Japanese holiday ‘celebrating’ disputed islands sparks backlash in South Korea

Web users in both Japan and South Korea are up in arms over Japanese celebrations on Friday of Takeshima Day — a quasi-official holiday designed, appropriately, to mark an old territorial spat between Japan and South Korea.

Takeshima, or Dokdo in Korean, are a string of uninhabited volcanic outcroppings in the Sea of Japan. Both Japan and South Korea claim them, a dispute going back at least 60 years. The holiday, for its part, only goes back six years, when a local Japanese council signed it into law ”as hundreds of nationalists sporting paramilitary gear” urged it on.

This year, as in years past, the holiday remains divisive. Japan’s central government sent a representative to celebrate in Shimane prefecture for the first time, reports the Wall Street Journal. Some 50 South Korean protesters gathered outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, and South Korea’s foreign ministry promised to make a formal complaint.

Online commenters were less than sympathetic. The blog JapanCrush translated Japanese reactions from Twitter and other sites, most of which it calls “dismissive of Korean anger at ‘Takeshima Day.’ ”

“If you’re going to kick up a fuss, you’re welcome do it in your own country,” one wrote, jokingly.

If nothing else, Takeshima Day remains a reminder that Japan and South Korea haven’t always been friendly. Japan occupied the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945 and has had, shall we say, “a poor image” there ever since, The Post’s Anthony Faiola reported when the holiday was signed into law in 2005.

Much of the social media fury reflects that ongoing prejudice.

“They’re Koreans, aren’t they? It’s not so surprising,” one user wrote. “They are Koreans, after all.”

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

Today’s reads: Anger and shame in Syria, the Fox News of China

This post is among the first of a recurring feature, in which I’ll share some of what I’m reading today. It’s meant to highlight some of the best foreign affairs coverage from other media outlets, blogs, academic institutions and think tanks. It’s also meant to give you a sense of what might end up driving the foreign policy conversations for the day. I hope you enjoy it and check back tomorrow.

1) Syria Deeply: He Provided Them With Bananas

A deeply moving essay by Karl Sharro that explains, better than anything I’ve read, the psychological wounds that drove, and are maybe still driving, Syria’s uprising. Essential and powerful reading.

2) Brian Whitaker’s al-Bab blog: Syria Talks, a Lifeline for Assad?

The former Middle East editor of the Guardian has an astute and revealing analysis of the politics of trying to talk down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

3) China Policy Institute Blog: The Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute: The U.S. policy perspective and Japanese PM Abe’s visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting Washington. Here’s everything you could possibly want to know about America’s place in the big, big issue they’ll discuss: the increasingly nasty territorial dispute with China, which some (though not most) analysts have warned could potentially escalate to war.

4) Beijing Cream: Global Times Editor Hu Xijin Didn’t Know Fox News Existed Until Everyone Began Comparing His Paper To Fox News

The Global Times, a Communist Party-owned newspaper known for its bellicose ultra-nationalism, is not having the easiest time at integrating into the global English-language media market. Journalist Helen Gao actually called it “the Fox News of China” last year, a name that apparently caught on, as now the paper’s editor-in-chief is discussing the comparison.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

American teacher in Japan under fire for lessons on Japan’s history of discrimination

Miki Dezaki, who first arrived in Japan on a teacher exchange program in 2007, wanted to learn about the nation that his parents had once called home. He taught English, explored the country and affectionately chronicled his cross-cultural adventures on social media, most recently on YouTube, where he gained a small following for videos like “Hitchhiking Okinawa” and the truly cringe-worthy “What Americans think of Japan.” One of them, on the experience of being gay in Japan, attracted 75,000 views and dozens of thoughtful comments.

Dezaki didn’t think the reaction to his latest video was going to be any different, but he was wrong. “If I should have anticipated something, I should have anticipated the netouyu,” he told me, referring to the informal army of young, hyper-nationalist Japanese Web users who tend to descend on any article – or person – they perceive as critical of Japan.

But before the netouyu put Dezaki in their crosshairs, sending him death threats and hounding his employers, previous employers, even the local politicians who oversee his employers, there was just a teacher and his students.

Dezaki began his final lesson with a 1970 TV documentary, Eye of the Storm, often taught in American schools for its bracingly honest exploration of how good-hearted people – in this case, young children participating in an experiment – can turn to racism. After the video ended, he asked his students to raise their hands if they thought racism existed in Japan. Almost none did. They all thought of it as a uniquely American problem.

Gently, Dezaki showed his students that, yes, there is also racism in Japan. He carefully avoided the most extreme and controversial cases – for example, Japan’s wartime enslavement of Korean women for sex, which the country today doesn’t fully acknowledge – pointing instead to such slang terms as “bakachon camera.” The phrase, which translates as “idiot Korean camera,” is meant to refer to disposable cameras so easy to use that even an idiot or a Korean could do it.

He really got his students’ attention when he talked about discrimination between Japanese groups. People from Okinawa, where Dezaki happened to be teaching, are sometimes looked down upon by other Japanese, he pointed out, and in the past have been treated as second-class citizens. Isn’t that discrimination?

“The reaction was so positive,” he recalled. For many of them, the class was a sort of an a-ha moment. “These kids have heard the stories of their parents being discriminated against by the mainland Japanese. They know this stuff. But the funny thing is that they weren’t making the connection that that was discrimination.” From there, it was easier for the students to accept that other popular Japanese attitudes about race or class might be discriminatory.

The vice-principal of the school said he wished more Japanese students could hear the lesson. Dezaki didn’t get a single complaint. No one accused him of being an enemy of Japan.

That changed a week ago. Dezaki had recorded his July classes and, last Thursday, posted a six-minute video where he narrated an abbreviated version of the lesson. It opens with a disclaimer that would prove both prescient and, for his critics, vastly insufficient. “I know there’s a lot of racism in America and I’m not saying that America is better than Japan or anything like that,” he says. Here’s the video:

Also on Thursday, Dezaki posted the video, titled “Racism in Japan,” to the popular link-sharing site Reddit under its Japan-focused subsection, where he often comments. By this Saturday, the netouyu had discovered the video.

“I recently made a video about Racism in Japan, and am currently getting bombarded with some pretty harsh, irrational comments from Japanese people who think I am purposefully attacking Japan,” Dezaki wrote in a new post on Reddit’s Japan section, also known as r/Japan. The critics, he wrote, were “flood[ing] the comments section with confusion and spin.” But angry Web comments would turn out to be the least of his problems.

The netouyu make their home at a Web site called ni channeru, otherwise known as ni chan, 2chan or 2ch. Americans familiar with the bottommost depths of the Internet might know 2chan’s English-language spin-off, 4chan, which, like the original, is a message board famous for its crude discussions, graphic images (don’t open either on your work computer) and penchant for mischief that can sometimes cross into illegality.

Some 2chan users, perhaps curious about how their country is perceived abroad, will occasionally translate Reddit’s r/Japan posts into Japanese. When the “Racism in Japan” video made it onto 2chan, outraged users flocked to the comments section on YouTube to attempt to discredit the video. They attacked Dezaki as “anti-Japanese” and fumed at him for warping Japanese schoolchildren with “misinformation.”

Inevitably, at least one death threat appeared. Though it was presumably idle, like most threats made anonymously over the Web, it rattled him. Still, it’s no surprise that the netouyu’s initial campaign, like just about every effort to change a real-life debate by flooding some Web comments sections, went nowhere. So they escalated.

A few of the outraged Japanese found some personal information about Dezaki, starting with his until-then-secret real name and building up to contact information for his Japanese employers. Given Dezaki’s social media trail, it probably wasn’t hard. They proliferated the information using a file-sharing service called SkyDrive, urging fellow netouyu to take their fight off the message boards and into Dezaki’s personal life.

By Monday, superiors at the school in Japan were e-mailing him, saying they were bombarded with complaints. Though the video was based almost entirely on a lecture that they had once praised, they asked him to pull it down.

“Some Japanese guys found out which school I used to work at and now, I am being pressured to take down the ‘Racism in Japan’ video,” Dezaki posted on Reddit. “I’m not really sure what to do at this point. I don’t want to take down the video because I don’t believe I did anything wrong, and I don’t believe in giving into bullies who try to censor every taboo topic in Japan. What do you guys think?”

He decided to keep the video online, but placed a message over the first few sentences that, in English and Japanese, announce his refusal to take it down.

But the outrage continued to mount, both online and in the real world. At one point, Dezaki says he was contacted by an official in Okinawa’s board of education, who warned that a member of Japan’s legislature might raise it on the floor of the National Diet, Japan’s lower house of Parliament. Apparently, the netouyu may have succeeded in elevating the issue from a YouTube comments field to regional and perhaps even national Japanese politics.

“I knew there were going to be some Japanese upset with me, but I didn’t expect this magnitude of a problem,” Dezaki said. “I didn’t expect them to call my board of education. That said, I wasn’t surprised, though. You know what I mean? They’re insane people.”

Nationalism is not unique to Japan, but it is strong there, tinged with the insecurity of a once-powerful nation on the decline and with the humiliation of defeat and American occupation at the end of World War II. Japan’s national constitution, which declares the country’s commitment to pacifism and thus implicitly maintains its reliance on the United States, was in some ways pressed on the country by the American military government that ruled it for several years. The Americans, rather than Japan’s own excesses, make an easy culprit for the country’s lowered global status.

That history is still raw in Japan, where nationalism and resentment of perceived American control often go hand-in-hand. Dezaki is an American, and his video seems to have hit on the belief among many nationalists that the Americans still condescend to, and ultimately seek to control, their country.

“I fell in love with Japan, I love Japan,” Dezaki says, explaining why he made the video in the first place. “And I want to see Japan become a better place. Because I do see these potential problems with racism and discrimination.” His students at Okinawa seemed to benefit from the lesson, but a number of others don’t seem ready to hear it.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

Does North Korea have American video games, after all?

In a post yesterday on the odd propensity of North Korean propaganda videos to borrow images and music from popular American computer games – which presumably would be not just inaccessible in North Korea, but also unplayable, given the dearth of advanced personal computers there — I repeated and elaborated on a theory that the propaganda videos were probably made in conjunction with sympathetic South Koreans. Pro-Pyongang volunteers, who have a long history on the fringes of South Korea’s nationalist movement, would hypothetically be familiar enough with American video games, which are extremely popular in the South, to think to include them.

But Jang Jin-sung, a former North Korean government propagandist who defected in 2004, believes that the videos were probably made entire within North Korea. He explains his theory in an unpublished article for New Focus International, which has generously shared it with me. Excerpts from his article are reproduced below.

If Jang is correct – and, having worked within the machine he is describing, he is certainly a greater authority than I am – his theory would have interesting implications for our understanding of life under the North’s regime. It would mean that at least a small minority of North Korean government officials not only have access to American computer games but play them frequently enough that they would know which “cut scenes” and theme songs are most appropriate to splice into their anti-American propaganda.

That wouldn’t be revolutionary, but it would be a revealing new data point on the nature of life for North Korea’s propagandists, who are privileged, but not exactly in the innermost circle of the regime. It would be one thing for Kim Jong Eun to have a fancy computer, but if they are common even among propagandists then that would suggest the regime has pretty decent access to high-tech consumer electronics.

To give you a sense of how significant it would be for mid-level North Korean officials to be sitting around playing American computer games, private computer ownership is largely illegal in the country. Some people are allowed to possess them, but they are typically slow, not connected to the outside world and must be registered with police as if they were hunting rifles. As for the games themselves, North Korean authorities consider any outside culture a threat. It is even illegal to possess video CDs of South Korean soap operas.

Here is some of Jang’s article, which explains that North Korean propagandists work very deliberately to give the impression that their material was made by South Koreans. They do this, he says, in part by smuggling in cultural “materials” from Japan that would be familiar to South Koreans – perhaps including U.S.-made video games.

Two anti-American video clips, which appear to praise North Korea’s militaristic ideology, were uploaded in the period leading up to, and following, North Korea’s third nuclear test. Not only do the two clips have in common an awkward production quality, both employ content that has been stolen from US video games. Despite what this latter point may suggest, it is almost certain that the clips were produced by Office 101, Section 3 of the United Front Department in the DPRK, which is responsible for psychological warfare.

Office 101 is so-called because it was ratified on October 1st, 1970 by Kim Il Sung, and is situated in Block 1 of Ryeonhwa in the Central District of Pyongyang. Towards the end of the 60s, when the North Korean economy was superior to that of South Korea, Kim Il Sung had hopes for the divided Korean peninsula to be joined according to a strategy of federal unification. In this context, Office 101 was charged with conducting psychological warfare operations against South Korean citizens. This included the creation and dissipation of pro-North Korean works among South Koreans, ostensibly written under the names of South Korean intellectuals.

In case these works might be suspected for having been created by North Korean officials, materials and equipment were imported from Japan in order to emulate South Korean typefaces and fonts. Office 813 is a publisher that specializes in printing books intended for a South Korean readership, and shares grounds with Office 101. Until the 80s, a sizeable number of books that voiced dissent towards the South Korean dictatorship, and read by South Koreans, were created and published on these grounds. …

In order to emphasize the international character of North Korea’s dominance, they draw on foreign soundtracks and scenes; in terms of presentation, the works attempt to stress a foreign provenance; the works strive to bear the authorship of Koreans living abroad or of South Koreans.

If Jang is right that North Korea wants to fool outsiders into believing that their propaganda is actually made by sympathetic South Koreans, then I have to admit to falling for it just a little bit. I, like everyone else I’ve seen write on this, have assumed that the propaganda was chiefly produced, designed and distributed by North Koreans – but I did start from the premise of participation by South Koreans.

To be clear, Jang’s theory is only that, like my earlier post arguing that the videos may have been made by sympathetic South Koreans. The gulf between those two interpretations should be a reminder, if nothing else, of how little we really understand about how North Korea works.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

Of course China is building a full-size, working replica of the Titanic

What could possibly go wrong? China’s ambitions plan to build the Titanic II, a functioning one-to-one scale replica of the ship synonymous with spectacular tragedy, is proceeding apace. The builders are accepting $1 million offers for the maiden voyage, which is scheduled for 2016.

But just in case a Titanic replica sounded too safe for your taste, the project is being led by a Chinese construction firm. Although China has indeed built some remarkably impressive things in the past few years, it has also developed a reputation for shoddy construction, for using cheap materials and for sometimes dangerous corner-cutting.

Leave it to the Global Times, an official and sometimes not totally self-aware Chinese government outlet, to address the concerns head-on and in a way that somehow makes them even scarier. “Frequent scandals involving shoddy products domestically and internationally have turned the term ‘Made in China’ into a synonym for cheap and low value-added products,” the Global Times said in an editorial that called the Titanic II an opportunity for China to prove the skeptics wrong. “It is indeed a challenge for China to fulfill a flawless construction mission as the world watches.”

State-run Xinhua, in an article meant to assuage fears about the safety of the reproduction, includes this telling line: “Titanic II will mostly replicate the design of the ill-fated original, but will be equipped with cutting-edge technology and the latest navigation and safety systems.” There will also be a gym and “high-class restaurants.”

Okay, enough teasing Chinese state media. The hubris and short-term thinking that went into the original Titanic might be all-too-common in day-to-day Chinese construction, as with some apartment buildings and, yes, schools, but it does not appear to have been a problem in such high-prestige projects as the Beijing airport and, presumably, the Titanic II.

In some ways, it’s not so surprising that China would reproduce the Titanic. The country has built full-size replicas of entire Western tourist destinations. It’s a practice meant to encourage Chinese consumers to spend more money on domestic tourism, but it also seems to reflect interesting conceptions of place and identity. For Western tourists, the idea of visiting an identical reproduction of the Austrian mountain village of Hallstatt might ring somehow false, but it seems to be popular in China. I’m not sure what informs those different sensibilities toward tourism.

There’s also a fascinating history to China’s love for the Titanic, which goes back to the 1997 film of the same name. It is still the third-highest-grossing film ever in China, which helped set off the Hollywood-led effort co cash in on the Chinese film market. Even the 3D remake was the highest-grossing foreign film in China last year.

Most significantly, the film was publicly praised by then-president Jiang Zemin, who urged fellow Communist Party politburo members to go see it. “I invite my comrades of the Politburo to see the movie — not to propagate capitalism but to better understand our opposition, the better to enable us to succeed,” he said. “Let us not assume that we can’t learn from capitalism.”

Zemin’s colleagues, it seems, may have followed his advice.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

Five most bizarre quotes from Bashar al-Assad’s new interview

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad hasn’t released many public statements since fighting began in his country two years ago when the government began brutally cracking down on peaceful protesters, but he has certainly been consistent. In Assad’s telling, he is beloved by most Syrians, the rebels are foreign terrorists backed by hostile governments, the military is certainly not committing vast human rights abuses, and Syria will return to normal very soon.

It’s a view of the Syrian conflict that seems largely particular to Assad. It’s also one he stuck to in a recent interview with German filmmaker Hubert Seipel, which the New York Times’ Robert Mackey and Shreeya Sinha have acquired and transcribed. The interview was conducted in English. You can read the full interview at their site, but it’s worth excising, here, some of the quotes that best illustrate Assad’s uniquely optimistic – and self-serving – take on the war.

1) The fighting was started by terrorists, not the military crackdown on peaceful protesters.

We didn’t launch the war and we didn’t choose which kind of war because we didn’t choose it anyway. You have terrorists coming with very sophisticated armaments, nearly all kinds of armaments that they can carry with them and started killing people, destroying infrastructure, destroying public places, everything.

2) Turkey installed a missile shield to protect against Syrian SCUD missiles only because Turkey is so aggressive.

This is part of the missile shield that they started a year ago in Turkey, but the Turkish didn’t want to say that this is a part of it because many Turks refuse that Turkey is part of this program. The second aspect of it that [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip]Erdogan has been trying hard to rally the Turks and to muster support to his policy against Syria, something that he failed. So he distributed the Patriot on our border just to give the impression that Turkey is in danger because Syria may think of attacking Turkey, which is not realistic.

3) All those massacred civilians actually loved me.

The people who were killed in the [Houla] massacres are state supporters loyal to the government, so how could a militia, loyal to the government, killing people, loyal to the government? This is contradiction, unrealistic. Actually militia of the terrorists coming to that city or to that village and committed the massacre, and they took the photos and put it on YouTube and on the TVs and they said this is the government, which was not realistic. Actually it was committed by the gangs, by the terrorists.

4) Who can say whether Syria has instituted enough “reform”?

Well the criteria that you used to talk about the speed of reform, nobody has criteria. When you drive your car you know that this is the law here, 100 kilometer, let’s say, per hour. Well about the reform, does anyone has criteria or certain meter? So it’s subjective.

5) Assad’s peace plan

If you want to succeed (I mean I was talking to Kofi Annan at the time.) If you want to succeed, you have to focus on the violence part of your initiative. If you don’t stop the violence, if you don’t stop the terrorists coming to Syria through different countries, mainly Turkey and Qatar, if you don’t stop the money coming inside Syria in order to stoke the fire – the whole initiative will fail. So that was the core of our discussion in the first meeting.

Correction: This post originally stated that the interview had been “translated into English.” In fact, the interview was conducted in English, which of course explains Assad’s sometimes disjointed phrasing. The post has been corrected.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

The gaping hole in Obama’s plan to stop Chinese hacking

The word “China” appears 120 times in the Obama administration’s just-released report, “Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets,” on combatting cyber-espionage against U.S. business. Of course, Chinese hacking is a threat to more than just American businesses: the Washington Post reports today that just about every powerful institution in the District, from federal agencies to think tanks to, yes, media organizations “have been penetrated by Chinese cyberspies.”

The Obama administration’s strategy, as Post cyber-security report Ellen Nakashima put it, has gotten “mixed reviews.” There are a few reasons for that, but the big one has to do with the U.S. diplomatic relationship with China, which is by far the biggest offender on cyber-espionage against the U.S.

The administration’s strategy places great emphasis on diplomacy, which would be central to any effort to actual stopping Chinese hacking rather than just playing a never-ending cat-and-mouse game against hackers in which the U.S. would inevitably win some rounds but lose others. But there’s reason to think that, for reasons particular to the U.S.-China relationship, it might also be extraordinarily difficult, and in ways that the formal strategy doesn’t really address.

If reports are accurate that the hacking is conducted by the Chinese military – and is thus incorporated into formal Chinese government policy – then the challenge becomes about more than just getting American officials to start using two-step password protection. It’s about changing Beijing’s calculus, about leading the Chinese government to decide on its own to change its behavior. That’s never really been very easy for Washington, or any foreign government, to do.

The administration’s report, to its credit, seems to understand this. The very first chapter, before the lengthy sections about cyber-security defenses and cooperation between U.S. law enforcement and business, is about diplomacy: in other words, convincing China to stop. But the very first sentence hints at how difficult this will be: “The Administration will continue to apply sustained and coordinated diplomatic pressure on other countries to discourage trade secret theft.”

The key word there is “continue” – this is something the U.S. is already doing. The section is filled with verbs that suggest the U.S. will be returning to past strategies: “enhance efforts,” “deepen cooperation,” “enhance engagement.” Was the problem really that engagement wasn’t enhanced enough? To be clear, I don’t mean to mock the administration’s report, only to draw attention to the enormous, and still unsolved, diplomatic challenge at the heart of an effort that is otherwise about cyber security.

Why is it so hard to talk China out of hacking? Lots of reasons. Yes, one of them is the same cost-benefit calculus that every nation goes through when it decides to do something that will offend other countries; not so unlike, for example, the U.S.’s drone program. But a number of the reasons are also particular to China.

Part of it has to do with the complexity of the U.S.-China relationship, where both countries already have so many interests in the balance, and have worked so hard to get things back to someplace basically productive after a currency dispute made for some tense months in 2010. Elevating one issue, such as hacking, risks crowding out others; if that issue is particularly touchy, as this one likely would be (China officially denies it’s responsible for the attacks), it could have disproportionately negative effects on other American priorities, from trade to preventing military escalation between China and its neighbors.

Part of the challenge comes from China’s complicated view of itself. China as a state actor is, as many observers have noted, both insecure and bellicose; emboldened by its sense of itself as a great nation but also paranoid about its own perceived weakness compared to Western, and particularly American, power. China, in this thinking, must hack because of its disproportionate weakness. But it also must be able to hack because for other nations to tell it to stop would be an unacceptable insult.

Separately, an astute China scholar named Christopher Ford has argued that China’s willingness to assert itself within other countries’ borders (yes, I am aware that the U.S. also does this) comes from a new incarnation of a very old ideology: Sinocentrism, or the centrality of China. In this theory, China feels it has a right to control, manage or alter anything that directly effects China. Ford says, “Some of it may in fact grow out of a deeply-rooted conception of social order in which narrative control is inherently a strategic objective because it is assumed that status or role ascriptions and moral characterizations play a critical role in shaping the world they describe.”

Henry Kissinger, whose book on China was not universally well received among China-watchers but which nevertheless presented some interesting insights, suggested a somewhat similar theory. Chinese diplomacy, he argued, is just not like other countries’ diplomacy, in part because of the country’s unique history. And that can make it especially difficult for countries to engage with China today in the sort of diplomacy through which states normally resolve disputes such as, for example, one country hacking the other more than it will accept.

For many centuries, China was by far the most powerful country in its neighborhood, so it didn’t have to develop a tradition of diplomacy much more nuanced than accepting tribute. “Through many millennia of Chinese civilization, China was never obliged to deal with other countries or civilizations that were comparable to it in scale and sophistication,” Kissinger writes. “China’s splendid isolation nurtured a particular Chinese self-perception. Chinese elites grew accustomed to the notion that China was unique – not just ‘a great civilization’ among others, but civilization itself.”

Then, Western imperialism flipped that dynamic upside down: China suddenly became very weak compared to the new arrivals, and didn’t develop strong diplomatic practices because the European powers were going to carve up the country with or without its permission.

China never really developed diplomatic practices for thinking about itself as part of “the modern Western conception of international relations … [as defined by] the concept of sovereignty and the legal equality of states,” as Kissinger puts it, because China, perhaps alone among today’s powerful nations, never had to. But that is nevertheless the system in which it finds itself today. And that is also the system through which the Obama administration is hoping to “deepen engagement” and “elevate concerns” and “work through international organizations” to stop Chinese hacking.

That’s an important effort. But it also requires Washington to effect some pretty dramatic changes in Beijing’s view of the world and its role there, something that no previous government, American or otherwise, has really succeeded at doing.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com