Music by The Refusers

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Julian Assange Wikileaks Press Conference in London

February 27, 2012

Speaking from London, 27/02/2012


Steve Keen On The Transmutation of Zombie Banking into Zombie Government!

February 28, 2012

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Ireland will reportedly hold a referendum on Europe's new fiscal treaty for stricter budget discipline. The former prime minister is against it, saying a no vote could force ireland out of the euro. We've seen referendums called for before in the Eurozone crisis -- didn't seem to end well last time for democratic self-determination. Will this be yet another case of "the economic crisis sis too much for democracy" theme? A story of "we need technocrats" to navigate this all to volatile world? Is this euroland or zombie land? Are zombie banks feeding on governments, turning them into zombies too?

And talk about a liquidity crisis in Europe! We play a video of Angela Merkel getting doused with pints of bear at a party. Is all that cheap liquidity generated by the ECB for eurozone banks going right back to Germany, as the weaker ones like Italy need to keep going back to the bar just to keep their glasses from draining. So will German banks be the prime candidates to engage in the ECB's upcoming LTRO carry trade? We'll break down carry trade in the back-by-popular demand word of the day!

And what can we learn from wile e coyote? Well, in economic terms he just had a minsky we'll have a few more moments talking minsky and what he can teach us about this new upside-down world that we are living in with our favorite economist from down under Steve Keen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

John Stossel's Illegal Everything- The State Of The Union

February 26, 2012

This Stossel special will blow your mind! The government, especially the EPA is out of control as well as local prosecutors trying to make a name for themselves.

Sounds like the State of The Union is in truth, disfunctional.

America's Credit and Housing Crisis: New State Bank Bills by Ellen Brown

America's Credit and Housing Crisis: New State Bank Bills

The Future of Food - Full Length Documentary

Excellent film on the dangers of Genetically Modified Food.

The Future of Food has been a key tool in the American and international anti-GMO grassroots activist movements and played widely in the environmental and activist circuits since its release in 2004. The film is widely acknowledged for its role in educating voters and the subsequent success of passing Measure H in Mendocino County, California, one of the first local initiatives in the country to ban the planting of GMO crops. Indicative of its popularity, the Future of Food showed to a sold out audience of 1,500 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco in 2004, a benefit for Slow Food, where it was introduced by Alice Waters.

In September 2005, The Future of Food made a highly acclaimed national theatrical premiere at Film Forum in New York, followed by a tour of more than a dozen major American cities in the fall. Applauded by technology writers, food policy experts and environmental activists, the film has been shown around the world—from a plaza in Oaxaca, Mexico to the Jerusalem Cinematheque, and in citizen screenings all over the world—from India, Kenya, and Bulgaria to Brazil and Indonesia. It screened at a wide variety of professional gatherings, including the Midwestern Organic Farmers Convention, the Organic Trade Association 2005 trade show and conference in Chicago, and the American Dietetic Association convention. Columbia and New York Universities showed it to their students.

Throughout 2006, the film continued to be shown globally – to the public and at conferences, such as The Soil Association Convention in London and the Japanese Organic Farmer’s Convention. Garcia was the keynote speaker at the Nutrition and Health - State of the Science Conference put on by Dr. Andrew Weil and Columbia Medical School in New York City. The film had sold out premiers in Paris, Amsterdam and London and was screened in Turin, Italy for Slow Food’s “Terra Madre 2006,” a gathering of 5,000 farmers and food producers from around the world; and at the Conference on Women and Food Solidarity in Dehra Dun, India.

Since 2004 The Future of Food has been featured at numerous film festivals including The Margaret Mead Film Festival, The American Film Institute/ Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS Festival, The Slow Food Film Festival, and the New Zealand Film Festival. The film has won awards for “Best Doc” at deadCENTER Film Festival; audience awards at both the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Ashland Independent Film Festival; and the “Human Rights Award” at the Taos Film Festival. It was chosen by the Oscar screening committee of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as one of the best documentaries of 2004. To date, The Future of Food has been translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian and Japanese. An Educational Edition of The Future of Food with a year-long, university level curriculum by Professor Joshua Muldavin was released in Fall 2007.

In 2009, The Future of Food continues to be shown throughout the world at film festivals, in classrooms, and as part of environmental, farming and cultural events. The film continues to enjoy the support of a wide range of organizations—from the Organic Consumers Association, to the Soil Association of Britain, to Slow Food.
Genetic engineering of food crops is as controversial today as ever, as many of the large agro corporations that use this technology position themselves as the answer to the world food crisis and further consolidate the seed supply. The Future of Food continues to be a key tool used by activists and educators who call for increased attention to this issue.

Source of Text:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Appel à la mobilisation - Journée d'action européenne - 29 février 2012

Journée d'action européenne de la CES: Bernadette Ségol, Secrétaire générale de la CES, appelle à la mobilisation le 29 février.

Call to Mobilise in Europe - European Day of Action - 29 February 2012

ETUC European Day of Action: ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol call to mobilise on 29 February,  2012

More info:

An Easy To Make Lime Cheesecake Recipe

Easy Lime Cheesecake


10  digestives
75 grams butter
3 eggs
1 1/2 dl sugar
I lime
500 grams Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 dl creme fresh

Bake form:

23 cm round bake form.

Makes 6 to 8 pieces

1st:  Mix the digestives and butter together and form a crust at the bootom of the bake dish and bake for 15 minutes at 200 C  ( 392 F)

2nd:  Mix the eggs and sugar together.

3rd:  Add the zest of one lime along with the juice.  Include the pulp pieces also.

4th:  Add the creme fresh and Cream cheese.

5th:  Pour the mixture over the botton layer of crust.

6th:  Bake for 45 minutes at 200 C (392 F) on a lower shelf in the oven.

7th:  Cool and enjoy eating.

Note:  I baked it for the first time last night and it was easy to make and quite tasty.

I used 11 digestives cookies in a ceramic round bake form.  In N.A. you can substitute graham crackers for digestives and sour cream for creme fresh.  I thought that 200 C was a bit high to bake at.  I think that 175 C (350 F)  might be a bit better.  Perhaps let it sit in the oven in the heat after the oven is off for another 30 minutes if it isn't firm enough.

$15,OOO,OOO,OOO,OOO FRAUD EXPOSED in UK House of Lords by Lord James

February 23, 2012

$15 TRILLION is equivalent to the the federal debt of the U.S. Treasury Department. Lord James of Blackheath has spoken in the House of Lords holding evidence of three transactions of 5 Trillion each and a transaction of 750,000 metric tonnes of gold and has called for an investigation.

I think there are three possible conclusions that may come from it. I think there may have been a massive piece of money laundering committed by a major government which ought to know better and that it has effectively undermined the integrity of the British bank the Royal Bank of Scotland, in doing so. The second alternative is that a major American department has an agency that has gone rogue on it because it has been wound up and has created a structure out of which they are seeking to get at least 50 billion Euros as a payoff. And the third possibility is that this is an extraordinarily elaborate fraud which has not been carried out but which has been prepared in order to provide a threat to one government or more if they don't pay them off. So there are three possibilities and this all needs a very urgent review.

My Lords, it starts in April and May of 2009, with the alleged transfer to the United Kingdom, to HSBC of a sum of 5 trillion dollars and seven days later, in comes another 5 trillion dollars to HSBC, and then 3 weeks later another 5 trillion. 5 trillion in each case. Sorry. A total of 15 trillion dollars is alleged to have been passed into the hands of HSBC for onward transit to the Royal Bank of Scotland and we need to look at where this came from and what the history of this money is. And I have been trying to sort out the sequence by which this money has been created and from where it has come from for a long time.

Perhaps The Brits should call him in.

Infiltration of Occupy: PART I - Infiltration to Disrupt, Divide and Mis-direct are Widespread in Occupy by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Infiltration of Occupy Wall Street : PART I - Infiltration to Disrupt, Divide and Mis-direct are Widespread in Occupy

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Targeted to Die - Worlds Population Poisoned By Chemtrails & Radiation

February 22, 2012

Anthony J HIlder with Dr Ed Spencer and Deborah Tavares across the bay from San Francisco. taling about AirCrap (Chemtrails) and electronic radiation we all absorb every day. Ted Turner, Jacque Costeau and the Malthusians say we the people use too much of the worlds resources and need to die to save the planet. Insects and primitive life have more right to live here than we do ..... so time to poison the people of the planet. The chosen ones have refuges and antidotes saved for themselves.

Look For Anthony J Hilder Videos On UK Paradigm Shift TV Sky CH 203 9pm GMT & simulcast on the Net:!/anthonyjhilder


Teachers: How Are You Teaching US War Crimes, Destruction of US Constitution? by Carl Herman

Teachers:  How Are You Teaching US War Crimes, Destruction of US Constitution?
“Law” based on the dictates of a leader is exactly what Nazi Germany had.
Department of Defense Chief Counsel Jeh Johnson spoke to Yale’s law school and repeated the claim of government authority to dictate any American as a “terrorist” or “terrorist supporter” and be assassinated. This is in Orwellian contradiction to 5th Amendment rights that government cannot deprive you of your life without the above explicit due process. Importantly, Mr. Johnson, the War Department’s top “legal” voice, had more to say: government-dictated assassinations cannot be legally challenged through US courts.

President Obama instructed Justice Department lawyers to defend unlimited warrantless searches in Orwellian violation of the 4th Amendment. Such searches could be claimed as evidence of “supporting terrorism” and then not subject to review after assassination.

The 2006 Military Commissions Act and 2012 NDAA “legislated” dictatorial authority to declare any person a “terrorist supporter,” seize such persons, and hold them indefinitely and without rights.

President Bush and VP Cheney previously claimed that controlled drowning (waterboarding) is an acceptable method to interrogate and receive confessions, despite US courts’ unanimous rulings that this is torture and that the US hanged WW2 Japanese authorities for its use.

These policies to crush dissent protect US obvious violation of war law to engage in current Wars of Aggression. The publicly-stated “reasons” for these wars are tragic-comic lies easily proved as such with a few moments’ attention.

This is US “law” in our world of the present, and in “emperor has no clothes” obvious violation to the Bill of Rights for all persons (not just citizens).

If we just used “nation x” and “government official y said” for the above facts, and students identified them as examples of the US form of government, we would be horrified at their fundamental confusion, yes? We have other names for such forms of government.

Americans who receive their “news” from the six mega-corporations that dominate ~90% of “reporting” will never view clearly-stated facts of the above topics. The CIA disclosed to the Senate Church Committee that they had 400 persons working with the largest US media market to spin stories favorable to administration policies. The facts argue this is still active practice.

Colleagues in education: how are you teaching US War Crimes and destruction of the US Constitution?

Or, do you ignore these changes as you suffer from cognitive dissonanceAmerican Exceptionalism, or the “Big Lie” (and here)? Is it that you haven’t heard about them clearly through the “news” you receive? Or can you ethically stand that government claims for Bill of Rights removals is indeed constitutional?

If you can refute any of the above facts I present as objective, I’d really like to hear the argument. I worked with 200-300 policy briefs for 18 years, and am deeply practiced for factual documentation meant to withstand academic and political challenge; I assert that what both parties’ leadership and corporate media publicly state is paper-thin propaganda on the above topics. Don’t believe me, read this to see for yourself how the New York Times “reported” about the largest meeting of heads of state (presidents, prime ministers, royalty) in world history to save a million children’s lives every month. When you’ve read how this story was obfuscated and buried after the sections on style, travel, and corrections, ask and answer to yourself how that can be explained in any other rational way other than supporting a political agenda consistent with this article’s facts for American neocolonialism (domestic and foreign control by an oligarchy/1% for their own benefit).

Actually, such policies and “news” manipulation have been US business as usual for some time (andhere).

I can provide documentation among literally hundreds of professional and “hobby” journalists, but you’ll have to look and think for yourself.

Upon confirmation of these facts, how are you teaching US War Crimes and destruction of the US Constitution?

Important history that makes crimes in the present easy to see and understand:


Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Love Of A Stranger - A Guest Post by Michael Brine

Native American Wisdom:- "Peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the Universe and all its powers, and when they realize that  ---- the centre of the Universe --- is really everywhere , it is within each of us."

Black Elk, Oglata Lakota, 1947.

 I was visiting Glastonbury in England in 2003 which is well known for psychic/spiritual events in the past as you likely know - King Arthur and all that and also that the cup of the Last Supper is reportedly buried there in what is called Chalice Hill. That's another storey.

It was just before the US was going into Iraq and a group of about 20 of us had agreed to meet at noon in a village square - not the main one as that would have been a bit too public - to send out our thoughts for peace. Just as we were beginning to hold hands in a circle a young chap ran up and looking at me asked if he could join and of course we said yes. He came between me and another and we proceeded with our silence. When it was over a few of my closer friend were arranging to meet that evening to go out to a local pub a few miles out of Glastonbury. We arranged to meet in the village square at 5:30 and go out in two cars to the pub. This young guy asked if he could join us looking at me and of course we said yes. We met at 5:30 and went out to the pub for supper and to share our thoughts.

While we were there exchanging our thoughts I noticed that this chap sat quietly listening but not saying much. He seemed quite absorbed with our conversations. I liked him. Anyway, eventually it was time to go back to Glastonbury and get our cars. On the way back one of the chaps asked me quietly not to tell this fellow where he lived as he felt he might show up asking for a place to stay and maybe some food. I was surprised as I didn't feel that way about him at all - but I agreed.

When we were saying our final good nights in the Village square this young chap came quietly over to me and as he approached I saw a powerful white light go from his heart centre straight into mine and I felt Love as I had never felt it before. Then he quietly left. No one else witnessed this experinece as I was standing a bit away from the rest, and no one has ever seen him since.. I have never forgotten.

Michael Brine

Other articles by Michael Brine maybe found on:

Keiser Report: Bubbling Economy

February 25, 2012

In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss market participating rally monkeys, market regulating surrender monkeys, economic policy making suicide monkeys and Greek ministry website hacking cheeky monkeys. In the second half of the show, Max talks to David Hales about ending top down Central Bank imposed financial and economic systems with peer to peer economics.

Gerald Celente, The Kleptocrat's Carry-Trade and the Revolution

February 24, 2012

A US lawmaker is reportedly planning to introduce the "Sound Dollar Act" early next month. This is legislation that would move the federal reserve from its dual mandate of maintaining price stability (which is anathema to the dollar debasement that it creates through its massive money printing operations) and keeping unemployment low (which it has failed to do...curious...) to just promoting price stability. Hmmm...what would that mean for the Fed's unofficial mandate of trashing the dollar?

And Turkey, the fastest growing economy after China, is being penalized in the credit markets for failing to promote consumer savings, according to bloomberg. What? You mean savings matter!! That's amazing...ummm not to us it isn't. You can't have economic growth without savings, because you can't have investment without capital. Capital comes form savings, and growth comes from investment, but its shocking how many people think money "grows on tress." Can you blame them, when we have a serial money printer at the Federal Reserve, pushing us all into serfdom and neo-feudalism with a policy of perpetual bailouts and zero percent interest rates? Oligarchy here we come!

Finally, with central bank policies of the fed and ECB amounting to --trash for cash -- as economist David McWilliams puts it with his "Punk Economics: Lesson 2," turning "water into wine." These perpetual bailouts are nothing other than an institutional form of wealth transfer. They are nothing but wealth extraction, moving money from the bottom of society, to the top. The money changers. The banksters. The feudal lords. The money chieftains. Call them what you will. They are kleptocrats, and using compounding interest in order to pound society back into the feudal period of landless serfdom.

We speak with our guest, famed trends forecaster Gerald Celente about Greece, the global banking kleptocracy and the attempt by financial oligarchies to occupy the world using paper derivatives index to nothing but wealth extraction.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just A Coincidence Or One Of The Side Effects of Anti-Depressant Medication?

General side effects of depression medication

Some of the various side effects from the different antidepressants are:
  • Dry mouth
  • Urinary retention
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Sedation (can interfere with driving or operating machinery)
  • Sleep disruption
  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance/diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Inability to achieve an erection
  • Inability to achieve an orgasm (men and women)
  • Loss of libido
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety


The Refusers - Mad Hatter Blues

A video from "Innoc-you-rock" group The Refusers! 

To listen to a little softer song, First Do No Harm or other songs by this group,  please click on the link below:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Max Keiser Report: Hang-A-Banker-A-Week in London

February, 21, 2012

In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss London bars and cafes introducing Facewatch for criminals on the lower ladder of crime while Mayoral candidate, Ken Livingstone, proposes an all together different solution to end the banking crime wave higher up the ladder. They also discuss Greek heists and tweets from Syntagma Square. In the second half of the show, Max talks to Zeus Yiamouyiannis about Greek tragedies and Greek solutions.

Ken Livingstone Cleaning Up London

Real Wealth vs. The Debt Bubble - Catherine Austin Fitts Interview on GRTV

February 21, 2012

As a former investment banker and Assistant Secretary of Housing, Catherine Austin Fitts spent years learning how the system really works. Now, she spends her time teaching people about that system and how they can invest their time, effort and money in building a system that works to generate real wealth.

This is the GRTV Feature Interview with your host James Corbett and our special guest, Catherine Austin Fitts.

Other articles related to this subject:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Preparing for Defense If It All Falls Apart With Author Joe Nobody Part 1 of 3

January 20, 2012

Mike Adams takes control of the Austin command center on this Monday, February 20 edition of the Alex Jones Show. Mike talks with Joe Nobody, author of Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart, Without Rule of Law: Advanced Skills to Help You Survive and other titles. Joe has provided systems, consulting and training for the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Naval Research, United States Border Patrol as well as several private firms and government agencies which cannot be disclosed.

Part 2:

Part 3:

'Ron Paul Is Right, US Deep Into Fascism'

February 20, 2012

United States presidential contender Ron Paul has warned that his country is slipping into a twenty-first century fascist system with a broke government ruled by big business.

Stephen Lendman, radio host and author agrees that current US policies are evidence that the country has indeed developed a fascist system.

Monday, February 20, 2012

85 Things That Might Get You on a DHS Terrorist Watch List by Robert Wenzel

85 Things That Might Get You on a DHS Terrorist Watch List

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Max Keiser Report: Fat Cats Spy On You

February 18, 2012

In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss the riches made monitoring the population and the pittance paid for agreeing to be monitored. The also discuss the Serious Organised Crime Agency threatening to monitor Stacy for following a link while Max envisions a future in which granny gets it. In the second half of the show, Max talks to Charles Hugh Smith of about social fractals, tanking energy consumption and a citizenship futures market.

Seek That Peace - A Poem by M.N. Hopkins

Seek That Peace

Seek that peace.

That peace that awaits all whom be but still and at rest.

Seek an inner sanctuary.

That springs forth as a breathe.

As a whisper.

As a feeling of deep contentment.

A contentment that comes from being in the now.

For now is real.

Past and future are mere constructs of the human ego.

Be in the present moment and feel at ease.

Be in the present moment and feel the breathe of living.

Be in the present moment and feel loved.

Be in the present moment and be love incarnate in a human form.

Be in the present and be free of both past and future.

Now be still and be at peace.

© M.N. Hopkins

Support Black March 2012

You might wish to visit this site for more information on Black March:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fear Is A Handicap - A Guest Post by Michael Brine

Fear Is A Handicap

In 2004 I wrote this to a friend with whom I was having an exchange. In 2006 this was later published on a web site who had asked permission. I have decided that perhaps the time has come to give it a wider audience given the times we are living through. Also, may the wisdom of the poetry of Baha’u’llah touch your heart. Enjoy – M.B. 

“Oh Son of Spirit!
I created thee rich, why doest thou
Bring thyself down to poverty?
Noble I made thee, wherewith dost
Thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of
Knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou
Enlightenment from anyone beside me? Out of
The clay of love I moulded thee, why doest thou busy
Thyself with another? Turn thy sight onto thyself,
That thou mayest find Me standing within thee,
Mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.”

"Fear is a Handicap"

There are many voices out there as you too are aware. It remains I feel, for each of us to use our intuition as to what we are drawn to explore and indeed listen to.  Personally, I have for years felt that we have been seeded from other star systems and that our different races represent the particular star system we may have come from. I do however, feel there is a different story for the indigenous peoples of the earth but not sure exactly how for they are very much more in tune with this planet than are us ‘others’.

Getting out of the “Box” of our conditioning is the first big step. Once we have done that it remains for us to look around at this new unfolding landscape [ as we rub our eyes and get used to this new light] and see/feel what we are drawn to explore and pursue it.  As you well know we have been ‘ruled’ by fear and it is this that has controlled us over millennia by forces that have not operated in our best collective interests. [ Religions have done it very effectively through ‘judgemental’ motifs et al]. Who have been the ‘controllers’ behind the scenes is a matter of speculation.

There are ‘takes’ on this and I’m sure you’ve heard them. Again, intuition here is the best guide – at least for me. It is, however, very important not to get caught up in any fear motif for this only muddies the waters. Awareness is one thing and throwing light on a negative situation is very valid to help inform – but never get caught up in acting out of fear itself. Indeed this whole epoch we are traversing thru is an incredible time of discovery about who we really are. While we may see desolation and tragedy taking place everywhere around us, it is perhaps a prelude to a new unfolding discovery about our very existence and what it is all about! You cannot build a new structure on a crumbling foundation  - so the ‘old’ must be exposed and removed to allow for the new growth. I feel that is what is taking place as we move thru these disturbing times and most importantly – for me at least – is that we have the support of our Star family at this exceptional time with the codicil of course of non-interference unless we collectively ask them too. I suggest that these amazing Crop Circles are coming from these concerned beings who surround us and they come in Love.

Other articles by Michael Brine maybe found on:

Banker Occupied Europe and America by Stephen Lendman

Source of Picture:
Banker Occupied Europe and America

The Pleasant Revolution Goes South - A Musical Tour on Bicycles


Friday, February 17, 2012

ACTA Protest Mashup - Access Now

February 15, 2012

Tens of thousands online and offline have protested against ACTA. But the fight has just begun. Join the hundreds of thousands who have called on the European Parliament to vote NO on ACTA: .

On February 11th, tens of thousands of citizens took to the cold streets in over 200 cities across Europe in opposition to ACTA, expressing their support for internet freedom and digital rights. In what has so far been the largest protest against copyright legislation ever, it is clear that the concerns raised by civil society organisations, campaigners, and citizens are based on facts and can no longer be ignored. It has become clear to the European Commission and the Parliament that citizens will not stand idly by while important decisions about the future of our internet, our freedoms, and our rights are made without our approval.

We’re encouraged by the way in which the winds of change seem to be blowing in the direction of human rights, innovation, transparency and flexible IP regimes. So far Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic have backed away from supporting ACTA by suspending ratification, and Germany and the Netherlands have put a delay on even signing the agreement! Yesterday, the Dutch Parliament  adopted a motion asking its government not to sign the Agreement until “it is conclusively established that the Treaty does not conflict with fundamental rights.”

In the European Parliament, more concerns for ACTA are being heard: On Monday, the Greens staged an anti-ACTA demo in Strasbourg, and President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (S&D), among many other Members of the EP,  has publicly expressed his concerns with ACTA, saying, "The necessary balance between the two - protection of copyright on the one hand and fundamental rights of [Internet] users on the other – is very poorly enshrined in this treaty." And sagely pointing out that, "It was a mistake to put counterfeit goods and copyright enforcement in the digital environment together in the same agreement."

The European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, has also released a statement that takes into account many of the concerns of civil society, supporting “the intention of several members of the European  Parliament to ask the European Court of Justice for a legal opinion to clarify that the ACTA agreement cannot limit freedom of expression and freedom of the Internet”.

The European Commission may be rethinking its stance on ACTA
The European Commission (EC), which tends to stand firmly together on all matters (including ACTA) may now be second guessing its stance on the controversial Agreement. European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, has been leading the Commission in negotiations, and according to a recent meeting of the heads of cabinet, was moved by the protests that swept Europe on February 11.  De Gucht’s representatives announced at that meeting, that a referral to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is currently being considered.

What could a referral to the ECJ mean for the fight against ACTA?
While civil society groups, and many political parties in the EP, such as the Greens/EFA, ostensibly supported a referral to the high court, particularly to test it against its impact on fundamental rights, this was, from Access’ perspective, seen best as a second option to the final vote in the European Parliament (scheduled for sometime in June or July of this year). On referring ACTA to the ECJ, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, due to the Commission’s handling of this dossier so far, this move could be seen as a delay tactic intended to quell the anti-ACTA movement, since ECJ opinions can take up to two years. If indeed it is, the EC should know that this will only ignite greater public outcry against the Agreement.

Secondly, the questions asked to the ECJ must be well-framed. Since the opinion of the Court is key in European decision making (particularly in influencing the upcoming vote in the European Parliament), supporting a referral to the ECJ should be provided only on the condition that questions are framed comprehensively, as a vaguely and ill worded question could result in an equally vague ruling. The question(s) will likely relate to whether ACTA is incompatible with primary (the treaties establishing the European Union) and secondary (legal instruments based on the Treaties) European law.

Currently the EU has a number of pieces of legislation that are being overhauled and updated, most notably the review of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive (IPRED) and the upcoming IPREDII. Many key elements of the directive which relate to fundamental rights, such as access to user data, are also included in ACTA. By ratifying ACTA, the Commission and the Parliament will not be able to undertake any major reforms of this important Directive. It would also be encouraging non-European countries to implement these measures, which would have exponentially worse implications on fundamental rights.

Indeed, if the Commission decides to properly address the risks to fundamental rights that ACTA presents, they could and should conduct an impact assessment on the potential of impacts of the Agreement, while they wait for the ECJ to render an opinion. By taking ACTA off the fast track, it would also allow other “partner” countries to evaluate the harmful implications of this agreement. Whether the referral comes from the Commission or from the European Parliament, this analysis is more or less the same.

How will the ECJ rule on ACTA?
It is difficult to say. However, in related news, the ECJ has today ruled again in favour of fundamental rights and an open internet. Similar to the Scarlet/SABAM case, SABAM -- a large Belgian rightsholder association (like the MPAA) -- brought the social network Netlog to court over their failure to comply with an injunction requiring the installation of filtering systems aimed at the prevention of infringements committed by Belgian members on its website (approximately 2 million consumers).

The European Court of Justice ruled that a social network, “cannot be obliged to install a general filtering system, covering all its users, in order to prevent the unlawful use of musical and audio-visual work”.  More details (including an FAQ) from EDRi here.

This makes two recent cases where the ECJ has stood firmly on the side of fundamental rights, and could be a good indicator of what the court might say about ACTA if it is in fact referred. However, it is hard to know what the outcome will be. This is why it’s important for European citizens to stand strong and united against ACTA!

* For more detailed information about what makes ACTA so controversial, see our booklet (translated in 13 languages), and our blog posts (here and here). To take action, visit the ACTA Action Centre and sign our global petition, which we’ll deliver to the European Parliament ahead of the final vote in July!