Posts Tagged ‘Ägypten’

Österreich: Let’s ban the bombs!

Donnerstag, Dezember 11th, 2014

“Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons

Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons
Humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons must initiate treaty process in 2015

December 9, 2014

After 44 states called for a prohibition on nuclear weapons at a conference in Vienna on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, Austria delivered the “Austrian pledge” in which it committed to work to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and pledged “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”.

“All states committed to nuclear disarmament must join the Austrian pledge to work towards a treaty to ban nuclear weapons”, said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

“Next year is the 70 year anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that will be a fitting time for negotiations to start on a treaty banning nuclear weapons”, Fihn added.

States that expressed support for a ban treaty at the Vienna Conference include: Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Holy See, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

These announcements were given at a two-day international conference convened in Vienna to examine the consequences of nuclear weapon use, whether intentional or accidental.

Survivors of the nuclear bombings in Japan and of nuclear testing in Australia, Kazakhstan, the Marshall Islands, and the United States, gave powerful testimonies of the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. Their evidence complemented other presentations presenting data and research.

“The consequences of any nuclear weapon use would be devastating, long-lasting, and unacceptable. Governments simply cannot listen to this evidence and hear these human stories without acting”, said Akira Kawasaki, from Japanese NGO Peaceboat. “The only solution is to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons and we need to start now,” Kawasaki added.

For decades, discussions on nuclear weapons have been dominated by the few nuclear-armed states – states that continue to stockpile and maintain over 16,000 warheads. The humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons has prompted a fundamental change in this conversation, with non-nuclear armed states leading the way in a discussion on the actual effects of the weapons.

Unlike the other weapons of mass destruction – chemical and biological – nuclear weapons are not yet prohibited by an international legal treaty. Discussions in Vienna illustrated that the international community is determined to address this. In a statement to the conference, Pope Francis called for nuclear weapons to be “banned once and for all”.

The host of the previous conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, Mexico, called for the commencement of a diplomatic process, and South Africa said it was considering its role in future meetings.

“Anyone in Vienna can tell that something new is happening on nuclear weapons. We have had three conferences examining their humanitarian impact, and now with the Austrian pledge we have everything we need for a diplomatic process to start”, said Thomas Nash of UK NGO Article 36.”


(Quelle: ICAN.)

Palästina / Gaza: Fluchtursache Krieg

Donnerstag, September 18th, 2014

“Thousands of Gazans fleeing to Europe, hundreds die at sea

‘It’s better to die at sea than to die of despair and frustration in Gaza,’ says resident of Strip.

Haaretz reports: Thousands of Palestinians have left the Gaza Strip for Europe using tunnels, traffickers and boats, testimonies obtained by Haaretz show.

Gazans have been fleeing the Strip since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, but their escape was hardly covered in the media since they have been leaving clandestinely, with the help of paid smugglers.

The sinking of two ships carrying Palestinians from Gaza — one off the coast of Malta last week, and the other off the coast of Egypt — and the drowning of hundreds of passengers have focused attention on the trend.

The Palestinian Embassy in Greece reported yesterday that the ship that sank off the coast of Malta was carrying more than 450 passengers, most of them Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, and that it was rammed intentionally by another ship run by rival smugglers.

The Gaza-based human rights group Adamir has collected the names of more than 400 missing people. “No one knows where they are; the whole Gaza Strip is talking about it. It’s such a painful story, as if it’s not enough what happened in the last war and now another blow comes,” said Adamir director Halil Abu Shamala, noting that most of the passengers were young people but that there were also whole families aboard.

At least 15 Palestinians drowned when another ship sank off the Egyptian coast near Alexandria on Saturday.

Abu Ahmed, who lost his son on that ship, explains how the system operates. “There are a few people who left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah [border] crossing, mainly humanitarian cases. But most of the people leave through the tunnels and reach the Egyptian [side of] Rafah and from there they continue,” he said.

One prominent smuggler leader named Abu Hamada Asuri oversees a network that brings people out of the Gaza Strip to Europe by sea. He lives in Egypt but has representatives in the Strip, some of whom are well-known figures there.

One, who asked that his name not be used, told Haaretz: “This trip costs between $3500 to $4000 dollars a person. People who want to go make arrangements ahead of time to come to the entrance to a tunnel in Palestinian Rafah. It’s a relatively small tunnel; most of the big ones have been blocked by the Egyptians. People crawl dozens of meters and at the end of the tunnel on the Egyptian side of Rafah a minibus or other vehicle waits for them and takes them to Port Said.”

The man said that once they get to Port Said or other locales, they wait in an apartment or other building that has been prepared for them ahead of time. He added that Egyptian security officials are bribed to look the other way and stamp passports with forged stamps.

Haaretz heard testimony that the refugees wait until they get word from the smugglers to proceed to Alexandria, where they board small boats, sometimes dozens per boat. Once they leave Egyptian territorial waters they switch to another boat that in most cases sails to Italy. The trip usually takes about a week.

One refugee who managed to get to the Italian coast told Haaretz that when the boat approaches the shore it issues a distress call and Italian navy and Red Cross ships pick them up. In other cases, the boat approaches the shore and people jump into the water with life jackets, and are rescued by the Coast Guard or the Red Cross.

Most of the refugees say they are Syrians or Palestinians who have arrived from Syria seeking safe haven from the war in that country. The refugees are transferred to special facilities where they wait for a few days. They say the long arm of the smugglers reaches right into those facilities; representatives of the smugglers sign papers releasing them from the facilities, and then onward to their destinations. Some want to leave Italy for another country where they have relatives.

One Gaza resident, who had planned on leaving the Strip in the next few days, told Haaretz he had changed his mind after he heard about the drownings. People hear about how to leave Gaza by word of mouth, he said. “Some people came and told about the good life and the normal conditions and of course …anywhere in Europe is better than here. Whether you get through the whole trip safely depends on what kind of luck you have.”

The Gaza resident said one woman survivor of the ship that sank off the coast of Alexandria said Egyptian smugglers had rammed it and that they saw people were drowning and offered no help. “But I don’t think even such a terrible incident will stop the phenomenon because people are completely desperate and want to leave. They say clearly it’s better to die at sea than die of despair and frustration in Gaza,” the resident said.

The Palestinian Authority yesterday warned Palestinians to be wary of the smugglers. But the government cannot act against those who flee because its security forces don’t have control over the smuggling routes, which are in the hands of influential people who are close to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.”


(Quelle: War in

Israel / Palästina: Droht die Internationalisierung des Krieges?

Sonntag, August 10th, 2014

‘”Nächste Runde der Gewalt nur Frage der Zeit”

Die Feuerpause im Konflikt zwischen Israel und den Palästinensern hält. In Kairo wird über eine dauerhafte Friedenslösung verhandelt. Israel will dabei die Wiederbewaffnung der Hamas verhindern. Die EU hat sich bereit erklärt, die Kontrolle des Grenzübergangs Rafah zwischen dem Gazastreifen und Ägypten zu übernehmen. Der israelische Außenminister Avigdor Liebermann begrüßte den Vorstoß und forderte in der “Bild”-Zeitung Deutschland dazu auf, die Führung der möglichen Mission zu übernehmen. Der Nahost-Experte Michael Lüders riet auf NDR Info zur Vorsicht: “Das Experiment kann nicht funktionieren”, sagte er.

EU-Mission genau prüfen

Lüders begründete dies damit, dass Israel nicht angeboten habe, die Blockade des Gazastreifens zu beenden. Er riet daher der EU, genau zu überlegen, so eine Mission zu beginnen. “Die israelische Regierung will den Konflikt mit den Palästinensern internationalisieren, indem Deutschland oder den Vereinten Nationen die Verantwortung übergeben wird, die Gewalt der Hamas indirekt einzudämmen. So müssen es die Israelis nicht selber tun”, erklärte Lüders. Eine Perspektive wäre ihm zufolge …”



(Quelle: NDR Info.)

Siehe auch:

Legenden des Gazakonfliktes

Großbritannien / Ägypten: Schwarzer Tag

Freitag, Juli 11th, 2014

“Egyptian statue Sekhemka sells for nearly £16m

A 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue expected to raise about £6m has sold for £15.76m at Christie's of London.

10 July 2014 Last updated at 19:43 GMT

Northampton Borough Council auctioned the Sekhemka limestone statue to help fund a £14m extension to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

However, Arts Council England had warned the council its museum could lose its accreditation status.

The Egyptian ambassador to Britain said the council should have handed the statue back if it did not want it.

Sekhemka statue

The limestone statue is 30in (76cm) high and it was "gifted" to Northampton in 1880

Sekhemka statue

The statue of Sekhemka – who was a royal chief, judge and administrator – shows him reading a scroll

His Excellency Ahsraf Elkholy

His Excellency Ahsraf Elkholy, the Egyptian Ambassador, condemned the sale

Before the sale, His Excellency Ahsraf Elkholy, the Egyptian Ambassador, condemned the sale as an "an abuse to the Egyptian archaeology and the cultural property".

He said: "Our objection starts from this basic principle: how can a museum sell a piece in its collection when it should be on display to the public?"

The ambassador said: "We are concerned this piece may be moved into a private collection.

‘Darkest cultural day’

"A museum should not be a store. Sekhemka belongs to Egypt and if Northampton Borough Council does not want it then it must be given back.

"It's not ethical that it will be sold for profit and also not acceptable. The council should have consulted with the Egyptian government."

Christie's said it would reveal details of the new owner later.

Protesters gathered outside Christie's before the sale said they wanted the statue to be returned to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities.

Sue Edwards, from the Save Sekhemka Action Group, who travelled from Northampton to the auction, said: "This is the darkest cultural day in the town's history.

"The local authority has made a huge mistake but we will continue our fight to save Sekhemka."

Loss of Arts Council England accreditation would make the museum ineligible for a range of future grants and funding, however the leader of the council David Mackintosh said he did not see why this should happen.

Northampton Museum funding:

  • £900,000 annual budget, according to Northampton Borough Council
  • £166,000 granted in 2012 by Arts Council England for two projects and £69,000 granted in 2014 to digitise the museum's collection of 10,000 shoes online
  • £615,000 Heritage Lottery Fund total grants for various projects

He said that having kept Arts Council England "informed of our actions and plans… we see no reason why we should not retain our accredited status".

The statue has not been on display for four years, and no-one had asked to see it in that time, he said.

"It's been in our ownership for over 100 years and it's never really been the centrepiece of our collection," he told BBC Look East.

"We want to expand our museum and to do that we need to raise the money."


(Quelle: BBC News.)

Turkmenistan/Oman: WikiLeaks-Enthüllung – Spionage-Software made in Germany?

Mittwoch, September 4th, 2013

Turkmenistan and Oman Negotiated to Buy Spy Software: Wikileaks

by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
September 4th, 2013

Turkmenistan and Oman have been negotiating with a consortium of British, German and Swiss companies to buy “FinFisher” software to spy on phone calls and Internet activity of unsuspecting targets, according to a new trove of documents just released by Wikileaks, the global whistleblowing organization.

Previously released promotional materials for FinFisher – a suite of software products manufactured by Gamma International, a UK company – claim that it can track locations of cell phones, break encryption to steal social media passwords, record calls including Skype chats, remotely operate built-in web cams and microphones on computers and even log every keystroke made by a user.

The new Wikileaks release includes contracts with the two countries that appear to be drawn up by Dreamlab Technologies in Bern, Switzerland, and Gamma International offices in Munich, Germany. If the documents are real, they will confirm claims by activists and researchers that the companies have attempted to sell surveillance software to governments with a decidedly mixed record on human rights.

"The corporate surveillance industry works hand in hand with governments throughout the world to enable illegitimate spying on citizens,” said Julian Assange, the editor in chief of WikiLeaks, in a statement issued with the documents. “WikiLeaks is committed to exposing and educating about this industry, with the goal that together we can build the understanding and the tools to protect ourselves, and each other, from its gaze."


Gamma first came to public notice when similar contract documents for its FinFisher software were discovered by Egyptian human rights activists inside the headquarters of former dictator Hosni Mubarak’s State Security Investigations service, which was notorious for repressing dissidents. The activists broke into the building after Mubarak was toppled in the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 and found Egyptian evaluations of Gamma technology stored alongside hundreds of police batons and other equipment used for torture.

While Gamma did not deny that the FinFisher technology had been tested by the Egyptian government, the company did release a carefully worded statement saying that it had never “supplied any of its FinFisher suite of products or related training etc to the Egyptian government."

The new Wikileaks documents shed light on two projects that appear to have gone much further.


According to the new company documents released by Wikileaks, Nicolas Mayencourt, the CEO of Dreamlab, took a trip to Turkmenistan in 2010 with Thomas Fischer of Gamma International, with the objective of helping the government build “an Infection Proxy Infrastructure and Solution applicable nationwide for all international traffic the Turkmentel and TMCell networks” ie a way to monitor calls on the national mobile phone network.

An initial proposal was submitted to the Turkmen government by the two companies on October 11, 2010, according to the documents released by Wikileaks, followed by a revised 61 page agreement between Fischer and Mayencourt dated December 13, 2010 titled “Infection Proxy Project 1.”

The documents include an invoice from Dreamlab to Gamma for 874,819.70 Swiss Francs ($789,000) for a custom designed hardware package of Cisco switches, HP computers and Intel adaptors to be installed in the country together with Gamma software named FinSpy and FinFly, that comprise the FinFisher suite.

It is not clear from the documents if Turkmenistan actually signed the contract.

But Bill Marczak, a fellow at Citizen Lab and a PhD student at the University of California at Berkeley, who has published several reports on government spying technology, says that his prior research showed that FinFisher software was deployed on a Turkmenistan ministry of communications server last August.

On September 3, 2013, Marczak ran a check that confirmed that the software was still in place, and reviewed the company contracts for CorpWatch.

“The Turkmenistan documents match our finding of a FinSpy server on a network belonging to the Turkmenistan government,” Marczak said. “Gamma provides spyware … that gets injected into downloaded files and viewed webpages. DreamLab provides the hardware and software components necessary for the injection to work: the "infection proxy" that actually performs the injection of the spyware by rewriting webpages and files on-the-fly (hence the name "FinFly"), and hardware and software to target people based on DSL/cable/dial-up account names, mobile phone numbers etc.”

What makes the software “sneaky” is that it allows the Turkmen government to inject spyware into trusted webpages that are otherwise benign, says Marczak.

Other data released by Wikileaks shows that Holger Rumscheidt, the managing director of Elaman, another German company that often collaborates with Gamma, made a four day trip to Turkmenistan this past January, and another two day trip in mid-June. (Gamma offers two annual maintenance visits as part of the annual license fee)

Turkmenistan’s surveillance of its citizens has been documented in the past. “Servers … registered to the Ministry of Communications operated software that allowed the government to record Voice over Internet Protocol conversations, turn on cameras and microphones, and log keystrokes,” notes the most recent U.S. State department report on human rights in the country.

In addition to tracking its citizens, Turkmenistan government has long occupied one of the lowest ratings in the world for human right, according to activist groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. “The country is virtually closed to independent scrutiny, media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal,” says the New York-based Human Rights Watch in its 2013 report on the country. “The government continues to use imprisonment as a tool for political retaliation.”


Gamma and Dreamlab also apparently collaborated in Oman.

The Wikileaks documents also show that Mayencourt of Dreamlab sent Fischer of Gamma an invoice for 408,743.55 Swiss Francs ($369,000) on June 12, 2010, for a very similar project to be installed in the Middle Eastern country. Payment was authorized by Stephan Oelkers of Gamma.

A subsequent 41 page agreement between Fischer and Mayencourt dated December 21, 2010 lays out the details for the “Monitoring system for iproxy-project” in Oman.

Marczak says that while the documents make it clear that the system is up and running, he has not identified FinFisher technology on any Omani servers yet.

The Omani government has also been criticized by activist groups like Human Rights Watch, which reported that authorities “restricted the freedoms of association and assembly, both in law and in practice.”

The latest U.S. State department report on Oman says that 32 individuals “received prison sentences for directly or indirectly criticizing the sultan in online fora and at peaceful protests” noting that three individuals, Mona Hardan, Talib al-Abry, and Mohammed al-Badi were imprisoned for 18 months for Facebook postings and Twitter comments deemed critical of the sultan.

Formal Complaint

Spying Is Cheaper By The Dozen

Newly released Wikileaks documents provide a fascinating insight into the cost of tracking people with Gamma’s Finfisher software suite.

A 2011 price manual  offers governments FinSpy software at four price levels, starting at €80,000 ($104,000) for up to 10 targets at the entry level, but the price drops dramatically for the “open” level which allows clients to target as many at 500 individuals for €200,000 ($260,000).

Additional options include a voice recording server at €20,000 ($26,000) and several different kinds of five day “intrusion” training modules either in the customer’s country or in Munich, Germany, for two to four students for €15,700 to €20,250. ($15,700 to $26,325)

Gamma’s sale of surveillance software to repressive regimes is currently the subject of formal complaint to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by Privacy International, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and Reporters Without Borders.

Unregulated trade with surveillance technologies in authoritarian states is one of the biggest threats to press freedom and human rights work on the Internet,” said Christian Mihr, Executive Director of Reporters Without Borders Germany when the groups filed their complaint on February 1 this year. “Exports of such digital arms have to be made subject to the same restrictions as foreign dealings with traditional arms.”

Email requests from CorpWatch to Fischer, Mayencourt and Rumscheidt, for comments on the Wikileaks documents were not returned by press time.

However, the company has responded to previous queries about sales to Turkmenistan. “The nature of our business does not allow us to disclose our customers, nor how they use our products and the results that are achieved with them,” Gamma International’s Munich-based managing director, Martin Muench, told by email last August. Gamma “complies with the national export regulations of the UK, United States and Germany and has never sold its products to any states that are restricted.”



BRD / Ägypten: Kulturgutraub

Dienstag, Juli 9th, 2013

“Nofretete will nach Hause!

Was verbindet Käthe Kollwitz mit Helene Weigel und Marlene Dietrich? Sie alle sind berühmte Berlinerinnen. Als die unbestritten berühmteste Berlinerin wird jedoch seit Jahrzehnten Nofretete gefeiert. Ein gewitzter deutscher Archäologe hatte ihre Büste 1912 in Ägypten ausgegraben und nach Berlin gebracht.




Dort ist sie die Ikone der Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz und für die Werbestrategen offenbar das beste Pferd im Stall. Die Berliner Touristik wirbt mit der Büste in einer Reihe mit dem Brandenburger Tor und der Siegessäule. Damit Nofretete, trotz fehlenden Auges, zu den Berliner Highlights aufschauen kann, wird sie in einer aktuellen Werbeanzeige auch schon mal kurzerhand seitenverkehrt abgebildet. Ebenfalls sehr originell, mit knallgrünen Lippen, musste sie ihren Kopf auch für den Wahlslogan „Starke Frauen für Berlin“ hinhalten. Die lückenlose Vermarktung der Büste geht mit einer immer geistloseren Verramschung einher: In jedem Souvenir-Shop findet man zwischen Mauerbröckchen und Bären ihr Konterfei. Gefeiert als Publikumsmagnet lässt sie auf der Museumsinsel die Kassen klingeln. Hunderttausende Besucher statten ihr jedes Jahr einen Besuch ab. Der jahrelange Streit, ob Nofretete der BRD gehört oder, wie die DDR befand, ihr zustehen müsste, weil sie vor dem Krieg in Ost-Berlin stand, ist mit der Wiedervereinigung erledigt. Berlin kann sich nun wieder ganz entspannt in ihrem Glanze sonnen. Bereits auf die Museumsinsel zurückgekehrt, soll sie ab 2009 im Neuen Museum einen Saal für sich allein bekommen.

Nofretete will nach Hause

Bevor Nofretete auf der Museumsinsel ihren „endgültigen Standort“ bezieht, würden die Ägypter die Büste ihrer bedeutenden Königin jedoch gerne erstmals auf einem Besuch in Ägypten sehen. Dieser Wunsch, den der Chef der Ägyptischen Antikenverwaltung, Zahi Hawass, im Mai 2006 anlässlich der Eröffnung der Unterwasserschätze-Ausstellung im Berliner Gropiusbau geäußert hat, löste gleich eine ganze Welle der Empörung aus. Der Präsident der Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz sah sich genötigt, sofort auf die „eindeutigen und völkerrechtlich klaren, von allen Seiten offiziell anerkannten Verträge über den rechtmäßigen Besitz der Kalksteinbüste“ hinzuweisen. Die angeblich glasklaren Besitzverhältnisse hatte Herr Hawass zwar gar nicht infrage gestellt, sondern erstmals in gewisser Weise sogar akzeptiert, indem er keine Rückgabe verlangte, sondern um eine Ausleihe bat. Das wurde jedoch in Berlin schlicht ignoriert. Sekundiert von der Presse, die sich mit großem nationalen Pathos ereiferte: Neben „Nofretete bleibt“ (Der Tagesspiegel) und „Ich bin eine Berlinerin“ (Hamburger Abendblatt) ließ man aus dem Berliner Museum auch noch klarstellen, „die Dame (sei) nach 3.000 Jahren nicht mehr reisewillig“. Soweit uns bekannt, hat sich Nofretete in keinem Interview in den letzten Jahren gegen das Reisen ausgesprochen. Was wollen die Museumsexperten also mitteilen: Dass die Büste die vielen Transporte in Deutschland nicht heil überstanden hat?

Fest steht momentan nur eins: In Berlin wird kompromisslos gemauert. Auch 95 Jahre, nachdem die Büste unter durchaus fragwürdigen Umständen nach Deutschland gelangte – wie Gert von Paczensky schon 1984 in seinem Buch „Nofretete will nach Hause“ detailliert nachgewiesen hat – beansprucht Berlin die Büste für sich allein.
Paczensky und sein Mitautor, Herbert Ganslmayr, der ehemalige Direktor des Bremer ÜberseeMuseums, hatten schon 1984 vorgeschlagen, dass man die Büste, wenn (…).”


Mehr Informationen zum “Fall Nofretete” finden Sie hier.


(Quelle: Nofretete geht auf