Warning: preg_match() [function.preg-match]: Unknown modifier 't' in /home/content/16/9506716/html/wp-content/plugins/mobile-website-builder-for-wordpress-by-dudamobile/dudamobile.php on line 603
2012 February | Activist News | Page 2
Disobey

The Road to World War 3

  More »

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 »

greed3

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 »

freedom-of-the-press

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: February 2012

2nd New York state judge upholds fracking ban in towns

Reuters
Feb. 25, 2012
By Dan Wiessner

A New York state judge on Friday upheld an upstate community’s ban on gas drilling, marking the second victory this week for opponents of the drilling method known as fracking.

The authority vested in towns and cities in New York to regulate use of their land extends to prohibitions on drilling, acting state Supreme Court Justice Donald Cerio ruled on Friday, dismissing arguments by a landowner who had already sold leases on almost 400 acres.

“Municipalities are not preempted … from enacting local zoning ordinances which may prohibit oil, gas and solution drilling or mining,” Cerio wrote. “The state maintains control over the ‘how’ of (drilling) procedures while the municipalities maintain control over the ‘where.’”


Jennifer Huntington, a dairy farmer, argued the town of Middlefield’s ban was pre-empted by a state law designed to create a uniform regulatory scheme for the oil and gas industry. Cerio disagreed, holding that nothing in the legislative history of the law and its numerous amendments suggested state lawmakers intended to stop towns from barring heavy industry.

Middlefield is about 70 miles west of the state capital, Albany.

Cerio’s ruling was similar to a decision released on Tuesday that dismissed a bid by gas company Anschutz Exploration Corp to overturn a drilling ban in the Ithaca, New York, suburb of Dryden.

In that decision, Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey held state law was crafted to regulate industry in such a way that “protects the rights of all persons.”

The rulings come as the state Department of Environmental Conservation prepares a final report on the safety of fracking, which is currently not allowed in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to make a final decision on the issue later this year.

Fracking is a process in which chemical-laced water and sand are blasted deep below ground to release oil and natural gas trapped within rock formations. It has allowed companies to tap a wealth of new natural gas reserves in other states, but critics say the procedure has polluted water and air.


Middlefield’s attorney, David Clinton, was not immediately available to comment, but said earlier on Friday that victories in his case and in Dryden could have statewide implications.

“For the last year or so, the gas industry has been threatening (towns), ‘you’re going to lose in court, so don’t even waste your money,’” said Clinton. “So (the Dryden decision) certainly emboldens other towns.” 

Full Article Here – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/26/us-usa-newyork-fracking-idUSTRE81P01820120226

Supreme Court to hear corporate human rights case

Reuters
Feb. 25, 2012
By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court will weigh next week whether corporations can be sued in the United States for suspected complicity in human rights abuses abroad, in a case being closely watched by businesses concerned about long and costly litigation.
The high court on Tuesday will consider the reach of a 1789 U.S. law that had been largely dormant until 1980, when human rights lawyers started using it, at first to sue foreign government officials. 
Then, over the next 20 years, the lawyers used the law to target multinational corporations.
The case before the court pits the Obama administration and human rights advocates against large companies and foreign governments over allegations that Royal Dutch Shell Plc helped Nigeria crush oil exploration protests in the 1990s.

Administration attorneys and lawyers for the plaintiffs contend corporations can be held accountable in U.S. courts for committing or assisting foreign governments in torture, executions or other human rights abuses.

Attorneys for corporations argue that only individuals, such as company employees or managers involved in the abuse, can be sued, a position adopted by a U.S. appeals court in New York. Other courts ruled corporations can be held liable.
The justices will hear an appeal by a group of Nigerians who argue they should be allowed to proceed with a lawsuit accusing Shell of aiding the Nigerian government in human rights violations between 1992 and 1995.
California attorney Paul Hoffman, who will argue on behalf of the plaintiffs, said corporations, under the 1789 law, were permissible defendants and that corporate civil liability was a general principle of international law.
“Businesses involved in genocide, crimes against humanity or other serious human rights violations deserve no exemption from tort liability,” he said in a brief filed with the court.

NO EXEMPTION FOR GENOCIDE

The Obama administration supported the corporate liability argument, as did international human rights organizations and Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Representing Shell at the arguments, Kathleen Sullivan, a former dean of the Stanford Law School in California, said U.S. and international law do not allow corporate liability for the alleged offenses. She said the post-World War Two Nuremberg tribunals covered prosecutions of individuals, not corporations.

She warned of the consequences of allowing such lawsuits.

“Even a meritless … suit against a corporation can take years to resolve,” she said in a brief, adding that corporations may reduce their operations in less-developed nations where such abuses tend to arise.

The British, Dutch and German governments supported Shell and said it violates international law to apply a U.S. law from more than 200 years ago to acts that take place in other countries and have no connection to the United States.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-hear-corporate-human-rights-case-231247941.html 

One billion slum dwellers

Boston.com
Feb. 25, 2012

One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings can be simple shacks or permanent and well-maintained structures but lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services. In this post, I’ve included images from several slums including Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the second largest slum in Africa (and the third largest in the world); New Building slum in central Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Pinheirinho slum – where residents recently resisted police efforts to forcibly evict them; and slum dwellers from Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, India. India has about 93 million slum dwellers and as much as 50% of New Delhi’s population is thought to live in slums, 60% of Mumbai. — Paula Nelson (55 photos total)

Full Article Here – http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2012/02/slum_life.html 

NYPD disciplines officer after he’s snapped sleeping on subway

if you see something, say something

New York Post
Feb. 25, 2012
By LARRY CELONA

This decorated cop was photographed snoozing on the subway by a straphanger who saw something, and said something.

Martin Bisi used his cellphone to snap the alarming picture of Officer Matthew Sobota, 43, on an F train — with his holstered gun in plain view — at around 3 p.m. Feb. 16.

Bisi then e-mailed the photo to NYPD brass, who slapped Sobota with a “command discipline.”

“NYC cop sleeping on F train last Thurs w/weapon — i reported,” Bisi tweeted yesterday, as he posted several pictures of Sobota to his Twitter account.

“if you see something, say something!” Bisi wrote.

SEC Charges Three Oil Services Executives With Bribing Customs Officials in Nigeria

SEC
Feb. 24, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2012-32

Washington, D.C., Feb. 24, 2012 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three oil services executives with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by participating in a bribery scheme to obtain illicit permits for oil rigs in Nigeria in order to retain business under lucrative drilling contracts.

The SEC alleges that former Noble Corporation CEO Mark A. Jackson along with James J. Ruehlen, who is the current Director and Division Manager of Noble’s subsidiary in Nigeria, bribed customs officials to process false paperwork purporting to show the export and re-import of oil rigs, when in fact the rigs never moved. The scheme was designed to save Noble Corporation from losing business and incurring significant costs associated with exporting rigs from Nigeria and then re-importing them under new permits. Bribes were paid through a customs agent for Noble’s Nigerian subsidiary with Jackson and Ruehlen’s approval.

The SEC separately charged Thomas F. O’Rourke, who was a former controller and head of internal audit at Noble. The SEC alleges that O’Rourke helped approve the bribe payments and allowed the bribes to be booked improperly as legitimate operating expenses for the company. O’Rourke agreed to settle the SEC’s charges and pay a penalty.

“These executives knowingly authorized and paid foreign officials to process false documents, and they consciously concealed the scheme from Noble’s audit committee,” said Gerald Hodgkins, Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “When executives bribe government officials overseas, their misconduct puts their companies in legal peril and damages the integrity of foreign markets and the reputation of U.S. companies abroad.”

Full Statement Here – http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2012/2012-32.htm 

SEC’s complaints below:

SEC Complaint against Mark A. Jackson and James J. Ruehlen

SEC Complaint against Thomas F. O’Rourke

‘Anonymous’ Hacks Into L.A. County Police and Sheriff Databases; Posts Contact Info, Nude Pics

LA Weekly
Feb. 23, 2012
By Simone Wilson

Anonymous offshoot CabinCr3w has set its sights back on L.A. law enforcement.

The hackers first targeted the LAPD in the angry aftermath of the massive, allegedly violent raid of the Occupy L.A. encampment downtown.

And they’re back for more Internet payback this week, getting revenge on the cops for “injustices they have allowed through ignorance or naivety” and/or “[failing] to protect the safety of those they took an oath to serve.”

Not sure how the Los Angeles County Police Canine Association fits into all that — except that the union-of-sorts hosts a wealth of information on all types of officers, all over L.A. County — but yeah, the association is the unfortunate target of a massive new leak.


The hackers write in their opening statement that of all their recent police hacks, this was the most
“disturbing”:

“In this venture we have obtained the names and addresses of over 1000 officers, over fifteen thousand police warrants, hundreds of thousands of court summons, over forty thousand social security numbers of citizens proving the police lack of care for the security of the citizens, anonymous tips of criminal informants pertaining to narcotics, criminal informant information and thousands of online police reports. In all of this information, the large amount we have seen none of it has been as disturbing as what we found in this most recent target.”

Dozens of cops, at departments ranging from the LAPD to the LAX police to the LAUSD police, are listed next to their cellphone numbers and addresses on Pastebin.com.

Full Article Here – http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/02/anonymous_hacks_la_county_police_sheriff_contact_info_nude_pics.php

Report: London no safer for all its CCTV cameras

Christian Science Monitor
Feb. 22, 2012
By Ian Evans

London is considered the most spied-on city in the world, courtesy of its ubiquitous CCTV cameras, purportedly there to reduce crime. But according to a recent report, there’s been little or no change in London’s crime rates since they were more widely installed in the mid 1980s.

Privacy activists are worried that Britain will become the bleak totalitarian society George Orwell painted in his classic novel “1984,” where citizens were spied on and personal freedom sacrificed for the benefit of an all-powerful state.

“We are sleepwalking into a surveillance society where we’re watched from control rooms by anonymous people, says Emma Carr of the BBW. “The worrying thing is that we don’t actually know how many CCTV cameras there are out there.”


In the report released this week, civil rights group Big Brother Watch revealed that local councils spent £515 million (about $807 million) on new cameras over the past four years, the equivalent of 4,121 police officers. Birmingham, England’s second most populous city, has spent the most: £14.3 million ($22 million) over past four years, followed by Westminster at £11.8 million ($18.5 million), and Leeds at £8.7 million ($13.6 million).

BBW estimates there are now some 51,000 police-run cameras watching British citizens in urban areas, not including private cameras or cameras situated in other public buildings like train stations or bus depots.

A common figure cited is a total 4.2 million cameras across the Britain based on a working paper published in 2002, by academics Michael McCahill and Clive Norris but research last year by Cheshire Police puts the figure closer to 1.85 million.

But Ms. Carr says that without official registrations and research it is impossible to calculate.

The civil rights group Liberty estimates that the average Londoner is captured on camera around 300 times a day while BBW claims Britain has 20 percent of the world’s CCTV cameras and only 1 percent of the world’s population.

Full Article Here – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/0222/Report-London-no-safer-for-all-its-CCTV-cameras

Homeland Analysts Told to Monitor Policy Debates in Social Media

New York Times
Feb. 22, 2012
By

WASHINGTON — Analysts for a Department of Homeland Security program that monitors social networks like Twitter and Facebook have been instructed to produce reports on policy debates related to the department, a newly disclosed manual shows. 

The manual, a 2011 reference guide for analysts working with the department’s Media Monitoring Capability program, raises questions about recent claims by Homeland Security officials who portrayed the program as limited to gathering information that would help gain operational awareness about attacks, disasters or other emerging problems.
Last month, a previous disclosure of documents related to the program showed that in 2009, when it was being designed, officials contemplated having reports produced about “public reaction to major governmental proposals with homeland security implications.”

But the department said it never put that category into practice when the program began in 2010. Officials repeated that portrayal in testimony last week before an oversight hearing by a House Homeland Security subcommittee.
“I am not aware of any information we have gathered on government proposals,” testified Richard Chavez, the director of the office that oversees the National Operations Center, which runs the program.
Still, the 2011 manual, which was disclosed this week as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, lists a series of categories that constitute an “item of interest” warranting a report. One category is discussion on social media networks of “policy directives, debates and implementations related to DHS.”
It is not clear whether the department has produced such reports. Matthew Chandler, a department spokesman, said Wednesday that in practice the program had been limited to “social media monitoring for situational awareness only.”
He also said the department would review the reference guide and related materials to make sure they “clearly and accurately convey the parameters and intention of the program.”
Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group that filed the lawsuit and obtained the document, argued that the manual shows that the monitoring may have gone beyond its limited portrayal by department officials.
“The D.H.S. continues to monitor the Internet for criticism of the government,” she said. “This suspicionless, overbroad monitoring quells legitimate First Amendment activity and exceeds the agency’s legal authority.”
A federal statute cited by officials last week as the legal basis for the program gives the National Operations Center the authority “to provide situational awareness” for officials “in the event of a natural disaster, act of terrorism or other man-made disaster” and to “ensure that critical terrorism and disaster-related information reaches government decision makers.”
Officials have stressed that the program does not collect personally identifying information, like the names or Twitter account handles of the people making comments, and that it does not monitor, review or collect First Amendment-protected speech.

Full Article Here – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/house-questions-homeland-security-program-on-social-media.html 

Bradley Manning defers plea after being formally charged with aiding the enemy

Guardian
Feb. 23, 2012
By

Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of being the source of the biggest leak of US state secrets in history, was on Thursday formally charged with aiding the enemy, during the first day of his court martial. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in military custody with no chance of parole.

Manning, 24, deferred his plea to the 22 charges against him, and deferred a decision over whether he wanted a military judge or a jury to hear his case. A plea can be deferred right up until the beginning of his military trial, which is unlikely to take place before August.

The charges against the former army intelligence analyst include: aiding the enemy; wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy; theft of public property or records; transmitting defence information; and fraud and related activity in connection with computers.


The documents he is alleged to have dumped on Wikileaks, the whistleblowing website set up by Julian Assange, included Afghan and Iraqi war logs, more than 250,000 diplomatic cables from around the world, and a classified military video of a US helicopter attack on civilians in Iraq that killed 11 people, including two Reuters employees.

Wearing his green army dress uniform and heavy, dark-rimmed glasses, Manning sat though most of the 45-minute hearing at the Fort Meade military base in Maryland with his hands clasped. He was flanked by three lawyers, two military – Major Matthew Kemkes and Captain Paul Bouchard – and one civilian, David Coombs, his defence lawyer.

Manning spoke in a clear voice, to answer “Yes, your honour” when asked if he understood proceedings.

Coombs brought up his client’s due process rights and told the military judge, Colonel Denise Lind, that he would object to any delay in the trial past June.

Coombs argued that the government had said it would be ready by April, but was now saying “it won’t be until 3 August.”

Coombs said his client, who has been in custody since his arrest on 25 May 2010, had been in solitary confinement for “635 days”. He said: “If the government had its way, it would be over 800 days before the trial actually begins.”

Manning was held at Quantico marine base in Virginia and then at Fort Leavenworth. He is currently being held locally.

Coombs said that, while the government had cited the complexity of the case and the difficulty in co-ordinating agencies, “the defence would argue that due process rights of my client” had not been satisfied.

Under the US constitution, a court martial must be brought within 120 days of charges being preferred.

Manning’s 120 days, known as his “speedy trial clock”, began in May 2010, when he was arrested in Iraq, according to the military.

The military insisted that the extra time taken to come to trial owed to requests by Manning’s own defence team, and the period in which classified documents were being handled.

A military legal expert said that the delay of a plea and forum decision was usually a strategic one, while lawyers wait to see how the motions they have filed are dealt with.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/23/bradley-manning-defer-plea-charges?newsfeed=true 

‘Occupy’ to hold national conference in Philly

Associated Press
Feb. 22, 2012
By PATRICK WALTERS

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A group of protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement plans to elect 876 “delegates” from around the country and hold a national “general assembly” in Philadelphia over the Fourth of July as part of ongoing protests over corporate excess and economic inequality.
The group, dubbed the 99% Declaration Working Group, said Wednesday delegates would be selected during a secure online election in early June from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
In a nod to their First Amendment rights, delegates will meet in Philadelphia to draft and ratify a “petition for a redress of grievances,” convening during the week of July 2 and holding a news conference in front of Independence Hall on the Fourth of July.

Any U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is 18 years of age or older may run as a nonpartisan candidate for delegate, according to Michael S. Pollok, an attorney who advised Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge last year and co-founded the working group.
“We feel it’s appropriate to go back to what our founding fathers did and have another petition congress,” Pollok said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We feel that following the footsteps of our founding fathers is the right way to go.”

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and cited King George III’s failure to redress the grievances listed in colonial petitions as a reason to declare independence.

One man and one woman will be elected from each of the 435 congressional voting districts, according to Pollok, and they will meet in Philadelphia to deliberate, draft and ratify a “redress of grievances.” One delegate will also be elected to represent each of the U.S. territories.
Organizers won’t take a position on what grievances should be included, Pollok said, but they will likely include issues like getting money out of politics, dealing with the foreclosure crisis and helping students handle loan debt.
Details of the conference are still being worked out, Pollok said, but organizers have paid for a venue in Philadelphia. Pollok would not identify the venue, but said it was “a major state-of-the art facility.” Pollok said the group planned to pay for the conference through donations.

Full Article Here – news.yahoo.com/occupy-hold-national-conference-philly-151936603.html