“Only a uniform shield law covering the whole Commonwealth is acceptable,” WLP spokespersons Cassie Findlay and Sam Castro said. “Government agencies, at federal, state and local level, are increasingly gaining powers to obtain information about individual citizens.”The proposed law is the WLP’s first major policy announcement since it was formed as part of WikiLeaks founder Assange’s bid to become an Australian senator in the September 2013 elections in Victoria State.The WLP plans to compete for Senate seats in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia in the September 14 election, with Assange running for one of the six Senate seats being contested in Victoria. Findlay and Castro explained that journalists need to have an “unhindered access” to their sources so they could expose corruption, waste and incompetence. “Uniform shield laws legislated by federal parliament are the answer. That is what we stand for and that is what we will fight for if elected. Effective national shield laws go hand-in-hand with uniform whistle-blower laws, particularly covering media disclosures,” the spokespersons added.The move is WLP’s challenge to proposed federal whistleblower laws, which they say fail to protect those who expose corruption or government crimes: “The proposed laws are not only unsatisfactory, they are a clumsy attempt by the major parties to protect themselves from embarrassing scrutiny.”In March 2011, the Australian Senate introduced federal shield laws that recognize circumstances in which journalists do not have to reveal their sources. However, they do not apply to public service whistleblowers, the Australian reported. Court suppression order against whistleblowers have continued after the laws were adopted, mainly in Victoria State, where 270 orders were issued last year.The WikiLeaks Party submitted its registration to the Australian Electoral Commission in April and has secured over 1,000 fee-paying members, more than double the 500 members required for registration.Assange, who has been holed up in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy since June 2012, is preparing for a tough remote campaign. If elected Australian Senator, Assange still might not be physically present at the Australian Senate if he remains trapped in the embassy. Assange’s running mate could sit in for the WikiLeaks founder if he wins the race but is unable to leave the embassy, where he claimed asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations.British authorities have vowed to detain him if he sets foot outside of the embassy, in light of the European Arrest Warrant issued against him.The founder of the whistleblowing website believes that once extradited to Sweden, he could then be re-extradited to the United States, where according to his lawyers he is likely to face trial and possibly even the death penalty for WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables. …
Yesterday President Obama announced Michael Froman as his new U.S. Trade Representative.
Froman will be tasked with protecting U.S. trade interests around the globe and informing other countries on how to improve their copyright enforcement initiatives.
“He does not rest until he’s delivered the best possible deal for American businesses and American workers. He’s fought to make sure that countries that break the rules are held accountable,” the President said in his speech.
However, the U.S. itself hasn’t been playing by the rules either. In fact, one of the issues the new Trade Representative will have to deal with is the lingering dispute with Antigua and Barbuda. The U.S. refuses to lift a trade “blockade” preventing the Caribbean island from offering Internet gambling services, despite several WTO decisions in Antigua’s favor.
Earlier this year TorrentFreak broke the news that the WTO had granted Antigua the right to suspend U.S. copyrights and launch a “piracy site.” The money generated by such a site would compensate the country for some of the losses suffered due to U.S. actions.
Since the initial announcement a lot of progress has been made behind the scenes and a source close to the Government of Antigua informed us this week that they will soon start accepting bids for the new media platform.
One of the potential partners that has been suggested is none other than The Pirate Bay. The world’s largest file-sharing site has plenty of experience with online media distribution and its owners are unlikely to succumb to the inevitable pressure from the U.S. Government.
Antigua’s attorney Mark Mendel confirmed to TorrentFreak that the Government is likely to soon start a process to solicit bids to operate whatever platform the Government determines to put in place. However, he didn’t want to speculate on any of the parties that could collaborate.
Mendel did emphasize that whatever Antigua ultimately choose to do, it will respect the copyrights of non-U.S. owners.
“Whichever vendor is selected in the process, be it The Pirate Bay or any other company, it would be involved in a dialogue with the Government and a partnership that will be strictly supervides to make sure that the operation is conducted in accordance with the WTO rulings,” Mendel says.
The above means that The Pirate Bay would have to develop a separate service for Antigua. This service could be advertising supported, levy a charge per download, or operate on a subscription base. The advertising model would be an interesting option as that revenue would not be bound to the $21 million cap defined by the WTO.
A Pirate Bay insider informed us that they are considering their participation and are looking forward to working out the details for an eventual bid. “The Pirate Bay would definitely love help out,” TorrentFreak was told.
Thus far official negotiations haven’t been initiated, but the unusual collaboration could prove to be an interesting one for both sides.
Antigua of course knows very well that having The Pirate Bay on board will raise the visibility of the project. The Pirate Bay on the other hand never likes to waste an opportunity to mock the U.S. copyright monopolies.
“I think this would be a great opportunity to finally launch The Freedom Bay,” The Pirate Bay says.
Source: Pirate Bay and Antigua Explore Launch of Authorized “Pirate Site”
In a late-breaking story over the weekend, Sen. Chuck Scheamer (Communist-NY) announced the latest addition to his gun control …
Hours after his Republican colleagues in the
called for Pres. Obama to crack down on ;legal marijuana in
Colorado and Washington, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Cali.) introduced
H.R. 1523, ;a bill that would immunize from federal prosecution
“individual marijuana consumers [as well as] medical and
non-medical marijuana businesses operating in states in which they
are legal,” according to a Marijuana Policy Project
“This bipartisan bill represents a common-sense approach that
establishes federal government respect for all states’ marijuana
laws,” MPP quotes Rohrabacher as saying. “It does so by keeping the
federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana
activities in states that don’t want it to be criminal.”
The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act is co-sponsored by Reps.
Justin Amash (R-MI), Don Young (R-AK), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR),
Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Jared Polis (D-CO). ; …
According to an official, speaking to AP, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has expressed concern that performing any tests at present could be misconstrued and lead to an escalation of the situation with North Korea. He therefore, decided to postpone the Minuteman 3 missile test until next month, the official said on Friday – although the test itself bears no connection to the ongoing military exercises between South Korea and the US around the Korean Peninsula. Some of the latest developments in the current escalation of war rhetoric between the United States and North Korea have included Pyongyang declaring that it now has final approval for a nuclear strike on US bases in the Pacific and in South Korea. The announcement earlier this week came on the heels of the US deploying its F-22 fighter jets and a ‘USS Fitzgerald’ destroyer into the region. Tensions are now higher than they have been at any moment during this latest standoff, which followed Pyongyang’s third mid-range missile test in February, provoking international condemnation and a fresh round of UN Security Council sanctions. …
The Foreign Ministry of North Korea on Friday has “proposed that the Russian side consider the issue of evacuating the embassy staff in connection with the increasingly tense situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the spokesman of the Russian Embassy to the DPRK Denis Samsonov told RT.The Russian side “is examining the suggestion,” but the embassy is working normally and there’s no sign of tension in Pyongyang, Samsonov said.The notification was sent to all foreign embassies and diplomatic missions in Pyongyang, and, according to Xinhua news agency, explained the deteriorating situation by “the increasing threat from the United States.”“The current question was not whether, but when a war would break out on the peninsula,” Xinhua cited the North Korean document.The British Embassy in Pyongyang has received a communication saying that the North Korean government “would be unable to guarantee the safety of embassies and international organizations in the country in the event of conflict from April 10,” according to a UK Foreign Office spokesman.Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia was in “close contact” with the United States, China, South Korea and Japan in connection with the unexpected announcement, which came shortly after Pyongyang threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the US.Russia is “very concerned about increasing tension in the region,” although it is still “in verbal form,” Lavrov told RT. Moscow is now trying to shed the light on the motives behind the North Korean proposal.The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday called for all sides to refrain from “war hysteria,” and stressed there’s “no alternative other than political and diplomatic solution” for the Korean crisis.Diplomats are set to meet Saturday in Pyongyang to discuss North Korea’s proposal and possibly work out a joint plan. So far none of the foreign missions, including the UN staffers, are reported to be preparing to evacuate.Meanwhile, in Cuba, Fidel Castro said the situation in the Korean peninsula is “unbelievable and absurd” in an article published on Friday, also calling it the most serious risk of a nuclear war since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.Should a war break out, it would affect more than 70 per cent of the planet’s population, Castro noted. The people on both sides on the peninsula would suffer “terrible loss without any gains whatsoever” and the US President Barack Obama’s second term “would be buried in a deluge of images that would portray him as the most sinister personality in the history of the United States,” the former Cuban president stressed.South Korean media said that North Korea moved another medium-range missile to its east coast on Friday. Earlier this week, the US announced it was strengthening missile defense system to its base on the Pacific Ocean island of Guam in response to the North Korean missile deployment.Nevertheless, the South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin called the possibility of a full-scale provocation from Pyongyang “small” and the threats “rhetorical.” …
NIH to Spend $2 Million Studying the Negative Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado and Washington
According to a grant outline
posted on its website, the National Institutes for Health and the
National Institute for Drug Abuse are offering $2 million to
researchers who want to study the negative impacts of marijuana
legalization in Colorado and Washington. ;
“In November 2012, voters passed ballot initiatives in the
states of Washington and Colorado to legalize marijuana for adult
recreational use,” reads the “funding opportunity” at NIH.gov. “We
know little about the impact this shifting marijuana policy
environment has had or will have on epidemiology, prevention and
treatment of substance use, misuse, and related health outcomes
such as HIV and other risk behavior (i.e. drugged driving).”
If the posting’s suggested research topics are any indication,
NIDA–which considers any and all marijuana use to be “abuse”–is
only interested in studying negative ramifications of
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) encourages
administrative supplements to research that will inform social,
behavioral, and public health impacts of marijuana legalization
laws/policies. This Funding Opportunity Announcement will support
projects with the ability to harness these “quasi-natural
experiments” currently underway in the United States to ascertain
the effects of these recent changes. Research topics may
include but are not limited to: Health outcomes
(i.e. respiratory illness, learning and memory, psychiatric
symptoms, etc.); Risk behaviors (i.e. drugged driving, sexual/HIV
risk behavior); Educational attainment; Crime and
delinquency; Moderation of prevention intervention
outcomes; Changes in state prevention policies. ; Secondary
data applications which utilize national or state level
longitudinal or panel data are highly encouraged.
Bolding mine. The NIH and NIDA will
begin accepting applications on April 30. ;
H/T Tom Angell of
Marijuana Majority. ; …