We Need To Put Our Foot Down On Net Neutrality By Justine Bateman

24 November, 2009 – Media Channel 2.0

net-neutrality.jpgThe web as you know it is going to end.

  • The ease with which to reach your favorite sites is going to end.
  • The speed with which to reach those sites is going to end.
  • The ease with which you share videos with friends is going to end.
  • The freedom to access the site of any organization from Planned Parenthood to The Christian Coalition is going to end.
  • Access to the wide selection of web-series is going to end.
  • Access to the amazing choice of shopping sites is going to end.
  • Access to information from a multitude of educational institutions is going to end.

This is because:

a) You are moving to China.
b) You are moving to Iran.
c) You are severing your ISP connection.
d) The efforts of ATT, Comcast, Time/Warner Cable, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, The NCTA

Continue reading

Seminar to introduce the first session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine

24 November, 2009

A citizens’ initiative to put international law back at the centre of the Israel-Palestine question

Wednesday 16 decembre 2009
9h00 – 17h00
Bruxelles, les Halles
22a, rue Royale Ste Marie
1030 Schaerbeek

Why a public opinion tribunal?
What does international law say?
What are Europe’s responsibilities?
How is the first session of the Tribunal taking place in Barcelona being organised?

Considering Israel’s repeated breaches of International law and the suffering of the Palestinian people for more than 60 years, a newRussell Tribunal is being put in place on the lines of what was started by Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre and others with the Russell Tribunal on Vietnam in the 1960s. Basing itself on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on July 9th 2004 about the wall, as well as on the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations, this Russell Tribunal on Palestine is a people’s initiative which proposes to recast international law at the centre of the Israel-Palestine question.

The first international session of this new citizen tribunal will take place in Barcelona in March 2010. On December 16th 2009 you are cordially invited to a preparatory seminar for this initial session. You will have the opportunity to listen to prominent witnesses, and to debate the position of the European Union on the Israel-Palestine question. This seminar will also allow us to further raise awareness of Belgian public opinion on the matter of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Continue reading

"U.S. Group That Supported Overthrows of Democratically Elected Governments in Haiti and Venezuela Will Observe Elections in Honduras"

24 November, 2009 – Center for Economic and Policy Research

International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute Plan to Observe Elections Controlled by Honduran Military and Police


Washington, D.C. – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), organizations that receive funding from the U.S. State Department, are planning on sending delegations to observe the November 29 elections in Honduras, according to a statement issued by Republican Senator Richard Lugar.  The IRI is a group that has supported the ouster of democratically elected presidents in Haiti and Venezuela in recent years.  Both groups are apparently planning to assist with observation of the elections, despite the fact that the electoral process will be effectively controlled by thousands of military troops and police officers — the same forces who have committed innumerable human rights violations, including killings, rapes, beatings and thousands of detentions, since the June 28 coup d’etat.

Continue reading

Canada’s Guantanamo By Eric Walberg

24 November, 2009 — ericwalberg.com

Just what will it take to wake Canadians up to their government’s lies and subterfuge, wonders Eric Walberg

A scandal erupted last week in sleepy Ottawa with the revelations of Canada’s chief diplomat in Kandahar in 2006-07, Richard Colvin, who told a House of Commons committee on Afghanistan that Afghans arrested by Canadian military and handed over to Afghan authorities were knowingly tortured. His and others’ attempts to raise the alarm had been quashed by the ruling Conservative government and he felt a moral obligation to make public what was happening.

The startling allegations — the first of their kind from a senior official — have caused extreme embarrassment to the government, which has more than once stated categorically detainees were not passed to Afghan control if there was any danger of torture. Canada has 2,700 soldiers in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, the hotbed of the insurgency, on a mission that is due to end in 2011.

Warnings to Colvin to keep quiet were not enough to cow him and he calmly told shocked MPs that he started sending reports soon after he arrived in Kandahar in early 2006 to top officials indicating the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) was abusing detainees. “For a year and half after they knew about the very high risk of torture, they continued to order military police in the field to hand our detainees to the NDS.”

Continue reading

The Iraq Inquiry: The who, what and why of Gordon Brown’s hand-picked ‘independent’ panel By Kevin Blowe

8 August, 2009 – www.blowe.org.uk


Iraq Inquiry Cartoon by Steve Bell

What do we know about the Iraq Inquiry members? We know they were hand picked by Gordon Brown, for one thing, and that they won’t be hearing evidence from witnesses until later this year.

So while we wait, it’s worth idly speculating why Brown chose the five establishment figures who will eventually hear testimony from, amongst others, Tony Blair.

One of the pursuits that three of the five Inquiry members share is involvement in the Ditchley Foundation, an organisation that promotes Anglo-American relations and whose Director is Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations in the approach to the Iraq war and a likely witness at the Inquiry.

Continue reading

Gaza Friends: Together we can make this next voyage happen

24 November, 2009 — Free Gaza Movement

Together we can make this next voyage happen, not only for the people in Gaza, not only for Palestine, but for the principle that the power of the people can defeat even the most powerful militaries in the world.

Huwaida Arraf, Chair, Free Gaza Movement

Dear Supporters

On November 7 and 8, The Free Gaza interim board of directors met in London to plan our strategy for 2010 as well as to schedule the next mission to Gaza.

The situation in Gaza is as bad today as it was the day the bombs stopped falling in January. The Gaza Strip is still sealed; homes, businesses, hospitals, schools and mosques still lie in rubble; and fundamental supplies are in severe shortage, as Israel continues to restrict the entry of basic goods such as fuel, medical equipment, oxygen, baby formula, paper, books, and construction material.

We are determined not to let Israel’s violence halt our efforts to break the siege on Gaza, and even more determined to open a sea route so the people of Gaza can import the supplies they need to rebuild their lives.

Continue reading

Britain’s new Internet law — as bad as everyone’s been saying, and worse. Much, much worse By Cory Doctorow

20 November, 2009 — Boing Boing

The British government has brought down its long-awaited Digital Economy Bill, and it’s perfectly useless and terrible. It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the ‘three-strikes’ rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the net if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof or evidence or trial), as well as a plan to beat the hell out of the video-game industry with a new, even dumber rating system (why is it acceptable for the government to declare that some forms of artwork have to be mandatorily labelled as to their suitability for kids? And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?).


So it’s bad. £50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).

But that’s just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he’s planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson’s successor in the next government would also have this power.

What isn’t in there? Anything about stimulating the actual digital economy. Nothing about ensuring that broadband is cheap, fast and neutral. Nothing about getting Britain’s poorest connected to the net. Nothing about ensuring that copyright rules get out of the way of entrepreneurship and the freedom to create new things. Nothing to ensure that schoolkids get the best tools in the world to create with, and can freely use the publicly funded media — BBC, Channel 4, BFI, Arts Council grantees — to make new media and so grow up to turn Britain into a powerhouse of tech-savvy creators.

Lobby organisation The Open Rights Group is urging people to contact their MP to oppose the plans.

‘This plan won’t stop copyright infringement and with a simple accusation could see you and your family disconnected from the internet – unable to engage in everyday activities like shopping and socialising,’ it said.

The government will also introduce age ratings on all boxed video games aimed at children aged 12 or over.

There is, however, little detail in the bill on how the government will stimulate broadband infrastructure.

See Government lays out digital plans