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The War on Roger Waters rages over comparing Israel to Nazis

16/12/2013 1 comment

Roger Waters beside the Israeli Apartheid Wall

Roger Waters beside the Israeli Apartheid Wall

Remarks by the musician Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, comparing the modern Israeli state to Nazi Germany have put him at the center of a furious dispute.

Waters, 70, a well-known supporter of the Palestinian cause, has frequently defended himself against accusations that he is antisemitic, claiming he has a right to urge fellow artists to boycott Israel. But last week the veteran rock star’s argued that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians can be compared to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. “The parallels with what went on in the 1930s in Germany are so crushingly obvious,” he said in an online interview with Counter Punch.

Already, Zionist and International media have started their War on Waters. In a New York Observer article titled “The Anti-Semitic Stench of Pink Floyd”, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said: “Mr Waters, the Nazis were a genocidal regime that murdered six million Jews. That you would have the audacity to compare Jews to monsters who murdered them shows you have no decency, you have no heart, you have no soul.

Waters defended his comments, telling the Observer: “I do not know Rabbi Boteach, and am not prepared to get into a slanging match with him.”

He added: “I have nothing against Jews or Israelis, and I am not antisemitic. I deplore the policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories and Gaza. They are immoral, inhuman and illegal. I will continue my non-violent protests as long as the government of Israel continues with these policies.”

The Jerusalem Post on the other hand ran an article titled: Roger Waters – Comfortably Dumb, in which it wrote, “The former Pink Floyd star put the proverbial foot in his mouth when he reached out to his fellow rockers describing Israel as an “apartheid” country that practices ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.”

Read the complete interview with Roger Waters: Roger Waters: Comparisons between Israel and Nazis ‘crushingly obvious’

Roger Waters: Comparisons between Israel and Nazis ‘crushingly obvious’

12/12/2013 1 comment

On Music, the Political Role of Artists and His Activism for Justice Around the World, Including in Palestine.

Roger Waters beside the Israeli Apartheid Wall

Roger Waters beside the Israeli Apartheid Wall

by FRANK BARAT

Frank Barat: When did you make the decision to make the Wall tour (that ended in Paris in September 2013) so political ? And why did you dedicate the final concert to Jean-Charles De Menezes ?

Roger Waters: The first show was October 14th 2010. We started working on content of show with Sean Evans in 2009. I had already decided to make it much broader politically than it had been in 1979/80. It could not be just about this whinny little guy who didn’t like his teachers. It had to be more universal. That’s why ‘fallen loved ones’ came into it (the shows are showing pictures of people that died during wars) trying to universalise the sense of grief and loss that we all feel towards family members killed in conflict. Whatever the wars or the circumstances, they (in the non western world), feel has much lost as we do. Wars become an important symbol because of that separation between ‘us and them,’ which is fundamental to all conflicts. Regarding Jean-Charles, we used to do Brick II with three solos at the end and I decided that three solos was too much, it was boring me. So sitting in a hotel room, one night, I was thinking about what I could do instead of that. Somebody had recently sent me a photograph of Jean-Charles De Menezes to go on the wall. So he was in my mind and I thought that I should sing his story. I wrote that song, taught it to the band, and that’s what we did.

FB: A lot of artist would say that mixing arts and politics is wrong. That their goal is only to entertain. What would you say to those people?

RW: Well it’s funny you should say that because I just finished yesterday the text of a new piece which will be a new album of mine. It’s about a grandfather in Northern Ireland going on a quest with his grandchild to find the answer to the question: “Why are they killing the children?”, because the child is really worried about it. Right at the very end of it, I decided to add something more. In the song, the child tells his grandpa: “Is that it?” and the grandpa replies “No, we cannot leave on that note, give me another note”. A new song starts and the grandpa makes a speech. He says: “We live on a tiny dot in a middle of a lot of fucking nothing. Now, if you’re not interested in any of this, if you’re one of those “Roger I love Pink Floyd but I hate your fucking politics”, if you believe artists should be mute, emasculated, nodding dogs dangling aimlessly over the dashboard of life, you might be well advised to fuck off to the bar now, because, time keeps slipping away.” That’s my answer to your question. Read more…

The Final Draft of The Egyptian Constitution of 2013 – المسودة النهائية لمشروع الدستور المصري

28/11/2013 Leave a comment

EGY-dostor2 - Copy

رابط تنزيل المسودة النهائية لمشروع الدستور المصري:

The Final Draft of The Egyptian Constitution of 2013 – المسودة النهائية لمشروع الدستور المصري 2013

via: dostour.eg

Egyptian “Obey!” Campaign

26/11/2013 Leave a comment

PDF Posters available upon request.

Obey1

Obey2

Obey4

Obey3

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything you do on the internet’

01/08/2013 Leave a comment

Untitled-1 (9)

Just when you thought the scale of the NSA’s surveillance programs couldn’t get more superlative, new details about a special software suite show that analysts can access “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.” If it uses HTTP, the NSA can get it.

The software’s known as X-Keyscore, and it’s gnarly. Not only does it let NSA agents and contractors like Edward Snowden (who leaked the documents detailing its existence) search the internet for a specific user, it also lets them learn the IP addresses of everybody who visited a particular website. Once users of interest are identified, X-Keyscore enables the agency to pull granular information on anything from email histories to social networking activity, even down to the user’s buddy lists and specific chats.

Legally, X-Keyscore can’t be used on Americans without a warrant, but as The Guardian’s Glenn Greewald points out, there are no technical specifications that would prevent them from doing so. Greenwald explains:

• XKeyscore gives ‘widest-reaching’ collection of online data
• NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches
• Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian’s earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.

XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA’s “widest reaching” system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”, including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.

Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing “real-time” interception of an individual’s internet activity.

Under US law, the NSA is required to obtain an individualized Fisa warrant only if the target of their surveillance is a ‘US person’, though no such warrant is required for intercepting the communications of Americans with foreign targets. But XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.

One training slide illustrates the digital activity constantly being collected by XKeyscore and the analyst’s ability to query the databases at any time.

KS1The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history, even when there is no known email account (a “selector” in NSA parlance) associated with the individual being targeted.

Analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.

One document notes that this is because “strong selection [search by email address] itself gives us only a very limited capability” because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous.”

The NSA documents assert that by 2008, 300 terrorists had been captured using intelligence from XKeyscore.

Analysts are warned that searching the full database for content will yield too many results to sift through. Instead they are advised to use the metadata also stored in the databases to narrow down what to review.

A slide entitled “plug-ins” in a December 2012 document describes the various fields of information that can be searched. It includes “every email address seen in a session by both username and domain”, “every phone number seen in a session (eg address book entries or signature block)” and user activity – “the webmail and chat activity to include username, buddylist, machine specific cookies etc”.

Email monitoring

In a second Guardian interview in June, Snowden elaborated on his statement about being able to read any individual’s email if he had their email address. He said the claim was based in part on the email search capabilities of XKeyscore, which Snowden says he was authorized to use while working as a Booz Allen contractor for the NSA.

One top-secret document describes how the program “searches within bodies of emails, webpages and documents”, including the “To, From, CC, BCC lines” and the ‘Contact Us’ pages on websites”.

To search for emails, an analyst using XKS enters the individual’s email address into a simple online search form, along with the “justification” for the search and the time period for which the emails are sought.

KS2KS3edit2The analyst then selects which of those returned emails they want to read by opening them in NSA reading software.

The system is similar to the way in which NSA analysts generally can intercept the communications of anyone they select, including, as one NSA document put it, “communications that transit the United States and communications that terminate in the United States”.

One document, a top secret 2010 guide describing the training received by NSA analysts for general surveillance under the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008, explains that analysts can begin surveillance on anyone by clicking a few simple pull-down menus designed to provide both legal and targeting justifications. Once options on the pull-down menus are selected, their target is marked for electronic surveillance and the analyst is able to review the content of their communications:

KS4

Chats, browsing history and other internet activity

Beyond emails, the XKeyscore system allows analysts to monitor a virtually unlimited array of other internet activities, including those within social media.

An NSA tool called DNI Presenter, used to read the content of stored emails, also enables an analyst using XKeyscore to read the content of Facebook chats or private messages.

KS55editAn analyst can monitor such Facebook chats by entering the Facebook user name and a date range into a simple search screen.

KS6Analysts can search for internet browsing activities using a wide range of information, including search terms entered by the user or the websites viewed.

KS7As one slide indicates, the ability to search HTTP activity by keyword permits the analyst access to what the NSA calls “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”.

KS8The XKeyscore program also allows an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every person who visits any website the analyst specifies.

KS9The quantity of communications accessible through programs such as XKeyscore is staggeringly large. One NSA report from 2007 estimated that there were 850bn “call events” collected and stored in the NSA databases, and close to 150bn internet records. Each day, the document says, 1-2bn records were added.

William Binney, a former NSA mathematician, said last year that the agency had “assembled on the order of 20tn transactions about US citizens with other US citizens”, an estimate, he said, that “only was involving phone calls and emails”. A 2010 Washington Post article reported that “every day, collection systems at the [NSA] intercept and store 1.7bn emails, phone calls and other type of communications.”

The XKeyscore system is continuously collecting so much internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content remains on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for 30 days. One document explains: “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”

To solve this problem, the NSA has created a multi-tiered system that allows analysts to store “interesting” content in other databases, such as one named Pinwale which can store material for up to five years.

It is the databases of XKeyscore, one document shows, that now contain the greatest amount of communications data collected by the NSA.

KS10In 2012, there were at least 41 billion total records collected and stored in XKeyscore for a single 30-day period.

KS11Legal v technical restrictions

While the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008 requires an individualized warrant for the targeting of US persons, NSA analysts are permitted to intercept the communications of such individuals without a warrant if they are in contact with one of the NSA’s foreign targets.

The ACLU’s deputy legal director, Jameel Jaffer, told the Guardian last month that national security officials expressly said that a primary purpose of the new law was to enable them to collect large amounts of Americans’ communications without individualized warrants.

“The government doesn’t need to ‘target’ Americans in order to collect huge volumes of their communications,” said Jaffer. “The government inevitably sweeps up the communications of many Americans” when targeting foreign nationals for surveillance.

An example is provided by one XKeyscore document showing an NSA target in Tehran communicating with people in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and New York.

KS12In recent years, the NSA has attempted to segregate exclusively domestic US communications in separate databases. But even NSA documents acknowledge that such efforts are imperfect, as even purely domestic communications can travel on foreign systems, and NSA tools are sometimes unable to identify the national origins of communications.

Moreover, all communications between Americans and someone on foreign soil are included in the same databases as foreign-to-foreign communications, making them readily searchable without warrants.

Some searches conducted by NSA analysts are periodically reviewed by their supervisors within the NSA. “It’s very rare to be questioned on our searches,” Snowden told the Guardian in June, “and even when we are, it’s usually along the lines of: ‘let’s bulk up the justification’.”

In a letter this week to senator Ron Wyden, director of national intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that NSA analysts have exceeded even legal limits as interpreted by the NSA in domestic surveillance.

Acknowledging what he called “a number of compliance problems”, Clapper attributed them to “human error” or “highly sophisticated technology issues” rather than “bad faith”.

However, Wyden said on the Senate floor on Tuesday: “These violations are more serious than those stated by the intelligence community, and are troubling.”

In a statement to the Guardian, the NSA said: “NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against – and only against – legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests.

“XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system.

“Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks … In addition, there are multiple technical, manual and supervisory checks and balances within the system to prevent deliberate misuse from occurring.”

“Every search by an NSA analyst is fully auditable, to ensure that they are proper and within the law.

“These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully – to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad.”

via:
news

 

NSA’s XKeyscore program – read one of the presentations

Will Obama administration start Backing ElBaradei?

07/07/2013 Leave a comment

c-Baradei

July07, 2013, by FRANKLIN LAMB

According to well-connected Washington sources, one being a Congressional staffer whose job description includes following political events in Egypt, it did not take Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei,  the Sharia legal scholar, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and for 12 years the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (1997-2009), very long at all  to contact the Washington, DC law firm of Patton Boggs on 7/2/13. That is once it became evident that Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi might well be ousted by Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).   The next day, ElBaradei’s representatives reportedly  also made contact with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations which claims to represent the 52 largest US based largest Jewish groups.ElBaradei,  perhaps the current front-runner to replace his long-time nemesis, Mohammad Morsi, moved fast to organize some key allies in Cairo and Washington to pick-up  where his earlier failed Presidential campaign left off shortly before the 1/25/2011 Egyptian Presidential election. Patton Boggs, the K Street, NW Washington DC law firm, which last year had 550 lawyers and 120 lobbyists and is arguably the firm closest to the White House in terms of securing for its clients what they want from the approximately 5000 key decision makers in the US Capitol. The other nearly 11,800 federally registered lobbyists in Washington (there were only 300 as recently as when Lyndon Johnson was US President) lag far behind Patton Boggs in terms of political influence.

Patton Boggs new client wants the Pentagon and the White House to squeeze Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) who deposed President Morsi and arrange for himself to be appointed the interim President of Egypt pending early elections.

ElBaradei wants the same thing from Israel and its US lobby, the former having developed close relations under Morsi similar to what Israel enjoyed under Mubarak. Read more…

The Somalisation of Syria: Israel’s Clean Break Strategy

23/06/2013 Leave a comment

Syrian-war

JULY 30, 2012, by ISRAEL SHAMIR,
Israel retains its ability to control the Syrian ‘Islamist’ rebels. Netanyahu is not worried about Syria’s possible disintegration. Despite the received wisdom claiming that Israelis prefer a stable and familiar Assad to the great unknown of Islamic guerrillas, the new and sensational information we received points out to the opposite, namely: Israelis prefer the Somalisation of Syria, its break-up and the elimination of its army, as this will allow them to tackle Iran unopposed.

This is implied in a secret file recently leaked by a person(s) apparently close to the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman. It contains a record of conversations between Bibi Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the latter’s recent visit to Israel. Israelis seem to have no doubts about its authenticity. Counterpunch received the original file, and here are the highlights of this conversation (in our translation from Hebrew):

  • Netanyahu asked Putin to facilitate Bashar Assad’s departure. “You can appoint his successor, and we shall not object , said the Israeli Prime Minister. “There is one condition – the successor must break with Iran».
  • Putin responded: we have no candidate for Bashar’s successor. Do you?
  • No, we don’t, replied Netanyahu, but we shall tell you our preference soon. Read more…

Israel Enters Syria: All eyes on Iran

22/06/2013 Leave a comment

Syrian-war

FEBRUARY 07, 2013, by BEN SCHREINER

With its air strikes against targets inside Syria last week, Israel announced its formal entry into the Syrian crisis.  The Israeli targeting of Iran has thus entered the Syrian theater.

According to McClatchy, the Israeli strikes on January 30 targeted anti-aircraft missiles at a military base outside of Damascus.  The missiles, according to Israeli intelligence sources, were headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“Israel relies heavily on the strength of our air force, and its strategic deterrence,” an Israeli official explained to McClatchy. “Weapons systems that make our air force vulnerable will not be allowed to fall into the hands of terrorist groups.”

Accordingly, Washington reacted to the Israeli assault by sternly warning Damascus.  “Syria,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes warned, “should not further destabilize the region by transferring weaponry to Hezbollah.”

Washington, in other words, views any effort to curb Israel’s freedom to fly sorties when and where it fancies as a threat to regional stability.  Of course, “stability” in the Washington lexicon is used to connote unmatched Western military superiority.  (Thus, NATO Patriot batteries deployed along the Turkey-Syria border are championed as a means to “deescalate tensions.”)

With such “stability” in mind, Time reports that Washington has given a “green light” to Israel to carry out yet further strikes.  And blessed with such carte blanche, Israel is already planning an escalated level of intervention. Read more…

Israel and U.S. Coordinating How to Target Syria

22/06/2013 Leave a comment

Syrian-war

52 days after an Israeli general publicly declared that Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels, the Obama administration reached the same conclusion, and used the finding to justify announcing it would send small arms to the side of the victims. “I will not say ‘We told you so,’ only, okay, the proof is there, so there’s no more question about it,” says Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, taking with a smile the easy part of the equation now laid before Israel. As for the hard part: “Now, what should be done? It’s not for Israel to say, because the international involvement in this should not include Israel. Israel follows very closely developments there. It’s very concerned about activity on its borders. But we’re not aspiring to be involved in any action about what’s happening in Syria.”

In fact, of course, Israel is closely involved already, and in more ways than they are acknowledged publicly. Israeli military officials tell TIME that American intelligence had the same information that Brig. Gen. Itai Brun cited in his April 23 presentation to a public conference – video footage showing victims foaming at the mouth, and other indicators that made it clear that sarin had been used on the battlefield more than once. “We are sharing,” one Israeli intelligence official said at the time. “We have our cards on the table with the Americans for a long time. They’ve had all this information.” Read more…

The Syrian Plan: Who Gains From Syrian Bloodbath?

19/06/2013 Leave a comment

Syrian-war

by PATRICK COCKBURN

Syria is close to following Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya as the target of a major Western military intervention. It certainly looks that way after the American decision last week to send weapons to the rebels in a move that can only deepen the conflict.

The supposed aim of the United States arms supply is to “tip the balance” in favour of the insurgents and force Bashar al-Assad’s government to negotiate its departure from power. But Assad holds all but one of Syria’s cities and large towns, so, to transform the military situation on the ground the US, Britain and France would have to become the main fighting force of the rebels and engage in a full-scale war.

Such a war would be similar to what happened in Afghanistan in 2001 when the cutting edge of the anti-Taliban offensive was strategic and tactical American air support. The anti-Taliban militiamen led by the Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara warlords of the Northern Alliance were few in number – I kept running into the same small units on the road from Kabul to Kandahar – and acted essentially as a mopping-up force that did little real fighting.

In northern Iraq in 2003 the Kurdish Peshmerga were careful not to advance anywhere until the Iraqi army facing them had been pummelled by US bombers. One Kurdish commander told me that his men could not advance an inch without US permission because “we have to co-operate with American air support”. Much the same happened in Libya in 2011 when, for all the laudatory media coverage of the rebels, they would not have survived for more than a few days without Nato Special Forces on the ground and air power overhead.

Of course, the Western intervention in Libya started off with the declared humanitarian purpose of preventing Gaddafi capturing Benghazi and massacring its people. The reality was that Nato leaders were determined to overthrow the regime. The main role of Libyan militiamen on the road south of Benghazi was to appear on foreign television. One of the more amusing sights at the time was to watch cameramen asking other members of the media to stand to one side so viewers would not see that journalists were more numerous than Libyan fighters in the front line. Read more…

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