Posts tagged activist
Lawrence Lessig: The unstoppable walk to political reform
Published by TED
Seven years ago, Internet activist Aaron Swartz convinced Lawrence Lessig to take up the fight for political reform. A year after Swartz’s tragic death, Lessig continues his campaign to free US politics from the stranglehold of corruption. In this fiery, deeply personal talk, he calls for all citizens to engage, and a offers a heartfelt reminder to never give up hope.
Image credit: TED video capture
Glenn Jacobs (Kane) speaking tour in TN
(if you would like Glenn Jacobs to speak to your group, please e-mail us and let us know!
Mon Aug 26 – 7p – Rutherford Campaign for Liberty - Lanes, Trains, and Automobiles – 450 Butler Drive, Murfreesboro
Sat Aug 31 – 6p – Clarksville Liberty Fest – 430 Warfield Blvd, Clarksville
Tue Sep 3 – 5:30p – Smoky Mountain Tea Party – Blount County Public Library
Friday Sep 13 – 7p – Tri Cities Meeting – Logan’s Roadhouse in Johnson City
Thur Sep 5 – - 6:30p – Sumner United for Responsible Government – Hendersonville VFW – 73 New Shackle Island Rd
Thur Sep 12th – Morristown – TBD
Sep 19-21 – LPAC (with Ron and Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and others) - Liberty Political Action Conference, Chantilly VA
(H/T) to my friend Matt Collins for sharing this information.
Good job & thanks to:
Hope to see you there!
Ron Paul Would Like to See Glenn Jacobs (aka Wrestler “Kane”) Enter the GOP Senate Race in Tennessee
14-Year Old Anti-GMO Activist Publicly Schools CBC Host Kevin O’Leary
A lot of people like to bash the younger generations, but I have to say that the more and more I observe these generations the more and more impressed I become. It is precisely the outlook and zeitgeist of these younger generations that will determine the outcome of The Fourth Turning that we are currently in the midst of, and I firmly believe that they will help lead our planet into a much better paradigm.
What prompted this post was an incredible CBC interview with Rachel Parent, a 14-year old anti-GMO activist. She had some critical words directed at the show’s co-host Kevin O’Leary prior to the interview, which led to her being invited on. What is so amazing about the exchange is how articulate, composed, well-prepared and passionate Rachel is, particularly compared to Mr. O’Leary, who towards the end becomes so emotionally unstable he accuses her of being a “shill.” It’s a total embarrassment for O’Leary and a home run for Rachel, and already has over 150,000 views. Enjoy!
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Also, the video currently has over 227k views!
Good News: Judge Orders U.S. to Release Aaron Swartz’s Secret Service File
What is so disturbing about this aspect of the Aaron Swartz tragedy is the fact that the Secret Service had thousands of pages on Aaron Swartz to begin with. Considering he was known to all as a kind and gentle soul, what was the Secret Service so worried about?
Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is now inescapably clear. When the U.S. government refers to “national security,” what it actually means is the wealth and power of the status quo, the 0.01%. That is why a genius such as Aaron Swartz was considered an enemy of the state, and why the government amassed thousands of pages on him and drove him to his death. His genius and kindness was a threat to the corrupt establishment. As I’ve noted before: All My Heroes Have FBI Files. From Wired:
A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Friday ordered the government to promptly start releasing thousands of pages of Secret Service documents about the late activist and coder Aaron Swartz, following months of roadblocks and delays.
The order was issued in my ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security – the Secret Service’s parent agency.
It was Secret Service agents who, in 2011, investigated Swartz’ bulk downloads from the JSTOR academic database, leading to the computer hacking and wire fraud case that loomed over Swartz at the time he committed suicide in January.
That criminal case was formally dismissed after Swartz’s death. Yet in February, the Secret Service denied in full my request for any files it held on Swartz, citing a FOIA exemption that covers sensitive law enforcement records that are part of an ongoing proceeding.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly is giving the government until August 5 to answer the lawsuit and produce a timetable for releasing all the responsive documents. In the meantime, the government has to start releasing the files it’s already processed. You’ll see them here when I get them.
Full article here.
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Image added to original post.
By Julie Wilson and John Bush
Peaceful Streets Project Founder Antonio Buehler Walks with $1 Fine in Latest Trial
Police accountability activist and founder of the Peaceful Streets Project Antonio Buehler has struck back against the legal system yet again and won, well sort of won. Previously, Buehler was charged with a felony for spitting on a police officer, but charges were dismissed in April. This time Buehler found himself at the mercy of the legal system yet again for exercising his first amendment rights at a court watch in Gonzalez, Texas. On March 13 Buehler was exiting the courthouse premises when a police officer told him if he returned he would face criminal charges, Buehler told the officer to go F himself and was subsequently arrested. Yesterday Buehler represented himself in the Gonzalez court room for a trial that lasted seven hours. The judge who oversaw the trial was the same judge who on March 13th had confiscated Buehler’s camera and threatened him with arrest for filming in her courtroom. Even though 2 of the 6 jurors had police officers in their families, the trial concluded with a guilty verdict and a $1 fine as a penalty. Buehler, who represented himself, used jury nullification and an appeal to the first amendment as a defense. Buehler plans to appeal the $1 fine.
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.