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04.06.14

Links: News About Surveillance, Covert Intervention, Drones…

Posted in News Roundup at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Domestic

Snowden

Privacy

NSA

  • Watching the watchmen
  • Commmentary: Putting limits on the NSA reach
  • Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says Edward Snowden is no traitor
  • Privacy? Surely you jest!

    “Identity theft is a growing problem, Tom. The personal information you willingly gave about yourself exists forever in the digital ecosystem. That gives savvy technical people lots of opportunities to steal your identity and destroy your finances.”

    “I didn’t realize it was that easy.”

    “Identity theft is less worrisome than what government entities could do to you. Look how the IRS has been used to attack political enemies. Now imagine what government entities can do when they know EVERYTHING about you! That’s why I called you today, Tom. I called to help you.”

  • How U.S. won deal with internet giants shows spy-law struggle

    The night before President Barack Obama’s Jan. 17 speech, O’Neil, a Justice Department lawyer, and his boss, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, got on the phone with attorneys for five major technology companies. All five were suing the U.S. government for permission to disclose the extent of those same classified government orders, which require them to hand over records of customers’ emails and Internet use.

Germany

Europe

UK

Ukraine

Backstabbing

  • Why allies can’t trust Uncle Sam

    US allies should wake up and realize that the FIVE EYES GROUP remains the real allies and in the Asian continent to balance issues Australia, India and Japan are used. However given that Australia belongs to the Five Eyes Group, India and Japan must seriously wonder what they are getting out of betraying their own continent just to rub shoulders with the white man?

Deception

Drones

Egypt, Syria, and Libya

  • Egypt court sentences police captain to death
  • Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

    In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

    Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

  • Khadafy kept enemies on ice, ran university rape dungeon

USAID/Betrayal

  • Cuban Government Reacts to USAID’s “Cuban Twitter” Project
  • US secretly built ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest

    The U.S. government masterminded the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” — a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks, The Associated Press has learned.

    The Obama administration project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba’s stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform. First, the network would build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then, the plan was to push them toward dissent.

  • Top 5 Things Wrong With USAID Social Media Plot Against Cuba

    The US Agency for International Development established a microblogging platform similar to Twitter for Cubans. It used it to promote critical discussion of the government but also to gather private information of users. Covert operations are supposed to be approved by the White House but it is not clear this one was. The whole thing may have been illegal. Sen. Patrick Leahy said he knew nothing of the project and criticized the use of US AID as the agency to pursue it. He is right. Here’s what’s wrong with this picture:

Censorship

Attack on Journalism

Barrett Brown

Foreign Affairs

  • Not Saving the Children

    Such suspicion of NGOs is not a Pakistani phenomenon alone. Globally speaking, NGO-government relations are not only tenuous but also generally straitened. Civil society organizations have quadrupled in number across the developing world over the last 20 years. This in turn has generated a sense of mistrust between the state and NGOs.

  • US-compliant regime assured

    The candidates include US groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major war criminal and principal CIA ally who ordered the massacre of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners.

  • Not all veterans want to remember war
  • DC Has Two Team Names to Change

    The Nationals, on the other hand, are part of the promotion of the worst crimes our society is currently engaged in. A National’s game is packed, inning after inning, with songs and cheers and announcements promoting war. Fans are told that the U.S. Navy is “keeping the world’s oceans safe and free” — and they stand and cheer for that, even as the U.S. Navy and Army and Air Force and Marines and assorted special forces and mercenaries and CIA kill, and kill, and kill, building hostility around the world.

Torture

04.05.14

News Links: Human Rights, Surveillance, International Law…

Posted in News Roundup at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drones

  • Court: Improper for Judiciary to Decide Whether Killing US Citizens with Drones Violates Due Process Rights

    A federal judge was unable to find no remedy in United States law for a claim that United States citizen’s due process rights were violated when they were targeted and killed by a drone. The case was dismissed because the judge determined the citizen had been properly designated a terrorist, posed a threat to US interests, and the judiciary should not interfere in the areas of “warmaking, national security and foreign relations.”

  • Drone killings case thrown out in US

    A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the government by the families of three American citizens killed by drones in Yemen, saying senior officials cannot be held personally responsible for money damages for the act of conducting war.

  • Constitutional collateral damage: Lawsuit over American drone deaths tossed out by US judge
  • Lawsuit Over American Drone Strikes Dismissed
  • UN Wants Answers on Drones; Why Not The American People?
  • New bill would force President Obama to publish drone strike casualties

    A bipartisan Bill that would force President Obama to reveal casualties from covert US drone strikes has been put before the US Congress.

    If successful, the bill would require the White House to publish an annual report of casualties from covert US drone strikes.

    The reports would include the total number of combatants killed or injured, the total number of civilians killed or injured, and the total number of people killed or injured by drones who are not counted as combatants or civilians.

  • Who Are We Killing? It Seems a Good Question
  • Viewpoint: All Americans should oppose further use of drone technology

    Americans of conscience, of all political persuasions, are concerned over our use of unmanned armed drone aircraft as an instrument of foreign policy. Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War (KNOW) urges our fellow citizens to seriously consider the issues raised by this remote-controlled death from the skies.

  • Berlin powerless to challenge US drone operations at Ramstein air base

    Statements made by Brandon Bryant, a former drone pilot for the US Air Force, reveal that Germany plays a greater role in the US drone war than previously thought.

    “The entire drone war of the US military wouldn’t be possible without Germany,” Bryant told German media. During his time in the US Air Force, Bryant flew more than 1,000 operations from the US.

  • Organization formed in Yemen to stop drone attacks

    The National Organization for Drone Victims has been established by families of drone victims along with human rights activists in Yemen. The group is seeking to end the US drone program in Yemen.

  • UN Human Rights Committee Finds US in Violation on 25 Counts

    While President Obama told the country to “look forward, not backward” when it came to Bush’s torture program, the United Nations has taken a different route. Recently, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece will focus on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence, and criminalization of the homeless.

Torture

  • CIA torture tactics to get public airing

    Thursday’s vote marked the end of a four-year Senate probe of the CIA’s past use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ a euphemism used to sugarcoat a number of brutal torture techniques, including hypothermia, stress positions and waterboarding against detainees following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

  • CIA torture didn’t work

    The CIA is a rogue operation run by people who think they’re entitled to do whatever they want. For years they’ve gotten away with it. But if President Obama agrees to release a summary of a declassified report on the agency’s torture program, they won’t be able to cloak their abuses in secrecy any longer.

  • The CIA’s dark secrets

    The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” introduced after 9/11, were not just cruel, but rarely led to valuable intelligence, a report by the US Senate is likely to say. A summary is expected to be declassified.

  • Take CIA out of loop on torture report

    By law, the president has authority to declassify information, and he surely has the authority to decide the process for declassifying this landmark report.

    The CIA should never have had a torture program, never should have lied about what it was doing and never should have been given broad authority to review the Senate oversight report.

    Obama cannot now hand the agency a black-out pen to continue to hide the horrors it inflicted around the globe and the harm it caused to our American values. It’s time for someone other than the CIA to decide what all Americans can know about its wrongs.

    Fooled twice, yes. Let’s not be fooled again.

  • CIA Put In Charge Of Declassifying Senate’s Report That Condemns The CIA’s Torture Program

    In our post about the Senate Intelligence Committee agreeing to declassify the executive summary and major findings of the $40 million, 6,300 page “devastating” report on how the CIA tortured people for no good reason and then lied about it, we noted that there was still a battle over who would handle the declassification process. Senator Mark Udall directly noted that the White House had a choice

  • Leak the CIA report: it’s the only way to know the whole truth about torture

    Unless, of course, you think spies redacting 6,300 pages of their own sins is transparency. Look how much leaks told us this week

  • CIA official dies in apparent suicide

    CIA employees are known to work under stressful conditions and high stress is considered part of the job, the website adds. Employees are usually intelligence analysts and support personnel, technical services operators, or members of the clandestine services.

  • CIA Official Dies in Apparent Suicide
  • Crowdsourced Guesses Predict World Events Better Than The CIA
  • Senate decision welcomed by alleged CIA torture victim

    ITV News has obtained a statement from former Libyan opposition politician Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who claims he was tortured by the CIA and says British authorities were aware of it.

  • CIA torture victim calls for declassification of Senate report
  • Secret State Department Letter Warned: Don’t Release CIA Torture Report

    While Joe Biden publicly called for releasing the Senate report on CIA interrogation, the State Department warned that revealing foreign “black sites” could risk American lives.

  • CIA ‘torture,’ Microsoft’s stolen source code, and a cool espionage exhibit: Spy Games Update

    Sen. Ron Wyden declared that Americans would be dismayed by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s classified 6,200-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which he called “torture.” You can read about it here:

    Sen. Wyden: Americans will be ‘profoundly disturbed’ by report on CIA’s terrorist interrogations

Cuba, Ukraine and Other Destabilisation at the Borders

Award

Snowden

NSA

  • Interactive Graphic: The NSA Spying Machine
  • Americans trust IRS and NSA more than Facebook: Shock poll

    Americans trust the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the National Security Agency with their personal data more than than they do Facebook and Google, reveals a shocking poll findings released Thursday morning.

    The question asked by the Reason-Rupe public opinion poll was “Which of the following (IRS, NSA, Facebook and Google) do you TRUST THE MOST with your personal information?”

  • Over 200 NSA documents collected and made searchable, from Snowden to Prism

    When Edward Snowden made a name for himself last June by leaking classified NSA information, he did so by working with The Guardian and a documentary filmmaker. As such, the public learned of much of the NSA’s surveillance measures through the medium of a single media outlet. In the ensuing months, much more has come to light, and today the American Civil Liberties Union is unveiling “NSA Documents Database,” a searchable, categorized database of just over 200 previously classified NSA documents.

  • How Coverage of the NSA Scandals Ignores the (Obedient) CIA

    Note the reference to 1947. It’s part of the public record that President Truman, who created the CIA when he signed the National Security Act of 1947, publicly regretted that the CIA had become a nexus of covert operations.

  • Half of Americans have changed browsing habits due to NSA spying

    A recent Harris poll asked over 2000 US adults aged 18 years and older whether they had actively changed their attitude towards online security as a consequence of the controversy surrounding the NSA’s actions. 47% of respondents said that they had changed their behaviour and now considered with much more care what they did and said online.

  • Pro-Pot, Pro-Gay, Anti-NSA… and Running for Senate

    Meet Shenna Bellows, Maine’s former ACLU chief who’s looking to unseat Susan Collins with a mix of left and right issues that might appeal to millennials.

  • Hiding in plain sight: evidence that NSA isn’t wrecking internet security

    The allegation that NSA weakened the dual elliptic curve random number generator has been floating around for some time, and it has already had some policy impact. The President’s Review Group was reacting to the story when it declared that the US Government should “fully support and not undermine efforts to create encryption standards [and] not in any way subvert, undermine, weaken, or make vulnerable generally available commercial software.”

    A careful reading of the actual study, though, suggests that there’s been more than a little hype in the claim that NSA has somehow made us all less safe by breaking internet security standards. I recognize that this is a technical paper, and that I’m not a cryptographer. So I welcome technical commentary and corrections.

  • Box CEO Aaron Levie on How the NSA Could Be Bad for Business
  • Box’s Aaron Levie: We haven’t received any NSA requests

    With Box heading toward an IPO, the normally gregarious CEO can’t say much about anything. But when it comes to the topic of government surveillance and what that might mean for the future of the Internet, he offers a few tidbits.

  • Technology that can deliver ‘NSA proof’ smart phones

    As the internet and mobile companies constantly strive for spy-proof, secure technology for customers who use smart phones, laptops or tablets, a team of scientists have shown how a novel quantum cryptography technology can help them achieve an ‘NSA proof’ world.

Europe

‘Reform’ on Privacy

  • An NSA “Reform Bill” of the Intelligence Community, Written by the Intelligence Community, and for the Intelligence Community

    Representatives Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, introduced HR 4291, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (.pdf), to end the collection of all Americans’ calling records using Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Both have vehemently defended the program since June, and it’s reassuring to see two of the strongest proponents of NSA’s actions agreeing with privacy advocates’ (and the larger public’s) demands to end the program. The bill only needs 17 lines to stop the calling records program, but it weighs in at more than 40 pages. Why? Because the “reform” bill tries to create an entirely new government “authority” to collect other electronic data.

  • Planned NSA reforms still leave journalists reason to worry

    Last week the Obama administration set forth a proposal to reform one part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program: the indiscriminate collection of American phone records. Under the president’s proposal, the government would no longer collect call data in bulk but would be allowed to ask for it from phone companies with court approval, and only for numbers linked to terrorism.

  • Obama’s promise to prevent NSA spying rings hollow

    Dream on. The significant thing about Obama’s announcement is the two things it left out: surveillance of the Internet (as distinct from the telephonic activity of American citizens); and of the rest of the world — that’s you and me. So even if Obama succeeds in getting his little policy swerve through Congress, the central capabilities of the national surveillance state will remain in place.

  • Telecoms could be forced to collect even more metadata under Obama’s NSA overhaul

    An effort from the White House to revamp the rules that govern how the National Security Agency goes about getting telephone data may actually force service providers to start logging more records that they do now, a new report suggests.

  • Barack Obama’s NSA overhaul may require phone carriers to store more data
  • Obama’s NSA overhaul may require phone carriers to store more data

    President Barack Obama’s plan for overhauling the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program could force carriers to collect and store customer data that they are not now legally obliged to keep, according to U.S. officials.

    One complication arises from the popularity of flat-rate or unlimited calling plans, which are used by the vast majority of Americans.

Linux News: 3.15 Development, Collaboration Summit, Kay Sievers, and Graphics

Posted in News Roundup at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux 3.15

Collaboration Summit

  • Collab Recap: Tracing Changes Coming to the Kernel, and More
  • PostgreSQL and Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Fsync Issues at Collaboration Summit

    Last week, I attended the Linux Storage, Filesystems, and Memory Management summit (LSF/MM) on Monday and Tuesday, and the Linux Collaboration Summit (aka Collab) from Wednesday through Friday. Both events were held at the Meritage Resort in Napa, CA. This was by invitation of some Linux developers who wanted to find out more about what PostgreSQL needs from the Linux kernel. Andres Freund and I attended on behalf of the PostgreSQL community; Josh Berkus was present for part of the time as well.

  • One Engineer’s Hands-on Experience with KVM at Collaboration Summit

    In the last five years I have experienced a few professional transitions, changing employers from a Software Engineering role to System Administrator role, and from developing and/or testing software for “Legacy” operating systems and proprietary software to infrastructure services delivery using large scale UNIX and Linux customer environments. I have gone from only imagining what challenges Systems Administrators have in developing systems management software, to actually knowing them first hand. Now in the last year, I have a new job working on process, procedures and tools improvements and knowledge management activities for UNIX and Linux Infrastructure Delivery at Dell.

Linus Torvalds

  • Linus Bans RH Hacker, Calligra 2.8 Sweeet, and SUSE 12
  • Linus Torvalds suspends key Linux developer

    An argument between developers of some of the most basic parts of Linux turned heated this week, resulting in a prominent Red Hat employee and code contributor being banned from working on the Linux kernel.

  • RedHat Kicks The Anthill Over At Kernel.org

    Just as anthills have their strange way of getting repaired, the stresses between two huge tectonic plates of FLOSS will seek equilibrium and life will go on, until the next time…

  • Linus Torvalds not happy with systemd author Kay Sievers

    The Linux kernel developers and systemd developers locked horns this week over a bug in systemd which would stop systems from booting up. The bug was filed by Borislav Petkov where he explained that systemd bug was not allowing him to log into the machine. Kay Sievers, the co-author of systemd, suggested kernel developers not to use ‘generic’ term “debug”, “Like for the kernel, there are options to fin-grain control systemd’s logging behaviour; just do not use the generic term “debug” which is a convenience shortcut for the kernel AND the Base OS.”

Graphics Stack

  • Initial XWayland Support Merged For X.Org Server 1.16

    As anticipated, X.Org Server 1.16 when released this summer will feature initial support for XWayland.

    XWayland is the compatibility layer for running legacy X11 applications atop Wayland. The XWayland code has been baking for a while and as of a few hours ago the initial support was finally merged. This XWayland merging came just in time as the merge window for the six-month update, X.Org Server 1.16, is soon closing.

  • NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 Jetson Will Be A Late April Debut

    The Jetson board was announced with a $192 MSRP and a pledge to ship in April. Now that it’s April, some Phoronix readers who also jumped on this bandwagon may be wondering about more details… Through more sources, I’ve found out that it’s planned for a late April debut. Those who pre-ordered the Jetson will find their boards shipped in about three weeks if they ordered via NewEgg or NVIDIA.com. Everything I’ve heard from my sources about this Tegra K1 board remain very positive and that it’s performing very well. Stay tuned and in three weeks we’ll have up some very interesting new ARM benchmarks on Phoronix.

  • Wayland Gains Fullscreen Shell, Screen Sharing Support

    Going back numerous months has been a proposal for a full-screen shell protocol initially for the Weston compositor but could be promoted to an official Wayland protocol in the future. The fullscreen shell protocol is designed to make it easy to support simple full-screen clients like splash screens and terminal emulators in an easy and convenient manner rather than having the simple clients talk to DRM/KMS directly, input/output abstraction, easing up development of compositors, and allowing support for screen sharing and recording.

04.04.14

Security News: Full Disclosure Threatened Out of Existence, Laws Warped for Incarceration

Posted in News Roundup at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Full-Disclosure

‘Ethical’

Weev

  • Hacker Andrew ‘Weev’ Auernheimer attempts to overturn conviction
  • Prosecutors Admit They Don’t Understand What Weev Did, But They’re Sure It’s Like Blowing Up A Nuclear Plant

    We’ve been covering the ridiculous DOJ case against Andrew “weev” Auernheimer for quite some time. If you don’t recall, Auernheimer and a partner found a really blatant security hole on AT&T’s servers that allowed them to very easily find out the email addresses of iPad owners. There was no breaking in to anything. The issue was that AT&T left this all exposed. But, with a very dangerous reading of the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) and a bunch of folks who don’t understand basic technology, weev was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail (and has been kept in solitary confinement for much of his stay so far). Part of the case is complicated by the fact that weev is kind of a world class jerk — who took great thrill in being an extreme online troll, getting a thrill out of making others miserable. But, that point should have no standing in whether or not exposing a security hole by basically entering a URL that AT&T failed to secure, becomes a criminal activity.

Misc.

Spin Watch: ‘WikiLeaks’ Forum, Transparency, Disappearing Aircraft, Tobacco, and BBC

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • WikiLeaks-Forum: Who’s Who?

    Regrettably, the owner of WikiLeaks-Forum strives to manipulate public opinion in several ways with the help of his staffers. The forum pretends to host lively discussions of a huge community while in fact most of the forum posts (more than 90 percent) are done by staffers.

  • The Republican Street Fight Over Transparency in Government

    Several in the GOP want to stop a request for scientists to disclose financial conflicts in their research. What good reason could they possibly have?

  • Disappearing Aircraft

    I had fairly well concluded that the most likely cause was a fire disrupting the electrical and control systems, when CNN now say the sharp left turn was pre-programmed 12 minutes before sign off from Malaysian Air Traffic control, which was followed fairly quickly by that left turn.

  • How Big Tobacco’s lobbyists get what they want from the media

    Almost everything is fake. The brave proverbs with which we were brought up – the truth will out, cheats never prosper, virtue will triumph – turn out to be unfounded. For the most part, our lives are run and our views are formed by chancers, cheats and charlatans. They construct a labyrinth of falsehoods from which it is almost impossible to emerge without the help of people who devote their lives to navigating it. This is the role of the media. But the media drag us deeper into the labyrinth.

    There are two kinds of corporate lobbyists in the UK. There are those who admit they are lobbyists but operate behind closed doors, and there are those who operate openly but deny they are lobbyists. Because David Cameron has broken his promise to shine “the light of transparency on lobbying in our country and … come clean about who is buying power and influence” we still “don’t know who is meeting whom. We don’t know whether any favours are being exchanged. We don’t know which outside interests are wielding unhealthy influence … Commercial interests – not to mention government contracts – worth hundreds of billions of pounds are potentially at stake.” (All that was Cameron in 2010, by the way) At the same time, the media is bustling with people working for thinktanks which refuse to say who is paying them, making arguments that favour big business and billionaires.

  • The BBC, not its young viewers, might be the biggest losers when BBC3 goes

    The channel has made an extraordinary connection with its target audience of 16- to 34-year-olds. Its closure could alienate a generation

Europe Moves Towards Protection of Net Neutrality for Now

Posted in News Roundup at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mostly chronological:

04.03.14

Links 3/4/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 3/4/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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