Friday, December 18, 2009

Free is Really Free!

From Civil Liberties Defense Center:

PORTLAND - Dec 16th, 2009 - Jeff "Free" Luers, political prisoner and environmental activist, was released from the Columbia River Correctional Institution this morning after serving nine and half years. Luers was originally sentenced in 2001 to twenty two years and eight months for the politically motivated arson of three SUV's at a car dealership in Eugene, OR. This sentence was deemed grossly disproportionate to the damage sustained by the car dealership and was condemned by legal professionals, human rights groups and activists worldwide. At an appeal hearing in 2007 it was ruled that Luers' original sentence was illegal, and was consequently reduced to ten years.

Luers' release today comes after what Oregon Department of Corrections described as a 'mistake' when they released him early on October 20th this year. After a few short hours of freedom, Luers was taken back into custody in Eugene after the State agency reversed its decision and determined that he did not qualify under the new House Bill 3508 for an additional 10% reduction in sentence. DOC's gross incompetence in this situation, and the emotional toll borne by his family and loved ones, is just one of many examples of the distressing levels of bureaucratic impropriety that Luers has endured during his years behind bars.

Upon his release this morning, Mr. Luers stated:

"The last 9½ years have been difficult at best. I have witnessed things in prison that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I have endured hardship and loss. Without a doubt, this experience has changed me. What hasn't changed is my commitment to environmental and social justice."

See the original article here on Portland Indymedia

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Awesome: Arrest Warrant Issued for Livni in London

<<"The issue of the warrant - almost certainly for alleged war crimes in connection with Ms Livni's role as Israeli foreign minister - has caused intense irritation in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, amid concerns Israeli politicians are finding it increasingly hard to visit the UK.>>"

Public opinion is doing something! Now, if only we could put the pressure on in the US.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thousands Arrested in Agriculture Protest in Copenhagen


The Resistance is Ripe Agriculture protest started today at 12pm and has marched through the centre of town under a banner reading "Food Climate Justice, not Climate Change" [pic][video][photos]. Hundreds of people stopped outside the Netto supermarket for speeches about the importance of food sovereignty and the links between climate change, agriculture and exploitation of people.

See Timelines: Indymedia dk | Modkraft [dk | en] | Motkraft [sv | en] | La Haine (sp) | icop15 on Agricultre action

Earlier in the day activists protested at an exclusive meeting between business and government ministers organised by The Climate Group, an international lobby group who represent business interests - there were 17 arrests [see report and photos | video]

At around 4.45pm, police suddenly arrived unannounced at the Candy Factory (Boljsefabrikken) in the city's northwest district. In this space, activists from the 'Bike block' have been building bicycles for tomorrow's 'Reclaim Power' action. People inside the Candy Factory were told to leave the building while it was being searched, and then they were eventually brought back inside, into the library, and their details were taken. An activist who was in the building at the time describes the situation: "We all got placed in one room, after that the police started to search the place. People got registrated before they were allowed to leave the place. They got some kind of identification-forms, where they noted name and address, but also length, hair color and which clothes people where wearing". By 18.15 the search seemed to be over. The coach that police had brought left with one arrestee. Police then blocked off the building with red and white tape and set up spotlights onto the building. By 19.45 reports came in of police trucks taking away two bicycles as well as some computers [photos | report]. Due to this raid, an indymedia benefit party had to be cancelled.

See yesterday's features:
Police Raid Christiania: More Mass Arrests
Tar Sands & No Borders Protests

See the full article here

Supreme Court Won't Hear Gitmo Torture Cases

Because the prisoners are not "persons".

<"The Obama administration had asked the court not to hear the case. By refusing to hear the case, the Court let stand an earlier opinion by the D.C. Circuit Court which found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all "persons" did not apply to detainees at Guantanamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law.">

Read the full article here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Italy's PM Silvio Berlusconi is bloodied by attack

From the BBC

"Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy is recovering in hospital after an assault left his face covered in blood following a rally in Milan.

He suffered two broken teeth, a minor nose fracture and cuts to his lip after being struck by a man wielding a souvenir model of the city's cathedral."

See the whole article here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sprint fed customer GPS data to cops over 8 million times

A blogger has released audio of Sprint's Electronic Surveillance Manager describing the carrier's cooperation with law enforcement. Among the revelations are that Sprint has so far filled over 8 million requests from LEOs for customer GPS data.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monsanto's Haunting: Who You Gonna Call? Trust Busters!

From the Washington Post:

Monsanto's dominance draws antitrust inquiry

Patented seeds are go-to for farmers, who decry their fast-growing price

For plants designed in a lab a little more than a decade ago, they've come a long way: Today, the vast majority of the nation's two primary crops grow from seeds genetically altered according toMonsanto company patents.

Ninety-three percent of soybeans. Eighty percent of corn.


But for farmers such as Lowe, prices of the Monsanto-patented seeds have steadily increased, roughly doubling during the past decade, to about $50 for a 50-pound bag of soybean seed, according to seed dealers.

... Monsanto's dominant role in the nation's agriculture, has not unfolded without complaint. Farmers have decried the price increases, and competitors say the company has ruthlessly stifled competition

The complete article is here

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lynne Stewart Sent To Prison

Her indictment was an outrage. So too was her conviction. The fact that this seventy year old veteran civil rights attorney has been sent to prison is a crime itself. She is serving a 28 month sentence although the Court of Appeals has remanded her case back to the original trial court with the hope that her sentence will be lengthened. The Bush Justice Department had sought a 30 year sentence. (NB: The Obama administration, the current administration, is continuing to seek jail time)

"Lynne Stewart should be set free," stated Brian Becker, national coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition. "Her conviction is part of an-going war against civil rights and particularly against the Arab-American and Muslim community. With her jailing the government is sending a definite and chilling message to all the attorneys in this country - 'do not represent Arab people and or Muslims.'

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Justice Department Demands (and retracts) Private Info from News Site

The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded "all IP traffic to and from" on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

But the Justice Department never replied. "This is the first time we've seen them try to get the IP address of everyone who visited a particular site," Bankston said. "That it was a news organization was an additional troubling fact that implicates First Amendment rights."

This is not, however, the first time that the Feds have focused on Indymedia -- a Web site whose authors sometimes blur the line between journalism, advocacy, and on-the-streets activism. In 2004, the Justice Department sent a grand jury subpoena asking for information about who posted lists of Republican delegates while urging they be given an unwelcome reception at the party's convention in New York City that year. A Indymedia hosting service in Texas once received a subpoena asking for server logs in relation to an investigation of an attempted murder in Italy.
Morrison replied in a one-sentence letter saying the subpoena had been withdrawn. Around the same time, according to the EFF, the group had a series of discussions with assistant U.S. attorneys in Morrison's office who threatened Clair with possible prosecution for obstruction of justice if she disclosed the existence of the already-withdrawn subpoena -- claiming it "may endanger someone's health" and would have a "human cost."
Bankston has written a longer description of the exchange of letters with the Justice Department, which he hopes will raise awareness of how others should respond to similar legal demands for Web logs, customer records, and compulsory silence. "Our fear is that this kind of bogus gag order is much more common than one would hope, considering they're legally baseless," Bankston says. "We're telling this story in hopes that more providers will press back and go public when the government demands their silence."

The Original Article is Here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fed’s Search of Twittering Activist's Home Upheld

From Wired: "When protesters in Iran similarly used Twitter to organize anti-government rallies, the U.S. State Department hailed the micro-blogging service as a boon to democracy."

U.S. district court judge Dora L. Irizzary found no reason to throw out the government’s search of the home of a 41-year old social worker who used the micro-publishing service Twitter to help anti-globalization protestors at the recent G-20 convention, clearing the way for the feds to look through the evidence they collected. Madison and his attorney sought to have his possessions returned unexamined, on the grounds the search violated his constitutional rights to free speech.

Full Article is HERE

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Secret copyright treaty leaks. It's bad. Very bad.

From Boing Boing: The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad. It says:

  • * That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

  • * That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.

  • * That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.

  • * Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)
Article is here:

Pennsylvania Drops All Charges Against Madison & Wallschlager for Twittering

"In the face of a PR nightmare, Pennsylvania authorities have withdrawn all charges against two members of Tortuga accused of using Twitter to aidprotesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.  At a hearing today, insteadof oral arguments regarding a defense motion to unseal the secret 18-page affidavit authorizing the arrests of Elliott Madison and MichaelWallschlager at a motel just outside of Pittsburgh, the prosecution immediately moved to withdraw all charges against the two before the defense had a chance to argue its case.  Although clear from the beginningthat these charges were absurd based on the State’s very own laws, our housemates were incarcerated for 36 hours, had their van towed and belongings confiscated, and one house member was given $30,000 in straight bail." 
Full post here:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lack of legal access for immigration detainees in New York

"A startling petition arrived at the New York City Bar Association in October 2008, signed by 100 men, all locked up without criminal charges in the middle of Manhattan.

In vivid if flawed English, it described cramped, filthy quarters where dire medical needs were ignored and hungry prisoners were put to work for $1 a day.

The petitioners were among 250 detainees imprisoned in an immigration jail that few New Yorkers know exists. Above a post office, on the fourth floor of a federal office building in Greenwich Village, the Varick Street Detention Facility takes in 11,000 men a year, most of them longtime New Yorkers facing deportation without a lawyer."

"[M]ost detainees with a legal claim to stay in the United States are routinely transferred to more remote jails before they can be helped. The lawyers say their effort has laid bare the fundamental unfairness of a system where immigrant detainees, unlike criminal defendants, can be held without legal representation and moved from state to state without notice."

To read more:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pictures Contd.

Some new pictures of the same old story...

These are pictures from someone living in Gaza.

On January 17, 2009 the Israeli army fired white phosphorous on a UN school.

White phosphorus is a white wax that is transparent and smells like garlic. It reacts with oxygen very quickly to produce fire and thick white smoke. It reacts with the moisture component of phosphorus and burns the skin and meat, leaving only the bone.

Here's a time line of what happened:

January 5 The Times reports that telltale smoke has appeared from areas of shelling. Israel denies using phosphorus

January 8 The Times reports photographic evidence showing stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells. Israel Defence Forces spokesman says: “This is what we call a quiet shell – it has no explosives and no white phosphorus”

January 12 The Times reports that more than 50 phosphorus burns victims are taken into Nasser Hospital. An Israeli military spokesman “categorically” denies the use of white phosphorus

January 15 Remnants of white phosphorus shells are found in western Gaza. The IDF refuses to comment on specific weaponry but insists ammunition is “within the scope of international law”

January 16 The United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters are hit with phosphorus munitions. The Israeli military continues to deny its use

January 21
Avital Leibovich, Israel’s military spokeswoman, admits white phosphorus munitions were employed in a manner “according to international law”

January 23
Israel says it is launching an investigation into white phosphorus munitions, which hit a UN school on January 17. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF is holding an investigation concerning one specific unit and one incident” Source: Times database
FULL article

Friday, October 9, 2009

Activists Arrested for Twitter Coverage of G-20

From the newswire: READ MORE HERE On September 24th, San Francisco-based shut down an account that was monitoring the movement of police and military through the city of Pittsburgh during protests against the G-20 summit on September 24th and 25th. The Pennsylvania State Police also arrested Elliot Madison and Michael Wallschlaeger and accused them of "criminal use of communication facility" and other charges. The arrests took place before most of the protests had started and when the only thing protesters were accused of was illegal assembly. On October 1st, the FBI raided Elliot's home in Queens. Among the things confiscated by the FBI were "anarchist books and pictures of Marx and Lenin."

Here are the EFF Legal Documents

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scalia on the Legal Profession

Scalia says we're devoting too many of our brilliant minds to lawyering.

He asks, "Why [aren't they] out there inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for our society?"

Unfortunately, I think a couple guys named Gottlieb and Daimler have credit for inventing the automobile, but I can see what he's getting at.

What do you the rest of you guys (I'm pretending that people are reading this) think?!

Here's the full article on the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. Have a look.

Ok, back to the memo.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The US convinced Palestianians to shelf the Goldstone Report.

Here's an article by M.J Rosenberg at TPM explaining how Israel persuaded the US to get the Palestinians to shelf the Goldstone Report. Hint: You won't see this in the news any time soon!

Key information of the article:

<<Nonetheless, the next step was for the United Nations Humans Rights Council - which had commissioned the Goldstone report - to consider its findings and then refer it to the UN Security Council.

But that is not going to happen. According to media reports in Israel and here, Israel persuaded the United States to get the UNHRC to defer consideration of the report. But then came the crazy part: the United States pressured the Palestinian Authority to itself request deferral.

The Palestinians yielded to the pressure and, for now, the Goldstone report is deep sixed. After all, if the Palestinians don't want alleged war crimes against Palestinians to be investigated, why would anyone else?>>

Seriously?!?! In the face of glaring evidence of war crimes, we've succumbed to Israeli pressures and politely told our friends in Palestine to forget about it for a while?!

I'd write all night about this if we (1L's) didn't have a memo due Friday, but in the meantime, you can find me in the Reading Room. I'll be the one with steam coming out of his ears trying to finish his work while resisting the urge to blog more about our (and Israel's) blatant disregard for Palestinian Human Rights.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rick Scott---Profiting off of the Uninsured

I came across a must-read article about Rick Scott today in Salon [link included below] and decided to share some of the highlights.

Rick Scott owns Solantic--a chain of urgent-care companies across the country---and has been involved in a significant amount of the propaganda against government healthcare since the mid-90's. He founded Conservatives for Patients' Rights and can be seen spouting their anti-reform rhetoric here.

Rick Scott, as illustrated by this Salon article, treats healthcare as an "growth industry", one that should (and did for him and his shareholders at one point) turn double-digit profits every year. His business model at Columbua/HCA, a company at which he worked until being ousted during a major scandal, is described below by Maggie Mahar, a journalist for Barron's.

<<"I think it's basically impossible to achieve the level of profitability they wanted in the hospital business. You can't expect double-digit profits from a hospital. It's a very tough business. You need a lot of people. You need a good nurse-to-patient ratio to keep patients comfortable and respond to emergencies. And it's unpredictable; you don't know how many patients on a night shift are going to get sick. So you can't trim down to the bone. When you do, people die.">>

After being booted from the hospital industry in 2001, Scott started the aforementioned Solantic clinics chain. This chain, which primarily targets the uninsured via fee reductions for cash payments and rushes patients in and out for maximum profit, allows him to profit in the absence of a public option.

Solantic's first Regional Medical Director, Dr. David Yarian, who quit amidst an argument in which Scott clearly emphasized profit over patients, had this to say:

<<"The whole design was for people to get in and out quickly," Yarian says. "I believe the target was 50 patients a day based on a 12-hour day. But no clinic works that way, especially urgent-care clinics where people don't make appointments." The business is too unpredictable. "But Rick and Karen had never run a clinic. He wanted to turn it into a McDonald's. His whole point was volume and speed.">>

It's clear that people like Rick Scott are leading the fight against healthcare reform and that their hunger for the bottom line is what prevents them from endorsing any sort of policy that would ensure coverage for all Americans. Unfortunately, groups like his Conservatives for Patients' Rights are finding plenty of supporters and their efforts are well funded.

Spreading awareness about the dangers of half-assed or no healthcare reform should be one of the foremost current goals of progressive organizations. People like Rick Scott shamelessly distort the truth for their own bottom-lines while providing substandard care to those who often have nowhere else to turn.

Spread the word.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Most Dangerous Nuclear Facility in the Middle East

Here's a 3D rendering of the most dangerous secret nuclear facility in the Middle East.

Hint: It's not in Iran.

...Give up? It's in Israel!

Here's a link to University of Michigan History Professor Juan Cole's article discussing the matter. While Obama prepares to reduce the US's own nuclear arsenal, it's more than a bit hypocritical to constantly threaten Iran on this matter when Israel continues to develop nuclear weapons.

This is especially relevant in light of recent Iranian missile tests and nuclear "defiance". Israel's nuclear weapons program is, as Professor Cole writes, the primary drive behind nuclear arms development elsewhere in the Middle East. If there's anyone to blame for this proliferation, it's the Netanyahu government.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

G20 Coverage

A lot is going in Pittsburgh. Here is a link to the G20 coverage at indypgh

More information and the global indymedia site is here (

Also some good twitter accounts to follow @g20imc , @resistg20

Petition for Repeal of DOMA

DOMA=Defense of Marriage Act, and for the last 13 years, according to Arshad Hasan at, DOMA has deprived same-sex partners 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities that apply to married couples. DOMA even says that same-sex couples who get married in a state that recognizes gay marriage, like Vermont, do not have to be recognized in other states, like California (down with Prop 8!!).

Click here to sign a petition (hosted by Credo) urging your Congressperson to support and help pass the Respect for Marriage Act which, if passed, would repeal DOMA entirely and require the US Government to give benefits to individuals in same-sex marriages.

Kevin Drum for Mother Jones on Anti-Overdraft Fee Legislation

Here's an article by one of my favorite bloggers at one of my favorite publications about new overdraft fee legislation. Although I'm sure there're a couple randoms out there who might be interested in defending the poor, disenfranchised banking industry, I'd like to think that overdraft fees anger people of virtually all political persuasions.

But, if you read the article and thought to yourself, "...but how will those starving bankers survive without my $35.00 surcharges for accidentally buying a coffee without transferring money??", I'm sorry.


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