Move on? Work to reclaim Univ. of Illinois has has only just begun
The Electronic Intifada
26 September 2014
Students and faculty are determined to keep challenging University of Illinois administrators’ decision to fire Steven Salaita. (Jeffrey Putney/Flickr)
This is the testimony given by Professor Vicente M. Diaz before the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Faculty Senate on 22 September 2014. Diaz spoke about the matter of Steven Salaita, whose hiring by the American Indian Studies program was formally rejected by the university’s board of trustees earlier this month after a sustained smear campaign by pro-Israel donors, organizations, faculty and students:
My name is Vicente M. Diaz. I am an Associate Professor in American Indian Studies and Anthropology. I am also an affiliate faculty member in History and Asian American Studies. I represent American Indian Studies; in fact, I co-chaired the search committee that recommended the hire of Steven Salaita.
I’m here to express moral indignation and outrage at the University of Illinois Board of Trustees’ denial of Professor Salaita’s hiring.
Far from over, and even further from correct, our leadership’s decision is a wrongheaded and misguided action that has tarnished our university’s reputation among academics who know and understand how academia is supposed to work.
Read more: Move on? Work to reclaim Univ. of Illinois has has only just begun
Israel’s N.S.A. Scandal
[Americans and Palestinians have something in common: Israel is spying on us both!]
WASHINGTON — IN Moscow this summer, while reporting a story for Wired magazine, I had the rare opportunity to hang out for three days with Edward J. Snowden. It gave me a chance to get a deeper understanding of who he is and why, as a National Security Agency contractor, he took the momentous step of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
Among his most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom.
Typically, when such sensitive information is transferred to another country, it would first be “minimized,” meaning that names and other personally identifiable information would be removed. But when sharing with Israel, the N.S.A. evidently did not ensure that the data was modified in this way.
Mr. Snowden stressed that the transfer of intercepts to Israel contained the communications — email as well as phone calls — of countless Arab- and Palestinian-Americans whose relatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories could become targets based on the communications. “I think that’s amazing,” he told me. “It’s one of the biggest abuses we’ve seen.”
It appears that Mr. Snowden’s fears were warranted. Last week, 43 veterans of Unit 8200 — many still serving in the reserves — accused the organization of startling abuses. In a letter to their commanders, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to the head of the Israeli army, they charged that Israel used information collected against innocent Palestinians for “political persecution.” In testimonies and interviews given to the media, they specified that data were gathered on Palestinians’ sexual orientations, infidelities, money problems, family medical conditions and other private matters that could be used to coerce Palestinians into becoming collaborators or create divisions in their society.
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