Glenn Greenwald has written an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times. In this editorial he asserts that American spies are motivated primarily by the desire to thwart terrorist plots. Such that their inability to do so (i.e., the attacks in Paris) coupled with the associated embarrassment motivates a public relations campaign against Ed Snowden. Greenwald further concludes that recent events are being opportunistically leveraged by spy masters to pressure tech companies into installing back doors in their products. Over the course of this article what emerges is a worldview which demonstrates a remarkable tendency to accept events at face value, a stance that’s largely at odds with Snowden’s own documents and statements.
For example, Greenwald states that American spies have a single overriding goal, to “find and stop people who are plotting terrorist attacks.” To a degree this concurs with the official posture of the intelligence community. Specifically, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence specifies four topical missions in its National Intelligence Strategy: Cyber Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Counterproliferation, and Counterintelligence.
Yet Snowden himself dispels this notion. In an open letter to Brazil he explained that “these [mass surveillance] programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”
And the public record tends to support Snowden’s observation. If the NSA is truly focused on combatting terrorism it has an odd habit of spying on oil companies in Brazil and Venezuela. In addition anyone who does their homework understands that the CIA has a long history of overthrowing governments. This has absolutely nothing to do with stopping terrorism and much more to do with catering to powerful business interests in places like Iran (British Petroleum), Guatemala (United Fruit), and Chile (ITT Corporation). The late Michael Ruppert characterized the historical links between spies and the moneyed elite as follows: “The CIA is Wall Street, and Wall Street is the CIA.”
The fact that Greenwald appears to accept the whole “stopping terrorism” rationale is extraordinary all by itself. But things get even more interesting…
Near the end of his article Greenwald notes that the underlying motivation behind the recent uproar of spy masters “is to depict Silicon Valley as terrorist-helpers for the crime of offering privacy protections to Internet users, in order to force those companies to give the U.S. government ‘backdoor’ access into everyone’s communications.”
But if history shows anything, it’s that the perception of an adversarial relationship between government spies and corporate executives has often concealed secret cooperation. Has Greenwald never heard of Crypto AG, or RSA, or even Google? These are companies who at the time of their complicity marketed themselves as protecting user privacy. In light of these clandestine arrangements Cryptome’s John Young comments that it’s “hard to believe anything crypto advocates have to say due to the far greater number of crypto sleazeball hominids reaping rewards of aiding governments than crypto hominid honorables aiding one another.”
It’s as if Greenwald presumes that the denizens of Silicon Valley, many of whose origins are deeply entrenched in government programs, have magically turned over a new leaf. As though the litany of past betrayals can conveniently be overlooked because things are different. Now tech vendors are here to defend our privacy. Or at least that’s what they’d like us to believe. In the aftermath of the PRISM scandal, which was disclosed by none other than Greenwald and Snowden, the big tech of Silicon Valley is desperate to portray itself as a victim of big government.
You see, the envoys of the Bay Area’s new economy have formulated a convincing argument. That’s what they get paid to do. The representatives of Silicon Valley explain in measured tones that tech companies have stopped working with spies because it’s bad for their bottom line. Thus aligning the interests of private capital with user privacy. But the record shows that spies often serve private capital. To help open up markets and provide access to resources in foreign countries. And make no mistake there’s big money to be made helping spies. Both groups do each other a lot of favors.
And so a question for Glenn Greenwald: what pray tell is there to prevent certain CEOs in Silicon Valley from betraying us yet again, secretly via covert backdoors, while engaged in a reassuring Kabuki Theater with government officials about overt backdoors? Giving voice to public outrage while making deals behind closed doors. It’s not like that hasn’t happened before during an earlier debate about allegedly strong cryptography. Subtle zero-day flaws are, after all, plausibly deniable.
How can the self-professed advocate of adversarial journalism be so credulous? How could a company like Apple, despite its bold public rhetoric, resist overtures from spy masters any more than Mohammad Mosaddegh, Jacobo Árbenz, or Salvador Allende? Doesn’t adversarial journalism mean scrutinizing corporate power as well as government power?
Methinks Mr. Greenwald has some explaining to do. Whether he actually responds with anything other than casual dismissal has yet to be seen.
An RT news crew has been caught in a tear gas attack by Turkish police in Diyarbakir. Police responded as Kurds were protesting the killing of a prominent lawyer, Tahir Elci, shot dead by unidentified gunmen while giving a public speech on Saturday.
“We came into the city center of Diyarbakir just now,” said RT correspondent William Whiteman. “The whole city had been on lockdown over night after there were sounds of heavy automatic gunfire and there were a lot of explosions during the night.”
He said the barricades in the city center were removed early on Monday morning and the RT crew tried to enter the center of Diyarbakir. They were looking to get to the spot where the lawyer Tahir Elci was shot.
“As soon as we arrived here there was a very tense situation and there were security forces out in full force in the streets with guns and we heard gunshots,” Whiteman reported.
“We have just managed to escape the gas now and it is very intense here,” Whiteman added.
A campaigner for Kurdish rights, Tahir Elci had been criticized for challenging Turkey’s official stance of calling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a terrorist organization.
He was subsequently shot dead on Saturday, while giving a public speech in the city.
“The government came out about an hour after he was killed and said it was the PKK that had killed him, even despite the fact that Tahir Elci was actively defending the PKK and calling for them to be no longer recognized as a terrorist organization, given all of their involvement in fighting ISIL in Syria,” Whiteman mentioned, describing why local Kurds have been even more incensed by the shooting of the rights campaigner.
“This assassination is a deliberate act of political intimidation against all those who take part in political struggles against injustice in Turkey,” Firat Anli, a human rights lawyer and friend of Tahir Elci told RT.
“Social media and the mass media say this has been carried out by the PKK, but the Kurdish region does not buy any of this,” he added.
Whiteman mentioned that there is a lot of skepticism amongst the local Kurdish population as to the claims made by the government, while adding that the Turkish authorities are using this as an excuse to clamp down further against the Kurdish minorities in south eastern Turkey.
This file photo shows Ertugrul Ozkok, a columnist and a former editor-in-chief of the Turkish-language daily newspaper Hurriyet.
Turkish authorities have arrested another journalist amid growing concerns over the Ankara government’s attempts to stifle critical media and crackdown on dissidents.
Ertugrul Ozkok, a columnist and former editor-in-chief of the Turkish-language Hurriyet daily, was arrested on Sunday on charges of slander after publishing an opinion piece indirectly criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan back in early September.
In the op-ed, titled “Listen, grand man,” written after the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian child refugee whose body was previously washed up on a beach near the port city of Bodrum, Ozkok denounced the Middle Eastern actors for turning the region into “the most brutal land in the world.”
The article, which did not mention the name of the Turkish leader, further pointed to a “dictator” who thinks the country is the “property of his father.”
Ozkok could face up to five years and four months in prison if found “guilty.”
The arrest came just two days after a prosecutor in Turkey demanded that Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of center-left Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, along with the paper’s Ankara representative, Erdem Gul, appear in court in Istanbul to face charges of “espionage and treason.” The two journalists had earlier revealed Ankara’s arms delivery to the militants in Syria in their reports. Cumhuriyet says the charges carry up to 45 years in prison altogether.
Outside the courthouse, Dundar told reporters that the government wants to cover up their paper’s revelations, stressing, “There is a crime that has been committed by the state that they are trying to cover up.”
On May 29, Cumhuriyet posted on its website footage showing trucks of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) being inspected by security officers.
The inspectors then spotted cardboard boxes inside a metallic container with the “fragile” marking on them. They opened the boxes, and found a considerable amount of munitions hidden in crates below boxes of medicine.
Cumhuriyet said the trucks were carrying around 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons.
The Extraordinary Trial of Arthur Topham: Part 3
On November 7, Arthur Topham was convicted of inciting hatred against a racial group, the Jewish people. Mr. Topham maintains a website, Radical Free Press, in which he publishes and comments upon various documents. These documents include The Elders of the Protocols of Zion, various anti-Zionist texts, and a tract entitled Germany Must Perish, first published in 1941 and then satirized by Mr. Topham as Israel Must Perish.
Mr. Topham’s defense rested primarily on the theory that his writing was not directed at Jews as a race or religion, but rather at the politics espoused by a number of Jewish people. The best discussion of this topic is by Gilad Atzmon, contained in his book, The Wandering Who?. The basic take away for considering the implications of Mr. Topham’s criminal conviction is that some people conflate Judaism as a religion, an ethnic heritage AND with a political view, not always consistent, that generally favors Israel’s perceived benefit.
Canada has a lobby entitled Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) that lobbies the Canadian government on behalf of Israel. Mr. Rudner, who had lodged various complaints about Mr. Topham in the past and was the Crown’s expert in Mr. Topham’s case, has worked for CIJA or its predecessor for 15 years. So the Crown relied upon the testimony of a man who lobbies for Israel (clearly a political entity) for proof of anti Semitic content and potential harm to Jewish people. His appearance in tiny Quesnel is testimony to the political importance that his organization places on silencing Mr. Topham. (The original witness scheduled to testify, Mr. Farber was a former colleague of Rudner’s, and apparently the two are close enough that Mr. Rudner’s written testimony was an exact duplicate of Mr. Farber’s original.)
Since Mr. Topham was accused of anti-Semitism, let’s look at the term. The quote below is from the Holocaust Encyclopedia, published and maintained by the United States Holocaust Museum so it is probably safe to assume that this is a standard definition.
The word antisemitism means prejudice against or hatred of Jews. The Holocaust, the state-sponsored persecution and
murder of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933and 1945, is history’s most extreme example of antisemitism. In 1879, German journalist Wilhelm Marr originated the term antisemitism, denoting the hatred of Jews, and also hatred of various liberal, cosmopolitan, and international political trends of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries often associated with Jews. The trends under attack included equal civil rights, constitutional democracy, free trade, socialism, finance capitalism, and pacifism.
Interesting that, in the first paragraph of its section on anti-Semitism, the encyclopedia blends together the concepts of ‘hatred of the Jews’ with opposition to various political and social movements generally associated with Jews. This is puzzling. Is it anti-Semitism to oppose socialism or is it anti-Semitic to oppose finance capitalism? While one could oppose both, it would be impossible to espouse either view without rejecting the other. I assume the author did not intend to imply that opposition to socialism, for instance, is anti-Semitic even if such opposition is from a fellow Jew.
I bring this up because this is precisely what I believe happened in Mr. Topham’s case. Mr. Topham was charged with two counts of inciting hatred over different periods of time. The jury found him guilty on the first count and not guilty on the second. Of course there are many possible explanations for a split verdict (none of which the jury is allowed to discuss even after trial without committing what the judge termed a ‘criminal’ offense). The observers, including myself, tended to believe that the discrepancy in the verdicts was a result of the text Germany Must Perish and its satirization by Mr. Topham in Israel Must Perish, a text that appeared on his website during the period for which Mr. Topham was found guilty.
The original text of Germany Must Perish was written in 1941 by Theodore Kaufman, an American Jewish man. The text was originally self-published, but was apparently advertized and reviewed by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine. In any case, the publication was well known enough to have been read in Germany and was cited by Hitler and Goebbels as evidence of the bad intention of the Jews. The book is horrendous. Its semi-literate ravings are a ridiculous indictment of the German people and their warlike nature. Kaufman advocates sterilization of the Germans as the only possible remedy. At best, the author is confusing all Germans with Nazis, but that is not what the book says. Mr. Topham’s satire in which he substitutes the words ‘Israel’ for Germany and ‘Zionists’ for Germans helps to make the original text comprehensible. The satire hopefully provides some insight into how these words might have been viewed by Germans in 1941. The proof that the works were effective but the satire was not understood, is that Mr. Topham faced criminal charges for aping Kaufman’s words.
In its case, the Crown made the point that Israel Must Perish was a horrible text. The Crown argued that the fact that the words were originally written by a Jewish man to indict the Germans did not kosher the text. “Jews,” the Crown said, “could write anti-Semitic things too.” Presumably her next case will be against a Jew for inciting hatred against the Jewish people. Mr. Topham was making a political point. I believe he was trying to convey the idea that Israel and Zionists could seem very much like Germans and Nazism in 1941. It is not necessary to agree with Mr. Topham’s point to understand it.
If I am right and it was this text that caused Mr. Topham’s conviction, then that is an important indictment against Canada’s admirable attempts to limit ‘hate’ speech while allowing freedom of political speech. Mr. Topham’s criminal conviction may well have been the result of a misunderstanding that Mr. Topham was criticizing Israel and Zionism and not Jews as a race. Germany and Israel are political constructs, Germans may not be, but Zionists, or those who support establishment of the state of Israel are, by definition, espousing a political cause. So, Mr. Topham criticized the political cause of the Zionists. Is there a way in which Canada’s laws would allow Mr. Topham’s political views to find an outlet? Perhaps Canada ought to make criticism of Israel legally off limits so that Canadians may adjust their behavior accordingly.
Eve Mykytyn graduated from Boston University School of Law and was admitted to bar of the state of New York.
Turkey under Erdogan is a fascist police state. Anyone criticizing regime policy risks harassment, arrest, indictment on phony charges, imprisonment or death. Fundamental freedoms don’t exist.
Prominent Turkish attorney/Kurdish rights supporter Tahir Elci headed southeastern Diyarbakir province’s bar association.
On Saturday, local hospital sources confirmed he died from gunshot wounds to his head, a clear indication he was assassinated. In October, he was detained for publicly saying the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) isn’t a terrorist organization – then released awaiting trial.
He faced imprisonment for speaking freely – the most fundamental right in all free and open societies without which all others are endangered.
Regime-controlled prosecutors accused him of spreading terrorist propaganda. He was killed while making a statement to the press.
Was it state-sponsored to silence him? Turkey is unsafe to live in for anyone criticizing regime policies. Opposing Erdogan’s agenda publicly is considered treason. Following Elci’s murder, protests erupted, attacked violently by police, continuing into the night as this is written.
Separately, Turkish police in Ankara pepper-sprayed supporters of wrongfully arrested journalists Can Dunbar and Erdem Gul for doing their jobs. Criticizing rogue regime policy subjects anyone to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.
About 1,000 protesters chanted: “Shoulder-to-shoulder against fascism.” Large crowds gathered near Dunbar’s Cumhuriyet Istanbul office in solidarity with both journalists. “Free press cannot be silenced,” they chanted.
Some accused Erdogan and complicit AKP officials of supporting ISIS terrorists. Clear evidence proves it.
Dunbar is Cumhuriyet editor-and-chief, Gul its Ankara bureau chief – both men arrested and imprisoned awaiting trial for publishing photographic evidence of Turkish intelligence smuggling heavy weapons to ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria.
They’re charged with treason and espionage for reporting important truths the whole world has a right to know. Not in police state Turkey, tolerating no opposition or exposure of state crimes.
Opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) deputy Utki Calorpzer said “(j)ournalism is being put on trial with these arrests and the Turkish press is being intimidated.”
Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party co-chairwoman Figen Yuksekdag said “(a)ll opposition press organizations that are abiding by the ethics of journalism and trying to do their journalism are under threat and under attack.”
“This dark operation aimed at covering the crimes that those trucks carried and the crimes which are continuing to be committed will not be successful.”
Opposition lawmaker Baris Yarkadas said Erdogan “does not want any journalist to see what kind of a calamity (he created) for Turkey…” Cumhuriyet’s Friday headline read: “Black day for the press.”
Erdogan said both men would “pay a heavy price.” Arriving for his court appearance, Dundar spoke candidly, saying “(t)here is a crime that has been committed by the state that they are trying to cover up.”
“We are being charged with being spies. The president is saying that we are traitors to the state. We are not spies. We are not traitors. We are not heroes. We are journalists.”
Interviewed by RT International, Haberdar newspaper editor-in-chief Said Sefa said “(w)e as journalists can no longer investigate.”
According to opposition lawmaker Mehmet Ali Edeboglu, “(e)vents covered in the international media can be completely underreported in Turkey. The reason for that is a crackdown on journalism. If a media company criticizes the government it is seen as treason.”
A Final Comment
CNN interviewed Erdogan instead of refusing to give him airtime, letting him rant freely, including lying about the downed Russian aircraft entering Turkish airspace.
“(I)f there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us,” he blustered.” He vowed to down any Russian aircraft allegedly entering Turkish airspace – lunacy if he pulls this stunt again, unlikely with S-400 defense systems deployed, able to target and destroy any threat to Russian air or ground forces.
Erdogan vowed an automatic military response if Russia downs a Turkish aircraft in Syrian airspace. He recklessly ordered one once. Putin won’t tolerate a repeat incident.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Are the powers-that-be using crises such as recent events in Paris to drive through a tyrannical agenda?
Rahm Emanuel – Obama’s former Chief of Staff – once famously said “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste – it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before”.
He was not saying anything new. He was simply rehashing something self-evident to those who deal in strategy rather than hysteria, and passing off as his own something said years before by Churchill.
Today, the world is hysterical about the recent serious crisis in Paris.
Naturally, these terrorist actions are tragedies for those individually impacted by them. But strategically, they are opportunities for “things you think you could not do before.”
A substantial minority of people have now got the point that since “a serious crisis” is so useful to those who rule us, our rulers will not only sit around waiting for things to happen which they can use, they will also initiate such things.
It was the events in New York on 9/11 – in which the laws of physics were apparently suspended – which allowed the Patriot Act to be pushed through and the Plan for a New American Century to be enacted.
But it took several years before opinions unencumbered by official propaganda percolated through society.
Due to the proliferation of social media, that same process of dissemination and cross-pollination of cynicism towards the official version of events was in full sway only a matter of minutes after the Paris bombings were announced.
And while the larger portion of the herd is running about crying out for someone to save it and the architects of policy are calmly ramming through their agenda, the new challenge is how to clamp down on dissent from media orthodoxy.
So what’s coming down the pike?
First off: boarder crackdowns. The Guardian recently noted that: “EU interior and justice ministers are to meet in Brussels where they will discuss tightening checks on all travelers at the external borders of the 26-nation Schengen zone as an emergency measure.
“Cazeneuve called on his fellow ministers to agree on a Europe-wide passenger information register, improved controls along Europe’s external borders, and better coordination against arms trafficking.”
“France has been calling for these measures for more than 18 months, and some progress has been made,” he said. “But it is not fast enough, and it does not go far enough … Everyone must understand Europe has to organize, recover, defend itself against the terrorist threat.”
The Independent informs us that EU ministers (i.e. those bureaucrats none of us voted for and whose power structure mirrors that of the Soviet Union’s Politbureau) are considering setting up their own “CIA-style intelligence agency”.
The current stampede will also help push through other items already openly on the agenda.
In the UK, for example, the government is busy enacting a bill to give police access to everyone’s entire internet history.
Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman for data communications, told the newspaper: “We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication – who initiated it, where were they and when it happened.”
In short: the police want access to your entire life.
Where this is going is total surveillance, general suspicion, and the removal of the velvet glove from the hand of power to reveal the iron fist which was there all along – all served up in the form of a palliative citing the need to protect us from an outside threat.
From Nero to Bush, nothing changes – except who benefits.
So who does benefit?
Western media are intractably incurious on such questions, barely daring to stray beyond the prescribed narrative and sternly serving up Pentagon press releases as news.
A notable exception is political journalist and author Gearóid Ó Colmáin.
Interviewed by RT, Ó Colmáin stated boldly what many have already surmised but had been denied a platform beyond social media to express.
The points Mr. Ó Colmáin makes include the fact that the war against Syria is orchestrated by NATO; that it has been conducting attacks against the civilian population of that country for four years now, and that this itself is a “terrorist campaign”.
He states that there is a worldwide war the object of which is to make the world’s population submit to a “global order” – a war which serves the interests of what he rightly calls a “tiny and particularly tyrannical ruling elite.”
He says: “There is no War on Terror. There is a war which is being waged using terrorist proxy groups and they are being used against nation states who are resisting U.S. and Israeli hegemony. And they are also being used as a means of disciplining the work forces in Europe. In a period of mass unemployment and austerity, you now have terrorist attacks being committed by terrorists funded, armed and trained by Western intelligence agencies. There is no such thing as ISIS. ISIS is a creation of the United States.”
Finally, someone tells it like it is.
The powers-that-be are going to try to shut people like Gearóid Ó Colmáin up. And they are going to use the very “terrorism” that Mr. Ó Colmáin accuses them of creating to do it.
By means of apparently supernatural prescience the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron anticipated just such a problem.
In July, 2015, Cameron set out plans to deal with people who question the official line. He is particularly concerned to contain – and we assume later to criminalize – “ideas” which are “based on conspiracy”.
Cameron asserts: “In this warped worldview, such conclusions are reached – that 9/11 was actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan; that British security services knew about 7/7, but didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash.”
In the meantime – as the Independent informs us – France has declared a “state of emergency for three months, allowing authorities to shut down websites and giving police sweeping new powers.”
Those powers “include the ability to put people under house arrest without trial and to block websites.”
As Orwell tells us in 1984: “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
And the “ruling elite” Ó Colmáin refers to is in the process of conflating such revolutionary acts with “terrorism”.
While people at Mr. Cameron’s level and above understand perfectly well how power works, if those whose interests Cameron represents get their way, we the people are to be forced by law to believe the type of foolishness which benefits precisely those interests Ó Colmáin had the forthrightness to identify.
If facts are thought so fragile they need laws to enforce their acceptance, once they are enacted it is time to stop pretending we are free and face reality: We are living under tyranny.
Given the right “serious crisis” of the kind Mr. Emanuel so enthusiastically embraces, the herd can doubtless be stampeded over the cliff of any form of resistance to the political will to drive such new laws through. And once such a principle is accepted, there is no philosophical barrier to expanding it.
The loss of what we thought of as our rights will be achieved under the cloak of what works best: appeals to decency and reasonableness and the need to protect the innocent.
While men such as Ó Colmáin are working to awaken the people to the specter of open tyranny, history and experience are against him.
Gustave Le Bon in his seminal work on realpolitik, The Crowd (1895) wrote: “Whoever can supply them [the masses] with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.”
By that measure, Ó Colmáin will be thought a terrorist, and those who condemn him hailed as defenders of freedom.
Le Bon believed that the majority respects only tyranny and force and spurns freedom.
We are in the process of learning if he was right.
Sam Gerrans is an English writer, translator, support counselor and activist. He also has professional backgrounds in media, strategic communications and technology. He is driven by commitment to ultimate meaning, and focused on authentic approaches to revelation and realpolitik. He is the founder of Quranite.com – where the Qur’an is explored on the basis of reason rather than tradition – and offers both individual language training and personal support and counseling online at SkypeTalking.com.
RAMALLAH – At least 67 Palestinians were shot by Israeli military forces during ongoing clashes across the occupied Palestinian territory, the Palestinian Red Crescent said Friday.
A Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an that 16 Palestinians were injured by live bullets, as well as two by rubber-coated steel bullets in the Gaza Strip.
Five of those injured by live fire were shot when clashes erupted near the Nahal Oz crossing east of Gaza City, one of whom was shot in the chest and left in critical condition, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra.
Several others were injured in the besieged enclave when Palestinians demonstrated in areas north of Khan Younis, demanding the return of Palestinian bodies currently held by Israel, witnesses told Ma’an.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “multiple violent riots took place near the security fence” between the Gaza Strip and Israel, where Israeli forces used “riot dispersal means” to deter participants attempting to break through the security fence.
The spokesperson said that the forces opened fire on demonstrators after ignoring calls by the forces for the participants to halt.
Palestinians in the Ramallah district meanwhile staged a demonstration near Israel’s Ofer detention center, where medics told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire on protesters.
One of those shot by live fire was left in critical condition, medics said, adding that dozens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation.
A total of 22 injuries by live fire were reported from the occupied West Bank, the Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an, as well as 27 injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and over a hundred who were treated for tear-gas inhalation.
In Hebron, 14 Palestinians were hit with live bullets, and 10 with rubber-coated steel bullets, the Red Crescent said, adding that Israeli forces targeted an ambulance with tear gas, shattering its windshield.
In Kafr Qaddum near Qalqiliya, Qaisar Jihad,13, and Hamza Mutei, 22, were shot in the legs and lightly injured after Israeli forces trapped protesters and opened fire, according to a spokesperson for the village’s popular resistance committee, Murad Shtewei.
In the village of Bilin in the Ramallah district, locals told Ma’an that photojournalist Hamdi Abu Rahma was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the thigh as Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian demonstrators.
Over 10,300 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since Oct. 1, not including those injured by Israeli settlers.
Around 160 Israelis have been injured by Palestinian individuals during the same time period, according to documentation by the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs.
A Turkish prosecutor asked a court to imprison the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper pending trial for espionage and treason. In May, the outlet published photos of weapons it said were then transferred to Syria by Turkey’s intelligence agency.
Besides the editor, Can Dündar, the prosecution said it is seeking the same pre-trial restrictions for Cumhuriyet’s representative in Ankara, Erdem Gül.
Dündar arrived at an Istanbul court on Thursday, saying that he and his colleague “came here to defend journalism.”
“We came here to defend the right of the public to obtain the news and their right to know if their government is feeding them lies. We came here to show and to prove that governments cannot engage in illegal activity and defend this,” Dündar was cited by Today’s Zaman.
The articles, published on Cumhuriyet’s front page in May, claimed that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is smuggling weapons in trucks into Syria and was caught doing so twice in 2014. The trucks were allegedly stopped and searched by police, with photos and videos of their contents obtained by Cumhuriyet.
The arms were reportedly delivered to extremist groups fighting against the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad, whom Ankara wants ousted from power.
The Turkish authorities denied the allegations, saying that the trucks were carrying aid to Syrian ethnic Turkmen tribespeople and labeled their interception an act of “treason” and “espionage.”
The NATO attack on a Russian military jet on Tuesday November 24, using the Turkish air force to do its dirty work, is a dangerous act of war against Russia with very dangerous consequences for the world. The murder of one of the pilots, shot by ISIS terrorists while parachuting to the ground, is a war crime for which Turkey and the NATO countries are collectively responsible. President Putin has rightly called it a stab in the back by Turkey, a betrayal that cannot be forgiven and will forever be remembered.
If anyone ever doubted that the joint criminal enterprise called NATO was supporting and directing the terrorist groups in Syria, the same groups, they claim, that conducted the attacks in Paris and on the Russian airliner over Sinai, they now have the proof. Can there be any doubt that this attack on Russian forces in Syria is intended to disrupt the Russian-Syrian campaign against those NATO supported terrorist groups? Can there be any doubt that if they are willing to shoot down one Russian aircraft they are willing to shoot down more? Can there be any doubt that this attack is intended to push Russia to react with counter force against Turkey resulting in a claim by NATO that it is under attack, resulting in a general war?
This attack is intended to both test Russian resolve in Syria and to provoke it into a reaction that will be used to justify further military actions by the Turkish and US military forces against the Russian forces. It was preceded by hysterical claims by NATO leaders that Russia and the Syrian government are the reasons ISIS exists and calling for action against both. It was preceded by the sudden appearance of the refugee crisis in Europe and then the attacks in Sinai and Paris and the constant fear raising alerts in Belgium, Germany, Britain and the United States.
Just days before this attack, Russia was subjected to the sabotage of the electric power lines connecting Crimea with the Ukraine electricity grid that the Kiev regime has not attempted to repair, cutting off power to Crimea at the same time as shelling of the Donbass republics increased, accompanied by a build up of Kiev forces in the region. Who would be surprised if Crimea also found itself subject to further sabotage and then shelling by the Kiev forces pushing Russia on this front as well, to react to defend its territory, again testing its resolve?
The only reaction from the NATO countries on Tuesday was to call an emergency meeting and it has to be asked if they knew this attack was coming since none of the NATO leaders has so far condemned Turkey’s action and it is logical to assume that the order for the attack came from Washington, desperate to save its terrorist proxy forces in Syria from being annihilated by the joint Syrian-Russian campaign against ISIS. No doubt the order was to seek a target of opportunity, bring it down, and see what happens, what Russia will do in response.
Whatever Russia does it will be serious but necessarily measured in order to avoid a general war in the Middle East. But act it will.
The New York Times, the journal that speaks for the American ruling class and intelligence services, on the same day as the shoot down, ran an opinion piece by former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the aggressive John Bolton, who clearly defined the American strategy in Syria and Iraq. He wrote:
“Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity from the post-Ottoman Empire settlement, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq. Also emerging, after years of effort, is a de facto independent Kurdistan. If, in this context, defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Mr. Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state.”
“Creating an American-led anti-Islamic State alliance instead of Moscow’s proposed coalition will require considerable diplomatic and political effort. American ground combat forces will have to be deployed to provide cohesion and leadership. But this would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State even if the objective were simply to recreate the status quo ante.”
“This Sunni state proposal differs sharply from the vision of the Russian-Iranian axis and its proxies (Hezbollah, Mr. Assad and Tehran-backed Baghdad). Their aim of restoring Iraqi and Syrian governments to their former borders is a goal fundamentally contrary to American, Israeli and friendly Arab state interests. Notions, therefore, of an American-Russian coalition against the Islamic State are as undesirable as they are glib.
In Syria, Moscow wants to dominate the regime (with or without Mr. Assad) and safeguard Russia’s Tartus naval base and its new Latakia air base. Tehran wants a continuing Alawite supremacy, with full protection for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.
As for Iraq, Russia and Iran want the Sunni territories returned to Baghdad’s control, reinforcing Iran’s regional influence. They may wish for the same in Kurdistan, but they lack the capability there. Sunnis today support the Islamic State for many of the same reasons they once supported Al Qaeda in Iraq — as a bulwark against being ruled by Tehran via Baghdad. Telling these Sunni people that their reward for rising against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will be to put them back in thrall to Mr. Assad and his ilk, or to Shiite-dominated Baghdad, will simply intensify their support for the jihadists. Why would they switch sides? This is why, after destroying the Islamic State, America should pursue the far-reaching goal of creating a new Sunni state. Though difficult in the near term, over time this is more conducive to regional order and stability.”
So there we have it, the plan by Washington and its dependencies to continue their aggression against Syria and Iraq in order to create a new state serving its interests and wrecking the strategic interests of Russia and Iran. This is a statement of intent to carry out a war of aggression against sovereign states, members of the United Nations, in complete defiance of and contempt for the United Nations Charter, and all international law and humanity. It matters not to them how many innocents are slaughtered in the process. They know no morality, have no conscience.
The shooting down of the Russian jet, the murder of its officers is in the logic of this madness. And how long will it be before a French fighter jet shoots down a Russian jet as well, claiming it was too close to them and further escalating the situation?
Can Russia trust the French after the Mistral Affair, the refusal by the French, to deliver two naval ships bought and paid for by Russia in order to sabotage Russian strategic interests, and after they learned that the French aircraft carrier was already on its way to the region before the Paris attack; giving credence to the strong possibility that the attack in Paris, and the bombing of the Russian airliner, were Gladio style NATO operations with the blame shifted to their assets in ISIS? No one in NATO can be trusted except to commit every crime and to cut every thread that weaves civilization together.
The world watches and waits for the next phase of this war, a war which is developing with breathtaking rapidity into a world war in which all of us will suffer. Hopes for peace in our time have vanished along with the humanity required to achieve it. The anti-NATO, anti-war movement has not developed as we hoped and those who are engaged in the effort now risk arrest and worse as accomplices of ‘terrorism.’ All I can say is prepare yourselves as best you can for what is coming, and try to resist, try to speak out, and try to hold the flame of civilization aloft as long as you can.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes.
Tzipi Hotovely waves Israeli flag to proclaim Israeli intent to rebuild the ‘Holy Temple.’ Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has met with representatives of YouTube and Google to discuss ways to cooperate in what she calls the fight against “inciting violence and terrorism.”
Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported yesterday that Hotovely agreed to work with Google and YouTube in order to establish a joint working mechanism to monitor and prevent the publication of “inflammatory material” originating in the Palestinian territories.
Since the latest escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israeli security services that erupted at the beginning of October, many people have been sharing videos depicting Israeli aggression towards Palestinians to highlight the Palestinian perspective of the conflict. London-based Arab newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has expressed concerns that the meetings suggest moves towards censoring Palestinian material on the part of the Israeli state.
New Project Will Gather Users’ Stories of Censorship from Around the World
San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact launched Onlinecensorship.org today, a new platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. The project, made possible by a 2014 Knight News Challenge award, will address how social media sites moderate user-generated content and how free expression is affected across the globe.
Controversies over content takedowns seem to bubble up every few weeks, with users complaining about censorship of political speech, nudity, LGBT content, and many other subjects. The passionate debate about these takedowns reveals a larger issue: social media sites have an enormous impact on the public sphere, but are ultimately privately owned companies. Each corporation has their own rules and systems of governance that control users’ content, while providing little transparency about how these decisions are made.
At Onlinecensorship.org, users themselves can report on content takedowns from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube. By cataloging and analyzing aggregated cases of social media censorship, Onlinecensorship.org seeks to unveil trends in content removals, provide insight into the types of content being taken down, and learn how these takedowns impact different communities of users.
“We want to know how social media companies enforce their terms of service. The data we collect will allow us to raise public awareness about the ways these companies are regulating speech,” said EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression and co-founder of Onlinecensorship.org Jillian C. York. “We hope that companies will respond to the data by improving their regulations and reporting mechanisms and processes—we need to hold Internet companies accountable for the ways in which they exercise power over people’s digital lives.”
York and Onlinecensorship.org co-founder Ramzi Jaber were inspired to action after a Facebook post in support of OneWorld’s “Freedom for Palestine” project disappeared from the band Coldplay’s page even though it had received nearly 7,000 largely supportive comments. It later became clear that Facebook took down the post after it was reported as “abusive” by several users.
“By collecting these reports, we’re not just looking for trends. We’re also looking for context, and to build an understanding of how the removal of content affects users’ lives. It’s important companies understand that, more often than not, the individuals and communities most impacted by online censorship are also the most vulnerable,” said Jaber. “Both a company’s terms of service and their enforcement mechanisms should take into account power imbalances that place already-marginalized communities at greater risk online.”
Onlinecensorship.org has other tools for social media users, including a guide to the often-complex appeals process to fight a content takedown. It will also host a collection of news reports on content moderation practices.
Jillian C. York
Director for International Freedom of Expression
Co-founder and co-director of Visualizing Impact