Join the Internet Vote on April 23!

A Message from Fight for the Future:

“Congress is trying to make sure the public doesn’t have a voice in negotiations around the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They’re trying to “Fast Track” the secret deal, threatening our Internet and our democracy. Fight back by joining the Internet Vote on April 23rd. Together we will use the power of the Web to demand transparency and give people everywhere a voice against censorship.

Twitter is one of our most powerful platforms for making sure decision makers know we’re paying attention. Join our campaign on Twitter and help keep the Internet free of censorship.
Join with Twitter

The TPP would be a nightmare for Internet users everywhere — here are a few articles about the worst parts.

  • Force sites to remove allegedly infringing content from the web without a court order — similar to SOPA.
  • Create harsh criminal penalties for journalists and whistleblowers.
  • Punish Internet users who share copyrighted material, even without any personal gain.
  • Limit Fair Use to make copyright even more restrictive on creative innovation.

There are a lot of other reasons groups oppose the TPP beyond its impact on the free and open Internet. You can find out more information about those reasons at StopFastTrack.com.

We need to be as big and visible as possible to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership — that’s the only way we can win this fight. We all need to get as many people in our audiences, readerships, and communities motivated to do something. We can make this powerfully epic, but only if you help. Companies need to be the frontrunners, leaders, and heroes on this because we’ve seen time and time again with SOPA, Reset The Net, and net neutrality that it’s the key ingredient to raising the bar and making sure everyone goes big.

Time is short — Congress is introducing a bill to Fast Track the TPP in the coming weeks, so we need to act now.

The TPP is the kind of bad legislation that only comes along once every 10 or 20 years. It has pieces of every bad Internet policy we’ve fought against, and if it passes now we’ll be kicking ourselves for decades, fighting uphill battle after uphill battle on copyright reform, whistleblower protections, and so much more. Doing the most we can right now is the only rational step to protecting the open Internet.”

To join the fight go to: www.fightforthefuture.org

New York Times and the Guardian Calling for Clemency for Snowden

Both the Guardian  and the New York Times published editorials this week calling for Obama to offer Snowden clemency! (See also the Huffington Post for a good synopsis). This is much-heralded news by the activist community for whom Snowden has become a cause celebre for civil liberties and right to privacy and for much of the public who recognize him as a whistleblower and consider him a hero and a patriot.

Snowden’s revelations have resulted in extensive outrage and worldwide demonstrations and have brought the issue of the surveillance state into the light of day so that it can finally be examined and debated by the public.  We at OCV are very grateful to him for this selfless act.  Our position is that Snowden not only did our nation and the world an incredible service, and that he not only should not be charged with a crime, he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, earning it far more than Barack Obama, and that his leaking of governmental and corporate malfeasance in the face of such personal risk reveals his principled character and high-minded motives. This stands in stark contrast to the utter lack of scruples evidenced by NSA officials such as James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, who told bold-faced lies to Congress, denying what we now know to be true:  that we have been subjected to widespread surveillance that has vacuumed up all manner of electronic data on all Americans and that heads of state, allies, and foreign governments have been spied upon as well.

Exposing intrusive, unconstitutional, and even criminal activity of renegade agencies and corporations SHOULD NOT BE A CRIME, nor should these entities be able to operate in secret, while citizens have no privacy.  This is a reversal of the way a democratic society should function, where the citizenry have a constitutional right to privacy while the government has a duty to be transparent and open. But surveillance is a given in a country whose democracy has been subverted as has ours by corporate interests like Booz Allen Hamilton  who receive government contracts for cybersecurity and whose personnel are cycled through the Washington revolving door and are essentially getting corporate welfare to spy on the very citizens who pay the taxes that pay their salaries.

Chris Hedges, who formerly reported for the New York Times as an investigative reporter, calls an ultra-secret government run by Wall Street and the corporate criminal class an inverse totalitarian state in his book, “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt,” as we are now living in a country where the corporate world is running the government, enabled by a Supreme Court which has ruled corporations are “persons” and money is “speech.”

From Wikipedia:

“In Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt  by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, inverted totalitarianism is described as a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics trumps politics. In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse and the citizenry are lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in their government by excess consumerism and sensationalism.”

Much has been made of the recent brouhaha tech giants Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others have made of the back-door penetration of their networks by the surveillance state (see Tech Industry Leaders Recent Meeting with Obama), but this is mere posturing, as their interest is in their bottom line, certainly not the privacy of consumers or users of the Internet and their products. Google has been building psychological profiles of its users for some time: http://www.alternet.org/google-using-gmail-build-psychological-profiles-hundreds-millions-people and there is Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State .

Chris Hedges was let go from the New York Times because of his unswerving devotion to reporting the truth and we sincerely hope that this editorial is a sign that the New York Times is becoming more willing to risk speaking truth to power and covering issues important to the 99%.  It is our fervent wish that Snowden’s revelations continue to cause a ripple effect throughout all levels of our society and that it results in government and corporate surveillance being heavily curtailed and monitored so that we can again live in a freer, democratic state wherein our civil liberties and right to privacy are respected as inviolable human rights.

Free Bradley Manning!

Bradley Manning has endured over 3 years of imprisonment and cruel treatment, including the trial which just ended, which has been a far cry from open, fair, just, or impartial. Bradley Manning is a global hero for his personal sacrifice, an idealistic young whistleblower who deserves not only to be released immediately but praised for his unselfish defense of our Constitution and rule of law.  That he should be treated as he has been is a sign of how far this country has traveled from its ideals of freedom, civil liberties, and democracy towards authoritarianism and fascism.

Though his many supporters are infinitely relieved that he was found not guilty of “aiding the enemy,” a charge that could have led to life imprisonment or even the death penalty, it is very likely that this spurious charge was leveled against him mainly for the terrorizing effect on him and other whistleblowers and would-be whistleblowers, and in order to try to justify finding him guilty of 5 counts of “espionage.”  These charges likely may be used as a foundation in this administration’s attempt to charge other whistleblowers such as WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, given the opportunity.

As it stands right now, the estimates of his “guilty” charges are between 17-20 out of 22 charges and he still could be jailed for up to 136 years–an outrage.  The sentencing phase is estimated to take another few weeks and reportedly the defense has more witnesses set to take the stand in this portion than does the prosecution–20 in all.  The verdict will be appealed.

We say, “Free Bradley Manning” and sentence him to time which he has already unjustly served!

See the following for more information:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23506213

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/07/30/wikileaks-bradley-manning-verdict.html

http://dncdn.dvlabs.com/ipod/dn2013-0731.mp4

http://youtu.be/pX6NyElC698

Whistleblowers: The Best and the Bravest Among Us

This is an homage to whistleblowers, a heartfelt paean of gratitude for your courage and your clarity, your putting ethics and the greater good over self-interest, generously risking your own well-being and safety because of your commitment to principle over profit and transparency over secrecy.  You are the reason we know the extent of corporate corruption of government and the abuse of power, the impetus behind the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement, the catalysts in the struggle for democracy and against authoritarianism. 

It is the Daniel Ellsbergs, the John Kiriakous, the Aaron Swartzes, the Bradley Mannings, the Julian Assanges, and the Edward Snowdens who shine light on the cover-ups and the schemes of the 1% who would subvert democracy and justice in service of their lust for power, greed, and self-enrichment at the expense of the 99%.  You are the best and bravest of us and the truth you disseminate shines brightest and most brilliantly through the strength of your character. 

We will forever be in your debt and honor your service to humanity when we repeat your names as mantras invoking a higher consciousness and a deeper good for all life on this living planet.  May the great goddess protect you from all harm and expand your influence to everyone everywhere and give them the courage and stamina to stand tall against oppression in all its forms!  Daniel, John, Edward, Bradley, Julian, Aaron thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!  You are beacons of light in a dark, benighted world!

http://consortiumnews.com/2013/07/08/snowden-honored-by-ex-intel-officials/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/daniel-ellsberg-nsa-leaker-snowden-made-the-right-call/2013/07/07/0b46d96c-e5b7-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/obama-retreats-on-snowden-even-the-worlds-most-powerful-media-and-intelligence-apparatus-cant-always-control-public-opinion

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/07/edward-snowden-public-opinion

Petitions re Snowden and the NSA:

Tell Congress: Investigate NSA abuses and protect our constitutional rights

http://wh.gov/liZnR

http://bit.ly/10KZOrR

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_prism_global/?taGunbb