Empire Files: Privacy, Control & the Darknet

Out of the periphery of most online users, there’s a vast, hidden space used by people who want to remain anonymous, which filmmaker Alex Winter explores in his documentary Deep Web. The film focuses on the Silk Road, a black market hosted on the Darknet using bitcoin cryptocurrency, and the trial of Ross Ulbricht, who was given a double life sentence without the possibility of parole for creating and hosting the site.

Abby Martin and Alex Winter discuss more about the Deep Web, the Drug War, and why encryption on things like signal still matter in light of the Wikileaks’ Vault 7 release.

via Empire Files: Privacy, Control & the Darknet – YouTube

There is an orchestrated campaign against Noam Chomsky by pro-Syrian rebel folks

There is a vicious campaign (in Arabic and English) against Noam Chomsky for his position on Syria.  I don’t understand it: I mean, I don’t agree fully on Chomsky views on Palestine or BDS or Syria but why this focus on Chomsky? Chomsky called Asad a « monster » but it is not enough. This is the thing with supporters of the « Syrian revolution »: no matter what one says against the regime it is never enough unless you utter their words and unless you support the secular Army of Islam (or other variants).

via The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: There is an orchestrated campaign against Noam Chomsky by pro-Syrian rebel folks

1,000 days of war: A tale of two bombed cities

That brutal campaign succeeded in gaining control of eastern Aleppo in December 2016.  The cost in civilian lives was enormous, and a great proportion of those killed were women and children.  In less than four months leading up to the fall of Aleppo more than 1,000 civilians were reportedly killed by Russian strikes. In November alone, the Syrian Network for Human rights tied 358 civilian deaths to Russia. During all of 2016, the group estimates that Russian forces killed more than 3,900 civilians.

Whatever one thinks of the regime and of Russia, the fact that the plight of civilians was highlighted is what I would expect from a free media in a free society, as part of their job of ‘speaking truth to power’. And they did so in spades.

There was a considerable degree of attention paid by international media to events on the ground, with Russia’s actions in the news all day, every day.


As with Aleppo, Mosul is under crippling assault – and like the Russians who work alongside the Syrian army, the Coalition is working alongside Iraqi government  forces, carrying out air and artillery shelling.

Despite repeated statements that the Coalition takes great care to avoid targeting civilians, events on the ground reflect a different version of events. The level of casualties has been shocking, with between 1,308 and 2,435 civilians claimed killed by the Coalition in Mosul in March 2017 alone. There remains a high level of confusion as to what degree the Coalition and Iraqi forces – and ISIL – are causing these deaths.


But across the border in Syria’s Raqqa province it’s a very different story – even though many of its cities and towns have been put under siege by the Kurdish SDF, and with Coalition air raids escalating in a way we have not seen since the beginning of the war against ISIL in Syria in September 2014. March saw the worst casualty levels yet with between 320 and 860 civilians likely killed in Coalition strikes in Syria, a sixfold increase on the previous month. Ninety per cent of these deaths were around Raqqa.

Where we used to see a handful of allegations a week we are now monitoring several cases a day. Many of these bear high death tolls.


On those days I check how the incident is being reported internationally, and invariably there is…. radio silence

Unlike the allegations made against Russia at Aleppo, claims of civilians killed by the Coalition around Raqqa seem to attract little to no international media attention. Yet the sources for allegations both against the Russians and the Coalition are often identical -activists on the ground, with access to a network of people in the various locations where civilian casualties are occuring.

via 1,000 days of war: A tale of two bombed cities – Airwars