Ein Milliarden-Deal zwischen Staat und Stromkonzernen zur Finanzierung des Atomausstiegs in Deutschland bleibt ungewiss. Spitzenvertreter der Regierungskommission und der vier Atom-Konzerne Eon, RWE, Vattenfall und EnBW haben sich bei einem erneuten Treffen nicht auf einen Kompromiss verständigen können.
Die Verhandlungen seien weiter schwierig, von einer Einigung sei man noch entfernt, hieß es. Die Vorstellungen der Unternehmen seien innerhalb der Regierungskommission nicht mehrheitsfähig. Nun müsse die Kommission an diesem Mittwoch über ihr Votum entscheiden. Nach bisherigen Plänen will das Gremium unter Leitung von Jürgen Trittin (Grüne), Ole von Beust (CDU) und Matthias Platzeck (SPD) die Ergebnisse am Mittwochnachmittag vorstellen.
Strittig ist unter anderem,
Verteidigungsministerin Ursula von der Leyen rüstet die Bundeswehr für den Krieg im Internet. Sie kündigte am Dienstag an, innerhalb der nächsten fünf Jahre eine neue Abteilung „Cyber- und Informationsraum“ mit 13 500 Soldaten und zivilen Mitarbeitern aufzustellen. Die CDU-Politikein begründete den Schritt auch mit zunehmenden Attacken auf die Netze des Bundes. Derzeit sollen es rund 6500 pro Tag sein.
„Auch die Bundeswehr ist ein Hochwertziel für diejenigen, die ihr schaden wollen“, sagte von der Leyen. Die Truppe müsse in der Lage sein, sich selber zu schützen und das Land zu verteidigen.
Die Bundeswehr mit ihren rund 177 000 Soldaten und 87 000
The campaign to allow money to be spent in the political system without a hint of its origin — the growing phenomenon known as dark money — racked up a major victory last week when a federal judge in Los Angeles issued a permanent injunction ending California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s attempt to obtain the donor list for Americans for Prosperity, the primary campaign and elections arm of the Koch brothers’ $889 million advocacy network.
The legal pushback against the attorney general’s inquiry was led by Americans for Prosperity and other advocates for undisclosed campaign cash. The Center for Competitive Politics, which litigates against restrictions on money in politics, joined the fray by filing a lawsuit against the attorney general’s request for donor information.
These days, those groups argue that guarding the identity of big political contributors is a First Amendment issue and a way to guard against “harassment” of donors — as Koch Industries’ general counsel claimed in a court filing.
But Americans for Prosperity and others now demanding campaign donor secrecy made the very opposite argument in the years before the Citizens United Supreme Court decision — supporting “full” campaign finance disclosure as a reasonable accompaniment to raising contribution limits. Now that contribution limits have been effectively eliminated, the calls for transparency have disappeared.
“They are moving the goal post,” says Stetson University College of Law professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, who specializes in election law. “When contribution limits were on the table, they advocated for transparency. When transparency was the little that was left after Citizens United, they shifted against transparency. It’s all Machiavellian and not particularly principled.”
In 1999, Americans for Prosperity, operating under its previous name, Citizens for a Sound Economy, issued a press release on the campaign finance proposals touted by then-presidential candidates John McCain and Bill Bradley. The release, citing Citizens for a Sound Economy fellow James C. Miller III, said reforms should include getting “rid of the limits on individual contributions” and requiring “full disclosure.” Miller also testified before Congress, declaring that lawmakers should raise the contribution limit and require “complete and accurate disclosure of all contributions.” Miller also spoke with Investor’s Business Daily, explaining that he “would reform the campaign laws” to “take all limits off of contributions, but have full disclosure. So taxpayers would know. This would be up on the Web.”
In 2001, Bradley Smith, now the president of Center for Competitive Politics, appeared on the PBS NewsHour, and called for lifting campaign contributions and adding more disclosure to the system. “What we really need to do is dump some of these laws, deregulate the system, require full disclosure,” Smith said. “Now people are trying to hide their contributions. If we open up, let people contribute, those contributions come into the open, and then if the voters think it’s important, the voters can decide.”
In 2003, Smith again endorsed campaign disclosure because doing so, he said, would help reduce corruption by “exposing potential or actual conflicts of interest.”
In recent years, Smith and his group have switched sides, claiming that campaign disclosure rules pose a danger. He testified against new disclosure rules on nonprofit election advocacy groups, claiming they would encourage “individuals to harass, threaten, or financially harm a speaker or contributor to an unpopular cause.”
Asked about his apparent shift, Smith emailed The Intercept to say his “position hasn’t changed.” But, asked if he supports any proposals to disclose the new wave of post-Citizens United dark money in the election system, Smith said he “would be more likely to support changes limiting rather than expanding disclosure.”
The about-face by Smith comes as undisclosed campaign money has flooded the election system for both parties, but especially on behalf of Republican candidates. Sens. John McCain R-Ariz., Chuck Grassley R-Iowa, Thad Cochran R-Miss., and Pat Roberts, R-Kans., all previously voted or spoke out in favor of disclosing campaign funds in elections in the past, but voted to block new post-Citizens United transparency reforms to disclose secret money.
James Bopp, an attorney known as the primary legal architect behind the Citizens United decision, has gone on in recent years to fight legal battles against campaign disclosure. He represented a group in court last year that filed suit to overturn Montana’s donor disclosure laws.
But even Bopp once sided with disclosure, writing for the Heritage Foundation in 1999 that campaign finance transparency is vital.
“Proposals that are aimed at opening up the process, simplifying the campaign finance rules, and relying instead on complete and prompt disclosure would enhance politicians’ political accountability to the people,” Bopp wrote. “Such proposals not only would be constitutional, but they also would reinforce the sovereignty of the people over elected officials and decrease the threat of corruption by making it more likely that perceived influence will be exposed.”
“I have not changed by position at all,” Bopp said in response to an email from The Intercept about his comments about disclosure in the past. Asked if he would support disclosure for the numerous 501c nonprofits that engage in election campaign spending, he replied that doing so would “crush them.”
The post Leading Advocates of “Dark Money” Previously Supported Disclosure appeared first on The Intercept.
ONE YEAR AND one day after Freddie Gray succumbed to the spine injury he received during a 45-minute drive in a police van, the Baltimore police commissioner sat on stage before a room packed with people who had poured into the city’s streets demanding justice. On the walls, black-and-white photos of protesters reminded everyone of the rawness and emotion of Baltimore’s breaking point.
On stage interviewing Commissioner Kevin Davis were two protesters raised to sometimes reluctant fame during “the uprising,” as this section of Baltimore has come to call the protests — rejecting “riots,” the term used by much of the media. One of them, the photographer Devin Allen, was propelled from the streets of West Baltimore to the cover of Time magazine when he captured the protests’ most iconic image: a black man, face half-covered by a bandana, running from dozens of baton-wielding cops. The other activist, Kwame Rose, landed in the national spotlight when he confronted Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera on live television, becoming one of the most recognizable faces of the protesters’ anger.
On April 20, sitting next to Commissioner Davis, they were once again facing a police officer up close, and they weren’t about to go easy on him.
Davis is new to the job. His predecessor, Anthony Batts, was fired in July — not over the protests but because of the spike in violence that followed them. There were 344 homicides in Baltimore last year — the deadliest in the city’s history. Batts was not the only one to go: Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced in September that she would not seek re-election, and much of the city council followed suit. Today, the city will vote in the primaries for the first mayoral race in years that doesn’t seem decided from the start.
“This type of conversation isn’t normal,” said Rose, asking the audience to trust his “aggressiveness” in questioning the commissioner. No one objected when he then asked Davis, bluntly, “How do you deal with the anti-blackness that is natural inside yourself?” Rose asked Davis about two police brutality lawsuits that directly involved him, and whether he would now fire an officer who committed similar acts of violence.
Davis answered every question, if not always directly. He apologized to Allen, Rose, and anyone in the room “who has ever had a negative experience with a police officer. I am sorry that that’s happened to you, I really am. That’s not just on behalf of the Baltimore Police Department, that’s on behalf of our profession.”
In a sense, the staged conversation was a symbol of what has improved in Baltimore over the last 12 months — the city is now talking to itself, and asking tough questions. Debates about Freddie Gray’s death and the big-picture problems that led to it have echoed from the streets, to public forums, to the mayoral campaign trail. There’s general acknowledgement of the poverty, housing, and education crises in the city — and honest recognition that police culture must change.
IN NOVEMBER, on the eve of the first trial in the Gray case, the police department confronted a team of Penn North residents — this time on the football field. Police won the regular game, but then added an extra quarter and had the officers who “weren’t all that” play local children, with the specific instruction to “let them score.” Residents went home with the trophy, “but the truth of the matter is we whipped their butts!” joked Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, who leads the department’s community partnership division.
Driving around different parts of West Baltimore last week, I saw two different groups of officers throwing a football around with kids, an officer at a playground helping small children climb a set of monkey bars, and a young girl playing with a police car’s loudspeaker telling passersby to put their hands on the ground. Young men nearby looked on, slightly confused. This was weird, they mumbled.
Russell, a staunch advocate of cops walking the beat as “partners not occupiers,” was a vocal critic of the department’s failures before and during last year’s protests, and is now leading attempts to reform its culture. I spoke with him at the police headquarters downtown, but ran into him around West Baltimore several times last week.
“You hear law enforcement agencies across the nation saying that they believe in community policing, but at the end of the day, at least for the ones I have looked at, they are just words, I haven’t seen anyone put it in practice,” he said. “We are dead set on showing Baltimore, and proving to them and ourselves, that we do belong in this community.”
“We did not get into whatever [situation] we are in overnight,” said Russell, pleading for time. “We are really plowing the ground with the community and planting those seeds. To think that you can wake up tomorrow and see the fruits of that is ridiculous. You got to get through the season to see the fruits of your work.”
Earlier this month, the Maryland legislature passed a police accountability bill — the direct result of conversations that followed Gray’s death — ordering changes to the ways in which officers are hired, trained, and disciplined. But the bill didn’t include a provision the community had requested, giving civilian review boards authority to investigate officer misconduct.On the streets, Baltimore residents remain vigilant.
Earlier this month, residents of the Gilmor Homes housing project rushed out to the same street where Gray had been arrested when they saw officers chasing a young man. Dozens of residents recorded the arrest on their phones and asked for the officers’ names and badge numbers. Last week, the department opened an investigation after a different video surfaced online showing police roughly arresting an 18-year-old at his home in East Baltimore. The teenager had told officers to leave because they didn’t have a warrant. “That don’t matter,” one of them is heard saying before officers pull him out of the house and push him to the ground.
Justice in the Gray case remains on hold. A federal investigation of the Baltimore Police Department’s abuses is ongoing. The judge presiding over the first trial of an officer in the Gray case declared a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict. The other officers’ trials have been postponed.
And Freddie Gray is not the only one awaiting justice. The family of Tyrone West, who was killed by police in 2013, has been holding rallies for 143 consecutive Wednesdays. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who instantaneously became the city’s heroine last year when she brought charges against the six officers in Gray’s case, was met with angry criticism and growing frustration this month when she declined to reopen West’s case.
In a sign that Baltimore’s conversations remain tense, just a week earlier, Mosby walked off the stage during a forum when confronted by the fiancée of Keith Davis Jr., a man who was shot by police last summer. Davis survived, but he has since been entangled in a controversial case that reflects the continuing divide between Baltimore’s poor black residents and the city’s law enforcement establishment.
ON APRIL 19, the anniversary of Gray’s death, some paid tribute to his memory with a concert at a Methodist church while others grilled burgers near the street corner where he was arrested. But Keith Davis’s fiancée, Kelly Holsey, her four children, and a handful of supporters were standing outside the city’s sprawling jail complex, climbing a wall, banging on drums, and writing “Free Keith Davis Jr.” in spray paint over a giant banner and in henna tattoos on the girls’ hands.
Across the street was Davis, looking out from a window two rows down from the top of the brick building. They couldn’t see him, but he could see them, and he could hear them. He started banging on the windows in response to their drums, and soon other inmates joined him.
In June 2015, officers chasing a robbery suspect shot at Davis 44 times. He was struck three times, including in the face, and a bullet remains lodged in his neck, leaving a visible bump. Police said they found a gun on top of a refrigerator in the garage where he took cover. They said his prints were on it. He always maintained that he was innocent and the gun was not his, and refused to take any plea offers. In court, the officers’ contradicting testimonies unraveled, and a jury declined to convict Davis of all but one firearms possession charge. Days later — nine months after he was shot and arrested — prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder, alleging that the gun had been linked to a homicide that occurred earlier the same day.
“They are coming at him with everything they have because they have made a mistake, and instead of apologizing, they just continue to systematically ruin his life,” said Holsey while standing outside the jail. She waved at Keith as the falling darkness made it easier to see his outline through the windows. “He still believes he didn’t do anything, and the evidence will show it. I’m a nervous wreck because I understand that they will do anything, lying, conniving, being deceitful.”
Holsey, who said she was on the phone with Davis when officers showered him with bullets, had stayed home during the Freddie Gray protests. “I was always taught that officers do what they’re supposed to do, officers don’t maliciously hurt people. I now know differently,” she said, scrolling through photos of her fiancée on her phone, as her youngest daughter played with her mother’s long braids. “Even when he called and said the police are shooting at me, I was like, what does that mean, why would the police shoot at you? I wasn’t conditioned to think that way.”
Rallying support around Davis has been tough, she said. He has done time for drugs, and even though he was working full time doing inventory of Baltimore school lunches, it was hard to paint him as a martyr. “He made mistakes, he didn’t make the best of choices, but he did the best with what he had at the time,” she said, a statement that easily describes many of Baltimore’s poor black men, Gray included.But Davis, unlike Gray, survived to tell his own story.
“Someone told me that no one would care, because he didn’t die,” said Holsey. “He is the second part of Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray passed away. Had he lived, he would have been arrested, had charges thrown on him, would have had to fight the court system, would have had to fight the state’s attorney’s office. And that’s what Keith is going through now.”
The morning after Holsey and others gathered by the jail, Davis was sentenced to five years in prison for the gun charge. Next week he is scheduled to be indicted on the murder charge — but the way in which the case has been handled so far has raised serious questions about the credibility of police and prosecutors, whether the public’s trust in Baltimore’s law enforcement is beyond repair, and how the system can operate if people just assume police are always lying.
“If you’re speaking absolute truths but the environment says, ‘I don’t care what you say out of your mouth at this point, we’re not believing anything,’ that’s an issue,” said Lt. Col. Russell, who would not comment on the Davis case specifically. “That’s our mountain to climb, we have to regain that trust.”
FREDDIE GRAY WAS arrested on the corner of Presbury and North Mount streets, in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore, a block lined with vacant houses and empty lots. A year after his death, the neighborhood appeared unchanged, except for the many tributes to Gray marking the spot where his deadly ride began.
On the corner where he was picked up, a blue cloud with an angel’s wings and halo bore his name and two dates: 8.16.89-4.19.15, those of his birth and death. J4F, Justice 4 Freddie, was sprayed on the sidewalk. Across the street, Gray’s portrait filled the windowless side of another row house, towering between civil rights marchers on one side, and present-day protesters on the other, each group waving American flags. On the day of the anniversary, a group of college students showed up with seeds and dirt donated by Home Depot and began planting a flower garden by the mural. Children wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts and pins bearing a raised fist and the word “liberation” helped out.
Jaselle Coates, 62, who has lived in that house with her husband, Earl, for 16 years, and in that neighborhood for her whole life, was grilling burgers and hot dogs for them, looking at the sudden commotion in her backyard with some bewilderment, but happy enough about the garden makeover. She called the kids “our new family.”
Among the curious gathered nearby, she recognized Anthony Miller, also 62, a former classmate who grew up in the area but left for Virginia 30 years earlier. He returned to the block while in Baltimore visiting his son. “You still here?” Miller asked Coates, excited. “I’m not going anywhere,” she replied flatly.
The incident allowed the two to reconnect and reminisce about a time “before people lost hope,” when “you could come out and play and not worry about dodging bullets,” Miller said. Flowers and the occasional reporter aside, nothing has changed since last year on this block, said Coates. “Nothing’s different, nothing’s new, nothing’s better.”
At least on this day, however, the mood on the block was a festive reminder of the old days, and Coates was not the only one grilling. Across the street, a vacant home had been taken over by a coalition of activists who dubbed it the “Tubman House,” after the abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
“They put her on a 20, but they won’t even think about reparations for slavery,” said Taalib Saber, a law school graduate with long dreadlocks, referring to the news that Tubman would be memorialized on the $20 bill.
Saber and others, with support from a Quaker group and in partnership with local organizations, fixed up the house and turned it into a community center. A Baltimore artist painted Tubman’s portrait in red, gold, and green, the pan-African colors. Activists stocked up on donated food for the neighborhood and crayons for kids. They planted an urban farm-style garden outside, and they plan to start legal and political education classes.
Outside, members of a group called Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle flipped burgers for residents of the Gilmor Homes across the street. Lt. Col. Russell was there, as was Marshall “Eddie” Conway, a former Black Panther leader who spent 44 years in prison in a deeply controversial case.
The house itself had only been vacant for a few months. The family that lived there left after the protests, “’cause they wanted to get out of this neighborhood,” Coates said. Until the activists moved in, it was just one of Baltimore’s 17,000 vacant homes, an ubiquitous reminder that the city has seen better days. In neighborhoods like this, it’s not uncommon to drive past entire vacant blocks.
The group said they tried to purchase the property, even had private inspectors evaluate the building’s safety, and repeatedly declared their plans to the city. After they inaugurated the building and received some local press coverage, housing officials showed up and told them the house and the entire block were slated for demolition.
“They are against what we’re trying to do,” said Saber, while giving a tour of the place to a 77-year-old woman named Kay Adler who was wearing a “Revolution – Nothing Less” T-shirt. Adler was a civil rights activist in New York before returning to her native Baltimore. She had lived at the Gilmor Homes as a child, when she said it was “like a village.”
That village atmosphere is what Saber and the others are trying to recreate. They received the support of neighbors and even local gangs who promised to keep an eye on the property. “Look at it, we’re in the heart of the community, the people have spoken, they like it. Why not turn on our water and electricity and let us do what we are here to do?” he said. “The city had its opportunity for how many years? They haven’t done it.”
THE TUBMAN HOUSE is one of several grassroots initiatives that have sprung up in West Baltimore, and Sandtown-Winchester in particular, in the aftermath of the protests. Starting in the 1980s, the neighborhood was the ground of an ambitious community renewal project, as officials and nonprofits invested massively in efforts to rebuild homes and services there. But that initiative focused on charity rather than empowerment, and when it faltered, Sandtown became a cautionary tale of failed urban policy. People here have learned the lesson, and after last year’s protests brought new promises of change, they now rely on no one but themselves.
At a forum held at the Walters Art Museum last week, Devin Allen answered a question about whether the protests had signified the end of something in the city. “The end of people sitting on their asses,” he said in his usual no-nonsense tone. “Time to work.”
He has done that much himself. After gaining overnight fame, he ditched plans to move to New York to pursue his photography, traded in his equipment, and started collecting donated cameras that he distributes to kids in Sandtown-Winchester, keeping them busy and dispatching a small army of chroniclers to capture the city’s life, struggles, and beauty, the way he did during the protests. Allen partnered with community activist Ericka Alston, who set up a recreation center in an old laundry and called it the “Kids Safe Zone.” In less than a year, the place has become a West Baltimore institution. On any given day Allen can be found at a playground not far from the protests’ ground zero, Pennsylvania Avenue, distributing hand-me-down cameras to a never-ending stream of kids, and taking photos of them with his phone as they take photos of him. The project has no name, no structure, and next to no funding. It’s just what he came up with after the protests.
“I was just like, I need to do something,” he said on a recent afternoon, constantly interrupted by children’s requests for batteries or help with a camera’s settings. “Because protest serves its purpose, it gets your voice heard, but now that you got your voice heard, what do you do? Now your voice is louder and stronger than ever, and that’s where people stop. You can’t just do that, you have to implement.”
“I don’t have no faith in politicians. I don’t think they can make change. I believe in stuff like this, becoming self-sufficient in neighborhoods and giving people food and love every day,” said Allen. “You gotta start from the ground up. We gotta rebuild from the ground up.” When the protests ended, “that’s when the real work started. The real work is when the lights are cut off and everybody goes home. And we’re here.”
INEVITABLY, “CHANGE” HAS been the big promise of Baltimore’s mayoral campaign, a heated race with 13 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination alone, which in a city as blue as Baltimore is essentially a guaranteed win in the general.
The race has pitted the city’s political establishment — including former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who resigned in 2010 after she was convicted of embezzlement, and state Sen. Catherine Pugh, who’s currently leading in the polls — against a new generation of challengers, like city Councilman Nick Mosby, Marilyn Mosby’s husband, who has since dropped out of the race, and DeRay McKesson, a Baltimore native who gained national fame as a protester in Ferguson, Missouri.
In the past, Baltimore’s mayors were all but handpicked by their predecessors, which led to meager turnouts at the polls and elections lacking any surprises or excitement. Traditionally the city’s largest voting block has been middle-class middle-aged black women. But this year’s open race, coupled with the presidential primary and last year’s protests, has made this primary a deeply contested one.
“I do think this election is one of the most important in the history of Baltimore,” said McKesson during a campaign stop at Notre Dame of Maryland University, where he told students that he anticipated record numbers of young people turning out to vote. “This election will just be different.” But whether the energy that erupted in last year’s protests is translating into new enthusiasm for the city’s political process remains to be seen.
Much of the community work since Gray’s death has been in his neighborhood, but some have also tried to bridge the divide in the city that the protests exposed. Desmond Campbell, for instance, a 19-year-old community college student, lives in West Baltimore but spends his evenings downtown, at Baltimore’s beautifully renovated harbor. As an ambassador for the Inner Harbor Project, Cambell works to help connect Baltimore’s black youth to a part of the city that has often rejected them, where store owners turn them away and police officers automatically assume they’re up to no good.
Last year during the uprising, when police used the harbor as a staging area, Campbell went to work there, then returned to protest. On Saturday night, wearing a blue “Hood 2 Harbor” T-shirt, he talked about how divided Baltimore remains a year later. “The question is, what can we do next?” he said, echoing what many in the city are asking. “It’s great to talk a good game, but it feels so much better to back it up.”
This particular project is helping marginalized Baltimore youth reclaim their city. But getting them out to vote is going to be a challenge, Campbell said. “People are made to feel like what they feel doesn’t matter, so why should they vote?” he said. “They’ll say, why should I vote for a mayor when what my neighborhood needs is not getting done? You’re supposed to help me? Help me!”
The next day, a rally in memory of Freddie Gray organized by an influential pastor drew a crowd back to Pennsylvania Avenue, including several candidates. The campaign fliers and T-shirts far outnumbered those bearing Gray’s name, while journalists and older men in suits outnumbered the usual protesters. The event was clearly meant to get people to the polls. “If you’re planning on voting on Tuesday, make some noise!” one of the speakers said, before introducing all the candidates at the rally. A couple of veteran protesters remarked bitterly that many in attendance would only come to the neighborhood for events like this one.“I don’t have no faith in politicians. I don’t think they can make change.”
Some protesters and community organizers have endorsed candidates — Kwame Rose backed Pugh and the East Baltimore writer D Watkins backed McKesson — but the protagonists of the uprising have not unified behind anyone in particular, and many seem to view all the candidates with skepticism and the election with lukewarm interest. “All these people had this grandiose vision of being the mayor that brought Baltimore back from the uprising,” said Lawrence Grandpre, a member of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, rolling his eyes. “The question is, if a conversation is supposed to happen about general issues of inequity, can that conversation be translated into something that’s more specific? So we can actually do the work, not just talk about structural racism but actually end it?”
His group, which started as a college debate team at Baltimore’s Towson University and when its members graduated developed into a think tank advancing the interests of black Baltimoreans, rejected the notion that the choice is between protest and politics. They were in the streets last year, and in Annapolis this month, lobbying legislators to pass the police reform bill. And they were outside the Tubman House flipping burgers on the anniversary of Gray’s death. “People see it as an either/or — you’re either gonna do stuff within the system or you’re gonna be a protester and burn it down, and to me, you can do both at the same time,” said Adam Jackson, another member of the group. “And be more effective.”
There is no question that the black youth who took to the streets of Baltimore last year are political — “to be black to a certain degree is to be conscious,” said Saber, the young man who was giving tours of the Tubman House. The question is whether they can be successfully engaged in a political system whose impact has largely excluded them. “You use the voting system as best as you can. Understand it and use it,” he continued, noting, however, that he didn’t hear much talk of voting around Gray’s neighborhood, where the campaign signs that dominate the rest of the city are almost absent.
Getting young black residents of the city’s poorest neighborhoods to come out and vote will take time and profound changes, Councilman Mosby told me at a café downtown. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Mosby, who represents a West Baltimore district, ran for mayor promising to be the alternative to the kind of politicians who have been in office since he was in grade school. He endorsed Pugh after withdrawing from the race, blaming the protests on a long history of “failed leadership,” and echoed the chorus of voices saying that nothing substantial has changed since then.
BACK IN SANDTOWN-WINCHESTER, Shaun Young — a skinny, 27-year-old protester who tumbled into the spotlight during the uprising when he grabbed a CNN reporter’s mic and yelled, “Fuck you! Fuck that! Fuck CNN!” — said that not much has changed in his own life since last year. He’s still unemployed and recently had to move after police raided the house where he was staying. He was arrested on the anniversary of Freddie Gray’s arrest, while confronting an officer who was arresting another man. “I was arrested for resisting arrest,” he laughed.
But something bigger has changed for him, he said — his own view of himself and his role in his community. Young said that he misses the protests. Not the tear gas and the anger, but the sense of solidarity and unity he felt on the streets during those days. Like many here, he has been trying to find ways to channel the sense of empowerment he discovered last year.
“I thought about running for mayor too,” he joked, then added he’s not sure he’ll vote on Tuesday. “It almost seems pointless,” he said. “I believe in self-empowerment.” Young said he was still looking for ways to do more, but for now he’s settled on being a great father and “cop watching.” In less than a year, Young had two cameras stolen, but Devin Allen, the photographer, recently hooked him up with a new point and shoot. On a sunny weekend afternoon this month, Young was walking around the neighborhood where Gray was arrested with his 5-year-old and 4-month-old daughters when gun shots went off down the block and two police cars raced by. He looked around for a moment then back at his girls, unfazed. His older daughter, Jordyn, kept playing with his camera. He passed on following the cops this time.
Kevin Moore, the man who shot one of the videos of Freddie Gray’s arrest, has also fully embraced his role as a cop watcher. He walks around with “Cop Watch” printed on his hoodie like a warning sign, and has covered his neighborhood with cop-watching stickers. At his apartment in the Gilmor Homes, he showed me a toilet seat turned into art project, covered with a collage of newspaper clippings about police brutality and the business cards of broadcast reporters collected during the protests. He doesn’t like journalists much, but he’s happy enough to tell me what he saw that day. He must have repeated it a hundred times, but he’s still incredulous when he describes how officers roughly handled Gray’s already cuffed arms and legs.
“I knew Freddie,” he said. “He was a great person.”
“My life was already at the point where I was like, man, what am I supposed to do, what is my purpose?” Moore, a 30-year-old father of three, said of that day. “Then this happened, and I knew him, and I felt like, this is my destiny, I was called to be a cop watcher, to be a nuisance to the police in a positive way, exercising my First Amendment right, which says that I’m allowed to document the police.” Officers in the area know Moore well and often take video of him while he documents their activities.
Young is still angry with the police. He walks around carrying the court subpoenas ordering him to testify in the trials of the six officers charged with Gray’s death. Like everyone else I spoke with, he said nothing has really changed around here — except for people themselves.
“There’s a lot of togetherness, it definitely brought the neighborhood closer. There’s a lot of love now,” he said, fist bumping everyone who passed by. “After Freddie, it was like we woke up.”
The post A Year After the Baltimore Uprising, the Real Work Is Just Beginning appeared first on The Intercept.
Although the police in Cairo sealed off parts of the Egyptian capital where protests scheduled on Facebook were to have taken place on Monday, opposition activists managed to stage brief rallies that resembled flash mobs, calling for an end to military rule and the cancellation of a deal to surrender two islands to Saudi Arabia.
— Gigi Ibrahim (@Gsquare86) April 25, 2016
The fact that Facebook is now so closely monitored by the security forces prompted one leading activist to offer an online tutorial in how to use a new tool, the encrypted messaging app Signal, to help protesters find each other on the city’s streets, and stay one step ahead of the authorities.
The heavy police presence wherever protests were planned seemed to indicate that the authorities can no longer be caught off guard by events organized on public social networks, as they were in 2011 when Facebook-driven protests led to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak.
People are being rounded up near the places where protests are announced to be held in downtown and other areas….. https://t.co/5LZQXIbNb6
— Gigi Ibrahim (@Gsquare86) April 25, 2016
There was a time when political parties and groups used Facebook to post meeting points/times for marches. Mobilization much tougher now.
— Basil El-Dabh (@basildabh) April 25, 2016
— The Nagoul (@NAGOUL1) April 25, 2016
Concrete proof of the new dynamic could be seen outside the Journalists’ Syndicate in Cairo, where thousands of protesters had gathered ten days ago and a Facebook group called Egypt Is Not For Sale had called for fresh demonstrations against the transfer of the uninhabited Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi control.
Cairo journalists' syndicate totally locked down by riot police ahead of planned protests pic.twitter.com/SdvvvgA1wy
— Kareem Fahim (@kfahim) April 25, 2016
Not only was the area off-limits to protesters on Monday, it was used to stage a pro-government dance party for a handful of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s biggest fans, joined by flag-waving police officers.
????? ???????? ??????? pic.twitter.com/DcaWXiWBxr
— ROGER ANIS (@Rogeranis) April 25, 2016
— ROGER ANIS (@Rogeranis) April 25, 2016
— ????? ?????? (@youm7) April 25, 2016
Across the Nile, however, protesters unable to access the main rallying points suddenly appeared in Mesaha Square, a temporarily unsecured area of the Dokki neighborhood, and launched into chants against military rule and the transfer of the islands.
Small flash mob like protest started in Dokki Medan Messaha chanting down with military rule pic.twitter.com/LKaIH0psbY
— Samer Al-Atrush (@SameralAtrush) April 25, 2016
— Gigi Ibrahim (@Gsquare86) April 25, 2016
????? ?? ????? ??? ??? ????. pic.twitter.com/P0a12frem7
— Ahdaf Soueif (@asoueif) April 25, 2016
“They can lock down all the squares, but we will still find some street, some alleyway,” one young protester there told Kareem Fahim of the New York Times. “It is endless cat and mouse.”
Although the protesters did manage to evade detection long enough to assemble and make their voices heard, the police arrived within minutes to disperse the crowd, firing tear gas and shotgun pellets.
Protest lasted less than 15 minutes, before riot police stormed square. pic.twitter.com/M5Z7MS64dk
— Kareem Fahim (@kfahim) April 25, 2016
Police fire tgas protest moves on. pic.twitter.com/22GJO0PAG7
— Samer Al-Atrush (@SameralAtrush) April 25, 2016
Protest in Messaha Square dispersed by police and armed civilians. Arrests right and left. #egypt
— Lina Attalah (@Linaattalah) April 25, 2016
A short time later, the protesters appeared again on a nearby street.
— Zeyad Salem (@Zeyadsalem) April 25, 2016
By the end of the day, more than 200 people were reportedly detained, including dozens of journalists.
pic of a young man holding a sign"The Land is Egyptian" taken just ments before he got arrested in Talaat Harb Sq pic.twitter.com/A5kMKA8rRb
— ANHRI-?????? ??????? (@anhri) April 25, 2016
The police reportedly searched the phones of protesters, scanning their Facebook and WhatsApp accounts.
— Ahmed Hafez ? (@ahmedhafeztweet) April 25, 2016
— ?????? (@Masrawy) April 25, 2016
Police stopping people in streets, searching their phones, preventing journalists from work and arrest suspects of protest #Egypt
— Ahmed Ezzat (@ahmed3zat) April 25, 2016
Police are now going through people's phones and arresting some of them for their phone's contents. #Cairo
— The Nagoul (@NAGOUL1) April 25, 2016
Although secure messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp do allow users to send some group chat messages, by their nature they are not as easy to use for public broadcast, like Facebook or Twitter, which could hinder their usefulness as organizing tools for mass street protests.
As Orla Guerin of the BBC noted, the Sisi supporters were allowed to demonstrate unmolested, and harass foreign journalists, even as a law banning spontaneous rallies was used to arrest protesters in other parts of the city.
— Orla Guerin (@OrlaGuerin) April 25, 2016
— Orla Guerin (@OrlaGuerin) April 25, 2016
Some of the most ardent government supporters seen on local television were familiar to viewers from previous rallies, including a woman who had achieved viral fame two years ago for an interview in which she scolded President Barack Obama for his supposed interference in the country’s affairs by saying, in fractured English: “Shut up your mouse, Obama! Sisi, yes! Sisi, yes!”
The "shut up your mouse Obama" lady went from viral hit to a regular feature of the pro Sisi troupe https://t.co/RJVTbfKwTF
— sherief gaber (@sheriefgbr) April 25, 2016
Waving a Saudi flag at the center of a small pro-government rally on Monday in Cairo’s Talaat Harb square, the same woman was filmed saying that the Saudi king could have Egypt’s pyramids and the Sphinx as well.
So far 2day z Egyptian govt has been very smart, sucking up all z oxygen in Cairo w loud pro-Sisi, pro-Saudi rallies pic.twitter.com/u6P7f7X7bl
— cecilia udden (@ceciliauddenm) April 25, 2016
— cecilia udden (@ceciliauddenm) April 25, 2016
Suspicions that the government supporters might have been mobilized by the authorities were reinforced by reports that some of them were transported to Tahrir Square in police vans.
— Amro Ali (@_amroali) April 25, 2016
— Amro Ali (@_amroali) April 25, 2016
As if to underline how much Egypt has changed since the end of the 2011 revolt, government supporters even rallied on Monday outside the window of the deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, who waved to fans from his hospital room at the Maadi Military hospital in a Cairo suburb.
?????????????????????????????????????? ?????? ?????? ????? :D pic.twitter.com/AkW09Omnj9
— Sabry Khaled (@sabrykhaled) April 25, 2016
The post With Facebook No Longer a Secret Weapon, Egypt’s Protesters Turn to Signal appeared first on The Intercept.
Frieden, nicht nur, heute einfach ein paar Links ..
Das hatte ich schon:
www.die-linke.de/politik/aktionen/friedens-und-entspannungspolitische-ko... eine leider zeitraubende aber doch sehens-/hörenswerte Diskussion "zum Zuschauen per Video" ...
www.muenchner-friedensbuendnis.de/CODEPINK-Abschluss-in-Muenchen-19.4.20... CODEPINK war da - auch ein Schub zum Thema "Drohnenkrieg" bzw. Gegenwehr
wie "Asche im Mund", warnte Brecht 1951, und ja, genau, trotzdem, wichtig:
wird (denke ich) fortgesetzt ...-->
Nach den Strafanzeigen des RIB-Vorstandsvorsitzenden Jürgen Grässlin hat die Staatsanwaltschaft Stuttgart nach über fünf Jahren Anklage erhoben.Jedoch nicht wie von uns erhofft.
Die Staatsanwaltschaft beschuldigt ehem. Mitarbeiter von Heckler & Koch des bandenmäßigen Agierens im Fall der illegalen H&K-G36-Gewehrexporte nach Mexiko.
Weiterhin hat die Staatsanwaltschaft Stuttgart hat die Frist der Ermittlungen gegen das Bundesausfuhramt und die BAFA nach unserer Strafanzeige (J. Grässlin 2010 / erweitert Rechtsanwalt H. Rothbauer 2012) verjähren lassen – trotz der eindeutigen Belege für deren Verwicklung in den illegalen Waffendeal, dokumentiert in unserem Buch „Netzwerk des Todes. Die kriminellen Verflechtungen von Waffenindustrie und Behörden“.
Nach nur wenigen Monaten, dank der Vorarbeit von Peter Vobiller ermittelt die Staatsanwaltschaft München jetzt nach der Strafanzeige der Staatsanwaltschaft Stuttgart gegen die AutorInnen des Enthüllungsbuches „Netzwerk des Todes“, Jürgen Grässlin, Daniel Harrich und Danuta Harrich-Zandberg wegen „Geheimnisverrats“.
The City of Cleveland announced on Monday that it will pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit by the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was tragically killed by police officers in 2014 while holding a toy gun.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association released a statement responding to the settlement. Rather than acknowledging any error on the police’s part, the association suggested that the Rice family use the funds to “educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”
The post Tamir Rice’s Family Should Spend Money Warning of Toy Guns, Say Cops Who Shot Him With Real One appeared first on The Intercept.
Fourteen months after they arrived to investigate the disappearance of 43 college students, a panel of international experts is leaving Mexico, their case unsolved. Appearing at a press conference in Mexico City on Sunday, members of the independent panel, appointed by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, described a case tainted by government torture and deep prosecutorial mishandling.
Of more than 120 suspects arrested in connection with the students’ disappearance, 17 showed signs of torture, the panel reported. Of those allegedly tortured, five were key to the government’s account of the students’ fate, the experts said. The case has been riddled with media reports of suspects tortured into making confessions, and the words of Patricio Reyes Landa, whose testimony was made public in the report, offers a jarring description of the alleged abuse. Landa, a central suspect in the crimes whose confession was aired in nationally televised press conferences, said the description of his capture was a “lie.”
“They went into the house, beating and kicking,” Landa said. “They hauled me aboard a vehicle, they blindfolded me, tied my feet and hands, they began beating me again and gave me electric shocks, they put a rag over my nose and poured water on it. They gave me shocks on the inside of my mouth and my testicles. They put a bag over my face so I couldn’t breathe. It went on for hours.”
While the allegations of torture could thwart potential prosecutions in the case, they do little to explain what happened to the students. For that, the panel would need access to officials and evidence that it did not receive. The lack of access, the panel indicated, did not appear to be accidental. “The investigation had difficulties that are not attributable exclusively to the simple complexity of a case of this magnitude,” the report said.
From the outset, the Mexican government’s account of what happened on the night of September 26, 2014, has been the subject of withering criticism. According to the official story — once described by Mexico’s former attorney general as “the historical truth” — the students were intercepted by municipal police while attempting to commandeer buses in the city of Iguala, some three hours south of Mexico City. The students were then handed over to a local drug gang who drove them to a garbage pit where they were murdered and incinerated in a massive, makeshift funeral pyre, the government has contended.
As the initial details of the violence trickled out, the nation recoiled in horror. The students came from deeply impoverished backgrounds. Their school — officially known as Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos but better known as Aytozinapa — is a training college for aspiring teachers. The vast majority of the students attacked that night were freshmen who had little idea what they were getting into when they left campus. Not only were scores of unarmed students disappeared, but six people, a mix of students and bystanders, were killed in the process of their capture. One of the student victims was found beaten and bruised in the street; his assailants cut his face off. Within weeks, anger over the crimes led to fiery protests that soon spread across the country.
In May The Intercept published a series of articles about the students’ disappearance, based on six months of investigation and more than two dozen interviews, including conversations with survivors of the attacks and a review of state and federal records, including communication reports by Mexican security forces and sealed statements from municipal police officers and alleged gang members who were detained in the wake of the crimes. The Intercept found major inconsistencies in the government’s story. Rather than a local crime committed by municipal officials and their gangster accomplices, ample evidence, including the government’s own records, pointed to a wider circle of responsibility and a clear-cut case of enforced disappearance — a crime against humanity under international law.
Speaking at the press conference in Mexico City this weekend, members of the panel reiterated, for the second time, the core conclusions of investigative articles published by The Intercept and other news outlets. In a rebuke of the government’s narrative of a limited, local operation, the panel reported that it had uncovered new evidence of wider federal police involvement in the night’s events. Regarding the assertion that the students were collectively incinerated, the experts repeated their long-held position that this was not the case. “[The panel] has not a single piece of evidence to change its conclusion that the 43 students were not incinerated,” Francisco Cox, a Chilean member of the team said.
The panel’s first report was published in September of last year. The 560-page document meticulously deconstructed the government’s account and presented the events that night for what they were: a hyper-violent, coordinated, multi-pronged ambush of unarmed civilians at multiple locations resulting in at least six people dead, 40 injured, and 43 disappeared, carried out with full knowledge, if not outright participation, of security forces at all levels, including federal police and the military.
The experts had come to Mexico at the government’s invitation. With the authority to conduct an independent investigation and promises that the state would aid in making the necessary evidence and witnesses available, their presence offered a glimmer of hope that the most shocking crime in recent Mexican history might actually get solved. That hope soon crumbled though.
Following their first report, the experts’ relationship to the government turned cold, according to an account members of the panel provided to the New York Times. The government refused to make key interviews possible, including interviews with members of the military potentially present on the night of the students’ disappearance. Meanwhile, the experts themselves were attacked in media outlets close to the state, and an individual who appointed them became the target of a dubious criminal inquiry. Despite a sense that their job was not done, the experts were not offered an extension of their mandate. They are expected to leave Mexico in the coming days.
The search for the students has turned up scores of clandestine graves in the southern state of Guerrero, where the attack took place. To date, the remains of just one of the young men, 21 year-old Alexander Mora Venancio, has been positively identified. Exactly where his remains were found is deeply contested. The Intercept met Mora’s father, Ezequiel, on a rainy night on the Ayotzinapa campus. He was taking shelter beneath an awning. Violence, intimidation, disappearances — that’s how the government does business, Ezequiel explained. “It is their policy,” he said. “It is a narco-government. It is not a government that is for its people.”
Mexicans have a phrase to describe those moments in which things boil over: the drop that spilled the glass. The phrase was heard again and again when the outrage over the students’ disappearance was at its peak. The 43 young men, the pain that was evident on their parents’ faces as they marched through the streets, the government’s obscenely flawed investigation — all came together as a visceral representation of what so many Mexicans have suffered in recent years. When it spilled over into massive demonstrations across the country, there was hope that for once things might turn out different.
According to government estimates that are regarded as conservative, at least 25,000 Mexicans have disappeared over the last decade. In a country where impunity is rampant, those cases stand a slim chance of ever being solved. With the independent investigators’ inquiry into the disappearance of 43 students coming to a close, the likelihood that they will be removed from that grim tally slips further away.
The post Independent Investigators Leave Mexico Without Solving the Case Of 43 Disappeared Students appeared first on The Intercept.
IN THE FINAL DAYS leading up to Maryland’s Democratic voters going to the polls on Tuesday to choose their U.S. Senate nominee, Rep. Donna Edwards has been barraged by ads and mailers from the Super PAC backing her opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, called the Committee for Maryland’s Progress.
A television ad assails Edwards as “one of the least effective members of Congress,” contrasting her career with Van Hollen’s legislative record. It mentions no foreign policy issues, despite the dominant issue motivating one of the Super PAC’s largest funders.
Recently released disclosures reveal that $100,000 — a sixth of what the Super PAC has raised —comes from a single source: a donation by pro-Israel billionaire Haim Saban.
A “One-Issue Guy”
Saban, who made his fortune in the media and entertainment industry, has spent millions of dollars influencing the foreign policy establishment, including by sponsoring the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy and funding the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is also one of the largest donors to Hillary Clinton’s Super PACs. In a 2010 interview with the New Yorker, he described himself as a “one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”
Last year, he briefly teamed up with GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson to sponsor an effort to counter university boycotts and divestment from Israel’s occupation. “When it comes to Israel, we are absolutely on the same page,” he said of Adelson. “When it comes to this, there is no light between us at all.”
Following the Paris terrorist attacks, Saban called for “more scrutiny” of Muslims. “You want to be free and dead? I’d rather be not free and alive. The reality is that certain things that are unacceptable in times of peace — such as profiling, listening in on anyone and everybody who looks suspicious, or interviewing Muslims in a more intense way than interviewing Christian refugees — is all acceptable [during war],” he told The Wrap. “Why? Because we value life more than our civil liberties and it’s temporary until the problem goes away.”
Days later, he walked back his remarks, saying he “misspoke” and that all “refugees coming from Syria” should “require additional scrutiny,” regardless of religion.
A Maryland Divide Over Israel and the Palestinians
Last week, Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times wrote that the Maryland Senate race involves “slight differences in policy.” But on Israel and the Palestinians, Edwards has significantly departed from the status quo in votes and statements in ways that her opponent has not.
During “Operation Cast Lead,” the sustained bombing campaign of Gaza that began in late 2008 and lasted through the middle of January 2009, 390 members of Congress, including Van Hollen, voted in favor of a one-sided resolution affirming support for Israel’s conduct during the war; Edwards voted “present.”
In November of 2009, the House of Representatives voted 344 to 36 to call on the administration to oppose endorsement of the United Nations’ “Goldstone Report,” which described war crimes by both Israel and Hamas during the previous year’s war. Van Hollen voted with the majority, and Edwards was one of the few who voted no.
Following the 2010 deaths of activists aboard a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the territory under Israeli blockade, Israeli officials and right-wing supporters of the government there denied that there was a growing humanitarian crisis in the territory.
“I think all international institutions have acknowledged a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Edwards told me at the time. “I have long said that I don’t think the blockade is really sustainable for the people of Gaza.” Van Hollen’s statement on the event — highlighted on AIPAC’s website — was more muted; it did not condemn the embargo but affirmed that the “U.S. must also continue to make sure humanitarian assistance is able to reach the people of Gaza.”
In November 2015, all but one member of the Maryland congressional delegation signed onto a House letter written to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemning the “recent wave of Palestinian violence in Israel and the West Bank.” By mid-October seven Israelis had been killed in stabbings and similar incidents, and dozens had been wounded. In the same time frame, almost 30 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli military attacks and nearly 2,000 had been injured.
Van Hollen signed the letter, Edwards did not. Asked by Washington Jewish Week why she did not sign the letter, she gave a brief statement condemning the violence as a whole, not just one side’s attacks:
I condemn the violence affecting the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, and urge both sides to return to the negotiating table to seek peace. It is critical that we ensure the State of Israel as a secure Jewish democratic state by making a two-state solution a reality, with the recognition of an independent Palestinian state that respects and recognizes the State of Israel.
“If you take their records side by side, she’s in the bottom 5 percent of the class and he’s up there, among the top,” Morris J. Amitay, a former AIPAC executive director, said in comments to the Baltimore Sun. “I’ve never seen such a disparity.”
The post Pro-Israel Billionaire Haim Saban Drops $100,000 Against Donna Edwards in Maryland Senate Race appeared first on The Intercept.
Keine minderjährige Soldaten bei der Bundeswehr! – Das ist leider keine Realität, sondern eine Forderung, die von der deutschen Politik erst noch aufgegriffen werden muss. Ralf Willinger / terrres des hommes berichtet in einem Beitrag für den DAKS-Newsletter über Hintergründe und vom Red Hand Day 2016.
Außerdem im neuen Newsletter: Heckler & Koch darf sich über verschiedene Auftragseingänge freuen. Bemerkenswert: neben dem deutschen- und dem US-amerikanischen Militär sind es immer häufiger auch Polizeiliche Abnehmer, die Schnellfeuergewehre wie das G36 beschaffen. Ist das ein neuer Trend, der die Grenzen zwischen Polizei und Militär zu verwischen droht? Mehr im neuen Newsletter!
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Red Hand Day 2016: Stoppt den Einsatz von Kindersoldaten und die Rekrutierung von Minderjährigen!
von Ralf Willinger, Referent Kinderrechte bei terres des hommes
Zum Red Hand Day am 12. Februar protestieren weltweit jedes Jahr Tausende von Menschen, besonders Kinder und Jugendliche, gegen den Einsatz von Kindersoldaten. In Indien, Nepal, Pakistan, Burma, den Philippinen, Kolumbien, dem Libanon, Mexiko, Samoa, Portugal, Österreich, Kanada, USA, Großbritannien, Estland, Frankreich, Deutschland und weiteren Ländern gab es 2016 Aktionen. In vielen Fällen wurden die gesammelten roten Handabdrücke an hochrangige Politiker übergeben, damit sie etwas gegen den Einsatz von Kindern als Soldaten tun.
Die meisten Aktionen fanden auch dieses Jahr in Deutschland statt, wo die weltweite Aktion Rote Hand von Mitgliedern des Deutschen Bündnisses Kindersoldaten (www.kindersoldaten.info) vor mehr als 10 Jahren gestartet wurde, darunter terre des hommes, Kindernothilfe und die Aktion Weißes Friedensband. Viele Minister und Abgeordnete haben schon rote Handabdrücke von Aktionsgruppen und Schulen entgegengenommen, 2015 unter anderem Außenminister Steinmeier und Verteidigungsministerin von der Leyen und 2016 Bundeskanzlerin Merkel, die die von der terre des hommes-AG Radolfzell gesammelten Hände bei einem Besuch in der Stadt in Empfang nehmen ließ.
Denn mehrere der sechs Forderungen der Aktion, für die sich das Deutsche Bündnis Kindersoldaten auch dieses Jahr wieder in Fernsehen, Radio und Zeitungen stark gemacht hat, richten sich auch an deutsche Verantwortliche: Die Grundforderung, das Respektieren der 18-Jahresgrenze bei der Rekrutierung von Soldaten, wird leider auch von der Bundeswehr nicht erfüllt, sie stellt jedes Jahr 1000 bis 1500 erst 17-Jährige Mädchen und Jungen ein, Tendenz steigend. Dazu wird bei Schülern und in Jugendmedien wie der Bravo oder in Schülerzeitungen für die Bundeswehr geworben – und dies meist so beschönigend und verharmlosend, dass sich selbst die meisten Bundeswehrsoldaten dafür schämen. Die Bundeswehr ist nun mal kein Abenteuer-Park mit Lagerfeuer und Beachvolleyball – doch genau dies sind die Werbebotschaften der „BW-Adventure Games“ (Slogan: „Action, Adrenalin und jede Menge Fun!“) oder von „BW-Beachen“. Und Jugendoffiziere und Karriereberater, die in Schulklassen gehen, verschweigen weitgehend die Risiken von Auslandseinsätzen, Traumatisierung und das Töten von Menschen und betonen stattdessen, der Beruf sei wie jeder andere, „wie bei Daimler am Fließband zu stehen“.
Über die Nichteinhaltung der 18-Jahresgrenze bei der Rekrutierung und die Werbemethoden der Bundeswehr bei Minderjährigen wurde auch in mehreren Expertenanhörungen Anfang des Jahres im Bundestag diskutiert, die von der Kinderkommission und ihrem derzeitigem Vorsitzenden Norbert Müller von der Linkspartei organisiert wurden. Dazu wurden unter anderem Schüler, Psychologen, Regierungsvertreter, Gewerkschaftsvertreter von der GEW und Kinderrechtler von terre des hommes und Kindernothilfe eingeladen. Zudem gab es zwei Kleine Anfragen der Linkspartei an die Bundesregierung zum Thema.
Obwohl die 18-Jahresgrenze bei der Rekrutierung von Soldaten inzwischen weltweit von einer großen Mehrheit von Ländern eingehalten wird und der UN-Ausschuss für die Rechte des Kindes Deutschland schon mehrfach aufforderte, dies auch zu tun, weigert sich die Bundesregierung bisher mit dem Argument, Schülern solle direkt nach dem Schulabschluss die Möglichkeit gegeben werden, zur Bundeswehr zu gehen. Soldaten und Ausbilder auf www.bundeswehrforum.de hingegen empfehlen minderjährigen Fragestellern, erstmal eine Ausbildung zu machen und erst volljährig zur Bundeswehr zu kommen, da sie bei minderjährigen Rekruten „fast nur Negatives“ erlebt hätten.
Die Online-Aktion www.unter18nie.de sammelt Unterschriften für einen Aufruf an Verteidigungsministerin von der Leyen, endlich auf die Rekrutierung von Minderjährigen zu verzichten – machen Sie mit!
Deutschland setzt sich in Ländern wie Myanmar, Afghanistan oder Somalia für eine Einhaltung der 18-Jahresgrenze ein, rekrutiert aber selber 17-Jährige. Es unterläuft damit den in der UN-Kinderrechtskonvention festgelegten 18-Jahres-Standard für Kinderrechte – was zwar völkerrechtlich wegen einer Ausnahmeregelung legal ist, aber außenpolitisch und menschenrechtlich ein völlig falsches Signal setzt. Außerdem liefert Deutschland weiter Waffen in viele Krisengebiete und Länder, in denen Kindersoldaten kämpfen und getötet werden, beispielsweise in den Nahen Osten (z. B. an Saudi-Arabien, Irak, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate, Katar, Israel, Jordanien), nach Indien, Pakistan, Kolumbien oder an die Philippinen. Es trägt damit zur Eskalation dieser Konflikte bei und verletzt eine weitere Grundforderung der Aktion Rote Hand: „Keine Waffen in Kinderhände – Waffenexporte in Krisengebiete stoppen“ – auch dazu hatte der UN-Ausschuss für die Rechte des Kindes Deutschland 2014 aufgefordert.
Für das große Ziel der Aktion Rote Hand, eine Welt ohne Kindersoldaten, müssen alle an einem Strang ziehen. Gerade auch Länder wie Deutschland, in denen kein Krieg herrscht, haben hier eine große Verantwortung und Vorbildrolle, der Deutschland bisher nicht gerecht wird. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass die über 200 Abgeordneten und Mitarbeiter des deutschen Bundestages, die sich auch dieses Jahr wieder an der von der Kinderkommission und Deutschem Bündnis Kindersoldaten organisierten Sammlung von roten Handabdrücken im Bundestag beteiligt haben, kritisch bei der Regierung nachhaken. Der Druck auf die Bundesregierung muss weiter erhöht werden. Die vielen Rote-Hand-Aktionen in Deutschland tragen dazu bei und legen immer wieder den Finger in die Wunde. Machen Sie mit – Aktionen können nicht nur am Red Hand Day, sondern das ganze Jahr über gemacht werden. Und vergessen Sie nicht, ein Foto Ihrer Aktion und die Anzahl der gesammelten Hände hochzuladen auf www.redhandday.org
Militarisierung der Polizei: Wird das G36 künftig zur Polizeiwaffe?
Als Reaktion auf die Terroranschläge von Paris soll die französische Polizei, wie Le Monde berichtet, nun teilweise mit Schnellfeuergewehren ausgerüstet werden. Im Gespräch ist, die rund 1800 Polizisten der „Brigade anti-criminalité“ mit G36-Gewehren von Heckler & Koch auszurüsten. Mit Hilfe dieser Waffen soll es den entsprechenden Beamten dann möglich sein, auch auf „Massenschießereien“ (tueries de masse) zu reagieren und paramilitärisch ausgerüstete „Verbrecher“ zu bekämpfen. Neben den Schnellfeuergewehren umfasst die neue Ausrüstung auch neue Munition, militärische Schutzwesten und Helme. Insgesamt werden die Kosten mit rund 17 Millionen Euro angegeben.
Diese Bewaffnung und Neu-Ausrichtung von Polizeieinheiten entspricht dem britischen Modell des „Specialist Firearms Command“. Die Ausrüstung dieser Einheit, die insbesondere im Großraum London eingesetzt wird, wurde im Kontext der Londoner Terror-Anschläge von 2005 ebenfalls mit neuen Waffen – wie dem G36 – ausgerüstet und ist spätestens seitdem als eine paramilitärische Einheit zu betrachten.
Auch in Deutschland gibt es mit der im Jahr 2015 aufgestellten „Beweissicherungs- und Festnahmeeinheit“ (BFE+) der Bundespolizei mittlerweile entsprechende Kräfte, durch die die Unterscheidung zwischen Soldaten und Polizisten schwieriger zu werden droht. Während insbesondere die Bewaffnung dieser 250 Beamte umfassenden Einheit mit G36-Schnellfeuergewehren als „übertrieben“ bezeichnet wurde – wie die Zeit dokumentierte – sind mittlerweile jedoch auch Stimmen zu vernehmen, die eine entsprechende Bewaffnung auf Ebene der Landespolizeien fordern. Uwe Petermann, Vorsitzender der Gewerkschaft der Polizei in Sachsen-Anhalt, trat in diesem Zusammenhang besonders deutlich auf, als er gegenüber dem MDR forderte, die Landespolizei in Sachsen-Anhalt künftig auch mit Schnellfeuergewehren des Typs G36 zu bewaffnen.
Unter dieser Perspektive wäre dann vielleicht auch ein Einsatz der Bundeswehr im Innern gar nicht mehr so problematisch?
Großauftrag für Heckler & Koch: MR308 für die US-Armee
Im April hat das US-Verteidigungsministerium das Vergabeverfahren für die Nachfolge des M110-Scharfschützengewehr abgeschlossen. Zum Zuge gekommen ist Heckler & Koch mit einer modifizierten Version seines MR308 / HK417 im Kaliber 7,62 NATO. Der Auftrag soll die Lieferung von bis zu 3600 Waffen umfassen und sich dann auf einen Gesamtwert von 44,5 Millionen US-Dollar belaufen, wie Janes berichtete.
G29: ein neues Scharfschützengewehr für die Bundeswehr
Die Spezialkräfte der Bundeswehr werden noch in diesem Jahr neue Scharfschützengewehre „mittlerer Reichweite“ im Kaliber 338 Lapua Magnum erhalten. Das Vergabeverfahren für die seit 2014 laufende Ausschreibung war in der Vergangenheit in die Kritik geraten, da der Verdacht bestand, dass der Waffenhersteller Heckler & Koch bevorzugt behandelt worden sei. – Der Spiegel berichtete. Im Ergebnis erhielt den Zuschlag nun nicht Heckler & Koch, sondern der zur Heckler & Koch Dachgesellschaft gehörende Waffenhersteller C.G. Haenel mit Sitz in Suhl mit seinem Repetiergewehr RS8/RS9. Noch in diesem Jahr soll die Lieferung von insgesamt 124 Gewehren und 49.000 Schuss Munition im Gesamtwert von 2,29 Millionen Euro abgeschlossen werden. Die Entscheidung wird in Thüringen auch politisch kritisiert: Grüne und Linke fordern eine Konversion der Thüringischen Rüstungsindustrie, wie erneut der MDR berichtete.
ARD-Dokumentarfilm zu Uranmunition
Der Bayerische Rundfunk zeigt den 44-minütigen Dokumentarfilm „Was von Kriegen übrig bleibt“ von Markus Matzel und Karin Leukefeld. Darin wird beschrieben, wie die Nachwirkungen von Kriegswaffeneinsätzen das Leben der Menschen in den Kriegsgebieten verändern. Im Kurztext zum Film heißt es: „Irak, Syrien, Jemen – der Mittlere Osten geht in Flammen auf. Armeen aus aller Welt kämpfen im Hexenkessel der Weltgeschichte. Der Film zeigt, was geschieht, wenn Bomben gefallen und Raketen abgefeuert sind.“ So geht es um die Gesundheitsschäden, unter denen Kinder im Irak leiden. Hier lösen Stoffe, die in Waffen enthalten sind, Missbildungen und Krankheiten aus, auch Jahrzehnte nach den Detonationen. Oft tragen die Eltern die gefährlichen Stoffe in sich. Die AutorInnen der Reportage gehen mit ihren Fragen auch auf Teilnehmer der Rüstungsmesse IDEX zu, doch sie erhalten nur zynische oder ablehnende Reaktionen, etwa von VertreterInnen von General Dynamics und einem spanischen Drohnenhersteller. Interviewt werden außerdem irakische ÄrztInnen, die über die Langzeitschäden durch Waffen mit abgereichertem Uran (beispielsweise von General Dynamics produziert) berichten und darauf hinweisen, dass es politisch nicht gewollt sei, diese Gesundheitsgefahren wissenschaftlich zu untersuchen. Auch der Bundestagsabgeordnete Jan van Aken (Die Linke) wird nach seinen Einschätzungen befragt und gibt seinen Eindruck wieder, dass ihm bei seinem Besuch der Waffenmesse IDEX dort die auf Industriemessen üblichen Endprodukte „gefehlt“ hätten, sprich die Leichen. Doch die wolle man ja gerade nicht zeigen. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm (Ratsvorsitzender der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland) besuchte den Irak und sprach dort mit Kriegsopfern, er mahnt in seinem Statement eine Änderung der Rüstungsexportpraxis an. Prof. Keith Baverstock von der finnischen Universität Kuopio, der sich mit Strahlenschäden durch Kriegswaffen befasst, drängt auf Untersuchungen darüber, wo Uranmunition bereits eingesetzt wurde und welche anderen Giftstoffe in der Atmosphäre freigesetzt wurden. Abschließend wird die nukleare Teilhabe der Bundeswehr, etwa durch Soldaten des Fliegerhorsts Büchel, thematisiert – das ist im Grunde atomare Kriegführung (mit angeblich überschaubaren Folgen). Also Nonsens bzw. ein Verbrechen. – Dass die Folgen der Kriege auch lange nach dem Ende der militärischen Aktivitäten auftreten, zeigt ein letzter Blick auf den Irak.
Weitere Informationen zu dieser Dokumentation gibt es bei der ARD.
Konsolidierung und Integration der europäischen Rüstungsindustrie: Ein neuer Anlauf für eine „EADS der Meere“?
Im Jahr 2011 war es schon einmal so weit: Das Handelsblatt kolportierte, es gäbe Gespräche zwischen ThyssenKrupp und der französischen Staatswerft DCNS über eine mögliche Fusion beider Firmen. Während diese Gespräche im Sande verlaufen sind und sich auch das geplante Joint-Venture beider Firmen für Herstellung und Entwicklung von Torpedos zerschlagen hat, könnte es in den nächsten Monaten erneut zu entsprechenden Vorstößen kommen. Schuld an dieser Entwicklung sind jedoch nicht etwa sinkende Rüstungsausgaben, sondern im Gegenteil bessere Absatzchancen für beide Firmen.
Norwegen hat Anfang April bekannt gegeben, künftig exklusiv mit DCNS und ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems über die Lieferung von neuen U-Booten verhandeln zu wollen. Da andererseits Polen Interesse bekundet hat, bei der Beschaffung neuer U-Boote mit Norwegen kooperieren zu wollen, könnte dies als eine Vorentscheidung für DCNS und TKMS gewertet werden. Und dann ist da natürlich Australien, dass wohl in den nächsten Wochen die Vorentscheidung für einen Multi-Milliarden-Euro-Auftrag zur Lieferung von U-Booten fällen wird. Auch in diesem Fall stehen sich DCNS und TKMS als Konkurrenten gegenüber. Nach Abschluss dieser Verfahren werden die Auftragsbücher der beiden Firmen entweder gefüllt sein – oder auch leer. In jedem Fall aber wird den politischen Entscheidungsträgern die Notwendigkeit deutlich geworden sein, militär-industriell künftig stärker zu kooperieren, um künftig vergleichbare Konstellationen zu vermeiden.
Die Fusion von Krauss-Maffei Wegmann und Nexter hat deutlich gemacht, dass eine solche „Lösung“ mittlerweile politisch durchsetzbar ist und eine tatsächliche Möglichkeit darstellt. Schließlich darf die europaweite Auschreibung des MKS180-Projekts zur Entwicklung eines Nachfolgeschiffs für die Fregatte 125 als eine Einladung an die französische DCNS von Seiten der Bundesregierung verstanden werden, sich um das Projekt zu bewerben. Damit stünde dann das gleiche Modell zur Abgrenzung der Geschäftsbereiche im Raum, das schon im Jahr 2011 erwogen wurde: Während der Rüstungsbereich unterhalb der Wasseroberfläche von deutschen Rüstungsunternehmen kontrolliert würde, erhielten die französischen Firmen die Kontrolle im Markt für die Kriegsführung oberhalb der Wasserlinie.
Ob es zu dieser Entwicklung kommen wird bzw. wie die Gewichte in einer solchen Partnerschaft verteilt werden, ist jedoch davon abhängig, welcher Hersteller die anstehenden Rüstungsaufträge für sich verbuchen können wird.
In jedem Fall wird die mit der KMW-Nexter Fusion begonnene Entwicklung jedoch Auswirkungen auf den Bereich der Kleinwaffen-Industrie haben. Die französische Armee sucht, ähnlich wie die Bundeswehr, nach einem Nachfolgegewehr für das in die Jahre gekommene FAMAS-Schnellfeuergewehr. Diese – zuletzt von Nexter produzierte Waffe – wird mittlerweile von einem transnationalen Rüstungsunternehmen hergestellt. So scheint es möglich, dass Heckler & Koch bald angetragen werden wird, die entsprechende Sparte zu übernehmen und dafür das Nachfolgemodell für die französische Armee entwickeln zu dürfen.
(Para ler a versão desse artigo em Português, clique aqui.)
What was the most powerful man in Brazil, the billionaire heir of the Globo empire, João Roberto Marinho (above), doing in the comment section of The Guardian? Granted: his comment received a coveted “Recommended” tag from Guardian editors – congratulations, João! – but still, it is not the place one expects to find a multi-billionaire plutocratic Brazilian heir.
On Friday, April 21, I published an op-ed in The Guardian, in which I posed numerous questions about the impeachment process against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, as well as the role played by the dominant Brazilian media, led by Globo. João responded with anger – and with obvious falsehoods. As one can see, João criticized my article by calling me a liar in various ways in his response.
Look, João: like virtually all Brazilians, I had to battle a great deal to earn my place in life. I did not inherit a huge company and billions of dollars from my parents. The things I have had to overcome in my life are far more burdensome than your effort to discredit me with condescension, and it is thus not difficult to demonstrate that your response was filled with falsehoods.
In fact, João’s response deserves more attention than a mere comment because it is full of deceitful propaganda and pro-impeachment falsehoods – exactly what he tries to deny Globo has been spreading – and thus reveals a great deal (today, Guardian editors upgraded João’s comment into a full-fledged letter!).
Before addressing what João does say, let’s begin with something he neglects to mention: Globo’s long-standing role in Brazil. Under the rule of his father, Roberto Marinho, Globo cheered and glorified the 1964 military coup that removed Brazil’s democratically-elected left-wing government. Far worse, Globo, under the Marinho family, spent the next 20 years as the powerful propaganda arm of the brutal military dictatorship that tortured and killed dissidents and suppressed all dissent. The Marinho family’s wealth and power grew as a direct result of their servitude to Brazil’s military dictators.
When anti-government protests erupted in 2013, by which time the military coup was widely despised by Brazilians, Globo’s history became a huge corporate embarrassment. So they did what all corporations do once their bad acts begin to hurt their brand: they finally acknowledged what they did and apologized for it. But they tried to dilute their responsibility by noting (accurately) that the other media outlets that still dominate Brazilian media and which have been as supportive of Dilma’s undemocratic exit (such as Estadão and Folha) also supported that coup, and they downplayed the role of Globo in supporting not only the coup but also the 20-year dictatorship that followed.
That is the ugly history of Globo and the Marinho family in Brazil, a major source of their wealth and power, and a reflection of the role they – and their highly-paid TV personalities – continue to play. It’s the same family running Globo now, governed by the same tactics and goals. That is not the conduct of a genuine media outlet. It is the conduct of an oligarchical family using its media outlet to shape and manipulate public opinion for its own purposes. Now, to João’s comment:
Mr. David Miranda’s article (“The real reason Dilma Rousseff’s enemies want her impeached,” from April 21, published by The Guardian) paints a completely false picture of what is happening in Brazil today. It fails to mention that everything began with an investigation (named Operation Carwash), which in turn revealed the largest bribery scheme and corruption scandal in the country’s history, involving leading members of the ruling Workers Party (PT), as well as leaders of other parties in the government coalition, public servants and business moguls.
What is “completely false” is João’s attempt to deceive readers into believing that Dilma’s impeachment is due to Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash). It is true that PT, like most of the major parties, has been revealed to be full of major corruption problems, and that many PT officials have been implicated by Lava Jato. But the case for Dilma’s impeachment is not based in any of that, but rather in claims that she manipulated the budget to make it look stronger than it was.
João’s misleading attempt to confuse a foreign audience by mixing the corruption and bribery scandals of Car Wash with Dilma’s impeachment exemplifies exactly the kind of pro-impeachment deceit and bias Globo has been institutionally disseminating for more than a year.
Beyond that, the political figures that Globo has been cheering and which impeachment will install – including Vice President Michel Temer and House Speaker Eduardo Cunha of the PMDB party – are, unlike Dilma, accused of serious personal corruption, proving that when people like João cite corruption to justify impeachment, that is merely the pretext for undemocratically removing the leader they dislike and installing the one they like.
The Brazilian press in general, and the Globo Group in particular, fulfilled their duty to inform about everything, as would have been the case in any other democracy in the world.
The suggestion that Globo is a neutral, unbiased news organization – rather than the leading propaganda arm of the Brazilian oligarchy – is laughable to anyone who has ever seen its programs. Indeed, the bias of Globo, and in particular its leading nightly news show Jornal Nacional, has been so extreme that it is now the source of regular mockery. There’s a reason pro-democracy street protesters choose Globo buildings as their target.
Precisely to avoid any accusations of inciting mass rallies – as Mr. Miranda now accuses us – the Globo Group covered the protests without ever announcing or reporting on them on its news outlets before they happened. Globo took equal measures regarding rallies for President Dilma Rousseff and against the impeachment: it covered them all, without mentioning them prior to them actually taking place, granting them the same space as was given to the anti-Dilma protests.
That Brazil’s dominant media corporations are right-wing propaganda arms for the rich is not even in reasonable dispute. The universally respected group Reporters Without Borders just this week ranked Brazil 104th in press freedoms, explaining this was due in large part to the fact that its media is owned and controlled by a tiny handful of rich families:
Brazilian media coverage of the country’s current political crisis has highlighted the problem. In a barely veiled manner, the leading national media have urged the public to help bring down President Dilma Rousseff. The journalists working for these media groups are clearly subject to the influence of private and partisan interests, and these permanent conflicts of interests are clearly very detrimental to the quality of their reporting.
Foreign journalists based in Brazil regularly note that leading Brazilian media outlets are the opposite of neutral and unbiased. The Rio-based reporter for Canada’s Globe and Mail, Stephanie Nolen, reported last month on a column in the magazine Veja, which she identified as a magazine that “leans, like most major Brazilian media, to the right.” Long-time Brazil-based journalist Alex Cuadros observed: “Brazil’s mainstream media leans right politically, and its coverage often reflects that.” He added: “There’s very little media criticism in Brazil that isn’t blatantly partisan, so big magazines can distort facts without much fear of censure.”
Folha columnist Celso Rocha de Barros has documented how Brazil’s dominant media obsesses on corruption stories about PT while downplaying or ignoring equally shocking corruption stories about opposition leaders they like. Globo, for instance, virtually buried news of the Odebrecht list, which identified numerous leading opposition figures who received highly questionably payments. One Globo commentator, Arnaldo Jabor, even depicted the list as a government conspiracy.
Compare the 14 minutes Jornal Nacional spent melodramatically re-enacting the recorded Lula telephone calls like it was a soap opera, to the 2 minutes and 23 seconds it devoted the Odebrecht list. Neither of these two cases contained proven criminality – the justification they used for not divulging the names on the Odebrecht list.
For more than a year, one Globo-owned Epoca Magazine cover after the next used manipulative, demonizing art to incite the public in favor of impeachment. The Twitter feeds of Globo’s stars – both news and entertainment – are filled everyday with pro-impeachment propaganda. Even when Jornal Nacional tries to deny that it is placing its heavy finger on the scale in favor of pro-impeachment protests, it cannot help itself: it glorifies those pro-impeachment protests and gives them far more airtime than their opposite:
There’s nothing inherently wrong with partisan, activist media. All of those organizations, including Globo, have good journalists working within them, and do some good reporting, including about the serious corruption scandal. But what is wrong is to deceive the public by telling it what everyone knows to be false: that Globo and the other large media corporations are neutral and opinion-free, and that they are merely observers of political events rather than prime movers of them.
The Globo Group did not support the impeachment in editorials. It simply declared that, whatever the outcome, everything had to be conducted according to the Constitution, which in fact has been the case thus far.
João insists that Globo has no editorial position on impeachment, and then – in the very same sentence! – proceeds to justify impeachment as fully legal and Constitutional, a position that is very much in dispute among jurists.
The Supreme Court – where eight of eleven justices were appointed by the PT administrations of presidents Lula and Dilma – has approved the entire process.
In fact, the Supreme Court has not ruled on whether the accusations against Dilma justify impeachment under the Constitution, and many experts believe – contrary to what João believes – that this is false. One former member of that court who oversaw the prosecution of PT officials for the Mensalão scandal, Joaquim Barbosa, said this week that he “has a ‘bad feeling’ about the fundamentals of the impeachment process against Dilma and that the allegations ‘are weak and a cause of discomfort.'”
Of course, it’s permissible for João to disagree with former Justice Barbosa and numerous other experts questioning or outright opposing impeachment on legal and Constitutional grounds. But he should stop pretending that he is not supporting impeachment. Everything João wrote in his response to me proves that he is.
Lastly, the assertion that the Globo Group leads the national media, especially coming from a Brazilian citizen, can only be made in bad faith. The Brazilian press is a vast and plural landscape of several independent organizations, 784 daily printed newspapers, 4,626 radio stations, 5 national television broadcast networks, 216 paid cable channels and another multitude of news websites. Everyone competes with great zeal for the Brazilian audience, which in turn is free to make its choices. Among strong competitors, what one finds is independence, without any tolerance for being led.
The only “bad faith” is João’s attempt to deny his own media corporation’s dominance. In June 2014, The Economist published an article about Globo. The headline? “Globo Domination.” It reported that “No fewer than 91 million people, just under half the population, tune in to it each day: the sort of audience that, in the United States, is to be had only once a year” – the Super Bowl. In sum, “Globo is surely Brazil’s most powerful company, given its reach into so many homes.”
Many of the outlets João cites are owned by Globo and its plutocratic sister, Abril. Explained The Economist: “Globo counts pay-TV stations, magazines, radio, film production and newspapers as part of its empire.” As a result, “critics are unsettled by the firm’s share of advertising and audience. It controls everything from Brazilians’ access to news to the market rates for journalists’ salaries.”
As the columnist Vanessa Barbara wrote last year in The New York Times: “Everywhere I go there’s a television turned on, usually to Globo, and everybody is staring hypnotically at it.” And: “being Latin America’s biggest media company, Globo can exert considerable influence on our politics.”
That Globo plays a dominant role in shaping public opinion is proven by the data, but also by the government’s actions. Under both Lula and Dilma, the Brazilian government has shoveled billions of dollars in taxpayer money to the media giant.
It is true that Globo does not own all of the influential media outlets. There are a small handful of other billionaire families that own most of the rest. When Reporters Without Borders last week published its Ranking of Press Freedom for 2016, it explained Brazil’s low ranking this way: “Media ownership continues to be very concentrated, especially in the hands of big industrial families that are often close to the political class.”
It is not just media ownership which lacks diversity, but also those they hire to report. As Folha documented last year, “of 555 columnists and bloggers of 8 media vehicles (Folha, O Estadão de S. Paulo, O Globo, Epoca, Veja, G1, UOL e R7), 6 are black. The debate over racism thus occurs very long from the majority of the population which, day after day, it affects and interests.” Of course, this massive disparity shapes news coverage generally.
It is true that internet is threatening Globo’s dominance. Social media has allowed Brazilians to share information outside of Globo’s empire, and Brazilians can now read articles in foreign papers (such as the Guardian) that provide information far beyond the narrow range opinion permitted by Globo, Abril/Veja and Estadão.
That’s precisely why João is lashing out at articles like mine in foreign newspapers: because he’s scared of what will happen when he loses control over the information flow Brazilians receive. As the Marinho family has known since the mid-1990s, when Roberto Marinho had a Brazilian court bar the broadcasting of a highly critical film about Globo (“Beyond Citizen Kane”: watch below with English subtitles) only for it to go viral, the internet is threatening Globo’s monopoly on news and public opinion. That’s why they’re angry. It’s also why it’s so vital – as I explain in this video – to protect and safeguard free, equal access to the internet.
The post Globo’s Billionaire Heir, João Roberto Marinho, Attacked Me in the Guardian. Here’s my Response. appeared first on The Intercept.
(The English version of this article will be posted shortly)
O que o mais poderoso homem do Brasil, o herdeiro bilionário do império das organizações Globo, João Roberto Marinho, estava fazendo nos comentários do Guardian? É verdade, seu comentário recebeu um cobiçado tag de ‘recomendado’ pelos editores do Guardian – parabéns, João! – mas ainda assim, não é o lugar onde se espera encontrar o multi-bilionário plutocrata hereditário brasileiro.
Na dia 21 de Abril, publiquei um artigo no The Guardian, no qual abordava questões sobre o impeachment da presidenta Dilma Rousseff e o papel da mídia dominante do Brasil, protagonizado pela Globo. João respondeu com raiva – e com óbvias mentiras. Os editores do Guardian puseram seu texto na seção de comentários. Vejam só, João critica meu artigo e me chama de mentiroso em alguns trechos de sua resposta.
Olha, João, como quase todos os brasileiros, eu tive que lutar bastante para ganhar meu espaço. Não herdei uma grande empresa e alguns bilhões dos meus pais. As coisas que tive que superar na minha vida foram muito mais duras do que seu esforço para me desqualificar com condescendência, e não é difícil demonstrar que sua resposta está cheia de falsidades.
De fato, a resposta de João merece mais atenção do que um mero comentário porque ela está recheada de propaganda enganosa e de falsidades pró-impeachment – exatamente o que ele tenta negar que a Globo esteja fazendo – e portanto revela uma grande coisa (Hoje, o comentário dele foi atualizado para uma carta).
Antes de entrar naquilo que João realmente fala, vamos começar com algo que ele não menciona: o histórico papel da Globo no Brasil. Sob o comando de seu pai, a Globo saudou e glorificou o golpe civil militar que removeu um governo de esquerda e democraticamente eleito no país. Ainda pior, passaram os 20 anos seguintes como o grande meio de propaganda da brutal ditadura militar que torturou e matou dissidentes e suprimiu toda e qualquer opinião divergente. Em 1984, a Globo simplesmente mentiu para o país quando descreveu um enorme protesto pró-democracia em São Paulo como uma festa pelo aniversário da cidade. A riqueza e o poder da família Marinho cresceram como resultado direto de sua servidão aos militares ditadores do Brasil.
No momento em que os protestos anti-governo explodiram, em 2013, já havia um amplo consenso entre os brasileiros a respeito do golpe militar, e a história da Globo se tornou um enorme constrangimento corporativo. Então, fizeram o que toda corporação faz uma vez que sua má conduta se volta contra sua marca: finalmente reconheceram o que fizeram e – quase meio século depois – pediram desculpas.
Mas tentaram diluir sua responsabilidade dizendo – acertadamente – que outras organizações de mídia que ainda dominam o Brasil e que têm sido tão apoiadoras do Impeachment quanto a Globo (como Estadão e Abril) também apoiaram o golpe. Tentavam diminuir o apoio da Globo não só ao golpe mas também aos 20 anos de ditadura que se seguiram. Mas as organizações continuam sob o comando da mesma família, com as mesmas táticas e os mesmos objetivos.
Essa é a infame história da Globo e da família Marinho no Brasil, uma de suas principais fontes de riqueza e poder, e um reflexo do papel que continuam a desempenhar – eles e suas bem pagas personalidades de TV. Essa não é a conduta de uma organização de mídia genuína. É a conduta de uma família oligárquica usando seus meios de comunicação para moldar e manipular a opinião pública em favor de seus interesses. Passemos agora ao comentário de João:
O artigo do Sr. David Miranda (“A verdadeira razão dos inimigos de Dilma Rousseff quererem cassá-la”, de 21 de abril, publicado pelo The Guardian) pinta uma completamente falsa imagem do que está acontecendo no Brasil hoje. Ele não menciona que tudo começou com uma investigação (chamada Operação Lava-Jato), que por sua vez revelou o maior esquema de suborno e corrupção na história do país, envolvendo os principais membros do Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), assim como líderes de outros partidos da coalizão do governo, funcionários públicos e magnatas dos negócios.
O que é “completamente falso” é a tentativa de João de levar os leitores a acreditarem que a Lava Jato é o que está por trás do impeachment de Dilma. É verdade que o PT, como a maioria dos grandes partidos, se mostrou repleto de enormes problemas de corrupção, e que muitas de suas figuras estão implicadas na Lava Jato. O caso jurídico para o impeachment não está, no entanto, baseado em nada daquilo, mas em argumentos de que ela manipulou o orçamento público para fazê-lo parecer mais forte do que realmente era.
A enganosa tentativa de João de confundir o público estrangeiro misturando a operação Lava Jato com o impeachment de Dilma exemplifica perfeitamente o tipo de fraude e o viés pró-impeachment que a Globo vem disseminando institucionalmente por mais de um ano.
Além disso, as figuras políticas que a Globo vem cortejando, e que serão aqueles implantados pelo impeachment – incluindo o Vice Presidente Michel Temer e o Presidente da Câmara Eduardo Cunha, ambos do PMDB – são, ao contrário de Dilma, acusados de graves atos de corrupção pessoal, provando que, quando pessoas como João citam a corrupção para justificar o impeachment, esse é um mero pretexto para remover, antidemocraticamente, a líder que eles repudiam e instalar aqueles de sua predileção.
A imprensa brasileira em geral, e o Grupo Globo, em particular, cumpriram o seu dever de informar sobretudo, como teria sido o caso em qualquer outra democracia no mundo. Vamos continuar a fazer o nosso trabalho, não importa quem possa ser afetado pela investigação.
A sugestão de que a Globo é uma organização de notícias neutra e imparcial – ao invés de principal braço de propaganda da oligarquia brasileira – é cômica para qualquer um que já tenha assistido a seus programas. A rigor, a parcialidade da Globo, e em particular de seu principal show noturno de notícias, o Jornal Nacional, tem sido tão escancarada que se tornou uma fonte inesgotável de piadas. Essa é uma razão pela qual os manifestantes pró-democracia escolheram os edifícios das organizações Globo como alvos.
Precisamente para evitar qualquer acusação de incitar manifestações de massa – como o Sr. Miranda agora nos acusa – o Grupo Globo cobriu os protestos sem nunca anunciar ou dar parecer sobre eles em seus canais de notícias antes de acontecerem. Globo tomou medidas iguais sobre comícios para a presidente Dilma Rousseff e contra o impeachment: ela cobriu todos, sem mencioná-los antes deles realmente ocorrem, concedendo-lhes o mesmo espaço que foi dado aos protestos anti-Dilma. Quando o processo de impeachment começou na Câmara “Baixa” do Congresso, alocamos igual tempo e espaço para a defesa e acusação.
Que as corporações de mídia dominantes no Brasil são braços de propaganda de direita dos ricos não está em discussão. O universalmente respeitado grupo Repórteres sem Fronteiras acabaram de mostrar o Brasil em 104° lugar no ranking de liberdade de imprensa, explicando que isso se deve, em grande parte, ao fato de que a mídia no país é dominada e controlada por um pequeno número de famílias muito ricas:
De maneira pouco velada, o principal grupo de mídia nacional exortou o público a ajudar na derrubada da Presidenta Dilma Rousseff. Os jornalistas que trabalham para esses grupos de mídia estão claramente sujeitos à influência dos interesses privados e partidários, e esse permanente conflito de interesses ocorre em claro detrimento da qualidade de seu jornalismo.
Jornalistas estrangeiros residentes no Brasil frequentemente apontam para o fato de que as principais organizações de mídia brasileiras são o oposto de neutras e imparciais. Stephanie Nolen, repórter do Canadense Globe and Mail baseada no Rio, escreveu no mês passado sobre uma coluna da revista Veja, que classificou como uma ”revista distribuída nacionalmente e que se inclina, como a maioria da mídia brasileira, para a direita.” Alex Cuadros, jornalista americano há muito tempo residente no Brasil, observou: “os principais meios de comunicação se inclinam politicamente para a direita, e sua cobertura frequentemente reflete isso.” Disse ainda: “Há muito pouca crítica da mídia no Brasil que não seja descaradamente partidária, então as grandes revistas podem distorcer os fatos sem grande medo de censura.”
O colunista da Folha, Celso Rocha de Barros, documentou como a mídia dominante no Brasil tem obsessão por notícias de corrupção relacionadas ao PT enquanto minimizam ou ignoram notícias igualmente chocantes sobre líderes da oposição de sua predileção. A Globo, por exemplo, visivelmente enterrou as notícias sobre a lista da Odebrecht. Um de seus comentaristas, Arnaldo Jabor, chegou a insinuar que se tratava de uma conspiração do governo.
Compare, por exemplo, os 14 minutos melodramaticamente gastos pelo Jornal Nacional reencenando as ligações de Lula como se fossem uma novela aos 2 minutos e 23 segundos que dedicou à lista da Odebrecht. Nem nenhum dos dois casos a ilegalidade estava expressa, como foi a justificativa para a não divulgação da lista da Odebrecht. Em ambos os casos, portanto, a investigação da PF deveria ter sido aguardada – dois pesos, duas medidas.
Por mais de um ano, uma capa atrás da outra, a revista Época usou imagens manipuladoras e detratoras para incitar o público a apoiar o impeachment. O Twitter das estrelas da Globo – do jornalismo e do entretenimento – estão cheios de propaganda cotidiana a favor do impeachment. Mesmo quando o Jornal Nacional tenta negar que está colocando grande peso a favor dos protestos pelo impeachment, não funciona: glorificam esses protestos e dão a eles muito mais tempo do que os protestos opostos:
Não há nada inerentemente errado com uma mídia partidária e ativista. Todas estas organizações, incluindo Globo, têm jornalistas competentes trabalhando para elas, e fazem boas reportagens, mesmo sobre este sério escândalo de corrupção. Mas o que está errado é enganar o público dizendo a ele o que todos sabem ser falso: que a Globo e outras grandes organizações são neutras e livres de opinião, que são meros observadores dos eventos políticos ao invés de seus privilegiados agentes.
O Grupo Globo não apoiou o impeachment em editoriais. Ele simplesmente declarou que, independentemente do resultado, tudo tinha de ser conduzido de acordo com a Constituição, que na verdade tem sido o caso até agora.
João insiste que a Globo não tem posição editorial a respeito do impeachment, e então – na mesma sentença! – passa a justificar o impeachment como perfeitamente legal e constitucional, um debate que está em acirrada disputa entre juristas.
O Supremo Tribunal Federal – onde oito dos onze juízes foram nomeados pelas administrações do PT presidentes Lula e Dilma – aprovou todo o processo.
De fato, a Suprema Corte ainda não julgou se as acusações contra Dilma justificam ou não o impeachment perante a Constituição, e há muitos peritos que acreditam – contra o que pensa o João – que não. Um ex-membro desse tribunal, que supervisionou a acusação de autoridades do PT pelo escândalo do mensalão, o juiz Joaquim Barbosa, disse na semana passada que “sente um ‘mal estar’ com a fundamentação do processo de impeachment da presidente Dilma Rousseff e que a alegação ‘é fraca e causa desconforto.’”
Claro, é permitido que João discorde do ex-Ministro Barbosa, mas ele tem que parar de fingir que não está apoiando vigorosamente o impeachment. Tudo o que João escreveu mostra isso.
Por último, a afirmação de que o Grupo Globo pauta a mídia nacional, especialmente vindo de um cidadão brasileiro, só pode ser feita de má fé. A imprensa brasileira é uma paisagem vasta e plural de várias organizações independentes, 784 jornais diários impressos, 4.626 estações de rádio, 5 redes nacionais de transmissão de televisão, 216 canais a cabo pagos e outra infinidade de sites de notícias. Todo mundo compete com grande zelo pelo o público brasileiro, que por sua vez é livre para fazer suas escolhas. Entre os concorrentes fortes, o que se encontra é a independência, sem qualquer tolerância para ser conduzido.
A única “ma fé” é a tentativa de João de negar o domínio de seus próprios meios de comunicação. Em junho de 2014, The Economist publicou um artigo sobre a Globo. A manchete? “Domínio da Globo.” A reportagem mostrava que “não menos de 91 milhões de pessoas, quase a metade da população, sintonizam a TV todos os dias: o tipo de audiência que, nos Estados Unidos, acontece uma vez por ano” – no Super Bowl. Em suma, “a Globo é certamente a empresa mais poderosa do Brasil, dado seu alcance de tantos lares.”
Muitos dos meios citados por João são de propriedade da Globo e sua irmã plutocrática, a Abril. The Economist explicou: “A Globo têm estações de TV paga, revistas, rádios, produção de filmes e jornais como parte de seu império.” Como resultado, “críticas são afastadas pela fatia de publicidade e audiência da empresa. Ela controla tudo, desde o acesso dos brasileiros às notícias até as taxas de mercado para os salários dos jornalistas.”
Como a colunista Vanessa Barbara apontou, no ano passado, no The New York Times: “Em todo lugar que vou há uma televisão ligada, em geral na Globo, e todos estão olhando hipnoticamente para ela.” Disse também: “sendo a maior empresa de mídia da América Latina, a Globo pode exercer considerável influência em nossa política.”
Que a Globo desempenha um papel dominante na opinião pública está provado pelos dados, mas também pelas ações governamentais. Sob Lula e Dilma, o governo brasileiro despejou bilhões de dólares em dinheiro dos contribuintes para a gigante de mídia.
É verdade que a Globo não detém todos os meios de comunicação influentes. Há uma pequena quantidade de outras famílias bilionárias que são donas de quase todo o resto.
Quando os Repórteres sem Fronteiras publicaram semana passada seu Ranking de Liberdade de Imprensa de 2016, e o Brasil apareceu em 104°lugar, eles destacavam a violência contra jornalistas e também outro fato importante: “A propriedade dos meios de comunicação continua muito concentrada, especialmente nas mãos de grandes famílias ligadas à indústria que são, muitas vezes, próximas da classe política.”
Não é só a propriedade da mídia que carece de diversidade, mas também aqueles que eles contratam para trabalhar. Como a Folha documentou no ano passado, “de 555 colunistas e blogueiros de 8 veículos da imprensa (Folha, O Estadao de S. Paulo, O Globo, Epoca, Veja, G1, UOL e R7), 6 são negros. Também por isso o debate sobre racismo ocorre longe da maioria da população a quem, no dia a dia, ele não afeta ou interesse.” É claro que essa enorme disparidade molda a cobertura da mídia de maneira geral.
É verdade que a internet está ameaçando o domínio da Globo. As mídias sociais pormitiram aos brasileiros compartilhar informação por fora do império global, e agora podemos ler artigos e jornais estrangeiros (como o The Guardian) que fornecem informação que ultrapassa muito os estreitos limites de opinião permitidos pela Globo, Abril/Veja e Estadão.
É precisamente por isso que João está combatendo artigos como os meus em jornais estrangeiros: porque ele tem medo do que acontecerá se ele perder o controle do fluxo de informação que os brasileiros recebem. Como a família Marinho sabe desde a década de 90, quando Roberto Marinho conseguiu fazer um tribunal brasileiro barrar a transmissão de um filme extremamente crítico à Globo (“Além do Cidadão Kane”: disponível abaixo) e o tornou viral, a internet ameaça o monopólio da Globo sobre as notícias e a opinião pública. É por isso que estão furiosos. É também por isso – como explico nesse vídeo – que é tão vital proteger e salvaguardar o livre acesso à internet.
The post João Roberto Marinho Me Atacou no Guardian e Tentou Enganar o Mundo. Eis Minha Resposta. appeared first on The Intercept.
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