Hoy es el día más hermoso de nuestra vida, querido Sancho; los obstáculos más grandes, nuestras propias indecisiones; nuestro enemigo más fuerte, el miedo al poderoso y a nosotros mismos; la cosa más fácil, equivocarnos; la más destructiva, la mentira y el egoísmo; la peor derrota, el desaliento; los defectos más peligrosos, la soberbia y el rencor; las sensaciones más gratas, la buena conciencia, el esfuerzo para ser mejores sin ser perfectos, y sobretodo, la disposición para hacer el bien y combatir la injusticia dondequiera que esté.

Don Quijote de la Mancha.

16 de diciembre de 2017

Net Neutrality Repeal Is Only Part of Trump’s Surrender to Corporate Media

The FCC is under attack—and so too is the First Amendment. As the primary regulator of how media and information gets to our nation’s citizens, the Federal Communications Commission has a critical role to play in protecting the open Internet, free speech, and free press in our democracy. Though the agency has always enjoyed a cozy relationship with the industries it regulates, ever since the Trump administration arrived in Washington, the FCC’s mission to preserve the public commons has been threatened, assaulted and torn asunder. And like a bad horror movie cliché, these calls to eviscerate the FCC have been coming from inside the agency.

Repealing net neutrality has drawn a huge amount of public visibility—and rightly so—but that decision is just the latest in a string of ominous, industry-friendly giveaways by the Trump administration’s FCC. It has also rolled back local TV station ownership limits on media giants like Sinclair Broadcasting Group and rescinded the longtime “main studio” rule that required local stations to maintain community newsrooms and fostered more local journalism. And the agency’s leadership has begun a campaign to actively abdicate its enforcement mission and pass it over to the smaller, less well-funded Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which lacks the FCC’s deep industry knowledge and proactive regulatory power.
“This is the worst FCC I can remember,” says Michael Copps, bluntly.
Copps, who served as FCC commissioner from 2001 to 2011 and now advises Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, says he has watched new FCC chair Ajit Pai’s leadership with growing alarm.
“There’s an audacity to it, a lack of process. It’s just God-awful,” Copps says of the agency’s breakneck pursuit of a reactionary, “market-based” agenda. “This FCC is on an outright tear to wreak untold damage on our media ecosystem, on our news and information, free speech, democracy and self-government.”
Death of the Open Internet?
The FCC’s 3–2 vote to repeal net neutrality—with the two Democratic commissioners dissenting—is the most high-profile and controversial step the agency has taken in the Trump era. It reverses a rule passed by the Obama administration FCC in February 2015 that put internet traffic under the “Common Carrier” protections of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. In effect, net neutrality means the government prohibits cable companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking, slowing or otherwise discriminating against the web traffic of their users. Much like a public utility, all content to the consumer must be treated the same—hence, net neutrality. Right-wing opponents of the rule—which included then-Commissioner Pai, who voted against net neutrality—complained it was a case of unnecessary government overreach, and made a series of apocalyptic claims about its potential impact.
“One of the things that’s really outlandish about how this FCC has gone about its net neutrality proceeding is that Pai has just straight-up ignored all the available evidence of the impact of the rule,” explains Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the media industry watchdog group Free Press:
Net neutrality opponents talked about how internet infrastructure will suffer. But if you actually look at what the phone and cable companies are reporting to their own investors since 2015: They’re bragging about deployment, they’re talking about all the faster speeds they’re providing, they’re talking about doing more with less money.
In endorsing a return to the “light touch” status quo ante—which is itself a misreading of the agency’s regulatory history—Pai cites studies that show a slight dip in broadband investment since 2015. But that proof is notably funded by the telecom industry, and other reporting on companies like Comcast contradicts his claims. So, like the widespread passage of draconian voter ID laws to combat a nonexistent epidemic of vote fraud, the Trump administration FCC’s justification for killing net neutrality is a right-wing “solution” to a phony problem. Aaron chalks up this FCC’s unwillingness to accept the truth as proof they don’t really care about consumers or the public interest. “To them, it really comes down to regulation is bad, and regulations passed by the Obama administration are worse.”
Even if motivated by partisan spite, the impact of losing net neutrality could be devastating for all news consumers and a free and independent press. With no legal or regulatory prohibitions stopping them, telecom companies and ISPs would feel emboldened—spurred on by their shareholders—to start picking and choosing one kind of content over another to maximize profits.
Comcast's net neutrality pledges (Ars Technica, 11/29/17)
Comcast‘s net neutrality pledge, before and after the day (4/26/17) the FCC’s Ajit Pai announced his plan to scale back net neutrality requirements. (Ars Technica11/29/17)
Coincidentally, on the same day Pai announced his plan to roll back net neutrality last April, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company and the owner of NBCUniversal, was caught subtly changing the language of its online net neutrality pledge. Before, the company promised to never offer “paid prioritization” (fast lanes) of Internet traffic; now it merely said it would not engage in “anti-competitive prioritization.” That vague, legalistic language amounts to a semi truck-sized loophole, ripe for abuse.
“There’s just so much incentive for a Comcast, which owns all these channels and movie studios, to give their own content a leg up and they can do it in ways that, as an end user, you might not know what’s going on,” Aaron points out.
For example, you might try to watch a Democracy Now!broadcast and you get that spinning wheel of death. It’s not loading, so unless you’re really committed to seeing it, you’ll probably go somewhere else, like NBC News, that loads quicker. That’s the kind of advantage they want. It’s like a big horserace, except they own the track and can give themselves a head start, and even if it’s only a few seconds in load time or a certain percentage in quality difference, that’s a big deal.
The backlash to the repeal has been ferocious. Just between Pai’s announcement in April and the end of August, the FCC received nearly 22 million public comments about the rule change. Most of these comments opposed the repeal: a Pew analysis found six out of the seven most prevalent comments supported net neutrality. And public polling also finds a majority of Americans prefer to keep net neutrality.
There was also a large-scale campaign of fraudulent FCC comments using 1 million stolen identities, which the FCC is refusing to help investigate. On the day before the repeal, 18 state attorney generals went public with a letter calling on Pai to delay the vote until the million-plus fraudulent public comments could be properly investigated.
Part of the overwhelming response can be attributed to comedian John Oliver, whose May segment in support of net neutrality went viral and has garnered more than 6 million views online. But the resistance runs far deeper than that.
Reddit front page on net neutrality (image: Cory Doctorow)
Reddit‘s front page, devoted to pointing out lawmakers who supported net neutrality–or sold it out. (image: Cory Doctorow, 1/11/17)
An open letter signed by more than 50 mayors of US cities, from New York City to Salem, Virginia, called on the FCC to abandon its repeal. On the same day Michael Flynn pleaded guilty, the entire front page of Reddit was devoted to supporting net neutrality and expressing outrage at industry-funded lawmakers who failed to support it. (Even in the r/NASCAR subreddit, the most upvoted story ever is now about the need to protect net neutrality.) Members of Congress have been deluged with calls and comments as well. During the week of Thanksgiving, Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley reported 4,204 constituent calls supporting net neutrality, 0 against. Even the “father of the Internet,” Vint Cerf, and numerous other tech leaders have spoken out in support of net neutrality.
“Net neutrality has become a new third rail,” Aaron says. “This is very much a political issue now.”
Despite the broad grassroots opposition, not to mention the unanswered questions about the legitimacy of some of the FCC comments, Pai and his fellow Republicans on the commission pushed ahead and voted to end net neutrality anyway.
Gutting Big Media Accountability
“What Pai is doing is moving us to an anti-competitive, ‘pay to play’ system of the internet, one that makes it harder for citizen journalists who have a camera or a phone to report and compete with big media companies,” explains Phillip Berenbroick, senior policy counsel for the open internet advocacy group Public Knowledge.
And a mostly overlooked element of this plan, Berenbroick adds, is Pai’s push to strip the FCC of its regulatory and enforcement duties.
“In effect, the FCC is trying to dump enforcement of the Internet onto the FTC, which is already overtaxed,” Berenbroick explains.
Pai justifies this move as a step toward more accountability, and he often calls the FTC, which oversees everything from diapers to airlines, the “nation’s premier civil law enforcement agency.” This tough talk is just a ruse, however, and glosses over the fundamental weaknesses inherent in dumping the FCC’s enforcement responsibilities onto another agency. Even FTC commissioner Terrell McSweeny acknowledged back in April that his agency would not be as capable as the FCC at policing internet blocking or tiered-content prioritization.
First of all, Berenbroick points out that the FTC lacks deep institutional knowledge of the communications industry, making it unlikely to effectively deal with technical or legal issues that could lead to anti-competitive behavior by massive media corporations. The agency also has roughly 550 fewer employees than the FCC, and Trump has just proposed cutting its fiscal year 2018 budget to $306 million, $16 million less than the FCC’s.
Most importantly, the FTC can only enforce “unfair and deceptive trade practices.” In effect, it can only police companies after the fact for failing to live up to their own voluntary commitments. With legions of lawyers at their disposal, giant media corporations are unlikely to be swayed by consumer complaints of internet traffic discrimination when these same companies are able to write (and rewrite) the rules they’re supposed to follow.
AEIdeas: Do We Need the FCC?
Not really, says Trump telecom policy advisor Mark Jamison (AEIdeas10/21/16).
Of course, the Trump FCC’s abdication of its regulatory duties is not surprising. One of Trump’s early telecom policy advisors, Mark Jamison, talked openly about eliminating the agency during last year’s presidential transition period. Just weeks before Trump’s election, Jamison had written an op-ed for the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, not-so-subtly titled: “Do We Need the FCC?” (Of note: Jamison previously advised cell phone corporation Sprint on regulatory issues.) In the post, Jamison claims one reason the FCC is no longer necessary is that “telecommunications network providers and ISPs are rarely, if ever, monopolies.” In fact, Pai’s predecessor, former FCC chair Tom Wheeler, pointed out in 2014 that four out of five Americans had only one choice for an ISP at basic broadband speeds of 25Mbps.
“The FCC, as the expert regulator of the communications industry, is far better positioned to deal with internet regulation, because it has the authority to write rules that prohibit bad behavior from happening in the first place,” Berenbroick notes. “If I were a cable company [Pai’s plan] is exactly what I would want.”
For his part, Pai, a former lawyer for telecom giant Verizon, seems unconcerned about the appearance of bias. In fact, at a telecom industry dinner last week—hosted by Sinclair—the FCC chair joked about his “love” of his former company.
Wheeler, who led the fight to pass net neutrality, has likewise criticized the FCC’s efforts to dump enforcement on the FTC, calling it an “abomination.” In an op-ed last week, Wheeler noted the irony of such a move, since telecom giant AT&Trecently won a court case where it successfully argued that the FTC had no jurisdiction over its internet traffic activity.
Sensing the fury aimed at this naked surrender to industry, Pai released a joint Memorandum of Understanding just two days before the repeal about how the FCC and FTC would work together to monitor the internet. But the substance of the plan was little changed; it  was little more than a blatant attempt at damage control. Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn blasted it as a “confusing, lackluster, reactionary afterthought.” The repeal vote still happened, however. Because in the Trump era FCC, the prospect that multi-billion-dollar media conglomerates could fall through the cracks, and their online control over the nation’s news and information could go essentially unregulated, is more a feature than a bug.
Undermining Local Journalism
The damage wrought by this FCC doesn’t stop with repealing net neutrality, though. As that more public battle has raged, the agency quietly gutted media ownership rules last month, opening the door to even more local TV consolidation, which could have a catastrophic impact on news diversity and local journalism.
“Net neutrality has gotten more attention, because consumers can better understand the idea of my Netflix feed slowing down and buffering if I don’t pay Verizon more for video streaming,” notes University of Delaware public policy professor Danilo Yanich. “But media consolidation suffers because it is an abstract concern for news consumers; it’s hard for viewers to be outraged about the stories your new local TV station doesn’t cover.”
Local TV, which just a few years ago was considered a dying backwater, has become among the hottest properties in the media industry recently. Between 2013 and 2016, the local TV news industry saw more than $20 billion in mergers and acquisitions deals, with hundreds of stations changing hands. As a result, several dominant players, among them Sinclair Broadcasting and Nexstar, have emerged. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of BIA Kelsey data, by the time 2017 arrived, five companies owned 37 percent of all full-power local TV stations in the country. This has translated into $2 billion in additional revenue for these companies since 2014.
Pew: Buying Binge for Local TV Companies
Companies like SinclairGray and Nexstar have bought up hundreds of TV stations since 2004.  (Chart: Pew, 5/11/17)
“The mantra from these big media groups now is ‘go big or go home,’” says Yanich.
Mergers create more leverage for local TV media groups to charge broadcasters and cable companies more money for retransmission. And the reason they can say that is because they now control dozens or hundreds of stations across the country.
But local TV has also turned into a lucrative cash cow thanks to the radically changed landscape of political advertising in the wake of the 2011 Citizens United ruling, he explains. After analyzing the finances of seven major TV station corporations, a Pew report found that their combined political ad revenue jumped from $574 million in 2012 to $696 million in 2014 to $843 million last year. And those numbers are projected to grow even more in the future.
“Local TV news remains an extremely important vehicle for political communication,” Yanich explains. That is, in part, because local journalism is the most trusted form of news. Currently, Yanich is working on a book studying the relationship between political ads and news content in the 2016 election. He notes that this trust factor, plus the fact that local TV reaches a large number of voters who aren’t hardened partisans, makes it an appealing target for political influencers. “So a lot of money will keep going into local TV for political ads in 2020, because that’s the best way to get the message across to these undecided voters.”
Greater media consolidation may be good for the bottom lines of local TV conglomerates, but it’s not good for journalism. “This has huge implications, and it’s going on in the backyards of America, but most folks don’t know it because it’s simply not covered,” Yanich says.
It’s certainly not covered in depth in the mainstream press. It might be covered by FAIR or industry journals, but a local TV station in Philadelphia is certainly not going to tell you about the duopoly it has with another local station. What it instead says is: “We are extending the reach of the primary station.”
That’s why the FCC’s under-the-radar accompanying decision to rescind the “main studio” rule is so damaging. Previously, local TV stations were required to maintain a newsroom in the communities they covered, the goal being to keep their journalism centered on local issues. But with the rule lifted, local TV giants are now free to gobble up more and more stations, and then shut down those newly acquired local newsrooms to pad their profits. They can then pipe in pre-packaged news produced in faraway studios to save even more money.
“You end up with the same anchors, same videos, same narrative,” Yanich explains. “Coupled with the move to end net neutrality, more media consolidation will have the effect of squelching dissent, whether for ideological or commercial reasons.”
Indeed, greater local media consolidation will make it much easier to manipulate the news to fit the agenda of a corporate parent. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Sinclair Broadcasting, the largest TV station owner in the country, which has a well-established track record of coloring its news to favor right-wing ideology. A recent example: Back in May, when  Montana Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte physically attacked a reporter on the eve of a special election, the local Sinclair affiliate refused to cover the story, even though numerous other news outlets did and a Fox affiliate witnessed and had an audio recording of the assault. Even more egregious, Sinclair forces its affiliates to run long, pro-Trump commentaries in its news broadcasts as many as nine times a week. Now Sinclair wants to bring this kind of broadcast mindset to even more of the country—in May, it proposed a massive acquisition of the fifth-largest local TV company, Tribune Media, which would give it more than 200 stations nationwide, and broadcast access to three out of four American homes.
The consequences for the homogenization and hollowing out of local and independent news are ominous. “As a viewer in a community, I’m better served if there are multiple newsrooms trying to hold public officials accountable. You want competing sources of information, different viewpoints and voices,” Free Press’s Aaron points out:
But if it’s all under the same corporate roof and literally produced by the same people, you can’t have that. In multiple communities right now, if you’re clicking through on Election Night, your local outlets might be simulcasting the same content on multiple channels.
The Fight Ahead
While this flagrant rollback of media consolidation rules looks unlikely to be reversed anytime soon under the Trump administration, net neutrality stands a better chance of being preserved. The political pressure on Congress to protect Title II internet regulation shows little signs of stopping. And numerous free press and civil liberties groups plan on suing the FCC to temporarily halt and, ultimately, reverse the repeal.
“We think this FCC completely botched the process. It has just ignored the public and never addressed the apparent fraud happening in the comments,” Aaron says. Likewise, the FCC’s public review simply disappeared the more than 50,000 consumer complaints lodged against internet providers since net neutrality went into effect. Notes Aaron:
When it comes to the FCC and administrative law, the fact that there is a new president, in and of itself, is not a winning argument for changing rules. There was a 10-year fight to get net neutrality, and then the decision was upheld in court. So here comes Ajit Pai who says, “Sorry, new sheriff in town, we don’t need any of it.” There’s a legal burden there to prove that. We will sue him, it will go to federal court and we like our chances.
That legal fight could take more than a year to reach a final resolution, almost guaranteeing that net neutrality will be a key campaign issue in the 2018 midterm elections. Republican Sen. John Thune has been at the forefront of this issue, publicly calling for a bipartisan, congressional fix to settle the open internet issue once and for all. Some media giants, like AT&T, have echoed his call for a legislative solution as well. But upon closer inspection, these Republican and corporate definitions of “open internet” would still shortchange consumers and make it harder on the independent press. No Democrats have signed on to sponsor his bill.
“We shouldn’t fall for a compromise that is 5 percent less awful than what the FCC is doing,” Aaron warns:
Senator Thune’s bill codifies basic internet protections, but strips the FCC of any ability to adjust or adapt to new abuses or tactics. It will also prohibit tactics the telecom and media companies don’t have any intention of doing anyway. They will call it “net neutrality,” but it will be a toothless version.
Getting the American public more involved in a real, transparent debate over net neutrality—along with a broader discussion of what kind of media and news environment we want to encourage—is critically important to the future of our country, says former FCC commissioner Copps. And it would stand in stark contrast to Pai’s cloistered approach, where he rarely ventures outside a friendly bubble of conservative think tanks and the airwaves of Fox News to tout his industry-first policies.
“The American people need to know what he wants to do, and he needs to really hear what the American people think,” Copps says of Pai. The former FCC commissioner points to two dark forces at work right now gaining ever greater control over our national discourse: the power of big money and big media, and an extreme, right-wing ideology that thinks an unfettered free market is the cure for all evils.
“We have this technology that has the potential to be the town square of our democracy, but this FCC is setting up fewer and fewer, huge gatekeepers to that,” he says.
As a result, cherished ideals like freedom of expression and freedom of the press are now under threat from a Trump administration that prioritizes multinational telecom and corporate media profits above all else.
“Big media sees you and me and all the people in the United States not as citizens,” Copps says, “but as products to be delivered to advertisers.”
Reed Richardson is a media critic and writer whose work has appeared in The NationAlterNet, Harvard University’s Nieman Reports and the textbook Media Ethics (Current Controversies).
Featured image is from the author.

Social Media is A Tool of the CIA: “Facebook, Google and Other Social Media Used to Spy on People”

First published by GR on August 28, 2017
A CBS news article published in 2011 entitled Social Media Is a Tool of the CIA. Seriously”  reveals the “unspoken truth” which the mainstream media including CBS have failed to address. 
According to CBS, the CIA is  “using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people.”
The article published by CBS refutes the lies of the MSM (with the exception of CBS?). It confirms the insidious relationship between the CIA, the Search Engines,  Social Media and major advertising conglomerates:
“You don’t need to wear a tinfoil hat to believe that the CIA is using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people.
That’s because the CIA publishes a helpful list of press releases [link inactive] on all the social media ventures it sponsors, via its technology investment arm In-Q-Tel. … “

Screenshot of CBS article 
The CBS report acknowledges that “privacy” is threatened by the advertisers, yet at the same time these advertisers are “in bed with the CIA”,  acting on behalf and in liaison with US intelligence.

Screenshot of CBS article
The Privatization of Spying
Spying on individuals is a highly profitable undertaking for private companies on contract to the CIA, NSA, Homeland Security. The CBS report suggests in no uncertain terms that the personal information pertaining to millions of Americans collected by one of the World’s largest ad agencies is sold to the CIA. 
According to an earlier Wired News July 2010 report by Noam Schachtman:
THE INVESTMENT ARMS of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.
The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”

Screenshots of Wired News report
Freedom of Expression
Social Media and Search engines are being used to Spy on Americans! But not only on Americans. The process of personal data collection is worldwide.
What is at stake, however, is not only the issue of “Privacy”. The online search engines also constitute an instrument of online media censorship.  
Google has introduced algorithms intended to downgrade independent and alternative media. In this regard, the Guardian reported (December 2016) on “How Google’s search algorithm spreads false information with a rightwing bias. 

Screenshot of Guardian article
Independent online media is targeted. Freedom of Expression on internet based news outlets is being routinely shunted by Google:
“New data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site, with the assistance of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology experts, proves that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google
Below are excerpts of the CBS News 2011 article, to read the entire article click here:
The world’s largest database on individuals
One of the main threats to privacy comes from advertisers, who want to track everything consumers do on the web and scrape their online accounts for personal information. It shouldn’t be surprising, therefore, to learn that the CIA and the worlds largest ad agency network, WPP (WPPGY), have been in bed together on a social media data-mining venture since at least January 2009. WPP currently claims to own the world’s largest database of unique individual profiles — including demographic, financial, purchase and geographic histories. WPP’s Visible Technologies unit took an investment from In-Q-Tel in fall of 2009. Visible Technologies develops tools that can scan social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. …
Google and CIA: old friends 
Are you seeing a trend yet? Google (GOOG) has been a partner with the CIA since 2004 when the company bought Keyhole, a mapping technology business that eventually became Google Earth. In 2010, Google and In-Q-Tel made a joint investment on a company called Recorded Future, which has the Minority Report-style goal of creating a “temporal analytics engine” that scours the web and creates curves that predict where events may head.
Google is already helping the government write, and rewrite, history. Here, from its transparency report, are some stats on the amount of information it has either given to the government or wiped from the web based on requests by U.S. agencies:
  • 4,601 requests from U.S. government agencies for “user data
  • Google complied with government requests for user data 94% of the time.
  • 1,421 requests for “content removal
  • Google complied with content removal requests 87% of the time.
  • 15 requests were from “executive, police etc.”
  • 1 was a national security request.
emphasis added. To Read the complete CBS News article by Jim Edwards click here  

Google Hiring 10,000 Reviewers to Censor YouTube Content

Google is escalating its campaign of internet censorship, announcing that it will expand its workforce of human censors to over 10,000, the internet giant announced on December 4. The censors’ primary focus will be videos and other content on YouTube, its video-sharing platform, but will work across Google to censor content and train its automated systems, which remove videos at a rate four times faster than its human employees.
Human censors have already reviewed over 2 million videos since June. YouTube has already removed over 150,000 videos, 50 percent of which were removed within two hours of upload. The company is working to accelerate the rate of takedown through machine-learning from manual censorship, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in an official blog post.
The hiring drive by Google is yet another advance in the campaign against any expression of political opposition. Other social media giants have implemented measures against “fake news”; Facebook has altered its algorithms to reduce the visibility of certain news stories, and Twitter has banned the Russian-funded media outlets RT and Sputnik from advertising on the platform. While railing against “extremist content,” “child exploitation” and “hoaxes” in the interest of “public safety,” the ultimate goal of this campaign is the suppression of left-wing, anti-war sentiment.
Any censorship on YouTube will undoubtedly have an immense impact on online political discourse. According to a white paper by technology conglomerate Cisco, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer-based internet traffic in 2017; this is expected to rise to 80 percent by 2019. YouTube essentially operates a monopoly on prerecorded video sharing and general video monetization, with some 1.5 billion viewers who watch 1 billion hours of video each day on the platform; in 2015, Google policy manager Verity Harding informed the European Parliament, which was then pressuring YouTube to censor “terror-related” content, that 300 hours of video were being uploaded to the platform every minute.
YouTube began removing photographic and video documentation of war crimes in Syria in August, terminating some 180 accounts and removing countless videos from other channels, including footage uploaded by Airwars of coalition air raids that have killed civilians, according to Hadi al-Khatib, the founder of Syrian Archive. YouTube later stated that it would work to “quickly reinstate” any videos and channels that it “removed mistakenly.”
In November, YouTube removed over 51,000 videos concerning Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American imam who was assassinated via missile raid by the Obama administration on September 30, 2011. Awlaki was never charged with, let alone convicted of any crime. The mass removal was praised by the New York Times, one of the largest mouthpieces of the American ruling elite, as a “watershed moment.”
YouTube’s automated video removal system, implemented in August, places some videos under a “limited state” which makes it impossible for users to access the videos without already having the URL. Limited videos will not appear in search results, playlists, or viewers’ own histories. In addition, the videos can no longer be liked or disliked, commented on (all previous comments are hidden as well), monetized, embedded on other websites, or easily shared on social media through YouTube’s share buttons. YouTube has not revealed what criteria it uses to categorize a video as “extremist” and delist it.
The company has also begun using automated demonetization to financially censor video producers who upload content it deems “inappropriate” for monetization, including “controversial or sensitive subjects, war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.” In August, the videos of “Ron Paul’s Liberty Report” were demonetized after a “manual review” by YouTube found it “unsuitable for advertisers.” Julian Assange referred to the action as “economic censorship,” noting that the “unsuitable” videos featured the former congressman’s criticism of president Donald Trump’s decision to send more American troops to Afghanistan, as well as criticizing the US Senate Intelligence Committee for branding Wikileaks a hostile foreign intelligence service.
YouTube has openly admitted on Twitter that it is censoring videos based on content, stating,
“if the video is also not suitable for a wider audience … then it might see poorer performance.”
The system may also pre-emptively flag videos as unsuitable for advertising even before it is uploaded. In the cases where the censorship system cannot evaluate the content of the video—because it doesn’t exist—it bases its decision on the video’s description, tags, and thumbnail.
The requirements to file an appeal against demonetization are extremely demanding, leaving most small producers with zero recourse. To file an appeal, the channel must either have more than 10,000 subscribers, or the video in question must have at least 1,000 views within the past seven days. Producers are also not informed of when or what in their video the system finds inappropriate. Both small and large producers have complained on Twitter of double-digit percentage drops in new views after their videos have been demonetized, making it even more difficult to meet appeal requirements.
Google is not alone in its expansion of automated censorship. Last week, Facebook announced its newly implemented system to scan users’ posts and contact police and other first-responders, ostensibly to prevent suicide.
Last month, Google admitted to “demoting” content from RT and Sputnik news in its search engine and news service, confirming allegations by the World Socialist Web Site that the company engages in mass political censorship in the name of fighting “fake news.”

“Net Neutrality”: FCC Chairman Pai Attempts to Rewrite the Legal History of a Bogus Agreement

If the FCC adopts Pai’s proposal to overturn these rules, internet users will be exposed to blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of online content by the handful of ISPs that control access in the United States.

On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission released a draft “Memorandum of Understanding” on the ways the two agencies will allegedly work together to protect internet users after the FCC guts the open-internet protections in a vote on Dec. 14.

In statement accompanying the MoU, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai falsely claimed that this joint-agency approach “protected a free and open internet for many years prior to the FCC’s 2015 Title II Order.” In reality, jurisdiction over communications networks and Net Neutrality has always rested with the FCC.
Even before the FCC rightly returned to Title II of the Communications Act as the basis for the Net Neutrality rules, the agency always retained its claim to jurisdiction over open-internet principles and the internet service providers that violated them. If the FCC adopts Pai’s proposal to overturn these rules, internet users will be exposed to blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of online content by the handful of ISPs that control access in the United States.
The MoU is available here.
Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:
“The only thing the public needs to understand about this memorandum is that it will leave them at the mercy of AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. All this agreement shows is that the Trump FCC and the Trump FTC have no interest in protecting internet users.
“Ajit Pai’s ongoing attempt to rewrite history looks no better in this memorandum than it does in other settings where he’s tried and failed to justify his radical attack on the open internet. There are many problems with his approach, but the biggest one by far is that Pai is legalizing blocking, throttling and other forms of discrimination.
“Read the fine print: These two agencies plan to rap ISPs on the knuckles only if they fail to disclose their discriminatory practices. But as long as the ISP tells customers what it’s doing, then it’s free to block you and dictate where you can go on the internet. That’s a horrendous change, and an abdication of the FCC’s responsibility to keep communications networks open and accessible to all.
“Don’t fall for Pai’s claim that he’s restoring jurisdiction to the FTC by abandoning his own agency’s mission. All Pai could muster last week were childish taunts after consumer advocates asked him to wait for the outcome of a Ninth Circuit court case that greatly diminishes the FTC’s jurisdictional claims over phone companies that also provide broadband service.
“Pai has no interest in anything besides empowering cable and phone companies. Today’s FCC press release has the audacity to throw in a line at the end about how the FCC is responsible for implementing and enforcing America’s communications laws and regulations. In Ajit Pai’s warped view, that means throwing up his hands, throwing out the regulations and turning away from the law that governs the FCC.”

We Saved Net Neutrality Once. We Can Do It Again

Just a few years ago, powerful grassroots pressure rose up to protect a free and open internet.

Democracy lives or dies on the quality of public conversation. “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Today it doesn’t take the smarts of a Jefferson to realize that our public conversation, filtered through corporate-controlled, often-fractured media, is faltering. While analyzing how to fix our broken news system, from the promotion of public broadcasting to eliminating fake news, is complex, right now is a critical moment to hold the line. If we hope to reinvigorate our media, today democracy defenders are called upon to play defense—and quickly.
Earlier this month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a plan to dismantle net neutrality, an extremely worrying move—one that has provoked the ire of organizations and citizens across the country. And this Thursday, the commission will vote on the plan.
If you’ve heard the term “net neutrality,” is it something you imagine only internet fanatics can grasp? Not at all. It simply refers to baseline protection ensuring that no internet service provider can “interfere with or block web traffic, or favor their own services at the expense of smaller rivals.” As such, it is integral to democratic dialogue. To abolish it, explains Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the media advocacy group Free Press, “would end the open nature of the internet and leave activists, media makers and all the rest of us at the mercy of the biggest phone and cable companies.”

Image: “Recently, more than half a million people called Congress about net neutrality and approximately the same number filed comments on the FCC website.” (Photo: Joseph Gruber/Flickr/cc)
Needless to say, given the current composition of the FCC, the fate of net neutrality looks bleak.
Yet, the recent history of net neutrality offers an encouraging story of the power of the people to protect the core democratic principle of free exchange and shows that even if things look bad, grassroots pressure holds the key to saving the internet as we know it.
The story starts in 2010. That December, the FCC passed what those most concerned considered pretty weak half-measures prohibiting internet service providers from blocking websites or imposing limits on users, Aaron says. And by 2014, a federal lawsuit brought by Verizon succeeded in striking down even this half-measure. Verizon’s hubris ignited a massive call for the FCC to fight back. Protests demanded even stronger rules to reclassify internet service providers as “common carriers,” requiring them to act as neutral gatekeepers to the internet and to protect access for all.
By May 2014, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests, concerned citizens had set up camp in Washington, D.C., at the FCC headquarters. It had all started with a protest organized by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Flowers, a pediatrician who cut her teeth in the fight for universal health care, and Zeese, a lawyer who fought injustices in the 1980s’ war on drugs, announced at the protest’s end that they were not going to leave. The duo rolled out their sleeping bags on the grass, stayed the night, and before they knew it, the occupation grew drastically. Fellow concerned citizens flooded in with tents and banners. One day followed the next, each to the tune of passing cars honking in solidarity. Not only did employees of the FCC come out to thank the occupiers, but three of the five FCC commissioners came to meet Flowers and Zeese.
A week later, then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler put out a “notice of proposed rule-making” that asked the public, “What is the right public policy to ensure that the internet remains open?” The preferred solution put forward by the FCC, outlined in the notice, would have left the door ajar for a “two-tiered internet” plan, wherein internet service providers could sell content providers priority access to their subscribers at rates only big companies could afford. Citizen reformers couldn’t and wouldn’t get behind this proposal.
But the notice also sought public comment on whether the FCC should “reclassify” the internet as a common carrier under the law. Doing so would give the FCC greater legal authority over providers to fully and truly keep the internet open. This request for comments gave citizens, especially those emboldened by the FCC occupation, an opening.
For months citizens continued protesting and spreading awareness about the importance of net neutrality. Leading up to the closing of the comment period in September 2014, the activist group Fight for the Future parked a Jumbotron outside FCC headquarters. The giant video billboard played videos of fellow citizens explaining why net neutrality mattered to them. Later, reformers performed a skit outside the FCC, a “Save the Internet Musical Action.” The musical’s chorus—“Which side are you on, Tom? Which side are you on?”—would soon be answered.
These courageous public actions built on the momentum sparked by the FCC occupiers. Together, they galvanized citizens to submit 4 million comments to the FCC. The FCC chairman reversed his position, endorsed strong rules, and moved to restore the agency’s authority. In February 2015, the FCC announced it would reclassify internet service providers as common carriers. Wheeler called it “the proudest day of my public policy life.” Another FCC commissioner called it “democracy in action.”
The victory taught one very important lesson. As Flowers put it, “it showed we don’t have to compromise. We can actually stay true to what we are fighting for and win.” For that win, a broad coalition of citizen power united folks ranging from the tech industry—such as Netflix and Tumblr—to the Black Lives Matter movement. They all understood the democratic value of a free internet on which independent media is kept accessible and online grassroots organizing is made possible. “This cross-generational and multi-issue movement was critical in pressuring the FCC commissioners and lawmakers to support net neutrality,” Aaron says.
The situation in which we find ourselves today is different from how it was in 2014. The composition of the FCC has changed, and, after a year of resisting President Trump’s agenda, many perceive grassroots activists to be tired. Yet, the takeaway from the above story is that citizens have untold political power and, when they effectively wield it, can influence even politically removed bureaucrats to win major democratic victories.
Countless Americans are already rising to the challenge. Recently, more than half a million people called Congress about net neutrality and approximately the same number filed comments on the FCC website. Moreover, on Tuesday, activists across the country began a “Break the Internet” campaign to raise as much awareness about the issue as possible before the FCC’s critical vote. According to Aaron, “public awareness has never been higher.”
This grassroots pressure will have to be sustained and significantly expanded to save the internet. And even if the FCC votes to repeal net neutrality, the fight must continue. Concerned Americans will have to pressure Congress to pass a bill to overturn the FCC decision. The fate of democracy depends on it.

Net Neutrality Foregone? FCC Votes to Kill Digital Democracy. Towards a Corporate Swamp of Media Disinformation?

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 
Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

That’s what Net Neutrality is all about – the principle that ISPs must treat online content equally, the essence of a free and open Internet, the last frontier of digital democracy.

Without equal access online, ISP giants Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, Cox and others can establish toll roads or premium lanes, charge extra for speed and free and easy access, control content, as well as stifle dissent and independent thought.
They can make Internet access unaffordable for low income households, control what’s available online, block content diverging from the official narrative at their discretion.
They can transform the Internet into another corporate-controlled swamp of disinformation and fake news, matching the rubbish major media provide, a deplorable prospect.
The FCC ruling bans states from imposing their own Net Neutrality rules, forbidding them from overriding federal regulations.
It reverses Title II classification of ISPs, classifying them as common carriers, restricting their actions, preventing them from halting, slowing, or otherwise tampering with online communications.
An “information service” classification replaces the current status, weakening consumer protections.
Net Neutrality means speech and media freedom. Without it, they’re gravely jeopardized.
On Thursday, an important battle was lost. The fight to preserve a free and open Internet continues – ahead in Congress and the courts.
It remains a major challenge with Republicans controlling the House and Senate, along with a corporatist president hostile to consumer rights.
The Congressional Review Act lets lawmakers reverse regulatory actions within 60 legislative days of their enactment. It’s crucial for Americans to press their House and Senate representatives, demanding reversal of the FCC order.
Free Press.net said the following in response to Thursday’s ruling:
It “abdicat(ed) FCC authority over internet service providers…clearing the way for blocking, throttling and discrimination by the nation’s largest phone and cable companies.”
“Free Press will take the FCC to court to challenge its reversal on the proper definition of broadband, the accuracy of its contentious justifications for tossing out the rules, and the many process fouls that have plagued the FCC proceeding since it began earlier this year.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman intends suing against what he called an “illegal” ruling. Other states intend to sue, the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and other consumer groups likely to follow suit or file amicus briefs supporting litigation against the FCC ruling.
Free Press.net:
“We’ll have plenty to say in court about the legal mistakes littered throughout this decision. It’s willfully gullible and downright deceptive to suggest that nondiscrimination rules are no longer needed – despite the massive power of the cable and phone companies that control broadband access in this country.”
Jessica Rosenworcel official photo.jpg
Jessica Rosenworcel
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel opposed the majority FCC ruling, saying in part:
“Net neutrality is internet freedom. I support that freedom. I dissent from this rash decision to roll back net neutrality rules.”
“I dissent from the corrupt process that has brought us to this point. And I dissent from the contempt this agency has shown our citizens in pursuing this path today.”
“This decision puts the Federal Communications Commission on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public.”
“The future of the internet is the future of everything. That is because there is nothing in our commercial, social, and civic lives that has been untouched by its influence or unmoved by its power.”
“I believe it is essential that we sustain this foundation of openness – and that is why I support net neutrality.”
“(O)ur…net neutrality policies have passed court muster. They are wildly popular. But today we wipe away this work, destroy this progress, and burn down time-tested values…”
“As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new power from this agency.”
“They will have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road.”
“…I worry that this decision and the process that brought us to this point is ugly.”
“It’s ugly in the cavalier disregard this agency has demonstrated to the public, the contempt it has shown for citizens who speak up, and the disdain it has for popular opinion.”
“Unlike its predecessors, this FCC has not held a single public hearing on net neutrality. There is no shortage of people who believe Washington is not listening to their concerns, their fears, and their desires.”
“If the arc of history is long, we are going to bend this toward a more just outcome. In the courts. In Congress. Wherever we need to go to ensure that net neutrality stays the law of the land.”
“Because if you are conservative or progressive, you benefit from internet openness. If you come from a small town or big city, you benefit from internet openness.”
“If you are a company or non- profit, you benefit from internet openness. If you are a start-up or an established business, you benefit from internet openness.”
“If you are a consumer or a creator, you benefit from internet openness. If you believe in democracy, you benefit from internet openness.”
“So let’s persist. Let’s fight. Let’s not stop here or now. It’s too important. The future depends on it.”
Powerful words from a rare voice of the people in Washington, sadly way outnumbered by powerful dark forces, representing privileged interests exclusively.
The battle to save a free and open Internet goes on – in Congress, the courts, and on streets across America.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Net Neutrality Killed as FCC ‘Hands Keys to Internet to Handful of Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations’

"The fight to save net neutrality does not end today. This agency does not have, the final word. Thank goodness."

The ACLU released a statement calling the “misguided” decision “a radical departure that risks erosion of the biggest free speech platform the world has ever known.”
“Today’s loss means that telecommunications companies will start intruding more on how people use the internet. Internet service providers will become much more aggressive in their efforts to make money off their role as online gatekeepers,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the group.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also denounced the ruling:
Once again, the Trump administration has sided with big money and against the interests of the American people. The FCC’s vote to end net neutrality is an egregious attack on our democracy. With this decision the internet and its free exchange of information as we have come to know it will cease to exist. The end of net neutrality protections means that the internet will be for sale to the highest bidder, instead of everyone having the same access regardless of whether they are rich or poor, a big corporation or small business, a multimedia conglomerate or a small online publication. At a time when our democratic institutions are already in peril, we must do everything we can to stop this decision from taking effect.
Free Press and their many allies rallied outside the FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. as the five commissioners prepared to vote on FCC chair Ajit Pai’s proposal to roll back the Obama-era protections. The protest represented the final push to stop the vote in its tracks, following hundreds of demonstrations outside Verizon stores across the country last week, Fight for the Future’s “Break the Internet” action earlier this week, and thousands of calls to members of Congress.
The two Democratic commissioners on the panel, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, met with protesters outside and issued powerful dissents ahead of the vote, with Clyburn noting,
“The fight to save net neutrality does not end today. This agency does not have, the final word. Thank goodness.”
In addition to Free Press’s plan to sue the FCC, the group urged supporters to push Congress to nullify Pai’s plan using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows representatives and senators to review new regulations and overrule them by passing a joint resolution.
Forty senators, including one Republican, have voiced opposition to the net neutrality rollback, while a handful of Republican representatives have said they disagree with Pai’s plan. But the loudest opposition so far has come from the public and groups like Free Press and Fight for the Future.
“Why are we witnessing such an unprecedented groundswell of public support” for net neutrality, asked Clyburn in her dissent. “Because the public can plainly see a soon-to-be-toothless FCC is handing the keys to the Internet to a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.”
With the vote, ISPs like Verizon—Pai’s former employer—will no longer be prohibited from blocking or slowing down certain websites and content, and will be able to charge fees to web companies that can afford to pay them for access to an internet “fast lane,” leaving smaller sites struggling to reach audiences.
Despite comments from millions of Americans who spoke out in favor of the protections, Pai did not mention the widespread opposition to net neutrality in his order to repeal the rules. Last week, he refused to release documents related to potentially fraudulent comments left on the FCC’s public comment website.
“That speaks volumes about the direction the FCC is heading,” said Clyburn. That speaks volumes about just who is being heard.”
“I dissent from this rash decision to roll back net neutrality rules,” added Rosenworcel. “I dissent from the corrupt process that has brought us to this point. And I dissent from the contempt this agency has shown our citizens in pursuing this path today.”
Online, open internet defenders reacted to the ruling.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

PALESTINA: Israel cierra accesos en Al Quds, detiene a 320 personas en Cisjordania e incrementa el bloqueo a Gaza

Israel destruye la escuela de la comunidad beduina de Jerusalén / Nuevo video muestra a un soldado israelí golpeando a un niño palestino con una pistola / China reconoce a una Palestina independiente con capital en Jerusalén Este / Un millón de firmas en Túnez contra la normalización de relaciones con Israel / Tras lo de Jerusalén, EE.UU. ya no puede ser mediador

Resumen Latinoamericano*, 15 de diciembre de 2017 –

Israel cierra accesos en Al Quds, detiene a 320 personas en Cisjordania e incrementa el bloqueo a Gaza

Resumen Medio Oriente/ Al Mayadeen / 15 de diciembre de 2017 – Efectivos israelíes cerraron el acceso de Bab Al Amoud, una de las puertas de la ciudad vieja de Jerusalén, tras una protesta palestina contra el reconocimiento por Washington Jerusalén como capital de Israel.
Según fuentes de la Media Luna Roja, tras la dispersión de la sentada pacífica por los soldados de Tel Aviv, personal de la referida organización atendieron a 26 personas agredidas por los soldados sionistas.
Uno de ellos fue trasladado al hospital para recibir tratamiento por sus lesiones.
De otro lado, la Asociación de Prisioneros Palestinos reportó que 16 palestinos fueron detenidos en incursiones israelíes en la Cisjordania ocupada en las últimas 24 horas. Los arrestos suman ya 320  y están relacionados con las manifestaciones contra los pronunciamientos de la Casa Blanca sobre Jerusalén.
El Ejército israelí, detalla la fuente, detuvo a siete personas del área de Ramallah, entre ellas cuatro arrestadas dentro del campamento de refugiados de Jalazoun. Otros tres lo fueron por soldados encubiertos durante las protestas en un  puesto de control al norte de Ramallah. Siete palestinos más fueron arrestados en el distrito de Hebron, uno de Belén y otro de Jericó.
La fuerza sionista mantiene cerrados los cruces fronterizos con la palestina Franja de Gaza alegando motivos de seguridad.
Acorde con un comunicado castrense israelí, “debido a los acontecimientos y de acuerdo a las evaluaciones de seguridad, el paso de Kerem Shalom, para mercancías, y el de Erez, para personas, estarán cerrados”.
La medida, dijo Jamal Al Judari, presidente del Comité Popular contra el Asedio (a Gaza), impidió la entrada de cientos de camiones con alimentos, productos de primera necesidad para la población, y para el sector comercial, la construcción y las instituciones internacionales, especialmente de la ONU.
El bloqueo a que Israel somete a la población de Gaza, enfatizó el funcionario palestino, viola de todas las convenciones y leyes internacionales.

Israel destruye la escuela de la comunidad beduina de Jerusalén

Las fuerzas de la Administración Civil del ejército israelí asaltaron ayer la escuela de la comunidad beduina de Abu Nawar en la Jerusalén oriental ocupada y la destruyeron.

Un hombre palestino camina cerca de una escuela demolida por las fuerzas israelíes [Wagdi Eshtayah / Apaimages]
El portavoz de las comunidades beduinas, Abu Imad Jahalin, declaró a Quds Press que equipos de la Administración Civil, acompañados por las fuerzas militares israelíes, asaltaron la aldea y entregaron la orden de demolición a la escuela.
Agregó que los residentes se sorprendieron por la decisión, especialmente porque la Suprema Corte israelí emitió una “orden de precaución” para no demoler la escuela.
Señaló que “la escuela de Abu Nawar” está compuesta por dos salas, y asisten alrededor de 26 estudiantes. Que la escuela haya sido tomada como objetivo de demolición no es nada nuevo, agregó.
Abu Nawar es una de las 18 comunidades beduinas palestinas ubicadas dentro del área que las autoridades israelíes han asignado para el llamado proyecto E1. Israel planea reubicar a todas las comunidades palestinas en el área E1 con el fin de allanar el camino para la construcción de un nuevo asentamiento de grandes dimensiones, que se espera divida los territorios ocupados de Cisjordania y Jerusalén.

Nuevo video muestra a un soldado israelí golpeando a un niño palestino con una pistola

Un video publicado recientemente muestra a un soldado israelí golpeando a un niño palestino en la cabeza con su arma, durante una procesión de colonos en Hebrón, en la ocupada Cisjordania.

Un soldado israelí golpea a un niño palestino con un arma.
El video, publicado por la ONG israelí de derechos humanos B’Tselem y registrado por uno de sus voluntarios, muestra que las fuerzas de ocupación israelíes se enfrentaron a los residentes palestinos en la Ciudad Vieja de Hebrón, el 11 de noviembre, cuando los colonos israelíes marcharon cerca.
“La procesión se realizó en el corazón de la Ciudad Vieja de Hebrón y, para permitirla, el ejército israelí restringió el movimiento palestino en la zona e interrumpió la vida cotidiana”, explicó B’Tselem.
“También en este día, soldados y agentes de la Policía Fronteriza cerraron tiendas y calles a lo largo de la ruta de la procesión”.
Ahmad Hudeib, de 16 años, un residente de ‘Aqbat Tafuh, un pueblo que se encuentra al oeste de Hebrón, trabaja en una de las tiendas que fueron cerradas, y esa mañana, se sentó con sus amigos que trabajan en tiendas cercanas y observó a los colonos marchando.
“Los colonos llegaron a la calle Beer a-Sabe y algunos trataron de quitar las banderas palestinas que colgaban en las puertas de algunas tiendas”, señaló el adolescente a B’Tselem.
“Comenzamos a silbar y gritar. No hicimos nada más. Los soldados comenzaron a venir hacia nosotros. Uno de ellos se enojó mucho y trató de echarnos de allí. Él me empujó y lo empujé hacia atrás. Entonces él me golpeó en la cabeza con la culata de su rifle. Empecé a sangrar”.
Según B’Tselem, “este incidente no es inusual”.
“La aplicación de la ocupación implica el uso rutinario de la violencia por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad israelíes contra los palestinos. Esta realidad es aceptada y permitida por los principales miembros israelíes del gobierno y los oficiales militares, a pesar de la posible denuncia ocasional de tales actos”.
La ONG agregó: “La violencia descrita anteriormente no se limita a los golpes de un menor palestino. También se manifiesta en restricciones extremas que los militares imponen al movimiento palestino en Hebrón, lo que altera la vida cotidiana de los residentes palestinos para acondicionar a los colonos”.
Durante años, Israel ha preferido los intereses de los colonos sobre los derechos de los residentes palestinos en Hebrón.
“Sus autoridades persiguen abiertamente una política basada en el ‘principio de separación’, que impone la segregación física y legal entre los colonos y los residentes palestinos en la ciudad”.
Un portavoz del ejército israelí, en una declaración al Haaretz, afirmó que “el video documenta solo parcialmente un enfrentamiento entre un palestino que participó en la manifestación y uno de los soldados”, y agregó que “el incidente será investigado por los comandantes del soldado”.
Fuente: New video shows Israeli soldier striking Palestinian child with gun
Copyleft: Toda reproducción de este artículo debe contar con el enlace al original inglés y a la traducción de Palestinalibre.org
Fuente: Middle East Eye / Traducción: Palestinalibre.org

China reconoce a una Palestina independiente con capital en Jerusalén Este

China reconoce a una Palestina independiente con capital en Jerusalén Este
Resumen Medio Oriente / AlManar / 15 de diciembre de 2017 – El portavoz del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de China, Lu Kang, dijo el jueves que Pekín apoyaba una Palestina independiente sobre la base de las fronteras de 1967 con Jerusalén Este como su capital, tal y como señalan las resoluciones de la ONU.
Hablando después de una cumbre extraordinaria de la Organización de Cooperación Islámica (OCI) celebrada en Estambul el miércoles, Kang dijo que Pekín entendía las preocupaciones de los países musulmanes sobre el estatus de Jerusalén, informó Daily Sabah.
Los países de la OCI emitieron una declaración reconociendo a Jerusalén Este como la capital de Palestina.
Kang hizo un llamamiento a las dos partes para reanudar el diálogo a fin de encontrar una solución “integral y justa” a la crisis de larga duración entre Palestina y la entidad sionista.
La declaración de Estambul hizo un llamamiento al mundo para que “reconozca a Jerusalén Este como la capital ocupada de Palestina”.
La declaración también rechazó y condenó la decisión “ilegal” del presidente de EEUU, Donald Trump, de reconocer a Al Quds como capital de la entidad sionista.

Un millón de firmas en Túnez contra la normalización de relaciones con Israel

Un millón de firmas en Túnez contra la normalización de relaciones con Israel
Resumen Medio Oriente / Al Manar / 15 de diciembre de 2017 – Activistas en Túnez han lanzado una campaña para recolectar un millón de firmas para condenar la decisión de EEUU de reconocer a Al Quds como capital de la entidad sionista, pidiendo al Parlamento tuencino que apruebe una ley que prohíba la normalización de las relaciones con los ocupantes israelíes, informó Fars News. .
La campaña titulada “Un millón de firmas de tunecinos contra la normalización de relaciones” se lanzó en las redes sociales en Túnez para presionar al gobierno y al Parlamento.
Esta acción testimonia el rechazo de la nación tunecina a la normalización de las relaciones con la entidad sionista, anunciaron los militantes tunecinos. La condena a la normalización no está incluida en la Constitución, pero ha estado en la agenda nacional desde hace algunos años y se beneficia de una creciente plataforma de apoyo en la opinión pública tunecina.
El pasado lunes, un centenar de diputados pidieron en una carta dirigida a la presidencia del Parlamento que estudiara lo antes posible el proyecto de ley, que se presentó por primera vez hace dos años.
Durante su visita a París, el presidente de Túnez, Beji Caid Essebsi, rechazó la decisión del presidente estadounidense Donald Trump sobre Al Quds como la capital de Israel y la calificó de “contraria al derecho internacional”.
En los últimos días, miles de tunecinos se han manifestado en contra de la decisión de Trump. Algunas partes incluso han llamado a boicotear los productos estadounidenses.

Tras lo de Jerusalén, EE.UU. ya no puede ser mediador

Tras lo de Jerusalén, EE.UU. ya no puede ser mediador
Por Rashid Jalidi, Palestine Square / Resumen Medio Oriente / 15 de diciembre de 2017 – [Traducción para Rebelión de Loles Oliván Hijós]
No hay mal que por bien no venga. El torrente de problemas que Donald Trump ha desatado al reconocer Jerusalén como la capital de Israel afectará a la política de Estados Unidos y a la construcción de la paz en Oriente Próximo durante muchos años. No se puede des-reconocer un capital una vez que se ha reconocido. Cualesquiera que sean las reservas que pueda ofrecer, Trump ha aceptado la anexión efectiva por parte de Israel de grandes extensiones de Cisjordania ocupada al Gran Jerusalén, y la proclamación de toda esa zona como su “capital eterna e indivisible”.Pero al precipitar la dilatada crisis de Oriente Próximo y al cargar a los futuros legisladores estadounidenses con el fardo de tener que lidiar con el desastre que ha causado, Trump, sin pretenderlo, ha puesto en evidencia la realidad: ha hecho añicos el podrido statu quo del “proceso de paz” estadounidense que durante un cuarto de siglo no ha servido más que para afianzar y legitimar la ocupación militar y la colonización de territorios palestinos, dificultando aún más una paz justa y duradera entre el pueblo palestino y los israelíes.
Después de lo de Trump, ¿cómo puede pretender seguir mediando quien ha actuado siempre como un indigno intermediario, el “abogado de Israel”, en palabras del veterano oficial del Departamento de Estado, Aaron David Miller? En términos prácticos, Trump ha asumido como propia la posición israelí de que todo Jerusalén pertenece exclusivamente a Israel, y que todo –incluidas las áreas que se extienden más al norte, al sur y al este de la ciudad– es la capital de Israel, negando a los palestinos cualquier derecho nacional o político sobre ellas. Con ello, sitúa a Estados Unidos en una posición que contraría prácticamente a todos los palestinos, a los árabes y a los musulmanes, y a la mayoría de los pueblos y gobiernos de todo el mundo.
Ya no puede haber –y no debería haber– retorno a la periclitada fórmula que ha regido durante décadas según la cual Estados Unidos se confabulaba en privado con Israel y ambas potencias imponían posteriormente su voluntad a los palestinos. Así era imposible lograr una paz justa y duradera; solo sirvió para obligar a la parte más débil a someterse a la voluntad del más fuerte, lo que a su vez intensificó y prolongó el conflicto. Si eso cambia, se abre un rayo de esperanza en lo que promete ser una debacle para la diplomacia estadounidense y para la estabilidad de Oriente Próximo.
Si, además, la acción de Trump opera en contra del nefasto plan que está vendiendo el yerno presidencial, Jared Kushner, –aunque en realidad haya sido elaborado en Israel– eso sería algo muy positivo. Informaciones fiables indican que el plan de Kushner prevé un “Estado” palestino sin continuidad territorial en una fracción de Cisjordania y Gaza, sin su capital en Jerusalén, sin soberanía real, sin control sobre sus propias fronteras o su seguridad, y sin ninguna derecho al retorno para los refugiados palestinos. Llamar a esta parodia un bantustán sería un insulto al apartheid de Sudáfrica. Ningún dirigente palestino podría aceptar algo así sin perder su dignidad y el apoyo de su propia gente.
Otro aspecto positivo es que los monarcas y dictadores árabes que cortejan a Israel con la esperanza de aliarse con él contra su hombre del saco, Irán, se han visto forzados a ponerse a cubierto. Ahora vendrá la sonora y hueca unanimidad habitual de los Estados árabes y de la Liga Árabe en apoyo de los palestinos para enmascarar una realidad ineludible: en la región del mundo con más monarquías absolutas y dictaduras del mundo, los gobernantes se ven obligados una vez más a prestar atención a las opiniones de los gobernados. Por mucho que los opriman esos terribles regímenes, la mayoría de los árabes se identifica profundamente con los palestinos, y sean musulmanes o cristianos consideran que Jerusalén es sagrada y que forma parte de su patrimonio. Ningún gobernante árabe se atreve a oponerse a esta realidad.
Al asestar un golpe al derecho internacional, a múltiples decisiones de Naciones Unidas y a 70 años de política estadounidense, al retroceder a la Resolución de la partición de noviembre de 1947, Trump, a pesar de sí mismo, ha mostrado involuntariamente una vía para abordar la cuestión de Palestina de mejor forma que cualquiera que se haya ofrecido durante mucho tiempo.
Hay que abandonar la idea de que el partidario más ferviente de Israel y su principal proveedor de dinero y armas puede ser un mediador. Estados Unidos no es neutral: es parte en este conflicto porque respalda incondicionalmente a Israel. Y ello a pesar de que las encuestas muestran nítidamente que la mayoría de los estadounidenses quieren que Estados Unidos sea neutral e imparcial en sus relaciones con israelíes y palestinos, y que casi la mitad de todos los estadounidenses, y la mayoría de los demócratas, estarían a favor de apoyar sanciones o acciones más contundentes contra Israel por la construcción de asentamientos.
En lugar de que Estados Unidos monopolice las negociaciones, lo que hace falta es un intermediario internacional verdaderamente imparcial. Hay que abandonar ya la camisa de fuerza de Oslo diseñada expresamente por el gobierno israelí para confinar y controlar a los palestinos y permitirle colonizar y ocupar territorios palestinos a su antojo.
Las bases completamente renovadas para establecer negociaciones deben ser todas las resoluciones de la ONU, incluida la Resolución 181 de la Asamblea General, que reconoce el derecho de los palestinos a un Estado mucho más grande que Cisjordania y Gaza (o que las porciones previstas en el plan de Kushner), y la Resolución 194, que garantiza el retorno y la indemnización a los refugiados palestinos expulsados durante el establecimiento de Israel. Frente a los argumentos sesgados que han guiado todas las negociaciones previas, hay que retornar a los principios fundamentales de justicia e igualdad para ambos pueblos involucrados en este conflicto.
Está claro que Donald Trump no lo pretendía pero tal vez con su último movimiento ha acabado tirando piedras contra su propio tejado y ello puede ayudar a los palestinos y a los árabes a salir del desierto en el que vagan desde hace demasiado tiempo. Ojalá su acción aliente a los europeos y a otros actores internacionales a superar la resistencia de Estados Unidos, a asumir sus responsabilidades internacionales y a empezar a comprometerse de verdad en Oriente Próximo. Porque Trump nos ha demostrado que la paz en Palestina es un asunto demasiado serio como para dejarlo en manos del siniestro grupo de Keystone Cops que gobierna actualmente en Washington.
Fuente: https://palestinesquare.com/2017/12/08/after-jerusalem-the-us-can-no-longer-pretend-to-be-an-honest-broker-of-peace/

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