A 718-page digital document obtained by Mother Jones contains names, phone numbers, neighborhoods, and alleged activities of thousands of dissidents apparently targeted by the Syrian government. Three experts asked separately by Mother Jones to examine the document—essentially a massive spreadsheet, whose contents are in Arabic—say they believe that it is authentic. As Bashar Al-Assad’s military continues a deadly crackdown on dissent inside the country, the list appears to confirm in explicit detail the scale of the regime’s domestic surveillance and its methodical efforts to destroy widespread opposition.
“The way it’s organized looks similar to other documents I’ve seen,” said Syrian expert Andrew Tabler, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It organizes people in such a way that it would allow the security services to be able to track them down.”
“Journalism is a daily process of painting an ever truer picture of the world. Every step of this process - from reporting to editing to presenting information - may either strengthen or erode the public’s trust in us. We work hard to be worthy of that trust and to protect it.”
Sorry in advance for pooping on your Oscar party, but I have a problem with the Academy Awards. You see, in 84 years, only four women, Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow have been nominated for Best Director. Only one of them has won. In 84 years. That ratio is lower than the percentage of women elected to Parliament… in Afghanistan. When I posted these sad facts to Twitter Saturday afternoon, @nazmovie, a denizen of the shallow end of the gene pool, responded in all his profound ignorance: “Well that’s because men are better in directing the movie compared to women, not to be sexist here :P”. First of all, if you’re gonna be numskulled, do not include a smiley face: there’s nothing to be smiling about. Secondly, there are plenty of talented female directors in the film industry. On the blog Women in Hollywood, Melissa Silverstein published a great montage of Oscar-material films that were directed by women in 2011 and were (surprise!) ignored by the Academy. But perhaps that’s because the voting population of the Academy is actually 77% male, as reported by the LA Times last week. Now in contrast to the scarcity of female members in Hollywood’s boys’ club (and the lack of best director nominees, and the lack of employed female writers — women accounted for 17% of film writer employments according the 2011 report of the Writers Guild of America), there is one place where women abound: the red carpet, aka. the place where entertainment reporters talk to men about their accomplishments and ask females about their dresses. So when the most prestigious movie-related organization says it recognizes “the most accomplished men and women working in cinema”, allow me to say…
“Mitt Romney’s real problem? He’s a candidate for president instead of best picture — and his super PAC isn’t the Weinstein Company, which knows how to drag an imperfect contender toward, and possibly across, the finish line.”—The NYT’s Frank Bruni, winning the award for best lede in an Oscars preview. (via shortformblog)