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Obama reeks of sulfur at the UN

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford | September 25, 2013

President Obama went to the United Nations this week and declared war against the UN’s most fundamental founding principles, all the while claiming the U.S. is the world’s one indispensable, unique and exceptional nation.

The speech was a reminder of the reason rich people in America financed and sponsored Obama’s rise to the presidency in the first place, as the new, non-white face of U.S. imperial power. Obama’s foreign policy mission was to subvert United Nations prohibitions against the use of force except in self-defense, and to substitute a so-called “humanitarian” rationale justifying aggression by Washington and its allies. This constitutes a fundamental break with the UN Charter, signifying that the U.S. realizes it can no longer dominate the world by economic and other “soft power” and must, therefore, sweep away the accumulated structures of international law that inhibit America’s ability to smash its adversaries with raw military force.

Obama’s speech was one long threat against world order and the rule of law. He baldly stated that the U.S. is prepared to “use all elements of [its] power, including military force, to secure [its] core interests in the region” – a statement that is, on its face, a violation of the UN’s prohibition against the threat of the use of force against other nations. International law forbids the powerful from rattling their sabers over perceived challenges to their “interests” in other people’s countries. Obama, like the honey badger, doesn’t give a damn about international law.

He says that, “wherever possible” he will try to “respect the sovereignty of nations,” but will “take direct action” – meaning, military force – “when it is necessary to defend the United States against terrorist attacks.” That’s another way of saying the U.S. reserves the right to send drones anywhere in the world to kill whoever it wants, whenever it wants, for its own reasons that are nobody else’s business – which is the behavior of an outlaw, rogue state.

Among the “interests” that the U.S. sees as just cause for going to war, is the promotion of what Obama calls “democracy, human rights, and open markets” in the Middle East and North Africa. “These objectives,” says Obama, “are best achieved when we partner with the international community and with countries and people of the region.” Translation: The U.S. will continue to form “coalitions of the willing” to use military force for regime change or to preserve the status quo, circumventing the United Nations – a gross violation of international law.

Obama claims that “America is exceptional” precisely because it will go to war for so-called “humanitarian” reasons in order to prevent violence to civilians before it has occurred – that is, wars based on Washington’s readings of its own crystal balls, such as NATO’s war against Libya. This is actually the doctrine of pre-emptive war, which is a blatant violation of the UN Charter whether the rationale is “humanitarian” or some other excuse.

In a final obscenity, Obama concludes with a shameless reference to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “dream.” Forty-six years ago, Dr. King declared that the U.S. was the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” That is what is so exceptional about America: its relentless quest for military domination of the planet and utter disregard for the norms of law and civilization. Barack Obama is the planetary Warmonger-in-Chief. His breath smells of sulfur, just as George Bush’s did when he addressed the UN, seven years ago.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Obama at the UN

By Mazin Qumsiyeh | Popular Resistance | September 25, 2013

h.sharifi20130906082926890President Barak Obama said in the middle of his 40 minutes of lies and hypocrisy at the UNGA as world leaders looked on in dismay: “With respect to Syria, we believe that as a starting point, the international community must enforce the ban on chemical weapons.” (The US and Israel both possess and have used chemical weapons, see below) and added “Although we will at times be accused of hypocrisy and inconsistency [!], we will be engaged in the region for the long haul” [to serve Israel].

Incredibly he also said he believed in American “exceptionalism” [white man’s burden]. Hypocritically he also mentioned Martin Luther King Jr. But MLK opposed American imperialism and exceptionalism and who said in a speech in 1968: “God didn’t call America to do what she’s doing in the world now. God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war ….. We have committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world.” [we still do]

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

IPPNW to Prime Minister Abe: “Cancel Rokkasho”

The co-presidents have sent the following letter to the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, urging him to halt plans for nuclear fuel reprocessing, calling the program “unnecessary and hazardous” and “not consistent with Japan’s stated support for achieving a world freed from nuclear weapons.”

September 23, 2013

Your Excellency,

We write on behalf of physicians in 62 countries to express our concern at Japan’s intention to start commercial operation of the Rokkasho spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant next year, and to urge your government not to proceed with the operation of the Rokkasho plant.

The goal of our federation is to safeguard global health from the threat of nuclear annihilation, which the World Health Organization has identified as “the greatest immediate threat to human health and welfare”. In 1985 IPPNW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for performing “a considerable service to mankind by spreading authoritative information and by creating an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of atomic warfare.”

Nuclear weapons could not exist without fissile materials – highly enriched uranium and plutonium. If humanity is to enjoy a healthy and sustainable future, we must achieve a world freed from nuclear weapons, before they are ever again used. We are in a race against time to ensure this. Achieving a world free of the extreme humanitarian threat posed by nuclear weapons will require not only disarmament, but also minimising and wherever possible eliminating further production of fissile materials, and wherever possible eliminating existing stocks. Extreme levels of security are required for any remaining fissile material. This will be a massive task that cannot be undertaken too soon. The authoritative International Panel on Fissile Materials estimated global stockpiles in January 2013 to be 1390 tons of highly enriched uranium, with 31 countries possessing at least 1 kg; and 490 tons of separated plutonium. Each US nuclear weapon is known to contain on average just 4 kg of plutonium.

Japan already possesses 44 tons of plutonium – enough for more than 5000 nuclear bombs, even allowing a high quantity of 8 kg of plutonium per weapon. Japan is the only country without nuclear weapons to be separating plutonium from spent reactor fuel. Further accumulation of nuclear weapons-usable material is a concern for the international community, particularly for Japan’s North-east Asian neighbours. These concerns are accentuated by the lack of forseeable uses for this large and growing quantity of plutonium. Some Japanese politicians over the years have indeed drawn attention to the potential nuclear weapons arsenal that could be produced from such a plutonium stockpile within just a few months. Whatever the Japanese government’s current stated intention, which we have no reason to doubt, political intentions can change very quickly in comparison to the half-life of plutonium. Further, the mere existence of such a stockpile poses a risk of diversion and theft, and fuels fissile material production programs and the drivers for nuclear proliferation in other countries.

Japan’s policy of separating plutonium from spent reactor fuel represents a dangerous precedent for other states to push for similar programs. The inherent technical difficulties of adequately safeguarding nuclear reprocessing plants, and risk of diversion of separated plutonium adds to these risks.

This facility is especially concerning in the context of the North-east Asian region, where the proliferation of nuclear weapons is already a serious concern.

We understand that on 31 January 1997 the Japan Atomic Energy Commission promised that Japan would not hold surplus plutonium, and that this decision was endorsed by the national Cabinet on 4 February 1997. Further, on 5 August 2003, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission required electric power companies to publish plans for use of plutonium prior to separating plutonium from spent fuel. The commencement of commercial operation at the Rokkasho reprocessing plant would run counter to these decisions and thereby raise questions about Japan’s consistency and reliability.

As the people and government of Japan well know, any future use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. For this reason, IPPNW is working with other partners in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons for a global ban treaty to correct the anomaly that the worst of all indiscriminate weapons are the only ones not yet subject to explicit legal prohibition. As a State Party to the conventions on cluster munitions and anti-personnel landmines, we hope Japan would support efforts to ban nuclear weapons as well.

Given Japan’s already huge stockpile of nuclear weapons-usable material, the opening of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant appears both unnecessary and hazardous. Adding to an already large plutonium stockpile is not consistent with Japan’s stated support for achieving a world freed from nuclear weapons.

We encourage your government to reconsider its decision to start commercial operations at Rokkasho and to declare that such operations will not proceed. Such a decision would be widely welcomed around the world and would support rather than undermine global health.

Yours sincerely,

Tilman Ruff, Co-President

Ira Helfand, Co-President

Robert Mtonga, Co-President

Vladimir Garkavenko, Co-President

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UAE Brokers US Visa Deal for Syrian Minister

By Nasser Charara | Al-Akhbar | September 25, 2013

Al-Akhbar has learned that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem’s bid to obtain a US visa to attend the 68th session of the UN General Assembly was rejected by the US State Department.

In principle, according to the law governing the relationship between the UN and the US as the host country of the UN headquarters, US authorities have no right to deny a visa to any official from a UN member state, if the visa is requested for the purpose of participating in a UN event. Nevertheless, there were previous cases where the US refused to grant – or delayed – a visa to certain officials from countries at odds with Washington for long enough to prevent their timely arrival to participate in UN meetings.

According to reports, the US State Department exhausted the legal limit in this regard when it refused to issue a visa to Muallem. Muallem was scheduled to deliver Syria’s speech at the assembly on September 30.

Washington has now reportedly reversed course on the visa issue following mediation by the United Arab Emirates. According to the same reports, after days of deliberate delays by the US State Department, the US authorities have now issued a conditional visa to Muallem that allows him to enter New York exclusively, but not the rest of the US.

Damascus purportedly designed the itinerary of the Syrian delegation headed by Muallem in such a way as to avoid stopovers in certain European airports, as several countries in Europe have issued arrest warrants against Syrian regime figures, including the foreign minister. The UAE had a role in finding a solution to this problem, offering to allow the plane carrying the Syrian delegation to land in Dubai where the delegation would then fly nonstop to New York.

The UAE had a role in finding a solution to this problem, offering to allow the plane carrying the Syrian delegation to land in Dubai where the delegation would then fly nonstop to New York.

Muallem and his delegation are expected to arrive today, September 25, in Beirut on a private Syrian plane, and then fly onwards to Dubai where the delegation is set to take an Emirates flight to New York City.

Some informed sources consider the UAE’s assistance in getting Muallem to New York a positive step that could signal a breakthrough in some of the Gulf countries’ attitudes regarding the best approach to resolve the Syrian crisis. As part of this emerging climate, the sources reveal that there are unpublicized efforts – including by the UAE – to broker a meeting between Muallem and US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of UN meetings in New York.

It is worth mentioning that the UAE, especially the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, had maintained a hardline policy toward the Syrian regime. The UAE toed the Saudi line in seeking to arm the opposition and provide it with logistical support through Turkish and Jordanian territories.

During the past two years, three liaison offices run by Qatar, Saudi, and the UAE operated out of the Turkish border region with Syria, supporting the Syrian opposition. Yet at the same time, Abu Dhabi gave the Syrian regime indirect positive signals, most notably by hosting Bushra al-Assad, the sister of President Bashar al-Assad, after the assassination of her husband Asif Shawkat during Ramadan last year.

Bushra’s stay in the UAE is not seen as political asylum or as something that can be interpreted as hostility to the regime. Bushra’s residence in the UAE has to do with special circumstances relating to her fear for her children and her desire to give them a peaceful setting for them to complete their education after their father’s death. Bushra and her children travel frequently to Beirut, where they are purportedly under Syrian protection.

Interestingly as well, Emirates Airlines was the only Arab carrier that continued to fly to Damascus, despite the Arab boycott. This continued until the airport became unsafe, when the fighting in the Damascus countryside drew close to the airport’s surroundings.

In addition, there have been reports that Emirates Airlines was helping move Syrian funds out of Damascus to Dubai. The aim was to bypass international sanctions on Syria, which prevent the fulfillment of the foreign currency-denominated commitments of the Syrian government and deals between Syrian companies and traders and their foreign counterparts.

The Syrian funds would be placed in Emirati banks and then converted to settle foreign currency payments. This practice has stopped recently for security – and not political – reasons.

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ottawa’s friendship with Egyptian military not helpful

By Yves Engler · September 24, 2013

Once again Conservative ideology has trumped what’s right.

Prominent Toronto filmmaker/professor John Greyson and London, Ontario, physician/professor Tarek Loubani have been locked up in an Egyptian jail for nearly 40 days.

After a prosecutor recently extended their detention by 15 days, these two courageous individuals launched a hunger strike demanding their release or to at least be allowed two hours a day in the fenced-in prison yard.

Some 140,000 people, including filmmakers Ben Affleck, Danny Glover and Atom Egoyan, have called on Egypt’s military rulers to release the two men. Despite this outpouring of support, the Conservatives have done as little to win their release as a Canadian government could possibly do in the circumstances. While Canadian officials have summoned Egypt’s chargé d’affaires in Ottawa and called it “a case of two people being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” they’ve failed to demand their immediate release, criticize the arbitrary process or condemn the dictatorial regime responsible.

Under the emergency legal system currently in place in Egypt, Greyson and Loubani can be kept in jail for up to two years without charge or trial. But Ottawa has refused to even comment on these highly arbitrary rules.

Canadian officials have also ignored the rise of anti-Palestinian sentiment that partly explains Greyson and Loubani’s incarceration. Greyson and Loubani flew to Cairo en route to do humanitarian and political work in Gaza, which would displease Egypt’s military rulers who associate the Hamas government in Gaza with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since taking power on July 3 the military regime has deepened the brutal blockade of Gaza. Before the coup some 1,200 people a day crossed through the Rafah terminal in Egypt, Gaza’s main window to the world (Israel is blocking most other access points). Now about 250 make it through every day and the Egyptian authorities have shut the Rafah crossing entirely in recent days.

Ottawa has long supported efforts to punish Palestinians in Gaza. After Hamas won legislative elections in January 2006, Harper’s Conservatives made Canada the first country (after Israel) to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority and Ottawa has cheered on Israel’s blockade and repeated bombings of Gaza.

More significantly from Greyson and Loubani’s standpoint, the Conservatives support the Egyptian military’s overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi and its brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Foreign Minister John Baird initially called the military’s overthrow of Morsi a “coup” but he’s explicitly rejected calls for the elected President to be restored. On August 22 Baird said “We’re certainly not calling for them [Egypt’s elected government] to be restored to power.” This is in contrast to the U.S., France and UK, which have at least nominally called for Morsi’s restoration to power.

Ottawa has also justified the military’s brutal repression of largely peaceful demonstrations. “We think the interim government is dealing with some terrorist elements in the country,” Baird told reporters a month ago. “A lot of this is being led by senior officials in the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Baird is simply parroting the military regime, which has killed over 1,000 democracy protesters and incarcerated at least 3,000 more since overthrowing Morsi. They’ve also imposed martial law, a curfew and banned the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a bid to control the flow of information the military regime has shuttered a number of TV stations, including Al Jazeera, and stripped tens of thousands of imams — Muslim clerics — of their preaching licenses. The goal is to better control the political messages emanating from mosques.

Greyson and Loubani have had the misfortune of being caught up in this repressive climate. They are two, among many, victims of an out of control military regime desperately trying to reverse the democratic space opened up two and a half years ago with the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

While Greyson and Loubani’s incarceration is an irritant for the Conservatives, they are decidedly antagonistic to democracy struggles in Egypt. On January 25, 2011, Egyptians began 18 days of protest, including widespread labour actions, which would topple the 30-year presidency of Hosni Mubarak. The Conservatives stuck with Mubarak until literally the last possible minute. On February 10, 2011, Foreign Affairs called for “restraint from all parties to settle the crisis” and about three hours before Mubarak’s resignation was announced on February 11 Harper told a Newfoundland audience: “Our strong recommendations to those in power would be to lead change. To be part of it and to make a bright future happen for the people of Egypt.” The Prime Minister failed to call for Mubarak’s immediate departure.

Most of Canada’s traditional allies abandoned Mubarak before the Conservatives. The day after he stepped down Alec Castonguay explained in Le Devoir: “Canada was the only Western country to not call for an ‘immediate transition’ in Egypt. While Washington, London, Paris, Madrid and Rome openly called for an end to Mubarak’s rule and the transfer of power to a provisional government, Ottawa sided with Israel in refusing to condemn the old dictator.”

The Conservatives lackluster support for Loubani and Greyson reflects their support for Egypt’s military rulers, which is tied to an extreme pro-Israel outlook. If these two courageous individuals are further harmed blame the pro-Israel/anti-Egyptian democracy forces in this country.

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tone Deaf Dianne Feinstein Thinks Now Is A Good Time To Revive CISPA

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | September 25, 2013

We had believed, along with a number of others, that the Snowden leaks showing how the NSA was spying on pretty much everyone would likely kill CISPA dead. After all, the key component to CISPA was basically a method for encouraging companies to have total immunity from sharing information with the NSA. And while CISPA supporters pretended this was to help protect those companies and others from online attacks, the Snowden leaks have reinforced the idea (that many of us had been pointing out from the beginning) that it was really about making it easier for the NSA to rope in companies to help them spy on people.

Also, if you don’t remember, while CISPA had passed the House, the Senate had shown little appetite for it. Last year, the Senate had approved a very different cybersecurity bill, and had expressed very little interest in taking up that fight again this year. Except now, in an unexpected move, Senate Intelligence Committee boss, and chief NSA defender because of reasons that are top secret, has now announced that she’s been writing a Senate counterpart to CISPA and is prepared to “move it forward.”

Yes, it seems that even though the NSA gleefully hid the evidence of widespread abuses from Feinstein’s oversight committee, she’s playing the co-dependent role yet again. Yes, there’s a chance that this new version of the bill will actually take into account privacy and civil liberties, but I doubt many people would take a bet on that being likely.

Right now what the public is concerned about are not “cyberattacks” from foreigners — they’re concerned about our own government undermining the security and privacy of Americans themselves. Giving those responsible for that destruction of privacy and trust more power to abuse the privacy of Americans is not what people are looking for. Quite the opposite.

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Independent Experts” Reviewing NSA Spying Have Ties to Intelligence Community

By Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman | AllGov | September 25, 2013

President Barack Obama’s special panel of “independent” experts charged with reviewing the National Security Agency’s (NSA) domestic spying programs is actually lacking in independence.

For starters, the panel assembled to determine if the NSA has violated Americans’ civil liberties consists of five members—four of whom have previously worked for Democratic administrations.

One member is Michael Morell, who served in the Central Intelligence Agency under Obama as deputy director, and twice served as acting director.

The other three with Democratic ties are Peter Swire, former Office of Management and Budget privacy director under President Bill Clinton; Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism coordinator under Clinton and later for President George W. Bush; and Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former regulatory czar.

The fifth panel member is Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago, who was an informal adviser to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and is now helping develop Obama’s presidential library. Stone previously went on record as saying that the NSA’s collection of Americans’ phone records is constitutional.

“No one can look at this group and say it’s completely independent,” Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Institute and vice president at the New America Foundation, told the Associated Press after attending one of the panel’s meetings.

Michelle Richardson, an ACLU legislative counsel who attended one meeting for civil liberties groups, said her organization “would have liked a more diverse group” for the panel.

Another sign that the group lacks independence is in its name—“Director of National Intelligence Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.”

The AP’s Stephen Braun noted that “the panel’s official name suggests it’s run by” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

In fact, Obama’s announcement in August that the review group would be established by DNI James Clapper triggered a wave of criticism. Obama tried to quell the outcry by assuring the country that Clapper would neither run the panel nor select its members.

But there is more than the panel’s name that suggests DNI oversight. The panel’s so-called outside experts work inside offices provided by the DNI. And it is the DNI’s press office that coordinates all press statements and interview requests.

Another point of criticism stems from Clapper’s decision to exempt the panel from the U.S. Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires such committees to conduct open meetings and notify the public about their activities. Indeed, it has been reported that during recent weeks the panel’s meetings have been closed to the public even when no classified material was discussed.

There appears to be no formal directive stating that the panel should operate independently of the Obama administration. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite. An official White House memorandum actually provides the panel with instructions for areas to emphasize in its review: whether U.S. spying programs advance foreign policy, protect national security, and are safe from leaks.

In his August 9th press conference regarding the establishment of this panel, Obama promised that the “outside experts” will “consider how we can…make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used.” But nowhere in the White House memo is the panel instructed to investigate surveillance abuses.

The panel’s report is due by December 15. On that date it is not to be made public, nor is it to be delivered to the press. Rather, it will be submitted to the White House for review.

To Learn More:

Close Ties Between White House, NSA Spying Review (by Stephen Braun, Associated Press)

NSA Spying Review Panel Appointed by Obama Set to Whitewash Surveillance Abuses (by Kevin Gosztola, Dissenter)

Surveillance Privacy: Obama Orders Fox to Guard Chicken Coop (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Egyptian minister praises Obama’s remarks on Egypt, Hamas slams Egypt’s FM for threatening to attack Gaza

Egyptian minister praises Obama’s remarks on Egypt in the UNGA

MEMO – September 25, 2013

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy has described US President Barack Obama’s remarks to the UN General Assembly about Egypt as “positive” and reflective of “an objective treatment of the situation in Egypt.”

Fahmy was responding to Obama’s speech on Tuesday that was critical of both ousted President Morsi’s government for being non-inclusive, and the interim government established by the coup for violating the Egyptian people’s rights, including policies such as the curfew, the state of emergency and the restrictions on press freedoms.

About how the latter issues would be resolved, the minister said: “They will be overcome through the context of the implementation of the roadmap and efforts to build a modern and democratic state in Egypt.”

Obama-Israel-G1-620x362-600x350In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Obama repeatedly asserted his country’s respect for the will and choices of the people in the Middle East. However he also warned that the “United States will at times work with governments that do not meet, at least in our view, the highest international expectations, but who work with us on our core interests.”

Obama affirmed that the US is going to preserve good relations with Egypt, saying the US “will maintain a constructive relationship with the interim government that promotes core interests like the Camp David Accords,” as well as counterterrorism efforts.

But he added that US support will also “depend upon Egypt’s progress in pursuing a more democratic path.”


Hamas slams Egypt’s foreign minister for threatening to attack Gaza

Palestine Information Center – 25/09/2013

GAZA — The Hamas Movement strongly denounced Nabil Fahmi, the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs, for threatening to take military and security action against the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.

Its spokesman Fawzi Barhoum stated on Tuesday that Fahmi’s threats were reprehensible and very dangerous and would do a great disservice to Egypt’s reputation and historical stature.

Barhoum added that Fahmi’s remarks in this regard unveiled bad intents and hostile tendencies against the Palestinians in general and Gaza in particular.

He stressed that such position would remove Egypt from its national, Arab and Islamic role in supporting the Palestinian people and their cause.

The spokesman affirmed that Hamas and its people in Gaza have no intention or agenda to engage in any kind of conflict with Egypt.

“We will remain defenders of the Arab and Muslim nations’ pride and dignity, and our main struggle is only against the Israeli occupation, the greatest threat to Egypt and Palestine,” he underscored.

For its part, Al-Ahrar Movement in Gaza also deplored the Egyptian minister’s threat to use military and security options against Gaza.

“We were expecting an Egyptian position supporting the Aqsa Mosque and preventing its division, and not a threat by the foreign minister of Egypt to attack Gaza. We affirm that such remarks undermine Egypt’s ethics and role in protecting our people,” Al-Ahrar Movement stated on Tuesday.

It also said that this new Egyptian position only serves the Israeli occupation regime which has taken advantage of the military coupe and are trying to drive a wedge between Gaza and Egypt.

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Anti-piracy curriculum for elementary schools decried as ‘propaganda’

RT | September 24, 2013

Content-industry giants and internet service providers are teaming up to produce multi-grade elementary school curriculum which will denounce copyright infringement.

The likes of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), AT&T, Verizon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Comcast are behind the pilot project which will be tested in California elementary schools later this year.

The curriculum, called “Be a Creator,” is not quite complete, producers say, though Wired was able to obtain the various levels of content – from kindergarten to sixth grade – which aim to communicate that copying is theft.

“This thinly disguised corporate propaganda is inaccurate and inappropriate,” said Mitch Stoltz, an intellectual property attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who reviewed the material.

“It suggests, falsely, that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission,” Stoltz says. “The overriding message of this curriculum is that students’ time should be consumed not in creating but in worrying about their impact on corporate profits.”

The content was made by the California School Library Association and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition. The Center for Copyright Infringement commissioned the material. The center’s board is made up of executives from MPAA, RIAA, Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T.

Each grade’s package includes a short video and a teacher worksheet of talking points.

For example, the sixth grade version urges children to realize that copyright infringement can have worse consequences than cheating on a test, which usually results in a bad grade or suspension from school.

“In the digital world, it’s harder to see the effects of copying, even though the effects can be more serious,” the teacher worksheet says.

The material does not comment on fair use, which allows for the reuse of copyrighted works without permission. Rather, students are told that using without permission is “stealing.”

The Internet Keep Safe Coalition, a non-profit organization partnering with governments and major corporations like Facebook and Google, said that fair use is beyond the comprehension of sixth graders.

The curriculum “is developmentally consistent with what children can learn at specific ages,” the group’s president, Marsali Hancock, told Wired, adding that materials for older children will include the concept.

A video for second graders shows a child taking photos and debating whether to sell, keep, or share them.

“You’re not old enough yet to be selling your pictures online, but pretty soon you will be,” reads the teacher lesson plan. “And you’ll appreciate if the rest of us respect your work by not copying it and doing whatever we want with it.”

The groups involved in the curation of the material stressed that it was in draft form at this point, and that some wording will be changed before the pilot project begins in schools.

“We’ve got some editing to do,” said Glen Warren, vice president of the non-profit California School Library Association.

Warren alluded that the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), a content-industry group, has already had influence on the project.

Hancock said the material has not yet been approved by CCI. The group is best known for working with the government and rights holders to begin an internet monitoring program with large ISPs that punish violators with extrajudicial measures like temporary internet termination and weak connection speeds.

CCI’s executive director, Jill Lesser, has alluded to youth education programs in the past.

“Based on our research, we believe one of the most important audiences for our educational efforts is young people. As a result, we have developed a new copyright curriculum that is being piloted during this academic year in California,” she said last week in a testimony on Capitol Hill.

“The curriculum introduces concepts about creative content in innovative and age-appropriate ways. The curriculum is designed to help children understand that they can be both creators and consumers of artistic content, and that concepts of copyright protection are important in both cases,” Lesser testified.

She said that CCI’s board will likely sign off on the curriculum soon.

“We are just about to post those materials in the next week or two on our web site,” Lesser told Wired.

The first grade lesson plan puts content sharing on par with theft.

“We all love to create new things – art, music, movies, paper creations, structures, even buildings! It’s great to create – as long as we aren’t stealing other people’s work. We show respect for other artists and their work when we get permission before we use their work,” the material says. “This is an important part of copyright. Sharing can be exciting and helpful and nice. But taking something without asking is mean.”

The fifth grade lesson introduces the Creative Commons license, though it distorts the legality of copying copyrighted works.

“If a song or movie is copyrighted, you can’t copy it, download it, or use it in your own work without permission,” the fifth grade worksheet reads. “However, Creative Commons allows artists to tell users how and if their work can be used by others. For example, if a musician is okay with their music being downloaded for free – they will offer it on their website as a ‘Free download.’ An artist can also let you know how you can use their work by using a Creative Commons license.”

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Doctors Really Lose Money on Medicare Patients or Do They Lie to New York Times Reporters?

CEPR | September 24, 2013

That is undoubtedly the question that many NYT readers were asking when they read an article warning that insurance companies in the exchanges were not paying enough money to attract many doctors. At one point the piece told readers;

“Dr. Barbara L. McAneny, a cancer specialist in Albuquerque, said that insurers in the New Mexico exchange were generally paying doctors at Medicare levels, which she said were ‘often below our cost of doing business, and definitely below commercial rates.'”

The claim that Medicare payments are “below our cost of doing business” might seem rather dubious to readers since most doctors accept Medicare patients. The median earnings of physicians are well over $200,000 a year (net of malpractice insurance), which means they are heavily represented in the one percent. Given their extraordinary incomes, which they vigorously protect by excluding foreign and domestic competition, it seems implausible that many doctors are willing to lose money by treating Medicare patients.

It is more likely that doctors are getting less than their desired pay when they treat Medicare patients, but still pocketing far more money than the overwhelming majority workers for their time. It would have been useful to clarify this point for readers rather than letting Doctor McAneny’s assertion pass unchallenged.

September 25, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment