Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Zuckerberg loses $7.2 BILLION after corporate ad boycott pressing Facebook to police ‘hate speech’

RT | June 27, 2020

Plummeting Facebook shares have wiped out billions of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth. The impetus? Corporations such as Coca-Cola and Verizon have pulled their ads, demanding that Facebook censor hate speech.

Zuckerberg lost $7.2 billion, after Facebook’s shares fell by 8.3 percent on Friday, Bloomberg reported. The dive in value happened after Unilever, one of the largest advertisers in the world, joined the list of major companies that suspended their ad campaigns on Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram. At around the same time, Coca-Cola said it was also pulling all its social-media advertising for 30 days.

More than 120 corporations, including Verizon, Dove, Lipton, Hershey’s, and Honda joined the boycott organized by activists and civil-rights groups that demanded Facebook combat what they term hate speech and disinformation on its platform.

Responding to the criticism, Zuckerberg, whose remaining net worth is now being estimated at $82.3 billion by Bloomberg, has promised to ban ads with “hateful content.” The prohibited advertising will include materials that describe a specific demographic as “a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others.” He also vowed to fight potential voter suppression, and to take down posts by politicians and government officials if the company deems them to be an incitement to violence.

While Zuckerberg did not explicitly mention the boycott, it was clear from the announcement he was trying to appease its critics. The US media landscape has been deluged by a wave of calls for advertiser boycotts that came in the wake of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. The action targeted primarily conservative outlets and speakers, and ended up being so widespread that it garnered the attention of US President Donald Trump, who considered making such behavior “illegal.”

Still, while Facebook has largely avoided explicit Twitter-style hounding of ‘wrong’ political opinions so far, the social-media platform has been frequently accused of censorship. Despite its proclaimed strive for “transparency,” Facebook is very vague on its policies about ‘forbidden’ content. It has been repeatedly caught flagging and removing certain posts for no obvious reason. One of the most recent scandals involved a colored version of an iconic World War II photo depicting a Soviet flag over the Reichstag – that was sanctioned on V-Day for showing “dangerous individuals and organizations.”

Other Silicon Valley giants, such as Twitter and Google-owned YouTube, have been waging an open war on comments deemed hateful or inflammatory. Twitter has been embroiled in a public spat with Trump, labeling several of his tweets as violating the company’s policy against “abusive behavior.”

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 3 Comments

Once Again, the UN has failed to Name Firms that Profit from Israel’s Illegal Settlements

By Jonathan Cook – The National – March 11, 2019

The United Nations postponed last week for the third time the publication of a blacklist of Israeli and international firms that profit directly from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

The international body had come under enormous pressure to keep the database under wraps after lobbying behind the scenes from Israel, the United States and many of the 200-plus companies that were about to be named.

UN officials have suggested they may go public with the list in a few months.

But with no progress since the UN’s Human Rights Council requested the database back in early 2016, Palestinian leaders are increasingly fearful that it has been permanently shelved.

That was exactly what Israel hoped for. When efforts were first made to publish the list in 2017, Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, warned: “We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.”

He added that penalising the settlements was “an expression of modern antisemitism”.

Both Israel and the US pulled out of the Human Rights Council last year, claiming that Israel was being singled out.

Israel has good reason to fear greater transparency. Bad publicity would most likely drive many of these firms, a few of them household names, out of the settlements under threat of a consumer backlash and a withdrawal of investments by religious organisations and pension funds.

The UN has reportedly already warned Coca-Cola, Teva Pharmaceuticals, the defence electronics company Elbit Systems and Africa Israel Investments of their likely inclusion. Israeli telecoms and utility companies are particularly exposed because grids serving the settlements are integrated with those in Israel.

There is an added danger that the firms might be vulnerable to prosecutions, should the International Criminal Court at The Hague eventually open an investigation into whether the settlements constitute a war crime, as the Palestinian leadership has demanded.

The exodus of these firms from the West Bank would, in turn, make it much harder for Israel to sustain its colonies on stolen Palestinian land. As a result, efforts to advance a Palestinian state would be strengthened.

Many of the settlements – contrary to widely held impressions of them – have grown into large towns. Their inhabitants expect all the comforts of modern life, from local bank branches to fast-food restaurants and high-street clothing chains.

Nowadays, a significant proportion of Israel’s 750,000 settlers barely understand that their communities violate international law.

The settlements are also gradually being integrated into the global economy, as was highlighted by a row late last year when Airbnb, an accommodation-bookings website, announced a plan to de-list properties in West Bank settlements.

The company was possibly seeking to avoid inclusion on the database, but instead it faced a severe backlash from Israel’s supporters.

This month the US state of Texas approved a ban on all contracts with Airbnb, arguing that the online company’s action was “antisemitic”.

As both sides understand, a lot hangs on the blacklist being made public.

If Israel and the US succeed, and western corporations are left free to ignore the Palestinians’ dispossession and suffering, the settlements will sink their roots even deeper into the West Bank. Israel’s occupation will become ever more irreversible, and the prospect of a Palestinian state ever more distant.

A 2013 report on the ties between big business and the settlements noted the impact on the rights of Palestinians was “pervasive and devastating”.

Sadly, the UN leadership’s cowardice on what should be a straightforward matter – the settlements violate international law, and firms should not assist in such criminal enterprises – is part of a pattern.

Repeatedly, Israel has exerted great pressure on the UN to keep its army off a “shame list” of serious violators of children’s rights. Israel even avoided a listing in 2015 following its 50-day attack on Gaza the previous year, which left more than 500 Palestinian children dead. Dozens of armies and militias are named each year.

The Hague court has also been dragging its feet for years over whether to open a proper war crimes investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, as well as the settlements.

The battle to hold Israel to account is likely to rage again this year, after the publication last month of a damning report by UN legal experts into the killing of Palestinian protesters at Gaza’s perimeter fence by Israeli snipers.

Conditions for Gaza’s two million Palestinians have grown dire since Israel imposed a blockade, preventing movement of goods and people, more than a decade ago.

The UN report found that nearly all of those killed by the snipers – 154 out of 183 – were unarmed. Some 35 Palestinian children were among the dead, and of the 6,000 wounded more than 900 were minors. Other casualties included journalists, medical personnel and people with disabilities.

The legal experts concluded that there was evidence of war crimes. Any identifiable commanders and snipers, it added, should face arrest if they visited UN member states.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, dismissed the report as “lies” born out of “an obsessive hatred of Israel”.

Certainly, it has caused few ripples in western capitals. Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn was a lone voice in calling for an arms embargo on Israel in response.

It is this Israeli exceptionalism that is so striking. The more violent Israel becomes towards the Palestinians and the more intransigent in rejecting peace, the less pressure is exerted upon it.

Not only does Israel continue to enjoy generous financial, military and diplomatic support from the US and Europe, both are working ever harder to silence criticisms of its actions by their own citizens.

As the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement grows larger, western capitals have casually thrown aside commitments to free speech in a bid to crush it.

France has already criminalised support for a boycott of Israel, and its president Emmanuel Macron recently proposed making it illegal to criticise Zionism, the ideology that underpins Israel’s rule over Palestinians.

More than two dozen US states have passed anti-BDS legislation, denying companies and individual contractors dealing with the government of that particular state the right to boycott Israel. In every case, Israel is the only country protected by these laws. Last month, the US Senate passed a bill that adds federal weight to this state-level campaign of intimidation.

The hypocrisy of these states – urging peace in the region while doing their best to subvert it – is clear. Now the danger is that UN leaders will join them.

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UN warns to blacklist firms working in lands occupied by Israel: Report

Press TV – September 28, 2017

The United Nations human rights office has reportedly threatened to blacklist nearly 150 Israeli and international companies for operating in the Israeli occupied territories, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and Golan Heights.

Israeli daily Haaretz cited anonymous Israeli officials as saying on Wednesday that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein notified the companies through letters two weeks ago.

In response, several of the companies assured Hussein that they do not plan to renew their current contracts or to enter into new ones.

The letter said that due to the companies’ activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, they may be added to the blacklist being compiled by the UN of companies “that operate in opposition to international law and in opposition of UN resolutions.”

According to an unnamed western diplomat, over half of the companies that received the letter were Israeli, nearly 30 were American and the rest were mainly from Germany, Norway and South Korea.

The copies of Hussein’s letter have reportedly been sent to the respective countries of the firms and seen by the Israeli cabinet.

The companies include giant international corporations such as Coca-Cola, TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Caterpillar as well as major Israeli firms, including pharmaceutical giant Teva, the national phone company Bezeq, bus company Egged, the national water company Mekorot and the regime’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi.

In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council voted, with 32 nations in favor and 15 abstentions, to a proposal by the Palestinian Authority and Arab states to compile a database of all businesses enabling or profiting from development of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The proposal also condemned Israeli settlement construction and urged companies not to do business with Israeli settlements.

In June, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the blacklist as “the latest in this long line of shameful actions” adopted by the UNHRC, warning that the US may withdraw from the 47-member UN body unless it is reformed, end condemnation of Israel and cancel the membership of what she called notorious human rights violators from the council.

Since 2007, Israel has been the only entity whose human rights violations have been regularly discussed in the framework of a single permanent item on the Human Rights Council’s agenda.

Since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in January, the regime in Tel Aviv has stepped up its construction of settler units on occupied Palestinian land in a blatant violation of international law.

Less than a month before Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council had adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Israel also seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community. The regime has built dozens of settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coca-Cola Accused of Funding Colombian Death Squad

teleSUR – September 1, 2016

U.S.-based Coca-Cola company along with more than 50 other companies were accused by Colombian courts of financing terrorism for their ties to the now-disbanded paramilitary organization, United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a fact trade union leaders have been denouncing for decades.

The cases against the companies will be heard in a transitional justice tribunal after the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government is signed.

Coca-Cola was accused of hiring hitmen from the AUC between 1990 and 2002 to kill at least 10 labor union leaders who were trying to organize Coca-Cola’s plants. U.K. oil company BP has also be taken to court for its funding of AUC, along with kidnapping and human rights abuses.

Other companies suspected of financing terrorism, commonly referred to as the “para-economy,” include Colombia’s largest beverage company Postobon, cement company Cementos Argos, state oil company Ecopetrol and banana distributor Chiquita Brands International.

In June, families of victims killed by paramilitary groups opened a federal lawsuit against Chiquita in the U.S. for supporting the AUC. The company was estimated to have made at least 100 payments to the group worth US$1.7 million between 1997 and 2004.

The right-wing AUC coalition, deemed a terrorist organization by the Colombian government, disbanded in 2006. The paramilitary group was responsible for a number of massacres, human rights abuses, kidnappings and extortions that resulted in the displacement of thousands of Colombians.

Some politicians and authorities have been sentenced in relation to links with the AUC, the majority of businesses involved have not been punished for their illegal financial activities.

Investigations and punishment of businesses involved with paramilitary groups have commonly stuttered over whether payments were voluntary or not and if companies received any benefits in return.

RELATED:
Brazilian Coca-Cola Manufacturer Accused of Slave Labor

September 1, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Liverpool Politician Wants to Ban Coca Cola Christmas Truck Over Obesity Worries

Sputnik – 20.08.2016

A British politician is calling for a ban on Coca Cola’s illuminated Christmas truck this holiday season, citing childhood obesity concerns.

The festive red truck makes its way through shopping centers across Britain annually, usually beginning in late November.

“At each stop, family and friends will have the chance to take pictures with the truck as it lights up, and experience a snowy winter wonderland setting while enjoying a choice of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero or Coke Life,” a press release from the company read prior to last year’s tour.

The twinkling truck fleet was conceived in 1995, after one appeared on television in a wildly successful seasonal advertising campaign.

On Thursday, Councillor Richard Kemp, who heads the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool City Council, called for shopping mall owners to ban the trucks on the same day that the government unveiled a new “Childhood Obesity Strategy.”

“In Liverpool, sugar is the new tobacco. At 11 years of age, 30 percent of the children in our city are obese, one in 10 of those are clinically obese,” Kemp stated. “Almost all of them will become obese adults with a cost to the NHS of 5.1 billion pounds a year (6.72 billion US dollars). This takes no account of the personal misery of the conditions which have to be treated; the shortened lives that many of them will have and the cost to businesses they work for because of sick leave.”

He said that he was “appalled” by last year’s Coca Cola promotion.

“The causes are many and the actions needed to deal with them are even more varied. There is one thing on which everyone agrees. Too many children are drinking too many fizzy, sugary drinks. That is why last year in the run-up to Christmas, I was appalled to see a big promotion by Coca-Cola when its red van visited Liverpool as part of its advertising campaign tour around the country.”

“To my mind this glorifies the sale of something which is often consumed in vast quantities with people having little knowledge of just how dangerous the sugar content can be to the long-term health of them and their children.”

August 20, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

What it means to be a union member in Colombia and Chicago

By Ruth Fast | CPTnet | July 26, 2013

Eleven years ago, company thugs attempted to kidnap William Mendoza’s four-year-old daughter. They were unable to take her because his wife simply refused to release her grip on the child. This incident caused William’s marriage to break up because of his wife’s fear of further violence. His story is one of thousands that, when combined, have for decades put Colombia at the top of the list of most dangerous nations to be a member of a trade union.

Mendoza is President of the local Coca Cola ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) in Barrancabermeja, Colombia. Because he was working for fair wages and decent working conditions for Coca Cola workers, paramilitary groups hired by the company to intimidate and threaten leaders of the union had targeted him. This U.S. company operating in Colombia is keeping wages and benefits low so they can extract more profits for the company and we can drink soft drinks at lower prices.

Paramilitaries have killed, disappeared, or threatened Mendoza’s colleagues because of their work. At present, William has a bodyguard supplied by the Colombian government because of threats on his life. His union office has bulletproof windows, and security cameras monitor the front of the building. Sometimes William wonders how useful the bodyguard would be in a real threat to his safety. However, dismissing the bodyguard would probably invite a lethal attack.

Mendoza is working to save his own life, but the fight to save the union and affirm the right of workers to organize is the passion that has driven him to this point. He clearly understands the contradictory predicament: that the harder he fights for workers’ rights and safety, the more he endangers his own life—yet he fights.

I thought about my own union membership and the Chicago Teachers’ Union struggle as it continues to work for just wages, fair working conditions and the living out of “Children First”: the motto of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). This struggle continues in spite of the CPS administration making the lives of teachers and staff in the neighborhood increasingly difficult by creating larger classes, more crowded schools, more work for teachers at the same pay rate, well as disrupting communities by closing schools.

My union friends, union leaders, and I do not face death threats here in the U.S. However, we are fired, laid off, and told we are lying about workers’ hardships; our pension plan is not secure and we suffer financial hardship.

As a retired CPS school social worker, I sit in my comfortable home, insulated from the struggles my union leaders, the teachers, and school staff live daily. I could forget William and the agony he lives daily with continued threats on his life and the lives of his comrades in the union. But this experience in Colombia has strengthen my union commitment and gives me more energy to stand with my union for the benefit of Chicago students, their parents and for the rights of all children to a quality public education.

ILWU leaders and members understand that to fight for the rights of workers in Colombia is to fight for the rights of all workers internationally. I came back to the U.S. with my union commitment strengthened as I saw lives threatened in Colombia. I know that fighting for our union rights in the Chicago also strengthens the union movement internationally.

Ruth Fast was a member of the most recent Christian Peacemaker Team delegation to Colombia in May.

July 26, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

UCtelevision | July 30, 2009

Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public.

See also:

The saturated fat scam: What’s the real story?

The “Coca Cola conspiracy” and the obesity epidemic

The processed foods industry knew that their products would cause an epidemic of obesity among their customers, but they also realized that their bottom line would see a huge boost. The FDA and USDA provided all the cover needed and then some by pointing the finger in the wrong direction. The “low fat” foods fad was a complete hoax. …

February 8, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , | Leave a comment