The passing scene: Links & comment 8/14/13

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets by Peter Maass of the New York Times.  Hat tip to Daniel Brandt.

The documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was the key figure in bringing Edward Snowden’s information before the public.  Glenn Greenwald is brave enough, but she was the one with the skills to evade the surveillance state.  She is like the heroine of some dystopian science fiction novel about a totalitarian state of the future.  This well-written, informative article is worth reading in its entirety.

Bandar Bush, ‘liberator of Syria’ by Pepe Escobar of Asia Times.

Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who at one time was so close to the Bush family that George W. Bush nicknamed him “Bandar Bush,” flew to Moscow to offer to buy huge amounts of Russian weapons if the Russian government would withdraw its support for the Assad regime in Syria.  As Pepe Escobar noted, this will never happen.  Vladimir Putin would never tolerate Syria being taken over by radical jihadists, whose next target undoubtedly would be Chechnia, less than 600 miles away.

Hague war crimes ruling threatens to undermine future prosecutions by Owen Bowcott of The Guardian.  Hat tip to Jack C.

Three Serbian generals were acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia because they did not give orders for the atrocities committed by troops under their command.

Buddhism’s ‘lords’ must be challenged by Sanitsuda Ekachai of the Bangkok Post.

An editorial writer said that the Theravada Buddhist clergy are governed by an autocratic system that tolerates corruption and misconduct but not dissent and reform.  Accountability is needed, she wrote; one starting point would be for Thais to only contribute to temples with transparent accounting systems.

Judge Says That Baby ‘Messiah’ Will Have to Change His Name Because He’s Not Jesus Christ by Hemant Mehta on Patheos.

I was surprised to learn that “Messiah” is one of the 1.000 most common first names for newborn male babies in the United States.  The Tennessee judge is out of line, but perhaps the parents could settle for naming their baby “Senator,” “Colonel,” “Professor” or “Doctor”.

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