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2010 November | Activist News | Page 2

The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »


U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »


The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Monthly Archives: November 2010

Canadians handed children over to notorious Afghan security, CBC reports

Globe and Mail Update 
November 28, 2010

The Canadian Forces in Afghanistan have for at least four years captured children accused of co-operating with the Taliban and transferred them to a local security unit suspected of torture, according to CBC News.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay was alerted to the issue by a secret briefing note, which the CBC obtained through access-to-information laws.

Dated March 30, 2010, the document is marked secret (for Canadian eyes only) and explains the pending addition of a fifth facility, this time for children, to the public list of prisons where Canadian-transferred detainees might be held.

It says the Canadian Forces have been arresting Afghan children since at least 2006 and that some of those children were transferred to Afghan custody. The number of juveniles detained and transferred and the number eventually released have all been blacked out.

“This may draw attention to the role of juveniles in the Afghan conflict,” the briefing note warns.
Parliament was consumed last fall with allegations that Canadian soldiers had picked up suspected Afghan militants and handed them over to Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, a unit accused of torturing prisoners.

Full Article Here – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canadians-handed-children-over-to-notorious-afghan-security-cbc-reports/article1816750/

Army private accused of murder in Afghan prisoner’s death

LA Times
November 28, 2010
By Tony Perry

The military equivalent of a preliminary hearing is set for Monday at Ft. Carson, Colo., for an Army private accused of premeditated murder in the shooting death of a senior Taliban commander being held prisoner in Afghanistan.

Pfc. David W. Lawrence, 20, is accused of shooting Mullah Mohebullah in the head on Oct. 17 while assigned to guard duty at a detention center in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province.

Under military law, premeditated murder can carry the death penalty.

The death was announced by an angry Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who vowed to launch his own investigation. Karzai has repeatedly criticized NATO forces for what he has termed a wanton use of deadly force.

The case sits at the intersection of two of the more controversial aspects of the war: the testy relationship between the U.S. and Karzai, and the military’s treatment of soldiers who show signs of mental instability while in the war zone.

In the days before the shooting, Lawrence had been seen by medical personnel at Kandahar and given drugs for depression and sleeplessness, his attorneys said. Shortly afterward, Lawrence was assigned to guard duty, a task for which he had no training.

Lawrence’s parents, Brett and Wendy Lawrence, said that their son had told them repeatedly in e-mail messages and phone calls that he was hearing voices, including one that told him how to avoid the buried roadside bombs that are the top killer of NATO and Afghan troops.

“He said those voices were guiding him and telling him what to do,” Wendy Lawrence said.

The stress and danger of Kandahar, a major battleground between the U.S. and Taliban fighters, was causing Lawrence’s mental state to deteriorate, his parents said.

“He said it was the worst place on earth,” said Brett Lawrence, a hospital employee in Lawrenceburg, Ind.

Wendy Lawrence said several of her relatives had mental illnesses including paranoia and schizophrenia. David is her son from a previous marriage.

The Army has ordered a sanity board investigation. Lawrence’s civilian lawyer, James Culp, was denied a request to delay the preliminary hearing, called an Article 32, until the sanity board reached its conclusions.

“We are going to an Article 32 for a kid who is hearing voices,” Culp said. He said he was concerned the Army might be rushing the case to court-martial to appease Karzai.

Full Article Here – http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-soldier-hearing-20101129,0,2728495.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fnation+%28L.A.+Times+-+National+News%29

Student occupations expected to increase

November 28, 2010
By Martin Wainwright

Linked by Twitter, mobiles and old-fashioned printed flyers, 15 student occupations continued over the weekend and are set to grow before the national day of action on Tuesday

Part of the Bodleian library at Oxford, a major lecture theatre at Manchester and Appleton Tower at Edinburgh are among sites taken over for good-natured and inventive protests against the planned university fees rise and education cuts.

Art exhibitions, debates and invitations to local people to meet and discuss the issues are part of the activities at the sites, which also include Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Plymouth and London. Edinburgh students called on outside supporters to stage snowball fights in solidarity, while Oxford’s Facebook page features support from sympathisers, but also anger from English and theology students unable to get hold of books and data for this week’s essays.

The sit-ins and sleepovers are likely to increase between regular days of action, to maintain a high profile for the protest movement and allow time for discussions. Most of the occupying groups sent representatives today to a national planning meeting at London University, which discussed future steps in the campaign.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/nov/28/student-occupations-increase-sit-ins

Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton ordered U.S. diplomats to spy on UN leaders

Daily Mail
November 28, 2010
By Gerri Peev

Hillary Clinton ordered American officials to spy on high ranking UN diplomats, including British representatives.

Top secret cables revealed that Mrs Clinton, the Secretary of State, even ordered diplomats to obtain DNA data – including iris scans and fingerprints – as well as credit card and frequent flier numbers.

All permanent members of the security council – including Russia, China, France and the UK – were targeted by the secret spying mission, as well as the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon.

Work schedules, email addresses, fax numbers, website identifiers and mobile numbers were also demanded by Washington.
The U.S. also wanted ‘biographic and biometric information on UN Security Council permanent representatives’.

The request could break international law and threatens to derail any trust between the U.S. and other powerful nations.
Requests for IT related information – such as details of passwords, personal encryption keys and network upgrades – could also raise suspicions that the U.S. was preparing to mount a hacking operation. 

US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis

November 28, 2010
By David Leigh

The United States was catapulted into a worldwide diplomatic crisis today, with the leaking to the Guardian and other international media of more than 250,000 classified cables from its embassies, many sent as recently as February this year.

At the start of a series of daily extracts from the US embassy cables – many designated “secret” – the Guardian can disclose that Arab leaders are privately urging an air strike on Iran and that US officials have been instructed to spy on the UN leadership. These two revelations alone would be likely to reverberate around the world. But the secret dispatches which were obtained by WikiLeaks, the whistleblowers’ website, also reveal Washington’s evaluation of many other highly sensitive international issues.

These include a shift in relations between China and North Korea, high level concerns over Pakistan’s growing instability and details of clandestine US efforts to combat al-Qaida in Yemen.

Among scores of disclosures that are likely to cause uproar, the cables detail:

• Grave fears in Washington and London over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, with officials warning that as the country faces economic collapse, government employees could smuggle out enough nuclear material for terrorists to build a bomb.

• Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government, with one cable alleging that vice president Zia Massoud was carrying $52m in cash when he was stopped during a visit to the United Arab Emirates. Massoud denies taking money out of Afghanistan.

• How the hacker attacks which forced Google to quit China in January were orchestrated by a senior member of the Politburo who typed his own name into the global version of the search engine and found articles criticising him personally.

• The extraordinarily close relationship between Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, which is causing intense US suspicion. Cables detail allegations of “lavish gifts”, lucrative energy contracts and the use by Berlusconi of a “shadowy” Russian-speaking Italian go-between.

• Allegations that Russia and its intelligence agencies are using mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations, with one cable reporting that the relationship is so close that the country has become a “virtual mafia state”.

•  Devastating criticism of the UK’s military operations in Afghanistan by US commanders, the Afghan president and local officials in Helmand. The dispatches reveal particular contempt for the failure to impose security around Sangin – the town which has claimed more British lives than any other in the country.

• Inappropriate remarks by a member of the British royal family about a UK law enforcement agency and a foreign country.

The US has particularly intimate dealings with Britain, and some of the dispatches from the London embassy in Grosvenor Square will make uncomfortable reading in Whitehall and Westminster. They range from political criticisms of David Cameron to requests for specific intelligence about individual MPs.

The cables contain specific allegations of corruption, as well as harsh criticism by US embassy staff of their host governments, from Caribbean islands to China and Russia. The material includes a reference to Putin as an “alpha-dog”, Hamid Karzai as being “driven by paranoia” while Angela Merkel allegedly “avoids risk and is rarely creative”. There is also a comparison between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler.

The cables names Saudi donors as the biggest financiers of terror groups, and provide an extraordinarily detailed account of an agreement between Washington and Yemen to cover up the use of US planes to bomb al-Qaida targets. One cable records that during a meeting in January with General David Petraeus, then US commander in the Middle East, Yemeni president Abdullah Saleh said: “We’ll continue saying they are our bombs, not yours.”

Other revelations include a description of a near “environmental disaster” last year over a rogue shipment of enriched uranium, technical details of secret US-Russian nuclear missile negotiations in Geneva, and a profile of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who they say is accompanied everywhere by a “voluptuous blonde” Ukrainian nurse.

Clinton led a frantic damage limitation exercise this weekend as Washington prepared foreign governments for the revelations, contacting leaders in Germany, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, France and Afghanistan.
Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cable-leak-diplomacy-crisis

The internet’s cyber radicals: heroes of the web changing the world

The Observer
November 28, 2010
By Aleks Krotoski

A generation of political activists have been transformed by new tools developed on the internet. Here, a leading net commentator profiles seven young radicals from around the world

On Christmas Day, 1990, in a lab at Cern in Geneva, Switzerland, Tim Berners-Lee finished building the tools to create the world wide web. This act, 20 years ago, set the agenda for far-reaching transformations in the political sphere, in economies everywhere, in social interaction, even in concepts of our own identity. And Berners-Lee succeeded in doing so for one reason: he released the technology for free.

This simple decision, taken by a computer scientist used to working in environments that promoted openness and transparency, eclipses any hype about subsequent Twitter revolutions, Facebook campaigns or political protests ascribed to the platform since. The invention of the web is comparable to Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1450.

Like the printing press, the web has already been credited with ushering in an age of enlightenment; it is hailed, too, as the most powerful harbinger of social change the world has ever seen. But this isn’t the first time such claims have been made. Tom Standage, author of The Victorian Internet, has argued that the telegraph, in the 19th century, inspired rampant technophilia. “The telegraph was the first technology to be seized upon as a panacea,” he has written. “It was soon being hailed as a means to solve the world’s problems.

“It failed to do so, of course – but we have been pinning the same hope on other new technologies ever

So is the web over-hyped? In the 90s, when it still was in its swaddling clothes, revolution meant building a website brandishing the word “REVOLUTION!” in flashing red Comic Sans capital letters on a bright yellow background. Unfortunately, e-radicalism required a degree of technological capability. And political protests online were derivative, often no more effective than a giant billboard that people might drive by on the way to work or the shops. But everything did change in 2003 with the advent of a new crop of publishing platforms, blogs and social networks, that net pundits described as an entirely new phenomenon.

Stripping the hype away, this version of the web gives a new crop of cyber-revolutionaries access to a printing press, a radio station, a cable TV channel and more. Rather than virtual pamphleteering, they are developing technologies that take seed in grassroots communities. The power, as 20-year-old blogger and political activist Jody McIntyre puts it, is with the people.

In particular, there has been an explosion of technologies to circumvent censorship in countries where panic-stricken regimes have tried to stem dissident information. For example, Walid al-Saqaf developed an encryption technology called alkasir when the Yemeni government closed down his news aggregation site, YemenPortal.net. As the son of a campaigning journalist who died in mysterious circumstances, al-Saqaf felt that it was important that he use both his journalism and IT skills to get around the blockade, “because I felt it would have been a betrayal to my own profession to simply manipulate what people see”.

“Information freedom is essential if you’re really going to live a dignified life,” he argues.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/nov/28/internet-radicals-world-wide-web

Water accessibility declines in Africa – UN

Africa News
November 28, 2010
By UN news agency

The amount of water available per person in Africa is declining and only 26 of the continent’s 53 countries are currently on track to reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to clean drinking water by 2015, according to a survey by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Furthermore, only five countries in Africa are expected to attain the target of reducing by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to basic sanitation by 2015, the deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of targets agreed to by all countries and leading development institutions to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.

The Africa Water Atlas, compiled by UNEP at the request of the African Ministers’ Council on Water, also maps out new solutions and success stories on water resources management from across the continent.

It contains the first detailed mapping of how rainwater conservation is improving food security in drought-prone regions. Images also reveal how irrigation projects in Kenya, Senegal and Sudan are helping to improve food security.

Some of the most arresting images in the Atlas, which was launched during Africa Water Week in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, include green clouds of eroded soil and agricultural run-off in Uganda, pollution from oil spills in Nigeria, and a three-kilometre segment of the Nile Delta that has been lost to erosion.
Prepared in cooperation with the African Union, the European Union, the United States Department of State and the United States Geological Survey, the 326-page Atlas gathers information about the role of water in Africa’s economies and development, health, food security, transboundary cooperation, capacity building and environmental change in one comprehensive and accessible volume.

Full Article Here – http://www.africanews.com/site/Water_accessibility_declines_in_Africa_UN/list_messages/36329

‘Bank Run 2010′ aims to end ‘criminal, corrupt’ financial system

Raw Story
November 27, 2010
By Daniel Tencer

In what may be the most subversive reaction yet to global outrage over the financial crisis, a European soccer star has inspired an international “bank run” protest aiming to collapse the global financial system.

The organizers of “Bank Run 2010″ have chosen December 7 as the day when protesters are meant to withdraw their money from the banks, which they hope will cause a run on the banks that could collapse financial institutions.

But critics of the move say it’s futile: If the protest is successful, they say, it will only result in another taxpayer bailout of the banks.

But that hasn’t stopped the protest’s organizers from dreaming of a bloodless revolution that puts to an end the Western financial system that many say has been transformed into a “casino” benefiting only the financial institutions themselves.

“We’re not anarchists, nor linked to any political party or trade union,” Yann Safarti, a French actor and one of the founders of the Bank Run 2010 protest, told the Guardian. “We’re not even an organization. We just thought this was another way of protesting.”

“We do not seek to harm anyone in particular,” the Bank Run 2010 Web site states. “It is this corrupt, criminal and deadly system that we are opposing to the best of our ability and determination, and within the bounds of the law.”

The move was inspired by an interview given to French TV by Eric Cantona, a retired soccer star who played for numerous teams in France and the UK before ending his career with a stint at Manchester United.

In an interview with Presse Ocean, Cantona argued against the protests over government cuts that crippled France this fall, saying they achieve little. Instead, he suggested that people withdraw their money from banks all at once, forcing the banks to shut their doors for lack of reserve funds.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/bank-run-corrupt-financial-system/

Nigeria detains 12 in Halliburton bribery case

November 27, 2010

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria’s anti-corruption police have raided the offices of the U.S. oilfield services group Halliburton and arrested 12 people in a bribery case involving the former Halliburton unit KBR Inc, a spokesman said on Saturday.

The U.S. firm said the detentions, carried out on Thursday, had no legal basis and that its employees had since been freed.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it had detained 10 Halliburton staff for questioning and one senior employee each from oil services firms Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Technip Offshore Nigeria Ltd.

Eni, Saipem’s parent company, declined to comment.

“We are still looking for the (local) managing director of Halliburton,” EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi said.

Those detained in the raid, carried out with the assistance of armed police, included Giuseppe Surace,
believed to be Saipem’s country manager, and Frank Pliya from Technip, as well as a mixture of expatriates and Nigerians, Babafemi said.

Halliburton said in a statement that its employees were not connected with the case, and that they had all subsequently been released.

Nigerian authorities entered the offices of Halliburton in Lagos, ransacked the property, assaulted personnel and took a number of non-managerial employees into custody … this action had no legal basis,” its statement said.

Houston-based engineering firm KBR pleaded guilty last year to U.S. charges that it paid $180 million in bribes between 1994 and 2004 to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion in contracts for the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

KBR and Halliburton reached a $579 million settlement in the United States but Nigeria, France and Switzerland have conducted their own investigations into the case.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101127/ts_nm/us_nigeria_halliburton

Austria: 1000s of demonstrators protest against government austerity measures

Associated Press
November 27, 2010

VIENNA (AP) – Several thousand demonstrators have gathered in Austria’s capital to protest against government austerity measures in education, heath care and family allowances.

Police estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 people were taking part in a rally in downtown Vienna which was scheduled to end on a central square in front of Chancellor Werner Faymann’s office later Saturday.

Police said no incidents were reported.

Organizers said the rally would be repeated on Tuesday, when the proposed measures, which aim to cut state expenses by euro1.6 billion ($2.0 billion) in 2011, will be discussed in Austria’s parliament.

Full Article Here – http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/market_news/article.jsp?content=D9JOHQG03