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08.02.15

Microsoft Lies, Propaganda, Embedded ‘Journalism’ and Other Dirty Tricks to Promote Vista 10

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: The Vista 10 entrapment is being sold to the public using bogus/unverified figures, Microsoft propagandists pretending to be journalists, and some gullible people who actually believe them

VISTA 10 has only been officially out for a number of days and already we are seeing the old propaganda about number of buyers/users. We expected this propaganda to come. Microsoft propagandists (for a living) like Matt Rosoff even prepared people to actively absorb this propaganda, days before Vista 10 and the propaganda were released.

Bogus Numbers

Phoronix now echoes Microsoft marketing propaganda without any scepticism, essentially relaying it to GNU/Linux users. Some people in IRC complained about this. The site wrote about the FSF’s statement, as did other prolific Linux news sites like Softpedia. “Well,” wrote Michael Larabel a short time afterwards, “it looks like the Free Software Foundation’s message about Windows 10 wasn’t too effective: reportedly, as of this morning, Windows 10 has already been installed on more than 67 million PCs.”

“Anyone who uncritically passes these Microsoft-sourced numbers around is participating in the deception campaign.”These numbers are lies and we have spent some time debating why they are lies. Anyone who uncritically passes these Microsoft-sourced numbers around is participating in the deception campaign.

Windows Banned

Microsoft clearly knew that BRIC/S governments would dodge Windows because of surveillance (some already banned Windows and Office after the NSA leaks), so what’s the thinking behind Vista 10 anyway? So many Microsoft-centric and hence NSA-centric privacy violations would clearly make it unfit for adoption in many domains, especially businesses and governments. Microsoft is again “Lying About Costs,” said Mr. Pogson, alluding to Microsoft propaganda in Europe. “You’d think they’d weigh the cost of seeing the truth juxtaposed with their lies on .eu sites widely read by governments in the region,” Pogson wrote.

Microsoft already announces many thousands of layoffs, death of Windows Phone/Mobile/RT, billions of dollar in losses, and then releases alpha-quality Windows as “final”. What kind of entity would consider it safe or economic to rely on Microsoft in the long term? Days ago I spoke to Microsoft staff and it’s not looking good. Phones of staff break apart (Microsoft/Windows phones, i.e. discontinued) and morale is quite low.

Vista 10 was generally built as though it was designed to be an April Fools prank, designed as a publicity stunt to show how much surveillance can fit in an operating system. Based on what Microsoft staff (programming) told me, there’s more of the same in the future of Windows. The key word here is “more”. See articles like “Windows 10 Spies on Almost Everything You Do, Unless You Opt Out” (Russian media), “Oops! New Microsoft Windows 10 Is Spying On You – Hackers Online Club (HOC)” (US), and “Windows 10: Microsoft under attack over privacy” (UK). Everywhere in the media there’s some coverage regarding the privacy violations of Vista 10, which we have been writing about for years (with some insider information). As Sputnik put it, “Microsoft will synchronize your settings by default with its servers. This would be included your program history, website surfing, hotspot and Wi-Fi network names passwords”

There is absolutely no chance that governments like Russia’s government will ever even allow it to be installed anywhere.

“Microsoft’s Windows 10 is spying on nearly everything its users do,” says another article, “and anyone who agreed to the operating system’s new terms of service consented to the surveillance, whether knowingly or otherwise.”

Windows Boosters Tied to Microsoft

There is a propaganda campaign going on with a huge budget behind it, as we first noted some days ago.

IDG, which currently employs current Microsoft staff as 'journalists', has made a “Senior Contributing Editor” out of Woody Leonhard, a longtime Microsoft booster. To quote his own introduction to himself: “Woody’s next, “Windows 10 All-in-One For Dummies,” is coming soon. He’s senior contributing editor to InfoWorld’s Tech Watch blog, senior editor at Windows Secrets Newsletter, and a Microsoft MVP. A self-described “Windows victim,” he’s won eight Computer Press Association awards and two Neal awards. Woody specializes in telling the truth about Windows in a way that won’t put you to sleep.”

Microsoft’s Vista 10 propaganda at IDG right now is therefore coming from a propagandist masquerading as a “Senior Contributing Editor”. That’s how IDG is advertising Vista 10, appeasing a big sponsor of the site (advertising revenue flows to IDG, but advertising slots may not be sufficient for the advertiser to keep the money flowing).

We have already shown some more examples like that (Vista 10 raves from Microsoft boosters). It’s almost as though every positive ‘review’ we have come across so far was composed by a Microsoft booster before Vista 10 was even released (these were prepared in advance, in coordination with Microsoft PR agencies). It’s then being artificially promoted (Microsoft paid Twitter a lot of money to artificially promote Vista 10, as we noted several days ago)

If one looks away from Microsoft boosters and propagandists, the main theme seems to be security issues, privacy violations, crashes, anticompetitive tactics against rival Web browsers and so on.

Kim Komando, for instance, wrote about the latest bug doors: “Yesterday’s release of Microsoft’s Windows 10 saw Microsoft introduce a new browser to replace the aging Internet Explorer. Called Microsoft Edge, it’s supposed to be faster and more secure than its predecessor. However, according to several tech reviews that came out in the hours since its release, cyberattacks are still very possible on Edge.”

Well, it’s a given that there are holes because it’s a service Microsoft provides to the NSA (and has provided for many years). The NSA is a big client and customer of Vista 10. People who ‘upgrade’ to it for ‘free’ simply become the product. Remember that Microsoft has no "security issues", it has back doors and front doors. Users are a commodity to be sold to other parties.

Even Microsoft Knows That Vista 10 Sucks

Based on this new article, Microsoft expects people to set up Web sites protesting and ranting not only against Vista 10 but also the 2 Web browsers that it forces/throws upon users (“useds” would be a better word) by making them part of the core of the operating systems, hence more of a security risk and impossible to remove. “Microsoft relaunched Internet Explorer this week as “Edge”,” wrote The Register, “and the software behemoth appears already prepared to accept that its super new browser may absolutely suck.”

The Register continues: “But it looks as though it has stayed away from buying domains associated with the controversial new king of online suckage: the .sucks top-level domain name, which caused a furore by charging companies $2,500 for a .sucks domain featuring their brandname. So, no, there is no MicrosoftEdge.sucks for now.

“For the same price as MicrosoftEdge.sucks, you can get roughly 250 dot-coms or 50 domain names ending in new dot-words like .blog. As such Microsoft has also grabbed the typo domains microsoftede.com and microsoftegde.com.”

That’s pretty good investigative work. It looks like Microsoft knows what’s coming, not just from Web developers who will be furious having to deal with two — not just one (with numerous zombie versions) — defective-by-design Web browsers of Microsoft. They are hardly different, but the branding has changed (dodging the notoriety of Explorer). In our IRC channels we have learned from people who took Edge for a spin that in many ways it’s even worse than Explorer.

Why Vista 10 is a Failure

The Register wrote many articles — mostly negative — about Vista 10. It’s just hard to find anything positive to say, unless you are paid by Microsoft to lie. Even people from Microsoft hate Vista 10.

Vista 10 “marks the end of ‘pay once, use forever’ software,” says The Register, which explains this as follows: “Windows 10 is the last version of Windows that will ever be released. If this really is the last version of Windows desktop operating system ever, though, where will Microsoft make its money?

“Microsoft, after-all, has built a multi-billion-dollar business on sales of new versions of Windows through retailers and to PC makers, who pass on the cost of licensing Windows to us through the cost of a new PC. Windows was the firm’s genesis, something that led to Office and thence to the server.”

Someone from Microsoft told me that they now work on Vista 12 and the privacy violations are likely to further expand. So don’t jump on this trap. It’s an entrapment. Even user data will be held hostage for ransom (locked in) on the ‘cloud’, owned by Microsoft and accessible by naughty spy agencies. ‘Upgrading’ to Vista 10 is giving up privacy and entering a trap. So avoid the trap now. The Register reminds people that Vista 10 turns PCs into zombies of Microsoft, literally. Alluding to an issue that we covered here before, Wired reminds people that Vista 10 also treats user like the product, on their own computer, which effectively becomes an ad delivery platform (and along with it surveillance for ad targeting).

“10 things Windows 10 failed to fix or flat-out broke” is the provocative headline of an article that actually reads more like an advertisement for Microsoft (from IDG). “Some niggling issues have been hindering Microsoft’s operating system for years,” wrote the author (typically pro-Microsoft), “and Windows 10 adds a few new irritating quirks of its own. Don’t let these (predominantly minor) complaints sour you to the OS overall, but these are the problems Windows 10 doesn’t fix.”

Given the background of this author (Microsoft-friendly), one may interpret that as him not being happy about where Windows is going.

Competition Abuses and Strong-arming

Mac Asay, who once tried to work for Microsoft, says that Microsoft’s goals are “sad … really sad” (probably the editor’s own headline). He says at The Register that adoption of Vista 10 is “unfortunate, because for that billion-device number to mean anything, Microsoft really, really needs it to be relevant to phones.”

Well, based on this new article, Microsoft tries using Vista 10 to shove Microsoft malware into Android phones. Microsoft basically tries to ‘steal’ the competition. In our IRC channels we learn that if one tries to disable (not even uninstall) Microsoft malware for Android, then menacing alerts will appear, saying it might damage the phone. That’s Microsoft’s FUD and lies right on top of Linux.

The press is finally catching up [1, 2, 3] and reporting Mozilla's complaint over anticompetitive abuses, so not only GNU/Linux is being sabotaged by Vista 10.

In summary, a lot of the positive coverage about Vista 10 is corrupt, or put another way, it comes from corruptible sources. People who actually use the software (if they managed to install it at all) are not happy and the media is slowly starting to reflect on that. The same thing happened when Vista was released, greeted by staged excitement (“the Wow starts now”).

Microsoft — Like Bill Gates — Bribes PBS for Propaganda to be Presented as ‘TV Programme’

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 2:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Entryism is alive and well

PBS logo

Summary: Microsoft pays the supposedly ‘public’ network to act as courier of Microsoft marketing, shrewdly disguised as ‘information’

BIAS in the corporate media is not hard to buy. That’s the business model of such media. Consider for example how this Bill Gates-funded (bribed) ‘news’ site complained one month ago that Microsoft might actually need to pay tax, having already dodged billions in taxes (illegally). Yes, The Seattle Times is paid by the Gates Foundation and for a number of years it acted as a mouthpiece for Bill, his father, and their massive tax-evading schemes (we have covered all this before). Now it’s time for Microsoft. “They haven’t advertised it,” wrote the author, “but the budget deal agreed to by state lawmakers this week quietly targeted Microsoft for a $57 million tax increase over the next two years.”

The word “targeted” is a strong and misleading word. Microsoft is generally painted as a victim despite its tax evasion crimes, which are very well documented. Therein lies the value of bribed media. The criminal is presented as the victim. Hell is frozen and pigs surely fly. The power of money corrupts.

“Therein lies the value of bribed media.”Four years ago we wrote about how Bill Gates had paid CBS in exchange for lobbying and favourable coverage (which we demonstrated thereafter). Now it’s Microsoft’s turn. “RIP PBS” called it one reader of ours, linking to this press release. It’s about “PBS’s announcement that it will air the Microsoft-funded ‘reality’ show Code Trip,” wrote Slashdot yesterday. Well, like in the case of Koch-funded PBS or NPR pieces, we don’t need to speculate about the outcome. PBS is a sham like the BBC (also bribed by Gates, on numerous occasions that we have documented), so maybe it should remove the “P” from the acronym (or change it to “private”) because it works for the private secret, not the public. “Microsoft bought themselves a show on PBS,” wrote Ryan in our IRC channels. “This comes after Walmart and the oil companies did the same thing. Of course, with everyday people losing their personal wealth and being left unable to donate, while PBS had their public funding slashed by more than two-thirds under George W. Bush, this was probably inevitable.”

It sure is a huge disappointment which shows where press priorities really lie. “They’ve been like this for years though,” Ryan explains. He is a former Microsoft MVP from Indiana. “Microsoft is just the latest “sponsor” that has hijacked PBS. It’s not public broadcasting. It’s just a zombie.”

Meanwhile, as just revealed by the site which was created to replace Slashdot after Microsoft boosters had ruined it (this was the main Microsoft-hostile news site before it got trashed), “[a] new round of funding has increased Uber’s valuation to around $51 billion. The New York Times cites anonymous sources in reporting that Microsoft contributed about $1 billion, “a substantial amount of the financing.” As you may remember, Uber recently acquired mapping assets and talent from Microsoft’s Bing search engine division. Microsoft’s participation in the latest funding round may indicate a “strategic alliance” between the company and Uber.”

It looks like Uber might be the next Nokia, but that’s an entryism story better saved for another day and another article. Microsoft is still an extremely destructive force with zero ethics.

Links 2/8/2015: KDE Applications 15.08 Beta, Zorin OS 10

Posted in News Roundup at 1:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • OS showdown: Windows 10 vs Linux

      Linux remains the undisputed champion of the server world, which is why it runs most of the internet. We have world class web servers and databases, industrial grade distributions (such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux or the free CentOS) and the advantage of open source on our side. Linux virtual machines tend to be much cheaper than their Windows counterparts, and are certainly much more efficient thanks to its modular nature.

  • Server

    • Smaller Docker containers for Go apps

      Most of our services are in Go, and thanks to the fact that compiled Go binaries are mostly-statically linked by default, it’s possible to create containers with very few files within. It’s surely possible to use these techniques to create tighter containers for other languages that need more runtime support, but for this post I’m only focusing on Go apps.

  • Kernel Space

    • In Korean, Multipath TCP is pronounced GIGA Path

      Enabling Multipath TCP on the smartphone is the first step in deploying it. However, this is not sufficient since there are very few servers that support Multipath TCP today. To enable their users to benefit from Multipath TCP for all the applications that they use, KT has opted for a SOCKSv5 proxy. This proxy is running on x86 servers using release 0.89.5 of the open-source Multipath TCP implementation in the Linux kernel. During the presentation, SungHoon Seo mentioned that despite the recent rollout of the service, there were already 5,500 active users on the SOCKS proxy the last time he checked. Thanks to this proxy, the subscribes of the Giga Path service in Korea can benefit from Multipath TCP with all the TCP-based applications that they use.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Announces the Beta of KDE Applications 15.08, Based on KDE Frameworks 5

        After having a lot of fun at Akademy 2015, the annual world summit of KDE, which took place in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain between July 25-31, the KDE developers finally decided to post the announcement for the Beta release of KDE Applications 15.08.

      • Plasma 5: Keeping an Eye on the Disk Quota

        At this year’s KDE conference Akademy, I was working on a small plasmoid to continuously track the disk quota.

        The disk quota is usually used in enterprise installations where network shares are mounted locally. Typically, sysadmins want to avoid that users copy lots of data into their folders, and therefor set quotas (the quota limit has nothing to do with the physical size of a partition). Typically, once a user gets over the hard limit of the quota, the account is blocked and the user cannot login anymore. This happens from time to time, since the users are not really aware of the current quota limit and the already used disk space.

      • KDEPIM 5.0

        KDEPIM 5.0 is the port of kdepim to kf5/qt5.

      • rsibreak port to KF5 started!

        I just started the port of rsibreak to KF5.

      • Akademy 2015
      • Akademy 2015 and Akademy-es 2015 recap

        Finally thanks to the both Akademy and Akademy-es sponsors. Specially Qindel, that sponsored us for the first time, hope we can continue the relationship in the future.

      • Plasma 5 (KDE) In Testing

        A few days ago, fellow Qt/KDE team member Lisandro gave an update on the situation with migration to Plasma 5 in Debian Testing (AKA Stretch). It’s changed again. All of Plasma 5 is now in Testing. The upgrade probably won’t be entirely smooth, which we’ll work on that after the gcc5 transition is done, but it will be much better than the half KDE4 SC half Kf5/Plasma 5 situation we’ve had for the last several days.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Cleaning the house (GSoC #6) & GUADEC
      • gtkmm now uses C++11

        All the *mm projects now require C++11. Current versions of g++ require you to use the –std=c++11 option for this, but the next version will probably use C++11 by default. We might have done this sooner if it had been clearer that g++ (and libstdc++) really really supported C++11 fully.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Zorin OS 10 Core & Ultimate have arrived

        We are excited to finally announce the release of Zorin OS 10 with the availability of the Zorin OS 10 Core and Ultimate editions.

        Zorin OS 10 is our best, most beautiful release yet. We have made major strides with the visual styling in Zorin OS. In addition to the refined & perfected desktop theme and the new default FreeSans desktop font, we have introduced a stunning new icon theme, based on the elementary and elementary-add icon themes. This is its first major overhaul since Zorin OS 2.0.

      • Zorin OS 10 Is Out, the Best, Most Beautiful Release Yet, Based on Ubuntu 15.04 – Screenshot Tour

        On August 1, Artyom Zorin had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of the final release of his Zorin OS 10 GNU/Linux operating system, distributed as Core and Ultimate editions, based on Ubuntu 15.04.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat support evolves with new Access Insights services

        Open source users flock to Red Hat for enterprise support, but not all subscribers like the way the company handles IT issues.

        The company recently launched an updated support service. User experience is important to Red Hat Inc., and it dedicated its day-three keynote at the Red Hat Summit last month to its support.

      • Citrix, Red Hat Helping Startup Companies Launch in Raleigh, N.C.

        Raleigh has seen a 23% increase in IT jobs

      • Red Hat Receives Average Recommendation of “Buy” from Analysts (NYSE:RHT)

        Several research firms have weighed in on RHT. Northland Securities reissued a “buy” rating and set a $92.00 target price (up from $85.00) on shares of Red Hat in a report on Thursday, June 25th. Northland Capital Partners upped their price objective on Red Hat from $85.00 to $92.00 in a report on Thursday, June 25th. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Red Hat in a research report on Friday, June 26th. Deutsche Bank restated a “hold” rating and set a $75.00 price objective (up from $70.00) on shares of Red Hat in a research report on Thursday, July 2nd. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and issued a $85.00 target price (up previously from $82.00) on shares of Red Hat in a report on Thursday, July 2nd.

      • Fedora

        • Helps Improve Quality Kernel in Fedora
        • Flock Update

          So the schedule for Flock is finally fixed and I have to update some things according to my last post. First the practical part of the Wallpaper Hunt is scheduled now for Friday now instead of Satruday. Addionally I will help Máirín Duffy on Saturday morning with the Inkscape and GIMP Bootcamp, guess which part I will do.

        • Fedora 22 on Cubietruck

          In previous post (How-to set up network audio server based on PulseAudio and auto-discovered via Avahi) I’ve wrote details how I set up network audio-server. Actually I’m using cubietruck there.

        • Testing systemd-networkd based Fedora 22 AMI(s)

          Few days back I wrote about a locally built Fedora 22 image which has systemd-networkd handling the network configuration. You can test that image locally on your system, or on an Openstack Cloud. In case you want to test the same on AWS, we now have two AMI(s) for the same, one in the us-west-1, and the other in ap-southeast-1. Details about the AMI(s) are below:

    • Debian Family

      • He who forgets history…

        Hi all,

        I just looked back on the Halloween Documents, specifically
        http://www.catb.org/esr/halloween/halloween1.html . Here are two quotes
        I find both interesting and timely:

        * Linux can win as long as services / protocols are commodities.

        * OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server
        applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized,
        simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new
        protocols, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market.

        So next time one of the new breed calls you a neckbeard for helping
        build a distro with simple protocols and services, show him
        http://www.catb.org/esr/halloween/halloween1.html . And try not to
        laugh when the whole thing goes right over his head.

      • My Free Software Activities in July 2015

        This month I have been paid to work 15 hours on Debian LTS.

      • Linaro VLANd v0.3

        VLANd is a python program intended to make it easy to manage port-based VLAN setups across multiple switches in a network. It is designed to be vendor-agnostic, with a clean pluggable driver API to allow for a wide range of different switches to be controlled together.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The U.S. Has Unique Ability To Cut Health Care Costs

      The U.S. has a big healthcare cost problem, as is well known. Mary Meeker, a venture capitalist, has been a leader calling attention to this issue; she famously drew the chart below. I refreshed the data, and it looks the same. The U.S. spends about 50% more per capita on healthcare than other countries with comparable levels of income and development. The main drivers of higher spending are higher prices for medical procedures, hospital days, and drugs; higher utilization of many medical resources; and higher administrative costs (more). Recent U.S. healthcare reform initiatives have begun to push back on some of these factors via value-based provider payments and other mechanisms, but it will be quite a while before we know if this is working.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • These Researchers Just Hacked an Air-Gapped Computer Using a Simple Cellphone

      The most sensitive work environments, like nuclear power plants, demand the strictest security. Usually this is achieved by air-gapping computers from the Internet and preventing workers from inserting USB sticks into computers. When the work is classified or involves sensitive trade secrets, companies often also institute strict rules against bringing smartphones into the workspace, as these could easily be turned into unwitting listening devices.

    • Fake Address Round Trip Time: 13 days

      Regular readers will have noticed that I’ve been running a small scale experiment over the last few months, feeding one spammer byproduct back to them via a reasonably accessible web page. The hope was that I would learn a few things about spammer behavior in the process.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • CIA Meddling, Race Riots, and a Phantom Death Squad

      Why a tiny South American country can’t escape the ugly legacies of its idiosyncratic past.

      [...]

      This remains very much the case today. Forty-nine years free from British rule, Guyana — an overlooked chapter in the Cold War’s annals of U.S. interventions and the post-colonial dictatorships and racial tensions they fostered — is still haunted by its past. The most recent electoral contest might be seen as many things: a referendum on corruption, a test of coalition politics, or an effort to transcend ethnic voting. But beneath all those skins, it seemed, the unnerving campaign was about the chemical reaction between self and fact, identity and reality. It felt like history was on the ballot, with candidates on both sides putting it to political use or conveniently forgetting inconvenient parts of it.

    • How One Safari Nut, the CIA and Neoliberal Environmentalists Plotted to Destroy Mozambique

      With the white settlers no longer in control, and Rhodesia now known as Zimbabwe, the Renamo leaders turned increasingly to South Africa for local support beneath the overall patronage of Washington. The war was pitiless. At least 800,000 Mozambicans died. More than half the victims were children. Out of the population of 16 million, 6 million were displaced. Renamo gangs put to death as many as 100,000 civilians. In one infamous episode, Renamo attacked a hamlet inhabited mostly by women and children, all 425 of whom were slaughtered, their bodies hacked by machetes.

    • Intel agencies: U.S. strikes not weakening ISIS

      The Associated Press cited conclusions from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and others that the situation with the Islamic State is at a stalemate. “We’ve seen no meaningful degradation in their numbers,” an anonymous defense official told AP, adding that after spending billions of dollars and killing more than 10,000 extremist fighters, the group’s likely strength of 20,000 to 30,000 people hasn’t changed since last August when the U.S.-led airstrikes began.

    • Turkey’s Geopolitical Gyrations

      The Obama administration is joining with Turkey in airstrikes against Islamic State targets in northern Syria – a shift from President Erdogan’s past tolerance and even support for Islamic terrorists inside Syria – but a more complex geopolitical game is afoot, writes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • US, Turkey prepare to escalate Syrian intervention

      Having reached a deal with the Turkish government to set up a buffer zone inside Syria, ostensibly to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), official Washington has begun debating the rules of engagement for US military forces to intervene against the Syrian military.

    • Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War

      Many parties are to blame, but certainly among them are interventionists in the United States and its allies who rationalized supporting the Islamist opposition – and refusing to embrace serious peace negotiations – on the grounds that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a uniquely evil dictator. That image of Assad grew directly out of his regime’s brutal response to civilian protests that began in early 2011, soon after the start of the Arab Spring.

    • Why Russia Shut Down NED Fronts

      The neocon-flagship Washington Post fired a propaganda broadside at President Putin for shutting down the Russian activities of the National Endowment for Democracy, but left out key facts like NED’s U.S. government funding, its quasi-CIA role, and its plans for regime change in Moscow, writes Robert Parry.

    • Russia Has Right to Expel CIA Successor NGO – Former US Analyst

      US hypocrisy was on full display when it condemned Russia for daring to ban the National Endowment of Democracy (NED), a descendant of the CIA with a history of undermining foreign countries under the guise of promoting democracy, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern told Sputnik.

    • Left Progressives Collaborated As Investors in Genocide Owned

      Gaddafi overthrew a British installed King, brought Libya from Africa’s poorest nation to be its wealthiest with a UN Quality of Life Index higher than 9 European countries. A million Libyans out of a total population 6, desperately demonstrated for their Green Book Democracy and beloved Gaddafi outside Tripoli as Britain & France bombed. Left Progressives either collaborated with or were silent re lies used to destroy Libya

    • Intel expert: Obama admin framing arms dealer

      The Justice Department has charged Turi with lying on an export-license application, alleging he hid his intent to ship weapons and ammunition to Libya in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 170. The Feb. 26, 2011, resolution imposed an arms embargo on all member states to prevent “the immediate prospect” of a Gadhafi-led attempt “to slaughter rebel forces in Benghazi that would likely result in massive civilian casualties.”

    • Syrian rebel group leaves their HQ after clash with al-Qaida
    • US-backed Syrian Rebels Abandon HQ After Clash With al Qaeda

      A group of rebels allegedly trained by the United States to fight the Nusra Front, which is al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, have deserted their headquarters, according to the Associated Press.

      Nusra Front said it attacked the headquarters of the group, known as Division 30, Friday night and abducted some of its members because they were trained by the CIA and vowed in a statement to cut off “the arms” of the American government in Syria. During the fighting, US-led coalition warplanes attacked the Nusra Front fighters, according to activists.

    • Morgan Freeman and Jack Black back Iran nuclear deal for fear of becoming ‘super dead’

      The actors Morgan Freeman, Jack Black and Natasha Lyonne have leant their support to Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

      The stars feature in a new video designed to help persuade legislators to get the agreement through Congress when it goes to the vote in September. Alongside them are an eclectic mix of camera-friendly experts including ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame, Queen Noor of Jordan and retired US Ambassador Thomas R Pickering, who urge Americans to support the agreement lest they wind up “super dead”.

    • Obama, Putin, Rouhani, Xi and Hollande to address UN on same day

      It will be the first joint appearance on a public stage of Obama and Rouhani since the Iran nuclear deal agreed this month in Vienna, and there is great anticipation that the two presidents could meet for the first time. Last year they spoke by phone as Rouhani was leaving town. On this occasion, by the time the presidents mount the famous green marble podium, the US Congress is expected to have voted to reject the Vienna agreement, and Obama could be in the position of counting votes in a scramble to ensure he can sustain a presidential veto of the congressional vote. The domestic politics around an Obama-Rouhani meeting could once more prove awkward.

    • Lincoln Chafee needles Clinton: Iraq war vote ‘created all the problems’

      Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday he’s seeking the Democratic nomination to keep the question of the Iraq War alive, one which implicitly haunts Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

      Democrats need to point out that the problems with ISIS and other instability in the Middle East started with the Iraq War and should not be afraid to tag Republicans on the issue, Chafee, who was a senator at that time of the vote in 2002, said during a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in Washington.

    • Valerie Plame Calls Out Hypocrisy Over Response To Iran Nuclear Deal

      Former CIA covert operations officer Valerie Plame, who has been a vocal supporter of the Iran nuclear deal, sees some hypocrisy in the outcry against the proposition, she told HuffPost Live on Tuesday.

      While President Reagan was revered for his work with the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was later signed by President George W. Bush, the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran have been much more controversial, Plame pointed out.

    • The US and Iran part III – the hostage crisis

      Political scientist Mark Gasiorowski says Iranians of a certain age all knew the CIA had conspired with the Shah 25 years earlier to overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh, an elected and immensely popular prime minister.

    • Obama tells liberals: I can’t carry Iran deal on my own

      On Thursday evening, Obama spoke by phone with thousands of people affiliated with liberal activist groups Organizing for Action, the Center for American Progress and Credo Action.

    • Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative

      The Bush administration’s narrative, adopted after the invasion of Iraq, described a covert nuclear programme run by Iran for two decades, the main purpose of which was to serve as a cover for a secret nuclear weapons programme. Undersecretary of State John Bolton and Vice-President Dick Cheney, who were managing the policy, cleverly used leaks to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in 2005 to introduce into the domestic political discussion alleged evidence from a collection of documents of then unknown provenance that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons research programme from 2001 to 2003.

      The administration also passed the documents on to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2005, as part of a Bush strategy aimed to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council on the charge of violating its commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bolton and Cheney were working with Israel to create a justification for regime change in Iran based on the idea that Iran was working on nuclear weapons under the cover of its nuclear programme.

      The entire Bush-Israeli narrative was false, however.

    • Top Pentagon Intel Officer: Iraq ‘May Not Come Back as an Intact State’

      The U.S. intelligence community first learned that Yemen’s Houthi rebels had launched a Scud missile toward Saudi Arabia on June 30 not from spies on the ground or satellites in the skies, but instead from a more modern form of information gathering: Twitter.

      “The first warning of that event: ‘hashtag scudlaunch,’” Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, the head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), said at a gathering of intelligence contractors just outside Washington on Thursday night. “Someone tweeted that a Scud had been launched, and that’s how we started to search for this activity.”

    • Photos: How the White House Reacted on 9/11
    • Benghazi Film by Michael Bay Could Be Next “American Sniper” But Let’s Hope Not

      Hollywood surprised itself earlier this year by producing an Iraq war movie that was a blockbuster—American Sniper has earned more than half a billion dollars so far, starring Bradley Cooper in the role of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The film also produced intense cultural criticism about the way it narrowly represented the war, portraying Iraqis as little more than turbaned bullseyes for American valor.

    • Via Michael Bay movie, Fox News gets more bites at Benghazi ‘stand down’ dispute
    • Conservative Party crashers

      America’s defeat in Vietnam in the 1970s traumatized the ruling class in the US and its capitalist satellites, including Canada. Many of this class’ most prominent members regrouped to make sure the primary beneficiaries of the permanent war economy would never again face such a setback.

      The CIA was downgraded even as other agencies were created to install and prop up compliant governments within the USA itself and around the world. The plutocrats and their corporate managers thereby expanded and privatized many facets of so-called “national security.”

    • Marines Held Up in Vienna en Route to Ukraine

      Nine U.S. Marines en route to Ukraine for a training exercise were held up in Vienna for questioning last week because their weapons had not been properly declared, an Austrian newspaper reported.

    • Where the Streets Have No Name: Finding a Place to Land the U-2 Spy Plane

      So you have been entrusted with a very important mission — in this case, trying to convince several countries in the 1950′s to allow take-off and landing of a new, super-secret aircraft, the U2, which would allow the U.S. to conduct surveillance over the USSR at such a high altitude that Soviet MiG-17s would be unable to shoot them down.

    • Navy Could Face More Cases of Cancer, Illness Among Gitmo Personnel

      As the Navy investigates reports of seven military and civilian personnel diagnosed with cancer or other illnesses after serving at Guantanamo Bay, one of detention facility’s long-time defense attorneys says there could be almost three times as many claims.

    • Why Obama Is Going On His Africa Trip

      Last week’s U.S. drone strike in southern Somalia killed al Shabaab leaders Ismail Jabhad and Ismail Dhere. That’s according to both Somali intelligence and Kenyan officials, who offered incomplete and conflicting details on what appeared to be a larger strike against al Shabaab fighters near Bardere, along with a second US drone strike on al Shabaab in northern Kenya.

      The one thing they were sure about – despite the secretive nature of US military operations in Somalia – is that a US drone carried out the strike in Somalia for at least the third time this year, one of dozens of US drone strikes on Somalia conservatively dating back to 2011. As US intervention continues to evolve and expand in the Horn of Africa, many of these missions have been confirmed in recent years by US military and intelligence officials, and by their diplomatic counterparts who are increasingly willing to concede there are American boots on the ground. As a token of the importance the US ascribes to tackling terrorism in Africa, President Obama will visit Kenya and Ethiopia later in July.

    • Freedom Rider: Obama’s Africa Hypocrisy

      The president’s visit to East Africa has been the occasion for the same kind of hypocritical finger pointing Barack Obama usually reserves for his frequent hectoring of Black America, this time using “gay rights” as the standard, It’s a standard which he would never use to lecture America’s other vassals like the bloodstained beheading backward Saudi regime.

    • Dan Simpson: The U.S. isn’t helping Africa

      We cause our African allies more problems than we help them solve

    • Cuba Pre-1959: The Rise and Fall of a U.S. Backed Dictator with Links to the Mob

      Latin America’s relationship with the U.S. government has been difficult to say the least. The U.S. has been intervening in Latin America since President James Monroe established the Monroe Doctrine, a foreign policy that prevented European powers from colonizing any sovereign nation in “their backyard” (that was America’s job!). The Monroe Doctrine became an instrumental tool for Washington to advance American style Democracy and dominate governments in South and Central America and the Caribbean which brings us to Cuba.

      Cuba was one of the last colonial possessions under Spanish rule just 90 miles south of Florida. As Spain’s Imperial power was in decline, Washington had imperial ambitions to expand its influence on Cuba. Cuba had the potential to produce unlimited profits for U.S. business interests. Even organized crime got into the picture when they became a major player in Cuba since the early 1930’s. The mafia controlled the gaming industry, prostitution and the drug trade in the U.S. mainland also had their sights on Cuba. The mafia managed to expand their operations to Cuba to avoid harassment from the U.S. government. Cuba was to be their base of operations as they were looking to expand into other Caribbean nations. During that time, Cuba was under the leadership of President Fulgencio Batista who had close political ties to Washington and its multinational corporations. Batista was also a good friend to organized crime. Cuba became a cesspool of corruption, illegal drugs and prostitution which became a playground (metaphorically speaking) for the rich and famous while the majority of ordinary Cubans lived in extreme poverty. This is an historical account of Cuba before 1959, a time period that explains why Cuba’s Revolution was a long time in the making.

    • Only thing that we did right was the day we refused to fight

      Another tactic which provided us great inspiration was the destruction of draft board files to make the induction of soldiers impossible. This was followed by the destruction of corporate records for major war profiteers such as Dow Chemical, producers of napalm, and General Electric, producer of bomb components. Remember, if you can, this was decades before computerization; without those files, meat could not be fed into the maw of the war machine.

    • From Africa to Obama

      But it is also because we African elites have internalised the ideology of our conquerors that presents us as inferior, inadequate, and incapable of self-government. Bob Marley’s words that we must liberate ourselves from mental slavery are important here.

    • No Warlords Need Apply: A Call for Credible Peacemaking in Afghanistan

      U.S. military officials diminish the credibility of any proposed cease-fire when they suggest that the U.S. will, after all, consider maintaining bases and troops in Afghanistan far beyond the supposed 2016 evacuation of U.S. bases. Confidence in a cease-fire is further undermined when parties to negotiations know that the U.S. could assassinate them if they appear on a list of U.S. targets. Consider a recent statement by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. He was answering a question about whether or not the U.S. would “take out” the purported leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, if the opportunity presented itself. Carter said, “we would certainly take it.” Note, he didn’t say, “if there are no children in the way, we would certainly take it.” Not “if he wasn’t in a dense urban area, we would certainly take it.” Essentially, Ashton Carter assured people that the U.S. will kill civilians if this is a condition of being able to kill leaders of groups the U.S. designates as enemies.

    • Pentagon Turns Its Anti-ISIS Rebels Into Cannon Fodder

      Is Washington really trying to train a rebel army in Syria? Or are they just marking fighters for death—and worse?

    • Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture

      Several weeks ago, a CounterPunch special report revealed that the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS)—a $726 million embedded social science program—had quietly expired. As media outlets picked up the story, it became evident that HTS’s demise was a welcome development for many. Tax payers were fed up with what appeared to be a costly boondoggle, anthropologists bitterly opposed the program for its ethical shortcomings, and a small but vocal group of military officers complained about how it drained resources from other priorities.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill 20 ISIS Fighters in Nangarhar

      The Pentagon did not confirm the death toll, but did confirm the attacks as a “kinetic strike” in the area, targeting “individuals threatening the force.” The US has launched several strikes against ISIS forces in Nangarhar this month.

    • Obama’s drone campaign also an act of terror

      Any government serious about preventing global terrorism would abhor Obama’s drone campaign as much as it abhors the recent beach atrocity in Tunisia.

    • Another mass killing: Gun violence can be prevented, America

      Among developed nations, the gun problem we face is unique to the United States. Here, politicians are bought and sold to the highest bidder, and people are manipulated by a monolithic corporate media that is bought and sold just the same.

    • Are We At The Tipping Point

      I say it without equivocation, “Guns kill people.”People use guns to kill people. No one can deny that. I know people kill with other instruments of death. But guns are involved in so many deaths it must be stated. I know that criminals will always have ways to get guns.

      I wish every hand gun, assault rifle, automatic gun, and now sawed off shotguns, not used by law enforcement and military units could be delivered by train and methodically thrown into huge blast furnaces at the steel works in Gary, Indiana, melted and used for productive positive products. I wish for the magical power to extricate all guns from the hands of crooks, thugs, outlaws and melt them. I wish that no guns except those used by military and law enforcement agencies could be produced or imported or sold for the next 150 years. I wish all ammunition for all of those guns could be delivered to military arsenals and disposed of and no ammunition could be produced, imported or sold for the next 150 years. Anyone caught with a gun will be jailed forever. No questions asked. No due process.

    • Yemen’s Temporary Cease-Fire Falters
    • Yemen’s Hidden War

      Dawn is just breaking on June 5th at Djibouti’s international airport, but it’s already boiling hot on the tarmac. Mohammed Issa, a rotund and mustachioed border-police officer, gestures to a massive U.S. Air Force transport jet — a gray C-17 Globemaster — sitting a short distance away. “Since the start of the war in Yemen, it’s been crazy here,” he says. “Military flights, humanitarian aid — sometimes there’s no space to park on the tarmac.”

    • Guest Post: Reevaluating U.S. Targeting Assistance to the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen

      As the United States provides targeting assistance to the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council in Yemen, it should consider that its allies’ standards for target selection may be less rigorous. However, the United States is still partially responsible for airstrikes enabled with its intelligence. Contrary to the official U.S. position that it remains in a “non-combat advisory and coordinating role to the Saudi-led campaign,” this enabling support makes the United States a combatant in the Yemen air campaign. Even if the United States is not pulling the trigger, the “live intelligence feeds from surveillance flights over Yemen” that “help Saudi Arabia decide what and where to bomb” are indispensable for the launch of airstrikes against Houthi rebels.

    • Paul: Protect Civil Liberties at Home
    • Do we really need to bring back internment camps?

      Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the U.S. bombing of Serbia, proposed that “disloyal Americans” be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.”

      Discussing the recent military base shootings in Chattanooga, TN, in which five U.S. service members were killed, Clark recalled the internment of American citizens during World War II who were merely suspected of having Nazi sympathies. He said: “Back then we didn’t say ‘that was freedom of speech,’ we put him in a camp.”

      He called for the government to identify people most likely to be radicalized so we can “cut this off at the beginning.” That sounds like “pre-crime”!

      Gen. Clark ran for president in 2004 and it’s probably a good thing he didn’t win considering what seems to be his disregard for the Constitution.

      Unfortunately, in the current presidential race, Donald Trump even one-upped Clark, stating recently that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor and should be treated like one, implying that the government should kill him.

    • Bid to ban autonomous killing machines

      It is a characteristic of technological development for humans to get machines to do things that they don’t want to, whether it is washing the dishes, mowing the lawn or walking long distances to get somewhere.

    • Open letter petitions UN to ban the development on weaponized AI
    • Autonomous weapons and the eventual robot uprising

      This past week, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and about a thousand other artificial intelligence researchers signed a letter calling for a ban on autonomous weapons.

      The remote-operated drones that we use in modern warfare can already fly virtually undetected and use advanced targeting systems to drop bombs on buildings and people below — but the key phrase is “remote-operated.” A human is usually controlling the weapon from afar.

    • Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

      An ultra-Orthodox Jew accused of stabbing six people at a Gay Pride march in Jerusalem weeks after his release from jail for a similar attack lashed out in court Friday, Israeli media reported.

      “I do not accept this court’s authority,” said a defiant Yishai Shlissel, representing himself at a hearing.

    • Amnesty accuses Israel of possible crimes against humanity
    • Israel accused of killing 75 children during day of ‘carnage’ and war crimes in Gaza war

      Israeli forces have been accused of carrying out war crimes during a day of “carnage” in the Gaza Strip that has been called Black Friday.

      A report by Amnesty International on alleged atrocities in Rafah during last year’s conflict with Hamas claims Israeli forces killed at least 135 Palestinian civilians, including 75 children, following the capture of a soldier.

    • Mythbusters Tests Killer Drones

      See what the team on Discovery Communications’ TV series Mythbusters learned when they tested the safety of drones. The results might make you lose your head.

    • A very human portrait of Drones

      My primary criticism of this album is that the storyline is vague. Unlike The Who’s “Tommy,” the listener gets more of an emotional storytelling through sounds and words rather than a literal connect-the-dots progression of clear events.

      The first half of the album is Heavy, with a capital H. Muse returns to their decidedly guitar-centered riff-laden focus of earlier days. While the opening track, “Dead Inside” is augmented by the slightest keyboard accents in the verses and singer Matthew Bellamy’s melodramatic vocals, it surges into the harsh threats of the drill instructor’s intro to the mind-numbing “Psycho.”

    • Groups protest use of drones

      They pointed out that drone strikes result in the killing of innocent people; one research study confirmed that in an effort to kill 41 identified “terrorists,” weaponized drones killed 1,147 unidentified individuals.

      “Drones prevent negotiations. Drones prevent peace,” said Jakob Fehr, chair of the German Mennonite Peace Commission. “You can’t talk to someone who’s shooting at you from an invisible location, nor can peace be obtained at a distance either.”

    • Syria Says Israeli Drone Attack Killed 3 in Country’s South
    • Reports: Israel strikes targets in Syria, Lebanon in two separate attacks
    • Syria says Israeli drone attack killed 3 in country’s south

      The Israeli military had no comment. The bombing reportedly happened in Khader, which is a town in the Syrian border along the countryside of Qunietra in the Syrian Golan Heights. The report says that the auto was hit in the boundary of the Israeli Golan Heights.

    • Reaping the rewards: How private sector is cashing in on Pentagon’s ‘insatiable demand’ for drone war intelligence

      Some months ago, an imagery analyst was sitting in his curtained cubicle at Hurlburt Field airbase in Florida watching footage transmitted from a drone above one of the battlefields in the War on Terror. If he thought the images showed someone doing anything suspicious, or holding a weapon, he had to type it in to a chat channel seen by the pilots controlling the drone’s missiles.

      Once an observation has been fed in to the chat, he later explained, it’s hard to revise it – it influences the whole mindset of the people with their hands on the triggers.

    • Revealed: The private firms tracking terror targets at heart of US drone wars

      The overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private sector contractors in the heart of its drone operations to analyse top secret video feeds and help track high value terror targets, an investigation has found.

      Contracts unearthed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal a secretive industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars, placing a corporate workforce alongside uniformed personnel, analysing battlefield intelligence.

      While it has long been known that US defence firms supply billions of dollars’ worth of equipment for drone operations, the role of the private sector in providing analysts to comb through military surveillance video has remained almost entirely unknown until now.

    • Contractors Play Growing Role in US Drone Attacks – Investigation
    • Private Drone Operators to Cause More Civilian Deaths – Activist

      Upstate Drone Action activist Ed Kinane claims that private drone operators analyzing intelligence for the US military can lead to more civilian casualties with lesser accountability.

    • Revealed: Private firms at heart of US drone warfare

      The overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private-sector contractors to the heart of its drone operations to analyse top-secret video feeds and help track suspected terrorist leaders, an investigation has found.

      Contracts unearthed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal a secretive industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars, placing a corporate workforce alongside uniformed personnel analysing intelligence from areas of interest.

    • Do not kill terrorists, take them alive

      Who were the militants who attacked the Dinanagar police station in Gurdaspur district? What were their aims and ideology? How many of their comrades are waiting for another chance to attack? How much help are they getting from the Pakistani authorities, and what other sources of support and finance do they enjoy?

      India needs the answers to such critical questions, but none are available because dead men tell no tales. India has now been at the receiving end of several terrorist attacks from across the border, and almost invariably all attackers perish in gun battles. That leaves us guessing about the attackers, and of ways to check them in future.

    • Mercenary Drone Operators Kill Outside US Chain of Command

      Experts say that the US armed forces are using a growing number of mercenaries or contractors to operate lethal drone attacks as regular troops are increasingly unwilling to do so.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • 5 US Intelligence Businesses Despatched Emails to Hillary

      A number of intelligence businesses despatched categorised emails to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal e mail handle, the primary account she used all through her tenure, sources say.

      In accordance with , investigators have found that info got here from the Nationwide Safety Company, the Protection Intelligence Company, the Nation-Geospatial Company, in addition to the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence (ODNI) and the CIA.

      The Workplace of the Intelligence Group inspector common has recognized 5 emails containing categorised info when it carried out a random sampling from the emails she launched to the State Division.

    • Kafka-like Persecution of Julian Assange

      In an era when powerful institutions demonize decent people – and the mainstream media joins in, piling on the abuse – legal proceedings have become another Kafka-esque weapon of coercion. Few cases are more troubling than the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as John Pilger describes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • US govt never minded Americans killing rare lions before Cecil – WikiLeaks document

      WikiLeaks has unveiled a secret document on US hunters in Zimbabwe allegedly sent from a US official to the CIA, casting light upon the recent killing of Cecil the lion, a popular attraction to Zimbabwean Hwange National Park’s visitors.

    • 6 endangered animals poachers are hunting into extinction

      The bad news you probably already know: Cecil the lion, one of Zimbabwe’s best loved wild animals, was slain last week at the hands of unscrupulous safari guides and, it’s claimed, a crossbow-happy dentist from Minnesota.

      [...]

      Whatever poachers’ motivations, they’re threatening to wipe some of the most vulnerable species off the face of the earth. Here are six animals that, like Cecil, poaching might rob us of forever.

    • Protesters Rappel From Portland Bridge To Delay Shell Icebreaker

      A Shell icebreaking vessel being protested by Greenpeace and other activist groups will not leave a Portland dock Wednesday, according to the Columbia River Bar Pilot dispatch.

  • Finance

    • Russia’s rising startups: An open source guide (INFOGRAPHIC)

      For some time, the technology startup scene in Russia had suffered due to a lack of angel investors supporting the region, leaving the Russian ecosystem starved for funding. Many explanations have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, such as the lack of internet education amongst the Russian angels or just a strong desire to avoid public attention.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Russia’s propaganda machine revs up ahead of UN’s MH17 vote

      A well-coordinated campaign appeared to be underway ahead of the July 29 U.N. Security Council vote on whether to form a tribunal to investigate the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Its goal seems to be aimed at discrediting the widely accepted version that Russian-separatists were to blame for the crash that killed all 298 people on board using a surface-to-air missile system supplied by Russia.

    • Money: for good or bad?

      Trump, on the other hand, is free to be as much of a maverick as he wants to be. Opinion polls show the tactic seems to be working, at least at this early stage, with American voters. During the press conference called to launch his campaign, he bragged: “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”

    • Japanese journalist lives 2 months in Moscow airport because of US propaganda

      Tetsuya Abo does not want to leave Moscow because of his convictions. He claims, that in his own country there is no freedom of speech any more, and the American propaganda rules political interests.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • President Obama Names Raymond Cook CIO of U.S. Intelligence Community

      President Barack Obama has named Raymond Cook CIO of the Intelligence Community, Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Mr. Cook most recently served concurrently as director of the Office of Space Reconnaissance for the Central Intelligence Agency since 2014, as well as director of Mission Operations for the National Reconnaissance Office, a position he held since 2013.

    • NIST app competition, Clapper’s hack warning, DIA protests and a new intel CIO
    • Former NSA, DHS Heads Think Requiring Crypto Backdoors a ‘Mistake’

      The former head of the National Security Agency is among a group of people who have unexpectedly spoken out against inserting government-only electronic backdoors into encrypted devices and services.

    • Hillview man arrested for shooting down drone; cites right to privacy

      A Hillview man has been arrested after he shot down a drone flying over his property — but he’s not making any apologies for it.

      It happened Sunday night at a home on Earlywood Way, just south of the intersection between Smith Lane and Mud Lane in Bullitt County, according to an arrest report.

      Hillview Police say they were called to the home of 47-year-old William H. Merideth after someone complained about a firearm.

    • Facebook Could Make Billions From Something It’s Not Doing Yet

      It’s not monetizing something that happens 1.5 billion times a day

      Facebook is slowly but surely taking over the Internet. In a post after its Q2 earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that “1.49 billion people are now part of our community. In 1876, the year the first telephone call was made, around 1.49 billion people were alive.”

      Those 1.49 billion people use Facebook to plan events, talk to each other, share pictures, and keep up with the latest news. But there’s something else we’re using it for that we barely even notice: search. People now make 1.5 billion search queries on Facebook per day, according to opening remarks during Facebook’s earnings call.

  • Civil Rights

    • What the CIA thought of the most notorious US espionage case before Snowden

      Pollard was spying on behalf of a US ally and received a life sentence despite pleading guilty and fully cooperating with US investigators. He turned over thousands of classified documents and even allegedly sold documents to Pakistan and apartheid South Africa as well.

    • CIA ran up $40 million tab turning out Senate torture report, documents show

      The $40 million cost of producing the Senate torture report was incurred by the CIA, not lawmakers, newly obtained contracting documents reveal, as the agency insisted on outsourcing much of the work to the agency’s long-time contractor.

      Critics of the report, including former and current agency officials and some Republican lawmakers, often complained about the report’s price tag of over $40 million to denounce the Democrats leading the inquiry. Contract documentation obtained by VICE News through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, however, shows that the costs were incurred by the CIA.

    • SSA ‘still investigating’ CIA claims

      The State Security Agency (SSA) has said its probe into claims that Julius Malema, Thuli Madonsela, Joseph Mathunjwa and Lindiwe Mazibuko were spies is still ongoing four months after it was started.

      The agency began the investigation after an online blog post claimed that the four were working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • Joshua Wong dismisses Xinhua article on alleged CIA links

      Pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po, citing a report from the official Xinhua News Agency, reported Tuesday that Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong and his family met former US consul general in Hong Kong Stephen Young during a visit to Macau in 2011.

    • From James Bond to Edward Snowden: How the dangerous fantasies of spy fiction shaped our “Mission: Impossible” world

      The Indonesia debacle wasn’t the first time during the Cold War that American officials had lied about a covert operation against a foreign elected leader, played the subservient “free press” like a Stradivarius and then had the temerity to turn around and talk about the evils of Communist propaganda. It certainly wouldn’t be the last. But it was among the most egregious and unavoidable examples, and also one that suggested that all our sanctimonious homilies about democracy and freedom of expression could not quite conceal a darker reality.

    • When government whistleblowers become an “Enemy of the State”

      The National Security Agency (NSA) was only the beginning: Congress—along with the Executive Branch—is so paranoid that we are on the verge of a revolution, that they’re expanding the Surveillance State to watch us even more closely. Watch for the coming Cyber-Security Information Sharing Act (CISA). This Act is going further in watching us than even the NSA ever dreamed.

      If you believe Congress will ever rein in the NSA, think again. The NSA is never going to stop its illegal activities. In fact, what the NSA has done is in its infancy. The new Cyber-Security Information Sharing Act will take the NSA to the next level in watching and listening to us. Too much money and political muscle have been invested in the NSA to create levels of control and ability that monitor each of us 24/7. The NSA has proven itself over and over incompetent where terrorists are involved but very fluent where U.S. citizens are concerned.

    • Guantanamo detainee’s hearing delayed until September

      On hold again: The Pentagon’s latest attempt to move forward with a military commission for an Iraqi detainee was abruptly canceled when the judge found that the accused’s defense attorney, Marine Lt. Col. Sean Gleason, was also involved in another war crimes case.

    • Distraught people, Deadly results

      Officers often lack the training to approach the mentally unstable, experts say

    • How America’s psychologists ended up endorsing torture

      The investigation, led by David Hoffman of the law firm Sidley Austin, concluded this month with the publication of a 542-page report. Its findings diverge considerably from the APA’s expectations. Far from upholding their Hippocratic oath to “do no harm”, APA psychologists did indeed work with officials from the Defense Department and the CIA to facilitate the torture of detainees. This involved issuing loose ethical guidelines that endorsed existing DoD interrogation policies and permitted psychologists to participate at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere—unlike their colleagues in the field of psychiatry, who refused to back the government’s evolving interrogation tactics. Though the APA’s policies adhered to US law, they violated medical ethics.

    • Psychologists in crisis over findings on ‘torture’ allegations

      The American Psychological Association, or APA, under fire for its role in supporting the use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques by US national security agencies, vows it will address the numerous ethical breaches detailed in the findings of an independent investigation leaked this month to The New York Times.

      But whether the association, the largest professional organisation for psychologists in the United States and arguably the most influential organisation for psychologists in the world, can salvage its reputation – or repair collateral damage – remains an open question.

      Some of its harshest critics predict mass resignations from the association. But APA’s reach extends far beyond its membership, which includes more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. It’s the publisher of major textbooks and journals. It’s also the accrediting body for university psychology programmes. And the episode has already been used as a case study in ethics courses.

    • Monterey Bay Psychological Association: APA must adopt higher standards

      It was recently revealed that key leadership in the American Psychological Association knowingly misled its membership of 125,000 psychologists as well as the American public in regard to their collusion with the Department of Defense and the CIA. This collusion appears to have been aimed at preserving unethical detention and interrogation practices that involved psychologists in human torture and abuse. These findings came to light on July 10 with the release of a report (www.APA.org/independent-review). Attorney David Hoffman had been commissioned by the APA board of directors to investigate allegations of APA collusion with the Bush administration to facilitate enhanced interrogation techniques. Such practices are abhorrent and violate the long-held principles and values of psychologists across the state and the nation to protect and preserve the mental and physical health and safety of our fellow human beings.

    • BARTON: Vote to end torture

      Rejecting this program is not only the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do. Past reports showed that the CIA kidnapped and tortured individuals in secret prisons, built in foreign countries paid for with bribes given to foreign officials. Government agencies ought to uphold our most cherished values, not dishonor them. By voting against torture, the Senate has clearly rejected the CIA’s past torture program.

    • Anti-torture reforms opposed within psychology group after damning report

      Before the American Psychological Association (APA) meets in Toronto next Thursday for what all expect will be a fraught convention that reckons with an independent review that last month found the APA complicit in torture, former military voices within the profession are urging the organization not to participate in what they describe as a witch hunt.

      Reformers consider the pushback to represent entrenched opposition to cleaving the APA from a decade’s worth of professional cooperation with controversial detentions and interrogations. The APA listserv has become a key debating forum, with tempers rising on both sides.

      A recent letter from the president of the APA’s military-focused wing warns that proposed ethics changes, likely to be discussed in Toronto, represent pandering to a “politically motivated, anti-government and anti-military stance”. A retired army colonel called David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor whose scathing inquiry described APA “collusion” with US torture, an “executioner”.

    • When American psychologists use their skills for torture

      At 11am on July 2, my friend and colleague, Steven Reisner, and I met with the board of the American Psychological Association (APA). The board had just received a devastating report on an investigation of the APA’s years-long collusion with the CIA and US defense department in support of psychologist involvement in the George W. Bush-era torture program.

    • U.S. Psychologists Urged to Curb Questioning Terror Suspects

      The board of the American Psychological Association plans to recommend a tough ethics policy that would prohibit psychologists from involvement in all national security interrogations, potentially creating a new obstacle to the Obama administration’s efforts to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects outside of the traditional criminal justice system.

    • How the American Psychological Assn. lost its way

      Last December, a Senate Intelligence Committee report laid bare the extensive involvement of individual psychologists in the CIA’s black-site torture program. Then, in early July, a devastating independent report by a former federal prosecutor determined that more than a decade ago APA leaders — including the director of ethics — began working secretly with military representatives. Together they crafted deceptively permissive ethics policies for psychologists that effectively enabled abusive interrogation of war-on-terror prisoners to continue.

    • American Psychological Association Urged to Adopt Ban on Interrogations
    • American Psychological Association may bar members from terror cases
    • Following Damning Report, American Psychological Association May Prohibit Interrogation Involvement
    • American Psychological Association may bar members from terror cases
    • 2-part series examines ethics of ‘War on Terror’
    • Outrage of the Month: Leading Professional Psychologists’ Organization Colluded With Defense Department, Facilitated Participation in Torture

      These recent actions by the APA are appropriate first steps to address the egregious ethical lapses that occurred during the creation and implementation of the 2005 ethics guidelines. Despite these actions, the APA’s collusion with the DOD in issuing so-called ethics guidelines that allowed psychologists to participate in the torture of detainees held in DOD and CIA facilities has left an indelible stain on the organization’s reputation. The actions by the APA provided an aura of legitimacy to activities that are now widely recognized as having constituted torture. Such shameful conduct must never be repeated by the APA or any other professional organization representing health care providers.

    • Rowley – McGovern Iowa Speaking Tour

      FBI whistle blower Coleen Rowley and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern to speak at organized events in nine Iowa cities beginning Sept. 24

    • Yakub Memon’s hanging: Can we be neutral in a moving train?

      Some time in the future we will know if terrorism was dealt a deathly blow by Yakub’s execution, whether death penalty is a violation of human rights, whether Yakub was promised immunity and was eventually cheated out of it, whether he deserved the death warrant, whether the issue of the warrant while passing the test of the law, as the Supreme Court noted, also passed the test of justice.

    • Don’t confuse Yakub case with campaign against death penalty

      Did Yakub Memon come back to India because of a deal struck with the Indian authorities? Was he promised some sort of immunity? The honest answer has to be that we don’t know. Some of those involved in his arrest and prosecution say that India reneged on an agreement made with Yakub. Others say that there was never any deal.

  • DRM

    • Sen. Al Franken Wants Federal Probe of Apple Music, App Store Practices

      Critics of Apple’s surcharge for in-app purchases, as well as rules meant to keep that money flowing, have a powerful new friend in Washington. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Wednesday sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez, asking them to review Apple’s policies for possible anti-competitive behavior.

    • Apple Music is a mess, and it’s alienating the company’s biggest fans

      Apple Music is shaping up to be Apple’s worst received product launch since Apple Maps in 2012.

      Apple Music, released in June, was supposed to be Apple’s big splash into the world of subscription on-demand music and online radio. But it seems to have a lot of bugs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Google, Oracle’s endless Java copyright battle extended to … 2016

        The long-running copyright dispute between Oracle and Google over the latter’s use of the Java language APIs in its Android operating system will likely drag on for another year or more, based on the latest developments in the case in a US federal court.

        Reuters reports that US District Judge William Alsup, who has been presiding over the suit since it was filed in 2010, said in proceedings on Thursday that the case would likely not return to court for its next round until spring of 2016 at the earliest.

      • YouTube Games Copyright Law To Avoid License Fees, IFPI Says

        A decade-and-a-half of disruptive technology has certainly played its part, but without that turmoil the music industry might still be playing catch up today. At any rate, the rise of online piracy arguably provided a much needed wake-up call and prompted the rise of dozens of legitimate music services.

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