News feeds

Je Suis Chavez!

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 07/03/2015 - 02:49
Je Suis Chavez!
by Stephen Lendman
In Venezuela and throughout Latin America, Chavistas proclaim Yo soy Chavez (I am Chavez)! March 5 marked the second anniversary of his death.
Obama killed him - either by poisoning or infecting him with incurable cancer causing substances. Four major surgeries in 18 months couldn't save him.
He's gone. Chavismo lives! Bolivarian social justice he began is institutionalized. Venezuelans get vital benefits Americans can't imagine.
Constitutional provisions mandate them. America and Venezuela are constitutional worlds apart. More on this below.
On March 5, 2013, word came at 4:45PM. Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced it. 
Saying "(w)e have just received the most tragic and awful information. Hugo Chavez Frias died. It's a moment of deep pain."
"Those who die for life can't be called dead," he stressed. Supporters massed in Plaza Bolivar. I
t's Caracas' main square. "Chavez vive, la lucha sigue," they chanted. "Chavez lives, the battle continues."
"The people united will never be defeated." Oligarchs "will never return" to the Miraflores Palace.
Fidel Castro called Chavez the "Olympic champion of new socialist ideas."
He called Castro his father, mentor and friend. He died at age 58. He's sorely missed. 
At the time, then Vice President Nicolas Maduro called on Venezuelans "to confront the lamentable death of the President of the Republic with much strength, courage and integrity."
TeleSUR addressed his legacy on the second anniversary of his death. Saying "the size and intensity of the events that followed were some measure of (his) huge impact…"
He was a legend in his own time. He delivered vital constitutional change. He survived earlier US efforts to oust him. 
He lifted millions of Venezuelans out of poverty. He gave them dignity and a political role through what he called a "new geometry of power" - including grassroots communal councils, national referenda and cooperatives among other initiatives.
After he died, millions queued for hours to pay final tribute - to say farewell. An outpouring of grief resonated throughout Latin America and worldwide.
World leaders expressed condolences. Maduro said "(l)et there be no weakness, no violence. Let there be no hate. In our hearts there should only be one sentiment: Love. Love, peace and discipline."
"We have lost our best friend," Fidel Castro lamented.
"He is more alive than ever, and will keep being the inspiration for all people fighting for liberation," Bolivian President Evo Morales said.
Ecuador's Rafael Correa said "(w)e have lost a revolutionary, but millions of us remain inspired."
Brazil's Dilma Rousseff recognized Chavez as "a great leader, an irreparable loss, and above all, a friend of Brazil and its people."
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva said he was "proud to have lived and worked with him for the integration of Latin America and for a more just world."
Jimmy Carter praised Chavez. Saying he "joined other leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to create new forms of integration." 
"Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time, allowing them to participate more effectively in their country’s economic and political life."
Chavez's daughter Maria Gabriela urged others to follow her father's example. "We should continue constructing the homeland always my father," she said.
"Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned,” said Oliver Stone.
"He was an unorthodox and strong person, who looked to the future and always set himself the highest standards," said Russian President Vladimir Putin,
Chavistas assembled outside the hospital where he died chanted "We are all Chavez!"
Obama unsurprisingly offered no condolences. He lied "reaffirm(ing) (US) support for the Venezuelan people" he intends exploiting if Washington regains control over its former client state.
Obama's political and economic war on Venezuela replicates what Nixon did to Chile prior to its 9/11/73 coup elevating fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet to power.
James Petras calls his tactics "a dress rehearsal for other countries in the region." He wants Venezuela and other independent Latin American nations looking like Honduras and Ukraine.
He wants the entire region restored as America's "backyard." He wants it exploited like what Petras calls the 1990s "golden age of pillage."
He wants anyone challenging US dominance eliminated. He wants the scourge of fascist viciousness replacing democratic freedoms.
Petras urges Venezuelans (and people everywhere) to "convert (America's) drive to restore neo-liberal privilege into the graveyard of rentier capitalism."
On the anniversary of his death, Venezuelans remembered Chavez. They paid him special homage for revolutionary change never before achieved in the nation's history since Bolivar.
On March 5, Maduro addressed a special ceremony honoring Chavez - held at the Montana barracks where his remains lie.
It took place at 4:45PM - the time Chavez passed. A military salute honored him.
"Today is a day full of emotions, of feelings, of memories," said Maduro. 
"Two years in which we had to accept, and live through, the harshest reality of our generation and future generations."
Chavez was "the greatest leader Venezuela has had after Simon Bolivar. (He) sacrificed his life for the people, by the people, for the life of all of us."
"We should be proud of the renewed, just, profound, and passionate anti-imperialism that was brought to us by Hugo Chavez."
On February 26, British historian Richard Gott delivered the second annual Hugo Chavez Memorial lecture in London's Bolivar Hall.
He met Chavez numerous times. He called him "a man of immense charm and huge enthusiasms, a delight to be with, and he never forgot a face."
He once said before becoming president "(w)e as soldiers (are) engaged in the search (for political and economic revolutionary change), and today we are convinced of the need for the Venezuelan army to return to what it once was: an army to defend what Bolivar called social guarantees."
Gott said the phrase was in Bolivar's 1830 final proclamation before his death. It's included in Venezuela's Bolivarian constitution.
It mandates "the right to life, work, learning, education, social justice and equality, without discrimination or subordination of any kind."
Gott said Chavez made sure a civilian would replace him when he died. "Maduro is not Chavez," he explained. "(T)hat would be too much to ask."
"But he is a clever and sophisticated politician with much experience." Chavez believed he was the right leader to succeed him.
He made sure potential Pinochets would be marginalized and avoided. Like other progressive figures before him, he'll be remembered for his anti-imperial reformist legacy.
Gott called him "the power of example." He rejected neoliberal harshness. He championed Bolivarian fairness.
Washington tried throughout his tenure to oust him. Chavez believed dark US forces wanted him dead.
He once said "If they kill me, there will be a really guilty party on this planet whose name is the president of the United States."
"I will not hide. I'm going in the streets with you. I entrust myself to God, but I know that I have been condemned to die."
When first diagnosed with what he called a "very strange" bout of cancer, he believed Washington bore responsibility.
Other Latin American leaders perhaps not coincidentally had cancer. They survived, not Chavez. Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had thyroid cancer.
Former Brazilian President Lula Da Silva had throat cancer. Current President Dilma Rousseff battled axillar lymphoma.
Others affected included Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos (prostate cancer), and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo (lymphatic cancer).
Chavez once said "(w)ould it be so strange that they've invented the technology to spread cancer and we won't know about it for 50 years?"
"Fidel always told me (to) take care. These people have developed technologies," he said.
"Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat. They inject you with I don't know what."
Chavez went where few leaders ever dared. He risked his life doing it. He died for what he believed in. He gave Venezuelans what American's can't imagine.
Including real participatory social democracy. Jimmy Carter calls Venezuela's electoral process the world's best.
It shames America's sham system - a one-party sate with two wings serving monied interests, not popular ones. Ordinary people have no say whatever.
All Venezuelans are guaranteed suffrage at birth. It's constitutionally mandated. They're automatically registered free of charge. 
They have government of, by and for everyone. They're beholden to rule of law principles. 
Police state laws are verboten. Democratic ones rule. No one's above the law. Democracies operate this way.
Venezuelans get vital social benefits. Oil revenues provide them even at today's lower prices.
They include education to the highest levels, quality healthcare, subsidized food and housing, land reform, respect for indigenous rights, job training, micro credit, affordable electricity and cooking gas, gasoline at 5 cents a liter, and other social, economic, and political benefits. 
Americans get neoliberal harshness, force-fed austerity, growing poverty, high unemployment, painful underemployment, unaddressed homelessness and hunger, as well as a government beholden solely to wealth and powerful interests.
Chavez institutionalized progressive change. Maduro's challenge is preserving Bolivarianism - knowing Washington wants him eliminated like Chavez.
His credentials are impeccable. Why Chavez believed he was the right leader to replace him. 
He's entrusted with preventing dark US forces from returning Venezuela to its bad old days. 
It's not easy beating Washington at its dirty game. Chavez succeeded for 14 years. 
Maduro's tenure began as interim president in March 2013 before Venezuelans elected him in April to lead them.
He battles ongoing US political and economic destabilization efforts - war by other means by any standard.
He foiled Obama's coup to oust him. He knows it won't be last time he's targeted for removal.
He faces constant US scoundrel media propaganda war. New York Times editors viciously attack him with a blitzkrieg of Big Lies.
On March 5, their latest broadside wrongfully accused him of "blaming and punishing scapegoats for his own failings."
They bashed him for shrinking US embassy staff from over 100 to 17. It's a nest of spies. A previous article by this writer urged kicking them all out.
Major US human rights abusers are banned from entering Venezuela - including GW Bush and Dick Cheney.
Times editors disgracefully mocked Maduro - calling his legitimate long overdue policy changes "theatrics." Hopefully stiffer ones will follow.
State terror is official US policy. Times editors support what demands rejection. They're in lockstep with all US direct and proxy wars of aggression.
They consider turning nations to rubble, slaughtering it people, stealing its resources and enslaving its people democracy building.
They mock legitimate journalism. They represent wealth, power and privilege. They want fascist governance replacing Maduro. They want what Venezuelans won't tolerate.
Chavismo lives! Maduro's job is preserving what Chavez instituted and taking it to the next level.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

The Great American Lying Machine

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 06/03/2015 - 23:05
The Great American Lying Machine 
by Stephen Lendman
It's unprecedented in outrageous lies on Ukraine. Everything from calling US-installed Nazis democrats to phantom Russian hordes pouring across the border Wehrmacht-style.
US officials recite one Big Lie after another. Media scoundrels regurgitate them like gospel. Mindless Americans believe whoppers anyone paying minimal attention would reject. 
Wars without end persist. Millions die. Survivors suffer horrifically. Ukraine is in the eye of the storm. 
It's just a matter of time before full-scale conflict resumes. Perhaps with US combat troops involved and/or shock and awe terror-bombing. Maybe setting the entire continent ablaze.
Megalomania and delusions of grandeur define US ambitions. George Clemenceau once said "(w)ar is too important to be left to the generals." He should have added rogue politicians like Obama and neocons infesting his administration.
In his State of the Union address, Obama shamelessly accused Russia of "aggression" in Ukraine.
Earlier he said it’s "provable" that "Russian combat forces and tanks" moved into Ukraine. 
“(T)hese are the facts. They are provable. They’re not subject to dispute.” No proof whatever was presented. Not earlier. Not now. None exists.
No Russian forces operated in Ukraine at any time during months of conflict. Nor does Moscow supply rebels with weapons.
"(S)how us" proof, Sergey Lavrov repeatedly says. "Present proof" or stop making baseless accusations.
On numerous occasions, Lavrov said "no (Russian) military intervention" in Ukraine exists. His comments fall on deaf ears. Truth is conveniently buried.
Whenever she gets a chance during Security Council sessions, neocon US envoy Samantha Power rants about nonexistent "Russian aggression" in Ukraine.
"Russian troops fight alongside" rebels, she claims. Invisible ones no one can see.
Scholars recently rated John Kerry America's worst Secretary of State in the past 50 years - along with Hillary Clinton perhaps the worst two ever.
Both reflect brazen imperial arrogance. They're shameless demagogues, war criminals multiple times over, an embarrassment to legitimate governance, and indifferent to human suffering.
No just just society would tolerate their high crimes. America glorifies them. Kerry's brazen lying is notorious.
He bellows "Russian aggression" every chance he gets. He turns truth on its head accusing Putin of invading Ukraine, violating its sovereignty, and spurning international law.
"You just don't…invad(e) another country on a completely trumped up pretext," he said. The whole world knows Russia didn't invade Ukraine.
It knows since WW II alone, Washington directly or through proxies lawlessly invaded North Korea, Lebanon, Cuba, southeast Asia, Indonesia, Latin America, Somalia, Haiti, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Ukraine.
It partners with Israel in all its wars of aggression. Post-9/11 alone, It's responsible for millions of death, mass destruction and appalling human suffering.
"Let there be no doubt about who is blocking the prospect of peace" in Ukraine," Kerry blustered recently.
"Russia with impunity…acted to cross (its) border at will with weapons, with personnel, with the instruments of death."
"Russia's continued aggression" is Ukraine's greatest threat, he ranted. "(W)e cannot close our eyes to (its) tanks crossing the border…"
"We cannot close our eyes to Russian fighters in unmarked uniforms…leading companies of so-called separatists in battle."
"We cannot close our eyes" to Kerry's Big Lies throughout months of conflict through current very shaky ceasefire conditions.
Deputy NATO Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow runs the organization. Jens Stoltenberg is a convenient US stooge - a front man representing Washington.
No nation threatens world peace, security and stability more than America. None works harder to resolve Ukraine's conflict diplomatically than Russia.
Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions - including illegitimate fascist governance and naked aggression on its own citizens.
Last month, Vershbow lied saying "Russia has torn up the international rule book. It has returned to a strategy of power politics."  
"It threatens not just Ukraine, but European and global security more generally…Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is not an isolated incident, but a game-changer in European security."
"Russia has used force to alter legally recognized borders and to actively subvert the government of a neighboring state."
On March 3, US General Ben Hodges urged Washington supply Kiev with more heavy weapons than already.
He ludicrously calls doing it "giv(ing) muscle to diplomacy." He lied claiming "Russia has 12,000 (troops) in eastern Ukraine."
He provided no evidence proving it. None exists. No Russian hordes operate anywhere in Ukraine.
Hodges wants Kiev heavily armed for more war. He wrongfully accused Putin of "want(ing) to destroy (NATO), not by attacking it but by splintering it."
He ludicrously added "(i)f you don't believe Russia is directly involved in Ukraine now, you'll never believe it. You don't want to believe it."
Hodges heads US Army Europe (USAREUR). He ignored Kiev's military chief Viktor Muzhenko saying Ukrainian forces "engaged in (no) combat operations against Russian regular units."
Assistant State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was asked about Hodges' claim. Instead of answering, she asked why the question was asked.
"I am not going to be more specific," she said. She lied saying "(o)bviously (there's) a huge (Russian) presence (in Ukraine), not just of people but of weapons and other things."
"But I'm not going to give more detail on that."
"And where did you get your numbers," she was asked?
"I can check and see," she responded. "I'd refer you to the Department of Defense on their numbers that their officials put out, but I can check and see with our team."
A previous article discussed Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's House Foreign Affairs Committee testimony.
It was beginning-to-end Big Lies. She called year ago US responsibility for violence using well-trained Nazi thugs "peaceful protest(s) by ordinary Ukrainians."
She turned truth on its head about nonexistent Russian involvement claiming "Russia and its separatist puppets unleashed unspeakable violence and pillage."
"Hundreds of Russian heavy weapons and (thousands of) troops poured across the border, fueling the conflict," she blustered.
She ludicrously called Ukraine " a manufactured conflict controlled by the Kremlin, fueled by Russian tanks and heavy weapons; financed at Russian taxpayers’ expense and costing the lives of young Russians…"
Media scoundrels regurgitate these Big Lies like gospel. Obama lies. Joe Biden lies. Kerry lies. His assistant secretary, spokespersons, UN envoy and ambassadors lie. 
Congress lies. Virtually everyone connected to government in Washington lies.
The great American lying machine has many voices. Truth is their mortal enemy. It's buried to suppress US high crimes - to conceal its ruthless imperial agenda.
People are willfully deceived. America's maniacal drive for world hegemony risks WW III. 
Its determination to eliminate Russia and China as major rivals may make it unstoppable. Fascist extremism headquartered in Washington may end life on earth.
Its common thread is unchallenged dominance through mass slaughter, vast destruction, unspeakable human misery, and transforming people everywhere into exploited serfs getting poverty or sub-poverty wages. 
The business of America is war - cold-blooded naked aggression against weak countries easy to roll over.
Except when ordinary people rise up and resist - from North Vietnamese to Afghans to Syrians, to Donbass freedom fighters.
Anti-fascist patriots unite. Survival depends on confronting this monster and crushing it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Congress Takes up Obama Administration's Information Sharing Zombie Bill

eff.org - Fri, 06/03/2015 - 09:18

CISPA-like zombie bills continue to rattle around Congress. After the Obama Administration released its own computer security information sharing bill a few weeks ago, Democratic Senator Tom Carper followed through with The Cyber Threat Sharing Act of 2015. The bill mirrors the Obama Administration's information sharing proposal.

The Cyber Threat Sharing Act is a predictable bill: it includes a "notwithstanding" clause that preempts all privacy law, it includes vague definitions, and it grants broad legal immunity for companies to share information about "cyber threats" without requiring companies to minimize unrelated personal information.

There is one good thing in the bill: it doesn't grant companies new authorities to use aggressive countermeasures outside of a company’s network. New powers were one of the numerous problems in previous bills like CISPA and CISA.

Regardless, Congress shouldn’t move the bill forward.

New Bill, Same Old Problems

The most important vague definition in the bill is "cyber threat." The entire bill operates around the definition as it's the information that companies would be authorized to collect. It's also included in the definition of what type of information companies are granted immunity for sharing.

A "cyber threat" covers any action that "may result in:" (1) unauthorized access in order to impair the integrity, confidentiality, or availability of an “information system,” or (2) “unauthorized exfiltration, deletion, or manipulation of “information that is stored on, processed by, or transiting an information system.”  We have concerns with the definition since many actions involving everyday security research and penetration testing "manipulate" information on a given computer. Even when one visits a website, lines are added to a server log—technically speaking a "manipulation of information."

Broad Legal Immunity

The problems of the vague definition of "cyber threats" are compounded by the broad legal immunity granted to companies for sharing “cyber threat indicators.” Even without the immunity, the bill authorizes companies to disclose potential personal information "notwithstanding any other law." The bill does not force companies to delete irrelevant personal information before sending it to other companies or the government; it merely requires them to make "reasonable efforts" to remove identifying information. And once these "reasonable efforts" are performed, the broad immunity kicks in, allowing companies to evade otherwise applicable current legal privacy protections. A massive amount of sharing unrelated personal information is fostered by such a design process. The standard is far too low and the bill should require that any company sharing threat information delete unrelated personal information.

The Bill Punts on Privacy Protections

Another problem is that privacy protections are not written into the actual bill. For private-to-private sharing, the bill relies on private entities to identify best practices for sharing information. The track record of private self-regulation isn't so great (.pdf). The bill only involves the public if the government deems it "necessary."

When it comes to sharing with the government, the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense, and others are mandated to create procedures to protect privacy. We’re highly skeptical these officials will create effective privacy protections. The guidelines for the procedures are left inconspicuously vague. And these are also the same officials who created the so-called "privacy protections" in the surveillance context. The surveillance procedures are littered with massive loopholes to overcollect, overretain, and overshare completely innocent users' personal information. Users won't even know when their privacy was harmed due to the secrecy of the information.

The bill shouldn't rely on privacy guidelines to narrow the universe of information shared, but should explicitly mandate the information can only be shared for defensive purposes such as to harden computer systems against attacks.

Moreover, information won't just be used to protect computer systems. The "use restrictions" in the bill include any "computer crime," a term that’s not defined in the bill. Is a "computer crime" any crime that involves a computer? Or is it only crimes confined to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?

The Bill Should Be Killed

Senator Carper's bill in the Senate is the first bill to be introduced that fully adopts the Obama Administration's cybersecurity information sharing proposal. For now, the bill by Senator Carper has serious flaws in it that must be fixed. We fully expect more bills to be introduced so keep an eye out for further analyses.


Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Government "Clarifies" Its Stance on NSL Gag Orders

eff.org - Fri, 06/03/2015 - 05:54

It seems the government doesn't know where it stands when it comes to national security letters (NSLs).

National security letters are the investigative tool that the FBI uses to obtain information from companies as part of national security-related investigations. NSLs never have to be reviewed by a judge before being issued, and they almost always include gag orders that prevent the recipient from discussing the NSL. If you've been following our national security letter cases, you know that the government had to retract a statement made before the Ninth Circuit that minimized the devastating effect of these gag orders. Unfortunately, it seems that wasn't the last time the government made a misleading statement about gag orders.

In its Signals Intelligence Reform 2015 Anniversary Report, the government proudly announced to the world:

"[T]he FBI will now presumptively terminate National Security Letter nondisclosure orders at the earlier of three years after the opening of a fully predicated investigation or the investigation’s close." (emphasis added).

This might lead you to believe that the government's purported reforms were in place. Not so much. In a February 12 letter to the Ninth Circuit, unsealed yesterday, the government explained:

The FBI is in the process of formulating and drafting guidelines for the implementation of the policy described in the Report. Because this process is not yet complete, the potential applicability of the new policy to the NSLs at issue in the above-referenced appeals remains to be determined. We will advise the Court when this additional information becomes available.

The government should not be telling everyone that reforms are in place "now," when the truth is something different. 

Even if this new policy was actually implemented, it would not solve the deep constitutional problems with National Security Letters. To learn more about how NSLs work and why we're fighting them, check out our FAQ.


Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Israeli Women Wage Peace

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 06/03/2015 - 04:05
Israeli Women Wage Peace
by Stephen Lendman
Anti-war women of the world unite. They're doing it in Israel. Thousands represent a refreshing antidote to Netanyahu's hate-mongering rage for war.
Women Wage Peace (WWP) activists support a "viable" Israeli- Palestinian peace. They want working for it "place(d) at the top of the public agenda."
They call peace the only solution "offer(ing) life and hope." With Israeli general elections days away, they urge a "new and different reality in the Middle East."
They call it "feasible." Saying "we must strive for it." Inspired by the horrors of last summer's Gaza war, they "decided to initiate, mobilize and propose an alternative."
"The last round of violence has made it clear to all that we must break out of the spiral," they stress.
"Whether Left or Right-wing, religious or secular, Arab or Jewish, we want to live in a society characterized by normality, prosperity and human rights." 
"All of us wish to lead a sane and balanced existence." They hope to enlist widespread public support.
They intend "engag(ing) decision-makers and demand a change in priorities. They want peace "over military and security-based approaches."
Their mission statement says the following:
WWP "is a non-political, broad-based, and rapidly growing movement of thousands of women, taking action to influence the public and political arena."
It aims "to restore hope and work towards a peaceful existence for ourselves, our children and future generations."
It wants future wars prevented. It wants peaceful, viable conflict resolution benefitting everyone equitably.
It believes involving large numbers of women increase chances for achieving its objective.
"Cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli women working together to promote (peace) will increase the chances for a sustainable (longterm) solution."
It calls its values:
-- "Perseverance and determination
-- Mutual respect
-- Cooperation and joint leadership"
It calls on all Israeli women to join a mass initiative for peace.
"Spread the word," it urges. "Influence change." Wage peace, not war. WWP activists intend going all-out to stop its scourge.
On March 3, its members carrying anti-war banners marched down Tel Aviv's Rothschild Blvd. ahead of a planned mass rally outside Israel's Knesset.
WWP has about 7,000 members. They want Palestinian peace talks revived.
On Wednesday, thousands surrounded the Knesset. They delivered what they called an "alternative" to Netanyahu's congressional rant.
WPP member Michal Shamir said he spoke "in Washington in English, and we have chosen to speak in Jerusalem in Hebrew and Arabic."
Group members began their rally walking from Independence Hall (where Israel's May 1948 declaration of independence was signed) to Derech Hashalom - a main exit to the Tel Aviv/Jerusalem highway.
Derech Hashalom means Peace Way. "If there is no way, there is no peace," said Shamir.
Israeli lawyers Irit Tamir and Michal Barak founded WWP in the wake of last summer's Gaza war. Yael Elad heads its media efforts. She serves as spokeswoman.
She says "women cannot just sit at home, complain, and hope for the best, without actively doing something to change the situation."
"It's time for us to be part of the dialogue that revolves around security and peace."
"We sense that women disappear from the public space when you look at TV panels or listen to radio shows." 
"This place is reserved for generals or politicians, but never for women. This has to change." 
"Women are half of the population. We raise the kids who eventually get sent to fight wars or protect the country." 
"We should be there to say something about the outcome."
Since last August, WWP attracted new members through at home meetings and social media.
It has over 7,000 registered and more than 10,000 Facebook followers. It aims to grow its ranks to 700,000.
"We must become a powerful electoral voice," said Elad. "We disagree on many things but agree on the necessity of a peace agreement for the future of Israel."
Rihad Abdul Halim said she joined WWP's steering committee because of a deep belief in the power of women to peaceful conflict resolution.
It "starts at home," she said. "As women, our role is to educate for tolerance and the acceptance of the other. Why do we want peace? Because we hurt most during war."
Recruiting Arab women is harder because "(we) don't see ourselves as decision-makers," she said.
"We feel we have no influence. (It) rests with the government, which is Jewish." Nevertheless, when I hold parlor meetings, I see the women change their minds."
"I describe this connection like a woman standing on the side of a lake and throwing in a pebble, representing our vision." 
"The stone creates water circles that grow wider and wider. Similarly, this movement created circles of humanity between women." 
"We exchange knowledge and culture, empowering each other. The influence is not just in the domain of peace, but in society more broadly.”
It's not easy in male-dominated Israel. Only one woman, Golda Meir, ever served as prime minister. She was no dove.
A potential future leader, Tzipi Livni, matches Netanyahu's hawkishness. Women for peace in Israel find it hard to be heard.
WWP activists intend to keep trying for a goal vital to achieve. Professor Irit Keynan heads the Institute for Civic Responsibility.
"Politicians who are uninterested in peace hold onto weak excuses and raise the ghosts of the Jewish people's traumatic fears," she said.
Those wanting peace "are afraid to say so out loud, and compete with each other" to see who's toughest.
Patriotism is identified with pro-war discourse. Peace is a four-letter word. Unless Israel ends conflict with Palestinians, its future is grim, Keynan believes.
Michal Keidar said she "lost the only man (she ever) loved in the madness of this country."
She believes no one else should die because hawkish politicians choose war over peace. She urged others to support candidates "for a quiet, normal life" on March 17.
WWP activists want Israel governed by officials waging peace, not war. So do supporters of peace, equity and justice for their own countries worldwide.
Join the struggle against lunatics in Israel and Western countries threatening humanity's survival to achieve their imperial goals.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

A New Bill in Paraguay Would Destroy Online Privacy

eff.org - Fri, 06/03/2015 - 03:16

Today, the Paraguayan House of Representatives postponed for eight days the discussion of a mandatory data retention proposal. The bill, if passed, will require Paraguayan telecom providers to store highly personal information about their customers Internet use, for one year, for possible future access by law enforcement agencies.

The bill was introduced last year under the flimsy pretext that this measure is urgently needed to prevent crime. These weak, but repeated arguments are a tried and tested technique, fomenting a culture of fear of ceaseless war or terrorism, in order to justify arbitrary and totalitarian incursions on civil liberties. We've read about it in George Orwell's 1984, we've heard about it being practiced by oppressive regimes, and now we're witnessing it first-hand in a democratic country such as Paraguay.

Paraguayans have not taken this threat lying down. TEDIC, a Paraguayan digital rights organization, has launched a grassroots website called Pyrawebs to expose this threat and to mobilize ordinary Internet users to stop it. Internet users have been calling the bill Pyrawebs, alluding to the digital version of pyragues, informers who monitored the civilian population on behalf of ex-dictator, Alfredo Stroessner.

 Paraguayan Maricarmen Sequera, TEDIC Executive Director, raised her concerns, telling EFF: 

“We urge members to vote for the rejection of #Pyrawebs next Thursday. If the bill is left unaddressed in the next session, there will be a fictitious approval. In other words, it will be approved without debate”  

Jazmin Acuña, TEDIC project director, writing from the Paraguayan parliament told EFF:

"For us, today’s parliamentary results show commendable progress. Every day there are more of us who believe in, and fight for a truly free Internet.  We appreciate that today several deputies spoke in a form that is consistent with the principles of democracy, freedom and privacy, and have expressed their resounding rejection of #pyrawebs. We hope that the rest of the Parliamentary representatives vote against this bill in the next session”

From her Twitter account, congresswoman and human rights lawyer Olga Ferreira tweeted:

“What happened with the postponement is a small example of what determined people can achieve by pushing back against #pyrawebs”

She further tweeted:

“We have one week to campaign against #pyrawebs. Let’s make it worthwhile so [Congress] feels the pressure”.

TEDIC has developed a simple document explaining “10 Myths about Pyrawebs” that all parliamentarians should read.

We don't have long: there are only 8 days left before the mandatory data retention bill is approved or rejected, and if Paraguayans, TEDIC, and their allies can't convince enough politicians to defeat it before then, it will be another blow for online privacy that takes Paraguayans further down the path towards becoming a repressive surveillance state. Tweet #pyrawebs, contact @TEDICpy, and if you are Paraguayan, visit Pyrawebs.tedic.org today to demand that your representative vote against this draconian bill.

Related Issues: InternationalMandatory Data RetentionPrivacy
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Nuland Lied to Congress about Phantom Russian Hordes in Ukraine

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 06/03/2015 - 03:01
Nuland Lied to Congress about Phantom Russian Hordes in Ukraine
by Stephen Lendman
Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland represents the worst of America's dark side. Her rap sheet reads like convicted Nazis hanged for high crimes against peace.
A fascist neocon by any standard, she's a former Dick Cheney aide. She was Obama point person in charge of Washington's February 2014 coup in Ukraine. 
Fascism reemerged in Europe's heartland for the first time since WW II. Nazis replaced democrats. Naked aggression followed against Donbass Ukrainians wanting to live free from its scourge.
Governance Washington installed in Ukraine is a blight on humanity. Fascists in charge may spark direct confrontation with Russia.
European leaders able to act responsibly support what demands rejection. Ukraine is a fascist dictatorship. Its leaders are Nazi lunatics.
They terrorize their own people. They risk setting the entire continent ablaze. 
Russia acts heroically to prevent the worst possible outcome. Its reward is wrongful blame for US/Kiev crimes.
On March 4, Nuland addressed House Foreign Affairs Committee members. They shamed themselves for inviting her.
They should have ordered her apprehended the moment she showed up. She's guilty of high crimes too egregious to ignore.
Her statement was polar opposite truth. It was a beginning-to-end litany of Big Lies no committee member challenged.
She called murdered US-funded, self-serving opportunist Boris Nemtsov a "freedom fighter, Russian patriot and friend."
She ignored the almost certain CIA false flag responsible for killing him. She absurdly called Ukraine "central to our 25 year Transatlantic quest for a 'Europe whole, free and at peace.' "
Fact: Washington wants Ukraine used as a dagger against Russia's heartland - with menacing US bases on its borders threatening is sovereign independence.
Nuland called US planned and implements year ago Maidan violence using well-trained Nazi thugs "peaceful protest(s) by ordinary Ukrainians."
"They braved frigid temperatures, brutal beatings and sniper bullets…Ukraine began to forge a new nation…holding free and fair election…and undertaking deep and comprehensive economic and political reforms."
Fact: US-deposed President Viktor Yanukovych's police showed remarkable restraint.
Fact: Washington-supported Nazi thugs bore full responsibility for beatings, sniper killings and other violence.
Fact: Ukrainian parliamentary and presidential elections were farcical - with no legitimacy whatever.
Fact: So-called economic reforms involve crushing hardships on already impoverished Ukrainians in return for loan-shark-of-last-resort IMF blood money.
Fact: No responsible political reforms exist. None are planned. It bears repeating. Ukraine is a US-installed fascist dictatorship.
Nuland lied claiming "enhance(d) (Ukrainian) transparency in public procurement, reduce(d) government inefficiency and corruption, (laws) making the banking system more transparent, and measures to improve the climate for business and…foreign investment."
Ukrainian banking is a black hole of grand theft. State farmland and enterprises are being sold to Western predators at fire sale prices.
Corruption is worse than ever. Government and military officials are stealing everything they can get their dirty hands on - at the expense of imposing crushing austerity on deeply impoverished millions.
Hyperinflation grips the country. The "breadbasket" of Europe can't feed its people. Rationing was imposed.
Energy prices skyrocketed to unaffordable levels. Ukraine symbolizes humanitarian disastrous conditions wherever America shows up.
Nuland recited a litany of Big Lies about the "new Ukraine," - a Nazified menace to its people, Europe and humanity.
Claiming it's "building a peaceful, democratic, independent" nation is polar opposite truth.
She aimed the worst of her rant at Russia and Donbass freedom fighters. 
She lied about Crimea "under illegal occupation" - ignoring near Crimean unanimity to reverse a historic mistake and rejoin Russia.
She turned truth on its head claiming "(i)n eastern Ukraine, Russia and its separatist puppets unleashed unspeakable violence and pillage."
"MH17 was shot down. Hundreds of Russian heavy weapons and troops poured across the border, fueling the conflict."
"Sixteen Russian uninspected 'humanitarian convoys' entered Ukraine in violation of agreements with the Ukrainian government, the ICRC and the international community." 
"Donetsk airport was obliterated…Debaltseve, a key rail hub beyond the ceasefire lines, fell to separatist and Russian forces six days after Minsk was signed…"
"This is a manufactured conflict controlled by the Kremlin, fueled by Russian tanks and heavy weapons; financed at Russian taxpayers’ expense and costing the lives of young Russians…"
Fact: Kiev collaboratively with Washington launched naked aggression against Donbass residents wanting democratic rights everyone deserves - wanting to live free from the scourge of fascism.
Fact: No Russian hordes "poured across (Ukraine's) border." Kiev's own military chief said so.

No evidence whatever shows Russian involvement. None exists except photos exposed as fakes.
Fact: Washington and Kiev bear full responsibility for unleashing unspeakable violence against Donbass residents.
Fact: One or more Ukrainian warplanes downed MH17- a US/Kiev false flag. Russia and rebels had nothing to do with it.
Fact: Russia is the only nation delivering vitally needed humanitarian aid - inspected by ICRC representatives.
Fact: Minsk ceasefire terms included nothing about Debastseve.
Fact: Washington and Kiev "manufactured" Donbass' conflict - not Moscow or rebels.
Not a single House Foreign Affairs Committee member challenged Nuland's obvious and outrageous Big Lies.
They accepted them as gospel. They let an unindicted war criminal insult them.
Russia and rebels are consistently and wrongfully blamed for US/Kiev crimes.
Obama wants war, not peace. He wants unchallenged control over America's newest colony. He wants it pillaged for profit.
He wants it as a stepping-stone toward long sought regime change in Russia - replacing its sovereign independence with pro-Western puppet governance.
His maniacal agenda risks possible nuclear war. Nuland is one of many neocon fascists infesting Washington. 
Their notion of peace and prosperity includes endless wars of aggression, mass slaughter and destruction, stealing world resources, enslaving its people, and creating unspeakable human misery. 
They quest for world dominance may kill us all!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Nemtsov Wanted Color Revolution Change in Russia

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 23:01
Nemtsov Wanted Color Revolution Change in Russia
by Stephen Lendman
Don't mourn Nemtsov's passing. He died rich. Likely murdered by a CIA false flag - a thinly veiled failed scheme to create anti-Putin sentiment.
Nemsov's popular support was virtually nil. At around 1%, he was a political nobody. He was worth more to Washington dead than alive.
He was a corrupted pro-Western darling - a US-funded self-serving opportunist. A former top Boris Yeltsin government official.
Part of his right-wing pro-Western rogue administration responsible for plundering the country, impoverishing its people and creating unspeakable human misery.
Yeltsin, Nemtsov and like-minded officials ignored essential needs, human rights and civil liberties.
They let corruption and criminality flourish. One scandal followed others. Money-laundering became sport. Tens of billions dollars in stolen wealth were hidden in Western banks and offshore tax havens.
Western-instituted "shock therapy" produced economic genocide. GDP plunged 50%. Life expectancy fell sharply. 
Democratic freedoms died. An oligarch class accumulated enormous wealth at the expense of millions of harmed Russians.
Free-market gangsters ran things. Another generation may be needed to undo the damage done. 
Nemtsov shared blame with other political opportunists. Russians despised him for good reason.
Fort Russ discussed WikiLeaks cables showing Nemtsov wanted color revolution change in Russia. Komsomolskaya Pravda published them.
They revealed meetings of fake human rights defenders and hard-right elements with US officials at America's Moscow embassy.
One cable, dated January 14, 2010, discussed US ambassador to Russia John Beyrle’s meeting with these elements.
Others like it took place - including on January 19, 2010 under the code name "Moscow 000305." Attending were Nemtsov, Vladimir Milov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and "The Right Deed" party representative Georgy Goft.
Discussion focused on conditions needed to ensure new leadership replacing Putin. Beyrle wrote at the time:
"The Russian right opposition agreed that the goal of the opposition during the next two years should be the work to prevent the return of Vladimir Putin to the post of the president." 
"But according to their opinion, only an emergency situation would bring about his demise."
No other way is possible because Russian civil society "is still asleep," said Beyrle. Most people support Putin.
Beyrle covertly discussed regime change with Nemtsov and like-minded anti-Putin elements.
Talks focused on creating an emergency situation severe enough to generate anti-Putin sentiment.
They wanted Russia returned to its bad old days under Yeltsin. They had color revolution change in mind.
They wanted pro-Western stooge governance replacing sovereign Russian independence.
They wanted democracy eliminated entirely. Western darling Nemtsov was part of a scheme against his own citizens - a traitor by any standard.
He envied Ukrainians, he said. "Thanks to the Orange Maidan, they…have democracy and happiness all around."
"Only if we could have the same," he added. He dreamed of removing Putin - replacing Russian democracy with fascist dictatorship.
In January 2012, Obama appointed Michael McFall ambassador to Russia to pursue "dePutinization." Nemtsov was a key prop in his scheme.
Under current US ambassador John Tefft, he was worth more dead than alive.
Komsomolskaya Pravda commented, saying:
"It is hard to imagine that the representatives of Democrats or Republicans would run to the Russian Embassy in Washington DC and tearfully beg: 'Please be harder on our government' and without blinking formulate the task: 'In order to come to power we need a collapse!' "
Russians aren't stupid. They deeply resent Washington meddling in their internal affairs.
They know America is their greatest threat - Putin their greatest hope to remain free from its dominance.
It bears repeating. Washington's long sought goal is regime change in Russia.
It wants control over its vast territory. It wants it balkanized for easier control. 
t wants its resources plundered. It wants its people exploited. It wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing a major rival.
It's part of Washington's longstanding goal for unchallenged global dominance. 
Ukraine is a key piece on its grand chessboard. Russia and China its final frontier targets.
A Final Comment
On March 4, Putin "urged Interior Ministry officials…to focus on smothering (Western provoked) budding color revolution" destabilization efforts.
"We see attempts to use so-called 'color revolution technology,' ranging from organizing unlawful public protests to open propaganda of hatred and enmity on social networks," he said during an Interior Ministry meeting.
"The aim is obvious - to provoke civil conflict and strike a blow at our country's constitutional foundations, and ultimately even at our sovereignty," he stressed.
He urged "preventive work" to counter nefarious schemes. Color revolutions in post-Soviet states are warnings of potential Russian threats," he explained.
"(E)verything necessary" should be undertaken to prevent them in Russia, he stressed.
With his approval rating topping 85%, they're virtually impossible. Don't expect Washington's destabilizing to stop.
A Levada Center survey shows only about 10% of Russians would participate in anti-Putin protests.
The vast majority supports him for good reason. They want no part of repeating the human misery caused by US-manipulated 1990s.
A week before Nemtsov's murder, thousands of Muscovites participated in an anti-Maidan rally - against Western-instigated color revolutionary change in Russia.
Some protesters held signs calling Nemtsov a Ukraine Maidan organizer causing turmoil creating today's crisis conditions.
Putin reminded Russians to remain vigilant against similar internal threats. 
Kommersant newspaper said a research body associated with Moscow's Security Council recommended adopting measures able to counter "destabilization of the internal political situation."
One recommendation urged countering the "romanticization of (internal) revolution." 
What Putin calls "extremists poison(ing) society with the venom of their belligerent nationalism, intolerance and aggression."
As long as he remains popular, US-instigated color revolutions won't happen. Russians want no part of America's dirty hands running their country.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

EFF Joins Civil Society and Computer Security Experts to Call for Rejection of Flawed Cybersecurity Legislation

eff.org - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 09:00

EFF has joined 26 civil society organizations and 22 computer security experts in a letter that calls on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to reject the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA).

CISA, currently only available in draft form, is yet another iteration of the infamous Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), first introduced in 2011. These pieces of legislation have all been introduced under the auspices of increased computer and network security. But instead of providing increased funding for security research, providing funding for security training for federal government employees, or any of the other ways computer and network security could be made better, they have focused on information sharing, without addressing the privacy and civil liberties implications that entails.

CISA is no different. It would grant companies more power to obtain “cyber threat indicators" and to disclose that data to the government without a warrant—hence its reputation as a “cyber-surveillance” bill. In fact, as the letter points out, CISA “requires real time dissemination to military and intelligence agencies, including the NSA.” In other words, cyberthreats shared with any agency would be automatically shared with the NSA.

Under CISA, all of this would happen without real privacy protections for Internet users. As the letter emphasizes:

CISA does not effectively require private entities to strip out information that identifies a specific person prior to sharing cyber threat indicators with the government, a fundamental and important privacy protection.

But CISA allows the shared information to be used for purposes that have nothing to do with cybersecurity, including “a wide range of crimes involving any level of physical force, including those that involve no threat of death or significant bodily harm,”  compounding the potential negative privacy impact.

CISA would also authorize companies to launch countermeasures against potentially innocent users—without requiring that companies are responsible for any harm they cause to innocent users:

countermeasures must be “operated on” one’s own information systems, but may have off-networks effects – including harmful effects to external systems – so long as the countermeasures do not “intentionally” destroy other entities’ systems. . . CISA permits companies to recklessly deploy countermeasures that damage networks belonging to innocent bystanders, such as a hospital or emergency responders that attackers use as proxies to hide behind, so long as the deploying company does not intend that the countermeasure result in harm.

To compound this provision, like its previous iterations, CISA contains overbroad immunity from lawsuits for corporations that share information or deploy countermeasures—effectively ensuring that they have little incentive to minimize these activities.

You can read the full text of the letter and see the signatories here. The SSCI is expected to mark up CISA soon. And while we’re hopeful that it will be defeated, CISA’s past iterations have faced several veto threats from President Obama, a petition with over 800,000 signatures, and a widespread online campaign dubbed "Stop Cyber Spying Week." That means we need your voice to defeat this version, too. Take action today: tell your Senator to oppose reintroduction of a bill that invades the privacy and civil liberties of everyday Internet users while failing to truly make the Internet safer.

Related Issues: PrivacyCyber Security Legislation
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Netanyahu Postmortems

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 05:12
Netanyahu Postmortems
by Stephen Lendman
Honest analysts know his double-barreled Washington offensive fell flat - targeting AIPAC and Congress.
His blustering Big Lies wore thin long ago. He repeated the same stuff he regurgitates in all his anti-Iranian/poor threatened israel rants.
You have to be practically comatose not to have heard it ad nauseam. Or sublimely ignorant not to know Iran threatens no one.
It's nuclear program is entirely legitimate - with no military component or intention to have one. 
Or that Israel is the region's only nuclear power - a dangerous one committed to use its arsenal of banned weapons if threatened.
Analysts weighed in on Netanyahu's performance as expected. Haaretz editors were scathing - calling policies Netanyahu and like-minded MKs endorse "the real existential threat to Israel."
They include "unending occupation…Israel's insistence on ruling over millions of Palestinians in the West Bank who lack civil rights, expanding the settlements and keeping residents of the Gaza Strip" lawlessly besieged.
"Israel is mortgaging its (future by) maintain(ing)" polar opposite systems for Arabs and Jews.
It's "fated to explode," said Haaretz editors. Three Gaza wars since December 2008 show a nation fundamentally off-the-rails - against core principles it claims to stand for.
World public opinion grows increasingly anti-Israeli for good reason. Any nation unwilling to treat all its citizens and people it controls equitably according to fundamental rule of law principles is doomed to pariah status.
Zionism and democracy are no more compatible than fire and water.
Throughout Netanyahu's tenure, occupation harshness increased. "Internal tensions between Jews and Arabs" are perhaps unprecedented - a tinderbox waiting to explode.
"Right-wing (lunatics vie to see who's more effective) pushing anti-democratic laws designed to institutionalize discrimination against" minority Arabs, said Haaretz editors.
Campaigning for March 17 elections "is being conducted like a Purim carnival."
Issues mattering most and their dangers are ignored. No one talks about Palestinian rights, occupation harshness, besieged Gazans, or last summer's war.
"But topping them all is the prime minister, who wasted the great opportunity and the enormous attention he received on Capitol Hill and didn't even mention the real danger Israel faces" - itself because of self-destructive policies, Haaretz editors explained.
Its columnists weighed in. Chemi Shalev called Netanyahu's anti-Iranian rant "no game-changer" - either on Washington or Israeli voters.
Yossi Verter said Israelis know leading up to elections Netanyahu bombards them with "words, words, words."
Amiri Oren called his rhetoric "much ado about nothing…made in preparation for (his) imminent electoral defeat - a bid to become defense minister in Issac Herzog's government…"
Zvi Bar'el said he "presented Congress with a warped view of the Middle East."
His existential threats are backwards. For sure Iran poses none. He threatens the entire region.
Reuters stressed how Netanyahu angered Obama for circumventing protocol - by addressing Congress without administration invitation and trying to sabotage ongoing Iranian nuclear talks.
AP said House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D. CA) blasted Netanyahu's condescension - virtually unheard of on Capitol Hill against an Israeli leader.
Obama refused to meet with him. Biden planned a Central American trip to avoid hearing him. Oren Hatch (R. UT) filled in as Senate president pro temp.
John Kerry was negotiating with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Geneva during Netanyahu's rant - both sides aiming for a framework agreement by month's end. Then a final one by end of June.
New York Times editors called Netanyahu's congressional speech "unconvincing."
On the one hand, "fawning lawmakers" "mobbed" him. "Even Washington doesn't often see this level of exploitative political theater," they said.
All the worse because Republicans used Netanyahu to "challenge…Obama's foreign policy."
Netanyahu's rant offered "nothing new." It was all about "proving his toughness on security issues" ahead of March 17 elections - largely for a home audience to win votes.
Times editors called his demand for Obama to push for a better deal entirely "hollow." He rejects any deal with Iran.
He offered no alternative approach. He gave chutzpah new meaning. 
He circumvented administration and congressional authority irresponsibly by trying to make US foreign policy himself - an unforgivable affront rendering him persona non grata as long as Obama remains president.
Neocon Washington Post editors said "Obama needs to provide real answers to Netanyahu's arguments" - something he hasn't yet done, they claim.
They called Netanyahu's obvious distortions, deception and Big Lies "legitimate questions."
They ignore Iran's peaceful nuclear program. In past editorials they urged tougher sanctions. 
They oppose any deal except under terms no nation would accept. They support war if other ways aren't found to deprive Iran of its legitimate nuclear power rights.
Neocon Wall Street Journal editors ludicrously called Netanyahu's bluster "bipartisan and gracious…" 
They accepted his litany of Big Lies as gospel. They treated a world-class thug like a legitimate leader.
They called his affrontary a proper administration policy challenge.
In contrast, Financial Times editors called his bluster "a brazen challenge to Obama."
Saying he snubbed protocol. He arrogantly circumvented presidential authority by appealing directly to a Republican-controlled Congress.
His gambit accomplished nothing to change administration negotiations with Iran.
He "opened cracks within pro-Israeli groups where none existed." He did more harm to US/Israeli relations than any of his predecessors.
He implied "the only way Iran could be stopped was through war."
His Manichean worldview is ideologically over-the-top and then some. "Never before has a foreign leader waded quite so brazenly into US politics," said FT editors.
He "needlessly risk(ed)" rupturing ties "with Israel's strongest ally." 
He's an out-of-control menace. On March 17, Israelis have a chance to oust him once and for all. Given lack of choices they face, it may not matter if he stays or goes.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

The STRONG Patents Act Is a Prime Example of Weak Reform

eff.org - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 04:47

"Reform" refers to making changes in something in order to improve it. The STRONG Patents Act, introduced yesterday by Sens. Coons, Durbin, and Hirono, claims to be a "reform" bill—in reality, it would achieve the exact opposite.

As we note in our recent whitepaper, Defend Innovation, we should primarily tackle the root problem of most patent issues: the abundance of poor quality patents. Important tools exist already to challenge bad patents, and these should be strengthened and made less expensive. The STRONG Patents Act's major "reform," however, cripples these means of limiting or scrapping patents that are poor quality.

First, it imposes standing requirements that would bar groups like EFF from challenging bad patents in the public interest. The bill states that you would only be able to challenge patents in an adversarial proceeding at the Patent Office (meaning you get to be there to argue back against what the patent owner says) if you have been sued or if you are "charged with infringement." A measure like this would have effectively stopped EFF from engaging in our Save Podcasting campaign against the patent troll Personal Audio. 

This is bad. EFF, through sites like Trolling Effects and those who reach out to us, is in an important position to notice when a bunch of startups and end users are receiving particularly egregious demand letters or suits. Although we can’t challenge every awful patent we see (we simply don’t have the resources), the STRONG Patents Act would prevent us from stepping in to meaningfully challenge any bad patent. The ability for public interest groups like us to do so is critical—patent owners could otherwise craft their demands to make it less worthwhile or feasible for any one accused party to challenge a patent. Affected individuals—podcasters, for example—simply don't have the resources to dispute the patents themselves.

On top of this change, the bill would make administrative challenges to patents more expensive by saddling challengers with costly discovery burdens. Sen. Coons' website claims that this is an attempt to "minimize abusive behavior," but the Patent Trial and Appeal Board already has authority to order discovery if there is a real basis to suspect abuse. The recently created post-grant review proceedings are an efficient and fair alternative to ruinously expensive district court litigation. The last thing we need is a law that undermines one of the few sensible parts of the patent system.

The STRONG Patents Act has a few positive provisions, such as helping clamp down on patent demand letters, but ultimately it is not the reform we need. In most regards, it's a step in the wrong direction. It ignores the biggest problems with the patent system today, namely the bad patents that have proliferated in recent years that are being abused by patent trolls. We need reform that addresses the worst actors and better levels the playing field—reform like the Innovation Act. Tell Congress to reject these fake fixes and to support the Innovation Act today.

Related Issues: PatentsLegislative Solutions for Patent Reform
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Poroshenko Prepares for More War

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 02:18
Poroshenko Prepares for More War
by Stephen Lendman
Sustainable, durable peace in Donbass is pure fantasy. Obama won't tolerate it. Poroshenko is a convenient US stooge.
His power depends on remembering who's boss. Given his colossal failures to please the power installing him, his days perhaps are numbered.
He admitted Minsk terms won't hold. They won't "be strictly implemented," he said.
In less than so many words he intends more war once his military regroups and rearms from the battering it took.
it suffered one major defeat after another - especially in Devaltseve. He introduced legislation authorizing a 250,000-strength force.
"The size of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in emergencies shall grow by the number of servicemen recruited for military service consistent with the mobilization decrees of the Ukrainian president," he said.
In January, Ukraine's illegitimate defense minister Stepan Poltorak said military budgeting will be 3.6 times greater than last year.
It's when its only enemies are ones it invents at a time it's bankrupt teetering toward economic collapse.
IMF and other Western funding alone maintain short-term solvency. For how long remains to be seen.
Ukraine is a black hole of fascist extremism, extreme repression, out-of-control militantly, scandalous corruption, and rage for more war against its own citizens.
An anti-populist budget passed without parliamentarians given a chance to read it.
It drastically cuts pensions. Retirees will get 15% less. Payments to tax, customs and regulatory body personnel are suspended.
Ukrainians already experience the world's highest hyperinflation at over 270%. Since February 2014, the hryvnia currency lost around 70% of its value perhaps heading toward worthlessness.
Energy prices are skyrocketing. Henceforth, gas for heating will increase 230% to about $132 per 1,000 cubic meters. 
Gas for cooking will skyrocket from $43 to $263 per 1,000 cubic meters. Economic crisis conditions are worsening. 
Devastating austerity was imposed on millions of deeply impoverished Ukrainians to qualify for $17.5 billion in loan-shark-of-last-resort IMF funding.
Despite economic disaster, Poroshenko is preparing for more war. On March 4, RT International headlined "Ukraine replenishes Donbass tank supplies amid ceasefire."
On the one hand, its military continues violating Minsk terms. So far, it refused to withdraw heavy weapons as stipulated. It's repositioning them instead.
It's adding reinforcements. It's preparing for more war. Sporadic shelling continues. Colonel Cassad reports it's targeting Donetsk's airport and "sometimes tries to attack" it.
It perpetuates the myth of a strong military. Reality is a battered one desperately trying to regroup and rearm for more combat. 
Fascist lunatics operate this way - especially with encouragement from Washington.
RT reported Ukraine's state-owned Ukroboronprom defense corporation saying it shipped T64B tanks to the defense ministry and national guard better able to withstand attacks than previous models.
A statement claimed they're "ready to carry out missions in the anti-terrorist operation (AT) zone" - referring to Donbass.
Numbers of tanks supplied aren't known - or payment terms. Ukroboronprom said new ones are equipped with better protective armor. According to a Latvian military source:
"In Ukraine, hulls of T-64 tanks are often severely damaged, with entire pieces of armor plucked out, and you can see that the damage is done along welding seams of the hull, while the rest of the armor plates left out bent." 
"The most obvious explanation to the damages of Ukrainian armored vehicles is the poor quality of manufacturing."
Donbass freedom fighters know ceasefire remains shaky at best. They're ready to repel any future Kiev attacks. Overnight Tuesday, they reported eight Ukrainian military shelling incidents.
On March 4, Sergey Lavrov wasn't encouraging. On the one hand, Kiev Minsk violations continue.
On the other, Lavrov said Contact Group members Russia, the OSCE and Ukraine were "urged to create working groups for reviewing all aspects of the Minsk agreements…as soon as possible."
So far, Kiev hasn't complied. It "refuse(s) the proposals of Donetsk and Luhansk, of the Russian side, to create such groups and announce their composition, trying to drag out the process. It is troubling," said Lavrov.
"There should be no doubt that the documents from February 12 must be implemented fully." 
"This includes immediately establishing working groups, starting work on a constitutional reform, restoring social and economic ties and so on."
Kiev obstructionism shows it wants war, not peace. It's just a matter of time before it resumes - with full US support and encouragement.
Expect Minsk II to accomplish no more than previous Russian initiated conflict resolution efforts.
War and peace decisions are made in Washington, not Moscow. Obama wants Donbass freedom fighters crushed. 
Expect renewed conflict at his discretion. Maybe this time with shock and awe Pentagon support.
In the meantime, Ukraine prepares for more war. It's taking part in ongoing NATO Annual Crisis Management Exercises. 
They're "designed to test (North Atlantic Council) procedures at the strategic political-military level," according to NATO.
"The exercise rehearses decision-making processes using an entirely fictitious scenario" likely to be very real during US-led NATO's next war.
Maybe targeting Donbass. Acting as Kiev's air force. Destroying Novorossia the way Obama ravaged Libya.
Given Washington's rage for permanent wars without end, expect the worst ahead.
Expect more mass slaughter and destruction - perhaps genocide before Washington's Ukraine campaign ends.
Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich blasted US policy, saying:
"We have noticed a remarkable fact. As soon as signs of a peaceful settlement of the severe Ukrainian crisis appear, Washington, that had a hand in last year's coup in Kiev, starts to exacerbate the situation."
"So this time, when the ceasefire regime agreed upon in Minsk on February 12 with assistance of Russian President Vladimir Putin is being implemented, Barack Obama's administration is again issuing threats, announcing extension of the previously imposed sanctions and promising new ones - both against our country and against the DPR and LPR."
"What is this if not an attempt to destroy the tenuous budding of trust between them and Ukrainian authorities, to undermine or even derail the peace process."  
"The same applies to promises of massive American weapons supplies to Ukraine, indulging revanchist plans of Kiev's 'party of war.' "
"We would really appreciate if the United States would finally start thinking about the consequences of its decisions and actions." 
"Moreover, no sanctions will change Russia's principal position. It is high time for Washington to realise it."
According to Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, Moscow will do whatever is necessary to counter possible threats from Alliance involvement in Ukraine.
Mostly blaming Washington, he said some "NATO countries are adding fuel to the fire of this conflict."
Deploying combat troops masquerading as instructors directly aids Kiev's "party of war" intention to resolve crisis conditions "by military means."
"It runs counter to NATO leadership statements (claiming) Ukrain(e's) crisis has no military solutions," Grushko stressed.
It bears repeating. Ukraine's conflict is far from settled. It'll resume at Obama's discretion. 
Odds favor sometime this spring - perhaps Libya-style war using Kiev ground forces as US shock troops the way Washington uses ISIS in Syria.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Netanyahu's Ugly Israel

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:35
Netanyahu's Ugly Israel
by Stephen Lendman
Israel is a rogue terror state by any standard. No amount of speechmaking changes reality. Fascist lunatics run things. 
They want supreme hegemonic regional control. They want all potential challengers eliminated. 
They're willing to wage genocidal wars to achieve objectives - including use of nuclear, chemical, biological and other banned weapons.
Their Machiavellian extremism threatens world peace and stability. Netanyahu is the tip of the iceberg. Embedded fascist power runs Israel like America.
Netanyahu came to Washington to convince Congress, the US public and his own population about a nonexistent Iranian threat.
He knows Iran threatens no one. Its nuclear program is peaceful. It has no military component. His own Mossad says so. So does US intelligence annually.
Claiming an existential Iranian threat is a ruse - a Big Lie. None exists. Netanyahu is a serial liar. He wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing Iranian sovereign independence. 
He's willing to massacre millions of Iranians to rule the region unchallenged. His madness could launch nuclear war.
At the same time, his goon squads terrorize Palestinians daily. Media scoundrels ignore his worst crimes.
Every day is Kristallnacht in Palestine. So-called Israeli security forces terrorize Palestinians with impunity. So do radicalized settlers with full state support and encouragement.
Gaza remains lawlessly besieged. An Israeli caused humanitarian disaster worsens daily. 
West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinian communities are virtual war zones - subjected to daily terrorizing incursions.
Fear is pervasive. Collective punishment is official Israeli policy. So is institutionalized racism worse than anything experienced in apartheid South Africa.
Peaceful public demonstrations are brutally attacked. Free expression and movement are prohibited.
Population centers are isolated. Borders are closed. Militarized occupation prohibits normal daily life.
Palestinians face rascist discrimination, land theft, bulldozed homes, regular terror attacks, targeted killings, mass arrests, wrongful imprisonments, torture, punitive taxes, impoverishment, indentured servitude, ethnic cleansing and slow-motion genocide.
Palestinians wanting to live free on their own land in their own country are called terrorists. Fishermen are attacked at sea.
So are farmers working their land. Their crops, livestock and orchards are lawlessly destroyed. 
Israeli goon squads shoot Palestinian children for target practice. Fundamental civil and human rights are denied.
Few services are provided. Vital ones are lacking or inadequate. Palestinian lawmakers are imprisoned for belonging to the wrong party. 
Israeli democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists. When Israelis vote on March 17, embedded power will emerge victorious.
Business as usual will continue. Nothing fundamental will change. Conditions for Palestinians will remain cruel and unjust.
The whole world knows. Western leaders able to change things sit on their hands and do nothing.
Washington funds Israel's killing machine with billions of dollars annually, the latest weapons and technology, and bipartisan endorsement of its worst crimes.
Before Netanyahu left for Washington, Israel cut off power for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians twice in the dead of winter. 
It warned about further outages if PA officials don't pay millions of dollars in outstanding debt. 
Impossible because Israel won't release around $250 million in tax revenues belonging to Palestine - collective punishment for joining the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Israel punitively opened dams near Gaza's border. Flooding caused hundreds of Palestinians to flee water levels more than three meters deep.
Many others were affected - compounding the humanitarian disaster from Israel's summer war. 
Media scoundrels ignore a catastrophe affecting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on their own with virtually no promised aid delivered.
While Netanyahu ranted to Congress, his goon squads destroyed thousands of acres of wheat, barley and other Bedouin Rakhama village crops.
Tractors protected by killer cops uprooted privately owned Palestinian land. One resident spoke for others saying:
"This is vandalism through which they plan to displace the Bedouins from the Negev so as to create a Jewish state free of Arabs." 
"(M)y message to them is that if you turn over the land a million times, and if you demolish our homes a thousand times we will continue to live on this land and won't allow anybody to take it from us."
Area bedouins were given land to compensate for forced 1954 displacement. Israeli agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on.
Bedouins live in so-called unrecognized villages - without essential services Israel refuses to provide. It wants Arabs displaced for exclusive Jewish development. 
It uses various means to remove them - including declaring privately owned Palestinian land closed military zones.
On Tuesday, radicalized settlers attacked Palestinian MK Hanin Zoabi. She was speaking at Ramat Gan college near Tel Aviv.
Lunatic Israelis attacked her with bottles and milk spilled on her. She sustained moderate injuries.
Reports indicated Israel's extremist right-wing ordered the attack. Without security intervention, she could have been killed.
On March 17, she's running for reelection. On February 18, Israel's High Court overturned a right-wing Knesset ruling disqualifying her from general elections.
She's condemned for participating in the May 2010 Mavi Marmara humanitarian Gaza mission. Israeli fascists call her a traitor for supporting right over wrong.
On March 2, a B'Tselem press release headlined "Incident in which soldiers set dogs on Palestinian youth was part of official policy."
Israeli goon squads routinely use vicious attack dogs against unarmed defenseless Palestinian civilians.
B'Tselem published video evidence "of two soldiers from the IDF dog unit filmed by another soldier after they had set dogs on a Palestinian boy." 
"The footage was first posted on former MK Michael Ben Ari’s Facebook page, but has since been removed from there." 
"The military’s official response read: 'Upon receipt of the footage, the Commander of the Airborne and Special Training Center ordered an immediate internal inquiry into the incident.' " 
" 'Upon completion of this inquiry, conclusions will be drawn and the necessary steps will be taken to prevent such incidents from recurring.' ”
So-called Israeli inquiries are whitewashes by any standard. Expect no change in official Israeli policy.
Superiors up the Israeli chain of command authorize killer attack dog terrorism.
B'Tselem "documented and publicized this incident about two months ago," it said.
Video evidence reveals "standard" IDF practice. Attack dogs are unleashed. They're ordered against Palestinians. They savagely bite into human flesh until handlers order release.
Sometimes dogs maintain killer grips, said B'Tselem. Handlers have to taser them to release victims.
Previous responses to B'Tselem complaints indicate so-called inquiries focus "only on how the dogs were used, and not on whether they should have been used at all," the organization said.
It wants all dog attacks stopped. Its only response gotten in 18 months is that this type unacceptable viciousness "is under review."
Israel continues numerous terror tactics against Palestinians no just society would tolerate. The incident in question occurred on December 23, 2014.
Palestinians threw stones in response to a confrontation Israeli soldiers initiated.
An eyewitness said they unleashed attack dogs on Palestinian youths. One dog savagely bit 16-year-old Hamzeh Abu Hashem.
He required hospitalization. His family said he was arrested, handcuffed, removed from the hospital and taken to Ofer Prison.
B'Tselem said he was sentenced to six months imprisonment. Similar incidents occur often.
Israel uses killer attack dogs as terrorizing weapons against Palestinians for virtually any reason or none at all.
Netanyahu's congressional rant didn't explain. Supportive House and Senate members didn't ask. Or express any outrage against Israeli viciousness.
One rogue state supports another. Millions of innocent victims suffer horrifically. 
Expect the worst ahead as long as criminal gangs run both countries. Their rule by terror threatens everyone.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

EFF to UN: You Need a Privacy Watchdog

eff.org - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 19:19

EFF joined more than sixty civil liberties organizations and public interest groups from across the world yesterday in calling upon the world's governments to support the creation of a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.

The special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council and serve in their personal capacities. The establishment of a special rapporteur on the right to privacy is a key step that the United Nations can take to ensure that the right to privacy is given meaning and practical application in the light of technological developments. A special rapporteur would play a critical role in developing common understandings and furthering a considered and substantive interpretation of the right to privacy in a variety of settings.

The right to privacy is one of the few civil and political rights without specialist attention from a United Nations mandate holder. Privacy is an independent right, enshrined in a variety of international human rights treaties. There is a pressing need to better articulate the content of this right as part of international human rights law and produce guides on its interpretation, particularly as modern technologies are enabling communications surveillance—and consequent interference with this right—on an unprecedented and damaging scale.

The coalition letter states:

“The UN General Assembly resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age – adopted by consensus on 18 December 2014 - encourages the [Human Rights Council (HRC)] to consider the possibility of establishing a special procedure on the right to privacy. (...)

The UN General Assembly, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and existing special procedure mandate holders have all recognized the pressing need to provide continuous, systematic and authoritative guidance on the scope and content of the right to privacy as enshrined in article 12 of UDHR and article 17 of ICCPR. Significantly, all of them have identified the need to assess and monitor the ongoing implementation of this right.

The current lack of a dedicated thematic special procedure on the right to privacy hinders the capacity of the HRC to provide leadership in protecting and promoting this right (...). A Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy would fill this significant institutional gap and enable the HRC to take a leading role in identifying and clarifying principles, standards and best practices regarding the promotion and protection of the right to privacy.”

EFF and coalition partners have been calling for the establishment of a special rapporteur on the right to privacy for a while. We'll be keeping you informed on the discussions on the right to privacy being held by the U.N Human Rights Council in its 28th session in Geneva, which ends on March 27th.

Related Issues: InternationalSurveillance and Human RightsPrivacy
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Netanyahu's Congressional Rant

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 05:40
Netanyahu’s Congressional Rant
by Stephen Lendman
He last addressed a joint congressional session on May 24, 2011. At the time, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy called it a rant "filled with lies on top of lies and illusions heaped on illusions."
Netanyahu never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to do the wrong thing. He praised Israel's nonexistent democracy.
Critics denounced its business as usual policy. Its brutalizing occupation harshness. Wars against defenseless civilians at its discretion. Subjugating millions of Arabs ruthlessly for not being Jews.
A previous article explained why Netanyahu chose now to address Congress - a combination of political campaigning ahead of March 17 Israeli elections and a deliberate effort to sabotage Iranian P5+1 talks.
One thing alone is sure. He did more to damage relations with America than any previous Israeli leader. Neocons in Washington supporting him compound it.
Paul Craig Roberts noted a disturbing Andy Borowitz New Yorker article. He headlined "Boehner Calls Netanyahu Closest Ally in Fight Against Obama."
It reflects the lunacy gripping Washington perhaps one day heading toward destroying us. So does a second right-wing National Review article Roberts spotted titled "Netanyahu, Not Obama, Speaks for Us."
Thankfully levelheadedness still exists. A New York Times ad headlined "No, Mr. Netanyahu - You do not speak for American Jews."
"The American People Do Not Want a War with Iran." Noted American Jews and others signed it. 
Millions of Americans would have if given a chance. Likely billions of people worldwide - including most Israelis.
Netanyahu, like-minded Israelis, and lunatics in Washington may risk all on nuclear war. Humanity's greatest challenge is stopping them before their megalomania kills everyone.
Netanyahu's congressional address continued where his AIPAC rant left off. He lied claiming Israel defended itself from Hamas rockets last summer.
It launched cold, calculated, well-planned naked aggression against a largely civilian Gazan population. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets.
It had everything to do with preventing Palestinian self-determination and unity as well as maintaing brutalizing militarized occupation harshness.
Netanyahu repeated tired old Big Lies as expected. He segued from one to another. His own Mossad explains a nonexistent iranian threat he hypes ad nauseam.
Claiming a modern-day "Persian potentate" threatens Israel's survival is polar opposite truth. No legitimate evidence corroborates his Big Lie. 
Nothing suggests Iran threatens anyone. Plenty proves a US/Israeli/UK alliance menaces humanity - the real axis of evil.
Iran and other peace-loving nations oppose their rage for war - one after another against fictitious enemies to satiate their maniacal craze for unchallenged dominance.
Don't expect Netanyahu to explain. He absurdly compared Iran to Nazi Germany saying its "regime" is not merely a Jewish problem any more than" Nazis were one.
It "poses a grave threat (to) the entire world." It's hard imagining anyone believing these reckless Big Lies demanding denunciation.
Most congressional members applaud it. Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous. Fascist ideologues control things. 
They threaten regional peace and stability. Perhaps humanity if their rogue agenda isn't stopped.
Netanyahu turned truth on its head claiming Israel and America support "life, liberty" and other fundamental freedoms.
At the same time, he lied saying Iran's founding document "pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad." 
He recklessly blamed Tehran for US/Israeli regional crimes. He viciously and irresponsibly claimed its "goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights (stolen from Syria) are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror."
He lied saying "(b)acked by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians."
Fact: Israel partners with Obama's proxy war on Syria.
Fact: He wants an Israeli rival removed.
Fact: He wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing sovereign Syrian independence.
Fact: He uses Pentagon/CIA recruited, armed, funded, trained and directed iSIS fighters as proxy US foot soldiers.
Fact: They're cold-blooded cutthroat terrorists.
Fact: Israel treats their wounded so they can go back and kill more Syrians. It provides arms and other support.
Despite no corroborating evidence whatever, Netanyahu ludicrously claimed "for the last 36 years, Iran (conducted) attacks against the United States."
If true, war between both countries would have erupted years ago. Even jaded congressional members know Netanyahu's claim about Iran "killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan" is pure rubbish.
Yet they dutifully applauded instead of demanding he leave their chamber and never return. No regional country is responsible for more mass slaughter, destruction and state terror than Israel.
The entire Congress knows what not a single profile in courage among 535 members will admit.
Netanyahu's Big Lie urging congressional members to "stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror" was followed by rousing applause.
"Iran's regime is as radical as ever," Netanyahu ranted. It "will always be an enemy of America."
He disgracefully compared its government to ISIS - saying they're "competing for the crown of militant islam."
He cut to the chase lying about it "soon (to) be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs."
He ignored Israel's nuclear arsenal and long-range delivery capability it threatens to use at its discretion.
"I'll say it one more time," he ranted. "The greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of (Iranian) militant Islam with nuclear weapons."
Fact: Humanity's greatest threat is a US/UK/Israeli axis of evil threatening everyone with mass destruction.
Fact: Iran's commitment for world peace and stability goes unheralded.
Netanyahu finds new ways to lie about its peaceful nuclear program. He shamelessly says successful P5+1 talks "will not prevent (it) from developing nuclear weapons."
They'll "all but guarantee that (it) gets those weapons, lots of them" - despite ample evidence showing its nuclear program is entirely peaceful with no military component.
How does Netanyahu know he's right and sophisticated US and Israeli intelligence are wrong? "You can Google it," he claims.
You can't make this stuff up. According to him, Googling will reveal top secret information spy sleuths don't know.
How he spews these lies with a straight face he'll have to explain. He claimed any deal with Iran will leave its "vast nuclear infrastructure" in place.
It's no different from dozens of other countries operating nuclear reactors for commerial power. Iran conforms fully with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty provisions. 
Israel refuses to sign the benchmark treaty. It wants its open secret left unexamined. It ludicrously claims any deal leaves Iran "with a short break-out time to the bomb."
No evidence whatever substantiates it - or other Netanyahu Big Lies about Iran's legitimate nuclear program.
"According to the deal (being discussed), not a single nuclear facility would be demolished," he ranted. 
"Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed."
"Because Iran's nuclear program would be left largely intact, (its) break-out time would be very short - about a year by US assessment, even shorter by Israel's."
In 2012, Netanyahu claimed Iran would have a nuclear weapon in 3 to 6 months. Nothing he says holds water. Malicious Big Lies substitute for honest hard truths. 
His longstanding anti-Iranian position reflects his desire for unchallenged regional hegemony. Achieving it requires eliminating all rivals - principally Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah.
Claiming a fabricated Iranian nuclear threat is red-herring cover for wanting their governments replaced by pro-Western stooge ones.
The entire Congress knows Netanyahu's dirty game - the same one they play in America's pursuit for unchallenged global dominance.
It bears repeating what other articles stressed. Either we stop these lunatics or they'll kill everyone. Their hegemonic madness may end life on earth.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

The CIA-Controlled Neocon Washington Post

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 02:05
The CIA-Controlled Neocon Washington Post
by Stephen Lendman
America's MSM mock legitimate journalism. State propaganda Big Lies substitute for real news, information and analysis on issues mattering most.
The Washington Post ranks with the worst. Its editorial policy long ago fell from grace. It openly fronts for wealth, power and privilege.
Extreme hawkishness defines its agenda. Neocons control editorial policy. Owner Jeff Bezos has CIA ties. He's bought, paid for and owned by dark forces ruling America.
He got a $600 million CIA contract for much more than Amazon Web Services (AWA). He proliferates information dark forces in America want published.
He has a disturbing history currying favor with national security officials. WaPo should explain his CIA connection. Readers should know its editorial policy reflects its war on humanity agenda.
WaPo is a virtual CIA house organ. Earlier, Communications Professor/journalism scholar/media critic Robert McChesney commented, saying: 
"When the main shareholder in one of the very largest corporations in the world benefits from a massive contract with the CIA on the one hand, and that same billionaire owns the Washington Post on the other hand, there are serious problems." 
"The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media." 
"Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself."
"If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation - say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government - the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press."
Paul Pillar is a former top CIA analyst. On February 8, he headlined his Consortium News article "WPost Lost in Neocon Fantasyland."
Saying, in effect, its editorial policy supports endless wars of aggression against nonexistent enemies. 
Its Watergate-type exposes no longer exist. It's in bed with dark forces it should confront with forceful editorial truth and full disclosure.
It's on the wrong side of virtually every issue harming millions in America and worldwide. It proliferates pure propaganda, not journalism.
WaPo editors are part of the anti-Putin chorus. They consistently blame him for US/Kiev high crimes. 
They consider Illegitimate Ukrainian Nazis democrats. They call courageous Donbass freedom fighters terrorists.
They ignore Putin's all-out efforts for peaceful conflict resolution. They come perilously close to urging US war on Russia.
They're mindless about a potentially humanity destroying conflict if lunatics in Washington launch it.
Their reporting on Boris Nemtsov's murder reads like bad fiction. They ludicrously portray him as Churchillian.
He was a political nobody. Previous articles explained. His RPR-PARNAS party has less than 5% support. He enjoyed around 1% at most.
Polls show over 85% of Russians back Putin - more than double Obama's support in America.
A Sunday planned spring commemoration became a Nemtsov memorial march - a one-day Moscow event of no significance attracting around 21,000 participants at its height.
Most came simply to show respect - not support for a man the vast majority of Russians disliked.
Previous articles explained he was a US-funded Putin-bashing self-serving opportunist - polar opposite what the vast majority of Russians want and deserve.
The typical type scoundrel Washington likes installing in governments it topples as a convenient stooge serving US interests and their own at the expense of their own people they betray.
WaPo editors turned truth on its head claiming "(t)housands def(ied) Putin in Moscow." They look for any reason to bash him. 
They lied claiming "Russians know all too well the possible consequences of joining protest rallies in Moscow."
Police don't "regularly attack and beat peaceful demonstrators" as WaPo editors claimed.
It's common practice in America and other Western countries. Police in cahoots with Washington viciously attacked Occupy Wall Street protesters earlier in cities nationwide.
Club-wielding/head bashing cops attacked anti-war and global justice demonstrators earlier. Anyone challenging US injustice risks facing full-force state ruthlessness - including prison time, torture or death.
Don't expect WaPo editors to explain. Instead they lied claiming "tens of thousands showed up" in Moscow Sunday for Nemtsov.
It bears repeating. Estimates were about 21,000 at most. Claiming they "def(ied) fear that pervades Vladimir Putin's Moscow" is polar opposite truth.
Saying Sunday's turnout showed "many Russians, like Mr. Nemtsov himself, did not give up the cause of democracy and human rights" reveals more about WaPo-style neocon "fantasyland."
So does hyping nonexistent Putin "imperialism and repression." Citing a "democratic West," in contrast, is pure fantasy.
WaPo editors make garden-variety big liars look benign in comparison. 
"(M)any Western leaders remain in a state of denial about Mr. Putin or still hesitate to take measures that might stop his aggression," they ranted.
No Russian aggression exists now or earlier. None is planned. No evidence suggests it. Putin shames Western leaders. 
They support Washington's permanent war agenda. They're comfortable with US-dominated unipolarity.
Putin deplores war. He supports multi-world polarity, peace and stability.
WaPo editors urge more sanctions on Russia. They want Kiev supplied with more heavy weapons than already. They want war, not peace.
They lied about phantom Russian forces in Ukraine. No one can find them because they don't exist.
Since both sides agreed on February 12 Minsk ceasefire terms, Kiev continues to violate them. Rebels respond only if attacked.
WaPo editors maliciously accused "Russian forces" of breaching Minsk. They practically compared Putin to Hitler.
They outrageously claim he intends "to forcibly overturn the post-Cold War order in Europe."
On the one hand, they said "(i)t's not known who murdered Mr. Nemtsov…" On the other, they claim "it probably won't be (known) as long as Mr. Putin remains in power."
They ludicrously said Sunday marchers "placed responsibility where it must lie."
A previous article said it's inconceivable to think Putin wanted Nemtsov killed. Few Russians think so. Clear signs suggest a CIA false flag!
The article quoted Washington's ambassador to Russia John Tefft practically admitting Nemtsov was more valuable to America dead than alive. It said draw your own conclusion.
It bears repeating. WaPo editors want war, not peace. They're heading perilously close to urging direct confrontation with Russia. 
They part of the lunatic fringe in America's capital. The danger to humanity is they may get the war they crave.
A Final Comment
Readers expect more from Financial Times commentaries than Gideon Rachman's March 2 anti-Putin rant. He headlined "Vladimir Putin's survival strategy is lies and violence."
Ad hominem maliciousness substituted for facts and legitimate analysis. Rachman lied saying Putin "stirs nationalist paranoia that makes Nemtsov's killing permissible."
He outrageously blamed him for the crime saying "(w)hen a government starts murdering its critics in the streets, it has crossed the line into barbarism."
Lay blame where it belongs. America's CIA and Israel's Mossad have longstanding records of eliminating figures opposing their governments' imperial policies the old-fashioned way - by a bullet, bomb, slit throat or convenient well-planned accident.
Don't expect MSM writers to explain. Rachman disgracefully compared today's Russia to Soviet years under Stalin and Nazi Germany.
He sounded like WaPo editors saying "(u)nleashing vioience and then lying about it has become standard operating procedure for Mr. Putin's Kremlin - from eastern Ukraine to the streets of Moscow."
Anyone making minimal efforts to understand what's ongoing knows Washington, Israel, Britain and rogue NATO partners bear full responsibility for most global violence, instability and cold-blooded killings like Nemtsov's murder.
Blaming Putin for their crimes doesn't wash. Willful lying on issues this serious shows Rachman is no different from neocon US journalists - paid propagandists by any standard.
His article included a litany of Big Lies - whoppers shaming FT editors for publishing it. Making them look like their Murdoch-controlled Wall Street Journal counterparts.
They owe their readers an apology for printing rubbish they should have rejected straightaway.
Start by replacing Rachman. Follow up with an editorial retracting his Big Lies. 
Join others in working for world peace and stability. Help save humanity from the scourge of possible nuclear war.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Netanyahu at AIPAC

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 20:58
Netanyahu at AIPAC
by Stephen Lendman
His Monday bluster was a warmup for what honest observers call the most outrageous address ever by a foreign official to a joint congressional session - scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 at 11:00AM EST.
Netanyahu spurned protocol. He circumvented administration control over who gets invited to address Congress. 
He's persona non grata at the White House. No welcome mat greeted him on arrival. Obama refused to see him. 
Nearly five dozen House and Senate members intend boycotting his address - showing unprecedented disapproval of a foreign leader visiting Washington.
Voters should demand others explain why they intend showing up to support a cold-blooded racist mass-murderer serial liar.
On the one hand, his address is a thinly veiled campaign stunt two weeks ahead of March 17 Israeli elections.
On the other, It's an anti-Iranian fear-mongering effort - intended to sabotage ongoing P5+1 talks. 
It represents an unprecedented affront to US presidential authority - besides willfully lying about a Tehran nuclear weapons program his own intelligence agency (Mossad) says doesn't exist.
Annual US intelligence assessments say the same thing. Hard truths don't matter. Any excuse to bash Iran will do. Big Lies substitute for cold, hard facts.
Netanyahu's AIPAC speech was beginning-to-end demagogic boilerplate - full of bluster, megalomaniacal ranting, pompousness,  and Big Lies.
"Israel never forgets its friends," he said. He then recited a list of individuals complicit with Israeli crimes.
He insulted Palestinians and freedom fighters everywhere calling Jerusalem Israel's "eternal undivided capital."
False! It's a UN established international city. The vast majority of countries with embassies in Israel refuse to locate them there - including America.
Netanyahu avoided explaining what he'll tell Congress on Tuesday. It's no secret. He'll lie about a nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons program.
He absurdly called Iran an existential threat. It hasn't attacked another country in centuries. It has no intention of doing so now.
None of its neighbors feel threatened. Tehran seeks cooperative relations with all states.
Netanyahu gives chutzpah new meaning. Despite deliberately circumventing US presidential protocol, he ludicrously claimed his speech isn't intended to show disrespect.
Or inject himself "into the American partisan debate." In 2012, he openly supported Romney. It's no secret he and Obama dislike each other.
How anyone can stand either of them they'll have to explain. They're both serial liars and war criminals multiple times over.
Israel's attorney general is investigating Netanyahu for alleged criminal use of state funds. Possible prosecution and imprisonment could follow.
He thanked Washington for "back(ing) Israel in defending itself at war and in our efforts to achieve a durable peace with our neighbors."
He ludicrously said "a potential deal with Iran could threaten the survival of Israel." He repeated the Big Lie about "Iran (being) the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world."
He turned truth on its head claiming "Iran vows to annihilate Israel."
Fact: Israel deplores peace. It thrives on wars and instability it creates.
Fact: Its only enemies are ones it invents.
Fact: It wages perpetual war against defenseless Palestinian civilians. 
Fact It terrorizes them ruthlessly.
Fact: It incarcerates 1.8 million Gazans in the world's largest open-air prison. 
Fact: Last summer it terror-bombed large parts of the Strip to rubble. it murdered or maimed thousands of its people.
Fact: Israel and Washington partner in each other's wars.
Fact: They're cold, calculated acts of premeditated aggression.
Fact: Washington provides Israel with generous funding, weapons, munitions and full support.
Netanyahu's serial lying wore thin long ago. It bears repeating. Iran threatens no one. Its nuclear program is peaceful. It has no military component. No evidence proves otherwise.
Anyone paying attention knows Netanyahu's claims are deliberate acts of deception - Big Lies to influence Congress, the US public and his own constituents about a nonexistent Iranian threat.
"Israel lives in the world's most dangerous neighborhood," he claims. Israel and Washington bear full responsibility for violence and instability throughout the region. Both countries threaten world peace.
Common values they share aren't "liberty, equality, justice, tolerance (and) compassion," as Netanyahu claims.
They're polar opposite aims to conquer, dominate and exploit - benefitting rich and powerful interests at the expense of all others.
No two countries in world history threaten humanity's survival more. None more reflect pure evil - a scourge vital to stop before it destroys everyone in its maniacial aim for world dominance.
On Monday, the White House and State Department warned Netanyahu against revealing sensitive details he apparently knows about P5+1 talks.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest said doing so would constitute a "betrayal" of US trust.
John Kerry said "(w)e are concerned by reports that suggest selected details of the ongoing negotiations will be discussed publicly in the coming days." 
"I want to say clearly, doing so would make it more difficult to reach the goal that Israel and others say they share in order to get a good deal."
Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Obama officials gave Israel detailed classified information. 
She explained Kerry's remarks were directed at Netanyahu. Revealing information given Israel in confidence would be more of an affront than already.
In recent weeks, US officials largely ceased keeping their Israeli counterparts informed on P5+1 talks - because of concern about Netanyahu leaking information or revealing it publicly before Congress.
On Monday, Israel's Channel 10 said Washington halted all intelligence cooperation with Israel pertaining to Iran's nuclear program.
Days before his congressional address, a blistering Haaretz editorial accused Netanyahu of "wrecking Israel's ties with" Washington.
It said his actions "gravely impair" what's called a special relationship. "(D)ue primarily to electoral considerations, (he's) determined to act like a wrecking ball," it stressed.
He "insist(s) on damaging Israel's most important relationship. (He's) embarrassing Barack Obama in his home court."
He'll challenge him openly "on Capitol Hill and urge (his opponents) to (sabotage) his diplomacy with Iran, just so that he can portray himself as the 'savior of the nation' back home and please his (paymaster) American billionaire Sheldon Adelson…"
Haaretz editors called him an irresponsible leader. His congressional address is meant to be a deliberate "frontal confrontation with the US president," they said.
On the one hand, his actions will have no effect on US policy, Haaretz editors maintain. On the other, they're destroying the fabric of a longstanding relationship.
His "flawed judgment" shows he's unfit to serve. Haaretz editors urged Israelis to replace him. Adding one of a new prime minister's "first tasks will be to fix what Netanyahu has destroyed."
It'll take more than a rogue prime minister to undo decades of US/Israeli partnership in high crimes against peace.
Leaders come and go. An ugly alliance of pure evil persists. A rising tide of resistance needs to confront it. Humanity's fate hangs in the balance.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

In Response to EFF Lawsuit, Government Scheduled to Release More Secret Court Opinions on NSA Surveillance

eff.org - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:41

UPDATE: Late tonight, the government released to EFF the "Raw Take" opinion and the 2008 FAA opinion, described below. Those opinions are available here (pdf) and here (pdf). We are reviewing the documents and will post our analysis, along with other documents released by the government, shortly.

Later today, the government is scheduled to release two landmark opinions on NSA spying issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The documents are being released as a result of FOIA lawsuit filed by EFF last year, seeking disclosure of many of the surveillance court's still-secret, yet significant, opinions.

As we wrote in January, the two opinions we are expecting the government to disclose today are:

First, the so-called "Raw Take" order from 2002. The existence of this opinion was first disclosed in a New York Times article based, in part, off the Snowden disclosures. As the Times described the opinion, it "appears to have been the first substantial demonstration of the court’s willingness after Sept. 11 to reinterpret the law to expand government powers." The order, apparently, "weakened restrictions on sharing private information about Americans, according to documents and interviews." Beyond what has been reported in the Times article, not much more is known about the opinion.

The second opinion that remains secret is a 2008 FISC opinion concerning the legality and constitutionality of surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). This opinion, described as the "Rosetta Stone" of FAA surveillance by those familiar with it, purportedly represents the FISC’s full assessment of the range of legal issues presented by NSA surveillance under Section 702 of the FAA—a provision of law authorizing the government to conduct warrantless surveillance within the United States of overseas targets. Importantly, the opinion likely discusses the constitutionality of the NSA’s upstream surveillance operations—currently, the only federal court decision on this topic. Despite this opinion's centrality to understanding FAA surveillance, it has remained secret for nearly 7 years.

Of course, it's possible the government will again refuse to release these significant opinions to the public. We expected the government to release at least one of the opinions to us in January after a federal court ordered them to release the documents in stages. However, the interim deadline came and went, and the government failed to release either opinion. Today is the final deadline given by the court.

The past two years—through a combination of leaks, FOIA requests and lawsuits, and discretionary government releases—have resulted in an unprecedented level of transparency around the NSA's domestic surveillance programs. Of course, far too much remains secret, but disclosure of these two opinions would continue a positive trend toward transparency and greater public oversight of the NSA's domestic surveillance operations. But, if the government fails to release the opinions today, it will signal a full reversion back to the unnecessary and unjustifiable secrecy claims that dominated the public discussion prior to June 2013.

Nothing but a full and clear release of these opinions will suffice, and EFF will fight in court to ensure the public is given access to what it deserves: how and in what way the government has interpreted federal surveillance law and the Constitution.

We'll update this post later in the day with any documents we receive.

Files:  raw_take_order_july_22_2002.pdf fisc_opinion_and_order_september_4_2008.pdfRelated Issues: TransparencyRelated Cases: FISC Orders on Illegal Government Surveillance
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

You Can't Block Apps on the Free and Open Brazilian Internet

eff.org - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:01

Brazil's Marco Civil law contains vigorous language intended to protect free expression, and a stable, secure and neutral network in Brazil. But as we have noted before, such laws must be interpreted and enforced appropriately to be effective. A good Internet law can quickly turn bad if incorrectly or improperly applied.

Last week, a Brazilian municipal judge sought to wield one part of the Marco Civil—its section on mandatory data retention—in a way we think undermines the rest of the law. Judge Luiz de Moura Correia of the Brazilian state of Piauí ordered Brazilian Internet and mobile connectivity providers to block access to the WhatsApp mobile-messaging application within 24 hours. The judge told journalists the injunction was intended to “compel the company that owns the app to assist with investigations by the state police.”

Correia's decision would have affected millions of innocent Brazilians who rely on WhatsApp as a messaging service. It would have served as a disturbing indication that in the pursuit of one aim of the Marco Civil, the courts can trample over the freedom of users to communicate online, and the freedom of the Net and the tools used to access it to remain uncensored.

Brazilian local courts have had a long history of issuing such broad and disruptive injunctions in their attempts to force Internet intermediaries to comply with state investigations or orders. Two examples have become especially well-known. In 2007, after YouTube failed to take down a clip of Brazilian supermodel Daniela Cicarelli, a São Paulo state court issued an order that led to the entire YouTube service being blocked by Brasil Telecom. In 2012, a Judge in Mato Grosso do Sul ordered a 24-hour suspension of Google and an arrest order for the head of Google Brasil after the company failed to remove videos critical of a mayoral candidate.

It was in this earlier atmosphere of random and disruptive court orders that the Marco Civil was born: an attempt to create a general and consistent set of principles under which the Brazilian Internet would be governed. The Marco Civil goes to great lengths to establish that Brazilian law should treat the Internet as a force for free expression, with the stability of the network and the protection of privacy as key "disciplines" of the new law.

Unfortunately, Judge Correia used the most freedom-unfriendly parts of the new law as the justification for his order. The Marco Civil includes a series of punishments that can be ordered against companies that do not comply with various regulations, including warnings, fines, service suspension and outright prohibition. Judge Correia's order selected the most severe of these sanctions, and interpreted it as authorizing censorship orders to ISPs.

The injunction against WhatsApp was halted on Thursday by an appeals court, the Piauí Court of Justice, which determined that the injunction was unreasonable because of the disproportionate effect of a suspension of service would have thousands of Brazilians unconnected with the local investigation.

As Paulo Rená, director of IBIDEM, activist and former manager of the Marco Civil consultation process, told EFF:

The measure itself lacks explicit or implicit support within the principles granted by the law, which ensures the social purpose of the Internet, the citizenship in digital media, the preservation of stability, security and network functionality, and the collective interest.

Legal experts Ronaldo Lemos and Celina Beatriz, both of the Insituto de Tecnologia e Sociedad do Rio (ITS Rio), also questioned the propriety of ordering ISPs to shut down access to a service, telling Brazilian press that the blocking of the service was not a remedy authorized by the law.

Moreover, Brazil has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Inter-American convention on human rights, which both protect free expression, and it can only be limited in very narrow cases and when necessary and proportionate.

Judges and lawmakers around the world continue to reach for censorship and mandatory blocking to enforce local law on a global Internet. It's a clumsy, disproportionate response that sacrifices the rights of millions and the promise of an uncensored Internet to exact the narrowest of concessions. Overturning the order sends the right signal about the Internet's future; but the fact that such injunctions can still be made in the first place, and users faced with censorship of foreign apps and services, even in the home of the Marco Civil, shows how far we have to go.

Related Issues: Free SpeechContent BlockingInternational
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Advertising