State Senator Wants to Charge Protesters as ‘Economic Terrorists’.

freedom_of_speech

Last week, Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen announced plans to propose a bill in January that would criminalize certain protests as “economic terrorism,” to be punishable as a Class C Felony.

The proposed bill would penalize protesters who engage in “unlawful disruption of transportation and commerce,” and if passed, those found in violation of the law could face punishment of up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

The proposed bill would also go after organizations and funders backing the protests by forcing them to pay restitution at a rate of three times the calculated amount of damage. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Ericksen specifically named philanthropists George Soros and Tom Steyer, as well as the Sierra Club organization, as intended targets of the legislation.

We are not just going after the people who commit these acts of terrorism,” Ericksen said in his press release. “We are going after the people who fund them. Wealthy donors should not feel safe in disrupting middle class jobs.”

Ericksen, who is chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee, has historically positioned himself as an ally to the fossil fuel industry. His proposal came just days after a group of anti-fracking protesters calling themselves “Olympia Stand” set up an encampment that blocked a rail line from the Port of Olympia. The police later forcibly disbanded the encampment and arrested 12 protesters on November 18th.

While the Washington Times reports that this bill would be unlikely to pass both in Senate and Democratically run-house, Ericksen’s proposal is just one in an increasing trend of legislation that criminalizes and limits the rights of protestors.

Ericksen’s proposal came in the same week that Iowa State Representative Bobby Kaufmann announced plans to propose legislation he calls the “Suck it up Buttercup” bill in response to anti-Trump organizing and protests. The two-part bill would withhold funding from universities that organize election-related grief counseling or sit-ins. It would also establish increased penalties for protesters who shut down highways or roads.

I have no issue with protesting,” Representative Kaufman told the Des Moines Register. “In fact, I would go to political war for anyone who wanted to protest or dissent and they couldn’t. But you can’t exercise your constitutional right by trampling on someone else’s. When they blocked off Interstate 80, they crossed a line.”

Similarly, earlier this year, Republican Senator John Kavanagh of Arizona introduced SB1054, a bill that would make it a felony to record police without their permission and within 20 feet of the ‘law enforcement activity.’ The bill generated such public outcry that Kavanagh eventually abandoned it.

While these recent proposals have been construed as a backlash from Republican lawmakers emboldened by Trump’s presidency, one of the most contentious protest laws passed in recent memory was, in fact, a law signed by Obama in response to Occupy protests in 2011.

HR 347, also known as the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act, lowered the intent requirement of a 1971 trespass law, making it easier to criminalize someone who enters or remains in “any restricted building or grounds,” with “restricted” applying broadly to any event where the Secret Service is present. The law, which was widely seen as an attack on the First Amendment, essentially criminalized protesting in proximity to any elected official under the protection of the Secret Service, which includes President Obama himself — and now, President-elect Trump. Under the current law, violators could face a fine and up to 10 years of jail time.

In the wake of the increasingly militarized response to DAPL protests in North Dakota, this proposed legislation in Washington and Iowa is emblematic of the escalating tension between protesters and government officials. As anti-Trump protesters gear up for nationwide Inauguration Day demonstrations that may already be facing restrictions, January promises to be a crucial moment for the future of First Amendment and the criminalization of dissent in America.

By: Sarah Cronin

Source: AntiMedia

These Are The 48 Organizations That Now Have Access To Every Brit’s Browsing History.

Last week, in a troubling development for privacy advocates everywhere, we reported that the UK has passed the “snooper charter” effectively ending all online privacy. Now, the mainstream media has caught on and appears to be displeased. As AP writes today, “after months of wrangling, Parliament has passed a contentious new snooping law that gives authorities — from police and spies to food regulators, fire officials and tax inspectors — powers to look at the internet browsing records of everyone in the country.”

For those who missed our original reports, here is the new law in a nutshell: it requires telecom companies to keep records of all users’ web activity for a year, creating databases of personal information that the firms worry could be vulnerable to leaks and hackers. Civil liberties groups say the law establishes mass surveillance of British citizens, following innocent internet users from the office to the living room and the bedroom. They are right.

 
 

While Edward Snowden previously blasted the law, none other than Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing World Wide Web, tweeted news of the law’s passage with the words: “Dark, dark days.”

Coming at a time when the mainstream media is lashing out at non-traditional websites, which it brands either with the derogatory “altright”, or simply slams as “Russian propaganda” to deflect from the fact that the MSM has been exposed as being a PR arm of the ruling establishment, the Investigatory Powers Bill-  called the “snoopers’ charter” by critics –  was passed by UK Parliament this month after more than a year of debate and amendments, and with its passage shifts “1984” from the fiction to the non-fiction section, as the formation of the surveillance police state is now effectively complete.

The charter will become law when it receives the formality of royal assent next week but – as AP notes – big questions remain about how it will work, and the government acknowledges it could be 12 months before internet firms have to start storing the records.

“It won’t happen in a big bang next week,” Home Office official Chris Mills told a meeting of internet service providers on Thursday. “It will be a phased program of the introduction of the measures over a year or so.”

The government says the new law “ensures powers are fit for the digital age,” replacing a patchwork of often outdated rules and giving law-enforcement agencies the tools to fight terrorism and serious crime.

In a move right out of the Soviet Union’s darkest days (which never even imagned central planning to the extent that modern “developed market” central bankers have unleashed this decade), the law requires telecommunications companies to store for a year the web histories known as internet connection records — a list of websites each person has visited and the apps and messaging services they used, though not the individual pages they looked at or the messages they sent.

The government has called that information the modern equivalent of an itemized phone bill. But critics say it’s more like a personal diary. Julian Huppert, a former Liberal Democrat lawmaker who opposed the bill, said it “creates a very intrusive database.”

“People may have been to the Depression Alliance website, or a marriage guidance website, or an abortion provider’s website, or all sorts of things which are very personal and private,” he said.

Officials won’t need a warrant to access the data, and the list of bodies that can see it includes not just the police and intelligence services, but government departments, revenue and customs officials and even the Food Standards Agency. “My worry is partly about their access,” Huppert said. “But it’s much more deeply about the prospects for either hacking or people selling information on.”

Even worse, the new law also makes official — and legal — British spies’ ability to hack into devices and harvest vast amounts of bulk online data, much of it from outside the U.K. In doing so, it both acknowledges and sets limits on the secretive mass-snooping schemes exposed by Edward Snowden.

* * *

Which government agencies have access to the internet history of any British citizen? Here is the answer courtesy of blogger Chris Yuo, who has compiled the list:

  • Metropolitan police force
  • City of London police force
  • Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996
  • Police Service of Scotland
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • British Transport Police
  • Ministry of Defence Police
  • Royal Navy Police
  • Royal Military Police
  • Royal Air Force Police
  • Security Service
  • Secret Intelligence Service
  • GCHQ
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Department of Health
  • Home Office
  • Ministry of Justice
  • National Crime Agency
  • HM Revenue & Customs
  • Department for Transport
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services
  • Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service
  • Competition and Markets Authority
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • Department for Communities in Northern Ireland
  • Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
  • Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
  • Financial Conduct Authority
  • Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Food Standards Scotland
  • Gambling Commission
  • Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Independent Police Complaints Commissioner
  • Information Commissioner
  • NHS Business Services Authority
  • Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust
  • Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board
  • Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation
  • Office of Communications
  • Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
  • Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
  • Scottish Ambulance Service Board
  • Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust

In other words, everyone.

* * *

While privacy groups unsucessfully battled to stop the new legislation, and now will challenge it in court, public opposition has been largely muted in part because the bill’s passage has been overshadowed by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the scandalous upheaval that has followed.

How did that old saying go… “don’t let a crisis go to waste.” Well, the UK is now independent from Europe, and in the process its population quietly lost all of its internet privacy.

Renate Samson, chief executive of the group Big Brother Watch, said it would take time for the full implications of the law to become clear to the public.

“We now live in a digital world. We are digital citizens,” Samson said. “We have no choice about whether or not we engage online. This bill has fundamentally changed how we are able to privately and securely communicate with one another, communicate with business, communicate with government and live an online life. And that’s a real, profound concern.”

It remains to be seen if the UK’s citizens will be able overturn the law once it does become clear to the public what has just happened.

By: Tyler Durden

Doctor At Standing Rock: “People Had Sheets of Ice Hanging Off Them” After Police Tried To Murder DAPL Protesters By Giving Them Hypothermia.

doctor-at-standing-rock-people-had-sheets-of-ice-hanging-off-them-after-police-tried-to-murder-dapl-protesters-by-giving-them-hypothermia-01

A few Seattle doctors returned this week from a rotation in Standing Rock, North Dakota. That’s where an estimated 2,000 protesters are demonstrating against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. We talked with one doctor, who was part of triage team as the standoff escalated Sunday night.

Dr. Robie Sterling finished his residency at Swedish Medical Center a few months ago. Not long after, he traveled to North Dakota with two other doctors from Swedish.

But he was alone in the medic tent when the radio call came in Sunday evening. There was a confrontation happening at the front line.

Sterling: “Police were starting to shoot the rubber bullets.”

Police also used water sprays and tear gas.

It was dark, below freezing, and injured people started to pour in.

Sterling: “The initial ones were nearly all head shots. Pretty much everyone had a concussion. Some of them had lacerations to the head. One woman had an eye injury.”

Sterling says the camp had just started to prepare for incidents like this, but they were far from ready.

Physicians and volunteers worked through the night as protesters and police clashed.  Camp organizers estimate more than 200 were injured, and at least 17 hospitalized.

Sterling says people arrived with sheets of ice hanging off them. They were treated for hypothermia.

Some were crying, others in disbelief. Sterling says images of that night will stay with him.

Sterling: “Seeing that degree of violence inflicted upon unarmed Americans who are exercising their freedom of speech was really shocking. And that it was done by police officers was all the more appalling. So that’s what’s been on my mind most since coming back.”

Opponents of the pipeline fear it will harm drinking water and Native American cultural sites. The developer disputes that and says the pipeline will be safe.

Sterling says he and his colleagues may return to Standing Rock later this winter. But he’s hopeful a solution can still be reached before President Barack Obama leaves office.

Google Is Funding a “Ministry of Truth” With Corporate Media Outlets Known for Deadly Deception.

While establishment Democrats trumpet all sorts of excuses for Hillary’s loss, few are willing to admit that she represented the alliance of bureaucratic corruption and corporate greed people are sick of.

There is no solace in the prospect of Donald Trump using big government to carry out his “law and order” pledge – ramping up domestic surveillance, increasing the militarization of police, undoing modest efforts at reducing prison populations, and possibly even cracking down on legal cannabis.

Back to Clinton, the most insidious excuse being pushed by the establishment Left (consisting of party leaders and much of the mainstream media) is the so-called “fake news” trope.

No one denies that publishing articles about made-up events, and presenting that as real news, is a terrible thing, which unfortunately gets “shared” without people taking the responsibility of verifying information.

But the censorship crusade being carried out by MSM is about more than actual fake news.

It is a vehicle for silencing alternative media and dissenting voices that represent a threat to the narrative. The target is not just the “alt-right” but alternative news and views from a range of political categories.

MSM outlets such as NYMag, LA Times and the Independent immediately picked up on a list of “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources” produced by a university professor. Without providing reasoning or examples to back up the claim that this list should be taken seriously, it was held up as a blacklist to be avoided.

That may have been only the first salvo, as far greater plans are in the works, represented by something called the First Draft Coalition.

Funded by Google News Lab, this coalition of “over thirty major news and technology organisations” aims to “tackle issues of trust and truth in reporting information that emerges online.” Notable members include the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and BBC.

They have anointed themselves as a sort of Ministry of Truth, as Robert Parry describes in his examination of the “fake news” subject

“So, who are the “responsible” journalists who should be anointed to regulate what the world’s public gets to see and hear? For that Orwellian task, a kind of Ministry of Truth has been set up by Google, called the First Draft Coalition, which touts itself as a collection of 30 major news and technology companies, including the Times and Post, tackling “fake news” and creating a platform to decide which stories are questionable and which ones aren’t.”

However, these self-appointed deciders have their own dubious history with accuracy in journalism.

We recently reported on five campaigns of deception that mainstream media have happily marched along with, resulting in the suffering of millions and the whitewashing of American foreign policy. The New York Times and Washington Post were particularly irresponsible with their reporting of falsities on nuclear weapons and WMD in Iraq.

They have long pushed the narrative for the foreign policy establishment, from ignoring the Iran-Contra scandal to providing cover for U.S. machinations in Syria. CNN silenced their own reporter who found evidence of human rights abuses being carried out in Bahrain, a Middle East dictatorship that also happens to host the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet.

But the irony of the First Draft Coalition goes even further. One of the founders of First Draft Coalition – a “citizen journalism” site called Bellingcat – has published high-profile stories with false information, and, according to Parry, has a close association with NATO through the Atlantic Council.

“Despite Bellingcat’s checkered record and its conflicts of interest through the Atlantic Council, major Western news outlets, including the Times and Post, have embraced Bellingcat, apparently because its articles always seem to mesh neatly with U.S. and European propaganda on Syria and Ukraine.

Two of Bellingcat’s (or its founder Eliot Higgins’s) biggest errors were misplacing the firing location of the suspected Syrian rocket carrying sarin gas on Aug. 21, 2013, and directing an Australian news crew to the wrong site for the so-called getaway Buk video after the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

But like many news outlets that support establishment “group thinks,” Bellingcat wins widespread praise and official endorsements, such as from the international MH-17 investigation that was largely controlled by Ukraine’s unsavory intelligence agency, the SBU and that accepted Bellingcat’s dubious MH-17 evidence blaming the Russians.”

Parry believes that if this “Ministry of Truth” called the First Draft Coalition existed during Iran-Contra and the Iraq invasion, the voices of dissent that ultimately exposed government and MSM lies would have been quashed.

U.S. intervention in Syria and the nurturing of the Salafist sect that went on to become ISIS  — as well as the McCarthyist aggression against Russia — all could not have happened without the support of Washington think-tanks and MSM cheerleaders toeing the government line.

So it comes back around to the problem of who gets to decide what constitutes “fake news”? How can establishment outlets – who have purveyed a fake narrative of U.S. foreign policy that hides a truly subversive, hegemonic and war-making nature – be trusted to tell us what is real?

There are undoubtedly great journalists among the members of the First Draft Coalition, who brave dangerous parts of the world and the gauntlet of political retribution to bring us valuable information. It’s the overarching agenda of establishment media, acting as Praetorian Guard for Washington’s political elite, that has become so obvious and so troubling.

“While it’s undeniable that some false or dubious stories get pushed during the heat of a political campaign and in wartime – and journalists have a role in fact-checking as best they can – there is potentially a greater danger when media insiders arrogate to themselves the power to dismiss contrary evidence as unacceptable, especially given their own history of publishing stories that turned out to be dubious if not entirely false.

It’s even more dangerous when these self-appointed arbiters of truth combine forces with powerful Internet search engines and social media companies to essentially silence dissenting opinions and contrary facts by making them very difficult for the public to locate.”

Alternative media represent a choice for people who are fed up with the system, and it is the people’s responsibility to research the news in order to achieve an accurate perspective on events. It is not up to a self-proclaimed “Ministry of Truth” – laden with the same corrupt baggage that acted as proverbial bouy for Hillary Clinton during the campaign – to dictate what is right and wrong.

By:

Police fire water cannon at Dakota pipeline protesters in freezing weather.

Police use a water cannon on protesters during a protest near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Police use a water cannon on protesters during a protest near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Police fired tear gas and water at hundreds of protesters in the freezing North Dakota weather late Sunday and early Monday, in the latest violent clash over a pipeline project running through the state.

An estimated 400 protesters mounted the Backwater Bridge just north of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and attempted to force their way past police in what the Morton County Sheriff’s Department described as an “ongoing riot.”

The $3.7 billion Dakota Access project has drawn steady opposition from activists since the summer, led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose tribal lands are adjacent to the pipeline. Native American activists and environmentalists say the line threatens water resources and sacred tribal lands.

A joint statement from several activist groups said protesters Sunday were trying to remove burned vehicles blocking Backwater Bridge in order to restore access to the nearby Standing Rock Sioux encampments so emergency services and local traffic can move freely.

Police fired volleys of tear gas at the protesters to prevent them from crossing the bridge. Law enforcement also fired rubber bullets and sprayed protesters with water in temperatures that reached as low as 18 Fahrenheit (minus 8 Celsius) overnight.

“It is below freezing right now and the Morton County Sheriff’s Department is using a water cannon on our people – that is an excessive and potentially deadly use of force,” said Dallas Goldtooth, a spokesman for the Indigenous Environmental Network, one of the organizations involved in protests.

Completion of the pipeline, set to run 1,172 miles (1,885 km) from North Dakota to Illinois, was delayed in September so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could re-examine permits that would allow construction under the Missouri River, near to the tribe’s lands.

The main company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP.N), is building the line to bring crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois en route to the Gulf Coast.

On an analyst call Monday to discuss ETP’s merger with its sister company Sunoco Logistics Partners LP (SXL.N), officials said they still expect final approval for the pipeline by the end of this year. Officials did not address the protests.

A statement from the sheriff’s’ department said one arrest had been made by 8:30 p.m. local time (0230 GMT Monday), about 2-1/2 hours after the incident began 45 miles (30 km) south of Bismarck, the North Dakota capital. About 100 to 200 protesters remained after midnight.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said officers on the scene of the latest confrontation were “describing protesters’ actions as very aggressive.”

Demonstrators tried to start about a dozen fires as they attempted to outflank and “attack” law enforcement barricades, the sheriff’s statement said. Police said protesters had hurled rocks and burning logs, striking one officer.

Dave Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said law enforcement is escalating the violence.

“They say these are non-lethal weapons, but a water cannon in freezing weather is lethal. Using concussion grenades with tear gas can be lethal,” he said.

The latest confrontation began Sunday evening, after protesters attempted to remove a truck that had been on the bridge since Oct. 27, police said.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation closed the Backwater Bridge, which crosses Cantapeta Creek north of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s camp, after vehicles were burned on Oct. 27. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had also asked Morton County law enforcement to prevent protesters from trespassing on federal land.

Supporters of the pipeline said the project offers the most direct route for taking shale oil from North Dakota to Gulf Coast refineries and would be safer than road or rail transportation.

The Army Corps of Engineers last week said they will need more consultations with Native American tribes, even though the Corps said they had followed all legal requirements for permitting.

President-elect Donald Trump has not commented specifically on Dakota Access, but he has in the past been supportive of pipeline development. Should a decision be delayed to his term, the pipeline could be approved.

By: Chris Michaud in New York and Stephanie Keith in Cannon Ball, North Dakota; Editing by David Gaffen and Lisa Shumaker