EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.07.14

Links 7/10/2014: CAINE 6.0, PC-BSD 10.0.3

Posted in News Roundup at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Breakthrough in Wireless Technology…Or Not

    Exactly three weeks ago today I caught myself before hitting the “share” button on my Google Plus stream. My intent was to complain about some thing or another. I believe it was an out loud groan about a USB wireless device not working out of the box with Linux. I think I was going to triangulate on Broadcom’s insistence on making wireless a real headache.

    And yeah, it doesn’t take that much to get a Broadcom chip working in most cases. Unless you are installing Linux at a friend’s house or another place that doesn’t have a wired connection. Then you’re pretty much sunk. The popup says that the wireless will work once you connect to the package manager. Uh, what if I am not located near a wired connection? That’s kinda why I wanted to connect to the web anyway you friggin’ ijit.

  • Desktop

    • 5 powerful things you didn’t know Chromebooks could do

      This last feature isn’t for the novice users that just buy Chromebooks for their simplicity. But this is World Beyond Windows, where I tout the benefits of Linux, so I can’t leave it out.

      Flip the developer mode switch (it’s in software now, but it used to be a hardware switch) and you can get full access to your Chromebook’s internals. You can install a full desktop Linux system (like Ubuntu) alongside your Chrome OS system. Flip over to the Linux system when you want to do some work with traditional desktop apps and powerful terminal commands.

    • Acer Chromebook 13 (FHD): Initial impressions

      The performance of the device is about acceptable (unfortunately, I do not have any comparison in this device class). Even when typing this blog post in the visual wordpress editor, I notice some sluggishness. Opening the app launcher or loading the new tab page while music is playing makes the music stop for or skip a few ms (20-50ms if I had to guess). Running a benchmark in parallel or browsing does not usually cause this stuttering, though.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation: Certification More Popular But Tough to Get

      The Linux Foundation’s “Introduction to Linux” MOOC on edX has enjoyed impressive popularity since launching in the summer. And the organization’s Certification Program for open source engineers, which went live in August, is also rising in stature, according to data the Foundation has made available.

    • Linux 3.18 Gets Better Wacom Tablet & Sony Controller Support
    • Many ACPI & Power Management Changes For Linux 3.18 Kernel

      Rafael Wysocki sent out his first aligned set of changes of ACPI core and power management changes he’s planning on volleying over to Linus Torvalds for the Linux 3.18 kernel merge window.

    • Linux 3.17 is Getting ready for the Year 2038

      The Linux 3.17 kernel is the fifth major kernel release so far in 2014 and among its features is a fix for a flaw that wouldn’t actually impact Linux for another 24 years.

    • What’s New in Kernel Development

      Kernel configuration has become more and more complex through the years with the proliferation of new drivers, new hardware and specific behaviors that might be needed for particular uses. It has reached about 3,000 config options, and that number will only increase.

      Jean Delvare recently pointed out that a lot of those config options were relevant only to particular hardware, and yet the config system presented them to users who didn’t have that hardware. This seemed like a bug to him, and he suggested that maintainers begin requiring proper hardware dependencies for all config options.

    • Lennart Poettering’s Linus Torvalds rant

      Linus Torvalds, Linux’s creator and leader, is known for his sometimes frank and vulgar language on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML). He doesn’t suffer programming fools gladly. For him, his management style works. Not everyone is happy about it and Lennart Poettering, a Red Hat engineer and one of the creators of the controversial systemd system and service replacement for Unix and Linux’s sysvinit daemon, has called out Torvalds for his salty attitude in a public Google+ post.

    • Linux systemd dev says open source is ‘SICK’, kernel community ‘awful’

      Lennart Poettering, creator of the systemd system management software for Linux, says the open-source world is “quite a sick place to be in.”

      He also said the Linux development community is “awful” – and he pins the blame for that on Linux supremo Linus Torvalds.

    • Bitter Poettering, LibreOffice at 4, and Linux Tidbits

      The systemd fallout is getting to creator Lennart Poettering, who is sounding quite disillusioned. Sean Michael Kerner scored an interview with The Document Foundation’s Italo Vignoli on the future of LibreOffice. Jesse Smith reviewed PC-BSD 10.0.3 in today’s Distrowatch Weekly and Paul Venezia imagines Linux servers as “transient processes and services.” And finally today, we have several Linux distribution tidbits to report.

    • Lennart Poettering On The Open-Source Community: A Sick Place To Be In

      With Lennart spearheading projects like systemd and PulseAudio that have ruffled the feathers of some users, Lennart is no stranger to controversy but today wrote about how “the Open Source community is full of assholes, and I probably more than most others am one of their most favourite targets. I get hate mail for hacking on Open Source.” He also claims to receive hate mail from people who want him to stop developing and how reportedly there’s even a Bitcoin collection for people trying to hire a hitman for him.

    • Stable kernel updates

      Greg KH has released stable kernels 3.16.4, 3.14.20, and 3.10.56.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Linux Drivers: Catalyst Is Getting Quite Good At 2D

        Our latest Linux graphics driver benchmarks are taking a look at the binary NVIDIA and AMD Catalyst drivers using the latest versions while running on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It’s been a while since last time we closely compared the two proprietary GPU drivers with 2D workloads on an array of graphics cards so these results should be definitely interesting.

      • AMD Adds Native Object Code Support To Clover/Radeon: Big Performance Win

        Tom Stellard announced his latest OpenCL-related improvements to the open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver.

        Announced this afternoon by Tom Stellard are patches that add support to Gallium3D’s Clover — the OpenCL state tracker — for compiling compute kernels into native object code. These native object code binaries from Clover are then accepted by the R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers.

      • NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Linux Drivers: Catalyst Is Getting Quite Good At 2D

        Our latest Linux graphics driver benchmarks are taking a look at the binary NVIDIA and AMD Catalyst drivers using the latest versions while running on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It’s been a while since last time we closely compared the two proprietary GPU drivers with 2D workloads on an array of graphics cards so these results should be definitely interesting.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • The Linux Desktop-a-week review: Cinnamon

      In the end, I like Cinnamon. It’s high-quality, beautiful, and the team that works on it should be incredibly proud of what they’ve done. I just can’t imagine the scenario in which I’d use it over something else.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Just Say No

        Instead, GNOME, which breaks most of the traditional “desktop” meme, has returned to being the default. Newbies will need their hands held just to start something up. Single-CD installations are dead. That hammers much of the emerging “market” for GNU/Linux where CDs and even electricity and networks are in short supply. Of course, one can install XFCE4 instead of GNOME but the user has to take charge, something newbies may find intimidating.

        Just say “No!”. Uncheck GNOME. Check XFCE in the “tasksel” page of the installer or use APT to install XFCE4 after you boot your system. You can do it. You have the power.

      • GNOME 3.14 Gives a Well-Known Interface a New Lease on Life

        Recently, the GNOME Project announced the release of GNOME 3.14. Since it’s arrival it has drawn some attention for its enhanced application development platform and some compelling new features. Some people in the open source community view GNOME as a project that lost its way, but the new version is actually being heralded as a big comeback for a project that has made the Linux desktop friendlier to use for many users.

      • GNOME Boston Summit 2014

        GNOME Summit is a three-day hackfest for GNOME developers and contributors. It is not primarily aimed at users or new contributors, but if you want to jump right into the deep end, it’s a fantastic way to meet everyone and get involved. Unlike traditional conferences, the Boston Summit is all about getting developers together and getting things done. While there are some non-hacking sessions, they are geared heavily towards many-to-many, interactive discussion and planning, rather than one-to-many presentations.

      • The GNOME Infrastructure is now powered by FreeIPA!

        The GNOME Infrastructure is now powered by Red Hat’s FreeIPA which bundles several FOSS softwares into one big “bundle” all surrounded by an easy and intuitive web UI that will help users update their account information on their own without the need of the Accounts Team or any other administrative entity. Users will also find two custom fields on their “Overview” page, these being “Foundation Member since” and “Last Renewed on date”. As you may have understood already we finally managed to migrate the Foundation membership database into LDAP itself to store the information we want once and for all. As a side note it might be possible that some users that were Foundation members in the past won’t find any detail stored on the Foundation fields outlined above. That is actually expected as we were able to migrate all the current and old Foundation members that had an LDAP account registered at the time of the migration. If that’s your case and you still would like the information to be stored on the new setup please get in contact with the Membership Committee at stating so.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • ownCloud, Red Hat Partner on Open Source Storage

        ownCloud Inc. and Red Hat (RHT) say they can deliver open source storage with lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and better compliance standards through a partnership that combines Red Hat Storage Server 3 with ownCloud’s file syncing and sharing platform.

      • China’s Inspur Forms Linux Partnership With Red Hat

        Chinese technology company Inspur and American open source manufacturer Red Hat have reached a strategic deal to combine Red Hat’s latest-generation enterprise operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 with Inspur’s X86 platform products.

        According to the agreement, Inspur and Red Hat will become OEM partners. The OEM partner designation is the highest partner rank for Red Hat and Inspur will enjoy the best prices and the highest priority technical support. Other financial terms of the deal were not released.

      • Making Red Hat Enterprise Linux manageable with Red Hat Satellite 6

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux is one of these open source infrastructure solutions, and offers the benefits of open source with the capabilities expected from modern IT infrastructure. To make management even easier, enterprises can utilize Red Hat Satellite to handle life-cycle and systems management.

      • Diversity is a crucial component of meritocracy

        This year’s keynote speaker at the annual All Things Open conference is Red Hat’s DeLisa Alexander, executive VP and head of Red Hat’s human resources operations. DeLisa is not only in a professional position to comment on gender and diversity in open source and tech but has also personally campaigned for inclusiveness in the workplace to produce better outcomes for everybody.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Might End Up Disabling Delta RPMs By Default

          Going back to 2009 with Fedora 11 has been delta RPM support to enable support with Yum for these packages that just contain the differences between one installed RPM version to the next version. With Fedora frequently pushing down new packages, delta RPMs have allowed those in bandwidth-constrained environments to more easily download updates since the file sizes of the deltas tend to be significantly smaller than full RPMs. Additionally, it’s placed less of a burden on the Fedora infrastructure by having less disk space and bandwidth requirements. However, with DNF it looks like Fedora could revert to going back to full RPMs for distribution of updates.

        • Fedora To Replace Bash With Either Dash Or Mksh As The Default, Non-Interactive Shell?

          This being said, one of the Fedora developers have asked on the mailing lists whether Debian’s dash or Android’s mksh would be a safer alternative, as the future system’s default, non-interactive shell.

        • Fedora 23 Might Adopt Btrfs as Default

          Fedora 21 hasn’t been released just yet, but the developers are already making plans for subsequent releases that will be made in the future. Right now, they are looking for a possible implementation of the Btrfs file system instead of the current Ext4.

        • The pain of trying to install a .deb package on Fedora using Alien

          During my search for a good Markdown text editor for Linux, I came across a few that had binary installation only for Debian and Ubuntu distributions. See The search for a usable Markdown editor for my Linux desktop.

          Because my main Linux desktop is powered for Fedora, I decided to find an alternate method of installing those applications other than compiling them from source. Call it a lazy approach, but sometimes you have to find shortcuts.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 8.0 Beta 2

        Debian comes with over 20,000 packages (precompiled software that is bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine) – all of it free. It’s a bit like a tower. At the base is the kernel. On top of that are all the basic tools.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Users don’t want Ubuntu 14.10

            What is also interesting that some people still plan to install Ubuntu 14.10 even though they are not waiting for that release. And, vice versa, some people are waiting for Utopic Unicorn release, but do not plan the installation.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The right fit? 4 open source projects evaluated

    In the guide, I wrote about doing your research by casting a wide net, then evaluating yourself (your skills, your goals, and your time). In this evaluation to find the right fit, I looked at my motivations and skills, made a list of goals, and named a few target projects. Because this isn’t my first rodeo, I take a good, hard look at my track record. What can I learn from the ones that didn’t stick to find the one that will? I notice patterns I can avoid and see how they line up against my new list of goals and skills. Then, I evaluate four open source projects and their communities to see if they might be a good fit. See the winner at the end!

  • 9 things to look for in an open-source project

    Not all open-source projects are created equal. There are plenty that have not been touched in years — heck, I probably wrote a few of them. If you’re going to rely on a community-contributed open-source project, you’ll want to ensure the code is up to your standards and that the community will continue to support it throughout the project’s life cycle.

  • The Importance of Being FOSS

    It’s a fact of life in virtually every community that there will be countless daily distractions — news announcements, controversies, squabbles — that take up the majority of our time and energy, leaving little for the big picture.

    The Linux community is no exception.

    That’s why it was such a relief to see a post over at Linux.com recently that struck directly to the core of all that is FOSS and offered a reminder as to what it’s really all about.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Web Browsers for Linux

      Here is an overview of nine web browsers for Linux. Does not include terminal-based ones.

    • Mozilla

      • Testing a $35 Firefox OS phone—how bad could it be?

        You’ve got it pretty good, you know that? While you’re sitting there using your Internet-enabled device to read about some other Internet-enabled device, it’s easy to forget that the majority of people doesn’t have any access to the Internet at all. The “World Wide” Web is actually not that worldwide—only about one-third of the population is online. That’s 4.8 billion people out there with no way to get to the Internet.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The inside track on Oracle’s open-source strategy

      “NoSQL is definitely a component of Big Data and is part of the strategy of storing and managing very fast but simple operations over simple data,” Seglau explained to hosts Jeff Kelly and Jeff Frick. Oracle’s namesake relational system has a notoriously difficult time handling that kind of unstructured information, a critical gap that leaves the vendor little choice but to embrace the new paradigm of enterprise data management.

    • LibreOffice at 4: How the OpenOffice Fork is Forging Ahead

      The Document Foundation has been able to attract contributions to LibreOffice from AMD and Intel as well as governments, including Saudi Arabia and France. Donations are the primary source of revenue for The Document Foundation and Vignoli said that the donations have been growing steadily over the years. That funding has enabled The Document Foundation to hire three full-time people and two part-time people, as well as supporting continuing developer efforts around LibreOffice.

      [...]

      One of the main areas of growth for LibreOffice is in competitive migrations away from other office suites, including Microsoft’s Office. While The Document Foundation would like to see more people use LibreOffice, the plan is not for all users to totally abandon Microsoft Office.

      “The objective is not to eradicate Microsoft Office from companies,” Vignoli said. “The concept of migration is about giving an alternative to companies.” – See more at: http://www.eweek.com/enterprise-apps/libreoffice-at-4-how-the-openoffice-fork-is-forging-ahead.html#sthash.Jp29EQC7.dpuf

  • CMS

    • WordPress Foundation Becomes an Open Source Initiative® Affiliate Member

      The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), the premiere organization that promotes and protects open source, announced today that the WordPress Foundation (WordPress) has joined the OSI as an Affiliate Member. The WordPress Foundation’s mission, to democratize publishing through open source, has elevated WordPress to not only a globally recognized content management tool, but a vibrant community encompassing the ideals of open source software development, and advocacy for the adherence to the Open Source Definition. Its affiliation with OSI helps enhance and sustain the open software development community, while ensuring that millions of individuals, organizations and businesses can cost-effectively communicate online using a robust set of content management capabilities.

  • BSD

    • Ten Year Old “Critical” Bug Discovered In OpenBSD

      While OpenBSD generally prides itself on being a secure, open-source operating system and focusing more on code corectness and security rather than flashy features, it turns out a potential security bug has been living within OpenBSD for the past decade.

    • PC-BSD 10.0.3: An alternative to desktop Linux distros?

      Linux is a terrific desktop operating system but sometimes it can be fun to use something else, particularly if you have the personality of a distrohopper. PC-BSD is one alternative that’s worth considering since it’s based on FreeBSD. DistroWatch has a review of PC-BSD 10.0.3 and finds that it compares well to most desktop Linux distributions.

    • First impressions of PC-BSD 10.0.3

      All in all, I am impressed with what the PC-BSD team has managed to deliver with their 10.0.3 release. The project has taken on additional polish with the last few releases. The graphical front ends look nicer, some bugs I spotted in previous releases (especially with Life Preserver) have been fixed and the way ZFS integrates with the other PC-BSD tools was very useful to me. There are a lot of great features in this release I would love to see ported to Linux and there were no serious problems during my trial, beyond the video driver issue I was able to work around. I definitely recommend giving PC-BSD a try, it offers a great deal of power in an attractive package.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU’s Data Recovery Tool Updated With New Options

      GNU ddrescue, an open-source data recovery tool that copies data from one file / block device to another while rescuing the good portions of data in case of read errors, is out with a new version.

    • GNU ddrescue 1.19 released

      I am pleased to announce the release of GNU ddrescue 1.19.

      GNU ddrescue is a data recovery tool. It copies data from one file or block device (hard disc, cdrom, etc) to another, trying to rescue the good parts first in case of read errors.

  • Project Releases

    • man-pages-3.74 is released

      I’ve released man-pages-3.74. The release tarball is available on kernel.org. The browsable online pages can be found on man7.org. The Git repository for man-pages is available on kernel.org.

  • Public Services/Government

    • GSA CIO: Platform Reuse, Open Source Among Guiding IT Principles

      Platform reuse and open source technology are guiding IT principles being championed by GSA’s CIO, Sonny Hashimi. The agency’s new IT integration policy requires all new projects that are undertaken within GSA to follow several IT principles. For example, GSA must consider the reuse of its existing platforms before any new investments are contemplated.

    • Uganda Takes on Free and Open Source Software

      On this historic Wednesday, the Government was interfacing with the IT community to discuss among others the draft FOSS and Open Standards Policy and the National FOSS Strategy. This is the very reason that made it indeed historic, finally FOSS has arrived. While a few other African countries make mention of FOSS in their ICT related policies, one can hardly identify those that have come up with specific policies and strategies addressing FOSS. South Africa and now Uganda are going the extra mile to take the bull by the horn with the hope that others may follow.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Mick Cash interview: Disillusioned with Labour, RMT union chief plots a new party for the left

    The north London headquarters of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is replete with history.

    When the executive meets, just across the corridor from Mick Cash’s office, they sit around a table where, more than a century ago, union leaders made the decision to found the Labour Party.

  • The Purpose of Politics

    That is, nothing to do with their beliefs, just trying to save their jobs. Exactly like the Westminster Labour establishment in Scotland.

  • 18 dead after illegal Indonesian gold mine collapses

    At least 18 people, including 16 men and two women, have lost their lives after an illegal mine collapsed in Indonesia’s Borneo island.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Qatar and Saudi Arabia ‘have ignited time bomb by funding global spread of radical Islam’

      Qatar and Saudi Arabia have ignited a “time bomb” by funding the global spread of radical Islam, according to a former commander of British forces in Iraq.

      General Jonathan Shaw, who retired as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in 2012, told The Telegraph that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires Isil terrorists.

      The two Gulf states have spent billions of dollars on promoting a militant and proselytising interpretation of their faith derived from Abdul Wahhab, an eighteenth century scholar, and based on the Salaf, or the original followers of the Prophet.

    • Moazzam Begg offered help over hostage release

      Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg offered to intervene to help secure the release of British hostage Alan Henning, he has told the BBC.

      Mr Begg, 46, said he thought he knew who had been holding the aid worker but said the government rejected his offer.

      He said Mr Henning’s friends had sought his help and he had told the government he was going to intervene regardless.

    • US drone strikes kill eight militants in Pakistan

      At least eight militants were killed today when a US drone fired four missiles on a Taliban compound in Pakistan’s volatile North Waziristan tribal region, the second such incident in the area in 24 hours.

    • U.S. Drones Strike Pakistan for 3rd Day

      On Tuesday, a U.S. drone strike hit a suspected militant training camp in northwest Pakistan, in an attack that intelligence officials say killed six and wounded nine. It marked the third U.S. drone strike on Pakistan in three days, after 2014 began with a six-month hiatus of strikes against terror cells in the country. Five suspected militants were killed in a strike Monday and another five in a strike Sunday. All three were in the Shawal area of South Waziristan. The U.S. had halted drone strikes in the first half of the year at the behest of Pakistan while it attempted, but failed, to negotiate a deal with the Taliban. Pakistan is dealing with unrest in other areas, as well. Its tenuous relationship with India has also flared up over Kashmir. In the worst attacks since their 2003 ceasefire, there have been casualties on both sides, with nine civilians dead in total.

    • Is there no other way?

      The difficulty seems to be that addressing the issues which drive people to violence and terror is more complex and demanding than simply bombing them. Rather than listening to grievances and struggling to address them, the choice is made to send in drones. They don’t risk American lives and they keep the war far from America’s shores.

    • North Waziristan: 19 killed in three drone strikes during last 36 hours

      At least nineteen people have been killed while several others injured in three US drone strikes during last 36 hours in North Waziristan tribal region, Dunya News reported on Tuesday.

      In the latest attack, six people were killed and 11 injured when a U.S. drone fired two missiles on militant commander Mustaqeem’s centre in Kandghar area of Shawal today.

    • Drones and Everything After

      Late one afternoon in December, a drone armed with Hellfire missiles was flying low over the Yemeni desert, an audible buzzing presence, tracking a ­convoy of cars and trucks that were caterpillaring along a route between villages. Within the convoy were the members of two large families, escorting a bride from a wedding celebration in her own village to another in her groom’s, and though they noticed the drone, its presence was not unusual. Then, while the group was stopped because of a flat tire, the noise from the drone grew louder, as if a decision had been reached, and it began to discharge missiles. Several men jumped from the fourth truck before it was destroyed, but as they fled the drone seemed to track them across the sand, and fired again, according to Al Jazeera America. An older sheikh ran from his car and found his son, dead and bloodied, pierced by flying shrapnel in his face, neck, and chest. Twelve men were killed. They were farmers, shepherds, and migrant laborers, mostly. U.S. government officials would say later that the target had been a militant, affiliated with Al Qaeda, who managed to escape the attack. A report by Human Rights Watch suggested that he might never have been there at all.

    • Anti-drone activists, limited to ‘Free Speech Zone’ at Hancock Air Base, protest without incident

      A group of about 50 anti-drone activists cordoned off by barriers protested without any arrests or incidents Sunday afternoon.

      The protesters, led by Upstate Drone Action and the Syracuse Peace Council, obtained a permit from the town of DeWitt, which allowed them to demonstrate for about two and a half hours starting at 1 p.m. The protest was part of a Global Action Day against the use of drones for surveillance and killing.

    • As Canada debates ISIS mission, U.S. already weighing potential civilian casualties

      As Canada’s Parliament prepares to vote this week on expanding military involvement in the Middle East, the U.S. political system has already moved on to the next difficult conversation — about civilian casualties.

    • The war on terrorism can only be ended morally

      So, why shouldn’t the United States torture suspected terrorists, rain hellfire missiles into Middle Eastern villages aimed at terror targets or use mass domestic surveillance to gather intelligence? Well, even if you have no sympathy for those who support terrorism, there are both blatant, moral and strategic flaws in these policies that not only violate the very principles that our great nation was founded on, but further perpetuate the seemingly never ending war on terror.

    • Why Air Strikes Against ISIS Will Fail

      War is a dirty, unforgiving business. It is not rendered clean by remote deployments and orders executed at a distance from seemingly safe areas. It takes lives, inflicts unspeakable harm, and rarely brings smiles to those who suffer it. But the members of the US-led coalition currently involved in striking Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq would have you think otherwise. They give the impression that clean distances are golden, and air strikes will have their intended “degrading” effect. Therein lies the message about the false salvation of machinery – the technological panacea that rarely does what it is meant to.

      The notion that air power would win the day has been something of a fetish for enthusiasts, both of the prophetic and practising sort. It prophetically concerned H. G. Wells in The War in the Air (1908). It enraptured Britain’s blood lusting Air Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris during World War II, who believed in characteristically delusional fashion that his death sowing fleets won the war in exclusive fashion. Curtis “Demon” Le May fronted as the US equivalent, instrumental behind the striking of sixty-four Japanese cities between March and August 1945 that killed around 330,000 people. The doctrinal holy water, however, came from the font of the US Strategic Bombing Survey.

    • Fighting the Hopelessness Machine

      Jeremy Scahill and Glen Greenwald’s report Death by Metadata reveals that US drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen and are mostly targeted using phone metadata obtained by the NSA, with very little human intelligence (of either sort) involved. The result is pretty much what one would expect. “Real terrorists” who know they’re targets change phones and SIM cards regularly to avoid detection, while victims of strikes often include random bystanders and uninvolved users of the same phone. This situation will only get worse for the NSA as word of Scahill and Greenwald’s report spreads and more people start taking appropriate precautions.

    • Kenyan forces kill 22 ‘al-Shabaab’ fighters in southern Somalia

      Kenya’s military has confirmed that its soldiers have killed 22 ‘al-Shabaab’ militants and disrupted logistical base in Bula Gadud in southern Somalia.

    • Kenyan Forces Kill 22 Al-Shabaab Fighters In Southern Somalia
    • Hamas has resumed rocket manufacture, says top IDF officer

      Hamas has resumed rocket manufacturing in Gaza, the head of the Israeli Air Force’s Air Defense Command said.

    • Egypt army kills 16 militants in North Sinai

      Egypt’s army killed 16 militants from the Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis jihadist group early Tuesday as it continues its operation to rein in extremists in the restive Sinai Peninsula, Aswat Masriya reported.

    • Critical thinking the first casualty of war

      Not only are we not getting satisfactory answers about the new conflict in Iraq — no one is even asking the right questions.

    • Eric Holder: A mixed legacy at best

      Ironically, while Holder scored on the civil rights front, he failed on the civil liberties front. His Justice Department authorized the use of drones to kill American citizens on foreign soil without a fair trial. His Justice Department has also defended the National Security Agency’s wholesale collection of phone data on millions of Americans accused of no crimes.

    • The Late Triumph of the Bush-Bin Laden Dance

      The terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL has committed some atrocious acts, beheadings or throat slittings of innocent Westerners from the United States, Britain and France. This suddenly prompted a change in public opinion in these three countries, which now support air strikes on the facilities or oil rigs controlled by this spin-off of al-Qaeda. In the United States, a strong majority of Americans opposed strikes on Syria in 2013 and now supports them – even though they are illegal and will prove ineffective.

      The politics of emotion have won and abolished the lessons that the failure of the war on terror should have taught leaders, citizens and all kinds of political decision makers. France, which famously opposed the war in Iraq in 2003, is now in the forefront, at least the rhetorical forefront, of this new misguided war. This war could push the whole world into a Huntington corner and ignite a “clash of civilizations” which did not exist before the Soviet and American forays into Afghanistan.

    • Documenting the Next Generation of Drone Pilots

      During the 2010 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Barack Obama told the Jonas Brothers to stay away from his daughters. “I’ve got two words for you,” he said, cueing up the punchline: “Predator drones. You’ll never see it coming.” The crowd burst into hysterics.

      Back then, flying death machines that kill innocent people were a lot of laughs. Nowadays, it’s unlikely the president’s joke would get the same response. The Obama administration has launched eight times more drone attacks in the past five years than Bush did throughout his entire presidency, the deaths of civilians in drone strikes are frequently publicized, and in late 2012 the world became aware of “double taps,” which involve two attacks in quick succession, ensuring the slaughter of friends and family trying to rescue their loved ones from the bomb site.

    • The Law of Futility: Air Strikes Against the Islamic State
    • Dangers of weaponized heavens need attention

      Perhaps you are among many who give little thought to a growing arms race arising from the proliferation of military hardware in space overhead. The US Strategic Command is strengthening US space dominance over the entire world through satellites that control our so-called missile defense system, drones that kill by remote control, laser weapons that could destroy other nation’s satellites and the possible placement of nuclear weapons in space. There are dangers that space clutter from a war in space could make space impenetrable in the future eliminating the benefits space provides us.

    • Ethical and methodological issues in assessing drones’ civilian impacts in Pakistan

      Since 2004, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has conducted 379 armed drone strikes against presumed terrorists living in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which is comprised of several so-called tribal agencies and governed by a colonial-era legal dispensation that effectively renders the citizens of the FATA second-class citizens. While drone strikes have occurred in all agencies, the vast majority of them have taken place in the two agencies of FATA known as North and South Waziristan. Because international media cannot travel to FATA legally and because the U.S. government refuses to speak about the covert program, most reports rely upon the often conflicting claims made by militant groups or parts of the Pakistani government. What is known is that American drone strikes have killed innocent persons in Pakistan (and elsewhere where drones are used). What remains unknown — and perhaps unknowable — is how many of the persons killed in U.S. drone strikes are in fact innocent civilians.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • California drought worries pool industry

      California swimming pool companies just regaining their financial footing after the recession are now facing a new challenge: a devastating drought that has put the state’s ubiquitous backyard pools under the microscope.

      More than three dozen water agencies and local cities are cracking down on water use in swimming pools with rules that range from requiring a pool cover to prevent evaporation to banning residents from draining and refilling older ones that need repairs.

    • Dog Days of Yulin – Part 1

      Animal rights activists across China and the rest of the globe have increasingly condemned the Dog Meat Festival, calling for an immediate stop to eating man’s best friend. They say the dog meat trade is illegal, unregulated, and cruel. Many claim that numerous dogs that end up in cooking pots are stolen pets or diseased strays.

  • Finance

    • Argentina passes law to establish debt audit commission

      Argentina has legislated to create a commission to investigate the origin of the country’s debt, dating back to the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983. The law states that once the commission has been established, it will report within 180 days. Campaigners in Argentina have been calling for a public audit into the debt, to discover if any loans were odious or illegitimate, and hence should not be paid. It is not yet clear when the commission will be established.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Justices in Walker Criminal Probe Face Conflicts of Interest

      The Wisconsin Supreme Court could decide the future of the criminal investigation into Governor Scott Walker and independent electoral groups, but some of the justices are faced with a significant conflict of interest: two of the groups under investigation have been the dominant spenders in Wisconsin Supreme Court elections in recent years, spending over $10 million to elect the Court’s Republican majority.

    • Manufacturing Consent – Pakistani Style

      The Left is ignored, and the Right is pampered. The critical, thoughtful professional of yesteryear has been replaced by the savvy networker who conforms to all the rules and regulations of the well-oiled machine that is the modern media corporation.

      Public media in the United States, while having an appearance of neutrality, is actually a tool of powerful groups representing establishment interests. Years ago, Herman and Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent showed, using example after example, just how this happens. At times it could be a bit subtle – effective media engineering may require a dash of contrary opinion just to make it sound even-handed.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Journalists and their sources require privacy. But so does everyone else

      The police’s use of RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) to access journalists’ phone records came under attack this weekend from the Lib Dems, the Sun newspaper, Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, and the Government’s Interception of Communications Commissioner.

    • EPIC Sues CIA For Release Of Senate Spying Report

      The CIA’s spying on Senate staff members during the compilation of the “Torture Report” (last seen delayed until late October) provoked some righteous (but hypocritical) indignation from political figures who were otherwise fans of government surveillance of American citizens. Dianne Feinstein’s dismay may have been genuine, but it was also completely tone-deaf.

      CIA director John Brennan said no spying occurred while also admitting some spying had occurred. Further details revealed by an Inspector General’s investigation noted that spying continued after Brennan finally told everyone to knock it off, using a classified “hacking tool” to peer into Senate staffers’ email accounts.

    • Law Enforcement Still Defending ComputerCOP: Says They’ll Keep Distributing It Until After Someone’s Been Hurt

      It appears that the police and other law enforcement folks who spent department money on the awful ComputerCOP spyware simply can’t admit that they were handing out software that made kids less safe. Instead, they’re sticking by their decision to do so. Given that the company personalized the software in the name of local law enforcement, and pitched it as the “perfect election and fundraising tool,” you can understand their reticence to actually admit that they’ve been making kids a hell of a lot less safe. We already discussed San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis defending the software, even while issuing an “alert” telling parents how to disable the keylogging feature. Even more bizarre was the response of Limestone County, Alabama, Sheriff Mike Blakely, who simply questioned EFF’s credibility in revealing the dangerous nature of the software.

    • FBI Director: The Internet Is The Most Dangerous Parking Lot Imagineable

      FBI Director James Comey was on 60 Minutes on Sunday, in a segment that will continue next week as well. Apparently next week is when we’ll find out his views on mobile encryption and whether or not the FBI is spying on all of us, but this week, he gave us a tiny hint towards the end of the segment, in which he discusses why the internet is so dangerous.

    • Another 60 Minutes Puff Piece

      Based on its legacy, the CBS show 60 Minutes is still sometimes thought of as the remaining place in TV news where tough investigative journalism has a home. But lately, they’ve been doing something else.

    • Washington Post’s Clueless Editorial On Phone Encryption: No Backdoors, But How About A Magical ‘Golden Key’?
    • Documents Released In Silk Road Case Add More Evidence To The ‘Parallel Construction’ Theory
    • Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes in FBI’s Story

      New court documents released this week by the U.S. government in its case against the alleged ringleader of the Silk Road online black market and drug bazaar suggest that the feds may have some ‘splaining to do.

    • U.K police used anti-terrorism laws to spy on journalists

      British police are to be forced to disclose their use of anti-terror legislation to investigate journalists as part of a new investigation by the U.K.’s top interception official.

      After the Mail on Sunday revealed this weekend that British police had used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)—a piece of legislation designed for combatting terrorism—in order to uncover one of the newspaper’s sources for a report implicating a government minister in perverting the course of justice, acting Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy announced on Oct. 6 an enquiry into the use of RIPA against journalists throughout the U.K.

  • Civil Rights

    • Nicky Hager’s house raided by police
    • Hate crimes against Muslims spike: We must face up to normalized Islamophobia

      Over the course of the last few years Islamophobia has alarmingly risen throughout the world. The roots of the problem can be traced back to 9/11, which to this day, is still constantly evoked by political leaders to justify murderous foreign policy.

      Countless human beings, including many Muslims, have been killed by Western bombs in the years following 9/11.All of this was done of course, in the name of making the world a safer place.

    • Bad Information Leads to Worse Police Raids

      David Hooks’s death reads like a boilerplate tale of a police raid gone wrong. Around 11 PM on September 24, deputies from the Laurens County, Georgia, sheriff’s department stormed their way into his house looking, they say, for meth. A reported 16 shots later, the 59-year-old was dead, and naturally there are conflicting accounts about what happened. The cops claim Hooks brandished his shotgun at them when they came in; Hooks’s family’s lawyer says that the raid victim’s wife, Teresa, had seen cops in hoods lurking around the house and was worried they were robbers (the home had been burglarized only a couple nights before) and Hooks was merely worried about defending his property. No drugs or anything illegal was found in the home, according to the lawyer.

    • A cop may be following you everywhere

      The crackdown on protesters after the police shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, highlighted that more and more, police departments possess sophisticated weapons and equipment originally designed for the battlefield. Federal anti-terrorism funding is a major driver of this trend, but once police departments have this equipment they use it — even if it’s not against terrorists.

      What few people understand is that police increasingly make use of sophisticated surveillance equipment as well. NSA-style mass surveillance technologies are making it possible for local police departments to gather information on each and every one of us, on a scale never before been possible.

  • DRM

    • Apple Facing Trial Over Whether Its Use Of DRM Violated Antitrust Laws

      When Apple first launched the iTunes store for music, it had DRM deeply embedded in it. According to reports around the time, this DRM was a key part of allowing Apple to get into the business of selling music. The labels demanded strong DRM. It didn’t take long for most people to recognize how the labels’ own demands for DRM actually gave Apple tremendous leverage over the record labels by basically handing the market over to Apple while making it that much more difficult for a competitor to jump into the space. While, years later, Apple and the labels finally ditched the DRM on music, one of Apple’s competitors, Real Networks had tried to hack its way around Apple’s DRM, which was called FairPlay, with its own DRM, called Harmony, that more or less reverse engineered Apple’s DRM. Apple responded by changing things so that Real’s music wouldn’t work on iPods (yes, this was back in the day of iPods). Real adjusted… and Apple broke it again.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XXXIX

      As previous updates – and many economists – have pointed out, the huge economic gains claimed for TTIP are largely illusory. The 119bn euros boost for the EU not only turns out to be under the most optimistic assumptions, clearly impossible to obtain now given the growing resistance to TTIP’s de-regulation, but refers to 2027, and is the difference between an EU economy with TTIP and without. That means the claimed 0.5% GDP boost is actually a ten-year cumulative figure, and amounts to the rather less impressive 0.05% extra GDP on average – in mathematical terms, indistinguishable from zero given the very approximate nature of the models used to make these predictions.

Benoît Battistelli’s Balkan Standards in EPO: Part V

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How the European Patent Office facilitated the inclusion of previously-connected elements that are best known for misconduct and dirty politics

WHEN we last wrote about the Battistelli-run EPO we provided evidence to show that the EPO had gone rogue. But just how rogue has it gotten? Let us recall who makes up the management in the EPO and look at some professional (or rather unprofessional) background, as we did in the first part of this long series.

We believe that readers will find the appended text useful, especially now that an English version exist and people can be brought up to date based on the original sources. First, here is some text prepared to summarise developments which occurred over the last year or so. Original (Croatian language) text is available online, but here is the English translation:

How Josipović protected Vojković:

Associate of Josipović who exercised supervisory control over HDS-ZAMP* on behalf of the Government was a former employee of ZAMP and EMPORION

Friday, 23/03/2012

The research associate of Ivo Josipović and former employee of HDS-ZAMP, Romana Matanovac Vučković, omitted information from her curriculum vitae concerning her employment in the company Emporion Ltd., owned by Marko Vojković, a friend of Josipović. In an interview with Index journalist, she confirmed that she omitted this information because she considered it to be irrelevant. It turns out, however, that it is precisely this information which is of crucial importance because it confirms the claims of Vesna Stilin, former employee of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), that the appointment of Romana Matanovac Vučković to the position of head of the Council of Experts for Copyright and Related Rights was illegal.

The rules which applied to others did not apply to Josipović’s associate, Romana Matanovac Vučković

To remind our readers, Romana Matanovac Vučković was appointed to the aforementioned position in 2005, after leaving HDS-ZAMP, while in the meantime she worked at the Zagreb School of Law. According to the Law on Copyright and Related Rights an independent expert should be appointed to the position of head of the Council: “The Council of Experts is not a lobbying body to which representatives of interested parties or government bodies may be appointed, but only and exclusively independent experts.”

However, Romana Matanovac Vučković was given this position despite being a former employee of HDSZAMP and Emporion, which, at that particular moment, was under inspection by the Ministry of Finance and the SIPO because of suspicious payments.

In a letter from whistleblower Vesna Stilin, it was noted that prior to the appointment being made, in response to the publication of the vacancy notice for the position being the then director of HDS-ZAMP, Tomislav Radočaj, and Mirjana Puškarić, an official of the SIPO, submitted their applications.

What proved to be a stumbling-block for Tomislav Radočaj, did not prevent the appointment of Romana Matanovac Vučković.

In a petition which Stilin sent to the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Science this week, it is claimed that the SIPO turned a blind eye to this illegal practice. When warned about the impermissibility of Romana Matanovac Vučković’s appointment to the Council of Experts , the sole inspector in the SIPO responded laconically: “She is a special case!”

In her petition to the highest state officials Vesna Stilin, the former assistant director and one of the founders of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office claims that “the Director General of the SIPO [i.e. Topić] misrepresented my aforementioned warning [about the Council of Experts appointment] as ‘seriously disturbed relations with the Deputy Director’ [i.e. Romana Matanovac Vučković]”.

French expert concluded that Matanovac must resign

It is noted that the appointment of Romana Matanovac Vučković was the subject of repeated discussions within the EU CARDS project for Copyright and Related Rights and the conclusion of Patrick Boiron, chief advisor for the aforementioned project, was that Romana Matanovac Vučković should resign as head of the Council of Experts because of the specified legal prohibitions, and in particular in view of the fact that she had once worked for HDS-ZAMP whose fee list is based on the Council’s advice, all of which raised reasonable doubt about her impartiality.

According to Vesna Stilin, Boiron argued that such an appointment would not have been accepted in France because in the case of Romana Matanovac Vučković not only was there was one legitimate reason for objection, but two [i.e. previous employment at both HDS-ZAMP and Emporion]. Apart from breaking the law by appointing an official subject to a conflict of interest, the SIPO turned a deaf ear to the suggestions from the EU to hire an increased number of official/inspectors (at least 5) for the Department of Copyright and Related Rights. Only one inspector was appointed, which according to the opinion of Vesna Stilin, continued the illegal practices concerning the appointment of SIPO officials. It seems that such appointments were intended to ensure that the supervision of HDS-ZAMP was kept under the control of a very small circle of people.

How did ZAMP obtain official documents?

In order to demonstrate the problematic nature of the connection between the SIPO and HDS-ZAMP, Vesna Stilin drew attention to the issue of illegal leaking of official data from the SIPO to ZAMP. In her petition she stated that a confidential SIPO letter relating to the “Emporion case” was recently published on HDS-ZAMP website as proof that business cooperation between ZAMP and EMPORION was legal. Vesna Stilin warns that this was a violation of the law because “HDS-ZAMP was not supposed to have been given this official letter at all!”

She recalls that “the correspondence between the two government bodies, the Ministry of Finance and the SIPO, according to which each conducts the inspection of HDS-ZAMP within its area of responsibility, should not be available to HDS-ZAMP, especially if one of the government institutions has expressed its doubts about operations of the association in question and requested the verification of their suspicions by another state institution.”

“I was bribed!”

In her petition to the Ministry of Finance, Vesna Stilin also expresses concerns about the possible corruption of the staff of the SIPO. She describes one example of this. In June 2006, during the visit of a Macedonian delegation to the SIPO in connection with HDS-ZAMP, in response to a question from the head of the Macedonian delegation Olga Trajkovska to the sole Office inspector asking “how was her cooperation with ZAMP”, the SIPO official gave the following cynical reply:

“Excellent, I was bribed and we have great cooperation!”, the petition states.

Vesna Stilin noted that this statement was uttered in front of several members of the Macedonian and Croatian delegations, so she informed the Director General of SIPO [i.e. Topić] about it, as well as the State Attorney’s Office and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. Despite the fact that she has written on more than one occasion to the Ministry of Finance, the State Attorney’s Office, President Josipović and Prime Minister Milanović, Vesna Stilin has received no response to her letters.

Željko Topić remains in office as Director General of the SIPO despite the fact that he was appointed as part of the HDZ contingent [i.e. under the previous HDZ government of Ivo Sanader], while Romana Matanovac Vučković has left her position at the SIPO in the meantime. Today she works as assistant professor at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb at the Department headed by Tatjana Josipović, the wife of the Croatian President.

Notes:

* Croatian: Hrvatsko Društvo Skladatelja – Zaštita Muzičkih Autorskih Prava HDS-ZAMP (Croatian Composers’ Society – Protection of Musical Authors’ Rights) is a “collecting society”, i.e. a professional service that deals with the exercise and protection of music copyrights and royalty payments on the basis of the approval of the State Intellectual Property Office and in line with the Copyright Act.

http://www.hds.hr/about_us/chronology_en.htm

In October 2013 the Croatian NGO Juris Protecta made a submission to the EPO’s Administrative Council (AC):

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members the EPO Administrative Council
and Staff of the EPO,

As students of the “Arbeits- und Wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Aufbaustudiums” (AWA) at the Technical University of Munich during the 1970s we followed the construction of the headquarters of the European Patent Office with respect and pride. This building was intended to be centre for the protection of intellectual property in Europe. Many of my colleagues subsequently became patent attorneys. Unfortunately, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the signature of the European Patent Convention, we are forced to conclude that our initial admiration no longer seems to be justified in view of the current composition of the senior management team of that institution.

It is our sincere belief that least one of the members of the senior management team does not properly belong there. That person is the former director of the Croatian Patent Office in Zagreb, Mr. Zeljko Topic. Unfortunately, it is common practice in Croatia that the leading positions in the state administration are reserved for people who have close links with the regime and connections to the mafia-like vested interest lobbies and it was in this manner that Mr. Topic, who comes from the provincial town of Banja Luka in Bosnia, began his career at the Patent Office in Zagreb.

Mrs. Vesna Stilin, a career civil servant, worked in the Croatian Patent Office since its inception in 1992 as Deputy Director General, later as an Assistant Director General until she was dismissed from her position in April 2008 by Mr. Zeljko Topic who at that time had risen to occupy the position of Director General of the Patent Office, again. At that time Mrs. Stilin had been on regular annual leave. Upon returning from vacation, she discovered that her office had been cleared so that she could not resume her work. The reason behind Mrs. Stilin’s expulsion appears to have been due to the fact that she had previously applied for the position of the Director General coupled with her attempts to draw attention to various breaches of duty and violations of the law alleged to have been committed by Mr. Topic, who had also been a candidate for the position of Director General. The alleged breaches of duty and violations of the law committed by Mr. Topic subsequently became the subject of several administrative and judicial proceedings. Mrs. Stilin has collected voluminous documentation about these matters and this documentation is available to anyone who is interested.

Under strong lobbying from the Croatian President, the newly elected socialist government decided to extend the mandate of Mr. Topic in 2012 despite that fact that the Croatian media had reported on numerous irregularities in which he was alleged to have been involved as Director-General of the Croatian Patent Office. There were reports of various official investigations, inter alia concerning allegations about the bribing of the Croatian Minister of sciece Dragan Primorac, whereby the Patent Office under the direction of Zeljko Topic provided the Minister and his wife with a brand new Audi A6 car free of charge. Mr. Topic was also alleged to have also taken possession of a new Mercedes Benz Limousine after the expiry of the lease agreement between the Patent Office and the leasing company.

It appears that various anonymous letters concerning these matters have been submitted to the German Ministry of Justice and the European Patent Office. However, so far the investigation of the circumstances surrounding the appointment of Mr. Zeljko Topic as Vice President of the EPO has only been carried out in a very superficial manner. According to internal and external reports, the current President of the EPO is protecting the disputed Vice President Topic. Against this background, the motives which induced the incumbent President to endorse Mr. Topic’s candidature as Vice-President must be questioned. Certainly it cannot have been due to his professional competence. It would also be necessary to examine whether or not sufficient research had been carried out into Mr. Topic’s previous activities prior to his appointment as EPO Vice-President. It seems that during the selection procedure for the Vice President Mr. Topic was considered as the clear favorite from the very start. If that is the case, it would amount to a serious error of judgement on the part of the incumbent President who will have to face the consequences.

We therefore propose that an independent investigation should be carried out under the direct supervision of the Administrative Council with the aim of clarifying the circumstances surrounding the selection and appointment of the disputed Vice President Topic. Such an investigation should include within its scope an examination of the role played by the incumbent President of the EPO in the affair.

The undersigned remains at your disposal should you have any further queries concerning the above matters.

JURIS Protecta e.V.
Association for the advancement of the rule of law in Croatia
Zlatko Zeljko
Dipl-Ing.,Dipl-Wirtsch-Ing.
Director

Tel +385-98-212 449

Juris Protecta made a further submission to the AC in December 2013 and said: “It seems as if Balkan practices in appointing senior officials have now become an accepted European standard. ”

URGENT AND IMPORTANT!

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We refer to our letter dated 14th October 2013 in which we have made submissions concerning the appointment of Mr. Zeljko Topic as a member of the senior management team of the EPO.

The letter can be read at http://jurpro.hr/pdf/TOPIC-mail_from_14-10-2013_Text_E.pdf (English) or http://jurpro.hr/pdf/TOPIC-mail_from_14-10-2013_Text_D.pdf (German).

The former Deputy Director General of the Croatian SIPO Mrs. Vesna Stilin has addressed the Administrative Council of EPO with her letter dated 4th December 2013 which can be read at: http://jurpro.hr/pdf/Vesna_Stilin_Letter_from_4-12-2013.pdf .

The copies of the relevant documents can be found at 1- I) http://jurpro.hr/pdf/Annex_1-I.pdf ; 1-II) http://jurpro.hr/pdf/Annex_1-II.pdf ; 2) http://jurpro.hr/pdf/Annex_2.pdf ; 3) http://jurpro.hr/pdf/Annex_3.pdf ; 4) http://jurpro.hr/pdf/Annex_4.pdf ;

http://jurpro.hr/pdf/Annex_5.pdf .

It is further noted that no action in this regard appears to have been taken by any member state of the Organisation so far. It seems as if Balkan practices in appointing senior officials have now become an accepted European standard.

Best regards

JURIS PROTECTA

Zlatko Zeljko, President

At the same time, the former Assistant Director of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office, Ms. Vesna Stilin, addressed a letter to the AC [PDF]. Here it is as HTML:

VESNA STILIN

Biokovske stube 4, 10 000 Zagreb, HR

Zagreb, December 4th 2013

EUROPEAN PATENT ORGANISATION
ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some time ago, I received a query from an anonymous source in Munich asking if I could provide any information as to whether or not there was any substance to accusations which had been published in the Croatian media concerning Mr. Željko Topić, the former Director General of State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia (SIPO). Following his appointment by the Administrative Council of the EPO, Mr. Topić has occupied the position of Vice President DG4 of the European Patent Office since May 2012. In view of the evident public interest in the controversy surrounding his appointment, I hereby address these submissions to the Administrative Council of the EPO.

By way of introduction, I would like to inform you that I was previously a former Deputy Director General of the Croatian SIPO and later an Assistant Director General in charge of the Copyright and Related Rights Department.

To the best of my knowledge, apart from various civil proceedings, initiated by several persons (from SIPO and outside of SIPO), there were at least two criminal law cases pending against Mr. Topić prior to his appointment to the position which he now holds in the EPO. One of these cases concerned the circumstances surrounding my dismissal from the SIPO, and the other one concerned matters which the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport as the government department with supervisory authority over the SIPO had failed to properly investigate despite its statutory obligation to do so. Evidence to support these assertions is enclosed (Annex 1).

My dismissal from the post of Assistant Director General of the SIPO in 2008 was based on statements of an untruthful nature by Mr. Topic which prompted me to sue him for defamation. In appeal proceedings held before the County Court (Komitätsgericht) in December 2012, for the second time, a verdict was delivered in my favour(Annex 2). The case was remitted to the court of first instance. The case is still pending before the County Court for the third time. Additionally, I filed criminal charges against Mr. Topić with the Prosecutor’s Office (Annex 3). The latter case which includes a charge relating to bribery is likewise still pending. (Annex 3). A key accusation here is that Mr. Topić effectively „bought“ his re-appointment as Director General of the SIPO by bribing the former Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Mr. Dragan Primorac, who proposed to the Government that Mr. Topić be re-appointed for a second term in 2008 (Annex 4). There is extensive documentation about this matter, including a complaint which I filed with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. I can provide copies of this documentation on request. As a tactical manoeuvre in response to the legal actions which I had initiated against him, Mr. Topić belatedly filed a private action for defamation against me at the Municipal Crimial Court in Zagreb on 22 April 2013. However, Mr. Topić’s complaint was dismissed by the court which recently delivered its judgment in my favour (Annex 5).

I am also in possession of documentation which shows that Mr. Topić ignored the recommendation made by independent EU experts in field of Copyright and Related Rights in the context of the Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation (CARDS) Programme for South-Eastern Europe (Official Reference No. 96-022 and 60 343) where the EU provided Croatia with about 2 million € to assist the development of the SIPO, including its Copyright and Related Rights Department. At that time the number of legal staff in the Copyright and Related Rights Department was insufficient as there were only two persons at the SIPO, including me, responsible for dealing with these matters. However, instead of increasing the number of legal staff in accordance with the recommendation of French experts and as formally agreed in his own commitment given to the EU on behalf of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Topić proceeded to effectively abolish the Copyright and Related Rights Department, by reducing the personnel dealing with these matters to a single person who was involved in the so-called HDS-ZAMP* affair. Mr. Topić’s actions in this regard were carried out without any coherent explanation and, according to my considered opinion, in an illegal manner.

It is a matter of record that the President of the EPO, Mr. Benoît Battistelli, sponsored Mr. Topić’s candidature for Vice President of DG4. Would he have done so if he had been fully informed about these matters, in particular the criminal proceedings pending against Mr. Topić prior to his appointment? It should be emphasised here that, in contrast to Mr. Topić, it appears unlikely that the other candidates for the position were the subject of criminal proceedings and such public controversy in their home countries.

I believe that it would be in the public interest for the Administrative Council of the EPO to initiate an impartial and objective investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Topić’s appointment and, where appropriate, to exercise its disciplinary authority in the matter. On the face of it, it would appear that Mr. Topić abused the trust of the President of the EPO by concealing or misrepresenting important facts such as those relating to criminal cases pending against him in Croatia. Either that, or Mr. Battistelli was aware of the aforementioned matters and, despite this, supported Mr. Topić’s candidature. For the moment, it is only possible to speculate about these matters. The truth can only come to light if a proper independent and impartial investigation is carried out.

Some of the major political scandals in Croatia in recent times have been those relating to the prosecution of the former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader on corruption charges, accusations against the former Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Dragan Primorac (who Mr. Topić is alleged to have bribed), and the HDSZAMP affair relating to the collection of royalty payments for musicians. The details of these various political scandals may not be familiar to people who are not well acquainted with Croatian current affairs but I am willing to assist any impartial inquiry conducted under the auspices of the Administrative Council by providing a more detailed explanation accompanied by supporting evidence, including the documentation referred to above.

Yours sincerely
Vesna Stilin

__________________________
* The HDS-ZAMP affair relates to alleged irregularities and conflicts of interest in the area of musical copyright management. The name is derived from an acronym for the Croatian composers’ society – a „collecting society“ which is responsible for protecting the rights of of copyright holders on musical works and, in particular, for managing the collection and distribution of royalty payments.

Enclosures

Annex 1: Minutes of proceedings before the Criminal Court of Zagreb – May 4th 2010,

Letter from Ms. Stilin to the Ministry of Science – June 21th 2012

Annex 2: Court Judgment Kž-368/2012-5 from December 12th 2012

Annex 3: Criminal charges against Mr. Topić, from January 9th 2013

Annex 4: E-Mail correspondence betwen Croatian President Mr. Ivo Josipović and Ms. Stilin

Annex 5: Court Judgement 9.K-99/2013 from September 30th 2013

Copies of the annexes referred to in Ms. Stilin’s letter can be accessed above.

The EPO’s Administrative council failed to make any response to these submissions, so Juris Protecta proceeded to file a Petition with the European Parliament requesting it to carry out an independent investigation into the matter. The Petition is pending before the European Parliament and is expected to be discussed during one of the forthcoming sessions of the Petitions Committee in September or October of this year (that’s this month). The story was given some coverage earlier this year in May by the Geneva-based IP news service Intellectual Property Watch, as noted here before.

Our first Techrights article in this series included some Croatian press cuttings and our sources sent the most recent version (Croation press cuttings up to September 2014) for those who understand Croatian. It’s the same as before but further expanded. This now embodies the most recent version which includes a translation of this article.

The relevance of the material above is that it shows how corrupt people came to occupy positions of power in the EPO, in part thanks to nepotism and a corruptible process (more on that in future parts of this series). “The EPO’s Administrative Council,” say our sources, “is actively and improperly colluding with the EPO President Mr. Battistelli in protecting Mr. Topić’s appointment from any independent investigation.”

There is additional information indicative of long-standing professional connections between Messrs. Topić, Battistelli and Kongstad. We will present it separately in some future date (there is an ongoing investigation which we wait to see resolved).

“This causes us to suspect,” say our source, “that both the EPO President and the AC Chairman are placing personal and/or professional loyalties before the public interest in this case.”

Some of this covered in Part III about Battistelli, whose relations with Topić we will provide more proof of. There is a connections between the patent offices [PDF], but also between these individuals (not just organisations they work for). The 2008 annual report of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office records details of a visit to the Croatian SIPO by a delegation of the French National Intellectual Property Institute (INPI) headed by Battistelli and shows a photograph of Battistelli and Topić signing an Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation [PDF].

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts