Tag Archives: Police State

‘2022 Was Deadly’: Killings of Journalists Jumped by Nearly 50%

The deadliest year for media workers since 2018 was driven in large part by the war in Ukraine and a rise in killings in Latin America.

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-25-2023 by Common Dreams

The funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Ramallah. Photo: YouTube/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Driven in large part by Russia’s war in Ukraine and a rise in violence in Latin America, 2022 was the deadliest year for journalists in four years and saw nearly a 50% increase in murders, killings in crossfire, and deaths as the result of dangerous assignments, according to a report released Tuesday.

In its annual report on the killings of members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) confirmed that at least 41 journalists and media workers were killed in direct connection to their work, including nearly two dozen who were murdered in retaliation for their work. The group is still investigating the motives for the killings to 26 other journalists, bringing the total number of media workers killed last year to 67. Continue reading

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Human Rights Expert Sounds Alarm Over Israeli Firm’s ‘Dystopian’ Video-Altering Tech

“A scenario in which someone is accused of something and doesn’t know if the evidence presented against them is real or not is truly dystopian.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Leon Panetta and Ehud Barak at the Pentagon in 2012. Photo: US Secretary of Defense/flickr

A human rights attorney raised alarm Monday over the expansion plans of Toka, an Israeli cyber firm that sells hacking technologies capable of finding, accessing, and manipulating security and smart camera footage.

Co-founded by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) cyber chief Yaron Rosen, Toka “sells technologies that allow clients to locate security cameras or even webcams within a given perimeter, hack into them, watch their live feed, and even alter it—and past recordings,” Haaretz reported, citing internal documents it obtained and reviewed with a technical expert. Continue reading

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Russian Authorities Told Rights Group to Reject Nobel Peace Prize, Says Leader

The decision to recognize Memorial alongside a Ukrainian group and Belarusian activist, said Yan Rachinsky, “is remarkable precisely because it shows that civil society is not divided by national borders.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Representatives of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates for 2022 pose with their medals and diplomas. Ales Bialiatski was represented by Natallia Pinchuk; Memorial was represented by Jan Rachinsky; and the Center for Civil Liberties was represented by Oleksandra Matviichuk. (Photo: Jo Straube/Nobel Prize Outreach)

An embattled Russian rights group that received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was pressured by the Kremlin to decline the honor because of the Ukrainian organization and jailed Belarusian activist who also received the award, BBC News revealed Saturday.

“We were advised by our authorities to turn down this prize because they deemed co-laureates inappropriate,” Yan Rachinsky, the head of Memorial, said in an interview. “Naturally, we did not take notice of this advice.” Continue reading

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Israel Refuses to Cooperate With US Probe Into Palestinian-American Journalist’s Killing

Israeli officials condemned the FBI investigation, while Shireen Abu Akleh’s family expressed hope that the probe will lead to accountability for those responsible.

By Julia Conley  Published 11-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh after her assassination in Palestine. Photo: alwatan_live/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The family of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh expressed hope Tuesday that the FBI’s newly announced investigation into her death will bring them “closer to justice,” as Israeli officials said they will not cooperate with the FBI and condemned the U.S. for opening a probe at all.

Israeli Foreign Minister Benny Gantz suggested the Biden administration should accept the “professional, independent investigation” already conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which concluded that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank in May was too damaged to determine who had fired it. Continue reading

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‘A Brazil of Hope’ as Leftist Lula Defeats Far-Right Bolsonaro in Presidential Runoff

The Workers’ Party candidate, who completed a remarkable political comeback less than three years removed from a prison cell, tweeted one word following his win: “Democracy.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photo: Daya Laxmi Shrestha/Twitter

“A huge blow against fascistic politics and a huge victory for decency and sanity.”

That’s how RootsAction director Norman Solomon described Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Sunday presidential runoff victory against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the culmination of a most remarkable political comeback for a man who was languishing behind bars just three years ago.

With 99% of votes counted via an electronic system that tallies final results in a matter of hours—and which was repeatedly aspersed by Bolsonaro in an effort to cast doubt on the election’s veracity—da Silva led the incumbent by more than two million ballots, or nearly two percentage points. Continue reading

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PR firm accused of greenwashing big oil is helping organize COP27

The US agency has a “shameful track record of spreading disinformation” but has been hired by the Egyptian government

By Ben Webster  Published 10-21-2022 by openDemocracy

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27, taking place next month in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is being promoted by PR firm Hill+Knowlton, which has been accused of greenwashing | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

The US public relations firm helping Egypt organise COP27 also works for major oil companies and has been accused of greenwashing on their behalf, openDemocracy can reveal.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which has worked for ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco, is managing communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference, which will take place next month in Sharm El Sheikh. Continue reading

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For Vladimir Putin, Russia’s future is North Korea-lite

The occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions offer the president a template of brute, military-style governance

By Jeremy Morris  Published 9-30-2022 by openDemocracy

Vladimir_Putin. Photo: Kremlin/CC

Right now, with the Kremlin’s annexation of the occupied territories in southern and eastern Ukraine imminent, public focus is naturally on the implications for Russia’s war against Ukraine and on the prospect of escalation by Russia.

But as an anthropologist working on Russian politics and society, I’m interested in how the administration and governance in places like the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ reflect a possible future for the whole of Russia – a future that looks like ‘North Korea-lite’. Continue reading

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‘Frightening Escalation’: Palestinian Rights Group Says Director Detained by Israeli Agency

A human rights attorney argued that the Biden administration’s refusal to condemn Israel’s smear of leading Palestinian organizations as terrorists “has led to this day.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Defense for Children International-Palestine said that director general Khaled Quzmar was detained by the Israeli security agency known as Shin Bet on August 21, 2022. (Photo: DCI-P/Twitter)

Human rights advocates around the world responded with alarm after one of the Palestinian groups targeted by Israeli officials announced Israel’s security agency detained its leader for a couple of hours Sunday.

Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) said in a series of tweets that director general Khaled Quzmar was in the custody of the agency, known as Shin Bet or Shabak, “as Israeli authorities again escalate attacks” against it and other civil society groups. Continue reading

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Nebraska Mother, Daughter Face Abortion Charges After Facebook Shares Chats With Police

“Until Meta gives up surveilling private messages and begins protecting its users with end-to-end encryption, it remains complicit in the surveillance and criminalization of pregnant people,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 8-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: iphonedigital/flickr/CC

Digital rights advocates on Tuesday said an abortion case in Nebraska illustrates how powerful tech companies like Facebook could play a major role in prosecutions of people who self-manage abortions as more states ban the procedure, and called on the social media platform to reform its privacy policies to protect users.

The case in Nebraska centers on a 17-year-old girl and her mother, Celeste and Jessica Burgess, who sent messages on Facebook regarding plans to terminate Celeste’s pregnancy prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned in June. Continue reading

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The UN must act now to stop the crackdown in Russia

New amendments have been added to the ‘undesirables law’ as Putin looks to intimidate, silence and quash dissent

By Damelya Aitkhozhina  Published 8-2-2022 by openDemocracy

Andrey Pivovarov, former executive director of Open Russia, a pro-democracy movement | Image: Facebook / Andrey Pivovarov

For months, Russian authorities have regularly unleashed repressive announcements on Fridays. 15 July was no different.

That day, a court in the city of Krasnodar sentenced Andrey Pivovarov, the former executive director of the now-defunct pro-democracy Open Russia Civic Movement, to four years in prison on charges of leading an ‘undesirable organisation’. Continue reading

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