Queer Canadians should be especially concerned about spying: BCCLA

From XTRA Ca:  http://dailyxtra.com/canada/news/queer-canadians-especially-concerned-spying-bccla?market=206

Published Tue, Oct 22, 2013

The executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) says queer Canadians should be particularly concerned about government surveillance programs because of their long history of spying on the community.

“I think this an important matter and issue for all Canadians, but there’s been a long history of surveillance and spying by police and other authorities on the queer community in Canada going back decades,” Josh Paterson says.

The BCCLA launched a lawsuit against Canada’s national electronic intelligence gathering agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), on Oct 22, claiming its surveillance programs violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Everybody in Canada, including people in the queer community, knows what this means,” Paterson says. “They know what this is about — to be surveilled by the government secretly and for no good reason at all. And that is what we fear is happening on a Canada-wide scale.”

In December 2001, the federal government passed the Anti-Terrorism Act in response to the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The act amended the Defence Act to empower the minister of defence to authorize CSEC to intercept the private communications of anyone in Canada who is communicating with someone outside the country. This can include emails, phone conversations, video calls and text messages.

These ministerial authorizations have been issued or renewed on 59 occasions since January 2002.

“Unaccountable and unchecked government surveillance presents a grave threat to democratic freedoms,” says BCCLA lawyer Joseph Arvay in a press release.

Continue reading at:  http://dailyxtra.com/canada/news/queer-canadians-especially-concerned-spying-bccla?market=206

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California police officer accused of raping transgender woman while on duty

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/28/california-police-officer-accused-of-raping-transgender-woman-while-on-duty/

By Travis Gettys
Monday, October 28, 2013

A southern California police officer is under investigation after he was accused of raping a transgender woman while on duty.

The El Monte officer was placed on leave while he’s investigated for allegedly attacking the woman as she walked to a friend’s house between 4 and 6 a.m. Oct. 23, 2012.

According to the complaint, the officer pulled up and ordered the victim to lean into the driver’s side window of his patrol car and demanded to know what she was doing.

She said the officer groped her and asked if she was “a nasty shemale,” and the woman told him she was transgender.

The officer then led the alleged victim to a secluded area nearby and ordered her to perform oral sex and then raped her, the complaint says.

The alleged victim turned over a condom she says the officer used during the attack to investigators.

She went to a hospital after the alleged assault and the case was turned over to the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department.

Her lawyer said the alleged victim complied with the officer’s demands out of fear, and he said the police officer had no probable cause to detain the alleged victim.

Police Chief Steve Schuster said the allegations were “very disturbing” and do not represent expectations set for the department’s officers.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/28/california-police-officer-accused-of-raping-transgender-woman-while-on-duty/

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Opting Out From the Corporate State of Surveillance

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/27

by Ralph Nader

America was founded on the ideals of personal liberty, freedom and democracy. Unfortunately, mass spying, surveillance and the unending collection of personal data threaten to undermine civil liberties and our privacy rights. What started as a necessary means of reconnaissance and intelligence gathering during World War II has escalated into an out-of-control snoop state where entities both governmental and commercial are desperate for as much data as they can grab. We find ourselves in the midst of an all-out invasion on what’s-none-of-their-business and its coming from both government and corporate sources. Snooping and data collection have become big business. Nothing is out of their bounds anymore.

The Patriot Act-enabled National Security Agency (NSA) certainly blazed one trail. The disclosures provided by Edward Snowden has brought into light the worst fears that critics of the overwrought Patriot Act expressed back in 2001. The national security state has given a blank check to the paranoid intelligence community to gather data on nearly everyone. Internet and telephone communications of millions of American citizens and millions more citizens and leaders of other countries. Even friendly ones such as Germany, France and Brazil have been surveillance targets –over 30 foreign leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff have reportedly been targeted by this dragnet style data-collecting. More blatantly, covert devices were reportedly placed in European Union offices and earlier by Hillary Clinton’s State Department on the United Nations to eavesdrop on diplomats. World leaders are not pleased, to put it mildly.

Many Americans are not pleased either. And while most of the recent public outrage in the U.S. has been directed at instances of government snooping, giant private corporations are equally as guilty of the troubling invasion of peoples’ selves. Companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook blatantly collect and commercialize personal data — often covering their tracks with complicated fine-print user agreement contracts that most people, whose property it is, “agree” to without any consideration. Clicking “I agree” on an expansive, non-negotiable user agreement for a website or a software program is, to most people, just another mindless click of the mouse in the signup process.

These “take-it-or-leave-it” contracts leave the consumer with little power to protect their own interest. (See here for our extensive work on this issue. Also, visit “Terms of Service; Didn’t Read” for a valuable resource that summarizes and reviews online contracts so that users can have a better understanding of what they are agreeing to.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/27

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Insane Right Wing Destroyers of the Republican Party say, “Stop the Traitors”

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Good Bye Lou… Lou Reed, 1942-2013

In 1967, when I was still living at home I used to escape to Greenwich Village when I would get a long weekend at work. I would go to concerts, art film, happenings and just plain hang out.

It was the “Summer of Love”, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Doors hit the charts with a darker vision.  I saw Chelsea Girls at an Art House.

I bought the Velvet Underground’s Banana Album, the one with the cover by Andy Warhol.

It came straight from the City of Night with William Burroughs’ overtones.

It was a much more accurate reflection of life in the East Village and the Haight than Sgt. Pepper’s ever dreamed of being.

New York Times: Outsider Whose Dark, Lyrical Vision Helped Shape Rock ’n’ Roll

Rolling Stone: Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71

Guardian UK: Lou Reed, lead singer of Velvet Underground, dies aged 71

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