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07.13.15

Links 13/7/2015: Linux 4.2 and Kodi 15.0 Release Candidate 2

Posted in News Roundup at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to say ‘No’ to your boss (like a boss)

    At OSCON 2013, Deb Nicholson, Community Outreach Director of Open Invention Network, gave a talk on how to delegate, like a boss. She’s returning to OSCON 2015 with a follow up talk on how to say no, like a boss. We caught up with Deb to get a preview of her upcoming talk, and we asked for a few tips on how to politely reject offers for additional work. If you have a chance to see her at OSCON, don’t miss it—her talks are always a nice mix of entertaining, with a heavy dose of practical advice.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Download Mozilla Thunderbird 38.1 for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows

        One month after having announced the release of Thunderbird 38.0.1, last week Mozilla provided us with a new maintenance release of one of the best open-source and cross-platform email clients for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

      • Pocket: the feature nobody wanted [deleted by author]

        I’ve sat out of the discussion on Mozilla-Governance that has been ongoing over users disappointment with Pocket. I have seen other Mozillians dive in and defend the feature but I do not think this is helping at all. I read this post “Firefox, you’re supposed to be in my pocket, not the other way around” today and felt like it had many truths in it. I really do not know the rationale for adding Pocket as a default to Firefox but I assume there was some financial benefit for Mozilla involved.

      • Firefox 39 Out With Patches for Four Critical Vulnerabilities

        Mozilla has rolled out a new version of its Firefox browser, an update that includes patches for four critical security vulnerabilities and several less-severe bugs.

      • Off-Main-Thread Compositing Is Coming With Firefox 40 For Linux
      • Mozilla Planning Invasive Changes To The Fundamentals Of Firefox

        Firefox developers are revisiting at how they build their web browser and how they can better utilize modern web technologies and in the process move away from XUL/XBL within their Gecko Engine.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Using Open Source to Reinvent the Data Warehouse

      For that reason there’s been a rising amount of interest in set of complementary open source technologies that promise to enable the development of data warehouse applications that are capable of processing massive amounts of big data in real time. While most of that data is stored in Hadoop, the three core open source technologies that will enable these applications are Storm, a real-time processing engine; Spark, a framework for building clusters; and Kafka, a distributed messaging system.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Godfather Ellison’s Protection Racket

      In its headline, Business Insider says Oracle is using an “ugly ‘nuclear option.’” Fortune’s headline is a bit more understated: “Oracle reportedly wields audits, license disputes to push cloud agenda.” However genteel fortune’s headline, writer Barb Darrow cuts quickly to the chase: “Anyone who has ever met an Oracle sales person knows from a high-pressure sale.”

      The story actually broke about a month ago, when Forbes asked: “Is Oracle Using Legal Pressure To Increase Cloud Sales?”

    • Audit, Bargain, Close

      If you use Oracle’s database, try Postgresql.

    • VirtualBox 5 comes with encryptions of virtual machines

      In preparation for Windows 10, Oracle have released a major new version of VirtualBox. The 5.0 release supports Windows 10, OS X Yosemite and a bunch of other Linux Operating Systems. All platforms have easy to install packages included EXEs, DMGs, DEBs and RPMs.

  • CMS

    • A developer replete with Drupal vim and vigor

      Web architect Cleaver Barnes makes websites do interesting and useful things, which is to say he focuses on the code more than the visuals. His first major use of open source was Linux in the mid-’90s. It allowed him to do things that weren’t possible in Windows at the time. Since then he has worked building web apps with Java J2EE and other technologies.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • “We can create alternatives to Google with free software”

      Gaël Musquet co-founded in France the community OpenStreetMap (OSM) of which he was the first president. This project participatory, real geographical map Wikipedia launched in 2004 by Briton Steve Coast, has set a goal to create a digital map from voluntary contributions of thousands of Internet users.

    • NSA uses open source software to exploit the masses

      Greenwald continues on “It uses the Apache web server and stores collected data in MySQL databases. File systems in a cluster are handled by the NFS distributed file system and the autofs service, and scheduled tasks are handled by the cron scheduling service.”

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • The SNP’s New MPs

    Cadwalladr’s worry that the MPs will become seduced by Westminster has worried me too.

  • Science

    • A solar system with 5 suns discovered

      A rare star system containing five stars, known as a quintuplet, has been discovered. This quintuplet system is 250 light-year away in the constellation Ursa Major (looks like a saucepan). The system is composed of two binary stars (two stars that orbit each other) and a lone companion.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Lost in Afghanistan, But Did Manage to Make Afghanistan the World’s Top Heroin Exporter

      Afghan Brigadier General Abdul Sama was accused recently of smuggling over 40 pounds of heroin.

      It should come as no surprise that an Afghan general was caught smuggling heroin, the surprise is that any high official in that country should be charged with a crime for profiting from the trade in illegal drugs while under the watchful eye of American forces.

    • America’s Afghan war shambles laid bare

      After all, US officials picked him to be Afghanistan’s first post-Taliban president, armed and financed him to launch an uprising after 9/11, helicoptered him away from imminent capture after one clumsy foray inside Afghanistan in mid-October, reinserted him a few weeks later to march on Kandahar successfully, and finally foisted him on the rest of the Afghan political class at the United Nations-sponsored conference in Bonn in December 2001 as the leader they could not afford to reject.

  • Security

  • Torture/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The U.S. Still Tortures with Impunity

      The second—and more horrifying—thing we learned in June was that the CIA crafted its own internal regulations that permitted the agency’s director to override all international law in its torture practices, and to go the furthest ends of sadism: experimentation on human beings. Again ignored by the U.S. media, it took the Guardian from London to publish the document “AR 2-2, Law and Policy Governing the Conduct of Intelligence Activities.”

    • Operation Ajax: The story of the CIA coup that remade the Middle East

      On a trip to Iran in 1977 a bazaar vendor told Stephen Kinzer: “we used to have a democracy here but then you came and took it away from us.” As an American, Kinzer explains, a democracy in Iran did not fit with his preconceived ideas about the country so he set about investigating the vendor’s comments. He found that very little had been written on the subject of its downfall in 1953.

      A new graphic novel Operation Ajax, to which he has contributed the foreword, helps to fill this information gap. In a series of comic strips author Mark Seve and illustrator Daniel Burwen reconstruct events that led up to the CIA’s first successful regime-change operation – removing Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister and reinstating power to the authoritarian Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

      It’s 1951 and an ocean of oil is sitting under Iran. Britain may have controlled Iranian oil exports for years but now Mohammed Mossadegh is Prime Minister, the Ayatollah is his ally, and they both agree that Iran should be for Iranians. Nationalist sentiment prevails and Mossadegh nationalises Iran’s oil but not without bringing about the wrath of the UK who are on the brink of invasion to get back their share.

    • ​On Flags, Fireworks, Hot Dogs, and Torture

      At America’s behest, some have been held and tortured at proxy sites run by foreign governments, and they have been incarcerated at US military prisons such as Bagram, Kandahar, and Guantánamo.

    • John Kiriakou, CIA Officer Turned Whistleblower, Shares His Story

      From a window in his rental home in Arlington, John Kiriakou can glimpse his old life: the peaked roof of the dream house he and his wife, Heather, built a decade ago in happier times. Not that Kiriakou shows signs of unhappiness now. His toddler son leads me past a wall hung with welcome home signs to another window overlooking a tree-lined back yard where Kiriakou has spent hours recently watching his kids play on a trampoline.

      What the decorated CIA officer turned convicted felon doesn’t add is that for months his yard was as far he could go without permission from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

    • OP ED: Botched, Bewildering, Descent into Guantanamo Torture

      Step one in the unhealthy pursuit of power is the dehumanization of “the enemy.” The consequences of what we do after that will always haunt us.

    • US refuses to give Scots cops CIA torture report

      US authorities have still not agreed to hand over an uncensored report into CIA torture to help the police investigation into the use of Scottish airports for extraordinary rendition.

      Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, Scotland’s top prosecutor, has confirmed he is “still awaiting the outcome” of a request for an un-redacted copy of the US Senate study.

      SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said last night it was “vital” that the secret document was sent to Scottish officers.

      The police launched an inquiry in 2013 after the Press and Journal revealed new evidence that CIA planes had used Inverness, Aberdeen and Wick airports during a period when terror suspects were being illegally detained, transferred and tortured at various locations around the world.

    • US psychologists linked to CIA torture
    • Psychologists ‘protected CIA torture programme’

      Professional body admits it may have contributed to violations of human rights after scathing internal report into post 9/11 collusion with Pentagon

    • US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 ‘collusion’

      The largest association of psychologists in the United States is on the brink of a crisis, the Guardian has learned, after an independent review revealed that medical professionals lied and covered up their extensive involvement in post-9/11 torture. The revelation, puncturing years of denials, has already led to at least one leadership firing and creates the potential for loss of licenses and even prosecutions.

    • Psychologists Colluded With CIA, Pentagon To Shield Bush-Era Torture Program: Report

      Senior members of the leading professional association for U.S. psychologists collaborated with the CIA and the Pentagon to bolster the credibility of harsh interrogation techniques used against terrorist suspects in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, according to a report released Friday.

    • Psychologists’ collusion with US torture limited our ability to decry it anywhere

      The report documenting the role of the American Psychological Association (APA) as an embedded accomplice to torture during the War on Terror is important for its detail, but not for its novelty. The essence of this story has been known for eight years despite APA denials, euphemisms, double-talk and whitewashing; the report simply underscores the truth of what many of us have been saying all along.

    • Law Firm Report Backs Allegation That American Psychological Association Was Complicit in Torture

      Earlier this year, a report put together by a human rights investigator and several prominent psychologists documented evidence that leaders of the American Psychological Association, contrary to the organization’s claims, had collaborated with CIA to help bolster the legality of the “enhanced interrogation” post-9/11 torture program.

    • A new report suggests the American Psychological Association helped enable CIA torture
    • Report: Retired OHSU psychologist worked with CIA on enhanced interrogation
    • US professional body for psychologists took part in and covered up CIA torture, report claims
    • Watch RAF Reaper Drone Obliterate ISIS Armored Vehicle With Hellfire Missiles
    • Report on torture finds psychologists colluded with CIA
    • Report: Top psychologists bolstered CIA, Pentagon torture
    • Leading Psychologists Secretly Aided U.S. Torture Program
    • Report: Top psychologists worked with CIA, Pentagon on torture at Guantanamo
    • Report: CIA used outside psychologists to support interrogation program
    • US torture report: psychologists should no longer aid military, group says
    • Outside Psychologists Shielded U.S. Torture Program, Report Finds
    • US psychology group colluded with govt ‘torture’ program: report
    • US psychology group colluded with CIA ‘torture’ program
    • Psychologists helped Bush White House with interrogation after 9/11, investigation finds
    • US’s top psychology association colluded with Pentagon, CIA in ‘torture’ programme
    • Leading U.S. Psychologists Secretly Aided CIA Torture Program
    • Psychology association colluded with CIA over torture, report says
    • US psychology group colluded with govt ‘torture’ program: report
    • CIA used outside psychologists to support interrogation program
    • Psychologists reportedly collaborated with officials on abusive interrogations
    • Report: US Psychologists Colluded With Torture Program
    • Leading U.S. Psychologists Secretly Aided CIA Torture Program
    • Report: Group let psychologists join CIA grillings
    • Psychologists are shaking hands with officials, abusive interrogations go on
    • Inquiry: Psychologists group colluded with Pentagon, CIA on interrogations
    • Secret Document Shows CIA Reaction to Finding No WMD in Iraq

      The National Security Archive has posted several newly available documents Monday, one of them an account by Charles Duelfer of the search he led in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, with a staff of 1,700 and the resources of the U.S. military. Duelfer was appointed by CIA Director George Tenet to lead a massive search after an earlier massive search led by David Kay had determined that there were no WMD stockpiles in Iraq. Duelfer went to work in January 2004, to find nothing for a second time, on behalf of people who had launched a war knowing full well that their own statements about WMDs were not true.

    • Revealed: the role of the west in the runup to Srebrenica’s fall

      The fall of Srebrenica in Bosnia 20 years ago, prompting the worst massacre in Europe since the Third Reich, was a key element of the strategy pursued by the three key western powers –Britain, the US and France – and was not a shocking and unheralded event, as has long been maintained.

    • How To Not Know about the CIA’s Targeted Killing Program

      The CIA operates armed drones to engage in targeted killing operations in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. That is known. But, to borrow from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s iconic statement, is it a “known known” or a “known unknown”? Known knowns are things we know we know, whereas known unknowns are things we know we do not know. The third ingredient of Rumsfeld’s rhetorical mélange is the “unknown unknowns”—things we do not know we do not know. The CIA wishes its drone program was an unknown unknown. It strived for years to keep this public secret protected by offering “neither confirm nor deny” responses to journalists’ queries.

    • Incredible footage shows ISIS cowards running for cover after trying to hide armoured vehicle under palm tree before it is destroyed by RAF drone’s Hellfire missile
    • British SAS given free rein in the fight against Isis in Syria

      Units of British SAS troopers are in Syria, backing up forces in the region targetting Islamic State (Isis).

    • UK minister: Illogical to attack IS in Iraq but not Syria
    • A scenario for Syria

      ISIL, by its actions, is still trying to pull Western powers into Syria and, in the meantime, it continues to kill as many Syrians as it can. There are a number of groups affiliated with ISIL who kill people in Yemen and Nigeria as well. Recently, ISIL launched another series of attacks and killed scores of people on the same day in France, Tunisia, Kuwait and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. So everyone knows that ISIL is no longer just a Syrian affair and the entire Mediterranean basin is under attack. In order to understand the objectives of ISIL, one thus has to look into the balances of the east Mediterranean.

    • Confirmed: Secret U.S. Bases in Somalia, U.S. Boots on the Ground

      The United States has a reported military presence in at least 150 countries. Indeed, it could be said that the sun never sets on the American empire.

      Some outposts of that empire are supposed to be kept secret, however, as they are operating in countries placed off limits by treaty or by U.S. law. Somalia is such a place, but that hasn’t stopped the U.S. Defense Department from setting up bases and deploying troops in that country.

    • USA turns Somalia again into Somalistan
    • Somalia: Rights Group Slams Illegal US Drone Attacks in Somalia

      A US non-governmental organization – US Global Drones Watch – says Washington must refrain from staging a unilateral drone campaign in Somalia.

      Medea Benjamin, founder of Global Drones Watch, said on Friday drone attacks in Somalia and the Middle East should be conducted through the United Nations and the African Union.

      “While they may be attacking people who deserve to be attacked, I’m not saying that I like Al-Shabab, but I think it should be done through the UN and the African Union, not unilaterally by the United States,” Benjamin told Sputnik News.

    • US Drone Strike Kills Ten in South Yemen

      By and large, the victims of US drone strikes are unnamed, though one AQAP leader was reported killed last week, which appears to have further emboldened the drone program to continue despite the lack of US spotters on the ground to tell what they’re shooting at.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill 49 in Eastern Afghanistan

      Government spokesmen insisted everyone claimed was a militant.

    • Dubious Kill Lists Started Long Before Drones and Included States

      There was no end to the White House’s and Contra’s kill list. In fact, 60,000 Nicaraguans were killed. A sovereign state, Nicaragua, was murdered, too, as the U.S. spent millions of dollars in engineering elections, threatening the nation with preemptive wars, and by finally militarily occupying the nation with terrorists. Exhausted, Nicaraguans eventually voted for the U.S.-backed centre-right National Opposition Union. They had had enough. Physically and psychologically terrorized, they wanted the White House’s kill list to end.

    • Lebanon: Israeli drone crashes in port of Tripoli

      An unmanned Israeli reconnaissance drone crashed in the waters near northern Lebanon’s port of Tripoli Saturday, the Lebanese army and a security official said.

      In a statement, the army said the drone crashed at 8.30 a.m. local time (0530 GMT) Saturday. It gave no other details but published photos that showed the aircraft largely intact in the waters and then on land after it was taken out.

      It had a Jewish Star of David and Hebrew writing on it.

    • Watch: Lebanese military claims Israeli drone crashes near port of Tripoli
    • Israeli drone crashes in Lebanon for second time in three weeks
    • Lebanese army says Israeli drone crashes into sea off Tripoli
    • Lebanon: Israeli drone crashes in port of Tripoli
    • Gaza one year on: The two sisters caught in the crossfire of Israel’s war with Hamas

      The Palestinian Bedouin women were walking away from their ramshackle farm along a lonely dirt track beside an orchard in broad daylight when their bucolic surroundings were transformed into a killing zone during last summer’s Gaza conflict.

    • One Year After Gaza Massacre, UN Exposes Likely War Crimes

      One year ago, on July 7, 2014, Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge,” a massive assault on the Gaza Strip. For 51 days, Israel bombarded Gaza with more than 6,000 airstrikes. Many of them hit residential buildings. Tawfik Abu Jama, a father of eight, told UN investigators, “I was sitting with my family at the table ready to break the fast. Suddenly we were sucked into the ground. Later that evening, I woke up in the hospital and was told my wife and children had died.”

    • Block the Factory protestors ‘lock down’ drone factory in Broadstairs in protest at UK government arms trade

      Protestors in Broadstairs have swarmed a drone factory, taking to the roof, with one campaigner locking himself to the gate.

      One of the protestors, from a group called Block the Factory Kent, said: “We are at Instro Precision Ltd on the Pysons Road industrial estate. The company is a manufacturer of lethal unmanned drones. Today is the one year anniversary of an assault on Gaza by the Israeli air force , which killed over 2,200 Palestinians.”

    • Activists shut down Israeli arms company
    • Broadstairs factory targeted by anti-arms protesters

      They say they have targeted Instro Precision Ltd on the Pysons Road industrial estate because the company is a manufacturer of lethal unmanned drones that were used by Israel to kill Gazans this time last year.

    • Activists Call for End to UK Complicity in Israeli War Crimes
    • The 51-Day Genocide

      Max Blumenthal’s latest book, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, tells a powerful story powerfully well. I can think of a few other terms that accurately characterize the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza in addition to “war,” among them: occupation, murder-spree, and genocide. Each serves a different valuable purpose. Each is correct.

    • TRANSCRIPT: An Interview with Max Blumenthal on the One Year Anniversary of Israel’s Attack on Gaza

      I think Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 promoted a real shift in opinion within the political left in the U.S. But during that war, we saw the Israeli government, the government press office which hands out credentials to journalists, bar all journalists from entering the Gaza Strip. And so journalists weren’t able, except for the Palestinian journalists who were living in the Gaza Strip, to actually witness the violence up close. And this is disproportionate violence targeting civilians in a way we had never seen before in the Gaza Strip.

    • Gaza Strip: Blitzed, caged and broken, Palestinians’ nightmarish existence has no end

      The 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict began on 8 July. By the time the bombardment ceased 50 days later, around 2,200 Palestinians had been killed, the majority of them civilians, including an estimated 500 children. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians lost their lives in Hamas attacks.

    • Death from Above, Remotely Controlled: Obama’s Drone Wars

      …drone warfare as the Obama administration’s signature approach to military engagement.

    • America’s Endless Air Wars

      Like his predecessors, President Obama is relying heavily on aerial bombardment to wage war…

    • Killing civilians to vanquish Isis will only make besieged people hate us

      Advocates for even more war in the Middle East apparently have a new strategy for defeating Isis: allow the US military to kill more civilians. If you think I’m exaggerating, just read their deranged and pathological arguments for yourself.

      It began in late May when the New York Times reported that both Iraqi and American officials started complaining the US was too worried about killing civilians, suggesting that the Obama administration shouldn’t be worried that indiscriminately killing innocent people might turn the Iraqi population even more against the US than it already is. (Nevermind that it could be considered a war crime.) As the Times’s Eric Schmitt wrote: “many Iraqi commanders and some American officers say that exercising such prudence with airstrikes is a major reason the Islamic State, also known as Isis or Daesh, has been able to seize vast territory in recent months in Iraq and Syria.”

    • Germany’s Highest-Ranking Prosecutor on the Legality of Drone Strikes – and Much More
    • US Drones Strike al-Qaeda-Held Yemen Army Base, Killing Four
    • Airstrikes pierce new Yemen truce following ground fighting

      A new truce in Yemen was pierced within an hour as Saudi-led airstrikes hit targets in the capital Sanaa and the southwestern city of Taiz following reports of ground movement and fighting, security officials said.

    • A Mounting Humanitarian Catastrophe in Yemen: War Death Toll Tops 3,000, Fear of Famine Grows

      Aid groups are warning Yemen is on the brink of famine as the Saudi-led attack intensifies. More than 3,000 people, including 1,500 civilians, have died in Yemen since the U.S.-backed Saudi offensive against the Houthi rebel group began on March 26. According to the United Nations, 80 percent of Yemen’s 25 million people are now in need of some form of humanitarian aid, and more than one million Yemenis have fled their homes, as a Saudi naval blockade has cut off food and fuel supply lines for much of the country. Monday was reportedly the deadliest day since the fighting began, with over 176 people killed, including 30 people at a market in the northern province of Amran and 60 people at a livestock market in the southern town of al-Foyoush. To talk more about Yemen, we are joined by two guests. Farea Al-Muslimi is a co-founder of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies in Yemen. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. And here in New York is Matthieu Aikins, award-winning foreign correspondent. He’s a fellow at The Nation Institute. He was in Yemen last month reporting for Rolling Stone magazine.

    • America’s new F-35 stealth fighter is dead meat in an air battle

      A test pilot has some very, very bad news about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The pricey new stealth jet can’t turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight or to dodge the enemy’s own gunfire, the pilot reported following a day of mock air battles back in January.

    • Drones Memorial Quilts on display at Asheville Area Arts Council, July 13-25

      An exhibition of four quilts, part of the U.S. Drones Quilt Project in memory of civilians killed in drone attacks, will be on display at the Asheville Area Arts Council in the Grove Arcade. The exhibit runs Monday, July 13-Saturday, July 25.

    • Former CIA leader: Heightened security “the new normal”
    • In Syria: $36 million to train 60 opposition fighters?

      A little more than a year ago, President Obama asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip some 15,000 opposition fighters in Syria, arguing that the best way to defeat Islamic State terrorists was to arm local forces.

      The war against Islamic State “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” Obama promised. “Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists.”

    • The Pentagon Wants To Train 15,000 Syrian Fighters. So Far It’s Got 60.

      The U.S. has begun training only 60 fighters to take on the Islamic State in Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter acknowledged in a heated hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday morning. And not only is the number “much smaller than we hoped for at this point” — three months into the program — but the U.S. has not yet determined what it will do when those fighters are attacked by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Carter said.

    • Washington Post runs article from Syrian Islamist group

      US label “moderate” is an important designation in Syria because it makes a group eligible for training and support…

    • Plame launches social media campaign promoting Iran nuke deal, nonproliferation

      As negotiators from Iran and six major powers struggle to ink a nuclear deal this week, covert CIA agent-turned-novelist Valerie Plame Wilson is taking to social media from her Santa Fe home to promote an agreement as an alternative to armed conflict.

      “Holding my breath for a deal,” Plame Wilson tweeted to her 16,800 Twitter followers on Monday, before negotiators announced they were close but needed more time. She added a link in the tweet to a New York Times article about new high-tech tools that would help inspectors charged with monitoring Iran’s nuclear program if a deal is struck.

    • Foreign Policy Diary ‘Instability Zone Caucasus’

      ISIS has been raising presence in the Caucasus. On June 23, 2015 ISIS announced the creation of a new governorate, called Wilayat Qawqaz in the Russias North Caucasus, after several senior militants in the area pledged allegiance to ISIS. ISIS has been setting conditions to establish this governorate in support of its regional expansion campaign since at least January 2015. Declaration of Wilayat Qawqaz followed the circulation of a Russian-language audio statement on Twitter on June 21, in which supporters of ISIS in the regions of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kabarda, Balkaria and Karachay pledged allegiance to ISISs leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. These areas represent four of the six subdivisions that constitute the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus terrorist network. Militants in these four most frequently conducted domestic attacks in support of the IECs stated goals of establishing a Caucasus emirate under sharia law and waging global jihad. The two IEC subdivisions where supporters have not formally pledged to ISIS are Cherkessia and Nogay steppe.

    • Fallout from Reagan’s Afghan War

      In the 1980s, President Reagan funded and armed Islamic fundamentalists to defeat a Soviet-backed secular regime in Afghanistan. Now, one of those ex-U.S. clients is throwing his support behind the brutal Islamic State, a lesson about geopolitical expediency, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Petraeus: Obama playing ‘roulette’ in Afghanistan

      David Petraeus, former CIA director and retired Army general, urged President Obama in an op-ed Wednesday to reconsider his plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

    • USA Celebrates Profitable Genocide Enslaving Africans To Destroying 6 Muslim Nations!

      Before and after July 4, 2015, genocide for profit (In speculative investment driven Western Colonialism never was a different reason for it) is taking place thanks to participating and cooperating Americans in uniform and CIA in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and surely further lives are being planned to be taken in the Ukraine and Venezuela and elsewhere as profits therefrom appear sure.

    • How Hollywood helped sanitise the ‘war on terror’

      This film is what helped ferment a Pentagon perception of the entertainment industry as useful for this sort of promotion of core values – and so perhaps we can expect more of the same, but with a necessary, modern warfare drone factor for the sequel.

    • Mixed Feelings About The Business Of Mining — And Manipulating — Emotion

      In the charming new animated movie, “Inside Out,” we are taken inside the head of Riley, an 11-year-old girl, to meet characters representing five of the six emotions that psychologists have characterized as universal: happiness, sadness, fear, anger and disgust. (The sixth emotion, surprise, was omitted, perhaps because movie producers, like most business people, hate surprises.) Without revealing any spoilers, suffice it to say that in Riley, as in the heads of most real girls her age, Joy cedes some mindshare to Sadness, Anger, Fear and the other, less cute members of the emotional coterie.

    • The Bin Laden grand finale myth falls apart

      Hersh’s account has been rejected by some on the grounds that he relies on unverifiable anonymous sources. This investigation conducts a systematic review of open sources and key journalistic reports relevant to the events leading up to the bin Laden raid.

      While much corroboration for Hersh’s reporting is uncovered, elements of his account and the Official History contradict a wider context of critical revelations disclosed by many other pioneering journalists. When that context is taken into account, a far more disturbing picture emerges.

    • How Terror Warnings Help ISIS

      “These warnings are an attempt by the government to show it is monitoring trends and believe that by issuing a warning they hope to either have people help deter possible attacks through vigilance or perhaps deter terrorists for carrying out a plot because of the increased attention,” Patrick Skinner, Director of Special Projects at The Soufan Group, wrote to ThinkProgress by email. “The warning might be raised after several plots have secretly been disrupted simply out of an abundance of caution or to see the reaction of groups under monitoring.”

      Since 9/11, the FBI and DHS have released a number of terror warnings that never materialized into attacks. Experts worry that such warnings risk inspiring a culture of fear among Americans.

      “Terrorist groups, and none more so than ISIS, feed on publicity and fear,” said Skinner. “Supporters are more motivated and energized when societies are seen reacting to the perceived menace of the group. Fund raising, recruitment, and overall energy all increase when a society in effect trembles before terrorism. Generic terror warnings are free advertisement for these groups.”

    • Bergen: The sky didn’t fall after July Fourth

      The warnings reflected a general consensus among counterterrorism officials that this Fourth of July was among the most dangerous periods we have seen since 9/11.

    • Who Killed U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold?

      Across the Mediterranean Sea, American NSA agents stationed in Europe intercept a congratulatory radio transmission. “The Americans just shot down a UN plane,” an accented voice says.

      The next morning, civilians approach the wreck—some say they see a fuselage riddled with artillery and a man struggling for life. An investigator observing the bodies notes bullet wounds. The plane’s lone survivor stays alive just long enough to describe a series of explosions before the craft went down.

    • Still Waiting for USS Liberty’s Truth

      During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israeli warplanes and warships tried to sink the USS Liberty, killing 34 of the spy ship’s crew. Afterwards, U.S. and Israeli officials excused the attack as an unfortunate mistake and covered up evidence of willful murder, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.

      Israel’s chokehold over U.S. politics and politicians has been so powerful for so many decades that this obvious reality is routinely denied, a collective gagging of the truth that is itself a measure of how strong the Israeli grip is.

    • The Stacks: A DEA Agent at War with the War on Drugs

      For most of the ’80s Michael Levine was a high-voltage player in America’s drug wars, until he became convinced that the government’s efforts were misguided and useless.

    • Poison dart-firing umbrella, tear-gas pen among items showcased in Spy! Exhibit at Rivercenter Mall

      Guests will get a chance to see how secrecy and subterfuge were used by the KGB, Stasi and CIA, with about 250 objects and artifacts related to spy gear and documents, according to a news release.

    • Editorial: Restoring U.S.-Cuba diplomatic ties long overdue
    • With respect to Cuba: Is Obama Guileful, Duped or a Dim Bulb?

      While this controversial hype on establishing a new era in U.S.-Cuba relations sounds promising, there is much history and a factual basis to believe that the players in this agreement may have easily duped each other and created a false sense of security by quite possibly ignoring the intelligence and true motives of a knee-jerk and intentionally weak quid pro quo agreement.

    • Iraqi fighter jet accidentally drops bomb over Baghdad, killing 12

      An Iraqi fighter jet accidentally dropped a bomb over a Baghdad neighbourhood on Monday, killing at least 12 people on the ground, Iraqi officials said.

    • Drones will tear us apart: Pakistani pop’s war fixation

      A lover’s eyes compared to a drone strike, a smile to a suicide bomb and lips to fire.

      The violence of Pakistan’s bloody insurgency has been injected into catchy pop lyrics after more than a decade of war against Islamists opposed to all forms of song and dance.

    • Book Talk: High-Tech Assassins

      I show how in actual operational conditions, drones do not see very well; I show that “high value targeting,” i.e. assassination, which is their principal lethal function, is entirely counterproductive, making our enemies stronger; I show how drones, with their ability to send video of a distant battlefield to a president’s desk, give our leaders a dangerous illusion of knowledge and control; I show how much of all this is a racket to line the pockets of contractors.

    • 7/7 seemed to herald a new era of terror on UK soil – one that did not materialise

      A decade later, many Britons have indeed died at the hands of terrorists overseas, from the two aid workers beheaded by Islamic State in 2014 to the 30 who were killed in the Tunisian beach massacre. But on the home front, there is one remarkable statistic that stands out: just one fatality at the hands of Islamic terrorists in the UK since 7/7.

      That death was British soldier Lee Rigby, hacked with a cleaver as he returned to barracks in Woolwich, south-east London.

    • Why you really shouldn’t worry about terrorism

      It’s not terrorism that should keep you awake at night, it’s the way our governments respond to the terrorist threat, says Alex Proud

    • Three men arrested for trespassing at Shoalwater Bay today

      Greg Rolles, who holds a Master’s degree in International Relations said “for first time in Australia, unmanned aerial systems (drones) responsible for 1000s of civilian deaths will be used in the war ‘games’. There are serious unanswered questions about this technology”

      “The ADF has refused to say whether these unmanned aircraft, each capable of carrying a 250kg payload, will be armed as they fly over Rockhampton and the surrounding region.”

      “I am also walking because 200 years ago, Shoalwater Bay belonged to the Indigenous Peoples of the area. It’s one of Australia’s first war sites, with European settlers attempting to kill off or remove the Darumbal People. I will pilgrimage into Shoalwater Bay to remember those First Peoples who lost their lives and culture on this land,” said Greg.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange: ‘It’s Quite Funny Having Been Called a Mossad Agent, a CIA Agent and a Cat Torturer’

      SY: In your conversation with John Pilger, you summarized the philosophy behind WikiLeaks as thus, “The goal is justice, the method is transparency.”

      As far as I understand, WikiLeaks’ philosophy is that spreading knowledge can provoke change. Knowledge will lead to organized political action by the public, and such actions will ultimately achieve justice. But there hasn’t really been a strong organized action as a result of information made available through WikiLeaks. Has the public reaction been a let down in some way?

      JA: Let’s say the goal is justice, and through a long study of history of how justice is achieved and how justice is repressed, we know that knowledge is often the key ingredient. Or to put it in another way, the elimination of ignorance is often the key ingredient in the liberation of individuals, and in preventing people and organizations from doing dumb things as well. Sometimes people make mistakes and are ignorant of the damage they are doing.

      You are lucky if once every two or three years you can get the population together en masse to demand something … very lucky. Society is complex, and there are many things going on. So it will never be the case that society as a whole can address the frequent injustices that happen everyday. Additionally, it is only when the mass comes together, that the masses have any power. The masses are powerless by definition.

      We have always operated on the basis of playing various interests off one another, in terms of when our material is revealed. You can have political parties that are rivals, and factions within a political party that are rivals, and rivalries between states and intelligence agencies — that are affected by this kind of information. These kinds of rivalries can be used in important ways.

    • Thank You for Supporting My Husband, Jeffrey Sterling, Who is Now in Prison

      First, I want to express my deep appreciation to you for signing the petition that urged the government to drop charges against my husband, Jeffrey.

      “As a whistleblower, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling went through channels to inform staffers of the Senate Intelligence Committee about the ill-conceived and dangerous CIA action known as Operation Merlin,” the petition said.

      Unfortunately, the government went ahead with its prosecution. After a trial with huge flaws (see background links below), the jury convicted Jeffrey. Last month, he began serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

    • Whistleblower Protections

      Cohosts Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips discuss the Importance of Whistleblowing and Whistleblower Protection.

    • New Massive Leak on TTIP Documents

      Do note that at the bottom of that page, you can click on ‘English’ to post a request for the document in English—javascript is required and I failed to note any significant difference.

    • How The FBI’s Dysfunctional Search Systems Keep Information Out Of FOIA Requesters’ Hands

      Thanks to yet another FOIA lawsuit, more evidence is being produced that suggests certain federal agencies employ labyrinthine systems that seem deliberately designed to keep requesters as far away as possible from responsive documents.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Study: Risk of shark attacks way down despite recent frenzy

      A conflicting report from USA Today, citing data from the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History, says that the 23 attacks recorded thus far in 2015 is slightly ahead of pace for the average 30 to 40 annual attacks in the United States.

    • Tony Abbott has escalated his war on wind power

      Tony Abbott has been warned he is putting international investment at risk after ordering the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to finance new wind power projects.

      Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-has-escalated-his-war-on-wind-power-20150711-gia3xi.html#ixzz3fh3sx9pS

    • The Superplant That May Finally Topple the Rubber Monopoly

      Eric Mathur is sitting in the backseat of an SUV, rolling south through the Arizona desert. Tall, dark, and bald, he’s dressed for a day under the sun. His linen shirt is open at the top, revealing a thick gold chain around his neck. A cream-colored Panama hat rests on his knee.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Kissing the Asses Good-bye

      “But there’s Bernie!” my liberal friends are frantically screaming. “He’s a socialist. He loves the little people. He’ll save us from the jaws of the republican machine. You’ve gotta register to vote and work for Bernie.” But I can think of at least three good reasons not to embrace the donkey in order to subdue the elephant. 1. Bernie can’t win. Hillary is the chosen one. 2. Bernie is a card-carrying member of the military-industrial establishment who votes for so-called defense bills at every opportunity. 3. If hell froze over and Bernie happened to win, and Bernie happened to be way better than he appears, and was indeed the potential savior of the USA…well, see the scenario concerning spilled brains on the leather seat of an SUV in paragraph one above. And that ain’t gonna happen because…altogether now: He has owners.

  • Censorship

    • CloudFlare Forced to Censor Anti-Censorship Site

      A few weeks ago the RIAA obtained a preliminary injunction requiring Cloudflare to terminate services to all domains that use “Grooveshark” in their name. As a result, the popular CDN service was forced to disconnect “groovesharkcensorship.cf,” a site specifically set up to protest overbroad censorship. However, the trouble wasn’t all for nothing.

    • Russia’s head of censorship ***** after being censored on ********

      An aide to Vladimir Putin has told Russians to leave Facebook after the head of the country’s telecommunications regulator was censored by the social network. As the Moscow Times reports, Maxim Ksensov was given a 24-hour time out after posting an ethnic slur for Ukranians on his personal page. The paper believes that the word has now been blacklisted by the service and will be instantly deleted if it’s found. In response, Putin aide Igor Shchegolev has instructed locals to abandon Facebook in favor of Vkontakte, its homegrown alternative.

    • ‘Right to be forgotten’ — Europe’s censorship overreach

      Too often of late I’m reminded of George Orwell’s novel “1984.” Inside the Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith works each day erasing history. Smith’s job is to carefully delete people and events from newspaper articles that are not to Big Brother’s liking.

      The state-sponsored censorship Orwell imagined more than half a century ago did not disappear with the Berlin Wall. It happens today on a larger scale than ever in China, Russia, Iran and other countries where government-sponsored “trolls” scrub the Internet of inconvenient events, such as the Tiananmen Square Massacre and popular protests in Hong Kong, Moscow and Tehran.

    • Legalizing the Great Firewall: China’s New Cyber Security Law Would Codify Censorship, Shutdowns

      Many Internet users around the world are aware of the censorship regime of the Chinese government — this is not a well-kept secret. Yet Chinese government officials have denied on many occasions the government’s role in filtering and blocking content from overseas web platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Among the other things, this means that there is actually no channel by which citizens or businesses can challenge government censorship online. One can pursue legal action against Internet service providers, as in the court case against China Unicom for its service failure to access Google’s online platform, but not against the government itself.

    • No hugging, kissing in local TV dramas and films

      The Film Censorship Board (LPF) recently issued new guidelines, stating that all local production houses had to censor any lewd or extreme content in their shows.

      It is learnt that the fresh guidelines were made after members of the public complained to the LPF about a scene involving a married couple in an ongoing local Malay drama series.

    • Malaysian censorship board lays down stricter guidelines for local productions

      Reportedly, complaints were lodged by the public to the LPF about a local Malay drama that depicted a married couple in a bedroom scene, according to The Rakyat Post. The complaints caused by said drama, “Maid”, prompted the LPF to introduce the new guidelines.

    • ‘Don’t worry it’s HIS nipple’: Women fight against female censorship on social media by covering their breasts with pictures of male nipples in banned topless photos
    • Women Take On Body Censorship With Help From Male Nipples And Photoshop

      Male nipples are having a moment, and it’s surprisingly all in the name of freeing the female body from censorship.

      Last June, artist Micol Hebron posted an image of a male nipple on Facebook and suggested that women replace their nipples with the template to make them acceptable for social media.

    • Richard Jordan: Censorship by media spells a dark week for the arts

      The headline related to the controversial 10-second scene included in the Royal Opera House’s new four-hour production of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell in which a young girl is gang raped by army officers. Met with angry boos by its opening night audience, it was enough for the Evening Standard to give it front page coverage.

      It’s often said that controversy sells tickets, but this is a dangerously misrepresented expression. More often than not, the controversy isn’t to do with the plot (as it is in Guillaume Tell) but stems from some social faux pas. In 1980, The Romans in Britain became a cause celebre in part because of its depiction of homosexual rape, but more because of its subsequent legal battle with Mary Whitehouse.

    • Hungary: Government cracks down on freedom of information

      The Hungarian parliament has voted yes to plans to allow the government and other public authorities to charge a fee for the “human labour costs” of freedom of information (FOI) requests this week, as well as granting sweeping new powers to withhold information. It just needs the signature of President Janos Ader before it becomes law.

    • Intimidated ABC embraces self-censorship

      When the highest government official asks the public broadcaster whose side it is on, it inevitably makes me think of the Philippine media under Ferdinand Marcos (pictured), when the only side to be on is his. Broadcasters as well as the press came to anticipate direct interventions from Malacañang Palace; eventually, none had to be made.

      [...]

      If the ABC leant any way at all, it probably leans right. An empirical study of partisanship in Australian media outlets shows that over the period 1999-2007, ABC TV News had a statistically significant slant toward the Coalition. John Howard was the Prime Minister during that period, suggesting that maybe the issue isn’t ABC bias but dismal government performance. During the tumultuous Rudd-Gillard years, Labor members were known to routinely complain that the ABC was giving the Opposition a free pass.

      In other words, it is not the weaknesses of the ABC that have been illuminated by the careless remark of a dubious character on its panel show. In their reaction to the incident, members of the federal government have shown theirs.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • After the Fourth: Some Reflections on the State of the USA

      Yet some US policies and practices continue to violate the traditional norms of justice, law and democracy that Americans applauded in July 4th speeches.

    • Neighbors Call Police on Man Photographing Wife in own Yard

      A California man was investigated by police last week after taking photographs of his wife in their front yard.

    • The millionaire who rescues migrants at sea

      In late June 2013, Christopher Catrambone, a garrulous 31-year-old American entrepreneur who had spent almost a decade travelling the world to build a multimillion-dollar company, decided to take a break. Tangiers Group, which Catrambone runs with his Italian wife Regina, provides insurance in conflict zones – to US military subcontractors, NGO workers, journalists and missionaries, among others. The business, rooted in such war-wrecked countries as Iraq and Afghanistan, was flourishing. But that summer, Catrambone decided, the company could take care of itself for three weeks.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dancing Babies, The DMCA, Fair Use And Whether Companies Should Pay For Bogus Takedowns

        Earlier this week the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the appeal of Lenz v. Universal. This was the case where Stephanie Lenz sued Universal because Universal had sent YouTube a takedown notice demanding it delete the home movie she had posted of her toddler dancing, simply because music by Prince was audible in the background. It’s a case whose resolution has been pending since 2007, despite the fact that it involves the interpretation of a fundamental part of the DMCA’s operation.

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