Puppet MastersS


UK: Gibson Inquiry into MI5 and MI6 Torture Collusion Claims Abandoned

Ken Clarke promises another judge-led inquiry into claims by two Libyans once police investigations are completed

The judge-led inquiry into the UK's alleged role in the torture and rendition of detainees after the 9/11 attacks, already boycotted by most human rights groups, has been scrapped by the government.

The surprise decision to abandon the investigation led by Sir Peter Gibson into MI5 and MI6 officers' participation, which carried out only preparatory research, was announced in parliament by the justice secretary, Ken Clarke.

The Detainee Inquiry will produce a report for the government before being dissolved. Clarke stressed that the government was still committed to holding an independent inquiry once police complete their checks. Parliament's intelligence and security committee, which is examining MI6 links with Muammar Gaddafi's regime, has nonetheless pledged to continue its work.

Last week the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan police established a joint panel to look into evidence that the intelligence agencies were involved in the secret rendition of two Libyans back to Gaddafi's regime in 2004.


A Black Day for Internet Privacy in Canada: Expert

© unknown
U.S. anti-piracy laws called heavy-handed

Canadians would be affected if online anti-piracy laws proposed south of the border get passed by Congress, say advocates of free speech and privacy. The laws - The Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act, known as SOPA and PIPA - would require Internet-service providers to block access to any site accused of posting, or linking to, copyrighted content.

It also would force search engines to remove the offending sites from their databases and prevent advertisers from giving the site their business.

Critics say the law would make media companies judge and jury of copyright infringement, rather than having the process resolved in court.

They also say it's a blatant attack on freedom of expression.

"The goal, in many ways, of SOPA is to reach beyond the borders of the United States," said Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor and copyright expert.

Star of David

Pressure Israel, Not Iran. Israel has an Arsenal of 200-300 Nuclear Weapons...

Israeli fighter jets
© n/a
Neocons in Israel and the United States are escalating their rhetoric to prepare us for war with Iran. Even the infamous John Yoo, architect of George W. Bush's illegal torture and spying programs, is calling on the Republican presidential candidates to "begin preparing the case for a military strike to destroy Iran's nuclear program."

Under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has the legal right to produce nuclear power for peaceful purposes. The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found no evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said on CBS that Iran is not currently trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Nevertheless, the United States and Israel are mounting a campaign of aggression against Iran. The United States has imposed punishing sanctions against Iran that are crippling Iran's economy, and pressuring other countries and strong-arming financial institutions to stop buying oil from Iran, the world's third largest exporter. The Obama administration is also preparing new punitive measures that target the Central Bank of Iran. And the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 which would outlaw any contact between U.S. government employees and some Iranian officials.


Best Evidence Showing We Need SOPA Based on 'Government Studies' That Never Existed

money hand graphic
© n/a
Content pirates not nearly the profit-gutting force of nature lobbyists describe

No one disputes very seriously that there is a lot of content piracy going on, especially online.

The hip-but-surprisingly hidebound music industry lost it's booty during the late '90s and early 00s after Napster, KaZaa, LimeWire, Morpheus and half a dozen other fixed and P2P ad hoc file-sharing networks turned music appreciation into an all-you-can eat buffet rather than the budget-busting one-course tapas restaurant it had been when music publishers controlled both price and distribution.

The movie business didn't take quite as big a hit, mainly because its distribution people spent more time looking for new sources of revenue and venues for their products, rather than trying to hunt down every potential customer who'd ever used the product for free, as the music business' RIAA copyright-enforcement thugs did.

The movie business never got in as much trouble as the music business, largely because it was able to find lots of other outlets through which to sell movies - cable TV, Netflix and other online services, ISPs, hotel-TV-movie services, Blockbuster, Red Box, yada, yada.


A Close Look at the Stop Online Piracy Act Bill

internet giant Google is opposed to SOPA
© GALLO/GETTYEven internet giant Google is opposed to the SOPA legislation.
This article was first posted by Professor Zittrain on his blog Future of the Internet on December 2, 2011. Even with President Obama's threat of veto, the bill may resurface in Congress at a later date. The following article gives a highly detailed breakdown of the bill and how it will affect the nature and use of the internet.

This article is a guide to the Stop Online Piracy Act as proposed in the United States House of Representatives. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), HR 3261, 112th Cong. (2011). It represents our notes as we sought to understand exactly what it does and how it does it - along with our corresponding sense for why its principal mechanisms make for poor law. Our aim is for this analysis to be useful to anyone wanting to understand the act - whatever their point of view may be on technology or intellectual property policy.

According to its advocates, SOPA will strengthen copyright in the United States by establishing a number of public and private tools to hinder infringement by international "rogue" sites previously unreachable by US law. The act also includes a number of independent provisions targeting the sale and dissemination of prescription drugs and military materials and equipment.


SOPA Will Take Us Back to the Dark Ages

sopa graphic
© n/a
I had an epiphany today. The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, was not written by people who fundamentally misunderstand how the web works. They understand all too well, and want to change it forever.

Behind the almost unreadable (yet truly scary) text of SOPA (and its Senate doppelganger, PIPA, or the Protect Intellectual Property Act) is a desire, likely fueled by powerful media conglomerate backers, to take us all back to the thin-pipe, content-distribution days of 1994 - right before the World Wide Web launched. From the moment the Internet and websites arrived, a veritable Pandora's box of opportunities have opened to every average Joe and Josephine in the world. Everyone became a content creator. Everyone had an audience.

The Internet also almost immediately became the transport mechanism for a steady flow of pirated content - first images, then music and, when the pipe got fat enough, movies. Major media companies, which once upon a time had sole control of the creation and distribution of popular entertainment, were appalled - and also powerless to stop it.


Freedom of Speech, Internet Censorship and SOPA

rights graphic
© n/a
The First Amendment to the Constitution states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Whoa boy. I don't want to imply that there has been the wholesale disregard on the part of our current government when it comes to upholding hold this amendment, but, at least when it comes to the part about "freedom of speech", things are beginning to look a bit murky. And, today, with many popular websites undergoing a "blackout" in protest of the proposed Stop Online Piracy (SOPA) legislation, I thought I would offer my own thoughts on the matter.

First of all, it is a given that freedom of speech is the right of citizens of the United States. This means that our government cannot and should not be making an attempt to restrict or penalize speech because of its content or viewpoint. So, when there is talk of restricting Internet content, my eyebrows go up quizzically, wondering just what limits would be placed on those restrictions. Moreover, as electronic media becomes the norm rather than the exception, how does reading something on the Internet differ from reading a book, a magazine, or a printed newspaper?


Google Says 4.5 Million People Signed Anti-SOPA Petition Today

Google's infographic on the fight against SOPA.
© GoogleGoogle's infographic on the fight against SOPA.
When Google speaks, the world listens.

And today, when Google asked its users to sign a petition protesting two anti-piracy laws circulating in Congress, millions responded.

A spokeswoman for Google confirmed that 4.5 million people added their names to the company's anti-SOPA petition today.

Not too shabby.

The petition, which was available via a link from Google's homepage, states that although fighting online piracy is important, the plan of attack described in the SOPA and PIPA bills would be ineffective.

"There's no need to make American social networks, blogs and search engines censor the Internet or undermine the existing laws that have enabled the Web to thrive, creating millions of U.S. jobs," the petition reads. "Too much is at stake - - please vote NO on PIPA and SOPA."


Support for Anti-Piracy Bills Wanes

Wikipedia page
© Wikipedia
Bowing to the power of the Internet, several key lawmakers withdrew support for anti-piracy legislation after a 24-hour blackout by thousands of websites Wednesday, likely quashing any chance the bills would pass in their current form.

Members of Congress faced a barrage of concerned and sometimes angry calls and e-mails from constituents made aware of the protests when they sat down at their computers.

The legislation - the Stop Online Piracy Act (a House bill commonly called SOPA) and the Protect IP Act in the Senate (called PIPA) - would allow U.S. attorneys general and copyright holders to enforce punitive actions against websites selling counterfeit goods or violating intellectual property rights.

Opponents say the bills go too far and threaten to shut down or censor legitimate websites that might inadvertently link to or display such content.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a key sponsor of PIPA, withdrew his support, as did Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Writing on his Facebook page, Cornyn urged Congress to slow down in pursuing the bills' passage and that it is "better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong."


Best of the Web: STOP SOPA: Piracy distributors are SOPA Promoters

More information Michael Mozart has collected can be found on his website here.