Petition Round Up: Week of 11/6

Rex Pe, flickr
Written by Ethan M. Long

Support the Chilean Miners Cheated Out of Film Royalties!

Next week, the film 33, which tells the story of the 2010 mine collapse that trapped Chilean miners underground, opens in theaters. The miners themselves have launched a lawsuit against the lawyers representing them, as they feel they were cheated when they signed the rights to the story away to the production company.

“The contracts we signed were not what the lawyers said they would be, for example of the $150m paid to our company, we only received 17%. Today we’re being rescued for a second time,” Luis Urzúa told the Guardian.

The petition states that “These men have been through a level of trauma most of us can’t even imagine. Five years after their rescue, they continue to struggle with psychological and health problems, many of them living in poverty. If anyone deserves to be compensated for the use of their life story, it is this group of incredibly brave men.”

They ask to call on the production company and distributors of the film to publicly support the miners and allow for fair compensation to be given to them and their families so that they no longer have to worry.

Investigate Exxon.

An investigative report by InsideClimate News that has been ongoing since September found that the corporation has knowingly misled the public after files uncovered proved that they were keen on learning about climate change as far back as the 1970s.

“Exxon’s own scientists warned the company that burning fossil fuels was “potentially catastrophic” and might pose an existential threat to humanity,” writes 350 in their petition to the Justice Department.

As the story goes, instead of acting then, they continued production in order to profit.

350 writes, “They hid the work of their own scientists, while financing an elaborate network of climate-denial think tanks, organizations, and politicians.” Lawmakers in Washington, as well as Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, want Exxon to fess up.

Now, as combating climate change has been brought to the forefront, fighting against Exxon and others is critical.

The New York Attorney General has opened an investigation.

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Let Us Play

This week, investigations began regarding whether or not online fantasy websites, which offer cash prizes, are violating gambling statutes. Sites such as Draft Kings and FanDuel allow a user to sign-up for a one-day fantasy game, with the ability to win cash prizes in what they call games of skill, not chance.

FanDuel launched a petition calling for lawmakers to allow them to continue in the same fashion they are now.

“Now, we need you to stand with us to show that millions of fans believe fantasy sports should remain legal and accessible to all who love the game,” they say. “Every year 50 million Americans play online fantasy sports. I am one of them. There are many problems facing our nation, but passionate sports fans that want to connect with our favorite players and teams is hardly one of them.”

Release my wrongfully accused friend, open-Internet advocate Bassel Khartabil (Safadi), from Syrian prison.

Bassel Khartabil is a computer engineer, passionate about open source projects, who was arrested in Damascus in 2012. He has been detained since.

“Bassel has also contributed to numerous major Internet projects including Mozilla, Creative Commons, and Wikipedia, and was ranked by the American magazine Foreign Policy as the 19th most influential thinker in 2012,” the petition says. “His voluntary work, always non-violent in nature, was greatly valued by Syrians of all backgrounds. His arrest has been a huge setback to the growth of online communities and free expression in Syria.”

Earlier this month, the website posted that he had gone missing. “We received news today that Bassel Khartabil’s name has been deleted from the Adra Prison’s register and his bed has been given to another prisoner. The only explanation for this is that Bassel is not going back to Adra Prison,” the post said, continuing to say that they haven’t been able to get any informed reasoning or confirmed location.

The Creative Commons Board of Directors posted on Oct. 17 demanding the release of Bassel.

On Oct. 22, MIT posted on their website that they are offering Bassel a position as a researcher at the school’s Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media. Joi Ito posted on his personal blog about meeting Bassel in 2009 and his excitement for the opportunity to offer him a position at MIT.

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“I am writing this post now because, along with his family, friends, and colleagues around the world, I am very concerned about Bassel’s safety,” he wrote. “In the name of the international academic community, I would like to ask President Assad to please give Bassel Khartabil a presidential pardon. He is an important world citizen and a true Syrian trying to protect the heritage of the country, and a pardon would be a tremendous show of good will and a contribution to the preservation of Syrian culture.”

Demand a #BLACKLIVESMATTER Presidential Debate

The BlackLivesMatter Network, through the Color of Change platform, have launched a petition targeted towards DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz demanding not only a higher number of primary debates, but having one of those specifically centered on the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

“We want to hear candidates debate and offer tangible solutions to the myriad issues impacting Black people,” the petition reads. “Lifting the unfair restriction on the number of debates and supporting a Black Lives Matter Presidential debate is a step in the right direction.”

Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post reported last week that both the DNC and RNC have stated that they would support a townhall or forum, not a formal debate. The campaign posted an update on their website saying that they don’t want a town hall event.

“We want a debate supported by the DNC that will speak directly and proactively to the issues impacting black people in this country,” the letter reads. “Debates that are shaped by the corporate media will never adequately address the issues we care about.”

About the author

Ethan M. Long

Ethan Long is a journalist based out of Boston, MA.

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Petition Round Up: Week of 11/6

by Ethan M. Long
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