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Samantha Castro, co-founder of Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) about Bradley Manning, in what is considered by many, the most important trail on truth in our time.

Samantha Castro, co-founder of Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) about Bradley Manning, in what is considered by many, the most important trail on truth in our time. | Revolution News |
Revolution News's insight:

We are honoured to speak with Samantha Castro, co-founder of Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) about Bradley Manning, in what is considered by many, the most important trail on truth in our time. Sam Castro is a mother of 3 and co founder of WACA, the oldest support campaign for Julian Assange and Wikileaks in Australia. She holds a BA in Media and a Masters in Professional Communication. Her speciality is in Global Media and the War On Terror.

Bradley Manning returns to Ft. Meade for another pre-trial hearing beginning on the 8th, and continuing again January 16 and 17, 2013. "Government prosecutors will argue their motion to block both any reference to the lack of harm caused by the released documents, and any reference of Bradley Manning’s whistle-blower motives, from the merits portion of his trial. … Judge Lind will rule on the defence motion to dismiss all the charges based on the abusive and unlawful pretrial treatment Bradley Manning endured at the Quantico Marine brig prison” (,

We learned recently that during Bradley Manning's 11 month incarceration, he was held alone in a dark, tent-sheltered cage for 2 months in Kuwait. Bradley described his torment as a “shark attack environment” where guards would give him conflicting orders so that everything he did was wrong. Once delivered to Quantico, after being cleared by military psychologists for general population, Bradley was wrongfully kept on a extended suicide watch by Military Officials. They often kept him naked for long periods of time; forcing him to plead for every basic human need, like soap and toilet paper. Bradley endured months and months of this textbook CIA no touch torture technique.

As Julian Assange noted in his Sept. 2012 address to the UN, all of this inhumane treatment was an attempt to punish Bradley Manning before his trial in order to break him down to the point where he would give damning testimony against Assange and Wikileaks.

Is there any justification for such inhumane treatment of an American Soldier?

SC: The short answer in my opinion is no. But I guess the question is: is there any justification for such inhumane treatment of anyone, especially considering Manning is clearly a whistle-blower who has revealed war crimes, human rights abuses, corporate and government collusion and geopolitical manipulation. The same question could be asked of America’s treatment of Jeremy Hammond and of all of those men/teenagers who have passed through Guantanamo or remain there without charge. From an outside perspective it appears that the American military and Government are taking USA exceptionalism to a new level (such as with enhanced interrogation techniques which, lets face it, is a nicer word for torture, Drone assassinations of your own citizens and the NDAA) and with such behaviour the American people should be aware your Government is eroding your countries standing as a beacon of democracy in the eyes of many around the world.”

RN: Is there any hope that the military figures involved in violating the UCMJ Article 13, which prohibits pretrial punishment, will ever have their own day in court?

SC: Well, as an American I am sure you would have a clearer idea on this than me but from an outside perspective it would seem to me that this is unlikely - without a tremendous uproar by the American people and the global community - that anyone will be punished for the torture of Bradley Manning or in fact for the torture of any of the other men that have suffered at the hands of the American military system whether in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay (

It is also perhaps worth noting that being ordered to inflict torture on another human being has a severe impact on those doing the torturing, with all sorts of unintended consequences down the track for the community when those men ordered to commit such inhumane acts are discharged back to their local communities and their families.

A good example of this is someone like Brandon Neely a former guard at Guantanamo who has spoken out about the anguish and shame he has experienced over what he was ordered to participate in as a guard (

He has also been outspoken about the torture suffered by another Australian David Hicks – who was tortured for over five years at GITMO with the knowledge of American and Australian officials (

Therefore I think it is perhaps misguided to focus on punishing those following orders but the focus should be on the architects of a torture facility and such practices that go against human rights, international conventions and domestic laws.

It appears to us in Australia that America no longer plays by its own rules or by international rules and as such is committing itself to a pathway of continual deflection and denial over its abuse of human rights, civil liberties and your own constitution.

RN: Can you describe the involvement of the Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance in supporting Bradley Manning and how people can get involved in helping with your efforts?

SC: For WACA Bradley Manning and Julian Assange’s lives are inextricably linked because of the risks they have both taken to reveal to the world the truth of what Governments do and say in our name. The revelation of collateral murder also demonstrated to us clearly in Australia the way in which our close ally America is waging war, where 90% of the casualties are civilians. This by association makes Australia complicit in enabling war crimes and human rights abuses conveniently labelled as collateral damage.

Central to the mission of Wikileaks is to provide an anonymous secure platform for whistle-blowers. WACA believes that the protection of whistle-blowers is crucial to a healthy democracy. Therefore WACA has always seen the defence of Bradley Manning as equally important as the defence of Julian Assange and Wikileaks. I guess what has stunned us and perhaps many across the globe is the reaction by western democracies and the media to Wikileaks along with its dogged pursuit of Julian and the outrageous treatment of Bradley Manning, a soldier and an American citizen.

For WACA we have spent the last two years building networks of solidarity across the globe with Wikileaks, Assange and Manning supporters. Here in Australia we have demonstrated our support for Bradley by raising awareness repeatedly using direct action by occupying the USA Consulate in Melbourne. We feel Australia should be seriously reconsidering our relationship with any nation that uses torture on whistle-blowers or any other individual. WACA intends to continue to draw attention to Bradley Manning in 2013 and to apply pressure to both the USA and the Australian Government to respect human rights and civil liberties.

RN: There is a new project buzzing around, the: Influencing a Person of Influence Project. Can you tell us what that’s all about?

SC: Yes, I guess the reality is that in a global culture often our shared cultural signifiers come from popular culture or from those with public profile. This is a project that every individual can take on. The purpose is to inform people with influence either culturally or in the public sphere so they are armed with the truth and the facts. We hope in providing the facts that the mainstream media won’t that these people will also find that courage is contagious and speak out in defence of Julian Assange, Wikileaks and Bradley Manning.

For many years celebrities and cultural icons have used their position to highlight causes – well there is no greater narrative or cause on this planet right now than ensuring America does not get away with committing war crimes, silencing whistle-blowers and independent media and publishers.

What is happening to Julian Assange is a litmus test for our commitment to the ideals of democracy and free speech/free press. We hope everyone will choose a person of influence and reach out to them via social media or email and ask them to examine the facts and understand what is at stake for us all if people do not stand up now and speak out. A good example of this is the actor John Cusack who has been outspoken and recently helped form the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Many on twitter have been encouraging him for a long time to use his influence to help make a difference and he has fully embraced this call to action which is heart warming to see (

RN: Bradley Manning is alleged to have a role in exposing to Wikileaks the torture of Iraqis, murder of journalists, detailed records of more than 120,000 civilian killings in Iraq and Afghanistan and 251,000 diplomatic cables that helped to fuel the Arab Spring movement. Waiting for trail, Bradley is not alone in his whistle-blowers' prison.

Jeremy Hammond,28, is also currently being held in a federal prison in New York for allegedly accessing and revealing 5 million internal documents from the private intelligence firm, Stratfor, to Wikileaks. Jeremy has spent the last 9 months incarcerated without bail or trial.

Award winning journalist Julian Assange has been detained without charge for over 2 years and has been under political asylum inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than six months.

This action of detention without trial, of citizens turned activists in their morally just effort to help tell the rest of us the truth, could be described as a witch-hunt for anyone who goes against the “official narrative” of the United States. These unlawful detainments not only have a prolonged psychological effect on the prisoner, these people are like everyone else, they have families and loved ones who must also be traumatized from this experience.

Can you give us any insight into the families; or describe how you perceive the daily struggle of Christine Assange, Julian's mother?

SC: Yes I think it is easy to forget that anyone in the public eye also has family and loved ones that are impacted in emotional ways that are often impossible to fathom: and this is really not something I would care to speculate on. What I can tell you is Christine is a strong and intelligent woman and she is an inspiration to many supporters here in Australia. Her courage, intellect and humour are legendary amongst supporters and her insight into what is happening to Australia and western democracies is erudite. I think my interview with Christine may give people some insight (

RN: Now that Wikileaks, and Julian Assange, have been declared “Enemies of the State” by the United States and taking into consideration Mr. Assange's recent announcement that Wikileaks is prepared to expose over a million documents in 2013 that will affect every country in the world, as an American Journalist I have to ask, has honest investigative journalism, regarding anything within the realm of an unexposed Government or Corporate truth, been outlawed?

SC: Well as Orwell stated, In a time of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

The potential designation of Wikileaks staff and supporters as Enemies of the United States is extraordinary for so many reasons. However does that mean honest investigative journalism around exposing Government and Corporate behaviour has been outlawed?

I definitely think this designation is designed to scare off other independent media or future whistle-blowers but more disturbingly it is designed to scare off supporters, active citizens and fracture a global community that is committed to transparency, truth and justice. I think the capacity for honest journalism has in fact increased via new media but it is coming out of the citizenry not necessarily those employed by commercial media. This is why the American Government and the western media’s response to Wikileaks and Julian Assange are so revealing. There is an attempt under way to insert a hierarchical "cold war" mentality and control of information and discourse in cyberspace, which is of course impossible. In an attempt to contain discourse our democratic governments have revealed their authoritarian tendencies, and this is why brave, honest journalism and activists are required now more than ever.

I think this idea that commercial media and journalists were ever really honest or free to print what they wanted is perhaps a bit of nostalgia.

The truth is, news has always been a construction of reality, it is a virtual immersion of reality that is full of covert and overt ideologies and perspectives or framing. No text is innocent even those exposing criminal behaviour come with the embedded world view of the journalist or producer, editors etc… there is a whole process that brings you this constructed reality. People need to understand the way news is constructed and filtered for the masses. This is of course nothing new for academics or cultural theorist who have been talking about this for decades.

The most obvious example of this is the way the global media were embedded in the Iraq war, all sense of objectivity and independence removed, the media made themselves the stars in their own stories. For the first time ever a mother could watch her soldier son rolling across the desert into battle, I mean this is just crazy, this is not news this is staged managed reality TV. But thanks to the same technology people can go on-line and see protesters streaming the brutality of war or evictions at occupy encampments. It all depends on how it’s filtered. This is why defending free speech, free press and free Internet is so important, these are the big issues of our generation, along with creating sustainability.

RN: What are the implications of the actions and subsequent persecution of these three men on journalists and future whistle blowers?

SC: I hope that Julian Assange and Bradley Manning inspire a thousand more Wikileaks and whistle-blowers. They have changed the world already in so many ways yet to be studied or understood.

I also hope the attempted persecution of Julian and Bradley will be resisted by the people because what happens to them may determine our fate in regards to free press, free Internet and free speech. It seems at the moment that most of the mainstream media are either too scared to speak out or are unaware of how significant the fate of Assange and Manning are. In fact the corporate media with their cosy political and corporate relations are part of the problem. Perhaps it is time for journalists to all go non profit and to stand up and make a choice for themselves. I think we are at a cross roads in history in so many ways and how WE the people respond to this is significant because we are all potentially Manning or Assange.

The Goal is Justice, the Method is Transparency.
Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance
Get active now, visit WACA

Bradley Manning support network
Justice for Assange
Free Jeremy Hammond

Write to Bradley Manning
Commander, HHC USAG
Attn: PFC Bradley Manning
239 Sheridan Ave, Bldg 417
JBM-HH, VA 22211

Write to Jeremy Hammond
#18729-424, Metropolitan Correctional Center
150 Park Row, New York, New York, 10007

Jenny Baker
Revolution News

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Goldman Sachs fined $1.5 million for trading glitch - The Economic Times

Goldman Sachs fined $1.5 million for trading glitch - The Economic Times | Revolution News |
WASHINGTON: Goldman Sachs Group Inc was fined $1.5 million to settle charges it failed to supervise its traders and allowing one futures dealer to hide billions in dollars from sight and causing a $118 million loss.

Ex-Goldman trader Matthew Marshall Taylor in 2007 camouflaged an $8.3 billion position, manually entering fake trades, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

"Goldman failed to have policies or procedures reasonably designed to detect and prevent the manual entry of fabricated futures trades into its front office systems," the top U.S. derivatives regulator said.

"As a result, on seven trading days in November and December 2007, Taylor circumvented Goldman's risk management, compliance, and supervision systems," the CFTC said.

In a lawsuit in New York in November, the CFTC sought a $130,000 civil penalty against Taylor, who at the time was a vice president at the bank's Capital Structure Franchise Trading desk, and later went to work for Morgan Stanley.

Goldman Sachs took a $118 million loss in unwinding the position in e-mini S&P 500 futures contracts.

"Taylor's activity was flagged by our controls on December 14, with no impact to customer funds," Goldman Sachs said in an emailed statement. "Since these events, we have enhanced our controls. We're pleased to have settled this matter."

Taylor had established the position on Dec 13, 2007. Bart Chilton, a Democrat and one the CFTC's commissioners, thought the penalty was too low.

"I believe that the monetary penalty should be significantly higher in order to represent a sufficient punishment, as well as to denote a meaningful deterrent to future illegal activity," Chilton said in a statement.
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U.S. extends waivers on Iran oil sanctions to China, India

U.S. extends waivers on Iran oil sanctions to China, India | Revolution News |
Obama administration renews waivers for 9 countries in exchange for those nations cutting purchases of oils from Iran.

The United States granted 180-day waivers on Iran sanctions to China, India and seven other countries on Friday in exchange for those nations cutting purchases of oil from the Islamic Republic.

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has now renewed waivers for all 20 of Iran's major oil buyers, after granting them to Japan and 10 EU countries in September. Friday's action was the second renewal for all 20 after Obama signed the sanctions into law a year ago.

The sanctions aim to choke funding to Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is enriching uranium to levels that could be used in weapons. Tehran says the program is for civilian purposes.

"The United States and the international community remain committed to maintaining pressure on the Iranian regime until it fully addresses concerns about its nuclear program," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

Clinton also granted waivers, known as "exceptions," on Friday to South Korea, South Africa, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Iran's oil exports have fallen 50 percent this year in the face of U.S. and EU sanctions.

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Scooped by Revolution News! News Release: United States and Iraq Commit to Enduring Strategic Partnership and growing foreign military sales program News Release: United States and Iraq Commit to Enduring Strategic Partnership and growing foreign military sales program | Revolution News |

December 06, 2012

United States and Iraq Commit to Enduring Strategic Partnership

Under the auspices of the Strategic Framework Agreement, the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq reaffirmed their commitment to an enduring strategic partnership during the second meeting of the Defense and Security Joint Coordination Committee on December 5-6, 2012 in Baghdad.

The meetings held at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense were co-chaired by Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun Al-Dlimi, the U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller, and the Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller.

Defense and Security Cooperation is one of the cooperation areas that were agreed upon in the Strategic Framework Agreement signed in 2008 between the United States Government and the Government of the Republic of Iraq in order to strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest for the two countries.

The United States and Iraq discussed efforts to continue strengthening their security cooperation, enhance Iraq’s defense capabilities, modernize Iraq’s military forces, and facilitate both countries’ contributions to regional security. The two delegations explored U.S.-Iraq training opportunities and Iraq’s participation in regional exercises.

The United States and Iraq also discussed the strong and growing foreign military sales program, a symbol of the long-term security partnership envisioned by both countries. The United States stated its support for Iraq’s efforts to meet its defense and security needs.

Both delegations reviewed regional security issues. They exchanged views on the conflict in Syria and its effects on regional stability, with both sides urging an end to the violence and support for a political transition that would represent the will of the Syrian people. The two sides agreed to continue consulting closely on regional security matters.

The capstone event was the exchange of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Defense Minister Saadoun Al-Dlimi and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. This agreement represents the enduring strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq, and provides mechanisms for increased defense cooperation in areas including defense planning, counterterrorism cooperation, and combined exercises.

Finally, the United States and the Republic of Iraq committed to convene a third recurring Defense and Security Cooperation Joint Coordination Committee meeting in Washington, D.C., during 2013 to continue discussions on the enduring security and military cooperation between the two countries.

View the Memorandum of Understanding at:

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Nearly 93,000 Square Miles of Amazon Rainforest Destroyed in 10 Years

Nearly 93,000 Square Miles of Amazon Rainforest Destroyed in 10 Years | Revolution News |
Nearly 93,000 Square Miles of Amazon Rainforest Destroyed in 10 Years

Close to 93,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest—an area nearly as large as the United Kingdom—were destroyed by deforestation between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by environmental watchdog group Amazon Informational Network.

(Photo via Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest releases large quantities of CO2, which form part of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

Of the rainforest's 2.4 million square miles, 63 percent is in Brazil—where 80.4 percent of that deforestation occurred, said the Amazon Informational Network, composed of 11 environmental groups in 8 South American countries and French Guiana, all of which share the rainforest.

The bulk of the deforestation results from illegal logging, the construction of highways, mining, farming and ranching, the construction of hydroelectric dams and oil and gas drilling and exploration, the report states.

Beginning in 2008, the Brazilian government began using satellite imagery to track deforestation, which has destroyed about 20 percent of that country's rainforest, according to the Associated Press.

According to the report, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is slowing in nearly all areas, and Brazil's Environmental Minister Izabella Teixeira said last week that satellite imagery shows 27 percent less of the country's forests were destroyed between August 2011 and July 2012.

But deforestation of the millions of miles of rainforest remain a significant concern due to the part it plays in climate change. Brazil remains one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters, the BBC reports.

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Kuwait in crisis

Kuwait in crisis | Revolution News |
A political crisis brews after opposition groups promise to bring down controversial new parliament.

Kuwait's political divisions look to be growing ever wider.

The oil-rich nation has been shaken by a series of political crises that have stalled development and investment. And the Gulf country's monarchy is facing unprecedented protests as voices on the street draw inspiration from the Arab Spring.

Kuwait held its second parliamentary election this year, but opposition groups say they will not stand by the outcome - putting them back on a collision course with the ruling family.

Members of Kuwait's opposition boycotted Saturday's poll. They are angry at a decree by the emir, which they say changed voting laws to favour pro-government candidates.

It means that they now have no representatives in the 50-seat parliament.

Walid Tabtabai, an opposition politician, said: "According to our information more than 80 per cent of the Kuwaiti people have boycotted these elections. We have passed by the polling stations and found them empty. Kuwaitis are refusing such an assembly and will start working from today to topple it and will not accept it either socially or politically."

Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, is the country's head of state and the head of the ruling Sabah family. He appoints the country's prime minister, which is currently Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah, and the prime minister in turn appoints the 15 members of the cabinet.

Kuwait's parliament, the National Assembly, for which elections were held on Saturday, is comprised of 50 seats split equally between five districts.

Kuwait does not allow political parties, so people form loose alliances based on their politics, as well as religious and family ties.

So, can Kuwait resolve its political crisis?

Inside Story, with James Bays, discusses this with guests: Fahad Shulemi, a security analyst and former Kuwaiti army colonel; Joseph Kechichian, an independent Middle East analyst and columnist for Gulf News; and Salem al-Ghadouri, the deputy secretary of the Civil Democratic Movement of Kuwait and a political activist.


  • The Arab Spring created new momentum and calls for greater political freedom.
  • The first street demonstrations demanding reforms in Kuwait took place in March 2011.
  • By November, the numbers had swelled to more than 50,000 - forcing the emir to act.
  • He replaced the prime minister - albeit with another member of the ruling family.
  • The government then resigned, and weeks later parliament was dissolved.
  • Parliamentary elections in February resulted in an opposition landslide.
  • By June the Constitutional Court declared those polls illegal.
  • The previous parliament, which had generally backed the ruling family, was reinstated.
  • In October, the emir dissolved this reinstated parliament - and then made a controversial change to the voting law.
  • Which brings us to Saturday's elections and the boycott over that amendment.
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Fires in street of Athens Greece protests marching for Alexis Grigoropoulos are confronted by Riot police w/Flash bangs/ tear Gas

Fires in street of Athens Greece protests marching for Alexis Grigoropoulos are confronted by Riot police w/Flash bangs/ tear Gas | Revolution News |
Fires rage in the streets of Athens now as clashes with Riot Police and protesters continue, during a march for Alexis Grigoropoulos, the 15yr old boy who was shot and killed by police in central Athens the night of Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008.
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March for Alexis Grigoropoulos, Athens Greece

March for Alexis Grigoropoulos, Athens Greece | Revolution News |
Overhead view of the March for Alexis Grigoropoulos, the 15yr old boy who was shot and killed by police in central Athens the night of Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008, as it approaches Syntagma Sq.

Watch LIVE==>
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Bay Area activists' Twitter accounts subpoenaed - Infoshop News

Bay Area activists' Twitter accounts subpoenaed - Infoshop News | Revolution News |
Bay Area activists' Twitter accounts subpoenaed

Two of the nineteen demonstrators arrested in SF at the Columbus Day protest received word last week that their Twitter accounts have been subpoenaed by the San Francisco Police Department for the State of California. The two are a part of the Anti-colonial Anti-capitalist 19 (ACAC 19), a group of protesters initially charged with felony conspiracy and felony inciting a riot on October 6, 2012, at a march in downtown San Francisco.

"This invasion of privacy is part of a current wave of political repression on the West Coast," stated Marion Delgado, a member of the ACAC 19's support committee. "The federal Grand Jury investigations in the Pacific Northwest and this attempt to stop us from using social media are connected. We've been attacking capitalism; they're attacking back." In April of this year, a prior attempt to gain Twitter records from an Occupy Wall Street participant, Malcolm Harris, saw Twitter fight the subpoena in court for several months. Harris was accused of using the social media tool as he was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011 with 700 other OWS community members.

"This is not the first time the online information network has been used as a resource for state repression of political activity. This is a part of an ongoing effort to chill political movements in the Bay Area and beyond," Delgado continued.

The ACAC 19 were arrested during a march which occurred as part of a West Coast Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist Convergence. Organizers of the convergence stated that they wished to draw attention to resource extraction, the poisoning of the Earth, the genocide of Indigenous peoples through the Columbian Exchange, and the proliferation of present-day colonial projects, such as the Israeli occupation of Gaza. Members of the ACAC 19 have documented injuries including a broken nose, deep facial cuts requiring stitches, and multiple hematomas which the ACAC 19 state are the result of being beaten by the SFPD during their arrests. Despite being charged with multiple felony counts and being held on a total of over $735,000 in bail, the DA has since filed only misdemeanor charges against the defendants. Shortly after the arrests on October 6, SFPD released the mug shots and the home addresses of the ACAC 19 to media outlets, along with allegations not substantiated by the provided evidence or charges. As a result, some members of the ACAC 19 found threatening leaflets in their neighborhood with their home addresses and photos printed on them.

At least one member of the ACAC 19 has also experienced police harassment at their workplace in the past month. Members of the ACAC 19 have filed motion to quash these Twitter subpeonas in a San Francisco misdemeanor court this Friday. Their trial is expected to begin early next year. They deny all charges and have maintained their previous political efforts.

The ACAC 19 Support Committee is a group of Bay Area radicals who are organizing together to support nineteen anti-colonial, anti-capitalist comrades (the ACAC 19) who were beaten, arrested and subjected to a media smear campaign by the San Francisco Police Department on and after October 6, 2012.

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Internet Users Shouldn't Have to Pay the Price of This International Treaty | Wired Opinion |

Internet Users Shouldn't Have to Pay the Price of This International Treaty | Wired Opinion | | Revolution News |
Requiring content providers to establish bilateral relationships with all of the network operators that comprise the global Internet simply cannot be made to scale … because every Internet user is a potential content provider.

An 11-year-old girl is enrolled in an online college-level physics course offered by an education company in Silicon Valley; she lives in Lahore, Pakistan. In nearby India, the government has announced a plan to distribute subsidized tablet computers – the Aakash 2 tablet – to equip potentially millions of students and teachers throughout the country.

Halfway across the world in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University and MIT have invested over $60 million in online education platform edX, with the goal of educating 1 billion people. Other universities are following suit via platforms like Udacity, in a trend that promises to revolutionize education.

What do these three seemingly separate instances have to do with a United Nations treaty conference on telecommunications?

Possibly everything.

Starting today, more than 190 governments will come together in Dubai under the umbrella of the U.N. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in an event called the World Conference on International Telecommunications or WCIT (“wicket”). There, governments will rewrite a 25-year-old treaty, the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which sets the regulatory framework for the exchange of telecommunications traffic between nations.

Contrary to some headlines: The UN is not trying to “take over the Internet.”

But this treaty could fundamentally alter the way traffic flows across the Internet, and may even create new barriers to access. This is because some of the signatory nations have suggested the treaty not be limited to telecommunications traffic but should be expanded to include regulations for Internet traffic.

In this case, the WCIT presents an opportunity for governments to reintroduce old regulations and maybe apply a more centralized nation-based order to the Internet.


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Patriot Act can "obtain" data in EU, research says

Patriot Act can "obtain" data in EU, research says | Revolution News |
Dutch researchers believe EU data stored on the Web can be obtained by U.S.

LONDON European data stored in the "cloud" could be acquired and inspected by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, despite Europe's strong data protection laws, university researchers have suggested.

The research paper, titled "Cloud Computing in Higher Education and Research Institutions and the USA Patriot Act," written by legal experts at the University of Amsterdam's Institute for Information Law, support previous reports that the anti-terror Patriot Act could be theoretically used by U.S. law enforcement to bypass strict European privacy laws to acquire citizen data within the European Union.

The Patriot Act, signed into law in 2001, granted some new powers to U.S. authorities, but it was mainly a "framework law" that amended and strengthened a variety of older laws, such as the Foreign Intelligence Services Act (FISA) and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

"Most cloud providers, and certainly the market leaders, fall within the U.S. jurisdiction either because they are U.S. companies or conduct systematic business in the U.S.," Axel Arnbak, one of the authors of the research paper, told CBS News.

"In particular, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments (FISA) Act makes it easy for U.S. authorities to circumvent local government institutions and mandate direct and easy access to cloud data belonging to non-Americans living outside the U.S., with little or no transparency obligations for such practices -- not even the number of actual requests."

This holds true for requests targeted at non-U.S. individuals and for entire business records, he added.

Dutch vice-chair of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee Sophie in 't Veld welcomed the research, adding that it "provided further evidence" to support the theory.

She told CBS News, however, that the European Commission's proposals for new data protection rules will not solve the potential conflicts posed by third country law and the lengthy period of time in which EU laws become ratified, "would not be a reason to let the situation be for several years to come."

Information security, privacy and data protection lawyer Bryan Cunningham, who worked under both democratic and republican administrations, most recently as deputy legal advisor to former U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice under President George W. Bush, told CBS News that this "important report" should "help correct a widespread post-9/11 misconception," that the Patriot Act and related legislation, "provided vast new powers for the U.S. government to gain access to sensitive communications and data of non-U.S. persons."

The research resurfaces questions about the security and sovereignty of citizen and government data in an ever-connected global and borderless online world. It also supports a ZDNET report that European data protection rules do not protect EU citizens' data against extra-territorial third country law, such as that of the United States.

Months after the research was published, Microsoft U.K. managing director Gordon Frazer was the first to publicly admit that the software giant could not guarantee that European citizen data stored in EU-based data centers would not leave the European Union under any circumstances, including under a Patriot Act request.

"Neither can any other company," Frazer noted.

Frazer's disclosure triggered outrage among politicians in the European Parliament. Subsequently a number of European member state governments began to question their own cloud service provisions, and in some cases banned U.S. providers from offering IT and computing services in their countries.

U.K.-based defense giant BAE Systems in the past year reneged on plans to adopt Microsoft's cloud-based services, citing fears that critical national defense secrets could land in U.S. hands.

The Dutch government is also investigating a potential conflict with third country law in regards to personal citizen passport data. Dutch social-liberal party D66 raised questions in the country's parliament after suspicions arose that U.S. authorities could potentially access Dutch fingerprint and facial scans for passports because the North Holland-based company Morpho is owned by parent company Safran, which conducts systematic business in the U.S."

U.S. jurisdiction "extends to companies"

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Wall Street Bank Citigroup Cuts 11,000 Jobs After Paying Ousted Executives $14 Million

Wall Street Bank Citigroup Cuts 11,000 Jobs After Paying Ousted Executives $14 Million | Revolution News |
Citigroup announced on Wednesday that it will cut 11,000 jobs, or 4 percent of its workforce, in an effort to trim expenses.

The moves comes one month after Citigroup paid out nearly $14 million to two former executives, CEO Vikram Pandit and Chief Operating Officer John Havens, who were ousted for poor management. The Citigroup board forced Pandit out, “after a series of missteps this year left some directors feeling that the company wasn’t being managed effectively and that the board wasn’t kept adequately informed.”

Under Pandit and Havens, Citigroup lost 88 percent of its stock value. Still, the executives walked away with generous pay packages:

Vikram Pandit, Citigroup Inc. (C)’s ousted chief executive officer, will get about $6.7 million in 2012 compensation and will forfeit some awards tied to a $40 million retention package granted last year.

John Havens, who resigned last month as Citigroup’s chief operating officer on the same day as Pandit, will get about $6.8 million for 2012 and also forfeit some awards, the New York- based lender said yesterday in a regulatory filing. Citigroup is the third-largest U.S. bank by assets.

“Based on the progress this year through the date of separation, the board determined that an incentive award for their work in 2012 was appropriate and equitable,” Chairman Michael E. O’Neill said in the filing.

It is something of a trend for corporations to pay top executives high salaries, while employees feel the consequences of a struggling company. After failed Twinkie-maker Hostess declared bankruptcy, it cut workers’ pay 8 percent, but left the CEO’s $1.5 million salary untouched.

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US to support French in Mali with aerial refueling | US National Headlines | Comcast

US to support French in Mali with aerial refueling | US National Headlines | Comcast | Revolution News |
The United States has decided to provide additional support to the French military in its war against Islamic militants in Mali by conducting aerial refueling missions.
Revolution News's insight:

WASHINGTON — The United States has decided to provide additional support to the French military in its war against Islamic militants in Mali by conducting aerial refueling missions.

The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has told the French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, that U.S. Africa Command will provide the aerial refueling support. A Pentagon spokesman says the two defense officials discussed the refueling missions and other topics during a phone conversation Saturday.

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Dominican Republic: Organizing activists of the La Multitud movement, targeted, monitored and threatened by the DNI.

Dominican Republic: Organizing activists of the La Multitud movement, targeted, monitored and threatened by the DNI. | Revolution News |
Revolution News's insight:

After a series of large protests in the Dominican Republic early in December against election fraud and the corrupt actions of the Dominican government. Not only has Olaya Dotel, a well known professor who helped rally youth to speak out, been openly told in the state media that the DNI was monitoring her phone and computer communications.

After going through a series of contacts and identifying myself via video. Revolution News was given an interview yesterday with several organizers who wish to remain anonymous. It was revealed that La Multitud Organizers are also under DNI survailance.

Organizers had planned a private meeting on the 21st of Dec. This was not a public event so communications were limited between the members to phone and personal emails.
They didn't know at the time that their private email communications were being unlawfully intercepted by the DNI. When they arrived for the private reunion they were not alone, but joined by the authorities who said they were there as journalist who wanted to take photographs and gather more information and tried to identify the members in attendance. At the time it was obvious to organizers that these were police who had no other way of knowing about the reunion other then the illegal interception of their email and phone conversations.

In a more brazen attempt by authorities to intimidate the movement and its organizers into a silent submission. Recently authorities paid a visit to Six homes of the members they had identified and been monitoring, to threaten them and the members of their families. The families of the organizers were told they had files on the individuals involved with the protest and warned all of them of terrible things that could happen if they were ever to return to the streets again to protest against the Government.
La MULTITUD is a socialcultural project which pretends to subvert imagination, transform mentality, and increase the levels of consciousness of Dominican people in order to promote hope, social commitment, patriotic and human values, confidence in themselves and particularly the interest in change.

La MULTITUD is a machinery that promotes new ideas, new attitudes, new visions, and new ways of social, cultural and political work in the Dominican Republic in the interest of the change we believe is possible and necessary.

La MULTITUD has sets as its objective to promote profound transformation of social structures through a Socialcultural Revolution with great popular content.

La Multitud =>

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U.N. envoy seeking deal to oust Assad

U.N. envoy seeking deal to oust Assad | Revolution News |

DUBLIN, Ireland -- With the support of the United States, the U.N. special envoy on Syria is mounting a diplomatic push for a brokered agreement that would lead to the ouster of the country's president, Bashar Assad, and the installation of a transitional government.

The envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, convened an unusual three-way meeting Thursday night at a Dublin hotel with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.

After the 40-minute meeting, Brahimi said his goal was to "put together a peace process" that would build on discussions that the United States and Russia had in June but which quickly collapsed.

Brahimi and senior U.S. and Russian officials plan to meet again in several days to see if they can agree on specifics of a negotiating approach that might end the 20-month conflict, which has killed more than 40,000 Syrians.

With Assad's fortunes looking bleaker and persistent worries that the Syrian leader is considering using his chemical arsenal, the hope on the U.S. side was that the Russians might throw their weight behind Brahimi's effort.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said intelligence reports raise fears that an increasingly desperate Syrian President Bashar Assad is considering using his chemical weapons arsenal -- which the U.S. and Russia agree is unacceptable.

"I think there is no question that we remain very concerned, very concerned,"

Panetta said, "that, as the opposition advances, in particular in Damascus, that regime might very well consider the use of chemical weapons.""Events on the ground in Syria are accelerating, and we see that in many different ways," Clinton said before the meeting, alluding to reports on chemical weapons developments. "The pressure against the regime in and around Damascus appears to be increasing."

The United States is in a race to prevent the military developments in Syria from outpacing the nascent arrangements for a political transition. But daunting questions remain, including the possibility that the Russian position has not fundamentally shifted and the absence of any indication that Assad government loyalists and the Syrian opposition are interested in negotiating a transitional arrangement with each other.

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The Stream - Is Malaysia risking it all for rare earths?

Why environmental activists in Malaysia are fighting against the world's largest rare earths refinery.

Rare earth metals - they’re found in every smartphone, laptop and tablet computer. And now the world’s largest refinery of rare earths has just begun operating this month in Malaysia. The Australian mining corporation Lynas says it is offering the southeast Asian country a stake in one of the fastest growing industries in the world, but Malaysian activists say radioactive waste from the plant will destroy their environment and way of life.

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Hackers said to hit UN telecoms talks in Dubai

Hackers said to hit UN telecoms talks in Dubai | Revolution News |

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Organizers of a U.N. conference on global telecommunications said Thursday that hackers apparently blocked their website and disrupted the talks, a gathering some critics fear could lead to greater controls over the Internet.

The U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union said the website was hit late Wednesday, blocking access to its main page and interfering with a closed-door working group. It says it is still investigating but initial signs point to hackers.

The statement says Internet traffic was diverted to a backup website for two hours before normal operations resumed. Officials at the conference, which brings together nearly 2,000 delegates from 193 nations, say the incident underscores the need for better cyber-security coordination.

The 11-day gathering in Dubai is also being closely watched for the possibility that new international pacts on Internet commerce and security emerge from it.

The U.S. is leading efforts to block new Internet regulations, fearing they could open the door to greater monitoring and restrictions.

The head of the U.S. delegation, Ambassador Terry Kramer, told reporters that he supports efforts to expand Internet services to developing countries, but will stand against any possible rules that could allow more government oversight or surveillance of the Net.

The U.N. group is seeking to update its treaty on global telecommunications for the first time since 1988, well before the Internet age. The conference also is expected to look at mobile phone roaming charges and agreements over land-line services.

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It's 10 pm and people start protesting in Kuwait for the 6th day-

Alia M Al-Faris 1m
It's 10 pm and people start protesting in Kuwait for the 6th day-
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Video from clashes taking place in Exarhia #Greece #rbnews #6dgr


Video from clashes taking place in Exarhia #Greece #rbnews #6dgr

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Israel rejects UN call for nuclear transparency — RT

Israel rejects UN call for nuclear transparency — RT | Revolution News |

Israel has rebuffed a UN call to adhere to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and open itself to international inspectors, calling the suggestion a "meaningless mechanical vote" of a body that “lost all its credibility regarding Israel.”

­In a 174-6 vote, the United Nations General Assembly demanded in a non-binding call that Tel Aviv join the NPT “without further delay," in an effort to create a legally binding nuclear-free Middle East.

Washington, Israel's strongest ally, surprised no one by voting against the resolution – but did approve two paragraphs that were voted on separately, which called for universal adherence to the NPT and for all non-signatory governments to join.

The UN body "has lost all its credibility regarding Israel with these types of routine votes that are ensured passage by an automatic majority and which single out Israel," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor was quoted by Jerusalem Post as saying.

The Assembly's call on Israel comes days after a large majority of its members voted to grant Palestine statehood state status and just weeks after the an escalation of violence between Gazans and Israel's occupation forces. Palmor stressed, however, that since the NPT vote takes place annually, the Palestinian victory is not connected.

Israel is not a signatory to the 1970 Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, the main objective of which is to is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. Despite near-universal acknowledgement that Tel Aviv maintains a powerful nuclear arsenal, Israeli officials promote a position claiming their government will “not be the first country to introduce weapons into the Middle East.”

The Middle East's only democracy possesses as many as 400 nuclear warheads, along with various ways to deliver them. It is also one of four countries known to have nuclear weapons that are not recognized as Nuclear Weapons States by the NPT. The others are India, North Korea and Pakistan.

Israel follows a policy known as "nuclear opacity," which it sees as a deterrent against its neighbors.

The timing of the Israeli dismissal of the call for transparency comes less than two weeks after Washington's withdrawal from December's nuclear-free Middle East conference, to be held in Finland and sponsored by Russia, the UK and the US.

State Department officials said the international effort is being postponed because of “a deep conceptual gap [that] persists in the region on approaches towards regional security and arms control arrangements,” and because “states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions” for the meeting, quotes the IPS.

But many blamed Israel's refusal to accept the terms as the real reason for postponing the regional nuclear drive.

“The truth is that the Israeli regime is the only party which rejected to conditions for a conference,” Iranian diplomat Khodadad Seifi told the General Assembly on Monday, as he called for “strong pressure on that regime to participate in the conference without any preconditions.”

The meeting is now expected to be held early next year.

There are currently five nuclear-weapon-free zones in the world, according to the UN:  Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, South-East Asia, Central Asia, and Africa.

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Global Revolution ‏@GlobalRevLive #Slovenia #Maribor #Gotoviso Protests live / #Egypt #Tahrir also live #Unity #Solidarity

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Syria foreign ministry spokesman's whereabouts in question

Syria foreign ministry spokesman's whereabouts in question | Revolution News |
Syria foreign ministry spokesman's whereabouts in question

Wednesday 5 December 2012

The Guardian reported that Jihad al-Makdissi had fled Assad regime for the US, but State Department says he has not arrived

Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of Jihad al-Makdissi, the former Syrian foreign ministry spokesman and one of the most widely known faces of the Assad regime.

Based on a tip from usually reliable diplomatic sources, the Guardian reported yesterday that he had defected and was on the way to the US.

However, the State Department says he has not turned up there. A State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, told al-Hayat newspaper: "We believe Jihad Makdissi is in London, we cannot confirm. Not aware of him reaching out to US embassy," according to a tweet by the paper's Washington correspondent.

The comment has raised British eyebrows, as UK officials were insistent throughout the day that Makdissi had not arrived in London. I understand there have been some transatlantic emails and phone calls aimed at getting the US and the UK on the same page.

Meanwhile, Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Makdad told Sky News that Makdissi had not defected at all and was on a "three-month sabbatical". It is not clear where the former spokesman is supposed to be spending the sabbatical, nor how the government claim squared with reports from Damascus yesterday that Makdissi's house had been burned down by the pro-government Shabiha militia.

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Letter of Support for #YoSoy132 from Ohio Student Association

Letter of Support for #YoSoy132 from Ohio Student Association | Revolution News |
5 de diciembre de 2012

On December 1st, non-violent protesters met severe violent repression from police as they marched in Mexico City against the new undemocratically elected president Enrique Peña Nieto. The demonstration was organized by the Mexican student movement YoSoy132, a non-violent pro democracy movement.


Police planted undercovers to initiate violence as means to legitimate the brutal repression of the demonstrators, inspire fear in the general population, and terrorize those organizing against the government.


The arbitrary arrests and the use of rubber bullets, tear gas, and other explosive weapons have left many demonstrators seriously injured. Over 100 protesters were arrested while the initial perpetrators of violence remain free.  There are 69 protesters in jail still, facing charges of “attack to the public peace,” a form of terrorism with up to a 30 year sentence.


The intimidation has continued in the days following the protest, undercover police have been identified at YoSoy132 meetings, and have reacted violently when outed.


We denounce the concerted strategy of the government to destroy the nonviolent YoSoy132 movement. We stand with the people of Mexico calling for the release of all political prisoners. We do not believe the lies told by the Mexican media about what happened on December 1st. We support free speech and the right to protest, we support the YoSoy132 movement and all organized citizens fighting for a free and democratic Mexico.


To our brothers and sisters in resistance, we thank you for your courage. You are not alone, we send you our support and solidarity. We are watching closely, as we are part of the same struggle for a free and just world.


¡Hasta la victoria, siempre!


Ohio Student Association

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"Get It Done": After Stirring Durban Speech, Student Anjali Appadurai Initially Banned by U.N. in Doha

"Get It Done": After Stirring Durban Speech, Student Anjali Appadurai Initially Banned by U.N. in Doha | Revolution News |
A year after calling on world leaders to do more to save the planet at the COP17 in Durban, 22-year-old college student Anjali Appadurai is in Doha to continue her advocacy for climate justice. After initially being denied entry to the Doha climate summit’s first week, Appadurai is attending the conference to represent again the voices of youth activists worldwide as part of the group Earth in Brackets..
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