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.


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.


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.


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.

Canadian image has not changed, according to whom??

Just shows that mass media do not tell the whole story about the Harper neocon mouthpiece can do what he wants, nobody reports his outrageous new moves..

The survey asked whether the 16 countries had positive or negative influence on the world – not whether they were the most important, wealthy or powerful. The question was about influence, and in every country but Pakistan, many more people gave Canada a “positive” mark than a “negative” one. The positives toward Canada were highest in the United States (84 per cent), France (82 per cent), (Britain 80 per cent), Australia (79 per cent) and South Korea (77 per cent). There were some fascinating examples of discordance, however, between how other countries see Canada and how Canadians see other countries. For example, positive views of Canada in Germany have fallen a massive 24 points since the survey a year ago, to only 51 per cent overall, whereas Canadians’ views of Germany remain very positive at 69 per cent. (Canada has been without an ambassador in Germany for about six months, an inexcusable lapse for Canada in the most important country in Europe.) The survey offers no explanation for shifts in opinion, but it is likely the tumble in Canada’s reputation in Germany revolves around the environment. Bitumen oil has become a cause célèbre for German environmentalists. Canada’s overall dilatory record on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions gives the country a black eye in Germany. Another gap exists between how Canadians and Americans see each other’s country. Whereas Americans display a 84-5 per cent positive/negative view of Canada’s influence, Canadians’ attitude to the United States is 45-45, down slightly from 48-42 positive in the last survey. This discrepancy in part reflects the traditional chip that Canadians have on their shoulder toward their immense neighbour. Attitudes toward Israel reveal another difference. Israel’s image is only 2 points better than North Korea’s. The United States is the only country in the survey with a positive view of Israel (51-32), whereas Canadians display a negative attitude by more than 2 to 1 (57-25). This negative attitude toward Israel puts Canada close to the average opinion of Israel found in this survey: 52 per cent negative and 21 per cent positive. Domestically, the results demonstrate that the Harper government’s unwavering and uncritical support for every Israeli position is out of sync with Canadians’ overall opinion. Mind you, the survey did not test intensity of views. Pro-Israel sentiment is very deeply felt and expressed in Canada; anti-Israel opinion, generally speaking, is less intense. It’s similar to Canadian feelings about the monarchy: Pro-monarchists are intensely attached to the institution; the majority are mostly indifferent. Canadians still retain a positive overall attitude toward the European Union (51-26), but the positives have dropped 10 points in a year, perhaps reflecting the ongoing economic crisis in the EU and ongoing disagreements over bitumen oil, seals and the inability as yet to reach a comprehensive trade agreement.

via Canada’s good name persists abroad – The Globe and Mail – Mozilla Firefox.

How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War

The Jesus Machine
How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are
Winning the Culture War
By Dan Gilgoff
St. Martin’s Press
New York, 2007

“The average person in the establishment is not aware of what
Dobson is saying to five or ten million people every week,” said
Richard Viguerie, the conservative activist who pioneered the
use of direct mail for the Republican Party in the sixties and
seventies. “That has served us beautifully.”

The Jesus Machine is a tough read, my friends, for anyone in this
country who believes in the separation of church and state. Tough, but
absolutely necessary.

As a case study in patience, ingenuity, flexibility and political
movement building, this book can’t be beat. The rough read part comes in
every time you get jerked back to reality about what the Christian Right
wants to impose on this country, and how deeply and uncompromisingly
convinced its members are about the sacredness of the mission. Slamming
back and forth between being repulsed by their vision for America and in
awe of – and trying to learn from – their inarguably successful
strategies makes for a difficult experience.

Dan Gilgoff, a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report, outlines the
piece-by-piece construction of the Christian Right infrastructure,
entering the story through recounting the rise of the powerful James
Dobson and branching off to detail other parts of the movement. Dobson
serves as a lodestone throughout, the soothing presence that reassures
evangelicals that their move into political action is really a moral,
God-driven mission and not truly partaking of dirty secular politics at


And back when Dobson started his radio show in the late 1970’s, it
certainly seemed an apolitical venture. Gilgoff points out that the
turbulent 1960’s “gave the evangelical movement a culture to define
itself against,” and Dobson, a professor at UCLA with a strong Christian
upbringing, early on tapped into the unease of listeners that “presented
him with the opportunity to win their trust and to help instill in them
an orthodox Christian worldview that rejected the reigning
postmodernism.” The founding of Focus on the Family by all accounts was
not based on political calculation, but on the need Dobson identified in
his largely female audience to find advice on child-rearing, straying
spouses, addicted family members and all the other personal issues that
suddenly seemed destabilized by the re-examination of cultural roles.
Indeed, the radio host appears to have resisted – and still does – any
inference that Focus on the Family is primarily a political machine,
pointing to the bulk of its active correspondence with listeners still
addressing the private realm of personal conduct, private adversity and
Bible-based spiritual clarification.

As the popularity of his radio show exploded, along with sidelines of
books and videos, he quickly integrated successful business advisors
into his network and hired “correspondents” who helped Focus on the
Family retain its customized, personal approach to listeners who
contacted the organization for counsel. His insistence on quick response
to those seeking advice led to an archiving of his broadcasts and
numerous writings so that listeners who called or wrote in were able to
have their problems addressed by Focus counselors who could access an
immediate database on Dobson’s views. This reliance on amassing data
extended to compiling of extremely valuable contact information on the
listeners themselves, and it wouldn’t take long for more politically
motivated religious leaders on the Christian Right to eye both the model
and the data with envy.

Slamming war mongering talking heads

Slamming talking heads who supported the iraq invasion

The power elite, especially the liberal elite, has always been willing to sacrifice integrity and truth for power, personal advancement, foundation grants, awards, tenured professorships, columns, book contracts, television appearances, generous lecture fees and social status. They know what they need to say. They know which ideology they have to serve….

Leslie Gelb, in the magazine Foreign Affairs, spelled it out after the invasion of Iraq.

“My initial support for the war was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility,” he wrote. “We ‘experts’ have a lot to fix about ourselves, even as we ‘perfect’ the media. We must redouble our commitment to independent thought, and embrace, rather than cast aside, opinions and facts that blow the common—often wrong—wisdom apart. Our democracy requires nothing less.”

via Slamming intellectuals who backed Iraq war, Hedges says he lost job at ‘NYT’ for opposing it – Mozilla Firefox.

A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers…

A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers

Seeing Red

A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers

By Mark Cronlund Anderson and Carmen Robertson

University of Manitoba Press, 336 pages, $28

THE uproar surrounding Air Canada’s decision in September to pull its crews out of downtown Winnipeg hotels, blaming “instances of public intoxication” from “1,000 displaced people from rural Manitoba” — code for aboriginals — might lead you to believe that we’ve progressed beyond negative representations of First Nation peoples in the mainstream media.

In their informative history of how aboriginal subjects are treated in Canadian newspapers however, University of Regina professors Mark Cronlund Anderson and Carmen Robertson assure you that we have not.

Over 12 concise and well-written chapters, examining a range of stories in Canadian newspapers, Anderson and Robertson document a history of native representation from 1869 to the early 2000s.

The researchers find that Canadian print journalists have continually and consistently perpetuated a myth of native inferiority by creating stereotypes of un-evolving and exotic savages, supporting racist and violent policies and practices, and framing native peoples unfairly and inaccurately.

They provide many detailed examples from the pages of history, including those that encouraged Canadians to celebrate the post-Confederation dispossession of First Nation territories, consider treaty-making and residential schools as just, and use the death of leaders like Louis Riel for political purposes.

Utilizing more recent articles, the authors show how the media situate native peoples as criminals and terrorists, frame native women as sex and material objects, and construct a “common sense” ideology that ignores treaty responsibilities, defines native people as exploitative and ungrateful children, and demonizes those who speak otherwise.

The media, the authors argue, have primed Canadians to “see red” when they see red.

Unquestionably, Seeing Red is a remarkable contribution to this country’s political and social history. Joining a niche market of texts examining the misrepresentations of First Nation peoples, it sets a new standard for archival research and critical thinking that hopefully will shake the Canadian media establishment.

It should be of interest to historians, those interested in indigenous issues, and every person who has ever read a Canadian newspaper. For anyone who believes that the Canadian print establishment has progressed beyond some fundamentally racist beliefs, stereotypes and political views regarding First Nation peoples, this study is sure to be an eye-opener.

But Seeing Red is also, ironically, a bit one-sided. A chapter on the equally remarkable and brave work of native journalists in Canadian newspapers, not to mention the many sensitive non-native writers who strive to tell a counter-narrative, would have provided an important counter-balance to a heavily-fortified argument.

While the authors draw upon writers like Saskatoon’s Doug Cuthand, many more who witnessed and wrote about the events represented in Seeing Red could be included. Everett Soop, Bernelda Wheeler and Richard Wagamese come to mind.

As shown in the media’s coverage of the Air Canada memo debacle, the attention paid to the fact that it was based on inaccurate, stereotypical, and racist claims is hope that First Nation representations aren’t as black and white as they once were.

They might even have a touch of red.

Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair is a journalist, assistant professor of native studies and English at the University of Manitoba, and an avid newspaper subscriber.

via Red difficult to find in black and white newspapers – Winnipeg Free Press – Mozilla Firefox.


Lest we forget,…

Lest we forget, the lessons from the Iraq invasion.

One outcome is the authoritarian Shia elite-dominated state run by Nouri al-Maliki today. His Sunni vice-president until last year, Tariq al-Hashimi – forced to leave the country and sentenced to death in absentia for allegedly ordering killings – was one of those who in his own words “collaborated” with the occupation, encouraging former resistance leaders to join Petraeus’s “awakening councils”, and now bitterly regrets it. “If I knew the result would be like this, I would never have done it,” he told me at the weekend. “I made a grave mistake.”

The sectarian virus incubated in the occupation has now spread beyond Iraq’s borders and threatens the future of states across the eastern Arab world. But the war hasn’t only been a disaster for Iraq and the region. By demonstrating the limits of US power and its inability to impose its will on peoples prepared to fight back, Iraq proved a strategic defeat for the US and its closest allies. For the British state, the retreat of its armed forces from Basra under cover of darkness, with their own record of torture and killings, was a humiliation.

There’s little prospect, given the balance of power, of those most responsible for torture and atrocities in Iraq – let alone ordering the original aggression – of facing justice, or of the reparations Iraqis deserve. But there should be a greater chance of preventing more western military intervention in the Middle East, as Blair and his friends are now pressing for in Syria and Iran.

via Iraq war: make it impossible to inflict such barbarism again | Seumas Milne | Comment is free | The Guardian – Mozilla Firefox.