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2012 February 2 | Activist News
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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

How “Occupy Our Homes” Can Win

Truthout
Feb. 2, 2012
By Amy Dean 

An interview with anti-eviction organizer Steve Meacham of City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston

Since most of the original Occupy encampments were evicted by wintertime, the question now is, what’s next for activists? One of the most popular suggestions is “Occupy Our Homes,” a campaign in which occupiers around the country would do actions at foreclosed houses or at bailed-out banks that are throwing people out of their homes. A national day of action on December 6 focused on this approach and featured home occupations or solidarity marches in 25 cities, including New York and Chicago.

Occupy Our Homes has three particularly good instincts.
First, it takes the general critique of inequality that the movement has been voicing – something often expressed in abstract charts and tables – and makes the issue concrete.
Since so many people in America are dealing with insecurity about their homes, the shift to doing foreclosure prevention and anti-eviction actions allows new groups of people  with a clear sense of their own connection to the struggle to engage with the Occupy movement. Social movements at their best are about helping people take their individual troubles and link them to a public problem and shifting the focus from trying to personally cope to taking collective action.
Second, the campaign connects the Occupy movement with organizing that has been going on for years. Community-based groups have been resisting foreclosures and evictions at least since the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008, if not before. Bringing the energy of Occupy to bear affords these campaigns more visibility and helps scale up local struggles, which can see themselves as part of a national movement.
Third, Occupy Our Homes identifies an arena for concrete change. Thus far, Occupy has been successful in creating enough general unrest to keep issues of inequality from being ignored and to shine a spotlight on the real economic problems affecting the majority of Americans. But as the movement progresses, it will benefit from targeting its discontent. Yes, we need to create a crisis in public consciousness, but the movement also needs to be able to drive specific changes. 
As a new frontier for action, Occupy Our Homes raises a variety of difficult questions: How can we make sure that protests at a home or bank are actions that get real results instead of merely momentary occurrences? And how do we scale up so that we are not just addressing the problems of a few homeowners but instead making an impact that can resonate throughout the national economy?
I will be devoting two columns to these pressing questions.
To begin to understand the tactics and prospects of Occupy Our Homes, I spoke with Steve Meacham, organizing coordinator at City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston. City Life is one of the groups that has long been at the forefront of grassroots anti-eviction actions, and I was excited to get Meacham’s insights.

Full Article Here – http://www.truthout.org/how-occupy-our-homes-can-win/1328034041 

Feds Seize 307 Sports-Related Domains Ahead of Super Sunday

Wired
Feb. 2, 2012
By

Federal authorities said Thursday they had seized and shuttered 307 domains, 16 allegedly engaged in unauthorized live sports streaming and the remainder accused of selling fake professional sports merchandise, including National Football League paraphernalia.

The seizure, the biggest to date under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement crackdown known as Operation in Our Sites (.pdf), brings to more than 650 domains shuttered since the program began in June 2010. The latest seizures, which quietly began in October, were announced days ahead of Super Sunday, when the New England Patriots play the New York Giants in the NFL Super Bowl, one of the world’s most popular sporting events.


“While most people are focusing on whether the Patriots or Giants will win on Sunday, we at ICE have our sights on a different type of victory: defeating the international counterfeiting rings that illegally profit off of this event, the NFL, its players and sports fans,” said ICE Director Morton. “In sports, players must abide by rules of the game, and in life, individuals must follow the laws of the land. Our message is simple: abiding by intellectual property rights laws is not optional. It’s the law.”

The sites allegedly sold fake jerseys, caps, shirts, jackets and other paraphernalia. The government said it had also seized $4.8 million worth of fake NFL goods, up from $3.72 million the same time a year ago.

Federal authorities are taking .com, .org. and .net domains under the same civil-seizure law the government invokes to seize brick-and-mortar drug houses, bank accounts and other property tied to alleged illegal activity. The feds are able to seize the domains because Verisign, which controls the .net and .com names, and the Public Interest Registry, which runs .org, are U.S.-based organizations.
Under civil forfeiture laws, the person losing the property has to prove that the items were not used to commit crimes.

The program come under intense scrutiny in December, when Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) asked the government why it kept a hip-hop music site’s domain for a year without affording its New York-based owner a chance to challenge the seizure of dajaz1. Another site, Rojadirecta, a Spanish sports-streaming site, is contesting its seizure last year, saying it is innocent of infringement and only provided links to streaming sites to which it has no affiliation.

Full Article Here – http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/02/sports-domains-seized/ 

Bulgarian ISPs Rise against ACTA

novinite.com
Feb. 1, 2012

The ACTA agreement will breach users’ rights and change the course of internet evolution, argued a branch union of Bulgarian ISPs Wednesday.

ACTA aims at obliterating anonymity and entirely transform the structure of the global network,” said the Bulgarian Union of Independent Internet Providers.

In addition, Bulgarian ISPs argue that the agreement will breach privacy of users and will go as far as reverse the presumption of innocence.

Last Thursday, Bulgaria became one of 21 EU member states who joined countries such as the USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland as signatories to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.


The intergovernmental treaty stipulates that downloading content such as music and movies from sites not sanctioned by rights owners, such as torrent trackers, is similar to product counterfeiting.

ACTA further will have such actions be subjected to criminal, and not civil proceedings, as has been up to now.

The document has been drafted and signed under much secrecy, which has added to the ire of users worldwide.

“With the introduction of ACTA, ISPs will be obliged to survey their users’ traffic and to give to the authorities information about who does what,” said Bulgarian Union of Independent Internet Providers representative Strahil Dobrev.

Full Article Here – http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=136282 

Occupy Sydney evicted from Martin Place on its 111th day of occupation.

Occupy Sydney
Media Release / Press Conference Information
Feb. 2, 2012

At 6.30am this morning, February 2nd 2012, 30 NSW Police officers raided the Occupy Sydney site at Martin Place. During the raid six people were arrested for camping and staying overnight, most of who were homeless.

Personal property was removed and thrown away once again, with little opportunity given for people to recover it. The Occupy Sydney site did not include tents or camping structures.

Occupy Sydney has built a strong community over the last three months which is inclusive of people from varying walks of life and the decision to evict will serve as further motivation to participants to continue to fight against unjust laws and regulations that propagate social and economic injustices towards the 99%.


Occupy Sydney’s legal team fronted by Stuart Littlemore yesterday filed a constitutional challenge and tomorrow has over 20 people appearing at The Downing Centre local court on varying charges.

‘Occupy Sydney is disappointed that NSW Police has chosen to once again try to evict this peaceful protest, but this shows that we are being heard. This week we showed solidarity for redundant workers, and began discussing how we can assist those under risk of foreclosures, this is just the beginning. You cannot evict an idea’ said Vicki, an Occupy Sydney participant.

Occupy Sydney vows to continue and will be holding a general press conference today at The Rocks LAC Police Station at 11am.

For more information please contact Occupy Sydney media contacts:

Vicki Smart: 0447 842 547

Wenny Theresia: 0452 101 002

Full Article Here – http://www.occupysydney.org.au/2012/02/02/occupy-sydney-evicted-from-martin-place-on-its-111th-day-of-occupation-media-release-press-conference-information/#comments

Company Banned in Effort to Protect Foreign Students From Exploitation

New York Times
Feb. 1, 2012
By

Signaling a sharp change of course in the country’s largest international cultural exchange program, the State Department has banned a leading sponsor company from bringing foreign students to the United States for summer jobs and will add new restrictions to protect students from labor abuse, officials said Wednesday.

The removal of the sponsor, the Council for Educational Travel, USA, was intended to send a powerful message to dozens of private companies participating in the State Department’s summer work program that they will have to monitor foreign students far more closely and ensure that participants are not exploited as cheap workers by employers.

The council, which is known as Cetusa, has been one of the biggest sponsors in the summer program and was responsible for placing about 400 foreign students last summer in a Pennsylvania plant packing Hershey’s chocolates. In August, hundreds of those program participants staged a boisterous walkout from the plant to protest low pay and dangerous job conditions.
The students’ demonstrations set off an investigation of Cetusa by the State Department and accelerated a review of the entire summer program, ordered by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2010. Critics on many sides said the program had become a vast source of temporary foreign workers at a time of high joblessness for Americans and had lost some of its purpose as a source of positive cultural exposure to the United States for foreign university students.
Rick Ruth, acting deputy assistant secretary of state, said the department would issue new regulations in coming months to expand the list of occupations prohibited for foreign summer workers. The list will include most jobs in construction and roofing, he said, and others shown statistically to be the most hazardous.
“We want to make sure that sponsors are not putting the labor aspect in the primary position, when it should be the cultural aspect,” Mr. Ruth said in an interview Wednesday.
The department will tighten rules requiring sponsors to protect the health and safety of students and to prevent too many of them from working in the same place — a situation that could rob them of opportunities to interact with Americans. State Department officials said they were also considering a ban on most factory and industrial jobs for the students.

Full Article Here – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/us/company-firm-banned-in-effort-to-protect-foreign-students.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

‘GasLand’ Director Josh Fox Arrested During House Hearing

Reuters
Feb. 2, 2012
By Tim Kenneally

‘Gasland’ director Josh Fox made quite the arresting presence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday while trying to film a House hearing.

The filmmaker behind the 2010 HBO documentary was detained and charged by Capitol police for trying to film a House Science Committee hearing on the gas and oil-extraction process of hydraulic
fracturing, aka “fracking,” which Fox has crusaded against.

According to Politico, Fox was cuffed at about 10 a.m. before the hearing could come to order. The panel was scheduled to look into the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation into whether natural gas drilling had caused water contamination in Pavillion, Wyo.


 


Fox — who yelled that he was “within my First Amendment rights” as he was taken away — was charged with unlawful entry, according to Politico.

An ABC news crew also was denied access to the hearing, Politico says.

Committee Chairman Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas) has discretion to allow uncredentialed members of the media film the hearing. The  chairman has the discretion on whether to allow uncredentialed members of the media to film hearings, according to a democratic staffer.

Fox and ABC did find an ally in Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), who moved to allow them to film the proceedings.

“[I]‘t’s clear we have space in this room to film this hearing,” Miller said.
Full Article Here – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/01/idUS7755233920120201

Website accused of defamation is closed by judge

Independent
Feb. 2, 2012
By Tim Healy

A JUDGE yesterday ordered a website to be shut down and said lawmakers should think about making it illegal to post “patently untrue” allegations about people on the internet.

Mr Justice Michael Peart was speaking after he granted Damien Tansey various orders, effectively ending the operation of the website www.rate-your-solicitor.com.

The Sligo-based solicitor brought defamation proceedings to the High Court arising out of comments on the website.


The action was against site operators John Gill, of Drumline, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare; and Ann Vogelaar, of Parklands, Westport, Co Mayo.

It is also against the US-based internet services provider, Dostster Inc, which hosts the site. Both Mr Gill and Ms Vogelaar denied the claims against them.

In his ruling, the judge said he was satisfied to grant injunctions against Mr Gill and Ms Vogelaar, pending the full hearing of the action, requiring them to end the operation of the website. They were also ordered to remove various material posted about Mr Tansey on the website and refrain from publishing further defamatory material about him.

They must also provide the names and address of all those involved in the posting of defamatory material. Mr Tansey also obtained similar orders against Dotster, which did not enter a defence.

Malcontents

The judge said he had no hesitation in making the orders as he was “entirely satisfied” that the material complained about “was seriously defamatory of Mr Tansey”. He was also satisfied, from submissions made by Mr Gill, that any defence he wished to put forward at trial had no reasonable prospect of succeeding.

Full Article Here – http://www.independent.ie/national-news/courts/website-accused-of-defamation-is-closed-by-judge-3005716.html 

‘Anonymous’ hackers attack Brazilian bank websites

AFP
Feb. 1, 2012

BRASILIA — The shadowy computer hacker group Anonymous said Wednesday it attacked the websites of three major Brazilian banks over the past few days to protest widespread inequality in Latin America’s leading economy.

Hackers from Anonymous’s Brazilian branch told the economy daily Valor that their attacks on Bradesco, Itau and Banco do Brasil did not aim to defraud clients, but were meant to protest “the countless inequalities in the country.”

The last to be targeted was the website of Banco do Brasil, the country’s largest state-run bank.


Monday, Itau, the country’s biggest private bank and the biggest in Latin America, was attacked, followed a day later by Bradesco, Brazil’s third biggest bank.

“Attention sailors: Target hit ! Itau is adrift. TANGO DOWN !,” the hackers crowed.

Itau said in a statement that its web page was at times “unavailable” but did not confirm it was under under pirate attack, according to Valor.

Bradesco said it experienced a large quantity of hits, well above its site’s capacity.

“Message to the big banks: We don’t forget you. Your turn will come,” Anonymous Brasil warned.

Last month, Anonymous already breached the websites of Brazil’s federal district as well as a site belonging to popular Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes to protest the forced closure of Megaupload.com.

The hackers succeeded in shutting down Fernandes’ website, posting the image of a grim-faced joker with a message saying, “If Megaupload is down, you are down too.” It was signed “GhostofThreads.”

Full Article Here – http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jyN0Fn4ZXfibMLdscIqXDnIXVDjw?docId=CNG.108b2dd2393721c4759b1eec0730b297.481

ACLU Sues U.S. for Information on Targeted Killing Program

ACLU
Feb. 1, 2012

Today we filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to demand that the government release basic — and accurate — information about the government’s targeted killing program.

Our government’s deliberate and premeditated killing of American terrorism suspects raises profound questions that ought to be the subject of public debate. Unfortunately the Obama administration has released very little information about the practice — its official position is that the targeted killing program is a state secret — and some of the information it has released has been misleading.


Our suit overlaps with the one recently filed by The New York Times insofar as it seeks the legal memos on which the targeted killing program is based. But our suit is broader. We’re seeking, in addition to the legal memos, the government’s evidentiary basis for strikes that killed three Americans in Yemen in the fall of 2011. We’re also seeking information about the process by which the administration adds Americans to secret government “kill lists.” We think it’s crucial that the administration release the legal memos, but we don’t think the memos alone will allow the public to evaluate the lawfulness and wisdom of the program.

Full Article Here – http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/aclu-sues-us-information-targeted-killing-program