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 »

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

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Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

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The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

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‘Anonymous’ Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US

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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Occupy Charlotte camp pulled down

Charlotte Observer
Jan. 30, 2012
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Steve Harrison and Steve Lyttle

Protesters say they’ll strengthen, regroup: ‘We’re going to wake this city up.’

Police dismantled most of the Occupy Charlotte protest site Monday, arresting seven and ripping up tents at the campsite erected last fall.

Protesters vowed to regroup after a chaotic afternoon on the grounds of the old City Hall uptown.

Their attorney filed a lawsuit accusing the city of violating rights of free-speech and assembly. It also seeks to prevent the city from enforcing the new ordinance that was used to remove the Occupy Charlotte campsite.


A court hearing is scheduled for today.

A group of about 60 Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers walked across East Trade Street shortly after 2:45 p.m. Monday, moments after Capt. Jeff Estes had given Occupy Charlotte members “one final warning” to take down their tents and comply with the new ordinance, which prohibits living in tents on city property.

With protesters surrounding officers and shouting “Shame!” and “Arrest us! We’ll multiply,” police began taking down the tents and tossing them into waiting garbage trucks.

Six people locked legs on the ground and refused to move. Police separated them and led some away in handcuffs. All of those arrested were charged with obstructing and delaying officers.

By 3:45 p.m., all of the nearly 40 tents were gone. Twenty protesters regrouped under the movement’s information tent, which police said did not violate the new ordinance.

Police Capt. Jeff Estes said seven people were arrested on charges of delaying and obstructing officers, a misdemeanor.

Bizarre, chaotic afternoon

The event produced bizarre moments, such as when the protesters sang the “Hokey Pokey” as police advanced on the tents. Two protesters ran back and forth with small tents on their heads – one contained profanity-laced messages against police.

At one point, a man did “The Worm” – a gyrating dance move – in front of the police station.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/01/31/2972609/occupy-charlotte-camp-pulled-down.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/01/31/2972609/occupy-charlotte-camp-pulled-down.html#storylink=cpy

Full Article Here – http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/01/31/2972609/occupy-charlotte-camp-pulled-down.html

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/01/31/2972609/occupy-charlotte-camp-pulled-down.html#storylink=cpy
 
 

‘I’m going to destroy America and dig up Marilyn Monroe’: British pair arrested in U.S. on terror charges over Twitter jokes

Daily Mail
Jan. 30, 2012
By Richard Hartley-parkinson

Two British tourists were barred from entering America after joking on Twitter that they were going to ‘destroy America’ and ‘dig up Marilyn Monroe’.
Leigh Van Bryan, 26, was handcuffed and kept under armed guard in a cell with Mexican drug dealers for 12 hours after landing in Los Angeles with pal Emily Bunting.
The Department of Homeland Security flagged him as a potential threat when he posted an excited tweet to his pals about his forthcoming trip to Hollywood which read: ‘Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?’
After making their way through passport control at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) last Monday afternoon the pair were detained by armed guards.

Despite telling officials the term ‘destroy’ was British slang for ‘party’, they were held on suspicion of planning to ‘commit crimes’ and had their passports confiscated.
Leigh was also quizzed about another tweet which quoted hit US comedy Family Guy which read: ’3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!

Federal agents even searched his suitcase looking for spades and shovels, claiming Emily was planning to act as Leigh’s ‘look out’ while he raided Marilyn’s tomb.
Bar manager Leigh, from Coventry, and Emily, 24, from Birmingham, were then quizzed for five hours at LAX before they were handcuffed and put into a van with illegal immigrants and locked up overnight.
They spent 12 hours in separate holding cells before being driven back to the airport where they were put on a plane home via Paris.
Leigh, an Irish national, and Emily arrived at Birmingham Airport last Wednesday afternoon.
Emily said: ‘The officials told us we were not allowed in to the country because of Leigh’s tweet. They wanted to know what we were going to do.
‘They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party.
‘I almost burst out laughing when they asked me if I was going to be Leigh’s lookout while he dug up Marilyn Monroe.

Megaupload data could be deleted starting Thursday

Washington Post
Jan. 30, 2012
By

Now that federal officials are done with the data they wanted to review after shutting down file-sharing site Megaupload, the fate of that data is in limbo.

Users who had legitimate files on the site — work documents, photos, home videos and more — may see that information deleted as soon as this week.

Federal officials sent a letter to Megaupload’s lawyers to let them know that the U.S. Department of Justice has completed its search of Megaupload servers held by two storage companies in Virginia — Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications — and that the government no longer controls access to the information. U.S. officials copied some data from the servers, but did not remove any.


The hosting companies now control the data.

“It is our understanding that the hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers beginning as early as February 2, 2012,” U.S. District Attorney Neil MacBride wrote in the letter.

Ira Rothken, attorney for Megaupload, told The Associated Press that, after this development, at least 50 million customers could lose their files. Megaupload had been contracting with the companies to store the information, but can no longer pay those contracts because its assets have been frozen.

Full Article Here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/megaupload-data-could-be-deleted-starting-thursday/2012/01/30/gIQAeggGcQ_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

Dutch ISPs Refuse to Block Traffic to Pirate Bay

Newsy
Jan. 30, 2012
BY EVAN THOMAS  
ANCHOR NATHAN BYRNE

Full Article Here – http://www.newsy.com/videos/dutch-isps-refuse-to-block-traffic-to-pirate-bay

Unions want to ‘reverse’ austerity with strike in Belgium

euronews
Jan. 30, 2012

As European leaders discuss the eurozone debt crisis in Brussels, Belgium’s three largest unions want their government to reconsider its approach to reducing the country’s deficit.

The three groups have come together, organising the largest general strike in almost 20 years.
Production ground to a standstill at the plants of car manufacturers Audi and Volvo on Monday, as workers said no to austerity measures, like increasing the retirement age, which are aimed at cutting government spending by 11.3 billion euros.

euronews correspondent in Brussels Charles Salamé said: “The cold temperature here hasn’t affected participation in the walkout. The strikers have sent their new government a clear signal of their dissatisfaction with its economic policy, a message also addressed to European leaders meeting here for the first time this year.”


Action is needed now to reverse what could become a trend, according to Philippe Van Mulder, Secretary General of FGTB, one of the unions behind the strike: “We think austerity measures are not part of the solution in this country but part of the problem, so we want to reverse this tendency.”

Full Article Here – http://www.euronews.net/2012/01/30/unions-want-to-reverse-austerity-with-strike-in-belgium/

When Tibetan Despair Leads to Self-Immolation

New York Times
Jan. 29, 2011
By MARK MCDONALD

 
HONG KONG — Why do they do it, these Buddhist monks and nuns and other young Tibetans? Why would they drink a cup of kerosene, then douse themselves and strike a match? What is behind these horrifying self-immolations, especially since Buddhism forbids suicide and the Dalai Lama himself has preached against it?
“The blame lies with the Chinese government and its very hardline, insensitive policies,’’ said Lobsang Sangay, the Dalai Lama’s political successor, who spoke with Rendezvous by telephone from Dharamsala, India. “Tibetans are really desperate now. It’s very tragic. Very sad. Very painful.”


At least 15 ethnic Tibetans — most of them current or former Buddhist clergy members — have set themselves on fire in the past year, including four this month, part of a wave of anti-government protests in Tibet and the western Chinese province of Sichuan.

Beijing has rushed police and military units to the region in recent days, and tensions are high, as my colleague Michael Wines reported from Chengdu.

“This vicious cycle of crackdowns and repressions by China seems likely to continue,” said Mr. Sangay, 43, a former legal scholar at Harvard who was elected last year to take over the Dalai Lama’s political duties in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile.

“Even when Tibetans gather for a peaceful protest for a couple of hours, the Chinese are indiscriminately shooting at them.”

Full Article Here – http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/when-tibetan-despair-leads-to-self-immolation/?src=recg 

Dutch ISPs Refuse To Block The Pirate Bay

Torrentfreak
Jan. 29, 2012

Two large ISPs in the Netherlands have said they will not be blocking subscriber access to The Pirate Bay, as demanded by the Hollywood supported anti-piracy outfit BREIN. T-Mobile and KPN argue that blocking websites is a threat to the open Internet, and suggest that the entertainment industry focuses on new business models instead. BREIN is now expected to take the ISPs to court.

Two weeks ago, the Court of The Hague ruled that Ziggo, the largest ISP in the Netherlands, and competitor XS4ALL have to block access to The Pirate Bay.

The ruling was the first to bring broad censorship to the Netherlands and in a response XS4ALL said they were “bitterly disappointed”, noting that fundamental rights had been traded for “commercial interests.”


For BREIN, the Dutch anti-piracy group that started the court case, the verdict wasn’t quite enough.
The Hollywood-backed group wasted no time issuing requests for other ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay as well. Or else.

After internal discussions two large ISPs – KPN and T-Mobile – are now on record stating they will not honor BREIN’s request. This means that millions of Internet users in the Netherlands will still be able to access The Pirate Bay without having to go through proxies.

Speaking out against censorship, both Internet providers state they will only block The Pirate Bay following a court order and that innovation is a better way to deal with the problem of piracy.

“KPN sees the blocking of websites as a drastic measure for which a court order is required,” KPN said in a statement, adding that innovation is needed to curb piracy.

“KPN doesn’t believe a blockade is the right solution. What is needed are robust, attractive business models that are easy to use and offer a fair deal to both producers and consumers of content.”

Full Article Here – http://torrentfreak.com/dutch-isps-refuse-to-block-the-pirate-bay-120129/

U.S. Defense Department can’t account for billions for Iraq, audit finds

CNN
Jan. 29, 2012
By Josh Levs

The U.S. Defense Department cannot account for about $2 billion it was given to cover Iraq-related expenses and is not providing Iraq with a complete list of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects, according to two new government audits.

The reports come from the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

The Iraqi government in 2004 gave the Department of Defense access to about $3 billion to pay bills for certain contracts, and the department can only show what happened to about a third of that, the inspector general says in an audit published Friday.

Although the Department of Defense (DoD) had “internal processes and controls” to track payments, the “bulk of the records are missing,” the report says, adding that the department is searching for them.


Other documents are missing as well, including monthly reports documenting expenses, the audit says.

“From July 2004 through December 2007, DoD should have provided 42 monthly reports. However, it can locate only the first four reports.”

A letter accompanying the report is signed by Stuart Bowen, the inspector general. The audit was overseen by Glenn Furbish, assistant inspector general for audits.

In a response letter also contained in the report, Defense Under Secretary Mark Easton acknowledges “a records management issue.”

The audit says it believes records management is to blame, and “has been an ongoing problem for DoD in Iraq. By all accounts, DoD established good internal processes and controls to account for and report on” the funds it was given after the Coalition Provisional Authority dissolved.

Where the records did exist, they matched other records and contained “good financial documentation supporting individual payments.” Also, there is “sufficient evidence” that required monthly reports were sent to the government of Iraq, even though they can’t be found, the audit said.

The audit deals with a time when Iraq’s government was undergoing a transition. The Coalition Provisional Authority ran the country for 14 months from 2003 to 2004. During that time, the authority awarded numerous contracts. When it dissolved in 2004, the Iraqi government gave the U.S. Defense Department access to the $3 billion to pay bills for contracts the provisional authority had awarded.

Full Article Here – http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/29/world/meast/iraq-us-audit/index.html

World Social Forum calls for global anti-corporate protest in June

AFP
Jan. 29, 2012
By Yana Marull

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Thousands of critics of capitalism meeting in Brazil called Sunday for a worldwide protest in June to press for concrete steps to tackle the global economic crisis.

The World Social Forum wrapped up a five-day meeting in this southern Brazilian city, urging citizens to “take to the streets on June 5″ for the global action, which would be in support of social and environmental justice.

The forum also announced a “peoples’ summit” of social movements to be held in parallel with the high-level UN conference on sustainable development scheduled next June 20-22 in Rio.


The Rio+20 summit, the fourth major gathering on sustainable development since 1972, will press world leaders to commit themselves to creating a social and “green economy,” with priority being given to eradicating hunger.

But World Social Forum participants, including representatives of the Arab Spring, Spain’s “Indignant” movement, Occupy Wall Street, and students from Chile, sharply criticized the concept of “a green economy” that would allow multinational corporations to reap the profit.

“The political and economic elites are the one percent who control the world and we are the one percent seeking to change it. Where are the (other) 98 percent?” said Chico Whitaker, one of the Forum’s founders.

“There are many who are happy because each time they get more consumer goods, but many are concerned and unsatisfied. The challenge for us is to speak with them.”

“If we do not raise the issue of inequality, we won’t solve the problems,” said Venezuelan sociologist Edgardo Lander.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/29/world-social-forum-calls-for-global-anti-corporate-protest-in-june/

400 arrested in Occupy Oakland protest

Associated Press
Jan. 29, 2012
By Terry Collins

OAKLAND, Calif. — For weeks the protests had waned, with only a smattering of people taking to Oakland’s streets for occasional weekend marches that bore little resemblance to the headline-grabbing Occupy demonstrations of last fall.

Then came Saturday, which started peacefully enough with a midday rally at City Hall and a march.

But hours later, the scene near downtown Oakland had dramatically deteriorated: clashes punctuated by rock and bottle throwing by protesters and volleys of tear gas from police, and a City Hall break-in that left glass cases smashed, graffiti spray-painted on walls and an American flag burned.


More than 400 people were arrested on charges ranging from failure to disperse to vandalism, police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Thomason said. At least three officers and one protester were injured.

On Sunday, Oakland officials vowed to be ready if Occupy protesters try to mount another large-scale demonstration.

Protesters, meanwhile, called Saturday’s police tactics illegal and threatened to sue.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/01/29/3696502/400-arrested-in-occupy-oakland.html#storylink=cpy

Full Article Here – http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/01/29/3696502/400-arrested-in-occupy-oakland.html