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06.01.14

Links 1/6/2014: Two Linux Mint Releases, New NSA Leaks From Risen

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kano review – doing it for the kids

    The Kano computer system revolves around two core things: a Raspberry Pi and the Kano OS designed for it. More than just another Raspberry Pi kit, it proved itself with a successful Kickstarter, promising a system that would help get kids into real computing and allow them to start down a path of programming and coding.

  • Sphere 1.4 Is an Icon Pack for People Who Don’t Like Flat Operating Systems

    The Sphere icon pack is made by Achim Karsch and features over 24.000 icons for the operating system, covering pretty much all the known applications out there.

  • Australian Linux conference 2014 records big loss

    The Australian national Linux conference of 2014, held in Perth in January, looks set to make a loss of nearly $40,000, according to the president of Linux Australia, Joshua Hesketh.

  • Linux.conf.au $40,000 Budget Shortfall: A Lesson In The Importance Of Planning
  • Server

    • Linux Video of the Week: 40-Node Raspberry Pi Supercomputer

      Guill, a recent graduate of the masters in computer science and electrical engineering program at the University of Texas in Dallas, built the 40-node Raspberry Pi cluster for distributed software testing. In addition to a list of technical requirements, Guill wrote that he also wanted it to be “visually pleasing.”

    • 32-bit Enterprise Linux Still Matters

      I’ve done a lot of support of government servers and they run for about forever, as in until they serve no further use. Even retired, old servers are often repurposed and put back into service due to budget restrictions and/or long lead times to order new equipment under the required procedures for government procurement. In the United States this is especially true at the state level. When a server is repurposed it is usually reloaded with the current enterprise standard Linux distrubution release and applications, not legacy releases. That’s one common use case.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Foundation webpage design
      • First ideas for a better GNOME browser

        I have tried to describe a situation where Web browsing is more tightly integrated with the desktop. There is still a lot of work to do: detailed functionality needs to be refined, assumptions need to be verified, mockups and prototypes need to be created and evaluated…

        A browser is a very complex application to design, but luckily there is a lot of knowledge already available that should help us generate ideas and make informed decisions.

      • AppData progress and the email deluge

        I’ve deliberately not included GNOME in this sweep, as a lot of the core GNOME applications already have AppData and most of the gnomies already know what to do. I also didn’t include XFCE appications, as XFCE has agreed to adopt AppData on the mailing list and are in the process of doing this already. KDE is just working out how to merge the various files created by Matthias, and I’ve not heard anything from LXDE or MATE. So, I only looked at projects not affiliated with any particular desktop.

      • GNOME Shell 3.13.2 Brings Improvements for Airplane Mode

        This is the first update for GNOME Shell in the current 3.13.x development cycle, and its makers have made quite a few modifications to it.

        According to the changelog, the airplane mode menu is now insensitive in the lock screen, the struts are no longer extended to the screen edge, keynav has been fixed for alternatives in AltSwitcher, and the window menus have been implemented in the shell.

      • Tartan: Plugging Clang Into The GNOME Stack

        Tartan is a new research and development project by Collabora to yield a Clang analysis plug-in for GLib and GNOME.

        The Tartan plug-in loads GObject-Introspection meta-data for all encountered functions to better inform LLVM’s Clang and the plug-in also takes care of detecting common coding practices for GLib. Tartan is licensed under the GPLv3+ by Collabora.

      • GTK+ 3.13.2 Arrives with Interactive Debugging and Gestures Suppor

        This latest update for GTK arrives with a multitude of changes and new features, but this is understandable because this is a development release.

        According to the changelog, interactive debugging support has been implemented, gesture support has finally landed, the GTK+ widgets can now draw outside their allocation zone, by setting a clip with gtk_widget_set_clip(), GtkStack has added a few more transition types, and the GtkProgressBar is now narrower.

  • Distributions

    • Kali Linux 1.0.7 review

      The latest update to Kali Linux was released a few days ago. Kali Linux 1.0.7 review is a summary review of the main features of this latest upgrade to the security distribution from Offensive Security, a security and penetration training outfit based somewhere on this third rock from the Sun.

      The main feature introduced in Kali Linux 1.0.7 is the ability to transfer the system to a USB stick with encrypted persistence.

    • The five most popular end-user Linux distributions

      Sure, on the desktop, Windows still rules. According to Stat Counter’s’ April 2014 data, Windows has about a 90 percent market share. Out of an approximate base of 1.5 billion PCs, that’s about 1.36 billion Windows PCs. So, guess what’s the number two end-user operating system in the world?

    • Netbook, Desktop and X Editions of Simplicity Linux 14.7 Alpha 1 Now Available

      “Simplicity Linux 14.7 Alpha is now available for download in Netbook, Desktop and X Editions. It is based on Precise Puppy and uses the excellent LXPup by SFS to provide LXDE as a desktop environment for Netbook and Desktop Editions. As usual, Netbook is our cut down version which focuses on web based applications rather than locally installed applications,” said the developer in the official announcement.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • June 2014 issue of The PCLinuxOS Magazine released

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the June 2014 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Tails 1.1 Beta 1 Secure Distro Now Has Windows 8 Comouflage Mode

        Tails is a distribution based on Debian and Tor technologies that aims to keep its users as anonymous as possible. It gained a lot more visibility after Edward Snowden said that he used exactly this Linux distribution to hide his tracks. The developers are now implementing more changes and fixes that should ensure it becomes even more secure.

      • Siduction ‘Paintitblack’ LXQt Dev Release: Screenshots

        Earlier this month the Siduction team, which regularly updates snapshots based on Debian Unstable/Sid, released a development build showcasing the new LXQt desktop, the future of both the LXDE and the Razor-qt environments. Siduction have a bit of history here as they featured Razor-qt as a desktop early on and were probably the only distribution to ship a dedicated iso as part of their line-up throughout 2012 and 2013. Besides using KDE 4 for the main image Siduction have shown a great commitment to medium light and lower resource desktops.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • First Look Unreal Tournament, Tangiers Trailer, and Ubuntu Surface
          • Is Cinnamon a worthy replacement for Ubuntu Unity?

            If there’s one area of Linux that gets more scrutiny than any other, it’s the desktop. From every corner, the haters and detractors abound. Nearly every publication that offers any focus on the Linux desktop at some point posts a piece about getting rid of the default Ubuntu desktop. Cinnamon is one of the primary replacement contenders.

          • Unity Control Center for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Review

            Ubuntu developers are trying to shake some of its GNOME dependencies and they have been working towards this goal for quite some time. Ubuntu distributions have been using GNOME packages since the beginning, even before the adoption of Unity as the default desktop environment.

            Back when Ubuntu was still using GNOME 2.x to power its desktop, people were complaining about various problems, which in fact were not the fault of the Ubuntu developers. Some of the patches submitted by Ubuntu upstream, to the GNOME project were accepted either with delay or not at all. So, Canonical has decided to make Unity, a project it can control from one end to another.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Deepin’s Functionality Is a Bit Too Shallow

              The Deepin desktop design is snazzy yet simple to use. It is one of the first Linux distros to take advantage of HTML 5 technology.

              Add its home-grown applications such as the Deepin Software Center, Deepin Music Player and Deepin Media Player, and you get an operating system that is tailored to the average user.

              The Deepin Linux development team is based in China. The distro so far is available only in English and traditional or simplified Chinese. It is a very young distro that debuted a few years ago and cycled through just one or two full releases per year as it crawled through its alpha and beta stages.

              Deepin 2014 Beta is the latest version, released earlier this month to replace a version released last fall. This current release, based on screen shots displayed on the website for the previous version, substitutes the more traditional bottom panel bar with a docking bar that resembles the Mac OS X look.

              Read more

            • Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Is Now Available for Download

              The new Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and the first flavors released are Cinnamon and MATE, which is the norm for this kind of launches.

              It’s important to note right from the start that the ISOs for the two versions of Linux Mint 17 usually arrive before the official announcement, which is not too far off. Rest assured, these are the official images from the Linux Mint Team.

            • Download Linux Mint 17 final release ISO images
            • Linux Mint 17 Qiana release ISOs available for download

              The ISOs approved for Linux Mint 17 aka Qiana stable release are already uploaded and available for download. The release hasn’t been announced yet but here’s your chance to install and enjoy the latest version of the popular Ubuntu derivative! 32 and 64-bit versions of both the Cinnamon and MATE variants are available.

            • Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Is Now Available
            • Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Cinnamon Officially Released
            • Linux Mint 17 MATE & Cinnamon Versions Officially Out
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Synology DS414j review – the future of NAS?

      When you buy a Synology product, you know what you’re getting yourself in to. The company’s designs rarely change between generations, beyond a few small tweaks and improvements to the internals, and its Linux-based DiskStation Manager operating system only ever improves with time. Its pricing, however, can leave it out of the reach of the budget-conscious buyer, especially when more than two drive bays are required.

    • Why Cisco joined the Linaro Digital Home Group
    • Linaro forms digital media group

      The Linaro Digital Home Group, or LHG, follows other working groups from Linaro, a not-for-profit company owned by ARM and many of its top licensees. Linaro develops standardized open source Linux and Android toolchain software for ARM-based devices. Previous groups have included the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG), the Linaro Networking Group (LNG), and most recently, the Security Working Group (SWG).

      As usual, the goal is provide standardized software and requirements for relevant upstream open source projects. In this case, Linaro defines digital home applications as media-centric devices including set-top boxes, televisions, media players, gaming, and home gateway devices. Home automation does not appear to be a central focus.

    • Phones

      • Ubuntu Phone OS vs. Mozilla Firefox OS

        Though it’s difficult to compare two operating systems that are targeted at different users, Mozilla’s Firefox OS still feels half-baked compared to what Ubuntu offers. While Canonical is focused on making a full-fledged mobile OS that goes head-to-head against Android and iOS, Firefox’s approach is towards making smartphones more affordable. Initial reviews of Firefox OS have been really underwhelming so it will take about a year for us to see both operating systems in the hands of its end users. Finally, it would be a great idea to wait till both operating systems get enough exposure and that would be somewhere around April 2015 where both Ubuntu and Firefox would have (hopefully) reached enough stability to be used on a broader scale.

      • Tizen Dev Conf 2014 open to student developers for free

        Good news for budding developers interested in mobile platforms and devices. The Tizen Developer Conference 2014 (hashtag #TDCSF14) due next week is offering free registration to student developers.

      • Pride and Prejudice: Smartphones

        Android/Linux smartphones are taking 80% of the market shipments while having an average selling price ~$70 less than those other operating systems, you know, on Blackberries and iPhones.

      • WebRTC voice and video now available on Firefox Nightly, but…

        WebRTC voice and video is now available on Firefox Nightly. That’s the latest news from the Mozilla Foundation and TokBox, the Web communications company that Mozilla Foundation is working with to bring us WebRTC voice and video in my favorite Web browser. To see how this actually works, I decided to download Firefox Nightly and install or run it on my systems.

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung’s original Galaxy Gear smartwatch drops Android for Tizen

          Samsung’s first generation of smartwatches is officially ditching Android. SamMobile reports that the original Galaxy Gear is being upgraded to Tizen, the operating system used on the newer Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo (but not the Gear Fit, yet another model released this spring.) Samsung has made a point of differentiating its software from stock Android — its various Android smartphones are loaded with design tweaks — but in this case, the main difference will be in added features; we and other reviewers found that the Tizen interface looked and operated very much like the Android one.

        • Samsung Continues to Convert Mobile Players to Tizen

          Samsung continues to welcome new players into the Tizen family. Its June 2 dev conference may coincide with Tizen smartphone news.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Teenager Killed His Parents Because They Took His iPod Away

    A Virginia tenth grader says he attacked and killed his parents because they were acting too parental, “taking away [his] iPod and stuff.”

    Vincent Parker, a 16-year-old honor roll student, was arrested after he randomly attacked and killed his parents last December.

  • Brother and sister kill their Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother during an EXORCISM by beating her to ‘force out demons’
  • Everyone Agrees They Don’t Know Why Teenager Committed Suicide, So Helpful Coroner Shouts Video Games

    They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. When it comes to adults attempting to explain away inexplicable tragedy by scapegoating the younger generation’s entertainment du jour, that certainly seems to be the case. For our generation, of course, that means video games. We’ve seen it over and over again, from journalists jumping to blame violent games before they have any facts to back it up, to television personalities pretending there’s a proven link when there isn’t, to grandstanding politicians proposing constitution-violating sin-taxes on games just because.

  • Science

    • New Video: Neil deGrasse Tyson Destroys Climate Deniers

      For 11 episodes now, the groundbreaking Fox and National Geographic Channel series Cosmos has been exploring the universe, outraging creationists, and giving science teachers across the nation something to show in class every Monday. In the process, the show has been drawing more than 3 million viewers every Sunday night, a respectable number for a science-focused show that is, after all, a major departure from what prime-time audiences are used to.

      Cosmos certainly hasn’t shied from controversy; it has taken on evolution and industry-funded science denial, and it has been devoting an increasing amount of attention to the subject of climate change. And apparently that was just the beginning. This coming Sunday, Cosmos will devote an entire episode to the topic.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why Are Food Prices so High? Because We’re Eating Oil

      Anyone who buys their own groceries (as opposed to having a full-time cook handle such mundane chores) knows that the cost of basic foods keeps rising, despite the official claims that inflation is essentially near-zero.

    • Diets Make You Fatter—The Three Little Words that Really Help You Lose Weight

      “British girls have become the fattest in Europe” was this week’s brutal headline.

    • Synthetic biology products found in “green” laundry detergent

      Consumer products containing ingredients made using an advanced form of engineering known as synthetic biology are beginning to show up more often on grocery and department store shelves.

      A liquid laundry detergent made by Ecover, a Belgian company that makes “green” household products including the Method line, contains an oil produced by algae whose genetic code was altered using synthetic biology. The algae’s DNA sequence was changed in a lab, according to Tom Domen, the company’s manager for long-term innovation.

  • Security

    • Anonymous hacktivists plan massive attack on Brazilian World Cup sponsors – report

      Amid mass demos and violence over extravagant World Cup spending showing little promise of return for an impoverished Brazil, Anonymous hackers plan a mass hack attack on the Cup’s sponsors, a source told Reuters.

      High inflation and low business investment have hampered the government’s recent attempts to boost the economy ahead of the tournament. All this is happening as some of the country’s most pressing social and other problems have been neglected, with rampant poverty and destitution rife in large parts of the capital.

      People are up in arms, staging protest events for a number of reasons, the latest of which are centered on skepticism that the lavish spending on the World Cup will benefit them in any substantial way. This Friday, several simultaneous events blocked Rio de Janeiro’s main roads, paralyzing traffic.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Don’t sanitize the reality of war

      The only winners in war are those who produce the guns, bullets, drones, IEDs, and all the other gadgets to maim and kill.

    • White House press secretary Jay Carney leaving

      Jay Carney is stepping down as White House press secretary, President Barack Obama announced on Friday.

    • 6 Of Jay Carney’s Most Epic Clashes With Reporters

      When Jay Carney steps down as White House press secretary later this year, he will leave behind a trail of memorable clashes with reporters. Here are a few of them:

    • How Many Terrorists Are There: Not As Many As You Might Think

      Terrorism is a deadly, ever-present menace from which Americans should spare no expense or effort in protecting themselves. Or so our rulers claim.

    • The University & the Security State: DHS Joins Pentagon and CIA on Campus

      Most countries have special-purpose institutions of higher education to train military officers. The United States has 18 such colleges and universities, including federally funded ones such as West Point, state-funded ones such as The Citadel, and private ones such as Norwich University. What distinguishes the United States from all but a few other countries is the presence of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at civilian colleges and universities.

      Created in 1916, ROTC is probably the most visible sign of U.S. military involvement on non-military colleges and universities, with its uniformed cadets and midshipmen and university credit for courses taught by military officers on “military science” and “leadership.” Army, Navy), or Air Force ROTC programs are present today on almost 500 campuses.

    • Obama accepts veterans affairs chief resignation with ‘regret’

      Obama said Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary of the VA, would take the helm on an acting basis while he looked “diligently” for a new permanent VA secretary. Gibson, an Army veteran and former banker, had joined the VA just three months ago after running the USO military service organization.

    • How Long Will Europe Pay Tribute to USA?

      France and the United States have exchanged statements on the Mistral ships contract with Moscow. Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf has said the United States is concerned about the deal and it believes that the time is wrong for selling the amphibious assault ships to the Russian Federation. The statements were made after French President Hollande confirmed that the deal signed in 2011 is in force to be completed in October. The $1, 2 billion Vladivostok is to join the Russian Navy in 2014 with Sevastopol, the second ship of the class, to be delivered in 2015.

    • Fmr Bush Counter-Terror Czar: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld All Committed War Crimes

      According to the nation’s former top counterterrorism official, former President George W. Bush, his Vice President Dick Cheney, and their Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had all committed war crimes during their tenure.

      Richard Clarke was Bush’s counterterrorism czar in 2001 and later became the president’s special advisor on cyberterror until he resigned in 2003 and became a vocal critic of the administration. In an interview with Democracy Now! this week, Clarke was asked by host Amy Goodman whether Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld could ever seriously face “war crimes” charges for the Iraq operation.

    • Exclusive: New document details America’s war machine — and secret mass of contractors in Afghanistan

      What is a huge army of private contractors secretly doing in Afghanistan? A leaked PowerPoint presentation explains

    • “Force Protection Alpha in Effect” –Coming To A Town Near You

      My arrest at Creech along with eight others on April 16 was a “return to the scene of the crime” (the Air Force’s crime, not mine) for me, as I was among the “Creech 14” in April 2009, the first nonviolent direct action against drones in the U.S. Creech was then one of only a few sites from which drones were controlled by the U.S. and by the United Kingdom, which has a wing of the Royal Air Force stationed there to fly their own drones. Since then the use of armed drones has been proliferating around the world and so has the number of drone operation bases in communities around the U.S. My work with Voices for Creative Nonviolence has brought me to the scenes of the crime in Afghanistan, the CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia and at the gates of drone bases in New York, Iowa, Missouri and in England as well.

    • US Drones hitting Civilian Homes, Killing non-Combatants

      Domestic buildings have been hit by drone strikes more than any other type of target in the CIA’s 10-year campaign in the tribal regions of northern Pakistan, new research reveals.

    • New Data: American Drones Killed Hundreds of Pakistani Civilians
    • Civilian Casualty Rates in CIA vs. DOD Drone Programs: Apples and Oranges
    • What the Drones Strike: Targets Attacked by CIA Drones in Pakistan – Most are Houses

      The Bureau is publishing, for the first time, data showing the types of targets that have been reportedly attacked by CIA drones in Pakistan.

      The research is a joint project by the Bureau, Forensic Architecture, a research unit based at Goldsmiths University, London, and Situ Research in New York. The data feeds this interactive website mapping the strikes, the types of target attacked, and their relative scale.

    • If Bush Is a War Criminal, Then So Are Truman, LBJ, Nixon and Obama

      Finally, although President Obama ended the use of torture, he continued the drone attacks started under Bush. A Stanford Law School reports states that “there is significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.” Many say they violate international law, especially since civilians are killed in countries that haven’t declared war upon the U.S. As for the decisions of presidents before Obama, the use of the atomic bombs, massive bombing campaigns in Vietnam, and chemical weapons like Agent Orange can easily be viewed as war crimes. If President Bush is deemed a war criminal, then the decisions of presidents before and after Bush should be evaluated in the same manner.

    • Aussies dead in drone strikes — and Brandis does not care
    • US Will Still Use Drone Strikes: Barack Obama

      President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he will continue to “take direct action” by ordering drone strikes and capture operations against suspected terrorists “when necessary to protect ourselves.”

      In a speech outlining a foreign policy framework that stresses cooperation with allies, Obama said there still would be times when the U.S. must go it alone. He restated a policy he disclosed last May, however, that no drone strike should occur unless there is “a near certainty” that no civilians will be harmed.

    • A(nother) Procedural Roadblock for Drone Casualty Reporting Requirements

      By way of brief background for the unfamiliar, at the most basic level (but with varying degrees of specificity), each proposal would require the President to release a public report on the number of civilian and combatant casualties killed in U.S. drone strikes (for earlier discussions on the substance of the proposals, see e.g., here and here). Back in November, the House and Senate intelligence committees debated including a similar reporting requirement in the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2014. The SSCI-approved version of the bill included the provisions; whereas, HPSCI rejected a Schiff-sponsored amendment to include the reporting requirements in the House version. Ultimately, however, the proposal was never enacted.

    • US Global Hawk Drones Given Access To British Airspace
    • Despite promise, US govt moves to classify justification for drone killing of American
    • U.S. Seeks to Censor More of Memo That Approved Drone Strike on American
    • Feds Want to Censor More of the Drone Memo
    • US gov’t wants to withhold crucial information on Yemen drone strike
    • US appeals court rebuffs govt try for secrecy

      A New York federal appeals court has rejected the government’s request to reargue in secret its order that it reveal a classified memo describing legal justifications for using drones to kill U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism overseas.

    • Inside the Ring: Memo outlines Obama’s plan to use the military against citizens
    • Obama Unveils His “Don’t Do Stupid Sh*t” Doctrine At West Point
    • ‘Boss’ bumper sticker for a true Chicagoan
    • Is ‘Obama: Like a Boss’ bumper sticker completely wrong?
    • Obama Administration Desperate to Censor Assassination Memo

      After announcing it would comply with a federal court order, the Obama administration has decided that it wants to conceal more portions of a controversial memo authorizing the assassination of Americans overseas.

      Last week, officials with the U.S. Department of Justice said they would make public parts of the internal document written in July 2010 by then-federal lawyer David Barron that justified the use of drones or other means to kill U.S. citizens accused of terrorist involvement.

      The declaration came as the U.S. Senate was considering Barron’s confirmation as a judicial appointee to the First Circuit Court of Appeals—a move that helped convince at least one Democratic senator, Mark Udall of Colorado, to support the nomination.

    • Drone memo author should be in jail

      Conservatives say, and this is one of their more successful memes, that poor people are immoral. The proles have sex and kids out of wedlock and expect us (i.e., upstanding middle- and upper-class patriots) to pay for them. They steal Medicare and cheat on welfare. They don’t follow The Rules (rules written by, let’s just say, not them). Which makes them Bad.

    • Obama’s Vacuous West Point Foreign Policy Speech

      In his May 28 West Point speech on foreign policy President Obama took a swipe at “so-called realists.” But the acolytes of this particular school of thought will by and large be satisfied with his manifesto. The most scathing attacks on Obama’s foreign policy have come from neo-conservatives such as Robert Kagan. They are the ones who will pounce on the Mr. Obama’s latest address, and indeed have already done so.

      The West Point lecture was classic Obama: the president was calm and reasonable. And he took an in-between Goldilocks stance designed to differentiate him from the extremes. The latter he characterized simplistically to supplement the rhetorical force, if not the persuasiveness, of his case.

    • As Obama sets agenda at West Point, anti-drone protesters rally

      About two dozen anti-drone protesters greeted those entering the United States Military Academy Wednesday, piggybacking their message onto the fanfare of graduating cadets and a visit by President Barack Obama.

    • New data shows drones killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians

      Some light has been shed on how the drone program works; in October 2013, the Washington Post revealed how the NSA is also involved in the targeted killing program. And early in 2014, The Intercept published more details about how “controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies” used by the NSA for its surveillance programs are also used to identify drone targets.

    • The Blair-Bush notes

      It isn’t just John Major who is unhappy that transcripts and full notes of conversations between Tony Blair and George W Bush about the lead-up to the Iraq war will remain secret. The entire world needs details of conversations between Blair and Bush about the 2003 war, but instead the Chilcot inquiry will only get the gist of the talks. For a war which killed 655,000 Iraqis and over one million in total, and for a reason never proven, it cannot be just the former British prime minister who is troubled by the lack of information and transparency.

    • Liverpool journalist channels Iraq War anger into debut novel

      IT’S ABOUT as eye-catching a blurb as you could hope for on an Iraq war thriller – an endorsement from embattled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange himself.

    • Full-steam ahead for a whitewash of Tony Blair’s Iraq lies as Chilcot surrenders

      Chilcot has surrendered in a “bad, bad day for democracy and justice. The establishment of this country, and the security and intelligence services have won again. Truth has lost out.”

    • Welcome to the warped but wonderful world of ex-PM Tony Blair

      Many believe Blair should be put on trial for his role in taking us to what looks like an increasingly illegal war in Iraq. I would try him for allowing the country to be swamped with millions of new arrivals as, and this fact is absolutely vital to remember, it was not fair to anyone; not those who were already here, those who arrived or those who came along subsequently.

      Communities felt they lost their identities, schools were filled to the point that giant cabins were quickly rushed into playgrounds to fit in all the children, many of whom could speak no English, and resentment quickly grew.

    • Crediting Obama for Bringing Troops Home–Without Noting He Sent Them Abroad

      In reality, current US troop levels–about 32,000–are actually about what they were when Obama took office (Think Progress, 6/22/11). A graph that accompanied an NPR story (6/29/11) shows this pretty clearly.

      Late last year the New York Times offered similarly misleading spin (FAIR Blog, 11/25/13), reporting that Obama “has reduced the forces in Afghanistan from about 100,000 in 2010 to about 47,000 today.” That’s technically true, but ignores the fact that the troop levels had only gotten that high as a result of Obama’s policy of massive escalation.

    • Is Iran’s Missing General, Ali Reza Asgari, Living in the United States?

      He was said to be a key player in the Beirut embassy bombing in 1983 and in the founding of Hezbollah—until he disappeared in 2007. Now a new book claims he’s under CIA protection.

    • Benghazi ‘‍cover-up’ being ignored, reader contends

      Reader Peter Smith is none too happy with this newspaper.

      As he wrote to me: “I could see The Blade shirking and hiding initially from its duty of reporting to the citizenry about the tragedy when the news first broke, due to the lack of ‘factual evidence…’

      “But now the facts are out! I know it and you know it too … time to step up and report first-hand all the facts about this tragedy and all the ramifications coming out of it, including the cover-up.”

    • US sends assault ship with 1,000 Marines to Libyan coast
    • Op-Ed: Hifter again attacks Islamists as Libyan protesters show support
    • The man at the center of the chaos in Libya: Khalifa Haftar
    • Syrian rebels say they are already being trained by the CIA

      The issue of giving aid to the Syrian rebels has been widely debated with some concerned that weapons and training will end up in the hands of Islamists who have embedded themselves among the opposition.

    • Syrian rebels say they are being trained by the CIA
    • Guatemala: The coup that radicalised Che Guevara

      Sixty years ago, in June 1954, a CIA-orchestrated coup ousted the reformist Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The coup installed a brutal right-wing regime and decades of bloody repression.

    • Obama’s ProtoWar Against Russia and China

      Russia and China are both under attack by a multi-pronged U.S.-led ‘proto-war’ which could erupt into ‘hot war’ or even nuclear war. ‘Protowar’ or ‘proto-warfare’ is the term I have coined to describe the use of multiple methods intended to weaken, destabilize, and in the limit-case destroy a targeted government without the need to engage in direct military warfare.

    • What Are Polish Death Squads Fighting For in Ukraine?

      On May 11 a plane arrived at Kiev’s airport in strict secrecy; it was met by the airport’s military personnel rather than the civilian staff. NATO military uniforms, 500 packages of amphetamines, and containers marked as poisonous substances were unloaded from the plane. By order of the Kiev directorate of the SBU, the fighters, the cargo and the containers of poison were not inspected and left the airport in cars with tinted windows. The cargo was accompanied by CIA agent Richard Michael. Aboard the plane were also fighters from the Right Sector and the Polish private military company ASBS (Analizy Systemowe Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz) Othago, created several years ago by Poland’s current Minister of the Interior, B. Sienkiewicz.

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  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

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  • Intellectual Monopolies

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    • Copyrights

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3 Comments

  1. Canta said,

    June 1, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Gravatar

    Hi there, Dr. Roy.
    First of all, thanks for this amazing site. It’s my homepage since a few years, i read it every day, use it as source of information, and usually quote data from here in other places. I found it invaluable.

    I would like to ask about your opinion on Yoani Sánchez, as it was cited in a link here.

    I’m latin american, and we know very well this kind of people around here. She’s undoubtely being censored, but she’s also a right-wing media supported pro-USA so called “journalist” of the same kind of all the pro-Microsoft people you note in Techrights every week. She speaks of “freedom” in Cuba the same way Microsoft does in Software around the world: by telling lies and/or half truths, by deceiving and being hypocrital. AND she’s being censored.

    Cuba is not heaven, but neither is the USA, and while USA’s speaks of freedom and right-wing media gives prizes to Sánchez work in the name of human rights, the situation is a lot more complicated than that in Cuba or in the rest of the world.

    I believe she should speak, and Cuba’s population should answer; i don’t believe Censorship is the way to go. However, i don’t have any injerency on the fate of one of the few socialists nations in the world, which everyday resists the Capital’s pressure, and don’t know what would i do in such a place.

    So, do you believe it’s a good idea to spread Sánchez propaganda, because she’s actually being censored? That link you post here almost displays her as a hero, which is certainly not. It’s kinda like saying that Bill Gates is some kind of hero if he says Cuba’s childs should have computers to access internet, and he gets censored by cuban goverment. Sánchez may not be on the same level, but i don’t find it so different anyway.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks for the kind words and thanks for making use of this site. I am merely trying to make it be like a service, just sharing what I find along the way (filtering out nonsense like celebrities and pointless political partisanship).

    I would like to start by stating, quite humbly in fact, that I don’t know much about Cuba’s political atmosphere. Cuba was the centre of attention before I was born and it sure seems like it’s somewhat marginalised by the English-speaking media these days (also in the United States’ little brothers, such as the UK). I hardly ever hear about Cuba, except when there’s bad news or some cult of personalities debacle (about the Castros).

    What I know about Cuba is based on movies I saw with family. I had some relatives there, but they escaped to Miami after Castro has taken over. Some also escaped to Florida from PR. Their memory of Castro wasn’t fond; he confiscated their business. Communism didn’t work well for them personally.

    Putting aside the notorious CIA operations in Cuba, the nuclear tensions etc. (old news), I recently read about what USAID had done in Cuba. I was astonished but not totally surprised. I also read about some famous blogger there being gagged (that goes back a decade ago and might be the same person you allude to); I am strongly against all kinds of gags. I am in favour of trolls and bad people speaking out so that we can publicly respond and expose them. The power of one’s speech can defeat another’s (e.g. racists), so I’m all in favours of letting idiots and “useful idiots” speak out. They would enjoy a certain allure if people were so desperate that they got their opposition gagged. It’s a sort of Streisand Effect.

    Anyway, cutting to the chase, I positioned the link about Cuba next to a link that relates to it. It’s not accident. But I later mistakenly buffered it apart with another link later on (NYTimes link). I wanted it to aptly fit next to Wales’ views on censorship (remember he was involved in some adult sites and fought censorship before Wikipedia, just as Jacob Appelbaum had done before Wikileaks). Wales correctly responds to silly European politicians who think that censoring the Web though search results is doable; they don’t quite grasp technology; likewise, I think Cuba would only amplify “hostile” bloggers’ voice if it thinks that simple bans can do the job. Look at The Pirate Bay. That too, despite heavy lobbying and police overreach, is a games of whack-a-mole.

    Censorship does not work. Well, it doesn’t quite work as one intends (overall). Likewise, crushing protests doesn’t quite work. It leads to people viewing the police as the enemy, radicalising them further (as in Arab Spring). If you don’t let bloggers or protesters speak out, you drive them underground and it blows up, metaphorically or physically. In a way, censoring of bloggers in Cuba serves the CIA agenda of portraying Cuba’s leaders as dangerous oppressors. Just look what they tried to do twice in the past decade in Venezuela.

    Cuba should let the provocateur speak as the government can also speak back, showing what’s really happening and who’s behind it. Venezuela did that and I think it’s one of the few Latin American countries to have successfully staved off a coup.

    I don’t know if Cuba is still under the threat of covert operations (I read about quite a lot of assassination attempts in Cuba but not so recently). Either way, I’m sure there are still “plans” for Cuba. See that recent interview where a former CIA asset/student in Latin America exposed what he had been involved in. I’m pretty sure you have seen it.

  2. Canta said,

    June 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Gravatar

    Thank you very much for the answer.

    I agree on (and share) your political position. I just sometimes doubt if it isn’t possible to think this way just because we see things from the outside. Whatever the case, i guess the ethical path is clear.

    Oh, for the record: i’m argentinian, not cuban. I’m also 32, so i (fortunately) avoided the worst of the cold war around here. We had a very bloody decade on the 70′s here, as did other south american countries more or less at the same time. Cuba was an example for the communist side of the struggle, and still somehow it is. So, right-wing politicians use Cuba here (and in the rest of latin america) as an example of… well, kinda “the work of the devil”: and as more time passes, younger people knows less and less about the cold war times.

    I understood the point of the link wasn’t about Sánchez but about the futility or counterproductivity of censorship and the role of technical knowledge for the matter. But that was part of the thing that took my atention. It’s a problem i feel from my point of view.

    Almost every anti-colonialist party in latin america (not only in Argentina) goes to nationalists ideas and takes simbols regarding things like “the roots of our land”, which are commonly even contrary to the idea of embracing technology. Because we don’t have anything like “our” technology: we don’t make international standars, we don’t have an Intel or AMD here, we work for Oracle, Microsoft, IBM… we even have to be thankful when we have access to cheap slave-made chinesse replicas of some other tech, given our neccesary market protectionism.

    Corporate press uses this, saying that the rest of the world is a better place because they have access to garbage like Apple stuff (thank god we don’t have that crap here) or because they can “irrestrictly” use twitter from their mobile phone and share pictures took at the local Starbucks, and freely blog, and stuff like that. “American standar of living” seems to be the idea.

    So, i can see how in the day to day basis the right-wing is successful in capitalize the discourse of technology; part because they seem to show something cool, and part because they keep on polarizing between “the way of USA or your childish substandar native way” (it’s not casual to see the USA’s flag in venezuelan opposition marchs). I don’t know how to put it right in english (i speak spanish), but the point is i feel this “censored bloggers” are exactly what the corporate press is constantly looking for. They pretend to portrait the socialists nations as substandar, underdeveloped, and tyranical, in contrast of some kind of “common sense” that rules the rest of the world. And, obviously, any kind of anti-colonialism is portrayed as childish, contrary to history facts, and pseudo-communism (as they usually try to do with Free Software).

    This is not new, nor surprising. But i find this combo tragical. Because technology IS a way to change things, a lot of things are happening around technology, and here in south america is specially damaging given our relation with technology AND socialism.

    So, i feel portraying Cuba as a tyranical censor with little knowledge of technology and the opposition as heroic survivors of hell is exactly what the corporate press is looking to sell while they keep lobbing for their own flavour of censorship trying to make of the internet a new Cable TV.

    I know very well you’re not doing anything like that, i know your point is another one (well stated in your answer). This is just a personal doubt (if it’s ok to post a link like that as an example of the problems of censorship) i’d liked to share somewhere somebody could understand.

    I find it tricky, like the problem of free software inside weapons, or biometrics, or complex matters like those.
    I guess, however, as i said at the beginning, the ethical path is clear.

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