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  • TPP: Fuck the Corporate-bought Governments already...

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-08 10:25:52
    'At this very moment, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP)--a trade agreement that could affect the health and welfare of billions of people worldwide--is being negotiated behind closed doors. While 600 corporate lobbyists have access to the text, the press, the public, and even members of the US Congress are being kept in the dark.

    But we don't have to stand meekly by as corporate cronies decide our futures. Concerned citizens from around the world are pooling together their resources as a reward to WikiLeaks if it makes the negotiating text of the TPP public. Our pledge, as individuals, is to donate this money to WikiLeaks should it leak the document we seek.

    As WikiLeaks likes to say, information wants to be free. The negotiating text for the TPP wants to be free. Someone just needs to release it.

    ***


    FAQ

    1. What is the TPP?

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a multilateral "free trade" agreement for the Asia-Pacific region which some have taken to referring to as "NAFTA on steroids." The agreement was originally between just three nations--Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore--with a fourth, Brunei, joining shortly after. Today, seven additional countries are in negotiations to join the agreement: Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Eventually, every Pacific-rim nation could be included, making it possible for this trade agreement to affect the lives of billions of people.

    2. What's so bad about the TPP?

    The TPP negotiations have taken place under an unprecedented shrowd of secrecy, denying all but a very few any input into the terms of the agreement. The chapters that have been leaked are quite disturbing, revealing plans that would threaten public health, the environment, internet freedom, and the general well-being of perhaps billions of people. Here's a little taste of what the agreement would include: foreign investor protections that would help corporations offshore jobs, powers that allow multinational corporations to challenge domestic regulations before international tribunals, a strengthening of patent and intellectual property rules which would, among other things, raise the price of life-saving medicines in third world countries, and the ability for Wall Street to roll back safeguards meant to restore financial stability worldwide.

    3. Haven't parts of the TPP been leaked?

    Yes, some chapters of the TPP have been leaked to the public, but we want to see the whole text. We--the people who will be affected by this agreement--have the right to know what our governments are proposing.

    4. Why WikiLeaks?

    We're pushing WikiLeaks to do this because, if they do publish the TPP, it will show that WikiLeaks is still relevant to citizen demands for government transparency, that releasing US diplomatic cables wasn't the end of WikiLeaks' contribution to public knowledge of government misdeeds. And we want this because it will show that the WikiLeaks campaign for government transparency isn't just about national security issues.

    Another reason for offering the reward to WikiLeaks is to shield the leaker against any claim that they leaked the document for personal gain. It will be clear that the leaker leaked the text to promote the public interest.

    5. Why crowdsource the reward?

    We didn't want to ask one rich person or a couple to put up the money for the reward because it's not just one or a few people who have an interest in the TPP--we all do. By asking people from all walks of life to contribute what they can, we help promote the idea we are all invested in the outcome of these negotiations.

    6. How does the pledge thing work?
    What happens if WikiLeaks publishes the TPP?

    When you make a pledge, all you are doing is promising to make a donation at a later date. No payment information is required. If WikiLeaks should publish the TPP text, we will send you an email encouraging you to fulfill your pledge, along with information about how to make a donation to WikiLeaks.
    '

    https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1439/content_item/freetpp
  • Desmond Tutu: War based on lies polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history. Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased?

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-02 17:07:26
    'Why I had no choice but to spurn Tony Blair.

    I couldn't sit with someone who justified the invasion of Iraq with a lie.

    The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history.

    Instead of recognising that the world we lived in, with increasingly sophisticated communications, transportations and weapons systems necessitated sophisticated leadership that would bring the global family together, the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us.

    If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth? Days before George W Bush and Tony Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq, I called the White House and spoke to Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, to urge that United Nations weapons inspectors be given more time to confirm or deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Should they be able to confirm finding such weapons, I argued, dismantling the threat would have the support of virtually the entire world. Ms Rice demurred, saying there was too much risk and the president would not postpone any longer.

    On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers' circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush's chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

    The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.

    On these grounds alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague.

    But even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world.

    Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased? To what extent have we succeeded in bringing the so-called Muslim and Judeo-Christian worlds closer together, in sowing the seeds of understanding and hope?

    Leadership and morality are indivisible. Good leaders are the custodians of morality. The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level.

    If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?

    My appeal to Mr Blair is not to talk about leadership, but to demonstrate it. You are a member of our family, God's family. You are made for goodness, for honesty, for morality, for love; so are our brothers and sisters in Iraq, in the US, in Syria, in Israel and Iran.

    I did not deem it appropriate to have this discussion at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg last week. As the date drew nearer, I felt an increasingly profound sense of discomfort about attending a summit on "leadership" with Mr Blair. I extend my humblest and sincerest apologies to Discovery, the summit organisers, the speakers and delegates for the lateness of my decision not to attend.'

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/02/desmond-tutu-tony-blair-iraq
  • UK Roadside cameras suffer from large gaps in coverage, police admit

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-29 21:29:01
    'Police chiefs have admitted there are flaws in a "big brother" surveillance system that enables them to track and store the daily journeys of millions of motorists.

    The police chief who co-ordinates the growing network of more than 5,000 roadside cameras, which records the whereabouts of 16m vehicles, said the network was patchy and left"large gaps in coverage in various parts of the country".

    Police made the admissions as they won a freedom of information tribunal to keep secret the locations of the the cameras, arguing that disclosure would allow criminals to evade detection.

    For the past 10 years, police chiefs have pushed the expansion of the network, saying the cameras have become one of their most valuable tools to catch criminals in investigations ranging from terrorism to low-level crime.

    The cameras, located on motorways and main roads and at airports and town centres, automatically record the number plates and fronts of cars, noting the time, date and location of the images taken.

    Each camera, be it fixed on a pole, gantry or mounted in a police car, can log up to 3,600 images an hour.

    The images are transmitted to a central database in Hendon, north London, which holds more than 7bn records of the movement of stretching back six years. Police hope the database will be able to record up to 50m licence plates a day.

    The home secretary, Theresa May, has ordered that regulation of the Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras should be tightened up, amid civil liberties concerns. No other democratic country routinely tracks innocent motorists in this way.

    Weaknesses in the system were admitted by John Dean, who co-ordinates the system for the Association of Chief Police Officers, and other officers during a test case brought by the Guardian to find out the locations of 45 cameras in Devon and Cornwall.

    Dean said: "This network of ANPR cameras has been established at local level to reflect the needs of local policing priorities. There has therefore been no national deployment plan, and this has resulted in significant gaps of coverage throughout the country.

    "The disclosure of the locations of existing ANPR cameras could therefore put some areas at greater risk, the criminals becoming aware of these gaps of coverage."

    DS Neil Winterbourne, in charge of the ANPR cameras for Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, told the tribunal criminals could evade the cameras by adopting "a particular driving style", which he did not describe.

    "I will not go into the conduct of such tactics herein," he said, "but it is true to say that a properly trained driver can adopt a particular driving style that will greatly reduce the chance of the vehicle being detected by ANPR.

    "These tactics are only effective in the short term, when in close proximity to a camera, and it would be impracticable for anyone to permanently drive around in such a fashion."

    He added: "There are numerous ways in which the appearance of a number plate can be modified to reduce the chances of detection by ANPR, but these are mostly apparent when the vehicle is inspected and run the risk of attracting the attention of police, which may be counter-productive from the terrorist standpoint".

    Police said criminals were steering clear of the cameras when they knew the locations. They cited the case of Danny Speed, who was jailed for a string of robberies on vans carrying cash. A secret bug in his car recorded him saying: "They are the ANPR ones … I am going to [go] round the outside."

    Jeremy Harris, an assistant chief constable in the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said there had been more than 30 incidents in the region "of cameras being moved and pushed out of alignment so they are not reading registration plates and have been rendered inoperative". There had been a "concentrated effort by criminals" to damage or set fire to cameras, he added.

    After a three-year battle by the Guardian, the tribunal ruled in favour of police, who argued that disclosure of the cameras' locations would compromise the effectiveness of a weapon that has contributed to more than 50,000 arrests.'

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/aug/27/police-number-plate-cameras-network-patchy
  • Freedom is dying behind closed doors...

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-21 16:08:19