Turkish government fights WordPress and Kurds, not ISIS


This video from the USA says about itself:

16 November 2014

Jon Stewart: Turkey: Erdogan helps ISIS at Kobane.

From the Peace in Kurdistan campaign in Britain:

Kurdish message of peace stifled by Turkish censorship

Monday 10th August 2015

The Peace in Kurdistan campaign explains how President Erdogan is more interested in trampling the Kurds than fighting Isis

DAYS ago, the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s website was blocked to users in Turkey in the latest government crackdown on Kurdish and pro-Kurdish news and media.

As part of a broad attack on internet freedom, 77 million websites hosted by WordPress.com were temporarily blocked under Turkey’s Internet Law 5651. After WordPress challenged the ban, the Turkish government lifted restrictions on the majority of sites, leaving just five — which included peaceinkurdistancampaign.com and four other pro-Kurdish sites — inaccessible inside Turkey. WordPress’s appeal to the courts regarding our site and the others is still pending.

The move came as the Turkish air force’s heavy bombardment of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) sites in northern Iraq and Rojava, the first such strike since 2011, threatened to put a definitive end to the more than two-year peace process.

Using their participation in the US-led anti-Islamic State (Isis) campaign as cover, the Turkish government has taken the opportunity to wage war not against Isis at all, but against the Kurdish movement, human rights defenders, activists and the peace process by breaking the 10th ceasefire called by the PKK in the last 15 years.

What is especially galling for the Kurds is that this new clampdown on freedom of expression, combined with the renewed offensive against the PKK, comes in the wake of the Suruc massacre of young Kurds who were preparing to take part in a voluntary mission to aid the people of Kobane — the city that became a symbol of Kurdish resistance to Isis.

The massacre, carried out by an Isis-inspired suicide bomber, left 33 youths dead and hundreds more badly injured. The Kurds immediately blamed Turkey because of its complicity in aiding Isis — assistance which has been well documented.

However, Turkey’s AKP government has quite cynically used the outburst of popular anger at the massacre as a pretext for launching its attacks on the Kurdish movement, both within the country and across the border, by systematic bombing of PKK camps in Iraq. Hundreds have since been killed and maimed by indiscriminate bombing, including many civilians, according to reports.

At the same time, the Turkish authorities, steered by an increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have begun attempts to lift political immunity from pro-Kurdish HDP parliamentarians, which will pave the way for their prosecution and possible disqualification from standing for re-election in the event of the president calling a snap general election. This is likely if coalition negotiations fail.

The latest wave of censorship included a temporary ban on Twitter, a platform used by nearly a third of the country’s population. In total 96 sites have been blocked on the grounds they are publishing “terrorist” propaganda. The vast majority of these were pro-Kurdish or leftist political sites.

This duplicity was mirrored in police raids and air strikes that took place the same week, ostensibly part of Turkey’s fight against Isis. Of the 1,050 arrests that took place across Turkey in nationwide “anti-terrorism operations” last week, 137 were alleged Isis sympathisers while 847 were Kurdish activists suspected of links to the PKK. Similarly, on the day the supposed anti-Isis air strikes began, just one sortie was sent to attack Isis targets, while 75 F-16s and F-4E 2020s dropped around 300 smart bombs onto 400 PKK targets in just two days.

For those us familiar with Turkey’s repressive, vague and draconian anti-terrorism legislation, these acts come as little surprise. Over the years we have campaigned for journalists imprisoned for speaking in support of Kurdish rights and for the reinstatement of media outlets after they were repeatedly banned or taken off the air. One such campaign was for the Kurdish-language broadcaster Roj TV, which, although based in Denmark, was forced from the air after the Turkish government agreed to support former Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s appointment as Nato secretary-general.

We are well aware that we too are working under the suspicious gaze of an integrated surveillance system with global reach. Our peaceful activities that advocate for the inviolable rights of Kurdish people and a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict are still seen as a threat.

For more information see peaceinkurdistancampaign.com.

Under the guise of fighting ISIS, Turkey’s president is re-igniting a bloody war with the Kurds for his own political purposes: here.

British racists attack singer FKA twigs


This music video from Britain says about itself:

FKA twigs -­ Glass & Patron

The music video for Glass & Patron was directed by FKA twigs and is presented by the 2015 YouTube Music Awards.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Twigs: Racist trolls reduced me to tears

Monday 10th August 2015

BRITISH signer FKA twigs has told that online racist abuse she received because of her relationship with Robert Pattinson reduced her to tears.

Robert Pattinson and FKA twigs

Twitter trolls targeted the singer, who is of Jamaican, Spanish and English descent, calling her a “monkey” after she got together with the Twilight film star.

But she told the Sunday Times Magazine she was most upset when trolls racially taunted one of her fans, who was dying of cancer.

Twigs, real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett, was replying to a friend of the fan who tweeted a picture of them at the hospital, when they were subjected to a barrage of online abuse.

She told the magazine: “They all started attacking her. Within 20 seconds it was just like ‘n*****, monkey, ugly, die b****,’ all this stuff on his feed.

“It broke my heart … this lady who is really sick and is probably going to die.”

Whistleblowing German bloggers, traitors? Historical context


This video shows an 1 August 2015 demonstration in Berlin, Germany, for press freedom, against Internet spying and censorship and against governmental attempts to prosecute the blog Netzpolitik.org as ‘traitors’.

By Andreas Kunstmann in Germany:

Background to the government attack on Netzpolitik.org

German court in 1992 upheld 1931 treason conviction of Carl von Ossietzky

8 August 2015

The legal investigation into the blog Netzpolitik.org for treason has provoked strong opposition and a wave of anger. It recalls the darkest chapter in German history, with the rise of the Nazis.

The most well known and notorious treason conviction in Germany was in 1931, against the editor of the Weltbühne magazine, Carl von Ossietzky.

It is less well known that this criminal trial was reviewed by a court in the Federal Republic of Germany. Between 1988 and 1992, Germany’s Federal Supreme Court (BGH) reconsidered the journalist’s conviction and refused to overturn the judgement.

The basis for the conviction in November 1931 was the publication of an article entitled “Shady Dealings in the Air” (“Windiges aus der Luftfahrt”) in the Weltbühne of 12 March 1929. Carl von Ossietzky was the magazine’s publisher and editor in charge.

The article dealt with events at the Johannesthal Adlershof airfield that proved Germany was pursuing a rearmament programme in violation of the terms of the Versailles Treaty agreed to at the end of World War I, and systematically covering the program up.

In the initial trial, a report authored by the Reich prosecutor (predecessor of the Federal Prosecutor) played an important role in preparing the treason charge. At the time, the charge was demanded by the Defence Ministry, which disputed that the facts detailed in the article were “already known to all interested parties at home and abroad.”

The charge followed only a few weeks after the completion of the report. The Reichsgericht (predecessor of the BGH) sentenced Carl von Ossietzky to one year and six months imprisonment. A pardon was demanded in a petition signed by 43,600 people, but rejected by Reich President Paul von Hindenburg.

Carl von Ossietzky subsequently spent 227 days in prison and was then sent to a concentration camp by the Nazis, where he died on 4 May 1938.

Fifty years later, Rosalinda von Ossietzky-Palm, Ossietzky’s daughter, commissioned lawyer Heinrich Hannover, Bremen civil servant Ingo Müller and Berlin Judge Eckart Rotka to reopen the case. The request was filed at the Berlin appeals court on 1 March 1988. It was justified on the basis of new evidence.

For example, it was proven that the facts in the article were already known to the French army, meaning they were not secrets. It was also argued that the rearmament program “endangered the security of the Reich, and not the fact that these activities were published.”

Among the appeals court judges was one who was jointly responsible for the acquittal in 1968 of Hans-Joachim Rehse, who had been a judge at the Volksgericht (People’s Court) in Nazi Germany. The Berlin district court had cleared Rehse at the time because the presentation of cases by the People’s Court “took place within the framework of technical considerations.”

On 11 July 1991, the application to reopen the Ossietzky case was thrown out by the Berlin court. No new evidence or facts had allegedly been presented that would have been sufficient to justify overturning the original conviction.

The ruling stated, “… the application for a retrial is based on conditions which the court fully evaluated and arrived at an opposing conclusion after a review of the evidence in both instances referred to. A fact [rejected by the previous ruling] is not new evidence.”

An appeal challenging this decision was filed with the Federal Supreme Court, which rejected the suit for a retrial on 3 December 1992. This was justified on the basis that no new evidence had been provided to show that “precisely” the information contained in the article had previously been known. It was, according to the BGH, not a question of whether the rearmament program as a whole was already known about.

The court said the new evidence, which, according to experts, showed the publication had not endangered the “security of the Reich,” was not new evidence according to law, and would thus not result in a retrial.

Heinrich Hannover, citing the BGH ruling, wrote: “For the judges in Karlsruhe, the Third Reich and the Second World War with its 50 million deaths never took place. They are holding on to principles that rely on a lack of critical awareness of history and guarantee the acquittal of their judicial colleagues in the Third Reich who sympathised with Adolf Hitler.”

Hannover quoted from the BGH ruling: “The reference to subsequent historical developments is irrelevant for a retrial. Within the framework of determining admissibility, the retrial court must determine the suitability of the retrial application, taking into account the standpoint and legal opinion of the court that convicted the defendant.”

Thus the BGH judges in 1992 made the decisive factor the standpoint and legal opinion of those judges who later became supporters of the Nazi state. Using similar arguments, the post-war German judiciary acquitted almost all judges and state prosecutors from the Nazi regime.

**

All citations are from: Heinrich Hannover, Die Republik vor Gericht, 1975-1995, Erinnerungen eines unbequemen Rechtsanwalts; Chapter 19: Carl von Ossietzkys Landesverratein Wiederaufnahmeverfahren (1988-1992); Pp. 371-410.

See also: Elisabeth Hannover-Drück/Heinrich Hannover, Politische Justiz 1918-1933.

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations to everybody!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2015?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. We hold these truths to be self-evident

2. myblackmindd

3. Traveldefined

4. Teacup Talk

5. Dolgheri Marina

6. Blog of a Mad Black Woman

7. Glitchy Artist

8. Arizona Bird Watcher

9. Picture This by Frank

10. My Botanical Garden

Internet censorship and spying in Germany


This German video is about a demonstration in Berlin on 1 August 2015, pro free press, against Internet censorship and spying, and against the prosecution of bloggers for ‘treason’.

By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:

German government fires prosecutor over treason charge against Internet blog

5 August 2015

On Tuesday evening, the German government fired the chief federal prosecutor, Attorney General Harald Range, for his unprecedented defiance of the government in bringing treason charges against an Internet blog that exposed plans for mass spying by the federal intelligence agencies. Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) consigned Range to retirement on the grounds that his trust in Range’s administration had been “permanently damaged.”

The firing came only hours after Range openly attacked the government, and Maas in particular, at a hastily convened press conference. He spoke of “intolerable interference” by politicians into the independence of the justice system because he had been compelled to drop the investigation of the Netzpolitik.org blog for treason charges.

“To influence an investigation because its possible outcome does not appear politically opportune” is unacceptable, Range said. While the freedom of the press and of expression are of great value, he continued, “these freedoms do not apply without limit on the Internet. It does not exempt journalists from observing the law.” To watch over this was not the task of politicians, but of the justice system, he maintained.

Such an attack by the most senior criminal prosecutor (Range) on the justice minister is unprecedented in the history of post-World War II Germany. The justice minister is the employer of the attorney general and is authorized to issue instructions to him.

The investigation for treason directed against journalists from the Netzpolitik.org blog by the German attorney general has met fierce public opposition. In Berlin on Saturday, 3,000 people demonstrated against this attack on press freedom. In other cities such as Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne and Karlsruhe there were also protests against press intimidation.

Many in the media have also criticized the actions of the secret service and the attorney general and sharp conflicts have broken out inside the state apparatus itself. It is increasingly clear that the intelligence services act as a state within the state, accountable to no one. The situation is reminiscent of the last years of the Weimar Republic in the early 1930s, when the security agencies and Reichswehr (Army) acted largely independently and contributed significantly to helping the semi-dictatorship of Papen and Schleicher to power, which was followed by the Nazis.

From what is known so far, the attack on the Netzpolitik.org journalists was initiated by the president of the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (as the secret service is called), Hans-Georg Maassen. He had long complained that the intelligence community was being repeatedly criticized publicly over the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU) and spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

It is now known that the domestic secret service has been closely involved with the NSU, which is accused of committing 10 racist murders, two terrorist attacks and numerous bank robberies; and that the Foreign Intelligence Service (BND) is working closely with the NSA in spying on politicians, companies and broad sections of the population in Europe and Germany.

To try and put a stop to the revelations and intimidate journalists, Maassen leveled charges in March against Netzpolitik.org for publishing two documents classified by the secret service. The charges were forwarded to the attorney general in Karlsruhe, who had the secret service confirm that the documents published involved “state secrets,” and who then opened a criminal investigation on May 13 on charges of treason against those responsible for the online blog.

As became known last weekend, the government had known about the investigation for some time. According to Spiegel Online, the attorney general had informed the Justice Ministry on May 27 about launching the proceedings.

The Justice Ministry confirmed this information, but claimed that Maas had subsequently made clear at all levels of the attorney general’s office that he considered such an approach to be “too tricky, too explosive and hopeless” ( Spiegel Online ).The attorney general’s office reacted promptly and let it be known that there had not been any such clear opposition from the Justice Ministry at any time.

Maassen, who is subordinate to the Interior Ministry and the Chancellery, had already responded to the public criticism with another attack against the media and indirectly the government on Sunday. It had been necessary to proceed legally “against the publication of documents classified as confidential or secret,” he told Bild am Sonntag. It was a matter of ensuring the “viability of his service in the fight against extremism and terrorism.”

The government could have prevented the investigation against Netzpolitik.org from the outset, he said. But they evidently did not want to do so. They only responded when disclosure of the proceedings met with fierce protests.

At a press conference on Monday, a journalist asked the spokesman for the justice minister why he had not used his authority to issue appropriate instructions if he did not agree with the approach of the attorney general’s office. An instruction from the Justice Ministry would have sufficed to stop the investigation into the journalists.

As long as a state prosecutor was not behaving illegally, there was no room for an instruction, was the curt reply by the spokesman.

The Interior Ministry responded similarly evasively. Its communication, said Minister Thomas de Maiziere (CDU), did not know about the proceedings in advance. Only his State Secretary Emily Haber and the department head involved had been informed by the secret service about the charges against Netzpolitik.org. However, the talk had been of charges for the betrayal of official secrets and not state secrets.

The Chancellery Office also said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had only learned about the proceedings through the media. However, it was revealed on Friday that in the autumn of last year, Chancellery Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) had complained to the chairman of the NSA Committee of Inquiry, Patrick Sensburg (CDU), that the secret service internal documents before the committee had been leaked and had threatened legal consequences. At that time, Netzpolitik.org had published the content of Altmaier’s letter to Sensburg.

While many media outlets have criticized the attack on Netzpolitik.org, they oppose any weakening of the secret services, let alone their abolition. Rather, they demand that these and the attorney general’s office increasingly focus their attention on the machinations of the US intelligence agencies and more aggressively defend Germany’s national interests.

For example, Heribert Prantl, the lead domestic commentator for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, begins a comment by accusing Range of not having “the independence one expects from an attorney general.” This had been shown in the criminal matters “affecting the German relationship with the US; Range had not dared look into this.”

The Left Party also argues along these lines, demanding the attorney general “take his hat home”—not because of the attack on press freedom, but because of the failure to crack down on the NSA. He has to go, demands Left Party Chairman Bernd Riexinger in Handelsblatt, “before more happened, or rather didn’t happen.”

The attacks by the secret service and the attorney general on the freedom of the press, which is largely being supported by the government, are inextricably linked to Germany’s return to a more aggressive foreign policy. Great power politics and militarism go hand in hand with the establishment of a police state and the suppression of all internal opposition. As always in German history, the secret services and the striving of the security apparatus to become a state within the state play an important role.

The events that led to the dismissal of the German Attorney General Harald Range show the true extent of the preparations to erect an authoritarian state in which freedom of speech and basic democratic rights are suppressed: here.

Cybersecurity corporation spying on Black Lives Matter movement


This video from the USA says about itself:

Here’s Sandra Bland talking about Black Lives Matter: It’s amazing

24 July 2015

Everyone is working to figure out how Sandra Bland died, and that is important. But what people are missing is how she lived. This extraordinary woman was an amazing activist, and this video shows the kind of passion she had for other black people. Take a listen.

After the National Guard in the USA called demonstrators against the death of Michael Brown ‘enemy forces’

From Mother Jones magazine in the USA:

Black Lives Matter Organizers Labeled as “Threat Actors” by Cybersecurity Firm

“It confirms that us telling the truth about police violence is seen as a threat.”

By Brandon Ellington Patterson

Mon Aug. 3, 2015 10:38 AM EDT

Documents from a “crisis management” report produced by the cybersecurity firm ZeroFox indicate that the firm monitored Black Lives Matter protesters during the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore earlier this year.

The name ZeroFox reminds me of Fox News and the Rupert Murdoch empire; also massively spying on people for profit.

They also remind me of other ‘cybersecurity’ and spyware corporations, like Hacking Team and FinFisher, colluding with oppression in Bahrain and elsewhere.

The documents, which surfaced online last Wednesday, also state that the firm “protected” the online accounts of Maryland and Baltimore officials and members of the Baltimore Police Department and Maryland National Guard.

The report identifies DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, two prominent Black Lives Matter organizers who took part in the Baltimore protests, as “threat actors” for whom “immediate response is recommended.” It describes McKesson and Elzie as “high” severity, “physical,” and “#mostwanted” threats and notes both have a “massive following” on social media. It says that ZeroFox was engaged in “continuous monitoring” of their social media accounts and specifies their geographical locations at the time of the report. The report does not suggest that the pair were suspected of criminal activity but were “main coordinators of the protests.”

ZeroFox describing civil rights activists as 'theats'

McKesson and Elzie both tell Mother Jones they were “not surprised” that they were being watched. “It confirms that us telling the truth about police violence is seen as a threat,” McKesson says. Both activists say they do not know why they were identified as physical threats. McKesson and Elzie live in Missouri, where they helped organize the Ferguson protests. They traveled together to Baltimore for a week and a half during the Freddie Gray protests.

A link to the ZeroFox report first circulated on Twitter last Wednesday. ZeroFox did not respond to a request to confirm the authenticity of the documents. The Baltimore Police Department and the mayor’s chief of staff did not respond to request for comment. The Maryland governor’s office says that the state does not have a contract with ZeroFox.

In emails exchanged in April, ZeroFox’s CEO, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake’s chief of staff, and the president of the Maryland chapter of an FBI intelligence partnership program discussed ZeroFox’s potential surveillance “help” for Baltimore. These emails were released to the Baltimore Sun last week following a public records request. The emails also indicate that ZeroFox “briefed our classified partners” at the Fort Meade Army base in Maryland on “intelligence” it had collected during the Gray protests. Other emails from the Baltimore Police Department indicate the department had collected “intelligence regarding potentially violent agitators.”

The report on the Black Lives Matter organizers is dated the day after the Fort Meade briefing. It states that ZeroFox intended to “alert Baltimore PD on all monitoring threat actors and influencers.”

According to the leaked report, ZeroFox monitored 62 “threat actors” and 187 “threat influencers,” including a Twitter user who was “a main local protest organizer” and another who was “sending supplies from New Jersey.” The report also identifies people, organizations, and systems for “asset protection,” including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Baltimore Police Department Captain Eric Kowalczyk, and other members of the Baltimore police and Maryland National Guard.

This report has emerged amid growing evidence of federal, state, and local government monitoring of Black Lives Matter protests. Last month, the Intercept published Department of Homeland Security emails showing that the department had closely tracked Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington, DC in April. Since protests started in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, the department has also monitored non-protest events such as cultural events and prayer vigils in DC, Atlanta, Oakland, Chicago, Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.

The emails obtained by the Baltimore Sun also say that ZeroFox performed surveillance for the New York Police Department during protests over the death of Eric Garner. ZeroFox also has a contract to provide equipment to the State Department.

McKesson says that during last year’s protests in Ferguson, he and other prominent organizers became suspicious that they were being monitored by local police officials there as well. On numerous occasions, he says, they interacted with police officers that knew their names and Twitter accounts. “The police officers in St. Louis knew us. They knew many of us by Twitter handle. It was clear they read our Twitter feed. It was clear they watched the live streams [of protests],” he says. But the ZeroFox documents mark the first time he has seen written evidence that his activity was being tracked.

Elzie, too, says she already knew she was being watched. “I never needed a paper confirmation. But I guess it made it real for other people who just didn’t think that it was possible.”