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Net Blackout to Protest Censorship Bill, Amid "Obama Beware" Chants in DC

By Matthew Russell Lee

BLACKOUT SOPA, January 18 -- Following a day of "Occupy Congress" protests in Washington, leading to chants at the White House of "Obama beware, Occupy is everywhere," today a constellation of activists and Internet companies are in blackout mode to protest the SOPA and PIPA proposals on Capitol Hill.

  Pushing these ostensibly "anti-piracy" laws is former US Senator Chris Dodd, who in the midst of legislating about banks took preferential loans from Countrywide Mortgage. Now he is denouncing the #BLACKOUTSOPA protest -- for some, a good reason to join it.

  At the White House press briefing on Tuesday, Obama spokesman Jay Carney was asked: "supporters of the Occupy movement on the Hill this morning had a huge banner saying, 'Liberals admit it, Obama let you down.' How worried is the President?"

  Carney replied that Obama is "working through his executive authority, working with the private sector, to do what he can do improve the American economy and improve the job picture, as well as, obviously, our national security."

   And on Tuesday evening, seven hours after Inner City Press had asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about the UN's delay in protecting civilians in Jonglei State in South Sudan, Obama NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor issued a statement that

"We also note the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) with respect to conflict prevention and civilian protection, and call upon the South Sudanese government and the UN to continue working closely together on this vitally important mission. We further call upon the UN to provide any additional support that is needed by UNMISS to carry out its responsibilities in South Sudan."

  To some it was unclear if this was belated critique of the failure to protect civilians. Even on this day of widespread Internet (and for some, Twitter) blackout, the US State Department is inviting questions via Twitter. Might have to wait for another day.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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