08.23.15

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Links 23/8/2015: BcacheFS Benchmarks, Blackphone 2

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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  • Met Office loses BBC weather forecasting contract

    The Met Office has lost its BBC weather forecasting contract, it has confirmed.

    The UK’s weather service has provided the data used for BBC forecasts since the corporation’s first radio weather bulletin on 14 November 1922.

    The BBC said it was legally required to secure the best value for money for licence fee payers and would tender the contract to outside competition.

  • The Obama Administration Damages American Interests In Blocking China’s Anti-Corruption Efforts

    Sometimes it is hard to find words even to describe, let alone to explain, the Obama administration’s consistently gauche, blundering, even self-damaging policy decisions and actions toward China.

  • A Guide to Chinese Intelligence Operations

    From government hacks to industrial theft, Chinese intelligence operations are making more headlines now than ever before.

  • Obama Administration Warns Beijing About Covert Agents Operating in U.S.

    The Obama administration has delivered a warning to Beijing about the presence of Chinese government agents operating secretly in the United States to pressure prominent expatriates — some wanted in China on charges of corruption — to return home immediately, according to American officials.

  • U.S. warns China about its secret hunt for fugitives [Ed: syndicated from the above]
  • Josef Stalin’s daughter was a ‘spiritual orphan’

    Svetlana Alliluyeva, Josef’s Stalin’s daughter, led a remarkable, if extremely ruptured, life. Her mother, Nadezhda, died in 1932 when Svetlana was 6, likely through suicide. Her father, the brutal dictator, had no compunction about sending Svetlana’s close relatives to the gulag. Her half-brother, Yakov, died in a German prisoner-of-war camp in 1943. Her other brother, Vasili, died an alcoholic. She married four times and died as Lana Peters in 2011, at age 85. In 1967, when Svetlana defected to the United States, she left her two children behind in Russia. Her story is vividly told by Rosemary Sullivan — who has also written biographies of Margaret Atwood and Gwendolyn MacEwen — in Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva. Our conversation has been edited for length.

  • Carly Fiorina out of step with Silicon Valley

    Fiorina is “wrong on the social issues as well as a lot of technology issues” and is “culturally not aligned with the ethos in the Valley,” on top of the fact that “there are also a lot of people who have negative impressions of her” from HP, said Jim Ross, a Democratic consultant in the tech hub of San Francisco.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Carson: Slavery informed my views on abortion

      Former pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson said Sunday that the fight to abolish slavery influenced his views on abortion.

      Carson was asked about a 1992 ad on abortion on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Carson had originally taken a pro-life position on a Maryland abortion referendum, but then appeared in an ad taking back his previous statement and merely asking voters to be educated on the issue before voting.

      Carson said that 20 years ago, “I personally was against abortion, but I was not for causing anybody else to do anything.”

      “I’ve changed, because I’ve learned a lot of things,” said Carson. “I began to think about if abolitionists … had said ‘I don’t believe in slavery, but anybody else can do it if they want to,’ where would we be today? So that changed my opinion.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Chilling Artwork ‘Shoots’ Gallery-Goers From Above in Tandem to US Drone Strikes

      Now, Los Angeles-based artist Jonathan Fletcher Moore has taken that data and created an interactive installation titled Artificial Killing Machine that visualizes the attacks in real time.

    • Pentagon to Sharply Expand U.S. Drone Flights Over Next Four Years
    • Obama Administration to Increase Drone Flights 50 Percent

      The increase in drone flights will give the military more intelligence access as well as increase its firepower, which is needed to take on hot spots around the world, a senior defense official told The Wall Street Journal about the upcoming plan.

    • Pentagon to expand drone killing program
    • US military to step up drone flights by 2019
    • Pentagon increasing drone flights by 50% to meet demand for air strikes and global surveillance
    • The Pentagon is planning 50 percent more drone flights by 2019
    • Pentagon To Increase Unmanned Drone Flights Across The Globe By 50 Percent
    • US military to step up drone flights by 2019
    • Carson: Don’t use drones to kill at border
    • Carson calls for drone strikes on border ‘caves’
    • Ben Carson: ‘In No Way Did I Suggest Using Drones To Kill People’ Along The Border
    • Carson says wants drones to blast caves, not people at U.S.-Mexico border
    • U.S. Military To Privatize, Expand Drone Use In African War Zones
    • Turbulence in Pentagon plans to expand drone flights
    • Editorial: More eyes in the skies
    • Why we fact-check political cartoons
    • Covering Cuba, from Sarasota
    • Moral Theory and Drone Warfare: A Literature Review

      “Legal, ethical, and wise”: these are the three adjectives that the Obama administration has used again and again to describe its program of conducting targeted killings by drone strikes. John Brennan, then the White House’s counterterrorism advisor, used the phrase to justify the drone program in a speech at the Wilson Center in April 2012. Almost a year later, Press Secretary Jay Carney invoked the same phrase in defense of the leaked Department of Justice White Paper on the permissible targeted killing of a U.S. citizen and senior Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operative who posed an imminent threat.

    • Predator Drone Maker Flying Spy Missions For the Pentagon

      The U.S. military wants to boost its drone presence by 50 percent in four years, and it’s hiring help. General Atomics, maker of the ubiquitous Predator and Reaper drones, began flying intelligence missions for the Defense Department this month.

    • Drone Manufacturer Has Been Flying Spy Missions For Defense Since Early August
    • The Former US Military Top-Brass Working for Companies Profiting from Drone Warfare

      Generals and other top military staff who ran the US “Drone Wars” in the Middle East now work for the top drone firms, with lucrative positions at private contractors holding big contracts to help run the remotely controlled killing machines.

      Supposedly “targeted killings” by drones have led to international concern, as victims of “surgical strikes” carried out by the unmanned weapons include wedding parties in Yemen, friendly-fire killings of Afghan soldiers, and nearly 200 children in Pakistan.

      So, wreaking mass death from above is a negative, but on the positive side they have also led to big contracts for defense firms. A Bureau of Investigative Journalism report identified a bunch of large companies that have major contracts for analyzing data and providing other support work that drones need to operate.

    • Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins, by Andrew Cockburn

      There is, of course, some debate about the morality of drone warfare. Is it ethical to deliberately kill people without trial? Where is the warrior code, the moral hazard, for those who attack with impunity from thousands of kilometres away? What happens when mistakes are bloodily made? How does one define a terrorist? Which side are we on again? Why?

    • Shahzad Akbar fights for Pakistan’s drone victims

      The U.S. contends that it’s going after Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, but since the CIA-led drone program is officially secret, little is known about how drone attacks are conducted or targets are chosen. According to a 2014 study by Forensic Architecture, a research project in London, and the U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent initiative, this secrecy has contributed to lax bombing practices. To date, the bureau has found that 423 to 965 civilians have been killed in the bombings — 170 to 207 of them children. Most of the victims remain unnamed and unidentified.

    • Simulate The Fatal Fallibility Of Drone Strikes…With A Fun Card Game!

      “The primary [inspiration] was this interactive piece about drone strikes,” Udayasankar tells Co.Design. “Less than 2% of fatalities were high-profile targets. I was fascinated by the fallibility of technology itself and the collateral damage that it facilitates, and, moreover, how we do not take the time to talk about it.”

    • The drone warfare game where you spy on players with your smartphone

      “Bycatch” is a term used by fishermen to describe the extraneous marine life that unintentionally gets caught in their nets. It’s also the name of a card game that deals with a very different sort of collateral damage: the civilians killed by drone strikes.

    • Islamic Militants Demanded Ransom for Bodies of Killed Hostages

      Islamist militants demanded the U.S. government pay ransom for the return of the bodies of two hostages accidentally killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan last January, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    • This top secret World War II drone mission killed JFK’s older brother

      Operation Aphrodite was a top-secret attempt by the Army and Navy to turn old airplanes into suicide drones during World War II. B-17s and B-24s that were past their service life would be packed with several tons of Torpex, an explosive with twice the power of TNT, and then piloted into heavily-fortified targets.

    • Over 10 countries to join China’s military parade

      Troops from at least 10 countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan, will join an unprecedented military parade in Beijing next month to commemorate China’s victory over Japan during the World War-II, Chinese officials said.

      China is inviting foreign troops to participate in a military parade for the first time. It will also be a milestone for President Xi Jinping, who took over as Communist Party leader and military chief in late 2012.

      The parade on September 3 will involve about 12,000 Chinese troops and 200 aircraft, Qi Rui, deputy director of the government office organising the parade, told reporters in Beijing on Friday.

    • Creech Predator crews get help coping with combat

      Critics of drone strikes point out that innocent civilians sometimes die in the attacks. And, there was a friendly fire incident in 2011 involving a Predator missile strike triggered from Creech that left a U.S. sailor and a Marine dead in Afghanistan.

    • Forum: U.S. counterterrorism policy weak, should focus on economic issues

      America actually is relatively safe. Aside from a few cases such as the tragic Chattanooga shootings, Americans killed by terrorists most often are murdered outside of our country, in war zones. However, if we don’t start focusing on the economic instability in vulnerable countries from which most terrorism originates, it is only a matter of time before we see more attacks in our country.

    • Israel Holds Large-Scale Military Drill on Syrian Border

      The Israeli military staged a large-scale drill last week to prepare for a potential ground operation into Syria in the event of an attack by Islamist rebels or the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, according to local media reports.

      The rising number of Islamist fighters, many aligned to the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, arriving near the Israeli border area in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights has placed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on high alert, Israeli television station Channel 2 reported.

    • Israel is Helping Jordanian Special Forces Fighting ISIS on the Ground in Iraq
    • Israel to supply Jordan with drones to help fight Islamic State: report

      As part of a new deal, Israel will supply Jordan with strategic and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in order to help combat the Islamic State, according to a local media report.

    • AP Interview: Jordan says Syria militants try to sneak in
    • Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian attacker in West Bank

      Allan is on the 63rd day of his hunger-strike in protest of his detention by Israel without charge.

      At least six Palestinians were detained late Sunday and on Monday by the Israeli authorities from the West Bank districts of Hebron and Bethlehem, according to local and security sources.

      A Palestinian man who attacked an Israeli soldier with a knife was shot dead Saturday by Israeli soldiers in the north of the occupied West Bank, said the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Israeli police.

    • Report: Israeli Drone Strike Kills 5 in Syria

      Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian-controlled portion of the Golan Heights have killed at least five unarmed civilians, according to Syrian state media, in what Israel says was retaliation for rocket fire into its territory. Israel says those killed were Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad militant group.

    • Israeli air raids kill five civilians and soldier, says Syria
    • Israel carries out drone strike in southern Syria – killing five

      Israel’s air force has carried out a drone strike in southern Syria – killing five people – while a soldier was killed and seven wounded in an air raid, Syrian state TV has reported.

    • Israeli strike kills 5 Syrian civilians in Qunaitera province
    • Israel Attacks Syria for The second time in 24 Hours

      A new Israeli attack with a drone, killed at least five in al-Koum shanty town, in the Syrian province of Quneitra, at about 67 kilometers southwest of this capital.
      The missile launched from the drone exploded at 10.35 (local time) this Friday, just 50 meters from a popular market, also causing serious material damage.

    • Israeli Attack on Syria’s Quneitera Leaves 5 Civilians Dead

      An Israeli air strike on the Syrian Golan Heights killed at least four Palestinian militants responsible for Thursday’s rocket fire on an Israeli village, an Israeli defense official said on Friday.

    • 50 civilians reported killed in Douma after Syrian army rocket attack

      A Syrian army rocket attack on the rebel-held city of Douma reportedly killed at least 50 civilians.

    • US Drone Strategy Often Violates Sovereignty of Nations – Activist Group

      The US drone strategy frequently undermines the sovereignty of other countries which can damage its own national security, Upstate Drone Action activist Ed Kinane told Sputnik.

    • ‘Probability of US again bombing Libya is always there’

      The US might carry out air strikes again in Libya, but it won’t improve the conditions on the ground, says Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire. The US would rather allow Egypt and the UAE to carry out certain aspects of this foreign policy in Libya, he adds.

    • US Wants To Increase Global Lethal And Surveillance Drone Flights To 30,000 By 2019

      As if in complete defiance of the extensive contention at home and abroad, the Pentagon announced plans this week to dramatically ramp up global drone operations over the next four years.

      Daily drone flights will increase by 50% during this time, and will include lethal air strikes and surveillance missions to deal with the increase in global hot spots and crises, according to an unnamed (and unverified) senior defense official, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

      “We’ve seen a steady signal from all our geographic combatant commanders to have more of this capability,” said Defense Department spokesperson, Navy Captain Jeff Davis to reporters at the Pentagon.

    • ‘No Good Evidence’ Russia Behind Shootdown of Malaysia Air Flight 17 in Ukraine, Says Longtime CIA Analyst Ray McGovern: ‘BradCast’ 8/20/2015

      On today’s BradCast, we are joined by retired, 27-year CIA analyst turned peace activist Ray McGovern, who personal delivered the CIA’s Presidential Daily Briefings to several Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. His organization,Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) — which includes several high-ranking former intelligence professionals and whistleblowers — have called, once again, on the U.S. to release any evidence to support their claims that Russia was behind the downing of MH17.

    • Ray McGovern: Propaganda, Intelligence, and MH-17

      During a recent interview, I was asked to express my conclusions about the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, prompting me to take another hard look at Official Washington’s dubious claims – pointing the finger of blame at eastern Ukrainian rebels and Moscow – based on shaky evidence regarding who was responsible for this terrible tragedy.

    • US MH17 Evidence ‘Sketchy as One Could Imagine’ – CIA Veteran Analyst
    • ‘Political Hacks’ Wrote US Report Linking Russia To Crash Of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Ex-CIA Analyst

      A U.S. government report implicating Russia in the July 2014 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was created by political writers rather than intelligence analysts, a former CIA analyst-turned-political activist told Russia’s Sputnik News. Sputnik is wholly owned by the Russian government, which reportedly backs Ukrainian separatists accused of firing a missile at the plane as it flew near the Russia-Ukraine border.

      “What [U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry] offered was a ‘government assessment,’ which means it was written in the White House, which means it was a political document written by political hacks, and that the intelligence analysts would not sign on to it,” Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, told Sputnik. McGovern was previously known for implying that President George W. Bush could have prevented the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City and Arlington County, Virginia.

    • Former CIA head: Back Iran nuclear deal — with some conditions

      Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, an influential and vocal critic of the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, said Wednesday that Congress actually should consider approving the accord — but only after tacking on a number of conditions designed to pressure Iran not to cheat on the deal, including an authorization for military action.

    • Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend
    • The old US embassy, museum in Tehran: Inside the ‘US den of espionage’
    • Britain’s embassy in Iran: a reminder of a difficult shared history

      When the foreign secretary visits Tehran on Sunday to reopen the British embassy after a closure of nearly four years, he will doubtless talk of new beginnings. Now Iran has signed a deal limiting its nuclear programme, the way is clear for new business contracts, new opportunities, a new chapter. That approach may appeal to the British businesspeople on the trip, licking their lips at the prospect of selling oilfield equipment or financial services, but Iranians do not discard history so easily.

    • Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend after four years
    • What’s Really At Stake With The Iran Nuclear Deal

      Nearly every major western country has recently sent trade missions to Iran in anticipation of sanctions being lifted. Representatives included major international oil companies, banks, and manufacturers. Their enormous influence and immense wealth will weigh heavily in resolving the issue.

    • Iran deal step in right direction

      We would do well to remember that Iran didn’t start this crisis. The crisis didn’t start with Iranians overthrowing the Shah and taking of American hostages in 1979. It started when the U.S. CIA overthrew the democratically elected Iranian government of Mohammed Mosaddegh in 1953 and installed a brutal dictator (the Shah) in his place.

    • Rogue States and Nuclear Dangers [Ed: reposted below]
    • The Nuclear Deal
    • ‘The Iranian Threat’

      Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

    • Backers of Iran deal get key ally

      President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran gained momentum in Congress on Friday as a key Jewish Democrat from New York bucked home-state opposition to support the deal.

    • Obama writes letter to reassure congressional Democrats on Iran deal
    • Five books on the legacy of the 1953 coup in Iran

      This week’s 62th anniversary of the coup upending Mohammad Mossadegh comes with interest as strong as ever in Iran’s best-known prime minister. But while historians and journalists see the coup of 19 August 1953 as a pivotal event for Iran, they agree on little else (including the transliteration of his name into Latin letters).

    • Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend

      Britain will reopen its embassy in Iran this weekend nearly four years after protesters ransacked the elegant ambassadorial residence and burned the British flag.

    • Iran says it shot down reconnaissance drone near Iraq border after it ‘confronted’ air defense

      Iran’s official IRNA news agency says the military has shot down a reconnaissance drone in western Iran near the border with Iraq.

      IRNA quoted Col. Farzad Fereidouni, a local air defense system commander, in a report Saturday as saying the unmanned aircraft was shot down in recent days after it “confronted” the air defense missile system. He didn’t say which country the drone belonged to, or give specifics on the timing.

    • Iran remembers 1953 US-led coup against then Iran PM

      Iran is remembering the anniversary of the 1953 coup against the government of then democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq.

    • The CIA’s Coup Against Iran’s Mohammad Mossadegh

      Mohammad Mossadegh (pictured) became Prime Minister of Iran in 1951 and was hugely popular for taking a stand against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a British-owned oil company that had made huge profits while paying Iran only 16% of its profits and often far less. His nationalization efforts led the British government to begin planning to remove him from power. In October 1952, Mosaddegh declared Britain an enemy and cut all diplomatic relations. Britain looked towards the United States for help. However, the U.S. had opposed British policies; Secretary of State Dean Acheson said the British had “a rule-or-ruin policy in Iran.”

    • COMMENTARY: Best way to get rid of enemy Iran: Get unstuck

      •Quit sending arms to anyone in the region

      •Quit telling Iranian people what to do

      •Offer to help, but not militarily

      •Start lifting sanctions slowly, unilaterally

      •Wait for reciprocity and repeat (Rapoport’s tested game theory)

    • The CIA’s grotesque secret: How it’s partnering with human rights abusers — and sparking blowback

      In a letter to three U.S. senators that recently came to light, CIA director John Brennan outlined how his intelligence agency deals with abusive partners, referring – it would appear – primarily to foreign security forces. But even more striking than the approach he outlines is his brutally honest admission that the CIA sometimes partners with human rights abusers.

      The agency’s covert nature leaves its laws, rules and regulations opaque. However, it has long been known that the CIA is not subject to human rights vetting requirements when it comes to partnering with foreign security forces, as the State and Defense departments are, under what is commonly known as the Leahy Law, named for Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. Congress first approved the law in 1997, when it was revealed that Colombian army units were receiving U.S. funds while massacring civilians. The Leahy Law restricts the State Department and Pentagon from using U.S. taxpayer dollars to assist, train or equip any foreign military or police unit that is credibly believed to have engaged in gross violations of human rights – such as extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and forced disappearances.

      On moral grounds alone there can be little objection to this restriction. But it also makes sense for national security. While Brennan may not acknowledge it, abusive security forces combatting domestic insurgencies typically exacerbate long-standing grievances and provide armed opposition and terrorist groups with a very powerful recruiting tool.

    • On the brink of destruction: The real NUCLEAR threat if North Korea attacks the South

      North Korea’s main ally is China, which provides fuel and food aid, while it maintains a close relationship with Russia.

      However positive ties with the US and South Korea are non-existent.

      The promotion of Kim Jong-un has leader following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011 has done little to improve that.

    • Iraq ex-PM Maliki dismisses report blaming him for Mosul’s fall to ISIS

      The former prime minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki, who a domestic investigation has found responsible for Mosul’s conquest by Islamic State in June, 2014, has slammed the panel’s findings on the humiliating fall of the key northern city as having “no value.”

    • Officials: ISIS Arose From US Support For al-Qaeda In Iraq

      A new memoir by a former senior State Department analyst provides stunning details on how decades of support for Islamist militants linked to Osama bin Laden brought about the emergence of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS).

      The book establishes a crucial context for recent admissions by Michael T. Flynn, the retired head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), confirming that White House officials made a “willful decision” to support al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists in Syria — despite being warned by the DIA that doing so would likely create an ‘ISIS’-like entity in the region.

      J. Michael Springmann, a retired career US diplomat whose last government post was in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, reveals in his new book that US covert operations in alliance with Middle East states funding anti-Western terrorist groups are nothing new. Such operations, he shows, have been carried out for various short-sighted reasons since the Cold War and after.

    • Bombing Syria plays into Isis’ hands

      Whoever the new Labour leader is, they’ll have a lot on their plate and one of the first big issues is likely to be Syria. The on-going civil war is only getting worse, and defence secretary Michael Fallon has already announced that a vote on military intervention will take place later in the year.

      In one sense, the question of whether the UK military should be taking part in bombing is a moot one, because it already is. A freedom of information request from Reprieve found UK military personnel have already engaged in air strikes as part of US operations. The admission showed the public and parliament had been misled. MPs voted against bombing Syria in 2013.

    • How to Understand Those 60 Trainees

      So said American Defense Secretary Ash Carter in testimony before an incredulous Senate Armed Services Committee on July 7, explaining that the $500 million American project, announced over a year ago, to train and arm a new Syrian rebel army to bring the Islamic State to its knees and force a political settlement on the Syrian regime simultaneously has, to date, trained just 60 fighters.

    • Lesson from Syrian rebel debacle

      Division 30 was the first contingent of Syrian rebels deployed under a $500 million “train and equip” plan authorized last year by Congress. It’s an overt program, run by U.S. Special Forces, separate from a parallel covert program run by the CIA. The idea is to generate over 5,000 trained fighters a year who could help clear Islamic State extremists in Syria and then hold the ground.

    • Meet The ‘Moderates’ The U.S. Is Supporting In Syria: They’re al-Qaeda

      In this regard, Obama is following the position that was expressed by his friend Brzezinski who has expressed it many times, such as, in 1998, reprinted later under the heading, “How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen.”

    • Robert Fisk: The Syrian War has occupied Turkey

      In a recent article, Robert Fisk, senior Middle East correspondent for the Independent, compared Turkey to Pakistan in the 1980s, and said that the recent air bombardment was no surprising given that all powers in the region have betrayed the Kurds. We spoke to Fisk both about the details of the matters he touches on in his article, and whether power balances have changed in the Middle East. Fisk says that Turkey has become a market place and when seen from this perspective there are more important issues at stake besides whether or not Turkey will enter the war in Syria. “I believe that Syria has started penetrating Turkey. Suruç is an example of this. From this view, the Syrian War but not the Syrians have occupied Turkey. It is not the reverse.”

    • Another Military Comedy of Errors

      On July 24th, highlighting the first Turkish air strikes against the Islamic State and news of an agreement to let the U.S. Air Force use two Turkish air bases against that movement, the New York Times reported that unnamed “American officials welcomed the [Turkish] decision… calling it a ‘game changer.’” And they weren’t wrong. Almost immediately, the game changed. Turkish President Recep Erdogan promptly sent planes hurtling off not against Islamic State militants but the PKK, that country’s Kurdish rebels with whom his government had previously had a tenuous ceasefire. In the process, he created a whole new set of problems for Washington, including making life more difficult for Kurdish rebel troops in Syria connected to the PKK that the Obama administration was backing in the fight against the Islamic State. Erdogan’s acts also ensured that chaos and conflict would spread to new areas of the Middle East. So game-changer indeed!

    • Erdogan-ISIS pincer against Kurds

      Reports from the PKK-aligned Kurdistan National Congress indicate an internal war by the Turkish state against the Kurds in the country’s east, approaching levels of violence not seen in 20 years. Several villages in Diyarbakir province are said to be under heavy shelling by the Turkish army. Many of these villages are reported to be currently burning, with many injured, and an unknown number killed. After hours of shelling, Turkish soldiers reportedly entered the village of Kocakoy, Lice-Hani district, putting homes to the torch—sometimes with families still inside, resulting in further loss of life. Troops then proceeded to force an evacuation of the villages. It is not said where the survivors fled to. A similar attack is reported from Şapatan (Turkish: Altınsu) village in Şemdinli district, Hakkari province, where the blaze has spread to surrounding forest areas. (KNC, KNC, Aug. 18)

    • Think the Donald Can Get Us a Better Deal on Porter Goss?

      None of this is news. Turkey’s not even among the top ten spenders, as far as foreign lobbies go. (That honor usually goes to Canada, although apparently in 2013 it went to the UAE.)

      But here’s the thing that chaps my hide. I’m fine with selling our politicians to foreign governments. We’re running a $43.8 billion trade deficit, after all. We can’t afford to be fussy.

      But aren’t you insulted that we’re selling them so cheaply? We’re the United States of America. Shouldn’t Porter Goss be worth more than a measly 32,000 bucks a month? We borrow more than that every minute, so why should we sell him for less than 32,000 dollars a second? What kind of superpower do these people take us for?

      And if we’ve already established that, and we’re just haggling over the price, we need to get serious about dollars and cents. Because that’s peanuts, and it’s not going to pay the bills.

    • How ‘Manageable Chaos’ Spawned ISIS In The Middle East

      ‘Manageable chaos’ is a myopic idea that has torn the Middle-East apart. To understand why, we need to go back a hundred years in the past. In 1916, Britain and France signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement in secret. Then, in the middle of the First World War, they decided the Ottoman Empire needed to go. Sultan Mehmed VI in Istanbul controlled crucial shipping lanes and the oil riches of the Persian Gulf. So, while T.E Lawrence duped the Arab sheikhs with promises of a “Greater Syria,” the European powers divided the Levant as it suited them.

      The problem was not that outsiders drew the borders. The problem was these borders were indifferent to the people who lived within them. The clean lines carved through the Middle-East ignored sectarian, tribal or ethnic geographies. Many Shia majority areas ended up under Sunni control, and vice-versa. Thirty-million Kurds also ended up homeless. These progeny of the mighty Median Kings of Asia Minor became minorities in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

    • US-trained Syrian rebel expects to fight Assad

      A member of the U.S.-trained Syrian rebel forces says he expects to fight forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, even though they pledged only to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to participate the Pentagon program.

    • At Security Council, UN officials spotlight need for effective and accountable security institutions
    • Security Council strongly condemns seizure of United Arab Emirates embassy in Yemen

      The United Nations Security Council today condemned “in the strongest term” the storming and seizure of the United Arab Emirates embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, by the Houthis on the 17 August 2015.

    • U.S. boosts support role in Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen

      A Saudi-led military offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen has scored major gains this month, including recapturing the strategic port of Aden and the country’s largest air base, after the Pentagon more than doubled the number of American advisors to provide enhanced intelligence for airstrikes.

    • First cargo docks in Aden since war came to south Yemen’s ex-capital

      A commercial ship docked in Aden on Friday, the first to reach the former southern capital since Yemen’s devastating war came to the port city in March.

      The Venus, operated by United Arab Shipping Co, carried a cargo of 350 containers of products ordered by businesses in Aden, said port deputy director Aref al-Shaabi.

    • Al Qaeda deploy in Yemen’s Aden, British hostage freed

      Al Qaeda militants took control of a western district of Yemen’s main port city of Aden on Saturday night, residents said, in another sign that the group is drawing strength from five months of civil war.

    • UAE army frees British hostage as Al Qaeda expands in Yemen
    • Yemen officials say Al Qaeda seizes key areas of Aden
    • 43 killed in airstrikes on Yemen city

      Iranian-allied fighters controlling much of Yemen said on Friday air strikes led by Saudi Arabia killed 43 people in the central city of Taiz.
      Taiz has become the latest focus of fighting for supporters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was driven into exile in Saudi Arabia by the Houthi fighters. Medical sources said Houthi attacks on the city killed 13 people, including seven children.

    • U.S. needs to take care of its own business

      Nonetheless, we have just about bankrupted ourselves trying.

      We have employed our military abroad more than 70 times since 1945, and also engaged in innumerable instances of not-so-covert CIA interference in the affairs of other sovereign nations.

      The latter include instances of overthrowing democratically elected governments we considered too leftist.

      And the truth is that in none of these instances have we had any long-lasting success in achieving our goals. We have, instead, uselessly wasted an enormous amount of treasure and human lives while creating more and more enemies all over the globe. We have created these enemies because almost all of our high-handed meddling has had unforeseen and unfortunate, often tragic, consequences.

      We now have about 1,000 military bases abroad (the exact figure depends on the number of smaller bases included), well over 300,000 U.S. military personnel deployed abroad, 1.6 million Americans working in defense industries, and the good Lord knows how many working for the CIA and other surveillance/intelligence government agencies and private contractors.

    • Obama’s Secret Elite Interrogation Squad May Not Be So Elite — And Might Be Doomed

      When President Barack Obama took office, he promised to overhaul the nation’s process for interrogating terror suspects. His solution: the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, a small interagency outfit that would use non-coercive methods and the latest psychological research to interrogate America’s most-wanted terrorists — all behind a veil of secrecy.

    • US interrogation strategy gets scrutiny in Benghazi case

      After a suspected militant was captured last year to face charges for the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, he was brought to the U.S. aboard a Navy transport ship on a 13-day trip that his lawyers say could have taken 13 hours by plane.

      Ahmed Abu Khattala faced days of questioning aboard the USS New York from separate teams of American interrogators, part of a two-step process designed to obtain both national security intelligence and evidence usable in a criminal prosecution.

    • Russia Laughs At U.S. Sanctions Threat

      Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, when asked about the implications of the sale, was said to have scoffed at the threat of U.S. sanctions and said they cause no worry for Moscow.

    • Cyanide in waters near China blast site 277 times acceptable level: government report

      Chinese authorities warned that cyanide levels in the waters around the Tianjin Port explosion site had risen to as much as 277 times acceptable levels although they declared that the city’s drinking water was safe.

    • China: Sodium cyanide levels well past limit at Tianjin explosion site

      High levels of dangerous chemicals remain at the site of last week’s deadly chemical warehouse blasts in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin — hundreds of times higher than is safe at one spot — officials said Thursday, signaling that a cleanup has a significant way to go.

      Water tests show high levels of sodium cyanide, an extremely toxic chemical that can kill humans rapidly, at eight locations at the blast site, Ministry of Environmental Protection official Tian Weiyong said.

    • At least 7 dead after old military jet crashes at air show in England

      At least seven people are dead after a vintage military aircraft crashed Saturday on a busy road in southeastern England, police said.

      The Hawker Hunter jet was taking part in an air show at an airport near Shoreham in Sussex.

    • Why The US Turns A Blind Eye To Saudi Arabia’s Troublemaking

      NOTHING gets US Republican Party politicians fired up like Iran.

      In the first televised debate for candidates competing to lead the Republicans in the 2016 presidential election, Scott Walker promised that he’d tear up the Iran nuclear deal on day one of his presidency. Carly Fiorina blamed the country for “most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East.” Mike Huckabee vowed to topple the “terrorist Iranian regime and defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.”

      Oddly, when the candidates complain about the “evil forces of radical Islam” or trouble in the Middle East, they never seem to mention Saudi Arabia.

      Iran’s no democratic paradise. But on many counts, Washington’s Saudi allies are even worse. The Saudi royals crush dissent with an iron fist, spread extremist ideology, and invade their neighbors with impunity.

      Domestically, the Saudi regime oppresses women, religious minorities, and millions of foreign workers. And it brutally represses criticism from human rights activists, prompting condemnation from both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

      Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, for example, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes just for writing a blog the government considered critical of its rule. Hundreds of political prisoners languish in prison — including Badawi’s lawyer, who was sentenced to 15 years for his role as a human rights attorney. New legislation effectively equates criticism of the government and other peaceful activities with terrorism.

    • Rebels threaten to kill observers, OSCE complains

      OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine deputy head Alexander Hug said at the Aug. 19 briefing in Donetsk that the rebels had threatened to kill OSCE observers if they would come again to Bezimenne, Novoazovsk rayon, UNIAN reports.

    • LETTER: Stop the manufacturing and flying of drones

      When are Americans going to demand our leaders protect us against drones? Our politicians did nothing on gun control. Now they will look the other way on drones.

      Drones should not be produced or manufactured. Take away permits and the right to manufacture them. The U.S. Armed Forces should be the only ones to purchase drones. If I can’t put a 10-by-10 addition on my home without bureaucratic regulations, why is it permitted to manufacture drones?

    • Florida shooting range to serve alcohol in restaurant

      Officials in a Florida city have approved the request of a businessman to serve alcohol in a restaurant he plans to open in a building with an indoor shooting range.

      CNN affiliate WFTV reported that Daytona Beach city commissioners have signed off on Ron Perkinson’s proposed facility, which Perkinson hopes to open by late November. The facility will be located near Daytona International Speedway just off Interstate 95.

    • 9-year-old girl in Ferguson shot dead doing homework on mom’s bed: cops

      Ferguson police are searching for clues about the killing of a 9-year-old girl who was shot when someone fired into a home where she was doing homework on her mother’s bad.

      No arrests have been made in Tuesday night’s fatal shooting of Jamyla Bolden and police don’t yet know if the home was targeted or the shots were random, Ferguson Sgt. Dominica Fuller said Thursday. Jamyla’s 34-year-old mother was struck in the leg and treated at a hospital.

    • What Use Does the Los Angeles Unified School District Have for Military Grade Weapons?

      On Thursday, July 30, 50 Black and Latino students wearing mock bullet proof vests with stickers that stated #StudentsAintBulletProof #End1033, from the Strategy Center’s Fight for the Soul of the Cities, once again asked the Los Angeles Unified School District to give us a list of the weapons they received from the Department of Defense 1033 Program, to return 61 M-16 assault rifles we believe are still in their possession, and to apologize for being in the program in the first place. Students said, after three public comment testimonies, four long letters (September 2014, November 2014, May 2015, July 2015), over 3,500 petitions, appeals, and every other method of persuasion “Why is the LAUSD trying to kill us?” This campaign is part of the Strategy Center’s No Cars in LA and the U.S., No Tanks in LA and the U.S.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Allegations over Maltese group’s links to the CIA

      In the early 1980s suspicions that the Maltese group Front Freedom Fighters was being funded by anti-Communist entities close to the CIA were covertly communicated to the British Foreign Office, recently declassified documents reveal.

    • ISIS Threatens Turkey. Turks Respond With Half-Hearted ‘Meh’
    • Kurdish rebels attack police, military in Turkey, one policeman killed
    • Report: Turkey erects concrete wall along border with Syria

      Turkish media reports say Turkey has started to construct a 45 kilometer- (28 mile-) long concrete wall along a key stretch of its border with Syria.

    • Turkey Pays Former CIA Director and Lobbyists to Misrepresent Attacks on Kurds and ISIS

      Thousands of articles have been published worldwide in recent weeks exposing Turkey’s strategic trickery — using the pretext of fighting ISIS to carry out a genocidal bombing campaign against the Kurds who have courageously countered ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

      The Wall Street Journal reported on August 12 that a senior US military official accused Turkey of deceiving the American government by allowing its use of Incirlik airbase to attack ISIS, as a cover for President Erdogan’s war on Kurdish fighters (PKK) in northern Iraq. So far, Turkey has carried out 300 air strikes against the PKK, and only three against ISIS! Erdogan’s intent in punishing the Kurds is to gain the sympathy of Turkish voters in the next parliamentary elections, enabling his party to win an outright majority and establish an autocratic presidential theocracy.

    • The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America

      The history of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—its coups, assassinations, “extraordinary rendition” kidnappings, use of torture, “black sites,” drone executions, dirty wars and sponsorship of dictatorial regimes [1]—not only underscores the bloody and reactionary role of American imperialism, but most especially the ruling elite’s mortal fear of the working class internationally.

    • We deserve a better media

      Here is another clue: ‘We’ll know our disinformation programme is complete when everything the American public believes is false,” CIA Director, 1981. It seems he got his wish.

      Two weeks before the outbreak of WWII, a solemn British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain remarked, “History will judge the Press to have been the principle cause of war.”

      Nevile Henderson, the British Ambassador to Berlin echoed the premier’s words. France’s President Lebrun and Foreign Minister warned the Press ‘not to abuse their so-called Press freedom.’ In September 1941, U.S Senator Clark: ‘Half a dozen men controlling the film industry clamour for war.’

    • Psychological warfare and Jeremy Corbyn

      Earlier this month I briefly wrote about how the incessant stream of attacks on Jeremy Corbyn from all parts of the media, represented more than meets the eye. That it is a continuation of an undemocratic and sinister policy of subversion and undermining of any popular left wing movement or leader, that poses a threat to the capitalist system and military-industrial-complex.

    • Fox & Friends Rewrites Background Of Alleged Terrorists To Make Them The Face Of Birthright Citizenship

      Fox & Friends joined The Daily Caller in an effort to make alleged terrorists Anwar al-Awlaki and Yaser Hamdi the face of birthright citizenship, falsely claiming the men were born in the U.S. to “illegal parents” and able to pursue terrorist activities without retaliation because their citizenship protected them.

    • Are Democrats Really Socialists?

      Socialism has had a rough few decades, but it’s enjoying a rare success. Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a socialist, is running for president, drawing big crowds and leading Hillary Clinton in one poll in New Hampshire. All this leads some people to a damning conclusion: Democrats love Sanders because Democrats are socialists.

    • Who shapes our image of the world?

      …Charlotte Wiedemann considers how press freedom and the media are tethered to Western geopolitics

    • France’s far-right National Front party ousts founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen

      Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the party in 1972, was serving as honorary president when he was suspended in May for saying he saw the Holocaust as a “detail of history.” He challenged the suspension in court, and in July a judge overturned it, saying proper procedure had not been followed.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Who Was the CIA Official Who Found Torture Revolting? And Other Questions the ACLU Still Has About CIA Torture

      In early December 2014, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., released a summary of her staff’s five-year investigation of the CIA’s interrogation programs following 9/11.

      Best known as the “Torture Report,” the document revealed searing details of ghastly abuses ranging from “rectal feedings” to “near drowning” on the waterboard.

    • CIA ‘torture’: Inside the ‘blackout box’
    • Key conclusions of the Hoffman report

      Below are some of the key findings of the Hoffman report, an independent review of the American Psychological Association’s ethics guidelines and allegations made against APA. The report concludes that APA failed to challenge and legitimized the “enhanced interrogation” techniques authorized used against terror suspects during the Bush administration. Gerald Koocher, DePaul’s current Dean of the College of Science and Health, served as president-elect of APA in 2005 and president in 2006, the time of these allegations.

    • Roy Eidelson and Jean Maria Arrigo: An unhealthy nexus of interests

      The APA got into this mess by holding tightly to a deeply flawed assumption: that psychology should embrace every opportunity to expand its sphere of influence.

    • Consorting With the Devil

      Throughout the Cold War, and doubtless right down to the present, professional people with skills relevant to “national security” have been secretly recruited to work for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense. Universities are among those particularly targeted. Scholars and campus research centers have received CIA and DoD funding for conferences and publications, for collecting intelligence while abroad, and even for spying, all under cloak of secrecy.

      [...]

      The latest revelation concerning those who “consort with the devil” concerns psychologists in the American Psychological Association. In utter disregard for professional ethics, a number of prominent psychologists worked closely with the CIA’s and the Pentagon’s torture programs in Afghanistan. They not only condoned but personally profited from torture, all in the name of supporting the US war effort. It was a case of first-class collusion, abuse of authority, and conflict of interest—and it went largely unnoticed until recently.

    • US Torturers Lose Psychologists’ Corrupt Cooperation

      The resolution proper begins by adopting the international law definition of torture in the UN Convention Against Torture, which is at variance with US law. The resolution also acknowledges that some 3,400 psychologists work for the Department of Defense (mostly at VA hospitals) and commits the APA to supporting the ethical behavior of these psychologists in these and similar “organizational settings.” And the resolution commits the APA to notifying the President, Congress, and other officials of the core of its mandate:

    • Editorial: When psychologists cross the line

      Koocher, in a statement on his website, said he and former APA President Ronald Levant insisted that they “never have supported the use of cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment of prisoners or detainees.”

      But the report, which was drafted at the APA’s request by former City of Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman and his colleagues at the firm Sidley Austin, saw the APA’s actions differently. The report concluded that the APA tried to curry favor with the U.S. Department of Defense, with which it had strong ties and is one of the largest employers of psychologists, by issuing loose ethical guidelines for psychologists involved in interrogations. These guidelines did not constrain the interrogations beyond the rules the government had already set for itself and allowed psychologists to remain involved.

    • Why ethical psychologists play an important role in interrogations [Ed: apologist]
    • When the American Psychological Association was in bed with the CIA

      David Hoffman, former assistant US attorney, conducted a review of the APA’s extensive involvement and wrote in his subsequent report, ‘The evidence supports the conclusion that APA officials colluded the DoD officials to, at the least, adopt and maintain APA ethics policies that were not more restrictive than the guidelines that key DoD officials wanted’.

      Hoffman also stated that the ‘APA chose its ethics policy based on its goals of helping the DoD, managing PR, and maximising the growth of the profession’.

      Prior to Hoffman’s investigation, the APA dismissed and denied allegations of their complicity. The report, however, brought the credibility of the association into question, and earlier this month a ban was approved. In an effort to salvage their reputation, they prohibited any involvement by psychologists in national security interrogations – including noncoercive interrogations under the Obama administration.

    • Good People Doing Bad Things

      Some years ago, the psychologist Albert Bandura listed eight mental tricks people play to disengage their consciences so they can perform the acts of violence they would normally abhor.

      [...]

      Moral Justification, Euphemistic Labeling, Advantageous Comparison, Displacement of Responsibility, Diffusion of Responsibility, Disregard or Distortion of Consequences, Dehumanization, Attribution of Blame

    • COLUMN: American Psychological Association removes psychologists from CIA interrogations

      A number of other psychologists have been, and continue to be, used in CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay, despite petitions to remove said psychologists.

    • CIA blocked full release of report criticising torture techniques

      Not only did those who combed through six million pages of internal CIA documents expose the brutal tactics used by operatives, which included locking detainees in coffin-shaped box for hours or hanging them on a pole for days, they found the practices – which were eventually deemed by the US Supreme Court as outside the Geneva Convention for human rights – didn’t actually lead to the vital information they claimed.

      [...]

      “I walked out of Zero Dark Thirty, candidly,” Dianne Feinstein, the former chairperson of the State Intelligence Committee told the Frontline program. “We were having a showing and I got into it 15 to 20 minutes and I left, I couldn’t handle it because it’s so false.”

    • Next Cazenovia Forum: A Look Inside the CIA and its Controversies

      Over a 34 year career with the CIA, Rizzo made sweeping legal calls on virtually every major issue facing the spy agency, from rules governing waterboarding, “enhanced interrogation” and drones to answering for the Iran Contra scandal.

    • FORMER CIA LEADERS WRITE BOOK TO WHITEWASH TORTURE HISTORY

      The CIA’s torture-era leadership won’t repent. Even after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report saying in no uncertain terms that the CIA had tortured its prisoners, that torture was official U.S. government policy, and that torture never elicited any actionable intelligence that saved American lives, Bush-era CIA Directors George Tenet, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, and several of their underlings announced plans to release a book justifying torture.

      They intend to repeat a lie over and over again in this book: that torture worked. They hope that the American people are either so gullible or so stupid that they’ll believe it. It’s up to the rest of us to ensure that our government swears off committing this crime against humanity.

      I know that these former intelligence leaders are lying because I worked with them at the CIA. When I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program in 2007, they came down on me like a ton of bricks.

      It’s not necessarily news that these former CIA heavyweights believe in torture, even if they refuse to call it what it is. Many television news outlets still run clips of George Tenet’s 2007 appearance on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in which he repeats “We do not torture! We do not torture!” as though he were unhinged and living in a dream world.

    • Leadership: Change Not Welcome Here

      Since the 1990s there have been increasingly open (public) complaints from users about poor quality work from the U.S. Department of Defense intelligence agencies. This all began in the late 1940s when the CIA was established to coordinate all of the U.S.’s intelligence gathering activities. At that point there began a low level war between the CIA and the Department of Defense.

    • What do Don Rumsfeld and others identified with the Pollard Affair fear from his release?
    • ProPublica and John Kiriakou to receive freedom of speech awards

      PEN Center USA, one of two American branches of the international human rights organization, will honor the investigative journalism non-profit ProPublica and the former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who became an inadvertent whistleblower, on November 16 in a ceremony hosted by Aisha Tyler. Though more award winners are yet to be named, these two choices illustrate the wide range of pressures that news organizations currently face.

    • Dodging Torture (Again)

      Last Thursday, Jeb Bush declared to an Iowa audience that he wouldn’t rule out resuming torture practices by the United States government. “I don’t know,” he hedged. “I’m just saying if I’m going to be president of the United States, you take this threat [Islamic State group] seriously.”

      Two Thursdays ago, during Fox’s highly watched GOP debate, Megyn Kelly asked presidential candidate Ben Carson whether he would bring back waterboarding. A retired neurosurgeon, Carson replied in the subjunctive, coyly saying that if he were to reinstate torture methods, he wouldn’t broadcast this and “tell everybody what we’re going to do.” As a doctor (think: first do no harm), Carson must have seen countless patients in pain over his career. Even for him to say he might torture is alarming. More appalling is that his polls have since surged, and as of this week, Carson has been statistically named the winner of the Fox debate.

      A few days before this debate, Donald Trump told ABC that he thinks “waterboarding doesn’t sound very severe.” This statement would shock us had Trump not already demonstrated his poor understanding of what torture entails, as evidenced by his disparaging remarks about John McCain’s status as a war hero.

    • ‘Each one of us can make a difference,’ Ban declares as UN marks World Humanitarian Day
    • Louis Stokes, first black U.S. congressman from Ohio, dies at 90

      In 1967, in a campaign that helped change racial politics in the United States, Carl Stokes was elected to the first of two terms as Cleveland mayor. The next year, Louis Stokes, a lawyer who had brought several cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, won the congressional seat that he would hold until his retirement in 1998.

    • Bruce Elfant says U.S. about 100th in voter turnout, Texas near bottom too

      A Travis County official declared the United States and Texas lag far behind other countries and states in voting.

      On Aug. 5, 2015, Democrat Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector, was interviewed by Dick Ellis of the KOKE-FM Austin Radio Network about the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act.

      Johnson, Elfant said, “would be very disappointed by the number of Americans who choose to use that right. The United States is about 100th in voter turnout among the industrialized nations and Texas is near the bottom in terms of voter registration and voter turnout,” he said.

    • ‘Guantanamo Diary’ details appalling injustice

      I am reading “Guantanamo Diary,” the appalling story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who has been unjustly imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base for 12 years.

      How was Slahi ever arrested in the first place? Likely because he was an early member of Al-Qaida during the days we conveniently forget, when the CIA channeled funds to the Afghan mujahideen to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In other words, Mr. Slahi effectively fought as an ally of the U.S. in 1991-92, after which he left Afghanistan and broke off all relations with Al Qaida.

    • Justice Department: Appeals Court Wrong To Revive Lawsuit Brought By Immigrants Abused After 9/11

      The Justice Department has requested a federal appeals court revisit and reverse its decision to revive a lawsuit against former Justice Department officials, who allegedly violated the rights of Arab or Muslim immigrants when they were detained in the immediate months after the terrorist attacks.

      Attorneys for the Justice Department argue, regardless of whether immigrants had their rights violated, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and former Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) James W. Ziglar adopted reasonable policies “in an effort to protect the nation during a turbulent time.” The former officials should not be liable for rights violations.

    • Jimmy Carter’s Legacy. Human Rights in the Abstract versus “Shameful and Indefensible Foreign Policy Positions”

      “Carter was the least violent of American presidents but he did things which I think would certainly fall under Nuremberg provisions,” said Noam Chomsky. Much like Nobel Peace-prize winner Barack Obama 30 years later, Carter was an advocate of human rights in the abstract, but of repression and imposition of power through violence in practice.

      Like the current occupant of the White House, Jimmy Carter entered office with a promise to respect human rights, but failed miserably when given the opportunity to do so.

    • DOJ Highlights Media Subpoenas From 2014

      …Department of Justice highlighted its attempts at forcing testimony from New York Times reporter James Risen.

    • Thumbs-down to another Bush in the White House

      Recently Jeb Bush said he had a solution to defeat ISIS. He blamed troubles in the Middle East on presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

      He didn’t say anything about his father or brother. These men were presidents and took us to war in the Middle East.

    • Letter to Jeb Bush: Torture is Never Justifiable

      Mr. Bush — or Jeb if you don’t mind — I was greatly disturbed to hear that if you became president you won’t rule out the resumption of the use of torture arguing that brutal questioning methods might be justifiable and necessary in some circumstances. Torture is never justifiable.

      President Obama banned CIA torture by executive order in January 2009. I urge you to reconsider your statement concerning torture and agree to leave President Obama’s executive order in place. I don’t want a president who would use tortur

    • Free Chelsea Manning!

      Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the heroic WikiLeaks whistleblower and transgender activist currently jailed in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, is now being threatened with “indefinite solitary confinement.”

      While on active duty in Iraq as an intelligence analyst, Manning released 700,000 classified and sensitive military and diplomatic documents. They revealed details about modern imperialist wars never before made public. This included the infamous “Collateral Murder” tape of a U.S. “Apache” attack helicopter firing on civilians in Baghdad in 2007, killing 11 adults, including two Reuters journalists. Two children were seriously hurt. Manning also exposed previously hidden facts about the torture of U.S. detainees at the U.S. Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp.

      A U.S. military judge sentenced Manning to 35 years on charges of “aiding the enemy” — a treasonable offense under the 1917 U.S. Espionage Act. Awaiting trial, she suffered torturous conditions, first held in a cage inside a tent in the Kuwaiti desert, threatened by guards with being “disappeared” to Guantánamo. Then Manning was held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps Brig at Quantico, Va., where she was under 24-hour guard and subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.

    • John M. Crisp: The conversation of torture should be prominent in the 2016 campaign

      Two interesting stories appeared in the same edition of my local newspaper last week.

      The first involves an awkward problem that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush faces: His brother, former president George W. Bush.

      Many Republicans have managed to hold their noses when they consider George W. Bush’s administration, especially his unprovoked and ill-advised invasion of Iraq. Jeb Bush has stumbled over this issue several times, looking for ways to put the best face on a huge foreign policy error.

      He has admitted that “mistakes were made” and relied on the dubious proposition that “taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal.” But this simplistic notion – Saddam Hussein is easy to demonize – depends on the electorate’s failure to notice the chaos that the Iraq War unleashed.

    • Clerics gather in Egypt to counter extremist fatwas

      Top Muslim clerics gathered in Egypt on Monday to address extremist religious edicts in the face of an unprecedented threat from Islamic State group jihadists who have declared a “caliphate”.

    • The Quiet Demise of the Army’s Plan to Understand Afghanistan and Iraq

      The Army created the Human Terrain System — at the height of the counterinsurgency craze that dominated American strategic thinking in Iraq and Afghanistan late in the last decade, with much fanfare — to solve this problem. Cultural training and deep, nuanced understanding of Afghan politics and history were in short supply in the Army; without them, good intelligence was hard to come by, and effective policy making was nearly impossible. Human Terrain Teams, as Human Terrain System units were known, were supposed to include people with social-science backgrounds, language skills and an understanding of Afghan or Iraqi culture, as well as veterans and reservists who would help bind the civilians to their assigned military units.

    • Ship Transfers Over 1,300 Migrants From Greek Island to Mainland City Port

      A ship with 1,308 refugees has left the Greek island of Kos bound for the port city of Thessaloniki, to process the asylum-seekers, the press office of the Greek Ministry of Shipping and the Aegean told Sputnik.

    • Drones, police violence protest comes through Baraboo

      A 90-mile walk to protest drones and racial profiling is scheduled to begin from the Dane County Jail on Tuesday and go through Baraboo on its way to Volk Field, organizers say.

      The “Let It Shine!” walk will take place over the course of a week, ending Aug. 25 in the village of Camp Douglas. Volk Field is home to a shadow drone training program and has been the site of numerous protests, including one in 2014 in which a Diocese of Madison priest was arrested for distributing fliers critical of the military’s use of drones.

    • Black Lives Matter videos, Clinton campaign reveal details of meeting

      Throughout the 15-minute conversation, Clinton disagreed with the three activists from Black Lives Matter who had planned to publicly press the 2016 candidate on issues on mass incarceration at an event earlier this month in Keene, New Hampshire.

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DecorWhat Else is New


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    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  20. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  21. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  22. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  23. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  24. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  26. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  27. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  28. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  29. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  30. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)


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