02.15.15

Chart of the Day: The Worrisome Rise and Domination of Software Patents in the United States

Posted in Patents at 7:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Source: The Atlantic

Summary: Algorithms being patented in the United States a growing trend prior to Alice ruling, which can invalidate many or most of them

WE often highlight the danger of following the US model of patenting, where abstract ideas and mathematics become eligible for a patent monopoly, not physical inventions.

The chart above speaks volumes (it’s part of a broader chart going further back in time). As the accompanying article put it: “The overall story, Bhattacharya told me, follows the shift from “atoms to bits”—from the loud world of trains and cars in the 19th century to the invisible life of software. But within that meta-narrative (and this is where the colors come in handy), you can see moments where one industry dominated the patent literature—like chemistry (black) in the 1930s, medicine (red) in the 1980s, and computers (green) in the last few decades.”

“The day that the software sector forms a clear front against software patents, as pharma does for a unitary patent system… will be the day our cause comes close to winning.” —Pieter Hintjens, Fosdem07 Interview

Amid EPO Scandals, Call to Dissolve the EPO and Start All Over Again (With New Management and New Direction)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) under the tyranny of Benoît Battistelli is losing credibility and lacking consent from European citizens, who are becoming better informed of the real motivations and the civil rights violations

IN this increasingly global patent system, where software patents in Europe are on the verge of becoming an undisputed reality, we must fight back to contain the out-of-control patent monopolies (protectionism) system. The EPO is now interfering with non-EU members too (even some in north Africa) and it is organising events in an effort to legitimise its activities, despite its disturbingly tyrannical nature. The sad thing is that the European Union is now moving closer to software patents, whereas in the US, the breeding ground of software patents, the highest court, having been wrestling some of with biggest cases like Bilski and Alice, finally got the US patent office to demote software patents.

“The EPO’s management is pushing hard for a sloppy process that devalues EU patents and enables bad actors to take advantage, potentially causing a lot of financial damage to law-abiding and honest actors.”We know from our sources that Benoît Battistelli and his cronies are truly desperate amid calls to demolish (or dissolve) the EPO and start all over again (this one call is from Dr. Glyn Moody, who is widely known across Europe for TPP opposition these days). Benoît Battistelli is trying to manufacture positive publicity even if by essentially bribing publications (a very unscientific thing to be doing).

Over the past few months we have shown how Boards of Appeal were being put in the firing line of Battistelli after he had abolished other independent mechanisms of overnight. Current and past Boards of Appeal members are fighting back, highlighting that fact that the European Patent Convention (EPC) is being violated by Battistelli.

Merpel’s series about the EPO carries on with preparatory post about “meeting of Board 28 and the future of the European Patent Office Boards of Appeal” and then some bits and pieces about the meeting, including the following important observations about the EPO:

Remaining with SUEPO for a moment, this moggy is aware that the union is concerned, as its recent release mentions, that the EPO is seeking to drive up productivity. There is a view that forced increases in productivity targets for patent examiners will inevitably lead to “bad” patents being granted. This moggy thinks any examiner, when required to deal with a case under pressure of time, would rather refuse a “good” patent than grant a “bad” one (to use the terminology employed by SUEPO). There is a danger in being pressed into refusing good patents: this is that the number of appeals will increase and that a truly independent Board of Appeal will not hesitate to send the case back to the examining division, irrespective of the latter’s productivity targets. However, reducing the independence of the Boards of Appeal inevitably makes them more sensitive to any political pressure not to push the output of a hasty and perhaps defective examination process back on the examiners; indeed, the Boards may face pressure themselves to dispose of their own cases with less detailed scrutiny. Accordingly any push by management to bring the Boards into line, if it works, should have a real pay-off in terms of getting everyone, willingly or not, onto the same message of increased productivity and clearing away any awkward oversight of examination standards.

There are some very interesting anonymous comments in there. The EPO’s management is pushing hard for a sloppy process that devalues EU patents and enables bad actors to take advantage, potentially causing a lot of financial damage to law-abiding and honest actors. This isn’t what Europe needs and since EPO is tied to all member states — with or without consent — a complaint should be made either as a petition or local action (National Delegations) by any EU citizen.

Links 16/2/2015: CrunchBang is Back, OpenPi Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 7:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Works Great As A Linux Ultrabook

      Lenovo’s new X1 Carbon is made of carbon-fiber construction as implied by its name and is very thin and light at 0.70″ and just under three pounds. Lenovo claims that the X1 Carbon can last up to 10.9 hours with its lone battery, and continues with all of the features collected over the years with the various ThinkPad laptops/ultrabooks. This third-generation X1 Carbon also has much anticipated improvements to the keyboard and touchpad/trackpoint.

  • Kernel Space

    • Changes Already For Linux 3.20 (Linux 4.0?) Are Very Exciting

      While we don’t yet know whether the next kernel version is Linux 3.20 or Linux 4.0, what we do know is that this next Linux kernel revision will contain a lot of exciting updates.

    • The Staging Pull For Linux 3.20 Has A Lot Of Changes All Over The Place

      The latest pull requests sent in for the Linux 3.20 kernel are the various subsystems maintained by Greg Kroah-Hartman. The changes for the USB drivers, char/misc, driver core, staging, and TTY/serial aren’t too jaw-dropping, but for staging at least is the usual heavy churn between kernel cycles.

    • Reiser4 Updated For The Linux 3.18 Kernel

      For those still relying upon the Reiser4 file-system and haven’t migrated off to ZFS On Linux or Btrfs, the out-of-tree Reiser4 kernel code has been updated for compatibility with the Linux 3.18 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • MakuluLinux KDE 7.0 is Live !

        Finaly the wait is over, the new MakuluLinux KDE 7 has been released, grab your copy from the KDE section in menu or simply click here.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.7 Brings Many Fixes, Supports NetworkManager 1.0, Etc

        The KDE community has done a Valentine’s weekend release of KDE Frameworks 5.7.0, the newest version of the add-on libraries used by KDE applications, KDE Plasma 5, and a growing number of other projects like LXQt.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.7.0

        February 14, 2015. KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.7.0.

        KDE Frameworks are 60 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms.

      • Local KDE meetings rock, and you should be in one

        A bunch of KDE enthusiasts from the sunny Barcelona (Spain), decided to organize a dinner in a restaurant to celebrate the launch of KDE 4.6. At that time, I was not even using KDE 4 (I was a happy KDE3 user instead!) but I though it would be nice to meet other people and discuss about the problems I had with KDE 4.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Three Things That Annoy Me With Using GNOME 3

        At the beginning of this month I wrote how I switched back to Fedora Linux on my main system to replace Ubuntu and also wrote about changes I made when installing Fedora 21 on my main system, a new ThinkPad ultrabook with Broadwell processor. There’s three small things that annoy me the most though about using GNOME 3.x.

  • Distributions

    • CrunchBang Linux is back from the dead

      It was just a little while ago that the Linux world was shocked to find that CrunchBang Linux had died. The CrunchBang developer felt like it was time to move on, and so CrunchBang users were going to have to let it go and find a new minimalist distro for their computers…until now.

    • CrunchBang rises from the ashes
    • Arch Family

      • Some Linux distributions never change

        In comparison, the set-up of Arch Linux was a breeze and extremely fast once the hard drive partionning was figured out. I got a laptop that does not isn’t UEFI enabled so I had more choices and did not have to go through the rather complex tools such as parted or gdisk. I got to use cfdisk which I have relied on for several years.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat wants you to contain yourself and your workloads

        Red Hat’s newest push in the virtualization realm is containers. You know, the good old BSD jail-type containers that leverages your hardware better than any other virtualization technology? Yes, that one.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora is sponsoring HackRU Spring 2015!

          After much anticipation, we have decided to sponsor HackRU, a hackathon occurring on April 18-19th 2015 at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ). As a hackathon attendee, I have noticed relatively little FOSS activity within the recent collegiate hackathon scene — as an organisation that strives to lead, not follow, Fedora will be sponsoring HackRU in April.

        • s3cmd 1.5.2 – major update coming to Fedora and EPEL

          As new upstream maintainer for the popular s3cmd program, I have been collecting and making fixes all across the codebase for several months. In the last couple weeks it has finally gotten stable enough to warrant publishing a formal release. Aside from bugfixes, its primary enhancement is adding support for the AWS Signature v4 method, which is required to create S3 buckets in the eu-central-1 (Frankfurt) region, and is a more secure request-signing method usable in all AWS S3 regions. Since releasing s3cmd v1.5.0, python 2.7.9 (as exemplified in Arch Linux) added support for SSL certificate validation. Unfortunately, that validation broke for SSL wildcard certificates (e.g. *.s3.amazonaws.com). Ubuntu 14.04 has an intermediate flavor of this validation, which also broke s3cmd. A couple quick fixes later, and v1.5.2 is published now.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • elementary OS: is financial support the only way to help a project grow?

              elementary OS is in news again, and for wrong reasons. In the latest blog post, the team accused those users of ‘cheating’ who chose not to ‘pay’ for the software.

            • 5 Reasons To Use Linux Mint And Not Ubuntu

              On the surface there isn’t much difference between Linux Mint and Ubuntu as Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu (except for Linux Mint Debian Edition) and apart from the desktop environment and default applications there isn’t really a difference.

              In this article I am going to list 5 reasons why you would choose Linux Mint over Ubuntu. Now I am well aware that Ubuntu users are going to come back and say that there are loads of reasons to use Ubuntu over Linux Mint and so the counterargument to this list will be made available later in the week.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OpenPi review – a Pi of Things

      The OpenPi on first look is a curious device – a nondescript black box with merely an HDMI and a microUSB slot. There’s no real indication of what it might be, however cracking it open reveals a custom board connected to a Raspberry Pi compute module. Inside as standard is a wireless dongle and a bluetooth receiver for a mini-wireless keyboard/mouse combo. It seems quite simple, and to be fair in this state it is – it’s basically just a (fully-functioning) Raspberry Pi.

      That’s actually the point of it though. With the compute module and the OpenPi board, you have full access to the usual Raspberry Pi power and settings and such. The selling point of the OpenPi though is that you can then take this board – which is completely open hardware – and modify the plans yourself to make a custom board that fits your needs. Wireless Things thinks of it as an easier way to create an internet of things, and they’ve succeeded in creating the platform to do this really.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Study says Android 4.0 and iOS 8 are most likely to crash your apps

          Ever had the feeling that certain phone operating systems are more likely to crash your apps than others? It’s not just you. Crittercism has posted its latest breakdown of crash reports from about 20,000 apps, and it’s clear that certain operating systems aren’t as friendly as others. On Android, Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) is most likely to wreck your day; KitKat (4.4) is close behind, while Lollipop’s early reputation for glitches apparently doesn’t affect apps. With Apple devices, however, the tables turn. While iOS’ app crash rate is lower overall, iOS 8 is a bit more problematic than its predecessor. That’s not surprising given that Apple hasn’t had as much time to tackle issues in 8, but you may feel better if you’re still holding on to 7.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Update for Samsung Galaxy S4 Features New User Interface: Device Receives New Google OS

          The update is now available for users in different parts of the world such as Russia, India, Slovakia, Germany and Czech Republic. Most European countries can also enjoy the update already. However, Galaxy S4 users from the US should wait for their mobile carriers to roll out the update.

        • iOS versus Android: The text bubble witch hunt

          There’s another petty iOS versus Android controversy brewing. Apparently some folks have gotten it into their heads that Apple is teaching people to hate anyone who doesn’t use an iPhone by displaying SMS messages in green and iMessage messages in blue.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Update For Moto X 2013 Edition Delayed, Motorola Reveals The Reason Behind It

          In October 2014, Google announced the arrival of a new firmware update, Android 5.0 Lollipop. Motorola has been among the brands that promised the new firmware would be available to its devices. Motorola said that Android 5.0 Lollipop would be introduced in its flagships devices including 2013 editions of Moto G and Moto X.

        • Moto E and Moto Maxx get Android 5.0 Lollipop update

          The mobile phone manufacturer made the Android update announcement on their official Twitter account on Feb. 12, saying that Android 5.0 Lollipop can now be downloaded for Moto Maxx and Moto E in selected markets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 36 Won’t Bring Native YouTube HTML5 Playback, But Will Sync Pinned Tiles

        Only ten days from today, on February 24, Mozilla will upgrade its ever-popular Firefox web browser to version 36.0, a release that won’t bring the highly anticipated native HTML5 playback on YouTube, according to a recent discussion on the Mozilla bug tracker, but will finally allow users to sync their new tab page’s pinned tiles across all of their devices where Mozilla Firefox is installed.

      • uBlock ad blocker added to Mozilla’s extensions site

        If you’re in the market for an efficient ad blocker, you can now get uBlock from Mozilla’s extensions site to add it to your Firefox browser. uBlock can be a great alternative to AdBlock Plus and other ad blocking extensions since it seems to use less system resources.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD-Based m0n0wall Firewall/Network OS Announces The End

      For anyone that in the past decade has looked for an embedded firewall/network operating system to build your own router or network device has likely encountered m0n0wall. While m0n0wall has been popular over the years and is powered by FreeBSD, the lead developer of m0n0wall has tossed in the towel after twelve years in development.

    • End of the m0n0wall project

      on this day 12 years ago, I have released the first version of m0n0wall to the public. In theory, one could still run that version – pb1 it was called – on a suitably old PC and use it to control the Internet access of a small LAN (not that it would be recommended security-wise). However, the world keeps turning, and while m0n0wall has made an effort to keep up, there are now better solutions available and under active development.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • I ♥ Free Software 2015

      It is that time of the year again – the day we display our affection to our significant other …and the Free Software we like best.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Deaf group sues Harvard, MIT over online courses

      The National Association for the Deaf (NAD) filed a lawsuit (PDF) against Harvard and MIT yesterday, saying the two universities are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because they don’t properly caption their online course offerings.

Leftovers

  • Should we be flattered or worried that the British accent turns foreigners on?

    I do hope Time Out magazine didn’t rush its Global Dating Survey in order to publish it in time for Valentine’s Day. It would be very much against the spirit of the age. Sir John Chilcot has shown us the way: if an investigation is important, it mustn’t be rushed. We must take time to draw the right conclusions even if hell freezes over first – surely the perfect opportunity for Tony Blair to take up skiing.

  • As Dynasty’s Son, Jeb Bush Used His Connections Freely

    The stream of requests to the White House from Jeb Bush, a young but well-connected Republican leader in South Florida, ranged from the weighty and urgent to the parochial and mundane.

    In 1985, he sent an emotional letter pressing his father, Vice President George Bush, to investigate the detention of Cuban children in Texas, asking, “Shouldn’t there be some compassion?” (The vice president’s reply: “Heartbreaking.”)

    In 1989, after his father became president, Mr. Bush offered his recommendation for the next Supreme Court opening. (“Your suggestion will be given thoughtful consideration,” a senior aide responded.)

  • Woman stung by scorpion on flight from LA to Portland

    A scorpion stung a woman on the hand just before her flight from Los Angeles to Portland took off.

    Flight 567 was taxiing on the runway Saturday night when the passenger was stung, Alaska Airlines spokesman Cole Cosgrove said. The plane returned to the gate, and the woman was checked by medics. She refused additional medical treatment, but she didn’t get back on the plane.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mind control experiments on the mentally ill — Vermont State Hospital and the CIA

      I asked Karen what she thought they were trying to do her. She said that she had no doubt she was a research subject. The purpose of all this was just an extension of MKULTRA – mind control experiments. The CIA and their “Frankenstein” doctors were investigating how and when a person will break, when they will talk, at what point you can make a person do anything you want and when is too much, where they will just die.

      [...]

      Apparently, 3,000 mysterious deaths from 1952-1973 at the Vermont State Hospital, hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled to the Hospital from the CIA, giving deadly and experimental drugs to mental health patients, putting them in strait jackets, giving them no bed, and making them urinate on the floor is not worthy of investigation. Is this not news in part because the CIA was acting criminally, or because these were expendable mental health patients? You tell me.

    • Could supermarkets for poor people tackle the UK’s chronic food poverty?

      It is rare to meet someone in the poverty world who does not profess to be motivated by politics, faith or social injustice. But Mark Game, who runs Community Shop, seems almost embarrassed by the idea that he might be trying to do anything other than run a successful business. Practical problem-solving, he says, is his thing. He is not religious, and he is not really a politics person.

    • Pakistan Polio Update: Vaccination Team Attacked In Khyber Agency; Second Team Disappears In Baluchistan Province

      Resistance to polio campaigns in Pakistan have been growing since the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. The CIA had used a vaccination campaign as a cover for gathering information on the whereabouts of the al Qaeda leader.

  • Security

    • Facebook bug could have ERASED the ENTIRE WORLD

      The flaw potentially allowed mass deletion of photos using the identification number of a target album and an attacker’s Facebook Android app token. Any scripts to pull off this trick could be stopped by security controls like rate limiters.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What Libya’s Unraveling Means

      Largely overshadowed by the crises in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine, Libya’s unraveling has received comparatively little attention over the past few months. As this oil-rich nation veers toward complete chaos, world leaders would be wise to redouble efforts led by the United Nations to broker a power-sharing deal among warring factions.

    • Dome of fire: Libya’s largest oil field sabotaged, company releases footage

      Libya’s Waha Oil Company has posted a video on its Facebook page showing the fire that raged through El Sarir oil field and halted oil flows to the Hariga port, in what is believed to be an act of sabotage.

    • Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Confessed Plotter Gives Insight into Radicalization

      In 2006, 21-year-old Fahim Ahmad was arrested and charged with leading a group of young men who planned to bomb power stations, take hostages and “behead politicians” in order to compel the Canadian government to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Ahmad was also accused of planning to travel abroad to join Islamist insurgents fighting in foreign conflicts.

    • al-Qaeda’s Feud with Denmark

      Denmark is a relatively small country, with a population of 5.7 million. But it is relatively wealthy, being the 35th largest economy in the world, producing more goods and services than Malaysia, Israel or the Philippines. Its military is more important than the country’s small size would suggest, since it is well supplied with fighter jets.

      The country is clearly in al-Qaeda’s sights, and not only because of the Jyllands Posten publication in 2007 of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. A Danish secret agent Morten Storm, went public with claims that he was key to tracking down Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born propagandist for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen. On the basis of Storm’s information, he says, the US were able to launch drone strikes against al-Awlaki and to kill him in September, 2011. AQAP therefore has a vendetta against Denmark. The country also supported the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq, so that Daesh / ISIL sympathizers have an animus against it. The Danish air force is bombing the radicals in Iraq nowadays.

    • New shooting in Copenhagen: 3 wounded, including 2 police

      Police say three people have been wounded, including two police officers, in a shooting in downtown Copenhagen.

    • Denmark On High Alert After Copenhagen Terror Attack Kills One

      Multiple reports indicated that shots were fired early Sunday morning at a Copenhagen synagogue. It was not immediately clear if the shooting was related to the earlier killing at the free speech event.

    • Gunman Believed to Be Behind 2 Copenhagen Attacks Is Fatally Shot, Police Say
    • Police Kill Suspect In Copenhagen Shootings

      Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected of carrying out shooting attacks at a free speech event and then at a Copenhagen synagogue, killing two men, including a member of Denmark’s Jewish community. Five police officers were also wounded in the attacks.

      Officials have not identified the perpetrator but say it is possible he was imitating the terror attacks last month in Paris in which Islamic radicals carried out a massacre at the Charlie Hebdo newsroom followed by an attack on Jews at a kosher grocery store.

    • Danish police believe they killed gunman behind two Copenhagen shootings that killed 2, wounded 5

      By early Sunday, Danish police hunting for the shooter in each attack — one of which has been labeled a terrorist act — had shot and killed a man who opened fire on them near a train station, officials said.

    • Police say Copenhagen gunman had criminal record, gang past

      A Danish filmmaker was killed in the first attack. Nine hours later, a security guard protecting a bat mitzvah near a synagogue was slain. Five police officers were wounded in the shootings.

    • Copenhagen shootings suspect was ‘known to police’

      The suspect was from Copenhagen but has not been named. He had been “on the radar” of the intelligence services, police said. They have recovered a weapon believed to have been used in the first attack.

    • Israeli leader calls for mass Jewish influx after attack

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that at a time of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, Israel is the only place where Jews can truly feel safe. His comments triggered an angry response from Copenhagen’s chief rabbi, Jair Melchior, who said he was “disappointed” by the remarks.

    • Danish chief rabbi responds to Netanyahu: Terror is not a reason to move to Israel

      Netanyahu responds to Copenhagen attack: Wave of terror attack in which Jews are killed for being Jews will continue – Jews of Europe, Israel is your home.

    • Declassified Report: US Helped Israel Obtain Hydrogen Bomb

      The US assisted Israel in developing the hydrogen bomb, according to a declassified report by the US Department of Defense. The move violated international laws the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act enacted in 1978 which codified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty the US signed.

    • US Confirmed Existence of Israeli H-Bomb Program in 1987

      Back in 1987, according to a tightly-held report produced for the Pentagon, (PDF) the Israelis were “developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level.”

    • Rethinking the unthinkable

      A new report from the US National Academies looks at the ‘wildly, utterly, howlingly barking mad’ idea of geoengineering the climate.

      [...]

      The NAS report refers to ‘climate intervention’, a phrase that joins ‘climate engineering’ and ‘climate remediation’ as recent attempts to rebrand geoengineering. But at least with this new phrase there is recognition of the almost complete absence of engineering in geoengineering. The rapid growth of geoengineering as a form of magical thinking makes it easy to forget that the technologies are largely imaginary. Scientists talk as though we could cool the planet tomorrow. The truth is that our technologies are no closer to being able to do this than they were at the end of world war two. We may pretend towards certainty but when it comes to geoengineering, it is tempting to conclude that, as William Goldman said about Hollywood, “nobody knows anything”.

    • Chill factor at ‘CIA’ weather query

      A leading American climate scientist has said he felt “scared” when a shadowy organisation claiming to represent the CIA asked him about the possibility of weaponised weather.

      Professor Alan Robock received a call three years ago from two men wanting to know if experts would be able to spot a hostile force’s attempts to upset the US climate.

      But he suspected the real intention was to find out how feasible it might be to secretly interfere with the climate of another country.

    • Weaponized weather inquiry alarms Rutgers University climate scientist

      A climate expert was alarmed when a mysterious organization claiming to be part of the CIA asked him whether he would be able to identify cases of weaponized weather attempts against the United States.

    • What About CIA Query Over The Possibility Of Weaponised Weather

      How feasible it might be to secretly interfere with the climate of another country? A leading American climate scientist has said he felt “scared” when a shadowy organisation claiming to represent the CIA asked him about the possibility of weaponised weather.

    • Why CIA Movie The Interview Obstructs Peace in Korea

      The ending of the movie introduces a particularly unrealistic and irresponsible message: that killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will result in a successful revolution by liberal dissidents. Living conditions in North Korea are so harsh that a revolution would have happened long ago if the hardship was really blamed on the government, rather than on US-led sanctions and diplomatic offensives. Although hawks and anti-communists often point at emigration out of North Korea as evidence of widespread political dissidence within the country, the argument does not resist serious scrutiny. A 2005 survey of 1346 North Korean émigrés living in China found that 95% had left their country for economic reasons, with only 2% leaving out of political dissatisfaction. According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, political refugees are a small minority even among the émigrés that chose to resettle in the South: out of the 20,108 that had resettled by April 2011, only 7% indicated leaving because of dissatisfaction with the system. A 2011 South Korean survey of 102 North Koreans émigrés in China further showed that, even though 80% acknowledged that the South Korean economy gave the possibility of a better life than in the North, only 2% would want Korea to be reunified under a capitalist system. Obviously, even even if Kim Jong-Un was not just replaced with a new socialist leader, the country would be much more likely to descend into a protracted civil war than transform into a liberal democracy. While Americans may think they can solve the problem of nuclear-armed warlords battling for supremacy by marching into Pyongyang, so will the Chinese. This would leave us at best with a new, bloody division of Korean lands, and at worst with a new World War.

    • U.S. Closing Embassy In Yemen

      The State Department confirmed late Tuesday that it has closed the U.S. Embassy in Yemen and evacuated its staff because of the political crisis and security concerns following the takeover of much of the country by Shiite rebels.

    • CIA scales back presence in Yemen

      The closure of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen has forced the CIA to significantly scale back its counterterrorism presence in the country, according to current and former U.S. officials who said the evacuation represents a major setback in operations against al-Qaida’s most dangerous affiliate.

    • After Chaotic Withdrawal CIA Slashes Operations in Yemen

      With the takeover of Yemen by Shiite rebels, Western nations are stumbling over themselves to evacuate diplomats. The US announced its embassy’s closure, and Britain and France are soon to follow. But also racing for the exit is the CIA, potentially leaving Yemen – and the world – vulnerable to al-Qaeda attacks.

    • The chaos in Yemen is a much trickier problem for the US than people realize

      The US evacuation of its embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, leaves a Middle Eastern country with 25 million citizens, a leading Al Qaeda branch, and real estate along one of the world’s busiest oil transit choke points without much of an American diplomatic presence.

    • Fmr. U.S. Amb. to Russia:McFaul: Putin Believes CIA led Ukrainian ‘Coup’
    • The Government Is Losing Territory In Eastern Ukrainians’ Hearts And Minds

      Ukraine’s 10-month attempt to reclaim its easternmost provinces has only made locals there hate the central government even more.

    • Putin Wins, Obama Loses, in Draft Plan for Ukraine

      U.S. President Barack Obama is not mentioned there; but, for him to reject their deal, and to send lethal weapons to Ukraine now and so escalate the war and its massive bloodshed — which has already cost “up to 50,000” dead and millions of refugees — would be extremely embarrassing for the United States: no American “boots on the ground,” just tens of thousands of Ukrainian corpses under it, in a war that Obama himself had initiated (and even the founder of Stratfor, the “private CIA” firm, says that the February 2014 overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which started the war, was “the most blatant coup in history,” which it certainly was, and is increasingly recognized as having been).

    • Female suicide bomber kills 16 in northeast Nigeria

      A teenage female suicide bomber blew herself up at crowded bus station in northeast Nigeria on Sunday, killing at least 16 and wounding 30 others.

      Most of the victims were children who had either been selling peanuts or begging for money at the time of the explosion, said witnesses.

    • PNP gave FBI the finger!

      They didn’t have a choice. Giving the FBI Marwan’s dirty finger is apparently part of the deal. In any case, we didn’t have the means to determine if the chopped finger belongs to Marwan. The US, on the other hand, has DNA sample from the imprisoned brother of Marwan as well as the facilities to perform the tests.

    • Free Syrian Army Sold Kayla Mueller to ISIS

      Jurgen Todenhofer, the German journalist who lived with ISIS recently in Iraq and Syria, said they had all the best weapons, and ISIS told him they buy all their weapons from the FSA. American taxpayers have sent their hard earned dollars to the FSA through numerous acts passed in the US Congress; most were championed by Sen. John McCain, Republican of Arizona. When Kayla was kidnapped, her parents contacted officials in Arizona, her home area, and they contacted Sen. John McCain.

    • Group plans to protest public presentation

      On Tuesday, a Laramie-based group called Wyoming Citizens Against Torture plans to protest a public presentation by Lynne Cheney, who will be accompanied by her husband and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

    • Telling the Truth About Religious Violence

      President Barack Obama committed the ultimate political blunder the other day. He blurted out the truth.

      Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, he warned his Christian brethren against “getting up on our high horse” when condemning the violence of Muslim terrorists.

      “During the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

      Naturally, all hell broke loose.

      The Rupert Murdoch army launched into full attack, supported by Rush Limbaugh air strikes. Rabid Fox News commentators, foaming at the mouth, fought each other for control of the mics to condemn the president’s remarks as “un-American” and, even worse, liberal. He was derided as irreligious, weak, and not a real American.

    • CIA torture undermined U.S. interests: Column

      U.S. ‘intelligence’ repelled moderates, boosted extremist recruitment in Middle East.

    • Why the CIA Killed Imad Mughniyeh

      The CIA doesn’t assassinate often anymore, so when it does the agency picks its targets carefully. The story uncovered last weekend by the Washington Post and Newsweek the CIA’s reported role in the February 2008 assassination of Hezbollah master terrorist Imad Mughniyeh is the stuff of a Hollywood spy thriller. A team of CIA spotters in Damascus tracking a Hezbollah terrorist wanted for decades; a custom-made explosive shaped to kill only the target and placed in the spare tire of an SUV parked along the target’s route home; intelligence gathered by Israelis, paired with a bomb built and tested in North Carolina, taking out a man responsible for the deaths of more Americans than anyone else until 9/11.

    • Americans bearing drones

      When President Aquino first faced the nation to speak about the raid that killed Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as Marwan, but also left 44 Special

      Action Force troopers dead, he said the Philippine National Police had gathered “actionable intelligence” on the whereabouts of Marwan and his Filipino protégé,

      Basit Usman. The phrase has been repeated many times since, during the testimony of various police officers in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

    • HOW AMERICA SCREWS UP THE WORLD WITHOUT EVER LETTING ITS PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING

      Brian Williams, American television network anchor caught telling his audience a fantasy version of his experience on a foreign assignment, has unintentionally provided us with a near perfect allegory and tale of caution about American journalism and the role it plays in politics and foreign affairs.

    • How Does the Pentagon Keep Fooling Reporters About Its Tech Research Agency?

      Last Sunday, Leslie Stahl used the coveted first segment on CBS’s 60 Minutes to do a puff-piece on the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Project Research Agency. Her story, which included a minor scoop about the agency’s work on cyber security, was covered all week in the tech press and gave DARPA another opportunity to strut its stuff on the national stage.

    • The long shadows of Augusto Pinochet: Peace Boat passengers meet survivors of the other 9/11 in Valparaíso, Chile

      For most North Americans, the mention of 9/11 evokes grey airplanes against white cirrus; slow television seconds; and the obscene inward folding of metal and glass.

      This collective memory is video-looped on CNN specials, honored by fire-fighter parades and nurtured at candlelit vigils, so that peripheral details – whether we were at biology class that day, or had told an ex we still loved them – can stick to its sides like post-it notes.

      But 9/11 has entirely different associations in Chile, more difficult to pin to a central image. For Erika Arbulu, who met with a Peace Boat group when the ship docked in Valparaíso last week, the day began with radio interference, and then military songs over the transmitter.

      At 7 am on September 11, 1973, Admiral José Toribio Merino’s navy captured the Chilean port city of Valparaíso. At 8 am General Augusto Pinochet’s army – secretly backed by the CIA – moved on Santiago. And by 2:30 pm, Chilean jets had bombed their own presidential palace and Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first popularly elected socialist president, was dead.

    • Former Army Sniper Pleads Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Conspiracy

      A former Army sergeant with the nickname Rambo pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiring to murder a federal drug agent and another man, in what the government has said was his post-military role as a contract killer.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • What does the Swiss Leaks tell news editors

      If you are in charge for a news organization, quit following the official statements all the time and start devoting more space and energy to look for those persons who are willing to talk, those potential journalists who are more than just “sources.”

      Instead of fearing the consequences and punishment, you can assure them to protect their identity.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Study Finds Rising Levels of Plastics in Oceans

      While Americans generate 2.6 kilograms of waste per person per day, or 5.7 pounds, to China’s 1.10 kilograms, the United States ranked lower on the list because of its more efficient waste management, Professor Jambeck said.

    • 140 whales die in beach stranding

      About 140 pilot whales which stranded themselves on a remote stretch of beach in New Zealand have died, an official said today.

    • Why Are So Many Environmental Activists Being Murdered?

      Jeannette Kawas was an accountant whose concept of value was broader than any balance sheet. No number could capture for her the natural wealth she saw in the forests, rivers, beaches and mangrove swamps of Punta Sal, near her hometown of Tela in northern Honduras.

      In the 1980s, cattle ranchers, resort developers and loggers all wanted a slice of this landscape. As their hunger grew, Kawas formed an environmental organization, PROLANSATE, to protect the land, and in 1994, it convinced the government to allow it to create and manage a new national park there.

      Within three months PROLANSATE renamed Punta Sal National Park to honor its founder, who was shot dead in her home on February 6, 1995. Years later a ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights said Kawas’s work in defense of the environment had motivated the murder.

    • The fight to save one of the world’s oldest fish species

      Water from the iced-over Connecticut River numbed my hands as I cradled a hard, scaleless fish at the US Geological Survey’s anadromous fish laboratory at Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Its back was dark brown, its belly cream. Five rows of bony plates ran the length of its thin body to the shark-like tail. Four barbels covered with taste buds dangled from its flat snout in front of the sucker mouth. At 20 inches it was a baby. Adults can measure 14 ft and weigh 800 pounds.

    • Climate science denialists in tailspin over hottest years

      All the recent declarations that 2014 was the hottest year on record seems to have prompted a spate of panic denial among climate change contrarians, denialists and ideologues.

      We’ve had a declaration of one of the “most extraordinary scandals of our time” from UK climate science manglers Christopher Booker and James Delingpole.

      The accusation is that climate scientists have been “fiddling” the world’s temperature data with the express motivation of showing the world is warmer than it really is.

    • Great Barrier Reef: warmer waters helping coral-eating starfish thrive

      The survival chances of crown-of-thorns starfish increase by as much as 240% if sea-surface temperatures rise 2C, say Australian researchers

    • Coalition Tells U.S. Export-Import Bank: Don’t Use U.S. Dollars to Finance Coal Project that Threatens the Great Barrier Reef
  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Real Ruler of Israel: Sheldon Adelson

      To assure this, they did an extraordinary thing: they founded an Israeli newspaper, solely devoted to the furthering of the interests of Binyamin Netanyahu. Not of the Likud, not of a specific policy, but of Netanyahu personally.

    • Storytelling ability connected Brian Williams with viewers but also led to his downfall

      …NBC has also declined to publicly discuss any details relating to Williams and his suspension.

    • Former Navy SEAL Says Brian Williams’ Embed Story Can’t Be True

      Embattled NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ claim that he once flew on a mission with Navy SEAL Team Six is far-fetched and likely untrue, one former SEAL said on Sunday.

      “What Brian Williams is saying, none of it can be true. For a reporter to be embedded with SEAL Team Six or any Tier One unit, that just doesn’t happen,” Don Mann, the former SEAL, told CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter.

    • 7 Controversial World Leaders the CIA Secretly Thinks Have Psychological Issues

      Pentagon…Vladimir Putin has a form of autism… same kind of people… urged Martin Luther King to commit suicide

    • Former CIA chief controls most of the media in Serbia – report

      American Fund “KKR investment”, headed by former CIA chief General David Petraeus, from October 2013 until this day, in less than a year and a half, has put under its control a significant part of Serbian media, internet portal “Vaseljenska” reported.

    • Inside the Drawings of a Cartoonist for the CIA

      Chip Beck hasn’t taken a typical path for editorial cartoonists. A self-taught artist, he’s mostly worked for the United States government, including for the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. Closer to the end of his career than many local cartoonists, Beck remains as active as any of them.

    • WPost Is Lost in Neocon Fantasyland

      The neocons now control the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, a dangerous development for the American people and the world. Yet, the Post remains the more extreme of the two, pushing for endless confrontations and wars, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • VIDEO: Protesting George Friedman, CEO Of Stratfor, in Austin & San Francisco

      On January 22, journalist and political prisoner Barrett Brown was convicted in a Texas court of controversial charges. In addition to a 63-month sentence, Brown is expected to pay $890,250 in restitution to the private spy agency, Strategic Forecasting (a.k.a. “Stratfor”).

      This monumental fine, which turns a theoretically free citizen into an indentured servant of a corporation, is meant to hold Brown responsible for a hack by the Anonymous group LulzSec — even though the government admitted it didn’t have any concrete evidence to show he’d taken any material part in the hack.

      Jeremy Hammond, a member of LulzSec, pled guilty in May of 2013 and was sentenced to ten years in prison. The hack, carried out under the instruction of the FBI’s agent saboteur and snitch Sabu, revealed millions of emails that showed the complex interrelationship between the private intelligence firm, multinational corporations, and the surveillance state. The emails also revealed how Stratfor had infiltrated activist groups from Texas to India.

      On February 2, 2015, George Friedman, Stratfor’s CEO, was scheduled to sign his book “Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe,” at Book People, an independent bookstore in Austin, Texas. It would be Hammond’s 1,065th day in prison; Brown had been incarcerated for 874.

    • The CIA Is Bringing Amazon’s Marketplace to the Intelligence Community

      Last year, the Central Intelligence Agency took the 17 agencies within the intelligence community to the cloud through a ground-breaking $600 million contract with Amazon Web Services.

    • Spy agencies around the world
    • Facebook Thinks Some Native American Names Are Inauthentic

      The social network has a history of telling its users that the names they’re attempting to use aren’t real. Drag queens and overseas human rights activists, for example, have experienced error messages and problems logging in in the past.

    • Facebook’s Name Policy Strikes Again, This Time at Native Americans

      What do drag queens, burlesque performers, human rights activists in Vietnam and Syria, and Native Americans have in common? They have all been the targets of “real names” enforcement on Facebook. And despite reports from the media last year that seemed to indicate that Facebook has “fixed” the issue, they’re still being targeted.

    • NSA sends Valentine’s Day tweets to insist it’s not listening in on ‘pillow talk’

      The NSA has had a lot of fun with the lovey-dovey holiday by apparently debunking myths that their analysts spy on couples whispering sweet nothings in bed.

    • Our World Eerily Resembles ’1984′ and Might Be Even Scarier

      In 1949, George Orwell published a book that conveyed a dystopian society in a perpetual state of war under the watch of its totalitarian dictator, “Big Brother.” At the time, it was a fascinating concept partly because it echoed the deepening fears around the danger of absolute political authority in Spain, Germany and the Soviet Union. Now, in the Digital Age, “1984” is becoming eerily relevant once again—not because of the political environment, but because of how surveillance technology has started to potentially compromise our privacy.

    • Macedonia: Massive surveillance revelation: 20 000 people wiretapped

      On 10 February, EDRi-member Metamorphosis, expressed grave concern about the publicly announced allegations of mass and unauthorised surveillance of citizens. Invasions of privacy directly affect freedom of expression in Macedonia, and fuel the overall climate of fear and silence.

    • Bugging revelations stun journalists as inquiry unfolds

      One of those bugged all those years ago was Nick Kaldas, now Deputy Commissioner. Another was journalist Steve Barrett.

    • ‘Vexatious’, ‘annoying’ and ‘disruptive’ Press Gazette barred by Met from asking more RIPA questions

      The Metropolitan Police has barred Press Gazette from requesting information about its use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to spy on journalists.

      Last night, the force rejected a Freedom of Information Act request on the grounds that it was the sixth question submitted since September.

      Explaining its decision to reject further FoI requests from Press Gazette, the Met said in an email that it has the right to refuse “vexatious requests… which are intended to be annoying or disruptive or which have a disproportionate impact on a public authority”.

    • The Untold Story: How Radius Brought the Edward Snowden Doc ‘Citizenfour’ to America

      Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, who head the distribution label, discuss the secrecy involved with releasing the controversial film (code names, encrypted messages) and their fears about how it would be received (“Would Harvey fire me?”).

    • 10 things the GCHQ-NSA privacy ruling means for you

      On 6th February 2015, in an unprecedented ruling, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled that for a period of seven years the UK’s intelligence services had been acting unlawfully in accessing communications collected by the NSA.

      [...]

      GCHQ now has seven years of data gathered through a process now ruled unlawful. Seven years of data gathered about millions of innocent people. Privacy International has challenged GCHQ to delete it all, and are working on putting together an online form to help people do so for themselves.

    • Libertarian Students Honor Their Chosen Hero, Edward Snowden

      There are no heroes, only heroic actions. That’s what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told a cheering crowd of more than 1,000 libertarian students at the International Students for Liberty Conference in Washington, D.C. this weekend. Thanks to the magic of modern technology, Snowden was able to accept his award via video feed, and answered questions from ISFL President Alexander McCobin.

  • Civil Rights

    • Basis for Case in Brooklyn Police Shooting: No Threat Led Officer to Fire

      On the surface, the police shooting of an unarmed man in a housing project stairwell in Brooklyn seemed like a freakish accident.

      The officer, Peter Liang, told his superiors that his gun had gone off unintentionally, the bullet rattling off a wall and into an unsuspecting man’s chest, killing him. Even the New York City police commissioner, William J. Bratton, said there was no suggestion that the officer intended to shoot the man, Akai Gurley.

    • Detained reporter’s family finds new lawyer to represent him in Iran

      The family of a Washington Post reporter imprisoned in Iran for more than half a year has engaged a prominent defense attorney known for taking sensitive cases involving Americans ensnared in legal issues in the country.

    • Pennsylvania’s governor suspends the death penalty

      “A moratorium is just a ploy,” the association said in a statement. “Make no mistake, this action is not about waiting for a study– it’s about the governor ignoring duly enacted law and imposing his personal views against the death penalty.”

    • Is US democracy in peril?

      In the US, there has been a culture of impunity for the CIA operatives responsible for torture of suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks

    • European Parliament to investigate CIA’s torture and rendition operations in EU

      The European Parliament today voted to investigate the extent of the CIA’s detention, torture and rendition programme in EU countries.

      The decision comes two months after the US Senate intelligence committee published a redacted summary of its six year investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme.

      The European Parliament’s committees on civil liberties, foreign affairs and human rights previously investigated the CIA’s programme in 2006, and they will now resume their inquiry with new details from the Senate’s report.

    • CIA torture: “Torture calls into question the very basis of our values”

      The torture methods used by the CIA to extract information from detainees have sparked another debate in Parliament in the wake of the US Senate publishing its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme. MEPs were asked to vote on two different resolutions on this on 11 February, but only one of them was adopted. We talked to S&D member Birgit Sippel and EPP member Elmar Brok to find out why their political groups had different views on the issue.

    • MEPs disagree over what to do about CIA torture report

      The torture methods used by the CIA to extract information from detainees have sparked another debate in Parliament in the wake of the US Senate publishing its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

    • Parliament to resume investigations into CIA-led operations in EU countries

      Parliament’s civil liberties, foreign affairs and human rights committees will resume investigations into the CIA’s alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in EU countries, in the light of the US Senate’s new revelations of the use of torture by the CIA, says a resolution passed on Wednesday. MEPs also again call on EU member states to investigate these allegations and prosecute those involved.

    • My Gitmo client’s interpreter worked for the CIA

      Latest embarrassing incident demonstrates that military tribunals cannot mete out justice to detainees

    • Guantánamo Hearing Suspended when Defendants Claim Court Translator Previously Worked at CIA Torture Site
    • Gitmo Translator’s Past At CIA Throws Wrench In Sept. 11 Trial

      Government prosecutors confirmed in a Guantanamo Bay war court today that an interpreter for one of five alleged co-conspirators in the Sept. 11 attacks had earlier worked for the CIA. But they insisted no federal agency had tried to place the interpreter on the defense team to gather intelligence. Defense lawyers cried foul and asked that all further proceedings be suspended until the issue is resolved.

    • 9/11 lawyers trade barbs over CIA ‘black site’ translator turned Guantanamo defense linguist
    • Gitmo translator ID’d as CIA ‘black site’ agent
    • USA: Guantánamo 9/11 military hearing halted after defendant claims court interpreter worked at CIA black site
    • Coincidence or infiltration? Trial of alleged 9/11 plotters halted after accused ‘recognises interpreter’ from CIA ‘black site’
    • CIA chief under pressure to resign after leak of lawyer’s memo

      John Brennan, the CIA head, has strongly denied that his organisation spied on Senate staff working on last year’s report on the agency’s involvement in torture and secret rendition – but memos from a CIA lawyer suggest the contrary.

    • The CIA Lawyer Who Led a Secret Effort to Spy on the Senate

      When the CIA got caught spying on Senate staffers working on the 6,000 page torture report, John Brennan, who heads the agency, denied the transgression. “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into computers, nothing could be further from the truth,” he said on March 11, 2014. “That’s beyond the scope of reason.” Four months later, the CIA Inspector General found that the CIA did, in fact, improperly spy on the Senate intelligence committee. After that, Brennan apologized.

    • ACLU Won’t Give Up on Full CIA Torture Report

      The ACLU had gone to the court in Washington, D.C., last month seeking to protect its right to receive a full copy of the 6,963-page report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA’s use of torture.

    • ACLU Wins Round on ‘Torture Report’

      The American Civil Liberties Union early Monday withdrew an emergency motion filed late last month in its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that blocked the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from collecting all copies of the committee’s full, unredacted report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program.”

    • CIA needs just 6 years to release data, not 28

      The CIA has some good news for a group demanding a copy of the agency’s database of nearly 12 million declassified documents: it won’t take 28 years to release the set, only six.

      A Central Intelligence Agency official told a federal judge Friday that the spy agency has found a way to streamline the review process so that the 11.6 million pages of records requested by the open government outlet Muckrock can be released with only a “spot check” of the documents for snippets of stray classified information that might get tangled up in the files during the release process.

    • Shielding US officials involved with torture has decadeslong precedent
    • White House won’t return spy doc without court approval

      The Obama administration isn’t planning on handing 6,900 classified pages of a Senate Intelligence Committee report back to Capitol Hill, until a court has time to weigh in.

      In a court filing on Friday, the Department of Justice said it would let a lawsuit over the secret report play out before giving it back to Congress, as the new chairman of the Intelligence Committee has asked.

    • 9/11 defendant sodomized at CIA ‘black site’ still suffers injuries, lawyer says

      A lawyer for a man accused of helping to plot the 9/11 attacks said today his captive Saudi client was rectally abused while in CIA custody, “and continues to bleed now, at least eight years later.” He and other men were forced to submit to rectal exams with excessive force, conducted by CIA operatives. The other words for this are rape, or sodomy.

    • 9/11 Defendant Claims Ongoing Injuries From CIA Torture

      The one refreshing thing about the hearings in the 9/11 military commission case at Guantanamo this week is that defense lawyers are now allowed to say the word “torture” without the censor blacking out the audio feed. And the word “torture” came up a lot.

    • 9/11 defendant still suffering from CIA ‘black site’ injuries, lawyer says at Guantánamo
    • 9/11 defendant still suffering from ‘black site’ injuries, lawyer says at Guantánamo
    • Medical records sought for Saudi facing Guantanamo trial
    • The only US government employee jailed over torture has been released
    • John Kiriakou: CIA Whistleblower Freed, Would Do It Again
    • ‘No one went to jail but me’: CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou speaks out
    • Espionage: Leaking Against the Impossible
    • Oh, No: The ACLU Helped Jail CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou

      The ACLU, one of the United States’ most respected civil liberties organizations, collaborated with President Reagan’s CIA in writing secrecy laws that enabled the prosecution of Bush-era CIA whistle-blower John Kiriakou, according to Mark Ames at Pando Daily.

    • EXCLUSIVE: US President Ordered Torture, Jailed CIA Agent Tells Sputnik

      John Kiriakou is out of prison two years after his conviction under The Espionage Act. In his first exclusive interview after his release, Kiriakou talked to Sputnik about torture, prison life and whistleblower protections and how torture committed by the CIA “was official U.S. policy.”

    • Leaking Against the Impossible: Whistleblower John Kiriakou, CIA Torture and Leaking

      This case reveals, as do whistleblowing cases in general, that the discloser is presumed to be guilty, the tribal member who went against the creed. The result of that disclosure – exposing an illegal program, implemented by individuals who, one would think, would be the subject of prosecution – is evaded. Twisted logic ensues: the perpetrator of abuse escapes the exposure; and the one doing the exposing received due punishment. Rules, not substance, matter.

    • Finding Creative Ways to Torture

      After World War II, Americans led the way in establishing landmark human rights principles, including a repudiation of torture. But more recent U.S. leaders have chosen to disgrace those ideals by devising euphemisms and end-runs to continue the barbaric practices, as Peter Costantini describes.

    • VIDEO: Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says “I Would Do It All Again” to Expose Torture
    • Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says “I Would Do It All Again” to Expose Torture
    • The real heroes of the War on Terror: 6 brave Americans who defied Bush’s torture doctrine

      If it hadn’t been for sergeant named Joseph Darby, we might never have known about the abuses at Abu Ghraib

    • American heroes who said no to torture
    • This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you

      “Enhanced interrogation”: the George W. Bush administration bureaucrats who coined the term had perfect pitch. The apparatchiks of Kafka’s Castle would have admired the grayness of the euphemism. But while it sounds like some new kind of focus group, it turns out it was just anodyne branding for good old-fashioned torture.

      Unfortunately, the debate around it unleashed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report has largely missed the point.

      Certainly, the report did provide overwhelming evidence that torture did not produce useful intelligence. The CIA had concluded previously that torture is “ineffective”, “counterproductive,” and “will probably result in false answers.”

      An FBI agent wrote that one prisoner had cooperated and provided “important actionable intelligence” months before being tortured. Some CIA agents and soldiers reportedly questioned the legality of the policies and resisted carrying them out.

      A Bush Justice Department lawyer acknowledged: “It is difficult to quantify with confidence and precision the effectiveness of the program.” In any case, it is inherently impossible to know that any intelligence purportedly extracted by torture could not have been elicited by legal interrogation.

    • ​CIA torture based on ‘voodoo science’ of advocates – US intelligence expert
    • Fordham faculty petitions to revoke CIA director’s honorary degree

      A new, faculty-initiated petition is requesting that Fordham University revoke its honorary degree to John Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Calling Brennan’s honorary degree “indefensible,” the petition calls upon Fordham University to revoke the degree, citing what the petitioners call his defense and support of torture.

    • Fordham University Faculty Members Want CIA Director John Brennan’s Honorary Degree Taken Back
    • Was Jeffrey Sterling Trial a Gov’t Effort to Divide Investigative Journalists & Whistleblowers?

      In January, a federal jury in Virginia convicted former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on nine felony counts, including espionage. Prosecutors accused Sterling of leaking classified information about a secret operation to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program to journalist James Risen of The New York Times. Risen later revealed how the risky operation could have inadvertently aided the Iranian nuclear program. Supporters of Sterling described him as a whistleblower, but prosecutors claimed he leaked the information to settle a score with the agency. Sterling is scheduled to be sentenced in April. He faces a maximum possible sentence of decades in prison. We speak with Norman Solomon, who reported from the Sterling trial. “We’ve got to support investigative journalists and whistleblowers. We can’t allow the government to drive a wedge between the two,” Solomon says, co-founder of RootsAction.org, which has launched public campaigns to support both Sterling and Risen.

    • Barney Frank: Making a case against torture

      It was this mindset that informed the decision to unleash the CIA to use the methods that the Senate Intelligence Committee report correctly criticizes. If our very survival as a nation was imperiled by Islamic fanaticism, then some justification might have existed for Cheney’s sneering dismissal of any concern that we were brutalizing prisoners and his lack of any regard for the fact that dozens of undeniably innocent people were among the victims.

    • Guantánamo diary… The men behind the wire

      I’m not sure how one is supposed to review a book like Guantánamo Diary. It’s not literature; its historical account of a complex episode is subjective; and perhaps a fifth of its contents are redacted. Some of the pages are comically over-censored: a slab of black with only one word left uncut. Page 301 begins “But anyway. . .” and then, there are seven pages of redactions (see picture below). But even if Guantánamo Diary is not a perfect book, it is a necessary one.

    • Woman Says Cop Beating Caused Miscarriage

      Kenya Harris sued the City of Albany, Ga., police chief John Proctor and officers Ryan Jenkins and Richard Brown, Jr. for excessive force, assault and battery and infliction of emotional distress.

    • Turkish courts being turned into ‘revenge’ instruments says outgoing top judge

      The outgoing head of Turkey’s top court launched a final broadside against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, warning that the judiciary was being turned into an “instrument of revenge” by politicians.

    • Malaysian cartoonist Zunar arrested for criticising Anwar Ibrahim ruling

      Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – taken into custody after using Twitter to criticise judiciary involved in sodomy case

    • New Report on Lynching Reveals Sinister Legacy of ‘Racial Terrorism’ in America

      Capital punishment and ongoing racial injustice in the United States are “direct descendents” of lynching, charges a new study, which found that the pre-World War II practice of “racial terrorism” has had a much more profound impact on race relations in America than previously acknowledged.

      The most comprehensive work done on lynching to date, the investigation unearthed a total of 3,959 racially-motivated lynchings during the period between Reconstruction and World War II, which is at least 700 more killings than previously reported.

    • The police need to be reminded of their place in a free society

      From monitoring sales of Charlie Hebdo to using facial recognition technology on innocent people, Britain’s police are showing a lack of respect for our freedoms

    • Kevin Davis wrongly killed by police after calling 911 for help

      Kevin Davis did the right thing. On December 29, Kevin called 911 for help. His girlfriend, April, had just been stabbed and the man who did it, Terrance Hilyard, fled the scene. Within minutes, the family dog, Tooter, and Kevin were each fatally shot by Dekalb County Police Officer Joseph Pitts.

    • Shot three times by police, then isolated in hospital. Why was Kevin Davis’s family barred from seeing him?

      Police in Georgia who cuffed a man to his hospital bed for two days after he was fatally shot by an officer have been accused by his family of barring them from visiting him to stop full details of the shooting from being disclosed.

      Kevin Davis was detained at Grady hospital in Atlanta after being shot three times by a DeKalb County police officer, who was responding to a 911 call made by Davis and his girlfriend when she was stabbed by another man at their apartment in the suburb of Decatur.

    • Walking While Brown, Chapter 6,782

      In further evidence U.S. police forces include way too many racist thugs who slam ‘em to the ground and beat ‘em up first and (possibly) think second, Madison, Ala. police partially paralyzed a 57-year-old Indian gentleman after assaulting him for taking a morning stroll through his engineer son’s affluent white neighborhood. The cops were called after a caller declared Sureshbhai Patel “suspicious,” apparently believing he was scouting garages for the right place to plant a bomb because he hates our freedom, when in fact he was admiring the clean streets before going in to help take care of his newborn grandson. When police accosted him, he repeatedly said “No English” and pointed to his son’s nearby house, but police just pounded him anyway. Surely an understandable mistake, yes? No, said Hank Sherrod, the family’s attorney, who did not mince his words. “There is nothing suspicious about Mr. Patel other than he has brown skin.” The family is suing. On their part, Madison police admitted no crime was committed. They did suspend the officer, launch an investigation, and wish Mr. Patel “a speedy recovery.” Only in America, where this sort of thing inexplicably keeps happening, day in and day out, far too often, and will likely continue to until a big enough fuss is made about it.

    • Miami cops flood Waze with fake police sightings

      Hundreds of Miami police officers aren’t happy with Waze’s police-finding feature, and they’re not content with asking Google to remove it. According to NBC Miami, a number of cops in the city are taking matters into their own hands, downloading the app and inundating it with fake police sightings. We’re sure a lot of people love the app for that particular feature, as they can use it to make sure they’re driving well below the speed limit in the presence of law enforcement. Some American officers told AP last month, though, that the app could pose a threat, as wanne-be cop killers can easily use it to find a target.

    • Hundreds protest police shooting in Washington state

      Hundreds gathered in southeastern Washington on Saturday to protest police brutality in the wake of a deadly shooting of a man who had been throwing rocks at the police.

      Before the midday rally, children and adults hand-lettered signs, calling for justice for Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who witnesses say was running away when police fired on him Tuesday in a busy intersection.

    • Protesters Hold Rally outside CIA Headquarters in Virginia

      American anti-war activists gathered in front of a CIA base in Virginia, asking for the shutdown of Guantanamo prison.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Lawyer doubts admissions will affect Dotcom

        The first of seven people indicted over Kim Dotcom’s now defunct Megaupload website has pleaded guilty to copyright infringement charges.

      • YODA Back, It Is: Law To Let You Actually Own Your Devices Even When Copyright Gets In The Way

        Last year, we wrote about Rep. Blake Farenthold introducing a small, but important piece of copyright legislation, the You Own Devices Act (YODA), which just says that if you buy some piece of computerized equipment, you can sell it with any included software, without having to get permission from the software provider. As we noted, the reality is that this is just making it clear that the first sale doctrine applies to computer equipment too — which shouldn’t need a new law, but some tech companies (especially in the networking space) feel otherwise.

      • ISP’s “Three Strikes” Scheme is Weird and Broken

        Eircom was one of the first ISPs in Europe to implement a voluntary “three strikes” anti-piracy program but strangely it’s now hiding the prospect of disconnections from customers. Together with music group IFPI, they also fail heavily on the piracy education front.

English Translation of Süddeutsche Zeitung Article About Benoît Battistelli, Željko Topić, and EPO Tyranny

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Summary: A recent report from Süddeutsche Zeitung explains the great degree to which Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić exercise total control over the EPO

We quickly enough (more than we had expected) received an English translation of the article from Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Techrights story that we published earlier today will be greatly helped by the following article’s text (coherent translation):

Süddeutsche Zeitung No. 268, Friday, 21 November 2014

[English translation]

Uprising in the Realm of the Sun King

Benoît Battistelli is President of the European Patent Office; now his staff are challenging him on the streets. Their accusation: The Boss is overstepping the limit with all the powers at his command

By Katja Riedel and Christopher Schrader

Munich – More and more people are gathering this Thursday lunchtime in front of the European Patent Office (EPO) building near the Hackerbrücke in Munich. At first they’re about a hundred, and then in their hundreds. Since that Thursday, about half the staff have been on strike – and the issue is not money. It’s a matter of basic rights, as the people on the megaphones emphasise: “Yes to reform, no to this President”, so the slogans run.

This President: That’s Benoît Battistelli, 64 years old, boss of the Office since 2010. The protest, during which the demonstrators are aiming to march to the French General Consulate, marks a new climax in a conflict which has been festering for more than two years at the EPO, whose headquarters are located in Munich, and in which both sides, both the Union and the President, have wheeled out the heavy artillery.

“The EPO has 38 Member States and its offices are not subject to local laws – it is effectively “a state within a state”. And it’s state in a state of war.”Until just before Christmas, according to their direst threats, the staff are intending to gradually bring the institution to a stand-still if the President does not signal that he is ready to negotiate. In that respect, in March this year Battistelli was still brimming with confidence: “In my view, the conflict has reached a peak. I am sure that in six months things will look different,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung at that time. He seems to have been mistaken.

In the mini-state there were many privileges – then the new boss brought a new broom

It all started with Battistelli’s arrival in 2010. The Frenchman, a graduate of the elite administrative academy ENA, was elected by a narrow majority on the Administrative Council to the top job at the international organization. The EPO has 38 Member States and its offices are not subject to local laws – it is effectively “a state within a state”. And it’s state in a state of war.

Originally, Battistelli was supposed to remain in office until July 2016 but this summer the Administrative Council extended his contract despite all the furore. Battistelli took over in July 2010 to remove the privileges which had become established in this mini-state, in Munich as well as at the other locations in Berlin, The Hague, and Vienna. He wants a leaner organization, fewer perks for the staff, who earn 121,000 Euro a year – on average. “We’re sitting very pretty here,” says an insider. Two years after taking office, however, sharper words were being exchanged between the President and the staff representatives. So much so, in fact, that even those who support his aims at reform are now accusing Battistelli of being brutal in his management style.

They’ve come up with a nickname for him – the “Sun King”. His opponents accuse him of exploiting the enormous range of powers which come with his position. In fact, the President has the power to decide on all minutiae related to personnel, in the remotest corner of the Office. He only needs the agreement of the Administrative Council for his proposals for reform, which determine the rights of the personnel.

And what gets discussed at those meetings, at which the representatives of the Member States take part, most of them chief executives of national patent organizations, not necessarily empowered in every state, is behind locked doors: The minutes of the debates are secret, and only some of the decisions are published.

“This summer Battistelli also dismissed the elected staff representatives, and announced a new election – based on his own rules. The EPO management does not recognise the Staff Union as a negotiating partner, and Union officials were recently forced to vacate their rooms in the Office. Battistelli has also reserved the right for himself to approve any ballots concerning strikes.”The staff union SUEPO, which has now called the third strike this year, is not pulling its punches either. Even the festivities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Office last year were interrupted by a chorus of catcalls from critics outside the hall. SUEPO looks after the welfare of just under 7,000 staff members, and it’s getting clear majorities for its calls to strike. As far as Battistelli is concerned, though, the union is only fronting for a small radical minority, as he told the SZ.

The conflict has escalated this year, behind closed doors. A number of events have caused irritation for Mr. Battistelli: For example, the Dutch Vice-President, Wim van der Eijk, was declared to be in a conflict of interest by an internal Board of Appeal, and, much to the annoyance of the management, he is no longer permitted to take part in proceedings about patent oppositions. In addition to that, there have been ugly rumours circulating for the last two years about the Croatian Vice-President Željko Topić and his former activities. Croatian newspapers have reported accusations which relate in particular to his time as the Director of the Croatian State Office for Intellectual Property. Topić disputes these reports and Battistelli has taken a stand against the rumour-mongering. In a memorandum sent to all staff members in February 2013 he declared that all the accusations were groundless. Critics expressed some surprise at this “unconditional amnesty” issued by the President months before the conclusion of an internal inquiry.

This September, the long-time press chief and senior management figure Oswald Schröder, departed from the EPO under mysterious circumstances. Officially it was stated that this was a separation by mutual agreement.

And now the reason why this Thursday the demonstrators were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Hands off Aurélien”. At the beginning of November, a French patent examiner in Munich was suspended and escorted from the building by security personnel.
Neither the management nor the attorney representing the person concerned were prepared to comment on the details of the accusations which had led to his suspension after a long time working on an internal board of appeal. Employees of the EPO do not have legal protection via national courts and only have recourse to this body. In the event of disciplinary proceedings, employees do not have the right to legal counsel nor are they allowed to remain silent with regard to accusations.

This summer Battistelli also dismissed the elected staff representatives, and announced a new election – based on his own rules. The EPO management does not recognise the Staff Union as a negotiating partner, and Union officials were recently forced to vacate their rooms in the Office. Battistelli has also reserved the right for himself to approve any ballots concerning strikes.

All in all, these are decisions which according to expert opinion are in contravention of European Human Rights. The management, however, exonerates itself from criticism by referring to decisions of the Administrative Council: “All we are doing is implementing the
reforms,” says an official from Battistelli’s office.

On the other hand, the reforms which have been adopted allow the President to decide a lot of the details for himself. Those who want to contest his decisions are in a weak position: According to internal rules, the only recourse available is via the International Labour Organization Tribunal in Geneva, which is so overburdened that it takes many years to rule on the cases that come before it. By the time that any of Battistelli’s decisions are subject to legal scrutiny, it is more than likely that the man will already be drawing his pension.

Caption: Stormy times for Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO in Munich.

Later this week we are going to elaborate on SIPO scandals, continuing what started with the case of Rikard Frgacic and the Ivan Kabalin story.

The Case of Rikard Frgacic Versus the Croatian SIPO: Allegation of Corruption in Relation to Trademark Reassignment Under Željko Topić’s Watch: Part XVI

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LH-Angebot-2008
Click for full-sized version

Summary: The EPO branch and the authorities in Germany are facing increased pressure to take action against Željko Topić as German newspapers cover the unprofessional background of Topić and more information about his dodgy behaviour is gradually becoming public knowledge

LAST year, before Željko Topić lost his defamation case (much to the regret of Benoît Battistelli, who blindly defended him), a source had passed us interesting information about Topić’s dirty affairs in his home country, where he he faces many criminal charges. The loss of this latest case serves to legitimise many of the allegations against him, some of which are very serious (bribery for example).

We are worried about the EPO’s management not just because today’s EPO promotes software patents in Europe but because it is deeply corrupt and it attacks its own staff, even breaking the rules in the process. There is also alleged coverup that mirrors what was seen in SIPO, which Topić came from (see the Ivan Kabalin story). As more German papers and some of the English press pick up and grasp these stories we are likely to see increased pressure for Topić to resign (or be ousted). Almost everyone in Europe can read English and Topić works in Germany.

“As more German papers and some of the English press pick up and grasp these stories we are likely to see increased pressure for Topić to resign (or be ousted).”Today we wish to share more stories about SIPO, the Croatian authority responsible for patents and other monopolies. This story relates directly to Germany as well, so there are plenty of reasons for the German press to cover it.

“In case you might be interested,” wrote a source to us, “here’s a sub-story of the Topić saga which concerns allegations of irregularities and corruption at the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in relation to trademarks during Topić’s time as Director General there. The story has a “David versus Goliath” aspect which makes it interesting.

“Unfortunately, most of the source material is in Croatian or German but you can find a short report in English.”

To quote part of this report from the Croatian Times:

Croatian entrepreneur Rikard Frgacic is suing German air carrier Lufthansa for illegal use of his brand for the last 12 years.

Frgacic, a former owner of a travel agency, filed suit against Lufthansa at Zagreb Commercial Court this week.

The daily Slobodna Dalmacija has reported that Frgacic has sued “Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH” for using his brand illegally since 1998.

“To put you in the picture,” wrote our source, “here’s a summary: Rikard Frgacic is a Croatian entrepreneur who is involved in a number of legal actions against Lufthansa and the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). According to our information, the actions relating to the SIPO include criminal charges against Topić (some sort of corruption or abuse of official authority charge).

“Frgacic, who is involved in the air travel business, claims that he had registered the trademark “AirPlus” with the Croatian SIPO some time around 1996. He became involved in a dispute with Lufthansa over the use of the trademark by its wholly-owned subsidiary AirPlus International.

“At some point in 2009 or thereabouts he discovered that his trademark rights had been cancelled by the SIPO and the contested trademark had been re-assigned to AirPlus/Lufthansa with remarkable speed in response to a request from that quarter.

“The “David versus Goliath” aspect of the affair captured the popular imagination in Croatia. There was even a website entitled “We are all Rikard Frgacic” (“svi-smo-mi-rikard-frgacic”) which can be accessed here. [It's all in Croatian but it's possible to get the gist using Google Chrome in translation mode]

“Obviously, we are not in position to judge the merits of Frgacic’s claims but the information which we have from our Croatian sources about the current state of play is as follows: In the case relating to the disputed reassignment of the trademark, Frgacic seems to have won a partial victory insofar as a Croatian court ruled that the matter should be remitted back to the SIPO for re-examination where it is still pending.

“Concerning his proceedings against AirPlus/Lufthansa in Germany, these are effectively stayed pending resolution of the disputed reassignment matter which was remitted back to the Croatian SIPO. The problem for Frgacic here is that in the German case some kind of statute of limitations is due to kick in around 2016.

“So if the Croatian SIPO blocks (e.g. due to political pressure and/or corruption) that would basically have a knock-on effect which could screw him as far as the proceedings in Germany are concerned.

“One interesting detail in this whole affair is that back in January 2008 Airplus/Lufthansa tried to settle with Frgacic for EUR 1000. There is documentary evidence of this in the form of a copy of a letter making the offer which is [shown above] (it’s in German). The fact that they made such an offer seems to indicate that Frgacic’s grievance is not completely unfounded. Otherwise why would they have tried to buy him off like that?

“We can provide an e-mail contact for Frgacic if anyone is interested in contacting him. The problem is that we don’t know how good his language skills in English are although we understand that he knows German.

“Rikard Frgacic’s e-mail address is as follows if anybody is interested in getting more details about his side of the story: rikard.frgacic@zg.t-com.hr

“However, as we mentioned, we are not sure to what extent he can communicate in English (although we believe that he has a knowledge of German). According to our information, Frgagic spoke to German journalists from the Süddeutsche Zeitung in October 2013, but in the end they did not publish anything about the alleged trademark corruption affair involving Lufthansa. It seems to be another case of “self-censorship” by the corporate media.

Next week my wife and I fly with Lufthansa (to Singapore), so this story leaves us with a bad taste. Indeed, as Frgacic was offered money by Lufthansa (see the letter at the top, click for a larger version thereof) we can assume that his case has merit and Lufthansa is just using its weight to get its way.

Thankfully, some of the Germany press is no longer passive or apathetic. An article was published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on the 21st of November (just over 3 months ago) and we asked our source for an explanation of it.

“Just for your information,” said one of ours sources at the time, “the Munich-based “Süddeutsche Zeitung” finally decided to break its silence on the Željko Topić affair at the EPO.

“In the context of a long article about current social unrest and a strike at the EPO, they included a brief mention of the controversy surrounding Topić’s appointment.

“No translation available yet, but here’s what they wrote in the original: “Zudem kursieren seit mehr als zwei Jahren üble Gerüchte über den kroatischen EPA-Vizepräsidenten Željko Topić: Kroatische Zeitungen berichten über Vorwürfe, die sich vor allem auf seine Vergangenheit an der Spitze des kroatischen Amtes für Geistiges Eigentum beziehen. Topić bestreitet sie. Und Battistelli ist gegen jegliche Kolportage vorgegangen. In einer Mitteilung an alle Mitarbeiter machte er im Februar 2013 deutlich, dass alle Anschuldigungen jeglicher Grundlage entbehrten.

“Kritiker wunderten sich über diesen pauschalen Freibrief – den der Präsident Monate vor Abschluss einer internen Untersuchung ausstellte.“

Again we kindly asked any of our German- (native) speaking readers to provide an English translation so that we can publish it here, making it accessible to a broader audience.

“We obviously can’t say for certain,” said our source, “but we have a very strong suspicion that it was the recent extensive coverage of these matters by techrights.org that finally prodded them into putting something into print (after being informed in detail about what was going on for the last two years).

“So, we really have to say “Well done!” to all at techrights.org.”

In the midst of our articles about Željko Topić a source told us that it “looks like Battistelli is gearing himself up to take on the “muckrakers”.” (citing this now-unpublished 2014 job ad)

“Better watch out in 2015.”

The ones who ought to watch out in 2015 are Battistelli and Topić, not people who complain about them. Topić may even end up in prison.

FFII and the American IP Law Association Comment on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Envisioned by EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money still buys policies in Europe

Euros

Summary: European civil rights groups call for the elimination of expanded patent scope, whereas lawyers from another continent call for Europe to expand scope and lower cost of patent monopolies

THE EPO‘s euphoric (for itself) vision of software patents in Europe can be traced back to patent maximalism and pursuit of profit, all at the expense of patent quality. Benoît Battistelli and his cronies have no masters except their plutocrat buddies; the interests of European citizens are side issues at best. This works well for large corporations, which also seek to reinforce their occupation — internationally — over society through various so-called ‘trade’ agreements. The Unified Patent Court, which we have written about for years, is part of the master plan to internationalise monopolies, rewriting law in the bureaucratic process, usually in a fashion that favours multinationals (be it copyright law, taxes, and so on).

“The internationalisation of law, or the leaning of the legal process towards few globalists, is not unique to patents.”Yesterday we found this new analysis from the the FFII’s Ante Wessels. He writes that: “The UPC proposal has a twist; it tries to minimise the role of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU). [...] The EU member states want to minimise the role of the CJEU by moving substantive patent law provisions from an EU regulation to an international agreement – the UPC Agreement.”

The internationalisation of law, or the leaning of the legal process towards few globalists, is not unique to patents. As the first addendum in this new document serves to show, lawyers now view Europe as a country, the largest country in terms of GDP (see the misleading chart). This document is essentially a letter in which AIPLA comments to the EPO regarding the Unitary Patent post-grant fees.

As a source had explained it to us (before we read the document in full), this text has useful “information about current developments concerning the EU Unitary Patent” because it is new and it reveals the workings behind the scenes. “The document referenced,” explained our source, “is a letter from the American IP Law Association to the EPO on the subject of post-grant fees for the Unitary Patent.”

Retrieved via their official Web site (perhaps to be made accessible to those whom the American IP Law Association represents, namely lawyers), it helps show the lobbying efforts. “These are the annual fees that have to be paid post-grant to keep a patent in force,” explained our source. “As far as we are aware, the fee scheme for the Unitary Patent has not yet been officially agreed, i.e. it is still under discussion.”

What we have found in this letter is the President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association speaking for patent lawyers and their clients (large corporations), conducting what we can describe as “lobbying” (to put it politely) if not corporate legislation laundering, making it cheaper to acquire and enforce monopolies Europe-wide (even from abroad) for a lower overall cost. Here is the full letter:

February 11, 2015

Dr. Margot Fröhlinger
Principal Director
Patent Law and Multilateral Affairs
European Patent Office
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
80469 Munich, GERMANY

Via email: mfroehlinger@epo.org

Re: Unitary Patent Post Grant Fees

Dear Dr. Fröhlinger:

I am writing on behalf of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) to follow-up on our January 28, 2014, letter to Mr. Jérôme Debrulle, Chairman of the Select Committee (copy attached), and our February 3, 2015, video consultation with you and others at the EPO regarding Unitary Patent post-grant fees.

AIPLA is a national bar association with approximately 15,000 members who are primarily lawyers in private and corporate practice and government service and in the academic community. AIPLA’s members represent a wide and diverse spectrum of individuals, companies, and institutions, and are involved directly or indirectly in the practice of patent, trademark, copyright, and unfair competition law. Our members represent both owners and users of intellectual property.

We thank you and your colleagues for the February 3rd consultation and for having sent us background materials on past validations and renewals of European Patents, and on Unitary Patent renewal fee models being considered by the EPO.

We applaud the steps that have been taken to create a Unitary Patent system in the European Union. In order for the Unitary Patent to be a success, it should make “access to the European patent system easier, less costly and legally secure,” and “eliminate costs and complexity ….,” as promised in EU Reg. No. 1257/2012, Recital (4).

As we stated orally and presented in our slides during the consultation, our discussions with members representing U.S. owners of European Patents and applications (“Users” of the
European Patent system) in the year since our earlier letter indicate that the primary consideration for most Users in deciding the countries in which to validate and maintain European Patents is the budget available for the patent owner’s patent grant and annual renewals.


Almost all Users have limited budgets for patent validations and renewals. Different Users have different patent validation and renewal policies and different tactical decisions within those policies, case-by-case and year-by-year. Validation and renewal policies typically depend upon the nature and value of the products and businesses that are or will be protected. The cost and benefit are typically reviewed with each annuity payment. Users very carefully examine the cost and benefits of patents in each jurisdiction when deciding to file applications, pay granting costs, validate European Patents and national patents, and renew them, particularly after the tenth year from first filing date.

We are not aware of sufficient demand for broad territorial protection in Europe that would overcome or loosen these budgetary constraints.

European patents are perhaps the most difficult of all patents to justify on a cost-benefit basis. In particular, European Patent renewal fees do not compare favorably with renewal fees of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other major patent offices. The EU states participating in the Unitary Patent have a collective GDP less than that of the United States (see Addendum, slides 1-2), yet the current renewal fees for only the top three patenting states in Europe are substantially higher than for all of the United States (slide 3).

Our research indicates that Users are not likely to significantly increase their European patent budgets to take advantage of Unitary Patents. Instead, Users feel pressure to direct an increasing share of patent budgets to other jurisdictions. GDP is growing at a faster rate outside Europe than within. In the 40 years since the EPO was established, Japan and the Republic of Korea have become major states in terms of patenting. China, India, Russia and Brazil (the “BRIC” states) have also become increasingly important. The World Intellectual Property Organization data provided on our slide 4 reflect the large number of patent applications filed in China in 2014, and that the patent offices in Brazil, Russia and India are now among the top 10 offices for patent filings.

1. Viable Alternatives

Unlike the situation in the United States, where there is only one option for a U.S. patent, Users have several alternatives in Europe. Direct-filed national patents and national validations of European Patents offer protection tailored to the perceived needs of Users. The Unitary Patent will offer another alternative. Users will likely continue to evaluate each of these alternatives based on costs.

Users have become comfortable with limited territorial patent coverage in Europe. They can obtain sufficient coverage to deter broad competition by patenting in a few key states that are members of the London Agreement. In most cases, litigation in one European state leads to resolution of multi-state disputes.

The data you provided to us indicates that in 65% of the cases, U.S. Users validate in 1 to 3 states. We expect that almost all of these validations are in the top three (Germany, France and


Great Britain), which are parties to the London Agreement. These states do not require the specification to be translated, in contrast to the requirements for a Unitary Patent (see discussion in Section 2 of this letter). Users desiring protection in seven other Unitary Patent participating states, including the Netherlands and Sweden, need to translate only the claims.

Therefore, depending on the level of Unitary Patent renewal fees, validation in London Agreement States only may be a more attractive option because of lower costs, availability of selective abandonment to control costs, and availability of a choice of enforcement forum, for example, in the Unified Patent Court in English, or in a national court at presumably lower court costs.

2. The User’s Decision at Grant

The key decision to be made by a User following receipt of the EPO’s decision to grant a European Patent will be whether to elect a Unitary Patent, validate the European Patent as one or
more national patents, or abandon the application. That decision will depend primarily on the potential costs perceived at that time, as compared with viable alternatives, and any procedural obstacles.

As shown by your data, 23% of European Patents granted to U.S. Users in 2011 were only validated in 1 or 2 states. We suspect that the Users did not believe that the costs of validation and prospective renewal fees justified validation in additional states. The majority of US-origin cases (58%) were validated in 3 or 4 states. These cases likely would be the principal candidates for Unitary Patents.

We appreciate that there will be no official fee for electing a Unitary Patent. We have assumed for comparative purposes that the fees of a European Patent Attorney or annuity payment service for recording the Unitary Patent election and filing the specification translation will be comparable to the average fee for validation in one state. Those facts are favorable to electing a Unitary Patent.

We believe that the cost of the required translation of the Unitary Patent specification may be an obstacle for many Users. It has been suggested that the cost could be very low, because a machine translation or the same translation prepared for Italy or Spain could be used. However, European Patent Attorneys are advising that a human translation is required, because EU Regulation No 1260/2012, Recital 12 states: “Such translations should not be carried out by automated means….” Although we understand that there is no provision for examination of this translation by the EPO or participating states, we expect that Users will follow the advice of their European Patent Attorneys, resulting in increased translation costs. Also, it appears that the majority of U.S. Users do not validate in Italy or Spain. Therefore, until such time as the Select Committee declares that machine translations are acceptable, at least into one language other than English for this purpose, Users are likely to include the cost of a human translation in their evaluation of the cost of a Unitary Patent. We suggest that the EPO and its Select Committee should do the same in their cost models.


Further, the fact that the deadline for electing a Unitary Patent and filing a translation of the specification is earlier than the deadline for validating as national patents is likely to reduce use of the Unitary Patent. While our consultation participants understand that Users will have a long time to reach their decision, we believe that many Users will continue to focus on the national patent deadline, and may miss the earlier Unitary Patent deadline. It would be helpful if Unitary Patent Rule 7 could make it clear that Users may have at least until the same date as the national patent validation deadline within which to file the Unitary Patent specification translation.

3. Renewal Fees

The prospective costs of renewal are a major consideration for Users in deciding where to file patent applications, where to validate patents, and where to renew patents. Typically, Users conduct annual reviews to decide which patents to maintain and which to abandon in the context of their business objectives and patent budgets.

As we explained in the consultation, selective abandonment of patents in some states is a key tool in managing renewal costs. The lack of the ability to selectively abandon parts of a Unitary Patent will be a deterrent to electing Unitary Patent protection, which can only be overcome by making the costs reasonable for a majority of Users. Selective abandonment is probably considered in 80-90% of the renewal decisions beginning a few years after grant.

EPO representatives have suggested, prior to and during our consultation, that selective abandonment is not important because it is not exercised frequently, pointing to data from the TOP 3 states. However, the actual exercise of selective abandonment is not a good measure of the effect that its unavailability may have on elections of a Unitary Patent. Rather, the important consideration for Users is the ability to consider selective abandonment when making renewal decisions. Any evidence that selective abandonment is not exercised frequently in the TOP 3 states suggests that the TOP 3 Unitary Patent renewal fee model might be attractive to those now validating in the TOP 3. However, the inability to consider selective abandonment could very well be a deterrent if the Unitary Patent renewal fees are higher.

4. The EPO’s Cost Models

The EPO has suggested consideration of several cost models, called TOP 3, TOP 4, etc., apparently based on the sum of the renewal fees of the most selected Unitary Patent participating states chosen for validation in 2011.

We suggest that use of the EPO fees through the median year for EPO grant (which we believe is year 6) would improve the models. Also, the models appear to be based solely on validations and do not take account of abandonments, including selective abandonments. We suggest that when the models are compared, differences in abandonments should be considered.


The TOP 3 model, based on renewal fees in Germany, France and Great Britain, appears to be otherwise accurate, at least for U.S. Users. When 3 states are selected, those are the states usually selected.

We do not believe that the TOP 4 model is representative of all cases in which Users have validated in 4 states. In particular, the EPO’s TOP 4 includes the Netherlands, which is in fact included in 4 state validations less than 50% of the time and has very high renewal fees. Validations in the Netherlands are much less frequent than in Germany, France and Great Britain, and the reasons for many Netherlands validations appear to be based on the patent strategy of specific User groups.

5. Our Suggestions

In general, we suggest that the EPO recommend and the Select Committee adopt a fee schedule that will attract a majority of European Patent cases, namely those of the type that were validated in 3 or 4 of the participating states in 2011. As we explain below, for the Unitary Patent to be attractive to most Users accustomed to the existing European Patent validation system, we recommend the TOP 3 cost model for annuity fees.

In our consultation, we discussed some of the comparative costs in the frequently chosen London Agreement states and for Unitary Patent. We suggest that the EPO should recognize that the need to pay for a human translation of the specification at the time of election will be a deterrent. The EPO should seek to overcome that deterrent, for example, by making the renewal fee schedule more attractive.

We further suggest that, when comparing the costs of national validations and renewals, the EPO should use the typical charges of the major patent annuity service companies (identifiable by an Internet search). They are typically used for post-grant services by Users with more than a few patents and are much less expensive than the renewal service fees charged by most European Patent Attorneys.

We appreciate the concern of EPO management and the Select Committee over receiving adequate renewal fee revenue to comply with the requirements of EU Regulation No. 1257/2012, Article 12 that the renewal fees be set at a level that will cover Unitary Patent costs and assure a balanced EPO budget. It appears, however, that setting the Unitary Patent renewal fees too low should not be a concern. We believe that there are three reasons for this. First, any such concern appears primarily to be based on the idea that some Users would elect a Unitary Patent for cases of the type they now validate in many states and maintain for many years, resulting in much lower renewal fee income for the EPO. We do not expect that Users pursuing the multi-state and/or long term strategies will select Unitary Patents. They are most likely to want the advantages of individual national patents, including the opportunity for selective abandonment and lack of central attack, including the ability to opt-out of the Unified Patent Court. Second, we suggest that the choice between a Unitary Patent and national validations is likely to be revenue neutral, at least as a first order approximation in most cases. That is because the amount


available in budgets for renewal fees in a given year for Europe is likely to be constant. Third, that choice will have a relatively small effect on the EPO’s total renewal fee income in early years of the Unitary Patent, because election of the Unitary Patent probably will grow slowly for 2-3 years and because the fees are relatively small in early years.

Finally, we offer our specific suggestions regarding the level of renewal fees. Although the TOP 3 compares unfavorably with renewal fees in the U.S. and elsewhere, current validation data suggests that it could be attractive to a significant number of Users.

We recommend against adoption of the TOP 4 model. It compares unfavorably with renewal fees elsewhere, appears to be higher than what Users selecting 4 Unitary Patent states are now paying, and lacks the important tool of selective abandonment.

It is difficult to project User behavior that may affect the Unitary Patent choices and resulting fee income. Rather than setting the renewal fee schedule now at a high level in an attempt to increase fee income, which may deter use of the Unitary Patent, we suggest that the EPO and Select Committee review the fees after 5 years and adjust them if necessary (preferably only for latergranted patents).

* * *

Thank you again for the opportunity to consult with you and your colleagues on this important
issue. We welcome the opportunity for further discussion on this and other matters of interest to
potential users of the Unitary Patent system.

Sincerely yours,

Sharon A. Israel
President
American Intellectual Property Law Association

[Addenda omitted]

The goal here is to reduce the cost to corporations in the States (and increase profit for lawyers in the States) while increasing the risk and passing the cost to European citizens. It’s just looting. It’s passage of wealth.

Aspirations like these lead us all closer to ‘harmonisation’ of US and EU patent law, almost certainly exporting USPTO monopolies to Europe and legitimising software patents, not only bringing trolls across the Atlantic ocean. The USPTO is still patenting life as this new article serves to remind us. “For many years,” writes TechDirt, “we’ve been covering the story of Myriad Genetics, the biotech company that has a test for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (often an indicator of a higher risk for breast cancer). The company argued that because of its patent on those genes, no one else could test for those genes. Back in 2013, the Supreme Court did the right thing and finally rejected the concept of gene patents, despite years of the USPTO granting such patents. As the court noted, allowing gene patents created a perverse situation in which a single company could have the exclusive right to isolate a person’s own genes — and that’s just not right.”

Well, insanity is ‘sane’ when corporations decide so. If they get their way with the crooked management of the EPO, then we’ll become even more helpless in the face of corporate power from abroad. That’s just an attack on European democracy and a descend into fuedalism, where science cannot be practiced without permission from (or a tax paid to) few global ‘masters’.

English Translation of Article About Protest at Danish Consulate Over EPO Abuses

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Danish flag

Summary: The Danish protest which targeted Jesper Kongstad helps shed light on what’s really going on at the European Patent Office (EPO)

OUR coverage of a recent article from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten kindly asked for Danish-speaking readers to provide us with an accurate translation. We are glad to say that we now have it. The article is clear and detailed; it attempts to be balanced by letting the accused talk as well.

29.01.2015

[English translation]

War rages at the European Patent Office

Conflict: Accusations of autocratic power, breach of the rule of law, and suppression of the staff union are circulating in the large organization which employs 7000 people and deals with patents for the whole of Europe

Close to the Isar river in Munich is the headquarters of an organisation in which many of the 7000 employees earn more than 1 million DKK per year and pay around 6 % tax on their income.

An organisation which is protected by immunity and to whose buildings the local authorities do not have access.

An organisation which examines and grants patents for billions, irrespective of the currency, and which decides whether a company is to be granted a monopoly on its inventions in as many as 38 European countries.

Welcome to the European Patent Office (EPO).

And welcome to the battlefield.

This organisation, which plays a decisive role in ensuring that innovation pays off is plagued by massive controversy including complaints from European judges and from its staff who have declared their lack of confidence in the President. Add to that the abolition of an independent Audit Committee and a demonstration against the Dane Jesper Kongstad, the Chairman of the governing body, because he is not doing anything to solve the organisation’s problems.

The EPO has a budget of around 2 billion Euros and is the second largest European organisation after the European Union (EU). The EPO is not part of the EU.

French President

This intergovernmental organisation is managed by its President, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who – according to his critics – is behaving like an autocrat by employing former French colleagues in key positions and by introducing new strike regulations etc. which weaken the EPO’s staff union, SUEPO.

Until now, the conflict at the EPO has not been covered in the Danish media. Perhaps because the subject of patents in the 21st. Century is a hypertechnical issue or because no politicians are directly involved in the administration of the Organization.

The Administrative Council is composed of Civil Servants. The Chairman of the Council is the Dane, Jesper Kongstad, who is also the Director of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office in Copenhagen.

The EPO has existed for around 40 years and has 38 Member States. If an inventor has been granted a patent for an invention at the EPO, it can be validated in practically the whole of Europe allowing monopoly rights to be obtained in one of the world’s biggest marketplaces.

Around a third of the 273 000 applications in 2014 originated from European companies, the rest originating mainly from USA, Japan and Korea. Around 1500 – 2000 applications are filed annually by Danish companies.

If there are differences in opinion about patentability, the matter can be referred to a Board of Appeal. Before Christmas, a furore arose in the patent world, when Mr Battistelli decided to suspend a judge from the Board of Appeal and banned him from the EPO premises.

According to his critics, Mr. Battistelli lacks the competence to suspend a judge who must be independent and must be in a position to judge the appeals against the decisions of Mr Battistelli’s Office.

Mr Battistelli explains that the suspension is a temporary measure.

However, this has not put an end to the criticism.

The Office has not explained what exactly the reason for the judge’s suspension was, but in many blogs and specialized media covering the patent world, there is speculation that the judge is accused of personal defamation against one of Mr Battistelli’s “allies”, the Croat Željko Topić, who bears the title of Vice-President and who is not universally popular in his home country.

Amongst other things, Juris Protecta, a Croatian NGO for the promotion of the rule of law, has written to the EPO that Mr Topić’s career in the 1990s was based on his connections to the then government [of the former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader who was convicted of corruption charges by a Croatian court in 2012].

Audit Committee abolished

According to his critics, Mr Battistelli’s autocratic tendency is exemplified by the manner in which he abolished an Audit Committee only one year after it had been established. During its short lifetime, the Committee mentioned that it was “surprised” that the Internal Audit should not monitor the construction phase of a new building, but only perform an audit upon its completion.

The Committee also pointed to the necessity of a whistleblower protection regulation. One of its members, Paul Ernst, mentioned that the lack of anti-corruption rules in the EPO constituted a non-neglible risk.

After the Audit Committee had been abolished, the Chairman of the Internal Audit Department was removed from his position. According to the Staff Union, SUEPO, this would not have been possible if the Audit Committee had still been in place.

After the Audit Committee had been abandoned, an External Audit board remained in place.

In its 2013 report, the External Auditors mentioned that the EPO’s travel rules prevented the use of low-price air companies. In the same report the Auditors mentioned that National Tax Authorities have taxed compensations paid to retired employees who pay tax on their pensions.

According to the EPO, such compensations should not be subject to national tax.

Conflict with staff

By no means the least of the problems is the conflict with the staff at the EPO headquarters in Munich and at the large branch office in The Hague as well as a few smaller sub-offices. The driving force behind the conflict is the Staff Union, SUEPO. SUEPO has officially declared its lack of confidence in Mr Battistelli and last year before the Danish referendum on the European Patent Court, SUEPO wrote to the Danish Minister for Business and Growth, Henrik Sass Larsen, in order to explain that Mr Batistellli’s behaviour had caused the worst crisis in the history of the EPO.

“As President of the EPO, Mr.Battistelli has introduced a dubious style of leadership, which can be characterized as authoritarian and without respect for rights, which are guaranteed, fundamental rights in democratic countries such as Denmark.” stated the letter which continued:

“All of this has happened before the eyes of the Danish delegation in the Administrative Council and its Chairman Jesper Kongstad who has continuously supported Mr Battistelli.” Mr Sass-Larsen never responded to the letter. He also did not wish to comment to Jyllands-Posten.

Jesper Kongstad’s support of Mr. Battistelli was the reason that a SUEPO demonstration last week chose the Danish Consulate in Munich as its target.

SUEPO criticizes many things. The rules of the Investigation Unit, which is an internal investigative department, demand that the employee must cooperate and that the investigated employee cannot bring his or her own lawyer to the hearings. Moreover, the employee does not have the right to remain silent and therefore must incriminate himself.

The EPO explains that the rules for the Investigation Unit are intended to provide a smooth procedure and replies that the employees are not required to incriminate themselves. In the eyes of the EPO management, the employees must act in good faith and with the highest level of integrity.

The EPO employees also feel that their privacy rights are not respected when they are required to remain at their private address at certain time intervals when they are on sick leave because the EPO can send its medical doctors to test whether the employees are really sick.

In addition, Mr.Battistelli has introduced new strike rules which mean that the staff union must request the management to organize the ballot among the employees on whether or notstrike should take place. Mr. Battistelli also determines the percentage of yes votes requiredorder that a strike is permitted and he has introduced restrictions on the maximum length the strike.

The employees have not complained about the salary and employment conditions which are attractive at the EPO.

The substantive examiners, who are practically all specialized scientists and must be capable of working in English, German and French, have a monthly basic salary between 5000 and 15000 Euro.

The only tax is an internal tax of 6% and the employees can retire at 50 years of age atreduced pension and at 60 years of age with full pension which is at most 70% of the last basic salary. If they live in a country in which the pension is taxed, a part of the tax payment is reimbursed.

Nobody wants to speak

No EPO employees want to be quoted by name because they are afraid of being punished, they say. It is also not possible to obtain comments from SUEPO, but the Staff Union has issued a number of communiqués in which it states that the conflict is not about employment conditions, but about the lack of fundamental rights for employees at the EPO.

According to Christian Lyhne Ibsen, who works at the University of Copenhagen as a researcher in Labour Market issues, the introduction of restrictions of strike rights is not excluded in the normal job market and has shown good effects for the employers in many instances.

“In both Great Britain and the USA, it has been observed that regulations, which limit the right to strike, have been very effective because they weaken the resistance of the employees”, he says.

Professor at the University of Roskilde and labour market expert, Bent Greve, considers that from a general point of view the situation at the EPO is extraordinary due to the strike regulations, medical examinations at home and lack of freedom of speech.

For instance, employees may take part in a protest march and express their opinion on banners and fliers, but on the other hand they may not have contact with media. The employees must show the highest level of integrity but may not harm the EPO’s image or interests.

Bent Greve explains that employees in other organisations may generally express their opinion about working conditions as long as they do not speak on behalf of the organisation. The restrictions at the EPO therefore are much stricter than normal.

According to Jesper Kongstad, the reforms at the EPO were necessary because the Staff Union had become so powerful that it was effectively “running the show”.

He adds that all of the changes in the employment conditions have been approved by the Administrative Council, i.e. the Member States, with at least a three-quarters majority. After approval the changes are implemented by the President.

According to Jesper Kongstad, sick leave had been out of control. Employees would report sick and there was no reaction from the Office. It was a “self-service buffet” for the employees. Sometimes the administration did not know where people were on sick leave. This was not an appropriate way to manage things when the public sector was under pressure in the whole of Europe following the financial crisis.

To the great dismay of SUEPO, Mr Battistelli was re-elected for another three years so that his presidency will last until 2018. This has caused the conflict to escalate even further. However, according to Jesper Kongstad, the customers have not been affected yet. He adds that so far the opposite has been the case. A majority of the employees support the Organisation and its management and the productivity has never been higher.

Impossible to satisfy everybody

In a written response to Jyllands-Posten, the President Mr Battistelli states that it is not possible to make everybody happy.

“If I tried to please everybody, I would never be able to decide anything.”

Mr Battistelli explains that he has been given a mandate to implement changes to the working conditions.

“Despite dialogue and discussions, SUEPO has not been willing to go along with the agenda but instead has tried to hold on to its acquired rights”, Mr.Battistelli says and adds: “At some point in time, you just have to make a decision and move on.”

The British Consulate is next, so perhaps we shall see many articles published directly in English, serving to highlight the gripes of EPO staff and the notorious background of EPO management (reportedly, based on comments, now escorted by bodyguards). These people are criticised for corruption, not just the existing misconduct that is self-evident.

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