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Archive for April 8th, 2012

With the ongoing success of the world’s Pirate parties, I’ve seen the copyright industry start to push back, claiming that copyright enforcement can’t be tied to civil liberties; that they are two separate issues. That’s not a true statement from the copyright industry. The whole point of the fight for net liberties is that the copyright monopoly cannot be enforced without cutting down civil liberties. Here’s why.

Before the net, if you wanted to send a copy of something that was protected under the copyright monopoly, it was an absolute given that you could do so. You would send that copy in the mail without a single thought of repercussions. You could send copies of drawings, you could send mixtapes of music, you could send copied movies. The reason for this was simple: the right to communicate in private is a fundamental human right, and the copyright monopoly is a commercial distribution monopoly that carries significantly less weight.

The problem recently is that civil servants, not politicians, have been tasked with upholding the copyright monopoly. These people are not only unaccountable, but also easily accessible to copyright industry lobbyists, and these civil servants provide background material to the actual decision-making politicians. And if you control the background material, you also control the decision’s outcome. Long story short, these civil servants don’t care about the costs to society of enforcing the copyright monopoly in a changed communications environment: it’s literally not their job.

If the issue had been properly politicized, then politicians would be forced to look at more than just the necessary methods for enforcing today’s monopoly laws – they would also have to look at the overall cost of society to using those methods, and simply question if those laws are really worth the sacrifices required to uphold them. This is the discussion that needs to happen on the political level, and which the Pirate parties are trying to make happen.

For when I send a piece of music in an e-mail to somebody, I typically violate the copyright monopoly. When I drop a video clip in a private chat channel, same thing. If I use some other protocol, maybe BitTorrent, same thing again. If you are to enforce the copyright monopoly in the connected environment, then you cannot do that without abolishing the right to private communications as a concept. And that’s exactly what the copyright industry is trying to do.

Let me explain. If there is a list of bitpatterns that are illegal to transmit – and such a list could indeed be constructed with today’s laws – then the only way to find those bitpatterns is to eavesdrop on all the ones and zeros that leave my computer, assemble them by protocol to analyze my communications in the clear, and then sort my transmissions into “legal” and “illegal”. But you can’t do this without breaking and abolishing the postal secret. There is no way to tell one from the other without looking at them in the first place. So, out goes the postal secret, the right to communicate in private.

At this point in the discussion, the copyright industry will complain that they only take action for the illegal bitpatterns found, and that there is no infraction on the right to legal communications. And in doing so, they put themselves in the exact same spot as the old East German Stasi, which also steamed open all letters sent in the mail – but only took action on those with illegal content, just like the copyright industry describes as their preferred scenario. Stasi, too, sorted legal from illegal, and left the legal alone.

With the loss of the right to communicate in private, we also lose several other important rights. We lose reporters’ right to protect their sources (since such communication happens in the same digitized private space). We lose a large portion of the ability for attorneys to communicate in private with their clients. These are considered cornerstones in the construction of checks and balances in the powers of our society, and yet an industry of entertainment middlemen expect to strike them out with a pen in order to uphold a crumbling distribution monopoly?

It goes even further. With a loss of private communications, you lose the ability to safely confide in people – the mere suspicion of somebody else eavesdropping on your communications will lead you to stay silent, in case the communication would later be used against you. (This effect has already been observed on a large scale: over half of the population are now thinking twice whether to communicate in ways that could later be used against them by a third party, regarding everything from contacting suicide helplines to divorce counseling.) So, without the ability to confide in people, you even lose your very ability to form an identity. How are you going to come out of the closet, for example, if you can’t talk to a trusted friend first?

The bottom line is that the fight for basic civil liberties and the fight against the copyright monopoly are one and the same. They are not two identical fights; they are one and the same fight.

When our parents sent a letter in the mail, they alone determined whether they wanted to be identified as sender, and nobody had the right to open the letter in transit just to check that the contents were legal. When our parents sent a letter in the mail or placed a phone call, they had an expectation of privacy – considered a fundamental human right. It is entirely reasonable that our children get the same rights – completely regardless of whether that means that an obsolete distribution industry will go out of business or not.

Perhaps the policy of FreeNet, the darknet project, worded most clearly how a copyright monopoly on today’s level simply cannot coexist with freedom of speech (my highlights):

“You cannot guarantee free speech and enforce the copyright monopoly. Therefore, any technology designed to guarantee freedom of speech must also prevent enforcement of the copyright monopoly.”

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party…

source.

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Interview with Professor Michel Chossudovsky,
Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
Excerpt from 30 minutes program Press TV program

“Kofi Annan is not a peacemaker, Kofi Annan is a war-maker. He has stated his position on numerous occasions, calling for the collaboration of the United Nations with NATO.”

Syria says that the terrorist activities of the armed groups in the country have increased despite a peace plan proposed by the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Press TV has interviewed Professor Michel Chossudovsky, the director of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, who talks about the role of Annan as a “peacemaker” in Syria, the support the opposition receives from foreigners and the root of the country’s one-year old unrest.

The video also offers the opinions of Issa Chaer, from the Syrian Social Club in London and Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon official from Washington.

The following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: UN Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan couldn’t be clearer in his message yesterday, violence and deaths needs to stop. Who is preventing that, right now, from happening?

Chossudovsky: Well I think that the Kofi Annan peace proposal is flawed from the outset, because it does not clearly identify the sides involved in the ceasefire.

Well, in fact it identifies the government on the one hand and the so-called opposition on the other hand, but the fact of the matter is that there are now NATO Special Forces, Special Forces from NATO countries, not to mention Qatari Special Forces and intelligence operatives, which are collaborating with the so-called Free Syrian Army, in terms of logistics, military advice, the supply of weapons.

And this is in violation of international law, because these are foreign forces on Syrian soil.

The Syrian government has pointed to the role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but it has not mentioned the fact that there are British and French Special Forces on the ground, collaborating with the terrorists against government forces.

So you can’t have a ceasefire demanded by members of the international community, namely France and Britain, and have Special Forces from those countries on the ground collaborating with the Free Syrian Army.

I should mention another issue; it is now clearly documented, even in Western media sources, that the Free Syria Army is integrated by death squads, which are involved in extrajudicial assassinations of people in the various communities.

This was documented with regards to Homs, we’re talking about assassinations, and we’re talking about ethnic cleansing directed against the Christian community in particular.

Crimes against humanity are being committed by foreign forces, which have integrated the Free Syrian Army; they are complicit in these war crimes.

Press TV: Let’s focus on the role of the media, in which several producers and reporters of the Qatari government-funded TV channel Al Jazeera have designed over the role the news network is playing in fanning the flames of war in Syria? It does sound like the truth is being skewed, doesn’t it?

Chossudovsky: Well this is of course not an isolated phenomenon, Al Jazeera.

We are bombarded with media lies on a daily basis. You know, as an organization committed to truth in media, our research center is confronted with that on a daily basis.

When I started my investigation on Syria – it was in fact shortly after I left the country in March of last year – the first reports were totally fabricated, and we had to find documentary evidence occasionally within the Lebanese and Israeli press, which confirmed unequivocally that there were terrorist acts right from the beginning, acts of arson, assassinations of civilians, well-organized brigades.

And at that time, the media consensus was to say that this was a peaceful protest movement. And that consensus actually prevailed for quite a while.

People were being killed by terrorists, and the media all over the world –and I listen to the Canadian media, the US media, the European media– they were lying through their teeth, they were telling us that this was a peaceful protest movement, when in fact the so-called opposition were there with machine guns.

And then they would twist realities upside down, and say ‘no these people who are killing are government forces, they’re snipers,’ when in fact they were terrorists.

So that it was an utter string of lies and manipulation of images. They used the pro-government rallies in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, to illustrate the resentment … opposition, which was supposed to take place.

When it all started in Dara’a, which is a small border city, right on the border with Jordan, 45,000 inhabitants, there was no protest movement, there was no mass movement. This was the initial process of bringing in the terrorists, and they were there right from the beginning, attacking government buildings, killing the police and the armed forces, but also killing civilians.

And then, what we have is this very gruesome media, you know, media ritual of actually acknowledging the deaths of civilians, and then using those deaths of civilians by the so-called opposition forces and then blaming the government.

So that is really the whole basis of this responsibility to protect, you go in with killer brigades, death squads, you kill people, and then after that you blame the government.

That is not to say that the government doesn’t bare some responsibility in the way it has handled this crisis. But right from the beginning, it was presented as a protest movement, when in fact it was an insurrection.

Press TV: April 12, 6 am, Damascus time! A new page in Syria’s history, do you think, towards political resolve, or a continuation of violence?

Chossudovsky: Well let me simply go back to the issue of Kofi Annan, which is very important.

Kofi Annan is not a peacemaker, Kofi Annan is a war-maker. He has stated his position on numerous occasions that is the collaboration of the United Nations with NATO.

And that goes back to 1999, to the Kosovo War, how, you know, Kofi Annan… Kofi Annan was undersecretary for the United Nations peacekeeping. He was then appointed secretary general, and he was appointed by the United States, after they got rid of the previous secretary general of the United Nations.

So we have to understand that Kofi Annan is also one of the main architects of ‘responsibility to protect,’ which was endorsed by the United Nations. So, there we have a situation where the United Nations is complicit in the so-called humanitarian intervention…

video and source.

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For more than a decade Bolivia has been rocked by mass upsurges and mobilisations that have posed the necessity and possibility of fundamental political and social transformation.1 In 2005 the social movements that led the country’s water and gas wars managed to elect a government that since then has presided over a process of change that has brought major advances.

Among these are: the adoption of a plurinational state structure that for the first time recognises the country’s indigenous majority; regaining sovereign control over vital natural resources and initial steps towards endogenous industrialisation; an ongoing agrarian reform; and the development of social programmes that have substantially improved the lives of ordinary Bolivians. Democratic rights have been reinforced; forms of self-government by indigenous communities established; and electoral processes expanded to include popular election even of the judiciary. Not least in importance, Bolivia has also become a prime participant in the movement for Latin American anti-imperialist unification and sovereignty and emerged as a major leader in the international fight against capitalist-induced climate change.

In his recent article in this journal, “Revolution against ‘Progress’”,2 Jeffery Webber offers a harsh critique of the MAS government, illustrating it by reference to recent conflicts between the government and some indigenous groups involving environmental and development issues. His conclusion: the government remains committed to a neoliberal programme based on “fiscal austerity”, “low inflationary growth”, “inconsequential agrarian reform”, “low social spending” and “alliances with transnational capital”, among other policies. As such, it shares “more continuity than change with the inherited neoliberal model”.

These are sweeping assertions, and many are questionable. Webber criticises the government’s supposed “fiscal austerity”, yet omits the fact that budget spending has increased almost fourfold between 2004 and 2012. He attacks the government for seeking “low inflation” and “macroeconomic stability”, but what is his alternative: high inflation and macroeconomic instability? These were certainly traits of previous neoliberal governments. Furthermore, is it “inconsequential” that in its first five years the Morales government presided over the redistribution or titling of 41 million hectares of land to over 900,000 members of indigenous peasant communities? And if the government’s policy can be simply defined as one of forming alliances to benefit foreign transnationals, why is the Bolivian state currently facing 12 legal challenges in international courts initiated by these same companies?

continued here.

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Xportal started back in 2006 as merely another “rightist” Polish internet forum, and only distinctive thing about it was it’s unique graphic style, inspired mainly by Von Thronstahl.

Maybe this lured some interesting personalities, who grew tired of free-market and reactionary “rightist” dogmas, who were not only talking, but also (and mainly) were activists in several organizations, forming internal oppositions against those more and more submissive to liberalism, desire for recognition, democracy on one side and passivity, reconstruction, immersion in the past on the other side.

It was not enough just to oppose though, and we saw the need of something entirely new, daring, open to currents that remained exclusively underground and unknown for the last 20 years: integral traditionalism, geopolitics, antimondialism, national and conservative revolution.

This new movement, Falanga, emerged in the beginning of the year 2009, with youth, activism and antiliberalism as its principles.

It would take a lot of time to describe all the actions, adventures, altercations and accusations that constituted our story; it’s sufficent to say that we are perceived as “far left” by the rightists and “far right” by the leftists, always shocking fat bourgeois, always striving for higher ideals.

In late 2011, we’ve created a broader platform for spreading our – and not only our – ideas, using old Xportal as a basis for the new, metapolitics-centered site.

On the one hand we are interested in translations of foreign, contemporary authors from the circles which are best described as New Right and National Revolutionary, on the other hand, of discovering Polish traditions of thinking in unique, sometimes paradoxal but always inspiring, Conservative Revolutionary style.

We are also planning on publishing interviews with most compelling personalities of our times, the first one being with leader of New Resistance, James Porazzo.

Who knows what the future holds? But there is work to be done, and we will be there with you, Comrades.

 

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