Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wikipedia site blackout has been confirmed - democratic rights at stake...

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  (L-R) Keynote speake...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cover of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Wikipedia confirms site blackout over piracy rule...

  • Jimmy Wales the founder of Wikipedia the free online knowledge site, will shut it down for 24 hours later this week in protest at the draft anti-online piracy legislation before the US Congress, he said on Twitter.
    "'Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.' MLK - on Wednesday, Wikipedia demands," Wales said, citing slain US civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
    The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is currently before the House of Representatives, while the Protect IP Act is the version before the Senate.
    The draft legislation has won the backing of Hollywood, the music industry, the Business Software Alliance, the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce.
    But last month, the founders of Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, Yahoo! and other internet giants expressed concern over the two drafts, saying in a open letter that they would "give the US government the power to censor the Web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran.
    Kiwipete says: Is this a genuine attempt to stop online piracy like the much criticised New Zealand legislation passed last year, or some sort of "trojan horse" to enable the US Government to control what's published on the internet sometime in the future or whenever some corporation or politician objects? Democratic freedoms had to be won dearly and should not be rationed out at the whim of some potentially fascist politician or corporate CEO. Other nations would soon follow the lead of the 'land of the free'. Is this another sign of what's to come in 2012?
  • Kiwipete
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fears of Israeli attack on Iran mount...

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Image via Wikipedia
English: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician
Image via Wikipedia


Visit comes as U.S. attempts to determine Israel's intentions with regard to a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Thursday for talks with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, and other senior defense and intelligence officials.
The visit comes as the United States attempts to coordinate with Israel on the issue of Iran's nuclear capabilities, and to determine Israel's intentions with regard to a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Gen. Martin Dempsey - AP - December 2011Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey speaks about "Security and Partnership in an Age of Austerity," Friday, Dec. 9, 2011.
Photo by: AP
Dempsey may also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ahead of Dempsey's visit, the Wall Street Journal published statements by senior American officers who said the United States had increased preparations for a possible Israeli attack on Iran. They also said the United States has refreshed plans for defending American installations in the Middle East in the event of a retaliation by Iran.
One senior officer told the Wall Street Journal that the United States' concerns regarding a possible Israeli attack on Iran were increasing.
In November, following a visit to Israel by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu and Barak had refused to vow against attacking Iran without first coordinating with the United States.
According to the Wall Street Journal, both U.S. President Barack Obama and Panetta have conveyed messages through quiet channels to senior Israeli officials regarding the serious implications of an Israeli attack on Iran. They also reportedly told Israel it should allow more time for sanctions on Iran to take effect.
In the meantime, the United States is preparing for various scenarios following an Israeli attack on Iran, senior American officials reportedly told the Wall Street Journal. These include an attack by Shi'ites in Iraq on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. There are currently 15,000 U.S. citizens in Iraq.
Dempsey's visit to Israel also comes against the backdrop of increased tension between Iran and the West over Tehran's threats to close the Straits of Hormuz, which would compromise oil shipments to the West, and threats to avenge the recent assassination of an Iraqi nuclear scientist on Wednesday. The regime is accusing Israel, the United States and Britain of the assassination.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has denied responsibility for the attack. Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel had no role in the attack, to the best of his knowledge.
The spokesman for Iran's Joint Armed Forces Staff, Massoud Jazayeri, said: "Our enemies, especially America, Britain and the Zionist regime [Israel], have to be held responsible for their actions." According to a report in the New York Times on Friday, senior American officials said Obama recently told the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameneii, via a secret channel that closing the Straits of Hormuz would constitute crossing a "red line." Obama reportedly said such an action would draw a severe American response.
Also this weekend, Netanyahu said in an interview with the Weekend Australian that he believed the strong sanctions against Iran were damaging the regime in Tehran. He said he thought a combination of the sanctions and the threat of U.S. military action against its nuclear facilities could force Iran to back down.
Netanyahu said the Iranian economy was "showing clear signs of stress."
"For the first time," he said, "I see Iran wobble under the sanctions that have been adopted and especially under the threat of strong sanctions on their central bank."
Netanyahu's remarks notwithstanding, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz yesterday that there was disappointment in Jerusalem over the fact that harsher sanctions have not been imposed on Iran.
"Without sanctions on Iran's central bank and on its oil exports, the regime will not back down and will not stop its nuclear program," the official said.
Read this article in Hebrew
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