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2012 February 10 | Activist News

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 »

Daily Archives: February 10, 2012

Hose streets? Our streets! Belgian firefighters soak police in protest

Associated Press
Feb. 10, 2012

Several hundred Belgian firefighters have broken through police lines in Brussels and hosed down the prime minister’s office in protest at the government’s tougher retirement plans.

The firefighters want to keep their early retirement age at 58, arguing their arduous job does not allow them to work into their 60s.

Such demands run counter to government plans to have the overwhelming majority of people work two years beyond 65 so it can afford an ever-increasing pension bill as Belgium‘s population ages.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/10/hose-belgian-firefighters-soak-police

Acta: Germany delays signing anti-piracy agreement

BBC News
Feb. 10, 2012

Germany has halted signing a controversial anti-piracy accord, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta), after the justice ministry voiced concerns.

A foreign ministry spokesperson told AFP that the delay was to “give us time to carry out further discussions”.

Latvia also put off signing on Friday. Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have already delayed ratification.

International protests against the agreement are expected on Saturday.

Measures within Acta to tackle online piracy have proven particularly controversial.

“Hacktivists” claiming to act on behalf of Anonymous have attacked official websites supporting the international agreement.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16980451

Bahrain protests seek new ‘Freedom Square’

Associated Press
Feb. 10, 2012

MANANA, Bahrain (AP) — Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in Bahrain are streaming toward a site they seek to occupy for the one-year anniversary of their uprising in the Gulf kingdom.

Riot police did not immediately intervene as crowds headed to an empty lot dubbed ‘Freedom Square‘ in the village of Miqsha outside the capital Manama. Miqsha has been a site of ongoing clashes between Shiite-led protesters and police.
Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy permitted limited sit-ins ahead of the Feb. 14 anniversary.

But Friday’s march appears aimed at creating a new round-the-clock hub of the protest movement similar to Manana’s Pearl Square, which was stormed by security forces last year.

Occupy Wall Street Claims the City Ruined Its Library

New York Times
Feb. 9, 2012

A member of the Occupy Wall Street movement filed a claim on behalf of the group Thursday that the city had damaged or destroyed $47,000 worth of books and other property while clearing its protest site at Zuccotti Park last fall. The notice of claim, filed with the comptroller’s office, is a preliminary step toward lodging a civil lawsuit.

When the Occupy Wall Street encampment was evicted from the park on Nov. 15, police officers and sanitation workers dismantled and removed belongings and furnishings that had been kept in the park, tossing them onto sidewalks, into metal containers and into a dump truck. Many of those items ended up at a Sanitation Department facility in Midtown, where they were made available for pickup by their owners, some of whom found them damaged beyond repair. Other property, some of the Occupy protesters say, never resurfaced.

The lawyers who filed the claim, Alan Levine, Michael L. Spiegel and the law firm Siegel Teitelbaum & Evans, wrote that the city “unreasonably seized and took possession” of about 3,600 books, four computers, WiFi equipment, shelves, wooden chairs and the large tent that covered the area that the protesters called the People’s Library. The man who is named in the claim, Peter Dutro, is described in the notice as the “de facto treasurer” of the group.

When the librarians went to the sanitation facility, the claim said, only 1,003 of their books could be found and 201 of them were so damaged as to be unusable. The four computers were also damaged beyond repair, the claim said, and protesters said at the time that hard drives were missing from those machines that were retrieved and that the casings of the computers had been twisted and bent.

Full Article Here – http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/09/occupy-wall-street-charges-city-ruined-its-library/ 

Two Occupy L.A. protesters arrested at foreclosure event

Los Angeles Times
Feb. 9, 2012
By Abby Sewell

Two Occupy L.A. protesters were arrested Thursday outside a state building where California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris held a news conference to celebrate the state’s share of a settlement with banks involved in the foreclosure crisis.

Harris touted the “historic commitment to California of up to $18 billion that will benefit hundreds of thousands of homeowners in the state hardest hit by the mortgage crisis.”

Protesters, however, said the banks were let off the hook, calling the settlement a “sell-out.”

California Highway Patrol Officer Vince Ramirez said about 100 protesters gathered outside the Ronald Reagan Building on Spring Street about 11:30 a.m. Some of the protesters were “unruly” and tried to get into the building, he said. Two were arrested.

Full Article Here – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/occupy-la-protesters-arrested-kamala-harris.html 

In cyber era, militaries scramble for new skills

Feb. 9, 2012
By Peter Apps

LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – With growing worries about the threat of “cyber warfare”, militaries around the world are racing to recruit the computer specialists they believe may be central to the conflicts of the 21st century.

But whilst money is plentiful for new forces of “cyber warriors”, attracting often individualistic technical specialists and hackers into military hierarchies is another matter.

Finding the people to command them is also tough. After a decade of messy and relatively low-tech ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some senior western officers are if anything less confident with technology such as smartphones and tablet computers than their civilian contemporaries.

But with the Pentagon saying its computers are being attacked millions of times every day, time is short.

“We are busy and we are getting busier every day,” Lt Gen Rhett Hernandez, a former artillery officer who now heads U.S. Cyber Command, told a cyber security conference in London last month organised by British firm Defence IQ.

“Cyberspace requires a world-class cyber warrior … we must develop, recruit and retain in a different way to today.”

Even in an era of shrinking western military budgets, funding for cyber security is ratcheting up fast. The Pentagon’s 2012 budget allocated $2.5 million to improve cyber capabilities.

In December, the U.S. Army announced its first “cyber brigade” was operational, whilst the U.S. Navy and Air Force have their own cyber “fleets” and “wings”.

Not only are they tasked with protecting key U.S. military systems and networks, but they are also working to build offensive skills that U.S. commanders hope will give them an edge in any future conflict.

These, insiders say, include developing the ability to hack and destroy industrial and military systems such as traffic and electricity controls.

“For better or worse, it is American military thought that is leading American societal thought (in) how to think about things cyber,” former CIA director and Air Force Gen Michael Hayden told a security conference in Munich this month. 

Full Article Here – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/09/defence-cyber-idUSL5E8D75TY20120209

Silent State: Washington’s Campaign Against Whistle-Blowers

Feb. 9, 2012
By Peter Van Buren/ TomDispatch

On January 23rd, the Obama administration charged former CIA officer John Kiriakou under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information to journalists about the waterboarding of al-Qaeda suspects. His is just the latest prosecution in an unprecedented assault on government whistleblowers and leakers of every sort.

Kiriakou’s plight will clearly be but one more battle in a broader war to ensure that government actions and sunshine policies don’t go together. By now, there can be little doubt that government retaliation against whistleblowers is not an isolated event, nor even an agency-by-agency practice. The number of cases in play suggests an organized strategy to deprive Americans of knowledge of the more disreputable things that their government does. How it plays out in court and elsewhere will significantly affect our democracy.

Punish the Whistleblowers

The Obama administration has already charged more people—six—under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information than all past presidencies combined. (Prior to Obama, there were only three such cases in American history.)

Kiriakou, in particular, is accused of giving information about the CIA’s torture programs to reporters two years ago. Like the other five whistleblowers, he has been charged under the draconian World War I-era Espionage Act.

That Act has a sordid history, having once been used against the government’s political opponents. Targets included labor leaders and radicals like Eugene V. Debs, Bill Haywood, Philip Randolph, Victor Berger, John Reed, Max Eastman, and Emma Goldman. Debs, a union leader and socialist candidate for the presidency, was, in fact, sentenced to 10 years in jail for a speech attacking the Espionage Act itself. The Nixon administration infamously (and unsuccessfully) invoked the Act to bar the New York Times from continuing to publish the classified Pentagon Papers.

Yet, extreme as use of the Espionage Act against government insiders and whistleblowers may be, it’s only one part of the Obama administration’s attempt to sideline, if not always put away, those it wants to silence. Increasingly, federal agencies or departments intent on punishing a whistleblower are also resorting to extra-legal means. They are, for instance, manipulating personnel rules that cannot be easily challenged and do not require the production of evidence. And sometimes, they are moving beyond traditional notions of “punishment” and simply seeking to destroy the lives of those who dissent.

The well-reported case of Thomas Drake is an example. As an employee, Drake revealed to the press that the National Security Agency (NSA) spent $1.2 billion on a contract for a data collection program called Trailblazer when the work could have been done in-house for $3 million. The NSA’s response? Drake’s home was raided at gunpoint and the agency forced him out of his job.

“The government convinced themselves I was a bad guy, an enemy of the state, and went after me with everything they had seeking to destroy my life, my livelihood, and my person—the politics of personal destruction, while also engaging in abject, cutthroat character assassination, and complete fabrication and frame up,” Drake told Antiwar.com. “Marriages are strained, and spouses’ professional lives suffer as much as their personal lives. Too often, whistleblowers end up broken, blacklisted, and bankrupted,” said the attorney who represents Drake.

In Kiriakou’s case, the CIA found an excuse to fire his wife, also employed by the Agency, while she was on maternity leave. Whistleblower Bradley Manning, accused of leaking Army and State Department documents to the website WikiLeaks, spent more than a year in the worst of punitive conditions in a U.S. Marine prison and was denied the chance even to appear in court to defend himself until almost two years after his arrest. Former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Morris Davis lost his career as a researcher at the Library of Congress for writing a critical op-ed for the Wall Street Journal and a letter to the editor at the Washington Post on double standards at the infamous prison, as did Robert MacClean for blowing the whistle on the Transportation Security Administration.

Full Article Here – http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/silent_state_washingtons_campaign_against_whistleblowers_20120209/

Nokia publishes policy on African conflict minerals

Christian Science Monitor
Feb. 9, 2012
By Curt Hopkins

“Conflict minerals,” those mined to support groups conducting armed conflict or engaging in human rights abuses, have been an issue since long before ReadWriteWeb first wrote about it in July of 2010. The mineral equivalent of blood diamonds, they include tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold, all of which are used to manufacture our electronics.

Nokia, the world’s largest manufacturers of mobile phones, today published its policy on conflict minerals.

In a post on Nokia‘s “Conversations” blog, Ian Delaney lays out the company’s public policy (PDF), which augments their supplier requirements.

Delaney boils the policy down to these four elements.

  • We prohibit human rights abuses associated with the extraction, transport or trade of minerals.
  • We also prohibit any direct or indirect support to non-state armed groups or security forces that illegally control or tax mine sites, transport routes, trade points, or any upstream actors in the supply chain.
  • We have no tolerance with regard to corruption, money-laundering and bribery.
  • We require the parties in our supply chain to agree to follow the same principles.

The policy delves at some length into Nokia’s commitment to human rights “in accordance with accepted international conventions and practices, such as those of the United NationsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO Core Conventions on Labor Standards, UN Global Compact, and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.”

Under the sub-heading, “Implementation of the Policy with Regards to Conflict Minerals,” the document reads:

“We prohibit human rights abuses associated with the extraction, transport or trade of minerals. We also prohibit any direct or indirect support to non-state armed groups or security forces that illegally control or tax mine sites, transport routes, trade points, or any upstream actors in the supply chain. Similarly, Nokia has a no tolerance policy with respect to corruption, money-laundering and bribery. We require the parties in our supply chain to agree to follow the same principles.”

The document outlines some of the company’s process for oversight of suppliers, including the EICC-GeSI Conflict Minerals Reporting Template. It would be interesting to know how the suppliers will be reviewed, how often and what will happen to errant suppliers who use conflict minerals. We have asked Mr. Delaney exactly that and will update should we receive a response.

Full Article Here – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2012/0209/Nokia-publishes-policy-on-African-conflict-minerals