Wednesday 24th of April 2024

crossing the Xes.....

Elon Musk, owner the X social media network (formerly Twitter) has said that anyone appearing to condone or advocate for the genocide of any group of people on the service will be removed from the platform.

Musk, who last year finalized a multi-billion-dollar takeover of the company he later rebranded as X, has faced accusations that hate speech, including anti-Semitism, has increased significantly under his leadership. On Wednesday, Musk himself was accused of promoting an anti-Semitic trope after he said he agreed with a statement written by another user which suggested that Jewish people are stoking hatred against white people.

But, writing on X on Friday, Musk appeared to adopt a more neutral tone in his platform’s stewardship of controversial content. “At risk of stating the obvious, anyone advocating for the genocide of any group will be suspended from this platform,” he said.

The billionaire added that terms such as “decolonization” and “From the river to the sea” are phrases that “imply genocide” and would be sufficient to trigger a ban, adding that “clear calls for extreme violence are against our terms of service and will result in suspension.”

“Decolonization,” within the context of Israel, is generally considered to refer to the dismantling of the Jewish state. The rallying cry “From the river to the sea,” which refers to the geographic area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, is a call for peace and equality, many pro-Palestinian activists would say. Its critics, though, view it as a demand for the destruction of Israel.

Following Musk’s controversial post earlier this week, the American tech manufacturer IBM said that it was pulling its advertising spend from X.

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination,” the company said on Thursday. “We have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.” Additionally, the White House on Friday accused Musk of the “abhorrent promotion of anti-Semitic racist hate.”

On Thursday, X CEO Linda Yaccarino said that the platform has been clear in its mission statement to “combat anti-Semitism and discrimination,” adding that “there’s no place for it anywhere in the world.”

In addition to IBM, major companies such as NBCUniversal, Disney, Paramount and Apple were among several others that said they were withdrawing advertisements from X in protest at Musk’s Wednesday tweet. In July, Musk admitted that the social media company’s advertising revenue had plunged by about 50% since he took control.

https://www.rt.com/news/587568-elon-musk-x-genocide/

 

SEE ALSO:

On November 17th, the mega-billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg News headlined “Fallout From Musk’s Endorsement of Antisemitic Post Spreads” and reported that, “Fallout from an Elon Musk post endorsing antisemitic views continues to spread, with Tesla Inc. investors criticizing the billionaire and more advertisers fleeing his social media platform X.”

https://theduran.com/musk-destroys-his-brands-but-so-does-the-u-s/

 

 

 

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no breakthrough.....

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky must avoid needlessly sending young Ukrainians to be slaughtered on the battlefield with Russia, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said. His comments come amid Kiev’s faltering counteroffensive, which Moscow claims has already left tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers dead.

Speaking in an interview with US podcaster Lex Fridman released on Friday, the tech billionaire was asked whether he believed Zelensky should negotiate peace with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Musk did not provide a straight answer, but noted he would “just recommend [that Zelensky] do not send the flower of Ukrainian youth to die in trenches,” regardless of whether he engages with Putin or not.

“Whoever goes on the offensive will lose massive numbers of people and history will not look kindly upon them,” he added.

The Tesla CEO has weighed in on the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev on numerous occasions, noting in September that the Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in early summer had brought “so much death for so little [gain].” 

Musk previously floated a peace plan suggesting that Kiev should recognize Crimea as part of Russia, while the four former Ukrainian territories that overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in referendums last autumn should redo the votes under UN supervision. The idea, however, sparked a backlash in Ukraine. Andrey Melnik, the country’s then-ambassador to Germany, told Musk to “f**k off.” 

Moscow has repeatedly said it is open to talks with Kiev, although last autumn Zelensky signed a decree banning all negotiations with Russia as long as Putin remains in power. He reaffirmed this stance earlier this month, again ruling out any concessions to Moscow.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive has been underway since early June but has failed to gain any significant ground. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has estimated Kiev’s losses at more than 90,000 troops, while pointing to deteriorating morale in the Ukrainian military.

Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky, have admitted serious difficulties with the campaign, blaming them on delays in Western assistance, formidable Russian defenses, and Moscow’s air superiority. Earlier this month, Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, acknowledged that Kiev’s troops were unlikely to achieve a “deep and beautiful breakthrough” unless they gained a technological edge over Russia.

https://www.rt.com/news/587045-musk-zelensky-advice-counteroffensive/

 

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testing.....

 

By Chris Hedges Original to ScheerPost

 

CAIRO, Egypt: The Palestinians are human laboratory rats to the Israeli military, intelligence services and arms and technology industries. Israel’s drones, surveillance technology — including spyware, facial recognition software and biometric gathering infrastructure — along with smart fences, experimental bombs and AI-controlled machine guns, are tried out on the captive population in Gaza, often with lethal results. These weapons and technologies are then certified as “battle tested” and sold around the world. 

Israel is the 10th biggest arms dealer on the planet and sells its technology and weapons to an estimated 130 nations, including military dictatorships in Asia and Latin America. Israeli weapons sales totalled $12.5 billion last year. Its close relationship with these military, internal security, surveillance, intelligence-gathering and law enforcement agencies, explains the fulsome support Israel’s allies give to its genocidal campaign in Gaza. When Colombian President Gustavo Petro refused to condemn the Oct. 7 attack by Palestinian resistance groups as a “terrorist attack” and said “terrorism is killing innocent children in Palestine,” Israel immediately halted all sales of defense and security equipment to Colombia. This global cabal, dedicated to permanent war and keeping its populations monitored and controlled, has hundreds of billions of dollars a year in sales. These technologies are cementing into place a supranational corporate totalitarianism, a world where populations are enslaved in ways that past totalitarian regimes could only imagine. 

The genocidal assault on Gaza is another chapter in the century-long ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by the Israeli settler colonial project. It is accompanied, as is true for all settler colonial projects, by the theft of natural resources, land, water and the natural gas in the Gaza Marine fields, 20 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza, which could contain up to 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In a world of diminishing resources, especially water in the Middle East, and the dislocations caused by the climate crisis, Gaza is the prelude to a frightening new world order. As democracies wither and die, as economic inequality expands, as poverty and desperation mounts, the global ruling class will increasingly do to us – once we become restive and attempt to rebel – what they are doing to the Palestinians. 

It is not a far cry from Gaza to the camps and detention centers set up for migrants fleeing to Europe from Africa and the Middle East. It is not a far cry from the carpet bombing in Gaza to the endless wars in the Middle East and the global south. It is not a far cry from the anti-terrorism laws used to criminalize dissent in Israel to the anti-terrorism laws introduced in Europe and the U.S.

On Oct. 7, Palestinians in Gaza escaped from their laboratory cage. They went on a killing spree against their sadistic masters. Almost 12,000 Palestinians have been killed and some 30,000 wounded, including 4,700 children, since Oct. 7 in the hurricane of shells, bullets, bombs and missiles that are turning Gaza into a wasteland. Nearly 3,000 Palestinians are missing or buried under the rubble. Soon Palestinians will be convulsed by infectious diseases and starvation. Those who survive, if Israel succeeds in its ethnic cleansing, will become refugees, yet again, over the border in Egypt. There remain plenty of Palestinian test subjects in the West Bank. Gaza will be closed for business.

Israel, which is not a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty, has long supplied some of the most heinous regimes on the planet with weaponry, including the apartheid government of South Africa and Myanmar. India is Israel’s largest purchaser of military drones. Israel provided UAVs, missiles and mortars to Azerbaijan for its invasion and occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, which displaced 100,000 people, more than 80 percent of the enclave’s ethnic Armenians. Israel sold napalm and weapons to the Salvadoran military, as well as the murderous regime of General José Efraín Ríos Montt in Guatemala, when I covered the wars in the 1980s in Central America. Israeli-made Uzi submachine guns were the weapons of choice for Central American death squads. Israel also sold weapons to the Bosnian Serbs, despite international sanctions, when I covered the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, a conflict that took the lives of 100,000 people. 

“Israel is a key player in the EU battle to both militarize its borders and deter new arrivals, a policy that hugely accelerated after the massive influx of migrants in 2015, principally due to the wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” writes Anthony Loewenstein in “The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World,” “The EU has partnered with leading Israeli defense companies to use its drones, and of course years of experience in Palestine is a key selling point.” 

“The similarities between the US–Mexico border and Israel’s wall through the occupied territories are growing by the year,” he writes. “One informs and inspires the other, with tech companies always looking for new ways to target and capture perceived enemies. The use of high-tech surveillance tools to monitor the border was backed by both Republicans and Democrats. One company during the Trump years, the billionaire Peter Theil–backed Brinc, tested the possibility of deploying armed drones that would taser migrants with a stun gun along the US–Mexico border.”

Heron TP “Eitan” drones, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries – Israel’s largest aerospace and defense company and the country’s largest arms exporter – are used by Frontex, the European Union’s external border and coastal agency, to monitor and deter migrant and refugee boats in the Mediterranean. The drones, which fly up to 40 hours continuously, can be modified to carry four Spike rockets with fragmentation sleeves of thousands of 3mm tungsten cubes that puncture metal and “cause tissue to be torn from flesh,” in essence shredding the victim. They are routinely used on Palestinians.

“It’s almost impossible to cross the Mediterranean [as a migrant],” Felix Weiss, of the German NGO Sea-Watch, told Loewenstein. “Frontex has become a militarized actor, its equipment coming from war zones,” he added. 

Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private weapons firm, supplies U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with hi-tech surveillance towers which it uses along the border with Mexico. It also supplied the CBP with its Hermes drone in 2004 in order to test the feasibility of using UAVs on the border. 

Pegasus, a phone-hacking tool produced by the Israeli NSO Group, a cyber intelligence agency, was used by Mexican drug cartels to target the journalist Griselda Triana, after her husband Javier Valdez Cárdenas, also an investigative reporter, was assassinated in 2017. The Mexican government is directly implicated in targeting journalists and civil society members with Pegasus spyware, according to research and analysis by Canada’s Citizen Lab. After the reporter Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Oct. 2018, it was discovered that an NSO client targeted the phone of his fiancé, Hanan Elatr. Pegasus transforms a cellular phone into a mobile surveillance device, with microphones and cameras activated without the user’s knowledge. 

Skunk water, a putrid smelling liquid, was tested and perfected on Palestinians, often with Israeli film crews recording the attacks to show potential clients the effectiveness of the chemical. 

“Israeli forces routinely douse entire Palestinian neighborhoods in skunk water, deliberately spraying it into private homes, businesses, schools and funerals in what the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem calls ‘a collective punitive measure’ against Palestinian villages that engage in protest against Israel’s colonial violence,” The Electronic Intifada reported in 2015. That same year, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department purchased 14 canisters of skunk to use against protesters following demonstrations that erupted after the police killing of unarmed African American teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Israel created a sophisticated facial recognition system, Red Wolf, to document every Palestinian in the occupied territories. The technology “is used extensively” to “consolidate existing practices of discriminatory policing, segregation, and curbing freedom of movement, violating Palestinians’ basic rights,” Amnesty International explains in its recent report titled “Automated Apartheid.” The French investigative outlet Disclose revealed that French police have been unlawfully using facial recognition software provided by the Israeli tech firm BriefCam for eight years. BriefCam’s technology allows users to “detect, track, extract, classify [and] catalog” people “appearing in video surveillance footage in real-time.”

AI-machine guns, manufactured by the Israeli company SMARTSHOOTER, can fire stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets as well as tear gas. They were perfected in trials on the Palestinians in the West Bank. SMARTSHOOTER was recently awarded a contract to supply the British Army with its SMASH “automatic targeting and firing system” which can be attached to small arms such as automatic rifles. 

Israel, according to Jeff Halper in his book “War Against the People,” has done cutting edge work on cyborg soldiers. It developed a radar system that sees through walls, he writes. As The Electronic Intifada explains, Israel’s military-industrial complex has built “a tank named Cruelty, a 20-gram drone in the shape of a butterfly, a stealth ‘wonder boat’ called the Death Shark, a series of weapons named after insects or natural phenomena (bionic hornets, smart dust, dragonfly drones and smart dew robots), cybernetic insects, a 600-building ‘urban warfare’ training center nicknamed Chicago and a one-megaton bomb containing electromagnetic pulse capability.”

Harper notes that during the occupation of Iraq, the U.S. military replicated the tactics used by Israel against the Palestinians. It constructed a security barrier around the Baghdad Green Zone, imposed closures on towns and villages, carried out targeted assassinations, copied Israeli torture techniques and used checkpoints and roadblocks to isolate towns and villages. 

Israel trains and equips U.S. police forces, teaching aggressive tactics, backed up by heavy military hardware and vehicles, which were used in Ferguson and Atlanta during the police confrontations with activists who were protesting Cop City.

Halper calls this the “Palestinianization” of global conflicts. 

“With so many Israeli companies involved in maintaining the infrastructure around the occupation, these firms found innovative ways to sell their services to the state, test the latest technology on Palestinians, and then promote them around the world,” Loewenstein explains. And while “the defense industries are increasingly in private hands,” following decades of neoliberal privatization, “they continue to act as an extension of Israel’s foreign policy agenda, supporting its goals and pro-occupation ideology.”

The global ruling class will counter the destabilizing forces of inequality, curtailment of civil liberties, collapsing infrastructure, failing health systems and increasing shortages caused by an accelerating climate crisis, by branding all who resist as “human animals.” This new world order began in Gaza. It ends at home.

NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

https://scheerpost.com/2023/11/17/israel-is-shutting-down-its-human-laboratory-in-gaza/

 

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resignation.....,

 

According to Literary Hub, “[Early on November 16, 2023], the news broke that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, essayist, and poetry editor of the New York Times Magazine, Anne Boyer, has resigned from her post, writing in her resignation letter that ‘the Israeli state’s U.S.-backed war against the people of Gaza is not a war for anyone…'”

The letter in full is written below: 

I have resigned as poetry editor of the New York Times Magazine.

The Israeli state’s U.S-backed war against the people of Gaza is not a war for anyone. There is no safety in it or from it, not for Israel, not for the United States or Europe, and especially not for the many Jewish people slandered by those who claim falsely to fight in their names. Its only profit is the deadly profit of oil interests and weapon manufacturers.

The world, the future, our hearts—everything grows smaller and harder from this war. It is not only a war of missiles and land invasions. It is an ongoing war against the people of Palestine, people who have resisted throughout decades of occupation, forced dislocation, deprivation, surveillance, siege, imprisonment, and torture.

Because our status quo is self-expression, sometimes the most effective mode of protest for artists is to refuse.

I can’t write about poetry amidst the ‘reasonable’ tones of those who aim to acclimatize us to this unreasonable suffering. No more ghoulish euphemisms. No more verbally sanitized hellscapes. No more warmongering lies.

If this resignation leaves a hole in the news the size of poetry, then that is the true shape of the present.

—Anne Boyer

 

https://scheerpost.com/2023/11/17/ann-boyers-powerful-new-york-times-resignation-letter/

 

SEE ALSO:

 

  • Britain’s Cyprus base has become international military hub supporting Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza
  • American C-25 military transport plane flew from UK base on Cyprus to Tel Aviv on Wednesday
  • US Air Force is making transport flights from its huge bases in Germany, Turkey and Spain to the UK’s Cyprus base
  • Half of US planes flying from British Cyprus said to be carrying weapons for Israel

Respected Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported that over 40 US transport aircraft, 20 British transport aircraft and seven heavy transport helicopters have flown to RAF Akrotiri, Britain’s vast base on Cyprus, carrying equipment, arms and forces.

RAF Akrotiri has long been the staging post for British military operations and bombing campaigns in the Middle East. It sits 180 miles from Tel Aviv with a flight time of 40 minutes. 

The planes have been loaded with cargo from strategic depots belonging to the US and NATO in Europe, Haaretz reported. Around half the US flights are said to be “delivering military aid”. 

Declassified has found these US weapons and equipment are likely being delivered to RAF Akrotiri from US bases in Turkey, Spain and Germany.

On October 18 and 24, the US flew two huge C-17A Globemaster military transport vehicles to RAF Akrotiri from its air base at Rota in southern Spain. On October 25, the US flew another C-17 to Akrotiri from Ramstein air base in Germany, the site of NATO’s air command. 

The C-17 is capable of transporting 134 personnel and many types of military equipment, including Abrams tanks and Black Hawk helicopters. The US military notes that the C-17’s role is to “rapidly project and sustain an effective combat force close to a potential battle area”.

On November 5, a US C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft flew from Adana in southern Turkey to RAF Akrotiri. Adana is home to the Incirlik air base, a major US facility with 5,000 American personnel. The Hercules can carry 128 combat troops and 19,600kg of cargo.

Declassified could find no US Air Force (USAF) planes arriving from these bases in the two months before the Gaza bombing campaign began. 

US planes landing at Nevatim Air Force Base – located in southern Israel near the Negev desert – have delivered arms for the Israel’s military, Haaretzalso reported. In addition, US aircraft landing at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv have carried, among other things, armoured vehicles.

 

READ MORE:

https://www.declassifieduk.org/u-s-military-is-secretly-supplying-weapons-to-israel-using-uk-base-on-cyprus/

 

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fighting for X.....

Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, there has been a prevailing intuition that the platform, since renamed to X, would inevitably emerge as a potent challenger to establishment media.

Whether it’s unraveling their carefully woven narrative on Ukraine or exposing the delicate veneer of their agenda, X (formerly Twitter) has consistently been a source of discomfort for those in Washington or the EU managing the news flow – from Israel to the respective migration crises. But who would’ve thought that the retaliation would be this desperate and embarrassingly obvious?

On November 20, 2023, X initiated legal proceedings against Media Matters, a non-profit organization founded in 2004 with a mission to monitor and rectify conservative misinformation in US media. X alleges that Media Matters orchestrated a deceptive scenario by strategically juxtaposing advertisers’ posts with extremist content.

According to X, the crux of the defamation claim arises from Media Matters’ publication of a report asserting that ads for major brands were displayed alongside posts endorsing Nazism. X further contends that Media Matters employed manipulated algorithms and fake accounts to craft a narrative intended to besmirch the platform’s reputation. While applauding the theatricality, X questions the seriousness of such tactics.

Advertisers left in shambles

The aftermath was catastrophic, it seems. Big players like IBM, Apple, and Comcast ran for the hills, distancing themselves from X faster than you can say “cancel culture.”

Allegations of ads cozying up to pro-Nazi and white nationalist content created quite the stir, dealing a hefty blow to X’s attempts to win back the trust of those precious ad dollars. But hey, who needs advertisers when you’re fighting the good fight, right?

Still, X waltzed into federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, guns blazing, claiming that Media Matters knowingly and maliciously portrayed ads next to hateful material as a casual Tuesday for typical X users. According to the allegations, Media Matters deliberately followed the crème de la crème of “extreme fringe content” accounts and others owned by X’s major advertisers, then kept refreshing the feed until the desired outcome was on display. The result was a carefully curated feed designed to make advertisers jump ship, all captured on screenshots. Quite the strategic masterpiece, apparently.

Media Matters swiftly responded, dismissing the lawsuit as frivolous. Its president, Angelo Carusone, claimed that the legal action was a feeble attempt to silence critics. Undeterred, Media Matters boldly asserted its confidence in securing victory in court.

‘Free speech absolutism’ backfiring?

Now, let’s delve into the context – Elon Musk’s tumultuous tenure at the helm of X. Allegations of Musk turning a blind eye to anti-Semitic messages have circulated since his grand takeover over a year ago. Amid global tensions, including the Israel-Hamas war, Musk’s reluctance to censor ‘problematic’ posts on X only added more fuel to the already blazing controversy that is his leadership.

In response to the tumult, X CEO Linda Yaccarino stepped forward, pledging a commitment to combat discrimination on the platform.

In the unfolding saga of X’s legal battle against Media Matters, a complex narrative reveals Musk’s transformative influence on Twitter. He proclaims himself a “free speech absolutist” and this commitment transcends mere financial investment; it is a passionate endeavor to combat what Musk sees as a media swamp threatening free speech on his platform.

Having been a part of X since its inception (as Twitter), I’ve observed its evolution into an alternative internet, fostering diverse opinions within reasonable limits. The power to choose whom to follow or interact with should be a personal decision, free from external influence. Media Matters, with its apparent manipulative tactics, embarks on a questionable path of both exploiting that power and trying to punish Musk for bestowing it upon users.

In a coincidental twist, Media Matters president Carusone proudly claims responsibility for the #DumpTrump movement.

As the legal drama unfolds, the X vs. Media Matters saga becomes a spectacle – a masterclass in desperation where the line between truth and manipulation blurs. Whether this episode will establish a precedent for digital discourse or merely intensify chaos remains uncertain. The next act in this gripping Silicon Valley showdown promises more twists in this evolving narrative.

https://www.rt.com/news/587719-elon-musk-x-media-matters/

 

 

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