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2012 February 23 | 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 23, 2012

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

Feb. 23, 2012

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

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 

DOJ Urges Supreme Court to Halt Challenge to Warrantless Eavesdropping

Feb. 22, 2012

The Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to halt a legal challenge weighing the constitutionality of a once-secret warrantless surveillance program targeting Americans’ communications that Congress eventually legalized in 2008.

The FISA Amendments Act (.pdf), the subject of the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is outside the United States. The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”

The administration is asking the Supreme Court to review an appellate decision that said the nearly 4-year-old lawsuit could move forward. The government said the ACLU and a host of other groups don’t have the legal standing to bring the case because they have no evidence they or their overseas clients are being targeted.

The case arrives at the high court’s inbox after having two different outcomes in the lower courts. It marks the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to review the eavesdropping program that was secretly employed in the wake of 9/11 by the George W. Bush administration, and eventually largely codified into law four years ago.

A lower court had ruled the ACLU, Amnesty International, Global Fund for Women, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, The Nation magazine, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union and other plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case, because they could not demonstrate that they were subject to the eavesdropping.

The groups appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that they often work with overseas dissidents who might be targets of the National Security Agency program. Instead of speaking with those people on the phone or through e-mails, the groups asserted that they have had to make expensive overseas trips in a bid to maintain attorney-client confidentiality.

The plaintiffs, some of them journalists, also claim the 2008 legislation chills their speech, and violates their Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

Full Article Here – http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/02/scotus-fisa-amendments/

‘Occupy’ London activists lose eviction fight

The News International
Feb. 22, 2012

LONDON: Anti-capitalism activists lost a legal fight on Wednesday to stay camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London after three judges rejected their appeal application, heralding the end of their four-month protest.

Their defeat in the Court of Appeal is likely to see the City of London Corporation, on whose land the activists have been camping, call in the bailiffs to remove dozens of tents and evict protesters inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protest.

“It’s not a surprise,” Dan Ashman, one of the protesters, told Reuters after the ruling. “Authorities are untouchable.” He said important equipment such as computers would be removed from the camp of some 150-200 tents and it would be up to the protesters what they do next.

Authorities in some North American cities have used violence to forcibly remove similar camps. The City of London Corporation had said it would wait until the application for an appeal had been heard before moving in. London Occupy, part of an international movement, has been protesting against bankers’ bonuses and what they say is corporate greed.

The Corporation says it wants the camp removed for safety and hygiene reasons and planning control and because it interferes with a public right of way and the rights of those who wished to worship in the Cathedral.

It won a case in the High Court last month for the tents to be taken away, but the protesters went to the Court of Appeal arguing that their case had unique and global significance. But in a packed but hushed court the Master of the Rolls, David Neuberger, one of the most senior judges in England and Wales, dismissed their arguments.

“Far from it not being open to the judge to make the orders that he made, it seems to us that there is a very powerful case indeed for saying that, if he had refused to make any order in the city’s favour, this court would have reversed them,” he said in his judgment.

Full Article Here – http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=94236&Cat=1

Acta approval stalled by European commission

Feb. 22, 2012

Approval of the controversial international anti-counterfeiting treaty Acta has been stalled by the European commission, which is to ask Europe‘s highest court whether implementing it would violate any fundamental EU rights.

The decision comes as the treaty faces growing opposition in parliaments, city streets and the internet, with some countries including Germany, the Netherlands and Poland declaring they would not approve the agreement in its current form – a stance that would make it impossible to ratify, because it requires every European country to sign up and approve it.

EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said on Wednesday that an opinion from the European court of justice would clear what he called the “fog of misinformation” surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

“This debate must be based upon facts and not upon the misinformation or rumour that has dominated social media sites and blogs in recent weeks,” De Gucht told reporters in Brussels. “Acta will not censor websites or shut them down; Acta will not hinder freedom of the internet or freedom of speech.” The ECJ will assess Acta’s compatibility with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or that of protection, he said.

The decision to refer the treaty to the ECJ appears to reflect recognition by EU officials of the political obstacles Acta faces. Earlier this month protesters marched against the agreement in several European capitals including London, Berlin, Helsinki, Paris and Vienna. Internet lobbyists and health campaigners have rallied against it, saying that overly strict controls of copyright would exclude people from the internet and prevent developing countries from accessing generic medicines. The agreement asks internet providers to co-operate with national authorities to crack down on online piracy, for example by cutting off internet access to users who illegally download music or films if that is part of the legal framework in that country.

Intellectual property is Europe’s main raw material, but the problem is that we currently struggle to protect it outside the EU. This hurts our companies, destroys jobs and harms our economies,” De Gucht said.

At the same time MPs in a number of countries have said they will not sign it. Although the EU and 22 EU member states signed the treaty on 26 January 2012 in Tokyo, and the European council unanimously approved Acta in December, all 27 member countries have to formally ratify it for the EU to be a party to the treaty.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/22/acta-stalled-european-commission?newsfeed=true 

Elderly poverty rates 200% higher for blacks and Latinos: report

Raw Story
Feb. 22, 2012
By David Edwards

A new report finds that black and Latino Americans are significantly more likely to be have difficulty retiring than white Americans on average.

University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education examined statistics from 2008 to 2010 and determined that black and Latino retirees were more likely to be in the lowest income group. According to their report (PDF), 32 percent blacks and 47 percent of Latinos are in the bottom 25 percent of earners, while only 22 percent of whites were in the bottom 25 percent.

Senior poverty rates among people of color were even more staggering, with 19.3 percent of black seniors and 19 percent of Latino seniors in poverty. Among whites, however, only 7.4 percent of seniors were below the poverty line.

Statistics showed that blacks and Latinos were also far less likely have retirement plans or health insurance offered by their employers, factors that make saving for retirement even harder.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/02/22/elderly-poverty-rates-200-higher-for-blacks-and-latinos-report/