Tag Archives: Video

Spain’s hologram protest: Thousands join virtual march in Madrid against new gag law

15 Apr
Getty/Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

‘You will only be allowed to express yourself if you become a hologram’

Late last year the Spanish government passed a law that set extreme fines for protesters convening outside of government buildings.

In response to the controversial Citizen Safety Law, which will take effect on July 1, Spanish activists have staged the world’s first ever virtual holographic political demonstration.

After months of massive flesh-and-blood protests against the so-called ‘gag law’, thousands of holograms last night marched in front of the Spanish parliament in Madrid.

Organised by the group Holograms for Freedom, ghost-like figures holding placards took aim at the imminent draconian measures, arguing that holographic people are now afforded greater freedoms than their real-life counterparts.

Getty/Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

The ‘NoSomosDelito’ (meaning: ‘We are not crime’) movement – composed of more than 100 different organisations – called upon sympathisers around the world to participate in the landmark event by simply webcamming their face via the campaign website.

More than 2,000 virtual images were sent and used in the hour-long hologram demonstration, El Pais reported.

Under the Citizens Safety Law, it is illegal to gather in front of government buildings without permission from authorities; this includes everything from universities to hospitals.

Organisers of unauthorised demonstrations could be fined up to €600,000, with further €600 fines for disrespecting police officers, and €30,000 for filming or photographing them.

Getty/Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

In a video promoting the protest, a spokeswoman said: “With the passing of the Gag Law, you won’t be allowed to assemble in public spaces without risking a fine.

“Ultimately, if you are a person, you won’t be allowed to express yourself freely. You will only be able to do it if you are a hologram.”

Spokesman Carlos Escano told Spanish newspaper El Mundo: “Our protest with holograms is ironic.

“With the restrictions we’re suffering on our freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, the last options that will be left to use in the end will be to protest through our holograms.”

via The Independent.

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Digital Image Identification: Sharing isn’t always caring

5 Oct

Why we should always blur faces in videos and photographs from protests inside Iran and any similar totalitarian regimes where the slightest sign of dissent – real or imagined – has serious, often life-threatening implications.

Reunited

Babak (Rajabalu) Dashab, first arrested in Feb 2009 and sentenced to 6 years, then re-arrested after being identified from video showing him burning a log during an Ashura protest in December 2009, has been freed from prison in Iran after serving 3 years. Three years for making a bonfire. Look at his son. Three years is a lifetime to a child of his age.

We are responsible

Before the “Arab Spring” there was the equally exhilarating “Green Wave”. Social media was our new playground; we were transformed from no-life couch-potato geeks to “citizen journalists”. The buzz of finding and sharing news about massive street protests in an increasingly paranoid and isolated country like Iran was intoxicating. Iran kicked out the foreign press. “We are the Media!” became our battle cry.

On reflection it could just as easily have been “We Are Rank Amateurs!” or “We Are Gullible Idiots!”. Most of the time news was shared regardless of source. Some of us tried to “police” the torrent, but it was largely a losing battle against an ever-rising tide of misinformation and disinformation. Photos and videos were gobbled up by an insatiable appetite for “online activism”. We were going to post our way to freedom for Iran and poke CNN et al in the eye on our way up. In those days, the “media” were slow-witted and partisan, YouTube a petty censor. Our videos were removed on a whim, so we learned to copy, clone, remix, save, re-post, find new hosting venues. In so doing, we spawned thousands upon thousands of photos and videos.

This addiction to quantity without regard for quality or fact-checking quickly revealed its dark inner core. The risks to protesters of being arrested increased exponentially because of the photos and videos we were sharing. The regime countered this green wave of social media evidence of the unrest in Iran, and turned the green tide against the green movement. Images became evidence of crimes against the state. Evidence of terrorist acts. Evidence of insulting the Supreme Leader of the glorious revolution.

My reaction was horrified guilt. I had done this. I had shared without realising what could happen as a result of my actions, and now I was an unwitting accomplice in the arrest and torture of thousands of people. I had to do something, to redeem myself, to assuage the guilt, to convert the remorse into positive action. I started trying to raise awareness of this risk, and to demand that faces in videos be blurred, which is how I found  WITNESS – a fantastic team, they firmly hoisted that banner and ran with it. I credit them with getting YouTube to add a feature which will automatically try to find and blur all faces in a video.

But..

I recall being asked by someone what they should do if they didn’t know how to blur faces? The simple answer is: ask the original poster to do it or get someone else to do it. If you can’t do that, then do nothing, don’t share. That person felt this was infeasible: they they were compelled to share, because it was so important to show “the world” what was happening in Iran. To this response, I asked: who is there to take photographs of what happens to people you helped to identify after they are arrested?

The other, more common and weakest of all excuses is that the image is “already out there”. So is AIDS – does that mean everyone should have unprotected sex? We should regard blurring faces as a prophylactic to protect against the lethal disease of brutal repression.

It’s not easy

Instinct takes over and before you know where you are, you’ve clicked! Because it only takes a click.. so really,the blurring needs to spread to the original content posters, our “enablers”. This needs massive, sustained loft to become an enduring, instinctive habit.

Apart from those misguided souls who are so fixated on their popularity that they would rather count likes and re-tweets of the content they post than actually help prevent innocent protesters from being targeted, there is also a subtle pressure from the social networks to share visuals. Just look at the “success” of the meaningless and crappy Instagram. Photos and videos are the media of social media content – which is far more interesting if it includes visuals. There are financial pressures on developers: more interesting content is an advantage in promoting social media platforms to advertisers and investors. But is it essential: surely you’ve heard about events that did not include images, but which nevertheless are broadcast wholesale by established media? The first examples that come to mind are President Obama declaring that he would not release images of  “the killing of Osama Bin Laden” and the alleged stoning of a young couple in Mali in July 2012. Not only were there no photos or videos of the reported stoning, it’s unlikely that any exist. Yet you will see these “facts” repeated ad nauseum in established media.

The reality about what gets covered in the press belies the worn-out excuses: traditional media outlets prefer to have images but they do publish controversial news without evidence, and they do accept these stories from citizen reporters or people claiming to be witnesses.

It is never too late to do the right thing

Go blurry:

How to Blur Faces in Photos Using GIMP free image editing software

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL49Ox-zetA]

Reblogged from I wish I’d never seen Babak Dashab « @lissnup.

UN-Beobachter besuchen Syrien (video)

16 Apr
[youtube http://youtu.be/3Wgb9aVd1-g]

Die ersten sechs UN-Beobachter trafen am Sonntagabend in Damaskus ein, um einen flüchtigen Waffenstillstand zu überwachen. Weitere 24 sollen in den nächsten Tagen kommen.

Der Waffenstillstand wurde am Donnerstag erklärt, aber die syrischen Oppositionskräfte behaupten, man greife sie immer noch an, und die Regierung drohte mit Aktionen gegen „Terroristen“.

Die syrische Regierung sagte auch, dass sie die Sicherheit der Beobachter nicht garantieren könne, wenn sie nicht jeden Schritt mit der Regierung koordinieren.

Der Waffenstillstand ist Teil des Sechs-Punkte-Plans des Sonderbeauftragten der UN und der Arabischen Liga Kofi Annan.

Der Konflikt dauert schon ein Jahr und forderte der UN zufolge über 9 000 Leben.

Die Beobachter haben die Aufgabe, mit beiden Seiten im Konflikt Kontakte zu gründen und über die Einhaltung des Waffenstillstands zu berichten, bis eine vollständige Mission stationiert ist.

Nächste Woche soll der UN-Sicherheitsrat weitere 250 Beobachter bestätigen.

Die Bewohner in Damaskus hoffen, dass dies die Lage verbessern wird.

„Alle Syrer beten für Frieden“, sagt Raeed Deeb, Bewohner von Damaskus.

Politischer Analyst Kamel Sager sagt, die Beobachter müssten neutral bleiben, wenn ihre Mission erfolgreich werden sollte.

„Egal welche Nationalität diese Leute haben. Sie müssen neutral bleiben, egal welche Nationalität sie haben.“

Die Öffentlichkeit unterstützt die internationalen Beobachter, hofft aber, dass die Wahrheit ihre Priorität bleibt.

„Ich begrüße die internationalen Beobachter… Ich hoffe, diese Beobachter sagen die Wahrheit, und der Rest der Welt wird ihnen glauben“, sagt eine Frau.

Andere haben Angst, dass man allein die syrische Regierung für Fehler während der Umsetzung des Friedensplans beschuldigen wird.

„Die Lage beeinflusst nicht nur die syrische Regierung. Es muss Druck auf die militante Opposition geben sowie auf die Nachbarländer, die die Opposition unterstützen, um sich an Annans Friedensplan zu haften“, sagt politischer Wissenschaftler Maad Muhammad.

UN observers visit Syria (video)

16 Apr
[youtube http://youtu.be/3Wgb9aVd1-g]

The first six UN observers arrived in Damascus late on Sunday to oversee a shaky ceasefire, and another 24 are expected to follow over the coming days.

The ceasefire was declared on Thursday, but Syrian opposition forces claim they’re still under attack – and the government has warned it will take action against “terrorists”.

The Syrian government has also said it cannot guarantee the safety of the observers, unless they coordinate every step with the authorities.

The ceasefire is part of a six-point peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan.

The year-long conflict has claimed the lives of 9,000 people, according to the UN.

Observers are tasked with establishing contact with both sides in the conflict, and reporting on ceasefire compliance until a full mission is deployed.

The United Nations Security Council is expected to approve an observer mission of about 250 people next week.

Damascus residents are hoping their arrival will help defuse the situation.

“All Syrians pray for peace”, said resident Raeed Deeb.

Political analyst Kamel Sager said the observers need to remain neutral if their mission is to succeed.

“They have to remain neutral no matter what nationality they have.”

The public has been quite supportive of the international observers, but they hope finding the truth remains their top priority.

“I welcome the international observers … I hope these observers tell the truth and the rest of the world will believe them”, said a Syrian citizen.

Others fear that the Syrian government will be solely blamed for any of the failures during the implementation of the peace plan.

“The situation at hand does not affect just the government of Syria. Pressure must be placed on the armed opposition as well and the neighboring counties that support the opposition to adhere to Annan’s peace plan,” political scientist Maad Muhammad told RT.

A Syrian official escorting the team at a Damascus hotel told Reuters that more observers were expected to arrive on Monday, but offered no details. Under the U.N. plan, two dozen more observers are due to enter Syria in coming days.

As the monitors prepared to embark on their mission, violence persisted on the ground.

One activist said the city of Homs, one of the hotbeds of opposition to Assad, was bombarded on Sunday by government forces at a rate of “one shell per minute”.

Other activist sources said that six people had been killed on Sunday, and four bodies had been found.

Casting further doubt on whether the ceasefire would hold, Syria said it would stop what it called “terrorist groups” from committing criminal acts, state television reported.

Annan, joint special envoy of the United Nations and Arab League, brokered the six-point peace plan in March as part of international efforts to stop 13 months of violence.

The plan calls for the start of political dialogue, the delivery of humanitarian assistance, the release of prisoners including those involved in peaceful protests, freedom of movement for journalists to work throughout Syria.

The U.N. Security Council authorized the deployment of up to 30 unarmed observers on Saturday in the first resolution on Syria the 15-nation council managed to approve unanimously since the uprising erupted in March 2011.

VIOLENCE IN HOMS

Syria blames the violence on what it says are terrorists seeking to topple Assad. It has denied journalists access to the country, making it impossible to independently verify reports.

On Sunday, the Syrian state news agency SANA said a “terrorist group” ambushed armed forces in Idlib province, killing a soldier and wounding three others.

“Since the announcement of an end to military operations, terrorist attacks have increased by dozens, causing a large loss of life,” SANA added.

“(Security forces), based on their duty to protect civilians and the country, will stop terrorist groups from continuing their criminals acts and the killing of civilians,” SANA said.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was concerned about the shelling of Homs and urged the Syrian government to refrain from any escalation of violence.

“While we welcome the cessation of violence at this time I warn that the whole world is watching with skeptical eyes whether this will be sustainable,” he said. “It is important the Syrian government takes all the measures to keep the cessation of violence.”

Annan’s spokesman said the mission could be expanded to 250 or more but that would require another resolution.

Syrian government spokeswoman Bouthaina Shaaban said Syria could not be responsible for the safety of the monitors unless it was involved in “all steps on the ground”.

On the eve of the mission, Syrian forces pounded Homs, activists said. “Early this morning we saw a helicopter and a spotter plane fly overhead. Ten minutes later, there was heavy shelling,” said Walid al-Fares, a local activist.

Activist video footage, reportedly from Khalidiya, shows an explosion shortly after the sound of a missile flying through the air. Another whiz follows, and the cameraman, standing in a nearby building, pans across to show a ball of flames and smoke rising into the air.

#OWS محتجو (احتلو وول ستريت) يعودون إلى حديقة زوكوتي في نيويورك

12 Jan
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTadbP0Vfec]
قدم نحو 40 شخصا إلى الحديقة يوم الأربعاء ، ولكن المزاج كان مفعما بالتفاؤل. وبدا الناس غاية في النشاط والإثارة بحصولهم على إمكانية العودة إلى الحديقة.وسبق وأن قال بعض المنتقدين للحركة أنه ليس من سبيل لصمودها حتى شهر كانون الأول الماضي، وكانوا يأملون بأن المتظاهرين لن يعودوا بعد طردهم في منتصف شهر نوفمبر الفائت. لكن الحال لم تكن كذلك.

” حتى لما كانت المتاريس هنا فقد كنا دائما موجودين في هذا المكان، وأحيانا كان بعضنا موجودا في المقدمة، ولكننا كنا هنا دائما ” ، قال الناشط خوسيه ميديافيللا.

“لدينا الآن فسحة للتجمع، فهناك مركزنا الروحي ، إنه المحور الروحي للحركة، والناس رجعوا إلى هنا ” ، أضاف توني زيلكا، وهو ناشط آخر.

ومع ذلك ، فإن إحدى القوانين الجديدة للمحتلين هو أن ليس بإمكانهم إحضار الخيام أو أكياس النوم إلى الحديقة.

via #OWS Returns to Zucotti Park – YouTube.

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