ana l. valdés on Sat, 27 Apr 2002 05:32:31 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> the Gates of hell

This is the link on  Indynews with the picture:

And the article:

Microsoft blames Israeli branch for outrageous advertisement

                      Sunday, April 21 2002 @ 04:05 PM GMT

                      By Molouk Y. Ba-Isa

                      RIYADH: Saudi E-Commerce 2002 opens under a cloud
with one of the conference's Gold Sponsors, Microsoft, accused by the
Israeli peace activist organization Gush Shalom of lending public support
to the destructive war launched by the Sharon government against the

                      According to Adam Keller, spokesperson of Gush
Shalom, last week Israelis traveling on the main highways in the Tel Aviv
area were treated to enormous billboards bearing the Microsoft logo under
the text, "From the depth of our heart — thanks to The Israeli Defense
Forces," on a background made of the Israeli flag.

                      The organization mounted a worldwide appeal to its
supporters requesting that they write to Bill Gates, chairman and chief
software architect of Microsoft Corporation, protesting Microsoft's
dissemination of "crude nationalistic and militaristic propaganda at the
Israeli population centers," and supporting a war "sharply censured by the
international community and controversial among the citizens of Israel

                      A copy of Keller's personal letter to Gates was
included in the e-mail campaign. It ended with the plea: "We urge you to
take care that this activity is terminated forthwith, and that the
estimated tens of thousands of dollars invested in the above mentioned
billboards be used instead (for) activities aimed at stopping the bloodshed
and promoting an equitable Israeli-Palestinian peace."

                      In the Kingdom, Microsoft Arabia stated that they had
yet to see the Gush Shalom e-mail.  However, they were aware of the
controversy. Mohammed Kateeb, GM, Microsoft Gulf, did not diminish the
negativity of the issue, but he asserted that the billboards in Tel Aviv
and one banner posting on the MSN Israel website had been removed.

                      Jonathan Murray, VP, Global Accounts, Microsoft
Corporation, who is in Riyadh to participate in Saudi E-Commerce 2002, did
address the situation. He emphasized that Microsoft is very aware of the
sensitivities in the region.  He pointed out that Pan-Arab customers are
extremely important to Microsoft and consequently the region has received
significant investment and commitment of Microsoft's resources.

                      "The billboards did not require and did not receive
the approval of Microsoft Corporation," said Murray. "It was a Microsoft
Israel decision alone."

                      Murray felt that this was one of the disadvantages of
operating local subsidiaries fairly autonomously. Under this system, local
Microsoft management is given great leeway to function in the manner they
consider best. While Murray did admit that there was a higher review policy
for some public materials, such as press releases, he added that the
billboards and banner posting had slipped through the policy cracks.

                      When asked what action the company would be taking
against those Microsoft employees responsible for the billboards and banner
posting, Murray said that the "matter would be handled internally".

                      Microsoft's assertions and actions thus far may not
be enough to satisfy an outraged global community of human rights
activists. Radio talk show host and human rights activist Andy Martin, the
only American talk radio host who supports Palestinian rights, will hold an
Internet forum on his radio program on Monday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m. to
attack Microsoft Corporation for endorsing racism and genocide in Israel
and to demand a worldwide boycott of Microsoft products.

                      "I first learned of Microsoft Corporation's
billboards in Tel Aviv endorsing racism and genocide on April 16," says
Martin. "Now a major scandal is developing throughout the civilized world.
I call on human beings everywhere to boycott Microsoft products in support
of the Palestinian people."

                      Microsoft, Gates and Martin are long-term
adversaries.  Microsoft has campaigned against Martin on its websites and
Gates has criticized him in various forums.

                      Martin founded the Committee to Fight Microsoft in
1995 and has actively opposed Microsoft products, which he calls
"monopolistic, high priced, dysfunctional junk."

                      "The Israeli Peace movement is outraged," said
Martin.  "Civilized human beings are outraged. What business does American
business have endorsing mass murder of Palestinians? I salute the brave
Israeli peace movement that has condemned Microsoft, and I join their

chris paul wrote:

> I have had no opportunity to corroborate this information ...
> To
>  Mr. Bill Gates
>  Chairman and Chief Software Architect
>  c/o Microsoft
>  Dear Sir,
>  Two days ago, Israelis travelling on the main highways in the Tel-Aviv
>  area were treated to enormous billboards bearing the Microsoft logo under
>  the text "From the depth of our heart - thanks to The Israeli Defence Forces"
>  on the background of the Israeli national flag.

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