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Demand Progress: U.S. responded to blackout protest with the middle finger

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The advocacy group Demand Progress condemned the Obama administration on Thursday after the FBI took down one of the most popular file sharing websites on the Internet, Megaupload.com.

“Unbelievable: After history’s largest online protest, the U.S. Government nonchalantly responds with the middle finger,” the group said in an action alert.

MegaUpload, which had more than 150 million registered users, was shut down by the FBI because of alleged copyright infringement. The site allowed registered users to upload files, which could then be downloaded by others.

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The shut down of MegaUpload came after the largest online protest in history, where thousands of sites joined in a blackout protest on Wednesday against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

“If SOPA and PIPA pass it’ll just broaden the government’s power to do things like this,” Demand Progress wrote, urging people to email the White House and tell Obama to rein in the Department of Justice.

Hacktivists affiliated with the “Anonymous” movement respond to the take down by launching a cyber attack against the Justice Department’s site.

Along with seizing the site’s domain names, the FBI charged seven of its founders and employees with online piracy crimes. Four of those suspects have already been arrested in New Zealand.

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“This kind of application of international criminal procedures to Internet policy issues sets a terrifying precedent,” the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a statement. “If the United States can seize a Dutch citizen in New Zealand over a copyright claim, what is next?”

Photo credit: Flickr user Jo Naylor.


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WATCH: Lewandowski’s lawyer freaks out, tries to block Congress from asking any further questions

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During the House Judiciary Committee testimony of President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski about the Russia investigation, Lewandowski's attorney frantically crashed the witness table and demanded that Congress stop asking questions of his client.

"Mister Chairman, as you know I am counsel for Mr. Lewandowski—" began the attorney.

"You are not a witness and you should not be seated at that table," cut in House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sharply.

"I understand that," said Lewandowski's attorney. "I will leave after I register a formal protest based upon the debate that I heard. These seem to be unauthorized questions and I know you choose your words carefully—"

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Lewandowski’s testimony will let Democrats build Nixon-like articles of impeachment: Ex-prosecutor

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As President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski combatively testified before the House Judiciary Committee, he admitted that Trump asked him to communicate to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation must be shut down. Aside from that revelation, most of the testimony was unproductive, with Lewandowski lashing out at members of Congress and running interference for the president.

But as former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote on Twitter, these outbursts — and the fact that Trump sanctioned the way that Lewandowski behaved in the hearing — could be the basis for Democrats to write up articles of impeachment against Trump similar to those drafted against Richard Nixon in 1974:

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Putin aims a weaponized barb at Trump over Saudi attack – and hits the mark

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Russian President Vladimir Putin joked this week about selling defense systems to Riyadh following weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities. The gag was aimed at US President Donald Trump and it hit the mark with the precision of a guided weapon.

It was a masterful piece of trolling by the czar of trolls – a snide, disparaging jibe with an element of truth twisted into absurdity for maximum effect and laughs. At a joint press conference with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts in Ankara on Monday, Putin cast his bait into the volatile Persian Gulf region just days after devastating attacks on Saudi oil facilities exposed the limits of the Gulf kingdom’s expensive defense systems.

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