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06.22.15

Microsoft Injects Its Proprietary Software Into Free Software Stacks and the Open Container Project

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Summary: The Microsoft plot to paint its proprietary software ‘open’ is largely successful, as even the Linux Foundation relents on defensive antagonism and gives up on software freedom

SEVERAL weeks ago we wrote about the openwashing of “Edge” (not to be confused with Ubuntu Edge), which is a Microsoft rebrand essentially, pretending that Microsoft embraces “Open Source” on the Web. Microsoft is still openwashing proprietary software by virtually googlebombing [1, 2, 3] “open source edge” etc. When searching for “open source windows” you might expect ReactOS, but that’s no longer the case, surely not after a misleading media blitz. Here is an example from a Microsoft propaganda site. It says: “Microsoft now makes all these feature demos available as open-course on GitHub, so that the developers can get them hands-on to learn more about it. The sole aim of presenting the Test Drive Site is to help developers play around with the new interface and its features and to get hands-on review and endways experience before the official launch of Windows 10 in July 29.”

“Are all these recent hires from Microsoft making the Linux Foundation unable to say “no” to Microsoft?”The kind of openwashing extends from Edge (proprietary) to Vista 10 (also proprietary and definitely not free, no matter how many times Microsoft lies about the cost [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]). How can Microsoft get away with this? If people are passive enough, it might actually pass muster.

We have meanwhile found this new article titled “Install Microsoft Visual Studio Code on 32-bit Ubuntu Systems with Ubuntu Make 0.8.2″. It’s an article from a Linux site (Softpedia’s Linux section) which tactlessly helps Microsoft entrap GNU/Linux users. That’s the second time in about a month and once again, installing proprietary software from Microsoft is described as a reasonable thing to do (or worth doing, like installing Microsoft’s malware Skype on GNU/Linux). Visual Studio Code is proprietary and it may have malicious antifeatures that no audit can yet demonstrate. That’s aside from the fact that helping Microsoft is unwise. The editor promotes .NET and other Microsoft lock-in. GNU/Linux already had plenty of fantastic code editors, most of which are Free software and framework-neutral.

Speaking of helping Microsoft, watch the Linux Foundation’s Open Container Project — like others before it — getting infiltrated by Microsoft upon launch:

Microsoft and a bunch of its biggest competitors, including Google and Amazon, have joined forces for the Open Container Project, a non-profit organization housed under the Linux Foundation – the governing body of the Linux open source operating system, which Microsoft once considered its biggest competitor.

The Linux Foundation needs to watch out as it foolishly opens the lion’s mouth wide open yet again, as if just to look at what’s deep inside the lion’s throat (lots of carcasses of other prior fools like Corel, Yahoo!, Nokia, and Novell). Microsoft still wants to destroy GNU/Linux and its participation in the Open Container Project is about promoting Windows (containers greatly contribute to the obsolescence of Windows, according to a new Red Hat study). What was the Linux Foundation thinking in this case? Are all these recent hires from Microsoft making the Linux Foundation unable to say “no” to Microsoft?

“We [Microsoft] believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft

Microsoft’s Continued and Seemingly Never-Ending Lies About Vista 10 Being ‘Free’ (Lock-in)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the market at the OEM and ISV level. In this respect it is JUST like the original Windows announcement…

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

Summary: In a shameless effort to discourage migrations to the zero-cost BSD and GNU/Linux, Microsoft continues to flood the media with false claims about the cost of Windows and the price of Vista 10 (not even released yet) in particular

READERS have let us know that Microsoft propagandist Ed Bott is spreading the ‘free’ Vista 10 myth (it’s out there again and spreading quickly in corporate media; it’s a myth that is not dead, despite a lot of debunking [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]). It reaches a large audience in the CBS-owned ZDNet, despite being a lie and a nasty form of PR. No matter how it turns out (Microsoft Peter already admits that Microsoft just lies about ‘free’ Vista 10 this time too), a lot of the public may be left with the false impression about the cost of Vista 10. This propaganda or semi-truths (i.e. lies) would target ‘useful idiots’ or people who hardly follow the news. Many still think that Vista 10 will be made available free of charge. There is a war on the minds.

“People choose GNU/Linux not just for cost savings; some people are capable of thinking long term and factor in external transactional aspects.”Freedom, as ever before, is not free, so even if Vista 10 is somehow obtained (legally or illegally) at no cost it is not worth it; the price is people’s control over their own lives.

For those who truly pursue Free software on computers (as well underlying hardware, which assures freedom in other ways) there is now “Purism”. $1,649 will buy you a secure laptop with only Free software. As ZDNet (surprisingly enough) put it the other day:

The company hopes to expand the notebook lineup running its open-source PureOS with a smaller, $1,649 portable that will ship in September if it receives sufficient backing.

$1,649 may sound like a lot of money, but for a machine that can serve a person for many years (almost a decade) and ensure autonomy, privacy etc. in an age of increasingly-oppressive technology it might actually be worth it. People choose GNU/Linux not just for cost savings; some people are capable of thinking long term and factor in external transactional aspects. Windows lock-in is far too expensive even at $0 or negative pricing. Price can change over time and the abuses that come with proprietary software (e.g. espionage) are unforeseeable.

“Some weeks it looks like Redmond feels entitled to capture not just part of what we save, but all of it. That just isn’t going to fly with corporate America forever. When your margins are more sensitive to Bill Gates’ pricing whims than they are the price of oil, that’s an untenable position for a large company to be in.”

John Chapman Sr., BP Amoco Technology Executive

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Demonstration Against European Patent Office Management in Munich This Wednesday

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another opportunity to show Battistelli who’s in charge

EPO Isar building
Photo credit: The EPO’s instructions for attending the protest

Summary: The rotting of a lawyers-run patent system in Europe and action against those who facilitate it, using extremely oppressive tactics

Residents of Munich can show their solidarity (defending scientists, not managers and lawyers) later this week, for “SUEPO organises on Wednesday 24 June 2015 a demonstration in Munich in front of the EPO Isar building (Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1) starting at 12.30h,” according to its Web site. It is probably short enough a notice to prevent Battistelli from effectively threatening organisers.

“With a political system so predominantly lawyers-occupied no wonder the EPO’s management continues to function — without scrutiny, only impunity — quite so abysmally and the only people who lose their job are those who speak out against the EPO’s management.”“The main purpose of the demonstration,” explains SUEPO, “is to make it clear to the Members of the Administration that investigating your “social partner” with the private security firm Control Risks is not the best way to renew “social dialogue”.

“Our claims are still the same: respect for Rule of Law, for Freedom of Association and Honest Negotiation of our work package. But we do not forget the mission of the EPO as a public service created for the benefit of the citizens of Europe. That is why we continue to defend high quality searches and examinations as well as transparency.”

Techrights is also concerned about the EPO‘s role in allowing software patents in Europe, despite fundamental legal issues (the unified patent court and unitary patent get around these). There is so much more to criticise the EPO for, not just gross violations of laws.

Over at Managing IP (MIP) there is a survey right now; Rolf Claessen ‏wrote that there is an “MIP in-house survey on in-house attitudes to unified patent court and unitary patent: can you help?”

The problem is though, Managing IP is a site by patent lawyers for patent lawyers, so we can pretty much guess how the survey will turn out and whose results (or opinions) will be represented. Other blogs of patent lawyers are calling for participation:

This blogger’s friends at Managing Intellectual Property magazine are running a survey, in which PatLit readers who work in-house are invited, indeed urged, to participate.

Whatever comes out of this survey, which also talks about the unified patent court and unitary patent, will be seriously warped and biased in favour of the surveyed population (tiny and self-serving margin of the population) that takes part. With a political system so predominantly lawyers-occupied no wonder the EPO’s management continues to function — without scrutiny, only impunity — quite so abysmally and the only people who lose their job are those who speak out against the EPO’s management.

Links 22/6/2015: Linux 4.1, Red Hat’s New CFO

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 Reasons Open Source Software is Good For Your Business

    In recent years, open source software has become more frequently used by businesses and individuals alike. Why is this, and what makes open source solutions so increasingly popular? Below I list five reasons why open source software can be good for your business.

  • Pulp Friction: SourceForge brings out too much GIMP

    The site is reported to have been ‘inserting’ advertisements and other forms of third-party offers into downloads for projects that are no longer currently actively maintained.

    While some would argue that this is fairly inoffensive and comparatively legitimate monetisation of what is still essentially free software, the community has not been happy with the process.

    [...]

    As wider reaction to this story, SourceForge is said to be generally losing ground to GitHub and other sites that exist to perform code repository and download functions such as FossHub.

  • Events

    • Fossetcon Call for Papers

      The Second Annual Fossetcon Conference, which is scheduled to be held at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida on November 19-21 has announced its Call for Papers on the conference website. According to the site, the call is officially open until August 17, but might be extended if certain conditions, such as “speaker diversity, relevant content and or lack of submissions” are not met.

    • New speakers announced for PGDay

      The UK’s only dedicated Postgres user event has two new speakers, along with a great line up of technology and other experts

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent, say Chromium users

        Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent before the bug was fixed, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party has claimed.

        Writing on the website Privacy Online News, Falkvinge alleged that Google listened into the conversations of users of Chromium without consent, through a ‘black box’ of code.

        The ‘black box’ code was downloaded to enable a feature that activates a search function when you say “Ok, Google,” however the code appears to have enabled eavesdropping on conversations prior to this – in order to hear the phrase.

      • A Chromebook replaced the MacBook Pro on my desk

        The Acer Chromebook 13 so impressed me when I reviewed it months ago that I bought one. After using it for months it has replaced the 13-inch MacBook Pro as my daily work system in the office.

    • Mozilla

      • Interview with Gervase Markham of Mozilla

        I’ve been with Mozilla, as a volunteer or employee, since 2000. I got involved when I read a Slashdot comment (!) from an existing Mozilla contributor called Matthew Thomas. It said that if Mozilla failed, then Microsoft would get control of the web. I thought that the web was too awesome, even then, to be controlled by a single company, so I decided to help Mozilla out. Sixteen years later, I’m still here. I’ve done many things in my time, but I currently work mainly on Public Policy, which I tend to summarise as “persuading governments not to make unhelpful laws about the Internet”. My current focus is copyright reform in the EU; you can read our policy positions on the Mozilla Policy blog.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Open Source Initiative Extends Affiliate Program to Higher Education

      Driven by the promise of reduced costs, increased pace of innovation, community-driven development and shared services, institutions of higher education are increasingly moving to open source software solutions. In order to help colleges and universities across the globe maximize their opportunities through participation in both the development of open source software as well as the communities of practice which support those projects, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) announced at the 2015 Open Apereo Conference, the extension of the non-profit’s popular Affiliate Member Program.

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • BleachBit 1.8 Open Source System Cleaner Out Now for Linux and Windows

      On June 19, Andrew Ziem had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the BleachBit 1.8 open-source and cross-platform system cleaner application for GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

    • digiKam Software Collection 4.11.0 released…

      The digiKam Team is proud to announce the release of digiKam Software Collection 4.11.0. This release is the result of huge bugs triage on KDE bugzilla where more than 250 files have been closed as duplicate, invalid, or upstream states. Thanks to Maik Qualmann who maintain KDE4 version while KF5 port and GSoC 2015 projects are in prgress. Both are planed to be completed before end of year.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can Wikipedia Survive?

      This is a challenge for Wikipedia, which has always depended on contributors hunched over keyboards searching references, discussing changes and writing articles using a special markup code. Even before smartphones were widespread, studies consistently showed that these are daunting tasks for newcomers. “Not even our youngest and most computer-savvy participants accomplished these tasks with ease,” a 2009 user test concluded. The difficulty of bringing on new volunteers has resulted in seven straight years of declining editor participation.

    • Open Data

      • The rise of creativity propels open data forward

        Private enterprises began to find ways to boost creativity of their employees and academic research expanded phenomenally on the subject. The government sector was also not oblivious to the obvious. One of the vital developments in the technology sector in the recent past has been the opening up of data. Open data, as it is termed, is available for everyone to use and republish as they wish without any restrictions from the clutches of patents, copyrights, and any other mechanism of control. Open data gives an autonomy to people with ideas to contribute in a significant manner in various areas of development. These initiatives to open up data fortifies the initiatives to enhance creativity.

    • Open Hardware

      • How to build a DIY heart and activity tracking device

        As this project may be of interest for others, I wrote this tutorial explaining the making of CubiKG, a Holter monitor-like device for heart and activity tracking. Also, to fit everyone’s attention span, I provided the highlights, and a more detailed how-to that walks through each step to guide you through the building process.

Leftovers

  • What Is Next for China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign?

    Recently, former Chinese security chief Zhou Yongkang was tried on corruption charges. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

    Zhou Yongkang was once one of the most powerful officials in China’s government. In addition to his position as chief of public security, he served as head of the Communist party’s legal and political commission. He was also a member of the politburo standing committee, the party’s most-powerful decision-making agency.

  • The dictator’s DAUGHTER

    Leo Tolstoy wrote that all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. However, even he would have been hard-pressed to imagine the family of Svetlana Stalin.

    Svetlana’s father, Josef Stalin, drove her mother to suicide, exiled her first love to Siberia and had her aunts and uncles imprisoned or shot — not to mention being responsibile for the massacre of countless millions, including those in the Ukrainian Holodomor.

  • Why Iranians are lapping up Shah memorabilia
  • House OKs resolution urging Iran to release jailed Americans

    The House has unanimously passed a resolution urging Iran to release three Americans jailed in that country and provide information on a fourth who is missing.

  • The beginning of the end of white rule in southern Africa

    Instead, he starts at what Winston Churchill would have called the beginning of the end – April 25, 1974 and, in the author’s words, “the military coup that toppled the dictatorship in Portugal and with it, the world’s last colonial empire. This single event would result in 16 years of mounting strife that would wreck much of southern Africa, ruin entire countries, stain it with the blood of hundreds of thousands, create widespread hunger, poverty and anger and leave a legacy of problems that hang still like a hail cloud over the future stability of the sub-continent.”

  • Science

    • Bread leavening proves useful for energy storage

      Just like bread, hierarchically porous carbons (HPCs), are judged on their texture; so researchers in China have called on their baking know-how to cook up a sustainable method for producing these supercapacitor components.

      HPCs could prove useful in energy storage because of their high surface area and short ion transport pathway. But existing synthetic methods for producing HPCs, including nanocasting and soft-templating, are unfeasible for industrial application as they require complex, expensive processes.

  • Security

    • 1 in 3 data center servers is a zombie

      A new study says that 30% of all physical servers in data centers are comatose, or are using energy but delivering no useful information. What’s remarkable is that that percentage hasn’t changed since 2008, when a separate study showed the same thing.

      The latest research was reported in a paper by Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University, who has done data center energy research for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Jon Taylor, a partner at the Athensis Group, a consulting firm.

    • John Kiriakou: DOJ misguided amid U.S. hacking

      I don’t much care if the Chinese know that I’m a former CIA officer. It’s no secret. I published a bestselling book about my years at the CIA. I give interviews in the press and on TV speaking out against torture. I lecture at colleges and universities about ethics in intelligence operations.

      But the information the Chinese stole included my original application to the CIA — my Standard Form 86. That form included information on my family members, friends, neighbors and references. That means their information was probably compromised too.

    • Opening up a can of worms: Why won’t Conficker just die, die, die?

      The Conficker worm is now nearly seven years old but remains the most detected piece of malware on the internet. Despite a massive effort to squash it, why does it keep popping up again?

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Senate Attempts To Arm Kurds Directly, Reform Military Justice Fall Short
    • Saudi Arabia Mulls Russian Arms Deal

      Saudi Arabia sees no obstacles for purchasing Russian weapons and defense systems, the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister told Russian media on Friday.

    • Actually, Saudi Arabia could get a nuclear weapon

      Now that the Obama administration has largely given up its resistance to Iran’s development of some kind of nuclear program, the Middle East is poised to see a change in the balance of power. As the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom recently stated, should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, “all options” could be on the table when it comes to the Saudi response. That could include an indigenous nuclear program. And although some commentators remain skeptical about the Kingdom’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, I would argue that it actually has the will and the ability to do so.

    • Saudi Arabia and Russia Sign Major Nuclear Energy Deal

      Saudi Arabia and Russia on Friday signed a series of agreements to cooperate on nuclear energy development.

      The deal came amid a visit to Russia by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

    • Saudi Arabia resumes air strikes in Yemen as talks fail

      Since then they have expanded their control to other parts of Sunni-majority Yemen, including Aden in the south, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his government to flee to Saudi Arabia.

    • FBI Agent: The CIA Could Have Stopped 9/11

      Mark Rossini, a former FBI special agent at the center of an enduring mystery related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, says he is “appalled” by the newly declassified statements by former CIA Director George Tenet defending the spy agency’s efforts to detect and stop the plot.

      Rossini, who was assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) at the time of the attacks, has long maintained that the U.S. government has covered up secret relations between the spy agency and Saudi individuals who may have abetted the plot. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a failed effort to crash into the U.S. Capitol, were Saudis.

      A heavily redacted 2005 CIA inspector general’s report, parts of which had previously been released, was further declassified earlier this month. It found that agency investigators “encountered no evidence” that the government of Saudi Arabia “knowingly and willingly supported” Al-Qaeda terrorists. It added that some CIA officers had “speculated” that “dissident sympathizers within the government” may have supported Osama bin Laden but that “the reporting was too sparse to determine with any accuracy such support.”

    • Saudi Foreign Ministry allegedly supported Muslim Brotherhood figures

      Wikileaks published Friday 61,205 official documents by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, some of them classified as top secret. The documents revealed texts, emails, signed and stamped documents between the ministry and its embassy in Cairo.

    • Obama, CIA Returning to Controversial Drone ‘Signature Strikes’

      Reports that the U.S. did not intentionally target Nasir al-Wahishi in a recent drone strike in Yemen highlights a troubling trend in America’s counterterrorism operations, and signals Obama administration policies of limiting U.S. warfighting abroad may now force it into using a controversial and dangerous tactic known as “signature strikes.”

    • CIA did not know Yemen drone strike would kill al-Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi
    • ‘Lucky’ drone strike killed al-Qaeda’s number two

      The CIA drone strike that killed al-Qaeda’s second in command last week was a lucky hit aimed at a random group of militants, say US officials.

    • The open secret of targeted killings

      Obama’s revelations once again prompted myriad questions about the legality of US counter-terrorism operations, the accuracy of intelligence used for drone strikes, the near complete secrecy surrounding them, and the consequences of the program both for US reputation and security. These issues have been raised for years both inside and outside the national security establishment, and by human rights groups, and representatives of victims abroad.

    • The open secret of targeted killings
    • The CIA Can’t Keep Its Drone Propaganda Straight

      On Thursday, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller, also relying on information provided by anonymous officials, supplied the second narrative. In this version, al-Wuhayshi was dead not because the CIA had tracked him down but because the Obama administration had “eased” certain drone-strike guidelines in Yemen and permitted the CIA to carry out “signature strikes” — strikes that take place without the agency’s specific knowledge of the identities of the individuals marked for death.

    • America’s drone policy is all exceptions and no rules

      The Obama administration is again allowing the CIA to use drone strikes to secretly kill people that the spy agency does not know the identities of in multiple countries – despite repeated statements to the contrary.

      That’s what we learned this week, when Nasir ­al-Wuhayshi, an alleged leader of al-Qaida, died in a strike in Yemen. While this time the CIA seems to have guessed right, apparently the drone operators didn’t even know at the time who they were aiming at – only that they thought the target was possibly a terrorist hideout. It’s what’s known as a “signature” strike, where the CIA is not clear who its drone strikes are killing, only that the targets seem like they are terrorists from the sky.

    • We saw the tank Fidel Castro used during the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion

      The CIA later called the Bay of Pigs the “perfect failure.”

      In Cuba, the battle is referred to as the “invasion de Playa Giron.”

      Castro directed a counterattack from a tank that reportedly shot the US vessel Houston with a 100 mm cannon.

      Here is a photo of Castro directing his tank during the Bay of Pigs.

    • A Castro son rises in Cuba

      When Raul Castro, 84, met with U.S. President Barack Obama in a historic encounter at a regional summit in Panama in April, Alejandro Castro Espin was part of the small group in the room. It was unknown what role the son may have played in the 18 months of secret negotiations leading up to the announcement of detente by both presidents last December.

    • Romero’s Beatification and the CIA’s Assassination Attempts on Castro

      The Catholic Church’s beatification of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was gunned down at the altar while celebrating mass at a small hospital chapel in El Salvador in 1980, provides a helpful reminder to us of how much the US national-security state warped and perverted the values of the American people, in the name of its anticommunist crusade during the Cold War.

      In the eyes of Cold War anti-communists, Romero was guilty of three things: believing in and preaching liberation theology, which they considered to be a communist doctrine, aligning himself with the poor, and opposing the brutal U.S.-supported Salvadoran military dictatorship that came to power in 1979.

    • US-Attempted Color Revolution in Ecuador?

      On Saturday, Correa announced a right-wing opposition coup plot. He urged Ecuadoreans to stay strong against their attacks.

      [...]

      In Ecuador from 1960 – 1963, it ousted two presidents, infiltrated key political parties and organizations, and caused disruptive actions blamed on leftist groups.

    • From the archive, 16 June 1975: A clasp of lethal friendship for de Gaulle

      The CIA reveals it was asked to help kill the French president in 1965

    • CIA’s NGOs: After India, Pakistan wakes up

      Pakistan has accused the CIA of infiltrating its agents through these NGOs. NGOs such as Save the Children are funded by the CIA and under the garb of humanitarian work they have been sending in their agents.

      To make matters worse for the CIA, Afridi who had been tasked with collecting DNA samples of the Bin Laden family in Abottabad told investigators that he was called in by female CIA officers and briefed.

    • Pakistan Halts Plan to Ban Save the Children

      Because of his fake program and collusion with the CIA, medical workers have been routinely targeted as spies in Pakistan, some even murdered while doing their job. This program was also blamed for a rise in Polio in Pakistan. Because local communities, especially those in hostile zones, no longer trust those administering the vaccinations, it means that a disease, once almost entirely eradicated, is making a comeback within the nation.

    • Pakistan allows global NGOs for 6 months; re-registration must
    • Save the Children Pakistan still shut
    • PM Nawaz instructs INGOs to register within three months
    • US Admits Difficulties in Syria Recruitment Amid Al-Nusra Gains

      The United States admitted Wednesday that it is facing growing difficulties to recruit Syrian rebels for their training program.

      “We have enough training sites and so forth. For now, we don’t have enough trainees to fill them,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional hearing.

    • Where Does ISIS Get Those Wonderful Toys?

      The Pentagon and the CIA, as well as Britain and France, have been training Syrian rebels in neighboring Jordan since at least October 2012, as reported by The Guardian.

    • CIA’s Largest Covert Operation In Syria Could Face Large Funding Cuts

      Washington Post– Key lawmakers have moved to slash funding of a secret CIA operation to train and arm rebels in Syria, a move that U.S. officials said reflects rising skepticism of the effectiveness of the agency program and the Obama administration’s strategy in the Middle East.

    • New Pentagon War Law Manual Is Totally Cool With CIA-Style Drone Attacks

      Last week, the Department of Defense published a gigantic, boring, and tremendously important book. The “Department of Defense Law of War Manual” is 1204 pages of rules for war. Since World War II, various branches of the military have published service-specific manuals, and a few of the more recent ones mentioned unmanned vehicles. The Navy manual addresses underwater robots, the Air Force manual included drones as military aircraft. The new Pentagon manual–which applies to the whole of America’s military–provides the clearest, most comprehensive vision yet of how the military understands drones within the laws of war.

    • Psst. The Benghazi committee’s only interested in taking down Hillary Clinton.
    • Gowdy identifies author of Benghazi memos
    • Blumenthal says ex-CIA officer gave him Benghazi memos
    • Clinton Friend Says Former CIA Official Wrote Benghazi Memos
    • Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Sidney Blumenthal testifies to Benghazi panel
    • Who shot Bob Marley?

      As for his screenplay for A Brief History…, he says, “It will turn out to be an international story. You can’t tell a story about Jamaica in 1976, without telling the story of Ecuador in 1976, Washington in 1976, London in 1976.” The attempted assassination of the biggest reggae star in the world will still be at its heart, though. “There were seven, eight, nine people involved, but only two or three have names. Nobody talks about the others, but the impact of what they did goes on.”

    • US Was Afraid of Annoying Indira During Emergency

      In spite of its avowed commitment to democracy, the role of the US in India during the Emergency had many self-imposed contradictions, reveal WikiLeaks cables between the US Ambassador to India at the time William B Saxbe and the American government. The most powerful country on the planet believed that it was essential to maintain a good relationship with the government even when civil liberties were curtailed between 1975-1977, for fear of the balance tilting heavily towards the Soviets when China was “on the prowl”. Ambassador Saxbe met Indira twice immediately after the Emergency was clamped. The US chose to crawl when it wasn’t even asked to bend by censoring its own correspondents and directing embassy officials to avoid meeting leaders from opposition parties.

    • Smiles and F-35s do not change U.S. policy on settlements

      Visit by Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey shows that the U.S. is fully committed to defending Israel, but not to preserving its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

    • Lebanon: Israel behind crashed aircraft in Bekaa region

      An aircraft crashed near the town of Saghbein in a remote area of Lebanon’s western Bekaa region on Sunday, with Lebanese security sources claiming it might be an Israeli drone.

    • Watch: Hezbollah says Lebanon blast was Israel destroying its own crashed drone

      An Israeli war plane struck a remote area in Lebanon’s western Bekaa region on Sunday to destroy a downed Israeli drone, al-Manar television, which is run by Hezbollah, said.

    • US war planes bomb alleged militants in Libya, killing dozens

      In the name of killing Al Qaeda leaders, the Obama administration authorized a further expansion of the CIA and Pentagon’s “kill lists” and targeted assassination operations in February 2013. Previously focused largely on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, the US government’s targeted murder operations have since expanded to include new areas throughout North Africa.

    • The Great War, the Great Lie – all about greed

      Seventeen million people were killed during the Great War. Seventeen million were killed so the multinationals – robber barons – could take control of the oil fields.

      Ten million soldiers died. Seven million civilians died. Twenty million people were wounded.

      The Gallipoli campaign, the Somme, the campaign in Palestine, and so on, none were about democracy, none were about protecting borders or colonies, none were about any tinderbox of ethnic groups seeking nationhood. It was all about greed.

    • U.S. policy: Courting disaster in Ukraine?
    • This Is What the Ukraine War Looks Like: 8 Days on the Front Line
    • Obama Responsible For Many “Charleston’s” in Middle East

      President Obama was, of course, right to denounce the massacre in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and to call for an end to such violence.

      But this begs the question of whether he will stop his own illegal drone strikes in the Middle East that are just as deadly and a hundred times more numerous than the attack in South Carolina.

    • Unpredictable Kim Jong-un launches underwater nukes

      North Korea now has an estimated 10-20 small nuclear devices according to foreign intelligence estimates. Some of them are believed to be fitted to the North’s medium-ranged Rodong missiles pointed at South Korea, Japan and the major US Pacific base on Guam.

    • Secret bases? What is the situation now as Syria is targetted?

      Amidst European criticism of America’s targeted killing program, U.S. and German government officials downplayed Ramstein’s role in lethal U.S. drone operations, but slides show that the facilities at Ramstein enable lethal drone strikes conducted by the CIA and the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa.

      Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a relative of men killed in a drone strike in the Yemen, testified in a German court, alleging that Germany is violating a constitutionally enshrined duty to protect the right to life by allowing the United States to use Ramstein Air Base as part of its lethal drone operations. His case was dismissed at the end of may, but he has leave to appeal.

    • Judge OKs executive privilege in drone FOIA case

      Despite a federal appeals court ruling two years ago ordering the Central Intelligence Agency to be more forthcoming about what records it has related to the use of armed drones to kill terror suspects, a federal judge ruled again Thursday that the spy agency could keep secret nearly all information related to its drone activities and the legal basis for them.

    • Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics

      A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm

    • A question of ethics and morality

      Garry Kasparov, the world-famous chess champion, had conveyed similar comments in 2010 when he said after his matches with the chess machine, known as Big Blue, that he had come away from the series feeling less secure about the future of the human enterprise if machines were to take over from humans. He said the machines would lead to a denial of the human experience that worked on surprises and emotions.

    • The Pentagon is researching how to create drones that target and kill without human oversight

      Within a few decades, perhaps sooner, robotic weapons will likely be able to pick and attack targets – including humans – with no human controller needed.

    • Russia Reportedly Developing A Microwave Gun That Can Kill Missiles
    • Russia Says Its New Microwave Cannon Can Kill Drones and Warheads with Ease
    • Russia to kill drones, missiles with 10km-range super-high frequency cannon
    • Air Force struggles to keep pace with explosion in the use of combat drones
    • Drone pilots go to war in the Nevada desert, staring at video screens
    • As Stress Drives Off Drone Operators, Air Force Must Cut Flights

      After a decade of waging long-distance war through their video screens, America’s drone operators are burning out, and the Air Force is being forced to cut back on the flights even as military and intelligence officials are demanding more of them over intensifying combat zones in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

    • The Air Force Is Slowing Drone Strikes Because Pilots Are Getting Burnout

      The military is becoming more and more reliant upon drone strikes, which is creating a new problem for the U.S. Air Force: Its pilots are burning out.

    • Veterans Urge Drone Operators to Refuse Orders to Fly

      In a letter released today by KnowDrones.com, 44 former members of the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines whose ranks range from private to colonel and whose military service spans 60 years, “urge United States drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/ assassination missions. These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.”

    • Group urges drone operators to refuse orders to fly

      A group that helped sponsor commercials urging drone pilots not to fly missions has launched a new effort to persuade drone operators to disobey their orders.

    • Drone pilots urged to refuse deadly missions by US veterans as ‘burned out’ operators quit in droves

      A group of 45 US military veterans have signed a letter appealing to pilots responsible for carrying out deadly aerial military drone strikes in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to stand down and deliberately refuse to carry out their orders.

      The veterans that signed the letter include a retired high-ranking US army colonel, Ann Wright, who resigned in 2003 over the invasion of Iraq, as well as former members of a range of ranks from the US Navy, Air Force, Marines and Army.

    • 45 veterans sign letter urging drone pilots to stand down

      A group of 45 former American military members have issued a jointly signed letter pushing drone operators to step away from their controls and refuse to fly any more lethal missions.

    • How America Broke Its Drone Force

      All told, the Air Force employs nearly 11,000 drone operators and can keep 65 Predators and Reapers at a time in the air over Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other war zones. All at a cost of around $4 billion a year.

    • Jon Stewart on Charleston Shooting: This is a Terrorist Attack

      Stewart remarked how he already heard a reporter on the news say that tragedy has visited the church. “This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist. This was a guy with a Rhodesia badge on his sweater,” Stewart said.

      “In South Carolina, the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from driving freely on that road. That’s insanity. That’s racial wallpaper. You can’t allow that,” he concluded. “Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some civil war. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina and the roads are named for Confederate generals and the white guy’s the one who feels like his country’s being taken away from him.”

      “We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing. Al Qaeda, ISIS – they’re not shit compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.”

    • Letter: Consider humanitarian costs of drone warfare

      People of Battle Creek are being told that having a drone base here will create jobs and improve our local economy. Here are some facts to consider:

      •Drones are not precise. Bystanders, including women and children, are killed alongside often misidentified and completely innocent targets.

      •Drones are not effective against individuals as they employ high explosives rather than projectiles. These explosives destroy a target and everything and everyone around it.

    • Ralph Nader brings out the knives, says Obama is worse than Bush: “More drones, more intruding into sovereign nations, more killings”

      Ralph Nader may have run against George W. Bush twice, but he’s even more down on Bush’s successor. While W. started two protracted wars, Nader says in a new interview that he doesn’t fault Bush’s foreign policies as much as he does President Obama’s.

    • A New Internationalism

      This final proviso has special application today, as governments have extended practices of long-distance killing during wartime (via bombing, shelling, and the use of snipers) into practices of assassination (via electronically-guided missile strikes and the use of drones) that conflate actual combatants with those who are political leaders and activists but not combatants. In this context, it is imperative to re-state the laws of war to clarify that political assassination outside of actual combat is not a tool of war, but a special form of murder, whomever carries it out. Legitimating the murder of one’s political opponents on the basis of realpolitik is an extremely dangerous and destabilizing move, with enormous potential for blowback. It erodes respect for human rights, for the law, and for the rights of civil society, all of which should matter greatly to a 21st century left.

    • Learning the lessons: 11 years of drones in Pakistan

      Beyond terror attacks, drones are having a broader and more profound impact on Pakistani society in other ways too. A report last year from Dr Wali Aslam (University of Bath) found that drone strikes, whist pursuing some “high value” targets and decreasing the number of fighters in the tribal areas, has caused militants to relocate to other parts of the country, thus displacing rather than eliminating terrorists.

    • 6,000 have unjustly been killed in US drone strikes

      The US drone strikes carried out across the world including in Pakistan have left at least 6,000 persons dead without having any justification, said a joint letter issued by 45 former US military personnel.

    • Legitimacy of law

      The impact of their deaths on the militant groups they headed will not be known for some time. But judging from the death or capture of dozens of other such prominent leaders in the past two decades, the answer is “probably not very much”.

      [...]

      3. In Israel, the government barred a UN-appointed official who monitors Palestinian rights from entering the country.

      Israel also did this last year because it said its side of the story on Palestinian rights and living conditions was not adequately heard.

    • Charleston Murders Commonplace in Middle East

      Mr. Obama, (who happens to be a former CIA employee,) according to RealClearPolitics is “In Thrall to CIA Killing Machine.” Writer Toby Harnden wrote of him on April 16, 2013: “The man who ran as a liberal, anti-war candidate has brushed away concerns about the (drone) attacks. During one meeting he responded to a request for an expansion of America’s drone fleet by saying: ‘The CIA gets what the CIA wants!’”

      In his comments about the church murders, Mr. Obama said, “once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.” (Much less directing America’s trillion-dollar-a-year killing machine!)

    • All US Hostages in Pakistan Could Have Been Saved, Green Beret Says

      A combat-decorated Green Beret told Congress right now that he fell below criminal investigation by the Army this year immediately after informing Congress about a scuttled deal he tried to cut with the Taliban to no cost Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl along with all of the American and Canadian civilian hostages held by terrorists in Pakistan.

    • No mission accomplished in war on terror

      Amid the chaos, refugees and economic migrants from across northern Africa are converging on the Libyan coast, where smugglers offer access by boat to Europe. European Union officials say half a million people may try to cross the Mediterranean this summer, and thousands have already died en route.

    • U.S. Needs to Stay Out of Iraq and Afghanistan

      Given the pervasive use of U.S. military force throughout the world, it should not be surprising that a 2013 Gallup poll in 65 countries saw the United States topping the list of greatest threats to world peace.

    • Refusal to Call Charleston Shootings “Terrorism” Again Shows It’s a Meaningless Propaganda Term

      The New York Times’s report on the incident stated that while the attack “initially inspired fears of a terrorist attack” — before the identity of the pilot was known — now “in place of the typical portrait of a terrorist driven by ideology, Mr. Stack was described as generally easygoing, a talented amateur musician with marital troubles and a maddening grudge against the tax authorities.”

      As a result, said the Paper of Record, “officials ruled out any connection to terrorist groups or causes.” And “federal officials emphasized the same message, describing the case as a criminal inquiry.” Even when U.S. Muslim groups called for the incident to be declared “terrorism,” the FBI continued to insist it “was handling the case ‘as a criminal matter of an assault on a federal officer’ and that it was not being considered as an act of terror.”

      By very stark contrast, consider the October 2014, shooting in Ottawa by a single individual, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, at the Canadian Parliament building. As soon as it was known that the shooter was a convert to Islam, the incident was instantly and universally declared to be “terrorism.” Less than 24 hours afterward, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared it a terror attack and even demanded new “counter-terrorism” powers in its name (which he has now obtained). To bolster the label, the government claimed Zehaf-Bibeau was on his way to Syria to fight with jihadists, and the media trumpeted this “fact.”

    • It’s Hard to Protect the President

      Remember when George W. Bush was sitting in the White House and almost choked on a pretzel? In the weeks following, the Secret Service did a vast months-long investigation about how to stop something like that from ever happening again. And do you know what their solution was? A small button that looks like a doorbell. They installed a push-button alarm system in the residence of the White House, as well as an alarm that he can knock over on his desk if something goes wrong. If a president feels like he’s getting sick, he pushes the button. But it still doesn’t stop someone from choking on a pretzel.

    • ISI held Osama Bin Laden prisoner for 6 years, handed over to United States

      Citing Hersh, who spoke to Corbin about his article published in the London Review of Books last month, the report says the ISI was holding Osama prisoner for nearly six years in the garrison town of Abbottabad and just handed him over to the Americans in a staged raid. Hersh’s article had created a lot of flurry as it, among other things, claimed that the al-Qaeda chief’s body may have been torn to pieces by rifle fire with some parts tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains. He had also said that a former Pakistani intelligence officer disclosed Osama’s hideout to CIA in exchange of USD 25 million bounty on his head.

    • The Forgotten Costs of War in the Middle East

      I’m sure that you’ve heard about the three bare-bones “staging outposts” or, in the lingo of the trade, “cooperative security locations” that the U.S. Marines have established in Senegal, Ghana, and Gabon. We’re talking about personnel from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, a unit at present garrisoned at Morón, Spain. It would, however, like to have some bases — though that’s not a word in use at U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which oversees all such expansion — ready to receive them in a future in which anything might happen in an Africa exploding with new or expanding terror outfits.

      Really? You haven’t noticed anything on the subject? Admittedly, the story wasn’t on the nightly news, nor did it make the front page of your local paper, or undoubtedly its inside pages either, but honestly it was right there in plain sight in Military Times! Of course, three largely unoccupied cooperative security locations in countries that aren’t exactly on the tip of the American tongue would be easy enough to miss under the best of circumstances, but what about the other eight “staging facilities” that AFRICOM now admits to having established across Africa. The command had previously denied that it had any “bases” on the continent other than the ever-expanding one it established in the tiny nation of Djibouti in the horn of Africa and into which it has already sunk three-quarters of a billion dollars with at least $1.2 billion in upgrades still to go. However, AFRICOM’S commander, General David Rodriguez, now proudly insists that the 11 bare-bones outposts will leave U.S. forces “within four hours of all the high-risk, high-threat [diplomatic] posts” on the continent.

    • Chagos islanders go to supreme court in battle to be allowed home

      Former residents of the Chagos Islands who were forcibly removed from their homeland more than 40 years ago will take their long legal battle to the UK’s highest court on Monday.

      They are going to the supreme court in London to challenge a decision made six years ago by the House of Lords which dashed their hopes of returning home to their native islands in the Indian Ocean.

    • The Truth About the U.S. Military Base at Diego Garcia
    • The Truth About Diego Garcia: 50 Years of Fiction About an American Military Base

      The U.S. military facility on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean represents a horrific example of the human costs of war and imperialism.

      First, they tried to shoot the dogs. Next, they tried to poison them with strychnine. When both failed as efficient killing methods, British government agents and U.S. Navy personnel used raw meat to lure the pets into a sealed shed. Locking them inside, they gassed the howling animals with exhaust piped in from U.S. military vehicles. Then, setting coconut husks ablaze, they burned the dogs’ carcasses as their owners were left to watch and ponder their own fate.

      [...]

      While the grim saga of Diego Garcia frequently reads like fiction, it has proven all too real for the people involved. It’s the story of a U.S. military base built on a series of real-life fictions told by U.S. and British officials over more than half a century. The central fiction is that the U.S. built its base on an “uninhabited” island. That was “true” only because the indigenous people were secretly exiled from the Chagos Archipelago when the base was built. Although their ancestors had lived there since the time of the American Revolution, Anglo-American officials decided, as one wrote, to “maintain the fiction that the inhabitants of Chagos [were] not a permanent or semi-permanent population,” but just “transient contract workers.” The same official summed up the situation bluntly: “We are able to make up the rules as we go along.”

      [...]

      During the same period, Diego Garcia became a multi-billion-dollar Navy and Air Force base and a central node in U.S. military efforts to control the Greater Middle East and its oil and natural gas supplies. The base, which few Americans are aware of, is more important strategically and more secretive than the U.S. naval base-cum-prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Unlike Guantánamo, no journalist has gotten more than a glimpse of Diego Garcia in more than 30 years. And yet, it has played a key role in waging the Gulf War, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, and the current bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

      Following years of reports that the base was a secret CIA “black site” for holding terrorist suspects and years of denials by U.S. and British officials, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic finally fessed up in 2008. “Contrary to earlier explicit assurances,” said Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband, Diego Garcia had indeed played at least some role in the CIA’s secret “rendition” program.

    • Nearing the end of the Erdoğan system

      In December 2014, Thierry Meyssan announced the fall of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while almost all other international commentators still persisted in believing that he would win the legislative elections. Mr. Meyssan returns here to examine the career of the Turkish President. In this synthesis, he highlights the links between the AKP and the Muslim Brotherhood and the role played by Mr. Erdoğan in the coordination of international terrorism after the attack on Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan.

    • An American pattern: Seeking elusive enemies with unreliable allies

      On Mar. 19, 1970, Nixon’s national-security adviser, Henry Kissinger told a trusted colleague about a brutal telephone conversation he had just held with the president. Kissinger told Nixon that “there wasn’t much we could do militarily” to force North Vietnam to settle or surrender. The president “went through the roof.” He demanded a new set of war plans — a “hard option” — and he wanted it that day. Kissinger became frantic. The nation’s military and intelligence chiefs had no hard options or new ideas.

      Then, suddenly, came a coup out of nowhere: a right-wing military junta took power in Cambodia. In reaction, battle-hardened North Vietnamese forces started moving toward the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, 200 miles northwest of U.S. military headquarters in Saigon.

    • That Time the Middle East Exploded—and Nixon Was Drunk

      The Nixon administration began disintegrating—the president unable to play his role as the leader of the nation and the free world—at 7:55 p.m. on October 11, 1973.

    • Fueled By Fear, How Richard Nixon Became ‘One Man Against The World’

      Richard Nixon’s presidency has always been one surrounded by questions and controversy: Why did he wiretap his own aides and diplomats? Why did he escalate the war in Vietnam? Why did he lie about his war plans to his secretary of defense and secretary of state? What were the Watergate burglars searching for, and why did Nixon tape conversations that included incriminating evidence?

    • Fueled By Fear, How Richard Nixon Became ‘One Man Against The World’
    • TIME magazine’s take on Watergate in the ’70s

      It started with a burglary attempt at the offices of the Democratic National Committee in Washington’s Watergate building. Five men wearing business suits and surgical gloves were caught by a security guard and arrested by police. The question became: who were these men and who orchestrated the break-in?

    • Opinion: Great mystery of the 1970s

      The most significant phases of the investigation into the abuses of government power under the umbrella term “Watergate” — the Church Committee, the Rockefeller Commission, and U.S. vs. Gray, Felt, and Miller — did not occur until after Nixon resigned in disgrace. These led to landmark reforms that changed the relationship between the government and the governed, including passage of the Presidential Records and Materials Preservation Act, the Presidential Records Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as well as the creation of standing intelligence oversight committees in Congress.

    • The Many Layers of Militarism

      Like all arms races, once a weapon is developed, there is no turning-back.

    • Drones Take Over America’s War on ISIS

      Since launching Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS militants last August, the United States military and its allies have conducted more than 3,800 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, dropping or firing no fewer than 15,000 bombs and missiles, according to Defense Department statistics from late May.

      Predator drones and their larger cousins the Reapers, carrying 100-pound Hellfire missiles and 500-pound precision-guided bombs, have accounted for 875 of those airstrikes, officials at the Air Force’s main drone base in Nevada tell The Daily Beast. And on the raids where manned planes hauled the weapons, the Predators and Reapers have played a vital supporting role.

    • Saudi-led strikes on civilians fleeing Yemen unrest kill 31

      Meanwhile Wednesday, airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi struck a convoy of civilian vehicles in the southern city of Aden, killing at least 31 people, authorities said.

    • Perils of covert operations

      Implicit here are three assumptions: first, covert operations are usually successful in neutralising asymmetrical threats from insurgents or terrorists; second, it’s legitimate for states to use extreme/inhuman methods like summary execution in special circumstances; and third, democratic states know where to draw the line; once the moment of crisis has passed, they can return to normal political-social negotiation processes.
      All three assumptions are open to question. Take India’s own experience. In the 1950s, India collaborated with the CIA in training and arming Tibetan guerrillas to instigate the so-called Khampa Rebellion against China. The CIA abandoned the operation in 1969 after sacrificing thousands of Tibetans. India earned China’s hostility, with dire consequences, revealed in 1962.

    • Gauging America’s Decapitation War Against Terrorism

      The Obama administration is fighting an idea with assassinations. One falls. Another takes his place. Welcome to the long war.

    • Private-Public Collusions in our Lives?

      Just before leaving office as president over fifty years ago, Dwight D. Eisenhower cautioned against the potential power of the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces. In the 1950s, Eisenhower saw retired generals, heroes of WWII, moving into industry board of director slots: for example, Douglas MacArthur went to Remington Rand, Lucius Clay, Continental Can, and Jimmy Doolittle, Shell Oil. Eisenhower saw the potential corrupting influence and the lack of accountability private contracting brought to the military endeavor.

      The world was vastly different in early 1961. Shared sacrifice had been common in the 1940s and 1950s, especially during WWII and the Korean War. Almost ten percent of Americans were in military uniform during WWII, rationing was common, weaponry and war materials had supplanted consumer goods, and many worked in war-goods-related factories. Shouldering hardship together for the sake of victory in war was a common theme.

    • Letter: Who’s running the asylum?

      Does it seem improbable to most of us that we release up to a hundred from Guantanamo, and then we spend millions on intelligence to relocate bad guys?

      Then we spend a million more on remote controlled drones to locate and destroy or kill them, often killing some innocent bystanders. We also spent millions to provide these bad guys at Gitmo all the comforts, then turn them loose to attack us again.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea pleaded for financial assistance from Saudi Arabia

      The document, a letter from Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri to the kingdom’s then-foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal dated March 17, 2012, recounted a meeting between Faisal and a representative sent by Geagea.

    • CIA releases formerly top secret documents relating to the lead up to the 9-11 terrorist attacks

      In an unprecedented disclosure the Central Intelligence Agency has released to the public declassified versions of five internal documents related to the Agency’s performance in the lead-up to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

    • Top Ten Findings of the CIA Inspector General’s Report on 9/11

      Most attention on the OIG report has focused on the now-declassified finding about allegations of Saudi Arabia’s support for al-Qaeda. Those who believed that the CIA had intentionally hid evidence of Saudi Arabia-al-Qaeda connections were surely disappointed by this key passage…

    • Documents show bitter CIA dispute over pre-9/11 performance
    • 9/11 Report Redacts Saudi Intelligence Role in Attacks

      It concludes that the IG’s 9/11 Review Team “encountered no evidence that the Saudi Government knowingly and willingly supported al-Qa’ida terrorists,” however it stated that it “defers consideration” of any alleged ties to the Department of Justice and the FBI.

      “Many of the points of this finding relate to the investigative efforts on the Saudi intelligence presence in the United States and of Saudi officials’ contacts with terrorists in the country . . . The Team lacks access to the full range of investigative materials in FBI possession and is therefore unable to either concur or dissent on those points,” it stated.

    • Purported Saudi Documents Published by WikiLeaks Show Tensions with Iran

      Saudi Arabia tried to stoke unrest in Iran and undermine its interests in the region, according to a trove of documents purportedly obtained from the kingdom’s foreign ministry and published by WikiLeaks.

    • Saudi-led coalition air raids kill 15 across Yemen

      The dead included five women and two children in attacks on Saada and Marib provinces, the agency said.

    • Saudi air strikes kill 15 in Yemen, Houthi-run media reports

      More than 2,800 people have been killed since 26 March. The United Nations says more than 21 million people, or 80% of the population, need some form of humanitarian aid, protection or both.

    • Saudi Cables Reveal How Saudi Arabia Saw Bahrain’s February 14 Uprising

      Saudi Arabia’s meddling in Bahrain’s internal affairs has been revealed in top secret documents released by whistle blowing site WikiLeaks from June 20.

      Wikileaks published the Saudi Cables which contain about half a million confidential documents and correspondence between the Saudi government and its embassies worldwide.

    • WikiLeaks reveals Saudi intrigue

      Saudi officials have not explicitly challenged the authenticity of the documents and Saudi Foreign Ministry has not returned repeated messages seeking comment. The only public response has been a Twitter message warning its citizens away from “leaked information that could be untrue and aims to harm the nation.”

    • The Intercept’s National Security Team Expands

      Matthew Cole, one of the most intrepid reporters on the national security beat, is joining The Intercept. With his deep knowledge, sources and storytelling talents, Cole will be a powerful addition to our reporting team as we continue to trace the tentacles of the national security state.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Earth enters sixth extinction phase with many species – including our own – labelled ‘the walking dead’

      The planet is entering a new period of extinction with top scientists warning that species all over the world are “essentially the walking dead” – including our own.

      The report, authored by scientists at Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley universities, found that vertebrates were vanishing at a rate 114 times faster than normal.

    • Saudi Arabia to raise production to maximum levels, escalating oil market share battle

      Not content with the blow it’s dealt to U.S. oil drillers, Saudi Arabia is set to escalate the battle for market share by raising production to maximum levels.

      The world’s largest oil exporter has already increased output to a 30-year high of 10.3 million barrels a day in a bid to check growth from nations including the U.S., Canada and Brazil. It will add even more to the global glut, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Citigroup Inc. predicts the kingdom will push toward its maximum daily capacity, which the bank estimates at about 11 million barrels, in the second half of 2015.

    • Saudi Arabia Pumps Oil Flat Out in Citi, Goldman’s New Oil Order

      The world’s largest oil exporter has already increased output to a 30-year high of 10.3 million barrels a day in a bid to check growth from nations including the U.S., Canada and Brazil. It will add even more to the global glut, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Citigroup Inc. predicts the kingdom will push toward its maximum daily capacity, which the bank estimates at about 11 million barrels, in the second half of 2015.

    • GOP Candidates Bound to Feel ‘Climate Shock’ on the Campaign Trail

      Of the 12 declared Republican presidential candidates, only two have acknowledged climate-related problems.

    • OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Pope to call climate change a ‘principal’ challenge

      Climate change is “one of the principal challenges now facing humanity,” Pope Francis will say in his highly anticipated climate change encyclical this week.

      In the encyclical, Francis will blame human activity for increasing temperatures around the globe and ask readers to change their “styles of life, of production and consumption” to reduce its impact.

    • Managing goose population along Rideau River

      The city of Ottawa is looking for some new ways to manage the Canada goose population along the Rideau River. One possible solution: shaking the eggs to sterilize them.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: U.S. foreign policy is to buy off politicians and media

      On June 20, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, gave an address to the Conference on the European/Russian Crisis in Delphi, Greece. During his assessment of U.S. foreign policy and interactions between Russia, Europe, and the Far East, Dr. Roberts stated that Washington’s primary objectives are complete U.S. hegemony over world affairs, and in accomplishing this they will demonize, usurp, and even overthrow any nation that stands in opposition, using the post Cold War strategy known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

    • Jeb Bush Slams Washington’s Pampered Elites…But Enlists Them for His Campaign

      Jeb Bush launched his campaign on Monday with a sharp jab at the Washington establishment. “We don’t need another president who merely holds the top spot among the pampered elites of Washington,” huffed this member of a political dynasty that has often held power in DC. “We need a president willing to challenge and disrupt the whole culture in our nation’s capital.” Yet, as Bush embarks on his presidential bid, he has surrounded himself with Beltway insiders who have long been part of what he calls the “mess in Washington.” Many of his advisers served in the presidential administrations of his father and brother. Others were senators and representatives. Of course, several are lobbyists.

  • Censorship

    • Don’t change Constitution regarding the flag

      Nevertheless, I believe it would be wrong to amend the Constitution to ban burning the flag or insulting it. Not only would it damage the right of free expression and private property, but also it might start a trend toward destroying other constitutional rights, including the right to act the fool occasionally. For most of us, that is a right worth protecting.

    • Google Announces Plan to Block Revenge-Porn From Results

      Google’s decision to scrub revenge-porn from their searches marks a rare instance in which the company censors the internet content that appears on the search engine. However, “We’ve heard many troubling stories of ‘revenge-porn’: an ex-partner seeking to publicly humiliate a person by posting private images of them, or hackers stealing and distributing images from victims’ accounts. Some images even end up on ‘sextortion’ sites that force people to pay to have their images removed,” Singhal wrote.

  • Privacy

    • What the CIA and Silicon Valley have in common

      Wolfe, a 30-year veteran of the CIA, was trying to explain the intelligence agency’s interest in a hot technology for data-processing called Spark that’s the current rage for big data nerds. It lets businesses sift and analyze data much quicker than they could just a decade ago. It should be noted that the new CIA cloud is built on Amazon Web Services, which also just announced that it’s supporting Spark.

    • CIA Still Acting Like A Domestic Surveillance Agency, Despite Instructions Otherwise

      The ACLU has received another document dump from the government as a result of its FOIA lawsuits, with this bundle dealing with the CIA’s activities. This isn’t directly related to the late Friday evening doc dump announced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which dealt more with the CIA’s counterterrorism activities leading up to the 9/11 attacks, but there is some overlap.

      Most of what the ACLU is highlighting from this pile of documents is the CIA’s domestic surveillance activities. Ideally — and according to the agency’s own directives — the amount of domestic surveillance it should be performing is almost none at all. It is charged with collecting and disseminating foreign intelligence and counterintelligence. It is allowed to track certain activities of Americans abroad, but for the most part, it is not supposed to be a domestic surveillance agency.

    • Documents Raise Concerns About Extent of CIA Spying Inside the United States

      What can be gleaned from the documents is that the agency has a secret definition of “monitoring” as it relates to surveillance of US persons that the public is not allowed to know…

    • Frequently asked questions about the USA Freedom Act

      Q. What remains the same?

      A. Pretty much everything. The NSA is still able to collect data and conduct surveillance on all the numbers and people that contact anybody on their list of suspected bad guys. And collect data on the numbers that contact those numbers and the numbers contacting those numbers, etc.

    • The Good, Bad, and the Ugly of the EU’s Proposed Data Protection Regulation

      Nearly all economists from across the political spectrum agree: free trade is good. Yet free trade agreements are not always the same thing as free trade. Whether we’re talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the European Union’s Digital Single Market (DSM) initiative, the question is always whether the agreement in question is reducing barriers to trade, or actually enacting barriers to trade into law.

    • Battle to win £2bn deal to replace Britain’s Nimrod spy planes

      Defence groups call for a fair fight in race to land expected contract to replace Nimrod jets that were controversially scrapped

      Defence companies are lining up to offer a replacement for the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft, with the Government expected to announce a deal for a new fleet of jets by the end of the year.

    • Super-private social network launched to take on Facebook with support of Anonymous

      A new social network, backed by Anonymous, hopes to take on Facebook and the other social media giants with a commitment to privacy, security and transparency about how posts are promoted.

    • Reddit to Move to HTTPS-Only
    • Free encryption project ‘Let’s Encrypt’ to issue first digital certificates next month

      Let’s Encrypt, the first free and open certification authority, will launch to the general public in September, with its first digital certificates issued over the next month.

      The project is funded by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), a new Californian public-benefit group backed by leading tech firms including Mozilla, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Cisco.

      The platform was announced by the consortium last year with the goal of offering SSL certificates free of charge, promoting the importance of encryption and HTTPS for a secure cyberspace.

    • Google Reveals It Was Forced to Hand Over Journalist’s Data for WikiLeaks Grand Jury Investigation

      Google released another legal disclosure notice related to the United States government’s ongoing grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. It informed journalist and technologist Jacob Appelbaum, who previously worked with WikiLeaks, that Google was ordered to provide data from his account.

      The disclosure suggests the grand jury investigation may have sought Appelbaum’s data because the US government believed data would contain details on WikiLeaks’ publication of State Department cables.

    • Comcast ordered to unmask anonymous online newspaper commenter

      The attorney for the anonymous commenter on a Freeport (Ill.) Journal Standard article said he was mulling an appeal to the US Supreme Court. But it would be a tough sell. Most of the nation’s state courts have ruled that when it comes to defamation, online anonymity is out the door. (Comcast had refused to release the IP address account information, demanding a court order. Litigation ensued.)

      The anonymous defendant claimed that there were insufficient facts to support a claim of defamation to begin with, so the identity shouldn’t be unmasked over the 2011 comment. When trying to unmask an anonymous online commenter for defamation, there must be enough evidence to justify that whatever was said online was defamatory, the court said.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Blasts WhatsApp in Annual Report

      In an annual report evaluating how well Internet companies safeguard their users’ data against government snooping, the Electronic Frontier Foundation blasted WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app bought by Facebook last year, for not requiring a warrant from governments seeking user information, for not disclosing its policies on turning over data, and for other issues.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why the music industry is fighting the wrong copyright battle

        High court ruling highlights inconsistencies between UK copyright law on physical and digital content – and how consumers might foot the bill

        [...]

        It took until 2014 for the UK to have a private copying exception, legalising what everyone assumed to be possible: making copies of content you have legally bought for purposes such as backups, cloud storage and format-shifting.

        But even then, the UK exception is ridiculously narrow. You must have acquired the content lawfully and on a permanent basis (even though the world is moving to rental and streaming). Your use must be private, personal and exclusive. You cannot share the content with anyone else and you must not use it for any commercial purpose.

      • The Entire Copyright Monopoly Idea is Based on a Colossal Lie

        The copyright monopoly is based on the idea of an exchange. In exchange for exclusive rights, the copyright industry supplies culture and knowledge to the public. It turns out that the entire premise is a lie, as untethered creators are racing to provide culture and knowledge anyway.

      • Freedom of Panorama is under attack

        On 9 July 2015, the European Parliament will vote on whether to abolish our right to freely take and share photographs, videos and drawings of buildings and works of public art.

      • Popular Torrents Being Sabotaged by IPv6 Peer Flood

        Unknown attackers are sabotaging popular TV and movie torrents by flooding swarms with IPv6 peers. The vulnerability, which affects the popular uTorrent client, makes it nearly impossible for torrent users to download files. It’s unclear who’s orchestrating the attacks but it could be a guerrilla anti-piracy move.

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