How Australia Continues to ‘Breed Out the Color’ of Its Aboriginal Population

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The tape is searing. There is the voice of an infant screaming as he is wrenched from his mother, who pleads: “There is nothing wrong with my baby. Why are you doing this to us? I would’ve been hung years ago, wouldn’t I? Because [as an Australian Aborigine] you’re guilty before you’re found innocent.” The child’s grandmother demands to know why “the stealing of our kids is happening all over again.” A welfare official says, “I’m gonna take him, mate.”

Image: wikipedia

This happened to an Aboriginal family in outback New South Wales. It is happening across Australia in a scandalous and largely unrecognized abuse of human rights that evokes the infamous Stolen Generation of the last century. Up to the 1970s, thousands of mixed race children were stolen from their mothers by welfare officials. The children were given to institutions as cheap or slave labor; many were abused.

Described by a Chief Protector of Aborigines as “breeding out the color”, the policy was known as assimilation. It was influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis. In 1997, a landmark report, “Bringing Them Home”, disclosed that as many 50,000 children and their mothers had endured “the humiliation, the degradation and sheer brutality of the act of forced separation … the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state.” The report called this genocide.

More from Alternet

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Majority of US college campuses becoming ‘no-free-speech’ zones – report

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Despite the explicit protections of the First Amendment, a majority of US institutions of higher learning enforce rules that severely restrict free speech on campus, according to a new study.

Image: independentsentinel.com

According to a report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), 59 percent of US colleges and universities received a ‘red light’, meaning that the schools endorse policies that the watchdog group says impede on First Amendment rights.

A red-light institution, according to FIRE, is one that has “at least one policy both clearly and substantially restricting freedom of speech, or barring public access to its speech-related policies by requiring a university log-in and password for access.”

Out of 427 schools surveyed in the report, about one out of every six enforced “free speech zone” policies – legislation that limits student protests and other “expressive activities” to small and isolated parts of campus.

The report provided some examples of free speech policies that they say infringe on First Amendment rights. The University of Southern Mississippi, for example, requires students to hold their demonstrations in one designated ‘Speakers’ Corner’ unless they register the demonstration at least one month in advance of the event.

Longwood University in Virginia limits speeches, demonstrations and literature distribution to one location, and requires the area to be reserved five days in advance.

In addition to the 59 percent listed as restricting free speech, FIRE gave a ‘yellow light’ rating to 35.6 percent of colleges and universities because they have “policies that overregulate speech on campus.”

Another method that many colleges and universities employ for impeding upon free speech is by charging demonstrating groups for the cost of providing security at such events.

The University of Oklahoma, for example, states “When the director of Student Life determines that additional security beyond that normally provided is necessary, the director of Student Life shall so inform the [Registered Student Organization]. The RSO shall be responsible for the cost of additional security.”

The FIRE report indicated that some schools impinged on free speech rights in an attempt to “stop harassment” against particular groups and organizations.

Many institutions “expand the term to prohibit broad categories of speech that do not even approach actual harassment…These vague and overly broad harassment policies deprive students and faculty of their free speech rights.”

An example is provided by way of Athens State University in Alabama, which has a long list of groups that any protesting student group must be careful not to offend or criticize.

Their policy on harassment says that “any conduct consisting of words or actions that are unwelcome or offensive to a person in relation to race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, genetic information, or veteran status.”

FIRE’s Director of Policy Research Samantha Harris said in a statement, “the Department of Education needs to make clear to universities, once and for all, that prohibiting harassment does not mean restricting protected speech.”

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Kim Dotcom on TPP: ‘Hollywood trying to control web, totally censor it’

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Hollywood hasn’t woken up to the changing world, refusing to evolve their business model into something that works better with the internet, Kim Dotcom, internet entrepreneur and businessman, told Max Keiser.

In the latest episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Kim Dotcom discussed copyright issues, crypto currencies, Edward Snowden’s revelations and the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP].

‘I’m not against copyright, I’m against copyright extremism. I think people who create something, they have a right to make money but it shouldn’t override innovation, it shouldn’t override things that make society function better,’ Kim Dotcom said, speaking about the ongoing Megaupload court battle. He added: “What Hollywood is trying to do is basically to turn the internet into a totally censored and controlled network to their liking, and that’s what I’m fighting against.”

According to statistics, uploads to Torrent web-sites were up 50 percent in 2013, and despite all efforts by the MPAA, people are still going to Torrent sites and it’s still transforming the industry. Kim Dotcom considers that MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd is “putting his hand into a giant river and is trying to stop it but this is never going to happen and it’s never going to work.”

“They [Hollywood] are spending a lot of energy, time and money on fighting something that they can’t defeat. The only way they can defeat it is by adapting to the new reality by changing their business model to something that works and functions better with the internet: worldwide release of content on the same day, fair pricing, the content needs to work on any device. There are so many things that Hollywood can do to improve its business model to be more compatible with the internet, but they haven’t really woken up to this yet,” Dotcom told Max Keiser.

Kim Dotcom said that “even if Hollywood wanted today to create a website where we just go and find any movie and stream it from any country, they couldn’t do it because they have created a model that has made it impossible.”

The reason for this is “a fundraising model that Hollywood has,” according to Dotcom. “It basically has a network of thousands of license partners around the world. So whenever they shoot a new movie, they send the script around to all these licensing partners around the world and pitch that movie to them, telling who is the director and who are the actors, and then they are raising the majority of the money that it cost them to produce that movie from foreign licensing partners,” he explained at RT’s Keiser Report.

“So their risk to invest in movies is very minimal and it’s basically a license to print money. But the tradeoff is that these foreign license holders then own the license, and you can’t anymore say ‘we are doing a global release of this content,’ because the license holders have their own interests: they want to put it out when they want, they want a movie premier, they want to have the rights for this market and control it,” Kim Dotcom said.

Snowden’s revelations led to American corporations losing billions of dollars because of the overreach by the NSA. Commenting on that, Dotcom said that it means bad news for the US economy as a whole.

“This is a really dangerous development for the US economy, because everyone is waking up to all these American tech products being ‘backdoored’ and web-services being ‘trojanized’. And this is something that is going to lead to more and more countries, governments and large corporations moving away from services that they have to deem untrustworthy. The effect that this is going to have over the next decade on the US economy is going to be significant,” he told Max Keiser.

On the other hand, Kim Dotcom believes, “there is a huge opportunity for other countries, especially smaller countries, to not enter into the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), but do their own thing and establish laws that are pro-innovation, pro-technology that protect the internet, that give operators safe harbors. So there is a huge opportunity here to cut off a massive slice of internet economy from the US government.”

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

NSA hacked over 50,000 computer networks worldwide – report

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The US National Security Agency hacked more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide installing malware designated for surveillance operations, Dutch newspaper NRC reports citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

The latest round of revelations comes from a document dating from 2012 that shows the extent of the NSA’s worldwide surveillance network.

Published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, it points out more than 50,000 locations, where the NSA used ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ (CNE) and implanted malicious software into the networks.

According to the NSA website CNE “includes enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks.”

Once the computer has been infected, the ‘implants’ act as digital ‘sleeper cells’ that can be remotely turned on or off with a single push of a button, the Dutch paper reported. The malware can remain active for years without being detected, the newspaper added. The malicious operations reportedly were carried out in many countries including China, Russia, Venezuela and Brazil.

The hacking is conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO), a special unit within the NSA tasked with gaining access to foreign computer systems.

According to the Dutch media, one of the examples of the CNE operation is the reported attack against Belgian telecom company Belgacom that was discovered in September 2013. The attack was previously reported to have been carried out by British intelligence agency GCHQ that worked in cooperation with its American counterpart.

GCHQ injected malware in the Belgacom network to tap their customers’ telephone and data traffic. The agency implemented a technique known as Quantum Insert, placing Belgacom’s servers in strategic spots where they could intercept and redirect target traffic to a fake LinkedIn professional social network’s website.

Public sources show that TAO employs more than a thousand hackers. The task force has been active since at least 1998, according to Washington Post.

Documents acquired by the NRC newspaper also reveal that NSA spied on the Netherlands from 1946 to 1968. However the report does not indicate the specific intentions.

Dutch interior affairs minister Ronald Plasterk has recently confirmed that the NSA monitors mail and phone traffic in the Netherlands and exchanges data with Dutch security organization AIVD.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Our Invisible Revolution

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“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkman wrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.”

Berkman was right. As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it. They know that we have been stripped of political power. They recognize that we have been shorn of our most basic and cherished civil liberties, and live under the gaze of the most intrusive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. Half the country lives in poverty. Many of the rest of us, if the corporate state is not overthrown, will join them. These truths are no longer hidden.

It appears that political ferment is dormant in the United States. This is incorrect. The ideas that sustain the corporate state are swiftly losing their efficacy across the political spectrum. The ideas that are rising to take their place, however, are inchoate. The right has retreated into Christian fascism and a celebration of the gun culture. The left, knocked off balance by decades of fierce state repression in the name of anti-communism, is struggling to rebuild and define itself. Popular revulsion for the ruling elite, however, is nearly universal. It is a question of which ideas will capture the public’s imagination.

Revolution usually erupts over events that would, in normal circumstances, be considered meaningless or minor acts of injustice by the state. But once the tinder of revolt has piled up, as it has in the United States, an insignificant spark easily ignites popular rebellion. No person or movement can ignite this tinder. No one knows where or when the eruption will take place. No one knows the form it will take. But it is certain now that a popular revolt is coming. The refusal by the corporate state to address even the minimal grievances of the citizenry, along with the abject failure to remedy the mounting state repression, the chronic unemployment and underemployment, the massive debt peonage that is crippling more than half of Americans, and the loss of hope and widespread despair, means that blowback is inevitable.

“Because revolution is evolution at its boiling point you cannot ‘make’ a real revolution any more than you can hasten the boiling of a tea kettle,” Berkman wrote. “It is the fire underneath that makes it boil: how quickly it will come to the boiling point will depend on how strong the fire is.”

Revolutions, when they erupt, appear to the elites and the establishment to be sudden and unexpected. This is because the real work of revolutionary ferment and consciousness is unseen by the mainstream society, noticed only after it has largely been completed. Throughout history, those who have sought radical change have always had to first discredit the ideas used to prop up ruling elites and construct alternative ideas for society, ideas often embodied in a utopian revolutionary myth. The articulation of a viable socialism as an alternative to corporate tyranny—as attempted by the book “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA” and the websitePopular Resistance—is, for me, paramount. Once ideas shift for a large portion of a population, once the vision of a new society grips the popular imagination, the old regime is finished.

An uprising that is devoid of ideas and vision is never a threat to ruling elites. Social upheaval without clear definition and direction, without ideas behind it, descends into nihilism, random violence and chaos. It consumes itself. This, at its core, is why I disagree with some elements of the Black Bloc anarchists. I believe in strategy. And so did many anarchists, including Berkman, Emma Goldman, Pyotr Kropotkin and Mikhail Bakunin.

By the time ruling elites are openly defied, there has already been a nearly total loss of faith in the ideas—in our case free market capitalism and globalization—that sustain the structures of the ruling elites. And once enough people get it, a process that can take years, “the slow, quiet, and peaceful social evolution becomes quick, militant, and violent,” as Berkman wrote. “Evolution becomes revolution.”

This is where we are headed. I do not say this because I am a supporter of revolution. I am not. I prefer the piecemeal and incremental reforms of a functioning democracy. I prefer a system in which our social institutions permit the citizenry to nonviolently dismiss those in authority. I prefer a system in which institutions are independent and not captive to corporate power. But we do not live in such a system. Revolt is the only option left. Ruling elites, once the ideas that justify their existence are dead, resort to force. It is their final clutch at power. If a nonviolent popular movement is able to ideologically disarm the bureaucrats, civil servants and police—to get them, in essence, to defect—nonviolent revolution is possible. But if the state can organize effective and prolonged violence against dissent, it spawns reactive revolutionary violence, or what the state calls terrorism. Violent revolutions usually give rise to revolutionaries as ruthless as their adversaries. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster,” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote. “And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

Violent revolutions are always tragic. I, and many other activists, seek to keep our uprising nonviolent. We seek to spare the country the savagery of domestic violence by both the state and its opponents. There is no guarantee that we will succeed, especially with the corporate state controlling a vast internal security apparatus and militarized police forces. But we must try.

Corporations, freed from all laws, government regulations and internal constraints, are stealing as much as they can, as fast as they can, on the way down. The managers of corporations no longer care about the effects of their pillage. Many expect the systems they are looting to fall apart. They are blinded by personal greed and hubris. They believe their obscene wealth can buy them security and protection. They should have spent a little less time studying management in business school and a little more time studying human nature and human history. They are digging their own graves.

Our shift to corporate totalitarianism, like the shift to all forms of totalitarianism, is incremental. Totalitarian systems ebb and flow, sometimes taking one step back before taking two steps forward, as they erode democratic liberalism. This process is now complete. The “consent of the governed” is a cruel joke. Barack Obama cannot defy corporate power any more than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton could. Unlike his two immediate predecessors, Bush, who is intellectually and probably emotionally impaired, did not understand the totalitarian process abetted by the presidency. Because Clinton and Obama, and their Democratic Party, understand the destructive roles they played and are playing, they must be seen as far more cynical and far more complicit in the ruination of the country. Democratic politicians speak in the familiar “I-feel-your-pain” language of the liberal class while allowing corporations to strip us of personal wealth and power. They are effective masks for corporate power.

The corporate state seeks to maintain the fiction of our personal agency in the political and economic process. As long as we believe we are participants, a lie sustained through massive propaganda campaigns, endless and absurd election cycles and the pageantry of empty political theater, our corporate oligarchs rest easy in their private jets, boardrooms, penthouses and mansions. As the bankruptcy of corporate capitalism and globalization is exposed, the ruling elite are increasingly nervous. They know that if the ideas that justify their power die, they are finished. This is why voices of dissent—as well as spontaneous uprisings such as the Occupy movement—are ruthlessly crushed by the corporate state.

“… [M]any ideas, once held to be true, have come to be regarded as wrong and evil,” Berkman wrote in his essay. “Thus the ideas of the divine right of kings, of slavery and serfdom. There was a time when the whole world believed those institutions to be right, just, and unchangeable. In the measure that those superstitions and false beliefs were fought by advanced thinkers, they became discredited and lost their hold upon the people, and finally the institutions that incorporated those ideas were abolished. Highbrows will tell you that they had ‘outlived’ their ‘usefulness’ and therefore they ‘died.’ But how did they ‘outlive’ their ‘usefulness’? To whom were they useful, and how did they ‘die’? We know already that they were useful only to the master class, and they were done away with by popular uprisings and revolutions.”

By Chris Hedges/popularresistance

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Record number of nations oppose US embargo of Cuba in UN vote

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In an overwhelming UN vote, 188 countries have called on the US to lift its 53-year trade embargo on Cuba. Havana has slammed the financial sanctions as a flagrant violation of human rights and said they are tantamount to genocide.

A session of the General Assembly at the United Nations (AFP Photo / Timothy A. Clary)

Image: AFP Photo / Timothy A. Clary

The recording-breaking opposition to the embargo saw Israel isolated as the only country to vote in support of the US. Palau, the island nation that got behind the US last year, abstained in the 22nd UN annual vote, along with Micronesia and Marshall Islands.

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla conveyed Havana’s disappointment at the Obama administration, stressing that the human cost of the embargo is “incalculable.” Upon assuming the presidency Barack Obama pledged to take steps to improve US-Cuban relations, but Rodriguez said the sanctions had actually tightened under Obama.

“Our small island poses no threat to the national security of the superpower,”
 Rodriguez said. “The human damages caused by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba are incalculable.”

More from Russia Today

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McDonald’s company help line to broke worker: ‘Go on food stamps’

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McDonald’s workers who are unable to pay their bills or stay above the poverty line should find help from food pantries or enlist in government benefit programs instead of seeking higher wages, according to a company resource line meant to help employees.

Nancy Salgado has worked for the fast-food corporation for over 10 years yet still earns $8.25 an hour, barely more than the $7.25 federal minimum wage. With help from the worker’s rights group Low Pay Is Not Ok, she phoned the company’s employee hotline, known as McResource, attempting to find some answers on how to improve her situation.

A recording of the call was made available to CNN, which reported that Salgado asked the helpline operator multiple questions regarding how McDonalds would help her pay her heating bill, buy groceries, and whether she could afford to help pay for her sister’s medical treatment.

Despite never asking how much money Salgado earned per hour or asking how many hours a week she worked, the McDonalds representative said she “definitely should be able to qualify for both food stamps and heating assistance.”
The representative then said she would email Salgado phone numbers and contact information for food pantries and other public health programs in Chicago, Illinois, where Salgado was calling from.

“We can be a good program,” the operator said. “We can do a lot of the leg work that takes a lot of the stresses off of you making a million phone calls trying to find services.”

Perhaps even more shocking is that not all McDonald’s employees are guaranteed access to the would-be help line. Franchise owners must pay a fee for their employees to use McResource and Salgado’s restaurant, for example, is among the many Chicago stores not afforded that privilege.

Salgado, 26-year-old single mother who has said she is rarely allowed to work more than 30 hours a week, is the same woman who was arrested earlier this month. She interrupted McDonald’s Corporation President Jeff Stratton when he was speaking at the Union League Club of Chicago on October 11.

“Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 [per hour] when I’ve worked for McDonald’s for years?” she shouted. “The thing is that I need a raise. But you’re not helping your employees. How is this possible?”

She said at the time that she expected McDonald’s to retaliate in some way but was apparently not swayed from calling McResource. Salgado told the representative she was recording the call so her sister could listen later.

“This video is not an accurate portrayal of the resource line as this is very obviously an edited video,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “The fact is that the McResource line is intended to be a free, confidential service to help employees and their families get answers to a variety of questions or provide resources on a variety of topics including housing, child care, transportation, grief, elder care, education and more.”

The publication of the call’s audio comes just days after a new report indicated that over half of fast-food works in the US rely on public assistance to supplement their paychecks, costing American taxpayers an estimated $7 billion every year.

The average American fast food worker earns $8.69 an hour and regularly works less than 40 hours a week, qualifying them for a variety of government benefits. Fifty-two percent of families that include a fast food worker receive food stamps, Medicaid, or are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Compare that sum with the 25 percent of families eligible for those assistance programs from the overall workforce.

Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign determined that “non-managerial” employees – such as cashiers, cooks, servers, and others – are twice as likely to need financial help. They deemed it “staggering” how government assistance programs effectively pay costs that major food chains refuse to.

From RT

Post by The NON-Conformist

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