One month after Secretary of State John Kerry signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and just a few days after 50 U.S. senators said they will not ratify the agreement, a curious “high level panel” on Argentina’s national program for the voluntary surrender of firearms is scheduled this Thursday in a U.N. conference room in New York, Examiner learned today.
Apparently hosted by Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, permanent representative of Argentina to the U.N., according to the invitation obtained by this column, the gathering was described as a “side event” scheduled during the daily lunch break, from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m.
Last year, according to the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime, Argentina authorities destroyed nearly 11,000 firearms that had been voluntarily turned in. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, now recovering from serious surgery, spoke last month at the U.N.
Two years ago, the UK dismantled their national ID scheme and shredded their National Identity Registry in response to great public outcry over the privacy-invasive program. Unfortunately privacy protections have been less rosy elsewhere. In Argentina, the national ID fight was lost some time ago. A law enacted during the military dictatorship forced all individuals to obtain a government-mandated ID. Now, they are in the process of enhancing its mandatory National Registry of Persons (RENAPER) with biometric data such as fingerprints and digitized faces. The government plans to repurpose this database in order to facilitate “easyaccess” to law enforcement by merging this data into a new, security-focused integrated system. This raises the specter of mass surveillance, as Argentinean law enforcement will have access to mass repositories of citizen information and be able to leverage existing facial recognition and fingerprint matching technologies in order to identify any citizen anywhere.
- From the EFF’s must read article: Biometrics in Argentina: Mass Surveillance as a State Policy
The above passage was written in early 2012, but I had never taken the time to look into Argentina’s burgeoning and extremely creepy biometric database until now. It takes on increased importance to Americans now that Apple has rolled out its iPhone 5NsA.
Don’t worry though, Apple is a private company and they’d never work with the NSA or anything…
The video below is the promotional video of the Biometric ID Database in Argentina, and is an epic example of state propaganda.
Because the Argentine government has such a storied history of doing the right thing…In Liberty,
“They have taken the bridge and the second hall. We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes, drums… drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow lurks in the dark. We can not get out… they are coming.” - Gandalf (reading)
Another of history’s many lessons is that governments under pressure become thieves. And today’s governments are under a lot of pressure.
Before we look at the coming wave of asset confiscations, let’s stroll through some notable episodes of the past, just to make the point that government theft of private wealth is actually pretty common. Continue reading »
BUENOS AIRES, Sep 8 2013 (IPS) – Disillusioned with an economy that promotes individualism and ruthless consumption, thousands of people in Argentina are giving things away in street markets, organising car pools with strangers or offering free accommodation to travellers from abroad.
These are early trends in this South American country, but they are expanding, based on Web 2.0 platforms. Users share a concern for the environment and a rejection of consumerism. But they also have a desire to strengthen a sense of community and trust.
“We need much less than we consume. The basis of our street markets is detachment, the need to free ourselves from the concept of private ownership,” said Ariel Rodríguez, the creator of La Gratiferia (The Free Market) which operates under the slogan: “Bring what you want (or nothing), take what you want (or nothing).”
Back in April, we saw that merely asking the local economy minister what Argentina’s rate of inflation is, was enough to prematurely terminate any interview and result in a mocking, viral twitter meme. Since then, things for Argentina haven’t exactly worked out too well: a recent Appeals court ruling found in favor of Elliott and the holdout bondholders, resulting in a downgrade of the country to CCC+, and leaving it with the possibility of having to fund billions in deferred obligations. “The lawsuit could result in the interruption of payments on bonds currently under New York jurisdiction, or it could prompt Argentina to undertake a debt exchange that we could view as distressed,” S&P said in the statement. “There is at least a one-in-three chance of either occurring within the coming 12 months.”
Of course, to many the fact that Argentina has still not redefaulted is even more surprising. The reason for that is that despite president Fernandez ongoing rose-colored glasses PR campaign, the domestic economy has been deteriorating at an accelerating pace with runaway inflation destroying local purchasing power for years. As a result of the ongoing authoritarian crackdown on not only individual liberties, but economic data, it has gotten to the point that the government is criminally prosecuting anyone who dares to publish independent inflation data.
False anti-Iranian accusations persist. They’re longstanding. Claims about alleged nuclear bomb development don’t wash. Nor do well publicized terror attack charges.
The Islamic Republic’s maliciously vilified. False accusations follow earlier ones. A disturbing pattern repeats. Iran’s sovereignty is challenged. Its independence is threatened.
Washington wants pro-Western stooges everywhere. It wants rival states eliminated. It wants unchallenged global dominance. Everything’s fair game to achieve it. Duplicitous misinformation proliferates.
BARCELONA — Sustainable entrepreneurship — a buzzword in an increasingly eco-conscious business world — is often described as a balance between profit and environmental impact.
It’s a subject that Douglas Tompkins seems to have thought a lot about. He founded Esprit and The North Face, two of America’s most iconic clothing and fashion brands, only to quit the business world to become a staunch conservationalist, environmentalist and critic.
“Remove ‘sustainable’ from your dictionary, there is no sustainable business. Only biological sustainability counts,” he told a room full of business students at the IESE business school Doing Great and Doing Good conference on responsible business. (Disclosure: I moderated a panel at the same conference).
“Economic activity has impact and we are just now doing a better job of measuring what those impacts are,” said Mr. Tompkins in an interview.
A strict conservationalist, he rejects the idea that big business can reform itself and thinks the answer lies outside what he calls the “techno-industrial culture.” He thinks measuring biodiversity is a yardstick for how society is doing.
“Healthy biodiversity is at the base of everything,” he said, with species extinction being the ultimate catastrophe. “We’ll be living on a sand heap with a Norwegian rat and a few cockroaches at the end.”
Despite having co-founded ESPRIT, the multinational clothing giant, and The North Face, the maker of outdoor equipment, in the 1960s and having earned millions of the sale of the former, Mr. Tompkins is critical of business’s paradigms.
“We have an economy that’s based on growth without limits,” he said. “How is that possible?”
“To grow and grow and grow without limits is out of the question,” he said.
Even the companies that he is famous for launching do not escape his disapproval.