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 »

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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 »

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‘Anonymous’ Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US

Business Insider Mar. 2, 2012 By Michael Kelley Anonymous is front and center these days: the amorphous hacktivist group has been publishing internal data of U.S. banks while prominent members are prosecuted More »

Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Strikes Against ACTA In Eurpopean Parliament Today

Falvinge & Co
May 31, 2012

Three heavyweight committees in the European Parliament gave their voting recommendations on ACTA today. All three gave the same recommendation: reject ACTA. This means that today, the European Parliament issued three very hard strikes against ACTA.

What happened today was the first steps in a long chain that ends with the final vote in all of the European Parliament, which is the vote where ACTA ultimately lives or dies. If it is defeated on the floor of the European Parliament, then it’s a permakill. Boom, headshot.. But on the way to that vote, a number of specialized committees will say what they think from their perspective.

The committee that “owns” the issue of ACTA, the so-called INTA committee (International Trade), is the committee giving the final recommendation to the European Parliament as a whole. But as input to the INTA recommendation, four other committees will say what they think. Three of those – ITRE (Industry, Research, Energy), JURI (Legal affairs), and LIBE (Civil Liberties) – voted today.


They all voted to recommend rejection of ACTA, and therefore, effectively recommend that the European Parliament kill it dead. But this all happened with very narrow margins, defying an onslaught of procedural tricks and attempts of delaying, so the game is far from over.

Still, it is a sign of changing times. Rather than reciting amendments, political detailed minutiae and vote counts, I’d like to look at the bigger picture.

Perhaps the strongest indication of just how much times are changing is the fact that the monopoly maximalists – those politicians who are firmly planted in corporativist rule – have always had their way, especially in the committee of Legal Affairs which is full of lawyerspeak. At the same time, Pirate has been a dirty word, almost synonymous with criminal. Compare the first two votes today, in the Industry and Legal Affairs committees, and the Members of the European Parliament who were responsible for drafting the opinions of those committees:

Full Article Here – http://falkvinge.net/2012/05/31/three-strikes-against-acta-in-european-parliament-today/

“Hundreds detained” in Tibet after self-immolations

Reuters
May 31, 2012

BEIJING (Reuters) – Hundreds of Tibetans in Lhasa have been detained by Chinese security officers after two self-immolation protests against Chinese rule over Tibet, a U.S.-broadcaster said, stoking concerns of spreading unrest among Tibetans in China.

On Sunday, two Tibetan men set themselves on fire in Lhasa, state news agency Xinhua said, the first time in four years of a major Tibetan protest against Chinese rule. One of the men died.

China has branded the self-immolators “terrorists” and criminals and has blamed exiled Tibetans and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, for inciting them.

At least 35 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since March 2011 in protest against China’s six-decade rule over Tibet, according to Tibetan rights groups. At least 27 have died.

Late on Wednesday, Radio Free Asia cited a source as estimating that about 600 Tibetans had been detained since the Sunday’s protests in Lhasa. The number could not be independently confirmed because foreign journalists are barred from entering Tibet.
Hao Peng, deputy party secretary in the Tibet Autonomous Region, has urged authorities to tighten their grip on the Internet and mobile text messaging, reflecting government fears about unrest during 
a month-long Buddhist festival which started last week.
The move is the latest in a series of measures the government says are intended to maintain stability.
Hao Peng stressed that…the trouble caused by the activities of the Dalai clique has persisted, and the situation for stability maintenance is still complicated and grim,” the official Tibet Daily newspaper reported.
The detentions come amid news that a Tibetan woman had set herself ablaze on Wednesday afternoon in Aba prefecture in southwestern Sichuan province, according to Tibetan advocacy group Free Tibet and Radio Free Asia.

Julian Assange given 14 days to challenge extradition ruling

Guardian
May 30, 2011
By and

Julian Assange‘s fight against extradition to Sweden may stagger on to a second round at the supreme court after he was granted permission to submit fresh arguments.

Despite losing by a majority of five to two, his lawyers have been given 14 days to consider whether to challenge a central point of the judgment on the correct interpretation of international treaties.

The highly unusual legal development came after the supreme court justices decided that a public prosecutor was a “judicial authority” and that therefore Assange’s arrest warrant had been lawfully issued.


Assange, who is facing charges of sexual assault and rape in Sweden, was not in court; there was no legal requirement for him to be present. According to his solicitor, Gareth Peirce, he was stuck in central London traffic and never made it to the court in Westminster.

The obscure but potentially pivotal issue raised by Dinah Rose QC, Assange’s barrister, relates to Article 31.3 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. It states that treaties can be interpreted bearing in mind the “subsequent practice” of their application.

Assange’s lawyers believe that several of the justices on the seven-judge panel relied on that principle of subsequent practice in deciding that a public prosecutor had become accepted across Europe as a judicial authority.

Significantly, the court appears prepared to consider whether arguments about the Vienna Convention were raised sufficiently during the hearing. Because of security concerns the judgment was not circulated beforehand, so Assange’s lawyers did not receive it in time to make representations at an earlier stage.

His lawyers may also, concurrently, begin the process of appealing against the judgment to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg. According to the supreme court, the Crown Prosecution Service cannot start extraditing Assange until 13 June at the earliest.

“The majority of the judges believe that parliament was seriously misled when it approved the European arrest warrant system,” said Peirce.

“Parliament thought a ‘judicial authority’ meant a judge or court but the majority of supreme court judges based their decision on what is the practice in Europe and decided it on the basis of the Vienna Convention, which was never argued before the court.”

The two judges who found in Assange’s favour were Lord Mance and Lady Hale, who said that the court should not construe a UK statute contrary to the evidence of what parliament thought it was doing at the time.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/may/30/julian-assange-challenge-extradition
 

Dutch lawmakers reject online piracy treaty

Associated Press
May 29, 2012

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch lawmakers adopted a motion Tuesday urging the government not to sign a controversial international treaty aimed at reining in online piracy.

The motion was another setback for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, known as ACTA, which has run into opposition around the world.

The European Union suspended efforts to ratify the treaty in February amid a storm of protest from activists who say the agreement would stifle free speech and access to information.

Lisa Neves Goncalves — a spokeswoman for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation — said the government had earlier this year stated it would avoid signing the treaty until it was clear it did not breach the Dutch or EU constitutions. That clarity must come from the European Court of Justice, which the EU has asked to check whether ACTA violates any fundamental EU rights.


The treaty has been under negotiation for years. Its drafters say it is needed to harmonize international standards to protect the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals, fashion goods, and a range of other products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft.

Full Article Here – http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5irLbRYe35eEeZkm5qGKIYUZoQpaw?docId=6774432c0b81459b9a904e68315af5d0

Lawyers take to the streets with students for Montreal’s 35th consecutive night of protest

The Canadian Press
May 29, 2012

MONTREAL — As negotiations between student leaders and the provincial Liberals resumed in Quebec City Monday evening after a supper break, more protests took place in different parts of Quebec including Montreal, which hosted its 35th consecutive night of demonstrations.

Lawyers dressed in their courtroom gowns paraded in silence from the city’s main courthouse through the streets of Old Montreal to join the nightly march.

“It is one of the first times I’ve seen lawyers protest in public like this…and I’ve been practising for almost 30 years,” Bruno Grenier said outside the building surrounded by about 250 people, some carrying copies of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


The lawyer said his colleagues wanted to show the public that they oppose a law they “find unjust and which is probably unconstitutional.”

Along the route they were greeted by claps of support and people shouting “merci.”

As they arrived at a downtown park, bystanders surged to shake their hands. Organizer Remi Bourget addressed the crowd using a loud speaker before the legal protest ended.

The nightly demonstration then began with people walking through the streets banging pots and pans. The Montreal police quickly declared the march illegal, prompting a big cheer from the crowd. Police said the march could continue as long as no criminal acts are committed.

Full Article Here – http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/28/lawyers-take-to-the-streets-with-students-for-montreals-35th-consecutive-night-of-protest/ 

Peru declares emergency after 2 killed in protest

Associated Press
May 28, 2012
By CARLA SALAZAR

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru’s government declared a 30-day state of emergency in a highland province on Monday after it said two people were killed and dozens of police officers injured in violent anti-mining protests.

Interior Minister Wilver Calle told a news conference that 30 police officers were hurt in clashes near Cuzco when protesters pummeled police with rocks and set fire to pasture.

The protesters claim the Tinaya copper mine owned by Swiss-based Xstrata plc is contaminating local water supplies and sickening farm animals.


Calle announced the deaths but did not explain how they occurred other than to say that police were forced to open fire on protesters in self-defense. He said 46 police officers had been hurt in protests on Sunday.

Prime Minister Oscar Valdez defended the police use of force, saying the protesters “extremists who are attacking police authority.”

Protesters took a prosecutor hostage during the melee but the local mayor, Oscar Mullohuanca, said he was later released.

In a tweet, the Public Ministry said one of its vehicles was set ablaze.

The emergency was declared for Espinar province. It puts the military in charge of public order and allows authorities to suspend civil liberties, including the right to assembly.

Xstrata is the world’s fourth-largest copper producer and protesters have been blocking highway access to the Tinaya mine for a week, complaining that it is contaminating two rivers.

An environmental study commissioned by the local Roman Catholic Church and done last August and September allegedly found high levels of arsenic, as well as copper, mercury and other heavy metals in soil and water samples.

Xstrata denies it is polluting.

“The people are incensed for all that has happened. The situation is extremely volatile,” said a local priest, Luciano Ibba.

Full Article Here – http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jI5_w2Oj9x5nudPlTR9rv1BhV55g?docId=b0b7f0de514c427fa8d47962506c99c6

Bluefin tuna record Fukushima radioactivity

BBC News
May 28, 2012
By Jonathan Amos

Pacific Bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California have been found to have radioactive contamination from last year’s Fukushima nuclear accident.

The fish would have picked up the pollution while swimming in Japanese waters, before then moving to the far side of the ocean.

Scientists stress that the fish are still perfectly safe to eat.

However, the case does illustrate how migratory species can carry pollution over vast distances, they say.


“It’s a lesson to us in how interconnected eco-regions can be, even when they may be separated by thousands of miles,” Nicholas Fisher, a professor of marine sciences at Stony Brook University, New York, told BBC News.

Fisher and colleagues report their study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They examined the muscle tissues of 15 Bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) taken from waters off San Diego in August 2011, just a few months after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

These were animals whose parents would have spawned in Japanese waters and spent one to years locally before heading to feeding grounds in the eastern Pacific.

All the fish examined in the study showed elevated levels of radioactive caesium – the isotopes 134 and 137.

Caesium-137 is present in seawater anyway as a result of the fallout from atomic weapons testing, but the short, two-year half-life of caesium-134 means the contamination can be tied directly to
Fukushima. There is no other explanation for the isotope’s presence.

The measured concentrations were about 10 times the total caesium radioactivity seen in tuna specimens taken from before the accident.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18239107

Cleveland Occupy arrests are the latest in FBI’s pattern of manipulation

Guardian
May 28, 2012
By

Like real-life Avengers, the FBI and 23 separate police agencies joined forces and pounced on a band of villains hell-bent on sowing chaos in a sleepy Midwest suburb earlier this month. The FBI reassured the world that thanks to the “swift collaborative action” of law enforcement, it had rounded up five “self-proclaimed anarchists … intent on using violence to express their ideological views” by attempting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland on May Day.

Now, the Cleveland Five look more like bedraggled punks than diabolical geniuses, but surely doom was averted in the nick of time. In fact, the G-Men admit the exact opposite: “At no time during the course of the investigation was the public ever in danger.”


So if there was no threat, what really happened? This case was a familiar set-up in which the FBI fishes for dupes it can manipulate with informants and agents who stroke their marks, plant ideas, suggest the plans, provide money, weapons, vehicles and then heroically foil a terrorist act of the FBI’s own design. Since September 11, scores of these entrapment cases have been sprung on Muslims in America. It appears the Occupy Wall Street movement is now worthy of the same treatment.

And why not? The FBI’s top priority is counter-terrorism, and it has an $8bn budget to justify, which is close to Taiwan’s annual military expenditures. Springing terrorism traps makes it appear that if not for the FBI, America would descend into Middle East-style mayhem. For informants, there is the lure of cash and leniency for felonies. For agents, it means career advancement.

The Cleveland Five – Brandon Baxter, 20; Anthony Hayne, 35; Joshua Stafford, 23; Connor Stevens, 20; and Douglas Wright, 26 – were allegedly goaded by a criminal on the FBI dime who said “I could show you” how to take down a bridge, led them to the bridge, told them taking it out “would cost the corporate big wigs a lot of money”, secured inoperable C4 explosives provided by an undercover agent, and then warned them they are “on the hook” for it. The informant also provided them with jobs, money, a place to live, a friendly ear, beer, pot and the prescription stimulant Adderall.

Because the bureau announced the arrests on May 1 as Occupy protests were taking place in some 110 US cities, many observers claim they were politically motivated. Then on May 19 and 20 authorities slapped five men with terrorism charges during anti-NATO protests in Chicago. Will Potter, who analyzes FBI entrapment plots in his book Green is the New Red, says the two incidents are “a reflection of an ongoing pattern of behavior from the FBI of singling out political activists and having a direct influence in creating so-called terrorist plots for the purpose of proclaiming a victory in the war on terrorism.”

In the Cleveland and Chicago cases, the FBI is so desperate to manufacture terrorists it is now netting children. In Cleveland friends and family describe the boys – which everyone calls them – as lost souls who had found hope in the Occupy movement. Lea Tolls, a 46-year-old self-described “Occu-mom,” says: “They are angry. Some have mental illnesses, and there is alcoholism and abuse in their families.”

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/28/cleveland-occupy-arrests-fbi-manipulation  

‘Black Out, Speak Out:’ Canadian Internet campaign targets ‘undemocratic’ bill

RT
May 28, 2012

A sweeping omnibus bill introduced last month to the Canadian parliament has been harshly condemned as “undemocratic.” Over 13,000 websites across Canada are planning to protest with a June 4 blackout to highlight their cause.

Bill C-38 – otherwise known as the “Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act” – is a 425-page document that has been described by critics as “a statutory juggernaut.”

What was submitted as a budget bill to the Canadian House of Commons will introduce, amend or repeal nearly 70 federal laws.

With the ruling Conservative Party calling the shots, critics have accused the legislation of tightening the screws on organized labor by way of a provision that would require unions to publicly list all recipients of contracts valued at $5,000 or more.


A line buried deep in the document also ominously states, “The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act is repealed.”

The change would eliminate a 1985 law forcing companies bidding on federal contracts to pay “fair wages and overtime.”

Opposition New Democratic Party MP Pat Martin called the proposal a “solution without a problem.”

“The only conclusion I can come up with is that it’s a war on labor and the left. It’s what the Americans did with the right-to-work states and the end result is $8 or $9 an hour is now the average wage in places like North Carolina,” the Canadian Press cites him as saying.

The bill will also overhaul the country’s immigration rules, its temporary foreign workers program and its employment insurance system. In a further blow to the middle class, provisions in the legislation would effectively raise the country’s retirement age from 65 to 67 in a decade’s time.
­

‘Bill C-38 undoes decades of environmental law’

Environmentalists are also up in arms as the bill would repeal the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act.  It would also jettison red tape for major resource development projects, shorten the list of protected species, and overhaul the country’s Fisheries Act so that the federal government would only regulate the country’s major waterways.

The Green Party of Canada warned that if the bill passed in its current form, it would “undo decades of environmental law,” and “profoundly degrade the Canadian government’s ability to defend our environment.”

As the battle of the mega-bill is just getting started, some 13,000 thousand websites across Canada will go “black” next Monday to rally the public against it.

Campaign organizers have called potential supporters to join “a committed group of organizations representing millions of Canadians” as they darken their websites “in defense of nature and society.”

Full Article Here – http://www.rt.com/news/canada-internet-black-out-418/

2 Tibetans set selves on fire outside Lhasa temple

Associated Press
May 27, 2012

BEIJING (AP) — Two men engulfed themselves in towering flames outside a temple that is a popular tourist site in Lhasa, marking the first time a recent wave of self-immolations to protest Chinese rule has reached the tightly guarded Tibetan capital.
The official Xinhua News Agency said one of the men died and the other was hospitalized after they set themselves on fire Sunday outside the Jokhang Temple. The report quoted a local Communist Party official as blaming the incident on separatist forces.
Xinhua said the men were taken away by authorities within two minutes of setting themselves on fire.

There have been at least 34 immolations since March of last year to draw attention to China‘s restrictions on Buddhism and to call for the return from exile of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Most have taken place in heavily Tibetan areas of China, but only one had occurred in Tibet itself and none in the capital.

Chinese authorities have confirmed some of the self-immolations over the past year but not all.

Protests have become rare in remote Tibet and Lhasa in particular because of tight police security that has blanketed the area since anti-government riots erupted in Lhasa in 2008.

The latest incident occurred in the open-air Barkhor market near the temple in the center of Lhasa, an area popular with Tibetans and tourists alike.

Radio Free Asia reported Monday that Lhasa was under heavy police and paramilitary guard following the immolations and that the situation was very tense.

Xinhua said the immolations were handled quickly and order restored. It also quoted a senior official with the regional communist government as saying it was a separatist incident.

“They were a continuation of the self-immolations in other Tibetan areas and these acts were all aimed at separating Tibet from China,” Xinhua quoted Hao Peng, secretary of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Tibet Committee, as saying in a statement Sunday.

Xinhua identified the Tibetan who died as Tobgye Tseten from Xiahe county in Gansu province and the other man as Dargye, a Tibetan from Aba county in Sichuan province.

Most of the recent immolations have taken place in Aba, home to Kirti monastery, which has seen numerous protests against the Chinese government over the past several years. Xiahe is home to the large and influential Labrang monastery and the Tibetan community there has had sporadic clashes with local authorities.