29 Jan 2015
28 Jan 2015
The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron's story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.
25 Jan 2015
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Google guru Eric Schmidt gave an answer regarding the evolution of the web. “I will answer very simply that the internet will disappear,” Schmidt said on Thursday.
“There will be so many IP addresses, … so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it, it will be part of your presence all the time,” he explained. “Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room. A highly personalized, highly interactive and very, very interesting world emerges,” Schmidt concluded.
24 Jan 2015
Tony Blair wrote to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to thank him for the “excellent cooperation” between the two countries’ counter-terrorism agencies following a period during which the UK and Libya worked together to arrange for Libyan dissidents to be kidnapped and flown to Tripoli, along with their families.
The letter, written in 2007, followed a period in which the dictator’s intelligence officers were permitted to operate in the UK, approaching and intimidating Libyan refugees in an attempt to persuade them to work as informants for both countries’ agencies.
Addressed “Dear Mu’ammar” and signed “Best wishes yours ever, Tony”, the letter was among hundreds of pages of documents recovered from Libyan government offices following the 2011 revolution and pieced together by a team of London lawyers.
The lawyers are bringing damages claims on behalf of a dozen Gaddafi opponents who were targeted by the two countries’ agencies during the covert cooperation. The claimants were variously detained and allegedly mistreated in Saudi Arabia, rendered from Mali to Libya, or detained and subjected to control orders in the UK.
23 Jan 2015
British politicians fuelling rumours about Leon Brittan's involvement in a Westminster cover up of child abuse were this morning ordered to come clean about what they know or 'shut up'. Former Cabinet colleague John Gummer, now Lord Deben, said MPs were 'making innuendos and insinuations in order to make themselves look as if they know something when they don't'. He said it was 'wicked' to make allegations without any evidence.
The Tory peer's outburst comes after campaigning MP Simon Danczuk said Lord Brittan's death was a 'sad day' for the victims of child abuse who wanted to question the former home secretary about the missing 'Dickens dossier' of paedophile allegations handed to him in the 1980s. Lord Brittan, whose death from cancer aged 75 was announced yesterday, passed away before he could be questioned about a ‘bombshell’ missing document at a public inquiry into Establishment child sex abuse. Mr Danczuk said his death made it 'much harder for the truth to come out'.
As controversy rages over American Sniper, many supporters of the movie have suggested that it's apolitical and shouldn't be construed as supportive of war or bigotry; that it's merely a character study of a tortured soldier. The problem with that analysis is that the film isn't focused on a group of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or the difficulties with being reacquainted with civilian life, or the inadequacies of the Veterans Administration.
The movie is about Chris Kyle, a remorseless sniper who said his job was “fun” and wished he could return to Iraq to fight even more, and who made millions of dollars and gained worldwide fame writing about his exploits. If anything, Kyle is the absolute worst soldier one could pick to talk about soldiers coming home and our need to take care of them. The way he wrote and talked about his time in Iraq, one would think the war was the best thing that ever happened to him.
Critics of American Sniper's portrayal of Chris Kyle have received a torrent of death threats, even calls for decapitation, and the film has spawned an outpouring of anti-Muslim bigotry on social media.
21 Jan 2015
New research exposes companies behind Europe's multi-million Euro image-laundering business.
A report released today by research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) sheds light on how dictators and repressive regimes are paying European PR firms and lobbyists to push their agenda and mask their dire human rights records.
“Spin doctors to the autocrats: how European PR firms whitewash repressive regimes” lifts the lid on the murky world of spin carried out on behalf of some of the world's most brutal regimes. CEO is calling on EU institutions to urgently establish a mandatory lobbying register as a step towards bringing some much needed transparency to the sector. Transparency rules should include a specific clarification that lobbying for non-EU governments and states is required to be reported.
"Everybody, give it to me huh
Hey Hey Hey
I want you to believe every word I say
I want you to believe every thing I do
I said music is what I've got to give
and I've got to find some way to make it
Music is what I've got baby
I want you to come on and shake it
shake it shake it baby
oh yeah hey
na na na...
oh yeah..na na na
18 Jan 2015
The second round of public flogging of a blogger convicted of "insulting" the Saudi state has been postponed, because his wounds from the first round have not healed. Amnesty International said blogger Raif Badawi was taken to a prison clinic in the morning for a check-up and the doctor found that "he would not be able to withstand another round of lashes at this time." According to the group, the doctor recommended Badawi's flogging be postponed for a week.
Badawi's first public flogging took place last Friday before dozens of people in the Red Sea city of Jiddah. The-father-of-three was taken to a public square, his feet and hands bound, and whipped 50 times on his back before being taken back to prison.
Badawi was sentenced in May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for criticising Saudi Arabia's powerful clerics and ridiculing the country's morality police on a liberal blog he founded. The Jiddah Criminal Court also ordered he pay a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals - roughly £180,000. The lashes are to be administered over 20 weekly sessions, with 50 lashes each week.
17 Jan 2015
In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which began with the killing of 12 people at the offices of satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, the interior ministers of 12 EU countries have called for a limited increase in internet censorship.
The interior ministers of France, Germany, Latvia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the U.K. said in a statement (PDF) that, while the internet must remain “in scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms, a forum for free expression, in full respect of the law,” ISPs need to help “create the conditions of a swift reporting of material that aims to incite hatred and terror and the condition of its removing, where appropriate/possible.”
This sounds similar to recent agreements in the U.K. whereby ISPs use filters to stop citizens seeing “extremist” online content, though it’s hard to tell without more details. There seems to be no coordinated push for more internet surveillance just yet, although there is a drive for better intelligence sharing between EU countries.
It seems, to say the least, an awkward reaction to what was in part a free-speech-related attack — the left-wing Charlie Hebdo has itself frequently been accused of hate speech for its portrayal of Muslims and others. On that front, a German newspaper that reprinted blasphemous Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in the wake of the attack was firebombed in the early hours of Sunday morning, with no injuries. Others that did the same remain under police guard.
15 Jan 2015
14 Jan 2015
13 Jan 2015
The historic march across Paris included over 40 world leaders expressing solidarity for France after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but if you read this Haredi newspaper, you’d believe that none of them were women.
The image that ran on the front page of the Israeli newspaper The Announcer edited two female world leaders out of the image, originally provided by wire service GPO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. A third woman in a blue scarf who we can’t identify was also photoshopped out.
11 Jan 2015
Various Islamic leaders, preachers and citizens state their end goal of world domination, through the means of infiltration, immigration and violent jihadist terrorism, in order to subjugate unbelievers and consolidate their power.
10 Jan 2015
"Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as "mental disorders" now barring people from driving.
Extending Russia's legal campaign against homosexuality, a new law aimed at reducing traffic deaths denies driver's licences to people with "disorders" involving sexual preference and gender identity. The decree, signed Dec. 29 by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, empowers officials to ban transsexual and transgender people from driving, along with others suffering from such "mental disorders" as fetishism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, compulsive theft or "pathological" gambling.
Specifically, the decree — "to promote public health" — applies to those with "gender identity disorders, disorders of sexual preference and psychological and behavioral disorders associated with sexual development and orientation." The rules also apply to people with schizophrenia, "mood" disorders and "neurotic, stress-related" problems. "The decisions are aimed at reducing deaths from vehicular accidents," the decree declares. Nearly 28,000 fatalities -- 55 per 100,000 vehicles -- occurred on Russian roads in 2012, according to the most recent statistics available.
7 Jan 2015
Gunmen have attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 13 people and injuring seven in an apparent Islamist attack. At least two masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car.
The gunmen shouted "we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad", witnesses say. President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack "of exceptional barbarity". A major police operation is under way in the Paris area to catch the killers.
Witnesses said the gunmen shouted "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for God is great) during the deadly rampage. It was by far the bloodiest attack on Charlie Hebdo, but not the first.
The left-leaning magazine is known for its provocative and acerbic commentary on world affairs, routinely taking on the high and mighty, be they celebrities, presidents or popes. But its jabs at Islamic extremists have stirred the most controversy.
The satirical weekly has been repeatedly threatened for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in the name of free speech and France’s cherished secular laws.
#JeSuisCharlie - Twitter users have begun to replace their profile avatars with a white-on-black image of the phrase - which translates as "we are all Charlie" in English - in sympathy with those killed. (Sky)
5 Jan 2015
Even though Dick Cheney isn’t the only one responsible for the stain of torture on the United States, he’s the most, shall we say, colorful? If you think the awfulness of Bush-era torture is behind us, think again. Thanks to the just-released Senate torture report, we now know of all kinds of new and awful ways the CIA and Bush Administration screwed up the hunt for Al Qaeda and disgraced this nation. You can read more at http://www.MarkFiore.com
With their flabby frowns, gurning grins and bloated, gassy stomachs, they're hardly going to win a pin-up competition. But these disgusting creatures have become the surprise stars of a glossy new book in a bid to save them from extinction. Unlike their cute and fluffy cousins in the animal kingdom, the plight of these rancid animals is relatively unknown. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society was set up to champion the cause of endangered creatures with no friends.
It is backed by a number of celebrity scientists, presenters and comedians, and organises road shows and school visits. Particle physicist and broadcaster Professor Brian Cox said: 'I support the ugly animal campaign. There are too many people trying to save cute animals. They get all the press, and all the attention. Ugly animals are more deserving than cute animals.' Simon Watt, the society's president, said: 'We've needed an ugly face for endangered animals for a long time and I've been amazed by the public's reaction. For too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight, but now the blobfish will be a voice for the mingers who always get forgotten.'
3 Jan 2015
British Prince Andrew abused an underage girl at an orgy where she was being used as a sex slave, it was sensationally claimed last night. In an extraordinary legal allegation, a woman said she was ‘forced’ to have sex with him at parties in London, New York and the Caribbean.
Last night the prince issued a strongly-worded denial, with Buckingham Palace saying ‘any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue’. But his alleged victim immediately hit back by saying she would not be ‘bullied into silence by aggressive attacks’.
The Queens Arrest Is Imminent - The Queen has granted herself (and her family) a new right of absolutely secrecy unsurpassed in British history, in an attempt to cover up paedophile claims and arrest warrants. Truth Seeker
Andy Hall is a British campaigner with a special focus on the rights of migrant workers. Two years ago he undertook an investigation on behalf of Finnwatch into potential labour abuses at Natural Fruit, part of NatGroup, a Thai company that processes pineapples and supplies retailers around the world.
Instead of addressing the allegations published in Finnwatch's report, Natural Fruit decided to try and silence Andy with lawsuits. He could now face 7 years in prison and $10 million in legal damages for his investigations.
If this case proceeds and Natural Fruit are successful this would not only be a grave miscarriage of justice for Andy Hall. This process could set a dangerous precedent for other companies in Thailand that might take a similar approach when allegations are raised of modern slavery in their supply chains. This threatens the work of anti-slavery campaigners but also workers in Thailand who might be too afraid to come forward and report abuse.
2 Jan 2015
As the world focuses on other things, billions of humans forget what the helpless animals still affected everyday do not: Fukushima is killing their home, their ecosystem, and, sadly – them. Stories appear almost daily on alternative news sites about a new group of whales, dolphins, fish, or other sea creatures dying in the millions in some cases, yet those stories aren’t “hip” anymore, so the corporate controlled mainstream media tends to ignore them.
Thankfully, sites like Natural News still talk about the ongoing Fukushima disaster. In a recent article entitled, “500 more dead sea lions; Fukushima radiation continues to spread across ocean” Natural News writer Jonathan Benson writes:Another mysterious wave of dead sea animals has washed ashore in Peru, the possible consequence of ongoing radiation releases from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan. BBC News reports that 500 dead sea lions were recently discovered on Peru’s northern coastline, some 250 miles north of the capital city of Lima, with no obvious explanation as to why this occurred.
Yet again, the takeoff of a flight from New York to Israel was delayed because haredi (ultra-Orthodox) male Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women because their faith forbids it. The Dec. 20 El Al flight’s takeoff was delayed for 30 minutes when haredi men balked at sitting between two women, and other passengers refused to accommodate them in protest until one passenger finally relented.
In October, a Delta flight was delayed after haredim refused to sit with members of the opposite sex, resulting in the plane arriving an hour late. In September, a group of haredim turned another El Al flight into a nightmare when they stood in the aisles rather than sit next to members of the opposite sex.
By any measure, the haredis’ behavior is an asinine display. That one would board a plane fully expecting the crew and passengers to accommodate their wish to not be seated next to a member of half the human race is entitlement in the extreme. And yet not only are these unruly passengers who are disturbing the peace not kicked off the plane and arrested, but they are accommodated because they say those three magic words that in one breath excuse a host of idiocy, ignorance, and irrationality: “It’s my faith.”