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The Misguided Plan to Expand a Performers’ Veto: More "Copyright Creep" Through Policy Laundering

eff.org - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 06:16

A proposal to rewrite parts of copyright law being pushed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would create new restrictions for filmmakers, journalists, and others using recordings of audiovisual performances. Against the background of the the Next Great Copyright Act lurching forward and the Copyright Office convening a new series of roundtables on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, few have noticed the USPTO push happening now. But these proposals are a classic instance of copyright creep and are dangerous for users, creators, and service providers alike.

The root of this effort is a new international treaty, adopted by WIPO in 2012, that promised to add another layer of legal restrictions on audiovisual performances by giving the performers—actors, musicians, dancers and others—a new veto power over the use of recordings via a copyright-ish right in their performance. At the time, supporters of the treaty (called the Beijing Treaty) insisted it would require only “technical” amendments to U.S. law. Now we are seeing what those “technical” amendments might look like, and it’s not pretty.

In draft legislation submitted to Vice President Joe Biden (in his capacity as President of the Senate), the USPTO proposes that U.S. anti-bootlegging law, which currently applies only to live musical performances, be revised to include all audiovisual “performances.” In addition, the legislation would impose a term limit of 95 years (right now there’s no term limit in the anti-bootlegging law) and clarify that performers’ legal rights are subject to the limitations of the fair use doctrine as well as exceptions for libraries and archives.

There are many problems with this plan. Here are a few:

  1. Definitions: The definition of “performance” is unclear. Does it include lectures? Political speeches? An a cappella group singing a song that’s in the public domain? A flash mob? This matters a lot, especially for the professional and amateur creators and journalists who will need to obtain a license to capture and share any of these activities, and the even larger group of users who might want to repurpose that material.
  2. Term: 95 years?  Really? Admittedly, that’s better than no term at all, but even better would be, say, 14 years—or even the 50 years term that seems to be contemplated in the Treaty.
  3. Damages: The current anti-bootlegging statute says that violators are subject to the same penalties as copyright infringers. Depending on that language is interpreted, anyone who records and shares a “performance” and doesn’t get consent from the performer could be on the hook for up to $150,000 (or more depending on how damages are calculated, another messy question) and potentially attorneys’ fees as well.
  4. Safe Harbors: Currently, it is unclear at best whether the DMCA safe harbors apply to bootlegging claims. That means service providers will worry that any content they host or transmit could subject them to secondary liability if, as will often be the case, the user did not (1) guess correctly about what kinds of consent might be necessary; and (2) obtain that consent.
  5. Potential for abuse: But even if a court concluded that Section 512 applies to these new rights, we have a decade of experience to show that the Section 512 takedown process will be abused to take down lawful content.
  6. What about other limitations? It’s great that the our bootlegging provisions will now be explicitly subject to fair use and the library exceptions. But what about the many other limits on the reach of copyrights? Why not import them all?
  7. Deception: Trade deal supporters often insist that trade agreements involving IP won’t require changes to US law, or only minimal changes. This proposal should serve as a useful demonstration, if such a demonstration were needed, that we can’t trust such claims.

In other words: this is a dangerous proposal. Performers (or, in many cases, the companies to which they transfer their rights) could create new roadblocks to the creation of parodies, mash-ups or new versions of their performances, independent of copyright. It would further complicate the process of clearing rights to audiovisual works, and cast a new legal cloud of uncertainty over the activities of creators, producers, and journalists who build on audiovisual works in compliance with copyright law.

Indeed, we had a perfect example of what’s potentially at stake here less than two years ago, in the infamous case of Garcia v. Google, Inc. The case involved a controversial video—the notorious "Innocence of Muslims" trailer—that was also the center of a political controversy. Actor Cindy Lee Garcia, who appears in the film for five seconds, insisted she has a copyright interest in her performance and, based on that interest, claimed to have a right to have the video taken offline. After Google rejected her DMCA notice, she filed a lawsuit. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Google to take the video down, and keep it down on all of its platforms, effectively editing the online historical record.

After months of legal wrangling—and thousands of pages of briefing from journalists, civil liberties’ groups (including EFF) and service providers—the order was rescinded. But Judge Alex Kozinski wrote a spirited dissent pointing to the Beijing Treaty and concluding it would require recognition of Garcia’s claim.

Garcia v. Google was an object lesson in the power of copyright claims to undermine political debate and expression. We should learn from it. This proposed legislation is a mess that could wreak havoc on our already skewed copyright regime. It needs to be challenged, now, before it goes any further.

We can act today to tell Congress to reject this fundamentally flawed proposal. Write your members of Congress today and urge them to oppose it.

Related Cases: Garcia v. Google, Inc
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Categories: Aggregated News

Tax Avoidance 101

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 03:27
Tax Avoidance 101
by Stephen Lendman
The Panama Papers exposed the tip of a hugely dirty iceberg. Rich and powerful public and private figures hide wealth in tax havens to avoid paying what they owe.
Governments protect their privileged class, notably America, the world’s leading tax haven, letting foreign corporate and high-net worth individuals shelter their wealth, free from taxation.
Many thousands of US businesses and wealthy individuals largely avoid taxes by registering in Delaware, more a tax haven than a state.
Trump and Clinton do it at the same 1209 North Orange Street Wilmington, Delaware address, along with 285,000 business firms, London’s Guardian reported.
They’re both tax cheats. So is Hillary’s husband Bill, sheltering his wealth at the same Corporation Trust Centre (CTC) address, a tax avoidance scam few Americans know anything about.
Registering in Delaware lets businesses and shell companies created solely for tax avoidance “take advantage of strict corporate secrecy rules, business-friendly courts and the ‘Delaware loophole,’ which can allow companies to legally shift earnings from other states to Delaware, where they are not taxed on non-physical incomes generated outside of the state,” the Guardian reported.
Clinton and Trump refuse to explain why they’re tax cheats. Clinton lied, claiming as president she’ll crack down on “outrageous tax havens and loopholes that super-rich people across the world are exploiting in Panama and elsewhere.”
After returning to private life in February 2013, she “registered ZFS Holdings LLC at CTC’s offices,” reported the Guardian. 
“Bill Clinton set up WJC LLC, a vehicle to collect his consultation fees, at the same address in 2008.”
A spokesman for Hillary claiming the move wasn’t for tax avoidance lied. Registering in Delaware enables it.
Trump’s business interests include 100s of companies - 378 registered in Delaware, reported the Guardian. He pays the state of Delaware a lot of money, he said, failing to explain how much he saves by cheating other states where his businesses operate.
An Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy report, titled “Delaware: An Onshore Tax Haven” called the state “a magnet for people looking to create anonymous shell companies, which individuals and corporations can use to evade an inestimable amount in federal and foreign taxes.”
More businesses register in the state than its population of under one million. Clinton called tax havens “a perversion” while she and husband Bill take advantage of a corrupt system legally.
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.

Novo Relatório Mostra Quais Provedores Brasileiros Protegem Seus Usuários

eff.org - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 23:15

Confiamos as nossas informações mais sensíveis, privadas e pessoais às empresas que nos fornecem acceso à Internet. Coletivamente, essas empresas estão cientes das conversas online, dos comportamentos, e até das localizações de quase qualquer usuário da Internet. À medida que o público brasileiro vai conhecendo essa realidade, os usuários brasileiros da Internet ficam, com razão, preocupados com a questão da disposição das empresas em assumir uma posição a favor da privacidade e da proteção dos dados. É por isso que o InternetLab, um dos principais centros independentes de pesquisa de política de Internet no Brasil, avaliou as principais empresas brasileiras de telecomunicações, com o propósito de analisar seu compromisso com a privacidade do usuário em face de pedidos governamentais.

O relatório do InternetLabQuem defende seus dados?” pretende criar um “nivelamento por cima”, incentivando as empresas a competirem pelos usuários com base na sua disposição de defender a privacidade e a proteção dos dados do usuário sempre que for possível. Lançado hoje em São Paulo, Brasil, o “Quem defende seus dados?” é inspirado pelo projeto da EFF “Who Has Your Back”, dos Estados Unidos, criado em colaboração com nosso equipe. O InternetLab desenvolveu sua própria metodologia brasileira para considerar as realidades sociais e legais no Brasil.  “Quem defende seus dados?” avalia as práticas e os compromissos públicos das oito maiores empresas de telecomunicações e Internet móvel no Brasil: Claro, Net, Oi-Banda Larga Fixa, Oi móvel, TIM, Vivo-Banda Larga Fixa, Vivo Móvel e GVT.

O relatório incentiva a transparência e as melhores práticas no campo da privacidade e proteção de dados, dando poder ao usuário da Internet sobre suas escolhas como consumidor de serviços. O InternetLab selecionou empresas que, conforme dados da Anatel, proporcionam pelo menos 10% de todos os serviços de acesso à Internet no Brasil — por serviço fixo de banda larga ou por infraestrutura móvel. Esse critério garantiu que o relatório cubra mais de 90% das conexões móveis e de banda larga no Brasil.

A Metodologia “Quem defende seus dados?” pretende incentivar as empresas a adotarem melhores práticas, atribuindo estrelas pela conformidade com critérios específicos de privacidade. O InternetLab preparou as categorias e os parâmetros de avaliação baseados no seguinte:
  • compromisso público com cumprimento da lei;
  • adoção de práticas e políticas a favor do usuário, e
  • transparência sobre suas práticas e políticas.

Cada empresas foi avaliada em seis categorias:

  • Informações sobre processamento de dados:o provedor oferece informações claras e completas sobre suas práticas de processamento de dados?
  • Informações sobre divulgação de dados às autoridades governamentais: o provedor se comprometee a divulgar informações de conta apenas às autoridades governamentais competentes? O provedor se compremete, ainda, a divulgar os registros de conexão apenas mediante ordem judicial?
  • Defesa da privacidade nos tribunais: O provedor já disputou na Justiça pedidos abusivos ou normas legais que considera prejudiciais à privacidade dos usuários?
  • Participação pública a favor da privacidade: o provedor já participou dos debates públicos sobre projetos de lei e políticas públicas que possam afetar a privacidade, e defendeu projetos que pretendem promever a privacidade?
  • Relatórios de transparência: A empresa publica relatórios de transparência contendo a quantidade de pedidos governamentais pelos dados dos usuários e a frequência de cumprimento pela empresa com tais pedidos?
  • CATEGORIA DE BÔNUS - Notificação ao usuário: A empresa avisa o usuário dos pedidos governamentais?

A explicação completa de cada categoria encontra-se no site do InternetLab: http://quemdefendeseusdados.org.br/

As empresas tiveram a oportunidade de responder um questionário, de participar de uma entrevista privada, e de enviar quaisquer informações adicionais que achassem relevantes. Todas as informações que resultaram desses procedimentos foram incorporadas no relatório. Essa abordagem é baseada no trabalho prévio da EFF no projeto "Who Has Your Back?", embora as perguntas específicas na pesquisa do InternetLab tenham sido adaptadas ao contexto legal e social brasileiro.

Os Resultados

Os resultados indicam que ainda há oportunidadas amplas de melhoria no ámbito da proteção da privacidade do usuário pelos provedores brasileiros. Em geral, os contratos e documentos disponíveis aos usuário são genéricos e não oferecem explicações claras sobre as práticas e circunstâncias nas quais dados podem ser fornecidos às autoridades. Quanto à defesa da privacidade nos tribunais, a maioria dos provedores parece ter tomado medidas para questionar a legislação ou práticas governamentais, mas ainda há muito a se fazer: a TIM foi a única empresa que forneceu evidências de que eles questionaram os pedidos abusivos perante o Poder Judiciário. Quando ao compromisso público com a privacidade, em particular durante as consultas públicas recentes sobre o anteprojeto de lei de proteção de dados pessoais e o Marco Civil da Internet, empresas como a GVT e a Oi parecem ter perdido completamente a oportunidade de defender a privacidade dos usuários. Os resultados também mostram a necessidade de continuar a trabalhar pela transparência: nenhum dos provedores publica relatórios de transparência ou adota políticas de notificação que criem a oportunidade para o usuário defender seus dados. A notificação é imprescrendível para a possibilidade de questionar o pedido ou de buscar outro remédio. Entre as seis categorias, a TIM ganhou o número maior (2 e 3/4) de estrelas e a Oi o número menor (meia estrela).

Para os próximos anos e avaliações, o InternetLab pede aos provedores que se dediquem mais ao comunicarem suas práticas e políticas, ao proporcionarem informações claras aos usuários sobre o tratamento de dados pessoais e registros de conexão, como pedido pelo Marco Civil da Internet, e ao lidar com as ordens judiciais e os pedidos de autoridades administrativos. Também encorajamos os provedores a mostrarem em público como defendem a privacidade, fazendo comunicados de imprensa sobre processos quem questionam a legisação ou pedidos abusivos. Por último, esperamos que os provedores façam um compromisso mais forte com a transparência e incluam informações sobre pedidos de dados em relatórios de transparência.

Próximos Passos no Brasil e no Exterior

O InternetLab espera atualizar esse relatório anualmente para incentivar as empresas a melhorarem a transparência e a protegerem os dados pessoais. Assim, todo brasileiro terá acesso a informações sobre o uso e proteção de dados pessoas, e poderá tomar decisões melhor informadas. Esperamos que mais estrelas brilhem no relatório do ano próximo.

Em 2015, a EFF colaborou com ONGs de direitos digitais ao redor da América Latina para apoiar cada país na elaboração de seus próprios relatórios sobre práticas de empresas de telecomunicações. Esses relatórios têm sido publicados pela Fundação Karisma na Colômbia, pela Hiperderecho no Peru, e pela Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales no México. A Derechos Digitales no Chile e a TEDIC no Paraguai estão prepaando os seus relatórios para publicação. Cada ONG de direitos digitais pretende atualizar seu relatório anualmente, para incentivar as empresas a melhorarem a transparência e a protegerem os dados dos usuários, tentando criar um "nivelamento por cima" pela transparência e competição.

Em geral, as empresas da América Latina ainda têm muito a fazer para proteger os dados pessoais e serem transparentes sobre quem tem acesso a eles. Por exemplo, a subsidiária mexicana da America Movil, Telmex, publicou uma política de privacidade. Entretanto, a linguagem da política é obscura demais e não ganhou uma estrela. A Claro Colômbia publicou uma política de privacidade, mais foi difícil de encontrar e em grande parte só citou a legislação. No México, Iusacell, Movistar, Nextel e Telcel ganharam meia estrela cada uma, pela publicação de um relatório de transparência pela ANATEL (Asociación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones). Isso é um importante passo inicial. Entretanto, a subsidiária mexicana da America Movil, Telmex, não deu esse passo. Na Colômbia, nenhum dos provedores publicou um relatório de transparência.


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Categories: Aggregated News

New Report Shows Which Brazilian ISPs Stand With Their Users

eff.org - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 23:14

We entrust our most sensitive, private, and personal information to the companies which provide us access to the Internet. Collectively, these companies are privy to the online conversations, behavior, and even the location of almost every Internet user. As this reality increasingly penetrates the Brazilian public consciousness, Brazilian Internet users are justifiably concerned about which companies are willing to take a stand for their privacy and protection of personal data. That is why InternetLab, one of the leading independent research centers on Internet policy in Brazil, has evaluated key Brazilian telecommunications companies’ policies to assess their commitment to user privacy when the government comes calling for their users' personal data.

Their report, “Quem defende seus dados?" ("Who Defends Your Data?"), seeks to create a “race to the top” by encouraging companies to compete for users on the basis of their willingness to stand up for their users’ privacy and data protection whenever possible. Launched today in São Paulo, Brazil, “Quem defende seus dados? is modeled after EFF's US project "Who Has Your Back," created in collaboration with our team. InternetLab has developed its own Brazilian methodology to address the social and legal realities in Brazil. The report promotes transparency and best practices in the field of privacy and data protection, empowering Internet users by educating them about their consumer choices.

Quem defende seus dados?" assessed the practices and public commitments of the eight largest Brazilian telecommunication and mobile Internet companies: Claro, Net, Oi-Banda Larga Fixa, Oi móvel, TIM, Vivo-Banda Larga Fixa, Vivo Móvel, GVT. InternetLab selected companies that, according to data released by the Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency, each held at least 10% of all Internet access in Brazil—either by fixed broadband or mobile infrastructure. This threshold ensured that the report covered over 90% of mobile and broadband Internet connections in Brazil.

The Methodology

Quem defende seus dados?" is designed to incentivize companies to adopt best practices by awarding stars for compliance with specific user privacy criteria. InternetLab prepared the evaluation categories and parameters based on the following:

  • public commitment to compliance with the law;
  • adoption of pro-user practices and policies, and
  • transparency about practices and policies.
Each company was evaluated using six categories:
  • Information about data processing: Does the ISP provide clear and complete information about data protection practices?
  • Information about data disclosure to government authorities: Does the ISP commit to disclosing account information only to competent administrative authorities? Does it commit to provide connection logs only upon a court order?
  • Defense of users’ privacy in the courts: Has the ISP judicially challenged abusive data requests or legislation that it considers harmful to user privacy?
  • Pro-user privacy public engagement: Has the ISP engaged in public debates about bills and public policies that may affect user privacy and defended projects that aim to advance privacy?
  • Transparency reports about data requests: Does the company publish transparency reports containing the quantity of government user data requests and the frequency of company compliance with these requests?
  • BONUS CATEGORY - User notification: Does the company notify the user about data requests by the government? 

You can read the full explanation of each category on InternetLab's site: http://quemdefendeseusdados.org.br/

The companies were given the opportunity to answer a questionnaire, to take part in a private interview, and to send any additional information they felt appropriate, all of which was incorporated into the final report. This approach is based on EFF’s earlier work with "Who Has Your Back?" in the US, although the specific questions in InternetLab’s study were adapted to match Brazil’s legal environment.

The Results

The results show that there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to ISPs standing up for user's privacy in Brazil. In general, the contracts and documents which are available to the users are generic and do not provide clear information about practices and circumstances under which user data may be turned over to law enforcement. When it comes to defending user's privacy in court, most of the ISPs seem to have taken steps to challenge laws or question law enforcement practices but there is still much more to be done: TIM was the only company providing evidence that they have challenged abusive requests in court. In terms of taking pro-user privacy public stances, particularly in the recent public consultations regarding the Data Protection Draft Bill and Marco Civil da Internet, companies like GVT and Oi seem to have completely missed the opportunity to stand up for user privacy. The results also indicate a need to work on transparency: none of the ISPs publish transparency reports providing information about data requests or adopt notification policies, giving the user an opportunity to defend the privacy of his/her data. Notification is essential for users to challenge data requests or seek other remedies. Out of the six evaluation categories, TIM earned the most stars (2 and 3/4) and Oi the least (half a star).

For subsequent years and evaluations, InternetLab urges the ISPs to do a better job at communicating their practices and policies, providing users with clear information about the treatment given to personal data and connection logs, as requested by the Marco Civil da Internet, and the ways they deal with court orders and requests from administrative authorities. We also encourage ISPs to be more vocal about their work in standing up for privacy, publishing press releases and other materials about lawsuits challenging laws and abusive requests. Finally, we hope ISPs make a stronger commitment to transparency and include information about data requests in transparency reports.

Moving Forward in Brazil and Abroad

InternetLab expects to release this report annually to incentivize companies to improve transparency and protect users' personal data. This way, all Brazilians will have access to information about how their personal data is used and how it is controlled by ISPs so they can make smarter consumer decisions. We hope the report will shine with more stars next year.

In 2015, EFF joined forces with digital rights groups in Latin America to provide support to each country in releasing its own reports on telecommunication companies' practices. Those reports have now been published by Karisma Foundation in Colombia, Hiperderecho in Peru, and Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales in Mexico. Derechos Digitales in Chile and TEDIC in Paraguay are preparing reports for publication. Each digital rights organization also expects to release a report annually.

In general, Latin American telecommunications companies have a long way to go in protecting customers’ personal data and being transparent about who has access to the data. Some multi-national companies provide different protections in different jurisdictions. For example, America Movil’s Mexican subsidiary Telmex published a privacy policy however the language used in the privacy policies is too vague and unclear to earn a star. In Colombia, Claro did publish a privacy policy, but it was hard to find and mostly quoted the law. In Mexico, four telecommunication companies have each earned half a star by publishing a transparency report through ANATEL (Asociación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones). This is an important beginning step. However, America Movil’s Mexican subsidiary Telmex did not. In contrast, none of the Colombian companies published transparency reports.


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Categories: Aggregated News

Revisiting Chernobyl

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 20:05
Revisiting Chernobyl
by Stephen Lendman
April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. An explosion and fire spread huge amounts of cancer-causing radiation over a vast area - a disaster exceeded only by Japan’s Fukushima nuclear meltdown.
Nuclear expert Helen Caldicott called it “by orders of magnitude many times worse than Chernobyl.” The effects of both catastrophes are being felt by countless millions.
Caldicott called denial about Chernobyl’s widespread deadly effects “one of the most monstrous cover-ups in the history of medicine.” Everyone should know the truth, she stressed.
A 2009 New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) study said Chernobyl killed around one million people and counting. Seven years later it’s likely many more. 
The official IAEA figure claiming around 4,000 deaths was fabricated to downplay the disaster. NYAS explained its analysis was based on “a collection of papers translated from the Russian with some revised and updated contributions.” 
“Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.” 
"According to the authors, official discussions from the (IAEA) and associated (UN) agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments."
Distinguished nuclear expert Christopher Busby earlier called downplaying the devastating effects of Chernobyl and Fukushima “breathtaking ignorance of the scientific literature.”
Many research groups studied the health effects caused by the Chernobyl disaster. Evidence is “massive and demonstrable,” Busby explained. Scientific peer reviewed literature is definitive.
From 1986 to 2004, “more than a million people have died…as a direct result of Chernobyl,” said Busby.
A study he conducted showed widespread increases in infant leukemia in six countries - fetuses in the womb at the time of contamination affected. “There (was) no other explanation than Chernobyl,” Busby explained.
Helen Caldicott warned against eating European food, saying “(f)orty per cent of (the continent) is still radioactive.”
Countless thousands developed thyroid cancer from Chernobyl, she explained. Inhaling one millionth of a gram of deadly plutonium causes cancer.
Joseph Conrad once said “(a)fter all the shouting is over, the grim silence of facts remain.” Nuclear apologists can’t hide its danger.
Einstein said splitting the atom “changed everything, save man’s mode of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”
Arrogance and hubris 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.

Fidel Castro's Farewell Address?

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 19:55
Fidel Castro’s Farewell Address?
by Stephen Lendman
Cuba’s iconic former leader attended its Communist Party’s 7th Congress as a delegate - perhaps his last appearance at nearly age 90.
He addressed a thousand delegates and guests during its closing session, speaking forthrightly, his revolutionary spirit not dimmed.
“Why did I become a socialist, or more plainly, why did I become a communist,” he asked? He called the term “the most distorted and maligned concept his history” - its ideology twisted by wealth and power interests, exploiting humanity for greater enrichment and dominance, causing appalling human misery in the process.
Any system benefitting the few at the expense of most others is a high crime against humanity - my words I’m sure Fidel would endorse.
He hopes it won’t take “another 70 years “before another event like the Russian Revolution (so) humanity (can) have another example of a magnificent social revolution that marked a huge step in the struggle against colonialism and its inseparable companion, imperialism” - without violating its principles the way Lenin’s work was defiled.
Fidel calls today’s super-weapons humanity’s greatest threat. In lunatic hands like America’s bipartisan criminal class, they undermine peace and risk its survival.
The human “species (could) disappear like the dinosaurs” millions of years ago - from wars, ecocide, or planetary limits to provide enough “drinking water and (other) natural resources” to survive, Fidel explained.
“If only numerous human beings would concern ourselves with these realities and not continue as in the times of Adam and Eve eating forbidden apples,” he stressed.
“Who will feed the thirsty people of Africa with no technology at their disposal, no rain, no reservoirs, no more underground aquifers than those covered by sands?” 
“We will see what the governments, which almost all signed the climate commitments, say.” Their deplorable actions belie their rhetorical commitment.
Time catches up with us all. “We all reach our turn,” said Fidel, “but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof that on this planet, working with fervor and dignity, can produce the material and cultural wealth that humans need, and we must fight relentlessly to obtain these.” 
“To our brothers in Latin America and the world, we must convey that the Cuban people will overcome.”
“This may be one of the last times that I speak in this room. I voted for all the candidates submitted for election by Congress, and I appreciate the invitation and the honor of your listening to me. I congratulate you all, and firstly, companero Raul Castro for his magnificent effort.”
“We will set forth on the march forward and we will perfect what we should perfect, with the utmost loyalty and united force, just as Marti, Maceo and Gomez, in an unstoppable march,” Fidel concluded.
His time is passing. His redoubtable spirit endures.
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.

Turkey Banning Foreign Journalists

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 19:44
Turkey Banning Foreign Journalists
by Stephen Lendman
Erdogan escalated war on press freedom. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) accused him of increasingly banning entry to foreign journalists, expelling others.
Sputnik News Turkey bureau chief Tural Kerimov is the 10th foreign correspondent banned in the last six months.
A border control officer seized his press card and residence permit, called him persona non grata, and deported him to Russia.
Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) secretary general Nadezda Azhgikhina issued a statement, saying:
“The rights of the journalists in Turkey is an issue which had been concerning international organizations seriously for a long time.” 
“The recent incidents, meaning the deportation of the Russian journalist (Kerimov) and the access denial for the Russia(’s) Sputnik News (are) clear violation(s) of international norms.”
Deporting its bureau chief comes a week after its Turkish language web site was shut down for spurious reasons - censorship by any standard.
On April 19, Cairo correspondent for Germany’s ARD television, Volker Schwenk was banned from entry into Turkey at its border.
Deutsche Journalistinnen und Journalisten Union in ver.di managing director Cornelia Hass called the way Turkey treats media workers “totally unacceptable.” She demanded free access to the country for journalists seeking it to do their jobs, and no hostile actions taken against others already there.
On Saturday, Greek journalist Giorgos Moutafis was denied entry after landing in Istanbul and sent back to Athens.
“I was told at the passport control that my name was on a blacklist and that I'm not allowed to enter Turkey,” he said. “Then my passport was taken from me until the early morning.”
“I had to spend the night in a room in the airport. The reasons why I'm on this list were not explained to me.”
He’s a distinguished international journalist and filmmaker, recipient of the 2014 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Award.
He’s currently working on the refugee crisis, Turkey bribed by Brussels to warehouse huge numbers EU officials want kept out of their countries. He also reported on Erdogan’s war on Turkish Kurds - key reasons why he was targeted.
On Monday, US journalist David Lepeska was deported back home without explanation. On Saturday, Dutch journalist Ebru Umar was detained, her laptop seized for tweets criticizing Erdogan.
Released on Sunday, she tweeted “(f)ree but under country arrest” - required to report regularly to authorities, prevented from moving freely to do her job.
Turkey imprisons more journalists than any other country. Anyone criticizing Erdogan or exposing regime wrongdoing faces charges ranging from insulting the president to terrorism, espionage and/or treason.
US and other Western officials ignore his high crimes, business as usual continuing with him normally.
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.

Obama in Germany

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 19:29
Obama in Germany
by Stephen Lendman
After promising no US boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, over 4,000 were deployed to Iraq, unknown numbers to Syria, another 250 or more coming on the phony pretext of combating ISIS.
US responsibility for naked aggression in both countries rages while Obama maintains the fiction of pursuing peace.
He touted the anti-consumer, anti-democratic, anti-environmental Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - empowering corporate predators to rule the world unhindered if enacted. 
He addressed “the people of Europe” his usual way - substituting misinformation and Big Lies for straight talk and hard truths.
Beware a US president claiming he “bring(s) the friendship of the American people.” Be especially wary when he says “(w)e believe that nations and people should live in security and peace.”
“We believe in creating opportunity that lifts up not just the few but the many…We believe in the equality and inherent dignity of every human being…We believe in justice…”
Fact: No nation more deplores peace and stability than America.
Fact: None are more committed to endless wars on humanity.
Fact: None are more responsible for more tens of millions of deaths over a longer duration, none more contemptuous of human life and well-being.
Fact: America serves its privileged few alone, most others be damned. Freedom is fast disappearing, tyranny replacing it. Equity and justice never existed. Democracy is pure fantasy.
Obama’s address repeated the same deplorable litany of lies we’ve heard many times before - hard truths on issues mattering most banished from his vocabulary.
He hyped nonexistent “Russian aggression threatening our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.”
“Europe” through US-dominated NATO is part of America’s endless war machine, responsible for raping and destroying one country after another, killing millions, threatening humanity’s survival.
Obama touted so-called European unity, benefitting monied interests exclusively at the expense of most others.
Claiming it “uphold(s) the norms and rules that can maintain peace and promote prosperity around the world” belies the daily reality of humanity suffering from imperial wars, neoliberal harshness and brutal crackdowns on nonbelievers.
Maintaining the fiction of  combating ISIS conceals America’s responsibility for creating a monster it supports.
Saying he authorized more US support for Iraqi forces against ISIS and hundreds more combat troops in Syria is code language for escalated imperial war in both countries.
Obama came to Germany to sell endless conflicts while claiming to pursue peace. He endorsed profoundly unfair TTIP “free trade,” empowering corporate predators at the expense of popular interests, “universal values” serving privileged interests exclusively while claiming otherwise.
All his remarks make painful listening, demagogic duplicity instead of straight talk. 
An imperial leader lectured his subjects, leaving America’s ruthless hegemonic aims unexplained - seeking unchallenged global dominance, risking the destruction of planet earth to own 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.

All Anti-Government Forces in Syria Are US-Backed Terrorists

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 01:48
All Anti-Government Forces in Syria Are US-Backed Terrorists
by Stephen Lendman
The myth of so-called “moderate rebels” persists even though none exist. Political opposition in Syria like in most countries shuns violence.
Militants are imported foreign death squads, recruited in scores of countries - supported by Washington and its rogue partners, wanting Syria raped and destroyed, waging endless war for regime change.
Ceasefire is more fantasy than real. Farcical peace talks collapsed. Endless war rages because Washington rejects peaceful conflict resolution permitting Syrians alone to decide who’ll lead them, free from foreign interference.
Obama launched naked aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic in March 2011, using terrorist proxies to do his dirty work, supported by US air power since September 2014.
His successor will continue what he began, no matter who becomes America’s 45th president. Assad is an overwhelmingly popular reformer, not a despot.
Trump calls him “a bad guy.” Sanders supports “overthrow(ing) the brutal dictatorship of Bashar Assad.” Cruz wants all US enemies to “feel our full force and fury.”
As secretary of state, Clinton orchestrated war on Syria, a similar strategy she used to rape and destroy Libya.
Endless conflict rages, civilians harmed most like in all wars. US-backed terrorists continue attacking them.
In identical letters to the Security Council and UN Secretary-General sent Sunday, Syria’s Foreign Ministry demanded condemnation of willful terrorist attacks on civilian neighborhoods in Damascus, its countryside, Aleppo and its surrounding areas.
Targets include residential communities, schools, schools, hospitals and infrastructure. US-backed death squads masquerading as moderate rebels are involved - affiliated with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.
No “moderate armed opposition” exists. Syria and Russia remain committed to keep waging war on terrorism, aiming to eliminate it and restore peace, stability and security.
Washington and its rogue allies have polar opposite objectives. Endless war without mercy against Syrian sovereign independence and its people continues.
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.

Senate Wants More Aid for Israel's Killing Machine

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 26/04/2016 - 01:39
Senate Wants More Aid for Israel’s Killing Machine
by Stephen Lendman
America’s neocon infested Senate wants more military aid for Israel at a time its only enemies are ones it invents - 83 Republican and Democrat senators endorsing an AIPAC sponsored letter to Obama urging it.
Israel already gets over $3 billion annually, the latest weapons and technology, nearly $500 million a year for its Iron Dome scam and other ineffective missile defense systems, annual interest free loans, repaid only at Israel’s discretion or not at all, and numerous other special favors afforded virtually no other countries.
The letter written last month lied, claiming “Israel faces…threats…requir(ing) (its) resources (for) defense.” It listed one fabrication after another, including:
  • Hezbollah “promis(ing) to attack (Israel) at a time of its choosing (with) up to 150,000 rockets and missiles;”

  • ISIS and other terrorist groups “dedicated to Israel’s destruction;”

  • “Iran’s intervention in Syria brought” its combat forces near Israel’s border; it’s “illicitly testing sophisticated ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads;” and

  • Hamas is “actively rebuilding tunnels to attack Israel.”

All of the above is pure rubbish, hyping fear to assure Israel gets increased funding to wage war on Palestine and/or its neighbors at its discretion - to keep the regional pot boiling, to assure endless conflicts, turbulence and chaos, America and Israel partnered in their wars of aggression.
AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann “applaud(ed) this statement from the Senate of overwhelming bipartisan support for a robust, new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel that increases aid while retaining the current terms of the existing program.”
Israel wants US aid increased by 50% annually for the next 10 years when its current MOU expires in 2018.
Expect it to get whatever it wants if Clinton or another neocon succeeds Obama. Trump calls Israel the victim of its long-running war on Palestine.
If Israel is attacked, “100% I’d come to their defense,” he said. If its forces attack Iran for any reason or without just cause, he’ll support its action.
Expect funding for Israel’s killing machine to increase substantially before Obama leaves office - likely more under his successor.
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.

Revisiting July 2011 Oslo Killings

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 23:00
Revisiting July 2011 Oslo Killings
by Stephen Lendman
On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik reportedly detonated a van bomb, killing eight in Oslo, then single-handedly killed 69 Workers Youth League members at a Utoya island summer camp.
In August 2012, he was convicted of mass murder and terrorism, given a 21-year sentence, subject to extension if still considered dangerous. Questions remain unanswered about what happened. More on this below.
Breivik made headlines again last week, winning a lawsuit, claiming “inhuman and degrading” treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
He sued over his forced separation from other prisoners and limited access to visitors, despite given three cells - for living, studying and exercise, with amenities not afforded criminals in most prisons.
Did he act alone or were others involved? How could one man on his own kill 77 victims with no one intervening to stop him? Were the killings homegrown or outside plotted?
Why Norway, a NATO member, offering token participation in Afghanistan and Libya. Its parliament at the time and earlier passed initiatives critical of Israel.
Its former finance minister proposed boycotting Israeli products. In August 2010, Norway declined to purchase Israeli military products because of tensions with Palestine and neighboring countries.
Days after the killings, investigative journalist Wayne Madsen said “ample evidence” suggests Mossad involvement, car-bombings one it its specialties. 
Were multiple gunmen involved? Killing 77 people, mostly in a shooting spree, seems unlikely for anyone to be able to pull off single-handedly.
How was Breivik able to plan and engineer a sophisticated Oslo bomb attack, then head off undetected for Utoya island 19 miles away and kill dozens of children and youths alone?
Madsen connected him to Pam Geller and Richard Pipes, “ciphers for Israeli intelligence and propaganda elements...provid(ing) a clear link between (him) and Mossad, which is under orders to stage false flag attacks to garner support for Israel against Palestine, Cyprus and Norway being the two most recent examples of Mossad-staged attacks.”
Attacks making world headlines often aren’t what they seem to be - false flags with an agenda in mind, reported as terrorism.
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.

US Upping the Stakes in Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 22:49
US Upping the Stakes in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
In March 2011, Obama launched naked aggression on Syria, using ISIS and other terrorists as proxy foot soldiers.
In September 2014, US warplanes began bombing Syrian infrastructure and government sites on the phony pretext of waging war on ISIS.
Last December, Fars News reported “US experts are reconstructing and equipping a desolate airport…in Northeastern Syria…turning it into a military base.”
“The Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper reported…that a number of US experts have entered the region since 50 days ago to develop and prepare the runways with 2,500m length and 250m width to be used by fighter jets.”
Abu Hajar airport is located in Kurdish People's Defense Units (YPG) controlled territory. Washington wants it to accommodate US warplanes, as a platform for its combat troops in northern Syria, supporting ISIS and other terrorists it calls “moderate rebels.”
US operations in Syria flagrantly violate international law, supporting terrorist groups, not combatting them, part of the scheme to topple Assad, replacing him with a pro-Western puppet.
Obama earlier promised no “American boots on the ground” in Iraq or Syria. Over 4,000 were deployed to Iraq, perhaps many more coming.
Unknown numbers were sent to Syria, another 250 heading there on the phony pretext of combating ISIS and supporting nonexistent “moderate rebels.”
Obama is waging ground war in both countries after pledging not to do it. How far he intends going remains to be seen.
Expect endless wars continuing no matter who succeeds him next year, glorifying them in the name of peace. 
Obama’s 2015 National Security Strategy is a declaration of permanent wars, saying America “will lead (through) strength…with capable partners…with all instruments of US power.”
Washington’s agenda threatens everyone. Its addiction to war makes peace unattainable. Its rage for dominance reflects pure evil.
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.

Desperate GOP Attempt to Stop Trump

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 25/04/2016 - 22:29
Desperate GOP Attempt to Stop Trump
by Stephen Lendman
Trump remains overwhelmingly popular among GOP voters, way outdistancing his rivals. Cruz and Kasich alone remain - allying in a desperate bid to stop him.
Party bosses are committed to anyone but him even though he looks unstoppable. He calls the GOP electoral system “rigged,” saying “this kind of crap (shouldn’t) happen.”
During a mid-April campaign rally, he said “the economy is rigged. The banking system is rigged…The (whole) system is rigged.” It “has nothing to do with democracy.”
Neocons Cruz and Kasich are colluding to block Trump’s nomination. They’ll stay out of each other’s way in upcoming primaries.
Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said “(o)ur path, its time and resources (are focusing on) Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead.”
Both candidates will concentrate efforts in states where they’re strong, conceding others, hoping to take more delegates from Trump this way, forcing a brokered convention if the strategy works.
A Trump campaign statement said “(i)t is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination.”
It’s more evidence supporting his contention of things “rigged” against him. On Sunday, he tweeted: “Wow, just announced that Lyin' Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!”
He gained momentum winning nearly all New York delegates. He’s favored to sweep Tuesday primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island - then take Indiana, W. Virginia, Oregon and Washington in May.
California’s June primary is key with 172 delegates at stake. New polls show him way ahead of Cruz and Kasich. Winning big could clinch a first-round nomination.
Trump seems headed to become GOP nominee unless shenanigans yet to unfold stop him. Dirty politics in America makes anything possible, a system too venal to fix.
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.

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