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10.22.13

Fifth Estate: Another Imperialistic Propaganda Film

Posted in Cablegate, Deception at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The propagandist in chief

Benedict Cumberbatch

Summary: New North America-centric (US) movie tries to paint Wikileaks an “enemy” rather than let Wikileaks speak for itself (interviews, facts)

A disgusting propaganda film called Fifth Estate recently came out. It is already a big failure across cinemas, which perhaps helps indicate that bad press over bad factual assessment, misrepresentations, omissions, etc. did its thing. Wikileaks demonisation is not a side effect but an agenda of this ‘film’ and it’s easy to see why propaganda films of this kind are needed. Wikileaks helps expose international corruption [1]. US State Department employees are barred from Wikileaks‘ Web site (or voice), but this anti-Wikileaks film is just fine for them [2]. To better understand what kind of people work for the State Department watch this fairly recent discussion with the press. It is disheartening to see political films misusing/distorting facts not just when it comes to war revisionism but also journalism.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 8 Ways WikiLeaks Cables About a Tiny Country Like Iceland Expose the Dark Depths of American Empire

    A Chelsea Manning-leaked cable showed how Iceland asked the U.S. to stop European “bullying,” just the first of a deluge of revelations detailing how America throws around its weight.

  2. State Department Employees Cleared to Watch WikiLeaks Movie

    Ever since WikiLeaks.org began releasing thousands of classified cables, State Department employees have been forbidden from visiting the website without explicit authorization. (Sure, it was a silly prohibition given the proliferation of mainstream newspaper stories based on the WikiLeaks cables, but them’s the rules). So how about viewing WikiLeaks the movie?

    Not a problem, the State Department tells The Cable. Watching the hotly anticipated WikiLeaks drama Fifth Estate will not place employees on the naughty list.

    “The department hasn’t issued any sort of guidance on the movie, so there would be no prohibition against the movie,” a State Department official said of the film, which debuts nationwide on Friday. “Employees would be free to watch whatever movie they’re interested in.”

08.26.13

Wikileaks and Manning Help Expose the Full Brunt of the War Machine, Leading by Example

Posted in Cablegate at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A public show of violence

Football

Summary: Some news about the leaking counterculture and what can be done about it

Private Manning got punished [1] for doing what many anti-war activists could not or would not. Society has debt to him. War is not a sport and blindly supporting one’s “team” is a foolish thing to do; it’s what typically supports and excuses war crimes. Here in the UK intimidation tactics against acts like Manning’s expand to relatives of those who report on leaks like Manning’s (see the latest on Miranda [2,3]) and the US military machine now calls the Founding Fathers extremists by attributing to them “extremist ideologies.” [4]

The US has been preparing for internment without charges for US citizens (c/f NDAA), having ‘trailed’ the idea in Guantanamo [5]. Those who are not worried by all this (and more, much beyond the scope of this post) are arguably complicit in serious abuses; apathy was not a defence, based on history’s lessons.

The war on dissent may successfully be crushing some Web sites and movements, but out response will be proportional in the opposite direction.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. RT interview on Manning sentencing
  2. United Kingdom detains private citizen for being affiliated with NSA reporting under Schedule 7 of the 2000 Terrorist Act

    Anyone reporting on or connected with a journalist writing articles about the NSA surveillance is now considered a threat.

  3. Miranda Detention: ‘Blatant Attack on Press Freedom’

    The detention of David Miranda — partner of the Guardian journalist involved in the NSA revelations — and the destruction of hard drives in the British newspaper’s basement reveal one thing: Governments do not want their citizens to be informed when it comes to the topic of surveillance.

  4. DoD Training Manual Suggests Founding Fathers Followed ‘Extremist Ideology’

    A Department of Defense training manual obtained by a conservative watchdog group pointed to the original American colonists as examples of an extremist movement, comments that have sparked fear of a broader crackdown on dissent in America.

    The training manual provides information that describes, among other things, “common themes in extremist ideologies.”

  5. Here’s What The White House’s “Secret” Plan To Close Guantanamo Looks Like

    One reason the White House drafted the document, sources tell me, was to beat back criticism from some members of Congress who have said the reason they have not taken any action on Guantanamo since 2009 is because the White House did not have a comprehensive plan for shutting down the facility.

05.30.13

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Gets the ‘Wikileaks Treatment’ From MasterCard

Posted in Cablegate, FSF, Microsoft, SCO at 7:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MasterCensor

Summary: Harassment by proxy seems like a possibility now that funds to the FSF are being discouraged

Donations to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) are a dangerous or suspicious activity now (like post-Cablegate Wikileaks), at least based on this account from a reader/contributor of ours. Donations to the FSF are made more difficult now. Microsoft did this type of thing last year [1, 2]. Here is how the latest story goes:

Master Card called me about my FSF Subscription That’s very strange because I’ve been making monthly payments for about a decade. Someone is doing something nasty to the FSF.

At 8AM, I got a call from the fraud prevention department of my credit card asking me to “verify some recent activity”. I saw it in my email when I woke up about an hour after they called.

My Mastercard was robbed once before, so I checked online and called the customer service number printed on my bill. There was nothing suspicious in the online report or the last bill. I was not about to call the number left on my answering machine, which simply identified itself as “TOLL FREE CALL” It took some time to escape the menu, which was uninformative and dangerous because it wanted to change things. The key phrase “human being” did the trick and I was promptly routed to an operator at the fraud department.

The representative told me that my monthly FSF subscription charge had triggered the call and that means hundreds of false charges had been made in the FSF’s name. When she told me the FSF charge was responsible for the call, I said that was strange because I had been making regular automated payments since 2004. She told me that the trigger was probably false charges to other accounts. I asked her how many false charges it would take to make such a trigger. She said that it changes daily but that it would probably take hundreds.

I can think of four explanations for this:

1. The FSF made a mistake in billing. Unlikely.

2. Mastercard wanted to harass the FSF. Unlikely but they have a history of cutting off funds to Wikileaks and can not really be trusted.

3. Someone made fraudulent payments to Mastercard on many accounts. That could be done maliciously or as a misguided help, the result would be the same and no one should do that.

4. Someone wanted to harass the FSF by setting up fake accounts to play games.

Whatever the actual reason, damage is being done to the FSF’s reputation and it should never have happened to me. An algorithm that overlooks my long history of monthly payments is broken. Operators should be given the exact reason that a company has been labeled suspicious. The call was inconvenient and damaging. Further speculation added to that damage. Hopefully, Mastercard itself is not responsible for this and will get to the bottom of it.

I started a FSF Forum thread about this hoping to call the right kind of attention to the problem.

http://www.fsf.org/associate/forum/community/612250276

Discouragement through discomfort is an effective strategy. Proving this to be intentional is hard, almost impossible even.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols celebrates a decade of fighting back against SCO, whose funding from Microsoft is evident. Showing the intention or proving it is the hard part. With uncertainty or lack of concrete evidence, these attacks can carry on, little by little, proxy by proxy (one of the latest seems to be Nokia). Groklaw covers another curious attack, namely Oracle (a friend of a friend, Apple). The latest is this: “Google has now responded to Oracle’s appeal in the Oracle v. Google API copyright case. Plus it adds its own cross appeal.”

Copyrights were also used by SCO. In all cases, and wherever FOSS takes over, the intend is to tax GNU/Linux or impose a sort of blockade.

12.30.11

Cablegate: Microsoft Rushes Vietnam to Get Rid of Open Source, Including FOSS Policy

Posted in America, Asia, Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 8:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: A good look at how Microsoft crushes freedom-respecting software in Vietnam

AS ALWAYS EXPECTED, the monopolist from Redmond will never permit competition to exist. Like a tyrant running after potential opposition, Microsoft runs after any signs of Free/open source software adoption and sends its proxies for annihilation, confusion, entryism, or whatever. Cablegate provides some more insight and examples of what Microsoft is doing. The following cable, for instance, gives yet more details on how Microsoft asks US government officials to help derail Vietnam's migration to GNU/Linux.

In ¶6 of the first cable it says: “Software industry members estimate that nearly 90 percent of software in Vietnam is pirated. Several events in 2007 indicate that this situation could improve in the near future, however. Following the Prime Minister’s July 2006 Decision 169 requiring government agencies to strictly comply with copyright laws, a February 2007 Prime Minister’s Instruction laid out the functions, tasks and budgetary means to meet this goal. In May 2007, the GVN signed a landmark software copyright agreement with Microsoft, under which Vietnam will purchase an estimated 300,000 licensed copies of Microsoft Office for government workers, provincial officials and many university faculty and staff (reftel E). In a recent meeting, Microsoft officials informed the Embassy that they are pleased with the GVN’s compliance with this agreement, although “implementation could be faster.” Reportedly in an attempt to avoid copyright infringements, the Communist Party of Vietnam announced in October 2007 that it would switch its 20,000 computers nationwide to open source software. In December 2007 the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) issued a list of open-source software products that it recommended other GVN agencies use to avoid copyright violations.”

It is also reassuring to see that “[t]he Government of Vietnam issued the following IPR-related regulations in 2007: . . . — Decision 08/2007/QD-BTTTT, dated 24 December 2007, on the List of open source Software That Meets the Requirements for Usage by State Agencies and Organizations;”

Here is some more lobbying: “Representatives of U.S. IT companies met with Bisbee and Mikalis to voice their concerns about an IT procurement policy announced by Vietnam in late July 2006 (Decision 169). USTR and Embassy Hanoi have worked closely with the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MPT) since July to raise USG and industry concerns about the policy, which seeks to provide procurement preferences for localized IT products and open source software. MPT released a draft implementing circular on January 30 for industry comments, and USTR urged the IT industry members to raise their concerns directly with MPT. In response to concerns raised by the USG in July, the MPT has worked to revise the original Decision to limit coverage to only government agencies and explicitly exclude state owned enterprises. USTR and Hanoi Econoff explained to the industry representatives that MPT was open to hearing from industry about global procurement best practices, and industry was urged to engage the GVN directly on this issue. (Note: In meetings in Hanoi, USTR raised industry concerns with MPT directly.”

The those who want to see it in context, here is the first cable:

Read the rest of this entry »

Cablegate: President Chavez Smeared for Favouring Free/Open Source Software, Venezuela Added to Shame List

Posted in America, Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Venezuela gets the “PRIORITY WATCH LIST” treatment, meaning that it gets sanctioned or at least warned for not kneeling to Western monopolies (‘IP’)

US resistance to the authorities in Venezuela may have been boosted by Microsoft's interests that are all about money and subjugation. If Venezuela accepts Microsoft’s software, then it accepts software which is controlled by US powers, making it simpler to topple those authorities. According to the following Cablegate cables, Free/open source software gets mentioned unfavourably 3 years in a row, in relation to so-called ‘IP’ (monopoly on knowledge). A cable from 2007 says: “The piracy rate for business software in 2006 is 84 percent, according to International Intellectual Property Alliance statistics — a 6 percent increase from 2005. U.S. software companies have repeatedly come under attack from the BRV as exemplars of what President Chavez referred to as the “neo-liberal” trap of IPR. In 2004, the BRV passed legislation that mandates the use of open source software throughout the public sector. While not necessarily a violation of IPR in and of itself, the software industry has concerns about a lack of transparency in its implementation and favoritism shown to certain vendors.”

The 2008 cable is similar. It states:”The piracy rate for business software in 2007 was 86 percent, according to the Business Software Alliance. U.S. software companies have repeatedly come under attack from the BRV as exemplars of what President Chavez referred to as the “neo-liberal” trap of IPR. In 2004, the BRV passed legislation that mandated the use of open source software throughout the public sector. While not a violation of IPR in and of itself, the software industry has concerns about a lack of transparency in its implementation and favoritism shown to certain vendors.”

In 2009 it says: “In 2004, the GBRV passed legislation that required the use of open source software throughout the public sector. While not a violation of IPR in and of itself, the software industry has concerns about a lack of transparency in its implementation and favoritism shown to certain vendors. The piracy rate for business software in 2008 was 87 percent, according to the Business Software Alliance. The market for legitimate CDs and DVDs continues to decline. As Venezuela imports a high number of virgin discs, the country may be a distribution source and a production center for counterfeit products. The National Film Law, passed in August 2005, requires distributors to locally copy a percentage of the movies they distribute and to register all films, leading to unauthorized release of confidential information and piracy.”

Once again they lump software in with counterfeits to bloster their case for so-called ‘IP’ and make the government of Chavez weaker. Here is the 2007 cable:

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Cablegate: Venezuela’s Move to Free/Open Source Software “Expected to Reduce the Demand for U.S. Software Products”

Posted in America, Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: US cables show the attitude towards Venezuela’s adoption of freedom-respecting software

AS we showed earlier this year, US diplomats and Microsoft fight GNU/Linux in Venezuela and according to the following Cablegate cable, they also try to paint the move with the ‘piracy’ brush. “In an effort to move away from proprietary software products, the Government of Venezuela in 2004 introduced a law mandating the use of open-source software in government and public institutions,” says one cable. But it continues: “This is expected to reduce the demand for U.S. software products somewhat, though much software currently in use is unlicensed or pirated.”

Microsoft never seemed to mind this. Gates and other Microsoft executives openly admitted that this so-called ‘piracy’ was beneficial to Microsoft. Let us carry on with ¶29 of the same cable that says: “Unfortunately, pirated software, music and movies remain readily available throughout the country. In the 2003 Annual Review, Venezuela remained on USTR’s Special 301 Watch List.”

We are going to write more about this in the next post. Basically, open source gets mentioned in most such cables and it is lumped in with all sorts of unrelated issue that have it painted as “piracy” and illegalities.

The Cablegate cable is as follows:

Read the rest of this entry »

Cablegate: Brazil and Ghana Want Free/Open Source Added in World Summit on the Information Society, US and Australia Oppose

Posted in Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: A United Nations cable shows the difference between developing countries (oppressed countries) and ruling nations, which obviously get their way

According to the following United Nations-related Cablegate cable, there is truly a struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed, just as we saw in OOXML corruptions, ACTA debates, etc.

Here is the relevant part:

Open Source

¶14. Paragraphs on open source software (OSS) remain open. Brazil proposed the addition of the original “Rio Commitment,” reflecting Brazil’s (and GRULAC’s) promotion of open source software (OSS) over proprietary software products. Ghana, speaking for the African Group, also supported this proposal. The U.S. opposed the addition in that it lacked the requisite technology neutrality previously recognized in the Geneva Declaration of Principles and has proposed technologically neutral language with which Brazil, GRULAC, and Ghana have indicated they could agree. The U.S. resisted Brazil’s attempts to move the technologically neutral language within the paragraph, which would have resulted in promotion of OSS over proprietary software. It appears that all parties are willing to agree to the U.S.’ original suggested placement of the language. Brazil also had communicated its desire to eliminate all other references to OSS anywhere in the final document, in favor of the one reference to OSS in the PoliticalChapeau. This possibility remains an open issue, however, as other references to OSS already were the subject of working group drafts. Drafting group participants have not completed work on all the paragraphs concerned. Australia favored dropping Brazil’s proposal altogether, with which the U.S. would agree. Ghana has indicated to the U.S., however, that it needs this provision on OSS in the Political Chapeau to support its development agenda.

To clarify the obvious, they confuse vendor-neutral with neutral. Open Source is not a company or a product, it is a licensing and development paradigm that helps respect nation’s autonomy and self determination. The word “neural” — like “choice” — is often used by Microsoft and its front groups to mean “not open source”.

Here is the Cablegate cable in full:

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Cablegate: BSA Smears Sri Lanka’s Government for Moving to Free/Open Source Software

Posted in Asia, Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: US diplomatic cables from Sri Lanka reveal interesting stories about the small country’s flirtations with freedom-respecting software

According to the following Cablegate cables (first one in ¶7): “During a March 22 meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce, DAS Patterson outlined USG views on regional developments of the past two years and asked for insights into the current domestic political situation and business climate. IBM Managing Director and former Amcham President, Kavan Ratnayaka described IBM efforts to support open source software development, noting that Sri Lanka has become an internationally recognized “brand” in the open source community.”

IBM is right because here in Techrights we accumulated many examples of Free software in Sri Lanka. But just like in Thailand, there is a fight back from Microsoft proxies. Let us remember that “[w]hen the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami seriously damaged the coastline of Sri Lanka, Virtusa funded salaries and benefits for its employees as they developed open-source software for disaster relief management. It continues to fund its employees as they travel to disaster-affected countries and assist in implementing the software program.” (see cables below)

The BSA (Business Software Alliance) is not happy with the country’s embrace of Free software. Here is what the BSA says according to cables: “While we see this as a step in the right direction, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) is not fully satisfied with the policy and accuses the government of “more funny business.”"

So when a country seeks digital independence, that is “funny business” in the eyes of the BSA. Good to know. Perhaps the BSA does not speak for FOSS like it claims to. Here are three Cablegate cables from which we extract the evidence:

Read the rest of this entry »

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