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Links 27/3/2013: Document Freedom Day!

Posted in News Roundup at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source


  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper faces revolt as Conservative backbenchers complain of muzzlings

    Conservative MP Mark Warawa (pictured) asked the Speaker of the House to intervene Tuesday after party whip Gordon O’Connor struck him from the list of backbenchers who were scheduled to deliver a member’s statement last Thursday.

  • Google pressured Sweden to drop the word ungoogleable [Updated]
  • Security

    • Can the Lords salvage something from the Justice and Security Bill?

      Today Andrew Tyrie MP and Anthony Peto QC have published their follow-up paper on the Justice and Security Bill for the Centre for Policy Studies. It makes for harrowing reading.

      The Bill now heads back to the Lords today, where it started. The House of Lords voted for major amendments, introducing more discretion for judges and making the use of CMPs a last resort. The Government removed most of these amendments during Committee stage, in most cases by a single vote, despite repeated warnings that the Bill’s proposals constitute a radical departure from fundamental constitutional principles.

      As Andrew Tyrie MP says: “The Lords did good repair work on the Bill, but the Government has undone much of it. The Lords now have a final chance to restore their original sensible amendments and further improve the Bill. I very much hope that they will do take it.”

    • What is the Network Control Point for Security? [VIDEO]

      Martin Roesch, founder of IPS vendor SourceFIRE, discusses the need for network visibility, web application firewalls and what it should all be called.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Media Didn’t Fail on Iraq; Iraq Just Showed We Have a Failed Media

      You know what, Paul Farhi? Skeptics are aware that it was possible to “connect the dots,” because they did so, in real time–citing the same exceptional journalists whom you now cite to prove that the media as a whole were doing their job.

      But the real job of the media is not to sprinkle 1 percent truth amidst 99 percent bullshit, so that diligent researchers can search it out like Easter eggs. The job of the media is to present information so that when when its audience consumes it in the usual manner, that audience can get some sense of what reality is like. By this basic standard, the corporate media failed.

    • Long-lost Nazi submarine U-486 found off coast of Norway

      The wreck of a long-lost Nazi submarine, the U-486, has been found off the west coast of Norway, more than 60 years after it was sunk.

      The remains were first spotted north of the port of Bergen last year but have only now been confirmed as the missing U-boat, the Bergen Maritime Museum announced today.

      The U-486 last sailed on April 12, 1945, when she came under attack from a British submarine. A torpedo broke the German vessel in two, sending her and all 48 crew onboard to the bottom of the seabed.


      In 2007, John Kiriakou was settling into a lucrative life as a former spy. His fourteen-year career as a C.I.A. officer had included thrilling, if occasionally hazardous, tours as a specialist in counterterrorism. In Athens, in 1999 and 2000, he recruited several foreign agents to spy for the United States, and at one point was nearly assassinated by leftists. In Pakistan, in 2002, he chased Al Qaeda members, and when Abu Zubaydah, an Al Qaeda logistics leader, was wounded and captured, Kiriakou guarded his bedside. (Kiriakou recounted many of his exploits in a colorful memoir, “The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the C.I.A.’s War on Terror.”) In 2004, he retired, and soon took a job with the accounting and consulting firm DeLoitte. He worked in the field of corporate intelligence and advised Hollywood filmmakers on the side.

    • CIA Chief advises you to ask: What are your rights? Who owns your data?

      The cloud is old news, it’s “so three years ago,” and Big Data “was so last year,” but according to the CIA’s Chief Technology Officer, Ira “Gus” Hunt, this year is about “how to get value” from Big Data. At the GigaOM Structure Data conference, Hunt presented, “The CIA’s ‘Grand Challenges” with Big Data” and I highly recommend that you take about 30 minutes to personally listen to it.

    • DOD Urged to Cut Ties with Russian Enabler of Syrian Atrocities

      Human Rights First today joined with Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Kay Granger (R-TX) to call on the Department of Defense to uphold its legal responsibility to end its business relationship with Russian-state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, an enabler of the mass atrocities in Syria. Russia, through Rosoboronexport, has served as the chief arms supplier of weapons to the Bashar al-Assad regime since the beginning of the two-year Syrian conflict that has left more than 70,000 dead.

    • Man Speaks of Escape From Nazi Rule at Holocaust Remembrance Service

      Guest speaker Josef Korngruen will tell his story of escape from Nazi rule as a child. Korngruen was born in Austria to Polish parents. It was only after his parents renounced their Polish citizenship and became stateless that they were issued papers that allowed his sisters and him to travel—one sister to Israel, one to America and Josef to England on the Kindertransport.

    • Delays in Poland’s CIA jails case “endangering evidence”

      Delays in Poland’s investigation into whether the CIA ran secret jails on its soil could have caused evidence to be lost and given security services time to cover their tracks, according to a submission to the European Court of Human Rights.

    • Obama’s drone killing program slowly emerges from the secret state shadows

      How much difference does it make for a Pentagon finger to fire a Hellfire missile, rather than the CIA’s? Some, but not enough

    • President Obama: The drones don’t work, they just make it worse

      As the Obama Administration looks to reform its drone program, it should focus on assessing its actual success rate.

    • Woman who helped run CIA torture may get major promotion
    • First female CIA director appointed
    • Obama Appoints First Female Secret Service (Not CIA) Director
    • CIA’s interrogation program deserves public airing

      Americans should assess whether Langley engaged in torture in its war against al-Qaida. The country’s honor is at stake, not just the competence of its primary intelligence service. Neither the CIA nor national security is likely to be harmed if the behemoth were released with the necessary camouflage for operatives, tradecraft and foreign intelligence services.

    • US drones kill 4 in NWA

      The number of drone strikes has decreased dramatically in recent months. The last drone strike took place on March 10. Drone strikes by the United States are deeply resented in the country and considered a violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

    • Commission says no to drones

      County commissioners made it loud and clear Tuesday they want no part of drone testing at the airport.

    • The More Americans Know About Drones, the Less They Like Them

      The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza gave his most recent “Worst Week in Washington Award” to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., whose assault weapons ban got stripped from a Democratic gun control package last Tuesday for lack of support. Fair enough, but if nonhumanoids can be eligible for the award (and why discriminate?), I’d say that drones had the “worst week in Washington” last week.

    • Game of drones

      Federal regulators still have until 2015 to come up with drone rules, but some local and state governments don’t want to wait that long. In February, Charlottesville in Virginia, became the first US city to ban drones for two years.
      While these bans are mostly symbolic and would be overruled by a federal drone law, they highlight the anxiety that surrounds drones and doubts whether the FAA – an agency much more experienced in dealing with safety than privacy issues – can produce drone legislation that addresses privacy concerns.
      Those concerns are real, agrees Joanne Gabrynowicz, director of the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law at the University of Mississippi. “But we can come up with a regulatory system. If we did it for satellites I am confident we can do it for drones. But it will be difficult and there a lot of interests involved.”

    • Mayor Bloomberg admits police drones may be coming to NYC

      New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s been on a roll lately. First he announced he wanted to ban super-size sodas, then it was ear-buds and cigarettes. Now the mayor has announced he may actually allow something. Look up; the Big Apple may soon be called the big brother.

      “What’s the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building?” Bloomberg asked when comparing aerial drones to the thousands of security cameras already placed around New York City.

    • A 50-Point Swing Against Targeted Drone Killings of U.S. Citizens

      A year ago, as the presidential race was taking shape, The Washington Post’s pollster asked voters whether they favored the use of drones to kill terrorists or terror suspects if they were “American citizens living in other countries.” The net rating at the time was positive: 65 percent for, 26 percent against.
      Today, after a month of Rand Paul-driven discussion of drone warfare, Gallup asks basically the same question: Should the U.S. “use drones to launch airstrikes in other countries against U.S. citizens living abroad who are suspected terrorists?” The new numbers: 41 percent for, 52 percent against.

  • Cablegate

    • Of Wikileaks, Wikitreats, invisibility and Jack the Giant Slayer
    • Julian Assange’s mother to speak at Murwillumbah
    • WikiLeaks reveals how West’s Iran war drive was undermined

      Former chairperson of the US National Intelligence Council, Thomas Fingar, received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence on January 23 for his role overseeing the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran.

      The NIE report’s finding that Iran had no active nuclear weapons program gave lie to years of US-Israeli anti-Iran rhetoric, and has been credited with preventing a pre-emptive war against Iran.

      US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show that the NIE also hampered Western efforts to pass a fourth United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution against Iran.

    • WikiLeaks trial criticized as opaque and “chilling” to freedom of speech

      New York Times media critic David Carr blasted the United States military’s “eyedropper” approach to releasing information about Pfc. Bradley Manning’s public pretrial in a column on Sunday, March 24. Chronicling the hurdles reporters have faced covering the trial, Carr observed, “A public trial over state secrets was itself becoming a state secret in plain sight.”

      According to Carr, the military has released only 84 documents out of nearly 400 requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents released were so redacted the critic wrote they were “mystifying at best and at times almost comic.” Carr also noted that the court did not provide written transcripts from the proceedings.

    • Whistle blowers guard democracy

      The late I. F. “Iffy” Stone was a talented and insightful columnist whose beat was the Washington political arena, and he operated on a premise that every investigative reporter would do well to emulate.

    • ‘Pentagon Papers’ whistleblower defends WikiLeaks ‘hero’ Manning
    • Vietnam War whistleblower defends WikiLeaks ‘hero’

      Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg waited decades for someone like Bradley Manning to follow in his footsteps.

      He hails the US Army private accused of spilling secrets to website WikiLeaks as a champion of truth and not a betrayer of his country

    • Wikileaks, free speech and Assange’s message to Australia

      Wikileaks has had a transformative effect on global politics and our attitudes to government power and responsibility.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Corporate Land Grabs Reveal a Hidden Agenda: Controlling the Water

      Reports on land grabbing reveal that investors target control of both the land and the water beneath. Today’s “water barons”- multi-billionaires, financial institutions and corporate multinationals- are increasingly investing in water resources globally. Over-extraction and large land purchases in the Ogallala Aquifer and Great Lakes region in the US are proof that water scarcity is a growing problem not just in the Global South. Furthermore, efforts to track the water footprint of companies and other water-related risks, such as the “water disclosure project,” could actually backfire by providing information to investors interested in water-grabbing. Thus, regulatory mechanisms at the national and international level are needed to control large-scale land (and water) investments threatening the lives and livelihoods of local communities dependent on these resources.

    • IT’S OFFICIAL: Banks In Europe May Now Seize Deposits To Cover Their Gambling Losses

      Although deposits under 100,000 euros will be spared, deposits over 100,000 euros will be seized and subjected to an as-yet undetermined haircut–with the confiscated money going to bail out the gambling losses of the aforementioned reckless idiots who run some of Cyprus’s banks.
      This seizure, needless to say, will dampen the enthusiasm of rich depositors for keeping money in banks that get themselves into financial trouble.
      And because many, many banks in Europe have gotten themselves into financial trouble, this will create a general state of unease among rich depositors throughout the Eurozone.
      And it should wig out some bank lenders, as well.
      After all, never before in the history of this global financial crisis has a major banking system allowed depositors to lose money, no matter how reckless and stupid and greedy their bank managers have been. And only rarely have bank lenders–those who hold bank bonds–been asked to pony up.

    • Detroit’s First Day Under an Emergency Financial Manager

      As of today, Detroit is under the control of a governor-appointed Emergency Financial Manager (EFM). The Motor City is the largest district in the nation to have its voters and elected officials sidelined by this new experiment in “crisis management.”

    • JP Morgan Gets an Award for London Whale Fiasco, Will Schneiderman Harpoon the Corruption?

      A JPMorgan Chase employee stepped onstage at a black-tie gala on Wall Street last week to accept a “best crisis management” award given by an investor relations magazine. The bank, which was recently the subject of a U.S. Senate investigative hearing and an ongoing FBI probe into $6.2 billion in trading losses known as the “London Whale” fiasco, is not the subject of ridicule — but praise – from its cronies on Wall Street.

    • Goldman Rejects Proposal That Firm Run for Elected Office

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), the investment bank nicknamed “Government Sachs” because of senior executives who have moved into public posts, won’t be entering politics itself.

      A shareholder proposal that the New York-based company run for office instead of funding political campaigns was discarded, according to a letter last month from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which agreed the firm can exclude the measure from its annual meeting.

    • Bill O’Reilly Gets Smacked By Economics Professor – Nanny States Actually Do Better (VIDEO)

      Fox News can afford to have economists to give its opinion masters factual information. It is obvious they have no interest in that. O’Reilly could not possibly believe what he is saying. Not only is there evidence from Europe as was stated by Professor Wolff, but it was true here in America.

    • Russian Leader Warns, “Get All Money Out Of Western Banks Now!”

      A Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) “urgent bulletin” being sent to Embassies around the world today is advising both Russian citizens and companies to begin divesting their assets from Western banking and financial institutions “immediately” as Kremlin fears grow that both the European Union and United States are preparing for the largest theft of private wealth in modern history.
      According to this “urgent bulletin,” this warning is being made at the behest of Prime Minister Medvedev who earlier today warned against the Western banking systems actions against EU Member Cyprus by stating:

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • As Supreme Court Hears Challenge to ALEC Voting Bill, Two More States Introduce It

      Within days of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing a challenge to an Arizona voting registration law that had been adopted as a “model” by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), two more states advanced bills that appear to track the ALEC/Arizona template.

      On March 18, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), which will decide whether Arizona’s refusal to register voters that do not provide proof of citizenship is in conflict with federal law.

    • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has political ambitions

      PEOPLE WATCHER Mark Zuckerberg has political ambitions to shake up the US immigration system.
      Zuckerberg is rallying a posse of technology politicos to help him create a lobbying group that will campaign – that is, throw money at – liberalising the US immigration and visa system.

    • Journalist claims Washington Post killed article on Iraq war media failures

      The Washington Post has been accused by a journalist of spiking a piece he was commissioned to write about the US media’s failures in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

      Greg Mitchell, a veteran journalist and author (see here), claims his assigned piece for the Post was killed and replaced by an article that defended the media’s coverage.

  • Censorship

    • Will bloggers be protected? Maybe – if your blog is “small”
    • State Investigates Complaint about Dietrich Science Teacher’s Human Reproduction Lesson

      A Dietrich science teacher is being investigated by the state’s professional standards commission after a complaint from parents over his teaching methods.

      Tim McDaniel is being investigated after a complaint was filed by a handful of parents who objected to how McDaniel taught the reproductive system, Dietrich Superintendent Neil Hollingshead said.

      “It is highly unlikely it would end with his dismissal,” Hollingshead said. “Maybe a letter of reprimand from the school board.”

      According to McDaniel, four parents were offended that he explained the biology of an orgasm and included the word “vagina” during his lesson on the human reproductive system in a tenth-grade biology course.

      “I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention,” McDaniel said. “But I give every student the option not attend this class when I teach on the reproductive system if they don’t feel comfortable with the material.”

  • Privacy

    • Microsoft discloses online data to the police

      Microsoft handed over online user account details of 2000 Australians to law enforcement agencies last year. Google and other software companies do the same thing.

    • Under CISPA, Who Can Get Your Data?

      Under CISPA, companies can collect your information in order to “protect the rights and property” of the company, and then share that information with third parties, including the government, so long as it is for “cybersecurity purposes.” Companies aren’t required to strip out personally identifiable information from the data they give to the government, and the government can then use the information for purposes wholly unrelated to cybersecurity – such as “national security,” a term the bill leaves undefined.

    • Privacy groups urge Baroness Ludford to support stronger data rights

      In response to her letter to the Financial Times, ORG and Privacy International have written to Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford urging her to support stronger privacy rights in the upcoming and crucial LIBE Committee vote.

    • NSA Facility In Utah To Help Fight Against Cyber-Attacks
    • US Government To Scan Private Firms’ Emails And Web Use

      The US government is planning to scan private firms’ web use and email communications, as part of a bid to prevent cyber-attacks which has been requested by President Obama.

      The government is proposing to extend existing powers, so it can analyse the communications of organisations such as banks, utility providers and transport companies, to prevent online attacks on the country’s infrastructure, according to US security officials.

      The move is in response to an executive order signed by President Obama in February that calls upon the owners and operators of critical US infrastructure to “improve cyber-security information sharing and collaboratively develop and implement risk-based standards”.

    • The Department of Homeland Security Would Like to Talk to Your Hacker Teens

      It’s hard being the Department of Homeland Security. Foreign agents are constantly trying to slip inside the D.H.S.’s computer systems. But America’s hotshot hackers either go for the private sector ($$$) or somewhere you can go on the offensive, like the N.S.A. (which, let’s face it, sounds super-badass).

      So, according to the New York Times, the agency, desperate for recruits, is now making like a college football program and hunting for recruits at high school hacking competitions

    • Calling All High School Hackers
    • To Combat China’s Hacker Army, the U.S. Is Copying Its Methods
    • Government uses video games to recruit teen hackers
    • U.S. government steps up hacker recruiting
  • Civil Rights

    • 102 Years After Triangle Fire, Media Still Wonder How Workers Keep Dying
    • Conscript facing jail again for refusing to go against his conscience

      A handful of Israeli teenagers go to prison every year because they refuse to serve in their country’s army on grounds of conscience.

      Nineteen-year old Natan Blanc from Haifa has been through this seven times in four months.

    • NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Government has right to ‘infringe on your freedom’

      New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday: Sometimes government does know best. And in those cases, Americans should just cede their rights.

    • “Congress has the gall to discretely slip another clause into the #NDAA 2013 that repeals the World War II-era legislation”

      Congress has the gall to discretely slip another clause into the #NDAA 2013 that repeals the World War II-era legislation…

    • Las Vegas City Council Passes NDAA Nullification Resolution

      The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will not be enforced in Las Vegas. Rejection of the unconstitutional provisions of that controversial federal act was the purpose of a resolution passed by the city council just after noon on March 20.

      By a vote of 5-2, the council passed R-18-2013. The resolution, offered by Ward 2 Councilman Bob Beers, will now be presented to the Clark County (Nevada) Commission.

    • Turns Out The One ‘Good’ Change In CFAA Reform… May Actually Be Bad Too

      So yesterday we broke the news about a proposed CFAA reform bill that, rather than fix the problems of the CFAA made the law much, much worse. It added computer crimes as a racketeering issue, increased sentences and made just talking about a potential CFAA violation the equivalent of having committed it. Bad stuff all around. There was one section, however, that we said was slightly good. We noted that they ever so slightly rolled back what would constitute a crime for “exceeding authorized access” listing out a few qualifications that needed to be met — including that the information obtained was valued over $5,000, that you had to be targeting private information and that the access was done in furtherance of a crime. Based on the bill as written, I had assumed that all of those elements needed to be present to qualify.

    • From the Left: The American Republic has become the American Empire

      The USA Patriot Act codified many of the wishes of statists into law. Whether it is the act’s regulation of bank accounts, the broadening of the government’s authority to deport citizens, or the authorization of roving wiretaps and non-consenting business record searches, the act is only the first brick in the construction of the modern police state. We have also had the unfortunate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which appropriates and divides up defense and war spending, but contains a blatantly unconstitutional clause that gives the government the authority to indefinitely detain American citizens. And now – even after the intense political backlash against the NDAA 2012 – our Congress has the gall to discretely slip another clause into the NDAA 2013 that repeals the World War II-era legislation that prevents the government from using state-approved propaganda, and would make Washington immune to any court cases challenging them.

    • Obama rape and plunder of America

      All that Americans have held on to and relied on is being assaulted. Obama won’t stop until America is forced into submission to his dictatorship plans and the rest of us locked up or killed. What survives the Obama battering rams will be taxed and redistributed to his seduced worshipers. They will be slaves and controlled like mutant little toys, but they will thank Obama and give him their worship.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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