The 60-year-old journalist fled with his son to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2008 seeking asylum after receiving death threats because of his reporting on Mexican military corruption.
After 15 years, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled in favor of Gutierrez Soto.
He still needs to go in front of an immigration judge in March 2024 to receive his asylum papers, but his immigration lawyer said his case has been resolved.
At an event in Washington to highlight his case, Gutierrez Soto was smiling, shaking hands with other journalists, and at times holding back tears as he thanked the people who helped him along the way.
“These fifteen years have been terrible. … I feel profoundly grateful for everyone here,” Gutierrez Soto said.
The ruling was a win for the National Press Club and more than 20 other journalism organizations who joined his legal fight.
Press freedom advocates and first amendment lawyers say Gutierrez Soto’s journey offers a case study in how press freedom cases are often overlooked as a priority in the United States.
And they want better protections for at-risk journalists who have to come to the U.S. for safety reasons.
Press freedom advocates recommend sending court watchers to immigration asylum hearings, creating a legal taskforce of First Amendment experts willing to take on the asylum cases of journalists, and producing a database of these experts around the country so at-risk reporters can easily connect with them.
“These experts should be all over the country because they know the system of various judges, immigration judges and federal judges,” said Rutgers University law professor Penny Venetis, who was also one of Gutierrez Soto’s attorneys.
They also said more media attention on cases of journalists at risk is needed.
“Publicize all cases. I think a big part of this [win] was that it was constantly in the press,” Venetis said.
Experts involved in Gutierrez Soto’s case on Wednesday talked about ideas to develop a team of experts that can file amicus briefs in every single immigration case involving a journalist and to require immigration judges to be trained in specific subject areas so that they can process immigration cases faster.
“[Gutierrez Soto’s] case was pending for 15 years. It should not have been. It was a slam dunk case. There should be a group of immigration judges that only handle cases related to journalists,” Venetis said.
According to Kathy Kiely, National Press Club freedom fellow and the Lee Hills chair in free-press studies at University of Missouri, one of the ways to support at-risk journalists is by advocating for a special visa for human rights workers and journalists.
“This is in place in Canada. They started with 250 [visas] and they’ve now doubled it to 500 special visas a year. And it gives people at least a three-year runway, so they know they have legal status, they can work,” she said.
The U.S. does not have a humanitarian visa category.
Gutierrez Soto’s case
Gutierrez Soto and his son, Oscar, came to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2008 requesting asylum.
At that time, he had been working as a journalist, writing articles about the military forces robbing and extorting people in Chihuahua, which borders New Mexico and part of Texas.
Gutierrez Soto said he received death threats because of those articles and feared being targeted if he stayed in Mexico.
Following their arrival, father and son, who was then 15, were separated. His son went on to stay with relatives in the U.S. while Gutierrez Soto remained in immigration detention for several months. After he was released, he settled in New Mexico where he and his son lived for nine years while his asylum process wound through immigration courts.
But in 2017 that asylum claim was denied by immigration Judge Robert Hough who ruled Gutierrez Soto did not present sufficient evidence to prove he was targeted for his journalistic work or that his life would be in danger if he returned to Mexico.
Hough seemed unconvinced that he was a journalist. He denied the asylum claim and ruled that Gutierrez Soto could be removed from the United States.
The Press Club and immigration advocates stepped in to help in 2017 and were able to stop his deportation.
Shortly after that, Gutierrez Soto received the John Aubuchon award, the club’s highest honor for press freedom.
Years went by as his case went through the U.S. immigration courts. Then, on September 5, a three-judge appeals panel said Gutierrez Soto had a reasonable and well-founded fear of returning to Mexico because of his articles exposing the corruption of the Mexican military.
They also said the initial judge in his case twice had ruled in error to deport Gutierrez Soto.
The Mexican journalist was working on a Michigan farm when he first learned that his asylum request was finally approved.
Kiely hopes his case helps to grow support and advocacy for other at-risk journalists and protect freedom of the press.
“We need to really, collectively as a profession, begin to point out to policymakers, how much you lose when you waste time, resources and money on a case like Emilio’s that should have been decided years ago and how much we can gain if we enabled the journalists to do their jobs,” Kiely said.
In a letter released by Hamas and widely shared on social media, Danielle Aloni, a hostage who was freed on Friday, thanked Hamas leadership for their kindness to her daughter, Emilia, age 5, during their captivity, and extolled her captors’ “gentleness, warmth and love.”
🚨🚨Al-Qassam Brigades share a message from one of the Israeli detainees to the members of the Al-Qassam Brigades who accompanied her during the period of captivity before her release from #Gaza, as part of the exchange deal within the humanitarian ceasefire. pic.twitter.com/WskN6uEYTd
— In Context (@incontextmedia) November 27, 2023
Some have argued that the letter, handwritten in Hebrew on lined paper, was proof of Hamas’ humanity and moral upstandingness, even saying that the hostages had “the time of their lives” in Gaza. Others, however, said the letter was just a piece of propaganda written under duress, or that the way the letter used Hebrew indicated it was a fake.
People who thought the letter was a forgery focused on the opening phrase — “To the generals who accompanied us in the past few weeks.” Critics noted that “generals” was written with a soft g, instead of the Hebrew “generalim” which uses a hard g.
Shiri Goren, a professor of modern Hebrew at Yale, said the use of the soft g is not a smoking gun. Aloni would likely have been introduced to any Hamas generals with their name and rank in Arabic, Goren pointed out, and the pronunciation of “general” in Arabic uses the soft g.
In fact, Goren said, nothing in the grammar or phrasing of the letter sounded off, though the praise seemed exaggerated. “Whether the letter was forced or not — the language of the letter is the language of an Israeli,” she said.
But, Goren emphasized, all the debate seems beside the point. Aloni doesn’t mention her own treatment in the letter — only that of her daughter — and stories emerging from other hostages, including a 12-year-old boy, describe horrific treatment. One letter, no matter what it said or who wrote it, doesn’t change the bigger story of war, including violence, trauma and death in both Israel and Gaza.
“Why does it matter?” Goren said. “Can’t we accept the possibility that individual Hamas members who interacted with Danielle and her daughter in Gaza expressed kindness, and that at the same time, know that Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7 was pure evil and should not have happened?”
A battle for moral superiority
Yet the narrative battle continues, a war for moral superiority as much as one for land and lives. And this leaves little room for complexity, instead driving the narrative to poles and creating echo chambers where increasingly preposterous claims dominate.
The letter is just the newest installment in an ongoing battle over the morality of the war. Since shortly after the Oct. 7 attack, influencers and activists online have been attempting to demonstrate Hamas’ humanity using Israelis’ own words and actions.
On Israel’s Channel 12 news, a woman named Rotem described a Hamas militant entering her home on Oct. 7 but sparing her and her children, even asking permission to eat a banana; the video went viral as a supposed example of Hamas’ kindness. When Yocheved Lifshitz was released in late October, an excerpt of an interview with the elderly woman went viral; in the clip, she speaks of the food and medical care she received in Gaza, but the portions in which she spoke about being kidnapped and beaten with sticks were cut out.
More recently, attention has focused on the videos of hostages freed during the cease-fire, in which many smile or wave to the Hamas militants escorting them to Red Crescent vans. Armchair psychologists online have analyzed their expressions and body language to conclude that they had built strong friendships with their captors.
“Israel is not going to let these people utter a word in public for years” says one viral tweet, implying that the hostages’ experience of supposed comfort would be too dangerous to Israel’s goals.
Pro-Israel accounts, on the other hand, have drawn the opposite conclusion. In one of the videos, you can hear someone in the background instruct freed hostages to keep waving, which has achieved a similar level of virality to argue that the smiling videos are evidence of Hamas’ cruelty.
The debate around the hostages’ experience, and the attempts to leverage it into a broadly meaningful statement about who is right or wrong, good or evil, in the war is just one more example of the way in which the discourse about the war has become so binary that it has become impossible to communicate. On one side, Hamas’ real crimes are erased by a few smiles and waves. On the other, the humanity of some Hamas fighters feels so impossible that believing a toddler was given snacks is pushed away.
While debates over the supposed niceness of Hamas seem like the sort of thing that could never exist in the offline world, the discourse is slowly shifting public opinion in real ways. At a city council meeting in Oakland, California, this week, numerous attendees stepped up to the microphone to defend Hamas.
“Calling Hamas a terrorist organization is ridiculous, racist and plays into genocidal propaganda,” one woman said.
“The notion that this was a massacre of Jews is a fabricated narrative,” said another.
And as the discourse divides further, it becomes easier and easier to believe in made-up facts, and the importance of the debate over Hamas’ kindness becomes clear. After all, if Hamas is so nice, then how could they have killed civilians?
Aloni’s letter, realistically, says little about the situation on the ground, or even the hostages’ experience; it only speaks to her daughter. But the debate around it is key to the narrative battle, and onlookers’ pressing desire to boil down a complicated situation into an easily understandable binary of good guys and bad guys. The real world, however, rarely operates like that.
- When Oakland’s city council considered condemning Hamas, Oct. 7 conspiracy theorists turned out en masse
- ‘A warm hug from grandma’: In Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square, families contemplate the expected release of 50 hostages
- Reeling from tragedy and seeking support, Israel has a social media strategy — and it involves a lot of Harry Potter
U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Sept. 1, 1975.
Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
The encomiums have flowed voluminously for Henry Kissinger, and there have been some condemnations too. But even in the latter, little attention has been paid to his efforts to prevent peace from breaking out in the Mideast — efforts which helped cause the 1973 Arab–Israeli War and set in stone the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This underappreciated aspect of Kissinger’s career adds tens of thousands of lives to his body count, which is in the millions.
Kissinger, who died at 100 on Wednesday, served in the U.S. government from 1969 to 1977, during the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations. He began as Nixon’s national security adviser. Then, in Nixon’s second term, he was appointed secretary of state, a position he held on to after Ford became president following Nixon’s resignation.
In June 1967, two years before the start of Nixon’s presidency, Israel had achieved a gigantic military victory in the Six-Day War. Israel attacked Egypt and occupied Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, and, following modest responses from Jordan and Syria, also took over the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
In the following years, the ultimate fallout from the war — in particular, what, if any, of the new territory Israel would be able to keep — was still fluid. In 1968, the Soviets made what appeared to be quite sincere efforts to collaborate with the U.S. on a peace plan for the region.
The Soviets proposed a solution based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. Israel would withdraw from the territory it had conquered. However, there would not be a Palestinian state. Moreover, Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab–Israeli War would not return to Israel; rather, they would be resettled with compensation in Arab countries. Most importantly, the Soviets would pressure their Arab client states to accept this.
This was significant because at this point, many Arab countries, Egypt in particular, were allies of the Soviets and relied on them for arms supplies. Hosni Mubarak, who later became Egypt’s president and/or dictator for 30 years, started out as a pilot in the Egyptian air force and received training in Moscow and Kyrgyzstan, which was a Soviet republic at the time.
When Nixon took office in 1969, William Rogers, his first secretary of state, took the Soviet stance seriously. Rogers negotiated with Anatoly Dobrynin, the Soviet ambassador to the U.S., for most of the year. This produced what American diplomat David A. Korn, then assigned to Tel Aviv, Israel, described as “a comprehensive and detailed U.S. proposal for a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
One person prevented this from going forward: Henry Kissinger. Backstage in the Nixon administration, he worked assiduously to prevent peace.
This was not due to any great personal affection felt by Kissinger for Israel and its expansionist goals. Kissinger, while Jewish, was happy to work for Nixon, perhaps the most volubly antisemitic president in U.S. history, which is saying something. (“What the Christ is the matter with the Jews?” Nixon once wondered in an Oval Office soliloquy. He then answered his own question, explaining, “I suppose it’s because most of them are psychiatrists.”)
Rather, Kissinger perceived all the world through the prism of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Any settlement at the time would require the involvement of the Soviets, and hence was unacceptable to him. At a period when it appeared in public that an agreement with the Soviets might be imminent, Kissinger told an underling — as he himself recorded in his memoir “White House Years” — that was not going to happen because “we did not want a quick success [emphasis in the original].” In the same book, Kissinger explained that the Soviet Union later agreed to principles even more favorable to Israel, so favorable that Kissinger himself didn’t understand why the Soviets acceded to them. Nevertheless, Kissinger wrote, “the principles quickly found their way into the overcrowded limbo of aborted Middle East schemes — as I had intended.”
The results were catastrophic for all involved. Anwar el-Sadat, then Egypt’s president, announced in 1971 that the country would make peace with Israel based on conditions in line with Rogers’s efforts. However, he also explicitly said that a refusal of Israel to return Sinai would mean war.
On October 6, 1973, it did. Egypt and Syria attacked occupied Sinai and the Golan Heights, respectively. Their initial success stunned Israeli officials. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan was convinced Israel might be conquered. Moreover, Israel was running out of war matériel and desperately needed to be resupplied by the U.S.
Kissinger made sure America dragged its feet, both because he wanted Israel to understand who was ultimately in charge and because he did not want to anger the oil-rich Arab states. His strategy, as another top diplomat put it, was to “let Israel come out ahead, but bleed.”
You can read this in Kissinger’s own words in the records of internal deliberations now available on the State Department website. On October 9, Kissinger told his fellow high-level officials, “My assessment is a costly victory [for Israel] without a disaster is the best.”
The U.S. then did send huge amounts of weaponry to Israel, which it used to beat back Egypt and Syria. Kissinger looked upon the outcome with satisfaction. In another high-level meeting, on October 19, he celebrated that “everyone knows in the Middle East that if they want a peace they have to go through us. Three times they tried through the Soviet Union, and three times they failed.”
The cost to humans was quite high. Over 2,500 members of the Israeli military died. 10,000-20,000 were killed on the Arab side. This is in line with Kissinger’s belief — recorded in “The Final Days” by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein — that soldiers are “dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns in foreign policy.
After the war, Kissinger returned to his strategy of obstructing any peaceful settlement. In another of his memoirs, he recorded that in 1974, just before Nixon resigned, Nixon told him to “cut off all military deliveries to Israel until it agreed to a comprehensive peace.” Kissinger quietly stalled for time, Nixon left office, and it didn’t come up with Ford as president.
There’s much more to this ugly story, all available at your local library. It can’t be said to be the worst thing that Kissinger ever did — but as you remember the extraordinary bill of indictment for him, make sure to leave a little room for it.
The post On Top of Everything Else, Henry Kissinger Prevented Peace in the Mideast appeared first on The Intercept.
A critical vulnerability in Zoom Room allowed threat actors to take over meetings and steal sensitive data.
Zoom Rooms is a feature of the Zoom video conferencing platform designed to enhance collaboration in physical meeting spaces, such as conference rooms or huddle rooms. It provides a comprehensive solution for businesses and organizations that want to equip their meeting rooms with video conferencing capabilities.
The experts discovered the vulnerability in June 2023, they warned that an attacker can take over a Zoom Room’s service account and gain access to the victim’s organization’s tenant. The attacker can also have invisible access to confidential information in Team Chat, Whiteboards, and other Zoom applications.
The company promptly addressed the issue and clarified that the vulnerability had no impact on production tenants.
The exploitation of the issue allows threat actors to predict service account email addresses and take over the accounts.
Zoom automatically assigns an email address to any Room service account, it has the format rooms_<account ID>@companydomain.com. The account ID is the user ID value of the service account.
The service account is created with licenses for Whiteboards and Meetings and has extensive access within the tenant.
“The email domain is directly inherited from the user with the Owner role in the tenant at the time of creation – if the Owner has the email address email@example.com, then the service account will be room_<account ID>@example.com. While there are several ways to leak the account ID within Zoom, simply being in the same meeting as the Room and messaging the Room on Team Chat would disclose the Room’s entire email address.” reads the report published by the company. “The problem with this approach for email generation is that this also applies to email domains of large email providers. For example, if the owner is using an outlook.com email address, the Room’s email address will be room__<account ID>@outlook.com. Since anyone can create an arbitrary Outlook email address, we can create a valid email inbox for a Zoom Room!“
When an attacker creates an arbitrary Outlook email address using the Zoom Room format during the sign-up process, they will receive the activation link. Upon receiving the link, the attacker can click it to activate the account.
The researchers noticed that service accounts cannot be removed from the Team Chat channel feature
“We noted interesting behavior in the Team Chat feature. Zoom provides a feature called Channels, which as the name implies, is a system of text channels. Channels are open to tenant employees by default. Room users were able to view the contents of any channel, including confidential information and persist in this access completely invisibly. Room users could not be removed from the channel by any administrator – even the Owner.” concludes the report. “This finding demonstrated how service accounts could be misused to gain unauthorized access. SaaS systems are composed of many moving parts and managing the security of each part is a difficult task.”
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Zoom Room)
БЕЗ ЦАРЯ В ГОЛОВЕ
Ария Путина из оперы Гейский Поход,
под дружный хор РПЦ
“Я совсем не лилипут,
Весь в сраженьях там и тут
Неспроста меня зовут
Непутёвый Пусси Пут!”
Весь Советский и дешёвый!
Ох, какой он непутёвый!
Как на всех парах… pic.twitter.com/oPFmcps8lS
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) November 30, 2023