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03.22.13

Links 22/3/2013: Chinese Government Chooses GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • M$ Bars Itself From New Industry
  • Science

    • Celebrated Scientist Renounces National Academy and War

      Last month, University of Chicago anthropologist Marshall Sahlins resigned from the National Academy of Sciences to protest the election to the group of Napoleon Chagnon, a peer whose specious arguments in favor of a natural human tendency toward violence have helped militarize the discipline and legitimize wars of aggression.

    • CHINA IS ENGINEERING GENIUS BABIES

      It’s not exactly news that China is setting itself up as a new global superpower, is it? While Western civilization chokes on its own gluttony like a latter-day Marlon Brando, China continues to buy up American debt and lock away the world’s natural resources. But now, not content to simply laugh and make jerk-off signs as they pass us on the geopolitical highway, they’ve also developed a state-endorsed genetic-engineering project.

  • Security

    • United States v. Auernheimer, and Why I Am Representing Auernheimer Pro Bono on Appeal Before the Third Circuit

      On Monday, Andrew Auernheimer was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Auernheimer’s case has received a lot of press attention, and I think that attention is merited: I think the case against Auernheimer is deeply flawed, and that the principles the case raises are critically important for civil liberties online. For that reason, I have agreed to represent Auernheimer pro bono in his appeal before the Third Circuit. (I will be joined by the trial counsel Tor Ekeland and his colleagues Nace Naumoski and Mark Jaffe, together with Marcia Hofmann and Hanni Fakhoury of EFF.) In this post, I want to explain some of the issues in play in this case that I think make it so important.

    • Yet Another Reason Not To Use That Other OS

      Some people figure they must have that other OS on their PC even if they have a mess of servers. There’s evidence of malware for that other OS that targets GNU/Linux machines and wipes them…
      “The dropper for Trojan.Jokra contains a module for wiping remote Linux machines. We do not normally see components that work on multiple operating systems, so it is interesting to discover that the attackers included a component to wipe Linux machines inside a Windows threat.”

    • A Letter to Paul Wolfowitz

      Twenty years ago, you became dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and hired me as a minor staff functionary. I never thanked you properly. I needed that job. Included in the benefits package was the chance to hobnob with luminaries who gathered at SAIS every few weeks to join Zbigniew Brzezinski for an off-the-record discussion of foreign policy. From five years of listening to these insiders pontificate, I drew one conclusion: people said to be smart — the ones with fancy résumés who get their op-eds published in the New York Times and appear on TV — really aren’t. They excel mostly in recycling bromides. When it came to sustenance, the sandwiches were superior to the chitchat.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Washington Post Prints Iraq Lies, 2013 Edition
    • Statutes of Limitations Are Expiring on Some Bush Crimes
    • Time’s Rethink on Drones

      Crowley argues that “in political terms, it’s getting hard to tell the difference” between Obama and Dick Cheney. In the last few months, “his drone war has turned from asset to headache,” thanks to dogged criticism from human rights groups, international lawyers and a few politicians, including Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

      Crowley writes that the program “is increasingly straining against its legal authority” and that “a big practical problem with the drone war is that the rest of the world hates it.” He runs through various ideas that could introduce accountability or new legal mechanisms to constrain or refine the program–or “it might seem easier to simply wind down the drone war entirely.”

    • Ten Years After the Invasion of Iraq, Are We Any Closer to Peace?
    • Pepper Spray Torture–in the USA

      Amazing story today out of Maine, where the Portland daily paper has published an account of a prisoner being pepper-sprayed by prison staffers in June 2012–despite already being restrained in a chair. And: They have the two-hour video to prove it. And: They have posted the entire video on their site. Now the law wants to find out how they got the leak

    • Maine officials seeking pepper-spray video leak

      The Maine Department of Corrections is investigating to determine how the press obtained video and documents about a captain’s treatment of an inmate last year.

      [...]

      James Mackie, spokesman for the union that represents corrections officers, said he is not surprised that the department is investigating.

      “The number of investigations since (Ponte) has taken over have just increased exponentially,” he said.

      Mackie said he was surprised that the incident, which happened on June 10, took so long to come to light. Welch was disciplined in August and September.

      “We were all aware of the issue at MCC. There was no way it was going to be kept secret,” Mackie said.

      Breton said she does not know whether investigations have increased under Ponte.

      The newspaper’s story and the accompanying video offered a rare glimpse inside the prison and into a confrontation between officers and a medicated, mentally ill inmate.

      Paul Schlosser had received hospital treatment for a gouge he inflicted on his left arm, but had repeatedly removed the dressing in an effort to get medication and a book to distract him.

      Inmates who hurt themselves to manipulate staff are among the most difficult to deal with, Ponte said last week.

    • DYING VET’S ‘FUCK YOU’ LETTER TO GEORGE BUSH & DICK CHENEY NEEDS TO BE READ BY EVERY AMERICAN

      I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

    • RepeatingHistory.org

      The NDAA and the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans

    • The New York Times and “Liberal Media” Helped Sell the Iraq War

      Michael Ratner: The NYT and other “liberal” commentators led the way in selling the WMD myth and justified the Iraq war; their mea culpas ring hollow.

    • CIA ‘to lose control of drone programme to Pentagon’

      John Brennan, the new CIA director and architect of Mr Obama’s expanded “targeted killing” campaign, is believed to be preparing to transfer more control of the programme to the Pentagon.

    • Obama rumored to shift CIA drone program to military
    • Little Will Change If the Military Takes Over CIA’s Drone Strikes
    • CIA Chief Tech Officer: Big Data Is The Future And We Own It
    • CIA’s Tech Head on Your Data: ‘We Try To Collect Everything And Hang On To It Forever’
    • CIA CTO: We want your data and will keep it forever
    • CIA and FBI Counter-Terrorism Officials: Cheney Lied About 9/11 Hijacker

      Mark Rossini, was then an FBI counter-terrorism agent detailed to the CIA. He was assigned the task of evaluating a Czech intelligence report that Mohammed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, had met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague before the attack on the World Trade Towers.

    • Three CIA officials declared Pos

      The three CIA officials, Assistant Sub-Inspector Shakeel Ahmed Butt, Constables Muhammad Ahsan and Mahboob Elahi, are accused of custodial killing of a father of seven, Niamat, by third degree torture.

    • Towards the Globalization of CIA Torture and Rendition

      There is enormous diversity among the countries involved. They include Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, Syria and Jordan, which carried out the torture on suspects that the CIA rendered to them. Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Thailand hosted secret prisons operated by the CIA where detainees could be held clandestinely and have interrogations or torture conducted directly by American intelligence operatives.

      European nations such as Macedonia, Georgia, and Sweden detained and delivered suspects to the CIA to be tortured. Larger countries such as Britain or Germany conducted some of the interrogations themselves while smaller countries such as Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, or Greece provided intelligence, logistical support, use of airspace, etc.

    • US drones kill four in Pakistan: officials

      US drones fired two missiles at a vehicle in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt Thursday, killing four militants, security officials said.

    • Rep. Mike Rogers: No Americans are on drone ‘kill list’

      Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) told the National Journal on Wednesday that no Americans were currently on President Barack Obama’s so-called “kill list.”

      Rogers said as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee he reviews every drone strike on a suspected terrorist after it has been conducted. Though no Americans are currently being targeted overseas, the Republican congressmen described how that situation could change.

    • 400 civilians killed by US drones in Pakistan

      In evidence to Ben Emmerson QC, UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism, the Foreign Ministry has said that the US drones have killed at least 2,200 people in the country, including at least 400 civilians. This is close to the bureau’s low range estimate of 411.

    • Drone Murder: War Crime or Superpower perogative
    • U.S. policy of death by drones is cloaked in subterfuge (Commentary)
    • U.S. drone policy killing hundreds of innocents, Obama says it’s okay
  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks Was Just a Preview: We’re Headed for an Even Bigger Showdown Over Secrets

      I’ll do a full review in a few months, when We Steal Secrets comes out, but I bring it up now because the whole issue of secrets and how we keep them is increasingly in the news, to the point where I think we’re headed for a major confrontation between the government and the public over the issue, one bigger in scale than even the Wikileaks episode.

      We’ve seen the battle lines forming for years now. It’s increasingly clear that governments, major corporations, banks, universities and other such bodies view the defense of their secrets as a desperate matter of institutional survival, so much so that the state has gone to extraordinary lengths to punish and/or threaten to punish anyone who so much as tiptoes across the informational line.

      This is true not only in the case of Wikileaks – and especially the real subject of Gibney’s film, Private Bradley Manning, who in an incredible act of institutional vengeance is being charged with aiding the enemy (among other crimes) and could, theoretically, receive a death sentence.

    • NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake: All Doubts Dispelled, Bradley Manning’s a Whistleblower
    • Throwing Manning to the Wolves

      In media mythology, the years from the mid-’60s to the mid-’70s were the classical age, a heroic time of moral clarity.

      Mainstream journalism marinated in adversarialism. Little Southern newspapers infuriated their own readers by staring down segregation. Foreign correspondents forced upon an unwilling public the realities of a brutal war. Network news ignored official disdain and showed the bottomless suffering the war inflicted on the innocents it was supposed to save. With the Pentagon Papers, newspapers defied secrecy rules to expose government lies. With Watergate, reporters forced out a corrupt president.

    • Update 3/20/13: Rolling Stone magazine features major Bradley Manning story
    • WikiLeaks: Disappearances, Nishantha Gajanayake And Exclusive Photographs
    • Manning (WikiLeaks) ‘cablegate’ Trial reveals U.S. brutality in anti-terror war

      That’s what the US Marine Bradley Manning said on Thursday, March 01 in military court at Fort Meade, Maryland. He pled guilty to unauthorized possession of certain information, to willfully communicating that information to an unauthorized person, WikiLeaks, and that the conduct was “service discrediting” or prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the military.

  • Finance

    • Europe: Protests hit austerity

      When European Union leaders gathered at their economic summit meeting in Brussels, they were confronted by thousands of protesters who denounced them and their austerity policies. Working people and labor union representatives from all over Europe demonstrated at the European Commission and Council headquarters on March 14.

      At least 10,000 demonstrators denounced the “Troika” — the International Mone tary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission — which has imposed draconian cuts in jobs, wages, benefits and public services in several southern eurozone countries as conditions for loans. Protesters demanded that the Troika stop all austerity plans, provide jobs and end the crises their policies have created.

    • US Begins Regulating BitCoin, Will Apply “Money Laundering” Rules To Virtual Transactions

      Last November, in an act of sheer monetary desperation, the ECB issued an exhaustive, and quite ridiculous, pamphlet titled “Virtual Currency Schemes” in which it mocked and warned about the “ponziness” of such electronic currencies as BitCoin. Why a central bank would stoop so “low” to even acknowledge what no “self-respecting” (sic) PhD-clad economist would even discuss, drunk and slurring, at cocktail parties, remains a mystery to this day. However, that it did so over fears the official artificial currency of the insolvent continent, the EUR, may be becoming even more “ponzi” than the BitCoins the ECB was warning about, was clear to everyone involved who saw right through the cheap propaganda attempt. Feel free to ask any Cypriot if they would now rather have their money in locked up Euros, or in “ponzi” yet freely transferable, unregulated BitCoins.

    • Is Cyprus in Our Future?

      The economic news this week highlights what happens when governments are unable to confront the root cause of the financial collapse – the risky speculation and securities fraud of the big banks. What happens? They blame the people, cut their benefits, tax their savings and demand they work harder for less money.

    • Cyprus – Is this the next phase in austerity – naked theft?
    • The Miracle Product That Cures Degenerative Entitlement Syndrome!

      During last year’s presidential election, Dr. Willard M. Romney diagnosed a previously unrecognized epidemic illness that is eating away at the moral foundations of our country. Romney was the first medical scientist to grasp that 47% of our citizens have been transformed into an army of zombie parasites now known to the experts as “moochers.” The moochers have been infected with DES, Degenerative Entitlement Syndrome, a 21st century plague whose victims live lives solely devoted to sucking funds from the bank accounts of decent people. Not one to sit idly by while an invasive undead horde saps and impurifies our precious bodily fluids, Dr. Romney attempted to sound the national alarm about the moocher scourge. But alas, he was ahead of his time. The country was not yet ready to hear his bracing but prescient DES warning.

      Moochers might appear normal, but don’t be fooled by appearances! While these bloodsuckers are seemingly busy changing bedpans, waxing the floor at your office, serving up stacks of pancakes at Denny’s and standing in long lines to beg abjectly for “jobs’, they are all the while draining our hard-won and well-merited wealth. A tell-tale symptom of DES is that while moochers pay all kinds of sales taxes, payroll taxes and government fees just like the rest of us, they don’t pay any income taxes. Imagine! No income taxes! The DES sufferer will tell you that the absence of income tax obligations is somehow related to the moocher’s extreme deficiency in actual income. A likely story!

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How to Read Stories About Israel in the NY Times (Hint: Very Carefully)

      So is the Times, in its own way, telling us not to trust the officials speaking on the record? That’s certainly one way to read the piece.

      Elsewhere in the paper we learn that part of Barack Obama’s visit to Israel includes a look at the country’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system, which is funded by the U.S. government.

    • Accidental Email Exposes Trolls of Governing Party in Spain
    • Machine Guns on the Vegas Strip? In Nevada, ALEC/NRA Bill Introduced to Stop Cities from Banning Machine Guns

      A Nevada politician has introduced a bill that would bar the city of Las Vegas from enacting tougher gun laws than the state as a whole, including language that would specifically protect “machine guns” from being barred on the Las Vegas strip if the state did not bar machine guns across the state. At the last known meeting of the “Public Safety and Elections Task Force” of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association proposed amendments to the ALEC “Consistency in Firearms Regulation Act” to add “machine guns” to ALEC’s model bill prohibiting local governments from adopting different rules for guns and ammo than a state has as a whole. On March 18, a Nevada state legislator introduced a bill in the statehouse that is almost a word-for-word copy from that ALEC bill, which ALEC has since attempted to distance itself from while doing nothing to stop or repeal such bills.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and The National Security State
    • CIA’s Gus Hunt On Big Data: We ‘Try To Collect Everything And Hang On To It Forever’

      The CIA’s chief technology officer outlined the agency’s endless appetite for data in a far-ranging speech on Wednesday.

      Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira “Gus” Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos — and that the agency wants all of it.

      “The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time,” Hunt said. “Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.”

    • Formerly Top Secret NSA Cryptologs From 1974-1997
    • Venezuela: ‘Destabilizing’ Twitter User Ortega Released

      UPDATE: Lourdes Alicia Ortega Perez, the Venezuelan woman who was arrested last week after mocking Hugo Chavez on Twitter, was released from police custody on March 16. Ortega was taken to court on charges of spreading false information and committing fraud. She has since been granted her freedom [es], but will be required to appear before the court every 30 days.

    • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Is Asking Questions About Guantánamo the US Cannot Answer

      Recent accounts from Guantánamo paint a more chilling picture still: since February 6, 2013, the prisoners have been engaged in a peaceful, mass hunger-strike to protest deteriorating camp conditions and religious provocations by Guantánamo staff, including offensive searches of the prisoners’ Qur’ans. Ghaleb al-Bihani, a severe diabetic, is among the scores of men hunger-striking. He spoke to his lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights recently and explained that he has lost more than 20 pounds in a matter of weeks. His blood-sugar levels are fluctuating so wildly that Guantánamo physicians have told him they fear for his life. Other prisoners have lost consciousness; some are reportedly coughing up blood. This is to say nothing of the less visible, but equally grave health risks produced by years of indefinite detention. As Physicians for Human Rights explained to the IACHR, arbitrary, indefinite detention creates existential uncertainty that can destroy the body and mind. It can even be lethal. The story of Adnan Latif, the most recent prisoner to die at Guantánamo, is a heart-breaking reminder of this.

    • German government drops attempt to ban far-right party
    • Leveson Collateral Damage
    • Urban Exploration Helps Terrorism, Counterterrorism Agency Warns
    • The persecution of Barrett Brown – and how to fight it

      The journalist and Anonymous activist is targeted as part of a broad effort to deter and punish internet freedom activism

  • DRM

    • Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards
    • DRM dispute around HTML5

      A plan by Google, Microsoft and Netflix to integrate an extension for playing back encrypted media content in HTML5 has caused dissatisfaction among US civil rights campaigners. The bone of contention is a proposal to integrate “Encrypted Media Extensions” (EME) that will serve as an interface for playing back DRM-protected content in the browser and which is currently being reviewed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The initiators of the proposal emphasise that this is not intended as a way of anchoring Digital Rights Management (DRM) facilities into the specification. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) translates this into: “We’re not vampires, but we are going to invite them into your house.”

    • Tell W3C: We don’t want the Hollyweb
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why TAFTA Matters, and What We Should Do About It

      Back in January, I wrote about what I called the “Trans-Atlantic Partnership Agreement”, by analogy with the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, TPP, whose negotiations have already dragged on for several years. The formal announcement of what is now variously called the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), took place just over a month ago, but already Mexico has stated that it wishes to join, and there are rumours Canada might tag along too.

      This would then turn the EU-US agreement into a EU-NAFTA agreement – that is between the EU and the whole North American Free Trade Agreement area. If that happens, it’s quite possible that South American countries will start trying to join too, for fear of being “left out” (although they might do better to consider whether being in is actually better for them, given their limited ability to influence the negotiations between the two main partners.)

    • Transatlantic Civil Society Declaration: Leave Copyright and Patent Provisions Out of TAFTA

      Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the launch of a new trade deal between the United States and the European Union. This transatlantic free trade agreement (TAFTA)—or what government leaders are touting as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—is likely to carry copyright provisions that would pose a serious threat to digital rights. Past and currently negotiated trade agreements have enacted rules that would force ISPs to turn into copyright police, place harsh and disproportionate criminal penalties on file sharers, and seriously impair users’ ability to innovate and access content on the Internet.

    • Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards
    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Motion Picture Association: The Cloud Is A Threat To Us And The Best Response Is Censorship

        The Motion Picture Association is somewhat notorious for flipping out over every new technology and how it will, without doubt, mean death for them. Most famously, of course, the prediction that the VCR would be the “Boston Strangler” to the movie industry a mere six years before home video revenues outstripped box office revenues. However, this seems to be somewhat instinctual behavior. Everything new must automatically be classified as a threat, and the best response is to kill it outright. The latest version of this appears to be the threat of (gasp!) “cloud computing.” At a get together in Hong Kong, in which the movie industry was supposed to be talking about “protecting the screen community in the cloud era” apparently there was the typical predictions of doom with little in the way of suggestions. But there were some.

      • Copyright Chief Urges Congress to Produce ‘Next Great Copyright Act’

        Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante told a House congressional subcommittee Wednesday that everything from anticircumvention provisions and fair use to length of copyright and performance royalties should be on the table.

      • European Court: Pirate Bay co-founders lose free speech bid in Strasbourg

        Last week, the European Court of Human Rights (European Court) rejected the complaint of the ‘The Pirate Bay’ (‘TPB’) co-founders against their criminal conviction for facilitating copyright infringement. ARTICLE 19 is concerned at the Court’s apparent reluctance to become the next battleground for advancing the right to freedom of expression against copyright claims.

      • UK ISPs Start Blocking KickassTorrents, H33T and Fenopy
      • Fresh Calls to Congress to Make Movie and Music Streaming a Felony
      • Brazil’s music collecting societies convicted of forming an illegal cartel

        The Competition Authority in Brazil (CADE) convicted om March 20th the country’s six major collecting societies and their central office (ECAD) – responsible for the collection of music royalties for public performance in Brazil – of formation of cartel and abuse of dominant position in fixing prices. According CADE, the Ecad and its associations not only organized to abusively fix prices, but also created barriers of entry for new associations to join the entity.

      • Leaked! MPAA Talking Points On Copyright Reform: Copyright Is Awesome For Everyone!

        With the possibility of comprehensive copyright reform in the US in the air, we warned that lobbyists from all sides were about to be very, very busy on Capitol Hill, and it has already begun. We’ve heard from very reliable sources that the MPAA has basically been blanketing Congress with the attached document, visiting as many offices as possible and leaving it behind as their talking points on why copyright is just freaking awesome.

      • Ebook pirates highjack the name of anti piracy campaign
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