Cables say drug giant hired investigators to find evidence of corruption on Nigerian attorney general to persuade him to drop legal action
The world’s biggest pharmaceutical company hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis, according to a leaked US embassy cable.
Studio executives have expressed disbelief over some of Netflix’s Hollywood content coups, like its 2008 deal with Liberty Media Corp-owned Starz to offer films from Sony Corp and Walt Disney Co for $20 million to $30 million. That deal put Netflix’s streaming service on the map for a fraction of what cable operators had paid Starz.
"The deal Starz did to give those movies away for $30 million obviously makes no sense. There’s a day coming shortly when that deal expires. How do Starz and Netflix address the next deal?" News Corp Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said this week at the Reuters Global Media Summit.
Studios are going to try to get a better license, fail, remove their videos from Netflix… and then try to start worse, higher-priced and splintered services which will inevitably fail. Then people will be back to downloading movies from torrents.
Surveillance policies now used by the FBI and other domestic intelligence agencies are “totally un-American and against the values Americans hold dear,” Michael German, a former undercover agent, told a forum sponsored by the Cleveland Council on American Islamic Relations here Saturday.
Speaking to 150 at the Islamic Center of Cleveland, German said current guidelines allow federal agencies to spy, obtain private records and recruit informants against virtually all Americans even when “there is no factual basis to suspect they are engaged in illegal activity.”
Both Facebook and Twitter — but particularly Twitter — have received praise in recent years as outlets for free speech. Governments trying to control the flow of information have found it difficult to block people from voicing their concerns or setting up meetings through the sites.
At the same time, both Facebook and Twitter have corporate aspirations that hinge on their ability to serve as ad platforms for other companies. This leaves them with tough public relations and business decisions around how they should handle situations as politically charged as the WikiLeaks developments.
Some internet experts say the situation highlights the complexities of free speech issues on the Internet, as grassroots Web companies evolve and take central control over what their users can make public. Clay Shirky, who studies the Internet and teaches at New York University, said that although the Web is the new public sphere, it is actually “a corporate sphere that tolerates public speech.”
Marcia Hofmann, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said, “Any Internet user who cares about free speech or has a controversial or unpopular message should be concerned about the fact that intermediaries might not let them express it.”
She added, “Your free speech rights are only as strong as the weakest intermediary.”
BitTorrent is a great technology to share files both quickly and efficiently, but like all other P2P-technologies it has an Achilles’ heel. The download process relies in part on central servers that can crash or go offline for a variety of reasons. To address this vulnerability the first truly decentralized BitTorrent/P2P client has been developed, meaning that no central trackers, or even BitTorrent search engines are required to download movies, software and music.
The Salvation Army says it refuses to distribute Harry Potter and Twilight toys collected for needy children because they’re incompatible with the charity’s Christian beliefs.
Plastic M16 rifles are still OK, of course.
There was a time when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s voluntary surrender to the British authorities might have put an end to the crisis created by the Internet provocateur’s dissemination of tens of thousands of state secrets. But in the upside-down world of transnational crowdsourcing unleashed by WikiLeaks, in which thousands of activists around the globe can be rallied to defend and extend its work, Assange’s arrest is a win, not a loss, for his organization.
Stricken Allied Irish Banks is preparing to hand out €40m (£34m) of bonuses next week – despite being on the brink of receiving another emergency bailout from the Irish government.
As many as 2,400 bankers in its Dublin capital markets division are to receive the payments on 17 December under agreements struck with the bank in 2008.
The bank, 19% owned by Ireland’s taxpayers but expected to reach 95% state-ownership, had originally been blocked from making the payments under one of the government’s bailout programmes.
But legal action by a trader, John Foy, over a deferred €161,000 bonus awarded in 2008 has led the bank to conclude it will need to pay bonuses to many of the staff to whom they were awarded for that year. The bonuses are being handed out at a time when the government is instigating four years of tax rises and brutal cuts to benefits.
Let the bank fail, and let them try to get their bonus money from the bankruptcy proceedings.
While the account will remain restricted, PayPal will release all remaining funds in the account to the foundation that was raising funds for WikiLeaks.
Why? Because they were being sued about it, and they know they haven’t a leg to stand on.
Among the biggest Wikileaks embarrassments for the UK came out last night, while Julian Assange waits in police custody.
Speaking on the Fox Business show "Follow The Money" on Monday, Bob Beckel excoriated Assange for leaking the State Department cables that have roiled the world in the past week, and said that American special forces should kill him.
"A dead man can’t leak stuff," Beckel said. "This guy’s a traitor, he’s treasonous, and he has broken every law of the United States. And I’m not for the death penalty, so…there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."
So, Assange has been littering, jaywalking, he participated in a bear-wrestling match, performed sodomy in a southern state, he drives motor vehicles whilst not wearing shoes.
Every. Single. Law. He’s been very busy.
I’m sure that Fox “analyst” has broke Sharia law in some country somewhere. He should therefore be stoned to death.
The words of one pirate from that lost age, a young British man called William Scott, should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: "What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirateing to live." In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.
Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."
The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’ every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.
The company’s top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew "everything that was being done in those ministries". She boasted that the Nigerian government had "forgotten" about the extent of Shell’s infiltration and was unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.