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Ed Webb

Ethiopia and Egypt Are Already at War Over the Nile Dam. It's Just Happening in Cybersp... - 0 views

  • the group calling themselves the Cyber_Horus Group in late June hacked more than a dozen Ethiopian government sites, replacing each page with their own creation: an image of a skeleton pharaoh, clutching a scythe in one hand and a scimitar in the other. “If the river’s level drops, let all the Pharaoh’s soldiers hurry,” warned a message underneath. “Prepare the Ethiopian people for the wrath of the Pharaohs.”
  • Rarely have young people been so passionate about an infrastructure project. But the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be Africa’s largest, is more than just a piece of infrastructure. It has become a nationalistic rallying cry for both Ethiopia and Egypt—two countries scrambling to define their nationhood after years of domestic upheaval. Many Ethiopians and Egyptians are getting involved in the only way they can—online—and fomenting the first African cyberconflict of its kind, one with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.
  • Today, there are several entries for the GERD on Google Maps, most earning middling 3 to 4 stars ratings, buoyed by five-star ratings with feedback such as, “One of the great architectural dam in the World!” but weighed down by one-star complaints including, “You’re gonna make us die from thirst.”
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  • Tensions escalated this year, as the U.S.-brokered negotiations between Ethiopia and Egypt unraveled and new talks mediated by the African Union began
  • The Ethiopian government does broadly engage in “computational propaganda,” according to a 2019 report from the Oxford Internet Institute. Agencies there use human-run social media accounts to spread pro-government propaganda, attack the opposition, and troll users. The same goes for the Egyptian government.
  • Social media users from the two countries frequently collide on the Internet, but seem to do so most often on Adel el-Adawy’s Twitter page: As a member of a prominent Egyptian political dynasty, a professor at the American University in Cairo, and the most visible disseminator of the Egyptian perspective on the dam in English, he has amassed a significant following. Adawy, whose pinned tweet is a picture of himself shaking hands with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, posts frequently about the Nile and Ethiopian affairs, especially when things get sticky.
  • It’s possible that the engagement is coming from concerned Ethiopians at home and abroad, at the encouragement but not the behest of Ethiopian officials. “I have friends who joined Twitter just for the sake of this. It’s highly emotional and nationalistic,” said Endalkachew Chala, an Ethiopian communications professor at Hamline University in Minnesota.
  • Construction of the dam was completed in July, and the filling of its reservoir started soon after amid heavy rains but before an agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan was signed. The U.S. government, a top source of aid for both Ethiopia and Egypt, said in August that it would halt some aid to Ethiopia over what it saw as a unilateral move to progress with the dam.
  • For both countries—Egypt since the 2011 fall of Mubarak and Ethiopia since the 2012 death of strongman Prime Minister Meles Zenawi—national identity has been in flux
  • the first known time these kinds of digital tools have been used by people from one African country against people from another, said Gilbert Nyandeje, founder and CEO of the Africa Cyber Defense Forum. “It only means one thing. It means we should expect this more and more.”
  • at the core of Egyptian identity is the Nile, so bolstering nationalism means defending the Nile, too. And officials have encouraged this outlook: One sleekly produced video shared on Facebook by the Ministry of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs warned, “More than 40 million Egyptians are facing the threat of drought and thirst.… The cause of water shortage is Ethiopia building a dam five times bigger than its needs.”
  • a show of vulnerability rare in Arab power politics. But the strategy has helped garner global sympathy for Egypt, even as its Nile claims are framed by Ethiopia as the result of unjust colonial-era agreements in which Egypt’s interests were represented by British colonizers.
  • the dam provided a unifying issue around which Ethiopians of all ethnic backgrounds could rally. “We do have a lot of divisions—ideological, ethnic, tribal, religious,” said Chala, the Ethiopian professor. “But even though we have these bitter divisions, Ethiopians have overwhelmingly supported this Nile dam especially on social media.”
  • Ethiopian officials, meanwhile, continue to encourage Ethiopians to post about the dam online and often use the #ItsMyDam hashtag in their own social media posts. This use of social media to rally around the dam has also meant that Ethiopia’s massive global diaspora can get involved, without having to worry about frequent in-country Internet shutdowns that otherwise curtail online movements there.
  • The thousands of Ethiopian refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants living in Egypt are now facing greater pressure and harassment from Egyptian citizens and authorities since the dam tensions started to heat up
  • in Ethiopia, it has meant that any domestic criticism of the dam from an environmentalist point of view—namely, that it could disrupt ecosystems and biodiversity, even within Ethiopia—is met with derision
  • for both countries, surging nationalist sentiment means that it’s harder for officials to agree to, and for the public to accept, compromise
  • the main sticking points now are related to dispute resolution, drought contingency plans, and future upstream projects. And yet, much of the online rhetoric remains maximalist, even rejecting items that have already been unanimously decided—such as the existence of an Ethiopian Nile dam in any form—raising the possibility that the online tensions and attacks may not subside anytime soon
Ed Webb

Flame and Stuxnet Cousin Targets Lebanese Bank Customers, Carries Mysterious Payload | ... - 0 views

  • Gauss marks the first time that apparently nation-state-created malware has been found stealing banking credentials, something that is commonly seen in malware distributed by criminal hacking groups.
  • Gauss appears to have been created sometime in mid-2011 and was first deployed in September or October of last year, around the same time that DuQu was uncovered by researchers in Hungary. DuQu was an espionage tool discovered on machines in Iran, Sudan, and other countries around August 2011 and was designed to steal documents and other data from machines. Stuxnet and DuQu appeared to have been built on the same framework, using identical parts and using similar techniques. Flame and Stuxnet also shared a component, and now Flame and Gauss have been found to be using similar code as well.
  • Extrapolating from the number of infected Kaspersky customers, they speculate that there may be as many as tens of thousands of other victims infected with Gauss. By comparison, Stuxnet infected more than 100,000 machines, primarily in Iran. DuQu infected an estimated 50 machines, but was not geographically focused. Flame is estimated to have infected about 1,000 machines in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.
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  • Kaspersky suggests that “white” in the file name may refer to Lebanon, a name said to be derived from the Semitic root letters “lbn,” which are also the root letters for “white.” Although in Arabic — a Semitic language — white is “abayd,” in Hebrew — also a Semitic language — the word for white is “lavan,” which comes from the root letters “lbn.”
  • Like Flame, Gauss is modular, so that new functionality can be swapped in and out, depending on the needs of the attackers. To date, only a few modules have been uncovered — these are designed to steal browser cookies and passwords, harvest system configuration data including information about the BIOS and CMOS RAM, infect USB sticks, enumerate the content of drives and folders, and to steal banking credentials as well as account information for social networking accounts, e-mail and instant messaging.
  • Gauss also installs a custom font called Palida Narrow, the purpose of which is not known. The use of a custom font designed by the malware authors is reminiscent of DuQu, which used a font called Dexter fabricated by its creators to exploit victim machines. Kaspersky has found no malicious code in the Palida Narrow font files and has no idea why it’s in the code, though the font contains Western, Baltic and Turkish symbols.
  • the USB module appears to be aimed at bridging an airgap and getting the payload onto systems that are not connected to the internet, as it had been used previously to get Stuxnet onto industrial control systems in Iran that were not connected to the internet. As noted, the payload is only unleashed on systems that have a specific configuration. That specific configuration is currently unknown, but Schoewenberg says it has to do with paths and files that are on the system. This suggests that the attackers have extensive knowledge about what is on the target system they are seeking.
Ed Webb

Exclusive: UK's secret Mid-East internet surveillance base is revealed in Edward Snowde... - 0 views

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    It seems fairly clear that this article is based on a deliberate leak by UK officials to a) argue that signals intelligence efforts are valuable to national security of UK & US and b) to head off any temptation on the part of Greenwald/Guardian to publish on this element of Snowden's materials.
Ed Webb

Melody Moezzi: A Muslim's Defense of Geert Wilders - 1 views

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    Classic Voltarian argument; classic internet comment thread...
anonymous

Freedomhouse Report: Libya - 0 views

  • al-Qadhafi has sought to promote the status of women and to encourage them to participate in his Jamahiriya project
  • e directly challenged the prevailing conservatism in Libya, though his regime at times has struck a conciliatory tone with the Islamist political opposition and the conservative populace at the expense of women's rights
  • al-Qadhafi has pushed for women to become equal citizens and has introduced legislation aimed at reducing discrimination between the sexes.
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  • provide women with greater access to education and employment
  • These efforts by the state have run against Libya's extremely conservative patriarchal tr
  • ditions and tribal culture, which continue to foster gender discrimination.
  • or example, women still face unequal treatment in many aspects of family law.
  • o not permit any genuinely independent organizations or political groups to exist. Membership in any group or organization that is not sanctioned by the state is punishable by death under Law No. 71 of 1972. There are a number of women's organizations in Libya that purport to be independent, but they are all in fact closely linked to the state. Consequently, their efforts to promote women's emancipation have yielded little progress.
  • promote a greater awareness of domestic violence and the fact that more women are entering the workforce.
  • government temporarily restricted women from leaving the country without their male guardian, a step that the authorities later denied.
  • Libya has no constitution
  • aws and key declarations
  • 1977 Declaration of the Authority of the People and the 1988 Great Green Charter of Human Rights in the Age of the Masses (Great Green Charter).
  • In addition, Article 1 of Law No. 20 of 1991
  • Women have been eligible to become judges since 1981, although they remain underrepresented in the judiciary. The first female judge was appointed in 1991, and currently there are an estimated 50 female judges
  • An adult woman is recognized as a full person before the court and is equal to a man throughout all stages of litigation and legal proceedings. However, in some instances, women are not considered to be as authentic witnesses as men.
  • Libya acceded to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1989. At that time, it made reservations to Article 2 and Article 16, in relation to rights and responsibilities in marriage, divorce, and parenthood, on the grounds that these articles should be applied without prejudice to Shari'a. Libya made an additional general reservation in 1995, declaring that no aspect of accession can conflict with the laws of personal status derived from Shari'a.[15]
  • In June 2004, Libya became the first country in the Arab region to ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.[16] The protocol allows Libyan groups and individuals to petition the UN CEDAW committee if they believe their rights under the convention have been violated.[17] However, because the committee can only issue nonbinding recommendations to states in response to these petitions, the practical effects of the protocol remain unclea
  • There are no genuinely independent nongovernmental women's rights groups in Libya. Several women's organizations claim to be independent, such as Al-Wafa Association for Human Services, which seeks to improve the status of women and "to further women's education and social standing."[18] However, all such organizations have close ties to the authorities. The charity Al-Wattasimu, for example, organized an international conference on women's rights in Tripoli in April 2007. Participants sought to draft new concepts and principles on women's rights and "to realize a strategic support group project for African women."[19] Al-Wattasimu is run by Aisha al-Qadhafi, the daughter of Muammar al-Qadhafi.
  • zations claim to be independent, such as Al-Wafa Association for Human Services, which seeks to improve the status of
  • has encoura
  • ged women to participate in the workforce and to exercise their economic rights.
  • Society in general still considers women's primary role to be in the home. While more young women in Libya aspire to pursue professional careers, their working lives are often cut short when they marry.
  • Their political rights and civic voice remain extremely limited on account of the nature of the regime and the fact that all political activity must be sanctioned by the authorities. Recent years have brought no real change in this respect, and women continue to play a marginal role in state institutions. For example, just 36 women gained s
  • eats in the 468-seat General People's Congress in the March 2009 indirect elections
  • Women remain underrepresented in the judiciary, with none serving on the Supreme Court
  • nces. For all its discourse on women's rights, the regime clearly remains extremely reluctant to appoint women to senior positions.
  • Women are even less likely to participate in the Basic People's Congresses in rural areas, and in some cases those who do attend choose to do so indirectly on account of conservative social attitudes.
  • Women have gained access to new sources of information in recent years, but the extent to which they can use this information to empower themselves in their civic and pol
  • itical lives remains limited by the general restrictions on independent political activity.
  • gime. Women increasingly use the Internet as a source of information, though satellite television, which is more accessible, is the most influential medium
  • t the same time, social and cultural attitudes are being influenced by growing access to satellite television and the Internet, and by a partial opening in the domestic media, which has led to an increased awareness of women's issues and greater room for discussion. The expansion of mobile telephone access has also give
  • n women a greater degree of freedom, especially in dealings with the opposite sex.
Ed Webb

This Intifada Will Be Digital - The Black Iris - 3 views

  • In these 15 years, we went from an era where mainstream media dominated the narrative, to an era where social media dominates it. This isn’t a time when the mainstream sees the online as a playful mechanism of democratized media (or an opportunity to present their brands as participatory), but a time when the mainstream is chasing down leads from what circulates online. And the region’s people now have the power to shape the narrative (whether we’ve fully realized it or not).
  • Internet user growth in the region has gone up by 6,091.9% between 2000 and 2015
  • Arabic is now the fourth biggest language on the Web after English, Chinese and Spanish
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  • as a Jordanian, I was part of what I personally believe to be the final generation that actually gave a damn what the government did or did not do. Our relationship with the state was like our relationship with a television – a one-way communication channel, where we are on the receiving end no matter how much we yell at the screen. And that was that
  • Like everyone else, I have no idea how this conflict will end. But I know that the Web will undeniably play a leading role – and that’s not something anyone could’ve imagined back in 1948. As yet another cycle of violence is upon us, that role is worth studying, and it’s that role that I find myself paying attention to the most.
Ed Webb

IntelBrief: The Transnational Nature of Violent White Supremacy Extremism - The Soufan ... - 0 views

  • White supremacy extremism (WSE) is a transnational challenge, with tentacles stretching from Canada to Australia, and the United States to Ukraine; it has evolved at a different pace in different parts of the world. The rapid expanse of social media facilitates radicalization and recruitment within the white supremacy extremist domain. There are a number of important similarities between jihadist and white supremacists and particular ways these groups feed off each other, including: use of the internet; propaganda; recruitment; financing; the transnational nature of the networks, and utility of violence. To make serious progress, the United States should consider building upon Canadian and British leadership and begin sanctioning transnational WSE groups as foreign terrorist organizations.
  • white supremacist extremists pose a clear terrorist threat to the United States. Following the August attack by a white supremacist extremist in El Paso, TX, white supremacist terrorism became responsible for more deaths on U.S. soil than jihadist terrorism since 9/11. The Anti-Defamation League reports that over the past decade, white supremacy extremists were responsible for three times as many deaths in the United States as were Islamists. In May 2019, a senior FBI official testified to Congress that the bureau is pursuing about 850 domestic terrorism investigations, a ‘significant majority’ of which are related to white supremacist extremists.
  • Recruitment and radicalization goals within white supremacy extremism remain consistent over time despite traditional methods of spreading propaganda diverging from more modern ones
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  • While there are crucial differences between jihadis and white supremacy extremists, there are also important similarities, including: the utility and cycle of violence; use of the internet; propaganda; recruitment; financing; and especially, the transnational nature of the networks. 17,000 foreigners from 50 countries, including the U.S., have gone to fight in Ukraine, including with the Azov Battalion. Two of the most prominent U.S.-based white supremacy extremist groups, Atomwaffen Division and the Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.) count Afghan and Iraq veterans as members. R.A.M. members have traveled overseas to Germany, Ukraine, and Italy to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday and forge stronger organizational links with white supremacy extremists based in Europe. White supremacists are forming global networks, much as jihadis did prior to 9/11, and are learning from jihadi tactics. Supremacists warn of a ‘great replacement’ of whites, while jihadis talk of a ‘war against Islam’; jihadis make martyrdom videos, WSEs post online manifestos. In describing their mission, white supremacists have used the term ‘white jihad’ and one neo-Nazi group recently adopted the name ‘the Base,’ which translated into Arabic  is ‘al-Qaeda.’ Moreover, both groups recruit followers and reinforce their message through social media, with a focus on purification through violence.
  • To make serious progress, the United States should consider building upon Canadian and British leadership and begin sanctioning transnational WSE groups as foreign terrorist organizations. Departments of State and Treasury terrorist designations could hinder the travel of terrorists into the U.S.; criminalize support to designated individuals and groups; block the movement of assets to those designated; and allow for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute individuals for providing material support to designated groups.  
Ed Webb

Cultural heritage and violence in the Middle East | openDemocracy - 0 views

  • According to reports of the activist Facebook group Le patrimoine archéologique syrien en danger, all six UNESCO World Heritage sites in Syria have been damaged, major museum collections at Homs and Hama have been looted, and dozens of ancient tells have been obliterated by shelling. In Iraq, recent media stories recount ISIS fighters’ use of antiquities to raise revenues. So-called blood antiquities function as cash-cows, fetching high prices from unscrupulous collectors and netting a handsome cut for ISIS. As devastating as this news is, Syria and Iraq are simply additional chapters in the long-running story wherein conflict is characterised by a two-fold assault on humanity: human bodies themselves as well as the objects and sites that people create and infuse with cultural meaning.
  • So-called blood antiquities function as cash-cows, fetching high prices from unscrupulous collectors and netting a handsome cut for ISIS.
  • Current scholarly discussion on the Armenian genocide, however, focuses almost exclusively on the human destruction, not taking into consideration the systematic annihilation of Armenian sites and monuments that has taken place since then
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  • The destruction of human communities is incomplete without cultural violence. This was the conclusion of lawyer and human rights advocate Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-born jurist who coined the term “genocide” and fought successfully for its recognition by international legal bodies as a crime. In Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (1944), he argued: By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group…[It signifies] a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. (Lemkin 1944: 80) Among the “essential foundations” of the life of human societies, Lemkin argued, were cultural sites, objects, and practices. The Holocaust galvanised his human rights work, but it was the tragic case of Turkish Armenians during the beginning decades of the twentieth century that served as the basis for Lemkin’s theory of genocide.
  • Also significant in this context was the systematic replacement of Armenian place names (on streets, buildings, neighbourhoods, towns, and villages) with Turkish names. The erasure of Armenians from collective memory was completed during the Turkish Republic; in their history textbooks, Turkish children hear nothing about Armenian culture or learn simply that they were enemies of the Turks.
  • the Turkish state and its governments have systematically removed all markers of the Armenians’ civilisation
  • This is cultural death, and it is especially dangerous because it legitimates the denial of diversity by authoritarian states and their societies.
  • Historical records document previous erasures of peoples and their culture: the Native Americans and First Nations of north America; the Mayas and Aztecs of Mesoamerica; and the Roman destruction of Carthage (north Africa), which some scholars point to as the earliest recorded organised genocide.
  • the harrowing plight of Syrian journalist Ali Mahmoud Othman, co-founder of Le patrimoine archéologique syrien en danger. Othman was arrested by government forces in March 2012 and has not been heard of since his televised “confession” in May 2012
  • Recurring Internet images of ISIS fighters beheading western men obscure the equally outrageous and horrific acts of sexual violence against women, torture of children, and destruction of homes, markets, churches, Shi’a mosques, and ancient monuments. All of this constitutes the challenging environment in which cultural activists must do their work.
  • Lemkin’s teachings still have something to say to us today: without monuments and cultural objects, social groups are atomised into disaffected, soulless individuals
Ed Webb

Iran Supplying Syrian Military via Iraq Airspace - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • And Mr. Maliki’s tolerance of Iran’s use of Iraqi airspace suggests the limits of the Obama administration’s influence in Iraq, despite the American role in toppling Saddam Hussein and ushering in a new government. The American influence also appears limited despite its assertion that it is building a strategic partnership with the Iraqis. Mr. Maliki has sought to maintain relations with Iran, while the United States has led the international effort to impose sanctions on the Tehran government. At the same time, the Iraqi prime minister appears to look at the potential fall of Mr. Assad as a development that might strengthen his Sunni Arab and Kurdish rivals in the region. Some states that are the most eager to see Mr. Assad go, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, have poor relations with Mr. Maliki and his Shiite-dominated government.
  • Iran has an enormous stake in Syria. It is Iran’s staunchest Arab ally, a nation that borders the Mediterranean and Lebanon, and has provided a channel for Iran’s support to Hezbollah. As part of Iran’s assistance to the Assad government, it has provided the Syrian authorities with the training and technology to intercept communications and monitor the Internet, according to American officials. Iranian Quds Force personnel, they say, have been involved in training the heavily Alawite paramilitary forces the government has increasingly relied on, as well as Syrian forces that secure the nation’s air bases.
  • there have been reliable reports that Iraqi Shiite militia fighters, long backed by Iran during its efforts to shape events inside Iraq, are now making their way to Syria to help the Assad government
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  • some Iranian experts believe that the Iranian leadership may be unlikely to stop its involvement in Syria even if Mr. Assad is overthrown, having calculated that a chaotic Syria is better than a new government that might be sympathetic to the West.
Ed Webb

Qatar's Al Jazeera website hacked by Syria's Assad loyalists | Reuters - 0 views

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    Conflict by other means
Ed Webb

Disinformation flies in Syria's growing cyber war - Yahoo! News - 1 views

  • "Cyber attacks are the new reality of modern warfare," said Hayat Alvi, lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at the US Naval War College. "We can expect more... from all directions. In war, the greatest casualty is the truth. Each side will try to manipulate information to make their own side look like it is gaining while the other is losing."
  • In April, Saudi-based broadcaster Al Arabiya briefly lost control of one of its twitter accounts, which was then used to spread a string of stories suggesting a political crisis in Qatar. Tweets included claims that the Qatari prime minister had been sacked, his daughter arrested in London and that a coup orchestrated by the army chief was underway.
  • there seems little sign such incidents made a significant difference either on the ground in Syria or to the wider geopolitical picture
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  • Some believe Assad may be getting technical support from his long-term allies in Tehran, who successfully crushed their own post-election protests that were in part organized over the Internet. China and Russia too are has amongst the world leaders in managing online political activism and dissent, with the latter at least also seen likely helping out in Syria.
Ed Webb

Insight: Mimicking al Qaeda, militant threat grows in Sinai | Reuters - 0 views

  • Diplomats and analysts say there is no evidence as yet of formal links between al Qaeda and the Sinai militants - made up of Bedouin aggrieved at their treatment by Cairo, Egyptians who escaped prisons during last year's uprising against Hosni Mubarak, and Palestinians from neighboring Gaza.
  • They blend a toxic mix of smuggling, gun-running and human trafficking with the "takfiri" ideology of al Qaeda - which declares all Muslims who do not follow their purist, Salafist interpretation of Islam as "kafirs" - infidels. Crime and religion are soldered by ferocious opposition to Israel.
  • "Our ammo is over and we don't know where we are."
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  • "They ran away in all directions and nobody knows where they went,"
  • Mubarak built up tourist resorts in South Sinai that locals say mostly benefited Egyptians from the Nile Valley, and tried to impose an Egyptian administrative structure on North Sinai which undermined the authority of local Bedouin tribal elders.
  • "What brought this ideology is the marginalization," says one resident. "If someone can't earn a living, he thinks the alternative is to be strict in worship."
  • In every village, three or four youths have disappeared to join the militants, sometimes inspired by al Qaeda propaganda over the Internet, and sometimes by preachers in local mosques.
  • North Sinai is in some ways similar to the tribal areas of Pakistan, where al Qaeda has dug deep roots. Both have been neglected by central government; both lie in the middle of wider political conflicts.And the authority of tribal leaders in both has been diminished as money - from crime, Gulf remittances and state patronage - filtered into other hands - making it easier for militants to promote unity in Islam over tribal loyalty.
  • the rise of these new Bedouin fundamentalists," said Yaari. "They are destroying the old tribal structures. They allow marriages between rival tribes and force women to wear the veil. This never happened before
  • Already, according to one Arab diplomat in Islamabad, Egyptian members of al Qaeda have begun to move back from Pakistan to take advantage of political changes at home.
  • "Al Qaeda is more interested in using Palestine as a tag for its global fight rather than have an actual base in Gaza or the West Bank," said one diplomat. "They believe a Palestinian group would have a more nationalist outlook."
Ed Webb

Israel asks Arab visitors to open emails to search - news.yahoo.com - Readability - 0 views

  • the agents discovered her address while rifling through her personal papers."That's when they turned their (computer) screens around to me and said, 'Log in," she said. When she refused, an interrogator said, "'Well you must be a terrorist. You are hiding something.'"
  • A female interrogator ordered Doughman to open her Gmail account, threatening she would be deported if she didn't."She typed in gmail.com and she turned the keyboard toward me and said, 'Log in. Log in now,'" Doughman recounted. "I asked, 'Is this legal?' She said, 'Log in.'"She said the agent searched for keywords like "West Bank" and "Palestine" and made fun of a chat in which Doughman talked of reading graffiti on Israel's West Bank separation barrier."After she read a bunch of stuff, humiliating and mocking me, I said, 'I think you've read enough,'" Doughman said, adding that agents jotted down names and emails of her friends as they inspected her chat history
  • "The interrogator asked me, 'Do you feel more Arab or more American? ... Surely you must feel more Arab," Doughman said. "I told her I was born in the U.S. and studied there, but she didn't like my answer."After hours of questioning, both women were told they would not be allowed in. They said they were subjected to strip searches, placed in a detention center and sent back to the U.S. the following day. Doughman said they weren't allowed to call the U.S. Embassy.
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  • Emanuel Gross, a law professor at Haifa University, said such a practice would seem to be illegal in Israel."In Israel, you need a search warrant to go into somebody's computer," he said. "I'm skeptical that the security guards asked a judge first for a warrant and I'm skeptical that a judge would give it."
Ed Webb

Bahrain's PR offensive enlists Israeli help. Pro-regime group plans to work 'closely' w... - 2 views

  • BFEA and MEMRI will be working together to improve perceptions of Bahrain
  • It is unclear whether BFEA is aware of MEMRI's Israeli connection. Albawaba describes MEMRI as an "independent, non-partisan research institute" – which it is not.
  • MEMRI was set up in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence, and Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born American, ostensibly to "bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West". An early version of its website also said it aimed to emphasise "the continuing relevance of Zionism to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel" but this was later deleted (though preserved in an internet archive).
Ed Webb

Path to Success for One Palestinian Hacker: Publicly Owning Mark Zuckerberg | Threat Le... - 0 views

  • It was August 14, and Shreateh had just reached halfway around the world to pull off a prank that would make him the most famous hacker in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He’d discovered a Facebook bug that would allow him to post to another user’s wall even if he wasn’t on the user’s friends list. Demonstrating the bug on Zuckerberg was a last resort: He first reported the vulnerability to Facebook’s bug bounty program, which usually pays $500 for discoveries like his. But Facebook dismissed his report out of hand, and to this day refuses to pay the bounty for the security hole, which it has now fixed. Where Facebook failed, though, techies from across the world stepped in to fix, crowdfunding a $13,000 reward for Shreateh. Now that money, and Shreateh’s notoriety, is about to launch the former construction worker into a new life. He’s using the funds to buy a new laptop and launch a cybersecurity service where websites will be able to request “ethical hacking” to identify their vulnerabilities. And he’s started a six-month contract with a nearby university to find bugs as part of their information security unit. He hacks and reports flaws on other universities’ sites in his free time.
  • The West Bank is no easy place to be a hacker, or to do anything in the technology sphere. The occupied region depends on Israel for electricity, water and telecommunications, including the sluggish Internet that crawls into the South Hebron Hills. Shreateh has a well and three water tanks on his roof because Yatta only receives several days of running water every few months. Blackouts are common, and the town often goes without electricity for whole days in the winter. Partly to blame is a complex system established by the Oslo accords that splits the West Bank into three zones under different combinations of Palestinian and Israeli control. “It’s like Swiss cheese,” says George Khadder, a tech entrepreneur who worked in Silicon Valley for 13 years. He sketches how Zones A, B and C weave in, out and around each other, with chunks of Israeli settlement territory in between. “The West Bank is like an archipelago, in terms of contiguity and services. This is absolutely a problem.” This access gap is clear on the drive from Jerusalem to Yatta, which requires passing through a military checkpoint that bars Shreateh from entering Israel. The road to Yatta passes several Israeli settlements, sprawling over hilltops with their separate telecom systems, brightly lit streets and green, well-watered lawns. “The dogs in Israel drink more water than Palestinians,” the taxi driver laughs.
  • Shreateh has his own website and 44,156 followers on Facebook, many of whom spam him with questions about hacking into their boyfriends’ profiles or raising their exam grades online. Shreateh ignores them. “I am an ethical hacker,” he says. “I don’t damage or destroy.” That makes him different from some other Palestinian hackers. The same month as Shreateh’s Facebook prank, hacktivists hijacked Google’s Palestine domain, redirecting it to a page with a Rihanna background song and written message: “uncle google we say hi from palestine to remember you that the country in google map not called israel. its called Palestine” This month, another group called KDMS hacked the websites of security companies AVG and Avira, among other companies, redirecting to a site displaying the Palestinian flag, a graphic of Palestinian land loss, and a similar message: “we want to tell you that there is a land called Palestine on the earth,” it read in part. “this land has been stolen by Zionist.’
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  • As for Israeli hackers, he sees them as inferior, babied by the privilege of living without occupation. “Israeli hackers all come from university classes. They have companies and courses to teach them,” Shreateh scoffs. “Palestinian hackers come from Google search and YouTube videos. We all learned on our own.”
Ed Webb

Memo From Cairo - Hints of Pluralism in Egyptian Religious Debates - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • Mr. Banna was pleased because at least his ideas were being circulated. Mr. Banna, who is 88 years old and is the brother of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been preaching liberal Islamic views for decades. But only now, he said, does he have the chance to be heard widely. It is not that a majority agrees with him; it is not that the tide is shifting to a more moderate interpretative view of religion; it is just that the rise of relatively independent media — like privately owned newspapers, satellite television channels and the Internet — has given him access to a broader audience.
  • Some of those who have begun to speak up say they are acting in spite of — and not with the encouragement of — the Egyptian government. Political analysts said that the government still tried to compete with the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned but tolerated Islamic movement, to present itself as the guardian of conservative Muslim values.
  • President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world has quieted the accusation that the United States is at war with Islam, making it easier for liberal Muslims to promote more Western secular ideas, Egyptian political analysts said.
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  • the dynamic was for Christians as well as Muslims in Egypt
  • this time Mr. Qimni did not go into hiding. He appeared on the television show, sitting beside Sheik Badri as he defended himself.
  • “It is an unprecedented move to recognize that one can be Egyptian and not adhere to one of these three religions,”
Ed Webb

Arab autocracy: Thank you and goodbye | The Economist - 0 views

  • Decades of repression have ensured that the opposition is quiescent in Egypt and virtually inaudible in Saudi Arabia. But they have also made these countries vulnerable to violent disruption. Transition in autocracies often means instability.
  • the closed political systems of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the uncertainties of dynastic power-mongering and the corruption inherent in patronage-ridden autocracies still often leads to plotting at the top and frustration that could spill over into anger at the bottom. That becomes more likely as the internet, mobile phones and easier travel make people far less easy to control.
  • What the Arabs need most, in a hurry, is the rule of law, independent courts, freeish media, women’s and workers’ rights, a market that is not confined to the ruler’s friends, and a professional civil service and education system that are not in hock to the government, whether under a king or a republic. In other words, they need to nurture civil society and robust institutions.
anonymous

FreedomHouse Report on Saudi Arabia - 0 views

  • The Basic Law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not guarantee gender equality.
  • A vigorous progressive movement,
  • Due to an enforced
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  • nd women in public, the opportunities for women's employment remain limited
  • n men a
  • separation betwee
  • e that work in these fields will become more widely available to women in the future. Higher education, in fact, is one area in
  • performed men in terms of PhD degrees earned.
  • which women have significantly out-
  • 8 report was critical of Saudi Arabia's compliance with the convention and called for Saudi Arabia "to enact a gender equality law."
  • consultation, and equality in accordance with Shari'a, or Islamic law. However, Shari'a in Saudi Arabia does not offer equality to women, particularly regarding family law. Instead, women are considered legal minors under the control of their mahram (closest male relative) and are subject to legal restrictions on their personal behavior that do not apply to men.
  • In 2004 a royal decree affirmed the principle of equality between men and women in all matters relating to Saudi nationality,[5] but women remain unable
  • to pass their Saudi citizenship automatically to their noncitizen spouses and children.
  • Saudi Arabia ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 2000, with reservations stating that the kingdom is under no obligation to observe terms of the treaty that contradict Islamic law.
  • Article 8
  • committee's 200
  • In 2007 and 2008, renewed pressure mounted to allow women to drive, and an ad hoc Comm
  • ittee for Women's Right to Drive organized a petition addressed to the king.[19] In January 2008, days after Saudi Arabia faced criticism by the CEDAW committee for restricting "virtually every aspect of a woman's life,"[20] the government announced that a royal decree allowing women to drive would be issued "at the end of the year."[21] In March, the Consultative Council recommended that women be allowed to drive during the daylight hours of weekdays if they get permission from their guardians, undergo drivers' education, wear modest dress, and carry a cell phone. To allay concerns about women's safety, the council added the imposition of a sentence and a fine on any male in another car talking to or sexually harassing a female driver.
  • As of October 2009 these goals had not been implemented, but government approval for the idea of women's driving is a milestone for the kingdom.
  • At the end of 2007, the long–standing bans on women checking into hotels alone and renting apartments for themselves were lifted by royal decree, and a women-only hotel opened in 2008 in Riyadh
  • Government efforts to support women's legal right to work are in reality ambiguous, giving comfort to those who believe that women should stay at ho
  • me as well as to those who demand the right to pursue economic independence.
  • t. Statistics on women's economic activity vary somewhat depending on the source. According to the Ministry of Economy and Planning, women constituted only 5.4 percent of the total Saudi workforce in 2005
  • Two such obstacles
  • mixing the sexes in the workplace and the requirement that a woman's guardian give permission for her to work.
  • women have recently been appointed to elite ministry posts, university deanships, and directorships in quasi-governmental civic organizations
  • The opening of a women's department in the law faculty at King Saud University in Riyadh raises the possibility of appointments to judgeships for women in the future
  • The Internet has played a major role in political activism in Saudi Arabia by helping to bring human rights abuses to international attention.
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