RSSCategory: Censorship

Considering Cults and the Need for Meaning

February 27, 2013 | By | 10 Replies More
Considering Cults and the Need for Meaning

Recently, I finished reading Lawrence Wright’s new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollwood, & the Prison of Belief, about Scientology. It’s a lucid history and examination of the movement. [More . . . ]

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Why did the feds over-prosecute Aaron Swartz?

January 17, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More
Why did the feds over-prosecute Aaron Swartz?

Glenn Greenwald makes a strong case that the government was intentionally making an example out of Swartz in order to assert corporatocratic control over the Internet. Government information belongs to the government and big business

But the abuses here extend far beyond the statutes in question. There is, as I wrote about on Saturday when news of Swartz’s suicide spread, a general effort to punish with particular harshness anyone who challenges the authority of government and corporations to maintain strict control over the internet and the information that flows on it. Swartz’s persecution was clearly waged by the government as a battle in the broader war for control over the internet. As Swartz’s friend, the NYU professor and Harvard researcher Danah Boyd, described in her superb analysis:

“When the federal government went after him – and MIT sheepishly played along – they weren’t treating him as a person who may or may not have done something stupid. He was an example. And the reason they threw the book at him wasn’t to teach him a lesson, but to make a point to the entire Cambridge hacker community that they were p0wned. It was a threat that had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with a broader battle over systemic power.

The government bullying of Aaron Swartz is one of many government abuses that all fit into a pattern, as Greenwald notes:

The grotesque abuse of Bradley Manning. The dangerous efforts to criminalize WikiLeaks’ journalism. The severe overkill that drives the effort to apprehend and punish minor protests by Anonymous teenagers while ignoring far more serious cyber-threats aimed at government critics. The Obama administration’s unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers. And now the obscene abuse of power applied to Swartz.

Why the focus on the Internet?

[T]he abuse of state power, the systematic violation of civil liberties, is about creating a Climate of Fear, one that is geared toward entrenching the power and position of elites by intimidating the rest of society from meaningful challenges and dissent. There is a particular overzealousness when it comes to internet activism because the internet is one of the few weapons – perhaps the only one – that can be effectively harnessed to galvanize movements and challenge the prevailing order.

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New organization–Freedom of the Press Foundation–protects meaningful freedom of the press

December 20, 2012 | By | Reply More

Glenn Greenwald is a member of the Board of the Directors of a new organization called Freedom of the Press Foundation. Here’s how Greenwald describes the mission:

The primary impetus for the formation of this group was to block the US government from ever again being able to attack and suffocate an independent journalistic enterprise the way it did with WikiLeaks. Government pressure and the eager compliance of large financial corporations (such as Visa, Master Card, Bank of America, etc.) has – by design – made it extremely difficult for anyone to donate to WikiLeaks, while many people are simply afraid to directly support the group (for reasons I explained here).

We intend to raise funds ourselves and then distribute it to the beneficiaries we name. The first group of beneficiaries includes WikiLeaks. We can circumvent those extra-legal, totally inappropriate blocks that have been imposed on the group. We can enable people to support WikiLeaks without donating directly to it by donating to this new organization that will then support a group of deserving independent journalism outlets, one of which is WikiLeaks. In sum, we will render impotent the government’s efforts to use its coercive pressure over corporations to suffocate not only WikiLeaks but any other group it may similarly target in the future.

. . . I’m very excited to have participated in its formation and will serve as an unpaid member of the Board of Directors, along with the heroic whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, 2012 McArthur-fellowship-receipient and Oscar-nominated documentarian Laura Poitras, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation John Perry Barlow, the actor and civil liberties advocate John Cusack, BoingBoing co-founder Xeni Jardin, and several other passionate free press and transparency activists.

David Carr of the New York Times recently wrote an article titled: “Group Aims to Be a Conduit for WikiLeaks Donations”:

A group advocating a more transparent government has formed a nonprofit organization called the Freedom of the Press Foundation to serve as a conduit for donations to organizations like WikiLeaks. The goal is to insulate those groups’ fund-raising efforts from political and business pressures.

In December 2010, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal announced that they would no longer accept transactions for WikiLeaks, the online leak group that released thousands of secret documents from the American government. The move to cut off donations, which came after vocal protests against the organization’s activities from members of Congress, eliminated the vast majority of financing for WikiLeaks.

Michael Calderon of Huffpo is recently posted on FPF:

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Timm said the idea for the foundation grew out of conversations with fellow co-founders, Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, and John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a former Grateful Dead lyricist.

The foundation plans to direct tax deductible donations to WikiLeaks for as long as payment processors block the organization, while protecting other outlets if they are similarly targeted.

“WikiLeaks was the inspiration for it, but we wanted to make the mission much broader than WikiLeaks,” Timm said.

For that reason, the group is also raising money for three other entities: MuckRock News, an open government organization; National Security Archive, an archive of declassified government documents; and The UpTake, a citizen-journalism news site.

Here is more on the four beneficiary organizations.

FDL’s Kevin Gosztola writes:

[T]he idea had come from something that had been discussed for months. There was a “real sense that the blockade on WikiLeaks was censorship of not just of WikiLeaks but actually of the people who wanted to express their opinions by making donations.” It was a suppression of “their rights to free speech,” as well.

FPF decided to do something that would empower people to do something that could keep WikiLeaks operational while also inspiring a new generation of WikiLeaks-like organizations that would be resistant to government and corporate pressures.

Here’s an excerpt from the About Page of Freedom of the Press Foundation:

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to helping promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government. We accept tax-deductible donations to a variety of journalism organizations dedicated to government transparency and accountability.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is built on the recognition that this kind of transparency journalism — from publishing the Pentagon Papers and exposing Watergate, to uncovering the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program and CIA secret prisons — doesn’t just happen. It requires dogged work by journalists, and often, the courage of whistleblowers and others who work to ensure that the public actually learns what it has a right to know.

But in a changing economic and technological age, media organizations are increasingly susceptible to corporate or government pressure. This can lead to watered-down or compromised coverage, or worse: censorship.

Increasingly, non-profit media and transparency organizations are emerging as a critical component of the journalism landscape. Leveraging the power of the Internet, these organizations are helping to reinvent and reimagine independent watchdog reporting.

Right now, too many of those organizations are struggling for funding, relying on a few large foundations or competing for donors. Our goal is to broaden the financial base of these types of institutions—both start-ups and established non-profit organizations — by crowd-sourcing funding and making it easy for people to support the best journalism from an array of organizations all in one place.

Using the same networked, collaborative approach, the Freedom of the Press Foundation will also provide support for organizations and individuals that have been unjustly censored or cut off from funding for doing their job as journalists. Given the variety of corporate and government pressures on journalism outlets around the world, the need has never been greater.

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Insanity and Rights

December 16, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More
Insanity and Rights

Doubtless whatever I say, someone will find fault, take offense, withdraw into positions, place guard dogs at the gates and lookouts in the towers. We are a people enamored of the idea of violence.  We like the idea that when it gets down to the proverbial nitty gritty we can and will kick ass and take names.  Americans are tough, not to be messed with, ready to exact justice by knuckles or 9.mm. . . .

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Bradley Manning in a sentence

December 11, 2012 | By | Reply More

Found this cartoon on Facebook, but cannot determine how to link directly to it, even at the site mentioned in the cartoon. I’m reprinting it because it is one of the best statements I’ve seen regarding of America’s massive denial regarding the significance of the actions of Bradley Manning:

Glenn Greenwald , Greg Mitchell, Truthdig.com and Amy Goodman have been among the relatively few media sources giving serious coverage to Bradley Manning (and to Wikileaks).

What kinds of scandals has Bradley Manning revealed? Here are more than a few.

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What Bradley Manning did.

December 4, 2012 | By | Reply More
What Bradley Manning did.

Jeffrey Tucker sizes up Bradley Manning:

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.

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Glenn Greenwald: Bradley Manning’s gift is a glimpse into America’s soul

December 2, 2012 | By | Reply More

Reality seems upside down in many ways, including the manner in which mainstream journalists have treated Wikileaks and Bradley Manning. Glenn Greenwald comments at The Guardian:

The repressive treatment of Bradley Manning is one of the disgraces of Obama’s first term, and highlights many of the dynamics shaping his presidency. The president not only defended Manning’s treatment but also, as commander-in-chief of the court martial judges, improperly decreed Manning’s guilt when he asserted in an interview that he “broke the law”.

Worse, Manning is charged not only with disclosing classified information, but also the capital offence of “aiding the enemy”, for which the death penalty can be imposed (military prosecutors are requesting “only” life in prison). The government’s radical theory is that, although Manning had no intent to do so, the leaked information could have helped al-Qaida, a theory that essentially equates any disclosure of classified information – by any whistleblower, or a newspaper – with treason.

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Separate debate for the presidential candidates without substantial corporate support

October 19, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

Do you want to hear the other candidates running for president of the U.S.? You can watch it live on October 23, 2012 at 8pm central time. Here’s more from Huffpo:

The debate, sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, will feature Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Jill Stein (Green Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party).” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/19/third-party-debate-al-jazeera-english_n_1988014.html

The debate, which will be moderated by Larry King in Chicago, will be sponsored by Free and Equal. This debate will not be carried by any major American TV network, but it will be carried by Al Jazeera.

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Amber Lyons reveals how CNN “news” coverage is bought

October 11, 2012 | By | Reply More

Amber Lyons recently lost her job as a reporter for CNN. The problem is that she is a reporter who simply reports what she sees, and lets the chips fall where they may. This is much too inconvenient for CNN, which allows subjects of news reports buy favorable coverage. Let that sink in.

Here is an eleven minute video where Lyons reveals the extent of the problem, referring to the censorship of her reports regarding the regime in U.S.-ally Bahrain. Her message is even much broader, however, and applies to the willingness of the lapdog media to encourage needless war against Iran. This is really eye-opening information. This story also points to the incredible importance of preserving net neutrality, because you won’t hear about this mainstream media corruption on the mainstream media.

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