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01.31.14

Empire Watch: Human Rights Violations, Bogus Figures, and a ‘Silent Coup’

Posted in Action at 5:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This week’s news about torture, assassination, and endless wars of conquest

  • Amanda Knox and the Wages of American Imperialism

    By the fall of 2007, Italy was in a significant state of conflict with the US over the Bush administration’s policy of extraordinary rendition. Of specific note were Italian kidnapping charges against nearly two dozen CIA agents for the kidnapping of Muslim cleric Abu Omar, resulting in 23 convictions. The New York Times reported, “Judge Oscar Magi handed an eight-year sentence to Robert Seldon Lady, a former C.I.A. base chief in Milan, and five-year sentences to the 22 other Americans, including an Air Force colonel and 21 C.I.A. operatives.”

    [...]

    It’s not clear if Amanda Knox will foot the bill for the 23 convicted CIA agents, but what is clear is that Italy and many other countries view America’s policy of rendition as indeed extraordinary, and they have a point to make.

  • Lithuanian Court’s ruling on CIA rendition case, a breakthrough for justice

    A decision by a court in Lithuania ruling that a Saudi Arabian national has a right to an investigation into his alleged torture in a secret CIA detention centre in the country is a breakthrough for justice, said Amnesty International.

  • Lithuanian prosecutor’s refusal to reopen CIA prison investigation found ungrounded

    Vilnius Regional Court has ruled prosecutors unfoundedly refused to launch a pre-trial investigation into claims a Saudi Arabian citizen was kept in a secret CIA detention center in Lithuania in 2004-2006.

  • Lithuanian prosecutor accused in Guantanamo Bay case
  • CIA Director Grilled On Domestic Surveillance, Torture At Senate Hearing

    Three senators pummeled CIA Director John Brennan at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Wednesday, peppering him with tough questions on torture and domestic surveillance that he has refused to answer in public.

    Brennan defended the CIA against accusations that it is double-dealing with the Intelligence committee about a report on agency torture, and he also received surprisingly pointed questions about whether the CIA spies on Americans. Such public hearings offer senators critical of the intelligence agencies the chance to telegraph their private concerns about classified programs — and these questions could suggest there is something the public isn’t being told about what the CIA does at home.

  • The Pentagon’s route out of Afghanistan passes through a former CIA black site

    The Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania is a short drive from the Black Sea and the port city of Constanta, a sprawling metropolis with beach resorts, museums, and nightclubs. It’s also about to become the main transit point for the tens of thousands of U.S. troops flowing out of Afghanistan. It won’t be the first time Washington has used the base for a sensitive mission, however: If human rights groups are correct, the facility also used to house one of the CIA’s notorious “black site” detention facilities.

  • Chuck Hagel: ‘Polish-US relationship can withstand CIA prison allegations’

    US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has said in Warsaw that the US-Polish partnership can “withstand testing and questioning” over allegations of a secret CIA prison in Poland.

  • Polish ex-intelligence official says time for truth on CIA jail

    Poland’s official stance of denying it hosted a secret CIA jail is harming its reputation and it needs to be frank about what really happened, a senior intelligence official at the time the alleged prison was operating told Reuters.

  • Investigators ask for CIA prison probe deadline extension

    Prosecutors leading Poland’s investigation into an alleged CIA prison where terrorist suspects were held and tortured have asked for another extension to the probe.

  • Arabian Gulf energy still vital to the US, says former CIA director

    David Petraeus, the chairman of the KKR Global Institute and former commander of the US Central Command, said that while the energy boom had extended to Canada and Mexico, the Arabian Gulf’s oil and gas still fuelled the US’s trade partners and would for the foreseeable future.

    He was speaking at a lecture on the forthcoming North American decades at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research last night.

    “According to projections, the US is set to become a leading oil producer by 2020,” he said. “Crude oil production is expected to reach 9.5 million barrels a day by only 2016, and this situation is dramatically changed since 2008-2009, when many experts said oil production had peaked and wasn’t ready to climb. They couldn’t have been more wrong.”

  • A Manufactured Nuclear Crisis

    The subtitle of Gareth Porter’s new book, “The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare,” is well-chosen. Large parts of “A Manufactured Crisis” are indeed untold till now. They amount to what the author terms an “alternative narrative”.

  • C.I.A. Drone Bases

    The Central Intelligence Agency should not be launching deadly military strikes. We would be better off if the C.I.A. returned to being an agency that collected and analyzed intelligence and stopped being a secretive paramilitary organization.

  • Leaked official document records 330 drone strikes in Pakistan
  • US agencies might lose drone bases in Afghanistan
  • Block, First and Hawkeness: Stop training drone pilots in Wisconsin

    Dozens of Wisconsin residents phoned or visited the district offices of our senators and representatives to call for an end to drone warfare. The visits and calls were timed for Jan. 15-21 when our nation commemorated its prophet of peace and nonviolence, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • “Dirty Wars” Filmmaker Jeremy Scahill on the “Drone President” & Obama’s Whitewashing of NSA Spying

    In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on the United States to “move off a permanent war footing,” citing his recent limits on the use of drones, his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and his effort to close the military prison at Guantánamo Bay. Obama also vowed to reform National Security Agency surveillance programs to ensure that “the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated.” Jeremy Scahill, whose Oscar-nominated film “Dirty Wars” tackles the U.S. drone war and targeted killings abroad, says Obama has been a “drone president” whose operations have killed large numbers of civilians. On NSA reform, Scahill says “the parameters of the debate in Washington are: Should we figure out a way to streamline this and sell it to the American people, or should we do more surveillance?”

  • “A Silent Coup”: Jeremy Scahill & Bob Herbert on Corporate, Military Interests Shaping Obama’s SOTU

    On issues from domestic inequality to foreign policy, President Obama delivered the fifth State of the Union with a vow to take action on his own should Congress stonewall progress on his agenda. But will Obama’s policies go far enough? We host a roundtable with three guests: Jeremy Scahill, producer and writer of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield;” and senior investigative reporter at First Look Media, which will launch in the coming months; Bob Herbert, Distinguished Senior Fellow with Demos; and Lorella Praeli, Director of Advocacy and Policy at the United We Dream Coalition.

  • Arizona lawmaker pushing NSA data mining restrictions may also go after drones

    An Arizona lawmaker who wants to prohibit police departments, prosecutors and state courts from helping the National Security Agency with its data mining and surveillance plans on adding anti-drone language to the measure.

  • ‘Drone warfare helps sell wars to a domestic audience’

    Development of modern drone technologies will never eliminate civilian collateral damage in conflict deployment, Michael Raddie, antiwar activist told RT, arguing that investing in drones makes warfare more acceptable for general public.

  • Leaked Pakistani document contradicts US accounts of drone strikes

    It is the fullest official record of the covert campaign yet to emerge, providing the dates, precise times and exact locations of drone strikes, as well as casualty estimates. The document abruptly stops routinely recording civilian casualties after the start of 2009, but overall casualty estimates continue to be comparable to independent estimates such as those compiled by the Bureau.

  • Are GCHQ workers in danger of becoming accessories to murder?

    I am not a lawyer but I am certain that the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, needs to take very seriously a legal opinion which was handed to Parliament this week.

    It comes from Jemima Stratford QC. She has given a judgment on whether GCHQ can pass information onto the US, which is later used to facilitate drone strikes.

  • 8 Films That Reveal the Shifting American Bias Towards the Middle East

    It’s been over 10 years since the United States entered Iraq. Though the war in Iraq has officially been over since 2011, our involvement in the Middle East is stronger than ever. And from 9/11 until now, popular opinion in favor of or against the war in Afghanistan has ebbed and flowed.

  • CIA and Saudis cooperate on Chinese missile purchase

    Undoubtedly, the role of the Saudi Arabia and its influence on the Middle East has long been under the discussion. Now with Iran and the West trying to reach an agreement on the nuclear matter, the monarchy is trying to amend the situation to their favor, with the Washington’s support, according to recent reports.

  • Heads of Killing, Lying, and Spying Under Fire

    Before the hearing began, activists from CODEPINK stood up holding signs reading ‘Stop – Killing, Lying, Spying’ and called for the firing of James Clapper, Director of Central Intelligence, John Brennan, Director of the CIA, and James Comey, Director of the FBI.

NSA Watch: New Faces, Same Policy, Obama Defends Clapper

Posted in Law at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Today’s news about privacy and the NSA in particular

  • Support the Making of the Animated Movie “Reclaim Our Privacy!”

    La Quadrature du Net launches a crowd-funding campaign to support the making of the upcoming animation movie about privacy, mass surveillance, and the urgency to rethink our relationship with technology. Help us finance this project!

  • Ukrainian police use cellphones to track protesters, court order shows

    Demonstrators protesting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych suspected their cellphone location data was being tracked since at least last week, when people in the vicinity of a clash between riot police and protesters received a chilling text message. It read: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

  • Kerry meets Merkel amid anger at NSA eavesdropping
  • Kerry seeks to calm German anger at NSA reports

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that relations with Germany have gone through a “rough patch” recently because of revelations about NSA spying, but insisted that the two countries can put the episode behind them.

  • Jairam Ramesh among leaders angered by NSA surveillance

    Leaders from several countries, including Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, have reacted angrily to revelations that the US spied on their governments at the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, according to a media report.

  • DW’s Webtalk on the NSA and Syria

    Leaders from several countries, including Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, have reacted angrily to revelations that the US spied on their governments at the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, according to a media report.

  • Germany says US not co-operating enough on NSA scandal

    German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere at the Munich Security Conference Friday said the US is not doing enough to restore trust after the NSA scandal: “The information we are being provided with is not satisfactory and the political damage [of the NSA's work] is greater than the security benefit.”

  • Kerry admits ‘rough period’ in US-German ties over NSA

    US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Friday that relations with Germany had gone through a “rough period” of late over NSA snooping but that shared security priorities would keep the countries close.

  • Why the NSA gets higher marks for privacy than business

    Those of you following the steady stream of news stories on the National Security Agency’s insatiable appetite for information already know that the spy agency has figured out how to snatch data from mobile apps. Since 2007, The NSA and its partner Britain’s Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) have siphoned from apps address books, buddy lists, phone logs and geographic data.

  • NSA pursues quantum technology

    NSA also wishes to develop the technology so that it is capable of breaking modern Internet security.

  • Deutsche Telekom: NSA/GCHQ revelations an opportunity

    German operator group Deutsche Telekom has hailed last year’s revelations that the US spy agency NSA and the UK’s GCHQ had been monitoring ordinary citizens’ browsing and messaging habits as an “opportunity” for operators to provide data privacy and data security services.

  • Why NSA Snooping is About a Lot More Than Just Our Privacy

    Alessandro Acquisti in his TED talk tells us why privacy matters in a world in which it is vanishing. “Privacy is not about having something negative to hide,” he says.

    Indeed, the privacy of all Americans is a matter of principle, enshrined in the Constitution. It used to be we had control of what we wanted people to know about us, good and bad. But not anymore.

    As troubling as this assault on privacy is, the Edward Snowden revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance show that something even more dangerous is afoot. And it’s about what the NSA can do with this information they are collecting on us.

  • Snowden revelations of NSA spying on Copenhagen climate talks spark anger

    Documents leaked by Edward Snowden show NSA kept US negotiators abreast of their rivals’ positions at 2009 summitfree

  • NSA’s spying on climate talks spark anger

    Developing countries have reacted angrily to revelations that the United States spied on other governments at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009.

  • Obama to Nominate Navy Admiral as NSA Director
  • Navy cybersecurity chief to lead NSA
  • Obama to name Navy Vice-Adm Michael Rogers to lead NSA
  • Vice-admiral Michael Rogers to take command of embattled NSA

    Vice-admiral Michael Rogers, the commander of the US navy’s tenth fleet and its Fleet Cyber Command, will take over from NSA Director Keith Alexander, who reluctantly became a global figure in the wake of the Snowden revelations.

  • Obama Says James Clapper ‘Should Have Been More Careful’ In How He Lied To Congress

    any of us are still quite disappointed that James Clapper has kept his job as Director of National Intelligence after flat out lying to Congress over whether or not the NSA spied on Americans. There have been increasing calls from within Congress to have Clapper investigated and possibly prosecuted for the felony of lying to Congress, but there appears to be no movement there at all. Not only does the Obama administration seem to want to protect one of their own, but it’s also made it clear that something like that would make it look like Ed Snowden “won” and they can’t allow that sort of thing.

  • Obama Stands by Intelligence Chief
  • French Surveillance Programs Eerily Echo The NSA’s, Right Down To Codifying Unconstitutional Collections

    As the NSA leaks have expanded to detail spying activities in other countries, those governments affected have had a variety of reactions. In some cases, legitimately questionable tactics were exposed (potential economic espionage in Brazil, tapping German chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone) and the responses were genuinely outraged. In other cases, the outrage was temporary and somewhat muted, suggesting these countries were allowing the NSA to take the heat for their own questionable surveillance programs aimed at their citizens.

  • After NSA Backdoors, Security Experts Leave RSA for a Conference They Can Trust

    We thought we won the Crypto Wars, the fight to make strong encryption accessible to all, in the 1990s.1 We were wrong. Last month, Reuters broke news about a deal struck between the popular computer security firm RSA and the National Security Agency. RSA reportedly accepted $10 million from NSA to make Dual_EC_DRBG—an intentionally weakened random number generator—the default in its widely used BSAFE encryption toolkit.

  • Terror suspect challenges NSA surveillance programme

    In the motion filed in federal court in Denver on Wednesday with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, Jamshid Muhtorov also requested that prosecutors disclose more about how surveillance law was used in his case. Muhtorov denies the terror charges he faces.

  • NSA: no terrorists caught, yet entangled in everything

    There is so much missing or purposefully obfuscated in the debate about NSA/Five Eyes spying, US Government illegality, CIA collusion with al-Qaeda, Guantanamo, 9/11, torture, drones, Afghanistan, Iraq and everything that millions of people have been outraged about for over a decade, but the most striking is that almost no one is proposing closing these organizations down and few are talking about prosecuting those responsible.

  • NSA: new privacy officer helps boost agency’s reputation

    The NSA has finally found an officer for its civil liberties and privacy office. A new member of the NSA team will have to provide expert advice as well as develop measures for strengthening the NSA’s privacy protection. The appointed officer seems to be a good choice for the NSA whose reputation has been tarnished, but at the same time this raises some experts’ doubts.

  • Canadian spies scooped up airport Wi-Fi in NSA trial: Reports

    Documents from Edward Snowden reveal that Canada’s foreign signals intelligence agency picked up metadata on airport travellers from free Wi-Fi available at a major Canadian airport.

  • CSEC Snowden docs: MPs grill defence minister on spying revelation
  • Canadian Gov’t Responds To Spying Revelations By Saying It’s All A Lie And Calling Glenn Greenwald A ‘Porn Spy’
  • UK public has shrugged off NSA leaks, says David Cameron

    Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he believes the British public has largely shrugged off the espionage disclosures of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, telling lawmakers that people seem to be satisfied that U.K. spies are doing their jobs.

  • Chris Erway: NSA surveillance threatens Rhode Island

    When the National Security Agency’s surveillance program PRISM was disclosed in early June, the immediate question wasn’t if the program would harm the U.S. tech industry but how badly. Six months and many more disclosures later, it’s clear NSA surveillance is an economic millstone that threatens to drag down the U.S. tech industry.

  • NSA Knows: Secret digital back doors

    Two decades ago, the National Security Agency (NSA) sought legislation requiring a “back door” in all public encryption technologies, enabling the agency to monitor electronic communications even when the parties sought to shield them from prying eyes. That push failed. The NSA then embarked on an effort to accomplish essentially the same goal in secret.

  • If CIA, MI6, NSA and GCHQ disappeared we would be safer – David Shayler

    The US relationship with the Saudis appears to be changing and even though several decades ago Saudi agreed to sell the US oil at $10 a barrel in perpetuity, the love affair appears to be over. According to former MI5 officer and whistleblower David Shayler there may be plans to change the official story of 9/11 and the US start pointing the finger at Saudi Arabia. Mr. Shayler believes the way to stop all of the illegality being committed by agencies such as CIA, NSA, MI6 and GCHQ is to simply stop funding them.

Links 31/01/2014: Ubuntu News

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 2:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News for the day and the week, covering various aspects of Ubuntu and Canonical

  • New Kernel Vulnerability Affects Ubuntu 13.10

    On January 30, Canonical announced in a security notice that a new Linux kernel update was available for its Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) operating system, fixing a security issue found recently in the Linux kernel packages.

  • On Planet Ubuntu

    I think the gist of Stuart’s view is that the personal stories on Planet Ubuntu is a wonderful part of being in a community. Ubuntu is not just about Ubuntu, it is about the stories and the lives of the people who contribute to our community. I agree with Stuart here too.

  • Ubuntu’s Juju Wins the Best Cloud Automation Solution Award
  • 7 Things We Expect from Ubuntu in 2014

    2013 was a milestone year for Canonical. Not only did Ubuntu expand its wings to other arenas like tablets and smartphones, it also propelled itself into the world of gaming. With major milestones like Steam, Ubuntu Edge, and Ubuntu Touch under its belt, Ubuntu has its eyes set on convergence in 2014. That said, you won’t get to see a convergent desktop this year. 2014 is just a setting stage for Shuttleworth’s ambitious plans to spread the reach of Ubuntu to every device.

  • Ubuntu 13.04 Is No Longer Supported, Upgrade to Ubuntu 13.10 Now

    As we reported at the beginning of the month, the Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) Linux operating system was supposed to reach end of life (EOL) today, January 27, 2014.

  • Unity To Have Anti-Aliased Corners, Full GTK3 Theming

    Unity 7 in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS will be picking up some new features even though Canonical’s major focus is on Unity 8 that will come past this next Long-Term Support release.

  • Latest Unity7 Update in Ubuntu 14.04 Features Anti-aliased Windows & Full GTK3+ Theming Support.

    Currently the default Ubuntu desktop is shipped with Unity7, even though Canonical developers are working on upcoming major iteration Unity8 (a.k.a Unity Next) which is based on Mir display server targeting convergence, there is clear announcement that Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr LTS will be shipped with Unity7 & not Unity8. Recently, unity7 stacks were upgraded in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with including features of full GTK3+ theming support & windows with anti-aliased corners.

  • Sable Complete All-in-one Ubuntu Linux Pre-installed PC Released By System76.

    System76, the computer manufacturer well-known and highly appreciated for their support of opensource software has released new Sable Complete All-in-one PC with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed. The U.S based company, in last few months has already released several models of Laptops & Desktop-PCs based on latest fourth generation ‘Haswell’ Intel core processors & with other hardware which is capable of offering best possible support to Ubuntu.

  • Yet Another Ubuntu Powered Supercomputer: System76′s Sable Complete All-In-One Computer

    Hello Linux Geeksters. As you may know, System76 is computer manufacturer, creating Ubuntu computers, laptops and servers. They choose wise the hardware components, in order to have full support on the Ubuntu Linux systems. In November 2013, the System76 Sable Touch, All-in-One Touchscreen computer has been announced.

  • 3 Reasons Why Ubuntu Smartphone Will Succeed

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