Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and the power of leaks

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Wikileaks is back in the headlines with the release of a secret document containing the negotiated text within the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership. You can read the released text here, but unless you are willing to sift through endless amounts of legal jargon, you might not be able to understand how this is effects you and why it’s so controversial.

For the convenience of those reading this, various articles from various publications will be linked below to help in understanding, but it’s important to realize how much these leaks are creating political opposition toward the TPP both within Washington and the public.

For instance, this article shows how unlikely allies are opposing this partnership from both sides of the aisle. Whenever you can get bipartisan support in congress against something that is unquestionably bad for not only the American people but for the world community, you know you’ve done something right. If anything, this particular leak goes very far in confirming Wikileaks original goals and intentions: to affect political change through leaks.

On top of that, there is a growing movement around the world opposing the TPP and protests are being planned within the United States including this one organized by Occupy Naperville [Edit: This already happened. My mind is still in October apparently. I will post additional links to future protests soon].

It is clear to any objective person that the previous leaks and the newest one from Wikileaks only confirm what many activists and journalist such as Julian Assange have been saying for years: leaks have the power to change the world.

Information on the TPP:

International Business Times

RT

Stoptpp

Statement from Edward Snowden at Moscow

As per http://wikileaks.org/Statement-from-Edward-Snowden-in.html?snow

Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Monday 1st July 2013

Support Barrett Brown

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Barrett Brown is an investigative reporter and ex-operative of Anonymous, the world-wide hacking collective. He has been indicted three times and is facing over a hundred years in prison.

On the surface, we are supposed to believe that Barrett Brown is a danger to federal agents and society as a whole. In reality, the only danger he posed was to those whom he was investigating.

It seemed as if Brown was on the verge of a breakthrough in his research of private security firms. He concluded that the United States was conducting a humungous surveillance and data-mining of Arab countries, which becomes exceedingly more interesting with revelations released by the Guardian via whistle blower Edward Snowden.

I am not going to delve into the details of what he was researching or the charges brought against him, however phony and ridiculous they are. Instead, I am going to plead with you to support this man who does not deserve to spend the rest of his life in jail. It is obvious to any one with even a passing interest in this case that Brown was targeted because of what he was researching. This is a terrible miscarriage of justice, and deserves the same scrutiny as the cases of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Jeremey Hammond, and others.

For more on this story, read the Nation article here.

To donate to his defense fund and learn more go to http://www.freebarrettbrown.org.

The Anti-Snowden Smear Campaigns

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I don’t know if I even really have to reference this. Just turn on any major news network and all you will find is hate for Edward Snowden and love of Big Brother.

The parallels to the book 1984 by George Orwell are almost comical now. Forget all the stuff about the NSA, just look at the mud they are slinging at Snowden! Just replace ‘Snowden’ with ‘Goldstein’ and boom it’s 1984 all over again, complete with a two-minute-hate, only in this universe its a 24/7 news cycle hate.

I was originally going to post videos of various people smearing Snowden but even though I don’t have very many readers, I do not want to expose them to any bullshit. If you really want bullshit, turn on CNN. You won’t find it here.

The truth is Edward Snowden is a hero because he is risking his life to expose to the world something that was strongly suspected by many of us already: that we are being watched. If the mainstream media is too dense to realize the significance of what he has done, we’re in a lot of trouble folks.

Thoughts on the Survelliance State

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When I was in high school, I had an obsession with George Orwell. 1984, in particular, radicalized me. At that time I was not in Honors English, so I couldn’t read it in school so I took it out from my library and finished it in a day. It was a frightening book, filled with dreary and depressing ideas about the destruction of written language, political apathy, and Big Brother, who is there to remind us we are always being watched.

Everything in that book has come true except we are not quite frightened enough to stop speaking out about our governments wrongdoing–at least not yet. Give it some time. Everybody has their limits. When they start arresting journalists and executing them in a public fashion, that’s when I shut up.

The only we hope are leaks like the ones that just came out about Prism and the NSA. Knowledge lends toward our ultimate liberation. Julian Assange and Bradley Manning know this, and that’s why Assange is holed up in an Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and Bradley Manning is in jail facing charges of aiding the enemy and ‘wantonly publishing’ among other things.

It’s undeniable that there is a risk in revealing truth now. It is clear that we are being watched. Even as I type this, my keystrokes are being logged. But that should not halt our efforts. They are few, we are many. We will always be more than them.

Courage is contagious. Credit is due for all the journalists who are risking jail to reveal the truth to us, and all the whistle blowers as well.

As long as these leaks keep happening, we have nothing to fear.

Suit and Helplessness: How to Avoid Apathy

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Julian Assange, along with Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, and others, have filed suit demanding that journalists be given access to proceedings that are secretive and unconstitutional.

I don’t think the US Government intends to open this trial up even if the Queen of England sued. Perhaps the plaintiffs have the view that any publicity they can grab will help and–for better or for worse–Assange is the biggest name on that list.

There is something to be said for the helplessness that many supporters of Bradley Manning feel when it comes to the US governments attempts to shut everyone out of this process. It is frustrating to think that we are alone in our views and in our knowledge of what is going on. That is not just true of Bradley Manning but of many recent, unconstitutional and scary shit that is going on.

But the fact is we are not alone. It just seems like that because of our media. There are many people out there who believe that Manning should be freed. Americans are living in a bubble that exists outside reality, for the most part

So how do you avoid becoming an apathetic, disillusioned person in the face of these things? Here’s a few tips:

1. Take a break!

Life isn’t all about politics and negative shit. We all need to take a break once and awhile. Relax: drink some bourbon, watch mindless television, and play Call of Duty Modern Warefare while ignoring the ironic feelings associated with the latter.

2. Remind yourself that there’s only so much you can do. . .then proceed to do those things.

3. Have friends who have similar beliefs.

There is nothing more frustrating then trying to talk to someone about important stuff and they couldn’t care less. So I would suggest finding someone, anyone who takes an interest in these kinds of things. But tread carefully because a lot of people are scared of the truth.

That’s all for now.

There is no hope. . .except for hope

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I don’t care if its the state of our country or the state of World Wrestling Entertainment: you can make deductions based on certain patterns of behavior.

I’m assuming if you’re reading this blog, you have at least a basic understanding of the patterns that are emerging from our government i.e. a willingness and ability to get away with spying on journalists, jailing whistle blowers etc.

And because, as humans, we are blessed with the gift of logic, we can use these deductions to come to the conclusion that the state of our country is fucked up. Which leaves two choices: do something about it or do nothing.

Right now, most people are not doing shit. The exception to this are independent journalists, volunteers, activists, and perhaps a couple politicians. None of these people, however, have the reach that the mainstream media has over the minds and opinions of the majority of people. Because of that, nothing will change.

Which leaves us with a question: how do we fix that?

The sad truth is that there might not be any way to. Although the world is not going to fix itself, there is only so much you can do as an individual or even as a group. Change within government requires a certain kind of change of attitude in society. Since everything is fluid, attitudes change when things happen that cannot be ignored. For example, 9/11 had a profound affect on the dismantling of basic constitutional rights. The individual though may need something slightly smaller like how Bradley Manning was prompted to act based on observations he made in Iraq or how some people were turned into full-time activists because of Occupy Wall Street.

The world makes big changes through smaller, individual changes. I have the philosophy that we are all part of one big soul, and therefore the things the individual does ultimately affect society as a whole. If you follow this way of thinking, the only reasonable thing one can do is to inform and to learn, which is why I want to be a journalist.

I have a message to those reading this who are discouraged about the state of world affairs: don’t despair. Things come, and things go. Every generation has it’s own battles and moral choices to be made. But if you really want to help, share information, share articles; hell–share this blog (please); but never, ever, ever give up hope. It’s all we got at the moment.

With that said, I will leave you with an inspirational video from none other than Charlie Chaplin: