In January, a French court ruled that Twitter must hand over the details of people who had tweeted racist and anti-semitic remarks, and set up a system that would alert the police to any further such posts as they happen. Twitter has ignored that ruling, and now the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF) is suing it for €38.5m (£32.8m) for its failure.
The case revolves around a hashtag — #unbonjuif (“a good Jew”) — which became the third-most popular on the site in October 2012. The UEJF took Twitter to court, demanding that those who had tweeted anti-semitic remarks using the hashtag be named by Twitter so the police could prosecute them for hate speech. (Read more)
Bangladesh police fired tear gas and rubber bullets Friday in fierce clashes with conservatists demanding the execution of bloggers they accused of blasphemy, killing one person and injuring around 100.
Parts of central Dhaka turned into a battlefield as protesters attacked police with bricks and sticks in front of the national mosque.
The security forces responded with hundreds of rounds of rubber bullets and tear gas shells, according to witnesses.
The country’s 12 religious parties called the protests after the Friday prayers in nearly half a million mosques nationwide, demanding the execution of bloggers they say were behind blasphemous writings against Islam and Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). (Read more)
A picture has been released of the Dear Leader shooting skeet at Camp David. In an article released on Breitbart.com entitled White House Warns: Don’t Photoshop Obama Gun Pic there is a stern warning:
“This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.” (Read more)
In July 2011, Egan-Jones Ratings Co. became the first nationally recognized statistical rating organization to downgrade the U.S. below AAA. In April 2012, Egan-Jones cut the U.S. government’s credit rating an additional notch to AA from AA+.
Later that month, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division accused Egan-Jones of securities-law violations related to errors in the company’s 2008 application to expand its license as a nationally recognized rater. Last September, Egan-Jones downgraded the nation again, this time to AA-.
Then today, the SEC said it reached a settlement with Egan-Jones, under which the company “agreed to be barred for at least 18 months from rating asset-backed and government securities issuers as an NRSRO.” The deal doesn’t affect Egan-Jones’s license to rate corporate debt.
Maybe downgrading the U.S. had nothing to do with the SEC’s decision to target Egan-Jones, which neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s claims. Regardless, the chronology looks chilling. In essence, Egan-Jones was accused of “filling out forms wrong,” (Read more)
New York, December 24, 2012–Indian authorities must immediately investigate the death of a cameraman who was fatally shot by police on Sunday while covering protests against the sexual assault of women. The Associated Press identified the journalist as Bwizamani Singh, a reporter for the news division of the satellite-distributed Prime News channel that covers northeast India. Other reports have provided different spellings of Singh’s name.
Singh was covering a rally in Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, when he was shot by police firing on protesters. Local news accounts reported that police said Singh was shot by accident while they were trying to disperse protesters with live ammunition. Five police officers have been suspended, the reports said. (Read more)
The legendary court system has done its work on Bradley Manning, the whistleblower who dared to stand up to the global empire and its expose terrible war crimes by giving evidence to WikiLeaks. Bradley, who is only 24-years old, will plead guilty in a bargained attempt to avoid life in prison.
He didn’t cheat. He didn’t make anything up. He didn’t even hurt anyone. All he did was reveal what is true. (The best background on the case comes from Wikipedia.) The result was explosive in showing the world what goes on behind the scenes in the wars for democracy. He showed innocents being slaughtered, people taking pleasure in bombings and killings, a gigantic catalog of deceptions and tricky, and much more. It wasn’t hard to find this material. He only had to download it and upload it.
Any true American would have done the same — or should have. It takes guts to stand up for what is right. He has languished in prison for two and a half years, for the Orwellian crime of revealing the truth. Julian Assange is exactly right that he is a hero. (Read more)
eople shouldn’t fear their government; government should fear its people. Publishers and journalists will not be intimidated nor silenced. Now entering day 626 of the financial blockade against WikiLeaks, Julian Assange sits in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London awaiting safe passage.
Following a massive release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables in November 2010, donations to WikiLeaks were blocked by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union on December 7th, 2010. Although private companies certainly have a right to select which transactions to process or not, the political environment produced less than a fair and objective decision. It was coordinated pressure exerted in a politicized climate by the U.S. government and it won’t be the last time that we see this type of pressure.
Fortunately, there is way around this and other financial blockades with a global payment method immune to political pressure and monetary censorship.
On its public bitcoin address, Wikileaks has taken in over $32,000 equivalent in more than 1,100 separate bitcoin donations throughout the blockade (1BTC = $10.00). But these amounts may be significantly higher, because it does not even include the individually-generated bitcoin addresses that WikiLeaks provides for donors upon request. (Read more)
Cellphones have ushered in an age of interruption, with apps that notify you when you’re mentioned on Facebook or Twitter, or even if your favorite ball team scores a run.
But Apple is the ultimate arbiter of what kinds of notifications iPhone users can receive — and some apps just don’t pass muster with the tech giant.
Take Josh Begley’s idea, for example. Begley created an app that sends a push notification — or beep — to an iPhone whenever there is a U.S. drone strike anywhere in the world.
Apple blocked it from its App Store.
“They said the app has excessively objectionable or crude content,” Begley says. “Which I found somewhat curious, because it is literally just a republishing of news — just tracking when strikes happen.”
The app contains no gory pictures or classified information. (Read more)
Of all the things to criticize about Russia, I wouldn’t put this high on the list. It seems like they were trespassing in order to ridicule Orthodoxy.
Imagine how little support they’d get if they had desecrated a synagogue. They’d be called Nazis and Western governments would be falling over each other to condemn them most strongly.
Imagine if they’d desecrated a mosque. They’d be called anti-immigration nationalists. Then a story about their murder would probably appear on the back pages of some newspaper.
Instead, they desecrated a church, and the world weeps over their imprisonment.
Obama spokesman condemns ‘disproportionate’ prison term for Russian punk band membersThe White House on Friday condemned the “disproportionate” two-year prison sentence a Russian judge imposed on members of the punk band Pussy Riot, found guilty of “hooliganism” for an event mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The United States is disappointed by the verdict, including the disproportionate sentences that were granted,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. (Read more)
Ecuador’s move to grant Julian Assange political asylum has shown the true face of the current world order, highlighting more clearly than ever the line between the American Empire and the rest of the world, former CIA officer Ray McGovern told RT. (Read more)
State Department: The U.S. does not recognize the concept of ‘diplomatic asylum’
the State Department declared today that the United States does not believe in the concept of ‘diplomatic asylum’ as a matter of international law.
Ecuador dragged Britain into an emergency meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States Friday at OAS headquarters in Washington, calling for a foreign ministers’ meeting following the British threat to go into the Ecuadoran embassy in London and get Assange, who is wanted for questioning in connection with sexual assault charges in Sweden.
Ecuador formally granted Assange political asylum Thursday, but today the State Department said the United States doesn’t agree that such a thing exists.
“The United States is not a party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum and does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law,” the office of Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a Friday statement. “We believe this is a bilateral issue between Ecuador and the United Kingdom and that the OAS has no role to play in this matter.” (Read more)
Ecuador rallies Latin America in Assange battle with UK
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Saturday cast the Andean country’s tensions with Britain over asylum for WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange as a menace to Latin America, warning the UK that it should think twice before trampling on the region’s sovereignty.
Incensed by London’s threat to break into the Ecuadorean embassy where the former hacker is taking refuge, Correa’s government has accused Britain of “colonial” bullying and has formally granted the Australian asylum.
Britain says it will not allow the anti-secrecy campaigner from Australia to travel to South America because it is obliged to extradite him to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations.
“They’re out of touch. Who do they think they’re dealing with? Can’t they see that this is a dignified and sovereign government which will not kneel down before anyone?” Correa said in his weekly address on Saturday.
“What a mentality, eh? They have not realized that Latin America is free and sovereign and that we’ll not put up with meddling, colonialism of any kind, at least in this country, small, but with a big heart.” (Read more)
Whoever said inquisitions and witch hunts were things of the past? A big one is going on now. The sociologist Mark Regnerus, at the University of Texas at Austin, is being smeared in the media and subjected to an inquiry by his university over allegations of scientific misconduct.
Regnerus’s offense? His article in the July 2012 issue of Social Science Research reported that adult children of parents who had same-sex romantic relationships, including same-sex couples as parents, have more emotional and social problems than do adult children of heterosexual parents with intact marriages. That’s it. Regnerus published ideologically unpopular research results on the contentious matter of same-sex relationships. And now he is being made to pay.
In today’s political climate, and particularly in the discipline of sociology—dominated as it is by a progressive orthodoxy—what Regnerus did is unacceptable. It makes him a heretic, a traitor—and so he must be thrown under the bus.
Regnerus’s study was based on a nationally representative sample of adult Americans, including an adequate number of respondents who had parents with same-sex relationships to make valid statistical comparisons. His data were collected by a survey firm that conducts top studies, such as the American National Election Survey, which is supported by the National Science Foundation. His sample was a clear improvement over those used by most previous studies on this topic.
Regnerus was trained in one of the best graduate programs in the country and was a postdoctoral fellow under an internationally renowned scholar of family, Glen Elder, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Full disclosure: I was on the faculty in Regnerus’s department and advised him for some years, but was not his dissertation chair.) His article underwent peer review, and the journal’s editor stands behind it. Regnerus also acknowledges the limitations of his study in his article, as he has done in subsequent interviews. And another recent study relying on a nationally representative sample also suggests that children of same-sex parents differ from children from intact, heterosexual marriages.
But never mind that. None of it matters. Advocacy groups and academics who support gay marriage view Regnerus’s findings as threatening. (Read more)
A Moscow court Friday ordered three young women on trial for staging an anti-Putin concert in a Moscow church to stay in jail until next year, a surprise move their lawyers branded “repression”.
The Khamovnichesky court ruled that the detention of the members of the Pussy Riot punk rock group should be extended for another six months, satisfying a prosecution request.
The ruling came on the first day of the womens’ trial on hooliganism charges for barging into a landmark Moscow church in February and singing a “punk prayer” calling for the ouster of President Vladimir Putin.
The trio, who face up to seven years in jail, have been held in pre-trial detention since March, and their harsh treatment has become a new rallying cause for the anti-Putin opposition. (Read more)