Monthly Archive for January, 2007

Russian oppression of Mari-El activists still going strong

Galina Kozlova, the wife of Vladimir Kozlov, was brutally beaten after being sprayed with some sort of pepper spray substance on January 25th in Joshkar Ola, the capital of Mari-El.

Mari-El seems to be quite the dangerous place for Mari people.

Let’s see if the Russian controlled police manages to conveniently not find the perpetrator like in all previous assaults against Mari-El activists. Not a single violent attack against Mari-El activists so far has lead to a conviction, or even an arrest of anyone. These unknown assailants continue their reign of terror against Mari people and they go unpunished year after year.

-TPP

Once a terrorist suspect, always a terrorist suspect?

A Syrian born Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, was detained in 2002 in JFK airport in New York, NY, USA on a connecting flight to Montreal. He was arrested under suspicion of terrorism, interrogated for 11 days by the FBI, then deported to Syria for further “interrogation”. Turns out the Syrians are rather fond of torturing their terror suspects. The FBI, of course, was completely unaware of this. Suuuuuuuuure.

The reason Mr. Arar was detained in New York was that Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had supplied the FBI information that was later found inaccurate.

The Canadian Government has issued a formal apology over its role in Mr. Arar’s detainment and torture and has agreed to pay about $10M in compensation to Mr. Arar as reported by CNews.

Meanwhile the US Government is refusing to apologize or remove Mr. Arar from the terrorism watch list. They refuse to investigate the issue at all.

It seems to be that in the name of the war on terror, the US Government is effectively terrorising innocent people.

How proud must Osama bin Laden be. Mission truly and utterly accomplished.

-TPP

Timbaland is a thief

When Janne Suni (aka Tempest) composed his Acidjazzed Evening song for Assembly 2000, one of the largest demo scene gatherings in the world, he probably didn’t think his contest winning tune would make even bigger news in 2006.

It appears Timbaland, a rather successful hip hop/rnb producer, thought Janne’s tune was kinda good as well, as he’s “borrowed” the melody and 16 bars of a Commodore 64 version of Janne’s tune in, at least, two songs that he’s produced.

Another demo scene composer, Glenn Rune Gallefoss (aka GRG) produced a Commodore 64 (Janne’s was made on an Amiga computer) version of Janne’s tune after the contest with permission from Janne. This is the version of the tune that’s blatantly copied into Timbaland’s songs. One of the songs, “Do It” by Nelly Furtado, is included in Nelly Furtado’s latest album that has sold 2.5M copies. The copyright belongs to Janne and Glenn.

Follow the original article to find out more about this blatant copyright violation by a RIAA recording artist. Not a word from Timbaland or his record label about this issue during the four months since the issue was uncovered.

Update 3/14/2007: Timbaland has since commented on his theft. An MTV reporter asks him about it at the end of an interview about other unrelated stuff, and Timbaland has the gall to completely dismiss the whole thing and make it sound like some sort of an ego trip thing:

“It makes me laugh,” he said. “The part I don’t understand, the dude is trying to act like I went to his house and took it from his computer. I don’t know him from a can of paint. I’m 15 years deep. That’s how you attack a king? You attack moi? Come on, man. You got to come correct. You the laughing stock. People are like, ‘You can’t be serious.’ “

He’s also calling the accusations “foolish”. Looks like all the fame and fortune has thoroughly gone to his head. Hypocrite thief. You got caught fair and square and your posturing and ego stroking is not gonna change that. Do the right thing and pay up, thief.

-TPP

Russia’s “Third Way” Is A Road To Nowhere

[by Kerkko Paananen, originally published in Finnish]

The situation of NGOs has gone from bad to worse in Russia during President Vladimir Putin’s reign. The authorities are doing their utmost to eliminate the emergence of a free civil society. The government is trying to subjugate any signs of civil expression, subordinate public opinion to state interest, and incorporate civil society into the government’s statial strategy.

Many NGOs in Russia defend those most vulnerable, and it is exactly these organisations that suffer the most from government repression. Those at the receiving end of this repression are thus the weak and the helpless. If we close our eyes from this, and choose to cooperate with “front” organisations enjoying state blessing, we are not only wasting our financial support, but are doing real damage to the very people we wish to help.

Stating a few obvious facts: The Russian Federation is a state, which engages in an open war of terror against its own citizens. Authorities at both federal and local level attack, terrorise, and kill their own fellow citizens. Russia is no state governed by law.

Government pressure on NGOs does not depend on the NGOs themselves, but on the political and economic interests of the ruling elites. Authorities do not react to the actions of NGOs, but create themselves the conditions, in which NGOs are left with no way out; in which NGOs cannot avoid an open confrontation.

It is the moral duty of Finland and other free nations, especially in the EU, to help our partners in Russia to survive. We cannot let the authorities intimidate our friends, drive them into a corner, and destroy everything we have achieved together in the past ten years. It is vital to continue the work and support one another.

Finnish experts often highlight the “uniqueness” of Russia’s development; most likely, this is because we wish to monopolise the expertees on Russia. It seems that Finns have stressed Russia’s uniqueness for so long that we have begun to believe in it ourselves. The end result of this is that the average Finn has a very hazy knowledge of our eastern neighbour; even those who have visited Russia only see what they want to see.

Many are simply unable to regard Russia with common sense, according to the same human standards that we regard other states and cultures. Instead, many choose to spread all sorts of fictitious legends and metaphysical constructions about Russia. It often seems that economists have the clearest idea of what is going on in Russia, because they usually understand the value of money. And money is the only thing Russia’s ruling elite is ever interested in.

The uniqueness of Russia’s development, the so-called “Third Road”, is the artificial ideological construct that the notion of a “Sovereign Democracy” that Putin’s regime has declared is based on. This “Sovereign Democracy” is ruled by the “Power Vertical” — the authoritarian power apparatus of Putin’s presidential administration. By stressing Russia’s uniqueness, we are, in fact, lending support to the development of authoritarianism that lies behind the troubles Russia is facing today.

Finnish-Russian Citizen’s Forum established

I’m proud to report news about the birth of the Finnish-Russian Citizen’s Forum by a group of human rights activists from Finland and Russia. Founding members include, among others, a Finnish Member of Parliament and my brother.

The press release about forming the organization follows.

-TPP

FINNISH-RUSSIAN CITIZENS’ FORUM ESTABLISHED

A group of persons worried about the development of democracy and the state of human rights in Russia has established a non-governmental organisation, Finnish-Russian Citizens’ Forum.

The organisation’s aim is to “promote cooperation between citizens and different peoples in Finland and the Russian Federation by supporting non-governmental organisations in their effort to strengthen democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech in Russia”.

The murder of the Russian journalist and civil rights activist, Ms Anna Politkovskaya, acted as a catalyst for establishing the Citizens’ Forum. This sad event served to consolidate cooperation between people concerned about Russia’s current development, prompting several appeals, public discussions, and demonstrations in autumn 2006.

The Citizens’ Forum supports Russian non-governmental organisations, which are now facing difficulties in their work due to Russia’s new draconian law on NGOs. The Citizens’ Forum will invite representatives of Russian organisations to Finland, organise visits to Russia, and distribute information about the situation in Russia.

The Citizens’ Forum will soon open its web site at www.finrosforum.fi.

The Chairperson of the Finnish-Russian Citizens’ Forum is Ms Heidi Hautala, MP (The Greens). The organisation’s Deputy Chairman is Mr Jukka Mallinen, Chairman of the Finnish PEN Club. The Citizens’ Forum has a nine-member Board. Mr Mikael Storsjö, entrepreneur, serves as the board’s Secretary, and Ms Iida Simes, producer, as the Board’s spokesperson.

The name of the new organisation translates into Swedish as “Finsk-ryska medborgarforumet”, and its domicile is in Helsinki. The Citizens’ Forum carries an unofficial name in Russian: “Finsko-rossiyskiy grazhdanskiy forum”.

The founding members of the Finnish-Russian Citizens’ Forum are:

Rolf Büchi, Nils-Erik Friis, Anu Harju, Heidi Hautala, Frank Johansson, Pekka Koponen, Henrik Lax, Laura Lodenius, Anna-Stiina Lundqvist, Jukka Mallinen, Elisabeth Nordgren, Theresa Norrmén, Kerkko Paananen, Marja Pulkkinen, Elina Rahimova, Ville Ropponen, Iida Simes, Anni Sinnemäki, Mikael Storsjö.

More information:

Ms Heidi Hautala, Chairperson
heidi.hautala@eduskunta.fi
+358 50 511 3129

Mr Jukka Mallinen, Deputy Chairman
jukka.mallinen@kolumbus.fi
+358 9 135 2791

Ms Iida Simes, spokesperson
iida.simes@rosebud.fi
+358 40 720 5985

Mr Mikael Storsjö, Secretary
mikael@officehouse.fi
+358 41 524 2373

RIAA bites the hand that feeds it

In a very strange move RIAA has sent their stormtroopers to visit DJ Drama, a popular hip hop DJ specializing in producing mixtapes.

Mixtapes have been instrumental in promoting up and coming rap artists for decades. In fact, all the rap legends made their start in the business using mixtapes.

DJ Drama has been arrested and faces RICO charges in Atlanta, GA.

RIAA’s cluelessness is truly astounding. Here they have someone who’s promoting music of RIAA’s member organizations’ artists essentially for free, and they still attack him.

-TPP

Phisher goes directly to jail

A Los Angeles area man has been found guilty of violating the CAN SPAM Act. This is the first conviction under the new law critics are saying actually enables spamming.

Jeffrey Brett Goodin used compromised Internet accounts to send spam to AOL members. He faces up to 101 years in jail.

Rot in jail, forever, scum.

-TPP

The War on (non-State sponsored) Gambling goes on

The FBI has arrested two former executives of Netteller, a payment processing company catering almost exclusively to online gambling site customers.

I wonder why I’m able to gamble with practically no limitations in Las Vegas and various Indian tribes’ owned casinos around the country, but if I gamble on PartyPoker.com or sports betting sites, I’m suddenly Public Enemy Number One.

-TPP

Tax cuts to American oil companies about to get repealed

House Democrats passed a bill today that repeals the $14B handout the Republicans passed last April.

This is great news. It’s encouraging to see the Democrats starting to disassemble the most corrupt bills passed within the last 6 years. Hopefully the trend continues.

-TPP

How would you make XBox Live better?

Andre Vrignaud, or Ozymandias, is a Microsoft employee whose job is to help manage the overall gaming platform strategy for Xbox and Windows.

He posted an article on his blog asking community feedback from XBL users on how to make the XBL better in the future.

At the time of writing this, he’s got over 800 responses from the user community. There’re some great suggestions from users about future enhancements to the XBL service. If you have time to read through all those comments, by all means do. It’s a very interesting read.

-TPP




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