Posts Tagged ‘Internet Censorship’
Slavoj Žižek and Julian Assange recently conducted a session for the Frontline club and it is on YouTube, below.
Astute readers may have noticed that I am not blogging much at the moment, life’s a bit complicated and particularly like today, I don’t have much brain.
So I have a kind request to make of my readers. Could they, if they have the stamina, view the video and provide me with a summary (I’m happy to get several from different readers)? Ta very much.
Julian Assange will be appearing at the Hay on Wye festival on Saturday 4 June 2011, 2.30pm, Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage.
Apparently, Assange is taking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rosie has submitted a good one, it deserves an answer. Not sure if Assange will have the guts to reply on this particular topic:
“[To Julian Assange] What is your relationship with Israel Shamir? In a statement to Private Eye Wikileaks said that Israel Shamir has never been an “agent” of Wikileaks, and generally minimises your relationship.
Could you please explain then the recent article on the Swedish anti-fascist site Expo which stated that you had been in contact with him to recommend potential associates in Sweden for analysing the Wikileaks data.
In an interview with Agora Vox you have echoed his own view of himself that he is persecuted like Salman Rushdie and according to a Panorama programme you emailed him, going along with one of his aliases “Adam” and describing his work as “strong and compassionate”.
Do you still hold that view of Shamir and his writing?“
“The cooperation between Julian Assange and the Swedish antisemite Israel Shamir is closer than has previously been reported. Expo revieved e-mail correspondence revealing that Shamir was actively involved in shaping Wikileaks’ Swedish network.
According to WikiLeak’s spokesperson, Kristinn Hrafnsson, the role of Israel Shamir has been that of a freelance writer working with a “a project that came and went”.
– We have not been scanning all the thousands of journalists that we have been associated with in some way, he tells Expo.
However, e-mails between Shamir and Assange that Expo have gotten hold of reveal that the two have cooperated for several years. In 2008 Shamir was asked to recommend potential associates in Sweden.
Shamir answered by recommending his son, Johannes Wahlström, without mentioning anything about their kinship:
”He is Swedish citizen, and lives in Sweden. Probably he’ll be able to give advice about press freedom”
In an e-mail dated June 2010 shows that Shamir at that point still played a part in the Swedish WikiLeaks-network. Shamir wrote:
”I have a lot of good guys who can help to analyse the treasure, and it would be good to start spreading the news. I am now in Paris, and people want to know more! Tuesday I go to Sweden, and there is a whole operation for your benefit!”
”There certainly is! Tell the team to get ready; Give them my best; We have a lot of work to do.”
Israel Shamir and his son Johannes Wahlström have both been criticized for antisemitic writings. Shamir has said that ”every person who adheres to God should deny the Holocaust”. Wahlström wrote an article in 2005 with claims that ”Israel’s regime controls Swedish media”. Wahlström has repeatedly defended his father and he is presented on Shamir’s website as a ”distinguished contributor”. “
They have information showing that Julian Assange’s links to the Far Rightist, Israel Shamir, are much closer and more extensive than had been first thought.
Readers will remember how the BBC had a confidential email exchange between the two, which indicated a friendly relationship, with Assange suggesting Shamir might use an alias to hide his connection to Wikileaks.
Wikileaks’ subsequent statement on Israel Shamir was decidedly unsatisfactory. Basically, they said he was just another journalist and they treated him as such.
However, it is clear from the Expose.se article that Wikileaks’ response was very far from the truth.
Below is an extract taken from the Expo magazine and a Google translation from the original Swedish, which is not perfect but sufficient to explain the issues:
“Cooperation between Julian Assange and the Swedish anti-Semite Israel Shamir is denser than previously stated. Expo has taken note of several emails that show that Assange Shamir asked for help to build Wikileaks Swedish network.
According to Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson traded contacts between Julian Assange and Israel Shamir on a project.
- We have not checked the political and personal views of the thousands of journalists we worked with, “he told the Expo.
But e-mails as part of the Expo has shown that cooperation lasted for years. Back in 2008, Shamir was asked to provide proposals to potential partners in Sweden.
Shamir responds by proposing his son, John Wahl, without mentioning anything about their relationship:
“He is a Swedish citizen, living in Sweden. Probably he will be able to advise you on press freedom – in the journal [tornado / red.anm.] Is startling revelations about the media assaults.”
In an email dated June 2010 shows that Shamir and Assange still had a role in Wikileaks Swedish network .. “Tell the team to be prepared; Health them from me: We have much work to do,” writes Assange in response to Shamir. “
Again, the points are:
I don’t think I did Zkharya’s post on Engage sufficient justice, after reviewing the links it is fairly clear that Wikipedia editors show bias. It takes forever to wade through the talk sessions and contributions, but that’s the way it looks to me.
Just wanted to thank you, (though I know this isn’t why you do it), for the really stunning job you have done on the “Development” and “Character” sections of this page. Beautifully written, very accurate and wonderfully well referenced, (if you don’t mind me saying so). Thank you for all the hard work. Really impressive.
I have some French national press cuttings, if that would be helpful.
The other Wikipedia editor, Nick Cooper, seems to be using internal rules or his interpretation of them to remove contributions that he doesn’t like.
But these Wikipedia editors are, in themselves, inconsequential. Their particular biases and desire to muffle criticism of The Promise won’t be successful.
An extract from The Promise: an exercise in British self-exculpation by Professor Cesarani:
“The series hinges on the story of a sergeant in the 6th Airborne Division, a veteran of Arnhem who saw the liberation of Belsen concentration camp, who arrives in Palestine in September 1945 with his unit. In the first episode a British intelligence officer explains to the new troops that Jews are flooding into Palestine in fulfilment of “a promise made by God”. This influx is troubling the Arabs who have lived in Palestine “since time immemorial”. The job of the British, he announces, is to keep the two sides apart. The paratroopers are like the “meat in a sandwich”.
But, hold on a minute. It was the British who promised Palestine to the Jews as a Jewish national home in 1917 and the British who flooded Palestine with troops to protect a vital piece of imperial real estate in 1945. Zionist aspirations, which the British had fostered, and Palestinian Arab opposition to them, were a problem only in so far as they complicated British planning for the cold war.
As the series unfolds, we see British soldiers torn between compassion for the Jews and sympathy for the Palestinian Arabs. Eventually, the Jews alienate them thanks to their relentless terrorist campaign. Kosminsky depicts the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and the hanging of two British sergeants by the underground army of the rightwing Zionists. In one scene he shows three off-duty tommies bleeding to death after an ambush, while Jews in surrounding cafes callously sip tea and eat cream cakes.
The sergeant, through whose eyes we see the debacle unfold, also witnesses the massacre of Palestinian Arabs at the village of Deir Yassin in April 1948. By this time his allegiances are with the Arab population. On the eve of the British evacuation from Haifa he pleads with his superiors to use the army’s firepower to prevent the Jewish forces from overwhelming and driving out the Arab inhabitants. He protests that Britain can’t just walk away after “we’ve been here for 30 years keeping them apart”.
This is the central conceit, and deceit, of Kosminsky’s epic. The British were in Palestine for their own interests and when it no longer suited them they left. To conceal this fact he has to perpetrate a massive historical distortion. Although The Promise is insufferably didactic, no one mentions the Balfour declaration. Yet it was the British foreign secretary, AJ Balfour, who informed the English Zionist Federation in November 1917 that “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object”. This was the only promise that mattered because it had the force of international law. It was subsequently incorporated into the mandate that the League of Nations gave Britain to authorise its possession of Palestine. In 1922 parliament voted to accept the mandate and all that went with it. “
The MP3 of Howard Jacobson in conversation with Jonathan Freedland at Jewish Book Week 2011.
Zkharya highlights the key bits:
“In a filmed conversation with Howard Jacobson during Jewish Book Week 2011 (see link), Jonathan Freedland, Guardian editor, journalist, author and BBC presenter, first of all says Kominsky panders to antisemitic tropes, such as that of wealthy Jews (00.52.50-58). He then brackets The Promise with works such as Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children, which he and Jacobson consider antisemitic (00.55.58-00.56.00). In an extended discussion with Howard Jacobson (01.13.28-01.14.18), Freedland makes three fundamental criticisms of The Promise:
Jacobson: ..how many you would think educated journalists still talk about Israel as though it’s a consequence of the Holocaust. Which was The Promise, wasn’t it?”
Freedland: The premise of The Promise, so to speak (it lost me first of all at the girl on Business Class), but also these very long, lingering pictures, archive footage from Belsen, I felt three things about that.
One, you don’t have the right to use those pictures, you haven’t earned the right to use those pictures artistically.
Second, I just know looking at that that you’re making a down payment on what you want to say attacking Jews later on in this series. And you’re doing that as your insurance policy, to say, well, look, I was sympathetic on that.
Third, and it was actually explicitly said by a character, a brigadier, briefing the British troops in Palestine -you knew they were saying this was the premise of all Zionism-, the Arabs were here minding their own business for 2000 years, and suddenly, after the Holocaust, Jews arrive…
Jacobson: We drop in out of the clear blue sky, bang, we’ll have that! “
The video on vimeo, Howard Jacobson in conversation with Jonathan Freedland by Danny Bermant.
An extract from Howard Jacobson: Ludicrous, brainwashed prejudice:
“Myself, I wouldn’t bet heavily on there being good times ahead for Jews. Anti-Zionists can assure me all they like that their position entails no harm to Jews – only witness how many Jews are themselves anti-Zionist, they say – I no longer believe them. Individually, it is of course possible to care little for Israel and to care a great deal for Jews. But in the movement of events individuals lose their voice. What carries the day is consensus, and consensus is of necessity unsubtle. By brute consensus, now, Israel is the proof that Jews did not adequately learn the lesson of the Holocaust.
Forget Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is old hat. The new strategy – it showed its hand in Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children, and surfaced again in Channel 4’s recent series The Promise – is to depict the Holocaust in all its horror in order that Jews can be charged (“You, of all people”) with failing to live up to it. By this logic the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn’t. “Jews know more than anyone that killing civilians is wrong,” resounds an unmistakably authorial voice in The Promise. Thus are Jews doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to the moral wasteland of having found no humanising redemption in its horrors.
It matters not a jot to me that the writer/director of The Promise is a Jew. Jews succumbing to the age-old view of them and reviling what’s Jewish in themselves has a long history. Peter Kosminsky would have it that his series is about Israel, not Jews, but in The Promise Israel becomes paradigmatic of the Jews’ refusal to be improved by affliction.”
So remember when you read The Promise’s entry on Wikipedia that you are only getting part of the story and the criticism of this flawed TV series has been deliberately blunted by Wikipedia’s editors.
Anyone familiar with Zkharya will know he is a serious fellow, highly educated and exceedingly well read on these topics.
The gist of the post at Engage is that he tried to improve the quality of an article on The Promise and his helpful additions were removed.
Further, he was warned that he was committing vandalism.
Now anyone familiar with Wikipedia and the exodus of contributors will recognise Zkharya’s criticisms. These have been going on for years, that basically a small coterie of Wikipedia editors patrol and enforce their own diktats on articles.
Should someone find a particularly egregious entry and correct it then their work may be disposed of, unless it pleases those Wikipedia honchos, who don’t like admitting they’re wrong or that they don’t know something terribly well.
I think Zkharya and other Wikipedia contributors need to remember Lord Acton’s quote, updated for the 21st century:
“Power corrupts, absolute virtual power corrupts absolutely, particularly on the Internet.”
Readers might remember how previously Bob had similar issues with Wikipedia on its CounterPunch entry.
“The fight over who had what when, and was supposed to use it how, is leading to some especially hard feelings, including between folks who once got along. The gist seemed to be, “Is there no decency anymore?” Over here we have Wikileaks (presumably Julian Assange), tweeting annoyance over former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s alleged sneakiness.
“Domschiet, NYT, Guardian, attempted Gitmo spoiler against our 8 group coalition,” tweeted the Wikileaks account. “We had intel on them and published first.” And over there we have Pentagon press secretary and former NBC correspondent Geoff Morrell complaining about the New York Times’ Easter offensive. “Thx to Wikileaks we spent Easter weekend dealing w/NYT & other news orgs publishing leaked classified GTMO docs,” Morrell tweeted earlier today.
That Wikileaks earns the sarcastic thanks in Morrell’s account, considering that Times executive editor Bill Keller says in Calderone’s piece that “WikiLeaks is not our source.” But I guess it’s still a bit easier and less relationship damaging for the Pentagon to go after Assange and company than Keller and his team. “
Michael Calderone at HuffPost covers it too.
TPM LiveWire seems to get to the nub of the issue:
“Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's reputation as a fighter for transparency and destroyer of secrets ought to be thoroughly demolished by today’s spectacle of the New York Times literally forcing him to give up the Guantanamo Bay files he’d been hoarding for months.
Assange has been sitting on the 700-plus Gitmo detainee files since at least May of last year, when accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning confessed in a chat session to passing them to Wikileaks along with a plethora of classified military reports and diplomatic cables. They were the final sizable arrow in Assange’s anti-government quiver, and for months we’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for their inevitable release. But Assange kept holding back.
They were published last night, at long last, only because the New York Times finagled its own copy–presumably from Wikileaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg–and shared it with NPR and the Guardian. Wikileaks, which had been working with the Washington Post and other papers on the Gitmo papers but was still keeping the information embargoed, scrambled to get its own version up. “
Update 1: Lest I forget, the NY times a good piece, a History of the Detainee Population.
The New Statesman failed to organise Live Streaming of their recent event with Julian Assange and couldn’t even get themselves organise to put it on YouTube.
Still, someone has done the job for them.
The clip below is just Assange, more might turn up later, but it is funny that the British media go on and on about ‘new media’ ‘Internet 2.0′, Twitter, and other buzz words they clearly don’t understand, yet they don’t have the wherewithal to upload a simple video to YouTube, how useless.
Update 1: Read more of the New Statesman’s self congratulatory guff at:
YouTube is replete with every form of embarrassing video clip known to humanity, and then some.
However, if you were to look for a video clip of Julian Assange’s latest outing at the Kensington Town Hall, you won’t find anything, yet.
Not only that, but if you weren’t part of the Metropolitan Elites, a New Statesman reader or an interested media type then you probably wouldn’t know it was actually going on, in the first place.
If you did make it, then entry would cost you £20, concessions costing £15.00, not cheap in the age of austerity.
Hunting around assiduously you might find a slightly incoherent page on the New Statesman which purports to be live blogging, but it is next to impossible to follow the debate between Julian Assange and Douglas Murray, etc
Certainly, from the photos it seems to be well attended, by the Metropolitan Elites, but that doesn’t help anyone outside of London wanting to follow the debate.
I would speculate that the New Statesman might have considered doing Live Streaming during the planning of this event, as it is cheap and easy to do, but could have been overruled by a paranoid Julian Assange?
It is all rather peculiar, all rather 1950s, keeping discussions within a self selecting few and restricting information on the wider issues.
Readers might think that goes against the ethos of Wikileaks, but it’s hardly surprising, those who have power and control, however, small it is, will often abuse and use it for their own ends. Julian Assange and the Metropolitan Elites are no different in that respect.
Still, I am not sure that Julian Assange or his hosts have a sufficiently well developed sense of irony to see the problem with their own conduct!
Who knows, perhaps, someone will secretly release a bootleg video of the event?
Update 1: Esther Addley adds more:
“But the political commentator Douglas Murray, director of the centre for social cohesion, challenged Assange over the website’s sources of funding, its staffing and connections with the Holocaust denier Israel Shamir, who has worked with the site.
“What gives you the right to decide what should be known or not? Governments are elected. You, Mr Assange are not.”
Murray also challenged the WikiLeaks founder over an account in a book by Guardian writers David Leigh and Luke Harding, in which the authors quote him suggesting that if informants were to be killed following publication of the leaks, they “had it coming to them”.
Assange repeated an earlier assertion that the website “is in the process of suing the Guardian” over the assertion, and asked if Murray would like to “join the queue” of organisations he was suing.
The Guardian has not received any notification of such action from WikiLeaks or its lawyers.
Jason Cowley, the editor of the New Statesman and chair of the debate, interjected to ask: “How can the great champion of open society be using our libel laws to challenge the press?” “
Bob From Brockley has a superb post on CounterPunch, a well known ‘anti-imperialist’ rag with a propensity for publishing antisemites and their friends.
Bob details how criticism of Counterpunch has vanished from its Wikipedia entry.
It seems that CounterPunch can dish it out, but can’t take it.
Their attempt at censorship is a bit silly, as all of it is kept on the Way Back machine, and can be read at your leisure.
Below is a snapshot from the Beta version of 15th September 2011, for the record:
A number of writers, such as Franklin Foer of The New Republic and political commentator Steven Plaut, have written articles charging CounterPunch of being biased against Israel and antisemitic. Plaut cites the controversial anti-Zionist Gilad Atzmon in particular, and alleges that, “Almost every self-hating Jew on the planet capable of banging on a keyboard is today either a columnist for the anti-American web magazine Counterpunch … or is an object of Counterpunch’s celebration.”
CounterPunch has also been criticised by anti-Zionist activists Tony Greenstein and Roland Rance of Jews Against Zionism, for its practice of publishing articles by writers such as Gilad Atzmon and Israel Shamir which they describe as “blurring the distinction” between Zionism and Judaism, and failing to publish responses to these articles. 
- ^ McKinney, Cynthia; Cynthia McKinney (September 18 2002). “Goodbye to All That”. counterpunch.org. http://www.counterpunch.org/mckinney0918.html. Regarding COINTELPRO
- ^ Race encyclopedia’s flawed compromise, Ben Cohen, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 4, 2009. 
- ^ Plaut, Steven (June 21 2005). “CounterPunch’s Self-Hating Jews”. frontpagemag.com. http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18477.
- ^ Taranto, James. “The Devil You Know”. The New Republic Online. https://ssl.tnr.com/p/docsub.mhtml?i=express&s=foer040902.
- ^ “Reply to Gilad Atzmon’s ‘What is to be Done?’”. What Next Magazine. http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/Pages/Politics/Atzmonreply.html.
- ^ “Open Letter to CounterPunch: Who’s Afraid of Gilad Atzmon and the Holocaust Deniers? or Why Alex Cockburn Refuses to Print a Reply to Mary Rizzo”. What Next Magazine. http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/Pages///Politics/Counterpunch.html.
- ^ http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/articles/43907/Whyleftwinganti-ZionismisantisemitismByDanielGreenfield
Anyway enjoy Bob’s post, Counterpunch: for the record.
News is coming out that a blogger, Sultan al-Khalaifi, has been detained in Qatar by the State security services:
“Blogger and human rights activist, Sultan al-Khalaifi, has been detained by security forces after criticising the country’s censorship rules on his blog. Khalaifi, who is founder of a rights group campaigning on cases of detention in Qatar, has been in detention since March 2 after being contacted by state security. According to his lawyer he has been detained on numerous occasions in the past. “
Global Voices covers it too.
“On 1 March 2011 at nine o’clock at night, a number of state security agents raided the house of Mr. Sultan Khalifa Al Khulaifi in Doha. After searching his house and car for two hours, he was taken to an unknown place by the State Security agents.
A female officer who was accompanying the agents informed the wife of Mr. Khulaifi that they were sent by the Attorney General, but without they were unable to produce any judicial warrant justifying the decision.
Alkarama fears that the arrest of Mr. Sultan Khalifa Al Khulaifi is as a result of his human rights activities. We were recently contacted by him regarding three cases of arbitrary detention in Qatar, which Alkarama has transmitted to the Qatari authorities in the hope that they will release them. The three names are the following: Abdullah Ghanem Mahfouz Muslim Jouar, Salim Hassan Khalifa Rashid Al Kuwari and Hamad Rashid Al-Marri.
Mr. Al Khulaifi served as Secretary-General of the Alkarama Foundation until the beginning of 2010, before leaving to found a new organization for the defense of human rights.
Alkarama reminds that human rights defenders and others who collaborate with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, are particularly protected by the United Nations and indeed the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 12/ 2 on 1 October 2009 “Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights” to protect human rights defenders active both inside and outside their countries.
Alkarama calls on the Qatari authorities to respect their obligations under this resolution and requests that they immediately release Mr Sultan Al Khulaifi and those arrested with him or immediately put them under the protection of the law, ensuring full respect for their human rights. “
Some new material has been released into the public domain concerning the allegations against Julian Assange.
I can’t make my mind up on it. I think it tends to detract from the issues which have come out during these Wikileaks, Techworld reports:
“Text messages sent by the two women who accuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of rape and assault mention “revenge” and “economic gain,” according to testimony during the second day of his extradition hearing.
Defense witness Björn Hurtig said he was allowed under police supervision to examine hundreds of messages, which “suggest things that go against what the claimants have said regarding the rape.”
Hurtig, who is Assange’s attorney in Sweden, said he saw text messages “speaking of revenge” and taking “economic advantage” of Assange, who is wanted for questioning related to alleged incidents with two women in mid-August 2010.
He faces possible charges of unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape, but his legal team presents those accusations as a veiled attack related to WikiLeaks’ release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.”
His solicitors, Finers Stephens Innocent, have other material on their site here.
I haven’t looked through it if anyone finds anything good then please let me know.
And some of my other posts on the matter:
I have had time to reflect and I wish to say sorry to my female readers, who I may have inadvertently offended in the discussions around Julian Assange’s Arrest And The Broken Condom.
I feel I was often too caustic, and not sufficiently attuned to the issues, as seen from a different perspective.
Regrettably, I tend to focus on political matters, sometimes to the exclusion of more intricate points.
So my apologies, particularly to any of my female readers who were rightly offended by my unnecessary and direct comments.
Access to the Internet doesn’t confer intelligence, but you would like to think that those with high-speed connections to the web could at least educate themselves on the basics.
The web is a positive encyclopaedia and with a few clicks you can find out most things.
So it is all the more annoying to see a constant, almost obsessive, Internet user demonstrate major historical illiteracy, that person is Julian Assange.
Readers will remember how I am somewhat enamoured of Wikileaks, as I think that it is good for information to come out into the public domain and stimulate debate. How I find the timing of the charges against Assange too coincidental.
Nevertheless, as the story unfolds in the media you get the impression that Julian Assange is a bit of a fool, or at the very least rather naive and unworldly.
Assange’s profile on the free dating site, OkCupid.com, is indicative of someone not fully in touch with reality.
His latest comments, comparing his treatment to that of the Jews, is unbelievable, the JC has more:
“The founder of WikiLeaks has compared his treatment by the Swedish authorities seeking his extradition over sexual assault allegations to the persecution of the Jewish people in the last century.
Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian behind the extraordinary leaks of US diplomatic cables and documents, told The Times that he believed the allegations and the publicity surrounding them were unfounded and motivated by “a mixture of revenge, money, and police pressure.”
He said: “All sorts of abusive statements were made against the Jewish people in the 1950s and before.
“I’m not the Jewish people, but the people who believe in freedom of speech and accountability [are in the same position].”
Julian, it was considerably more than just “abusive statements”. Try searching Google with pogrom, Soviet antisemitism and mass murder.
I am lost for words.