‘We’re living in 1984’ – Roger Waters Interview RT

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Can You Imagine Life Like This? A Glimpse into Palestinian Life in Gaza Strip

Netanyahu Tells European Leaders Concern for Palestinian Rights Is “Crazy”

from the Intercept

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was caught on tape on Wednesday urging four European leaders to help him undermine a provision of a European Union trade agreement that imposes an obligation on Israel to respect the rights of the millions of Palestinians it rules in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In private remarks to the leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia that were accidentally broadcast to members of the Israeli media outside the room, Netanyahu was overheard calling it “crazy” for the E.U. to insist that Israel honor Article 2 of an association agreement signed in 1995 which makes trade with the bloc conditional on Israel’s “respect for human rights and democratic principles.”..

In recent years, Israel has destroyed hundreds of European-financed structures — including schools, playgrounds and solar panels — built to help Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Netanyahu and his ultranationalist supporters have harshly criticized European governments for providing financial support to Israeli rights groups, including Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, which work to expose abuses by Israel’s military in the occupied territories…

[read more here]

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

(Talk about “collusion”)

from The Intercept

The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing t-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 43 Senators – 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats – want to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: anyone guilty of violating its prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000, and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC].” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 Lobbying Agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:

The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Illustrating the bipartisanship that AIPAC typically summons, it also includes several of the most right-wing Senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

A similar measure was introduced in the House on the same date by two Republicans and one Democrat. It already has amassed 234 co-sponsors: 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans. As in the Senate, AIPAC has assembled an impressive ideological diversity among supporters, predictably including many of the most right-wing House members –  Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, Peter King – along with the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer.

Among the co-sponsors of the bill are several of the politicians who have become political celebrities by positioning themselves as media leaders of the anti-Trump #Resistance, including three California House members who have become heroes to Democrats and staples of the cable news circuit: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. These politicians, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are sponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time

This pernicious bill highlights many vital yet typically ignored dynamics in Washington. First, journalists love to lament the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, yet the very mention of the word “Israel” causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy. Even when virtually the entire world condemns Israeli aggression, or declares settlements illegal, the U.S. Congress – across party and ideological lines – finds virtually complete harmony in uniting against the world consensus and in defense of the Israeli government

AIPAC continues to be one of the most powerful, and pernicious, lobbying forces in the country. In what conceivable sense is it of benefit of Americans to turn them into felons for the crime of engaging in political activism in protest of a foreign nation’s government?..

[read more here]

Facebook and Google may be using copyright scanners to suppress ‘extremist’ speech

by T.C. Sottek, The Verge

The systems that automatically enforce copyright laws on the internet may be expanding to block unfavorable speech. Reuters reports that Facebook, Google, and other companies are exploring automated removal of extremist content, and could be repurposing copyright takedown methods to identify and suppress it. It’s unclear where the lines have been drawn, but the systems are likely targeted at radical messages on social networks from enemies of European powers and the United States. Leaders in the US and Europe have increasingly decried radical extremism on the internet and have attempted to enlist internet companies in the fight. Many of those companies have been receptive to the idea. But their definitions of extremism, and how automated systems are being used, is still a secret; neither Facebook or Google would confirm these efforts to Reuters, which relied on two anonymous sources who are “familiar with the process.”

So far, major internet companies have relied on their users to flag illegal or restricted content. Earlier this year, Facebook said its users flag more than one million items for review every day. Twitter has been busy playing whack-a-mole against ISIS-related accounts at a furious pace, suspending 125,000 accounts as of February. And Google said it received over 75 million DMCA takedown requests in just one month in 2016. There’s also precedent for using automated systems to flag other kinds of illegal content; several major internet companies, including Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, and Google, use automated systems to identify the transmission of child pornography.

But upgrading automated systems for the suppression of extremist content would be a step with potentially serious and unknown consequences, since existing systems that take down content for suspected copyright and other violations deal with huge volumes of information and are routinely abused to suppress legal speech. Additionally, suppression of extremist speech may contain a lot more grey area than clearly-defined illegal content, like pirated media and child pornography.

The secret identification and and automated blocking of extremist speech would raise new, serious questions about the cooperation of private corporations with censorious governmental interests. Governments and private individuals have already attempted in recent years to hold internet companies and service providers liable for the actions of third-parties with varying degrees of success; the EU’s right to be forgotten rule now requires companies like Google to comply with individuals who want to scrub search results that point to their sensitive personal information. That rule has already been abused to try to suppress journalism.

[read more here]

Dislike: Facebook names Netanyahu’s former advisor ‘head of policy’

from al Araby

Jordana Cutler, also chief of staff at the Israeli embassy in Washington, has joined Facebook’s Israel office to oversee the planning and execution of measures taken to combat BDS campaigns.

Cutler’s new post was applauded by the minister of public security Gilad Erdan, who announced on Thursday a series of legislative measures taken by his government against promoting the boycott of Israel.

“If we want to convince the world that de-legitimation of Israel is something wrong and that there should be consequences, we must start here in Israel,” Erdan was quoted by Israeli media as saying during a conference in Herzliya.

“There will now be a real price to pay for someone working […] to isolate [Israel] from the rest of the world. I set up a legal team, together with the ministry of justice, that will promote governmental legislation on the matter,” Erdan said.

There has been an advance in dialogue between the state of Israel and Facebook,” he said, “Facebook realises that it has a responsibility to monitor its platform and remove content. I hope it will be regulated for good.”

[read more here]

The Boss Level of Stupid in the Hillary Clinton Propaganda Campaign: “You down with TPP?”

by Scott Creighton

and so did Warren!

You down with TPP?!” Fallon

Yeah, you know me!” Obama

On the same day that neoliberal corporate shill President Obama “made history” by endorsing his political mentor and benefactor, neoliberal corporate shill Hillary Clinton, he also did a little stunt on the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show, something called “Slo Jam News” where Obama, Fallon and some other guy, “slo jam” various outrageous propaganda points about the ‘success” of the Obama administration.

It’s supposed to be hip and funny and irreverent and get the real message out to all those young Jimmy Fallon viewers who might be crossovers from the Sanders campaign which Hillary and her team suppressed, disenfranchised and otherwise just flat out robbed of their primary election votes.

Keep in mind, this little propaganda stunt took place a mere two hours after “progressive” “liberal” anti-corporate, anti-globalization senator Elizabeth Warren sold out on the Rachel Maddow show and gave a breathless, life or death fear-mongering endorsement of neoliberal corporate shill Hillary Clinton. Elizabeth Warren and the Sanders supporters her endorsement was designed to target are extremely dead set against fascist corporate trade deals like the TTIP, TiSA and of course, the TPP.

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