Tag Archive for 'free speech'

PayPal alternatives

Thank you PayPal for finally giving me a good reason to close my account with you.

Here’s a list of perfectly fine alternatives:

  • Google Checkout
  • Money Bookers
  • Paymate
  • OboPay
  • Amazon Payments

More alternatives behind the link above.


US vs. Free Speech

Looks like it’s open season in the US for anyone who has anything to do with WikiLeaks.

Jacob Appelbaum (of TOR) was detained in the US border after returning to the US from The Netherlands earlier today. He was detained for three hours while the stormtroopers from the US Army and ICE questioned him about WikiLeaks (he’s a WikiLeaks contributor), searched his belongings (incl. his computer) and seized three cellphones.

This is what it’s become? Anyone even remotely involved with the organization is now subject to “random” searches and having their belongings seized for no good reason.

It’ll be curious to know, if the US Army really thought Mr. Appelbaum had anything to do with the Afghanistan war documents leak or were they just harrassing him for being associated with their new Public Enemy Number One.

Fuck this.

WikiLeaks.org is accepting donations at its website.


Jack Thompson officially disbarred

Jack “Jackhole” Thompson, an (ex-)attorney specializing in trampling the First Amendment for decades, has officially been disbarred by the Florida Bar Association as of this past weekend.


-TPP – I’m not an attorney, but neither are you, Jackie boy

In Soviet Minneapolis, a thought crime lands you in jail

Reports are pouring in from the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention that protesters are being rounded up by local law enforcement raids prior to the convention. “Anarchists” are raided, handcuffed, jailed and then released without any charges being filed. If there are charges filed, they are for things like fire code violations. That, of course, is an age old Soviet tactic for shutting up dissent.

The targets of the arrests are calling the raids as blatant attempts to intimidate and stop them from protesting during the convention. This sort of crap belongs in Soviet Russia and has no place whatsoever in the US.

It’s interesting that this is exactly the same sort of stuff that landed the NYPD and New York City in hot water during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. A Supreme Court Judge fined New York City $1,000 per detainee back then. I guess the police in Minneapolis thinks they can get away with it this time.

It is also very interesting that stuff like this doesn’t seem to happen during the Democratic National Conventions. What is it about the Republicans that cause everyone involved ignore things like The Constitution? Oh, wait…never mind.


  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/30/us/politics/30arrests.html
  2. http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/30/police_raids/index.html
  3. http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/31/raids/index.html
  4. http://www.startribune.com/local/27703754.html

Russian opposition figureheads continue their dying

Word comes in today that Magomed Yevloev, an owner of the Ingush opposition web site, Ingushetiya.ru has been killed.

Kasparov.ru is reporting that Yevloev was killed by a single gunshot in the head. The information is not clear on who exactly killed him, but the implication appears to be that he was killed while in custody of the local Kremlin backed gestapo. The killers dropped him at a hospital critically wounded and simply drove off. Doctors at the hospital could not save his life.

According to reports from the area, the police is claiming a police officer’s gun discharged accidentally and a bullet hit Yevloev in the head. That would most certainly be one convenient accident for the local administration. They have, after all, been trying to silence Yevloev for quite some time.

Ingushetiya.ru, and its operators, have been under constant harassment by the Russian Government in recent months. Earlier this month, the site was ordered shut down by the Russian Government. Roza Malsagova, an editor of the website, fleed Russia to France and is reported to be seeking political asylum there. She’s also facing multiple criminal charges in Russia just because she’s involved with running the website. It looks like she is the lucky one.


Spammer e360 sues a spam fighting newsgroup

Spammer e360, who previously sued Spamhaus for listing e360 as a spammer, is now suing members of a spam fighting Usenet newsgroup news.admin.net-abuse.email.

Apparently the spammer is not too happy about being called a spammer. I can’t imagine why.

The news was broken by the most excellent publication for the email marketing industry called DM News. The brilliantly penned article had this marvelous passage in it:

Nanae, a Usenet newsgroup whose Web site claims to be “dedicated to discussing e-mail spamming,” did not immediately return e-mails for comment.

That’s pretty good. I am wondering about a few things. A Usenet newsgroup has a web site (no, Google Groups is not it)? How does one go about contacting a newsgroup for comment? And if by some magic, one manages to contact “the newsgroup” for comment, who exactly did they contact? A random poster? All the posters? What about lurkers? It’s all a big mystery.


Kremlin, Inc.

Michael Specter, a reporter for the The New Yorker, has written an excellent article on how Vladimir Putin has ceased absolute power in Russia and how he’s using his iron fisted control of the Russian media to create a completely censored newsfeed to the Russian people.

The article also describes how Vladimir Putin came to power by ruthlessly surpressing free speech and slandering his opponents just before the elections in media controlled by him and his cronies.

Finally it goes onto explore why, as the article’s subtitle suggests, are all of Vladimir Putin’s opponents dying?


Free speech is death in Russia

Anna Politkovskaya, an award winning journalist and vocal critic of Vladimir Putin and other corrupt Russian leaders, was murdered in Moscow this evening. She was shot dead in the elevator of her apartment building.

Let’s see who’s found to be responsible, if anyone.


Gorbachev to the rescue

Vladimir Putin just acquired an interesting opponent in his war against free speech and human rights when Mikhail Gorbachev and a Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev bought a 49% stake in the only major Russian newspaper that’s openly criticizing Putin’s dictatorship.

Novaya Gazeta is a newspaper whose staff consists largely of journalists fired from other media outlets by Putin and his cronies because of the journalists’ critical coverage of Putin’s dictatorship.

The newspaper has gained a powerful ally in Mikhail Gorbachev. It’s unlikely the Putin dictatorship dare meddle with the newspaper that has him as a financial backer.

I’ve written about the Russian human rights violations before:
The IHF issues a stinging report on human rights situation in the Republic of Mari El
Mari-El activists still persecuted in Russia
The people of Mari being systematically persecuted by Russians


The people of Mari being systematically persecuted by Russians

The Finnish belong to an ethnic group of FinnoUgrian people. All the FinnoUgrian people have a similar language and share the same ethnic origins. The cultures are more common than different as well.

The largest groups of FinnoUgrian people live in Hungary, Finland and Estonia, but there are smaller groups of people with their own languages and cultures living in various parts of Eastern Europe. A lot of these ethnic groups have already dissappeared as younger generations adopt Russian language and culture instead of maintaining their own cultural identity.

The Mari people are among the largest of these smaller groups and live in a region in central Russia called Mari El at a bend of the Volga river. There’s about 700K people living in Mari El. 43% are Mari, 47% Russian.

In 2000 a national populist pro-Russian Leonid Markelov became the president of Mari El with the backing of Moscow. In 2004 he was re-elected in elections widely considered to have been rigged.

Since his election Markelov has systematically tried to undermine the human rights of the Mari people in Mari El. Teachers teaching Mari language or voting for Mari candidates have been fired from their jobs, Mari people are economically oppressed, Mari activists and journalists are routinely beaten, severely, by people who somehow never get convicted, people are getting arrested for no cause and they sometimes do not come back, FSB (the Federal Security Service, roughly equivalent to the FBI) is following foreign journalists writing about the situation. It’s basically just like in Soviet Union, straight out of Stalin’s playbook of oppressing minorities.

One would expect some two-bit wannabe communist tyrant in a remote area of Russia to behave in this manner, but what’s really surprising is that Markelov appears to have a full backing of Vladimir Putin and his government. They’ve released statements accusing the ethnic Maris of plotting, with the Finns, Hungarians and Estonians, to form a new FinnoUgrian state and actively undermining the economic development of Russia to achieve this goal.

They’re stopping one step short of accusing the Maris (and Finns assisting them) of being terrorists. Everyone knows what happens to terrorists these days. The Maris are not terrorists. They’re being systematically eradicated by a Russian ethnic majority.

An “interesting” timeline of brutality against prominent Mari people was published by Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples. None of the murders or assaults have resulted in convictions or even arrests:

Uninvestigated crimes against journalists and opposition leaders during the presidency in the autonomous Republic of Mari El of Leonid Markelov, a man openly contemptuous of democratic processes

November 21, 2001: Aleksandr Babaykin, assistant chief editor of the opposition newspaper The Good Neighbors, was brutally killed in the centre of Yoshkar-Ola, the capital city of Mari El.

November 2001: Leonid Plotnikov, assistant chief of department of the publishing house Periodika Mari El, was killed.

November 2001: Aleksei Bakhtin, journalist of a regional newspaper, was killed.

March 12, 2002: Vladimir Maltsev, chief editor of the newspaper The Good Neighbors, was attacked in the evening and caused severe bodily injuries.

March 14, 2002: The door of the Vladimir Maltsev’s apartment was poured over with fuel and put on fire by unknown persons.

April 16, 2002: Viktor Nikolayev, Member of Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples and Chairman of the all-Russia movement Mer Kanash, was attacked and brutally beaten in front of his house. Nikolayev had just called the 6th extraordinary Mari Congress due to be held on 26 April.

August 14, 2004: a pogrom was made in the apartment of Valentin Matveyev, a public figure and author of critical articles in The Good Neighbors.

October 4, 2004: masked bandits, armed with weapons and acting in the name of the Department of Criminal Investigations, attacked the apartment of an employee of the human rights organization Citizen And Law.

October 2004: unknown persons attacked journalist Vitaliy Igitov. Earlier, in personal conversations, President of Mari El Leonid Markelov called Igitov the man who had insulted him most.

January 7, 2005: correspondent of the Radio Liberty / Radio Free Europe Yelena Rogacheva was attacked.

February 7, 2005: Vladimir Kozlov, chief editor of the international Finno-Ugric newspaper Kudo+Kodu, Member of the Consultative Committee of the World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples and leader of the all-Russian movement of Mari people Mer Kanash, was attacked and severely beaten.

May 27, 2005: ethnic Mari artists and musicians, among them prominent cultural figures, were attacked by a group of Russian skinheads after a concert in the Culture Hall in Yoshkar-Ola. No one responsible was found. In their conversations with local residents, skinheads said that the incident was arranged at the orders of the chief of the fascist group who was instructed by Dmitry Frolov, Head of the Presidential Administration of the Mari Republic. The latter had promised that a plot of land would be allotted to the group to build its base as an award for the action.

July 6, 2005: Yuri Anduganov, prominent Finno-Ugric scholar and President of the 10th International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies, was killed in a car crash in the Republic of Marii-El. His widow described the circumstances of the collision as suspicious because the truck in front of the car braked extremely unexpectedly and rapidly.

August 27, 2005: Vasli Petrov, Chairman of the Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples, was attacked and beaten in Ismentsa village where he lives.

More information about the situation in various languages at: