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07.10.16

Links 10/7/2016: DebConf17 Plans, Linux AIO Fedora

Posted in News Roundup at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What If Linux Users Made Movies!

    I am just trying to imagine a few movies made by Linux lovers and for Linux loving audience. If such thing happens, what would be the movies look like? What would be their title?

  • Download Linux Voice issue 20

    Issue 20 of Linux Voice is nine months old, so we’re releasing it under the Creative Commons BY-SA license. You can share and modify all content from the magazine (apart from adverts), providing you credit Linux Voice as the original source and retain the same license.

  • Linux Desktop Operating System Share Crosses 2% For The First Time Ever [Ed: Linux at 2% is nonsense, especially if one counts everything (like ChromeOS). Microsoft connections to the source noteworthy.]

    According to the latest June 2016 numbers released by a data analytics firm, for the first time ever, Linux distributions have crossed 2% marketshare on the desktop. While this number remain controversial, it’s no denying the fact that Linux is continuously gaining ground and making new users.

  • Server

    • A checklist for Docker in the Enterprise

      Docker is extremely popular with developers, having gone as a product from zero to pretty much everywhere in a few years.

      I started tinkering with Docker three years ago, got it going in a relatively small corp (700 employees) in a relatively unregulated environment. This was great fun: we set up our own registry, installed Docker on our development servers, installed Jenkins plugins to use Docker containers in our CI pipeline, even wrote our own build tool to get over the limitations of Dockerfiles.

      I now work for an organisation working in arguably the most heavily regulated industry, with over 100K employees. The IT security department itself is bigger than the entire company I used to work for.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Trying The Radeon RX 480 & R9 Fury With The AMDGPU Code For Linux 4.8

        With the main batch of Radeon/AMDGPU driver changes ready for DRM-Next that will in turn land for the Linux 4.8 kernel, I’ve begun testing this new code with various AMD GPUs. Here are my AMDGPU results when comparing Linux 4.7 Git to this code that’s coming for Linux 4.8 with a Radeon R9 Fury and RX 480.

        Yesterday I built a fresh Ubuntu kernel of this new drm-next-4.8 Radeon/AMDGPU material merged back atop its Linux 4.7 drm-fixes code. This was pointed out by Alex in the forums due to not all of the drm-fixes being mainlined yet for the RX 480. If you are interested in trying out this Linux 4.7 drm-fixes + drm-next-4.8 kernel for Radeon/AMDGPU, you can find it on Phoronix.net: linux-image-4.7.0-rc5-4.8-next-plus-fixes_4.7.0-rc5-4.8-next-plus-fixes-1_amd64.deb.

      • Mesa 12 released, Vulkan for Intel, OpenGL 4.3 and more for open source graphics users

        Wow, Mesa 12 has officially been released and it’s a huge release for them! Intel now supports Vulkan, their OpenGL is up to 4.3 and more.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • [Dolphin] Checksums made easy

        Adding checksums to the Dolphin’s Properties dialog is something that has been on my TODO list for a while. I always try to verify the integrity of what I manually download from the Internet (and you should too). Yet, tools such as md5sum, sha1sum and friends are annoying to use (though not as annoying as checking GPG signatures), even for those who are familiar with the command line.

      • A new name, the rise of ${YourChoice}
      • What happened to Kate in Randa?

        This years topic for the Randa meeting, was multi-platform end-user application development. That was a golden opportunity to work on the Windows and Mac versions.

      • The Developers Conference and Br-Print3D
      • KDE Frameworks 5.24.0 Released for KDE Plasma 5.7, Improves Many Breeze Icons

        Today, July 9, 2016, KDE announced the release of the KDE Frameworks 5.24.0 collection of over 70 add-ons for the Qt5 GUI toolkit, just in time for the KDE Plasma 5.7 desktop environment.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.24.0
      • KDE Frameworks 5.24 Released

        KDE Frameworks 5.24.0 was released today as the newest version of these KDE libraries to go along with the recent release of Plasma 5.7.

        KDE Frameworks 5.24 features many new/improved Breeze icons, numerous KHTML fixes/changes, KIO improvements, numerous KTextEditor enhancements, a plethora of KWayland improvements, and various other library updates.

      • KDE Plasma – Ultimate Desktop Environment For Linux

        You never need to compromise on anything, when using a Linux desktop. That is the whole idea behind the innovative and advanced desktop environment for Linux. KDE is developed to be a free libre software and a plasma desktop environment to be run on Linux and Windows environments. The KDE community has went a long way to create a free environment for daily users to meet their regular computing needs, as well as providing the developers of the system with ultimate solutions to enhance and enrich the software to a great extent.

  • Distributions

    • Tiny Core Linux 7.2 Released With New Features — A Blazing Fast 16MB Linux Distro

      The Core Project has recently announced the release of Tiny Core Linux 7.2. Tiny Core Linux is one of the smallest operating systems based on Linux kernel. TinyCore, the operating system’s popular version, is just 16MB in size and comes with a simple and fast GUI.

    • HandyLinux Is a Great Toolbox for Linux Newbies

      HandyLinux is just that. It is a handy Linux distro that is very welcoming to Linux newbies. However, its dumbed-down handling of the Xfce desktop environment will leave more experienced Linux users craving for something a bit more advanced.

      The developers have to standardize their use of English in the English language version. Too many slips into French detract from the attractiveness of this distro for English-only users. Looks can be deceiving, though. HandyLinux performs admirably.

    • Parrot Security OS 3.0 Ethical Hacking Distro Lands for Raspberry Pi, Cubieboard

      Frozenbox Network, the developer of the Parrot Security OS ethical hacking distribution for personal computers and embedded devices, announced the release of Raspberry Pi and Cubieboard 4 binary images for Parrot Security OS 3.0.

    • Reviews

      • Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Gnome – Perfection asymptote

        I’m even more pleased with how the Gnome edition turned out over the KDE attempt. True, KDE has a more natural workflow, but it struggled in some key areas, like external devices, media control, browser plugins and such. Gnome compensates for all these, except the somewhat inefficient way of use. But CentOS 7.2 really shines.

        We did have issues, and it was a bumpy ride, but no more. Setup correctly, not a single old error has crept up back on me since, and the Wireless network has been as steady as a rock through hundreds of GB of online entertainment for people of adult age. I have all the media plugins and codecs, and with VLC in control, I don’t care about anything else to be frank. All my programs work, and if I had Office, I’d never need Windows. As close as perfect as it gets in our crude, harsh reality. A server distro that was never meant to be used in the home environment. Go figure.

        So perfection lies somewhere in between these versions, and it’s nothing CentOS does badly on its own. Here’s a bigger question. What if there is a desktop environment that potentially blends the goods of both KDE and Gnome? The layout and ergonomics of the former, the accessibility to peripherals of the latter? Do you know what my next task is? See if CentOS 7 works well with Xfce as its skin. That should be mega interesting. This also makes me wanna test Fedora 24, so stay tuned.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Nice Concept, Shame About The Hardware And Software

        Edsger Dijkstra (or Donald Knuth or maybe someone else) noted that testing can only confirm the presence of bugs. It has also been noted that software wears in rather than wears out. So, would you rather run software which was written last week by an obnoxious kid or would you rather run software which has been run on five million computers for 10 years? The latter reduces problems by at least a factor of 10. Although, the remainder can surprise. As examples, a critical Microsoft Windows bug was found after 15 years and a severe GNU bug was found after 18 years. Some of the innocuous but more numerous bugs may hang around for more than 25 years before being fixed.

      • Red Hat open source awards for two women

        Red Hat has made presentations to two women under its Women in Open Source Award initiative which was started by the company last year.

        This year’s awards were given to Jessica McKellar, director of engineering and chief of staff to the vice-president of engineering at Dropbox, and Preeti Murthy, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Edu 8 Operating System – Linux Solution for Your School

        Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 8.5, Debian Edu 8 is now available for any educational institution, such as schools or universities that want to leave bloated and expensive Microsoft Windows for a fresh, Linux kernel-based OS that offers them the freedom they need to fully customize the installation, as well as the unbeatable stability of Debian.

      • The State Of Debian’s Paid Long Term Support Project

        Started a few years back was Debian’s Long-Term Support (LTS) project whereby releases were given five years of security support and this would also allow users to skip a release. This project, which is financed by sponsors, continues to make progress and provide for a more secure and longer-supported Debian.

        Raphaël Hertzog presented at this week’s DebConf 16 Cape Town about the Debian LTS project, how it’s managed, what is done to make it transparent, how the sponsorship/paid work is going, etc.

      • DebConf17 Debian Conference to Take Place August 6-12, 2017 in Montréal, Canada

        Today, July 9, 2016, Laura Arjona Reina from the Debian Project informed the Debian GNU/Linux community that the DebConf16 developer conference is now over, and the dates for the next year’s DebConf17 event have been set.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mycroft: The open source answer to natural language platforms

            We’re thrilled to be working with Mycroft, the open source answer to proprietary natural language platform. Mycroft has adopted Ubuntu Core and Snaps to deliver their software to Mycroft hardware, as well as Snaps to enable desktop users to install the software regardless of the Linux distribution they are using! CEO of Mycroft, Joshua Montgomery, explains more within his piece below.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Chromium OS for SBCs Project Needs Your Help to Continue Full-Scale Work

      Softpedia was informed today by Dylan Callahan from the Chromium OS for SBCs (Single-Board Computers) project that they are looking for new team members to continue full-scale work.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • How to recover deleted text messages on your Android smartphone
        • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Gets Android 6.1 Marshmallow Update
        • Dominant Brands in Iran’s Android Market

          It doesn’t matter where you look, if you don’t speak English in Iran, it’s hard for you to use Google Play and believe me not all the android users in the country speak Engish. The other factor is the developers and companies which are developing Farsi apps for the domestic Market. Many of the applications in Google Play are not designed for the culture and Iranians needs. And if there is an app which Iranian users could use it’s probably in English so it becomes obsolete for the users. And apart from that Cafe Bazaar is an android app market designed for the Iranians. You might say that Iranian developers could submit their app in Google Play, keep in mind that we live in Iran so we don’t have an international payment system. And if developers want to submit their apps on Google Play they have to acquire a credit card or even open a pseudo company in another country to make everything legal to launch their app on Google Play. And imagine they do, who’s going to use that? I guess not every Iranian, because we don’t have a credit card to purchase apps or make in-App-Purchases from Google Play. So with all these facts in mind Cafe Bazaar is the only solution for Iranian android app market. And with their recent contracts with Supercell and many other major companies, Iranians can now use in-App-Purchase with the Rial currency, and their bank debit cards online. Not to mention that recently even Clash of Clans launched their game in Farsi language for Iranian users. With these initiatives, we guess Iran is a good market for foreign companies to work with Iranian android marketplaces for their payment system, and even to launch their product in Farsi language to generate more revenue from Iran’s market. 29M android users only in Cafe Bazaar is a big number for any company in the world.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OCOW summit 2016

    I’ve recently had the pleasure to visit Beijing and attend the 11th edition of the “Open Source China Open Source World” summit, organized by the China OSS Promotion Union (COPU). COPU is a non-government organization composed of companies, communities and other players in the software industry, with the goal of promoting the development of Linux and OSS in China. (You can find more information on their website.)

  • Cosmos Laundromat wins SIGGRAPH 2016 Computer Animation Festival Jury’s Choice Award

    A few days ago we wrote about three Blender-made films being selected for the SIGGRAPH 43rd annual Computer Animation Festival. Today we are happy to announce that Cosmos Laundromat Open Movie (by Blender Institute) has won the Jury’s Choice Award!

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 11.0 Reaches Beta

      BSD fans looking to do some testing this weekend can try out the beta of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0.

      FreeBSD 11.0 is bringing updated KMS drivers, Linux binary compatibility layer improvements, UEFI improvements, Bhyve virtualization improvements, and a plethora of other work. Those not yet familiar with FreeBSD 11 can see the tentative release notes and what’s new guide.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

Leftovers

  • Ashley Madison admits using fembots to lure men into spending money

    After nearly a year of radio silence, the infidelity hookup site Ashley Madison has finally released a statement about what’s next for the company. Among other things, the company’s new executive team admits that it used fembots to lure men into paying to join the site, which promised the men discreet affairs with willing women.

    In fall 2015, Ashley Madison made headlines when a hacker or hackers known as Impact Team released massive data dumps from the company’s source code, member databases, and then-CEO Noel Biderman’s e-mail. The member database contained the names of 34 thousand people trying to have extra-marital affairs, and the revelations induced at least one man to commit suicide. In the wake of the data breach, a number of people have filed lawsuits against the company, and the company is currently under investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission.

    Last year, as part of an investigation into the data dump, I published a series of articles at Gizmodo exposing how the company used female chatbots called “hosts” or “engagers” to trick men into paying for Ashley Madison’s services. The scam was simple: when a man signed up for a free account, he almost immediately got a chat or private message from a “woman” whose profile showed a few sexy pictures. To reply to his new lady friend, the man had to pay for an account. In reality, that lady was a few lines of PHP code.

  • “I recieved a free or discounted product in return for an honest review”

    My experiences with Amazon reviewing have been somewhat unusual. A review of a smart switch I wrote received enough attention that the vendor pulled the product from Amazon. At the time of writing, I’m ranked as around the 2750th best reviewer on Amazon despite having a total of 18 reviews. But the world of Amazon reviews is even stranger than that, and the past couple of weeks have given me some insight into it.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The War on Weed Part II: Monsanto, Bayer, and the Push for Corporate Cannabis

      As detailed in Part I of this article, the health benefits of cannabis are now well established. It is a cheap, natural alternative effective for a broad range of conditions, and the non-psychoactive form known as hemp has thousands of industrial uses. At one time, cannabis was one of the world’s most important crops. There have been no recorded deaths from cannabis overdose in the US, compared to about 30,000 deaths annually from alcohol abuse (not counting auto accidents), and 100,000 deaths annually from prescription drugs taken as directed. Yet cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance (“a deadly dangerous drug with no medical use and high potential for abuse”), illegal to be sold or grown in the US.

      Powerful corporate interests no doubt had a hand in keeping cannabis off the market. The question now is why they have suddenly gotten on the bandwagon for its legalization. According to an April 2014 article in The Washington Times, the big money behind the recent push for legalization has come, not from a grassroots movement, but from a few very wealthy individuals with links to Big Ag and Big Pharma.

    • Senate Advances GM Food Labeling Bill That Would Actually Weaken State Rules, Exempt Key Products

      Legislation that would upend state laws mandating labels for genetically modified (GM) foods passed a key procedural vote in the Senate.

      The bill, which would create a nationwide system for identifying some GM foods, cleared a motion to end debate on Wednesday, by a 65-32 vote.

      A simple majority is now needed for the legislation to pass a full Senate vote, which is expected before the week is over.

      Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, and Alaska have all passed legislation in recent years forcing companies to overtly label products of transgenic agriculture. They will be ordered to scrap their rules if the legislation passes both houses and is signed into law by President Obama.

    • ‘Organic Traitors’ Team Up With Monsanto and Big Food Lobby to Keep Consumers in the Dark About GMOs

      Organic brands owned by large corporations who are members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Organic Trade Association (OTA), Whole Foods Market, UNFI (United Natural Foods) and a group of sell-out non-profit organizations have surrendered to Monsanto and corporate agribusiness by embracing the latest version of the DARK Act, the Robert-Stabenow Senate bill, that if passed, will nullify the Vermont law requiring mandatory GMO labeling.

      Despite the fact that GMO- and pesticide-contaminated foods are dangerous; that at least 90 percent of American consumers want to know whether or not their food is genetically engineered; and that the now-enacted Vermont GMO labeling law is already forcing major food corporations (General Mills, Campbell’s, Kellogg’s, Danone, ConAgra, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola, Mars, Hershey’s, Wonder Bread, Starbucks and others) either to disclose GMOs in their products or reformulate and remove GMOs, a group of so-called organic leaders have gone over to the dark side.

    • Bikini islanders still deal with fallout of US nuclear tests, 70 years later

      In the summer of 1946, “Bikini” was all over the news. It’s the name of a small atoll – a circular group of coral islands – within the remote mid-Pacific island chain called the Marshall Islands. The United States had assumed control of the former Japanese territory after the end of World War II, just a few months earlier.

      The United States soon came up with some very big plans for the little atoll of Bikini. After forcing the 167 residents to relocate to another atoll, they started to prepare Bikini as an atomic bomb test site. Two test bombings scheduled for that summer were intended to be very visible demonstrations of the United States’ newly acquired nuclear might. Media coverage of the happenings at Bikini was extensive, and public interest ran very high. Who could have foreseen that even now – 70 years later – the Marshall Islanders would still be suffering the aftershocks from the nuclear bomb testing on Bikini Atoll?

    • How the Corporate Food Industry Destroys Democracy

      On July 1, Vermont implemented a law requiring disclosure labels on all food products that contain genetically engineered ingredients, also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs.

    • Monsanto Tries to Build a Society of GMO and Pesticide Devotees, One Child at a Time

      The International Food Information Council is a front group funded by some of biggest names in biotech and junk food: Bayer, Dow, DuPont, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Nestle and more. The American Farm Bureau Federation, according to SourceWatch, is a “right-wing lobbying front for big agribusiness and agribusiness-related industries that works to defeat labor and environmental initiatives, including climate change legislation.” The organization is adamantly against GMO labels, and even spoke out against Roberts’ and Stabenow’s deal for being too lenient.

  • Security

    • LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 30, 2016
    • TP-Link forgets to register domain name, leaves config pages open to hijack

      In common with many other vendors, TP-Link, one of the world’s biggest sellers of Wi-Fi access points and home routers, has a domain name that owners of the hardware can use to quickly get to their router’s configuration page. Unlike most other vendors, however, it appears that TP-Link has failed to renew its registration for the domain, leaving it available for anyone to buy. Any owner of the domain could feasibly use it for fake administration pages to phish credentials or upload bogus firmware. This omission was spotted by Amitay Dan, CEO of Cybermoon, and posted to the Bugtraq mailing list last week.

    • Experimenting with Post-Quantum Cryptography

      The study of cryptographic primitives that remain secure even against quantum computers is called “post-quantum cryptography”. Today we’re announcing an experiment in Chrome where a small fraction of connections between desktop Chrome and Google’s servers will use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm in addition to the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm that would typically be used. By adding a post-quantum algorithm on top of the existing one, we are able to experiment without affecting user security. The post-quantum algorithm might turn out to be breakable even with today’s computers, in which case the elliptic-curve algorithm will still provide the best security that today’s technology can offer. Alternatively, if the post-quantum algorithm turns out to be secure then it’ll protect the connection even against a future, quantum computer.

    • HTTPS crypto’s days are numbered. Here’s how Google wants to save it

      Like many forms of encryption in use today, HTTPS protections are on the brink of a collapse that could bring down the world as we know it. Hanging in the balance are most encrypted communications sent over the last several decades. On Thursday, Google unveiled an experiment designed to head off, or at least lessen, the catastrophe.

      In the coming months, Google servers will add a new, experimental cryptographic algorithm to the more established elliptic curve algorithm it has been using for the past few years to help encrypt HTTPS communications. The algorithm—which goes by the wonky name “Ring Learning With Errors”—is a method of exchanging cryptographic keys that’s currently considered one of the great new hopes in the age of quantum computing. Like other forms of public key encryption, it allows two parties who have never met to encrypt their communications, making it ideal for Internet usage.

    • Tokens without revocation
    • Liveness

      The mistake I made with PKI tokens was in not realizing how important Liveness was. The mistake was based on the age old error of confusing authentication with authorization. Since a Keystone token is used for both, I was confused into thinking that the primary importance was on authentication, but the reality is that the most important thing a token tells you is information essential to making an authorization decision.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • John Prescott: Ex-deputy PM says Iraq War was illegal

      John Prescott, who was deputy prime minister when Britain went to war with Iraq in 2003, says the invasion by UK and US forces was “illegal”.

      Writing in the Sunday Mirror, he said he would live with the “catastrophic decision” for the rest of his life.

      Lord Prescott said he now agreed “with great sadness and anger” with former UN secretary general Kofi Annan that the war was illegal.

    • The Warfare Comes Home

      The recent killings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas recall the racial violence of the 1960s which also occurred against a backdrop of U.S. warfare, a parallel that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

    • Neocons linked to Tea Party paid for Andrea Leadsom’s flights to US

      A controversial rightwing American lobbying group that denies climate change science and promotes gun ownership paid for the Tory prime ministerial hopeful Andrea Leadsom to fly to the United States to attend its conferences.

      The American Legislative Exchange Council – Alec – is a neoconservative organisation with close links to members of the Tea Party movement. Championed by supporters of the free market, it has been attacked by critics for exerting a “powerful and undemocratic” influence on US politics.

      It is part funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, David and Charles, whose empire spans mining, chemicals and finance. Leadsom’s links to the council will be scrutinised closely by those trying to gauge her political leanings.

      In the US the council produces hundreds of putative bills that it seeks to have made into law by US legislators who attend its conferences, where they are treated to generous corporate hospitality at lavish cigar parties.

    • The Legal and Ethical Ramifications of Letting Police Kill Suspects With Robots

      Thursday night, after a shocking night of violence in which five police officers were killed by snipers, Dallas police took the unprecedented step of using a remote-controlled “bomb robot” to kill one of the suspects. Now that law enforcement in America have killed a suspect remotely, it’s important to consider the legality of the decision—and what might happen next time.

      State laws generally allow law enforcement to legally use lethal force against a suspect if he or she poses an “imminent threat” to the officer or other innocent parties, which is underscored by a standard of whether the force is “proportional and necessary.” A 1985 Supreme Court case called Tennessee v. Garner allows for deadly force if a fleeing suspect poses “a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

      Does the means of killing matter for that legal standard? In this case, probably not, according to several legal experts I spoke to. The bomb disposal robot that turned into an improvised remotely triggered killing machine wasn’t autonomous and can, in this instance, be looked at as a tool that was used to diminish the threat suspect Micah Johnson posed to Dallas police officers.

    • Why it Matters the Dallas Police Used a Drone to Kill Someone in America

      The Dallas police ended a standoff with the gunman who killed five officers with a tactic that is unprecedented: it blew him up using a robot.

      This represents the first time in American history that a drone (wheels for now, maybe wings later) was used to kill an American citizen on American soil.

    • How the Dallas Police Used an Improvised Killer Robot to Take Down the Gunman

      Following the tragic deaths of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, during a rally for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile on Thursday night, the Dallas Police Department deployed a small robot designed to investigate and safely discharge explosives.

      Officers attached a bomb to the robot ad hoc-style — detonating it and killing the sniper while keeping the investigators out of harm’s way.

      According to companies that manufacture bomb-disposal robots interviewed by The Intercept, none were aware of their bots ever being turned into lethal weapons, though one company acknowledged the robots could be adapted to hold weapons.

    • USA Today Ducking the Question of Militarism

      The top story for USA Today on July 8, 2016: Some Western countries aren’t spending enough money on weapons of war.

      “NATO Nations Ducking the Check” was the headline across the top of the front page. “Despite Pledges, Some NATO Members Still Falling Behind on Defense Spending” was the online version (7/7/16).

    • The Bomb Robot Drone Killing Precedent

      As you’ve no doubt heard, sniper(s) attacked the police protecting a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas last night, killing 5 cops. Dallas Police have released the name of one perpetrator, who was killed by police: Micah Johnson. Johnson was apparently an Army veteran; he was what experts deemed “tactically professional” based on review of the attack.

    • Families of soldiers killed in Iraq vow to sue Tony Blair for ‘every penny’ in ground-breaking lawsuit

      Tony Blair will be pursued through the courts for “every penny” of the fortune he has earned since leaving Downing Street, the families of soldiers killed in Iraq vowed.

      Mr Blair faces a civil law suit over allegations he abused his power as prime minister to wage war in Iraq. The damages, according to legal sources close to the case, are unlimited.

      A well-placed source told The Telegraph that the Chilcot report appeared to provide grounds for the launch of a lawsuit.

      “It gives us a lot of threads to pursue and those threads make a powerful rope to catch him,” said the source.

    • Time to talk in Syria

      As the horrific carnage in Syria continues, a depressingly familiar chorus is rising from Washington. The new consensus is the same as it was in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan: Bombing isn’t working, so let’s bomb more. A familiar coalition — generals, defense contractors, and politicians, along with think tanks and much of the press — is demanding escalation of our military campaign in Syria. There may be a limit to how many unwinnable wars the United States wants to wage in the Middle East, but it evidently has not yet been reached.

    • Je Suis Istanbul (& Dhaka & Baghdad & Medina)

      I was born at the tail end of 1995. I vaguely remember learning that our President was a man named Bill Clinton, but I do not remember anything significant about the political world until it was redefined on September 11, 2001. Since then, it feels like one of the only constants in my life has been, unfortunately, instability in the Middle East. I know now that the roots of radicalism in the Middle East extend even further back and that US and Western intervention has fanned the flames for many decades, but what I and many others tend to forget is that these places are more than war zones on our TV screens, that life goes on everywhere.

    • Tomas Young Courageously Debunked the Sanitized Image of the Iraq War

      Tomas Young’s long flight from a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, to Walter Reed near Washington, DC, left his paralyzed body with the beginnings of pressure sores that exposed raw bone at spots where no oxygen reached the skin. A bald spot on the back of his head marked the place where gravity pressed it against the airplane cot on which his drugged, inert body was borne back to the States.

      When Tomas finally came to, his first view was his mother’s face looming over him. “Mommy,” he cried, confirming a story I once heard an Army commander tell: when the soldier is hit, the immediate plea is for mother, not soon — right now. “Mommy,” two syllables. Tomas was suddenly five years old. Mommy and Tomas wept together for half an hour.

      The bullet that felled Tomas in Sadr City severed his spine at the T4 level. Standing next to his bed at Walter Reed, his mother Cathy Smith explained that her son was now paralyzed from the nipples down. Below the chest he is totally without control or sensation, a rag doll. Tomas can’t cough, Tomas can’t walk, and — in the language of the Army barracks — Tomas “can’t get it up.”

    • Brexit Vote and Russia Sanctions Show Weakness of US Diplomacy

      With the media in a frenzy in the wake of the Brexit vote, one aspect of the results that has been utterly overlooked is the impact, or lack thereof, of the campaigning by US President Barack Obama for Britain to remain in the EU. And while the results of the referendum will have far-reaching ramifications in Britain – the immigrant community has already seen a nearly 60% increase in racist attacks and abuse reported – perhaps one of the most significant in terms of international politics is the realization of just how ineffectual the US president is in swaying public opinion on the other side of the Atlantic.

    • If You Like Obama, You’ll Love Trump!

      Oh, what fun we have with the nonsense that flows out of the mouth of Donald J. Trump. The man is suffocatingly banal, racist, dishonest, inarticulate, uninformed, uneducated, narcissistic, a bully, just plain stupid, and an asshole (or in the immortal words of my people — a schmuck!) I would guess that as the boss of his own enterprises for many years, with the power and the habit of firing people, he eventually became deeply accustomed to not having his thoughts seriously questioned or challenged, to the extent that he really believes the crap that comes out of his mouth and doesn’t really understand what others actually think of him.

    • [Older] In South Sudan, It’s Hard to Tell the Soldiers From the Criminals

      Ding Col Dau Ding was successful, handsome, and fit. Born in Britain, he was an avid soccer player as a boy. As a man, he was a generous physician with an urge to give back to his ancestral homeland.

      One thing he wasn’t was murdered. At least, that’s the official position of the office of South Sudan’s president.

    • [Older] Why Was Omar Mateen Researching Specific Law Enforcement Offices before His Attack?

      I wish, with this confirmation, Schiff had committed to ask more questions about this. We need to try to understand why FBI’s sting didn’t work here, because if stings don’t work for the actual terrorists FBI shouldn’t be doing them (this is a point that bizarrely did not get raised in this apology for stings from Politico).

    • Obama drone casualty numbers a fraction of those recorded by the Bureau

      The US government today claimed it has killed between 64 and 116 “non-combatants” in 473 counter-terrorism strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya between January 2009 and the end of 2015.

      This is a fraction of the 380 to 801 civilian casualty range recorded by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from reports by local and international journalists, NGO investigators, leaked government documents, court papers and the result of field investigations.

      While the number of civilian casualties recorded by the Bureau is six times higher than the US Government’s figure, the assessments of the minimum total number of people killed were strikingly similar. The White House put this figure at 2,436, whilst the Bureau has recorded 2,753.

    • Where’s the US Chilcot Report? Blame Obama, Hillary, Biden and Kerry

      Nothing exposes the fraud of so-called “peace candidate” Barack Obama more than his handling of the illegal government propaganda campaign and eventual war on Iraq. As the UK reads and debates the Chilcot report investigating the Blair government’s role in lying that country into the war, there is no notice in the US that Obama announced before taking office in late 2008 there would be no similar investigation in the US.

      It was of course George Bush and his neocons from the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) gang that seized on the September 11, 2001 attacks to manipulate events into an opportunity to wage offensive war on Iraq. And it was the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, led by Clinton, Kerry, Biden et. al., who provided the votes a year after 9/11 that green-lighted the war.

      We can know because of a rather small number of journalists including this writer the extent and depth of the massive propaganda campaign, coordinated with and exploiting a willing corporate news media, that greased the skids for the war. I co-authored books in 2003 and 2006 summarizing what was known at the time, and in 2008 David Barstow release his mind-blowing and Pulitzer winning investigation of the Pentagon Pundits program that turned the major TV networks, beginning in 2002, into third party advocates for Cheney and Rumsfeld, through puppetry using retired military analysts who were fed and regurgitated the Bush talking points.

    • Europeans Contest US Anti-Russian Hype

      A significant crack has been unexpectedly opened in the wall of Europe’s disciplined obedience to the United States. I’m not only referring to the possible long-term consequences for U.S.-European relations in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, but the unlikely blow against Washington’s information war on Moscow delivered by Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who a week ago shockingly accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of “war-mongering” against Russia.

    • Afghan Troop Withdrawal Slows Further: 8,400 to Remain Beyond Obama

      The number of US soldiers who will remain in Afghanistan by the year’s end was upwardly revised, once again, by President Obama, who warned that gains by the Taliban and terrorist organizations continue to threaten the stability of the country.

      In a statement issued from the Roosevelt Room on Wednesday, the President said he would leave 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan “into next year through the end of [his] administration.” Obama said he made the decision based on recommendations from top military brass and his national security staff.

      There are roughly 10,000 troops currently stationed in the country—the last remnants of America’s longest running war.

    • State Department Claims to Investigate Honduras ‘Kill List’ as House Dems Decry US Aid to Repressive Regime

      Yet since a U.S.-backed military coup in 2009, Honduras has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for activists, according to UK-based rights group Global Witness.

      Indeed, news of the department’s investigation emerged a day after another member of Cáceres’ organization of Indigenous land defenders was killed in Honduras.

      In protest, several members of Congress published an op-ed in the Guardian calling to an end to U.S. military aid to Honduras on the same day the State Department announced its investigation.

    • Where Did the American Century Go?

      Vladimir Putin recently manned up and admitted it. The United States remains the planet’s sole superpower, as it has been since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. “America,” the Russian president said, “is a great power. Today, probably, the only superpower. We accept that.”

      Think of us, in fact, as the default superpower in an ever more recalcitrant world.

    • Needed: An EU Push on Palestine Peace

      As the European Union displays more disunion with Brexit and threats of other exits, a renewed E.U. push for an Israel-Palestine peace accord could give Europe a needed sense of mission, suggests ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • ISIS warning: What happened in Dhaka was a glimpse, won’t stop till there’s sharia around the world
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Some Legislative Responses to Clinton’s Email Scandal

      The Republicans have reverted to their natural “Benghazi witchhunt” form in the wake of Jim Comey’s announcement Tuesday that Hillary Clinton and her aides should not be charged, with Comey scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee at 10 AM.

      Paul Ryan wrote a letter asking James Clapper to withhold classified briefings from Hillary. And the House Intelligence Committee is even considering a bill to prevent people who have mishandled classified information from getting clearances.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Fate of Keystone XL Pipeline Could Be Decided in a Texas Courtroom Before NAFTA Tribunal Considers TransCanada’s Suit

      Texas landowner Michael Bishop continues to challenge TransCanada’s right to build the southern route of the Keystone XL pipeline, renamed the Gulf Coast pipeline when the project was divided into segments. Meanwhile, TransCanada is suing the United States for not being granted the presidential permit needed in order to build the Keystone XL’s northern route. A win for Bishop in his suit against TransCanada Keystone Pipeline L.P. in Nacogdoches County District Court could complicate TransCanada’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) challenge.

      Bishop is suing TransCanada for “fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, misrepresentation, perjury, theft, bribery, and violating plaintiff’s rights as delineated under the Constitution of the State of Texas.” His case alleges TransCanada doesn’t rightfully possess common carrier status, which enabled the company to use eminent domain.

      On June 4, a judge in Nacogdoches County District Court heard motions by Bishop and TransCanada and made rulings that left Bishop’s case in play. The judge granted Bishop a continuance, giving him more time for discovery, and refused to hear TransCanada’s lawyers’ motion for a ”no-evidence summary judgment” against Bishop that would have stopped his case.

  • Finance

    • The halvening is upon us: Bitcoin’s reward for miners just dropped 50%

      The network saw its mining reward—the amount of bitcoin miners receive for confirming transaction—get cut in half earlier today (July 9), around 12:48 EST. The event occurs after every 210,000 blocks are mined, or confirmed, by the system.

    • [Older] Apple’s Tim Cook Has Billions of Reasons to Raise Money for the GOP

      Apple has billions of dollars stored in subsidiaries in offshore tax havens — about $181 billion, in fact — more than any other U.S. corporation. And he needs Republican help to be allowed to bring it back to the U.S. without paying the statutory 35 percent corporate tax rate.

    • On strike against an 84-hour workweek

      WORKERS AT an International Paper factory in Delaware, Ohio are on strike against the company’s demand of unlimited overtime for up to 84 hours a week: 12 hours a day for all seven days.

      “[The company is] telling us, ‘Oh, we’re not going to use it,’” says Mike Schnitzler, who has worked at the factory for 21 years. “But if you’re not going to use it, why ask for it? We have to fight for what we believe in–there’s no family time or anything like that if you’re working seven days a week, 12 hours a day.”

      The 130 workers, members of the Columbus-based Teamsters Local 284, had been without a contract since last summer when the company decided in April to implement its “last, best and final offer,” which included the outrageous overtime provision.

      In response, Local 284 launched an unfair labor practice strike, declaring that International Paper was not negotiating in good faith.

    • In platform fight, Sanders loses on trade but wins on minimum wage

      Bernie Sanders’ campaign is declaring victory after striking deals with Hillary Clinton’s allies over climate change, health care and a $15-an-hour minimum wage as Democrats finalized the party’s 2016 platform.

      The primary rivals’ negotiators never found common ground on trade — with Clinton’s supporters voting down the Sanders backers’ language to specifically reject the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. Sanders supporters were also frustrated to see their proposals denouncing Israeli settlements and banning fracking rejected.

    • “It’s About Letting Giant Corporations Rig the Rules”: Warren Skewers TPP

      Ahead of this weekend’s Democratic platform fight, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has once again taken aim at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), skewering the corporate-friendly trade deal she says will allow for “open season on laws that make people safer.”

      Warren makes the remarks about the 12-nation trade deal, which still needs Congressional approval, to progressive activists in a video released Thursday by social change network CREDO Action.

      The deal, Warren says in the video, “isn’t about helping American workers set the rules. It’s about letting giant corporations rig the rules—on everything from patent protection to food safety standards —all to benefit themselves.”

      Even in the drafting process industry representatives could exert influence—but there was no voice to represent American workers or consumers, she says. “A rigged process produces a rigged outcome,” she says.

      One specific provision of the deal drawing Warren’s ire (as it has before) is the “wonky-sounding” Investor State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS.

    • Anti-TPP Amendment Fails at Heated Dem Platform Meeting

      When Democratic Party platform committee members arrived at the committee’s final session in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday morning, 700,000 signed petitions against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement had been delivered there to meet them.

      Yet despite passionate arguments and widespread public opposition to the deal, the committee voted down an amendment that would have opposed a Senate vote on the agreement.

    • Attacking Elizabeth Warren? Political Reporters Will Grant You Anonymity

      The fast rise of Sen. Elizabeth Warren within the Democratic Party has coincided with another phenomenon: the continual use by elite-media journalists of anonymous sources in articles that either criticize Warren directly or warn other politicians about the dangers of embracing her, her political style and the policies she advocates.

      That journalistic trend manifested itself most recently on Monday, in a piece by Ben White in Politico that quoted fully five anonymous sources — including “one top Democratic donor,” “one moderate Washington Democrat” and “one prominent hedge fund manager” — to the effect that Hillary Clinton would be making a major misstep by selecting Warren as her running mate. Warren is an expert in bankruptcy and predatory lending and a leading critic of the financial industry.

    • The Banks’ Big Squeeze: You’re Overdrafted, They’re Overpaid

      Almost two-thirds of Americans today — 63 percent — don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected $500 expense. Anything from an emergency brake job to a refrigerator on the fritz could zero out their bank accounts.

      Most American households, in other words, are living on the financial edge. And that suits America’s biggest bank CEOs just fine. They love to see Americans desperately juggling credit cards and checking accounts to keep bills paid.

    • Democrats Must Fight To Defeat The Trans-Pacific Partnership

      The Democratic National Committee is meeting this weekend in Orlando to mark up a platform laying out the views and aspirations of the party. Up to this point, we have made good progress in helping to create the most progressive Democratic Party platform ever. But more needs to be done.

      One of the major amendments that will be debated during this meeting is to make it clear that the Democratic Party is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and will oppose it coming to the floor of Congress during a lame-duck session. In my view, the trade deal would result in job losses in the United States, make the global race to the bottom even worse, harm the environment, undermine democracy and increase the price of prescription drugs for some of the poorest people in the world.

      This should not be controversial. It is the exact same position that Secretary Clinton and I have taken during the campaign, and opposition to the TPP is the position of the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress.

    • As Workers at Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino Go on Strike, a Look at Trump’s Long History of Labor Abuse

      About a thousand housekeepers, cooks, bellmen and servers at Trump’s Taj Mahal Atlantic City casino went on strike on Friday and through the weekend demanding reinstatement of health, pension and other benefits eliminated during 2014 bankruptcy proceedings. This is only the latest in decades of labor disputes Donald Trump has faced at his hotels, casinos and resorts. Investigative reporter Wayne Barrett has been investigating Donald Trump for decades and says, “Trump’s pathway to success is littered with bodies.”

    • We Don’t Need Trump or Brexit to Reject the Credo of Neoliberal Market Inevitability

      In the wake of the June 23 Brexit vote, global media have bristled with headlines declaring the Leave victory to be the latest sign of a historic rejection of “globalization” by working-class voters on both sides of the Atlantic. While there is an element of truth in this analysis, it misses the deeper historical currents coursing beneath the dramatic headlines. If our politics seem disordered at the moment, the blame lies not with globalization alone but with the “There Is No Alternative” (TINA) philosophy of neoliberal market inevitability that has driven it for nearly four decades.

      British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher introduced the TINA acronym to the world in a 1980 policy speech that proclaimed “There Is No Alternative” to a global neoliberal capitalist order. Thatcher’s vision for this new order was predicated on the market-as-god economic philosophy she had distilled from the work of Austrian School economists such as Friedrich Hayek and her own fundamentalist Christian worldview. Western political life today has devolved into a series of increasingly desperate and inchoate reactions against a sense of fatal historical entrapment originally encoded in Thatcher’s TINA credo of capitalist inevitability. If this historical undercurrent is ignored, populist revolt will not produce much-needed democratic reform. It will instead be exploited by fascistic nationalist demagogues and turned into a dangerous search for political scapegoats.

    • In China, Walmart Retail Workers Walk Out over Unfair Scheduling

      About 70 Walmart workers began a wildcat strike July 1 against an unpopular new flexible scheduling system. They are reacting against a campaign of intimidation by Walmart China, which has been trying to coerce store workers to accept the new schedules since May.

      This strike, at a store in the southeastern city of Nanchang, is the culmination of a month and a half of discussion and mobilization among Walmart workers and organizers across China. It was preceded by small-scale symbolic protests. The day before the strike, a few Walmart workers in protest T-shirts leafleted inside a store in the southern city of Shenzhen, to inform workers about the scheduling system and their rights under labor law.

      Not all workers walked out at the Nanchang store, which managed to stay open. But clearly management was panicked over the unexpected action. Strikers also marched inside the store, chanting slogans. No picket line has been set up yet.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Andrea Leadsom: EU single market ‘is no longer a relevant term’
    • Tory leadership: Andrea Leadsom slammed for motherhood remarks
    • Andrea Leadsom says she’ll bring back fox hunting to improve animal welfare

      One of the contenders to be the next Conservative leader has said she wants to lift the ban on fox hunting, suggesting that to do so could improve animal welfare.

      Andrea Leadsom, who would automatically become the Prime Minister if elected by the Tories’ 150,000 members, said a “proper licensed regime” could be brought in after the lifting of the ban.

    • From finance to fox hunting, Britain’s Leadsom in her own words

      Andrea Leadsom was largely unknown to most British voters before the Brexit referendum but her upbeat argument that Britain could flourish outside the European Union resonated with voters, helping to steer the Leave campaign to a surprise victory.

    • Finally, we have two women in a leadership race – but one of them still wants to play the gender card
    • Tory women turn against Andrea Leadsom as motherhood row deepens

      Theresa May’s most senior allies have gone to war against Andrea Leadsom in retaliation for her “vile” suggestion that the Home Secretary should not become prime minister because she has no children.

      The energy minister’s critics included some of the Conservative Party’s most senior women after she suggested she had a greater “stake” in Britain’s future than her childless rival.

    • Donald Trump and the Dangers of Confusing the Ability to Offend With the Ability to Govern

      At a time when Donald Trump’s approval ratings among American voters are sinking lower with each passing week, he’s still the candidate of choice for 64 percent of voters who “want a new direction for the country.” At a time when many of his fellow Republicans are refusing to endorse him, and when he’s being mocked by celebrities for having a “small, nationalistic mind,” he nonetheless remains the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, having comfortably won the required number of delegates before the primaries had even finished.

    • Wharton Students Write Open Letter To Donald Trump: ‘You Do Not Represent Us’

      Current Wharton students, however, do not appear to feel the same universal bond with the candidate that Trump feels with the school. In an open letter published Friday on Medium, Wharton students expressed their disappointment and “outrage” at Trump’s candidacy and rhetoric.

    • Is Trump Really the Anti-Neocon?

      “In an interview with Channel 2 television David Friedman said that a Trump administration would maintain Israel’s military advantage over its neighbors. He said Trump would not reduce defense aid to Israel but ‘in all likelihood will increase it significantly.’

    • Trump’s “Greatest Mentor” was Red-Baiting Aide to Joseph McCarthy and Attorney for NYC Mob Families

      With the Republican National Convention opening in Cleveland in less than two weeks, the party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, is facing a new wave of controversies, from Trump’s tweeting of an anti-Semitic image showing Hillary Clinton against a backdrop of cash and a Star of David to his joke about Mexico attacking the United States. We spend the hour with Trump biographer Wayne Barrett, author of “Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.” Barrett has been reporting on Trump since the 1970s. We begin by talking about Trump’s close relationship with the late Roy Cohn, who once served as a top aide to the red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy.

    • Trump’s Got Star Power
    • Super Official Marx

      The Chinese Communist Party put out a hip-hop track praising Karl Marx. It’s as bad as you would expect.

    • Some Pundits Think the Solution to Right-Wing Populism Is Less Democracy

      The core orthodoxies of neoliberalism are under attack by populist forces, and commentators are scrambling for a response. Some are suggesting more left-wing red meat. Others, a moment of self-reflection. But a number of pundits are doing that most noxious of political commentary pastimes—equating right and left responses to the failures of globalization and advocating that “elites” should fight back against the forces of inconvenient democracy.

    • FEC Looking at Super PAC That Hyped Penny Stock

      The phone would ring almost every week with fundraising appeals from a super PAC called Voters for Hillary. Margo Marquess and her husband, Amitava Gupta, backed the presidential campaign of the former Secretary of State, so they were happy to write checks. In all, they gave $6,000.

      But the Roanoke, Virginia, couple discovered that Voters for Hillary hadn’t spent any money at all in support of Hillary Clinton, or any other candidate for that matter. The PAC, it turned out, was mainly funded by loans, not donations. Its main effect had been to fuel a sharp spike in the penny stock of a questionable company with close ties to the PAC’s officials.

    • Press freedom in ‘post-democracy’: Greece

      No one would disagree on the importance of press freedom and freedom of expression. But it is utterly naïve to disconnect press freedom from the notion of media power.

    • Lobbying Money Twirls the Political World

      As the Cabaret song observes, “money makes the world go ‘round,” and that’s especially true of American politics with the Democratic platform objecting to lobbying only sotto voce so as not to offend, says Michael Winship.

    • Clinton’s Web of Deceit: She Lied and Lied Again

      Hillary Clinton may or may not be a crook. That remains to be proven, though the sheer magnitude of the wealth that she and husband Bill have amassed since leaving the White House, and while she was serving as Secretary of State — nearly a quarter of a billion dollars earned by two people with no known skills capable of producing that kind of income — should raise questions. What can be stated now as fact though, is that Hillary is a serial liar.

      If this wasn’t clear already from her long history of distortion and prevarication — like her false claim that she had to “duck to avoid sniper fire” during a state visit to Bosnia — it is clear now from FBI Director James Comey’s 11-page public report on his agency’s year-long investigation into her use of a private server for all her private and official emails during her term as Secretary of State.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein: Sanders Can Lead My Party’s Ticket

      Presumptive Green Party candidate for U.S. President Jill Stein has reiterated her offer for Bernie Sanders to head that party’s ticket instead, where—unlike in the Democratic party—she says he’d be able to continue to “build a political movement.”

      Stein’s new comments to the Guardian US come as the Vermont senator has signaled he may soon offer an endorsement of rival Hillary Clinton.

      Stein, who also ran for president on the Green Party ticket in 2012, told the Guardian US: “If he saw that you can’t have a revolutionary campaign in a counter-revolutionary party, he’d be welcomed to the Green party. He could lead the ticket and build a political movement,” she said.

    • Is Hillary Morally Unfit to Be President?

      Comey was making the case against Clinton as the custodian of national security secrets with a credibility the GOP cannot match, while refusing to determine her fate by urging an indictment, and instead leaving her future in our hands.

      And, ultimately, should not this decision rest with the people, and not the FBI?

    • The Democrats Ignore the 500-Pound Lobbyist in the Room

      In all of the 35 single-spaced pages of the Democratic Party’s platform draft, there is just one mention of lobbying.

      One.

      Oh, it says some fine uplifting things about voters lacking a proper voice in government, about money and politics and the need to overturn Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo, two of the Supreme Court decisions that unleashed a deluge of dollars into our electoral system.

      “Democrats believe we must fight to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world: a government that represents the American people, not just a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests,” the draft reads. “We will fight for real campaign-finance reform now. Big money is drowning out the voices of everyday Americans, and we must have the necessary tools to fight back and safeguard our electoral and political integrity.”

    • Donald Trump Is Flirting With Anti-Semitism—and History Shows What’s Next

      When Donald Trump tweeted out an image of the Star of David and a pile of money to symbolize Hillary Clinton’s “corruption,” he was doing more than flirting with the juvenile fascists who hang around at alt-right websites or hide behind the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan. Critics were quick to accuse Trump of anti-Semitism, with some then offering as proof of Trump’s calumny images of Jews wearing yellow Stars of David in Nazi-era Europe. Others offered parallels between Trump and two of America’s most famous 20th century anti-Semites: Henry Ford, who saw “the international Jew” as the world’s greatest threat; and Charles Lindbergh, who admired Adolf Hitler and his ability to safeguard white civilization from the “Asiatic” threat.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship by the gun

      IN RESPONSE to a question raised during one of his press conferences in June about the killing of journalists, then President-elect Rodrigo Duterte echoed a recurring narrative in the public mind: the belief that journalists are killed because they are corrupt. He went on to describe how a broadcaster in Davao had been abusive and provoked his own murder.

      The observation struck a responsive chord among many who were quick to urge the media to get their act together and do something about the scoundrels in their ranks. The fiction has been fixed for many as truth—that those engaged in corrupt practices are the only ones endangered. In Duterte’s words, “You won’t be killed if you did nothing wrong.”

      [...]

      Malacañang’s condemnation of the most recent attempt to kill a journalist—the wounding of Surigao City broadcaster Saturnino Estanio and his son—and the organization of a task force on the killings that the Palace announced on July 2 suggest renewed appreciation of the extent of the problem. Hopefully, the investigation into the killings will also help establish how most of the slain journalists were doing their part in the difficult and dangerous task of reforming Philippine society.

      Since 1986, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) has documented 152 work-related cases of journalists being killed. Fifty-one cases involved reporters and broadcasters exposing graft and corruption. Since 2000, only in eight cases were there allegations about the involvement of the victims in corruption. No such allegations mar the rest of the cases.

    • Facebook explains live video censorship policies after live-streaming a fatal shooting

      It was only a matter of time before Facebook’s decision to open up live video to everyone was going to result in controversy. Sure enough, earlier this week, the social network became the medium through which the shooting dead of Philando Castile by a police officer was shared with the world. The graphic video quickly became notorious, but then vanished temporarily.

    • Dangerous Trend in U.S. Courts May Have Consequences For Online Speech

      One of our most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet—a law that shields websites and other Internet service providers from being held responsible for content that comes from users or third parties—has been under fire in recent years. The law, 47 U.S.C. § 230, a provision of the Communication Decency Act, was designed to encourage the development of new communication technologies and to protect free speech and the open exchange of ideas online. Just like you can’t hold a library liable for defamation for a statement written in a book you check out, or for hacking after someone breaks into a computer after learning how to do so from a library book, under Section 230, you can’t hold a website liable for the speech of others.

    • Sony Pictures Tries to Censor Wikileaks With Dubious DMCA Notice

      Daniel Yankelevits, one of the top legal executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment, has asked Google to remove a leaked email published by Wikileaks after the 2014 hack. The top executive used a copyright takedown notice to bury an email which exposes his personal salary, claiming “it’s not right.”

    • Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

      The UK’s possible future prime minister thinks all websites should be classified with minimum age ratings, just like films.

      Andrea Leadsom is one of two candidates left in the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party; the winner of which will become the country’s Prime Minister.

      Although many are concerned with the authoritarian stance taken by her rival, Theresa May, Leadsom’s views on many topics – including the internet – have come under scrutiny following her unexpected success in the leadership election.

      Key among those is Leadsom’s apparent belief that the best solution to troublesome content on the internet is to have film-rating organization the British Board of Film Classification rate all websites, and have any unrated websites blocked by ISPs.

    • Philando Castile Shooting Video Livestreamed On Facebook, Zuckerberg Responds To Controversy

      A live video was posted on Facebook by a girl whose boyfriend Philando Castile was shot by a police officer in Minnesota. The video was taken down by Facebook for which they later blamed a technical glitch as the reason. Facebook’s act has been criticised on a global level.

    • Facebook says decisions whether to censor violent Live videos depends on context

      Facebook has released a brief policy statement explaining its Community Standards and how the social media giant plans to address sensitive videos on its live-streaming service a few days after it was used to broadcast graphic videos of multiple high-profile shootings across the US. In an official blog post published on Friday, 8 July, the company says in these situations “context and degree are everything”.

      “Just as it gives us a window into the best moments in people’s lives, it can also let us bear witness to the worst,” Facebook writes. “Live video can be a powerful tool in a crisis — to document events or ask for help.”

    • Sign or censorship?

      Tara Seeger didn’t back down when a neighbour’s complaint about her front yard sign resulted in a bylaw order to remove it. Instead, she has kept the ‘Save Canada Post’ sign and installed others with more poignant messages about democracy and human rights.

    • Community policing disappearing

      The New Zealand police have apparently decided which crimes will be made public and when those announcements are made.

      Inspector Mel Aitken, who until recently was based in Dunedin, is now the top police officer on the West Coast.

      She made public what has been recently suspected: West Coast police are not revealing many of the offences to which they have responded.

    • West Coast police accused of censorship
    • Facebook clarifies on censorship policy for Live video
    • Free Speech vs Censorship: Facebook Explains Live Streaming Policy
    • Facebook denies censoring a live video that showed the aftermath of a fatal police shooting in Minnesota
    • Facebook clarifies censorship issues on Live videos: Context and degree is everything
    • Meet Akshita Chandra: An artist who is using Khajuraho temple art to battle censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • House Homeland Security Committee Apparently Knows Little about Homeland Security

      But it is not true that the Paris attackers used encryption to hide their plot. They used a great many burner phones, a close-knit network (and with it face-to-face planning), an unusual dialect. But even the one phone that had an encrypted product loaded on it was not using that service.

      It is also not true that the San Bernardino attackers used encryption to evade detection. They used physical tools to destroy the phones presumably used to plan the attack. They hid a hard drive via some other, unidentified means. But the only known use of encryption — the encryption that came standard on Farook’s work phone — was shown, after the FBI paid to bypass it, not to be hiding anything at all.

    • Senate Still Considering Giving FBI More Power to Spy on Browser History

      Despite strong opposition in Congress and from the grassroots, the FBI is still pushing to expand its National Security Letter (NSL) authority. The proposed amendments would allow the FBI to serve companies with NSLs and obtain a wide range of Internet records, known as Electronic Communication Transactional Records (ECTRs), including browsing history.

      In addition to a well-documented history of NSL abuse over the last 15 years, the FBI routinely exceeded its authority, claiming for years that it had the power to demand ECTRs with an NSL. It took an intervention [.pdf] by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2008 to definitively establish that the law did not support those claims. Unfortunately, an amendment, sponsored by Senators John McCain and John Cornyn and vigorously promoted by FBI Director James Comey, would grant the FBI the power to access ECTRs, including information like a users’ browsing history as well as other online records.

      As Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich explained in Slate, this information reveals a lot about people; it’s “almost like spying on their thoughts.” Giving the FBI power to obtain these sensitive records with an NSL is especially dangerous, because NSLs operate without prior judicial approval and come with a gag order in nearly all cases. In other words, the FBI would be able to secretly demand this revealing information from Internet companies about their users and gag the companies from notifying policymakers, the press, or users themselves.

    • FBI’s Secret Surveillance Tech Budget Is ‘Hundreds of Millions’

      The FBI has “hundreds of millions of dollars” to spend on developing technology for use in both national security and domestic law enforcement investigations—but it won’t reveal the exact amount.

      Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Burrell, spoke about the secretive budget of the Operational Technology Division—which focuses on all the bureau’s advanced investigative gizmos, from robots to surveillance tech to biometric scanners during a roundtable discussion on encryption technology.

      In December 2015, The Washington Post reported the budget of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division at between $600 and $800 million, but officials refused to confirm the exact amount.

      The FBI did not respond to a request for comment from The Intercept on the division’s budget.

      The intelligence community sponsored the roundtable on Thursday and Friday to spark discussion among academics, scientists, developers, and tech officials on the finer points of encryption—and to try to answer whether it’s technically possible to give law enforcement access to secure devices without compromising digital security.

      The National Academies of Science, Technology, and Medicine hosted the workshop, which included Chris Inglis, former deputy director of the NSA, James Baker, the top lawyer for the FBI, tech officials from Apple, Microsoft, and other companies.

    • Fear of surveillance is forcing activists to hide from public life in Belarus

      “In principle, if I am talking indoors, or on the phone, or writing emails, I assume it all gets to the KGB (Belarus state security). So I don’t worry about it, I talk openly and say only what I would say if there were a KGB agent sitting next to me.”

      This is what an activist in Belarus told me when I asked them about the reality of living with the threat of surveillance.

      I had travelled there to see for myself whether the human rights situation had improved after a huge crackdown on activists in 2010, and what role surveillance played in this, for a new Amnesty International report on this subject.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Of Lethal Drones and Police Shootings

      There are chilling parallels between President Obama’s overseas drone program and how police treat America’s non-white citizens, with the slightest suspicion escalating into official violence and even death, writes Kathy Kelly.

    • Marc Lamont Hill: Dallas Shootings Can’t Deter Us From Continuing Movement Against State Violence

      The shooting in Dallas that has so far left five police officers dead and six other wounded was carried out by at least one sniper who began shooting around 8:45 p.m. local time toward the end of a peaceful protest demanding an end to police brutality. In recent days, protests against police brutality and state violence have swept the country, in the wake of the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. We speak with Marc Lamont Hill about the movement against police brutality, who said “I cannot allow Dallas to deter me from a principled critique of state violence. Far more people have died at the hands of law enforcement this year than have died as law-enforcement officers.”

    • Not A Sniper
    • Dallas deployment of robot bomb to kill suspect is “without precedent”

      Early Friday morning, after being attacked by gunmen who had already killed five police officers and injured several other officers along with two civilians in the wake of a protest, the Dallas Police Department deployed a bomb disposal robot.

      However, the robot was not used to disarm a bomb. This time, it was used to deliver the bomb that killed one of the shooters—likely an unprecedented move in American policing.

      For now, it remains unknown exactly what type of robot or what kind of explosive was used. Authorities have named the dead shooter as Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old Army veteran from a nearby suburb.

    • For The First Time In History, Police Uses A Robot To Kill A Suspect

      A remote-controlled robot equipped with an explosive device was used by the Dallas Police Department to kill a suspect responsible for killing of five police officers deployed in a calm protest. This the first time a US police force has used such device.

    • Now That We’ve Entered The Age Of Robocop, How About Ones That Detain, Rather Than Kill?

      Well, the era of robocop has begun. As you’ve probably heard already, in order to get the sniper in Dallas who shot and killed a whole bunch of police, the Dallas police apparently sent in a bomb robot to detonate a bomb. Normally that robot is designed to save people from bombs, but in this case the police decided to use it to deliver a bomb and blow up the guy, Micah Xavier Johnson, accused of doing the shooting.

    • Activists Cheer On EU’s ‘Right To An Explanation’ For Algorithmic Decisions, But How Will It Work When There’s Nothing To Explain?

      Lots of people on Twitter seemed to be cheering this on. And, indeed, at first glance it sounds like a decent idea. As we’ve just discussed recently, there has been a growing awareness of the power and faith placed in algorithms to make important decisions, and sometimes those algorithms are dangerously biased in ways that can have real consequences. Given that, it seems like a good idea to have a right to find out the details of why an algorithm decided the way it did.

      But it also could get rather tricky and problematic. One of the promises of machine learning and artificial intelligence these days is the fact that we no longer fully understand why algorithms are deciding things the way they do. While it applies to lots of different areas of AI and machine learning, you can see it in the way that AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol in Go earlier this year. It made decisions that seemed to make no sense at all, but worked out in the end. The more machine learning “learns” the less possible it is for people to directly understand why it’s making those decisions. And while that may be scary to some, it’s also how the technology advances.

    • The Terror Suspect Who Had Nothing To Give

      In 2009, Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers interviewed their client and prepared a handwritten, first-person account of the torture their client suffered at the hands of the U.S. government.

      The document, quoted above, recounts the terrifying experience of a man repeatedly waterboarded in the mistaken belief that he was al-Qaida’s No. 3 official. It was filed in federal court as part of his lawsuit seeking release from Guantanamo, and like nearly all the documents in the case, was sealed at the government’s request.

      Now, seven years later, Zubaydah’s statement, which he signed under oath, has been released, and it provides the most detailed, personal description yet made public of his “enhanced interrogation” at a Central Intelligence Agency “black site” in Thailand.

    • Serena Williams Uses Historic Wimbledon Win To Fight For Social Justice

      She didn’t stop her pleas for equality there, though. Serena also spoke up about the importance of being a role model, and how she was able to achieve her dreams despite coming from a poor family on the streets of Compton.

    • The Fact of Sisyphus [Ed: Barrett Brown writes about his experiences in prison]s

      If you are indeed going to rec that morning, the guard opens the hatch and you back up to it and put your hands through to be handcuffed, and then your cellmate does likewise regardless of whether or not he’s going out as well, as the door isn’t ever supposed to be opened until both occupants are cuffed. When the door does open, you walk out backward before being patted down and scanned with a hand-held metal detector, led out to the courtyard, placed in one of several large cages with your scientifically designated playmate, and then uncuffed through the slot in the gate. After an hour of kicking around a deflated basketball while yelling old Symbionese Liberation Army slogans at the other prisoners, you’re cuffed back up through the gate slot and returned to your cell. A bit later we get lunch, and then dinner a few hours afterward, followed by mail. Three days a week we’re cuffed up and taken to the other end of the hall for showers. On weekends we generally don’t leave our cells at all.

    • A Black Police Chief on the Dallas Attacks

      In the hours following the shooting death of five police officers in Dallas during an otherwise peaceful demonstration, opinions blared from social media, televisions, and newspaper front pages. In the din of it all, I reached out to the retired police chief Donald Grady II, who served as chief in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among other cities, and also trained police forces abroad in managing racial and ethnic strife among the ranks and with civilians. His 36 years on the force, as a black American, were marked by some familiar tensions and themes—racial targeting, police brutality, unwarranted hostility, lack of cooperation, and mutual paranoia. In a candid and expansive conversation, Grady unpacked for me some of the complexities of wearing a blue uniform while living in brown skin. An edited version of our conversation follows.

    • Horrific new video shows police shooting dead an unarmed California teen, 19, as he lay on the ground

      Shocking new video has emerged showing California police shooting dead a 19-year-old man as he lay on the ground.

      Cellphone footage shows Dylan Noble being gunned down by cops at a Fresno gas station after they pulled him over for speeding on June 24.

      He was taken to hospital with four bullet wounds but later died in surgery, prompting angry protests.

    • I’m a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing

      On any given day, in any police department in the nation, 15 percent of officers will do the right thing no matter what is happening. Fifteen percent of officers will abuse their authority at every opportunity. The remaining 70 percent could go either way depending on whom they are working with.

    • Why Dallas Happened

      When police execute someone, the excuse is always something like this: “He reached under his shirt to his waistband. I thought he had a gun. I didn’t want to leave my children fatherless and my wife a widow.” The murdered victim’s wife and children, if any, are of no consequence.

      Conservatives, especially those taught to be fearful of crime, have scant objection to police murders. Their view is always: “The police wouldn’t have shot him without cause.” The same bias in favor of the police is why conservative jurors always convict.

      The liberals tend to interpret the shootings as racism, so they want to combat racism.

      The real problem is that public authorities do not protect the public from gratuitous violence. Therefore, hatred and disrespect for the police are growing. Routine murders by police–several each day, almost all of which go unpunished–are generating the kind of anger that causes people to snap and to reply to violence with violence.

      If the criminal justice system applied also to the police, the police would think twice before they wantonly murder.

      Being a police officer is not supposed to be risk free. A police officer should be concerned about the public, not merely his own family. We cannot accept gratuitous police violence on the grounds that the officer’s behavior is dictated by his concerns for his own family. If an officer cannot accept the risks of being a police officer, he should find a different occupation.

    • CNN Invited Joe Walsh To Defend His Tweet Declaring War On Obama and Black Lives Matter

      Walsh sent out the incendiary tweet Thursday night in response to the killing of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest. The tweet, which read “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” has since been deleted.

    • Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Shows Inherent Unfairness in U.S. Justice System

      Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, in the immediate aftermath of FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau would not seek an indictment against Hillary Clinton for her misuse of and failure to secure classified information, asked me to write about the decision. I said that I would, but found that I was so angry about the Justice Department’s hypocrisy that I just couldn’t put pen to paper until I had cooled off for a few days. I was further angered by what I heard in the nationally televised Comey congressional hearings two days after the announcement, from both Democrats and Republicans.

      I’ve not yet cooled off. But I feel as though my anger is focused enough to offer a few thoughts.

      First, I want to be clear that I’m not angry at Hillary Clinton personally. I don’t like Hillary. I don’t support her. I don’t trust her. I don’t think she would be a good or trustworthy president. But that’s not the issue here. The issue is the inherent unfairness in the system.

      [...]

      I did plead guilty to confirming the name of a former CIA colleague to a reporter—who never made the name public. I did it. I admit it. And I paid a price for it.

      That said, providing or confirming the names of former or current CIA officers happens all the time and is almost never prosecuted. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage outed CIA officer Valerie Plame and was never prosecuted for it. Former CIA Director David Petraeus revealed the names of at least 10 CIA officers to his mistress, lied to the FBI about doing it, and still was never charged. Former CIA Director Leon Panetta exposed the name of the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, and Panetta was not charged.

    • To Protect and Serve

      The video of the incident is quite graphic. Watching it was reminiscent of watching the police beating of Rodney King. But what demands special attention is the statement by the person who filmed the incident on his cell phone. The cell phone video of the beating of Eric Garner in Staten Island comes to mind, as Ramsey Orta, who took that video, suffered intense police harassment and imprisonment after recording the incident. Here are the words of the unnamed person who made the Schenectady video: “[Taylor] never touched the cop or did anything to the cop. All those cops had to hit him that many times? When I left, they were still hitting him. I think the police should be investigated.” The person who made the video declined to give his name to the media for obvious reasons.

    • Chelsea Manning’s Lawyers Confirm Whistleblower was Hospitalized

      Lawyers for jailed whistleblower Chelsea Manning confirmed on Friday that the former U.S. soldier was hospitalized and is under medical supervision following reports of a health crisis and virtual silence from the Department of Defense.

      “The prison has notified us that Chelsea was hospitalized and remains under a doctor’s care,” Nancy Hollander, one of Manning’s attorneys, said Friday.

      “At this time her doctors are recommending against a call and we are respecting those recommendations but are in close touch with the facility and will continue to monitor her condition and hope to connect with her soon,” Hollander said. “To protect her privacy, that is all we can say at the moment.”

      Hollander encouraged Manning’s advocates to send messages of support.

    • Serena Williams’ First Tweet After Reaching Wimbledon Final Was On The Murder Of Philando Castile

      Serena Williams made it to her ninth career Wimbledon singles final on Thursday, defeating Russian Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 in a remarkable 48 minutes. But after the match, her 22nd Grand Slam singles title was not the only thing on her mind.

    • Gun Activist Says He Warned PD Involved In Philando Castile Shooting About Shady Traffic Stops

      Olson argues that Chief Ohl could’ve started by training St. Anthony cops how to properly handle traffic stops. For example, officers are typically instructed to stand just behind the driver’s left shoulder where the driver’s door opens, allowing them to see both of the driver’s hands. According to what Castile’s girlfriend said during a Facebook live broadcast of the shooting’s immediate aftermath, Castile was shot while he was reaching for his license, shortly after he informed the officer he was lawfully carrying a firearm. It’s unclear whether the cop who shot him ever saw his gun, but in the video, the officer has his gun drawn and can be heard saying, “I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand out.” While her boyfriend bled out next to her, Castile’s girlfriend replied by saying he was merely reaching for his license.

    • From Cops to Clinton: Impunity Corrupts

      Wednesday, two shocking videos of police officers fatally shooting civilians (Alton Sterling and Philando Castile) surfaced. The day before, many were appalled to hear the Director of the FBI announce that Hillary Clinton would not be charged for mishandling classified information. The two events may seem unrelated, but at bottom, they concern the same fundamental problem: impunity.

      Impunity is the essence of power. What, after all, is power? Is it simply the capacity to exert unjust force? The ability to impress one’s will upon the flesh or belongings of another? No, it’s more than that.

      Most anyone can wield unjust force. Anyone could walk out onto the street right now and exert their will on somebody weaker: say, pushing over an old lady or stealing candy from a baby. And the toughest, or most heavily-armed guy in town can strong-arm just about any other single person.

    • “You Shot Four Bullets Into Him, Sir”: Girlfriend Livestreams Philando Castile’s Death by Police

      In St. Paul, Minnesota, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the governor’s mansion to protest the fatal police shooting of African American man Philando Castile during a traffic stop for a broken tail light. Castile, his girlfriend Lavish Reynolds and her young daughter were stopped by police on Wednesday. Reynolds broadcast the aftermath of the fatal police shooting live on Facebook in an extraordinary video, in which she narrates the events while still inside the car next to her dying boyfriend as the police officer continues to point the gun at her and her daughter.

    • The System That Killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Cannot Be Reformed

      There are moments when atrocities are so horrendous that they paralyze. I am feeling that sense of immobility now.

      I already knew that on average, a Black person is extrajudicially murdered by the police or a vigilante every 28 hours in the United States, thanks to a study by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. I had yet, however, to witness this fact in real time, until yesterday.

      Yesterday, the world watched the horrendous police murder of Philando Castile take place mere hours after the videotaped murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, became public. For the first time, a police murder was livestreamed on Facebook. That reality is simultaneously astonishing and sickening.

    • Bring the Dallas murderers to justice. And the killers of black people too

      In a country where it’s easier to obtain a semi-automatic gun than to obtain healthcare, a fragile mind can wreak havoc on a fragile political culture. So it was on Thursday night when a shooter opened fire on police at a Black Lives Matter demonstration killing five officers and wounding at least seven others.

    • Movement Against Police Violence Condemns Violence Against Police

      Even as racial justice advocates simultaneously mourned the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five police officers killed Thursday night in Dallas, they were forced to defend the nature and aims of their movement while fearing that the violence they seek to quell will only get worse.

      That the shootings took place toward the tail end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest immediately muddied the narrative, leading some pundits and politicians to pin blame for the attack on the national movement against police violence as opposed to the individual gunman, who told police before he died that he had operated alone and was unaffiliated with any groups.

    • How a $2 Roadside Drug Test Sends Innocent People to Jail
    • Egypt threatens to let hundreds of thousands of migrants into EU as row with Italy erupts

      More than 70,000 migrants have travelled from Egypt and Libya to Italy so far this year, but now the North African country is threatening to do nothing to stem the flow – prompting fears countless more could enter Europe in the coming months.

      The flare-up in relations comes after Italian politicians voted to stop supplying Egypt with spare parts for F-16 fighter jets after the North African nation failed to investigate the death of an Italian student in Cairo.

    • Why do politicians keep building shelters instead of windmills?

      In scrambling to the latest threat against liberty and the net like a wild goose chase, it’s sometimes worth asking the bigger question: why do we have incompetent politicians in the first place that force us to be this vigilant for self-evident liberties?

      Fights for net neutrality and basic privacy in the European Union, for the right to cryptography in Russia, fights against insane ten-year prison sentences for sharing knowledge and culture in the UK. It’s just the latest attention grabbers in a long string of insanities dating backward in time: ACTA, SOPA, notice-and-takedown, messenger liability, the (first) crypto wars, and so on. From time to time, you can’t help but realize that being a liberty activist in this landscape necessarily means jumping from one brushfire to the next.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Putin Is Literally Breaking The Internet

      Earlier today, President Putin ordered the Federal Security Service to produce “encryption keys” capable of decrypting all data on the internet. No one is really sure what this means exactly, but the FSB has two weeks to make them, Meduza reports. That’s just one part of the Russian government’s silly and insanely expensive new plan for internet surveillance, signed into law under the “anti-terrorist” bill today and going into effect on July 20th.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Oracle’s $9 billion fight with Google continues

        Oracle has asked a judge — again — to throw out the verdict that found Google rightfully helped itself to Oracle programming code to create the Android operating system.

        Redwood City-based Oracle lost a lawsuit against Google when a federal jury in May found the Mountain View search giant had properly used the Java code under the “fair use” provision in U.S. copyright law.

        The law allows use of copyrighted material in limited circumstances based on the scope of use, to what extent the purpose is commercial, and the effect of the use on the material’s value or market potential. The Copyright Act provision can also permit use on the basis of whether it’s “transformative.” As a Stanford Library fact sheet puts it, “At issue is whether the material has been used to help create something new or merely copied verbatim into another work.”

      • Fair Use Threatens Innovation, Copyright Holders Warn

        Various music and movie industry groups have warned that fair use exceptions are a threat. The groups were responding to proposals put forward in Australia by the Government’s Productivity Commission. They claim that content creators will be severely disadvantaged if fair use is introduced Down Under.

      • Megaupload 2.0 to Launch With Original Megaupload User Database

        Following the news earlier this week that Kim Dotcom intends to relaunch Megaupload, the entrepreneur has just delivered a new surprise. Rather than a cold start, Megaupload 2.0 will hit the ground running by deploying the original Megaupload user database.

      • United Kingdom ignorant and clueless in pushing a ten-year prison sentence for unauthorized sharing: not even death penalty stops sharing

        The United Kingdom appears to stubbornly move ahead with a ten year prison sentence for unauthorized sharing. This is not just counterproductive, but stupid and ineffective. Evidence shows that not even a horrible death penalty deters sharing between people: it’s a deeply inwired altruistic behavior.

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