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Feb 2012 29

by Nicole Powers


Above: Protester praying in front of St. Paul’s as Occupy London is being evicted.
Image courtesy of: @HeardinLondon

“The integrity, the maturity, and the far sightedness, and the fact that the occupiers are holding genuine, proper beliefs, has been vindicated in the court and that is an important step forward.”
– John Cooper QC

“Presently analysing events of tonight at #OccupyLSX. Who needs sleep!” It’s 3:26 AM GMT on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, and John Cooper, Occupy London’s chief legal advisor is awake, on Twitter, and on the case following the movement’s eviction from their marquee St Paul’s Cathedral base.

The eminent barrister and Queen’s Counsel has worked tirelessly to keep the protesters in situ since the occupation began on Saturday, October 15, 2011. The battle the occupiers faced was made all the more complicated by the provenance of the site they were camping on, which straddles land owned both by the Church of England and by the City of London Corporation (a unique and ancient semi-private municipal authority which governs London’s square mile financial district).

When the first tent was pitched, even the most optimistic of Occupiers couldn’t have predicted the encampment would remain in tact over four months later, so Occupy London’s ultimate eviction from St. Paul’s can hardly be considered a defeat. An early attempt to remove protesters was thwarted when the Cathedral’s then Canon Chancellor, Giles Fraser, recognized the occupiers’ right to protest peacefully and asked the police to leave. Fraser’s actions would ultimately lead to his resignation following some rather public infighting between Church officials with conflicting affiliations and agendas.

With the Church distracted by its own internal disharmony and facing a public relations nightmare if it litigated against members of the very congregation it was supposed to serve, the powers that be at St. Paul’s – at least publicly – stepped aside and let the City of London Corporation spearhead eviction efforts through the courts. Following a hearing before Christmas, the High Court ruled in favor of the City on January 18, 2012. The occupation was granted a stay of execution pending a possible appeal, however, on February 22, three Court of Appeal judges declined to give Occupy London protesters permission to do so, setting the stage for this week’s eviction.

SuicideGirls caught up with John Cooper by phone shortly before the final ruling came down. Having butted heads with the UK establishment throughout his career (notably frustrating the ruling class’s thirst for blood sport thanks to a fox hunting prohibition act he penned), Cooper says his raison d’être is representing individuals and groups of individuals against the power of the state. A series of cases brought against the Ministry of Defense on behalf of the families of soldiers who had died in the theater of war due to unconscionably inadequate equipment earned him the honor of being short-listed as Human Rights Barrister of the Year in 2009. More recently, Cooper again gained notoriety in the halls of power when he represented those seeking to open an inquiry into the mysterious death of David Kelly, a Ministry of Defense weapons inspector who had embarrassed his employers by pointing out inconsistencies in their report on Iraq’s WMDs (or lack thereof).

Here Cooper gives an account of Occupy London’s David vs. Goliath fight, and outlines the numerous victories they have chalked up in the face of defeat. He also pragmatically comments on the changes he’d like to see in the law to fortify the battered and beleaguered rights to assembly and free speech.

Read our exclusive interview with John Cooper QC on SuicideGirls.com.


This is just the beginning.”
Image courtesy of: @HeardinLondon

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Feb 2012 23

by Nicole Powers

“It’s a race to the bottom all around the world right now. Canada, Germany, the US, and the UK, as well as the rest of the EU, are basically locked in a race to see who can implement 1984 the fastest.”
– Cory Doctorow

“Omfgomfgomfgomfgomfg you have no idea how amazing you are!!!!!” was the exact turn of phrase used by my Twitter friend @EisMC2 when I told her I’d just interviewed Little Brother author Cory Doctorow and had returned with a signed copy of the book for her. Indeed it was @EisMC2 and her fiancé @JackalAnon who first turned me on to Doctorow’s epic updated spin on George Orwell’s Big Brother vision, which was first published in 2007. Uncannily prophetic, the novel serves as a veritable playbook for the Occupy movement, and with online pranksters turned hacktivists as its heroic protagonists, it is also an inspirational work for many Anons (hence the need for at least five omfgs). Combining an action packed and V-relevant plot with a solid historical perspective on activism, in retrospect, Little Brother may be considered one of the great civil liberties texts of our time.

The math, science, and sociopolitical commentary spun into the prose of Little Brother is pure genius, while the story makes for a gripping reading experience. As @EisMC2 puts it, Doctorow has a knack “for distributing the #Truth in a manner everyone can understand.” For example, during an expository paragraph regarding a key plot point, Doctorow also manages to simply and concisely explain how Bayesian mathematics (which puts the spam in your filter) is being deployed in an unscientific way to find “statistically abnormal” people to put under the security microscope – irrespective of whether they’re actually likely to have done anything wrong. Even if advanced probability theory isn’t your thing, by the time you’ve finished Little Brother, you’ll have a deep understanding of how this kind of statistical analysis – which government agencies routinely rely on to make policy and find targets in the war of terror – can be misinterpreted and manipulated with chilling effect.

Though set in an unspecified near future, much of the fictional dystopian world Doctorow depicted when he wrote Little Brother five years ago is now a reality (such as the indefinite detention of US citizens without trial or due process). It’s a tale of terrorism, society’s overreation to it, the psychology of fear, and the erosion of our constitutional rights. It also contains many elements occupiers will be all too familiar with: protests, out of control cops, pepper spray, tear gas, smoke bombs, police brutality, and a biased and lazy media “reporting” on it all.

At the start of the year, having spent some quality time at OccupyLSX, I met up with Doctorow at his North London workspace. Surrounded by cool gadgets, toys, and all manner of geek memorabilia (such as an original 1973 set of D&D boxed game instructions), I chatted at length with the author, digital rights champion, and Boing Boing co-editor about Little Brother, its forthcoming sequel Homeland, the realities of Big Brother, and how to stay under the radar when living in a surveillance state.

Read our exclusive interview with Cory Doctorow on SuicideGirls.com.

For more on Cory Doctorow visit craphound.com/. A free copy of Little Brother can be downloaded under a Creative Commons license here.

A staged version of Little Brother by The Custom Made Theatre Co. is currently playing through February 25 in San Francisco. Visit Custommade.org for full details.

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Jan 2012 26

by Nicole Powers


[Megaupload Tango Down: Govt 1 / Web 0]


[FBI Tango Down: Govt 1 / Web 1]


[CBS Tango Down: Govt 1 / Web 2]


[Anonymous Show They’re Masters Of The Online Universe: Govt 1 / Web 1001]


[#TheBestFeelingIsWhen #Megaupload Tops Twitter’s Trend Chart]


[Justin Bieber Tango Down: Win/Win]

This past week would have been pure lulz online, had the denizens of the web not been fighting over something so humorless. But then there’s nothing funny about spying on your citizens, denying them free speech, and criminalizing vast swathes of them for good measure, but that’s what our government, and the corporations that are under the impression that they control it, are trying to do.

Following last week’s historic Internet Blackout Day, which saw the likes of Wikipedia, Reddit, and BoingBoing go dark, it was apparent to everyone that SOPA and PIPA needed to be put on ice – everyone that is, except the Democrats, who have been suckling at Hollywood’s teet for way to long, and appear to have got their mouths stuck there.

But with SOPA’s markup hearing and PIPA’s Senate vote both indefinitely postponed, the Feds apparently decided they didn’t need the ugly censorship sister acts to go after online targets already in their sights. It was therefore no coincidence that the day after Blackout Day, the US Department of Justice moved against file sharing site Megaupload.

Their choice of target to make an example of might have seemed strange, especially when considering that Pirate Bay is perhaps a more recognizable name to those outside of the downloading massive. However, the decision to make an exhibition of Megaupload was likely motivated by more then a little machismo (or more accurately the public loss of it) on behalf of the entertainment industry who had long been lobbying for such action, and who had been taunted, publicly humiliated, and deemed impotent by the file sharing giant. (Megaupload had posted a promotional clip on YouTube which featured numerous major label artists including P Diddy, Kanye West, and Chris Brown, and a feud involving disputed DMCA takedown missives, lawsuits, and online mudslinging had ensued.)

What was perhaps most disturbing about the US government’s action against Megaupload, was that they made the site disappear like a renditioned prisoner – without any due process. And following the arrests of the site’s founder Kim Dotcom and three other key executives in New Zealand, and two further arrests in Europe, it became very apparent that when it comes to copyright infringement the long arm of America’s law extends far beyond our nation’s borders.

Retribution, courtesy of Anonymous and #OpMegaupload, was swift, and within hours numerous websites were “tango down.” Online shop windows successfully owned included those for government agencies (justice.gov, usdoj.gov, and fbi.gov), entertainment trade/lobbying organizations (riaa.org, mpaa.org, and bmi.com), and media corporations (universalmusic.com, wmg.com, and cbs.com).

As YourAnonNews noted, the non-consensual blackout day was “the largest attack ever by Anonymous” with “5,635 people confirmed using LOIC to bring down sites!” Gawker subsequently gave some insight as to how the mass coordinated DDoS attack was achieved by way of links that launched LOICs unbeknownst to those that clicked on them – the lack of intention in theory meaning accidental DDoS’ers should have the law on their side. (In CBS’s case, a little hackery also seemed to be involved, since their site, unlike the others, at one point appeared to have been totally wiped, though we’re not sure what exactly they did to achieve this special treatment. Answers via Twitter please.)

But despite shots fired against government and corporate vessels by pro-pirate and freedom friendly ships, the battle to contain and control the web continues as other file sharing sites curtail their activities in the hopes of avoiding Megaupload’s fate. PIPA and SOPA may be dead in the water, but two even worse pieces of legislation are on the horizon.

The misleadingly named Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act would use kiddie porn as a premise to monitor EVERYONE’S online activity (and what politician can appear to be pro-pedophilia by voting against it?), while the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) contains similar Big Brother surveillance provisions and contains SOPA-like language that requires that signatory nations* monitor and censor the internet within their domain. So while we internuts may have won out against the tyranny of PIPA and SOPA, the fight to retain freedom on the world wide web has only just begun.

Turn out, tune in, and log on, it’s going to be a lulzy ride.

**Update: Thursday, January 26, 2012**

Despite protests spearheaded by the Polish, ACTA was signed by 22 European Union member states today. They join 8 nations (Australia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States) who had already signed the treaty this past fall.

[Via YourAnonNews: In protest of ACTA, Polish Parliament members wear Anonymous Guy Fawkes masks in chambers on 26 January, 2012.]

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Jan 2012 19

by David Seaman

News Corporation chief executive and chairman Rupert Murdoch lashed out on Twitter against the changing tide of public opinion with regards to SOPA and PIPA. In this video post, SG Political Contributor David Seaman talks about why big media corporations such as Fox and Disney support these ugly sister acts, and gives us an overview of yesterday’s day of internet action against them.

He also gives us an update on NDAA – one of the most treasonous bills ever signed into law by Congress according to some – and points us in the direction of the grass roots groups who are seeking to recall every congressman that supported it. Also, David talks about last night’s NDAA segment on Coast to Coast, in which he participated.

***

David Seaman is an independent journalist. He has been a lively guest on CNN Headline News, FOX News, ABC News Digital, among others, and on his humble YouTube channel, DavidSeamanOnline. Some say he was recently censored by a certain large media corporation for posting a little too much truth… For more, find him on G+ and Twitter.

Related Posts:
NDAA And Occupy Congress: What If You Now Live In A Dictatorship, And No One Told You?

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