Archive for the ‘news and politics’ Category
@szabgab tells me that UN security forces destroyed their poster at IGF for mentioning China’s firewall.
An anti-censorship group holding an event Sunday at the United Nations-sponsored Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, was disrupted by UN officials who demanded removal of a poster that mentioned Internet firewalls in China.
According to a Pakistani delegate, Shahzad Ahmed of Bytesforall.net, a reception hosted by Open Net Initiative (ONI) was rattled by IGF security, who objected to a poster advertising “Access Controlled“, a book being introduced at the event. “The poster was thrown on the floor and we were told to remove it because of the reference to China and Tibet. We refused, and security guards came and removed it. The incident was witnessed by many,” Ahmed reported.
The poster promoting ONI’s forthcoming book, “Access Controlled” was removed by the IGF’s organizers because a sentence in the poster apparently violated UN policy. The sentence in question reads, “The first generation of Internet controls consisted largely of building firewalls at key Internet gateways; China’s famous “Great Firewall of China” is one of the first national Internet filtering systems.”
“If we cannot discuss topics about Internet censorship and surveillance policy at a forum about Internet governance then what is the point of something like the IGF,” said Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies and one of ONI’s principal investigators.
Deibert, one of the organizers of the reception, said he will file a complaint against the censorship of the event and send it to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
“We condemn this undemocratic act of censoring our event just because someone is trying to impress or be in the good graces of the Chinese government. It is ironic that while people are allowed to gather here to discuss freedom of expression online, censorship and surveillance practices on the Internet, we are being restricted in expressing our views,” said Al Alegre of the Foundation for Media Alternatives, a member of the ONI Network.
I find this deeply disturbing. Please help spread the news widely and pressure the UN for explanations.
Yesh Gvul is “an Israeli peace group campaigning against the occupation by backing soldiers who refuse duties of a repressive or aggressive nature”. Yesh Gvul grew out of the first Lebanon war protest. They are one of the longest standing organisations supporting refuseniks, and they supported me before and during my term in prison.
The new Israeli government has decided to crack down on refusenik organisations. As part of this campaign, the leaders of Yesh Gvul are being investigated for “incitement” charges. Here’s the latest update from Peretz Kidron:
From: Peretz Kidron
A far from theoretical danger: since the end of December, 181 Palestinians have been summarily executed, kneecapped or tortured because they opposed Hamas.
The Andalous building in the Al-Karama neighborhood of Gaza City is reduced to a skeleton of concrete. The Israelis have hit hard, and this middle-age Palestinian couple has nothing left but to pick up the rubble of an apartment not yet paid for. They escort us on what remains of the indoor stairs, on the condition that Panorama uses only their family nicknames. “We knew that it was going to end up like this. Since the early days of the attack the muqawemeen (the guerrilla fighters of the Palestinian “resistance”, AN)
had positioned themselves in the twelfth and thirteenth floors, with the snipers. Every now and then they tried, to no avail, to shoot down one of those UAVs that the Israelis use”, says Abu Mohammed, shaking his head. In the building, not yet finished, lived 22 families: more than 120 civilians, including women
and children. The Israelis had begun calling the tenants’ cell phones ordering them to vacate the premises. Then, the militiamen got a more explicit message: a fighter dropped a bomb on the empty courtyard on the other side of road without causing victims, but opening a huge crater. “A delegation of householders beseeched the militiamen to leave” resumed the tenant. The answer was: “You will die with us or we will survive together”.
On January 13 the Israeli F16’s hit the building at 9:30 P.M. “At night we would go to sleep at our relatives’ homes: we were saved, but no longer had a home and we still have to repay 9 years of the loan” says Om Mohammed in despair, a veil on her head. The Islamic Bank does not grant exceptions.
Please, let’s all stop calling Hamas a resistance movement. The people of Gaza have two oppressors: the Israeli goverment, and the Hamas.
Gaza Hospitals Already Filled to Capacity; Medical Supplies on the Verge of Depletion Since the beginning of attacks in Gaza three days ago, over 300 people have been reported dead, more than 1000 wounded, and many hundreds more are in need of immediate medical attention. With a medical system already on the verge of collapse as a result of the ongoing closure, 1.4 million civilians are in desperate need of urgent medical help from outside the Gaza Strip. PHR-Israel has the means to transfer this help within days and is seeking to raise $700,000 during the next week for purchase and direct transfer of supplies to Gaza hospitals. Palestinian hospitals in the Gaza Strip have asked us for help in securing the following items:
- Basic Sterilization equipment
- Medical gases
- Endo-tracheal tubes
- Portable monitors, ventilators, ultrasounds and x- ray machines
- Clothing for medical teams
- 105 Essential Medications
- 225 Additional Medical Supplies
- 93 Laboratory items
- Electric Shaving Machine
- Hospital beds
As the situation stands, Palestinian doctors are performing surgeries without surgical gloves, local or general anesthetics,
gauze, sterilized equipment or sufficient oxygen for patients. All together, there are only 1,500 hospital beds available in
Gaza’s 13 publicly run hospitals. A fleet of 60 ambulances is now reduced by half. The endless flow of new wounded and the
need for beds has led to a suspension of care for dozens of other patients, including cancer, cardiac, and other chronically ill
patients, who have all been sent to their homes for the duration of the crisis. Patients are not being permitted entry to Egypt
and all referrals out of Gaza via Erez crossing have been suspended. We are turning to organizations and individuals
like you who have demonstrated your respect for the right to health by generously supporting PHR-Israel in recent years.
PHR-Israel accepts donations via check or bank transfer.
To send a check by post, make check payable to:
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
and send to:
PHR-Israel Attn: Gila Norich,
Director of Development 9 Dror St. Jaffa Tel Aviv 68135 ISRAEL.
To make a bank transfer, our details are as follows. Please also send a note with your e-mail address informing us of your
Account Holder: Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
Bank: Hapoalim #12
Branch: Hashalom #662 Address: 106 Levinski Street, Tel Aviv,
Israel Account Number: 25938 SWIFT: POALILIT
US residents may make a tax-exempt donation via the New Israel Fund (NIF). Checks should be made payable to “New Israel Fund”. A note with the check should be marked “donor-advised to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, ID# 5762.” NIF Address in Washington:
New Israel Fund P.O.Box 91588 Washington DC 20090-1588
U.S.A NIF Bank details: Citibank 1000 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC20005 ABA #254070116 Acc# 66796296
UK residents may make a tax-exempt donation online via the British Shalom/Salaam Trust. Checks should be
sent, together with your name and address and a completed gift aid form to:
British Shalom Salaam Trust PO Box 39378 London SE13 5WH
For additional information on the current health crisis gathered by Physicians for Human Rights, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) on the current crisis please click here . For more information on donations or to inform us of a transfer, please contact:
Gila Norich, Director of Development: email@example.com or by phone, +972.3.5133.102
To contact Ran Yaron, Director of PHR-Israel’s Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) Department send mail to:
firstname.lastname@example.org , or call +972.547.577696.
The Dod is a master hacker and overall kewl kat who has been putting his skills in the service of good people for many years. Currently on his agenda is the campaign against biometric ID in Israel (Hebrew). As part of his support for that campaign, he has developed a very clever widget which allows a group of people to collaboratively update a news ticker and embed it on various sites. The ticker is very web2.0, with flickr galeries and all. RSS coming soon.
Here’s the use scenario. You’re running a campaign, and need to constantly collect and distribute news in real time. You have 0 budget but a good group of activists.
Old school: nominate a PR person, have everyone email her the news, she edits them and maintains a website.
New school: open a private room on friendfeed, everyone joins the room and picks up the bookmarklet, and starts pushing news to the room. Next, everyone picks up this widget and plug it into their blogs, sites, etc. Now the news is flowing from the people to the people by the people.
The Dod has promissed twitter feedout and other goodies, but will not say when. With a bit of nudging, he’s ported the widget, and its documentation, to English. Only bummer is that it doesn’t work on wordpress.com. It works fine on blogspot, or on hosted wordpress.
My entry (small worlds network) is up for votes:
this project will connect existing open-source tools and web2.0 sites to create a platform that will allow users to broadcast and subscribe to news by location, time, and topic. Users will be able to send and receive items by SMS, MMS, email, microblogs, RSS, instant messengers and social networking sites. Users will also be able to tag and rate incoming items. The unique feature of the system is the ability to define a subscription “radius”, which will direct news from the proximity of the selected location / time / topic. For example, if I subscribe to sport news in a radius of 10km of my home, I will receive any item posted to that topic within that range. The proximity variance will create a dynamics of information cross-over, engendering unexpected links between communities of shared, or close, interest. Thus, the “small worlds” property of human networks will be expressed and enhanced, empowering individuals to access the knowledge they want and build communities around common agendas. The core of the system will be the news routing engine, which will collate items from a variety of sources and distribute them to masses of subscribers. The system will provide several straightforward user interfaces, via web, SMS commands, and iPhone and Android apps. More elaborate interfaces will be provided as components for social networking sites and mashups (e.g. with googlemaps). The requested funding is intended to cover the fist year of development and operation. After that, the system should sustain itself through advertising and commissioned channels. Users will have a choice of several subscription options, from free and open ad-supported to corporate rented closed and ad free. The free option will always be available, and will be supported by the paid ones.
Is there a name for that feeling you get on a day when you realize you are witnessing history? That the world is not the same as it was yesterday?
The USA has joined hands to end its dark days. Its people are victorious, and lucky, and we are grateful. I believe Obama will be a great president – intelligent, thoughtful, innovative and courageous. As a friend says, if he delivers %50 of what he promised, he will go down in history as one of the worlds great leaders. But in a way, it almost doesn’t matter what he does now. the fact that he was elected is such an inspiration that I’m sure we’ll see it’s consequences ripple through the globe.
First, there’s the issue of his skin colour. I know that should not be an issue, I know that it would be better if there was no point in mentioning it. But there is. He’s black. He’s the first black president of the USA. And he proves that the barriers that once existed should not be taken as given. Yes, there still are injustices, prejudices, and inequalities everywhere – and non-white people of America know that all too well. Yet these can be transcended, challenged and demolished. No, not can be. Need to be. Expect many a speech to begin with the words “if a black man can be the president of the USA…”, from political rally to supermarket checkout queue, from kindergarden to factory. If a black man can be the president of the US, there’s no reason I should take that ____.
Then there’s the issue of power, and who owns the government. Up until yesterday, US elections were decided by the candidates ability to bring in big money. Under that rule, the president’s first account was to the people who held the big money. Obama tells another story, of mobilizing masses, of an average donation of $80. This is not just a tactical issue. Its a matter of allegiance. A president who owes his presidency (in the literal, financial sense of “owe”) to grandmas across the country has the freedom to serve the interests of these grandmas. This sends a message to political systems across the world. It shifts the balance of power from the one who has millions to the millions who have one.
For quite some time, my response to Clay Shirky’s book was “so where is everybody“? Obama is saying “here they are, right here with me on this historic day“. If technology now gives us the power to self-orgenise, mobilise, and coordinate action, why are people still sitting back and allowing the world to run them over? Perhaps part of it was that they didn’t believe they had the power. Even if the $80 donation or masses of grandmas story is part fiction, it doesn’t matter. Because that’s the story that is going to define social dynamics from this day on. In Tel-Aviv, it’s already happening (Hebrew, ht Hananc).
50 years from now, assuming there will still be schools and history classes, teachers will have to be very creative when trying to explain the banter around the current systemic crisis. The kids would be asking how could a whole civilization stand before a plain and simple reality and looked through it as if it wasn’t there.
For start, naming. Financial crisis? Hello? 25% of mammals endangered, bees disappearing, massive climate change, global food shortages, and the man tells us we need to “restore consumer confidence”? Hell, no. Consumers have very good reasons to be worried. If anything, its time to shake their confidence. And with that, shake up some industries. In fact, some industries should probably follow whaling and leach farming. The current market turmoil is not, as some politicians and media experts would like us to believe, a freak consequence of convoluted mortgage schemes. It is an inevitable outcome of a fundamental property of markets: they predict the future. A market is a huge computer, combining the computational power of masses of machines and brains to project economic value into the future. The price of a firm’s stock doesn’t stop at its current assets, but reflects its expected amortized income over its expected lifetime. At least that’s what I was told at my high school economics class. So what should happen to the stock of a car company on a planet that is running out of petrol, or the legitimacy to use it? What would you expect of a mortgage bank in a planet where geography and climate is shifting in unpredictable patterns?
The recent bank bailout plans are equivalent of hosing a burning house with diesel. What we really need is to dowse the fire, throw out the parts that are beyond repair, and start rebuilding to a solid, sustainable standard.