Friday Night Fun and Culture: The New York Dolls

I was at the show that is featured in the black and white videos.

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Julian Assange “BRADLEY MANNING IS NOW A MARTYR!”

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Activists aghast at Oakland law criminalizing possession of some household items at protests

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/31/activists-aghast-at-oakland-law-criminalizing-possession-of-some-household-items-at-protests/

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Oakland City Council moved closer on Tuesday to both expand authorities’ surveillance capabilities and and authorize a ban on common household tools and paints it deemed “tools of violence and vandalism” at public demonstrations, raising concerns from local activists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“I appreciate that the City Council wants to make demonstrations safe,” ACLU attorney Michael Risher told KGO-TV. “But they should look at both sides of the equation and realize that there are more protesters who are injured by the police during protests than there are officers who are injured by protesters.”

The Oakland Tribune reported that the council voted 5-0 around 1:20 a.m. to approve the ban, which covers the mere possession of “impact-resistant shields, aerosol spray cans, pressurized paint sprayers, sling shots, hammers, large wrenches for opening fire hydrants, fireworks, paint projectiles or fire accelerants” at protests regardless of whether they are used or about to be used by protestors. The item will be taken for final reading on Sept. 17.

Risher told KGO that the proposal is a more narrow version of one taken up by the council in 2012, which was discarded after vocal opposition by members of Occupy Oakland. But council member Noel Gallo re-introduced it to the council following reports of violence in the city amid demonstrations against George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/31/activists-aghast-at-oakland-law-criminalizing-possession-of-some-household-items-at-protests/

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NSA Paying UK Spy Agency to Surveil Americans

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/08/01-10

New Guardian exclusive reveals NSA utilizes less-restricted GCHQ in international spy partnership

Lauren McCauley

The United States government is paying the UK government’s spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (or GCHQ), to do much of their clandestine “dirty work,” a new Guardian report revealed Thursday.

In documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported on by the Guardian, “top secret payments” of at least £100m (roughly $150m) over the past three years were made to the agency in exchange for the UK agency to “pull its weight” in regards to international surveillance.

According to Guardian reporters Nick Hopkins and Julian Borger:

Ministers have denied that GCHQ does the NSA’s “dirty work,” but in the documents GCHQ describes Britain’s surveillance laws and regulatory regime as a “selling point” for the Americans.

Taking advantage of the UK’s more lax surveillance restrictions and their ability to spy on US citizens, this international spy partnership has proved to be mutually beneficial for the two dragnet agencies.

In one cited instance, the GCHQ had “boasted” that it was able to supply “unique contributions” to the NSA during its investigation of an American citizen’s attempted car bomb attack in Times Square in 2010.

“No other detail is provided,” Hopkins and Borger write, “but it raises the possibility that GCHQ might have been spying on an American living in the US,” which US law prohibits the NSA from doing.

Earlier it was revealed that the GCHQ—which Snowden had described as “worse than the NSA”—has amassed an infinite database of metadata through the tapping of transatlantic fiber-optic cables which “carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic.”

According to GCHQ’s “investment portfolios,” the United States paid the agency £17.2m ($26m) for that project in particular.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/08/01-10

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NSA Confirms Dragnet Phone Records Collection & Admits It Was Key In Stopping Just 1 Terror Plot

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Activists Shut Down Keystone XL Contractor’s DC Office – July 26, 2013

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Not in our name: A Canadian energy giant in Colombia

From Rabble Ca.:  http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/dave-coles/2013/07/not-our-name-canadian-energy-giant-colombia

By Dave Coles
July 31, 2013

A Toronto-based company is trampling on the rights of workers, Indigenous people and the environment in Colombia, but Canadian officials are more concerned with strengthening business ties in the country.

As president of Canada’s largest energy union, I recently participated in a 17-person Canadian delegation to investigate alleged abuses committed by TSX listed Pacific Rubiales Energy (PRE), Colombia’s largest independent oil producer.

On July 13 and 14, I was a juror at a preliminary hearing of the Popular Tribunal Against Extractive Policies in Colombia, which took place near the Pacific Rubiales oil fields in the Eastern town of Puerto Gaitan.

The testimony was heart-wrenching. Representatives of Indigenous communities told the Tribunal about how oil exploration on their lands had forced them to move to makeshift villages in housing constructed of plastic sheeting, cardboard and sticks. Women from outlying communities showed the jury bottles of orange and charcoal coloured water, which they said was from their local water source, a river carrying effluent from PRE’s extractive process.

Union officials described the living conditions of workers forced to rotate off their shift to catch a few hours of sleep in a bed occupied by three other workers on different shifts.

Bay Street headquartered PRE has waged a vicious campaign against the Unión Sindical Obrera (USO). After a 2011 strike by thousands of USO members the company fired those who refused to disaffiliate from the 90 year-old energy union and join PRE’s preferred union. During that strike, Colombian Senator Alexander Lopez, who testified at the tribunal, said he was blocked by public security forces from freely travelling on a pubic road to the Rubiales oil fields. Lopez concluded that PREs actions in Colombia warranted their expulsion from the country.

The testimonies at the Tribunal were disturbing, but what has transpired since may be even more troubling. Two days after, a USO member who helped organize the Tribunal was personally threatened. On July 16, Héctor Sánchez, who lives in a town near PREs oilfields, received a note at his house declaring: “We see every step you make with your family. … Dont ask for a stupid death, the same for your wife and child…. Dont leave them behind as orphans and a widow and dont become a widower yourself.”

Continue reading at:  http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/dave-coles/2013/07/not-our-name-canadian-energy-giant-colombia

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