A Third of the World’s Countries Have Restricted Social Media Access Since 2015 – Activist Post

20-12-20 09:48:00,

Surfshark launches a live tracker to monitor social media censorship around the world.

Privacy protection company Surfshark analyzed 185 countries and their social media blocking practices from 2015 to present day, seeking to evaluate the extent of social media censorship. The research shows that 62 out of the 185 analyzed countries blocked or heavily restricted social media access in the past five years.

Six countries – China, North Korea, Iran, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar – have ongoing social media or VoIP app bans (i.e., Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber). The study has found no evidence of previous social media restrictions in the remaining 123 countries.

Key findings of the study:

  • More than half of all Asian countries have been limiting access to social media.
  • Cutting off access to social media is a common practice in African countries, especially during elections, protests, demonstrations, or exams.
  • At least 14 countries in Africa have restricted access to social media in the past due to elections.
  • Australia and Oceania had zero recorded cases of social media restrictions.
  • The practice of limiting social media access is usually the product of anti-democratic governments seeking to suppress citizens’ freedom.
  • Social media blocking in most countries is more of an on-and-off occurrence instead of a permanent decision.

“Over the last decade, social media has established itself as a key political player of its own. However, as its influence grows, so does the governments’ desire to censor it by introducing new laws, restricting access, or blocking social media altogether,” says Gabrielle Racai, Communications manager at Surfshark. “What’s especially concerning is the increasing number of countries that block or censor the internet amid the elections. Governments in Belarus, Tongo, Burundi, and Tanzania have already shut down social media during elections in 2020”.

As the study shows, in most social media blocking cases, the governments justify the need to sanction restrictions due to security concerns or to stop the spread of false information or inappropriate content. However, the officials are often blocking social media sites to stop the spread of information and cut the means of communication during protests and demonstrations.

 » Lees verder

One Third Of Biden’s Pentagon Transition Team Funded By Weapons Industry

14-11-20 10:00:00,

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

Earlier this week Joe Biden released a list of transition teams for the various departments in his future White House. The Pentagon transition team for Biden consists of 23 people, many of whom hail from hawkish think tanks.

The team is led by Kathleen Hicks, who worked in the Pentagon under the Obama administration. Hicks most recent employer is the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies (CSIS), a think tank that receives contributions from arms makers like Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, to name a few.


CSIS also receives contributions from governments. The think tank’s top government donors are the US, the UAE, Taiwan, and Japan. Two other CSIS employees are on the transition team; Andrew Hunter and Melissa Dalton, who both worked in the Pentagon under the Obama administration.

CSIS employees author policy papers and Op-Eds that generally call for more US involvement around the world. In August, Hicks co-authored an Op-Ed in The Hill titled, “Pentagon Action to Withdraw from Germany Benefits Our Adversaries,” a piece that slammed Trump’s plan to draw down troops from Germany, which Biden could to call off.

Two members of the transition team come from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Susanna Blume, a former Pentagon employee, and Ely Ratner, who served as deputy national security advisor to then-vice president Joe Biden from 2015 to 2017.

CNAS is another think tank that enjoys hefty donations from weapons makers, major corporations, and governments. From 2019 to 2020, CNAS received at least $500,000 from the US State Department and at least $500,000 from Northrop Grumman. Other donors include Google, Facebook, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin.


Three more team members list their latest employer as the RAND Corporation, Stacie Pettyjohn, a wargaming expert, Christine Wormuth, who held a few roles in the Obama administration, and Terri Tanielian, a behavioral scientist.

RAND is another hawkish think tank that receives the bulk of its funding from the US government,

 » Lees verder

London Is The Third Most-Surveilled City In The World

25-07-20 12:53:00,

According to a study by research website Comparitech, most of the world’s most surveilled cities are located in China.

The country has been making headlines for its intense use of surveillance technology and, as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz details below, is featured heavily throughout the whole ranking that looked at the 150 most populous cities worldwide, excluding those for which insufficient data was available.

The Chinese city of Taiyuan, located in the Shanxi province roughly 300 miles Southwest of Beijing, tops the list with 120 public CCTV cameras per 1,000 inhabitants.

Infographic: The Most Surveilled Cities in the World | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

The highest-ranked non-Chinese city is London, also notorious for its strict surveillance of public spaces, with 67 cameras per 1,000 people, with Los Angeles the highest-ranked U.S. city in the ranking with 6 cameras per 1,000 inhabitants.

CCTV technology is controversial in many places around the world, with proponents touting its benefits for fighting crime and opponents cautious about surveillance’s potential to be used as a tool of public control and to violate privacy rights.

The makers of the survey said that they found little correlation between lower crime rates or a heightened feeling of security and surveillance in the cities surveyed.

 » Lees verder

Third Major Transfer From The Middle Class To The Wealthy In 20 Years

28-04-20 07:24:00,

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

The Fed is robbing the middle class once again…

For the third time in 20 years, the Fed has targeted the middle class for the benefit of the wealthy.

Don’t believe Fed lies. Its bailout of risky debt including junk bonds helps investors, not employees. 

Once again, the Fed Punishes Prudence.

The Fed will deploy more than $1.45 trillion in support of investors in leveraged assets—more than double the size of the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program, and over $7,000 for each working-age American. That includes $750 billion to purchase recently downgraded junk bonds and bond exchange-traded funds—an unprecedented intervention in the private credit markets.

Pumping trillions of dollars into corporate credit and even high-yield debt will further distort markets already shaped by a decade of easy-money policies. This is no abstract concern. The result will be an acceleration of two economy-wide transfers of wealth: from the middle class to the affluent and from the cautious to the reckless.

The transfer from the middle class to the wealthy continues a trend begun in the wake of the 2007-09 financial crisis. 

But bankruptcies among highly leveraged businesses often pose surprisingly little risk to employment. More often than not, creditors choose to keep businesses staffed even when restructuring to retain value for the long-term. By preventing these bankruptcies, the Fed is doing more for equity holders and junior creditors than for employees.

Almost Spot On

Authors Sam Long and Alexander Synkov are almost spot on.

What did they get wrong?

This trend did not begin in the wake of the 2007-09 financial crisis.. Rather it’s been an ongoing process. 

Importantly, this is the third major acceleration in the process. 

  1. The first major acceleration began in the wake of the dot-com bust when the Fed bailed out the lenders who made loans to worthless companies. Housing prices soared to the moon as the Fed stood by and watched. Bernanke denied there was a bubble. The transfer of wealth to the likes of companies like Countrywide Financial was massive.

  2. The Second acceleration was in response to the bust.

 » Lees verder

Israel’s Third Election: Netanyahu Wins, Justice Loses – Global Research

10-03-20 05:06:00,

Israel just completed its third national election in less than a year. The first two votes in April and September 2019 ended in an impasse with no party able to form a governing coalition of 61 Knesset Members (i.e. a majority of the 120-member body). While the result of this third round appears to be as muddled as first two, it also consolidated several profoundly disturbing trends that are shaping Israeli politics.

It is not as if nothing happened in the intervening months since Israelis first went to the polls in April. In fact, there were a number of dramatic developments.

In the first place, Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud Party and current Prime Minister, was formally indicted on charges of political and financial corruption. His trial may begin in just a few weeks. His attempt to secure immunity from prosecution failed. Now Netanyahu’s opponents are attempting to pass legislation that would bar a Knesset Member under indictment, meaning, of course, Netanyahu, from serving as prime minister.

The past few months also saw the release of the Trump Administration’s “Deal of the Century”. Since it gave Netanyahu everything he could have hoped for, the “Deal” might be better called “Trump’s Gift of the Century”. In remarks delivered in Jerusalem just a week before the election, Netanyahu described the benefits of the “Deal” in this way:

“For the last three years I’ve worked very closely with a good friend of mine, President Trump…to fashion a different plan for peace in the Middle East…

“A few weeks ago, I stood as an Israeli prime minister in Washington next to the president of the United States, who said that the United States will recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and all the… Jewish communities large and small, in Judea and Samaria. This is a breakthrough…”

Another factor that impacted this round was the extent to which Netanyahu’s opponents surrendered in the face of his continued racist incitement against Israel’s Palestinian Arab citizens. Netanyahu continued to insist that should Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue-White Party, be victorious, he would “partner with terror supporters” (which is the way Netanyahu describes Arabs) to form a new government.

 » Lees verder