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09.05.11

Cablegate: After Visit to Bill Gates, Chinese Government Signs Microsoft Cooperation Deal

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Cablegate, Microsoft at 8:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: How Microsoft is “enabling tyranny” in China with yet another deal that helps show mockery of the Chinese

LAST night we discovered some important facts about Microsoft helping Tunisia spy on citizens, more of less in the same way that Russian dissent was crushed with help from Microsoft. This is an appalling display of proprietary software in action. The news about Tunisia is actually based on a diplomatic leak which now receives a lot of extensive coverage. Well, our own post and the other one which we cited got many links/references to them and even the ‘press’ covered the issue after this had been revealed. See for example the article “Microsoft aided former Tunisian regime” as it says:

According to a cable sent by the US embassy in Tunis on 22 September, 2006, Microsoft was so keen to get the Tunisian government to drop its policy favouring open-source software that it agreed to set up a “program on cyber criminality” to cover training. The deal also entailed the company giving the Tunisian regime, headed by President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, the original source code for Microsoft software.

The cable was made public last week by Wikileaks as part of a massive and largely accidental publication of unredacted US embassy messages. In it, embassy officials told Washington there was a risk the training could be used to further oppress the Tunisian people.

“Through a program on cyber criminality, Microsoft will train government officials in the Ministries of Justice and Interior on how to use computers and the internet to fight crime. As part of this program, Microsoft will provide the GOT [Government of Tunisia] with original source codes for its program,” the cable read.
“In theory, increasing GOT law enforcement capability through IT training is positive, but given heavy-handed GOT interference in the internet, Post questions whether this will expand GOT capacity to monitor its own citizens,” it continued.

This leads us to today’s Cablegate cable, which shows how Microsoft bashes the intelligence and the education of the Chinese. China’s relationship with Bill Gates is a subject that we wrote about many times in the past, even several years ago. Watch his role in the following deal:



VZCZCXRO5403
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHGZ #5379/01 1440829
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240829Z MAY 06
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8706
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 015379 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON, ETRD, EINV, EDUC, TNGD, CH 
SUBJECT: Microsoft Opens Technology Center in Guangzhou 
 
 
(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified.  Please 
protect accordingly. 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: Following on the heels of President Hu 
Jintao's meeting with Bill Gates in Seattle, Microsoft 
unveiled its first technology center in South China.  The 
center is the result of an agreement between Microsoft and 
the Chinese government to set up at least 10 such centers 
throughout China.  The center will develop software for e- 
governance, entertainment, and information systems security 
as well as provide training and consulting services to local 
government offices and enterprises.  The facility will 
eventually employ between 300 and 500 software engineers, 
though staff said they will be lucky to find 100 qualified 
candidates by the end of 2006.  End summary. 
 
Microsoft Makes a Deal 
---------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Timothy Chen, corporate vice president and CEO of 
the Greater China region, was the ranking Microsoft 
representative at the ceremony on May 15.  In an aside to 
Consul General, Chen said he served as the interpreter 
during President Hu Jintao's April 2006 visit to Bill Gates' 
Seattle home.  The opening ceremony of the Guangzhou 
Technology Center was reportedly postponed until Hu returned 
from his visit to Seattle. 
 
3. (U) In his remarks, Chen said Microsoft and the Chinese 
government signed their first MOU in June 2002. Since then, 
Microsoft has provided training support to more than 30,000 
Chinese students and professionals free of charge.  In 
addition, Microsoft has outsourced USD 5.5 million worth of 
software products to Chinese partners.  Microsoft and the 
Chinese government signed their second MOU on Apr. 18, 2006 
during Hu's visit to Seattle.  Under this agreement, 
Microsoft will establish more than 10 technology centers in 
key cities in China to promote the advancement of 
information technology through cooperation with local 
software developers. 
 
And Now to Fill the Buildings... 
-------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) Microsoft's Guangdong research center is the first 
such center for Microsoft in South China, and others are 
planned for Shenzhen and Xiamen.  The center is located in 
Gaotang Software Park, on the fringes of the city in the 
fast-developing Tianhe District.  It occupies two mid-size 
buildings that are connected by an elevated pedestrian 
walkway and surrounded by grassy fields -- a miniature 
version of the Seattle campus.  According to company 
literature, the center's long-term goal is to employ between 
300 and 500 software engineers.  However, Microsoft 
representatives said informally that they would be lucky to 
find 100 qualified employees by the end of 2006 because of 
the dearth of well trained, experienced professionals in the 
field. 
 
5. (U) According to company literature, the center will 
provide services in software design, development, and 
support in the areas of e-governance, information security, 
and digital entertainment.  It will also provide training 
and consulting services for government agencies and 
enterprises, with the aim of developing Guangzhou's software 
industry. 
 
Big Plans for Guangzhou's Software Industry 
------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (U) Guangzhou Vice Mayor Shen Bonian noted in his remarks 
that Guangzhou is experiencing a shortage of high-tech 
talent, but said the city's 11th Five-Year Plan calls for 
more than 200,000 software technicians by 2010.  He said the 
Microsoft technology center will help nurture this much- 
needed talent and also assist in the informatization of 
Guangzhou government offices and enterprises.  Guangzhou's 
software industry is expected to generate more than 100 
billion RMB (USD 12.5 billion) in income by 2010, with an 
annual increase of 35 percent.  In comparison, software 
companies in Gaotang Software Park generated 10.5 billion 
RMB (USD 1.3 billion) of revenue from software sales in 
2005. 
 
Comment: A Political Necessity Hobbled by Educational 
Deficiencies 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
 
GUANGZHOU 00015379  002 OF 002 
 
 
7. (SBU) This technology center, being the result of 
negotiations between Microsoft and the Chinese government, 
may serve Guangzhou's interests more than Microsoft's, 
though Microsoft sees the centers as being a political 
necessity for its future in China.  Though software 
localization and customer service are important for 
Microsoft's regional operations, the employment, training, 
and consulting services that this center will provide are a 
boon to Guangzhou's high-tech industry.  The remarks by 
Microsoft staff that the center's job openings will be 
difficult to fill reflect the deficit of well-trained, 
experienced professionals in Guangzhou's high-tech industry. 
Other contacts in the high-tech field have complained to us 
that young Chinese software developers have sufficient 
technical ability, but lack the talent to innovate -- owing 
in part to outdated teaching methods in China's 
universities. 
 
DONG 

A year ago Microsoft was accused in the US senate of “enabling tyranny” in China [1, 2].

Cablegate: Government of Ireland Pushes Charlie McCreevy to Help Microsoft Against Antitrust Regulators

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 8:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Familiar faces and sympathetic countries offer protection to a monopoly abuser

IRELAND is well known as Microsoft’s centre of tax dodge in Europe. The exchange is one of little or no benefit to the Irish economy (which not so long ago stood on its last leg), it’s about rich people trying to evade tax using loopholes and tax havens.

In a fascinating Cablegate cable, pro-software patents dunce Charlie McCreevy is being addressed indirectly. This is different from Austria's position:


VZCZCXRO7108
RR RUEHAG
DE RUEHDL #0335 0891457
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 301457Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY DUBLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6705
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
C O N F I D E N T I A L DUBLIN 000335 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2015 
TAGS: ETRD, KIPR, EUN, EI 
SUBJECT: IRELAND SHARES USG CONCERNS ON MICROSOFT 
 
REF: A. STATE 46956 
 
     B. YOUNG-SOILA E-MAIL OF 3/13/06 
 
Classified By: Political-Economic Counselor Mary E. Daly; Reasons 1.4 ( 
B) and (D). 
 
(C) Ireland shares USG concerns about the Commission's 
treatment of Microsoft (which has its European operations 
center and large-scale R&D programs in Ireland), according to 
Ronald Long, Assistant Secretary General in the Department of 
Enterprise, Trade, and Employment (DETE), with whom Post 
discussed reftel demarche on March 28 and 29.  Long, who has 
responsibility for competition issues in DETE and claims to 
have written the 1991 EU Copyright Directive for Computer 
Programs, noted that DETE Minister Micheal Martin had 
recently written to EU Internal Market Commissioner (and 
former Irish Finance Minister) Charlie McCreevy to alert the 
Commission to the GOI's concerns.  Long elaborated that the 
GOI saw the Commission as less than transparent in its 
evaluation of the interoperability information supplied by 
Microsoft in compliance with the Commission's antitrust 
ruling.  The GOI, he added, worried that the Commission's 
dealings with Microsoft were making the ground rules for 
competition cases unclear, a trend that should concern any 
company operating in Europe.  He asked to stay in touch with 
Post as the Microsoft case proceeded. 
KENNY 


Got to love the part about “less than transparent” in relation to the EU Commission. Lack of transparency is actually the Microsoft problem which the EU Commission was trying to address. What is this, projection?

IRC Proceedings: September 5th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links – Web Stats, Mego Petrospective, Tracking Company Busted, MPAA Exposed.

Posted in Site News at 1:30 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Internet Explorer market share slips, even as IE9 usage grows

    IE has steadily lost market share over the last two years …

    Techflash puts as nice a spin on the situation as Microsoft could want, babbling on about Vista 7 and wonderful “experiences”. Robert Pogson astutely notices the growing difference between Net Applications and everyone else’s data,

    NetApplications hides its sample and indeed has just made the umpteenth wiggle to their data-analysis to try to keep that other OS over 90% share on the desktop… Clearly, they are not operating in the same universe [as wikipedia] with such divergent results.

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks Sabotage

      As a perhaps unintended consequence of Domscheit-Berg’s sabotage of Wikileaks, a large collection of US cables has leaked without the Wikileaks redaction to remove names of individuals. The person Snorrason who is quoted as blaming this on Wikileaks itself is one of Domscheit-Berg’s associates.

    • Wikileaks confirms AFACT acted as a front for the MPAA in the iiNet case

      AFACT and MPAA worked hard to get Village Roadshow and the Seven Network to agree to be the public Australian faces on the case to make it clear there are Australian equities at stake, and this isn’t just Hollywood “bullying some poor little Australian ISP.” …

      Direct link to Cable

      AFACT/MPAA have hired Australia’s top copyright lawyer, Michael Williams of Gilbert & Tobin, to represent them in
      this case. Williams, well-known to the Mission and highly
      respected in the Australian legal community, was the lawyer
      behind the successful Cooper and Kazaa IPR cases in
      Australia. … Ellis did not want to begin by tangling with Telstra, Australia’s former telecom monopoly and still-dominant player in telephony and internet, and a company with the financial
      resources and demonstrated willingness to fight hard and
      dirty, in court and out.)

      As usual, if you actually fight, you win.

  • Finance

    • US authorities to sue big banks over sub-prime crisis

      The agency overseeing the remains of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seeks billions of dollars in compensation from banks … including Bank of America, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, as early as Friday.

  • Anti-Trust

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Using remote tracking software to find stolen laptop may have violated federal wiretap statute

      It is one thing to cause a stolen computer to report its IP address or its geographical location in an effort to track it down. It is something entirely different to violate federal wiretapping laws by intercepting the electronic communications of the person using the stolen laptop.

      The company was obviously staffed by bored people looking for titillation. That they occasionally catch thieves is no assurance that they won’t be spying on other people, such as this inadvertent receiver of stolen property, or the laptop’s owner. Non free software always has the power to spy and can not be trusted.

    • Cory Doctorow, Google Plus forces us to discuss identity.

      The first duty of social software is to improve its users’ social experience. Facebook’s longstanding demand that its users should only have one identity is either a toweringly arrogant willingness to harm people’s social experience in service to doctrine; or it is a miniature figleaf covering a huge, throbbing passion for making it easier to sell our identities to advertisers. Google has adopted the Facebook doctrine at the very moment in which the figleaf slipped, when people all over the world are noticing that remaking ancient patterns of social interaction to conform to advertising-driven dogma exposes you to everything from humiliation at school to torture in the cells of a Middle Eastern despot. There could be no stupider moment for Google to subscribe to the gospel of Zuckerberg, and there is no better time for Google to show us an alternative.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Problem with Medical Patents

      So great is the perceived threat to medical research that a group of American doctors and scientists have issued a protest saying: “The use of patents or exorbitant licensing fees to prevent physicians and clinical laboratories from performing genetic tests limits access to medical care, jeopardizes the quality of medical care, and unreasonably raises its cost.” Once a patent has been issued on a drug or discovery, scientists must pay outrageous licensing fees in order to do further research in the given area, thus preventing the development of cures due to lack of funding.

    • Copyrights

      • Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Monopoly

        Sarkozy believes that the right to an intellectual monopoly – the right to *exclude* people from knowledge – is absolutely equal to the fundamental right to freedom. … Sarkozy seems to regard supporting his fat-cat chums in the copyright industries as more important that truly helping the broader culture French culture, or even – heaven forfend – supporting universal ideals like freedom.

      • The war on sharing takes a nasty turn in Finland. Police raided a man and confiscated his computers. He later paid 900 euros and ten days of wages to avoid court costs and delays.

        In addition to getting police involved in minor file-sharing cases, CIAPC are also sending out pre-settlement letters to alleged infringers. In 2010 the group sent out around 100 letters and have promised to double that in 2011.

        Music is the target of this extortion but the laws apply equally to journals and other more serious material.

      • No Copyright Law: The Real Reason for Germany’s Industrial Expansion?

        Did Germany experience rapid industrial expansion in the 19th century due to an absence of copyright law? A German historian argues that the massive proliferation of books, and thus knowledge, laid the foundation for the country’s industrial might. … Höffner has researched that early heyday of printed material in Germany and reached a surprising conclusion — unlike neighboring England and France, Germany experienced an unparalleled explosion of knowledge in the 19th century. … The market for scientific literature didn’t collapse even as copyright law gradually became established in Germany in the 1840s. German publishers did, however, react to the new situation in a restrictive way reminiscent of their British colleagues, cranking up prices and doing away with the low-price market.

Links 5/9/2011: Android 3.2 Tablets, Cablegate Everywhere

Posted in News Roundup at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Limpag: Why you (likely) don’t need to pay for PC software

      This provides an opportunity for Linux, a free and open source operating system that anyone can download and use, to be more widely adopted in the desktop. Linux is dominant in the mobile space with Android. Apart from the wrong impressions that it is difficult to use, Linux failed to gain much traction in the desktop because people were tied to specific software that worked only on Windows.

  • Kernel Space

    • About git rebase and more
    • Texas Instruments Has New Open-Source Driver

      Update: David Airlie has replied to say he would rather not merge the plug-in portion of the driver unless there is an open-source module to take avantage of the plug-in API. Rob Clark has responded that he expects an open user within a month or so. This may put the OMAP driver out of reach for merging in the Linux 3.2 kernel, but would then become a target for integration in the Linux 3.3 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • the on-screen keyboard

        We have an on-screen (or, if you prefer, virtual or software) keyboard for Plasma. It can run independently of the shell by way of the plasma-keyboardcontainer application (which we use in Plasma Active) or the Keyboard Plasmoid that comes as part of the kdeplasma-addons repository.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • BackBox Linux 2 released!

        The BackBox team is proud to announce the release of BackBox Linux 2.

        BackBox 2 features the following upstream components: Ubuntu 11.04, Linux Kernel 2.6.38 and Xfce 4.8.0

        The images (32bit & 64bit) can be downloaded from the following location:

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Open Source: Mandriva 2011 vs Mageia 1

        As of today I find myself in the position of deciding whether or not to stick with my previously preferred distribution, Mandriva Linux.

      • Open Source: Live Migration of Mandriva to Mageia

        I took the plunge to migrate my personal / business desktop PC from Mandriva 2010.2 to Mageia 1 today (Sunday, 4 September 2011). I used the instructions from this page: Migrate from Mandriva Linux. Specifically the section titled, “b) Upgrading inline, using urpmi (CLI)”. The migration is roughly three quarters done as I type this. I decided to try to use the PC while I ran the migration from console 1 (Ctrl Alt F1). In preparation for this I closed programs I suspected would be most affected. Such as:

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Linux: A Closer Look

              After reviewing Bodhi Linux I had some time to really play around with the system. Preferring a minimal environment, I decided to check out what the minimal installation theme had to offer. One thing is for sure, when Bodhi thinks you want minimal it takes you seriously. I found myself looking at a clock. That was the only gadget on the desktop… there wasn’t even a task bar. Now if this sounds like I’m complaining let me set you straight: I asked for minimal and I expected no less, so seeing this was quite a pleasant surprise. It means that if needed I can build my desktop from the ground up.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Medion hides Android 3.2 tablet behind closed doors

        IFA 2011 Medion joined the throng of vendors touting an Android 3.2-based tablet at IFA, though it kept its offering, the LifeTab P9514 behind closed doors.

      • Why the Desktop Mode is necessary on Linux-based tablets?

        Many have predicted, that tablets will replace netbooks completely. While I cannot agree with this absolute statement, I admit that tablets serve a set of use-cases better than netbooks. The touch-interface and low power-consumption of tablets make content consumption more comfortable (e.g. no heating, no fan-noise, longer battery runtime, less weight to lug around…etc).

        That said, there are areas where tablets just cannot give enough. For example, any kind of work which requires more serious input while being mobile. The problem of efficient input can be solved with accessories like a bluetooth mouse and keyboard. Usually, when you prepare your tablet for extra-home journeys, you buy a case which also hosts the keyboard.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • August 2011 GNU Toolchain Update

      RMS is working on a press release which will grant a special exception to the GPL to anyone who is using one of the affected tarballs. In the meantime new tarballs have been uploaded to the FSF FTP repository with the missing sources added. The new tarballs have an ‘a’ suffix to their name, but otherwise behave in exactly the same way as the tarballs they replace. So for example the latest 2.21 binutils release tarball is now:

    • GNU Health at Savannah

      Health (GNU Health) is now an official GNU Project software. We’re the new kid in town at Savannah, but the project has been around since 2008.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Democracy and cyberspace

      ou have often argued that the implementation of the White Paper ‘Open Source Vision – Nurturing the Proliferation of Open Source Software’, authored by the Malta Information Technology Agency, could be as important for the future of Malta and its role in the increasingly globalised world as independence or joining the EU. But you have almost always insisted on the economic significance of the proposal, while the best-known international advocates of the Open Source Movement lay just as much emphasis on its political significance from the point of view of democratic development. What weight do you give to this political aspect in the Maltese context in relation to the rapidly and radically changing Mediterranean setting?

Leftovers

  • Tech musings – Because I can.

    I think the future of the desktop OS is going to be rather irrelevant though. Like it or not, we march on to the cloud and the volume of web-based apps that people are raving about will ensure that it won’t matter which platform you are running. The cloud has many people worried. I’m not one of them.

    TechBytes is reaching its first year, the collaboration project that started with Roy Schestowitz making a one line request in Identi.ca has been the focus of much of my efforts this last year, in 2008 when I first started writing Linux articles online I remember the focus of those articles was showing people why Linux was far better than a Windows experience. I see myself having to spend less time doing that since even the tech uninterested are seeming to understand there can be a better (and happier) existence outside of Microsoft products.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Obama Administration Delays Life-Saving Smog Standards

      Today the Obama Administration made a decision that will endanger the health of tens of thousands of Americans. Its choice to delay stronger standards for smog lets polluters off the hook and leaves Americans with sicker family members and higher medical costs.

      Smog standards exist because smog is dangerous to human health. It causes respiratory illness, cardiac disease, and premature death. Though we have made progress in reducing this harmful pollution in American skies, we haven’t licked the problem yet.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Obama: (Still) Killing Terrorists the Bush Way

      On an upcoming edition of PBS’ Frontline, former CIA lawyer John Rizzo argues that the CIA under President Obama is straight-up Bushian. “With a notable exception of the enhanced interrogation program, the incoming Obama administration changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations,” Rizzo says. (Watch a clip of the Rizzo interview here.) Glenn Greenwald points out that this shouldn’t be news to anyone who’s been paying attention.

      The real news: Frontline also reports that, during the 2008 campaign, Obama promised the CIA that it he had every intention of staying the course set by the Bush administration. That information, if it had come out at the time, might have damaged Obama’s end-the-war, stop-the-torture campaign mojo.

    • Firms Aided Libyan Spies

      The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: “Help keep our classified business secret. Don’t discuss classified information out of the HQ.”

  • Cablegate

    • In Defense Of WikiLeaks: Looking At Cables On Pharmaceutical Drugs And Trade Pressures

      Like many others, I have spent the past several days combing through countless US Department of State cables. I am primarily looking at the cables that describe our government’s efforts to drive up the price of medicine in developing countries. This is an act of state-sponsored violence that is rarely reported by the New York Times, the Guardian or other newspapers that had received early copies of the cables.

      I am also looking at the news of and the reaction to WikiLeaks’ failure to withhold access to cables that include the names of sources of intelligence, putting at risk the lives of the persons so named.

    • WikiLeaks: The five funniest cables about the ‘war on drugs’
    • Wikileaks Discloses The Reason(s) Behind China’s Shadow Gold Buying Spree

      Wondering why gold at $1850 is cheap, or why gold at double that price will also be cheap, or frankly at any price? Because, as the following leaked cable explains, gold is, to China at least, nothing but the opportunity cost of destroying the dollar’s reserve status. Putting that into dollar terms is, therefore, impractical at best, and illogical at worst. We have a suspicion that the following cable from the US embassy in China is about to go not viral but very much global, and prompt all those mutual fund managers who are on the golden sidelines to dip a toe in the 24 karat pool.

    • This week in WikiLeaks press: 25-31 August, 2011
    • Mugabe to die by 2013 – WikiLeaks

      obert Mugabe told a former US ambassador that the ageing president had prostate cancer that would kill him by 2013, leaked US embassy cables show.

      Central bank chief Gideon Gono made the claims in remarks to James McGee in June 2008 – when Zimbabwe was mired in election violence following Mugabe’s loss to then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of polls in March.

    • NIF Officer: Demise of Jewish State ‘No Tragedy’ – Wikileaks

      A senior New Israel Fund officer told a U.S. official in 2010 that the disappearance of the Jewish state would not be a tragedy, according to a document that was leaked by Wikileaks.

      The officer is Hedva Radovanitz, who was at the time (February 2010) NIF Associate Director in Israel, according to the document.

      The document relates to the attempts to pass a law that would demand transparency of political NGOs operating in Israel that are funded by foreign countries.

    • Julian Assange: The 60 Minutes Interview

      Naturally, “60 Minutes” wanted to hear from Assange himself. But for producers Tanya Simon and Howard Rosenberg and correspondent Steve Kroft just getting this interview was a story in and of itself.

    • Drug war cables: ‘Burn poppies, burn’
    • The Cult Of Julian Assange Worshippers

      It all began so innocently. I started hanging out with a bad crowd on the intertubes, digging into secret filez about energy wars and government corruption. The Afghan War Logs. The Iraq War Logs. Suddenly I was being called a “WikiLeaks groupie”.

      And it was true! Yes, I was revelling in this subversive counter-culture! I was spending hours and hours on my computer, chatting with other “groupies”, posting my findings on Twitter, writing up stories the media was ignoring and governments didn’t want people to know. I began writing for WikiLeaks Central and even got re-tweeted by Mr. @wikileaks himself – an intoxicating high for a crazy, deluded cyber-hippy like myself.

      It was just a fashionable thing, obviously. It would have passed soon enough, I’m sure. But then along came CableGate, with over 250,000 secret US diplomatic cables just begging to be investigated. How could I walk away now? Ignoring my wife’s futile pleas, I launched myself into the adventure like an alcoholic diving into a beer-filled swimming pool. Alas!

    • Nadra outsourcing plans in disarray after WikiLeaks

      The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) is bound to come under pressure to scrap its decision of outsourcing its work in the UK to a private security company after the WikiLeaks revealed that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had offered the US all the records of the Nadra.

    • WikiLeaks Cable Shows US Embassy Believed Jakarta Election Was ‘Rigged’

      A leaked confidential US diplomatic cable reveals that the US Embassy in Jakarta believed the 2007 gubernatorial election won by Fauzi Bowo had been “rigged” by the capital’s elites.

      The cable, dated April 25, 2007, ahead of the election, was among the unredacted cables released by WikiLeaks over the past week. It is believed to have been written by the then-deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy, John Heffern.

    • Wikileaks – Raw Notes On Ghana

      1. Embassy was approached by two advisors to National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate John Atta-Mills, Edward Nunoo and Sylvanos Tamakloe, who told Political Office that Electoral Commission (EC) Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan was being pressured by the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) to announce false results that would be supplied by the NPP. The EC Chairman told Ambassador that the allegations were “utter nonsense.” #WIKILEAKS

    • Full-Disclosure, Unredacted WikiLeaks, Security and The Guardian

      The Guardian doesn’t “get” openness when it suits their purpose

    • Wikileaks ‘exposes’ fierce fight in gov’t for control of Ghana oil

      The latest release of leaked diplomatic cables by the whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks has revealed some persons around the Presidency have tried to use their influence to manipulate control of the country’s oil resources for their personal gain.

    • LapdogCable Reveals Extent Of Lapdoggery From Swedish Govt On Copyright Monopoly
    • Look Hu’s Coming to Dinner: How to Prepare for a Visit by a Chinese Leader
    • Wikileaks throws new light on Nepal king’s surrender

      When Nepal’s controversial king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah handed over power to a resurrected parliament on April 24, 2006 and faced the abolition of his throne, it might not have been entirely the thought of his subjects’ wellbeing that prompted the move.

    • Wikileaks: ICE / IFPI Infiltrate Pirate Topsites

      A diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks reveals that entertainment industry groups and law enforcement combined their efforts to infiltrate Warez Scene topsites. One of the strategies they discuss during a 2009 meeting is to have an informant leak music before the official release date, to gain trust of the site’s operator and gain access to the highly secured Scene servers.

    • Australia: no plans to prosecute Assange over cables

      Attorney general says authorities have no plans to prosecute WikiLeaks founder, despite claims that unredacted embassy cables reveal identity of Australian intelligence officer

    • China and its propaganda — A glimpse
    • Wikileaks: India’s Mayawati ‘sent jet to collect shoes’

      The chief minister of India’s Uttar Pradesh state sent an empty private jet to get a pair of sandals from Mumbai, leaked US diplomatic cables say.

    • WikiLeaks’ Asian field day

      In Indonesia, the national police are discovered to be using a hard-line Islamic group as its hidden “attack dog.” In Indonesia, octogenarian Singaporean founder Lee Kuan Yew calls Islam a “venomous religion”. In Malaysia, UMNO leaders are “willing to blacken Malaysia’s reputation to ensure the end to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s political challenge.”

    • Wikileaks: airBaltic cancelled planned flights to Iran after U.S. pressure

      Latvian national airline airBaltic cancelled its plans to begin flights between Riga and the Iranian capital Tehran in 2010 after pressure from the United States, according to confidential cables by U.S. diplomats released by “WikiLeaks”.

    • Helium Diplomacy and the Jamaican Menace

      When policymakers are asked to name the terrorist breeding grounds that keep them up at night, they’re likely to mention Pakistan’s tribal areas, southern Afghanistan, or Yemen. Sunny Jamaica doesn’t usually make the list. But one 2010 cable sent from the U.S. embassy in Kingston warned that the country “potentially presents fertile ground for those who might commit acts of violence in the name of Islamist extremism.”

    • Vatican pressured CBCP to back off Arroyo resign call: WikiLeaks

      MANILA, Philippines – The Vatican pressured the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) not to support protests calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005, a US embassy cable released by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks revealed.

    • Feared clan outgunned Philippine military: WikiLeaks

      The 2,000-strong private army of a powerful clan suspected of carrying out the Philippines’ worst political massacre was better armed than the military and police, leaked US embassy cables showed.

    • WikiLeaks’ obvious truth

      People must seek to protect not only WikiLeaks, but also the mechanism by which the information enters into our purview.

    • Ex-Blackwater guards kept working in Iraq: US cable

      A leaked US diplomatic cable says that “hundreds” of former employees of Blackwater, which was barred from Iraq over a deadly 2007 shooting, later worked with other firms guarding US diplomats here.

      Iraq announced in January 2009 that it would not renew Blackwater’s operating licence due to a September 16, 2007 incident in which guards protecting a US diplomatic convoy opened fire in Baghdad’s busy Nisur Square, killing at least 14 civilians.

    • 2011-09-02 Polish CIA prison: US and Poland had been trying to “put story to rest” #wlfind [Update 2]
    • Smog readings had China hot and bothered

      This capital city’s skies were clogged with pollution, as is often the case, and China’s government was concerned. So it summoned officials of the US embassy to a meeting.

      But the session had nothing to do with hazy skies. Rather, Chinese officials were peeved that the Americans were monitoring pollution themselves, and posting their more precise findings, which usually judged the smog far worse than official Chinese readings, on Twitter for anyone to read.

    • Curtain closing on Gillard experiment

      As gut-wrenching as it will be for Labor MPs to dispatch their second prime minister in a row, and to suffer all the bad jokes and gibes – including mine of Australia becoming the Italy of the Pacific, with four prime ministers in four years (Howard, Rudd, Gillard and Rudd?) – they have little choice. Gillard has shown she is not up to the job. Wayne Swan, who will also have to go when Gillard does, has described her as tough as nails. He’s right. One problem. Tough does not equal smart. She has made too many mistakes and shown a worrying inability to learn from any of them. Under her, Labor has fallen to its lowest levels ever.

    • WikiLeaks – Rawlings uses drugs

      WikiLeaks has published a US Embassy cable that says former President Jerry John Rawlings uses drugs and his finance minister at that time was alarmingly incompetent.

  • Finance

    • FHFA Sues 17 Banks Over Massive Mortgage Losses At Fannie and Freddie

      The ripple effects of the financial crisis continue to take their toll on banks, as reckless lending during the bonanza years catches up to them. Friday after the closing bell, and ahead of a Labor Day weekend, the Federal Housing Finance Agency confirmed it was suing 17 different financial institutions for misrepresenting the quality of mortgage backed securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    • Ex-Goldman Exec Started SEC Job After Earning $57 Million

      Weeks after Eileen P. Rominger left Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), she took the helm of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s investment management division as one of the wealthiest people to ever join the agency.

      Rominger reported $57.5 million in income from New York- based Goldman Sachs in a financial disclosure form covering 2010 and 2011. She also reported making $2.3 million to $13.2 million in investment income since the start of 2010.

  • Censorship

    • The DOJ’s escalating criminalization of speech

      Over the past several years, the Justice Department has increasingly attempted to criminalize what is clearly protected political speech by prosecuting numerous individuals (Muslims, needless to say) for disseminating political views the government dislikes or considers threatening. The latest episode emerged on Friday, when the FBI announced the arrest and indictment of Jubair Ahmad, a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, charged with “providing material support” to a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)).

What We Learn From Novell’s Patents

Posted in Antitrust, Novell, Patents at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News of interest about patents that relate to Novell and harm GNU/Linux or Free software

NOVELL’S patents are a ticking time bomb that can basically be used by foes of Linux at any time. Software patents are without exception a bad thing, including all of IBM’s, Google’s, and Red Hat’s. As long as patents can be passed around as though they are a property, there is no telling who is going to ‘own’ them in their whole 20-year lifespan.

As FT reminds us in this new article, the prices of patents — including Novell’s — seem high because these are increasingly being used to block competition:

As we suggested a few weeks ago, the high prices bid recently for patents from Novell and Nortel will have prompted many others to dust off their IP portfolios. Since then, Eastman Kodak’s shares have bounced on news that it has begun seeking a buyer for some of its patents and Motorola Mobility has sold at a huge premium to Google.

Google has basically raised the perceived value of patents, helped legitimise some patents, and it did not even achieve all that much given that its foes are now using patent trolls like MOSAID as proxies. Mind the fact that pro-Microsoft, anti-Android lobbyist Florian Müller has sent me 20 un-responded dents in Identi.ca. this afternoon, trying to heckle me while justifying consulting services to patent trolls (perhaps his clients).

The issue here is not just Microsoft or even Apple; it is the law that they are exploiting and exploring in an attempt to ban or tax the competition, to the point where they can win not based on merit but based on market distortion. Rather than good programmers competing against one another, the competition is being passed to parasitical patent lawyers and lobbyists. No wonder the economy is doing so poorly with high unemployment rates and monopolistic billionaires who grow richer than ever before (they use patent monopolies).

Watch this new gem about Novell and a patent troll:

LL: There’s a famous re-exam petition involving Roger Billings. He tried to enter a licensing deal with Novell. The company sent in about 600 pages of what they claimed as prior art. But only one pertained to Billings

Instead of producing 600 pages of so-called “prior art” (a cause of nature), one could just produce 60,000 lines of good code that actually achieves something. Too much money is being drained in courtrooms, feeding a meta-industry that serves almost nobody except itself. Politicians too are basically being trained in the art of arguing and as long as they manage to engage with a dialogue against another side — no matter if they win the argument or not — they bill someone at the sidelines. Sadly, almost all politicians are lawyers or former businessmen. Is this the vision and future that we want? What about the billionaires who use those confrontations to marginalise competition too fearful of being sued because it cannot bear the legal costs?

Well, as we mentioned before, we are hopeful that there will be some real patent reform in the United States as a new antitrust chief turned out to have been involved in the CPTN fiasco:

Pozen joined the Antitrust Division in February 2009 as chief of staff and counsel. She was the lead antitrust lawyer in the CPTN/Novell case, which involved a group of tech firms including Microsoft and Apple being forced to license old Novell patents to the open-source community.

How about defanging them in all cases? Ensuring that Apple and Microsoft cannot abuse the patent system as they do to harm Linux? Pozen is smart enough to see the antitrust violations here, especially by Microsoft.

As Attachmate Distances Itself From SUSE, Commitment to UNIX Copyrights Doubted

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Patents, SCO, UNIX at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell suicide

Summary: Bad signs appear as Attachmate puts SUSE aside but continues to ‘hoard’ UNIX rights, dissociating one’s importance to the other

ATTACHMATE has been ensuring that it can maintain its status as a proprietary software company. Executives who were committed to a different agenda were mostly removed, expelled, or simply left. Mono developers were fired without exception and SUSE was relocated and relegated to Germany, where developers are now dependent on funding from Microsoft. What is actually left in Attachmate which is “open source”? Even Vibe was axed as we had predicted all along; it was in part based on Free software from Google (Wave).

Attachmate, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, is putting new people in charge and the Deccan Herald (insisting on just Internet Explorer or Netscape even in 2011) speaks about the spinoff called SUSE, which is basically partly funded by Microsoft now (to help put Microsoft tax on GNU/Linux servers). Attachmate is also the ‘owner’ of early UNIX copyrights, according to this latest report which adds:

“Novell’s board of directors adopted a resolution approving the sale, which specifically mentioned the copyrights were to be retained by Novell,” the judges said in the opinion.

This was the second time the appeals court ruled on this case. In the first appeal it reversed a lower-court ruling in Novell’s favor and sent the case back. After a two-week trial, the jury ruled Novell owned the copyrights. SCO appealed.

A spokeswoman for Linden, Utah-based SCO, Chantell Ferrin, didn’t immediately reply to messages seeking comment.

There is also a derailed analysis behind an apparent paywall at Lexology. We are still not sure what Attachmate will do with these copyrights. It is not as though the company has any commitment to Free software or to UNIX. Given the amount of time and money Novell has invested in this case, it is rather unlikely that UNIX will just be left there to rot and bring no revenue to Attachmate, even if through a sale. Unlike Novell, Attachmate has no need to keep up appearance and keep UNIX away from enemies of Linux. Will these be sold to IBM maybe? Or perhaps to some foe of Red Hat? This is a question that has generally bothered us since 2007 and we wrote about it many times before. We must pay attention to Attachmate’s actions and statements.

Shrinking of Novell

Posted in Novell at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell logo bitten

Summary: A post-Attachmate acquisition Novell and the former CEO’s remark about employee arrogance

IT was just under a year ago that Novell seemed destined to be sold. The sale was assured a few months later and the acquisition closed about 4-5 months ago, whereupon many employees were let loose. Ron Hovsepian lost his job after he had failed to fulfil his role as CEO and only 4 years after shaking Steve Ballmer’s hand a company with over 4,000 employees became more or less liquidated, with its patents being passed to Microsoft and some of its staff being absorbed inside Attachmate.

Now that an unemployment epidemic strikes the West, reports give this personal account of a formal Novell employee:

The numbers didn’t fall fast enough for Robert Ahlstrom. He spent four years working for the software company Novell – one of Provo Utah’s most prominent businesses. Novell laid off more than 800 people in May, sending shockwaves through the city.

“My boss, he called me into the office and told me: ‘You’re one of the people that’s gonna be laid off,’” Robert says.

Robert says he’s lucky – he’s getting severance pay. Now he spends his days looking for work — and working on his baseball swing.

In last week’s news we also found former Novell staff and former advisors finding themselves in other companies. former Novell CEO Eric Schmidt is quoted as saying some interesting things:

On lessons learned from working at Sun and Novell: “What happens when you’re in a successful company is you develop a certain kind of arrogance.” There’s always someone who can undercut you with a cheaper machine that works just as well. At Google, they understand this, because most of their price lists start at “Free.”

Several years ago we wrote about that particular arrogance that harmed Novell. A columnist at IDG wrote a column about it.

It is valuable to learn about people who are leaving the company or got laid off as it often provides insight into the internal issues. Consider this other new report which says:

Burnham joins Ogletree after seven years in-house at Novell Inc., where she most recently served as vice president of global employment law.

Employment at Novell or Attachmate is perhaps not much of a priority now. As we recently pointed out, Novell products are currently being decommissioned if not improperly maintained. It is unlikely that Novell-affiliated people or products will ever grow. Right now all the ‘juice’ that’s left in Novell is merely being squeezed out, starting with those patents Novell gave to Microsoft through CPTN. What a waste and what a predictable mess. Novell oughtn’t have gone into Microsoft’s bed in the first place; it had a fine desktop distribution with major clients, but it blew it all away, so Canonical won. It ought to be added that all those Mono developers who got laid off are not really visible in that startup called Xamarin. It seems like a non-starter. Their business model is providing Microsoft-esque services or products to developers and users who are trying to distance themselves from Microsoft and its platform. Similarly, Novell was trying to offer a Microsoft-flavoured GNU/Linux to companies and individuals whose goal was to get rid of Microsoft.

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