Coronavirus: Tracking the Outbreak, or Spying on People?


In the worldwide battle against COVID-19 – more governments are looking at our phones to track the infected and to prevent the virus from spreading.

China, South Korea, Israel, Italy and others are using phone location software, along with CCTV video and credit card records, among other tools, to do that.

Governments are understandably eager to use every weapon at their disposal in this fight and phone tracking has already proven effective in some places – such as China.

But these measures come with all kinds of questions on finding the right balance between the need for public safety and the individual’s right to privacy.

Another question worth asking: How long do the authorities intend to keep digging into our phones?

Political leaders everywhere are likening the COVID-19 fight to a war and it would not be the first time that extraordinary security measures – imposed during a time of war – proved permanent and problematic.

Related: Edward Snowden: The Surveillance States Will Outlast the Coronavirus

Posted in Health & Medicine, Internet & IT, Public Perception Management, Technology & Science, Videos & Documentaries | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Edward Snowden: The Surveillance States Will Outlast the Coronavirus

Via a video link to the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, Edward Snowden warned that the emergency measures passed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic tend to be sticky.

“The emergency tends to be expanded. Then the authorities become comfortable with some new power. They start to like it.”

“Security services will soon find new uses for the tech. And when the crisis passes, governments can impose new laws that make the emergency rules permanent and exploit them to crack down on dissent and political opposition.”

“Take the proposals to monitor the outbreak by tracking mobile phone location data. This could prove a powerful method of tracing the spread of the virus and the movements of people who have it. But it will also be a tempting tool to track terrorists — or any other potential enemies of the states.”

“Artificial intelligence has become a particularly popular way of monitoring life under the pandemic. In China, thermal scanners installed at train stations identify patients with fevers, while in Russia, facial recognition systems spot people breaking quarantine rules.”

“Draconian measures may be tolerable if they get us through the pandemic. But we must also think about the world we want to live in once the coronavirus is contained.” (Source: TheNextWeb.com)

Background image is a screenshot from George Orwell’s film 1984, modified by me.

Posted in Culture & Society, Health & Medicine, Internet & IT, Photography & Art | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Coronavirus: Flatten the Curve


The Government has made an ad about the Coronavirus and its surprisingly honest and informative.

Spread the Message — Not the Virus

Posted in Health & Medicine, Humour & Satire, Videos & Documentaries | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Naomi Seibt – The Climate Realist


The media have invented the ‘anti-Greta’ label to portray her as an “evil right antichrist,” but it only attracted more people to her ideas, Naomi Seibt, who says the human effect on climate change is vastly exaggerated, told RT.

Seibt calls herself a “climate realist” and bluntly rejects the term “climate change denier,” which is another label used to describe her and her supporters by the opposing side. It implies that “we’re just selfish and ignorant,” but it’s not the case, she pointed out.

“We’re about being scientific skeptics and looking into more sensible ways to improve the environment to be more in line with our values when it comes to interacting with nature,” the 19-year-old said.

It looks a much less radical stance than the one of 17-year-old environmental activist and mainstream media darling Greta Thunberg, who insists that mankind must urgently cut emissions to zero to avoid a catastrophic breakdown of the climate on Earth.

Full article at RT World News

Posted in Climate Change, Videos & Documentaries | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How Putin Sugar-Coated Erdogan’s Retreat in Syria


Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)

By Scott Ritter

This week’s meeting between Presidents Putin and Erdogan in Moscow was cast as preventing a war between Russia and Turkey in Syria. War, however, was never on the horizon. Putin called Erdogan’s bluff, and the Turk folded.

Over the course of a week, from February 27 through March 5, Syria’s Idlib province transitioned from being ground zero for a war between the Syrian army and allied forces, and heavily armed groups opposed to the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, into a geopolitical powder keg that threatened to pull the Turkish and Russian militaries into direct conflict with one another. On March 1, Turkey, following up on threats previously made by President Erdogan to drive the Syrian Army and its allies back to the line of demarcation set forth in the original Sochi Agreement, unleashed a major offensive, dubbed “Operation Spring Shield” and involving thousands of Turkish troops fighting alongside anti-Assad formations.

This operation soon fizzled; not only was the Turkish advance halted in its tracks, but the Syrian Army, supported by Hezbollah and pro-Iranian militias, were able to recapture much of the territory lost in the earlier fighting. Faced with the choice of either escalating further and directly confronting Russian forces, or facing defeat on the battlefield, Erdogan instead flew to Moscow.

The new additional protocol, which entered into effect at midnight Moscow time on Friday, March 6, represents a strategic defeat for Erdogan and the Turkish military which, as NATO’s second-largest standing armed force, equipped and trained to the highest Western standards, should have been more than a match for a rag-tag Syrian Army, worn down after nine years of non-stop combat. The Syrian armed forces, together with its allies, however, fought the Turks to a standstill. Moreover, the anti-Assad fighters that had been trained and equipped by the Turks proved to be a disappointment on the battlefield.

One of the major reasons behind the Turkish failure was the fact that Russia controlled the air space over Idlib, denying the Turks the use of aircraft, helicopters and (except for a single 48-hour period) drones, while apparently using their own aircraft, together with the Syrian Air Force, to pummel both the Turkish military and their allied anti-Assad forces (though neither side has officially confirmed the Russians bombing the Turks – that would be a disaster for the talks). In the end, the anti-Assad fighters were compelled to take shelter within so-called ‘Observation posts’– heavily fortified Turkish garrisons established under the Sochi Agreement, intermingling with Turkish forces to protect themselves from further attack. Operation Spring Shield turned out to be a resounding defeat for the Turks and their allies.

Full article at RT International

Posted in Imperialism & Colonialism, War & Terror | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey’s Tattered Islamic Credentials by Sheikh Imran Hosein


Related: We should applaud the Syrian military’s actions in Idlib, not deplore them |
Eva Bartlett with George Galloway on the Syrian Conflict

Posted in Human Rights & Justice, Imperialism & Colonialism, Religion & Philosophy, Videos & Documentaries, War & Terror | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eva Bartlett with George Galloway on the Syrian Conflict


In London, I was on George Galloway’s The Mother Of All Talkshows Sunday night to discuss Syria.

George gives an excellent introduction on the nature of systematic, paid-for, organized, deliberate, war propaganda on Syria, to deceive people and whitewash the nature of the heinous, criminal, actions of the terrorists dubbed by the west as “rebels” who have beheaded children, among other crimes.

He kindly points out that I and others who have been telling the truth on Syria are being vindicated on a daily basis.

During the interview, I noted the media portrayal of what is happening in Syria (incessant demonization of Syria and Russia), and that Syria has a legal right to fight terrorism, and an obligation to the Syrian people to do so.

Source: Interview on George Galloway’s The Mother of All Talkshows

Posted in Human Rights & Justice, Media & Journalism, Videos & Documentaries, War & Terror | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Assange Story: WikiLeaks Founder’s Journey from Whistleblowing Hero to Exile


The fate of Julian #Assange will soon be decided, as he prepares to fight for his freedom in a landmark extradition hearing in London. The US wants to get its hands on the #WikiLeaks founder in what the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture called “the collective persecution” by a group of “democratic” states. If convicted, Assange could face decades in a US jail. In April 2019, Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy and sent to Belmarsh Prison for breaching his bail terms.

Through WikiLeaks, Julian Assange published a trove of classified documents on the powerful elite, including war crimes committed by the military on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and embarrassing details from politicians’ emails.

The Assange Story pieces together accounts from Assange’s friends, family and former colleagues to build up a clearer understanding of the personality and motivation in the man behind what’s been called the ‘biggest leaks in intelligence history’.

Related: WikiLeaks Revelations: War Crimes, Mass Surveillance and Corruption

Posted in Human Rights & Justice, Media & Journalism, Videos & Documentaries | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Roger Waters: Washington DC Have Decided They Want Julian Assange Killed!


Going Underground‘s Social Media Producer Farhaan Ahmed speaks to Richard Burgon MP who is standing to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. He discusses the importance of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange’s leaks, what his extradition could mean for press freedom in the UK and around the world and why his extradition should be halted. Next, legendary former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters speaks to Afshin Rattansi about the persecution of Julian Assange, ahead of Julian’s upcoming extradition trial. He discusses why he believes Washington DC is seeking to imprison Julian Assange for 175 years, the importance of his leaks for billions around the world, the Washington-backed regime change attempt in Venezuela and coup in Bolivia and more!

Related: Julian Assange’s Extradition Case is a SHOW TRIAL! | The Draconian and Kafkaesque Case Against Julian Assange | Collateral Murder

Posted in Human Rights & Justice, Media & Journalism, Videos & Documentaries | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Secret Program to Back Syrian Rebels

Fighters were armed and paid to keep Iranian-linked forces away from Israel’s border.

Israel secretly armed and funded at least 12 rebel groups in southern Syria that helped prevent Iran-backed fighters and militants of the Islamic State from taking up positions near the Israeli border in recent years, according to more than two dozen commanders and rank-and-file members of these groups.

[…]

Israel also provided salaries to rebel fighters, paying each one about $75 a month, and supplied additional money the groups used to buy arms on the Syrian black market, according to the rebels and local journalists.

The payments, along with the service Israel was getting in return, created an expectation among the rebels that Israel would intercede if troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad tried to advance on southern Syria.

When regime forces backed by Russian air power did precisely that this past summer, Israel did not intervene, leaving the rebel groups feeling betrayed.

“This is a lesson we will not forget about Israel. It does not care about … the people. It does not care about humanity. All it cares about it its own interests,” said Y., a fighter from one of the groups, Forsan al-Jolan.

[…]

The quantity of arms and money Israel transferred to the groups—comprising thousands of fighters—is small compared to the amounts provided by other countries involved in the 9-year-old civil war, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States.

Full article at Foreign Policy

Related: US agreed to counter Iran in Iraq while Israel fights it in Syria

Posted in War & Terror | Tagged , , | Leave a comment