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September 28 2019

mr-absentia

Breaking The Media Blackout on the Imprisonment of Julian Assange

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«It is important to ask ourselves what Julian Assange’s real crime is. In an era, dubbed the Information Age, where the strategy of the powerful appears to be to know as much as possible about the rest of us while ensuring that we know as little as possible about them and how they operate, Assange worked to prevent that imbalance from becoming a rout, and stuck like a bone in the throat of the mighty.

A double chorus of voices across the mainstream media spectrum cheered the destruction of the First Amendment. The New York Times applauded Trump, claiming he’d “done well” to charge Assange with an “indisputable crime.” CNN demanded that Assange finally “face justice,” while others claimed the day in court of the “narcissistic” “internet troll” who attacked America with his “vile spite” was “long overdue.”

All around the world, Assange’s treatment seems to have given the green light to governments to intimidate and hassle journalists. Australian police, for instance, recently conducted a raid on journalist Annika Smethurst’s home. Smethurst had not long before that revealed that the government had been secretly requesting permission to spy on its own citizens. Meanwhile, independent media everywhere are being marginalized by the crackdown on internet freedom.

In a clear sign to the world, Assange held up Gore Vidal’s book The History of the National Security State to the cameras while being dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy. The book warns of an increasingly powerful and unaccountable authoritarian government taking over the country. Part of that is silencing dissent and limiting or destroying the freedoms centuries of struggle have won us.

If Assange is successfully prosecuted it will send a message to the world that the era of freedom to speak and publish is well and truly over. He will not be the last to be persecuted. The more a power oppresses and takes away rights, the more it needs to oppress and take away rights, until the last vestiges of opposition are destroyed or driven far underground. We cannot expect corporate media to stand up to the corporate state. We have to do it ourselves, or any citizen of the world can be next. Will you heed this warning?»

Reposted bypressanybeton pressanybeton

September 27 2019

mr-absentia

NYT: China Wants the World to Stay Silent on Muslim Camps. It’s Succeeding.

«The private account by the Malaysian diplomat, reviewed by The New York Times, contradicted China’s contention that the Uighurs were voluntarily attending the re-education centers.

“Delegates could actually sense fear and frustration from the students,” the Malaysian wrote after his December visit with a dozen other diplomats from mostly Muslim nations. “China may have legitimate reasons to implement policies intended to eliminate the threat of terrorism, especially in Xinjiang. However, judging by its approach, it is addressing the issue wrongly and illegitimately, e.g. preventing Muslim minors from learning the Quran.”

The diplomat referred to two cities in Xinjiang — once-bustling Kashgar and Hotan — as “zombie towns,” saying the streets were virtually empty and that China was probably “using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to ‘sanitize’ Uighur Muslims until they become acceptable Chinese citizens.”

The report was never made public. At the time, Malaysia was working hard to repair relations with China over a troubled infrastructure deal. It has also become increasingly dependent on China for purchases of palm oil, its biggest export.

“The $100 billion in annual bilateral trade is enough to focus the minds of Malaysian policymakers,” said Shahriman Lockman, a senior analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur. “China is too big a market to lose.”»

September 26 2019

mr-absentia

Amnesty International: Hong Kong: Arbitrary arrests, brutal beatings and torture in police detention revealed

«“The Hong Kong police’s heavy-handed crowd-control response on the streets has been livestreamed for the world to see. Much less visible is the plethora of police abuses against protesters that take place out of sight,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International.

“The evidence leaves little room for doubt – in an apparent thirst for retaliation, Hong Kong’s security forces have engaged in a disturbing pattern of reckless and unlawful tactics against people during the protests. This has included arbitrary arrests and retaliatory violence against arrested persons in custody, some of which has amounted to torture.”»

mr-absentia

How Hong Kong police trained for riots – and why their response to protesters has been so violent

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«The capture of police violence on mobile phone video and social media has not reined in the violence. Instead, the fact that the police are prepared to be filmed using such brutal tactics shows they understand they are immune from redress.

Hard to regain trust

However, the protesters remain resilient and undeterred. They too have learned lessons from 2014 – they are leaderless by design, both to prevent the police picking off the movement’s leaders and any falling out among different factions. They regularly outwit the police with their “like water” approach, inspired by Bruce Lee, dissolving away before the police arrive only to pop-up unexpectedly elsewhere. Their ingenuity and creativity have captured the public’s imagination.

The government’s repressive approach, by contrast, is backfiring. Many who might otherwise stay at home have been so angered by the government’s policing tactics that they too now come out in protest. They span all walks of life, from housewives to lawyers, accountants and businesspeople, and school and university students – and their orderly conduct undermines Beijing’s depiction of them as a violent, radical mob.

Frontline police officers not only face fatigue but doubts about the wisdom of exposing their families to public antagonism, as they continue to follow orders to fire tear gas into crowds which may contain neighbours, friends and relatives. The trust in police and rulers painstakingly built up in the aftermath of 1967 is being undone, and it is hard to see how it can be regained.»

Russia's return to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Diplomacy or defeat?

Amending the Council of Europe’s (CoE) sanctioning rules to restore Russia’s voting rights in its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has divided democracy and human rights advocates.
Reposted from02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

September 25 2019

mr-absentia

September 24 2019

mr-absentia

news.com.au: Chilling video shows Chinese police transferring hundreds of blindfolded, shackled prisoners

«The footage, which could not be independently verified, was published to YouTube last week by a newly created account calling itself War on Fear. Clips were also posted to Twitter by the handle @warcombatfear.

“Our aim is to fight fear,” the video description said.

“The people of today’s society always live under the supervision of the government with high technology. People lose their freedom. The leaders of the Communist Party of China called them patriotic and loved the people. In fact, they only love the party and only love power.”

It added, “These videos were taken in China. This is the long-term suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Chinese government in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.”»

mr-absentia

European Parliament strongly condemns repression of women in Iran

«In her remarks to the session, MEP Anna Fotyga from Poland said she commended the women of Iran for their bravery, determination and will not only for their struggle for women’s rights, but for their protests against the regime.» … I feel this remark is about (illegal) regime change, rather than human rights.

Wikipedia: National Council of Resistance of Iran (redirect from NCRI women's committee)

mr-absentia

How the Nazis took control of Hollywood

August 1, 2013

«During the 1930’s golden age of Hollywood, executives throughout the movie industry slowly went from being influenced by Nazis in Germany to being totally under their control, according to a controversial new book.

In an excerpt obtained by the Hollywood Reporter from the upcoming book “The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler” written by Ben Urwand (Harvard University Press, on sale Sept. 9), the author reveals shocking details about the close “collaboration” between Hollywood and Nazi officials.»

mr-absentia

China Scores Businesses, and Low Grades Could Be a Trade-War Weapon - The New York Times

«Beijing is increasingly amassing information now divided among various government agencies and industry associations — including court decisions, payroll data, environmental records, copyright violations, even how many employees are members of the Communist Party — and using it to grade businesses and the people who run them, according to state media, government documents and experts.

Companies that get low grades can be banned from borrowing money or doing other essential tasks. Their owners or executives could have their bank accounts frozen or be forbidden from traveling.

It isn’t just aimed at Chinese businesses. In letters sent to the companies, officials have threatened to give United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines black marks on their records if they don’t bend to Beijing’s wishes. FedEx could face a similar punishment.

China calls it the social credit system. By next year, Chinese leaders had hoped to start an ambitious nationwide program focused on punishing or rewarding individuals. It was aimed at replicating the credit scoring system common in the United States and other places, as well as taming behavior in a country where laws are inconsistently enforced.

Civil libertarians warned that it would create a digital Big Brother that would intrude into everyday Chinese life. But the system has yet to materialize for individuals on a mass scale.

For many businesses, however, social credit has become a fact of life. In September, China’s central economic planning agency announced that it had completed a first evaluation of 33 million businesses, giving them ratings from 1 for excellent to 4 for poor. China hopes it will someday become a nationwide regulatory tool, harnessing the country’s growing skills in big data and automation, to help the Communist Party keep the business world in line.

“It’s supposed to affect the decision making of businesses to conform to what the party wants,” said Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank.

Loren Fei, the 30-year-old-daughter of a silk factory owner, has been added to a blacklist of businesses and their owners. Because her father couldn’t pay his bills, she said, her bank accounts have been frozen and she lost her job and her ability to travel.

“My family really wants to pay back the money, and the system is making it impossible,” Ms. Fei said.

The authorities are testing the system as a tool to bend foreign companies to the Communist Party’s political views.

United, Delta and American received letters last year from Chinese aviation officials saying their social credit score could be hit unless their websites labeled Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of China. Lower scores would lead to investigations, the possibility of frozen bank accounts, limitations on local employees’ movement and other punishments, according to a letter sent to United and seen by The New York Times.

Representatives of United, Delta and American Airlines confirmed changing their websites but declined to comment specifically on the matter.

Social credit is one aspect of the Communist Party’s efforts under Xi Jinping, its top leader, to strengthen its hold over the country. The authorities are installing separate facial-recognition technology and other monitoring systems to quell dissent as well as stop crime. They have taken a tougher line on media and worked to give the party a greater role in offices and classrooms.»

mr-absentia

The attacks on Saudi Arabia merit a firm response - Abqaiq the powder keg

«Consider the cost of recent Western restraint. In May Iran hit four tankers in the United Arab Emirates; in June it struck two more tankers in the Strait of Hormuz; later it took down an American drone. Mr Trump was prepared to retaliate only after that last aggression—and even then he pulled back at the last minute. The attack on September 14th was vastly more consequential. The president has said that America is “locked and loaded”. In Tehran they are watching to see whether he is all talk, as they are in Beijing, Moscow, Pyongyang, and in countries whose security depends on the idea that America will turn up.

If any nuclear negotiations are to succeed, Iran must pay a price for Abqaiq. America wants a more sweeping agreement than the original one, but only the pragmatic faction in Tehran, weakened by America’s approach, will make such a deal. While Iran can hit out again, the hardliners will have a veto over any talks. If America is seen as a paper tiger, they will be able to argue that Iran need not give much ground. On the contrary, they will say that their country should pile pressure on America by accelerating its nuclear programme. America and its allies therefore need to convince Iran that it cannot use violence to get its way.

The first stage of a response is to establish precisely where Saturday’s attack originated and who planned it. America must share this publicly, partly because Mr Trump’s word alone does not carry weight, but also to build a coalition and help stifle the objections of Iran’s apologists. Evidence against Iran could pave the way for new sanctions. Mr Trump has promised more—though America is already doing pretty much all it can. He should be backed by the Europeans, who need to understand that peace depends on deterring Iran, and China, which imports over 9m b/d of oil, much of it from the Middle East.

That is not all. If the Abqaiq attack is the work of Iran’s revolutionary guards, they should face direct consequences. That involves covert operations, by cyber-units that can disrupt their communications and finances; and air strikes on guard units outside Iran in Syria. Ideally, these would be carried out by a coalition, but if need be, America and Saudi Arabia should act alone. The risk of escalation should not be ignored, but Iran does not want all-out war any more than Saudi Arabia and America do. Israel frequently launches air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq without provoking an Iranian escalation.»

mr-absentia

Abandon illusion that Iran can be defeated by pressure: Zarif to US

«Trump’s goal has been to get another deal as he has already described the JCPOA as "the worst deal ever negotiated.” The White House position has been that maximum pressure will continue until Iranian officials accept to sit at the negotiating table.

Iranian officials, however, say it was Washington that left the JCPOA last year although the international and multilateral deal was endorsed by the UN Security Council in the form of a resolution. Tehran says talks with Washington are impossible as the latter is pressing ahead with its hostile policy and refuses to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

In an interview with Malaysia's official news agency Bernama in August, the Iranian foreign minister said the country will not renegotiate its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but is open to talks on finding ways to implement the existing accord.

"We are ready to talk and consult with others on how to best implement this deal. We are talking about Europe coming to comply with its own obligations under the deal," Zarif said.

Elsewhere in his interview with the NPR, Iran's foreign minister said, “The United States can have a much better deal with Iran if they started talking to us based on respect, based on mutual respect and based on moving forward.”

Referring to a forthcoming meeting between Iran and the four remaining members of the P5+1 group – the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany – next Wednesday, Zarif said, “Four of the five permanent members [of the UN Security Council] plus Germany will be seated around the table along with me and the High Representative of the European Union.”

He added, “There is an empty chair there for the United States, but there is a ticket for that chair and that is to be law abiding.”»

September 23 2019

Trinidad & Tobago government unimpressed with BBC report on Venezuelan refugees

A BBC report about Venezuelan migrants in Trinidad and Tobago has not been well received by locals. Many feel the report did not portray an accurate representation of the situation.
Reposted from02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

September 22 2019

mr-absentia

Between Washington and Beijing

«Hong Kong exists between two global ambitions — Chinese state capitalism and Western neoliberalism. To fight for self-determination is to confront both, and to do so, Hong Kongers must engage internationally, seeking allies not only in China and the West, but beyond all borders in order to build a broad anticapitalist movement.

This is especially important in combating Chinese colonial influence through projects like the Belt and Road Initiative, which promotes new forms of economic imperialism and infringes on people’s right to self-determination. Kenyan coal miners and indigenous groups in Southeast Asia like the Dumagat people are examples of communities at the front-lines of the struggle against Chinese capital and the exploitation of their land and labor. As Hong Kongers in the city and abroad, we hope to learn from and foreground these voices.

Furthermore, as Hong Kong looks to the United States for support, we urge protesters to refuse alliances with right-wingers like Marco Rubio and instead build connections between oppressed groups. Police brutality is one example of an issue that creates an opening for solidarity. Considering how opposition to violence from the Hong Kong Police Force is now at the heart of the city’s struggle, we want to draw connections between police brutality and other forms of state oppression in the United States with what’s happening in Hong Kong. We want to help build alliances between marginalized groups and facilitate a cross-border solidarity grounded in skill-sharing and meaningful dialogue.

Finally, we want to connect Hong Kong’s fight for self-determination and anticapitalist struggles to places like Kashmir, Sudan, Palestine, Tamil Eelam, Kurdistan, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Lausan 流傘 is invested in the fight to establish other forms of community not necessarily based upon nation-state sovereignty, and not based upon borders or capitalism’s imperatives. A lot more work needs to be done on this front.»

mr-absentia

A Crackdown on Islam Is Spreading Across China - The New York Times

«Islam has had followers in China for centuries. There are now 22 to 23 million Muslims, a tiny minority in a country of 1.4 billion. Among them, the Hui and the Uighurs make up the largest ethnic groups. Uighurs primarily live in Xinjiang, but the Hui live in enclaves scattered around the nation.

The restrictions they now face can be traced to 2015, when Mr. Xi first raised the issue of what he called the “Sinicization of Islam,” saying all faiths should be subordinate to Chinese culture and the Communist Party. Last year, Mr. Xi’s government issued a confidential directive that ordered local officials to prevent Islam from interfering with secular life and the state’s functions.

Critics of China’s policies who are outside the country provided excerpts from the directive to The Times. The directive, titled “Reinforcing and Improving Islam Work in the New Situation,” has not been made public. It was issued by the State Council, China’s cabinet, in April of last year and classified as confidential for 20 years.

The directive warns against the “Arabization” of Islamic places, fashions and rituals in China, singling out the influence of Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites, as a cause for concern.

It prohibits the use of the Islamic financial system. It bars mosques or other private Islamic organizations from organizing kindergartens or after-school programs, and it forbids Arabic-language schools to teach religion or send students abroad to study.

The most visible aspect of the crackdown has been the targeting of mosques built with domes, minarets and other architectural details characteristic of Central Asia or the Arabic world.

Taken in isolation, some of these measures seem limited. Others seem capricious: some mosques with Arabic features have been left untouched, while others nearby have been altered or shut down.

But on a national scale, the trend is clear. Mr. Cui, the poet, calls it the harshest campaign against faith since the end of the Cultural Revolution, when so-called Red Guards unleashed by Mao Zedong destroyed mosques across the country.»

«In an interview, Mr. Ma, the Frostburg State scholar, said the current leadership viewed religion as “the major enemy the state faces.” He said senior officials had studied the role played by faith — particularly the Catholic Church in Poland — in the collapse of the Soviet Union and its dominion in Eastern Europe.»

Broken bones, internal bleeding: Hong Kong police used ‘reckless, indiscriminate’ tactics during protests, says Amnesty

"...police officers meted out violence prior to and during arrests, even when the individual had been restrained. The use of force was clearly excessive, violating international human rights law."
Reposted from02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

September 21 2019

mr-absentia

BBC News: Hong Kong protests: The Taiwanese sending 2,000 gas masks

«Slowly but surely, the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan see their fate as tied. They are the only two places in Greater China that have tasted freedom - and some believe by joining forces, they could show the Chinese leadership and people how much democracy is worth fighting for.»

Reposted bymushu mushu
mr-absentia
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It's no consolation that the USA also irradiated their own troops when deploying these chemical weapons.
Let's call them what they are, a combination of a radiation and chemical weapon.





https://truthout.org/articles/iraqi-children-test-positive-for-depleted-uranium-near-former-us-air-base
mr-absentia

Netizen Report: Pro-government doxxing campaigns rock Hong Kong, Serbia

Doxxing is all the rage in Hong Kong and Serbia, an Indian judge delivers a win for internet rights, and Facebook debuts plans for its oversight board.
Reposted from02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01
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