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    PRESS RELEASE: You Are Not A Loan

    By Occupy Boston Strike Debt

    Saturday April 6th, 2013 2-5pm Upstairs at The Middle East, 472 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA, Central Square.

    FREE ADMISSION and Refreshments provided.

    Debt is a tie that binds the 99%. Occupy Boston Strike Debt present an afternoon of music, food, serious discussion and strategic resistance around the growing student debt bubble. New York Strike Debt spearheaded The Rolling Jubilee and so far has bought and paid off over $1 million in medical debt as a new tactic for emancipation of citizens from debt peonage. Boston Strike Debt joins New York Strike Debt and Oakland Strike Debt to actualize realistic approaches to fighting and eliminating debt.

    Rick Berlin and A Few Nickels and Dimes and Licious featuring Kelsey Brown will provide entertainment along with DJ Ultratumba.

    Professor Dan Clawson of the University of Massachusetts Sociology Dept and co-author of The Future of Higher Education will present on the growing student debt crisis. Join us for activism, music, community collaboration and solid solutions to student loan debt. Together we can break the shackles of debt. You Are Not A Loan.

    If you would like more information about this event or to schedule an interview please contact strikedebt@occupyboston.org.

    NLG Fundraiser – Friday March 15th

    Dear NLG Friends,

    I hope you all will be able to join us this coming Friday for a game of billiard and a reception to raise funds for the NLG Mass Defense Committee. For decades, the Committee has been providing essential services to Massachusetts activists – training in civil disobedience and legal observing, serving as Legal Observers, and representing those arrested at protests – and in order to maintain these services we need to obtain proper funding.

    Friday, March 15, 2013
    6:00 – 9:00 pm
    Jillian’s, 145 Ipswich St. Boston

    If you are interested in sponsoring the event ($99 or more) please contact me at 617-227-7335. We appreciate all support you can offer.

    All the best.
    Urszula

    Battle to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline Comes to New England

    by CASEJ

    Youth Climate Activists Arrested for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at TransCanada Office in Massachusetts

    Westborough, MA- Eight youth climate activists staged a sit-in today at the TransCanada Corporation’s office in Westborough, MA to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. The students locked themselves to one another in opposition to a corporation whose business plan promises to “lock us into climate disaster.”

    The youth activists who organized the sit-in are current students or graduates of several New England universities including Brandeis, Boston University, Harvard, Tufts, and the University of New Hampshire. The group, ranging in age from 20-22, locked down with chains, locks and superglue in the Westborough office in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. They describe themselves online as the “representatives of a desperate generation who have been forced [into civil disobedience] by the reckless and immoral behavior of fossil fuel corporations such as TransCanada.”

    The Westborough sit-in is part of a nationwide week of action against Keystone XL, including a large scale action today in Houston. The week was coordinated by activists from the Texas-based Tar Sands Blockade, a group that has been staging direct action for five months to prevent construction of the southern leg of the pipeline. The fight to stop Keystone XL first entered the national spotlight with a mass civil disobedience protest in August 2011, the largest of its kind in decades, coordinated by 350.org. Tar sands oil has also become a flashpoint for the Canadian climate movement, where First Nations communities, politicians, and citizens have united to block the Northern Gateway pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil to the coast of British Columbia for export.

    This week’s protests also foreshadow a cascade of actions planned against the tar sands for early 2013. A coalition of activists known as Tar Sands Free Northeast are preparing for actions on January 23rd and 26th to block a plan to transport tar sands oil through New England. Canadian activists with the Idle No More movement have protested the Keystone XL pipeline while 350.org has announced a 20,000 person rally against KXL to be held on February 17th at the White House.

    “The scientific and economic arguments against the Keystone XL pipeline are clear,” said Emily Edgerly, a sophomore studying at Tufts University. “The International Energy Agency reported in 2011 that constructing new fossil fuel infrastructure is locking us into irreversible global warming, which will have devastating impacts on our economy and our lives. We urgently need to be putting our society’s resources into building infrastructure that supports safe and renewable energy sources. We hope our peaceful civil disobedience today will add momentum to the increasingly powerful global movement to solve the climate crisis.”

    “The activities of corporations like TransCanada threaten the future of my entire generation,” said Benjamin Trolio, a senior studying at the University of New Hampshire. “We need our political leaders to do their job by standing up for us and taking action to solve the climate crisis. They can start by drawing a clear line in the sand and stopping the Keystone XL pipeline.”

    The Keystone XL pipeline is an export pipeline proposed by TransCanada to carry tar sands oil from northern Alberta across the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline has been the subject of intense national controversy since its proposal in 2008. It has been widely protested for the risks it poses to the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies drinking water for 2 million people, as well as for its potential to dramatically worsen global warming by facilitating the extraction and burning of the tar sands.

    CASEJ’s blog has several more articles about the Westborough activists.

    Rally in support of PFC. Bradley Manning

    Press Release-For Immediate Release

    Contact: Al Johnson-Event Coordinator at 781-891-0377 or email: alfrcdjohnson34@comcast.net Or Pat Scanlon – VFP Coordinator at: 978-590-4248 or email: PatScanlonMusic@yahoo.com

    Rally in support of PFC. Bradley Manning
    September 6th 3:00 pm
    Obama Campaign Headquarters
    77 Summer Street, Boston

    The Boston Smedley Butler Brigade and North Shore Samantha Smith Chapter- Veterans for Peace, the Boston Bradley Manning Support Network , Somerville Manning Square Committee, Boston United Anti-War Coalition, United for Peace with Justice and other social activists and concerned citizens support the call by the National Bradley Manning Support Network and others to rally nationwide at local Obama headquarters on Thursday September 6, 2012, the day President Obama is scheduled to accept the Democratic Party nomination for president. We call upon President Obama to use his constitutional authority and immediately pardon Army Private First Class Bradley Manning.

    The rally will take place at the Downtown Boston Obama Headquarters at 77 Summer Street (on the Downtown Crossing stop on the Red Line and Orange Line) starting at 2:00 PM

    Since Army PFC Bradley Manning’s arrest in May 2010 for allegedly sharing the “Collateral Murder” video and other evidence of war crimes and government corruption with the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, progressives and human rights activists have been asking, “Why isn’t President Obama stepping in to help Bradley?” After all, it was President Obama who in May 2011 declared with regards to protests in the Middle East, “In the 21st Century, information is power; the truth cannot be hidden; and the legiti­macy of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens.”

    “As Veterans of many wars, Veterans For Peace stand with Bradley Manning” stated Al Johnson, a member of Veterans For Peace and the organizer for today’s rally. “Bradley Manning has spent over two years hi jail for releasing information that exposed the secrecy of our foreign policy. Bradley Manning is a soldier of conscience, a hero to many, a whistle blower who saw a wrong, possibly war crimes and exposed the truth. We call on President Obama to immediately pardon Bradley Manning”.

    The Smedley D. Butler Brigade Chapter 9 of Veterans For Peace was established in the mid-1980s and includes more than 200 Veterans from the Boston area. The local chapter is part of the national Veterans For Peace and is named in honor of Marine Gen. Smedley D. Butler, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history, who turned against war and famously said “War is a Racket. A few profit, the many pay.”

    The website of the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of Veterans For Peace is www.SmedleyVFP.org. The national Veterans For Peace website is www.VeteransForPeace.org.

    Additional Information

    Support Rally for PFC Bradley Manning – September 6, 2012 – 2:00 PM Obama’s Campaign Headquarters, 77 Summer Street, Boston, MA

    On Thursday, August 16, US military veterans in Portland OR, Oakland CA, and Los An­geles CA, occupied Obama 2012 campaign offices and faxed a letter of demands to the Obama campaign’s central office. Those letters began:

    As those who have spent years serving our country, we have faith that as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama will do the right thing in answering our request.

    The letter went on to list the following demands:

    That President Obama retract and apologize for remarks made in April 2011, in which he said Bradley Manning “broke the law.” Because President Obama is commander-in-chief, this constitutes unlawful command influence, violating Article 37 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and prevents Bradley from receiving a fair trial.

    That President Obama pardon the accused whistle-blower, taking into consideration his 800 days of pretrial confinement. UN torture chief Juan Mendez called Manning’s treat­ment “cruel and inhuman,” as it included nine months of solitary confinement at Quantico despite Brig psychiatrists recommending relaxed conditions.

    The Bradley Manning Support Network maintains hope that justice will prevail and that President Obama can be the vehicle of change on this issue, but first he needs to hear loud and clear from veterans and civilians across the country that the American people want amends for the unlawful torture of Bradley Manning, and believe he should be freed.

    Organizers of the August 16 West Coast actions are now urging others to join them in a nationwide effort to hold actions at many more local Obama campaign offices on Septem­ber 6th, the day of candidate’s nomination acceptance speech. We want to share messages of support for Bradley with Obama campaign offices from coast to coast…

    Please contact emma@bradleymanning.org for more information about attending and/or organizing an event.

    Take Action on CISPA: Criminal Internet Spying on People Act

    On April 26th 2012, the US House of representatives voted on HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) [1].  The entire Massachusetts congressional delegation voted against CISPA, but it still passed the house by a vote of 248 – 168 [2].  In the coming weeks, CISPA (or similar cybersecurity legislation) will likely come up for a vote in the Senate, so it is imperative that we contact our Senators and ask them to vote against this overreaching surveillance bill.  Here’s why: CISPA would legalize an oppressive degree of domestic surveillance with no accountability or democratic oversight.

    (1) CISPA relies on an oppressive degree of surveillance.

    CISPA invites private industry to a government-sponsored fishing expedition.  Sections (b)(1)(A)(i) and (b)(1)(B)(i), allow “cyber security providers” and “self-protected entities” to “…use cyber security systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information”.  This means that any business can eavesdrop, collect the contents of your communications, analyze who you’re talking with and what you’re saying, and turn that information over to the government, without a warrant — as long as they claim they are doing it in the spirit of cyber security.   Currently, laws such as the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act prevent companies from monitoring your private communications [4].  Would you feel comfortable if the post office opened all of your letters, photocopied them, and shared that information with the government?  Of course not!  But that is exactly what CISPA would do with your electronic communications.

    CISPA places no limits on who’s data can be collected, or how long that data can be retained.  We’re not talking about spying on terrorists or foreign countries.  We’re talking about spying on everyone in the United States, and on people around the world who rely on US Internet companies for communication. You don’t need to be guilty, and you don’t need to suspected of a crime.  All you need to do is use the Internet.

    In terms of the types of data being collected, some limits are described in the bill (such as library circulation records and tax return records) but the vast majority of online data exchanges are fair game for collecting. And further, since language is included which shields the spying activity from public oversight, it would be virtually impossible to verify if any limits to data collection were actually being respected.

    (2) CISPA creates an environment with no accountability or democratic oversight.

    The legislation spells out this lack of accountability quite clearly:

    • Section (b)(3)(C) declares shared cyber threat information exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Not only is the government planning on spying on us, they have no plans to let us know about it either.  If an Internet service provider voluntarily turns over “cyber threat information” to the federal government, then the American people have the right to know that this disclosure occurred.
    • Section (b)(3)(D) exempts disclosure under state, local, or tribal laws;
    • section (b)(4) exempts collectors of cyber threat information from criminal liability; and
    • section (d)(1)(A) limits the liability for violations of restrictions on the disclosure, use, and protection of shared information to the amount of $1,000 (which is not sufficient to serve as a deterrent).  So even if you can prove the government or “cyber security providers” have violated the meager restrictions laid out in CISPA, you can only win $1,000.  It’s almost as if the government is saying, “We don’t want you to sue us, so let’s make sure it’s not worthwhile to take us to court”.


    CISPA goes beyond dragnet surveillance of Internet communications;  CISPA keeps the American people in the dark about how their information is being collected and used.  Furthermore, CISPA provides little recourse to anyone harmed by the collection and sharing of their personal information.  This is a Big Brother, Big Surveillance bill, and it’s only purpose is to chip away at privacy and personal freedom.  The legislation might as well be called the “You Too Can Be a J. Edgar Hoover Cyber Surveillance Act”.

    (3) Conclusion

    The U.S. Constitution guaranteed, “The  right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and  effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be  violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,  supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place  to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Bush-Cheney administration mounted an ambitious attack on this constitutional protection in their pursuit of the power to spy on the domestic population. The Obama administration’s Justice Department has demonstrated the same interest in surveillance and secrecy.

    Access to the private communications of U.S. citizens has been used in the past on numerous occasions by federal law enforcement to intimidate and suppress people engaged in lawful expressions of dissent.  This is particularly distressing for Occupy and other grassroots movements, but legalizing domestic spying on a massive scale, with no oversight of this enormous secret operation by the government should be viewed with alarm and rejected by everyone who uses the Internet.  It’s imperative for Occupy, and the future of secure online activism, that this bill not proceed.  Contacting your senators [3] and insuring they vote ‘no’ is one way to help.

    Tell them “Vote ‘No’ on the CISPA domestic spying bill!”

    [1] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?c112:./temp/~c112gZKN9e

    [2] http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll192.xml

    [3] http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

    [4] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/04/cybersecurity-bill-faq-disturbing-privacy-dangers-cispa-and-how-you-stop-it

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