Category: Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands


 

Historic! Feds Forced to Surrender to American Citizens

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 Liberty Blitzkrieg

Why the Standoff at the Bundy Ranch is a Very Big Deal

If you haven’t been following the unfolding drama at the Bundy Ranch about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas you need to start now. The escalating confrontation between irate local residents and federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has the potential to take a very dangerous turn for the worse at any moment, as hundreds of militia members from states across the country are expected to descend upon the area and make a stand with 67-year-old Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

Before I get into any sort of analysis about what this means within the bigger picture of American politics and society, we need a little background on the situation. The saga itself has been ongoing for two decades and the issue at hand is whether or not Mr. Bundy can graze his 900 head of cattle on a particular section of public lands in Clark County. Cliven Bundy has been ordered to stop on environmental grounds to protect the desert tortoise, but he has stood his ground time and time again. As a result, the feds have now entered the area and are impounding his cattle. According to CNN, Between Saturday and Wednesday, contracted wranglers impounded a total of 352 cattle. The Bundy family, as well as a variety of local residents have already had confrontations with the BLM agents. Tasers have been used and some minor injuries reported. Most significantly, militia members from across the country have already descended upon the area and it seems possible that hundreds may ultimately make it down there.

To me, the argument of who is right and who is wrong in this situation is the least interesting part of the story. I have noted time and time again that the feds are becoming increasingly out of control and belligerent to American citizens. We know the stories (think Aaron Swartz) and we know the overall trend. However, the reason the Bundy Ranch confrontation is so interesting, is that for whatever reason this particular incident seems to be striking a chord of dissent. It is often times the most random, unforeseen and innocuous things that spark social/political movements. This standoff has it all.

…..This picture basically says it all:

Bundy ranch

 

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The Truth About the Nevada Rancher’s Standoff

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Nevada Cattle Rancher Wins ‘Range War’ With Feds

PHOTO: Federal agents clash with armed protestors over a ranchers 20-year tax fight.

A Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters.

Cliven Bundy went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.

Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870 and threatened a “range war” against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.

“I have no contract with the United States government,” Bundy said. “I was paying grazing fees for management and that’s what BLM was supposed to be, land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay.”

The federal government had countered that Bundy “owes the American people in excess of $1 million ” in unpaid grazing fees and “refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so.”

However, today the BLM said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cattle and was pulling out of the area.

“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” BLM Director Neil Kornze said.

“We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner,” he said.

The roundup began April 5, following lengthy court proceedings dating back to 1993, federal officials said. Federal officers began impounding the first lot of cows last weekend, and Bundy responded by inviting supporters onto his land to protest the action.

“It’s not about cows, it’s about freedom,” Utah resident Yonna Winget told ABC News affiliate KTNV in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“People are getting tired of the federal government having unlimited power,” Bundy’s wife, Carol Bundy told ABC News.

 

Read More Here

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Screenshots  Of  FAA Records For No Fly Zone Over  The Bundy Ranch

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Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys  1 photo Federalagentsbackdowninstand-offwitharmedcowboys1_zpsaef4e7e9.png

Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys  3 photo Federalagentsbackdowninstand-offwitharmedcowboys3_zps3e63d363.png

Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys  2 photo Federalagentsbackdowninstand-offwitharmedcowboys2_zps8aff68c7.png

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Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys: BLM release cattle after they were surrounded by militia following agreement to stop targeting rancher in modern-day ‘range war’

  • Bureau of Land Management would not enforce court order to remove  cattle and was pulling out of the area
  • Politicians have compared the standoff to Tienanmen Square
  • The Bundy family says they’ve owned the 600,000 acres since 1870 but the Bureau of Land Management says they are illegally grazing
  • The dispute began in 1993 when land was reclassified as to federal property to protect a rare desert tortoise, the government claimed
  • Federal officers stormed the property this week with helicopters and snipers to back up about 200 armed agents
  • They have reportedly seized around 350 of Cliven Bundy’s 900 cattle
  • Cattle were handed back to rancher after tense standoff
  • Tensions escalated after private militias poured in to support the family

By Ryan Gorman and Dan Miller and Meghan Keneally and Jessica Jerreat

Hundreds of heavily armed militia members celebrated their victory over federal law enforcement officers on Saturday after they secured the release of Cliven Bundy’s captured cattle.

In an embarrassing climbdown, the Bureau of Land Management retreated from its high profile standoff with Bundy and his rag-tag bunch of anti-federalists after the BLM attempted to forcibly capture nearly 1,000 of his cattle.

The militia member showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals’ return to rancher Cliven Bundy. Some protesters were armed with handguns and rifles at the corrals and at an earlier nearby rally.

Victory: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Victory: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Thanks: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, on April 12, 2014

Thanks: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, on April 12, 2014

 

Bundy, 67, doesn’t recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. His Mormon family has operated a ranch since the 1870s near the small town of Bunkerville and the Utah and Arizona lines.

‘Good morning America, good morning world, isn’t it a beautiful day in Bunkerville?’ Bundy told a cheering crowd after his cattle were released, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A number of Bundy’s supporters, who included militia members from California, Idaho and other states, dressed in camouflage and carried rifles and sidearms. During the stand-off, some chanted ‘open that gate’ and ‘free the people.’

A man who identified himself as Scott, 43, said he had traveled from Idaho along with two fellow militia members to support Bundy.

‘If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere,’ said the man, dressed in camouflage pants and a black flak jacket crouched behind a concrete highway barrier, holding an AR-15 rifle. ‘I’m ready to pull the trigger if fired upon,’ Scott said.

Wild west: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management on Saturday

 

Fanatical: The edge of a Cliven Bundy supporter camp is shown near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

Fanatical: The edge of a Cliven Bundy supporter camp is shown near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands that are also home to imperiled animals such as the Mojave Desert tortoise.

Support: An armed civilian waits nearby in some bushes as the Bundy family and their supporters gather together under the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Support: An armed civilian waits nearby in some bushes as the Bundy family and their supporters gather together under the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

 

Land managers limited the Bundy herd to just 150 head on a land which the rancher claims has been in his family for more than 140 years.

The government also claims Bundy has ignored cancellation of his grazing leases and defied federal court orders to remove his cattle.

‘We won the battle,’ said Ammon Bundy, one of the rancher’s sons.

Hundreds of Bundy supporters, some heavily armed, had camped on the road leading to his ranch in a high desert spotted with sagebrush and mesquite trees.

Some held signs reading ‘Americans united against government thugs,’ while others were calling the rally the ‘Battle of Bunkerville,’ a reference to a American Revolutionary War battle of Bunker Hill in Boston.

The large crowd at one point blocked all traffic on Interstate 15. Later, as lanes opened up, motorists honked to support the demonstrators and gave them a thumbs-up sign.

Las Vegas Police Lt. Dan Zehnder said the showdown was resolved with no injuries and no violence. Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie was able to negotiate a resolution after talking with Bundy, he said.

The fight between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management widened into a debate about states’ rights and federal land-use policy.

Anti-federalist: Armed militia members stand guard on a hilltop overlooking a Clive Bundy supporter camp near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

Anti-federalist: Armed militia members stand guard on a hilltop overlooking a Clive Bundy supporter camp near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute that ultimately triggered the roundup dates to 1993, when the bureau cited concern for the federally protected tortoise in the region.

The bureau revoked Bundy’s grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded federal court orders to remove his animals.

Kornze’s announcement came after Bundy repeatedly promised to “do whatever it takes” to protect his property and after a string of raucous confrontations between his family members and supporters and federal agents during the weeklong operation.

Bundy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a statement praising the agency for its willingness to listen to the state’s concerns.

 

 

Victor: Rancher Cliven Bundy at his home in Bunkerville, after officials called off the government's roundup of cattle

Victor: Rancher Cliven Bundy at his home in Bunkerville, after officials called off the government’s roundup of cattle

 

And they're out: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management

And they’re out: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management

He earlier criticized the agency for creating “an atmosphere of intimidation” and trying to confine protesters to a fenced-in “First Amendment area” well away from the sprawling roundup area.

‘The safety of all individuals involved in this matter has been my highest priority,’ Sandoval said.

‘Given the circumstances, today’s outcome is the best we could have hoped for.’

Nevada’s congressional delegation urged the protesters to be calm and to leave the area.

‘The dispute is over, the BLM is leaving, but emotions and tensions are still near the boiling point, and we desperately need a peaceful conclusion to this conflict,’ U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said in a statement.

‘I urge all the people involved to please return to your homes and allow the BLM officers to collect their equipment and depart without interference.’

The 400 cows gathered during the roundup were short of the BLM’s goal of 900 cows that it says have been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 20 years.

The dispute less than 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas between rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had simmered for days.

Bundy had stopped paying fees for grazing his cattle on the government land and officials said he had ignored court orders.

Mission accomplished: Supporters of the Bundy family hang a sign on the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Mission accomplished: Supporters of the Bundy family hang a sign on the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands

 

Cowboys and patriots: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , Nev. while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management

Cowboys and patriots: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , Nev. while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management

 

Anti-government groups, right-wing politicians and gun-rights activists camped around Bundy’s ranch to support him, in a standoff that tapped into long-simmering anger in Nevada and other Western states, where vast tracts of land are owned and governed by federal agencies.

The bureau had called in a team of armed rangers to Nevada to seize the 1,000 head of cattle on Saturday but backed down in the interests of safety.

‘Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,’ the bureau’s director, Neil Kornze, said in a statement.

The protesters, who at the height of the standoff numbered about 1,000, met the news with applause. Then they quickly advanced on the metal pens where the cattle confiscated earlier in the week were being held.

After consultations with the rancher’s family, the bureau decided to release the cattle it had rounded up, and the crowd began to disperse.

‘This is what I prayed for,’ said Margaret Houston, one of Bundy’s sisters. ‘We are so proud of the American people for being here with us and standing with us.

No horsing around: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released from a corral

No horsing around: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released from a corral

 

Cheers: Protesters pump their fists as cowboys herd cattle that belongs to rancher Cliven Bundy

Cheers: Protesters pump their fists as cowboys herd cattle that belongs to rancher Cliven Bundy

 

Firepower: Protester Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge next to the Bureau of Land Management's base camp where seized cattle

Firepower: Protester Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge next to the Bureau of Land Management’s base camp where seized cattle

 

Victory speech: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, informing the public that the BLM has agreed to cease the roundup of his family's cattle

Victory speech: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, informing the public that the BLM has agreed to cease the roundup of his family’s cattle

 

In an interview prior to the bureau’s announcement, Bundy said he was impressed by the level of support he had received.

‘I’m excited that we are really fighting for our freedom. We’ve been losing it for a long time,’ Bundy said.

An official with an environmental group that had notified the government it would sue unless federal land managers sought to protect tortoises on the grazing allotment used by Bundy’s cattle expressed outrage at the end of the cattle roundup.

‘The sovereign militias are ruling the day,’ said Rob Mrowka, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. ‘Now that this precedent has been set and they’re emboldened by the government’s capitulation, what’s to stop them from applying the same tactics and threats elsewhere?’

Roger Taylor, retired district manager with the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, also said the agency’s decision to release the cattle will have repercussions.

‘The (agency) is going to be in a worse situation where they will have a much more difficult time getting those cattle off the land and getting Bundy in compliance with regulations,’ he said.

Deal: Cliven Bundy shakes hands with Sheiff Doug Gillespie on Saturday morning as the rancher comes to a deal to stop federal agents rounding up his cattle

Deal: Cliven Bundy shakes hands with Sheiff Doug Gillespie on Saturday morning as the rancher comes to a deal to stop federal agents rounding up his cattle

Show down: Ranchers on horseback and protesters gather at the BLM camp to try to claim back cattle the agency has already rounded up

Show down: Ranchers on horseback and protesters gather at the BLM camp to try to claim back cattle the agency has already rounded up

 

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Bundy Ranch Showdown! The Bigger Picture!

 

Published on Apr 12, 2014

 

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One Third of Uninsured Won’t Sign Up for Obamacare

The Fiscal Times

March 17, 2014

As the White House scrambles to get people signed up for health insurance before the March 31 deadline, many uninsured Americans say they are still planning to take their chances and remain without coverage.

A new study by Bankrate.com shows that about one third of uninsured Americans are going to remain without coverage and opt to pay the penalty.

The survey results suggest that the administration’s outreach to uninsured people may be falling short, with more than half of people without insurance unaware of the March 31 deadline—and even more unaware of subsidies that could make their policies more affordable.

Related: Obamacare May Be Failing the Uninsured

Bankrate surveyed 3,005 people and found that 41 percent of those who were uninsured said they plan to stay uninsured because they think that health insurance is too costly. Meanwhile, about 70 percent said they were unaware of subsidies available under the new law that could make their health plans more affordable.

The study’s findings are worrisome for the Obama administration since the key goal of the president’s health care law was to extend access to health coverage for the uninsured.

A separate study by the McKinsey consulting firm found just 27 percent of Obamacare enrollees were uninsured. That means that the majority of those signing up for Obamacare had previous insurance of some kind—whether they were kicked off their old policies, or they found a better deal on the exchanges. Though not confirmed by the White House, if accurate, that could mean the law is failing to meet its intended goal.

Related: Gallup: Employment, Obamacare Lower Uninsured Rate

Gary Cohen, an official for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the administration has not been tracking how many of the Obamacare enrollees were previously uninsured.

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Breitbart

Eight Ways to Opt Out of Obamacare

With the deadline to sign up for Obamacare having come and gone, many Americans have decided to “opt out” of President Obama’s signature health care reform law, choosing instead to pay the $95 penalty for sidestepping the individual mandate.

“For many Americans opting out of Obamacare is the best decision they can make, but it’s important that they do it the right way—just refusing to buy health insurance and not having another way to pay for catastrophic medical expenses is a mistake,” Sean Parnell, author of the newly-released The Self-Pay Patient, told Breitbart News. “People who want to opt out should be looking at alternatives to conventional health insurance, such as joining a health care sharing ministry or purchasing a fixed benefits policy.”

Parnell also strongly advises Americans against opting out and simply paying the “list” price for medical visits and prescription drugs without shopping around, or by relying solely on the local hospital emergency room for routine medical care.

“This approach leaves people who opt out vulnerable to sky-high medical expenses at inflated ‘list’ or ‘chargemaster’ rates, and can result in an inability to obtain needed care because of cost,” Parnell writes on his blog, selfpaypatient.com.

Instead, Parnell recommends the following eight options for those who have opted out of ObamaCare:

1. Join a health care sharing ministry, which are voluntary, charitable membership organizations that share medical expenses among the membership.

Parnell states that Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry are open to practicing Christians, while Liberty HealthShare is open to those who are committed to religious liberty.

Healthcare sharing ministries “operate entirely outside of ObamaCare’s regulations, and typically offer benefits for about half the cost of similar health insurance,” says Parnell. “Members are also exempt from having to pay the tax for being uninsured.”

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LA Times

RIot police, Kiev

Riot police take a break near Kiev’s Independence Square Wednesday afternoon after two days of clashes with the opposition. (Sergei L. Loiko / Los Angeles Times)

KIEV, Ukraine — In the wake of violence that claimed 25 lives and left hundreds injured, the Ukrainian government declared Wednesday that it was launching “an anti-terrorist operation” that some feared would escalate its conflict with pro-Western demonstrators.

“What is happening today is a conscious use of violence by way of arson, murder, hostage-taking and intimidation … for the sake of pursuing criminal goals,” the country’s security agency chief, Alexander Yakimenko, said in a statement published on the agency’s website. “All of that with the use of firearms. These are not just signs of terrorism but concrete terrorist acts.

“By their actions, radical and extremist groups bear a real threat to lives of millions of Ukrainians,” his statement said.

Yakimenko’s statement followed two days of the worst violence the country has seen during several months of political conflict over President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to align Ukraine economically with Russia, not the European Union.

Hours after Yakimenko issued his warning, the Associated Press reported that Yanukovich had fired the head of Ukraine’s armed forces.

[Updated, 10:58 a.m. PST Feb. 19: The UNIAN news agency said the armed forces chief, Vladimir Zamanu, had been replaced by Yuri Ilyin.

One analyst said the move may have been prompted by Zamanu's reluctance to use the army against civilian demonstrators.

“The sudden switch can be explained by Yanukovich's desire to use the army in combating the growing protests,” Vadim Karasyov, head of the Institute of Global Strategies, a Kiev-based think tank, said in an interview. “Zamanu has recently hesitated to express readiness to get involved in helping to defuse the political crisis.”]

As dusk set over Independence Square in central Kiev, several thousand protesters armed with sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails faced hundreds of police armed with teargas and stun grenades, water cannons and shotguns firing rubber bullets.

An eerie fog descended on the square, where several thousand protesters were praying together. At a square nearby, police buses arrived, disgorging new units of riot police and interior troops, who joined government forces positioned near Independence Square.

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Ukraine’s Yanukovich agrees ‘truce’ with opposition, start to negotiations

Ukraine’s Yanukovich agrees ‘truce’ with opposition, start to negotiations A portrait of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich burns near the destroyed building of the security service in Lviv yesterday after a night of violence when protesters seized public buildings and forced police to surrender

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said on Wednesday he had agreed a “truce” with opposition leaders, after street violence in which at least 26 people were killed, and a start to negotiations to end further bloodshed.

A statement on the presidential website said that during talks with the three main opposition leaders, Yanukovich had agreed firstly a truce and secondly “the start to negotiations with the aim of ending bloodshed, and stabilising the situation in the state in the interests of social peace.”

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Obama condemns Ukraine violence, threatens ‘consequences’ if clashes escalate

Published time: February 19, 2014 22:11
US President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

US President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

President Barack Obama said the US “condemns in the strongest terms the violence” in Ukraine, adding that the Ukrainian government must uphold the rights of peaceful protesters. Obama said there would be consequences should “people step over the line.”

“We expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters,” Obama said Wednesday from Mexico ahead of a summit with other North American leaders. “We’ve also said that we expect peaceful protesters to remain peaceful.”

As Tuesday’s riots and clashes between protesters and police in Kiev continued into Wednesday, the European Union announced that a rare meeting of its 28 member countries would occur on Thursday to address what is to be done about the ongoing violence, AP reported.

“We’ll be monitoring very carefully the situation, recognizing that, along with our European partners and the international community, there will be consequences if people step over the line,” Obama said.

At least 26 people, including 10 police officers, have been killed and some 800 injured since the start of violent riots in Kiev on Tuesday. The most recent, deadliest wave of violence in Ukraine started with an attempt by radical protesters to storm the building of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), which prompted fierce clashes with police. Several buildings in central Kiev – including the office of the Party of Regions – were stormed, looted, and set on fire.

At least 426 people have sought medical help following the clashes in Kiev, the city’s health department said. There are currently 277 people being treated in hospitals for injuries, including gunshot wounds and burns.

Despite the fierce battles on Independence Square (Maidan) and the possibility of further violence in coming days, Obama said the US and its partners would watch vigilantly to make “sure the Ukrainian military does not step to what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians.”

Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili

Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have “agreed to continue to do everything so that there is no escalation of violence” in Ukraine, Merkel said, as quoted by Reuters. The German Chancellor spoke with the Russian president over the phone.

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Venezuela opposition’s Leopoldo Lopez hands himself in

The moment Leopoldo Lopez handed himself in amidst the crowds

A Venezuelan opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has handed himself over to the National Guard after holding a speech to thousands of his supporters.

He said he hoped his arrest would wake up the country to its “unjust justice”.

It comes as several thousand of pro- and anti-government supporters took part in tense rival rallies in the capital, Caracas.

Mr Lopez was wanted on charges of inciting violence during recent street protests which left at least four dead.

Speaking before thousands of his supporters wearing red, President Nicolas Maduro said Mr Lopez would be brought to Justice.

‘Sedition’

“He must answer before the prosecution, the courts, the laws his calls to sedition, his unawareness of the constitution,” Mr Maduro told the crowd.

Tensions have been running high in the deeply polarised country.

Three of the dead – two anti-government protesters and one government supporter – died of bullet wounds sustained during demonstrations last Wednesday.

Another student died after being ran over during a march on Monday night in the eastern city of Carupano.

Before handing himself over to the authorities, Mr Lopez denied the charges against him.

“I present myself to an unjust judiciary. They want to jail Venezuelans who want peaceful, democratic change,” he said.

Ahead of the rallies, Caracas Mayor Jorge Rodriguez warned that he had not authorised Tuesday’s opposition march.

General view of a march following Leopoldo Lopez in Caracas on 18 February, 2014 Supporters of Mr Lopez turned out in force in Caracas on Tuesday
A man holds a banner reading "24,763 violent deaths in 2013 - we are more than just figures" Anti-government protesters are angry about Venezuela’s homicide rate, one of the highest in the world
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures to supporters during a rally in Caracas on 18 February, 2014 President Nicolas Maduro called on his supporters to join a rival rally

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Venezuelans clash as jailed opposition leader sits

 

Photo by:

The Associated Press
A opposition protester holding a Venezuelan flag yells at Bolivarian National Guards blocking the path leading to downtown Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez emerged from days of hiding and surrendered to police before thousands of supporters on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Carlos Becerra)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

By:

CARACAS, Venezuela — Violent clashes flared up across Venezuela on Wednesday as the nation waited to learn what charges jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez will face for organizing mass protests that have breathed new life into the movement challenging socialist rule in the oil-rich nation.

Gunfire echoed through downtown Caracas as President Nicolas Maduro spoke on live TV for more than two hours Wednesday night denouncing what he calls a “fascist” plot to destabilize the country. Elsewhere, protesters set trash fires in streets or threw rocks at National Guard troops, who fired tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets.

There was no immediate word on whether there were any new casualties, after a week of demonstrations and clashes that have resulted in at least six deaths and more than 100 injuries.

Lopez, who dramatically surrendered to authorities before thousands of cheering supporters Tuesday, was supposed to appear before a judge inside a military jail to learn what charges he might face for organizing the protests that the government has blamed for the violence.

The hearing was closed and the outcome had not been announced by late Wednesday, but Maduro suggested in his speech that Lopez would remain in custody and face criminal charges.

“I said, ‘Send him to jail,’ and that’s what happened and that’s what will happen with all of the fascists,” Maduro said.

The government has accused Lopez, a 42-year-old former mayor and the leader of the Popular Will party, of attempting to foment a coup in the South American nation and authorities had said he could face charges that include homicide and causing grievous bodily harm.

Before the president’s speech, a judicial official told The Associated Press that prosecutors were leaning toward discarding homicide and terrorism charges, opting instead to pursue less serious counts such as arson and incitement to commit crimes. That would allow the possibility of Lopez being released pending trial, according to the official, who agreed to discuss the matter only if not quoted by name because the decision had not been made public.

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MSN

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden poses for a photo during an interview in an undisclosed location in December 2013 in Moscow.

Students at the University of Glasgow elected former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as the official representative of the student body.

LONDON — Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was elected Tuesday as the official representative of the student body at the University of Glasgow.

Students at the institution say that they nominated Snowden to make a statement about democratic rights.

“We showed Edward Snowden and other brave whistleblowers that we stand in solidarity with them, regardless of where they are,” they said in a statement.

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Edward Snowden wins UK university role

Updated: 11:19, Wednesday February 19, 2014

Edward Snowden wins UK university role

Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency analyst who revealed US surveillance of phone and internet communications, has been elected rector of Glasgow University.

The analyst was nominated by a group of students at the Scottish institution who said they had received his approval through his lawyer.

The group said: ‘We are incredibly delighted to see Edward Snowden elected as the new rector of Glasgow University.’

The statement said the institution had a ‘virtuous tradition of making significant statements through our rectors’.

It added: ‘Our opposition to pervasive and immoral state intrusion has gone down in the records.

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VOA

Tens of thousands of Bahraini pro-democracy protesters wave signs and national flags during a march along a divided four-lane highway near Barbar, Bahrain, west of the capital of Manama, Feb. 15, 2014.

Tens of thousands of Bahraini pro-democracy protesters wave signs and national flags during a march along a divided four-lane highway near Barbar, Bahrain, west of the capital of Manama, Feb. 15, 2014.

Reuters

The rally organized by the kingdom’s main opposition al-Wefaq movement was one of the biggest staged since 2011.

Vast crowds of men, women and children took to the streets of the small Gulf Arab nation calling for democracy, political reform and the release of political prisoners, witnesses said.

“We will not stop until we achieve our demands,” protesters shouted. “Shi’ites and Sunnis, we all love this country.”

Police could not be seen at the rally on Budaiya Highway, which links Bahrain’s southern Budaiya region with the capital Manama, witnesses said. No clashes were reported.

The Interior Ministry said a policeman had died after being wounded by a “terrorist” blast on Friday. Three other policemenwere wounded the same day, while 26 people had been arrested.

“Some villages saw rioting, vandalism and the targeting of policemen,” the ministry said, referring to Friday’s unrest.

Bahrain, with Saudi help, crushed the demonstrations that began on Feb. 14, 2011 inspired by Arab uprisings elsewhere, but has yet to resolve the conflict between majority Shi’ites and the Sunni-led monarchy they accuse of oppressing them.

The ruling family has launched a third round of dialogue with its opponents, but no political agreement is in sight.

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SFGate

Bahrainis protest, wounded police officer dies

Updated 11:41 am, Saturday, February 15, 2014

Police officers carry the body of fellow policeman Abdul Wahid Al Balouchi, who was killed in a bombing on Friday, during his funeral procession in Riffa, Bahrain, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Thousands of Bahraini protesters clashed with security forces on Saturday, sending tear gas into a major shopping mall and bringing the capital's streets to a standstill on the same day that authorities said a police officer died of injuries sustained from an earlier bombing. Photo: Uncredited, AP / AP
Police officers carry the body of fellow policeman Abdul Wahid Al Balouchi, who was killed in a bombing on Friday, during his funeral procession in Riffa, Bahrain, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Thousands of Bahraini protesters clashed with security forces on Saturday, sending tear gas into a major shopping mall and bringing the capital’s streets to a standstill on the same day that authorities said a police officer died of injuries sustained from an earlier bombing. Photo: Uncredited, AP

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahraini anti-government activists clashed with security forces as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday, sending tear gas into a major shopping mall and bringing the capital’s streets to a standstill on the same day that authorities said a police officer died of injuries sustained from an earlier bombing.

The Interior Ministry said that the officer was one of two injured in what it called a “terrorist blast” on Friday in the village of Dair, near the country’s main airport. It did not identify the officer. In a second statement, the ministry characterized recent attacks against security forces as “urban guerrilla warfare.”

Chaos in the small Gulf-island nation highlights deeper regional sectarian tensions that continue to roil Bahrain three years after the country’s majority Shiites began an Arab Spring-inspired uprising to demand greater political rights from the Sunni-led monarchy.

Neighboring Sunni-ruled Gulf countries with smaller Shiite populations, led by Saudi Arabia, sent troops to Bahrain in an effort to stem the uprising in 2011. More than 65 people have died in the unrest, but rights groups and others put the death toll higher.

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Forbes

 

Bulldozing Free Speech

How people respond to criticism can reveal a lot about their character.  Some might try to debate or reason with those they disagree with.  Others prefer to ignore critics.  City officials in Honolulu take a different approach: They use a bulldozer.

Choon James is a successful real estate broker with over two decades of experience in Hawaii.  But the city of Honolulu is seeking to seize property she’s owned for almost a decade to build what she calls a “super-sized” fire station in rural Hauula.

Since January 2010, she has put up signs to protest Honolulu’s use of eminent domain.  These signs declare “Eminent Domain Abuse: Who’s Next?” and “YouTube Eminent Domain Abuse—Hawaii.”  For more than three years these signs have been up without any incident.

But now the city is showing a callous disregard for Choon’s freedom of speech.  Back in May, Honolulu seized two of her eminent domain protest signs.  Without her consent, city employees went onto the property and seized and impounded her signs before damaging them. Even worse, the city slapped her with a notice for trespassing, for property she is trying to defend in court.

After these signs were torn down, Choon placed three more signs there.  These lasted just a few months before the city once again seized the signs.  This time, Honolulu was much more dramatic.  On October 18, city workers, backed by police officers, squad cars and a bulldozer, came by and literally bulldozed those protest signs.

The city’s actions show a shameful lack of respect for the First and Fourth Amendments.  Citizens have a right to protest government actions.  The First Amendment was enacted precisely to protect citizens who criticize the government from retaliation.  Lawsuits challenging Honolulu’s unreasonable seizures and chilling attacks on free speech are now pending in federal court.

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S.C.G. News

Posted by S.C.G. February 12, 2014

Rather than grovel and beg for the U.S. government to respect our privacy, these innovators have taken matters into their own hands, and their work may change the playing field completely.

People used to assume that the United States government was held in check by the constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and which demands due process in criminal investigations, but such illusions have evaporated in recent years. It turns out that the NSA considers itself above the law in every respect and feels entitled to spy on anyone anywhere in the world without warrants, and without any real oversight. Understandably these revelations shocked the average citizen who had been conditioned to take the government’s word at face value, and the backlash has been considerable. The recent “Today We Fight Back” campaign to protest the NSA’s surveillance practices shows that public sentiment is in the right place. Whether these kinds of petitions and protests will have any real impact on how the U.S. government operates is questionable (to say the least), however some very smart people have decided not to wait around and find out. Instead they’re focusing on making the NSA’s job impossible. In the process they may fundamentally alter the way the internet operates.

1

Decentralized Social Media – Vole.cc

Anyone who was paying attention at all over the past several years knows that many of the top social media websites Facebook and Google have cooperated with the NSA’s surveillance program under PRISM, handing over the personal information that they’ve been hoarding over the years. Many of us have grown to despise these companies but continue to use their services due to the fact that no real competitors have presented themselves. Yes there are a few sites oriented towards the anti-government niche but nothing that has the potential of opening up the kind of reach that’s possible on Facebook or Google plus. The underlying problem here is that the server technology to run a site even a fraction of the size of Facebook is highly expensive, and to build and maintain a code base that can handle millions of users requires a full time team of highly skilled programmers. What this means is that anyone who wants to launch a real competitor to these sites would have needed to be well funded and have a sustainable business model. But what if someone came up with a system that removed the need for massive centralized servers? That’s just what vole.cc is working to accomplish. Vole.cc is a decentralized social media system in development based on bittorrent and Ember.js which completely cuts the server out of the equation and allows users to build social media networks without exposing their personal information to “authorities” or data mining companies.

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Getsync Decentralized and Encrypted File Sharing – A Dropbox Alternative

With the revelations that data in Apple’s iCloud was available to the NSA as part of PRISM it has become clear that any centralized file sharing service is vulnerable, and any information that you upload to services like dropbox may end up being inspected by government agents. The folks at Bittorrent didn’t like that idea, so they decided to build a viable alternative, one that doesn’t depend on a centralized server at all and encrypts your data to make it difficult if not impossible to open without your permission. The service claims to already have amassed over 2 million users. Interestingly the vole.cc social media project uses Getsync to manage the social media data on your computer.

 

3

Decentralized & Encrypted Communications – Bittorrent Chat

Don’t like the fact that the NSA has been rummaging through your skype chats, emails and other instant messaging services? Well if you were a bit tech savvy you might have opted to set up your own mumble server or IRC channel, but this route will likely never be approachable for the average citizen and the reliance on a centralized server brings security vulnerabilities. However work is currently underway on a protocol that will completely remove the need for a centralized server and cut the NSA out of the loop entirely.

 

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File:NSA-parody-logo-black.tif

A parody of the National Security Administration’s logo, created by EFF designer Hugh D’Andrade to help publicize EFF’s case against NSA illegal spying, 1st Unitarian v. NSA: https://www.eff.org/node/75009

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Tenth Amendment Center

The OffNow coalition has now marched state and local efforts to stop unconstitutional NSA spying right onto the agency’s front porch.

Late last week, Maryland State Delegate Michael Smigiel introduced the Fourth Amendment Protection Act to end all state cooperation with the National Security Agency (NSA).

Based on model legislation drafted by a transpartisan coalition organized by the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), HB1074 would ban Maryland state or local government from providing water, electricity or other resources to the NSA while it engages in warrantless mass-surveillance, and would make shared collected data inadmissible in state courts.

Smigiel said that even though the NSA has deep roots in Maryland, the state should no longer support an agency that ignores constitutional constraints and tramples on the privacy rights of the people.

“I want Maryland standing with its back to its people holding a shield. Not facing them holding a sword,” he said.

Ft. Meade serves as the home base for the NSA, and resource needs have created significant issues for the agency for more than 10 years. In 2006, the Baltimore Sun reported that the agency had maxed out the Baltimore-area power grid, causing insiders to fear that the problem “could force a virtual shutdown of the agency.”

While the NSA alleviated some of those concerns with new facilities in Utah, Texas and elsewhere, they still remain an issue. In December, the agency signed a new contract with Howard County, Md., to provide up to 5 million gallons of water per day to cool supercomputers in a new data center slated to open in 2016.

“Maryland has almost become a political subdivision of the NSA,” TAC executive director Michael Boldin said. “The agency relies heavily on state and local help. This bill bans all of it.”

Smigiel said the bill is not merely a symbolic gesture. The Elkton Republican has a track record of working with Democrats on civil liberties related legislation, and said he believes he can garner the bipartisan support necessary to move the bill forward.

BORDC executive director Shahid Buttar called coming together across party lines to oppose unconstitutional NSA spying “imperative.”

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