11 Countries Are Meeting in Peru to Figure Out How They Can Control the Internet | The Top Information Post

11 Countries Are Meeting in Peru to Figure Out How They Can Control the Internet | The Top Information Post.

But now it appears that it’s going to be even easier for international copyright offenders to be tried in court by the interests–and lobbying power–of Hollywood. Starting today, 11 countries—Canada, America, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Brunei, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand—are having a secret (no members of the public and no press) meeting in Lima, Peru to figure out what can be done about copyright offenders who transmit Hollywood’s precious content over the interweb’s tubes without paying for it.

The meeting is held under the banner of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. They’re looking to sign an international treaty that will create world government-esque laws to handle anyone who downloads an early leak of Iron Man 3 illegally.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling this the “biggest global threat to the internet since ACTA.” If you remember, ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is an international, internet-policing treaty that was shut down by the European Parliament with a 92 percent nay vote. Luckily for Europeans, no EU country is anywhere near the TPP negotiations in Peru right now—and European politicians are now quick to distance themselves from the policies that ACTA is trying to ram down the world’s throat.

But in North America, the ACTA movement is still very much alive. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government passed a bill in March that makes Canada more ACTA-friendly by allowing customs officers to destroy counterfeit goods and ratcheting up the criminal penalties against copyright offenders. And the United States has seized hip-hop blog domains without warning or trial, because they were alleged to host pirated material.

A leaked chapter outlining some preliminary discussion to re-examine intellectual property has revealed that TPP wants to add further checks and balances to restrict fair use. Those behind TPP want to make sure that if a teacher is trying to show some copyrighted material in their class for the purpose of education, or if a humorist using copyrighted material in an article for the purpose of satire, they’re doing so under what TPP calls a “good faith activity.”

The language in this leaked TPP chapter is incredibly dense and dates back to February 2011—so not only is it a confusing bit of writing, but it will also likely be revised over and over during this meeting in Peru. As it stands, the EFF is worried that “the United States is trying to export the worst parts of its intellectual property law without bringing any of the [fair use] protections.” And just like SOPA or CISPA, many people are concerned that the broad language in new legal terms like “good faith activity” will potentially lead to unjust prosecutions.

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Canada Signs Free Trade Deal with Honduras amid Pre-electoral Repression

Canada Signs Free Trade Deal with Honduras amid Pre-electoral Repression.

s with many FTAs, the Canada-Honduras agreement is accompanied by parallel agreements on labor and the environment, but Common Frontiers Program Director Raul Burbano and Americas Policy Group Coordinator Stacey Gomez maintain they’re just for show. “The labor and environmental side agreements are mere window dressing given that they are not accompanied by any real enforcement mechanism to ensure they are adhered to,” they wrote in a November 5 Open Letter.

 

 

 

Chapter 10 of FTA itself includes a brief mention of labour, environmental and human rights, but – unlike the investment protection measures – there are no enforcement measures. “Each Party should encourage enterprises operating within its territory, or entreprises [sic] subject to its jurisdiction, to voluntarily incorporate internationally recognized standards of corporate social responsibility in their internal policies,” according to Article 10:16. The full text of the agreement was only made public after it was signed.

 

 

 

While the FTA was signed in Ottawa, the reality on the ground in Honduras remained one of increasing militarization and ongoing repression.

 

 

 

Murders of journalists, lawyers, and Indigenous and campesino people involved in land and resource struggles continue in the country, which has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. People involved with the LIBRE party have also become targets. Rights Action’s Spring has been researching pre-electoral political violence and compiled a list of murders and armed attacks on political party-affiliated candidates, campaigners, and activists between May 2012 and October 19, 2013.

 

 

 

“The list shows that the LIBRE party has suffered more armed attacks and killings in the last year and a half than all other eight political parties combined,” said Spring. “Those are just armed attacks and killings. That doesn’t include political persecution, death threats, disappearances, and then killings and armed attacks of people that aren’t part of the political campaigning process but that are really important in the social movement.”

 

 

 

Militarization has increased hand-in-hand with repression since the 2009 coup. Not only are soldiers patrolling the streets alongside the national police force, but a new military police force hit the streets in October 2013. Legal challenges to the constitutionality of the new security force, operating directly under military command, are currently underway. In response, on November 6 the National Party’s presidential candidate Hernández introduced a proposal to Congress to reform Article 274 of the Constitution in order to grant constitutional standing to the military police force. This has become a cornerstone of his electoral campaign.

 

 

 

The controversy surrounding the military police has been subject to recent media coverage in Honduras, but the involvement of mining companies and other private sector corporations in financing public security forces no longer makes headlines. The General Mining and Hydrocarbons Law ratified in January 2013, after a review by advisors paid by the Canadian government, includes as part of its royalty regime a two percent payment to the Security Tax (Tasa de Seguridad) fund. The fund is helping to finance the increasing militarization of Honduran streets.

 

 

 

Who will win the November 24 elections is uncertain at this point. But no matter which political party comes out on top, if the Honduran Congress passes the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement into law, it will be a win for Canadian companies.

 

 

 

Sandra Cuffe is a vagabond freelance journalist currently based in Honduras.

NZ WikiLeaks scoop: NZ, US in trade battle – National – NZ Herald News

NZ WikiLeaks scoop: NZ, US in trade battle – National – NZ Herald News.

 

Intellectual property is especially important to Hollywood and US pharmaceutical, biotechnology and entertainment corporations, which have a strong influence over the Obama Administration’s trade policy. Their influence is seen throughout the draft document.

A large section reveals the battle between the US pharmaceutical lobby and countries such as New Zealand that want to continue to buy cheaper generic medicines. The US negotiators have inserted several pages of measures to help maintain and extend the dominant position of big pharmaceutical companies. Only the US supported these proposals while Australia, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei opposed them in full.

New Zealand is the lead nation for a series of alternative proposals to “adopt and maintain measures to encourage the timely entry of pharmaceutical products to the market”. Canada, Singapore, Chile, Malaysia and Vietnam join New Zealand in proposing rules that would avoid blocks to generic medicines.

Since this text was written US Trade Representative Michael Froman has publicly proposed giving developing countries a phase-in period if they accept the US-promoted pharmaceutical rules, but this would give no relief to New Zealand.

Other areas of dispute are provisions that would require internet service providers to enforce copyright of behalf of foreign corporations, including closing down their customers’ accounts; overseas royalty payments on all books, music and movies for 20 years longer than at present; restricting cheaper parallel importing; imposing penalties for breaking “digital locks” such as regional zones on lawful DVDs; allowing plants and animals to be patented; and allowing “diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals” to be patented.

There is also dispute over agricultural chemicals.

A target of Christmas for concluding the agreement was set by President Barack Obama last year and was reconfirmed at the TPP leaders’ meeting in Bali in October.

However the wide differences evident between the US and New Zealand mean someone would have to back down on national interest provisions – or the US back down – for there to be any prospect of the agreement being concluded. More than 100 issues are unresolved.

A coalition of groups, ranging from Internet New Zealand to Trade Me and the Library Association, have opposed the agreement. The Fairdeal Coalition’s spokeswoman Susan Chalmers said the New Zealand negotiators have been sticking up for the country and called on the Government to support them.

“If New Zealand caves on the intellectual property chapter,” she said, “it will face inevitable economic, cultural and social losses that in the long-term will likely outweigh any gains from improved agricultural access.”

An earlier WikiLeaks release of US embassy cables showed former New Zealand chief TPP negotiator Mark Sinclair privately telling visiting US State Department Deputy Assistant Frankie Reed in February 2010 that there were “a number of areas sensitive to New Zealand” in the TPP talks and pharmaceuticals were “bound to be a contentious issue”.

As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media

As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

By

Can even President Obama and his most devoted loyalists continue to maintain, with a straight face, that this is all about Terrorism? That is what this superb new Foreign Affairs essay by Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore means when it argues that the Manning and Snowden leaks are putting an end to the ability of the US to use hypocrisy as a key weapon in its soft power.

Speaking of an inability to maintain claims with a straight face, how are American and British officials, in light of their conduct in all of this, going to maintain the pretense that they are defenders of press freedoms and are in a position to lecture and condemn others for violations? In what might be the most explicit hostility to such freedoms yet – as well as the most unmistakable evidence of rampant panic – the NSA’s director, General Keith Alexander, actually demanded Thursday that the reporting being done by newspapers around the world on this secret surveillance system be halted (Techdirt has the full video here):

The head of the embattled National Security Agency, Gen Keith Alexander, is accusing journalists of “selling” his agency’s documents and is calling for an end to the steady stream of public disclosures of secrets snatched by former contractor Edward Snowden.

“I think it’s wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000 – whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these – you know it just doesn’t make sense,” Alexander said in an interview with the Defense Department’s “Armed With Science” blog.

“We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policy-makers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on,” the NSA director declared. [My italics]

There are 25,000 employees of the NSA (and many tens of thousands more who work for private contracts assigned to the agency). Maybe one of them can tell The General about this thing called “the first amendment”.

I’d love to know what ways, specifically, General Alexander has in mind for empowering the US government to “come up with a way of stopping” the journalism on this story. Whatever ways those might be, they are deeply hostile to the US constitution – obviously. What kind of person wants the government to forcibly shut down reporting by the press?

Whatever kind of person that is, he is not someone to be trusted in instituting and developing a massive bulk-spying system that operates in the dark. For that matter, nobody is.

Leaving

As many of you likely know, it was announced last week that I am leaving the Guardian. My last day here will be 31 October, and I will write my last column on that date.

Looking For A Third Option. By Kathleen Ward | house2housemagazine

Looking For A Third Option. By Kathleen Ward | house2housemagazine.

I recently watched a documentary called “Empire”. It was a fascinating look at how the tiny island nation of Britain achieved dominance over so many other countries, using pomp and grandeur mixed with the threat of violence to subdue the native populations. There seemed to be only two options available to the locals – revolt, or submit. If they rebelled, they risked retaliation and restricted living conditions. If they didn’t, they had to live under the authority of outsiders. A lose-lose situation.

Sometimes, I feel as though I’m living under Empire conditions in the ongoing gender wars. Since I can remember, I’ve been aware of an ongoing battle for equality. Women have been told there is a delicious pie made out of power, position, privilege and pay scale – and that men are colluding to prevent us from getting a piece of it. The trouble is, when a woman does manage to carve herself a slice, she is subject to levels of hostility and aggression which make the rest of us wonder whether it’s worth it. Even though everyone sees equality as a worthy goal, both sides have entered into Empire relationships which dehumanize and wound the other. Men and women have both been left feeling hurt and confused.

The alternative is to head down a path where my gender becomes my identity; where the immense diversity of humanity becomes polarized down an x/y axis; where the uniqueness that is me is expected to conform to a stereotype.

I’ve read countless books about the differences between men and women, and gained great value from them as I learn to relate to my husband better, and to raise my son and three daughters with a greater appreciation of the issues they may face. But none of us are defined solely by our gender. It is absurd to assume that our X or Y chromosomes dictate our career paths, interests and abilities more than all the other genetic material we inherit from both sides of our family.

So here we sit – men and women both – conscious that we are at odds with one another when we don’t want to be; involved in an Empire struggle which wasn’t of our making.

One camp is calling for equality, the other is calling us to embrace our differences – but both are working within a system which operates by hierarchy, dominance and a struggle for power at the expense of others.

There is a better option.

When Jesus came, he began a process of subverting Empire thinking and replacing it with kingdom thinking. He consciously and consistently rejected the conventional routes to power. He taught his followers to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and offer the shirt off their back. He disciplined his disciples when they tried to lord it over one another, or jostle for position. He antagonized the authorities, while lifting up the outcasts, the rejected, the ostracized and despised. He gave a voice to the voiceless, and placed value on the undervalued. Again and again, through his teaching and actions, he showed us a better way to live life, a better way to relate to one another, a better way to change the world.

As Jesus-followers, we no longer need to live under Empire systems, which grasp for power and position at the expense of others. “Kingdom thinking” offers something bigger, something the world has rarely seen but is crying out for. Jesus calls us away from hierarchical structures to a model of mutual community, where there is no status difference based on gender (or race, or culture, or income). A space where everyone is called to bring their unique gifts and identity – including their gender – to meet one another’s needs. A new way of doing church, and family, and life.

The problem has never been between us as men and women. The problem lies between us as humans and the Empire system, which dehumanizes and damages all of us. As women and men of God, we have an opportunity to wave goodbye to Empire and show the world a better way to live, love and relate to one another.

NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY  by Gary Allen

NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY  by Gary Allen.

You may have received this book through the mail it is a gift from a concerned American who has read the book. The donor believes that the survival of our country hinges on the public becoming aware of the material contained here in. All he asks is that you read the book Thank you.

Gary Allen is a California based free-lance journalist. After majoring in history at Stanford University and doing graduate work at California State College at Long Beach, he became aware through independent research that his college courses had been highly slanted. Many of the most important facts had been left out. This book is the result of his personal “post graduate studies” in finding out “who’s who in American politics.

First printing, February, 1972-350,000
Second printing. March, 1972-1,250,000
Third printing, April, 1972-4,000,000

INTRODUCTION

The story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed to protect the guilty. This book may have the effect of changing your life. After reading this book, you will never look at national and world events in the same way again.

None Dare Call It Conspiracy will be a very controversial book. At first it will receive little publicity and those whose plans are exposed in it will try to kill it by the silent treatment. For reasons that become obvious as you read this book, it will not be reviewed in all the “proper” places or be available on your local bookstand. However, there is nothing these people can do to stop a grass roots book distributing system. Eventually it will be necessary for the people and organizations named in this book to try to blunt its effect by attacking it or the author. They have a tremendous vested interest in keeping you from discovering what they are doing. And they have the big guns of the mass media at their disposal to fire the barrages at None Dare Call It Conspiracy.

By sheer volume, the “experts” will try to ridicule you out of investigating for yourself as to whether or not the information in this book is true They will ignore the fact that the author about to conjecture. They will find a typographical error or ague some point that is open to debate. If necessary they will lie in order to protect themselves by smearing this book. I believe those who pooh-pooh the information herein because Psychologically many people would prefer to believe we are because we all like to ignore bad news. We do so at our own peril.

Having been a college instructor, a State Senator and now a Congressman I have had experience with real professionals at putting up smokescreens to cover up their own actions by trying to destroy the accuser. I hope that you will read the book carefully, draw your own conclusions and not accept the opinions of those who of necessity must attempt to discredit the book. Your future may depend upon it.

October 25, 1971 JOHN G. SCMITZ UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN

1. DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH FACTS

Most of us have had the experience, either as parents or youngsters, of trying to discover the “hidden picture’ within another picture in a children’s magazine. Usually you are shown a landscape with trees, bushes, flowers and other bits of nature. The caption reads something like this: “Concealed somewhere in this picture is a donkey pulling a cart with a boy in it. Can you find them?” Try as you might, usually you could not find the hidden picture until you turned to a page farther back in the magazine which would reveal how cleverly the artist had hidden it from us. If we study the landscape we realize that the whole picture was painted in such a way as to conceal the real picture within, and once we see the “real picture,” it stands out like the proverbial painful digit.

We believe the picture painters of the mass media are artfully creating landscapes for us which deliberately hide the real picture.In this book we will show youhow to discover the “hidden picture” in the landscapes presented to us daily through newspapers, radio and. television. Once you can see through the camouflage, you will see the donkey, the cart and the boy who have been there all along.

Millions of Americans are concerned and frustrated over mishappenings in our nation. They feel that something is wrong, drastically wrong, but because of the picture painters they can’t quite put their fingers on it.

Maybe you are one of those persons. Something is bugging you, but you aren’t sure what. We keep electing new Presidents who seemingly promise faithfully to halt the world-wide Communist advance, put the blocks to extravagant government spending, douse the tea of inflation, put the economy on an even keel, reverse the trend which is turning the country mto a moral sewer, and toss the criminals into the hoosegow where they belong. Yet despite high hopes and glittering campaign promise these problems continue to worsen no matter who is in office. Each new administration, whether it be Republican or Democrat continues the same basic policies of the previous administration which it had so thoroughly denounced during the election campaign. It is considered poor form to mention this, but it is true nonetheless. Is there a plausible reason to explain why this happens? We are not supposed to think so. We are supposed to think it is all accidental and coincidental and that therefore there is nothing we can do about it.

FDR once said “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” He was in a good position to know. We believe that many of the major world events that are shaping our destinies occur because somebody or somebodies have planned them that way. If we were merely dealing with the law of avenges, half of the events affecting our nation’s well-being should be good for America. If we were dealing with mere incompetence, our leaders should occasionally make a mistake in our favor. We shall attempt to prove ‘bat we are not really dealing with coincidence or stupidity, but with planning and brilliance. This small book deals with that planning and brilliance and how it has shaped the foreign and domestic policies of the last six administrations. We hope it will explain matters which have up to now seemed inexplicable; that it will bring into sharp focus images which have been obscured by the landscape painters of the mass media.

Those who believe that major world events result from planning are laughed at tot believing in the “conspiracy theory of history.” Of course, no one in this modern day and age readily believes in the conspiracy theory of history — except those who Those who believe that major world events result from planning are laughed at for believing in the “conspiracy theory of history.” Of course, no one in this modern day and age really believes in the conspiracy theory of history — except those who have taken the time to study the subject. When you think about it, there are really only two theories of history. Either things happen by accident neither planned nor caused by anybody, or they happen because they are planned and somebody causes them to happen. In reality, it is the accidental theory of history preached in the unhallowed Halls of Ivy which should be ridiculed. Otherwise, why does every recent administration make the same mistakes as the previous ones? Why do they repeat the errors of the past which produce inflation, depressions and war? Why does our State Department “stumble” from one Communist-aiding “blunder” to another? If you believe it is all an accident or the result of mysterious and unexplainable tides of history, you will be regarded as an “intellectual” who understands that we live in a complex world. If you believe that something like 32,496 consecutive coincidences over the past forty years stretches the law of averages a bit, you are a kook!

Why is it that virtually all “reputable” scholars and mass media columnists and commentators reject the cause and effect or conspiratorial theory of history? Primarily, most scholars follow the crowd in the academic world just as most women follow Why is it that virtually all “reputable” scholars and mass media columnists and commentators reject the cause and effect or conspiratorial theory of history? Primarily, most scholars follow the crowd in the academic world just as most women follow fashions. To buck the tide means social and professional ostracism. The same is true of the mass media. While professors and pontificators profess to be tolerant and broadminded, in practice it’s strictly a one way street-with all traffic flowing left. A Maoist can be tolerated by Liberals of Ivory Towerland or by the Establishment’s media pundits, but to be a conservative, and a conservative who propounds a conspiratorial view, is absolutely verboten. Better you should be a drunk at a national WCTU convention!

“Syria Is Not A Country” « The Dish

“Syria Is Not A Country” « The Dish.

 

Syria as we now know it was created by one Brit, Mark Sykes, and one Frenchman, Francois Georges-Picot in 1920. Originally, it included a chunk of Iraq (another non-country), but when oil was discovered there (in Mosul), the Brits wanted and got it. With that detail alone, you can see how valid the idea is of a Syrian “nation” is. Certainly no one living in Syria ever called the shots on the creation of the modern 655px-mpk1-426_sykes_picot_agreement_map_signed_8_may_1916655px-mpk1-426_sykes_picot_agreement_map_signed_8_may_1916state. More to the point, it was precisely constructed to pit a minority group, the Shiite Alawites, against the majority, Sunni Arabs, with the Christians and the Druze and Kurds (also Sunnis) as side-shows. Exactly the same divide-and-rule principle applied to the way the Brits constructed Iraq. But there they used the Sunni minority to control the Shiite majority, with the poor Kurds as side-kicks again.

 

You can see why colonial powers did this. How do they get a pliant elite of the inhabitants of their constructed states to do their bidding? They appeal to the minority that is terrified of the majority. They give that minority privileges, protection and military training. That minority, in turn, controls the majority. It’s a cynical policy that still reverberates today: the use of sectarianism as a means to maintain power. Over time, the Alawites in Syria and the Sunnis in Iraq entrenched their grip on the state and, as resentment of them by the majority grew, used increasingly brutal methods of oppression to keep the whole show on the road. You can see how, over time, this elevates sectarian and ethnic loyalties over “national” ones. Worse, it gives each group an operational state apparatus to fight over.

 

The only time of relative long-term stability in the area we now call Syria was under the Ottoman empire which effectively devolved government to local religious authorities. The empire was the neutral ground that kept the whole thing coherent – a monopoly of external force that also gave the Shia and the Sunnis and the Christians their own little pools of self-governance.

 

Remove that external force and create a unitary state and you have the recipe for permanent warfare or brutal, horrifying repression. It is no accident that two of the most brutal, disgusting dictators emerged in both countries under this rubric: Saddam and Assad.

 

Now check out Syria’s history after it gained formal independence from the French in 1936 and operational independence after the Second World War in 1946:

There were three coups in the first ten years and with each one, the power of the military (dominated by Alawites) grew. Then in 1958 Syria merged with Egypt – to create the United Arab Republic. One test for how viable and deeply rooted Syria is as a nation? It dissolved itself as such as recently as six decades ago.

When Syria quit the merger with Egypt in 1961, yet another coup soon followed, later followed by another coup in 1970 that brought the Assad dynasty to power. The brutality of that dynasty kept the Sunnis under control, but not without a serious revolt from the 1970s on that eventually resulted in the 1982 massacre in Hama – a bloodletting of unimaginable proportions. Assad killed up to 40,000 Syrians in that bloody rout.