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04.17.14

Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

Posted in News Roundup at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Witnesses Report a ‘Loud Noise’ Before Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast

    It’s not clear what caused the multi-story vessel to list and sink, but witnesses reported an impact and loud noise just before the ship began to roll over in the water.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World

      Transformative changes are needed in our food, agriculture and trade systems in order to increase diversity on farms, reduce our use of fertilizer and other inputs, support small-scale farmers and create strong local food systems. That’s the conclusion of a remarkable new publication from the U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Donetsk leaflet: Jews must register or face deportation

      Fear replaced communal atmosphere in Donetsk’s Jewish community as armed men handed out a leaflet Passover eve calling on Jews register their religion and property with the interim pro-Russian government or face deportation and loss of citizenship.

    • “We Are Not Beginning a New Cold War, We are Well into It”: Stephen Cohen on Russia-Ukraine Crisis

      As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an “abyss” and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced a series of steps to reinforce its presence in eastern Europe. “We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land,” Rasmussen said. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. “We are not at the beginning of a new Cold War, we are well into it,” Cohen says, “which alerts us to the fact ‘hot war’ is imaginable now. It’s unlikely, but it’s conceivable — and if it’s conceivable, something has to be done about it.”

    • Putin reveals NATO chief secretly recorded their talk, leaked it to media

      Vladimir Putin says that current NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen secretly recorded and leaked a private conversation with him, when he was the head of the Danish government.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Thousands of China workers on strike

      Labour disputes pop up regularly in China, but one strike in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan is attracting attention because of its size.

    • The Neoliberal Theory of Society: The Ideological Foundations of Neo-liberalism

      Neoliberalism presents itself as a doctrine based on the inexorable truths of modern economics. However, despite its scientific trappings, modern economics is not a scientific discipline but the rigorous elaboration of a very specific social theory, which has become so deeply embedded in western thought as to have established itself as no more than common sense, despite the fact that its fundamental assumptions are patently absurd. The foundations of modern economics, and of the ideology of neoliberalism, go back to Adam Smith and his great work, The Wealth of Nations. Over the past two centuries Smith’s arguments have been formalised and developed with greater analytical rigour, but the fundamental assumptions underpinning neoliberalism remain those proposed by Adam Smith.

    • Markets Are the Problem (Not the Solution)

      As might be expected, underlying this monument to excess is an army of laborers from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. These desperate souls arrive heavily indebted to recruiters and those who pay their passage, only to be brutally exploited by sponsoring employers, who confiscate their passports. It is a system of semi-slave labor; workers are not free to leave, even if they have not been paid.

    • Nearly one million people relying on food handouts in UK

      One of Britain’s largest food charities says that more than 900,000 people visited its food banks last year. The Wednesday report comes as 600 religious leaders urge the government to take action against the country’s growing hunger problem.

      The new information shows the shocking number of people reliant on food handouts in the UK, largely because of harsh new benefits sanctions.

      According to The Trussell Trust, Britain’s largest food bank charity, 913,138 people received emergency food aid from the organization in 2013-2014, compared to just 346,992 in 2012-2013 – marking an increase of 163 percent.

  • Censorship

    • Did You Retweet The USAir Pornographic Tweet? You May Have Violated New Jersey’s Revenge Porn Law

      We’ve pointed out for a while how the various attempts at creating revenge porn bills will have serious unintended consequences and raise serious First Amendment issues. This is not to minimize the problems of revenge porn (or to absolve the sick and depraved individuals who put together, submit to or regularly visit such sites). However, it’s to point out that pretty much any way you try to legislate such actions as criminal likely will create other problems. For example, I’m sure many of you heard the story recently about US Airways… um… unfortunate pornographic tweet. It was the story of the internet a few days ago, in which a United Air social media employee did a very unfortunate cut and paste error, tweeting out a very graphic image that involved a naked woman and a plane where it… doesn’t quite belong (for slightly lighter fare, I highly recommend reading some of the of the funny replies to that tweet). For what it’s worth, US Air has said that it was an honest mistake and it’s not even firing the person responsible.

    • US Airways Tweeted An Extreme Pornographic Image And Left It Up For A Long Time

      The photo shows a completely nude woman on her back with a plane inserted into her vagina.

  • Privacy

    • Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked with glue mould

      The fingerprint sensor on Samsung’s Galaxy S5 handset has been hacked less than a week after the device went on sale.

      Berlin-based Security Research Labs fooled the equipment using a mould it had previously created to spoof the sensor on Apple’s iPhone 5S.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, ‘Targeted’ Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

Posted in News Roundup at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pulitzer

  • Exposing the NSA: A Public Service Worthy of a Pulitzer Prize

    Earlier this week, journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize for public serice, was given to two newspapers for their exposés of mass surveillance by the U.S. government. The award citation praised the Washington Post for “its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.” The Guardian was recognized for “aggressive reporting” that helped “to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

  • Pulitzer Prize Winners 2014: Edward Snowden NSA Leaks, Boston Marathon Coverage Win Awards

Cracking

Lavaboom and Lavabit

  • Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches

    Lavaboom, a German-based and supposedly NSA-proof email service, will go into private beta this week. Its mission is to spread the Edward Snowden gospel by making encrypted email accessible to all.

  • ‘Zero knowledge privacy’: NSA-proof email service goes online

    A new email service that protects its users from the prying eyes of the NSA and other spy agencies has gone online. The service’s creators say it will make encrypted messaging accessible to all and curtail internet snooping.

    Germany-based Lavaboom was inspired by Lavabit, the encrypted email service that was believed to have been used by whistleblower Edward Snowden before it shut down its operations in August last year. The service pioneers a new system called “zero-knowledge privacy”, which allows users to personally encrypt and decrypt their mail from their browsers using JavaScript codes.

  • Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over Edward Snowden encryption keys

    Court ruled against Lavabit for refusing to hand over encryption keys to government investigation into NSA whistleblower

  • Edward Snowden Email Firm Loses Appeal On Contempt Charge
  • Here’s the software that helps Edward Snowden avoid the NSA

    Edward Snowden hasn’t escaped the NSA’s watchful eyes purely by exploiting lax security — he also uses the right software. He communicates with the media using Tails, a customized version of Linux that makes it easy to use Tor’s anonymity network and other tools that keep data private. The software loads from external drives and doesn’t store anything locally, so it’s relatively trivial for Snowden and his contacts to discuss leaks without leaving a trace.

Europe

US

  • NSA whistleblowers to speak at WCU

    Bill Binney and Thomas Drake, both former executives with that agency, plan to discuss their views on the collection of personal data by the NSA as well as the risk taken by those who expose wrongdoings and violations of the law, according to a release from the university.

  • NSA has ‘piggybacked’ on corporate surveillance efforts

    As online providers thrive on offering free products and services in exchange for marketing data, government has started piggybacking on these surveillance mechanisms.

  • The IRS is Taking a Page From the NSA’s Playbook and Snooping on Social Media

    According to Marketplace the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which loses an estimated $300 billion due to tax evasion every year, is using data from social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in order to investigate those who don’t file taxes or file suspicious returns.

  • Is the NSA out of control?

    An attorney and specialist on Constitutional Law, Shahid Buttar, was the third panel member. He is the Executive Director of the “Bill of Rights Defense Committee.” Buttar traced the history of government-sanctioned spying and warned that the NSA’s egregious conduct has currently reached Orwellian proportions and is a serious threat to “Freedom of Thought”

Drones

Militarism

  • U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility

    In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up.

  • America’s Great Leap towards Global Tyranny

    Not only is there a quantitative difference now, there is a new qualitative difference. After the holocaust of Vietnam (3 million dead Vietnamese justify the term), the United States military realized that it could no longer depend upon citizen-soldiers in its colonial wars. It also realized that that it could no longer tolerate even a moderately free press nosing around its battlegrounds, thus was born the idea of an imbedded press in a professional army. Of course, in the intervening years, America’s press itself changed, becoming an intensely concentrated corporate industry whose editorial policies are invariably in lock-step over colonial wars and interventions and coups, almost as though it were an unofficial department of government. In addition, this corporatized press has abandoned traditional responsibilities of explaining even modestly world affairs, reportage resources having been slashed by merged corporate interests as well as by new economic pressures on advertising revenue, the result of changing technologies.

  • Why isn’t the K.C. shooting suspect a ‘terrorist?’

    Frazier Glenn Cross is a former KKK leader with political ambitions accused of killing three people outside Jewish centers. The shooting seems to fit the Justice Department’s definition of terrorism: 1) premeditated, 2) political, 3) aimed at civilians, 4) and not carried out by another nation. And yet, this has been classified as a hate crime.

  • US Air Strike Kills Three Civilians in Eastern Afghanistan

    An overnight US air strike against the Khost Province in eastern Afghanistan has killed three civilians, a woman and her two children. It also injured the father of the children.

  • Militias and mayhem: The truth about American military assistance in Libya

    Is the U.S. secretly training Libyan militiamen in the Canary Islands? And if not, are they planning to?

    That’s what I asked a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). “I am surprised by your mentioning the Canary Islands,” he responded by email. “I have not heard this before, and wonder where you heard this.”

    As it happens, mention of this shadowy mission on the Spanish archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa was revealed in an official briefing prepared for AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez in the fall of 2013. In the months since, the plan may have been permanently shelved in favor of a training mission carried out entirely in Bulgaria. The document nonetheless highlights the U.S. military’s penchant for simple solutions to complex problems — with a well-documented potential for blowback in Africa and beyond. It also raises serious questions about the recurring methods employed by the U.S. to stop the violence its actions helped spark in the first place.

  • Too High A Price

    Why we need to #movethemoney out of the military and into healing people and the planet

  • Putin Jokes on Possible Reunification of Alaska with Russia: Who Needs It?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin jokingly commented on a suggestion of unifying Alaska with Russia the same way as with Crimea.
    Alaska was part of Russia until 1867 and was sold to the United States for $7.2 million in gold.

  • Why CIA Director Brennan Visited Kiev: In Ukraine The Covert War Has Begun

    Ukraine is on the brink of civil war, Vladimir Putin has said, and he should know because the country is already in the midst of a covert intelligence war. Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan travelled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine’s communications systems – and Washington isn’t about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.

  • CIA Directs Kiev Proxy Regime to Launch Military Assault against Rebels in Eastern Ukraine
  • CIA director in Kiev searching for missing mercenaries

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed that CIA director John Brennan was in Kiev last weekend. One of his advisors told the newspaper Vzgliad that Brennan had not come to oversee the “anti-terrorist” operations conducted by the Ukrainian authorities, but to seek information and rescue twenty Greystone Ltd mercenaries of whom there has been no news.

  • CIA presence in Ukraine gives the wrong impression, senator warns

    CIA Director John Brennan visited Kiev this weekend as pro-Russian militants seized control of a police station in eastern Ukraine. The reason for Brennan’s visit is still unknown.

Torture

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