By Sean Adl-Tabatabai
Thousands of Japanese citizens have taken to the streets of Japan in protest to a new ‘thought crime’ bill passed by the government, aimed at curbing conspiracies to commit terrorism.
Over 5,000 people gathered outside the Japanese parliament in Tokyo on Wednesday, to demonstrate the Orwellian law, imposed by the government ahead of the 2020 Olympic games.
The government says the bill is part of the international joint effort against crime ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games.
After the parliamentary vote on Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the law seeks to protect Japanese citizens and is part of the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, “to prevent terrorism before it happens”.
But critics say it’s an abuse of power and an unconstitutional attack on freedom of expression.
“This legislation is the perfect example of how the government is using counterterrorism as an excuse for mass-surveilance of ordinary citizens and activists, trying to re-militarise the country and crackdown on dissidents,” Tokyo resident, Lisa Torio, told Al Jazeera.
Despite resistance from the opposition bloc, the bill was approved after more than 17 hours of debate. The bill writes 277 new crimes into law.
But the opposition says many are petty crimes, targeting regular citizens, such as copyright violations or even stealing lumber from forests.
In May, the UN Special Rapporteur for privacy rights, Joseph Cannataci, warned that: “If adopted into law [this bill] may lead to undue restrictions to the rights to privacy and to freedom of expression.”
Additionally, “[it] would permit the application of laws for crimes which appear to be totally unrelated with the scope of organised crime and terrorism”, Cannataci said in an open letter to Japan’s Prime Minister.
In an interview with Kyodo News earlier this month, US whistleblower Edward Snowden called the bill “the beginning of a new wave of mass-surveillance in Japan”.
“This is a normalisation of a surveillance culture, that has not previously existed in Japan in public”, he said.
The bill was revised several times over the years as earlier versions met with fierce resistance and did not make it through parliament.
Japanese citizens have been protesting on and off since December, when the bill was first proposed. Online movements are calling for the protests to continue, although polls show that public’s opinion regarding the bill is divided.
© REUTERS/ Oleksandr Klymenko
Russia’s Investigative Committee said Friday it had opened three more criminal cases over the use of banned means and methods of warfare by Ukraine’s military in Donbass.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier this year, monitors from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) registered the use of banned heavy weaponry along the contact line in southern Donbass region.
According to SMM Principal Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug, the areas to the north and northwest of the Kiev-controlled city of Mariupol have become again conflict “hot spots,” where banned weaponry, including multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), is being used.
“Three more criminal cases have been opened by the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee over a crime provided for by Part 1 of Article 356 of the Russian Criminal Code (use of prohibited means and methods of warfare),” committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said.
Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup.
In February 2015, a peace agreement was signed between Ukraine’s conflicting sides in Minsk after talks brokered by the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine — the so-called Normandy Format. Despite the ceasefire deal, sporadic fighting has continued in Donbass.
Normally I don’t interfere with the opinions expressed in the articles I post, but here it needs an introduction. This article reveals what is going on but should be read in the light that it comes from a newspaper from Saudi Arabia. You know the sugar daddy of Al-Qaeda who pays their salaries. Look what they have been ordered to do:
Al-Qaeda condemns boycott against Qatar, stands with the Muslim Brotherhood
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula/Yemen (AQAP) leader Khalid Batarfi described the recently Qatar-linked terror list as a ‘war against Islam and Muslims’.
By Huda al-Saleh
Al-Qaeda has released a new propaganda video condemning the current boycott of Qatar by neighboring Gulf and Arab countries.
In a new development that confirms the link between al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Qatari role in supporting the two, the latest propaganda titled “the mask has fallen,” broadcasted through its media subsidiary “Al-Sahab,” condemned the decisions by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to cut ties with Qatar and rank individuals and designated as terrorists sponsored by Qatar.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula/Yemen (AQAP) leader Khalid Batarfi described the recently Qatar-linked terror list as a “war against Islam and Muslims” and called on all scholars, preachers and students of theology and various factions of Islamic movements and groups to “incite and encourage the jihad and dismiss nationalist patriotic sentiment”.
“We advise all of those who flattered the tyrants and justified their crime to fear God and regret their actions. The tyrants don’t believe in the channels of communications,” Batarfi said.
The link between al-AQAP and the Islah Brotherhood Party was earlier confirmed by the leader Jalal Belaidi al-Marqashi in a statement in which he commented on the joint attacks carried out by al-Qaeda in cooperation with the Muslim Brotherhood on many fronts in Yemen, most notably in the city of Marib.
AQAP-Muslim Brotherhood links
Most of the leaders of AQAP were part of the Muslim Brotherhood and fought side by side in a number of fronts in Yemen.
Between 2011-2012 and at the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, the Brotherhood showed hostile positions to Al-Qaeda, which was a step to lead the political scene in Yemen and access power, but the common relations returned again in 2014.
According to a specialist in the affairs of Yemeni Islamist groups and movements, who wished not to be named, the statement from AQAP comes mainly as a guide to Muslim Brotherhood members and to those who object to the inclusion of personalities such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Wagdy Ghoneim, Abdel hakim Belhadj and Muhammad al-Mohaisany (all were named in the recent Qatar-linked terror list), considering that “any form of dialogue with the tyrants is a waste of time and they should instead adopt the teaching of the jihad against these tyrants”.
The latest issue of Al-Masra weekly issued from Al-Qaeda attacked the countries described as “launching an information campaign against Qatar and its Emir”. They also reported more than one story in the same issue attacking Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
A lengthy report in Al-Qaeda newspaper published from the coast of Hadhramaut explained that the campaign on Qatar was the result of the annoyance of some parties with the Qatari role in Yemen and its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
© AP Photo/ Matt Dunham
The UK had a secret ban on perceived communists in government service from the 1920s to the 1940s and ran an extensive program of covert surveillance of civil-service workers suspected of being communists, according to new research.
The research, from Durham University’s Department of History, has found evidence of a widespread policy of surveillance and action against suspected communist workers in government dockyards, ordnance factories, and other industrial sites.
The findings, which have been drawn from government documents released to the UK National Archives, show surveillance tactics such as mail interception and tailing, were used to monitor industrial workers. Thousands of workers were affected, as the government employed about 125,000 industrial workers in the interwar years.
Many were denied employment, or removed, from the Civil Service as a result of the surveillance and their future employment may also have been inhibited.
© SPUTNIK/ VLADIMIR PESNYA, Whitehall and the clock tower of the Westminster Palace with the Big Ben bell as seen from Trafalgar Square
The new research follows previous revelations that news and current affairs journalists, film editors, directors and producers in the BBC had been vetted by the Security Services, with the personnel files of supposed communist sympathizers being marked with a ‘Christmas tree’ symbol.
“The scale of the surveillance program undertaken by the British government was truly remarkable. At one point, MI5 were checking over 25,000 names a month and yet the British public knew nothing about this,” said Dr. Jennifer Luff, Associate Professor of Modern American History, Durham University.
“Workers were monitored and blacklisted from government employment without the opportunity to see or challenge the evidence presented against them,” she said.
Whilst the program exposed by Durham University was successful in identifying and prosecuting some individuals for treason and espionage, the extent, nature and duration of the surveillance raises questions around civil liberties and privacy. The policy was kept secret by the government and repeatedly denied by Cabinet officials, including Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.
Records show that workers were monitored for the smallest of reasons despite the fact that communism was not illegal. Surveillance often lasted decades before concluding the targets were innocent.
There is also evidence that the British government monitored workers in private firms working under military contracts.
“After the General Strike in June 1926 there was deep concern within the War Office and MI5 that Communists could infiltrate Britain’s ‘war machine.’ The Cabinet took a secret decision that active Communists could be discharged without pension, and workers who merely subscribed to Communist beliefs should be removed through attrition,” Dr. Luff said.
By Joe Gill, Last update: Saturday 1 April 2017
As Google faces a boycott by major advertisers over extremist YouTube content, the larger question is why people are turning to white nationalist, libertarian narratives to explain world events
The UK government and major advertisers are putting pressure on Google, Facebook and Twitter to remove extremist and anti-Semitic content. Global brands are pulling their ads from Google-owned YouTube after reports highlighted how they were being placed next to far right and hate-based videos. Parliament summoned Google executives this month to explain why they have refused to act against hate speech on YouTube.
The surprise is that it’s taken so long for this issue to hit the headlines. Go on YouTube and you can find a vast body of videos made by libertarians, Christians, nationalists and barely-closet neo-Nazis that go under various names and are often very slickly produced. They are not uniform in content and ideology; nor are they all anti-Semitic. But there is a consistency to the alternative facts and narratives that they share in common. With names such as Truth Media Revolution, Exposed Truth and SGT Report, they portray a dark world controlled by shadowy forces.
Watched by millions of people, they tap into widespread disillusionment with corrupted politics and extreme inequality, the disconnect between most people’s reality and the discredited narratives fed by politicians and corporate media. It is hardly a surprise, given the deception, lies and endless wars we have lived through since 2001, that many people are now looking for an alternative explanation for events. As recent elections and referendums have shown, far-right themes – in which refugees, Muslims and the European Union feature as bogeymen – have gone mainstream.
But the issue of hate content is but the tip of a larger historic phenomenon.
Establishment media and governments, which traditionally have controlled popular consciousness via newspapers, TV, schools and political parties, have now been overtaken by the emergence of alternative narratives online to explain events.
These videos are mostly made by, and predominantly feature, white male Anglo-Saxon Americans, with a smattering of British and Irish.
The producers of these videos are not usually explicitly affiliated to a political party, leader or group: these 20th century labels do not capture the hybrid nature of this belief system. But their ideological consistencies are clear, and there are certain trope-like themes that recur again and again. Many of the views are popular on the radical right, a few on the radical left. They don’t agree on everything, and have the sect-like habit of calling out the sellouts and covert agents of the establishment in their midst. Here are 18 of the fundamental tenets of this worldview.
1. Globalism/New World Order
They believe: That there is a system of global domination engineered by bankers, largely Jewish, with the aim of bringing about a corporate-collectivist tyranny.
2. World government
They believe: Globalists – a group of elite politicians, experts, and corporate owners – are trying to bring about the end of sovereign government and the creation of a global tyranny. To do this they are using organisations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Soros Foundation, Bilderberg Group, and international institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union.
3. The end of the US dollar
They believe: The dollar will be destroyed and replaced with a global currency controlled by bankers. It will be outside the control of any sovereign or democratic nation state.
4. Small government
They believe: White nationalists and libertarians favour a limited form of government and strongly oppose socialism, communism and collectivism, which they see as coming into existence through bodies such as the EU and UN. They believe that this threatens the freedom of the individual in business, lifestyle, education, food, healthcare etc
They believe: The creation of Israel and the Jewish domination of western nations and institutions is the biggest threat to humanity. This process began at least a century ago with the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations, support for the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the creation of Israel in 1948.
They believe: Russia under President Putin is admired for his alleged opposition to globalism and the New World Order. Donald Trump’s overtures to Russia are, it is argued, adamantly opposed by globalists and the US “deep state”. Pre-revolutionary tsarist Russia – before Rothschild-assisted communists seized power – is lauded for Tsar Nicholas II’s resistance to the overtures of the banking cartels.
7. US militarism
They believe: The US involvement in major wars has been brought about through a series of “false flag” or fabricated attacks with the sinking of the Maine in Cuba in 1898 (the Spanish-American War); the sending of the Lusitania into the firing zone of German U-boats in 1915 (World War I); the failure to prevent the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 (World War II); the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 (the Vietnam War); and the alleged manipulation and direction of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington (the “War on Terror”). They believe that false flags are an established tactic used by the Nazis, Japan, Soviet Russia, Israel and the US.
8. September 11
They believe: As described above, the 9/11 attacks were an orchestrated event instigated by Israel and neo-conservatives in the George W Bush administration to bring about a police state and institute surveillance and tyranny. Al-Qaeda and Islamic State are simply proxies of the CIA and Mossad.
They believe: Big pharma and the New World Order have used mass vaccination programmes to control populations. The goal is to reduce the human species by billions.
10. Regime change
They believe: The overthrow of Arab governments, including Iraq and Libya, and attacks on Lebanon and Syria, have been instigated at the behest of Israel to remove all its strategic rivals in the Middle East. This process also happened in eastern Europe through the earlier “colour revolutions” – for example in Ukraine and Georgia – to reduce Russian influence and bring new states into the NWO orbit. Even the Black Lives Matter movement is part of the regime change strategy.
11. Mass migration
They believe: Immigration, especially that of Muslims, is being used to undermine western culture and society, reduce attachment to Christian values and sow chaos through terrorism and crime. This is part of the New World Order (NWO) game plan to destroy Christianity and bring about a new one-world religion.
12. Climate change hoax
They believe: According to alt-right website Breitbart news: “Climate change is the biggest scam in the history of the world – a $1.5 trillion-a-year conspiracy against the taxpayer, every cent, penny and centime of which ends in the pockets of the wrong kind of people…”
13. Elite paedophiles
They believe: Establishment groups use membership and involvement in Satanic paedophile rings to ensure loyalty, secrecy and group-think. They use “MK Ultra” mind control and brainwashing as well as sexual abuse, again as part of the NWO project.
14. Political system
They believe: Democracy has been corrupted and manipulated by elite groups so that both left- and right-wing political parties are part of the elite system. The ultimate aim is to control the population to the benefit of bankers and to reduce the majority to slavery.
15. Mainstream media
They believe: The media is controlled by the elite to distract and confuse the population and to keep the hidden reality of the world situation out of the public consciousness. The “truth” of events such as 9/11 is covered up, mainstream politicians are promoted and speakers of the truth are demonised, denied air time or assassinated.
16. The Rothschilds
They believe: This venerable family of Jewish bankers is most commonly cited by believers as the prime movers behind global wars and control of global markets since they financed Britain’s war against Napoleon. Carefully groomed politicians are promoted to advance the globalist agenda.
17. Federal Reserve
They believe: The establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank by a group of influential bankers in 1913 is seen by believers as the turning point in US history. It was then that the Founding Fathers’ goal of a nation of free (white) men was overturned, leading to wars, the expansion of big government and the gradual destruction of the dollar.
They believe: That the world society of Freemasons is a leading organisation involved in many of the above conspiracies to manipulate world events and popular consciousness and bring about tyranny.
Some of these founding principles contain elements of continuity from early 20th century anti-Semitic themes popular in Europe, including the world Jewish banking conspiracy, and the Nazi-inspired Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy. Many now believe that with the demise of communism – which, according to the Nazis and modern white nationalists, formed part of Jewish bankers’ world plan – a new form of global tyranny was declared by George HW Bush in 1992: the New World Order, a form of global government gradually being imposed through institutions such as the EU and the UN. Despite the clear similarities with traditional far-right views, some of these themes are also widely shared in anti-establishment populist discourse.
We can contrast the worldview of these sites and groups with traditional left, liberal and right-wing concepts of reality. Indeed, the outbreak of populist anti-establishment ideas is part of a breakdown of the traditional order, with social media enabling and reflecting that loss of trust in institutions and mainstream beliefs.
While the left traditionally believes class struggle, capitalism and imperialism are the driving forces of modern world history, liberals believe in the advance of democracy, human rights and international cooperation against authoritarian nationalism and dictatorship.
The traditional right believes in national interest, private enterprise and law and order. In contrast, the far-right nationalist, Christian and libertarian groups see events manipulated and controlled by a small all-powerful group of families. This is politics and events as puppetry and illusion.
There is a wonderful circularity to this worldview, since it confirms the idea that participation in mainstream politics, or social movements, is futile, simply a show to distract the masses from how real decisions are made, by secretive, all powerful organisations run by the elite families. NGOs and activist groups are also largely controlled by the very same elite groups, believers allege, especially George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, founded by the famous investment billionaire.
Is Trump their man?
However the believers in a world conspiracy of “globalist” bankers and Illuminati are now in a strange position. In January, Donald Trump, a man after their own heart and an enemy of the liberal establishment, became the president of the United States. While he and his closest advisors don’t necessarily sign up to the full alt-conspiracy programme, they share enough of it to give hope to many in this community. Within his circle are well-known white nationalists such as Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. Could this be the moment the libertarian and nationalist far right has been waiting for?
Perhaps not. So far, there has been guarded approval from leading US nationalist commentators for measures such as the Muslim travel ban and the cancellation of the TPP investment pact, but far less enthusiasm for Trump’s love affair with Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel, and his rampant militarism. Already others on the far right are claiming that Trump’s entire campaign and presidency is a Jewish-run operation. In one video, in Nazi fashion, a list of names of Jewish funders and organisers of the Trump campaign is rolled out on screen to confirm the fact that Trump, like all recent presidents, is a puppet of the global elite. With the defeat of Geert Wilders in the Dutch election earlier this month, France could be the far right’s last chance to get a real white nationalist, Marine Le Pen, into power.
Dutch, French and German far-right leaders at a summit in Germany in January 2017 (Reuters)
Of course, this could also be the point when any semblance of coherence in the white nationalist fantasy world falls apart under the weight of its own contradictions. The reason is straightforward: unless actual Nazis take power, then any far-right leader will immediately be forced to ally with the corporate-imperial power structure, since its disorganised, lower-middle class, suburban base will be no match for the real ruling class. Like Trump’s core supporters, they will be left raging into their computer screens as this reality sinks in.
It is the very identity-based, national supremacist, religious and race-based politics of these movements that sees its supporters duped by the likes of Trump, Geert Wilders and Le Pen. Such leaders are undoubtedly inconvenient to the smooth running of the system, but as history shows, they can also be made to serve the divide and rule tactics of the imperial-financial elites (which, however sinister they may be, do not amount to an all-encompassing conspiracy).
The only force capable of defeating this transnational corporate power is the multi-racial non-monied majority (white, black, Muslim, Jewish, Christian) and the activist resistance struggling against it every day.
Photo: Edward Echwalu, Medical male circumcision in progress (file photo).
The distribution of free underwear for males after undergoing Safe Medical Circumcision (SMC) in Moroto District has boosted the program.
Abraham Kizza, a mobiliser from the Health Ministry, says the number of males turning up for circumcision is overwhelming in some places like Rupa Sub County.
He says more than 200 males were circumcised in the first two days of the program at different SMC camps in Moroto. Kizza attributes the overwhelming turn up to the free underwear incentive. He notes that whereas the locals prefer wrapping themselves with sheets or trousers without underwear, some of them are excited to try out the underwear.
Kizza says the idea of distributing underwear was adapted by the stakeholders to help in the management of the wound and hygiene.
Samuel Lokiru, one of the beneficiaries of SMC in Natumkasikou village in Rupa Sub county, says he picked interest in circumcision after learning that he would receive proper care. “At least this team, the first people to circumcise used to leave men with a lot of pain. Some boys took months with wounds that actually turned septic,” he said.
SMC activities have been very slow in Moroto and the entire Karamoja sub region over the years. Records at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital indicate that only 919 males mostly youth from urban areas underwent SMC from 2014 to March 2017.
Dr. Abubaker Lubega, the Moroto District Health Officer, blames the slow response to the program previously on poor mobilization especially in rural areas. He notes that whereas the mobilization has been stepped up, the free distribution of underwear and glycerin to beneficiaries has boosted the turn up.
Moroto District launched the SMC program last week with support from World Health Organization [WHO] and partners under the Karamoja United Nations HIV Joint program [KARUNA]. It targets at least 500 males in a week and is expected reach out to all males in the district within a few months.
Health experts recommend SMC as it helps reduce the risk of HIV infections by 60 percent. SMC is also recommended for the prevention of cervical cancer among other benefits. The HIV prevalence in Karamoja stands at 5.3 percent compared to the 7.3 percent prevalence rate across the country.
However, there is fear the HIV prevalence in the region is on the rise given the different lifestyle cropping in the region after disarmament. Helen Pulkol, the Moroto Deputy Resident District Commissioner, says the new lifestyle exposes many young people to HIV infection. She urges youths to embrace the SMC program to help reduce the risks but cautioned them against social behaviors that predispose them to the virus.
I don’t know who came up with this nonsense but please read: