ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

Blogs in June 2011.

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I thought I should see what others are doing:

Flesh is Grass has an important post on how the EDL managed to march, unescorted, from Redbridge to Dagenham.

Yaacov Lozowick has given up blogging. Pity, I didn’t agree with him, much, but he has a thoughtful way and articulates many intelligent ideas.

Johnny Guitar thinks about the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement and the need for a South Africa-style truth commission, just not at the moment.

Weggis on the case against biofuels. Completely agree, it seems so questionable to use food stuff or related material as fuel for the internal combustion engine.

Harry Barnes on Sorting Out The Labour Party, which I think is very optimistic. In the short term they could ditch Ed Miliband, try to be a bit radical, really, seriously distance themselves from the skeleton of New Labour. Chance would be a fine thing.

In related news, I am not surprised that Ed Miliband is less popular than Iain Duncan Smith or William Hague, when they were in a similar position. Frankly, Miliband’s inarticulate, has the charisma of a saucer and he’s politically useless.

Jams looks at an evil cat, great photos.

Mark Gardner at the CST has a reflective post on the situation at UCU and its wider implications, From UCU to MEMO and “Israel’s British hirelings”.

Ten minutes hate on the ‘miracle villages’.

Chris Dillow considers Miliband’s power blindness.

Nick Lowles provides a photo and details of the EDL thugs racial attack in Dagenham.

Sorrel Moseley-Williams ponders Journalists’ Day in Argentina.

Not a blog, but worthwhile all the same. Searchlight on the BNP’s use of Facebook and Twitter.

Rosie looks at Fact and Fiction.

James Bloodworth has a couple of cracking posts, Will the Defence Secretary’s links with Sri Lanka compromise British calls for an enquiry? and Isn’t it time for an apology, Mr Chomsky?

Rebecca provides an update on the Gaza flotilla. Personally, I think the Israeli Government should allow them into Gaza with minimum fuss or hassle. I think Gazans should get as much as they can, after all living under Hamas must be terrible.

Jack of Kent looks at the arrest of blogger Jacqui Thompson and the many unanswered questions.

Greens Engage on Cynthia and Jello.

At Greater Surbiton, a guest post by David Pettigrew, Justice in Bosnia after Mladic.

Eric Reeves has a piece in the Washington Post, In Sudan, genocide anew?

Engage has an abundance of posts which should be read, just a small selection: Open antisemitism doesn’t harm your reputation, Sally Hunt pretends not to understand the term “institutional racism” and Richard Kuper on the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism (by Eve Garrard)

Enjoy!

Women in Saudi.

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Readers might remember the case of Manal al-Sherif, a young Saudi woman arrested for driving in Saudi Arabia?

Well, more women are fighting back against petty restrictions and the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, France 24 reports:

“Several Saudi women got behind the wheel on Friday in a “Suffragette-level” protest against rules that ban them from driving cars in the conservative, male-dominated country.

A Facebook campaign page titled “Women2Drive”, as well as the reactions from thousands of Twitter users, have helped push this small act of civil disobedience onto the international stage.

The campaign was inspired by the arrest last month of 32-year-old Manal al-Sherif, who posted a video of herself driving on YouTube.

On Friday there were reports of “several” women driving. But in an ultraconservative country where such behaviour is virtually unknown, it was still a significant act of defiance – even if all the reports were of women driving with a male relative. Saudi women are required by law to be accompanied by a male relative when they venture out.

Microblogging site Twitter was flooded with messages of support on Friday and triumphant comments on those staging these acts of defiance.

Times of London columnist Janice Turner tweeted: “Today, women in Saudi will challenge the driving ban, risking arrest, loss of jobs & children. This [is] Suffragette-level bravery.”

Dr. Mohammed Al-Qahtan, a Saudi rights activist, said he had been driven by his wife Maha through the streets of Riyadh.

“My wife, Maha, and I have just come from a 45-minute drive, she was the driver through Riyadh’s streets,” he tweeted, adding later that she “has taken her necessary belongings, ready to go to prison without fear!” “

Update 1: Time covers it too:

“The beginning of the trip was uneventful. I tried to keep my camera discreetly in my lap and shoot the occasional frame, so as to not draw attention to us. We rode through Friday afternoon traffic, attracting some double takes and a few stares, but overall much less reaction than I would have anticipated. Her eyes, all that could be seen from underneath her all-encompassing hijab, darted in and out of the rear view mirror.

We coasted along King Fahd Road in Riyadh. The traffic seemed to grow more dense by the minute. She was nervous and her husband was giving her directions. “Don’t change lanes, slow down, you are going too fast!” he said. Then, turning to me in the back seat, he declared proudly, “She’s a good driver!”

The backseat driving made me smile—so universal between husbands and wives, no matter where in the world you are.

Given the longstanding prohibition against women drivers, I wondered if the police would stop us. I flashed back to the cramped prison cell in Sirte, where I was held by the Libyan government in March along with three male colleagues from the New York Times. There we were splayed out on soiled foam mattresses, a bottle of urine in the corner of the cell, a box of dates on the floor. I was sure the Saudi prison would be cleaner.

I took the discs out of my camera, hid them in my bra, and put the camera back into my backpack. “

Update 2: This is the Facebook page of Women2Drive.

Twitter Vs. Unnamed Sportsman.

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Up front, I like Twitter, the ease of accessing masses of information appeals to me, plus the fact that the rich and powerful can’t exert their customary controls and are brought down to the ground by the free availability of Twitter, so the new court case against Twitter should prove very amusing.

Apparently, lawyers on behalf of a Premier league footballer have served an injunction on Twitter, Business Week reports:

“May 20 (Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. and some of its users were sued by an entity known as “CTB” in London, according to a court filing.

While the document gave no details, CTB are the initials used by the court in a separate lawsuit to refer to an athlete who won an anonymity order banning the media from publishing stories about his alleged affair with a reality-television star.

The Twitter suit was filed May 18 at the High Court in London according to court records, and named as defendants the San Francisco-based company and “persons unknown responsible for the publication of information on the Twitter accounts” listed in confidential court documents.

A Twitter user on May 8 posted a series of messages claiming a number of U.K. celebrities had received so-called super-injunctions and made claims detailing the activities that the people had sought to keep out of the public eye.

Twitter didn’t respond to a messages seeking comment. Daniel Ingram-Fletcher, a spokesman for the law firm representing CTB, didn’t respond to a messages seeking comment.

The case is: CTB v. Twitter Inc., Persons Unknown, High Court of Justice (Queens Bench Division), HQ11X01814.”

I imagine within an hour or two we will know from tweets on Twitter who CTB is and what’s going on!

It all seems so self-defeating as it highlights these issues and people are naturally going to comment on them, on Twitter, again, leading to the Barbra Streisand effect.

I suppose lawyers love it, they will end up suing tens of thousands of people across the globe who use Twitter, or perhaps they will realise the futility of such actions? When will the legal profession, the rich and powerful finally catch up with technology?

(Hat tip: Index on Censorship)

Update 1: The Guardian has more.

Update 2: Heresy Corner posts on this topic:

“It’s not yet clear how Twitter will respond to the lawsuit. Their terms of service specify that “international users agree to comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content”, but the most notorious of the Twitter accounts listing alleged injunctions (@InjunctionSuper, which posted details of six supposed cases on 8th May and then went quiet) has not been taken down. The company is based in the United States and has little to fear from the English courts – although any assets they have in this country might be vulnerable.

In the short term, however, two things are clear. It is impossible for Twitter to delete all references to the alleged affair from their website. It has long since gone viral. It had gone viral even before the @InjunctionSuper account was set up, which is one reason why (unlike David Allen Green) I don’t think there are good grounds for saying that the account was a deliberate leak by someone in the know. (At least, if there are such grounds they do not lie in the content of the Tweets themselves, but rather in the immediate and disproportionate attention they attracted.) Predictably, the main result of today’s news on Twitter itself has been the proliferation of the name Giggs. Twitter, as a company, is powerless to shut this one down.

Secondly, there are now so many thousand “persons unknown” that they cannot all be sued, or even identified (the more likely intention). And even if CTB’s lawyers were able to track them all down and serve them with injunctions, the self-defeating effect would be to confirm the facts. Suspicion would become actual knowledge.

So how can Twitter satisfy the demands of the English courts – assuming, that is, that CTB’s case is found to have merit? The obvious way would be to block Twitter from the UK, putting it permanently out of the reach of British judges. It could happen. Already some US-based news and gossip sites, including National Enquirer, are unviewable in Britain without use of a proxy server, so alarmed are the publishers by English libel law. If CTB’s case succeeds, or inspires other, Twitter’s bosses might begin to see such a course of action as preferable to fighting costly legal battles on foreign soil. “

Update 3: The Guardian explains the Streisand effect: Secrecy in the digital age.

Update 4: TechCrunch is perplexed by the British legal system and I don’t blame them:

“We’ve been watching the British legal system turn itself into knots for the last couple of weeks, largely due to the ability of Twitter users to break just about any legal ‘super injunction’ a ‘celebrity’ (usually footballers) has on the reporting of their private life (usually affairs). So far so normal for Twitter. What’s a super injunction? It’s when someone rich (these things are very expensive) takes out an injunction on the press that not only stops them reporting something but also stops them reporting that the injunction even exists. That makes it ‘super’, which of course it is anything but.

But today the story took a new turn when it emerged that Twitter Inc. itself is being sued. Oh yes. They are going there.”

Update 5: David Allen Green blogs on it, carefully:

“It is important at this stage to be aware of what one cannot know for certain:

1. that the “CTB” is actually the same person as “CTB” in the recent privacy case (though it appears the same law firm is instructed);

2. what the claim is for in terms of law – is it a privacy claim or is it under some other form of law; and

3. what the remedy requested is – is it a damages claim or is it for disclosure by Twitter of third party information (for example the information of those who have used Twitter accounts to break – rather than repeat – allegations), or for something else.

As yet, we simply do not know.”

Eggs And The Firewall Of China.

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Shanghaiist has a good piece:

“Breaking, kind of hilarious news! Fang Binxing, the principal of Beijing University of Posts & Telecommunications and the guy thought to be behind the infrastructure of the Great Firewall, was giving a lecture at Wuhan University earlier today and was allegedly pelted with eggs and a shoe.

While the numerous eggs seem to have missed, the shoe allegedly struck its target… apparently that guy’s going to get pretty lucky later on. Already, Sina Weibo has started erasing mentions of the incident.

If you want to follow what people are saying, Chinese Tweeters already have a hashtag for it on Twitter (which, obviously, isn’t erasing posts): #FuckFBX. Subtle! “

This explains it too:

“The hashtag #fuckfbx is what the Chinese are using to help avoid #Censorchip at this moment. Fang Binxing is a censored topic in China.”

Written by modernityblog

20/05/2011 at 02:38

The Web And Super-Injunctions.

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The Beeb has a good article on how the web is defeating super-injunctions:

“Injunctions have allowed entertainers, sport stars, actors and many more to protect what they see as their right to privacy from the press.

And this has left many in traditional media, from The Guardian and The Daily Mail to The Sun, furious about what they can, and what they cannot, report.

But on the internet, especially on social media, rumours about who the proceedings could be about circle and grow without any fear of legal reprisal.

Just the simple use of a search engine often brings back hundreds of results, each reporting (though unconfirmed) they know who the person is and naming the identity of those guarded by law. “

There In Spirit, 26th March 2011.

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I was there in spirit, but I will leave it to others to give their real impressions, Flesh is very good on the anti-cuts demonstration:

“I was really impressed by all the Labour and labour groups who joined the march without any pomp or circumstance, added their bodies to the many others on the streets, simply trudging (or sometimes shuffling) with their enormous and lovingly stitched banners, without anybody trying to use the occasion as self-publicity fodder. Good people.

Violence drives people away. The thugs who committed acts of violence today did so simply because they enjoy violence. They need to fuck off back to the Bullingdon club or Marlborough or Guildsmiths or wherever they’re from and leave us alone. They’re nothing to do with the 500,000 people who shuffled through London today to protest the Conservative-led government’s cuts (and in many cases, the slightly less punishing but still deep cuts proposed by the opposition).

So I thought it an irresponsible and disheartening mistake for UK Uncut, asked in advance on BBC 2’s Newsnight about anticipated violence on the protest, to change the subject. They should have readily disowned it. Non-violent non-destructive occupations and flashmobs are sufficiently newsworthy without any acts of wanton destruction. To see the anarcho-syndicalist flag flying from the window of Fortum & Mason, and to hear that the atmosphere in there was festive, will make me smile for a good while to come. “

Here’s Jim’s take on events:

“Ed Miliband addressed the crowd from the end platform despite having written Labour’s cuts Manifesto for the last election and Labour councillors up and down the country voting, en masse, for cuts budgets.

In a move designed to annoy the Daily Telegraph UKUncut occupied Fortnum and Masons and there were a number of other peaceful direct actions, mainly against banks, and Anne Summers’ windows were smash in a targeted strike against, um… shops? This led some wags to comment that police were looking for “hardened protesters” and that this was the “climax of the demonstration”.

However, while the smashed windows seem pointless and, frankly, unrepresentative of the feelings of most of those turning out, the continuing direct action, which led to a number of protesters being arrested despite being completely peaceful, are a real benefit. Unlike the Iraq War march where the focus was simply on size it is very good to see that this protest was not just big, but lively and edgy too, with many people reporting a carnival atmosphere. “

Two of Peter Tatchell’s tweets seem to sum up the issues nicely in my mind:

“Ed Miliband admitted Labour would make cuts too. He offered no alternative to the ConDems, apart from cutting later #tuc #ukuncut #26march

Cuts are human rights issue. When social welfare is cut, people suffer. Shame on Cameron/Clegg. Miliband would cut 2 #ukuncut #tuc #26march “

A lot more of people’s experiences on the day can be found on Twitter, using the #26march key word.

Twitter, The Middle East And Racism in Italy.

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I find Twitter very useful for keeping up with events.

Of course, there is the danger of too much information and keeping track of things is sometimes hard. Still, certain issues deserve scrutiny, so here’s a selection of a few things I came across on Twitter recently.

Racism in Italy, or in any part of Europe is not new but the HRW’s documenting of it makes depressing reading, as if no lessons have been learnt:

“Instances of horrific racist violence in Italy have been widely reported on in the past several years. Some of the more notorious incidents include the October 2008 brutal beating of a Chinese man by a group of youngsters as he waited for a bus in Tor Bella Monaca, a district of Rome that has seen numerous attacks on immigrants. In this case, the attackers shouted racist insults, such as “shitty Chinaman.”[75] Seven teenagers were arrested hours after the incident.[76]

In February 2009, two adults and a 16-year-old attacked an Indian man in Nettuno, near Rome, beating him and then dousing him with gasoline and setting him on fire.[77] All three were convicted without the aggravating circumstance of racial motivation.[78] In May 2009, a Senegalese actor named Mohamed Ba was knifed in the stomach as he waited for the tram in MIlan.[79] Ba’s aggressor has never been identified or apprehended, according to Ba and a close personal friend.[80]

The focus on of immigration issues for political ends in an increasingly diverse society has created an environment for open expression of racist and xenophobic sentiment. “A particular kind of language has been dusted off … making it so that openly racist expressions in everyday conversation don’t provoke any kind of concern,” according to Deputy Jean-Léonard Touadi.[81] Francesca Sorge, a lawyer in a firm that represents victims of discrimination and racist violence, agreed, saying that “phrases like, ‘You foreigners go away,’ are taken as part of the common lexicon of normal urban rudeness.”[82]”

Read the rest of this entry »

Sir Fred Goodwin And The Super-Injunction.

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News is coming out of Fred Goodwin’s Super-Injunction, which bans any UK media outlet from reporting on Fred the Shred and the fact he is or was a Banker.

It is not too clear what case this relates to, but I would guess (and it is only a guess) it is something to do with RMJM.

I can’t be sure but a Scotsman article on them and Goodwin vanished and it seems that he was employed by the boss of RMJM.

Elsewhere RMJM seem to be falling apart, as a US employee resigns in anger, Building Design covers it here.

This is a copy of the Scotsman article, from the Google cache.

“Leader: RMJM the architect of its own woes

Published Date: 10 March 2011

IT MAY seem that the ongoing troubles at RMJM, one of the world’s biggest architectural practices, is a matter of some internal difficulty of relatively little import to the public at large, but the fate of one of the few Scottish firms with a global reputation should be of great concern.

The collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland and HBoS were major blows to national confidence, as was the revelation that as solid a firm as Weir Group was involved in illegal kick-backs to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Scotland needs its few big players to perform at the top of their game.

RMJM took a dent with its involvement with the Scottish Parliament project, but the problems were not of its making – it did not draw up the contracts, set an unrealistic price-tag or indeed devise the extraordinary concept. But its architects made the challenging Miralles vision happen, it continued to secure major international projects and stands eighth in the rankings of world architectural firms.

However, since the arrival of Sir Fraser Morrison and his son Peter, its fortunes have been on the slide. The misguided decision to employ Sir Fred Goodwin meant the firm was driven by people with little relevant experience and it was no surprise that as its troubles deepened Sir Fred decided to back off. Now it is in the extraordinary position where mismanagement has led to a mass walkout of senior staff in Hong Kong and a potential strike in the London office.

Maybe it’s time for the Morrisons to move on while there is still a business to sell. “

Also see RMJM: The highs and lows.

Remembering the timeline of RBS’s problems and Fred’s role.

Fred’s replacement, Stephen Hester, is stuffing millions into his pockets, BBC News reports:

“Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester has been awarded a pay package currently worth £7.7m for 2010.

That includes £6.5m worth of shares that won’t be available for three years. Two-thirds of these are pegged to meeting management targets.

It also includes his £1.2m salary, which has remained the same since he replaced Sir Fred Goodwin in 2008.

RBS made a loss of more than £1bn last year, and is 83%-owned by the UK government.

Under the Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTIP), Stephen Hester is to be awarded 10.1m shares, which are valued at £4.5m at the current share price.

That element can be clawed back, and is dependent on achieving certain targets.

If the share price increases from 45 pence, and above the government’s break-even point of 50p, then Mr Hester and others on the LTIP will benefit from that increase when they are allowed to sell the majority of the newly-awarded shares in March 2014.

Last year, he declined to take an annual bonus, but did receive 8.5m shares under the LTIP.”

So this Banker, along with Fred the Shred effectively won the lottery year-on-year, millions one year and even more the next, and then more, which probably explains Fred’s sensitivity to his failures, which seem to be numerous.

If anyone finds out what the real matter is with this super-injunction, please leave a comment.

Update 1: Slate on Who’s the World’s Worst Banker?

“The result? RBS’s stock (here’s a two-year chart) has lost 91 percent of its value since March 2007 and retains value thanks only to massive government intervention. A job well-done, Sir Fred! “

Update 2: Roy Greenslade contributes:

“Meanwhile, will we read more about Goodwin? I understand the order is very firm indeed and that The Sun’s legal arguments about public interest justification have not found favour with judges.”

Update 3: Slate in France picked up the story, but still no real evidence as to why the super-injunction, L’ancien patron de la banque britannique RBS interdit aux médias de l’appeler «banquier»

Update 4: Jon Slattery argues that the super-injunction has been shredded.

Update 5: RTE News has a snippet:

“FORMER RBS CHIEF HAS ‘SUPER-INJUNCTION’ – British newspapers report that Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has obtained a secret super-injunction banning the publication of information about him.

The Daily Telegraph says the existence of the injunction was revealed by John Hemming, a back-bench Liberal Democrat MP, during a business debate in the House of Commons yesterday morning.

The paper says his comments are protected by parliamentary privilege, which means he cannot face court proceedings for revealing the injunction’s existence.

The Telegraph says his question raised speculation yesterday about the nature of the information which Sir Fred is trying to protect.”

Update 6: Finally, BBC News picked it up early Friday morning.

Not At The Oscars, But On Twitter.

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Those who really know me would be surprised to hear that I am not at the Oscars in Hollywood.

But I am on Twitter, instead !

And whilst I am not a film critic or much given to commenting on cultural issues, I would say that the King’s Speech is historically rather problematic.

Some about Edward VIII.

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2011 at 03:53

Scabs On Twitter

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News in from Eric Lee, Vale Inco might try to recruit scabs using Twitter in their dispute with the USW.

The United Steelworkers in Canada have been on strike since mid-July and need support, their web site www.fairdealnow.ca has more and here’s LabourStart:

“Since being privatized in 1997, the global mining giant Vale has unleashed a vicious attack on workers. The company undermined health and safety standards in Brazil and now it’s set its sights on Canada. In 2009 negotiations with the United Steelworkers (USW), Vale claimed it needed deep concessions – despite making over $13 billion (USD) in 2008 net profits. The company’s strategy is to divide and conquer by undermining seniority and providing lesser benefits to new employees. 3,500 members of the USW rejected Vale’s demands and went on strike in mid-July. Vale has since announced it will hire replacement workers and force other union members to do the work of the striking miners. Meanwhile Vale workers throughout Brazil are struggling to hold on to jobs, earn a living wage, achieve minimum standards for safe working conditions, and guarantee basic labor rights. Vale employees and their unions in Brazil and Canada are fighting back together, reaching out to workers in a global campaign for fair treatment at Vale.”

Also at the IMF, Unions shame Vale CFO in Madrid and protest in Seoul.

The Sudbury Star covers it too.

Written by modernityblog

23/11/2009 at 20:14

Minton, Carter-Ruck and Trafigura.

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Trafigura’s desire to keep the lid on the Minton report meant it spent an inordinate amount of money hiring the best lawyers that money can buy in Britain, Carter-Ruck, to keep even the name of the Minton report secret, lest people read it. The Guardian examines some of its contents:

“The Minton report, commissioned in 2006 from the London-based firm’s scientific consultants, said that based on the “limited” information they had been given Trafigura’s oil waste, dumped cheaply the month before in a city in Ivory Coast , was potentially highly toxic, and “capable of causing severe human health effects”.

The study said early reports of large scale medical problems among the inhabitants of Abidjan, including respiratory and eye problems, discomfort, and nausea, were consistent with a release of a cloud of potentially lethal hydrogen sulphide gas over the city.

The author of this initial draft study, John Minton, of consultants Minton, Treharne & Davies, said dumping the waste would have been illegal in Europe and the proper method of disposal should have been a specialist chemical treatment called wet air oxidation.

Although the report was cautious in tone, pointing out that unreliable press reports and “mass hysteria” might have led to exaggeration of alleged ill effects, its contents were unwelcome.

Trafigura subsequently did not use the report in the personal injury report in the claim against them and did not disclose the report’s existence.

It issued a series of public statements over the next three years saying the waste had been routinely disposed of and was harmless. Trafigura based this decision on other reports produced from an analysis of the slops obtained from the Probo Koala ship. Trafigura dismissed complaints of illness in a lawsuit brought by 30,000 inhabitants of Abidjan, before being eventually forced last month to pay them £30m in compensation and legal costs in a confidential out of court settlement.”

The actual report is on Wikileaks here as a PDF.

Trafigura have spent vast sums of money trying to override press freedom, keep secret the Minton report and protect their reputation, yet in the age of the Internet their actions have had the opposite effect.

Update 1: This page contains the related Guardian, Trafigura and the Probo Koala information.

Update 2: More on Twitter’s role in breaking the veil of secrecy imposed by Carter-Ruck.

Update 3: Stephen Fry as seen by the Torygraph.

Update 4: findingDulcinea on British Libel Law Examined After Controversial Gag Order Against The Guardian.