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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Jimmy Carter Calls Out Israel on Permanent Apartheid

The US has withdrawn from tackling the Middle East's most intractable problem, says the former President

August 15, 2015
by Juan Cole
Truthdig Op-Ed

In an interview with the U.K.‘s Prospect magazine, former President Jimmy Carter is brutally frank in saying that all hope for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict has ended. “At this moment, there is zero chance of the two-state solution,” he said, according to journalist Bronwen Maddox.

That judgment is widely shared and not so controversial. It is what he said next that ruffled feathers in Israel: “The Netanyahu government decided early on to adopt a one-state solution … but without giving them [the Palestinians] equal rights.” In this sentence, he accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of having pursued, upon his election in 2009, a deliberate policy of relentlessly annexing and colonizing the Palestinian West Bank, ensuring that it will end up as part of Israel. At the same time, he said, Netanyahu conspired to ensure that the 4.2 million Palestinians under Israeli occupation remain stateless and without rights.

It seems fairly clear to any dispassionate observer of Netanyahu’s government that these steps are precisely the ones it has taken, and Carter is simply stating the obvious. But in the world of international diplomacy, it is customary to put some of the blame for this state of affairs on the Palestinians. Pro-Israeli critics run interference for Tel Aviv, insisting that the PLO, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, has declined perfectly reasonable negotiating offers and that Israel would be very happy to have someone take Palestine off its hands, if only it could receive security in return. Carter violated these conventions of “on the one hand” political discourse by baldly and correctly blaming the occupying authority for its illegal actions, rather than the helpless, occupied population.

Carter wasn’t done with Netanyahu. Not only is the two-state solution dead, the Palestinian West Bank being entirely stolen, the Palestinians doomed to be ruled by the Israelis in perpetuity—but Israeli society and politics are such that in the single state now forming under Netanyahu’s iron fist, Palestinians “will never get equal rights.” In short, he implicitly called Israel an apartheid state in which the only hope for the Palestinians is to achieve at least “more equal rights.” 

 Carter began warning of Israeli racial exclusion with regard to West Bank Palestinians in his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” It was arguably the first time someone of Carter’s stature had dared use the word in this context, and it produced vehement attacks on the former president from the Israel lobbies. Fourteen pro-Israel advisers on the board of his foundation noisily resigned in order to embarrass him.

He was initially disinvited from speaking at Brandeis University unless he would share the podium with gadfly Alan Dershowitz, an offer he declined. When he did go to the campus in January of 2007, he said, “This is the first time that I’ve ever been called a liar and a bigot and anti-Semite and coward and plagiarist. … This has hurt me.” Given that Carter’s Camp David Accords in 1979 had protected Israel from the Egyptian army, its only credible foe, the vehemence of the denunciations seemed ungrateful, to say the least.

Without doubt, the lobbies’ extensive reach helped marginalize Carter in many important quarters. Although Carter himself denied it, there were allegations that the former president was, contrary to custom, excluded from speaking at the 2008 Democratic Party convention out of fear of offending pro-Israel donors.

The phrase is, of course, inexact if applied to Israel proper, where 20 percent of the population is Palestinian and has the right to vote as well as most other rights of citizenship (though unrecognized Israeli-Palestinian villages are treated in a discriminatory way by the state).  

But Israel has ruled the West Bank since 1967 without giving Palestinians any basic rights, and some South Africans have been so appalled by the situation there that they say it is actually worse than the former white apartheid system in their country. 

 As in so many other matters, the views of nonagenarian Carter have largely prevailed. Secretary of State John Kerry warned last year against Israel becoming an apartheid state. The goal post has moved, so that saying Israel is moving toward that eventuality is commonplace even among high U.S. officials (Kerry had to clarify that he didn’t mean Israel had already become an apartheid state). But there is not much point tiptoeing around the issue. Even a majority of the Israeli public agreed in a 2012 poll that there are elements of apartheid in the Israeli system.

One reason the word “apartheid” is so charged is that it is now an actionable crime under the Rome Statute, ratified in 2002, that created the International Criminal Court. To the extent that the judges there are affected by public opinion and international norms, the public stance of someone of Jimmy Carter’s stature is potentially important if Palestine brings an action against Tel Aviv on this basis.

Carter is beginning a fight against liver cancer, which he will no doubt pursue with the same steely-eyed determination he has shown in all of his political and social crusades. His forthright declaration of the end of any hope for a two-state solution is a twilight jeremiad about the darkness to come. There is going to be a single state in Israel-Palestine, he is saying. And Palestinians are not going to have the rights of citizens in it—just as the Bantustan KwaZulu remained under South African suzerainty even as its people had their South African citizenship revoked. It isn’t acceptable to the former president. It shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

Interview with Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom was the founder of Megaupload, its successor Mega, and New Zealand's Internet Party. A while ago you had a chance to ask him about those things as well as the U.S. government charging him with criminal copyright violation and racketeering.

Kim Dotcom Answers Your Questions

July 30, 2015

Politics - Internet Party and the TPP by vinn
So you've recently taken a foray into politics with the formation of the Internet Party. What are your thoughts about what's needed to actually improve New Zealand politics? One of the stated goals of the Internet Party is to review the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which has recently become a hot topic in the US as well. What are your thoughts on the TPP? 

The TPP is for the benefit of corporations and their wealthy shareholders. It does not benefit citizens. Prices will go up, human rights will be reduced and if you'll ever have a health issue you'll end up paying more. It's a corrupt treaty, paid for by the lobbyists of the rich, bribing politicians to do their bidding in expanding monopolies to the detriment of the people. That is why they have to keep the text of the TPP secret. That is why their PR machine (the mainstream media) is drumming a pro TPP narrative.

Do your homework and within an hour of online research you will realize that the TPP isn't helping you. It's toxic.The Internet Party will continue to fight against increasing inequality and the reduction of our rights and freedoms. If you want to launch the Internet Party in your country to make a difference please contact us. We are happy to make our branding, policies and advise available to you. We can't do it alone. We need your help.

Mana party 

by Anonymous Coward

You created the "internet party" as a fight against privacy laws being tramped in your adopted country, helped shape policy and pushed for "digital rights" not just for yourself but others.

Yet your "party" formed an alliance with the "mana party" who once claimed that broadband was stealing the soul of the country and sought compensation from the Govt, a party who has never gotten more the 1.30% of the popular vote, Nationalisation of monopolies and duopolies (which means they will never get any business votes, and which constricts their only policy of "for the people" (aren't people allowed to make profit?)

I was absolutely with the "internet party" and digital rights, until they made a coalition with the "mana" party. Was this a choice that you had a part in for the betterment of the political party you bankrolled, or was this out of control?

We joined forces with Mana for 2 simple reasons:

1. Mana is the party of the poor and disadvantaged. They fight against inequality. They want a government that is helping those that are struggling. I think that's honorable. And if you ever get into a situation where you need your government to help you out I think you would be glad that there is a party that cares about your urgent needs. Society has grown cold and selfish. We need to be more considerate for those who really need help. That's why I support Mana. I do admit that they had some radical &unrealistic ideas. It was our job to explain that to them and work with them on better ideas. They were good listeners and had the wisdom to change.

2. We started the Internet Party only 6 months before the election. Mana was our most likely ticket into parliament. It was a strategic decision because we would not have reached the threshold of 5% on the first run. It is extremely difficult for a brand new political movement to achieve the minimum 5% required to get into parliament. It was a gamble. We all knew that it was risky but we had to try. It didn't work out and I took full responsibility for that. In 2017 the Internet Party will run again, solo. We will have more time to prepare for the election and work hard to convince the electorate that we are worthy of making it into parliament.

Modern Warfare 3 

 by Spy Handler

Did you achieve your rank all by yourself, or were there other people you shared your account with?

What is your favorite
-Game type? (Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, etc)

Any other comments or stories you'd like to share about your COD experience?

I played on my account the vast majority of the time. I have always achieved the #1 spot in any Call of Duty without help. But to maintain the #1 spot I would sometimes ask someone to help me out when I had long business meetings or other time consuming engagements. I played free-for-all and I had so many players chasing my #1 spot that it would have been impossible to maintain it without help because of my time constraints.

A story I like to share is this: I would rarely verse players in free-for-all who could impress me. Especially in 1on1 matches. But every now and then there was a standout talent. One kid impressed me with his skills and I decided to sponsor him to become a top competitive player. If given the opportunity he could win COD champs one day. We became good friends and he is currently living at the mansion and we play video games together.

I'm in love with Destiny at the moment. AW was a disappointment but I can't wait for Black Ops 3 to come out.

Perspective on jurisdictionally conflicting laws 

by Capt.Gingi

What are your thoughts on the conflict of laws between jurisdictions with specific regard to how countries like the U.S. can claim jurisdiction over the actions of people and business in other countries if U.S. citizens seek to use the internet to purchase or use services not available in their own country? 

The US Justice system is a tool of a US empire that wants to control the world. Isn't it arrogant for a US judge, who is limited to US laws, to destroy businesses and jobs half way around the world, without any due process? This is the world we live in today. You are all governed by US laws. They can take ownership of your assets and do it without you ever getting heard, without any due process. It happened to me, in a COPYRIGHT case. 

I have never traveled to or lived in the United States and my business wasn't located there either. Based on my experience the US Justice system deserves no respect. Alleged criminals are tortured into submission with the threat of decades in jail and forced to make plea deals even when they are completely innocent like our software programmer Andrus Nomm. He could not take the pressure anymore and decided to make a deal. That isn't Justice. It's a rigged game, with a completely unfair power balance, designed to give the Government more wins.

I'm strong enough and I will fight for the future of my children and for Internet Freedom. The DOJ knows that this case is toxic.They know I'm not a criminal copyright infringer. In fact the New Zealand Govt has tried to negotiate a deal with my lawyers, on behalf of the US, to settle this case. The solicitor general of New Zealand had proposed that this case could go away if I was willing to accept some copyright liability under New Zealand law. No extradition required. I told my lawyers that I'm innocent and that I'm not interested. And the next thing you know is the Attorney General of New Zealand offering my main NZ counsel a job as a judge. I'm dealing with an unethical system that is willing to rig the game just to win. That's when I decided to start the Internet Party.

Location, location, location 

by nut

If, hypothetically, you had emigrated to San Francisco USA rather than NZ and Megaupload had been a US-based company do you think it would have been more or less vulnerable to the kind of action it was shut down by? Bonus points for an insightful discussion of the value of political contributions, etc. 

The US government would not have taken such overreaching and drastic action if 220 Americans would have lost their jobs. There has never been a case like this before and never since the almost 4 years since the raid. The DOJ called this a test case. The New Zealand government is so corrupt and so eager to please the US that they did not even question any of the bogus legal theories the DOJ is using in this case. The only hope they have is that I don't have the funds to afford a good legal defense, which is why they are pursuing an aggressive starve-out strategy.

End game 

by Sigvatr

Do you foresee an eventual end game to copyright infringement legislation in the future, or a moment when copyright holders throw their hands in the air and give up for good? 

As long as there is a giant lobbying industry in America and politicians who allow themselves to be bribed by lobbyists it will just get worse. The vast majority of politicians today are not working for the people. They work for those who keep them in power. The banks and corporations. The US government is so openly corrupt it is hard to understand how the American people let them get away with it. I hope at the next election America will vote for someone who makes it his or her priority to get rid of the money influence in politics.

If you could rewrite copyright 

by NotInHere

What would be your proposed copyright rule set, so that content producers still can live off their creations? 

Copyrights & technology need to co-exist. Copyright creators need to adapt to new technologies and not the other way around. The Internet is threatening the old copyright models but it is also offering an enormous opportunity to monetize copyright with innovative concepts that are better than those of the past. Today we are living in a world of copyright extremism. It is completely misguided and it's hurting technology companies and the Internet as a whole. I believe that the companies and people creating content should be compensated for their work and investments. But just like any other industry the copyright industry has to evolve, constantly. It isn't right to censor the Internet and stifle innovation just because the creative industry is struggling to find newer, better business models.

End to End Crypto 

by psyclone

Is there a market in the world for strong cryptographic file sharing? Meaning only the end users control their private keys and the "network" just connects users -- it never knows the keys.

Or does that only work on the small scale such as one user sharing some files with a few friends. If that same user shared those files with ten thousand friends, then would the sharing would be public as the keys would be "leaked" by nature of lots of people having them? (And thus those files could be examined for copyright infringement.)

Yes. The booming encryption market has been created by the actions of the US government. Businesses that offer verifiably safe encryption will outperform those that don't. Now that the people are aware of what's going on they will demand more privacy options from the services and products they purchase. Governments will struggle to stop or control encryption and technology will prevail. That is good for all of us. But it's sad that technology has to safeguard our human rights because our governments failed to do so.

Mega Technique 

by Anonymous Coward

I've seen some criticism from open source advocates and hackers that Mega can't be trusted because the source isn't available.What assurance could you give someone to the point that their files may not be kept secret while hosted on your platform? 

I'm not involved in Mega anymore. Neither in a managing nor in a shareholder capacity. The company has suffered from a hostile takeover by a Chinese investor who is wanted in China for fraud. He used a number of straw-men and businesses to accumulate more and more Mega shares. Recently his shares have been seized by the NZ government. Which means the NZ government is in control. In addition Hollywood has seized all the Megashares in the family trust that was setup for my children. 

As a result of this and a number of other confidential issues I don't trust Mega anymore. I don't think your data is safe on Mega anymore. 

But my non-compete clause is running out at the end of the year and I will create a Mega competitor that is completely open source and non-profit, similar to the Wikipedia model. I want to give everyone free, unlimited and encrypted cloud storage with the help of donations from the community to keep things going.

What drives you to keep going? 

by Joe Gillian

I've seen many a file-sharing site shutter its doors or become overly restrictive after even the merest hint of action by law enforcement officials, doing things like requiring logins to upload or download, sometimes even requiring people to sign in via social media (4Shared). The end result is that a lot of these places become borderline unusable.

Unlike a lot of those website operators, you have personally been dragged out of your home by law enforcement and had actions taken against MegaUpload by the United States government. It could be argued that you have more to fear as a "face" of file-sharing that the Department of Justice would want to make an example out of than pretty much any other file-sharing or torrent tracker operator out there (apart from maybe the Pirate Bay founders).

So my question is this: What drives you to keep going with Mega after having such things happen to you? What kind of mindset does it take to (metaphorically) keep spitting in the face of the United States government after having them raid your house by proxy?

It ain't easy. I had to carry a lot of pain and fear for a lot of people in the last few years. They destroyed my business. They took everything I worked for and seized all my assets.They destroyed my family and drove my wife back into depression and alcoholism which destroyed the happy family we once had. So many people suffered as a result of the unjust actions by both the US and New Zealand governments. I thought about giving up. Who wouldn't in such a situation. 

But I have to fight because I have such a huge responsibility. First and foremost I have to fight for my five children. They need me. Unfortunately they can't rely on anybody else. And of course I'm fighting for all of you. If I give up all of you will lose. They will use this case to turn our Internet to shit. I love the Internet. It gave me everything. I believe in Internet freedom, in your right to share, in your right to privacy. With your help and your support I can do it. I want to win this fight for all of us. 

To anyone who is interested in this case I recommend that you read this document to understand the corruption behind the mercenary law enforcement action that led to the destruction of Megaupload.

Just one: 

by Opportunist

Was it worth it? 

Dotcom: Yes!