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Diabolus Rex - 12 min 35 sec ago
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Chelsea Manning and the Power of Empathy

Disinformation - 13 min 6 sec ago

Chelsea Manning when she was known as Bradley Manning.

Can there be righteousness without compassion?

Nozomi Hayase writes at Common Dreams:

It is 3 am. Something in me is unsettled and I cannot sleep. Earlier today, the Israeli military intensified its assault on Gaza Strip as a kind of collective punishment of the Palestinians; those vulnerable and marginalized who have been locked up and denied their humanity. After more than 440 air strikes since the beginning of the week, I saw photos of injured and dead men, women and children by the dozens.

I hear a man walking on the street outside my window shouting loudly; “you are a liar, a liar”. In this explosion of anger, I feel his pain. Life does not have to be this way. We can live with dignity and treat each other with respect and kindness. We can do much better.

When we see suffering of others, it upsets and saddens and keeps many of us awake at night. This reminds me of the words of Chelsea Manning and what she said about the scenes of the Collateral Murder video she witnessed; “we’re human . . . and we’re killing ourselves . . . and no-one seems to see that . . . and it bothers me”.

Why did our indifference bother her so much? Because she remembered our inherent ties to one another. She once spoke of this deep connection to all people in the world; “i cant separate myself from others. . . i feel connected to everybody . . . like they were distant family … i care?” This allowed her to empathize with others, even those who have been made into an enemy. She was able to see the usual scenery of modern war, not from the perspective of the U.S. military but from the perspectives of the Iraq people. She was able to put herself into the shoes of those who are made victims of this war of terror.

WikiLeaks editor and journalist Sarah Harrison, who assisted the safe passage of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, pointed to empathy as one reason behind her courageous act. She said, “someone had done something so brave, and they should be supported ….I felt an empathy, a natural human empathy, and wished to support”. Julian Assange, who  was also involved in this effort noted empathy as a reason to support his bid for asylum. He described how he personally sympathized with his situation, especially after watching what Manning had gone through.

This ability to empathize with others brings hope because this makes us human. Empathy has been defined as “an affective response more appropriate to someone else’s situation than to one’s own” (Hoffman, 1987, p. 48). It is our deep attachment to one another that binds us together. We learn this through our connection to our mother as a representative of mother earth, that sustains our life unconditionally.

All life began with a mother’s vulnerable love, her courage to risk her life for another human being. Our attachment makes us vulnerable. It can at times make one look pathetic, weak and naïve, yet it is what allows one to act selflessly for others, even risking one’s own life. This is conscience, the recognition of our inescapable obligation to one another. We are all bound by it. This makes people do extraordinary deeds, which at times are seen as almost crazy in others eyes.

The late activist Aaron Swartz was a child prodigy. At 14, he helped write the RSS specifications and at 16 he helped found Creative Commons, making it easier technically and legally for people to freely share online. In his short life of 26 years, he had accomplished much more than most of us could in a full lifetime. With his rare talents, he could have had a wide choice of careers. Yet, he took a hard path, one that was not for self-gain or status but was in opposition to the corporate culture of ownership and control. He stood up for our inherent right to information and fought to keep the Internet free and open.

Jeremy Hammond also showed exceptional intelligence and talent at a young age. He took a lonely road to follow his idealism. All his life he fought for fellowship, exposing the inner workings of the pervasive surveillance state. He never betrayed himself even after he was wrongly put into prison.

Snowden had a life that many could be envious of, an American dream in Hawaii with his beautiful girlfriend and high paying job. What made him leave all this behind, risking his personal freedom and safety to challenge the U.S. National Security State apparatus? It was because he saw the horrendous level of mass surveillance destroying the fundamental principles of the Constitution and the idea of consent of the governed. He saw our rights being violated. He empathized with humanity as a whole and acted out of his obligation to all people.

Now he is completely at peace and has no regrets about making this hard decision. In an interview with NBC News, Snowden said: “I may have lost my ability to travel, but I’ve gained the ability to go to sleep at night and to put my head on the pillow and feel comfortable that I’ve done the right thing even when it was the hard thing”. He is not alone. Others who came before Snowden, like Thomas Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis, acted out of this innate concern for others.

Why did these intelligent people do such things that do not lead to any benefit for themselves? Because they care. When the truth confronted them, something bothered them, made them not able to sleep at night. These acts of conscience are a threat to the dominant power structures.

The corporate state is built on a denial of the intrinsic bond we have to one another. Its pathological logic of profit at any cost rewards callousness and those who pursue self-interests with impunity. We are conditioned to compete against one other, learn bias and hatred and see each other as separate. We are constantly divided by class, religion, politics or ideology and no longer remember our deep connection as a species.

Our society punishes those who empathize and act on feelings that are innately human. This happened to Ethan McCord, the U.S. soldier in the Collateral Murder video who rescued the wounded children. When he spoke with his sergeant about how much the scene of wanton carnage and the wounded children bothered him, he was berated and told that he needed to suck it up.

Read more here.

The post Chelsea Manning and the Power of Empathy appeared first on disinformation.

[Poll] Favorite Vietnam Protest Song

Disinformation - 1 hour 43 min ago

It’s time to wrap up last week’s poll and start anew. This week’s poll is all about the Vietnam war and the myriad of protest songs it inspired. Of course, we couldn’t list every single song, so you’ll have to choose from the few we picked. If we missed your favorite, feel free to let us know in the comments.

“Narrated by Sean Penn and based on the work of media critic and best-selling author Norman Solomon, WAR MADE EASY reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose 50 years of government spin and media collusion that has dragged our country into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq.

Favorite Vietnam Protest Song

“Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” – John Prine (1971)
“Wooden Ships” – Crosby, Stills & Nash and Jefferson Airplane (1969)
“Where Are You Now, My Son?” – Joan Baez (1973)
“What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye (1971)
“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath (1971)
“War” – Edwin Starr (1970)
“8th of November” – Big and Rich (2006)
“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” – Arlo Guthrie (1967)
“All You Need Is Love” – The Beatles (1967)
“Charlie Don’t Surf” – The Clash (1980)
“Bring Them Home” – Pete Seeger (1966)
“Give Peace a Chance” – The Plastic Ono Band (1969)
“Man in Black” – Johnny Cash (1971)
“Orange Crush” – R.E.M. (1988)
“Straight to Hell” – The Clash (1982)
“Stoned Love” – The Supremes (1970)
“Still in Saigon” – the Charlie Daniels Band (1982)
“I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag” – Country Joe and the Fish (1967)
“Unknown Soldier” – The Doors (1968)
“Ohio” – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970)
“Eve of Destruction” – Barry McGuire and P.F. Sloan (1965)
“War Games” – The Monkees (1968)
“Gimme Shelter” – The Rolling Stones (1969)

Favorite Logical Fallacy
  • Straw Man Fallacy (14%, 62 Votes)
  • Ad Hominem (10%, 46 Votes)
  • Appeal to Authority (8%, 35 Votes)
  • Slippery Slope (8%, 35 Votes)
  • Appeal to Emotion (8%, 35 Votes)
  • No True Scotsman (7%, 33 Votes)
  • Burden of Proof (7%, 29 Votes)
  • A False Dilemma (6%, 28 Votes)
  • Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy (5%, 23 Votes)
  • Appeal to Nature (4%, 18 Votes)
  • Appeal to Ignorance (4%, 18 Votes)
  • Ad Populum (3%, 14 Votes)
  • Begging the Question (3%, 14 Votes)
  • Post Hoc (3%, 14 Votes)
  • Appeal to Probability (3%, 12 Votes)
  • Argument to Moderation (2%, 8 Votes)
  • Appeal to Hypocrisy (2%, 8 Votes)
  • Special Pleading (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Fallacy of Composition (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Genetic Fallacy (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 441

So it looks like you all hate/love/are most familiar with the Straw Man Fallacy. It’s probably one of the most damaging of the fallacies. Apparently it’s known as the “Aunt Sally” in the UK.

The post [Poll] Favorite Vietnam Protest Song appeared first on disinformation.

Using TV, Videos or a Computer Game as a Stress Reducer after a Tough Day at Work Can Lead to Feelings of Guilt and Failure

Disinformation - 3 hours 13 min ago

I know TV is evil, but I thought video games were good.  Guess I was wrong again!

Via ScienceDaily:

It seems common practice: After a long day at work, most people sometimes just want to turn on the TV or play a video or computer game to calm down and relax. However, in a study recently published in the Journal of Communication researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany and VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands found that people who were highly stressed after work did not feel relaxed or recovered when they watched TV or played computer or video games. Instead, they tended to show increased levels of guilt and feelings of failure.

In a joint survey research project, Dr. Leonard Reinecke of the Department of Communication at Mainz University and Dr. Tilo Hartmann and Dr. Allison Eden of the Department of Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam asked a total of 471 study participants about their previous day, how they felt after work or school, and what media they turned to at the end of the day. The researchers found that those who felt particularly wiped out after work or school were more inclined to feel that their media use was wasted time and procrastination. They felt guilty for having given in to their desire of watching TV or playing a video game instead of taking care of more important tasks. In consequence, these people felt less recovered and revitalized, diminishing the positive effects of media use.

The results suggest a paradoxical pattern between depletion and media-induced recovery: Those who could have benefited the most from recovery through media use instead experienced less recovery because they were more prone to think of their media use as a failure in self-control.

Prior research has shown that the use of entertaining media produces a recovery experience that helps people relax and detach from the stresses of work, but also provides mastery experience and a feeling of control. As a result, people feel energized and more vital after media use and even show stronger cognitive performance thanks to media-induced recovery.

“We are beginning to better understand that media use can have beneficial effects for people’s well-being through media-induced recovery. Our present study is an important step towards a deeper understanding of this. It demonstrates that in real life the relationship between media use and well-being is complicated and that the use of media may conflict with other, less pleasurable but more important duties and goals in everyday life,” said Dr. Leonard Reinecke, lead author of the study. “We are starting to look at media use as a cause of depletion. In times of smartphones and mobile Internet, the ubiquitous availability of content and communication often seems to be a burden and a stressor rather than a recovery resource.”

The post Using TV, Videos or a Computer Game as a Stress Reducer after a Tough Day at Work Can Lead to Feelings of Guilt and Failure appeared first on disinformation.

Jesse Ventura Wins Defamation Case, Awarded $1.8 Million

Disinformation - 4 hours 13 min ago

A quick update to my recent post “Jesse Ventura Claims Loss of Work and Income Due to Defamation“: CBS News reports that Jesse Ventura is victorious in his defamation case against the estate of American Sniper author Chris Kyle and the jury has awarded him $1.8 million:

ST. PAUL, Minnesota – A jury awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the estate of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle.

Ventura was awarded $1.3 million for unjust enrichment, and $500,000 in damages for defamation, CBS station WCCO reports.

On the sixth day of deliberations, the federal jury decided that the 2012 best-selling book defamed Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Kyle wrote that he decked a man whom he later identified as Ventura after the man allegedly said the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.”

Ventura testified that Kyle fabricated the passage about punching him. Kyle said in testimony videotaped before his death last year that his story was accurate.

Legal experts had said Ventura had to clear a high legal bar to win, since as a public figure he had to prove “actual malice.” According to the jury instructions, Ventura had to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that Kyle either knew or believed what he wrote was untrue, or that he harbored serious doubts about its truth.

The jury told the judge Monday that it didn’t believe it could reach a unanimous verdict, but the judge instructed them to continue. On Tuesday, attorneys for both sides agreed that the verdict did not need to be unanimous and would allow a verdict if only eight of 10 jurors agreed.

After finding in favor of Ventura, the jury was also tasked with awarding damages for any harm to his reputation, humiliation and embarrassment. Jurors had to find that Ventura suffered an economic loss as a direct result of Kyle’s statements, or that Kyle used Ventura to profit unjustly…

[continues at CBS News]

The post Jesse Ventura Wins Defamation Case, Awarded $1.8 Million appeared first on disinformation.

Who is the Woman in Black?

Disinformation - 5 hours 13 min ago

A woman dressed in all black is apparently traveling across the country on foot – but no one is quite sure where she’s going or why. Many assume she’s on some type of spiritual mission and a Facebook page has been started by an unaffiliated party that tracks her progress. So far, she’s traveled from Georgia to Ohio.

Picture taken from the Facebook page: “Where is the Mysterious Woman in Black?

via Reuters:

A quiet woman wearing a flowing, black dress and mysteriously strolling along busy highways in parts of the U.S. Southeast and Midwest has the curious wondering who she is and spurred a social media site to document her trek.

She has been dubbed the “Woman in Black,” by TV stations, police and followers on the Web, including those on a Facebook page where she has been tracked on a nearly 500-mile journey with a black bag and walking stick in hand that has taken her from Ranger, Georgia, to Athens, Ohio, since July 18.

“If you meet this woman, please, offer her a drink, a meal, whatever it may be you feel she needs. Be hospitable. Be kind,” said a post on the Facebook page, which has 19,000 followers.

Several television stations have covered the “Woman in Black” when she has passed through, reporting that some believe the woman, who rarely speaks, is on a religious mission.

An NBC affiliate in Sullivan County, Tennessee, reported she told deputies there that she is from an Islamic nation and worked at the Pentagon. Deputies later said neither was true.

Raymond Poles told Reuters he is the woman’s brother, identifying her as Elizabeth Poles, 56, a U.S. Army veteran, mother of two children and a widow from Motts, Alabama.

Continue reading.

The post Who is the Woman in Black? appeared first on disinformation.

13 Last Meals Requested by Executed Texas Prisoners

Disinformation - 7 hours 13 min ago

Disinfo was doing the whole “listicle” thing before it became the norm. Here’s an excerpt from our Book of Lists, which was published in 2004:

Taken verbatim from a now-deleted page on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website.

13. Delbert Teague Jr.

Executed September 9, 1998. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice notes: “Last minute he decided to eat a hamburger at his Mother’s request.”

12. Juan Soria

Executed July 26, 2000. “Chicken, three pieces of fish, burgers, pizza, fruit (grapes, plums, peaches, apples, tangerines), doughnuts, walnuts, chocolate candy bar, plain potato chips, picante sauce, hot sauce, salad with ranch dressing, Coke, and Sprite.”

11. Miguel Richardson

Executed June 26, 2001. “Chocolate birthday cake with ’2/23/90′ written on top, seven pink candles, one coconut, kiwi fruit juice, pineapple juice, one mango, grapes, lettuce, cottage cheese, peaches, one banana, one delicious apple, chef salad without meat and with thousand island dressing, fruit salad, cheese, and tomato slices.”

10. James Powell

Executed October 1, 2002. “One pot of coffee.”

9. Gerald Mitchell

Executed October 22, 2001. “One bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers.”

8. Robert Madden

Executed May 28, 1997. “Asked that final meal be provided to a homeless person.”

7. Stacey Lawton

Executed November 14, 2000. “One jar of dill pickles.”

6. Danny Harris

Executed July 30, 1993. “God’s saving grace, love, truth, peace and freedom.”

5. Cornelius Goss

Executed February 23, 2000. “One apple, one orange, one banana, coconut, and peaches.”

4. Henry Dunn, Jr.

Executed February 6, 2003. “Cheeseburger (extra cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce, and salad dressing), tray of French fries, bottle of ketchup, 25 breaded fried shrimp, four cans of pineapple juice, two banana splits, bottle of Hershey’s syrup, and one jar of apple butter jam.”

3. John Baltazar

Executed January 15, 2003. “Cool Whip and cherries.”

2. Odell Barnes, Jr.

Executed March 1, 2000. For his last meal request, Barnes wrote: “Justice, Equality, World Peace.”

1. Stanley Baker

Executed May 30, 2002. “Two 16 oz. ribeyes, one lb. turkey breast (sliced thin), twelve strips of bacon, two large hamburgers with mayo, onion, and lettuce, two large baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, and chives, four slices  of cheese or one-half pound of grated cheddar cheese, chef salad with blue cheese dressing, two ears of corn on the cob, one pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and four vanilla Cokes or Mr. Pibb.”

The post 13 Last Meals Requested by Executed Texas Prisoners appeared first on disinformation.

Billionaire Warns Of EMP ‘Black Swan’ Danger

Disinformation - 8 hours 35 min ago

Paul Singer is a billionaire hedge fund manager. He’s warning his investors of a potential huge “Black Swan” event, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would be massively disruptive, reports CNBC:

Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer has issued an unusual warning for investors, calling the threat of a widespread blackout from an electromagnetic surge the “most significant danger” in the world.

Called an “electromagnetic pulse” or EMP, the events can occur naturally from solar storms or artificially from a high-altitude explosion of nuclear weapons.

EMP USA” by NACLE2 – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“While these pages are typically chock full of scary or depressing scenarios, there is one risk that is head-and-shoulders above all the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence,” Singer wrote to clients of his $24.8 billion Elliott Management on Monday in a standard investment update letter. “Even horrendous nuclear war, except in its most extreme form, can [be] a relatively localized issue, and the threat from asteroids can (possibly) be mitigated.”

“(A natural EMP event) today would cause a massive disruption to the electric grid, possibly shutting it down entirely for months or longer, with unimaginable consequences,” Singer wrote. “Only two years ago, the sun let loose with a Carrington-magnitude burst, but the position of the earth at the time prevented the burst from hitting it. The chances of additional events of such magnitude may be far greater than most people think.”
Carrington refers to a solar storm in 1859 that caused telegraph systems to fail around the world.

Singer warned that a man-made EMP attack would be even worse…

[continues at CNBC]

The post Billionaire Warns Of EMP ‘Black Swan’ Danger appeared first on disinformation.

Short Horror Film is Shot Entirely with iPhone 4s: La Boca Del Léon

Disinformation - 13 hours 13 min ago

The Mouth of the Lion (La Boca Del Léon) is an interesting answer to the over-saturation of the “found footage” films that we’ve had to endure the past few years. It has that found footage feel, but is rendered in a relatively new way. The film also raises compelling questions about the whole “Skype exorcism” fad, you may or may not have heard about.

Personally, I’m still partial to widescreen films seen in the cinema. But, I always appreciate innovation and am a sucker for the horror genre. Enjoy.

NOTE: The film is roughly 5 minutes long.

via the Press Release:

“The Mouth of the Lion” (La Boca Del Léon) is a story directed by Alfonso García López Madrid and written by Vincent Blonde Catalan under the production of the pop producer GEOFILMS ENTERTAINMENT. Inspired by the real exorcisms of Manual Vatican, the film tells the harrowing story of a father who is obsessed with the world of the dead. One of his macabre games has gone too far, so he decides to make one last call for help.

LA BOCA DEL LEÓN from Geofilms Entertainment on Vimeo.

The post Short Horror Film is Shot Entirely with iPhone 4s: La Boca Del Léon appeared first on disinformation.

Alex Jones Wants To Be Taken Seriously: ‘I’m Not Making Jack Crap Up, I’m Not Making Nothing Up’

Disinformation - 20 hours 13 min ago

Apparently not satisfied with being America’s highest profile conspiracy theorist, Texas radio host Alex Jones wants to be taken seriously, reports Right Wing Watch:

Alex Jones said last week that he is sick and tired of everyone dismissing him as a conspiracy theorist, when actually he is a real man trying to tell people the truth!

“I am not making jack crack up, okay? I’m not making nothing up,” he charged. “We’re already in deep you know what but it’s getting deeper fast, and as a man, as a parent, my spider sense is just off the charts.”

He also warned “InfoWars” listeners that the government is getting ready to launch false flag attacks in order to start a civil war and commit mass arrests.

“We are in a progressing tyranny, it’s progressive like brain cancer, malignant cancer, it’s metastasized, it’s blooming right now and unequivocally I can say the people running things are clearly going to stage massive terror attacks and blame it on domestic groups and they are going to try to come arrest a lot of people,” Jones said

[continues at Right Wing Watch]

The post Alex Jones Wants To Be Taken Seriously: ‘I’m Not Making Jack Crap Up, I’m Not Making Nothing Up’ appeared first on disinformation.

The Plot Thickens in the Siberian Crater Saga

Disinformation - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 17:30

Well, two new holes/craters/portals to hell have been found in Siberia.

via The Washington Post:

Two new craters have emerged in Siberia, deepening the giant hole saga. Though not as big as the first crater, which extended hundreds of feet in diameter, these new craters are just as strange.

One of the newly discovered holes is near the original — in a land referred to by locals as “the end of the world.” It’s around 45 feet in diameter and formed under unknown conditions. Same goes for the other new crater, which has a diameter of 13 feet, a depth of between 200 and 330 feet and was discovered by “mystified” herders near the village of Nosok in the icy Krasnoyarsk region.

This new crater in the Taz district, near the village of Antipayuta, has a diameter of about 15 metres. Photo via The Siberian Times

“It is not like this is the work of men,” one expert explained to the Siberian Times, which has been hot on the giant crater story from the get-go. “But [it] also doesn’t look like natural formation.”

Continue reading.

I’m just waiting for a sighting of one of these:

Where’s Kevin Bacon when ya need him?

The post The Plot Thickens in the Siberian Crater Saga appeared first on disinformation.

Ancient Peruvian Astronomy Lab Uncovered

Disinformation - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 14:30

So this is awesome: archaeologists have found an ancient astronomy lab where it’s speculated that ancient people would track star movement.

Peruvian archaeologists found carvings that depict the stars and have lasted thousands of years. Silvia Depaz/Andina/Peru This Week

via International Business Times:

Archeologists have stumbled upon a site where ancient people observed the stars thousands of years ago in Peru, a country famous for using drones to help uncover and map archeological treasures, as Reuters reported.

Excavators working on a complex at Licurnique, in the country’s northern region, have uncovered evidence of an “astronomical laboratory,” that dates back between 3,500 and 4,000 years, according to Peru This Week.

“Astronomical [observations] were engraved on a flat-surface rock, which were used to track stars,” its report said. It added that the petroglyphs were likely used in forecasting rain and weather patterns to help farmers. “It is worth exploring without a doubt.”

Continue reading.

The post Ancient Peruvian Astronomy Lab Uncovered appeared first on disinformation.

A River Runs Red in China

Disinformation - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 13:00

Last week, a river in Wenzhou that was once considered to be clean enough to drink from mysteriously turned bright red.

Via Tech Times:

The river is located at Wenzhou, a popular town in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. The place is bordered on the three sides with mountains while the front faces the Pacific Ocean. Residents are proud of their place particularly with the river which they describe as one of the healthiest and cleanest rivers in their province. This was attributed to the fact that there are no factories found along the river’s banks.

Residents claim that prior to the incident, the river thrives in marine life as they can easily catch fish in it. It is so clean that one can even safely drink the water which normally tastes good.

According to the residents, it was the first time that they’ve seen the river change its color. They noted that they began to notice the change at around six in the morning. Two hours before that, they attested that the river appeared to be flowing normally. Suddenly, it starts to redden and in a matter of minutes, the whole river looked crimson red.

No one can really explain what could have happened to the water. The strange phenomenon soon caught the officials’ attention and prompted them to collect some water samples as a way to solve the mystery.

Continue Reading.

The most popular explanation is that some type of dye was dumped illicitly into the river.

The post A River Runs Red in China appeared first on disinformation.

Did YouTube Copyright Rules Help to Silence Activists?

Disinformation - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:00

Activists love putting up their videos on YouTube (Luke Rudkowski, for example), but the video-sharing site’s copyright rules aren’t always favorable to activists, reports New Media Rockstars:

File this under “dirty tricks” if you’re the sort of person who files things! The Australian environmental activist group Get Up! is claiming that its opponents have exploited YouTube’s copyright policies in a sneaky attempt to silence them. The group, which campaigns for various social and environmental causes, suggests that an anti-coal video they produced may have been pulled from their channel by a strategically timed copyright claim just before a critical vote on the issue.

The video was allegedly produced by Get Up! to educate the public about a proposed coal transportation facility that could potentially endanger part of the Great Barrier Reef. The video highlights other environmental abuses by Adani, the energy conglomerate that would own and operate the expanded facility. That video, “Can We Trust Adani With Our Great Barrier Reef?”, was posted by Get Up! on June 7, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Last week the organization was informed by YouTube of a copyright claim from a website which alleged that it had posted the same video back in 2013. The video was blocked by YouTube in accordance with its copyright policy, forcing the group to appeal the decision. Currently, the videos appears to be back up, suggesting that YouTube has found in favor of Get Up!’s counterclaim, but the incident raises questions for organizations who rely on YouTube as a platform to get their message out.

When NMR reached out to YouTube for comment, we were referred to the company’s copyright strike support page. YouTube does not comment on individual cases of copyright challenges, however a spokesman did tell us: When a copyright holder notifies us of a video that infringes their copyright, we remove the content promptly in accordance with the law. We have a counter-notification process in place if a user believes a content owner has misidentified their video, and we reinstate videos if a user prevails.” It does appear that that’s what happened in this case, as the video has been restored.

A bogus copyright claim can still take a video offline for a significant period of time. YouTube does have a counter claim process which allows channel owners to submit proof that they own the content in question, but that process can be time consuming. In matters of public policy that time can be critical. Should organizations or even brands invest in creating content for YouTube if their campaigns can be easily disrupted by abuse of the copyright claim system?

Share this article these questions need answers!

The post Did YouTube Copyright Rules Help to Silence Activists? appeared first on disinformation.

The Downfall of Domino’s Mascot: The Noid

Disinformation - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 09:47

The bizarre and tragic story of Domino’s successful (unsuccessful?) marketing campaign in the 1980′s.

The Noid

via Priceonomics:

During this period of rapid growth, Domino’s Pizza set an industry precedent that would prove critical to their success: they guaranteed that if a customer didn’t receive his pizza within 30 minutes of placing the order, it’d be free. Domino’s executives hired an external marketing firm, Group 243, to promote this new promise. The result? The “Noid.”

A troll-like creature, the Noid was outfitted in a skin-tight red onesie with rabbit-like ears and buck-teeth. Will Vinton, whose studio animated the creature, described it as a “physical manifestation of all the challenges inherent in getting a pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less.” Its name, a play on “annoyed,” was an indication of its nature: many considered the Noid to be one of the most obnoxious mascots of all time. Throughout the late 80s, Domino’s ran a series of commercials in which the Noid set about attempting to make life an utter hell for pizza consumers:

Then, right at the height of his popularity, the Noid endured perhaps the worst mascot PR in history.

On January 30, 1989, a man wielding a .357 magnum revolver stormed into a Domino’s in Atlanta, Georgia and took two employees hostage. For five hours, he engaged in a standoff with police, all the while ordering his hostages to make him pizzas. Before the police could negotiate with his demands ($100,000, a getaway car, and a copy of The Widow’s Son – a novel about Freemasons), the two employees escaped. In the ensuing chaos, the captor fired two gunshots into the establishment’s ceiling, was forcefully apprehended, and received charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and theft by extortion.

The assailant, a 22-year-old named Kenneth Lamar Noid, was apparently upset about the chain’s new mascot. A police officer on the scene later revealed that Noid had “an ongoing feud in his mind with the owner of Domino’s Pizza about the Noid commercials,” and thought the advertisements had specifically made fun of him. A headline the following morning in the Boca Raton News sparked a talk show frenzy: “Domino’s Hostages Couldn’t Avoid the Noid This Time.”

Continue reading.

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The Hidden Systems That Have Frozen Time and Stop Us Changing The World

Disinformation - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 09:00

A tremendous essay from filmmaker (The Power of Nightmares, The Century of the Self) Adam Curtis for the BBC is a must read for all disinfonauts:

If you are an American politician today, as well as an entourage you also have a new, modern addition. You have what’s called a “digital tracker”. They follow you everywhere with a high-definition video camera, and they are employed by the people who want to destroy your political career.

It’s called “opposition research” and the aim is to constantly record everything you say and do. The files are sent back every night to large anonymous offices in Washington where dozens of researchers systematically compare everything you said today with what you said in the past.

They are looking for contradictions. And if they find one – they feed it, and the video evidence, to the media.

On one hand it’s old politics – digging up the dirt on your opponent. But it is also part of something new – and much bigger than just politics. Throughout the western world new systems have risen up whose job is to constantly record and monitor the present – and then compare that to the recorded past. The aim is to discover patterns, coincidences and correlations, and from that find ways of stopping change. Keeping things the same.

We can’t properly see what is happening because these systems are operating in very different areas – from consumerism, to the management of your own body, to predicting future crimes, and even trying to stabilise the global financial system – as well as in politics.

But taken together the cumulative effect is that of a giant refrigerator that freezes us, and those who govern us, into a state of immobility, perpetually repeating the past and terrified of change and the future.

To bring this system into focus I want to tell the history of its rise, and its strange roots – the bastard love-child of snooping and high-level mathematical theory.

It begins with the grubby figure of the early 1960s in Britain – the Private Detective. Up till then private detectives mostly did divorce work. They would burst into hotel rooms to find a married person engaged in adulterous activity. Often these were prearranged situations, set up to supply the necessary evidence to get round Britain’s tough divorce laws.

Then two things happened. The divorce laws were reformed – which meant the bottom fell out of the market. But at the same time home movie cameras became cheap and available. Private detectives began to spend their time hiding round corners and behind bushes – recording what their suspects got up to.

Here are two clips I’ve put together. The first is one of the old-school private detectives going to a hotel room in Brighton to “surprise” the occupants. Followed by a wonderful item from 1973 where one of the new breed shows how he can film people without them noticing. Or so he says. From the evidence you’d doubt it.

He mostly works for the insurance companies – following people and filming them to see if they are faking an injury they are claiming for. I love the 8mm cameras he uses.

The item also includes an interview with a man who is opposed to this snooping. The interviewer says surely they are just trying to find the truth – that a film can’t lie. The man’s response is great:

“A film can lie very easily – the insurance company or the investigator can edit the film. Supposing someone has a bad limp that only occurs on wet days, or it’s a nervous spasm that comes on some days rather than others. The film is shown in court – and shows only the good days when there’s no limp”

It’s wonderfully silly – but he has a point. Bit like documentary films…

[continues at the BBC]

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USA Today Whips Up Fear of Ebola In United States

Disinformation - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 06:30

With a headline that Ebola is “only a plane ride away” from the United States, the lowest common denominator newspaper USA Today sounds increasingly like a British tabloid:

The growing Ebola outbreak in West Africa serves as a grim reminder that deadly viruses are only a plane ride away from the USA, health experts say.

The outbreak is the largest and deadliest on record, with more than 670 deaths and more than 1,200 infections in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fatality rates for Ebola have been as high as 90% in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

The virus — which has an incubation period of a few days to three weeks — could easily travel to the USA through infected travelers, says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

“A case very well could fly out of Africa, only to be detected in some distant country,” says Osterholm, who served as an adviser to the George W. Bush administration on bioterrorism.

The CDC on Monday announced that it has sent an alert to health care providers in the USA to help them spot symptoms of the disease.

Health experts at the CDC have been working with African nations since the Ebola outbreak began in March. But officials are on alert now, after news that a man with Ebola was able to board a plane and arrive in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. He later died.

Two Americans providing humanitarian assistance in West Africa have become infected with Ebola. Family members of one of them, Kent Brantly, a doctor, had been living with him in Africa, but returned to the USA before he began showing symptoms. To be careful, however, the family is on a “21-day fever watch,” in which they are being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms, says Stephan Monroe, deputy director of the CDC’s national center for emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases…

[continues at USA Today]

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ISIS The Start of World War III? David Icke with Luke Rudkowski

Disinformation - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 03:00

In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to David Icke about his predictions with ISIS and the possible start of WWIII. David breaks down many esoteric historical writings and the current political situation that can lead to bringing in other countries to war.

Via We Are Change.

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Fake Birth Control in Peru

Disinformation - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 20:30

The organization, Prosalud Interamericana, worried that emergency contraception pills being sold in Peru were not, in fact, birth control pills at all. They investigated and what they found was disturbing: 1 out of 4 pills was a generic antibiotic.

A split dose of two emergency contraceptive pills (most are now provided as one single-dose pill). [photo by Anka Grzywacz]

via Popular Science:

As a traditionally Catholic country, Peru has been slower than most to accept contraceptives. Over the past decade, most citizens’ ideology has gradually stretched to accommodate the need for birth control, but emergency contraception (AKA the “morning after” pill) is still highly controversial in Peru. Although some question the pill on moral grounds, others are starting to question it based on sinister scientific findings: some of the pills are not the pill.

With a growing number of “verified” emergency contraceptives being registered in Peru over the past few years, leaders of Prosalud Interamericana, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about sexual health, became suspicious that some of the birth control being sold in Peruvian pharmacies was not the pill described on the packaging.

“While each product had been registered by the authorities, it was well known that the registration procedures were not very stringent,” said Alan Lambert, the president of Prosalud Interamericana. Fearing that the pills were faulty, the organization contacted researchers in the United States to investigate what exactly was in them. What they found, as they reported in a recent study, alarmed them: one in four of the emergency contraceptives they sampled wasn’t what it appeared to be. In fact, one wasn’t even birth control at all—it was just a cheap antibiotic being sold as birth control.

But how did these drugs get into the supply chain? How can fraud like this be prevented, and what can women do to be sure they’re not getting fake pills?

Continue reading.

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Natural News: A Truly Deadly Brand of Pseudoscience?

Disinformation - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 18:00

What do you make of Mike Adams and his Natural News site, disinfonauts? Big Think has a very negative take:

If there was an award for the single greatest hub of pseudoscience on the internet, the website Natural News would well and truly take the crown tin foil hat. Expect to find anti-vaccine paranoia which extends not only to your garden variety antivaxxer favorites such as the debunked link to autism but to crackpot claims that vaccines caused the “cancer epidemic” and were even responsible for the “origin” of AIDS. According to Natural NewsMicrosoft is developing “eugenics vaccines that target specific races and nationalities with infertility-inducing pharmaceuticals“. Alongside this you’ll also find full blown AIDS denialism (emphasis mine):

“HIV does NOT cause AIDS. HIV does not cause anything. A staggering statement given the hype and acceptance by the scientific establishment and, through them, the public that the HIV virus is the only cause of AIDS. HIV is a weak virus and does not dismantle the immune system. Nor is AIDS passed on sexually.“

It is worth noting that the above blog post is authored by David Icke, the man who believes that the world is controlled by a race of reptiles from outer space who reside in underground tunnels. If you thought things couldn’t get much darker than AIDS denialism, you’d be wrong. This weekNatural News reached dangerous new levels of hysteria, publishing a post indirectly calling for the deaths of journalists, publishers and scientistswho have worked on the topic of genetically modified organisms. In this latest post Mike Adams, the creator of Natural News, calls for the creation of a list of pro-GMO “publishers, journalists and scientists”:

“Just as history needed to record the names and deeds of Nazi war criminals, so too must all those collaborators who are promoting the death and destruction caused by GMOs be named for the historical record. The true extent of their collaboration with an anti-human regime will all become readily apparent once the GMO delusion collapses and mass global starvation becomes an inescapable reality.”

In the same blog post, Adams states (apparently with no relevance to his statements describing scientists, journalists and publishers as guilty of “genocide”) the following “fundamental philosophical truth”…

[continues at Big Think]

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