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08.09.15

Links 9/8/2015: GNOME Search for Executive Director, Many Distro Screenshots, Linux 4.2 RC 6

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Look At Daala’s Git Repository, The Lead Developers & Code Count

    While the Daala video coding format backed primarily by Xiph.Org and Mozilla isn’t ready for mainstream use yet, looking at its Git repository does at least reveal some environmental data to discuss.

    While poking around the Daala Git repository this week in looking at the state of affairs, I decided to run GitStats on the code-base for seeing the pace of code entering the mainline code repository, etc. This was mainly done out of pure curiosity and figured the stats would be of interest to other Phoronix readers too. The Daala repository has 277 files made up of 124k lines of code that as of today was done via 1,432 commits and has seen contributions by 47 authors.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice, and the ODF legacy

      Common wisdom has it that sleeping dogs are better kept snoring and I tend to agree. I’m going to do what may seem to be understood as the contrary. I believe it is not the case, as prejudice is something that is hard to fight and tends to stick around dark corners and circles of people with little knowledge of the matter.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • LibreOffice 5, Creative Commons writes the White House, and more news

      In this week’s edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at the release of LibreOffice 5, a personal food computer, Creative Common’s open letter the President Obama, and more.

    • Open Data

      • Open data initiative to give true picture of election process

        The National Democratic Institute is has announced the launch of the Open Election Data Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that citizen groups have access to election data that can give a true picture of an election process, including how candidates are certified, how and which voters are registered, what happens on election day, whether results are accurate, and how complaints are resolved.

    • Open Access/Content

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Watch John Oliver Explain Why Washington, DC, Should Be the 51st State

    On Sunday, Last Week Tonight took on the issue of restricted voting rights for Washington D.C. residents, despite the fact they pay federal taxes and have a larger population than some entire states such as Vermont and Wyoming. Even the Dalai Lama once called the situation “quite strange.”

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Researchers Hack into a Linux-Powered Self-Aiming Sniper Rifle

      Two researchers, Michael Auger and Runa Sandvik, will present today, at the Black Hack conference in Las Vegas, their recent findings into the world of computerized weapons security.

    • OPM Wins Pwnie for Most Epic Fail at Black Hat Awards Show
    • DefCon ProxyHam Talk Disappears but Technology is No Secret

      Part of the drama at any Black Hat or DefCon security conference in any given year usually revolves around a talk that is cancelled for some mysterious reason, typically over fears that it could reveal something truly disruptive. Such is the case in 2015 at DefCon with a talk called ProxyHam, which was supposed to reveal technology that could enable an attacker to wireless proxy traffic over long distances, hiding their true location.

    • A chat with Black Hat’s unconventional keynote speaker

      In 2010, Black Hat had its first female keynote, Jane Holl Lute, who served at the time as the deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Lute’s first comment about the nature of cyberspace set the tone for her keynote, which was, in characteristic DHS cybersecurity style, tone-deaf to attendee levels of expertise.

    • Uneasy detente between Def Con hackers and ‘feds’

      That led founder Jeff Moss to call for a “cooling off period” during which “feds” avoided coming near the annual conference in Las Vegas.

    • Design flaw in Intel processors opens door to rootkits, researcher says

      A design flaw in the x86 processor architecture dating back almost two decades could allow attackers to install a rootkit in the low-level firmware of computers, a security researcher said Thursday. Such malware could be undetectable by security products.

    • Why Your Mac Is More Vulnerable to Malware Than You Think

      The attack would enable a hacker to remotely target computers with malware that would both go undetected by security scanners and would afford the attacker a persistent hold on a system, even when it undergoes firmware and operating system updates. Because firmware updates require the assistance of the existing firmware to install, any malware in the firmware could block updates from being installed or write itself to a new update. Zetter reports that the only way to eliminate malware that’s embedded in a computer’s main firmware would be to re-flash the chip that contains the firmware.

    • ‘Zero-day’ stockpiling puts us all at risk

      The recent dump of emails from Hacking Team sheds new light on the extent of government involvement in the international market for zero-days. Rather than disclosing these vulnerabilities to software makers, so that they can be fixed, government agencies buy and then stockpile zero-days.

    • What’s wrong with the web? — authentication
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Outsourcing the Kill Chain: Eleven Drone Contractors Revealed

      Bureau reporters Crofton Black and Abigail Fielding-Smith name eleven companies that have won hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to plug a shortage in personnel needed to analyze the thousands of hours of streaming video gathered daily from the remotely piloted aircraft that hover over war zones around the world: Advanced Concepts Enterprises, BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, General Dynamics, Intrepid Solutions, L-3 Communications, MacAulay-Brown, SAIC, Transvoyant, Worldwide Language Resources and Zel Technologies. (see details below)

    • US Drone Strikes Kill Seven in North Waziristan

      According to officials familiar with the situation, US drones fired a pair of missiles against a house in Datta Khel today, destroying the building and killing at least seven people. Two others were wounded.

    • Brian Terrell: US Drone Campaign Needs To Be Acknowledged A Failure – Interview

      The assassination drone campaign on the tribal areas of Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan has been one of the controversial plans of the US government in the recent years.

      The White House, State Department and Pentagon officials maintain that the drone attacks are aimed at targeting the Al-Qaeda terrorists in these countries and crushing their strongholds; however, figures indicate that the majority of the victims of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles dispatched to the region are civilians. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has recently revealed that between 2004 and 2015, there have been 418 drone strikes against Pakistan alone, resulting in the killing of 2,460 to 3,967 people, including at least 423 civilians. That’s while some sources put the number of civilian casualties in Pakistan during the 11-year period at 962.

    • US often does not know who drone attacks kill

      “Signature strikes” are drone attacks based solely on a target’s behaviour with the identity of the target not known. Sometimes such an attack may hit a high value target but at other times they may kill innocent civilians.

    • July Drone Report: Casualties Spike in Afghanistan, Strikes Increase in Somalia

      American drone strikes killed hundreds of people in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia in July, according to a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a London-based nonprofit. The TBIJ produces monthly reports about highly secretive U.S. drone operations around the globe as part of its goal to provide the public “with the knowledge and facts about the way in which important institutions in our society operate, so that they can be fully informed citizens.”

    • US-Backed Corporations Make Huge Profits From Drones Killing Innocents

      Unmanned, remotely-operated drones supplied by private corporations are hugely profitable and attractive to those without conscience in the US government, activist Melinda Pillsbury-Foster told Sputnik.

    • One year on, drone attacks against ISIS increasing

      Drones appear to have an expanding role in the fight against Islamic State, although it’s unclear what impact they are having on the war itself.

      One year after President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes against ISIS targets, those airstrikes by the U.S. and its coalition partners, including Canada, have killed 15,000 ISIS supporters, the coalition claims.

    • UK hopes drones buzz will prompt lift-off

      Arpas says it has about 200 members, mostly small businesses and individuals, who form the country’s enthusiastic cottage industry. However, Britain’s two big aerospace groups, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, are also developing drones for commercial purposes.

    • US military launches first Syria drone strike from base in Turkey
    • US drone bombs IS target after taking off from Turkey: Turkish official

      The U.S. military launched its first strike against Islamic State from Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, the Pentagon said, reflecting a deepening security relationship between Washington and Ankara in the region.

    • U.S. drone strikes from Turkey
    • Hawke hones his craft as drone launcher in ‘Good Kill’

      Bold, honest and disturbing, “Good Kill,” in its own modest fashion, is one of the most memorable American films I’ve seen thus far in 2015.

    • Defence Minister Simon Coveney accused of involving Ireland in the international arms trade

      Mr Coveney has revealed plans to open the country up as a “testing zone” for “advanced military and weapons guidance systems, including drones, submarine drones and other such high-tech hardware”

    • ‘Iraq airstrikes won’t defeat ISIS, only kill civilians’ – anti-war group

      Peace activists have condemned the British government’s campaign of airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq, insisting continued bombing of the region will fail to defeat the terror group and lead to further civilian fatalities.

    • Air Force Moves Aggressively On Lasers

      All branches of the military really want laser weapons. But they don’t all want them for the same missions. What struck me after a recent conference here was how differently the US Air Force is approaching lasers.

    • Obama: Choice over Iran Nuclear Deal is Between Diplomacy and War
    • To press for Iran nuclear deal, Obama invokes Iraq war

      President Obama lashed out at critics of the Iran nuclear deal on Wednesday, saying many of those who backed the U.S. invasion of Iraq now want to reject the Iran accord and put the Middle East on the path toward another war.

      Obama also said that if Congress rejects the deal, it will undermine America’s standing in global diplomacy, leaving the United States isolated and putting Israel in even greater peril.

      While calling the nuclear accord with Iran “the strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated,” Obama also seemed to turn the vote on the deal into a referendum on the U.S. invasion of Iraq a dozen years ago, a decision he portrayed as the product of a “mind-set characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy.”

    • Address legitimate injustice first, then see if the ideologues need to be bombed

      The unprecedented power of the internet is staggering. Asked by Nick Dry, prosecuting, why he needed so many rounds of ammunition, Lyburd replied glibly: “I was watching videos on YouTube and the Americans, they have thousands. You can shoot 100 rounds in a few seconds.” Lyburd is aged just nineteen, as young as some of the recruits attracted to Daesh.

      America legislators have for decades allowed so many high school shootings to occur that a teenager on the other side of the Atlantic felt inspired to play copy-cat. Has America just exported its first terrorist ideology?

      The use of social media in the case of Daesh and Lyburd is telling. America’s pervasive gun lobby is led by establishment organisations like the National Rifle Association and enhanced by grass-roots nationalist militia groups. Together, these quasi-political gun ownership clans have populated entire YouTube channels with educational videos; filled Twitter and Instagram feeds with gun pornography; exploited Reddit pages; and even launched online and printed magazines. The US government is involved in spreading gun culture, with the Pentagon gifting hundreds of millions of dollars each year to Hollywood, an asset that Obama has said he believes is part of American foreign policy.

    • Indian forces kill 2 Pakistanis, injure 5 in unprovoked firing
    • 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?

    • Kenya: Obama in Kenya

      Yet although he bears “our skin”, Obama represents the power of those who seek to dominate us by destroying our self-confidence. Therefore his speeches reinforce a pattern of contempt that his predecessors have purveyed for decades. Thus, although his speech in Nairobi (compared to Accra in 2009) was less of headmaster lecturing his pupils and recognised the transformative changes taking place on our continent due to our initiatives, he still castigated us. His comments on political violence and corruption in Kenya continued the tradition of lecturing to us. Why does America feel obliged to comment on how African nations govern themselves, something he does not do in Western Europe? Who gives Obama and the US the moral right to lecture to Kenyans about their governance?

    • Barack Obama’s hypocrisy in Africa

      On January 20, 2017, Barack Obama will leave the presidency. Black people capable of critical thought will have many reasons to breathe sighs of relief. They will no longer have to submit to condescending lectures directed exclusively at them.

      From the moment he ran for president, Obama has harangued Black people on a wide variety of issues. It doesn’t matter if his audience is made up of church congregants, graduating students, or Kenyan dignitaries. Every Black person unlucky enough to be in his vicinity risks being treated like a deadbeat dad, career criminal or Cousin Pookie, Obama’s own imaginary Willie Horton.

      During his trip to East Africa the president chastened Kenyans about gay rights, domestic violence, genital cutting, forced marriage and equal rights for women. He went on and on with no mention of how well his country lives up to any accepted standards of human rights

    • On the Passing of Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi and a Postscript on Charlie Hebdo

      An intriguing aspect of Muslim culture is that murders are rarely committed over wealth. While there may be theft in Muslim countries, theft that involves murder is almost unheard of. The idea of killing someone over something as ephemeral as a car or money or a cell phone is a rarity (except perhaps in war-torn countries where all civil society has broken down). Murder in Muslim societies tends to be motivated by political issues but more often by a misguided sense of honor. This was the case earlier this month in France, where clearly deluded and uneducated men from the ghettos of Paris, after rediscovering their faith, felt compelled to take their misperception of Islamic law into their own hands in order to “uphold the honor” of their prophet who, they believed, was being denigrated by the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo. Without a doubt, such murders are criminal and wrong, but they can be rationally understood within the context of a society that holds the sanctity of prophets, those men of God, above all else.

    • Death of Taliban’s Mullah Omar could boost support for Islamic State
    • Taliban confirms Mullah Omar’s death, succession

      China has expressed its backing for Pakistan and other parties to “push for peace and reconciliation” in the war-torn Afghanistan, days after the second round of peace talks were put off following news of Taliban chief Mullah Omar’s death.

    • Yemen government-in-exile says base once used for U.S. drones retaken

      Clashes persisted around Yemen’s largest air base Tuesday, a day after its declared capture by forces loyal to the country’s exiled President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, military officials said.

    • In victory for activists, drone manufacturers linked to Gaza war cross-examined in Scottish courts

      After a gruelling fourteen day trial, a group of activists known as the Thales Ten,* received their verdict in Glasgow Sheriff Court last week. Five were convicted, and five acquitted, of the crime of breach of the peace.

      The group scaled onto the roof and blockaded entrances to the Thales UK factory on 23rd September, 2014 in response to the war in Gaza. They hung a fifty foot Palestine flag and several banners. One read: ‘Another Scotland is Possible: Stop Arming Israel’. Another made the connection between the French arms company Thales, Israel’s Elbit Systems, and the UK Ministry of Defence.

    • U.S.-led strikes kill 459 civilians in past year in Iraq, Syria, report finds

      U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria have likely killed at least 459 civilians over the past year, a report by an independent monitoring group said Monday.

      The report by Airwars, a project aimed at tracking international airstrikes targeting the terrorists, said it believed 57 specific strikes killed civilians and caused 48 suspected “friendly fire” deaths. It said the strikes have killed more than 15,000 Islamic State terrorists.

    • US led air strikes on Isis ‘likely to have killed hundreds of civilians’ says independent monitoring group

      An independent monitoring group says some bombings carried out by the US-led coalition targeting Isis are likely to have killed hundreds of civilians.

      The report by Airwars, a project aimed at tracking the international airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group, says it counted at least 459 suspected civilian fatalities from airstrikes it believes the coalition carried out in Iraq and Syria over the last year. It says the same strikes also caused at least 48 suspected “friendly fire” deaths.

    • MH370 probe: Wing fragment did come from missing jet, say French experts

      An aircraft wing fragment washed ashore on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion came from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared more than a year ago with 239 people aboard, experts say.

    • U.S. As Corrupt As Russia, Says Former NSA Exec

      Americans believe that Russia is a corrupt country where everyone from the president to regional governors to government officials are flourishing on bribes. Russia has developed corruption into a “fine art,” says a book titled “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” written by the University of Miami professor Karen Dawisha.

    • NSA-Japan Spy Scandal, the Passport Revocation Act, ‘Russian Body Bags’

      Finally, we wrap it all up by commenting on the US ‘Institute for Peace’ chairman who said that the Pentagon should arm Kiev in order to create more – quote – “body bags of Russian soldiers”.

    • NSA Pays Utah $1M to Secure Roads to Enormous Super-Secret Data Center

      The National Security Agency paid the state of Utah more than $1 million over 14 months for state troopers to guard the entrance to the agency’s data center near Salt Lake City, according to Utah Highway Patrol records.

    • Records: NSA paid Utah over $1M to police data center roads
    • Officials blame Russia for Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff email hack

      US officials have laid the blame for an attack against the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff unclassified email system firmly on Russia’s doorstep.

      Explaining how the second attack against the Pentagon this year had led to severe restrictions being placed on the network, officials said the work of around 4,000 military and civilian personnel had been disrupted (interestingly, The Register reports that staff were told the service disruption was an expected side effect of a planned system upgrade).

      The latest attack, believed to have occurred on or around 25 July, had originally passed without any fingers being pointed, as evidenced by Pentagon spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Valerie Henderson’s statement to Reuters…

    • Army Entertainment Liaison Office: Watch More TV! The Freedom Of Our Nation Depends On Your Contribution!

      Generally speaking, the US Army Entertainment Liaison office believes most of what crosses its desk furthers the Army’s interests. There are lots and lots of supportive assessments contained in the document, with the most common being “Supports Building Resilience” — a phrase that covers everything from military-friendly documentaries to American Idol. Another popular assessment is “Supports Modernizing the Force,” something the Liaison Office has applied to blockbuster franchises like The Avengers.

    • Fight the hysteria about the hack of OPM’s files. It’s probably not a big threat.

      We’re told the OPM hack will have horrific consequences for America. Just as we have been told so many times since WWII, almost always falsely. I expect this too will prove to be a wet firecracker. Here are the reasons why, obvious things few journalists have told you. {1st of 2 posts today.}

    • Former top CIA official arrested at BWI for allegedly trying to bring gun through security
    • Ex-CIA official arrested for allegedly trying to bring gun through BWI security

      A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard, a former top CIA official and longtime Baltimore business leader, was arrested at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport on Thursday for allegedly attempting to bring a loaded handgun onto an airplane.

    • Ex-CIA official arrested at airport for allegedly trying to bring gun through security
    • Buzzy Krongard Arrested, Attempted To Bring Loaded Gun Through BWI Security
    • 2 arrested at Maryland airports for gun possession
    • CIA Executive Director: CIA Committed Torture [same person as above]

      Former CIA Executive Director Buzzy Krongard told BBC on Monday that the CIA did engage in torture…

    • Ex-CIA boss admits to BBC Panorama that it tortured

      The CIA tortured terror suspects in its programme of “enhanced interrogation”, the agency’s former executive director, Buzzy Krongard, has admitted to the BBC’s Panorama programme.

    • Former senior CIA official says waterboarding was ‘torture’

      A former top CIA official has reportedly become the most senior agency figure to say he is “comfortable” with using the word “torture” to describe so-called enhanced interrogation techniques deployed against al-Qaeda suspects in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

    • Exclusive: “CIA death squads” – the one thing that could stop Jeremy Corbyn, according to Ken Livingstone

      Outside Camden Town Hall last night, a queue stretched round three sides of the building and along Euston Road. As people began to slowly file into the vast hall, it soon became clear that there was not enough space for the crowd to all fit inside. Teenagers actually began to scale the walls and huddle around windows to look inside.

      The spectacle? The 66-year-old Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

      As the crowd swelled at the door, former mayor of London and speaker at the rally, Ken Livingstone arrived.

      On his way into the venue, LondonLovesBusiness caught a few words with Livingstone about Corbyn’s campaign, and discovered that even with the tantalising prospect of a left-wing leader taking power, Livingstone’s sense of humour remains intact.

    • Edward Snowden: U.S. Government Snubs Pardon Plea for CIA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

      Lisa Monaco, the President’s Advisor on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said that Snowden’s move to disclose confidential data has had a grave impact on the security of the state.

    • John Kiriakou: Read this First! Before You Blow the Whistle, Here’s What No One Ever Tells You

      At sentencing, my judge gave me 30 months in prison and three years of probation, and she took away my federal pension. I left for prison believing that was the totality of my punishment. I was wrong.

      One of the first things that happened upon my conviction was that the company with which I had my homeowner’s and auto insurance canceled my policies. They don’t do business with felons, they said. That same week, my credit card company canceled my card and demanded the immediate payment of the balance.

      Then, shortly before my departure for prison, the agency that my wife and I used to hire child care providers also jumped on the bandwagon. They dropped us as clients and left us without anybody to help her care for our three young children while I was away.

    • Obama’s Syria policy is a mess

      Last year, President Obama asked for $500 million to arm and train the Syrian rebels. This year alone, the effort is supposed to train 3,000 soldiers to fight ISIS.

    • Obama’s failed plan to train the Syrian rebels, in one brutal timeline

      President Obama’s big plan to train friendly Syrian rebels has had a really rough few days. The first 60 American-trained Syrian rebels, part of a group called Division 30, finally went onto the battlefield and almost immediately got attacked by al-Qaeda and suffered a humiliating defeat. According to the Guardian, al-Qaeda fighters killed five US-trained rebels, wounded 18, and kidnapped seven, including the unit’s commander. Half of the American-trained fighters were put out of commission within weeks of hitting the ground.

    • United States to Scale Confrontation with Syria

      The US government threatens to further escalation against the government of Syria, according to The Wall Street Journal.

      The newspaper says that, although military officials minimize the chances of direct confrontation with the forces of the Syrian Arab Army, the fact that President Barack Obama authorized the use of the Air Force to defend US-trained groups, leaves open that possibility.

    • Washington Stunned by Attack on US Mercenaries in Syria

      The attack came early Friday against a Syrian militia known as Division 30, which has been the central focus of a $500 million program initiated by the Obama administration and administered by the Pentagon to arm and train a US-controlled proxy force, ostensibly for fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside Syria.

      Launching the attack was the Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda and the most powerful of the Islamist militias that have been fielded in the Western, Saudi, Turkish and Qatari-backed war for regime change to oust the government of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

    • SAS dress as ISIS fighters in undercover war on jihadis

      The unorthodox tactic, which is seeing SAS units dressed in black and flying ISIS flags, has been likened to the methods used by the Long Range Desert Group against Rommel’s forces during the Second World War.

      More than 120 members belonging to the elite regiment are currently in the war-torn country on operation Shader, tasked with destroying IS equipment and munitions which insurgents constantly move to avoid Coalition air strikes.

    • How US Allies Aid Al Qaeda in Syria

      The dirty secret about the Obama administration’s “regime change” strategy in Syria is that it amounts to a de facto alliance with Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front which is driving toward a possible victory with direct and indirect aid from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, as Daniel Lazare explains.

    • U.S. caution or incoherence in Syria?

      The U.S. military is training locals to fight IS but not Assad, while the CIA is training Syrian rebels to fight Assad.

    • Book review: Kill Chain by Andrew Cockburn

      AT a CIA awards dinner in Washington in 2011 Robert M Gates, a former director of the agency whose term as US Secretary of Defence straddled the Bush and Obama administrations, spoke on the future of the war on terror. Factories were working day and night, he told the audience, to turn out the newest, most vital front line weapons. “So from now on,” he said, “the watchword is: drones, baby, drones!”

    • We’re a year into the unofficial war against Isis with nothing to show for it

      This Saturday marks one full year since the US military began its still-undeclared war against Islamic State that the government officials openly acknowledge will last indefinitely. What do we have to show for it? So far, billions of dollars have been spent, thousands of bombs have been dropped, hundreds of civilians have been killed and Isis is no weaker than it was last August, when the airstrikes began.

    • Pentagon Doesn’t Know Who It Kills with ‘Signature’ Drone Strikes

      In June, when a CIA drone strike killed an al-Qaeda leader who the agency did not know was among a group of militants, the United States showed that it continues to fire drone missiles at targets whose identities are a mystery.

    • Exiled Chagossians could be allowed to return home under limited resettlement

      The Chagos Islands, one of the UK’s most remote overseas territories, could be opened up to tourism under plans allowing exiled islanders to return home, according to a Foreign Office report.

      The consultation process on resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), launched this week, proposes allowing 1,500 Chagossians to live on the archipelago.

      Britain forced the inhabitants off the islands in the early 1970s to make room for a US airbase that was built on the largest island, Diego Garcia. In exchange for the clearance, London received £5m off the cost of developing a joint US/UK missile programme.

    • Valerie Plame: The Spy Who Came in to the Code

      Since her cover was famously blown, former covert CIA operative Valerie Plame is more openly protecting the country’s digital assets. In May, the author and anti-nuclear activist joined the advisory board of Global Data Sentinel, developer of a cybersecurity platform designed to encrypt and protect across domains, networks, and devices.

    • Valerie Plame attacks Donald Trump on Iran nuke deal
    • Plame Wilson: Trump campaign sought support so she could get back at Rove
    • ‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Plame Wilson says Trump wanted her support

      Former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson says the Donald Trump campaign reached out to her for support.

    • Missing In Action

      Over the past decade, a string of war movies emerged in the wake of 9/11: The Hurt Locker, Syriana, The Messenger, Green Zone, Lone Survivor, and American Sniper, to name just a few. Some have performed better than others at the box office, and many have received critical acclaim. Almost none has included portrayals of women in combat.

    • Are counterterrorism bills really working in the Western world?

      Last week we looked at the British counter-extremism bill, backed by Home Secretary Theresa May. The heated debate about this bill centers on whether it will curtail rights such as freedom of speech and whether it will target Muslims, creating an environment in which mistrust can only grow.

    • Letter: ‘Historic diplomatic achievement’

      The Iran deal reached in Vienna is truly a historic diplomatic achievement.

    • There’s good reason they should hate us

      Much adieu lately about how we can trust the Iranian nuclear agreement when they hate Americans.

      Do the Iranians hate us? If they don’t they should.

      Much of Iranian hatred is based on our CIA involvement in deposing their democratically elected prime minister in 1953 and supporting the brutal dictator (“the Shah”) who gave the U.S. and Britain unlimited access to oil.

      In the year 2000 the New York Times obtained a copy of the CIA’s secret history of the Iranian coup, revealing the inner workings of a plot that set the stage for the Islamic revolution in 1979, and for a generation of anti-American hatred in one of the Middle East’s most powerful countries.

    • US Special Forces Would Benefit From Recruiting More Arab Americans

      US Special Forces would gain an advantage and broaden its skill base by enlisting more Arab Americans, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Larry Johnson told Sputnik on Friday.

    • A forgotten conflict that is very much alive

      The murder of the Pakistani human rights activist Sabeen Mehmud in central Karachi earlier this year triggered a huge media echo. Mehmud was famous the world over for her work, primarily in the fields of women’s rights and Internet activism. Despite the intense media coverage, not much attention was paid to the fact that during the final months of her life, the activist had focused specifically on the conflict in the south-western Pakistani province of Balochistan. Just a few hours before her murder, Mahmud and her organisation “The Second Floor” had arranged a debate on the human rights situation in Balochistan.

      [...]

      Balochistan has been the scene of several major rebellions in recent decades, all of which were brutally put down by the government in Islamabad. Although the region has a wealth of natural resources, the people are among the poorest in Pakistan. They barely have access to stable infrastructure, power or clean drinking water. Some 88 per cent of Balochs live below the poverty line. Although natural resources are being exploited, the authorities are failing to make adequate investments in other sectors. Only the security sector is flourishing.

    • Report: Hundreds of Civilians Killed by U.S.-Led Bombing of ISIS in Iraq and Syria

      A new report from a group of journalists and researchers says that hundreds of civilians have died during airstrikes by the U.S. and other nations fighting the Islamic State, a marked contrast to the Pentagon’s official admission of just two civilian deaths.

    • Book review: The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong is gripping

      His account of the Tibetan struggle is a welcome contribution to the growing body of Tibetan resistance literature and on the CIA’s involvement.

      Some of the background to the events he recounts has never been told before. The only other Tibetan to tell the whole story is the late Lhamo Tsering in his exhaustive work, Resistance, and his son Tenzing Sonam in his compelling documentary, The Shadow Circus: the CIA in Tibet. Apart from these, this aspect of Tibet’s struggle for survival has been mainly hogged by CIA operatives or by American writers drawn to the subject. Gyalo Thondup’s perspective on the cloak-and-dagger game Tibet briefly played with the CIA will remain the authoritative Tibetan account of this episode of the Tibetan struggle.

    • Arguing Against Evil

      For liberal hawks and neoconservatives, the idea of the Congress for Cultural Freedom is an appealing fantasy. It evokes the time at the beginning of the Cold War when intellectuals played a serious role in politics because the world seemed not just caught up in a battle of armies but in a battle of ideas. Beginning in 1950, it brought together a diverse array of thinkers who, under the rubric of anti-totalitarianism, agreed that the freedom to think and write was inviolable. Its raison d’etre was anti-Communism; it sought to reduce the influence of Communist and fellow-traveling intellectuals, first concentrating on Western Europe but later expanding all around the world. In the words of one of its historians, “It was America’s principal attempt to win over the world’s intellectuals to the liberal democratic cause.” In seeking to influence left-wing intellectuals, it steered away from conservative thinkers. In Europe and elsewhere it featured social democrats, Christian Democrats, and even dissident Marxists. In the United States, its most active boosters were liberals, like Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Daniel Bell, and former Marxists moving in neoconservative directions, such as Sidney Hook. The CCF defended pluralism, democracy, and even socialism, so long as it was anti-Communist. (Even late in life, both Bell and Hook still thought of themselves as socialists, at least on economic questions.) It had a sophisticated publishing operation, amplifying voices critical of Communism. It arranged, for example, for the publication of the Yugoslavian ex-Communist Milovan Djilas’s The New Class, which argued that the Soviet Union was not in fact a classless society but one in which class privilege accrued based on proximity to the state bureaucracy. The CCF also operated a stable of high-quality literary and political magazines, among them Encounter in London, Der Monat in Germany, Jiyu in Japan, and Mundo Nuevo in Latin America.

    • Still Uninvestigated After 50 Years: Did the U.S. Help Incite the 1965 Indonesia Massacre?

      It is now fifty years since the so-called “G30S” or “Gestapu” (Gerakan September Tigahpuluh) event of September 30, 1965 in Indonesia, when six members of the Indonesian army general staff were brutally murdered.

    • Indonesian Genocide

      In light of these findings, it seems hypocritical for the US to constantly wag its finger at other nations for their human rights shortcomings when past US government have engaged in such horrific mass killings.

    • Iran’s Longstanding US-Inflicted Nightmare

      It began in August 1953 – replacing democratically elected Mohammad Mossadeq (Iran’s most popular politician at the time) with a generation of brutal US-installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi dictatorship.

      A 2013 declassified CIA document (marking the coup’s 60th anniversary) publicly acknowledged the agency’s involvement (Operation TPAJAX) – what’s been well-known for decades.

    • The crazy story of how Russia snuck a vast nuclear arsenal onto America’s doorstep

      Most stories about the Cuban Missile Crisis start with Oct. 16, 1962, when the president and his advisors were briefed on the missile sites on the island. A few start with Oct. 13, when the U-2 flight that photographed the sites took off. U-2 overflights would collect more information during the crisis along with other reconnaissance plans. After collecting all the information, U.S. intelligence agencies believed the Russians had smuggled nearly 10,000 troops onto the island.

    • Lessons from Tonkin and Libya: We Need a President Who Won’t Trick Us Into War

      Fifty-one years ago, an American president deceived the public about the true purpose of a U.S. military mission, ushering in a decade of foreign policy disasters. Unfortunately, this method of abusing democracy has continued, on a bipartisan basis, to the present day, when it is casting a shadow over U.S. policy in Syria.

      In August 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his advisers deliberately misled Congress and the American people about the mission of two U.S. destroyers that were allegedly attacked off the coast of communist North Vietnam and their connection to U.S.-directed raids on nearby offshore islands. Their lie paved the way for U.S. bombing of North Vietnam and congressional passage of the administration’s Tonkin Gulf Resolution: a broadly worded measure that would soon facilitate Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War. A policy that began with an act of deceit about a U.S. military mission had awful and ill-considered consequences for Americans, Vietnamese and other southeast Asians, U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and China, and America’s global reputation. Many historians are convinced that a diplomatic settlement could have avoided most of this damage.

    • August 4, 1964: The Gulf of Tonkin ‘Incident’ Sparks American Escalation in Vietnam

      Fifty-one years ago today, the United States Navy reported that its ships had been attacked some miles off the shore of North Vietnam. Provocatively, the US ships were patrolling in areas where South Vietnam was conducting active operations against the North, prompting the latter, quite understandably, to perceive the Americans as participants in the hostilities. Torpedo boats approached within a few nautical miles of the USS Maddox, which responded with warning shots. The subsequent firefight killed four North Vietnamese sailors, destroyed several of their boats, and lightly wounded an American ship and a plane. Two days later, American ships again reported that they were under attack and for hours fiercely maneuvered and fired at North Vietnamese boats, two of which they claimed to have sunk. As it turned out, the American ships had only been picking up radar signals from their own equipment, chasing phantoms as Don Quixote had combated windmills. Regardless, President Lyndon Johnson seized on the incident as a pretext for bombing North Vietnam and drastically escalating American involvement in the war. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing such action passed on August 7, 1964, with only two senators objecting: Wayne Morse of Oregon, a frequent Nation contributor, and Ernest Gruening of Alaska, managing editor of this publication in the early 1920s. In an editorial appearing in the first issue after the incident and the resolution, The Nation’s editors wrote, “The excessive retaliatory action the President saw fit to order brings us closer to the brink of World War III.” In the same issue, a former State Department official named John Gange wrote an essay titled “Misadventure in Vietnam: The Mix of Fact and Myth.”

    • Anti-Russian propaganda destroys Western journalism [says Kremlin propaganda]
    • Russia, Italy Can Restore Pre-Sanction Level of Relations – Farmers Union

      Dino Scanavino, the head of the Italian Confederation of Farmers (CIA), said that existing business relations between Italy and Russia are generally favorable, as Russian entrepreneurs are actively assisting their Italian colleagues in recovering losses.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Snowden 2.0: Japanese Journalist Has Been Living in Moscow Airport for Two Months

      Japanese journalist Tetsuya Abo is pulling a Snowden – he’s been living in the transit section of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for over two months now. The 36-year-old said in an interview that his stay is politically motivated – he does not want to go back home, and is requesting Russian citizenship instead.

    • Ling Jihua’s brother could become China’s Snowden: Duowei
    • China demands US repatriate businessman Ling Wangcheng
    • Former military contractor sentenced for stealing classified files [for doing what Petraeus did]

      A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida [official website] on Monday sentenced Christopher R. Glenn 120 months in jail and three years of supervised release for willful retention of classified national defense information [DOJ press release] under the Espionage Act [text].

    • FBI may pillory Hillary with email spillery grillery

      The FBI is investigating presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s decision to use a private email account while presiding over the State Department.

      The Washington Post has reported that the FBI is digging into Clinton’s operation of a personal email server as part of her work as the US Secretary of State between 2009 and 2012.

    • To intelligence community, Clinton’s private email scheme is inconceivable

      Sounds like free association triggered by some of the stories making the rounds on the 24/7 news networks.

      There was the announcement that Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard will be paroled after serving the 30 years mandated by his “life” sentence in 1985. This is the same Jonathan Pollard who caused George Tenet to threaten to resign as CIA director when the idea of a pardon or commutation was suggested during the Clinton administration.

    • Keeping top secrets

      Here’s why Hillary Clinton may have broken the law

    • What everyone with a Top Secret security clearance knows – or should know

      The key issue in play with Clinton is that it is a violation of national security to maintain classified information on an unclassified system.

      Classified, secure, computer systems use a variety of electronic (often generically called TEMPESTed) measures coupled with physical security (special locks, shielded conduits for cabling, armed guards) that differentiate them from an unclassified system. Some of the protections are themselves classified, and unavailable in the private sector. Such standards of protection are highly unlikely to be fulfilled outside a specially designed government facility.

    • DOJ Inaction Against Hillary Proves of Selective Prosecution in the United States

      In April of this year, former CIA Director David Petraeus, one of the most accomplished military generals in our nation’s history, was prosecuted and sentenced to two years of probation plus a $100,000 fine for giving his biographer classified material while they were working on the book. What was lost in the shuffle is that his biographer was a Reserve Army Intelligence Officer, who herself possessed a Top Secret clearance, and that no classified materials were ever published or provided to anyone who didn’t have clearance.

      Mr. Petraeus’ plea agreement carried a possible sentence of up to a year in prison, and in court papers, prosecutors recommended two years of probation and a $40,000 fine.

      U.S. District Judge David Kessler, however, increased the fine, in his words to, “reflect the seriousness of the offense.”

    • Army, CIA Satisfied Nazi Spy Information Request

      The Army and CIA satisfied their obligations under the FOIA by releasing thousands of pages about a Nazi general turned U.S. spy, the D.C. Circuit ruled.

    • Is the Intelligence Community Inspector General Trying To Give Contractors Whistleblower Protections?

      Last week, McClatchy’s Marisa Taylor reported on two cases showing the new appeals process for whistleblower retaliation claims ordered by President Obama is now operational; in the cases of Army whistleblower Michael Helms and CIA whistleblower John Reidy, the Intelligence Community Inspector General, Charles McCullough, has bounced the appeals back to the agencies in question for re-review.

      That McCullough has chosen to bounce these two appeals back to the agencies is notable enough, because his commitment to whistleblower issues has never been apparent. Instead, McCullough has spent his time as IG conducting leak investigations. And last year, a complaint email sent to Daniel Meyer, who oversees whistleblower issues for the intelligence community, somehow got shared with the subject of the complaint. So McCullough’s record on these issues is less than stellar.

      But McCullough’s move is particularly interesting when you consider the details of the appeal of the second complainant, John Reidy.

    • German government fires prosecutor over treason charge against Internet blog
    • German justice minister fires chief prosecutor in treason row
    • Top German prosecutor fired after treason probe involvement

      Harald Range, Germany’s top prosecutor, was dismissed from his duties on Tuesday by Justice Minister Heiko Maas [official website] after Range accused the German government of obstructing his investigation against two German journalists. Range was interested in an investigation against the two journalists from the website Netzpolitik.org, which had reported on the expansion of surveillance of online communication within Germany’s domestic spy agency. Range received information from an independent expert explaining that the information the journalists received from an unknown source was legitimate and also a “state secret.” In an effort to prevent anymore embarrassment to the German government, Range, who is 67, was dismissed [Deutsche Welle report], despite his intentions to retire next year and be succeeded by Munich federal prosecutor Peter Frank. The treason probe became public news last week following a criminal complaint filed by the spy agency which also targeted the unknown source who dispersed the leaked documents.

    • Germany scores against the surveillance state

      It all went very fast. On Tuesday morning August 4, Germany’s chief federal prosecutor, Harald Range, was ordered by Justice Minister Heiko Maas to withdraw an independent expert from the investigation of two journalists from Netzpolitik. The investigator had concluded that leaked documents quoted by the news website amounted to a disclosure of a state secret, one of the required criteria to pursue a treason case. The prosecutor protested: “To meddle with an internal review on the basis that the results might be inopportune is an intolerable interference with the independence of the judiciary .” A few hours later on Tuesday evening Maas asked for the prosecutor to be granted early retirement. In plain words, Harald Range was sacked.

    • Lawmakers and bloggers named in German treason case

      Germany’s domestic spy agency named not just bloggers but also lawmakers in a criminal complaint that sparked a controversial treason probe, news weekly Der Spiegel said Friday.

    • How a treason case in Germany set off a political firestorm

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s well-deserved holiday from the euro-zone crisis was disturbed this week by a domestic scandal involving a debate over freedom of the press vs. the protection of classified information, as German Justice Minister Heiko Maas requested the dismissal of federal prosecutor Harald Range for his investigation of two journalists for treason. Maas said Merkel agreed with his decision.

    • Pressure Mounts for German Intel Agency Chief to Resign Over Treason Probe

      There are growing calls for the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, to resign over the Netzpolitik affair, which has already claimed the scalp of the Federal Prosecutor Harald Range.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Idaho Huntress Defends Posting Photos with Giraffe (and Other Animals) She Killed on African Safari

      Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer went into hiding after he became the subject of international scorn for killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. But another American is proudly advertising the game she has shot while on African safari – and thumbing her nose at her critics.

      “To me it’s not just killing an animal, it’s the hunt,” Sabrina Corgatelli, of Idaho, told the Today show on Monday.

      Corgatelli has been sharing photos on her Facebook page of her recent legal hunt in South Africa. On July 31 she reposted a picture of a massive giraffe she had killed.

    • In Zimbabwe, Cecil tells only part of the story

      When news of Cecil’s death first came out, many in Zimbabwe had never heard of the lion, said Fungai Machirori, a Zimbabwe-based journalist and social commentator.

    • Professional hunters in Zimbabwe court over killing of lions

      Two professional hunters have appeared in a Zimbabwean court, each accused in separate cases of helping Americans kill lions.

  • Finance

    • Contingent Faculty: Where Money Might Go in Higher Education

      Fifty years ago, more than 75% of college faculty members were full-time and had tenure or were on track to get it. Today, only a third are part of that elite group. Many of those doing the teaching at American universities are poorly paid, have no job security and limited benefits. Some have PhD’s but still qualify for government assistance to buy food.

    • Higher Education Debt Should Be Deductible, Rand Paul Says

      “You can’t just offer free education, but I think tying it to work and making it deductible is a good idea,” Sen. Rand Paul says at Republican presidential forum at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

    • Pornhub taught us to expect free porn — now, can it make us pay?

      Imagine, if you will, that there’s a restaurant that offers diners a free, unlimited buffet. For years they’ve encouraged their patrons to come in and gorge themselves at will, subtly implying that anyone who pays for food is an idiot. There’ve been rumors that this restaurant’s been able to keep the buffet going by stealing food from competing restaurants, but most patrons don’t care — and as the restaurant drives out its competition, or buys them out, eventually the objections die down.

    • George Osborne will miss £1tn export target warns British Chambers of Commerce

      The UK is the 11th largest exporter in the world, behind the likes of the US, China and Germany, according to the CIA World Factbook. And, according to the BBC, the country is also the second biggest exporter of services behind the US. But the business body has urged Cameron and Osborne to “open up markets” for firms and encouraged British businesses to up the skills of their workforce.

    • Donald Trump: “I pay as little as possible” in taxes
    • Explaining Donald Trump’s Rise With Economic Misinformation

      Everyone has heard about Donald Trump’s soaring poll numbers as the current leader in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Many have also heard the explanation that he appeals to those who feel left behind by the economy. Unfortunately, the way the media often tell this story has little to do with reality.

      [...]

      Both parts of this are seriously misleading. First, it is not just non-college grads who have struggled since the turn of the century. Most college grads have seen little or no wage gains since then. The second part is wrong also, since wages for non-college grads had also been stagnant since 1980, so for them the experience of the last 15 years has not been “a marked departure from prior decades.”

    • Funny Money: CIA Counterfeiting in Poland

      Communism was relegated to the dustbin of history for many reasons, foremost among them were its warped economic policies. In places like Poland during the 1960s, foreigners with access to hard currency could easily game the system and do pretty well. David Fischer recounts how Polish-American retirees lived like kings in Krakow, the way the embassy had to pay “bail” for one American with what turned out to be counterfeit zlotys made by the CIA, and how Western diplomats were able to travel abroad very cheaply.

    • Neocolonialism: How it is conquering our country today.

      It is important to note that forces of neo-colonialism are ably conquering our country today.

    • Nazi-Fighter Grynberg Girds for Swiss Last Stand Against Big Oil

      U.S. courts have been good to Jack Grynberg, netting him hundreds of millions of dollars in disputes with some of the world’s largest oil and gas producers since 1984.

      Despite that fortune, the 83-year-old oilman says he’s fed up with America’s legal system and has taken his biggest suit yet — a battle over profits from Kazakhstan’s most valuable oil fields — to Switzerland.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Video Games, Predictive Programming, and the 21st Century Skinner Box

      The game focuses upon two branching military campaigns: One by the Marine Corps in an unnamed Middle Eastern country (situated on the in-game map directly atop modern Syria) run by a cartoonish dictator generically referred to as none other than “Al-Asad,” the other by a British SAS team combating “ultranationalist Russians” who are supporting this thinly veiled tin-pot Arabic dictator. After a patriotic romp through Central Asia, “Al-Asad” predictably (predicatively?) uses “Weapons of Mass Destruction” on his own people, leading to a climactic final battle at a Russian nuclear site in a bid to avoid World War III.

    • AUDIO: ‘Left, Right & Center’: Republican Media Stunts, NSA Data Dump and Cecil the Lion
    • Chris Christie’s Revealing, Easy to Spot Lie About His 9/11 Credentials

      A majority of Americans in opinion surveys say they disapprove of the NSA’s collection programs. A Pew Research poll this May found a full 74 percent of respondents did not believe privacy should be sacrificed for safety. But Paul is one of only a few Republican candidates (Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is another) who has fought against the NSA program, and hawkish Republican candidates like Christie see attacking Paul on that as an effective way to build support among the Republican base, illustrating how out of touch that base can be on some of the important issues of the day.

    • Chris Christie So Obsessed With Increasing Surveillance He Pretends He Was A Fed On 9/11 Even Though He Wasn’t
    • Christie Lied about 9/11 to Try to Shut Down Paul’s Opposition to Dragnet Spying

      Never mind that most US Attorneys don’t, themselves, go before the FISC to present cases (usually it is people from the National Security Division, though it was OIPR when Christie was US Attorney), never mind that the name of the court is the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

      The real doozie here is Chris Christie’s claim that he “was appointed U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001.”

      [...]

      Update: In an absolutely hysterical attempt to rebut the clear fact that he was not nominated when he said he was, Christie’s people said he was informed he would be on September 10 at 4:30 (as I suggested was likely). But the rest of the explanation makes it clear they hadn’t even done a background check yet!

    • The GOP Debates Showed How Fox News Enforces Republican Orthodoxy

      At Thursday night’s GOP debates in Cleveland, moderators Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Megyn Kelly, Martha MacCallum and Chris Wallace peppered the party’s 17 presidential candidates with tough questions. But several of those questions had one key thing in common: They hit candidates for deviating from Republican orthodoxy.

    • Jeb Bush launches online store with hipster

      The “My Dad” tee, offered for $25, is emblazoned with the quote, “My dad is the greatest man I’ve ever known, and if you don’t think so, we can step outside,” obviously referring to Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush. Bush referenced the shirt in one of the more colorful moments coming from a New Hampshire forum earlier this week.

    • Sen. Graham moved up in Air Force Reserve ranks despite light duties

      Of all the candidates vying to become the nation’s next commander in chief, none has spent as much time in the military as Sen. Lindsey O. Graham. The South Carolina Republican retired from the Air Force this summer after a 33-year career, including two decades as a reservist while serving in Congress.

    • Politically Unapologetic: What about Bernie Sanders?

      Before his rally on May 26th, his overall poll rating average in the Democratic race was at 10.6%. It now hovers around 20-25%, which is causing concern for the Clinton camp since her unfavorable rating is rising. The coming weeks will really tell if Sanders can catch Clinton, given that Joe Biden doesn’t jump into the race last minute.

  • Censorship

    • Singapore teen blogger launches another attack

      A teenage Singaporean blogger recently jailed after publishing an online video that criticised the late Lee Kuan Yew and was deemed to have been obscene and insulting to religious feelings, has launched another tirade, condemning the lack of freedom of speech in the city-state.

    • Amos Yee, Singapore’s Teen Dissident, Is Back With a Crude, Hilarious Video

      The moptopped Singaporean blogger Amos Yee is out of prison after having served 53 days in jail for posting a video criticizing the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew. And if Singaporean authorities thought a prison term might quiet the precocious teen, they were sorely mistaken: Yee is out with a new, obscene, and often hilarious video answering his critics and attacking Singapore’s lack of civil liberties.

    • Are Americans falling in love with censorship?

      Classifying books according to their suitability for different age ranges would be “ill-advised”, “unworkable” and would “raise serious concerns about censorship”, American free-speech campaigners have said, in the wake of a poll claiming that more than seven in 10 US adults believe a rating system similar to that used for films should be applied to books.

    • The little-known history of secrecy and censorship in wake of atomic bombings

      The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago, is one of the most studied events in modern history. And yet significant aspects of that bombing are still not well known.

    • The Fallout Over University Of Illinois Censorship Of War On Gaza Continues

      The chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), who was involved in firing Professor Steven Salaita over tweets he sent about Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, has announced her resignation yesterday. The announcement comes as a federal judge refused to dismiss Salaita’s lawsuit against the university for violating his free speech.

    • That’s Not Funny!

      Three comics sat around a café table in the chilly atrium of the Minneapolis Convention Center, talking about how to create the cleanest possible set. “Don’t do what’s in your gut,” Zoltan Kaszas said. “Better safe than sorry,” Chinedu Unaka offered. Feraz Ozel mused about the first time he’d ever done stand-up: three minutes on giving his girlfriend herpes and banging his grandma. That was out.

    • Truth hurts: censorship in the media

      In September 1945, less than a month after Japan’s surrender ending World War II and ushering in the U.S.-led Occupation, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander for the Allied powers, began cracking down on alleged Japanese war criminals. Over the next three months, hundreds of politicians, military men, bureaucrats and industrialists would be issued arrest warrants for their role in leading Japan to, and through, the war.

      Among those who found themselves under suspicion as Class-A, -B, or -C war criminals were senior members of the press. One of the most notorious was Matsutaro Shoriki, owner of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

      “He was one of the most important journalists who actively propagated the Axis cause before the war and energetically supported it through the war,” read a secret report on Shoriki compiled by Occupation officials when he was arrested on Dec. 12,, 1945.

    • Bangladesh must act against impunity

      Index on Censorship deplores the killing of blogger Niloy Chakrabarti in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and calls on the authorities to investigate the murder and ensure that those responsible are found and brought to justice.

      “We strongly condemn Niloy Chakrabarti’s brutal murder,” said Index’s senior advocacy officer Melody Patry. “We fear the death toll will increase if the authorities fail to take action to find and punish those responsible. Freedom of expression is in danger and Bangladesh must do more to protect writers online and offline.”

      Chakrabarti, who wrote under the pen name Niloy Neel, is the fourth secular blogger to be murdered since the start of the year. A member of Bangladesh’s Science and Rationalist Association, he was attacked in his home in Dhaka.

    • Memoir focuses on late librarian’s work on censorship in occupied Japan

      Subjected to censorship by the Allied Forces for four years starting in the fall of 1945, the materials bear censorship markings ranging from check-in and examination dates to deletions, suppression and other changes.

    • Govt blocks 857 porn websites, sparks debate on Internet censorship
    • India’s Porn Ban Reversal Is Essentially Bullshit
    • India orders clampdown on internet porn, sparks censorship debate
    • Isis play Homegrown sparks censorship debate after NYT cancels it for ‘quality reasons’
    • NYT radicalisation play axed amid cries of censorship
    • Man sentenced to 30 years of jail for insulting the Thai monarchy on Facebook
    • On your mind: Realpolitik defines US/Thai relationship

      Webster’s dictionary defines realpolitik as a system of politics based on a country’s situation and its needs, rather than on ideas about what is morally right and wrong. No doubt, US government officials would deny that realpolitik defines American policies, but it is hard to see any clear moral imperative with regard to that country’s relationship with Thailand.

      The moral face the US shines on Thailand, urging for example, that the Thais take steps to end human trafficking and restore democratic rule, is two-faced.

    • Google challenges France over ‘right to be forgotten’
    • Cameron’s censorship silences debate

      British Prime Minister David Cameron is a calculated hypocrite on the question of Muslim radicalisation. In July, in the wake of the attack on British and other tourists in Tunisia, he announced a counterstrategy to stop the spread of extremist movements such as the Islamic State.

      His four-pronged strategy includes delegitimising the ideology that underpinned these movements – especially those that argue for an Islamic caliphate – and emboldening the Muslim community to counter extremism from within. For Cameron: “The adherents of this ideology are overpowering other voices within Muslim debate, especially those who are trying to challenge it.”

      Yet, in a self-defeating move, his government has prevented one of the most prominent voices countering radicalisation of the Islamic State variety from entering Britain: Na’eem Jeenah, a South African.

    • Why the Rise of Decentralized Media is the End of Censorship

      In the buzzing world of altcoins, blockchains, and crypto-startups, if you aren’t decentralized these days, you’re probably still considered a bit of a dinosaur. But in the world of electronic publishing, legacy opinion remains, that media should be submitted to a central authority, subjected to editorial policies and stored on servers in ever larger data-centres.

    • How users of ‘Chinese Twitter’ Sina Weibo are beating state censorship

      If you were scrolling through Twitter and saw a post saying “someone is playing hide-and-seek again. These people can grass-mud horse,” you might be more than a little mystified.

      But if, say, you were Chinese, didn’t think much of your government, and knew something about fooling its stringent online censors, you may well understand the coded message.

    • Now playing in Israel: film censorship

      Right-wing politicians from the culture minister down are getting screenings canceled. The fear is that filmmakers will start censoring themselves.

    • A Quiz for the West’s Great Free Speech Advocates and Supporters of Anjem Choudary’s Arrest

      As we all know ever since the inspiring parade in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo attack, “free speech” is a cherished and sacred right in the West even for the most provocative and controversial views (of course, if “free speech” does not allow expression of the most provocative and controversial views, then, by definition, it does not exist). But yesterday in the U.K., the British-born Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary, who has a long history of spouting noxious views, was arrested on charges of “inviting support” for ISIS based on statements he made in “individual lectures which were subsequently published online.”

  • Privacy

    • Appeals court rules warrant required for cellphone tracking

      A federal appeals court in Virginia has ruled that police must obtain a search warrant to obtain records about cellphone locations in criminal investigations.

      The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday’s decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals conflicts with two other federal appeals court rulings and increases the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue.

    • When Your Records Are Not Yours

      This dubious “third-party doctrine,” enunciated before the Internet existed and mobile phones became ubiquitous, was crucial to the outcome of a case decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in May. The court said an armed robber named Quartavius Davis had no constitutional grounds to object when the FBI linked him to crime scenes with cellphone location data that it obtained without a warrant.

    • Commentary: Christie wasn’t ‘Born to Run’

      Going back to Christie’s big moment during the debate, it’s completely predictable he’d be in favor of continuing the government’s bulk collection of phone data. After all, he’s a former prosecutor and professed 9/11 hugger (which garnered an amusing eye roll from Paul). I find myself more on Paul’s side of the argument, but the public surprisingly backs renewal of the government’s program of data mining. Plus, I wanted to draw a cartoon about Christie, not the NSA, which I’ve offered my opinion on many, many times.

    • Rand Paul And Chris Christie Spar Over NSA Surveillance

      Last night, Fox News hosted one of the most ridiculous, deeply entertaining GOP Presidential debates I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing a drinking game to. In the midst of the Moscow Mules, Lagunitas and amazing Trump-isms came a pretty heated (and unexpected) shouting match between former Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul regarding the spying capabilities of the NSA.

    • WATCH: Chris Christie vs. Rand Paul on NSA Surveillance

      New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a Libertarian who has fought against widespread government surveillance of American citizens, sparred over how to best protect the United States from terrorists.

    • This Group May Stop the NSA From Tapping the Internet’s Backbone

      It’s taken seven years of legal wrangling, but one group of pro-privacy activists are hoping an appeals court will finally declare a critical part of the National Security Agency’s spying apparatus unconstitutional.

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been challenging the NSA’s bulk data collection program in court since 2008, largely running on whisteblower testimony from Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who alleges the NSA inserted technology into the internet company’s infrastructure that allowed it to collect and analyze the data.

    • EFF Finally Gets To Ask Appeals Court To Look At 4th Amendment Question Over NSA’s Backbone Sniffing

      It’s taken many years, but one of the EFF’s longstanding cases against the NSA has finally reached an important milestone: exploring the 4th Amendment question raised by the NSA tapping the internet backbone. This is part of the Jewel v. NSA case that has been going on for years. Back in February (after a lot of procedural back and forth on other issues), the district court rejected the 4th Amendment argument, basically toeing the government’s “but… but… national security!” line. Not surprisingly, the EFF disagreed with the court and appealed to the 9th Circuit appeals court.

    • A New Milestone: Appeals Court to Consider NSA’s Mass Seizures and Searches on the Internet Backbone

      One of the most outrageous ways that the government has violated our Fourth Amendment rights against general seizures and searches has been through its system of tapping into the fiber optic cables of America’s telecommunications companies. The result is a digital dragnet—a technological mass surveillance system that subjects millions of ordinary Americans to the seizure and searching of their online correspondence, conversations, web searches, reading and other activities as they travel across the Internet. This tapping isn’t just about metadata—it includes full content searches of Americans’ communications, at the very least any international communications involving a website or a person who is abroad.

    • How communication surveillance eats away fundamental human rights

      There are several intelligence agencies around the world, many of them headquartered in the US, which make use of the vastly developed technology of the digital age to spy on millions of people, who are not even considered terrorism suspects. The most (in)famous agency as such would be the NSA (National Security Agency), which uses a pretty smart foundation of ‘legal’ activities to justify its actions.

      The issue is that NSA activities are anything but legal. They manage to claim that they operate within the frame of law because of the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Security Court), which interprets the actual law into what would be considered legal for NSA’s actions. In other words, when the NSA goes searching for information about whomever it wants, there is usually no warrant, as the person is usually not even a suspect.

    • The NSA Playset: 5 Better Tools To Defend Systems

      The NSA ANT Catalog is a 50-page classified document listing technology available to the NSA Tailored Access Operations by the ANT division to aid in cyber surveillance. Most documents are described as already operational and available to U.S. nationals and members of the Five Eyes Alliance – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The document was first revealed in an article by security researchers in the German newspaper Der Spiegel, which released the catalog to the public on December 30, 2013.

    • NSA-grade encryption for mobile over untrusted networks

      The only term being thrown around government more than “2016 elections” these days is “cybersecurity,” particularly following a rash of damaging and high-profile data breaches. With that focus on protecting information top of mind in agencies, USMobile officials hope to find a ready market for their commercial app, which lets government workers use their personal smartphones for top-secret communications.

    • Security Sense: Encryption is a necessity that cannot feasibly be compromised

      It’s always fascinating to watch how security concepts are communicated to the general public and by “fascinating”, I mean it’s sometimes horrifying. There is no more poignant an example than that of encryption and I found the piece from CNN a few days ago on how encryption is a growing threat to security to be the absolute epitome of disinformation. It would be understandable if the general public walked away from reading and watching this piece with the distinct impression that encryption was the root of all evil. Why? Apparently “because terrorism”.

    • NSA’S EPIC Fail: Spy Agency Pays Lawyers That Sue It

      The NSA and FBI are major contributors to EPIC — the Electronic Privacy Information Center. But their “donations” aren’t exactly voluntary.

      A hefty chunk of EPIC’s legal budget is taken from the pockets of the very agencies it sues, each time a federal judge agrees that the government was wrong to keep the information secret.

    • Chris Christie actually wants to expand the NSA’s spying powers

      Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie traded barbs Thursday night over the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records. In the heat of the Republican presidential debate, Christie got the last word in — but who actually came out of the exchange on top?

    • NSA and GCHQ have been spying on you for 50 years

      Starting in 1966, the project leapt into life when the NSA fronted the money for the GCHQ to build a station in Bude, Cornwall, capable of intercepting satellite communications from Intelsat, the first commercial communications satellite network.

    • Snowden leaks confirm existence of ECHELON

      NSA documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden confirm the existence of ECHELON, a secret surveillance network spying on satellite communications. Set up by the US and the UK in the 1960s, ECHELON was the precursor of today’s global dragnet.

    • Uncovering ECHELON: The Top-Secret NSA/GCHQ Program That Has Been Watching You Your Entire Life

      If history is written by the victors, government surveillance agencies will have an awfully long list of sources to cite.

      Domestic digital surveillance has often seemed to be a threat endured mostly by the social media generation, but details have continued to emerge that remind us of decades of sophisticated, automated spying from the NSA and others.

      Before the government was peering through our webcams, tracking our steps through GPS, feeling every keystroke we typed and listening and watching as we built up complex datasets of our entire personhood online, there was still rudimentary data to be collected. Over the last fifty years, Project ECHELON has given the UK and United States (as well as other members of the Five Eyes) the capacity to track enemies and allies alike within and outside their states. The scope has evolved in that time period from keyword lifts in intercepted faxes to its current all-encompassing data harvesting.

    • Investigative journalism is vital for democracy as state surveillance increases

      For those inclined to think that the series of surveillance scandals and leaks over the past two years are unlikely to have much of an impact, it is worth recalling that, up until a little over 30 years ago, the British government denied the very existence of a spying organisation called GCHQ. As investigative journalist Duncan Campbell described in the Intercept yesterday, in a compelling account of a life spent chasing Britain’s spies out of the shadows, in the 70s and 80s even talking about GCHQ, let alone investigating and reporting on it, could get you followed, arrested and jailed.

    • How UK journalist revealed mass GCHQ snooping decades before Snowden

      It took more than 25 years for Duncan Campbell to finally publish confirmation of the Echelon project, completing a story he began breaking in 1988.

      The scoop, released on The Register and The Intercept this week, capped off some 40 years of investigative journalism on British and American spy agencies, Campbell having begun his career by revealing the existence of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

    • Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files
    • USA Monitors 90 Percent of Global Communications

      The National Security Agency (NSA) espionage program Echelon remains active, which controls 90 percent of global communications, revealed today the intercept digital site.
      In an article in the Internet portal, the British journalist Duncan Campbell made the history of this monitoring system, also known as Project P415, and sets filtered by former contractor NSA Edward Snowden, now a refugee in Russia elements.

      The materials confirm that the mechanism was created in 1966, shortly after the first communication satellites began operating in earth orbit.

      Overall network received the codename Frosting and consisted of two subprograms: Transient directed against communications satellite of the Soviet Union, and Echelon, which focused on electronic signals Western powers.

    • Global Five Eyes Spy System ‘Bigger Than Ever’

      In an exclusive interview with Sputnik, the respected UK investigative reporter Duncan Campbell has said a western-led mass surveillance system developed in the 1960s is “bigger than ever, much more powerful and a critical component” of mass surveillance.

    • UK ECHELON journalist: “Snowden proved spies need accountability”

      Legendary investigative journalist Duncan Campbell describes his life of being kidnapped by the London Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch, being surveiled and harassed by UK spies and ministers, and reveals the identity of the whistleblower who leaked the details of ECHELON to him.

      Campbell’s article is accompanied by never-released Snowden docs that demonstrate the full scope of ECHELON surveillance, and traces the lineage of journalists and whistleblowers who took huge personal risks to reveal corruption, criminal wrongdoing, and secrecy among spies and their masters in government.

    • Biden calls Abe to apologize after WikiLeaks details alleged NSA spying on Tokyo

      U.S. Vice President Joe Biden apologized to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday for “causing trouble,” after documents released last week detailed alleged spying by the U.S. National Security Agency on the government in Tokyo, a top Japanese official said.

      Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the phone conversation between Biden and Abe came about at Washington’s request.

      Suga declined to comment on whether Biden admitted the U.S. had spied on Japanese officials and companies over a period that started in 2006, as alleged in documents released last week by anti-secrecy group WiliLeaks.

    • NSA Spying on Japan: The Fallout

      Last Friday, the WikiLeaks website unveiled evidence that the U.S. National Security Agency is conducting espionage operations in Japan. On July 31, WikiLeaks published “Target Tokyo,” a list of 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan and five NSA reports on intercepts relating to U.S.-Japan relations, trade negotiations, and sensitive climate strategy.

    • Stealing valuables and saying sorry

      WikiLeaks also released a statement issued by Julian Assange, where he said that the documents showed clearly the vulnerability of the Japanese government as officials had been worrying in private about how much or how little inside information they would let Washington know.

    • Tokyo Expects US Explanations on NSA Spying on Japanese Government

      Tokyo is waiting for the United States to clarify situation with the revelations concerning the US National Security Agency (NSA) spying on the Japanese government and businesses, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told journalists.

    • Backgrounder: Japan’s deafening silence over NSA spying

      The Japanese government has remained relatively silent since the WikiLeaks website published documents Friday showing the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has spied on the Japanese government and Japanese companies.

      The documents, dated from 2007 to 2009, include five NSA reports — four of which are marked top-secret — that provide intelligence on Japanese positions on international trade and climate change.

      WikiLeaks also posted an NSA list of 35 Japanese targets for telephone intercepts including the Japanese Cabinet Office, the Bank of Japan, the country’s finance and trade ministries, and major Japanese trading companies.

    • Japan’s Prime Minister Demands US Vice President Investigate NSA Spying

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked US Vice President Joe Biden to investigate allegations that the United States spied on top Japanese government and corporate officials, a Japanese government spokesman said on Wednesday.

    • Japan NSA Backlash to Raise Asian Demands on Pacific Trade Pact

      The latest WikiLeaks revelations documenting close National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Japan will provoke countries the United States is courting for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement to increase their demands, experts told Sputnik.

    • NSA conducted commercial espionage against Japanese government and businesses

      New leaked documents published by Wikileaks show that the US spy agency conducted surveillance operations against Japan’s top government officials, prioritizing finance and trade ministers, as well as the Japanese central bank and two private-sector energy companies.

      There’s no conceivable connection between this long-term surveillance — which included wiretaps — and national security.

    • Japan PM calls for probe into WikiLeaks claims of US spying

      Japanese leader Shinzo Abe told US Vice President Joe Biden he would have “serious concerns” if WikiLeaks claims Washington spied on Japanese politicians were true, and called for an investigation, a top official said Wednesday.

      Tokyo’s Cabinet spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said Biden had apologised to the Japanese prime minister in a telephone call for “causing troubles”, without confirming the spying claims.

    • Japan’s Shinzo Abe warns Joe Biden over WikiLeaks spy claims

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told US Vice-President Joe Biden he will have “serious concerns” if WikiLeaks claims that Washington spied on Japanese politicians are true, calling for an investigation.

    • US Spying Scandal Might Seriously Undermine Trust In Abe’s Government

      Commenting on the recent WikiLeaks revelations concerning US National Security Agency spying on the Japanese government, a Japanese politician told Sputnik that it might seriously undermine trust in the current government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and damage Japanese-American relations; however, another political analyst has a different opinion.

    • Japan PM wants probe into WikiLeaks claims

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told US Vice President Joe Biden he will have ‘serious concerns’ if WikiLeaks claims Washington spied on Japanese politicians are true, calling for an investigation.

      Tokyo’s Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Biden had apologised to the Japanese leader in a telephone call for ‘causing troubles’, without confirming the spying claims.

      WikiLeaks said on Friday it had intercepts revealing years-long spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) on Japanese officials and major companies.

    • U.S. VP speaks with Japanese PM after website exposed spying

      The Wikileaks website on Friday posted U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) reports and a list of 35 Japanese targets for telephone intercepts, including the Japanese Cabinet Office, the Bank of Japan, the country’s finance and trade ministries, and major Japanese trading companies.

      According to the website, the eavesdropping dated back to 2007, a year after Abe’s first term began, and one report from telephone intercepts of senior Japanese officials could have been shared with Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand — the U.S. intelligence partners.

    • NSA spying allegations should not shake trust in Japan-U.S. alliance
    • Japan Premier Urges Biden To Probe Reported US Spying

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on US Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday to investigate allegations by WikiLeaks that Washington spied on the Japanese government and companies, Tokyo said.

    • Germany Could Create NSA-Like Mass Surveillance Program

      According to a legal fellow at Electronic Frontier Foundation, the German authorities seem to have plans for a mass surveillance program that parallels the NSA program.

    • NSA Announces New GC, Cites Big Law Experience

      On Monday, the National Security Agency tapped retired Milbank partner Glenn Gerstell as its new General Counsel.

    • Glenn Gerstell Named NSA General Counsel; Michael Rogers Comments
    • NSA lawyer with cyber cred, former FBI CIO moves and more

      Zalmai Azmi has taken the reins as president and chief operating officer of the IT consulting firm IMTAS, the firm announced Aug. 1.

      A native of Afghanistan who served as the FBI’s CIO from 2004 to 2008 and led the bureau through an IT transformation, Azmi said he is “pleased and excited” to be taking the new role at IMTAS. Azmi has previously served as CEO of Nexus Solutions, a senior vice president at CACI and CIO for the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

    • NSA Ordered to Look Harder for Records

      A federal judge dismissed most, but not all, of the National Security Agency’s requests to dismiss a reporter’s FOIA request on federal surveillance of judges.

      Jason Leopold, formerly with Al-Jazeera America and now with Vice News, filed two FOIA requests for NSA and FBI “surveillance of federal and state judges.”

      The NSA and the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel responded that they had no such records.

      They sought summary judgment and dismissal. Leopold claims they failed to conduct adequate searches.

    • Watchdog Demands Rules on FBI Media Spying

      The Department of Justice refuses to reveal its unpublished rules for spying on journalists, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation demands a look at them, in Federal Court.

    • Web’s random numbers are too weak, researchers warn

      The process of generating a good random number begins with the server translating mouse movements, keyboard presses and other things a machine does into a data stream of ones and zeros. This data is gathered in a “pool” that is regularly called on for many security functions.

    • South Korea pushes policy for public sector to use local servers and storage

      South Korea is moving to implement a policy that will have the public sector give preferential treament to local storage and server vendors over foreign counterparts starting next year to boost the market.

    • A License to Kill Innovation: Why A.B. 1326—California’s Bitcoin License—is Bad for Business, Innovation, and Privacy

      A.B. 1326 (Dababneh) is a bill that would require “virtual currency businesses” to apply for and obtain a license in order to offer services in California, and it includes significant fees and administrative hurdles. Unfortunately, the bill’s language is so vague that it’s unclear what companies are, in fact, “virtual currency businesses.” So in spite of carve-outs for smaller companies and for software developers who don’t exercise control over the currency, the proposal threatens the future of virtual currency experimentation and innovation in the state.

    • Privacy Badger graduates to v1.0, protects users from spying ads

      Have you ever faced the following dilemma? Your favourite website is equipped to detect whether you’re using an ad blocker, obviously you have one installed, and then you get a pop up or toolbar appear asking “Would you please add us to your ad blocker’s whitelist? Ads help keep this site running.”, obviously at this point you feel a bit bad and go ahead to disable the ads on that site. The issue you have now is that you just let an ad provider plant a cookie on your computer that will track you around the internet reporting what you’re interests are.

    • EFF Releases Privacy Badger To Try To Stop Online Tracking
    • US Government OPM Cyber Breach Much Worse Than Reported

      When the OPM breach was first discovered, the number of people said to be affected was four million. This figure quickly rose to 22 million, though the Solutionary report states this is probably a very misleading figure. The issue is that the records accessed were not only those of government employees, but also included personal data about family members and even friends, and so the number of people affected is likely to be closer to 132 million, and even this could be conservative. However the authors of the report state it will probably never be known just how big the breach was, but it is likely to have been “the biggest loss of private information ever.”

    • Office of Personnel Management and CFPB violating American’s privacy
    • Fourth Circuit adopts mosaic theory, holds that obtaining “extended” cell-site records requires a warrant

      The new case creates multiple circuit splits, which may lead to Supreme Court review. Specifically, the decision creates a clear circuit split with the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits on whether acquiring cell-site records is a search. It also creates an additional clear circuit split with the Eleventh Circuit on whether, if cell-site records are protected, a warrant is required. Finally, it also appears to deepen an existing split between the Fifth and Third Circuits on whether the Stored Communications Act allows the government to choose whether to obtain an intermediate court order or a warrant for cell-site records.

    • Is the Google Balloon experiment to spy on Sri Lanka & violate our personal freedoms?

      It was recently announced that Sri Lanka had been chosen to launch the Google balloon-based internet services under a project titled ‘Google Loon Project’. Anything being rolled out for the first time and free should raise concern. Why ‘experiment’ on Sri Lanka moreover why Sri Lanka or does it align to Kerry’s success in regime change in Sri Lanka and pax Americana goal? It is not so much as the idea to provide internet coverage to the whole of Sri Lanka (though users will still have to pay to their local service provider) but the ability that the owners of the balloon have over a sovereign country and whether local laws or even international can cover the range of spying/surveillance that can be done! Associated with the project and representing the US intelligence community is Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham Executive Director of Cyber Security Research and Education Institute which is sponsored by George Soros’s Raytheon. The most important unanswered question is why was such a project kept secret from the Sri Lankan public, why were associated stakeholders not involved to report on the pros & cons and moreover why was the fundamental rights of privacy of the people violated. None of us wish to have the entire country under a blanket of US surveillance and it is wrong to have enforced such a project overlooking the national security concerns and the privacy of the people of Sri Lanka. Even the business community will undoubtedly have reservations. Will the world’s 1.8billion internet users like to have their privacy invaded too?

    • North Korea: I was ‘monitored’ while I studied there

      Alessandro Ford picked a gap year involving the world’s most secretive and repressed country.

    • Manuel Contreras, head of Chile’s spy agency under Pinochet, dies aged 86

      Contreras, who headed agency that kidnapped, tortured and killed thousands, died while serving 500 year sentence for crimes against humanity

    • Hated and feared former Pinochet-era Chilean spy chief dies at age 86
    • Gen. Manuel Contreras, leader of Chile’s feared spy agency, dies at 86
    • Manuel Contreras, Chilean Spy Chief, Dies at 86

      Gen. Manuel Contreras, Chile’s intelligence chief during the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, died on Friday in the military hospital in Santiago while serving 526 years of multiple prison terms for human rights violations. He was 86.

    • Augsto Pinochet dies at the age of 86
    • Manuel Contreras, Chile’s feared ex-spy chief, dies at 86
    • Chile’s feared secret police chief dies at age 86
    • Tor users: Do not expect anonymity and end-to-end security

      The Tor network is similar to a door lock: It works well, until a determined individual wants to get in. Get details on what Tor is and what it is not.

    • The judge committed fouls, too

      All espionages are a fact of life in today’s world, but none is morally acceptable, much less superior, to others.

    • Seeing a history of all your movements is now easier for you, but harder for the feds

      When you meet a new someone who makes your heart flutter and the feeling is mutual, and the two of you have spent significant parts of your life in the same city at the same time, there is usually a conversation within the first few weeks of the relationship trying to figure out why you didn’t meet sooner. You talk about the places you hung out and usually realize that you frequented the same coffee shop or bar or music venue, and you wonder if you were ever there at the same time. Were your phones to offer up their full history of where they’ve been, you could line up your personal tracking maps and find out the exact moment you might have encountered one another earlier in life.

    • Quoted: Carly Fiorina wants Apple, Google to ‘tear down cyberwalls’
    • Carly Fiorina calls on Apple, Google to provide greater access for FBI
    • Jonathan Pollard & Edward Snowden: How the US Hates Tattletales

      It seems clear that Edward Snowden and Julian Assange can look forward to extended vacations once their feet touch US soil. Like Pollard, Snowden’s charges fall under the US Espionage Act where defendants are not allowed to raise a defense. But unlike Mr. Pollard, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange has the internet and social media at their disposal to gain US and possibly worldwide sympathy. US Administration officials would probably not risk a drop in approval ratings and throw Snowden and Assange in Pollard’s vacated cell, or would they?

    • US Government Spies on EU Companies to Control European Industries

      Data collection is only a small part of the NSA’s intelligence tasks. The main goal of the US’ intelligence agencies is to control politicians and managers in Europe, former head of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Gerd Polli, said in an interview with DWN.

    • Next-gen secure email using internet’s own DNS – your help needed

      A group of researchers from the US government and dot-com operator VeriSign are working on a new system for secure email: using domain names.

      Highlighting the problems and security holes associated with current mail systems, the team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a subset of the US Department of Commerce, argues that by using a new set of security protocols built around the domain name system, it is possible to provide a much higher level of security in electronic messages.

    • Chicago and Los Angeles have used ‘dirt box’ surveillance for a decade

      The Los Angeles and Chicago police departments have acquired “dirt boxes” – military surveillance technology that can intercept data, calls and text messages from hundreds of cellphones simultaneously, as well as jam transmissions from a device, according to documents obtained by Reveal.

    • BlackLivesMatter Activists: Targets of US Surveilence

      The Obama administration’s spy agencies have been keeping track of the movements, communications and activities of the new crop of Black activists. Although not surprising, the recent reports should give rise to “new strategies and tactics to exchange information among groups, and new modalities to circumvent infiltration and, ultimately, government sting operations.”

    • Edward Snowden: White House Rejects Pardon Plea
    • Views of the News: NSA seeks vast cyber deterrent

      U.S security officials recently stressed a need for a massive cyberweapon to provide a deterrent against ongoing and future cyber attacks by foreign powers.

      Admiral Michael Rogers—National Security Agency (NSA) director and head of U.S. Cyber Command—said it will require such a counterstrike capability to deter enemy hackers trying to penetrate our security data systems.

      Rogers cited the nuclear deterrence strategy of the Cold War missile race as relevant for defense against recent attacks on U.S. government and business databases.

    • China’s Cyberspying Is ‘on a Scale No One Imagined’–if You Pretend NSA Doesn’t Exist

      But how can that be? China is accused of obtaining personal information about 20 million Americans, federal employees and contractors, and that’s a big deal. But the US’s NSA, according to documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, processes 20 billion phone calls and internet messages every day. The NSA’s unofficial motto for years has been “Collect It All.”

      The article notes that the US has its own “intelligence operations inside China”—but pretends these are purely defensive, referring to “the placement of thousands of implants in Chinese computer networks to warn of impending attacks.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Major psychological association bans cooperation with CIA following torture scandal

      The American Psychological Association made a nearly unanimous decision today to bar psychologists from participating in national security interrogations, The New York Times reports. The decision was a response to an independent report that came out last month, detailing how top APA officials and psychiatrists participated in the CIA’s torture program during the Bush administration.

    • Everyone Agrees the Senate’s Cyber Bill is Terrible. So Why Is It Moving?

      What do numerous privacy groups, civil liberties organizations, open government advocates, free market proponents, technologists, and the Department of Homeland Security have in common? Deep concern about the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or “CISA,” a bill expected to come to a vote this week in the Senate.

    • No Immunity For Cops Who Sent A SWAT Team To A 68-Year-Old Woman’s House For Threats Delivered Over Open WiFi Connection

      Earlier this year, we covered the story of Louise Milan, a 68-year-old grandmother whose house was raided by a SWAT team (accompanied by a news crew) searching for someone who had made alleged threats against police officers over the internet. Part of the probable cause submitted for the warrant was Milan’s IP address. But the police made no attempt to verify whether any resident of Milan’s house made the threats and ignored the fact that the IP address was linked to an open WiFi connection.

    • Despite Recent Court Rulings, Getting Behind The Wheel Is Pretty Much Kissing Your 4th Amendment Protections Goodbye

      There’s been more good news than bad concerning the Fourth Amendment recently. In addition to the Supreme Court’s ruling that searches of cellphones incident to arrest now require a warrant, various circuit court decisions on cell site location info and the surreptitious use of GPS tracking devices may see the nation’s top court addressing these contentious issues in the near future. (The latter still needs to be addressed more fully than the Supreme Court’s 2012 punt on the issue.)

    • Spy Software Gets a Second Life on Wall Street

      A wave of companies with ties to the intelligence community is winning over the world of finance, with banks and hedge funds putting the firms’ terrorist-tracking tools to work rooting out employee misconduct before it leads to fines or worse.

    • Here’s the CIA’s Letter to Congress Saying the Agency Was Quitting the Torture Business

      Three months after President Barack Obama was sworn into office, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta sent a letter to congressional oversight committees informing them that the agency was changing its torture policies.

      But the CIA would still play a significant role in the interrogation of terrorism suspects, according to a top-secret letter Panetta wrote [pdf below] that was recently declassified by the CIA and obtained exclusively by VICE News in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

      Panetta’s letter was sent to lawmakers just days after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to begin an investigation into the efficacy of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. It also followed an executive order Obama signed as one of his first acts as president outlawing the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and shuttering the CIA’s network of black site prisons where detainees were held.

    • Eight top ex-CIA officials rebut ‘torture report’ with their own book

      In a bid to bring the “rest of the story” to the nation about the CIA’s detention and interrogation of al Qaeda terrorists, eight former top CIA officials, including three directors, are publishing a rebuttal to the sensational Senate Democratic “torture report.”

    • Eight top ex-CIA officials launch bid to rebut ‘torture report’
    • Former CIA Officials Launch Smear Campaign Against Senate Torture Report

      In an attempt to unveil what was really behind the scenes of the Al Qaeda terrorist interrogations conducted by the CIA, eight former high-ranking CIA officials, including three former directors, are ready to publish a response to last year’s incendiary US Senate “torture report”, according to the Washington Examiner.

    • CIA Torture Practices ‘Nothing New’ – Former Official

      Former US State Department official William Blum does not consider the recent statements about torture used by CIA under a program of “enhanced interrogation” as “sensational.”

    • New Effort to Rebut Torture Report Undermined as Former Official Admits the Obvious

      Former top CIA officials planning a major public-relations campaign to rebut the Senate torture report’s damning revelations have found themselves undermined by one of their own.

      Eight former top officials wrangled by Bill Harlow — the former CIA flak who brought us the CIASavedLives.com website after the Senate report was issued last December — are publishing a book in the coming weeks titled Rebuttal: The CIA Responds to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of Its Detention and Interrogation Program.

    • Former CIA Official Admits Use of Torture during Bush Era

      A former top CIA official acknowledged that the US intelligence agency tortured terror suspects after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks under a program called “enhanced interrogation.”

    • Intelligence professionals continue rebutting torture allegations

      The book by the former CIA officers likely will be met with denunciations from Feinstein and others who accuse the U.S. of torturing Islamic terrorists. When former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell published, “The Great War of Our Time,” earlier in 2015, Feinstein responded to his defense of CIA treatment of terrorists by issuing both a press release and a 54-page “fact check” sheet through her official senatorial website. Feinstein condemned the book through both statements and reiterated her accusation that Americans were guilty of torture.

    • Gitmo is a “Rights-Free Zone”: Dissident Psychologists Speak Out on APA Role in CIA-Pentagon Torture

      We broadcast from Toronto, Canada, site of the annual convention of the largest group of psychologists in the world, the American Psychological Association. Ahead of a vote on a resolution to bar psychologists from participating in national security interrogations, the Psychologists for Social Responsibility hosted a town hall meeting. We feature highlights.

    • APA bans member psychologists from taking part in ‘national security interrogations’
    • US Psychologists’ Association Bans Members from Colluding in US Torture

      In what may seem like a no brainer, the American Psychological Association has voted to ban any member from participating in government torture programs. The decision follows a report which details the organization’s role in justifying “enhanced interrogation.”

    • Psychology Association Votes to Bar Members From Participating in Interrogations

      The American Psychological Association (APA) voted nearly unanimously on Friday in favor of a resolution prohibiting its members from participating in national security interrogations. Retired Col. Larry James, the former top Army intelligence psychologist at Guantanamo, had the only dissenting vote, Democracy Now reports.

    • Psychologists vote not to participate in US torture

      The American Psychological Association (APA) voted overwhelmingly on Friday to prohibit members from participating in interrogations conducted by United States intelligence agencies at locations deemed illegal under international law.

    • American Psychological Association Bans Members From Participating In Interrogations

      Following revelations earlier this year that American Psychological Association (APA) officials actively colluded with the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program, the group voted nearly unanimously Friday to prohibit psychologists from participating in future national security interrogations.

    • Psychologists Approve Ban on Role in National Security Interrogations
    • Psychologists ban interrogation role [same piece]
    • James Risen: In Sharp Break from Past, APA Set to Vote on Barring Psychologists from Interrogations
    • Psychology group votes to ban members from taking part in interrogations
    • First Step for Reform: APA Votes to Bar Psychologists From Colluding in Torture
    • How the American Psychological Association lost its way
    • The Brutal Toll of Psychologists’ Role in Torture
    • When Psychology Is Used For Torture
    • Send in the psychologists to study the psychologists: Salutin

      The American Psychological Association is holding its annual convention this weekend in Toronto. It’s a huge organization, about 100,000 members — academics, researchers, practitioners. This is the seventh time in 37 years that they’re meeting here, a frequency or repetition compulsion that may be worthy of research and, possibly, therapy. Canadians belong to it, the way the Blue Jays belong to the American League. We’re in it but not always of it.

    • Breaking: APA Votes to Bar Psychologists from Nat’l Security Interrogations After Torture Scandal

      By a nearly unanimous vote, the American Psychological Association’s Council of Representatives voted today in Toronto to adopt a new policy barring psychologists from participating in national security interrogations. Retired Col. Larry James, the former top Army intelligence psychologist at Guantánamo, cast the sole dissenting vote.

    • The American Psychological Association Comes Out Belatedly Against ‘Enhanced Interrogation’

      Torture is just torture when you get rid of the pseudo-science.

    • American psychologists promise not to collude in torture

      In 2005 the top brass in the American Psychological Association changed its code of ethics.

    • CIA Torture Prisons Were Probably Worse Than You Can Imagine

      The Romanian prison was code named “Bright Light” and was part of a secret network of prisons operated by the U.S.

    • Tyler S. Drumheller | CIA officer, 63

      But he was best known publicly for his role in exposing the extent to which a key part of the administration’s case for war with Iraq had been built on the claims of an Iraqi defector and serial fabricator with the code name Curveball.

    • Tyler Drumheller, 63, CIA career of 26 years

      But he was best known publicly for his role in exposing the extent to which a key part of the administration’s case for war with Iraq had been built on the claims of an Iraqi defector and serial fabricator with the fitting code name “Curveball.”

      In contrast to Hollywood’s depiction of spies as impossibly elegant and acrobatic, Drumheller was a bulky, rumpled figure who often seemed oblivious to the tufts of dog hair on his clothes.

    • CIA Figure in Hillary Clinton Email Scandal Dies at 63
    • Author of Benghazi memos sent to Clinton dies after cancer battle

      Specifically, he vocally criticized the agency’s trust in an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, who gave faulty intelligence that Saddam Hussein had developed laboratories for biological weapons. The assertions played a major role in the George W. Bush administration’s public case for invading Iraq in 2003.

      Drumheller also criticized the Bush administration’s claims that Iraq was buying yellowcake uranium from Niger, which it used as evidence to support the claim that Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction.

    • CIA interrogation tactics can be used at home [not about torture]
    • Obama: The Courage to Say ‘We Were Wrong’

      Most of Obama’s letter contained information we already know. One of his first acts in office was to sign an Executive Order ending the CIA’s illegal detention and interrogation program. He is working to close Guantanamo, an unenviable task that raises as many questions as it solves but still must be done.

    • As the child of Latvian immigrants, I know that torture is un-American and should be banned: Ivars Balkits (Opinion)

      Nothing is more un-American than the support of torture by our government. That is the axiom I grew up with as a first-generation American born to Latvian emigres. In the final days of World War II, my parents, now deceased, fled the totalitarian Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic because they feared they would be tortured or murdered by the NKVD, as the Soviet internal police were known, if not summarily deported to Gulag labor camps.

    • CIA: OK, So Maybe We Work With Bad Guys

      The CIA is willing to overlook some of its shadier partners’ human rights records if they can still get the goods, according to agency Director John Brennan.

      In a letter sent to a trio of lawmakers and provided to The Huffington Post, Brennan expanded on the agency’s controversial relationships with less-than-desirable characters, offering an unusually candid glimpse into the spies’ liaison partnerships.

      The letter, a response to Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), sought to clarify public remarks made by Brennan earlier this year. The unclassified response was dated Thursday.

    • White House criticized for not filling watchdog post at CIA

      More than six months after the CIA inspector general resigned, President Obama has yet to nominate a replacement, prompting mounting concerns on Capitol Hill that the delay may be affecting sensitive internal investigations — including a probe into an errant drone strike in Pakistan that killed American hostage Warren Weinstein, sources told Yahoo News.

    • Sept. 11 Defendants in Limbo Thwart Obama’s Guantanamo Ambitions
    • The true story of an ex-cop’s war on lie detectors

      Doug Williams used to give polygraph exams. Now he’s going to prison for teaching people how to beat them

      There was something odd, Doug Williams recalls, about the clean-cut young man who came to see him on Feb. 21, 2013. When Brian Luley had called two weeks earlier, he’d introduced himself as a deputy sheriff in Virginia applying for a job with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. To get the job, Luley needed to pass a polygraph test, and there were “a couple of reasons” he thought that might be a problem.

    • OPINION: What justice for the people of Chad?

      On 20 July 2015, the trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré began in Senegal. The trial reflects many of the tensions afflicting international justice. Habré, who is charged with crimes against humanity, torture, and war crimes, relating to the death of an alleged 40,000 people between 1982 and 1990, denounced the court as a colonial project before being forcibly removed from the courtroom. The trial was subsequently postponed until 7 September, for Habré’s defence counsel to review court files.

    • Donald Trump: “Waterboarding doesn’t sound very severe”

      Donald Trump opened the door to torturing terrorism suspects if he’s elected president, telling ABC News Sunday that waterboarding “doesn’t sound very severe” given the barbarism of ISIS.

    • More than 80% of the thousands held at the Chicago police’s ‘black site’ were black

      About 8.5% of those held at the site were white. According to the 2010 census, Chicago’s population is 32% non-Hispanic white, 33% black, and 29% Hispanic (of which 13.5% identify as racially white) .

    • A Letter From Africa to #BlackLivesMatter

      When you say Black Lives Matter do you mean just Black American lives? What about the tens of thousands of black lives in Cuba that have been lost due to the covert war and the economic embargo still being waged against Cuba by the US government?

      Or what about the black lives that were lost when the UN over saw the starvation deaths of 250,000 “black” Somalis during the worst drought and famine in 60 years from 2010-2012, deaths that were predicted when UNICEF, headed by former senior foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama, Anthony Lake, budgeted less than 10 cents a day to feed the Somali refugees under their care?

      Do Black Lives Matter when the CIA and their capos in the human trafficking mafia in East Africa sends hundreds of Eritrean migrants to their deaths in rickety boats on the Mediterranean Sea (the Eritrean government continues to demand that the UN convene hearings so the reams of evidence they have on the CIA’s role in these crimes can be exposed to international scrutiny)?

      Do these Black lives matter just as much as Black American lives?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Names

      • Anti-Piracy Group Hits Indie Creators For Using the Word ‘Pixels’

        An anti-piracy firm working for Columbia Pictures has hit Vimeo with a wave of bogus copyright takedowns just because people used the word ‘Pixels’ in their video titles. Several indie productions are affected, including an art-focused NGO, an award-winning short movie and a royalty free stock footage company.

      • No Air for Jordan: Michael Jordan Loses Fight over Marks in China

        The dispute began in 2012 when Michael Jordan took the sports brand Qiaodan Sports to court, alleging the misuse of his name and several other marks, such as the number 23 (used by him during his tenure in the NBA) and the Jumpman logo (derived from a photoshoot with Nike, incorporating Mr Jordan’s often unique and flamboyant dunk poses) that is associated with his own Air Jordan brand. At first instance his claim was denied, and Mr Jordan subsequently appealed that decision to the High People’s Court.

    • Copyrights

      • BitTorrent to RIAA: You’re ‘barking up the wrong tree’

        The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sent a letter to BitTorrent last week asking the company to help stop copyrighted infringement of its members’ content. Brad Buckles, RIAA’s executive vice president of anti-piracy, asked BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker to “live up to” comments made by former chief content officer Matt Mason.

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