Shell Blocks Employee Access to Activist Website

?71,010 employees blocked from tweeting Oprah about Supreme Court murder case?

Houston, TX (October 2, 2012) ? Early Monday morning, 71,010 Shell employees received an email from the company’s “Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division” providing information on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a pivotal human rights case being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. The email contained links to news stories, as well as a tool to help employees tweet their feelings about the case at key US news anchors (and Oprah Winfrey).
The only thing is, Shell has no “Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division,” and they don’t want publicity for the case. The email was in fact the work of an activist group called People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM), who received the list of Shell emails from what they believe to be a group of disaffected employees. (A similar leak occurred two years ago.)
Within minutes of the email being sent out, Shell internally blocked the site, preventing employees from accessing it. “I would love to participate, but access is denied to all links you sent out,” wrote one employee among many. The 71,010 employees were informed this morning of the situation and the site’s new URL.
PALM intended the action to help shine a spotlight on the case, brought by the widow of Dr. Barinem Kiobel, who was hanged along with novelist Ken Saro-Wiwa for opposition to Shell’s drilling plans in West Africa. Shell is alleged to have aided paramilitary forces that raided more than 60 villages, killed over 800 people, and displaced 30,000 more.
To prevail, Shell lawyers must overturn a 200-year-old law, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), that compensates victims of international crimes. (The law has been used to compensate Holocaust survivors who sued for restitution from corporations that profited from slavery and forced labor during World War II.) Shell’s lawyers are arguing that their corporation is not subject to the ATS because it is not a person.
“When it comes to things like election spending, Shell and other corporations want to have all the rights of people,” said Sean Dagohoy from PALM. “But when accused of murder, Shell conveniently argues that they aren’t a person. A ruling in their favor would be a very dangerous precedent, and would badly undermine the United States’ reputation as a place that cares about human rights. That’s why we attempted to reach out to Shell employees to help get the word out.”
“Surely most Shell employees, like most people, don’t want multinationals to get away with murder just because murder’s convenient,” said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Lab, which provided technical assistance for the action.
“Shell needs to let its employees speak,” said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Lab. “They can prevent it for a day, but in the long run they have no choice.”
Contact
Sean Dagohoy
People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM)
Andy Bichlbaum or Mike Bonanno
The Yes Lab

Conservatives, Democrats and the convenience of denouncing free speech

Westerners love to decry censorship aimed at them by Muslims while ignoring the extreme censorship they impose on them

?guardian.co.uk,

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the State Department in Washington Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, on the recent deaths of Americans in Libya. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Nothing tests one’s intellectual honesty and ability to apply principles consistently more than free speech controversies. It is exceedingly easy to invoke free speech values in defense of political views you like. It is exceedingly difficult to invoke them in defense of views you loathe. But the true test for determining the authenticity of one’s belief in free speech is whether one does the latter, not the former. Continue reading “Conservatives, Democrats and the convenience of denouncing free speech”

Contemporary art and cultural clashes in kathmandu.

by Satish Sharma: Rotigraphy

THURSDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2012

“Artist advised to paint works that are pleasing …not satirical…socio political works can only be exhibited during gai jatra..?
Artist’s paintings should be self explanatory? “a picture should speak a 1000 words”.
Artists need to follow traditional parameters while painting religious iconography….modern interpretations will be considered blasphemous
The state can take action against artists if these guidelines are not observed”
Sangeeta Thapa on ?Facebook?quoting or paraphrasing the?official?’police’ reaction.
Watching the Kathmandu gallery episode unfold on social media is a fascinating eye opener . ?So much to learn ?so ?much to think about. so many spaces to open up. in the ?minds of artists and even their local audiences. Continue reading “Contemporary art and cultural clashes in kathmandu.”

Assassination attempt on Clinton suppressed by media

Israeli and U.S. Media Conspired to Block Attempted Assassination of Clinton
Political Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com
Hiding the event from the public makes the media guilty of treason.

Hilary Clinton meets politicians during her recent trip to Israel. There are reports that an assassination attempt had been made, which went largely unreported.vosizneias.com

(SALEM) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton survived an assassination attempt during an official visit to Israel this week, according to Israel Radio and Reuters.
Israel Radio broke the story. Normal security procedures that should have prevented any vehicle on open regions from coming within 200 meters of Clinton were not observed.
Those who follow news from the Middle east are probably not surprised by this. The United States as it turns out, is as devout in its support of Israel as it claims. The recent multiple standing ovations for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Congress, when he is an accused war criminal, apparently apparently mark an even greater dedication to Israel than the United States itself.
Ignoring an assassination attempt and hiding the event from the public makes the media guilty of treason. It really does. They have had their pants around their ankles for years, but this really takes the cake.
The media; CNN, BBC, all of the major networks and the New York Times itself, are worthless today. I have to admit I am shocked that the press actually chose to suppress and thus, misrepresent the event to the public.
Many critics of Israel claim that its political leaders are not working in the interest of anything except war and domination. They have remained determined first and foremost, to take physical possession of Palestine; and Clinton is willing to throw her dignity under the bus in support of it. What a bunch of dishonest deceivers they are.
According to Zee News in India,

  • There was an assassination attempt on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she was on an official visit to Israel, according to Israel Radio and a news agency.
  • Israel Radio broke the story earlier in the week, which was confirmed by sources inside Israel, but never mentioned again.
  • According to World Mathaba, the purported attack on Hillary was related to the current political upheaval in Israel — the aim being kill Hillary, blame Iran and take the focus off the domestic political meltdown in Tel Aviv.

The story grows darker. As we all know, at least five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria were murdered in a bus blast this week;
One of the only things we in this world can be sure of, is that Israel wants to wage a war on Iran. That is so exceedingly clear. Zee News is an established news agency in India.

  • According to sources, the attack on Hillary?s convoy, a minimum of three to five vehicles, travelling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, follows the story earlier of an attack on a bus loaded with Israeli tourists that exploded in Bulgaria, which killed six persons.
  • According to World Mathaba, both the Bulgaria attack and the attempted assassination of Hillary was a Mossad “false flag” operation.

If Americans are so determined to support Israel, perhaps they should move there, and that suggestion applies to all who value Israeli interests on a high level than those of the United States of America.
Israel is an apartheid state like South Africa; it is founded on the concept of racial superiority, it is not a nation of Holocaust survivors, and most of those who survived the horrors of the Nazi death machine do not favor Israel’s genocidal position toward Palestine, and they especially deplore Israel’s separate laws and roads for Jews and non-Jews.
Did Clinton make the mistake of driving on a Jewish-only road?
Was there an assassination attempt on Hillary in Israel? – Zee News
Was there an assassination attempt on Hillary Clinton in Israel? – News Track India
The rest of Hillary’s trip didn’t go too smoothly either. This was reported from Egypt.
The protesting crowds hailed the motorcade with vegetables and other objects, reportedly hitting one of the Egyptian officials in the convoy in the face. The American armored motorcade suffered only superficial damage while Hillary Clinton?s car remained intact.
There have been reports of the protesters chanting “Leave, Clinton? and “Monica, Monica,” presumably referring to the scandal with the secretary?s husband, former US President Bill Clinton?s extra-marital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Q & A: Censorship

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON CENSORSHIP

The previous postings in?Round One?and?Round Two?included answers from Australia, Europe and North America.
In this round, we hear from respondents in Australia, Bangladeshi, Canada and Israel.
This Q&A series follows on from Alasdair Foster?sinterview with Armani Nimerawi?on the subject of censorship, CDC asked artists and colleagues around the world three questions:

  1. Have you ever been censored?
  2. Can you give an example of justified censorship?
  3. If you ruled the world? how would the issues that lead to censorship be addressed?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
~

RUTHI OFEK

Ruthi Ofek is Director of the Open Museum of Tel Hai. Notably, this museum is situated in the heart of an industrial area and its mission is to break down barriers between the worlds of art and industry. Focusing on important national and international photographers, its programs are presented across five themed galleries. Additionally, once a year, it organises a group exhibition of graduate photography from Israeli art schools.

Have you ever been censored?

Yes, years ago, we had a student graduation exhibition. One of the students had thrown photographs of Israeli former Prime Ministers on the floor so that the visitors had to walk over them. It created a big scandal in the press and we were asked to change the position of the photographs, so they were re-displayed on the wall.

Can you give an example of justified censorship?

I can justify the censorship if it simply a personal attack, but not if it is an expression of free opinion.

If you ruled the world?

If I ruled the world, I would emphasis creativity focused on good ideas that would make the world a better place to live in. This is an optimistic wish, because I have three grandchildren!
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
~

WILLIAM YANG

William Yang has been hailed as one of Australia?s great storytellers. His very personal interweaving of narratives describes the experience of being a gay third-generation Chinese Australian in a country that was not always hospitable to people of different appearance or alternative sexual orientation. While he exhibits regularly and widely, his ultimate art form is the illustrated monologue for which he has won plaudits around the globe.

Have you ever been censored?

Yes I have been censored. Censoring covers a spectrum of attitudes from banning to disapproval. I like to show gay images: that is men having sex with men, and male nudity. Both these areas have met with degrees of disapproval.
Contemporary art practices generally favour pushing boundaries and the new. I have some idea which of my photos would provoke a disapproving response although you never really know until you put it out there in the public domain. I decide how far I want to go, whether an idea or attitude is worth pushing. So it?s a kind of self-censorship which is part of cultural socialization. It happens all the time in ordinary socialization.

Can you give an example of justified censorship?

An example of justified censorship was not showing the dead body of Osama Bin Laden for fear it would inflame the Muslin world. It would have been a provocative act.

If you ruled the world?

Most attitudes are the result of cultural conditioning. If I ruled the world I would like everyone to be exposed to different cultural attitudes. If there was an issue about, say, attitudes towards women, people should be exposed to cultures with different attitudes to this topic, and hopefully an understanding of position would come from this exposure. It?s better to know where a person is coming from and to have an attitude of live and let live, than to say ?You can?t do that? with its implication of ?My position is better?.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
~

DIANA THORNEYCROFT

Diana Thorneycroft is an award-winning?artist living in Winnipeg. Over the past three decades she has created challenging work that blends a shadowy narrative with an aesthetic that seduces even as it disturbs.? While her earlier work situates a living figure in a mythic space, her later images use dolls and toys to mine a troubled sensibility that is deeply engrained in the Canadian identity.?Canadian Art?magazine rated her ?Group of Seven Awkward Moments? in the top ten exhibitions of 2008.

Have you ever been censored?

There are several kinds of censorship: the big ?C? when work is removed from gallery walls due to public pressure, which I have never experienced; and the small ?c?, when exhibitions are refused, even though the work is strong, because of the risk it presents.
My exhibition ?The Body, It?s Lesson and Camouflage? had a remarkable tour despite the content being problematic for many viewers. For that I credit the institutions that accepted the show and the individuals who stood behind the work. In situations where galleries had a ?talk back? forum in place (where members of the public were encouraged to leave their comments) it was clear many visitors felt my photographs should be taken down. And, if it were up to them, the work would be (as one person wrote) ?burned out back with the rest of the garbage?.

Can you give an example of justified censorship?

Hands down, art work that deals with blatant child pornography. I know in some people?s minds this is subjective ? case in point, Sally Mann?s photographs of her kids, however I doubt her images would appear in a porn magazine.

If you ruled the world?

If I ruled the world I would implant little chips into every person?s brain that would cause temporary blindness as they approached an image that they would find too difficult to handle.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
~

SHAHIDUL ALAM

Shahidul Alam?is a photographer and social activist based in Dhaka. He set up?DRIK?photo agency in 1989 and in 1998 he founded?Pathshala:South Asian Institute of Photography, which recently became the?South Asian Media Academy. He is also a director of?Chobi Mela, Asia?s longest-running festival of photography. Widely respected internationally, he was the?first person of colour to chair the international jury of World Press Photo. His monograph??My journey as a witness??was published in 2011.

Have you ever been censored?

Censorship occurs in many ways, and I have faced it numerous times in my career. It?s happened in Bangladesh, where galleries have refused to show my work, sponsors have backed out, and our gallery and office have been surrounded by riot police preventing visitors from coming in. Overseas publications have been very keen to get my content. Until they discovered my work was critical of their practice, which was followed by a stony silence. Nothing, of course, was printed.
In Bangladesh there was also more indirect, but more disruptive action. This was not censorship in a strict sense, but a message sent in response to our actions. All telephone lines to our office were disconnected after we published a critical piece on our human rights portal. It took two and a half years to get our lines working again. I was attacked in a street that was protected by the military and received eight knife wounds on the day after we had organised a press conference protesting against the government using the military to round-up opposition activists.

Can you give an example of justified censorship?

This is a difficult one and I am wary of giving answers that might be used out of context, but I myself have withheld information where the location of a person who had death threats made against her would have been revealed, putting her life at risk.

If you ruled the world?

I do not believe the world should have a single ruler but, if I were in a position of influence, I would work towards developing a responsible attitude towards information and ensure there was a culture of sharing. If I were the gatekeeper, my primary goal would be to ensure I had gained sufficient trust for people to respect my judgement. There will always be information that has to be withheld at a particular point. If people feel the decision makers have integrity, then acceptance of such actions becomes less of an issue. However, any act of censorship would need to be justified, and clearly demonstrated to be in the interest of public good. That does open it up to the question of who defines public good and on what basis, but there is no way round that one.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Images:
A boy views the landscape through a camera obscura in front of the Open Museum of Photography Tel Hai [image ? the Museum]
?Tony and Michael? 1995 ? William Yang
untitled (snare)????Diana Thorneycroft
Cover of Shahidul Alam?s book ?My Journey as a Witness? [Skira Editore, 2011]

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The lead article for this short season on censorship is??On Liberty?and?Censorship?, an interview by Armani Nimerawi?with Alasdair Foster, sections of which were?published?in Capture magazine in May 2012.
You may also be interested Helen?Grace?s 2004?interview?with?Alasdair Foster for?ArtLink?magazine, in which they discussed??Staring in the Dark?,?an?exhibition?about artists who engage pornography.
Also?related?to this theme is the article?written?for The Bakery Art Centre in Perth:??Normality is not a Virtue?

Former Al-Jazeera journalist explains why he left over reporting on Syria and Bahrain

The prison gates are open…

Bio

Ali Hashem is a television journalist who recently resigned from his post as a war reporter for Al Jazeera. While working for Al Jazeera, he covered the revolution in Libya, Lebanese politics, and tension related to the Syrian uprising on the Syrian Lebanese borders. He also worked for the BBC and led the production team at Manar TV.

Transcript

Continue reading “Former Al-Jazeera journalist explains why he left over reporting on Syria and Bahrain”

Exposed: US press 'freedom'


Middle East
Nov 22, 2011
THE ROVING EYE

By Pepe Escobar

Last week, independent journalist Sam Husseini went to a news conference by Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia at Washington?s National Press Club – where Husseini is a member.
Then he did something that is alien to United States corporate media culture. He behaved as an actual journalist and asked a tough, pertinent, no-holds-barred question. Here it is, as relayed by Husseini’s blog:

I want to know what legitimacy your regime has, sir. You come before us, representative of one of the most autocratic, misogynistic regimes on the face of the earth. Human Rights Watch and other reports of torture, detention of activists, you squelched the democratic uprising in Bahrain, you tried to overturn the democratic uprising in Egypt and indeed you continue to oppress your own people. What legitimacy does your regime have – other than billions of dollars and weapons? [1]

Prince Turki, former Saudi intelligence supremo, former pal of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, former Saudi ambassador to the US, reacted by changing the subject. [2]
Continue reading “Exposed: US press 'freedom'”

Israel, Suppressed Story Verified

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 | Posted by 
Photo Accurate, Israel Lied Says French News Agency

AFP confirms veracity of debated Israeli abuse story

Agence France- Presse

Editor?s Note:  Israel Caught Lying About Apartheid Abuse:
?Following the surfacing of the photos, the Israeli Embassy in Washington had asked all American newspapers ?to consider ceasing to publish the photographs of Hazem Bader,? claiming both the caption and the photo of the injured worker were untrue and ?perhaps staged.?
AFP (Agence France-Presse) agency responded to criticism over a Jan. 25 photo showing an Israeli Army soldier driving a truck over the leg of an injured Palestinian construction worker, saying both the story and photo were valid.
A recent press release by the news agency said ?after several days of thorough research […] AFP wishes to confirm the veracity of both the picture and the accompanying photo caption.?

Confirmed as Accurate, Evidence of Criminal Assault Continue reading “Israel, Suppressed Story Verified”

BBC Bangla anniversary debate

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BBC Bangla anniversary debate on Channel i focuses on freedom of information

Date:?21.12.2011Last updated: 21.12.2011 at 15.01Category:?World Service

Bangladesh?s rapidly changing media scene will be in the focus of the special BBC Bangla programme to be broadcast on Channel i, marking the 70th anniversary of BBC Bangla in the year of the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh?s independence.

Produced by BBC Bangla in collaboration with Channel i and moderated by BBC Bangla Editor, Sabir Mustafa, the programme, Freedom of information in the internet age, will debate issues raised by the spread of television and advent of social media.
The debate panel will include: Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H T Imam; Editor of News Today, Reazuddin Ahmed; and Abu Saeed Khan, Secretary General of AMTOB, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh. An invited audience of some 200 people will ask the questions.
Sabir Mustafa will moderate the debate, asking about the challenges facing the traditional and new media: ?These challenges are coming from the social media revolution which has opened up new avenues to exchange information and debate. They are also coming from governments and other regulatory bodies which seek to restrict the freedom of the established media through legislation and to restrict the use of social media.?
The pre-recorded hour-long debate will be followed by an hour-long live studio discussion during which BBC Bangla presenter, Akbar Hossain, and studio guests – photographer and blogger Shahidul Alam of Drik, and leading journalist and former president of National Press Club, Shawkat Mahmud – will discuss comments on the topic, texted by viewers using the short code 16262.
The panel debate will be broadcast by Channel i at 7.50pm Bangladesh time on Thursday 22 December, and at 8pm on Saturday 24 December on BBC 100 FM in Dhaka and on shortwave 12035kHz and 9800kHz. The live discussion will go on air on Channel i at 7.50pm Bangladesh time on Friday 23 December.