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09.21.14

Links 21/9/2014: xorg-server 1.16.1, Linux Kernel 3.16.3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What happened to the budget crisis?

      It appears that the much-talked up budget crisis has disappeared because Tony Abbott’s government is spending big on war.

      The Coalition government has quickly allocated half a billion dollars a year to join the new war on Iraq by another US-led “coalition of the willing”, or — if we call it what it is — a “coalition for the killing”.

      The ABC’s 7.30 program said on September 15 that the Australian government has “invested a billion dollars buying into a state-of-the-art military satellite system”.

    • Letter from America: Western Invaders were no liberators

      The western invaders of Muslim lands have never been their liberators and, bluntly speaking, are responsible for the majority of the problems plaguing those nation states today. Their interest has never been stability of those former colonies but the existence of a dynamic balance of power in which all players are effectively paralyzed so that no one would threaten them. Thus, they would rather have murderous criminals like Assad and Sisi rule those former colonies than someone who is perceived as a threat to western interest and hegemony. Period!

    • DECLASSIFIED: CIA intelligence official describes spending 9/11 with the US President

      “HE PUT DOWN the newspaper and said, “Anything of interest this morning?”

      Those were the actions of US President George W Bush on the morning of 11 September 2001, before any news of disturbances on domestic flights emerged.

    • Looking back at secret war in Afghanistan

      In the Reagan 1980s, I often attended the annual gatherings of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Several days of meetings featuring speeches by the most influential (domestic) thinkers on the right were capped off by a formal dinner that was often attended by President and Mrs. Reagan.

      Among the 1,000 or so attendees in an ornate ballroom were a few tables of men who stood out because of their native dress. They were all male, wore turbans, and had beards. Despite their discordant appearance, when they were recognized from the dais, they were greeted with thunderous applause.

      They were introduced as Afghan freedom fighters, representing the front lines in their war against the Soviets in the midst of our Cold War. And those of us gathering in the glow of the Gipper wanted desperately for them to succeed against communism.

    • Letter: Don’t return to Cold War relations with Russia

      In a recent article in The American Conservative titled “Does the CIA believe Obama?” former CIA officer Philip Giraldi stated: “I know of no former or current intelligence official who believes that the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe is a good idea, that toppling Bashar al-Assad would bring anything but chaos, or that bombing ISIS will actually accomplish anything.” Intelligence pros are far more skeptical of government claims than their bosses let on.

      As a fellow CIA retiree, I have to agree that Giraldi’s observations are absolutely correct. Having been invaded at least seven times in its history, a Russia with few natural barriers needs a protective collar of friendly or neutral states as a buffer, and an aggressive NATO pushing ever-closer to its border constitutes a threat Russia cannot afford to tolerate.

    • Threat magnified

      All I was saying was that the threat of terrorism has been magnified and amplified, if not created, to justify war. I did not make this up myself, I got it from a BBC documentary that quotes CIA sources in challenging and rubbishing the perceived image of Al Qaeda.

    • More of the same

      US intellectual and commentator Noam Chomsky explains the likely consequences of US plans to attack Iraq to Nermeen Al-Mufti

    • Ex-CIA Chief Hayden: 5,000 Covert ‘Boots on Ground’ in Syria by Year’s End
    • U.S. boots already on the ground

      Here’s a national-security riddle: How can President Obama provide limited military support on the ground to help “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State without formally violating his pledge not to send U.S. combat troops? The answer may lie in the legal alchemy known as “Title 50.”

      Title 50 of the U.S. Code regulates the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. An often-cited passage is section 413b, which deals with presidential approval and reporting of “covert actions.” In essence, this statute gives the president authority, with a proper “finding,” to send U.S. special forces on paramilitary operations, under command of the CIA. The best-known example was the 2011 raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed Osama bin Laden.

      Talking with U.S. and foreign military experts over the past week, I’ve heard two consistent themes: First, the campaign against the Islamic State will require close-in American training and assistance for ground forces, in addition to U.S. air power; and, second, the best way to provide this assistance may be under the command of the Ground Branch of the CIA’s Special Activities Division, which traditionally oversees such paramilitary operations.

    • Focus: Wining Hearts

      The U.S. is trying to win a war for the hearts and minds of Africa.

    • Prelude to war

      The old trick, a trial balloon, while POTUS sits pretty and has deniability. The important thing, build war sentiment, feed the public a steady diet of war propaganda. It is working.

    • Fighting ISIS and the Morning After

      Driven by ideological hubris, the Bush administration on the eve of the Iraq war rejected any suggestions that the war could destabilize the whole region and rock the foundations of the Arab nation-state system.

    • Fox Leaves Out Important Context Of Leon Panetta’s Statement On Iraq Troop Withdrawal

      Fox News’ Special Report left out necessary context when previewing former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s upcoming interview with 60 Minutes in which he stated, “it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq.”

      During his September 19 coverage of Panetta’s statement, host Bret Baier depicted Panetta’s account of the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as the latest in “a very public back-and-forth between the White House and the Pentagon.” Baier added, “Now this weekend, 60 Minutes has an interview with former CIA director and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in which he will say the U.S. should not have pulled out all of its troops out of Iraq in 2011″…

    • Obama signs bill to train, arm Syrian rebels

      President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill authorizing the military to arm and train Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group.

      Obama signed the bill Friday in the Oval Office. The Senate gave its final approval Thursday, a day after the legislation drew strong bipartisan support in the House.

    • Risky bet on Syrian rebels

      President Obama’s new strategy for routing ISIS, the extremist Sunni group that controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, rests substantially and precariously on having rebels in Syria fight ISIS, even as they battle the forces of the Syrian president, Bashar Assad. The plan is full of hope and fraught with obstacles.

    • House Poised To Vote On Arming, Training Syrian Rebels
    • After A Long Wait, Syrian Rebels Hope The Weapons Will Now Flow

      President Obama has long been reluctant to provide substantial aid to Syria’s so-called moderate rebels, often dismissed as weak and disorganized. But the rapid rise of the group that calls itself the Islamic State has changed many calculations.

      The CIA has been running a small-scale covert weapons program since early this year, according to rebels who have been trained and are now receiving arms shipments. The modest program has strengthened moderate battalions, according to Western and regional analysts, even as rebel commanders complain about the meager arms flow.

    • Why Everyone in Iraq Believes Islamic State is a CIA Invention?

      Even as the United States, post initial hiccups, enters into an all-out war to destroy Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, many Iraqi still believe in the conspiracy theory that ISIS is a CIA invention.

    • Assad Calls to Stop Funding Armed Groups in Syria, Iraq

      The fight against terrorism must begin by placing more pressure on those countries which are supporting and financing insurgents in Syria and Iraq, Syrian President Bashar Assad said while speaking with an Iraqi security official in Damascus.

    • West to blame for rise of Islamic State, says UK spy chief ["chaos in Syria that opened the door"]
    • US Senate Approves $500 Million To Arm Syrian Militants

      Lawmakers back president’s plan to expand new war in the Middle East.

    • Paul Slams Obama’s Plan To Arm Syria Rebels In Senate Floor Speech
    • ISIS Crisis, Inc.

      The Guardian, as I did, had a certain amount of difficulty coming up with the suitable nomenclature for this force. I don’t think “proxy army” cuts it, because I expect this army, though composed of Syrians and not a US military unit, will be under the day to day command of the CIA and it will not be allowed to slip the leash and pursue its own political, strategic, and tactical agendas as happened with the feckless Free Syrian Army.

    • After 47 years, the US is still pretending Israel doesn’t have nuclear weapons

      Former CIA director Robert Gates said so during his 2006 Senate confirmation hearings for secretary of defense, when he noted — while serving as a university president — that Iran is surrounded by “powers with nuclear weapons,” including “the Israelis to the west.” Former president Jimmy Carter said so in 2008 and again this year, in interviews and speeches in which he pegged the number of Israel’s nuclear warheads at 150 to around 300.

    • Perpetual Fear under Empire

      Think about all the official enemies that have scared the dickens out of the American people since the advent of the national-security state.

    • ‘US, UK disgusted only when their enemies chop people’s heads off’
    • What Washington doesn’t know

      It’s dangerous to demonize a country. Washington can repeat its painful and costly mistakes from Iraq.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Finance

    • Financial Criminals Have Been Fined Billions, but They Rarely Pay

      On a plane earlier this week, I watched The Wolf of Wall Street. The film’s outsized antics—public masturbation, the tossing of little people, lots and lots of Quaaludes—seemed too big for a seatback screen, or, for that matter, reality. As despicable as some of Jordan Belfort’s behavior was, I was able to occasionally laugh at Leonardo DiCaprio’s version of him knowing that, by now, more than 10 years after his real-life sentencing, Belfort has been sufficiently punished.

      But in fact, that’s hardly the case: After pleading guilty to fraud and money laundering, Belfort was ordered in 2003 to pay out about $110 million to those he wronged. Since then, he’s only paid $11.8 million. He was also sentenced to four years in federal prison, but he only ended up serving just shy of two years.

    • Luxury brands in a quandary as China’s wealthy young develop resistance to bling

      Gucci and Prada’s financial results are disappointing and there’s a fear that the west can’t provide what sophisticated Chinese shoppers want

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Ex-Gov. convicted

      In this Thursday Sept. 18, 2014 photo, former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland arrives at federal court in New Haven, Conn. A jury convicted Rowland Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 on all charges that he conspired to be paid for work on two political campaigns while disguising those payments in business deals. It is the second felony conviction for Rowland, who resigned as governor a decade ago in a scandal over illegal gifts he received while in office. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

  • Censorship

    • Fight censorship – read a banned book

      Banned Books Week begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday, bringing focus to the censorship of books throughout America. The event began in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. You might remember in the 1984 film, “Footloose,” a group of citizens burning books in front of the library.

      [...]

      Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Association of College Stores, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center and Project Censored.

    • Book review: ‘Censors at Work: How States Shaped Literature,’ by Robert Darnton

      In this provocative study of censorship as it was practiced in three different places at three different times, the distinguished scholar Robert Darnton argues that it can be a considerably subtler and more nuanced undertaking than it is generally assumed to be. He has not written a defense of censorship — far from it — but he emphasizes that when the state sets itself up as arbiter of what goes into books and what does not, the results are not always predictable, but are sometimes surprising and even — occasionally — beneficial to authors and their publishers.

    • The Soul of the Censor

      If the concept of censorship is extended to everything, it means nothing. It should not be trivialized. Although I would agree that power is exerted in many ways, I think it crucial to distinguish between the kind of power that is monopolized by the state (or other constituted authorities such as religious organizations in some cases) and power that exists everywhere else in society. Censorship as I understand it is essentially political; it is wielded by the state.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights and NZ

      • NZ First secures ‘wonderful’ result

        Mr Peters also suggested NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and US journalist Glenn Greenwald are “thoroughly credible witnesses” in recent mass spying allegations.

      • [Washington Post attacks Dotcom et al.] Snowden fatigue is spreading abroad

        If you think Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have stopped attacking NSA, you haven’t been following them closely enough. While American media have largely lost interest in Snowden and Greenwald, the pair continue to campaign outside the United States against the intelligence agency.

      • [Another example] Kim Dotcom falls short in New Zealand elections

        The opposition Labor Party received just under 25 percent of the vote, its lowest vote total since taking 24 percent in 1922. The left-leaning Green Party took 10 percent, with the populist anti-immigration New Zealand First Party taking 9 percent. The results were disappointing for Labor and the Green Party, Jennifer Curtin, an assistant professor of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland, said in an e-mail. Both parties had expected better results.

      • Dotcom’s Internet Party Fails to Enter New Zealand Parliament

        Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party has scored just over 1.2% of the vote in New Zealand’s parliamentary elections. It’s a disappointing result that doesn’t come close to the 5% required for a seat in Parliament. Dotcom takes full responsibility for the failure which he attributes to his “poisoned brand.”

      • Harre mum on Internet Party’s future

        Internet Party leader Laila Harre will not say if she will stay on with the political movement after it failed to win a seat in parliament.

      • Road ends for Internet-Mana

        Dotcom spent big on the party, ploughing just shy of $4 million into a political marriage of convenience.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party bombs out of New Zealand election
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