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09.01.15

Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM ‘Open’

Posted in Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 6:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“We’ve had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is “stolen”.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“We’ve been very focused on producing a DRM system. [...] We think DRM is important”

Robbie Bach, Microsoft President

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

Richard Stallman

Alliance for Open Media

Summary: What Microsoft et al. call ‘Next-Generation Open Media Formats’ are basically neither open nor acceptable (it’s DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub ‘Open Source Tools’ are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse

“Alliance for Open Media” is the latest Orwellian name/title for that which casts DRM collusion as “open”. Typical DRM proponents are part of it (Microsoft included) and so is Mozilla, which joined the DRM cartel about a year ago, causing much anger among many of its strongest supporters. DRM is not “open”. It’s not even compatible with the notion of “open” as this strictly requires proprietary software. Mozilla gave up on “openness” when it entered the DRM conspiracy and now we have the press littered by lots of puff pieces that frame DRM as “open” (however they define open, maybe alluding to patents). These are manufactured false perceptions and spin, calling a DRM conspiracy “Next-Gen Video Format” [1, 2, 3]. Here is the press release. It’s hogwash.

It is sad to see the Open Web falling over like this, after the MPAA essentially bribed the World Wide Web Consortium, which had hired a fool from Novell (we wrote a lot about this in prior years). These people are trying to set up ‘standards’ with patents on them and DRM as part of the (secret) ‘standard’. When it comes to what they define to be “open”, it’s just about patents. When a bunch of companies agree not to sue each other (like OIN, which has just added WSO2, but proved rather fruitless when one member, Oracle, sued another, Google). “In joining OIN, an organization dedicated to defending the Linux ecosystem, WSO2 extends its commitment to fostering innovation through open source software,” says the summary from the new press release. That’s nothing to do with innovation. It’s nothing to do with FOSS, either. Many members are proprietary software companies just agreeing on patents being pooled together. Many of these patents pertain to sofwtare and are therefore inherently incompatible with FOSS. Therein lies the core of the latest spin, misleadingly named “Alliance for Open Media”. It’s not a standard but a collusion. That’s what it is. It is, at best, a patent pool.

In other news, we have just come across some truly bizarre openwashing of Microsoft Office. Sam Dean is once again doing a service to his apparent new hero, Satya Nadella. Under a rather misleading headline Dean describes something which facilitates proprietary software as “Open Source”. But it’s not open source, it’s bait for OOXML and proprietary software. Watch the article starting with nonsensical claims:

Has Microsoft finally, truly warmed up to open source? New CEO Satya Nadella (shown) is definitely pushing that notion. Several media outlets previously reported on his comments on how he “loves Linux” and he has claimed that approximately 30 percent of Microsoft’s Azure cloud is already Linux-based.

Any GNU/Linux instance running under Microsoft’s control is already compromised, with back doors included. It’s basically dependent on proprietary software from a company which notoriously colludes with the NSA.

Talk about distorting the notion of “openness”…

Those who can successfully ‘sell’ the corruptible media OOXML, Office and DRM as “open” can probably also ‘sell’ it genocidal carpet-bombing as “spreading freedom and democracy”, or disabled people as “special people”.

“[Vista DRM] seems a bit like breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.“

Peter Gutmann

Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only ’10′ is Spyware But All of Windows is

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “no place to hide” (therefore, might as well give up!) propaganda

Keep calm
Credit/Source: The Register

Summary: How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft’s gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to ‘upgrade’ to Vista 10

WE ARE a little baffled to see a whole bunch of ‘news’ stories about Vista 10-esque surveillance being silently/covertly expanded to Vista 7 and Vista 8 through Windows Update. This is not news. It was noted in Techrights last week and also nearly a month ago. What took the corporate media so long to notice reports of these serious privacy violations which may actually be a violation of Microsoft’s EULA (hence susceptibility to legal action) and also render these operating systems inadequate (or illegal) for some firms to use, without any prior warning from Microsoft? China has banned Vista 8 or later (in government at least), but not Vista 7. Microsoft has essentially changed the behaviour of Vista 7 for more data harvesting, making the transition to GNU/Linux more urgent if not imperative. This could potentially lead to lawsuits, too.

“Windows 10 is a deliciously good operating system…”
      –Microsoft propagandist
Microsoft Peter wrote about this (joining the spin), as did IDG‘s Microsoft apologist (after a lot of Vista 10 promotion). He wrote in an excessively promotional fashion about this. Here is his opening: “Windows 10 is a deliciously good operating system, all things considered, but its abundant user-tracking has prompted many privacy-minded individuals to stay pat with older versions of Windows. Now, Microsoft’s providing those concerned individuals a reason to upgrade.”

What?

So because Microsoft is infringing the privacy of all users now (not just Vista 10) they are urged to upgrade? Where does this spin even come from? Is this like the latest memo to come out from Redmond? It’s gross beyond belief. It’s similar to the previous spin from Microsoft boosters, who insisted that “privacy is dead” anyway (or something along those lines), hence Vista 10 is grand, inevitable, even a trailblazer.

The Microsoft propaganda regarding surveillance was covered here last night, laying much of the blame on Microsoft's Bot (Ed Bott). This is probably (at least partly) coordinated by Microsoft’s villainous PR agencies. They study what the public wants to hear and then make up some lies (or at best spin) to fulfill expectations. That’s their job. There is also a lot of AstroTurfing involved, not to mention the occasional bribery (they got caught).

Andrew Orlowski wrote about this Vista 10-esque antifeature ‘expansion’ to predecessors and he, for a change, was not spinning it like the Microsoft crowd does right now (in fact, he keeps mocking Microsoft for its hypocritical lobbying against Google).

This whole opportunistic spin (as described above) is utterly shameless and editors ought to be checking if the so-called journalists whom they hired are just Microsoft propagandists, serving more like moles for Microsoft, not reporters. Maybe they don’t even mind as long as Microsoft buys advertising space from them (the budget grew around the time of the release of Vista 10). Maybe such ‘writers’ are merely a reward or a bonus to Microsoft. It’s like advertising (sometimes with detailed marketing-like slideshows) in the “content” sections.

Earlier today Jamie Watson asked: “don’t write and ask me what I think about Windows 10. I don’t use it” (but installed on a multi-boot machine).

We are meanwhile seeing the corporate media quoting Microsoft’s claims about number of Vista 10 users as fact, despite Microsoft’s long history of making up numbers, lying, changing definitions to fit some propaganda, etc. A lot of so-called Vista 10 ‘users’ don’t even use it anymore. Some never boot into it. Some tested it as a virtual machine under another system. And so on…

Proprietary (i.e. secret) methods of measuring usage of proprietary software are about as accurate and honest as Microsoft’s characterisations of Free software and GNU/Linux.

“There’s no company called Linux, there’s barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it. That is, it’s free.”

Steve Ballmer

Wait, Steve, don’t you guys say Vista 10 too is “free”? Like in communism?

Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The new IT is all about the customer

    Open source code. GitHub and other cloud repositories enable developers to share and consume code for almost any purpose imaginable. This reflects today’s practical, non-ideological open source culture: Why code it yourself if someone else is offering it free under the most liberal license imaginable?

  • Events/Communities

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Was Key To Building Servers.Com

      When XBT Holding S.A. decided to simplify how its subsidiaries provided global hosting, network solutions, and web development they turned to the open source cloud infrastructure platform OpenStack. By consolidating the offerings under a single service provider, Servers.com, customers can more easily browse, mix, compare and choose the most suitable services.

    • ZeroStack Comes Out of Stealth, Focused on Private Clouds

      There is another OpenStack-focused startup on the scene, and you have to appreciate its creative name: ZeroStack. The cloud computing company has come out of stealth mode to introduce a private cloud solution that it claims is easier to configure, consume and manage than any other technology on the market.

    • Apache Ignite, a Big Data Tool, Graduates as a Top-Level Project

      Only a few days ago, Apache, which is the steward for and incubates more than 350 Open Source projects, announced that Apache Lens, an open source Big Data and analytics tool, has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Now, the ASF has announced that Apache Ignite is to become a top-level project. It’s an open source effort to build an in-memory data fabric that was driven by GridGain Systems and WANdisco.

    • Funding the Cloud: Top VCs Aim for the Silver Lining
    • How Apache Spark Is Transforming Big Data Processing, Development
  • Databases

    • Accelerating Scientific Analysis with the SciDB Open Source Database System

      Science is swimming in data. And, the already daunting task of managing and analyzing this information will only become more difficult as scientific instruments — especially those capable of delivering more than a petabyte (that’s a quadrillion bytes) of information per day — come online.

      Tackling these extreme data challenges will require a system that is easy enough for any scientist to use, that can effectively harness the power of ever-more-powerful supercomputers, and that is unified and extendable. This is where the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center’s (NERSC’s) implementation of SciDB comes in.

  • CMS

    • PiwigoPress release 2.31

      I just pushed a new release of PiwigoPress (main page, WordPress plugin dir) to the WordPress servers. This release incorporates new features for the sidebar widget, and better interoperability with some Piwigo galleries.

  • Education

    • How to teach student sys admins

      Students spend the 16-week long course learning practical skills using real tools. To support their systems, students learn about using support tickets and documentation by using RT and MediaWiki. To deploy and maintain their systems, they learn about configuration management using Puppet, system monitoring using Nagios, and backup and recovery using Bacula. But the broad concepts are more important than the specific software packages I just mentioned. The point is to learn, for example, configuration management, not to be trained to use Puppet. The software used by Clark is used because it works for him, but the software is flexible and changeable.

  • Openwashing (Fake FOSS)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD Is Getting Its Own Native Hypervisor

      The OpenBSD Foundation has been funding work on a project to provide OpenBSD with its own, native hypervisor.

      The hypervisor’s VMM is so far able to launch a kernel and ask for a root file-system, but beyond that, it’s been laying most of the hypervisor foundation up to this point.

    • Coming Soon to OpenBSD/amd64: A Native Hypervisor

      Earlier today, Mike Larkin (mlarkin@) published a teaser for something he’s been working on for a while.

    • the peculiar libretunnel situation

      The author of stunnel has (once, twice) asserted that stunnel may not be used with LibreSSL, only with OpenSSL. This is perhaps a strange thing for free software to do, and it creates the potential for some very weird consequences.

      First, some background. The OpenSSL license and the GPL are both free software licenses, but they are different flavors of freedom, meaning you can’t mix them. It would be like mixing savory and sweet. Can’t do it. Alright, so maybe technically you can do it, but you’re not supposed to. The flavor, er, freedom police will come get you. One workaround is for the GPL software to say, oh, but maybe wait, here’s an exception. (Does this make the software more or less free?) Here’s a longer explanation with sample exception.

    • FreeBSD on Beagle Bone Black (with X11)

      X11 clients on the Beagle Bone Black .. that’s X11 over the network, with the X Server elsewhere. No display as yet. The FreeBSD wiki notes that there’s no (mini) HDMI driver yet. So I built some X11 programs, xauth(1) and xmessage(1), and installed them on the Bone. Since I bought a blue case for the Bone, and it is the smallest computer in the house (discounting phones .. let’s call it the smallest hackable computer in the house) the kids decided to call it smurf. Here’s a screenshot of poudriere’s text console as it builds packages.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Schiphol Airport working on open innovation

      …open data and an open programming interface…

    • How open film project Cosmos Laundromat made Blender better

      If you’re not familiar with the string of open projects that the Blender Institute has kicked out over the years, you might not be familiar with the term “open movie.” Simply put, not only is Cosmos Laundromat produced using free and open source tools like Blender, GIMP, Krita, and Inkscape, but the film itself, and all of its assets—models, textures, character rigs, animations, all of it—are available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Want to see what a production character rig looks like? Or know how that giant color tornado was created? How about actually using a character (or just a prop) in your own project? Maybe you even want to redo the entire film to your own tastes. It’s an open movie! You can!

    • Making strides in container integration, and more OpenStack news
  • Programming

    • The thin line between good and bad automation

      I don’t like automation — I love it. I whisper sweet nothings, come ’round with flowers, and buy milkshakes for automation. I’ve even stood outside the window with a boombox for automation. I will go out of my way to automate tasks that, while they are not terribly tedious, I don’t want to have to remember exactly how to do them somewhere down the road, when months have gone by since the last time I had to relearn them.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling

      It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population wo were opposed to the war.

      Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war. Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister. Civil servants officially have no politics but privately their opinions are known. There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts. Simon Fraser, PUS at the FCO, was an active Blairite enthusiast for the war. Though no Blairite, the Head of MI6 Alex Younger was also an enthusiast.

    • Missing From Reports of Yemeni Carnage: Washington’s Responsibility

      But that “huge role” often disappears when the the leading papers are discussing the carnage that results from the air attacks that the US is supporting and supplying. Thus when the Times‘ Rick Gladstone (8/22/15) reported that “Saudi-led airstrikes on a residential district in Yemen’s southwestern city of Taiz had killed more than 65 civilians, including 17 people from one family,” according to Doctors Without Borders, and that the death toll in the war included “hundreds of civilians killed in airstrikes,” Washington’s role in facilitating those deaths went unmentioned.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obama can rename Mount McKinley Denali — but he can’t stop its loss of ice

      This Monday through Wednesday, President Obama will be in Alaska, visiting melting glaciers and remote towns and meeting with other Arctic leaders. On Sunday, the president made a major statement by officially renaming Mt. McKinley — the U.S.’s highest peak — Denali, its traditional native name.

      The trip’s purpose is to highlight climate change — and for Alaska in particular, the change has been dramatic.

  • Finance

    • Blythe Masters Tells Banks the Blockchain Changes Everything

      These Wall Street veterans all know who Blythe Masters is. She’s the wunderkind who made managing director at JPMorgan Chase at age 28, the financial engineer who helped develop the credit-default swap and bring to life a market that peaked at $58 trillion, in notional terms, in 2007. She’s the banker later vilified by pundits, unfairly some say, after those instruments compounded the damage wrought by the subprime mortgage crash in 2008. Now, one year after quitting JPMorgan amid another controversy, Blythe Masters is back. She isn’t pitching a newly minted derivative or trading stratagem to this room. She’s promoting something wilder: It’s called the blockchain, and it’s the digital ledger software code that powers bitcoin.

    • eBay Pledges Loyalty To PayPal — Bans Rivals

      eBay will soon be banning PayPal rivals, ProPay and Skrill, from offering payment services to sellers on its platform.

    • Police force could lose 22,000 jobs under new spending cuts

      Major reduction in funding could see number of police officers in England and Wales fall to 40-year low

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Muhammad cartoon editor gets Norway prize

      Jyllands-Posten editor Flemming Rose, who was behind the controversial 2005 publication of Prophet Muhammad cartoons, is being honoured by a Norwegian free speech group.

  • Privacy

    • Don’t let Roanoke murderer’s arrest justify a license plate reader rise

      As someone who has been reporting on license plate readers (LPR) for some time now, it actually surprised me when I heard that Roanoke, Virginia, shooter Vester Lee Flanagan had been first located through the use of the scanning device. While the devices have been in use in Virginia for years, their effectiveness and efficiency there—and nationwide—is questionable.

      According to local media accounts, when Virginia State Police Trooper Pamela Neff received the suspect’s plate number over her radio last week, she punched it into her LPR system and got an alert that the car had passed by not three minutes earlier. Within 10 minutes, Neff and other officers converged on Flanagan’s location, finding that he had shot himself, ending the manhunt.

    • Fake EFF site serving espionage malware was likely active for 3+ weeks
  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Introduces Rules Banning WiFi Router Firmware Modification

      For years we have been graced by cheap consumer electronics that are able to be upgraded through unofficial means. Your Nintendo DS is able to run unsigned code, your old XBox was a capable server for its time, your Android smartphone can be made better with CyanogenMod, and your wireless router could be expanded far beyond what it was originally designed to do thanks to the efforts of open source firmware creators. Now, this may change. In a proposed rule from the US Federal Communications Commission, devices with radios may be required to prevent modifications to firmware.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Yandex Demands Takedown of ‘Illegal’ Music Downloader

        Russian search giant Yandex has ordered U.S-based Github to take down a tool that allows downloading of MP3s from its music streaming service. Yandex, which has 60% of the local search market and has deals with Universal, Sony and Warner to offer a Spotify-like platform, says that the music downloader is illegal.

Patents Roundup: IAM’s Claims About India, Lawyers’ Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

Posted in Patents at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Urbis

Summary: Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular

THIS post looks at the past week’s news and groups the news by topic.

Software Patents in India

The patent maximalists from IAM wrote at the very beginning of this week that “India is becoming more receptive to software patents”, despite the fact that software patents are not allowed in India. IAM is framing India’s policy as a bad thing: “Two subject areas have long dominated critiques of the Indian patent system by foreign (and especially US) companies and government bodies: pharmaceuticals and software. But, the recent release of new guidelines for the examination of computer related inventions (CRIs) by the Indian Patent office (IPO) provides the latest sign that the country may be headed in a more software-friendly direction. That has the potential to affect not just filing activity in the country, but also efforts to sign up licensees there.”

We have not seen this anywhere else in the media, only in IAM, which is strongly biased on favour of software patents. India is hopefully not falling into the software patents trap at the same time that the US is cracking down on software patents (court rulings post-Alice and consequently new examination guidelines).

ITC Defends Microsoft

“For years, despite lack of fairness, the ITC has helped Apple (US-based company) ban rival imports.”The ‘International’ Trade Commission is not international at all; it’s a US apparatus for US megacorporations, as we have shown before. Now that Microsoft hypocritically complains the ITC defends one patent troll (Microsoft) from another (smaller) patent troll, based on several news reports [1, 2, 3, 4].

This whole episode mostly serves to show how biased the ITC really is. For years, despite lack of fairness, the ITC systematically helped Apple (a US-based company) ban rival imports. This affected only rivals from east Asia. The ITC bureaucracy ought to be challenged. Who does it really serve?

Patent Bias

Watch patent lawyers and propagandists at IP Watchdog pretending everything is great and that even patents on business methods are possible, post-Alice. They’re asking questions like, “Are Patents Getting Their Mojo Back?” Well, the very opposite is true.

Prof. Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School recently came up with an eye-catching headline, “Faith-Based Intellectual Property”. It’s the title of a paper whose abstract bemoans policies that are based on dogma rather than reality. The abstract states: “The traditional justification for intellectual property (IP) rights has been utilitarian. We grant exclusive rights because we think the world will be a better place as a result. But what evidence we have doesn’t fully justify IP rights in their current strong form. Rather than following the evidence and questioning strong IP rights, more and more scholars have begun to retreat from evidence toward what I call faith-based IP, justifying IP as a moral end in itself rather than on the basis of how it affects the world. I argue that these moral claims are ultimately unpersuasive and a step backward in a rational society.”

The term “faith-based IP” (ignoring facts, embracing dogma) resembles the terms often used in the copyright debate, where the wishes and the interests of the very few (moguls and middlemen) outweigh public interests. It’s class war. Controversial new laws are being used to authorise passage of wealth and power to few plutocrats’ hands — plutocrats who also happen to bribe politicians for these laws to be passed.

Meanwhile, a plutocrats’ oppressive tyranny uses a famous casino’s hotel (I was there earlier this year just to look around) in order to harbour more ‘IP’ nonsense, as covered by IP Kat (with its new policy for comments) in a four-part series [1, 2, 3, 4], concluded by this final (belated) part. Watch how lawyers collude or conspire in super-expensive places to just monopolise things; public input has zero impact on their decisions or findings.

PTAB Versus Kyle Bass

Kyle Bass was mentioned before, but rarely regarding the patent pressure he was using to crash companies (we covered this once before, but not in great depth). According to this, “Kyle Bass, the hedge fund manager who filed a number of inter partes review petitions against pharmaceutical companies, has struck terror into the shriveled hearts of the pharmaceutical industry. The first petitions he filed were against Acorda Therapeutics, and its stock dropped on the news.

“The pharmaceutical industry immediately started lobbying to change IPR procedures to make themselves invulnerable. Senator Coons even offered an amendment to the PATENT Act to block IPR petitions from anyone who hasn’t been sued for patent infringement. (The amendment failed.)”

PTAB’s involvement is noteworthy here. There’s more about PTAB in IP Kat and bigger sites for lawyers [via]. To quote the most prominent article: “Kamholz was on the front lines as the America Invents Act (AIA) remade the PTAB and created new proceedings that revolutionized patent litigation. About 60 new administrative judges, many with prestigious resumes in private practice and government service, have joined about 25 veterans of the PTAB’s predecessor, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, to take on most of the inter partes reviews (IPRs) and covered business method reviews to date.”

Here too we have patents being used by billionaires (or at least millionaires) to rig the market. When will more people out there realise who the patent regime really serves?

08.31.15

Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista 10 at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Distorting everything

“In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency…”

James Plamondon, Microsoft

Summary: A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft’s agenda

MICROSOFT makes a mockery and a joke out of the media. Today we cover some of the latest examples.

The latest Microsoft marketing and pseudo-technical mumbo jumbo from Microsoft's propagandist Mary Branscombe was published by IDG the other day. It’s a Microsoft ad, basically masquerading as an article not about Microsoft. Even worse was Ed Bott‘s (Ad[vertising] Bot[net]) Microsoft spin for Vista 10, pretending that privacy is not an issue at all. This article is so Orwellian, deceptive, and detached from reality that it’s not even worth responding to. It’s just more ZDNet (CBS-owned) propaganda and it’s executed by a longtime Microsoft propagandist that Microsoft pays. It’s not even journalism, it’s just a Microsoft comedy, dismissing every concern about privacy in Vista 10 and using derogatory labels like “tinfoil hats” (much like the author did “Linux fanatics” before). The piece was translated to other languages and further disseminated by the CBS-owned ZDNet for maximum impact, masquerading as “opinion” because it’s not at all objective and it is not journalism. “Microsoft boosters all around the world (even in Czech Republic nearby) link to this FUD,” wrote to us Martin earlier today.

Attacks on GNU/Linux have also come from Beta News last week. The site is mostly Microsoft propaganda these days (see the managing editor’s recent articles to better understand his agenda). Some of the people who work under him are even more closely connected to Microsoft and are actively showing this by attacking GNU/Linux and constantly promoting Microsoft. Microsoft MVPs are not journalists, they’re Microsoft loyalists, like external staff.

A Microsoft propaganda site whose strong links to Microsoft we covered here many time before has just published a piece that is openwashing Microsoft. Originally written by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN), the message is repeating Microsoft’s PR, including Microsoft’s moles inside the Linux Foundation. For example: “Ramji believes that under Nadella, “Open source is catching on and it’s on the verge of being mainstreamed at Microsoft. The real proof will come when open source is used in product groups.””

No, Microsoft is actively attacking Free/Open Source software in order to sell its proprietary software. This is well documented. Microsoft is not only attacking Munich and distorting a story from Italy (making up ‘facts’, i.e. “marketing”); it attacks FOSS as a whole. Here is last week’s timely rebuttal to Microsoft’s claims in Italy (the City Council of Pesaro to be precise). The article from Paolo Vecchi says that “Microsoft’s marketing team published a press release recently saying Office 365 is about 80% cheaper compared to the open source office suite, OpenOffice – with the figures stemming from reports in Italy and the City Council of Pesaro. The Redmond giant claims that to roll out Open Office, Pesaro incurred a one off cost of about €300,000 and had lots of problems with document formatting.

“But equally how would you convince a public sector organisation to migrate to your cloud services instead of using ‘expensive’ open source software?

“The obvious way would be to present a case study from a similar organisation together with a well written report commissioned to an “independent” consultancy firm. At this point your future customer has all the data and justifications required to sign on the dotted line.

“And some journalists are now presenting this case as fact of Microsoft Office 365 being 80% more economical than open source alternatives.

“I would argue that this is an isolated case and the PR efforts by big technology vendors, like many other methods, are being used to trick private and public organisations into signing contracts based on data or claims that may be not completely true.”

Microsoft’s PR is not factual at all. Offering massive discounts to manufacture false stories and change perception is no better than bribery. When a proprietary software giant (like Oracle or Microsoft) says “deliver savings to taxpayers” it means give shackles/lock-in with discount. The British government likes to make dumb statements like these every now and then, whenever it chooses to stay a slave of unbelievably greedy corporations with shoddy ‘products’ that the government has zero control over, proprietary software which is foreign too (with security flaws and national security-threatening back doors).

Microsoft’s efforts to pretend to be “open” don’t quite stop there because days ago we found misleading articles about “Open-Source” (with a dash, i.e. not really Open Source) Microsoft browser. Microsoft Emil (Emil Protalinski) was openwashing the browsers of Microsoft (we saw more of that several weeks ago with "Edge"), despite them being purely proprietary and standards-hostile.

Microsoft is just trying to re-brand IE and escape the bad name by means of deception, including some deceptive marketing and openwashing. “Unfortunately,” says the article, “Microsoft didn’t say how long, or how many developers, it took to build this proof-of-concept browser.”

A “proof-of-concept,” eh? Enough to generate some misleading headlines for PR.

At the bottom there’s promotional language advertising Microsoft with words like: “Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing”

This could also be rewritten (while remaining, still, factually correct) as follows: “Microsoft Corporation is a convicted monopolist financially headquartered in tax havens so as to illegally evade taxes. It licenses products it does not own (like Android), blackmails competitors, engages in various competition crimes, helps marketing companies accumulate extensive data about Windows users, and aids large-scale espionage by the NSA.”

Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

Posted in News Roundup at 2:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • New poll shows challenges for all Labour leadership candidates

    ComRes has released a new poll which outlines Labour’s present plight (as with all post-election opinion polls, treat these numbers with some caution). Just 20 per cent of the public say they would be inspired by any four the leadership candidates to vote Labour. Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham coming joint top on 22 per cent, Yvette Cooper on 21 per cent and Liz Kendall last on 18 per cent. And for those who think candidate would persuade them not to vote Labour, Kendall and Corbyn are joint top on 58 per cent — not surprising given they have the most strident views.

  • Welcome to David Cameron’s world, where failure is rewarded with a peerage

    Looking at his list of new appointments, it’s hard to imagine another sector where you could be rewarded for such failure… except for banking of course

  • Is Michigan’s ban on texting while driving working?
  • Science

    • This is NOT Albert Einstein With a Therapist

      This photo just won’t go away. The 1948 picture above doesn’t show Albert Einstein with his therapist. The guy Einstein’s meeting with is Cord Meyer, Jr, president of the United World Federalists. Meyer, a CIA operative, was merely discussing world politics with the famed scientist.

    • Scholars wonder: Who was first to use the term ‘e-mail’?

      Somewhere, during the early days of networked communication, somebody likely complained about a lengthy term and decided to do something about it. At that point, the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary are guessing, “electronic mail” became e-mail, and a cornucopia of e-prefixed words followed.

      But that’s all just conjecture. For years, the dictionary’s editors have been asking the public to help them find documentation of the first time “e-mail” was used — and they still haven’t had any luck.

      The appeal has been online for three years — and the word has been an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary since 1989 — but the OED still doesn’t have a verifiable instance of the first time someone used it.

    • 3D-Printed Glass Is Here And The Results Are Beautiful

      3D printing of electronics, robots, and even bridges with materials such as metal and plastic, is already a reality. But now engineers at MIT have shown we can now print with glass using their brand new G3DP (Glass 3D Printing) platform.

      Employing a process that combines ancient techniques with modern technology, the Mediated Matter Group created a two-tiered “printer” capable of producing intricate designs that would’ve been tough, if not impossible, to replicate using conventional glass-blowing methods. The upper chamber stores the molten glass at 1,900°F which then then funnels it down through a heat resistant funnel to a lower compartment that allows the glass to cool but not break.

    • Scientists Just Debunked One Of Creationists’ Favorite Cave Paintings

      Along the sloping walls of the Black Dragon Canyon in Utah, there’s a curious rock painting that looks remarkably like a flying dinosaur. Creationists say it’s proof that humans and pterodactyls once coexisted. But now, in a paper published in the journal Antiquity, archaeologists have revealed that the “dinosaur” is actually a time-worn depiction of humans, a snake and some sheep.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Confederate Theme Park Sponsored By Coca-Cola

      On August 22, during a rally supporting the Confederate battle flag, counter-demonstrators partially blocked views of the memorial with balloons and a sign that read, “Heritage of Hate: Coca-Cola Supports Racism” for a few hours before cops took the banner down. Activists have also started a petition calling upon Coca-Cola to end its sponsorship of the theme park. At last count, it had gotten 4,701 signatures, 299 short of the activists’ goal. It’s not the first time this year that the park has drawn unwanted attention. Last month, a few weeks after nine people were killed in a shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, allegedly motivated by racism, the Atlanta branch of the NAACP called for the carving to be removed entirely. Local lawmakers have since followed suit.

    • Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia

      “Hold on to something,” Jim Tennant warned as he fired up his tractor. We lurched down a rutted dirt road past the old clapboard farmhouse where he grew up. Jim still calls it “the home place,” although its windows are now boarded up and the outhouse is crumbling into the field.

    • US must fight heroin problem abroad, as well

      Recently, the White House launched a new “heroin response strategy” to fight America’s devastating heroin epidemic by providing treatment and not arresting persons addicted to heroin. The money allotted was $2.5 million out of a total “war on drugs budget” of $25 billion (0.01 percent), earmarked to be shared by 15 states in the Northeast, where it was felt the epidemic was at its worst.

      Months ago, Kentucky launched a statewide effort to rid the state of the scourge of heroin which includes providing treatment to addicts, and Ohio has plans to do the same. Piecemeal efforts by individual cities and entire states are good but not enough. There must be interstate cooperation and meaningful assistance from the federal level. Perhaps the White House initiative is a small step in the right direction. More is needed.

    • China detains 12 over Tianjin blasts, accuses officials of dereliction

      China has formally detained a dozen people over explosions in the city of Tianjin this month that killed at least 145 people, and has accused 11 officials and port executives of dereliction of duty or abuse of power.

      Anger over safety standards is growing in China, after three decades of swift economic growth marred by incidents from mining disasters to factory fires, and President Xi Jinping has vowed that authorities will learn the lessons paid for with blood.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Luxembourg to list European IT security policies

      The government of Luxembourg aims to make an inventory of policies on IT security and data protection in the EU Member States. The study is one of the priorities of Luxembourg’s presidency of the EUPAN network, an informal network of European public administration representatives.

    • Indian mobile broadband clients can make Linux system vulnerable to attacks
    • Why is Windows lying about what root certificates it trusts?

      Starting with Windows Vista, a new AutoUpdate mechanism was added, allowing these trusted root certificates to be seamlessly downloaded on first use.

      Why does this matter? Because the incomplete information shown by Windows leads many people (including some security professionals) to believe that Windows trusts only a dozen or two root certificates out of the box, rather than hundreds.

    • Linux Foundation’s security checklist can help sysadmins harden workstations

      If you’re a Linux user, especially a systems administrator, the Linux Foundation has some security tips to share with you, and they’re quite good.

      Konstantin Ryabitsev, the Foundation’s director of collaborative IT services, published the security checklist that the organization uses to harden the laptops of its remote sysadmins against attacks.

      The recommendations aim to balance security decisions with usability and are accompanied by explanations of why they were considered. They also have different severity levels: critical, moderate, low and paranoid.

    • Linux Foundation releases PARANOID internal infosec guide

      Linux Foundation project director Konstantin Ryabitsev has publicly-released the penguinistas’ internal hardening requirements to help sysadmins and other paranoid tech bods and system administrators secure their workstations.

      The baseline hardening recommendations are designed that balance security and convenience for its many remote admins, rather than a full-blown security document.

    • Linux workstation security checklist

      This is a set of recommendations used by the Linux Foundation for their systems administrators. All of LF employees are remote workers and we use this set of guidelines to ensure that a sysadmin’s system passes core security requirements in order to reduce the risk of it becoming an attack vector against the rest of our infrastructure.

    • Seriousness of the OPM Data Breach Disputed

      On April 15, 2015, officials of the Office of Personnel Management realized they had been hacked and the records of 4.2 million of current and former employees had been stolen. Later investigations by OPM determined in early June that the number affected is 21.5 million, for whom sensitive information, including Social Security Numbers (SSNs), was stolen from the background investigation databases.

      This was the biggest breach of United States government data in history. Reports point to China as the source of the breach, but the Administration has not formally accused China.

    • Automakers fight car hacking bill – Computer Fraud and Abuse Act takes some blows

      You might think the effort to fortify cars’ cybersecurity could possibly make strange bedfellows out of automakers and safety advocates, what with all the recent reports basically amounting to the conclusion that a whole car can be hacked. But you’d be wrong.

    • Oracle, still clueless about security

      Oracle’s chief security officer, Mary Ann Davidson, recently ticked off almost everyone in the security business. She proclaimed that you had to do security “expertise in-house because security is a core element of software development and you cannot outsource it.” She continued, “Whom do you think is more trustworthy? Who has a greater incentive to do the job right — someone who builds something, or someone who builds FUD around what others build?”

    • Grsecurity Forced by Multi-Billion Dollar Company to Release Patches Only to Sponsors

      Grsecurity is a well-known set of patches for the Linux kernel, which greatly enhance the ability of the system to withstand various security threats. As you can imagine, there are many companies that want to use Grsecurity, and they need to follow the accompanying GPL license. They are not doing that, and now Grsecurity needs to take some drastic action.

    • BitTorrent patched against flaw that allowed crippling DoS attacks
    • GitHub wobbles under DDOS attack

      GitHub is under a distributed-denial-of-service attack being perpetrated by unknown actors.

      The service’s status page reported “a brief capacity overload” early on Tuesday. The site’s assessment of the incident was later upgraded to a a DDOS and at the time of writing the site is at code yellow.

    • CERT Warns of Hard-Coded Credentials in DSL SOHO Routers
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Book: bin Laden always a ‘kill mission,’ Obama told SEALs fight, not surrender, if caught

      A comprehensive new book about U.S. special operations reveals that the mission to get top terrorist Osama bin Laden was “a kill mission, not a capture mission,” and that SEAL Team 6 members handpicked for the assault were ordered by President Obama to fight it out, not surrender, if caught.

      “Bin Laden was the first time [were were told], ‘This is a kill mission, not a capture mission, unless he was naked with his hands up,’” a Team 6 source is quoted in Relentless Strike, due out September 1.

    • Jeremy Corbyn said Osama bin Laden should have been tried, not killed

      Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire for saying it was a “tragedy” that Osama bin Laden was killed by the US rather than being put on trial.

      The Labour leadership frontrunner made the remarks shortly after the special forces raid in 2011 on the al-Qaida chief’s Pakistan compound in which he and four others were shot dead.

      In an interview for Iranian television, he suggested the assassination of the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks would result in deeper unrest.

    • The Case for Pragmatism

      In tracing these patterns, you can go back in time to such misguided fiascos as the CIA’s huge covert operation in Afghanistan in the 1980s (which gave rise to the Taliban and Al Qaeda). However, for argument’s sake, let’s start with the neocon success in promoting President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. Not only did that war divert more than $1 trillion in U.S. taxpayers’ money from productive uses into destructive ones, but it began a massive spread of chaos across the Middle East.

    • Inquiry Weighs Whether ISIS Analysis Was Distorted

      The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.

      The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.

    • Will Lebanon Fall to ISIS Next?

      It is hard to say what is going to happen, but there is reason for concern and our domestic media is not addressing this increasingly deteriorating situation.

    • Rinse and repeat: 82 new US-trained Syrians prepare for fighting

      A US military source has revealed in private conversation that the US-led Coalition formed to target the Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups is currently training 82 new recruits for its Syria operations. These include 12 new fighters in Jordan and 70 in Turkey.

      A spokeswoman for the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM), Major Genieve David, would not confirm these numbers. “We are not giving out numbers due to operational security concerns,” she said via phone.

      But Turkey’s Foreign Minister Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu’s comment a few days ago that “in the second group we have around 100 (fighters)” suggests that the source’s numbers are likely to be accurate.

    • Drones hammer al-Qaeda in Syria

      Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, has disclosed that it suffered heavy casualties when the U.S. launched drone attacks last month to defend a moderate opposition group called “Division 30.”

    • Rebels Blame Turkey After US-Trained ‘Moderates’ Captured Inside Syria

      Turkish intelligence orchestrated last month’s capture of a group of Syrian moderate rebels trained by the United States to fight the Islamic State, according to rebel sources who spoke with McClatchy.

    • Alert about a possible freeway sniper on I-94, I-69 near Battle Creek

      Police say one car was shot at, and several other cars possibly hit by a sniper lurking along I-94 between I-69 and Battle Creek.

      Other possible hits happened on I-69 south to the Indiana border.

      Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Saxton tells RTV6′s Detroit sister station 7 Action News, people in Metro Drive who have driven through that area from the end of July through last week may have also been hit and did not know it.

    • Tony Blair makes final plea to Labour voters to reject ‘Alice in Wonderland” politics of Jeremy Corbyn

      Tony Blair has made a final plea to Labour party members to reject the “Alice in Wonderland” politics of Jeremy Corbyn.

      The former prime minister says Corbyn’s supporters are operating in a “parallel reality” which rejects evidence and reason, and says their left-wing choice for leader will be an electoral disaster.

      With just 11 days to go before the ballot of more than 550,000 party members and affiliates closes, Mr Blair admits he does not understand the appeal of “Corbynmania”.

    • Germany: intelligence employee charged with treason
    • Two paths to peace: the secular and the sacred

      …hoping to find the common ground that makes having weapons of mass destruction unnecessary.

    • Iranian Minister Claims CIA, Mossad, MI6 and Others Are Working to Undermine Country’s Security

      Iran’s Intelligence Minister accused the CIA, Mossad, MI6 and others of trying to undermine Tehran’s security, Israel’s Maariv reported on Tuesday.

    • Wiretap: Iran deal almost sealed, but how will Senate stamp it?
    • Iran shouldn’t trust U.S.
    • What’s Really At Stake With The Iran Nuclear Deal
    • Too soon for ‘illogical’ U.S. to return to Tehran: Iran

      Iran’s foreign minister said on Sunday it was too early to talk of reopening the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, as Britain restored its diplomatic mission four years after protesters ransacked the British ambassador’s residence.

      British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond attended a ceremony at the opulent 19th century building in the Iranian capital where attackers in 2011 burned Britain’s national flag, slashed portraits of British monarchs and stole goods.

    • Why Authorizing Force Against Iran Now is a Bad Idea

      A conditional, shelf AUMF for Iran, tacked on now to make the JCPOA more palatable to skeptical hawks—what could possibly go wrong?

    • Making your enemy your partner for peace

      Reading the above passage, which could have just as easily been derived from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” I was immediately reminded of current U.S. Congressional Republican efforts to undermine, for purely political reasons, the Obama administration’s agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program negotiated between six world powers (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany) and Iran, a great first step towards promoting peace with Iran, following a long mutual mistrust between our two countries, which began with a CIA orchestrated overthrow of Iran’s last democratically elected leader about 62 years ago.

    • How Netanyahu’s threats pushed the US into a flawed deal with Iran

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is correct in his criticism of the nuclear deal signed recently between world powers and Iran. Indeed, it is not a good deal. But it is Netanyahu who substantially brought this about.

      This conclusion is based on talks with Israeli and US officials who were ‒ and still are ‒ privy to the inner workings of the Israeli government, its defense, nuclear and intelligence agencies, and their dealings with US counterparts.

    • Former CIA Chief: Give Israel Bunker-Buster Bombs

      Dennis Ross, a former Middle East envoy, and David Petraeus, who directed the CIA after commanding US. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote that the bunker-busters would be an effective “firewall” against Iranian nuclear development, especially in 15 years, when the agreement between Tehran and Western powers expires.

    • Marking the CIA’s 1953 Iran Coup: All Is Not ‘Yet’ Forgiven

      Iran is marking the August 19 anniversary of the 1953 coup against the then-democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. The coup anniversary also marks America’s first Middle East intervention.

    • John Kerry calls for release of US marine vet arrested while visiting Iran in 2011

      US secretary of state John Kerry has joined the family of US marine veteran Amir Hekmati in calling on Iran to release him on the four-year anniversary of his detention by the Islamic Republic.

    • Tehran seeks release of 19 Iranians imprisoned in U.S.

      There are dozens of Iranians in the U.S. imprisoned on sanction-related charges, Iran foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

      “Some of Iranians released from imprisonment have been under supervision for long time and Iran wants to have consular access to both imprisoned and released Iranians in the U.S.,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said during a press conference on August 26, Trend’s correspondent reported.

      She said, “we call the U.S. government and judiciary system to put end on imprisonment and keeping Iranians under control.”

      Additional to the 19 Iranians jailed on sanction-related charges, Iran says another 60 Iranians are held for ordinary crimes in the U.S.

    • The old US embassy, museum in Tehran: Inside the ‘US den of espionage’

      In Tehran, the abandoned US embassy has been turned into a museum that is rarely open to the public.

    • ‘Death to England’: British embassy bears mark of Iran’s past anger

      The anger that has run like a dark thread through Britain’s relationship with Iran has left its enduring mark on the wall of the UK’s embassy in Tehran. Four years after a radical mob stormed the compound, and even after several million pounds worth of refurbishment, the words ‘Death to England’ are still visible, scrawled in red felt-pen on the doors and walls.

      [...]

      The hardline newspaper Kayhan greeted Hammond’s arrival by publishing a litany of Britain’s “crimes” against Iran. One of them was Britain’s long suspected role in a US-led coup in 1953 against a democratically elected nationalist leader, Mohammad Mossadeq. Hammond made it clear that Britain had currently no intention of following the CIA’s example and providing a full account of any such British transgressions.

    • Welcome to the masquerade

      The tables have turned. When you play with fire you will eventually get burned. The CIA does not represent us nor do they act on our behalf. If we have benefited from their work in any way it is merely incidental. But the trade off is inequitable. In fact, the worse case scenario of such an arrangement has been realized.

    • Parliament group regrets Russian speaker’s no show

      The Inter-Parliamentary Union expressed regret Friday that the speaker of Russia’s upper house of Parliament will not be attending a world congress at the United Nations next week, apparently because of issues with her visa to the United States.

    • Interview: Hollywood documentary director tells a true Tibet

      “I made ‘Tibet: The Truth’ because I have been annoyed by the constant negative reporting about Tibet in the Western media,” Chris D. Nebe, director of the documentary, told Xinhua.

      “The Western media is biased and does not tell the truth about the historic past or present of Tibet,” he said.

      The 60-minute documentary debuted in the U.S. in 2013 and showed the audience a true Tibet in the past and present by using sufficient and convincible history materials.

      “It took me about a year to create the film. It has been based on me actually filming in Tibet, as well as extensive research”, Nebe said, “I was also able to locate in Washington D.C. archives authentic footage filmed by the CIA that showed that the U.S. trained Tibetans in a camp in Colorado as terrorist, which were then in 1958/1959 infiltrated into Tibet and instigated the 1959 revolt.”

      Nebe told Xinhua, “I also found material filmed by the CIA, which shows that the Dalai Lama was let go by the Central Government and did not have to escape from Tibet.”

    • US drama series ‘Tyrant’ ignores failing American foreign policy

      It is expected for any leading nation that prides itself in its military prowess, technological advancement and cultural dominance to showcase its perceived superiority through different mediums. Wartime propaganda in particular is of utmost importance, as it reinforces political ideology and rationalises questionable foreign policy. This is evident for anyone who’s watched, read or studied Israeli, Chinese, British, Russian, Indian, Pakistani, Nazi German, Turkish and North Korean wartime propaganda.

      However, the United States has arguably surpassed every modern nation in investing billions of dollars in the film and media industry to justify its wars and to dehumanise the hundreds of thousands of people killed in those conflicts. In terms of Hollywood blockbusters and TV series, Homeland, 24, Three Kings, Jarhead, Green Zone and American Sniper come to mind. Whilst these films and series addressed direct US involvement in foreign wars and its subsequent domestic terrorism threat, I naively expected something different from the latest drama series Tyrant – a fictional account of a Middle Eastern dictatorship based on the Arab Spring.

    • US names ‘First Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs’

      The United States named a senior envoy Friday to work for the safe return of hostages after criticism of its response to the kidnap and murder of Americans held in Syria.

    • How long will the world tolerate US exceptionalism?

      A WikiLeaks leak of a CIA memorandum, however, proves that not even the White House is convinced by the rhetoric that it appears to be selling, and that staff fear that their actions will make them be perceived as exporters of terrorism by America’s allies. They admit explicitly that the official narrative is inaccurate: “contrary to common belief, the American export of terrorism or terrorists is not a recent phenomenon.”

    • GUEST COMMENTARY: North, South Korea agree on stabilizing steps

      The 38th Parallel dividing North and South Korea is less tense thanks to a sensible new agreement. Pyongyang has expressed regret over land mines injuring South Korean soldiers. The South will curtail loudspeaker broadcasts. The confrontation led to artillery fire.

    • US’ non-mediation policy on Kashmir developed in 1950s: report

      According to the top-secret 1954 document, the US had arrived at a conclusion that it is only India and Pakistan, which can resolve the dispute over Kashmir through peace and dialogue.

    • Spy Report Spinning Has a Long History

      My first lesson in how intelligence can be rigged started with a newspaper photograph, 45 years ago. I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Da Nang, South Vietnam, which was still a charming former French colonial port city despite the war raging 10 miles away. A rookie spy handler in military intelligence, I would go downtown most mornings, gather up the local newspapers and look for useful bits of information over cups of strong chicory coffee. And so it was one day that I spotted a very familiar face in a photo of anti-government demonstrations in the city. After much squinting, I was sure it was my principal agent, the top guy in the spy ring I was running against communist forces.

      It didn’t take much investigating to conclude that my agent had divided loyalties. A few weeks later, I made a strong case to Saigon headquarters that the guy was untrustworthy and suggesting we get rid of him. The response: Nothing’s wrong, keep up the good work. The message from higher-ups was as blunt as a rock slide: We had to keep showing, against all evidence to the contrary, that things were going swimmingly in our intel ops. Not only that, they told me they were upping the reliability rating of my very questionable agent.

      Years later, I learned that a new boss had seen my reports and canned my spy. But I was long gone by then, and I had learned a lot more about how intelligence officials spun–and continue to spin–intelligence to back up wishful thinking about how well a war is going. And that’s not counting fabricated reports to get us into a war to start with, from Spain in 1898 (“Remember the Maine”) to Vietnam (the 1964 Tonkin Gulf non-incident) to the multiple deceptions on Iraq in 2003.

    • David Headley who? Pakistan has no mention of him in 26/11 probe

      David Headley was probably one of the most important links in the 26/11 attack. An agent of the CIA turned rogue, he was the one who landed in Mumbai and carried out the reconnaissance of the targets which were attacked on that fateful night of 26/11.

      David Headley in a confession to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) speaks extensively about the attacks, his visit to Pakistan, the meeting with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba top brass.

    • Peru reinstates shoot-down law for suspected drugs smuggling aircraft

      The Peruvian National Congress approved the Airspace Surveillance and Control Law on August 20, authorising the country’s air force to shoot down aircraft suspected of transporting drugs, weapons, or explosives.

    • Security wars: Attack of the drones

      A drone capable of locating and hacking into wireless networks is now available for as little as $2,500 (£1,600). Drones with high quality video cameras retail for $1,000 (£640) upwards and one US enthusiast successfully fitted a handgun into an inexpensive store-bought drone.

      [...]

      There are also fears that some drones could be used as assassins after a man in Connecticut posted a video of a customised drone armed with a handgun. The video shows the drone firing shots by remote control.

    • Unfinished business between Cuba and the U.S.

      Even with the resumption of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, the U.S. and Cuba have unfinished business to take care of.

      There is the issue of terrorism — the terrorism that U.S.-based exile extremist outfits perpetrated against Cuba.

      [...]

      The vilest of all acts that these U.S.-based extremists committed was the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger airliner in Barbados, in which all 73 occupants were killed. Exile militant Luis Posada Carriles has been directly linked to this crime in declassified CIA and FBI documents. He is currently free and living in Miami, and the Cuban government is requesting his extradition.

    • South Sudan president signs peace deal despite concerns

      South Sudan’s president signed a peace deal on Wednesday to end a 20-month conflict with rebels…

    • A call for peace: City activities honor 85-year old treaty outlawing war

      An 85-year-old international agreement aimed at ending American and world wars – while unsuccessful – is still worth attention, Albuquerque City Councilors declared this month, naming Aug. 27 as Rededication to the Kellogg-Briand Treaty Day.

      Also in honor of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928, internationally known CIA agent turned peace activist Ray McGovern visited Albuquerque as part of his work fighting against “out-of-control military spending” and U.S. military policies that he said are undermining American security by causing the deaths of innocent people and fueling terrorism.

    • Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field

      Voices for Creative Nonviolence engaged with a number of Wisconsin peace groups to organize an 8-day 90-mile walk across southwest Wisconsin from August 18-25. The purpose of the walk was to call attention and make connections between the militarized police violence at home and the military using violence abroad through drone warfare and by other means. In both cases the victims are people of color, which forces us to reflect on the systemic racism of our society.

    • War: Legal to Criminal and Back Again

      And serious security concerns, as we all know, are far worse than war, and spending $1 trillion a year on war is a small price to pay to handle those concerns. Eighty-seven years ago this would have seemed insanity. Luckily we have ways of bringing back the thinking of years gone by, because typically someone suffering from insanity doesn’t have a way to enter into the mind of someone else who’s viewing his insanity from the outside. We have that. We can go back to an era that imagined the ending of war and then carry that work forward with the goal of completing it.

    • Kissinger: the Dr. Frankenstein of foreign affairs, or just self-promoter?

      Henry Kissinger has not held high government office since 1977, almost 40 years ago. True, he accomplished a great deal during his eight years as national security adviser and secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations — for better (opening China, arms control with the Soviet Union, peace in the Middle East) or for worse (secret bombings and cold-blooded diplomacy that, some scholars argue, contributed to genocidal outcomes in Bangladesh and Cambodia). Nonetheless, it is remarkable how visible, even at age 92, Kissinger remains.

    • The crimes of Robert Menzies

      Good economic times also helped keep Menzies in power. Under Menzies, Australia seemed safe, secure and prosperous. But, as Prime Minister, Menzies did two terrible things. First, without serious thought for the consequences, he allowed the British to test nuclear weapons on Australian soil and second, he committed Australian combat troops to fight in Vietnam when he did not have to.

    • John McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?

      It is a matter of perspective of whether you see John McCain, the former Navy pilot and present Senator from the safety of the U.S. today or from the ground up in Vietnam when his payload of napalm bombs were reigning down on downtown Hanoi residents in 1967.

    • Morning news headlines: Chilcot facing legal action from families over Iraq report delay, New figures set to show net migration at record levels

      Sir John Chilcot is facing legal action from bereaved families after again defying calls to set a timetable for publication of the Iraq Inquiry report.

    • Chilcot inquiry: ‘UK bowing down to US’

      The Chilcot inquiry members in the UK have no interest in exposing facts about the war in Iraq back in 2003 and the US in turn is doing everything to discourage them, author and activist David Swanson told RT.

    • Saudi general killed in cross-border fire from Yemen

      A Saudi army general has been killed in cross-border fire from Yemen, the armed forces announced Sunday, making him the highest-ranking officer to be killed in border attacks since March.

      Major General Abdulrahman bin Saad al-Shahrani, commander of the 18th Brigade, was inspecting troops deployed “on the front lines along the southern region when the post came under random enemy fire,” said the military said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

    • Yemen: Two U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 7; U.S.-Backed Strikes Kill Dozens
    • Yemen army recruits 4,800 southern fighters – officer
    • UAE army frees British hostage as al-Qaida expands in Yemen
    • Massive Anti-War Rally in Japan – Over 100k Oppose ‘War Law’

      Anti-war protesters rally outside parliament to oppose new laws that could see Japanese troops engaged in combat overseas for the first time since WWII. In one of the largest postwar demonstrations in Japan, protesters swarmed in front of the Diet (parliament) building in Tokyo to oppose the current administration’s contentious security legislation.

    • Pentagon Plans Escalated Drone Killings

      Drones are instruments of state terror. Washington’s official narrative is pure rubbish – claiming terrorists alone are targeted, civilians aren’t killed, and drone warfare makes America safer.

      Fact: Attacks are indiscriminate extrajudicial executions – in flagrant violation of core international law.

      Fact: Few so-called “high value” targets are eliminated.

      Fact: Large numbers of civilian men, women and children are murdered in cold blood. International law protecting them in combat theaters is ignored. Fact: Bodies of innocent victims are blasted into unrecognizable pieces or burned beyond recognition. Fact: Family members, bystanders and rescuers are killed or maimed by what’s called “double tapping” – striking the targeted area two or more times.

    • Competition mounts in engineering genocidal Sri Lanka

      South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa was on a secret mission to Colombo last weekend. Mr. Tony Blair, who was the British Prime Minister during the genocidal onslaught of Eezham Tamils was in the island on a two weeks tour since 11 August. US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal and another US official are in Colombo. The section of Sinhala Buddhist elements in the mission or payroll of protecting Rajapaksa, who openly took a China line earlier this year, connected the dots to depict IC conspiracy, by linking Ramaphosa to the ICG and to a CIA mission. In response, the South African Government on Tuesday announced that Mr Ramaphosa was no longer connected to the ICG. The hectic visits and the recent Indian media scurry in claiming hold on affairs as well as ‘guidance’ for domestic investigation, signal only mounting competition in stabilizing the genocidal State with new local partners.

    • We should remember that military aircraft are not a sight to be enjoyed

      The vintage Hawker Hunter fighter jet that crashed on to a busy roadway during an air show in Shoreham, Sussex, England, last weekend had also performed at recent air shows in Ireland — at Shannon, Bray and Foynes — which were attended by up to 150,000 people. It might just as easily have crashed at one of these shows causing many deaths, including that of children.

    • Serious Questions For Those Who Oppose Gun Laws

      If the U.S. government comes after its own people, what’s your plan to defeat missiles, grenades, aircraft bombers and drones with your guns?

    • Uganda: Obama Should Mind His Business

      United States President Barack Obama is the most admired foreign leader in Africa because he has ancestral roots in our continent.

      This is partly the reason his ill-informed and stereotypical admonitions of our leaders attracted cheers from a large section of our elite class. But it is also because we, African elites, have internalised the ideology of our conquerors that presents us as inferior, inadequate, and incapable of self-government.

      Bob Marley’s words that we must liberate ourselves from mental slavery are important here. In his speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Obama acted like a colonial headman lecturing the natives on how to behave as good subjects. Yet behind Obama’s seeming concern for our good lies the social contempt he holds us in.

    • West Point prof: OK to kill lawyers who challenge U.S. war on Islamists

      In closing, Bradford cites Churchill, Reagan, and the medieval Song of Roland.

    • The Lessons of Anwar al-Awlaki

      Type ‘‘Anwar al-Awlaki’’ into YouTube’s search bar, and you get 40,000 hits. Most of them bring up the earnest, smiling face and placid voice of the first American citizen to be hunted and killed without trial by his own government since the Civil War. Here is Awlaki on what makes a good marriage; on the nature of paradise; on Jesus Christ, considered a prophet by Muslims; on tolerance; on the holy month of Ramadan; and, more quirkily, on ‘‘obesity and overeating in Islam.’’ Here is Awlaki, or Sheikh Anwar, as his many admirers still call him, easily mixing Quranic Arabic with American English in chapters from his 53-CD series on the life of the Prophet Muhammad, once a best seller among English-speaking Muslims.

    • French soldier killed in accidental shooting in Mali

      France’s defense ministry says a French soldier deployed in Mali has died after being accidentally shot by a fellow soldier at a military camp.

    • Grant Morrison Vs. the Super-Soldiers

      Also unlike the superheroes of yesteryear, these “friendly” imperial superfascists did not shy away from incurring extensive “collateral damage,” if that’s what it took to terminate the superhuman dictators, terrorists, and other “bastards” plaguing the planet.

    • Retired 84-year-old U.S. Army General “Ashamed To Be An American” After Police Violently Handcuffed Him Over Chinese Food Delivery Dispute

      William “Bill” Livsey, 84, of Fayetteville, Georgia is a retired four-star U.S. Army general and Silver Star recipient for heroism.

      On August 15, Livsey ordered Chinese food delivery to his home and got into a dispute with the driver over the $80.60 order when the general’s debit card was declined. The restaurant refused to take a personal check. And here is where the details become hazy.

      Delivery driver Ryan Irvin claims the 84-year-old Livsey put his left hand on the driver’s neck and pushed him against the refrigerator. The police were called, and neighbors then witnessed a brutal arrest.

      When the police arrived, officers claimed Livsey refused to willingly sit in the back of a police car and had to be forced in by three officers, and also claim Livsey “constrict his muscles and refuse to put his hands behind his back while being placed under arrest for robbery.”

    • CNN Dust-Up Had Ben Carson Refuting ‘I’m Not Talking About Killing People.’ Now He Takes on Bias in the Media.

      Appearing on Newsmax TV’s “Steve Malzberg Show,” Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson had some tough words for the media, specifically CNN.

      Sunday, on CNN’s “State of The Union,” host Jim Acosta asked Carson a series of nearly identical questions regarding something Carson said previously about drones on the border.

    • Get Ready for Drones Equipped with Tear Gas

      The good news is that the North Dakota legislature passed a bill this week requiring police to get a search warrant before they use a drone; The bad news is that drones could shoot rubber bullets, pepper spray, or even tear gas.

    • Armed Drones Not Operating In North Dakota

      I was surprised Wednesday morning to see Google news alerts showing up in my inbox saying that North Dakota is the first state in the nation to legalize armed drones for law enforcement.

    • WATCH: Police Weaponized Drones Now Legal in the State You’d Least Expect
    • Weaponized Drones May Fly the Friendly Skies of North Dakota
    • North Dakota Legalizes Weaponized Drones
    • Police in This State Can Drone You
    • North Dakota Police to use weaponized drones
    • Drone anxiety: Weighing up the risks
    • North Dakota to use police drones with non-lethal weapons
    • It’s now legal for police in North Dakota to strap weapons to drones – so long as they aren’t lethal
    • Police in North Dakota can now use drones armed with tasers
    • Watch Out for Drones with Pepper Spray in North Dakota
    • North Dakota becomes first US state to legalize weapons on police drones
    • New law permits North Dakota cop drones to fire beanbag rounds from the sky
    • Weaponized Drones Approved For North Dakota Police
    • North Dakota cops will be first in nation to use weaponized drones
    • North Dakota is the first state in the US to legalize police use of drones with tasers and pepper spray
    • North Dakota police can now load up drones with tasers and tear gas
    • North Dakota Allows Cops To Arm Their Drones With Tasers And Tear Gas

      North Dakota’s police agencies can fly drones armed with Tasers, tear gas, bean-bag cannons, and other “less-lethal” weapons, thanks to fierce lobbying from the law enforcement industry on a bill that was initially meant to restrict police use of the flying robots rather than outfit them with weapons. While other local police departments have flirted with weaponizing their drones, North Dakota is the first state to explicitly allow the armaments.

    • Built to kill: China unveils its most powerful military drone Rainbow 5

      The Chinese military’s flagship drone Rainbow 5 made its debut on state television on Sunday, showing off new weapons and the latest technology to “change the game in airstrikes”.

    • Welcome to the World, Drone-Killing Laser Cannon

      Hang on to your drone. Boeing’s developed a laser cannon specifically designed to turn unmanned aircraft into flaming wreckage.

      The aerospace company’s new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn’t quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars—there’s no flying beams of light, no “pew! pew!” sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down.

      People keep flying their drones where they shouldn’t. In airport flight paths. Above wildfires. Onto the White House lawn. Luckily, there haven’t been any really bad incidents—that is, no one has been killed by a civilian quadcopter or plane, yet.

    • Boeing Developed a Laser Cannon to Kill Drones

      At this point it’s clear: the world is going the way of the drone, and as much as people might kick and scream, there is nothing that’s going to stop it from happening. So, that leaves us to the next issue at hand. We need to come together and not only create laws specific to flying drones, but we also need to learn some basic drone etiquette. You know, things such as not flying your drone in flight paths, above wildfires, or on the lawn of the White House.

    • Need to take down a drone? A munitions company offers firepower
  • Transparency Reporting/Wikileaks

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obama defends Arctic drilling decision on eve of Alaska climate change trip

      President accused of undermining own agenda with decision to allow hunt for oil in Arctic, as he prepares for three-day tour to showcase effects of climate change

    • Copeland called to combat nuisance caused by seagulls

      A CUMBRIAN council forced to deny it had plans to terminate seagulls by using drones has issued a plea to the public about feeding the birds.

    • Pity the Seagull

      Northumbria police have launched an investigation after a photo was posted on Facebook of a man apparently strangling a seagull. Councillors in seaside towns are considering using drones to kill seagull chicks in their nests. Although the numbers of most gull species in the UK are in decline, they have an ‘increasing presence in urban areas’. The RSPCA is looking into reports that people in Cornwall are attacking gulls with fishing line. Meanwhile the birds have been accused of attacking people and killing pets, and in Namibia they’ve been spotted pecking out the eyes of baby seals, as if they weren’t already hated enough.

    • Tour guide mauled to death by lion in same park where Cecil was killed

      A TOUR guide has been mauled to death by a lion during a walking safari in the Zimbabwean national park where Cecil the lion lived before he was shot, police said.

  • Finance

    • Forget Faslane

      With this country’s massive needs in housing and renewable energy, it is typical that the only public spending announcement the Tories wish to make is on more potential for death and destruction at Faslane. The politics of the ludicrous claims on employment creation are risibly transparent. Don’t vote SNP! Don’t Vote Corbyn! This is not an industrial or a services economy, its the WMD economy.

    • Italy reports performance gains in eInvoicing

      In June, Italy’s central eInvoicing system handled over 10 million invoices, 5 % more than in May, reports the Agency for the Digitalization of the Public Sector (Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale, AGID). “The number of invoices received is rising, and the amount of rejects is decreasing”, AGID writes.

    • The Chinese economy is not for sleeping

      But the concerns have been overdone. For a start, the Chinese equity market is still 40 per cent higher than a year ago despite the 40 per cent fall since June; and barely 10 per cent of Chinese ­actually own shares anyway.

    • Does the Tim Cook Email to Jim Cramer Warrant SEC Investigation? (Nasdaq: AAPL)

      Yesterday, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook emailed CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer with a rare mid-quarter stock update on the company’s performance.

    • Controversial plan to end homelessness in San Rafael

      Hugo Landecker is on a mission to end homelessness in San Rafael, by trying to force the closure of the homeless program that serves 3,700 Marin County families, the Ritter Center.

    • Bernie Sanders can help avert a bloody revolution by creating a nonviolent one

      It is a different matter for our “systems.” Politics is a cesspool of corruption. Our economic system is full of hardworking workers and greed-driven, self-centered leaders like the Koch brothers. Our religious system appears to have developed the ability to segregate out of its collective mind war, the poor, suppressed black- and brown- skinned peoples. Our social systems accept that it is impolite to talk about war, politics, economics and the “u” word — unions. The phrase “sold a batch of bad goods” is pertinent here if you just exchange “goods” for “ideas.”

      For those of us trying to fight back on issue after issue, we find it is like weeding a 100-acre garden: Each day we get up there are more weeds to pull.

      George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their boys popped us into a grand “war on terror” that has nearly broken our soldiers and brought death, starvation, wounds, sickness, homelessness and broken economies/social systems to nations like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria across the world. The more we fight, the more we lose.

    • Robert Whitcomb: Amazon will make you pay for loving it

      One is in the mirror. Americans have grown addicted to buying stuff online — of course, the cheaper the better. They seem to want to avoid face-to-face interactions in stores — and community engagement in general — and Amazon’s power ensures that they’ll get low prices, at least for now (see below), even as their local stores close because of such online competition.

      The preference for communicating via screens rather than person-to-person is especially common among the young, who grew up in the Internet Age. Human-resource managers have told me that young job applicants often don’t look them in the eye because in-person encounters make them anxious.

      The disappearance of many well-paying jobs, and static (or worse) compensation except for top executives and investors, have encouraged consumers to seek out cheaper stuff than a few decades ago. But – irony of ironies! – Amazon and other high-tech automators have helped destroy good U.S. jobs in their “data-driven’’ mania to take full advantage of the international low-wage, cheap-goods machine.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Fox Cites One-Sided Study To Claim Michelle Obama’s Healthy Lunch Program Costs School District Jobs

      Fox News tried to blame First Lady Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch program for reports of financial woes and layoffs at school districts, but it failed to disclose that the study it cited comes from a group supported in part by food industry companies that sell their product to schools, including PepsiCo, General Mills, and Domino’s.

    • ‘Corporate Media Really Want to Be Able to Say the Story Is Over’

      CounterSpin interviews with Rosa Brooks, Colette Pichon Battle, A.C. Thompson and Jordan Flaherty on Katrina’s 10 years of media neglect

    • The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know

      When seriously practiced, the journalistic profession involves gathering information concerning individuals, locales, events, and issues. In theory such information informs people about their world, thereby strengthening “democracy.” This is exactly the reason why news organizations and individual journalists are tapped as assets by intelligence agencies and, as the experiences of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte (entry 47 below) suggest, this practice is at least as widespread today as it was at the height of the Cold War.

    • Howard Kurtz Disparages Jorge Ramos, Continues Fox’s Defense Of Donald Trump

      Fox News host and resident media critic Howard Kurtz questioned Jorge Ramos’ journalistic integrity in the wake of the Univision anchor’s contentious press conference questioning of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, concluding that Ramos was little more than “a heckler.”

    • Donald Trump and Wikipediology

      So perhaps Wikipediology may not be much different from counting peach pits in privies after all. Either way, there seems to be a lot of manure to sort through before you can start guessing at the truth.

    • That time the CIA trolled everyone with a twistedly genius Twitter strategy

      Yes, that’s the US Central Intelligence Agency—one of the most powerful government organizations in the world—sending a tweet, with no other context, in Russian. The tweet was made just days after the US CENTCOM Twitter account was hacked by alleged ISIL sympathizers. Naturally, a lot of people thought the CIA had just been hacked by the Russians.

    • Literary Magazines for Socialists Funded by the CIA, Ranked

      In May of 1967, a former CIA officer named Tom Braden published a confession in the Saturday Evening Post under the headline, “I’m glad the CIA is ‘immoral.’” Braden confirmed what journalists had begun to uncover over the previous year or so: The CIA had been responsible for secretly financing a large number of “civil society” groups, such as the National Student Association and many socialist European unions, in order to counter the efforts of parallel pro-Soviet organizations. “[I]n much of Europe in the 1950’s,” wrote Braden, “socialists, people who called themselves ‘left’—the very people whom many Americans thought no better than Communists—were about the only people who gave a damn about fighting Communism.”

    • A House in St John’s Wood: In Search of my Parents by Matthew Spender – review

      But this is not really a biography of either parent. Nor does it concentrate on Stephen’s poetry, although the question about whether Encounter, the literary magazine he edited for several decades, was funded with CIA money is discussed in exhaustive detail. This book is more a portrait of a marriage and of the childhood that emerged as a result.

    • Radio Free Europe Flacks for Iranian Terrorist Commander

      RFE was created by the U.S. government to help win the Cold War by countering Soviet propaganda. That it would pass off accounts from members of a paramilitary organization, the Basij, controlled by the mullahs and used to suppress regime critics is disturbing. That it fails to challenge a work of hagiography originally presented as fact by an Iranian state-run outlet, Fars News, about Soleimani, a U.S.-listed terrorist and murderer of U.S. service personnel and non-combatants defies description.

    • “Breaking the Fear Factor”: Opposing War, Financial Fraud and State Terrorism, Dismantling Propaganda

      Will Greece set the new standard of fearlessness for the rest of Europe to follow? – Will Greece dare to go the only practical way – exit the unviable euro – go back to her drachma and revamp their economy with public banking for the benefit of the Greek people? – I trust Greece will dare take back her sovereignty, breaking the all-permeating Fear Factor and become a flagship of courage for Europe and for the world.

  • Censorship

    • Iowa Radio Host Steve Deace Compares ESPN To Nazis For Suspending Curt Schilling

      Influential conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace likened ESPN to Nazis after the sports network suspended former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling as a commentator for posting an Islamaphobic meme to his Facebook page.

    • Does the EU want to get rid of geoblocking through a review of the SatCab Directive?

      The objective that the Commission is pursuing in conducting this exercise is twofold: first, to gather input in order to assess whether current rules are (still) fit for purpose; secondly, to determine whether the provisions in this Directive should be extended to transmissions of TV and radio programmes by means other than satellite and retransmission by means other than cable. In other words: whether the Directive rules should be also made applicable to online providers of TV and radio programmes.

    • Malaysia Blocking websites to prevent protest violates international law

      ARTICLE 19 calls on the Malaysian government to retract threats to block websites which promote or report on the upcoming “Bersih 4″ protests. Furthermore, we call for a public commitment to abide by international obligations to respect the right to protest. The Malaysian government should guarantee the free flow of information around the “Bersih 4″ protests, and refrain from treating them as illegal.

  • Privacy

    • Why everyone must play a part in improving IoE privacy

      As an Eisenhower Fellow, Dr. David A. Bray recently participated in a five-week professional program that took him out of his normal day-to-day role as CIO for the Federal Communications Commission. While on the Fellowship abroad, Bray met with industry CEOs as well as the Ministries of Communication, Justice, and Defense in both Taiwan and Australia to discuss the “Internet of Everything” and how established industry, startups, public service, non-profits, and university leaders are anticipating and planning for a future in which everything is connected by the Internet.

    • FBI demanded Scandinavian countries arrest Edward Snowden should he visit

      The FBI demanded that Scandinavian countries arrest and extradite Edward Snowden if he flew to any of those countries and claimed asylum, newly released official documents reveal.

    • US sought Denmark’s help to catch Snowden

      Norway’s NRK broadcaster has obtained a copy of the formal requests US authorities sent to Scandinavian agencies asking them to assist them in their efforts to track down NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should he enter Norwegian territory.

    • The Onion Router is being cut up and making security pros cry

      IBM is warning corporates to start blocking TOR services from their networks, citing rising use of the encrypted network to deliver payloads like ransomware.

    • National scene: No role for CIA in cyberbody

      Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan denied that the development of the National Cyber Agency would involve foreign countries including the United States.

      Speculation was rife that the development of the cyber agency would involve the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has the ability to tap into any conversation through social media networks such as WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger and other applications, and then store these conversations on a system called Big Data.

    • Ashley Madison leak exposes a prurient and uncaring society

      Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!’ warns Nietzsche. ‘Out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound.’

      The Ashley Madison hack provides an excellent illustration.

      There are, by some accounts, 37 million names listed in the leaked database. Even excluding bots and duplicates and horny teenagers, that’s a remarkable figure, a quantity suggestive of an immense pool of unhappiness, especially when you factor in the partners and children of the straying spouses.

      One response to the hack, then, might begin with an inquiry into those miserable relationships. Why are so many ordinary people seemingly so discontented with their marriages? What might be done to alleviate the wretchedness both of those who cheat and those who don’t? What does the evident attraction of a site like Ashley Madison (which seems to have been run as a fairly overt scam) tell us about society, about intimacy and sexuality more generally?

    • Who Put Me in the Ashley Madison Database?

      “Hmmm,” my wife wrote back. “Maybe I should check whether you’re in the database.” Not long afterward, I came across a story about the blackmail emails that some Ashley Madison members were getting—“sextortion” is the clever neologism. Buried deep in the article, a cyber-security expert said members could also expect to be bombarded with email solicitations for sexual services.

      It seemed an unlikely coincidence to be getting these missives, just after the Ashley Madison data were leaked. And yet I was emphatically not an Ashley Madison member and couldn’t be on the cheat sheet. Or could I? I dismissed the thought, but it recurred. I soon found myself at one of the newly arisen websites that let people check whether an email address is in the Madisonian data dump. I typed in my address but hesitated before clicking Enter. It felt in some way dirtying, like going to a pawn shop in a bad part of town to retrieve a stolen watch. Even worse was the result: my email was there.

    • Silicon Valley wary as Pentagon chief to court innovators

      With malware joining missiles among the threats to America’s security, leading technology innovators such as Apple and Google are being recruited to join traditional defense contractors on the front lines.

      Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is visiting Silicon Valley Friday as part of a continuing effort to bridge the divide between the Pentagon and a tech community wary of excessive surveillance and privacy violations.

    • See new details of Edward Snowden’s escape in Ted Rall’s graphic biography, Snowden — exclusive

      People have wondered if China let Snowden leave although his passport was invalidated by the US. Actually, there was no sneakiness by China. Snowden still had a valid passport when he left China. What happened was that the US State Department canceled his passport while he was in the air. He had been planning to transit via Moscow to Ecuador, but his passport was invalid by that point. That’s how he got stuck in Moscow: the Russian authorities couldn’t let him leave without a valid passport (and visa, if required) for where he was going.

    • Pentagon ‘Mind Mapping’ Has Scary Implications

      The second part, “‘Big data,’ algorithms, and computational counterinsurgency,” published this month, analyzes the rise of “predictive policing” and its Pentagon connections, reviews some relevant programs and examines these in light of scientists’ concerns over the development of artificial intelligence and long-term human survival.

    • ​User data manifesto seeks to give people control of their data

      Your personal data is the currency of the modern Internet. Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn — to name but three — all primarily profit from collecting your personal data. At the same time, data breach after breach, such as Office of Personnel Management, Ashley Madison, and Anthem, have revealed the secrets of tens of-millions of people. What can you do about it?

    • Shadow State: Surveillance, Law and Order in Colombia

      For nearly two decades, the Colombian government has been expanding its capacity to spy on the private communications of its citizens. Privacy International’s investigation reveals the state of Colombia’s overlapping, unchecked systems of surveillance, including mass surveillance, that are vulnerable to abuse.

    • Surveillance and the erosion of weirdness (a TxLF report)

      Deb Nicholson gave a fascinating talk about privacy and surveillance at this year’s Texas Linux Fest. I have to admit that I was so into her stories that I found myself forgetting to write down what she was saying!

    • Why Security Doesn’t Know You

      But no, that’s ridiculous. Your identity is not your personality or in your genes. It’s a paper trail starting with a print of your foot and stored with the names others (usually parents) gave you to get government-issued numbers to receive mail and pay taxes.

      That’s what you are. Artificial. You are a string of numbers assigned to height, weight, eye color, hair color, and the flaws in the ridges of our skin. That is your legal identity.

      Then again, your physical characteristics change. And the government changes people’s identities all the time for various reasons. You can even get a new life history with your new identity. So when can I be certain that you is still you?

    • California lawmakers approve drone trespassing bills

      California lawmakers on Monday approved two bills intended to regulate drones. The Assembly voted 43-11 in favor of a bill [SB 142] that would make it a crime to fly a drone over private property without permission. The Senate voted 40-0 to approve a bill [AB 856] targeted a paparazzi that would make it a crime to use a drone to take pictures or video on private property. Both bills return to the other chamber for a final vote.

  • Civil Rights

    • Outrage after Egypt sentences Al-Jazeera reporters to 3 years prison

      Human rights and free speech advocates expressed outrage Saturday at the news that three Al-Jazeera English journalists were sentenced to three years in Egyptian prison.

      The reporters — Canadian national Mohammed Fahmy, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed — were found guilty of broadcasting “false news” as well as an array of transgressions ranging from not registering with the country’s journalist syndicate to bringing in broadcast equipment with approval.

    • TSA screener accused of molesting college student in LaGuardia Airport bathroom

      A TSA screener is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at LaGuardia Airport in New York City after telling her she needed to be searched in the bathroom.

      The suspect did not post $3,000 bail and was moved to jail late Friday night.

    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou to Receive First Amendment Award

      Greek-American former CIA analyst and case officer John Kiriakou will be honored with a 2015 PEN First Amendment Award during a ceremony in Beverly Hills, CA on November 16.

      PEN Center USA stated that they “are admirers of Kiriakou’s bravery in the face of unspeakable adversity.” They also state that the “Board and staff of PEN Center USA have followed your story with equal parts interest and shock. The stress of what you bore witness to during your time in the CIA, and the losses you’ve suffered as a result of your disclosures, is unfathomable. You join a group of patriotic whistleblowers who have our deepest respect ad admiration.”

    • Ex-CIA Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou to Receive Prestigious First Amendment Award From PEN Center

      Former CIA officer John Kiriakou will receive one of the 2015 PEN First Amendment Awards, one of the most important literary awards in America. The ceremony will be held on November 16 in a ceremony in Beverly Hills.

      Kiriakou resigned from the CIA in 2004 and came to public attention three years later in 2007 when he gave an interview to ABC News in which he acknowledged the CIA’s use of waterboarding as a method of torture. For several years leading up to Kiriakou’s big reveal, the CIA had managed to keep secret the scope of its abusive interrogations of Al Qaeda-affiliated prisoners, which had the formal approval of President George W. Bush.

    • ‘Improper activities’ by American officials

      Singapore-Washington ties shaken after revelation of bribe by CIA to hush up arrest of its intelligence officer

      [...]

      Singapore-United States ties were roiled in September 1965 after it was revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had offered the Singapore Government US$10 million to hush up the arrest of an American intelligence officer.

      Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew revealed details of the 1960-1961 episode in an interview with foreign correspondents that was televised on Aug 30.

    • Frederick Forsyth: Me? A spy?

      There are three main organs. The least-mentioned is the biggest: Government Communications Headquarters, based in a vast doughnut-shaped complex outside Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Its task is mainly signals intelligence.

      Alongside GCHQ is the Security Service or MI5. Its task is in-country security against foreign espionage, foreign and domestic terrorism and home-grown treachery.

    • With Jeb and Torture, It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again
    • Only three of 116 Guantánamo detainees were captured by US forces

      Only three of the 116 men still detained at Guantánamo Bay were apprehended by US forces, a Guardian review of military documents has uncovered.

      The foundations of the guilt of the remaining 113, whom US politicians often refer to as the “worst of the worst” terrorists, involves a degree of faith in the Pakistani and Afghan spies, warlords and security services who initially captured 98 of the remaining Guantánamo population.

    • ​Why ‘Guantánamo North’ Is a Terrible Idea

      Last week, news broke that the Pentagon is considering several military and federal prisons to house some of the remaining 116 men held at Guantánamo Bay. The effort inaugurates a last-ditch bid to close the infamous facility, opened in 2002 at the inception of President George W. Bush’s “Global War on Terror.” The sites being toured by top military brass include a Navy brig in South Carolina and an Army Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas.

    • Beyond the APA: The Role of Psychology Boards and State Courts in Propping up Torture

      The image of torture in US popular culture is an intimate one: a government agent and a suspect in a dark cell, usually alone. But the reality of our state-sanctioned torture program is that it took a village, working in broad daylight, to pull it off.

      This summer, all eyes are on the American Psychological Association, as they should be. An independent investigation commissioned by the APA found that the organization had, as David Luban describes here, engaged “in a decade of duplicity to permit its members to participate in abusive interrogations while seeming to forbid it.” The report, lead-authored by former prosecutor David Hoffman, tells a tale of wholesale corruption and cooptation. Among its explosive findings is that APA officials refused to act on ethics complaints against military and CIA psychologists so as to shield them from sanction.

      But the APA was not the only institution asked to investigate these matters. State licensing boards in Ohio, New York, Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama also received credible, well-documented complaints against implicated psychologists, including many of the same subjects of the improperly dismissed APA complaints. As lawyer and advisor for Dr. Trudy Bond and other courageous complainants in many of these cases, I witnessed how the licensing boards, like the APA, stonewalled and refused to bring formal charges, offering opaque, implausible, or seemingly pretextual justifications for their decisions.

    • The British Library’s Magna Carta exhibition: A vital though flawed presentation

      Unprecedented numbers have visited the largest exhibition ever held on the Magna Carta, presented at the British Library in London, 800 years after the “Great Charter” was sealed at Runnymede Meadows near Windsor, England.

      The Magna Carta is recognised by millions as a powerful symbol of civil liberties. It was sealed by King John in June 1215 and was “a major historical event in the social and political development of England and in the emergence of the rule of law against arbitrary power,” as the World Socialist Web Site noted on that date this year.

    • My take: 800th birthday of the Magna Carta

      This year is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, one of the most awesome documents ever created. This magnificent document was signed way back in 1215 AD.

      I purposely do not use the word “awesome” lightly. The younger generation seems to love it and has taken it from senior citizens like me. When I was young I would simply utter “Wow, that’s cool Daddy-O.”

    • Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power

      In direct contravention of these legally binding resolutions, Canadian troops were on the ground in the North African country. On September 13, three weeks after Tripoli fell to the anti-Gaddafi National Transition Council, Canada’s state broadcaster reported: “CBC News has learned there are members of the Canadian Forces on the ground in Libya.”[i] A number of other media outlets reported that highly secretive Canadian special forces were fighting in Libya. On February 28, CTV.ca reported “that Canadian special forces are also on the ground in Libya” while Esprit du Corp editor Scott Taylor noted Canadian Special Operations Regiment’s flag colours in the Conservatives’ post-war celebration. But, any Canadian ‘boots on the ground’ in Libya violated UNSCR 1973, which explicitly excluded “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”

    • Harper’s violation of international law in Libya
    • ‘Aladdin’ Is the Only Blockbuster Movie Ever to Have an Arab Hero

      Many of the famed Arab roles haven’t even been played by Arabs.

    • ‘American Ultra’ reveals the start of a new movie trend: Stoners as serious heroes

      “You’re not a robot,” she replies. And she’s right – he’s actually a sleeper agent for the CIA who’s just been “activated,” only to find out that the rest of the CIA, helmed by higher-up Yates (Topher Grace, ironically of the marijuana-centric “That ’70s Show”), is out to get him. In the subsequent goose chase around the town of Liman, W.Va., Mike reveals himself to be something else, too: a hero.

    • Protesters turn out against Arabic immersion curriculum for kindergartners

      About 132 kindergartners and pre-K students were already inside the building Monday when nearly 30 demonstrators waving American flags, and signs denouncing the Arabic Immersion Magnet School arrived, the Houston Chronicle reported.

    • Protesters at Houston’s Arabic Immersion Magnet School on first day of class
    • Andrew Fowler: Truth first casualty in war on journalism

      It’s very possible that mainstream media proprietors, executives and some of their journalists will read Fowler’s book and then scoff. Some will throw it away after three or four pages. In others it could easily provoke anger and indignation. Still others may well dispute at least some of the facts and/or the book’s interpretation of them. But Fowler won’t care. His book is for non-media people. He wrote it for media outsiders. He has tried to let “civilians” know why and how some events were ­reported the way they were. He’ll be absolutely confident of not ­getting accused of peddling pro-journalism propaganda. It’s a good and interesting book. Equally, it’s the type of book that’s best done from retirement.

    • More than 40 cops have been killed in El Salvador so far this year

      Seated in full body armor, with an ACE 21 assault rifle resting on her lap, Agent “China” speaks rather calmly about enlisting to patrol one of the scariest police beats in the world.

    • In Guatemala, Protests Threaten to Unseat President, a U.S.-Backed General Implicated in Mass Murder
    • Guatemala President in Deep Trouble (Video)

      In Guatemala, a judge has ordered that former Vice President Roxana Baldetti must remain in prison while her corruption trial takes place. The ruling comes on the heels of the Guatemalan Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to lift the immunity from prosecution for President Otto Pérez Molina, clearing the way for his impeachment.

    • Guatemala national strike demands president linked to corruption and mass murder step down

      One of the Army commanders who carried the mass murders out under Rios Montt was Otto Perez Molina, who was literally on the CIA payroll while the Army slaughtered indigenous people, unionists, college students, and anyone they declared a Communist-leaning “guerrilla sympathizer.”

    • Corruption and Contempt: The Hidden Story of Hurricane Katrina

      Days after Louisiana’s Governor Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency and the National Hurricane Center warned the White House that Hurricane Katrina could top the New Orleans levee system, the only FEMA official actually in the city itself — Marty J. Bahamonde — was not even supposed to be there. He had been sent in advance of the storm and was ordered to leave as it bore down, but could not because of the clogged roads.

      Michael Brown, the head of FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), was known to have made it as far as Baton Rouge but seemed out of reach.

      On Wednesday, August 31, with tens of thousands trapped in the Superdome and looting out of control in the parts of the city still above water, Bahamonde e-mailed Brown directly: ”I know you know, the situation is past critical … Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water”’

    • Washington State Mom Ticketed for Driving While Breastfeeding

      A Washington State woman was pulled over and given a ticket after she admitted to breastfeeding while driving, a precarious practice for which she’d been busted before.

    • Photos: Huge crowds rallied against Malaysia’s leader—including a predecessor who helped put him in power

      This weekend tens of thousands protestors gathered in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere calling for political reform in Malaysia. They were joined twice by 90-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who ran the nation for more than two decades and has—like many of the protestors—called for the removal of embattled prime minister Najib Razak, whom he helped put in power.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

08.30.15

IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: August 9th – August 15th, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: August 16th – August 22nd, 2015

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GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: August 23rd – August 29th, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

“Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

Posted in America, Patents at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Glass roof

Summary: Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them

THE MANY loud calls and very persistent lobbying for a so-called patent reform in the US, notably the PATENT ACT [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], won’t improve things, except perhaps for large corporations. They will, however, help put some additional burden on patent trolls, which is arguably better than what the US has got in place these days (trolls also target small businesses and startups with no legal budget). While fighting for big corporations’ protectionism, the lobbyists can help destroy some of the ‘little guys’ who are actually trolls, or ‘little trolls’ (not the big trolls with glorified brands and very high levels of revenue).

Mytheos Holt, who described himself as an Associate Policy Analyst with the R Street Institute (RSI is an entity which calls itself “Free-market think tank advancing real solutions to complex public policy problems”), wrote in the “Conservative” (GOP) media the other day. It’s yet another article in this site which challenges the “Conservative” stance on patent reform. Holt asks: “What do you call someone who supports Federal bureaucrats granting rights out of thin air, judges legislating from the bench about how those rights work, and spreads terror about technological progress (along with derogatory comparisons to Uber)?

“Sadly, some people seem to think you should call them “conservatives.”

“At least, that’s the only thing I can get out of looking at the so-called conservative opposition to patent reform, which just this week added yet more confusion to the debate when a group calling itself the Conservative Action Project put out a letter slamming the two major patent reform bills making their way through the House and Senate currently.

“It’s truly sad that this document could garner the signatures of the likes of Ed Meese and Club for Growth President David McIntosh, because as written, its concerns over patent reform are utterly contentless. It’s hard to talk of refuting arguments, when the arguments as presented mean nothing, but I will try for the sake of clarity.”

In conclusion, writes Holt: “Patent Reform will do something that conservatives have done since the days of William F. Buckley, Jr: It will stop people from pleading the case for bad ideas. It is a terrible shame that so many so-called “conservatives” are pleading that exact case.”

Sadly, a lot of self-acclaimed “Conservatives” (and GOP-leaning media) will continue to oppose patent reform and defend even large trolls such as Intellectual Ventures. IP Troll Tracker noted the other day that “there’s the option that Intellectual Ventures takes, which is to patent stuff so they can go sue people.”

Well, actually, Intellectual Ventures often just buys patents in bulk and then uses them aggressively, against a maximal number of weak (or affluent) targets. If this is the practice which “Conservative” are willing to not only tolerate but actively defend, what are they conserving? it’s a form of blackmail and racketeering in many cases.

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