(TFC) – When Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, was asked about her family history, she knowingly pulled Canadians into the Russian scare craze that is currently permeating US politics. During a press conference Freeland was questioned about her maternal grandfather…
Aaron Swartz, a young and ingenious programmer and creator, as well as a passionate activist who believed that information was a currency that no one should be deprived of it. As a teenager he had co-created RSS and Reddit. He also became a tireless and endearing advocate for a number of connectivity and access related causes, he co-wrote the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto, which called for activists to “liberate” information locked up by corporations and publishers. Demand Progress was also co-founded by Swartz, an online advocacy group. He led a brilliant and short life, contributed such great acts of service for the public and has changed the world. Reshaping the Internet, questioning our understanding and assumptions of intellectual property, and creating many of the tools we use in our daily online lives. On January 11,2017 it will be four years since he took his own life. He was 26.
Swartz had been an extremely effective organizer, and a fierce proponent of the open access movement. He viewed big money, both private and corporate, as the corrupting influence on institutions and centralization of power structures. The US government introduced its SOPA Bill on October 26, 2011. Essentially an “anti-piracy” bill which would have given content owners (read studios and publishing houses) extraordinary powers to shut down sites that they would have copyright claims against – these actions would be enabled without a single court appearance. Demand Progress launched the campaign to fight the SOPA bill. Garnering huge support, a coordinated protest and public education campaign was designed and implemented. Scores of Internet websites participated in the formal protest, temporarily closing and shutting down their sites or redirecting users to a message opposing the legislation. The blackout protest against SOPA, also with physical protests in major cities, was a massive success and the bill failed.
While many lament on Anonymous being ineffective, offensive, and out of control and/or ineffective, there does remain many successes that Anonymous has been attributed to. Some in fact are solely as a result of Anons and their on and offline effects. Partly for the Lulz and partly for the protest, the Anons who worked against the Church of Scientology gave way to new range of exploitive and innovative attacks on organizations and entities that are seen to be oppressive and in violation of human rights. It also propelled the movement of Anonymous to the public eye and garnered more recruits and members as a result.
The Church of Scientology has lost huge influence and is highly restricted in its ability to affect defectors and whistleblowers. Once the organization held so much power in this regard that defectors had their lives shattered and their reputations maligned so severely that the Scientology Church operated with impunity and suffered little to no recourse. The Church had been so skillful and manipulative that its members would be subjected to infinite levels of a cacophony of programming and social manipulation; one ex-member described it as “…a slow train of mind control”. (Perhaps not unlike what we experience in our day-to-day exposure to nationalist and capitalist propaganda)
The conviction of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody being found guilty of a manufactured terror plot by the RCMP was shown in the BC Supreme Courts decision by tossing the prosecution from court. This decision is historic in Canada and in North America; here we see Canada’s Anti-Terror strategy being found guilty, not the suspects.
The common law couple, Nuttall and Korody, is free now after the court ruled that they were entrapped by the RCMP. Justice Catherine Bruce said the police used “trickery” and “subterfuge” to coerce and manipulate Nuttall and Korody, via the RCMP plan, into planting and blowing up pressure cooker bombs at the BC Legislature on Canada Day in 2013.
The highlight of Bruce’s conclusion was this: “… the world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people who have neither the capacity nor sufficient motivation to do it themselves.”
Canadians in Montreal stand against exploitation and government handouts to the wealthy at a public cost of austerity.