Tag Archives | Freedom of Information

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange to Launch TV Show on RT (Russia Today)

Reports Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva on CNN:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to debut a talk show, “The World Tomorrow,” on Russia’s state-funded television network next week. Assange and RT, an English-language international satellite news channel, would not release the guest lineup in advance, but hinted that the first interview would be controversial.

WikiLeaks has asked followers on Twitter if they can guess the show’s first guest. “Any bets on who The World Tomorrow’s first mystery guest(s) are?” it tweeted. “You’ve been waiting and we’ve been teasing,” said RT’s website of the show, which will also be released online. The talk show set for launch Tuesday is creating a stir in global media circles.

Continue Reading

Netflix Super PAC Supports SOPA

NetflixSo you thought that $8 a month was a sweet deal? Well, guess what else comes with it. Stephen C. Webster reports on RAW Story:

Video streaming giant Netflix has recognized the compelling financial logic behind Washington’s anti-piracy efforts.

In a recent filing with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Netflix revealed that it has created its own political action committee called FLIXPAC, designed to support anti-piracy measures in Washington and the candidates that favor them.

The FEC filing, made April 5, was first spotted by Politico. The company has seen its spending on federal lobbying ramp up in recent years, going from approximately $20,000 in 2009 to half a million in 2011, amid heated debates in Washington over restrictions on Americans’ Internet use.

Those restrictions, represented most clearly in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), were initially supported by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who reportedly sent a letter to the Chamber of Commerce expressing solidarity with that bill’s ultimate goals.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont if Legislators Pass GMO Labeling Bill

MonsantoWill Allen and Ronnie Cummins write on AlterNet:

The world’s most hated corporation is at it again, this time in Vermont.

Despite overwhelming public support and support from a clear majority of Vermont’s Agriculture Committee, Vermont legislators are dragging their feet on a proposed GMO labeling bill. Why? Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if the bill passes.

The popular legislative bill requiring mandatory labels on genetically engineered food (H-722) is languishing in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, with only four weeks left until the legislature adjourns for the year. Despite thousands of emails and calls from constituents who overwhelmingly support mandatory labeling, despite the fact that a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members support passage of the measure, Vermont legislators are holding up the labeling bill and refusing to take a vote.

Instead, they’re calling for more public hearings on April 12, in the apparent hope that they can run out the clock until the legislative session ends in early May.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Ex-CIA Spy-in-Training Goes Public on Twitter

Ex CIA Trainee“I was with the CIA for about three and a half months before I was sent to their secret psychiatric prison in Northern Virginia. I was a clandestine service trainee in their program so I wasn’t officially a spy yet. I was training to be a spy,” says Lynnae Williams. Reports Eli Lake on the Daily Beast:

The Twitter feed belonging to Lynnae Williams at first glance looks like most Twitter feeds. There are tweets about what she is reading (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Madame Bovary); tweets about politics (leans toward the Occupy movement); and tweets about food (tuna casserole, carrot-cake muffins).

But on closer inspection, the feed features something rare for Twitter and even the Internet: detailed disclosures about the CIA. On Tuesday for example, Williams tweeted, “The #Farm is #CIA’s training center near #Williamsburg, Virginia. I think it’s the Kisevalter Center or something.”

In other tweets, Williams, who in 2009 spent nearly four months training to be a CIA spy, details her own experiences with CIA case officers, psychiatrists, and the special security division of the agency that serves as the CIA’s police force.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

NYC Schools Want to Ban ‘Loaded Words’ From Tests … Like ‘Dinosaur’

Stegosaurus

Illustration: Hgrobe (CC)

Great job, NYC! Brian Vitagliano reports on CNN:

Divorce. Dinosaurs, Birthdays. Religion. Halloween. Christmas. Television. These are a few of the 50-plus words and references the New York City Department of Education is hoping to ban from the city’s standardized tests.

The banned word list was made public – and attracted considerable criticism – when the city’s education department released this year’s “request for proposal” on March 8, 2010. The request for proposal is sent to test publishers around the country trying to get the job of revamping math and English tests for the City of New York.

The Department of Education’s says that avoiding sensitive words on tests is nothing new, and that New York City is not the only locale to do so. California avoids the use of the word “weed” on tests and Florida avoids the phrases that use “Hurricane” or “Wildfires,” according to a statement by the New York City Department of Education …

Read More: CNNRead the rest

Continue Reading

The Drone War on Journalists

Anwar al-Awlaki (CC)

Anwar al-Awlaki (CC)

Scott Horton wrote in Harper’s Magazine:

… I wrote about how the Obama Administration has insisted that its deal with Yemen’s dictatorship concerning the use of drones there is a secret, and how it has been wielding that specious claim to justify withholding publication of a controversial Justice Department memo that outlines the president’s supposed authority to order the assassination of an American citizen abroad. Jeremy Scahill has published an important study of what the Obama Administration is prepared to do to journalists who expose its hit operations in Yemen:

On February 2, 2011, President Obama called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two discussed counterterrorism cooperation and the battle against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At the end of the call, according to a White House read-out, Obama “expressed concern” over the release of a man named Abdulelah Haider Shaye, whom Obama said “had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP.” It turned out that Shaye had not yet been released at the time of the call, but Saleh did have a pardon for him prepared and was ready to sign it.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Internet Providers to Start Policing the Web July 12th

MooninitesWTF? Via Russia Today:

Some of the biggest Internet service providers in America plan to adopt policies that will punish customers for copyright infringement, and one of the top trade groups in the music biz announced this week that it could begin as soon as this summer.

The chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America told an audience of publishers on Wednesday that a plan carved out last year to help thwart piracy is expected to prevail and be put in place by this summer. RIAA CEO Cary Sherman was one of the guest speakers among a New York panel this week and he confirmed that, at this rate, some of the most powerful Internet providers in America should have their new policies on the books by July 12, 2012.

Last year, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision Systems and other Internet service providers proposed best practice recommendations that they suggested would help curb copyright crimes on the Web.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

How China Actually Gets the Internet to Censor Itself

Sina WeiboThank to Disinfo for highlighting my blocked words project, Blocked on Weibo, in your post “The Most Censored Words On The Chinese Internet.” However, there are a few misconceptions that one could take away from the article which I’d like to correct. First, these are words that are blocked by one social media website (Sina Weibo); they are not blocked by the Chinese government, nor are the words listed blocked more or less frequently than other words. I cannot reiterate enough that my project does not set out to prove that top-down censorship by the government exists (though it does). The restrictions on searches on Weibo are cases of self-censorship by a private company that is very much encouraged (under the potential threat of having the company shut down or being sent to prison) to do so by the government. The hope with this project was to make it clear that censorship in China is a complex and nuanced issue, and in each blog entry I hope to provide the proper context for why a word is blocked.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Pirate Bay Dealing With Blocking By Means of Low-Orbit Server Drones

I wonder if this is how Skynet starts … via TorrentFreak:

In recent months The Pirate Bay has drastically changed its site to make it less vulnerable to ever increasing censorship attempts across the globe. But that was just the start, as the torrent site now says it’s getting ready to put some of its hardware in GPS controlled drones. “Everyone knows WHAT TPB is. Now they’re going to have to think about WHERE TPB is,” The Pirate Bay team told TorrentFreak.

It is no secret that Hollywood wants The Pirate Bay to shut down. But to accomplish this authorities may soon have to shoot down the site’s servers as these will be hovering in the air.

The Pirate Bay today unveiled their new mission. They’re working on ‘hosting’ parts of their site in GPS-controlled drones, instead of old-fashioned data centers. “Everyone knows WHAT TPB is. Now they’re going to have to think about WHERE TPB is,” The Pirate Bay team told TorrentFreak.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Why Is It Hard to Believe President Obama Would Want a Journalist in Prison?

PrisonIt isn’t for me. Peter Hart writes on the FAIR Blog:

Jeremy Scahill’s piece at the Nation website (“Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen?”, 3/13/12) about imprisoned Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye is riveting and deeply reported. But to Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum, the story doesn’t quite add up … because Barack Obama seems like a decent guy.

As Scahill reports, Shaye has “risked his life to travel to areas controlled by Al-Qaeda and to interview its leaders.” He argues that this reporting has not exactly won him friends in the U.S. or Yemeni governments:

His collision course with the U.S. government appears to have been set in December 2009. On December 17, the Yemeni government announced that it had conducted a series of strikes against an Al-Qaeda training camp in the village of al Majala in Yemen’s southern Abyan province, killing a number of Al-Qaeda militants.

Read the rest

Continue Reading