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02.17.14

The Scam Which is ZDNet/CBS: Not Reporting the Real Crimes

Posted in Deception, Finance, Microsoft at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zack Whittaker
From Twitpic

Summary: CBS, a widely-known example of propaganda channels, misreports or diverts attention away from reporting about crimes of clients and allies

When covering Microsoft Nokia, ZDNet‘s Microsoft Zack (former Microsoft staff, now doing Microsoft privacy and antitrust spin, not to mention Google/Linux FUD) conveniently ignores Microsoft’s own tax evasion (including conviction in India), put aside the world’s most massive personal tax evasion by Microsoft’s spiritual leader. This is very typical when it comes to reporting about Microsoft by Microsoft moles, ‘former’ staff, and PR folks masquerading as “journalists” (Microsoft Zack is one of many). It’s propaganda, but it’s cleverly disguised (required skill from writers).

The other day it turned out that Gates’ tax-exempt investments in energy companies ended up in a bankruptcy. As one person put it: “Bill Gates’ Texas energy company has filed for bankruptcy protection as the depressed power market results in untenable financial losses.

“The company, Optim Energy (EnergyCo LLC), owned by a Gates investment fund, filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy papers on Wednesday for its three power plants in eastern Texas, citing their inability to counter growing losses in the current market.”

So maybe Bill Gates can spend more money on his existing investments in Exxon and Shell, two murderous companies that pollute our world and poison poor people so that Gates can increase his wealth (as a large shareholder). As Sosumi put it (in IRC), “so much talk for “renewables” and yet Billy’s powerplants runned on coal and natural gas… but wait, there’s a catch… if he was indeed running “renewables”, he’d have gotten a bailout” (Gates already benefited from bank bailouts in Ireland because he was a shareholder).

What we have here is the extension of Microsoft’s financial corruption. The company was not only bribed by the CIA/NSA (as documents released last year reveal) but it also received tax exemptions worth billions after it had installed a mole (former employee, Mr. Hunter) in the US government. This is serious corruption, but white-collar crime is treated differently from most other crimes. In CBS, white-collar crime is either glorified or overlooked. It’s corporate press that’s designed to serve Power. Just look who owns CBS.

Speaking of financial corruption, Xbox has been losing billions of dollars, but CNET (part of CBS, just like ZDNet, which is also renowned for directing and broadcasting NSA advertisements) never mentions that. XBox One is so far behind the competition that it’s likely to be losing billions of dollars again.

Sosumi said that “best thing actually happening would be Microsoft amputating their game division… but on the other hand, what about the embarrassment and money lost?”

People have already died because Microsoft Xbox machines went up in flames. DaemonFC reminded us that “Consumer Reports said that Ford got a lower reliability rating this year in part because of “MyTouch” problems. (Microsoft software)” (so much for proprietary “quality”).

So, at the end of the day we have corrupt companies being bailed out, bribed, and exempted from tax simply because they have some connections in government. Don’t expect ZDNet to report it; its so-called reporters used to work for Microsoft (some still work for Microsoft while also ‘reporting’ in ZDNet).

02.13.14

Dice is Dicing Slashdot to Bits

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Slashdot is being liquidated and the community of Slashdot threatens a boycott of the site

SELLING OUT IS VERY EASY. Earning status and maintaining one’s integrity in the face of temptation is hard. There are always some Sugar Daddies out there, looking to buy themselves positive coverage from seemingly credible sources that would otherwise criticise them. Examples from the UK include The ‘Guardian’ and BBC, both of which accepted a bribe from Bill Gates’ shell entity in an implicit exchange of favours (agenda-pushing for money).

A new report today reveals that The ‘Guardian’ opens its doors even further for the agenda of rich and powerful companies [1]. This trend not limited to such general news sites though; even technology sites go down the same route in pursuit of Sugar Daddies. A lot of them justify it by saying that reporting requires money, hence sellout as a business model is ‘just’.

Not too long ago we covered the mess which was going on at Slashdot and SourceForge, which turned into Microsoft and Bill Gates promotion tools. They even hired longtime Microsoft boosters and former Microsoft staff, just like the BBC had done.

Following the latest scandals at SourceForge [2,3] we had a lot of discussion about it in Techrights IRC (Slashdot managers even came to the channel in attempts to appease) and last week we got a lot of discussion about Dice driving Slashdot into its death with video ads, Microsoft agenda, etc. Slashdot without a community is a dead site because it derives its value from readers and their comments. Our readers who used to like Slashdot said that Dice was essentially liquidating the sites (squeezing the goose for golden eggs) by making the best moves to alienate the readers, i.e. annoy them in exchange for some money/a “quick buck”. Bruce Pernes, who has been very prolific in Slashdot, is saying now in Slashdot that he’s seriously thinking about bringing Technocrat back (Slashdot for grown-ups as he calls it). Last night we made significant changes in Tux Machines, adopting a more Slashdot-like style (in the format/layout sense). It is still the site to follow for very quick and high-quality selection of GNU/Linux and FOSS news — something which Techrights has not been doing as of late (news is not covered quickly enough anymore).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Guardian’s seven-figure deal to build on ‘shared values’ & provide branded content 4 Unilever
  2. Has SourceForge been judged unfairly?

    While it’s generally better not to judge too quickly, I think it’s reasonable that people are holding SourceForge to account for some of their decisions. People who download open source software do not expect to get other applications bundled with them.

  3. The Reddit – SourceForge Lynch Mob

    It was like Cooks Source all over again, just without the catchphrase “But honestly Monica.”

    It’s been all over the web for the last week or two that the photo imaging program GIMP, a FOSS crown jewel, has dropped SourceForge as a download site. Although the GIMP folks had been a little concerned over some advertisements on SourceForge, the real reason appears to be DevShare, which bundles third party offers with open source downloads for install on Windows machines.

02.09.14

Human Rights Relativism

Posted in Deception at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Putin
Putin in KGB uniform

Summary: Roundup of news about foreign policy that puts in perspective Russia’s own human rights abuses

Russia-hostile coverage of the Olympic games in Sochi is of course politically motivated. Coverage in the Western press is openly Russophobic, meaning that it’s actually driven by suppressed fear (phobia). Russia is definitely not good when it comes to human rights, but the press in the West may no longer be in a position of moral high ground. It takes many angles, such as gay rights, surveillance, and scepticism of US undercover agents [1,2]. Don’t pay too much attention to the hypocritical aspects of it all. The US, when it comes to many of those angle (including counter-terrorism and espionage), is hardly any better. Let’s look at some of the recent examples from the news.

“Russia and China are not extrajudicially assassinating thousands of people with air-to-ground missiles, neither domestically nor overseas.”First of all, trials over the “no fly” list prove to be a sham [3], and secret agents show that they simply don’t obey the law [4] and don’t think that they need to [5]. To them, even protests can now be viewed as “terrorism” [6]. This is what we should expect from Stalin, not the US. It’s a shame because the US used to stand for higher moral values.

Moving on down the news, Lithuania orders probe of CIA torture [7] and Poland too gets involved [8]. Bush started this tradition of torture 12 years ago [9] and Obama continues the tradition, which is beyond controversial, even among US citizens [10] (the US population hardly endorses this). A former CIA analyst who became a critic of the CIA recalls the important role played by Rep. Otis Pike, who is now dead [11]. Back when some elements of Congress and the White House ‘dared’ to confront the CIA (as Kennedy did before he was assassinated) Pike played an important role in fighting the NSA, CIA, etc. His death at this stage is somewhat poetic. The voices of opposition [12] are dying away, especially in the government. According to “Republican” Web sites (masquerading as “news”), the CIA has been grossly lying about Benghazi [13-15]. So-called “Democrat” Web sites are interested in keeping their clients in Congress, so they hardly bother reporting it.

In a Democrats-friendly newspaper, the New York Times, one writer asks “How Many Non-Combatants Are Killed by Drones?” [16]

This is a meaningless question because it uses the nebulous term “combatant”, which according to another (years older) report from the New York Times just means “adult male” (same as “militant”). In Pakistan, the CIA halted assassinations for about a month now [17-23] because an alternative approach is being attempted, not the extrajudicial assassination (by CIA) of people on NSA-gathered lists. After war crimes in Iraq [24] and growing hatred due to drone strikes in countries like Yemen [25] it seems reasonable to give peace a chance. It would not be beneficial to CIA budget (and NSA’s too), but it would at least respect people’s lives and help regain some consent/approval from the public. South Sudan has oil now, so expanders of militarism now eye this other region [26] (we covered this before). Opposition to drones has grown strong enough (with movies [27,28], protests [29] and articles [30-34]) to potentially ground (not crash [35]) the drones, but as the CIA-connected paper put it [36], it will be hard to cut budgets. The army-friendly press says [37] that “an international agreement before the U.S. modus operandi becomes the international norm.”

So, going back to Russia, put in perspective this older superpower’s policy. It is not necessarily the worst abuser of human rights. Russia and China are not extrajudicially assassinating thousands of people with air-to-ground missiles, neither domestically nor overseas.

What’s needed right now — universally –is respect for human rights, digital rights (like privacy) and other types of values. What we don’t need is hypocrisy, partisanship, and political manipulations by propaganda.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. CIA And FBI Agents Are Not Welcome At This Restaurant Outside Sochi
  2. Sochi restaurant won’t cater to FBI, CIA agents
  3. Entire Court Discussion Of Feds Blocking US Citizen From Flying To No Fly List Trial… Redacted

    We already wrote about the release of Judge Alsup’s ruling in the Rahinah Ibrahim case. However, I wanted to do a second post, concerning one of the issues that first grabbed our attention about the case — the fact that Ibrahim’s daughter, a US citizen, was put on the no fly list and blocked from flying to the US to be a witness at the trial. The DOJ insisted that this was untrue and the daughter had simply missed her flight — claims that were later proven to be outright lies. At the time, it appeared that Judge Alsup was not at all happy about this, and we hoped that this would result in some sort of sanctions or punishment for the federal government lying to a federal judge.

  4. CIA confirms agency obliged to follow federal surveillance law

    The CIA has confirmed that it is obliged to follow a federal law barring the collection of financial information and hacking into government data networks.

    But neither the agency nor its Senate overseers will say what, if any, current, recent or desired activities the law prohibits the CIA from performing – particularly since a section of the law explicitly carves out an exception for “lawfully authorized” intelligence activities.

  5. CIA can do what it can do, can’t do what it can’t do, can’t say what it can’t do, it says

    Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan last week was asked at a Senate hearing if the agency is subject to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a law that protects computer networks belonging to the government and to financial institutions from unauthorized access.

  6. Spying and Social Control: U.S. Government Labels Dissent As Terrorism

    Indeed, the government arbitrarily labels anyone it doesn’ t like – including American citizens – as “terrorists”.

  7. Lithuania orders probe of CIA torture

    A Lithuanian court has ordered an investigation of the torture of a Saudi Arabian terrorism suspect by Central Intelligence Agency operatives at a secret prison in the small Baltic nation.

    Amnesty International reports the Vilnius Regional Court has ordered a probe into the torture of Mustafa al-Hawsawi, who was sent to Lithuania via extraordinary rendition after being captured in Pakistan and handed over to US authorities in 2003.

  8. Poland may seek access to Guantanamo suspects

    Polish prosecutors may seek access to terror suspects detained by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay for direct questioning as part of an investigation into whether a secret CIA prison operated here in 2002-2003, an official said Thursday.

    The prosecutors would need U.S. permission to question prisoners held at Guantanamo and are weighing whether to make a request. Washington has provided little help to Poland’s investigation, which was launched in 2008, and has already denied an appeal from Warsaw for assistance in gathering evidence.

  9. Anniversary of Bush Military Order Marks Need for Torture Report Release

    Today marks the 12th anniversary of a Bush Administration Military Order accepting the advice of counsel that the Geneva Conventions would not apply to the conflict with Al Qaeda and that detainees are not legally entitled to humane treatment. This decision to violate international law would open the door to one of the darkest chapters in recent U.S. history: years of torture that we are still grappling with today.

  10. RFK, Jr. Confronts CIA Lawyer On Torture (VIDEO)

    Very little is known about many of the activities at the Central Intelligence Agency. Even the stories that are revealed in the press are not able to give us the entire picture of what this agency is doing behind the scenes. Ring of Fire co-host Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. discusses the murky history of the CIA with author and former CIA attorney John Rizzo.

  11. When the CIA’s Empire Struck Back

    In the mid-1970s, Rep. Otis Pike led a brave inquiry to rein in the excesses of the national security state. But the CIA and its defenders accused Pike of recklessness and vowed retaliation, assigning him to a political obscurity that continued to his recent death, as Lisa Pease recounts.

  12. Fort Hollywood: ‘Lone Survivor’ and the Rush to ‘Remember’ What is Not Over

    As a former soldier and war resister, I no longer suffer from a military fetish. I’m not interested in war porn, not aroused by excessive on-screen violence. As a veteran, it might surprise you to hear that I am not interested in how Private Ryan was saved, or how the Brothers became a Band in the killing fields of Europe by killing the proverbial ‘bad guy’. I’m more interested in learning what brought these men to the killing fields. The background story, the political dimension; why these old men in Washington sent these young men to slaughter and die, and who profits from the carnage. But these inquiries hardly ever survive the cutting room floor.

  13. CIA director: Benghazi rescuers required to sign non-disclosure agreements because contracts being updated
  14. Report sheds light on ex-CIA deputy director’s role in Benghazi talking points

    The recently-released bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi sheds new light on the role of Michael Morell, the CIA’s former deputy director, in the official “talking points” explanations put forward after the attack.

  15. Revelations of CIA involvement with Benghazi Cover-up

    Regardless of Barack Obama’s unwillingness to answer Bill O’Reilly’s questions in the pre-Super Bowl interview, the White House led cover up of the truth behind the Benghazi attack won’t die.

  16. How Many Non-Combatants Are Killed by Drones?

    Adam Schiff, a Democratic congressman from California, urged the nation’s intelligence leaders today to get behind an important idea: The Obama administration, he said, should publish an annual report on American drone strikes, showing how many combatants and especially how many non-combatants are killed by unmanned aircraft each year.

  17. Day 77: Protesters send back 15 suspected NATO containers
  18. US halting drone attacks will be beneficial for dialogue: Imran

    In the interview with Bloomberg, Khan said terrorism would be fueled if talks failed and a military operation followed.

    The peace negotiations between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan will probably fail and a resulting military operation would lead to more violence, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan told Bloomberg.

  19. U.S. sharply curtails drone strikes in Pakistan: report
  20. U.S. to Curb Pakistan Drone Program

    The Obama administration will narrow its controversial drone program in Pakistan to target a short list of high-level terrorists, and aim to end it during the prime minister’s current term, senior U.S. officials have told their Pakistani counterparts.

  21. U.S. said to curtail drone strikes in Pakistan as officials there seek peace talks with Taliban

    The Obama administration has sharply curtailed drone strikes in Pakistan after a request from the government there for restraint as it pursues peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, according to U.S. officials.

  22. Is Pakistan drone strike hiatus linked to peace talks?

    Peace talks between Pakistani authorities and the Taliban (TTP) have been delayed or derailed at least four times since January 2013 because of US drone strikes on high-ranking militants, the Bureau has found.

    It is now 43 days since the last reported US drone strike in Pakistan – the longest hiatus in over two years. Rahimullah Yusufzai, a Peshawar-based reporter who is part of the team negotiating with the TTP on behalf of the Pakistani government, confirmed to the Bureau that Islamabad had asked the US for a cessation of drone strikes during the latest round of peace talks, which started today.

  23. Pakistan wants end to US drone attacks: FO

    Pakistan on Thursday said it wanted a complete end to US drone strikes and not a decrease in their frequency.

  24. The truth about the criminal bloodbath in Iraq can’t be ‘countered’ indefinitely

    The media cover-up has been a weapon in the crimes of western states since the first world war.

  25. In Yemen, questions and anger over U.S. drone targets
  26. US military steps up operations in the Horn of Africa

    The Pentagon’s recently created East Africa Response Force (EARF) is here. Its soldiers flew at short notice to South Sudan in December to protect the US embassy and its staff, a lesson learnt from the catastrophic attack on the poorly defended US consulate in Benghazi.

  27. Robert Greenwald turns his lens on drone warfare in ‘Unmanned’

    Greenwald embodies the populism of George Bailey and the sly delight of a spy handed a secret dossier. His Brave New Films has skewered Wal-Mart, Fox News (Bill O’Reilly despises him) and the conservative politics of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Greenwald’s narratives have criticized the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and his latest documentary condemns the Obama administration’s drone program for killing civilians in Pakistan and other countries in a misguided strategy to combat terror.

  28. Killer robot flight: Video of UK’s autonomous drone released
  29. Why I stood in the rain for hours outside Brize Norton

    The UK and France have this funny relationship, but let’s not get into that. They’ve both signed a treaty to get rid of nuclear weapons but the UK government has already spent billions making the parts to renew Trident, our current nuclear arsenal, despite the vote on whether or not to renew it being in 2016. On top of this, at a time of huge cuts, austerity and job losses especially within local councils, our Prime Minister David Cameron met with French President Francois Hollande at Brize Norton RAF base to make a deal on a new, more autonomous drone, at a cost of £120m to the taxpayer. I stood outside with a banner.

  30. Drone Killing and Wars of Aggression are ILLEGAL!

    You have heard testimony that Weaponized Drones, including those flown from Hancock Air National Guard Base are on the front line of illegal wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries around the world. You have heard testimony that Armed Drones threaten civilian populations in these countries, and contrary to government assertions, kill indiscriminately, leaving a trail of dead civilians in their wake. Even the oft affirmed ‘militant’ target is a civilian in most cases, perhaps in every case depending whether American combatants can be said to be engaged in a legal war. According to Customary International Law and numerous treaties which I will now elaborate, these wars of aggression are illegal.

  31. Drones: From bad habit to terrible policy

    This culture of secrecy underscores the reality that real drone reform is on the verge of conclusively failing to launch. Despite months of political fury and negative press, the drone program and its worst impulse — to kill without accountability for who is killed and why — are poised to become a permanent part of the way the United States conducts counterterrorism.

  32. 6 Unanswered Questions About Obama’s Drone War

    On January 23, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized his first drone strike. The attack, launched against a compound in northwestern Pakistan, killed between 7 and 15 people—but missed the Taliban hideout the Central Intelligence Agency thought it was targeting. Over the next five years, the CIA carried out more than 390 known drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. (The agency carried out 51 drone strikes between 2004 and 2009, during the Bush administration.)

  33. Former Bush AG Alberto Gonzales Says Obama’s Drone War Exceeded the Law

    Brace yourself: George W. Bush’s former attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, is arguing publicly that the Obama administration’s drone war exceeds legal limits on executive authority. As anyone with a memory of Gonzales’s tenure under Bush knows, this is more than a little ironic.

  34. Killer Robot: What Crosses the Line?

    Expect the activism to grow.

  35. Unmanned drone crash closes White Sand National park

    An unmanned drone from Holloman Air Force Base crashed at White Sands National Monument.

  36. Defense contracts are hard to kill. Does that show up in lobbying totals?

    Over the weekend, my colleague Marjorie Censer published a story that tells us a lot about why the U.S. military costs so much: Legislators won’t let the people in uniform spend less money, even when expensive programs outlive their usefulness. In this case, it’s the iconic tank, which BAE Systems has built in York, Pa., since the 1960s. Though modern warfare requires more long-range systems like drones and missiles than overwhelming force on the ground, Congress has continued to give the Army more money than it’s even asked for to keep building expeditionary fighting vehicles.

  37. Sign a Drone Treaty Before Everyone Does as We Do

    We need an international agreement before the U.S. modus operandi becomes the international norm.

02.07.14

Canalys Accused of Being Liars and Pushers of Microsoft Propaganda

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Canalys

Summary: The latest lies from Canalys are basically Microsoft promotion disguised as “just statistics”

WE HAVE REPEATEDLY seen and reported dubious claims of Microsoft “success” in mobile because it always turns out to be baseless propaganda, often from Microsoft-paid entities.

We are again seeing all sorts of ridiculous claims about Microsoft mobile “success” (tiny gains) — claims that are mostly thrown around for promotion by Microsoft booster and shameless (at times AstroTurfing) PR agencies. The Microsoft boosters really need some source to cite if they sell an illusion and ZDNet (part of ) is a popular source because there’s lots of Microsoft staff and boosters there, masquerading as “journalists” (Microsoft Zack, for example, plays the Microsoft “privacy” card at ZDNet these days, omitting his employment at Microsoft). ZDNet‘s worst writer, Rachel King (we covered her for propaganda and PR before), writes that “Windows Mobile is coming on the strongest, poised to be the biggest disruptor in 2014.” [1]

Oh, really?

This reminds us of familiar deception from Microsoft- and Apple-funded firms like Net Applications (no longer cited anymore; maybe after a while they stop funding disgraced entities and move on to another, just as they do with their lobbyists).

Canalys and its shameless lies are already debunked thoroughly by Tomi Ahonen [2]. “On Mythbusters today,” he wrote, “did Windows Phone really grow more last year than Android and iOS? We put Canalys to the test. And also in today’s program the Microsoft way to cook your books. Mythbusters team tires to turn a yes into a no. How can you tell the opposite of the truth through the magic of statistics.”

Remember when IDC was paid by Microsoft to make fake market share studies and also to push out to the press (not just IDG) bogus claims? Microsoft did the same with Gartner. So the question remains, what is the relationship (if any) between Canalys and Microsoft? We might never know. It took a long while to discover that Microsoft had paid Net Applications and also had former staff there (prolonging the myths around market share). It was not an isolated incident or example. We covered many more.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Canalys: 80 percent of all smartphones shipped in 2013 ran Android

    For quite awhile now, there has been no question about which operating system dominates the smartphone market, domestic or worldwide. Android’s reach is not slowing down either, based on a new report from global market research firm Canalys.

  2. Paging Mythbusters Again: Did Microsoft’s Windows Phone Really Grow More in 2012 Than Android or iOS? – How to Lie Creatively with Statistics: The Canalys Are Deliberately Misleading and Utterly Untrustworthy Edition (PS: Not first time for Canalys)

    Mark Twain quoted Benjamin Disraeli saying that there were three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. This is the mythbusters edition about Canalys the supposedly professional mobile industry analyst house who would like to sell you their expensive reports. its been a while since we’ve had to do some work as the industry’s stats police but unfortunately for the supposedly trustworthy Canalys, this is already the second time they are on our agenda.

02.05.14

‘New’ Microsoft Leadership Just Rebranding of Patent Extortion, Bribery, and Illegal Surveillance

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents at 7:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A closer look and briefer analysis (than most) of people whom Microsoft is grooming amid perception-altering appointments

Analysis of the press release from Microsoft has been shallow and promotional. Watch out for bogus ‘reporting’ from Microsoft boosters like Peter ‘Bright’, to give just one example among hundreds or thousands jaw-dropping puff pieces. Even some Microsoft-hostile circles have offered too week a scrutiny, if any at all. Let’s sum up what it’s all about (and it’s mostly marketing, not real news).

Microsoft has a new racketeer in chief, overseeing patent extortion along with Horacio while putting a ‘gentle’ face on it. It is all just a rebranding exercise — a familiar old trick that the company behind Kin and Vista is known for. This is a persona routine that marketing companies are renowned for and villains/abusers like BP or Monsanto are (in)famous for.

Also joining the leadership is the man best known for his leadership in GNU/Linux foe Symantec and his role in Seagate, a company sometimes known for its NSA connections just like Microsoft (those three are all connected, or even four if Symantec gets counted because Seagate preinstalls Microsoft software on drives and Symantec profits from Windows). As a timely side note, avoid Seagate. They are absolutely horrible, both technically (based on new studies [1, 2]) and ethically. Today I had to print labels at a high price at some shop to send back my faulty drive to Segate (Netherlands); they shipped me a faulty drive to replace another drive that had gone faulty. Seagate is garbage.

Last but not least, Microsoft boasts the involvement of serial felon, tax evader and patent booster, who is making money by charging taxpayers for his patents against their will and through governments (as an investor in Wal-Mart, for example, his quickly-growing money hoard is at least partly funded by taxpayers, as Wal-Mart itself admits [1]).

Based on what seems like a satirical piece about Vista 8, this man who joked about Vista being crappy (video from Homer) is now complaining about Vista. To quote Homer’s analysis of the satirical piece: “Bill Gates’ first day at work in the newly created role of technology adviser got off to a rocky start yesterday as the Microsoft founder struggled for hours to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

“The installation hit a snag early on, sources said, when Mr. Gates repeatedly received an error message informing him that his PC ran into a problem that it could not handle and needed to restart.

“After failing to install the upgrade by lunchtime, Mr. Gates summoned the new Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella, who attempted to help him with the installation, but with no success.

As Will Hill points out: “Sadly, satire: PR for Gates and advertisement for Vista 7.”

This is pretty much all over the press these days: whitewash, humour, PR, and viral marketing. There was a similar story about Ballmer trying to get rid of a virus, requiring days of work and the help of several ‘engineers’. That was in Vista days, but in court documents it turned out that Ballmer and others really did struggle with Vista and expressed concerns.

Going back to Gates, it’s all decoy, distraction, and appeal to the press. So all we have here is one fake ‘charitable’ hoarder who increases his wealth by surveillance, private police thugs (G4S), GMO etc. and two people of ethnic minorities with proximity to NSA (Azure and Seagate). This is not change or reform, it’s just like the Obama speech about the NSA.

A week or so ago Microsoft booster Julie Bort was prolonging the myth of Microsoft as “an insanely profitable company” [2] when she said Microsoft should kick Gates out of the board. This reveals that Ballmer too will continue to be involved. So here we see that the architects of illegal activities still run Microsoft. Ballmer and Gates are to Microsoft what Clapper and Alexander have been to the NSA in recent years.

Remember that Gates has had a lot to do with Microsoft’s patent extortion strategy. Now that we learn about more patent deals [3] we should remember that there is nothing “gentle” or “charitable” at Microsoft. It’s the same ruthless people, including the man who was put on trial for business crimes and was arrested when he was young (to be bailed out by his affluent family). It’s all just marketing now.

“The new patent cross-licensing agreement is designed to protect both companies from patent lawsuits,” says the Microsoft booster about Google and Cisco. What a classic mischaracterisation of patents.

Where is the criticism of Gates for rackeetering? Where are the good investigative articles from Wired, which nowadays (on a weekly basis) seems to be acting as Gates’ private perception management journal?

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. In Rare Moment of Honesty, Wal-Mart Admits that Food Stamps Subsidize their Profits

    Walmart has been in the national spotlight for their poverty wages and employees’ reliance on government assistance. In their quarterly report, Walmart is set to announce that their profits have taken a hit. In a moment of rare honesty, they cited the Republican funding cut to the federal food stamp (SNAP) program as a part of the reason for their lower profit margins, admitting that the federal food stamp program amounts to corporate welfare that subsidizes their profits.

  2. Kicking Bill Gates Off The Board Is The Best Thing Microsoft Can Do

    Microsoft is an insanely profitable company standing on the edge of disaster. It desperately needs new thinking.

    With word that 22-year Microsoft veteran Satya Nadella is likely the new CEO, attention turns to the leadership of the company’s board of directors. It will have two former CEOs, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

    So new thinking is unlikely to come from them.

  3. Google, Cisco sign deal to avoid future patent squabbles

01.22.14

Microsoft Caught AstroTurfing Again, But Is Criminal Prosecution Imminent? (Unlikely)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 2:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: Microsoft has yet again been caught bribing people to illegally generate fake, widely-distributed positive coverage, but don’t count on any legal action against Microsoft

TIME AFTER TIME, as we have covered in great length with many examples of Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, the monopolist got away with illegal activity, ranging from bribes to editors to bribes to people who edit Wikipedia. Microsoft also bribed professors, famous bloggers, and committee members. Normally it seems like Microsoft can just get away with anything. It’s like the NSA.

“Microsoft, as always, is hiding behind its shadowy PR agencies in order to make the bribes harder to see.”Microsoft is exceptionally corrupt a company with a long history of crime and abuses (with no real response from the state, which is also bribed by Microsoft), so AstroTurfing for Xbox is hardly a surprise. Microsoft, as always, is hiding behind its shadowy PR agencies in order to make the bribes harder to see. Not too longer ago Microsoft bribed people to post positive comments in Reddit about products like Xbox. This shouldn’t shock anyone. It’s quite normal, but rarely does the corporate media cover it.

This time too coverage of another scandal comes mostly from small technology news sites. To quote: “The line between traditional, paid advertising and organic editorial content on the Internet can sometimes be hazy. A recent stealth promotional campaign between Microsoft and Machinima highlights just how hazy that line has become, and how behind-the-scenes payments can drive ostensibly independent opinion-mongering on by users on services like YouTube.”

Over the years I repeatedly complained to the FTC about what was clearly illegal behaviour by Microsoft. But complaining to the US government about Microsoft is a bit like complaining to the US government about the NSA. Microsoft is connected to NSA/CIA (it receives money from the CIA and works with the NSA), so just like them, Microsoft enjoys infuriating protection from the state. Right now the company is sort of treated like a part of covert criminal enforcement (hailed by the state for tackling its own virus plots), even though what it actually does can be classified as criminal activity (including financial fraud that it got caught engaging in until the SEC let it get away with for a small fine). Given the futility of the FTC, iophk asked: “What about complaining to the BBB?”

“Even with sufficient corporate press coverage it seems unlikely that someone will be held accountable and receive punishment.”Now that Microsoft is bribing governments (Ballmer seemingly escaped on time) there’s plenty of discussion in our IRC channels, trying to assess if and how Microsoft can be held accountable for clearly illegal behaviour. Forbes has covered this scandal and there is an overview of coverage in IDG [1] (some are Xbox foes), so there’s no lack of evidence and reporting on the matter. This is the exception, not the norm (the coverage, not the type of activity). iophk said: “When I checked a while back there were lots of complaints but all glossed over.” As Slashdot put it [2], “breaks FTC disclosure rules (PDF). Microsoft has a well-known history of astroturfing, but is this the first proof of them doing it illegally?” No, hardly! We covered about a dozen such examples (the ones we know about), but the media failed to report on them.

Even with sufficient corporate press coverage it seems unlikely that someone will be held accountable and receive punishment. Microsoft was thinking it would not get caught, but this time it was wrong. Well, often enough it’s caught bribing but rarely is it paying a fine or even receiving negative publicity for it, so why not take the risk anyway?

The main problem here is that inaction from regulatory bodies and law enforcement will send Microsoft the signal that the practice is still worth pursuing. It is “astroturfing still,” iophk argued, and “if they stopped paying, you’d probably hear nothing of MS again ever, at least nothing positive” (Microsoft has been artificially injecting coverage about itself for several decades and we gave a lot of examples).

“According to a leaked copy of the full legal agreement behind the promotion,” said one article, “video creators “may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its Games” and must keep the details of the promotional agreement confidential” (i.e. hide one’s participation in illegal practices).

iopkh says that “more such whistleblowers are needed to show this thing as it is” and he rightly notes that “the long history of astroturfing is not yet mentioned. Press has a short memory, if even they covered the problem in the first place.”

The conclusion, as Sosumi puts it, is that “every time you see a positive Microsoft review” you can assume AstroTurfing. And moreover, “if you raise too many concerns about a product or just give a negative note, you’re out” (that’s how journalists are being pressured to self-censor).

iophk says that “if the astroturfing and bribery went away, you’d stop hearing virtually anything positive about MS” (there’s not much of it left, unless it’s paid for).

The most important point of this post is that we should eagerly pursue legal action. Failing to do so assures that Microsoft will continue to do this. Microsoft has done this for decades.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft paying YouTube personalities for positive Xbox One endorsements

    Forget the console wars of years past—the bombs dropped on E3 stages, the quippy ads with lines like, “Genesis does what Nintendon’t.” Those days are gone. We’ve now entered the Cold War phase of the console wars, a period of secrecy and cloak-and-dagger tactics.

    [...]

    A copy of the full legal agreement behind the promotion escaped into the wild. In it, there’s a confidentiality section that states unequivocally, “You agree to keep confidential at all times all matters relating to this Agreement, including, without limitation, the Promotional Requirements, and the CPM Compensation, listed above.”

    Additionally, creators “may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its Games” in their videos.

  2. Microsoft Paying for Positive XBox One Coverage on YouTube

    “Microsoft, partnered with Machinima, has put forth a promotion for YouTube personalities: make a video about the XBox One and get money for it. Problematically, they also require the reviewer not to disclose that they’re getting paid (or mention anything negative), which breaks FTC disclosure rules (PDF). Microsoft has a well-known history of astroturfing, but is this the first proof of them doing it illegally?”

01.18.14

1984 is Here: Microsoft Remotely Deletes Free/Open Source Software From Windows, Sells Malware Under Pretense of ‘Openness’ (Newspeak)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Orwellian acts from Microsoft

Kindle
Digital book burning device

Summary: Microsoft is approaching rivals of the United States, offering them spyware and malware under the guise of “openness” that moles like Gianugo Rabellino promote (while Microsoft remotely purges privacy-preserving Open Source software from users’ PCs)

MICROSOFT WOULD suit China very well. They’re both horrific when it comes to human rights, but China seems to be uninterested in Microsoft. Based on a new report posted in ZDNet on Friday, China is making its own “Linux operating system” for mobile devices (maybe a consequence of distrusting the NSA, which is a strong Microsoft partner). One can always count on Microsoft to send some deceiving lobbyist or mole like Rabellino [1, 2, 3, 4] to Asia, as it reportedly did some months ago (we covered one example from the Philippines). It’s all about openwashing Microsoft because Linux and GNU are gaining there. We already saw a lot in Cablegate about how Microsoft derails pro-FOSS policies in Asia. Here is Rabellino’s latest ‘mole tripping’ in Asia, using a Microsoft proxy to pretend that Microsoft is about FOSS. To quote a shallow, weak report (placement) from IDG, “A Microsoft Open Technologies subsidiary is coming to Shanghai, as the company aims to expand its open-source and open standards efforts in China.

China does not need spyware from Microsoft. It should kick out those moles, too. Rabellino is quoted as saying: “Creating a subsidiary of Microsoft Open Technologies sends a very clear signal that we care about openness.”

What utter nonesense. Rabellino is either stupid (which he is not) or he is being dishonest for a salary. No company has attacked FOSS (Microsoft won’t use the F word, “freedom”) as much as Microsoft. How can Rabellino honestly utter these words? It’s PR and deception, that’s all it is.

Looking elsewhere in the news and making a case to prove Microsoft’s disdain of FOSS, here again, ‘for security’ [1], Microsoft is deleting Free software from Windows, remotely even [via]. What does that software do? It helps anonymity on the Web; it’s a privacy tool. Microsoft is intercepting both privacy and freedom at the same time. Rabellino should be ashamed of himself for trying to deceive the Chinese and lure them into the NSA trap which is Microsoft. Remember when Amazon remotely deleted books like "1984"? Well, Amazon is now working closely for the CIA; that helps these same observations be explained sometimes.

Microsoft is not about openness. It makes and maintained (with new back doors) insecure-by-design software for the NSA. This includes Skype. Watch the new article titled “Skype ready to share users’ data with Russian police” [2]. No further comment needed. Microsoft is “open”.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft’s secret battle against the Tor botnet

    Why also remove Tor? Microsoft did not respond to our questions directly. But shortly after we reached out, Microsoft’s Geoff McDonald wrote a blog post about the issue. McDonald said that leaving the Tor clients installed posed a severe threat to infected machines.

  2. Skype ready to share users’ data with Russian police

    Microsoft Corporation that owns the Internet call service Skype is ready to keep in store its Russian users’ negotiations, correspondence and data exchange during six months and share it with the Russian police, if necessary, Microsoft’s press office told Itar-Tass.

    Microsoft thus confirmed its commitment to work in full compliance with the Russian law, the way it does in all countries of its operations. If any new law is adopted, the company will comply with it as well, the press office said.

01.15.14

Dr. Dobb’s and Forrester ‘Research’ (Microsoft-Funded) Tools of Microsoft Mass Propaganda

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft appears to be using its propaganda partners to paint a deceiving picture of itself

OUR contributor iophk has warned about what he called “product placement”, linking to some new puff piece titled “Microsoft on the ascent – it is cool to be a nerd”.

Looking at what it actually cites as a source, it is the Microsoft-funded (bribed) Forrester, a longtime propaganda tool (instrument of mass deception in exchange for money). The puff piece says: “Microsoft is the “most trusted and essential tech brand,” according to 4,551 US adults recently surveyed by Forrester Research. The survey gauges customer preference of one brand over others, their willingness to pay a premium, and other factors. Forrester called it a “surprise upset.””

This is probably yet another bogus survey, like the surveys Microsoft pays IDC to conduct (asking only circles of people who are already close to or affiliated with Microsoft). Microsoft must be very, very desperate for good publicity, especially with all those NSA scandals.

But it’s not just Forrester though. We previous showed all sorts of shady “think tanks” doing the same thing, calling Microsoft “most ethical company” or something along those lines. It’s objectively false; it’s propaganda. We sometimes see it coming even from Microsoft-funded publications and writers, who were all along technically wrong based on what we’re seeing now (Microsoft is on the decline).

Andrew Binstock, Dr. Dobb’s Executive Editor, is another example of it. Three years ago he and his publication were rebutted as follows: “I’ve subscribed to Dr Dobbs journal off and on for decades, probably for ten to 15 years in total. Wherever I turn in this house, I encounter stacks of old issues of DDJ, even though I’ve thrown away quite a number. A couple of years ago I stopped subscribing, since the main focus of DDJ was drifting away from my main focus, or vice versa, or both. Since Microsoft started buying up all the people central to the C++ evolution, then riddling their version of it with proprietary “extensions” (or rather limitations), that language has become more and more of a dead end and both I, and DDJ moved away from it. But during the years, I’ve often read parts of DDJ on the web and I do get the “Dr Dobbs Update” through email every now and then. The most recent arrived two days ago and had the weirdest “Editor’s Note” ever, at least as far as one would expect from DDJ.”

“The gist of the editor’s note is that Microsoft isn’t as bad as it’s often made out to be. Andrew Binstock, DDJ’s executive editor, takes great pains in the note to show that he is definitely not a classic Microsoft apologist…”

It has been noted (for years) by our readers that something changed in Dr. Dobb’s when it changed hands and suddenly become Microsoft-friendly, FOSS-hostile, and generally non-factual.

It’s not uncommon to see companies, publications, think tanks etc. receiving bribes (soft bribes) to produce propaganda for the payer, but with Microsoft it has become systematic, widespread, and overt. People cannot believe what they read anymore; it’s all lobbying and placements, like those which the network of climate change denial is behind.

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