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12.30.13

Closing a Year of Human Rights Violations and Attacks on Civility

Posted in Action at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of recent news about civil and human rights, as well as their chance of revival owing to public scrutiny

THE CAUSE of human rights (and general dignity) seems to have been lost. It often seems like we are moving backwards — not forward — when it comes to values which are not so relative. In this post we share some troubling recent news (from December), highlighting the type of practices we’re now inclined to view as “normal”. Thankfully, the Internet and especially the Web are not yet thoroughly censored, so now there’s an opportunity to fight back with information. Become active and be vocal while it’s still permissible, legal, and not censored (more on censorship in another future article). We may be running out of time.

Police in north America is not enjoying much positive publicity these days, with sexual perverts [1-3] misusing their power in the police forces. Guess who needs to pay for warrantless cavity searches [4-5]? It’s breathtaking! Don’t just blame states like Texas [6-7]. Excessive policing against dissent [8-13], journalists [14-16], students [17-20], young people [21-23], babies/parents [24] or minorities is still an issue [25] that’s without borders. It’s happening in supposedly ‘progressive’ places like Toronto as well. Some cops act like drunken military commanders [26] and shoot people sparingly [27-30] (because they think they can get away with anything). It’s not much better in the UK [31]. It has become a subject of great ridicule [32]. In the East there is a lot of police brutality too, as demonstrated in a supposedly ‘Westernised’ country like South Korea last week [33]. In the ‘Westernised’ Middle East, notably Israel, people are now turned into numbers [34-35]. Russia is still up to oppression, so not much changes there, except the PR stunts [36-40]. So much for progress, eh? The sad thing is that Snowden, Manning and other voices of consciousness hardly appear in the radar [41-42]; people are too busy watching sports and celebrities. Some focus on gender segregation issues [43-44] and other aspects of repression [45-46].

Many still think that sarin gas was used by Syria’s government, despite evidence to the contrary from the UN’s Syrian chemical weapons report [47]. It is starting to look like a plot to destabilise and start a war by falsely blaming leaders of nations yet again. It happened decades ago in Korea [48] and a decade ago in Iraq, where contractors like Blackwater (now feeling betrayed by the CIA [49]), made a killing. There’s a lot of money in this black budget [50-56], even when there’s poor intelligence [57] (provided it serves the agenda). A lot of people still believe, especially now that there’s more disclosure, that the CIA was also behind the killing of JFK [58-59] (most American citizens already believe so based on polls). Now that the Washington Post is visibly connected to the CIA [60-62] and the New York Times rewrites history on behalf of the CIA [63-65] it oughtn’t be too shocking that level of trust in the CIA — just like the NSA — has hit bottom low. “NYT and ABC News lied about CIA operative,” says another source [66-67], having shown complicity between the corporate press and the CIA (the corporate press is trying to cover this scandal up [68]). Looking back at CIA role in the Middle East in the 1940s and 1950s [69], one author recalls and tells the story of malicious intervention. A lot of people still don’t know why Iranians don’t like the West, especially the UK and the US (coup against democratically-elected leadership for foreign oil interests).

Now that an “Interrogation Manual” of the FBI is accidentally out [70-71] we might as well consider how it is connected to the CIA, where the word interrogation (among other euphemisms) often means torture. CIA agents in Iran turn out to have had roots in the FBI [72] (he is said to have ‘retired’ from it). The CIA’s zeal for secrecy [73-75] — just like in notorious Soviet equivalents [76] — is not without victims [77-79]. This is a “colossal flop” and as an anti-terrorism mechanism the CIA has done a terrible job [80-82], mostly decreasing national security by making new enemies, not making peace with those who ask for it [83] and are in peace with 99% of the world (literally 99%), thereby singling out the US [84]. In Latin American countries, including in Colombia and at the border of Ecuador, the CIA continues to bomb people [85-90] (by proxy this time, unlike in previous decades). Is Uruguay next to suffer from foreign intervention because it its new marijuana laws [91-93]? In countries like Pakistan this leads to blowback [94] and oustings [95-96]]. No amount of torture [97-111] (even in Poland) and coverup of torture [112-118] is going to stop (secrets come out sooner or later [119]); usually it only contributes to blowback, a term which the CIA itself coined. This is why we need WikiLeaks [120], bringing accountability to those who abuse power.

The US has become known for drone assassinations due to the bad strategy ‘championed’ by the CIA [121-123]; WikiLeaks proponents are outraged given what they know [124]. Iraq is probably next as a place in which to carry out such assassination, based on the shipment of Hellfire missiles [125-127] (not noticed much because of the Christmas vacation, just like the bombings of Gaza [128-129]). The Pentagon shows no signs of stopping this assassination policy [130-131] and Obama’s promise of reducing drones use are as useless as ever, as an article from Boxing Day [132] helps explain. It was first published (now in many Web sites) after Obama’s drones had killed people on Christmas Day [133-138] (Obama personally orders these strikes [139]) for the first time ever, leading to much anger even at a political level [140-143], which means that the wrath of political espionage/retaliation by NSA is possible (Pentagon chief Hagel had been trying to dodge this public backlash [144-146]). This wasn’t the only attack by drones at that time [147-148] and it happened in multiple nations. Sincerity is a huge casualty [149-152] because the secrecy here works against the CIA, not for it. This breeds a lot of excess suspicion [153-154]. In Yemen, lack of communication [155-157] does a huge damage after imprecise methods (air strikes [158]) rendered yet another botched attack on wedding goers [159-176]. The New York Times’ CIA-leaning coverage of this was exceptionally disgusting [177]. People in Western nation [178-182] and also in the Arab world strongly condemn this [183-185], but the strategy evidently carries on, even on Christmas day (shortly afterwards). It’s the Pentagon’s “Weapon of choice” [186-188] as it breeds hatred [189], even from journalists [190-191] (whom Obama wanted arrested or killed). Don’t be deceived by Obama exploiting Nelson Mandela’s death for publicity; remember the CIA’s role in the attacks on Mandela [192-198] (the corporate press belittles this fact [199]). “As engineers, we must consider the ethical implications of our work,” one writer recently stressed [200], so all these criticisms of the drones war [] should be taken into account in this context. The people who want to use technology against people are usually not technical people; they have leverage and control over some who are. We need to refuse to obey such people. Whenever we are told that a “militant” dies we should read that as “adult male” (the New York Times already admitted that this is what it means by “militant”). The corporate press is very much in this killing game, especially press with CIA ties. Anger over drones has become too easy to find in the news [201-205], even Western news channels (although usually in sections written by readers and authorised reluctantly by editors for ‘balance’).

There is some hope though. In the UK, there is an unprecedented legal challenge to CIA’s drones strikes. It has reached the Court of Appeal [206]. Bribes from the CIA to various obedient leaders are being discovered now; these help discredit the work of those merciless assassins [207]. $2.5 million of taxpayers’ money also gets given to ‘disappear’ CIA agents that got caught [208]. How will taxpayers react now? Nice employers, eh? Overnight is needed here [209].

Through Bezos and Amazon contracts, the CIA has been getting closer to the private sector (Amazon can help track book reading habits, purchasing history, etc. [210]), so there is clearly an expansionary issue here — a shift of power from government-protected (impunity) thugs to the private sector. This ought to worry not just non-US citizen because with NDAA 2014 (also passed the over Christmas vacation [211-]216) a lot of the above policies are now applicable universally, i.e. the CIA can ‘disappear’ US citizens, even those to whom it gives bait [217]. Jailing is becoming a selection process that’s motivated politically and so is assassination. This is hugely worrisome.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Toronto police officer strips naked “hundreds” of people

    Const. Sasa Sljivo told court on Dec. 11 he has stripped “hundreds” of people completely naked, which is against police policy as laid out by the Supreme Court.

  2. Officer who forced dozens of anal cavity searches for fun gets only 2 years in prison
  3. Outraged India backs retaliation against US after strip search of its country’s diplomat
  4. Lawsuit: police and doctors at UMC El Paso forced innocent woman to endure multiple warrantless cavity searches
  5. Lawsuit: Woman Faced Illegal Body Cavity Search, Observed Bowel Movement

    Federal agents wrongfully strip-searched a New Mexico woman at the El Paso border crossing, then took her to a hospital where she was forced to undergo illegal body cavity probes in an attempt to find drugs, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.

  6. Texas Court Allows Cops To Search First, Acquire Warrants Later

    There are several problems with what went on here, not the least of which is the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ determination that these officers (in effect) did nothing wrong. According to the court, the pre-warrant search may have been illegal but the evidence can’t be excluded because its existence was confirmed by an “independent source.”

  7. Judicial activism allows police to get away with illegal conduct

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals last week adopted yet another court-created federal exception to the exclusionary rule in state-level search and seizure cases that allows evidence to be admitted in the face of clear police misconduct, even though Texas has a statutory exclusionary rule that – unlike the court-created federal version – includes no exceptions on its face. See Judge Elsa Alcala’s opinion (pdf) on behalf of the majority, a concurrence (pdf) from Judge Tom Price, and a dissent (pdf) from Judge Lawrence Meyers.

  8. Mom as the New Face of Anarchy? Police Terrorize Americans Who Object to Right-Wing Lunacy by Using “Anarchist” Label

    Dissent is once again a criminal act in America. People who object to right-wing lunacy used to be called “communists” and treated as enemies of the state. Now “anarchist” is the label of choice used to harass those who disagree.

  9. Private security guards to get powers to arrest people on the street
  10. More Protesters Arrested As Obama’s Deportation Record Nears 2 Million

    Eight demonstrators tied themselves to one another wrist-to-wrist in the falling snow Tuesday morning, and lay down across the road in a human chain, blocking access to an immigration detention center in Elizabeth, N.J. Detention officers on their way to work waited in a line of cars stretching down the street.

  11. Feel free to annoy me

    We have previously warned that everyone from Christian street preachers to peaceful protesters will be subject to new draconian powers proposed by the Home Office which mean that individuals that are considered annoying can be driven from the streets. That is why we are very happy to support the newly formed Reform Clause 1 campaign which was launched in Parliament yesterday.

  12. The war on democracy

    How corporations and spy agencies use “security” to defend profiteering and crush activism

  13. TSA Agent: Give Me That Toy Monkey Gun Or I’m Calling The Real Cops
  14. NYPD Now Preventing Journalists From Accessing Police Blotters
  15. DHS Interrogates NY Times Reporters At Border, Then Denies Having Any Records About Them
  16. Police Who Seized Woman’s Phone As ‘Evidence’ Of Bogus Crime Now Complaining About Criticism

    Photography Is Not A Crime is in the middle of another police department vs. citizen feud and this one, like the last, is based on dubious “crimes” and a police department’s disingenuous legal response to being slammed with phone calls as a result of its own actions.

    The story starts out with a Louisiana woman (Theresa Richard) being arrested by Crowley Police Dept. officers for recording inside a police station. This was the latest in a long line of attempts by the CPD to silence and intimidate Richard after she filed a lawsuit against the department for false arrest and imprisonment stemming from an incident last year, when she (along with other members of her family) were accosted by police officers and accused of stealing a safe.

  17. Brutal Repression of Students in UK Amid Mainstream Media Blackout

    UK students protesting corporate attacks against their rights to education, control over their universities, and freedom of expression were brutally repressed by the British police in cooperation with university officials.

  18. London’s Students Reclaimed Their Campus Yesterday
  19. London’s biggest university bans student protests

    Students protesting in an area at the centre of London’s student district could be imprisoned or fined, after the University of London obtains a court order banning protests on campus for six months.

  20. #CopsOffCampus Protest: LIVE BLOG
  21. ‘Sexual harassment’ dropped from boy’s record

    Officials at a Colorado school where a 6-year-old boy was suspended for kissing a girl have dropped the term “sexual harassment” from the boy’s record, instead calling the behavior misconduct.

    The change was made after the boy’s parents and the principal met to discuss the issue.

  22. Texas cops handcuff and take 13-year-old white girl from black guardians
  23. Three black students waiting for bus arrested after cops order them to ‘disperse’
  24. Child taken from womb by social services

    Exclusive: Essex social services have obtained a court order against a woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and for her child to be taken from her womb by caesarean section

  25. In Katrina killing of Henry Glover, jury verdict sends one father home while family grieves for another
  26. Group of soldiers ‘mutinied over hungover bosses’, court martial hears

    The group of 16 soldiers who felt they were being “led by muppets” staged a mutiny by sitting down on parade and refusing to get up, a court martial hears

  27. ‘Oh you’re gonna shoot me?’ The sarcastic last words of straight-A student shot dead by college cop after being stopped for speeding
  28. Cops: “If we have to get a warrant…we’re gonna shoot and kill your dogs”

    Eric Crinnian, an attorney in Kansas City, Missouri, says police came to his door looking for parole violators, and got upset when he refused them permission to tramp through his house and paw through his possessions. In fact, he claims, one cop went so far as to threaten to shoot his dogs if he made them abide by the requirements of the law by getting a search warrant to look through his home. Remarkably, a criminal justice professor says the police actions may not be illegal, though they could be awkward in court.

  29. Kansas City Cops Tell Man They’ll Kill His Dogs And Destroy His Home If Forced To Obtain A Search Warrant
  30. Unarmed Man Charged With Assault Because NYC Police Shot At Him And Hit Random Pedestrians
  31. Khan attacks Cameron’s stance on European court of human rights
  32. New London police powers: the right to bite
  33. PHOTOS: 100,000 South Koreans Protest Election Scandal, Labor Clampdown

    From noon till late at night, about 100,000 citizens and labor workers angrily demonstrated against the current government’s election manipulation scandal and clampdowns on labor groups as well as moves toward privatization of the nation’s railway system, though the administration denies such claims. Some observers are calling the outbreak of demonstrations proof that public anger has nearly “reached its boiling point” [ko].

  34. Holocaust survivor: How can Israel make people into numbers?
  35. In official document, Israeli authorities refer to asylum seekers as numbers

    Sometimes it’s kind of scary how Israel treats asylum seekers. From jailing them with no trial to brutal arrests and now, referring to them as numbers. It’s as if they don’t think they’re human beings, with names.

    Yuval Goren, a journalist from the daily Maariv, got hold of a document in which the state asks the court to sentence the 153 asylum seekers who recently marched from the Holot “open detention facility” in the Negev to Tel Aviv to three months in jail.

  36. Jailed Pussy Riot members could be released under Kremlin amnesty

    Russian newspaper reports bill submitted by Vladimir Putin would apply to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina

  37. Freed Pussy Riot members say they still want to remove Vladimir Putin
  38. Two members of Russia punk band Pussy Riot freed from prison

    Two jailed members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were released Monday following an amnesty law that both of them described as Kremlin’s public relations stunt ahead of the Winter Olympics.

  39. Pussy Riot Member: Release Is PR Stunt

    A member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot who was released from prison Monday denounced her release within hours.

  40. Pussy Riot members and Arctic 30 protesters set to walk free

    Russia expected to pass amnesty law with amendment extending scope to include those arrested on Greenpeace ship

  41. Shocker: Snowden, Manning, NSA not on Google’s 2013 top trends
  42. Snowden, Manning, NSA didn’t hit Google’s 2013 top trends list
  43. Gender segregation not ‘alien to our culture’, says Universities UK chief
  44. On Feminism, Anti-Feminism, and the Things That Mystify Me
  45. Sweden Is Closing Prisons Due to Lack of People to Put In Them
  46. Huge Threats to Fundamental Freedoms and Rights Consolidated in the French Parliament

    Despite the strong citizen mobilisation and the numerous reactions [fr] voiced against it, the French Senate just voted in second reading the controversial 2014-2019 Defense Bill and its dangerous terms without any changes. This vote closes parliamentary debate on this text: the French Constitutional Council alone can now alter the application of these measures infringing the basic rights of citizens. La Quadrature du Net strongly calls the members of the French Parliament to formally place the matter before the Constitutional Council for a decision on the conformity of this law to the French Constitution.

  47. UN Syrian chemical weapons report exposes Washington’s lies

    The release of a United Nations chemical weapons inspectors’ report pointing to multiple sarin gas attacks carried out by so-called “rebel” forces further exposes the Obama administration’s lies about Syrian government responsibility for an August 21 chemical shelling of the Ghouta area outside of Damascus.

  48. CIA Document Suggests U.S. Lied About Biological, Chemical Weapon Use in the Korean War

    According to a CIA document declassified in March 2006, the U.S. government lied publicly about pushing for a United Nations “on-the-spot” investigation into Soviet, Chinese and North Korean charges of U.S. use of biological weapons (BW) during the Korean War.

    According to the document, a “Memorandum of Conversation” from the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) dated July 6, 1953, the U.S. was not serious about conducting any investigation into such charges, despite what the government said publicly. The reason the U.S. didn’t want any investigation was because an “actual investigation” would reveal military operations, “which, if revealed, could do us psychological as well as military damage.”

  49. CIA chief betrayed me, says ex-boss of tainted security firm

    THE former head of the US security contractor Blackwater, vilified as a mercenary who personified the excesses of the war on terror, has spoken of his feeling of “ultimate betrayal” after being outed by the Obama administration as a CIA agent.

    With his all-American good looks, assured manner and a powerful physique that befits a former US Navy Seal, Erik Prince is a difficult man to feel sorry for. He arrives for an interview wearing Kaenon sunglasses and a leather flying jacket with the insignia of Presidential Airways — one of his former companies.

  50. Lawyer Suing Bank of China Brings ‘Private CIA’ to Boies
  51. The Jason Bourne Strategy: CIA Contractors Do Hollywood
  52. CIA’s Global Shadow War: Hiring Private Mercenaries And Former Guantanamo Inmates

    Think of it as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) plunge into Hollywood — or into the absurd. As recent revelations have made clear, that Agency’s moves couldn’t be have been more far-fetched or more real. In its post-9/11 global shadow war, it has employed both private contractors and some of the world’s most notorious prisoners in ways that leave the latest episode of the Bourne films in the dust: hired gunmen trained to kill as well as former inmates who cashed in on the notoriety of having worn an orange jumpsuit in the world’s most infamous jail.

  53. Globally Renowned Activist Collaborated with Stratfor

    These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists for clients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.

  54. CIA-backed Palantir Technologies raises $107.5 million

    Palantir Technologies, the data-mining company that is partly backed by the Central Intelligence Agency, has raised another $107.5 million, according to a filing.

  55. CIA-backed Palantir valued at $9bn
  56. CIA-backed Palantir reportedly worth $9 billion, jumping 50 percent in two months
  57. It’s An Interesting World Where Wikipedia Is More Accurate Than Both The CIA And The Wall Street Journal
  58. Golders Green historian believes the CIA killed US president JFK

    Historian Dr Helen Fry believes the CIA is responsible for JFK’s assassination

  59. Three of Six Shooters of JFK Had Ties to CIA | Sherwood Ross

    Six shooters who participated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, including three with ties to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), were named by a prominent critic of the Warren Commission Report (WCR). Remarkably, Lee Harvey Oswald, the Warren Commission’s lone-assassin-designate, was not among them.

  60. Washington Post Urged to Disclose New Owner’s CIA Ties

    The Washington Post, one of the premier mouthpieces for the establishment, is facing a tsunami of criticism and calls for full disclosure after the newspaper’s new owner, Amazon CEO and Bilderberg luminary Jeff Bezos, secured a $600 million contract with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for “cloud” services. According to critics, the Washington Post boss’s CIA ties represent a serious conflict of interest that, under basic ethical standards in journalism, must be disclosed to readers — at least whenever the paper is reporting on the “intelligence community” and its activities. So far, however, the Post has not publicly announced whether or not it will acknowledge what analysts say is a cut-and-dry conflict of interest.

  61. Amazon, ‘The Washington Post’ and That $600 MIllion CIA Contract
  62. The CIA and the Washington Post

    News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.

    The Post’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon — which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. But the Post’s articles about the CIA are not disclosing that the newspaper’s sole owner is the main owner of CIA business partner Amazon.

    Even for a multi-billionaire like Bezos, a $600 million contract is a big deal. That’s more than twice as much as Bezos paid to buy the Post four months ago.

    And there’s likely to be plenty more where that CIA largesse came from. Amazon’s offer wasn’t the low bid, but it won the CIA contract anyway by offering advanced high-tech “cloud” infrastructure.

  63. Ex-CIA analyst: NYT Benghazi article ‘an effort to revive discredited theory’ of anti-Islam video

    A former CIA analyst poured cold water over the New York Times’ new report suggesting al-Qaida was not involved in the September 11, 2012 attack against American targets in Benghazi, Libya — calling the article “an effort to revive this discredited theory that the anti-Islam video was behind it.”

    Fred Fleitz spoke with Fox News’ Jamie Colby about the “bombshell” New York Times report published Saturday, which claims the murder of Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was carried out by Libyans angry over an American-made anti-Islamic video posted on Youtube.com months before the attack.

  64. CIA Benghazi Team Clash Led to ‘Stand Down’ Report
  65. American shot in Benghazi is allegedly CIA agent – Libyan sources

    Sources within Libya, including intelligence sources within the Libyan Tribal system have reported that the American shot in Benghazi today Ronald Thomas Smith II was not a teacher as was widely reported. Tribal elders report that currently there are no foreign teachers employed in Libya and that Ronald Smith was in Tripoli meeting John McCain on Tuesday and Wednesday according to sources who were present during the meetings.

  66. NYT and ABC News lied about CIA operative

    Since 2007, ABC News and the New York Times have known that ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, missing in Iran, was spying there for the CIA.

  67. ABC, NYT Repeatedly Lied About CIA Operative Robert Levinson
  68. Should the AP And Washington Post Have Published Their Scoop On The CIA?
  69. A nascent CIA in the 1940s and 1950s helped shape the Middle East, author says

    Given the number of books and articles about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and its controversial undertakings across the globe, it’s surprising that the US spy agency’s first encounters with the Arab and Muslim world have not garnered more attention. Hugh Wilford’s new account, America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, is an attempt to illuminate this dark and murky terrain.

  70. You’ll Never Guess Where This FBI Agent Left a Secret Interrogation Manual
  71. FBI Agent Tries To Register Copyright On Top Secret Interrogation Manual… Making It Available To Anyone
  72. A retired FBI agent goes on an unauthorized CIA mission to Iran, then disappears
  73. Senators clash with justice department lawyer over CIA intelligence memos

    CIA nominee Caroline Krass angers intelligence committee by claiming legal opinions on surveillance are beyond its scope

  74. CIA probe into Bay of Pigs should be kept secret – Obama admin

    Over 50 years after the Bay of Pigs invasion went awry, the US federal government is still attempting to keep secrets about the failed overthrow of the Cuban government, with an Obama administration lawyer arguing this week to keep a document classified.

  75. Attorney targets CIA in his war on secrecy

    Kuzma’s suit against the CIA came just six months after he filed a freedom of information suit against the FBI on behalf of Leslie Pickering, a former spokesman for the press office of the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group.

    Pickering knows the FBI is watching him but says he wants to know how and whether others have been targeted.

    Kuzma also is working with Irwin on a federal freedom of information suit brought by members of Occupy Buffalo.

    The group is seeking information documenting the extent of the government’s surveillance of the protest group.

  76. Former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko: William Hague wins secrecy fight over inquest

    Foreign Secretary William Hague today won a ruling to keep documents relating to the death of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko out of the public domain ahead of a proposed inquest.

    Sir Robert Owen, the coroner presiding over the inquest into Mr Litvinenko’s murder, ruled earlier this year that a cache of Government papers concerning matters of relating to the death could not be withheld on grounds of national security.

  77. Obama pressured to locate missing CIA contractor in Iran

    Associated Press’ national security writer, Lara Jakes, wrote on Friday evening that the CIA paid Levinson’s family about $120,000, the value of the new contract the agency was preparing for him when he left for Iran, and the government gave the family a $2.5 million annuity, which provides tax-free income, multiple people briefed on the deal said. No one wanted a lawsuit that would air the secret details.

  78. Robert Levinson: Used by CIA, Forgotten by USA, Burned by Media, Left in Iran

    Robert Levinson was used by the CIA, forgotten by the USA, recently burned by media revelations, and left in Iran nearly seven years ago. The details surrounding the Levinson case are complex and his present whereabouts and physical condition are unconfirmed. It was back in 2007 that the retired FBI agent went missing in Iran. The story at the time was that he was simply a business man who had traveled there for private purposes. This idea has since been discounted as recent media revelations clearly assert that Levinson was in fact contracted in some capacity by the CIA. The revelations go on to show that, contrary to past statements by U.S. officials denying his connection to the government, Levinson had indeed been working on an unsanctioned intelligence gathering mission when he went missing.

  79. A disappearing US spy, and a scandal at the CIA

    Robert A. Levinson was an overweight bear of a man who once worked as an FBI agent and desperately wanted to recapture the life of international intrigue he relished as an expert on Russian organized crime. But as he sat in a hotel room in Geneva in early 2007, he was anxious about a secret mission he had planned to Iran.

  80. CIA’s anti-terrorism effort called ‘colossal flop’

    Most CIA officers abroad pose as U.S. diplomats. But those given what’s called non-official cover are known as NOCs, pronounced “knocks,” and they typically pose as business executives. At the forum, the NOCs spoke of their cover jobs, their false identities and measures taken to protect them. Few said much about gathering intelligence.

    A colleague passed a caustic note to the senior officer. “Lots of business,” it read. “Little espionage.”

  81. How the CIA Bungled the War on Terror

    Think of it as the CIA’s plunge into Hollywood – or into the absurd. As recent revelations have made clear, that Agency’s moves couldn’t be have been more far-fetched or more real. In its post-9/11 global shadow war, it has employed both private contractors and some of the world’s most notorious prisoners in ways that leave the latest episode of the Bourne films in the dust: hired gunmen trained to kill as well as former inmates who cashed in on the notoriety of having worn an orange jumpsuit in the world’s most infamous jail.

  82. Truman’s True Warning on the CIA

    National security secrecy and a benighted sense of “what’s good for the country” can be a dangerous mix for democracy, empowering self-interested or misguided officials to supplant the people’s will, as President Truman warned and ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.

  83. Cuba’s Raul Castro calls for ‘civilised relations’ with US

    Cuban President Raul Castro has called for “civilised relations” with the United States, saying the two countries should respect their differences.

  84. Elian Gonzalez Leaves Cuba, Slams the U.S.
  85. This is the lethal electronic kit that changed Colombia’s history

    The war against Colombia’s socialist insurgency has turned on a campaign of targeted assassinations of rebel leaders using technology provided by the US.

  86. Beyond Plan Colombia: Covert CIA Program Reveals Critical U.S. Role in Killings of Rebel Leaders

    A new report has exposed a secret CIA program in Colombia that has helped kill at least two dozen rebel leaders. According to the Washington Post, the program relies on key help from the National Security Agency and is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. It began under former President George W. Bush, but continues under President Obama. The program has crippled the FARC rebel group by targeting its leaders using bombs equipped with GPS guidance. Up until 2010, the CIA controlled the encryption keys that allowed the bombs to read GPS data. In one case, in 2008, the United States and Colombia discovered a FARC leader hiding in Ecuador. According to the report, “To conduct an airstrike meant a Colombian pilot flying a Colombian plane would hit the camp using a U.S.-made bomb with a CIA-controlled brain.” The attack killed the rebel leader and sparked a major flareup of tensions with Ecuador and Venezuela. The U.S. role in that attack had not previously been reported. We’re joined by the reporter who broke this story, Dana Priest of the Washington Post. Priest is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter whose work focuses on intelligence and counterterrorism.

  87. Correa slams report on CIA role in Ecuador strike

    Ecuador President Rafael Correa warned Monday that reports US intelligence played a role in a 2008 Colombian attack on FARC rebels in his country could threaten regional peace efforts.

    Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported that a secret Central Intelligence Agency program had helped Colombia kill at least two dozen leftist guerrilla leaders.

  88. CIA Fuels Decades-Long Class Conflict by Helping Colombian Military Drop ‘Smart Bombs’ on Rebel Leaders
  89. ‘Eavesdropping and smart bombs’: CIA secret program helped Colombia kill FARC rebels

    A secret US intelligence program has helped Colombia’s government kill at least two dozen leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the rebel insurgency also known as FARC, The Washington Post reported.

  90. CIA helps Colombia kill rebel leaders: Report

    And the paper says the US provided Colombia with GPS equipment that can be used to transform regular munitions into “smart bombs” that can accurately home in on specific targets, even if they are located in dense jungles.

  91. Uruguay Marijuana Law Signed By President Jose Mujica
  92. Uruguay legalizes sale and production of marijuana
  93. UN Agency Pissed Off That Uruguay Legalized Marijuana

    Here comes the backlash: one day after Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana, a United Nations drug control agency issued a press release condemning the country’s decision.

  94. Pakistan Outs Three US CIA Station Chiefs in Three Years

    For the third time in three years, a CIA station chief has been outed in Pakistan, a country where the CIA is running one of its largest covert operations. It’s a remarkable record of failure by the CIA, since each outing, which has required a replacement of the station chief position, causes a breakdown in the agency’s network of contacts in the country.

  95. Controversy over CIA station chief

    To a question, Mazari said if the PTI discovered the name of pilot who had operated the drone, then the name will be shared with the police and ostensibly he or she will also be nominated in the FIR.

  96. US Congress, CIA still feuding over secret prisons
  97. MPs take over inquiry into use of Scottish airports for CIA flights

    An inquiry into whether Scottish airports were used by the CIA to transport terror suspects to secret prisons for torture has been scrapped and handed over to MPs.

  98. Rights court to examine claims of CIA torture in Poland

    The European Court of Human Rights will on Tuesday examine claims that Poland turned a blind eye to the torture on its territory of two Guantanamo-bound prisoners of the CIA. Lawyers for Abu Zubaydah, a 42-year-old Palestinian, and Saudia Arabian national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 48, will tell the court that the government in Warsaw authorised the US intelligence agency to detain their clients in Poland for several months in 2002-03 and that they were repeatedly tortured by waterboarding during that time.

  99. Europe rights court hearing on secret CIA prisons

    Europe’s human rights court shone a rare public light Tuesday on the secret network of European prisons that the CIA used to interrogate terror suspects, reviving memories and questions about the “extraordinary renditions” that angered many on this continent.

  100. Two terror suspects sue Poland over ‘CIA torture’

    The European Court of Human Rights is hearing a case brought by two terror suspects who accuse Poland of conniving in US human rights abuses.

  101. First ever open court hearing held on the CIA ‘black site’ prison in Poland
  102. Guantanamo Detainees Accuse Poland of Role in Extraordinary Rendition and CIA Torture

    Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri bring first case against Poland at ECHR

  103. Guantánamo Bay detainees claim Poland allowed CIA torture

    Terror suspects subjected to extraordinary rendition tell European court of human rights they were waterboarded

  104. Europe rights court hears of CIA prisons

    Lawyers say a Saudi national and a Palestinian were tortured in a secret US facility in a remote part of Poland.

  105. CIA Torture Report Poised for Release — At Least Some of It
  106. Poland allowed CIA to torture two Gitmo men, court told
  107. Rendition and torture — interview on RT
  108. MPs take over inquiry into use of Scottish airports for CIA flights

    An inquiry into whether Scottish airports were used by the CIA to transport terror suspects to secret prisons for torture has been scrapped and handed over to MPs.

  109. MI6 ‘turned blind eye’ to torture of rendered detainees, finds Gibson report

    Britain’s intelligence agencies ‘totally unprepared’ for US response to 9/11 and years later ‘co-operated with interrogations’

  110. European judges grill Poland over allegations of CIA jail

    But Polish envoys said they could not share information with the court because that could compromise a separate investigation by Polish prosecutors, and because the court could not guarantee the information would be kept confidential.

    “The government does not wish to confirm or deny the facts cited by the applicants,” Artur Nowak-Far, under-secretary of state in the Polish foreign ministry, told the court.

  111. European court hears claims Poland turned blind eye to CIA torture

    The European Court of Human Rights yesterday heard claims that Poland had turned a blind eye to the torture of two Guantanamo-bound prisoners of the CIA on its soil.

    The case marks the first time Europe’s role in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” of terror suspects reached the European Court of Human Rights.

    Lawyers for Abu Zubaydah, a 42-year-old Palestinian, and Saudi Arabian national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 48, told the court that Warsaw authorised the US intelligence agency to detain their clients in Poland for several months in 2002-03.

  112. ACLU Files Suit Against CIA For Failure To Release Reports On Torture Program
  113. Senate intelligence committee presses CIA to release torture report
  114. Senators: CIA ‘Misleading’ Public Over Secret Torture Report
  115. Senate committee asks CIA to hand over report on interrogation
  116. Senators: CIA Deliberately Misleading Public on Torture Report

    Three years, $40 million and 6,000+ pages later, the report on CIA torture and secret prisons during the Bush era is still stuck in the declassification process, with CIA officials fighting the Senators calling for its release.

  117. Internal CIA Report on Torture Agrees with Senate Report That the CIA Disagreed With
  118. The 6,000-Page Report on CIA Torture Has Now Been Suppressed for 1 Year

    It cost $40 million to produce, documents serious wrongdoing, and doesn’t threaten national security. Team Obama won’t release it.

  119. CIA interfered with Lockerbie case, says former US prosecutor
  120. ‘Not real James Bonds’: Assange explains why ‘small publisher’ WikiLeaks beat the Pentagon

    WikiLeaks’ major achievement is in weakening the authority of US intelligence, according to the whistleblowing website founder, Julian Assange, who has just marked three years under virtual house arrest in the UK.

    Julian Assange believes that the WikiLeaks website he founded represents “an example of a small publisher beating the Pentagon” and by doing so reducing the public fear of government institutions.

  121. Known by our drones

    U.S. drone attacks have killed 2,446 civilians in the last decade in Pakistan alone. The Pakistanis know us by our drones, not by our love.

  122. America in 2013: Impressions from around the world

    “To me, America means drones, and drones mean the death of our people. How can we be friends with those who kill our people?” says Murad Ali, a rickshaw driver in Peshawar, Pakistan. “When Obama became the president, I hoped that there would be a positive change in American policies. I am surprised that Obama proved himself to be the enemy of Pakistani people and Muslims.”

  123. Medea Benjamin talks “Drone Warfare” with VOR, part 2
  124. Imran shocked over Nawaz Sharif’s statement on drones

    Chairman PTI Imran Khan expressed shock and disappointment over Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement that PTI’s drone protest was isolating Pakistan.
    Khan, in a statement, reminded the PM that PML-N, along with the PPP had not only been a party to the parliamentary resolutions (present and previous) against drones, but also party to the anti-drone resolution in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial Assembly.

  125. U.S. sending missiles drones to Iraq
  126. US sending missiles, drones to Iraq

    The daily wrote that 10 ScanEagle reconnaissance drones — smaller versions of the larger Predator drones that once were frequently flown over Iraq — are expected to be sent by March. Administration sources told the Times that the delivery comes as the Iraqis had virtually run out of Hellfire missiles.

  127. US sending missiles, drones to Iraq to battle al-Qaida
  128. Israel launches airstrike in Gaza
  129. The Killings Fields of Gaza
  130. The Pentagon’s Vision for the Future of Military Drones
  131. DoD: To conquer nations and budgets, combat must go totally autonomous
  132. President Obama’s new normal: the drone strikes continue

    Americans abhor mass shootings in our communities, but why do we allow our government to kill so many innocents abroad?

  133. Four killed in fresh North Waziristan drone attack
  134. US drones kill 4 ‘militants’ in North Waziristan strike
  135. 4 Killed in U.S. Drone Strike in NW Pakistan
  136. Drone Strike in Pakistan Was First to Be Launched by Obama Administration on Christmas Day
  137. Aerial violation: US drone kills four in North Waziristan
  138. 4 killed in U.S. drone strike in NW Pakistan
  139. Former drone pilot, Lieutenant-Colonel: Obama personally orders drone killings

    Unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as ‘drones’, are in high demand and are a multimillion dollar industry. They are praised for not risking pilot’s lives and are formidable weapon – a nightmare for the enemy. But there are loud voices that label them as unaccountable killing machines and demand they be banned. Today we talk about the drone controversy with a former drone pilot, Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce Black.

  140. PAKISTAN TO RAISE DRONES ISSUE AT U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
  141. Pakistan condemns North Waziristan drone strike
  142. Pakistan says drone strikes constitute dangerous precedent in inter-state relations
  143. Pakistan to table anti-drone resolution at UN rights council

    Pakistan is planning to introduce an anti-drone resolution at an upcoming meeting of the UN Human rights Council in Geneva, Press TV reports.

  144. Pentagon chief Hagel in Pakistan for talks on security, drones

    Islamabad says drone strikes kill too many civilians and violate its sovereignty.

  145. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel talks drones with Pakistan PM amid tensions
  146. Pentagon chief in rare Pakistan visit amid more rows over CIA drone strikes

    Chuck Hagel wants to bolster fraught relations with Pakistan as airstrikes continue to cause anger and suspicion

  147. Drone Strike Kills Two Qaida Suspects in Yemen

    An alleged U.S. drone strike killed two al-Qaida suspects in Yemen’s southeastern province of Hadramawt Friday, an official said, a day after U.N. rights experts expressed “serious concern” over such attacks.

    “The drone raid targeted a vehicle in which two al-Qaida suspects were travelling completely destroying it and killing them,” the government official in Hadramawt — an al-Qaida stronghold — told Agence France Presse.

    The source could not immediately identify the suspects.

  148. Yemen drone strike kills two Al Qaida suspects

    Sana’a: At least two alleged Al Qaida fighters were killed on Friday in the Yemen’s southeastern Hadramout province, security official told Gulf News.

  149. Is al Qaeda outdoing the U.S. on truth telling?

    It has long been said that in war, “truth is the first casualty.”

    It is generally accepted, however, that the United States, the world’s leading democracy, should try to make truth-telling a common practice when it goes to war.

    When Gen. David Petraeus was U.S. commander in Afghanistan in 2010 he issued guidance to his troops, one of the key points of which was to “be first with the truth.” The guidance explained, “Avoid spinning, and don’t try to ‘dress up’ an ugly situation. Acknowledge setbacks and failures, including civilian casualties, and then state how we’ll respond and what we’ve learned.”

  150. Philip Hammond ignores the truth about drone atrocities
  151. Drone Killings Show Numbers, Not Bodies
  152. Obama Run Amuck

    The Ishaq Principle has the weight of mathematical law: Kill, kill, kill, profess no knowledge of the killing, throw a curtain of extreme secrecy around the event, and make special provision for wedding parties, more especially traversing remote areas. Drone murder is a WAR CRIME. Its personal authorization by POTUS makes him a war criminal. Period. We may pretend, as is now happening, that Putin is evil incarnate, but if so, I contend that Obama is keeping up with him, atrocity for atrocity.

  153. Was the CIA involved in the Jonestown Massacre?
  154. Reagan administration, CIA complicit in DEA agent’s murder, say former insiders

    Former DEA El Paso boss: Agent Camarena had discovered the arms-for-drugs operation run on behalf of the Contras, aided by U.S. officials in the National Security Council and the CIA, and threatened to blow the whistle on the covert operation.

  155. Latest Drone Strikes Shows How U.S. Strategy in Yemen Is Backfiring
  156. U.S. drone strikes in Yemen likely to continue despite parliamentary ban

    Yemen’s parliament has voted for a ban on drone strikes, but experts said Monday lawmakers have limited powers and their vote is unlikely to impact Washington’s bid to crush Al-Qaeda militants.

  157. Letter: Drones kill indiscriminately

    These drone strikes are NOT the antiseptic, surgical strikes claimed by the administration. It is NOT only an unknown number of terrorists that are being killed, it is also ordinary people trying to live lives like you and me. What could possibly give the United States the right to send our deadly weapons into other countries and kill its citizens? Just imagine how the U.S. would react if another country were to send its drones here with the excuse it is killing people who may do harm to their country. How many of us would not want to turn our fury on the invading country?

  158. The Drone Next Door

    “Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

    “‘Did we just kill a kid?’ he asked the man sitting next to him.

    “‘Yeah, I guess that was a kid,’” the pilot replied.

    “‘Was that a kid?’ they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

    “Then someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. ‘No. That was a dog,’ the person wrote.

    “They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?”

    Welcome to pixel war.

  159. A Yemeni tribal leader yesterday denied that there were Al Qaida members in the wedding convoy
  160. The Aftermath of Drone Strikes on a Wedding Convoy in Yemen
  161. Killing Two Birds With One Drone
  162. US Drone Strike Targets Yemeni Wedding

    “Before any strike is taken,” President Obama assured us in his speech this May on U.S. Drone and Counter-terrorism policy, “there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.” Nice words, but as Jon Snow remarks in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, “Men are men, vows are words, and words are wind.” Sorry, I can’t help it if a GOT quote most aptly fit there.

  163. Column: When your drones kill people at a wedding, an apology might be in order
  164. Yemeni move unlikely to end US drone strikes

    Yemen’s parliament has voted for a ban on drone strikes, but experts said Monday lawmakers have limited powers and their vote is unlikely to impact Washington’s bid to crush Al-Qaeda militants.

    The United States operates all unmanned aircraft flying over Yemen in support of Sanaa’s attempts to break Al-Qaeda, and intensified strikes this year have killed dozens of militants.

  165. U.S. Drone Strike “Mistakenly” Murders 15 Wedding Guests in Yemen

    For those of us concerned with the Constitution, due process, and the rule of law, however, “suspected militant” is just a euphemism for a person not charged with any crime, not afforded even the most perfunctory due process protections, but executed by presidential decree anyway. In this way, we are no better than those we kill in the name of safety.

  166. U.S. drone strike on Yemen wedding party kills 17

    Anger over the American drone campaign against militants in Yemen swelled Friday with word that most of those killed in a strike a day earlier were civilians in a wedding party.

    The death toll reached 17 overnight, hospital officials in central Bayda province said Friday. Five of those killed were suspected of involvement with Al Qaeda, but the remainder were unconnected with the militancy, Yemeni security officials said.

  167. Officials: US drone strike kills 13 in Yemen wedding convoy

    Missiles fired by a U.S. drone slammed into a convoy of vehicles traveling to a wedding party in central Yemen on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, Yemeni security officials said.

  168. Drone strike kills 15 ‘wedding party-goers’ in Yemen

    Fifteen people who had been heading to a wedding in Yemen have been killed in an air strike. Local media reported that a drone attack had been responsible, and the party-goers had been hit instead of an Al-Qaeda convoy

  169. Yemen: The CIA Has No Idea Who The 13 People They Just Killed With a Drone Are

    Missiles fired by a US drone struck a convoy of vehicles on their merry way to a wedding in Yemen on Thursday, killing AT LEAST 13 people, and leaving charred bodies and vehicles littering a road. Thing is, nobody really knows whether these were good guys or bad guys. Either way, they’re dead.

    One military official told the Associated Press that the drone mistook the wedding party for an al-Qaida convoy, killing local tribesmen instead of terrorists. In other words, a bunch of innocent civilians just got toasted by the good, ole U S of A.

  170. U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 18 Yemeni Civilians In One Week

    Eighteen Yemeni civilians have been killed this week in two separate attacks by U.S. military drones.

  171. Yemen: Death of 15 civilians in airstrike underscores serious lack of accountability
  172. We Still Don’t Know How Many Civilians Have Been Killed by Drones

    A truck full of 14 people is bumping its way down rural Yemen when, out of nowhere, a missile strikes. And then another. Children are killed, officials argue with local tribesmen over whether or not the 11 killed in the strike were members of al-Qaeda. The US, which doesn’t take ownership of the strike for months, refuses to comment further.

  173. Attack on Wedding Convoy One of the Worst in History of Drone War in Yemen

    A drone strike by the United States, which targeted a wedding convoy, reportedly killed anywhere from ten to seventeen people and injured as many as thirty individuals.

  174. U.S. drone strike kils more than a dozen people on their way to a wedding
  175. Dilemma deepens as drones kill more civilians
  176. Unmanned and Undiscerning

    With the development of robotic warfare, accountability has virtually gone extinct.

  177. The Official Story: How NY Times Covers Yemen Drone Strikes

    So most of the dead appeared to be people suspected of being linked to Al Qaeda. That’s a whole lot of qualifiers to make the point that those who were killed were the intended targets.

    But there’s a pattern of the Times doing this.

    In August of this year there were several suspected US drone attacks. Strikes on August 1 and August 8 reportedly killed several civilians, including children, part of a series of drone strikes around that time.

  178. A Modest Opinion – Amazon: Primed to Kill
  179. My Turn: Drones show folly of War on Terrorism policy

    Another bill, HR-1083, called the “No Armed Drones Act” (NADA), would establish prohibitions to prevent the use of an unmanned aircraft system as a weapon while operating in US airspace. Rep.Welch signed onto this bill on Oct. 22, 2013.

  180. Killing with drones is not ‘easy’

    States that have already acquired lethal, remotely piloted aircraft have at least a moral responsibility to use the technology wisely. As a result of CIA actions, the US is creating generations of enemies in some regions of Pakistan – and perhaps at home as well – for no discernible strategic advantage.

  181. First Person: Targeted kills are step away from anarchy

    In a recent BBC documentary, it was alleged a short-lived British Army unit called the Military Reaction Force (MRF) had assassinated suspected Republican terrorists on the streets of west Belfast. It was suggested that some of those killed were unarmed.

    One of the interviewed soldiers said: “We were not there to act like an Army unit. We were there in a position to go after IRA and kill them when we found them.”

    Perhaps those of us who criticise the CIA’s activities in Pakistan should ponder what the MRF allegedly did. The agents of the British State – the armed forces and police – are there to uphold the rule of law. Assassination moves us one step closer to anarchy.

  182. Letters from Readers: Illegality of drones

    It is difficult to comprehend how our Nobel Peace Prize President can defend lethal unmanned drone Predators and Reapers that deliver Hellfire missiles that kill, maim and terrorize thousands, are hideously immoral and counterproductive. Drones have assassinated wedding parties, children, farmers and rescuers, and murder people who have not been tried in a court of law. They are illegal.

    Drone killings are acts of “premeditated murder.” Murder by sudden or secret attack is a crime in all 50 states, and was banned by Presidents Ford and Reagan.

  183. Dear leaders, if you can’t protect drone victims, let the K-P government do it

    We saw our prime minister’s (PM) silence over drones in his visit to the US.

  184. The Obama administration needs more transparency in its drone use

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has referred to civilian casualties caused by U.S. forces as a reason for not signing the agreement. “For years,” Karzai said in a statement issued after the strike, “our people are being killed and their houses are being destroyed under the pretext of the war on terror.”

  185. Top comments: “How can a machine honor human rights?”

    Our audience debate whether the U.S. should halt the use of drones in warfare.

  186. Weapon of choice

    During the Bush presidency, there were 48 recorded drone strikes in Pakistan; during Obama’s there have been more than 300. Although we would never know the ascertainable number of casualties by drones in Pakistan, commonsense does make some suggestions. The population of a typical village in Fata is not segregated in a manner that militants live on one side while women, children, old and sick people live on the other. Therefore, when a drone kills two or three militants as is often claimed, it must kill many more. That ‘precision kill’ story is humbug.

    More so when, following Israel’s strategy in Palestine, the drones return to target the rescuers gathered to pick up the dead and wounded by the first strike. Are all rescuers militants? And how does one distinguish between a militant and a non-combatant? The New York Times in March 2012 made it easy to define a militant: “All military-age males, armed or unarmed, are considered to be combatants unless there is posthumous evidence proving otherwise.”

  187. Kill Decision

    The 21st century with flying cars and android servants envisioned in the likes of The Jetsons and Back to the Future have yet to become a reality, but flying robots do exist—just not in the forms we expected.

  188. War from afar: How the Pentagon fell in love with drones
  189. Civilian Afghan Deaths from U.S. Drone Strikes Continue to Build Hatred of U.S.
  190. Jailed Yemeni journalist receives Human Rights Defenders award

    Abdulelah Haider Shaye, who shed light on US drones in Yemen, is not permited to attend ceremony to receive award

  191. Drone film director decries U.S. strikes

    Tahir also talked about how she has experienced the hatred of people who are for the use of drones and how she is often attacked for being a “Taliban sympathizer.” She said that it sometimes goes so far that the topic becomes almost taboo.

  192. How Nelson Mandela betrayed us, says ex-wife Winnie
  193. Convenient to Ignore

    When Obama took office, it seemed like Africa was finally going to get the serious attention that it deserved in terms of American foreign policy. After generations of neglect from the American government, maybe, just maybe, the United States would recognize the strategic value of the African continent, not to mention the basic need to treat the people of that continent as something more than a basket case full of failed states. Curious that when the United States has been energized, in places such as Libya, the country at issue is more Arab than African, and the man who the United States helped overthrow in Libya was actually emerging as America’s best friend in Africa against the growing threat of extremist Islamic influence and terrorism.

  194. Dick Cheney Didn’t Regret His Vote Against Freeing Nelson Mandela, Maintained He Was A ‘Terrorist’
  195. Who is a terrorist?

    Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. And as he emerged from prison, he did not seek revenge. He instantly forgave. He sought peace not war. Cheney said he was a terrorist. Was he? Cheney loved war. Mandela loved peace. Who was — who is — the terrorist?

  196. Crocodile Tears: It was the CIA that helped jail Nelson Mandela
  197. New York Times June 10, 1990 Report: CIA tie in Mandela’s 1962 arrest
  198. CIA behind Mandela’s arrest nearly fifty years ago

    The White House has announced President Obama and the First Lady will travel to South Africa next week to honor South African President Nelson Mandela.

  199. The Day Mandela Was Arrested, With A Little Help From the CIA

    The CIA’s involvement in these activities is unclear, but Leach claims the agency sent South Africans to a facility in Taiwan for advanced psychological warfare training. The Telcom auditing official called the CIA’s alleged wiretap training “very sinister.” He suspects the CIA used the program to develop its own spies in Telcom, to protect its assets in the country at this time.

  200. As engineers, we must consider the ethical implications of our work

    Engineers are behind government spying tools and military weapons. We should be conscious of how our designs are used

  201. Drones and dirty politics [ad hominem attack on Imran Khan]
  202. Community Roundtable: Support U.S. drone use?
  203. America’s Drone dilemma

    Congressional representatives and government officials met Jaber and expressed their condolences, but provided no explanations. Nor has the US admitted that it made a mistake.

    A week later, Gen Joseph Dunford, Jr., the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, did apologise for a drone attack that killed a child and seriously wounded two women in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

  204. Drone Wars: What’s the Right Policy?

    The United States’ use of lethal drones to kill terrorists in foreign countries began in the Bush administration and has significantly widened under the Obama administration.

  205. Fighting terror with a joystick won’t help

    The US must also not forget that the soldiers who slay the innocent from their computer screens will return to their own communities either psychologically damaged or as ruthless killers. It must not be forgotten that 350 US troops returned from Iraq and took their own lives in 2012. Societies that become too comfortable with killing inevitably bear the tragedy themselves. It is in our hands to fill this world with communities of peace through education, rather than communities of war perpetrating random attacks. Time has come for the superpowers to change their plans in the Middle East. They must use education as a weapon, not drones. If they really desire peace, that is.

  206. First UK legal challenge to CIA drones reaches Court of Appeal

    An unprecedented attempt to discover if British officials are complicit in the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan reached the Court of Appeal this week.

    The case is brought by Noor Khan, a Pakistani tribesman whose father was among over 40 civilians killed in a March 2011 drone strike.

    Khan’s lawyers are attempting to get English courts to examine whether UK officials at GCHQ share information about targets in Pakistan with the CIA, and whether this could therefore make British spies complicit in murder or war crimes.

  207. CIA handed over suitcases and plastic bags full of cash to corrupt Afghan officials

    On December 5, 2013 Rep. Barbara Lee of California asked for and was granted permission to address the United States House of Representatives for one minute regarding the war in Afghanistan. What she said was absolutely shocking!

    “Mr. Speaker, as most of us joined family and friends over Thanksgiving week last week, 2,500 Afghan elders voted on a security agreement that could potentially leave thousands of United States troops in Afghanistan for at least another decade.”

  208. CIA Paid Missing American’s Family $2.5 Million to Avoid Lawsuit

    The Associated Press revealed today that “retired” FBI agent Robert Levinson was recruited by a band of rogue CIA analysts to run a totally unauthorized spying operation. He’d been working with them for years, and had a contract since 2006 related to writing articles about his “travels.”

  209. CIA: a powerful agency should receive powerful oversight

    Barret details how the CIA was created out of WWII and the failure of intelligence at Pearl Harbor. He said that over the years there have been a number of efforts to keep the power of the CIA in check.

  210. 6 Things To Keep In Mind While Shopping On Amazon Black Friday

    If you plan on looking for online deals this Black Friday — and if 2013 is anything like 2012, more than 57 million Americans will — you’ll likely visit a little website called Amazon.com. From the outside, the world’s largest online store works like magic: Click a button and in few days, some chosen item will miraculously show up at your doorstep.

  211. Senate setting dangerous precedent on Defense Authorization Bill
  212. NDAA draft contains big changes on Gitmo, military sexual assault

    Since 2011, the NDAA has contained provisions for the indefinite detention of American citizens.

  213. Cyber and the NDAA

    Congress is in recess now (that’s why it’s so quiet here in Washington) and when they return the first order of business for the Senate is to take up the 2014 NDAA. The bill, authorizing activities of the Department of Defense, is one of the few bills that routinely gets a full hearing in the Senate and has a high likelihood of being passed into law.

    [...]

    In short, S. 1353 does very little of note. Indeed, I am comfortable predicting that it will be added to the NDAA with nary a dissent. And thereafter, Congress may well wash its hands of cybersecurity and mark the problem “sovled” — which, come to think of it, might very well be the best possible result.

  214. Obama signs NDAA 2014, indefinite detention remains

    The troubling NDAA provision first signed into law in 2012, which permits the military to detain individuals indefinitely without trial, remains on the books for 2014.

  215. Ted Cruz: Indefinite Detention Retained in NDAA 2014

    Eighty-five of 100 U.S. senators voted to renew the president’s power to indefinitely detain Americans, denying them of their fundamental right to due process.

  216. BREAKING NEWS: Michigan nullifies NDAA’s indefinite detention

    Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan signed Senate Bill No. 94 into law yesterday. The bill seeks to nullify section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). “It is important to recall that indefinite detention first appeared in section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA, which provided warrant for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens,” said Snyder.

  217. The feds’ guide to bringing down a hacker from the inside

    Jeremy Hammond faces 10 years in prison for hacking Stratfor Global, but many details of his conviction don’t add up

More Reasons to Boycott Apple, Which Abuses Courts, Engages in Competition Crime, and Aids Espionage

Posted in Apple at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The evil side of Apple explained in light of some recent news, suggesting that choosing Apple can be even worse than choosing Microsoft

THE BRANDING company Apple is considered by some, including Richard Stallman, to be even worse than Microsoft. As we came to discover in recent years, Apple — like Microsoft — is willing to go nuclear in trying to ban Linux devices from the market. Apple itself, ironically enough, is ordering the manufacturing of devices from some of the same companies whose products it tries to ban.

Apple and Microsoft don’t always sue Linux backers directly; they have commonalities in the sense that they back patent trolls and create some of their own. The Apple- and Microsoft-backed Rockstar, for instance, has been suing to hurt Android and Google fights back. As FOSS Force put it: “We also learned this week that Google has taken its first actions in response to Rockstar Consortium’s suit filed on Halloween against Google and a group of Android device manufacturers. According to a report posted Christmas Eve on Gigaom, Google has returned fire by filing a lawsuit against Rockstar.”

How can one sue a troll? What can one sue a troll for? Newegg has spent a lot of time and money fighting with trolls at ITC, so it should know how fruitless a process this can be. For Google, as in the case of Newegg, there’s just too much to lose if the troll gets fed. Gigaom‘s headline says that “Google sues to protect Android device makers from Apple-backed patent hell,” so there’s a matter of loyalty to partners here. In effect, Microsoft and Apple now successfully use proxies like Rockstar (and other trolls they equip with patents, although Nokia is just Microsoft’s proxy, it doesn’t play ball with Apple [1]) to hit Android hard. Apple itself, according to this summary of a report, has a “new bid for Samsung sales ban”. To quote: “Apple is again seeking to ban sales in the US of Samsung products that were at issue in the companies’ first patent trial in California and are now no longer on the market.

“The iPhone-maker asked US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose to bar sales of more than 20 smartphones and tablets, such as the Galaxy S 4G and Galaxy Tab 10.1, that a jury last year found to infringe Apple’s patents.

“While Koh rejected Apple’s bid for a sales ban on the infringing Samsung devices after the 2012 verdict, a US federal appeals court on November 18 cleared the way for it to pursue an injunction targeting some of its rival’s products.”

Coming from a criminal company that engages in price-fixing (and gets fined), Apple’s claim that it’s about justice is ludicrous at best.

Those who are not already boycotting “Apple”-branded products probably just don’t know enough about this company, whose products are in many ways more hostile than PCs with Windows installed. Macbook webcams can be remotely activated without any sign [2,3], for example, and security updates are not a priority [4]. The NSA has been partly involved in Apple’s development, so we should assume, by default, that Apple operating systems have back doors.

The only “amazing” thing at Apple is that the company still finds enough fools who are eager to queue up in expectation of a digital prison.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Nokia pulls Here Maps from the App Store, blames iOS 7

    In the wake of Maps-gate, Nokia was one of several outfits that rushed to Apple’s aid with a navigation app of its very own. A year later, however, and that same offering has been yanked from the App Store before it could send a note to its neighbors. When we asked, Nokia responded with the below quote, saying that iOS 7 harms the user experience of HERE, but users can still access the mobile edition of the service. Which is all well and good, unless you were a big fan of the app’s ability to cache offline data.

  2. Macbook webcams can be remotely activated without any sign

    In a paper called iSeeYou: Disabling the MacBook Webcam Indicator LED, security researchers Matthew Brocker and Stephen Checkoway explained a method for remotely operating the Isight webcam in Apple’s Macbook laptops.

  3. Software Allows Hackers to Activate MacBook Webcams Without Green Warning Light

    A recently resolved criminal case shows how a man was able to hack a high school classmate’s laptop in order to take nude photographs with her computer’s camera without her knowledge, before attempting to use the images to extort her, reports The Washington Post.

  4. Mavericks: The end of Macs in the enterprise?

    Macs have never been that popular in business. But if Apple is indeed no longer supporting security updates for older Mac OS X versions, Macs won’t have any place left in the enterprise office.

Wrapping Up a Year of NSA Disgrace, Propaganda Film Advocating State Abuses Already in Preparation (Starring Benedict Cumberbatch Again)

Posted in Action at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Serving those who abuse their power

Benedict Cumberbatch

Summary: 2013 a terrible year for spies and vandals who work for the state; propaganda blockbuster designed to manufacture consent for this is already in the pipeline

Having repeatedly covered NSA affairs for several years now, we finally have documents confirming what we warned about, reminding people that Free software is essential for genuine trust in computing [1]. This post is an accumulation of about 3 weeks of news about the NSA and its affiliates (commercial companies and other ‘satellite’ agencies around the world). This will hopefully help readers get their heads around it all with a high level of concision (yet a comprehensive enough scope). It takes a huge amount of time to prepare a post like this (weeks of daily research) and the references below should help support the claims, providing a gateway to further information.

In December, the series of revolutionary [2], important [3] and widely-known [4] scandals turned 6 months old [5]. Two court decisions were contradicting one another and the ACLU plans to appeal, based on its latest statement. The ACLU challenged in court the tracking and profiling systems that are based on people’s phonecalls. One judge considered it illegal [6-9] and unconstitutional [10-11], agreeing with many prominent commentators [12] (maligned by CNN [13]), putting aside the later ruling [14-18]. Even sections of the corporate media [19], which usually pretends to be impartial while pro-NSA [20], gave this coverage.

Merkel, who told Obama this was reminiscent of the Stasi [21,22] (still in positions of power [23]), made some headlines also. A German coalition now generally favours German-owned or Free software because of the NSA revelations [24-25] and lack of trust [26-27] (Germany is not alone [28-29]). France would be hypocritical to say much at this point [30] and new videos reveal a very high degree of distrust even within Europe itself, dividing East and West, still (Not East and West Germany but Russia and/or Europe and north America/UK) [31-32].

The importance of the latest court ruling is high; it is a nightmare for the NSA [33] because it recognises Edward Snowden as a whistleblower [34] and makes it known that the real criminals are Clapper, Alexander and other military men/politicians including President Obama [35], who tries to dodge discussion about his complicity in this [36-43] and actively obstructs justice [44-46], delaying/procrastinating [47] where possible, etc.

The US and UK (closely connected [48]) have politicians who merely parrot the talking points from spooks [49-50] and this is being noticed. They no longer get away with it so easily, not even when state propaganda channels repeat the claim (CBS is widely disgraced for what it did for the NSA a few weeks ago).

Edward Snowden, another man whom history will most likely remember as a hero [51] is looking for asylum to become effective next year, choosing Germany [52-53] or Brasil as one very strategic, strong-enough-to-resist-blackmail asylum (the reporter who worked with him lives there) [54-56]. Brasil has just ditched Boeing, perhaps in part due to Wikileaks and Snowden (revealing corruption and back doors) [57-60]. In this age of governance by algorithms [61] and hardware (e.g. CCTV [62]) we risk approaching something that’s worse than 1984, to paraphrase Snowden [63-69] (he claims to have “won” [70-75]). Some people want the NSA shut down [76] and they get their views broadcasted [77-78], citing/crediting Snowden’s contributions [79-80].

It is only getting worse over time [81-84], as the NSA is ignoring advice from NSA manager-turned-whistleblower, instead following the trajectory suggested by Morell (CIA) [85-88]. And so, observing a sort of entryism (fox guards the hen house), Snowden wants to accomplish real change this time [89], with or without help from the corporate press [77-78]. He called for real change (through Congress [79], which should protect him [80]) in this age of more useless promises from chronic liars [89].

British scientist Tim Berners-Lee (best known for creating the Web) called for real change [90], but British spies and their apologists (see Guardian articles, including one about Bletchley Park) seem to just burying the current events under the rug [91-94].

There are real concerns here [95] because political espionage (see the surveillance used against KGB’s Putin [96-97] and outrageous surveillance of regulators, politicians, and even charities [98-111]) or industrial espionage (examples given before) are the key areas the NSA has been involved in. It’s not about terrorism [112-114], which is mostly a privacy-infringing [115-117] pretext and excuse [118] (the corporate press needs to acknowledge this [119], putting aide the 9/11 hype [120-121]). “Sometimes I think we do the terrorists’ job for them,” Dan K. Thomasson wrote [122], alluding to how we prove them right by mocking and revoking our own freedom and rights.

Zynga’s Mark Pincus has asked Obama to pardon Edward Snowden [123], but the spies want to just kill Snowden [124-126] because they are sociopaths [127-128] (exceptionalism complex) and empathy/sympathy cannot be tolerated [129-130] (Snowden cannot expect fair trial [131-132]). It should be noted that Zynga, a spam and surveillance company (which also makes games), is too hypocritical; it’s ridiculous for Zynga to take such a position. A lot of the surveillance done by the NSA has been facilitated by so-called ‘cloud’ and Internet companies, as well as carriers [133-144]. They store data for the government, so they — and especially phone companies — should be seen as NSA extensions [145]. Fake/weak encryption and back doors play a role [146-147] (bribes played a role [148-152] and alternatives now emerge, e.g. from BitTorrent [153-154]). Perhaps Mark Pincus worries about loss of business [155-156], not ethics. Some businesses walk out of the US for business purposes [157-158], especially when it comes to data storage.

The NSA has become somewhat of a joke (subject of satire [159-161]) and its biggest proponents in politics are the same right-wing politicians who tried to classify Wikileaks “terrorism” and treat it as such [162]. They lie, too [163]. It’s that exceptionalism again.

Some suspect that the NSA now interferes with free speech [164-165] using cracking techniques [166] (evidence is weak most of the time). Glenn Greenwald has blasted the corporate media [167-180] for helping the NSA do its thing and also hinted at the next major leak: the NSA and GCHQ are dying to snoop on your gadgets mid-flight [181]. Alan Dershowitz, who pretended to help Wikileaks (he only exploited Wikileaks), is showing his real face again by slamming Greenwald [182-185] and Applebaum, a Wikileaks employee, has just had his house in Germany allegedly raided [186], ahead of a major report [187-188] that reveals serious NSA crimes [189] and back doors — the types of back doors that would in theory enable spooks to plant suicide notes and tamper with browser history before assassinating people and making it look like a suicide [190].

The surveillance industry is taking many blows and right now the British media is trying to use Turing [191], a national hero to manym as part of a recruitment drive for GCHQ. This includes a propaganda film featuring the same shameless actor who starred in the anti-Wikileaks film. It’s not just the CIA but also the NSA et al. that require popular propaganda films to change public image. Be ready for gullible people to get deceived and to somehow associate NSA et al. with beating the Nazis, never mind if a lot of Nazi officers actually joined the CIA and NSA after WW2. Propaganda can be powerful and it is inevitable. The more we find out about the NSA, the better equipped we’ll be in shooting down this type of propaganda.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 12 Ways of NSA Suspicion

    With open source code the NSA would be foolish to install a true back door.

  2. EUGENE ROBINSON: Snowden’s NSA revelations have changed the world
  3. Welcome Big Brother, 2013 version

    Freedom is a precious commodity. Like virtue, once it is given up, it is difficult — if not impossible — to regain.

  4. NSA has become a four-letter word in US

    The NSA “has become a four-letter word in the US” and Americans are irritated, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, Daniel McAdams, told RT while commenting on a ruling which states that the agency’s spying is legal.

  5. The year the NSA hacked the world: A 2013 PRISM timeline (Part II)

    When June 2013 came to a close, the world was just coming to terms with the revelations of widespread and unaccountable spying by the American National Security Agency (NSA) revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Mass gathering of metadata, recording of phonecalls, spying on civilian populations: at first, it seemed as if this would be a good old fashioned unaccountable-spy-agency-against-the-people kind of story. But it would soon become apparent that the rot went much further than that.

  6. Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records
  7. A striking reverse for the NSA

    The broad issue that Judge Leon looked at is the NSA’s power to collect metadata – the record of who is telephoning whom, when the call is made and for how long. Defenders of the NSA argue that the acquisition of phone metadata only allows the agency to see the context in which a call is made, establishing links between potential terrorists. It does not give the NSA access to the content of calls.

  8. The NSA Needs an Adversary in Court

    In the six months since Edward Snowden began leaking details about the National Security Agency’s efforts to collect telephone data on a colossal scale, NSA officials have repeatedly asserted that the program is on firm legal ground. Now U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon has ruled that it probably infringes on the Fourth Amendment, calling it “almost Orwellian” in scope.

  9. This Week in Review: A judge deals the NSA a blow, and breaking down Patch’s fatal flaws

    60 Minutes’ NSA flattery: CBS News’ 60 Minutes touted a big story on the NSA surveillance beat when it got exclusive access to NSA officials to talk to them about their mass surveillance programs and Edward Snowden’s leaks. The story did contain one bit of pertinent news — that the NSA is considering granting Snowden amnesty in exchange for the return of its documents, a trial balloon that Reuters’ Jack Shafer examined more closely.

    The piece’s reporter, John Miller, explained an behind-the-scenes interview with 60 Minutes that he didn’t want the story to be a puff piece. As it turned out, in the eyes of most every media critic who watched it, that’s exactly what he produced. The Wire’s Sara Morrison laid out a good, basic summary of the puffiness of the piece, and Mike Masnick of Techdirt highlighted a few elements: zero difficult questions, no NSA critics in the piece, unchecked ad hominem attacks against Snowden.

  10. Updated: Federal judge finds NSA phone spying likely unconstitutional

    In a stunning decision, a DC-based federal judge has ruled that the National Security Agency spying revealed this summer violates the constitution.

  11. NSA phone surveillance ‘likely unconstitutional’
  12. I challenged the NSA in court because it’s a totalitarian attack on human rights
  13. NSA SLAYER CALLS FOR FIRINGS AT CNN

    Klayman has praised the courage of Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who ruled that the NSA’s regular collection of virtually all phone records is almost certainly unconstitutional.

    Klayman’s case, on behalf of a Verizon Wireless customer, was launched after the extent of government spying on Americans was unveiled by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who said the court’s decision made him feel justified in releasing classified documents. Named in the case are the NSA, Department of Justice and several U.S. officials, including President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

  14. Is the NSA’s Spying Constitutional? It Depends Which Judge You Ask
  15. U.S. judge upholds NSA phone surveillance program

    A U.S. judge ruled the National Security Agency’s program that collects records of millions of Americans’ phone calls is lawful, rejecting a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to the controversial counter-terrorism program.

  16. Judge Defends Government Secrecy & Dismisses ACLU Lawsuit Challenging NSA Surveillance Program
  17. Ratifying NSA Spying, a Court Calls FISA ‘Courts’ Into Question
  18. Judge’s Wikipedia Page Vandalized After Ruling In Favor Of NSA Surveillance

    The National Security Agency on Friday won a court opinion ruling that its tactics of bulk phone data collected on Americans and others worldwide does not violate the U.S. Constitution. Following the decision, vandals began defacing the Wikipedia entry for the district court judge who issued the decision: the Hon. William H. Pauley III.

  19. NSA Spying Sweeps ‘Have Gone Too Far’, Report

    A panel has recommended curbing the secretive powers of the National Security Agency, warning its mass spying sweeps in the war on terror had gone too far.

  20. NSA data surveillance – right or wrong?
  21. Merkel compared NSA to Stasi in heated encounter with Obama
  22. US snooping revelations: Merkel ‘told Obama NSA was like the Stasi’

    During angry exchanges over the scope and scale of American spies’ snooping exposed by the NSA whistlewblower Edward Snowden, Angela Merkel reportedly told Barack Obama his country’s conduct was reminiscent of the Stasi.

    The German Chancellor had the discussion with her US counterpart in October, shortly after the revelation that her personal mobile phone had been tapped.

  23. Ex-Stasi staff still work at archives of East Germany’s former secret police

    It was set up as a unique historical experiment: an agency that would open up the secret service’s files to those it had spied upon. But now the commissioner in charge of the East Germany’s secret police archive has admitted that his agency still counts 37 former Stasi employees among its staff.

  24. German coalition favors German-owned or open source software, aims to lock NSA out
  25. GERMANY URGES US FIRMS TO BAN PASSING SENSITIVE DATA TO NSA
  26. NSA surveillance eroded transatlantic trust

    One year ago, most people on either side of Atlantic had scant or no knowledge of the NSA and its activities. Edward Snowden’s revelations changed all that and rocked one of the pillars of transatlantic relations.

  27. NSA Scandal May Help Build Cyber-Barriers

    Deutsche Telekom has also proposed to help Europe avoid NSA surveillance by creating “Schengen area routing,” a network for the 26 European countries that have agreed to remove passport controls at their borders. This network would supposedly allow these nations to securely exchange data among themselves. Conveniently, the Schengen area does not include the U.K., which is now known to be closely cooperating with the NSA.

  28. Europe Turns to Alternatives on NSA Fallout
  29. NSA Fallout in Europe Boosts Alternatives to Google

    During its first four years, Berlin-based Posteo e.K. struggled to find customers for its secure e-mail service. That changed in June, when U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that his former employer monitored phones and e-mails worldwide. In the past six months, Posteo has tripled the subscribers of its 1-euro-per-month ($1.37) encryption service, to more than 30,000.

  30. Final Adoption of Generalised Surveillance in France: a Disturbing Political Drift

    The French President promulgated [fr] the 2014-2019 Defense Bill last night. Adoption of article 20 (former article 13) opens the door to the generalised surveillance of communications and the failure to request its constitutional challenge demonstrates the deep crisis of a political system which does not hesitate anymore to massively compromise fundamental rights. La Quadrature du Net thanks all those who contributed to the opposition to this article. It calls for the continuation of the fight against surveillance of our communications on the Internet by any means: before parliament or judges, through technology and usage choices.

  31. [Video] Tom Drake — Full Interview
  32. [Video] Revealed: Norway widely spies on Russia for NSA – new Snowden leak
  33. The NSA’s rough week just got even worse

    Back in August, not long after Edward Snowden began leaking details about NSA surveillance programs, President Obama created a panel to review the NSA’s data surveillance practices and recommend changes. Yesterday, the panel released its 308-page report and recommended 46 changes, including ending the collection of phone call metadata, which the panel says “creates potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty.” Instead, phone companies or other private entities should control the data, and it should only be accessed with an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

  34. Finally, a Ruling That Recognizes Snowden as a Whistleblower
  35. Why are there no charges against the NSA crew: Clapper, Alexander and Obama?

    It’s curious how then-President Bill Clinton was impeached and removed from office by the US Congress for just one lie concerning the relatively trivial matter of an extramarital affair – a scandal that didn’t concern his official duties.

    But James Clapper and Keith Alexander, who are in charge of the NSA system, have told a number of lies while under oath – one journalist counted 14 lies by Alexander – to the US Congress concerning matters of vital importance to the Congress, the American people and the world. Specifically, they have lied, used half-truths, and obfuscated while under oath to conceal from the Congress, and the public, the massive surveillance of the American people’s online activities secretly carried out by the NSA. Yet no charges or attempted charges have been brought.

  36. White House Tries to Prevent Judge From Ruling on Surveillance Efforts

    The Obama administration moved late Friday to prevent a federal judge in California from ruling on the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance programs authorized during the Bush administration, telling a court that recent disclosures about National Security Agency spying were not enough to undermine its claim that litigating the case would jeopardize state secrets.

  37. Obama ‘hijacks’ tech executive meeting to make ‘PR pitch’ on Obamacare website fix instead of dealing with NSA surveillance

    During a White House meeting called to brief America’s largest tech companies today about government overreach in electronic surveillance, President Barack Obama changed the subject – angering some meeting participants by shifting gears to address the failed launch of healthcare.gov.

    ‘That wasn’t what we came for,’ a vice-president of a company whose CEO attended told MailOnline. ‘We really didn’t care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare.’

  38. Obama Can’t Avoid the NSA Report, But He’ll Try

    A panel of presidential advisers has urged the White House to rein in the National Security Agency, and recommended a set of expansive policy reforms that would check the agency’s broad surveillance powers, including an end to the bulk collection of virtually all American phone records. At the same time, the recommendations also leave in place most of the NSA’s surveillance programs.

  39. NSA Report Ups Pressure for Reforms Obama Sought to Avoid

    The review panel’s calls for minor reforms are already more than President Obama is likely to want to make, but as the surveillance scandal continues to grow, his ability to put off calls for reform with promises of “transparency” is going to be tested.

  40. President Obama’s NSA review group is typical administration whitewash

    Notice how the White House moved quickly to thwart the only substantive NSA changes the review group was making

  41. NSA survelliance reforms lack substance

    There is one concrete way for the president to demonstrate good faith in dealing with the reforms: Pardon Edward Snowden.

  42. NSA leaks: Obama hints at surveillance rethink

    US President Barack Obama has suggested there may be a review of surveillance by the National Security Agency in the wake of a series of spying revelations.

  43. Editorial: Obama must explain NSA or accept changes
  44. Despite Releasing New NSA Information, Government Still Tries to Block Groundbreaking EFF Case

    U.S. government intelligence officials late last night released some previously secret declarations submitted to the court in Jewel v. NSA — EFF’s long-running case challenging the NSA’s domestic surveillance program – plus a companion case, Shubert v. Obama. The documents were released pursuant to the court’s order.

    Surprisingly, in these documents and in the brief filed with them, the government continues to claim that plaintiffs cannot prove they were surveilled without state secrets and that therefore, a court cannot rule on the legality or constitutionality of the surveillance. For example, despite the fact that these activities are discussed every day in news outlets around the world and even in the president’s recent press conference, the government states broadly that information that may relate to Plaintiffs’ claims that the “NSA indiscriminately intercepts the content of communications, and their claims regarding the NSA’s bulk collection of … metadata” is still a state secret.

  45. U.S. government moves to block further litigation in NSA surveillance cases

    The U.S. government again claimed state-secrets privileges in a move to block two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans’ phone communications and email, according to court filings late Friday.

  46. Feds admit start of NSA surveillance, still say it’s too secretive for court

    This weekend, the US government filed documents in two long-running cases (both in California’s Northern District) related to National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance. As the New York Times notes, these filings mark the first time the government acknowledged that the NSA “started systematically collecting data about Americans’ e-mails and phone calls in 2001, alongside its program of wiretapping certain calls without warrants.” However, the bigger takeaway from the new documents is that the government continues to evoke state secrets privilege—the right to prevent certain, potentially harmful information from being used in court even if it means a case might be dismissed—despite previous rulings against this argument.

  47. Obama to make a “definitive statement” on NSA future in January
  48. UK’s GCHQ doing the NSA’s heavy lifting – George Galloway

    Robles: Do you think that the UK has lost a lot of sovereignty to the US, especially with all this NSA spying and stuff? Or is that…?
    Galloway:No, I do, I believe that the British State has essentially rented itself out, I don’t want to be too candid in the analogy, but it has …
    Robles: I was going to say lapdog, but I tried not to.
    Galloway:Well it’s worse than that. It has prostituted itself to the United States. The GCHQ at Cheltenham is doing most of the heavy lifting for the National Security Agency, in the illegal vacuuming of the spectrum, and is collecting uncountable scores of millions of telephone calls, texts and e-mails every day across Europe, and further beyond, as the fiber optics cross the British landmass, coming from the United States across the Atlantic and thence to Europe.

  49. Sunday’s NSA report confirms it: 60 Minutes is now in the spin business

    The special NSA report was a promotional. It follows a string of spectacularly biased ‘news’ shows and shoddy reporting

  50. MPs grill Theresa May over spy chiefs’ ‘melodramatic soundbites’ on NSA files

    Home affairs committee asks home secretary whether she has been given proof by MI5 and MI6 to support their rhetoric

  51. From Snowden To Manning… To Ben Franklin And Sam Adams? A History Of Leakers Of Secret Gov’t Documents
  52. Snowden will help Germany investigate NSA spying if granted asylum – report
  53. Snowden offers Germany help on NSA tapping if granted asylum
  54. Snowden: Dear Brazil, the NSA is watching you
  55. Snowden willing to help Brazil against NSA in exchange for asylum
  56. NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden ‘to Assist Brazil in Return for Asylum’

    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told the Brazilian government that he would be willing to help it investigate US eavesdropping activities in Brazil in exchange for political asylum.

    In an open letter to the Brazilian people published by Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Snowden – who is currently in hiding in Russia – offered support over NSA program’s targeting of Brazil.

    “I’ve expressed my willingness to assist where it’s appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the US government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so,” said the letter, translated into Portuguese by the newspaper.

  57. NSA Fallout Hits American Business To The Tune Of Four Billion Dollars: Brazil Ditches Boeing, Buys Gripen

    Brazil ditches Boeing’s F/A-18 in favor of SAAB’s JAS 39 Gripen over the NSA’s rogue behavior. In a press conference tonight, Brazil’s defense department announces that Brazil will buy the Swedish fighter jet, according to multiple Brazilian sources. The direct reason for rejecting Boeing’s F/A-18 was the United States’ hostile and unacceptable spying behavior against Brazil and the rest of the world.

  58. Blunt ‘Disappointed’ NSA Spying Cost Boeing A Brazilian Contract
  59. Saab shares soar on $4.5bn Brazil defence deal
  60. NSA leaks sink US business deals

    The United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency operate Special Collecting Services (SCS) “listening posts” in more than 80 cities worldwide, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. [1] In recent months, the NSA’s extensive electronic eavesdropping

  61. Governance By Algorithm: Big Data, The NSA & A Sinister Future

    One of the biggest stories of the year has been the perhaps-not-shocking revelation that the American NSA and our own GCHQ have been snooping on our everyday communications. Becky Hogge writes about how we’re struggling to grasp the consequences of this erosion of our rights, and asks what we might do to counter it

  62. Is this the end of CCTV cars?
  63. Edward Snowden says NSA spying worse than Orwell’s ‘1984’ in his ‘Alternative Christmas Message’

    The The 30-year-old who revealed the NSA’s massive spying programs claims the widespread surveillance is far beyond the ominous thought police of author George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”

  64. Watch NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Deliver an Alternative Christmas Address to UK

    After NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden granted The Washington Post an extensive interview this week, he took to United Kingdom airwaves to offer the traditional “alternative Christmas address” on Channel 4.

  65. Snowden: How the NSA has access to your information
  66. Ex-NSA fugitive leaker Snowden goes public with Post interview, TV message
  67. Edward Snowden claims he wanted NSA to conduct itself properly
  68. Snowden: Orwell’s ’1984′ ‘nothing’ compared to NSA spying
  69. Whatever your stance on privacy, Edward Snowden has a Xmas message for you
  70. Snowden: ‘I am still working for the NSA … to improve it’

    “If I defected at all, I defected from the government to the public.”

  71. Edward Snowden: ‘I already won’
  72. NSA leaker Edward Snowden: ‘I already won’

    Nearly six months after the first leaks, The Washington Post has landed the first extensive interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden, offering a new peek into his motivations for the life-changing leaks and his subsequent life in Russia. In contrast to earlier interviews, Snowden now says the leaks are having the real political impact he’d hoped for. “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Snowden told the Post. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated.”

  73. ‘I Already Won,’ Says NSA Leaker Edward Snowden
  74. Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished
  75. Edward Snowden looks back at NSA leaks, considers his personal mission accomplished
  76. Rick Jensen: Is it time to shut down NSA?

    How many people have been blackmailed by NSA employees using these technologies?

    The NSA isn’t saying.

  77. The best week for privacy in a long time
  78. Spy wars: Americans need to know more than Snowden has revealed

    We’ve been here before, in the 1960s and ’70s, when spy agencies flagrantly violated civil rights in the name of national security.

  79. NSA leaker Snowden urges US to ‘end mass surveillance’
  80. Congress Can And Should Protect Ed Snowden And Thank Him For Revealing Government Overreach
  81. NSA surveillance programme: ‘It’s going to get worse’

    The NSA’s surveillance programme is prompting many US writers to abandon topics that could be deemed too sensitive – yet that programme looks set to grow

  82. NSA review group member wants to expand data collection program

    A review group hand-picked by United States President Barack Obama said last week that the National Security Agency needs to reform dozens of the ways it does business. One member of that panel, however, says the NSA doesn’t do enough.

    Michael Morell, the former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a member of the five-person NSA review group compiled by Pres. Obama, said in a recent interview that the secretive US spy agency should have its powers expanded to collect not just telephone metadata, but email information as well.

  83. Former CIA Boss, Task Force Member Says Even Though Metadata Collection Hasn’t Been Useful, It Should Be Expanded
  84. Edward Snowden has stripped us of all illusion about our digital world

    There can no longer be an illusion that our information is private or used only for good purposes

  85. NSA Struggles to Make Sense of Flood of Surveillance Data
  86. NSA drowns under an ocean of data

    All is not well in the land of US spooks despite them having access to all the data on citizens that they can eat.

    William Binney, creator of some of the computer code used by the National Security Agency to snoop on Internet traffic around the world, has warned that the agency knows too much.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the NSA can’t understand the data it has because it has too much to do anything useful with it.

  87. NSA drowning in overcollected data, can’t do its job properly
  88. Data overload at NSA

    That’s not the NSA routine — even Snowden doesn’t say it is. Cellphone usage, like that of other phones, goes into its collection of “metadata” — that is, what number is calling what number. The automatic collection does not include locations or travels of the phones.

  89. NSA review recommends sweeping changes
  90. Tim Berners-Lee leads call for more transparency over mass surveillance

    The inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has collaborated with more than 100 free speech groups and leading activists in an open letter to protest against the routine interception of data by governments around the world.

  91. Bletchley Park accused of airbrushing Edward Snowden from history
  92. White House report on NSA ‘has not changed David Cameron’s view’
  93. Obama’s NSA review gives the lie to Britain’s timid platitudes: a debate is possible

    In the US, the official response to Snowden’s revelations celebrates journalism and calls for real change. In Britain, the picture has been rather different

  94. Dave Eggers: US writers must take a stand on NSA surveillance
  95. 10 Government Surveillance Concerns Revealed By Edward Snowden’s NSA Leaks

    The Edward Snowden revelations about government surveillance of private individuals resulted in 10 major issues of public interest being brought to the fore, the editor of the Guardian has told a high-profile panel convened to discuss internet privacy.

  96. CIA preformed psychological profile of Putin for President George Bush

    In his book “Decision Points”, former President George Bush recalls when he met Vladimir Putin for the first time at a Slovenian palace once used by the communist leader Tito. What was surprising to me was the fact that he admitted receiving a (psychological) intelligence briefing about Putin that included aspects of his personal religious faith.

  97. President Putin backs NSA surveillance as ‘necessary’ to fight terrorism
  98. A list of the business leaders, US allies and charities the NSA has been spying on
  99. New leaks show NSA spying on European regulators and charities

    New leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal an unexpected list of surveillance targets for the agency, including European economic regulators with no obvious connection to US national security. European Commission vice president Joaquín Almunia was one such target; he was surveilled during his tenure overseeing the European Union’s economic, financial, and monetary affairs. After Alumnia took authority over the commission’s antitrust office, he would go on to lead antitrust cases against Microsoft, Intel, and Google.

  100. Snowden docs reveal spying on EU antitrust chief
  101. NSA and GCHQ targeted aid agencies and European officials – live updates
  102. N.S.A. Spied on Allies, Aid Groups and Businesses
  103. GCHQ and NSA targeted charities, Germans and EU chief

    Unicef and Médecins du Monde were on surveillance list

  104. Charities were ‘among GCHQ and NSA spying targets’

    Leigh Daynes, an executive director of Medecins du Monde in the UK, told the Guardian he was “shocked and surprised by these appalling allegations of secret surveillance on our humanitarian operations”.

  105. Obama: NSA Spying Sweeps May Be Reviewed

    Other targets were said to include the United Nations Children’s Fund, French aid organisation Medecins du Monde, French oil and gas firm Total, and French defence company Thales Group.

  106. N.S.A. Dragnet Included Allies, Aid Groups and Business Elite

    Secret documents reveal more than 1,000 targets of American and British surveillance in recent years, including the office of an Israeli prime minister, heads of international aid organizations, foreign energy companies and a European Union official involved in antitrust battles with American technology businesses.

  107. GCHQ and NSA targeted charities, Germans, Israeli PM and EU chief

    British and American intelligence agencies had a comprehensive list of surveillance targets that included the EU’s competition commissioner, German government buildings in Berlin and overseas, and the heads of institutions that provide humanitarian and financial help to Africa, top secret documents reveal.

  108. NSA, GCHQ spied on Israel, Germany, UN and others – new Snowden leaks
  109. GCHQ and NSA targetted Israeli PM and German govt
  110. Analysis: Why has Netanyahu been silent over NSA spying on Israel?

    Why Israel is reacting so differently than other countries, aside from possibly having been less naïve and having expected US spying, could relate to reports from a few months ago that Israel has sometimes joined the US in electronic spying on others and is on the receiving end of huge volumes of the controversial collected US intelligence.

  111. Israel PM Netanyahu Condemns US Surveillance
  112. NSA program stopped no terror attacks, says White House panel member

    A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks.

  113. NSA surveillance stopped no terror attacks, says White House panel member

    A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks, said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, in an interview with NBC News. “The results were very thin.”

  114. NSA Phone Data Collection Made No Difference to National Security
  115. Stanford Researcher Proves NSA Can Probably Identify Individuals From Phone Records

    The National Security Agency likes to claim that intelligence officers are only collecting the phone records of millions of Americans, safely omitting their actual names from analysis. But a Stanford researcher, Jonathan Mayer, found that he and his co-author could easily match so-called “meta-data” to individual names with little more than a Google search.

  116. NSA can easily find individuals hidden in metadata – study
  117. NSA security claims blown apart

    Claims by the US spooks that they can’t find out much about a person from their metadata have been blown apart…

  118. Senator Says ‘Arguments For The Status Quo’ In NSA Spying ‘Fell Apart This Week’

    Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), who has been one of the most outspoken lawmakers on the NSA’s surveillance programs, said on Sunday that the government should move quickly to implement the White House’s reform recommendations, and suggested that by the end of next year, the NSA will no longer be collecting massive amounts of Americans’ phone data.

  119. Officials’ defenses of NSA phone program may be unraveling
  120. Declassified Documents Prove 9/11 Led To Mass NSA Surveillance
  121. Obama says President Bush authorized NSA spying after 9/11

    “The government seems to be trying to reset the clock to before June 2013 or even December 2005,” EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said in a statement.

  122. Dan K. Thomasson: Oversight missing amid NSA oversteps

    Sometimes I think we do the terrorists’ job for them.

  123. Zynga’s Mark Pincus asked Obama to pardon NSA leaker Edward Snowden
  124. Ex-CIA chief: Amnesty for Snowden idiotic, he ‘should be hanged by his neck’
  125. Former CIA chief: Snowden should be “hanged by the neck until dead”

    After all the virtual public flogging National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has received, in the past week a few voices have suggested cutting him some slack.

    At a Tuesday closed-door meeting with tech leaders, one unnamed participant suggested to Obama that Snowden be pardoned; Obama said he couldn’t do that. During a 60 Minutes report on the leaks that aired Sunday, though, even an NSA official suggested it might be worth discussing amnesty—if and only if he returns the leaked documents securely, almost surely an impossibility at this point. (CBS news has been busy defending itself against accusations that Sunday’s show was a “puff piece.”)

    Even that tiny, tentative olive branch seems to have crossed a line for security hawks. NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander dismissed the idea, comparing Snowden to “a hostage taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10, and then say[ing], ‘You give me full amnesty and I’ll let the other 40 go.’”

    Former CIA director James Woolsey responded to the suggestion of amnesty even more strongly, saying in a Fox News interview that Snowden should be hanged.

  126. Snowden should be ‘hanged’ if convicted for treason, says ex-CIA chief
  127. Spooks and American Exceptionalism
  128. We’re The Good Guys

    My Christmas holiday frequently includes a series of reunions with other former CIA people, often grouped by the overseas stations that we served in. This year the Istanbul gathering preceded Spain and the Rome Station ca. 1980 soon followed. Some of the retirees are still working for the government as contractors so I try to keep a low profile at such functions, rarely asking questions about what anyone might be doing and seldom venturing into any detailed critiques of current government policy. But sometimes my wife and I find the occasional gung ho expressions of solidarity with torturers and drone operators to be just a bit too much and we are forced to react.

  129. NSA director says Snowden shouldn’t get amnesty
  130. Obama Adviser Cool To Snowden Amnesty
  131. If Snowden Returned to US For Trial, All Whistleblower Evidence Would Likely Be Inadmissible
  132. If Snowden returned to US for trial, could court admit any NSA leak evidence?
  133. Google users do battle in court

    The group, Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking, has accused Google of bypassing security settings on the Safari internet browser in order to track their online browsing and to target them with personalised advertisements. However, Google is claiming that because it is based in the US the court has no jurisdiction to try the claims relating to UK claimants.

  134. Here’s how data thieves have captured our lives on the internet

    As Professor Eben Moglen of Columbia University puts it, the intelligence agencies “presented with a mission by an extraordinarily imprudent national government in the United States, which having failed to prevent a very serious attack on American civilians at home, largely by ignoring warnings, decreed that they were never again to be put in a position where they should have known. This resulted in a military response, which is to get as close to everything as possible. Because if you don’t get as close to everything as possible, how can you say that you knew everything that you should have known?” In a real war, one in which the very survival of a state is threatened by a foreign adversary, almost anything is permissible, including the suspension of civil liberties, the right to privacy and all the other things we liberals hold dear. Between 1939 and 1945, Britain was governed by what was effectively a dictatorship wielding unimaginable powers, including comprehensive censorship, the power to requisition private property on demand, and so on. Citizens might not have liked this regime, but they consented to because they understood the need for it.

  135. Verizon to Publish Transparency Report Amid NSA Furor
  136. Telcos could have prevented NSA spying: Expert
  137. Cell Phone Carriers Didn’t Use Tech Fixes To Combat NSA Spying: Expert

    While the German cryptologist criticized carriers for failing to implement technology to protect customers from surveillance as well as fraud, he said he does not think they did so under pressure from spy agencies.

  138. Bah! No NSA-proof Euro cloud gang. Cloud computing standards will ‘aid data portability’

    New cloud computing standards to be developed within the EU should facilitate users’ ability to transfer data and services between cloud providers, MEPs have said.17 Dec 2013

  139. Gmail blows up e-mail marketing by caching all images on Google servers
  140. Thousands of cameras, millions of photographs, terabytes of data. You’re tracked, wherever you go.

    Concerns about the new technology were raised immediately, including from within the government. A 1984 report for the Greater London Council Police Committee warned that the system made every car a potential suspect and handed policy on mass surveillance to the police. “This possibility in a democracy is unacceptable,” it concluded.

  141. Data brokers won’t even tell the government how it uses, sells your data

    A Senate committee released a report this week that goes to great lengths to determine all of the things that data brokers, the companies that trade in consumer data, don’t want to talk about. The 35-page report describes some of the companies’ strategies for collecting and organizing data, but significant portions of the report discuss what the companies are unwilling to talk about: namely, where they get a lot of their data and where that data is going.

  142. The NSA Panel’s Pointless Private-Sector Fig Leaf
  143. As New Services Track Habits, the E-Books Are Reading You

    Before the Internet, books were written — and published — blindly, hopefully. Sometimes they sold, usually they did not, but no one had a clue what readers did when they opened them up. Did they skip or skim? Slow down or speed up when the end was in sight? Linger over the sex scenes?

  144. Minnesota librarians push to curb NSA snooping

    Hodgepodge of groups backs legislation that would limit authority to spy on Americans.

  145. Phone companies might have to store snoop data instead of NSA, Obama says

    US President Barack Obama signalled that he might halt the National Security Agency’s collection and storage of millions of Americans’ phone records and instead require phone companies to hold the data.

  146. Task Force Report’s Langauge Hints At Backdoors In Software

    After looking over the White House intelligence task force’s proposals to reform the way the US government does surveillance, we pointed out one oddity that hinted that the NSA may have been engaged in financial manipulation. Others have been combing through the report for other hints of things it might accidentally reveal, and Ed Felten (who I still think should have led the task force) has spotted another one, in how the report discusses the issue of backdoors in software.

  147. Presidential panel to NSA: Stop undermining encryption

    New report recommends the government not in any way subvert, undermine or weaken commercial software

  148. Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer

    As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry, Reuters has learned.

  149. Report: NSA paid RSA to make flawed crypto algorithm the default
  150. Security industry tainted in latest RSA revelations
  151. Prestigious speaker Mikko Hypponen cancels RSA talk to protest NSA deal

    On Monday, Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finland-based antivirus provider F-Secure, publicly canceled the talk he was scheduled to deliver at the RSA Conference USA 2014, which is slated for February. A highly sought-after security researcher who regularly speaks at Black Hat, Defcon, Hack in the Box, in addition to the more mainstream Ted and South by Southwest conferences, Hypponen said his cancellation was in protest of the recently revealed $10 million contract to make the NSA-influenced Dual EC_DRBG BSAFE’s default pseudo random number generator (PRNG). Hypponen also cited RSA’s decision to keep Dual EC_DRBG the default PRNG for more than five years after serious vulnerabilities were uncovered in it and Monday’s non-denying denial from RSA in response to Friday’s report from the Reuters news agency.

  152. How Worried Should We Be About the Alleged RSA-NSA Scheming?
  153. BitTorrent rolls out secure chat service following NSA leaks

    BitTorrent has reportedly announced a secure chat service that would only a message’s sender and receiver to see the content irrespective of whether it is encrypted or not.

  154. BitTorrent Is Building An NSA-Proof Chat Product
  155. NSA Snooping’s Negative Impact On Business Would Have The Founding Fathers ‘Aghast’

    James Madison would be “aghast.” That was one of the incendiary charges leveled at the National Security Agency and its mass surveillance activities by Judge Richard Leon in his December 16 opinion ordering the government to stop collecting some of the data that it’s been gathering on private citizens here and abroad.

  156. The NSA’s other victim: U.S. business competitiveness

    The impact of NSA intrusion on our civil liberties can’t be overstated — but damage to America’s business reputation is serious, too

  157. A New Twist in International Relations: The Corporate Keep-My-Data-Out-of-the-U.S. Clause

    By now, we’ve heard from tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Cisco Systems that the National Security Agency’s spying poses a threat to their international business and, in Cisco’s case, is already hurting it. So what does that threat look like, exactly, at ground level?

    Some companies are apparently so concerned about the NSA snooping on their data that they’re requiring – in writing – that their technology suppliers store their data outside the U.S.

  158. New industry contracts say “no data in the USA,” report says

    Firms in the UK and Canada are reportedly updating their cloud contracts to demand that their data be kept out of the US. The report doesn’t contain enough details, however, to say if this is a trend or an isolated incident.

  159. Op-Ed: NSA has Santa’s naughty and nice list (Satire)
  160. What’s your favorite NSA movie title?

    With Edward Snowden’s revelation and the surveillance scandal out, the general public cannot get enough of the jokes around the topic. Earlier this week, the video on the Youtube emerged showing Santa Clauses around New York spying on people. The title of the song “The NSA is coming to town” is a hit, making it one of the most top viewed videos online. Now Twitter community can’t get enough of it as well launching a funny competition and asking to share the title of their most favorite NSA movie title.

  161. Cyber Santa: secret NSA Santa surveillance on naughty children and drone delivery of Christmas presents worldwide

    Santa Claus must be a real hero to deliver Christmas presents all over the world in one night and to find out where good and obedient boys and girls live. It is true that Santa’s workshop is full of elves and reindeers who are always ready to help, making it the busiest factory in the world during Christmas time. But Father Christmas needs to move his operation into the twenty-first century and start using military drones to make his deliveries, and various surveillance programs similar to the NSA program to find out who behaved badly.

  162. Rep. King Says Sen. Paul “Disgraced” Office by Criticizing NSA

    Gen. Paul says Gen. Clapper lied to Congress, the nation under oath; Rep. King says it was an innocent mistake

    Under the (literally) crumbling dome of the Congress Building in Washington, D.C., the question/revelation of spying on Americans by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is producing deep, and some would say revealing division within both ruling parties.

  163. Rep. Mike Rogers Falsely Claims Edward Snowden Traded NSA Documents For ‘Personal Gain’
  164. BIZARRE RADIO MELTDOWN DURING NSA INTERVIEW

    “It wouldn’t be logical for the NSA to target my show,” Klein said, pointing out he has aired numerous broadcasts questioning the loyalties of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    Other broadcasts investigated what Klein described as the anti-American leanings of former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, who has been serving as a conduit for Snowden to communicate to the public.

    “I think Snowden is being used in a big way to turn Americans against the NSA,” said Klein. “The whole Snowden story stinks.”

  165. Radio station experiences major software meltdown during anti-NSA broadcast
  166. The state should be exposing the cyber-snoops, not joining them

    For a fugitive, Edward Snowden is attracting rather a lot of well-placed sympathisers. “A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all,” he said, when delivering Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message from his Moscow hideaway. The surveillance programmes run by governments now go far beyond anything George Orwell imagined, he added – which is a problem, because privacy matters. Quite right, says Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web: this is why we need whistleblowers such as Snowden. What’s more, Richard Leon, a US federal judge, also thinks Snowden is right – America’s spying is almost Orwellian, and probably illegal.

  167. Glenn Greenwald: ‘A Lot’ More NSA Documents to Come

    Nearly seven months after journalist and privacy activist Glenn Greenwald publicized Edward Snowden’s first revelations of the vast scope of the NSA’s digital surveillance, his life has changed absolutely.

  168. Greenwald: US, British media are servants of security apparatus
  169. Glenn Greenwald calls for Snowden asylum at Chaos Computer Club congress
  170. Greenwald mocks US, UK media as slaves of gov’t, calls for Snowden asylum
  171. Greenwald mocks US, UK media as slaves of gov’t, calls for Snowden asylum
  172. Glenn Greenwald: I’m not Edward Snowden’s flak
  173. Glenn Greenwald rips MSNBC bias — on MSNBC
  174. Glenn Greenwald Takes One More Swipe at MSNBC, and It’s Pretty Brutal
  175. Glenn Greenwald: I Defend Edward Snowden ‘Like People On MSNBC Defend President Obama’
  176. Glenn Greenwald: I Defend Snowden Just Like People On MSNBC Defend Obama
  177. Revealing Gaffe on MSNBC About Obama Coverage
  178. Glenn Greenwald Defends Edward Snowden Like ‘People on MSNBC Defend President Obama’ (Video)
  179. Greenwald Doubles Down on MSNBC Criticism
  180. Glenn Greenwald lambasts media for complacency after NSA leaks

    Greenwald hasn’t shied away from criticizing the perceived complacency of U.S. media and politicians in the face of revelations about the NSA’s collection of Americans’ and other people’s phone records and emails. But at the 30C3 on Friday, he took the opportunity to lambast American and British politicians and media organizations more harshly and directly than before.

  181. Snowden leak journo leaks next leak: NSA, GCHQ dying to snoop on your gadgets mid-flight

    Top-secret documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have been plastered across our screens and front-pages for months by Glenn Greenwald and his team.

    And on Friday the journalist couldn’t help but leak a few details about a forthcoming wave of fresh revelations regarding the US and UK governments’ mass surveillance operations.

  182. Alan Dershowitz: Glenn Greenwald “Never Met A Terrorist He Didn’t Like”
  183. Alan Dershowitz: ‘Glenn Greenwald Never Met a Terrorist He Didn’t Like’
  184. Alan Dershowitz: Glenn Greenwald ‘never met a terrorist he didn’t like’
  185. Alan Dershowitz rips Edward Snowden: ‘We have an absolute right’ to spy on other countries
  186. Snowden ally Applebaum says his Berlin apartment subject to raids
  187. TAO: the NSA’s hacker plumber-wunderkinds
  188. Shopping for Spy Gear: Catalog Advertises NSA Toolbox

    When it comes to modern firewalls for corporate computer networks, the world’s second largest network equipment manufacturer doesn’t skimp on praising its own work. According to Juniper Networks’ online PR copy, the company’s products are “ideal” for protecting large companies and computing centers from unwanted access from outside. They claim the performance of the company’s special computers is “unmatched” and their firewalls are the “best-in-class.” Despite these assurances, though, there is one attacker none of these products can fend off — the United States’ National Security Agency.

    Specialists at the intelligence organization succeeded years ago in penetrating the company’s digital firewalls. A document viewed by SPIEGEL resembling a product catalog reveals that an NSA division called ANT has burrowed its way into nearly all the security architecture made by the major players in the industry — including American global market leader Cisco and its Chinese competitor Huawei, but also producers of mass-market goods, such as US computer-maker Dell.

  189. NSA reportedly intercepting laptops purchased online to install spy malware
  190. Is Singapore Western Intelligence’s 6th Eye in Asia?

    One concern is that this growth in intelligence collection really has very little to do with terrorism and crime, but rather commercial interests. The death of Shane Todd in Singapore sheds a light on the relationship between industry and espionage, where there were concerns that the Chinese phone company Huawei is involved in espionage. Taxpayer money is being used to protect the intellectual property of private corporations.

  191. Interview: John Graham-Cumming

    Open source developer and writer John Graham-Cumming was able, through a Downing Street online petition, to persuade the Gordon Brown Labour-led government to issue an unequivocal apology for the gross indecency conviction of Alan Turning in 1952. After admitting a sexual relationship with a man, Turing was unable to continue work as a code breaker at GCHQ, as his security clearance was withdrawn. Two year later he killed himself. Linux Format caught up with the Graham-Cumming to discuss open source development, debugging and why he opposes the move for a pardon, which has been given via royal decree.

12.28.13

Links 28/12/2013: Software and Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 27/12/2013: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

12.27.13

Ubuntu Derivatives Can Gain as Canonical Reduces Commitment to GNOME

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Ubuntu GNOME is getting harder to maintain and alternatives emerge which are independent from Canonical

Softpedia’s latest updates on GNOME Desktop development [1-4] show that GNOME is anything but dormant. As Phoronix shows, Fedora is all about GNOME (Red Hat’s default), whereas Ubuntu neglects GNOME as well as other widely-used packages. “Mir Is Still Overwhelmingly A Canonical-Only Affair,” says the headline of one very recent article from Phoronix. Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS Alpha 1 is out [5] and it is still using X.org [6]. Ubuntu, in terms of performance, does not vary widely from Red Hat [7] and Debian [8], it’s just doing its marketing better [9,10]. For those who are fed up with the hype, or those who look for upstream proponents, there’s always Kubuntu to turn to [11] if not the latest Mint Linux [12,13,14] (it has a KDE version) and older stable versions [15,16]. One can easily sense some bit of hostility towards Canonical at Phoronix these days, but it is cleverly disguised and perhaps it is even justified. The FSF has made its lack of support for Ubuntu well known (unlike Torvalds) and in his recent talks Stallman openly urges people not to use Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has been good in many ways, but if someone is eager to move to GNU/Linux, then perhaps it’s better to name or recommend another distribution.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GNOME Online Accounts 3.11.3 Adds Support for Facebook Photos
  2. Epiphany 3.11.2 Web Browser Brings Lots of Goodies for Christmas

    The GNOME Project has announced recently that a new development release towards the Epiphany 3.12 web browser that will be part of the upcoming GNOME 3.12 desktop environment is now available for download and testing.

  3. GNOME Boxes 3.11.3 Improves Detection of GNOME-Continuous Images
  4. GNOME’s File Manager Will Be More User-Friendly

    Allan Day, a GNOME designer, posted a few days ago on his blog a very long article about what was coming next in the Nautilus (now known as Files) file manager for the GNOME desktop environment.

    What you will read in this article is a short summary of the new design features that will be implemented in upcoming releases of Nautilus, which will be part of the GNOME 3.12 desktop environment.

  5. Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS Alpha 1 (Trusty Tahr) Officially Released – Screenshot Tour

    Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS Alpha 1 (Trusty Tahr) has been released and is now available for download and testing. We prepared a screenshot tour to get a sneak peek at the new operating system.

    The best news for the fans of Ubuntu GNOME is that the 14.04 will include a number of GNOME applications from the 3.10 stack.

  6. Ubuntu GNOME Will Still Run On X.Org For A While
  7. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Benchmarks

    Last week when Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta 1 was released I was already running RHEL7 benchmarks looking at the performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 over RHEL 6.5. In this article for some extra benchmarks to put out over the weekend is a quick comparison of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in its current development state against Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta 1.

  8. SteamOS vs. Ubuntu 13.10 – Intel HD Graphics Performance
  9. Ubuntu Linux, Edge, Desktop and the Wearable Computing Future

    One of most noteworthy open-source stories of 2013 was the audacious attempt by Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux, to crowdfund $32 million in 30 days to fund a next-generation Linux phone.

    It’s an effort that did not reach its target. In a video interview with eWEEK, Shuttleworth described the Ubuntu Edge campaign as a “glorious defeat,” but it’s not the end of the road for Ubuntu’s phone efforts.

    Though Shuttleworth was unable to raise $32 million in 30 days, the Ubuntu Edge campaign was able to raise $12.8 million, which is a non-trivial amount for a crowdfunding effort of any type. He pledged that his company was continuing to push forward in its efforts to build the best converged operating system for developers.

  10. Will Ubuntu dominate tablets in 2014?

    Ubuntu’s tablet may dominate the field in 2014. Plus: A SteamOS install guide, and a screenshot tour of Fedora 20 MATE

  11. Kubuntu 13.10 – A great alternative to Ubuntu and Windows.
  12. Linux Mint 16 KDE and Xfce released
  13. Linux Mint 16 “Petra” KDE released!

    KDE is a vibrant, innovative, advanced, modern looking and full-featured desktop environment. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of KDE 4.11.

  14. Review: Linux Mint 16 “Petra” Cinnamon + MATE

    This is the second review that I’m doing at the moment. Linux Mint 16 “Petra” came out in MATE and Cinnamon guises recently, so as a fan of Linux Mint, I’ll be reviewing those now. I tried each edition separately on a live USB made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what each is like.

  15. Petra backports available in Linux Mint 13

    The most significant improvements in Petra are being backported to Maya.

    Among other things, this gives Linux Mint 13 LTS users access to the following packages:

    MDM 1.4
    Cinnamon 2.0
    MATE 1.6
    The latest versions of mintwelcome, mintstick, mintnanny, mintupload, mintupdate, mintinstall, mintsystem, mintmenu and mintdesktop.

  16. Cinnamon 2.0 available for Linux Mint 13, LMDE to receive it soon

    Linux Mint 13 “Maya” users can now avail Cinnamon 2.0 goodness. Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) users will receive a major upgrade known as Update Pack 8, in January 2014.

Computing Workload: Get It Off the ‘Cloud’, Quickly

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why the reliance on third-party hosting (of storage space, databases, communications, processing, etc.) is a dumb new trend which needs to be rejected

IN TERMS of real market share (not just money), GNU/Linux is growing at the expense of expensive UNIX [1] and expensive Windows [2] and if we have learned anything from Microsoft’s collusion with the NSA (Google collaborated to a lesser degree) it is that we must not put any data remotely, especially not pass it over the Web to some third party.

Now that there is another round of shameless IBM PR (puff pieces and press releases [3-5]) we should recall that what companies once did was contract a company like IBM to set up, locally, a computational resource for workloads. But IBM, which faces competition from Google and others [6], is recognising a new threat and it’s the hype about “Linux Cloud Computing” [7] (Amazon, Google, Rackspace and others), which basically means NSA-accessible computing. This should always be rejected, based on grounds of privacy — if not privacy of the business (or government) then privacy of the customers (or citizens). We already know that the NSA uses surveillance for political and industrial espionage.

It is amazing to see how many companies host not only their E-mails on third-party servers (many located in the US) but also their data/databases and computational processes. This is beyond naïve; it’s reckless. GNU/Linux becoming dominant on servers is not much of an achievement if all those servers are basically wiretapping points.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. HP Korea Downsizes Unix Server Business

    HP Korea is reported to have drastically reduced sales personnel for its Unix server business in line with the reorganization of its server unit.

  2. Microsoft’s licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination
  3. IBM Will Minimize Impact of Future Disasters

    Not even Mighty Big Blue can stop a hurricane. But. IBM and Marist College are testing a new cloud computing innovation that could help prevent disruptions in voice and data communications services caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

  4. The Overall Linux Support Solution to Help with the Bottom Line
  5. Open Source Is Here To Stay On IBM i

    For years, open source software has been a bit of a redheaded stepchild in the button-down IBM midrange community. IBM i shops were hesitant to use it, and vendors were afraid to adopt it. But with so much of the computing world now running on open source, the aversion to open source has gradually melted away, and it has steadily crept into use among large corporations, and the IBM i world too.

  6. Google Compute Engine Generally Available With Lower Prices And More Linux Support

    Last year, Google unveiled Compute Engine at Google I/O, apparently seeking to compete with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure for the cloud computing needs of businesses.

  7. Verticomm Technologies Discusses the Benefits of Linux Cloud Computing for Business

    Verticomm Technologies, one of the most reliable cloud computing service providers in Denver, recently discussed the positive impacts of having a Linux cloud computing for business having a larger pool of systems in the workplace.

GNU/Linux is Everywhere, But People Need to Keep It Under People’s (and Developers’) Control

Posted in GNU/Linux at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apathy in the age of GNU/Linux ubiquity leads away from focus on freedom

EARLIER this month it was quite popular to publish overviews of potential GNU/Linux-powered gifts (there are some examples we have not cited yet [1,2]). It’s just too easy to find GNU/Linux gadgets because it’s the de facto operating system in so many areas (though branding may not suggest so). GNU/Linux has become a strong force not just on this planet but also elsewhere, e.g. in space, arguably Mars (there was a debate about it), perhaps even on asteroids, based on an article from September (source: Linux.com/Linux Foundation [3]). GNU/Linux has not achieved just world domination; it’s almost extra-celestial (if we ever got this far). Free software won. But it depends on the criteria, e.g. popularity, market share, level of freedom. Hardware with GNU/Linux on it has gotten easier to obtain [4] and one recent example of it is Lini PC [5-7]. With the triumph of Free software, however it may be defined (many of the hardware is locked down), comes some certain apathy, as if it’s all taken for granted. Linux Australia membership is declining [8], Nuxified is up for sale [9] (one among many Free/libre software and GNU/Linux sites to go down this path), and Linux Format lost some of its best writers, who are going independent [10-12] (which in a way is a good thing, unless you are Linux Format). What has become very worrying to me is that in the GNU/Linux world we are now going through what happened in the patents scene; a lot of corporations take over the message, so people’s stance and will just simply get ignored or misrepresented. We really need to retain the voice of the people (including developers), marginalising the voices of non-technical managers and large companies that are purely shareholders-driven. Failing to do so will contribute to a drift in the wrong direction, e.g. TPM, restricted boot, DRM, and censorship.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide For Linux PC Hardware
  2. Top 10 Linux-Based Gifts for 2013 Under $400
  3. Penguins in Space! Asteroid mining and Linux

    No, Planetary Resource isn’t kidding. It’s working on using Linux, open-source software, and commercial off-the-shelf hardware to build the first robotic asteroid miners.

  4. Choosing A 2013 Laptop/Ultrabook For Linux

    Earlier this week I asked what laptop you would like to see tested on Linux. I’ve been shopping for some new laptops/hardware since I always enjoy testing and benchmarking new hardware under Linux at Phoronix plus as mentioned in that earlier article I’ll be over in Russia for the next month focusing on Phoronix Test Suite 5.0 and other developments, so I need a couple more portable systems with new hardware for Phoronix benchmarking. There’s also plenty of good shopping deals for the holiday season. After going through the 50+ comments, I ended up doing a Black Friday purchase of the ASUS Zenbook Prime.

  5. Here Comes Linux Powered Lini PC With Intel Haswell Processor
  6. Lini is a Haswell PC for Linux

 (or Windows)
  7. Lini PC offers small Linux computers with Haswell chips

    One of the nice things about Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions is that you can install them on pretty much any PC without paying a penny. In many cases, everything will work perfectly out of the box — but when it doesn’t, you could find yourself spending a lot of time researching tricks for enabling support for your graphics card, wireless chip, input devices, or other hardware.

  8. Linux Australia membership falls by 10 per cent

    Membership of Linux Australia has fallen by a little more than 10 per cent since January this year, according to figures released by the organisation.

  9. After 8 Years Nuxified is for Sale
  10. Linux Voice journos hit crowdfunding target

    A brief update on the crowdfunding efforts of three British journalists, who all worked at Linux Format to launch a new magazine. They have hit their £90,000 launch target for Linux Voice, with 14 days to go.

  11. On Indiegogo: Linux Voice Meets Crowdfunding Goal For Free Software Magazine
  12. The Linux Setup – Mike Saunders, Linux Voice

    What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?

    Xubuntu 13.04 at the moment. I really like the Debian underpinnings, and I’ve been using Xfce for years. Before that I was a big fan of Window Maker.

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