position:correspondent

  • An Interview with Ryszard Kapuscinski: Writing about Suffering
    https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jii/4750978.0006.107/--interview-with-ryszard-kapuscinski-writing-about-suffering?rgn=mai

    Wolfe:

    Were you trained as a journalist? Kapuscinski: No, never. I started in journalism in 1950 — I was 18, just finishing secondary school, and the newspaper people came to ask me to work. I learned journalism through practice.

    Wolfe: How would you describe your genre?

    Kapuscinski: It’s very difficult to describe. We have such a mixture now, such a fusion of different genres… in the American tradition you would call it New Journalism. This implies writing about the facts, the real facts of life, but using the techniques of fiction writing. There is a certain difference in my case, because I’m trying to put more elements of the essay into my writing… My writing is a combination of three elements. The first is travel: not travel like a tourist, but travel as exploration, as concentration, as a purpose. The second is reading literature on the subject: books, articles, scholarship. The third is reflection, which comes from travel and reading. My books are created from a combination of these three elements.

    Wolfe:When did the idea of Aesopian writing enter into the genre, the idea of putting layers into official texts?

    Kapuscinski: Well, this is not a new thing — it was a nineteenth-century Russian tradition. As for us, we were trying to use all the available possibilities, because there wasn’t any underground. Underground literature only began in the 70s, when technical developments made it possible. Before that, we were involved in a game with the censors. That was our struggle. The Emperor is considered to be an Aesopian book in Poland and the Soviet Union. Of course it’s not about Ethiopia or Haile Selassie — rather, it’s about the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The First Secretary at the time was named Gierek, and he was very much the emperor with his court, and everybody read the book as being about him and the Central Committee.

    Wolfe: But you didn’t write explicitly about the Central Committee.

    Kapuscinski: No, but of course the authorities knew what it was about, and so it had a very small circulation, and it was forbidden to turn it into a film or a play. Aesopian language was used by all of us. And of course, using this language meant having readers who understood it.

    Cohen: The other day we were discussing the crisis of readership, and wondering whether people were still capable of doing the double reading, of taking apart a text that has been written in a complicated way.

    Kapuscinski: The limitation of sources under the Communists had a very political effect on reading. People had just one book, and nothing else — no television or other diversions — so they just read the same book very carefully several times. Readership was high, and very attentive. It was people’s only source of knowledge about the world. You have to understand that the tradition of Russian literature — and Russians are great readers — is also an eastern tradition of learning poetry and prose by heart. This is the most intimate relationship between literature and its readers: they treat the text as a part of themselves, as a possession. This art of reading, reading the text behind the text, is missing now.

    Cohen: When did you first arrive on the African continent?

    Kapuscinski:My first trip to Africa came when the first countries south of the Sahara became independent, in 1958. Ghana was the first African country I visited. I wrote a series of reports about Nkumrah and Lumumba. My second trip was just two years later, when I went to cover the events surrounding the independence of the Congo. At that time, I was not allowed to go to Kinshasa — it was Leopoldville at that time — but I crossed the Sudan-Congo border illegally with a Czech journalist friend, since there was nobody patrolling it. And I went to Kisangani, which was called Stanleyville then.

    Cohen: Were you in Leopoldville during the actual transfer[1]?

    Kapuscinski:No, afterwards. It was a moment of terrible international tension. I remember the atmosphere of danger: there was the expectation that the Congo might begin a new world war. I say this today and people just smile. But that’s why everybody was so nervous: Russians were going there, Americans were going there, the French, the United Nations… I remember one moment at the airport in Kisangani, thinking that Soviet planes were coming — all the journalists were there, and we all expected it to happen.

    Cohen: At that time, in the early 1960s, there weren’t more than three regular American journalists covering Africa.

    Kapuscinski:There were very few, because most correspondents came from the former colonial powers — there were British, French, and a lot of Italians, because there were a lot of Italian communities there. And of course there were a lot of Russians.

    Wolfe: Was there competition among this handful of people?

    Kapuscinski: No, we all cooperated, all of us, East and West, regardless of country, because the working conditions were really terrible. We had to. We always moved in groups from one coup d’état to another, from one war to another… So if there was a coup d’état of leftist orientation in some country I took my Western colleagues with me and said ‘look, let them come in,’ and if there was one of rightist orientation they took me, saying ‘no, he’s okay, give him a visa please, he’s going with us, he’s our friend,’ and so on. I didn’t compete with the New York Times, for example, because the Polish press agency is a small piece of cake, not important. And because conditions were so hard. For example, to send the news out, there was no e-mail, nothing: telex was the only means, but telex was very rare in Africa. So if somebody was flying to Europe, we gave him correspondence, to send after he arrived. I remember that during the period leading up to independence in Angola in 1975, I was the only correspondent there at all for three months. I was in my hotel room when somebody knocked on my door - I opened it, and a man said, ‘I’m the New York Times correspondent.’ The official independence celebration was going to be held over four or five days, and a group of journalists from all over the world was allowed to fly in, because Angola was closed otherwise. So he said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m the new man here, and I heard you’ve been here longer, and I have to write something from Angola, and this is the article I have to send to the New York Times. Could you kindly read it and correct things which are not real?’ And he brought a bottle of whiskey. And whiskey was something which was absolutely marvelous, because there was nothing: no cigarettes, no food, nothing…The difference at that time, in comparison with today, was that this was a group of highly specialized people. They were real Africanists, and not only from experience. If you read articles from that time in Le Monde, in the Times, you’ll find that the authors really had background, a knowledge of the subject. It was a very highly qualified sort of journalism — we were all great specialists.

    Woodford: Professor Piotr Michalowski[2] says that when he was growing up in Poland, people lived through your reports in a very special way: they were like a big, exotic outlet, given the state of world politics. People of all ranks and stations followed these adventures. When you went back, did regular Poles, non-educated people, also want you to tell them about what it was like to see these things?

    Kapuscinski:Yes, very much so. They were very interested in what I was writing. This was a unique source of information, and Africa held incomparably greater interest for them at that time than it does now. People were really interested in what was going on because of the international context of the Cold War.

    Wolfe: What did the Poles know about Africa?

    Kapuscinski: They had very limited knowledge. This was very typical of the European understanding of Africa, which is full of stereotypes and biases. Nevertheless, there was a certain fascination with Africa. Maybe it has something to do with our literature: we have Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, for example, and Conrad is considered in Poland as a Polish writer. The similarity between Africa and Poland - and this is an argument I have always had with people in Africa - is that we were also a colonized country. We were a colony for 130 years. We lost independence at the end of the 18th century, and only regained it in 1918, after the First World War. We were divided between three colonial powers - Russia, Prussia, and Austria. There’s a certain similarity of experience. I’ve often quarreled with African friends about this. I’ve asked, ‘How long were you colonized?’ “Eighty years,” they’ve answered, and I’ve responded, ‘We were colonized 50 years longer, so what can you say about colonialism? I’ll tell you what colonial experience is.’ And they’re shocked. But though there is a similarity of experience, the common people are not conscious of this.

    Wolfe: At the end of the Copernicus Lecture, you said that you wrote Imperium because it was important to bring a Polish way of seeing things to your topic. How did you come to a sense that there was a Polish way of seeing things? Did it emerge from your experiences in Africa, or in relationship to Russia?

    Kapuscinski: It developed in relation to Russia in particular. Our history, the history of Polish-Russian relations, is very tragic, very harrowing. There has been a lot of suffering on our side, because Stalin killed all our intelligentsia. It wasn’t just that he killed 100,000 people, it was that he purposely killed the 100,000 who were our only intelligentsia… When I started writing Imperium, I had a problem with my conscience, because if I wrote strictly from the point of view of this Polish experience, the book would be completely unacceptable and incomprehensible to the Western reader…So I had to put aside our Polish experience, and to find an angle, an objective way of writing about Russia.

    Wolfe: Isn’t there something inherently difficult in writing about suffering? How does one go back and forth between a sense of causation in daily suffering on the one hand, and an understanding of the purges as a social phenomenon, on the other? How does one attempt to understand the cultural propensity of Russians to suffer?

    Kapuscinski: There is a fundamental difference between the Polish experience of the state and the Russian experience. In the Polish experience, the state was always a foreign power. So, to hate the state, to be disobedient to the state, was a patriotic act. In the Russian experience, although the Russian state is oppressive, it is their state, it is part of their fabric, and so the relation between Russian citizens and their state is much more complicated. There are several reasons why Russians view the oppressive state positively. First of all, in Russian culture, in the Russian Orthodox religion, there is an understanding of authority as something sent by God. This makes the state part of the sacred… So if the state is oppressive, then it is oppressive, but you can’t revolt against it. The cult of authority is very strong in Russian society.

    Wolfe: But what is the difference between Soviet suffering and something like the battle of the Marne, the insanity of World War I and trench warfare?

    Kapuscinski: It’s different. In the First World War, there was the sudden passion of nationalism, and the killing took place because of these emotions. But the Soviet case is different, because there you had systematic murder, like in the Holocaust. Ten or 12 million Ukrainian peasants were purposely killed by Stalin, by starvation, in the Ukrainian hunger of 1932-3…It was a very systematic plan… In modern Russia, you have no official, formal assessment of this past. Nobody in any Russian document has said that the policy of the Soviet government was criminal, that it was terrible. No one has ever said this.

    Woodford: But what about Khrushchev in 1956?

    Kapuscinski: I’m speaking about the present. Official Russian state doctrine and foreign policy doesn’t mention the Bolshevik policy of expansion. It doesn’t condemn it. If you ask liberal Russians - academics, politicians - if Russia is dangerous to us, to Europe, to the world, they say: ‘No, it’s not dangerous, we’re too weak, we have an economic crisis, difficulties with foreign trade, our army is in a state of anarchy…’ That is the answer. They are not saying: ‘We will never, ever repeat our crimes of expansionism, of constant war.’ No, they say: ‘We are not dangerous to you, because right now we are weak.’

    Cohen:

    When Vaclav Havel was president of Czechoslovakia, he was asked whether the state would take responsibility for the deaths, the oppression, the confiscations of the previous governments of Czechoslovakia, and he said ‘yes.’ The same questions were asked in South Africa of the Mandela government. And I think Poland is now struggling with how much responsibility the government will have to take for the past. But the Russian official response has been that Stalin can be blamed for everything.

    Kapuscinski:This is a very crucial point: there is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past.

    Polish-born journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski worked as an African correspondent for various Polish periodicals and press agencies from 1958 to 1980. In his book Imperium (Granta Books, 1994), he turns a journalist’s eye onto the Russian state, and the effects of authoritarianism on everyday Russian life. Kapuscinski delivered his November, 1997 Copernicus lecture: "The Russian Puzzle: Why I Wrote Imperium at the Center for Russian and East European Studies. During his visit, he spoke with David Cohen (International Institute); John Woodford (Executive Editor of Michigan Today ); and Thomas Wolfe (Communications). The following is an excerpted transcript of their conversation.

    Sei Sekou Mobutu seized control of the Congo in 1965. After the evolution, the name of the capital was changed from Leopoldville to Kinshasa, and in 1971 the country was renamed Zaire, instead of the Congo. return to text

    Piotr Michalowski is the George D. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations and Languages at the Unversity of Michigan.

    Kapuscinski, more magical than real

    What’s the truth about Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski
    https://www.newstatesman.com/africa/2007/02/wrong-kapuscinski-african

    https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryszard_Kapu%C5%9Bci%C5%84ski

    #presse #littérature #reportage


  • #Ghost_Towns | Buildings | Architectural Review

    https://www.architectural-review.com/today/ghost-towns/8634793.article

    Though criticised by many, China’s unoccupied new settlements could have a viable future

    Earlier this year a historic landmark was reached, but with little fanfare. The fact that the people of China are now predominantly urban, was largely ignored by the Western media. By contrast, considerable attention focused on China’s new ‘ghost towns’ or kong cheng − cities such as Ordos in the Gobi desert and Zhengzhou New District in Henan Province which are still being built but are largely unoccupied.

    By some estimates, the number of vacant homes in Chinese cities is currently around 64 million: space to accommodate, perhaps, two thirds of the current US population. However, unlike the abandoned cities of rust-belt America or the shrinking cities of Europe, China’s ghost cities seem never to have been occupied in the first place. So to what extent are these deserted places symbolic of the problems of rapid Chinese urbanisation? And what is revealed by the Western discourse about them?

    Characterised by its gargantuan central Genghis Khan Plaza and vast boulevards creating open vistas to the hills of Inner Mongolia, Ordos New Town is a modern frontier city. It is located within a mineral rich region that until recently enjoyed an estimated annual economic growth rate of 40 per cent, and boasts the second highest per-capita income in China, behind only the financial capital, Shanghai.

    Having decided that the existing urban centre of 1.5 million people was too crowded, it was anticipated that the planned cultural districts and satellite developments of Ordos New Town would by now accommodate half a million people rather than the 30,000 that reputedly live there.

    Reports suggest that high profile architectural interventions such as the Ai Weiwei masterplan for 100 villas by 100 architects from 27 different countries have been shelved, although a few of the commissions struggle on.

    It seems that expectations of raising both the region’s profile (at least in ways intended) and the aesthetic esteem of its new residents have failed to materialise. Instead, attention is focused on the vacant buildings and empty concrete shells within a cityscape devoid of traffic and largely empty of people.

    Estimates suggest there’s another dozen Chinese cities with similar ghost town annexes. In the southern city of Kunming, for example, the 40-square-mile area of Chenggong is characterised by similar deserted roads, high-rises and government offices. Even in the rapidly growing metropolitan region of Shanghai, themed model towns such as Anting German Town and Thames Town have few inhabitants. In the Pearl River Delta, the New South China Mall is the world’s largest. Twice the size of the Mall of America in Minneapolis, it is another infamous example of a gui gouwu zhongxin or ‘ghost mall’.

    Located within a dynamic populated region (40 million people live within 60 miles of the new Mall), it has been used in the American documentary Utopia, Part 3 to depict a modern wasteland. With only around 10 of the 2,300 retail spaces occupied, there is an unsettling emptiness here. The sense that this is a building detached from economic and social reality is accentuated by broken display dummies, slowly gliding empty escalators, and gondolas navigating sewage-infested canals. The message is that in this ‘empty temple to consumerism’ − as described by some critics − we find an inherent truth about China’s vapid future.

    Anting German Town Shanghai

    The main square of Anting German Town outside Shanghai. One of the nine satellite European cities built around the city, it has failed to establish any sense of community. The Volkswagen factory is down the road

    Pursued through the imagery of the ghost town, the commentary on stalled elements of Chinese modernity recalls the recent fascination with what has been termed ‘ruin porn’ − apocalyptic photographs of decayed industrial structures in cities such as Detroit, as in the collection The Ruins of Detroit by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffe. These too dramatise the urban landscapes but seldom seem interested in enquiring about the origins and processes underlying them.

    In his popular work Collapse, Jared Diamond fantasised that one day in the future, tourists would stare at the ‘rusting hulks of New York’s skyscrapers’ explaining that human arrogance − overreaching ourselves − is at the root of why societies fail. In Requiem for Detroit, filmmaker Julian Temple too argues that to avoid the fate of the lost cities of the Maya, we must recognise the ‘man-made contagion’ in the ‘rusting hulks of abandoned car plants’. (It seems that even using a different metaphor is deemed to be too hubristic.)

    In terms of the discussion about Chinese ghost cities, many impugn these places as a commentary on the folly of China’s development and its speed of modernisation. Take the Guardian’s former Asia correspondent, Jonathan Watts, who has argued that individuals and civilisations bring about their own annihilation by ‘losing touch with their roots or over-consuming’. Initial signs of success often prove to be the origin of later failures, he argues. In his view, strength is nothing more than potential weakness, and the moral of the tale is that by hitting a tipping point, civilisations will fall much more quickly than they rise.

    In fact, China’s headlong rush to development means that its cities embody many extremes. For example, the city of Changsha in Hunan Province recently announced that in the space of just seven months it would build an 838 metre skyscraper creating the world’s tallest tower. Understandably, doubts exist over whether this can be achieved − the current tallest, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, took six years to build. Yet such is the outlook of a country with so much dynamic ambition, that even the seemingly impossible is not to be considered off-limits. At the other end of the scale, it was recently revealed that 30 million Chinese continue to live in caves − a reflection of under-development (not an energy efficient lifestyle choice).

    In the West, a risk averse outlook means that caution is the watchword. Not only is the idea of building new cities a distant memory, but data from the US and UK betrays that geographical mobility is reducing as people elect to stay in declining towns rather than seek new opportunities elsewhere. By contrast, China is a country on the move − quite literally. In fact the landmark 50 per cent urbanisation rate was achieved some years ago, driven by a ‘floating population’ of perhaps 200 million people, whose legal status as villagers disguises the fact they have already moved to live and work in cities.

    If cramming five to a room in the existing Anting town means easy access to jobs then why move to Anting German Town, accessible via only a single road, and surrounded by industrial districts and wasteland? But it is also clear that China is building for expansion. The notion of ‘predict and provide’ is so alien to Western planners these days, that they are appalled when particular Chinese authorities announce that they will build a new town with three-lane highways before people move there. How absurd, we say. Look, the roads are empty and unused. But in this debate, it is we who have lost our sense of the audacious.

    When assessing the ghost cities phenomenon, it seems likely that in a country growing at the breakneck speed of China, some mistakes will be made. When bureaucratic targets and technical plans inscribed in protocols and legislation are to the fore, then not all outcomes of investment programmes such as a recent $200 billion infrastructure project will work out. And yes, ghost cities do reflect some worrying economic trends, with rising house prices and the speculative stockpiling of units so that many apartments are owned but not occupied.

    But these problems need to be kept firmly in perspective. The reality is that meaningful development requires risk-taking. The ghost cities today may well prove to be viable in the longer term, as ongoing urbanisation leads to better integration with existing regions, and because by the very virtue of their creation, such areas create new opportunities that alter the existing dynamics.

    #chine #urban_matter #villes_fantômes #architecture


  • 10/2017 :

    Les « attaques acoustiques » qui, selon les responsables américains, seraient à l’origine des symptômes ressentis en 2016 par des diplomates américains, correspondent à des sons produits par des insectes selon des experts cubains – ACTU DIRECT
    https://actudirect.com/cuba/attaques-acoustiques-a-cuba-des-cigales-et-des-criquets-responsables

    1/2019 :

    Selon une étude de chercheurs de l’université de Californie, de Berkeley aux Etats-Unis, et de Lincoln en Angleterre, l’étrange crissement serait en réalité le fait… de criquets.
    https://www.marianne.net/monde/le-champ-de-force-evoque-par-des-diplomates-americains-tombes-malades-cuba

    #Cuba #Etats-Unis

    • Recording of “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba spectrally matches the echoing call of a Caribbean cricket | bioRxiv (pdf accessible)
      https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2019/01/04/510834

      Abstract
      Beginning in late 2016, diplomats posted to the United States embassy in Cuba began to experience unexplained health problems including ear pain, tinnitus, vertigo, and cognitive difficulties which reportedly began after they heard strange noises in their homes or hotel rooms. In response, the U.S. government dramatically reduced the number of diplomats posted at the U.S. embassy in Havana. U.S. officials initially believed a sonic attack might be responsible for their ailments. The sound linked to these attacks, which has been described as a high-pitched beam of sound, was recorded by U.S. personnel in Cuba and released by the Associated Press (AP).

      Because these recordings are the only available non-medical evidence of the sonic attacks, much attention has focused on identifying health problems and the origin of the acoustic signal.

      As shown here, the calling song of the Indies short-tailed cricket (Anurogryllus celerinictus) matches, in nuanced detail, the AP recording in duration, pulse repetition rate, power spectrum, pulse rate stability, and oscillations per pulse. The AP recording also exhibits frequency decay in individual pulses, a distinct acoustic signature of cricket sound production. While the temporal pulse structure in the recording is unlike any natural insect source, when the cricket call is played on a loudspeaker and recorded indoors, the interaction of reflected sound pulses yields a sound virtually indistinguishable from the AP sample.

      This provides strong evidence that an echoing cricket call, rather than a sonic attack or other technological device, is responsible for the sound in the released recording. Although the causes of the health problems reported by embassy personnel are beyond the scope of this paper, our findings highlight the need for more rigorous research into the source of these ailments, including the potential psychogenic effects, as well as possible physiological explanations unrelated to sonic attacks.


  • Battle brews between French and ultra-Orthodox over Jerusalem archaeology site

    Ultra-Orthodox demands to pray at the Tomb of the Kings – the grandest burial compound in Jerusalem – have kindled fears among the French of an Israeli land grab under their flag in East Jerusalem

    Nir Hasson SendSend me email alerts
    Dec 21, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-france-orthodox-jews-archaeologists-battle-over-e-j-lem-s-tomb-of-

    In recent weeks, a small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews has been gathering alongside a locked iron gate on Nablus Road in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. They pray and protest alongside the shuttered gate, periodically squabbling with the Palestinian guard, demanding to be allowed inside to pray. The guard refuses, and refers them to the body that owns and administers the site – the French Consulate of Jerusalem.
    These protests are yet another round in a long-standing historic struggle over control of one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Jerusalem, which has been closed to the public for years. On the one side stands the government of France and on the other, Haredi and right-wing Israeli factions. Israel’s Antiquities Authority is in favor of opening the site to the public, but does share the French concerns that the site might befall the same fate of many other archaeological sites in the city, which were transformed from mere archaeology and tourism sites into holy sites and then appropriated from the public’s domain.
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    The Tomb of the Kings, situated between the Jerusalem District Court and the American Colony Hotel, is considered the grandest burial compound in Jerusalem. The site includes a sophisticated burial cave that has a mechanism for sealing the entrance by means of a stone that rotates on a hinge. It includes a mammoth courtyard carved into the bedrock, a staircase carved into the bedrock that is the second largest in Jerusalem – the only one larger is on the Temple Mount – stone-inscribed ornamentation, an ancient mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) and cisterns.
    The site has been dated to the Second Temple period, and there are various traditions and theories regarding who is actually buried there. According to one tradition, it was the place of burial of Kalba Savua, the father-in-law of Rabbi Akiva, or of Nicodemus ben Guryon – two of the wealthier residents of Jerusalem at the start of the 1st millennium CE.
    The historian Josephus Flavius wrote that this was the burial place of Queen Helena of Adiabene, who converted to Judaism around the year 30 C.E., and some of the site’s investigators say it is reasonable to believe that this is indeed her tomb. An ornamented sarcophagus found here was inscribed with the legend, “Tzadan Malkata,” which is believed to refer to Queen (Malka) Helena. This reinforces the notion that buried on this site were other members of her royal family. The site gained fame in the late 19th century, and among its visitors were the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and Theodore Herzl.

    The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman

    The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman

    The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman
    The Tomb of the Kings is interwoven into the history of archaeology in Israel. The excavation conducted by Félicien de Saulcy in 1863 is considered the first modern archaeological dig in the country. It is also the first excavation to receive a digging permit from the Turkish sultan.
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    Pressure worked

    The Tomb of Kings archaeological site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman
    But along with modern archaeology, the protest against it was also born here. “This was the first official archaeological excavation, and also the first time in which the Jews of Jerusalem rose up against the excavation of ancestral graves,” writes a scholar who has studied the site, Dr. Dotan Goren.
    In the wake of the Orthodox Jews’ public protests in the city and pressure from the Jews on the sultan, those excavations were suspended. To the dismay of the city’s Jews, de Saulcy managed to load the queen’s sarcophagus onto a ship anchored in Jaffa port, and it is to this day displayed at the Louvre Museum. Several years ago, it appeared as part of a temporary exhibition in the Israel Museum.
    The basis for the current demand by religious and Haredi circles that the Jews ought to be granted rights over the site has to do with events that occurred following the excavation. In 1878, a woman named Berta Amalia Bertrand, a French Jew who was related to the Pereire brothers, a famous Jewish banking family, purchased the burial compound from its Arab owners. At the time of the purchase, Bertrand dedicated the site in the presence of the chief rabbi of Paris, declaring that it “will become the land in perpetuity of the Jewish community, to be preserved from desecration and abomination, and will never again be damaged by foreigners..”

    The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman
    Eight years later, however, one of Bertrand’s heirs granted the site as a gift to the government of France. At the time of the conferral of the gift, an agreement was signed between the French government and the family, under which France committed to meet several conditions. One was to erect a sign in Hebrew, French and Arabic saying that these are the Tombs of the Kings of Judah. The large sign, made of copper, can still be found set into the wall of the building.
    A few testimonies describe how the site served for prayer and pilgrimage, although it is altogether clear that it was secondary in importance to the neighboring holy site, the cave of Shimon Hatzadik. But in any event, following the battles of 1948, the site was left behind the enemy lines, within the territory of the Jordanian kingdom. “This site was forgotten or made to be forgotten, and there was no one to tell about it,” says Goren.

    An inscription at the Tomb of Kings in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman
    Following 1967’s Six-Day War, the site continued to be administered by the French consulate in Jerusalem. Most of the time, it was open to visitors, for a token entry fee. Ten years ago the consulate held a concert there, together with the Palestinian cultural organization Yabous, which advocates a boycott of Israel.
    Apparently that is what has sparked a renewed interest in the site. In 2014, the rabbinical court for “hekdesh” (sacred property) affairs appointed Yitzhak Mamo and Yaakov Saltzman as emissaries of the court in the matter of the Tomb of the Kings sacred property. Mamo is a well-known right-wing activist in East Jerusalem who for years has been engaged in the evacuation of Palestinian families and the resettlement of Jews in Sheikh Jarrah. In 2015, the two men filed a suit in the rabbinical court against the government of France, with a plea to gain possession of the site.
    The lawsuit sparked outrage in Paris and in the French consulate in Jerusalem, as well as in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A letter sent to the court by David Goldfarb of the ministry’s legal department stated that according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which Israel is a signatory, consulate employees are not subject to the rulings of a rabbinical court. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also wishes to inform the honorable court that in response to bringing the lawsuit in this case, our office has received a sharply worded letter from the government of France,” Goldfarb wrote.
    The Israeli attorney general also sided with the French, and in a legal opinion submitted to the court, he argued that it was not at all clear that the site can be considered a hekdesh, since the hekdesh was created by the chief rabbi of Paris and not by the Sharia court in Jerusalem, which had been entrusted with the authority to rule on sacred property issues in the city during the period of Ottoman rule. In the wake of these developments, the religious court in Jerusalem rejected the suit.

    FILE Photo: The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem. American Colony

    FILE Photo: The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem. American Colony
    The French subsequently announced the closure of the site for renovations. In recent years, there has been practically no opportunity to visit the site. According to parties involved in the matter, the French consulate has invested about 900,000 euros (about $790,000) in a renovation that included construction of a steel apparatus to reinforce the central structure in the event of earthquake, construction of a new stairway, and preservation work.
    In September 2018, the consulate informed the Israeli Foreign Ministry that the work had been completed and that it was now possible to reopen the site. However, the French imposed two conditions: one, that Israel officially recognize French ownership of the site, and two, that they be assured no new lawsuits would be brought against them. Foreign Ministry officials have reported that discussions on the matter are now underway. In the meantime, the place remains closed and the protests have begun again.
    This time around, it was a group of Haredim led by Rabbi Zalman Grossman of Jerusalem that began to arrive on site twice a week and protest its closure by means of prayers and demonstrations. The protest has gained the support of the rabbi of the Western Wall and the holy sites, Shmuel Rabinovich, and of the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, as well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
    The demonstrations and the demands to be able to pray on the site have kindled fears among the French that if the site is reopened, it will take on a religious nature and essentially become an Israeli land grab under the French flag in East Jerusalem. As far as France is concerned, this would engender serious political complications with the Palestinians.
    The concerns of the French in this matter are shared by the Antiquities Authority’s Jerusalem district archaeologist, Dr. Yuval Baruch. “There is a trend of archaeological sites taking on a status of holiness, and the problem is if and when that happens, archaeology always loses out,” says Baruch.
    He is concerned about other sites, mainly in the Old City, archaeological-tourism sites that have in the past few years been converted into religious sites, where visitors not coming for ritual purposes do not always feel welcome.
    The phenomenon, incidentally, is not exclusive to Orthodox Jews. This has happened, for instance, in a large section of the Jerusalem Archaeological Park-Davidson Center, south of the Western Wall, which has been turned into the “Ezrat Israel,” a prayer section earmarked for the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. It is happening on the Hulda steps that ascend to the Temple Mount from the south, which have become a popular prayer site among evangelical Christians. The evangelicals have also adopted the Siloam Pool in Silwan. The plaza just outside Tanner’s Gate, not far from the Western Wall, has become the province of bar mitzvah organizers, and the archaeological site at Nebi Samuel in northern Jerusalem has become a site for prayer and pilgrimage.
    “When all is said and done, there is freedom of religion and the authorities have no ability to control it, but there has to be some regulation,” says Baruch. d”As excavations in Jerusalem continue to proliferate, the more assured it is that there will be continued attempts by religious bodies, and this can be Orthodox, Conservative or Reform rabbis, or evangelicals, it matters not who, to try and take them over. The appeal of sites whose character is becoming more emphatically religious will change. I appeal to the rabbinical establishment and to the leadership of the Christian communities to show more responsibility and greater recognition of the importance of the archaeological values, as well.”
    The official response from the office of the rabbi of the Western Wall in regard to the Tomb of the Kings: “In truth, the site is a holy place for Jews. To that end, the rabbi is acting with all due sensitivity in order that the site also provide free access for Jewish prayer and that its character and its holiness be preserved.”

    Nir Hasson
    Haaretz Correspondent


  • Israeli academics and artists warn against equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
    Their open letter ahead of a conference in Vienna advises against giving Israel immunity for ‘grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law’

    Ofer Aderet
    Nov 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-professors-warn-against-equating-anti-zionism-with-anti-se

    An open letter from 35 prominent Israelis, including Jewish-history scholars and Israel Prize laureates, was published Tuesday in the Austrian media calling for a distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel, “harsh as it may be,” and anti-Semitism.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    The letter was released before an international gathering in Vienna on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Europe.
    The event this week, “Europe beyond anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism: Securing Jewish life in Europe,” is being held under the auspices of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. His Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, had been due to take part but stayed in Israel to deal with the crisis in his coalition government. 
    “We fully embrace and support the [European Union’s] uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism. The rise of anti-Semitism worries us. As we know from history, it has often signaled future disasters to all mankind,” the letter states. 
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    “However, the EU also stands for human rights and has to protect them as forcefully as it fights anti-Semitism. This fight against anti-Semitism should not be instrumentalized to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel’s occupation and severe violations of Palestinian human rights.” 

    The signatories accuse Netanyahu of suggesting an equivalence between anti-Israel criticism and anti-Semitism. The official declaration by the conference also notes that anti-Semitism is often expressed through disproportionate criticism of Israel, but the letter warns that such an approach could “afford Israel immunity against criticism for grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law.”
    The signatories object to the declaration’s alleged “identifying” of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. “Zionism, like all other modern Jewish movements in the 20th century, was harshly opposed by many Jews, as well as by non-Jews who were not anti-Semitic,” they write. “Many victims of the Holocaust opposed Zionism. On the other hand, many anti-Semites supported Zionism. It is nonsensical and inappropriate to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.”
    Among the signatories are Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; sculptor Dani Karavan; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and graphic designer David Tartakover.

    Ofer Aderet
    Haaretz Correspondent

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    • La liste des signataires:
      Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Moshe Zukermann, emeritus professor of history and philosophy of science at Tel Aviv University; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; Israel Prize laureate, sculptor Dani Karavan; Israel Prize laureate, photographer Alex Levac; Israel Prize laureate, artist Michal Naaman; Gadi Algazi, a history professor at Tel Aviv University; Eva Illouz, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and former President of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; Gideon Freudenthal, a professor in the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University; Rachel Elior, an Israeli professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Anat Matar, philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Yael Barda, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Israel Prize laureate, graphic designer David Tartakover; Arie M. Dubnov, Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University; David Enoch, history, philosophy and Judaic Studies professor at Israel’s Open University; Amos Goldberg, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate and vice-president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities David Harel; Hannan Hever, comparative literature and Judaic Studies professor at Yale University; Hannah Kasher, professor emerita in Jewish Thought at Bar-Ilan University; Michael Keren, emeritus professor of economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate, Yehoshua Kolodny, professor emeritus in the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Nitzan Lebovic, professor of Holocaust studies at Lehigh University; Idith Zertal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Dmitry Shumsky, professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University; Israel Prize laureate David Shulman, professor emeritus of Asian studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Jewish philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Dalia Ofer, professor emerita in Jewry and Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Paul Mendes-Flohr, professor emeritus for Jewish thoughts at the Hebrew University; Jacob Metzer, former president of Israel’s Open University; and Israel Prize laureate Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University arts faculty


  • Israel is indirectly cooperating with The Hague’s probe into 2014 Gaza war despite past criticism

    International Criminal Court’s criminal investigation into Israel’s actions in the Strip could lead to a wave of lawsuits against those involved and even to their arrest abroad

    Yaniv Kubovich
    Nov 11, 2018 9:49 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-is-indirectly-cooperating-with-the-hague-s-probe-into-2014-

    Over the last few months Israel has been transferring material to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is examining whether war crimes were committed in the Gaza Strip. According to defense sources, the material relates to events that took place during Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. The ICC is also looking into the demonstrations along the Gaza border fence that began on March 30.
    In the past, Israel sharply criticized the court, saying that it had no authority to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, there is concern in the political and military echelons that the court will open a criminal investigation into Israel’s actions in the Strip, a process that could lead to a wave of lawsuits against those involved and even to their arrest abroad.
    >>Rising terrorism in West Bank overshadows optimism around Gaza-Israel deal | Analysis 
    In the last few months, diplomatic, military and legal officials have held discussions, some of them attended by the prime minister, to prepare for the court’s initial findings regarding the 2014 Gaza war. Toward that end, Israel has begun using third parties to transfer documents to the court that could bolster its stance and influence the examination team, which until now has been exposed mainly to the evidence presented by the Palestinian side.

    Demonstration near the Gaza border, November 9, 2018. Adel Hana/AP
    Military advocate general Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek has presented material regarding Israel’s response to the demonstrations in Gaza, but defense sources say these have been for internal use only and have not been passed on to the ICC or to any other body.
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    The sources say Israel has made a distinction between the two subjects of the court’s examination: While Israel is not cooperating with the ICC on its probe of incidents at the Gaza fence, it is already holding indirect discussions with the court over Operation Protective Edge.

    Last April the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that violence against civilians could be considered an international crime, as might the use of civilians as a cover for military operations. She added that the situation in Palestine was under investigation. She warned that the court was following events in Gaza, and emphasized that guidelines for opening fire at demonstrators could be considered a crime under international law.

    Public Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, August 28, 2017. Bas Czerwinski/Pool via REUTERS
    Officials told Haaretz that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to postpone the evacuation of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar came after Israel realized that such a move could influence Bensouda, who said she would not hesitate to use her authority with regard to the village. Last month, Bensouda said she was watching with concern the plan to evacuate the West Bank Bedouin community and that a forced evacuation would lead to violence, adding that the needless destruction of property and transfer of populations in occupied territories are a war crime, based on the Treaty of Rome. She linked the planned evacuation to events in Gaza, saying she was concerned by the ongoing violence for which both sides are responsible.

    FILE Photo: The West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar, September 25, 2018. Emil Salman

    Yaniv Kubovich
    Haaretz Correspondent


  • EXCLUSIVE : Meet the Reporters Whose Pages Were Shut Down By Facebook - Sputnik International
    https://sputniknews.com/us/201810121068814924-Reporters-Pages-Shut-Down-By-Facebook

    C’est mon beau-frère américain qui m’a transmis l’info : sous couvert de lutte contre les #fake_news, les réseaux sociaux des #GAFA (Facebook et Twitter, notamment) ont fermé des centaines de pages et de comptes appartenant à des journalistes indépendants ou juste plutôt critiques sur la société américaine. À l’approche des #élections de mi-mandat, il s’agit d’une #censure brutale et inquiétante.

    Signalons que mon beau-frère est un Républicain plutôt progressiste, mais un Républicain quand même, même s’il n’a jamais pu blairer Trump.

    Facebook purged hundreds of pages from its platform on Thursday. But instead of the usual targets - namely Russia and Iran - Thursday’s ban shut down accounts operated by independent American reporters and activists, Sputnik News has learned.

    Facebook said the pages were “working to mislead others about who they are, and what they are doing,” but the co-founder of one of the pages, The Free Thought Project, tells Sputnik News Facebook’s claim couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Most of the pages that were banned and viewed by Sputnik News were independent media outlets and pages that advocated for marijuana legalization or shined a light on police brutality.
    Anti-Trump Facebook event posted by the Resisters page, which has been accused of being set up by the alleged Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency.
    Facebook
    The Kremlin Line? Facebook’s Latest Ban Nets Resistance Pages, Anti-Trump Events

    In total, Facebook removed 559 pages and 251 personal accounts “that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,” the social media giant said. “Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action,” Facebook said, going on to accuse the accounts of manipulating the platform to make their content appear more popular, hawking fake products or functioning as ad farms that tricked “people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”

    — Jon Ziegler “Reb Z” (@Rebelutionary_Z) October 12, 2018

    The founder of one of the pages — The Anti-Media — said he had no knowledge of his page engaging in any such behavior. The Free Thought Project co-founder similarly denied Facebook’s accusations. Rachel Blevins, a reporter for RT America whose personal journalism page was nixed, also denied inauthentic behavior.

    Just hours after its ban from Facebook, Twitter suspended Anti-Media from its platform, following a pattern of social media companies successively banning users that has been demonstrated in the past. For example, Facebook, YouTube and Apple all banned the far-right conspiracy theory site InfoWars around the same time. And after the CIA-funded cybersecurity firm FireEye contacted Facebook, Google and Twitter, each company banned a number of accounts allegedly linked to Iran.

    — Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) September 6, 2018

    In the case of InfoWars, Twitter eventually followed suit.

    While many warned that the ban of InfoWars from social media would establish a slippery slope, they were often mocked and ridiculed. Thursday’s onslaught on independent media appears to have confirmed their suspicions, however.

    — Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) August 6, 2018

    Facebook has been partnering with the Digital Forensics Lab, an arm of the Atlantic Council think tank — a neoconservative group funded by Gulf monarchies and defense giants like Raytheon — to weed out inauthentic users from its platform. Similarly, it has been partnering with the neoconservative Weekly Standard magazine to fact check so-called fake news.
    Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
    © AP Photo / Ben Margot
    Facebook Bans Russia-Linked Social Media Firm for Alleged ’Scraping’ of Users’ Data

    Journalist Abby Martin, who hosts “The Empire Files” on TeleSur English, told Sputnik News after TeleSur’s page was temporarily removed from Facebook, “The shuttering of progressive media amidst the ‘fake news’ and Russiagate hysteria is what activists been warning all along — tech companies, working in concert with think tanks stacked with CIA officials and defense contractors, shouldn’t have the power to curate our reality to make those already rendered invisible even more obsolete.”

    Sputnik News contacted a number of journalists caught up in the ban. Below is what they had to say, edited extremely lightly for clarity.

    Independent reporter John Vibes, who contributes to The Free Thought Project and other websites:

    This signifies a re-consolidation of the media. Cable news media controlled the narrative for most of modern history, but the internet has lowered that barrier to entry and allowed the average person to become the media themselves. This obviously took market share and influence away from the traditional media, and it has allowed for a more diverse public conversation. Now it seems the platforms that have monopolized the industry are favoring mainstream sources and silencing alternative voices. So now, instead of allowing more people to have a voice, these platforms are creating an atmosphere where only powerful media organizations are welcome, just as we had on cable news.

    People think that we are just providing an activist spin on the news, but they don’t see the families struggling to have their voice heard. For example, when someone is shot by police, mainstream media sources often just republish the press release from the police department, without presenting the victim’s side of the story. We give the victims and their families a voice, which is essential to keep power in check. This also goes for bigger issues like foreign policy as well; multiple full-scale invasions of Syria have been prevented because of information that the alternative media made viral.

    “Information exchange” activist Jason Bassler, who co-founded The Free Thought Project and solely founded Police the Police, both of which were banned:

    We were verified by Facebook with a little check mark next to our name, so they know we are a legitimate organization/outlet. They have seen our “Articles of Organization” which was issued by the state of Louisiana, which is where my partner and The Free Thought Project co-founder lives.

    We have even paid Facebook to boost our posts and for likes in the past, meaning they gladly took our money for a product that they ended up manipulating and backing out on. It wasn’t much, maybe $1,200 over the past 6 years. Do we get that money back now?

    We have already had the lawyers at Rutherford Institute (a nonprofit civil liberties organization) send them a letter late last month about unfair treatment by third-party “fact checkers,” which they ignored and never responded to.

    I was motivated [to start The Free Thought Project] by the injustices I saw on social media during Occupy Wall Street in 2011. I knew I had an obligation to get involved somehow and to share information critical for liberty and peace. I never thought I would have built fan pages of 5 million fans, nor did I ever think we would employ and give jobs to nine other activists (at one point), but I was inspired to do what I could to plant seeds and combat the mainstream media’s bullsh*t narratives, to keep police and government accountable, to make sure people knew their rights and how to interact with police.

    All that’s gone now with a click of a button. Six years of hard work, literally seven days a week, working our as*es off finding stories, researching them, writing them, making thumbnails and titles for them, making graphics and videos for them, sharing them on various social media outlets.

    What’s next? I will fight this until I am utterly exhausted. We will fight back tooth and nail. I don’t care if that means protesting in front of Facebook headquarters (which I’ve already considered doing many times in the past two years), I will make sure people know how corrupt and untrustworthy Facebook is if it’s the last thing I do. You can’t just steal years of hard work from someone and not expect there to be consequences. I will do everything I can to make their lives miserable. That’s a promise.

    Rachel Blevins, a correspondent for RT America:

    Today I was locked out of my Facebook account for four hours, and my public page was “unpublished.” There appears to be no explanation for this other than the vague claim from Facebook that my page was taken down because it was “administered by a fake account, misleading users or violating the Facebook spam policies.” I am the only person who publishes posts on my page; the only posts I publish are articles I have written or videos of my reports, and I only post one or two times a day — which rules out all of the claims that I have violated Facebook’s policies.

    My page had nearly 70,000 followers before it was taken down. I have poured the last four years into building my page as a journalist, and I have noticed recently that the reach seems to have been stifled and that the engagement on my posts was down significantly. I know that I am not the only one who has become a victim of this purge, and there are hundreds of other pages — many of which had millions of followers — that have been taken down with no warning and no explanation.

    Ford Fischer, the founder of the media startup News2Share, had a number of his live streams removed during the purge, although they were later restored:

    This attack was a long time coming. Facebook has been slowly clamping down on independent media. First, they removed more extreme pages and made it harder for the surviving ones to make a living by hurting their algorithms (unless they paid, of course!). Then they started purging those that didn’t quickly respond to their ID requests. Today, hundreds of pages belonging to the family of independent media, especially those that question state authority, were removed without explanation. This is just one step further toward the total state and corporate takeover of what you’re allowed to think.

    Nicholas Bernabe, founder of The Anti-Media:

    Our approach generally is to cover stories and angles that corporate media underreport or misreport and to amplify activist and anti-war voices and stories. All of our content is professionally fact-checked and edited.

    I got into this line of work because I felt there was a need for media that challenged mainstream assumptions and biases in politics. I wanted to shed light on corruption and wrongdoing against oppressed peoples and cover the harsh truth about American foreign policy.

    Over the last 28 days, we reached 7,088,000 people on Facebook.

    The timing of this purge is rather dubious in my view, coming shortly before the midterm elections. This could be an attempt by Facebook itself to affect the outcome of the coming elections. The Twitter suspension caught me by surprise. I can only speculate that these suspensions were a coordinated effort to stifle our message ahead of the coming elections.

    By Alexander Rubinstein.

    #démocratie


  • Saudi journalist ’killed inside consulate’ – Turkish sources | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/06/saudi-journalist-killed-inside-consulate-turkish-sources

    Turkish officials believe that missing Saudi journalist #Jamal_Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and his body later driven from the compound.

    Authorities say they believe Khashoggi’s death was premeditated and that Saudi officials had travelled to Istanbul from Riyadh after receiving word that the high-profile critic of the current Saudi leadership planned to visit the consulate.

    In an evening of quickfire developments, following four days of silence since his disappearance, officials in Ankara pledged to on Sunday release evidence that they say supports claims that the journalist was killed shortly after he entered the consulate to sign divorce papers. The evidence is expected to include video footage and focus on a black car.

    –—

    Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey says journalist was murdered in Saudi consulate - BBC News
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45775819

    Fears are growing over missing Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi, after Turkish officials said they believe he has been murdered.

    Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi national, went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday.

    A Turkish official told the BBC that initial investigations indicated he was murdered there.

    Saudi Arabia has denied the accusations, saying it is “working to search for him”.

    The Washington Post said it would be a “monstrous and unfathomable act” if he had been killed.

    The BBC’s Istanbul correspondent, Mark Lowen, said it would plunge Turkish-Saudi relations into an unprecedented crisis.

    #arabie_saoudite #meurtre


  • Ahed Tamimi, the new face of Palestinian protest: “I don’t like how we are always being asked, ‘Why do you go to the streets, why do you protest, why do you resist?’ Why don’t they ever ask me ‘Why is there an occupation?’ ”


    –-> Mehul Srivastava, FT’s Jerusalem correspondent https://www.ft.com/con…/e10befa4-b75f-11e8-b3ef-799c8613f4a1


  • Portland Protest Shows New Far-Right Trend: Multiethnic Groups with Fascist Heroes Like Pinochet
    https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/portland-protest-shows-new-farright-trend-multiethnic-groups-with-fa

    Democracy Now! continues their interview with A.C. Thompson, correspondent for Frontline PBS and reporter for ProPublica. His new investigation is titled Documenting Hate: Charlottesville. He...


  • (Your password iochow99)

    It seems that, iochow99, is your password. You may not know me and you are probably wondering why you are getting this e mail, right?

    actually, I setup a malware on the adult vids (porno) web-site and guess what, you visited this site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching videos, your internet browser started out functioning as a RDP (Remote Desktop) having a keylogger which gave me accessibility to your screen and web cam. after that, my software program obtained all of your contacts from your Messenger, FB, as well as email.

    What did I do?

    I created a double-screen video. 1st part shows the video you were watching (you’ve got a good taste haha . . .), and 2nd part shows the recording of your web cam.

    exactly what should you do?

    Well, in my opinion, $1000 is a fair price for our little secret. You’ll make the payment by Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google).

    BTC Address:

    1Bb446YF8AZK3nKchPJQ3T5KwPGRHRARJ5

    (It is cAsE sensitive, so copy and paste it)

    Important:
    You have one day in order to make the payment. (I’ve a unique pixel in this e mail, and at this moment I know that you have read through this email message). If I do not get the BitCoins, I will certainly send out your video recording to all of your contacts including relatives, coworkers, and so on. Having said that, if I receive the payment, I’ll destroy the video immidiately. If you need evidence, reply with “Yes!” and I will certainly send out your video recording to your 6 contacts. It is a non-negotiable offer, that being said don’t waste my personal time and yours by responding to this message.

    • (Part num your Hacked phone. +XX XXXXX7766)

      It seems that, +XX XXXXX7766, is your phone. You may not know me and you are probably wondering why you are getting this e mail, right?

      actually, I setup a malware on the adult vids (porno) web-site and guess what, you visited this site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching videos, your internet browser started out functioning as a RDP (Remote Desktop) having a keylogger which gave me accessibility to your screen and web cam. after that, my software program obtained all of your contacts from your Messenger, FB, as well as email.

      What did I do?

      I backuped phone. All photo, video and contacts.
      I created a double-screen video. 1st part shows the video you were watching (you’ve got a good taste haha . . .), and 2nd part shows the recording of your web cam.

      exactly what should you do?

      Well, in my opinion, $1000 is a fair price for our little secret. You’ll make the payment by Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google).

      BTC Address:

      1GYNGXLEUGkkQjHo19dHDnGE87WrAiGLLB

      (It is cAsE sensitive, so copy and paste it)

      Important:
      You have 48 hour in order to make the payment. (I’ve a unique pixel in this e mail, and at this moment I know that you have read through this email message). If I do not get the BitCoins, I will certainly send out your video recording to all of your contacts including relatives, coworkers, and so on. Having said that, if I receive the payment, I’ll destroy the video immidiately. If you need evidence, reply with “Yes!” and I will certainly send out your video recording to your 6 contacts. It is a non-negotiable offer, that being said don’t waste my personal time and yours by responding to this message.

      Variante. De toute évidence, une base de données commerciale a été volée. Les 4 chiffres transmis correspondent à un vrai numéro que le destinataire possède...

    • LEP : [xxx@xxx.com] 19-08-2018 03:58:09 You can easily get off

      Ticкet Detаils: LEP-334-34033
      Email: xxx@xxx.com
      Camera ready,Notification: 19-08-2018 03:58:09
      Status: Waiting for Reply 53xuAaTy6A2d12wInNmOkG6ReW9Yy07Bu1_Priority: Normal

      **********************************************************************

      Hi,

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      Moreover, soft makes a dedicated desktop supplied with keylogger function from the system , so I was able to save all contacts from ur e-mail, messengers and other social networks. I’ve chosen this e-mail cuz It’s your working address, so you will read it.

      In my opinion 730 usd is pretty enough for this little false. I made a split screen vid(records from screen (u have interesting tastes ) and camera ohh... its funny AF)

      So its your choice, if u want me to delete this сompromising evidence use my Bitсоin wAllet aDdrеss- 1KLV9CDNtfy1XV1CEABDdShQMYWKhUuUNH
      You have one day after opening my message, I put the special tracking pixel in it, so when you will open it I will know.If ya want me to show u the proofs, reply on this letter and I will send my creation to five contacts that I’ve got from ur device.

      P.S.. You are able to complain to cops, but I don’t think that they can help, the investigation will last for 5 month- I’m from Estonia - so I dgf LOL

      Je n’ai toujours pas reçu la dite vidéo. Ça me stresse...

    • LKO : [xxx@xxx.com] 19-08-2018 06:53:42 Your life can be destroyed

      Tiсkеt Detаils: LKO-529-93365
      Email: xxx@xxx.com
      Camera ready,Notification: 19-08-2018 06:53:42
      Status: Waiting for Reply 99xuFady0A0f96wZnEmMkV1PrO5Ty05Iu8_Priority: Normal

      =-=—=-=-=—=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=—=-=-=—=-=-=-=-=-=—=-=-=—=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=—=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

      Hello,

      If u were more scrutiny while caress yourself, I wouldn\’t worry you. I don\’t think that playing with yourself is extremely awful, but when all your friends, relatives, сolleagues receive video record of it- it is certainly for u.

      I adjusted malisious soft on a porn site which you have visited. When the object click on a play button, device starts recording the screen and all cameras on ur device begins working.

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      I suppose that 870 usd is pretty enough for this little false. I made a split screen vid(records from screen (u have interesting tastes ) and camera ohh... its funny AF)

      So its your choice, if u want me to delete this сompromising evidence use my BitcOin wAllеt aDdrеss- 1PcCBv4wvErq7TSTq44wnPM3xDZ9uE8QHH
      You have one day after opening my message, I put the special tracking pixel in it, so when you will open it I will know.If ya want me to share proofs with ya, reply on this letter and I will send my creation to five contacts that I\’ve got from ur contacts.

      P.S.. U are able to complain to police, but I don\’t think that they can help, the inquisition will last for several months- I\’m from Ukraine - so I dgf lmao

      Les adresses BTC changent d’un mail à l’autre...

    • Deux adresses mails spécifiques, un n° de téléphone particulier. Ces 3 éléments ont un point commun particulier : je les utilise pour mes accès aux services Microsoft. Ça me donne l’impression que c’est Microsoft qui se serait fait piquer sa base de comptes « live.com »... pas plus de preuves que ça... et aucune référence sur Internet à ce sujet évidemment.


  • Now Israel has a revolution of the pampered, in stages

    Like the LGBT community, the Druze are fighting an erosion of their favored status – and just might help the country achieve a state based on justice

    Gideon Levy - Aug 05, 2018 12:34 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-now-it-s-a-revolution-of-the-pampered-in-stages-1.6341321

    Israel is making progress. It’s ashamed and is even beginning to protest. Only part of it, probably a minority, remains in its comfort zone; a new light seems to be breaking through the darkness.

    All of a sudden they’re saying apartheid. They dare ask questions about Zionism. Now the term “Jewish-democratic” doesn’t seem so natural anymore. Something creaks when you utter these words. There’s some hesitation when you say “the only democracy.” The protest of the pampered marches on.

    The rally Saturday night in Rabin Square was still within the confines of relative comfort and indulgence, but much less so than previous such events. It was two weeks after the LGBT community demonstrated in the same spot for equal surrogacy rights – under the sponsorship of Meitav Dash Investments. Then came the Druze community, the most privileged of Arabs but Arabs nevertheless, demonstrating for more meaningful equality, this time under the auspices of former heads of the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad and the army.

    This is a hopeful development. It’s true that a demonstration for freedom, equality and fraternity under the helm of former defense chiefs is problematic, almost grotesque.

    When a former Shin Bet head like Yuval Diskin, a person responsible for despicable actions toward millions of people who have no rights, writes a pompous manifesto extolling “the value of equality,” “democratic protest” and “mutual respect,” reminding everyone that he’s the son of Holocaust survivors while talking about racism, it turns your stomach. The fact that most speakers at the rally were generals, both Jews and Druze, who during their service often brutally oppressed another nation, is also problematic.

    It’s true that most of the Druze participants were demonstrating for their own interests, for the equality they believe is their due in return for their military service, without trying to serve as a bridgehead for a campaign championing equality for all, including Palestinians.

    But we can’t ignore their contribution to the growing protest. Largely due to them the nation-state law has become possibly the most exciting civics lesson in Israel in recent years. Questions that were never asked are being raised, maybe only for a short time – yet this is really a shake-up. Maybe in response to the most ultra-nationalist government, a little opposition will finally make an appearance.

    The elephant still stands silently in the middle of the room, with only a few daring to mention him, but some are throwing furtive glances at him. An establishment commentator on defense matters, Channel 10’s Alon Ben-David, has written that underlying the nation-state law is a strategic objective: “It paves the way for the annexation of millions of Palestinians and the loss of a Jewish majority. Will the law mark the beginning of the laying to rest of the Zionist dream?”

    So we may be at the brink of an earthquake, more severe than the earthquake expected in Tiberias. The first signs on the seismograph have been noted. The road is still long, the agents of denial and propaganda are still well in control, but hope has been ignited.

    Israel needs this shake-up so badly. We’ve had so many years mired in the muck amid the brainwashing, the lack of critical thinking and the civic indifference. We’ve had years of intoxication with power, moral arrogance, smugness and confidence that what was will continue, that everything is being done as it should be done and will continue forever. There has been a certainty that we’re right and the whole world is wrong. But maybe the time of doubts has arrived. There can be no better news.

    Seventy years after the establishment of the state, the time has come for questions, for a real lesson in civics and democracy. Did we really deserve all this? Only we deserved it? Is it only ours? Is it only for Jews? By what right? Did all the non-Jewish people deeply connected to this land and who deserve the same rights, deserve everything we’ve done to them? Above all, hasn’t the time come to repair things?

    This repair is still a long way off, but maybe it’s becoming clear that if it doesn’t arrive there won’t be a state here based on justice. Who knows, maybe Brig. Gen. Amal Assad, an occupation officer in Jenin and Lebanon and a Likud member, will herald the message: It’s apartheid or democracy.
    Gideon Levy

    Haaretz Correspondent


  • How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria

    Sunnis have been pushed out by the war. The new Syria is smaller, in ruins and more sectarian.

    A NEW Syria is emerging from the rubble of war. In Homs, which Syrians once dubbed the “capital of the revolution” against President Bashar al-Assad, the Muslim quarter and commercial district still lie in ruins, but the Christian quarter is reviving. Churches have been lavishly restored; a large crucifix hangs over the main street. “Groom of Heaven”, proclaims a billboard featuring a photo of a Christian soldier killed in the seven-year conflict. In their sermons, Orthodox patriarchs praise Mr Assad for saving one of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

    Homs, like all of the cities recaptured by the government, now belongs mostly to Syria’s victorious minorities: Christians, Shias and Alawites (an esoteric offshoot of Shia Islam from which Mr Assad hails). These groups banded together against the rebels, who are nearly all Sunni, and chased them out of the cities. Sunni civilians, once a large majority, followed. More than half of the country’s population of 22m has been displaced—6.5m inside Syria and over 6m abroad. Most are Sunnis.

    The authorities seem intent on maintaining the new demography. Four years after the government regained Homs, residents still need a security clearance to return and rebuild their homes. Few Sunnis get one. Those that do have little money to restart their lives. Some attend Christian mass, hoping for charity or a visa to the West from bishops with foreign connections. Even these Sunnis fall under suspicion. “We lived so well before,” says a Christian teacher in Homs. “But how can you live with a neighbour who overnight called you a kafir (infidel)?”

    Even in areas less touched by the war, Syria is changing. The old city of Damascus, Syria’s capital, is an architectural testament to Sunni Islam. But the Iranian-backed Shia militias that fight for Mr Assad have expanded the city’s Shia quarter into Sunni and Jewish areas. Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, a Lebanese Shia militia, hang from Sunni mosques. Advertisements for Shia pilgrimages line the walls. In the capital’s new cafés revellers barely notice the jets overhead, bombing rebel-held suburbs. “I love those sounds,” says a Christian woman who works for the UN. Like other regime loyalists, she wants to see the “terrorists” punished.

    Mr Assad’s men captured the last rebel strongholds around Damascus in May. He now controls Syria’s spine, from Aleppo in the north to Damascus in the south—what French colonisers once called la Syrie utile (useful Syria). The rebels are confined to pockets along the southern and northern borders (see map). Lately the government has attacked them in the south-western province of Deraa.

    A prize of ruins

    The regime is in a celebratory mood. Though thinly spread, it has survived the war largely intact. Government departments are functioning. In areas that remained under Mr Assad’s control, electricity and water supplies are more reliable than in much of the Middle East. Officials predict that next year’s natural-gas production will surpass pre-war levels. The National Museum in Damascus, which locked up its prized antiquities for protection, is preparing to reopen to the public. The railway from Damascus to Aleppo might resume operations this summer.

    To mark national day on April 17th, the ancient citadel of Aleppo hosted a festival for the first time since the war began. Martial bands, dancing girls, children’s choirs and a Swiss opera singer (of Syrian origin) crowded onto the stage. “God, Syria and Bashar alone,” roared the flag-waving crowd, as video screens showed the battle to retake the city. Below the citadel, the ruins stretch to the horizon.

    Mr Assad (pictured) has been winning the war by garrisoning city centres, then shooting outward into rebel-held suburbs. On the highway from Damascus to Aleppo, towns and villages lie desolate. A new stratum of dead cities has joined the ones from Roman times. The regime has neither the money nor the manpower to rebuild. Before the war Syria’s economic growth approached double digits and annual GDP was $60bn. Now the economy is shrinking; GDP was $12bn last year. Estimates of the cost of reconstruction run to $250bn.

    Syrians are experienced construction workers. When Lebanon’s civil war ended in 1990, they helped rebuild Beirut. But no such workforce is available today. In Damascus University’s civil-engineering department, two-thirds of the lecturers have fled. “The best were first to go,” says one who stayed behind. Students followed them. Those that remain have taken to speaking Araglish, a hotch-potch of Arabic and English, as many plan futures abroad.

    Traffic flows lightly along once-jammed roads in Aleppo, despite the checkpoints. Its pre-war population of 3.2m has shrunk to under 2m. Other cities have also emptied out. Men left first, many fleeing the draft and their likely dispatch to the front. As in Europe after the first world war, Syria’s workforce is now dominated by women. They account for over three-quarters of the staff in the religious-affairs ministry, a hitherto male preserve, says the minister. There are female plumbers, taxi-drivers and bartenders.

    Millions of Syrians who stayed behind have been maimed or traumatised. Almost everyone your correspondent spoke to had buried a close relative. Psychologists warn of societal breakdown. As the war separates families, divorce rates soar. More children are begging in the streets. When the jihadists retreat, liquor stores are the first to reopen.

    Mr Assad, though, seems focused less on recovery than rewarding loyalists with property left behind by Sunnis. He has distributed thousands of empty homes to Shia militiamen. “Terrorists should forfeit their assets,” says a Christian businesswoman, who was given a plush café that belonged to the family of a Sunni defector. A new decree, called Law 10, legitimises the government’s seizure of such assets. Title-holders will forfeit their property if they fail to re-register it, a tough task for the millions who have fled the country.

    A Palestinian-like problem

    The measure has yet to be implemented, but refugees compare it to Israel’s absentees’ property laws, which allow the government to take the property of Palestinian refugees. Syrian officials, of course, bridle at such comparisons. The ruling Baath party claims to represent all of Syria’s religions and sects. The country has been led by Alawites since 1966, but Sunnis held senior positions in government, the armed forces and business. Even today many Sunnis prefer Mr Assad’s secular rule to that of Islamist rebels.

    But since pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011, Syrians detect a more sectarian approach to policymaking. The first demonstrations attracted hundreds of thousands of people of different faiths. So the regime stoked sectarian tensions to divide the opposition. Sunnis, it warned, really wanted winner-take-all majoritarianism. Jihadists were released from prison in order to taint the uprising. As the government turned violent, so did the protesters. Sunni states, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, provided them with arms, cash and preachers. Hardliners pushed aside moderates. By the end of 2011, the protests had degenerated into a sectarian civil war.

    Early on, minorities lowered their profile to avoid being targeted. Women donned headscarves. Non-Muslim businessmen bowed to demands from Sunni employees for prayer rooms. But as the war swung their way, minorities regained their confidence. Alawite soldiers now flex arms tattooed with Imam Ali, whom they consider the first imam after the Prophet Muhammad (Sunnis see things differently). Christian women in Aleppo show their cleavage. “We would never ask about someone’s religion,” says an official in Damascus. “Sorry to say, we now do.”

    The country’s chief mufti is a Sunni, but there are fewer Sunnis serving in top posts since the revolution. Last summer Mr Assad replaced the Sunni speaker of parliament with a Christian. In January he broke with tradition by appointing an Alawite, instead of a Sunni, as defence minister.

    Officially the government welcomes the return of displaced Syrians, regardless of their religion or sect. “Those whose hands are not stained with blood will be forgiven,” says a Sunni minister. Around 21,000 families have returned to Homs in the last two years, according to its governor, Talal al-Barazi. But across the country, the number of displaced Syrians is rising. Already this year 920,000 people have left their homes, says the UN. Another 45,000 have fled the recent fighting in Deraa. Millions more may follow if the regime tries to retake other rebel enclaves.

    When the regime took Ghouta, in eastern Damascus, earlier this year its 400,000 residents were given a choice between leaving for rebel-held areas in the north or accepting a government offer of shelter. The latter was a euphemism for internment. Tens of thousands remain “captured” in camps, says the UN. “We swapped a large prison for a smaller one,” says Hamdan, who lives with his family in a camp in Adra, on the edge of Ghouta. They sleep under a tarpaulin in a schoolyard with two other families. Armed guards stand at the gates, penning more than 5,000 people inside.

    The head of the camp, a Christian officer, says inmates can leave once their security clearance is processed, but he does not know how long that will take. Returning home requires a second vetting. Trapped and powerless, Hamdan worries that the regime or its supporters will steal his harvest—and then his land. Refugees fear that they will be locked out of their homeland altogether. “We’re the new Palestinians,” says Taher Qabar, one of 350,000 Syrians camped in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

    Some argue that Mr Assad, with fewer Sunnis to fear, may relax his repressive rule. Ministers in Damascus insist that change is inevitable. They point to a change in the constitution made in 2012 that nominally allows for multiparty politics. There are a few hopeful signs. Local associations, once banned, offer vocational training to the displaced. State media remain Orwellian, but the internet is unrestricted and social-media apps allow for unfettered communication. Students in cafés openly criticise the regime. Why doesn’t Mr Assad send his son, Hafez, to the front, sneers a student who has failed his university exams to prolong his studies and avoid conscription.

    A decade ago Mr Assad toyed with infitah (liberalisation), only for Sunni extremists to build huge mosques from which to spout their hate-speech, say his advisers. He is loth to repeat the mistake. Portraits of the president, appearing to listen keenly with a slightly oversized ear, now line Syria’s roads and hang in most offices and shops. Checkpoints, introduced as a counter-insurgency measure, control movement as never before. Men under the age of 42 are told to hand over cash or be sent to the front. So rife are the levies that diplomats speak of a “checkpoint economy”.

    Having resisted pressure to compromise when he was losing, Mr Assad sees no reason to make concessions now. He has torpedoed proposals for a political process, promoted by UN mediators and his Russian allies, that would include the Sunni opposition. At talks in Sochi in January he diluted plans for a constitutional committee, insisting that it be only consultative and based in Damascus. His advisers use the buzzwords of “reconciliation” and “amnesty” as euphemisms for surrender and security checks. He has yet to outline a plan for reconstruction.

    War, who is it good for?

    Mr Assad appears to be growing tired of his allies. Iran has resisted Russia’s call for foreign forces to leave Syria. It refuses to relinquish command of 80,000 foreign Shia militiamen. Skirmishes between the militias and Syrian troops have resulted in scores of deaths, according to researchers at King’s College in London. Having defeated Sunni Islamists, army officers say they have no wish to succumb to Shia ones. Alawites, in particular, flinch at Shia evangelising. “We don’t pray, don’t fast [during Ramadan] and drink alcohol,” says one.

    But Mr Assad still needs his backers. Though he rules most of the population, about 40% of Syria’s territory lies beyond his control. Foreign powers dominate the border areas, blocking trade corridors and the regime’s access to oilfields. In the north-west, Turkish forces provide some protection for Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group linked to al-Qaeda, and other Sunni rebels. American and French officers oversee a Kurdish-led force east of the Euphrates river. Sunni rebels abutting the Golan Heights offer Israel and Jordan a buffer. In theory the territory is classified as a “de-escalation zone”. But violence in the zone is escalating again.

    New offensives by the regime risk pulling foreign powers deeper into the conflict. Turkey, Israel and America have drawn red lines around the rebels under their protection. Continuing Iranian operations in Syria “would be the end of [Mr Assad], his regime”, said Yuval Steinitz, a minister in Israel, which has bombed Iranian bases in the country. Israel may be giving the regime a green light in Deraa, in order to keep the Iranians out of the area.

    There could be worse options than war for Mr Assad. More fighting would create fresh opportunities to reward loyalists and tilt Syria’s demography to his liking. Neighbours, such as Jordan and Lebanon, and European countries might indulge the dictator rather than face a fresh wave of refugees. Above all, war delays the day Mr Assad has to face the question of how he plans to rebuild the country that he has so wantonly destroyed.


    https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/06/30/how-a-victorious-bashar-al-assad-is-changing-syria?frsc=dg%7Ce
    #Syrie #démographie #sunnites #sciites #chrétiens #religion #minorités

    • Onze ans plus tard, on continue à tenter de donner un peu de crédibilité à la fable d’une guerre entre « sunnites » et « minoritaires » quand la moindre connaissance directe de ce pays montre qu’une grande partie des « sunnites » continue, pour de bonnes ou de mauvaises raisons, mais ce sont les leurs, à soutenir leur président. Par ailleurs, tout le monde est prié désormais par les syriologues de ne se déterminer que par rapport à son origine sectaire (au contraire de ce qu’on nous affirmait du reste au début de la « révolution »)...


  • Female composers largely ignored by concert line-ups | Music | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jun/13/female-composers-largely-ignored-by-concert-line-ups

    Women in Music project finds that in 1,445 classical concerts across globe only 76 include a work by a woman

    Mark Brown Arts correspondent

    Wed 13 Jun 2018 19.02 BST
    Last modified on Wed 13 Jun 2018 22.35 BST

    Composer Emily Hall
    The composer Emily Hall: ‘One work at least by a female composer – that should be standard now.’ Photograph: Rob Orchard

    New statistics have shown up the “inexcusable” fact that only 76 classical concerts among 1,445 performed across the world from this year to 2019 include at least one piece by a woman.

    #musique #compositrices #discrimibation


  • Anonymous snipers and a lethal verdict

    We may never know the name of the soldier who killed Razan al-Najjar. But we do know the names of those who gave the order enabling him to kill her

    Amira Hass Jun 05, 2018

    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-anonymous-snipers-and-a-lethal-verdict-1.6151967

    We know her name: Razan al-Najjar. But what’s his? What’s the name of the soldier who killed her, with direct fire to the chest last Friday? We don’t know, and we probably won’t ever know.
    In contrast to the Palestinians suspected of killing Israelis, the Israeli who killed Najjar is protected from exposure to the cameras and an in-depth breakdown of his family history, including his relatives’ participation in routine attacks on Palestinians as part of their military service or their political affiliation.
    Demanding Israeli microphones will not be pushed into his face with probing questions: Didn’t you see she was wearing a paramedic’s white robe when you aimed at her chest?
    Didn’t you see her hair covered with a head scarf? Do your rules of engagement require you to shoot at paramedics, men and women as well, and at a distance of about 100 meters (some 330 feet) from the border fence? Did you shoot at her legs (why?) and miss because you’re useless? Are you sorry? Do you sleep well at night? Did you tell your girlfriend it was you who killed a young woman the same age as her? Was Najjar your first?
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    The anonymity of our soldiers picking off and killing Palestinians is an inseparable part of the culture of Israeli impunity. We are above it all. Immune from everything. Allowing an anonymous soldier to kill a young paramedic with a bullet that hit her in the chest, exiting from her back, and continuing on with our lives.
    >> ’We die anyway, so let it be in front of the cameras’: Conversations with Gazans
    There are lots of pictures of Najjar on the internet: She stood out as one of the few women among the first aid teams operating at the “March of Return” protest sites since March 30.
    After two years’ training, she volunteered for the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. She happily gave interviews, including to The New York Times’ correspondent in Gaza, speaking about the ability of women to act under difficult conditions no less so than men – and even better than them. She knew how dangerous her job was. A paramedic was killed by Israel Defense Forces fire on May 14, dozens of others were injured and suffocated as they ran to rescue the wounded.
    Najjar, 21 at the time of her death, was from the village of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis. In interviews, she was not asked about the wars and Israeli military attacks during her childhood and later. It is hard to find their scars in her pleasant face seen on screen. In every interview, she is seen wrapped in a head scarf of a different color – and each time it is wrapped around her head stylishly, meticulously, showing an investment of time and thought. The color reveals a love for life, despite all she had gone through.
    We do not know the name of the soldier, but we do know who is in the chain of command that ordered and enabled him to kill a 21-year-old paramedic: Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, both of whom approved the wording of the rules of engagement, as the High Court justices were told before they denied petitions against the shooting at protesters along the border fence.
    Despite all the testimony about civilian fatalities and horrifying injuries, the justices chose to believe what they were told in the name of the military by Avi Milikovsky, a lawyer from the State Prosecutor’s Office: The use of potentially lethal force is taken only as a last resort, in a proportionate manner and to the minimal extent required.
    Please explain how this tallies with the death of Najjar, who was treating a man injured directly by a tear-gas canister. An eyewitness told The New York Times that while the injured man was being taken to an ambulance, her colleagues were treating her because she was suffering the effects of the tear gas. Then shots were heard and Najjar fell.
    High Court Justices Esther Hayut, Hanan Melcer and Neal Hendel presented the army with an exemption from investigation and an exemption from criticism on a silver platter. In doing so, they joined the chain of command that ordered our anonymous soldier to fire at the chest of the paramedic and kill her.


  • China’s behavior monitoring system bars some from travel, purchasing property
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/china-social-credit-system-surveillance-cameras

    By 2020, China plans to give all its 1.4 billion citizens a personal score based on how they behave. Some with low scores are already being punished if they want to travel. Nearly 11 million Chinese are not allowed to fly and 4 million are barred from trains. Next week, the program will start expanding nationwide. The government says it is trying to “purify” society by rewarding people who are trustworthy and punishing those who are not, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy. So like (...)

    #CCTV #contrôle #vidéo-surveillance #voyageurs #surveillance #profiling #SocialCreditSystem

    ##voyageurs


  • Before the CIA, There Was the Pond | Newsmax.com
    https://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/US-Spy-Agency-The-Pond/2010/07/29/id/366034

    The head of the Pond was Col. John V. Grombach, a radio producer, businessman and ex-Olympic boxer who kept a small black poodle under his desk. He attended West Point, but didn’t graduate with his class because he had too many demerits, according to a U.S. Army document. His nickname was “Frenchy,” because his father was a Frenchman, who worked in the French Consulate in New Orleans.

    The War Department had tapped Grombach to create the secret intelligence branch in 1942 as a foundation for a permanent spy service. Grombach said the main objectives were security and secrecy, unlike the OSS, which he said had been infiltrated by allies and subversives and whose personnel had a “penchant for personal publicity.” It was first known as the Special Service Branch, then as the Special Service Section and finally as the Coverage and Indoctrination Branch.

    To the few even aware of its existence, the intelligence network was known by its arcane name, the Pond. Its leaders referred to the G-2 military intelligence agency as the “Lake,” the CIA, which was formed later, was the “Bay,” and the State Department was the “Zoo.” Grombach’s organization engaged in cryptography, political espionage and covert operations. It had clandestine officers in Budapest, London, Lisbon, Madrid, Stockholm, Bombay, Istanbul and elsewhere.

    Grombach directed his far-flung operations from an office at the Steinway Hall building in New York, where he worked under the cover of a public relations consultant for Philips. His combative character had earned him a reputation as an opportunist who would “cut the throat of anyone standing in his way,” according to a document in his Army intelligence dossier.

    In defining the Pond’s role, Grombach maintained that the covert network sought indirect intelligence from people holding regular jobs in both hostile countries and allied nations — not unlike the Russian spies uncovered in June in the U.S. while living in suburbia and working at newspapers or universities.

    The Pond, he wrote in a declassified document put in the National Archives, had a mission “to collect important secret intelligence via many international companies, societies, religious organizations and business and professional men who were willing to cooperate with the U.S. but who would not work with the OSS because it was necessarily integrated with British and French Intelligence and infiltrated by Communists and Russians.”

    On April 15, 1953, Grombach wrote that the idea behind his network was to use “observers” who would build long-term relationships and produce far more valuable information than spies who bought secrets. “Information was to be rarely, if ever, bought, and there were to be no paid professional operators; as it later turned out some of the personnel not only paid their own expenses but actually advanced money for the organization’s purposes.”

    The CIA, for its part, didn’t think much of the Pond. It concluded that the organization was uncooperative, especially since the outfit refused to divulge its sources, complicating efforts to evaluate their reports. In an August 1952 letter giving notice that the CIA intended to terminate the contract, agency chief Gen. Walter Bedell Smith wrote that “our analysis of the reports provided by this organization has convinced us that its unevaluated product is not worth the cost.” It took until 1955 to completely unwind the relationship.

    Mark Stout, a former intelligence officer and historian for the International Spy Museum in Washington, analyzed the newly released papers and said it isn’t clear how important the Pond was to U.S. intelligence-gathering as a whole. “But they were making some real contributions,” he said.

    Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian and author of “The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency” who has reviewed some of the collection, said there was no evidence the Pond’s reports made their way to decision-makers. “I’m still not convinced that Grombach’s organization was a worthwhile endeavor in World War II and even less so when it went off the books,” he said.

    What it may have lacked in quality and influence, however, the Pond certainly made up with chutzpah.

    One of the outfit’s most unusual informers was a French serial killer named Marcel Petiot, Grombach wrote in a 1980 book.

    The Secret Intelligence Branch, as he referred to the Pond, began receiving reports from Petiot during the war. He was a physician in Paris who regularly treated refugees, businessmen and Gestapo agents, but he also had a predilection for killing mostly wealthy Jews and burning their bodies in a basement furnace in his soundproofed house. He was convicted of 26 murders and guillotined in 1946.

    Nevertheless, Grombach considered him a valuable informer because of his contacts.

    One cable discovered among the newly released papers appears to confirm the Pond was tracking Petiot’s whereabouts. In the undated memo, the writer says Petiot was drawn by a Gestapo agent “into a trap to be arrested by the Germans.” Petiot was briefly arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo.

    Such sources were often feeding their reports to top operatives — often businessmen or members of opposition groups. But there were also journalists in the spy ring.

    Ruth Fischer, code-named “Alice Miller,” was considered a key Pond agent for eight years, working under her cover as a correspondent, including for the North American Newspaper Alliance. She had been a leader of Germany’s prewar Communist Party and was valuable to the Pond in the early years of the Cold War, pooling intelligence from Stalinists, Marxists and socialists in Europe, Africa and China, according to the newly released documents.

    But it was the help from businesses in wartime that was essential to penetrating Axis territories.

    The Philips companies, including their U.S. division, gave the Pond money, contacts, radio technology and supported Grombach’s business cover in New York. Philips spokesman Arent Jan Hesselink said the company had business contacts with Grombach between 1937 and 1970. He added that they could not “rule out that there was contact between Philips and Grombach with the intention of furthering central U.S. intelligence during the war.”

    The Pond laid the groundwork and devised a detailed postwar plan to integrate its activities into the U.S. Rubber Co.’s business operations in 93 countries. It is unknown if the plan was ever carried out. The Pond also worked with the American Express Co., Remington Rand, Inc. and Chase National Bank, according to documents at the National Archives.

    American Express spokeswoman Caitlin Lowie said a search of company archives revealed no evidence of a relationship with Grombach’s organization. Representatives of the other companies or their successors did not respond to requests for comment.

    The Pond directed its resources for domestic political ends, as well.

    In the 1950s, Grombach began furnishing names to McCarthy on supposed security risks in the U.S. intelligence community. By then, the Pond was a CIA contractor, existing as a quasi-private company, and the agency’s leadership was enraged by Grombach’s actions. It wasn’t long before the Pond’s contract was terminated and the organization largely ceased to exist.

    #histoire #USA #espionnage #CIA


  • Breaking : East Ghouta militants massacre more than civilians in Damascus, 20+ killed

    Juste parce qu’on ne vas pas en parler beaucoup ailleurs...

    BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 P.M.) – Minutes ago, the militants in the East Ghouta region fired several missiles and artillery shells into Damascus city, killing and wounding scores of civilians.

    According to an Al-Masdar field correspondent in Damascus, the militants fired a missile into the Kashkoul District, hitting a crowded market in the city.

    The correspondent added that the death toll is rapidly rising, with more than 20 civilians already reported dead as a result of this attack.

    In addition to the attack on Kashkoul, the militants also wounded one woman and five children in the Mezzeh District of Damascus after they launched several indiscriminate artillery shells into the area.

    #syrie


  • Searching for white genocide in South Africa
    http://africasacountry.com/2018/02/searching-for-white-genocide-in-south-africa

    “I’m going to South Africa,” far-right UK media personality Katie Hopkins announced in January 2018, to cover the “racial war waged by black extremists who are systematically murdering white farmers.” Recently hired as a correspondent by the Rebel Media, Canada’s far-right website akin to Breitbart, Hopkins promised her feature length documentary about the “ethnic cleansing of white farmers” in South Africa would be the “first of its kind.” This…


  • Facebook : des sites mensongers peu lus mais au succès considérable — Le blog du #Decodex
    http://www.lemonde.fr/le-blog-du-decodex/article/2018/02/12/les-sites-mensongers-sont-peu-lus-mais-ont-un-succes-considerable-sur-facebo

    Les médias traditionnels attirent plus de lecteurs, mais l’écart est beaucoup moins net sur Facebook, selon une étude britannique qui exploite notamment les données du Décodex.
    […]
    L’étude de l’institut Reuters s’intéresse à la circulation des fausses informations en France et en Italie. Pour tenter d’en mesurer la portée, ils se sont servis de listes de sites jugés peu fiables, dont ils ont comparé l’audience avec celle des médias traditionnels. « Le débat sur les fausses informations se concentre souvent sur ce qui se passe au Royaume-Uni. Nous avons cherché à comprendre ce qui se passait ailleurs en Europe », nous explique Richard Fletcher, coauteur de l’étude.

    Les chercheurs ont utilisé des listes préexistantes de sites connus pour diffuser de fausses informations. Pour le volet français de leurs travaux, ils se sont appuyés sur l’annuaire des sources d’informations du Décodex.

    Les chercheurs ont retenu 38 sources parmi les quelque 450 qui y sont classées en « rouge » parce qu’elles ont publié un nombre significatif de fausses informations et/ou d’articles trompeurs : celles qui correspondent à des sites Internet dont l’audience était quantifiable dans les données issues des analyses de la société Comscore (ces mesures sont réalisées en étudiant le comportement d’un panel d’internautes croisé avec d’autres données). Certains sites n’ont pu être analysés, de même que les pages Facebook ou comptes Twitter et YouTube isolés.

    Les autres catégories du Décodex (sites parodiques en « bleu », sites « orange » dont la fiabilité ou la démarche est douteuse) n’ont pas été étudiées.

    • Fact sheet (résumé) de l’étude mentionnée

      Measuring the reach of “fake news” and online disinformation in Europe | Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
      https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/our-research/measuring-reach-fake-news-and-online-disinformation-

      In this factsheet by Richard Fletcher, Alessio Cornia, Lucas Graves and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, we provide top-level usage statistics for the most popular sites that independent fact-checkers and other observers have identified as publishers of false news and online disinformation. We focus on two European countries: France and Italy. We examine France and Italy as two particularly important cases, as both are widely seen as facing serious issues with for-profit and ideologically/politically motivated online disinformation.

      We find that:
      • None of the false news websites we considered had an average monthly reach of over 3.5% in 2017, with most reaching less than 1% of the online population in both France and Italy. By comparison, the most popular news websites in France (Le Figaro) and Italy (La Repubblica) had an average monthly reach of 22.3% and 50.9%, respectively; 
      • The total time spent with false news websites each month is lower than the time spent with news websites. The most popular false news websites in France were viewed for around 10 million minutes per month, and for 7.5 million minutes in Italy. People spent an average of 178 million minutes per month with Le Monde, and 443 million minutes with La Repubblica—more than the combined time spent with all 20 false news sites in each sample;
      • Despite clear differences in terms of website access, the level of Facebook interaction (defined as the total number of comments, shares, and reactions) generated by a small number of false news outlets matched or exceeded that produced by the most popular news brands. In France, one false news outlet generated an average of over 11 million interactions per month—five times greater than more established news brands. However, in most cases, in both France and Italy, false news outlets do not generate as many interactions as established news brands.

      We have shown that many of the most prominent identified false news websites in these countries are far less popular than major established news sites. However, the difference between false news sites and news sites in terms of interactions on Facebook is less clear-cut. We believe that online disinformation is an important issue that the public, publishers, platform companies, policymakers, and other stakeholders should pay serious attention to. But overall, our analysis of the available evidence suggests that false news has more limited reach than is sometimes assumed.

    • Note : l’étude est financée par Google, ce que ne mentionne nulle part le blog du Decodex

      The research was supported by Google UK as part of the #Digital_News_Initiative (CTR00220), as well as the Digital News Report (CTR00150)

      (extrait du pdf de l’étude, 10 pages dont 2 de tableaux en annexe
      https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2018-02/Measuring%20the%20reach%20of%20fake%20news%20and%20o )

    • version Le Monde

      Les sites russes Russia Today et Sputnik, également mentionnés par les chercheurs parce qu’ils sont régulièrement évoqués dans le débat sur les fausses informations, touchent eux aussi une frange restreinte de la population (respectivement 1,5 % et 1,4 %).

      version Institut Reuters

      For comparative purposes, we also included two prominent Russian news sites which have featured in European policy discussions around disinformation, namely Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik. These Russian state-backed organisations are clearly different from sites that engage in for-profit fabrication of false news, but both independent fact-checkers and the EU’s European External Action Service East Stratcom Task Force have identified multiple instances where these sites have published disinformation.

      avec en note la référence à 2 sites :

      https://euvsdisinfo.eu site tenu par la East StratCom Task Force, montée en 2015 et financée par le Conseil de l’Europe (décisions du 19 et 20 mars 2015)

      Q&A about the #East_StratCom_Task_Force - European External Action Service
      https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en/2116/+Questions%20and%20Answers%20about%20the%20East%20StratCom%20Task%20Forc

      How is the team composed?
      The team is made up of fourteen full-time staff, recruited from the EU institutions or seconded by EU Member States. Team members have a variety of professional communications backgrounds and speak several languages, including Russian.

      • nettement plus comique (!) https://www.stopfake.org
      dont le sous-titre affiche bravement

      La lutte contre les informations falsifiées sur les événements en Ukraine

      À propos de nous
      https://www.stopfake.org/fr/a-propos-de-nous

      Le site de vérification des faits StopFake.org a été lancé le 2 mars 2014 dans le but de vérifier les faits avancés par la propagande du Kremlin. Les initiateurs du projet sont des enseignants, d’anciens diplômés ainsi que des étudiants de l’Académie Mohyla (une école de journalisme en Ukraine. ndlr) et du programme « Futur digital du journalisme », destiné aux journalistes et rédacteurs.

    • Three things you should know about RT and Sputnik | EU vs DISINFORMATION
      https://euvsdisinfo.eu/three-things-you-should-know-about-rt-and-sputnik

      1. They are not independent
      • Sputnik was created by a Presidential decree with the aim to “report on the state policy of Russia abroad”;
      • RT is fully financed by the Russian government and is included in an official list of core organizations of strategic importance for Russia.

      2. They do not want to be impartial
      • “The period of impartial journalism is over. Objectivity is a myth”, the CEO and editor-in-chief Dmitry Kiselyov told Sputnik’s editorial staff after a reorganisation of the media house to which Sputnik belongs;
      • The management of both RT and Sputnik receive weekly instructions from the Kremlin. These instructions include guidelines on political narratives, what should be covered and whom the outlets should not talk about.

      3. They produce fake news to promote political objectives
      • The independent media watchdog in the UK, Ofcom, has on 15 occasions expressed criticism of RT for, among other problems, “materially misleading” output;
      • RT has for example been instrumental in creating the smoke screen of disinformation, with which the Russian authorities seek to cover up the facts about the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine with this article as just one of many examples.

    • Pour être complet (?) il faut aussi rappeler que Decodex est financé par Facebook (je ne crois pas qu’il y ait de montants qui circulent).

      Le Monde reçoit des financements publics mais aussi de Google (FINP - AIPG).

      En résumé, une étude financée par Google sur des données collectées par Le Monde sur financement de Facebook.

      Pour terminer, que donne une recherche Google sur les termes Decodex Facebook ?


      Sur les 4 premiers articles résultants, 2 lemonde.fr (dont, « À la une », celui à l’origine de ce billet) et 2 facebook.com.

      Bon, c’est un peu normal, mais où se trouve la limite ? Sur cette recherche, Il n’y a sans doute pas vraiment besoin d’éventuels coups de pouce algorithmiques au profit des clients et des partenaires pour arriver à ce résultat. Encore que… pour être « à la une »…


  • Pro-Israel groups receive letters from Al Jazeera seeking response for ’lobby’ documentary - U.S. News - Haaretz.com

    Last year, the Qatari-owned network planted an undercover reporter inside pro-Israel groups in Washington. Now, those groups were given three weeks to respond to the contents of an upcoming documentary on ’the Israel lobby in America’

    Amir Tibon (Washington) Feb 05, 2018 3:38 PM

    A number of pro-Israel organizations in the United States received letters from Al Jazeera on Friday, informing them their employees will appear on the Qatari-owned network’s upcoming documentary on the Israel lobby in Washington.
    The letters gave the organizations three weeks to respond to the contents of the upcoming report, but did not indicate when the report would be broadcast. 
    Four sources within the pro-Israel circles in Washington, all of whom asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Haaretz that the letters came as a surprise to those who received them.
    Al Jazeera publicly admitted in October it had planted an undercover reporter inside leading pro-Israel organizations in the United States. Ever since then, though, the story has not made any headlines, and some in the Jewish community were under the impression it might not be broadcast at all. 
    Following the letters’ arrival on Friday, the sources in the pro-Israel community offered two dueling interpretations of the new development. Some said the letters indicate that the film will be broadcast within the next weeks, possibly around the time of the annual AIPAC conference in early March. Others believed the opposite was true, claiming that the Qatari government was pressuring Al Jazeera not to air the report, and that the letters are the result of an internal debate within the network about the documentary. 
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    Haaretz revealed last October that the reporter working undercover for Al Jazeera managed to do internship work at the Israel Project and had some access to that organization’s donor files. The undercover reporter also had contacts with a number of low-level staffers at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, some of whom had attended parties at a luxury apartment he rented in downtown D.C.
    His work for Al Jazeera was first reported in 2017 by Armin Rosen in Tablet Magazine. 
    To really understand Israel and the Jewish World - subscribe to Haaretz
    In recent months, leaders for a number of right-wing Jewish organizations in the United States had visited Qatar and met with its emir. All of those leaders had asked the emir to change Al Jazeera’s negative coverage of Israel and its spreading of anti-Semitic content. Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani was asked by Haaretz about those requests during an event in Washington last week, and replied that Qatar’s constitution forbids the government from interfering in Al Jazeera’s work. 

    Thani also said that complaints about Al Jazeera’s coverage should be addressed not to the Qatari government, but to official media regulators. He mentioned that in Britain last year the local media regulating body, Ofcom, investigated complaints about Al Jazeera’s documentary “The Lobby,” on the Israel lobby in the United Kingdom, and denied the allegations that it was misleading or anti-Semitic. 
    One senior official in a pro-Israel organization called the Al Jazeera documentary a “wake-up call.” According to the official, Al Jazeera invested tens of thousands of dollars in the project.
    “They rented an apartment for him that cost more than $5,000 a month,” the official said. “We don’t know what kind of recording equipment was placed inside that apartment, and what kind of equipment he took with him to meetings in offices all around town, but I assume it was of the highest quality. This is not just a television report, it’s closer to state-sponsored espionage.”

    Amir Tibon
    Haaretz Correspondent

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  • EU, Norway to convene emergency meeting of donor groups providing Palestinians financial aid - Europe -

    The conference, to be held on January 31, is being held against the backdrop of a U.S. threat to cut funding to the Palestinians and a stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

    Noa Landau Jan 10, 2018
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/1.834111

    The European Union and Norway will be convening an emergency meeting of donor groups that provide funding for the Palestinians.
    >>Why a big wave of European countries recognizing Palestine is fast approaching | David Makovsky, Opinion
    The gathering is being held against the backdrop of the crisis in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the American threat to cut financial assistance to the Palestinians and the stalled reconciliation process between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. The gathering will also examine the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
    Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai will be representing Israel at the conference, which will take place on January 31 at the initiative of Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
    U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cut funding to the Palestinians if they don’t return to the negotiating table. Among the possibilities is cutting U.S. funding to UNRWA, which is more than $300 million a year – about a third of the agency’s budget.
    A senior Israeli official has told Haaretz that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only supports a gradual cut. This comes in the context of Israeli security officials’ position that a collapse of humanitarian aid in Gaza could worsen the security situation.

    Noa Landau
    Haaretz Correspondent


  • Swiss Newspaper reveals: Secret military cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel
    Middle East Monitor - January 8, 2018 at 3:17 am
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180108-swiss-newspaper-reveals-secret-military-cooperation-betw

    The Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung revealed the fact that there exists a “secret alliance” between Saudi Arabia and Israel, intended “to restrain Iran’s expansion in the region, despite the absence of any official relations between the two countries.”

    “For the time being, Riyadh rejects any official normalization of relationships with Israel as long as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not resolved and normalization has not been publically declared by Arab countries and thus there will be no exchange of ambassadors,” said Pierre Heumann, the newspaper’s correspondent in Israel in his report.

    “There is an intensive secret cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel in order to achieve the main goal of curbing Iran’s expansion project and undermining its regional ambitions,” said the reporter. He added that “there exists indeed military cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Tel Aviv.”

    The reporter quoted unidentified sources from Riyadh as saying “the Kingdom is currently considering the possibility to purchase Israeli weapons and it has shown an interest in purchasing defence systems for the tanks and the iron dome, which Israel claims has proven to be effective in countering rocket attacks from Gaza Strip.(...) ”

    #Israrabie


  • Israel helped establish 14 illegal West Bank outposts since 2011 -

    State support ranges from turning a blind eye to offering government funds ■ Review reveals system that helps clear the way for ’legalization’

    Yotam Berger Dec 25, 2017
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.831032

    Israeli authorities in September placed one of the so-called hilltop youth under house arrest at Havat Itamar Cohen – an illegal outpost in the West Bank. That’s one example, and not the only one, of how the authorities are involved in de facto legalization of illegal outposts. (The teen, who asked that his name not be published, said he’d had a falling out with the owner of the farm, who was going to beat him. A few hours later the Shin Bet security service and the army placed the teen in another, legal facility. People at the farm declined to comment.)
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Another example is that of Hill 387, a small illegal outpost established on state land near Kfar Adumim east of Jerusalem. At the outpost, surrounded by privately-owned Palestinian land, an NGO called Haroeh Ha’ivri (“the Hebrew Shepherd”) operates. Its official purpose is to rehabilitate violent settler teens known as hilltop youth. In fact, the association itself established the illegal outpost. Its documentation shows that it is funded solely by the Education Ministry, with an annual budget of a few hundred thousand shekels.

    Um Zuka. Olivier Fitoussi
    The Education Ministry at first denied that the NGO established the outpost, but the documents it filed with the Civil Administration show that not only did it establish the outpost illegally, it is also seeking to have it legalized retroactively.
    In 2014, Amira Hass disclosed in Haaretz that the Shomron Regional Council was behind the establishment of the illegal outpost Havat Shaharit. The Shomron Regional Council responded at the time that “the work was carried out by law and in coordination with the relevant officials.”
    Yet another illegal outpost, a kind of farm in the Umm Zuka nature reserve, was connected a few months ago to a water pipeline by a nearby Israel Defense Forces base.
    >> Settler leader used state resources to fund illegal outpost, while Israel turned blind eye <<

    Hill 387, the unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost where Jewish Shepherd operates a rehab program for teenage dropouts, in Jan. 2017.Olivier Fitoussi
    Ostensibly, after the report on illegal outposts submitted to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by attorney Talia Sasson in 2005, no more illegal outposts were to have been established, certainly not with government assistance. The report, which revealed that the government had invested hundreds of millions of shekels directly and indirectly in the establishment of dozens of illegal outposts, was to have put an end to this phenomenon. But aerial photos and Civil Administration data show that it has not stopped, it’s only gone underground. Over the past six years illegal outposts are once more being established, some in recent months.

    Most of these outpost are hastily cobbled together, a tent or a prefab where “hilltop youth” – most of them under 18 – live off and on.
    The authorities are fighting against these outposts tooth and nail, removing them and sometimes arresting residents, among other reasons because the security forces see them as a source of violence against Palestinians. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman seems almost pleased to order their evacuation – perhaps because they don’t have a political lobby or economic backing. Last summer, in speaking to journalists covering the West Bank, he called them “disturbed” and “idiots.”
    The law is not being enforced when it comes to the better-planned and more establishment-supported outposts; they are sometimes recognized and receive assistance and protection. Since 2011, 17 illegal outposts have been established, 14 of which are known to the Civil Administration. The way they were established shows their planning. The founders or planners examined aerial photos and the location chosen was not coincidental: They are built on government land, not privately-owned Palestinian land, which increases the chance that they will be legalized in the future. They are mainly built in fairly remote locations with a commanding view of the surroundings.
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    Three of them are near but not connected to existing settlements, such as the so-called “prefab neighborhood” set up near the outpost of Sde Boaz, which was evacuated about two weeks ago. Eleven outposts were set up as farms with living quarters for a few people who raise flocks or crops. No plans are known for evacuating these outposts, although they are all illegal.
    Dror Etkes, of the left-wing organization Kerem Navot, says that the founders of these outposts chose the locales and built their structures on state land so they can claim that they should not be evacuated. “They take over as much surrounding land as possible, including private land, which they steal by other means, such as cultivation or barring access [to the Palestinian landowners].” Etkes, who is in possession of Civil Administration maps, believes the settlers saw them before they established the outposts.
    At the outpost of Nahalat Yosef, east of Elon Moreh, Etkes says: “Huge surrounding areas are private, and were taken over by planting or barring access, and have very much increased the area of the outpost. It’s methodical, and they know exactly what they’re doing.”

    Umm Zuka nature reserveGil Eliyahu
    Civil Administration data obtained by Haaretz show that dozens of demolition orders have been issued against these outposts. Nine such orders were issued against Havat Itamar Cohen, and eight against Haroeh Ha’ivri. But the Civil Administration doesn’t issue demolition orders against outposts within settlement master plans, such as Neveh Ahi near the settlement of Halamish, which was established after the murder this year of the Salomon family in the unused area of where a master plan is in force.
    But the flood of demolition orders is misleading. In fact, these outposts can expect the authorities to turn a blind eye to them, if not support them outright. “Except for Sde Boaz, there are no evacuations,” said Etkes. “This is clearly sweeping immunity against enforcement of the law. Add to this all the infrastructure around it, electricity, water, road-building; this isn’t being paid for with settlers’ private money.”
    A resident of the evacuated outpost at Sde Boaz, which was established with the assistance of the regional council, told Haaretz: “They told us that the High Court had decided that it had to be dismantled. We were told there was no choice, that it could harm the settlements – so we left. We’re not hilltop youth, we’re good, law-abiding people we understood there was no point in going on.”

    West Bank outpost of Nahalat Yosef, east of Elon MorehOlivier Fitoussi
    We might learn about the future of the illegal outposts through the case of Malakhei Hashalom, a small outpost on an abandoned army base near Shiloh in the northern West Bank, with a sheep pen that is presented as a farm. Visits to the site revealed it is inhabited by one family and visited occasionally by teens. The Civil Administration has evacuated the site a few times, but according to officials familiar with the case, a few months ago it was agreed between the Civil Administration and the site that its inhabitants would evacuate it of their own free will. The state sent them trucks and they piled their belongings on them. The Civil Administration proudly touted the evacuation. But within a few weeks later the outpost was established elsewhere, with the same sheep.
    SponsoredThe Unusual Link Between Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s

    Yotam Berger
    Haaretz Correspondent


  • NYT Prints Government-Funded Propaganda About Government-Funded Propaganda | FAIR
    https://fair.org/home/nyt-prints-government-funded-propaganda-about-government-funded-propaganda

    An op-ed by the president of the right-wing human rights group Freedom House, published in the #New_York_Times Monday (12/11/17)—later boosted by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker—warned of the menace of “commentators, trolls, bots, false news sites and propaganda,” and their negative effects on democracy. Missing from its analysis was any account of how the government that funds their organization—86 percent of Freedom House’s budget comes from the US government, primarily the State Department and #USAID—uses social media to stir unrest and undermine governments worldwide.

    #propagande #MSM #Etats-unis