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08.03.15

Links 3/8/2015: Linux 4.2 RC5, Korora 22

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • A College Without Classes

    Had Daniella Kippnick followed in the footsteps of the hundreds of millions of students who have earned university degrees in the past millennium, she might be slumping in a lecture hall somewhere while a professor droned. But Kippnick has no course lectures. She has no courses to attend at all. No classroom, no college quad, no grades. Her university has no deadlines or tenure-track professors.

    Instead, Kippnick makes her way through different subject matters on the way to a bachelor’s in accounting. When she feels she’s mastered a certain subject, she takes a test at home, where a proctor watches her from afar by monitoring her computer and watching her over a video feed. If she proves she’s competent—by getting the equivalent of a B—she passes and moves on to the next subject.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Aging Pipes Are Poisoning America’s Tap Water

      In Flint, Michigan, lead, copper, and bacteria are contaminating the drinking supply and making residents ill. If other cities fail to fix their old pipes, the problem could soon become a lot more common.

      [...]

      In the past 16 months, abnormally high levels of e. coli, trihamlomethanes, lead, and copper have been found in the city’s water, which comes from the local river (a dead body and an abandoned car were also found in the same river). Mays and other residents say that the city government endangered their health when it stopped buying water from Detroit last year and instead started selling residents treated water from the Flint River. “I’ve never seen a first-world city have such disregard for human safety,” she told me.

  • Security

    • DNS server attacks begin using BIND software flaw

      Attackers have started exploiting a flaw in the most widely used software for the DNS (Domain Name System), which translates domain names into IP addresses.

      Last week, a patch was issued for the denial-of-service flaw, which affects all versions of BIND 9, open-source software originally developed by the University of California at Berkeley in the 1980s.

    • Researchers Create First Firmware Worm That Attacks Macs

      The common wisdom when it comes to PCs and Apple computers is that the latter are much more secure. Particularly when it comes to firmware, people have assumed that Apple systems are locked down in ways that PCs aren’t.

      It turns out this isn’t true. Two researchers have found that several known vulnerabilities affecting the firmware of all the top PC makers can also hit the firmware of MACs. What’s more, the researchers have designed a proof-of-concept worm for the first time that would allow a firmware attack to spread automatically from MacBook to MacBook, without the need for them to be networked.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Haven From the Animal Holocaust

      There are mornings when Susie Coston, walking up to the gate of this bucolic farm in her rubber boots, finds crates of pigs, sheep, chickens, goats, geese or turkeys on the dirt road. Sometimes there are notes with the crates letting her know that the animals are sick or injured. The animals, often barely able to stand when taken from the crates, have been rescued from huge industrial or factory farms by activists.

      The crates are delivered anonymously under the cover of darkness. This is because those who liberate animals from factory farms are considered terrorists under U.S. law. If caught, they can get a 10-year prison term and a $250,000 fine under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. That is the punishment faced by two activists who were arrested in Oakland, Calif., last month and charged with freeing more than 5,700 minks in 2013, destroying breeding records and vandalizing other property of the fur industry.

  • Finance

    • Jimmy Carter: U.S. Is an ‘Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery’

      Former President Jimmy Carter had some harsh words to say about the current state of America’s electoral process, calling the country “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery” resulting in “nominations for president or to elect the president.” When asked this week by The Thom Hartmann Program (via The Intercept) about the Supreme Court’s April 2014 decision to eliminate limits on campaign donations, Carter said the ruling “violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system.”

    • Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery”

      Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, “look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.”

    • Charles Koch calls for unity against ‘corporate welfare’

      As top GOP presidential candidates arrived at a hotel here to court the influential donors of the Koch network, Charles Koch called on retreat attendees to unite with him in a campaign against “corporate welfare” and “irresponsible spending” by both political parties.

      Speaking on the hotel’s grassy lawn with the Pacific Ocean shimmering behind him, Koch opened the gathering hosted by Freedom Partners by noting that the theme of the weekend would be “Unleashing Our Free Society.” Koch network donors and politicians alike must work toward “eliminating welfare for the wealthy,” he said.

    • Fox Analyst Compares Donald Trump To St. Augustine And Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • At NY Observer, Trump’s Too Close to Cover–but Promoting Publisher’s Real Estate Is No Problem

      The Huffington Post‘s Michael Calderone (7/28/15) had a piece on the ethical dilemma posed for the weekly New York Observer by the fact that its owner and publisher, Jared Kushner, is married to Ivanka Trump, daughter of real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. One would expect the Observer to be all over the Trump story, given that its self-proclaimed mission is to cover “the city’s influencers in politics, culture, luxury and real estate who collectively make New York City unique,” but instead the paper has had next to nothing to say about Trump’s controversy-fueled presidential bid.

  • Censorship

    • Anti-Web Blocking Site More Popular in the UK than Spotify & Skype

      A service that helps users circumvent web-blocking injunctions handed down by the UK High Court has grown to become one of the country’s most popular websites. Unblocked.pw provides instant access to dozens of otherwise blocked domains and is currently ranked 192nd in the UK, ahead of both Spotify and Skype.

    • David Cameron Wants To Shut Down Porn Sites Because Kids Are Clever Enough To Defeat Age Restrictions

      UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been using “porn” moral panics as a wedge issue to ramp up censorship and control over the internet in the UK. He’s been pushing aspects of it for years, including demands for the impossible: filters that block “bad content” but allow “good content.” Yes, it does seem bizarre that someone in as powerful a position as David Cameron sees the world in such a black and white way, but remember, this is the same guy who bases his defense of more spying powers on what happens in fictional TV crime dramas.

      His latest plan? Well, he’s insisting that he’s going to shut down porn websites if they don’t guarantee to keep out everyone under the age of 18. Yes, many sites have some age controls, but kids aren’t stupid and can usually figure out a way around them. And that’s always going to be the case. And it’s been the case since pornography existed. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it’s quite likely that David Cameron himself first came across pornographic material long before his 18th birthday.

    • The Pirate Bay Will Be Blocked in Austria

      Following a European trend, an Austrian Court has ordered a local ISP to block access to The Pirate Bay. The legal action, brought by copyright holders, resulted in an injunction which orders the ISPs to block access to several popular torrent sites and also affects Isohunt.to, 1337x.to and h33t.to.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ and Me

      Events were about to take me on a different journey. Behind me, sharp footfalls broke the stillness. A squad was running, hard, toward the porch of the house we had left. Suited men surrounded us. A burly middle-aged cop held up his police ID. We had broken “Section 2″ of Britain’s secrecy law, he claimed. These were “Special Branch,” then the elite security division of the British police.

      For a split second, I thought this was a hustle. I knew that a parliamentary commission had released a report five years earlier that concluded that the secrecy law, first enacted a century ago, should be changed. I pulled out my journalist identification card, ready to ask them to respect the press.

    • I’m Quitting Social Media to Learn What I Actually Like

      Three years ago, I began taking August off social media. I wasn’t alone. That was the year everyone started writing about digital detoxes, smartphone-free summer camps, and Facebook cleanses. One writer at the Verge took a year’s vacation from the Internet.

      I don’t seem to see those stories as much anymore. To figure out why, I decided to ask my 1,868 Facebook friends. I pulled up the site, but before I could properly articulate the question, I noticed a guy I met briefly five years ago had posted hiking photos from the same place I went hiking last week. We had both been in Oregon!! What a coincidence! I clicked on the photo and saw he’d been there with a woman I knew from high school. Well, how do they know each other? I clicked on her photo and up came a profile pic of three tiny children, all adorable. The youngest had a Brown University shirt on. A little bit of digging revealed that, in fact, her husband had gotten a job at my alma mater and they’d all moved to Providence. I’d learned so much in just five minutes, but what was it I’d wanted to know from Facebook?

    • Supporter Newsletter: July 2015

      And now, after taking legal action, the High Court has ruled that DRIPA was indeed inconsistent with EU law.

  • Civil Rights

    • Police in Norway Haven’t Killed Anyone in Nearly 10 Years

      Police in Norway hardly ever use their guns, a new report released by the Scandinavian country’s government shows. In fact, it’s been almost 10 years since law enforcement shot and killed someone, in 2006.

      Perhaps the most telling instance was when terrorist Anders Breivik opened fire in 2011 and killed 77 people in Utoya and Oslo. Authorities fired back at him, all right, but only a single time. In 2014, officers drew their guns 42 times, but they fired just two shots while on duty. No one was hurt in either of those instances.

    • Training Officers to Shoot First, and He Will Answer Questions Later

      Dr. Lewinski and his company have provided training for dozens of departments, including in Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Seattle. His messages often conflict, in both substance and tone, with the training now recommended by the Justice Department and police organizations.

      The Police Executive Research Forum, a group that counts most major city police chiefs as members, has called for greater restraint from officers and slower, better decision making. Chuck Wexler, its director, said he is troubled by Dr. Lewinski’s teachings. He added that even as chiefs changed their use-of-force policies, many did not know what their officers were taught in academies and private sessions.

    • Spanish Cops Use New Law To Fine Facebook Commenter For Calling Them ‘Slackers’

      On July 1st, the Spanish government enacted a set of laws designed to keep disruption within its borders to a minimum. In addition to making dissent illegal (criminal acts now include “public disruption” and “unauthorized protests”), Spanish legislators decided the nation’s law enforcement officers should be above reproach. This doesn’t mean Spanish cops will be behaving better. It just means the public will no longer be able to criticize them.

    • German Netzpolitik journalists investigated for treason

      Press freedom is under threat in Germany — two journalists and their alleged source are under investigation for potential treason for disclosing and reporting what appears to be an illegal and secret plan to spy on German citizens.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why ISPs still take forever to install business Internet service

      Dealing with telcos and carriers for enterprise circuit installation is still a royal pain. Haven’t we been doing this long enough to do it well?

    • The Web We Have to Save

      Blogs gave form to that spirit of decentralization: They were windows into lives you’d rarely know much about; bridges that connected different lives to each other and thereby changed them. Blogs were cafes where people exchanged diverse ideas on any and every topic you could possibly be interested in. They were Tehran’s taxicabs writ large.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Killing Spotify’s Free Version Will Boost Piracy

        Spotify is generally hailed as a piracy killer, with music file-sharing traffic dropping in virtually every country where the service launches. However, much of this effect may be lost if recent calls to end Spotify’s free tier are honored.

      • Google Asked to Remove 18 ‘Pirate Links’ Every Second

        Copyright holders continue to increase the number of copyright takedown requests they send to Google. As a result the company is currently asked to remove a record breaking 18 links to “pirate” pages from its search results every second, a number that is still increasing at a rapid pace.

      • Kim Dotcom claims deal offered

        He says the offers included one which was conditional on him leaving New Zealand, where he has been a thorn in the side of the government since he and three colleagues were arrested at the request of the FBI in January 2012.

      • Copying And Sharing Was Always A Natural Right; Restricting Copying Never Was

        In the still-ongoing debate over sharing it’s paramount to realize that sharing and copying was always the natural state, and that restricting of copying is an arbitrary restriction of property rights.

08.02.15

Links 2/8/2015: KDE Applications 15.08 Beta, Zorin OS 10

Posted in News Roundup at 1:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • OS showdown: Windows 10 vs Linux

      Linux remains the undisputed champion of the server world, which is why it runs most of the internet. We have world class web servers and databases, industrial grade distributions (such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux or the free CentOS) and the advantage of open source on our side. Linux virtual machines tend to be much cheaper than their Windows counterparts, and are certainly much more efficient thanks to its modular nature.

  • Server

    • Smaller Docker containers for Go apps

      Most of our services are in Go, and thanks to the fact that compiled Go binaries are mostly-statically linked by default, it’s possible to create containers with very few files within. It’s surely possible to use these techniques to create tighter containers for other languages that need more runtime support, but for this post I’m only focusing on Go apps.

  • Kernel Space

    • In Korean, Multipath TCP is pronounced GIGA Path

      Enabling Multipath TCP on the smartphone is the first step in deploying it. However, this is not sufficient since there are very few servers that support Multipath TCP today. To enable their users to benefit from Multipath TCP for all the applications that they use, KT has opted for a SOCKSv5 proxy. This proxy is running on x86 servers using release 0.89.5 of the open-source Multipath TCP implementation in the Linux kernel. During the presentation, SungHoon Seo mentioned that despite the recent rollout of the service, there were already 5,500 active users on the SOCKS proxy the last time he checked. Thanks to this proxy, the subscribes of the Giga Path service in Korea can benefit from Multipath TCP with all the TCP-based applications that they use.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Announces the Beta of KDE Applications 15.08, Based on KDE Frameworks 5

        After having a lot of fun at Akademy 2015, the annual world summit of KDE, which took place in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain between July 25-31, the KDE developers finally decided to post the announcement for the Beta release of KDE Applications 15.08.

      • Plasma 5: Keeping an Eye on the Disk Quota

        At this year’s KDE conference Akademy, I was working on a small plasmoid to continuously track the disk quota.

        The disk quota is usually used in enterprise installations where network shares are mounted locally. Typically, sysadmins want to avoid that users copy lots of data into their folders, and therefor set quotas (the quota limit has nothing to do with the physical size of a partition). Typically, once a user gets over the hard limit of the quota, the account is blocked and the user cannot login anymore. This happens from time to time, since the users are not really aware of the current quota limit and the already used disk space.

      • KDEPIM 5.0

        KDEPIM 5.0 is the port of kdepim to kf5/qt5.

      • rsibreak port to KF5 started!

        I just started the port of rsibreak to KF5.

      • Akademy 2015
      • Akademy 2015 and Akademy-es 2015 recap

        Finally thanks to the both Akademy and Akademy-es sponsors. Specially Qindel, that sponsored us for the first time, hope we can continue the relationship in the future.

      • Plasma 5 (KDE) In Testing

        A few days ago, fellow Qt/KDE team member Lisandro gave an update on the situation with migration to Plasma 5 in Debian Testing (AKA Stretch). It’s changed again. All of Plasma 5 is now in Testing. The upgrade probably won’t be entirely smooth, which we’ll work on that after the gcc5 transition is done, but it will be much better than the half KDE4 SC half Kf5/Plasma 5 situation we’ve had for the last several days.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Cleaning the house (GSoC #6) & GUADEC
      • gtkmm now uses C++11

        All the *mm projects now require C++11. Current versions of g++ require you to use the –std=c++11 option for this, but the next version will probably use C++11 by default. We might have done this sooner if it had been clearer that g++ (and libstdc++) really really supported C++11 fully.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Zorin OS 10 Core & Ultimate have arrived

        We are excited to finally announce the release of Zorin OS 10 with the availability of the Zorin OS 10 Core and Ultimate editions.

        Zorin OS 10 is our best, most beautiful release yet. We have made major strides with the visual styling in Zorin OS. In addition to the refined & perfected desktop theme and the new default FreeSans desktop font, we have introduced a stunning new icon theme, based on the elementary and elementary-add icon themes. This is its first major overhaul since Zorin OS 2.0.

      • Zorin OS 10 Is Out, the Best, Most Beautiful Release Yet, Based on Ubuntu 15.04 – Screenshot Tour

        On August 1, Artyom Zorin had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of the final release of his Zorin OS 10 GNU/Linux operating system, distributed as Core and Ultimate editions, based on Ubuntu 15.04.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat support evolves with new Access Insights services

        Open source users flock to Red Hat for enterprise support, but not all subscribers like the way the company handles IT issues.

        The company recently launched an updated support service. User experience is important to Red Hat Inc., and it dedicated its day-three keynote at the Red Hat Summit last month to its support.

      • Citrix, Red Hat Helping Startup Companies Launch in Raleigh, N.C.

        Raleigh has seen a 23% increase in IT jobs

      • Red Hat Receives Average Recommendation of “Buy” from Analysts (NYSE:RHT)

        Several research firms have weighed in on RHT. Northland Securities reissued a “buy” rating and set a $92.00 target price (up from $85.00) on shares of Red Hat in a report on Thursday, June 25th. Northland Capital Partners upped their price objective on Red Hat from $85.00 to $92.00 in a report on Thursday, June 25th. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Red Hat in a research report on Friday, June 26th. Deutsche Bank restated a “hold” rating and set a $75.00 price objective (up from $70.00) on shares of Red Hat in a research report on Thursday, July 2nd. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and issued a $85.00 target price (up previously from $82.00) on shares of Red Hat in a report on Thursday, July 2nd.

      • Fedora

        • Helps Improve Quality Kernel in Fedora
        • Flock Update

          So the schedule for Flock is finally fixed and I have to update some things according to my last post. First the practical part of the Wallpaper Hunt is scheduled now for Friday now instead of Satruday. Addionally I will help Máirín Duffy on Saturday morning with the Inkscape and GIMP Bootcamp, guess which part I will do.

        • Fedora 22 on Cubietruck

          In previous post (How-to set up network audio server based on PulseAudio and auto-discovered via Avahi) I’ve wrote details how I set up network audio-server. Actually I’m using cubietruck there.

        • Testing systemd-networkd based Fedora 22 AMI(s)

          Few days back I wrote about a locally built Fedora 22 image which has systemd-networkd handling the network configuration. You can test that image locally on your system, or on an Openstack Cloud. In case you want to test the same on AWS, we now have two AMI(s) for the same, one in the us-west-1, and the other in ap-southeast-1. Details about the AMI(s) are below:

    • Debian Family

      • He who forgets history…

        Hi all,

        I just looked back on the Halloween Documents, specifically
        http://www.catb.org/esr/halloween/halloween1.html . Here are two quotes
        I find both interesting and timely:

        * Linux can win as long as services / protocols are commodities.

        * OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server
        applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized,
        simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new
        protocols, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market.

        So next time one of the new breed calls you a neckbeard for helping
        build a distro with simple protocols and services, show him
        http://www.catb.org/esr/halloween/halloween1.html . And try not to
        laugh when the whole thing goes right over his head.

      • My Free Software Activities in July 2015

        This month I have been paid to work 15 hours on Debian LTS.

      • Linaro VLANd v0.3

        VLANd is a python program intended to make it easy to manage port-based VLAN setups across multiple switches in a network. It is designed to be vendor-agnostic, with a clean pluggable driver API to allow for a wide range of different switches to be controlled together.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The U.S. Has Unique Ability To Cut Health Care Costs

      The U.S. has a big healthcare cost problem, as is well known. Mary Meeker, a venture capitalist, has been a leader calling attention to this issue; she famously drew the chart below. I refreshed the data, and it looks the same. The U.S. spends about 50% more per capita on healthcare than other countries with comparable levels of income and development. The main drivers of higher spending are higher prices for medical procedures, hospital days, and drugs; higher utilization of many medical resources; and higher administrative costs (more). Recent U.S. healthcare reform initiatives have begun to push back on some of these factors via value-based provider payments and other mechanisms, but it will be quite a while before we know if this is working.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • These Researchers Just Hacked an Air-Gapped Computer Using a Simple Cellphone

      The most sensitive work environments, like nuclear power plants, demand the strictest security. Usually this is achieved by air-gapping computers from the Internet and preventing workers from inserting USB sticks into computers. When the work is classified or involves sensitive trade secrets, companies often also institute strict rules against bringing smartphones into the workspace, as these could easily be turned into unwitting listening devices.

    • Fake Address Round Trip Time: 13 days

      Regular readers will have noticed that I’ve been running a small scale experiment over the last few months, feeding one spammer byproduct back to them via a reasonably accessible web page. The hope was that I would learn a few things about spammer behavior in the process.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • CIA Meddling, Race Riots, and a Phantom Death Squad

      Why a tiny South American country can’t escape the ugly legacies of its idiosyncratic past.

      [...]

      This remains very much the case today. Forty-nine years free from British rule, Guyana — an overlooked chapter in the Cold War’s annals of U.S. interventions and the post-colonial dictatorships and racial tensions they fostered — is still haunted by its past. The most recent electoral contest might be seen as many things: a referendum on corruption, a test of coalition politics, or an effort to transcend ethnic voting. But beneath all those skins, it seemed, the unnerving campaign was about the chemical reaction between self and fact, identity and reality. It felt like history was on the ballot, with candidates on both sides putting it to political use or conveniently forgetting inconvenient parts of it.

    • How One Safari Nut, the CIA and Neoliberal Environmentalists Plotted to Destroy Mozambique

      With the white settlers no longer in control, and Rhodesia now known as Zimbabwe, the Renamo leaders turned increasingly to South Africa for local support beneath the overall patronage of Washington. The war was pitiless. At least 800,000 Mozambicans died. More than half the victims were children. Out of the population of 16 million, 6 million were displaced. Renamo gangs put to death as many as 100,000 civilians. In one infamous episode, Renamo attacked a hamlet inhabited mostly by women and children, all 425 of whom were slaughtered, their bodies hacked by machetes.

    • Intel agencies: U.S. strikes not weakening ISIS

      The Associated Press cited conclusions from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and others that the situation with the Islamic State is at a stalemate. “We’ve seen no meaningful degradation in their numbers,” an anonymous defense official told AP, adding that after spending billions of dollars and killing more than 10,000 extremist fighters, the group’s likely strength of 20,000 to 30,000 people hasn’t changed since last August when the U.S.-led airstrikes began.

    • Turkey’s Geopolitical Gyrations

      The Obama administration is joining with Turkey in airstrikes against Islamic State targets in northern Syria – a shift from President Erdogan’s past tolerance and even support for Islamic terrorists inside Syria – but a more complex geopolitical game is afoot, writes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • US, Turkey prepare to escalate Syrian intervention

      Having reached a deal with the Turkish government to set up a buffer zone inside Syria, ostensibly to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), official Washington has begun debating the rules of engagement for US military forces to intervene against the Syrian military.

    • Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War

      Many parties are to blame, but certainly among them are interventionists in the United States and its allies who rationalized supporting the Islamist opposition – and refusing to embrace serious peace negotiations – on the grounds that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a uniquely evil dictator. That image of Assad grew directly out of his regime’s brutal response to civilian protests that began in early 2011, soon after the start of the Arab Spring.

    • Why Russia Shut Down NED Fronts

      The neocon-flagship Washington Post fired a propaganda broadside at President Putin for shutting down the Russian activities of the National Endowment for Democracy, but left out key facts like NED’s U.S. government funding, its quasi-CIA role, and its plans for regime change in Moscow, writes Robert Parry.

    • Russia Has Right to Expel CIA Successor NGO – Former US Analyst

      US hypocrisy was on full display when it condemned Russia for daring to ban the National Endowment of Democracy (NED), a descendant of the CIA with a history of undermining foreign countries under the guise of promoting democracy, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern told Sputnik.

    • Left Progressives Collaborated As Investors in Genocide Owned

      Gaddafi overthrew a British installed King, brought Libya from Africa’s poorest nation to be its wealthiest with a UN Quality of Life Index higher than 9 European countries. A million Libyans out of a total population 6, desperately demonstrated for their Green Book Democracy and beloved Gaddafi outside Tripoli as Britain & France bombed. Left Progressives either collaborated with or were silent re lies used to destroy Libya

    • Intel expert: Obama admin framing arms dealer

      The Justice Department has charged Turi with lying on an export-license application, alleging he hid his intent to ship weapons and ammunition to Libya in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 170. The Feb. 26, 2011, resolution imposed an arms embargo on all member states to prevent “the immediate prospect” of a Gadhafi-led attempt “to slaughter rebel forces in Benghazi that would likely result in massive civilian casualties.”

    • Syrian rebel group leaves their HQ after clash with al-Qaida
    • US-backed Syrian Rebels Abandon HQ After Clash With al Qaeda

      A group of rebels allegedly trained by the United States to fight the Nusra Front, which is al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, have deserted their headquarters, according to the Associated Press.

      Nusra Front said it attacked the headquarters of the group, known as Division 30, Friday night and abducted some of its members because they were trained by the CIA and vowed in a statement to cut off “the arms” of the American government in Syria. During the fighting, US-led coalition warplanes attacked the Nusra Front fighters, according to activists.

    • Morgan Freeman and Jack Black back Iran nuclear deal for fear of becoming ‘super dead’

      The actors Morgan Freeman, Jack Black and Natasha Lyonne have leant their support to Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

      The stars feature in a new video designed to help persuade legislators to get the agreement through Congress when it goes to the vote in September. Alongside them are an eclectic mix of camera-friendly experts including ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame, Queen Noor of Jordan and retired US Ambassador Thomas R Pickering, who urge Americans to support the agreement lest they wind up “super dead”.

    • Obama, Putin, Rouhani, Xi and Hollande to address UN on same day

      It will be the first joint appearance on a public stage of Obama and Rouhani since the Iran nuclear deal agreed this month in Vienna, and there is great anticipation that the two presidents could meet for the first time. Last year they spoke by phone as Rouhani was leaving town. On this occasion, by the time the presidents mount the famous green marble podium, the US Congress is expected to have voted to reject the Vienna agreement, and Obama could be in the position of counting votes in a scramble to ensure he can sustain a presidential veto of the congressional vote. The domestic politics around an Obama-Rouhani meeting could once more prove awkward.

    • Lincoln Chafee needles Clinton: Iraq war vote ‘created all the problems’

      Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday he’s seeking the Democratic nomination to keep the question of the Iraq War alive, one which implicitly haunts Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

      Democrats need to point out that the problems with ISIS and other instability in the Middle East started with the Iraq War and should not be afraid to tag Republicans on the issue, Chafee, who was a senator at that time of the vote in 2002, said during a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in Washington.

    • Valerie Plame Calls Out Hypocrisy Over Response To Iran Nuclear Deal

      Former CIA covert operations officer Valerie Plame, who has been a vocal supporter of the Iran nuclear deal, sees some hypocrisy in the outcry against the proposition, she told HuffPost Live on Tuesday.

      While President Reagan was revered for his work with the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was later signed by President George W. Bush, the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran have been much more controversial, Plame pointed out.

    • The US and Iran part III – the hostage crisis

      Political scientist Mark Gasiorowski says Iranians of a certain age all knew the CIA had conspired with the Shah 25 years earlier to overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh, an elected and immensely popular prime minister.

    • Obama tells liberals: I can’t carry Iran deal on my own

      On Thursday evening, Obama spoke by phone with thousands of people affiliated with liberal activist groups Organizing for Action, the Center for American Progress and Credo Action.

    • Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative

      The Bush administration’s narrative, adopted after the invasion of Iraq, described a covert nuclear programme run by Iran for two decades, the main purpose of which was to serve as a cover for a secret nuclear weapons programme. Undersecretary of State John Bolton and Vice-President Dick Cheney, who were managing the policy, cleverly used leaks to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in 2005 to introduce into the domestic political discussion alleged evidence from a collection of documents of then unknown provenance that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons research programme from 2001 to 2003.

      The administration also passed the documents on to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2005, as part of a Bush strategy aimed to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council on the charge of violating its commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bolton and Cheney were working with Israel to create a justification for regime change in Iran based on the idea that Iran was working on nuclear weapons under the cover of its nuclear programme.

      The entire Bush-Israeli narrative was false, however.

    • Top Pentagon Intel Officer: Iraq ‘May Not Come Back as an Intact State’

      The U.S. intelligence community first learned that Yemen’s Houthi rebels had launched a Scud missile toward Saudi Arabia on June 30 not from spies on the ground or satellites in the skies, but instead from a more modern form of information gathering: Twitter.

      “The first warning of that event: ‘hashtag scudlaunch,’” Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, the head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), said at a gathering of intelligence contractors just outside Washington on Thursday night. “Someone tweeted that a Scud had been launched, and that’s how we started to search for this activity.”

    • Photos: How the White House Reacted on 9/11
    • Benghazi Film by Michael Bay Could Be Next “American Sniper” But Let’s Hope Not

      Hollywood surprised itself earlier this year by producing an Iraq war movie that was a blockbuster—American Sniper has earned more than half a billion dollars so far, starring Bradley Cooper in the role of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The film also produced intense cultural criticism about the way it narrowly represented the war, portraying Iraqis as little more than turbaned bullseyes for American valor.

    • Via Michael Bay movie, Fox News gets more bites at Benghazi ‘stand down’ dispute
    • Conservative Party crashers

      America’s defeat in Vietnam in the 1970s traumatized the ruling class in the US and its capitalist satellites, including Canada. Many of this class’ most prominent members regrouped to make sure the primary beneficiaries of the permanent war economy would never again face such a setback.

      The CIA was downgraded even as other agencies were created to install and prop up compliant governments within the USA itself and around the world. The plutocrats and their corporate managers thereby expanded and privatized many facets of so-called “national security.”

    • Marines Held Up in Vienna en Route to Ukraine

      Nine U.S. Marines en route to Ukraine for a training exercise were held up in Vienna for questioning last week because their weapons had not been properly declared, an Austrian newspaper reported.

    • Where the Streets Have No Name: Finding a Place to Land the U-2 Spy Plane

      So you have been entrusted with a very important mission — in this case, trying to convince several countries in the 1950′s to allow take-off and landing of a new, super-secret aircraft, the U2, which would allow the U.S. to conduct surveillance over the USSR at such a high altitude that Soviet MiG-17s would be unable to shoot them down.

    • Navy Could Face More Cases of Cancer, Illness Among Gitmo Personnel

      As the Navy investigates reports of seven military and civilian personnel diagnosed with cancer or other illnesses after serving at Guantanamo Bay, one of detention facility’s long-time defense attorneys says there could be almost three times as many claims.

    • Why Obama Is Going On His Africa Trip

      Last week’s U.S. drone strike in southern Somalia killed al Shabaab leaders Ismail Jabhad and Ismail Dhere. That’s according to both Somali intelligence and Kenyan officials, who offered incomplete and conflicting details on what appeared to be a larger strike against al Shabaab fighters near Bardere, along with a second US drone strike on al Shabaab in northern Kenya.

      The one thing they were sure about – despite the secretive nature of US military operations in Somalia – is that a US drone carried out the strike in Somalia for at least the third time this year, one of dozens of US drone strikes on Somalia conservatively dating back to 2011. As US intervention continues to evolve and expand in the Horn of Africa, many of these missions have been confirmed in recent years by US military and intelligence officials, and by their diplomatic counterparts who are increasingly willing to concede there are American boots on the ground. As a token of the importance the US ascribes to tackling terrorism in Africa, President Obama will visit Kenya and Ethiopia later in July.

    • Freedom Rider: Obama’s Africa Hypocrisy

      The president’s visit to East Africa has been the occasion for the same kind of hypocritical finger pointing Barack Obama usually reserves for his frequent hectoring of Black America, this time using “gay rights” as the standard, It’s a standard which he would never use to lecture America’s other vassals like the bloodstained beheading backward Saudi regime.

    • Dan Simpson: The U.S. isn’t helping Africa

      We cause our African allies more problems than we help them solve

    • Cuba Pre-1959: The Rise and Fall of a U.S. Backed Dictator with Links to the Mob

      Latin America’s relationship with the U.S. government has been difficult to say the least. The U.S. has been intervening in Latin America since President James Monroe established the Monroe Doctrine, a foreign policy that prevented European powers from colonizing any sovereign nation in “their backyard” (that was America’s job!). The Monroe Doctrine became an instrumental tool for Washington to advance American style Democracy and dominate governments in South and Central America and the Caribbean which brings us to Cuba.

      Cuba was one of the last colonial possessions under Spanish rule just 90 miles south of Florida. As Spain’s Imperial power was in decline, Washington had imperial ambitions to expand its influence on Cuba. Cuba had the potential to produce unlimited profits for U.S. business interests. Even organized crime got into the picture when they became a major player in Cuba since the early 1930’s. The mafia controlled the gaming industry, prostitution and the drug trade in the U.S. mainland also had their sights on Cuba. The mafia managed to expand their operations to Cuba to avoid harassment from the U.S. government. Cuba was to be their base of operations as they were looking to expand into other Caribbean nations. During that time, Cuba was under the leadership of President Fulgencio Batista who had close political ties to Washington and its multinational corporations. Batista was also a good friend to organized crime. Cuba became a cesspool of corruption, illegal drugs and prostitution which became a playground (metaphorically speaking) for the rich and famous while the majority of ordinary Cubans lived in extreme poverty. This is an historical account of Cuba before 1959, a time period that explains why Cuba’s Revolution was a long time in the making.

    • Only thing that we did right was the day we refused to fight

      Another tactic which provided us great inspiration was the destruction of draft board files to make the induction of soldiers impossible. This was followed by the destruction of corporate records for major war profiteers such as Dow Chemical, producers of napalm, and General Electric, producer of bomb components. Remember, if you can, this was decades before computerization; without those files, meat could not be fed into the maw of the war machine.

    • From Africa to Obama

      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.

    • No Warlords Need Apply: A Call for Credible Peacemaking in Afghanistan

      U.S. military officials diminish the credibility of any proposed cease-fire when they suggest that the U.S. will, after all, consider maintaining bases and troops in Afghanistan far beyond the supposed 2016 evacuation of U.S. bases. Confidence in a cease-fire is further undermined when parties to negotiations know that the U.S. could assassinate them if they appear on a list of U.S. targets. Consider a recent statement by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. He was answering a question about whether or not the U.S. would “take out” the purported leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, if the opportunity presented itself. Carter said, “we would certainly take it.” Note, he didn’t say, “if there are no children in the way, we would certainly take it.” Not “if he wasn’t in a dense urban area, we would certainly take it.” Essentially, Ashton Carter assured people that the U.S. will kill civilians if this is a condition of being able to kill leaders of groups the U.S. designates as enemies.

    • Pentagon Turns Its Anti-ISIS Rebels Into Cannon Fodder

      Is Washington really trying to train a rebel army in Syria? Or are they just marking fighters for death—and worse?

    • Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture

      Several weeks ago, a CounterPunch special report revealed that the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS)—a $726 million embedded social science program—had quietly expired. As media outlets picked up the story, it became evident that HTS’s demise was a welcome development for many. Tax payers were fed up with what appeared to be a costly boondoggle, anthropologists bitterly opposed the program for its ethical shortcomings, and a small but vocal group of military officers complained about how it drained resources from other priorities.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill 20 ISIS Fighters in Nangarhar

      The Pentagon did not confirm the death toll, but did confirm the attacks as a “kinetic strike” in the area, targeting “individuals threatening the force.” The US has launched several strikes against ISIS forces in Nangarhar this month.

    • Obama’s drone campaign also an act of terror

      Any government serious about preventing global terrorism would abhor Obama’s drone campaign as much as it abhors the recent beach atrocity in Tunisia.

    • Another mass killing: Gun violence can be prevented, America

      Among developed nations, the gun problem we face is unique to the United States. Here, politicians are bought and sold to the highest bidder, and people are manipulated by a monolithic corporate media that is bought and sold just the same.

    • Are We At The Tipping Point

      I say it without equivocation, “Guns kill people.”People use guns to kill people. No one can deny that. I know people kill with other instruments of death. But guns are involved in so many deaths it must be stated. I know that criminals will always have ways to get guns.

      I wish every hand gun, assault rifle, automatic gun, and now sawed off shotguns, not used by law enforcement and military units could be delivered by train and methodically thrown into huge blast furnaces at the steel works in Gary, Indiana, melted and used for productive positive products. I wish for the magical power to extricate all guns from the hands of crooks, thugs, outlaws and melt them. I wish that no guns except those used by military and law enforcement agencies could be produced or imported or sold for the next 150 years. I wish all ammunition for all of those guns could be delivered to military arsenals and disposed of and no ammunition could be produced, imported or sold for the next 150 years. Anyone caught with a gun will be jailed forever. No questions asked. No due process.

    • Yemen’s Temporary Cease-Fire Falters
    • Yemen’s Hidden War

      Dawn is just breaking on June 5th at Djibouti’s international airport, but it’s already boiling hot on the tarmac. Mohammed Issa, a rotund and mustachioed border-police officer, gestures to a massive U.S. Air Force transport jet — a gray C-17 Globemaster — sitting a short distance away. “Since the start of the war in Yemen, it’s been crazy here,” he says. “Military flights, humanitarian aid — sometimes there’s no space to park on the tarmac.”

    • Guest Post: Reevaluating U.S. Targeting Assistance to the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen

      As the United States provides targeting assistance to the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council in Yemen, it should consider that its allies’ standards for target selection may be less rigorous. However, the United States is still partially responsible for airstrikes enabled with its intelligence. Contrary to the official U.S. position that it remains in a “non-combat advisory and coordinating role to the Saudi-led campaign,” this enabling support makes the United States a combatant in the Yemen air campaign. Even if the United States is not pulling the trigger, the “live intelligence feeds from surveillance flights over Yemen” that “help Saudi Arabia decide what and where to bomb” are indispensable for the launch of airstrikes against Houthi rebels.

    • Paul: Protect Civil Liberties at Home
    • Do we really need to bring back internment camps?

      Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the U.S. bombing of Serbia, proposed that “disloyal Americans” be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.”

      Discussing the recent military base shootings in Chattanooga, TN, in which five U.S. service members were killed, Clark recalled the internment of American citizens during World War II who were merely suspected of having Nazi sympathies. He said: “Back then we didn’t say ‘that was freedom of speech,’ we put him in a camp.”

      He called for the government to identify people most likely to be radicalized so we can “cut this off at the beginning.” That sounds like “pre-crime”!

      Gen. Clark ran for president in 2004 and it’s probably a good thing he didn’t win considering what seems to be his disregard for the Constitution.

      Unfortunately, in the current presidential race, Donald Trump even one-upped Clark, stating recently that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor and should be treated like one, implying that the government should kill him.

    • Bid to ban autonomous killing machines

      It is a characteristic of technological development for humans to get machines to do things that they don’t want to, whether it is washing the dishes, mowing the lawn or walking long distances to get somewhere.

    • Open letter petitions UN to ban the development on weaponized AI
    • Autonomous weapons and the eventual robot uprising

      This past week, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and about a thousand other artificial intelligence researchers signed a letter calling for a ban on autonomous weapons.

      The remote-operated drones that we use in modern warfare can already fly virtually undetected and use advanced targeting systems to drop bombs on buildings and people below — but the key phrase is “remote-operated.” A human is usually controlling the weapon from afar.

    • Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

      An ultra-Orthodox Jew accused of stabbing six people at a Gay Pride march in Jerusalem weeks after his release from jail for a similar attack lashed out in court Friday, Israeli media reported.

      “I do not accept this court’s authority,” said a defiant Yishai Shlissel, representing himself at a hearing.

    • Amnesty accuses Israel of possible crimes against humanity
    • Israel accused of killing 75 children during day of ‘carnage’ and war crimes in Gaza war

      Israeli forces have been accused of carrying out war crimes during a day of “carnage” in the Gaza Strip that has been called Black Friday.

      A report by Amnesty International on alleged atrocities in Rafah during last year’s conflict with Hamas claims Israeli forces killed at least 135 Palestinian civilians, including 75 children, following the capture of a soldier.

    • Mythbusters Tests Killer Drones

      See what the team on Discovery Communications’ TV series Mythbusters learned when they tested the safety of drones. The results might make you lose your head.

    • A very human portrait of Drones

      My primary criticism of this album is that the storyline is vague. Unlike The Who’s “Tommy,” the listener gets more of an emotional storytelling through sounds and words rather than a literal connect-the-dots progression of clear events.

      The first half of the album is Heavy, with a capital H. Muse returns to their decidedly guitar-centered riff-laden focus of earlier days. While the opening track, “Dead Inside” is augmented by the slightest keyboard accents in the verses and singer Matthew Bellamy’s melodramatic vocals, it surges into the harsh threats of the drill instructor’s intro to the mind-numbing “Psycho.”

    • Groups protest use of drones

      They pointed out that drone strikes result in the killing of innocent people; one research study confirmed that in an effort to kill 41 identified “terrorists,” weaponized drones killed 1,147 unidentified individuals.

      “Drones prevent negotiations. Drones prevent peace,” said Jakob Fehr, chair of the German Mennonite Peace Commission. “You can’t talk to someone who’s shooting at you from an invisible location, nor can peace be obtained at a distance either.”

    • Syria Says Israeli Drone Attack Killed 3 in Country’s South
    • Reports: Israel strikes targets in Syria, Lebanon in two separate attacks
    • Syria says Israeli drone attack killed 3 in country’s south

      The Israeli military had no comment. The bombing reportedly happened in Khader, which is a town in the Syrian border along the countryside of Qunietra in the Syrian Golan Heights. The report says that the auto was hit in the boundary of the Israeli Golan Heights.

    • Reaping the rewards: How private sector is cashing in on Pentagon’s ‘insatiable demand’ for drone war intelligence

      Some months ago, an imagery analyst was sitting in his curtained cubicle at Hurlburt Field airbase in Florida watching footage transmitted from a drone above one of the battlefields in the War on Terror. If he thought the images showed someone doing anything suspicious, or holding a weapon, he had to type it in to a chat channel seen by the pilots controlling the drone’s missiles.

      Once an observation has been fed in to the chat, he later explained, it’s hard to revise it – it influences the whole mindset of the people with their hands on the triggers.

    • Revealed: The private firms tracking terror targets at heart of US drone wars

      The overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private sector contractors in the heart of its drone operations to analyse top secret video feeds and help track high value terror targets, an investigation has found.

      Contracts unearthed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal a secretive industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars, placing a corporate workforce alongside uniformed personnel, analysing battlefield intelligence.

      While it has long been known that US defence firms supply billions of dollars’ worth of equipment for drone operations, the role of the private sector in providing analysts to comb through military surveillance video has remained almost entirely unknown until now.

    • Contractors Play Growing Role in US Drone Attacks – Investigation
    • Private Drone Operators to Cause More Civilian Deaths – Activist

      Upstate Drone Action activist Ed Kinane claims that private drone operators analyzing intelligence for the US military can lead to more civilian casualties with lesser accountability.

    • Revealed: Private firms at heart of US drone warfare

      The overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private-sector contractors to the heart of its drone operations to analyse top-secret video feeds and help track suspected terrorist leaders, an investigation has found.

      Contracts unearthed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal a secretive industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars, placing a corporate workforce alongside uniformed personnel analysing intelligence from areas of interest.

    • Do not kill terrorists, take them alive

      Who were the militants who attacked the Dinanagar police station in Gurdaspur district? What were their aims and ideology? How many of their comrades are waiting for another chance to attack? How much help are they getting from the Pakistani authorities, and what other sources of support and finance do they enjoy?

      India needs the answers to such critical questions, but none are available because dead men tell no tales. India has now been at the receiving end of several terrorist attacks from across the border, and almost invariably all attackers perish in gun battles. That leaves us guessing about the attackers, and of ways to check them in future.

    • Mercenary Drone Operators Kill Outside US Chain of Command

      Experts say that the US armed forces are using a growing number of mercenaries or contractors to operate lethal drone attacks as regular troops are increasingly unwilling to do so.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • 5 US Intelligence Businesses Despatched Emails to Hillary

      A number of intelligence businesses despatched categorised emails to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal e mail handle, the primary account she used all through her tenure, sources say.

      In accordance with , investigators have found that info got here from the Nationwide Safety Company, the Protection Intelligence Company, the Nation-Geospatial Company, in addition to the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence (ODNI) and the CIA.

      The Workplace of the Intelligence Group inspector common has recognized 5 emails containing categorised info when it carried out a random sampling from the emails she launched to the State Division.

    • Kafka-like Persecution of Julian Assange

      In an era when powerful institutions demonize decent people – and the mainstream media joins in, piling on the abuse – legal proceedings have become another Kafka-esque weapon of coercion. Few cases are more troubling than the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as John Pilger describes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • US govt never minded Americans killing rare lions before Cecil – WikiLeaks document

      WikiLeaks has unveiled a secret document on US hunters in Zimbabwe allegedly sent from a US official to the CIA, casting light upon the recent killing of Cecil the lion, a popular attraction to Zimbabwean Hwange National Park’s visitors.

    • 6 endangered animals poachers are hunting into extinction

      The bad news you probably already know: Cecil the lion, one of Zimbabwe’s best loved wild animals, was slain last week at the hands of unscrupulous safari guides and, it’s claimed, a crossbow-happy dentist from Minnesota.

      [...]

      Whatever poachers’ motivations, they’re threatening to wipe some of the most vulnerable species off the face of the earth. Here are six animals that, like Cecil, poaching might rob us of forever.

    • Protesters Rappel From Portland Bridge To Delay Shell Icebreaker

      A Shell icebreaking vessel being protested by Greenpeace and other activist groups will not leave a Portland dock Wednesday, according to the Columbia River Bar Pilot dispatch.

  • Finance

    • Russia’s rising startups: An open source guide (INFOGRAPHIC)

      For some time, the technology startup scene in Russia had suffered due to a lack of angel investors supporting the region, leaving the Russian ecosystem starved for funding. Many explanations have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, such as the lack of internet education amongst the Russian angels or just a strong desire to avoid public attention.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Russia’s propaganda machine revs up ahead of UN’s MH17 vote

      A well-coordinated campaign appeared to be underway ahead of the July 29 U.N. Security Council vote on whether to form a tribunal to investigate the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Its goal seems to be aimed at discrediting the widely accepted version that Russian-separatists were to blame for the crash that killed all 298 people on board using a surface-to-air missile system supplied by Russia.

    • Money: for good or bad?

      Trump, on the other hand, is free to be as much of a maverick as he wants to be. Opinion polls show the tactic seems to be working, at least at this early stage, with American voters. During the press conference called to launch his campaign, he bragged: “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”

    • Japanese journalist lives 2 months in Moscow airport because of US propaganda

      Tetsuya Abo does not want to leave Moscow because of his convictions. He claims, that in his own country there is no freedom of speech any more, and the American propaganda rules political interests.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • President Obama Names Raymond Cook CIO of U.S. Intelligence Community

      President Barack Obama has named Raymond Cook CIO of the Intelligence Community, Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Mr. Cook most recently served concurrently as director of the Office of Space Reconnaissance for the Central Intelligence Agency since 2014, as well as director of Mission Operations for the National Reconnaissance Office, a position he held since 2013.

    • NIST app competition, Clapper’s hack warning, DIA protests and a new intel CIO
    • Former NSA, DHS Heads Think Requiring Crypto Backdoors a ‘Mistake’

      The former head of the National Security Agency is among a group of people who have unexpectedly spoken out against inserting government-only electronic backdoors into encrypted devices and services.

    • Hillview man arrested for shooting down drone; cites right to privacy

      A Hillview man has been arrested after he shot down a drone flying over his property — but he’s not making any apologies for it.

      It happened Sunday night at a home on Earlywood Way, just south of the intersection between Smith Lane and Mud Lane in Bullitt County, according to an arrest report.

      Hillview Police say they were called to the home of 47-year-old William H. Merideth after someone complained about a firearm.

    • Facebook Could Make Billions From Something It’s Not Doing Yet

      It’s not monetizing something that happens 1.5 billion times a day

      Facebook is slowly but surely taking over the Internet. In a post after its Q2 earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that “1.49 billion people are now part of our community. In 1876, the year the first telephone call was made, around 1.49 billion people were alive.”

      Those 1.49 billion people use Facebook to plan events, talk to each other, share pictures, and keep up with the latest news. But there’s something else we’re using it for that we barely even notice: search. People now make 1.5 billion search queries on Facebook per day, according to opening remarks during Facebook’s earnings call.

  • Civil Rights

    • What the CIA thought of the most notorious US espionage case before Snowden

      Pollard was spying on behalf of a US ally and received a life sentence despite pleading guilty and fully cooperating with US investigators. He turned over thousands of classified documents and even allegedly sold documents to Pakistan and apartheid South Africa as well.

    • CIA ran up $40 million tab turning out Senate torture report, documents show

      The $40 million cost of producing the Senate torture report was incurred by the CIA, not lawmakers, newly obtained contracting documents reveal, as the agency insisted on outsourcing much of the work to the agency’s long-time contractor.

      Critics of the report, including former and current agency officials and some Republican lawmakers, often complained about the report’s price tag of over $40 million to denounce the Democrats leading the inquiry. Contract documentation obtained by VICE News through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, however, shows that the costs were incurred by the CIA.

    • SSA ‘still investigating’ CIA claims

      The State Security Agency (SSA) has said its probe into claims that Julius Malema, Thuli Madonsela, Joseph Mathunjwa and Lindiwe Mazibuko were spies is still ongoing four months after it was started.

      The agency began the investigation after an online blog post claimed that the four were working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • Joshua Wong dismisses Xinhua article on alleged CIA links

      Pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po, citing a report from the official Xinhua News Agency, reported Tuesday that Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong and his family met former US consul general in Hong Kong Stephen Young during a visit to Macau in 2011.

    • From James Bond to Edward Snowden: How the dangerous fantasies of spy fiction shaped our “Mission: Impossible” world

      The Indonesia debacle wasn’t the first time during the Cold War that American officials had lied about a covert operation against a foreign elected leader, played the subservient “free press” like a Stradivarius and then had the temerity to turn around and talk about the evils of Communist propaganda. It certainly wouldn’t be the last. But it was among the most egregious and unavoidable examples, and also one that suggested that all our sanctimonious homilies about democracy and freedom of expression could not quite conceal a darker reality.

    • When government whistleblowers become an “Enemy of the State”

      The National Security Agency (NSA) was only the beginning: Congress—along with the Executive Branch—is so paranoid that we are on the verge of a revolution, that they’re expanding the Surveillance State to watch us even more closely. Watch for the coming Cyber-Security Information Sharing Act (CISA). This Act is going further in watching us than even the NSA ever dreamed.

      If you believe Congress will ever rein in the NSA, think again. The NSA is never going to stop its illegal activities. In fact, what the NSA has done is in its infancy. The new Cyber-Security Information Sharing Act will take the NSA to the next level in watching and listening to us. Too much money and political muscle have been invested in the NSA to create levels of control and ability that monitor each of us 24/7. The NSA has proven itself over and over incompetent where terrorists are involved but very fluent where U.S. citizens are concerned.

    • Guantanamo detainee’s hearing delayed until September

      On hold again: The Pentagon’s latest attempt to move forward with a military commission for an Iraqi detainee was abruptly canceled when the judge found that the accused’s defense attorney, Marine Lt. Col. Sean Gleason, was also involved in another war crimes case.

    • Distraught people, Deadly results

      Officers often lack the training to approach the mentally unstable, experts say

    • How America’s psychologists ended up endorsing torture

      The investigation, led by David Hoffman of the law firm Sidley Austin, concluded this month with the publication of a 542-page report. Its findings diverge considerably from the APA’s expectations. Far from upholding their Hippocratic oath to “do no harm”, APA psychologists did indeed work with officials from the Defense Department and the CIA to facilitate the torture of detainees. This involved issuing loose ethical guidelines that endorsed existing DoD interrogation policies and permitted psychologists to participate at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere—unlike their colleagues in the field of psychiatry, who refused to back the government’s evolving interrogation tactics. Though the APA’s policies adhered to US law, they violated medical ethics.

    • Psychologists in crisis over findings on ‘torture’ allegations

      The American Psychological Association, or APA, under fire for its role in supporting the use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques by US national security agencies, vows it will address the numerous ethical breaches detailed in the findings of an independent investigation leaked this month to The New York Times.

      But whether the association, the largest professional organisation for psychologists in the United States and arguably the most influential organisation for psychologists in the world, can salvage its reputation – or repair collateral damage – remains an open question.

      Some of its harshest critics predict mass resignations from the association. But APA’s reach extends far beyond its membership, which includes more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. It’s the publisher of major textbooks and journals. It’s also the accrediting body for university psychology programmes. And the episode has already been used as a case study in ethics courses.

    • Monterey Bay Psychological Association: APA must adopt higher standards

      It was recently revealed that key leadership in the American Psychological Association knowingly misled its membership of 125,000 psychologists as well as the American public in regard to their collusion with the Department of Defense and the CIA. This collusion appears to have been aimed at preserving unethical detention and interrogation practices that involved psychologists in human torture and abuse. These findings came to light on July 10 with the release of a report (www.APA.org/independent-review). Attorney David Hoffman had been commissioned by the APA board of directors to investigate allegations of APA collusion with the Bush administration to facilitate enhanced interrogation techniques. Such practices are abhorrent and violate the long-held principles and values of psychologists across the state and the nation to protect and preserve the mental and physical health and safety of our fellow human beings.

    • BARTON: Vote to end torture

      Rejecting this program is not only the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do. Past reports showed that the CIA kidnapped and tortured individuals in secret prisons, built in foreign countries paid for with bribes given to foreign officials. Government agencies ought to uphold our most cherished values, not dishonor them. By voting against torture, the Senate has clearly rejected the CIA’s past torture program.

    • Anti-torture reforms opposed within psychology group after damning report

      Before the American Psychological Association (APA) meets in Toronto next Thursday for what all expect will be a fraught convention that reckons with an independent review that last month found the APA complicit in torture, former military voices within the profession are urging the organization not to participate in what they describe as a witch hunt.

      Reformers consider the pushback to represent entrenched opposition to cleaving the APA from a decade’s worth of professional cooperation with controversial detentions and interrogations. The APA listserv has become a key debating forum, with tempers rising on both sides.

      A recent letter from the president of the APA’s military-focused wing warns that proposed ethics changes, likely to be discussed in Toronto, represent pandering to a “politically motivated, anti-government and anti-military stance”. A retired army colonel called David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor whose scathing inquiry described APA “collusion” with US torture, an “executioner”.

    • When American psychologists use their skills for torture

      At 11am on July 2, my friend and colleague, Steven Reisner, and I met with the board of the American Psychological Association (APA). The board had just received a devastating report on an investigation of the APA’s years-long collusion with the CIA and US defense department in support of psychologist involvement in the George W. Bush-era torture program.

    • U.S. Psychologists Urged to Curb Questioning Terror Suspects

      The board of the American Psychological Association plans to recommend a tough ethics policy that would prohibit psychologists from involvement in all national security interrogations, potentially creating a new obstacle to the Obama administration’s efforts to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects outside of the traditional criminal justice system.

    • How the American Psychological Assn. lost its way

      Last December, a Senate Intelligence Committee report laid bare the extensive involvement of individual psychologists in the CIA’s black-site torture program. Then, in early July, a devastating independent report by a former federal prosecutor determined that more than a decade ago APA leaders — including the director of ethics — began working secretly with military representatives. Together they crafted deceptively permissive ethics policies for psychologists that effectively enabled abusive interrogation of war-on-terror prisoners to continue.

    • American Psychological Association Urged to Adopt Ban on Interrogations
    • American Psychological Association may bar members from terror cases
    • Following Damning Report, American Psychological Association May Prohibit Interrogation Involvement
    • American Psychological Association may bar members from terror cases
    • 2-part series examines ethics of ‘War on Terror’
    • Outrage of the Month: Leading Professional Psychologists’ Organization Colluded With Defense Department, Facilitated Participation in Torture

      These recent actions by the APA are appropriate first steps to address the egregious ethical lapses that occurred during the creation and implementation of the 2005 ethics guidelines. Despite these actions, the APA’s collusion with the DOD in issuing so-called ethics guidelines that allowed psychologists to participate in the torture of detainees held in DOD and CIA facilities has left an indelible stain on the organization’s reputation. The actions by the APA provided an aura of legitimacy to activities that are now widely recognized as having constituted torture. Such shameful conduct must never be repeated by the APA or any other professional organization representing health care providers.

    • Rowley – McGovern Iowa Speaking Tour

      FBI whistle blower Coleen Rowley and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern to speak at organized events in nine Iowa cities beginning Sept. 24

    • Yakub Memon’s hanging: Can we be neutral in a moving train?

      Some time in the future we will know if terrorism was dealt a deathly blow by Yakub’s execution, whether death penalty is a violation of human rights, whether Yakub was promised immunity and was eventually cheated out of it, whether he deserved the death warrant, whether the issue of the warrant while passing the test of the law, as the Supreme Court noted, also passed the test of justice.

    • Don’t confuse Yakub case with campaign against death penalty

      Did Yakub Memon come back to India because of a deal struck with the Indian authorities? Was he promised some sort of immunity? The honest answer has to be that we don’t know. Some of those involved in his arrest and prosecution say that India reneged on an agreement made with Yakub. Others say that there was never any deal.

  • DRM

    • Sen. Al Franken Wants Federal Probe of Apple Music, App Store Practices

      Critics of Apple’s surcharge for in-app purchases, as well as rules meant to keep that money flowing, have a powerful new friend in Washington. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Wednesday sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez, asking them to review Apple’s policies for possible anti-competitive behavior.

    • Apple Music is a mess, and it’s alienating the company’s biggest fans

      Apple Music is shaping up to be Apple’s worst received product launch since Apple Maps in 2012.

      Apple Music, released in June, was supposed to be Apple’s big splash into the world of subscription on-demand music and online radio. But it seems to have a lot of bugs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Google, Oracle’s endless Java copyright battle extended to … 2016

        The long-running copyright dispute between Oracle and Google over the latter’s use of the Java language APIs in its Android operating system will likely drag on for another year or more, based on the latest developments in the case in a US federal court.

        Reuters reports that US District Judge William Alsup, who has been presiding over the suit since it was filed in 2010, said in proceedings on Thursday that the case would likely not return to court for its next round until spring of 2016 at the earliest.

      • YouTube Games Copyright Law To Avoid License Fees, IFPI Says

        A decade-and-a-half of disruptive technology has certainly played its part, but without that turmoil the music industry might still be playing catch up today. At any rate, the rise of online piracy arguably provided a much needed wake-up call and prompted the rise of dozens of legitimate music services.

08.01.15

Links 1/8/2015: Steam Sale, blackPanther OS 14.1

Posted in News Roundup at 3:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • FFmpeg’s Leader Resigns, Hopes To Make Libav Developers Come Back

    Michael Niedermayer, the leader of the FFmpeg project for the past eleven years, has made a surprise announcement today: he’s resigning as its leader.

    Niedermayer is resigning as he no longer feels he’s the best leader for FFmpeg, given the current Libav fork still persisting even after Debian dropped Libav and is returning to FFmpeg.

  • Open source Copyright Hub unveiled with ’90+ projects’ in the pipeline

    The web has grown up without letting people own and control their own stuff, but a British-backed initiative might change all that, offering a glimpse of how the internet can work in the future. Their work will all be open sourced early next year.

    Britain’s much-anticipated Copyright Hub was given ministerial blessing when it finally opened its kimono today, boasting a pipeline of over 90 projects covering commercial and free uses.

  • Events

    • Banks’ Family Values; Texas Linux Fest & More…

      All in the Family: It seems that the Banks family of Los Angeles has taken upon itself to single-handedly invite the wider world to the see and try out the benefits of FOSS and programming. We reported on Keila Banks speaking at OSCON last week, but so has Business Insider and MTV News — and now MSNBC is getting in on the act by having her on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show at 8 a.m. Saturday. Check your local listings.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Redis open source DBMS overview

      Redis runs on Linux. Although the Redis project doesn’t directly support Windows, Microsoft Open Technologies develops and maintains a Windows port targeting Win64.

      The Redis open source DBMS is available as a BSD license. The Redis community offers support through the official mailing list as well as #redis on Freenode. Commercial support is available through Pivotal, the official sponsor of Redis. Pivotal offers two levels of professional support.

    • A shout-out to SQLAlchemy

      So here’s a shout-out to Mike B. at SQLAlchemy for his quick work. (And I’m glad the effort of making a good-as-I-can bugreport paid off.)

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The document Foundation Released LibreOffice 4.4.5 With Bug Fixes

      The document foundation released another update LibreOffice 4.4.5 which contains 80+ bug fixes over the previous release. LibreOffice is one of the most popular Office app that is also very active. Regular releases makes it more stable and feature-rich. According to the team LibreOffice 4.4.5 replaces LibreOffice 4.3.7 as “still” version for more conservative users and enterprise deployment. Install this update in Ubuntu/Linux Mint or other derivatives to get bug fixes.

    • Surprises, claws and various articles

      Dear readers, something nice but unexpected came up recently. As you can imagine, preparations for the release of LibreOffice 5 are keeping many people busy these days. Among the things that need to be found is the choice of collaterals and various elements for communication. It could very well be that readers of this blog will have a nice surprise the day LibreOffice 5 is released!

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 Released, Riding On Schedule Nicely

      Glen Barber announced the release of FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 today for those wanting to do some weekend BSD testing.

      FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 has changes to pkg, ntpd, nvme, a UEFI loader fix, and an assortment of other bug/regression fixes across the stack.

    • [FreeBSD-Announce] vBSDcon: September 11 – 13, 2015

      vBSDcon is a technical conference for the various BSD communities that is hosted by Verisign for users and developers of BSD-based systems. vBSDcon 2015 is being held in Reston, VA from September 11 – 13, 2015 at the Sheraton Reston hotel. vBSDcon is an ideal event for systems and network administrators, developers, and engineers with a focus on BSD-based technologies. The early bird registration rate of $75.00 is available through August 13, 2015 at vBSDcon.com.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Civil society pushing open source in Bulgaria

      The civil society organisation Obshtestvo.bg Foundation has been pressing as well as helping the Bulgarian government to incorporate open source in its legislation. Open source is now the preferred development form for eGovernment projects. The Bulgarian Council of Ministers has voted that the same requirements will be applicable to all government-funded software projects.

    • US House Opens Up to Open Source

      Providers of open source software recently found another market: the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. That market easily will grow to many thousands of potential open source users when the staffs of each representative, as well as the staffs of various House committees, are added to the total.

      Three advocacy organizations — the Sunlight Foundation, the Congressional Data Coalition, and the OpenGov Foundation — last month jointly announced that certain procurement restrictions that had constrained the use of open source technology in the House had been clarified.

      Read more

  • Openness/Sharing

    • KDE Plasma Mobile, NPR’s newsroom tool, and more news
    • Open Data

      • An open source mapping primer

        You now need a way to embed a map, manipulate the map tiles, and overlay other data onto the map. Leaflet is a popular choice for doing this. It’s an open source Javascript library that lets you easily create “slippy” maps with tiled base layers, panning and zooming, and various layered features such as markers at specific geographical coordinates (i.e. latitude and longitude). It handles interactions with the map, has a fairly rich and well-documented API, and also works with a wide collection of plugin that provide additional features.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Powering the Open Data Center

      Open source leadership is a big responsibility for Intel. When we take leadership positions in the open source ecosystem, it pushes us to advance the entire industry along with our company. In that mindset, Intel is investing a tremendous amount to continue expanding the boundaries of what technology can do for the data center and to ensure there is an ecosystem that facilitates the innovation required to meet enterprise demands and spur adoption.

  • Security

    • The cyber-mechanics who protect your car from hackers

      “Most manufacturers know there is a problem and they’re working on solutions, but no-one will go public with it,” explains Martin Hunt, who works in automotive penetration testing for UK telecommunications firm BT.

    • US to rethink hacker tool export rules after mass freakout in security land

      Proposed changes to the US government’s export controls on hacking tools will likely be scaled back following widespread criticism from the infosec community, a government spokesman has said.

      “A second iteration of this regulation will be promulgated,” a spokesman for the US Department of Commerce told Reuters, “and you can infer from that that the first one will be withdrawn.”

      The proposed restrictions are required by the Wassenaar Arrangement, a 41-nation pact that first came into effect in 1996 and which calls for limits on trade of “dual-use goods,” meaning items that have both civilian and military applications.

      In 2013, the list of goods governed under the Arrangement was amended to include technologies used for testing, penetrating, and exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks.

    • Remote denial of service vulnerability exposes BIND servers

      BIND operators released new versions of the DNS protocol software overnight to patch a critical vulnerability which can be exploited for use in denial-of-service cyberattacks.

      Lead investigator Michael McNally from the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) said in a security advisory the bug, CVE-2015-5477, is a critical issue which can allow hijackers to send malicious packets to knock out email systems, websites and other online services.

    • Botnet takedowns: are they worth it?

      The number of botnets has grown rapidly over the last decade. From Gameover Zeus leveraging encrypted peer-to-peer command and control servers, to Conflicker, infecting millions of computers across the world – botnets are continuing to infiltrate many internet-based services and causing mass disruption, and it’s getting worse.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Palestinian infant burned to death in West Bank arson; IDF blames ‘Jewish terror’

      A one-and-a-half year-old Palestinian infant was burned to death and three of his family members were seriously wounded late Thursday night after a house was set on fire in the village of Douma, near Nablus.

      According to reports, settlers were those who set the house on fire after targeting it with firebombs and graffiti. The Israeli military called the attack “Jewish terror,” while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials echoed the claim, vehemently condemning the attack.

    • CIA concludes US-led fight against IS a ‘strategic stalemate’: Report

      A year into US-led fight, Islamic State group’s membership levels remain consistent and group has spread geographically

    • USA: A clone of Israeli national security state

      Over the past decade, Israel lobby groups have founded exchange programmes with US police and homeland security agencies which have imported Israeli policing and national security practices to the US. Groups like the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee recruit delegations of high-level American security officials to liaise with Israeli counterparts in the police, military intelligence and internal security. Hundreds of officers have participated in these trips from departments in a score or more of US cities. New York even has its own police liaison office located inside an Israeli police station.

    • US to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard after 30 years

      The United Sates granted parole to Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and he will be freed in November. Pollard has been in U.S jail for almost 30 years. However, the U.S. government denied speculations that Pollard’s release is a gesture to placate Israel for softening its opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • California Using Recycled Fracking Water To Irrigate Crops

      California’s governor, a recipient of generous donations from the oil and gas industry, is now responsible for putting dangerous “frack water” into the American food supply.

      As California struggles with a historic drought, some farmers in California’s agriculturally fertile Central Valley turned to a water recycling program, allowing them to irrigate their crops at a fraction of the normal cost. According to Phys.org, the recycled water costs about $33 per square foot, while freshwater could cost as much as $1,500 for the same amount.

    • Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho shot dead on SAME day Zimbabwe bans hunting

      Zimbabwe has BANNED the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in a part of the country frequently used by hunters.

      The nation’s wildlife authorities put the ban in place following the outrage overt he death of Cecil the lion.

      Tragically, despite the ban coming in place today, it was announced that Jericho, Cecil’s brother, was shot dead by poachers.

      Bow and arrow hunts, like the one undertaken by the killer dentist Walter Palmer, have also been suspended – unless hunters are approved by the National Parks and Wildlife Authority’s director.

      Zimbabwean authorities said the hunt was illegal and are seeking the extradition of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer.

    • Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho shot dead in Zimbabwe by illegal hunters: officials

      Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho has been shot dead in Zimbabwe by illegal hunters, officials said Saturday.

      “It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother has been killed at 4pm today,” the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said in a statement. “We are absolutely heartbroken.”

  • Finance

    • “They bury the values of democracy”

      Yanis Varoufakis spent only five months in office as the Greek finance minister. But even that was enough to drive his colleagues to distraction – and his fans into a frenzy. An encounter in Athens.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Israel’s secret-keeper seeks censorship reform

      Soon-to-retire military censor envisions civil agency to provide ‘guidance’ rather than censorship to media

    • Interview: IDF’s secret-keeper seeks censorship reform

      As she prepares to retire next month, the chief military censor wants a steamlined, modern agency to provide advance ‘guidance’ rather than ‘censorship’.

    • Outgoing IDF chief censor: Israel’s preventive censorship is becoming irrelevant
    • Marc Shapiro and Jewish Censorship

      For years now Professor Marc Shapiro of the University of Scranton has revealed examples of mind control in Jewish sources. Opinions regarded as too lenient have been expurgated from books of responsa. Opinions once considered acceptable have now been proscribed in the current witchhunt against anything that might not completely condemn secular education. Records of great rabbis reading newspapers, Heaven forfend, have been removed from publications. Rabbis who held Zionist, tolerant, or modern views have had their names removed. Original approbations of great rabbis have been cut from their books so as not to misguide innocent modern readers.

      But thanks to easy access to original uncensored editions and the availability of texts online, this is now out in the open and clear for all to see (who are not blind). In his latest book, Changing the Immutable, Professor Shapiro has provided an invaluable service to the world of Torah scholarship by giving chapter and verse of so many examples of censorship and distortion.

    • Media practised self-censorship when I was PM, says Dr Mahathir

      “When I was the prime minister, there was press freedom but it is the media itself who did self-censorship, as if they didn’t want to hurt leaders’ feelings. This is the habit that we have in Malaysia,” he said at a book launch in Putrajaya today.

      He also said local mainstream media were too cautious.

      “They think what if leaders don’t like what they write,”he said.

      He added, however, that media like Harakah and The Rocket sometimes went overboard in criticising the government.

    • Censorship is killing student stand-up

      This attitude is toxic to comedy. Stand-up is nerve-racking enough; if young comics are constantly worried about being banned for speaking out of turn, how are they supposed to take the risks that allow you to grow as a performer? It’s bad enough when students’ unions ban professional comedians, for fear that their jokes will turn unthinking students into lads, Zionists or whatever the fear of the day is. But clamping down on 19-year-olds who can barely remember their lines? That’s laughable.

    • Politicians slam council chiefs for ‘censorship’ of controversial play about SNP activist

      POLITICIANS have accused West Dunbartonshire Council of censorship after it dropped a play about SNP activist Willie MacRae before telling the show’s producer he could come back if the Labour administration was given the boot in the next elections.

      After a successful run at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe , Andy Paterson from Theatre Magnetico said the authority called him asking about the possibility of putting his play 3,000 Trees: The Death of Willie Macrae on at Clydebank Town Hall.

    • Facebook Censors bianet’s News about Censorship

      Social networking service Facebook censored bianet news “Facebook Censors Kaos GL for ‘nudity’”.

      On July 29, bianet made news of Facebook censorship on Kaos GL, an LGBTI organization, which allegedly ‘violated the community rules’.

      We shared the news on Facebook and then Facebook censored our news stating the original photograph of the news as we used as headline violated the community rules.

    • When it comes to censorship, WordPress has your back

      Automattic, WordPress’s parent company, has a new transparency report that shows that they’ve bounced 43% of their 2015 copyright censorship demands for being frivolous or invalid.

    • Censorship is no substitute for enforcement

      Earlier this month, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici announced that his government would be amending archaic obscenity laws to remove the threat of imprisonment for ‘vilification of religion’, while regularising pornography within certain limitations.

    • Anti-Abbott poster erected by Australian students sparks row over censorship
    • Anti-Abbott poster erected by Castlemaine Secondary College students sparks row over censorship
    • Anti-Abbott poster erected by Castlemaine Secondary College students sparks row over censorship
    • An Artist Took Topless Photos of Women at the New York Supreme Court to Protest Censorship

      In August 2013, Allen Henson, a veteran-turned-photographer, visited the Empire State Building with his girlfriend. Henson took a topless photo of her on the observation deck and never imagined what would follow.

      In 2014, the Empire State Building filed a lawsuit against Henson for over $1 million, arguing he used the premises for commercial purposes (though Henson insists it was not a photoshoot and was exclusively for personal use) and ruined the building’s “reputation as a safe and secure family-friendly tourist attraction,” reports the Huffington Post.

    • Instagram bans #goddess from site

      Photo-sharing app Instagram has banned the hashtag #goddess because “inappropriate” images were allegedly shared, media reports said.

    • The Holes In Instagram’s Censorship Of Eating Disorders

      Recently, the social media site reversed its ban on searches for #curvy after users protested it by using the hashtag #curvee. Mashable reported Instagram now plans to filter out inappropriate content using the hashtag, stating #curvy was banned earlier this month due to content which violated its community guidelines, but insisting the ban had nothing to do with the term “curvy” itself.

    • Censors Cut Fan Bingbing’s Intimate Horse Scene in ‘Lady of the Dynasty’

      In the scene, Lai’s character Tang dynasty Emperor Xuanzong tore off the clothes of Fan’s character Yang Guifei and the couple engaged in an intimate encounter. Netizens feasted on the screenshots of the movie trailer and some suggested the possibility of censoring the part for its “bad influence” on the youth.

    • How Beijing’s censorship impairs U.S.China relations

      Over the past two years, the Chinese authorities have taken new steps to block Chinese citizens’ access to information from U.S. companies and media. These actions not only limit Chinese citizens’ access to news and entertainment, but they also harm U.S. businesses, media outlets, and innovators. In effect, the Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive efforts to defend its political monopoly are costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars a year.

      These dynamics pose a challenge to smoother bilateral relations. They undermine trust, create obstacles to cooperation, and infuse business interactions with an underlying sense of unfairness. As such, they should be high on the agenda of any meeting between American and Chinese officials, be it the just concluded U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue or Xi Jinping’s upcoming U.S. visit in September.

    • How egalitarianism became a microaggression

      Now, to the ever-growing list of what’s racist we can add refusing to believe in the completely constructed and repulsive category of race in the first place. At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), staff are being told that statements such as ‘I don’t believe in race’, ‘there is only one race, the human race’ and ‘America is a melting pot’ are no longer acceptable. In official UCLA guidelines uncovered by College Fix, all of these statements are branded ‘microaggressions’ – offhand comments or social slights which, the UCLA literature says, ‘communicate hostile, derogatory or negative messages’ to marginalised groups. That’s right: at this university, if you don’t believe in race, you’re probably a racist.

    • Non-religious groups criticise PM Lee’s remarks on “godless society”

      Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s remarks about how a “godless society” would bring “many other problems”, have raised the ire of some groups.

      “Overall, we think religion is a good thing,” Mr Lee said recently in an interview with TIME magazine. “I mean, if we were godless society, we would have many other problems, the communists found that out.”

      Mr Lee made those remarks when he spoke on the recent case of video-blogger Amos Yee whose online video on the late Lee Kuan Yew was also deemed to have “wounded the religious feelings of Christians.”

      “In our society, which is multiracial and multi-religious, giving offence to another religious or ethnic group, race, language or religion, is always a very serious matter. In this case, he’s a 16-year-old, so you have to deal with it appropriately because he’s (of a) young age,” Mr Lee said.

      The Prime Minister’s remarks about how a “godless society” would bring “many more problems”, however were criticised by at least two groups of non-religious groups.

      “Recent history shows that a state’s success or failure has more to do with its economic and political ideologies, governance, people and external factors beyond the state’s control than with religiosity,” said Leftwrite Center and the Humanist Society (Singapore) in a letter to TODAY.

    • PAP shows desperation by drawing electoral lines

      Our supreme leader has shown signs of weakness by targeting the likes of Roy Ngerng and Amos Yee.

    • Legal assistance for online media more critical today

      With the recent announcements of the electoral boundaries and the impending general elections looming, it is a forgone conclusion that blog activity and online discussions will spike. In tandem with growing public perception that state owned media outlets are the government’s mouthpieces, the Internet is fast becoming the forum du jour for political debates and information dissemination.

    • Asia’s ‘Unruly’ Children

      Ostensibly, 16-year-old Amos Yee was charged with “wounding the religious feelings of Christians” in a YouTube video that lambasted Lee Kuan Yew and compared him to Jesus, whom the young blogger described as ‘power hungry and malicious’. Amos was also found guilty of posting obscene material on the Internet, reference to a crude illustration of Lee and former British premier Margaret Thatcher in an acrobatic sex maneuver.

    • Canada is no friend of free speech, and as citizens get fined for criticizing police and lawyers get prosecuted

      O Canada! The land of Mounties and beavers and hockey and…hate speech tribunals? Yes, it’s no secret that Canada is no friend of free speech, and as citizens get fined for criticizing police and lawyers get prosecuted for criticizing a government agency, things are only getting worse. Join James in today’s Thought for the Day to find out more.

    • Rapid Pirate Site Blocking Mechanism Introduced By Portugal

      In concert with rightsholders and Internet service providers, Portugal has just introduced a mechanism which enables the streamlined blocking of ‘pirate’ sites. Set to go into effect during mid-August, the system will target sites with more than 500 allegedly infringing links and those whose indexes contain more than 66% infringing content.

  • Privacy

    • Groups urge Obama to oppose cyberthreat sharing bills

      The coalition of 39 digital rights and privacy groups and 29 security experts urged Obama to threaten to veto the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill that may come to the Senate floor for a vote by early August. CISA would protect from customer lawsuits those businesses that share cyberthreat information.

      “CISA fails to protect users’ personal information,” the coalition said in a letter to Obama, sent Monday. “It allows vast amounts of personal data to be shared with the government, even that which is not necessary to identify or respond to a cybersecurity threat.”

    • Legislative Cyber Threats: CISA’s Not The Only One

      If anyone in the United States Senate had any doubts that the proposed Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) was universally hated by a range of civil society groups, a literal blizzard of faxes should’ve cleared up the issue by now.

    • New attack on Tor can deanonymize hidden services with surprising accuracy

      Deanonymization requires luck but nonetheless shows limits of Tor privacy.

    • Tor connection vulnerability uncloaks hidden web services

      MIT researchers have developed digital attacks which can unmask Tor services in the Deep Web with a high degree of accuracy.

    • How the way you type can shatter anonymity—even on Tor

      Security researchers have refined a long-theoretical profiling technique into a highly practical attack that poses a threat to Tor users and anyone else who wants to shield their identity online.

    • Internet of things: the greatest mass surveillance infrastructure ever?

      The word “thing”, in Old English, means a meeting or assembly. In the epic poem Beowulf, the eponymous hero declares he’ll “alone hold a thing” with the monster Grendel, who is terrorising the Danes in the great hall of Heorot. Beowulf uses “thing” euphemistically – it is a meeting that immediately descends into a fight.

      The Icelandic parliament is still called Althing (Alþingi). But over the ages, “things” have gradually evolved from meetings to matter. Today, we primarily use the term “thing” to refer to objects. Even in this sense, however, things are still core to our political and social lives.

      An appreciation that things have always been about community and politics, whether literally, or through the creation and respect of systems of private property, provides a useful backdrop to the recent book, Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up, by writer and professor of communication, Philip N Howard.

    • France approves ‘Big Brother’ surveillance powers despite UN concern

      France’s highest authority on constitutional matters has approved a controversial bill that gives the state sweeping new powers to spy on citizens.

      The constitutional council made only minor tweaks to the legislation, which human rights and privacy campaigners, as well as the United Nations, have described as paving the way for “very intrusive” surveillance and state-approved eavesdropping and computer-hacking.

    • Incongruities in the News — Paul Craig Roberts

      Jonathan Pollard, a paid spy for Israel described by Michael D. Shear as “one of the country’s most notorious spies,” has been pardoned from his life sentence. It strikes me as hypocritical for the US government to sentence anyone to prison for spying when the government itself spies on everyone everywhere. All Americans including members of the House and Senate, congressional staff, military officers, foreign governments including the leaders of Washington’s closest allies, and foreign businesses are spied upon. No one is exempt from Washington’s spying.

      Washington claims that its worldwide spying does no harm. So how did the very limited spying of one person—Pollard—a civilian employee of Naval intelligence do so much harm as to warrant a life sentence? What some of us would like to see is a life sentence for NSA.

      What disturbs me about the case is that it is Pollard, who spied for a foreign country, who is released. In contrast, Manning and Snowden who spied for the American people are locked away, Manning in a federal prison and Snowden in his Russian exile. Julian Assange, who merely did his job as a journalist and made available to newspapers documents leaked to him, is confined to the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Edward Snowden Explains Why Apple Should Continue To Fight the Government on Encryption

      As the Obama administration campaign to stop the commercialization of strong encryption heats up, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is firing back on behalf of the companies like Apple and Google that are finding themselves under attack.

      “Technologists and companies working to protect ordinary citizens should be applauded, not sued or prosecuted,” Snowden wrote in an email through his lawyer.

    • NSA Doesn’t Want Court That Found Phone Dragnet Illegal to Actually Do Anything About It

      The National Security Agency doesn’t think it’s relevant that its dragnet of American telephone data — information on who’s calling who, when, and for how long — was ruled illegal back in May.

      An American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit is asking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which reached that conclusion, to immediately enjoin the program.

      But the U.S. government responded on Monday evening, saying that Congressional passage of the USA Freedom Act trumped the earlier ruling. The Freedom Act ordered an end to the program — but with a six-month wind-down period.

    • Stepping into an NSA agent’s shoes is just a download away
    • Seen: Self-censoring font redacts words monitored by the NSA
    • Former NSA Leaker Thomas Drake Now Working in Retail
    • NSA Whistleblower Describes Ongoing Anguish
    • The Original NSA Whistleblower Is Still Rebuilding His Life
    • US spies on Japan trade talks: WikiLeaks
    • WikiLeaks reveals US spied on Japan too
    • WikiLeaks files suggest US spied on Japan, Japanese companies
    • Wikileaks says US spied on Japanese government, companies
    • WikiLeaks alleges widespread U.S. spying on Japanese government, major companies
    • Wikileaks: US ‘spied on Japan government and companies’

      The US has been spying on Japanese cabinet officials, banks and companies, including the Mitsubishi conglomerate, whistleblowing website Wikileaks says.

      Documents released by Wikileaks list 35 telephone numbers targeted for interception by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

      [...]

      Wikileaks says the NSA shared the information it had gathered with Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand – the so-called “Five Eyes” group.

    • WikiLeaks Docs Purport To Show The U.S. Spied On Japan’s Government

      New classified documents released by WikiLeaks purport to show that the United States spied on Japan’s government, as well as on Japanese banks and companies, including Mitsubishi.

    • US has spied on Japan for years, reveals Wikileaks

      WIKILEAKS published evidence of the United States spying on its ally Japan yesterday, including a list of government and business targets.

      The whistle-blowing website published its “Target Tokyo” list of 35 of US National Security Agency (NSA) targets — the Cabinet Office, the Bank of Japan and corporate giants Mitsubishi and Mitsui among them — going back at least eight years.

    • US Will Escape Consequences After NSA Caught Spying on Japanese Officials

      The US National Security Agency spied on Japanese high-profile officials and businessmen, WikiLeaks revealed on Friday.

    • Japan’s PM Could Use NSA Spy Reports to Strengthen Secret State – Envoy

      US China Policy Foundation Co-Chair and former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Charles Freeman Jr. claims that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could use the WikiLeaks revelations of US spying on his government to make security affairs far more secret.

    • US spied on Japanese govt, companies, passed intelligence to Australia, New Zealand

      Washington spied on its key ally, Japan, and passed intelligence on to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK, WikiLeaks has revealed. The NSA targeted 35 high-ranking Japanese officials and top companies, and also tracked trade negotiations.

    • WikiLeaks Discloses NSA Intercepted Japan’s Secret Climate Change Plans

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted Japanese climate change plans of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that had been intended to be kept secret from the United States, WikiLeaks revealed on Friday.

    • Leak Shows US Spying on Japan Over Climate Change — and Cherries

      One document that summarizes intercepted communications from 2007 discusses plans by the Japanese government to announce plans to halve their carbon emissions by 2050.

    • Climate and Cherry Disputes in WikiLeaks Documents Show U.S.-Japan Relations Can Be the Pits

      New U.S. spying records offer a view of the mundane diplomacy between two allied, industrialized nations. But five excerpted cables, released Friday by WikiLeaks, show relations aren’t always sunny or sweet.

    • US spied on Japanese PM Abe, Mitsubishi, and so much more

      The targets of the cyber-spying included stealing secrets on US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and climate change policy. Fruits of the spying, exposed in leaked documents published by WikiLeaks on Friday, were shared with the US’s Five Eyes spying partners.

    • Tokyo to Protest US Spying on Gov’t, Companies if Allegations Confirmed

      Tokyo will lodge a formal protest with the US government if the WikiLeaks revelations of NSA spying on Japanese officials and businesses are proved.

    • WikiLeaks: NSA spied on Abe and Japanese companies

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, key figures of his former administration and several of Japan’s most powerful companies have been the targets of long-term US spying operations, according to documents published on the WikiLeaks website.

    • Target Tokyo: WikiLeaks reveals NSA spied on Japanese PM Shinzō Abe and companies like Mitsubishi

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) undertook systematic mass surveillance of Japanese politicians, ministries and corporations over a number of years, according to recently published documents. The revelations come from whistleblowing organisation WikiLeaks, which released a list of 35 top secret targets in Japan on Friday morning (31 July).

    • Exclusive: US bugs Japan on trade and climate

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and the top levels of the Japanese government are being spied on by America, and the information shared with allies including Australia, according to secret intelligence documents published by WikiLeaks.

    • NSA was spying on Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, WikiLeaks reveals

      WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing organisation recently revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was actively spying on some of Japan’s high-profile citizens, including the current Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

    • WikiLeaks: NSA also targeted Japan, spied on climate change policy

      Add Japan to the list of countries that the National Security Agency purportedly spied on. New documents published by WikiLeaks alleges that the NSA kept tabs on Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, his cabinet and companies like Mitsubishi since 2006. In particular, the US paid close attention to Japan’s policies around climate change. That includes details about Abe’s plan to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by half by 2050, which Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) was considering not telling the US about, as well as its confidential G8 summit proposals on climate change. Additionally, the US knew ahead of time that Japan intended to double down on a “sectoral approach” for managing carbon emissions, which focuses on specific carbon goals for sectors like “industry,” “residential” and “transportation.”

    • New leaks show NSA targeting Japanese ministers and energy companies

      The NSA has been keeping a close eye on Japan’s biggest businesses, according to a new publication from Wikileaks. Dubbed “Target Tokyo,” the new files show NSA selector IDs singling out a range of sensitive targets within Japan, including the country’s Minister of Economic Trade and Industry, numerous targets within the country’s finance ministry, and unspecified targets within Mistubishi’s Natural Gas division and Mitsui’s petroleum division.

      The latest release is similar to previous documents that revealed French government targets as well as the personal surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The source of the documents is unknown, but they are not believed to have come from Edward Snowden, who has traditionally published documents through journalistic outlets like The Guardian, The Intercept, or The Washington Post.

    • Target Tokyo

      Today, Friday 31 July 2015, 9am CEST, WikiLeaks publishes “Target Tokyo”, 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy.

      The list indicates that NSA spying on Japanese conglomerates, government officials, ministries and senior advisers extends back at least as far as the first administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which lasted from September 2006 until September 2007. The telephone interception target list includes the switchboard for the Japanese Cabinet Office; the executive secretary to the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga; a line described as “Government VIP Line”; numerous officials within the Japanese Central Bank, including Governor Haruhiko Kuroda; the home phone number of at least one Central Bank official; numerous numbers within the Japanese Finance Ministry; the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa; the Natural Gas Division of Mitsubishi; and the Petroleum Division of Mitsui.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Now it’s Edward Snowden the comic book – man who stole 1.7 MILLION classified documents and revealed NSA’s monitoring program is subject of ‘graphic novel’ [government propaganda, citing the agencies and/or anonymous sources, or unsourced, like the three links below]
    • NSA report shows China hacked 600+ US targets over 5 years

      NBC has released a 2014 slide from a secret NSA Threat Operations Center (NTOC) briefing—a map that shows the locations of “every single successful computer intrusion” by Chinese state-sponsored hackers over a five-year period. More than 600 US businesses and institutions were breached during that period.

    • Exclusive: Secret NSA Map Shows China Cyber Attacks on U.S. Targets
    • How NSA and GCHQ spied on the Cold War world

      American and British intelligence used a secret relationship with the founder of a Swiss encryption company to help them spy during the Cold War, newly released documents analysed by the BBC reveal.

    • NSA pays highway cops $1mn to patrol data centres
    • Local troopers maintain ‘perimeter presence’ at data center as part of contract with NSA
    • Report: Utah Cops Get $1M a Year to Park at NSA Data Center

      The massive controversial NSA data center in Bluffdale, Utah, has police presence that’s costing the agency $1 million a year. State Highway Patrol troopers provide the facility that became a center of attention following Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the agency’s mass surveillance practices with a “perimeter presence” under contract with the feds, reported a local Fox News affiliate.

      In a statement, the NSA (National Security Agency) said the move was to ensure the security of its workforce and the larger community. Public outrage following the Snowden disclosures included protests at the site, putting the secretive facility in the national spotlight.

    • No pardon for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, says US government

      A petition calling for American intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden to be pardoned has been rejected by the US government – two years after it was started.

      More than 167,000 people signed the petition – calling for Mr Snowden to be “immediately issued with a full, free, and absolute pardon” – on the government’s official petitions website, We the People.

      But the US government said it would not be acting on it and instead urged Mr Snowden to return to America and be “judged by a jury of his peers”.

    • White House says Snowden should ‘come home, be judged’

      The White House rejected a call today to pardon Edward Snowden, saying the former intelligence contractor should “be judged by a jury of his peers” for leaking US government secrets. The US administration re-iterated its tough stance against the exiled fugitive, whom supporters regard as a whistleblower, in response to a petition on the White House website signed by more than 167,000 people.

      Lisa Monaco, an advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism, said Snowden’s “dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.” She said that Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia after he leaked documents on vast US surveillance programs to journalists, is “running away from the consequences of his actions.”

    • Quoted: White House says no pardon for Edward Snowden

      The administration response is in line with other government officials’ stated stance on Snowden, who a couple of years ago leaked documents he stole from the NSA. Although former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this month he thought that a deal was possible, a spokeswoman for current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the administration’s position had not changed.

    • White House Says “Thanks but No Thanks” to Pardon for Snowden
    • Spies helped build Silicon Valley. Now the tables are turning

      David Cameron wants US tech sector companies to do more to fight terrorism. But they’ve grown too powerful to listen

    • Tor Project, Library Freedom Project to establish Tor exit nodes in libraries

      Tor Project and the Library Freedom Project have joined forces to establish Tor exit nodes in libraries in an effort to protect internet freedom, bolster the Tor network and show the public how Tor can be used to protect their digital free expression rights, according to a Tor Project blog post.

    • The NSA will soon stop examining millions of Americans’ calling records
    • NSA won’t get hands on bulk phone data after 29 November
    • NSA will stop looking at old phone records

      The agency says that would be “solely for data integrity purposes to verify the records produced under the new targeted production authorized by the USA FREEDOM Act”.

      The National Security Agency will purge all phone data collected during the operation of its expiring bulk surveillance program by the start of next year pending ongoing litigation, the government announced Monday. Instead, those metadata records – such as the time a call was made, to whom it was made, and the duration of the call – will held by the telephone companies, and the NSA will be required to submit specific search terms in order to request relevant data, after obtaining a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

    • NSA sets date for purge of surveillance phone records

      “Analytic access” to the five years worth of records will end on 29 November, and they’ll be destroyed three months later, it said in a statement released on Monday.

    • Why the NSA is destroying its historic telephone surveillance data

      Since Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, the National Security Agency, or NSA, has become a by-word for uncontrolled government surveillance, an Orwellian presence collecting information without remit or restriction.

    • NSA to destroy bulk phone records collected under Patriot Act
    • Chat about Safe Harbour all you like, the NSA’s still the stumbling block

      The EU’s Justice Commissioner met her US counterparts last week in an effort to break the stalemate over data protection rights.

      Věra Jourová and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker met to discuss the revision of the so-called Safe Harbour agreement, a legally enforceable but voluntary code of conduct for US businesses that process European citizens’ data.

      The bilateral deal was reached in 2000 as a way to allow data flows across the North Atlantic, even though the US does not meet the EU’s adequacy standards on data protection.

    • CISA: The Dirty Deal Between Google and the NSA That No One Is Talking About

      One of the things that civil liberties activists like to lament about is that the general public seems to care more about Google and Facebook using their personal data to target advertising than the government using it to target drone strikes.

    • Pending bill could give NSA carte blanche on personal data

      Ever heard of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act? Not many people have, but the bill, which is progressing through the legislative process, could give government agencies access to huge amounts of personal data held by private companies like Google and Facebook.

    • What’s Inside the Justice Department’s Secret Cybersecurity Memo?

      Wyden, the Democratic privacy hawk from Oregon, claims that a classified Justice Department legal opinion written during the early years of the George W. Bush administration is pertinent to the upper chamber’s consideration of cyberlegislation—a warning that reminds close observers of his allusions to the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers years before they were exposed publicly by Edward Snowden.

    • Wyden, Internet privacy guru, pushes back on cyber, intel bills

      Ron Wyden, happy warrior, is at it again.

      The Oregon Democrat is throwing sand in the gears of legislation designed to fight hackers and terrorists over concerns that the bills will limit users’ privacy and free speech.

      With just days left before the August recess, Sen. Wyden is helping to lead a grassroots campaign against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). The bipartisan bill encourages private companies to share information with the government about cyber threats after a number of high-profile hacks of federal agencies and firms like Sony, Target and Anthem.

    • Magid: Concerns raised about cybersecurity bill

      The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act , or CISA, encourages private companies to share information with the federal government and local law enforcement. The bill, according to its co-author, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, would remove legal barriers for companies to share, receive and use cyberthreat information and cyber countermeasures “on a purely voluntary basis,” while also providing liability protection if user or customer data is shared.

    • Cyber-Surveillance Bill Set to Move to Senate Floor

      The Senate is expected to consider the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA, S. 754) on the Senate floor soon. The bill was marked up in secret, thereby denying the public an opportunity to better understand the risks the legislation poses. This document analyzes the bill as reported by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on a vote of 14-1.

    • Week of Action Opposing CISA: Over 400,000 Faxes Sent At Halfway Point

      We’re halfway through our Week of Action opposing the privacy-invasive “cybersecurity” bill CISA. This is the fifth time in as many years that Congress is trying to pass an information-sharing bill. The Week of Action aims to stop a rumored vote on the bill before Congress leaves for a 5-week vacation on August 7. We’re only three days in and over 400,000 faxes have been sent to the Senate opposing CISA. Join us now in the Week of Action.

    • Stop Cyber Surveillance
    • Privacy groups use faxes to fight cyber surveillance bill

      A coalition of privacy rights advocates and civil-liberties groups opposed to the proposed Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, is urging American citizens to wage a fax campaign against it – on the theory that if the government wants to impose Orwellian 1984-style surveillance laws on America, maybe circa-1984 technology is the best way to point out the problems with this.

    • Court: German spy agency need not give info on NSA list

      A German federal court has ruled that the country’s spy agency is under no obligation to divulge to the media a list of names compiled from search terms provided to it by the U.S. National Security Agency.

    • Bundestag Demands Access to Surveillance Lists Involved in NSA Scandal

      The G10 Commission of the Bundestag responsible for controlling German intelligence services is going to file a lawsuit against the current German government over a recent espionage scandal with the NSA. The Commission demanded access to BND documents containing lists of objects of surveillance, chairman of the Commission Andre Hahn told Sputnik.

    • German Intelligence Supervisor to Sue Merkel Amid NSA Scandal
    • German Courts Unlikely to Rule Against Gov’t in NSA Scandal
    • Even the former head of NSA thinks crypto backdoors are stupid

      Michael Chertoff, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security and a former federal prosecutor, made some surprising remarks last week, coming out strongly against cryptographic backdoors that could be provided to the government upon request.

    • Former Heads of Homeland Security, NSA Back Encryption

      Three prominent former national-security officials endorsed the use of encryption in communications, breaking with President Barack Obama and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey in their standoff with Silicon Valley over new uses of the controversial technology.

      Former National Security Agency Director Mike McConnell, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn backed encryption in an eyebrow-raising editorial published Wednesday in the Washington Post.

    • The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption

      This subtle misdirection shifts the conversation away from a different sort of back door currently being leveraged on a global scale. That would be back doors that are built upon zero-day exploits. An entire industry has emerged to cater to the growing demand for zero-day bugs and the tech monoliths have quietly provided assistance. For example it’s well documented that companies like Microsoft gave the NSA early access to information on zero-day bugs in their products.

    • An Unexpected Voice Speaks Out Against Backdoored Encryption

      Chertoff said weakening encryption would increase the vulnerabilities for ordinary users, force “bad people” into using technology that would be even harder to decrypt, and could become a strategic vulnerability for the United States, especially if Russia and China demanded backdoor access.

    • Even former heads of NSA, DHS think crypto backdoors are stupid
    • Swiss cryptography firm helped NSA during Cold War

      According to an analysis of declassified documents by the BBC, Zug-based company Crypto AG helped the US National Security Agency (NSA) during the Cold War. The firm told swissinfo.ch that it was unaware of this secret collaboration until recently.

    • Law Enforcement Agencies NSA’s ‘New Customer’ for Data – Whistleblower

      NSA whistleblower William Binney claims that the most prominent users of data collected by NSA are federal and international law enforcement agencies.

    • Ex-Qwest CEO: Likely the NSA snatched emails, calls during Salt Lake Olympics

      Joseph Nacchio headed Denver-based Qwest from 1997 to 2002 and later served more than four years in prison on insider-trading convictions involving the telecom giant. He said Wednesday that he couldn’t say whether the company worked with the NSA or FBI to capture such information during the Olympics, but that the agencies could have worked with other executives to gain access without his knowledge.

    • NSA Phone Dragnet Will Be Emptied, Feds Say, If Foes Allow It

      The U.S. government says it wants to empty the National Security Agency’s databases of domestic call records that were collected in bulk, but that it can’t because surveillance foes seeking a courtroom win for privacy rights have forced their retention.

    • NSA won’t look at call metadata collected under the Patriot Act
    • Rogers: NSA, Cybercom Need Partners to Aid Cybersecurity
    • UK Police Want to Secretly Arrest Journalists Who Report on Snowden’s NSA Leaks

      Metropolitan Police claim an investigation into the possibility of prosecuting journalists for their role in publishing secrets leaked by Edward Snowden will be kept secret. The revelation that information won’t be disclosed due to a “possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity” follows the relentless demands for information from journalists at The Intercept

    • Why Some Americans hate Edward Snowden

      It is difficult to feel “exceptional” when we tolerate living in a “democracy” whose government spies on just about everything it can under the pretense of making us “safe” and “free”.

    • Exit Interview: I’m A Crypto-Specialist Working To Secure the Internet For A Billion People

      We spoke with Karsten Nohl, a Berlin-based crypto-specialist, to get a better handle on these issues. Karsten views himself as an ethical hacker who exposes the security flaws of large corporations, including GSM mobile phone carriers and credit card companies, in order to better protect the customers.

      And his research is fascinating. From developing USB “condoms,” to working to help over a billion people in India connect to the internet securely, Karsten is something of a renegade, trying to make the online world a bit safer for us all.

    • US Given Low Grades on Privacy, Surveillance from UN Committee

      Not surprisingly, the United Nations Human Rights Committee gave the United States low scores on privacy and national security surveillance. In particular, the committee concluded the US has failed to establish “meaningful judicial oversight of its surveillance operations, adequate limits on data retention and meaningful access to remedies for privacy violations.”

    • Dig out your old mobile phone and hack an air-gapped computer

      Researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel have discovered a new attack in which data, including passwords and encryption keys, could be stolen from a computer isolated from the web by using an old phone, malware, a GSM network and electromagnetic waves.

    • NSA Tries to Blame Privacy Advocates for Keeping Americans’ Telephone Records

      USA Freedom requires the NSA to stop collecting our telephone records. An open question when the law passed was what should happen to the mountain of records the NSA has already collected. Will the records be destroyed? Will the NSA keep them? Will it be able to keep using them?

      Earlier this week, the NSA announced that it was going to move the stored records out of active use in November, with a three month period when its employees check them for “data integrity” reasons. It noted, however, that it would not be destroying the records until resolution of the various court cases where the government is under a court order to preserve evidence. Three of those cases are EFF’s: Jewel v. NSA, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA and Smith v. Obama. The implication is that the privacy advocates are the reason that these records aren’t being destroyed.

      Not so.

      We have offered to the NSA, in multiple court filings, to enter into a plan under which they can destroy many of the records (maybe not all, but certainly most of them). The NSA just needs to admit that our clients’ telephone records were included in the mass collection and for how long. Alternatively, they could state on the record that none of our clients’ records were ever included in the NSA’s telephone records collection, something that seems inconceivable (we do know what that word means) given that Jewel v. NSA is a class action on behalf of all telephone customers of AT&T.

    • Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project ‘Where to Invade Next’ on Periscope

      One of the big surprises among the world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival this September is Michael Moore’s first documentary in six years, “Where To Invade Next.” The usually expansive filmmaker and social media master has kept the project under wraps for a year, he declared on his first Periscope live video via Twitter. (As of Tuesday there was no IMDb listing.)

      “I’d like to say hello to my NSA friends who are watching right now,” Moore said. Clearly, he feels a certain paranoia about his subject, much as Laura Poitras did with “Citizenfour.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Why We Can’t Support Police Unions

      A labor movement that seeks to fight oppression has no room for police unions.

    • Openly gay CIA contractor faked family emergency to leave Afghanistan amid alleged LGBT discrimination by colleagues

      An openly gay CIA contractor feared that his own colleagues posed a graver threat to his safety than the enemy forces he encountered during a recent deployment in Afghanistan.

      Brett Jones ultimately faked a family emergency to escape the troubling pattern of escalating harassment he said he endured on the mission.

    • Former Navy Seal says CIA operatives turned on him because he is gay

      Brett Jones, a former Navy Seal and an openly gay member of the CIA’s paramilitary Global Response Staff (GRS), told ABC News that other staff members harassed him so much that he feared for his life.

    • WATCH: CIA Contractor Details Antigay Harassment by Colleagues in War Zone

      When former Navy SEAL and current CIA contractor Brett Jones came out as gay last year, he received widespread support from his colleagues. But his latest experience, while deployed in a war zone in Afghanistan, has been a different story.

    • Ex-US navy member alleges anti-gay bullying by CIA workers
    • High-speed police chases have killed thousands of innocent bystanders

      More than 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police car chases since 1979, and tens of thousands more were injured as officers repeatedly pursued drivers at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

      The bystanders and the passengers in chased cars account for nearly half of all people killed in police pursuits from 1979 through 2013, USA TODAY found. Most bystanders were killed in their own cars by a fleeing driver.

      Police across the USA chase tens of thousands of people each year — usually for traffic violations or misdemeanors — often causing drivers to speed away recklessly. Recent cases show the danger of the longstanding police practice of chasing minor offenders.

    • Feds Hand Out Funds To Be Used For ‘Traffic Safety;’ Local Agencies Buy License Plate Readers Instead

      The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) is supposed to be focused on one thing: safety. For crying out loud, it’s right in the middle of its cumbersome name. But the federal funding it hands out to state and local governments is being used for surveillance devices with no discernible “safety” purpose: automatic license plate readers.

    • Freedom Of The Press Foundation Sues DOJ Over Its Secret Rules For Spying On Journalists

      The wonderful Freedom of the Press Foundation is now suing the US Justice Department for refusing to reveal its rules and procedures for spying on journalists. You can read the complaint here. The key issue: what rules and oversight exist for the DOJ when it comes to spying on journalists. As you may recall, a few years ago, it came out that the DOJ had been using some fairly sneaky tricks to spy on journalists, including falsely telling a court that reporter James Rosen was a “co-conspirator” in order to get access to his emails and phone records. In response to a lot of criticism, the DOJ agreed to “revise” its rules for when it snoops on journalists.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • ISPs: Net neutrality rules are illegal because Internet access uses computers

      Internet service providers yesterday filed a 95-page brief outlining their case that the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules should be overturned.

      One of the central arguments is that the FCC cannot impose common carrier rules on Internet access because it can’t be defined as a “telecommunications” service under Title II of the Communications Act. The ISPs argued that Internet access must be treated as a more lightly regulated “information service” because it involves “computer processing.”

      “No matter how many computer-mediated features the FCC may sweep under the rug, the inescapable core of Internet access is a service that uses computer processing to enable consumers to ‘retrieve files from the World Wide Web, and browse their contents’ and, thus, ‘offers the ‘capability for… acquiring,… retrieving [and] utilizing… information.’ Under the straightforward statutory definition, an ‘offering’ of that ‘capability’ is an information service,” the ISPs wrote.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom & Mega Trade Barbs Over Hostile Takeover Claims

        In a Q&A session with users of Slashdot this week, Kim Dotcom advised surprised readers not use Mega amid claims of a hostile takeover. Intrigued, TorrentFreak caught up with both Dotcom and his former colleagues at the cloud storage site. Both had plenty to say and it’s now clear that previously warm relations have now iced over.

07.31.15

Links 31/7/2015: Lennart Poettering as ‘Linux Hero’ and systemd Conference Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Accuvant researchers to release open source RFID access tool

    Security researchers have long known about the vulnerabilities of the RFID readers that many buildings use instead of door locks, but facilities managers have been slow to upgrade to more secure systems.

    To draw attention to the problem, at next week’s Black Hat conference, Accuvant researchers will be releasing an open source piece of hardware that can be used to circumvent these readers.

  • VA Secretary: Open source is the only way to operate

    Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Bob McDonald voiced his support for open source technology July 30, as he outlined a broad reform plan that includes streamlining information technology and taking a more “holistic” look at customer service.

    “We have over 200 databases with customer information. That means if you want to change your address, you have to go to at least nine places to change your address at VA,” said McDonald during a morning keynote July 30 at a conference in Bethesda, Md.

  • OpenDaylight Project Picks Up Steam
  • Kim Dotcom to create Wikimedia-style open source Mega 3.0

    Dotcom’s first file locker, Megaupload, saw him accused of knowingly hosting, and indeed encouraging the upload and distribution of, stolen films and music. From his new home in New Zealand, he’s fought a long legal battle on numerous fronts, fending off extradition attempts, accusing kiwi authorities of working without warrants end even trying, and failing miserably, to promote a political part .

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Dummy projects for new Drupal hires

      Lakhani’s current role involves promoting the use of applications like Drupal, WordPress, Magento, and Redline through free tools and services. But, this Denver-based executive’s experience shows most in forming the global, distributed team of developers and support staff inherent to success.

  • BSD

    • from distribution to project

      OpenBSD is going through something of a minimalist phase right now, but that wasn’t always the case. There was definitely an era of aggressive importation as well. Times change, priorities change, projects change. I wasn’t involved with OpenBSD during the early years, but I think I can explain the shift in attitudes. This is part three of an apparently ongoing series that started with Pruning and Polishing and out with the old, in with the less.

    • sashan@ on SMP pf progress

      One of our new developers, Alexandr Nedvedicky (sashan@), writes in to tell us about his trip to the lovely locale of Calgary for c2k15.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source part of Bulgarian eGovernment tender requirements

      The Bulgarian government has added open source as a requirement to its ‘Preliminary criteria for the eligibility of eGovernment projects’.

    • IT trade groups protest Slovak licence deal

      Two IT trade associations in the Slovak Republic are objecting the renewal of a proprietary software licence contract negotiated by the country’s Ministry of Finance for all government organisations. Instead of continuing to rely on proprietary office suites, the groups want the Slovakian government to explore a transition to open source alternatives.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WEBINAR – A standard that is not managed is not a standard

      Through their brief webinar Marijke and Marco will share with the audience how the Dutch Government is promoting the adoption of open standards through BOMOS, a method (initiated by Dr. Erwin Folmer, TNO with contribution from Marijke) which describes how to maintain and manage open standards.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Remote code execution via serialized data

      Serialization and, more importantly, deserialization of data is unsafe due to the simple fact that the data being processed is trusted implicitly as being “correct.” So if you’re taking data such as program variables from a non trusted source you’re making it possible for an attacker to control program flow. Additionally many programming languages now support serialization of not just data (e.g. strings, arrays, etc.) but also of code objects. For example with Python pickle() you can actually serialize user defined classes, you can take a section of code, ship it to a remote system, and it is executed there.

    • To exec or transition that is the question…
    • CIL – Part1: Faster SELinux policy (re)build
    • FCC Rules Block use of Open Source

      The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has introduced ‘software security requirements’ obliging WiFi device manufacturers to “ensure that only properly authenticated software is loaded and operating the device”. The document specifically calls out the DD-WRT open source router project, but clearly also applies to other popular distributions such as OpenWRT. This could become an early battle in ‘The war on general purpose computing’ as many smartphones and Internet of Things devices contain WiFi router capabilities that would be covered by the same rules.

    • Hacked Jeep Cherokee Exposes Weak Underbelly of High-Tech Cars

      The Jeep Cherokee brought to a halt by hackers last week exposed wireless networks as the weakest link in high-tech vehicles, underscoring the need to find fast over-the-air fixes to block malicious intrusions.

      Features that buyers now expect in most modern automobiles, such as driving directions and restaurant guides, count on a constant connection to a telecommunications network. But that link also makes cars vulnerable to security invasions like those that threaten computers in homes and businesses.

  • Censorship

    • David Cameron wants to block non-age verifiying porn sites

      PRIME MINISTER David Cameron is looking to ensure that adult websites, the sort that MPs like, will abide by age verification standards and make sure that fumbling punters are of adult age.

      Cameron has a thing about these sites, as does a huge chunk of Westminster, and would like to see adult content subjected to bondage and inspection. He would like to give it a firm political going over and a good legislative seeing to. He wants to take it in hand.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC has already gotten 2,000 “net neutrality” complaints

      The Federal Communications Commission received about 2,000 net neutrality complaints from consumers over a one-month period, according to a National Journal article today. The overarching theme of the complaints is that customers are fed up with their Internet service providers, often due to slow speeds, high prices, and data caps. In a sampling of 60 complaints, the most frequent targets were AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

07.30.15

Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • CoreOS CEO: Security is fundamental

      In an interview, CEO Alex Polvi claims his company invented the cloud-native OS category and discusses how CoreOS’s update strategy differs from the likes of Red Hat

    • IBM Promises Apache Spark for Linux on Z Systems

      Expanding the z Systems ecosystem means data scientists can use Apache Spark’s common programming framework and get the full use of the mainframe’s advanced analytics capabilities – without having to get sidelined by any specific format for data.

    • IBM to Deliver Apache Spark for Linux on Z System Mainframes

      IBM has announced support for Apache Spark for Linux on z Systems, as part of its effort to expand the reach of its mainframe platforms. Among other benefits, the z Systems will now have a lot of appeal for data scientists that can leverage Apache Spark’s advanced analytics capabilities–all running on Linux.

    • Why Docker is Not Yet Succeeding Widely in Production

      Docker’s momentum has been increasing by the week, and from that it’s clearly touching on real problems. However, for many production users today, the pros do not outweigh the cons. Docker has done fantastically well at making containers appeal to developers for development, testing and CI environments—however, it has yet to disrupt production. In light of DockerCon 2015’s “Docker in Production” theme I’d like to discuss publicly the challenges Docker has yet to overcome to see wide adoption for the production use case. None of the issues mentioned here are new; they all exist on GitHub in some form. Most I’ve already discussed in conference talks or with the Docker team. This post is explicitly not to point out what is no longer an issue: For instance the new registry overcomes many shortcomings of the old. Many areas that remain problematic are not mentioned here, but I believe that what follows are the most important issues to address in the short term to enable more organizations to take the leap to running containers in production. The list is heavily biased from my experience of running Docker at Shopify, where we’ve been running the core platform on containers for more than a year at scale. With a technology moving as fast as Docker, it’s impossible to keep everything current. Please reach out if you spot inaccuracies.

    • A New SysAdmin Pledge in Honor of SysAdmin Day

      In fact, history is filled with examples of great people declaring a holiday for themselves. Take Christopher Columbus, for example. Upon discovering “The New World”, Columbus immediately declared the second Monday in October to be “Columbus Day” (to be celebrated with cake… and balloons… and confetti). It took a year or two to catch on, but before the decade was through, most of the world was already celebrating this new holiday. It’s true. Look it up.

    • 10 Job Interview Questions for Linux System Administrators

      SysAdmins of all experience levels, then, can benefit from brushing up on their job interview skills if they want to find and land a great new job.

  • Kernel Space

    • Systemd Is Launching Its Own Conference

      Lennart Poettering today announced systemd.conf 2015, its inaugural conference devoted to the future of systemd.

    • AllSeen Alliance Welcomes Philips as Premier Member

      The AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry collaboration to advance the Internet of Things (IoT) through an open source software project, today announced that Philips has joined as a premier member. Philips joins more than 170 members of the AllSeen Alliance, including premier members Canon, Electrolux, Haier, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic, Qeo (a Technicolor company), Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., Sharp, Silicon Image (a Lattice Semiconductor company) and Sony.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE at FISL 16

        Many of you already know that FISL (The International Free Software Forum) is one of the biggest FLOSS conferences in the world. From 8 to 11 July 2015, 5281 free software passionate people met in Porto Alegre (South Brazil) for the 16th FISL edition, enjoying activities such as talks, panels, hackathons, workshops, and community meetings. All kinds of FLOSS-related topics were in place: development, translation, artwork, education, robotics, entrepreneurship, audio-visual, women and gender, politics, academia and research … Phew! that’s tiring :) KDE has a long and memorable history at FISL and it wasn’t different this year.

      • Busy is fun!

        The beginning of the day was reading some social media in the morning with breakfast catching up with the times. While going though my Google+ feed I saw a post that I seen before about the a bug with a krunner plugin. The plugin in question was this which Riddell, Dan and I debugged to find some more info about the bug such as that is effects Kubuntu, Arch and openSUSE so it is upstream related.

      • Akademy Day Trip
      • KDE Akademy 2015 Videos Are Now Appearing Online
      • Akademy 2015

        The organising team have done a fantastic job: we’ve had free busses running from our accommodation to the venue, video recording of talks (which I’m sure someone will post about soon), easy to access food, two parties and people always on-hand to provide information.

      • The Failure of KDE Activities

        KDE Activities are multiple desktops. While easy to understand, they open up the possibility of new methods of workspace organization as well as new ways to layout the desktop. They deserve to be recognized as an innovation as important as tabbed browsing, and should be a part of every desktop environment, yet most users have only vaguely heard of them, and even fewer have tried them.

        When a feature so elegant is ignored, something has clearly gone wrong — but what, exactly?

        One thing is certain: Activities are one of the least unpublicized features on any desktop. From their introduction in KDE 4.0 to their implementation in Plasma 5, Activities have never had any online help. If you go to the desktop toolkit, you can click on Activities, but nothing suggests why you should bother. How to create an Activity is reasonably obvious with a little exploration, but why you would want to is never explained.

      • KDE Plasma Goes Mobile

        While FOSS Force gave you a look at setting up KDE Plasma on the desktop in Don Parris’ article last week, KDE recently jumped into the mobile fray by announcing KDE Plasma Mobile at their Akademy conference this week in Spain.

        While it joins an already crowded field, with the likes of Android, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS and others already in the mobile OS space, Plasma Mobile “offers a free — as in freedom and beer — user-friendly, privacy-enabling, customizable platform for mobile devices,” wrote Sebastian Kugler, a lead architect, on KDE’s website. “Plasma Mobile is currently under development with a prototype available providing basic functions to run on a smartphone.”

      • KDE Started Working At Fiber, A New QML-Based Internet Browser
      • Fiber Update

        The original plan was to allow an extension to handle the more crazy form-factors, but as I was blueprinting the APIs on paper I quickly found the tab-bar becoming a nightmarish monster which would have made custom tab extensions painful. Ultimately as a shortcut until a nice API can be made (and many more critical APIs can be rolled out) I’ll be adding sidebar tabs as a native feature. I may look at some sort of button form-factor as well, such as the ones commonly seen in mobile browsers.

      • Porting Qt applications to Wayland

        During Akademy I hold a session about porting applications to Wayland. I collected some of the general problems I saw in various KDE projects and want to highlight them in this blog post, too.

      • Evolving KDE – survey results
  • Distributions

    • Zorin OS, consider me a Linux fan for life

      After what now seems forever on a Windows based OS (most recently, XP and 7 for desktops, Vista for laptop), I decided to move away from XP and install Zorin OS 8 core. Although I am still on a learning curve, I cannot stress enough how much I love the OS and have not had a moment of wanting to go back to any Windows version.

    • New Releases

      • Elive 2.6.8 beta released

        Beta versions are not so optimized as the Stable ones due to debug flags and developer profiles, you can encounter errors and incomplete things, if you want a more polished system try the Stable version instead.

      • Webconverger 31 Kiosk OS Is Now Using Firefox 39

        Webconverger is a Linux distribution used for deployment in places like offices or Internet cafes, which provides users only with web applications. A new important upgrade has been made available and is now ready for download.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat augments presence in Malaysia

        Senior director and general manager, ASEAN, Damien Wong Yok Weng said Malaysia was an important market for the company and it had much potential for the adoption of open source technology across industries.

        Speaking to reporters at the official announcement of the subsidiary here, Wong said in terms of expansion strategy, Red Hat had looked at all the surrounding factors in the information technology (IT) industry.

      • Zacks Rating on Red Hat, Inc.
    • Debian Family

      • Parsix 8.0 Test 2 Is Based on Debian Testing and GNOME 3.16

        Parsix GNU/Linux, a live and installation DVD based on the testing packages from the Debian project that’s using GNOME as the desktop, is now at version 8.0 Test 2 and is ready for download and testing.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Says Ubuntu-Based Docker Images Are Not a Copyright Violation

            Canonical said through the voice of Dustin Kirkland that you can use Ubuntu with Docker without violating any copyright policy, contradicting what Matthew Garrett said in a blog post just a week ago.

          • Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 Gets a Second Stable Release

            A second Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 iteration has been released by Canonical, and the new version comes with a reworked boot logic for BeagleBone Black, among other features.

          • Ubuntu Touch Finally Gets a Regression Fix for Nexus 4 and Aquaris Phones

            Canonical has recently released a new OTA update for Ubuntu Touch and it brought a large number of new features and improvements, but also a nasty regression that caused the telephony function to fail on BQ phones and Nexus 4. That fix has finally landed.

          • Review: Ubuntu 15.04

            Perhaps that’s a sign that it’s time for Canonical to take the opposite tack to Microsoft and move to less frequent releases, or at least less arbitrarily timetabled ones. Ubuntu is stable enough now not to need constant updating, and in this case waiting on the Linux 4 kernel would have made for a much more compelling release. Canonical’s engineers, meanwhile, could benefit from spending more time working on long-promised upgrades, and less time patching and polishing half-baked versions of things for a biannual release.

            If you’re looking for a free, friendly and powerful OS for desktops and servers, Ubuntu is still an easy Linux distribution to recommend. But even for established Ubuntu users this update is neither practically nor emotionally compelling. If Canonical seriously wants Ubuntu to make more of a mainstream impact, Ubuntu 15.04 – a barely necessary update rolled out to serve a timetable rather than a strategy – is precisely the sort of thing it needs to stop releasing.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 On The Tegra X1 Yields Even Better Results, More Benchmarks

            Earlier this week I posted some initial benchmark figures for the NVIDIA Tegra X1 on Ubuntu Linux. Those results showed much promise for this 64-bit ARM big.LITTLE SoC that also bears a Maxwell GPU, but that wasn’t tested for the initial comparison. Here are a few more benchmark results from this Tegra X1, including an Ubuntu 15.04 installation to show the difference against the Tegra X1 on Ubuntu 14.10.

          • Canonical’s Alan Pope Proved That Porting HTML5 Games To Ubuntu Touch Is Easy

            Alan Pope, or Popey, Ubuntu’s new Community Manager of Engineering at Canonical has proven in this article that porting HTML5 Games to Ubuntu Touch is not such a difficult task after all.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu MATE Will Offer a Choice Between Ubuntu Software Center and App Grid

              Ubuntu MATE devs recently decided to remove the Ubuntu Software Center from the default installation. The decision was met with some resistance, but a lot of users expressed their support for the removal of the Ubuntu Software Center. Now, the team has explained what are they putting in its place.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Carrier adds Arduino and MCU hooks to Zynq ARM/FPGA COM

      Avnet released a carrier board for its Linux-driven, FPGA-enabled MicroZed COMs featuring an Arduino shield interface and hooks to an optional MCU board.

      The MicroZed Carrier Card Kit for Arduino extends Avnet’s SBC-like MicroZed computer-on-module with Arduino and MCU expansion. The $89 kit is designed for Internet of Things applications such as industrial control, remote sensing, and embedded vision.

    • i.MX6 hacker board features M.2 and wide-range power

      SolidRun has revamped its line of sandwich-style, community-backed HummingBoard single board computers, adding a new high-end HummingBoard Edge model. Like the other HummingBoards, it runs Linux on swappable “MicroSOM” computer-on-modules running various Cortex-A9 based Freescale i.MX6 SoCs. SolidRun’s open-spec HummingBoard placed 21st out of 53 Linux- and/or Android-friendly hacker SBCs in our recent SBC reader survey.

    • Phones

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • 5 Reasons I Lost $9,000 On An iPhone Game

    If you’ve watched television recently, you’ve probably noticed that Kate Upton’s tits really want you to play a smartphone game called Game Of War: Fire Age. That ad campaign cost approximately 40 million dollars, or about 5 million more than the entire development cost of Borderlands 2. They can afford their “it’s like Game Of Thrones, but, somehow, even more sexual!” marketing because, as we write this, Game Of War is raking in more than a million dollars each day. Jason Croghan has spent several thousand dollars on it, and he told us all about how games like Fire Age sink their claws into you — and don’t let go.

  • SAP CRM problems prompts 95% loss in British Gas operating profit

    British Gas Business has suffered a 95 percent loss in operating profit during the first half of this year, following a transition to a new SAP billing and CRM system.

    The utility firm said in its profit announcement this morning: “British Gas Business was impacted by issues following the implementation of a new billing and CRM system in 2014, which has resulted in significant delays to issuing customer bills.

  • Hardware

    • The case against SSDs

      Flash-based SSDs have revolutionized enterprise storage. But SATA SSDs have serious problems that show that after more than 50 years of disk-based storage, our ancient I/O stack must be rebuilt. Here’s why.

  • Security

    • Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet

      Yosemite, aka version 10.10, is the latest stable release of the Mac operating system, so a lot of people are affected by this vulnerability. The security bug can be exploited by a logged-in attacker or malware on the computer to gain total unauthorized control of the Mac. It is documented here by iOS and OS X guru Stefan Esser.

      It’s all possible thanks to an environment variable called DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE that was added in Yosemite. It specifies where in the file system a component of the operating system called the dynamic linker can log error messages.

      If the environment variable is abused with a privileged program, an attacker can modify arbitrary files owned by the powerful user account root – files like the one that lists user accounts that are allowed administrator privileges.

    • Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory, Part II

      There are a few other general security practices I put in place. First, as I mentioned before, because each host has a certificate signed by an internal trusted CA for Puppet, we take advantage of those certs to require TLS for all network communications between hosts. Given that you are sharing a network with other EC2 hosts, you want to make sure nobody can read your traffic as it goes over this network. In addition, the use of TLS helps us avoid man-in-the-middle attacks.

    • Hackers Can Disable a Sniper Rifle—Or Change Its Target

      At the Black Hat hacker conference in two weeks, security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger plan to present the results of a year of work hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software. Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing. In a demonstration for WIRED (shown in the video above), the researchers were able to dial in their changes to the scope’s targeting system so precisely that they could cause a bullet to hit a bullseye of the hacker’s choosing rather than the one chosen by the shooter.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Michael Moore film to attack US government’s state of ‘infinite war’

      Michael Moore’s new film, Where to Invade Next, explores how the US government maintains a state of “infinite war”, according to the Oscar-winning documentary film-maker.

      Moore revealed rough details of the project, which he has been making “in secret” since 2009, in his first Periscope broadcast. He answered questions from fans posted on Twitter and started by saying he’d like to “say ‘Hello!’ to my NSA friends that are watching right now”. He’s been a vocal critic of the agency’s mass surveillance practices – revealed by the Guardian in 2013 – and called whistleblower Edward Snowden “the hero of the year”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • PacifiCorp Superficial Climate Change Effort

      PacifiCorp and Berkshire Hathaway Energy should really consider a much more loftier goal but ultimately these companies are at the beck and call of shareholders so making large investments will reduce short term profits and that is why they are not going bigger. Another thing in addition to increasing these goals that PacifiCorp could do and should be doing across its grid is replacing transmission infrastructure with a smart grid where power can be stored when capacity exceeds demand. This in turn would reduce emissions significantly but also they could take steps like installing smart meters at all ratepayer locations (which PacifiCorp is behind on and only rolled out in a few small markets).

  • Finance

    • I went to Athens to see what economic catastrophe looks like on the ground — and what I saw shocked me.

      Like many other proud Greek-Americans, I’ve visited the country of my ancestors many times over the years. I even lived in Athens for two years while working for the U.S. government.

      I recently returned to Athens for a week to help the Greek government draft a new whistlebIower protection law. It was my first trip to the country in nine years — and suffice it to say, a lot’s changed.

      I followed the news of Greece’s financial collapse as closely as anyone. I’d heard the numbers — I knew that 40 percent of Greeks now live in poverty, for example, and that half of all young people in the country are unemployed. Seeing it in person was something else entirely.

    • Prof. Wolff and Cornel West talk about Capitalism and White Supremacy on GRITtv

      A conversation about capitalism with two brilliant minds, Cornel West and Prof. Wolff, together in a rare joint appearance.

    • British Gas owners Centrica to axe thousands of jobs

      British Gas owner Centrica is axing up to 6000 jobs despite reporting that profits were up 44 per cent to £656 million during the first half of 2015.

      Profits were boosted by higher household gas usage because of colder weather and the falling price of wholesale gas. Centrica nonetheless decided to slash its interim dividend by 30 per cent and aim to cut costs by £750 million in the next five years.

    • Prince George’s £18,000 birthday gift speaks volumes about Britain’s widening wealth inequality

      Normal children would be excited by a low roofed plastic wendy-house to hide away in and stew pretend tea. Some privileged toddlers may dream of a more stable wooden playhouse – big enough to host non-imaginary guests and less likely to blow away in a gust of wind. But no child other than Prince George could conceivably be the owner of a magnificent £18,000 cottage on wheels.

      The royal tot was given a luxury Victorian-style outhouse as a second birthday present from Dorset based company Plankbridge that started up with the help of The Prince’s Trust. It is positioned on the edge of the Prince of Wales’s wildflower meadow at Highgrove, probably in the hope that scenic views will inspire George to inherit his grandfather’s love of botany.

      While you’d expect the average wendy-house to be cluttered with plastic chairs and bowls of fake fruit, this one is fitted with a wood-burning stove, oak floors and a day bed. To make matters more laughable the souped-up shed is known as “The Shepherd’s Hut”, a title which carries with it connotations of rural poverty and humbleness.

    • For NYT, US Labor Abuses Abroad Are a Thing of Decades Past

      Usually investing in other countries is thought to both increase returns to the country doing the investment and diversify risks, since it is unlikely that foreign countries will be subject to the same problems that may be hitting China (or the US) at the same time. It is interesting that the New York Times seems to hold the opposite perspective.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Corporate lobbying expense jumps as U.S. trade debate rages

      Washington lobbying by companies and groups involved in global trade boomed in the past nine months, records show, as Congress debated a landmark trade pact proposed by President Barack Obama, the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      Lobbying expenditures by members of a pro-TPP coalition increased to $135 million in the second quarter of 2015, up from $126 million in the first quarter and $118 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Senate Office of Public Records reports reviewed by Reuters.

    • The Attack on Planned Parenthood, a View from Inside ALEC

      When I went to work for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) in 2003 as their legislative director, I was unprepared for the attacks this organization experiences on a routine basis. There are organizations solely dedicated to shutting Planned Parenthood down, and more pop up every day. Even before the 2010 tea party takeover in state Capitols around the country, including ours, the relentless legal and political attacks on Planned Parenthood were unending.

    • On The O’Reilly Factor, Sarah Palin Accuses Planned Parenthood Of Targeting Minority Women
    • Media Activism Wins

      We’ve had a lot of recent success at getting the corporate media to respond to criticism, in great part due to your letters and emails. The fact that this correspondence is individually generated by you makes it all the more effective.

    • NY Times Echoes Judith Miller’s Iraq War Excuse By Blaming Sources, Not Reporters

      One of the most baffling elements to The New York Times botched story about a fictional “criminal” investigation bearing down on Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email account is the seemingly shrug-of-the-shoulders response from the Times editors who are ultimately responsible for the newsroom’s black eye.

  • Censorship

    • BBC forced out team behind Savile exposé, says ex-Newsnight journalist

      BBC journalists will be afraid of speaking out about the next big BBC scandal after seeing how those who tried to expose Jimmy Savile were forced out, according to the former head of investigations at Newsnight.

      Merion Jones said the way he and other journalists who complained about the way the BBC handled the scandal were pressured to leave.

      “We were told at the time that you won’t be sacked but over a year or two years you’ll realise you are being treated as an outsider, that you will never be trusted because you blew the whistle, and you will find yourself leaving,” he said. “I didn’t believe that, but I started watching what was going around me.

    • 500 and counting: websites blocked by order of UK courts

      Darren, who currently sits as a Deputy District Judge and holds the title of Managing Associate with law firm Simmons & Simmons, has blown the dust of his abacus and actually totted up how many websites British browers aren’t supposed to be able to reach any more.

    • David Cameron calls to shut down porn sites without age-restricted controls

      Open Rights Group has responded to David Cameron’s call to shut down porn sites that don’t have age-restricted controls.

    • The O’Reilly Open Source Convention Was a Twitter Disaster

      O’Reilly media’s social media manager Josh Simmons further inflamed the situation by installing “GGAutoblocker,” a mass-blocking tool developed by Harper, onto the convention’s official Twitter account. The tool has been criticised in the past for labeling a vast number of innocent Twitter users as “harassers.”

      This criticism is supported by peer-reviewed research on the autoblocker, which found that just 0.66% of users blocked by the tool can be accused of genuine harassment. The autoblocker operates on the basis of guilt by association, with users automatically added to the blocklist based on who they follow.

  • Privacy

    • Google: Lock up your Compute Engine data with your own encryption keys

      Google will now let enterprise customers of one of its Cloud Platform services lock up their data with their own encryption keys, in case they’re concerned about the company snooping on their corporate information.

    • The Crypto Wars Have Gone Global

      Recently, Congress heard testimony about whether or not backdoors should be introduced into encryption technologies, a technically problematic proposal that would fundamentally weaken the security of the Internet, according to a recent report written by eleven of the world’s leading cryptographers. But while Congress is reliving these debates from the nineties (we hear they’re in these days), the Crypto Wars are very much alive and well in other parts of the world.

      The United Kingdom, Netherlands and Australia have gone farther than the proposals put forward by the FBI by introducing new regulations that seek to weaken and place limits on the development and use of encryption. These efforts, made ostensibly to protect citizens against terrorism, are likely to have severe economic, political and social consequences for these nations and their citizens, while doing little to protect their security.

      According to the cryptographers’ report, encryption in fact has a critical role to play in national security by protecting citizens against malicious threats. The harm to the public that can be presented by lax digital security has been illustrated a number of times over recent months: data breaches such as the hack of the Office of Personnel Management compromised the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, while weak or flawed cryptography led to vulnerabilities such as Logjam and FREAK that compromised the transport layer security protocols used to secure network connections worldwide. Encryption is not only essential to protecting free expression in the digital age—it’s also a critical part of national security.

    • Peru’s Ministries of Health and Commerce at Odds Over TPP Data Protection Rules

      In Peru, there is an internal confrontation between ministries due to the data protection provisions of the TPP. The Ministry of Health opposes to the extension on data protection due to the effects than it can have on access over medicines for Peruvians, as many international organizations such as Medicos Sin Fronteras have claimed. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Commerce, in a document published puts this statement in doubt. The document contains 105 questions about TPP. Regarding access to medicine the document raises a question: will the TPP affect public health? Then the document states that the same concern was made during the Peru-U.S. FTA negotiation, but that to the moment those concerns have not been rejected or accepted by the Ministry of Commerce.

    • Even the Former Director of the NSA Hates the FBI’s New Surveillance Push

      The head of the FBI has spent the last several months in something of a panic, warning anyone who will listen that terrorists are “going dark”—using encrypted communications to hide from the FBI—and insisting that the bureau needs some kind of electronic back door to get access to those chats.

      It’s an argument that civil libertarians and technology industry executives have largely rejected. And now, members of the national security establishment—veterans of both the Obama and Bush administrations—are beginning to speak out publicly against FBI Director Jim Comey’s call to give the government a skeleton key to your private talks.

    • NSA Will Destroy Archived Metadata When Program Stops

      Four months from now, at the same time that the National Security Agency finally abandons the massive domestic telephone dragnet exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, it will also stop perusing the vast archive of data collected by the program.

      The NSA announced on Monday that it will expunge all the telephone metadata it previously swept up, citing Section 215 of the U.S.A Patriot Act.

    • After Two Years, White House Finally Responds to Snowden Pardon Petition — With a “No”

      The White House on Tuesday ended two years of ignoring a hugely popular whitehouse.gov petition calling for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be “immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon,” saying thanks for signing, but no.

      “We live in a dangerous world,” Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s adviser on homeland security and terrorism, said in a statement.

    • Senate majority whip: Cyber bill will have to wait until fall

      Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday said the upper chamber is unlikely to move on a stalled cybersecurity bill before the August recess.

      Senate Republican leaders, including Cornyn, had been angling to get the bill — known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — to the floor this month.

      But Cornyn said that there is simply too much of a time crunch in the remaining legislative days to get to the measure, intended to boost the public-private exchange of data on hackers.

      “I’m sad to say I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he told reporters off the Senate floor. “The timing of this is unfortunate.”

    • Surveillance of all citizens: French government has now carte blanche

      On 23th July, the French Constitutional Council adopted a historical decision, standing out by its disregard for individual freedoms, right to privacy and freedom of speech. The “elders” have decided to avoid a real analysis of the proportionality of the new surveillance laws, and have shown their will to not stand in the way of the political game, becoming a mere rubber-stamping chamber.

    • Does the Kremlin Have a New Way of Hacking the West?

      A highly-capable Russian hacker group with links to Russian intelligence and that is known for going after high-profile foreign and corporate targets is deploying a powerful new data theft tool against Western systems, according to a new report by a prominent American cybersecurity firm.

    • New report: Scotland can ensure its data sovereignty with new ‘national open source transition plan’ after repeal of spying ban on MSPs

      A REPORT published today by Common Weal proposes a new plan to ensure Scottish data security and sovereignty after the revelation in the Daily Record on 24 July that the UK Government had revoked the spying ban on devolved parliaments, leaving MSPs at Holyrood open to hacking of communications by GCHQ.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • You wouldn’t steal a car: Criminalisation of IP

        Criminalisation throws up a number of questions. Do existing laws cover the area to be criminalised? (For example, trade secret theft in the US is often covered by wire fraud laws.) Will criminalisation have the desired effect on incentives? Is it an appropriate use of police and public resources? Does harm exist? Is there a victim? How do magnets work?

      • Answers needed from the Copyright Police

        The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been the subject of controversy following take-down notices sent to overseas domain registrars. We believe they need to strengthen their commitments to due process, independence and transparency.

      • RIAA and Friends Accuse CNET of Hosting ‘Pirate’ Software

        Several prominent music groups including the RIAA, A2IM and ASCAP have accused CNET of hosting infringing apps on Download.com. In a letter sent to the CEO of parent company CBS, the groups urge the company to reconsider whether it’s wise to offer “ripping” software.

07.29.15

Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

Posted in News Roundup at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Technology Week looks at potential of open-source tech

    Experts from industry and academia gathered in Cambridge at the weekend to discuss just that as part of the city’s first Open Technology Week.

    Open technology refers to items for which the source code or designs are available free of charge for users to use and modify.

  • Intel to shift Hillsboro engineers to Texas for open source project

    Intel Corp. engineers from Portland will play a role in the development in a new tech development center that’s opening in San Antonio.

    As the San Antonio Business Journal reports, Intel announced a significant investment with Rackspace in a new OpenStack Innovation Center that will be based at Rackspace’s headquarters in San Antonio.

  • 10 tips for better documentation

    Last July, after a full week at OKFestival, I managed to find enough energy to attend the Write the Docs EU Berlin Unconference. I only managed to attend one day of the event, but it was worth it because Paul Adams, a free software advocate and Director of Engineering at KDAB, led a discussion in which we came up with rules for helping documentation teams be more productive:

  • This is why your open source project is failing

    At OSCON this year, Red Hat’s Tom Callaway gave a talk entitled “This is Why You Fail: The Avoidable Mistakes Open Source Projects STILL Make.” In 2009, Callaway was starting to work on the Chromium project—and to say it wasn’t a pleasant experience was the biggest understatement Callaway made in his talk.

  • NPR releases open source social media tools for newsrooms

    The helpful folks at NPR have released a collection of fully customisable, open source tools to help journalists create visually engaging images for social media.

    The tools – called Quotable, Factlist and Waterbug – were announced last night by Brian Boyer, editor of the NPR visuals team, as an easy way “for you to create those fashionable social graphics for your news organisation”.

  • Growing pains: Open source ubiquity raises ownership, governance issues

    Overlapping scope and membership can confuse users, Miniman warns. Unlike the rules produced by standards committees, foundations don’t guarantee interoperability between implementations. IT organizations need to develop an understanding of how open communities operate, how different licensing models work and how they can become actively involved in shaping open source software.

  • Open source software is the only way to keep up

    Between 2005 and 2010, software development accelerated so quickly that some said open source had won the corporate market. But it didn’t stop there. In 2015, surveys showed that companies were using, supporting, and creating more open source software.

    If we look at this pattern, then we can see open source will just keep growing. It’s not going anywhere. If you’re not using, contributing, or supporting it, then you’re going to be left behind.

  • DHI Group plans to sell off Slashdot and Sourceforge

    DHI Group—formerly known as Dice Holdings Incorporated prior to this April—announced plans this morning to sell the combination of Slashdot and SourceForge. The announcement was made as part of DHI’s 2Q15 financial results, which were mostly positive, with DHI showing an increase in revenue over the same period last year (totaling $65.8 million) and a net income of $5.7 million.

  • Move over Skype, Facetime, Hangouts. Here comes Spreedbox, a fully open source, secure videoconferencing solution

    Following the trend of privacy-respecting products and projects coming out of Europe (e.g., ownCloud, Kolab, and Plasma Mobile), German firm struktur AG has started a Kickstarter project called Spreedbox, which aims to offer a secure audio video conferencing service. According to the project page, “The Spreedbox is a unique device for secure audio/video conferencing, text and video messaging and file sharing. The Spreedbox is your own conferencing, meeting and file exchange service on the Internet and puts the control and security of your data into your own hands.”

  • Open Source Is Going Even More Open—Because It Has To

    Open source foundations are nothing new. Linux Foundation has been around since 2007, and other major projects like the Eclipse code editing tool and the Apache web server have been governed this way for even longer. Many of the most important open source projects in recent years, such as the Hadoop big data crunching platform and the database system Cassandra, are managed by the Apache Foundation. But it’s unusual to see so many new foundations created so quickly.

  • Student researchers collaborate virtually with help of open-source software

    A typical summer research program—the institute’s Nanobio Research Experience for Undergraduates, for example—brings students together to one host university, where they work in different laboratories on various projects. In the new pilot training program on Computational Biomolecular, students use an open-source software called Rosetta to work together on problems in computational biology and are mentored by faculty who are part of a global collaborative team known as the Rossetta Commons. The software gives users the ability to analyze massive amounts of data to predict the structure of real and imagined proteins, enzymes, and other molecular structures.

  • Dice Selling Slashdot and Sourceforge

    FS tells me that Ars Technica reports that Dice is selling the Slashdot and Sourceforge sites. The company in their second quarter earnings announcements stated they have “not successfully leveraged the Slashdot user base to further Dice’s digital recruitment business”, and are planning to divest this business.

  • Events

    • Tips for how to plan an open source event

      Step 1 is very clear: Document your event. This way you have shared document that all organizers can refer to as the event progresses. We started with a sample document Kara and Francesca provided. The document is broken down is to several sections and you’re free to copy the document and use it to plan your own event. I’ll review some of the sections in more detail below.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • DreamHost CEO Details OpenStack Customer Use Cases [VIDEO]

      DreamHost has made a name for itself over the years as being a friendly, yet low-cost hosting provider, offering both shared hosting as well as virtual private servers (VPS). DreamHost is also a major backer of the open source OpenStack cloud platform and now offers the DreamCompute cloud server as well.

  • Databases

    • Amazon’s MySQL database challenger Aurora exits preview

      Following three years of development and nine months of testing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Tuesday announced that its Aurora database engine is now generally available to customers.

      AWS first debuted Aurora during its re:Invent conference in November 2014, positioning the database as a lower cost, higher performance alternative to the widely used open source MySQL database and other similar commercial offerings.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • loop optimizations in guile

      Sup peeps. So, after the slog to update Guile’s intermediate language, I wanted to land some new optimizations before moving on to the next thing. For years I’ve been meaning to do some loop optimizations, and I was finally able to land a few of them.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source runs Croatia’s geospatial services platforms

      Croatia’s Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection has become one of the country’s major users of open source solutions. The software is making possible two geospatial service platforms on biodiversity and environmental protection, unveiled in May.

    • Western Greece switches to using open source GIS

      The Decentralized Administration of Peloponnese, Western Greece and the Ionian is recommending the use of open source software solutions for its Geographic Information Systems. A memo from the IT department wants all public administrations to start using Qgis.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Amazon proposes drones-only airspace to facilitate high-speed delivery

    Amazon is proposing that a pristine slice of airspace above the world’s cities and suburbs should be set aside for the deployment of high-speed aerial drones capable of flying robotically with virtually no human interference.

    The retail giant has taken the next step in its ambition to deliver packages via drone within 30 minutes by setting out in greater detail than ever before its vision for the future of robotic flight. It envisages that within the next 10 years hundreds of thousands of small drones – not all of them Amazon’s or devoted to delivery – will be tearing across the skies every day largely under their own automated control.

  • Science

    • New study into lack of women in Tech: It’s NOT the men’s fault

      A new study into causes of the scarcity of women in technical and scientific fields says that it is not discrimination by men in the field keeping the ladies away. Nor is it a repugnance felt by women for possibly dishevelled or unhygienic male nerds.

      No, the reason that young women don’t train in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) areas – and thus, don’t find themselves with jobs at tech companies, in IT etc – is quite simply that they mostly don’t know enough maths to do those courses.

      “It is all about the mathematical content of the field. Girls not taking math coursework early on in middle school and high school are set on a different college trajectory than boys,” says economics prof Donna Ginther.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • QEMU Vulnerability Exposes The Host Through Emulated CD-ROM Drive

      Back in May was the big “VENOM” security vulnerability affect QEMU whereby VM security could be escaped through QEMU’s virtual floppy disk drive. In June was a PCNET controller buffer overflow allowing a guest to escape to have host access. Today there’s a similar security vulnerability going public about its virtual CD-ROM drive.

    • Websites, Please Stop Blocking Password Managers. It’s 2015

      Rather than fancy zero-day exploits, or cutting-edge malware, what you mostly need to worry about when it comes to security is using strong, unique passwords on all the sites and services you visit.

      You know that. But what’s crazy is that, in 2015, some websites are intentionally disabling a feature that would allow you to use stronger passwords more easily—and many are doing so because they wrongly argue it makes you safer.

    • The Ashley Madison hack — this time it’s personal

      Last week I argued that requiring backdoors in strong encryption would result in the effective end of encryption and provide a veritable buffet of sensitive data to both the government and those with malicious intents. Encryption with backdoors is not encryption at all.

    • Malware on Linux – When Penguins Attack

      Regular Naked Security readers will know that some security topics cause more friction that others.

      Lately, artificial intelligence has provoked its fair share of excitement.

      Surveillance and privacy are other topics that draw out some very varied viewpoints.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Zimbabwean officials: American man wanted in killing of Cecil the lion

      The man suspected in Cecil’s death is Walter James Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, according to Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.

    • Dentist who killed Zimbabwe’s Cecil the lion hires PR firm amid global backlash

      A picture of Palmer posing with another lion he had killed on a previous hunting trip was widely circulated in the media yesterday after it emerged that he paid £32,000 to take part in a big game hunt in Zimbabwe.

    • Zimbabwe: American being sought for killing of protected lion named Cecil

      Zimbabwean police said Tuesday they are searching for an American who allegedly shot a well-known, protected lion with a crossbow in a killing that has outraged conservationists and others.

      The American allegedly paid $50,000 to kill the lion named Cecil, Zimbabwean conservationists said. Authorities on Tuesday said two Zimbabwean men will appear in court for allegedly helping with the hunt. The American faces poaching charges, according to police spokeswoman Charity Charamba.

      [...]

      Palmer, 55, pleaded guilty in 2008 to making false statements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear he fatally shot in western Wisconsin outside of the authorized hunting zone, according to court documents.

      [...]

      If convicted, the men face up to 15 years in prison.

    • Cecil the lion’s killer revealed as American dentist
    • Cambridge professor ‘claims three leading climate scientists may have been assassinated’

      A Cambridge professor has reportedly claimed three scientists investigating the effect of global warming upon melting Arctic ice may have been assassinated.

      According to The Times, Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics, said Seymour Laxon of University College London, Katherine Giles also at UCL and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for Marine Science had been murdered, after all three died within a few months of each other in 2013.

  • Finance

    • Trillion-dollar world trade deal aims to make IT products cheaper

      A new global trade agreement that eliminates tariffs on more than 200 kinds of IT products should result in lower prices to technology buyers around the world as it is implemented over the next three years.

    • Trillion euro technology trade deal could cut the cost of consoles

      A EUROPEAN TECHNOLOGY TRADE DEAL worth trillions of euros has been agreed between Europe, China and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

      The deal follows negotiations between the above parties and sees an accord reached on things like customs duties on items including games consoles, semiconductors and digital media.

    • TPP Undermines User Control and That’s Disastrous for Accessibility

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) threatens all users’ ability to access information and participate in culture and innovation online, but it’s especially severe for those with disabilities or who otherwise depend on content in accessible formats. That’s because it doubles down on broken policies that were heavily lobbied for by Hollywood and other major publishers that impede the distribution of accessible works.

    • The creepy reason banks want us all to have ‘tap and pay’ cards… even though they’re a godsend to fraudsters

      Are any words in the English language more abused than ‘for your convenience’? As soon as you read them you know that it’s not your convenience an organisation has in mind, but its own.

      Last week, my bank sent me a contactless debit card. If you don’t have one yet, the chances are you soon will have.

      It looks like any other credit or debit card, but contains a tiny radio receiver which – when it is waved within a couple of inches of a ticket machine or terminal at a shop checkout – can be used to make a payment.

  • Censorship

    • Lifting jokes on Twitter: no laughing matter?

      An example is a tweet by freelance writer Olga Lexell (whose Twitter account is now private) – “saw someone spill their high end juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know god is on my side” – which a number of Twitter users have republished without any attribution to her as the author of the original tweet.

      Ms Lexell decided to submit a DMCA takedown request. Apparently not just God, but also Twitter was on her side. The micro-blogging platform decided in fact to withhold the allegedly infringing tweets. However (and incidentally), as IPKat readers can see here there is still a number of tweets that reproduce her joke in its entirety.

    • Donald Trump’s Clueless Lawyer Threatens Press, Says It’s Ok To Rape Your Spouse

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about the absolute ridiculousness of Donald Trump’s “lawsuit” against Univision, which made some bizarre claims about the First Amendment and defamation that clearly did not apply. While there may be a legitimate contractual dispute hidden somewhere in all that mess, there was so much fluff that it made you wonder who is actually advising the entertainer (pretending to be a politician) on legal issues. Apparently, it’s some guy named Michael Cohen, who isn’t just out of his depth on stuff, but he appears to be actively making things worse. In an astounding article over at The Daily Beast, which was initially over claims of “rape” by Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana during their divorce proceedings, Cohen not only claimed that you can’t rape a spouse, but also threatened to ruin The Daily Beast if they published an article. Lawyering by bullshit threats, apparently.

  • Privacy

    • Internet Australia and EFA support ALP call for Data Retention Act review

      Internet Australia and EFA have given their support to the Labor Party’s call for a review of the Data Retention Act legislation which it helped bring into law.

    • LinkedIn Just Changed This Very Popular Feature — and People Are Complaining

      LinkedIn is dealing with some very unhappy users after making it more difficult for them to export contacts.

      Business Insider reports that users can still download their contacts for the site, but it now takes longer. As of Thursday, LinkedIn users had to get an archive of their data to do the procedure, and that can reportedly can take up to 72 hours. Before, users could download user contact information immediately.

    • LinkedIn brings back contact export feature after user backlash
    • A simple developer error is exposing private information on thousands of websites

      Git is a developer’s best friend… except when it’s not used properly and exposes a site’s security.

      The tool is used for version control. It tracks changes to code over time, so that multiple developers can work together efficiently and roll back if they need to.

      Git is also the core tool used to contribute to social coding site GitHub, though they aren’t the same thing.

      It’s a glorious tool and fairly straightforward to use, but has a steep learning curve, as most of the interactions you’ll have with it are through the command line.

    • NSA ordered to destroy phone records it collected illegally

      In case you were worried the National Security Agency was still probing around your phone records, soon enough they will be deleted.

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced that the “bulk collection” of phone data the NSA illegally collected under Section 215 of the Patriot act will be locked away starting November 29, 2015.

      The data will effectively be out of reach from agency employees ad infinitum, effectively making it unusable in anti-terrorism or national security investigations. The only exception will be a three-month period, in which “technical personal” can check the data for the sole purpose of verifying records produced under the new USA Freedom Act.

    • Peru Adopts Data Retention Decree: Declares Location Data No Longer Protected

      The Peruvian President today adopted a legislative decree that will grant the police warrantless access to real time user location data on a 24/7 basis. But that’s not the worst part of the decree: it compels telecom providers to retain, for one year, data on who communicates with whom, for how long, and from where. It also allows the authorities access to the data in real time and online after seven days of the delivery of the court order. Moreover, it compels telecom providers to continue to retain the data for 24 more months in electronic storage. Adding insult to injury, the decree expressly states that location data is excluded from the privacy of communication guaranteed by the Peruvian Constitution.

    • Michael Chertoff Makes the Case against Back Doors

      One of the more interesting comments at the Aspen Security Forum (one that has, as far as I’ve seen, gone unreported) came on Friday when Michael Chertoff was asked about whether the government should be able to require back doors. He provided this response (his response starts at 16:26).

    • Jim Comey Finally Has a Dastardly Criminal Who Made His Texts Unavailable
    • Nope, White House won’t pardon Snowden

      Unsurprisingly, the White House formally announced Tuesday that it will not be granting a pardon to Edward Snowden anytime soon.

      Immediately after Snowden was formally charged in 2013 with espionage, theft, and conversion of government property, supporters began petitioning the White House to pardon the famed former National Security Agency contractor.

    • Is it possible to permanently delete a social media profile?

      Put it online and it will live forever (Image: Aldo Sperber/picturetank)

      They thought they could get away with it. The 37 million people who put nude photos and intimate details of their sexual fantasies on the Ashley Madison website (which has the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair”) had a get-out clause.

      Ashley Madison, like some other sites, offers a hard delete – a guarantee that for a certain amount of money, your data will be scrubbed from all of its internal records. To permanently destroy all traces of your affiliation with the adultery social network costs £15 in the UK.

      However, a hacker collective called Impact Team has revealed that customers’ details aren’t entirely deleted. Compliance with auditing requirements means that the credit card details and name used to scrub the account remain in Ashley Madison’s database, rather defeating the point.

    • DOJ To Court: Hey, We’re Shutting Down Section 215, So We Can Probably Stop Arguing About The Legality Of Bulk Collection

      Just as James Clapper’s office was officially announcing the death of the bulk phone metadata program (ending November 29th, with three months of post-wind-down wind-down for data analysts), the DOJ was filing a motion in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals basically arguing that its finding that the program was illegal really doesn’t matter anymore.

  • Civil Rights

    • Amal Clooney launches Supreme Court appeal on behalf of Chagos islanders

      Almost a decade ago, Britain’s High Court and Court of Appeal ruled that they and their descendants could return to some of the 65 islands, though not to Diego Garcia. Those decisions were challenged by the government and overturned in 2008 by the Law Lords, then Britain’s highest court.

    • Letter to the Telegraph: End “distressing” exile of Chagossians

      In 1985, I called at Saloman Atoll, which is about 100 miles north of Diego, when crossing by yacht from Darwin to Aden. The abandoned houses and roofless church, together with the overgrown pathways were distressing to see. It is to our shame that we treated these islanders so cruelly and it is high time we made amends and repatriated them.

    • In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me.

      I got home from the bar and fell into bed soon after Saturday night bled into Sunday morning. I didn’t wake up until three police officers barged into my apartment, barking their presence at my door. They sped down the hallway to my bedroom, their service pistols drawn and leveled at me.

      It was just past 9 a.m., and I was still under the covers. The only visible target was my head.

      In the shouting and commotion, I felt an instant familiarity. I’d been here before. This was a raid.

    • Eight Years After Bogus Expulsion Over Supposed ‘Threat,’ Former Student Obtains $900k Settlement From University

      It’s taken former Valdosta State University (VSU) student Hayden Barnes most of a decade and two trips to the 11th Circuit Appeals Court, but his efforts to hold the school accountable for its abusive behavior have finally paid off.

    • The Wheels of Justice Turn Slowly

      On the evening March 14, 2013, a heavily-armed police force surrounded my home in Annandale, Va., after responding to a phony hostage situation that someone had alerted authorities to at our address. I’ve recently received a notice from the U.S. Justice Department stating that one of the individuals involving in that “swatting” incident had pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge.

    • White House Finally Answers Snowden Pardon Petition: The Only Good Whistleblowing Is Punished Whistleblowing

      The White House has finally responded — more than two years later — to a petition asking for a pardon of Edward Snowden. The petition surfaced soon after Snowden went public with his identity. Less than three weeks later — June 25, 2013 — it had passed the 100,000-signature threshold.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Wants Domain Registrar to Expose ‘Pirate Site’ Owner

        The RIAA has obtained subpoenas from a federal court in Columbia ordering domain name registrar Dynadot to hand over the IP and email addresses and all other identifying information related to the operator of the unauthorized music service Soundpiff. In addition, the RIAA notes that the registrar may want to disconnect the site due to its repeated infringements.

      • Happy Birthday Copyright Bombshell: New Evidence Warner Music Previously Hid Shows Song Is Public Domain

        Last minute evidence that completely turns a legal case on its head doesn’t come about all that often — despite what you see in Hollywood movies and TV shows. The discovery process in a lawsuit generally reveals most of the evidence revealed to everyone pretty early on. And yet… in the high profile lawsuit over the copyright status of the song “Happy Birthday,” the plaintiffs “Good Morning to You Productions” (who are making a documentary about the song and are arguing that the song is in the public domain) have popped up with a last minute filing, saying they have just come across evidence that the song is absolutely in the public domain.

        And, here’s the real kicker: they discovered this bit of evidence after two questionable things happened. (1) Warner/Chappell Music (who claims to hold the copyright for the publishing, if it exists) suddenly “found” a bunch of relevant documents that it was supposed to hand over in discovery last year, but didn’t until just a few weeks ago, and (2) a rather important bit of information in one of those new documents was somewhat bizarrely “blurred out.” This led the plaintiffs go searching for the original, and discover that it undermines Warner Music’s arguments, to the point of showing that the company was almost certainly misleading the court. Furthermore, it definitively shows that the work was and is in the public domain.

      • Filmmakers fighting “Happy Birthday” copyright find their “smoking gun”

        The “smoking gun” is a 1927 version of the “Happy Birthday” lyrics, predating Warner/Chappell’s 1935 copyright by eight years. That 1927 songbook, along with other versions located through the plaintiffs’ investigations, “conclusively prove that any copyright that may have existed for the song itself… expired decades ago.”

      • WordPress Rejects 43% Of All ‘Piracy’ Takedown Notices

        WordPress has published new data on the number of piracy takedown notices the company receives. During the first half of the year copyright holders sent close to 5,000 requests to the blogging platform. Of these takedown notices a surprisingly high percentage was rejected due to inaccuracies or plain abuse.

      • So far, WordPress denied 43% of DMCA takedown requests in 2015

        This week WordPress released the latest edition of its recurring transparency report, revealing 43 percent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests it received have been rejected in the first six months of 2015. It’s the lowest six-month period shown in the report, though it only dates back to 2014. However, WordPress said this headline figure would be even higher if it “counted suspended sites as rejected notices.” That change in calculation would bump the WordPress DMCA denial rate to 67 percent between January 1 and June 30, 2015.

07.28.15

Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug ‘Branding’ for FUD

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Eating our own dog food in open source

    There are no guaranteed solutions, of course, but there are smart things we can do. One of the biggest is “eating our own dog food.” If you’re putting on an open source conference, there’s no reason you can’t use open source software to create the flyers, video promos, banners, T-shirt graphics, and the myriad of other pieces of content to run and promote the show. If you’re working for a company that ostensibly has a commitment to open source, ask if your marketing material is being produced with open source software. If it isn’t, then ask why not. And if you happen to be a creative at one of these companies, why aren’t you?

  • Open Source rising as Cloud Computing, Analytics take off – Study

    Open source software has become a critical driver for innovation at leading companies and public-sector organizations around the world, according to a new research report produced by Oxford Economics in partnership with Wipro Limited.

    The report, The Open Source Era, also shows that open source software is essential to the use of other cutting-edge technologies and that open source methodologies have spread far beyond software development.

  • Check out this open source programming typeface entirely generated by code

    Typefaces designed for programmers aren’t a new idea, but I’m particularly taken with Iosevka, a monospace coding typeface that’s completely generated using Node.js.

    The project – which is inspired by existing coding typefaces Pragmata Pro, M+ and PF DIN Mono – aims to produce characters that “have a narrow shape to be space efficient and compatible to Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters.”

  • Capital One Launches Hygieia Open-Source DevOps Dashboard

    The bank launched its Hygieia DevOps dashboard at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) last week in Portland, Ore. The Capital One Agile development teams all use the technology.

  • New Portal For IBM Open Source Projects

    IBM has just launched developerWorksOpen to enable developers to collaborate using its open sourced technologies. It is poised to provide new tools, in particular with regards to mobile.

  • Open Source IFTTT Collection Introduced

    IFTTT (If This Then That) has this month introduced a new collection of new open source projects as well as updating existing ones.

  • Roadies vs. rock stars: The art of open leadership

    Allen Gunn is a facilitator, open source technologist and Executive Director of Aspiration, where he helps NGOs, activists, and software developers make smarter use of tech for social change. Later this month, Aspiration is partnering with Greenpeace’s Mobilisation Lab to host the first-ever Open Campaigns Camp in Berlin. We recently got together to chat about working open and the leadership required to make it work.

  • How to get designers involved in your software project

    Kravets showed us a report she found. It reviewed 23,493 GitHub projects and found that 75.3% had no gender diversity at all. This brought Kravets to the following quote from Malcolm Gladwell: “The world that we could have is much richer than the world we’ve settled for.”

  • The right way to fail

    In the open source industry, we often hear that we should fail quickly and often, but that doesn’t make failure any less scary. Failure seems like a personal problem, but it’s really a corporate problem. We use the phrase “failure is not an option,” and people are so proud to live by it. The fact of the matter, said Scavarda and Hawthorn, is that this statement should say “failure is not an option; it is a requirement.” The truth is that it’s not a matter of whether we will fail, but when we will fail and what will be our timeline for our recovery.

  • The Dronecode Foundation aims to keep UAVs open

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ (UAV) applications and capabilities are advancing at a phenomenal rate, and the cost of these systems is decreasing at an equally impressive rate largely because of the open source. In many cases, open source projects are outpacing the development of their equivalent closed source systems.

  • phpMyAdmin Bids SourceForge Farewell

    phpMyAdmin, the popular free and open source web based tool for administering MySQL databases, has left the SourceForge building.

    In a blog post on Saturday, the project’s infrastructure coordinator, Michal Čihař, announced that a migration from Sourceforge is all but complete. The few remaining items left on the SourceForge server will be “hopefully handled in upcoming days as well.”

  • Boundless: Commercial open source geospatial software

    Boundless’ global customer base uses the OpenGeo Suite, a complete open source geospatial web services stack, to deploy solutions for web mapping, transportation, telecommunications, open government, and a diverse range of other solutions. The OpenGeo Suite provides a continually updated geo web services platform along with maintenance agreements that include support and training to support the growing functionality of continually enhanced open source geospatial software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 42 Nightly Is Now Built In GTK+3

        Firefox Nightly for Linux has been compiled with GTK+3 and the stable version of Firefox 42 may be the first one to be released with GTK+3.

      • Mozilla Toys with Crowdsourcing Ideas for its Browser and Tools

        Can your ideas make one of the most popular Internet browsers better? Mozilla is considering the possibility. The company is launching a testing initiative next month that will let Firefox users try out possible changes to the browser. The project is called “Idea Town” and basically seeks to crowdsource ideas for browser- and web-centric new concepts.

      • How is Firefox OS Different from Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Ubuntu Touch

        firefox-os-phone-firefox-os-phone-While choosing a new mobile phone to buy, you must consider all different available options. Earlier I’ve written about the differences between Ubuntu Touch, Android OS, and Windows Phone. Today I’m going to add another contender in the list – the Firefox OS – and I’ll discuss how is Firefox OS different from others.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Seven Key Milestones in OpenStack’s Five-Year History

      On July 19, 2010, Chris Kemp, at the time NASA’s CTO for IT, went on stage at the OSCON open-source conference to announce OpenStack, a new open-source effort along with Rackspace. Five years later, OpenStack has emerged as one of the leading cloud platforms governments and big-name companies around the world use. Best Buy and Walmart are among the major retailers that use OpenStack while major carriers, such as Comcast and AT&T, are also users and contributors. One of the biggest drivers of OpenStack’s growth in the last five years was the formation of the OpenStack Foundation, a vendor-neutral, multi-stakeholder effort to help build and promote the OpenStack platform. While OpenStack in 2010 was made up of two companies, the OpenStack Foundation in 2015 numbers well over 100 members. Another key driver of OpenStack’s growth is continued technical innovation. In 2010, the OpenStack Platform started with just two projects: the Nova Compute Project and the Swift Storage Project. Over the years, multiple additional projects were added, including Glance image, Horizon dashboard, Neutron network and Keystone identity. Here’s a look at key milestones in OpenStack’s five-year history.

    • A new center for innovation, celebrating five years, and more OpenStack news
    • Q&A: Pepperdata’s Chad Carson Discusses Getting Much More Out of Hadoop

      In the data analytics and Hadoop arena, the folks at Pepperdata have an interesting story to tell. Pepperdata’s cofounders ran the web search engineering team at Yahoo during the development of the first production use of Hadoop and created Pepperdata with the mission of providing a simple way of prioritizing Hadoop jobs to give resources to the ones that need them most, while ensuring that a company adheres to its SLAs.

  • Databases

    • The Companies That Support Linux: MariaDB

      MariaDB Corporation is a provider of open source database solutions for SaaS, cloud and on-premise applications that require high availability, scalability, and performance. Built by the founder and core engineering team behind MySQL, MariaDB has more than 2 million users globally and over 500 customers in more than 45 countries — most of whom are running Linux.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Making Progress With Their Linux Binary Emulation & More
    • Not Learning Unix is a Mistake

      It has occurred to me that not learning Unix is a grave mistake. My relatively early exposure to Unix was important. I may not have appreciated Linux as much or even at all if I hadn’t had that ability to experiment at home with Xenix. Learning about Unix develops new mental muscles like playing a musical instrument or learning a new language. But learning these new processes becomes more difficult with age. To me the exact technical details are less important. It does not really matter if you are a Linux user or if you use one of the BSDs or even something more exotic like Plan 9. The important thing is you can learn new concepts from what I will broadly refer to as the Unix/Internet Community.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • cps soup

      In the olden days, Guile had no compiler, just an interpreter written in C. Around 8 years ago now, we ported Guile to compile to bytecode. That bytecode is what is currently deployed as Guile 2.0. For many reasons we wanted to upgrade our compiler and virtual machine for Guile 2.2, and the result of that was a new continuation-passing-style compiler for Guile. Check that link for all the backstory.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK health service nurtures open source communities

      The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is nurturing a growing number of communities of software developers working on open source solutions. NHS’ Code4Health team is now supporting 17 communities that bring together health care providers, developers and supporters.

  • Programming

    • Mmm, what’s that smell, Google+? Yes it’s death: Google unhooks ‘social network’ from YouTube

      Google is no longer forcing Google+ on the world: people will be able to log into YouTube, and other Googley services, without having to create mandatory Google+ profiles.

      From now on, only those who deliberately sign up for Google+ will create profiles on the ghost town of a social network. Previously, Google harassed users of YouTube, Gmail and so on, to convert their accounts into Google+ accounts, a move obviously designed to boost G+’s sad numbers. It didn’t go down very well at all – a lot of folks hated it.

    • Google to block access to unofficial autocomplete API

      Google has decided the autocomplete API it informally offers will no longer be available for “unauthorised” users as of August 10th.

Leftovers

  • ‘Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for Fifa leadership,’ says Vladimir Putin

    Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for his leadership of Fifa, according to Vladimir Putin.

  • Security

    • Unhinged Linux backdoor still poses a nuisance, if not a threat

      If successfully planted, the malware tries to register itself in the system as a daemon (system service). Thereafter it uses LZO compression and the Blowfish encryption algorithm to chat to command and control servers. Every packet contains a checksum, so that the recipient could verify data integrity.

    • Researchers analyze faulty new Linux backdoor
    • Seven things security experts do to keep safe online

      Cybersecurity experts aren’t like you or I, and now we have the evidence to prove it. Researchers at Google interviewed more than 200 experts to find out what security practices they actually carry out online, and then spoke to almost 300 non-experts to find out how they differ.

    • Why Chrysler’s car hack ‘fix’ is staggeringly stupid

      More than a million Chrysler vehicles, including Jeeps, Ram pickups, and Dodge vehicles, are vulnerable to a major vulnerability that could drive them — literally — off the road.

      Last week, the company recalled 1.4 million vehicles at risk of a remote hijack vulnerability, which, as detailed by Wired, can result in a hacker remotely operating the brakes, interfering with the driver’s visibility by switching on the windshield wipers, and even shutting off the engine.

    • The Elderly & the Scam Masters

      Jane answered the phone and a pleasant young man identified himself as an internet technician with Microsoft. He told her they’d received a report that something was extremely wrong with their computers and he was calling to help.

      [...]

      From here it gets crazy. There was a $200 payment made to this “tech expert” and then he calls back and says that payment wasn’t necessary. In fact, an error was made and a draft of $2,000 had been made and not $200. He needed to take his $1,800 back. Of course, the “bank statement” Jane looked at did indeed show $2,000 instead of $200, so Jane was being asked to refund the $1,800.

    • We Can Put An End To Identity Theft
    • Darkode Hacking Forum Taken Down by FBI and Europol

      In a joint operation that included law enforcement agencies from 20 countries, the infamous Darkode hacking forum has been taken down.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for

      At last sensible Labour politicians are injecting some maturity into the leadership debate. To start with, Tony Blair’s aide John McTernan called anyone who nominated Jeremy Corbyn a “moron”, which is such a refreshing change from the divisive and childish approach of the Left.

    • A Terrorism Case in Britain Ends in Acquittal, but No One Can Say Why

      Ian Cobain, a reporter with The Guardian, is one of very few people who know why a student arrested by armed British police officers in 2013 was finally acquitted this year of terrorism charges.

      Problem is, he cannot report what he knows. He was allowed to observe much of the trial, but only under strict conditions intended to keep classified material secret. His notebooks are being held by Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. And if he writes — or even talks — about the reason that the student, Erol Incedal, 27, was acquitted, Mr. Cobain faces prosecution and possibly jail.

    • WikiLeaks: Saudi Arabia eyes Arabian Sea port

      According to a document recently published on WikiLeaks, authorities in Saudi Arabia are looking for a new access point on the Arabian Sea. This implies either a port in the Sultanate of Oman or in Yemen.

    • Daesh, The Revolutionary Neoliberal Party and the British Falsehood Corporation

      Lord Hall, the director general of the BBC, is to be questioned by MPs over his refusal to refer to Islamic State using the term ‘Daesh’ (an Arabic abbreviation that means ‘one who crushes something underfoot’ and ‘one who sows discord’) because it is pejorative and therefore biased. Controversial British prime minister David Cameron had sent a request to the BBC supported in a letter signed by 120 MPs from across the spectrum – Labour, Tory and SNP.

    • ‘Swiftboating’ J Street to Smear Iran Deal as ‘Anti-Israel’

      No explanation was given of what these goals are, nor was any evidence given that “barely any Israeli” agrees with these goals.

      While New York Times editors didn’t make Shmuel Rosner specify what the alleged goals of the avowedly pro-Israel peace group J Street are that “barely any Israeli” agrees with, context suggests the most obvious explanation: J Street has backed the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran and is backing the Iran nuclear deal, and that’s why opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are attacking J Street and saying that J Street’s claim to be “pro-Israel” is dubious.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb

      Along with credit default swaps and other exotic instruments, the total notional derivatives value is about $1.5 quadrillion – about 20% more than in 2008, beyond what anyone can conceive, let alone control if unexpected turmoil strikes.

      The late Bob Chapman predicted it. So does Paul Craig Roberts. It could “destroy Western civilization,” he believes. Financial deregulation turned Wall Street into a casino with no rules except unrestrained making money. Catastrophic failure awaits. It’s just a matter of time.

      Ellen Brown calls the “derivatives casino…a last-ditch attempt to prop up a private pyramid scheme” – slowly crumbling under its own weight.

      For years, Warren Buffett called derivatives “financial time bombs” – for economies and ordinary people.

    • Going Mainstream

      I pointed out that Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance in the TV leadership debates was the first major airing of an anti-Trident argument on broadcast media in England for a decade. Actually hearing anti-austerity arguments led to a huge surge in support for the SNP in England as well as Scotland.

    • UK economy accelerates with growth of 0.7%
    • Prostitution and drug dealing add £10billion to the economy under bizarre rules which mean crime boom is good news for Osborne

      Prostitution and drug dealing provide a £10billion boost to the economy, new research revealed today.

      Bizarre new European rules mean that for the first time illegal activities must be included in the official estimates of the size of the economy.

      It means a booming sex trade or an expansion in cannabis factories will provide a boost to George Osborne’s economic outlook.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A Crucial Realization About Journalism is Learned by Being its Subject

      Journalistic objectivity is a sham, a horribly misleading and self-flattering conceit.

    • Aaronovitch Blusters to a Well of Silence

      But something else struck me about the twitter record. Aaronovitch’ twitter account claims to have 78,000 followers. Yet of the 78,000 people who allegedly received his tweet about my insanity, only 1 retweeted and 2 favourited. That is an astonishingly low proportion – 1 in 26,000 reacted. To give context, Mark Doran has only 582 followers and yet had more retweets and favourites for his riposte. 1 in 146 to be precise, a 200 times greater response rate.

      Please keep reading, I promise you this gets a great deal less boring.

      Eighteen months ago I wrote an article about Aaronovitch’s confession that he solicits fake reviews of his books to boost their score on Amazon. In response a reader emailed me with an analysis of Aaronovitch’s twitter followers. He argued with the aid of graphs that the way they accrued indicated that they were not arising naturally, but being purchased in blocks. He claimed this was common practice in the Murdoch organisation to promote their hacks through false apparent popularity.

    • ‘There Is Effectively No Limit on Money in Politics’ – CounterSpin interview with Brendan Fischer on Wisconsin campaign corruption

      Walker was accused of coordinating with outside groups, namely Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. And these are groups that, after the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, can accept unlimited secret donations, and Walker’s campaign is still bound by campaign finance limits that the US Supreme Court has consistently upheld.

  • Privacy

    • NSA has paid Utah $1 million to police entrance on Redwood Road

      From the start of 2014 through March of this year, the NSA has paid the state $1,033,850 to patrol the perimeter of the data center, according to records provided by UHP.

    • Judges slam UK’s FBI over farcical Wire-style mission: National Crime Agency comes under fire for bugging plot ‘failures’

      Britain’s equivalent of the FBI has been condemned by judges after a sophisticated bugging operation against alleged money-launderers descended into farce and a series of ‘grave failures’.

      The National Crime Agency deployed 100 officers in 30 cars to seize the bosses of a company in West London under investigation.

      While the suspects were being interviewed at a police station, NCA chiefs hid listening devices in their offices.

    • Exclusive: Feds Regularly Monitored Black Lives Matter Since Ferguson

      The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, according to hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request.

    • Researchers claim they’ve developed a better, faster Tor

      Tor, the world’s largest and most well-known “onion router” network, offers a degree of anonymity that has made it a popular tool of journalists, dissidents, and everyday Internet users who are trying to avoid government or corporate censorship (as well as Internet drug lords and child pornographers). But one thing that it doesn’t offer is speed—its complex encrypted “circuits” bring Web browsing and other tasks to a crawl. That means that users seeking to move larger amounts of data have had to rely on virtual private networks—which while they are anonymous, are much less protected than Tor (since VPN providers—and anyone who has access to their logs—can see who users are).

  • Civil Rights

    • ISIS Sting…or FBI Catfishing?

      Alex Ciccolo was arrested after weeks of talking to an FBI agent he thought would sell him weapons for a terror attack—and who likely knew he was mentally ill.

    • FBI Overreach? Alexander Ciccolo And The Line Between Imagined And Actual Threat

      The ever-vigilant Federal Bureau of Investigation has once again reminded us of the constant threat of domestic terrorism plots — by inventing one. But the most recent story has a more tragic twist than many other FBI “national security” capers, since it involves as well a betrayal of family values.

    • Podcast: Recent FBI Sting, White Terrorism Threat, Transgender Activist Interrupts Obama & Marriage Equality

      …the threat of white terrorism, which the US government largely ignores; a recent elaborate FBI sting against a poor black felon that shows where the agency is putting its resources; and how the FBI monitored live streams of Ferguson protests.

    • Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for “Radicalized” Americans

      Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”

    • Pat Buchanan Brings His Xenophobia To Meet The Press

      Former MSNBC employee Pat Buchanan used an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press to frame immigration as a “massive invasion” and “conquest of the West” by “third-world … border jumpers.” During the appearance, host Chuck Todd did not mention Buchanan’s past history of racist comments, or that NBC’s cable channel MSNBC parted ways with Buchanan in 2012.

    • The CIA Paid This Contractor $40 Million to Review Torture Documents

      But VICE News has exclusively obtained more than 100 pages of contracting documents [pdf below] that show it was CIA officials who insisted on outsourcing work related to the Senate’s review — and that it was the CIA that paid more than $40 million to one of its longtime contractors for administrative support and other tasks related to the report. Those tasks included compiling, reviewing, redacting, and posting to a server the more than 6 million pages of highly classified CIA cables and other documents Senate Intelligence Committee staffers pored through during the course of their probe.

    • Torture Is Bad. So Psychologists Helped the US Redefine It

      The Hoffman report (so named because the principal investigator is a lawyer named David Hoffman) was commissioned by the American Psychological Association to examine a 2005 APA publication called the Psychology Ethics in National Security document (PENS). This document, voted into policy by APA leadership at the time, outlined the conditions in which a psychologist could ethically work alongside military and intelligence interrogators. Critics from within and without the APA had—since the document’s inception—suspected foul play. The Hoffman report lays those accusations bare, by showing that the APA’s head of ethics had been directly working with the military to create a back-scratching policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

07.26.15

Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Migrating phpMyAdmin from SourceForge.net

    Thanks to SourceForge.net, it has been great home for us, but now we have better places to live.

  • CMS

    • PiwigoPress release 2.30

      I just pushed a new release of PiwigoPress (main page, WordPress plugin dir) to the WordPress servers. This release incorporates some new features, mostly contributed by Anton Lavrov (big thanks!)

  • BSD

    • NetBSD Ported To Run On NVIDIA’s Jetson TK1

      The latest ARM platform that NetBSD has been ported to is the NVIDIA Jetson TK1.

      This Tegra K1 ARM SoC Cortex-A15 development board is now in a fairly good working state with HDMI audio/video working along with other stability fixes. The NetBSD -current code is working on this board with the customized “JETSONTK1″ kernel.

Leftovers

  • Airline chief insulted us, claim families of young crash victims

    A group of parents whose children were killed in the Germanwings plane crash have released a scathing letter to Lufthansa’s chief executive, accusing him of ignoring their needs and feelings and insulting them with his company’s compensation offer.

  • Google will block access to its Autocomplete API on August 10, asks developers to use Custom Search Engine

    Are you a developer who uses Google’s unofficial Autocomplete API? Be warned, you won’t be able to do so anymore after August 10, 2015.

    Google currently supports more than 80 APIs that developers can use to integrate Google services and data into their applications. The company also has unsupported and unpublished APIs which people outside the company have discovered and leveraged. One of those is the Autocomplete API.

  • Science

    • Pioneering computer Commodore Amiga turns 30

      1980S BEDROOM BRILLIANCE the Commodore Amiga computer has reached the ripe old age of 30 and is still blazing in the hearts and minds of anyone who took keyboard and joystick in hand and shut the door on their parents.

    • Search for life on Jupiter’s icy moons moves a step closer as work starts on Juice spacecraft

      The search for alien life is moving to the icy moons orbiting Jupiter following the discovery of organic materials hailed as the “building blocks of life”.

      Work is due to start over the coming days on the development of a spacecraft for the European Space Agency (ESA) mission.

      Named Juice (the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer), it is scheduled for launch in 2022 and arrive in the Jovian system around Jupiter eight years later.

    • If You Don’t Fear a Robot Takeover, This Futurist Explains Why You Should

      A Dangerous Master, a new book by academic and futurist Wendell Wallach, takes us on a tour of the nefarious possibilities technological innovations can lead to. It’s not a light read if you’re not already familiar with predator drones and hacking the human genome. But it’s a perfect guidebook to the potential threats mankind faces if we continue along our current trajectory of unchecked innovative progress.

  • Security

    • The scariest thing about the Chrysler hack is how hard it was to patch

      Chrysler is having a bad week. On Tuesday, Wired published a fantastic and gripping report detailing an open vulnerability in Chrysler’s UConnect system, allowing attackers to take control of transmission, brakes, or even steering. There was already a patch available when the article was published, but because cars required physical updates, most cars hadn’t received it. Today, Chrysler upped the ante, asking 1.4 million cars to report to dealerships or install a patch mailed out over USB. It’s the biggest vulnerability we’ve ever seen from a car company, and a firsthand demonstration of how hard it is to patch a problem once it pops up.

    • 1/2 TRILLION spent on IT upgrades, but IRS, Feds still use DOS, old Windows

      President Obama’s team has spent more than a half trillion dollars on information technology but some departments, notably the IRS, still run on DOS and old Windows, which isn’t serviced anymore, according to House chairman.

    • US won’t publicly blame China for massive government hacks – reports

      Despite the fact that numerous American officials have blamed China for the massive hack that involved the personal data theft of millions of government employees, the United States has reportedly chosen not to publicly point the finger at Beijing.

      Two breaches at the Office of Personnel Management this year put the data of more than 22 million Americans at risk, raising concern about foreign cyberattacks and lax government security measures.

    • Car hack uses digital-radio broadcasts to seize control

      Several car infotainment systems are vulnerable to a hack attack that could potentially put lives at risk, a leading security company has said.

      NCC Group said the exploit could be used to seize control of a vehicle’s brakes and other critical systems.

      The Manchester-based company told the BBC it had found a way to carry out the attacks by sending data via digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio signals.

    • After Jeep Hack, Chrysler Recalls 1.4M Vehicles for Bug Fix

      Welcome to the age of hackable automobiles, when two security researchers can cause a 1.4 million product recall.

      On Friday, Chrysler announced that it’s issuing a formal recall for 1.4 million vehicles that may be affected by a hackable software vulnerability in Chrysler’s Uconnect dashboard computers. The vulnerability was first demonstrated to WIRED by security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek earlier this month when they wirelessly hacked a Jeep I was driving, taking over dashboard functions, steering, transmission and brakes. The recall doesn’t actually require Chrysler owners to bring their cars, trucks and SUVs to a dealer. Instead, they’ll be sent a USB drive with a software update they can install through the port on their vehicle’s dashboard.

    • Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.4 million cars over remote hack vulnerability
    • Valerie Plame: OPM breach is ‘absolutely catastrophic’ to security

      “When you have access to information about the friends, family members and health issues of someone who works for the U.S. government, you can use that to try to get close to that person and gather intelligence,” she said. “To my mind, the OPM breach is absolutely catastrophic for our national security.”

    • Newest Remote Car Hacking Raises More Questions About Reporter’s Death

      As readers of WhoWhatWhy know, our site has been one of the very few continuing to explore the fiery death two years ago of investigative journalist Michael Hastings, whose car left a straight segment of a Los Angeles street at a high speed, jumped the median, hit a tree, and blew up.

      Our original report described anomalies of the crash and surrounding events that suggest cutting-edge foul play—that an external hacker could have taken control of Hastings’s car in order to kill him. If this sounds too futuristic, a series of recent technical revelations has proven that “car hacking” is entirely possible. The latest just appeared this week.

    • This Jordanian Left Her Life as a Beauty Queen to Be an Islamic State-Fighting Hacktivist

      Lara Abdallat is not your average beauty queen. She was Miss Jordan 2010 and first runner-up to Miss Arab 2011, but she abandoned her career in pageantry to do something slightly more controversial and dangerous.

      Abdallat is currently fighting the Islamic State group and Islamic extremists as a hacktivist with Ghost Security, an international counterterrorism organization tenuously affiliated with Anonymous, perusing the Deep Web and the Darknet for suspicious activity.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • 5 Things You Should Know About the CIA’s ‘Robotic’ Drone Assassination Campaign [Ed: repeats the propaganda about ‘accuracy’]
    • War Without End

      The attack on a Navy and Marine Reserve recruitment station in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was an act of war.

      It was not terrorism.

      Was it terrifying? Certainly. War is terrifying. Was it tragic? No doubt. War is tragic. Was it terrorism? No.

      Muhammad Yousef Abdulaziz killed Marines, three of whom had served abroad.

      He did not shoot up a church, school, or movie theater–he attacked a military target. There was premeditation in his action, intent. He attacked a recruitment station, no different in purpose than the recruiters and training camps we regularly destroy in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Although the authorities are still investigating, it is clear his was a political act.

      [...]

      14 years into the war on terror, the longest war in American history, with close to 7,000 dead U.S. soldiers and–conservatively–over 200,000 dead foreign civilians, it should not take an attack on American soil to jar us into asking these questions.

    • Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan acknowledges Pakistan’s role in peace talks
    • William Saletan: Chattanooga wasn’t terrorism — it was an act of war

      According to local and federal officials, Thursday’s bloody assault in Chattanooga, Tenn., was ruthless and deranged. The U.S. attorney says investigators are treating the attacks, committed by a lone gunman at a military recruiting station and a Navy and Marine Corps Reserve centre, as a possible “act of terrorism.” Defence Secretary Ashton Carter calls it a “senseless act of violence.” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says the attacks were out of bounds: “While we expect our sailors and marines to go into harm’s way, and they do so without hesitation, an attack at home, in our community, is insidious and unfathomable.”

    • Chattanooga Shooting, If Linked to ISIS, is a Act of War, Not “Terrorism”

      I’m not a fan of war or of killing of any kind, but the labeling of the deadly attack by Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez on two US military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee as an act of terror is absurd.

    • Chafee says drone strikes drive the unrest in Yemen

      Lincoln Chafee campaigned for president in New Hampshire last month proudly showcasing his foreign policy credentials based in large part on his opposition to the Iraq war. He also had some things to say about U.S. policy in Yemen.

      The targeting of al-Qaida terrorists with drones has killed militants and civilians in recent years. And many Yemenis have called on the Obama administration to end drone strikes, which Chafee refers to as “extrajudicial killings.”

      “No more drone strikes,” Chafee said in New Hampshire. “One of the reasons I believe we’re in trouble in Yemen is we lost the population on drone strikes issues. That’s what stirred up the population. That’s what is happening in Yemen.”

    • PolitiFact: Chafee says drone strikes are driving unrest in Yemen

      “One of the reasons I believe we’re in trouble in Yemen is we lost the population on drone strikes issues. That’s what stirred up the population. That’s what is happening in Yemen.”

    • U.S. airstrikes in Somalia signal a more direct role against Shabab

      The U.S. is shifting to a more direct role in the near decade-old fight against Al Qaeda-affiliated Shabab militants, launching as many as six drone strikes in southern Somalia over the last week to support African forces battling the group, American officials said.

    • Jon Stewart Blew Last Chance to Ask Obama a Question

      Stewart said to Obama: you’ve tried bombing and overthrowing leaders and arming rebels and … what’s that new thing … oh yeah, diplomacy.

    • They didn’t start on 9/11

      The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered his second speech in as many months on the terrorist threat, proposing a top-down reorganisation of British Islam. His new approach will see ‘moderate’ and ‘reforming’ voices sponsored by the central government.

      This has provoked a mixed response from British Muslims. It is also a remarkably unconservative approach to personal belief, from a supposedly conservative prime minister.

      Cameron’s understanding and presentation of the jihadist threat is that radical Islamist ideology, not Western foreign policy, explains all. In a single sentence, his speech dismissed the latter notion: “9/11 – the biggest loss of life of British citizens in a terrorist attack – happened before the Iraq War”.

      In fact, the speech demonstrated Cameron’s exceptionally poor historical knowledge. Al-Qaeda was attacking Western targets long before September 11, 2001.

    • Obama promotes militarism and murder

      Obama made no mention of the fact that Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen, convicted of no crime, judged in no court, but sentenced to death on the sole authority of the president of the United States. Nor did he refer to the subsequent US government murder of Awlaki’s son, an innocent teenager, in another drone missile strike, or the thousands of other civilian victims of US drone warfare across Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

    • The ethnic roots of China’s Uighur crisis

      It’s erroneous to portray the conflict in Xinjiang as a struggle between Islam and the Chinese government

    • Saudi-backed militias capture key Yemen port city

      At least 3,500 have been killed as a result of the Saudi-led war, launched on March 26 of this year. Some 1,700 of these have been confirmed as civilians, according to the UN, with some 3,800 more civilians confirmed wounded.

    • Will Tunisia host a US base to fight Daesh in Libya?

      TUNISIA has once again had to deny allegations of agreeing to host a US military base in the country, reviving speculations over the depth of US-Tunisian relations.

    • Talks with the Taliban: Can Afghanistan set an example?

      The usual Western strategy for dealing with Islamic terrorists is to kill them. President Obama vows to crush Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The United States helps African nations repel groups like Boko Haram. It uses drones to strike Al Qaeda operatives in any country. “Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms,” Mr. Obama stated in 2009.

    • Afghan officials say 14 soldiers killed in US airstrike

      Deaths of civilians and Afghan army personnel in “friendly fire” has become a contentious issue in the country. The toll makes it one of the deadliest such incidents involving coalition and Afghan troops in the 14 years that global forces have fought in Afghanistan.

      Two US helicopters are believed to have carried out the attack against a military checkpoint.

      A statement on behalf of the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan says the U.S. deeply regrets the loss and offers condolences to those affected.

    • Afghan troops ‘killed by US friendly fire’ in Logar

      At least eight Afghan soldiers have been killed in a US air strike on an army checkpoint in Logar province, south of Kabul, Afghan officials say.

    • U.S. Airstrike Kills Seven in Afghanistan

      A U.S. airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed at least seven Afghan soldiers, local officials said, an incident that threatens to strain relations between allies who are battling the Taliban and burgeoning Islamic State insurgencies.

    • Up to 10 Afghan Soldiers Killed in ‘Friendly’ US Airstrike

      The airstrike was part of the U.S.-led NATO coalition targeting the anti-Afghan government group the Taliban.

    • Drones and the epoch of one-click wars

      The trouble is that airstrikes and other quick applications of military force are rarely as cheap as they first appear. They tend to cause unanticipated trouble and begin conflicts without winning them. Escalation to more costly warfare then beckons. Drone strikes may prove to be especially misleading this way. Their benefits come fast and are straightforward. Most strikes bring reports of dead terrorists or insurgents, and their disrupted plans are easily imagined. The costs—especially blowback measured in violent anti-American sentiment and pressure toward escalation — arrive gradually and less discernibly.

    • Our machines will decide who lives and who dies

      We already have semi-autonomous killing machines in the battlefields but (theoretically) they will do everything except making the final decision to pull the trigger. That final, ultimate decision is supposed to be left up to a human somewhere who can analyze the situation and decide whether or not the drone is targeting a friend or an enemy and then issue the go-/no-go death sentence.

    • Op-Ed: Libyan war planes attack and sink a ship near Benghazi

      On Sunday, a Libyan war plane from the forces of the internationally-recognized Tobruk government attack and sank a vessel near the port city of Beghazi according to spokesperson for the air force.

    • Remembering the Algeria Hostage Crisis and Deaths of Japanese Nationals: Time for Japan to Listen to Russia

      The hostage crisis in Algeria in 2013 led to the deaths of ten Japanese nationals along with many other individuals from different nations. Sadly, it was abundantly clear from the start that the Libya connection would enter the equation. After all, the terrorist infiltration was extremely close to the border of Libya. Also, since the demise of Gaddafi the region is awash with military arms and countless terrorist groups. Within Libya itself you have various different Islamist terrorist organizations and the same applies to many militias that control parts of this nation. Therefore, in modern day Libya in 2015 you have chaos and a non-functioning state that can’t control the whole of this nation.

    • The Unquiet Sky

      The title comes from the testimony of a 13-year-old Pakistani boy whose grandmother was killed in a drone strike. ‘‘I no longer love blue skies,’’ the boy said, speaking before Congress. ‘‘In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray.’’ Houtryve attached a camera to a small drone and traveled around the United States, making aerial photographs of the sorts of events that have been associated with intentional or erroneous drone strikes: funerals, weddings, groups of people at play, in prayer or during exercise. His images show Americans in the course of their daily lives, photographed from a great height, in bright sun that throws their distorted shadows far ahead of them, presenting them as unindividuated, vulnerable and human. Houtryve makes it clear that the people in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia or Afghanistan who are killed by American drones are also just like this. With simple, vivid means, Houtryve brings the war home.

    • Deep trauma of life beneath the drones

      When a Western soldier suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, there are doctors and organisations who can help them recover from the heartbreaking legacy of war.

      When it is someone from Afghanistan, where bombings regularly wreak devastation and tear families apart, you are unlikely to find any assistance, since there is little understanding of mental illness in the country.

      “The most common treatment is to take your loved one to a religious shrine where they are chained to walls or trees for up to 40 days, fed stale bread, water and ground pepper, and read dubious lines from the Qur’an by individuals with no medical or, for that matter, religious training,” documentary-makers Jamie Doran and Najibullah Quraishi told news.com.au.

      [...]

      “The allied nations that invaded – or liberated, as some still claim – Afghanistan at the beginning of the 21st century have managed to leave an even bigger mess than they inherited.

      “An entire generation brought up in daily fear of death does not augur well for either their future or ours. It may not be entirely fair, but they blame the West and allied nations for the state of their country. Expect some of them, at least, to seek revenge in the years to come.”

    • Chinese Officials Recruited By CIA At Macau Casinos

      Although it seems like cyber-crime gets all the news headlines these days, national and corporate intelligence agencies around the globe still often use old-fashioned cloak and dagger techniques to get the job done. That said, blackmail has long been one of the most effective ways to turn an intelligence target, and agencies have no compunctions about taking advantage of a target’s predilections for drugs, sex or even gambling to blackmail then into cooperation.

    • CIA used Macau casino to trap corrupt Chinese bureaucrats – report

      US intelligence may have used Macau casinos owned by an American tycoon to set a trap for Chinese functionaries who gamble with public money, in order to blackmail and recruit them.

    • China feared CIA worked with Sheldon Adelson’s Macau casinos to snare officials

      China feared that casinos in Macau owned by the billionaire gambling magnate and Republican party funder Sheldon Adelson were used by US intelligence agents to entrap and blackmail Chinese officials, according to a “highly confidential” report for the gambling industry.

    • China Fears CIA Used Macau Casino to Recruit Officials

      A report uncovered Wednesday said the Chinese government believes the U.S. was using Chinese officials’ gambling problems in order to blackmail them.

    • China Fears CIA Used Macau Casinos to Recruit Officials
    • Report alleges China believed Macau Sands infiltrated by CIA
    • China feared CIA used Macau casinos to trap officials: Report
    • Report says CIA used casino to trap corrupt Chinese bureaucrats
    • Beijing feared US agents would snare cadres at Macau casinos
    • Recently discovered Sands Macau report notes suspicions of US intelligence activities
    • Beijing suspected CIA and FBI would trap and blackmail officials in Macau casinos, says report
    • Bob Smith: The strange case of the CIA agent that never was – and his hoard of 1,200 firearms

      Was Bob Smith a super-spy or a super-fantasist? That was the question many in Los Angeles are trying to answer after the puzzling death of man who kept a hoard of more than 1,200 firearms and two tons of ammunition at home.

      The man, who is yet to be formally identified, was found dead in his sports utility vehicle not far from the house in LA’s affluent Pacific Palisades neighbourhood, where his body was believed to have been for two weeks in warm weather before police were alerted.

    • Ex-CIA disguise expert reveals how sex dolls tricked KGB during Cold War

      During the age of cold war espionage, CIA agents resorted to unusual techniques to outsmart the Russian KGB. One method required the use of life-size rubber sex dolls purchased in a Washington D.C. store.

      Walter McIntosh, who headed the CIA’s disguise unit from 1977 to 1979 told Newsweek magazine that the idea came about when CIA operatives in Moscow needed a trick to get Russian counterspies off their tails so they could safely meet with their secret agents.

    • How the CIA Turned a Sex Doll Into a Spy Trick

      Of all the missions Walter McIntosh undertook in his long CIA career, buying life-size rubber sex dolls in a Washington, D.C., porno shop was maybe the most memorable.

      It was all for a good cause, of course. And deadly serious, not just for McIntosh, who headed the CIA’s disguise unit from 1977 to 1979. The agency’s Moscow operatives were in desperate need of something—anything—to trick Russian counterspies into leaving them alone, if only for a few minutes, so they could meet their secret agents without fear of being arrested. A key operation was in peril.

    • The CIA built a secret and groundbreaking mobile text messaging system in the late 1970s
    • The building that’s not on the tourist map

      “People always think that picture was taken blocks away at the American embassy, but it happened here.”

    • Green Beret tells of shooting Taliban in CIA job interview, loses Silver Star for it

      Army Secretary John McHugh, who revoked the award, told The Washington Times through a spokesman that Maj. Golsteyn “assassinated an unarmed Afghan.”

    • CIA Operatives Should Not be Considered Armed Forces Under International Law

      Applying the transmittal letter’s reasoning to the aerial drone strike’s facts, it is unlikely that a US Attorney General would make similar findings with regard to CIA operatives’ participation. The opinion avoids a crucial issue by assuming the operatives carried out this mission from a remote location, presumably where an enemy could not strike, making distinction by insignia unnecessary (why the opinion assumed operatives were distant from the battlefield is unclear, though it certainly made it easier to reach the Prosecutor’s conclusion).

      [...]

      Left to a policy preference, which would be the better choice? Allowing CIA operatives to benefit from combatant immunity while also being considered lawful targets at all times, or maintaining their status as unlawful targets when not directly participating in hostilities who may face criminal liability for hostile actions. Against the lawless foes faced in Afghanistan and Pakistan, perhaps neither presents practical advantage. Nevertheless, the German opinion offers persuasive arguments that might gain support in the international community. Reaffirming US commitment to the principle of distinction might prevent its diminishment on other battlefields.

    • Barbara H. Colby, wife of controversial CIA spymaster, dies at 94

      From 1945 until their divorce in 1984, she was the wife of William Colby — the spy and later spymaster who, as CIA director from 1973 to 1976, revealed the assassination attempts and other clandestine activities known as the agency’s “family jewels.”

    • Turkey Says More Anti-PKK Strikes to Come

      A decades-old conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK has been reignited.

      Turkey vowed Saturday to continue attacks against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), along with strikes against the Islamic State group.

      “The operations will continue for as long as threats against Turkey continue,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

    • After another senseless massacre, this time in Lafayette, Louisiana, Americans continue to pretend we’re safe from our own gun-toting neighbors

      We Americans respond with anger when Donald Trump warns us of murderous Mexicans, and we worry that ISIS can hit us at any moment. Yet we continue to pretend we’re safe from our own gun-toting, bomb-making neighbors.

    • It ain’t over til it’s over: America’s wars drag on no matter what officials say

      In all three of the countries where the Obama administration declared US wars “over” in the past few years – Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – the US military is expanding its presence or dropping bombs at an ever-increasing rate. And the government seems to be keeping the American public in the dark on the matter more than ever.

      Pentagon leaders suggested this week that the US military wants to keep remaining 9,800 troops in Afghanistan from withdrawing in 2016, despite the fact that the Obama administration declared combat operations in the country “over” six months ago. The gradual extension of the Afghanistan War hasn’t been a secret to anyone who’s been paying close attention, but sadly it has happened far away from the pomp and circumstance of Obama’s now embarrassingly false State of the Union announcement that the Afghanistan War had ended.

    • Seeking War to the End of the World

      Despite the disastrous Iraq War, neocons still dominate Official Washington’s inside-outside game…

    • ‘Munich’ comparison to Iran deal: silly or appropriate?
    • Is the ‘military option’ on Iran off the table?

      Since then, Israeli media have been pressing hard to restore the military option to its accustomed place “on the table.” Flying to Israel Sunday night for a handholding mission with top Israeli officials, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter tried to make his reception in Tel Aviv less frosty, telling accompanying journalists that the nuclear deal with Iran “does nothing to prevent the military option.” The context, however, seemed to be one in which Iran was caught cheating on the nuclear deal.

      That this kind of rhetoric, even when it is not from the president, is still poison to Tehran was clear in the immediate reaction by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who insisted Monday: “Applying force … is not an option but an unwise and dangerous temptation.”
      cComments

      Looking for changes in official public statements was my bread and butter during a long tenure as a Kremlinologist. So on Wednesday, as I watched Mr. Obama defend the deal with Iran, I leaned way forward at each juncture — and there were several — where the timeworn warning about all options being “on the table” would have been de rigueur. He avoided saying it.

    • Iran agreement boosts peace

      The agreement has reduced the chance of a U.S. attack on Iran, which is a great development. But the interventionists will not give up so easily. Already they are organizing media and lobbying efforts to defeat the agreement in Congress. Will they have enough votes to over-ride a presidential veto of their rejection of the deal? It is unlikely, but at this point if the neocons can force the U.S. out of the deal it might not make much difference. Which of our allies, who are now facing the prospect of mutually-beneficial trade with Iran, will be enthusiastic about going back to the days of a trade embargo? Which will support an attack on an Iran that has proven to be an important trading partner and has also proven reasonable in allowing intrusive inspections of its nuclear energy program?

    • Understanding US-Iranian past is key to positive future

      Operation Ajax (1953) was a covert operation executed by the CIA to oust the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadeq. While the reasons for this now declassified covert operation exceed the scope of this letter, it is important to note that once Mossadeq was overthrown by forces funded and manipulated by the U.S., he was replaced with the tyrannical Shah of Iran (which the 1979 revolution forced from power).

    • Even on Iran, politicians too divided

      Iran has many more reasons to be suspicious of us than we of them. Our government had supported a puppet regime in their country which held them back for decades and was installed by our CIA. We have intervened in Afghanistan and Iraq, literally surrounding them.

    • Critics of the Iranian nuclear deal protest too much
    • Top CIA Official Says Nuke Deal Makes It Hard for Iran to Cheat

      A top Central Intelligence Agency official said Friday that the recently brokered nuclear agreement between leading nations and Iran will make it difficult for the Middle Eastern country to dupe nuclear inspectors.

      CIA deputy director David Cohen, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, said intelligence officers were “reasonably” confident that the terms of the nuclear deal would prevent Iran from cheating in a way that avoided international detection.

    • Obama Bravely Ignores the Clamoring of the Warmongers with Iran Deal

      The accord struck in Vienna to rein in Iran’s nuclear activities has warmongers fulminating. Citizens worldwide should support U.S. President Barack Obama’s brave effort to outmaneuver them, taking heart from the fact that the signatories include not just the United States, but all five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

    • Back the Iran deal, and say no to the warmongers

      Many of the warmongers are to be found in Obama’s own government agencies. Most Americans struggle to recognize or understand their country’s permanent security state, in which elected politicians seem to run the show, but the CIA and the Pentagon often take the lead — a state that inherently gravitates toward military, rather than diplomatic, solutions to foreign-policy challenges.

    • Saying no to the warmongers
    • Iran’s Longstanding US-Inflicted Nightmare

      The late Chalmers Johnson (once a CIA consultant, a former “spear-carrier,” he said) called the agency the president’s “praetorian guard,” a private army producing phony intelligence to justify extrajudicial actions.

      They include toppling democratically elected governments, assassinating foreign heads of state and other key officials, propping up friendly dictators, and abducting targeted individuals for extraordinary rendition to agency controlled black sites – torture prisons to extract forced confessions from innocent victims under extreme duress, at times bringing them close to death and back.

    • Sanctions Relief Unlikely to Alter Iran’s Policies in Syria, Yemen

      Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Paul Pillar said that Iran’s regional policies depend on various political interests and equities and not on how much money it has in its bank account.

    • War without tears

      The relationship between video games and violence is healthier than we like to think

      [...]

      He started up the desktop computer he had built himself, and opened up the first-person shooter game Counter-Strike. The military-style video game had been updated many times since its initial release in 1999, but this was the same version that had infested my middle school computer lab back then—or some pirated incarnation. Halil connected to a server by manually entering a memorized IP address.

      [...]

      “No no no,” and he smiled, “that wouldn’t be a ‘The Great Secret.’” The team of “counterterrorists” threw a couple grenades and started firing, peering around corners and strafing.

      “Then who is playing as Israel and Lebanon?”

      “IDF,” Halil pitched his screen to the rushing counterterrorist team, “and Hezbollah,” he tilted in the direction of the virtual AK fire. “This is my ‘Middle East Peace Plan.’” He said the phrase derisively, putting on his best American accent.

      I didn’t believe him, at first. The teams in the game were made up of the same avatars that always populated it. But Halil then showed me a series of taunting pictures the two teams had posted online. Among the match reports and running commentaries, the Israelis in uniform threw up imitations of American gang signs learned from rap videos, while young men of Hezbollah held real life rifles next to computer monitors, all with their faces blurred or blacked out in Photoshop. My favorite was a succession of shots of real guns, superimposed on computer monitors displaying virtual ones.

    • D.C.’s New Push: Use Saddam’s Men to Fight Obama’s ISIS War

      An ex-senator, a former CIA officer, and an Iraqi mogul lobby Congress for a private army, led by Saddam’s officers, to take on the terrorists that have trampled America’s proxies.

    • US military drone crashes in Iraq: Pentagon

      A US military drone flying a combat mission has crashed in Iraq after losing communication, the US Defense Department has confirmed.

    • Drone Contractors: An Oversight and Accountability Gap

      A slew of news reports have highlighted the crisis of drone pilot burnout in the United States military. Indeed, pilot shortages have prompted the US Air Force to cut the number of drone flights to fewer than 60 per day. That’s an important problem, but buried in these stories is another one. The Air Force has announced that, in response to the shortage, it will increase its use of contractors for these flights. Given the service’s manpower shortages, this statement is not surprising. Yet the growing numbers of contractors in drone operations, while little discussed, raise significant concerns about oversight and accountability at a time when drone use is set to accelerate. We simply don’t know enough about how contractors will be used in the increasingly automated version of war that appears to be our future. And that means we need to ask hard questions now about how this system should operate rather than simply letting it evolve without oversight.

    • George Clooney Opposes War Profiteering, Except When He Doesn’t

      George Clooney is being paid by the world’s top two war profiteers, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing, to oppose war profiteering by Africans disloyal to the U.S. government’s agenda.

    • During Trip, Obama Should Raise Case of Kenyan Detained at Guantanamo

      Human rights activists in the country told me earlier this month that he should raise these issues sensitively, and not pretend that the U.S. record on policing and fighting terrorism has been flawless. The scandal of CIA torture and the prison at Guantanamo Bay are widely known throughout Kenya. They said President Obama should be sure to make reference to the United States’ own mistakes when he talks to his Kenyan counterparts, and fully acknowledge how much the United States still has to improve.

    • Obama Shouldn’t Take Kenyan Welcome for Granted
    • Obama in Kenya: Will He Cater to the Barons or the People?

      Kenya inherited the massive investment in the militarization of the Horn of Africa from the era of anti-communism and this militaristic link to the West was deepened during the so called War on Terror. This Global War on Terror has now backfired against the peoples and the insecurity generated within Kenya and East Africa reinforce the influence of the US military when Barack Obama and his Administration want to focus on “Doing Business with Africa.” In 2014, the Obama Administration with much fanfare had called the first major US Africa summit but the present Washington sequestered bureaucracy has not worked to turn the page with the new engagement with African peoples. There have been no resources from Congress to support the much touted Power Africa.

    • Hissene Habre, ‘Africa’s Pinochet’

      Chadian dictator Hissene Habre goes on trial in Senegal, a quarter of a century after his blood-soaked reign came to an end, in trial seen as test case for African justice

    • Profile: Hissène Habré, the deadly dictator who got caught
    • Chad dictator on trial for mass murder

      When Chad’s former president Hissène Habré strode into a Senegalese court yesterday accused of 40,000 murders, war crimes and torture, he may have been wondering what became of his old superpower friends.

    • Senegal: Trial of Former Chadian Dictator Hissène Habré Postponed

      In breaking news from Senegal, the trial of Chadian former dictator Hissène Habré has been postponed until September 7 after Habré’s lawyers did not show up to court for the second day of trial. Habré has been charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture related to his eight-year reign in Chad during the 1980s. We’ll have more on this story later in the show.

    • Threat to passenger jets: RAF training foreign states to counter looted Libyan missiles

      Gunners from the Royal Air Force (RAF) Regiment and Scotland Yard police are training foreign governments in how to prevent aviation being shot down by missiles looted from Libyan armories after the 2011 war.

      As many as 10,000 handheld surface-to-air missiles are feared to have been taken from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s armories as the regime collapsed, leading to fears they could be used by militants to bring down civilian airliners.

      Now members of the RAF Regiment – British soldiers who specialize in defending airfields – have been deployed to Middle Eastern and North African countries to advise on missile defense.

    • RAF personnel assigned to US unit carrying out drone strikes against Isis

      Following calls for government to come clean over role in US air force unit, MoD says such UK personnel are ‘effectively operating as foreign troops’

    • In Iraq and Syria, Kurdistan fighting ISIS isn’t exactly Prince Charming

      The Kurdish Peshmerga have repeatedly been praised by U.S. congressmen from both sides of the aisle, the Department of Defense, and numerous pundits, as the most effectual allies in the fight against ISIS and a group in need of American arms. But remember that October 2014 CIA study demonstrating that nearly all attempts to arm rebels have backfired or failed? It turns out that the Kurds aren’t our perfect match. They will be no exception to the trend, with their massive human rights violations, political conflict with Syrians and Iraqis, and destabilizing role in the Middle East.

    • Judge Says Government Can Continue To Refuse To Acknowledge Certain Drone Strike Documents

      The heavily-redacted order does contain some good news, however. The presiding judge ordered the Dept. of Defense and the CIA to turn over FOIAed documents to the ACLU that contain “previously acknowledged facts,” thus preventing the Dept. of Justice from turning real life into a bizarre fantasy world where previously disclosed information can be treated as though it was still locked up in the agency’s “TOP SECRET” digital filing cabinet.

      But the obvious downside is this: because the government has been given permission to avoid confirming or denying the existence of the documents the ACLU is seeking, the search for more information on accidental deaths and collateral damage will still consist of issuing speculative FOIA requests, which will then result in more lengthy, expensive litigation.

      I’m pretty sure the involved agencies believe they can outlast FOIA requesters, especially if they continue to receive mostly-favorable decisions from judges who place more faith in the government and its assertions about national security than in those who view government secrecy with considerably more skepticism. The problem is that the government has the resources to fight long legal battles. Most FOIA requesters do not.

    • Cubans’ Rejection of Senator Rubio Demonstrates Their Independent Thinking

      But Rubio cannot accept that Cubans’ nearly unanimous rejection of his right-wing politics might mean he is badly mistaken in his Manichean view of the Cuban socioeconomic system. Rubio wears Cubans’ disapproval of him as a badge of honor. For Rubio, Cubans are incapable of independent judgement. If the Cuban people are against him, it means they must be brainwashed by the evil Castro regime.

    • Cuba and US reopen embassies: Key events in the history of the Cold War foes [Photo report]

      The United States and Cuba have re-established embassies in each other’s capitals, formally restoring diplomatic ties severed more than five decades ago.

    • Forty Years Ago, Cuban Extremists Set Off Dozens of Bombs in Miami

      As the Cuban flag was raised over Washington, D.C., on Monday, some 20 anti-Castro demonstrators gathered outside Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana to protest warming relations between the U.S. and Cuba. In Washington, a man rushed the embassy gate with red paint splattered across his shirt, yelling “This is Cuban blood.” But for the most part, protests in both cities were small and low-key.

    • Cuban flag flies again in D.C.
    • Is the Era of U.S.-Backed Anti-Castro Terrorism Over? Reflections on Restored Ties Between Nations
    • A Victory for the People in Havana (Videos)
    • Amy Goodman: U.S., Cuba begin new chapter

      On July 20, history was made in Washington, D.C., and in Havana, Cuba. As the Cuban national anthem was played, the island nation’s flag was raised over its embassy in Washington. The embassy, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Havana, was open for business, for the first time in 54 years. The Washington ceremony was attended by more than 500 people. Earlier in the day, the U.S. State Department elevated the Cuban flag to a place of honor, joining 150 other national flags on display in the main lobby. While diplomatic relations have been restored, the crushing U.S. economic embargo against Cuba is still in place, and the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay remains open. More than 100 prisoners are still languishing there, many of them cleared for release for over a decade.

    • Chilean judge orders arrest of army officers who burned youths alive under Pinochet

      On Tuesday, July 21, a judge in Santiago, Chile ordered the arrest of seven army officers for their participation in the burning alive of photographer Rodrigo Rojas Denegri, and student Carmen Gloria Quintana on July 2, 1986. The case is known in Chile as Caso Quemados (Case of the burned).

      The army had detained both during the repression of an anti-government demonstration. They were severely beaten, before being soaked in gasoline and set afire. The young people, still alive, were dumped in a remote area and left to die, but were found by construction workers. Quintana survived, but Rojas died from his injuries, four days later.

      The horrible crime took place during the military-fascist dictatorship of General Pinochet (1973-1989) and was part of the reign of terror against workers and youth that took place with the assistance of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

    • Rewriting the History of Plan Colombia

      It’s probably a good thing that United States Army General John F. Kelly’s May op-ed in the Miami Herald went largely unperceived, but recent developments have rendered the cynicism that informed it too blaring to ignore.

      Ostensibly, General Kelly’s editorial seeks to extrapolate salient lessons from the Colombian government’s military campaign against the country’s leftist guerrilla insurgency. Specifically, Kelly contends that Plan Colombia, the $9 billion U.S. military aid package passed in 2000, has “shown us the way” to defeat ISIS, which he claims poses a similarly “daunting challenge for the United States and its allies.”

      On first read, the article is a relatively straightforward parade of banality and adulation, remarkable only because the individual leading it is the commander of U.S. Southern Command (Southcom). Sure, the content consists almost entirely of lies, half-truths, and meaningless platitudes, but nothing that ventures too far from the official Washington line.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Turns Out Hillary Clinton Had Hundreds Of Potentially Classified Emails On Private Server; Officials Ask For Criminal Investigation [Update]

      But, of course, that was just one batch of the emails. A few weeks ago, reports started leaking from inside the State Department that, in fact, there was classified information on that server, and late last night the other shoe dropped, with a report in the NY Times that two separate Inspectors General have requested the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of sensitive information — in particular the inclusion of “hundreds” of potentially classified emails on her private server.

    • Pentagon, CIA instructed to re-investigate whistleblower cases

      A government watchdog has ordered the CIA and the Pentagon to re-investigate retaliation allegations brought by two intelligence employees who accused their agencies of major institutional failings.

      The action by the intelligence community inspector general is the first public indication that a new intelligence appeals system is underway. The panel was set up by President Barack Obama as an independent forum that can evaluate whether whistleblowers were improperly fired or otherwise punished for disclosures after their agencies rejected their claims.

      The cases, nonetheless, demonstrate that the whistleblower system continues to be beset with problems and bureaucratic delays despite being overhauled by Congress and the Obama administration.

    • Why black spies matter

      Sterling has long maintained that the CIA retaliated against him for questioning racial bias at the agency, where, as he put it in a letter to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, he was deemed “too big and too black” to move up the ranks. The CIA does not release data on its racial demographics, but a recent internal report on diversity affirms some of Sterling’s allegations of bias. Minorities accounted for less than 24.8 percent of its workforce and only 10.8 percent of its top leadership, according to the report. The CIA’s lack of diversity underscores the racial underpinnings of the global “war on terrorism,” in which white CIA officers torture nonwhite others in secret prisons and incinerate them with drone missiles.

    • The ‘rageful guy’ who pries secrets from the govt.

      When reporter Jason Leopold gets ready to take on the U.S. government, he psychs himself up by listening to the heavy metal bands Slayer and Pantera.

      He describes himself as “a pretty rageful guy.” Mr. Leopold (45), who works for Vice News, reserves most of his aggression for dealing with the government. He has revealed about 20,000 pages of government documents, many of them the basis for explosive news stories.

    • Police convictions: How did your force respond?

      At least 309 police officers and police community support officers (PSCOs) in the UK have been convicted of criminal offences in the last three years, according to figures released after a Freedom of Information request.

  • Finance

    • The Crime of Living Without a Home in Los Angeles

      A year ago he slept in his own apartment, but today Charles Jackson sleeps under a bridge bordering Silver Lake, one of the more fashionable neighborhoods in Los Angeles. A few dozen strangers share the encampment; some become neighbors, while others come and go. Jackson wants to get off the streets, but as many of those who live on the margins have found, it is easier to lose a home than find another.

      “People say, ‘This is going to be temporary, you know, until I get out from under this rock,’” he told me. A kind-looking brown-eyed man in his mid-50s, Jackson stands in front of the tent he lives in, looking away as we talk, his voice barely louder than a whisper. Beside us, Jackson’s white-and-tan terrier, Ozzie — well-groomed and clearly beloved — pokes his nose out from the front of the tent, panting in the midday sun. “Two years pass by, four, five years pass by; before you know it, you’re ten years homeless in the streets because out here, time is nothing. You get to not know what day it is, what month it is.”

    • After the Financial Times buyout, let’s stop belittling Japan’s success

      …Japanese officials have systematically exaggerated the Japanese economy’s various weaknesses, real and imagined.

    • Greece, Iran, and the Rules of the Game

      But he chose to “follow the rules” by accepting the EU plan. Greece is getting its financial bailout, Greeks are tightening their belts, and the Eurozone will survive more-or-less intact. Tsipras learned what happens when you challenge the rules of an elite club. Once in a while, the club changes the rules. Most of the time, the club issues an ultimatum: suck it up or move on.

    • Global One Percent Celebrate at the Bohemian Grove

      July 18th 2015 was the first day of this year’s summer camp for the world’s business and political aristocracy and their invited guests. 2,000 to 3,000 men, mostly from the wealthiest global one percent, gather at Bohemian Grove, 70 miles north of San Francisco in California’s Sonoma County—to sit around the campfire and chew the fat—off-the-record—with ex-presidents, corporate leaders and global financiers.

      [...]

      On the surface, the Bohemian Grove is a private place where global and regional elites meet for fun and enjoyment. Behind the scene, however, the Bohemian Grove is an American version of building insider ties, consensual understandings, and lasting connections in the service of class solidarity. Ties reinforced at the Grove manifest themselves in global trade meetings, party politics, campaign financing, and top-down corporatism.

    • Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis

      Washington never granted islanders control of their lives, welfare and destiny. They have no say over foreign relations, commerce and trade, their air space, land and offshore waters, immigration and emigration, nationality and citizenship, currency, maritime laws, military service, US bases on its territory, constitutionality of its laws, jurisdictions and legal procedures, treaties, radio and television, communications, agriculture, its natural resources and more.

      Independence supporters aren’t tolerated – men like Oscar Lopez Rivera, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, wrongfully imprisoned for wanting Puerto Ricans to live free, behind bars for over three decades.

      Washington wants to continue exploiting its Caribbean colony for profit – raping and pillaging it at the public’s expense, much like what’s happening to Greece.

    • 1898 INVASION OF PUERTO RICO & THE EMERGENCE OF U.S. IMPERIALISM

      For the many people who have engaged in the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence, July 25 has a special significance. On that date in 1898, U.S. troops invaded Puerto Rico, beginning a period of U.S. colonial domination on the island that continues to this day.

      The United States invaded Puerto Rico, along with the Philippines, Guam and Cuba, in the setting of the Spanish-American War. That war was the opening of what would be the menacing role and predatory nature of the U.S. capitalist class in the Caribbean, Latin America and the entire world.
      The seizure of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam and the Philippines by the United States signaled the quest of the U.S. capitalist class to become a world power. European powers had pursued a policy of colonial acquisitions since the end of the 15th century.

      But only in the late 19th century had the mature and developed capitalist powers virtually colonized the entire planet. The projection of U.S. power outside of the North American mainland signified a rush not to be left behind in this global division of markets.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • What Bill Gates Doesn’t Understand About Education

      Mr. Gates, you swing a lot of weight in political circles. If you told policymakers that the current thrust of reform was blocking alternative ways of improving learner performance, and educators should have enough autonomy to explore those alternatives, those of us who have been working on them for decades might have a chance to show what’s possible.

    • Smoking Gun: MPAA Emails Reveal Plan To Run Anti-Google Smear Campaign Via Today Show And WSJ

      If you talk to the reporters who work for various big media companies, they insist that they have true editorial independence from the business side of their companies. They insist that the news coverage isn’t designed to reflect the business interests of their owners. Of course, most people have always suspected this was bullshit — and you could see evidence of this in things like the fact that the big TV networks refused to cover the SOPA protests. But — until now — there’s never necessarily been a smoking gun with evidence of how such business interests influences the editorial side.

  • Censorship

    • Now You Can Make That Embarrassing Email You Sent Self-Destruct

      Everyone’s fired off a hasty email that they desperately wish they could take back. A new Gmail tool will let you do that whenever you please.

      Dmail is a new browser extension for Google Chrome that gives people more control of how long others can view their Gmail messages. When sending an email through Gmail, users can set a specific time when the message will self-destruct, ranging anywhere from an hour to a week. And even emails without a specific self-destruct timer can still be recalled by the sender at an time, making them unviewable to the recipient.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Schooled in Britain, Deported to Danger: UK Sends 600 Former Child Asylum Seekers Back to Afghanistan

      Hundreds of Westernised young men who grew up in Britain after fleeing war-torn Afghanistan as children have been forcibly returned to their home country due to what experts believe is an inhumane shortcoming in the UK asylum system.

    • Beyond Innocence: US Political Prisoners and the Fight Against Mass Incarceration

      President Obama’s recent statements about mass incarceration, together with his decision to commute the sentences of 46 people serving lengthy and life sentences in federal prison on drug charges, treat “nonviolent drug offenders” as the symbolic figureheads of America’s prison problem. This framing seems to imply that everyone else actually deserves to be in prison.

    • If Obama Can’t Close Guantanamo

      It’s becoming increasingly clear that the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, isn’t going to be closed during President Barack Obama’s administration — or beyond, despite the administration’s efforts. That raises a deep question about foreign policy and the rule of law: What if Guantanamo never closes, and some of its detainees remain there for the rest of their lives?

      The sad truth is that the continued operation of the prison is unlikely to do any more long-term damage to the U.S. reputation abroad — because the world has already come to the conclusion that the U.S. is no better than anyone else when it comes to dealing with terrorists.

    • Guantanamo Bay closure: Why plans to close the notorious prison may be wishful thinking

      It sounds like an old vinyl record stuck in its groove, another regular reminder of what has long since been a national disgrace. After six years of trying in vain to close the infamous prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, the White House, it is said, is close to finalising another plan to do just that. To which one is tempted to reply: “Dream on”.

    • House should join Senate in torture ban

      Congress is faced with the opportunity to forbid the CIA from engaging in torture forever, thanks to a bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain and Dianne Feinstein. The legislation passed the Senate in a recent impressively bipartisan 78-21 vote, and now heads to the House of Representatives.

      When we talk about torture, too often we use distant, medical language to grapple with the most vile things that can be done to a human being. Very few of us can imagine this horrific treatment, and even fewer of us want to think about it.

      But our government has too often sanctioned torture. It is critical that we understand it so that we can stop it.

      Through Survivors of Torture, International, an organization that advocates for an end to torture everywhere and treats torture survivors, I have heard stories from survivors that have never been more relevant. I shall try to share my sense of what torture is and why Congress must pass the McCain-Feinstein legislation that would prohibit it.

    • Secret Foreign Policy Is Bad for Democracy

      The government would prefer you never knew about any of that. When Montgomery was being sued by a former employer, then–Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte quashed any public court discussion of Montgomery’s bizarre relationship with U.S. intelligence. He insisted that public revelations about how easily the country’s protectors can be conned would constitute “serious, and in some cases exceptionally grave, damage to the national security of the United States.”

      Democracy is supposed to transmit the people’s will to our governors, but it’s hard to argue that’s the case when said governors can keep us ignorant about what they’re doing and what it costs. However, the U.S. government has become increasingly adept at waving the flags of democracy and national security simultaneously.

    • Obama Does Not Prosecute “Mega-Crooks”. Neither Would Hillary. Would Sanders?

      The chief reason why the USA is no longer a democracy (if it ever was) is that its mega-criminals have impunity, just like kings and other dictators in countries that make little pretense to being a ‘democracy.’

    • Hip-Hop Artist-Activist Sole Tackles US Torture Through Eyes of a Detainee

      Outspoken political activist and avant garde hip-hop artist Sole, together with DJ Pain 1, gives Sputnik readers a first look at his visually stunning new video that tells the story of a CIA black site as seen through the eyes of a detainee.

    • Anonymous has long history of activism and controversy

      Hacktivist group launches action against RCMP in B.C. following fatal shooting in Dawson Creek

    • David Cameron extremism speech: Muslim leaders give their views on the PM’s plans

      I am concerned that yet again Cameron is conflating the issue of extremism and terrorism with those of cohesion and integration.

      He says that Muslims are not doing enough to integrate and that risks fostering extremism – but just what is enough and how do you measure it?

    • Journalist Barrett Brown Receives 30 More Days of Solitary Confinement in Prison

      Jailed journalist and activist Barrett Brown has received 30 more days of solitary confinement in the prison, where he is serving a five-year and three-month sentence issued against him in January.

      Brown, who had been put in “the hole” at the Fort Worth Correctional Institution previously, was put in solitary confinement in late June after staff “singled” him out “for a search” of his locker and “found a cup of homemade alcohol.”

    • Terrorism conviction of Miami imam upheld

      The case against Khan, an imam at a Miami mosque before his 2011 arrest, was built on hundreds of FBI recordings of both telephone calls and Khan’s face-to-face conversations with an undercover informant. In the calls, Khan discussed details of numerous wire transfers to Pakistan over a three-year period that totaled about $50,000.

    • Dylann Roof is a terrorist, but won’t be charged as one

      Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white man who stands accused of murdering nine black members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last month, was indicted Wednesday on federal hate crime charges, some of which carry the possibility of the death penalty.

    • Security concerns after man dies outside restaurant
    • 3 dead in Louisiana theater shooting
    • Louisiana police name gunman who killed two in cinema

      Louisiana police on Friday identified John Russell Houser (59) of Alabama as the suspected lone gunman who opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing two and wounding others before turning the gun on himself.

  • DRM

    • Federal judge says you can break DRM if you’re not doing so to infringe copyright

      Here’s some remarkable news: a judge in a New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Appeals Court has ruled that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s ban on breaking DRM only applies if you break DRM in order to violate copyright law. This is a complete reversal of earlier rulings across the country (and completely opposite to the approach that the US Trade Representative has demanded from America’s trading partners). In the traditional view, DRM is absolutely protected, so that no one is allowed to break it except the DRM maker. In other words, a film-maker isn’t allowed to take the BluRay DRM off her own movie, a video game programmer can’t take the iPad DRM off her own game, and an audiobook author can’t take the DRM off his own Audible book.

    • Happy 30th anniversary, Tengen! Your anti-DRM NES chip fought the law, and the law won

      In 1985, Japanese giant Namco got out its wallet, and bought control of Atari Games – the coin-op arcade games maker that was doing rather well compared to its ailing home console cousin, Atari Corp.

      The deal was the first step toward a massive legal battle that changed the way console manufacturers produced, licensed, and distributed their games. And this is how it happened:

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Restaurateur is threatened with £1,000 fine if any customer watches TV on their mobile on her premises in an astonishing ‘bullying’ letter from BBC TV Licensing body

        A restaurateur has been threatened with a £1,000 fine or court action if any customer watches TV on their mobile phone in her premises in a ‘bullying’ letter from the BBC TV Licensing body.

        Neleen Strauss, the owner of the High Timber restaurant in central London, was sent the ‘intimidating and aggressive’ letter this week.

      • Geo-Blocking Caused Massive TV Piracy 20 Years Ago

        This week several Hollywood studios and pay TV giant Sky found themselves on the wrong end of an EU antitrust investigation for blocking cross-border access to TV shows and movies. Yet twenty years ago Sky was doing the same thing, a stubbornness that sparked a huge wave of piracy right across Europe.

      • Pirate Bay Led Hollywood The Way, Co-Founder Says

        During his stay in prison, Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij was deprived of the Internet and forced to view broadcast TV. A grueling experience, but not as bad as it used to be, something the Pirate Bay can take credit for in part. Still, Fredrik believes that there’s plenty of room for improvement.

      • Porn studio asks judge to ban talk about “copyleft” blogs at trial

        Prenda Law is gone, and today it’s a legit porno company, Malibu Media, that files more copyright lawsuits than anyone else. Malibu sues thousands of people for downloading the company’s content via BitTorrent, then asks for settlements reportedly in the several-thousand-dollar range.

      • Anatomy of a Copyright Coup: Jamaica’s Public Domain Plundered

        A bill extending the term of copyright by an additional 45 years—almost doubling it, in the case of corporate and government works—sailed through the Jamaican Senate on June 26, after having passed the House of Representatives on June 9. The copyright term in Jamaica is now 95 years from the death of the author, or 95 years from publication for government and corporate works. This makes it the third-longest copyright term in the world, after Mexico and Côte d’Ivoire respectively with 100 and 99 years from the death of the author.

      • State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State’s Own Laws

        The State is particularly upset that Malamud ran some crowdfunding and donation campaigns seeking to raise money to keep his operations running, saying that he raised this money “to assist the Defendant in infringing the State of Georgia’s copyrights.” The State also complains that he uploaded the code to the Internet Archive under a CC 0 public domain dedication, saying (incorrectly) that this implies that he claimed that he was the owner of the annotations. That’s not true at all. He’s claiming that everyone owns them, because they’re the law.

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