Battistelli Must Go, Says Yet Another French Politician, Arguing He is “Extremely Damaging to the Image of France”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

POTUS Operandi: Shoot the messenger, then add insult to injury

Claudine Lepage

Summary: The indefensible attacks on unions at the European Patent Office give growing room for concern, even among French politicians who see the EPO’s President abusing French staff

THE IMAGE above is of Claudine Lepage, whom we mentioned here before in relation to her complaints about Battistelli. Cordery too expressed concerns about what happened at The Hague. French politicians grow truly concerned and in this case Battistelli’s casualty is French too, which makes it somewhat of a unique case.

A Diaspora* user called “accolade” has provided us with a translation of Lepage’s latest writing on the subject and it goes like this:

Mood notes: the President of the EPO has struck again!

Posted on November 8, 2016 by admin

A staff representative, Laurent Prunier, has just been sacked, one more!

His crime? Having taken seriously his role as staff representative.

When is this going to stop? Let’s be clear: probably not before Benoît Battistelli, the current president, leaves.

How a European organism of a recognized quality and efficiency can mistreat its employees without any respect for international law work? In fact, the status of the EPO does not formally submit it to the social laws of the country in which it operates but is EPO an ​​lawlessness area where arbitrariness reigns supreme?

Why doesn’t France use its influence to remind Mr. Battistelli to his basic duties? His behavior and the resulting crisis of governance are extremely damaging to the image of France just at a moment when the EPO is facing strong competition in the field of intellectual property.

Benoît Batistelli must leave so the European Office find a peaceful social climate again!

Someone has meanwhile leaked to us an internal staff document that provides additional information. As we suspected, Mr. Prunier is being punished severely because “he wholeheartedly and consistently opposed the policies and certain decisions of Mr Battistelli and Ms Bergot.”

Here is the document describing what happened, with minor redactions:

9 November 2016
su16125cp – 0.3.2

Dismissal of Laurent Prunier

Munich, Friday 4 November 2016: Mr Battistelli dismisses Laurent Prunier, elected member of the CSC and secretary of SUEPO The Hague.

The tenor of Communiqué 9 that Mr Battistelli published the same day on the Intranet seems only to confirm that “communicating” is not about telling the truth. We wonder how many colleagues – at least among those still reading his Intranet announcements – will be genuinely convinced of the veracity of Mr Battistelli’s incredible story1. It seems that interested circles outside the Office have already taken a very different view on the matter: see for example the latest publications on the EPO of The Register or IPKat.

One thing is sure: Mr Battistelli clearly continues down a path to union suppression. To date, since January 20162:

- he has fired three SUEPO officials: Elizabeth Hardon and Ion Brumme in Munich; now Laurent Prunier in The Hague;

- he has downgraded another one: Malika Weaver in Munich;

- he is targeting at least two other officials in The Hague.

This is absolutely unprecedented in the world of International Organisations. If Mr Battistelli is ever remembered by anyone within IP circles in the next decade for reasons other than the negative impact his policies have on the quality of our patents, then it will surely be for his “union busting” actions.

In March 2016 and after several years of the deepest social crisis ever experienced in the EPO, the Administrative Council (AC) passed unanimously a resolution (CA/26/16) requesting Mr Battistelli not to take any decision in any disciplinary cases pending the submission to the AC of proper reforms on investigations and disciplinary procedures. During the last AC meeting (held on 12 and 13 October), many influential AC delegations told him again that they were expecting him to fully respect the constraints of the AC resolution and suspend all on-going procedures.

Mr Battistelli wilfully did exactly the opposite, publicly ridiculing the AC.

1 A story that Mr Battistelli has been telling many times in the past years, also publicly.
2 We do not forget that before 2016, Mr Battistelli downgraded Aurélien Pétiaud and Michael Lund, our two colleagues appointed by the Staff Committee on the Internal Appeals Committee until 2014; Before that, a dozen of staff representatives and union officials got a Warning in their personal file for sending emails to more than 50 colleagues.

Were this to happen anywhere else other than the EPO, Mr Battistelli and his crew would have already been sent packing by their bosses, something that the AC can3 and should do. Now that Mr Battistelli has dismissed Laurent, will the delegations finally realize that it is their capacity to control the organisation that is now questioned by all, both inside and outside the EPO? Are they going to finally act? Or will they continue to procrastinate, de facto conceding that Mr Battistelli controls them instead of they control him?

Laurent cannot share any of the details of his case without risking being further attacked abusively and sanctioned for breach of confidentiality. However, we trust his defence that he never harassed anyone, even less the alleged victim. Laurent and his counsels have informed us that:

- the accusations were malicious;

- the whole procedure was a farce exhibiting all possible violations of due process and basic defence rights;

- the charges finally laid against him were raised by a top manager and protégé of Mr Battistelli, not by the alleged victim.

Laurent’s real mistake appears to be that he wholeheartedly and consistently opposed the policies and certain decisions of Mr Battistelli and Ms Bergot. He is being made to pay a very high price for having done his job of staff representative and union official so efficiently. Not only has he been sacked, but to add insult to injury, he is now being defamed in front of his 7000 colleagues. The communiqué depicts him as a serial harasser who fully deserves the punishment inflicted upon him whilst at the same time he is deprived the right of reply, i.e. to publically uncover the truth hidden for all the reasons mentioned above.


Spontaneous, public protests at all sites culminated in Munich where 800 colleagues expressed their solidarity with Laurent by participating in a flash demo on Monday. Other actions and demos will be organised soon to continue to express our full support to Laurent and other SUEPO officials persecuted by Mr Battistelli. We will keep you posted.
3 The AC is the appointing authority and disciplinary body for the President of the Office.

Someone from the EPO has meanwhile told us that “Battistelli trying to defend the undefendable?” [sic] This was said in reference to what we published in the afternoon. “I couldn’t agree more with the following statement,” added this person, quoting “It’s like a whole diarrhea of false statements” (including defamation of the accused).

This is typical. Watch how Team Battistelli defamed even a judge. These people are void of any morals or principles. They’re thugs.

We kindly ask readers to remember that in this year’s EPO lies should be assumed in every statement made by the Office. This has become so routine that it damages the reputation of the Office very severely and it had us compare Battistelli to Pinocchio a lot more than once. The man is an embarrassment to France and his management team, which comprises a lot of French people, does no favour to the country’s image (nepotism, busting of unions, deception and so on).

Battistelli: Digging the EPO’s Grave Again (DEGA).

SUEPO (EPO Staff Union) “Fears Now That the Intention Behind This Blow is “to Destroy” the Union.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Translation of the new article from Heise, revealing some new bits of information about union-busting activity in The Hague

EARLIER today we published a call for translations, after we had gotten a translation from Skarbrand in Diaspora* as it turns out. It’s a translation of the article from Heise and although not perfect (especially not the terminology which was somewhat lost in translation), it does contain some relatively new information.

European parliament fires more union workers

picture text: Again demonstration of employees in front of the European Patent Agency in Munich. (picture: dpa, Frank Leonhardt)

After the heads of the in-house union Suepo in Munich lost their jobs, the leader of the EPA (European Patent Agency) fires the financial secretary of employee-representation in The Hague. Approximately 800 workers demonstrate against it.

Despite multiple intern conferences to brighten the working atmosphere, the struggle in the EPA wont stop. On Monday in-house union Suepo called again on short notice for demonstration. Insiders say around 800 people joined at the agency-seat in Munich. Reason for the action: EPA president Benoît Battistelli fired Suepo financial secretary Laurent Prunier in the Hague last week.

Battistelli against union

Heise Online stated the EPA leaders accused Laurent Prunier, during his written call to protest, of pressuring and harassing an employee-board member in the Netherlands capitol. In contrast the union says that there was never an official complaint. The appropriate international labour-court has already clearly stated, that intern employee differences have to be handled among each other, without interference of the agencies management.

In January during an disciplinary inquiry against three union workers (which seemed to have spied on a special investigation unit) Battistelli imposed strict sanctions: Suepo leader Elizabeth Hardon and her predecessor Ion Brumme were laid off, additionally the treasurer was degraded. Suepo fears now that the intention behind this blow is “to destroy” the union. As foreign institution, German law is not applicable to the EPA.

Unrest in the workforce

Because of unrest in the workforce the European Patent Organisation (EPO), which carries the EPA, called upon Battistelli to “lay low”. The president has to ensure that “the disciplinary enquiry not only has to be fair, it must also be perceived as such” according to the Communique. Possibilities for this are external examination or mediation.

It is stated in the document that the Frenchman has to inform the supervisory board “with appropriate detail” till after the trial and before other disciplinary enquiries. The controllers also demand suggestions to improve trust of the appropriate actions. There should be an agreement with the union “without precondition and the possibility for all topics in future discussions”.

Frenchman Battistelli is no ordinary person. There’s something irregular about him. “Regarding your latest post referring to Battistelli’s increasingly erratic
behaviour,” one source told us, “I heard that he caused something of an éclat at the AIPPI conference back in September, where he gave a speech. It seems that he was adamant that he should sit flanked by his two bodyguards at the banquet’s officials table.”

Our source for this said it is better to treat this as gossip, but either way, it would not be the first time we heard such stories (or worse). Some we cannot even publish as it would jeopardise sources.

“Not My President“: The Sentiment of European Patent Office Staff Towards Their Fascistic Boss

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trusting businessmen in suits to run an Office which is centered around science


Summary: Battistelli hits back at IAM’s dissent with an unprecedented volume of lies, European media catches up with union busting by Battistelli, and staff of the EPO expresses frustration with everything at the Office under Battistelli’s incompetent management

WHAT a gross liar the President of the EPO has become. It’s not even funny, it’s just utterly disgusting. First Chile had a 9/11 (regime change by coup), then came 11/9 in Berlin, then 9/11 in New York and now 11/9 again in the US. Coinciding with 11/9 in the US we now have Liar Supreme Battistelli drooling lies into the pages of IAM — a site he loves so much to cite in support of his lies.

“Coinciding with 11/9 in the US we now have Liar Supreme Battistelli drooling lies into the pages of IAM — a site he loves so much to cite in support of his lies.”Several days ago IAM’s editor in chief seemed to have had enough. He or a colleague said that Battistelli had scored an "own goal" and later wrote an entire article about it. Battistelli with his infamous temper must have blown a fuse at the sight of that and he pressured IAM to print a lot of lies without questioning or fact-checking. This new ‘article’ is the biggest and densest pile of lies I have come across since the buildup for the Iraq invasion (like those horrible articles from Judith Miller or tweets from Donald Trump about climate science). To quote just one fragment from his lies and revisionism:

On another point, I also strongly refute any accusations of “management by intimidation”. To try to base the discussions on facts rather than rumours, we asked a team of renowned, experienced external consultants to analyse the Office’s situation with respect to our financial and social situation, and health and well-being. The results show a strong improvement compared to 2010, with some remarkable achievements and some areas of progress. They were shared with all the stakeholders (staff, managers, staff representatives, trade union and AC delegations) and will continue to be debated with all in order to define our next priorities.

There are too many lies in this response to rebut one by one. It’s like a whole diarrhea of false statements and cleaning it all up with detailed evidence is a monumental (time-consuming) task. We sure hope that Joff Wild believes none of that stuff he had just clicked “Publish” on.

“Looking at IP Kat today, we still find some distressed calls for intervention.”Elsewhere in the media we now have some press coverage from Germany (once again it’s Stefan Krempl, who knows this conflict very well) and a politician’s rant from France (not the first time she speaks of these issues). Can native German and French speakers help us get a decent translation of both articles/columns? We strive to maintain an accurate and complete record of it all. Can anyone please translate these and securely send these to us for publication?

Looking at IP Kat today, we still find some distressed calls for intervention. Things are becoming rather grim at the Office and one person told us today that “Not My President” is an apt description of the sentiment inside the Office. It’s actually the bigoted President who encourages violence and intolerance, not the staff (his victims). “What is really going on, nobody gives a damn,” this one person said, as the management’s abuse just carries on and there’s no sign of it coming to an end any time soon. Here is the full comment:

In December, the AC will let BB do what he wants. They’ll back down, like they’ve always done since they unanimously reelected him. They know what they’re doing. They want him to stay there (as well as his VPs) to introduce the pension reform that he promised to deliver next year and which ALL delegates and their ministers want dearly, especially the “big” member states. When they tell BB to calm down, it’s just for the show, or maybe, for some, because they’re a bit annoyed by the bad press. When they say that they want it to look like there is justice, that’s exactly what they mean: it has to LOOK all right, nothing more. Because when it does not, some ministers get some embarrassing phone calls from journalists and that must stop. What is really going on, nobody gives a damn. If you want to predict what they will do, just ask yourself: what is the easiest thing to do ?

You’re on your own. Close ranks and hang on…

President Battistelli “has an history of simply ignoring the Council requests,” notes the following new comment:

So what happens next? Maybe that is the question that should be asked?

What happens if the Council decides to put some pressure on the President (for example by requesting cooperation under Article 20 ppi as suggested here)? Wouldn’t the President continue business as usual? He has an history of simply ignoring the Council requests, hasn’t he? It is quite naive from Merpel to believe that Article 20 would have any effect. Why would Battistelli care?

What happens if the Council does nothing? Battistelli simply continues till the end of his period and the member States simply stay with their arms crossed doing nothing because of immunity?

I am afraid, the most likely future is that Battistelli will simply carry on for the next 2 years, firing whomever he does not like every other month, continue to give well paid administrative posts to whomever he wants and spend money on buildings and computer system without any real control.

Here is a note about erosion of patent quality — a subject that has intrigued us for as long as it became and remained a public issue (several years ago):

If the EPO re-starts examining applications properly, i.e. to a high standard, including those I prosecute, I may be more supportive of anti-PB sentiment. However, improvements need to be made, whether or not PB is attempting to imprive anythig.

On an individual level, I am fully supportive of protecting people from unfair treatment I get a lot of myself.

Here is one response to this:

Chicken and egg. As long as BB dictates, examiners cannot change their standards back. He is trying and succeeding in spending less on examination while claiming that can be done with improved quality.
Your call. Can it for you?

Here is another message tackling Battistelli’s lies about patent quality:

You know what the Management of the EPO has been publishing.
We improved our quality.
Out union published data saying we feel less confident about our product quality.

If you feel the quality has declined, it is your job to defend your applicant’s rights by complaining to the EPO management that the quality you have received has declined.

There is no need to refer to the actual product, but examples can help.

And do it publicly, preferably not anonymously.

Only then will the public pick up on this problem, and media may gain attention.
And only then will there be a pressure on the AC members to actually change anything.

If you won’t do anything for you, we will not risk our job being proactive for you, as we will get problems when we do anything without being prompted to do so.

“As I see it,” one person added, “applicants who get dodgy patents granted because of the present examination” at the EPO. That’s an important point and here is the entire comment:

As I see it, applicants who get dodgy patents granted because of the present examination process which discourages examiners from raising objections, are unlikely to complain. It is only those who have to defend themselves against dodgy patents in the courts who would complain. It will take some time for these patents to reach the litigation stage, by which M. BB will be long gone. Only a small proportion of patents get litigated anyway.

Don’t expect to get much support from the UK IPO: since the move to Wales, the upper echelons have been increasingly populated by Civil Service generalists rather than ex-examiners who had risen through the ranks and actually understood from personal experience what it is all about. Compared with the 1980′s the status and working conditions of examiners has been much reduced, reflected in the various public consultations which have included proposals to stop examining the description (allegedly following an embryonic EPO proposal) and to move some of the examiners’ work to clerical staff, ostensibly to save money that ought to have resulted in fee reductions but which in practice gets creamed off as special dividends to the BIS.

Some people have chosen humour to describe their frustration and wrote odes like this one:

Eponians, wha hae wi’ Prunier bled,
Eponians, wham SUEPO has aften led,
Welcome tae your gory bed,
Or tae Victorie!

Noo’s the day, and noo’s the hour:
See the front o’ battle lour,
See approach proud Benoît’s power -
Zeljko and Elodie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Laat him turn and flee!

Wha, for Eponia’s rule o’ law,
Freedom’s sword will strangly draw,
Freeman stand, or Freeman fa’,
Laat him on wi’ me!

By Oppression’s woes and pains!
By your staff reps in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow! -
Laat us doe or dee!’

There was another such ode:

Psst.., it’s oh so quiet! says…

Many illegal loop holes remain to be plugged
EPO system is facing criticism and it is wholly bugged
Justice is sold as revealed with emergence of new facts
it is cleverly wrapped in BB’s words with simple tact

Under official ret act, nothing can be made public or revealed
Under the oath of secrecy it is cleverly concealed
Eponians can’t dream for getting immediate relief
Loosing faith and trust as mark of disbelief

Innocents are sometimes punished for nothing
Trial summary drags on for years to prove something
BB and his goons rule the scene
it has been made laughing stock which is never witnessed or seen

Let sacred principles of justice be upheld
Let innocents be not prosecuted and held
It may or can have legitimate delay
This may send the message across and relay

“Good to hear,” one insider told us this morning about our plan to continue covering these matters (we have a lot of material that has not been published yet). “It’s surprising that a critic of the EPO does so much to support its staff, and to save the Office. You would expect the AC to do that. But for political reasons they are (or at least were) against staff.”

“It’s surprising that a critic of the EPO does so much to support its staff, and to save the Office. You would expect the AC to do that. But for political reasons they are (or at least were) against staff.”
We were never against patents as a whole and certainly not against the EPO, just against particular elements therein, notably software patents. There’s a saying along the lines of, when people don’t criticise you, then they ceased to care, they no longer try to improve anything and thus it implies/insinuates your failure. I care about the EPO because I care about Europe and a potent patent system — not a production line — is what gives Europe a competitive edge. This weekend we’ll write about SIPO (China) and the USPTO, demonstrating just how attractive a target they’ve made their countries to patent trolls. They’re literally destroying their own country by issuing patents like Wells Fargo opens new bank accounts (“Wells Fargo Opened a Couple Million Fake Accounts” for those who have not heard yet).

At the EPO, based on our years of reporting (soon entering the third year of intensive/extensive reporting), workers worry. They want to do their job properly, but under Battistelli they cannot and many feel as though they’ll lose their job as Battistelli destroys their employer (the Office); The Administrative Council isn’t firing him because he allegedly pays them (or their country) — in its own right a sackable offense in a sane system.

“The situation at the EPO is catastrophic,” wrote one person today, adding some background information and writing to the original author, who has not touched the subject (EPO scandals) since the summer, until a few days ago…

You suggest that the AC members should invite a review and inspection from the national regulatory authorities in the countries in which the main Office sites are located, i.e. the German and Dutch labour ministries.

The idea is good. An honest man would not be afraid of an independent inspection. The problem comes when the man is not really honest and has things to hide.

The situation at the EPO is catastrophic. Far away from human rights, good governance and European standard. The dismissal of staff representatives and the no respect of the rules of law are the tip of the Iceberg.

Battistelli is all but stupid. He knows that an independent investigation at the EPO means the disclosure of a tyranny. The only inspection he will accept are the ones done by friendly auditors paid by himself (with the EPO money) which will repeat his rosy point of view.
The AC members know the situation at the EPO. They are afraid of the scandal that an independent inspection will pop up.
Because immediately questions will rise: Why did they let the situation go so far without control? Why the AC approved regulations that violate human rights and violate the rules of law? Which personal advantages did the AC members received from the EPO president to vote “yes” during years?

It’s rather amazing that in spite of 0% support from staff Battistelli continues to be the boss. The Council should stop sitting on its hands and its Chairman should pay closer attention to the irreparable longterm damage caused by Battistelli instead of skinning chinchillas for profit.

Benoît Battistelli’s Marching Orders in Spain Through His ‘Pet Chinchilla’ Patricia García-Escudero, Whom He Got Overseeing the Boards of Appeal

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following two photos have both just been published by the EPO

Patricia García-Escudero and Benoît Battistelli

Patricia García-Escudero at EPOPIC

Summary: The pet chinchilla in the Boards of Appeal Committee (BoAC) makes a public appearance and even facilitates Battistelli’s awful agenda inside of Spain

THE EPO has become so scandalous (an elaborate mess!) that we need new tools/facilities just to keep track of it all and keep it properly cataloged. The American patent system looks like a saint compared to today’s EPO. There aren’t just technical problems but also human rights issues, nepotism, and possibly criminal elements like fraud. The Office and by extension the entire Organisation is rapidly becoming Europe’s greatest source of shame.

Patricia García-Escudero is a symptom of what goes on inside the EPO under Battistelli’s reign. We wrote several articles about this last month [1, 2] (see these for background/details).

Here is the pet chinchilla of Battistelli (Patricia García-Escudero), as boasted in Twitter this week. “On the #EPOPIC stage,” the EPO wrote, “now is Patricia García-Escudero, Director General of @OEPM_es pic.twitter.com/wXJTH6VMOA”

“Is Europe harbouring a banana republic right at the very heart of Bavaria?”“Buenos días from the 26th edition of #EPOPIC in Madrid,” it said separately. “Who’s joining us? pic.twitter.com/iY25LA4n2V”

Well, Patricia García-Escudero is joining you guys pretty soon. More specifically, she’ll serve almost like Battistelli’s ‘mole’ inside the BoAC. How can anyone not see that there is a ‘mole’ in the supposedly ‘independent’ Boards of Appeal? This was foreseen and it is increasingly being confirmed. Watch the photo in this new EPO “news” item (epo.org link). Scroll down and focus on the picture of “Ms Patricia García-Escudero, Director General of the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office and President Benoît Battistelli” under “Bilateral co-operation plan signed with Spain” (guess who signed it).

Remember Spain's opposition to the UPC. Is Battistelli using connections through a Vice-President from Spain? The EPO said this yesterday: “The EPO President used the occasion of the Madrid conference to meet with representatives of Spanish government, industry, media and the IP profession. After meeting with José María Jover, Under-Secretary of Industry, Energy and Tourism and President of the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, a new bilateral co-operation plan in the field of patents was signed with Ms Patricia García-Escudero, Director General of the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office. Covering the period 2016-2018, the new bilateral cooperation plan also includes projects in the field of Patent Information and Awareness and Patent related IT services and tools. Spain has been a member of the European Patent Organisation since 1 October 1986. Last year the EPO received more than 1 500 patent applications from Spain, an increase of 3.8% over the previous year.”

The main issue here is that with growing proximity to Battistelli and his ilk it’s almost guaranteed that Patricia García-Escudero has new loyalties and she’ll be a force for Battistelli — not a force for good/justice — inside the BoAC. How can the AC (Administrative Council) be so blind to this? Is Europe harbouring a banana republic right at the very heart of Bavaria?

Links 10/11/2016: Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux (by Proxy), F2FS Growing Up

Posted in News Roundup at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

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  • Health/Nutrition

    • Nestlé Just Granted Permit to Double Water Extraction 120 Miles from Flint, MI

      Nestlé is at it again. Recently publicly condemned for pumping 36 million gallons of water from Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest, paying a meager $524 annually for a permit that expired long ago, the multi-national company is now planning to milk the citizens of Flint, Michigan, to keep their water privatization plan afloat.

      Nestlé was just given a permit to almost double the groundwater they extract from the Michigan area amidst the recent Flint water crisis. This means the company will be taking more than 210 million gallons annually while many Flint residents are still suffering from the long-term effects of lead exposure.

      Nestlé is not even based in the U.S., but the Swiss transnational is taking water from hundreds of local water supplies. The U.S. represents its largest bottled water market. Nestlé also controls more than 70 of the world’s bottled water brands, among them Perrier, San Pellegrino, Ice Mountain, Pure Life, and Vittel.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Pentagon Again Dramatically Under-Reports Civilians Killed in Airstrikes

      Previous reports from Centcom were a dramatic under-count, and that trend continued with this new report, which carefully omitted some of the biggest and most well-documented incidents, which apparently fell into the category of strikes that the Pentagon decided not to investigate at all.

      The most conspicuously absent figures are from mid-July, when a flurry of US airstrikes against the city of Manbij and the surrounding area killed an estimated 200 civilians. At least 56 civilians were killed in one single incident, which at the time the US claimed they “mistook for ISIS.”

      Despite the Pentagon feeling the need to come up with excuses for the Manbij strikes at the time, they not only didn’t include them in the final death toll, but didn’t even hazard an attempt to mention the well-documented incidents in the document.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Now that Trump has won, TransCanada wants to give Keystone XL pipeline another try

      TransCanada said it hopes to persuade a new Trump administration to revive the controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline that President Obama rejected on Nov. 6, 2015.

      Taking advantage of President-elect Trump’s vow to launch a series of major infrastructure programs, Calgary-based TransCanada said it was “evaluating ways to convince the new administration on the benefits, the jobs and the tax revenues this project brings to the table.”

      “TransCanada remains fully committed to building Keystone XL,” the company said.

    • Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline set to begin its final, most contested stretch

      The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline is preparing to tunnel under Lake Oahe, the body of water at the heart of the protests against the crude oil pipeline. This last phase of construction would join the two already-completed sections of the pipeline, Reuters reports.

      The company, Energy Transfer Partners, announced today that drilling underneath the lake will start in two weeks despite government agencies’ requests to wait, according to The Guardian. The pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, the company says.

      Protesters, including the local Standing Rock Sioux tribe, have been fighting the the $3.7 billion pipeline since April. They argue that the pipeline, which is intended to carry crude oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Illinois, could pollute water supplies and destroy culturally important land. In September, the US Justice and Interior Departments and the Army Corps of Engineer requested that Energy Transfer Partners voluntarily stop construction underneath the lake.

    • America’s Brief Role as a Climate Leader Is Probably Over

      While America was watching Donald Trump sweep the polls, climate representatives from over 200 countries saw America’s commitments to international climate goals blow away. This week, climate negotiators—along with NGOs, journalists, and other observers—are gathered in Marrakesh, Morroco to flesh out the details of the Paris agreement, newly ratified and enacted by the United Nations to address climate change. And though Trump hasn’t described his climate and energy policies in detail, he has made it clear that he will not honor promises the Obama administration made to combat the intensifying global warming catastrophe.

      The Clean Power Plan. Tax breaks for renewable energy. Cabinet appointees and a Supreme Court seat. Trump has the power to drastically change US environmental policy—and as the soon-to-be-leader of the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, his decisions will change the math for other nations previously committed to climate regulations. Some will follow the US, and dial back (or abandon) their goals. Others will stay the course. And still others might double down on climate goals, potentially gaining global clout as a result. However the 45th president of the US proceeds, his decisions on climate will affect everyone on Earth.

  • Finance

    • Shock as India scraps 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes

      Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says “honest people” have no need to worry about a decision to scrap 1,000 and 500 rupee notes.

      Mr Jaitley said the move would flush out tax evaders, adding that all old notes deposited in banks would be subjected to tax laws.

      The surprise move, announced on Tuesday evening, is part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings.

    • Robots Will Take Two-Thirds of All Jobs In the Developing World, UN Says

      It’s a common belief that low-wage workers will be hit the hardest by advanced robots in the workplace. When we take a global perspective on this, the people that will be most affected by widespread automation won’t be workers in North America, according to a new United Nations report—it’ll be people in developing countries.

      Automation stands to reduce opportunities for low-wage workers in North America, the report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development states. But the types of jobs most likely to be eliminated entirely are more prevalent in developing nations. That’s because those same jobs, in sectors like farming and manufacturing, have already mostly dried up in wealthier nations as corporations have moved their operations abroad, in search of higher profits through lower wage costs.

    • Feeling the oil crunch: Saudi Arabia cancels $266bn in projects

      Saudi Arabia’s governing economic body called the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA) has cancelled $266.7 billion in projects, the Saudi Press Agency said, and announced it would be settling much-delayed private-sector payments by year end.

      The projects that have been canceled are the ones that are not expected to accelerate the kingdom’s growth or improve the living standards for its people.

      The cancellations were first considered in September, but at the time, it was noted that only $20 billion in projects would be considered to put on the chopping block.

      The size of the delayed payments—mainly due to severe hits to the kingdom’s oil revenue—remains undisclosed, but it includes delayed payments to construction firms, medical establishments, and foreign consultants. One analyst, according to Reuters, estimated that the amount still owing just to construction firms was US$21 billion.

    • Engineer sold as slave in Saudi Arabia, family wants him back

      An automobile engineer, who went to Saudi Arabia for better job opportunities, has allegedly been “sold” to a Saudi national as a slave to work in his camel farm. The family members of Jayanta Biswas have approached the Ministry of External Affairs for help in bringing him back from Saudi Arabia.

      However, they are yet to receive a word from the ministry. “We appeal to the Indian government to initiate action in order to bring my brother back. We are at our wit’s end,” Gouri Biswas, elder sister of Jayanta, said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Huffington Post ending editor’s note that called Donald Trump ‘racist’

      The Huffington Post’s editor’s note calling Donald Trump as a “racist” and “xenophobe” is no more, a source in the newsroom tells POLITICO.

      For months, every story on the Huffington Post about Trump came with the following note at the bottom of the article.

    • Vigils and protests swell across U.S. in wake of Trump victory

      Vigils and protests continued into the early hours Thursday as opponents of President-elect Donald Trump expressed dismay with the election results, underscoring the difficult task he faces in uniting a fractured country.

      Despite Hillary Clinton and President Obama urging their backers to accept Trump’s victory and support his transition into power, thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets decrying his crude comments about women and attacks on immigrants.

      Protests were reported in cities across the nation, from major metropolitan centers like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to smaller cities, such as Richmond and Portland, Ore. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested.

      Even cities in red states, such as Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo., saw demonstrations.

      At least two police officers in Oakland, Calif., were injured as protesters took to the streets and chanted slogans against Trump, a police spokeswoman said. A few protesters threw objects at police dressed in riot gear, set off fireworks and started small trash fires.

    • Donald Trump and the Art of the Political Deal

      If you have a quick look at President-Elect Donald Trump’s approach – as a businessperson – to legal obligations, you may see something interesting about his approach to politics.

      Trump sees himself as a master of the “art of the deal”.

      And he certainly has an interesting and artful approach to contract law.

      By way of background, classical contract law is about the sanctity of the agreement: the bargain.

      All parties to a contract agree in advance what to do throughout the period of the contract regarding foreseeable risks. This means that there is a lot of “front-end” thought put into a contract: more time working things out in advance, the fewer problems later.

    • The US Election

      But my main point is the European establishment’s response to the Trump presidential victory. And let us not deceive ourselves here – this was an emphatic victory. The American people wanted a candidate for change, for a push-back against the perceived Washington political elite.

      Perhaps the election could have swung in another direction towards another candidate for change – if Bernie Sanders had been the Democrat nominee. Alas, as we know from the DNC files leaked to and published by Wikileaks, his campaign was undermined by his own party in favour of Hillary Clinton, while promoting Trump as the Republican candidate that Clinton could beat.

    • Canadian immigration site crashes after Trump leads in election

      As the US presidential elections move along, Canada’s informational website for immigration has unexpectedly crashed as Donald Trump currently leads in votes.

    • RNC model showed Trump losing

      The RNC’s sophisticated predictive modeling had Trump losing in the campaign’s last stretch, all the way until the Friday afternoon before the election, according to an embargoed briefing the RNC delivered to reporters at the party’s Capitol Hill headquarters on Friday afternoon.

      At the time of the briefing, the RNC’s model showed Trump finishing 30 electoral votes short of the tally needed to clinch the White House, while losing by various margins to Hillary Clinton in the battleground states of Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

      Trump won all those states, and the Associated Press declared him the winner at 2:31 a.m. on Wednesday — a shocking upset victory that most pollsters struggled to explain.


      The briefing was called ostensibly to highlight the RNC’s advances in voter modeling and its heavy investment in the party’s ground game. But it also seemed at least partly intended to prove that the Republican Party gave Trump — and all of its 2016 candidates — the tools to succeed in 2016.

      The suggestion was unmistakable: if Trump loses, the blame should fall on the rookie candidate and his overmatched campaign — and not the party or its chairman Reince Priebus.

      The briefing was conducted by the RNC’s top staff, who asked reporters to agree not to divulge details — or even the existence of the briefing — before the election was called.

      The RNC’s model included 9.8 billion rows of data collected from 26 million phone calls that allowed the RNC to assign scores between 0 and 100 on all manner of issues.

    • [Old] How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind

      I was born and raised in Trump country. My family are Trump people. If I hadn’t moved away and gotten this ridiculous job, I’d be voting for him. I know I would.

    • How Does the Electoral College Work?

      The Electoral College is a group of people that elects the president and the vice president of the United States. (The word “college” in this case simply refers to an organized body of people engaged in a common task.)

      As voters head to the polls on Tuesday, they will not vote for the presidential candidates directly, in a popular vote. Instead, they will vote to elect specific people, known as “electors” to the college. Each state gets a certain number of electoral votes based on its population.

    • Trump won – now what?

      In some sort of a reaction against the political elite, a corrupt system, and political correctness – the US has elected Donald Trump as president.

      On the one hand, it is more or less impossible to foresee the president elects politics on IT, mass surveillance, and civil rights. (OK, he has opened up for torture of suspected terrorists – but I’m not sure that he himself will remember or stand by that.)

    • Why TV News Couldn’t Quit Donald Trump

      Donald Trump’s relationship with the news media during his successful run for the presidency was, put politely, complex. A better word might be codependent. Trump lashed out regularly at those whose coverage of his campaign he found unfavorable — tweeting insults, banning and unbanning news organizations, promising to strengthen libel and defamation laws. But free media coverage, particularly from TV news outlets, was also the fuel that powered the Trump machine.

      What television news outlets received in return were outsize ratings. For the four weeks of Oct. 10-Nov. 6, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC averaged 84% more primetime viewers than they did over the same period a year ago. The increased numbers — and accompanying ad dollars — rolled in as the networks handed large swathes of airtime over to live feeds of Trump campaign events. Those same networks were caught by surprise Tuesday night by Trump’s victory. Now they must decide whether the trade-off was worth it.

      “I think they have to examine the amount of unfiltered airtime they gave to the President-elect,” said Katz Television Group’s Bill Carroll. “If you were going to look at any of the cable networks for the last year, often the key phrase would be, ‘And now we go to a rally for Donald Trump.’”

    • The Day After

      So: we wake up the morning after the US election to discover … what?

      Here’s my short term prediction, followed by my long term prediction. (And if you are American, I’m very, very, sorry.)

      Next couple of months: Obama exits. People will feel a strange sad fondness for the utopian era of good governance. (In time, the past 8 years will seem surrounded by a rosy glow, as of Camelot during the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; they will even come to think kindly of George W. Bush.)

    • Industry, party figures mix with Trump loyalists for cabinet picks

      The US government’s science efforts are split across a variety of agencies. Some are obvious, like the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of the Interior, which oversees the national parks and Endangered Species Act. But others are less so. For example, the Commerce Department includes the NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while the National Institutes of Health falls within the Department of Health and Human Services.

      The people who run these agencies will have major say over the US’ research priorities for the next four years, and they’ll determine what role science plays in making policy decisions. So, as the Trump transition team begins the work of vetting potential candidates, the rumored names may say a lot about what we can expect.

      A lot of these rumors are preliminary enough that they essentially tell us nothing. For example, possible candidates floated for Commerce Secretary include everyone from the Republican National Committee finance chair (Lew Eisenberg), to two different business executives, to several of Trump’s former primary opponents like Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry. The NOAA keeps one of the US’ two temperature records used for climate monitoring (NASA keeps the other), and it tracks the ocean’s health. (It may also get all of NASA’s earth sciences research.) But it’s hard to guess whether any of these figures would pay much attention to these activities, much less make major revisions in them.

    • WikiLeaks not letting up on Clinton, Podesta

      WikiLeaks on Wednesday published a 36th batch of emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, just hours after the presidential election concluded with Donald Trump’s victory over Clinton.

      The release, which includes 225 emails obtained from Podesta’s personal Gmail account, brings the total released by WikiLeaks to 58,660. The organization began releasing the messages in early October, and claimed at the time to have around 50,000 on hand. It isn’t clear how many more the website holds, or how long the releases will continue, but they seemed timed to hurt Clinton’s chances of becoming the next president.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China’s vast Internet prison

      CHINA’S INTERNET is a universe of contradictions. It has brought hundreds of millions of people online and has become a vast marketplace for digital commerce, yet it is also heavily policed by censors to snuff out any challenge to the ruling Communist Party. Under President Xi Jinping, the censors are working overtime to keep 721 million Internet users under control.

    • China’s new cybersecurity laws could have chilling effect on Tibet

      The Chinese government is to further restrict Internet use by adopting a new law that may have serious consequences for Tibetans who try to communicate with the outside world.

      The regressive measure named the Cybersecurity Law was passed by China’s Parliament on 7 November in order to combat what Beijing said is a growing threat of hacking and terrorism, but it has drawn criticism from the international community, business groups and human rights groups.

      The law aims to strengthen the country’s already restrictive internet controls by forcing companies to censor information the government declares “prohibited” and to support state surveillance requests. This includes requiring them to monitor network activity and provide investigative assistance to security agencies.

    • Far-right Polish groups protest Facebook profile blockages

      Several far-right Polish groups have protested outside Facebook’s office in Warsaw after the social networking site temporarily blocked their profiles.

      About 120 people demonstrated in the Polish capital Saturday afternoon, denouncing what they said was “censorship.”

      Facebook recently blocked the profiles of far-right nationalist groups ahead of nationalist demonstrations on Independence Day next Friday, Nov. 11. In recent years, extremist groups have clashed violently with police on the annual holiday. Facebook has since unblocked the profiles.

    • When the screen goes blank

      The Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s 24-hour ban on the television channel NDTV India over its Pathankot coverage is being seen as an attempt to muzzle inconvenient live reportage. And worse, a case of selective vendetta. The Ministry has invoked the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015, on the ground that the channel broadcast “crucial information” which compromised national security. These rules prohibit “live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces” and restrict media coverage to “periodic briefing” by a designated officer “till such operation concludes”. It is not clear if the channel’s impugned broadcast was ‘live coverage’ or just ‘reportage’.

    • Censorship and ‘censorship’

      AT&T, the communications conglomerate which owns Direct TV, was hauled into the court of public opinion Friday, charged with censorship for pulling the plug on Fox News.

      Irate customers of the satellite television subscriber service took to the internet to voice their suspicions, tar and feathers at the ready.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A madman has been given the keys to the surveillance state

      When the USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law on October 26, 2001, it erased many of the vital checks and balances that stood between the American people and their government. As Bush supporters cheered the unprecedented power that their people in Washington now held, the civil liberties world warned them: “Your president has just fashioned a weapon that will be wielded by all who come after him.”

    • Facebook built another Snapchat clone specifically for emerging markets [Ed: Facebook comes up with new ways to spy on people people, hoarding more secrets that can be sold]

      We’ve seen this play out before. Twice, in fact. In both instances — first with Poke, then with Slingshot — Facebook’s attempt to create a legitimate Snapchat competitor flopped.

    • Google’s Android Phones Threaten Democracy, ACLU Technologist Warns

      The editors at Businessweek like that approach. In a Halloween post on Bloomberg View, the editors argued privacy would be better served if internet service providers gave consumers the option to pay for it rather than for the FCC to require—as it recently has—that consumers must opt in to corporate surveillance. The editors wrote, “So-called pay-for-privacy policies, in which companies charge users more in exchange for not tracking them, is one promising approach.”

      It turns out that privacy already has a price, and one can roughly find it in a straightforward way, according to Christopher Soghoian, a technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. It runs about $400. That’s the price of the cheapest new iPhone available on the market today.

      In a recently released TED talk, Soghoian said there’s a “digital security divide” between wealthier iPhone users and generally low-income buyers of devices running on Google’s Android operating system. This threatens democracy, he argues, because today’s new civil rights movements run on mobile technology, but most of these new leaders’ followers will receive marching orders on phones that don’t protect them.

    • A Trumped America makes for bad UK surveillance, warns Open Rights Group

      THE OPEN RIGHTS GROUP (ORG) has been quick to express concerns that the new American president, a known reactionary blowhard, now runs the US National Security Agency (NSA) and will therefore work closely with GCHQ.

    • Trump’s torture support could mean the end of GCHQ-NSA relationship
    • Obama has handed a surveillance state and war machine to a maniac

      In a little over two months, Donald Trump – after his shocking victory last night – will control a vast, unaccountable national security and military apparatus unparalleled in world history. The nightmare that civil libertarians have warned of for years has now tragically come true: instead of dismantling the surveillance state and war machine, the Obama administration and Democrats institutionalised it – and it will soon be in the hands of a maniac.

      It will go down in history as perhaps President Obama’s most catastrophic mistake.

      The Obama administration could have prosecuted torturers and war criminals in the Bush administration and sent an unmistakable message to the world: torture is illegal and unconscionable. Instead the president said they would “look forward, not backward”, basically turning a clear felony into a policy dispute. Trump has bragged that he will bring back torture – waterboarding and “much worse”. He has talked about killing the innocent family members of terrorists, openly telling the world he will commit war crimes.

    • President Obama Should Shut Down the NSA’s Mass Spying Before It’s Too Late

      Modern surveillance programs would be a disaster under President Trump

      President Obama has just 71 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as our next commander-in-chief. That means he has a matter of weeks to do one thing that could help prevent the United States from veering into fascism: declassifying and dismantling as much of the federal government’s unaccountable, secretive, mass surveillance state as he can — before Trump is the one running it.

    • Scared About Trump Wielding FBI And NSA Cyber Power? You Should Be
    • People in tech are freaking out about Donald Trump being given control of the NSA

      Last month, Wired published a story with the headline “Imagine if Donald Trump controlled the NSA.” Now there’s no need to imagine.

      Trump overcame all odds on Wednesday when he became the 45th president-elect of the United States. As a result, he’s about to gain control of the US intelligence agencies, including the NSA (National Security Agency).

    • Could President Trump Really Turn the NSA Into a Personal Spy Machine?

      It’s the nightmare scenario that many worried about: the US elects a president who uses the country’s nearly omnipotent surveillance powers for his or her own gain. Edward Snowden has described the NSA’s spying capabilities as the “architecture of oppression,” with the fear being that it could be deployed by a malicious commander in chief.

      But what could President Trump, a man who has incited hate speech against minorities and threatened to jail his political rivals, actually do with the NSA? Could he turn the NSA into his own personal spying army?

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Girls as young as 12 married off overseas, dropped off at school by 30-year-old husbands

      A Sydney woman, who attended Islamic colleges in Sydney’s west, says girls as young as 12 would be married off overseas and some were dropped off at school by husbands aged in their 30s.

      Iraqi-born Bee al-Darraj, now 24, said she tried to report multiple counts of child marriage among her friends and relatives to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) without success.

    • Erdogan: Don’t heed what Europe says, listen to what Allah says

      Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on his supporters not to heed what “Europe says and care about what Allah says,” on the latest developments in his country which the European Union described as “extremely worrying.”

      Addressing a public gathering in the capital Ankara, Erdogan slammed the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leaders and lawmakers, 10 of whom Turkish authorities imprisoned since Friday.

      “Those who lean on terrorists will continue paying the price,” said Erdogan referring to a speech by the now jailed HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag.

      The HDP co-chair had earlier praised the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

      “We lean on the YPG, YPJ, and Rojava,” Yuksekdag had declared in a July 2015 speech to a crowd in the Suruc district of Urfa Province right across the border with the town of Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan.

      Kobani was notably saved from a complete IS takeover earlier in the year by the US-backed Kurdish forces.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality is suddenly on the chopping block

      The release of the FCC’s net neutrality rules in 2015 heralded one of the most important progressive changes to the internet in memory. The rules, which barred data throttling and paid fast lanes, were celebrated as a central tenet of Obama-era government regulation. At the time, Obama said the “decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

      Now it seems possible that next generation won’t see net neutrality in action. Although telecom policy was hardly a central pillar of Trump’s candidacy, he has gone on record against it. “Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab,” Trump tweeted in 2014. “Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.” (It’s unclear what Trump means with comparisons to the FCC’s long-eliminated Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to provide airtime for opposing views. Conservative media was also not “targeted” by net neutrality in any tangible way.)

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Troll Backs Down When Faced With Exposure

        Companies that make money from threatening alleged file-sharers are known for their bullying tactics but those who are prepared to fight back can enjoy success. A letter sent by a defense lawyer to the copyright trolls behind the movie London Has Fallen provides an excellent and highly entertaining example.

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