and NATO?

Answer: The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will be possible only if the regime in Kiev directly attacks Russian territory (most likely in the Crimea peninsula). If such an attack will not take place, the conflict will further develop in the format of the Civil War, with a gradual and accelerating move of the front line to the West.

As for a conflict between Russia and NATO, the probability is extremely low. Even if the individual contingents of NATO will be present on the Ukrainian territory, and even if Russia will have to officially send own forces to neutralize their troops (which is unlikely, since the militias are able to solve this problem by themselves), it’s just going to be the destruction of the individual armed contingents of individual countries. But this does not mean that NATO will take over the responsibility for the conflict. That is because the recognition of NATO (and thus the United States) itself in a state of armed conflict with Russia leads to an almost inevitable nuclear standoff. USA is ready for a war between Russia and Europe, but the United States is not ready to place their own cities under a threat of a nuclear attack.

Question 2: In what direction is the situation developing in Ukraine? How long will we have to wait for a win / loss of one of the parties?

Answer: Resources of the Ukrainian state are extremely limited. On the other hand the Western world does not have the resources to maintain Ukraine either. Therefore, it seems to me, the active (military) phase of the conflict is to end by the late winter, tentatively by January 2015. And Kiev must be defeated because if Kiev suddenly defeats Donbass, then the United States will face the question of what to do with this “suitcase without a handle” and where to get the resources to maintain it? Kiev’s defeat in the Civil War absolves America of all responsibility. In Washington, they will announce that it is all Putin’s fault. But if Kiev wins and then collapses under the weight of economic problems, the blame will be squarely on Washington, who would appear too greedy to rescue an ally.… -->

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Human Rights Watch confirms use of unconventional weapons by Ukrainian Army

Officials in Kiev and the press office of the Ukrainian National Guard deny use of “Grad” multiple rocket launcher systems and other unconventional weapons in the war in Donetsk and Luhansk, but the results of field research by Human Rights Watch provide a different picture of Ukrainian government forces’ attacks between 12 and 21 July.

The above map was provided by Human Rights Watch, which conducted field research in Donetsk. It should be noted that HRW, with headquarters in the United States, has never been seen to show any loyalty to Russia or Novorossia at all.

Four artillery attacks, documented by Human Rights Watch took place in close proximity to the front lines of government forces and militias. Craters in the ground and damage to buildings, inspected by Human Rights Watch, have characteristic features of rockets, different from the effects of conventional artillery. In all four cases, the angle and shape of craters, as well as damage to the walls of the buildings convincingly point out that the fire was from the government army or pro-government forces side.

The proximity of damage to the front line also makes unlikely, in some cases eliminates altogether, the possibility of shelling by militias. In two cases, both rockets hit areas that included both residential areas and locations of strongholds or roadblocks of militias, which further indicates the attacks by government forces.

July 21: three civilians were killed when missiles hit a residential area near the railway station in Donetsk. Because of the ongoing attack, Human Rights Watch was unable to confirm the victims, but during the whole day they heard sound characteristic of “Grad” volleys.

July 19: at least five rockets exploded in residential areas in the Kuibyshev region in the western part of Donetsk – at least four civilians were wounded.

July 12: Human Rights Watch documented numerous rockets hit residential areas in Petrovsky district on the western outskirts of Donetsk – killed at least seven civilians.

July 12: as a result of multiple hits by rockets on residential areas in the suburban village of Marinka, adjacent to the Petrovsky district, at least six civilians killed.

Human Rights Watch was able to identify the ammunition used as a 122-mm unguided rocket systems “Grad”, a volley can contain up to 40 rockets.… -->

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