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11.06.17

Links 6/11/2017: OpenStack ‘Down Under’, New Financial Leaks

Posted in News Roundup at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Future Of Linux Operating Systems On Desktop Computers

      Linux operating systems have dominated all aspects of the computing operating systems but one. From servers to supercomputers and even on mobile and embedded devices with Android, Linux is either the only choice or the most popular amongst them. But when it comes to the desktop, Linux has not been able to dominate although it has become quite an important player in this space. Linux on the desktop continues to gain popularity but how far can it go? Join me as I look at the future of Linux on the desktop.

    • CompuLab Announces The Tiny Fitlet2 Linux PC, Powered By Intel Apollo Lake

      The Linux-friendly folks at CompuLab have just announced their newest industrial-grade, fanless PC: the fitlet2.

      The original Fitlet that we reviewed back in 2015 proved to be a tiny, passively-cooled, fanless Linux PC. That original Fitlet was making use of an AMD SoC while now with the Fitlet2 they opted for Intel’s latest Apollo Lake hardware.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Most Interesting Features Of The Linux 4.14 Kernel

      f Linux 4.14 weren’t an LTS release with so many changes, it would likely be released today with -rc7 having come last week, but due to the size of this new kernel, 4.14-rc8 will most likely be christened today followed by Linux 4.14 next weekend. Here’s a reminder about some of the most technically interesting work in this new kernel update.

    • AT&T, Tech Mahindra to build open source AI platform
    • Linux 4.14-rc8

      So it’s actually been a pretty good week, and I’m not really unhappy
      with any of the patches that came in.

      But to actually have decided that we don’t need an rc8 this release,
      it would have had to be really totally quiet, and it wasn’t. Nothing
      looks scary, but we did have a few reverts in here still, and I’ll
      just feel happier giving 4.14 another final week.

      .. and I really hope that _will_ be the final week, and we don’t find
      anything new scary.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Delayed for November 12 as Linus Torvalds Announces 8th RC
    • Linux 4.14-rc8 Released: Final Next Week Followed By Linux 4.15
    • Look back to an end-of-life LTS kernel : 3.10

      The end of the 3.10 branch is a good opportunity to have a look back at how that worked, and to remind some important rules regarding how to choose a kernel for your products, or the risks associated with buying products running unmaintained kernels.

    • The Linux Foundation Releases 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report

      The 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report has now been released by the nonprofit Linux Foundation, with updated statistics on Linux kernel development. The report has analyzed the work done by 15,600 developers over more than ten years, as well as more recent trends in kernel development.

    • Graphics Stack

      • “Chai” As An Effort For Reverse-Engineered ARM Mali T-Series Graphics

        This project called “Chai” is focusing on the Mali T760 graphics as found bundled in the Rockchip RK3288 SoC. But before getting too excited, the Chai code-base hasn’t seen any new commits in three months already. Chai itself is derived from the reverse-engineering work, tooling, and other fundamentals done years ago by the Lima driver project that was all about Mali reverse engineering albeit with older generations of ARM’s Mali graphics hardware.

      • Lugdunum Is Another Interesting Open-Source Vulkan 3D Engine, With glTF 2.0 Too

        A few days back I wrote about the Banshee engine picking up Linux support and its maturing Vulkan renderer. A Phoronix reader pointed out another project worthy of a shout-out.

        Lugdunum is a cross-platform 3D engine built around Khronos APIs, not only with Vulkan support but also glTF 2.0 for assets. Lungdunum is coded in C++14.

    • Benchmarks

      • Nouveau Linux 4.14 + Mesa 17.4-dev vs. NVIDIA

        It’s been a while since last posting any open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) benchmarks compared to the official NVIDIA proprietary Linux graphics driver simply as there hasn’t been too much progress to report on recently. There still isn’t re-clocking for Maxwell 2 and Kepler GPUs, dynamic re-clocking remains unimplemented for earlier generations of GPUs, there is not a Nouveau Vulkan driver yet, and they remain tackling OpenGL 4.4~4.5 compliance. But for those wondering how the performance of Nouveau is with re-clocked Kepler / Maxwell 1 graphics cards, here are some fresh benchmarks of the very latest NVIDIA Linux drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • New Features in Enlightenment 22

      The E22 development cycle has been underway for over a year, and it has included over 1,500 patches to address nearly 200 tickets on our issue tracker. With this has come a number of new features and improvements.

    • Enlightenment 22 Is Packing Much Better Wayland Support, Meson Build System

      With Enlightenment E22 having been in development for one year and queued over 1,500 patches so far, the next release could be near with a great number of new features and improvements.

      With Enlightenment E22 the developers have been working on “greatly improved” Wayland support, continued improvements to their gadget infrastructure, a sudo/ssh password GUI, Meson build system support, tiling window policy improvements, per-window PulseAudio volume controls, and various other additions and bug fixes.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • BeeFree OS 18.1.2

        While the look of the distribution did not appeal to me, the CenterFree application bundles do hold promise. There are many popular applications featured, including the WPS productivity suite, and the idea of having off-line bundles I could port across distributions certainly appealed. I think the on-line app store still needs a little work to make it more user friendly though. The website should probably be secured by HTTPS and, ideally, the BeeFree distribution should recognize CenterFree bundles and be able to install them without a trip to the command line. In short, I like the concept, I just think the approach needs some final touches to make the on-line store easier for newcomers to use.

        In the end, I came away from using BeeFree OS thinking that the project may hold some promise, but I think more time is needed for the distribution to go from a mash-up of other projects to having its own, polished identity and style.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • What’s New in Q4OS 2.4 Scorpion

        Q4OS 2.4 codenamed “scorpion” is the latest release of Q4OS 2 series. This is a long-term support LTS release, to be supported for at least five years with security patches and software updates. Based on Debian Stretch 9.2 and using Trinity 14.0.5 desktop environment as default desktop environment and it is available for 64bit and 32bit/i686pae computers, as well as i386 systems without PAE extension.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2017.07 KDE – Majestic and horrible

        It is amazing how similar and yet how vastly different two distributions can be, even though they share so much same DNA. Mageia delivered very good results throughout. PCLinuxOS, apart from small glitches early on, was splendid. But then, as if it had developed a second personality, it went ballistic with those desktop crashes, and finally, a completely borked setup due to issues with the package manager. That’s the one thing that is different between Mageia and PCLinuxOS, but then, I’ve never really had any issues with apt-get and/or Synaptic.

        All I can say is that my PCLinuxOS 2017.07 testing delivers a bi-polar message. One, you get some really super-user-friendly stuff that surpasses anything else in the Linux world, with tons of goodies and focus on everyday stuff. You also get some idiosyncrasies, but that’s Mandriva legacy, and it definitely can benefit from some modern-era refresh. Two, the series of Plasma crashes and the package management fiasco that totally ruined the good impressions. Well, I may give this another shot some day, as the early work was ultra promising. I recommend you proceed with caution, as the package management side of things looks quite dangerous. No scoring, as I have no idea why it went so badly wrong, but that’s a warning of its own. Majestic and lethal. Take care.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Users Get Latest KDE Plasma 5.11.2 Desktop and Mesa 17.2.3

        Back to publishing weekly reports about the latest updates landing in the openSUSE Tumbleweed operating system, Dominique Leuenberger is reporting on the contents of the newest snapshots.

        No less than seven snapshots have been released to the OpenSuSE Tumbleweed repositories during this week, which means it’s at its highest capacity, bringing users some of the recent software updates and technologies. First off, users can now update to the latest KDE Plasma 5.11.2 desktop environment and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0 stack.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Releases Red Hat OpenStack 12

        Today at the OpenStack Summit Sydney 2017, Red Hat Inc. announced the latest version of its massively-scalable and agile cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Red Hat OpenStack 12. This new IaaS is based off of OpenStack’s Pike release, and introduces containerized services, improving flexibility while decreasing complexity for faster application development. Red Hat OpenStack 12 also comes with a slew of new enhancements such as an upgraded DCI (distributed continuous integration) and improved security to help maintain data compliance and manage risk.

      • Red Hat Powers a Fully Open, Massively-Scalable Private Cloud for Insurance Australia Group with Red Hat OpenStack Platform

        OpenStack Summit Sydney 2017 – Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) is using Red Hat OpenStack Platform to help consolidate and simplify its legacy infrastructure. A trusted partner of IAG for seven years, Red Hat is now helping IAG use the power of open source technology to bring together disparate data sources into a single, scalable private cloud solution to improve customer experience.

      • Red Hat Improves IT Flexibility and Reduces Complexity with Linux Containers in Latest Version of Production-Ready OpenStack Platform

        OpenStack Summit Sydney 2017 – Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open-source solutions, today announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12, the latest version of Red Hat’s massively scalable and agile cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Based on the OpenStack “Pike” release, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 introduces containerized services, improving flexibility while decreasing complexity for faster application development. Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 delivers many new enhancements, including upgraded DCI (distributed continuous integration) and improved security to help maintain data compliance and manage risk.

      • Red Hat starts moving its OpenStack platform to containers

        Red Hat is still best known for its Linux distribution, but the company has also long offered its own OpenStack distribution and additional services as well. Today, the company launched version 12 of the Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

        This update includes all of the usual stability improvements and bug fixes, but what’s probably most important for the distribution in the long run is that Red Hat is now starting to move all of its OpenStack platform to containers.

        Version 12 of the platform is based on the OpenStack Pike release, the 16th release of OpenStack, which launched just over two months ago. Current Red Hat OpenStack Platform customers include the likes of BBVA, FICO, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and TechCrunch’s corporate overlords at Verizon.

      • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Reviving GHDL in Debian

        It has been a few years since Debian last had a working VHDL simulator in the archive. Its competitor Verilog has been covered by the iverilog and verilator simulator packages, but GHDL was the only option for VHDL in Debian and that has become broken, orphaned and was eventually removed. I have just submitted an ITP to make my work on it official.

        A lot has changed since the last Debian upload of GHDL. Upstream development is quite active and it has gained free reimplementations of the standard library definitions (the lack of which frustrated at least two attempts at adoption of the Debian package). It has gained additional backends, in addition to GCC it can now also use LLVM and its own custom mcode (x86 only) code generator. The mcode backend should provide faster compilation at the expense of lacking sophisticated optimization, hence it might be preferable over the other two for small projects.

      • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in October 2017
      • debconf mailinglists moved to lists.debian.org

        Today I had the pleasure to move the debconf mailinglists to lists.debian.org.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Podcast: S10E35 – Berserk Miniature Need
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.5 Beta 3 Released

              Today we are pleased to announce the first public beta release of Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.5. With this release we have made several enhancements to the Black Lab Enterprise Linux system. We have increased driver capabilities with the inclusion of a new kernel and we now have better performance. We have also worked on web app capability and with the Chromium Web Browser you now have the same functionality as Chrome OS as well as the ability to use standard Linux applications.

            • 5 Reasons Why Linux Mint is Better Than Ubuntu

              It is difficult to choose between Ubuntu and Linux Mint. But here are a few things that makes Linux Mint a better choice than Ubuntu.

            • Kubuntu 16.04 LTS Users Can Now Update to KDE Plasma 5.8.8 LTS and Krita 3.3.2

              If you’re using the Kubuntu 16.04 LTS operating system on your personal computer, then you’re stuck with the long-term supported release of the KDE Plasma desktop environment, version 5.8, which was recently updated upstream to version 5.8.8, a maintenance patch adding an extra layer of performance improvements.

              Because Kubuntu 16.04 LTS is also a long-term supported release, the Kubuntu team is always upgrading the operating system’s core components to new software versions, and they’ve just made the KDE Plasma 5.8.8 LTS desktop environment available to users trough the Kubuntu Backports PPA, along with Krita 3.3.2.

            • LXTerminal 0.3.1 released

              This is an security and bugfix update. However, there is also minor feature added to enhance usability. It will be integrated into Lubuntu very soon.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Yellow House Phone Company (Featuring Asterisk and an 11-year-old)

    He was hooked. So I thought that taking it to the next level would be a good thing for a rainy day. I have run Asterisk before, though I had unfortunately gotten rid of most of my equipment some time back. But I found a great deal on a Cisco 186 ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter). It has two FXS lines (FXS ports simulate the phone company, and provide dialtone and ring voltage to a connected phone), and of course hooks up to the LAN.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Tor Browser 7.5a7 is released

        Note: Tor Browser 7.5a7 is a security bugfix release in the alpha channel for macOS and Linux users only. Users of the alpha channel on Windows are not affected and stay on Tor Browser 7.5a6.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OpenStack to tackle open source integration

      The OpenStack Foundation made its announcement, kicking off the OpenStack Summit currently running in Sydney at the Darling Harbour International Convention Centre.

    • OpenStack Summit Sydney Spotlights Open Infrastructure Integration
    • OpenStack says its work is largely done. Now your hard work can fill in the blanks

      The OpenStack Foundation has kicked off its summit in Sydney, Australia, with a call to current OpenStack users to help it to win more users by sharing code they’ve written to link OpenStack to other tools and infrastructure.

      The Foundation’s decided the time is right to pursue easier integration because it feels the core of OpenStack is in good shape: its myriad modules are felt to be nicely mature and to offer the functionality that users need and want.

    • WeChat parent company Tencent joins the OpenStack Foundation as a Gold Member

      Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings Limited, the parent company behind extremely popular services like WeChat and QQ, today announced that it is joining the OpenStack Foundation as a Gold Member. OpenStack members at the Gold level pay annual dues of 0.025 percent of their revenue with a minimum of $50,000 per year and a maximum of $200,000 to support the development of the open source cloud platform.

    • OpenStack® Board Elects Tencent as Gold Member of the Foundation
    • Sydney OpenStack Summit – Started
    • OpenStack’s next mission: bridging the gaps between open source projects

      OpenStack, the massive open source project that provides large businesses with the software tools to run their data center infrastructure, is now almost eight years old. While it had its ups and downs, hundreds of enterprises now use it to run their private clouds and there are even over two dozen public clouds that use the project’s tools. Users now include the likes of AT&T, Walmart, eBay, China Railway, GE Healthcare, SAP, Tencent and the Insurance Australia Group, to name just a few.

      “One of the things that’s been happening is that we’re seven years in and the need for turning every type of infrastructure into programmable infrastructure has been proven out. “It’s no longer a debate,” OpenStack COO Mark Collier told me ahead of the projects semi-annual developer conference this week. OpenStack’s own surveys show that the project’s early adopters, who previously only tested it for their clouds, continue to move their production workflows to the platform, too. “We passed the hype phase,” Collier noted.

    • Commonwealth Bank to take OpenStack approach to its public cloud environment

      A survey from the OpenStack Foundation has highlighted the growth of users among mainstream, non-IT industries, with the financial services sector one of the fastest growing.

      To emphasise the importance of open source in the Australian financial services sector, head of systems engineering for analytics and information at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) Quinton Anderson detailed his bank’s journey, starting with OpenStack in some basic container environments before layering additional open-source technologies.

    • Open-source community has an integration problem: OpenStack

      At the OpenStack Sydney Summit, community leaders announced a new plan to overcome challenges in integrating and operating open-source technologies to solve real-world problems.

      Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, said on Monday the open source community hasn’t historically been good at integration, and highlighted that innovation alone isn’t enough to make it work.

    • Edge computing moves the open cloud beyond the data center

      When we think of cloud computing, most of us envision large-scale, centralized data centers running thousands of physical servers. As powerful as that vision sounds, it actually misses the biggest new opportunity: distributed cloud infrastructure.

      Today, almost every company in every industry sector needs near-instant access to data and compute resources to be successful. Edge computing pushes applications, data and computing power services away from centralized data centers to the logical extremes of a network, close to users, devices and sensors. It enables companies to put the right data in the right place at the right time, supporting fast and secure access. The result is an improved user experience and, oftentimes, a valuable strategic advantage. The decision to implement an edge computing architecture is typically driven by the need for location optimization, security, and most of all, speed.

      New applications such as VR and AI, with requirements to collect and process massive amounts of data in near-real-time and extremely low latency, are driving the need for processing at the edge of the network. Very simply, the cost and distance of the hub-and-spoke model will not be practical for many of these emerging use cases.

    • OpenStack claims open source integration problems are holding back enterprise innovation
  • CMS

    • SilverStripe 4 Beta Ends, More Open Source CMS News

      Following years of development, SilverStripe 4.0 is finally out of beta.

      The first release candidate for SilverStripe 4 is now available with 160 updated modules. According to SilverStripe’s Product Marketing Specialist Andrew Underwood, a stable release is “looking likely for mid-November.”

    • Migrating my website to Pelican

      After too much time lying to myself, telling myself things like “I’ll just add this neat feature I want on my blog next week”, I’ve finally made the big jump, ditched django and migrated my website to Pelican.

      I’m going to the Cambridge Mini-Debconf at the end of the month for the Debconf Videoteam Autumn sprint and I’ve taken the task of making daily sprint reports for the team. That in return means I have to publish my blog on Planet Debian. My old website not having feeds made this a little hard and this perfect storm gave me the energy to make the migration happen.

  • Funding

  • Programming/Development

    • New Qualcomm Saphira Server CPU Added To GCC

      Details are very scarce on the new Qualcomm “Saphira” processor, but initial support for it was added this week to the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

      Qualcomm Saphira isn’t turning up much in search engines besides some trademark applications and the likes, but this new CPU is seeing quick support in GCC, perhaps due to GCC 8 feature development ending soon.

    • 5.0.1-rc1 has been tagged

      5.0.1-rc1 has been tagged, testers can begin testing and uploading binaries. If you run into any issues, please file bugs at bugs.llvm.org. There are still 2 weeks left until the 5.0.1 merge deadline, so there is still time to get fixes in.

    • LLVM 5.0.1 Is Coming In The Next Few Weeks

      Tom Stellard of Red Hat will once again be taking up duties as point release manager for LLVM.

      Tom has now tagged a 5.0.1-rc1 release for testers to begin trying out this first bug-fix update to LLVM 5.0, which itself was released in early September.

    • tint 0.0.4: Small enhancements

      A maintenance release of the tint package arrived on CRAN earlier today. Its name expands from tint is not tufte as the package offers a fresher take on the Tufte-style for html and pdf presentations.

Leftovers

  • Stop supporting old releases.

    These companies have no problem pitching in when they have no other choice. If Enterprise companies depend on your software, there’s a vendor selling to them that will do whatever it takes to make them happy.

    Saying you won’t do the work to support an old release isn’t saying “I don’t care about you being a user.” Instead, you’re saying that there are two ways they can be a user.

  • Science

    • Most scientists now reject the idea that the first Americans came by land

      It’s been one of the most contentious debates in anthropology, and now scientists are saying it’s pretty much over. A group of prominent anthropologists have done an overview of the scientific literature and declare in Science magazine that the “Clovis first” hypothesis of the peopling of the Americas is dead.

      For decades, students were taught that the first people in the Americas were a group called the Clovis who walked over the Bering land bridge about 13,500 years ago. They arrived (so the narrative goes) via an ice-free corridor between glaciers in North America. But evidence has been piling up since the 1980s of human campsites in North and South America that date back much earlier than 13,500 years. At sites ranging from Oregon in the US to Monte Verde in Chile, evidence of human habitation goes back as far as 18,000 years.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EPA chief set to meet privately with chemical industry execs

      The Trump administration’s top environmental regulator is set to speak privately to chemical industry executives next week during a conference at a luxury oceanfront golf resort.

      Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is listed as the featured speaker at a board meeting of the American Chemistry Council, a group that has lobbied against stricter regulations for chemical manufacturers. The three-day conference is being held at The Sanctuary resort on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

      Council spokeswoman Anne Kolton said Pruitt’s speech will not be open to the public or the news media. Admission to the members-only event where Pruitt is speaking ranges between $7,500 and $2,500, depending on sponsorship level. Rooms at the resort are being offered to conference attendees at a discounted rate of $389 a night, not including taxes and fees.

    • The great British drug rip-off

      As he became ‘the most hated man on the Internet’ last year, ‘pharma-bro’ Martin Shkreli repeatedly claimed that by hiking the price of HIV drugs he wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Squeezing health services and patients for every last penny is just how the pharmaceutical industry works. And that’s perhaps the only thing he was right about.

      While multinational drug companies have turned themselves into one of the most profitable industries in the world, they have peddled the lie that they’re charging eye-watering prices for their life-saving products because it costs a fortune to research and develop them. What they didn’t tell us is that much of that research is publicly funded in the first place.

      A new report, Pills and Profits, by Global Justice Now and STOPAIDS has revealed that big drug companies are taking over research funded by British taxpayers and selling the resulting drugs back to the NHS to the tune of more than £1 billion a year. So we are effectively paying twice for our medicines – once to research and develop them, and again to buy the finished drugs.

    • Elderly doctor: I lost my license because I don’t know how to use a computer

      An 84-year-old doctor in New London, New Hampshire, appeared in state court Friday in an effort to regain her medical license, less than a week after closing her office on October 28.

      State authorities claim that—because Dr. Anna Konopka doesn’t have a computer, much less know how to use one—her organizational skills are lacking, according to the Associated Press.

  • Security

    • Paranoid Android’s Last Android Nougat-Based Update Patches KRACK Vulnerability

      The team behind the well-known Paranoid Android open-source operating system for Android smartphones and tablets announced the last update based on the Android Nougat series.

      Paranoid Android 7.3.1 was released on the last day of October 2017, and it appears to be the final release for the series, the last to be based on Google’s Android 7 “Nougat” mobile operating system. Therefore, it introduces a bunch of important improvements, especially to the Paranoid Camera, but also patches security issues.

    • Hackers [sic] are using an email scam to intercept payments between galleries, collectors and others [iophk: “probably traceable to use of Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Exchange; see this instead”]

      The fraud is relatively simple. Criminals hack [sic] into an art dealer’s email account and monitor incoming and outgoing correspondence. When the gallery sends a PDF invoice to a client via email following a sale, the conversation is hijacked. Posing as the gallery, hackers [sic] send a duplicate, fraudulent invoice from the same gallery email address, with an accompanying message instructing the client to disregard the first invoice and instead wire payment to the account listed in the fraudulent document.

    • Cybercriminals may turn ATM malware into an open source weapon [Ed: "open source weapon"... Crafting FUD when the issue at hand is PROPRIETARY ATMs]
    • India tops the list in ransomware cyberattack on Android, Linux and MacOS [Ed: Headline does not mention Windows; new kind of slant/spin?]

      India is among the top seven countries for ransomware circulation as cyberattacks on not just Windows but on Android, Linux and MacOS systems have significantly increased this year globally, a new report has warned.

    • A Framework for Protecting Our Critical Infrastructure [Ed: Really? Says Proponent of back doors?!]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Afghans View the Endless US War

      To understand why the 16-year-old U.S. war in Afghanistan continues to fail requires a look from the ground where Afghans live and suffer, a plight breeding strong opposition to the U.S. presence, explains Kathy Kelly.

    • White Supremacists Share Bomb-Making Materials in Online Chats

      Right-wing extremists communicating in confidential online chats in recent months have shared scores of documents detailing the manufacture and use of bombs, grenades, mines and other incendiary devices.

      The documents, which range from instructions on detonating dynamite to U.S. military manuals for constructing improvised explosives and booby traps, were passed around during online conversations among members of Anticom, a secretive and militant group that has emerged during the past year.

    • Blaming the Afghan War Failure on — Russia

      Another part of the U.S. mainstream media’s rash of Russia-bashing is to claim that Moscow is arming Afghanistan’s Taliban, but again the evidence doesn’t match the accusations, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • How America Spreads Global Chaos

      The U.S. government may pretend to respect a “rules-based” global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is “might makes right” — and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies.

    • Truck Terror Attacks May Be a Sign of ISIS Weakness, But They’re Very Hard to Stop

      In the aftermath of the attack in lower Manhattan yesterday, I was reminded of a conversation I had almost a year ago with a veteran counterterrorism chief in Madrid. He had just written a report to his superiors warning about the urgent threat that terrorists would use trucks or cars to mow people down in public places. It wasn’t a sudden flash of insight. Months earlier, a Tunisian deliveryman with a history of mental illness had driven a large cargo truck into a crowd of Bastille Day celebrants in Nice, France, killing 84 people and injuring 450 more. In its edition last November, the main online propaganda magazine used by the Islamic State, Rumiyah, had put out a call for more such attacks, offering tips on how to carry them out.

    • Hours after horrific mass shooting, Texas attorney general urges more people to bring guns to church

      Just hours after a mass shooting left at least 26 people dead at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, state Attorney General Ken Paxton appeared on Fox News. His message to Texans: Bring a gun to church.

      “As a Texan, as a father, can you wrap your brain around what we’re learning today, that children were killed, children were shot, the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor was killed in this type of attack? As a country, what do we do? How can we get our arms around this and stop this insanity?” Fox News anchor Eric Shawn asked Paxton.

      “All I can say is, you know, in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have concealed-carry, And so if it’s a place where somebody has the ability to carry, there’s always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people,” Paxton replied.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Donna Brazile Owes an Apology to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Assange Warned of Rigged Primary in 2016.

      I thought Russian interference revolved around hackers breaching the Democratic National Committee.

      The alleged hack informed voters of Bernie Sanders being cheated, which is said to have been the goal of Vladimir Putin, in a nefarious attempt at both educating Americans of their dysfunctional political system and simultaneously helping his preferred candidate, Trump.

      The Russians, in their attempt to influence voters towards Trump, allegedly spread emails through WikiLeaks which detailed overt collusion between the DNC, media and the Clinton campaign to cheat Bernie Sanders during the primary.

    • Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of the world elite’s hidden wealth

      The world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain’s offshore empires.

      The details come from a leak of 13.4m files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.

      The material, which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.

    • Paradise Paper Leaks: What Is It? Who Are The Biggest Names On The List?

      If you visit the major news websites or read newspapers, you’d come across articles on a massive document leak that tell about offshore accounts of a large number of powerful people. Named Paradise Papers, about 13.4 million documents were leaked to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which shared the same with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other news organizations around the world. It’s worth noting that Sueddeutsche Zeitung an ICIJ were the major forces behind the Panama Papers leak. They also won a Pulitzer for their work.

      [...]

      The Paradise Papers leak is the world’s second biggest, only beaten by last year’s Panama Papers. While Panama Papers leak brought 2.6TB data into the limelight, Paradise Papers brings 1.4TB data.

      This leak comprises of the information from 21 different sources. It also includes documents from a smaller fiduciary company Asiaciti Trust, headquartered in Singapore.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Buyouts Won’t Be the Answer for Many Frequent Flooding Victims

      It’s hard to find another county in America that has accomplished more buyouts than Harris County. Since 1985, the Harris County Flood Control District — the main entity managing buyouts in the Houston area — has spent $342 million to purchase about 3,100 properties. But thanks to a decadeslong trend of increased flooding in Houston, caused by a combination of urban sprawl, lax building regulations and intense rainstorms linked to climate change, buyouts haven’t kept up with the destruction.

    • Pruitt Bars Some Scientists From Advising E.P.A.
    • Harrison Ford: ‘We’ve got people in charge of important s— who don’t believe in science’

      Actor Harrison Ford took a swipe at Washington on Thursday night, blasting lawmakers and leaders who deny climate change.

      During a speech to the environmental group Conservation International in Culver City, Calif., where he was receiving an award, Ford said the biggest threat to the United States is leaders that don’t understand or accept evidence that human activity is driving rapid climate change.

      “We face an unprecedented moment in this country. Today’s greatest threat is not climate change, not pollution, not flood or fire,” Ford said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s that we’ve got people in charge of important shit who don’t believe in science.”

    • Anger over Trump support for coal at UN climate talks

      Plans by the Trump administration to promote coal as a solution to climate change at a major UN meeting have angered environmentalists.

      An adviser to the president is expected to take part in a pro-coal presentation in Bonn next week.

      Separately, a group of governors will say that the US is still committed to climate action despite Mr Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement.

    • Forest Service suggests Trump could reopen uranium mining near Grand Canyon

      The US Forest Service recently submitted a report (PDF) to the Trump Administration, suggesting that an Obama-era order could be revised to allow uranium mining on National Forest land, reopening old tensions in an area that sustains tribal interests, mining operations, and outdoor activities.

      The report was submitted in response to a March presidential order requiring all agencies to review their body of rules, policies, and guidelines pertaining to energy development in the United States. Agencies were directed to provide the White House with a list of items that might weigh down the development of domestic energy resources “with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources,” according to the Forest Service, which is an agency within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    • Donald Trump accused of obstructing satellite research into climate change

      President Trump has been accused of deliberately obstructing research on global warming after it emerged that a critically important technique for investigating sea-ice cover at the poles faces being blocked.

      The row has erupted after a key polar satellite broke down a few days ago, leaving the US with only three ageing ones, each operating long past their shelf lives, to measure the Arctic’s dwindling ice cap. Scientists say there is no chance a new one can now be launched until 2023 or later. None of the current satellites will still be in operation then.

      The crisis has been worsened because the US Congress this year insisted that a backup sea-ice probe had to be dismantled because it did not want to provide funds to keep it in storage. Congress is currently under the control of Republicans, who are antagonistic to climate science and the study of global warming.

  • Finance

    • Amazon wants goodies and tax breaks to move its HQ to your city. Say no thanks

      Urban leaders must reject the race to the bottom that these scrambles to please corporations generate – as 19th-century mayors did during the rise of capitalism

    • What are the Paradise Papers? Tax secrets of wealthy including the Queen and Trump’s cabinet exposed

      The Paradise Papers, which have been released today, have exposed the tax secrets of the wealthiest people in the world, including the Queen and members of Donald Trump’s cabinet.

      More than 13.4 million leaked files show the offshore activities of the most powerful people and companies on the planet, and how they protect their wealth.

      The files, which came from offshore law firms and company registries have been investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists after they were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    • Bitcoin Now Consumes an Equivalent of 13 Million Barrels of Oil

      It takes 20 barrels of oil to mine one bitcoin according to some number crunching, with the network as a whole consuming an equivalent of 13,239,916 barrels of oil every single year.

    • Trump Tax Plan Would Deal Long-Term Blow to Working- and Middle-Class Americans
    • Republican Tax Plan Goes for Temporary Cuts and Permanent Lies

      The Republicans’ argument was that lower tax rates would increase the incentive for companies to invest. But if companies anticipate that the tax rate will return to its current level after a relatively short period of time, then the tax cut will provide little incentive. This means there is no basis for the assumption of a boom.

      In the case of a temporary tax cut, the claim that average families will see a $4,000 dividend from higher pay makes no sense. And the claim of a $1.5 trillion growth dividend can be seen for what it is: a number snatched out of the air to claim the tax cut won’t increase the deficit.

    • A wealth tax is more necessary and achievable than ever

      “The rich get richer and the poor…” People have long known how that phrase ends, but the astonishing accumulation of wealth in a few hands is now attracting attention from Oxfam through to Davos and the IMF. Eight billionaires are reported to own as much as the bottom 50 per cent of the world’s population. In the UK, just 10 per cent of adults own half of the nation’s wealth.

      But why would this trouble the IMF? The answer is that such concentrations of wealth are dysfunctional for the economic system. They happen because wages are repressed and the richest use their wealth to speculate on assets that are in short supply, such as housing or land, producing sky high prices for property and rents. A single building in Hong Kong has just sold for $5bn. The effect is that small businesses close as rents are high, it is difficult for labour to move and there is a reduction in aggregate demand. Put simply, people can’t buy goods and services if most of their money is going on rents and mortgages. To keep up in this scramble, the population becomes laden with debt and those who sell the loans become even richer.

    • The GOP Tax Bill Is an Attempt to Destroy Government

      The House Republican tax bill has been introduced, packaged beautifully with lies. Now House Republicans will push to pass, in one week, a 500-page bill written in secret that transforms the tax code. Powerful special interests will spend millions for and against. Legions of lobbyists will fill congressional offices. Experts will duel over the effects. Trump is already boasting about “a great Christmas present” of the biggest tax cuts ever.

    • Puerto Rico Suffers While Defending Against ‘Disaster Capitalism’

      President Donald Trump lavished praise on himself when commenting on the federal response to the disaster that has overwhelmed Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “I would give myself a 10,” he said on Oct. 19. “I think we’ve done a really great job,” he added, as Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello sat silently by his side in the Oval Office. This was just two weeks after Trump’s visit to the island, where he lobbed rolls of paper towels at hurricane survivors. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, appearing on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, responded, “If it’s a 10 out of 100, I agree, because it’s still a failing grade.”

      Like the mayor, few think Trump has responded effectively. “We can’t fail to note the dissimilar urgency and priority given to the emergency response in Puerto Rico, compared to the U.S. states affected by hurricanes in recent months,” Leilani Farha, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to housing, said, comparing post-hurricane relief efforts in Texas and Florida in a damning report issued on Monday by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    • Brexit: an economic strategy from the left?

      If we are agreed that the UK economy needs an overhaul from the Left, where does Brexit come in? Interview with Green MEP Molly Scott Cato.

    • The Fantasyland version of Britain is alive and kicking – and driving Brexit

      The last 40 years in the UK has seen more wealth and income transferred to the already uber-rich and privileged. Public assets have been sold off, corrupted and outsourced – a UK ‘economic miracle’ proclaimed as the gospel by Thatcher believers both in the 1980s and again today.

      This transformation has done nothing to address the fundamental weaknesses of the economy pre-Thatcher – the historic devaluing of manufacturing; the anti-business ethos at the heart of the Tory Party and the City of London; their greater interest in pseudo-enterprise and rentier capitalism. Research and development and long-term investment has never been at the core of British capitalism.

      In the pre-EU 1970s the UK was seen as ‘the sick man of Europe’, and our membership of the Common Market was meant to address these woes. Yet, forty years in the EU combined with Thatcherism and Blairism haven’t addressed these problems. Britain’s productivity gap has become news again, but it is deep-seated and structural in its causes. Britain’s research and development rates are abysmal, coming in 159th out of 173 countries as a percentage of GDP, accordin to a 2013 Economist survey. Only fourteen nation-states were worse than Britain, seven of which were in sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Why Brexit? It’s the English, stupid.

      Thanks to the populist forces unleashed by the referendum, however, the rage and frustration at any such outcome will be huge. Hostility will be magnified by the economic downturn already under way thanks to the May government’s incompetence. In these circumstances, to be defeated, Brexit must be counter-attacked.

    • Brexit and a Brave New World

      With the French sharpening their knives, the Tories in disarray, the Irish demanding answers, and a scant 17 months to go before Brexit kicks in, the whole matter is making for some pretty good theater. The difficulty is distinguishing between tragedy and farce.

      The Conservative’s Party’s Oct. 1-4 conference in Manchester was certainly low comedy. The meeting hall was half empty, and May’s signature address was torpedoed by a coughing fit and a prankster who handed her a layoff notice. Then the Tories’ vapid slogan “Building a country that works for everyone” fell on to the stage. And several of May’s cabinet members were openly jockeying to replace her.

      In contrast, the Labour Party’s conference at Brighton a week earlier was jam packed with young activists busily writing position papers, and Corbyn gave a rousing speech that called for rolling back austerity measures, raising taxes on the wealthy and investing in education, health care and technology.

    • In Puerto Rico’s Highlands, Hurricane Maria Has Exploded Fault Lines of Poverty & Austerity

      Six weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, millions of residents are still living without safe drinking water and electricity. Health experts say the storm’s massive damage to Puerto Rico’s water system is threatening to cause a public health crisis, as more and more people are exposed to contaminated water. Over the weekend, Democracy Now! was in Puerto Rico, and we traveled about three hours into Puerto Rico’s mountainous highland region in the interior of the island in order to look at the ways austerity has exacerbated the crisis caused by Hurricane Maria.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Impeachment Exists for Lying Liars Like Jeff Sessions
    • A grilling on Capitol Hill

      Internet companies seem to want to have it both ways. They boast of their platforms’ abilities to reach audiences with precision and cost-efficiency, but they do not want to claim to be so successful that a covert Russian marketing campaign of sorts could have altered the election’s course. Several social media marketers privately say that they think it plausible that Russian interference may have swayed the election’s result, especially on Facebook, where people form opinions based on what they perceive their social circles to be saying. Many of their ads and pages were popular in swing states, which Mr Trump won by the smallest of margins. The full extent of the damage will only become clear when the tech firms continue to audit their own platforms—or when they embrace the greater transparency they have promised and open themselves up to public scrutiny.

    • Rearranging the Watergate Myth

      A Washington axiom holds that that when power and truth clash, power usually wins, but the contest can be complicated by competing personal agendas, as James DiEugenio notes about a new Watergate movie.

    • The Wall Street Journal Is Echoing Trump’s Derangement, and Its Own Reporters Are Appalled

      During the 2016 election, the conservative Wall Street Journal declined to endorse Donald Trump, recognizing the Republican candidate’s manifest personal deficiencies posed a clear and present danger to American democracy. While the newspaper has grown more Trump-curious since he was sworn into office, it has largely resisted the overt #MAGA cheerleading of Rupert Murdoch’s other media organs, Fox News and the New York Post.

    • The Political Organization Men

      What is described here is a ubiquitous system problem. To one extent or another, this problem of centralization of power within organizations, particularly those that demand loyalty from their members, is commonplace – whether they are political organizations or not.

    • The Professor Identified In The Trump-Russia Probe Always Wanted To Be The Center Of Attention. Now He Is.

      The 57-year-old Maltese national has been scrutinized since he was unmasked as the unnamed academic who, according to court filings, told George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser to Donald Trump, that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, in a plea deal unsealed this week.

      Mifsud acknowledged, in an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica published Wednesday, that he was the unnamed “overseas professor” cited in the court documents and said he met Papadopoulos “three or four times.” But he told the newspaper that he denies any wrongdoing and says he knows nothing about emails containing “dirt” on Clinton and did not initiate contact with the Trump campaign on behalf of Moscow.

    • ‘There’s a lot more there’: Mueller ups the stakes in Trump-Russia inquiry

      For a moment in court, the mask slipped. Paul Manafort glanced at his lawyer and smirked, like a TV mafia boss with reasons to be confident. It was the look of a man who, after decades of work as a lobbyist for murderous dictators in Africa and Asia, was not about to be rattled by the prospect of house arrest.

      But less than a mile away, another man displayed rather less equanimity. Donald Trump woke before dawn on Monday and, instead of heading to the Oval Office, lingered in the White House residence. “Trump clicked on the television and spent the morning playing fuming media critic, legal analyst and crisis communications strategist, according to several people close to him,” the Washington Post reported.

    • Trump commerce secretary’s business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files

      Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia.

      Leaked documents and public filings show that Ross holds a stake in a shipping company, Navigator, through a chain of offshore investments. Navigator operates a lucrative partnership with Sibur, a Russian gas company part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, the husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.

      Ross, a billionaire and close friend of Trump, retained holdings in Navigator even after taking office this year. The relationship means that he stands to benefit from the operations of a Russian company run by Putin’s family and close allies, some of whom are under US sanctions.

      Corporate records show Navigator ramped up its relationship with Sibur from 2014, as the US and EU imposed sanctions on Russians. The measures followed Putin’s aggression in eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Navigator has collected $68m in revenue from its Sibur partnership since 2014.

    • US Special Counsel has enough proof to charge Trump’s former NSA Michael Flynn, says report

      Special Counsel Robert Mueller has collected sufficient evidence to charge Michael Flynn, US President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, and his son, NBC News reported on Sunday, citing multiple sources familiar with the investigation.

      NBC News said Mueller’s team was looking at possible money laundering charges, lying to federal agents, and Flynn’s role in a possible plan to remove an opponent of the Turkish president from the US in exchange for millions of dollars.

      Mueller is increasing pressure on Flynn following the indictment of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, NBC News said. Flynn served 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser but was fired after it was discovered he had misrepresented his contacts with a Russian diplomat to Vice-President Michael Pence.

    • Four Viral Claims Spread by Journalists on Twitter in the Last Week Alone That are False

      There is ample talk, particularly of late, about the threats posed by social media to democracy and political discourse. Yet one of the primary ways that democracy is degraded by platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is, for obvious reasons, typically ignored in such discussions: the way they are used by American journalists to endorse factually false claims that quickly spread and become viral, entrenched into narratives, and thus can never be adequately corrected.

      The design of Twitter, where many political journalists spend their time, is in large part responsible for this damage. Its space constraints mean that tweeted headlines or tiny summaries of reporting are often assumed to be true with no critical analysis of their accuracy, and are easily spread. Claims from journalists that people want to believe are shared like wildfire, while less popular, subsequent corrections or nuanced debunking are easily ignored. Whatever one’s views are on the actual impact of Twitter Russian bots, surely the propensity of journalistic falsehoods to spread far and wide is at least as significant.

    • Russia funded Facebook and Twitter investments through Kushner associate

      Two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funded substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business associate of Jared Kushner, leaked documents reveal.

      The investments were made through a Russian technology magnate, Yuri Milner, who also holds a stake in a company co-owned by Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser.

      The discovery is likely to stir concerns over Russian influence in US politics and the role played by social media in last year’s presidential election. It may also raise new questions for the social media companies and for Kushner.

    • Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire’s Twitter and Facebook Investments
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • TripAdvisor removed warnings about rapes and injuries at Mexico resorts, tourists say

      What about the other 27 posts? Did anyone express worry, describe problems or share experiences that might serve as warnings?

      The public had no way to know.

      The posts had all been removed from the forum.

      [...]

      An untold number of TripAdvisor users have been granted special privileges, including the ability to delete forum posts. But the company won’t disclose how those users are selected.

    • Pitch for moderate censorship for Myanmar films

      Burmese filmmakers, supported by those from Southeast Asian countries, on Saturday pitched for ‘classification, rather than censorship’ in the days ahead.

      Joining a debate on film censorship in Myanmar and rest of Southeast Asia on the sidelines of the Memory! Festival 2017, they said that when the 1996 Motion Picture Law is replaced by a new law now in the drafting process, it should have ‘very moderate censorship’ to control extreme cases of religious incitement, hate speech and obscenity.

    • Sorry Facebook, Blasphemy Is Not Apolitical

      Blasphemy is apolitical? That’s a stretch — and one that requires a near-willful misunderstanding of the reality of the speech targeted by blasphemy laws and religious speech itself. Stretch’s assertion deserves careful review considering both the power which Facebook wields over internet speech and the prevalence of blasphemy laws.

    • Who’s Afraid of Corporate COINTELPRO?

      On November 30, 2016, presumably right at the stroke of midnight, Google Inc. unpersoned CounterPunch. They didn’t send out a press release or anything. They just quietly removed it from the Google News aggregator. Not very many people noticed. This happened just as the “fake news” hysteria was being unleashed by the corporate media, right around the time The Washington Post ran this neo-McCarthyite smear piece vicariously accusing CounterPunch, and a number of other publications, of being “peddlers of Russian propaganda.” As I’m sure you’ll recall, that astounding piece of “journalism” (which The Post was promptly forced to disavow with an absurd disclaimer but has refused to retract) was based on the claims of an anonymous website apparently staffed by a couple of teenagers and a formerly rabidly anti-Communist, now rabidly anti-Putin think tank. Little did most people know at the time that these were just the opening salvos in what has turned out to be an all-out crackdown on any and all forms of vocal opposition to the global corporate ruling classes and their attempts to quash the ongoing nationalist backlash against their neoliberal agenda.

    • Russia’s federal censor concerned by censorship in Google

      Russian communication watchdog Roskomnadzor published the message stating the department “guards freedom of speech and in every possible way interferes with any manifestations of censorship”.

      As it is explained in the release, the publication is caused by the fact that Google News service removed materials of Federal News Agency (FNA) from search results. Roskomnadzor expresses “its concern” in this relation, it is said in the statement.

      Earlier, on November 2, the FAN reported that their materials were gone from service delivery. The management of the portal in this regard complained to the head of Roskomnadzor Aleksey Zharov.

    • A prestigious research publisher gives in to China’s censorship

      SPRINGER NATURE publishes books and prestigious journals, including Nature and Scientific American, and portrays itself as a champion of open access to reports of scientific research. Its website declares that “research is a global endeavor and the free flow of information and ideas is at the heart of advancing discovery.” Yet in China, the company has compromised this core principle.

      The Financial Times disclosed Wednesday that Springer Nature has blocked access in China to at least 1,000 articles from the websites of the Journal of Chinese Political Science and International Politics, two of its journals, in response to Beijing’s censorship demands. The newspaper said all the articles in question “contained keywords deemed politically sensitive by the Chinese authorities,” including “Taiwan,” “Tibet” and “cultural revolution.” According to the FT, a search for “Tibet” on the Journal of Chinese Political Science website in China returned no results, whereas a search outside China showed 66 articles. No articles mentioning the “cultural revolution” could be found on the website in China, the newspaper said, whereas 110 were visible outside.

    • China censorship drive splits leading academic publishers

      The world’s leading academic publishers are deeply divided over how to respond to China’s intensifying censorship drive at home and abroad…

    • Radio Erena: Eritrea’s free voice and refugee hotline

      For nearly 10 consecutive years, media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders has ranked Eritrea at the bottom of its annual index on press freedom. This year, it rose by one place above North Korea.

      After a 30-year war of independence with Ethiopia, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, who has now been in power for 26 years, chose not to hold elections but keep the country on a war footing. In 2001, he shut down all privately owned news outlets and began expelling foreign correspondents until none were left in the country.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Barrett Brown Is Writing a Book Critical of the Justice Department. They are Making it Hard by Trying to Prevent Him Being Paid His Advance.

      In an email from Brown’s literary agency I’ve seen, publisher Farrar Straus & Giroux is reported to have said that they have been told by the DOJ to disburse no further money from the book to Brown without the government’s permission.

    • American charged with subversion in Zimbabwe goes to court

      “This arrest marks the start of a sinister new chapter in the Zimbabwean government’s clampdown on freedom of speech, and the new battleground is social media,” said Amnesty International’s deputy regional director, Muleya Mwananyanda. The statement said Zimbabwe authorities tracked tweets to O’Donovan’s IP address.

    • Oversight Board Report On DC Police Cameras Contradicts Earlier Report’s Claims

      Less than a month after a first report was delivered on Washington, DC police body camera use, a second one has arrived. And it seems to contradict some assertions made in the first report.

      The first report was put together by an extension of DC’s government called the Lab@DC. It showed body camera use doing almost nothing to curtail use of force by officers. This seemed to undercut the notion body cameras can be a tool of accountability. But they never will be — not if the agencies using them remain uninterested in punishing officers for misconduct.

    • Concern Grows Over Youths at Juvenile Correctional Facility Being Sent to Adult Prison

      State officials, advocates and a federal judge on Thursday proposed remedies to better deal with youths accused of assaulting staff members at a southern Illinois juvenile correctional facility, including finding youths outside lawyers instead of local public defenders and conducting additional training for correctional officers.

      “The children don’t get any justice in that courtroom. That’s the primary concern,” Ben Wolf, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said following a hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago. “These cases are not handled the same way when they pop up in other counties. There’s more of a review process. There’s more fairness. These young people just get railroaded for the most part.”

    • Upholding the Rule of Law in the European Union

      An open letter concerning the upholding of the Rule of Law in the European Union, co-signed by 188 scholars, politicians, public intellectuals and members of the European Parliament and sent on November 3, 2017.

    • Donald Trump and the Dangers of Dehumanizing the Enemy

      In courses I taught on the politics of fear, I always showed Sam Keen’s 1987 documentary Faces of the Enemy: Justifying the Inhumanity of War. Of all the shocking examples of war propaganda in the film, the ones that stayed with me and many of my students were the cartoons and films that portrayed the enemy as animals. The1938 Nazi film “The Eternal Jew” flicks between actual footage of rats and Jewish people, arguing that both spread disease and need to be exterminated. U.S. war propaganda depicted the Japanese as monkeys and apes.

      Portraying the enemy as lower creatures, the film argues, encourages society en masse to participate in acts of violence or to accept the “collateral damage” of massive civilian casualties without so much as a moral blink of the eye. One commentator suggests that the demonization of the foe on both sides was part of the reason the U.S. and Japan couldn’t end the war in the Pacific through diplomatic means.

    • Mass Incarceration is a Women’s Issue, Too

      Many folks have heard of Kalief Browder, a New York teenager who took his own life after suffering nearly three years in solitary confinement, all for allegedly stealing a backpack. He was never tried.

      Fewer people know Maria Elena Hernandez, a retired California housecleaner who was jailed after police rejected her (accurate) protests that they’d mistaken her for someone else.

    • America’s Secretive Private Prison Industry Is About to Become Much Less Secret

      Seventy-five miles southwest of San Antonio, Texas, in the expanse of desert between the U.S./Mexico border and nestled between oil boomtowns of yesteryear, is Dilley, the epicenter of a new battle over immigrants’ rights. The remote town of 4,000 people has enjoyed a hot local economy thanks to its most controversial feature: its private prison.

      Dilley houses the nation’s largest family detention center, a 50-acre complex that holds 2,400 detainees every night. The center has become a symbol of the resurgent private prison industry and a reminder of why the Justice Department abandoned these facilities in the first place.

      The private prison industry, which briefly went into free fall after President Obama’s Justice Department announced the government would end its use of private prisons in August 2016, has found new allies in President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions – and is making fast dividends on the new deal. Giants like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) have received billions in taxpayer dollars for renewed government contracts, and have leveraged their private status to closely guard the details of each deal.

    • Before the NFL took a knee: four lesser-known moments of resistance in sports history

      When NFL players, coaches, and owners took a knee during the national anthem Sept. 24, it ignited a nationwide discussion about the role of athletes in standing up for racial justice. Since then, teams and players have continued taking a knee during the national anthem. And the Seattle Seahawks have taken the symbolic act one step further by launching the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund.

      But this is hardly the first time the sports and political arenas have become intertwined.

      “Sports has always been an important platform in which America’s ugly racial history has been challenged and where African-Americans have fought for full recognition and respect,” said Dr. Mark Naison, a History and African American Studies professor at Fordham University.

      Most people remember Jackie Robinson shattering major league baseball’s color barrier and John Carlos and Tommie Smith delivering a Black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. These are often heralded as moments in sports when athletes added a prominent voice to the fight for civil rights and racial justice.

    • Here’s how the Saudi power players — and Trump — connect to each other

      It can be hard to keep up with the headlines flying out of Saudi Arabia.

      Several members of the royal family and important Saudi businessmen were suddenly and unexpectedly arrested in a broad roundup over the weekend. And the president of the United States is dashing off late-night tweets, trying to get the Kingdom to bestow a tremendous, highly anticipated stock offering to Wall Street.

    • Saudi princes among dozens detained in anti-corruption purge

      A new Saudi anti-corruption body has detained 11 princes, four sitting ministers and dozens of former ministers, media reports say.

      The detentions came hours after the new committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was formed by royal decree.

      Those detained were not named.

      BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says Prince Mohammed is moving to consolidate his growing power while spearheading a reform programme.

      It is not clear what those detained are suspected of. However, Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya said fresh investigations had been launched into the 2009 Jeddah floods and the outbreak of the Mers virus which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

    • Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed detained in corruption inquiry

      Saudi authorities detained a billionaire global investor and the head of the National Guard as part of an anti-corruption purge that consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s hold on power.

    • Administration’s Nominee for CIA Watchdog Allegedly Misled Congress

      Two former CIA employees say the Trump administration’s nominee to be CIA inspector general misled Congress last month when he testified he was unaware of pending complaints they had filed against him.

      The allegations against nominee Christopher Sharpley, the acting inspector general, have prompted concerns among both Democratic and Republican senators and could delay his confirmation. They also expose a rift between the CIA inspector general’s office and the oversight office for all intelligence community programs. More broadly, they raise questions about how well intelligence agencies are implementing policies that were introduced to protect whistleblowers after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was charged with espionage for leaking classified documents.

      Lawyers for Andrew Bakaj and Jonathan Kaplan, both ex-employees of the CIA inspector general’s office, sent letters to the Senate in the past two weeks, saying that Sharpley is one of the CIA officials named in pending complaints they filed in 2014 and 2015. Sharpley “deliberately misled Congress during his sworn testimony,” Kaplan’s attorneys wrote in their letter.

    • Buried in a government bill, an immigration rule strips millions of their data protection

      The government’s data protection bill was meant to give people control over their information. Instead it will strip millions of their rights.

      The supposed intention of the legislation is to “empower people to take control of their data”. But schedule 2.4 removes data protection rights from individuals when their personal information is processed for “the maintenance of effective immigration control” or “the investigation or detection of activities that would interfere with effective immigration control”.

      In technical terms, that means any government agency processing data for immigration purposes will be free of those pesky data protection obligations we’ve developed through successive Acts of parliament – and signed up to through the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

    • The White House’s Leak Hunt Is Battling the Wrong Enemy With the Wrong Weapons

      The Trump administration has declared all-out war on leakers, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions is focusing on individuals who have given the news media comparatively small amounts of White House information. But the administration is battling the wrong enemy with the wrong weapons.

      Digital secrets stolen from the National Security Agency represent the real — and critical — security problem. More than half a billion pages have been swiped, most of it above top secret, with the most recent theft reported just last October.

    • Donald Trump, Child of Immigrants, Seeks to Destroy Immigration

      We are all fully aware of the appalling terrorist attack that took place in New York City on Tuesday. Eight people were killed, including five classmates from Argentina who were in the city for a 30th anniversary school reunion. Eleven other people were injured, including Martin Marro of Newton, Massachusetts. Marro was also there for the reunion, having been a classmate of the five Argentinians who were lost. Martin Marro, like millions of Americans including the president’s mother, is an immigrant.

      Donald Trump encompassed the horror of the event and nearly broke both legs getting to his phone so he could blame the attack on Chuck Schumer and legal immigration — via Twitter, of course. “The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’” he wrote, “a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.” All this while there was still blood on the bike path in Manhattan.

      The function and history of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program is just complicated enough to make it an easy target for shameless grandstanders like the president. No, Chuck Schumer did not invent it. The program is the product of a bipartisan effort in the late 1980s to inspire more immigration from Western Europe, and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile and Sprint finally, officially, say they definitely won’t merge

      T-Mobile USA and Sprint today finally gave a definitive answer about whether they will merge. The telecomm giants said that they have stopped negotiating and will remain independent entities. The wireless carriers “were unable to find mutually agreeable terms” and want to “put an end to the extensive speculation around a transaction,” they said in a joint announcement.

      Over the past few weeks, numerous merger updates have bubbled up from anonymous sources. Initially, the merger seemed to be a done deal. Merger talks then seemed to break down, only to be revived again a couple days ago.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA: Almost 70% of 38 Million Kodi Users Are Pirates [sic]

        During a panel discussion hosted by the Copyright Alliance this week, the MPAA’s Senior Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs had a few choice words about Kodi. Noting that the platform itself is legally used by around 12 million users, a further 26 million configure the media player with piracy addons.

      • Book Author Trolled Pirates With Fake Leak to Make a Point

        Best selling author Maggie Stiefvater, known for The Raven Cycle books, is taking a stand against online piracy. Responding to people who claim that piracy doesn’t hurt sales, the author shared a personal experience showing the opposite. When The Raven King was released last year she flooded the Internet with fake pirated copies, triggering an interesting response.

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