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2012 April | 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 »

Monthly Archives: April 2012

Cispa approved by House but critics urge Senate to block ‘horrible’ bill

Apr. 27, 2012

Free speech advocates are calling for the Senate to block controversial cybersecurity legislation they claim will give the US authorities unprecedented access to online communications.

The House of Representatives on Thursday ignored the threat of a White House veto to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (Cispa). The bill aims to make it easier for companies to share information collected on the internet with the federal government in order to help prevent electronic attacks from cybercriminals, foreign governments and terrorists.

Sponsors of the bill have made several amendments to Cispa in the past week, but critics say the bill still threatens to overrule existing privacy protections for citizens, and hands the National Security Agency too much power to access and use people’s private information.

The Center for Democracy and Technology said it was “disappointed that Cispa passed the House in such flawed form and under such a flawed process.”

“We worked very hard in co-operation with the intelligence committee to develop amendments to narrow some of the bill’s definitions and to limit its scope. We are very pleased that those amendments were adopted, leaving the bill better for privacy and civil liberties than it was going into the process,” the tech group said.

“However, we are also disappointed that House leadership chose to block amendments on two core issues we had long identified – the flow of information from the private sector directly to NSA and the use of that information for national security purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.”

“Cispa goes too far for little reason,” said Michelle Richardson, ACLU legislative counsel.
“Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy. As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back.
We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity.”

Richardson said senior figures including Adam Schiff of the House intelligence committee, Anna Eshoo, on the subcommittee on communications and technology, plus 28 congressional Republicans had voted against the bill.

“We are disappointed that it got this far but we remain optimistic that this bill can be killed,” Richardson said. She said the big danger now was that a compromise would be drawn up which could still endanger civil liberties online.

Earlier this week the Obama administration said it would veto the bill unless major amendments were made. Obama’s Office of Management and Budget said the administration was “committed to increasing public-private sharing of information about cybersecurity threats” but said the process “must be conducted in a manner that preserves Americans’ privacy, data confidentiality, and civil liberties and recognizes the civilian nature of cyberspace.”

“Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held legally accountable for failing to safeguard personal information adequately,” the OMB said.

On Thursday night the bill’s author, Republican Mike Rogers, chairman of the House intelligence committee, defended it. “This is the last bastion of things we need to do to protect this country,” he said.

The bill received broad support from the tech industry – which has been granted immunity from prosecution when it shares its customers information under Cispa.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/27/cispa-house-senate-bill?newsfeed=true 

You are all suspects now. What are you going to do about it?

John Pilger
Apr. 26, 2012

Bradley Manning judge warns military prosecutors in WikiLeaks case

Apr. 26, 2012

The military judge in the court-martial of the US soldier accused of handing WikiLeaks the biggest trove of unauthorised state secrets in American history has put army prosecutors on notice that they must prove Bradley Manning knew he was helping the enemy or face the possibility that the most serious charge against him be dismissed.

Colonel Denise Lind refused to throw out the charge – “aiding the enemy” – as had been requested by Manning’s defence lawyers. But she told the military prosecution that during the trial, now scheduled for the end of September, that they would have to prove that the intelligence analyst was fully aware that he was helping the enemy when he allegedly handed hundreds of thousands of secret US documents to WikiLeaks.

Aiding the enemy is the most serious in the list of 22 charges that have been brought against Manning. It carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The trial will start on 21 September and is expected to last three weeks. It is certain to be closely followed in America and around the world, both by those who see Manning as a traitor to his country and military superiors, and by those who believe he was a hero who is being punished for being a whistleblower.

In seeking dismissal of the most serious offense, defense attorney David Coombs had argued that the charge did not properly allege that Manning intended to help al-Qaida when he allegedly sent hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and state department diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Manning stated in an online chat with a confidant-turned-informant that he leaked the information because “I want people to see the truth”.

Prosecutors had argued that Manning knew the enemy would see the material when it appeared on WikiLeaks, regardless of his intentions.

Manning hasn’t entered a plea to any of the charges. He also hasn’t yet decided whether he will be tried by a judge or a jury.

Earlier Thursday, Lind rejected a motion to consolidate some charges that the defense said were duplicative. She said the defense could raise the motion again for sentencing purposes if Manning is convicted.

She denied another defense motion seeking to dismiss a count on the grounds that it was improperly charged. That count alleges that Manning wrongfully and wantonly caused intelligence to be published on the Internet, knowing it would be accessible to the enemy.

Lind also heard arguments on a government motion to bar any discussion at trial of whether the leaked material harmed US interests. Prosecutor major Ashden Fein said the government must prove only that Manning leaked the material knowing it could cause harm, regardless of whether it did.

The motion appeared to be aimed at blocking the defense’s attempts to obtain classified reports
compiled by the departments of defense, state and justice assessing the damage done by the WikiLeaks disclosures. Defense attorney David Coombs said the reports probably say the leaks did little or no damage; otherwise, he said, the prosecution would be eager to discuss them.

Fein said that since the government doesn’t have to prove damage, any courtroom discussion of damage assessments would waste the court’s time.

“Just because a damage assessment might say damage did occur or didn’t occur, it’s completely irrelevant” to proving the charges, Fein said.

The 24-year-old Oklahoma native was ordered court-martialed after he was accused of downloading the war logs, cables and video clips and then sending them to WikiLeaks. He was working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad when authorities say he copied classified material from government computers in late 2009 and early 2010.
Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/26/bradley-manning-judge-warns-prosecutors 

Occupy Oakland calls for general strike on Tuesday

Apr. 27, 2012

OAKLAND, Calif., Occupy Oakland members are calling for a general strike on Tuesday — May Day — as a show of unity between union and non-union workers.

Group members announced their plans at a news conference this morning at Telegraph Avenue and Broadway, which was the starting point for a general strike in 1946 as well as for a large Occupy Oakland protest last Nov. 2 that culminated in a march to the Port of Oakland to shut it down.

Occupy Oakland is calling for “no work, no school and no business as usual” on Tuesday.
Member Steven Angell said, “We want people to get out of work and get out of school and join us on the street.

However, Angell said, there aren’t any plans to shut down the Port of Oakland this time around.

Occupy Oakland members have also said they will attempt to shut down the Golden Gate Bridge Tuesday if bridge, bus and ferry workers, who are involved in ongoing labor negotiations with the bridge district, decide to strike.

Occupy Oakland spokeswoman Lauren Smith said earlier this week that the Golden Gate Labor
Coalition reached out to the group, citing its experience organizing massive blockades.

“Occupy Oakland has and will continue to support picket lines,” Smith said. “We stand in solidarity with workers.”

The website for Occupy Oakland states that buses will be available Tuesday morning to take protesters from Oakland to the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District spokeswoman Mary Currie declined to comment on the negotiations earlier this week but said district officials were preparing for the potential strike.

Full Article Here – http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/occupy-oakland-calls-general-strike-tuesday/nMjn8/

Cambodian environmental campaigner shot dead by police

BBC News
Apr. 26, 2012

A leading Cambodian environmentalist who investigated illegal logging has been killed in a confrontation with police, officials say.

Chut Wutty was shot dead while travelling in a threatened forest region in the south-west.

Details of the incident are unclear, but police say an officer was also killed in the exchange.  Mr Wutty had been helping indigenous people organise protests against the exploitation of protected forests.

Chut Wutty was driving through a remote area of Koh Kong province with two journalists from the Cambodia Daily newspaper at the time of the incident.

The BBC’s Guy De Launey in Phnom Penh says there have been suggestions that military police ordered the reporters to delete images from their cameras and that Mr Wutty objected.

Precisely what happened next is unclear, but shots were fired, and the environmental activist was fatally wounded.

A military police commander said one of his officers was also killed, while “doing his duty”.
Mr Wutty was one of the most outspoken activists in Cambodia. One of his colleagues told the BBC that he had angered many influential people.

He had received death threats in the past and sometimes carried an AK-47 rifle in his car.

The campaign group Global Witness says he had been one of the “few remaining Cambodian activists willing to speak out against the rapid escalation of illegal logging and land grabbing”.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-17859016

China dissident escapes from house arrest

Los Angeles Times
Apr. 27, 2012
By Barbara Demick

BEIJING — The blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng escaped from house arrest last weekend during a rescue operation mounted by supporters, but his whereabouts and condition are now unknown, activists said Friday.

The rescue of Chen, whose plight has attracted worldwide attention, was apparently timed to coincide with U.S.-China discussions on human rights taking place this week in Beijing and the visit next week by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Some reports have suggested that Chen was seeking political asylum and might have tried to flee to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

At least two people who were involved in the rescue from a village near Linyi in Shandong province have been arrested, and family members who were involved in a brawl with local authorities after Chen’s escape have been arrested.

Hu Jia, a veteran activist, reported on Twitter that Chen was at the U.S. Embassy, but activists in the United States said that was not the case.

“The situation is very dangerous,” Yang Jianli, a rights activist based in Washington, said in a telephone interview. “We don’t know if Chen is in a safe place or has been perhaps arrested by authorities.”

Details of the rescue operation have not been disclosed. He escaped Sunday from the house where he’d been held the last 18 months. The following day, according to activists who have spoken to family members, enraged local officials stormed into a family house in the village and a knife fight broke out.

“In the middle of the night, they climbed over the wall, kicked in the door and entered,” Chen Kegui, the dissident’s nephew, told activists in a recorded telephone call. Shuanghou Township leader Zhang Jian, who was in charge of enforcing the house arrest, was reportedly injured in the melee.

Chen Guangcheng, a 41-year-old lawyer blind since childhood, spent four years in prison after exposing forced sterilizations and other abuses by Chinese family-planning authorities. After his release in September 2010, he and his wife were placed under local house arrest and reportedly beaten.

Full Article Here – http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-china-blind-activist-20120427,0,5280843.story

WikiLeaks Truck Owner Arrested For Photographing Cops; Image Deleted

Apr. 26, 2012
By Carlos Miller

Metropolitan Transit Authority police arrested a man for photographing them at Penn Station in New York City this afternoon – deleting his photo – before releasing him from a jail cell an hour later.
Clark Stoeckley was issued a summons charging him with “engaging in threatening behavior.”

“I was walking through Penn Station and I came across these MTA cops with semi-automatic weapons,” he said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.

“I stopped to take a photo and the cop came up to me and arrested me. I asked, ‘why am I being arrested?’

“’Because you’re a dick,’” the officer responded.

While in custody, Stoeckley asked the cop why he felt threatened by a cell phone when he was carrying a semi-automatic gun.

“‘Because it could have been a phone gun,’”  the cop responded.

Last year, MTA police arrested Joey Boots for shooting video of armed soldiers inside Penn Station because they also feared his camera was a weapon. Those charges were eventually dropped.

Having just been released from custody, Stoeckley was on his way home where he will attempt to recover the deleted image from his iPhone. I recommended PhotoRec, which helped me recover the footage that was deleted after Miami-Dade Police Major Nancy Perez arrested me during the Occupy Miami eviction.

Stoeckley, a 29-year-old artist, is notorious for driving the WikiLeaks Truck, a truck he painted to raise awareness for Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier who is imprisoned for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Other than that, Stoeckley has no connection to Manning or WikiLeaks, the organization that has published or released to media all sorts of classified documents regarding the American wars overseas.

After Stoeckley was released this afternoon, he tweeted of his arrest, which prompted me to contact him for an interview. He sent me his number and when I called, the first thing I heard was a recorded message warning me that his phone was being monitored by the FBI.

The WikiLeaks Truck became a common fixture at Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street encampment.

At one point, police arrested him while distributing blankets to Occupy Wall Street activists when he refused to allow them to search the truck, an incident he caught on video.

Full Article Here – http://www.pixiq.com/article/wikileaks-truck-owner-arrested-for-photographing-cops 

Connecticut abolishes the death penalty

Apr. 25, 2012

Connecticut abolished the death penalty on Wednesday, but the repeal will not affect 11 people still on death row, including two men convicted over a gruesome 2007 “home invasion” attack.
The bill, signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy, makes Connecticut the fifth state in as many years to end capital punishment and the 17th overall, meaning one in three US mainland jurisdictions now outlaws the practice.
The legislation was introduced following the high-profile trial of two men sentenced to die for their role in a vicious 2007 attack on the home of prominent doctor William Petit.
Petit was beaten with a baseball bat and tied up while his wife was dragged off to a bank to withdraw money. One of the assailants then raped and strangled her, while his accomplice raped the doctor’s 11-year-old daughter.

The girl and her 17-year-old sister were tied to their beds, doused in fuel and left to burn as the intruders set the house ablaze and fled.
Petit, still tied up, escaped to a neighbor’s house and called the police.
The survivor and his sister Johanna had lobbied the Connecticut senate to vote against the bill, which replaces capital punishment with life imprisonment.
“Although it is an historic moment — Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized world by taking this action — it is a moment for sober reflection, not celebration,” Malloy said in a statement.

Canadian Military Demands Removal of Counterinsurgency Manual From Public Intelligence

Public Intelligence
Apr. 26, 2012

A representative of the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) has demanded the removal of a document on Canadian Land Force Counterinsurgency Operations that was first released by WikiLeaks in August 2009.  The document was published on this website in April 2010 after a copy of the report that was clearer and easier to read was found to be available online.  In May 2010, the manual was written about by Doug Saunders, a journalist working for the Globe and Mail who also reproduced the document in full.

The representative of Canada’s DND states that the document was not obtained by an Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Act request, Canada’s equivalent to the Freedom of Information Act, and that our reproduction of the document constitutes copyright infringement.  The idea of a government document being protected by copyright may be confusing to those from the United States, where all works created by government employees in the performance of their official duties are incapable of copyright protection under 17 USC § 105.  Because Canada is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the remnant of the British Empire, the government of Canada is technically led by the Queen of the United Kingdom and all works of its employees are thus subject to the Crown Copyright.  Under the legal provisions of Crown Copyright, the Queen of the United Kingdom owns all works of the Canadian government as articulated in Section 12 of the Copyright Act:

12. Without prejudice to any rights or privileges of the Crown, where any work is, or has been, prepared or published by or under the direction or control of Her Majesty or any government department, the copyright in the work shall, subject to any agreement with the author, belong to Her Majesty and in that case shall continue for the remainder of the calendar year of the first publication of the work and for a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year.

The Counterinsurgency Operations manual actually notes this distinction stating that the document’s copyright is for “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of National Defence.”  However, materials protected by Crown Copyright are not entitled to the same level of protection as regular copyrighted works. According to the Government of Canada Publications website, “Permission to reproduce Government of Canada works, in part or in whole, and by any means, for personal or public non-commercial purposes or for cost-recovery purposes, is not required.”  Personal and public non-commercial purposes is defined as “distribution of the reproduced information either for your own purposes only, or for a distribution at large whereby no fees whatsoever will be charged.”  Therefore, as long as the material is reproduced in an unmodified form where credit is given to the author and no fees are charged, reproducing government information protected by Crown Copyright is not a violation of copyright law.

The representative of Canada’s DND that demanded the removal of the Counterinsurgency Operations manual actually misrepresents Canadian law by not only indicating that any redistribution of a government work is copyright infringement, but also by indicating that materials obtained via ATIP requests are unable to be lawfully shared with others.  The representative states that “any material that might be released under an Access to Information Act would limited [sic] to the purpose for which access was requested and not for the subsequent widespread distribution to the public in contravention of the Copyright Act.”  The problem with this statement is that such widespread distribution is only in contravention of the Copyright Act if the recipient has failed to obtain permission from the government and is charging a fee for the reproduction, such as in a book or film.  Moreover, government documents obtained via ATIP requests are routinely reproduced in whole by newspapers and other places online.  In fact, a company called CHQ Software reproduces PDF copies of the very same counterinsurgency manual that we provide, only they charge $6.00 for it.

The provisions of Crown Copyright have been criticized by a number of prominent academics and advocates of open access to information, such as Michael Geist who has written that it is a “program that does more harm than good and that appears susceptible to political manipulation, any new copyright reform should eliminate crown copyright and adopt in its place a presumption that government materials belong to the public domain to be freely used without prior permission or compensation.”  Geist notes that the system for obtaining permission to commercially reproduce Canadian government works actually costs substantially more to taxpayers than it generates in revenue.

Full Article Here – http://publicintelligence.net/canadian-military-demands-removal-of-counterinsurgency-manual/ 

Judge refuses to dismiss Manning’s WikiLeaks case

Associated Press
Apr. 25, 2012

Maryland (AP) – A military judge refused on Wednesday to throw out the case against an Army private accused of providing reams of sensitive documents to Wikileaks in the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history.

Army Col. Denise Lind said she will rule Thursday on whether to dismiss any of the individual charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, including the most serious count of aiding the enemy — which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Prosecutors argue that the leak helped al-Qaida and that Manning knew its members regularly viewed the anti-secrecy website.
Manning hasn’t entered a plea to the charges. He also hasn’t yet decided whether he will be tried by a judge or a jury. Lind scheduled Manning’s trial for Sept. 21 through Oct. 12.

He is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WilkiLeaks, a website founded by Julian Assange, in late 2009 and early 2010.
Manning’s lawyers had sought dismissal of all 22 charges, contending prosecutors had failed their duty to share information that could be helpful to the defense, a legal process called discovery.
Lind agreed that prosecutors had wrongly assumed the discovery rules didn’t pertain to classified information but she found no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, turning down the motion to throw out the case.
She heard arguments later on defense motions seeking dismissal of individual charges.
Defense attorney David Coombs said a conviction would require the government to show that Manning sent WikiLeaks the material with a “genuine evil intent” that it be seen by al-Qaida.
Manning’s alleged motive, as he stated in his online chat logs with a confidant-turned-informant, was “I want people to see the truth.”
Absent an evil intent, Coombs said sending intelligence information to WikiLeaks without authorization was no different than giving it to the The New York Times or The Washington Post— a punishable offense, perhaps, but not as serious a crime as the government alleges.
“What the government’s really trying to say is, ‘He should have known better,’” Coombs said.
He said it wouldn’t be surprising if al-Qaida saw the material.
“Anyone can find anything if it’s posted on the Internet. Everyone knows that,” he said.
But prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow said the government needs only to show that Manning knew that the enemy would see the material and that he sent it without authorization.

Full Article Here – http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-04-25/judge-manning-wikileaks/54538844/1