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11.18.13

Interventionism Brings Blowback

Posted in America at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benghazi

Summary: Foreign policy in the news and what can be learned from the current strategies

IF WE are going to believe Fox, CNN, Sky and other corporate news channels, the world is a horribly dangerous place and it’s all because of some people who envy the West for infinite liberty and lots of inexpensive junk food. The reality is a lot more complicated than this; in order to understand the full story we must go back and revisit a history of foreign policy that’s designed to exploit and to annul the liberty of people abroad. We needn’t go so far back in time. Our former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, made a killing by helping to start a war [1], which the UK continues to defend on behalf of the US [2]. This war is said to have needlessly killed half a million people and displaced many more.

Domestically, the panic isn’t any better. Even in Western nations the spooks are trying to create new enemies, giving fake bombs to people and then heralding the threat of terrorism at home. Scahill recently said that “the FBI has a PhD in breaking up its own terror plots.” [3] Scahill has been a notable activist/author against drone strikes, which create hatred [4] and help radicalise people (which makes terrorism a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts). Obama himself takes great pleasure in assassinating people without trial [5,6], which would only contribute to more such hatred and put to end any moral high ground [7]. In Egypt, terror charges were recently filed against Obama [8] and given what he did in Syria (arming so-called ‘rebels’ through Benghazi [9] to induce so-called ‘change’ [10,11]) he oughtn’t be shocked by blowback [12]. It is believed that the strategy of assassination has been practised far too much recently (not just by the US [13]) and all it can ever do is create more of the phenomenon you purport to be destroying. Forceful intervention is hardly ever the solution. We need understanding and cooperation instead, building bridges after all the violence.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Tony Blair: never in the field of human history has one man earned so much from the deaths of so many

    Just as we learned that the US and UK governments were conspiring to stop us learning the truth of the Bush-Blair Iraq conspiracy, Tony Blair picked up £150,000 for an hour-long speech in Dubai

  2. Exclusive: US blocks publication of Chilcot’s report on how Britain went to war with Iraq

    Department of State’s objection to release of key evidence may prevent inquiry’s conclusions from ever being published, except in heavily redacted form

  3. Jeremy Scahill with Tom Engelhardt, Conversation, 30 October 2013
  4. U.S. Drone Program Needs to Be Accompanied by Hard Facts on Civilian Deaths

    Pakistan’s waffling on the number of civilians killed in U.S. drone strikes underscores the need for more transparency.

  5. Obama brag, in new book: I’m ‘really good at killing people’ with drones
  6. ‘I’m really good at killing people’ – book claims Obama told aides

    It seems that President Obama is very much aware of the effects of his drone campaign, as he reportedly told aides he’s “really good at killing people.”

    The quote comes from a new book called “Double Down,” by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, which chronicles the inside story of the 2012 election. The Washington Post was the first outlet to expose the quote in its review of the book.

  7. Does America have a “Licence to Kill”? US Drone War on Yemen Violates International Law

    Since 2009, the United States have regularly bombed Yemen. These aerial attacks have occurred in almost all of the country’s provinces. More recently, drone strikes have multiplied, and the infrastructure required for these types of attacks have been expanded, not only in Yemen, but also in Saudi Arabia and Djibouti. Since the beginning of strikes in November 2002 to the writing of this report in July 2013, the United States have carried out between 134 and 234 military operations in Yemen. This includes strikes carried out by aircraft and drones as well as missiles launched from warships located in the Gulf of Aden. According to various sources, the number of people killed range from 1000 to 2000. However, to this day, neither the Yemeni or American authorities have put forward official statistics on the number of casualties.

  8. Criminal terror charges filed against Obama

    Several prominent media sources in Egypt are now reporting that Egyptian lawyers have filed criminal terrorism charges in the International Criminal Court against President Obama in addition to the criminal terrorism charges previously filed in Egyptian courts against the president’s half-brother Malik Obama.

  9. Benghazi Survivors Given NDAs at CIA Memorial Service for Woods, Doherty

    Two former CIA officials who fought in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, were asked to sign additional nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) more than six months after those attacks. The two officials, who will testify Thursday before a subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, were presented the nondisclosure agreements during a memorial service in May at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, honoring Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, two of the CIA-affiliated personnel who died during those attacks.

  10. Coup intelligence says relations with CIA now restored

    The Director of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, Mohamed Farid Tuhami, disclosed that the cooperation between Egypt’s two intelligence services and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has now been restored to the same level as during the rule of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, back when General Omar Suleiman managed the Egyptian intelligence services. Tuhami, known as General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s mentor, is now in charge of military intelligence. Ousted President Mohammed Morsi had dismissed him from his former position over corruption charges; however, the coup leaders reinstated him.

  11. Syria has Changed

    The media coverage of the war in Syria examines only military, diplomatic and humanitarian action. It ignores profound transformation. However, one does not survive a sea of ​​violence without changing profoundly. From Damascus, where he has lived for two years, Thierry Meyssan describes this evolution.

  12. Barack Obama’s Twitter, Facebook, Campaign website and Email Accounts hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

    ‘Syrian Electronic Army is an organized hacking group loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and known for their high profile cyber attacks. This year they were able to disrupt the New York Times web page multiple times, Twitter, CNN, the Huffington Post and Global Post and many more targets.

    The SEA website launched in May 2011 stating the group’s mission: to attack the enemies of the Syrian government, mainly those who fabricated stories about the Syrian civil war.

  13. Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned with polonium, tests show

    Swiss scientists find levels of polonium 18 times higher than normal in first forensic tests on former Palestinian leader’s body

‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’ Becomes a Thing of the Past

Posted in Action, America, Europe at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Presumption of innocence
Hammond
Photo from FreeJeremy.net

Summary: Presumption of innocence and fair trials are no longer respected all that much (Hammond judged/punished by the spouse of a Stratfor client)

WHERE minor offences can lead to disproportionately long jail sentences [1] there is a story about Hammond [2], whose case we alluded to the other day. He helped show how surveillance expanded to the private sector (Stratfor) to be used against protests. We should view surveillance as a weapon [3,4] and the ‘trial’ of Hammond as a mockery of the system (connections between the judge and Stratfor [5]). This trial was as unfair as the witchhunt against Aaron Swartz. Punishment against dissent is getting more harsh, potentially requiring no trial for a prison sentence [6,7]. European citizens should be worried about this because this kind of ‘legal’ system is silently entering the EU [8,9], led by the CIA and other aggressors who defend centres of power. Presumption of innocence is becoming a thing to be remembered and noted only in history lessons. Due to ‘national security’ we are told that presumption of innocence is worth abandoning or superseding in some cases.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sentenced to a Slow Death

    If this were happening in any other country, Americans would be aghast. A sentence of life in prison, without the possibility of parole, for trying to sell $10 of marijuana to an undercover officer? For sharing LSD at a Grateful Dead concert? For siphoning gas from a truck? The punishment is so extreme, so irrational, so wildly disproportionate to the crime that it defies explanation.

  2. Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison, Jeremy Hammond Uses Allocution to Give Consequential Statement Highlighting Global Criminal Exploits by FBI Handlers

    Jeremy Hammond, a 28-year-old political activist, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor). The Ceremonial Courtroom at the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York was filled today with an outpouring of support by journalists, activists and other whistleblowers who see Jeremy Hammond’s actions as a form of civil disobedience, motivated by a desire to protest and expose the secret activities of private intelligence corporations.

  3. Our Government Has Weaponized the Internet. Here’s How They Did It

    If the NSA can hack Petrobras, the Russians can justify attacking Exxon/Mobil. If GCHQ can hack Belgacom to enable covert wiretaps, France can do the same to AT&T. If the Canadians target the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Chinese can target the U.S. Department of the Interior. We now live in a world where, if we are lucky, our attackers may be every country our traffic passes through except our own.

  4. The Internet Is Now Weaponized, And You Are The Target
  5. Judge in hacker case is married to a Stratfor client

    Jeremy Hammond’s lawyers plan to file a motion this week for Judge Preska’s recusal. Sparrow Media reported that Preska was made aware of the published connection between her husband and Stratfor and that her husband’s Stratfor-related information was published by Wikileaks, but “Preska indicated that this personal connection to the Hammond case ‘would not effect her ability to be impartial’.” A video from last week’s press conference featuring journalists, attorneys and civil liberties advocates is posted below.

  6. County Action Coming On NDAA Detention?

    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its use of indefinite detention of U.S. citizens has brought liberals and conservatives together across the country. Lane County commissioners Faye Stewart, a conservative, and Pete Sorenson, a progressive, were able to agree on the issue at a recent meeting.

  7. Will Carl Levin’s Amendments To NDAA Help President Obama Close Guantánamo? – OpEd

    Ever since President Obama took office in January 2009, and almost immediately promised to close George W. Bush’s “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he has faced opposition from Congress. Lawmakers only took four months to begin passing legislation designed to tie his hands, and, in recent years, they have imposed restrictions of increasing severity designed to keep Guantánamo open, and to prevent any more prisoners from being released, for reasons that involve either hysteria, cynical fearmongering or bleak games of political football.

  8. Court rejects Polish request to keep CIA jail hearing private

    The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a request from the Polish government to exclude the press and public from a hearing next month into whether Poland hosted a secret CIA jail on its soil, the court said on Thursday.

    The hearing in Strasbourg, scheduled for December 3, will be the first time an open court has heard the allegations that Warsaw allowed the United States to detain and interrogate al Qaeda suspects in a forest in northern Poland.

  9. Human rights court turns down Polish govt request to keep CIA jail hearing closed

11.08.13

Bezos-Owned Washington Post No Longer Has Ombudsman, Revolving Doors Plague the FCC Again

Posted in America at 2:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coup d’état of the media



Photo by Steve Jurvetson

Summary: Further erosion of independence in the corporate media and another fine example of its overseers being run by the same corporations it’s supposed to oversee

It was curious to find out that the ombudsman of the Washington Post had been made redundant, as pointed out in an open letter from Ralph Nader [1]. The Washington Post, which rejected the leaks from Bradley Manning and did a lot to serve CIA agenda (or beam propaganda to China as part of a deal with the government), is now owned by the head of Amazon, which also has a massive new contract with the CIA (to help store data about people, nations, and so on). It is worth remembering Amazon’s proximity to Microsoft as well. The trend-setting media (more influential than Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg and perhaps even the New York Times) is now literally owned by a man whose net worth is $28.9 billion. Previously, before this embarrassing scandal, Bill Gates’ wife was on the board of the Washington Post, but it wasn’t ownership of the whole. At least we now know who the Washington Post needs to serve, as per the steering managers.

The United States has this apparatus called FCC, which stands for Federal Communications Commission. It is supposed to supervise the media (among other things), but given that it’s full of corruption and appointments from those who are seemingly regulated (revolving doors in the FCC were covered here before [1, 2, 3, 4]), expect nothing to be done about the loss of oversight over corporate media, which now in Bezos’ hands is more corporate-owned than before. The FCC has just shown us that corruption is its motto by appointing Tom Wheeler [2] (check his professional background).

It is important to always recall who owns the media which we choose to trust. There’s a business model and/or a political agenda, but hiding it is easy using the art of language.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. An Open Letter to the Washington Post

    Mr. Bezos would do well to reestablish the longtime ombudsman post which was abolished in March of this year, presumably to save money. For an ombudsman’s role is not just to be an internal critic at the paper but also to be the reader’s coherent voice on the ways the Washington Post is being managed.

  2. Tom Wheeler confirmed as new chief of US FCC

    The confirmation of Tom Wheeler as chairman and Michael O’Rielly as a commissioner ends a deadlock over the appointment of two key FCC executives, after Republican lawmakers withdrew their opposition.

11.01.13

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Interior Ministry of France Pave the Way for US to Embrace GNU-Inspired Software Freedom

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Getting back liberty

Statue of Liberty

Summary: Public sector moves to Free/Open Source software (FOSS) show an international trend which even the home of most giant proprietary software multinationals seems to finally follow

THE painful news about the French Ministry of Defence and Microsoft is easily superseded by plenty of wonderful news about public services/government departments embracing Free software all around the world (even here in the UK there are some examples which are not publicly advertised). It turns out that corruption (such as bribery) from proprietary software giants is not enough to conquer everything which the taxpayers are funding. An important point needs to be made here. The situation is vastly different when it comes to private businesses, which are usually accountable to nobody. That’s what makes the public sector so unique and worth debating in public.

Good news comes from the French police [1], which explains Microsoft’s role in losing its grip (Windows XP patching cycle is ending). The French Interior Ministry, as it turns out [2], is also moving away from Microsoft (on 200,000 PCs). What an amazing number! And just to think that Mozilla so foolishly stopped developing Thunderbird any further, leaving people vulnerable to surveillance-friendly E-mail alternatives (E-mail on the Web cannot properly facilitate encryption).

Jamaica flagIn other exciting news, Jamaica is moving to freedom with GNU Health [3]. It is a “project of deploying GNU Health within their Public Health Care system.” [4]

Jamaica suffered European occupation for centuries, so hopefully its embrace of GNU will aid its autonomy and Independence, not to mention domestic job creation for programmers. Now it remains for the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services to follow suit [5] and fulfill its promises.

My online friend, who is French, said a week ago [6] that “[s]omething is becoming increasingly obvious: FOSS has come of age.” He is very much right and the point he makes was made here before. We take for granted now what we once really craved for. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is getting stronger now, adding a General Manager [7] called Patrick Masson, formerly UMassOnline’s Chief Technology Officer (University of Massachusetts, which is a public university).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. ‘It was a huge risk’: How the end of XP support helped France’s gendarmes embrace Ubuntu – fast

    The French gendarmerie began its switch to Linux almost 10 years ago: plans to expand the use of productivity tools in the force while at the same time keeping a lid on costs meant that proprietary software was given the boot.

  2. French Interior Ministry: open source 5 to 10 times cheaper

    France’s Ministry of the Interior says its use of Thunderbird, a free software email client, running on its 200 000 PCs since 2008, is five times cheaper than the use of the ubiquitous proprietary alternative. The ministry recently started using the combination of GLPI and OCS, free software tools for managing computer assets, software licences and configuration files. “This is 10 times less expensive than the previous proprietary tool.”

  3. Jamaica Ministry of Health adopts GNU Health

    The mission is in the context of the agreement signed between Jamaica Ministry of Health and GNU Solidario, to cooperate in the implementation of GNU Health, the Free Health and Hospital Information System in this country.

  4. Jamaica Ministry of Health adopts GNU Health

    “Success requires hard work” is the meaning of this Jamaican proverb. With a bright Caribbean sun and an even brighter welcoming crew, GNU Health unshipped in a new bay this week. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health (MoH), a group mission of GNU Solidario visited Jamaica and inaugurated officially the project of deploying GNU Health within their Public Health Care system.

  5. Open-source advocates to government: Let us help you fix healthcare.gov

    Much of the constructive criticism is coming from members of the “open source” community, a passionate but loose-knit group that advocates openness and collaboration as a means of writing better computer software. Their desire to help solve the federal government’s website woes in part stems from an early decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to make the healthcare.gov code available for examination – a promise that was never fully fulfilled.

  6. Expanding the battlefield for Free & Open Source Software

    The title of this post may sound rather belligerant, but it is for a reason. Ever since this Summer -longer in fact- I ended having several conversations with people from the FSF, OSI, April and FSFE (as well as other orgs). Something is becoming increasingly obvious: FOSS has come of age.

  7. OSI Names New General Manager

    Newly Appointed General Manager Patrick Masson Joins OSI from University of Massachusetts

10.28.13

Political Dissent is ‘Terrorism’ Now

Posted in America at 12:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

William Blum

Summary: It becomes ever more apparent that what those in power really fear is not the public getting hurt but the public seizing power

BEFORE changing the headline, one of Britain’s worst papers, known as the Daily Mail, published an article [1] titled “CIA drone strikes ‘rely heavily on NSA’s data-mining program’” (relate this to the previous post and the one about CIA drone strikes). According to the British press [2], the CIA was “suspicious of Edward Snowden years ago” and William Blum, who had worked in London with an ex-CIA officer (now a famous author and historian), said “[t]here is a drone with Assange’s name on it.” This ought to remind people of who’s the real enemy in the minds of CIA or NSA agents. The population is a real threat to the ambitions of conquest.

Since some time in early 2012 we have covered by mention many article about the NDAA, which includes provisions and actual laws that permit detention without trial (or even corporal punishment, which imprisonment itself can be) of US citizens. Think of internment of Japanese-Americans for an analogy. According to some news [3], there is effective resistance to this [4] and after what seems like publicity stunts by truckers [5,6] and others we seem to be seeing politicians following suit [7-9].

In the age when Nazi helpers like IBM (IBM helped Hitler ‘barcode’ people for assassination) seek to take the CIA contract away from Amazon [10] we are reminded that not much has changed since Japanese-Americans got imprisoned (punished collectively based on race — not political orientation — in order to be imprisoned in bulk). Based on some other news [11], the CIA’s equivalent of prison and punishment camps (like the Nazis’ in early stages of the war, before turning to death camps) may soon face declassification and the European Parliament is finally fuming over the CIA’s camps in Europe [12] (which months ago, as we repeatedly showed, the CIA wanted to shut down along with evidence, in the same country where the Nazis had put most of their camps). Don’t forget where many of the CIA’s first officers came from.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. CIA drone strikes ‘rely heavily on NSA’s data-mining program’
  2. CIA ‘suspicious of Edward Snowden years ago’

    Edward Snowden, the man behind the NSA spying revelations, aroused the suspicions of the CIA four years ago while he was working for the spy agency – but they failed to pass on a warning to the rest of the US government.

  3. Albany Common Council upholds U.S. Constitution!
  4. Wrong Then, Wrong Now: Mindful of Internment, California Condemns Detention Under NDAA
  5. Activists announce call campaign to repeal NDAA with truckers

    With truckers vowing to “restore the Constitution” due to start arriving in the nation’s capitol today, anti-NDAA activists have announced a call campaign to Congress to demand it enact one of the truckers’ principle demands, repeal of the NDAA.

  6. Trucker convoy demands arrest of congressmen who disobeyed oath

    Ride for the Constitution has issued a stern disavowal of some of Mr. Conlon’s remarks to US News and World Report, and affirms that he is not a spokesperson for the organization.

  7. California governor signs law defying cooperation with NDAA indefinite detention

    California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law barring state cooperation with any attempt by the federal government to indefinitely detain people. The legislation targets the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

  8. California Governor Signs Ban on NDAA Detentions

    After an overwhelmingly successful run through the California legislature last months, Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB351, a law banning all cooperation with the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or any other federal attempts to indefinitely detain people.

  9. Jerry Brown Signs California Ban On Indefinite Detentions
  10. U.S. court rules in favour of Amazon in CIA contract dispute
  11. Guantanamo lawyers want Obama to declassify CIA prison program

    Attorneys for five Guantanamo prisoners charged with plotting the September 11, 2001, attacks have asked President Barack Obama to declassify the CIA program that subjected the defendants to interrogation techniques that have been described as torture.

  12. European Parliament calls for investigation into CIA renditions

    Members of the European Parliament have called for an investigation into CIA operations in the European Union.

10.26.13

Latest Leaks Show That Nobody Can Rely on Government/Authority for Privacy, Free Software the Real Remedy

Posted in America, Europe at 3:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Revealing one’s true face (former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Putin with Merkel)

Vladimir Putin and Merkel
Photo from the Presidential Press and Information Office

Summary: Europe is compromising the privacy of citizens (in secret, using cross-national loopholes), Canada does the same, and why we are left dependent on ourselves and on Free software is we pursue privacy

YESTERDAY’S main newspapers (here in the UK) dared to scrutinise what they called “US spying”, showing their hypocrisy as the UK is the right-man hand in all this. The UK has several NSA bases/offshoots (at least one in Yorkshire and one in Gloucestershire) which help the US spy on Europe and also spy on Americans (bypassing US law).

In Canada, Canadian citizens are suing their government [1] for colluding with the NSA or for spying on Canadian citizens (the collusion enables ECHELON-type loophole exploitation). Here in Europe, Merkel finds herself in a major scandal for selling out 80 million or so Germans [2]. Glenn Greenwald has more leaks coming [3] while the White House and US State Department turn out to have gotten involved in national security leaks [4]. There is a lot of dirty business there and it’s about big money [5].

“The UK has several NSA bases/offshoots (at least one in Yorkshire and one in Gloucestershire) which help the US spy on Europe and also spy on Americans (bypassing US law).”According to French watchdog La Quadrature du Net [6-9], Europe only pretends to care for citizens’ privacy, so it seems like we can depend on no government in the world. Governments loathe citizens’ privacy because without surveillance it is harder for a government to defend itself from citizens, who are clearly perceived as an enemy rather than a kind of client.

What we end up having to do is rely on privacy-preserving software, which is mostly Free software like Mozilla Firefox [10] and underlying platforms such as Linux [11]. Never believe that the government will protect your privacy. The only entity that can protect your privacy is yourself, and having Free software that you and others can control in true transparency is essential for guaranteeing privacy.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Canadians sue their own government over domestic spying

    American privacy advocates aren’t the only ones taking their own government to court over domestic spying programs. On Tuesday, Canadian activists announced they were suing Canada’s equivalent of the National Security Agency.

    A coalition of Internet and privacy groups represented by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Union filed suit Tuesday against the Communications Security Establishment Canada.

  2. Merkel spying claim: with allies like these, who needs enemies?

    Is the negotiating edge that secret eavesdropping gives the US worth the immense reputational damage it is now suffering?

  3. Glenn Greenwald and the Future of Leaks

    Glenn Greenwald, the lawyer-turned-journalist-turned-global headline for his reporting on leaked NSA documents, says there is about to be a revolution that will radically change how news organizations cover governments and other big institutions.

    The change, he insists, is inevitable because of the pervasiveness of digital content, which has already remade the global economy by allowing instant access to vast troves of information. “Government and businesses cannot function without enormous amounts of data, and many people have to have access to that data,” Greenwald says, adding that it only takes one person with access and an assaulted conscience to leak, no matter what controls are in place.

    Information that governments, companies, and associations would rather keep private, especially when it contradicts what they tell the public, can be quickly downloaded and spirited away, as shown by the Edward Snowden National Security Agency files and the diplomatic and military files leaked by Army Private Chelsea Manning.

  4. Emails: White House, State Department coordinated with journalist on national security leaks

    White House and State Department officials cooperated extensively on background with a New York Times journalist during the period that he broke confidential national security information in a series of leaks that prompted outrage from lawmakers, according to unearthed 2011 and 2012 emails.

  5. Who Buys the Spies? The Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State

    Democratic leaders are full-fledged players in the national surveillance state, right along with Republicans.

  6. Reclaim Control Over Your Data!

    Few days before a crucial vote on the protection of our privacy, citizens supported by La Quadrature du Net start a campaign and information website: reclaimyourdata.eu. This site clearly shows the issues of this Regulation and proposes solutions to allow citizens to reclaim control over their personal data.

  7. The European Parliament Must Protect Our Right to Privacy
  8. Data Protection Regulation: La Quadrature’s Voting Recommendations to LIBE
  9. Major Loopholes in Privacy Regulation – EU Parliament Must Stand For Citizens

    The “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) Committee has just voted its report on Data Protection, led by Jan Philipp Albrecht. Despite some improvements, major loopholes – especially on “legitimate interest” and “pseudonymous” data – and the adoption of the secrete tripartite negotiation mandate (trilogue) could make the final text totally ineffective at protecting citizens. During these forthcoming negotiations, representatives of the Parliament should secure strong safeguards for citizens fundamental right to privacy.

  10. Mozilla’s Lightbeam tool will expose who is looking over your shoulder on the web
  11. Firefox OS: What it is – and what it means for you and your union

    Back in 1993 I was asked to look into how unions were using computer networks and email.

    The result was my 1996 book on the labour movement and the internet — and after that, LabourStart.

    Twenty years on and I’ve been looking into how we in the trade union movement use the new communications tools — smartphones and tablets — and the result is a new book I’ve just co-authored with Jeremy Green, “Firefox OS for Activists“.

10.23.13

Risky Energy and the Crushing of Protests

Posted in Action, America at 3:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Police Chief Blair

Photo by John Steven Fernandez

Summary: Tar sands profit drives political agenda and Canada is crushing protests again, bringing back memories of Toronto under Police Chief Blair (above)

JAPAN is learning the hard way that energy cannot be acquired so quickly and yet cheaply. There is a price to pay when you’re looking for shortcuts [1] and many people are likely to die from cancer as a result.

According to some reports [2], one family alone is poised to earn an outrageous amount of money by just destroying nature in Canada (and parts of the US). “Koch Brothers Could Earn $100 Billion in Tar Sands Profit if Keystone XL Pipeline Is Approved,” Alternet says.

“Many protests cannot happen without some level of privacy and policemen are increasingly turning to on-the-scene surveillance, taking videos of people’s faces at protests.”Meanwhile, reveals another report from the corporate press in Canada [3] (comments closed), Americans are protesting against fracking in their precious land and police vehicles are set ablaze, which may or may not be the action of the Americans. Past events suggest that sometimes the cars are set ablaze by the victim in order to demonise and crush the protests, as allegedly happened in Toronto due to overzealous ‘policing’ several years ago (Richard Stallman also alluded to this strategy a few days ago). A quick search for “shale-gas project canada police cars” reveals many more press articles, all of which suggest that the protests turned violent (tear gas and rubber bullets are said to have started this violence) and none refute the dramatic event which is police cars on fire by Americans.

The bottom line is, protest is increasingly being crushed, even using weapons and unjust arrests that are supposed to intimidate and imperil protests. Many protests cannot happen without some level of privacy and policemen are increasingly turning to on-the-scene surveillance, taking videos of people’s faces at protests. If that’s not enough to stress the importance of privacy, maybe the victims of environmental pollution (dirty energy) will. Dissent is gagged when people are no longer able to express themselves without fear of retribution.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Radioactivity level spikes 6,500 times at Fukushima well
  2. Koch Brothers Could Earn $100 Billion in Tar Sands Profit if Keystone XL Pipeline Is Approved
  3. Violence erupts in N.B. as RCMP move in on anti-fracking protest

    Police cars were set ablaze near a reserve north of Moncton, N.B., on Thursday as the RCMP clashed with native protesters who are trying to prevent seismic testing at a proposed shale gas development near their community.

    [...]

    The protesters refused the demands to disperse, and the confrontation devolved into a melee of tear gas and rubber bullets. In the end, at least 40 people, including Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock and several council members, had been arrested and five police cruisers had been set ablaze. The situation had calmed by early evening with news that Mr. Sock and some of the other protesters had been released.

    [...]

    Native leaders say it was the police who sparked the confrontation. They say police arrived with guns drawn and targeted elders with pepper spray. Ms. Levi-Peters said the police cars were set on fire after natives learned about the arrests.

10.07.13

Debt and Fraud Economies

Posted in America, Europe, Finance at 3:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Credit Suisse

Summary: A few remarks regarding so-called “successful” (rich) countries and what can be said about the source of affluence (if any, i.e. if not made up or stolen but derived from natural resources like oil)

The Swiss authorities are said to be cracking down on (or at least trying to put an end to) the large-scale financial fraud that many of us call “success” when in fact it’s gaming and manipulation, or in other words systematic looting [1]. At the same time, Switzerland considers introducing the concept of basic income [2,3] as a reality in this high-GDP country (one of the wealthiest in the world, as measured per capita). Europe is trying to mimic US success when it comes to startups [4], but it must realise that careless lending is what made a lot of US corporations grow and even sustain themselves as giants, operating at a loss or running on government subsidies (taxpayers’ money and/or collective/national debt). What we have right now is a massive US debt economy with pretense of recovery [5], corporate deregulation masquerading as “liberalism” [6], and sheer poverty that’s the side-effect of huge economic disparity, leading to sheer desperation for the masses [7]. If a nation seeks to enjoy long-term dominance without constant wars (some countries would rather start a war every once in a few years to send a warning sign regarding conformity and obedience) and without running massive deficits (e.g. subsidising massive corporations that engage in large-scale surveillance and imperialism), then a model nation would be hard to find. Switzerland thrives in financial crimes; it harbours many rich people’s savings in what’s essentially tax havens. Just ask Elmer. In that sense, Switzerland enjoys great wealth for complicity in crimes. Whether it shares the loot with all the citizens in the form of basic wage (like Dubai does by incentivising citizens to stay atop the oil) does not matter. Whether it pretends (to save face) that it is cracking down on the financial crimes that many of its bankers engage in may not matter either. What matters is not a country’s total wealth but the value of its morality. Sadly, by the standards many tend to embrace, all that counts is the “bottom line”, which by convention means money.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Swiss authorities investigate potential manipulation of £3tn currency markets

    Switzerland’s market regulator launches foreign exchange investigation involving ‘multiple banks around the world’

  2. Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult

    Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

  3. Swiss vote for sweet minimum monthly wage: $2,800

    Some 120,000 Swiss signatories have put their names to a petition demanding a monthly minimum wage of $2,800 (2,500 Swiss francs) for every single member of the working adult population. Enough names have been collected for a government vote.

    Anything less than the proposed amount would be deemed illegal, even for people working in the lowest paid jobs. A typical fast-food worker in the US earns roughly $1,500 per month.

  4. 4,000 have signed to support a Startup Europe – have you?

    Today, I’m delighted to announce we reached the milestone of 4,000 signatures. 4,000 people committed and ready to make a change, benefiting Europe’s entrepreneurial spirit and our digital future.

  5. Recovery hype: American Capitalism’s weapon of mass distraction

    From President Obama on down, defenders of the status quo insist that the US economy has “recovered” or “is recovering”. Some actually see the world that way. They inhabit, imagine they inhabit, or plan to soon inhabit the world of the infamous top 1%. Others simply seek security in life by loyally repeating whatever that 1% is saying.

  6. Neoliberalism’s unintended consequences

    One of the oldest rhetorical tricks of free-marketeers has been the appeal to unintended consequences; state interventions, they claim – often reasonably – don’t work out as intended. But it’s not just statist policies that are vulnerable to unintended consequences. So too is neoliberalism, as Ed Miliband’s speech yesterday made clear.

  7. Suicide and the Economy

    “We never spoke of them. Why would we?” Learning the the truth about my great-grandfather, and 40,000 Americans during the Great Depression

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