Monday, August 23, 2010

The CAMERA decision on Wikipedia

This was written as part of the CAMERA accusation back in May 2008:

Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents/Wikilobby campaign is the latest, but as Wikipedians now have access to the entire Isra-paedia mail list archives, and plan to publish them more users will be revealed as belonging to this cabal that aimed to violate WP:CANVASS, meatpuppetry rules, and WP:NPOV to follow a pro-Israeli agenda. One admin has in turn threatened to block anyone who does so. Unlike the Durova/!! private mail scenario, these cannot be considered good faith emails in any capacity, but as evidence of planned assault on WP:NPOV. As this information is likely to published somewhere imminently, a lot of Wikipedia editors may be implicated here shortly. This needs review on this level now. (found here)

I will now rewrite it the way I (and some others) read this:
This was written as part of the CAMERA accusation:

"Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents/Wikilobby campaign is the latest, but as Wikipedians now have access to the entire Isra-paedia mail list archives, and plan to publish them more users will be revealed as belonging to this cabal that aimed to violate WP:CANVASS, meatpuppetry rules, and WP:NPOV to follow a pro-Israeli agenda. One admin has in turn threatened to block anyone who does so. Unlike the Durova/!! private mail scenario, these cannot be considered good faith emails in any capacity, but as evidence of planned assault on WP:NPOV. As this information is likely to published somewhere imminently, a lot of Wikipedia editors may be implicated here shortly. This needs review on this level now."

I don't believe these people made the case in the CAMERA case, excuse the pun. The decision ban people based on a private mailing list that was made public by the highly partisan group "Electronic Intifada" is really outrageous. The use of the word cabal is highly judgmental and ironic coming as it does from a group called the Electronic Intifada. It is also a highly charged word, but apparently the powers that were saw nothing offensive about it, seeing as how they were sitting comfortably in judgment, rather than being the judged. The group made an assumption about the original intent of the so-called "cabal" and they did not use the original CAMERA email which went out to ALL members of Wikipedia and was perfectly appropriate, just offering to help train people to help Israel get its voice heard in Wikipedia? What's wrong with that anyway? It is a party to a 2-way conflict, of course it is important that its voice is heard! Balance is part of NPOV.

There was never an assumption of good faith. Virtually all of the "offending" emails were written by one individual, yet any one who had edited Wikipedia was given long sentences. CAMERA and every editor that received an email after that first letter was held responsible for everything said in other peoples' emails. All sorts of people were "outed," as well as shamed for their views ("evidence of a planned assault on Wikipedia"). While some (more like 1) may have planned an "assault" - I don't think one recruit ever made it to Wikipedia. Too bad, since many were highly educated people who would have a lot to offer. People should be banned on the basis of their own behavior (at Wiki), not the basis of what they say off-Wiki, in privately leaked emails, on groups and forums, or with whom they associate. How chilling is that? That is what happened with that BAD CAMERA decision. I hope Wikipedia rethinks and reverses that decision.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

CAMERA and Wikipedians for Palestine

What is going on is reminiscent and indeed references the CAMERA decision in which it was alleged that : "Wikipedia has been targeted by an off-site astroturfing campaign, to get stealth administrators in place to manipulate encyclopedia content." CAMERA , the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Affairs, had sent out a call for Wikipedia volunteers much like WikiBias has done. The volunteers started an email group, called Israpedia, which was open and an Electronic Intifada (their name says it all) member joined and they got the emails too, which they ''leaked'' to Wikipedia.

Oh the Horrors! It was "frightening" and "subversive" and intended to "harm Wikipedia."

But when it was discovered that there was another group of Wikipedians, about 12 of them, who called themselves "Wikipedians for Palestine" , no one seemed frightened or considered them "subversive," for some odd reason. This secret group had this to say about membership in it:

"In order to verify their status as both a Wikipedian in good standing and someone who is pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist, those wishing to join this group will be asked to provide their Wikipedia user ID."

o.O They have to prove that they are "anti-Zionist"? But, apparently, there is nothing really wrong with that.

Andre Oboler at investigated and wrote about it at the time. It is well worth reading and thinking about as this case is being discussed on Wikipedia here and now

Oboler notes:

"The penalties imposed on members of the CAMERA group were harsh in part because it was argued that this was a new threat to Wikipedia and an example needed to be made. The feeling was that recruiting people from within grass roots advocacy organisations, enlisting experienced editors to help, and having the discussions outside of wikipedia could all contribute in a way that went against the nature of wikipedia. This was naive. Our research shows past attenpts, by Palestinian advocates, some of whom commented and pushed for sanctions in the CAMERA case, that meet all of these criteria. The admins considering the case found some of this information too, their attempts to investigate did the equivalent of starting the shredding machines. "

Absolutely zero came of it. It was never investigated. One or two people were asked if they were members and they said no. That was that.

Oboler also exposed user: Bangpound in this excellent investigative article as the member of Electronic Intifada who outed the email group. Turns out this editor was in the employ of that organization. Some are arguing today that an employee of an advocacy group should not be editing in the area, but the editor called Bangpound still contributes a little these days, under that name.

The twelve members of the Wikipedians for Palestine with their self-proclaimed anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian bias are no doubt still at Wikipedia. Some of them are most probably fellow editors at the discussion board, urging sanctions against others; some may be administrators, checkusers, even arbitrators.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Israelis editing Wikipedia

Ha’aretz has noticed the need for more knowledgeable editors to work on Israel-related articles. They cite edit wars over whether the demonstrations against the security barrier at Bil’in should be described as “violent” and whether the Ariel University Center should be described as “the largest public college in Israel” or “the largest Israeli public college?” Or, at least, Ha’aretz has noticed that “the Israeli right” has noticed the need for better editing.

Arutz Sheva has the story, as does the New York Times. There is even a Youtube video.

Even The Guardian has the story, pointing out that the status of Jerusalem is “constantly altered” on Wikipedia. Is it or is it not the capital of Israel? (The best NPOV answer I have seen is that it is the de-facto capital of Israel. While I personally consider it the capital of Israel, the status is often challenged and showing both sides, as has been done in the past, is the only correct option for Wikipedia.)

According to The Guardian, “The organisiers of the Wikipedia courses are already planning a competition to find the “Best Zionist editor,” with a prize of a hot-air balloon trip over Israel.”

check out the site @

Monday, August 16, 2010

Do Gaza Flotillas Provide Material Support to Hamas?: If so, should those U.S. funders of the flotilla be subject to prosecution?

Fascinating thought but not one likely to be supported by the Obama administration. After all, he is personal buddies with Rashid Khalidi.

Do Gaza Flotillas Provide Material Support to Hamas?: If so, should those U.S. funders of the flotilla be subject to prosecution?
by Jonathan Schanzer

Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy recently argued at National Review Online that the federal government has reason to investigate Rashid Khalidi, an activist Middle Eastern studies professor at Columbia University. What prompted this? Khalidi's efforts to raise $370,000 for a new sea vessel (to be named The Audacity of Hope, after President Barack Obama's second book) designed to break the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

As increasing numbers of pro-Palestinian activists try to break the blockade of Gaza, McCarthy's argument is worth exploring. Are these flotillas legal?

McCarthy notes that it is illegal for Americans "to furnish or fit out a vessel in the service of any foreign entity 'to cruise, or commit hostilities' against a nation with which the U.S. is at peace." Israel, of course, is an American ally that is imposing a policy in Gaza that Washington officially supports.

McCarthy also notes that the Logan Act prohibits U.S. citizens "from carrying on 'any correspondence or intercourse' with any foreign government… to 'defeat the measures of the United States.'" To this end, McCarthy then suggests that the Justice Department should investigate flotilla organizers' communications with the de facto Hamas government in Gaza, particularly if they seek to undermine U.S. policy.

In the end, it is McCarthy's third point that is the most convincing: The Justice Department, under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, could also investigate American flotilla organizers for providing material support to a terrorist group.

Read full article

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Turkey Gases Kurds and the World is Silent| Jewish News From

Turkey Gases Kurds and the World is Silent|

While Israel is feeling the heat from multiple international probes into its May 31 commando raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, Turkey is now reported to have used chemical weapons against its Kurdish population, and yet the world remains silent.

Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper reports that German experts have confirmed Turkey’s use of chemical weapons against at least eight members of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in September 2009.

The story has been covered in the Israeli and Armenian media, but has attracted scant attention elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Kurds are being killed with the help of Israeli-made spy drones as Israel maintains its high-level military cooperation with Turkey.

Meanwhile, Turkey is reportedly planning to transfer weapons to Hezbollah. Since Turkey has access to the latest Israeli and NATO technology, the next Israel-Hezbollah war could be that much more devastating.

As of yet, no calls for an investigation have been heard from the Western media, governments or the UN.

from the World Jewish Daily

Friday, August 06, 2010

Older Gazans recall Israelis, youth sees only army - Yahoo! News

Older Gazans recall Israelis, youth sees only army - Yahoo! News
This is sad but no doubt true. I have posted the entire article, something to think about.

by BEN HUBBARD, Associated Press Writer Ben Hubbard, Associated Press Writer – Fri Aug 6, 3:06 am ET

SHATI REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip – From his ramshackle Gaza home, Palestinian Sobhi Hamami, 61, fondly recalls the 23 years he worked on an Israeli kibbutz, where he learned Hebrew, swam in the pool with Israeli friends and celebrated holidays with his Jewish boss.

His son Mohammed, 21, sees Israelis differently: "They're the enemy," he says, "without exception."

This generational split slices through families across Gaza, where older people remember when jobs in Tel Aviv and contact with Israelis were a short drive away, while those under 25 have grown up locked in, seeing little from Israel but fighter planes and bombs.

Israel has been tightening restrictions on who can leave Gaza for nearly two decades, finally imposing a strict blockade with Egypt when the Islamic militant group Hamas overran the territory in 2007.

After its deadly May raid on an activist flotilla seeking to break the blockade, Israel allowed more consumer goods into the impoverished seaside strip. But outside of rare exceptions for medical patients, Israel says the travel ban will remain to keep out would-be attackers until Gaza is ruled by a government that doesn't seek Israel's destruction or consider Israeli civilians legitimate targets. Hamas rejects those conditions.

This means Gaza's youth — 68 percent of its 1.5 million residents are under 25 — have no contact with people outside, which critics warn could make them more susceptible to militant groups and calls to violence.

"We have a whole generation that has no chance to see the other, whether that other is an Israeli, a European, another Palestinian, anyone," said Hamdi Shaqqura of Gaza's Palestinian Center for Human Rights. "This will push people more and more toward self-containment, further from other communities, and widen the gap with Israel."

The gap is clear in the crowded streets of this refugee camp, from which hundreds of men once commuted to Israel daily for jobs in industry, agriculture and construction. Most are now middle-aged and haven't left Gaza in years. Still, they can recall Israeli towns in street-by-street detail and the names of Jewish colleagues, bosses and friends.

The elder Hamami spent what he considers the best 23 years of his life working on Israeli kibbutzim, or collective farms, near Gaza. He had his own room, took Hebrew classes, swam in the community pool with kibbutz members and danced at their parties.

"They were all my friends," he said, "from the old man to the child."

When asked about Israel, his son Mohammed sees "mass destruction and killing people," he said. "I've seen lots of houses destroyed and children killed."

Mohammed has never left Gaza nor met a Jew. He has childhood memories of Israeli soldiers storming the camp during the Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000, and clearly recalls Israel's three-week offensive last year to stop militant rocket fire on Israeli towns. The war killed 1,400 Gazans, many of them civilians, and left swaths of the strip in ruins. Thirteen Israelis also died.

Their politics also differ. The father thinks violence is self-defeating. His son supports those who fight Israel.

"As long as they are fighting the army, we have to support them," Mohammed said. "They fight the enemy that kills children and destroys homes."

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev defended the Gaza travel ban as protection against militant attacks and blamed Hamas' rhetoric for younger Gazans' negative views of the Jewish state.

"The Hamas regime in Gaza is constantly bombarding the younger generation with extreme violence and anti-Israeli propaganda that plays on traditional anti-Semitic themes, often describing Jews as Satanic," he said.

This prevents them from seeing the good Israel has done, he said, citing the withdrawal from its settlements in 2005 and its allowing thousands of Gazans to enter Israel for medical care.

Sari Bashi of the Israeli group Gisha, which advocates for Palestinian freedom of movement, said the lack of contact between Gazan and Israeli civilians leads to the "demonization" of Gazans in the Israeli mind. This she said, could lead to greater violence from the Israeli side.

"This separation is very dangerous for the future because if people in Gaza are not human beings, you can do pretty much anything to them," she said.

Moussa Himmo, 45, also from Shati camp, worked for years in a factory in Tel Aviv, eating and lodging with the Jewish owner's family, which sent him home on weekends with sweets for his children.

In 1990, during the first Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation, Israel arrested Himmo for throwing firebombs at an army jeep in Gaza and imprisoned him for three and a half years. He says he was repeatedly beaten. Still, upon entering Israel seven years later, he sought out his old boss, who embraced him like a prodigal son.

"He was a beautiful guy, with green eyes and curly hair," his former boss Nuriel Izhaki, 70, said of Himmo. "It was only because he was an honest guy and did clean work that I let him work here. I trusted him."

The men lost touch years ago. And both see no way to return to the old days. Izhaki blames Hamas for Gaza's woes, especially for holding Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit captive for four years.

"If they hold Gilad Schalit and don't let anyone visit him, how do they think life can be good for them?" he said.

Himmo, the Palestinian, said he doesn't believe Israelis want peace. "They think all Arabs are dangerous," he said. "The whole situation has changed and there is no way to go back."

The former boss of Hamami, the kibbutz worker, said Hamami was "like family." Strolling through the tree-lined community of Gvulot, Michael Adler, 70, pointed out many buildings Hamami helped build, including the dining hall and Adler's own home.

His wife, Daphna, remembered the local children liking Hamami's Gaza-style felafel.

They, too, had lost touch with their former employee. Now, they said, their children and grandchildren live in communities near the Gaza border that have been frequent targets of militant rockets.

"I don't see a solution in the near future," Adler said, suggesting that the only way out is for the sides to talk to each other.

"If we don't speak, what else do we have?" he said.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Israel Publishes Gaza Travel Guidebook For Pro-Hamas Freedom Flotilla | Mere Rhetoric

Very nice spoof and lots of real information and real pictures. Check out that Grand Palace Hotel, very grand!

FROM: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
TO: Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla
RE: Gaza Tourism Guide

Dear Crazy People,

We’ve been given to understand that you intend to stage another media stunt, wherein you’re again going to float some empty ships – they may be full this time, they were mostly empty last time – in the general direction of the Gaza Strip. Your hope is apparently that your cameramen will capture the Israeli reaction and edit it into an overreaction or, failing that, simply reprint your feverish fantasies with slack-jawed credulity. Again.

Our problem isn’t so much that your goal involves obfuscating the millions of tons of food and aid we’ve delivered to Gaza civilians, which allowed Hamas to move money away from infrastructure and into weaponry, which led to more of our cities getting bombarded with rockets and missiles. It’s not even how, knowing that we deliver 15,000 tons of goods every week, your 10,000 tons of concrete isn’t exactly a shining testament to your good intentions. Not when just last week we handed over 810,209 liters of heavy duty diesel fuel, 21 truckloads of milk powder and baby food, 897 tons of cooking gas, 66 truckloads of fruits and vegetables, 51 truckloads of wheat, 27 truckloads of meat, chicken and fish products, 40 truckloads of dairy products, 117 truckloads of animal feed, 36 truckloads of hygiene products, 38 trucks of clothing, 22 trucks of sugar and 4 trucks of medicine and medical equipment. But again: not the issue.

Continue Reading @ Mere Rhetoric

Jobs at Wikipedia

Job Openings/Community Department - Wikimedia Foundation

"This year, the Community Department will be hiring for a series of important senior and entry level positions. All positions will involve collaborating and communicating with Wikimedia project contributors and users intensively and publicly, grappling with many problems that no one has ever solved before, navigating technological and social challenges and opportunities, and dealing with a high level of complexity and uncertainty. Candidates should have extremely high levels of skill and comfort in communication (especially writing), qualitative and quantitative analysis, management and self-management. Candidates who are not already deeply immersed in online collaborative communities will have to show an aptitude for quickly gaining a deep understanding of our communities' technologies, practices, traditions and culture -- and to become trusted and productive members of the Wikimedia community and movement.

We are looking for candidates from all over the world. Wikimedia Foundation has a policy of hiring without regard to locale. If eventually accepted for a position, Wikimedia Foundation will assist with work visas and relocation costs."

Of course, the relocation is to San Fransisco, a beautiful, if politically f---ked up city.

also see here:

U.S. Military Learns to Fight Deadliest Weapons | Magazine

U.S. Military Learns to Fight Deadliest Weapons | Magazine