Take in equal parts: lyrics from John Lennon's "Imagine," Steve Miller's "Fly Like An Eagle" and simmer. Then add a pinch from "Age of Aquarius." Now you have the "Manifesto" of The Free SoftWare Foundation, founded by software guru Richard Stallman, famous foe of commercial avarice and stalwart friend of freedom.
"Copyright laws violate basic morality," writes the shaggy MIT graduate. "People should be free to use software in ways that are socially useful. When a program has an owner, the users lose freedom to control part of their own lives."
"The issue is freedom," stresses Stallman. "Freedom for everyone who's using software, whether that person be a programmer or not. Free Software--Free Society--Free as in Freedom."
Stallman himself looks like a cross between Arlo Guthrie (circa Woodstock) and Wavy Gravy.
Mr Stallman was the recent guest of honor of Cuba's Stalinist regime. This year’s International Conference on Communications and Technology was held in Havana on February 14th, and attended by 1,300 delegates from 58 nations. Stallman was a keynote speaker. An intrepid bunch, these delegates. Much like those 2.4 million tourists who visit Cuba annualy, these delegates also somehow foiled the the fiendish "Yankee Blockade of Cuba!"
The official host of this Conference was Ramiro Valdez, Cuba’s spanking new "Minister of Information and Technology.” Everyone familiar with Cuban history (this naturally excludes all the MSM Cuba experts”) know Ramiro Valdez as the Cuban regime's Lavrenti Beria, with a dash of Heinrich Himmler, a position he inherited when his chum Ernesto "Che" Guevara was promoted from Cuba's chief executioner to Minister of the Economy where he murdered the Cuban economy as efficiently as he had murdered hundreds of defenseless Cuban men (and boys.)
You will search the hundreds of mainstream media stories on Valdez appointment, and on his hosting of the Conference, in utter vain for any mention of this gentleman’s background. Imagine the Nazis signing a peace accord” with Britain in 1941 and the regime surviving. Imagine Heinrich Himmler then promoted to Germany’s information minister-and nary a mention of his background in the London Times or the New York Times. Heck, imagine J. Edgar Hoover appointed by Nixon as U.S. press secretay and his background ignored in all media pronouncements of the event.
Alas, regarding Cuba news in the mainstream media we’ve come to expect different standards. The standards Alice found behind her Wonderland’s Looking Glass seem rational in comparison.
Keynote speaker Richard Stallman was obviously tickled that a Stalinist regime had adopted his "Open Source Software" and worked the multinational audience of hipsters and geeks into a froth. As usual, the mainstream media, the writers for John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, Bill Maher, etc. found no material worthy of their bosses’ smirky irony in the scene. Here’s a man adamant about people having "the freedom to control every part of their lives" as guest of honor for a regime that mandates what its subjects, read, say, earn, eat (both substance and amount), where they live, travel or work.
Here’s a hippie-dippy spokesman for peace, love and total freedom who regards copyright laws as intolerably oppressive smiling gratefully--- while being introduced onto the podium by a Secret Police Chief for a KGB and STASI- trained force who jailed and tortured more political prisoners as a percentage of population than Stalin’s police under Lavrenti Beria and who executed at a higher rate than Hitler’s pre-war Gestapo under Heinrich Himmler.
Here's a fanatic for free information flow accepting accolades from a regime that jails the most journalist per capita on planet earth. According to the Paris (not Miami! Please note!) based Reporters Without Borders, Cuba (a tiny nation of 11 million people) today holds 20 per cent of the world’s jailed journalists. Imagine Castroite repression with China’s population! Cuban "Law 88," passed in February 1999 cranked up the repression several notches, mandating up to 20 years in prison for "providing information that could be useful to US policy."
Imagine a similar law in the U.S. that jailed reporters for "providing information useful to Al Quaeda polcy" ! Imagine the news : "An eerie silence enshrouds New York’s near-empty newsrooms and editorial offices as long queues of fresh convicts shuffle into the nation’s federal prisons…..”
Today, Cuba--a nation that in 1958 had more TVs and telephones per capita than any continental European country--has fewer internet connections than Uganda, the lowest number in the Hemisphere. Reporters Without Borders (NOT the Cuban-American-National-Foundation! Please note!) scoffs: The (Cuban) authorities' chief reason for keeping citizens away from the Internet is to prevent them from being well-informed.”
Ramiro Valdez claimed that his Cuban internet crackdown (not that there's much to crack down' on) was to prevent, "the diffusion of information promoting terrorism, racism, fraud and...fascist ideologies."
A "Freudian Slip," I think they call this. Valdez seemed to be reading from the Cuban regime's very resume'.
Valdez refered to internet technology as A wild colt to be broken and tamed.” Needless to say, nary a murmur of protest issued from the reverential attendees, including Stallman, much less the MSM. (Imagine the media hullabaloo if, say, attorney general Gonzalez blurted something of the sort!)
A courageous Cuban human-rights activist and samizdat reporter named Guillermo Farinas recently sent an open letter to the regime requesting the same internet rights for Cubans as enjoyed by every Latin-American citizen. (Chances are, he would have gladly settled for those enjoyed by the citizens of of Red China.)
Ex Secret-Police Chief Valdez’ responded quickly and decisively. His goon squads ambushed Mr Farinas just last week. The mob’s odds against the unarmed ( but you knew that because he lives in Cuba) Farinas were typical for the gallant Castroites, about twenty to one. From the Bay of Pigs through the Escambray rebellion to Angola it’s the same story of this sort of unrelenting bravery and chivalry. These sadists-- in the pay Charles Rangel’s favorite Latin regime and directed by Mr Richard "Free as in Freedom!” Stallman’s smiling host-- bashed mr Farinas to the ground and pummeled him fearfully. A grisly picture of him just smuggled out of Cuba was posted on the blogs Uncommon Sense and Babalu.blog.
Mr Stallman--if interested in the genuine rationale for his Cuban hosts enthusiasm for his "Open Source Software"--might take a look.
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