WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits down with Cornel West at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to talk about his latest text, Cypherpunks. (via smileyandwest)
Apr. 26, 1802: Napoleon Bonaparte signs a general amnesty to allow all but about one thousand of the most notorious émigrés of the French Revolution to return to France, as part of a reconciliary gesture with the factions of the Ancien Regime and to eventually consolidate his own rule. (wiki)
Apr. 26, 1865: Discovered hiding in a farmer’s tobacco shed, John Wilkes Booth is shot in the neck by a complete lunatic. Dying and paralyzed from the neck down, he whispers: “Tell my mother I did it for my country.” As his hands are held up to his face, Booth mutters “useless… useless…” They are his last words. (rotten)
Apr. 26,1933: Hermann Goering founds the Geheime Staatspolizei, otherwise known as the Gestapo. The original purpose of this “Secret State Police” is to disrupt and harass opponents of National Socialism, but it will later come to adopt many additional responsibilities.
Apr. 26, 1937 - Spanish Civil War: Guernica, Spain is bombed by the German Luftwaffe.
Apr. 26, 1969: Paul McCartney denies rumors of his recent death. Eventually, most people come to believe him. (rotten)
Apr. 26, 1986: 44 seconds into a late-night experiment at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, reactor number four sustains two large explosions. A plume of dangerous radioactivity looms three kilometers high, making it the worst catastrophe in the history of nuclear power. The Soviet news agency TASS holds off reporting the incident for almost 48 hours. Long term effects of the Chernobyl disaster include the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people around Europe and countless cases of birth defects still being seen today. (rotten)
Apr. 26, 1991: In a telephone interview, Michigan judge Francis Bourisseau explains that he would never grant an abortion to a minor, except perhaps for white girls raped by blacks. For some reason, this statement manages to attract wide attention. (rotten)
Apr. 26, 2002 - The Erfurt Massacre: Expelled student Robert Steinhäuser murders 16 people and wounded seven others before committing suicide at the Gutenberg-Gymnasium Erfurt in Erfurt, Germany. (wiki)
Apr. 26, 2003: Hiker and mountain climber Aron Ralston is stuck for five days in Blue John Canyon after an 800 pound rock falls on his right arm, pinning it to the canyon wall. (wiki)
Apr. 26, 2004: In an open letter to Tony Blair, 52 former high ranking British diplomats, including former ambassadors to Iraq and Israel, condemn the Prime Minister’s foreign policy stance in the Middle East as “doomed to failure” and also condemn George W. Bush’s recent endorsement of Ariel Sharon’s offer to withdraw settlers from the Gaza Strip while leaving some in the West Bank as “one-sided and illegal and which will cost yet more Israeli and Palestinian blood.” (BBC)
Apr. 26, 2006: Snoop Dogg and his entourage arrested in London’s Heathrow Airport for creating a disturbance when British Airways wouldn’t allow the group into a first class lounge. After being escorted outside, there was a fight and seven police officers were injured. After a night in jail, the group is freed but Big Snoop Dogg has been banned from the U.K. and British Airways as a result of the melee. (rotten)
Apr. 26, 2006: University of California at San Diego psychology researcher Tim Gentner reportedly discovers that songbirds are capable of learning simple grammar, which may disprove Noam Chomsky’s long believed hypothesis that humans are the only organism able to comprehend recursive grammar. (AP)
Apr. 26, 2009: The U.S. declares a public health emergency over the outbreak of swine influenza. (The New York Times)
Apr. 26, 2011 - Israeli–Palestinian conflict - Turkey’s Gaza flotilla:Preparations for a 15-boat, 1,500-person flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip take place. Ahmet Davutoğlu of Turkey warns Israel not to repeat its “flotilla mistake.” (AP)(Ynetnews)
Apr. 26, 2011 - Bradley Manning: U.S. president Obama is criticised by supporters of imprisoned U.S. serviceman Bradley Manning for interfering in any future trial after Obama is caught on camera accusing Manning of breaking the law.
Apr. 26, 2011 - WikiLeaks info dump on Guantanamo Bay: Newly released cables document an alleged al-Qaeda “assassin” working for the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) while suspected of bombing Christian churches and a hotel in Pakistan. (BBC) (The Independent)
Apr. 26, 2011 - WikiLeaks info dump on Guantanamo Bay: A study, carried out by a retired army brigadier general and a Physicians for Human Rights expert, finds U.S. Department of Defense physicians and psychologists concealed evidence of deliberate harm and torture at the prison camp; the Department of Defense does not respond. (AFP)
Apr. 26, 2011 - WikiLeaks: An international poll finds that a majority of people believe that Julian Assange is not a criminal. (Reuters)
Apr. 26, 2011 - Germany’s plagiarism scandal: Germany’s plagiarism scandal widens, engulfing the European Parliament’s vice president Silvana Koch-Mehrin accused of plagiarizing 25 per cent of her doctoral thesis; she refuses to comment. (The Independent)
Apr. 26, 2011 - The Egyptian Revolution: Former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly goes on trial charged with ordering the killing of unarmed protesters shot in the head and chest during the popular revolution against Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. (BBC)(al-Jazeera)
Apr. 26, 2011: Sony’s PlayStation Network remains offline after a worldwide security breach obtains millions of users’ personal information. (PlayStation Blog)
Apr. 26, 2012: Missiles displayed at a recent North Korean parade are reportedly fakes, according to analysts. (The Telegraph)
Apr. 26, 2012: The Special Court for Sierra Leone at The Hague delivers its verdict in the trial of former President of Liberia Charles Taylor on charges of arming Sierra Leone’s rebels in return for “blood diamonds” in the 1990s. He is convicted on charges related to aiding and abetting war crimes but acquitted of charges of ordering them. (AFP)(BBC)
Apr. 25, 404 BCE - The Peloponnesian War: Lysander’s Spartan Armies defeated the Athenians and the war ends. (wiki)
Apr. 25, 1644: The Ming Dynasty of China fell when the Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide during a peasant rebellion led by Li Zicheng. (wiki)
Apr. 25, 1707: The Habsburg army is defeated by Bourbon army at Almansa (Spain) in the War of the Spanish Succession.
Apr. 25, 1792: French highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier is beheaded by the guillotine, making him its first victim. (rotten)
Apr. 25, 1849: After Lord Elgin, the Governor General of Canada, signed the Rebellion Losses Bill into law to compensate the residents of Lower Canada for losses incurred in Rebellions of 1837, protestors rioted and burned down the Parliament building in Montreal. (canadienencyclopedia)
Apr. 25, 1898 - Spanish-American War: The U.S. declares war on Spain.
Apr. 25, 1916 - Easter Rebellion: The UK declares martial law in Ireland.
Apr. 25, 1951 - The Korean War: Assaulting Chinese forces are forced to withdraw after heavy fighting with UN forces, primarily made up of Australian and Canadian troops, at the Battle of Kapyong.
Apr. 25, 1953: “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids" by molecular biologists James Watson and Francis Crick was first published in the scientific journal Nature, describing the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. (psychiatryonline.org)
Apr. 25, 1965: Teenage sniper Michael Andrew Clark kills three and wounds six others shooting from a hilltop along Highway 101 just south of Santa Maria, Cal.
Apr. 25, 1974: Jim Morrison’s widow Pamela dies of a heroin overdose. (rotten)
Apr. 25, 1994: Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz (King Adrock) is sentenced to 200 hours of community service for battering a TV cameraman during the memorial service for actor River Phoenix. (rotten)
Apr. 25, 2005 - The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Amnesty International has called on the Israeli government to investigate the poisoning of Palestinian land, allegedly by Israeli settlers around Hebron (BBC)
Apr. 25, 2011 - WikiLeaks info dump on Guantanamo Bay: WikiLeaks releases classified cables detailing the interrogations carried out by the U.S. at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, as well as the imprisonment in the camp of Afghans and Pakistanis, children, elderly and mentally ill, before later being released without charge. (The Guardian)(The Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr. 25, 2011 - WikiLeaks info dump on Guantanamo Bay: Released cables show the U.S. relied on the internationally widely available Casio F91W digital watch as “the sign of al-Qaida” and as “evidence” to imprison its captives in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. (The Guardian)
Apr. 25, 2011 - WikiLeaks info dump on Guantanamo Bay: Released documents reval that saff at Guantánamo Bay were instructed that any Muslim traveling to Afghanistan after September 11. 2001 was likely to have gone there “to support Osama bin Laden through direct hostilities against the U.S. forces,” with any other reasons being dismissed as “total fabrications,” making it difficult for the interrogated to plead their innocence. (The Guardian)
Apr. 25, 2011 - WikiLeaks info dump on Guantanamo Bay: Documents reveal that a British resident, an organiser of hunger strikes imprisoned for nine years without trial and whose release has been repeatedly requested by William Hague, remains locked up in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. (The Guardian)
Apr. 25, 2011 - WikiLeaks info dump on Guantanamo Bay: It is disclosed that an al-Jazeera camera man, Sami al-Hajj, had been imprisoned by the U.S. at Guantánamo for six years and was interrogated about the news network. He claims to have been beaten and sexually assaulted. (The Guardian)
Apr. 25, 2011 - WikiLeaks info dump on Guantanamo Bay: The U.S. government “strongly condemns” international media outlets, specifically The New York Times, for publishing the files it had wanted to keep secret. (The Jerusalem Post)
Apr. 25, 2012: Pakistan successfully tests the Shaheen-1A nuclear-capable ballistic missile, which is able to reach targets in India. (Reuters)
Apr. 25, 2012: South Korean retailers cease selling beef from the U.S. after a case of mad cow disease is reported. (Reuters)
Yochai Benkler, in The New Republic, on an exchange that took place in a military courtroom in January during pre-trial hearings in the Bradley Manning/Wikileaks case:
"The judge, Col. Denise Lind, asked the prosecutors a brief but revealing question: Would you have pressed the same charges if Manning had given the documents not to WikiLeaks but directly to the New York Times?
The prosecutor’s answer was simple: ‘Yes Ma’am.’ The question was crisp and meaningful, not courtroom banter. The answer, in turn, was dead serious. I should know. I was the expert witness whose prospective testimony they were debating”
That “Yes ma’am,” argues Benkler, makes Manning’s prosecution “a clear and present danger to journalism in the national security arena.” Read the rest.