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05.25.15

Süddeutsche Zeitung Says Talking Helps While EPO Management Back-stabs Other Side of the Table

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Süddeutsche Zeitung headline

Summary: German media gives the impression that there is peace and harmony now that Benoît Battistelli and his circle of power speaks to staff, but nothing is said about simultaneous (albeit covert) attacks against that staff

NOW THAT the EPO hires private spies (waste of money) to intimidate its own staff it wants us to believe that it approaches reconciliation. That’s an insulting illusion. As Merpel put it the other day, “SUEPO, the Staff Union of the EPO, has announced (see news item of 21 May) that it understands that Control Risks (who describe themselves as “an independent, global risk consultancy specialising in helping organisations manage political, integrity and security risks in complex and hostile environments”) has been commissioned by the EPO to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union. Merpel considers that this completely undermines any attempt at social dialogue, or moves towards union recognition. How are EPO employees to be expected to serve on the Central Staff Committee, or to represent the EPO unions, if at the same time they are to be harassed and investigated, apparently for performing this very service?”

Also, “in the meantime,” she wrote, “most of the reforms to which the EPO staff objected were being pushed through, and it began to appear as though, even if union recognition was achieved, it would be too late to achieve any of the modifications that were needed to the reforms.”

What kind of reform and negotiation is this? Benefit of the doubt given to Benoît Battistelli? Why? Control freak is what he is and there is hardly an effort to deny it, either. Is this going to be the legacy of the European Union? Autocrats who waste taxpayers’ money?

Around the same time of a report from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung there was this Süddeutsche Zeitung article from a month ago [PDF]. It said “Talking Helps”, but helps who? So far it has mostly gagged EPO critics.

Here is the article in full:

Talking Helps

For months a massive dispute has been brewing at the European Patent Office. The staff regard their basic rights as being eroded by the President. Now the opposing camps have met for the first time.

Top executives at the Patent Office are starting to worry about its reputation – and the ability to do its job

By Katja Riedel

This week something almost impossible happened at the European Patent Office – or at least that’s the way it looked to the always well-informed bloggers on IPKat. This and similar Internet forums are where the people get together who are interested in intellectual property. And over the past few months the patent scene worldwide has been watching Munich with as much excitement as concern, and the darkened windows of the headquarters of the European Patent Office (EPO) on the bank of the River Isar. It is there, for all to see, that a dispute which is as bizarre as it is bitter has been brewing between parts of the staff, supported by the union Suepo, and the President, Benoît Battistelli.

This week something has happened which even Battistelli’s most trusted lieutenants would hardly have thought feasible: It seems that a rapprochement is at least on the cards. On Wednesday the President, along with high ranking delegates from his supervisory body, the Administrative Council, met with union representatives. The Danish Chairman of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, was there, together with the German and Croatian EPO Vice-Presidents, and representatives from the unions Suepo and FFPE. The aim was to re-establish social harmony, on the Isar and in the entire international organization, with its well on 7000 staff members. This is regarded as having absolute priority for the entire organization, according to the Administrative Council.

What sounds like something obvious has up now been unthinkable. The unions and the President weren’t even getting close – they were worlds apart. Step by step, Battistelli has been implementing a major programme of reform. He wants to streamline the Office, which is actually said to be the most expensive in the world, and that means doing away with some of the perks. For example, he has changed the promotion system to a more rigid performance-related points system. Staff at the European Patent Office actually earn an average of 7600 Euro, their income is not subject to tax, their children attend an international school free of charge, and there are a lot of other benefits as well. But they are also highly specialized scientists. And they emphasize that the issue is not one of money, but of basic rights, which in the world of the EPO, with its own set of rules, do not apply, but under German labour law and that of most of the 38 individual states which are represented at the EPO are a matter of course. The right to unionize, for example. Or, if someone falls ill, not having to have an unannounced visit from a company doctor at their home. A court at The Hague, one of the EPO locations, even recently ruled that the Office was infringing basic human rights. This is a criticism which Battistelli has rejected in a public bulletin: “There is a strange rumour going around in Europe, in media, political circles, and even at national courts: That we infringe basic rights. What an accusation!”

For a long time the representative of the Member States have let the President have a free hand, among other reasons because at its heart they were in favour of the reform. The Office is preparing for the introduction of the European Unitary Patent, which will make Munich one of the most important places in the world when it comes to intellectual property. It will also be the seat of an outpost of the European Patent Court, which will decide on the fate of billions of Euros. Top ranking EPO representatives have recently become extremely concerned that the tumult surrounding Battistelli is damaging the reputation of the Office, and is taking up too much of the effort which is needed for bringing about the reforms at the EPO. And even the patent examiners, highly specialized scientists, are saying that they are concerned – about the quality of the patents. In future, more patents will have to be given the once-over, less critically, so as to be able to hold their own in worldwide competition with glittering statistics and high earnings from fees.

At the most recent meeting of the Administrative Council at the end of March, Battistelli’s back-covering finally gave way, even on the part of the German delegation. The inner circle closeted itself with Battistelli, and made it penetratingly clear to him that he needed to give up the confrontation approach, and take a step in the direction of the staff, in the interests of his own reform programme, which he is aiming to complete by the end of his term of office in 2018.

For four hours they sat together on Wednesday, and word had it afterwards from the people concerned that there were no harsh words or emotional outbursts at all. And that says a lot,
after a year with 22 days of strikes, with demonstrations at consulates on the one hand and threats of disciplinary procedures and measures against personnel who were too loud in their criticism on the other. A working group has been set up. The top-ranking gathering will reconvene at the end of May. “It wasn’t an easy meeting, but actually sitting at the same table was an important first step, and the beginning of a constructive process”, said the Chairman of the Administrative Council Kongstad, in a joint communiqué with Battistelli. The President too praised the open atmosphere. Suepo did express regret that the question of a fixed role of the unions in the EPO regulatory procedure appeared to be the sole specific point of negotiation. There was the feeling, however, that the delegates from the Administrative Council had at least understood the views of the employees. Caption:

Strike: In the past few months, the staff have repeatedly been making their voices heard at the consulates of the Member States in Munich

The EPO’s management is no negotiations partner until or unless it stops intimidating the staff of the EPO. This ought to be clear to anyone who has watched what Battistelli has done over the past couple of years.

“The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

Richard Stallman

Large Corporations Call the Shots in US Patent Reform

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 9:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clinton family
Monarchs funded by industry

Summary: A reminder of where we stand on the issue of patent ‘reform’ in the US and who is controlling or shaping it

REMEMBER when Nokia was giving patents to Android-hostile trolls like MOSAID (with Microsoft’s confirmed involvement in the transaction)? Well, Florian Müller (funded by Microsoft) entirely omits Microsoft’s role. Some trolls are serving the agenda of much larger companies (they act as proxies), so clearly enough (to a prudent observer), it’s not only trolls who are the problem. It’s an institutional problem.

Nevertheless, the PATENT Act which we wrote about before is still hailed by legal and corporate media as the solution, despite its inability to deal with or tackle big trolls (like Microsoft). Some GOP-leaning sites even protect the small trolls (see “Small inventors step up fight to block patent overhaul law”) although it’s correctly stated that the “legislation only helps big companies”.

They are now trying the “startup” angle to shoot down the PATENT Act and its sibling, the Innovation Act. One article from David Pridham (posted also in The Hill) says: “The proposed Innovation Act (HR 9) is supposed to target only patent trolls. But as the National Venture Capital Association and 144 major universities warn, the bill’s poorly drafted provisions actually will undermine the startups and small businesses responsible for nearly all breakthrough innovation and job growth in the United States.”

“It is not true that startups would be hurt, unless they built their business on a house of cards (or patent applications).”It’s true that these changes “target only patent trolls.” It is not true that startups would be hurt, unless they built their business on a house of cards (or patent applications).

lawyers from IAM used the same kind of angle to discredit any reform, claiming that the system is “stacked [...] against the small inventor” (or stacked in favour of large corporation).

See the article “A devastating blow to Wisconsin’s innovators”. It’s that same talking point again.

“Most notably,” it says, “the law will install extensive new documentation requirements for patent lawsuits. Lawmakers want to increase the burden of bringing a case to court in order to discourage frivolous suits. But the law won’t only raise the difficulty of filing an unfounded suit, it also will make it harder for legitimate patent holders to protect their intellectual property in court. Inventors will be required to file hundreds of pages of technical paperwork just to start a lawsuit.”

“It was reported some years ago that Gates and his mate Nathan Myhrvold (the world’s biggest patent troll) had both been lobbying the government regarding patent law.”That’s just overrated. Small companies (except trolls) cannot use patents against large companies because they simply don’t have enough patents; they can be sued in retaliation by the large companies. When we saw the words “Partying for Innovation” in this new press release about “Happy Patent Day” we were reminder of this old myth that patents are supposed to help the “small guy” or the “poor inventor”. It ought to be evident by now that the real goal of today’s patents (and the law which accompanies them) is to protect large corporations, including those which use trolls as their assault drones/attack dogs. Why is law being tilted so profoundly in favour of large corporations? Look no further than prominent politicians like the Clintons. As Timothy B. Lee showed the other day, “Both sides of the patent reform debate have been showering Hillary Clinton with cash” (because they can afford to bribe politicians).

“On Friday night,” wrote Lee, “Hillary Clinton revealed the names of the various companies and trade groups that have collectively given her millions of dollars in speaking fees since the beginning of 2014. Looking through the list, one thing that stood out to me was how many of the payments came from companies with a strong interest in the patent reform debate.”

The corrupt patent system is a result of a corruptible political system. It’s not pleasant to hear, but anyone still believing that arguments will be judged based on merit rather than based on payments is clearly not paying attention. Bill Gates himself is exceptionally close to the Clintons — to the extent of having staff intersections at the highest of levels. Profits are paramount, no matter the means. A book about Microsoft’s genesis (Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul) explained that Bill Gates “had told Eller on a number of occasions that he longed to do a deal with the Russians because they were well educated and their labor was cheap.” That was before Gates lobbied the government (where he has enormous influence/control) for cheaper labour to come from abroad. It was reported some years ago that Gates and his mate Nathan Myhrvold (the world’s biggest patent troll) had both been lobbying the government regarding patent law. Millions were spent. Gates himself makes a huge fortune out of patents. It’s not speculation but a fact we habitually cover.

“It’s much ‘safer’ to blame the “trolls”, using them as a scapegoat that distracts patent debates from much bigger culprits.”Plutocrats’ control of politics is key here and as the plutocrats’ paper, Forbes (regular glorifier of Gates), told us the other day: “Of great concern is the issue of patent trolls. Every year, companies that don’t actually make or sell any products bring frivolous lawsuits against companies ranging from Google and Pfizer to the smallest of startups—alleging patent infringement. Despite the fact that these cases are nearly always dismissed when the patent holders fight back, defending against them can be prohibitively expensive. And as a result, they also distract from innovation.”

Actually, of even greater concern are large corporations and the plutocrats who run them, but don’t expect Forbes to speak negatively about them. Corporate media doesn’t view itself as ‘authorised’ to do that. It’s much ‘safer’ to blame the “trolls”, using them as a scapegoat that distracts patent debates from much bigger culprits.

Microsoft Puts Proprietary Windows and Hyper-V Inside the Free Software-Centric OpenStack

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OpenStack logo

Summary: OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month’s event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft

FOR A NUMBER of years now Microsoft has been trying to subvert OpenStack, making it proprietary and Windows-leaning. It never quite succeeded, but with help from Canonical and Cloudbase Microsoft is getting closer. To quote this report, “Canonical has just announced a new partnership with Cloudbase Solutions, a company that develops Windows components in OpenStack, which will allow customers to run KVM and Hyper-V environments side by side in the same cloud.”

“When Microsoft releases something as “Open Source” it is merely marketing or an intrusion attempt.”OpenStack is Apache-licensed, Python-based, and it generally strives to integrate only free components. Why would it allow Microsoft anywhere near it? Hyper-V is proprietary, it requires Windows (with back doors), and it has no place in an “open” stack like OpenStack.

Microsoft has nothing at all to do with Free/Open Source software (FOSS). Microsoft is attacking FOSS. When Microsoft releases something as “Open Source” it is merely marketing or an intrusion attempt. Earlier this month, as we noted last week, Microsoft released some useless code as “Open Source” (to misleadingly associate Windows with "Open Source") and Microsoft apologists like Paul Krill covered it at the time, noting that “Analysts see Windows Communication Foundation as a last-generation technology, which limits its usefulness” (as usual).

Remember when Microsoft was throwing some DOS code (not as Open Source) out there to create a publicity party/PR stunt? That was one year ago.

Microsoft’s Secret Lobbying, Bullying, and the Long History of Blackmailing Politicians Around the World

Posted in Microsoft at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Viewing itself as above the law

Police car

Summary: British media covers Microsoft’s abuse in the UK, but there are many similar incidents, and not just in the UK

GIVEN Microsoft’s pattern of retribution against individuals and organisations, what was revealed in UK-based media (and Bloomberg in the US) some days ago was hardly surprising.

A reader of ours reminded us of this older report about “Rohan Silva, who was a senior advisor to David Cameron on digital policy from May 2010 to June 2013, and a former economic advisor to George Osborne” because he “revealed the threats made by Microsoft during a speech at an event in London.”

In his own words: “A day or two before we were going to give the speech, a couple of backbench MPs called the office – they said Microsoft had called them saying if we went ahead with the speech on open standards, open architecture and open source, they would cut spending or maybe close research and development centres in the constituencies of the MPs they had called.”

“Microsoft is bamboozling politicians using corruptible media, not just through lobbyists who issue threats.”This is what he told delegates at the Chief Digital Officer Summit, so Microsoft’s bullying against British politicians is not exactly new. It sounds similar to the story told by Steve Hilton. There is a pattern here. We now see over a dozen news sites covering the Microsoft-led assault on British politicians [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. The British public will see the real face of Microsoft, but the public should not assume that this is an isolated incident involving some ‘rotten apples’. It’s not done only in Britain, either (here are examples from the US [1, 2]). This is how Microsoft does ‘business’, and not just in the UK. Softpedia, a Romanian site, spoke about Microsoft “Blackmailing UK Officials” and Robert Pogson, a Canadian, said we should “Put The Job-cuts Where They Belong, In Redmond”. Microsoft “used to bully key people everywhere to give their software the inside track in IT-decisions,” he wrote, referring to a phenomenon we often cover here: entryism, moles, revolving doors, etc. Microsoft plays dirty. There is a factual basis for disdain of Microsoft.

Microsoft is bamboozling politicians using corruptible media, not just through lobbyists who issue threats. Its boosters (in ‘news’ sites) attack the competition. We have named and shamed many of those who are/were actively involved in it. Sometimes Microsoft even hires people from the media in order to manipulate the media. Recall media mole Peter Galli, who repeatedly attacked ODF in the media until Microsoft hired him. He has since then been promoted at Microsoft to “Director of Executive Communications at Microsoft International”. So, from Microsoft promotion in the media (he used to be fake ‘journalist’ whose main goal was to promote Microsoft agenda) Peter Galli moved on to corrupting the press on behalf of Microsoft, as per his job title.

Again, this is just how Microsoft does ‘business’. It’s a deeply corrupt company and it keeps reminding us of that.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) article

Summary: German press article from April 2015 (with translations)

WHILE the EPO hires spies to attack journalists (not just staff), this one article (see these translations [PDF]) frames Battistelli as a peacemaker, which is wrong:

Truce at the Tax Haven of the European Patent Office

The autocratic President, Battistelli, is not a popular person. One union is even holding him responsible for suicides. Now discussions are under way.

kön. MUNICH, 24 April. Benoît Battistelli represents the French School par excellence. His autocratic management style is entirely in the tradition of the cradle of France’s elite, the Paris Institute of Political Science and School of Management for Executive State Service (ENA), where he embraced hierarchical and authoritarian thinking, with little dialogue and a lot of top-down delegation. A style like that does not always sit well, and even less so in an international organization such as the European Patent Office (EPO), with headquarters in Munich and The Hague, and with 38 European countries as members.

Battistelli, a 64-year-old Frenchman, being in office since 2010, has been dubbed the “Sun King” within the Office. The title fits: The EPO enjoys extra-territorial status with immunity, and is therefore not subject to national legislation. “Monsieur le Président” even has diplomatic status. But this authoritarian approach runs into trouble if it threatens to bring in reforms that erode privileges at the EPO, founded in 1973. The 7000 or so staff, from 30 countries, earn an average of 120,000 Euro a year, among them some 4300 highly qualified engineers, for a 40-hour working week and up to three months of holidays, a tax rate of 6 percent, and the EPO paying for medical care and children’s education.

Battistelli is out to exert more control. As of this month, he is demanding a doctor’s certificate in the event of illness and inability to work after three days, something which otherwise goes without saying in Germany. Illness numbers and time off are noticeably high. Since the start of the year, new criteria apply for assessing the performance of the staff. In this context, trouble has been brewing for more thanyear between the union SUEPO and the President, who does not recognize them as discussion partners. This has resulted in an attack on Battistelli, accusing him of joint responsibility in the suicide of staff members, among other reasons due to mobbing tactics. The aim is to drive the President from office, accompanied by strikes and demonstrations.

Last Wednesday, the reasonable approach won through. Battistelli, the Chairman of the Administrative Council Jesper Kongstad, and the two unions SUEPO and the somewhat more moderate FFPE, which represents the staff at The Hague, sat down at the same table. They talked for three hours, which is regarded as a great success. It is seen as the first step towards a “social dialogue”. According to the EPO, the ultimate aim of the Round Table is to lead to the formal recognition of the unions. The next meeting between the opposing parties is scheduled for 28 May. The SUEPO views it as positive that it has come to an “open exchange”. More is going to need to happen than simply the recognition of the unions, however; they are demanding to be integrated into the reform process.

The President has come to this understanding, with some pressure from the Administrative Council. Word has it that the Council has recognized the necessity of peace talks, and in the process has encountered an amazingly forthcoming Battistelli. It has become clear to him too that at the beginning of April a line was crossed. An article about the crisis at the EPO appeared in the French newspaper “Le Monde”. Four cases of suicide of Office employees were analyzed in almost minute detail, which occurred in three years and are said to have been attributable to depression. In March, a German employee in Munich took his own life. The SUEPO was quoted in the article as saying that they held Battistelli responsible for the circumstances, and that he was abusing the principle enshrined in the Statutes of judicial immunity. The President stated in the same article that he was “shocked” at the attempts to exploit the tragic incidents as an instrument, and to lay the suicides at his door.

The SUEPO already took up arms about the situation at the EPO last year. Reforms in personnel management and working conditions were said to have been introduced without having been examined by an independent body with regard to compatibility with fundamental rights and generally accepted principles of law. Staff can only lodge complaints about rights by way of an arbitration tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, not via national labour courts. The lack of transparency in management was criticized. Divergent opinions have been suppressed. “In structural terms, the President appears in all matters as accuser, examiner, judge, and final arbiter” is how the SUEPO describes the autocratic management style. In November 2014 Battistelli threw the union out of the EPO premises, and in February he threatened strikers with disciplinary measures.

All the more startling, then, the change just a few weeks later: In “Le Monde” “Monsieur Le Président”, whose contract was extended last year by three years, until 2018, was perfectly open about his salary of 250,000 Euro, which up to now has been one of the most closely guarded secrets. The newspaper report appears to have unleashed a shockwave. The case of France Télécom may have sounded warning bells with the President and the Administrative Council. In 2010, CEO Didier Lombard stood down after a series of suicides by several dozen employees shook the concern. And the fact also sank in that the reforms can be moved ahead in co-operation with the unions, and not at war with them. Battistelli took office with the task of putting into effect plans for renewal of the authority which had already run into difficulties. Unrest or even escalation under public gaze in an institution which acts discreetly such as the EPO could affect the success record of the President. He has in fact already scored a number of successes, and has strengthened the EPO in relation to the competing patent organizations in the United States and in Asia during his time in office. In 2014 there were 274,000 patent applications, while only 64,600 patents were actually granted, which is an indicator of the high demands involved. The more careful the examinations and screening procedures, the fewer the number of patents which can be challenged.

With a budget of 2 billion Euros, the Office finances itself from the expensive patent earnings, from which money is also distributed among the 38 Member States. Each of these has one vote, regardless of their significance, whether it be Albania or Germany, from which the most applications come. This congenital defect has contributed to the evolution of the autocratic structures. The President has always been able to bring small states into the balance, just as the controversial and power- obsessed Sepp Blatter is prone to do, President of the largest sports organization in the world, the World Football Association Fifa. The big difference with regard to Blatter is that Battistelli is able to learn – and he’s perceptive.

If Battistelli wants to make things right, he should resign, ensure the removal of his cronies (especially that gangster Željko Topić), and bring back people who were illegally fired/suspended, including regulatory staff. Restoring order and justice at the EPO would be a long process; it hasn’t even begun.

05.24.15

Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

Posted in News Roundup at 6:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • 20 First Photos from the History of Photography

      Photography has been a medium of limitless possibilities since it was originally invented in the early 1800s. The use of cameras has allowed us to capture historical moments and reshape the way we see ourselves and the world around us. To celebrate the amazing history of photography and photographic science, we have assembled twenty photographic ‘firsts’ from over the past two centuries.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Fascists Flipping Burgers in Saigon or Stalingrad

      These legends have some fundamental similarities. They are based on deliberate misrepresentations of the war and obfuscation with regard to the interests involved. In order to explain the deceptions behind the Vietnam Syndrome it is necessary to examine the “other war”. Contrary to much official history of US involvement in Indochina—the stuffing of almost all the films made—whether documentary or feature—the war began and ended as a CIA operation. The confusion as to war aims, strategy, tactical and operational effectiveness arise entirely from the fact that more than probably any other war fought with conventional forces—up to that time (except Korea but that war hasn’t ended yet)—the war in Vietnam was initiated, managed, funded, advertised and ultimately waged by the invisible army of US capitalism.

    • Unlike Chavez, Chavistas Appealed To A Powerless US President Who Works For Investors In Genocide!

      Yet, Obama is known to be just another powerless US president serving war industrialized Wall Street and at present dutifully ordering lethal multi nation bombings.

    • Congress must not abdicate its duty to authorize or declare war

      Despite the fact that the US plans on conducting airstrikes on Isis in Iraq and Syria for years, the Chicago Tribune reported on Monday that key members in the House and Senate have resigned themselves to the fact that there’s virtually no chance of Congress agreeing on any sort of bill to constrain or legalize the Obama administration’s bombing campaign in the Middle East.

    • Pentagon sham: Defense Dept altered books in long-awaited audit, reports claim

      The US Defense Department’s watchdog knowingly turned a blind eye to financial irregularities, leading to the Pentagon signing off on an audit. This has led to questions regarding just how transparent the government auditing process actually is.

      A special investigation by Reuters revealed that a senior member of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Inspector General team had colluded with an independent auditing company, Grant Thornton LLP, to falsely keep the US Marine Corps books clean.

    • Inside the fall of an Army Green Beret hero
    • Is the US-UK’s special relationship in decline?

      Is Anglo-America a failed state? In the realm of intelligence and national security, the special relationship is being tested.

      As he spoke to a crowd of Americans, Britain’s defence minister, Michael Fallon, had a US-UK flag pin on his lapel.

      “Just as together we broke the bonds of totalitarianism and tyranny in the Second World War,” he said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in March, “so we faced down the threat of communism in the cold war”.

    • TribuneDrones, jets and sovereignty

      There is no independent identification of the casualties or any explanation as to why they were targeted.

    • Lindsey Graham Literally Says U.S. Drones Should Kill Americans Who Consider Joining ISIS
    • Lindsey Graham’s comments on drones were very blunt

      It’s springtime, and Republicans are feeling hawkish again. See how Sen. Rand Paul’s views on foreign policy have shifted as he’s adopted a more aggressive stance. It wasn’t that long ago when the Kentucky Republican was staging a talking filibuster against the Obama administration’s drone policy, warning the American people that the president might deploy a drone against an American citizen on American soil without judicial process.

    • Lindsey Graham Will Drone You for Thinking About Joining ISIS

      At the Lincoln Day Dinner dinner in Des Moines Saturday night, Senator and probable 2016 candidate Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would have no problem droning potential ISIS recruits, and was so excited to do so he reckoned he might could skip the whole due process part.

    • Women and children targeted by US drones: Pundit
    • Why Elites Love Drones

      Elites want more violence. They are unconcerned that innocent civilians are killed.

    • Good Kill – American Sniper with Drones
    • Drone strikes take a terrible toll in innocent lives

      The truth is that we can never be certain who is in the target zone of any drone strike. Even though drones spent a week watching this compound, it is obvious that drones cannot see everything in the area.

    • Drone Warfare’s Costs and Benefits

      Lethal drones are President Obama’s weapon of choice in striking at suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in remote areas, but – as with any weapon of war – there must be a cost-benefit analysis, including whether drone strikes create more enemies than they kill, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

    • US drone complex bureaucratizes murder

      Machinery of lethal strikes enjoys moral and legal impunity – as intended

    • Justice Department issues policy on domestic drone use

      The Justice Department is acknowledging that the FBI, DEA and other federal law enforcement agencies are likely to make increasing use of unmanned aerial drones in the United States.

    • The Future of War

      MALE VOICEOVER (Good Kill, Voltage Pictures): The remotely-piloted aircraft is not the future of war. It is the here and now. Make no mistake about it: this ain’t PlayStation. We are killing people.

    • Why the Drones Keep Firing

      President Obama’s announcement last month that earlier this year a “U.S. counterterrorism operation” had killed two hostages, including an American citizen, has become a fresh occasion for questioning the rationales for continuing attacks from unmanned aerial vehicles aimed at presumed, suspected, or even confirmed terrorists. This questioning is desirable, although not mainly for hostage-related reasons connected to this incident. Sometimes an incident has a sufficient element of controversy to stoke debate even though what most needs to be debated is not an issue specific to the incident itself. More fundamental issues about the entire drone program need more attention than they are getting.

    • Interview: Robotics Professor Noel Sharkey

      TONY JONES, PRESENTER: All this talk of killer drones raises some very profound questions. For instance, are nations more likely to go to war if there’s less risk of their civilians being killed? And what does it mean if you take human decision-making out of the loop? Can a machine tell the difference between a civilian and a combatant?

    • Mission Unstoppable: Why Is the CIA Running America’s Foreign Policy?

      The programs in question involved such activities as the CIA’s efforts to derail Iran’s nuclear program and the agency’s use of drones to kill militants inside Pakistan. Again, the cracks in Blair’s authority were revealed: The DNI, as determined by the 2004 legislation that created the position, was to be the focal point for intelligence support to the president and other senior government leaders, and was allowed some say in budgetary matters, but was not granted command over any covert missions abroad.

    • Why can’t we handle the truth?

      Don’t expect any news you read or watch today or in the future to tell you that. The fact that President George W. Bush knowingly lied us into a disastrous war in Iraq cannot be told. Our media systems even now cannot report this story.

    • Iraq’s phantom army

      These are the choices facing Washington, all stemming from the events of just one weekend. The path of this war has changed, leaving western powers with ever less room for manoeuvre.

    • 9 depressing predictions for the future of America

      Remind me who, even among opponents and critics of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, ever imagined that the decision to take out Saddam Hussein’s regime and occupy the country would lead to a terror caliphate in significant parts of Iraq and Syria that would conquer social media and spread like wildfire. And yet, don’t think that the future is completely unpredictable either.

    • Local View: What we knew then

      On top of this evidence, known to the Bush White House but not the general public or Congress, was the public evidence from the international weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq. They found no WMD, yet the Bush administration insisted the weapons must be there and only by invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein could America be safe.

    • The War In The Shadows

      In which we examine the shadowy death of democracy, where we’ve come from and where we may still go.

    • Rachel Maddow slams Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio’s half-assed Iraq answers: “They weren’t duped by the CIA!”
    • Marco Rubio crashes and burns on Iraq question, says war was “not a mistake”

      So when Jeb Bush gave four answers in four days last week to the same question — “Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq?” — one would expect that his primary opponents realized that they were about to get asked the same question, and spent all of five minutes coming up with a better answer than “yes.”

      If Marco Rubio’s appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace is any indication, he did not take those five minutes.

    • Yet plans call for guns-blazing war games on Pagan at least 16 weeks a year. Hundreds of Marines, potentially joined by troops from Japan, Australia and South Korea, would storm ashore in landing craft, firing mortars and small arms, backed by naval bombardments, swarms of helicopters, drones, fighter jets and perhaps B-52s dropping real bombs.

      The plan has sparked an outpouring of resentment toward the U.S. military, fueled by strong sentiment that Pagan’s future should be determined by the people of the islands, not by Washington.

      “We love our island. We don’t want to give it up,” said Jerome Aldan, the 40-year-old elected mayor of the Northern Mariana Islands. “This proposal is going to turn it into a wasteland.”

      Aldan was 6 when the eruption of Mt. Pagan forced the island’s residents — about 100 families in all — to evacuate 200 miles south to Saipan, capital of the Northern Marianas, a U.S. commonwealth territory. The military, he fears, will turn Pagan into a war zone and kill the families’ decades-old dream of returning.

    • US Lacks Transparency on Drone Policy Despite Children’s Deaths – NGO

      Pentagon’s admitted partial responsibility in the death of two children was meant to divert attention from more widespread abuses, critics of the US government’s drone strikes claim.

    • What the accidental drone killing of an American ‘traitor’ says about the power of visual weapons

      This designation, I suggest, was less a reflection of the seriousness of Gadahn’s actions and more an indication of how much they perplexed the state. Gadahn never killed anyone, never blew up a building; the closest he ever came to actual operational significance was when he petitioned bin Laden, offering his services as a media strategist. Ultimately, the real threat was not so much Gadahn as his image. With his undeniable American-ness and (renounced) Jewish heritage, Gadahn confounded prevailing understandings of who “terrorists” are, where they come from and what they look like.

    • German court to hear case brought by relatives of Yemen drone attack victims

      A German court is to hear a case against the government brought by relatives of victims of a US drone attack in Yemen in a groundbreaking action that has the potential to interrupt the American strikes.

    • German court to consider evidence from Yemeni drone victim

      A court in Germany is set to take evidence from a Yemeni victim of the USA’s secret drone programme following revelations that military bases on German soil play a key role in the strikes.

      Faisal bin Ali Jaber, an environmental engineer from Sana’a who lost two relatives to a 2012 drone strike, has won the right to have his evidence heard as part of a constitutional claim filed in Germany.

    • US Drone Program Fails to Reduce Terrorism, Violence

      KnowDrones.com Coordinator Nick Mottern claims that the US Army and Air Force program to use unmanned aerial systems in combat has had catastrophic results because the drones have killed large numbers of civilians, but have not had significant impact on the scale of terrorist activities.

    • Scrutiny of CIA drones necessary

      No miraculous leap of faith is necessary to believe that U.S. officials did not know that the hostages were at the target site. And, still, it raises the question of whether the CIA really knows who it is killing when it launches strikes.

    • Saudi-led coalition pounds Yemen rebels in three cities

      Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition pounded Shiite rebels across three Yemeni cities today, as Riyadh reported the death of a Saudi child from cross-border fire.

    • Two Saudis killed in rocket attacks launched from Yemen – SPA

      Cross border rocket attacks launched from inside Yemen have killed two people in southern Saudi Arabia over the last 24 hours, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA reported on Friday.

      SPA quoted a Civil Defence official in the southwestern province of Jizan as saying that a child was killed and three other children were wounded on Friday in the al-Tawal region.

    • Whoopi Goldberg mocks ‘dummy’ Lindsey Graham and GOP contenders: They all want to be action heroes

      Whoopi Goldberg lit into Republican presidential candidates on The View on Tuesday for their attempts to sound tough on foreign policy.

      “The Republican candidates are kind of sounding more like action heroes,” Goldberg said. “Chris Christie wants to pump up the military. Marco Rubio says he will find and kill terrorists like Liam Neeson in Taken. You’re too short to be Liam Neeson, find somebody else.”

    • ‘Children died’ in US air strike

      A US air strike on Syria last year probably killed two children, officials say – the first admission of civilian casualties in the campaign.

      “We regret the unintentional loss of lives,” said Lieutenant General James Terry, head of the US-led campaign.

      US Central Command said the strike on 5-6 November, near Harim City, targeted the al-Qaeda-linked Khorasan Group.

    • Six Months Later, Pentagon Admits (Maybe) We Killed Some Kids in Syria

      While notable for admitting the possibility it killed two young children, admission called “too little, too late” by expert who says deathtoll of innocent people far exceeds Pentagon statement.

    • U.S. military and civilians are increasingly divided

      The segregation is so pronounced that it can be traced on a map: Some 49% of the 1.3 million active-duty service members in the U.S. are concentrated in just five states — California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

    • Making sense of Hersh’s Bin Laden blockbuster

      The capture and killing of the world’s most wanted man was always going to be an enthralling story, considering how he challenged and punctured the pride of the sole global superpower as well as evade arrest for a decade before being liquidated.

    • How Was Bin Laden Killed?

      Some might argue that knowing exactly how Osama bin Laden was killed really doesn’t matter. Some might even argue that he is still alive, which, if nothing else, would demonstrate the persistence of urban legends relating to conspiracies allegedly involving the U.S. government. JFK’s assassination has the grassy knoll and second gunman, plus Mafia, CIA, and Cuban connections as well as a possible Vietnamese angle. 9/11 had the mystery of the collapse of Building 7. More recently still, the Texas State Guard was mobilized to monitor a military training exercise because it was rumored to be a ploy to impose martial law. Demonizing Washington as one large conspiracy is good business all around.

    • World Bank: Gaza economy on ‘verge of collapse’

      Gaza’s economy is on the “verge of collapse,” a new World Bank report warned Friday, saying the unemployment rate there is now the highest in the world and calling on Israel and international donors to remedy the situation.

    • FO condemns NWA drone strike

      Pakistan has strongly condemned the US drone strike in North Waziristan on May 16, and has called for cessation of such strikes.

      “Such strikes are a clear violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said.

    • 3 EU nations pledge cooperation on developing ‘Euro-drone’

      Germany, France and Italy have pledged cooperation to jointly develop a “Euro-drone” for intelligence-gathering and surveillance of the skies.

    • As Long as the War on Terror Continues, There Will be More Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs

      Last week, just over two years since that note was written, a jury sentenced Tsarnaev to death for his role in the bombing. Speaking to the press outside the John J. Moakley courthouse in Boston, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said, “We are not intimidated by acts of terror, or radical ideals,” and described the marathon bombing as “a political crime, designed to intimidate and coerce the United States.”

    • Freedom and Death

      On May 12, 2015, Ananta Bijoy Das (32), a progressive writer, blogger, editor of science fiction magazine Jukti, and an organizer of Gonojagoron Mancha (People’s Resurgence Platform), was hacked to death, using machetes, by four assailants at Subidbazar Bankolapara residential area of Sylhet city, for writing against religious fundamentalism.

    • Nepal quake death toll becomes highest on record
    • How Seeing Argo Helped Me Uncover a Top Secret Operation to Save My Dad

      In 1979, my father was arrested and tried as a CIA agent in Iran.

    • Morsi’s Death Sentence Reminds Us of Our System

      It would be difficult to find a better example of tyranny than the U.S.-supported military dictatorship that has ruled Egypt for decades. In many ways, it mirrors the brutal U.S.-supported military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. No legislature. No independent judiciary. No due process of law. And lots of round-ups, kidnappings, torture, and execution of people who protest or who just hold the “wrong” beliefs.

    • Drones best weapon against Al-Qaeda despite collateral damage – ex-CIA deputy

      Drone use against terrorists causes collateral damage, but it remains “the most effective weapon” in the United States’ arsenal, former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell told RT in a wide-ranging interview.

    • Is U.S. Foreign Policy Making Americans Less Safe?

      In summary, the most likely—though not most lethal—terror threats to Americans come from individuals living within the United States who are partially motivated to undertake self-directed attacks based upon their perception that the United States and the West are at war with the Muslim world.

    • Secrets, the C.I.A. and The New York Times

      Since 9/11, the United States’ “war on terror” has become the overarching news story of our time.

      As the nation’s dominant news organization, The Times deserves, and gets, intensive scrutiny for how it has handled that story. The grades, clearly, are mixed. Its role in the run-up to the Iraq War has been rightly and harshly criticized. Its early reporting on surveillance, though delayed, was groundbreaking. Its national-security reporting has been excellent in many ways and, at times, is justifiably slammed for allowing too much cover for government officials who want to get their message out.

      Nearly 14 years after 9/11, a reckoning finally is taking place. The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, has said repeatedly in recent months that he thinks it’s time to toughen up and raise the bar.

    • Matt Taibbi on the Journalist & Politician Cheerleaders for Iraq War, Then & Now

      In this web-only conversation with journalist Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, we turn to Iraq. He recently wrote a piece for Rolling Stone titled “Forget What We Know Now: We Knew Then Iraq War Was a Joke.” Taibbi wrote the piece after Jeb Bush’s infamous interview on Fox News. Megyn Kelly asked Bush “knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” Bush responded, “I would have.” Jeb Bush later reversed his stance.

    • VIDEO: Former CIA Deputy Director Grilled on Falsehoods That Led to Iraq War

      In a heated 10-minute exchange, MSNBC host Chris Matthews confronts CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell with the question of why, during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, he let Vice President Dick Cheney get away with saying Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was building nuclear weapons.

    • Ex-CIA Official, Intel Briefer: Bush Admin Made False Claims on Iraq

      A former top CIA official and intelligence briefer to President George W. Bush before the Iraq War has acknowledged Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney falsely presented information to the public. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Michael Morell was asked about Cheney’s claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons.

    • Here’s how George W. Bush handled the big question that’s dogging Jeb

      Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) could learn a lesson from his older brother on how to field questions about the Bush family political dynasty.

    • Ex-CIA Leader Endorses Freedom Act and Mass Collection of Email Metadata

      Michael Morell, twice acting director of the CIA and a member of President Barack Obama’s five-member surveillance review panel, said he supports the latest version of the USA Freedom Act, which backers say would end the dragnet collection of domestic call records.

    • The CIA is dropping Burmese bombs on China

      Mystery bombs have fallen twice on China, from Myanmar. The first time, March 13, killed five Chinese and injured eight. On May 14th, another one was dropped, injuring five villagers.

    • Turkey Hires Ex-CIA Director to Lobby US Congress
    • Ex-CIA director hired by Turkey

      Goss registered through Dickstein Shapiro law firm which is his new employer. The company has long-lasting relations with the Turkish government in its turn.

    • Cheney Thought al Qaeda was Bluffing

      So it’s not just that Cheney is cartoonishly evil, it’s that he’s monstrously incompetent; in fact, his monstrous incompetence is a large part of why he’s so cartoonishly evil. He was overwhelmingly powerful, but with no understanding of reality, and so blundered around the world strewing destruction wherever he went.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Ralph Nader on Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Bid & His Unanswered Letters to the White House

      Since independent Senator Bernie Sanders announced his presidential candidacy in April, polls in Iowa show support there for him has increased to 15 percent among Democrats, up from five percent in February. This compares to about 60 percent backing for former secretary of state, senator and first lady Hillary Clinton. Sanders is the longest-serving independent member of Congress in U.S. history, yet he is going to run in the Democratic Party for the Democratic nomination. We discuss Sanders’ plans with former presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, author of the new book, “Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015.”

    • Murderous spooks drive journalism project to WikiLeaks

      Just two weeks after its launch, Transparency Toolkit’s ICWatch project, which documents more than 100,000 job profiles associated with the US “intelligence community” has been rehoused at WikiLeaks due to death threats and DDoS attacks on its infrastructure.

    • Bernie Sanders has been against the CIA’s role in destroying democracy since his early days

      As Independent Senator Bernie Sanders ramps up his campaign for the presidency, his focus has been on issues like economic inequality, the corrupting influence of money in politics, and stopping global climate change. Yet questions have remained about his views on the realm of policy most relevant to the commander in chief’s job: foreign affairs.

      A televised CSPAN interview Sanders gave in 1989, when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, offers a look into his thinking about the world. At one point, the interviewer asked Sanders about the distinction between socialism in Latin American countries and the authoritarian government of the Soviet Union.

    • Treat leakers like Edward Snowden, David Petraeus equally

      Earlier this month, a federal judge sentenced Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA analyst convicted of leaking information about a secret anti-Iran plot, to three-and-half years in prison. It was a strikingly heavy sentence. If it were part of a serious crackdown on all government employees who violate their oaths, it might be justifiable. Instead, it is something quite different: further evidence of the wildly different ways leakers are treated, depending on who they are.

    • The war on whistleblowers continues

      Even worse, the feds claimed that Sterling, who is black, did it out of resentment over a failed racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency — in effect using Sterling’s willingness to stand up for his rights against him.

    • A case of ‘selective prosecution’?

      There were no Blacks on the jury, and according to Mr. Solomon, “the evidence presented by the prosecution was circumstantial email and phone call metadata without content of any incriminating nature.”

      Despite pledging to be the most transparent presidential administration, Pres. Obama has expanded Bush era surveillance techniques, and has used the Espionage Act more than all previous administrations combined.

    • Louis: Clinton emails — A mix of conflicts?

      The mere fact that Hillary Clinton’s official emails were kept on her personal computer system is turning out to be one of the least important things about them. What matters most about this first batch of messages released by the State Department is that they reveal Clinton, as secretary of state, at the center of a tangled web of connections and conflicts of interest between public and private actors.

    • Clinton’s Benghazi emails show correspondence with adviser

      The messages show the role played by Sidney Blumenthal, who was working for the Clinton family foundation and advising a group of entrepreneurs trying to win business from the Libyan transitional government. Blumenthal repeatedly wrote dispatches about the events in Libya to Clinton, who often forwarded them to her aides at the State Department.

    • Britain hid secret MI6 plan to break up Libya from US, Hillary Clinton told by confidant

      Britain acted deceitfully in Libya and David Cameron authorised an MI6 plan to “break up” the country, a close confidante of Hillary Clinton claimed in a series of secret reports sent to the then-secretary of state.

      Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time friend of the Clintons, emailed Mrs Clinton on her personal account to warn her that Britain was “game playing” in Libya.

      Mr Blumenthal had no formal role in the US State Department and his memos to Mrs Clinton were sourced to his own personal contacts in the Middle East and Europe.

    • Alegedly US Officials Leak Worse Than Whistleblowers

      Unnamed US officials allegedly disclosed very sensitive information in a report on raid in Syria, published by New York Times.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Women and Biodiversity Feed the World, Not Corporations and GMOs

      The two great ecological challenges of our times are biodiversity erosion and climate change. And both are interconnected, in their causes and their solutions.

      Industrial agiculture is the biggest contributor to biodiversity erosion as well as to climate change. According to the United Nations, 93% of all plant variety has disappeared over the last 80 years.

    • Pesticides offer bees a risky allure

      Bees flit from flower to flower dining on nectar. Sometimes that nectar may contain traces of widely used pesticides. Yet the bees are unlikely to know which nectar is tainted. Indeed, they can’t taste these pesticides, a new study finds. However, the pesticides are similar to nicotine. This can encourage the bees to come back for more. And especially troubing: A second new study suggests the pesticides can harm some wild bees.

    • Survivor bees

      “We need that relationship with bees,” says author and beekeeper Crowder. “That’s how we need nature. We can’t live without nature and bees help us recognize that connection.”

    • The CIA Is Shuttering a Secretive Climate Research Program?

      So gushes Mother Jones, adding the enticing word “exclusive” to the story. But – weirdly enough, for a confection of spying and science reporting, both of which are normally so reliable – this appears to be a bit garbled. Firstly, the “climate research programme” looks to be more like the CIA had allowed civilian scientists to access classified data—such as ocean temperature and tidal readings gathered by Navy submarines and topography data collected by spy satellites. So, not CIA research at all: just data sharing. And presumably not CIA data mostly; if this is stuff routinely gathered by Navy subs, its presumably Navy data; which the CIA had been given the job of giving out? Hard to be sure. National Journal seems to support my interpretation.

    • CIA shuts down program using spy satellites to track climate change

      For most of the past two decades, a handful of climate change scientists have had the CIA’s MEDEA (Measurement of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis) program as an ace in the hole: they could draw on classified info from spy satellites and subs to study global warming in extreme detail. However, they’ll now have to make do with alternatives. The agency has shut down MEDEA, saying that its projects to study the security implications of climate change “have been completed.” While the CIA says it’ll still “engage external experts” on the subject, it won’t be providing consistent access to its extremely accurate and rare data.

    • The CIA Is Shutting Down Its Secretive Climate Change Research Project

      The Central Intelligence Agency has announced that it’s closing down MADEA, a decades-old research program that shared classified information with scientists to study how climate change might exacerbate global security risks.

    • CIA ends climate research program after Obama calls climate change a security risk

      Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis, or Medea, which began in the 1990s, allowed civilian scientists access to classified satellite data. The program was scrapped under former President George W. Bush, but reconstituted in 2010 under president Obama.

    • Britain sends biggest warship for NATO drills on Russian border

      Britain is ramping up its military rhetoric, sending its biggest warship for NATO drills in the Baltic, right off the Russian coast, in this latest show of force. The drills kick off on June 5 and will last for two weeks.

      The helicopter carrier HMS Ocean is expected to reach Russia’s city of Kaliningrad sometime this week, carrying aboard about 80 Royal Marines who are to join other NATO troops in Poland, the Sunday Times reports.

  • Finance

    • Bank of England’s EU exit strategy leaked to national newspaper – by its head of press

      A senior official at the Bank of England “inadvertently” sent research assessing the economic dangers of the UK leaving the European Union to an editor at a national newspaper.

      The Bank was left in an embarrassing situation on Friday after it accidentally emailed details – including how to fend off inquiries related to the report – directly to the Guardian newspaper.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Ira Glass Clarifies That Public Radio Is Ready for the GOOD Kind of Capitalism

      The context was “Hearing Is Believing,” an event sponsored by NPR and member stations WNYC and WBEZ to pitch public radio (and its podcasts) as an advertising vehicle (American Community Radio, 5/12/15).

    • Jeff Bezos’ Paper Assures Us System Isn’t Rigged for Amazon

      Actually, Border Books did close in large part because the economic system is rigged against ordinary Americans. One of the main reasons Amazon has been able to grow as rapidly as it did is that Amazon has not been required to collect the same sales tax as its brick-and-mortar competitors in most states for most of its existence. The savings on sales tax almost certainly exceeded its cumulative profits since it was founded in 1994.

      While there is no policy rationale to exempt businesses from the obligation to collect sales tax because they are internet-based, this exemption has allowed Amazon to become a huge company and made its founder, Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people in the world.

      Oh yeah—Jeff Bezos now owns the Washington Post.

    • War Propaganda. “Planting Stories” in the News Chain

      The most powerful component of the Fear and Disinformation Campaign (FDI) rests with the CIA, which, secretly subsidizes authors, journalists and media critics, through a web of private foundations and CIA sponsored front organizations. The CIA also influences the scope and direction of many Hollywood productions. Since 9/11, one third of Hollywood productions are war movies. “Hollywood stars and scriptwriters are rushing to bolster the new message of patriotism, conferring with the CIA and brainstorming with the military about possible real-life terrorist attacks.” “The Sum of All Fears” directed by Phil Alden Robinson, which depicts the scenario of a nuclear war, received the endorsement and support of both the Pentagon and the CIA.

    • The Infernal Cocktail Party Corruption of Washington’s Elite Media

      In particular, Allen frequently documents how intimately and seamlessly connected the members of the media aristocracy are with other members of Washington’s ruling elite, whether they come from the intelligence community, the super-wealthy, big banks, the lobbying community, or top levels of government.

    • Fox News confused about whether Allah and God are the same
    • The Accidental Operative

      Here is the shocking story of how the niece of former CIA director Richard Helms became an intermediary for the Taliban in Afghanistan and relayed an offer by the Taliban to the US government for the surrender of Osama Bin Laden months before the 9/11 attacks. The offer was refused. This story, written by my friend and Cockburn’s old partner at the Village Voice, James Ridgeway, and Camelia Fard, was published in the Voice on June 12, 2001, and promptly vanished from the cultural memory after 9/11. In the wake of Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations, Ridgeway asked me to re-run the article on CounterPunch. I was very happy to oblige him. It’s an astounding read. –Jeffrey St. Clair

    • The Misinformation Burnout. Media Fatigue with “Islamism” and “Terrorism”

      Every nation must create a bogey man or a group to crucify and persecute, in order to unify the public behind their leaders, help them act out their collective aggression, and dodge the important domestic issues that plague the day.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Here’s how badly we’re getting ripped off by our mobile phone providers

      It is hard to overstate how much I love the British mobile provider Three and how I wish it would come to the United States.

      My fellow Americans, let me (again) re-iterate how badly we’re all getting overcharged: Three offers a 30-day prepaid plan with unlimited data, unlimited texts, and 200 minutes of domestic calling, all for £20 ($31). That’s about one-third less than what I pay right now Stateside.

05.23.15

Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Wal-Mart’s E-Commerce Group Embraces Open Source
  • Why Do People Contribute to Open Source Projects?

    Open source development is the future of software. It’s great for users like you and me because open source software is usually free (not always) and often safer to use because malicious code is less likely to be implemented.

  • Automatic Goes Open Source to Make an App Store for Your Car
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 44 Dev Gets Better Page Capture Resolution

        Google developers have released a new development version of the Google Chrome browser, and the latest version is now at 44.0.2403.9. It’s not a big update, but it does bring some interesting changes.

      • Chrome for Android goes almost “entirely open source”

        Launched in September 2008, Google’s Chrome browser is now dominant in its share of the desktop web browser market, with approximately 1 in 4 Internet users interfacing with the web using the browser. What many Chrome users probably don’t know, however, is that it’s actually based off the open source Chromium browser, also developed by Google. Up until today Chrome for Android differed from its desktop counterpart in that it’s codebase wasn’t open source – meaning, the code for the app wasn’t publicly available for other developers to view, modify, and build upon. That changed today.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Tesora’s TroveSpeed Program Aimed at Speeding OpenStack Trove Deployments

      As the OpenStack cloud computing scene evolves, an ecosystem of tools is growing along with it. Tesora, the leading contributor to the OpenStack Trove open source project, cam out a few months ago with what it billed as the first enterprise-ready, commercial implementation of OpenStack Trove database as a service (DBaaS). The company also announced that it had open sourced its Tesora Database Virtualization Engine.

    • IBM Centralizing its Cloud Strategy Around OpenStack

      Concentrating on the hybrid clioud during a time when it is seriously reshaping its whole business around cloud computing, IBM has announced that it will make OpenStack the central platform for its portfolio of cloud services. Dubbed IBM Cloud OpenStack Services, the new program will deliver a collection of OpenStack-based services for hybrid cloud customers.

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Malware is not only about viruses – companies preinstall it all the time

      In 1983, when I started the free software movement, malware was so rare that each case was shocking and scandalous. Now it’s normal.

      To be sure, I am not talking about viruses. Malware is the name for a program designed to mistreat its users. Viruses typically are malicious, but software products and software preinstalled in products can also be malicious – and often are, when not free/libre.

      In 1983, the software field had become dominated by proprietary (ie nonfree) programs, and users were forbidden to change or redistribute them. I developed the GNU operating system, which is often called Linux, to escape and end that injustice. But proprietary developers in the 1980s still had some ethical standards: they sincerely tried to make programs serve their users, even while denying users control over how they would be served.

    • Asking Obama to protect encryption, and why that’s not enough

      This week the FSF added our signature to a coalition letter addressed to Barack Obama, calling on him to reject any proposal to systematically undermine the encryption used to secure digital devices and software made in the US.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Dutch seminars on PSI Directive implementation
    • Rust 1.0.0, NASA Software Catalog, and more open source news
    • Open-source plant breeding: new freedom for farmers

      Software developers—and even consumers—are familiar with the open-source movement. Open-source projects, like the popular Firefox web browser, are generally developed in a public, cooperative effort. The copyright holder “opens” the consumer’s right to modify the “source” product and distribute it to others as long as the result is also “open” for others to do the same.

    • OpthalmicDocs Releases Open Source Files for Portable Retinal Scanning Technology

      We hear enough about how so many third world diseases are preventable, but people just lack the resources; preventable diseases can too easily become severely crippling, or even deadly, due to the condition of poverty. We also hear enough good stories about people who are using their medical and technical knowledge to change this fact.

    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • Tessel 2, A $35 Linux Computer That’s Truly Open Source

        We’ve seen the first version of the Tessel a few years ago, and it’s still an interesting board: an ARM Cortex-M3 running at 180MHz, WiFi, 32 Megs of both Flash and RAM, and something that can be programmed entirely in JavaScript or Node.js. Since then, the company behind Tessel, Technical Machines, has started work on the Tessel 2, a board that’s continuing in the long tradition of taking chips from WiFi routers and making a dev board out of them. The Tessel 2 features a MediaTek MT7620 running Linux built on OpenWRT, Ethernet, 802.11bgn WiFi, an Atmel SAMD21 serving as a real-time I/O coprocessor, two USB ports, and everything can still be controlled through JavaScript, Node, with support for Rust and other languages in the works.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • 12 reasons Manchester is better than London
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • BRICS trample US in South America

      It started in April with a rash of deals between Argentina and Russia during President Cristina Kirchner’s visit to Moscow.

      And it continues with a $53 billion investment bang as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Brazil during the first stop of yet another South American commercial offensive – complete with a sweet metaphor: Li riding on a made in China subway train that will ply a new metro line in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Trident Whistleblower

      Today it was reported that McNeilly turned himself in to the police at Edinburgh airport and is currently in military custody.

    • Seymour Hersh Stands by His bin Laden Story, and His Sources

      With the Obama administration having prosecuted more national security leakers than any other, anonymous sources are the only way Americans can find out how their government is waging its secret war on terror. That’s why journalist Seymour Hersh deserves congratulations rather than condemnation for his story on the killing of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden.

      There’s been criticism of Hersh, much of it centering on his use of anonymous sources. But if you read Hersh’s story closely and check what others have written, you’ll see that his account holds up. The report was published in the May 21 edition of the London Review of Books.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • The Guardian view on Theresa May’s censorship plan: pointless and unprincipled

      If Theresa May has a reputation as a safe pair of hands, one has to wonder what she would have to do to lose it. The home secretary invented a human right to a pet cat in a conference speech, and allowed “go home” immigration vans to be wheeled out in diverse communities, before conceding that the vans themselves had to go home to the garage. Now we learn, courtesy of a leaked letter from her cabinet colleague Sajid Javid, about a wild scheme to censor broadcasters.

    • State censorship: Tory minister slams Home Sec’s plan to sanitize UK TV shows

      UK Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused of trying to introduce state censorship of TV broadcasters by a senior Conservative minister in a leaked letter.

    • Cameron slaps down Business Secretary Sajid Javid in Cabinet row with Theresa May over TV censorship
    • Theresa May accused of seeking to introduce state censorship of the media by Cabinet colleague Sajid Javid

      In a letter to David Cameron written before the general election, then Culture Secretary Sajid Javid attacked Ms May’s plan to use regulator Ofcom to vet programmes before they were broadcast in the strongest terms, saying it posed a threat to freedom of speech.

      Mr Javid, now Business Secretary, also said Ofcom would be turned from a regulator into a state “censor” by the proposal and lead to comparisons with “regimes” with dubious human rights records, according to the letter which was leaked to The Guardian newspaper.

    • Theresa May TV censorship plan attacked by Sajid Javid

      Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused of attempting to introduce government censorship of British television programming by one of her Cabinet colleagues, a leaked letter has shown.

    • Why government censorship [in no way at all] carries greater risks than benefits

      The phenomenon of the Streisand Effect, where high-profile attempts to censor or prevent people from seeing something result in massively increased attention for the something, is a brilliant example of psychological reactance, the tendency of people to strongly object when a freedom is being taken from them [even though they weren’t using it] and do whatever they can to restore it [which will get them arrested if they’re not careful].

    • Wikipedia Disturbed Over Fresh China Censorship

      Wikipedia is yet again being censored by China’s Great Firewall.

    • Cuba’s Clandestine Press Thumb Their Noses at Street Censorship

      Español
      On Thursday, May 21, the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) — an illegal opposition party created in 2011 — uploaded a YouTube video of activists in the southern city of Palma Soriano sharing DVDs filled with news and other hard-to-access information with the public.

    • Jimmy Kimmel Presents ‘The Week In Unnecessary Censorship’

      Uh oh… We’re not sure Taylor Swift said “eff you” on stage at the Billboard Music Awards, a Fox News anchor definitely didn’t talk about the prospect of free “cock” across the nation and we’re pretty sure a little boy didn’t beg his mother to get nasty with a homeless man.

    • When A Benefit Against Censorship Gets Censored

      A New York benefit show for the National Coalition Against Censorship cancelled last week over allegedly offensive material will go on at a new venue — though without the Mohammed-themed play that first started the controversy.

    • Anti-Censorship Event Canceled over Concerns About Muhammad Play

      An anti-censorship benefit event at New York City’s Sheen Center was canceled recently over concerns about some of the scheduled speeches and Neil LaBute‘s play Muhammad Gets a Boner.

    • EFF calls FPB’s new Internet censorship law ‘worst in Africa’

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has proclaimed the Film and Publication Board’s (FPB) Draft Online Regulation Policy “Africa’s worst new Internet censorship law”.

    • Africa’s Worst New Internet Censorship Law Could be Coming to South Africa
    • In this game, censorship does not mean ‘deleting your spiteful internet comments’

      As a woman who writes articles about video games, I hear the word “censorship” a lot these days. To hear certain corners of the internet tell it, “censorship” supposedly means having discussions on the images we see in media, asking people to think about the language they use and the effect it achieves, doing any kind of media criticism, or moderating comments so that nobody can shit them up with frantic sealioning about how other people are being too sensitive to criticism.

    • Kanye West Slams ‘Unwarranted Censorship’ by Billboard Music Awards

      “Kanye West was grossly over-censored at the Billboard Music Awards,” the statement reads. “Non-profane lyrics such as ‘with my leather black jeans on’ were muted for over 30-second intervals. As a result, his voice and performance were seriously misrepresented.

    • Kanye West issues statement about ‘ridiculous’ censorship at Billboard Music Awards

      Kanye West was all ready and amped to close out the 2015 Billboard Music Awards with “All Day” and “Black Skinhead.” But home viewers weren’t able to fully enjoy Yeezy’s performance, as the broadcast heavily muted parts of the show, including words that don’t even anger the FCC or violate its regulations.

    • Writer Prosecuted for Facebook Posts Critical of State Censorship

      Authorities in Iran are prosecuting another writer on national security charges for signing statements and writing posts that criticized state censorship on the Facebook page of the Iranian Writers’ Association.

    • Egypt Court Orders Censorship of Pornographic Websites

      An administrative court in Egypt ordered the prime minster to take the necessary and immediate action to censor pornographic websites on Wednesday. While the court specifically calls for immediate action, the order can still be appealed at the Supreme Administrative Court.

    • Egypt Court Bans Pornography

      An Egyptian court has ordered Egypt’s Prime Minister take immediate action to ban pornography websites in Egypt, reported state media Al-Ahram.

      The decision by Egypt’s Administrative Court on Wednesday contradicts the same court’s decision two years ago in which it decided not to ban pornography websites, stated Ahram Online.

    • Religious Israeli website censors women ministers from cabinet portrait

      Country’s new gender equality minister among those blurred from photograph on grounds that pictures of women offend conservative religious mores

    • Just say no to the censorship of culture in Israel

      When it was announced that Miri Regev was to be the culture and sports minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fourth government, some people made jibes about her suitability for the position, based on her reputation as a loud and inflammatory politician who sees the world in clear terms of good and pure (us) and evil and impure (the entire world, including groups in Israel that don’t think “as we do.”)

    • Africa’s Worst New Internet Censorship Law Could be Coming to South Africa

      Only once in a while does an Internet censorship law or regulation come along that is so audacious in its scope, so misguided in its premises, and so poorly thought out in its execution, that you have to check your calendar to make sure April 1 hasn’t come around again. The Draft Online Regulation Policy recently issued by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) of South Africa is such a regulation. It’s as if the fabled prude Mrs. Grundy had been brought forward from the 18th century, stumbled across hustler.com on her first excursion online, and promptly cobbled together a law to shut the Internet down. Yes, it’s that bad.

    • Federal Court of Appeals Blocks Use of Trademark for Censorship

      Today, in an important First Amendment decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked an attempt by the NAACP to use trademark as a tool to censor unwanted online criticism—a result we had urged in an amicus brief filed with the court back in October. The Fourth Circuit overruled a federal district court in Virginia, which had previously ruled that the Radiance Foundation’s use of the moniker “NAACP” infringed on the organization’s trademark.

    • Rockstar sues BBC over Grand Theft Auto game violence censorship film

      Rockstar Games and parent company Take-Two Interactive have filed a lawsuit against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over the latter’s in-production TV drama film Game Changer (working title).

      The BBC revealed the project last month, confirming earlier reports. The film traces the conflict between Rockstar Games lawyer Jack Thompson over Rockstar’s controversial Grand Theft Auto series, with Bill Paxton playing Thompson and Daniel Radcliffe starring as Rockstar Games co-founder Same Houser.

  • Privacy

    • How we’re fighting back against the UK surveillance state—and winning

      In October 2014, the IPT hearings produced another unexpected admission from the UK government. As Privacy International reported: “Details of previously unknown internal policies, which GCHQ was forced to reveal during legal proceedings challenging their surveillance practices in the wake of the Snowden revelations, reveal that intelligence agencies can gain access to bulk data collected from US cables or through US corporate partnerships without having to obtain a warrant from the Secretary of State.” The safeguards on how this material can be used are minimal: “On the face of the descriptions provided to the claimants, the British intelligence agencies can trawl through foreign intelligence material without meaningful restrictions and can keep such material, which includes both communications content and metadata, for up to two years.”

      In December 2014, the IPT ruled against the Privacy International group of human rights organisations, and “accepted the security services’ position that they may in principle carry out mass surveillance of all fibre optic cables entering or leaving the UK and that vast intelligence sharing with the NSA does not contravene the right to privacy because of the existence of secret policies.”

    • There’s an app for that: How NSA, allies exploit mobile app stores

      In 2011 and 2012, the NSA and the communications intelligence agencies of its “Five Eyes” allies developed and tested a set of add-ons to their shared Internet surveillance capability that could identify and target communications between mobile devices and popular mobile app stores—including those of Google and Samsung. According to an NSA document published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the targeting capability could have been used to launch “man-in-the-middle” attacks on mobile app downloads, allowing the NSA and other agencies to install code on targeted devices and gather intelligence on their users.

    • Edward Snowden: NSA reform in the US is only the beginning

      Edward Snowden has hailed landmark shifts in Congress and the US courts on NSA surveillance but cautioned that much more needs to be done to restore the balance in favour of privacy.

    • NSA pranksters plant ‘listening’ devices in New York and take snooping abroad

      The conversations are, mainly, pretty mundane: one man at East Village restaurant Cafe Orlin, talks about publishing photographs. A woman at Crunch is talking to her personal trainer about how much she enjoys watching House of Cards. A guy in a cafe is telling a story about getting evicted from an apartment with “a bathtub the size of a racquetball court”.

    • Anti-NSA Pranksters Planted Tape Recorders Across New York and Published Your Conversations
    • ‘We Are Always Listening’ Project Skewers NSA Spying And Will Make You Paranoid About Having A Conversation In Public
    • Are anti-NSA pranksters invading people’s privacy?

      Over the past year, they’ve hidden dozens of mini tape recorders under tables and benches around New York City, secretly taping people’s conversations. This week, they launched a website where they’ve posted some of their recordings. They range from the mundane, like a woman at a gym talking about her plans for the evening, to the intimate, like a man at a restaurant talking about his lover’s fetishes.

    • Top spy admits: We’re ‘dependent’ on NSA

      The head of the German Intelligence Agency (BND) told a special parliamentary committee on Thursday that his agency is ‘dependent on’ the American National Security Agency (NSA).

    • More NSA keywords detected in German spy agency’s computers

      More than 400,000 new keywords have been found in German spy agency BND’s computers, a German media report says. The findings would further undermine the organization, accused of helping the NSA with surveillance.

    • The NSA Plan to Find Bin Laden by Hiding Tracking Devices in Medical Supplies

      The scheme is laid out in a top-secret NSA presentation dated June 2010 and titled “Medical Pattern of Life: Targeting High Value Individual #1,” which was among the files provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      [...]

      Once the compound was located, the U.S. government also wanted DNA evidence that bin Laden was inside. Not long after the raid, it was reported that the CIA had set up a hepatitis vaccine drive in Abbottabad as a front to obtain DNA samples. The doctor working for the CIA, Shakil Afridi, was arrested by Pakistani intelligence and eventually sentenced to decades in prison — not for allegedly working for the CIA, but on charges of aiding a militant group.

    • Big sales growth nothing to do with NSA fears – Huawei top brass

      Chinese kit-maker Huawei isn’t apportioning swelling sales outside the Middle Kingdom to NSA snooping fears, more that double digit growth in Europe is related to brand recognition a decade after it up shop there.

    • Surveillance diehards in the Senate will do anything to stop NSA reform

      The NSA and its surveillance state supporters in the Senate are making a last ditch effort to prevent Congress from taking away any of the spy agency’s authority to snoop on innocent Americans, despite the fact that there is now broad support for NSA reform in Congress.

    • Fox News Pundit Paid by NSA Contractor Reacts to Rand Paul: “Trust the NSA”
    • Two Senate Republicans Predict Short Extension of NSA Spying

      Two U.S. Senate Republicans predicted Friday that their chamber will have enough votes to pass a short extension of three U.S. spy programs until Congress and the White House can come up with a final plan.

    • Chris Christie accused of ‘political pornography’ over NSA remarks

      “You can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin,” Christie — a likely presidential candidate — said earlier this week.

    • Bush, Christie defend NSA surveillance programs

      As Congress ponders the fate of the PATRIOT Act — and the counterterrorism surveillance programs it authorizes — two potential Republican presidential candidates stuck up for those programs Friday at a conference of Republican activists.

    • Chris Christie backs NSA snooping in hawkish foreign policy speech
    • NSA Whistleblower: No Real NSA Reforms Being Considered by Senate

      Kirk Wiebe says the Senate is not challenging the authority that allows bulk collection of phone records

    • Russian enterprises unconcerned by NSA network hack allegations

      Russian companies are taking no drastic steps to replace US-made equipment.

    • Death Threat Over Public NSA Database

      The creator of a searchable database of 27,000 National Security Agency (NSA) contractors says his team has received a death threat as well as legal threats.

    • Aiming to Scare Congress into Authorization, NSA Claims Surveillance Program ‘Winding Down’

      The news that the NSA is preparing to begin winding down their bulk surveillance program against Americans would be welcome to the general public, but it’s probably not true, and the claim is certainly not directed at us.

    • The NSA’s mass surveillance program: illegal and opaque

      After Congress passed the PATRIOT Act in the panic following the 9/11 and anthrax attacks, officials described it as a way of breaking down a wall that had kept the CIA and FBI from sharing information. They argued that international terrorism investigators needed the same powerful tools that a grand jury gives law enforcement agents to conduct broad criminal inquiries.

      Section 215 was already law, but it was expanded by the PATRIOT Act to allow federal agents to obtain not only “business records,” but also “any tangible things.”

      Librarians were among the first to sound the alarm, and they were ridiculed for it. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft accused them of spreading “hysteria” that FBI agents were tracking what people were reading and “how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel.”

    • Researchers design new Tor client resistant to NSA attacks

      Internet anonymity has become difficult to procure as the NSA is doing everything in its power to keep tabs on Internet activity. One way that people have been protecting their anonymity is by using the anonymizing network, Tor. It was popularly used to access dark web sites like Silk Road, but it can also be used for good. For example, people in certain countries without free speech protections could be jailed or worse for disparaging online claims against the government; Tor provides a way to prevent those users’ web activity from being tracked. As it turns out, Tor isn’t as safe from the prying eyes of big government surveillance as we once thought.

    • Researchers build new Tor client called ‘Astoria’ to evade NSA snooping

      It has become very hard to keep internet anonymous, as the NSA is doing everything in its ability to keep a check on internet activity. The hackers which have the full force and backing of Beijing, London, and Washington, D.C. are anonymity’s toughest opponents. People have been using the anonymizing network, Tor to protect their anonymity. Tor was generally used to enter dark web sites like Silk Road, but it can also be used for good.

    • NSA data collection divides Republican presidential hopefuls

      This week, Paul tried to recapture that spirit, inveighing for 10.5 hours against the National Security Agency’s data collection program — an effort that also attempted to boost his presidential campaign.

    • One third of Germans feel deceived by Merkel on NSA

      One in three Germans have said their trust in the government is shaken. Regardless of the media outrage over the allegations that German intelligence helped the NSA, Angela Merkel wasn’t rushing to offer an explanation.

    • Angela Merkel under pressure to reveal extent of German help for US spying

      The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is coming under increasing pressure to divulge a list of targets, including the IP addresses of individual computers, that German intelligence tracked on behalf of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

    • As Future of NSA Surveillance Grows Murky, New Report Shows Section 215 Not Exactly Vital

      Among the many arguments presented in opposition to allowing the federal government collecting mass amounts of data from people who aren’t even suspected of terrorism (besides the Fourth Amendment violations) is that: one, it hasn’t actually helped stop any terrorist plots; and two, we can’t trust a massive federal bureaucracy to subsequently dispose of information it gathers unrelated to any cases its working on.

    • Quiz: Just how Kafkaesque is the court that oversees NSA spying?

      “The court” in Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial is a shadowy tribunal that tries (and executes) Josef K., the story’s protagonist, without informing him of the crime he’s charged with, the witnesses against him, or how he can defend himself. (Worth noting: The FISA court doesn’t “try” anyone. Also, it doesn’t kill people.)

    • NSA: Too Much Data, Not Much Information

      There’s a reason why gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. According to whistleblower former NSA official William Binney, the NSA has too much data to sift through, that it hampers the agency’s effectiveness in detecting threats before they happen with potentially deadly results. Basically, the NSA is no longer as effective in preventing any attacks. What it’s good for now is forensic investigation to trace the perpetrators of any terrorist attack—after it happens. The Boston Marathon gets bombed, the government finds the Tsarnaevs quickly enough, (through a lot of security videos and much later their transmissions) but the agency still failed to prevent the bombing from happening. So all the data the NSA has collected is actually slowing the agency down. Imagine a cop so pumped up with donuts he can’t catch up to a purse snatcher on foot.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Imagine the web without hyperlinks

        Such a plan would affect over 500 million citizens’ ability to use the Internet. Imagine using Twitter and not being able to link to a news article without paying a fee. It would shut down the spread of news. This is just one way copyright is being twisted to censor the Web – but it’s far from the only way. That’s why we are part of a huge network of individuals and organizations committed to stopping these censorship plans, wherever they emerge.

      • Pirate Domain Seizures Are Easy in the United States

        It’s taken more than two years for Swedish authorities to seize two key Pirate Bay domains but over in the United States the process is dramatically quicker. A TV company has just achieved similar aims against 11 ‘pirate’ streaming domains after being granted a comprehensive ex parte restraining order by a Florida court.

05.22.15

The Patents Production ‘Industry’ (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 1:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation, he said.”

IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Summary: A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)

THE patent landscape in the US is getting a lot better, not because of any reform but because of a SCOTUS ruling in a case widely referred to as Alice. Brian Fung from the trend-setting media says “new patent lawsuits are down for the first time in five years.”

“Patents were deemed invalid and a criteria was established for removal of many software patents, not ‘creation’ of new ones.”Over the past year (since the Alice precedence was set) we have written a great deal about patent lawyers’ fears and their endless attempts to rewrite the rules or cheat the system (which is basically what their job is often about–finding and exploiting loopholes, sometimes misleading judges).

Corporate Counsel, a site of patent lawyers (as its name reveals if not gently indicates), is trying to tell us that “Software Patents Are Still Valuable”. Written by R. Flynt Strean, Michele M. Glessner and Zachary A. Higbee from Corporate Counsel, the article basically tells patent lawyers what they want to hear. Surely it’s music to their ears.

Another lawyers’ site, Law 360, says that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit‘s “Eon Ruling Offers Map For Clear Software Patents”. To quote: “A recent Federal Circuit decision invalidating an interactive TV patent owned by Eon Corp. IP Holdings LLC is the latest ruling by the appeals court stressing the need to make software patents clear by including an algorithm and provides guidance for writing software claims that can withstand scrutiny, attorneys say.”

This is basically the giving of tips on how to patent software, despite many of prospective patents being ineligible.

Watch sites composed by lawyers (National Law Review in this case) ridiculing critics even of patent trolls as if patent lawyers support patent trolls, not just software patents. This one site wrote this about Alice: “Alice did provide, however, that if the subject matter “improves the functioning of the computer itself” or “any other technology”, such subject matter may be patent-eligible. In this way, one can see this as leaving open the possibility of finding computer software patent-eligible.”

They are reversing the actual outcome as positive. Patents were deemed invalid and a criteria was established for removal of many software patents, not ‘creation’ of new ones. The way lawyers like to frame it is a way that generally supports software patents, i.e. the opposite of what SCOTUS actually ruled on. These articles are full of lawyers’ tricks for patenting software despite the highest court’s ruling which serves to bar/limit them.

Watch this other lawyers’ site stating about CBM (covered business method): “As a § 101 analysis under Alice Corp. does not require the time and expense necessary to analyze prior art, swiftly launching a CBM petition that relies either solely or primarily on § 101 challenges presents a cost-effective approach with good potential for success. This is especially true in view of the limited estoppel particular to CBM post-grant reviews, which would allow for subsequent challenges under §§ 102, 103 and 112, at the district court. In addition, a CBM, unlike an inter partes review is not required to be filed within one year after a district court patent infringement suit is initiated. Note, however, that upon a final written decision, § 325(e)(1) estoppel will still bar grounds that the petitioner “raised or reasonably could have been raised” in pending or future PTO proceedings, this is true even if the parties settle.”

“To lawyers, everything that reduces the number of permissible patents is evil.”The pattern here is clear and we have omitted nothing that we’ve come across in our research (this month’s news). Lawyers who profit from patents are working very hard to get around the rules and continue to patent software, showing disregard not just for science but also for the highest court.

Here is one statement which we also found mystifying, under the headline “Patent Laws Are Getting Cloudy”: “While the cloud reduces the barrier to entry for innovation, moving from a hardware to a software model makes getting a technology patent more difficult, he added. He attributed this to biases in U.S. and European patent law.”

What biases? Ones that limit patenting of software? And for good reason? To lawyers, everything that reduces the number of permissible patents is evil. They view everything as a nail because they are hammers. All they care about is money and destruction (in courtrooms, where real products can be embargoed or castrated, companies can be driven to bankruptcy, and ideas come to be squashed). Don’t listen to patent lawyers if you want the facts; we know how they make their money. They create nothing but paperwork and court hearings.

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