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05.04.14

Links 4/5/2014: XBMC 13, Warsow 1.5

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Vantrix Launches f265.org for Open Source HEVC Encoder
  • Events

    • GCI 2013 and Grand Prize Trip

      How does one become a contributor of Open Source development? Some start with the wish to fix that certain annoying bug in their favorite software. Others want to extend it by a new feature. However you arrive, the path to go to get that seemingly easy task done is often not clear. Where’s the source for that button? How do I make my changes take effect in the software that is run? Finding the right path can be a frustrating journey many are not willing to endure. Google Code-In (or GCI for short) aims to help out: Pairing prospective contributors with mentors from established open source organizations builds a path to successful contributions. KDE has participated in GCI as a mentoring organization since its start in 2010, and did so again in the most recent 2013 edition.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Possible Features To Find In OpenGL 5.0

      There’s a big belief that OpenGL 5 will be about optimizing this cross-platform, widely-used graphics API. All of the major hardware companies are working towards reducing OpenGL driver overhead and making other OpenGL improvements as a result of AMD’s Mantle API. Mantle is still Windows-only and used by just a handful of games for now with AMD’s Catlayst driver on GCN GPUs, but it’s ignited a conversation about increasing the performance potential out of OpenGL. DirectX 12.0 is also going to be optimizing the performance potential of Microsoft’s 3D graphics API.

Leftovers

  • Banksy condemns ‘disgusting’ Stealing Banksy exhibition on opening day

    As press and street art fans were allowed in to take a first look at an exhibition claiming to be “the most expensive collection of Banksy artworks ever assembled”, the artist posted a statement on his website condemning it.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Those Military Observers

      If you think you get the truth on CNN and BBC you are not paying attention.

    • World Domination

      Add together the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk and you don’t reach the economic output of Dundee. World domination it isn’t. Unfortunately both in the Kremlin and on Capitol Hill they, and their satraps, think it is. Neither side cares at all about the millions of ordinary people in the zone of potential conflict.

    • Iraqi army strikes ‘jihadist convoy’ in Syria

      Iraqi army helicopters have hit what they believe was a jihadist convoy in eastern Syria, killing at least eight people, in a show of strength days before the country’s first national elections since 2010.

    • Worse than Iran-Contra? Why the White House is Desperate to Bury Benghazi

      Cover-up is about shielding details of arms smuggling to terrorists in Syria

    • US ships 300,000 MREs to Ukraine military

      The United States delivered 300,000 meals ready to eat to the Ukranian military, the first delivery of American aid to the former Soviet republic, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

    • Chomsky: US Leaders’ Panic Over Crimea Is About Fear of Losing Global Dominance

      The current Ukraine crisis is serious and threatening, so much so that some commentators even compare it to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

      Columnist Thanassis Cambanis summarizes the core issue succinctly in The Boston Globe: “[President Vladimir V.] Putin’s annexation of the Crimea is a break in the order that America and its allies have come to rely on since the end of the Cold War—namely, one in which major powers only intervene militarily when they have an international consensus on their side, or failing that, when they’re not crossing a rival power’s red lines.”

    • David Ignatius: Putin steals CIA playbook on anti-Soviet covert operations

      The West has made NATO’s military alliance the heart of its response to Russia’s power grab in Ukraine. But we may be fighting the wrong battle: The weapons President Vladimir Putin has used in Crimea and eastern Ukraine look more like paramilitary “covert action” than conventional military force.

    • Is the Western narrative obscuring what’s really going on in Ukraine?

      Washington and Brussels are the heroes of the Ukrainian saga, if you believe the Western media. Russian President Vladimir Putin is cast as the Big Bad Russian Bear, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are the Democratic A-Team. Russia is supposedly using dirty KGB-inspired tactics: secret agitators backed by masked paratroopers. The West makes the same tired claims to back democracy and freedom and denounces Putin’s foul play.

      The hyperbole is extraordinary. Is it really appropriate to invoke the memory of Anschluss, or compare Putin to Saddam Hussein? Kerry has called Ukraine an “incredible act of aggression”, conveniently ignoring drone strikes, the Iraq War, and the numerous illegal coups the US has pulled off since World War II.

    • Condoleezza Rice Backs Out of Rutgers Commencement After Student Protests

      Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has decided not to participate as the speaker for Rutgers University’s commencement ceremony after students began protesting the invitation earlier this year based on Rice’s involvement with the Iraq War.

      It’s no secret that Americans today tend to be less supportive of the war in Iraq than they were back in 2003, and that decline in support has caused some serious negative backlash for Rice.

    • Condoleezza Rice declines to speak at Rutgers after student protests
    • Obama’s new Ukraine – a Russophobic failed state ruled by fascists

      The chaos, terror and civil war in Ukraine is the deliberate creation of the Washington war machine, writes Mike Whitney. It is just step one of an offensive aimed at Russia – and that should raise loud alarms among all who care about our Earth’s future.

    • Camp X Was the Basis for the CIA ‘Farm’

      Between 1941 and 1944, Americans and Canadians trained as secret agents at Camp X in Whitby, Ontario learning from the finest intelligence specialists the arts of espionage, sabotage, subversion, unarmed combat, silent killing, weapons training and various forms of communications. Employing the finest intelligence specialists, Camp X turned highly qualified recruits into covert operatives trained for clandestine Allied missions, and in so doing played an integral role in the development of international and domestic intelligence training.

    • Troops on the Ground: U.S. and NATO Plan PSYOPS Teams in Ukraine

      Effort reminiscent of CIA’s Radio Free Europe during Cold War

    • Washington responsible for fascist massacre in Odessa

      In what can only be described as a massacre, 38 anti-government activists were killed Friday after fascist-led forces set fire to Odessa’s Trade Unions House, which had been sheltering opponents of the US- and European-backed regime in Ukraine.

      According to eye-witnesses, those who jumped from the burning building and survived were surrounded and beaten by thugs from the neo-Nazi Right Sector. Video footage shows bloodied and wounded survivors being attacked.

      The atrocity underscores both the brutal character of the right-wing government installed in Kiev by the Western powers and the encouragement by the US and its allies of a bloody crackdown by the regime to suppress popular opposition, centered in the mainly Russian-speaking south and east of Ukraine.

      As the Odessa outrage occurred, US President Barack Obama, at a joint White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, explicitly endorsed the military offensive being carried out by the unelected Kiev government against protesters occupying official buildings in eastern Ukraine.

      Despite Western media attempts to cover up what happened in Odessa—with multiple reports stating that “the exact sequence of events is still unclear”—there is no doubt that the killings in the southern port city were instigated by thugs wearing the insignia of the Right Sector, which holds positions in the Kiev regime, along with the like-minded Svoboda party.

    • Israel police challenge US ‘terror’ findings

      Israeli police on Thursday challenged Washington’s inclusion of Jewish extremist attacks on Palestinians in a global terror report, saying such incidents could not be likened to militant attacks.

      For the first time, the State Department’s 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism, published Wednesday, included a reference to a growing wave of racist anti-Palestinian vandalism, euphemistically known as “price tag” attacks.

    • Tony Blair: to bomb or not to bomb people we don’t like in the Middle East

      Blair urges the world to “intervene” more in the Middle East, just as he and Bush “intervened” in Iraq. Trouble is, he admits, public opinion opposes his addiction to war

    • The Enemy of Your Enemy is Not Always Your Friend

      The next time you’re influenced by a facebook meme or a heart-wrenching youtube video about human rights violations by an “enemy” of the West, think about the atrocities by the pro-Western side that we are not seeing. Study the history of the country to learn what parts of the so-called democratic opposition might draw their lineage to militant groups (such as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army) that have massacred ethnic, religious, or political minorities in past decades. If the U.S. continues to back these crazies just because they attack the West’s enemies, blowback is again going to be inevitable.

    • The ‘Hook’ and Awlaki: a tale of two imams

      As the latest trial opened, his US lawyer, Joshua Dratel, noted that western governments, including the US, and his client were once on the same side, fighting in defence of Muslims in Afghanistan and in Bosnia against the Serbians. Dratel, who is Jewish, would not be defending Hamza if he was promoting anti-Jewish hatred, which he was accused of during his UK trial. While Hamza’s views were extreme, Dratel said, it was not illegal to hold them. At one point, he likened Hamza to Nelson Mandela, who was “once considered a terrorist. Now he’s an icon.”

    • Dozens of FBI, CIA agents in Kiev ‘assisting Ukraine security’

      Numerous US agents are helping the coup-appointed government in Ukraine to “fight organized crime” in the south east of the country, the German newspaper Bild revealed.

      According to the daily, the CIA and FBI are advising the government in Kiev on how to deal with the ‘fight against organized crime’ and stop the violence in the country’s restive eastern regions.

    • CIA, FBI consulting Kiev government, says German weekly
    • CIA, FBI agents advising Ukraine government: Report
  • Transparency Reporting

    • Leaked US Cable Notes ex-BPK Chief’s ‘Notoriety’ for Corruption

      Hadi, recently named a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in a decade-old tax case, served as the director general for taxation at Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance between 2001 and 2006.

      The 2006 diplomatic cable, published by Wikileaks on its website, commented on his replacement as the tax director general by Darmin Nasution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Being cute ‘won’t save the penguins’

      Campaigners dressed as penguins marked World Penguin Day outside Norway’s parliament. They called on Norway and other nations active in the Antarctic to do more to save the world penguin population from a rapid decline.

    • Biodiversity offsetting is a license to trash

      A proposal in the UK to destroy ancient woodland to make way for a £40 million motorway service station clearly reveals the flaws of biodiversity offsets.

    • DAVID VS. GOLIATH: A TINY TRIBE TAKES ON BIG ENERGY

      Coal ash is the waste material left over after coal is burned. It’s often laced with pollutants, but it isn’t covered by any federal rules. In fact, no one paid much attention to coal ash until 1 billion gallons of it poured into the rivers around the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Fossil Plant in 2008 and blanketed more than 300 acres of land. The tragic spill ignited a debate over whether to regulate coal ash and how.

    • The Aussie Big Four, Third World Land Grabs and Ethical Capitalism

      Oxfam Australia has released a report showing that the big four Australian banks have financial connections with agri-business interests that are involved in major land grabs and exploitation.

    • Koch brothers decline invitation to debate climate change

      A group supporting the political views of retired billionaire investor Tom Steyer bought a full-page color advertisement Friday in The Wichita Eagle — the Koch brothers’ hometown newspaper — inviting the brothers to a public debate on climate change.

  • Finance

    • Justice Puts Banks in a Choke Hold

      When you become a banker, no one issues you a badge, nor are you fitted for a judicial robe. So why is the Justice Department telling bankers to behave like policemen and judges? Justice’s new probe, known as “Operation Choke Point,” is asking banks to identify customers who may be breaking the law or simply doing something government officials don’t like. Banks must then “choke off” those customers’ access to financial services, shutting down their accounts.

      Justice launched the effort in early 2013…

    • Activists decry lack of affordable rooms in Vancouver
    • Report: More Than 92 Million Americans Remain Out Of Labor Force

      Despite the unemployment rate plummeting, more than 92 million Americans remain out of the labor force.
      The unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March, the lowest it has been since September 2008 when it was 6.1 percent. The sharp drop, though, occurred because the number of people working or seeking work fell. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not count people not looking for a job as unemployed.

    • Crossrail managers accused of ‘culture of spying and fear’

      Leaked documents reveal that workers on new rail link are too scared of being sacked to report injuries

    • Seattle’s $15 Wage Plan Proves Power of Radical Pressure

      City’s watered-down version, embraced by political elites and business class, a ‘testament to how working people can push back against the status quo of poverty, inequality, and injustice’

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why the Alex Jones industrial complex must be dismantled

      I went after Jones specifically because almost all of his propaganda plays into the hands of the extreme right wing in the United States. He dismisses feminism and gay rights as part of a New Word Order plot to reduce the population. He dismisses climate change as a hoax, and backs it up by giving weather reports on Mars. He attacks non-existent, nameless, faceless organizations like the Illuminati but ignores the evils being done by right-wing billionaires like the Koch Brothers.

      His supporters are certified experts on the Bilderberg Group, but they seem to know nothing about the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that literally writes laws for corporations and passes them into law. Who needs the Illuminati when you have people like that? What if we just do away with the word “Illuminati” and start talking about capitalism and the state?

      You will never hear conspiracy theorists talk about class war; they are far more concerned with preserving their own status in this economic system. Like missionaries and populist demagogues of the past, they prey on the young and downtrodden, give them an all-encompassing worldview, call it “truth, and and label everyone who doesn’t believe it a “sheep” who needs to “wake up.”

      I attack Infowars because it is not a revolutionary movement. It is chasing a mirage. It imagines the good ol’ days of ‘merica, when white slave-owners wrote a constitution for other property owners, before they pushed west, killed multitudes of Native Americans (historical estimates range between 30-100 million) and stole their land. Those are the glory days of 1776 that the right-wing conspiracy crowd holds up as an ideal that we need to return to.

    • How Presidents and the Public Have Ignored Right Wing Terrorism
    • Book Buzz: ‘Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt’

      Two books about computer shenanigans this week. Michael Lewis’ “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” takes on the high-frequency traders who have made ghost “towns” of stock exchange floors and created a market that is impenetrable to common understanding.

      In high-frequency trading, milliseconds count (if you could count that fast) so Wall Street traders now jockey for fiber-optic proximity to exchanges in order to execute trades and change pricing within one/one-thousandth or some such of the blink of an eye, so as to ensure that traders made a profit regardless of what happened to their customers. Nothing new there, right? Except now it’s being done at light-like speeds.

  • Privacy

    • What Edward Snowden didn’t disclose

      For one thing, Snowden did not have access to any specific ECIs (Extremely Classified Information compartments) that protect specific sources of information, including the identities of companies that partner with the NSA. The larger ones can be inferred, but the details of their cooperation, along with the details of hundreds of other relationships, are ECI-controlled.

    • ​Everyone is under government surveillance now – Snowden

      Government surveillance no longer targets individuals, but entire populations, former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has said. The whistleblower appeared via video link in a Toronto debate over the NSA intelligence gathering programs.

      Commenting on the antics of the National Security Agency, which have been described in the past as “Orwellian in nature,” Snowden said every citizen is affected by intelligence gathering programs

      “It’s no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing,” Snowden said in the brief video. “It covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love.”

    • Want to stop creepy online tracking? Help the EFF test Privacy Badger

      Privacy Badger is a new tool from the Electronic Frontier Foundation designed to stop creepy online tracking.

      It’s an extension for Firefox and Chrome that “automatically detects and blocks spying ads around the Web, and the invisible trackers that feed information to them.”

    • Google Glass – Why I’m not interested.

      Its reported that Google Glass advocates are coming to your town and that was the catalyst for writing this article. I am quite happy for Google Glass users to love their devices, however I don’t want them ranting on at me about it and I certainly don’t want their camera’s pointed at me.

      There’s something very strange about Google Glass “advocates” and its something akin to Justin Beiber fans.

      Hopefully the novelty of Google Glass will wear off, or at-least be limited to their own forums and fan pages.

      For the record, I am not a Google “hater” (its one of the ways a Google Glass Advocate rationalizes someone not interested in their toy) infact quite the opposite, I’m currently writing this on a Chromebook and am a very heavy user of many Google services – Doc’s, Drive, Groups, G+, Google, Gmail. I was also an early adopter of the ill fated GoogleWave and certainly no “hater” of Google products and my smartphones are Android, as are the tablets that I use.

    • Digital arms makers follow money for NSA arsenal

      On Florida’s Atlantic coast, cyber arms makers working for U.S. spy agencies are bombarding billions of lines of computer code with random data that can expose software flaws the U.S. might exploit.

    • Technology law will soon be reshaped by people who don’t use email

      There’s been much discussion – and derision – of the US supreme court’s recent forays into cellphones and the internet, but as more and more of these cases bubble up to the high chamber, including surveillance reform, we won’t be laughing for long: the future of technology and privacy law will undoubtedly be written over the next few years by nine individuals who haven’t “really ‘gotten to’ email” and find Facebook and Twitter “a challenge” .

      A pair of cases that went before the court this week raise the issue of whether police can search someone’s cellphone after an arrest but without a warrant. The court’s decisions will inevitably affect millions. As the New York Times editorial board explained on the eve of the arguments, “There are 12 million arrests in America each year, most for misdemeanors that can be as minor as jaywalking.” Over 90% of Americans have cellphones, and as the American Civil Liberties Union argued in a briefing to the court, our mobile devices “are in effect, our new homes”.

    • Merkel not ready to say trust restored after NSA spying affair

      On a day when she spent more than four hours face-to-face with Barack Obama at the White House, Merkel last Friday listened to the US president in his own verdant Rose Garden tell the world how important their relationship is.

    • North Korea Invokes the NSA, Zimmerman to Call U.S. a ‘Living Hell’

      You would think North Korea wouldn’t be in any place to lecture the United States about human rights abuses, right? Well, think again, because according to The Washington Post, a North Korean state news agency has responded to accusations leveled against them of human rights abuses by flipping the script by calling the United States a “living hell”, citing the NSA, prison privatization, and, for some reason, George Zimmerman.

    • Captain America, step aside: Justices are on the case

      In the real world, who are our superheroes? People such as Assange or Edward Snowden seem candidates but actually are more akin to prophets, warning of misfortune but without the authority to stop it. Our elected officials? Some perhaps, but not those now in power. Indeed, it is the Obama administration — the same one that has so greatly stepped up the use of drones — that supports searching smartphones without warrants. We’re left with an improbable bunch: the nine justices of the Supreme Court.

    • Facial recognition: is the technology taking away your identity?

      Although the use of facial recognition tools is still relatively new in the consumer sector, that is where much of the visible innovation will take place over the coming years. “The stakes are lower, so companies are free to take more risks,” says Kelly Gates, professor in communication and science studies at UC San Diego and author of Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance. “As a result, there are a lot of experiments in the commercial domain. So what if you identify the wrong person by accident when you’re targeting an ad? It’s not that big a deal. It happens all the time in other forms of advertising.”

    • DC Thinks It Can Silence a New Snowden, But the Anti-Leak Hypocrisy is Backfiring

      After Edward Snowden caught the US government with its pants down, you would think the keepers of this country’s secrets might stand up for a little more transparency, not bend over backwards trying to control the message.

      Instead, this week we found out the Most Transparent Administration in American History™ has implemented a new anti-press policy that would make Richard Nixon blush. National intelligence director James Clapper, the man caught lying to Congress from an “unauthorized” leak by Snowden, issued a directive to the employees of all 17 intelligence agencies barring all employees from any “unauthorized” contact with the press.

  • Civil Rights

    • Shocking Kids into Compliance

      The Judge Rotenberg Center, a residential school in northern Massachusetts, prides itself on teaching students with disabilities who have the most challenging behavioral issues. The school takes kids with severe intellectual disabilities – autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and a range of psychiatric disabilities – and then its employees attach electrodes to their arms, legs, and stomach, and shock them into submission.

    • Wonder Girl’s head-sized breasts illustrate the sexism problem in comics

      It’s Free Comic Book Day today – the North American comic book industry’s annual push to bring in more readers by distributing popular all-ages comics for free through thousands of retailers. Unfortunately, while comics may be for everyone, the culture around them has a lot of growing up left to do.

    • Segregation Now

      Though James Dent could watch Central High School’s homecoming parade from the porch of his faded white bungalow, it had been years since he’d bothered. But last fall, Dent’s oldest granddaughter, D’Leisha, was vying for homecoming queen, and he knew she’d be poking up through the sunroof of her mother’s car, hand cupped in a beauty-pageant wave, looking for him.

    • Shabak Torture Drives Israeli Palestinian Lawyer to Suicide

      Amjad al-Safadi was an East Jerusalem defense attorney whose clients were Palestinian security prisoners. Two months ago, he himself was arrested by the Shabak and detained for 45 days. He was charged with aiding Palestinian militant groups and their detainees. During his detention he was tortured by Shabak interrogator goons. Among his claims were that electric shocks were used against him. He was released from prison and placed under house arrest (the same process used in the case of Majd Kayyal). Yesterday, five days after his release, he hung himself at his home and died.

    • Egypt court jails 102 Morsi supporters for 10 years: Report

      An Egyptian court sentenced 102 supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to 10 years in prison on Saturday over protest violence, state television reported.

      The army-installed government has rounded up thousands of Morsi supporters and put them on mass trials since overthrowing him in July.

    • Why Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy Are Not the Problem

      In her heartfelt dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which upheld a Michigan ballot initiative forbidding schools from considering race as one factor in admitting students, Justice Sandra Sotomayor wrote “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.”

    • Report on CIA provides evidence Djibouti was a ‘black site’
    • Three Presidents Who Ordered Mass Torture of Prisoners And Two Who Failed to Stop Torture

      For most of US history, torture was something the enemy did, and their doing so was widely regarded as a sure sign of their evil. US troops might be ordered into unjust wars of aggression. They even carried out massacres. But torture of prisoners was something beheld as evil.

      American Indians were often massacred, but not tortured, and the claim that some of them tortured was seen as evidence of their barbarism. Mexican civilians were also massacred, but not tortured. Union soldiers did not torture Confederate prisoners. In fact, the Civil War saw the first rules of war, formulated by Lincoln. Confederates did massacre Union troops if they were Black, but even these traitors never tortured. Germans, Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese were all killed in great numbers, but never tortured. In fact, the torture of US POWs by North Koreans was held up as a great evil.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • What Inefficient Airline Boarding Procedures Have To Do With Net Neutrality

      Search the internet and there are tons of articles about more efficient ways to board airplanes. Many will point to the work of astrophysicist Jason Steffen who algorithmically tested a variety of boarding methods to come up with his optimized version. The best demonstration of this particular method is in this YouTube video where the Steffen method was tested.

05.03.14

Links 3/5/2014: Chromebook Announcement Imminent, ARM Deception

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Google, Intel to make Chromebook announcement on May 6

      One theory is that a new Chromebook Pixel will be announced, as the current model utilizes a Intel Core i5, the most powerful of any Chromebook. The Pixel hasn’t been changed since its release last February, and it could be time for Google to refresh its crown jewel, high-end Chromebook. Another collaboration with Intel could bring more power to the Chromebook line and make Chromebooks more appealing for resource-hungry users.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • No, ARM Didn’t Open-Source Their Full Mali Linux Driver

      A few links have been sent in to our news tip box with this page, which reads, “Open Source Mali-200/300/400/450 GPU Kernel Device Drivers.” While the page mentions open-source drivers, it’s only about the kernel portion of the driver and it’s always been that way with ARM — and most other ARM-based graphics vendors. The kernel portion is open, the user-space components are closed. Without an open user-space, having an open kernel driver is only of limited use, and will not be accepted into the upstream Linux kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Has A New Radeon DRM Performance Patch

        AMD has a new Radeon DRM kernel driver patch pending that is able to offer Linux gaming performance improvements by improving the video memory bandwidth performance by the open-source graphics driver.

      • Wayland 1.5 RC Released with a Historic Low in Bugs

        Wayland, a protocol for a compositor to talk to its clients, as well as a C library implementation of that protocol, which can be used as a standalone display server running on Linux kernel modesetting and evdev input devices, has reached version 1.5 RC.

      • OpenGL 4.4 ARB_buffer_storage Added To Nouveau

        Support for the ARB_buffer_storage extension mandated by the OpenGL 4.4 specification is now supported by Nouveau, the open-source NVIDIA Linux driver.

        This GL 4.4 extension was added to the open-source Radeon drivers and then in March for supporting the Intel Mesa driver. Ilia Mirkin has now wired-up the ARB_buffer_storage support for the Nouveau Gallium3D drivers: NV30, NV50, and NVC0.

      • AMD Mullins Support Added To Radeon Gallium3D
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • New OpenMandriva, Updated KDE, and Ubuntu EOL

        Our top story tonight is the release of OpenMandriva Lx 2014 with new features and updates. KDE saw an update release this week as well and Ubuntu 12.10 approaches end-of-life. In other news “Firefox 29 sucks” says one, but another tests it against Konqueror and finds not so much. And Bryan Lunduke is back with more on why “Linux sucks!”

      • KDE PIM 2014 Spring Sprint

        We continue the tradition of having the PIM sprint in a place that starts with a “B”. The last 3 PIM sprints were in Berlin (twice) and Brno. The Spring edition of this year took place in Barcelona, continuing the tradition. Add to this the name of the company hosting us which conveniently starts with a “B” as well (BlueSystems).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • NixOS 14.04 Is a Unique Operating System That Uses KDE 4.2

      NixOS is not your average cup of tea, as it employs a rather different approach to the building of an operating system. It uses its own package manager, called Nix, which ensures that users can make an upgrade to one package that cannot break others, that they can always roll back to previous version, and so on.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 2014 Has Been Released

        OpenMandriva Lx 2014 has been officially released with many new features, improvements and major changes.

        This second release of the OpenMandriva operating system under the community of the OpenMandriva Association is a major update from the previous version of OpenMandriva Lx and it comes with a better desktop system performance and responsiveness due to the implementation of the 3.13.11 nrjQL stock kernel.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • DNF 0.5.1 Improves Its CLI Output

          DNF 0.5.1′s main feature is its less verbose with its text output during the dependency-resolving process. Up to this point it would spew dozens or even hundreds of lines of text about dependency processing. DNF 0.5.1 also now reports about bandwidth savings when using delta RPMs.

        • Temporary Problem with DevConf CZ Videos

          There’s a problem with Red Hat Czech’s YouTube channel, where the DevConf videos about Fedora.next are hosted. This should be fixed soon, at which point my series of articles about those videos will continue.

    • Debian Family

      • Tails v1.0: One Linux Distro Among Many for Secure Communications

        Tails, short for “The Amnesic Incognito Live System,” came to the world’s attention last month when the Freedom of the Press Foundation revealed that Edward Snowden used a beta version of the Linux distribution to securely communicate with reporters. Now, the same highly secure distro used by Snowden to leak NSA materials has been released as version 1.0 under an open GPLv3 license.

      • Unmasking the Tails Linux Distro

        Many different Linux distributions are freely available for users. For National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Linux distribution of choice is Tails, which hit its 1.0 release April 29. Tails stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System, a reasonably accurate description of what the Tails Linux distribution is all about. As a Live Linux distribution, Tails can run from a USB stick and does not need to be directly installed onto a physical computer. The promise of Tails is that, as a Live Linux distribution, with a focus on privacy, when a user removes the Tails USB from the computer, there is no trace of it left in system memory. Tails goes much further than just leaving no trace in memory in its goal to be an incognito system. The Tor anonymous network routing technology is integrated into Tails to help hide a user’s actual location and IP address on the Internet. For secure email, Tails includes the Claws Mail email client with encryption support. Tails enables users to have secure instant messaging conversations with Pidgin, which is preconfigured with the Off The Record (OTR) plug-in. There is even an option in Tails to enable the desktop to look like a Windows XP desktop to help avoid suspicion from people who might be walking by a Tails user. In this slide show, eWEEK examines key features of the Tails 1.0 release.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Ubuntu Unity Launcher gets a facelift with Unity Drawers

            For the longest time, Ubuntu Unity users have wanted a bit more leverage from the Unity Launcher. As it stands, it’s a means to launch applications and get to the Unity Dash. But with the creation of a new tool, Drawers, you can easily organize related items (files, applications, websites, folders, etc.) using “mini dashes” and “quick lists” — similar to the Stacks feature in OS X. Drawers allows you to organize files together onto the Launcher and even create a Dash-like app menu for quick access to your applications.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • AMAKER says it’s first Dual ARM Open Source 3D Printer

        AMAKER is designed from scratch to include next generation controller boards. Just as humans have a left and right brain, we designed our controller to mirror two sides of the brain. The left side of the controller uses one ARM chip to control all motion calculations, thermal control and sensors. The right side uses another ARM chip to handle the user interface. This allows simultaneous processing of both motion control and the user interface during printing.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Chicken Nuggets, With a Side of Respiratory Distress

      Think you have it tough at work? Imagine taking a post at a factory-scale poultry slaughterhouse. Chicken carcasses whiz by at the rate of 140 per minute, requiring repetitive hand motions with sharp knives. Then there’s the caustic odor of chemical sprays and washes—practices the industry has resorted to in recent years as a way to control bacterial pathogens like salmonella.

  • Security

    • British National Party’s Twitter account hacked by ‘Anonymous’

      Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party and MEP, has had his Twitter account hacked by campaigners claiming to be part of the hacking group, Anonymous.

      Someone claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous hacked into the party’s official account late on Friday night.

      The hackers did not appear to be trying to send out a particular message and didn’t appear to know much about the far-right party, but were simply trying to cause trouble for the BNP.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Washington’s drive for regime change in Venezuela

      The statements by the US president and the two top State Department officials only go to confirm the warning made last month by Maduro that his government is confronting a “slow-motion” coup, in which US-backed violent demonstrators are “copying badly what happened in Kiev.”

    • John ‘Flashback’ McCain Wants Moar War But German Industry Stands in the Way
    • Obama’s New Ukraine
    • Military Buildup. NATO Now Considers Russia as “An Enemy”. Militarization of “Russia’s Neighbors

      The 61-year-old former United States ambassador to Russia reportedly told journalists this week that Moscow’s role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has forced NATO to reconsider the alliance’s opinion on Russia, and that additional troops may soon be mobilized to the region as tensions worsen.

    • How to Win the Information War against Vladimir Putin
    • Odessa Massacre Pushes Ukraine to the Edge

      Western headlines have attempted to spin into ambiguity the death of over 30 anti-fascist Ukrainian protesters cornered and burned to death in the Trade Unions House in the southern port city of Odessa. The arson was carried out by Neo-Nazi mobs loyal to the unelected regime now occupying Kiev.

      Both the London Guardian and the BBC attempted in their coverage to make the perpetrators and circumstances as ambiguous as possible before revealing paragraphs down that pro-regime mobs had indeed torched the building. And even still, the Western press has attempted to omit the presence of Right Sector, the militant wing of the current regime charged with carrying out political intimidation and violence against Kiev’s opponents.

    • Yemen Qaeda warns of reprisal over drone war
    • Al Qaida threatens to hit back over Yemen drone strikes
    • Anti-drone events in Central New York

      In a determined protest against the U.S. use of drone warfare, 150 people marched to the gates of Hancock Air Base in Syracuse, N.Y., on April 27. The multinational march was part of a regional day of education and action linking poverty, racism and war.

      People in Afghanistan, for example, are targeted by Reaper drones piloted out of Hancock Air Base. Soldiers in the 174th Attack Wing, New York National Guard, fly the drones. The 174th previously flew F-16s; it is the first U.S. squadron to convert to all-unmanned combat planes.

    • UK telecoms infrastructure used to support controversial US drone operations

      The UK’s telecommunications infrastructure is being used as part of a global defence intelligence network that the US government uses for controversial drone operations and other military purposes.

      Human rights experts say the UK’s involvement is the digital equivalent of allowing secret US rendition flights to land at UK military sites, or permitting the US government to launch air strikes from its airforce bases in the UK – actions for which the UK has, in the past, been heavily criticised.

    • The Drone War’s Secrets and Lies

      …targeting U.S. citizens overseas for sudden, fiery death from the sky.

    • The burden of atrocity: How Vietnam was exposed as a “dirty war”

      A conservative estimate of civilian deaths arising from the war is two million in South Vietnam alone, from a population of nineteen million. An analogous civilian casualty rate in the United States today would be nearly thirty-three million — in fact, looking at the dead and wounded in Vietnam as ratios of the general population puts the conflict on par with the horrendous bloodshed of World War II. As Kill Anything That Moves relives in graphic detail, the Vietnam War was horrendously brutal in its plans, execution and outcomes.

    • CIA Whistleblower faces the ire of an angry Justice Department over Benghazi questions

      Longtime former CIA field operative turned whistleblower Robert “Tosh” Plumlee is currently in the crosshairs of a very angry Holder Justice Department for publicly posting 11 “questions” about Benghazi and the illegal weapons running operations being conducted by criminal elements within the U.S. government. Mr. Plumlee is no ordinary CIA whistleblower, however.

    • Please Don’t Read This Benghazi Article

      If you ignored the headline and are reading this anyway, you are part of the problem. Despite the fact that the last several resurgences have produced nothing that verifies the claims of the right wing, we’re once again forced to wade into the matter and endure at least the fifth round of grandstanding in a cycle that leads us no closer to actually solving the problems that Benghazi revealed.

      The latest return of the assault that killed four Americans in a diplomatic outpost in the eastern Libya city to the public consciousnesses comes from conservative group Judicial Watch obtaining on Tuesday a copy of White House emails from the days after the attack through a FOIA request to the State Deparment. Now Republicans and conservative media have narrowed in on one in particular from Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes as the latest in a string of smoking guns that proves malfeasance on the part of the administration. So now, after 11 open hearings in the House of Representatives alone, scores of witnesses called for testimony, millions of dollars spent, and thousands of documents from the administration, we’re at the point where the Republicans are generally scraping the bottom of the barrel in formulating their reasons to keep the investigation alive.

    • Former CIA spy Andre Le Gallo recounts his time in Iran in 1978-79

      During the Gulf War in the 1990′s he helped choose high value targets for Tomahawk cruise missile strikes in Iraq…

    • Lusitania divers warned of danger from war munitions in 1982, papers reveal

      Foreign Office officials also voiced serious concerns that a final British admission that there were high explosives on the Lusitania could still trigger serious political repercussions with America even though it was nearly 70 years after the event.

      The RMS Lusitania was sunk on 7 May 1915 by a torpedo fired without warning from a German submarine just off the Irish coast with the loss of 1,198 lives, including 128 American civilians. The liner went down in just 18 minutes and the loss of civilian life enraged US public opinion and hastened American’s entry into the first world war.

    • Afghan opium production explodes despite billions spent, says US report

      A report released Wednesday by Washington’s Afghanistan war watchdog has found that the billions spent by the State and Defense departments on counter-narcotics since 2002 has been for nought. Opium-poppy cultivation takes up 209,000 hectares (516,230 acres) of land in Afghanistan, a 36% increase since 2012.

    • Pacific Ocean Marshall Islands launch lawsuits against nations with nuclear arms over testing effects

      The small Oceanic Marshall Islands is to launch an unprecedented round of lawsuits against nine nations with nuclear arms, including the US, to demand that they meet their obligations to disarm.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Safety Failures Pervasive at Site of Mysterious Nuclear Leak

      U.S. government’s own report faults declining safety culture for release of radiation at troubled New Mexico dump

    • US corn yields are increasingly vulnerable to hot, dry weather, study shows

      The study, which appears in the journal Science, was led by Stanford’s David Lobell, associate professor of environmental Earth system science and associate director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment. “The Corn Belt is phenomenally productive,” Lobell said, referring to the region of Midwestern states where much of the country’s corn is grown. “But in the past two decades we saw very small yield gains in non-irrigated corn under the hottest conditions. This suggests farmers may be pushing the limits of what’s possible under these conditions.”

    • Beneath the Ukraine Crisis: Shale Gas

      The crisis gripping Ukraine has plunged transatlantic relations to their lowest point since the Cold War and threatens to send Ukraine into an armed conflict with potentially dire consequences for the country and the wider region.

    • If Scotland Secedes, Who Gets Its Oil?

      The U.K.’s debate over Scottish independence is an oddly blinkered affair. People are obsessing over things that don’t matter and ignoring things that do — such as who owns the U.K.’s North Sea oil.

    • Ex-CIA Analyst Ruth: China’s Growing Economy Sparks Green Fears

      If the Chinese economy really is growing as reported, China will find itself under a lot more pressure by the international community to comply with environmental regulations, says Lisa Ruth, former CIA analyst and Lignet analyst.

    • Japan begins northeastern whale hunts after ICJ ban

      If there’s a will, there’s a way. Taking advantage of the fact that the recent international court ruling only covers whale hunts in the Antarctic Ocean, a Japanese whaling fleet left last Saturday to begin it’s hunt in the northern Pacific.

    • Diesel engine pollution linked to early deaths and costs NHS billions

      Environmental experts warn high percentage of diesel engines in public transport may cause quarter of all air pollution deaths

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BBC Propaganda Hits New All-Time Low

      Every half hour BBC News is running a three minute puff piece which is even more sinister for what it hides than for what it says – and By God! That is sinister enough.

      [...]

      Now pay close attention: Fiona Gilmore is chief executive of Acanchi a PR Consultany which specializes in “Country Branding”. Its clients include Israel, Dubai, Bahrain and “England”. Yes, it actually specifies “England” on the company website. Acanchi also works for DFID – in short, it gets UK taxpayers’ money, plus Israeli and Gulf Arab money. Are you familiar with the word fungibility?

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Sultan of Brunei unveils strict sharia penal code

      Fines and jail terms for offences such as indecency and failure to attend Friday prayers, with future penalties to include flogging and death by stoning

    • Botched executions show there’s no such thing as humane capital punishment

      Once again, a prisoner has died an unseemly death in the execution chambers of the United States of America. Facing a shortage of the drugs needed to carry out a lethal injection, the state of Oklahoma decided to experiment on a live human being – with disastrous results. After being subjected to treatment some described as torture, Clayton Lockett ultimately died of a heart attack.

    • Listen to a Secret Tape of FBI Agents Interviewing—and Threatening—a Potential Informant

      On Thursday, Mother Jones broke the story of Naji Mansour, an American living abroad who refused to become a government informant—and saw his life, and his family’s, turned upside-down. After he rebuffed the government’s advances, Mansour was banned from returning to his family’s home in Kenya, locked up for 37 days in a squalid prison in South Sudan, and eventually found himself living in Khartoum, where two FBI agents he had met before, Mike Jones and Peter Smith (pseudonyms we created at the FBI’s request), tried again to win his trust. Mansour recorded the conversation, which you can listen to above; a full transcript follows below.

    • Meet the American Citizens Who Allege the US Had Them Locked Up Abroad
    • From Dictatorship to Democracy: The Role Ex-Nazis Played in Early West Germany

      After World War II, West Germany rapidly made the transition from murderous dictatorship to model democracy. Or did it? New documents reveal just how many officials from the Nazi regime found new jobs in Bonn. A surprising number were chosen for senior government positions.

    • 1,000 native women murdered, missing in Canada over 30 years: RCMP

      The RCMP revealed Thursday a shocking number — nearly 1,200 aboriginal women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada in the past 30 years.

      RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said most of those women — about 1,000 — are murder victims.

      The rest, about 186, are disappearances, still logged in police files across the country, and in a majority of those — some 160 missing person cases — the RCMP says authorities “ought to” suspect foul play. The others have been determined to be disappearances for “reasons unknown.”

    • Feds didn’t act on polygraphs indicating child abuse

      The nation’s spy satellite agency failed to notify authorities when some employees and contractors confessed during lie detector tests to crimes such as child molestation, an intelligence inspector general has concluded.

      In other cases, the National Reconnaissance Office delayed reporting criminal admissions obtained during security clearance polygraphs, possibly jeopardizing evidence in investigations or even the safety of children, according to the inspector general report released Tuesday, almost two years after McClatchy’s reporting raised similar concerns.

      In one instance, one of the agency’s top lawyers told colleagues not to bother reporting confessions by a government contractor of child molestation, viewing child pornography and sexting with a minor, the inquiry by the inspector general for the intelligence community revealed.

    • How to Starve the For-Profit Prison Beast

      I know some private prison lobbyists who would love it if you were found with a cell phone. Assuming, of course, that you’re already locked in one of the prisons their clients operate in Oklahoma.

      Introducing a cell phone into a correctional facility used to be a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. Now, it’s a felony. This change did not happen for any reason other than a private prison lobbyist provided his client with a good way to make even more revenue off of people already imprisoned. Bumping this crime up from a misdemeanor to a felony means that when a person is caught with a cell phone in prison, he or she will end up staying in prison even longer; in most cases the new sentence will be added to the end of the existing one, instead of allowing people to serve time for both the crime that landed them behind bars and the cell phone infraction simultaneously. More prison time, more profits.

    • Where Was Anal Rape Approved in the OLC Memos?

      Sorry I’ve been AWOL for the last several days. I’ve been traveling and speaking and traveling. Thanks to Jim and bmaz for holding down the fort.

      While I’ve been gone, there has been fairly shocking testimony from Gitmo (thanks, as always, to Carol Rosenberg for her persistence in covering this thankless story). In Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri’s trial, a doctor called to testify to his untreated PTSD described the trauma evidence she found on him.

    • FBI may put alleged Anonymous member behind bars for 440 years
    • State Law Hides Investigations of Police Misconduct from Public Scrutiny

      Former State Senator Gloria Romero tried to change POBOR during her time in Sacramento, but said the police union opposition was too strong to overcome. “Most states in the nation allow for the knowledge of these misconduct reports,” said Gloria Romero. “That essentially translates to, we have a secret police force and I think that surprises people in a democracy such as California’s.” Partensky and Woosley, the two San Francisco residents who called 911 for some injured bicyclists, never did get the answers they were looking for. The SF Police Department told us that the two were detained for interfering with medical rescue crews. There was no internal police review and no police officers were disciplined.

    • Senate report set to reveal Djibouti as CIA ‘black site’

      The legal case of a former CIA detainee suing the government of Djibouti for hosting the facility where he says he was detained could be helped by the contents of a still-classified Senate report. Djibouti, a key U.S. ally, has denied for years that its territory has been used to keep suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in secret captivity. But the Senate investigation into the agency’s “detention and interrogation program” concluded that several people had been secretly detained in the tiny Horn of Africa state, two U.S. officials who read an early draft of the report told Al Jazeera.

    • Military judge orders CIA to list ‘black sites’
    • 30 Retired Generals Urge Obama To Declassify The CIA Torture Report

      Thirty retired generals are urging President Obama to declassify the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture, arguing that without accountability and transparency the practice could be resumed.

      “After taking office, you showed decisive leadership by issuing an executive order banning torture and other forms of abusive interrogation,” the retirees say in an open letter released Thursday.

    • Fine Print: U.S. can’t seem to shake the ‘water cure’ as a method of interrogation

      In a March 11 floor speech, the committee’s chairman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), said the panel is investigating “the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed.”

      But that quote was from testimony delivered in 1903 by U.S. Army Lt. Grover Flint before the Senate Philippines Committee. Chaired by Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R-Mass.), the committee was reviewing how U.S. Army units were dealing with Filipino fighters who opposed the United States taking over governing their country in the wake of the Spanish-American War.

    • Nat Hentoff: Lifting secrecy a matter of time
    • Comey: CIA-Senate probe hasn’t drawn in FBI

05.02.14

Links 2/5/2014: Graphics/GPU Source Code for Linux, Drones With Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why American Apples Just Got Banned in Europe

      Back in 2008, European Food Safety Authority began pressing the chemical industry to provide safety information on a substance called diphenylamine, or DPA. Widely applied to apples after harvest, DPA prevents “storage scald”—brown spots that “becomes a concern when fruit is stored for several months,” according to Washington State University, reporting from the heartland of industrial-scale apple production.

    • Antibiotic-resistant superbug arose in northern Manhattan

      Human skin is a garden of microbes that is home to about 1,000 bacterial species. Most are benign, but some invade the skin and cause illness—of these, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are particularly dangerous.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Organized Labor, Public Banks and the Grassroots: Keys to a Worker-Owned Economy

      Before his death in February, Jackson Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba was helping his constituents chart an economic plan whose main component was worker-owned cooperatives. In her recent article about Lumumba and cooperatives, Laura Flanders cites Collective Courage author Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s point that African-American leaders from Marcus Garvey to W.E.B. DuBois were proponents of cooperatives. DuBois, Garvey and Lumumba understood that worker democracy was necessary for economic sovereignty and community solidarity.

    • Beyond Piketty’s Capital: Richard Wolff Warns us Not to Band-Aid Capitalism

      Wolff warns that we cannot band-aid capitalism. However laudable and even attainable may be suggestions from economists like Piketty or Dean Baker, to name just two, piecemeal policies designed to stop the system from funneling wealth upwards will not work for long. The elites are fully focused on preserving and expanding their fortunes, and the structure of the contemporary economy puts in the hands of a very few people in large corporate enterprises “both the incentive and the resources to roll back whatever adjustments a movement from below is able to make.”

    • IMF Confirms $17bn Loan to Ukraine with Conditions That Will Devastate the Economy

      The IMF has confirmed a conditional loan of $17bn to Ukraine in what it touts as a rescue package aimed at stabilizing Ukraine as it seeks to maintain independence from a belligerent Russia. Instead, we are witnessing the final stages of the US-EU coup of Ukraine, and by implementing the conditions of the loan, the nation will be left destitute and dependent.

    • Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Councilwoman: McDonald’s Doesn’t Need Time To Phase In $15 Minimum Wage

      Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, an outspoken socialist, claimed a victory Thursday after Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan to hike the city’s minimum wage to $15, which Sawant was a driving force behind. But she told HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski that she isn’t totally happy with the plan, which gives big corporations years to phase in the new wage.

    • Demanding ‘Just and Sustainable’ Economy For All, Thousands March on Congress

      In an expression of a “new populist” energy, thousands of demonstrators shut down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC on Monday as they demanded a livable wage and an end to the corporate domination of the national economy and politics.

    • The Big Tip That America’s Servers Never See

      A good many Americans now know the high-finance games that JPMorgan Chase and other big banks like to play — at our expense. And big oil giants like ExxonMobil have been outraging Americans for years.

      But plenty of other corporate giants that inflate our inequality have been flying under the radar screen. Who, for instance, has ever heard of Darden? Or Yum! Brands?

      These little-known outfits just happen to rate as two of the biggest corporate behemoths in the restaurant industry. They’ve been squeezing workers — and soaking taxpayers — as relentlessly as any enterprises in America. Yet they barely have any national profile at all.

      That may be about to change.

      Last week, on the eve of the National Restaurant Association annual meeting, two top think tanks — the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington and Demos in New York— released new studies that detail how America’s food-service giants are growing the gap between the nation’s rich and everyone else.

      This week protesting restaurant workers will be taking that message to the streets. Many of these workers are currently laboring at the $2.13 hourly federal minimum wage for tipped workers, a base that hasn’t budged since 1991.

    • Any talk of economic recovery is pure fiction

      Down is up. Sick is healthy. The RMS Titanic is seaworthy. Topsy-turvy logic is a speciality of the austerity brigade, and here they come dishing up a third helping. First, in 2010-11, they pledged that making historic cuts amid a global slump would definitely, absolutely secure a strong recovery. Then things went predictably belly-up, forcing Cameron and Osborne to dump their deficit-reduction plans and the eurocrats to make more bailouts. Yet these reversals were, naturally, “sticking to the course”. Now things don’t look quite as awful as they did a couple of years ago – and this somehow gets chalked up as a miraculous rebound.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Science Media Centre Spins Pro-GMO Line

      Since consumer campaigning got GMOs labeled and crop restricting implemented in the United Kingdom, Cameron will likely have a hard time convincing UK consumers that all is well. However, Cameron is getting help in that quest from a little known group called the Science Media Centre (SMC), which helped release the report to great fanfare. The Guardian and The Independent published prominent coverage of the report, and it was featured by the BBC. The Independent and BBC coverage were both entirely uncritical, quoting the scientists handpicked by the SMC for its reporters’ briefing. The Guardian report was less glowing, but still quoted the SMC scientists and buried the reactions of critics below the fold. None of them mentioned that the report briefing was held by the SMC.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s Wheeler Says That If These Lame Net Neutrality Rules Don’t Work, He’ll Implement The Real Rules Next Time

      Following his weak attempt to diffuse concerns about his bogus “open internet” rules, FCC boss Tom Wheeler has decided to try again, by basically repeating what he said last week with slightly stronger language about how he won’t let broadband providers violate net neutrality. Of course, as many people have explained, the problem is that the new rules clearly aren’t strong enough, and leave open all sorts of ways to kill off basic neutrality online. Of course, the real problem is that the original 2010 “open internet” rules (which were really crafted by the telcos in the first place) didn’t really protect net neutrality in the first place, and the new rules are basically an even weaker version of those rules. But, have no fear, claims Wheeler, if these rules don’t work, he promises he’ll actually pull out the big gun, Title II, and reclassify broadband players as telco services rather than information services, allowing the FCC to put them under common carrier rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom Thanks RIAA and MPAA for Mega’s Massive Growth

        Mega.co.nz, the cloud storage company founded by Kim Dotcom, has seen the number of uploads triple in the past six months. Mega users now upload a total of half a billion files per month. According to Kim Dotcom, the MPAA and RIAA deserve some credit for the unprecedented growth.

      • Lawsuit Against First US Copyright Trolls For Extortion Ends In Victory

        A few years ago, we wrote about how a guy named Dimitry Shirokov, with help from the law firm of Booth Sweet had taken on the “fathers” of copyright trolling in the US, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, who had formed an organization called US Copyright Group, which initiated the first round of mass copyright trolling in the US (before the likes of Prenda and others entered the space). Shirokov had tried to make his lawsuit a class action against the lawyers, claiming fraud and extortion. And while the class action part was unfortunately rejected, the case has ended with a victory for Shirokov, with the judge ordering DGW to pay $39,909.95 ($3,179.52 to Shirokov and the rest in attorneys’ fees to Booth Sweet).

      • Books and more are relicensed to Creative Commons

        I began working with the Wikimedia Foundation in January 2012 for program and community support in India. With the Centre for Internet and Society’s Access To Knowledge program, we focus on open access for scholarly publications to help communities enrich Wikipedia entries for Indic languages.

        While I was negotiating with a few authors to relicense their copyrighted books to a Creative Commons license (a license that allows anyone to reuse, modify and use content), I began identifying certain areas of motivation for an author to donate their work as free content.

        We worked closely with Goa University, Manik-Biswanath Smrutinyasa Trust, and the Institute of Odia Studies and Research.

      • Aereo Can’t Be Bound by Secret Interpretations of Copyright Law

        It may seem like a wishy-washy answer, but there’s an alarming point nested within it: the Solicitor General’s office’s position that the interpretation of the law—which the executive branch has worked into our international trade obligations—is the only way for the law to be “properly construed.”

        That in turn suggests that the executive branch believes it is responsible for properly constructing the law. Of course, that position stands in conflict with Marbury v. Madison, the case that established judicial review in 1803: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”

        That has serious implications for the democratic process. Here’s how it seems to work: the executive branch comes up with an interpretation of U.S. copyright law and then negotiates it into international agreements. It conducts these negotiations in secret, insisting that it needs no meaningful oversight because it doesn’t require a change in U.S. law.

      • Ballots 2009 for the Swedish Pirate Party’s election to the European Parliament

        More or less overnight, betting companies slashed their odds of the Swedish Pirate Party’s re-election to the European Parliament. Where a re-election scenario used to give you 8x your money back in a bet with them, it now gives a mere 1.25x. It appears the betting companies know something that Swedish oldmedia haven’t picked up on yet.

      • Kim Dotcom: On the road with Hollywood’s biggest enemy

        Kim Dotcom, the multi-millionaire hacker-turned-entrepreneur, was on the roof of his New Zealand mansion, handcuffed and surrounded.

        One by one, his luxury cars were rolled out of garages and taken away. Dotcom’s accounts, in various different countries, were frozen.

        His website, file storage service Megaupload, was shut down.

        Filings made in a court in Virginia outlined the accusation. Dotcom, US authorities said, was the man behind a “criminal enterprise” which used Megaupload to profit from piracy on a “massive scale”. He faces more than 20 years in prison.

      • Tarantino is Back, Now Claiming Gawker is an Illegal Downloader

        After landing an early victory last week against Quentin Tarantino in their leaked screenplay row, Gawker is facing a new attack. In an amended complaint, Tarantino accuses Gawker of committing not only contributory infringement, but also direct infringement, after it illegally downloaded his script from a file-hosting site.

05.01.14

Links 1/5/2014: Tails in the News, Firefox 29 Reviews

Posted in News Roundup at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Ukraine Crisis Accelerating the Restructuring of the World

      The Ukrainian crisis has not radically changed the international situation but it has precipitated ongoing developments. Western propaganda, which has never been stronger, especially hides the reality of Western decline to the populations of NATO, but has no further effect on political reality. Inexorably, Russia and China, assisted by the other BRICS, occupy their rightful place in international relations.

    • Wall Street Journal outlines US military options against Chinac

      The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the Pentagon’s latest “action plan” is intended to address “concerns” held by Washington’s “closest allies in Asia” over the Obama administration’s willingness to confront Beijing. The newspaper said these allies “have told American counterparts” that the response to Russia’s “aggression” in Crimea “is seen as a possible litmus test of what Washington will do if China attempted a similar power grab.” It also noted that “concerns were raised” by South Korean officials last September after Obama’s last-minute decision to call off plans to bomb Syria—partly to avoid a potential military confrontation with Russia.

    • Kerry, Obama, Putin: The Fool, the Demagogue, and the Former KGB Colonel

      Of course, it is possible that Kerry really believed he was speaking truths, having internalized the assumptions that flow from U.S. “exceptionalism,” which make words like “invasion,” “aggression” and “international law” inapplicable to us as the world’s police; and what might be a “completely trumped up pretext” if offered by the Russians is only a slight and excusable error or misjudgment when we do it. After all, the New York Times quickly used the word “aggression” in editorializing on the Crimea events (“Russia’s Aggression,” March 2, 2014), whereas it never used the word to describe the invasion-occupation of Iraq, nor did it mention the words “UN Charter” or “international law” in its 70 editorials on Iraq from September 11, 2001 to March 21, 2003 (Howard Friel and Richard Falk, The Record of the Paper).

    • “War is Peace, it Makes Us Rich and Safe”… or So Says the Mainstream Media

      War is Peace. What was known as a famous quote from George Orwell’s fiction 1984 has become a reality. Or maybe it is still fiction if you consider that the mainstream media is making up reality on a daily basis.

      On April 28, 2014, the homepage of The Washington Post web site featured the picture of a nuclear explosion with the following title: “War is brutal. The alternative is worse.”

    • US, Pak relationship has deteriorated: Former Obama NSA

      The relationship between the US and Pakistan has deteriorated “alarmingly” over the course of the Afghan conflict, a former national security advisor to President Barack Obama has said.

      Arguing that the role of Pakistan is crucial for resolving the Afghan crisis, Gen (rtd) James Jones, former National Security Advisor to Obama, said that there is absence of trust between Pakistan and the US now.

    • Israel’s drone dealers

      People and Power investigates how Israeli drone technology came to be used by the US.

    • The Rise of the Drone Master: Pop Culture Recasts Obama

      In Marvel’s latest popcorn thriller, Captain America battles Hydra, a malevolent organization that has infiltrated the highest levels of the United States government. There are missile attacks, screeching car chases, enormous explosions, evil assassins, data-mining supercomputers and giant killer drones ready to obliterate millions of people.

      Its inspiration?

      President Obama, the optimistic candidate of hope and change.

    • Albany drone protester Amidon acquitted

      An Albany man who dressed as the Grim Reaper outside a Syracuse airbase to protest the U.S. drone aircraft program was acquitted this week of criminal charges.

    • Volk Field protester guilty of trespassing

      But Wagner said Block presented “passive resistance” when asked to leave the base property.

      “She just declined to go,” Wagner said.

    • [not real news] Iraqi Judge “brushes off” Bush lawsuit against Iraqis for George’s death

      An Iraqi judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against certain individuals in the Iraqi government who killed George Bush with a drone strike in 2005—the lawsuit was filed by Bush family members.

      Allowing a lawsuit against individuals “would hinder their ability in the future to act decisively in defense of Iraq interests” said the Iraqi judge.

      I can understand the outrage that people here in America are experiencing right now. That a foreign judge would so easily dismiss something not based on it being right or wrong, but I based on keeping the door open so people from the judge’s country are free to kill more with drone strikes. They seem to carry out justice only when it is convenient for them and in their best interest.

    • Gavin Hood to Direct Colin Firth in ‘Eye in the Sky’ UK Action Thriller
    • Gavin Hood Set For The Drone Warfare Thriller ‘Eye In The Sky’ With Colin Firth [promoting drones on the Big Screen]
    • Grounded, Gate Theatre, review: ‘mesmerising’

      If you wanted proof that virtue is its own reward in theatreland, take a look at Lucy Ellinson’s performance in Grounded. She is nothing short of mesmerising as a Top Gun pilot, who, after having a baby, is reduced to doing shifts in front of a computer screen in an air-conditioned trailer near Las Vegas. Her job is to steer unmanned “drone” aircraft towards their targets in the Middle East. And then to press the button that blows the enemy combatants below to pieces.

    • Mad Men: The Lunatic Fringe That Leads the West

      I had in mind to write about Tony Blair’s remarkable regurgitation of bloodlust and bile last week. The former British PM managed to tear himself away from his consulting work for dictatorships and other lucrative sidelines long enough to make a “major speech” calling for — guess what? — even more military intervention in the endless, global “War on Terror.” The fact that this war on terror — which he did so much to exacerbate during his time in power, not least in his mass-murder partnership with George W. Bush in Iraq — has actually spawned more terror, and left the primary ‘enemy,’ al Qaeda and its related groups, more powerful than ever, has obviously escaped the great global visionary. No doubt his mad, messianic glare — coupled with the dazzling glow of self-love — makes it hard for the poor wretch to see reality.

    • Waterboarding, Sarah Palin and the West’s Image Abroad as the ‘Great Satan’

      Waterboarding, a technique in which water is poured over the angled face of a prisoner — so as to fill his nose, mouth and lungs — terrifyingly creates the feeling of drowning. “When performed on an unsuspecting prisoner, waterboarding is a torture technique — without a doubt,” Malcolm Nance, former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego states. “There is no way to sugarcoat it,” he writes, referring to the fact that he personally witnessed and supervised the waterboarding of hundreds of U.S. military trainees who were drilling to resist torture.

    • Is Captain America: The Winter Soldier a Post-Snowden Superhero Movie? Not Quite

      All that said, prior to revealing the mass conspiracy against the good guys, there are some moments where Captain America has to face the America we’re all more familiar with. He looks in on a group of veterans working to heal mentally after deployment. He even questions Fury’s assertion that killing terrorists before they commit crimes is really justice. It’s not security, but it’s surprising to see an action blockbuster.

      It’s clear that Marvel didn’t think that governmental and social pressures that led to NSA’s domestic psying program made for superhero-grade entertainment, and maybe they’re right. I was still glad to see that the ideas of government openness were enshrined next to the usual superhero clichés of truth and justice. It was also just a very, very fun movie.

    • The Death Penalty Is as Flawed and Heartless as War

      On Tuesday, Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack more than an hour after his botched lethal injection began. Things went so wrong that the state of Oklahoma’s second scheduled execution for that night was stayed for 14 days.

    • Senate to Obama: Drone, Baby, Drone

      Remember around this time last year when President Obama gave his big ballyhooed Drone Speech, promising more transparency to the citizen-consumers of America about who, when, where and why he obliterates and maims with his flying missiles?

    • US refuses to disclose civilian killings from its drone attacks in AF/PAK Region
    • Why US Intelligence Officials Pressured Senate To Block Public Release Of Drone Strikes

      It appears Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and her colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee have largely forgiven the U.S. intelligence community for eavesdropping on their phone calls and spying on their email correspondence.

      Acting on the request of James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, Feinstein and her colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to remove a provision from a major intelligence bill that would have required the U.S. government to disclose information about when drone strikes occur — especially overseas — as well as information about the victims of the drone strikes.

    • Secrets and lies of Obama’s drone war

      Barack Obama promised to install his administration in a glass house lit up like the Super Bowl, with everything visible to the citizenry he serves. So you will not be surprised to learn that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wants nothing more than to keep the public well informed.

    • Miami Jury: CIA Involved in JFK Assassination

      Not a single major newspaper nor any national news broadcast has ever reported that on Feb. 6, 1985, a jury in Miami concluded that the CIA was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    • CIA keeps a tight grip on its own secrets

      The CIA does not give up its secrets easily. Even under public scrutiny and pressure from a Senate committee to declassify parts of a congressional report on harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists, the CIA remains shadowed by its reluctance to open up about its operations and its past.

    • CIA has Upper Hand in Deciding Public Disclosures

      The White House has directed the CIA to declassify parts of a Senate report criticizing harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists, but history shows that the agency is accomplished at preventing embarrassing or damaging disclosures.

    • Heading up Senate report declassification, CIA has history of tightly guarding its own secrets
    • CIA’s resolve to track weapons complicates push to arm Syria rebels

      After more than three years of civil war in Syria, the Obama administration may soon send shoulder-fired missiles to the rebels fighting the country’s dictator, Bashar Assad. But before the first missiles fly, they’ll have to be outfitted with fingerprint scanners and GPS systems designed to keep the weapons from falling into the wrong hands. There’s only one problem: It’s not clear the relatively high-tech security equipment will be compatible with the decidedly low-tech, twenty-year-old missiles.

    • CIA Denies Blaze Benghazi Report: ‘So Many Problems’

      The CIA denied having any role in arming Libyan rebels before the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks, despite reporting by TheBlaze that the U.S. was covertly involved in providing rebels with weapons during Libya’s civil war that ultimately ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda militants.

    • Here’s How US Arms Dealers Sell Weapons All Over The World
    • Charles Krauthammer Says Americans Now Have the ‘Smoking Document’ in Benghazi Scandal
    • Inside the Secret World of a U.S. Arms Dealer

      On Sept. 11, 2011, an Armenian carrier from Albania landed in Benghazi, Libya. It was carrying 800,000 rounds of ammunition originating from Albanian surplus stocks. Three of those stocks belonged to armed forces of the United Arab Emirates, according to a 2013 United Nations investigation.

    • Timeline: The shocking events that led to the Benghazi attacks

      This timeline was compiled by TheBlaze and For the Record as part of their investigation into the U.S. government’s actions regarding the diplomatic team in Benghazi — and how Al Qaeda-affiliated militants benefited from the lethal aid provided to rebel forces on the ground in Libya.

    • Time to End Military/CIA Torture Once and For All

      In the face of continued revelations of United States’ torture policies during the Bush administration, Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), today sent letters to President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel demanding an end to all ongoing practices of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees. The letter specifically calls for revoking techniques permitted in Appendix ‘M’ of the current Army Field Manual, such as solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, forms of sensory deprivation, and environmental manipulations, which individually and combined have been condemned internationally as forms of torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and therefore violate the United States’ obligations under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. In addition, PsySR expressed particularly concern that health professionals, including psychologists, have been engaged to support such efforts in violation of their ethical responsibilities.

    • CIA Thinks Syrian Rebels Might Turn The Guns We Give Them Back On Us

      If you have to worry that your proxy militias will turn your own weapons against you, maybe it’s not such a good idea to give them weapons in the first place. Just a thought.

    • What CIA seeks to achieve through Ford Foundation

      James Petras, retired Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York, and adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, wrote a damning article on September 18, 2002, exposing the Ford Foundation’s sinister choice of beneficiaries of its donations. He accused the CIA of using “philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source”.

    • HENTOFF: Military judge orders CIA to list black sites and other torture data

      As first reported by the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg on April 17, during a pretrial hearing of a Guantanamo prisoner previously held at a series of CIA secret prisons, judge Army Col. James Pohl ordered the agency to provide the long-concealed “names of agents, interrogators and medical personnel who worked at the so-called black sites.”

    • CIA under pressure to declassify secret report on harsh interrogations
    • Shock #Benghazi Email Reveals That Obama White House Agreed With CIA Talking Points

      Judicial Watch, the conservative organization that has been FOIAing and FOIAing for an email record of the Obama administration’s talking points from the week of the Benghazi attack, has obtained one that loops White House adviser Ben Rhodes into the conversation with advice about how to massage the story for the White House. Sorry, that was a boring lede—this is the lede you want.

    • The Umpteenth Guide to the Impenetrable Benghazi Outrage

      It’s hard to defend Jay Carney, or the institution of the White House press secretary in general. We’re talking about a taxpayer-funded position that exists to feed spin to reporters who are at the top of their field and could be doing literally anything else. The Benghazi Smoking Gun naturally took up a chunk of today’s Carney briefing, and ABC News’ Jonathan Karl is being celebrated on the right for sticking it to the man and being “vindicated” for previous stories about the White House’s talking points role. Carney’s excuse—that Ben Rhodes’ email about the talking points was not about Benghazi per se, and didn’t need to be released—is his typical sort of ridiculousness.

    • Walter Pincus: Lingering tensions at CIA over Senate probe

      For a government worker, nothing concentrates the mind quicker or makes you at first angry and later perhaps more cautious than the prospect that you might go to jail for doing your job.

      It’s a reminder from the conflict between the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the CIA over the panel’s more-than-6,300-page report on the CIA’s coercive interrogations during the administration of President George W. Bush. They included waterboarding and other torture-like methods.

  • Finance

    • IMF gives green light for $17 bn Ukraine aid package

      The International Monetary Fund has approved a two-year $17.1 billion loan package for Ukraine. The immediate disbursement of $3.2 billion will allow Ukraine to avoid a potential debt default.

    • Did The West Become “Them” Only When It Was Cheap Enough?

      I grew up in Western Europe in the 1980s. My teenage years were characterized by the Cold War between the United States and the now-collapsed Soviet Union. We learned that the West was liberty, and that the East was oppression. Presumably, the East learned the reverse in their corresponding teenage years. But when did the West become the enemy they painted?

      It’s hard to communicate how everpresent the threat of nuclear war was. Basically, you could say that us who grew up in the 1980s didn’t expect to grow old. In this time of polarization and belligerence, identifying with your home team was more important than ever. In retrospect, it was a false sense of liberty that we were given – mass surveillance started with ECHELON and similar programs in the mid-1970s – but it was nevertheless a very strong sense of liberty.

    • May Day 2014! Celebrate International Workers’ Day!

      Today in the U.S., we can thank the immigrant rights movement for the rebirth of May Day. On May 1, 2006 over 2 million working people and their allies poured into the streets of America’s big cities. The immigrant rights mega-marches shut down the repressive, anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner bill that criminalized undocumented immigrants and other working people who show solidarity with them. 120 years after Haymarket, another attack from big business and right-wing politicians was beat back by the power of the people.

    • Inequality hurts everyone apart from the super-rich – and here’s why

      The extraordinary success of Thomas Piketty’s best-seller shows that progressive ideas are at last winning

    • Help to Work? Britain’s jobless are being forced into workfare, more like

      If the government genuinely means to help people find work after a long spell of unemployment, they would not have come up with Help to Work, a curious plan that insists on a daily visit to the jobcentre or an enforced period of unpaid labour. If the government means to punish them and save its own face, the plan makes more sense.

    • Is Capitalism Digging Its Own Grave?

      …the top 1% owning 40% of the wealth while the bottom 80% just own 7%.

  • Censorship

    • Twitter’s existential dilemma: Why the super-popular social network is in trouble

      Is Twitter in trouble? The company reported first quarter earnings on Tuesday, and Wall Street immediately reacted with a big thumbs down. In just half an hour, Twitter’s stock price fell 9 percent, nearing its all-time post-IPO low.

      The reasons why aren’t immediately clear. The overall numbers were mostly in line with analyst expectations, so much so that CEO Dick Costolo kicked off the company’s earnings call by declaring that “we had a great first quarter.” Twitter did register a net loss of $132 million for the quarter, which is a hefty chunk of change. But no one was expecting the company to turn a profit this quarter, and overall revenue doubled compared to last year’s first quarter, to $250 million.

    • Reflecting on Northern Ireland’s self-appointed theatre censors

      Newtownabbey council said “yes” when they cancelled what they labelled a blasphemous play, The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged), due to be performed by the Reduced Shakespeare Company (RSC) earlier this year. Members of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a political party with roots in the Free Presbyterian Church, called for the show to be axed fearing it would offend and mock Christian beliefs.

    • Filmmaker protests Kickstarter’s ‘censorship’ of abortion film

      In protest of the crowd-funding site’s “censorship” of his TV movie project about convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, McAleer commissioned a bold billboard near Kickstarter’s Brooklyn headquarters.

    • Uganda: Pushing journalists toward self-censorship

      In Uganda, journalists are not only dealing with outright censorship. It seems the government of president Yoweri Museveni is employing a strategy that is aimed at pushing journalists towards self-censorship using a broad range of measures. Although the Ugandan media has a very strong tradition of critical reporting some journalists are probably more prone to self-censor.

  • Privacy

    • Why a Triangle tech CEO just said ‘No’ to CIA investment

      Last week I received the kind of email that would have many startup founders jumping for joy – a cold pitch from a fairly well known VC firm, inquiring if we would like to have a conversation with them about possible funding. In addition to funding, there was hinting about help getting some high-profile customers onboard as well. As a (currently) self-funded startup which is fairly under-capitalized, it’s hard not to find something like that exciting. Surely in any sane universe I should have immediately replied to say “Yes, call me right now”.

    • New NSA chief Michael Rogers: Agency has lost Americans’ trust

      The NSA has lost the trust of the American people as a result of the Edward Snowden leaks, and needs to be more transparent to gain it back, the NSA’s new director said Wednesday in his first public comments since taking control of the embattled spy agency.

      “I tell the [NSA] workforce out there as the new guy, let’s be honest with each other, the nation has lost a measure of trust in us,” Admiral Michael Rogers told a conference of the Women in Aerospace conference in Crystal City, Va.

    • Britain begged to be let into NSA spying scheme

      The Government Communications Headquarters has presented its collaboration with the National Security Agency’s massive electronic spying efforts as proportionate, carefully monitored, and well within the bounds of privacy laws. However, a new document from the Edward Snowden collection shows that GCHQ secretly coveted the NSA’s vast troves of private communications and sought “unsupervised access” to its data as recently as last year.

    • The Strangest Interview Yet With the Outgoing Head of the NSA

      NSA watchers have seen this evasion a million times. Say that the “target” isn’t the American people, knowing most listeners will take that to mean that the NSA is spying on the private communications of foreigners or terrorists, not regular Americans.

    • What’s The NSA Doing Now? Training More Cyberwarriors

      The U.S. needs more cyberwarriors, and it needs them fast, according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. He plans to more than triple the size of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command over the next two years.

      But where will they come from? These are not the kind of skills you can teach in basic training.

      Enter the embattled National Security Agency. Its new director, Adm. Michael Rogers, also directs the Cyber Command. Ten miles down the road from the NSA, at a defense contractor’s office in Columbia, Md., the NSA recently held a live-fire cyberwarfare exercise aimed at developing more cyberwarriors.

    • NSA spying means Brazil’s $4.5B fighter jets won’t be built by Boeing
    • If the NSA had an art exhibit

      All of these ‘exhibits’ are part of current or past art projects exploring surveillance technology, social media or related issues, which seem to be growing almost as fast as the NSA mission statement and enemies list.

    • Edward Snowden: NSA Spies More on Americans Than Russians

      Snowden also took several shots at the National Security Agency and its top officials, and criticized the agency for wearing two contradictory hats of protecting U.S. data and exploiting security flaws to gather intelligence on foreign threats.

    • Spy court hears first anti-NSA argument

      For the first time, the federal court overseeing the country’s surveillance programs heard a formal argument this month that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of people’s phone records is illegal.

    • UK slips down global press freedom list due to Snowden leaks response

      British government’s draconian response to the Guardian’s reporting sees UK drop five places on Freedom House list

    • The US supreme court needs to keep up with our cellphones – and the NSA

      Tuesday’s US supreme court arguments involved a seemingly basic legal question about the future of the Fourth Amendment: do police officers need a warrant to search the cellphone of a person they arrest? But the two privacy cases pit against each other two very different conceptions of what it means to be a supreme court in the first place – and what it means to do constitutional law in the 21st century.

    • Facebook’s ad tentacles now infiltrate almost any app

      Facebook will now deliver targeted advertisements to practically any smartphone app, after unveiling a mobile ad network at its F8 developer conference in San Francisco.

    • My Experiment Opting Out of Big Data Made Me Look Like a Criminal

      This week, the President is expected to release a report on big data, the result of a 90-day study that brought together experts and the public to weigh in on the opportunities and pitfalls of the collection and use of personal information in government, academia, and industry. Many people say that the solution to this discomforting level of personal data collection is simple: if you don’t like it, just opt out. But as my experience shows, it’s not as simple as that. And it may leave you feeling like a criminal.

    • German gov’t turns down testimony of Snowden

      The German government on Wednesday rejected a testimony of whistleblower Edward Snowden through the German NSA panel, local media reported, citing a conclusion of the draft opinion of the government for the parliamentary committee.

      According to information from the German media, a 27-page paper indicated that an invitation for the former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor would jeopardize the foreign and security interests of Germany considerably.

    • ​Verizon to monitor wireless devices, computers and share data with advertisers

      Verizon Wireless will monitor customers’ activities on wireless devices as well as wired or Wi-Fi-connected desktop computers and laptops. Collected data on users’ online activity will then be passed to marketers for targeted advertising.

      Verizon customers recently began receiving a notice from the company that it is “enhancing” its Relevant Mobile Advertising operations to glean more information from its customers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

      “In addition to the customer information that’s currently part of the program, we will soon use an anonymous, unique identifier we create when you register on our websites,” Verizon Wireless tells customers.

      “This identifier may allow an advertiser to use information they have about your visits to websites from your desktop computer to deliver marketing messages to mobile devices on our network.”

      The telecom giant will automatically download a “cookie,” or tracking software, onto a user’s computer or device without explicit warning when the customer visits the company’s “My Verizon” website to view a bill or watch television programming online, according to Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis.

    • Former NSA contractor Snowden expects to remain in Russia

      Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who fled to Moscow last year after revealing details of massive U.S. intelligence-gathering programs, expects his asylum status in Russia to be renewed before it expires this summer, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

    • Germany blocks Edward Snowden from testifying in person in NSA inquiry
    • E.U action needed to counter NSA surveillance, says security expert

      Speaking during his keynote talk at Infosecurity Europe on Wednesday, Hypponen delved into whistle-blowing in the modern age and – looking at the revelations from Snowden – said that this was not just a case of the US ‘misbehaving’.

  • Civil Rights

    • This American Refused to Become an FBI Informant. Then the Government Made His Family’s Life Hell.

      It was after 10 p.m. on July 8, 2009, when Sandra Mansour answered her cellphone to the panicked voice of her daughter-in-law, Nasreen. A week earlier, Nasreen and her husband, Naji Mansour, had been detained in the southern Sudanese city of Juba by agents of the country’s internal security bureau. In the days since, Sandra had been desperately trying to find out where the couple was being held. Now Nasreen was calling to say that she’d been released—driven straight to the airport and booked on a flight to her native Kenya—but Naji remained in custody. He was being held in a dark, squalid basement cell, with a bucket for a bathroom and a dense swarm of mosquitoes that attacked his body as he slept. “You have to get him out of there,” Nasreen said. But she was unfamiliar with Juba and could only offer the barest details about where they’d been held. “He’s in a blue building. You’ve seen it. It’s not far from your hotel.”

    • Federal Court Strikes Down WI’s “Discriminatory” Voter ID as Unconstitutional

      In a landmark decision, a federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin’s strict voter ID restrictions as both an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote and, for the first time, a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act based on the law’s “disproportionate racial impact and discriminatory result” of depriving “the right of Black and Latino citizens to vote on account of race or color.”

    • The New Aaron Swartz Documentary Looks Powerful. Here’s the Trailer.

      Swartz committed suicide in January 2013 at age 26, but his reach and impact on the tech and tech-policy worlds were already enormous. A computer-programming prodigy, he worked on projects like RSS and Creative Commons before he was 16. He dove into politics and became an advocate and activist for publicly available content and an open Internet. But by the time of his death, Swartz was being federally prosecuted for downloading a huge quantity of copyrighted material from JSTOR, the online academic library, at MIT. He was facing jail time and fines.

    • Yemen: End Child Marriage

      “The draft minimum age law is a real beacon of hope for the thousands of Yemeni girls vulnerable to being married off while still children,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “The government should act quickly on this measure and develop enforcement mechanisms to prevent even more girls from becoming victims of early and forced marriage.”

    • Sri Lanka Phobia an anxiety disorder from which David Cameron, Hugo Swire, David Milliband , Stephen Harper and others suffer.

      The symptom of Sri Lanka phobia which is common among the politicians in the West, is caused through personal political ambitions. It comes from the presence of a large number of expatriates Tamils living in these Western countries. It makes the patients have a distorted view of human rights. They become blind to their own actions of violation of human rights, and war crimes.

    • Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To NDAA’s ‘Indefinite Detention’ Clause

      The nation’s highest court refused to hear a case that is challenging the authority and legality of the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Indefinite Detention” clause. The refusal to hear the case has plaintiffs calling for action.

    • Supreme Court Declines to Hear NDAA Indefinite Detention Appeal

      A group of journalists and activists who filed a lawsuit two years ago challenging a controversial provision in a national defense spending bill that they claimed allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens were dealt a crushing blow Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal.

    • US Supreme Court Refuses to Uphold the Constitution: Allows Indefinite Detention

      Pulitzer prize winning reporter Chris Hedges – along with journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, activist Tangerine Bolen and others – sued the government to join the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans.

    • Supreme Court Lets Indefinite Detention of Americans Pass

      The Supreme Court declined to hear the case that a group of activists, journalists, and academics including Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, and Daniel Ellsberg brought against the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA.

    • Supreme Court green lights detention of Americans

      A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court means the federal government now has an open door to “detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker,” according to critics.

    • Hedges v. Obama: The Supreme Court digs its head deeper into the sand
    • In Defence of Jeremy Clarkson

      Which leads me to a further thought. I am pretty sure I had no concept of people’s colour as a small child, and the following I know for certain. My elder children attended a primary school in Gravesend in which a little over half the children were Sikh. By age seven, they had absolutely no conception of any racial difference between themselves and any others in their class. It is a slender piece of evidence, but I am generally fairly convinced that racial difference is a taught construct.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Chairman: I’d Rather Give In To Verizon’s Definition Of Net Neutrality Than Fight

      “The idea of net neutrality (or the Open Internet) has been discussed for a decade with no lasting results,” writes Wheeler in a lengthy blog post. “Today Internet Openness is being decided on an ad hoc basis by big companies. Further delay will only exacerbate this problem.”

      Once again, Wheeler completely glosses over the fact that the only reason a federal appeals court gutted the previous neutrality rules was because a shortsighted FCC never thought to categorize Internet service providers as vital communications infrastructure. As numerous supporters of a true net neutrality have repeatedly pointed out, reclassifying ISPs would likely mean the FCC could reinstate the old rules (and possibly more stringent ones) and survive a legal challenge.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Accused of Movie Piracy, Senior Citizen Kicked Out of Theater

        While recording a movie strictly for personal use is entirely legal in UK cinemas, the same definitely cannot be said about the United States. Recording or ‘camming’ a movie in the U.S. can result in jail-time, particularly if the activity is connected to subsequent bootlegging or illegal online distribution.

04.30.14

Links 30/4/2014: Android Rising in Tablets, More NSA Leaks

Posted in News Roundup at 7:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Presence of Chromebooks in businesses grows with recent deals

      Google already provided the Chromebook Business Management Console to businesses, but now these businesses can work with familiar companies to use it in their business. In addition, with major manufacturers offering Chromebooks, including Dell, HP, Samsung, Acer, and Lenovo, businesses can stick with a preferred brand and have a wide variety of Chromebooks to manage.

    • Best webcam app for Chromebooks
    • Chromebooks: Not much room for competition

      Major laptop makers are paying attention and are adding Chromebooks to their product lines. They require basically the same production methods as their Windows laptops, so it’s a low-cost effort to build them. The Chromebook doesn’t require big hardware, so the component inventory is not too heavy.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Wins Award, Tails 1.0, and Ubuntu Warning

      Linus Torvalds is back in the news, but this time it’s good. Torvalds tops the news tonight for being the recipient of a prestigious award. LibreOffice 4.1.6 was released today with about 90 fixes and squeezably fresh Tails 1.0 is making headlines. And our final story tonight, The Register is reporting that upgrading Ubuntu 13.10 to 14.04 “may knacker your Linux PC.”

    • Linux Training Becomes Embedded Engineer’s Plan B

      When electrical engineer Manjinder Bains learned in January that his employer’s planned restructuring would put his job at risk, he wasn’t sure what to do. There aren’t a lot of companies in his home town of Sacramento, Calif., that employ embedded developers with his skill set, he said, so finding a new job would be tough.

      He decided to broaden his knowledge and his job prospects and signed up to take Linux Kernel Internals and Debugging (LFD320), a training course that teaches how the Linux kernel is built, and the tools used for debugging and monitoring the kernel. It would be the third training course Bains had taken with the Linux Foundation in the past year, but the first one he had paid for on his own – his employer had sponsored the first two.

      “Boosting my Linux skills will make me more employable,” he said via phone last month.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.2 Officially Released

      The latest version of the stable Linux kernel, 3.14.2, has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman, marking yet another update in the most recent stable release.

      The updates and improvements that preceded the launch of the Linux kernel 3.14 branch indicated that this was going to be one of the most interesting releases in quite a while, but the updates for this version have been lagging a little behind.

      In the past, the first updates to the fresh kernel were quite large and featured a multitude of fixes and changes. Either the new kernels are more stable and require less work, or the developers are focusing more on the upcoming 3.15 branch.

      “I’m announcing the release of the 3.14.2 kernel. All users of the 3.14 kernel series must upgrade.”

    • AMD, Mentor Graphics Join Advisory Board for Embedded Linux

      Two major backers — AMD and Mentor Graphics — have revamped their support for embedded Linux development. This week, the companies joined the advisory board of the Yocto Project, an open source initiative for creating custom Linux-based operating systems for embedded devices.

    • SystemTap 2.5 Supports UEFI/SecureBoot & Other Features
    • SystemTap 2.5 release

      The SystemTap team announces release 2.5, “boot loot”!

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Ultrabook Benchmarks On The Linux 3.15 Kernel

        You can view more of these early Linux 3.13/3.14/3.15 kernel test results from the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VDA via OpenBenchmarking.org, but overall, there isn’t too much to get excited about with the results. When comparing these three kernel series, there wasn’t much in the way of performance changes for disk, graphics, or the computational workloads. The power usage also didn’t appear to change much between these recent versions of the Linux kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Musix Linux: Sweet Strains Jarred by Sour Notes

      As a general OS, Musix sounds a few sour notes. It has a meager collection of text editors, word processors and Web tools. You can do some real work with the software that is provided, but you might resort to manually installing some of the programs typically available in distro repositories but missing here. Musix also provides a poor user experience with its menus.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva and Linux Solutions Brazil, sign partnership

        With the Brazilian arm of Mandriva gaining activity, a new partner to on-board our partner ecosystem recently is Linux Solutions a leading consulting, services and solutions based company using Linux platform and offering a wide range of integrated programs and high technical quality since 15 years.Throughout its existence, Linux Solutions has handled more than 150 projects and assisted over 100 clients. More than 1000 students have also been trained. Linux Solutions specializes in clusters and various demands solutions in TCP / IP networks, such as file services, email, firewall, routing, proxy, among others

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IoT survey offers MinnowBoard Max SBC prize

      An IoT survey targeting attendees of this week’s Embedded Linux Conference offers a MinnowBoard Max SBC giveaway, but anyone interested can participate.

    • Rugged IoT box runs Linux on a pico-ITX core

      Via’s rugged, Linux-ready “AMOS-3003″ industrial computer for IoT builds on Via’s EPIA-P910 pico-ITX board, which features its 1.2GHz Nano E2 processor.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung Galaxy K Zoom packs 20.7 MP camera, 10x optical zoom

          We had anticipated that a special “camera” version of Samsung’s flagship device will be launched soon and here it is finally with the moniker ‘Galaxy K Zoom’. The device boasts of a 20.7-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and 10X optical Zoom. This is not the first time Samsung has attempted to put zoom lenses on the back of a smartphone. Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom featured similar 10x optical zoom, but it was a bulky mess, while Galaxy K Zoom has managed to keep a much slimmer profile at 0.8 inch thickness.

      • Android

        • Rumor: HP set to introduce a 14-inch Android notebook

          The market for lightweight notebooks may get a lot messier in the coming weeks as Notebook Italia reports that HP is planning to release a 14-inch touchscreen laptop running Android, Google‘s mobile operating system for phones and tablets (and now wearables), rather than its Chrome OS operating system for lightweight notebooks. Notebook Italia claims to have found a demo video and promotional pictures tucked away on HP’s website. The videos have since been removed, but some screen grabs of the video are still up.

        • Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM now available on Infibeam

          Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM, the refreshed version of Fonepad 7 voice-calling tablet, is now available for purchase on Infibeam.com for INR 12,875. Powered by Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the tablet supports dual-SIM functionality and voice-calling. The Fonepad 7 Dual SIM features a 7-inch screen with LED backlight and WXVGA screen IPS panel.

        • Google’s Nexus phones will reportedly be replaced by premium Android Silver handsets

          The Android Silver project, which was rumored earlier this month, has today been corroborated by four fresh sources, all of whom point to a major shift in Google’s mobile strategy. The Information reports that the current scheme of offering Nexus-branded handsets with Google’s unadulterated vision of the best Android user experience will be scrapped, to be replaced by a set of high-end Silver phones that will closely adhere to it. The change is both expansive and expensive, as Google is said to be planning to spend heavily on promoting these devices in wireless carriers’ stores and through advertising, essentially subsidizing the development and marketing costs for its hardware partners.

        • Android signage player supports Apple iBeacon

          Noxel’s Android-based Xtream A700 signage player integrates Apple’s BLE-based iBeacon indoor positioning tech with Noxel’s cloud-based signage service.

          Noxel claims its Xtream A700 is the most powerful Android signage computer around, and considering its quad-core system-on-chip and the relative novelty of Android signage, we imagine they are correct. Aside from the sheer performance, the device is notable for its use of Apple’s iBeacon indoor positioning technology, which can provide precise location information via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The device’s iBeacon support enables retailers and brand marketers to provide in-store navigation and location-specific push messaging to smartphones, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Albania Considers Free/Libre Open Source Software

    “Taking into consideration the current stage of utilization of OSS in the Albanian public administration, the local ICT business experience and capacities and the current education system, it is strongly recommended to the Albanian government to start implementing initially the neutral approach combined with some enabling initiatives, thus recognizing, guaranteeing and ensuring fair and equal competition of OSS with other proprietary software.”

  • 3 tips for localizing open source projects

    Open source software (OSS) has had a huge impact on the development of technology today. From apps and web browsers to content management platforms and operating systems, there’s no doubt that open source projects have influenced the way that we create and access information.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Did Mozilla jump the shark with Firefox 29?

        Firefox 29 has been released and it’s causing quite a wave of controversy among Firefox users. Firefox 29 comes with a new interface called Australis that features rounded tabs, along with a menu icon in the top right corner. As you might imagine, some users are having trouble adjusting to the new interface and are making their feelings very clear to the Firefox developers.

      • Firefox 29 Launches With Major Redesign, Firefox Account Integration

        Mozilla is launching its most important release of Firefox in a very long time today. After almost two years of working on its Australis redesign, the company is now finally ready to bring it to its stable release channel.

      • Firefox 30 Beta Finally Supports GStreamer 1.0

        Firefox 30 also has a new Box Model Highlighter, new CSS property support, ECMAScript 6.0 support improvements, and many other changes. While Firefox 30 is now in a beta state, it will be officially released in June.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Updated OpenOffice ‘good news for administrations

      The improved accessibility features included in today’s new version of Apache OpenOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools, is good news for public administrations, expects Rob Weir, Project Management Committee Member at the Apache Software Foundation. Public administrations favour software solutions with strong accessibility support, he says. “By including Iaccesible2 support, we’ve removed a potential objection against the adoption of OpenOffice.”

    • Oracle Solaris 11.2 Now Available In Beta Form

      Oracle has put out the first public beta of the forthcoming Solaris 11.2 operating system release. The big focus of Solaris 11.2 is on embracing support for cloud computing.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Yes, The World Can And Does Make Its Own Software Cheaper Than Renting

      The case in the article linked below describes some US colleges that were faced with $millions per annum of payments to a few corporations for permission to have computers the colleges owned compute stuff like finances and enrolments. One university spent $100million installing some software from Oracle and setting it up (Oracle charges ~$10 per employee per function per annum and ~$1000 per user per function per annum. It adds up to $millions per college per annum.). Now they are spending ~$1million per annum instead, contributing to a FLOSS project, Kuali, which will do what they want how they want it done. They share with a bunch of other colleges all with similar motivations. By sharing the load, each college gets what it needs for a lot less than paying some corporation multiple times what software costs to develop. The world does not owe big corporations a living. Make them earn it by competing on price/performance instead of lock-in.

  • Healthcare

    • Helping African hospitals with open source software

      The daily management and operation of a hospital requires enormous effort. These days, most hospitals utilize Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to centralize facility operations including inventory, budgets, invoicing, and employee management. Any hospital administrator will tell you that ERP software is essential to efficiently managing their hospital as the software lowers inventory costs and improves efficiencies and quality.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Warsaw to donate PCs to school for Linux labs

      The council of Poland’s capital will this year donate 400 PCs to schools in the city, to be refurbished with Ubuntu Linux and educational applications, in a joint-venture with the Foundation of the Free and Open Source Software (FWIOO). Announcing the project, Warsaw city’s department for education, praised the “beautiful idea of ​​a common, selfless work for others” ingrained in free and open source. “It also brings huge economic and functional merit to schools and students.”

Leftovers

  • High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network
  • Science

    • The man with 42 hours to get home

      In the course of a month, Peter Hodes plans to visit Poland, Israel, Germany and South Africa. Wherever he goes – even Australia – he always makes sure to get home in 42 hours or less. The reason? He’s a volunteer stem cell courier. Here he describes his unusual pastime.

      Since March 2012, I’ve done 89 trips – of those, 51 have been abroad. I have 42 hours to carry stem cells in my little box because I’ve got two ice packs and that’s how long they last.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • How the U.S. Created the Afghan War—Then Lost It

      And so many years later, his followers are still fighting. Even with the U.S. withdrawing the bulk of its troops this year, up to 10,000 Special Operations forces, CIA paramilitaries, and their proxies will likely stay behind to battle the Haqqanis, the Taliban, and similar outfits in a war that seemingly has no end. With such entrenched enemies, the conflict today has an air of inevitability — but it could all have gone so differently.

    • Armed to the milk teeth: America’s gun-toting kids

      Available in bright blues and hot pinks, rifles for kids sell in their thousands in America. They look like toys – but they’re lethal. An-Sofie Kesteleyn travelled to photograph this juvenile army

    • CIA: On Again Off Again Love Affair with Iran

      In case you have been asleep for the past 61 years, the CIA overthrew Mossadegh in 1953. This kept the Shah in power for another 26 years until in 1979 the people mind you, and not Islam, overthrew him, and were then hijacked by Islam, which eventually became the IRHI or the Islamic Republic of Hijacked Iran.

    • Obama and Holder: Making Killing “Legal”

      When President Obama decided sometime during his first term that he wanted to be able to use unmanned aerial drones in foreign lands to kill people — including Americans — he instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to find a way to make it legal — despite the absolute prohibition on governmental extra-judicial killing in federal and state laws and in the Constitution itself.

    • ‘Problem is not interrogation, it’s war itself’

      US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh disclosed the torture scandal of Abu Ghraib 10 years ago. But as he told DW, he is convinced that the US hasn’t learned any lessons from it.

    • Ron Paul: US Drone War Undermines American Values

      Earlier this month, CIA-operated drones killed as many as 55 people in Yemen in several separate strikes. Although it was claimed that those killed were “militants,” according to press reports at least three civilians were killed and at least five others wounded. That makes at least 92 U.S. drone attacks against Yemen during the Obama administration, which have killed nearly 1,000 people including many civilians.

    • Column: Obama’s drone wars undermine American values
    • Who Are the Dead Special Operations Forces Picked Up After Drone & Air Strikes in Yemen?

      One week ago, multiple air strikes, including possible drone strikes, in Yemen were reported. An escalation in counterterrorism operations took place with many alleged “militants” being reported killed but the names of them were not announced. It is unclear if any senior al Qaeda leaders were killed but the governments have claimed success.

    • Pakistan: US drone killed my friend, now ‘I simply hate America’ – drone victim
    • Creating Enemies the American Way

      So many years later, they seem to be repeating the process in Yemen. They are now escalating a “successful” drone and special operations war against a group in that impoverished land that calls itself al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The drones turn out to be pretty good at knocking off various figures in that movement, but they are in another sense like a godsend for it. In what are called “targeted killings,” but might better be termed (as Paul Woodward has) “speculative murders,” they repeatedly wipe out civilians, including women, children, and in one recent case, part of a wedding party. They are Washington’s calling card of death and as such they only ensure that more Yemenis will join or support AQAP.

    • Game of Drones: Author George RR Martin says ‘isolated’ way of killing people by missiles and drones is more brutal than anything he has written
    • Game of Thrones Creator Says Drones Are Worse Than The Dothraki

      Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has definitely come up with some of the most shocking ways to kill people, from gasp-inducing beheadings to blood-spattered Red Weddings. But in an interview with Rolling Stone, Martin says the way we engage in modern warfare is far more brutal.

    • George R.R. Martin Condemns Drones

      Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin condemned drone attacks in a recent interview, claiming that the method of killing enemies is not personal enough.

    • How Many Have We Killed?

      The Senate’s decision is particularly troubling in view of how reticent the administration itself continues to be about the drone program. To date, Obama has publicly admitted to the deaths of only four people in targeted killing operations. That came in May 2013, when, in conjunction with a speech at the National Defense University, and, in his words, “to facilitate transparency and debate on the issue,” President Obama acknowledged for the first time that the United States had killed four Americans in drone strikes. But according to credible accounts, Obama has overseen the killing of several thousand people in drone strikes since taking office. Why only admit to the four Americans’ deaths? Is the issue of targeted killings only appropriate for debate when we kill our own citizens? Don’t all human beings have a right to life?

    • Feinstein And Chambliss Let James Clapper Talk Them Out Of Requiring Transparency On The Administration’s Drone Strikes

      Feinstein’s relationship with drones is, of course, somewhat hypocritical. She feels there should be stricter regulations on commercial drone usage (partially prompted by a non-commercial drone appearing outside her house during a Code Pink anti-NSA protest) and seems generally opposed to drone surveillance. However, she does stand strongly behind the nation’s counterterrorism efforts and believes killing people with drones (rather than just watching them) is more acceptable.

    • Intelligence Authorization Act Provision Demanding Disclosure Of Civilians Killed In US Drone Attacks In Other Countries Dropped By US Senators

      The U.S. Senate has dropped a provision from an intelligence bill that would have required President Barack Obama’s administration to disclose the number of people killed or injured in drone attacks conducted by the U.S. in other countries.

    • Senators drop demand for drone death tallies
    • US senators remove requirement for disclosure over drone strike victims
    • Rally calls for end to drone attacks

      Hundreds crowded in to listen to Dr. Cornel West speak about the relationship between racism, poverty and drones in Syracuse.

    • Protest over drones draws big crowd after civil rights activist Cornel West energizes crowd in Syracuse

      But after hearing civil rights activist Cornel West talk about the connections between racism, poverty and drones at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, Jones said it “riled” her up and she decided to join hundreds of others protesting the United States’ use of drones in military actions.

    • Keep killer autonomous drones off the battlefield, activists say

      Canada is being urged to lead a new international effort to ban so-called “killer robots” — the new generation of deadly high-tech equipment that can select and fire on targets without human help.

    • Canada asked to help keep ‘killer robots’ off battlefields

      Somewhere deep in a lab in China, scientists are working toward building autonomous military machines that could some day end up on a battlefield.

      It’s not just China. Russia and Israel are working on their own deadly hardware.

      The U.K., U.S. and South Korea have even conducted tests on autonomous weapons in military scenarios.

    • Australians were killed by a US drone strike, and we deserve to know why

      The killing of two Australian citizens is not end of the conversation, but the beginning. If these men were threats to national security, then the public deserves to know why

    • Drone victims and anti-drone activists demonstrate outside Parliament

      Parliament voted to prohibit drone strikes in mid-December 2013. Votes from Yemen’s parliament can be struck down by the president and are non-binding.

    • Drone strikes based on work at Pine Gap could see Australians charged, Malcolm Fraser says

      Australian military and intelligence personnel involved in controversial US drone targeting operations could face crimes against humanity charges, according to former prime minister Malcolm Fraser.

    • EDITORIAL: The haunting of a president not spooked by drone killings

      The Almighty answers to no one in exercising the power of life and death over His creatures, and the president of the United States, despite the powerful weapons at his hand, can make no such claim. Barack Obama has some explaining to do for his drone killings of purported terrorists.

      The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled last week that the Obama administration must allow the public to review the internal legal documents that justify the president’s drone killings of those, including American citizens, who are suspected of terrorism. The Justice Department had claimed that White House executive privilege shields its internal records from public scrutiny, but the court said by releasing selected portions of the documents, the administration waived its right to secrecy.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • DOJ Is Still Investigating Wikileaks

      It’s no secret that many in the US government would love to find a way to charge Wikileaks and Julian Assange with criminal activities for reporting on leaks. However, as many have pointed out, doing so would create a firestorm, because it’s difficult to see how what Wikileaks did is any different than what any news publication would do in publishing leaked documents. The attack on press freedom would be a major problem. Still, the Justice Department has spent years trying to come up with any way possible to charge Assange with a crime. They even tortured Chelsea Manning and then offered her a deal if she lied and claimed that she “conspired” with Assange to release the State Department cables. That didn’t work. Even as the DOJ couldn’t produce any evidence that Manning and Assange conspired, the Defense Department insisted it had to be true. Last year, however, there were finally reports that the DOJ was just about ready to admit that it had no legal case against Assange, with officials effectively admitting that it would be tantamount to suing a newspaper.

  • Finance

    • Income Inequality Has Spurred a Boom in Private Security

      Perhaps this is our dystopian, Piketty-esque future: a small class of ultra-wealthy rentiers; a breakdown of public safety because the rich employ their own private security forces and don’t feel like funding anything further; a retainer class of managerial drones; and then everyone else—sullen and resentful, but kept in line by the hard men in dark glasses toting automatic weapons and driving armored limos.

      Actually, probably not. Eventually robots will provide better security services than fragile human beings, so the security forces will be out of jobs too. By then, however, even the ultra-wealthy won’t care if robots produce enough to make life lovely for everyone. Sure, they’ll still want their share of the still-scarce status goods—coastal property, penthouse apartments, original Rembrandts—but beyond that why should they care if everyone lives like kings? They won’t, and we probably will. As long as we don’t all kill ourselves first.

    • Prisons governors ordered to cut costs by £149m a year

      Prison governors have been ordered to cut the cost of holding inmates in England’s bulging jails by £149m a year, as part of a radical programme designed to slash the costs of incarceration by £2,200 a year per prison place.

    • Obama Administration Argues in Favor of Right to Fire Public Employees Who Testify at Corruption Trials

      The Supreme Court heard arguments today over whether public employee who testify under subpoena at public corruption trials should be protected by the First Amendment. The position of President Barack Obama’s administration appears to be that they should not be protected.

      The case is Lane v. Franks and it involves Edward Lane, who according to NPR was “hired in 2006 to head a program for juvenile offenders” at Central Alabama Community College that provided “counseling and education as an alternative to incarceration.” The program “received substantial federal funds.”

    • Chase Bank Slutshames Their Adult Performer Customers

      Porn. It’s what the internet is for, as they say. Also, it’s very hard for some people to avoid. Entire governments, too. But what about the little people with big parts that make all this wonderfully ubiquitous smut possible? It’s easy to forget about the hard (ahem) working individuals that make these small businesses and big industry spurt out their wares like (insert grossest applicable analogy here). And now it’s apparently difficult for those mostly-young laborers to get paid, since some banks seem to have adopted a rather convenient moral code when it comes to who can open accounts with their institutions.

    • Why the Richest Americans Don’t Care about Income Inequality

      Does income inequality matter to the richest Americans? Not very much. Here’s why. And it’s more than just greed-is-good– it’s because the rich will just get richer.
      A study by economists at Washington University in St. Louis tells us stagnant income for the bottom 95 percent of wage earners makes it impossible for them to consume as they did in the years before the downturn. Consumer spending, some say, drives the U.S. economy, and is likely to continue to continue to dominate, as the decomposition of America’s industrial base dilutes old economy sales of appliances, cars, steel and the like. That should be bad news for the super-wealthy, us buying less stuff?
      But that same study shows that while rising inequality reduced income growth for the bottom 95 percent of beginning around 1980, the group’s consumption growth did not fall proportionally at first. Instead, lower savings and hyper-available credit (remember Countrywide mortgages and usurous re-fi’s?) put the middle and bottom portions of our society on an unsustainable financial path which increased spending until it triggered the Great Recession. So, without surprise, consumption fell sharply in the recession, consistent with tighter borrowing constraints. Meanwhile, America’s the top earners’ wealth grew. The recession represented the largest redistribution of wealth in this century.

  • Privacy

    • How One Woman Hid Her Pregnancy From Big Data

      For the past nine months, Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, tried to hide from the Internet the fact that she’s pregnant — and it wasn’t easy.

    • British Spy Chiefs Secretly Begged to Play in NSA’s Data Pools

      Alexander was told that Lobban might ask about the safeguards in place to prevent any data that GCHQ shared with the NSA from being handed to others, such as Israel, who might use it in “lethal operations.”

      Under the heading “key topic areas,” the document notes that gaining “unsupervised access” to data collected by the NSA under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “remains on GCHQ’s wish list and is something its leadership still desires.”

      Section 702 of FISA grants the NSA wide latitude to collect the email and phone communications of “persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” It authorizes PRISM and several other programs – with codenames such as BLARNEY and STORMBREW – that covertly mine communications directly from phone lines and internet cables.

    • Maths spying: The quandary of working for the spooks

      FOR the past 10 months, a major international scandal has engulfed some of the world’s largest employers of mathematicians. These organisations stand accused of law-breaking on an industrial scale and are now the object of widespread outrage. How has the mathematics community responded? Largely by ignoring it.

      Those employers – the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – have been systematically monitoring as much of our lives as they can, including our emails, texts, phone and Skype calls, web browsing, bank transactions and location data. They have tapped internet trunk cables, bugged charities and political leaders, conducted economic espionage, hacked cloud servers and disrupted lawful activist groups, all under the banner of national security. The goal, to quote former NSA director Keith Alexander, is to “collect all the signals, all the time”.

    • Turkey: Spy Agency Law Opens Door to Abuse

      Jail for Journalists Publishing Leaks, Immunity for Intelligence Personnel

    • The NED, the NGOs and the CIA

      William Blum, the author of the book, “Rogue State,” said that while the object of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in the post Cold War era has been relegated to history, many are not inclined to believe that subversion has lost its relevance. Rather, it has only been redirected at overthrowing governments that refuse to tow the line gleaned from the NED’s slogan of “Supporting Freedom Around the World.”

    • ODNI Seeks to Obscure CIA Role in Human Intelligence

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is attempting to conceal unclassified information about the structure and function of U.S. intelligence agencies, including the leading role of the Central Intelligence Agency in collecting human intelligence.

      Last month, ODNI issued a heavily redacted version of its Intelligence Community Directive 304 on “Human Intelligence.” The redacted document was produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Robert Sesek, and posted on ScribD.

      The new redactions come as a surprise because most of the censored text had already been published by ODNI itself in an earlier iteration of the same unclassified Directive from 2008. That document has since been removed from the ODNI website but it is preserved on the FAS website here.

    • Drone prohibition bill rejected by House committee

      Lawmakers in the House have killed a bill that would have banned drones from flying over areas deemed “critical infrastructure” in Louisiana.

    • Use of drones will heighten privacy issues
    • Report: Snowden hired Espionage Act expert
    • Snowden reportedly retained high-ranked lawyer to negotiate return to the US
    • Meet the lawyer working on a plea deal for NSA leaker Edward Snowden

      National Security Agency-leaker Edward Snowden called on one of the best-known Espionage Act lawyers last year when he entered into plea negotiations with the United States government.

      According to a Tuesday article in the New York Times, Plato Cacheris, a prominent Washington, D.C. lawyer and name-partner at Trout Cacheris, has been working for nearly a year to get Snowden a deal from the United States government. According to the Times, Snowden hired Cacheris, who has previously represented convicted spies Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, and convicted leaker Lawrence Franklin, in the hopes of securing a plea bargain that would spare him significant jail time. Snowden, who fled to Moscow last year after being charged with multiple violations of the Espionage Act stemming from his decision to leak details of N.S.A. eavesdropping programs to The Guardian, is facing 30 years in prison.

    • Merkel pressed to confront Obama over NSA scandal prior to talks

      Angela Merkel should ask Barack Obama to destroy her NSA file when she meets the American president in Washington later this week, a leading German opposition politician has told the Guardian.

    • NSA will sit on security vulnerabilities because of terrorism

      THE UNITED STATES National Security Agency (NSA) has advised the American people that although it knows that telling them about security issues is in the public interest, it will not always do that.

      Following the exposure of the Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL, the NSA explained its stance via the White House blog, sort of, and revealed that each security vulnerability that comes its way is assessed on a range of merits and will only be disclosed depending on its risk assessment.

    • NSA launches ‘lablets’ tech initiative with major U.S. universities

      The agency has launched an initiative to strengthen contacts between tech-heavy U.S. American colleges and universities. The project will coordinate academic collaboration to best protect Internet infrastructure. Already, the NSA has awarded funds and resources to Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Maryland, and the University of North Carolina to set up so-called “lablets” on their campuses.

    • New water records show NSA Utah Data Center likely behind schedule
    • Utah Republican Congressmen Want to Stop NSA from Collecting Citizen Data
    • Ukraine overshadows NSA rift ahead of Obama-Merkel talks

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets US President Barack Obama this week with shared fears over the mounting Ukraine crisis helping to mend ties ruptured by the NSA eavesdropping scandal.

    • Campaign fosters discussion about NSA

      Students and faculty are trying to raise awareness about surveillance in the United States.

    • Mathematicians: refuse to work for the NSA!

      In a stirring editorial in the New Scientist, University of Edinburgh mathematician Tom Leinster calls on the world’s mathematicians to boycott working for the NSA, which describes itself as the “largest employer of mathematicians in the US” and which may the world’s number one employer of mathematicians.

    • Comedian Outdoes ‘60 Minutes’ In Interview With Former NSA Official
    • John Oliver Shows ’60 Minutes’ How To Do An Interview With The NSA
    • Alexander: NSA’s brand has been damaged
    • Can cops legally fire “GPS bullets” at fleeing cars to track suspects?
    • Tired? Angry? Your car knows how you feel
    • 4 Proposals to Reform NSA Human Rights Violations: Feinstein=Worst; Leahy-Sensenbrenner=Best

      Several proposals have been put forward that would address the National Security Agency (NSA) spying abuses of privacy and human rights as documented in the Edward Snowden revelations. Four legislative pathways to curbing privacy abuses stand out, yet none comply fully with the 13 International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance. However, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the proposals is a worthy starting point, while another of the bills would make the situation worse than it already is.

    • Guardian wins three Webby awards

      The Guardian has picked up three Webby awards for work including interactive coverage of the NSA files and a video report on the exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar.

    • Feds Beg Supreme Court to Let Them Search Phones Without a Warrant

      American law enforcement has long advocated for universal “kill switches” in cellphones to cut down on mobile device thefts. Now the Department of Justice argues that the same remote locking and data-wiping technology represents a threat to police investigations–one that means they should be free to search phones without a warrant.

    • Error from license plate scanner leads to police stop that startles PV-based attorney

      A false reading by a license-plate scanner mounted on a Prairie Village police car led officers to stop an innocent motorist on 75th Street Monday — an incident that has the PV-based attorney questioning the department’s protocol for officers unholstering their weapons.

  • Civil Rights

    • Study suggests that 4% of the people we put on death row are innocent

      The vast majority of felony cases don’t end in decisions regarding guilt or innocence. Instead, 93 percent are subject to plea bargains. Of the remainder, most convictions aren’t reexamined carefully—appeals tend to focus on technicalities of the case rather than matters of guilt or innocence.

    • The Morality Police in Your Checking Account: Chase Bank Shuts Down Accounts of Adult Entertainers

      In the latest example of a troubling trend in which companies play the role of law enforcement and moral police, Chase Bank has shut down the personal bank accounts of hundreds of adult entertainers.

      We’ve written before about the dire consequences to online speech when service providers start acting like content police. These same consequences are applicable when financial services make decisions about to whom they provide services.

      Just as ISPs and search engines can become weak links for digital speech, too often financial service providers are pressured by the government to shut down speech or punish speakers who would otherwise be protected by the First Amendment. It’s unclear whether this is an example of government pressure, an internal corporate decision, or some combination.

    • No evidence Finns knew of secret prisoner transfers

      Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen says there is no evidence that Finnish officials had any knowledge of the alleged use of Finnish airspace or airports for prisoner rendition flights by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) between 2001 and 2006.

    • Finland: CIA rendition probe findings ‘disappointing’

      The failure of an official investigation to uncover hard evidence of Finland’s alleged role in the US-led programmes of rendition and secret detention a decade ago is deeply disappointing, said Amnesty International today.

    • Walter Pincus: Lingering tensions at CIA over Senate probe

      Today, staffers on the Senate intelligence panel as well as CIA officers and perhaps contractors could be potential subjects of a preliminary DOJ criminal inquiry into the handling of the “Panetta Review,” a set of controversial classified documents that fell into the hands of Senate investigators working on the panel’s probe.

    • Release the CIA’s torture report

      How much should the American public be allowed to know about the use of torture and other forms of cruelty practiced by U.S. interrogators against captives of the war on terror? Everything.

    • Abu Ghraib: A Torture Story Without a Hero or an Ending

      Despite all evidence to the contrary, many Americans continue to believe that brutality, torture and rank illegality is the road to national safety.

    • Mystery surrounds move of Afghan ‘torturer in chief’ to U.S. amid allegations of spy agency abuse

      Because of his reputation for brutality, Gulalai was someone both sides of the war wanted gone. The Taliban tried at least twice to kill him. Despite Gulalai’s ties to the CIA and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, United Nations officials and U.S. coalition partners sought to rein him in or have him removed.

      Today, Gulalai lives in a pink two-story house in Southern California, on a street of stucco homes on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

      How he managed to land in the United States remains murky. Afghan officials and former Gulalai colleagues said that his U.S. connections — and mounting concern about his safety — account for his extraordinary accommodation.

    • The Torturer Next Door
    • ‘They went through some form of hell’: Psychiatrist for Gitmo detainee testifies

      An Army psychiatrist said the accused USS Cole bomber was given adequate access to treatment for his mental health problems, although he admitted he had no access the secret CIA files documenting the suspect’s extensive torture, the Miami Herald reports.

    • “The US Is The World’s Worst Human Rights Violator”

      The US government has always been the first to call out other nations with poor track records on human rights abuses. Invariably they are the two nations viewed most threatening to America’s global hegemony and power – rivals Russia and China.

    • Execution Drugs Harm Breathing and Heart Function

      Oklahoma changed its execution protocols twice this year. State officials have five options for lethal injections, including a new three-drug mixture that was used for the first time Tuesday.

    • Cops BUSTED Planting Drugs and Guns Inside Marijuana Dispensary (Video)

      We often hear about the police planting drugs or guns on people, but how about buildings? Something needed to be done to make marijuana dispensaries in California appear dangerous, and two officers of the law had an idea: “Why don’t we just plant some illegal stuff in there?

    • The Apartheid Israel Poison Is Out
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet Is About to Become Worse Than Television

      Last week, an obscure but potentially internet-transforming document was leaked from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. It revealed that government regulators are considering rules that would give big companies a chance to make their online services run faster than smaller ones.

      The proposed rules were revealed in the New York Times, and they would overturn the principle of “network neutrality” on the internet. Put simply, network neutrality allows you to use services from rich companies like Google and small startups with equal speed through your ISP. You can read a blog hosted on somebody’s home server, and it loads just as quickly as a blog on Tumblr.

    • Why you’ll hate the Internet ‘fast lane’

      Recently, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, came under fire for reportedly proposing exceedingly weak “open Internet rules.” If the reports are correct, the FCC will allow broadband providers like Comcast to make special deals that give some companies preferential treatment, as long as those deals are “commercially reasonable.”

      In other words, rather then requiring broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic more or less equally, the FCC will permit them to create an Internet “fast lane” and shake down content providers like Netflix, Google and Amazon for the right to travel in it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Accused Movie Pirate Wins Extortion Case Against Copyright Trolls

        Law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver, pioneers of the BitTorrent copyright troll cases in the United States, have thrown in the towel. The law firm conceded defeat in a fraud and abuse case that was brought against them by an alleged pirate, and were ordered to pay nearly $40,000.

      • Kim Dotcom Faces Appeal in Seized Property Battle

        Earlier this month the New Zealand High Court said that police could no longer hold onto property seized from Kim Dotcom during the 2012 raid on his mansion. Today and at the eleventh hour, the Crown indicated that it intends to fight by filing an appeal to keep control of Dotcom’s property.

04.29.14

Links 29/4/2014: New Debian, New Award for Torvalds

Posted in News Roundup at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • BirdCam, Round Two

    If you like fun projects like these involving Linux, please read on and join in my birdy obsession!

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Exclusive: Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State’

      The secretary of state said that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become ‘an apartheid state,’ like the old South Africa. Jewish leaders are fuming over the comparison.

    • Israel risks becoming apartheid state if peace talks fail, says John Kerry

      The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has warned in a closed-door meeting in Washington that Israel risks becoming an “apartheid state” if US-sponsored efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement fail.

      In an apparent sign of Kerry’s deep frustration over the almost certain collapse of the current nine-month round of peace talks – due to conclude on Tuesday – he blamed both sides for the lack of progress and said failure could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens.

    • Ukraine mayor Gennady Kernes fighting for life after being shot

      Kharkiv mayor, who was key figure in ex-president Yanukovych’s party, shot in the back while on his way for morning swim

    • Pulitzer Prize – winner Chris Hedges: Using fake evidence is usual Washington tactic

      The crisis in Ukraine and the steadily dropping temperature in relations between Moscow and Washington made many talk about a new Cold War; and many others are worried it may turn ‘hot’. But there’s another war going on right now: the information war. US Secretary of State Kerry has already attacked RT, calling it “Putin’s propaganda machine.” But Washington itself uses dubious evidence and fake facts. What is the information war? What methods is America using? Sophie talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and veteran correspondent Chris Hedges.

    • Obama Plays With Fire in Ukraine

      Since Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO, the U.S. government would not have the same formal obligation to intervene should a shooting war break out between Ukraine and Russia. But what if something happens between Russia and Poland or one of the Baltic states? Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, an attack on one member is regarded as an attack on all. But it also says,

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • This cash for grouse scandal shows how Britain has become a plutocrats’ paradise

      So now you might have to buy your own crutches, but you’ll get your shotgun subsidised by the state. A few days after it was revealed that an NHS group is considering charging patients for the crutches, walking sticks and neck braces it issues, we discovered that David Cameron has intervened to keep the cost of gun licences frozen at £50: a price that hasn’t changed since 2001.

      The police are furious: it costs them £196 to conduct the background checks required to ensure shotguns are issued only to the kind of dangerous lunatics who use them for mowing down pheasants, rather than to the common or garden variety. As a result they – sorry, we – lose £17m a year, by subsidising the pursuits of the exceedingly rich.

  • Censorship

    • Parents call cops on teen for giving away banned book; it backfires predictably

      Parents in Idaho called the cops last week on junior-high student Brady Kissel when she had the nerve to help distribute a book they’d succeeded in banning from the school curriculum.

    • YouTube deletes Stefan Molyneux´s liberty minded channel

      It appears as though Google run YouTube is targeting popular channels that promote freedom and liberty by deleting them and all their content off it´s servers.

      [...]

      In the past we have seen this happen to Russia Today a very popular english speaking news channel having their youtube channel cancelled twice and a Ron Paul promoting channel also deleted.

  • Privacy

    • New surveillance techniques raise privacy concerns

      A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED delves into a wide-scale surveillance system being developed for police forces. How can the trade off between safety and privacy be negotiated as technology gets more and more sophisticated?

  • Civil Rights

    • How to Disappear a Mentally Ill Grandmother: Throw Her in Solitary

      Her cell was so dirty that a sock rotted into an open wound on her foot. For two and a half years, she didn’t have a bed. She slept on a mat on the floor. She bled on herself, because the jail denied her sanitary napkins.

      Jan Green, a 51-year-old grandmother, never even stood trial. Because of the dramatic mood swings and psychosis associated with her bipolar disorder, Green was found unfit to stand trial – which meant that she should’ve been hospitalized to get the intensive mental health care she needed.

    • Egyptian judge sentences 720 men to death

      In a similar but separate case, the same judge then upheld the death sentences of 37 of 529 men he notoriously ordered to hang last month, bringing the total number of death sentences to 720. The remaining 492 had their sentences commuted to 25-year jail terms. All cases are subject to further appeals.

    • NYT to SCOTUS: Cops should get warrant before searching your cellphone after arrest
    • Smartphones and the 4th Amendment

      More than 90 percent of American adults own a mobile phone, and more than half of the devices are smartphones. But “smartphone” is a misnomer. They are personal computers that happen to include a phone function, and like any computer they can store or wirelessly retrieve enormous amounts of personal information: emails, photos and videos; document files; financial and medical records; and virtually everywhere a person has been.

04.28.14

Links 28/4/2014: Debate About Improving GNU/Linux, Android Beyond Mobile

Posted in News Roundup at 4:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tools to Empower Librarians

    Open source software is a popular choice for libraries and librarians, not simply because recent austerity measures in many developed countries have tightened available budgets. The ability to customise the software for a library’s particular needs, the potential for interoperation with other software, and the lack of license restrictions makes open source software attractive.

    Modern libraries need robust, scalable and flexible software to make their collections and services attractive, especially as digital libraries are radically transforming how information is disseminated. There are very few barriers to any library adopting an open source library system.

  • Out in the Open: Occupy Wall Street Reincarnated as Open Source Software

    Those challenges could become more important as the software spreads to other uses. Unlike applicators like Democracy OS or Liquid Feedback, Loomio isn’t really designed for large scale political decision making. But it’s already been used for at least one government initiative. Last year, the Wellington City Council used Loomio to gather ideas and feedback from the public for new alcohol policies. The ideas floated included closing bars at midnight — which was shot down — and limiting the hours of operation of 24 hour liquor stores.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack fundamentals taught by Rackspace gurus

      An OpenStack training workshop was held as part of the recent, 4th Open Source Festival at the State University of New York at Albany. The workshop brought together over 40 participants for three hours to learn some of the fundamentals of OpenStack.

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Dutch municipality tailors and shares Drupal site

      The Dutch town of Vught is making available the source code for its website, a preconfigured version of Drupal, an open source content management system. The software is now being implemented by the municipality of Almelo, and, says Frank Schaap, ICT policy maker for the town of Vught, “there are three more that are seriously considering to do the same.”

  • Education

    • 5 lessons open education resources can learn from FOSS

      One of the distinctive elements of the open source software movement are open development projects. These are the projects where software is developed cooperatively (not collaboratively, necessarily) in public, often by people contributing from multiple organizations. All the processes that lead to the creation and release of software—design, development, testing, planning—happen using publicly visible tools. Projects also actively try to grow their contributor base.

  • Healthcare

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • 143 French politicians pledge to support free software

      Of all the politicians newly elected in France’s municipal elections 143 have pledged their support for free software. The new councillors signed the Free Software Pact, a support campaign organised by April, an advocacy group. Signatories include the mayor of the city of Dijon, François Rebsamen, appointed Minister for Employment in France’s new government on 2 April.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • 64-bit MenuetOS M64 0.99.57 Released

    On the MenuetOS download page, the 0.99.57 release notes just list, “Updates and improvements (httpc, ehci, picview, memcheck, menu, wallpaper, ohci, uhci, maps/streetview, icons, dhcp, freeform window, smp threads, smp init).”

  • Stop It With the Silicon Valley Buzzwords

    The entire Silicon Valley tech scene is filled with ludicrous buzz phrases that are often decried by the media. Terms like “engagement,” “disrupt,” and “innovation” are commonly thrown around by those who want to be part of the Valley subculture.

  • Science

    • Giant Chinese 3D printer builds 10 houses in just 1 day (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

      A private company located in eastern China has printed ten full-size houses using a huge 3D printer in the space of a day. The process utilizes quick-drying cement, but the creators are being careful not to reveal the secrets of the technology.

      China’s WinSun company, used a system of four 10 meter wide by 6.6 meter high printers with multi-directional sprays to create the houses. Cement and construction waste was used to build the walls layer-by-layer, state news agency Xinhua reported.

  • Security

    • Active 0day attack hijacking IE users threatens a quarter of browser market

      The zero-day code-execution hole in IE versions 6 through 11 represents a significant threat to the Internet security because there is currently no fix for the underlying bug, which affects an estimated 26 percent of the total browser market. It’s also the first significant vulnerability to target Windows XP users since Microsoft withdrew support for that aging OS earlier this month. Users who have the option of using an alternate browser should avoid all use of IE for the time being. Those who remain dependent on the Microsoft browser should immediately install EMET, Microsoft’s freely available toolkit that greatly extends the security of Windows systems.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Deal Welcoming US Military Into Philippines Slammed As ‘Betrayal’

      The U.S. and Philippine governments have agreed on a 10-year pact to open this southeast Asian country to more U.S. troops, warships, and fighter planes, flouting the people’s movements that booted the U.S. military from its permanent Philippine bases over twenty years ago.

      “We have lost too much because of the U.S. military presence in our country,” Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson of BAYAN-USA—an alliance of Filipino organizations in the U.S, told Common Dreams. “The Philippines has long history of protests against militarization. The protests now are only going to grow.”

      The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement was announced Sunday by the White House and confirmed by two anonymous Philippine officials speaking to the Associated Press.

    • Ukraine: pro-Russian separatists hold European military observers captive

      Pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine were holding a group of European military observers in the city of Slavyansk on Friday night, claiming they had been travelling with a spy for the Kiev government.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • China says more than half of its groundwater is polluted

      Nearly 60% of China’s underground water is polluted, state media has reported, underscoring the severity of the country’s environmental woes.

      The country’s land and resources ministry found that among 4,778 testing spots in 203 cities, 44% had “relatively poor” underground water quality; the groundwater in another 15.7% tested as “very poor”.

      Water quality improved year-on-year at 647 spots, and worsened in 754 spots, the ministry said.

    • Some Birds Thrive in Chernobyl’s Radioactive Glow

      Nearly 28 years after the worst nuclear accident in history, several bird species are doing the seemingly impossible: flourishing inside the radioactive Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine. Due to lingering radiation from the 1986 meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, humans aren’t allowed to live there—but the region has become an accidental ecological testing ground for scientists interested in studying the effects of radiation on wild animals. Ionizing radiation damages living cells by producing free radicals, leading to genetic damage and, eventually, death. An animal’s only hope is to neutralize those free radicals by upping its production of antioxidants. And that’s exactly what most birds in Chernobyl seem to be doing—with even better results than scientists expected. A team of ecologists used nets to capture 152 birds from 16 species inside and around the 2600-square-kilometer exclusion zone. After assessing the birds’ antioxidant levels, amount of DNA damage, and body condition, the researchers were surprised to find that most of the birds, like the hawfinch pictured above, seemed to benefit from the chronic exposure to radiation. Birds found in areas with higher radiation levels had more antioxidants and better overall body condition, the team reports online this week in Functional Ecology. This is the first known example of wild animals adapting to chronic radiation exposure, the researchers say. The only two bird species negatively affected by the radiation—the great tit (Parus major) and barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)—both produce large amounts of pinkish pheomelanin pigment in their feathers. Because pheomelanin production requires lots of antioxidants, the researchers suspect these birds may not have enough left over to fight off the free radicals. In Chernobyl, it seems that fancy feathers come at a high price.

    • Earth: Game Over?

      We’re in the middle of a sixth mass extinction, and this will be the first one—and possibly the last—we will witness as human beings.

    • Top award for toxic dump campaigner

      Mr D’Sa said he would not be prevented from standing up for the truth

    • Report: US Unprepared for Arctic Oil Spill

      A warming Arctic and the clamor for more unconventional energy resources bring increased interest by fossil fuel giants in exploiting the fragile region’s potential vast resources.

      Yet a new report warns that the the United States is inadequately prepared to deal with an oil spill in the Arctic.

      The nearly 200-page report issued Wednesday by the National Research Council follows years of warnings from environmental groups that there is no way to safely drill for oil in the Arctic.

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • Pretty soon, we could all be using the Dark Net

      The term “Dark Net” is shorthand to describe the hidden and encrypted part of the internet beyond the reach of normal browsers, accessible only using the anonymous browser Tor. It’s protected by a clever traffic encryption system which makes it very difficult to locate the servers which host sites – called Tor Hidden Services – and the IP addresses of the people the visit them. Tor used to stand for The Onion Router, and so some call this world “Onionland”. Anonymity and freedom rule Onionland, not censorship.

    • Reddit Scope Leaking User Queries

      If you are currently using the Reddit Unity Scope on Ubuntu, you should consider disabling it. The reason for this is that a Reddit admin pointed out that Ubuntu user dash searches were ending up in Reddit’s server logs.

      This is happening because the Reddit Unity Scope uses a URL that does not have SSL configured so instead redirects those queries to HTTP plain text. The good news is a fix is already under way on a bug I filed and Reddit’s API documentation explains how to properly use SSL when making queries.

    • An Eerie New Project Shows How Much Facebook Really Knows About You

      A new, eerie web project called Digital Shadow combs through your Facebook profile and pulls together enough of your information to create a dossier creepy enough to make you want to quit social networking altogether.

      Once you login and grant the site access to your Facebook profile, the system simulates a hacker attack and creates a list of “pawns” (friends who can betray you), “obsessions” (people you creep on the most) and “scapegoats” (people you would be willing to sacrifice), as well as photos of your favorite places and an analysis of your posting habits.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

04.27.14

Links 27/4/2014: US Troops in Lithuania, Clinton Disses Snowden

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 free open source and web alternatives to commercial software

    Adobe Photoshop is considered to be the ultimate photo editor. Certainly it’s great, but it can be replaced. We all heard about GIMP and if you wonder “Can it compete with Photoshop?”, the answer is “Yes.” It may require some adjustments, you’ll need a separate converter for RAWs and some time to get used to its shortcuts, but ultimately you can switch to GIMP. No subscription required – it’s free, powerful and cross-platform.

  • Events

    • LinuxFest Northwest 2014 Day 0

      The trip was rather uneventful… except Gary decided to bypass Seattle and take a much more scenic router that goes through a quaint town named Leavenworth, Washington. What’s quaint about it? Well, Leavenworth is styled after a Bavarian village. How can you tell that? Well the buildings on the road through town all look like they are in the Alps or something. The lettering used on all of the business signs is in some kind of weird font that is obviously somehow mandated by the place… since even the big box stores and fast food chains have altered signage that uses the city font. Really… even Napa and McDonald’s don’t look quite right. It was definitely a pretty route with quite a bit of snow in the mountains with occational streams flowing down… (the road followed) a winding river much of the way… and apple orchards. The spead limit was 60 MPH but there was very little traffic and we hit the Seattle area just North of Everett I believe… so even when we got on the 6 lane highway, it wasn’t that crowded. It difinitely made for a much more pleasant trip. Gary took the same route home last year but this is the first time we took it on the way up.

    • OSI Sponsors International Competition in Free and Open Source Software Multimedia

      The OSI is thrilled to announce the launch of the International Competition in Free and Open Source Software Multimedia (ICOM). Organized by the Sena Primary School (SK Sena), Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) along with the state government of Perlis, Malaysia and the Ministry of Education Malaysia the video competition is open to students from around the world: from primary school children to those attending institutions of higher learning. The main objectives of ICOM are as follows:

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Report: Public and PaaS Cloud Markets are Poised for Hypergrowth

      It’s no secret that cloud computing is one of the hottest trends in all of technology. Microsoft’s upbeat earnings report this week was partly driven by success in the cloud, and companies like Red Hat are organizing their whole business strategies around open source cloud computing platforms like OpenStack. Forrester Research is out with a new report that puts some numbers on the hypergrowth being seen in the cloud arena. Among other forecasts, the report predicts that the global public cloud market will hit $191 billion by 2020. To put that in perspective, Forrester reported that the public cloud market was at $58 billion as of the end of last year.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Healthcare

    • Health Works With FLOSS

      There are reasons FLOSS works in health. There’s no lower-cost, no more reliable and no more flexible model for software in IT.

  • Business

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source core of Warsaw hospital e-health system

      Open source delivers safe, efficient and modern e-health services to Warsaw’s university hospital. Its integrated medical system is based completely on open source and, according to project leader and medical specialist Radosław Rzepka, is shaping the future of Poland’s medical databases.

    • Spanish hospitals test open source data portal

      Spain’s largest hospital chain, Quirón, will be piloting a portal based on the Openstack open source cloud computing solution, to provide patients with access to their radiology data. The pilot is one part of a three-year research project called Coco Cloud, which in 2013 received a 2.8 million euro grant from the European Commission’s FP7 funding programme. Some of the requirements for the secure cloud-computing environment will be formulated by Italy’s governmental ICT resource centre, the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AGID).

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Security

    • New Internet Explorer 0-day [Back door with no fix]

      Microsoft just published security advisory 2963983 which acknowleges limited exploits against a 0-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer (IE). The vulnerability CVE-2014-1776 affects all versions of IE starting with version 6 and including version 11, but the currently active attacks are targeting IE9, IE10 and IE11. The attack vector is a malicious web page that the targeted user has to access with one of the affected browsers.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Four ways the Ukraine crisis could escalate out of control to use of nuclear weapons

      Improbable it may seem, but doctrine and capabilities exist on both sides that could lead to nuclear use in a confrontation over Ukraine.

    • Killed by mistake

      According to a report by veteran journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, the US Military and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence powered by the National Security Agency (NSA) for electronic surveillance and assassination of suspected militants in Pakistan’s northern areas.

    • A legal way to kill?

      When President Obama decided sometime during his first term that he wanted to be able to use unmanned aerial drones in foreign lands to kill people — including Americans — he instructed Attorney General Eric H. Holder to find a way to make it legal, despite the absolute prohibition on governmental extrajudicial killing in federal and state laws and in the Constitution itself.

    • U.S. drones continue to kill civilians instead of al-Qaeda

      The identification of the dead revealed that non-Yemeni Arab fighters were also among those killed.
      The U.S. hasn’t commented on the strikes, but reports say that the U.S. carried out the drone offensive based on intelligence inputs from Saudi Arabia.

    • Panel on Drone Warfare Opens Discussion

      Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone noted in a 2012 article that there is a much larger concern: transparency.

    • Report claims Eric Holder approved drone strike against Bundy ranch

      On Friday, John Jacob Schmidt of Radio Free Redoubt said that according to Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, Attorney General Eric Holder has approved drone strikes against the Bundy ranch to take place some time in the next 48 hours. According to Schmidt, the information came from a source Oath Keepers has within the Department of Defense.

    • Congress should outlaw drone strikes

      Drones are like vigilantes or lynching parties — lawless and cowardly. They use brute power to kill the powerless. The powerful choose who is right and who is wrong; the powerless have no ability to defend themselves with arms or due process. Oh, sometimes the killers make mistakes, but their intentions are pure, aren’t they?

    • FOIA win against government on drones

      The enormous increase in public attention to the drone war in the past year arguably began with the leak of a Justice Department “white paper” laying out the legal rationale for killing a US citizen who’d joined Al Qaeda. A few months later, President Obama gave a major speech in which described the government’s criteria for going after suspected terrorists beyond the war in Afghanistan. The administration also released the names of four US citizens who had been killed in drone strikes. Among them was Anwar Al Awlaki, the New Mexico-born cleric who died in Yemen in September 2011. – See more at: http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/foia_win_against_government_on.php#sthash.3j2nJQXo.dpuf

    • New Hampshire Drone Bill Shot Down in Senate

      After two years of legislative work, a bill that would restrict the use of commercial drones was effectively killed by the Senate Thursday.

    • What Happened When The U.S. Dropped Drones On Al-Qaeda In Yemen This Weekend

      As with much of the past three days, it is unclear which U.S. agencies or departments took part in the raids.

    • The real terrorists

      I think this message should be sent to our commanders who allow drones to fly over villages, terrorizing the people there, who never know if or when the next bomb is falling on their house, whom it is killing next. People who come home to find pieces of their loved ones in the ruin of their house, killed by a drone; people whose crime is to be living in the wrong place, it seems.

    • Israel’s Remote Occupation: Women Drone Jockeys Kill Gazans Remotely
    • Human Rights Watch Calls on Israel to Stop Shooting at Gaza Civilians
    • Israel: Stop Shooting at Gaza Civilians
    • America’s “exceptional” reality

      “We own the finish line!” Our Vice President was saying that America owns the world. That “God” is on our side, marching in lockstep with our troops. That America is exceptional, and superior, and the envy of other nations. Like a “city set on a hill.” Biden embodies America’s delusionary—and destructive–“exceptional” reality.

    • Panetta: America’s greatest threat is from within

    • Ex-CIA boss: Biggest US dangers are within
    • MSNBC’s Chris Hayes calls Bundy ranch supporters ‘insurgents’

      The propaganda effort to demonize anyone to the right of Josef Stalin continues, as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes called supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy “insurgents,” Paul Joseph Watson said at Infowars Tuesday. Hayes and his guests spent about 15 minutes in what was clearly a propaganda effort designed to marginalize Bundy supporters and certain alternate media outlets as fringe kooks.

    • Do you really want an increased presence of US troops, armaments?

      National democratic activists, the bloc usually lumped by mainstream press as ‘the Left,’ have declared the entire week that US President Barack Obama is in Asia as “National Sovereignty and Patrimony Week” in the Philippines (22-30 April). They propose to discuss and challenge what they call as “heightening US intervention, increasing presence of US and allied foreign troops, intensifying foreign economic plunder and worsening puppetry of the Aquino regime to the US government.”

    • Obama’s Syrian cyberwar conundrum

      But President Barack Obama appears to have taken the option of cyber attacks off the table. The reason: the United States is vulnerable to counterstrikes.

    • U.S. can’t have it both ways on drone killings

      Furthermore, the people of this country have the right to understand how the administration constitutionally justifies the killing of one of its citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki, in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

    • President Obama’s targeted kill list takes a hit

      In a victory for transparency, opponents of the President’s veil of secrecy over drone killings has been partially lifted by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s opinion filed on Monday in New York Times v. Departments of Justice (DOJ), Defense (DoD), and the CIA (Case Nos. 13-422 and 13-445).

    • CIA ‘torture’ methods included these 21 songs, artists
    • CIA Arms and Trains Syria Rebels Through Secret Jordan Programme

      The United States is siphoning weapons and providing combat training to moderate Syria rebels via a secret Central Intelligence Agency programme in Jordan.

      Growing US involvement has been propelled by continued strikes on rebel strongholds by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

    • CIA “secretly” providing arms to Syrian rebels and terrorists

      Among the terrorists groups directly and indirectly affiliated with the Syrian rebels, and possibly benefiting from US support include the following:

      1) Al-Nusra Front (ANF), an Al-Qaeda associate operating in Syria.

      ANF – has been described as “the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force”. This group has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, the United States (see article: US blacklists Syrian rebel group al-Nusra http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/12/2012121117048117723.html) , Australia, and the United Kingdom.

      Abu Mohammad al-Golani, the current leader of ANF, has confirmed the ANF’s allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. By May 2013, a faction of ANF declared its loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    • Senate Report Confirms Ethical Breaches of Health Professionals in CIA Torture Program

      Physicians for Human Rights Calls for Public Reckoning on U.S. Violations of the Convention Against Torture

    • New Report on CIA Torture Expected to Be Declassified
    • CIA Acts In Syria, Slipping Weapons To Rebels In Secret
    • CIA Is Quietly Ramping Up Aid To Syrian Rebels, Sources Say
    • Agents of Destabilization in Venezuela: The Dirty Hand of the National Endowment for Democracy

      Anti-government protests in Venezuela that seek regime change have been led by several individuals and organizations with close ties to the US government. Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado- two of the public leaders behind the violent protests that started in February – have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington. The National Endowment for Democracy “NED” and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have channeled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s NGO Sumate and her electoral campaigns.

    • Op-Ed: New Wikileaks cable shows the immorality of the U.S. government

      Inspected by US and Iraqi forces since late 2005, Site 4 is a detention facility operated by the Iraqi National Police, which according to the cable is overcrowded, with little running water, and sewage spills. In one inspection of the facility, prisoners told the inspectors cases of abuse, rape, and molestation. The gravest of the crimes was children, held illegally in the jail, informing investigators they were anally raped, beaten, and forced to perform oral sex on interrogators.

    • US Troops Arrive In Lithuania Amid Ukraine Tensions

      The United States deployed 150 paratroopers to Lithuania today, part of efforts by Washington to reassure its eastern European allies, worried by events in Ukraine, that NATO would offer protection if they face Russian aggression.

      A total of 600 US troops are to be deployed to Poland and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for infantry exercises. They are expected to remain in the region on rotation until the end of the year.

    • US brings Europe to Brink of War over Ukraine – Intentionally

      The situation in Ukraine continues escalating. A military operation against pro-reform protesters in southeastern Ukraine, launched by Kiev, is tearing the country apart and forced Russia’s move to heighten security at its border. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, threatens that “the window to change course is closing” while additional troops are deployed to Lithuania. Using discredited “evidence” prompts some observers to doubt Kerry’s “wisdom”. Don’t, said a German analyst who reiterates that the US is systematically pushing Europe into a crisis for which the US has planned for decades.

    • Defending economic sovereignty

      The US pivot to Asia, which is the raison d’etre for the entire visit, is, after all, not just about shifting its military weight closer to China. It also involves repairing and reinforcing its economic and political alliances in the region and creating more favorable conditions for furthering the neoliberal agenda to arrest its own deep crisis and overall decline.

    • British helicopter crash: Five UK troops killed as Taliban claims responsibility for Afghanistan attack

      Ahmad Zia Durrani, a spokesman for the Kandahar police chief’s office, said the helicopter was on a “training flight” and that it was unclear why it crashed.

    • Ecuador expels US group at embassy

      Ecuador has ordered the U.S. Embassy’s military group, about 20 Defense Department employees, to leave the country by month’s end, in a further indication of strained relations.

      The group was ordered to halt operations in Ecuador in a letter dated April 7, the U.S. Embassy confirmed Friday.

    • Ecuador expels US officers, cancels military program

      Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has ordered all US military officers to leave the country by the end of month and canceled a security cooperation program with the Pentagon, US officials said on Friday.

    • Pentagon staff heeds Ecuador’s wish to leave

      Ecuador has ordered the U.S. Embassy’s military group, about 20 Defense Department employees, to leave the country by month’s end, in a further indication of strained relations.

    • Assange stakeout costs Londoners $9 mn
    • Scotland Yard runs up huge bill for keeping an eye on Assange

      Scotland Yard has run up a “ludicrous” bill of £6 million (Dh37 million) patrolling outside an embassy in London since Julian Assange sought refuge there two years ago.

      Police are stationed day and night outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, racking up £1million in overtime alone, as they wait to arrest the WikiLeaks founder, who claimed asylum as he faced extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.

    • Julian Assange Punches Out Priest On Easter Sunday

      The WikiLeaks founder met with boxing champion Solomon Egberime, then had a sparring match with Father David Smith (a.k.a. ‘Fighting’ Father Dave), his team tells The Huffington Post. Smith describes himself on Twitter as a professional boxer, 6th degree black belt and social activist (as well as an Anglican parish priest).

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Simon Ostrovsky

      But none of my interview was shown in the programme, nor was I mentioned. Instead a New Labour minister was interviewed and he was allowed to say, unchallenged, that the film was absolutely shocking and the British government had no prior idea this was happening; they would now look into it etc. Needless to say they still did nothing, nor has anything ever been done to have child slave cotton banned from the UK. Why do you think Primark is so cheap?

    • Big Tech Companies Agree To Pay Up Over Hiring Collusion

      Last month, we pointed out that Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel would almost certainly settle, rather than face an ongoing lawsuit concerning their collusive hiring practices, in which they promised not to poach employees from one another in an effort to keep employees longer and (more importantly for them) to keep salaries down. That has now come to pass, with the four companies agreeing to pay out $324 million to settle the charges. This is good. As we noted in our original story, the hiring collusion was shameful and, worse, antithetical to the kind of job shifting and idea sharing that helped make Silicon Valley into Silicon Valley.

    • From colonialism to new-colonialism

      The relationship between advanced economies and their developing counterparts is complex. Human rights and working conditions in emerging nations, where many products consumed in developed countries are made, have been debated for many years. The contours of the Rana Plaza accident that killed 1,100 people, which I discussed yesterday*, the first anniversary of the tragedy, captured the key issues of that debate. But none of it is new. Its origins lie in the colonial past.

    • ‘Happy Days’ no more: Middle-class families squeezed as expenses soar, wages stall

      On a routine drive to the beauty salon, Robin Johnson had one of those life-happens moments: Her 13-year-old Durango, with 200,000 miles on the odometer, overheated and started sputtering. Convinced that the car was on its last legs, Robin and Scott Johnson scrutinized their already-tight family budget, looking for a way to fit in car payments.

    • I’m a Whistleblower: Want Fries with That?

      At age 53, everything changed. Following my whistleblowing first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, I was run out of the good job I had held for more than 20 years with the U.S. Department of State. As one of its threats, State also took aim at the pension and benefits I’d earned, even as it forced me into retirement. Would my family and I lose everything I’d worked for as part of the retaliation campaign State was waging? I was worried. That pension was the thing I’d counted on to provide for us and it remained in jeopardy for many months. I was scared.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Remote storage disservice

      Microsoft’s remote storage disservice, OneDrive, has been caught inserting modifications into code in some of the files users store there.

      Although this has not been reported about any other remote storage disservice, any of them could start doing this, which means you would be a fool to trust them with anything other than checksummed files.

      All of these disservices spy on their users, and that is plenty of reason to reject them, for anything other than encrypted (and checksummed) files. In order for the encryption to be trustworthy, you need to do it on your own computer with free software.

      Services provided by network servers can raise several different ethical issues, including nonfree client-side JavaScript (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/javascript-trap.html), surveillance (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/surveillance-vs-democracy.html), and SaaSS (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-serve.html). Whether any of these problems applies depends on the facts.

      The purpose of the marketing buzzword “cloud” is to encourage you to disregard the facts and not judge. Don’t let them “cloud” your mind: reject the term “cloud”.

    • The revolving door between Google and the Department of Defense
    • OwnCloud, an open source alternative to DropBox

      My previous two posts were about the angst of privileged middle classes. I wrote first about the middle class habit of moving into the catchment area for good schools. Then I excused our tendency to maintain a less-than ethical existence. Untrained eyes could be forgiven for mistaking my motives in writing these posts. Am I not simply trying to assuage my own guilt at doing precisely those things?

    • WATCH: Hillary Clinton Blasts Edward Snowden for Fleeing to Russia and Chin

      Hillary Clinton didn’t have to directly deal with Edward Snowden’s leaks when she was secretary of state. Clinton had already stepped down from her post by the time the Guardian published its first revelations on the expansive scope of spying by the National Security Agency. But at an event at the University of Connecticut on Wednesday night, Clinton made it clear that she’s no fan of the NSA leaker, insinuating that Snowden had cooperated with countries hostile to the United States and unintentionally aided terrorist organizations. “I don’t understand why he couldn’t have been part of the debate at home,” she said.

    • Verizon Challenged the NSA’s Phone Data Collection Program and Lost

      One of the phone companies participating in the US National Security Agency’s call data collection program challenged its legality before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court early this year. But according to newly declassified court filings, that challenge was rejected.

    • Full Show: Disband The NSA

      Shahid Buttar, the Executive Director of The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance sit down with host Dennis Trainor, Jr. in this episode of Acronym TV to discuss, among other things…

    • NSA internal documents lays down US surveillance practices

      The NSA document is very clear about data collection or surveillance of U.S. citizens living in foreign country.

    • NSA’s Utah Data Center using less water than thought — so far
    • The Canadian Government’s ‘Secure’ Phones Come Straight from the NSA

      “World leaders may be fretting over whether the NSA bugged their phones, but Canadian government officials aren’t particularly worried—they bought theirs directly from the agency. A survey of procurement records kept on public government websites reveals that Canada has spent over $50 million purchasing a bevy of secure communications equipment from the largest branch of the American intelligence community.”

    • Canada Bought NSA Telecom Equipment To The Tune Of $50 Million-Plus: Report
    • Campus Activism Against NSA Spying is Growing Fast

      EFF has been on the road, traveling to cities and towns across the country to bring our message of digital rights and reform to community and student groups.

      And while we had the tremendous opportunity to talk about our work and our two lawsuits against the NSA, the best part of the trip was learning about all of the inspiring and transformative activism happening everyday on the local level to combat government surveillance and defend our digital rights.

      We met students and professors in Eugene, Oregon who held a campus-wide digital rights event at the University of Oregon. There, students had the opportunity to unpack their campus privacy policy, download and learn freedom-enhancing software, and explore their library’s open access initiative.

    • The NSA Comes Home: Police Departments Conceal Phone Tracking Equipment From Courts

      The intricate surveillance equipment used by the federal government to track and store the cellphone data of millions of people and to monitor terrorism suspects is making its way to Main Street.

    • Hillary Clinton Mocks Snowden, Displays Her Ignorance When It Comes to Whistleblowers

      Both Obama and now Clinton want the public to overlook the administration’s history of support for spying, as presented by The New York Times, prior to the disclosures. Obama aides anonymously told the Times that the president had been “surprised to learn after the leaks…just how far the surveillance had gone.” The administration fought groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in the courts as they tried to convince judges to release documents that would at minimum confirm the secret legal interpretations of surveillance authorities under the law. So, it is fraudulent for Obama, Clinton or any other politician to claim to Americans that the White House was about to bring transparency and promote debate on government surveillance.

    • More Internet than the Internet

      An experimental ‘mesh network’ in Tunisia aims to curtail government spying. The project has a surprising backer – the U.S. State Department

    • Putin calls internet a ‘CIA project’ renewing fears of web breakup
  • Civil Rights

    • Indiana adopts protections from warrantless searches

      Indiana state lawmakers have taken steps to improve privacy protections for people by restricting police collection of cellphone data.

      Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law prohibiting police from searching cellphones during routine traffic stops without a search warrant.

    • The Money Behind Fox’s Promotion Of Cliven Bundy’s Battle With The Feds

      Right-wing media have been rushing to distance themselves from the Nevada rancher they’ve spent weeks championing after Cliven Bundy revealed his racist worldview, but two of Bundy’s biggest cheerleaders — Sean Hannity and Fox News — have vested corporate, financial, and political interests in the promotion of Cliven Bundy’s anti-government land ownership agenda.

    • Former DHS Watchdog, A Tyrant, Failure And Alleged Felon, ‘Punished’ With Transfer To Another Government Agency

      Good news, Americans! The former “top watchdog” for the Department of Homeland Security, Charles K. Edwards, was an incredibly perverse blend of crooked and spineless and yet we still managed to avoid being terrorized to death during his run as Inspector General (2011-2013). That’s the resilience of the American public. Even while the agency was being bumblefucked into (even greater) uselessness, those who hate us for our way of life (which now includes drone strikes, neverending military ‘interventions’ and the constant watching of damn near everybody) were unable to find a way to maneuver around the “security” “provided” by the DHS.

    • New Lawsuit Claims FBI Used No Fly List To Pressure Muslims Into Becoming Informants
    • Switzerland-Cuba Association Decries Zunzuneo Subversive Project

      The Switzerland-Cuba association Geneva’s section condemned the secret program of the United States Agency for International Assistance (USAID), called Zunzuneo, which was targeted at boosting subversion and destabilization in the Caribbean country.

      It is evident that the US government does not give up its effort to destroy the Cuban Revolution, if necessary by the flagrant violation of the national legislation, and the international regulations, noted the organization in a communique released today.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Netflix accuses Comcast of charging twice for the same internet content

      When Netflix opposed Comcast’s looming merger with Time Warner Cable on Monday, the streaming video company did so by raising net neutrality concerns. It argued that Comcast could use its newfound power to charge a toll for content that might compete with its own video offerings — a toll like the one that Netflix already found itself paying to improve the quality of streaming for Comcast customers. Comcast wasn’t too happy about that, of course, firing back that it was Netflix’s decision to cut out the middleman and work directly with Comcast to speed things up, and that the fee is standard practice for companies that offer “transit service” to quickly move data between networks.

    • Creating a Two-Speed Internet

      Dividing traffic on the Internet into fast and slow lanes is exactly what the Federal Communications Commission would do with its proposed …

    • FCC Proposal Angers Net Neutrality Proponents

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says new proposed rules will protect competition, while consumer advocates call them an “insult” to the open Internet.

    • Is FCC the solution for net neutrality?

      The problem is that ISP’s are more than capable of increasing speeds in the U.S., but choose not to so they can gouge consumers for more money. For those who are in areas that offer Google Fiber, have you noticed how prices have mysteriously dropped and services have improved on the part of the competition?

    • The FCC’s “fast lane” rule is awful for the Internet—just ask the FCC

      The proposal would formalize pay-for-play arrangements in which streaming video companies and other types of Web services pay Internet service providers for a faster path to consumers over the “last mile” of the network.

    • Verizon Knows You’re A Sucker: Takes Taxpayer Subsidies For Broadband, Doesn’t Deliver, Lobbies To Drop Requirements

      Ten years ago (!?!) we wrote about how Verizon conned Pennsylvania taxpayers out of billions of dollars. Verizon predecessor Bell Atlantic had cut a deal with the state to wire up every home in the state with symmetrical fiber. That didn’t happen. And while Verizon’s former CEO Ivan Seidenberg did, in fact, make a big bet on fiber with FiOS, Wall Street hated it and kept punishing the company for daring to do something so stupid as investing in the future. This is a quarter-to-quarter world, and spending on capital improvements that would bulk up the entire economy over the long haul is not a bet that Wall Street folks want to make, since it doesn’t pay off in a few months. So, it was no surprise that once Seidenberg was out of the picture, it basically dropped all plans to expand FiOS — and then started looking to push its DSL users to cable providers, so it could focus on the wireless business instead.

    • The FCC Is About to Axe-Murder Net Neutrality — What You Should Know
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Stalemate: U.S. and Japan Fail to Advance Trade Talks

      President Obama recently wrapped up a meeting in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where the leaders once again failed to make a breakthrough on their deadlock in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

      Obama and Abe have been in negotiations over Japan’s treatment of sensitive agricultural products, including rice, beef, pork, wheat, and dairy products, and over trade in automobiles — but a breakthrough is still out of reach. This lack of progress is just one of several indicators that the TPP is faltering, if not failing.

    • Copyrights

      • Ex-Wife Allegedly Using Copyright To Take Down Husband’s Suicide Note

        Via Silverscarcat we learn of an absolutely bizarre situation in which it appears that the ex-wife of a man who committed suicide late last year, is claiming copyright on his lengthy suicide letter in an attempt to get it taken offline entirely. It should be noted that all of the public information at this point is coming from websites that advocate for men’s rights in family courts (i.e., not quite a neutral third party), but it is true that original version of the letter has been removed from Scribd, and the reason stated is a copyright claim. The site A Voice for Men has refused to take the letter down, but provides the following explanation:

      • Economist Explains How Copyright Just Isn’t Working

        Alex Tabarrock, one of the contributors to Marginal Revolution (and associate professor of Economics at George Mason University) has often dealt with the subject of intellectual property from an economist’s perspective. Recently, he changed things up and posted about his personal experiences with the frustrations inherent to intellectual property laws. Dealing with copyright in practice is much, much more aggravating and ridiculous than dealing with it in theory.

      • RIAA Claims That It Is ‘Standing Up For’ Older Musicians That It Actually Left To Rot

        The RIAA is not exactly known for its positive treatment of musicians. If you’re at all familiar with the art of RIAA accounting, you’d know about how they structure deals to totally screw over musicians, doing everything possible to make sure they never get paid a dime. Yes, many are given advances, but those advances are “loans” on terrible terms in which the labels add on every possible expense that needs to be “paid back” before you ever see another dime. Very few musicians ever “recoup” — even after the labels have made back many times what they actually gave the artists. For the most succinct example of how the labels make out like bandits, profiting mightily while still telling artists they haven’t recouped, here’s Tim Quirk, who a few years back explained how it worked with his band, Too Much Joy (TMJ):

      • Criminal Conviction In South Africa For Posting A Movie To The Pirate Bay

        A few years ago, we wrote about an insanely aggressive anti-piracy campaign in South Africa, in which the local version of the RIAA (RISA) suggested people “shoot the pirate.” That hyperbolic and ultra-aggressive campaign resulted in some actual violence, when RISA sent a group of artists (armed with that slogan) onto the streets to “confront” counterfeit CD sellers. So, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to find out that a man in South Africa has been criminally convicted for posting a torrent for a local movie to the Pirate Bay, and given a suspended prison sentence.

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