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Blue_Tires's Journal
Blue_Tires's Journal
February 26, 2020

MEANWHILE, in Germany...


February 24, 2020

Visa Obstacles Thwart Renowned Foreign Scholars

Two Europe-based professors delayed or canceled their trips to the U.S. recently due to problems getting approved for visas. Their experiences are renewing concerns about obstacles put in the way of highly renowned scholars wanting to travel to the U.S. because of their political affiliations and activities or their travel histories.

Both cases came to light last week. In the first case, first reported by the University of Virginia student newspaper, a German professor and expert on far-right politics, Hajo Funke, scheduled to teach two classes at Virginia couldn’t make it to the U.S. for the start of the spring semester after he says his visa application was held up by U.S. immigration authorities. The other case involves a Britain-based professor and architect, Eyal Weizman, who was unable to make it to the opening of an exhibition of his work at Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design after he says his eligibility for visa-free travel to the U.S. was abruptly canceled.

A supporter of Funke believes his past travel to Iran to visit his wife's family is the most likely reason for the delay. Weizman said something about his travels or associations flagged him for additional scrutiny and said U.S. Embassy officials in London told him as much.

These incidents follow a series of others in which students from the Middle East, in particular Iran, have experienced delays getting visas or have been denied entry at U.S. airports despite having been awarded visas to travel.

“What we think is the processing has become much more severe,” said Jeffrey Grossman, an associate professor and chair of Germanic languages and literatures at UVA who invited Funke to teach two courses at the university this semester. One of the courses is on right-wing populism and the far right, and the other is on political and historical memory. The classes are being taught via videoconferencing while Funke continues to wait for his visa.


February 7, 2020

Russia Is Teaching the World to Spy

Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications company and the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, has helped African governments spy on political opponents. Beijing has also sold mass video surveillance to Ecuador and is advising a growing number of autocratic regimes on “information management.” There’s good reason to be worried about the exportation of Chinese technology.

But China isn’t the only merchant offering digital surveillance tools to strongmen. It may be tempting to dismiss Russia as irrelevant in this domain, but that would be a mistake. In fact, Russia’s low-tech model of digital authoritarianism could prove to be more readily adaptable and enduring.

A lot more countries look more like Russia than China: resource strapped aspiring authoritarians without “Great Firewalls” to filter data and block content. The Chinese surveillance model rests on the principle of wholesale integration of offline and online data, linking everything from closed-circuit television footage to social media activity to medical records. This requires vast administrative resources. Few states can afford the level of investment needed to obtain them.

That may be the strength of Russia’s model.

At home, Russian surveillance technology relies less on mass filtering — or, as is the case in China, the blocking of information before it reaches citizens — and more on post-hoc monitoring, a repressive legal network and intimidation of private companies and nongovernmental organizations. That’s much easier to replicate.


As always, Greenwald and Snowden were unavailable for comment... Funny how quiet they've been about this whole thing?

February 3, 2020

Ed Dwight Jr: The first black astronaut who never flew

Around minute 34 it starts to get really weird...


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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 55,445

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