Jerry Jackson

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

London riots a pretext for Internet crackdown

In Activism, Economics, Human Rights, Internet Censorship, Police State, Society, World News on August 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

Riots in LondonJordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan were two of several demonstrators that were given harsh sentences for petty crimes in the recent UK riots. Another looter got six months for stealing a case of bottled water. Alex Jones, radio host of the Alex Jones Show, tells us why this is a severe overreaction on the UK’s part and how he is not surprised.

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Donkeys Take Over From DSL as Syria Shuts Down Internet

In Activism, Human Rights, Internet Censorship, Society, Syria, World News on June 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm


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Qalaat al-Shmammis

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The Facebook revolution has retreated from this dusty Jordanian town on the Syrian border.

In a bid to quash a rebellion now entering its third month, the Syrian government, perhaps one of the world’s most Internet-unfriendly, has shut down pretty much all electronic communications inside the country and to overseas. Cut off from the World Wide Web, protestors, journalists and human rights activists have resorted to communications networks from another era.
And for that, Ramtha, a Jordanian town of about 100,000 people 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the capital of Amman, has become a virtual switchboard for news coming out of Syria, not to mention a swarm of refugees seeking to flee the carnage that has taken some 800 lives across the country, according to a United Nations estimate released last Friday.
Facebook and other social media have been widely lauded as the fuse that lit the unrest exploding across the Arab world. But Internet use in Syria has always been severely constrained and the number of people with access to it is very small – about 17% of the country had it in 2010, according to Internet World Stats – even if the government dropped its long-standing ban of Facebook weeks before the unrest broke out.


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Just across the border from Ramtha, the Syrian town of Dara’a is the birthplace of the Syria rebellion. That began in mid-March when dozens or more youths were detained by security forces for spraying anti-government graffiti. Since then, despite the massive presence of troops and attacks on the city’s main mosque, Dara’a remains in turmoil.
To get the news outs, activists have been smuggling videos to Jordan through the desert and across a nearly 80-kilometer border Jordan shares with Syria. Some risk approaching the border with Jordanian cellphones to report to the outside world and send clips. It’s a dangerous task because the Syrian and Jordanian armies traditionally have the area under heavy surveillance to prevent the smuggling of drugs and weapons into the kingdom or further to the Gulf states.
But desperate Syrians have been using a helping hand from smugglers to cross the border, either by walking or on the backs of donkeys, according to residents from Ramtha. Locals have centuries if not millennia of experience eluding officials.
“The two cities are connected more than anyone could think. For hundreds of years, the residents of Ramtha and Dara’a have been moving between the two towns easily through the farms and desert area. Now they rediscovered these ancient routes,” says Ahmed Kareem, a Jordanian taxi driver from Ramtha.
Kareem says several Syrian families escaped the wrath of the military by walking for nearly 24 hours before they were received by residents from Ramtha. The majority are being housed in a public school for the sake of their safety, and away from prying eyes of the media.
“We prepared the schools to welcome as many refugees as possible, but the problem is that many want to come but are unable due to the closure,” said Kareem.


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Syria says it has been forced to close the border to prevent foreign elements, who it has blamed for inciting violence, from infiltrating into its territory. Syrian officials indirectly accused Jordan of facilitating entry of foreign elements to stir the public against Bashar al Assad regime. Syria also accused Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood movement of coordinating with its Syria’s counterpart to topple the al Assad regime.
Those allegations have yet to be proven, but the closure limits the flow of news about what has been taking place in Dara’a, said Abu Abdullah, a Syrian rights activist who spoke to the Media Line by telephone from the city.
Syria refuses to allow foreign press into its territories, while those who leave refuse to go on camera for fear of retribution. Last month a Reuters correspondent was arrested after he was found covering the uprising in Dara’a. Dorothy Parvaz, an Al-Jazeera television correspondent, was detained by Syrian authorities and has since reportedly been transferred to Iran.
As a result, scores of journalists have flocked to the border point near Ramtha in the hope of catching news on the military operation taking place. But it is not proving to be easy, according to journalist stationed near Jordan’s border point.
Syrian activists who try to reach the outside world take a serious risk. Abu Abdullah, who asked not to be identified by his real name, uses a Jordanian mobile number to place calls, but to do so he has to get close to the Jordanian border at the risk of getting killed. Among the Jordanian cellular operators, activists say Umnia has the best reception in Dara’a.
“As I talk, people are trying to protect me from snipers by holding barrels and other items. This is very dangerous. We are unable to tell the world what is happening,” Abdullah said last week as he gave an account of an attack on civilians, including women and children.
“As I walked to this spot, I saw three people dead — a woman, a man and a girl. Nobody was able to save them because of the snipers stationed on rooftops,” he said.
Activists in Jordan say Syria has arrested a number of Jordanians as they tried to cross into its territories through the regular border crossings. Abdullah Zubi, a Jordanian driver arrested three weeks ago on the border, says Syrian police had one idea about the events.
“They asked me to confess that Jordan’s intelligence service is behind the attacks. They prepared a confession about role of Jordan’s secret service and wanted me to sign it,” he told The Media Line a day after he was released on May 11.


According to Zubi, Syria has arrested dozens of Jordanians during the past weeks as part of its crackdown on Dara’a.
Ramtha residents are concerned that the crisis will have severe economic implications for a city reliant on trade. Ramtha sees dozens of vehicles crossing into Syria or coming into the kingdom laden with goods heading to the kingdom’s market or to the oil rich Gulf states. The border crossing has helped thousands of Jordanians make a living.
But since Syria sealed the border with Ramtha, the city’s streets are void of traffic. It’s a double-blow for Ramtha residents, who are also feeling the impact of higher food and energy prices and a slowing Jordanian economy.
Many residents say they will have to look some where else to earn a living. For a start, this week, the government has now allowed taxi drivers from Ramtha to operate in other routes in light of continued closure of the borders.




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Assange: Facebook is an ‘appalling spy machine’

In Big Business, Human Rights, Internet Censorship, Police State, Society, Wikileaks on May 14, 2011 at 12:07 am


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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says Facebook, Google, and Yahoo are actually tools for the U.S. intelligence community.

Speaking to Russian news site RT in an interview published yesterday, Assange was especially critical of the world’s top social network. He reportedly said that the information Facebook houses is a potential boon for the U.S. government if it tries to build up a dossier on users.

“Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented,” Assange said in the interview, which was videotaped and published on the site. “Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. intelligence.”

If that’s the case, it might surprise some that WikiLeaks has its very own Facebook page. In fact, last year, when WikiLeaks released a controversial batch of confidential documents–putting Assange on the run–Facebook refused to shut down that page. The company said at the time that the page did not “violate our content standards nor have we encountered any material posted on the page that violates our policies.”

Facebook’s response stood in stark contrast to the treatment of WikiLeaks by many other companies in the U.S. last year. Several firms, including PayPal, blocked the company’s accounts.

But Assange didn’t just stop at Facebook. He also told RT that in addition to the world’s largest social network, Google and Yahoo “have built-in interfaces for U.S. intelligence.”

“It’s not a matter of serving a subpoena,” he told RT. “They have an interface that they have developed for U.S. intelligence to use.”

Surprisingly, Assange didn’t mention Twitter, another major social network with which his organization has run into trouble.

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Earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department sent a court order to Twitter, requesting the social network deliver information from accounts of activists that allegedly had ties to WikiLeaks. In March, the Justice Department was granted access to those accounts following a judge’s ruling in favor of the seizure. Last month, the Justice Department said that complaints over its desire to obtain Twitter information is “absurd,” and its actions are quite common in criminal investigations.

However, the Justice Department didn’t secure a search warrant for access to the information. Instead, it obtained a 2703(d) order, allowing investigators to secure online records that are “relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.”

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For U.S. intelligence, getting information from Facebook is much easier, Assange said in the interview. He reportedly told RT that the U.S. intelligence community’s use of “legal and political pressure” on Facebook is enough for it get what it wants.

“Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them,” Assange said, according to the RT interview.

For its part, Facebook disagrees with Assange’s sentiment. In a written statement to CNET, a Facebook spokesman said that it does only what’s legal–and nothing more.

“We don’t respond to pressure, we respond to compulsory legal process,” the spokesman told CNET. “There has never been a time we have been pressured to turn over data [and] we fight every time we believe the legal process is insufficient. The legal standards for compelling a company to turn over data are determined by the laws of the country, and we respect that standard.”


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DHS Launches New Alert System Designed to Terrorize Public

In Human Rights, Police State, Society on April 24, 2011 at 7:32 am


President George W. Bush signs the Homeland Se...

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     According to officialdom, the color-coded alert system was dumped because it didn’t provide enough information on supposed threats. Under the new system, an “elevated” threat will include a “credible” threat of terrorism while an “imminent” threat would warn of a “credible, specific and impending threat,” according to DHS bureaucrats.

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Fed goons harass Infowars.com journalists for the crime of photographing the private Federal Reserve.

The new system, called the National Terrorism Advisory System, is necessary according to Napolitano because the old color-coded system did not communicate enough fear-based information. “What was the threat? What were you supposed to do? Where were you supposed to go to get up-to-date information?” In addition, the older system “had no natural way to be reduced if a threat dissipated or was removed,” she explained.

In addition to ferreting out exaggerated and fictional threats to the corporate media – threats easily ignored under the old system – the new system will feed them to Facebook and Twitter as well. Government engineered fear-mongering will soon invade social networks and become more personalized.

Instructing the cops how to profile citizens as terrorists.

Napolitano also announced a new DHS web page. According to the page, the National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, “recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation’s security, and should always be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attack in the United States and what they should do.”

In other words, according to the government, it is your responsibility to be in a heightened state of anxiety and fear over non-existent terrorists who hate us for our freedom and are at this very moment preparing to strike under the tutelage of the FBI and its legion of informers and agents provocateurs.The DHS began researching more effective ways to induce irrational fear back in 2003. Steve Cooper, chief information officer of the Homeland Security Department, said during a keynote address at the Federal Office Systems Exhibition that the government was exploring how to exploit wireless technology and disseminate fear-based propaganda. “Our goal is to make it work all the time,” he said. “We want to be faster, better, cheaper.”

A 2003 beta test in Virginia included sending local residents “free subscriptions to emergency alerts, which are delivered to personal digital assistants or mobile phones,” wrote Elsa Wenzel of PCWorld. The technology was designed to tailor messages to specific zip codes, alerting residents to supposed dangers – white al-Qaeda lurking about with cameras, for instance (see the above cop training video) – in their own neighborhoods.

The new DHS system reveals a larger plan by the government to install a sprawling fear-based electronic matrix that sends text messages over our wireless devices and posts terror warnings using the full range of social media, including microblogging services, Facebook and Twitter instant messages. In the not too distant future, we can expect endlessly issued and fatuous terror alerts to be accompanied by increased presence of goons in full black-clad regalia of the militarized police state at public buildings and the local mall as the control grid expands from the nation’s airports and travel infrastructure to local neighborhoods. Intrusive pat-downs and mobile naked body scanners at the mall are on the agenda in the months ahead.

The goal of endless harebrained terror alerts is to get us acclimated to the presence of cops and a network of tattletales, snoops and informers serving the larger Stasi-state America has become.


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