Posts tagged activist
http://NextNewsNetwork.com | The NDAA has been called the death of our republican form of government. That acronym refers to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which contains a provision allowing the president to order the indefinite military detention of anyone accused of offering substantial support to al-Qaeda or “associated forces.”
The measure does not define critical terms — for instance, what groups would be considered “associated forces.” And it applies to U.S. citizens, who — under the ambiguous and expansive terms of that measure — could be detained by the military, on U.S. soil, until what the measure calls the “end of hostilities,” which in the open-ended war on terror could mean forever. According to Obama administration spokesmen, the NDAA could be used to imprison war correspondents and other journalists who cover terrorism-related issues.
The NDAA has no parallel in American history. In fact, it is without precedent in the history of Anglo-Saxon law since the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. Perhaps the closest historical kindred to the NDAA would be Article 58 of the Soviet Criminal Code, which allowed for arrest and summary imprisonment of anyone suspected of working to undermine the Soviet state.
Journalist and activist Tangerine Bolen is one of eight plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the NDAA. Although she voted for Obama, she describes herself as “terrified” by the arbitrary powers that the president and his advisers can now exercise in the name of fighting terrorism.
Next News Network’s WHDT World News Program airs daily at 6pm and 11pm Eastern on Comcast, DirecTV and Over-the-Air and Online at http://usmediavault.com/WHDT.html
Tangerine Bolen – http://StopNDAA.ORG
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The Associated Press
Revenge for prosecution of web activist
The FBI has launched an investigation after hacker-activist group Anonymous says it hijacked the website of the U.S. Sentencing Commission to avenge the death of Aaron Swartz, an internet activist who committed suicide.
The website of the commission, an independent agency of the judicial branch, was taken over early Saturday and replaced with a message warning that when Swartz killed himself two weeks ago “a line was crossed.”
The hackers say they’ve infiltrated several government computer systems and copied secret information that they now threaten to make public.
Family and friends of Swartz, who helped create Reddit and RSS, say he killed himself after he was hounded by federal prosecutors.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, in the wake of the suicide, said she believed the case was conducted “reasonably” and “appropriately.”
Officials say he helped post millions of court documents for free online and that he illegally downloaded millions of academic articles from an online clearinghouse.
The FBI’s Richard McFeely, executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, said in a statement that “we were aware as soon as it happened and are handling it as a criminal investigation. We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person’s or government agency’s network.”
Swartz’s supporters believe Ortiz’s office was overly aggressive in charging Swartz with 13 felonies for tapping into the computer network at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to download nearly five million articles from an online clearinghouse for academic journals.
Swartz’s lawyer, Elliot Peters, said prosecutors were insisting that any plea deal would involve Swartz pleading guilty to all 13 felony charges against him and serving four to six months in prison.
Ortiz has said her prosecutors did not demand that Swartz plead guilty.
By Kathy Gill
Commentary: I spent much of Saturday trying to reconcile two very different approaches to justice meted out by the Obama Administration.
The first is old (mid-December) news: British bank HSBC launders money for at least a decade and is fined four weeks earnings. I learned about it Friday from The Daily Show.
How can anyone other than a banking executive look at this action on the part of the U.S. government and say, “There is justice here; this is fair and reasonable.”
They can’t. Because it’s not.
The other case is about Aaron Swartz, a talented and extraordinary young man, a technologist and activist. At age 14, he helped develop RSS, the technology that underpins the web’s information subscription system.
Cory Doctorow called him “a full-time, uncompromising, reckless and delightful shit-disturber.”
At age 26, he killed himself this weekend.
In its obituary, the NY Times notes his sense of public good, reporting that in 2008 he joined forces with Carl Malamud, the founder of public.resource.org, to make legal records freely accessible. Aaron legally obtained about 20 million pages of documents from PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), the repository for federal judicial documents.
The government shut down the free library program, and Mr. Malamud feared that legal trouble might follow even though he felt they had violated no laws. As he recalled in a newspaper account, “I immediately saw the potential for overreaction by the courts.” He recalled telling Mr. Swartz: “You need to talk to a lawyer. I need to talk to a lawyer.”
Mr. Swartz recalled in a 2009 interview, “I had this vision of the feds crashing down the door, taking everything away.” He said he locked the deadbolt on his door, lay down on the bed for a while and then called his mother.
The federal government investigated but did not prosecute.
Also in 2008, Aaron issued a Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto, calling for scholarly work to be released online in the “grand tradition of civil disobedience.” Research demonstrates that openly accessible publications are cited by others more often than research blocked by digital lock-and-key. This spread of knowledge is good for society as a whole.
Yet the DOJ, in the person of Carmen M. Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, indicted Aaron, charging him with stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR.
If convicted, Aaron faced up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
For a first offense, a victimless crime where more than half of the information was in the public domain and where the “stolen property” had been returned. Where there was no harm and no theft according to one expert witness, only a Minority Report-like “pre-crime” presumption.
His expert witness clearly articulates the weakness of the DOJ case.
I know a criminal hack when I see it, and Aaron’s downloading of journal articles from an unlocked closet is not an offense worth 35 years in jail.
At the time of Aaron’s actions, the JSTOR website allowed an unlimited number of downloads by anybody on MIT’s 18.x Class-A network.
Aaron Swartz … was an intelligent young man who found a loophole that would allow him to download a lot of documents quickly. This loophole was created intentionally by MIT and JSTOR, and was codified contractually in the piles of paperwork turned over during discovery.
If I had taken the stand as planned and had been asked by the prosecutor whether Aaron’s actions were “wrong”, I would probably have replied that what Aaron did would better be described as “inconsiderate”. In the same way it is inconsiderate to write a check at the supermarket while a dozen people queue up behind you or to check out every book at the library needed for a History 101 paper. It is inconsiderate to download lots of files on shared wifi or to spider Wikipedia too quickly, but none of these actions should lead to a young person being hounded for years and haunted by the possibility of a 35 year sentence.
You have to ask yourself: who in the Department of Justice did Aaron embarrass so badly back in 2008? Or which academic journal publisher has an “in” with the U.S. government?
Let me close with this observation from lawyer Lawrence Lessig:
Early on, and to its great credit, JSTOR figured “appropriate” out: They declined to pursue their own action against Aaron, and they asked the government to drop its. MIT, to its great shame, was not as clear, and so the prosecutor had the excuse he needed to continue his war against the “criminal” who we who loved him knew as Aaron.
He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you.
How can anyone other than a publishing executive look at this action on the part of the U.S. government and say “that’s fair and reasonable.”
They can’t. Because it’s not.
The mission of the Department of Justice is, in part, “to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior, and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”
They failed on both counts here.
Our public legal system — the one that is supposed to be looking out for us, the citizens of the United States — kowtowed to a British corporation while grinding its heel into a 26-year-old idealist.
We should be ashamed.
We live in a democracy. Tell your friends but just as importantly, tell your Congressmen and our President.
The DOJ was wrong, not once, but twice.
Only we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.
First published at The Moderate Voice; edited for typo.
Update: 9:45 pm Sunday
Anonymous hacks MIT.edu (the site was down earlier tonight), calls for reform of computer crime law as well as copyright and intellectual property law, “returning it to the proper principles of common good to the many, rather than private gain to the few.”
PDF of the entire page:
Kathy Gill (@kegill)has 20 years experience in digital media—both development and instruction. Since 2003, she has taught at the University of Washington and currently manages the website for King County Elections. A political junkie, her consulting work includes four years writing about U.S. politics for about.com, one of the top 10 visited Web content sites on the Internet, and she has worked with Boeing, AT&T Wireless, SAFECO, and Microsoft on intranet projects.
This article originally appeared on GeekWire.
Re-blogged with permission.
In respect and support, Aaron’s manifesto is posted below.
Guerilla Open Access Manifesto
Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.
There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.
That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.
“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal — there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.
Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.
Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.
But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.
There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.
We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world.<P>We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.
With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?
July 2008, Eremo, Italy
Tens of thousands Malaysians have come out to protest in the country’s capital against the government calling for reforms and possible ouster of the ruling coalition. The rally comes before Malaysia’s general elections, which are due by mid-2013.
According to local police, 80,000 people marched through Kuala Lumpur to the legendary Stadium Merdeka, where the current governing alliance declared independence from Britain in 1957, reported The Malaysian Insider.
Opposition estimates that the turnout was even higher, at about 100,000, according to Malaysia Kini.
Protesters’ demands included better electoral and environmental laws, improved education system, abolition of student loans and fair royalty payments to oil-producing states.
The opposition argues that the country’s electoral register is fraudulent and has pro-government bias.
During the rally people wore various bright colors including yellow and green, each representing an activist group.
The rally resembled a festival with food sellers and other vendors coming out to the streets. People carried flags and signs and some even wore Guy Fawkes masks, as popularized by the 2005 film V for Vendetta.
Opposition leader Lim Guan Eng spoke at the protest urging for change from the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak’s and his Barisan Nasional coalition, which has held power for the past 55 years.
The ruling coalition has been in control of Malaysia since independence from Britain.
“Our government is so corrupt. The government should listen to us. They need to reform. For more than 50 years they have ruled Malaysia,” rally participant Azlan Abu Bakar told News24.
The co-founder of social news website Reddit committed suicide in New York City on Friday. Aaron Swartz was facing a controversial trial over the alleged violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He faced decades in prison and a $1 million fine.
“The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” Swartz’ attorney, Elliot R. Peters, said in an email to The Tech.
The 26-year-old was the co-founder of Reddit and executive director of Demand Progress, a website that focuses on policy changes for civil liberties, civil rights, and government reform in the US.
Swartz was also a renowned programmer. By the age of 13, he created his first web application which was essentially the same idea as Wikipedia, according to his website.
In 2011, Swartz was charged with allegedly stealing more than four million academic journals from JSTOR, an archive of scientific journals and academic papers, via an open connection at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
He faced 13 felony charges, including breaching site terms and intending to share downloaded files through peer-to-peer networks, computer fraud, wire fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, and criminal forfeiture. He was also accused of evading MIT’s attempts to kick his laptop off the network while downloading millions of documents from JSTOR.
Many say the lawsuit is unfounded because MIT allows guests access to JSTOR – and Swartz, who was undertaking a fellowship at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics at the time of downloading, was a guest.
The case has also been deemed highly controversial because it wasn’t JSTOR – the alleged victim in the case – which referred Swartz to the federal government, according to the company’s vice president of Marketing and Communications, Heidi McGregor. She says JSTOR was content once it reclaimed the works from Swartz.
“We stopped this downloading activity, and the individual responsible, Mr. Swartz, was identified. We secured from Mr. Swartz the content that was taken, and received confirmation that the content was not and would not be used, copied, transferred, or distributed,” the company said in its statement on the prosecution.
The statement went on to say that the investigation was directed by the United States Attorney’s Office.
And while the US government was threatening Swartz with decades in prison and a hefty fine, some say the move was entirely unfounded.
“This makes no sense. It’s like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library,” Demand Progress Executive Director David Segar said in a statement, as quoted by Wired magazine.
“It’s even more strange because the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute,” Segal said.
BREAKING NEWS: It has been reported that Tom Cryer passed away June 4, 2012 at the age of 62. [born 9/11/1949 = 63 ~ ClrIn Honor of TOM CRYER - Our Prayers are with his family!!!!
Please visit Tom's website to learn & educate others!!!!
Tax this and tax that, everything we earn, buy or sell is taxed anymore and people are just plain fed up! Attorney TOM CRYER has had his day in court and WON when he proved to a jury that his right to earn a living was not taxable. After he won his case, he founded Truth Attack whose goals are to promote the truth concerning tax laws and to restore the country to a Constitutional Republic.
Websites: http://www.truthattack.org/jml and http://www.truthattack.org/jml/index.php/about-us/meet-tom-cryer
Hosted by Joyce Riley and David von Kleist
By Jack Hunter
Ron Paul is 3 for 3 in his endorsements in the last two weeks. Paul endorsed Kurt Bills, and Bills is now the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. Paul endorsed Thomas Massie, and Massie is now the GOP nominee in Kentucky’s 4th congressional district race. Paul endorsed Ted Cruz, and as of last night Cruz will now go head-to-head with Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in a Texas runoff for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.
Coincidence? Not according to Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray who says Ron and Rand Paul are building a “machine:”
Ron Paul, still, if barely, a presidential candidate, suffered another landslide defeat in the Kentucky primary last week. But the Pauls won anyway: Their hand-picked candidate Thomas Massie, backed by Kentucky senator Rand Paul and funded by a wealthy 21-year-old Texan Paul acolyte with a super PAC, won his hotly-contested House primary by a decisive margin.
Quietly, from the remnants of two failed presidential campaigns and the formidable online Paul organizations, a political machine is being born. The Paul agenda of extremely limited government, suspicion of economic elites, and their true outsider street cred have broad appeal in their party’s politics… The Republican Senate nominees in Wisconsin and Minnesota this cycle owe their nomination in part to the Paul influence. A Paul acolyte, Ted Cruz, is on the cusp of an upset victory over the establishment favorite in Texas Republican Senate primary. And Paul’s son Rand, the junior senator from Kentucky, is now mentioned seriously as a prospect for the 2016 Republican nomination should Mitt Romney fall short in November.
This new attention to state races is, a Paul advisor said, a matter of strategy.
“As Ron Paul moves on to a different phase, there will be other leaders who are in a position to emerge,” said the Republican strategist close to the Paul campaign. “Obviously the more people who are sympathetic to their issues, a host of those is a positive thing for the bigger movement. That’s part of the objectives.”
Of the major strategic goals that Paul’s camp is focusing on now — picking up delegates, getting issues onto the platform at the convention, and getting libertarians included in the mainstream Republican party — the last is “critical,” the strategist said:“You’ve got a bunch of other people who can go and lead and build off our infrastructures…”
“Congressman and Senator Paul are both deeply dedicated to helping elect principled Constitutionalists to office and are both working directly and indirectly with dozens of candidates across the country,” said Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton.
A few high-profile candidates, like Ted Cruz in Texas, have been particularly successful at profiting from the Paul anointment. Father and son appeared with him at a rally in Texas and conducted a moneybomb for him. And recent polling suggests Cruz will make it into a runoff with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in July, a scenario many believes favors the outsider.
Kurt Bills, a Minnesota congressman who recently won his primary to face off against Sen. Amy Klobuchar, also benefited from an unusually strong Paulite apparatus in that state, one that also took over the states convention. Bills benefited, too, from Paul himself campaigning and fundraising with him, and sending out fundraising emails on his behalf.
An email on Paul’s Bills endorsement from the end of March: “If elected to the U.S. Senate, Kurt will join my son, Rand, in leading the fight for fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and constitutional principles in Washington, D.C…”
“These congressmen and state officials and new federal officials are lining up with us because we have the soldiers,” said Paul adviser Doug Wead. “If you want to run for office, you have to have them. They are the activist base of the Republican Party now…”
The time is NOW to take back our personal liberties and freedoms!
Help ensure our delegates are able to make the trip to Tampa!
Ron Paul 2012: Restore America Now
Please visit Ron Paul’s official campaign site by following the link below and donate today!
The situation in Iceland is something those of us outside of the volcanic island nation hear about far too little, and when one examines the story of how Iceland triumphed over massive debts, it makes a lot of sense why this is the case.
Earlier this year, the Icelandic Financial Services Association published a report showing that since the end of 2008, Icelandic banks have forgiven the equivalent of 13 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product in loans.
This has directly lifted the crushing burden of debt form the shoulders of over one quarter of the Icelandic population, something which many people around the world – but especially in the United States, Greece, Spain, Italy and other nations struggling with massive debts – would likely appreciate greatly.
In 2008, Icelandic banks defaulted on a whopping $85 billion in loans, yet the nation has taken steps to recover and they are already proving to be effective.
“You could safely say that Iceland holds the world record in household debt relief,” Lars Christensen, the chief emerging markets economist at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, explained.
“Iceland followed the textbook example of what is required in a crisis. Any economist would agree with that,” he added.
Then why wouldn’t other nations follow a similar model instead of pouring even more money into the black hole of debt, hoping that it will somehow fix itself?
That is a question which cannot be answered with any degree of certainty, but Iceland has proven that endless bailouts are not the only way we can turn countries around from the brink of collapse.
The Icelandic economy will outgrow the eurozone in 2012 and is set to outgrow the entire developed world on average, according to estimates from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
This growth is reflected in the fact that many polls are showing that the people of Iceland have no interest in joining the European Union, which continues to be wracked by a debt crisis the likes of which have never been seen.
The solution Iceland implemented involved an agreement between the banks and the government, which entailed forgiving debt exceeding 110 percent of home values.
This is commonly known as “under water” mortgages (or more technically “negative equity”), which have become far too common place, especially in the United States.
Indeed, a CNBC article from November of last year stated that one out of two U.S. mortgages is effectively underwater.
In addition to the debt forgiveness, the Icelandic Supreme Court ruled in June 2010 that loans indexed to foreign currencies were legal, which means that Icelandic households were no longer expected to cover krona (the Swedish currency) losses.
The most important factor of their approach, however, is that every step of the way they have put their own people before the markets. This is essentially the polar opposite of what we have seen so many other nations do in response to debt crises.
The Icelandic government basically left international creditors to deal with their failed loans on their own, removing all responsibility from their own people.
Now Iceland is proceeding to actually prosecute some of their formerly most powerful bankers and the Icelandic special prosecutor has stated that it very well may indict some 90 people.
Meanwhile, over 200 people, including the former chief executives of Iceland’s three biggest banks, face criminal charges for their activities.
Maybe some other nations should take a page out of Iceland’s book and think about their people before the banks that caused the crisis in the first place.
By Maira Sutton
Iran: Authorities Seeking Information on Censorship Tools
The Islamic Republic of Iran has recently become notorious for its efforts to create a “halal” Internet. This week, a security researcher found that Iranian authorities published a “Request for Information” (RFI) seeking details on new types of censorship tools that are available in the market. Ars Technica reported that the Persian language RFI calls for “proper conditions for domestic experts in order to build a healthy Web and organize the current filtering situation.” The deadline for response was yesterday, April 19.
The existence of the RFI suggests that Iran is seeking to nationally expand its scope of online content blocking and filtering. The RFI states:
The creation of a comprehensive Internet purifying system that works based on analysis of Web content is considered among the most important activities in this area and efforts must be made to cultivate domestic technologies…In addition to creating a domestic industry, among other goals of the institute are the purchase and acquisition of foreign technical knowledge and leveraging of the latest technology alongside domestic ones.
What’s clear is that the Iranian government is seeking a more sophisticated system to block content, beyond its current mandate of blacklisting entire sites and banning words. EFF will continue to monitor this initiative and the Iranian government’s efforts to facilitate online censorship.
India: Professor arrested over a political cartoon; CIS urges Parliament to overturn 2011 censorship legislation
A chemistry professor in the state of West Bengal was arrested on Friday for posting political cartoons about the state’s Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee. Ambikesh Mahapatra’s arrest follows increasing public discontent with Minister Banerjee and her style of governance. The local police charged Mahapatra with cyber crime offenses, claiming he had spread “derogatory messages against respectable persons.”
Following the arrest last week, there has been a massive backlash and an online campaign to condemn the charges. The highest trending Twitter hashtag in India is currently #arrestmenow, which has been adopted by users to tweet critical, often humorous, opposition to the police action. It echoed a similar situation in December, when the Indian blogosphere and Twitterverse was aflame with criticism against Minister of Communications and IT, Kapil Sibal after he demanded that websites such as Google and Facebook filter content deemed offensive. Indian netizens’ increasing use of social media to fight back against state-mandated efforts to censor online speech is a welcome sight.