Manning describes ‘two worlds’ – one in the US and one she witnessed in Iraq – in New York Times interview days after her release from military prison
Thanks to camera phones and social media, the deadly consequences of U.S. military operations are indeed being recorded, shared, and watched around the world on an unprecedented scale. But while civilian deaths are regularly reported in local media outlets in the Middle East, they are seldom reported in detail by international media.
WikiLeaks tweeted last week that Assange would agree to US extradition if Obama granted Manning clemency. Asked during a web broadcast on Thursday if he would now leave the embassy, Assange said: “I stand by everything I said, including the offer to go to the United States if Chelsea Manning’s sentence was commuted.”
At the time of her revelations, she was the most important whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg. Upon hearing the news today, Ellsberg said this: “Once in a while, someone does what they ought to do. Some go to prison for it, for seven years; some accept exile for life. But sometimes even a president does it. And today, it was Obama.”
The White House insisted on Tuesday that Assange’s offer to submit to extradition if Obama “grants Manning clemency” did not influence the president’s action.
“After hearing from our community, we looked again at how our Community Standards were applied in this case. An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our Community Standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography. In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.”
A high-profile Israeli human rights group that publishes the anonymous testimonies of soldiers in the Palestinian territories is facing a court hearing that threatens to shut down its work in what is being viewed as a crucial test case for civil society.The case, which will be heard in court next week, is being brought by the Israeli government, which is demanding that Breaking the Silence identify anonymous serving military personnel who have given it testimony relating to alleged crimes in the 2014 Gaza war. The group says this is likely to deter future potential testifiers coming forward.
The French Interior Ministry on Monday ordered that five websites be blocked on the grounds that they promote or advocate terrorism. “I do not want to see sites that could lead people to take up arms on the Internet,” proclaimed Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
When the block functions properly, visitors to those banned sites, rather than accessing the content of the sites they chose to visit, will be automatically redirected to the Interior Ministry website. There, they will be greeted by a graphic of a large red hand, and text informing them that they were attempting to access a site that causes or promotes terrorism: “you are being redirected to this official website since your computer was about to connect with a page that provokes terrorist acts or condones terrorism publicly.”
No judge reviews the Interior Ministry’s decisions. The minister first requests that the website owner voluntarily remove the content he deems transgressive; upon disobedience, the minister unilaterally issues the order to Internet service providers for the sites to be blocked. This censorship power is vested pursuant to a law recently enacted in France empowering the interior minister to block websites.
Forcibly taking down websites deemed to be supportive of terrorism, or criminalizing speech deemed to “advocate” terrorism, is a major trend in both Europe and the West generally. Last month in Brussels, the European Union’s counter-terrorism coordinator issued a memo proclaiming that “Europe is facing an unprecedented, diverse and serious terrorist threat,” and argued that increased state control over the Internet is crucial to combating it.
The memo noted that “the EU and its Member States have developed several initiatives related to countering radicalisation and terrorism on the Internet,” yet argued that more must be done. It argued that the focus should be on “working with the main players in the Internet industry [a]s the best way to limit the circulation of terrorist material online.” It specifically hailed the tactics of the U.K. Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), which has succeeded in causing the removal of large amounts of material it deems “extremist”:
In addition to recommending the dissemination of “counter-narratives” by governments, the memo also urged EU member states to “examine the legal and technical possibilities to remove illegal content.”
Primera vez que se toma esta medida a través de un decreto que no exige decisión judicial
El Gobierno francés ha aplicado este fin de semana por vez primera el decreto aprobado el 4 de febrero pasado y que le permite bloquear páginas web que hagan apología del terrorismo. Se trata de una decisión administrativa que no requiere decisión previa de un juez y que, a demanda del Ministerio del Interior, los proveedores de Internet deben aplicar en el plazo de 24 horas. En total, son cinco las páginas de presunta propaganda yihadista las que han quedado bloqueadas este lunes, según ha confirmado Interior.
La alerta la dio por la mañana el corresponsal en Túnez y Libia de la RFI, David Thomson, en su cuenta de Twitter. “¡Una página de información islámica censurada en Francia sin decisión judicial!”, anunció a primera hora de la mañana el periodista. Se trataba de una página web en la que se defendían las acciones yihadistas en Siria e Irak, según el mismo Thomson, autor del libro Los franceses yihadistas. La página cerrada era www.islamic-news.info. Tras la intervención gubernamental, al acceder a ella aparecen el logo del Ministerio del Interior y una leyenda en letras rojas que advierte de que dicha página provocaba acciones terroristas. Este ministerio informó unas horas más tarde la censura de un total de cinco páginas entre las que está también una de al-Hayat Media Center, que se encarga de la comunicación del Estado Islámico. El sitio web seguía por la tarde activo.
Jeffrey Sterling fue acusado de entregar a un periodista datos de un programa contra el sistema nuclear iraní
El triángulo lo forman un periodista del diario The New York Times, un exagente de los servicios de inteligencia y el Gobierno de Estados Unidos. En el centro, un programa de la CIA para sabotear el sistema nuclear de Irán. Es uno de los nueve casos en los que la Administración del presidente Barack Obama se ha querellado contra un espía por filtrar información a la prensa. Y ha vuelto a ganar.
Jeffrey Sterling fue condenado este lunes por nueve cargos que abarcan desde revelar información relativa a la “seguridad nacional” a James Risen, periodista y escritor del Times, hasta obstrucción a la justicia. El exagente, de 47 años, permanecerá en libertad hasta el 24 de abril, cuando conozca su sentencia, tras pasar los últimos cinco años intentando demostrar su inocencia.
El Fiscal General, Eric Holder, ha calificado la decisión del jurado en contra de Sterling como “justa y apropiada”. Según el responsable del Departamento de Justicia, “las filtraciones pusieron vidas en peligro y constituyeron una grave violación de la confianza depositada por los ciudadanos” en el agente.
El Gobierno ha asegurado durante el desarrollo de este caso que Sterling actuó por despecho tras ser despedido de la CIA en 2003. El exagente habría contactado con Risen para denunciar lo que consideraba un caso de discriminación laboral, aunque después acabó proporcionándole más información sobre el programa en el que había trabajado y que tenía como objetivo sabotear el sistema nuclear iraní.
El debate sobre la protección de reporteros ha llegado hasta el Congreso, donde se debatió la creación de una nueva ley ‘escudo’ para la prensa
El caso de Sterling cobró especial relevancia en EE UU por estar implicado un periodista del diario más importante del país y que declaró estar dispuesto a ingresar en prisión antes que revelar su fuente. Según el Gobierno, la persona de la que recibió datos para su libro ‘State of War’ siempre fue Sterling, quien no sólo dio detalles de las operaciones en las que estuvo implicado, sino que también puso en peligro a otros agentes.
La negativa de Risen reabrió además un debate entre los medios estadounidenses sobre la protección de sus periodistas en casos como éste. El Gobierno no se querelló contra el escritor, pero sí le exigió que revelara su fuente. A pesar de que el derecho a la confidencialidad sobre el origen de la información está reconocido en varios países e instituciones internacionales, el Gobierno federal de EE UU no lo estipula, por lo que Risen podía haber ido a prisión.
• Agency includes investigative journalists on ‘threat’ list
• Editors call on Cameron to act against snooping on media
GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.
Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.
The disclosure comes as the British government faces intense pressure to protect the confidential communications of reporters, MPs and lawyers from snooping.
The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in the space of less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by one of GCHQ’s numerous taps on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet.
The communications, which were sometimes simple mass-PR emails sent to dozens of journalists but also included correspondence between reporters and editors discussing stories, were retained by GCHQ and were available to all cleared staff on the agency intranet. There is nothing to indicate whether or not the journalists were intentionally targeted.
The mails appeared to have been captured and stored as the output of a then-new tool being used to strip irrelevant data out of the agency’s tapping process.
New evidence from other UK intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also shows that a GCHQ information security assessment listed “investigative journalists” as a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers.
With depressing frequency in this summer of diverse horrors, we hear tales of desperate human misery, suffering and depravity – and because we live now in an era where virtually every phone is a globally connected camera, we are confronted with graphic evidence of tragedy.
The footage of the apparent beheading (to refer to the atrocity as an execution serves only to lend a veneer of dignity to barbarism) of the US photojournalist James Foley at the hands of a British Isis extremist has raised particularly strong feelings.
Social networks are banning users who share the footage. Newspapers are facing opprobrium for the choices they make in showing stills or parts of the video. Others, of course, will seek out the video after seeing the row, or else post it around the internet in a juvenile form of the free speech argument.
Before considering the rights and wrongs of the position, there is one fact we should face: we are presented with images of grotesque violence on a daily basis. Last month the New York Times ran on its front page the dead and broken body of a Palestinian child.
Like Foley, that child was someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s friend, and in a connected world there is just as much chance his family saw the photo and its spread as Foley’s will see the latest awful images of their loved one.
That photo raised little controversy in comparison to the use of images of Foley. Photos of groups of civilian men massacred by Isis across Iraq and Syria – widely shared on social media and used by publications across the world – caused no outcry whatsoever.
It’s hard to look at that and not see a double standard: like many other courageous and talented people, Foley had chosen to travel to the region, and knew the risks that entailed. Others were killed simply fleeing their homes. In a strange and bitter irony, one of the duties of photographers such as Foley is documenting bloodshed in order to show the world.
To see an outcry for Foley’s video and not for others is to wonder whether we are disproportionately concerned over showing graphic deaths of white westerners – maybe even white journalists – and not others.
On August 1, NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast a story by NPR national security reporter Dina Temple-Raston touting explosive claims from what she called “a tech firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.” That firm, Recorded Future, worked together with “a cyber expert, Mario Vuksan, the CEO of ReversingLabs,” to produce a new report that purported to vindicate the repeated accusation from U.S. officials that “revelations from former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden harmed national security and allowed terrorists to develop their own countermeasures.”
The “big data firm,” reported NPR, says that it now “has tangible evidence” proving the government’s accusations. Temple-Raston’s four-minute, 12-second story devoted the first 3 minutes and 20 seconds to uncritically repeating the report’s key conclusion that ”just months after the Snowden documents were released, al-Qaeda dramatically changed the way its operatives interacted online” and, post-Snowden, “al-Qaeda didn’t just tinker at the edges of its seven-year-old encryption software; it overhauled it.” The only skepticism in the NPR report was relegated to 44 seconds at the end when she quoted security expert Bruce Schneier, who questioned the causal relationship between the Snowden disclosures and the new terrorist encryption programs, as well as the efficacy of the new encryption.
The just-retired long-time NSA chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, recently traveled to Australia to give a remarkably long and wide-ranging interview with an extremely sycophantic “interviewer” with The Australian Financial Review. The resulting 17,000-word transcript and accompanying article form a model of uncritical stenography journalism, but Alexander clearly chose to do this because he is angry, resentful, and feeling unfairly treated, and the result is a pile of quotes that are worth examining, only a few of which are noted below:
AFR: What were the key differences for you as director of NSA serving under presidents Bush and Obama? Did you have a preferred commander in chief?
Gen. Alexander: Obviously they come from different parties, they view things differently, but when it comes to the security of the nation and making those decisions about how to protect our nation, what we need to do to defend it, they are, ironically, very close to the same point. You would get almost the same decision from both of them on key questions about how to defend our nation from terrorists and other threats.
The almost-complete continuity between George W. Bush and Barack Obama on such matters has been explained by far too many senior officials in both parties, and has been amply documented in far too many venues, to make it newsworthy when it happens again. Still, the fact that one of the nation’s most powerful generals in history, who has no incentive to say it unless it were true, just comes right out and states that Bush and The Candidate of Change are “very close to the same point” and “you would get almost the same decision from both of them on key questions” is a fine commentary on a number of things, including how adept the 2008 Obama team was at the art of branding.
The fact that Obama, in 2008, specifically vowed to his followers angered over his campaign-season NSA reversal that he possessed “the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future” only makes that point a bit more vivid.
Es evidente que la metamorfosis de los medios de comunicación ocurre a diario: desde su influencia y su papel como la cuarta autoridad tras los poderes ejecutivo, legislativo y judicial, hasta ocupar el primer puesto. Por consiguiente, somos conscientes de su poder para confeccionar sucesos y mapas, demoler y erigir, darle la vuelta a los acontecimientos y convertir los hechos en trivialidades y viceversa.| NAWAF AZ ZARO.*
En la era digital, los medios de comunicación se difunden con mucha facilidad. Su función estratégica —ya no solo influir en la opinión pública, sino también elaborar un criterio determinado en torno a un tema en concreto— ha evolucionado prácticamente hasta desempeñar un destacado papel psicológico y militar.