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10.27.14

Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

Posted in News Roundup at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Unbundling Of That Other OS At Lenovo

    For years, I’ve been annoyed that Lenovo supports GNU/Linux on all its PCs and will ship GNU/Linux for those who demand it but did not advertise GNU/Linux units side by side with units burdened with that other OS.

  • What makes Linux so good?

    With Linux, everybody has access to the source code and everyone has the ability to join in and get involved and this means that through collaboration the software evolves at a faster pace and the end product is usually of a very high standard.

    Linux isn’t just for programmers though. Linux is for everyone. Most people couldn’t care less what is under the hood in the same way that many people drive their cars without being able to tell a spark plug from a dipstick.

  • Government transformation and demand for Linux expertise

    IT is changing organizations across the globe, impacting enterprises, governments and the wider public sector. Open source in particular is a driver in innovation, giving organizations a competitive edge and an ability to scale and adapt to changing market demands.

    According to the 2014 Linux Jobs Report, demand for Linux expertise continues to grow, with hiring managers across a number of industries citing Linux talents as one of the top recruitment priorities this year.

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs RAID: Linux 3.10 To Linux 3.18 Benchmarks

      As a follow-up to this week’s Btrfs RAID HDD testing on Ubuntu 14.10, I ran some benchmarks of Btrfs in RAID0 while benchmarking every major kernel release from Linux 3.10 to Linux 3.18-rc1.

    • OverlayFS Finally Offered For Pulling Into Linux 3.18

      When Linux 3.18-rc1 was released last week, one week sooner than anticipated, Linus Torvalds mentioned he was willing to still allow OverlayFS to be merged this cycle. One week later, that code is hopefully now ready for merging.

      While Linux 3.18-rc2 is expected for release later today, last night Al Viro sent in a new VFS pull request that finally has OverlayFS ready for landing. OverlayFS has been aiming for Linux 3.18 and it’s finally moving ahead while already having a lot of users even though it’s not been part of the mainline kernel tree. OverlayFS is a simple union file-system already used by some live DVD/USB Linux distributions like Mageia and OpenWRT. OverlayFS has been trying for years to get mainlined in the Linux kernel but not all kernel developers have been happy with it — some objecting it’s incomplete, not happy with the design, etc.

    • Linux 3.18-rc2 Brings OverlayFS, Other Late Merges

      Another Sunday evening, another Linux kernel release candidate. The second test version of the Linux 3.18 kernel is now available.

      With the Linux 3.18-rc1 release having been one week sooner than previously expressed, for -rc2 there were some late merge requests, which does include the final landing of OverlayFS in the mainline kernel.

    • Linux 3.18-rc2

      Another week, another rc – and now the merge window is *definitely* closed.

      I had hoped that the rc1 release would mean that a few stragglers
      would quickly surface, and then the rest of the rc would be more
      normal. But no, I had straggling merge-window pull requests come in
      all week, and rc2 is bigger than I’d like.

      Oh well. It’s not like I’m hugely surprised, but it does mean that I’m
      probably going to be unpleasant next week to anybody who tries to get
      me to pull things that I think looks like “development” rather than
      “fixes”. You’ve been warned. I effectively gave you a full three
      weeks of merge window, now it’s time for bugfixes, and not random
      other noise. Ok?

      And to be honest, we’ve had bigger rc2′s in history. Not recently,
      though. Both 3.3 and 3.4 had big -rc2 releases, and 3.15 (which was
      the largest release ever, iirc) came reasonably close.

      At least _part_ of the size is the very long-delayed overlayfs merge
      that I already mentioned in the rc1 release message as being pending.
      Let’s see how much fallout that all causes, but it’s been around for a
      long time (partly because it needed various vfs-layer things to
      integrate cleanly), and I think it’s in good shape. Knock wood.

      So at least partially as a result of that overlayfs merge, about a
      third of the patch is filesystems. It’s not _just_ overlayfs, though,
      there was a late ext4 merge request that I think is actually bigger,
      at least partly due to some extent handling refactoring.

      The rest is the more usual driver updates (thermal, watchdog, scsi
      target, ACPI & PM, misc other updates) and architecture updates (arc,
      arm, powerpc, mips, x86). Some Documentation and include file updates
      rounds out the rest.

      Shortlog appended for details, I think it’s still well within the
      mailing list size constraints.

      Linus

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Developers Come Up With DWD Window Decoration Concept

        Yesterday there were “what if” articles about KDE using client-side decorations and Windows 10 components. On a serious note today, the same KDE parties involved, have proposed Dynamic Window Decorations (DWD) as an alternative/hybrid to client-side and server-side decorations.

      • Presenting DWD, a Candidate for KDE Window Decorations

        When the first CSD “what if” was made in the KDE community forums it became the catalyst that got me in touch with some of the fine developers who really do make KDE happen, from them and members of the VDG I was educated on a new method of decorating windows with clean yet powerful widgets, and I have the privilege of presenting the idea we have worked and iterated on for some weeks now today…

      • KDE makes Qt

        So, KDE people makes up for 40-60% of the weekly commits to QtBase. This is again shows that KDE is important to Qt, just as the reverse is. So, let’s keep KDE healthy.

      • Color Pickers

        In this regard, I offered to propose a new way or method that we can use for the KDE Color picker. We have a few ways that this was done in the past and maybe it can be improved. KDE currently uses this from the KColor Chooser

      • Testing A11y in Plasma 5

        I made the jump on all available computers, and am now running Plasma5 on the foundation of Kubuntu 14.10 everywhere. Once the upgrade work was done, I filed a few bugs, and then wanted to test accessibility (often abbreviated a11y), since Qt5 has a11y built-in.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • GParted Live 0.20.0-2 Stable Release

        This live image contains GParted 0.20.0 which improves resizing for multi-device btrfs file systems. Also included is a patched version of parted 3.2 that fixes a crash that would occur when resizing fat16 file systems.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pi2D2 interview

      It was a pretty long project. I didn’t work on it full time, obviously, but I probably worked on it over a period of six months, and most of the time was writing the software. A lot of the software was written in Python – like the controls for the webcam, the soundboard and everything – so most of the time was getting the software running and getting the kinks worked out. Like where if it loses a Wi-Fi connection it tries to rejoin and things like that. So, yeah, I definitely want to revisit it, and obviously the second time round you can do it a lot better than you did the first, so I’d like to go back.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • [Video] Hands-on with the Samsung Gear S at the Tizen Developer Summit in shanghai 2014

          Navigating around the display is a breeze with swiping down from the clock face bringing down quick controls for volume, screen brightness and also the do not disturb setting. Swiping left brings you the user selectable and also installable widgets. This means that you can have the app widgets that matter to you most within striking distance. Swiping right from the clock face brings you to you notifications, where you are easily able to select notifications from different applications such as SMS, Whatsapp, email etc.

      • Android

        • CyanogenMOD maintains open source roots as business success looms

          It’s safe to say that CyanogenMOD has changed Android for the better, breathing new life into aging smartphones abandoned by their manufacturers. What started as a side project based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) now has over a million active users clambering to install the latest builds on their devices — even ones that have not been forgotten by their makers.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Someone Smashed The Disputed Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument To Pieces

    Someone drove up a ramp near the Oklahoma Capitol steps overnight and into a disputed granite monument of the Ten Commandments, smashing it to pieces in an apparent act of vandalism, authorities said.

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. George Brown said the person abandoned the car and fled the scene after destroying the monument Thursday night, and that investigators are searching the sedan for clues. He said he didn’t know if there were any witnesses, but that investigators are reviewing security video.

  • Dilma Rousseff Wins Second Term as Brazil’s President

    Rousseff seizes second term, carrying forward 12 years of Workers’ Party administration for another four years.

  • Science

    • China is world’s largest industrial robot market

      Although China lags behind neighbors South Korea and Japan in automation on a per capita basis, things could change as Chinese authorities claimed Sunday China is now the world’s largest industrial robot market with over 30 robot factories under construction.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Letter: U.S. was slow to react to crisis in West Africa

      There were three stories on Ebola in the first four pages of the Oct. 17 newspaper. Meanwhile, on page 6 was a story that the Affordable Care Act has not hurt corporate America (oh, thank heaven), and relegated to page 7 was a story on CIA torture, a matter some of us feel is rather important.

    • Trick or treat: GOP’s Ebola scare tactics
    • Polio’s Last Stronghold

      A 2011 CIA operation to locate Osama bin Laden using a staged hepatitis vaccine programme didn’t help matters either. Since then, at least 30 vaccinators and 30 security personnel have been killed in attacks by the Taliban, while on duty. The obvious solution: beefed up security and awareness drives, still haven’t managed to break through the phobias of the tribal belt. How do you combat a conspiracy theory when your attempts are viewed as proof of it?

    • Polio workers walk deadly tightrope in Pakistan

      Suspicions grew after the CIA used a Pakistani doctor in 2011 to stage a hepatitis vaccination programme as cover to try to find Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

    • Pakistan PM urges eradication of polio

      Analysts say actions by anti-government groups, such as the Pakistani Taliban, have slowed vaccinations and helped spread the disease. In 2012, the Taliban banned vaccinations in territory it controlled, claiming the government campaign was similar to a hepatitis vaccination program run by a doctor who allegedly aided the CIA in helping find Osama bin Laden.

    • Tribunal adjourns Dr Shakil case sixth time

      On March 15, the FCR commissioner had upheld the conviction of Dr Shakil, who is also suspected of helping the American CIA track down Osama bin Laden through a fake vaccination campaign but reduced the sentence given by the APA court from 33 years to 23 years imprisonment and fine from Rs320,000 to Rs220,000.

    • A Short History of “Black Paranoia”

      The harmonious collaboration between the CIA and racist regimes of an overall Nazi outlook began with the importing of Nazi scientists. Among the CIA’s friends in later years was South Africa’s apartheid regime. It was, for example, a CIA tip that led the arrest of Nelson Mandela and his imprisonment for more than twenty years. Close CIA cooperation with South Africa’s intelligence agencies continued unabated and indeed mounted during the Reagan years, with close collaboration in attacks on Mozambique and other neighbors of South Africa deemed to be threats to South African and U.S. interests.

  • Security

    • Chinese hackers show off skills at GeekPwn security contest

      The event was co-organized by Keen Team, a security unit of Shanghai-based Keen Cloud Tech that focuses on helping worldwide leading software manufactures to discover and fix security vulnerabilities, and XCon Conference, one of the largest security conferences in China.

    • The Absurd Cost of Overreaction

      Whether it’s Ebola, Malaysia Flight 370 or the shoe bomber, our post-disaster spending efforts may not be the wisest

    • DDoS Attacks Increasing In Size And Volume As Smart Devices Are Targeted

      Attackers are also using a wider variety of devices to launch assaults, with cable modems, smartphones and embedded devices all being targeted. Hackers are also looking to gain control of Linux systems by exploiting vulnerable web- based applications in order to strengthen botnets.

      “DDoS attack size and volume have gone through the roof this year,” says John Summers, vice president of Akamai’s security business unit. “. “In the third quarter alone, Akamai mitigated 17 attacks greater than 100 gigabits-per-second, with the largest at 321Gbps.

      “Interestingly, we witnessed none of that size in the same quarter a year ago and only six last quarter. These mega-attacks each used multiple DDoS vectors to deliver large bandwidth-consuming packets at an extremely high rate of speed.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Who trusts the government anymore?

      There was a famous exchange in the British Parliament in the last two years of Queen Victoria’s reign. During a debate on Irish policy, an English member found it helpful to recount, “the sun never sets on the British Empire.” His opponent in the debate, a member from Northern Ireland, responded with, “Of course not, God doesn’t trust you people in the dark.”

      Were such an exchange take place today in the congress, the response would simply be, almost no one trusts this government anymore.” You doubt that? A CNN poll that found only 13 percent of those polled believe the government can be trusted to do the right thing most of the time.

    • Saudis most likely to join ISIS, 10% of group’s fighters are women

      Although Saudi Arabia is the Arab country putting the most effort into raising awareness of the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) and fighting the group, Saudi citizens are the most responsive to joining ISIS, as indicated by new semi-official statistics, which show that the number of Saudi fighters in ISIS reached 7,000.

    • The United States’ Middle East policy is in shambles

      On February 19, 1998, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Frank Carlucci, Doug Feith, Bernard Lewis, Robert McFarlane, Donald Rumsfeld, Caspar Weinberger, Paul Wolfowitz, and many others, addressed an open letter to Bill Clinton demanding that Saddam Hussein’s regime be brought down. On March 20, 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq. Saddam Hussein was hung on December 30, 2006. This intervention was followed by a series of coups and military operations whose ultimate goal was the dismemberment of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 and the establishment of a state of chaos in the Middle East. The objective was met. Yet, today the United States is caught in an incredible quagmire with no exit strategy. Let’s examine briefly the main consequences of the Iraqi invasion.

    • Going from a Bad War to a Worse War
    • The Dark Secrets of Appendix M

      We really should be used to this by now. After almost six years in office, President Obama is far more like George W. Bush in national-security matters than he led the American people to believe.

    • Chocolate-Maker ISIS Decides to Change Name

      A 90-year-old chocolate company in Belgium got tired of its name of Italo Suisse last year and settled on what it thought was a sure winner: ISIS. Then along came the extremist group Islamic State, known by various names, including, of course, ISIS. “Had we known there was a terrorist organization with the same name, we would have never chosen that,” a company exec tells Reuters. Amid declining sales, the company is switching yet again, to Libeert, after the company’s owners.

    • Blackwater verdicts seen as watershed for accountability in war zones
    • Blackwater Guards Convicted of 2007 Iraq Massacre

      Four former employees of the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater were convicted Wednesday of a mass shooting during the Iraq War.

      One man was convicted of first-degree murder and three others were convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of 14 people.

    • Days After Former CEO Calls For Private Guards In Iraq, Blackwater Is Found Guilty Of Iraqi Massacre

      Blackwater Worldwide guards were found guilty Wednesday of killing 14 Iraqis and wounding 17 others after they fired machine guns and threw hand grenades into Baghdad’s Nisour Square seven years ago. Jurors ultimately rejected the guards’ claims that they were acting in self-defense, as none of the victims were insurgents. The conclusion of the 11-week trial brings a close to one of the darkest chapters of the Iraq War.

    • The rising tide of hatred

      And in many cases we nourish such elements. It is now an open secret that Osama Bin Laden was propped up by CIA of the US. Taleban too were a US creation to deal with the Russian forces in Afghanistan. When the embers of fire that you nurture begin burning your own hands you call them evil forces and terrorists that need to be destroyed.

    • A Newly Declassified CIA Paper Details A Tense Subplot In The Cold War Arms Race

      Moscow wanted to improve its negotiating position with the US in order to force Washington to suspend the project. And according to the paper, Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov considered several options for countering SDI, like “increasing the number of missiles, reinforcing missile silos to increase their survivability, using decoys on missiles to make intercepts more difficult,” and “developing and deploying an underwater missile that would not be affected by the space-based missile shield.”

    • Islamic State waterboard prisoners, new John Cantlie video reveals
    • The Horror Before the Beheadings

      The hostages were taken out of their cell one by one.

      In a private room, their captors asked each of them three intimate questions, a standard technique used to obtain proof that a prisoner is still alive in a kidnapping negotiation.

      James Foley returned to the cell he shared with nearly two dozen other Western hostages and collapsed in tears of joy. The questions his kidnappers had asked were so personal (“Who cried at your brother’s wedding?” “Who was the captain of your high school soccer team?”) that he knew they were finally in touch with his family.

      It was December 2013, and more than a year had passed since Mr. Foley vanished on a road in northern Syria. Finally, his worried parents would know he was alive, he told his fellow captives. His government, he believed, would soon negotiate his release.

      [...]

      “They checked my camera,” Mr. Suder said. “They checked my tablet. Then they undressed me completely. I was naked. They looked to see if there was a GPS chip under my skin or in my clothes. Then they started beating me. They Googled ‘Marcin Suder and C.I.A.,’ ‘Marcin Suder and K.G.B.’ They accused me of being a spy.”

    • The Future of War Is Here: Proxy Warfare

      Unconventional warfare isn’t popular among Western strategists these days. Whether it’s supporting insurgent groups (the strict definition) or supporting militias allied with government forces, proxy warfare has a bad reputation. The complex situation in Syria and Iraq isn’t helping matters: the US is struggling to find a reliable proxy in Syria and confidence in Iraq’s security forces and associated militias is low. In a recent editorial in the Canberra Times, Hugh White said, “For half a century America and its allies have been trying to win messy civil wars without fighting themselves and by training and equipping one side or the other. It never works.”

    • Human Rights Watch Documents Ukrainian Military’s Use of Cluster Rockets
    • Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions

      Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014, Human Rights Watch said today. The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.

    • Syria A Strategic Blunder By United States

      Critics believe this policy would have been easy three years ago, when the opposition to Assad was more secular and democratic. It’s a fact that the demonstrations against the Assad regime in the initial months seemed to be carried out by more secular and liberal people. This was also true in Libya and Egypt. But over time, more organized, passionate and religious forces triumphed. This is a familiar pattern in revolutions including the French, Russian and Iranian. They are begun by liberals and taken over by radicals. Now all the effective ground forces of rebels in Syria are radicals.

    • The US is a Leading Terrorist State

      An international poll found that the United States is ranked far in the lead as “the biggest threat to world peace today,” far ahead of second-place Pakistan, with no one else even close.

    • Soros and the CIA Now Banking on Neves to Defeat Rousseff

      After the “accidental” death of socialist candidate Eduardo Campos, Brazilians were asked to choose their president among three main candidates: outgoing President Dima Rousseff, the Social Democrat Aecio Neves, or Campus’ substitute, the environmentalist Marina Silva, known for her links with George Soros. Silva’s decision to rally behind Neves seemed to ward off foreign interference, but it is having the opposite effect, observes Wayne Madsen.

    • Brazil under CIA Pressure

      All CIA information and propaganda resources are used to support Neves. Around 80 million Brazilians have access to Internet, 150 million are cell phone users. The US special services have perfect command of destabilization techniques. The recent protests and social unrest in Brazil threatened the World Cup proving that the forces are ready to react as the «color revolution» scenario to be implemented at any time.

    • Learning Chilean history gives a new world perspective

      Former President Salvador Allende, the president who was overthrown in the coup, was everything U.S. President Richard Nixon was threatened by at that time. Allende was a
      socialist.

      The U.S. feared an “irreversible Marxist regime” would take hold in Chile, according to Kristian Gustafson in an article on the CIA’s website.

    • Story of a Death Foretold Oscar Guardiola-Rivera

      Allende did not sanction violence, but his softer brand of socialism was no less alarming for the CIA and other vested interests. The perception was that Allende’s regime might in the long-run prove a more durable model than the Cuban one, not just for Chile, but for other countries in South America.

    • Former Australian PM Gough Whitlam Dies at 98

      The ex-prime minister also confirmed the cooperation of Australian secret services with the CIA in the fall of Chilean president Salvador Allende’s government, overthrown in a rightwing military coup in 1973.

    • Peter Carey calls government ‘inhumane’

      Acclaimed Australian author Peter Carey says that the Abbott government is ‘inhumane’, becoming the second high-profile writer in a week to criticise Australia’s political leadership.

    • John Pilger: How Whitlam was brought down
    • The British-American coup that ended Australian independence
    • The Forgotten Coup — How America and Britain Crushed the Government of Their “Ally,” Australia
    • Op-Ed: Libyan government declares war on Islamists

      The Islamist-dominated militias who control Tripoli and Benghazi convened the General National Congress(GNC), which appointed a prime minister who formed a government but the internationally-recognized elected government is in Tobruk, in eastern Libya.

    • CIA-linked General Haftar’s Libyan coup complete

      General Khalifa Haftar, often called a “renegade,” now has the support of the internationally-recognized Libyan government in Tobruk. His coup has been successful.

    • The Descent of Libya

      This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

    • Lessons from the Bolivian Revolution

      …Bolivia has taught the “First World” a lesson in the power of popular democracy.

    • Women In Combat — Meet The First Woman To Lead Troops Into Battle

      On December 20, 1989, US Army Captain Linda Bray, then 29 years old, was the first woman to command American soldiers in battle, during the invasion of Panama. She ordered her team of 30 to fire on soldiers of the Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF) who refused to surrender their positions at a dog kennel which was being used as a barracks for Special Operations troops. According to the Women In Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, “She anticipated a routine operation, but the battle turned into a three-hour, infantry-style firefight.” Three PDF soldiers were killed, and one was taken prisoner. Captain Bray is one of the women featured in the PBS Makers episode “Women in War,” which airs Tuesday, October 21 at 9 pm.

    • Pro-war Pundits: Always Wrong, Always Claiming to be Right

      The Nicaraguan people dared overthrow a US-backed dictator and, in the name of democracy, the Reagan administration responded by funding and arming a right-wing insurgency that killed over 50,000 people – on a per capita basis, fewer people died in the US civil war. When that insurgency failed to seize power by force – again, in the name of democracy – the Reagan administration encouraged the conservative opposition to boycott the free and fair election Nicaragua did indeed have in 1984, seeing that as the only way to harm the legitimacy of a popular government that would no doubt win the election (which it did, with 70 percent of the vote).

    • Libya: From Africa’s richest state under Gaddafi, to failed state after NATO Intervention

      THIS month marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

      In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

      After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped.

    • Capital District quilt project targets U.S. use of drones

      Four six-by-six quilts are on display for the next month throughout the Capital District as part of an exhibit to make the general public aware of military drones and their civilian casualties.

    • Drone strikes: SHO summoned for failure to book top American spy

      A high court bench on Monday summoned the Secretariat police station house officer (SHO) for not registering a case against a former Central Investigation Agency (CIA) station chief over the deaths of civilians in a 2009 drone strike in North Waziristan.

    • IHC summons SHO for not filing FIR against ex-CIA station chief

      The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday summoned Station House Officer (SHO) Secretariat Police Station for not registering First Information Report (FIR) despite court’s orders against former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station chief in Islamabad Jonathan Banks over deaths of civilians in US drone attacks.

    • “We’ve created generations of people who hate us”: Snowden documentarian on America’s imperial disasters

      Here’s a “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. Imagine the kind of system needed just to vet that many people for access to our secret world (to the tune of billions of dollars). We’re talking here about the total population of Norway and significantly more people than you can find in Costa Rica, Ireland, or New Zealand. And yet it’s only about 1.6% of the American population, while on ever more matters, the unvetted 98.4% of us are meant to be left in the dark.

    • Feel-good factor

      In October 2012 two girls were wounded in two different armed actions in the north-western reaches of Pakistan. The first victim was Malala Yousafzai, the recent Nobel Prize recipient. The lesser known girl is Nabila ur-Rehman, then eight years old. Nabila was shot at by a CIA-operated drone while picking okra in a field near her home and Malala by the Taliban. Six of Nabila’s siblings were also shot and her grandmother killed in the attack.

    • Malala Yousafzai Has a Wise Message About Terrorism for President Obama
    • Malala Yousufzai and The Nobel Peace Prize

      Some argue that the Nobel Peace Prize is given to the less deserved candidate, Malala Yousufzai, as a political move by the West. Since being shot, Malala has spoken about girl’s education everywhere and has acted as a global citizen. She also speaks in favor of “Bring Back Our Girls,” which is an initiative that was started to bring kidnapped Nigerian girls, back to their families. In addition to her work with girl’s education and the ‘ Bring Back Our Girls’ initiative, she started her own foundation called the “Malala Fund,” for education.

    • Pentagon Admits Airdropped Weapons Taken by ISIS

      The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that an airdropped pallet of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies intended for the besieged Kurds of Kobani missed the drop zone and was taken by ISIS.

      The admission followed the posting of a video Tuesday to a YouTube account affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that purported to show a masked militant inspecting crates of grenades and other weaponry, and walking past a large bundle that appeared to have come from an airdrop.

    • My Days at the Bay Guardian … Printing the News and Raising Hell

      I haven’t read the story in years. It’s in a box in the garage probably overrun by silverfish. But I do recall how it featured the CIA’s assistant station chief handing me a CIA job application during one of our encounters in a coffee shop in San Francisco’s financial district and providing me with a personal introduction to CIA boss Richard Colby before Colby gave speech to the local Council of Foreign Relations chapter at the Sheraton Palace Hotel.

    • Is Germany trying to influence the Dutch investigation on downed MH17?

      BND is the German version of the CIA. Malaysian Airlines flight 17 was shot down over the Eastern Ukraine. All 288 onboard died. Accused of shooting down the plane was the Russian speaking separatists group in the Eastern Ukraine.

    • ‘Germany’s intel agency is (apparently) branch of CIA’

      The German BND is not an independent intelligent service but more like a CIA branch, Manuel Ochsenreiter, Editor-in-Chief of Zuerst magazine, told RT. Its so-called evidence on the MH17 tragedy is questionable and contradicting, he added.

    • German Journalist Blows Whistle On Government Control Of The Press

      German journalist Udo Ulfkotte has decided to blow the whistle and has made allegations that intelligent agents across some countries have influenced the media. According to RT Ulfkotte made the revelations during interviews with RT and Russia Insider.

      Ulfkotte told Russia Insider, “I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service,” He made similar comments to RT in an exclusive interview at the beginning of October.

    • Colonial Mainstream-Media Exposed

      Dr. Udo Konstantin Ulfkotte, a German journalist, was formerly an editor for one of Germany’s main dailies, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), and worked there for 17 years. Earlier Ulfkotte had studied jurisprudence and politics at Freiburg and London and was on the staff of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of the Christian-Democrats from 1999 to 2003. He won the security-issues related prize of the Annette Barthelt Foundation in 2003.

      [...]

      Working for the mainstream media means today that one’s career is preprogrammed from being a journalists to becoming a propagandist. If you’ve read this book (English editions coming soon), you will see most of the mainstream newspapers with entirely different eyes, you will more often just turn off the TV, and you will know what you still can believe from the radio transmissions: almost nothing.

    • German Journalist: CIA Writes Our ‘News’ Stories, Bribes Journalists

      German journalist and editor Udo Ulfkotte says he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agents under his own name, adding that noncompliance ran the risk of being fired. Ulfkotte made the revelations during interviews with European media, has also published a book which quickly became best seller on Amazon.

    • Stern fellows remember Ben Bradlee: ‘Like everyone else, I was in awe of him’
    • Obama leads tributes to former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee
    • Bradlee was a bold editor who helped us understand the world

      He went to Harvard, served in in the Navy during WWII and worked for the CIA’s European propaganda unit during the 1950s before fully embarking on his journalistic career.

    • Ben Bradlee, Chuck Todd, and the JFK Scandal The Washington Post Still Buries

      As mentioned, Bradlee was at the time the Washington Bureau Chief of Newsweek. He is now, this campaign season of October, 1964, in possession of a blockbuster of a story. The President of the United States was conducting an affair with the ex-wife of a high-ranking CIA official.

    • THE DEATH OF BEN BRADLEE

      His CIA ties explain so much.

    • The Bizarre Tale of Ben Bradlee, JFK, and the Master Spy

      The murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer was never solved, and is still a regular fixture of JFK conspiracy narratives. The police apprehended a man shortly after her shooting, but without much by way of evidence against him, he was acquitted at trail. Regardless, the psychic blow of Mary’s murder, coming so soon after his friend Jack Kennedy’s, had a profound effect on Bradlee.

    • FORMER HOUSE JFK MURDER PROBER ALLEGES CIA ‘LIED,’ SEEKS HIDDEN RECORDS

      Did the CIA try to thwart the nation’s last investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination?

    • Ben Bradlee and the Powerful Cold War Georgetown Set

      When I told Ben that I hoped my book might finally shed light upon the secret cooperation that went on between reporters and the CIA, he smiled broadly and said: “Good luck.” I knew it was a sensitive subject, since a 1979 biography of Katharine Graham—Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and The Washington Post—by a Washington-based journalist, Deborah Davis, had alleged that Bradlee willingly engaged in a CIA propaganda campaign while serving as a press attaché at the American embassy in Paris during the early 1950s.

    • The Ben Bradlee mystique

      Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee began as a preppy but soon got over it. The scion of a Boston Brahmin family, he left Harvard to join the Navy in World War II, serving on a destroyer in the Pacific and learning how to swear (any tape of editorial meetings at the Post in Bradlee’s time would have been more profane than anything uttered by Nixon in the Oval Office). Daily journalism was considered to be slumming it by most of Bradlee’s boyhood social peers, but Bradlee loved hanging around with gamblers and hard-bitten types. He covered crime for the small and insignificant Washington Post after the war, then took off to Paris for a time to serve as an embassy staffer (and, according to probably inaccurate rumor, as a CIA agent). He came back to Washington with Newsweek and immediately made a source of a rising politician named John F. Kennedy. When Kennedy was elected president, Bradlee and his second wife, Tony, would dine at the White House with Jack and Jackie, while other newsmen stood in the cold and jealously muttered that Bradlee was too close to the president.

    • Turmoil in Hong Kong, Terrorism in Xinjiang: America’s Covert War on China

      The report was the first time state-run media had linked militants from Xinjiang, home to ethnic minority Uighur Muslims, to militants of the Islamic State group of radical Sunni Muslims.

      China’s government has blamed a surge of violence over the past year on Islamist militants from Xinjiang who China says are fighting for an independent state called East Turkestan.

      However, it isn’t just China’s government that claims militants in Xinjiang seek to carve out an independent state in western China – the militants themselves have stated as much, and the United States government fully backs their agenda to do so.

    • Missing students in Mexico — Where is the US?

      Last month, 43 politically active “leftist” students (male and female) hijacked a school bus to return them to their small campus. They disappeared before they arrived.

    • Geopolitics of the war against Syria and against the Daesh

      In this new and original analysis, Thierry Meyssan exposes the geopolitical reasons for the failure of the war against Syria and the real objectives of the so-called war against Daesh. This is particularly important for understanding current international relations and the crystallization of conflict in the Levant (Iraq, Syria and Lebanon).

    • Treating Putin Like a Lunatic

      Official Washington treats whatever comes out of Russian President Putin’s mouth as the ravings of a lunatic, even when what he says is obviously true or otherwise makes sense, as the New York Times has demonstrated again, writes Robert Parry.

    • Using the Holocaust to Justify War

      Since bursting onto the U.S. foreign policy stage in the 1980s, the neocons have been masters of “perception management,” devising emotional (and often false) messaging to justify aggressive war, as Maidhc Ó Cathail sees in recent Holocaust-themed propaganda against Syria’s government.

    • Eisenhower’s words proved prophetic

      Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s prophetic words in a 1961 speech at Michigan State University:

      “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – econo0mic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved, so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

    • Operation Condor, Developed in the North to Silence the South

      An intelligence-sharing network headed by the CIA and used by six South American dictators, eliminated those who resisted them.

      Operation Condor, also known as Plan Condor — developed by Henry Kissinger and George Bush Sr., who was head of the CIA at the time — was a secret, transnational, state-sponsored terrorist coalition amongst the genocidal civic military dictatorships of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.

      Argentine Secretary on Human Rights, Martín Fresneda, who gave a public address on the matter this week said “It hasn’t been very hard to understand what occurred in as much as the political, economic and social plan they had for Latin America and the south of our continent. What has been very hard to understand is how far they actually went. How they exterminated our people, in the worst way possible.”

    • UK must ‘do more’ to distance itself from US drone programme, says report

      A report from a commission chaired by the former Director of GCHQ has called on the British Government to implement “safeguards” to ensure that UK drone personnel “remain compliant with international law.”

      Citing the “sinister cultural and political salience” of US drone operations, the commission – which is chaired by Sir David Omand and was initiated by the University of Birmingham – recommends that measures be taken to ensure that where intelligence is shared with the US, “the UK government does not inadvertently collude in RPA [drone] actions contrary to international law.”

    • Who Took Billions from the Development Fund of Iraq?

      In 2004, Stuart Bowen of Texas was asked by a friend to take on a difficult and important job, which he did.

      Bowen’s friend was George W. Bush, and the job was to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq, where his buddy George had launched a misguided and very costly war, as well as an effort to reconstruct that country’s fractured economy. The watchdog soon learned that Air Force transport planes had been airlifting whole pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills from the US to Baghdad – totaling some $14 billion!

    • New Book Chronicles 50 Years of Covert U.S-Cuba Relations and Current Opportunity for Normalization

      But a new book, “Back Channel To Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana,” reveals that behind the scenes, the U.S. and Cuban governments maintained secret communications, often via covert intermediaries, that included dialogue and negotiations on a range of issues, including repeated efforts to improve relations. One previously unknown potential crisis point described in the book, were plans for an all-out U.S. war against Cuba initiated in 1976 by then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was outraged that Fidel Castro deployed Cuban troops to Angola in the mid 1970s to defend the African nation against CIA and South African sponsored rebels.

    • Neocon Sabotage of Iran-Nuke Deal

      Congressional neocons are determined to sink negotiations to constrain but not end Iran’s nuclear program – all the better to get on with bombing Iran at the heart of their agenda. They are now disguising their sabotage as a constitutional argument, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

    • Sweden’s Submergency

      That’s it. Sweden was informed – and accepted – that US/NATO would regularly be present in Swedish waters.

      Naturally, a formally neutral country couldn’t that say aloud.

      Things may have changed since the 1980s, of course. But with the increased confrontation thanks to NATO’s expansion and the Ukraine crisis leading to a kind of resumption of Cold War attitudes, this interpretation would indeed be relevant today too.

    • Vietnam Veterans of U.S. Secret Army in Laos Urge Congress to Act

      The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and Lao- and Hmong-American leaders are meeting with key members of the U.S. Congress, and Senate and House offices on Capitol Hill, urging the passage of legislation to grant burial honors, and benefits, to veterans who served in the U.S. Secret Army in Laos during the Vietnam War.

    • Jack O’Rourke: War on ISIS is completely irrational

      The CIA has been secretly supporting rebel groups around the world since its inception. Before making his Syrian decision, Mr. Obama asked the CIA for one instance where this covert activity paid dividends for the United States. When it couldn’t do it, Mr. Obama decided not to arm the Syrian rebels for fear the weapons would one day be used against us.

      Panetta accuses Mr. Obama of being too professorial — meaning he thinks logically. In all my years in politics, Panetta said, I’ve learned that “logic doesn’t work in Washington.” I have never heard a statement so revealing and frightening concerning the state of our union. Absent reason and logic, we are openly governed by our emotions and our prejudices.

      Is it any wonder that we have been at war almost constantly since Vietnam for fear, irrationally, that we might be attacked, and that the dogs of war are still crying for more?

    • Hightower: U.S. keeps sending money into bad wars in Middle East

      How much of our cash for this misadventure will be stolen or “missing?” And just think how much good that money would do if we invested it here in our own people?

    • Putin Accuses West Of Sponsoring “Terrorist Invasions” Of Russia, Central Asia

      Putin spoke October 24 at the annual meeting of the Valdai Club, where foreign policy experts from around the world gather to talk about Russia. Although its major themes were previewed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a few days before, the Russian website slon.ru said that the speech “could confidently be placed in the same rank as the 2007 Munich speech” (his first substantial criticism of the U.S. and the unipolar world it led) and was “the most anti-American speech Putin has given since coming to office 14 years ago.”

    • THE IS FIGHT IS TURNING INTO A ‘DUMB’ WAR
    • Eugene Robinson: Our new ‘dumb’ war

      “I don’t oppose all wars,” said Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, in 2002. “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.”

      Few would describe Obama’s use of military force against the Islamic State as rash. But the more we learn about this intervention, the more it appears to violate the “dumb” half of the president’s dictum. The purposes, parameters and prospects of the war are increasingly uncertain. Americans have a right to be concerned about the whole enterprise.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • South Africa’s Public Protector Thuli Madonsela Wins Transparency International’s Annual Integrity Award

      Last week the international anti-corruption body Transparency International (TI) awarded its annual Integrity Award to Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s Public Protector. The Berlin-based organization is best known for its yearly Corruption Perceptions Index ranking levels of corruption in each of the world’s countries. Since 2000, TI has also presented its Integrity Award to “recognise the courage and determination of the many individuals and organisations confronting corruption around the world, often at great personal risk.”

    • Govt Rebuts Criticism of State Secrets Privilege

      Beyond that, government attorneys also took the opportunity to rebut the court’s criticism of the use of the state secrets privilege, and to defend several past assertions of the privilege.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Giant canal threatens way of life on the banks of Lake Nicaragua

      Plans for Nicaraguan canal which would dwarf its Panama rival and dissect central America’s largest lake met with violent resistance from locals

    • Water crisis worsens as Sao Paulo nears ‘collapse’

      Sao Paulo residents, half of whom are already complaining of hours-long water shortages, were warned by a top water regulator Tuesday to brace for more severe cutoffs.

      “If the drought continues, residents will face more dramatic water shortages in the short term,” Vicente Andreu, president of Brazil’s National Water Agency, known as ANA, told reporters in Sao Paulo as he prepared to speak to the state legislature. “If it doesn’t rain, we run the risk that the region will have a collapse like we’ve never seen before,” he later told lawmakers.

    • The ‘Threat Multiplier’ of Climate Change

      Climate change – what the Pentagon calls a “threat multiplier” – could put the world on course toward worsening chaos or even extermination as nuclear-armed nations scramble to cope with environmental dislocations and resource shortages, a danger that could define the future, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

  • Finance

    • List of the World’s Richest Countries; America’s Special Role in It

      The higher the ratio is of the mean/median, the more heavily skewed that nation’s wealth-distribution is. The lowest such ratio on this list is Slovenia, $33,395/$21,855, or 1.53. Malta’s is 1.71. Belgium’s is 1.75. Italy’s is 1.84. Luxembourg’s is 1.98. Spain’s is 1.99. All others are above 2. The highest wealth-inequality is found in U.S., 6.60; Denmark, 6.57; and Switzerland, 5.71. However, Denmark is one of the most-equal countries in terms of annual incomes. The U.S. is the only country that is extremely skewed in terms of both wealth and income. What’s shown below relates only to wealth; not at all to income.

    • Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • White House Meetings Aim To Keep Outsiders In The Loop — And Friendly

      As a deputy national security advisor, McDonough hosted similar engagement meetings, one source said. And when he became chief of staff, he very publicly made the rounds in Congress, trying to broker a budget deal — an effort reporters christened the McDonough “charm offensive” and the “outreach offensive.”

  • Censorship

    • US judge sets deadline in lawsuit over Iraq, Afghanistan torture photos

      The Obama administration is fighting a bitter rearguard action against the release of further damning evidence that the US military engaged in the torture of prisoners in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • HARF BECOMES TWITTER ICON WITH ENDLESS REMARKS ON TURKEY

      Her continuous comments on Turkey led her to achieve popularity among Turkish Twitter users. A good portion of her 22,200 Twitter followers are Turks, many of whom put her diplomatic position aside and ask her random questions. “Could we have a coffee together,” one asked, while another user said, “Marie is like a member of our family now.” One follower said Harf is more of a “show-off person” than Polat Alemdar, a character in a popular Turkish TV series in which Alemdar is a cool agent attempting to infiltrate the Turkish mafia. She even received a tweet that said, “hey Marie, any photo without glasses??”

  • Privacy

    • GOP Senate would be intel ally

      Republicans are promising to confront the Obama administration at every turn if they win the Senate, fighting environmental regulations, health care reform and presidential nominees.

    • Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spying

      The $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the Five Eyes surveillance club with the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, according to a de-classified report.

    • Assange Claims Google Gets White House Support, Does Things CIA Cannot Do

      Google is not just an internet company any more, but a huge all-encompassing monopoly closely involved with the political agenda of the United States, WikiLeaks co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange said in an article published in Newsweek.

      The article, in which Assange reveals Google’s connections with the White House, is based on the author’s encounter with Google’s chariman Eric Schmidt.

    • Facebook has totally reinvented human identity: Why it’s even worse than you think

      Let’s face it: Feminism is hot right now. Like, actually fashionable. Chalk it up to a boom in online journalism critiquing tired media tropes and holding politicians accountable with acerbic wit. But there’s one related trend that doesn’t seem to be getting fashionable again: “Cyberfeminism.” Remember that?

    • Documentary ‘Citizenfour’ tracks how decision to become a whistleblower posed a gripping dilemma for Edward Snowden

      Film looks at cybersleuth’s life in Russia and how journalist Glenn Greenwald and director Laura Poitras may be in contact with an important new source

    • Letter: Udall will reduce student debt, support women

      He also supports Elizabeth Warren’s plan to fix the student debt crisis, and he has her endorsement.

    • Leaked Documents Expose Secret Contracts Between NSA And Tech Companies

      Internal National Security Agency documents published by the Intercept earlier this month provide powerful evidence of active collaboration by the large technology corporations with the US government’s worldwide surveillance operations. The documents give a glimpse of efforts by the American state—the scale and complexity of which are astonishing—to penetrate, surveil and manipulate information systems around the world.

    • New Evidence of the NSA Deliberately Weakening Encryption

      One of the most high-profile ways in which mathematicians are implicated in mass surveillance is in the intelligence agencies’ deliberate weakening of commercially available encryption systems — the same systems that we rely on to protect ourselves from fraud, and, if we wish, to ensure our basic human privacy.

    • Google Is Not What It Seems

      It was Cohen who, while he was still at the Department of State, was said to have emailed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to delay scheduled maintenance in order to assist the aborted 2009 uprising in Iran.

    • Taking Cue from Spies, NYPD Gains ‘Glomar’ Tool

      In what has been called an “unprecedented” expansion of its legacy, a Manhattan judge recently allowed the NYPD and its former commissioner, Ray Kelly, to neither confirm nor deny possession of documents requested by a Harlem imam in the case of Abdur-Rashid v. NYPD.

  • Civil Rights

    • Coexistence of aggressive interrogation and civil liberties

      In his new book “Worthy Fights ,” Leon Panetta says the CIA “got important, even critical intelligence from individuals subjected to these enhanced interrogation techniques” — meaning waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other torture-like actions.

    • Obama Administration Considering Reaffirming Bush-Era Interpretation Of Convention Against Torture: NYT
    • Op-Ed: Obama administration split on issue of torture ban

      In 2005 the Bush administration revealed that it interpreted the UN Convention Against Torture banning “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as not applicable to the CIA or military prisons overseas.

    • American Exceptionalism at Play in Interpreting the Convention on Torture

      Michael Ratner of the Centre for Constitutional Rights rejects the idea that the convention on torture exempts the US outside its borders

    • Torture May Not Be So Bad When You’re Using the Bamboo Splinters, Obama Administration Decides

      Like so many other things Barack Obama thought were so terrible about his predecessor in office—war in Iraq, executive orders, lack of transparency—he may have decided that torture isn’t so bad when you’re on the delivering end. Having inherited the collector’s edition bamboo splinter set (with user’s manual!), the administration, reports the New York Times, sees no reason to let it gather dust. So it’s considering airing out the old regime’s legal justifications for extracting information under duress.

    • Washington Week on Human Rights: October 20, 2014

      TORTURE Over the weekend, The New York Times’ Charlie Savage reported that State Department attorneys are urging the president to “officially abandon” the George W. Bush Administration’s stance on the United Nations Convention Against Torture, arecommendation that has been met with some skepticism by defense and intelligence attorneys, who say they need more time to consider implications of adhering to the torture treaty. The Bush Administration interpreted the treaty, which bans “cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment” of prisoners, as not applying to CIA and military prisons overseas. That position drew bipartisan ire and was opposed by then-Senator Barack Obama. The Obama Administration must make its final decision on the matter before it travels to Geneva next month to appear before the United Nations Committee Against Torture, which monitors compliance with the torture treaty.

    • Obama considers allowing torture overseas
    • ‘Constructive Dialogue’ Continues Over CIA Torture Report, White House Says

      Don’t expect the release of a Senate report on acts of torture committed by the CIA to become an uncomfortable election year October surprise.

      Asked Tuesday what was taking time to reach an agreement on redactions with the Senate Intelligence Committee, the White House responded with a statement from National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan that pointed to deliberative discussions, but no time element for their conclusion.

    • Obama’s chief of staff personally negotiates redacting of Senate’s CIA torture report

      White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is deeply involved in negotiating how much to redact from a classified US Senate probe into the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, according to a new report.

    • The truth about torture is Obama never wants you to find it

      If America is so opposed to Bush-era atrocities, why does it keep covering up the evidence to protect the CIA?

    • ‘Hidden death penalty:’ Pope Francis calls for end to life sentences

      Pope Francis has renewed the Catholic Church’s call to eliminate the death penalty, going one step further to blast life sentences and urge countries to prohibit the practice of transferring prisoners to torture centers.

    • Pope Condemns Extraordinary Renditions in Law Talk
    • Pope Francis: Let’s Abolish Life Sentences

      That Pope Francis spoke out today against capital punishment is no big surprise. But he made headlines by coming out against life sentences as well, reports the Guardian. In a speech to the International Association of Penal Law, the pope urged all “people of good will” to fight for the abolishment of the death penalty and the improvement of prison conditions in general. “And this, I connect with life imprisonment,” he said, as quoted by the Catholic News Service. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”

    • Vladimir Putin Is The Leader Of the Moral World

      In a sane Western society, Putin’s statements would have been reproduced in full and discussions organized with remarks from experts such as Stephen F. Cohen. Choruses of approval would have been heard on television and read in the print media. But, of course, nothing like this is possible in a country whose rulers claim that it is the “exceptional” and “indispensable” country with an extra-legal right to hegemony over the world. As far as Washington and its prostitute media, named “presstitutes” by the trends specialist Gerald Celente, are concerned, no country counts except Washington. “You are with us or against us,” which means “you are our vassals or our enemies.” This means that Washington has declared Russia, China, India, Brazil and other parts of South America, Iran, and South Africa to be enemies.

    • All kidding aside, Jon Stewart’s movie tackles torture

      Comedian Jon Stewart’s debut as a movie director entertains, enlightens and even inspires. But be warned, fans of “The Daily Show”: In case you haven’t heard, it’s not a comedy.

      Not unless you get your laughs in the sarcastic way that I often do, from the endless ways with which the people who run governments give government a bad name.

    • Report: CIA Agents Impersonated Senate Staff
    • Report: CIA Agents Impersonated Senate Staffers To Spy On Senate Computers

      New details about CIA spying on the U.S. Senate suggest agents impersonated Senate Intelligence Committee staffers to access computers used to compile a report about the agency’s post-9/11 torture and imprisonment techniques.

    • CIA Officers Allegedly Impersonated Senate Staffers to Obtain Documents
    • New Things We Know About the Senate Intelligence Interrogation Report

      Ah, but this week we learned that the current White House is very much involved in the declassification of that report. In fact, according to Huffington Post, the White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, has taken an active role in the redaction effort. The same story also reveals allegations that Central Intelligence Agency officials impersonated Senate staffers to improperly access committee documents.

    • Obama Still Does a Good Imitation of Bush
    • CIA accused of wanting to bury facts of torture
    • Senator blasts CIA for censoring ‘torture’ report
    • SEN. RON WYDEN BLASTS CIA FOR CENSORING TORTURE REPORT
    • CIA Blasted for Censoring Torture Report
    • Ron Wyden Blasts CIA For Censoring Torture Report
    • Report: CIA Deleted Computer Records About Senate Spying

      An investigation by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms into CIA spying of Senate Intelligence Committee computers wrapped up this week without drawing any significant conclusions as a result of lost computer records reportedly deleted by the agency.

    • Political Vacillation About Torture

      In anticipation of release of a public version of a mammoth report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on interrogation techniques, Walter Pincus has reviewed in the Washington Post what former secretary of defense and former CIA director Leon Panetta says about the subject in his recently published memoir. Pincus refers to Panetta as a “wily politician” and quotes Panetta’s comments both that we “got important, even critical intelligence from individuals subjected to these enhanced interrogation techniques” and that “if a future president ever asked me whether we should go back to those techniques, I would say no.” The Post’s headline-writer for the print edition characterized this combination of positions as “Panetta takes both sides”.

    • FRUSTRATED CIA BLAMES TORTURE REPORT DELAYS ON SENATORS WHO WANT IT TO BE INTELLIGIBLE

      The CIA today hotly denied that it is intentionally holding up the release of a Senate report on its role in torturing detainees, charging instead that Senator Dianne Feinstein’s intelligence committee is responsible for dragging out the negotiations.

    • No One Is Even Pretending the Torture Report Isn’t a Document of American Failures

      The issue took a personal turn when Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the C.I.A. of spying on the computers of Senate staffers who were working on the report at a C.I.A. office. The agency eventually admitted that it had monitored a computer drive that was to be used only by Senate staffers, but claimed it had to because classified material was being removed from the building. C.I.A. director John Brennan eventually apologized for the breach.

    • IS OBAMA STALLING UNTIL REPUBLICANS CAN BURY THE CIA TORTURE REPORT?

      Continued White House foot-dragging on the declassification of a much-anticipated Senate torture report is raising concerns that the administration is holding out until Republicans take over the chamber and kill the report themselves.

    • CIA Slams Senate Democrats as Dangerously Eager for Declassification

      The CIA has rejected allegations of temporizing the joint White House/Senate committee/CIA report on Al-Qaeda detainees’ torture after Senate Democrats had accused them of having not declassified enough information.

    • Senate-CIA Dispute Unsettled As Final Investigation Into Torture Report Ends
    • Huffington Post: In the War Between the CIA and Senate Democrats, Everybody Won Except the Public

      Ryan Grim and Ali Watkins of Huffington Post headlined in an October 23rd news story, “Senate-CIA Dispute Unsettled As Final Investigation Into Torture Report Ends,” and they reported that the investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, concerning records that the CIA had erased from its computer hard drives, pertaining to the CIA’s role in the use of illegal tortures of detainees, has been halted, because the Senate’s chief law enforcer, its Sergeant-at-Arms, says that he “can’t verify any of what CIA is saying.” Furthermore, even the Inspector General of the CIA himself asserts that the CIA’s accusations of illegality in the way that the Senate investigating panel had received the CIA documents that the CIA had wanted to hide, was based on “inaccurate information” that was supplied by the CIA. The key document was “The Panetta Review” of the CIA’s role in the tortures. Leon Panetta was the Obama-appointed CIA chief. The Obama Administration — its Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder — declined to investigate the CIA’s accusation against the Senate Intelligence Committee, which — since Democrats currently control the U.S. Senate — is controlled by a Democratic Senator, California’s Dianne Feinstein. Furthermore, Holder refuses to investigate possible criminality by the CIA. So: President Obama, via his AG, has, essentially, waved off the entire matter.

    • Protest against police

      Relatives of a man, who died in Muslim Town police custody, Saturday staged a protest against police, claiming he was tortured to death.

    • Will Obama Follow Bush Down the Made-Up Torture Loophole?

      Twenty years ago, the United States ratified an international treaty banning the use of torture and cruelty worldwide. Three successive American presidents, with bipartisan support, threw their weight behind the treaty – Ronald Reagan signed it in 1988, George H.W. Bush approved it, and Bill Clinton signed implementing legislation into law in 1994.

    • #OccupyDemocracy: Protesters hold Parliament Square despite arrests

      Among those arrested were Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Green London Assembly Member Baroness Jenny Jones, who was later released without charge.

    • Obama’s Administration Divided Over Enhanced Interrogation Tactics

      Whether you call it cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or enhanced interrogation tactics, torture is a torture, except for the Obama’s administration, they are divided on that subject.

    • Obama to Send Delegation to Geneva and Appear Before UN “Committee Against Torture”

      Next month el Presidente Obama must send a delegation to Geneva [1] to appear before the “Committee Against Torture”, a United Nations panel that monitors compliance with the U.N, treaty banning “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.

      It’s unclear why the administration has to make a presentation at this time, as it has never done so in the almost six years of Obama’s presidency.

      Be that as it may, this upcoming appearance has apparently created a firestorm within the Obama mobs inner sanctum.

    • ICP Asks of Obama & Torture, Mendez Banned from Bahrain, W. Sahara Death

      Mendez, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, confirmed that he has still not gotten to visit Bahrain, after having two invitations canceled at the last minute. He said he recently asked Bahrain’s foreign minister to name another date, but it has still not happened.

      Other countries that have canceled invitations, Mendez went on to say, include Guatemala and Thailand (which, along with Costa Rica, lost in the UN Human Rights Council elections earlier on October 21).

      The US imposed conditions on a visit to Guantanamo Bay which Mendez could not accept. Mendez did not answer the Obama administration / extra-territoriality question, leaving it for Grossman, the chair of the UN Committee Against Torture. Video here. He gave a long answer, repeatedly saying his answer was NOT about the United States. Talk about deference.

    • The U.S. Is Still Violating the Anti-Torture Treaty It Signed 20 Years Ago

      Tuesday marked the 20th anniversary of the U.S. ratification of the U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT), but there’s not much cause for celebration. The U.S. was slow to join the treaty in the first place—countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Uganda beat us to it—and adherence to its guidelines over the past two decades has been dismal. It’s become even more dismal of late, just in time for what’s certain to be a damning review of the U.S. when the Commitee Against Torture meets in less than two weeks.

    • Poland lodges appeal with the European Court of Human Rights over CIA jail ruling
    • Poland appeals European court ruling that it violated rights in allowing CIA prison
    • Poland says to appeal European Court ruling on CIA jail
    • CIA secret prison ruling sees Poland appeal to European Human Rights Court
    • Poland appeals Europe court ruling on CIA prison
    • Poland to Appeal European Court Ruling on CIA Jails
    • Poland to appeal Strasbourg CIA ruling

      Prosecutor-General Andrzej Seremet has said Poland’s appeal against the European Court of Human Rights decision has reached the final stage of preparation after the court found the country had violated human rights of prisoners held in secret CIA prisons.

    • Press TV reporter dies in ‘suspicious’ car crash in Suruç

      Lebanese-American reporter Serena Shim, who worked with Iran’s state-run Press TV, died in a car crash in the Suruç district of Şanlıurfa on Sunday in what Press TV called a “suspicious” accident after she had said she was accused of spying by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

      The 30-year-old correspondent, who was in Suruç to cover the battle of Kobani, a Kurdish town besieged by the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Syria, said in a televised speech on Press TV on Friday she had been accused by MİT of espionage and feared being arrested.

    • Is Panetta’s hit on Obama a boon for Hillary?
    • Former CIA chief’s new book may have violated secrecy agreement
    • Former CIA Director Under Fire For Releasing Book Without Approval
    • Panetta clashed with CIA over memoir, tested agency review process

      Former CIA director Leon E. Panetta clashed with the agency over the contents of his recently published memoir and allowed his publisher to begin editing and making copies of the book before he had received final approval from the CIA, according to former U.S. officials and others familiar with the project.

    • Panetta skipped CIA’s OK of book, potentially putting agency in delicate position with others

      Former CIA Director Leon Panetta clashed with the agency over the contents of his recently published memoir and allowed his publisher to begin editing and making copies of the book before he had received final approval from the CIA, according to former officials and others familiar with the project.

    • Backlash Against Leon Panetta, Robert Gates Over Memoirs

      President Obama’s former Defense secretaries are coming under fire in light of their memoirs that criticize the commander-in-chief while he’s still in office.

    • Leaky Leon, Still Leaking

      Yesterday, the Washington Post had a lengthy report on how former CIA director Leon Panetta was sending out copies of his book nearly a month before it cleared the CIA’s internal revue process to ensure that no sensitive national security information was being revealed. According to the Post, Panetta clashed with his former agency repeatedly throughout the process. And he refused to hold himself to the same standards of secrecy that he demanded while he was CIA director, having publicly scolded Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette for his own book about the Bin Laden raid. The Post also notes that Panetta played fast and loose with state secrets at the CIA: “His public comments about the drone campaign — including his description of airstrikes on al-Qaeda as “the only game in town” — were so extensive that the American Civil Liberties Union cited them extensively in a lawsuit that argued the program could no longer be considered a government secret.”

    • White House Chief Of Staff Negotiating Redaction Of CIA Torture Report

      White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is personally negotiating how much of the Senate’s so-called torture report, a probe into the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, will be redacted, according to sources involved in the negotiations.

    • No Accounts

      The latest proof of this? The soon-to-be-released Senate report on the torture, kidnapping, illegal detention, and interrogation of Afghan citizens and others swept up and delivered to the CIA during the initial stages of Bush’s “war on terror” does not even mention the responsibility of the Bush Administration in organizing, ordering, and carrying out these criminal activities. It’s as though the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials were conducted with no mention of Himmler, Goebbels, Goring or Hitler.

    • ICC warns Nairobi not to leak details of Kenya president’s case

      The International Criminal Court issued a warning to the Government of Kenya on Tuesday not to disclose confidential information regarding President Uhuru’s court proceedings.

    • ROSS: Obama pledged government ‘transparency’ but threatens investigative reporters
    • KELLY: Deriding Deep Throat

      The Obama administration’s hostile stance toward investigative journalism is troubling

    • Obama a Supreme Court justice? ‘Too monastic for me’
    • ‘Too monastic for me,’ says Obama of becoming a Supreme Court justice
    • “Pay Any Price”

      No single review or interview can do justice to Pay Any Price, the new book by James Risen that is the antithesis of what routinely passes for journalism about the “war on terror.” Instead of evasive tunnel vision, the book offers big-picture acuity, focusing on realities that are pervasive and vastly destructive.

    • James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Hero , is Threatened with Jail for Protecting Source

      In a determined effort to punish James Risen, the New York Times investigative reporter, the Bush and now the Obama administration has threatened him with imprisonment unless he reveals his source who provided him details of the massive illegal warrantless wiretapping conducted by the National Security Agency. This case will undoubtedly become the most significant challenge to press freedom in decades.

    • Journalist James Risen Facing Jail For Telling The Truth
    • Obama is enemy of free press, ‘record speaks for itself,’ says James Risen: Spy Games Update
    • James Risen vs. the American Psychological Association
    • ‘Pay Any Price’

      But one set of revelations in particular has the American Psychological Association up in arms. The APA released a statement last week disputing details of Risen’s account of its relationship with the Defense Department, Central Intelligence Agency and other government officials regarding enhanced interrogation techniques for detainees suspected of terrorism – what many critics have called torture.

    • Questions for the APA Board Regarding Claims in James Risen’s Book “Pay Any Price”

      In his new book Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, James Risen, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter, documents apparent collaboration between (American Psychological Association) APA leadership and the CIA to support psychologist participation in torture. The core of Risen’s reporting drew from primary source emails among APA staff, CIA, and Bush White House officials. The APA Board has since issued a response to the book, but the Board statement misstates or ignores virtually all of Risen’s reporting. Here we summarize Risen’s claims and provide precise questions for the APA Board regarding these claims.

    • Maher to James Risen: How Is Obama a Greater Threat to Free Press Than Bush?

      Bill Maher hosted journalist James Risen tonight and asked him about his past assertions that President Obama is the “greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.”

      Risen, of course, is facing possible jail time for not revealing his sources for stories very critical of the CIA. He told Maher that the national security apparatus was hurried under the Bush/Cheney era, but Obama made everything permanent. He said Obama’s gone after more whistleblowers than any other presidents combined and added, “I think he’s more conservative than people thought he was.”

    • Leon Panetta calls for military aid to Kiev

      On visit to Prague, former U.S. defense secretary and director of the CIA says Putin will foment turmoil in Eastern Europe if region seems weak

    • Ukraine crisis – the view from Russia

      Former Russian spy chief Nikolai Patrushev challenges western perspectives on the standoff between Moscow and Kiev in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta

    • Ukraine communists ‘face to face with 21st century fascism’

      On Sept. 22, Workers World conducted an extensive interview with Victor Shapinov, a coordinator and leading theoretician of the Marxist organization Union Borotba (Struggle) of Ukraine. Shapinov currently lives in exile with other Borotba activists in Crimea, under threat of arrest from the U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev.

    • Jordan’s King Abdullah warns against Islamic and Zionist extremism

      In meeting with Jordan’s president and parliament members, king says it must be acknowledged that there is extremism in all camps; Jordanian FM says Israeli violations in Jerusalem undermining peace.

    • Egypt, UAE launch airstrikes on Libya

      On Oct. 20, 2011, the leader of the North African state of Libya was brutally assassinated in the city of Sirte. Col. Muammar Gaddafi had been leading a struggle to defend his country from a war of regime-change coordinated and financed by the United States and NATO.

    • Nisour Square Revisited

      By 2007, we have Blackwater Worldwide, 2009, Xe Services,2010, Academi, 2014, Constellis Holdings, at each step enlarging its “products,” gaining more influential supporters combined with more ambitious projects (such as United States Training Center for weapons training and tactics). There is maritime force protection training, dog training, expanded security consulting—as one goes through the list, it is as though an inner army outside of public view and not accountable to the public. Special assignments such as working with CIA to track down bin Laden in Afghanistan cemented working relations with USG. An airline, Presidential Airways, called for a base in Melbourne, Florida.

    • From Gary Webb to James Risen: The struggle for the soul of journalism

      Two courageous reporters dug up dark government secrets. Only one was betrayed by his peers. Why did it happen?

    • ‘Kill the Messenger’

      Jeremy Renner gives us Gary Webb, who was once upon a time a fierce seeker of truth, a journalist Quixote who believed in his quest. Gary was a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, a fringe newspaper dealing with crop disasters, weather, earth quakes and local disputes. But suddenly he got lucky and connected with the biggest political scandal of the ’80s, the beginning of the suspicious connections between the CIA, the war in Nicaragua and the inner city cocaine epidemic. He should have just said no. But heroes never say no.

    • Gary Webb Was Right

      Once again the paper has decided to focus on discrediting a fellow journalist instead of deepening the analysis of the story he highlighted.

      Gary Webb put a spotlight on the CIA and the Reagan administrations unholy alliance with anti-communist guerrilla groups and their supporters who were involved in drug trafficking.

    • Undue criticism of Gary Webb

      Gary Webb’s 1996 “Dark Alliance” stories for the San Jose Mercury News asserted that the CIA “looked the other way” as cocaine from Central America was imported into the United States, beginning in the Reagan years. Profits from the drugs helped fund the right-wing counterrevolution in Nicaragua, the stories alleged. The cocaine, Mr. Webb wrote, contributed to a crack epidemic in U.S. cities and a surge of black inmates into U.S. prisons. Mr. Webb was hounded from his job at the Mercury News and, arguably, to his death by suicide in 2004.

      Now comes the film story of Mr. Webb’s reporting, “Kill the Messenger,” and, close behind, The Post’s Jeff Leen with “An amazing story that didn’t hold up” [Outlook, Oct. 19]. When Mr. Webb’s series ran in the Mercury News, Mr. Leen was working at the Miami Herald.

      Mr. Leen wrote that Mr. Webb’s articles were characterized by “overblown claims and undernourished reporting,” a perspective expressed by major newspapers at the time, including The Post. But a 2006 Los Angeles Times article walked back that paper’s criticism of Mr. Webb, and even in 1996, The Post’s ombudsman wrote that The Post was overzealous in its efforts to discredit Mr. Webb.

    • The Washington Post Needs a Bus – and to Throw Jeff Leen Under It
    • Ex-CIA officer running for Congress: ‘I’ve been in real fights’

      Once an undercover spy who made his living in the shadows, Will Hurd suddenly finds himself thrust into the national spotlight as he is locked in a tight congressional race with Democratic incumbent Rep. Pete Gallego for Texas’ 23rd district.

    • The decline of journalism from Watergate to ‘Dark Alliance’

      What if Ben Bradlee had overseen Gary Webb’s investigation into the CIA, Contras and crack cocaine?

    • Kill The Messenger: Thriller to make you think

      HALFWAY through Kill The Messenger, a Washington ­insider (Michael Sheen) issues a warning to journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), who seems to have cracked open a major scandal linking the CIA to cocaine imports from Nicaragua. “They’ll make you the story,” he says.

    • Forgetting our friends

      On HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver recently shone a light on something unworthy of this great nation: our abandonment of foreigners to whom we owe a great debt.
      Oliver’s focus was on Afghan translators who “risk their lives helping [US servicemembers] . . . and because of that, they are permanent targets of insurgents.”
      The good news is there’s a special visa program to help them find refuge in the United States. The bad news? There’s a backlog of nearly 5,000, and getting the visa can take years.
      As a result, many translators are forced to remain in hiding — often seeing family members killed or kidnapped — as they wait out the visa process. And the program itself will expire at the end of this year.

    • New coed CO duty causing ruckus at Guantanamo high-value prison

      The military now has female soldiers escorting former CIA captives around Guantánamo’s high-value prison, an apparent personnel change that defense lawyers say is causing an uproar over religious insensitivity.

      When one captive — who had just finished meeting with his attorney — refused to be touched by a female soldier, the military called in a special unit to move him using the detention center’s tackle-and-shackle technique, a Forced Cell Extraction. Since that incident, at least four of the 9/11 defendants have boycotted legal meetings over the issue, according to the attorneys.

    • Guantanamo prisoners in protest over female guards
    • Alleged Anonymous hacker Matt DeHart ordered deported from Canada

      Matt DeHart, an American who believes the United States is pursuing sham child-porn charges against him as cover for a national security investigation, has been ordered deported from Canada.

      In a decision made public Tuesday, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada concluded “reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. DeHart committed offences in the United States,” making him inadmissible to Canada — nevertheless, he will remain in Canada for the time being as there are ongoing proceedings that prevent immediate deportation.

      [...]

      An early member of the hacker group Anonymous, Mr. DeHart said that six years ago he came across sensitive government documents uploaded to one of his servers detailing an FBI investigation into select practices by the CIA.

    • Journalist martyr’s war on drugs

      In 1996, American journalist Gary Webb, writing for the San Jose Mercury News, claimed the CIA and US State Department during the Regan administration had supported the smuggling of crack cocaine into the US, as a way to help fund Contra rebels against the revolutionary government of Nicaragua. This ‘dark alliance’, Webb claimed, contributed significantly to the crack epidemic in Los Angeles, and fuelled the War on Drugs that Regan himself famously escalated.

    • North Korea Releases American Captive. But Two More Americans Remain Captive.

      Pyongyang has unexpectedly released Jeffrey Fowle, one of three American citizens being held for alleged crimes against North Korea. Fowle, a 56-year-old American tourist, was detained since May for leaving his Bible at a social club.

    • Those who tell the truth are traitors

      Admitting you made mistakes and being critical of yourself is a sign of wisdom. Those who do this make progress. One of the reasons for backwardness is when the opposite happens: failing to appreciate the mistakes and blaming others. If this is your method, it is easy to identify a scapegoat.

    • Ya’alon bans Palestinians from Israeli-run bus lines in West Bank, following settler pressure

      Settlers have tried on multiple occasions to prevent Palestinian workers from commuting on these buses, and have released a video calling for them to be banned.

10.26.14

IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: September 14th – September 20th, 2014

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IRC Proceedings: September 21st – September 27th, 2014

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IRC Proceedings: September 28th – October 4th, 2014

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IRC Proceedings: October 5th – October 11th, 2014

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IRC Proceedings: October 12th – October 18th, 2014

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IRC Proceedings: October 19th – October 25th, 2014

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Enter the IRC channels now

10.25.14

Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

Posted in News Roundup at 6:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Pondering FOSS foundations

      In the case of the Document Foundation, the LibreOffice project needed an independent, solid and meritocratic entity dedicated to support it. In other terms, the OpenOffice.org community wanted to be its own boss and stop relying on corporate – or even third party – good will. If you attend the Community Track on the 31st you will be able to learn more about the Document Foundation and the other entities, but my message here is that while there is no silver bullet in these matters, forcing a community be hosted or to bend to a software vendor never works. It bends if it wants to; it goes whereever it wishes to go. In the case of the Document Foundation, independence and community rule prevailed over convenience; today the results do not need to be proven anymore. But it does not mean we hold the truth more than anybody else: we just ensured the community was in charge.

  • BSD/UNIX

    • Using Older Software and Hardware

      Others will argue that as the feature set of an operating system increases it is inevitable that its size will also increase. That is true but I can’t help wonder exactly why libc.a has to be almost 3 megabytes in size. There has been work done to make a leaner libc with the MUSL project. MUSL libc.a is a mere 1.6 megabytes which is significantly smaller.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • VFX Coder Proposes MOX, a Crowdfunded Open-Source Movie File Format

      Can a crowdfunded open-source project bring the industry together behind a QuickTime killer? Brendan Bolles, a veteran of The Orphanage and an experienced programmer of VFX plug-ins, thinks so. He’s asking the industry to contribute money supporting his development of a specification and open-source software library for MOX, a new cross-platform, patent-free professional movie format combining audio and video in an MXF container.

Leftovers

  • Graffiti artwork from Banksy, ‘The Guerrilla Artist’
  • Health/Nutrition

    • DNA Sequence Analysis Shows Ebola Outbreak Naturally Ocurring, Not Engineered Virus

      I had really hoped I wasn’t going to have to write this post. Yesterday, Marcy emailed me a link to a Washington’sBlog post that breathlessly asks us “Was Ebola Accidentally Released from a Bioweapons Lab In West Africa?” Sadly, that post relies on an interview with Francis Boyle, whom I admire greatly for his work as a legal scholar on bioweapons. My copy of his book is very well-thumbed. But Boyle and WashingtonsBlog are just wrong here, and it takes only seconds to prove them wrong.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Mexico: Crude Oil Leak Reaches Cazones River in Veracruz

      Due to the leak, the state civil authorities confirmed that 150 people needed to be evacuated from the El Chote, Troncones, and other communities near the Cocineros River.

    • Bill Gates gobbling up Florida farmland

      The investment company that manages the wealth of the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, has been acquiring gobs of farmland in north Florida the past two years, real estate records show.
      Lakeland Sands Florida, a subsidiary of Cascade Investments LLC, which oversees the Gates fortune, recently bought more than 4,500 acres in Suwanee County near McAlpin, an unincorporated community just south of here.
      The price: $27,961,144.69, according to court records.
      The farm land was sold by Seldom Rest Inc., an agriculture and forestry company based in Donaldsonville, Ga. John S. Bailey, the company’s vice president, declined to comment on the transaction.

    • Here’s What Actually Scares Americans About the Future

      For starters, 35.9 percent of Americans find it either ‘Very Likely’ or ‘Fairly Likely’ that the biblical Armageddon will come to pass. That’s far fewer than the number of people who fear that we’re going to run out of oil—56.9 percent of us think we’re going to “exhaust the Earth’s oil supply.”

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Vodafone’s written evidence to the UK Investigatory Powers Review

      On the 10th July 2014, the UK Government announced, in light of the diverse and emerging threats faced by the UK and the need to uphold civil liberties, a review of the capabilities and powers required by law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies, and the regulatory framework within which those capabilities and powers would be exercised.

    • Keith Alexander Now Being Vetted By Everybody For Everything After Leaving The Protective Shelter Of The NSA

      Former NSA head Keith Alexander continues to draw the sort of attention he probably hoped he had left behind by resigning his post. His questionable business venture — a private banking security firm seemingly dependent on patents and methods polished during his tenure at the NSA — has drawn pointed questions from legislators and a second glance from the internal ethics apparatus of the intelligence agency.

      Alexander apparently thought it would be fine for him to use the talents of the NSA’s current Chief Technology Officer, Patrick Dowd, for his new private venture. You see, Alexander didn’t want the country to lose a bright spy mind, but didn’t really want his own IronNet Security firm to go without Dowd’s talents either. So he compromised. The country could have Dowd full-time as long as he could spend 20 hours a week securing banks with Chief Keith.

    • US former NSA chief suspected of insider trading with Chinese, Russian stocks

      Keith Alexander, former director of the US National Security Agency, is suspected of insider trading during his term in office, according to US-based bimonthly magazine Foreign Policy.

    • Where Is the Investigation Into Financial Corruption at the NSA?

      Earlier this year, when Keith Alexander resigned as head of the National Security Agency, he began trying to cash in on expertise he’d gained while in government, pitching himself as a security consultant who could protect Wall Street banks and other large corporations from cyber-attacks by hackers or foreign governments. Early reports focused on the eye-popping price tag for his services: He reportedly asked for $1 million a month, later decreasing his rate to $600,000.

    • Why was America’s top spy also a fertilizer day-trader?

      Fertilizer is a strategic commodity, and that’s no load of manure.
      In fact, it’s potash—a mineral salt mined from the ground to add nitrogen to industrial fertilizer production. In the past several years, the production of this valued commodity has been shaken up: In 2013, an informal cartel between two companies in Belarus and Russia that had dominated the industry was shattered—probably by Chinese pressure—and the Russian company’s CEO was held hostage by the government in Belarus, at least until Russian oligarch (and NBA franchise-owner) Mikhail Prokhorov bought his freedom.

    • ALL THE NSA WILL SAY ABOUT ITS ALARMINGLY ENTREPRENEURIAL TOP SPY IS THAT SHE’S RESIGNING

      Teresa O’Shea used to be the National Security Agency’s director of signals intelligence, plus the wife of an executive in the business of selling things to agencies like hers, plus the host of a home-based signals intelligence business, plus the owner, via yet another business, of a six-seat airplane and resort-town condo.

    • Tech giants use Patriot Act anniversary to push NSA reform

      Leading tech companies are using Sunday’s 13th anniversary of the Patriot Act to push Congress to pass legislation reining in the National Security Agency (NSA).

    • Colorado Senate Candidates Both Back NSA Reform

      Supporters of Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., say his possible re-election loss to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner would be a significant setback for privacy and mass surveillance reform.

      The Hill reported Sunday that Udall’s potential defeat has some civil liberties activists worried, and the libertarian publication Reason warned Monday his loss would “further dim the prospects of real reform to America’s burgeoning surveillance state.”

      Gardner says that’s not true.

    • Letter: Gardner will carry water for traditional GOP

      Cory Gardner’s voting record follows the obstructionist Republican representatives Sen. Ted Cruz, who shut down the government (cost $20 billion), blocked immigration reform and brought the United States close to default on its debt.

      [...]

      He still wastes time on Benghazi and IRS red herrings. He would not have the courage to oppose his base on the next war vote. His vote on the next Supreme Court Justice would give the reactionary court another member who favors wealth over community, and repeal of Roe vs Wade. Republicans campaign on tax reduction then, once elected, switch to voter restriction, suppression of abortion rights and revocation of collective bargaining. Gardner will do the same.

    • European Privacy in the Age of Snowden: We Need a Debate About What Intelligence Agencies Are Doing
    • European Privacy in the Age of Snowden

      A look at look at the impact of Edward Snowden’s leaks on the debate over online privacy in Europe: The Austrian newspaper Der Standard reports the NSA has accessed nearly 70 percent of telecommunications in Vienna, home to thousands of diplomats from around the world. Earlier this year, Germany ordered the removal of a top U.S. intelligence official in the country after leaks from Snowden showed the United States was monitoring the communications of millions of Germans and tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. In a victory for digital privacy, the European Court of Justice struck down a rule that required telecommunication companies to store the communications data of European Union citizens for up to two years. The ruling happened on the same day Snowden addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from Moscow.

    • Whatever You Think Of Edward Snowden, Go See Citizenfour Now
    • Snowden filmmaker: Lawmakers ‘failed the public’

      Filmmaker Laura Poitras has harsh words for members of Congress she thinks have sat idly on the sidelines while intelligence agencies stretch the limits of the law.

      “Our elected officials have failed the public,” Poitras, whose reporting based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden won a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year, told The Hill in an interview on Friday.

    • ‘Citizenfour’ documents Edward Snowden leaking NSA material

      Imagine if Bob Woodward’s clandestine meetings in a Washington D.C., parking garage with Deep Throat had been documented — or, better yet, filmed by Woodward, himself.

      The analogy isn’t perfect, but that’s about the closest equivalent to Laura Poitras’ one-of-a-kind documentary “Citizenfour,” which captures former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden during his leak of NSA documents to Poitras (a documentarian and reporter) and journalist Glenn Greenwald.

    • Citizenfour Review: Quiet Moments in a Hong Kong Hotel Room as Edward Snowden, Journalists Fight to Save Democracy

      Hong Kong has been ground zero this year in the fight for freedom, with students and Occupy leaders battling police for control of the streets in a desperate campaign to maintain the Chinese territory’s relative autonomy from erosion by the central Beijing government.

    • Citizenfour Review
    • Laura Poitras on Her Edward Snowden Documentary: “I Was a Participant As Much As a Documentarian”
    • Avast Used SafePrice To Spy On Anti-Virus Users

      Avast, one of the leaders in anti-virus software, has been called out over its rather intrusive Avast SafePrice toolbar, after online tech magazine HowToGeek spotted the service sending back information about the user to its own servers.

    • Canadian And American Politicians Use Ottawa Shootings As Excuses To Demand More Surveillance, Greater Policing Powers
    • Leahy: Ottawa shooting no reason to stop NSA reform

      This week’s shooting at Canada’s parliament building should not give lawmakers a reason to halt work on reforming the National Security Agency (NSA), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said on Friday.

      The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman has been making a strong push to get the Senate to pass his USA Freedom Act this year, and rejected the notion that terrorist attacks like the one in the Canadian capital should give lawmakers pause.

    • Snead: NSA Revelations Have Chilling Effect on Cloud Growth in U.S.

      Data center customers are beginning to avoid the U.S. and place their infrastructure elsewhere because of data sovereignty concerns caused by revelations about NSA surveillance, according to David Snead, founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (I2C).

    • Snowden filmmaker Laura Poitras: ‘Facebook is a gift to intelligence agencies’

      Poitras, who received a Pulitzer Prize for her work with The Washington Post and the Guardian covering the revelations, sat down with the Switch to discuss the film and how technical advances may make it easier for us to keep our online lives private. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

    • ‘Yep, we spied illegally’

      The US government spied on electronic communications between Americans with no links to terror suspects until a judge ruled it illegal in 2011, officials acknowledged Wednesday.

      The unlawful program, which involved tens of thousands of emails, was revealed in declassified documents from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews the legality of eavesdropping programs.

      The court’s opinions are usually kept secret but the government chose to release the documents amid a firestorm over sweeping surveillance operations, following bombshell leaks from a former US intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden.

    • Snowden’s Motivation: What the Internet Was Like Before It Was Being Watched, and How We Can Get There Again

      Laura Poitras’ riveting new documentary about mass surveillance gives an intimate look into the motivations that guided Edward Snowden, who sacrificed his career and risked his freedom to expose mass surveillance by the NSA. CITIZENFOUR, which debuts on Friday, has many scenes that explore the depths of government surveillance gone awry and the high-tension unfolding of Snowden’s rendezvous with journalists in Hong Kong. One of the most powerful scenes in the film comes when Snowden discusses his motivation for the disclosures and points to his fundamental belief in the power and promise of the Internet:

    • CIA Snooping No Big Deal, Key Republican Senator Suggests

      The Republican who may chair the Senate Intelligence Committee if his party wins control of the chamber in next month’s election isn’t too worried about CIA snooping on Congress, or about the agency’s combative director.

      Relations between CIA Director John Brennan and Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have been chilly since she revealed that the agency spied on Senate staffers who were working on a report about CIA torture tactics under former President George W. Bush. Some Democrats have called on Brennan to resign.

      But Sen. Richard Burr — a North Carolina Republican who could become intelligence chairman in a GOP-led Senate — is much cheerier about the CIA and its leader.

    • American Companies Are Getting Way Too Cozy With the National Security Agency

      Newly disclosed National Security Agency documents suggest a closer relationship between American companies and the spy agency than has been previously disclosed.

      The documents, published by the Intercept, describe “contractual relationships” between the NSA and U.S. companies, as well as the fact that the NSA has “under cover” spies working at or with some U.S. companies.

    • NSW Privacy Commissioner ‘disappointed’ by slow rate of progress

      In the Information and Privacy Commission’s latest annual report, Coombs said she was not happy with the rate of progress towards privacy reforms and the development of agency guidance, calling it “a missed opportunity to assist NSW public sector agencies and members of the public”.

    • Opinion: Merkel’s cellphone was a wake-up call

      Exactly one year ago it was revealed that the NSA had tapped the German chancellor’s cellphone. The government is now finally starting to address the spying issue – but Marcel Fürstenau believes more should be done.

    • Can a Germany-based data center ease privacy concerns?

      While it will take more than a Germany-based cloud computing center to relieve the tension between Berlin and the U.S. regarding the NSA’s persistent data-culling practices, it’s an important step on Amazon’s part to recognize the privacy concerns of Germans. It might be a band aid, but it’s a significant one.

    • Lone lawyer sues Obama, alleging illegality of surveillance programs

      Justice Department lawyers have asked a federal court in Pittsburgh to dismiss a sweeping lawsuit brought earlier this year by a local lawyer against President Barack Obama and other top intelligence officials.

    • Lawyer Goes After Obama Administration, Sues Over Illegal NSA Spying

      Elliot Schuchardt from Pittsburgh filed a complaint last month citing Executive Order 12333, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act, and Section 215 of the Patriot Act, as stepping beyond the bounds of legality.

    • Citizenfour’s Escape to Freedom in Russia

      In early September in Russia, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden told me about a documentary entitled Citizenfour, named after the alias he used when he asked filmmaker Laura Poitras to help him warn Americans about how deeply the NSA had carved away their freedoms.

    • Clueless FBI sabotages its own anti-encryption campaign

      FBI Director James Comey continues to bang the drum about the evils of smartphone encryption and the harm it will do to U.S. law enforcement efforts. Fortunately, few people are persuaded, possibly because Comey himself seems of two minds — and baffled by technology to boot.

      Comey has been on a media tear denouncing the default smartphone encryption provided by Apple, with its recently released iOS 8, and Google, with its next-generation Lollipop Android OS. No one without the passcode — not even Apple or Google — can break the encryption, which leaves law enforcement “struggling to keep up” with criminals, Comey said in a speech to the Brookings Institution.

      [...]

      But in an interview with “60 Minutes” this month, Comey led off by saying, “I believe that Americans should be deeply skeptical of government power. You cannot trust people in power.” He then illustrated this by sidestepping the question of whether the FBI gathers electronic surveillance and passes it to the NSA, and insisting (incorrectly) that the FBI can never read your email without a court order.

      [...]

      A Washington Post editorial is one of the few voices to support Comey and call for a “compromise” on smartphone encryption. While granting that “a police ‘back door’ for all smartphones is undesirable,” the Post said surely “a kind of secure golden key” that could only be used by people with an approved court warrant could be invented.

    • Why Isn’t Silicon Valley Donating to Pro-Internet Privacy Candidates?

      Silicon Valley is a relatively new player in the Wild West world that is political spending. So maybe that can cut them slack for failing to give money to the candidates with big techs best interests at heart.

    • Russia and China Edge Out US With Proposed Cyber Security Pact
    • Russia, China to cooperate on cybersecurity amid tensions with U.S.
    • Canadian Government Seizes on Ottawa Shooting to Promote Militarist, Anti-democratic Agenda

      Speaking in parliament Thursday—the day after a gunman fatally shot a soldier at Ottawa’s National War Memorial, then entered the main block of the national parliament—Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to greatly strengthen Canada’s national security apparatus.

      “Our law and police powers,” declared Harper, “need to be strengthened in the area of surveillance, detention and arrest.” He continued, “I assure you that work—which is already underway—will be expedited.”

    • Pulitzer winner Glenn Greenwald to speak on surveillance and privacy Saturday in Ottawa
    • Annie Machon, former partner of David Shayler, reflects on impact of Snowden revelations at Playful conference

      The former partner of an MI6 whistleblower has described the “dangerous moral slide” of the UK’s intelligence services, comparing a 1996 assassination plot against then Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to his treatment during the 2011 uprising.

    • UK Foreign Minister: Bulk Data Collection Is Not Mass Surveillance

      British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has told the United Kingdom Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee that bulk data collection did not amount to mass surveillance.

      In public remarks, he said, “Mass surveillance is illegal. There are strict rules in place to make sure data collected is not used in any way. I think the immediate discarding of 99.9 per cent of the data does not give rise to intrusion.”

    • The End of Privacy

      Everyone loves a story about a small group of outsiders challenging the power structure and successfully rattling the cage of the 600-pound gorilla. We love it all the more when the group’s size totals less than the fingers on one hand and the gorilla is the national security apparatus of the largest military power in the history of the human race. In real life, these stories rarely end well for the little guys.

    • Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

      Mark Udall, US Senator for Colorado, looks almost born into the job. He has the rangy cowboy build – his jeans’ back pockets reveal a pair of shades and a water bottle – and on the stump he hits every progressive policy button you think would tickle the state’s high plains and mountain voters. Climate change is real, fracking is tricky.

    • Wyden pushes back on criticism over NSA

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) suggested he could have been expelled from Congress if he revealed classified information — pushing back on criticism that he did not do enough to expose National Security Agency surveillance programs.

    • THE SURVEILLANCE STATE AND YOU

      In the words of that wise Twitter account, Infosec Taylor Swift, “Mass surveillance is the elegant oppression, a panopticon without bars. Its cage is… behind the eyes—in the mind.” Under authority’s gaze, many people become smaller, more obedient, less daring.

      Surveillance leaves scars.

      Privacy activists rightly denounce the blanket surveillance of “innocent Americans.” But what about those who, because of skin color or faith, power has marked as guilty? If you’re not a “person of interest” technologies like PGP, Tor, and Jabber OTR can be enough to keep your most of your communications out of the NSA’s dragnet. If you’re a member of a marginalized group, the stakes are higher. Pockets of privacy become more scarce.The government’s gaze is not only fixed on your laptop. You’re watched by the CCTV camera, the neighborhood informer, the cop loitering on the corner. Surveillance bleeds into your life, online and off.

    • Belgacom says alleged GCHQ APT attack cost firm £12 million

      In September 2013, Belgacom was hit by a suspected Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attack which, according to leaked documents from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden which were published by German newspaper Der Spiegel, was the work of the NSA and UK’s own GCHQ.

    • Laura Poitras: “I knew this was going to piss off the most powerful people in the world”

      The Pulitzer-winning filmmaker talks about shooting those history-shaping Snowden-Greenwald meetings in Hong Kong

    • Another Attorney-Client Conversation Spied On

      Last month, I laid out the several attorney client conversations to which Raez Qadir Khan was party that the government wiretapped. Among the 7 privileged conversations wiretapped by the government was a January 2010 conversation he had with his immigration attorney after being told by the FBI he could not travel to see his family.

    • Julian Assange: Google’s Basic Business Model ‘Same as the NSA’s’

      In a conversation with “Imaginary Lines” host Chris Spannos, WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange discussed his new book, “When Google Met WikiLeaks,” which is based on a conversation Assange had with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

    • How NSA Spying, Google and Chlorinated Chickens Are Pitting Germans Against Americans — And What to Do About It

      I see an increased nervousness in my country about America. Even though both our countries have an eagle on their coat of arms, people currently are focused on a different bird: the chicken. And not just any old chicken, but the “Chlorhuhn” chicken. Perhaps I should translate it for you: The “Chlorhuhn” is a chicken that has been disinfected in a bath of chlorine — as American food companies do it.

    • Backlash will render mass surveillance moot

      MASS SURVEILLANCE will inevitably create a backlash of popular evasion and encryption, rendering most of the government intelligence agencies’ communications surveillance efforts largely ineffective and moot.

    • Obama administration mixes signals on user security

      To be clear, Access commends the administration’s new Executive Order. Secure systems, in every layer of the internet, are the key to user privacy, so it’s encouraging that as part of its announcement on Friday, Obama also renewed his push for cybersecurity legislation. However, recently drafted legislation has focused almost exclusively on information sharing for critical infrastructure companies, ignoring the larger picture; the bills were missing initiatives that directly protect users. In a letter to the president earlier this year, Access and a coalition of organizations and experts called for legislation that would incentivize improved digital security and provide resources for cybersecurity education, foster better international dialogue about cybersecurity, and create new transparency obligations. This Executive Order starts to address these gaps.

    • Marc Andreessen Calls Snowden Traitor, Doesn’t Want Democracy

      Though Silicon Valley and the tech industry is generally known as being more liberal than other economic sectors it is worth noting that it too has its share of plutocrat reactionaries. Though venture capitalist Tom Perkins became the face of the faction with his comparison of Occupy Wall Street to Nazis, a more relevant example would be Mark Andreessen who not only stands out as opposing measures to rein in wealth inequality but has trumpeted his support for domestic surveillance programs.

      Andreessen’s claim to fame was starting the early internet browser company Netscape which he essentially privatized without payment from a government sponsored project at a the University of Illinois. Netscape would be ultimately be crushed by Microsoft but Andreessen would stay in the tech world and become a founder and partner at one of the Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capital firms – Andreessen Horowitz.

    • Edward Snowden: the true story behind his NSA leaks

      Laura Poitras, the director of Citizenfour, tells the Telegraph how the whistle-blower entrusted her with revealing to the world his secrets about American government mass surveillance

      [...]

      It was at that point that Poitras stopped using the telephone in her apartment, bought a new computer for cash and started checking her email account only in public places.

    • You’re Being Watched, And Don’t You Forget It

      Citizenfour addresses these questions in arresting, often chilling fashion. Near the end of the film, Poitras meets again with Snowden, as he and Greenwald review information provided by a new leaker. They can only communicate via written notes for fear of bugging, and most of their writings are not shown to the camera. One of the few notes we do see bears the number of people on an NSA watchlist: more than one million. It’s both a terrifying grace note and a call to action.

  • Civil Rights

    • Lewinsky mistreated by authorities in investigation of Clinton, report says

      Lewinsky’s voice cracked as she recalled the moment in January 1998 when she was first confronted by FBI agents and lawyers working for Kenneth W. Starr’s Office of Independent Counsel, who threatened her and her mother with criminal prosecution if she did not agree to wear a wire against President Bill Clinton.

      Lewinsky, now 41, has long felt that she was mistreated by authorities in the 12-hour marathon session, which began as an ambush at the food court at the Pentagon City mall and then moved to a hotel room at the mall’s adjoining Ritz-Carlton hotel.

    • Local Law Enforcement Chipping Away at the Fourth Amendment

      At the same time, the proliferation of low-cost surveillance devices, such as license plate scanners and Stingray, continue to raise new questions even as a handful of older ones are resolved. The battle against the tyrant King George continues.

    • A Print Magazine for Hackers

      At the same time, 2600 provides an important forum for hackers to discuss the most pressing issues of the day—whether it be surveillance, Internet freedom, or the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons—while sharing new code in languages like Python and C.* For example, the most recent issue of the magazine addresses how the hacking community can approach Snowden’s disclosures. After lampooning one of the leaked N.S.A. PowerPoint slides (“whoever wrote this clearly didn’t know that there are no zombies in ‘1984’ ”) and discussing how U.S. government is eroding civil rights, the piece points out the contradictions that everyone in the hacking community currently faces. “Hackers are the ones who reveal the inconvenient truths, point out security holes, and offer solutions,” it concludes. “And this is why hackers are the enemy in a world where surveillance and the status quo are the keys to power.”

    • Report: Obama Administration Considers Sidestepping U.N. Torture Ban Overseas

      The Obama administration is reportedly considering a move that would continue the Bush-era policy of ignoring the United Nations torture treaty overseas. In 2005, the Bush administration disclosed it had secretly interpreted a U.N. ban on “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as not applying to any CIA or military prison outside of the United States. President Obama, then a senator, opposed Bush’s policy and proposed legislation to undermine it. The United States now faces a hearing before the Committee Against Torture at the United Nations next month. And according to The New York Times, “President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view” and “[reaffirm] the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation to bar cruelty outside U.S. borders.”

    • Torturing the Rule of Law

      When elements of the national-security apparatus deceive Congress or the courts, they undermine the very institutions that they protect. The CIA’s attempt to hide its history of torture from congressional oversight is Exhibit A.

    • Shameful side of the War on Terror

      Mr Risen also delves into the human wreckage left behind by the war on terror, portraying the hellish post-Army life of Damien M Corsetti, a soldier who, by Mr Risen’s account, engaged in torture at the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad. He illustrates what the United States Army should have known before going into Iraq, that torture has two victims: the one who suffers it and the one who inflicts it. Mr Corsetti is shown living in Savannah, Georgia, having kicked an addiction to heroin, but living in a cloud of marijuana smoke with post-traumatic stress disorder. “He is one of the first veterans known to have been given full disability based on PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] suffered while conducting harsh interrogations in the war on terror,” Mr Risen writes.

    • IS PRESIDENT OBAMA PLANNING EXECUTIVE ORDER FOR CLOSURE OF GUANTÁNAMO?

      Last Thursday, out of the blue, Carol E. Lee and Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal reported that senior Obama administration officials had told them that the White House was drafting options that would allow President Obama to close the “war on terror” prison established by President Bush at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, through the use of an executive order.

    • Guantanamo’s horrifying irony: How Bush’s shadow looms over shutting it down

      Obama is mulling executive action to close Gitmo — and he may have to trade one ugly Bush legacy for another

    • White House Denies Report That Obama Plans to Close Guantanamo and Transfer Detainees to US
    • Amnesty International Report Faults the Police in Ferguson, Mo.

      The police in Ferguson, Mo., violated the rights of protesters during demonstrations after the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, according to a report issued by Amnesty International on Friday.

      The human rights group said the Ferguson Police Department should review its standards, practices and training to ensure that they “conform fully to international standards.” And investigations into Mr. Brown’s death should be transparent and concluded as quickly as possible, the 23-page report said.

    • Man Calls a Suicide Prevention Hotline, SWAT Team Shows Up and Kills Him

      A Roy, Utah man, Jose Calzada, 35, placed a call to a suicide prevention hotline at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and threatened to kill himself, seven hour later he was shot and killed by police, according to law enforcement.

      According to ABC 4, neighbors described Calzada as a quiet, friendly man, who was divorced and now lived in the home with his girlfriend and her children.

      The first tragic mistake in this case was made when the Weber County Consolidated Dispatch Center sent officers to the residence rather than some type of crisis response team trained to deal with suicidal individuals.

      From previous cases, such as that of Jason Turk, who was shot twice in the face after a suicide call to 9-1-1 by his wife, or that of Christian Alberto Sierra, who was suffering from depression and had attempted suicide when police showed up and shot him four times, killing him, most know all too well what happens when you send officers to “assist” people threatening suicide.

    • CHP Officer accused of stealing nude photos during suspect’s booking

      Bay Area CHP Officer Sean Harrington is accused of stealing nude cell phone pictures from a DUI suspect’s phone while she was being booked into the County Jail in Martinez. There is now evidence that other officers may also have been involved, and that possible criminal charges may be filed.

      “She’s tremendously distraught,” said Rick Madsen, the attorney for the young woman pulled over by Officer Harrington. He claims his client has been traumatized by this invasion of her privacy.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • A mountain of net neutrality comments, a privacy paradox, ransomware warnings and more

      FCC publishes 2.44 million comments from Open Internet docket

    • Latest In Cable Astroturfing: If You Squint, Twist, Spin And Mislead With Apples To Oranges Comparisons, US Broadband Is Great!

      For the past few months, I’d been pitched a few times from people (often somehow, if in murky ways, connected to the broadband industry) arguing that all those stories about how the US is far behind in broadband is untrue if you just looked at certain states. The basic argument is that since the US is so large, it’s not fair to compare it to, say, South Korea. Instead, they claim, if you just look at a few states in the US, those states compare quite well to this country or that country. Of course, to make a total fruit basket out of mixed metaphors, this is pretty blatant cherry picking apples to compare to oranges. We haven’t written any of those stories, but apparently someone went and created a misleading infographic to try to make the point on a site called “the Connectivist.”

    • Secretive funding fuels ongoing net neutrality astroturfing controversy

      The contentious debate about net neutrality in the U.S. has sparked controversy over a lack of funding transparency for advocacy groups and think tanks, which critics say subverts the political process.

    • How Verizon’s Advertising Header Works

      Over the past couple of days, there’s been an outpouring of concern about Verizon’s advertising practices. Verizon Wireless is injecting a unique identifier into web requests, as data transits the network. On my phone, for example, here’s the extra HTTP header.1

  • DRM

    • Adobe Discovers Encryption, Cuts Back On Its eBook Snooping A Bit

      The whole DRM for ebooks effort is still pretty braindead all around. It’s amazing to me that everyone hasn’t realized what the music industry figured out years ago (after many earlier years of kicking and screaming): DRM doesn’t help the creators or the copyright holders in the slightest. It pisses off end users and tends to help give platform providers a dominant position by creating lock-in with their users. Time and time again we see copyright holders demanding DRM, not realizing that this demand actually gives all the leverage to the platform provider.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Australian ISP iiNet Takes A Stand Against Copyright Trolling By Producers Of Dallas Buyers Club

        We’ve written a number of times about the strong, principled stand of Australian ISP iiNet for the rights of its consumers. iiNet was the ISP that was handpicked by Hollywood and the US State Departmenet to be the target of a “test” legal attack, trying to force ISPs to spy on users and become copyright cops. iiNet was targeted because Hollywood felt that the company wasn’t large enough to fight back, but was big enough to get noticed. Hollywood miscalculated on one-half of that equation: iiNet fought back. And it fought back hard. And it won. And then it won again. And then it won again, in a fight that Hollywood is still licking its wounds over (and trying to undermine with new laws). iiNet has also fought back against data retention rules.

      • Pirate Bay Sends 100,000 New Users to “Free” VPN

        This week The Pirate Bay replaced its frontpage logo to promote a new VPN service, driving 100,000 new customers to the startup. FrootVPN currently offers its services for free, but admits that this may not last forever.

After Infecting Unity — Successfully — Microsoft’s Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

Posted in Microsoft, Mono at 4:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Checkup

Summary: Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices

THE COMPANY known as Xamarin more or less acts as a proxy of Microsoft these days. Mono, with Microsoft backing, is now trying to sneak into game frameworks other than Unity. Michael Larabel was one of the very few who helped amplify de Icaza, who wrote:

Today I am happy to introduce Mono for Unreal Engine.

This is a project that allows Unreal Engine users to build their game code in C# or F#.

This is really bad. If Microsoft (through its minions at Xamarin) manages to make games dependent on .NET, then cross-platform is actually put at risk, not aided. What next? Will Xamarin also try to poison Valve’s Steam?

Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Summary: Microsoft’s insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages (possibly trillions of dollars in damages to date) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software

According to the New York Times and other news sites, “Staples Is Latest Retailer Hit by Hackers” because it was using Microsoft Windows. Well, other recent examples included UPS, which basically hurt millions of people because it let crooks have lots of credit card details. The TJ Maxx heist and other credit card heists were also the fault of Microsoft Windows, not GNU Bash or OpenSSL, among other bits of software that dominate the news in the context of security. It sure looks like Microsoft Windows is the target, not FOSS. There are hardly any stories at all about an apocalypse or any great damage caused by bugs in Bash or in OpenSSL. So go figure what the press is doing, in part because the OpenSSL bug has been hyped up by Microsoft partners at a very strategic time (same day as Windows XP support ending).

As Will Hill put it the other day, “Business Week Covers Up for Microsoft In Target Hack and Misses the Big Story”. Mr. Hill adds that “The US government covering up for Microsoft is not too surprising after learning about the HACIENDA program [2]. That’s a massive program where the US government has been cracking servers and ordinary around the world to serve as botnets. If everyone used software that was better then Microsoft’s intentionally weak garbage, GHCQ, NSA and other spooks would not be able to cover their tracks. Because of US government promotion of Microsoft and their combined incompetence, criminals around the world have it easy. NSA spying has put trillions of dollars in commerce at risk.”

Those botnets do even greater damage than what was done at Staples. They are taking down a lot of Web sites and fill the Internet with heaps of SPAM. To quote our reader, complaining about articles like these: “Somehow they manage to omit the key role of Windows yet again.” They must call out Windows.

Another new article was sent to us by a reader. It is titled “Computer users who damage national security could face jail” and it was published by a Bill Gates-sponsored newspaper. This reader of ours asked: “What about those that knowingly deploy Windows on machines connected to the Internet?”

Our sites are still under DDOS attack (for over a month ago). Tux Machines has been offline for several hours now after a DDOS attack from Windows botnets hit it.

Why are ISPs still permitting customers to connect to the Internet with Windows? When will ISPs or users face liability for the damage they cause? Some people have been trying to take down my sites for well over a month now and they have used Microsoft Windows as a weapon. Windows has weaponised back doors, so it should be banned already.

Speaking of takedowns, watch the latest commentary [1,2] about Microsoft breaking the law to take material and sites (or even entire networks) offline, despite them doing nothing illegal.

The corporate media should start directing some tough questions at Microsoft, not just its victims. The company should face massive fines for the damages it causes on the Web. Ultimately, its software should be banned until security — not insecurity (weaponised back doors) — is its goal.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Takedown notices served by Microsoft to videos that ‘DO NOT’ infringe on anything

    Microsoft has gained immense popularity over its never-ending war on software piracy. However, this time, the company appears to have caused a bit of collateral damage. So who are the victims? A handful of prominent and highly acclaimed YouTube video bloggers.

  2. Microsoft Takes Down A Bunch Of Non-Infringing YouTube Videos Over People Posting Product Keys In Comments

    Oh, Microsoft. The company has now admitted that it ended up sending a bunch of DMCA takedown notices on non-infringing videos, all because someone had posted product keys in comments to those videos. To its credit, Microsoft has apologized and said that it has “taken steps to reinstate legitimate video content and are working towards a better solution to targeting stolen IP while respecting legitimate content.” That’s all well and good, but this seems like the kind of thing that they should have done long before issuing obviously bad takedowns. This is the kind of thing that happens when you have a tool like the DMCA notice-and-takedown provision that makes it just so damn easy to censor content. Those issuing the takedowns do little to nothing to make sure the content being removed actually infringes. They just use either automated means or someone rushing through the process with little review, sending off takedowns willy nilly with no real concern about how they might kill off perfectly legal content. It still boggles the mind that a basic notice-and-notice regime couldn’t suffice to handle situations like this. That and making sure that those issuing bogus DMCA notices receive some sort of real punishment to give them the incentive to stop sending bogus takedowns.

City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It’s Only Tax Authorities

Posted in Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Berlin is already a Windows shop and it’s not window-shopping

Window shopping

Summary: A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation

Last year we wrote about Berlin's reluctance to follow the lead of Munich, which happily uses Free software and GNU/Linux, despite the FUD from Microsoft (including some of the latest, not just last year's). It has been over a year since a formal investigation was launched into Microsoft’s bribery of officials in many countries. We are not aware of any progress on it, but all we can say is that Microsoft did try ‘soft’ bribes in derailing Munich’s efforts. There is a lot of rogue stuff going on and we covered it in past years.

According to this one report in English, “City of Berlin Going from OpenOffice Back to Microsoft Office”. The problem is, we are not aware of Berlin ever moving to OpenOffice. I spoke to an old friend in Berlin (he works on LibreOffice) as this report continued to seem a little suspicious. I followed through to the source, assuming it either shows that once again Microsoft bribes have paid off or that Microsoft is spreading lies and FUD. As it turns out, a poor translation by Silviu Stahie may be the issue.

“As it turns out, a poor translation by Silviu Stahie may be the issue.”According to this report, Microsoft OOXML is again interfering with adoption of Free software in government. To quote: “It’s difficult to say what the steps that prompted the city officials to make this decision were. It might just as well be the fact that documents created with OpenOffice 3.2 can’t be opened by people with newer or proprietary software, or vice versa.

“The fact of the matter is that LibreOffice, a much newer and modern office suite open source solution, can do all these things. It’s already used in cities around the world, so others don’t seem to have the same problems as Berlin. From what we can gather from the Golem.de report, the switch to Microsoft Office is already happening and it should be finished by the end of 2015.

“A much bigger issue is the lack of intervention from the German government, which has yet to implement or regulate the use of open source formats in its own branches. Things would be much simpler if everyone used a single kind of file format that can be read by both proprietary and open source software.”

The original article (in German) basically says that it’s about the tax authorities, not the City of Berlin. The article also blames it squarely on OOXML, stating at the end (now translating into English) that a requirement that one should use open formats for the government of a state is possible, as shown in the United Kingdom, which established in July of this year PDF and ODF as the standards for documents.

Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux as “piracy” again

Addicted

Summary: The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of ‘pirates’

Last week we wrote about Microsoft boosters and Microsoft-friendly sites saying that Microsoft is loving Linux simply because Nadella says so. It is a lie, but if repeated often enough some people might believe it. Nadella is now saying that stuff acquired for free (like Windows) was “forced upon it [Microsoft] by pirates” although it could not be further from the truth.

Nadella got caught lying again or maybe he just doesn’t know Microsoft’s lies and therefore he repeats these lies. Either way, these are lies. Bill Gates once said (in public): “They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not” Microsoft was quoted as saying on another occasion.

As a reader of ours put it the other day: “Microsoft does not make its money off the software, it makes its money off the rents on the software. There’s a big difference. Rents depend on market share, not sales alone.”

As I learned only a couple of days ago at Currys/PC World (apparently to other people’s interest too), Microsoft is essentially forcing all PC buyers to get Windows; there’s hardly any other option and there is punishment for people who remove Windows from their new PC. These “rents”, as our reader called it, are now ending in parts of Europe, but not in the UK. As the FSF stated last night: “The Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) issued a judgment1 that bans the “Microsoft tax,” a commercial practice that discourages users from converting their PCs to GNU/Linux or other free operating systems by forcing them to pay for a Windows license with their PCs. PC producers in Italy now cannot refuse to refund the price of the license to purchasers that will not run Windows.”

I may soon register a complaint with the British authorities.

Here is Nadella lying in public:

New comments from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella suggest that luring people in with zero-cost products is of great interest to the company. However, while services such as OneDrive are free with premium options by design, Nadella says Microsoft has long had a freemium business model, but one that was forced upon it by pirates.

Over at The Register, which receives money from Microsoft through some deals, the Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke now portrays Steve Ballmer and Microsoft as friendly to competition. This propaganda or revisionism, casting Microsoft as a role model for playing nice with competition, is worse than insulting. It’s a disgrace and a shame to British journalism.

Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on ‘Trolls’ and Quotes Lawyers

Posted in Law, Patents at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that

FOR a number of years we have written a great deal about software patents, hoping for change and hoping for acknowledgement of change in the corporate media, which typically just quotes lawyers when it comes to patent matters. Engineers are rarely part of this debate. The corporate media treats them as passive observers that barely count.

“Engineers are rarely part of this debate.”There was a widely
circulated article at Reuters last week and it spoke about positive developments in the area of patents, pulling together some important facts and figures:

For two decades, companies that buy software patents to sue technology giants have been the scourge of Silicon Valley. Reviled as patent trolls, they have attacked everything from Google’s online ads to Apple’s iPhone features, sometimes winning hundreds of millions of dollars.

But now the trolls are in retreat from the tech titans, interviews and data reviewed by Reuters show.

In the wake of several changes in U.S. law, which make it easier to challenge software patents, patent prices are plummeting, the number of court fights is down, and stock prices of many patent-holding companies have fallen. Some tech firms say they are punching up research budgets as legal costs shrink, while support for major patent reform is under fire as trolls get trounced.

“Their entire business model relies on intimidation, and that has lost its edge,” said Efrat Kasznik, president of intellectual property consulting firm Foresight Valuation Group. “If the patents are not enforceable in court anymore… the troll has no legs to stand on.”

With the headline “Big Tech Winning Battle With ‘Patent Trolls’” it’s clear that they take the narrative of big businesses and mostly ignore the relevance of software patents in this case. It’s all about big business!

This is evidence-based as opposed to emotion-based (like analyses from patent lawyers), but it does quote a lot of people who are in the patent business and have a conflict of interest.

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