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Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

Posted in News Roundup at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The new IT is all about the customer

    Open source code. GitHub and other cloud repositories enable developers to share and consume code for almost any purpose imaginable. This reflects today’s practical, non-ideological open source culture: Why code it yourself if someone else is offering it free under the most liberal license imaginable?

  • Events/Communities

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Was Key To Building Servers.Com

      When XBT Holding S.A. decided to simplify how its subsidiaries provided global hosting, network solutions, and web development they turned to the open source cloud infrastructure platform OpenStack. By consolidating the offerings under a single service provider, Servers.com, customers can more easily browse, mix, compare and choose the most suitable services.

    • ZeroStack Comes Out of Stealth, Focused on Private Clouds

      There is another OpenStack-focused startup on the scene, and you have to appreciate its creative name: ZeroStack. The cloud computing company has come out of stealth mode to introduce a private cloud solution that it claims is easier to configure, consume and manage than any other technology on the market.

    • Apache Ignite, a Big Data Tool, Graduates as a Top-Level Project

      Only a few days ago, Apache, which is the steward for and incubates more than 350 Open Source projects, announced that Apache Lens, an open source Big Data and analytics tool, has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Now, the ASF has announced that Apache Ignite is to become a top-level project. It’s an open source effort to build an in-memory data fabric that was driven by GridGain Systems and WANdisco.

    • Funding the Cloud: Top VCs Aim for the Silver Lining
    • How Apache Spark Is Transforming Big Data Processing, Development
  • Databases

    • Accelerating Scientific Analysis with the SciDB Open Source Database System

      Science is swimming in data. And, the already daunting task of managing and analyzing this information will only become more difficult as scientific instruments — especially those capable of delivering more than a petabyte (that’s a quadrillion bytes) of information per day — come online.

      Tackling these extreme data challenges will require a system that is easy enough for any scientist to use, that can effectively harness the power of ever-more-powerful supercomputers, and that is unified and extendable. This is where the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center’s (NERSC’s) implementation of SciDB comes in.

  • CMS

    • PiwigoPress release 2.31

      I just pushed a new release of PiwigoPress (main page, WordPress plugin dir) to the WordPress servers. This release incorporates new features for the sidebar widget, and better interoperability with some Piwigo galleries.

  • Education

    • How to teach student sys admins

      Students spend the 16-week long course learning practical skills using real tools. To support their systems, students learn about using support tickets and documentation by using RT and MediaWiki. To deploy and maintain their systems, they learn about configuration management using Puppet, system monitoring using Nagios, and backup and recovery using Bacula. But the broad concepts are more important than the specific software packages I just mentioned. The point is to learn, for example, configuration management, not to be trained to use Puppet. The software used by Clark is used because it works for him, but the software is flexible and changeable.

  • Openwashing (Fake FOSS)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD Is Getting Its Own Native Hypervisor

      The OpenBSD Foundation has been funding work on a project to provide OpenBSD with its own, native hypervisor.

      The hypervisor’s VMM is so far able to launch a kernel and ask for a root file-system, but beyond that, it’s been laying most of the hypervisor foundation up to this point.

    • Coming Soon to OpenBSD/amd64: A Native Hypervisor

      Earlier today, Mike Larkin (mlarkin@) published a teaser for something he’s been working on for a while.

    • the peculiar libretunnel situation

      The author of stunnel has (once, twice) asserted that stunnel may not be used with LibreSSL, only with OpenSSL. This is perhaps a strange thing for free software to do, and it creates the potential for some very weird consequences.

      First, some background. The OpenSSL license and the GPL are both free software licenses, but they are different flavors of freedom, meaning you can’t mix them. It would be like mixing savory and sweet. Can’t do it. Alright, so maybe technically you can do it, but you’re not supposed to. The flavor, er, freedom police will come get you. One workaround is for the GPL software to say, oh, but maybe wait, here’s an exception. (Does this make the software more or less free?) Here’s a longer explanation with sample exception.

    • FreeBSD on Beagle Bone Black (with X11)

      X11 clients on the Beagle Bone Black .. that’s X11 over the network, with the X Server elsewhere. No display as yet. The FreeBSD wiki notes that there’s no (mini) HDMI driver yet. So I built some X11 programs, xauth(1) and xmessage(1), and installed them on the Bone. Since I bought a blue case for the Bone, and it is the smallest computer in the house (discounting phones .. let’s call it the smallest hackable computer in the house) the kids decided to call it smurf. Here’s a screenshot of poudriere’s text console as it builds packages.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Schiphol Airport working on open innovation

      …open data and an open programming interface…

    • How open film project Cosmos Laundromat made Blender better

      If you’re not familiar with the string of open projects that the Blender Institute has kicked out over the years, you might not be familiar with the term “open movie.” Simply put, not only is Cosmos Laundromat produced using free and open source tools like Blender, GIMP, Krita, and Inkscape, but the film itself, and all of its assets—models, textures, character rigs, animations, all of it—are available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Want to see what a production character rig looks like? Or know how that giant color tornado was created? How about actually using a character (or just a prop) in your own project? Maybe you even want to redo the entire film to your own tastes. It’s an open movie! You can!

    • Making strides in container integration, and more OpenStack news
  • Programming

    • The thin line between good and bad automation

      I don’t like automation — I love it. I whisper sweet nothings, come ’round with flowers, and buy milkshakes for automation. I’ve even stood outside the window with a boombox for automation. I will go out of my way to automate tasks that, while they are not terribly tedious, I don’t want to have to remember exactly how to do them somewhere down the road, when months have gone by since the last time I had to relearn them.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling

      It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population wo were opposed to the war.

      Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war. Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister. Civil servants officially have no politics but privately their opinions are known. There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts. Simon Fraser, PUS at the FCO, was an active Blairite enthusiast for the war. Though no Blairite, the Head of MI6 Alex Younger was also an enthusiast.

    • Missing From Reports of Yemeni Carnage: Washington’s Responsibility

      But that “huge role” often disappears when the the leading papers are discussing the carnage that results from the air attacks that the US is supporting and supplying. Thus when the Times‘ Rick Gladstone (8/22/15) reported that “Saudi-led airstrikes on a residential district in Yemen’s southwestern city of Taiz had killed more than 65 civilians, including 17 people from one family,” according to Doctors Without Borders, and that the death toll in the war included “hundreds of civilians killed in airstrikes,” Washington’s role in facilitating those deaths went unmentioned.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obama can rename Mount McKinley Denali — but he can’t stop its loss of ice

      This Monday through Wednesday, President Obama will be in Alaska, visiting melting glaciers and remote towns and meeting with other Arctic leaders. On Sunday, the president made a major statement by officially renaming Mt. McKinley — the U.S.’s highest peak — Denali, its traditional native name.

      The trip’s purpose is to highlight climate change — and for Alaska in particular, the change has been dramatic.

  • Finance

    • Blythe Masters Tells Banks the Blockchain Changes Everything

      These Wall Street veterans all know who Blythe Masters is. She’s the wunderkind who made managing director at JPMorgan Chase at age 28, the financial engineer who helped develop the credit-default swap and bring to life a market that peaked at $58 trillion, in notional terms, in 2007. She’s the banker later vilified by pundits, unfairly some say, after those instruments compounded the damage wrought by the subprime mortgage crash in 2008. Now, one year after quitting JPMorgan amid another controversy, Blythe Masters is back. She isn’t pitching a newly minted derivative or trading stratagem to this room. She’s promoting something wilder: It’s called the blockchain, and it’s the digital ledger software code that powers bitcoin.

    • eBay Pledges Loyalty To PayPal — Bans Rivals

      eBay will soon be banning PayPal rivals, ProPay and Skrill, from offering payment services to sellers on its platform.

    • Police force could lose 22,000 jobs under new spending cuts

      Major reduction in funding could see number of police officers in England and Wales fall to 40-year low

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Muhammad cartoon editor gets Norway prize

      Jyllands-Posten editor Flemming Rose, who was behind the controversial 2005 publication of Prophet Muhammad cartoons, is being honoured by a Norwegian free speech group.

  • Privacy

    • Don’t let Roanoke murderer’s arrest justify a license plate reader rise

      As someone who has been reporting on license plate readers (LPR) for some time now, it actually surprised me when I heard that Roanoke, Virginia, shooter Vester Lee Flanagan had been first located through the use of the scanning device. While the devices have been in use in Virginia for years, their effectiveness and efficiency there—and nationwide—is questionable.

      According to local media accounts, when Virginia State Police Trooper Pamela Neff received the suspect’s plate number over her radio last week, she punched it into her LPR system and got an alert that the car had passed by not three minutes earlier. Within 10 minutes, Neff and other officers converged on Flanagan’s location, finding that he had shot himself, ending the manhunt.

    • Fake EFF site serving espionage malware was likely active for 3+ weeks
  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Introduces Rules Banning WiFi Router Firmware Modification

      For years we have been graced by cheap consumer electronics that are able to be upgraded through unofficial means. Your Nintendo DS is able to run unsigned code, your old XBox was a capable server for its time, your Android smartphone can be made better with CyanogenMod, and your wireless router could be expanded far beyond what it was originally designed to do thanks to the efforts of open source firmware creators. Now, this may change. In a proposed rule from the US Federal Communications Commission, devices with radios may be required to prevent modifications to firmware.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Yandex Demands Takedown of ‘Illegal’ Music Downloader

        Russian search giant Yandex has ordered U.S-based Github to take down a tool that allows downloading of MP3s from its music streaming service. Yandex, which has 60% of the local search market and has deals with Universal, Sony and Warner to offer a Spotify-like platform, says that the music downloader is illegal.


Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

Posted in News Roundup at 2:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • New poll shows challenges for all Labour leadership candidates

    ComRes has released a new poll which outlines Labour’s present plight (as with all post-election opinion polls, treat these numbers with some caution). Just 20 per cent of the public say they would be inspired by any four the leadership candidates to vote Labour. Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham coming joint top on 22 per cent, Yvette Cooper on 21 per cent and Liz Kendall last on 18 per cent. And for those who think candidate would persuade them not to vote Labour, Kendall and Corbyn are joint top on 58 per cent — not surprising given they have the most strident views.

  • Welcome to David Cameron’s world, where failure is rewarded with a peerage

    Looking at his list of new appointments, it’s hard to imagine another sector where you could be rewarded for such failure… except for banking of course

  • Is Michigan’s ban on texting while driving working?
  • Science

    • This is NOT Albert Einstein With a Therapist

      This photo just won’t go away. The 1948 picture above doesn’t show Albert Einstein with his therapist. The guy Einstein’s meeting with is Cord Meyer, Jr, president of the United World Federalists. Meyer, a CIA operative, was merely discussing world politics with the famed scientist.

    • Scholars wonder: Who was first to use the term ‘e-mail’?

      Somewhere, during the early days of networked communication, somebody likely complained about a lengthy term and decided to do something about it. At that point, the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary are guessing, “electronic mail” became e-mail, and a cornucopia of e-prefixed words followed.

      But that’s all just conjecture. For years, the dictionary’s editors have been asking the public to help them find documentation of the first time “e-mail” was used — and they still haven’t had any luck.

      The appeal has been online for three years — and the word has been an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary since 1989 — but the OED still doesn’t have a verifiable instance of the first time someone used it.

    • 3D-Printed Glass Is Here And The Results Are Beautiful

      3D printing of electronics, robots, and even bridges with materials such as metal and plastic, is already a reality. But now engineers at MIT have shown we can now print with glass using their brand new G3DP (Glass 3D Printing) platform.

      Employing a process that combines ancient techniques with modern technology, the Mediated Matter Group created a two-tiered “printer” capable of producing intricate designs that would’ve been tough, if not impossible, to replicate using conventional glass-blowing methods. The upper chamber stores the molten glass at 1,900°F which then then funnels it down through a heat resistant funnel to a lower compartment that allows the glass to cool but not break.

    • Scientists Just Debunked One Of Creationists’ Favorite Cave Paintings

      Along the sloping walls of the Black Dragon Canyon in Utah, there’s a curious rock painting that looks remarkably like a flying dinosaur. Creationists say it’s proof that humans and pterodactyls once coexisted. But now, in a paper published in the journal Antiquity, archaeologists have revealed that the “dinosaur” is actually a time-worn depiction of humans, a snake and some sheep.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Confederate Theme Park Sponsored By Coca-Cola

      On August 22, during a rally supporting the Confederate battle flag, counter-demonstrators partially blocked views of the memorial with balloons and a sign that read, “Heritage of Hate: Coca-Cola Supports Racism” for a few hours before cops took the banner down. Activists have also started a petition calling upon Coca-Cola to end its sponsorship of the theme park. At last count, it had gotten 4,701 signatures, 299 short of the activists’ goal. It’s not the first time this year that the park has drawn unwanted attention. Last month, a few weeks after nine people were killed in a shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, allegedly motivated by racism, the Atlanta branch of the NAACP called for the carving to be removed entirely. Local lawmakers have since followed suit.

    • Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia

      “Hold on to something,” Jim Tennant warned as he fired up his tractor. We lurched down a rutted dirt road past the old clapboard farmhouse where he grew up. Jim still calls it “the home place,” although its windows are now boarded up and the outhouse is crumbling into the field.

    • US must fight heroin problem abroad, as well

      Recently, the White House launched a new “heroin response strategy” to fight America’s devastating heroin epidemic by providing treatment and not arresting persons addicted to heroin. The money allotted was $2.5 million out of a total “war on drugs budget” of $25 billion (0.01 percent), earmarked to be shared by 15 states in the Northeast, where it was felt the epidemic was at its worst.

      Months ago, Kentucky launched a statewide effort to rid the state of the scourge of heroin which includes providing treatment to addicts, and Ohio has plans to do the same. Piecemeal efforts by individual cities and entire states are good but not enough. There must be interstate cooperation and meaningful assistance from the federal level. Perhaps the White House initiative is a small step in the right direction. More is needed.

    • China detains 12 over Tianjin blasts, accuses officials of dereliction

      China has formally detained a dozen people over explosions in the city of Tianjin this month that killed at least 145 people, and has accused 11 officials and port executives of dereliction of duty or abuse of power.

      Anger over safety standards is growing in China, after three decades of swift economic growth marred by incidents from mining disasters to factory fires, and President Xi Jinping has vowed that authorities will learn the lessons paid for with blood.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Luxembourg to list European IT security policies

      The government of Luxembourg aims to make an inventory of policies on IT security and data protection in the EU Member States. The study is one of the priorities of Luxembourg’s presidency of the EUPAN network, an informal network of European public administration representatives.

    • Indian mobile broadband clients can make Linux system vulnerable to attacks
    • Why is Windows lying about what root certificates it trusts?

      Starting with Windows Vista, a new AutoUpdate mechanism was added, allowing these trusted root certificates to be seamlessly downloaded on first use.

      Why does this matter? Because the incomplete information shown by Windows leads many people (including some security professionals) to believe that Windows trusts only a dozen or two root certificates out of the box, rather than hundreds.

    • Linux Foundation’s security checklist can help sysadmins harden workstations

      If you’re a Linux user, especially a systems administrator, the Linux Foundation has some security tips to share with you, and they’re quite good.

      Konstantin Ryabitsev, the Foundation’s director of collaborative IT services, published the security checklist that the organization uses to harden the laptops of its remote sysadmins against attacks.

      The recommendations aim to balance security decisions with usability and are accompanied by explanations of why they were considered. They also have different severity levels: critical, moderate, low and paranoid.

    • Linux Foundation releases PARANOID internal infosec guide

      Linux Foundation project director Konstantin Ryabitsev has publicly-released the penguinistas’ internal hardening requirements to help sysadmins and other paranoid tech bods and system administrators secure their workstations.

      The baseline hardening recommendations are designed that balance security and convenience for its many remote admins, rather than a full-blown security document.

    • Linux workstation security checklist

      This is a set of recommendations used by the Linux Foundation for their systems administrators. All of LF employees are remote workers and we use this set of guidelines to ensure that a sysadmin’s system passes core security requirements in order to reduce the risk of it becoming an attack vector against the rest of our infrastructure.

    • Seriousness of the OPM Data Breach Disputed

      On April 15, 2015, officials of the Office of Personnel Management realized they had been hacked and the records of 4.2 million of current and former employees had been stolen. Later investigations by OPM determined in early June that the number affected is 21.5 million, for whom sensitive information, including Social Security Numbers (SSNs), was stolen from the background investigation databases.

      This was the biggest breach of United States government data in history. Reports point to China as the source of the breach, but the Administration has not formally accused China.

    • Automakers fight car hacking bill – Computer Fraud and Abuse Act takes some blows

      You might think the effort to fortify cars’ cybersecurity could possibly make strange bedfellows out of automakers and safety advocates, what with all the recent reports basically amounting to the conclusion that a whole car can be hacked. But you’d be wrong.

    • Oracle, still clueless about security

      Oracle’s chief security officer, Mary Ann Davidson, recently ticked off almost everyone in the security business. She proclaimed that you had to do security “expertise in-house because security is a core element of software development and you cannot outsource it.” She continued, “Whom do you think is more trustworthy? Who has a greater incentive to do the job right — someone who builds something, or someone who builds FUD around what others build?”

    • Grsecurity Forced by Multi-Billion Dollar Company to Release Patches Only to Sponsors

      Grsecurity is a well-known set of patches for the Linux kernel, which greatly enhance the ability of the system to withstand various security threats. As you can imagine, there are many companies that want to use Grsecurity, and they need to follow the accompanying GPL license. They are not doing that, and now Grsecurity needs to take some drastic action.

    • BitTorrent patched against flaw that allowed crippling DoS attacks
    • GitHub wobbles under DDOS attack

      GitHub is under a distributed-denial-of-service attack being perpetrated by unknown actors.

      The service’s status page reported “a brief capacity overload” early on Tuesday. The site’s assessment of the incident was later upgraded to a a DDOS and at the time of writing the site is at code yellow.

    • CERT Warns of Hard-Coded Credentials in DSL SOHO Routers
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Book: bin Laden always a ‘kill mission,’ Obama told SEALs fight, not surrender, if caught

      A comprehensive new book about U.S. special operations reveals that the mission to get top terrorist Osama bin Laden was “a kill mission, not a capture mission,” and that SEAL Team 6 members handpicked for the assault were ordered by President Obama to fight it out, not surrender, if caught.

      “Bin Laden was the first time [were were told], ‘This is a kill mission, not a capture mission, unless he was naked with his hands up,’” a Team 6 source is quoted in Relentless Strike, due out September 1.

    • Jeremy Corbyn said Osama bin Laden should have been tried, not killed

      Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire for saying it was a “tragedy” that Osama bin Laden was killed by the US rather than being put on trial.

      The Labour leadership frontrunner made the remarks shortly after the special forces raid in 2011 on the al-Qaida chief’s Pakistan compound in which he and four others were shot dead.

      In an interview for Iranian television, he suggested the assassination of the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks would result in deeper unrest.

    • The Case for Pragmatism

      In tracing these patterns, you can go back in time to such misguided fiascos as the CIA’s huge covert operation in Afghanistan in the 1980s (which gave rise to the Taliban and Al Qaeda). However, for argument’s sake, let’s start with the neocon success in promoting President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. Not only did that war divert more than $1 trillion in U.S. taxpayers’ money from productive uses into destructive ones, but it began a massive spread of chaos across the Middle East.

    • Inquiry Weighs Whether ISIS Analysis Was Distorted

      The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.

      The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.

    • Will Lebanon Fall to ISIS Next?

      It is hard to say what is going to happen, but there is reason for concern and our domestic media is not addressing this increasingly deteriorating situation.

    • Rinse and repeat: 82 new US-trained Syrians prepare for fighting

      A US military source has revealed in private conversation that the US-led Coalition formed to target the Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups is currently training 82 new recruits for its Syria operations. These include 12 new fighters in Jordan and 70 in Turkey.

      A spokeswoman for the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM), Major Genieve David, would not confirm these numbers. “We are not giving out numbers due to operational security concerns,” she said via phone.

      But Turkey’s Foreign Minister Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu’s comment a few days ago that “in the second group we have around 100 (fighters)” suggests that the source’s numbers are likely to be accurate.

    • Drones hammer al-Qaeda in Syria

      Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, has disclosed that it suffered heavy casualties when the U.S. launched drone attacks last month to defend a moderate opposition group called “Division 30.”

    • Rebels Blame Turkey After US-Trained ‘Moderates’ Captured Inside Syria

      Turkish intelligence orchestrated last month’s capture of a group of Syrian moderate rebels trained by the United States to fight the Islamic State, according to rebel sources who spoke with McClatchy.

    • Alert about a possible freeway sniper on I-94, I-69 near Battle Creek

      Police say one car was shot at, and several other cars possibly hit by a sniper lurking along I-94 between I-69 and Battle Creek.

      Other possible hits happened on I-69 south to the Indiana border.

      Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Saxton tells RTV6′s Detroit sister station 7 Action News, people in Metro Drive who have driven through that area from the end of July through last week may have also been hit and did not know it.

    • Tony Blair makes final plea to Labour voters to reject ‘Alice in Wonderland” politics of Jeremy Corbyn

      Tony Blair has made a final plea to Labour party members to reject the “Alice in Wonderland” politics of Jeremy Corbyn.

      The former prime minister says Corbyn’s supporters are operating in a “parallel reality” which rejects evidence and reason, and says their left-wing choice for leader will be an electoral disaster.

      With just 11 days to go before the ballot of more than 550,000 party members and affiliates closes, Mr Blair admits he does not understand the appeal of “Corbynmania”.

    • Germany: intelligence employee charged with treason
    • Two paths to peace: the secular and the sacred

      …hoping to find the common ground that makes having weapons of mass destruction unnecessary.

    • Iranian Minister Claims CIA, Mossad, MI6 and Others Are Working to Undermine Country’s Security

      Iran’s Intelligence Minister accused the CIA, Mossad, MI6 and others of trying to undermine Tehran’s security, Israel’s Maariv reported on Tuesday.

    • Wiretap: Iran deal almost sealed, but how will Senate stamp it?
    • Iran shouldn’t trust U.S.
    • What’s Really At Stake With The Iran Nuclear Deal
    • Too soon for ‘illogical’ U.S. to return to Tehran: Iran

      Iran’s foreign minister said on Sunday it was too early to talk of reopening the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, as Britain restored its diplomatic mission four years after protesters ransacked the British ambassador’s residence.

      British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond attended a ceremony at the opulent 19th century building in the Iranian capital where attackers in 2011 burned Britain’s national flag, slashed portraits of British monarchs and stole goods.

    • Why Authorizing Force Against Iran Now is a Bad Idea

      A conditional, shelf AUMF for Iran, tacked on now to make the JCPOA more palatable to skeptical hawks—what could possibly go wrong?

    • Making your enemy your partner for peace

      Reading the above passage, which could have just as easily been derived from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” I was immediately reminded of current U.S. Congressional Republican efforts to undermine, for purely political reasons, the Obama administration’s agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program negotiated between six world powers (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany) and Iran, a great first step towards promoting peace with Iran, following a long mutual mistrust between our two countries, which began with a CIA orchestrated overthrow of Iran’s last democratically elected leader about 62 years ago.

    • How Netanyahu’s threats pushed the US into a flawed deal with Iran

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is correct in his criticism of the nuclear deal signed recently between world powers and Iran. Indeed, it is not a good deal. But it is Netanyahu who substantially brought this about.

      This conclusion is based on talks with Israeli and US officials who were ‒ and still are ‒ privy to the inner workings of the Israeli government, its defense, nuclear and intelligence agencies, and their dealings with US counterparts.

    • Former CIA Chief: Give Israel Bunker-Buster Bombs

      Dennis Ross, a former Middle East envoy, and David Petraeus, who directed the CIA after commanding US. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote that the bunker-busters would be an effective “firewall” against Iranian nuclear development, especially in 15 years, when the agreement between Tehran and Western powers expires.

    • Marking the CIA’s 1953 Iran Coup: All Is Not ‘Yet’ Forgiven

      Iran is marking the August 19 anniversary of the 1953 coup against the then-democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. The coup anniversary also marks America’s first Middle East intervention.

    • John Kerry calls for release of US marine vet arrested while visiting Iran in 2011

      US secretary of state John Kerry has joined the family of US marine veteran Amir Hekmati in calling on Iran to release him on the four-year anniversary of his detention by the Islamic Republic.

    • Tehran seeks release of 19 Iranians imprisoned in U.S.

      There are dozens of Iranians in the U.S. imprisoned on sanction-related charges, Iran foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

      “Some of Iranians released from imprisonment have been under supervision for long time and Iran wants to have consular access to both imprisoned and released Iranians in the U.S.,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said during a press conference on August 26, Trend’s correspondent reported.

      She said, “we call the U.S. government and judiciary system to put end on imprisonment and keeping Iranians under control.”

      Additional to the 19 Iranians jailed on sanction-related charges, Iran says another 60 Iranians are held for ordinary crimes in the U.S.

    • The old US embassy, museum in Tehran: Inside the ‘US den of espionage’

      In Tehran, the abandoned US embassy has been turned into a museum that is rarely open to the public.

    • ‘Death to England’: British embassy bears mark of Iran’s past anger

      The anger that has run like a dark thread through Britain’s relationship with Iran has left its enduring mark on the wall of the UK’s embassy in Tehran. Four years after a radical mob stormed the compound, and even after several million pounds worth of refurbishment, the words ‘Death to England’ are still visible, scrawled in red felt-pen on the doors and walls.


      The hardline newspaper Kayhan greeted Hammond’s arrival by publishing a litany of Britain’s “crimes” against Iran. One of them was Britain’s long suspected role in a US-led coup in 1953 against a democratically elected nationalist leader, Mohammad Mossadeq. Hammond made it clear that Britain had currently no intention of following the CIA’s example and providing a full account of any such British transgressions.

    • Welcome to the masquerade

      The tables have turned. When you play with fire you will eventually get burned. The CIA does not represent us nor do they act on our behalf. If we have benefited from their work in any way it is merely incidental. But the trade off is inequitable. In fact, the worse case scenario of such an arrangement has been realized.

    • Parliament group regrets Russian speaker’s no show

      The Inter-Parliamentary Union expressed regret Friday that the speaker of Russia’s upper house of Parliament will not be attending a world congress at the United Nations next week, apparently because of issues with her visa to the United States.

    • Interview: Hollywood documentary director tells a true Tibet

      “I made ‘Tibet: The Truth’ because I have been annoyed by the constant negative reporting about Tibet in the Western media,” Chris D. Nebe, director of the documentary, told Xinhua.

      “The Western media is biased and does not tell the truth about the historic past or present of Tibet,” he said.

      The 60-minute documentary debuted in the U.S. in 2013 and showed the audience a true Tibet in the past and present by using sufficient and convincible history materials.

      “It took me about a year to create the film. It has been based on me actually filming in Tibet, as well as extensive research”, Nebe said, “I was also able to locate in Washington D.C. archives authentic footage filmed by the CIA that showed that the U.S. trained Tibetans in a camp in Colorado as terrorist, which were then in 1958/1959 infiltrated into Tibet and instigated the 1959 revolt.”

      Nebe told Xinhua, “I also found material filmed by the CIA, which shows that the Dalai Lama was let go by the Central Government and did not have to escape from Tibet.”

    • US drama series ‘Tyrant’ ignores failing American foreign policy

      It is expected for any leading nation that prides itself in its military prowess, technological advancement and cultural dominance to showcase its perceived superiority through different mediums. Wartime propaganda in particular is of utmost importance, as it reinforces political ideology and rationalises questionable foreign policy. This is evident for anyone who’s watched, read or studied Israeli, Chinese, British, Russian, Indian, Pakistani, Nazi German, Turkish and North Korean wartime propaganda.

      However, the United States has arguably surpassed every modern nation in investing billions of dollars in the film and media industry to justify its wars and to dehumanise the hundreds of thousands of people killed in those conflicts. In terms of Hollywood blockbusters and TV series, Homeland, 24, Three Kings, Jarhead, Green Zone and American Sniper come to mind. Whilst these films and series addressed direct US involvement in foreign wars and its subsequent domestic terrorism threat, I naively expected something different from the latest drama series Tyrant – a fictional account of a Middle Eastern dictatorship based on the Arab Spring.

    • US names ‘First Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs’

      The United States named a senior envoy Friday to work for the safe return of hostages after criticism of its response to the kidnap and murder of Americans held in Syria.

    • How long will the world tolerate US exceptionalism?

      A WikiLeaks leak of a CIA memorandum, however, proves that not even the White House is convinced by the rhetoric that it appears to be selling, and that staff fear that their actions will make them be perceived as exporters of terrorism by America’s allies. They admit explicitly that the official narrative is inaccurate: “contrary to common belief, the American export of terrorism or terrorists is not a recent phenomenon.”

    • GUEST COMMENTARY: North, South Korea agree on stabilizing steps

      The 38th Parallel dividing North and South Korea is less tense thanks to a sensible new agreement. Pyongyang has expressed regret over land mines injuring South Korean soldiers. The South will curtail loudspeaker broadcasts. The confrontation led to artillery fire.

    • US’ non-mediation policy on Kashmir developed in 1950s: report

      According to the top-secret 1954 document, the US had arrived at a conclusion that it is only India and Pakistan, which can resolve the dispute over Kashmir through peace and dialogue.

    • Spy Report Spinning Has a Long History

      My first lesson in how intelligence can be rigged started with a newspaper photograph, 45 years ago. I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Da Nang, South Vietnam, which was still a charming former French colonial port city despite the war raging 10 miles away. A rookie spy handler in military intelligence, I would go downtown most mornings, gather up the local newspapers and look for useful bits of information over cups of strong chicory coffee. And so it was one day that I spotted a very familiar face in a photo of anti-government demonstrations in the city. After much squinting, I was sure it was my principal agent, the top guy in the spy ring I was running against communist forces.

      It didn’t take much investigating to conclude that my agent had divided loyalties. A few weeks later, I made a strong case to Saigon headquarters that the guy was untrustworthy and suggesting we get rid of him. The response: Nothing’s wrong, keep up the good work. The message from higher-ups was as blunt as a rock slide: We had to keep showing, against all evidence to the contrary, that things were going swimmingly in our intel ops. Not only that, they told me they were upping the reliability rating of my very questionable agent.

      Years later, I learned that a new boss had seen my reports and canned my spy. But I was long gone by then, and I had learned a lot more about how intelligence officials spun–and continue to spin–intelligence to back up wishful thinking about how well a war is going. And that’s not counting fabricated reports to get us into a war to start with, from Spain in 1898 (“Remember the Maine”) to Vietnam (the 1964 Tonkin Gulf non-incident) to the multiple deceptions on Iraq in 2003.

    • David Headley who? Pakistan has no mention of him in 26/11 probe

      David Headley was probably one of the most important links in the 26/11 attack. An agent of the CIA turned rogue, he was the one who landed in Mumbai and carried out the reconnaissance of the targets which were attacked on that fateful night of 26/11.

      David Headley in a confession to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) speaks extensively about the attacks, his visit to Pakistan, the meeting with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba top brass.

    • Peru reinstates shoot-down law for suspected drugs smuggling aircraft

      The Peruvian National Congress approved the Airspace Surveillance and Control Law on August 20, authorising the country’s air force to shoot down aircraft suspected of transporting drugs, weapons, or explosives.

    • Security wars: Attack of the drones

      A drone capable of locating and hacking into wireless networks is now available for as little as $2,500 (£1,600). Drones with high quality video cameras retail for $1,000 (£640) upwards and one US enthusiast successfully fitted a handgun into an inexpensive store-bought drone.


      There are also fears that some drones could be used as assassins after a man in Connecticut posted a video of a customised drone armed with a handgun. The video shows the drone firing shots by remote control.

    • Unfinished business between Cuba and the U.S.

      Even with the resumption of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, the U.S. and Cuba have unfinished business to take care of.

      There is the issue of terrorism — the terrorism that U.S.-based exile extremist outfits perpetrated against Cuba.


      The vilest of all acts that these U.S.-based extremists committed was the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger airliner in Barbados, in which all 73 occupants were killed. Exile militant Luis Posada Carriles has been directly linked to this crime in declassified CIA and FBI documents. He is currently free and living in Miami, and the Cuban government is requesting his extradition.

    • South Sudan president signs peace deal despite concerns

      South Sudan’s president signed a peace deal on Wednesday to end a 20-month conflict with rebels…

    • A call for peace: City activities honor 85-year old treaty outlawing war

      An 85-year-old international agreement aimed at ending American and world wars – while unsuccessful – is still worth attention, Albuquerque City Councilors declared this month, naming Aug. 27 as Rededication to the Kellogg-Briand Treaty Day.

      Also in honor of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928, internationally known CIA agent turned peace activist Ray McGovern visited Albuquerque as part of his work fighting against “out-of-control military spending” and U.S. military policies that he said are undermining American security by causing the deaths of innocent people and fueling terrorism.

    • Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field

      Voices for Creative Nonviolence engaged with a number of Wisconsin peace groups to organize an 8-day 90-mile walk across southwest Wisconsin from August 18-25. The purpose of the walk was to call attention and make connections between the militarized police violence at home and the military using violence abroad through drone warfare and by other means. In both cases the victims are people of color, which forces us to reflect on the systemic racism of our society.

    • War: Legal to Criminal and Back Again

      And serious security concerns, as we all know, are far worse than war, and spending $1 trillion a year on war is a small price to pay to handle those concerns. Eighty-seven years ago this would have seemed insanity. Luckily we have ways of bringing back the thinking of years gone by, because typically someone suffering from insanity doesn’t have a way to enter into the mind of someone else who’s viewing his insanity from the outside. We have that. We can go back to an era that imagined the ending of war and then carry that work forward with the goal of completing it.

    • Kissinger: the Dr. Frankenstein of foreign affairs, or just self-promoter?

      Henry Kissinger has not held high government office since 1977, almost 40 years ago. True, he accomplished a great deal during his eight years as national security adviser and secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations — for better (opening China, arms control with the Soviet Union, peace in the Middle East) or for worse (secret bombings and cold-blooded diplomacy that, some scholars argue, contributed to genocidal outcomes in Bangladesh and Cambodia). Nonetheless, it is remarkable how visible, even at age 92, Kissinger remains.

    • The crimes of Robert Menzies

      Good economic times also helped keep Menzies in power. Under Menzies, Australia seemed safe, secure and prosperous. But, as Prime Minister, Menzies did two terrible things. First, without serious thought for the consequences, he allowed the British to test nuclear weapons on Australian soil and second, he committed Australian combat troops to fight in Vietnam when he did not have to.

    • John McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?

      It is a matter of perspective of whether you see John McCain, the former Navy pilot and present Senator from the safety of the U.S. today or from the ground up in Vietnam when his payload of napalm bombs were reigning down on downtown Hanoi residents in 1967.

    • Morning news headlines: Chilcot facing legal action from families over Iraq report delay, New figures set to show net migration at record levels

      Sir John Chilcot is facing legal action from bereaved families after again defying calls to set a timetable for publication of the Iraq Inquiry report.

    • Chilcot inquiry: ‘UK bowing down to US’

      The Chilcot inquiry members in the UK have no interest in exposing facts about the war in Iraq back in 2003 and the US in turn is doing everything to discourage them, author and activist David Swanson told RT.

    • Saudi general killed in cross-border fire from Yemen

      A Saudi army general has been killed in cross-border fire from Yemen, the armed forces announced Sunday, making him the highest-ranking officer to be killed in border attacks since March.

      Major General Abdulrahman bin Saad al-Shahrani, commander of the 18th Brigade, was inspecting troops deployed “on the front lines along the southern region when the post came under random enemy fire,” said the military said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

    • Yemen: Two U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 7; U.S.-Backed Strikes Kill Dozens
    • Yemen army recruits 4,800 southern fighters – officer
    • UAE army frees British hostage as al-Qaida expands in Yemen
    • Massive Anti-War Rally in Japan – Over 100k Oppose ‘War Law’

      Anti-war protesters rally outside parliament to oppose new laws that could see Japanese troops engaged in combat overseas for the first time since WWII. In one of the largest postwar demonstrations in Japan, protesters swarmed in front of the Diet (parliament) building in Tokyo to oppose the current administration’s contentious security legislation.

    • Pentagon Plans Escalated Drone Killings

      Drones are instruments of state terror. Washington’s official narrative is pure rubbish – claiming terrorists alone are targeted, civilians aren’t killed, and drone warfare makes America safer.

      Fact: Attacks are indiscriminate extrajudicial executions – in flagrant violation of core international law.

      Fact: Few so-called “high value” targets are eliminated.

      Fact: Large numbers of civilian men, women and children are murdered in cold blood. International law protecting them in combat theaters is ignored. Fact: Bodies of innocent victims are blasted into unrecognizable pieces or burned beyond recognition. Fact: Family members, bystanders and rescuers are killed or maimed by what’s called “double tapping” – striking the targeted area two or more times.

    • Competition mounts in engineering genocidal Sri Lanka

      South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa was on a secret mission to Colombo last weekend. Mr. Tony Blair, who was the British Prime Minister during the genocidal onslaught of Eezham Tamils was in the island on a two weeks tour since 11 August. US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal and another US official are in Colombo. The section of Sinhala Buddhist elements in the mission or payroll of protecting Rajapaksa, who openly took a China line earlier this year, connected the dots to depict IC conspiracy, by linking Ramaphosa to the ICG and to a CIA mission. In response, the South African Government on Tuesday announced that Mr Ramaphosa was no longer connected to the ICG. The hectic visits and the recent Indian media scurry in claiming hold on affairs as well as ‘guidance’ for domestic investigation, signal only mounting competition in stabilizing the genocidal State with new local partners.

    • We should remember that military aircraft are not a sight to be enjoyed

      The vintage Hawker Hunter fighter jet that crashed on to a busy roadway during an air show in Shoreham, Sussex, England, last weekend had also performed at recent air shows in Ireland — at Shannon, Bray and Foynes — which were attended by up to 150,000 people. It might just as easily have crashed at one of these shows causing many deaths, including that of children.

    • Serious Questions For Those Who Oppose Gun Laws

      If the U.S. government comes after its own people, what’s your plan to defeat missiles, grenades, aircraft bombers and drones with your guns?

    • Uganda: Obama Should Mind His Business

      United States President Barack Obama is the most admired foreign leader in Africa because he has ancestral roots in our continent.

      This is partly the reason his ill-informed and stereotypical admonitions of our leaders attracted cheers from a large section of our elite class. But it is also because we, African elites, have internalised the ideology of our conquerors that presents us as inferior, inadequate, and incapable of self-government.

      Bob Marley’s words that we must liberate ourselves from mental slavery are important here. In his speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Obama acted like a colonial headman lecturing the natives on how to behave as good subjects. Yet behind Obama’s seeming concern for our good lies the social contempt he holds us in.

    • West Point prof: OK to kill lawyers who challenge U.S. war on Islamists

      In closing, Bradford cites Churchill, Reagan, and the medieval Song of Roland.

    • The Lessons of Anwar al-Awlaki

      Type ‘‘Anwar al-Awlaki’’ into YouTube’s search bar, and you get 40,000 hits. Most of them bring up the earnest, smiling face and placid voice of the first American citizen to be hunted and killed without trial by his own government since the Civil War. Here is Awlaki on what makes a good marriage; on the nature of paradise; on Jesus Christ, considered a prophet by Muslims; on tolerance; on the holy month of Ramadan; and, more quirkily, on ‘‘obesity and overeating in Islam.’’ Here is Awlaki, or Sheikh Anwar, as his many admirers still call him, easily mixing Quranic Arabic with American English in chapters from his 53-CD series on the life of the Prophet Muhammad, once a best seller among English-speaking Muslims.

    • French soldier killed in accidental shooting in Mali

      France’s defense ministry says a French soldier deployed in Mali has died after being accidentally shot by a fellow soldier at a military camp.

    • Grant Morrison Vs. the Super-Soldiers

      Also unlike the superheroes of yesteryear, these “friendly” imperial superfascists did not shy away from incurring extensive “collateral damage,” if that’s what it took to terminate the superhuman dictators, terrorists, and other “bastards” plaguing the planet.

    • Retired 84-year-old U.S. Army General “Ashamed To Be An American” After Police Violently Handcuffed Him Over Chinese Food Delivery Dispute

      William “Bill” Livsey, 84, of Fayetteville, Georgia is a retired four-star U.S. Army general and Silver Star recipient for heroism.

      On August 15, Livsey ordered Chinese food delivery to his home and got into a dispute with the driver over the $80.60 order when the general’s debit card was declined. The restaurant refused to take a personal check. And here is where the details become hazy.

      Delivery driver Ryan Irvin claims the 84-year-old Livsey put his left hand on the driver’s neck and pushed him against the refrigerator. The police were called, and neighbors then witnessed a brutal arrest.

      When the police arrived, officers claimed Livsey refused to willingly sit in the back of a police car and had to be forced in by three officers, and also claim Livsey “constrict his muscles and refuse to put his hands behind his back while being placed under arrest for robbery.”

    • CNN Dust-Up Had Ben Carson Refuting ‘I’m Not Talking About Killing People.’ Now He Takes on Bias in the Media.

      Appearing on Newsmax TV’s “Steve Malzberg Show,” Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson had some tough words for the media, specifically CNN.

      Sunday, on CNN’s “State of The Union,” host Jim Acosta asked Carson a series of nearly identical questions regarding something Carson said previously about drones on the border.

    • Get Ready for Drones Equipped with Tear Gas

      The good news is that the North Dakota legislature passed a bill this week requiring police to get a search warrant before they use a drone; The bad news is that drones could shoot rubber bullets, pepper spray, or even tear gas.

    • Armed Drones Not Operating In North Dakota

      I was surprised Wednesday morning to see Google news alerts showing up in my inbox saying that North Dakota is the first state in the nation to legalize armed drones for law enforcement.

    • WATCH: Police Weaponized Drones Now Legal in the State You’d Least Expect
    • Weaponized Drones May Fly the Friendly Skies of North Dakota
    • North Dakota Legalizes Weaponized Drones
    • Police in This State Can Drone You
    • North Dakota Police to use weaponized drones
    • Drone anxiety: Weighing up the risks
    • North Dakota to use police drones with non-lethal weapons
    • It’s now legal for police in North Dakota to strap weapons to drones – so long as they aren’t lethal
    • Police in North Dakota can now use drones armed with tasers
    • Watch Out for Drones with Pepper Spray in North Dakota
    • North Dakota becomes first US state to legalize weapons on police drones
    • New law permits North Dakota cop drones to fire beanbag rounds from the sky
    • Weaponized Drones Approved For North Dakota Police
    • North Dakota cops will be first in nation to use weaponized drones
    • North Dakota is the first state in the US to legalize police use of drones with tasers and pepper spray
    • North Dakota police can now load up drones with tasers and tear gas
    • North Dakota Allows Cops To Arm Their Drones With Tasers And Tear Gas

      North Dakota’s police agencies can fly drones armed with Tasers, tear gas, bean-bag cannons, and other “less-lethal” weapons, thanks to fierce lobbying from the law enforcement industry on a bill that was initially meant to restrict police use of the flying robots rather than outfit them with weapons. While other local police departments have flirted with weaponizing their drones, North Dakota is the first state to explicitly allow the armaments.

    • Built to kill: China unveils its most powerful military drone Rainbow 5

      The Chinese military’s flagship drone Rainbow 5 made its debut on state television on Sunday, showing off new weapons and the latest technology to “change the game in airstrikes”.

    • Welcome to the World, Drone-Killing Laser Cannon

      Hang on to your drone. Boeing’s developed a laser cannon specifically designed to turn unmanned aircraft into flaming wreckage.

      The aerospace company’s new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn’t quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars—there’s no flying beams of light, no “pew! pew!” sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down.

      People keep flying their drones where they shouldn’t. In airport flight paths. Above wildfires. Onto the White House lawn. Luckily, there haven’t been any really bad incidents—that is, no one has been killed by a civilian quadcopter or plane, yet.

    • Boeing Developed a Laser Cannon to Kill Drones

      At this point it’s clear: the world is going the way of the drone, and as much as people might kick and scream, there is nothing that’s going to stop it from happening. So, that leaves us to the next issue at hand. We need to come together and not only create laws specific to flying drones, but we also need to learn some basic drone etiquette. You know, things such as not flying your drone in flight paths, above wildfires, or on the lawn of the White House.

    • Need to take down a drone? A munitions company offers firepower
  • Transparency Reporting/Wikileaks

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obama defends Arctic drilling decision on eve of Alaska climate change trip

      President accused of undermining own agenda with decision to allow hunt for oil in Arctic, as he prepares for three-day tour to showcase effects of climate change

    • Copeland called to combat nuisance caused by seagulls

      A CUMBRIAN council forced to deny it had plans to terminate seagulls by using drones has issued a plea to the public about feeding the birds.

    • Pity the Seagull

      Northumbria police have launched an investigation after a photo was posted on Facebook of a man apparently strangling a seagull. Councillors in seaside towns are considering using drones to kill seagull chicks in their nests. Although the numbers of most gull species in the UK are in decline, they have an ‘increasing presence in urban areas’. The RSPCA is looking into reports that people in Cornwall are attacking gulls with fishing line. Meanwhile the birds have been accused of attacking people and killing pets, and in Namibia they’ve been spotted pecking out the eyes of baby seals, as if they weren’t already hated enough.

    • Tour guide mauled to death by lion in same park where Cecil was killed

      A TOUR guide has been mauled to death by a lion during a walking safari in the Zimbabwean national park where Cecil the lion lived before he was shot, police said.

  • Finance

    • Forget Faslane

      With this country’s massive needs in housing and renewable energy, it is typical that the only public spending announcement the Tories wish to make is on more potential for death and destruction at Faslane. The politics of the ludicrous claims on employment creation are risibly transparent. Don’t vote SNP! Don’t Vote Corbyn! This is not an industrial or a services economy, its the WMD economy.

    • Italy reports performance gains in eInvoicing

      In June, Italy’s central eInvoicing system handled over 10 million invoices, 5 % more than in May, reports the Agency for the Digitalization of the Public Sector (Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale, AGID). “The number of invoices received is rising, and the amount of rejects is decreasing”, AGID writes.

    • The Chinese economy is not for sleeping

      But the concerns have been overdone. For a start, the Chinese equity market is still 40 per cent higher than a year ago despite the 40 per cent fall since June; and barely 10 per cent of Chinese ­actually own shares anyway.

    • Does the Tim Cook Email to Jim Cramer Warrant SEC Investigation? (Nasdaq: AAPL)

      Yesterday, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook emailed CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer with a rare mid-quarter stock update on the company’s performance.

    • Controversial plan to end homelessness in San Rafael

      Hugo Landecker is on a mission to end homelessness in San Rafael, by trying to force the closure of the homeless program that serves 3,700 Marin County families, the Ritter Center.

    • Bernie Sanders can help avert a bloody revolution by creating a nonviolent one

      It is a different matter for our “systems.” Politics is a cesspool of corruption. Our economic system is full of hardworking workers and greed-driven, self-centered leaders like the Koch brothers. Our religious system appears to have developed the ability to segregate out of its collective mind war, the poor, suppressed black- and brown- skinned peoples. Our social systems accept that it is impolite to talk about war, politics, economics and the “u” word — unions. The phrase “sold a batch of bad goods” is pertinent here if you just exchange “goods” for “ideas.”

      For those of us trying to fight back on issue after issue, we find it is like weeding a 100-acre garden: Each day we get up there are more weeds to pull.

      George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their boys popped us into a grand “war on terror” that has nearly broken our soldiers and brought death, starvation, wounds, sickness, homelessness and broken economies/social systems to nations like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria across the world. The more we fight, the more we lose.

    • Robert Whitcomb: Amazon will make you pay for loving it

      One is in the mirror. Americans have grown addicted to buying stuff online — of course, the cheaper the better. They seem to want to avoid face-to-face interactions in stores — and community engagement in general — and Amazon’s power ensures that they’ll get low prices, at least for now (see below), even as their local stores close because of such online competition.

      The preference for communicating via screens rather than person-to-person is especially common among the young, who grew up in the Internet Age. Human-resource managers have told me that young job applicants often don’t look them in the eye because in-person encounters make them anxious.

      The disappearance of many well-paying jobs, and static (or worse) compensation except for top executives and investors, have encouraged consumers to seek out cheaper stuff than a few decades ago. But – irony of ironies! – Amazon and other high-tech automators have helped destroy good U.S. jobs in their “data-driven’’ mania to take full advantage of the international low-wage, cheap-goods machine.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Fox Cites One-Sided Study To Claim Michelle Obama’s Healthy Lunch Program Costs School District Jobs

      Fox News tried to blame First Lady Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch program for reports of financial woes and layoffs at school districts, but it failed to disclose that the study it cited comes from a group supported in part by food industry companies that sell their product to schools, including PepsiCo, General Mills, and Domino’s.

    • ‘Corporate Media Really Want to Be Able to Say the Story Is Over’

      CounterSpin interviews with Rosa Brooks, Colette Pichon Battle, A.C. Thompson and Jordan Flaherty on Katrina’s 10 years of media neglect

    • The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know

      When seriously practiced, the journalistic profession involves gathering information concerning individuals, locales, events, and issues. In theory such information informs people about their world, thereby strengthening “democracy.” This is exactly the reason why news organizations and individual journalists are tapped as assets by intelligence agencies and, as the experiences of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte (entry 47 below) suggest, this practice is at least as widespread today as it was at the height of the Cold War.

    • Howard Kurtz Disparages Jorge Ramos, Continues Fox’s Defense Of Donald Trump

      Fox News host and resident media critic Howard Kurtz questioned Jorge Ramos’ journalistic integrity in the wake of the Univision anchor’s contentious press conference questioning of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, concluding that Ramos was little more than “a heckler.”

    • Donald Trump and Wikipediology

      So perhaps Wikipediology may not be much different from counting peach pits in privies after all. Either way, there seems to be a lot of manure to sort through before you can start guessing at the truth.

    • That time the CIA trolled everyone with a twistedly genius Twitter strategy

      Yes, that’s the US Central Intelligence Agency—one of the most powerful government organizations in the world—sending a tweet, with no other context, in Russian. The tweet was made just days after the US CENTCOM Twitter account was hacked by alleged ISIL sympathizers. Naturally, a lot of people thought the CIA had just been hacked by the Russians.

    • Literary Magazines for Socialists Funded by the CIA, Ranked

      In May of 1967, a former CIA officer named Tom Braden published a confession in the Saturday Evening Post under the headline, “I’m glad the CIA is ‘immoral.’” Braden confirmed what journalists had begun to uncover over the previous year or so: The CIA had been responsible for secretly financing a large number of “civil society” groups, such as the National Student Association and many socialist European unions, in order to counter the efforts of parallel pro-Soviet organizations. “[I]n much of Europe in the 1950’s,” wrote Braden, “socialists, people who called themselves ‘left’—the very people whom many Americans thought no better than Communists—were about the only people who gave a damn about fighting Communism.”

    • A House in St John’s Wood: In Search of my Parents by Matthew Spender – review

      But this is not really a biography of either parent. Nor does it concentrate on Stephen’s poetry, although the question about whether Encounter, the literary magazine he edited for several decades, was funded with CIA money is discussed in exhaustive detail. This book is more a portrait of a marriage and of the childhood that emerged as a result.

    • Radio Free Europe Flacks for Iranian Terrorist Commander

      RFE was created by the U.S. government to help win the Cold War by countering Soviet propaganda. That it would pass off accounts from members of a paramilitary organization, the Basij, controlled by the mullahs and used to suppress regime critics is disturbing. That it fails to challenge a work of hagiography originally presented as fact by an Iranian state-run outlet, Fars News, about Soleimani, a U.S.-listed terrorist and murderer of U.S. service personnel and non-combatants defies description.

    • “Breaking the Fear Factor”: Opposing War, Financial Fraud and State Terrorism, Dismantling Propaganda

      Will Greece set the new standard of fearlessness for the rest of Europe to follow? – Will Greece dare to go the only practical way – exit the unviable euro – go back to her drachma and revamp their economy with public banking for the benefit of the Greek people? – I trust Greece will dare take back her sovereignty, breaking the all-permeating Fear Factor and become a flagship of courage for Europe and for the world.

  • Censorship

    • Iowa Radio Host Steve Deace Compares ESPN To Nazis For Suspending Curt Schilling

      Influential conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace likened ESPN to Nazis after the sports network suspended former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling as a commentator for posting an Islamaphobic meme to his Facebook page.

    • Does the EU want to get rid of geoblocking through a review of the SatCab Directive?

      The objective that the Commission is pursuing in conducting this exercise is twofold: first, to gather input in order to assess whether current rules are (still) fit for purpose; secondly, to determine whether the provisions in this Directive should be extended to transmissions of TV and radio programmes by means other than satellite and retransmission by means other than cable. In other words: whether the Directive rules should be also made applicable to online providers of TV and radio programmes.

    • Malaysia Blocking websites to prevent protest violates international law

      ARTICLE 19 calls on the Malaysian government to retract threats to block websites which promote or report on the upcoming “Bersih 4″ protests. Furthermore, we call for a public commitment to abide by international obligations to respect the right to protest. The Malaysian government should guarantee the free flow of information around the “Bersih 4″ protests, and refrain from treating them as illegal.

  • Privacy

    • Why everyone must play a part in improving IoE privacy

      As an Eisenhower Fellow, Dr. David A. Bray recently participated in a five-week professional program that took him out of his normal day-to-day role as CIO for the Federal Communications Commission. While on the Fellowship abroad, Bray met with industry CEOs as well as the Ministries of Communication, Justice, and Defense in both Taiwan and Australia to discuss the “Internet of Everything” and how established industry, startups, public service, non-profits, and university leaders are anticipating and planning for a future in which everything is connected by the Internet.

    • FBI demanded Scandinavian countries arrest Edward Snowden should he visit

      The FBI demanded that Scandinavian countries arrest and extradite Edward Snowden if he flew to any of those countries and claimed asylum, newly released official documents reveal.

    • US sought Denmark’s help to catch Snowden

      Norway’s NRK broadcaster has obtained a copy of the formal requests US authorities sent to Scandinavian agencies asking them to assist them in their efforts to track down NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should he enter Norwegian territory.

    • The Onion Router is being cut up and making security pros cry

      IBM is warning corporates to start blocking TOR services from their networks, citing rising use of the encrypted network to deliver payloads like ransomware.

    • National scene: No role for CIA in cyberbody

      Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan denied that the development of the National Cyber Agency would involve foreign countries including the United States.

      Speculation was rife that the development of the cyber agency would involve the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has the ability to tap into any conversation through social media networks such as WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger and other applications, and then store these conversations on a system called Big Data.

    • Ashley Madison leak exposes a prurient and uncaring society

      Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!’ warns Nietzsche. ‘Out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound.’

      The Ashley Madison hack provides an excellent illustration.

      There are, by some accounts, 37 million names listed in the leaked database. Even excluding bots and duplicates and horny teenagers, that’s a remarkable figure, a quantity suggestive of an immense pool of unhappiness, especially when you factor in the partners and children of the straying spouses.

      One response to the hack, then, might begin with an inquiry into those miserable relationships. Why are so many ordinary people seemingly so discontented with their marriages? What might be done to alleviate the wretchedness both of those who cheat and those who don’t? What does the evident attraction of a site like Ashley Madison (which seems to have been run as a fairly overt scam) tell us about society, about intimacy and sexuality more generally?

    • Who Put Me in the Ashley Madison Database?

      “Hmmm,” my wife wrote back. “Maybe I should check whether you’re in the database.” Not long afterward, I came across a story about the blackmail emails that some Ashley Madison members were getting—“sextortion” is the clever neologism. Buried deep in the article, a cyber-security expert said members could also expect to be bombarded with email solicitations for sexual services.

      It seemed an unlikely coincidence to be getting these missives, just after the Ashley Madison data were leaked. And yet I was emphatically not an Ashley Madison member and couldn’t be on the cheat sheet. Or could I? I dismissed the thought, but it recurred. I soon found myself at one of the newly arisen websites that let people check whether an email address is in the Madisonian data dump. I typed in my address but hesitated before clicking Enter. It felt in some way dirtying, like going to a pawn shop in a bad part of town to retrieve a stolen watch. Even worse was the result: my email was there.

    • Silicon Valley wary as Pentagon chief to court innovators

      With malware joining missiles among the threats to America’s security, leading technology innovators such as Apple and Google are being recruited to join traditional defense contractors on the front lines.

      Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is visiting Silicon Valley Friday as part of a continuing effort to bridge the divide between the Pentagon and a tech community wary of excessive surveillance and privacy violations.

    • See new details of Edward Snowden’s escape in Ted Rall’s graphic biography, Snowden — exclusive

      People have wondered if China let Snowden leave although his passport was invalidated by the US. Actually, there was no sneakiness by China. Snowden still had a valid passport when he left China. What happened was that the US State Department canceled his passport while he was in the air. He had been planning to transit via Moscow to Ecuador, but his passport was invalid by that point. That’s how he got stuck in Moscow: the Russian authorities couldn’t let him leave without a valid passport (and visa, if required) for where he was going.

    • Pentagon ‘Mind Mapping’ Has Scary Implications

      The second part, “‘Big data,’ algorithms, and computational counterinsurgency,” published this month, analyzes the rise of “predictive policing” and its Pentagon connections, reviews some relevant programs and examines these in light of scientists’ concerns over the development of artificial intelligence and long-term human survival.

    • ​User data manifesto seeks to give people control of their data

      Your personal data is the currency of the modern Internet. Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn — to name but three — all primarily profit from collecting your personal data. At the same time, data breach after breach, such as Office of Personnel Management, Ashley Madison, and Anthem, have revealed the secrets of tens of-millions of people. What can you do about it?

    • Shadow State: Surveillance, Law and Order in Colombia

      For nearly two decades, the Colombian government has been expanding its capacity to spy on the private communications of its citizens. Privacy International’s investigation reveals the state of Colombia’s overlapping, unchecked systems of surveillance, including mass surveillance, that are vulnerable to abuse.

    • Surveillance and the erosion of weirdness (a TxLF report)

      Deb Nicholson gave a fascinating talk about privacy and surveillance at this year’s Texas Linux Fest. I have to admit that I was so into her stories that I found myself forgetting to write down what she was saying!

    • Why Security Doesn’t Know You

      But no, that’s ridiculous. Your identity is not your personality or in your genes. It’s a paper trail starting with a print of your foot and stored with the names others (usually parents) gave you to get government-issued numbers to receive mail and pay taxes.

      That’s what you are. Artificial. You are a string of numbers assigned to height, weight, eye color, hair color, and the flaws in the ridges of our skin. That is your legal identity.

      Then again, your physical characteristics change. And the government changes people’s identities all the time for various reasons. You can even get a new life history with your new identity. So when can I be certain that you is still you?

    • California lawmakers approve drone trespassing bills

      California lawmakers on Monday approved two bills intended to regulate drones. The Assembly voted 43-11 in favor of a bill [SB 142] that would make it a crime to fly a drone over private property without permission. The Senate voted 40-0 to approve a bill [AB 856] targeted a paparazzi that would make it a crime to use a drone to take pictures or video on private property. Both bills return to the other chamber for a final vote.

  • Civil Rights

    • Outrage after Egypt sentences Al-Jazeera reporters to 3 years prison

      Human rights and free speech advocates expressed outrage Saturday at the news that three Al-Jazeera English journalists were sentenced to three years in Egyptian prison.

      The reporters — Canadian national Mohammed Fahmy, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed — were found guilty of broadcasting “false news” as well as an array of transgressions ranging from not registering with the country’s journalist syndicate to bringing in broadcast equipment with approval.

    • TSA screener accused of molesting college student in LaGuardia Airport bathroom

      A TSA screener is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at LaGuardia Airport in New York City after telling her she needed to be searched in the bathroom.

      The suspect did not post $3,000 bail and was moved to jail late Friday night.

    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou to Receive First Amendment Award

      Greek-American former CIA analyst and case officer John Kiriakou will be honored with a 2015 PEN First Amendment Award during a ceremony in Beverly Hills, CA on November 16.

      PEN Center USA stated that they “are admirers of Kiriakou’s bravery in the face of unspeakable adversity.” They also state that the “Board and staff of PEN Center USA have followed your story with equal parts interest and shock. The stress of what you bore witness to during your time in the CIA, and the losses you’ve suffered as a result of your disclosures, is unfathomable. You join a group of patriotic whistleblowers who have our deepest respect ad admiration.”

    • Ex-CIA Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou to Receive Prestigious First Amendment Award From PEN Center

      Former CIA officer John Kiriakou will receive one of the 2015 PEN First Amendment Awards, one of the most important literary awards in America. The ceremony will be held on November 16 in a ceremony in Beverly Hills.

      Kiriakou resigned from the CIA in 2004 and came to public attention three years later in 2007 when he gave an interview to ABC News in which he acknowledged the CIA’s use of waterboarding as a method of torture. For several years leading up to Kiriakou’s big reveal, the CIA had managed to keep secret the scope of its abusive interrogations of Al Qaeda-affiliated prisoners, which had the formal approval of President George W. Bush.

    • ‘Improper activities’ by American officials

      Singapore-Washington ties shaken after revelation of bribe by CIA to hush up arrest of its intelligence officer


      Singapore-United States ties were roiled in September 1965 after it was revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had offered the Singapore Government US$10 million to hush up the arrest of an American intelligence officer.

      Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew revealed details of the 1960-1961 episode in an interview with foreign correspondents that was televised on Aug 30.

    • Frederick Forsyth: Me? A spy?

      There are three main organs. The least-mentioned is the biggest: Government Communications Headquarters, based in a vast doughnut-shaped complex outside Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Its task is mainly signals intelligence.

      Alongside GCHQ is the Security Service or MI5. Its task is in-country security against foreign espionage, foreign and domestic terrorism and home-grown treachery.

    • With Jeb and Torture, It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again
    • Only three of 116 Guantánamo detainees were captured by US forces

      Only three of the 116 men still detained at Guantánamo Bay were apprehended by US forces, a Guardian review of military documents has uncovered.

      The foundations of the guilt of the remaining 113, whom US politicians often refer to as the “worst of the worst” terrorists, involves a degree of faith in the Pakistani and Afghan spies, warlords and security services who initially captured 98 of the remaining Guantánamo population.

    • ​Why ‘Guantánamo North’ Is a Terrible Idea

      Last week, news broke that the Pentagon is considering several military and federal prisons to house some of the remaining 116 men held at Guantánamo Bay. The effort inaugurates a last-ditch bid to close the infamous facility, opened in 2002 at the inception of President George W. Bush’s “Global War on Terror.” The sites being toured by top military brass include a Navy brig in South Carolina and an Army Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas.

    • Beyond the APA: The Role of Psychology Boards and State Courts in Propping up Torture

      The image of torture in US popular culture is an intimate one: a government agent and a suspect in a dark cell, usually alone. But the reality of our state-sanctioned torture program is that it took a village, working in broad daylight, to pull it off.

      This summer, all eyes are on the American Psychological Association, as they should be. An independent investigation commissioned by the APA found that the organization had, as David Luban describes here, engaged “in a decade of duplicity to permit its members to participate in abusive interrogations while seeming to forbid it.” The report, lead-authored by former prosecutor David Hoffman, tells a tale of wholesale corruption and cooptation. Among its explosive findings is that APA officials refused to act on ethics complaints against military and CIA psychologists so as to shield them from sanction.

      But the APA was not the only institution asked to investigate these matters. State licensing boards in Ohio, New York, Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama also received credible, well-documented complaints against implicated psychologists, including many of the same subjects of the improperly dismissed APA complaints. As lawyer and advisor for Dr. Trudy Bond and other courageous complainants in many of these cases, I witnessed how the licensing boards, like the APA, stonewalled and refused to bring formal charges, offering opaque, implausible, or seemingly pretextual justifications for their decisions.

    • The British Library’s Magna Carta exhibition: A vital though flawed presentation

      Unprecedented numbers have visited the largest exhibition ever held on the Magna Carta, presented at the British Library in London, 800 years after the “Great Charter” was sealed at Runnymede Meadows near Windsor, England.

      The Magna Carta is recognised by millions as a powerful symbol of civil liberties. It was sealed by King John in June 1215 and was “a major historical event in the social and political development of England and in the emergence of the rule of law against arbitrary power,” as the World Socialist Web Site noted on that date this year.

    • My take: 800th birthday of the Magna Carta

      This year is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, one of the most awesome documents ever created. This magnificent document was signed way back in 1215 AD.

      I purposely do not use the word “awesome” lightly. The younger generation seems to love it and has taken it from senior citizens like me. When I was young I would simply utter “Wow, that’s cool Daddy-O.”

    • Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power

      In direct contravention of these legally binding resolutions, Canadian troops were on the ground in the North African country. On September 13, three weeks after Tripoli fell to the anti-Gaddafi National Transition Council, Canada’s state broadcaster reported: “CBC News has learned there are members of the Canadian Forces on the ground in Libya.”[i] A number of other media outlets reported that highly secretive Canadian special forces were fighting in Libya. On February 28, CTV.ca reported “that Canadian special forces are also on the ground in Libya” while Esprit du Corp editor Scott Taylor noted Canadian Special Operations Regiment’s flag colours in the Conservatives’ post-war celebration. But, any Canadian ‘boots on the ground’ in Libya violated UNSCR 1973, which explicitly excluded “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”

    • Harper’s violation of international law in Libya
    • ‘Aladdin’ Is the Only Blockbuster Movie Ever to Have an Arab Hero

      Many of the famed Arab roles haven’t even been played by Arabs.

    • ‘American Ultra’ reveals the start of a new movie trend: Stoners as serious heroes

      “You’re not a robot,” she replies. And she’s right – he’s actually a sleeper agent for the CIA who’s just been “activated,” only to find out that the rest of the CIA, helmed by higher-up Yates (Topher Grace, ironically of the marijuana-centric “That ’70s Show”), is out to get him. In the subsequent goose chase around the town of Liman, W.Va., Mike reveals himself to be something else, too: a hero.

    • Protesters turn out against Arabic immersion curriculum for kindergartners

      About 132 kindergartners and pre-K students were already inside the building Monday when nearly 30 demonstrators waving American flags, and signs denouncing the Arabic Immersion Magnet School arrived, the Houston Chronicle reported.

    • Protesters at Houston’s Arabic Immersion Magnet School on first day of class
    • Andrew Fowler: Truth first casualty in war on journalism

      It’s very possible that mainstream media proprietors, executives and some of their journalists will read Fowler’s book and then scoff. Some will throw it away after three or four pages. In others it could easily provoke anger and indignation. Still others may well dispute at least some of the facts and/or the book’s interpretation of them. But Fowler won’t care. His book is for non-media people. He wrote it for media outsiders. He has tried to let “civilians” know why and how some events were ­reported the way they were. He’ll be absolutely confident of not ­getting accused of peddling pro-journalism propaganda. It’s a good and interesting book. Equally, it’s the type of book that’s best done from retirement.

    • More than 40 cops have been killed in El Salvador so far this year

      Seated in full body armor, with an ACE 21 assault rifle resting on her lap, Agent “China” speaks rather calmly about enlisting to patrol one of the scariest police beats in the world.

    • In Guatemala, Protests Threaten to Unseat President, a U.S.-Backed General Implicated in Mass Murder
    • Guatemala President in Deep Trouble (Video)

      In Guatemala, a judge has ordered that former Vice President Roxana Baldetti must remain in prison while her corruption trial takes place. The ruling comes on the heels of the Guatemalan Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to lift the immunity from prosecution for President Otto Pérez Molina, clearing the way for his impeachment.

    • Guatemala national strike demands president linked to corruption and mass murder step down

      One of the Army commanders who carried the mass murders out under Rios Montt was Otto Perez Molina, who was literally on the CIA payroll while the Army slaughtered indigenous people, unionists, college students, and anyone they declared a Communist-leaning “guerrilla sympathizer.”

    • Corruption and Contempt: The Hidden Story of Hurricane Katrina

      Days after Louisiana’s Governor Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency and the National Hurricane Center warned the White House that Hurricane Katrina could top the New Orleans levee system, the only FEMA official actually in the city itself — Marty J. Bahamonde — was not even supposed to be there. He had been sent in advance of the storm and was ordered to leave as it bore down, but could not because of the clogged roads.

      Michael Brown, the head of FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), was known to have made it as far as Baton Rouge but seemed out of reach.

      On Wednesday, August 31, with tens of thousands trapped in the Superdome and looting out of control in the parts of the city still above water, Bahamonde e-mailed Brown directly: ”I know you know, the situation is past critical … Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water”’

    • Washington State Mom Ticketed for Driving While Breastfeeding

      A Washington State woman was pulled over and given a ticket after she admitted to breastfeeding while driving, a precarious practice for which she’d been busted before.

    • Photos: Huge crowds rallied against Malaysia’s leader—including a predecessor who helped put him in power

      This weekend tens of thousands protestors gathered in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere calling for political reform in Malaysia. They were joined twice by 90-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who ran the nation for more than two decades and has—like many of the protestors—called for the removal of embattled prime minister Najib Razak, whom he helped put in power.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

Posted in News Roundup at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • The 20 toughest job interview questions in the world

    Impossible to prepare for; unrelated to the job: jobseekers are facing tougher and weirder questions than ever in job interviews.

    Employers are turning to tricky questions to quickly sort through high numbers of candidates, so that only the very best shine through, according to Joe Wiggins, spokesman for Glassdoor in the UK.

    “Often it is to see how you react under pressure,” Wiggins said. “It’s to see what happens when the rug is pulled from under you – how do you prepare for the completely unexpected?”

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • LG’s new Rolly wireless keyboard turns into a pocket stick

      LG just announced the “Rolly,” a Bluetooth keyboard that folds up along the four rows of keys to create a wand-like device that can be tossed in a purse or pocket. LG is hardly the first electronics company to introduce a foldable, ultra-portable wireless keyboard — or even the first to introduce a gadget called the Rolly — but it might be the first to market either as a stick for your pocket.

  • Security

    • London Calling: Two-Factor Authentication Phishing From Iran

      This report describes an elaborate phishing campaign against targets in Iran’s diaspora, and at least one Western activist. The ongoing attacks attempt to circumvent the extra protections conferred by two-factor authentication in Gmail, and rely heavily on phone-call based phishing and “real time” login attempts by the attackers. Most of the attacks begin with a phone call from a UK phone number, with attackers speaking in either English or Farsi.

      The attacks point to extensive knowledge of the targets’ activities, and share infrastructure and tactics with campaigns previously linked to Iranian threat actors. We have documented a growing number of these attacks, and have received reports that we cannot confirm of targets and victims of highly similar attacks, including in Iran. The report includes extra detail to help potential targets recognize similar attacks. The report closes with some security suggestions, highlighting the importance of two-factor authentication.

    • Ins0mnia: Unlimited Background Time and Covert Execution on Non-Jailbroken iOS Devices

      FireEye mobile researchers discovered a security vulnerability that allowed an iOS application to continue to run, for an unlimited amount of time, even if the application was terminated by the user and not visible in the task switcher. This flaw allowed any iOS application to bypass Apple background restrictions. We call this vulnerability Ins0mnia.

    • Why is the smart home insecure? Because almost nobody cares

      It’s easy to laugh-and-point at Samsung over its latest smart-thing disaster: after all, it should have already learned its lesson from the Smart TV debacle, right?

      Except, of course, that wherever you see “Smart Home”, “Internet of Things”, “cloud” and “connected” in the same press release, there’s a security debacle coming. It might be Nest, WeMo, security systems, or home gateways – but it’s all the same.

    • Critical PayPal XSS vulnerability left accounts open to attack

      PayPal has patched a security vulnerability which could have been used by hackers to steal users’ login details, as well as to access unencrypted credit card information. A cross site scripting bug was discovered by Egyptian ‘vulnerabilities hunter’ Ebrahim Hegazy — ironically on PayPal’s Secure Payments subdomain.

    • Important Notice Regarding Public Availability of Stable Patches

      Grsecurity has existed for over 14 years now. During this time it has been the premier solution for hardening Linux against security exploits and served as a role model for many mainstream commercial applications elsewhere. All modern OSes took our lead and implemented to varying degrees a number of security defenses we pioneered; some have even been burned into silicon in newer processors. Over the past decade, these defenses (a small portion of those we’ve created and have yet to release) have single-handedly caused the greatest increase in security for users worldwide.

    • Finland detains Russian accused of U.S. malware crimes

      Finland confirmed on Thursday it has detained a Russian citizen, Maxim Senakh, at the request of U.S. federal authorities on computer fraud charges, in a move that Russia calls illegal.

    • Finland confirms arrest of Russian citizen accused of crimes in the US

      Finnish authorities have confirmed the detention of Maxim Senakh, a Russian citizen accused of committing malware crimes in the US. The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed concern and called on Finland to respect international law.

    • More than 80% of healthcare IT leaders say their systems have been compromised

      Eighty-one percent of healthcare executives say their organizations have been compromised by at least one malware, botnet or other kind of cyberattack during the past two years, according to a survey by KPMG.

      The KPMG report also states that only half of those executives feel that they are adequately prepared to prevent future attacks. The attacks place sensitive patient data at risk of exposure, KPMG said.

      The 2015 KPMG Healthcare Cybersecurity Survey polled 223 CIOs, CTOs, chief security officers and chief compliance officers at healthcare providers and health plans.

    • Removal of SSLv3 from LibreSSL
    • Kansas seeks to block release of voting machine paper tapes

      The top election official in Kansas has asked a Sedgwick County judge to block the release of voting machine tapes sought by a Wichita mathematician who is researching statistical anomalies favoring Republicans in counts coming from large precincts in the November 2014 general election.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • nsenter gains SELinux support

      nsenter is a program that allows you to run program with namespaces of other processes

    • Iceland boosts ICT security measures, shares policy

      Iceland aims to shore up the security of its ICT infrastructure by raising awareness and increasing resilience. And next to updating its legislation, Iceland will also bolster the police’s capabilities to tackle cybercrime.

    • A Project to Guarantee Better Security for Open-Source Projects

      Open-source developers, however, can take steps to help catch these vulnerabilities before software is released. Secure development practices can catch many issues before they become full-blown problems. But, how can you tell which open-source projects are following these practices? The Core Infrastructure Initiative has launched a new “Best Practice Badge Program” this week to provide a solution by awarding digital badges to open-source projects that are developed using secure development practices.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Declassified CIA documents reveal how disastrous America’s post-9/11 plans really were

      First, the disastrous failures of US policy in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to an unprecedented programme of declassification of documents (some with significant redactions) as part of the cathartic process of trying to understand how so many mistakes were made before and after 9/11.

      Second, the cache of cables dumped by WikiLeaks, coupled with further revelations from material leaked by Edward Snowden, has provided an exceptional level of insight into the workings of the intelligence agencies over the past three decades, together with priceless new information about the decision-making processes and about operational activities.

      And third, there has been a cache of materials found locally following the military interventions of the past 12 years – such as audio tapes recovered from the presidential palace in Baghdad in 2003 that recorded thousands of hours of meetings, discussions and even phone calls made by Saddam Hussein and his inner circle, or boxes of cassettes that belonged to Osama bin Laden that were retrieved from a compound in Kandahar two year earlier.

      This treasure trove allows us to understand the failures, incompetence and poor planning that accompanied the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in astonishing detail, but also to frame these within the context of a wider region – and a wider period. These two countries form part of a belt that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Himalayas, linking East and West, and that for millennia has served as the world’s central nervous system. Trade, commodities, people, even disease, spread through the webs of networks that connect these locations to each other and ultimately connect the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North Africa to the Pacific coast of China and South-east Asia.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Sweden and Ecuador to begin Julian Assange talks next week

      Sweden will begin talks with Ecuador about Julian Assange on Monday, after Stockholm moved to break the deadlock over five-year-old rape allegations against him.

      Sweden initially rejected a demand by Ecuador that the two countries establish a formal agreement on judicial cooperation before Swedish prosecutors could interrogate the WikiLeaks founder in Ecuador’s embassy in London, saying it did not negotiate bilateral treaties.

    • Exclusive: Read Julian Assange’s Introduction to The Wikileaks Files

      One day, a monk and two novices found a heavy stone in their path. “We will throw it away,” said the novices. But before they could do so, the monk took his ax and cleaved the stone in half. After seeking his approval, the novices then threw the halves away. “Why did you cleave the stone only to have us throw it away?” they asked. The monk pointed to the distance the half stones had traveled. Growing excited, one of the novices took the monk’s ax and rushed to where one half of the stone had landed. Cleaving it, he threw the quarter, whereupon the other novice grabbed the ax from him and rushed after it. He too cleaved the stone fragment and threw it afield. The novices continued on in this fashion, laughing and gasping, until the halves were so small they traveled not at all and drifted into their eyes like dust. The novices blinked in bewilderment. “Every stone has its size,” said the monk.

      At the time of writing, WikiLeaks has published 2,325,961 diplomatic cables and other US State Department records, comprising some two billion words. This stupendous and seemingly insurmountable body of internal state literature, which if printed would amount to some 30,000 volumes, represents something new. Like the State Department, it cannot be grasped without breaking it open and considering its parts. But to randomly pick up isolated diplomatic records that intersect with known entities and disputes, as some daily newspapers have done, is to miss “the empire” for its cables.

    • Assange: What Wikileaks Teaches Us About How the U.S. Operates

      At the time of writing, WikiLeaks has published 2,325,961 diplomatic cables and other US State Department records, comprising some two billion words. This stupendous and seemingly insurmountable body of internal state literature, which if printed would amount to some 30,000 volumes, represents something new.

      Like the State Department, it cannot be grasped without breaking it open and considering its parts. But to randomly pick up isolated diplomatic records that intersect with known entities and disputes, as some daily newspapers have done, is to miss “the empire” for its cables.

      Each corpus has its size.

      To obtain the right level of abstraction, one which considers the relationships between most of the cables for a region or country rather than considering cables in isolation, a more scholarly approach is needed. This approach is so natural that it seems odd that it has not been tried before.

      The study of empires has long been the study of their communications. Carved into stone or inked into parchment, empires from Babylon to the Ming dynasty left records of the organizational center communicating with its peripheries.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Naomi Klein on climate change: ‘I thought it best to write about my own raw terror’

      Naomi Klein, the Canadian author, film-maker and social activist, will arrive in Australia this month for a series of events.

    • WTO Ruling Against India’s Solar Push Threatens Climate, Clean Energy

      The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday ruled against India over its national solar energy program in a case brought by the U.S. government, sparking outrage from labor and environmental advocates.

      As power demands grow in India, the country’s government put forth a plan to create 100,000 megawatts of energy from solar cells and modules, and included incentives to domestic manufacturers to use locally-developed equipment.

    • SeaWorld criticism surges online after Harry Styles speaks out, analysts report

      It’s hard to imagine Wall Street bankers worrying about what One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles thinks. But, it turns out at least some of them do.

      Bankers at Credit Suisse on Thursday warned that Styles had sparked a surge in negative sentiment towards SeaWorld, the controversial aquatic theme park, which is already suffering a collapse in profits.

      “Does anybody like dolphins?” Styles asked his fans during a concert in San Diego, home to one of SeaWorld’s biggest parks, last month. Following a roar from the crowd, he told them: “Don’t go to SeaWorld.” Styles’s comments were captured by hundreds of people, including Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, and spread across social media.

  • Finance

    • More Than 4,000 Died Within Six Weeks Of Being Deemed ‘Fit For Work’, Reveal Government

      More than 4,000 people died within six weeks of being found “fit for work”, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed.

      Figures released today show that between December 2011 to February 2014, 4,010 people died after being told they should find work following a “Work Capability Assessment”.

      Of that figure, 1,360 died after losing an appeal against the decision.

      Labour branded the figures a “wake-up call” for the Government, who has faced criticism for the way the assessment tests are carried out.

    • TTIP deal: Business lobbyists dominate talks at expense of trade unions and NGOs

      European Commission officials have held hundreds of meetings with lobbyists to discuss the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty – yet only around one in ten is with public interest groups.

      The world’s biggest companies in finance, technology, pharma, tobacco and telecoms are dominating discussions with the EU executive body’s trade department responsible for the proposed EU-US free trade treaty, which could become the biggest such deal ever made.

    • Jeb Bush Hits Up Hedge Funds in the Hamptons

      Jeb Bush is visiting the Hamptons today on a lucrative fundraising tour, hitting up multi-billionaires like hedge fund manager Julian Robertson to support his 2016 campaign.

      According to invitations obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, the events over the next few days include a coffee reception in the morning, and a brunch at 11, and an evening reception. The fundraisers in the wealthy New York beach community are officially organized by Bush’s 2016 campaign–even though many of the hosts and attendees have already reached the legal maximum on contributions to Bush’s primary election effort.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Phone hacking: CPS may bring corporate charges against Murdoch publisher

      The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is considering bringing corporate charges against Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper publisher over phone hacking, it has emerged.

      The Metropolitan police handed over a file of evidence on News International – now renamed News UK – to the CPS for consideration after an investigation that stretches back to 2011, when the News of the World was closed at the height of the scandal.

      “We have received a full file of evidence for consideration of corporate liability charges relating to the Operation Weeting phone-hacking investigation,” a spokeswoman confirmed.

      The file was transferred on 23 July and reignites the controversy for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, News UK’s parent company, which believed it had been through the worst and come out the other side after an eight-month trial of former News of the World journalists that concluded in June 2014.

    • On Fox, Rudy Giuliani Claims VA Shooter’s Suspected Mental Health Issues Went Unreported Because Of Equal Employment Regulations
    • Felicia Kornbluh on ‘Welfare Reform’ Anniversary

      Would that even that degree of critical consideration would be granted to the anniversary of another disaster for low-income communities of color: the move to “end welfare as we know it,” signed into law in August 1996 by Bill Clinton. If you don’t remember the media stampede — Black women having babies for government checks! Pregnant teenagers draining public resources! — that’s partly because elite media, having championed hard for the dismantling of the safety net, were markedly less interested in tracking the human fallout.

  • Censorship

    • United In Flight WiFi Blocks Popular News Sites

      So, just last month, we wrote about United Airlines idiotic inflight video system that forces you to install DRM on your own devices to watch a movie. And, now, it appears that the company is filtering out all sorts of news sites. The EFF’s Nate Cardozo was on a flight yesterday when he started noticing that he couldn’t get to certain tech websites, including Ars Technica and The Verge — instead receiving messages they were blocked due to United’s “access policy.” The same was true for political news site Daily Kos. Eventually he even realized that United also blocks the NY Times (via his phone after the laptop battery ran out).

    • Kimmel spices up the 2016 campaign with some creative censorship

      In this week’s installment of “Unnecessary Censorship,” Jimmy Kimmel Live uses its well-placed [bleeps] to make Trump’s bragging, Ted Cruz’s thoughts on political correctness, the Jeb Bush campaign’s plans, and a fan of President Obama all sound more vulgar than they were. In this week’s installment of “Unnecessary Censorship,” Jimmy Kimmel Live uses its well-placed [bleeps] to make Trump’s bragging, Ted Cruz’s thoughts on political correctness, the Jeb Bush campaign’s plans, and a fan of President Obama all sound more vulgar than they were.

    • Jimmy Kimmel censors Donald Trump on ‘This Week in Unnecessary Censorship’

      In the clip, the presidential candidate speaks to a crowd of his supporters, bragging about having a huge … something. Being bleeped twice makes whatever Trump is saying sound worse, and yet, oddly believable!

    • Tool Makes It Easier to Evade Online Censors

      He’s already talked with Tor developers about Marionette’s open-source code.

    • US bioethicist quits over censorship row at Northwestern University

      The edition had sparked controversy as it included a salacious account of a consensual sexual encounter between Syracuse University professor William J. Peace with a nurse in the 1970s, when he was an 18-year-old hospital patient.

    • Northwestern University bioethics professor resigns over censorship claim

      A Northwestern University professor has resigned her position at the Feinberg School of Medicine after, she said, her complaints of academic censorship were ignored.

      Alice Dreger, who worked part time as a clinical medical humanities and bioethics professor, initially complained in 2014 that the school dean removed a risque article from a website for the bioethics journal Atrium because of fear it would harm the school’s image.

    • Japan’s censorship of PlayStation 4 horror game Until Dawn is spectacularly bad 【Video】

      …Japan’s method of handling violent video game content can be quite perplexing at times.

    • How censors are keeping Chinese citizens in the dark about “Black Monday”

      …mentions of the country’s economic weakness were pretty much absent from major Chinese media reports.

    • VPN down: China goes after Astrill, other anti-censorship apps in run up to WW2 anniversary parade

      A number of services used to get around Chinese internet restrictions have been taken down or disrupted in the run up to a major parade in Beijing next week to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

      Popular virtual private network (VPN) provider Astrill warned users on Wednesday that they may suffer service outages between now and the parade on September 3.

      VPNs allow users to tunnel their internet traffic through an uncensored server, bypassing the so-called Great Firewall (GFW).

    • Besieged Malaysian PM Doubles Down on Online Censorship Ahead of Anti-Corruption Rally

      Last month we reported that the Malaysian government had censored the website of the Sarawak Report, which first broke news of the corruption allegations. A few days later, the government also suspended the publication licenses of two print publications that ran the same exposé.

    • Giving lip: censorship, subversion and the enduring power of the screen kiss

      The humble kiss has figured in its fair share of censorship debates over time. These debates have usually centred on whether the kiss should be represented at all, as well as a monitoring of the content and duration of the amorous scene.

    • North-South tension causes internet censorship in Korea: Is it justified?

      South Korea has the world’s fastest internet with connectivity clocked at 25.3MBps by Akamai Technologies last year. That’s over two times better than the 11.5MBps measured in the United States. Such a wired environment, coupled with wide internet use, seem optimal grounds to foster free, creative discussions among peers in a democracy.

    • DDoS attack hits GitHub after Chinese police force developer to remove code

      GitHub has fallen prey to a DDoS attack this week, allegedly perpetrated by Chinese actors, in response to tools available on the site that would help users circumvent censorship.

      On Tuesday the site found that it was under attack from malicious sources, following a similar tirade against the site in March of this year. This time, though, the attacks have been much more intense.

    • How censorship divides us

      Political correctness has made us more wary of one another.

    • Istanbul fest director steps down after censorship scandal

      Azize Tan has stepped down after nine years following protests over censorship at the latest edition in April, which led to the cancellation of the festival’s competitions and closing ceremony.

    • Egypt interferes with printing of three newspapers

      The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a recent wave of newspaper censorship in Egypt. Three privately owned newspapers were prevented from going to print or into circulation because of content critical of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to news reports.

    • CPJ denounces recent wave of newspaper censorship

      The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned Tuesday the recent wave of newspaper censorship in Egypt, citing the new anti-terrorism law as the pretext for this phenomenon.

      Over the past two weeks, three newspapers were subjected to censorship, due to the presence of content critical of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

      A Sout Al-Omma newspaper issue was confiscated on 14 August for containing reports on the health condition of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s mother, as well as reports on a corrupt network of Mubarak-era figures.

    • A curious incident of censorship

      The book shows that differing opinions — and even vastly differing ways of thinking — exist and should be considered.

    • Trigger Warning Advocates Say They’re Not For Censorship

      Many of the responses to the article focus on the authors’ status as “rich, white-skinned and well-established men, who work at the moment in business-type jobs,” (though a lawyer working at a non-profit and a career academic might take issue with a few of those descriptors). Some accuse Lukianoff and Haidt of “hysteria,” “scaremongering,” and wanting to “silence discussions.” Others offered some nuance by conceding that trigger warnings “run the risk of students avoiding or disengaging the material out of fear of being triggered,” but think the threat to free expression in higher education is over-hyped.

    • Researchers create P2P Alibi Routing to avoid censorship and government surveillance

      University of Maryland researchers developed P2P Alibi Routing to allows users to choose where they do NOT want their packets to go, thereby avoiding ‘censorship of Internet traffic and suspicious boomerang routing.’

    • Takedown Resistant ‘Hydra Proxy’ Launches to Beat Censorship

      One year ago UK police noisily took down Immunicity, a site dedicated to providing access to blocked websites. To mark this anniversary a new platform titled Hydra Proxy has launched with the aim of providing a takedown resistant service for all. TorrentFreak caught up with its founder to learn more.

    • Censorship in Ridgefield

      Censorship often occurs because of power abuse, personal prejudice and ideological differences.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story

      The Associated Press filed a lawsuit (PDF) this morning, demanding the FBI hand over information about its use of fake news stories. The case stems from a 2007 incident regarding a bomb threat at a school. The FBI created a fake news story with an Associated Press byline, then e-mailed it to a suspect to plant malware on his computer.

      The AP sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI last year seeking documents related to the 2014 sting. It also seeks to know how many times the FBI has used such a ruse since 2000. The FBI responded to the AP saying it could take two years or more to gather the information requested. Unsatisfied with the response, the Associated Press has taken the matter to court.

    • AP Sues FBI Over Impersonating An AP Reporter With A Fake AP Story

      Last fall, we wrote about how the FBI had set up a fake AP news story in order to implant malware during an investigation. This came out deep in a document that had been released via a FOIA request by EFF, and first noticed by Chris Soghoian of the ACLU. The documents showed the FBI discussing how to install some malware, called a CIPAV (for Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier) by creating a fake news story…

    • Fox Host Complains That NYPD Officers Have To Justify Their Stop-And-Frisks
    • How a Gun in a Suitcase Became a Permanent Ball and Chain

      For carriage of the gun, she was delivered to Rikers Island and charged with attempted criminal possession of a weapon and eventually posted a bail bond of $10,000. Appearing in court in Queens, she was told by a judge, she said, “‘This ain’t Texas; we don’t carry guns here.’”

    • Online identity theft to become a crime

      As of September 4, online identity theft will be illegal in Finland. Many people may soon find that even creating a fake social media profile can be considered a misdemeanour.

    • First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist

      North Dakota police will be free to fire ‘less than lethal’ weapons from the air thanks to the influence of Big Drone.

      It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist.

      With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than lethal” weapons. House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way, but then a lobbyist representing law enforcement—tight with a booming drone industry—got his hands on it.

      The bill’s stated intent was to require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. In fact, the original draft of Representative Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones.

    • Here’s What Actually Gets Terrorists To Tell The Truth — And It’s Not Torture

      Hollywood has a lot to answer for. Thanks to the hit TV show 24 and movies like Zero Dark Thirty, we think we know what terrorist interrogations look like: After being roughed up and threatened, the suspect breaks down and reveals all. Mass murder is thwarted. Osama Bin Laden is shot.

      The end, we tell ourselves, justifies the ugly means.

      Even after the abuses committed at CIA “black sites” were laid bare last year by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, most Americans stuck to this view. Some 59% believed the CIA’s harsh interrogation methods were justified, in a December 2014 poll run for the Washington Post and ABC News.

    • The UK Hits Moral Rock Bottom

      The conduct of the political class is utterly shameless. Meantime they indulge their fantasies of stripping workers of all protection and of stopping aid to the needy, and while the politicians gorge and gorge, the poor are quietly being slipped away to die.

    • Beware of Chilcot

      I am worried that the continued delay in the publication of Chilcot’s report is giving rise to expectations that it will be forthright and damning of Blair and his supporters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though Blair plunged us into an illegal war with dreadful long-term consequences, the report has always been designed to be a typical Whitehall fudge. Mistakes made – errors of judgement – all in good faith – lessons learned. You don’t have to wait for it, that is it.

      The Chilcot team was handpicked by Gordon Brown – himself up to his neck in guilt for the illegal invasion – and three of the five had been aggressive proponents of the war. The remaining two, Chilcot and Baroness Prasad, are “sound” for the Establishment. Let me remind you of my analysis of the committee members in 2009. Sir Lawrence Freedman was an active propagandist for the invasion while Sir Martin Gilbert (died while contributing to the committee) was so enamoured of the invasion he compared Bush and Blair to Roosevelt and Churchill. Rod Lyne was actively involved in selling the WMD lies and arguably in danger of war crime accusation himself.

    • Katrina’s ‘Golden Opportunity’: 10 Years of Corporate Media Celebrating Disaster

      Americans love, above all, a narrative. Preferably a moral one, marked by a clear good and evil. For many so-called “school reformers,” the tragedy of Katrina, which marks its ten-year anniversary today, provided that narrative. Its stark before-and-after provided a clear A/B test as to the righteousness of their cause. Before was a “broken school system,” and after is a glossy, privatized education system.

      We’ll set aside the fact that this is largely a fantasy. Torture the data enough, and the “New Orleans miracle” can be teased out if one wants it enough. Despite studies and reporting showing otherwise, for the sake of this piece it doesn’t actually matter if radical post-Katrina New Orleans school reform was a “success,” a failure or somewhere in between. What is important is that so many corporatists think this “miracle” was not just an incidental positive but was, all things considered, worth it. Worth the 1,800 people killed and the 100,000 African-Americans permanently ejected from the city.

      The most popular examination of this pathology is, of course, from Naomi Klein, who coined the idea of the ”shock doctrine” in her 2007 book of the same name. In it, she explores how Katrina and other manmade and non-manmade disasters are exploited to rush through a radical right wing corporate agenda.

    • 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina, Media Need To See The Link Between Climate Change And Social Justice

      Ten years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, environmental justice advocates feel the time is long overdue for the media to start connecting the dots between climate change and social justice.

      There may be no clearer example of this intersection than in the impact and aftermath of 2005′s Hurricane Katrina. Between the devastating effects of the storm itself, and the decade-long effort to restore destroyed communities afterwards, the region’s African-American population has demonstrably suffered the most.

    • 13 Simple But Exciting Ways To Lose Your Citizenship In Tony Abbott’s Team Australia

      The government’s proposed citizenship stripping laws are about a lot more than taking citizenship off people who try to blow up a train. In fact, they may well rip away the rights of a vast range of people for a staggering number of reasons.

      We’ve gone though the expert responses to the bill – currently before a parliamentary inquiry – and picked out the best ways to see your citizenship disappear if you are a dual national.

      If you’re going to end up banished from Australia, you may as well have some fun doing it.

      Before we go on we should note that it’s not exactly clear how many dual nationals there are in Australia but if you’re one of them, this could soon apply to you. We’re looking at you, John Pilger… Germaine Greer, et al.

    • The Future of One-Party Rule in Singapore

      At the talk titled The Future of One-Party Rule in Singapore, Dr Chee spoke about the implications of one-party rule in the past, present and future and how the next general election will influence democratic politics in Singapore. Students and faculty posed questions after Dr Chee gave brief opening remarks, leading to a lively discussion in an already overflowing room of more than 100 members of the Yale-NUS community.


      I am frustrated at how a country this economically advanced can be so socially backward, but to think about it, it is not surprising at all. With all that has been going down in recent years (e.g. Amos Yee, the National Library Board penguin saga), the world is looking at us. What Singapore needs right now is for people in power to put their foot down and say, “Hey, this is wrong, and I’m going to fight for what is right.” Unfortunately, at the end of the day, elections are a race for votes, and few are willing to risk losing votes this way. After all, the less people you piss off, the higher the chances you have at winning. We need social change, and we need it now. Yet how can we ever have real change if advocating for it only puts people off or gets you shut down?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Armors, Glory and… religion in a US trade mark clash

        Regardless of spelling, Armor&Glory’s market impact appears minimal. According to the story, “it has so far made less than $100,000 in revenue since 2013 — about 0.003 percent of Under Armour’s sales just last year. The company’s online store sells $20 shorts and $25 shirts designed largely for a core Christian audience, with slogans like “Be spiritually attractive” and ‘Put on God’s armor and receive His glory.’”.

    • Copyrights

      • Piracy: Hollywood’s Losing a Few Pounds, Who Cares?

        Following news this week that a man is facing a custodial sentence after potentially defrauding the movie industry out of £120m, FACT Director General Kieron Sharp has been confronted with an uncomfortable truth. According to listeners contacting the BBC, the public has little sympathy with Hollywood.

      • Pirate Bay Founder Released From Jail But Immediately Re-Arrested

        Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm was released from a Danish prison yesterday, only to be immediately re-arrested by police. The Swede is now expected to be extradited back to his home country where he will be returned to prison, but not before appearing in court today to appeal the decision.

      • Tech Giants Want to Punish DMCA Takedown Abusers

        The CCIA, which represents global tech firms including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, has published an extensive research paper on the future of copyright in the digital landscape. One of the main suggestions is to extent current copyright law, so that senders of wrongful DMCA takedown notices face serious legal consequences.

      • Facebook Wants to Crack Down on Pirated Videos

        Facebook says it will give video creators and publishers a way to remove copyrighted videos that have been uploaded to its popular social network without the proper permission.


Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

Posted in News Roundup at 8:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Hopes Open Source Will Give Its Cloud A Path To The Enterprise

    Instead, Google expects that becoming more open — and releasing more open-source software — will create a path for the company to make inroads into the enterprise. “Google has recognized that open is a better way of building,” McLuckie also noted. “We’ve come to admire the ability of the open-source community to drive innovation.”

    He argued that building out in the open not only allows it to build a better product for its customers, but also to enable faster integration cycles. In addition, having an open-source project that involves other companies also allows it to absorb the DNA of these companies into the product.

  • Like open source software, a book is more than its content

    Instead, we chose to partner with Harvard Business Review (HBR) Press. In many ways, HBR does for books what Red Hat does for open source software; it collaborates with creators and adds value to the products of these collaborations. Like any piece of open source software (such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, for example), a book is far more than the content it contains. Like a software application, a book is a project with multiple stakeholders. It involves an agent that works to put the book on publishers’ radars. It involves an editorial team that reviews manuscripts and suggests improvements. And it involves a marketing team that decides how best to develop and target potential audiences.

  • Aligning Democratic Candidates with Open Source Software OSes

    A few days ago, I aligned Republican presidential hopefuls with open source Linux-based operating systems. Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn: If Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders et al. ran Linux, which distribution would they use? Read on for some perspective.

  • INSIGHT: Top 5 reasons why Open Source technology is the answer

    Organisations that can effectively harness people’s innate tendency to make their lives easier will be more likely to successfully develop software and applications that genuinely disrupt, or protect against disruption, as business needs dictate.

  • Software Development Environment Must Be Open, Says Red Hat

    The application development technology of the future must provide a framework for users to develop software quickly and get it to market fast.

    That’s according to Red Hat, who says open source technology is the answer.

    Red Hat says organisations that can effectively harness people’s innate tendency to make their lives easier will be more likely to successfully develop software and applications that genuinely disrupt, or protect against disruption, as business needs dictate.

  • 10 ways open source tech is changing the rules of the game

    In the last few years, open source software platforms such as Android have established themselves as essential catalysts for technology advances.

  • How Open Source Is Improving The Way Businesses Visualize Data

    It was recently reported that the Colorado-based startup SlamData is working on creating an enterprise version of its open source analytics platform. Their solution allows users to see and understand NoSQL data and this will now enable larger businesses to visualize data more effectively. The platform will enable large businesses to visualize semi-structured NoSQL data by adding proprietary security and management features to the main open source platform.

  • FCC Chairman Promises Open-Source Video-Conferencing Platform for ASL-Signing Callers

    FCC Chairman Tim Wheeler addressed the biannual meeting of the Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI) Conference in Baltimore on Thursday, with news of interest to anyone who works in assistive technologies.

  • For UNC scientists, open source is the way forward

    But scientists know they can manipulate those kinases to combat the disease. And chemical biologists at the University of North Carolina are leading an open source effort to unlock the secrets of kinase activity—secrets they say could pioneer a new generation of drug discovery.

  • How open source will power tomorrow’s tech unicorns

    With open source technology already powering business like Facebook, Google and Booking.com – and 70% of new apps – will it be the backbone of the next wave of unicorns?

  • A simple, scalable solution for storing and serving build artifacts

    Now we’re making Pinrepo open source on GitHub. There you can find all of the configuration stanzas and instructions to recreate it for yourself. It also includes a pypi release tool to release and maintain pypi packages. Check it out and let us know what you think! And, feel free to contribute back with your customizations and improvements.

  • Stephen Hawking’s Voice Is Now Open Source And Free To Download [Ed: Windows-only, Intel commercial as an ‘article’, exploiting a disabled person as the marketing logo]

    Currently, you’ll need a Windows machine to use ACAT. In the future, though, it would seem like this is exactly the kind of app that should be running on a smartphone, which is already bristling with cameras and sensors.

  • Markup lowdown: 4 markup languages every team should know

    When I ended my Doc Dish article about why you should use a rendered language for documentation, I told you that selecting a language was a matter for another day.

    Well another day has finally arrived.

    There’s no shortage of languages you can use for formatting and publishing your documentation, and your choice of language will depend on your project’s needs. In this article I’ll look at several different language options, ranging from the simplest to the most complex. It’s hardly an exhaustive list, so make the case for your favorite (or most hated) language in the comments.

  • Docs or it didn’t happen

    Many words have been written on community building, engagement, and retention. The discussion around community management is alive and kicking, with articles and blog posts everywhere about how to grow, support, and not mess up open source communities.

  • Events

    • Linux Plumbers Conference 2015

      Linux Plumbers 2015 finished up last Friday. Another great conference. The focus of Plumbers is supposed to be more problem solving/discussion and less talking/lecturing. To really get the most out of Plumbers, you need to be an active participant and asking questions or giving input. Plumbers was co-located with the group of conferences now run by the Linux Foundation. The fist day of Plumbers overlapped with the last day of Linux Con. This day was as bit more lecture focused like a regular conference. Even if Plumbers is typically a discussion conference, the talks I went to were all great.

    • Speakers and Agenda announced for Tizen Developer Conference 2015 Shenzhen

      The Tizen Developer Conference 2015 has been moved this year from San Francisco to Shenzhen, China, from September 17 to 18. This is the annual event that brings together open source and app developers who are interested in contributing to the growth of the Tizen ecosystem worldwide.

    • First Round of systemd.conf 2015 Sponsors

      We are happy to announce the first round of systemd.conf 2015 sponsors!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla CEO threatens to fire person responsible for anonymous hate speech on Reddit

        An anonymous person complaining about “social justice bullies” at Mozilla will be fired if the person is discovered to be an employee, the company’s CEO said today. Speaking at Mozilla’s weekly public meeting, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard said Reddit user aioyama had “crossed the line” in a series of postings about women at the company, including recently departed community organizer Christie Koehler. In a series of tweets earlier this month, Koehler complained about Mozilla’s lack of diversity in the workplace and its failure to address accessibility issues.

      • SIMD in Rust

        For the last two months, I’ve been interning at Mozilla Research, working on improving the state of SIMD parallelism in Rust: exposing more CPU instructions in the compiler, and an in-progress library that provides a mostly-safe but low-level interface to that core functionality.

      • Rust Gains Greater SIMD Support

        A new SIMD scheme is now available in the latest nightly versions of the Rust programming language.

        Mozilla Research has been working on improving SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) parallelism in Rust that’s simple to use.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Eclipse seeks donations for open source development

      The Eclipse Foundation, best known for its Eclipse IDE, is moving into funding its open source projects via donations.

      Previously, all Eclipse development was done by individuals and organizations contributing their time. “Today, we are significantly lowering the barriers for companies and individuals to actively invest in the ongoing development of the Eclipse platform,” Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich said in a recent blog post.

    • Mirantis Raises Another $100 Million, This Time from Intel
  • BSD

    • Why FreeBSD should not adopt launchd

      I have been keeping an eye on NextBSD for some time, when it was initially just openlaunchd, an effort initially started by R. Tyler as a GSoC student in 2005 to, unsurprisingly, port the launchd system and service manager to FreeBSD. It was stalled for a long time until its revival in late 2013, but again moving very slowly.

      Around November of 2014 at the MeetBSD conference, Jordan Hubbard delivered a talk entitled “FreeBSD: The Next 10 Years,” which outlined a general desire for a more “event-driven” and unified configuration approach to FreeBSD, strongly implying the use of launchd as system bootstrap and service daemon, as well as other parts of the OS X low-level userspace.

    • LLVM 3.7 & Clang 3.7 Are Bringing Exciting Compiler Features, Improvements

      The LLVM 3.7 release is imminent so here’s our usual look at the new features/improvements for this open-source compiler stack. Complete OpenMP 3 support is a big one but there’s also many other big ticket items to find in this major compiler update.

    • LLVM 3.7′s Release Is Imminent

      The release of LLVM 3.7 is imminent.

      Days after preparing the 3.7-RC3 release, Hans Wennborg of Google has announced the release of 3.7-RC3.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Umeå University computer club supports open source

      The Academic Computer Club at the Umeå University in Sweden is a major supporter of open source projects. ACC UMU hosts one of the popular free software mirrors, and is one of the official sponsors of the Debian open source software distribution, maintaining a few of the project’s servers. The club supports two more well-known projects, the Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC) and Freenode. Both projects provide communication facilities that benefit free software communities.s

    • How Scotland can protect itself from GCHQ spying by going open source

      One of the key lies out out in last years referendum was that we couldn’t exist securely without the British Security Services (the ones that brought you extraordinary rendition).

    • Digital Assembly developing list of digital rights for interaction with public agencies

      Citizens and businesses should have to provide basic information only once, eGovernment services should be user-friendly and intuitive, and users should be digitally literate in order to use online (public) services. These are the most important digital rights for citizens and businesses when interacting with public agencies, as identified by panellists and the audience at the workshop ‘Promoting e-society’.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Facebook open-sources Hack code generator

      Hack is Facebook’s spinoff of the PHP language, working with the HHVM virtual machine. The library, meanwhile, generates code that is written into signed files to prevent undesired modifications. “The idea behind writing code that writes code is to raise the level of abstraction and reduce coupling,” Facebook said on its GitHub page for Hack Codegen.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • When everything’s a request for comments

      The Internet’s foundational documents are called “requests for comments” or “RFCs.” Published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the organization whose stated goal is “to make the Internet work better,” RFCs define and explain the operational standards by which our worldwide network of networks functions. In other words, they specify the rules everyone should follow when building and implementing new Internet technologies. Engineers working on the Internet discuss potential RFCs, debate their merits, then post their decisions online for anyone to read.

    • Centimeters and Points are the best [ODF]

      For example, when saving ODF with LibreOffice, the unit that is used for storage depends on the user preferences. This can lead to inconveniences and rounding errors. If I specify a margin of 1.25cm and send it to someone who has the preferences set to use inches, the margin will be stored as 0.4925in. When that number is converted back to centimeters, the value is 1.25095cm which is 1‰ more than the original value.


  • Angry Birds maker Rovio plans deep job cuts as profits fall

    Finland’s Rovio, maker of mobile phone game Angry Birds, forecast its earnings would fall for a third consecutive year and said it planned to slash up to 39 percent of its workforce to try to improve its prospects.

    Rovio has failed to create new hit games since the 2009 launch of Angry Birds, the top paid mobile app of all time, though it has tried to capitalise on its most successful brand by licensing its use on string of consumer products.

  • Google Express Workers Vote ‘Yes’ to Union, as Warehouses Plan to Shut Down

    On Friday afternoon, 151 warehouse and shipping workers for Google Express, the search engine’s delivery service, voted in favor of joining a union. Last month, workers at the Palo Alto, Calif., facility agreed to join Teamsters Local 853, which has unionized shuttle drivers for eBay, Apple, Yahoo and other companies.

  • Science

    • MIT creates file system that will survive unexpected crashes

      IT’S A SITUATION that will be familiar to most computer users. Your computer crashes, and when you manage to get it back up and running the disk has corrupted some data. Probably the bit that was vital and so new that it hadn’t been backed up yet.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • NYT: Not Believing in Climate Change Is Like Believing in Food Shortages

      Is rejecting climate science, though, really like having believed that unchecked population growth would lead to food shortages? Contrary to Leonhardt’s glib “it hasn’t,” food shortages are a serious problem in the world right now. According to the UN World Food Programme, “Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life…about one in nine people on Earth.” The WFP notes that about 3.1 million children die from malnutrition a year–and that one in four children on Earth are stunted by lack of food. That seems fairly widespread.

      Unlike climate change denial, which if anything has exacerbated the problem of global warming, warnings about overpopulation may have had the intended effect of curbing population growth. China’s draconian one-child policy was directly inspired by the warnings of limits-to-growth advocates like the Club of Rome, along with numerous less coercive family planning initiatives. Partially as a result of these programs, the global population growth rate declined from above 2 percent in the 1960s and early ’70s to close to 1 percent and falling today. Without this reduction in growth, the population would be about 2 billion higher today than its current 7.3 billion.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Court rules FTC can prosecute companies over lax online security

      The Third Circuit US Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission does have the right to prosecute firms who mishandle their customers’ data.

      Between 2008 and 2009, hotel chain Wyndham Worldwide – which runs hotels under the Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Ramada, Super 8, and Travelodge brands – suffered three computer intrusions. The hackers stole the personal information and credit card numbers of over 619,000 customers, causing at least $10.6m in thefts.

    • The Basic Principles of Security (and Why They Matter)

      Yet, despite the frequent complaints about the unrealistic demands of security, today the problem is just as likely to be the insistence on convenience. With the rise of desktop Linux and the popularity of Android, the pressure to be as easy to use as Windows is almost irresistible. As a result, there is no question that the average distribution is less secure than those of a decade ago. That is the price we pay for automounting external devices and giving new users automatic access to printers and scanners — and will continue to pay.

    • GitHub combats DDoS cyberattack

      At the time, the code repository said the cyberattack involved “a wide combination of attack vectors,” as well as new techniques including the hijacking of unsuspecting user traffic to flood GitHub, killing the service.

    • Jails – High value but shitty Virtualization

      Virtualization is nothing new, and depending how fundamentalist you define “virtualized environment” one can point to the earliest of timesharing systems as the origin.

      IBM’s mainframe hardware, the 360 machine series, introduced hardware virtualization, so that it was possible to run several of IBMs different and incompatible operating systems on the same computer at the same time.

      It’s more than a little bit ironic that a platform which have lasted 50 years now, were beset by backwards-compatibility issues almost from the start, and even more so that IBMs patents on this area of technology prevented anybody else from repeating their mistake for that long.

      Everybody else did software virtualization.

    • How to crack Ubuntu encryption and passwords

      During Positive Hack Days V, I made a fast track presentation about eCryptfs and password cracking. The idea came to me after using one feature of Ubuntu which consists in encrypting the home folder directory. This option can be selected during installation or activated later.

    • AT&T Hotspots: Now with Advertising Injection

      While traveling through Dulles Airport last week, I noticed an Internet oddity. The nearby AT&T hotspot was fairly fast—that was a pleasant surprise.

      But the web had sprouted ads. Lots of them, in places they didn’t belong.

    • Advertising malware rates have tripled in the last year, according to report

      Ad networks have been hit with a string of compromises in recent months, and according to a new report, many of the infections are making it through to consumers. A study published today by Cyphort found that instances of malware served by ad networks more than tripled between June 2014 and February 2015, based on monthly samples taken during the period. Dubbed “malvertising,” the attacks typically sneaking malicious ads onto far-reaching ad networks. The networks deliver those malware-seeded ads to popular websites, which pass them along to a portion of the visitors to the site. The attacks typically infect computers by exploiting vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash, typically triggered as soon as an ad is successfully loaded.

    • How security flaws work: the buffer overflow

      The most important central concept is the memory address. Every individual byte of memory has a corresponding numeric address. When the processor loads and stores data from main memory (RAM), it uses the memory address of the location it wants to read and write from. System memory isn’t just used for data; it’s also used for the executable code that makes up our software. This means that every function of a running program also has an address.

    • Lessons learned from cracking 4,000 Ashley Madison passwords

      When hackers released password data for more than 36 million Ashley Madison accounts last week, big-league cracking expert Jeremi Gosney didn’t bother running them through one of his massive computer clusters built for the sole purpose of password cracking. The reason: the passwords were protected by bcrypt, a cryptographic hashing algorithm so strong Gosney estimated it would take years using a highly specialized computer cluster just to check the dump for the top 10,000 most commonly used passwords.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UN Official Says Human Suffering in Yemen “Almost Incomprehensible”

      With a staggering four in five Yemenis now in need of immediate humanitarian aid, 1.5 million people displaced and a death toll that has surpassed 4,000 in just five months, a United Nations official told the Security Council on August 19 that the scale of human suffering is “almost incomprehensible”.

      Briefing the 15-member body upon his return from the embattled Arab nation on Aug. 19, Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien stressed that the civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict and warned that unless warring parties came to the negotiating table there would soon be “nothing left to fight for”.

      An August assessment report by Save the Children-Yemen on the humanitarian situation in the country of 26 million noted that over 21 million people, or 80 percent of the population, require urgent relief in the form of food, fuel, medicines, sanitation and shelter.

    • Media and Nuclear Deal Opponents Continue to Spread Debunked Myth Iran Will Monitor Itself

      There is no dearth of rumors about the Iran nuclear deal. In the latest scare, two allegations have filled the media: the first, that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran made “secret side deals”; the second, that the IAEA, in those negotiations, put the Iranian government in charge of investigating alleged nuclear research at its Parchin military base.

      The latter supposed exposé comes from a now-debunked story by Associated Press (8/19/15). The piece, in its first draft, was full of errors and distortions (Vox, 8/20/15; War on the Rocks, 8/24/15). But its supposed revelations filled the airwaves.

    • The Iran Nuclear Deal: Give Diplomacy a Chance

      A war with Iran would be a catastrophe, yet by opposing diplomacy, hundreds of members of Congress may be blundering into just such a conflict. The Iran nuclear deal, as the complex diplomatic arrangement is popularly called, was agreed upon on July 14 by a consortium of key powerful countries, the European Union and Iran. The goal of the agreement is to limit Iran’s nuclear activities to peaceful purposes, and to block Iran’s ability to construct a nuclear bomb. Despite what its critics say, this agreement is not based on trust. It grants the International Atomic Energy Agency the power to conduct widespread, intrusive inspections to ensure that Iran keeps its many pledges. In return, many, but not all, of the sanctions on Iran, which have been crippling its economy, will be lifted.

      The alternative to diplomacy is to pour gasoline on a region of the world already on fire with intense, complex military conflicts. Iran’s military has more than half a million soldiers, no doubt with many more who could be mobilized if threatened with invasion. Iran shares a vast border to its west with Iraq, and to its east with Afghanistan, two nations with ongoing military and humanitarian disasters that have consumed the U.S. military since 2001, costing trillions of dollars and untold lives.

    • Autoplay Is for a G-Rated World

      Tragedy struck Bedford County, Virginia this morning when two journalists, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, were shot to death on live TV.

      The people viewing the broadcast at home had no choice but to watch the horror unfold, and neither did many social media users. Video of the shooting autoplayed on Twitter, Facebook (despite a content warning feature reportedly implemented in January), and other sites that support autoplay video.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Tourist Unclear On Concept Of Wild Animals Demands Yellowstone Provide Better Bears

      Mashable reports that the following note was left by a guest at Yellowstone and then posted on Reddit by a friend of someone who works at the park. The note was left upon checkout by someone who does not understand how wild bears work (they don’t fuck with you unless you’ve got a pool) but is nonetheless quite polite; it’s refreshing that they were so kind about their disappointment, unlike the woman who threatened to shit herself in anger at Town Hall when Disneyland didn’t have fireworks the last time I went.

    • Environmentalists Blast Obama’s Decision to Let Shell Drill in Arctic

      Apparently the president cares more about Big Oil than the environment, endangered animals, indigenous people — even his own climate legacy.


      “This is a disaster,” said Kristin Brown, director of digital strategy at the League of Conservation Voters, in an email. “Shell has an awful safety track record — even the Interior Department says there’s a 75 percent risk of a large oil spill if these leases are developed, and in the unpredictable Arctic Ocean, cleanup would be next-to-impossible.”

    • ​The Nations That Will Be Hardest Hit by Water Shortages by 2040

      Water access is going to be one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. As climate change dries out the already dry areas and makes the wet ones wetter, we’re poised to see some radical civilizational shifts. For one, a number of densely populated areas will come under serious water stress—which analysts fear will lead to strife, thirst, and even violent conflict. With that in mind, the World Resource Institute has assembled a new report projecting which nations are most likely to be hardest hit by water stress in coming decades.

  • Finance

    • Armando Iannucci urges BBC to monetise its programmes overseas and resist ‘prejudiced’ Tory attacks

      “If it was a car industry, our ministers would be out championing it overseas, trying to win contracts, boasting of the British jobs that would bring. And if the BBC were a weapons system, half the Cabinet would be on a plane to Saudi Arabia to tell them how brilliant it was,” he said.

    • Latest Seattle Jobs Numbers Disprove Fox’s Minimum Wage Misinformation

      New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) disproves allegations promoted by Fox News that the 2015 increase in Seattle’s minimum wage has destroyed restaurant jobs.

    • The stock market roller coaster is not being felt by most Americans for one simple reason

      That’s because fewer people are invested in the stock market today than at any time in nearly the last two decades — the product of dogged wage stagnation and a dramatic loss of faith in markets.

    • Prof. Wolff speaks to The Big Picture’s Thom Hartmann about Market Meltdown

      Prof. Wolff talks to The Big Picture’s Thom Hartmann about Monday’s historic lows in the financial markets. Prof. Wolff breaks down China’s economy and if the devaluation of the yuan is the root to this market meltdown. Then Prof. Wolff and Thom take a look at the U.S. economy and review wage growth, inequality, and pensions.

    • The Stock Market Is Not the Economy

      We are seeing the usual hysteria over the sharp drop in the markets in Asia, Europe, and perhaps the US. (Wall Street seems to be rallying as I write.) There are a few items worth noting as we enjoy the panic.

      First and most importantly, the stock market is not the economy. The stock market has fluctuations all the time that have nothing to do with the real economy. The most famous was the 1987 crash, which did not correspond to any real-world bad event that anyone could identify.

    • WSJ Editorial Blames Progressives For Student Debt, Claims Government Loans Send “Deadbeats” To College
    • Fox Exploits Stock Market Turbulence To Push GOP Policies, Major Tax Cuts

      On August 24, major stock markets in the United States opened their trading sessions with significant declines and sustained losses of 3 to 5 percent throughout much of the morning. Fox News used the event to advocate on behalf of numerous failed Republican policy demands, such as major tax cuts for the wealthy and a significant roll back of federal regulations.

    • Sanders Sends Letter to Postmaster General
    • ‘Suicide guidance’ given to benefits staff preparing for desperate calls on welfare reform

      GUIDELINES on how to deal with suicidal benefits claimants have been handed out by the Department for Work and Pensions to Scots workers tasked with rolling out the UK Government’s controversial welfare reforms.

      As part of a six-point plan for dealing with suicidal claimants who have been denied welfare payments, call-centre staff in Glasgow have been told to wave the guidance, printed on a laminated pink card, above their head.

      The guidance is meant to help staff dealing with unsuccessful applicants for Universal Credit who are threatening to self-harm or take their own life.

      A manager is then meant to rush over to listen in to the call and workers – who insist they have had no formal training in the procedure – must “make some assessment on the degree of risk” by asking a series of questions.

      One section of the six-point plan, titled “gather information”, demands that staff allow claimants to talk about their intention to commit suicide.

      The call-centre workers, who earn between £15,000 and £17,000 a year, must “find out specifically what is planned, when it is planned for, and whether the customer has the means-to-hand”, according to the guidance seen by the Sunday Herald.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • The Illusion of Online Privacy

      As the Ashley Madison hack demonstrated, Web companies can’t guarantee privacy.

    • Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site

      When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number got blown up in news stories that asserted “90-95%” of them were fake, though nobody put forth any evidence for such an enormous number. So I downloaded the data and analyzed it to find out how many actual women were using Ashley Madison, and who they were.

    • Here’s what Ashley Madison members have told me

      As someone said to me in one of the comments on my blog, trying to remove your data from the web is “like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool”. I added the DMCA comment in there as well because this has come up many times in the press. There’s a good piece on it in an article that emerged after news of the attack first broke last month (paradoxically, stating that DMCA is the reason the full data hadn’t been leaked), do read Parker Higgins’ comment about the “fraudulent” use of the act in terms of its’ use for removing data breaches. Regardless, a US law will in no way stop the mass distribution of this data, particularly via a decentralised mechanism like torrents.

    • Digital surveillance ‘worse than Orwell’, says new UN privacy chief

      The first UN privacy chief has said the world needs a Geneva convention style law for the internet to safeguard data and combat the threat of massive clandestine digital surveillance.

      Speaking to the Guardian weeks after his appointment as the UN special rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci described British surveillance oversight as being “a joke”, and said the situation is worse than anything George Orwell could have foreseen.

      He added that he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter, and said it was regrettable that vast numbers of people sign away their digital rights without thinking about it.

    • Canada’s Police Want Laws That Will Give Them ‘Real Time’ Access to Your Data

      Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, Canadian cops need a warrant before they can get subscriber information from telecommunication companies—which is why police are now lobbying for a legal workaround so they can access that same information without court approval.

      In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that subscriber information such as names and addresses carries with it a reasonable expectation of privacy, and that accessing such information without a warrant constitutes an unlawful search. The ruling has caused “substantial resource and workload challenges for law enforcement,” according to a resolution adopted by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) at its annual convention in August.

    • Vint Cerf Echoes Widespread Concerns About the Internet of Things

      According to a study from HP Security Research, 70 percent of the most widely used Internet of Things devices have notable security vulnerabilities.

    • Facebook promotes Scheeler to managing director

      Facebook has promoted Stephen Scheeler to the role of managing director of its Australia and New Zealand region business.

    • 9 steps to make you completely anonymous online

      The default state of Internet privacy is a travesty. But if you’re willing to work hard, you can experience the next best thing to absolute Internet anonymity

    • Everybody Hates When You Use Your Phone at Dinner

      It’s official: using your cell phone during a family dinner is frowned upon by pretty much everybody.

      A new survey by Pew Research Center found that 88% of respondents believe it’s “generally” not OK to use a cell phone during dinner. An even larger percentage, 94%, say cell phone use is inappropriate during meetings, while 95% say they shouldn’t be used at theaters and 96% say they shouldn’t be used during religious services.

    • Abe Asks U.S. to Investigate Alleged NSA Spying on Japanese Government

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday asked U.S. President Barack Obama to investigate alleged spying by the National Security Agency on the Japanese government and companies, Mr. Abe’s spokesman said.

    • Concerns new Tor weakness is being exploited prompt dark market shutdown
    • IBM Tells Companies To Block Tor On Security Grounds

      Tor is increasingly being used to scan organisations for vulnerabilities and to launch attacks

      The Tor anonymisation network is increasingly used as the point of origin of attacks on public- and private-sector organisations, according to a new report by IBM, which recommends administrators ban access to the network.

      The report also noted increases in SQL injection and distributed denial-of-service attacks and of “ransomware” incidents that encrypt data belonging to an individual or an organisation, and then charge a fee to decrypt it.

    • UN privacy rapporteur invokes Orwell and calls for global digital privacy

      UN PRIVACY RAPPORTEUR Joseph Cannataci has suggested – and he is not the first – that citizens need better data protection from technology companies, governments, the internet, heck the 21st century.

      Cannataci, who assumed the position last month after a 29-person battle royal/interview process, has made it clear that, as a representative for privacy, he will represent privacy.

    • Ashley Madison faces proposed class-action lawsuit over half-deleted data

      After a breach of the site’s database, people combing through the information found that Ashley Madison, and other properties owned by parent company Avid Life Media (ALM), had retained quite a bit of information pertaining to users who purchased a “full delete” of their profile for £15, including GPS coordinates, date of birth, gender, ethnicity, weight, height, among other details. Although e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and descriptions written by users who sought “full deletes” were eliminated by the time the hackers accessed the database, the incidental data that Ashley Madison kept on those users could still paint quite a picture. The Register has a table that nicely illustrates what information Ashley Madison kept on “deleted” users and what it actually deleted.

      In addition, when Ars investigated the “full delete” option on Ashley Madison a year ago, we found that there was little difference between a “full delete” and the “hiding your profile” option, except that messages that a user sent to another user would be deleted if exiting users paid the fee.

  • Civil Rights

    • Former head of the Army leads the calls for translators to be given safe haven in Britain

      Generals, decorated war heroes, grieving families and politicians last night urged soldiers and members of the public to sign a petition to save Afghan interpreters from the Taliban.

      General Sir Richard Dannatt, former head of the Army, led the calls as he pledged to sign a petition asking David Cameron to give all translators a safe haven in Britain.

      He praised the Daily Mail for its Betrayal of the Brave series of articles highlighting the plight of frontline Afghans who risked their lives for UK troops in the battlefield.

      He said: ‘We have a moral obligation to look after these people and if they feel once we have left that they cannot assume their normal lives because of fear having worked for us, then it is our obligation to have them in this country.

    • Saudi Arabia executed 175 people in past year, says Amnesty International

      On average, one person every two days was put to death in kingdom, says new report, with figures for 2015 already ahead of those for whole of last year [...] on average one person every two days [...] Saudi courts allow for people to be executed for adultery, apostasy and witchcraft.

    • Instead of Releasing Dashcam, Cops Hire PR Firm to Help Cover Up Murder of Unarmed Teen

      A former police captain recently signed an affidavit affirming that several formal reprimands are missing from the personnel file of the officer who killed a 19-year-old during a marijuana bust. Although the police chief claims that no disciplinary actions have been taken against the officer, his former supervisor lists multiple performance issues resulting from the officer’s negligence. In an attempt to improve public relations, city officials have hired a PR firm at the expense of taxpayers’ dollars instead of releasing the dash cam videos of the shooting.

    • Woman ‘too drunk to fly’ after downing hundred-pound bottle of cognac airport security officials attempted to confiscate

      A woman reportedly downed a £120 bottle of cognac after airport security officials attempted to confiscate the liquid – only to be denied boarding as she was “too drunk to fly”.

      The woman, who is being identified only by her surname of Zhao, was allegedly seen rolling about on the floor of Beijing Capitol International Airport, according to the Beijing Times.

    • Feds’ cyberbullying reverses cops’ convictions for shooting unarmed people

      In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, five former New Orleans police officers were sentenced to six to 65 years in prison in connection to on-the-job deadly shootings of unarmed civilians. But recently, these five officers had their convictions set aside by a federal appeals court. Why? Federal prosecutors’ anonymous online comments posted underneath local news accounts of the officers’ ongoing 2011 trial “contributed to the mob mentality potentially inherent in instantaneous, unbridled, passionate online discourse,” the court said. In light of that, the appellate court found a fair trial wasn’t possible.

      The New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week (PDF) that the prosecutors’ behavior, unearthed by the same forensic expert who helped identify the Unabomber, created an “air of bullying” that federal prosecutors were “sworn to respect.”

    • Virginia Police Force BBC Reporters To Delete Camera Footage Of Police Pursuit Of Shooter

      …apparently two BBC reporters who were covering the police pursuit of the apparent shooter (who then shot himself) were forced by police to delete their own camera footage. This is illegal. I don’t know how many times it needs to be repeated. Even the DOJ has somewhat forcefully reminded police that they have no right to stop anyone from photographing or videotaping things, so long as they’re not interfering with an investigation.

    • Is using your mobile phone in public ruder than you think?

      Some 23% of Americans think it’s not OK to use your phone while walking down the street, but that’s nothing compared to how they feel about the cinema or church

    • Katrina: The Logic of Genocide

      The very upscale New Yorker magazine marked the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a celebration of the benefits that supposedly accrued to the 100,000 mostly Black and poor people forced into exile from New Orleans. “Starting Over,” by magazine staff writer Malcolm Gladwell, a biracial Canadian who made his bones promoting the hyper-aggressive “broken windows” police strategy, concludes that involuntary displacement is a good thing for people who are stuck in “bad” neighborhoods or bad cities where poverty is high and chances for upward mobility are low. Since every heavily Black city in the country fits that description, the logic is that Black people should be dispersed to the four winds and prevented from forming concentrated populations.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google Lobbied Against Real Net Neutrality In India, Just Like It Did In The States

      While Google is still seen as (and proclaims to be) a net neutrality advocate, evidence continues to mount that this is simply no longer the case. Back in 2010 you might recall that Google helped co-write the FCC’s original, flimsy net neutrality rules with the help of folks like AT&T and Verizon — ensuring ample loopholes and making sure the rules didn’t cover wireless at all. When the FCC moved to finally enact notably-tougher neutrality rules for wired and wireless networks earlier this year, Google was publicly mute but privately active in making sure the FCC didn’t seriously address the problems with usage caps and zero-rated (cap exempt) content.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Man tries to copyright a chicken sandwich, learns that that’s completely ridiculous

        In 1987, Norberto Colón Lorenzana had what we can all agree is a pretty unremarkable idea. Colón, who had just started working at a fast food joint called Church’s Chicken in Puerto Rico, suggested to his employer that they try adding a basic fried chicken sandwich to a menu that was mostly chicken-by-the-piece.

      • UK Police ‘Hijack’ Ads on 251 Pirate Sites

        Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveals that City of London Police have targeted the ad revenue of 251 suspected pirate sites, replacing their banners with anti-piracy messaging. The police won’t reveal the domain names as that would raise their profiles, but the most prominent pirate sites are believed to be included.

      • Megaupload Wants U.S. Govt to Buy and Store its Servers

        Megaupload’s legal team is asking the court to preserve essential evidence hosted on its seized servers. The data is at risk of being destroyed and Kim Dotcom’s lawyers argue that the authorities should buy the servers and transfer them to a safe facility where they can be preserved at the Government’s cost.

      • DIY Tractor Repair Runs Afoul Of Copyright Law

        John Deere would not talk on tape, but in an emailed statement the company said ownership does not include the right to modify computer code embedded in that equipment.

      • Carl Malamud Asks YouTube To Institute Three Strikes Policy For Those Who Abuse Takedowns

        We write frequently about those who abuse the DMCA either directly for the sake of censorship or, more commonly, because some are in such a rush to take down anything and everything that they don’t bother (or care) to check to see if what they’re taking down is actually infringing. The latter, while common, could potentially expose those issuing the takedowns to serious legal liability, though the courts are still figuring out to what extent.


Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 1:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • For open source legend Eric S. Raymond, user-centric design is long overdue

    It took a while for Eric S. Raymond, one of the founding fathers of the open source movement, to prioritize the end user. But now that he has, he wants you to know how easy it can be.

  • The Open Source Greatness of Linux

    Ubuntu grabbed a large portion of the headlines today with Canonical’s decision to abandon its paid software for desktops to concentrate on mobile devices. The Everyday Linux User reviewed Mageia 5 and Distrowatch.com has added “Release Model” to their database search options. Elsewhere, Danny Stieben said Linux is so great because it’s Open Source and Munich is consdiering switching back to Linux on some machines because folks said there were no text editors, Skype support, or office suites installed. All this and more in today’ Linux news round-up.

  • The open source movement needs folk songs

    So if you have a musical bent, try composing an open source folk song. It’s fine to be silly, too. Surprise us with what you make. Share your story and your song(s) right here on Opensource.com

  • Open source for products in four rules (and 10 slides)
  • Apache Twill: real abstraction is a decoupled algorithm

    To be clearer, this term decoupling arises time & time again in relation to the cloud computing model of service-based processing and storage power.

  • Great Open Source Collaborative Editing Tools

    In a nutshell, collaborative writing is writing done by more than one person. There are benefits and risks of collaborative working. Some of the benefits include a more integrated / co-ordinated approach, better use of existing resources, and a stronger, united voice. For me, the greatest advantage is one of the most transparent. That’s when I need to take colleagues’ views. Sending files back and forth between colleagues is inefficient, causes unnecessary delays and leaves people (i.e. me) unhappy with the whole notion of collaboration. With good collaborative software, I can share notes, data and files, and use comments to share thoughts in real-time or asynchronously. Working together on documents, images, video, presentations, and tasks is made less of a chore.

  • Parse open sources its SDKs

    Earlier this month, mobile backend-as-a-service provider Parse open sourced its iOS, OS X, and Android SDKs, and will be open sourcing additional SDKs in the future.

    Parse, which was acquired by Facebook in 2013, says that its SDKs are used by more than 800 million active app-device pairs per month. By open sourcing those SDKs, Parse believes it can help developers facing challenges similar to those it faced. Specifically, according to Parse, “We’ve had to figure out a way to make a public-facing API easy to understand and use, but continue shipping features fast without breaking any existing functionality. To solve this, we structured our public API as a facade for internal code and functionality that could be consistently changing.”

  • A word to the Wise…

    I have been recently reminded that while it may be hard enough to discuss the role and importance of communities for Free and Open Source Software, it is equally important to understand the complexities and the challenges that a Free and Open Source Software foundation has to meet.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s self-destruct course continues: major add-on compatibility changes announced

        Mozilla announced major upcoming changes to Firefox add-ons on the official Add-ons Blog today. These changes affect add-on developers and Firefox users alike, and will have a major effect on add-on compatibility and permissions.

      • Holes found in Pocket Firefox add-on

        Information security man Clint Ruoho has detailed server-side vulnerabilities in the popular Pocket add-on bundled with Firefox that may have allowed user reading lists to be populated with malicious links.

        The since-patched holes were disclosed July 25 and fixed August 17 after a series of botched patches, and gave attackers access to the process running as root on Amazon servers.

        Ruho says the bookmarking app functioned as an internal network proxy and subsequent poor design choices meant he could glean information on users including IP address data and the URLs customers saved for later reading. Adding redirects meant he gained access to the etc/passwd file.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.0 and Microsoft Office 2013 Full Comparison

      The latest LibreOffice 5.0 is out for some time and it looks like the feature parity with Microsoft Office 2013 is now a lot better. The official wiki from The Document Foundation that shows off the differences and similarities between the two office suites has been updated, and it paints a pretty accurate picture of the progress that’s being made.

    • LibreOffice-from-Collabora 4.4 introduces OOXML, PDF, and configuration management improvements

      Today’s release of LibreOffice-from-Collabora 4.4 combines Collabora’s latest compatibility, deployment management, and document integrity features with a host of improvements from the LibreOffice community. Redesigned toolbars, menus, rulers, and dialogues make these powerful additions more attractive and efficient to use.

  • Business

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source part of Poland’s animal tracking project

      Poland’s Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture (ARMA) wants to modernise its animal identification and tracking system. The new solution is required to use Zabbix, an open source solution for IT security monitoring.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Now anybody can create Ransomware using open source kit on GitHub

      Ransomware are a pain for PC and laptop owners because they encrypt PCs/Laptop in return for a ransom which if not paid may permanently lock away users important folders like your images, word and excel files etc. However upto now the malware for Ransomware was only available on Dark Web, but that will change now thanks to a Turkish security researcher, Utku Sen.

    • GitHub figures show huge rise in open source languages
    • Most popular programming languages shift at Github
    • PHP 7 drops first release candidate

      Faster PHP is approaching. PHP 7.0.0, which has been promoted as a much quicker upgrade to the server-side scripting language, has just gone into a release candidate stage, bringing its general availability even closer to fruition.

    • Infinity

      I’m writing a replacement for libthread_db. It’s called Infinity.

    • We’re still catching up to Perl

      That’s from a great little article by Chromatic about modern Perl in the latest issue of PragPub. The article goes in to discuss a number of other strengths of Perl, such as its strong community dedication to testing across numerous architectures, services for understanding package dependencies (that sound like they go beyond anything presently available for Ruby), and legendary standards of documentation.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Government seeks open standards feedback

      The government has launched a consultation on how best to proceed with several open standards proposals that will support inter-connected systems and more cost efficient digital transformation across Whitehall.

    • UK launches its next OGP Action Plan

      Open policy making, Open Data and international cooperation are three pillars that UK Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock wants to be included in the 2015 UK Action Plan, according to a speech given by the minister to mark the launch of a new Open Government Partnership (OGP) action plan (Transcript is accessible on the gov.uk website).

    • Flash is dying a death by 1,000 cuts, and that’s a good thing

      Adobe’s Flash, hated the world over for slowing down computers, containing more holes in security than swiss cheese and stubbornly being the video carrier of choice until recently, is dying.

      Video players are migrating to other systems, even if Microsoft’s Silverlight isn’t much better. HTML5-based video and animations are becoming mainstream, and uploaders and other more advanced web-based features can now be replaced with code that doesn’t rely on Flash.

    • Kill Flash? Be careful what you wish for

      Back when Steve Jobs launched the first salvo in the war against Adobe Flash, declaring in no uncertain terms that the iPhone would never support the ubiquitous Web media framework, the anti-Apple crowd was much amused. No one is laughing now — least of all the many IT vendors that have built their management interfaces in Flash, for whom the death of Flash poses huge challenges.

      At the time, Jobs seemed to be climbing out on a limb. But eventually, everyone came to see how painful it was to support Flash on mobile devices, and how much better HTML5 was at delivering the same basic functionality. Developers began skipping over Flash and going with alternative technologies so that they could support mobile and desktop clients with the same codebase.


  • Why developers have more power than you think

    Jeff Lawson is a walking, talking example of the rise of the developer.

    Today, he’s the CEO of API economy darling Twilio, a cloud platform that offers API-accessible telecom services to marquee customers like Home Depot and Uber. But 20 years ago, he was another computer science student who saw the power of the Internet and wanted to try his hand at building Web applications.

  • Hardware

    • My Network Go-Bag

      I often get teased for taking so much tech hardware with me on trips—right up until the Wi-Fi at the hotel, conference center or rented house fails. I’m currently on vacation with my family and some of our friends from Florida, and our rental home has a faulty Wi-Fi router. Thankfully, I have a bag full of goodies for just this occasion.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Linus Torvalds: Security is never going to be perfect

      One of the best kept secrets at this week’s LinuxCon was the presence of Linus Torvalds. I’ve never not seen Linus at any of the LinuxCons I’ve attended since 2009, whether in Europe or North America, but no matter who you asked, the answer was, “He’s not here.” This morning, though, a little bird sang that the surprise guest for the upcoming keynote was none other than Torvalds.

    • Linux Foundation to Launch New Security-Focused Badge Program for Open-Source Software

      During the LinuxCon and CloudOpen events that took place last week in Seattle, North America, Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative announced that they were developing a new free Badge Program and that they wanted to know the open source community’s opinion on the matter.

    • ​Securing the Internet: Let’s Encrypt to release first security certificates September 7

      Some days it seems like the Internet is about as secure as an over-filled diaper. There’s always crap leaking from seamy businesses, such as Ashley Madison; the Federal government, OPM and IRS; and even security companies like LastPass. One of the weakest security links is the connection between you and unsecured web sites. Now almost a year since it was proposed, Let’s Encrypt is almost ready to enable any Internet site to protect its visitors with free Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates.

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • John McAfee: McAfee antivirus is one of the worst products on the planet
    • Highway to hack: why we’re just at the beginning of the auto-hacking era

      Imagine it’s 1995, and you’re about to put your company’s office on the Internet. Your security has been solid in the past—you’ve banned people from bringing floppies to work with games, you’ve installed virus scanners, and you run file server backups every night. So, you set up the Internet router and give everyone TCP/IP addresses. It’s not like you’re NASA or the Pentagon or something, so what could go wrong?

      That, in essence, is the security posture of many modern automobiles—a network of sensors and controllers that have been tuned to perform flawlessly under normal use, with little more than a firewall (or in some cases, not even that) protecting it from attack once connected to the big, bad Internet world. This month at three separate security conferences, five sets of researchers presented proof-of-concept attacks on vehicles from multiple manufacturers plus an add-on device that spies on drivers for insurance companies, taking advantage of always-on cellular connectivity and other wireless vehicle communications to defeat security measures, gain access to vehicles, and—in three cases—gain access to the car’s internal network in a way that could take remote control of the vehicle in frightening ways.

    • backdooring your javascript using minifier bugs

      In addition to unforgettable life experiences and personal growth, one thing I got out of DEF CON 23 was a copy of POC||GTFO 0×08 from Travis Goodspeed. The coolest article I’ve read so far in it is “Deniable Backdoors Using Compiler Bugs,” in which the authors abused a pre-existing bug in CLANG to create a backdoored version of sudo that allowed any user to gain root access. This is very sneaky, because nobody could prove that their patch to sudo was a backdoor by examining the source code; instead, the privilege escalation backdoor is inserted at compile-time by certain (buggy) versions of CLANG.

      That got me thinking about whether you could use the same backdoor technique on javascript. JS runs pretty much everywhere these days (browsers, servers, arduinos and robots, maybe even cars someday) but it’s an interpreted language, not compiled. However, it’s quite common to minify and optimize JS to reduce file size and improve performance. Perhaps that gives us enough room to insert a backdoor by abusing a JS minifier.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Two planes crash at Swiss airshow

      Two light planes have crashed at an airshow in Switzerland, killing one of the pilots.

      Swiss police said they were two of three C-42b aircraft from Germany, flying in formation. They crashed after they touched in mid-air on Sunday morning.

    • America as the Neo-British Empire

      For some writers, imperial freedom floats all boats (and not just the capitalists’). They thank hegemonic powers for liberalism itself, asserting that imperial naval (or air) power deployed overseas leaves domestic liberalism unharmed. By contrast, standing armies are said to threaten domestic liberty. Yet embracing imperial means, we might expect very thin liberalism indeed; with Machiavelli’s “republic for increase” walking the earth, we might at least speak frankly of “free trade imperialism.”

    • French train gunman ‘dumbfounded’ by terrorist tag

      French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Saturday there had been “several shots” before the Moroccan was subdued by the passengers, who included three Americans.

    • North, South Korea reach agreement to ease tensions

      North and South Korea reached agreement early on Tuesday to end a standoff involving an exchange of artillery fire that had pushed the divided peninsula into a state of heightened military tension.

      Under the accord reached after midnight on Tuesday morning after more than two days of talks, North Korea expressed regret over the recent wounding of South Korean soldiers in a landmine incident and Seoul agreed to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts, both sides said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Paul Haggis: ‘shame on’ press for not asking Tom Cruise about Scientology

      The Oscar-winning director of Crash, who left the church in 2009, has criticised journalists for failing to address the Mission: Impossible star’s beliefs

    • Wall Street rattles Washington

      The stock market closed a wild Monday with the Dow Jones industrial average down over 500 points, setting off fresh fears about the health of the global economy.

      The Wall Street drama quickly spread to the 2016 campaign trail and Washington, as flashbacks to the 2008 financial crisis drew responses from the political world.

      Renewed concern about the strength of China’s economy kicked off a brutal opening, as the Dow opened down more than 1,000 points in the first minutes of trading. While the index largely erased those gains later in the day, it still ended Monday down 588 points, adding to large losses suffered the two days prior.

    • Jeremy Corbyn: Personal attacks by Gordon Brown and Labour grandees are ‘pathetic’

      Labour leadership candidates quizzed on BBC 5 live, Andy Burnham accused of making sexist remark and Yvette Cooper attacks Jeremy Corbyn

  • Censorship

    • Twitter shuts down 30 sites dedicated to saving politicians’ deleted tweets

      Twitter has shut down a network of sites dedicated to archiving deleted tweets from politicians around the world. The sites — collectively known as Politwoops — were overseen by the Open State Foundation (OSF), which reported that Twitter suspended their API access on Friday, August 21st. Twitter reportedly told the OSF that its decision was the result of “thoughtful internal deliberation and close consideration of a number of factors,” and that the social media site didn’t distinguish between politicians and regular users.

    • Twitter cuts off Diplotwoops and Politwoops in all remaining 30 countries

      On Friday night, August 21, Open State Foundation was informed by Twitter that it suspended API access to Diplotwoops and all remaining Politwoops sites in 30 countries. After Twitter suspended API access for the US version of Politwoops for displaying deleted tweets of US lawmakers on May 15, Open State Foundation was still running Politwoops in 30 countries, including the European parliament.

    • Malaysia considers forcing news websites to register with gov’t, as political scandal unfolds

      Malaysia’s new Communications and Multimedia Minister has proposed amending the country’s Internet laws to force news websites to register with the government. Human rights groups have been quick to denounce the proposal as a threat to free speech.

    • Come on, how did the Air Force screw up ‘loose tweets sink fleets?’

      Hey, remember when this designer made a whole bunch of amazing internet-themed World War II propaganda parodies? Well, one of those just cropped up in the actual military, albeit not for the first time. In an online bulletin earlier this month, the US Air Forces Central Command repurposed the iconic “loose lips sink ships” slogan to warn service members about the potential dangers of social media. As you might have guessed from the photo above, it’s now “loose tweets destroy fleets.”

    • Russia threatens to ban Wikipedia
  • Privacy

    • Amazon.com will stop accepting Flash ads on September 1

      Amazon has decided to stop accepting Adobe Flash ads starting next month. The move, which goes into effect on September 1, affects not just the company’s website, but its whole advertising platform.

    • Police secretly track cellphones to solve routine crimes

      The crime itself was ordinary: Someone smashed the back window of a parked car one evening and ran off with a cellphone. What was unusual was how the police hunted the thief.

      Detectives did it by secretly using one of the government’s most powerful phone surveillance tools — capable of intercepting data from hundreds of people’s cellphones at a time — to track the phone, and with it their suspect, to the doorway of a public housing complex. They used it to search for a car thief, too. And a woman who made a string of harassing phone calls.

      In one case after another, USA TODAY found police in Baltimore and other cities used the phone tracker, commonly known as a stingray, to locate the perpetrators of routine street crimes and frequently concealed that fact from the suspects, their lawyers and even judges. In the process, they quietly transformed a form of surveillance billed as a tool to hunt terrorists and kidnappers into a staple of everyday policing.

    • Canadians are suing Ashley Madison because a lack of prophylactic protection

      A BRACE OF LAW FIRMS ARE BEHIND A class action lawsuit against Ashley Madison because it did not do enough to protect personal and private information.

      The class action case, from two Canadian law firms, argues that the hookup stations failed users by not protecting their information and for not deleting it after a fee had been paid to ensure its deletion. It seeks $578m.

      According to the New York Post the lawyers want some satisfaction for a cluster of punters who are currently wearing outraged expressions and regretting joining a site that does what it does in the way that it does it.

    • ‘Security Was An Afterthought,’ Hacked Ashley Madison Emails Show

      It’s already clear that, despite handling very sensitive data, Ashley Madison did not have the best security. Hackers managed to obtain everything from source code to customer data to internal documents, and the attackers behind the breach, who call themselves the Impact Team, made a mockery of the company’s defenses in an interview.

  • Civil Rights

    • Bernie Sanders: The Vox conversation
    • [Old] Russia begins blacklisting ‘undesirable’ organizations
    • The Crackdown On NGOs In Russia

      In early March, Russian prosecutors launched spot inspections of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) across the country. Hundreds of groups have already been targeted, from human rights NGOs to environmental groups to health-care associations. Formally, prosecutors are checking compliance with a new law forcing organizations that receive foreign funding and are deemed to engage in “political activity” to register as “foreign agents” — a derogatory term that critics say aims to stigmatize NGOs. Russian authorities say the legislation, which entered into force in November 2012, aims at increasing the transparency and accountability of NGOs. But the audits have drawn international condemnation and raised fears of an unprecedented crackdown on civil society. The number of NGOs subjected to such inspections is difficult to assess due to the absence of an official registry. Most are still waiting for the inspection findings. RFE/RL is closely monitoring developments and will regularly update this chart and map.

    • How Moscow came to embrace fringe anti-Western conspiracy theories

      Black’s interest in the air traffic controller is not insignificant: testimony by “Carlos the Spanish air traffic operator” is one of the earliest versions of the MH17 catastrophe touted by RT and other Kremlin-aligned media, which were immediately exposed as fake. There’s no evidence that WikiSpooks is Kremlin-funded or in any way aligned, but its motivation is explicitly expressed in their mission statement: any fact promoted by the “official narrative” via the “commercially-controlled media” is inherently false and must be disputed. Hence, to WikiSpooks and other similar websites, the position that Russia or Russia-backed rebels shot down MH17 is false simply because it is endorsed by the American government and must be confronted, even if it leads to a jumble of contradictory versions of the same event, based on spurious evidence.

    • Once, firms cherished their workers. Now they are seen as disposable

      …big companies offered paid holidays, guaranteed pensions related to your final salary, sickness benefit and recognised trade unions. Above all, they offered the chance of a career and personal progression…

    • Sai Gets FOIA Docs On The TSA

      Lisa Simeone posts at TSA News Blog on some of what’s been revealed through the docs released in the request by Sai, “an intrepid, indefatigable young man.” As Simeone writes, “He has been forced to tangle with the TSA more than once, when the agency’s workers have bullied, harassed, and illegally detained him.” Chasing illegal movie downloaders proves an unprofitable exercise

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google joins Facebook in trying to prevent IAMAI from taking strong anti-Zero Rating stand

      Google joined hands with Facebook to try and prevent the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which represents some of the largest Internet companies in India, from taking a stand that counters Zero Rating. According to emails exchanged between IAMAI’s Government Relations committee members, of which MediaNama has copies, Vineeta Dixit, a member of Google’s Public Policy and and Government Relations team, strongly pushed for the removal of any mention of Zero Rating from the IAMAI’s submission, as a response to the Department of Telecom’s report on Net Neutrality. Please note that Google hasn’t responded to our queries, despite multiple reminders.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Two Danes face up to six years in jail for explaining how to use Popcorn Time

        Danish police have arrested two men alleged to be the operators of sites related to the open-source program Popcorn Time, which adds a user-friendly front-end to a BitTorrent client to make the whole process of finding, downloading, and viewing video torrents extremely simple. The two domains, Popcorntime.dk and Popcorn-time.dk, have now been shut down, but copies on the Wayback Machine show that both were merely information sites, and neither offered material that infringed on copyrights, nor any version of the Popcorn Time software itself. Both sites warned users about potential copyright infringement issues.

        The men are accused of “distributing knowledge and guides on how to obtain illegal content online,” as TorrentFreak reports, and have apparently pleaded guilty. Moreover, distributing information is considered such a serious violation of Danish copyright law that “they could face punishment under section 299b of the penal code—offenses which carry a maximum prison term of six years.” That seems an extraordinarily harsh and disproportionate upper limit for merely explaining how to use a program, just because copyright is involved in some way.

        A similar case has already been heard in the UK, where it was found that sites offering downloads of the Popcorn Time software contributed to the copyright infringement that results from its use. In April of this year, the English High Court ordered a number of sites to be blocked for this reason. However, in that case the sites enabled the program to be downloaded directly, whereas in Denmark, the accused simply offered basic information about how the software worked and could be used, together with links to other sites where the program could be obtained.

      • Former Megaupload User Asks Court to Return His Files

        Millions of users lost access to their personal files when Megaupload was raided, and after nearly four years their files are still stashed away in a Virginia warehouse. The company that owns the servers wants to get rid of them, so former Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin has once again asked the court if he can have his files back.

      • Chasing illegal movie downloaders proves an unprofitable exercise

        It has been a bad week for companies wanting to build businesses around make money from illegal movie downloaders. Last Friday saw an Australian judge refuse Voltage Pictures the rigth to send downloaders of Dallas Buyers Club a letter demanding an undisclosed payment. Justice Nye Perram decided that Voltage and its lawyers, were engaging in “speculative invoicing”, a practice that is a form of legal blackmail: “pay us a large enough sum so that we don’t take you to court where you will possibly face an even larger but unspecified fine”.

      • Will Australian Government Use Cost-Benefit Analysis To Kill Off Fair Use Proposal Once And For All?

        Discussions about copyright reform in Australia are now entering their fourth year, and the longer they go on, the worse the proposals become. That’s in part because there has been a change of government in the interim, and the present Attorney-General, George Brandis, has made it clear he’s firmly on the side of copyright companies, and indifferent to the Australian public’s concerns or needs in a digital world.

      • This Anti-Piracy Campaign Will Leave You Speechless

        Anti-piracy campaigns come in all shapes and sizes and usually aim to prod the public into action. To capture the imagination they are often provocative, but just how far is too far? A new campaign for Virgin Radio is currently testing those boundaries to an extent rarely – if ever – seen before.


Links 23/8/2015: BcacheFS Benchmarks, Blackphone 2

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Met Office loses BBC weather forecasting contract

    The Met Office has lost its BBC weather forecasting contract, it has confirmed.

    The UK’s weather service has provided the data used for BBC forecasts since the corporation’s first radio weather bulletin on 14 November 1922.

    The BBC said it was legally required to secure the best value for money for licence fee payers and would tender the contract to outside competition.

  • The Obama Administration Damages American Interests In Blocking China’s Anti-Corruption Efforts

    Sometimes it is hard to find words even to describe, let alone to explain, the Obama administration’s consistently gauche, blundering, even self-damaging policy decisions and actions toward China.

  • A Guide to Chinese Intelligence Operations

    From government hacks to industrial theft, Chinese intelligence operations are making more headlines now than ever before.

  • Obama Administration Warns Beijing About Covert Agents Operating in U.S.

    The Obama administration has delivered a warning to Beijing about the presence of Chinese government agents operating secretly in the United States to pressure prominent expatriates — some wanted in China on charges of corruption — to return home immediately, according to American officials.

  • U.S. warns China about its secret hunt for fugitives [Ed: syndicated from the above]
  • Josef Stalin’s daughter was a ‘spiritual orphan’

    Svetlana Alliluyeva, Josef’s Stalin’s daughter, led a remarkable, if extremely ruptured, life. Her mother, Nadezhda, died in 1932 when Svetlana was 6, likely through suicide. Her father, the brutal dictator, had no compunction about sending Svetlana’s close relatives to the gulag. Her half-brother, Yakov, died in a German prisoner-of-war camp in 1943. Her other brother, Vasili, died an alcoholic. She married four times and died as Lana Peters in 2011, at age 85. In 1967, when Svetlana defected to the United States, she left her two children behind in Russia. Her story is vividly told by Rosemary Sullivan — who has also written biographies of Margaret Atwood and Gwendolyn MacEwen — in Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva. Our conversation has been edited for length.

  • Carly Fiorina out of step with Silicon Valley

    Fiorina is “wrong on the social issues as well as a lot of technology issues” and is “culturally not aligned with the ethos in the Valley,” on top of the fact that “there are also a lot of people who have negative impressions of her” from HP, said Jim Ross, a Democratic consultant in the tech hub of San Francisco.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Carson: Slavery informed my views on abortion

      Former pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson said Sunday that the fight to abolish slavery influenced his views on abortion.

      Carson was asked about a 1992 ad on abortion on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Carson had originally taken a pro-life position on a Maryland abortion referendum, but then appeared in an ad taking back his previous statement and merely asking voters to be educated on the issue before voting.

      Carson said that 20 years ago, “I personally was against abortion, but I was not for causing anybody else to do anything.”

      “I’ve changed, because I’ve learned a lot of things,” said Carson. “I began to think about if abolitionists … had said ‘I don’t believe in slavery, but anybody else can do it if they want to,’ where would we be today? So that changed my opinion.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Chilling Artwork ‘Shoots’ Gallery-Goers From Above in Tandem to US Drone Strikes

      Now, Los Angeles-based artist Jonathan Fletcher Moore has taken that data and created an interactive installation titled Artificial Killing Machine that visualizes the attacks in real time.

    • Pentagon to Sharply Expand U.S. Drone Flights Over Next Four Years
    • Obama Administration to Increase Drone Flights 50 Percent

      The increase in drone flights will give the military more intelligence access as well as increase its firepower, which is needed to take on hot spots around the world, a senior defense official told The Wall Street Journal about the upcoming plan.

    • Pentagon to expand drone killing program
    • US military to step up drone flights by 2019
    • Pentagon increasing drone flights by 50% to meet demand for air strikes and global surveillance
    • The Pentagon is planning 50 percent more drone flights by 2019
    • Pentagon To Increase Unmanned Drone Flights Across The Globe By 50 Percent
    • US military to step up drone flights by 2019
    • Carson: Don’t use drones to kill at border
    • Carson calls for drone strikes on border ‘caves’
    • Ben Carson: ‘In No Way Did I Suggest Using Drones To Kill People’ Along The Border
    • Carson says wants drones to blast caves, not people at U.S.-Mexico border
    • U.S. Military To Privatize, Expand Drone Use In African War Zones
    • Turbulence in Pentagon plans to expand drone flights
    • Editorial: More eyes in the skies
    • Why we fact-check political cartoons
    • Covering Cuba, from Sarasota
    • Moral Theory and Drone Warfare: A Literature Review

      “Legal, ethical, and wise”: these are the three adjectives that the Obama administration has used again and again to describe its program of conducting targeted killings by drone strikes. John Brennan, then the White House’s counterterrorism advisor, used the phrase to justify the drone program in a speech at the Wilson Center in April 2012. Almost a year later, Press Secretary Jay Carney invoked the same phrase in defense of the leaked Department of Justice White Paper on the permissible targeted killing of a U.S. citizen and senior Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operative who posed an imminent threat.

    • Predator Drone Maker Flying Spy Missions For the Pentagon

      The U.S. military wants to boost its drone presence by 50 percent in four years, and it’s hiring help. General Atomics, maker of the ubiquitous Predator and Reaper drones, began flying intelligence missions for the Defense Department this month.

    • Drone Manufacturer Has Been Flying Spy Missions For Defense Since Early August
    • The Former US Military Top-Brass Working for Companies Profiting from Drone Warfare

      Generals and other top military staff who ran the US “Drone Wars” in the Middle East now work for the top drone firms, with lucrative positions at private contractors holding big contracts to help run the remotely controlled killing machines.

      Supposedly “targeted killings” by drones have led to international concern, as victims of “surgical strikes” carried out by the unmanned weapons include wedding parties in Yemen, friendly-fire killings of Afghan soldiers, and nearly 200 children in Pakistan.

      So, wreaking mass death from above is a negative, but on the positive side they have also led to big contracts for defense firms. A Bureau of Investigative Journalism report identified a bunch of large companies that have major contracts for analyzing data and providing other support work that drones need to operate.

    • Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins, by Andrew Cockburn

      There is, of course, some debate about the morality of drone warfare. Is it ethical to deliberately kill people without trial? Where is the warrior code, the moral hazard, for those who attack with impunity from thousands of kilometres away? What happens when mistakes are bloodily made? How does one define a terrorist? Which side are we on again? Why?

    • Shahzad Akbar fights for Pakistan’s drone victims

      The U.S. contends that it’s going after Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, but since the CIA-led drone program is officially secret, little is known about how drone attacks are conducted or targets are chosen. According to a 2014 study by Forensic Architecture, a research project in London, and the U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent initiative, this secrecy has contributed to lax bombing practices. To date, the bureau has found that 423 to 965 civilians have been killed in the bombings — 170 to 207 of them children. Most of the victims remain unnamed and unidentified.

    • Simulate The Fatal Fallibility Of Drone Strikes…With A Fun Card Game!

      “The primary [inspiration] was this interactive piece about drone strikes,” Udayasankar tells Co.Design. “Less than 2% of fatalities were high-profile targets. I was fascinated by the fallibility of technology itself and the collateral damage that it facilitates, and, moreover, how we do not take the time to talk about it.”

    • The drone warfare game where you spy on players with your smartphone

      “Bycatch” is a term used by fishermen to describe the extraneous marine life that unintentionally gets caught in their nets. It’s also the name of a card game that deals with a very different sort of collateral damage: the civilians killed by drone strikes.

    • Islamic Militants Demanded Ransom for Bodies of Killed Hostages

      Islamist militants demanded the U.S. government pay ransom for the return of the bodies of two hostages accidentally killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan last January, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    • This top secret World War II drone mission killed JFK’s older brother

      Operation Aphrodite was a top-secret attempt by the Army and Navy to turn old airplanes into suicide drones during World War II. B-17s and B-24s that were past their service life would be packed with several tons of Torpex, an explosive with twice the power of TNT, and then piloted into heavily-fortified targets.

    • Over 10 countries to join China’s military parade

      Troops from at least 10 countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan, will join an unprecedented military parade in Beijing next month to commemorate China’s victory over Japan during the World War-II, Chinese officials said.

      China is inviting foreign troops to participate in a military parade for the first time. It will also be a milestone for President Xi Jinping, who took over as Communist Party leader and military chief in late 2012.

      The parade on September 3 will involve about 12,000 Chinese troops and 200 aircraft, Qi Rui, deputy director of the government office organising the parade, told reporters in Beijing on Friday.

    • Creech Predator crews get help coping with combat

      Critics of drone strikes point out that innocent civilians sometimes die in the attacks. And, there was a friendly fire incident in 2011 involving a Predator missile strike triggered from Creech that left a U.S. sailor and a Marine dead in Afghanistan.

    • Forum: U.S. counterterrorism policy weak, should focus on economic issues

      America actually is relatively safe. Aside from a few cases such as the tragic Chattanooga shootings, Americans killed by terrorists most often are murdered outside of our country, in war zones. However, if we don’t start focusing on the economic instability in vulnerable countries from which most terrorism originates, it is only a matter of time before we see more attacks in our country.

    • Israel Holds Large-Scale Military Drill on Syrian Border

      The Israeli military staged a large-scale drill last week to prepare for a potential ground operation into Syria in the event of an attack by Islamist rebels or the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, according to local media reports.

      The rising number of Islamist fighters, many aligned to the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, arriving near the Israeli border area in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights has placed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on high alert, Israeli television station Channel 2 reported.

    • Israel is Helping Jordanian Special Forces Fighting ISIS on the Ground in Iraq
    • Israel to supply Jordan with drones to help fight Islamic State: report

      As part of a new deal, Israel will supply Jordan with strategic and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in order to help combat the Islamic State, according to a local media report.

    • AP Interview: Jordan says Syria militants try to sneak in
    • Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian attacker in West Bank

      Allan is on the 63rd day of his hunger-strike in protest of his detention by Israel without charge.

      At least six Palestinians were detained late Sunday and on Monday by the Israeli authorities from the West Bank districts of Hebron and Bethlehem, according to local and security sources.

      A Palestinian man who attacked an Israeli soldier with a knife was shot dead Saturday by Israeli soldiers in the north of the occupied West Bank, said the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Israeli police.

    • Report: Israeli Drone Strike Kills 5 in Syria

      Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian-controlled portion of the Golan Heights have killed at least five unarmed civilians, according to Syrian state media, in what Israel says was retaliation for rocket fire into its territory. Israel says those killed were Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad militant group.

    • Israeli air raids kill five civilians and soldier, says Syria
    • Israel carries out drone strike in southern Syria – killing five

      Israel’s air force has carried out a drone strike in southern Syria – killing five people – while a soldier was killed and seven wounded in an air raid, Syrian state TV has reported.

    • Israeli strike kills 5 Syrian civilians in Qunaitera province
    • Israel Attacks Syria for The second time in 24 Hours

      A new Israeli attack with a drone, killed at least five in al-Koum shanty town, in the Syrian province of Quneitra, at about 67 kilometers southwest of this capital.
      The missile launched from the drone exploded at 10.35 (local time) this Friday, just 50 meters from a popular market, also causing serious material damage.

    • Israeli Attack on Syria’s Quneitera Leaves 5 Civilians Dead

      An Israeli air strike on the Syrian Golan Heights killed at least four Palestinian militants responsible for Thursday’s rocket fire on an Israeli village, an Israeli defense official said on Friday.

    • 50 civilians reported killed in Douma after Syrian army rocket attack

      A Syrian army rocket attack on the rebel-held city of Douma reportedly killed at least 50 civilians.

    • US Drone Strategy Often Violates Sovereignty of Nations – Activist Group

      The US drone strategy frequently undermines the sovereignty of other countries which can damage its own national security, Upstate Drone Action activist Ed Kinane told Sputnik.

    • ‘Probability of US again bombing Libya is always there’

      The US might carry out air strikes again in Libya, but it won’t improve the conditions on the ground, says Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire. The US would rather allow Egypt and the UAE to carry out certain aspects of this foreign policy in Libya, he adds.

    • US Wants To Increase Global Lethal And Surveillance Drone Flights To 30,000 By 2019

      As if in complete defiance of the extensive contention at home and abroad, the Pentagon announced plans this week to dramatically ramp up global drone operations over the next four years.

      Daily drone flights will increase by 50% during this time, and will include lethal air strikes and surveillance missions to deal with the increase in global hot spots and crises, according to an unnamed (and unverified) senior defense official, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

      “We’ve seen a steady signal from all our geographic combatant commanders to have more of this capability,” said Defense Department spokesperson, Navy Captain Jeff Davis to reporters at the Pentagon.

    • ‘No Good Evidence’ Russia Behind Shootdown of Malaysia Air Flight 17 in Ukraine, Says Longtime CIA Analyst Ray McGovern: ‘BradCast’ 8/20/2015

      On today’s BradCast, we are joined by retired, 27-year CIA analyst turned peace activist Ray McGovern, who personal delivered the CIA’s Presidential Daily Briefings to several Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. His organization,Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) — which includes several high-ranking former intelligence professionals and whistleblowers — have called, once again, on the U.S. to release any evidence to support their claims that Russia was behind the downing of MH17.

    • Ray McGovern: Propaganda, Intelligence, and MH-17

      During a recent interview, I was asked to express my conclusions about the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, prompting me to take another hard look at Official Washington’s dubious claims – pointing the finger of blame at eastern Ukrainian rebels and Moscow – based on shaky evidence regarding who was responsible for this terrible tragedy.

    • US MH17 Evidence ‘Sketchy as One Could Imagine’ – CIA Veteran Analyst
    • ‘Political Hacks’ Wrote US Report Linking Russia To Crash Of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Ex-CIA Analyst

      A U.S. government report implicating Russia in the July 2014 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was created by political writers rather than intelligence analysts, a former CIA analyst-turned-political activist told Russia’s Sputnik News. Sputnik is wholly owned by the Russian government, which reportedly backs Ukrainian separatists accused of firing a missile at the plane as it flew near the Russia-Ukraine border.

      “What [U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry] offered was a ‘government assessment,’ which means it was written in the White House, which means it was a political document written by political hacks, and that the intelligence analysts would not sign on to it,” Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, told Sputnik. McGovern was previously known for implying that President George W. Bush could have prevented the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City and Arlington County, Virginia.

    • Former CIA head: Back Iran nuclear deal — with some conditions

      Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, an influential and vocal critic of the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, said Wednesday that Congress actually should consider approving the accord — but only after tacking on a number of conditions designed to pressure Iran not to cheat on the deal, including an authorization for military action.

    • Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend
    • The old US embassy, museum in Tehran: Inside the ‘US den of espionage’
    • Britain’s embassy in Iran: a reminder of a difficult shared history

      When the foreign secretary visits Tehran on Sunday to reopen the British embassy after a closure of nearly four years, he will doubtless talk of new beginnings. Now Iran has signed a deal limiting its nuclear programme, the way is clear for new business contracts, new opportunities, a new chapter. That approach may appeal to the British businesspeople on the trip, licking their lips at the prospect of selling oilfield equipment or financial services, but Iranians do not discard history so easily.

    • Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend after four years
    • What’s Really At Stake With The Iran Nuclear Deal

      Nearly every major western country has recently sent trade missions to Iran in anticipation of sanctions being lifted. Representatives included major international oil companies, banks, and manufacturers. Their enormous influence and immense wealth will weigh heavily in resolving the issue.

    • Iran deal step in right direction

      We would do well to remember that Iran didn’t start this crisis. The crisis didn’t start with Iranians overthrowing the Shah and taking of American hostages in 1979. It started when the U.S. CIA overthrew the democratically elected Iranian government of Mohammed Mosaddegh in 1953 and installed a brutal dictator (the Shah) in his place.

    • Rogue States and Nuclear Dangers [Ed: reposted below]
    • The Nuclear Deal
    • ‘The Iranian Threat’

      Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

    • Backers of Iran deal get key ally

      President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran gained momentum in Congress on Friday as a key Jewish Democrat from New York bucked home-state opposition to support the deal.

    • Obama writes letter to reassure congressional Democrats on Iran deal
    • Five books on the legacy of the 1953 coup in Iran

      This week’s 62th anniversary of the coup upending Mohammad Mossadegh comes with interest as strong as ever in Iran’s best-known prime minister. But while historians and journalists see the coup of 19 August 1953 as a pivotal event for Iran, they agree on little else (including the transliteration of his name into Latin letters).

    • Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend

      Britain will reopen its embassy in Iran this weekend nearly four years after protesters ransacked the elegant ambassadorial residence and burned the British flag.

    • Iran says it shot down reconnaissance drone near Iraq border after it ‘confronted’ air defense

      Iran’s official IRNA news agency says the military has shot down a reconnaissance drone in western Iran near the border with Iraq.

      IRNA quoted Col. Farzad Fereidouni, a local air defense system commander, in a report Saturday as saying the unmanned aircraft was shot down in recent days after it “confronted” the air defense missile system. He didn’t say which country the drone belonged to, or give specifics on the timing.

    • Iran remembers 1953 US-led coup against then Iran PM

      Iran is remembering the anniversary of the 1953 coup against the government of then democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq.

    • The CIA’s Coup Against Iran’s Mohammad Mossadegh

      Mohammad Mossadegh (pictured) became Prime Minister of Iran in 1951 and was hugely popular for taking a stand against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a British-owned oil company that had made huge profits while paying Iran only 16% of its profits and often far less. His nationalization efforts led the British government to begin planning to remove him from power. In October 1952, Mosaddegh declared Britain an enemy and cut all diplomatic relations. Britain looked towards the United States for help. However, the U.S. had opposed British policies; Secretary of State Dean Acheson said the British had “a rule-or-ruin policy in Iran.”

    • COMMENTARY: Best way to get rid of enemy Iran: Get unstuck

      •Quit sending arms to anyone in the region

      •Quit telling Iranian people what to do

      •Offer to help, but not militarily

      •Start lifting sanctions slowly, unilaterally

      •Wait for reciprocity and repeat (Rapoport’s tested game theory)

    • The CIA’s grotesque secret: How it’s partnering with human rights abusers — and sparking blowback

      In a letter to three U.S. senators that recently came to light, CIA director John Brennan outlined how his intelligence agency deals with abusive partners, referring – it would appear – primarily to foreign security forces. But even more striking than the approach he outlines is his brutally honest admission that the CIA sometimes partners with human rights abusers.

      The agency’s covert nature leaves its laws, rules and regulations opaque. However, it has long been known that the CIA is not subject to human rights vetting requirements when it comes to partnering with foreign security forces, as the State and Defense departments are, under what is commonly known as the Leahy Law, named for Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. Congress first approved the law in 1997, when it was revealed that Colombian army units were receiving U.S. funds while massacring civilians. The Leahy Law restricts the State Department and Pentagon from using U.S. taxpayer dollars to assist, train or equip any foreign military or police unit that is credibly believed to have engaged in gross violations of human rights – such as extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and forced disappearances.

      On moral grounds alone there can be little objection to this restriction. But it also makes sense for national security. While Brennan may not acknowledge it, abusive security forces combatting domestic insurgencies typically exacerbate long-standing grievances and provide armed opposition and terrorist groups with a very powerful recruiting tool.

    • On the brink of destruction: The real NUCLEAR threat if North Korea attacks the South

      North Korea’s main ally is China, which provides fuel and food aid, while it maintains a close relationship with Russia.

      However positive ties with the US and South Korea are non-existent.

      The promotion of Kim Jong-un has leader following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011 has done little to improve that.

    • Iraq ex-PM Maliki dismisses report blaming him for Mosul’s fall to ISIS

      The former prime minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki, who a domestic investigation has found responsible for Mosul’s conquest by Islamic State in June, 2014, has slammed the panel’s findings on the humiliating fall of the key northern city as having “no value.”

    • Officials: ISIS Arose From US Support For al-Qaeda In Iraq

      A new memoir by a former senior State Department analyst provides stunning details on how decades of support for Islamist militants linked to Osama bin Laden brought about the emergence of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS).

      The book establishes a crucial context for recent admissions by Michael T. Flynn, the retired head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), confirming that White House officials made a “willful decision” to support al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists in Syria — despite being warned by the DIA that doing so would likely create an ‘ISIS’-like entity in the region.

      J. Michael Springmann, a retired career US diplomat whose last government post was in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, reveals in his new book that US covert operations in alliance with Middle East states funding anti-Western terrorist groups are nothing new. Such operations, he shows, have been carried out for various short-sighted reasons since the Cold War and after.

    • Bombing Syria plays into Isis’ hands

      Whoever the new Labour leader is, they’ll have a lot on their plate and one of the first big issues is likely to be Syria. The on-going civil war is only getting worse, and defence secretary Michael Fallon has already announced that a vote on military intervention will take place later in the year.

      In one sense, the question of whether the UK military should be taking part in bombing is a moot one, because it already is. A freedom of information request from Reprieve found UK military personnel have already engaged in air strikes as part of US operations. The admission showed the public and parliament had been misled. MPs voted against bombing Syria in 2013.

    • How to Understand Those 60 Trainees

      So said American Defense Secretary Ash Carter in testimony before an incredulous Senate Armed Services Committee on July 7, explaining that the $500 million American project, announced over a year ago, to train and arm a new Syrian rebel army to bring the Islamic State to its knees and force a political settlement on the Syrian regime simultaneously has, to date, trained just 60 fighters.

    • Lesson from Syrian rebel debacle

      Division 30 was the first contingent of Syrian rebels deployed under a $500 million “train and equip” plan authorized last year by Congress. It’s an overt program, run by U.S. Special Forces, separate from a parallel covert program run by the CIA. The idea is to generate over 5,000 trained fighters a year who could help clear Islamic State extremists in Syria and then hold the ground.

    • Meet The ‘Moderates’ The U.S. Is Supporting In Syria: They’re al-Qaeda

      In this regard, Obama is following the position that was expressed by his friend Brzezinski who has expressed it many times, such as, in 1998, reprinted later under the heading, “How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen.”

    • Robert Fisk: The Syrian War has occupied Turkey

      In a recent article, Robert Fisk, senior Middle East correspondent for the Independent, compared Turkey to Pakistan in the 1980s, and said that the recent air bombardment was no surprising given that all powers in the region have betrayed the Kurds. We spoke to Fisk both about the details of the matters he touches on in his article, and whether power balances have changed in the Middle East. Fisk says that Turkey has become a market place and when seen from this perspective there are more important issues at stake besides whether or not Turkey will enter the war in Syria. “I believe that Syria has started penetrating Turkey. Suruç is an example of this. From this view, the Syrian War but not the Syrians have occupied Turkey. It is not the reverse.”

    • Another Military Comedy of Errors

      On July 24th, highlighting the first Turkish air strikes against the Islamic State and news of an agreement to let the U.S. Air Force use two Turkish air bases against that movement, the New York Times reported that unnamed “American officials welcomed the [Turkish] decision… calling it a ‘game changer.’” And they weren’t wrong. Almost immediately, the game changed. Turkish President Recep Erdogan promptly sent planes hurtling off not against Islamic State militants but the PKK, that country’s Kurdish rebels with whom his government had previously had a tenuous ceasefire. In the process, he created a whole new set of problems for Washington, including making life more difficult for Kurdish rebel troops in Syria connected to the PKK that the Obama administration was backing in the fight against the Islamic State. Erdogan’s acts also ensured that chaos and conflict would spread to new areas of the Middle East. So game-changer indeed!

    • Erdogan-ISIS pincer against Kurds

      Reports from the PKK-aligned Kurdistan National Congress indicate an internal war by the Turkish state against the Kurds in the country’s east, approaching levels of violence not seen in 20 years. Several villages in Diyarbakir province are said to be under heavy shelling by the Turkish army. Many of these villages are reported to be currently burning, with many injured, and an unknown number killed. After hours of shelling, Turkish soldiers reportedly entered the village of Kocakoy, Lice-Hani district, putting homes to the torch—sometimes with families still inside, resulting in further loss of life. Troops then proceeded to force an evacuation of the villages. It is not said where the survivors fled to. A similar attack is reported from Şapatan (Turkish: Altınsu) village in Şemdinli district, Hakkari province, where the blaze has spread to surrounding forest areas. (KNC, KNC, Aug. 18)

    • Think the Donald Can Get Us a Better Deal on Porter Goss?

      None of this is news. Turkey’s not even among the top ten spenders, as far as foreign lobbies go. (That honor usually goes to Canada, although apparently in 2013 it went to the UAE.)

      But here’s the thing that chaps my hide. I’m fine with selling our politicians to foreign governments. We’re running a $43.8 billion trade deficit, after all. We can’t afford to be fussy.

      But aren’t you insulted that we’re selling them so cheaply? We’re the United States of America. Shouldn’t Porter Goss be worth more than a measly 32,000 bucks a month? We borrow more than that every minute, so why should we sell him for less than 32,000 dollars a second? What kind of superpower do these people take us for?

      And if we’ve already established that, and we’re just haggling over the price, we need to get serious about dollars and cents. Because that’s peanuts, and it’s not going to pay the bills.

    • How ‘Manageable Chaos’ Spawned ISIS In The Middle East

      ‘Manageable chaos’ is a myopic idea that has torn the Middle-East apart. To understand why, we need to go back a hundred years in the past. In 1916, Britain and France signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement in secret. Then, in the middle of the First World War, they decided the Ottoman Empire needed to go. Sultan Mehmed VI in Istanbul controlled crucial shipping lanes and the oil riches of the Persian Gulf. So, while T.E Lawrence duped the Arab sheikhs with promises of a “Greater Syria,” the European powers divided the Levant as it suited them.

      The problem was not that outsiders drew the borders. The problem was these borders were indifferent to the people who lived within them. The clean lines carved through the Middle-East ignored sectarian, tribal or ethnic geographies. Many Shia majority areas ended up under Sunni control, and vice-versa. Thirty-million Kurds also ended up homeless. These progeny of the mighty Median Kings of Asia Minor became minorities in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

    • US-trained Syrian rebel expects to fight Assad

      A member of the U.S.-trained Syrian rebel forces says he expects to fight forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, even though they pledged only to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to participate the Pentagon program.

    • At Security Council, UN officials spotlight need for effective and accountable security institutions
    • Security Council strongly condemns seizure of United Arab Emirates embassy in Yemen

      The United Nations Security Council today condemned “in the strongest term” the storming and seizure of the United Arab Emirates embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, by the Houthis on the 17 August 2015.

    • U.S. boosts support role in Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen

      A Saudi-led military offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen has scored major gains this month, including recapturing the strategic port of Aden and the country’s largest air base, after the Pentagon more than doubled the number of American advisors to provide enhanced intelligence for airstrikes.

    • First cargo docks in Aden since war came to south Yemen’s ex-capital

      A commercial ship docked in Aden on Friday, the first to reach the former southern capital since Yemen’s devastating war came to the port city in March.

      The Venus, operated by United Arab Shipping Co, carried a cargo of 350 containers of products ordered by businesses in Aden, said port deputy director Aref al-Shaabi.

    • Al Qaeda deploy in Yemen’s Aden, British hostage freed

      Al Qaeda militants took control of a western district of Yemen’s main port city of Aden on Saturday night, residents said, in another sign that the group is drawing strength from five months of civil war.

    • UAE army frees British hostage as Al Qaeda expands in Yemen
    • Yemen officials say Al Qaeda seizes key areas of Aden
    • 43 killed in airstrikes on Yemen city

      Iranian-allied fighters controlling much of Yemen said on Friday air strikes led by Saudi Arabia killed 43 people in the central city of Taiz.
      Taiz has become the latest focus of fighting for supporters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was driven into exile in Saudi Arabia by the Houthi fighters. Medical sources said Houthi attacks on the city killed 13 people, including seven children.

    • U.S. needs to take care of its own business

      Nonetheless, we have just about bankrupted ourselves trying.

      We have employed our military abroad more than 70 times since 1945, and also engaged in innumerable instances of not-so-covert CIA interference in the affairs of other sovereign nations.

      The latter include instances of overthrowing democratically elected governments we considered too leftist.

      And the truth is that in none of these instances have we had any long-lasting success in achieving our goals. We have, instead, uselessly wasted an enormous amount of treasure and human lives while creating more and more enemies all over the globe. We have created these enemies because almost all of our high-handed meddling has had unforeseen and unfortunate, often tragic, consequences.

      We now have about 1,000 military bases abroad (the exact figure depends on the number of smaller bases included), well over 300,000 U.S. military personnel deployed abroad, 1.6 million Americans working in defense industries, and the good Lord knows how many working for the CIA and other surveillance/intelligence government agencies and private contractors.

    • Obama’s Secret Elite Interrogation Squad May Not Be So Elite — And Might Be Doomed

      When President Barack Obama took office, he promised to overhaul the nation’s process for interrogating terror suspects. His solution: the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, a small interagency outfit that would use non-coercive methods and the latest psychological research to interrogate America’s most-wanted terrorists — all behind a veil of secrecy.

    • US interrogation strategy gets scrutiny in Benghazi case

      After a suspected militant was captured last year to face charges for the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, he was brought to the U.S. aboard a Navy transport ship on a 13-day trip that his lawyers say could have taken 13 hours by plane.

      Ahmed Abu Khattala faced days of questioning aboard the USS New York from separate teams of American interrogators, part of a two-step process designed to obtain both national security intelligence and evidence usable in a criminal prosecution.

    • Russia Laughs At U.S. Sanctions Threat

      Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, when asked about the implications of the sale, was said to have scoffed at the threat of U.S. sanctions and said they cause no worry for Moscow.

    • Cyanide in waters near China blast site 277 times acceptable level: government report

      Chinese authorities warned that cyanide levels in the waters around the Tianjin Port explosion site had risen to as much as 277 times acceptable levels although they declared that the city’s drinking water was safe.

    • China: Sodium cyanide levels well past limit at Tianjin explosion site

      High levels of dangerous chemicals remain at the site of last week’s deadly chemical warehouse blasts in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin — hundreds of times higher than is safe at one spot — officials said Thursday, signaling that a cleanup has a significant way to go.

      Water tests show high levels of sodium cyanide, an extremely toxic chemical that can kill humans rapidly, at eight locations at the blast site, Ministry of Environmental Protection official Tian Weiyong said.

    • At least 7 dead after old military jet crashes at air show in England

      At least seven people are dead after a vintage military aircraft crashed Saturday on a busy road in southeastern England, police said.

      The Hawker Hunter jet was taking part in an air show at an airport near Shoreham in Sussex.

    • Why The US Turns A Blind Eye To Saudi Arabia’s Troublemaking

      NOTHING gets US Republican Party politicians fired up like Iran.

      In the first televised debate for candidates competing to lead the Republicans in the 2016 presidential election, Scott Walker promised that he’d tear up the Iran nuclear deal on day one of his presidency. Carly Fiorina blamed the country for “most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East.” Mike Huckabee vowed to topple the “terrorist Iranian regime and defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.”

      Oddly, when the candidates complain about the “evil forces of radical Islam” or trouble in the Middle East, they never seem to mention Saudi Arabia.

      Iran’s no democratic paradise. But on many counts, Washington’s Saudi allies are even worse. The Saudi royals crush dissent with an iron fist, spread extremist ideology, and invade their neighbors with impunity.

      Domestically, the Saudi regime oppresses women, religious minorities, and millions of foreign workers. And it brutally represses criticism from human rights activists, prompting condemnation from both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

      Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, for example, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes just for writing a blog the government considered critical of its rule. Hundreds of political prisoners languish in prison — including Badawi’s lawyer, who was sentenced to 15 years for his role as a human rights attorney. New legislation effectively equates criticism of the government and other peaceful activities with terrorism.

    • Rebels threaten to kill observers, OSCE complains

      OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine deputy head Alexander Hug said at the Aug. 19 briefing in Donetsk that the rebels had threatened to kill OSCE observers if they would come again to Bezimenne, Novoazovsk rayon, UNIAN reports.

    • LETTER: Stop the manufacturing and flying of drones

      When are Americans going to demand our leaders protect us against drones? Our politicians did nothing on gun control. Now they will look the other way on drones.

      Drones should not be produced or manufactured. Take away permits and the right to manufacture them. The U.S. Armed Forces should be the only ones to purchase drones. If I can’t put a 10-by-10 addition on my home without bureaucratic regulations, why is it permitted to manufacture drones?

    • Florida shooting range to serve alcohol in restaurant

      Officials in a Florida city have approved the request of a businessman to serve alcohol in a restaurant he plans to open in a building with an indoor shooting range.

      CNN affiliate WFTV reported that Daytona Beach city commissioners have signed off on Ron Perkinson’s proposed facility, which Perkinson hopes to open by late November. The facility will be located near Daytona International Speedway just off Interstate 95.

    • 9-year-old girl in Ferguson shot dead doing homework on mom’s bed: cops

      Ferguson police are searching for clues about the killing of a 9-year-old girl who was shot when someone fired into a home where she was doing homework on her mother’s bad.

      No arrests have been made in Tuesday night’s fatal shooting of Jamyla Bolden and police don’t yet know if the home was targeted or the shots were random, Ferguson Sgt. Dominica Fuller said Thursday. Jamyla’s 34-year-old mother was struck in the leg and treated at a hospital.

    • What Use Does the Los Angeles Unified School District Have for Military Grade Weapons?

      On Thursday, July 30, 50 Black and Latino students wearing mock bullet proof vests with stickers that stated #StudentsAintBulletProof #End1033, from the Strategy Center’s Fight for the Soul of the Cities, once again asked the Los Angeles Unified School District to give us a list of the weapons they received from the Department of Defense 1033 Program, to return 61 M-16 assault rifles we believe are still in their possession, and to apologize for being in the program in the first place. Students said, after three public comment testimonies, four long letters (September 2014, November 2014, May 2015, July 2015), over 3,500 petitions, appeals, and every other method of persuasion “Why is the LAUSD trying to kill us?” This campaign is part of the Strategy Center’s No Cars in LA and the U.S., No Tanks in LA and the U.S.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Allegations over Maltese group’s links to the CIA

      In the early 1980s suspicions that the Maltese group Front Freedom Fighters was being funded by anti-Communist entities close to the CIA were covertly communicated to the British Foreign Office, recently declassified documents reveal.

    • ISIS Threatens Turkey. Turks Respond With Half-Hearted ‘Meh’
    • Kurdish rebels attack police, military in Turkey, one policeman killed
    • Report: Turkey erects concrete wall along border with Syria

      Turkish media reports say Turkey has started to construct a 45 kilometer- (28 mile-) long concrete wall along a key stretch of its border with Syria.

    • Turkey Pays Former CIA Director and Lobbyists to Misrepresent Attacks on Kurds and ISIS

      Thousands of articles have been published worldwide in recent weeks exposing Turkey’s strategic trickery — using the pretext of fighting ISIS to carry out a genocidal bombing campaign against the Kurds who have courageously countered ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

      The Wall Street Journal reported on August 12 that a senior US military official accused Turkey of deceiving the American government by allowing its use of Incirlik airbase to attack ISIS, as a cover for President Erdogan’s war on Kurdish fighters (PKK) in northern Iraq. So far, Turkey has carried out 300 air strikes against the PKK, and only three against ISIS! Erdogan’s intent in punishing the Kurds is to gain the sympathy of Turkish voters in the next parliamentary elections, enabling his party to win an outright majority and establish an autocratic presidential theocracy.

    • The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America

      The history of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—its coups, assassinations, “extraordinary rendition” kidnappings, use of torture, “black sites,” drone executions, dirty wars and sponsorship of dictatorial regimes [1]—not only underscores the bloody and reactionary role of American imperialism, but most especially the ruling elite’s mortal fear of the working class internationally.

    • We deserve a better media

      Here is another clue: ‘We’ll know our disinformation programme is complete when everything the American public believes is false,” CIA Director, 1981. It seems he got his wish.

      Two weeks before the outbreak of WWII, a solemn British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain remarked, “History will judge the Press to have been the principle cause of war.”

      Nevile Henderson, the British Ambassador to Berlin echoed the premier’s words. France’s President Lebrun and Foreign Minister warned the Press ‘not to abuse their so-called Press freedom.’ In September 1941, U.S Senator Clark: ‘Half a dozen men controlling the film industry clamour for war.’

    • Psychological warfare and Jeremy Corbyn

      Earlier this month I briefly wrote about how the incessant stream of attacks on Jeremy Corbyn from all parts of the media, represented more than meets the eye. That it is a continuation of an undemocratic and sinister policy of subversion and undermining of any popular left wing movement or leader, that poses a threat to the capitalist system and military-industrial-complex.

    • Fox & Friends Rewrites Background Of Alleged Terrorists To Make Them The Face Of Birthright Citizenship

      Fox & Friends joined The Daily Caller in an effort to make alleged terrorists Anwar al-Awlaki and Yaser Hamdi the face of birthright citizenship, falsely claiming the men were born in the U.S. to “illegal parents” and able to pursue terrorist activities without retaliation because their citizenship protected them.

    • Are Democrats Really Socialists?

      Socialism has had a rough few decades, but it’s enjoying a rare success. Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a socialist, is running for president, drawing big crowds and leading Hillary Clinton in one poll in New Hampshire. All this leads some people to a damning conclusion: Democrats love Sanders because Democrats are socialists.

    • Who shapes our image of the world?

      …Charlotte Wiedemann considers how press freedom and the media are tethered to Western geopolitics

    • France’s far-right National Front party ousts founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen

      Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the party in 1972, was serving as honorary president when he was suspended in May for saying he saw the Holocaust as a “detail of history.” He challenged the suspension in court, and in July a judge overturned it, saying proper procedure had not been followed.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Who Was the CIA Official Who Found Torture Revolting? And Other Questions the ACLU Still Has About CIA Torture

      In early December 2014, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., released a summary of her staff’s five-year investigation of the CIA’s interrogation programs following 9/11.

      Best known as the “Torture Report,” the document revealed searing details of ghastly abuses ranging from “rectal feedings” to “near drowning” on the waterboard.

    • CIA ‘torture’: Inside the ‘blackout box’
    • Key conclusions of the Hoffman report

      Below are some of the key findings of the Hoffman report, an independent review of the American Psychological Association’s ethics guidelines and allegations made against APA. The report concludes that APA failed to challenge and legitimized the “enhanced interrogation” techniques authorized used against terror suspects during the Bush administration. Gerald Koocher, DePaul’s current Dean of the College of Science and Health, served as president-elect of APA in 2005 and president in 2006, the time of these allegations.

    • Roy Eidelson and Jean Maria Arrigo: An unhealthy nexus of interests

      The APA got into this mess by holding tightly to a deeply flawed assumption: that psychology should embrace every opportunity to expand its sphere of influence.

    • Consorting With the Devil

      Throughout the Cold War, and doubtless right down to the present, professional people with skills relevant to “national security” have been secretly recruited to work for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense. Universities are among those particularly targeted. Scholars and campus research centers have received CIA and DoD funding for conferences and publications, for collecting intelligence while abroad, and even for spying, all under cloak of secrecy.


      The latest revelation concerning those who “consort with the devil” concerns psychologists in the American Psychological Association. In utter disregard for professional ethics, a number of prominent psychologists worked closely with the CIA’s and the Pentagon’s torture programs in Afghanistan. They not only condoned but personally profited from torture, all in the name of supporting the US war effort. It was a case of first-class collusion, abuse of authority, and conflict of interest—and it went largely unnoticed until recently.

    • US Torturers Lose Psychologists’ Corrupt Cooperation

      The resolution proper begins by adopting the international law definition of torture in the UN Convention Against Torture, which is at variance with US law. The resolution also acknowledges that some 3,400 psychologists work for the Department of Defense (mostly at VA hospitals) and commits the APA to supporting the ethical behavior of these psychologists in these and similar “organizational settings.” And the resolution commits the APA to notifying the President, Congress, and other officials of the core of its mandate:

    • Editorial: When psychologists cross the line

      Koocher, in a statement on his website, said he and former APA President Ronald Levant insisted that they “never have supported the use of cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment of prisoners or detainees.”

      But the report, which was drafted at the APA’s request by former City of Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman and his colleagues at the firm Sidley Austin, saw the APA’s actions differently. The report concluded that the APA tried to curry favor with the U.S. Department of Defense, with which it had strong ties and is one of the largest employers of psychologists, by issuing loose ethical guidelines for psychologists involved in interrogations. These guidelines did not constrain the interrogations beyond the rules the government had already set for itself and allowed psychologists to remain involved.

    • Why ethical psychologists play an important role in interrogations [Ed: apologist]
    • When the American Psychological Association was in bed with the CIA

      David Hoffman, former assistant US attorney, conducted a review of the APA’s extensive involvement and wrote in his subsequent report, ‘The evidence supports the conclusion that APA officials colluded the DoD officials to, at the least, adopt and maintain APA ethics policies that were not more restrictive than the guidelines that key DoD officials wanted’.

      Hoffman also stated that the ‘APA chose its ethics policy based on its goals of helping the DoD, managing PR, and maximising the growth of the profession’.

      Prior to Hoffman’s investigation, the APA dismissed and denied allegations of their complicity. The report, however, brought the credibility of the association into question, and earlier this month a ban was approved. In an effort to salvage their reputation, they prohibited any involvement by psychologists in national security interrogations – including noncoercive interrogations under the Obama administration.

    • Good People Doing Bad Things

      Some years ago, the psychologist Albert Bandura listed eight mental tricks people play to disengage their consciences so they can perform the acts of violence they would normally abhor.


      Moral Justification, Euphemistic Labeling, Advantageous Comparison, Displacement of Responsibility, Diffusion of Responsibility, Disregard or Distortion of Consequences, Dehumanization, Attribution of Blame

    • COLUMN: American Psychological Association removes psychologists from CIA interrogations

      A number of other psychologists have been, and continue to be, used in CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay, despite petitions to remove said psychologists.

    • CIA blocked full release of report criticising torture techniques

      Not only did those who combed through six million pages of internal CIA documents expose the brutal tactics used by operatives, which included locking detainees in coffin-shaped box for hours or hanging them on a pole for days, they found the practices – which were eventually deemed by the US Supreme Court as outside the Geneva Convention for human rights – didn’t actually lead to the vital information they claimed.


      “I walked out of Zero Dark Thirty, candidly,” Dianne Feinstein, the former chairperson of the State Intelligence Committee told the Frontline program. “We were having a showing and I got into it 15 to 20 minutes and I left, I couldn’t handle it because it’s so false.”

    • Next Cazenovia Forum: A Look Inside the CIA and its Controversies

      Over a 34 year career with the CIA, Rizzo made sweeping legal calls on virtually every major issue facing the spy agency, from rules governing waterboarding, “enhanced interrogation” and drones to answering for the Iran Contra scandal.


      The CIA’s torture-era leadership won’t repent. Even after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report saying in no uncertain terms that the CIA had tortured its prisoners, that torture was official U.S. government policy, and that torture never elicited any actionable intelligence that saved American lives, Bush-era CIA Directors George Tenet, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, and several of their underlings announced plans to release a book justifying torture.

      They intend to repeat a lie over and over again in this book: that torture worked. They hope that the American people are either so gullible or so stupid that they’ll believe it. It’s up to the rest of us to ensure that our government swears off committing this crime against humanity.

      I know that these former intelligence leaders are lying because I worked with them at the CIA. When I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program in 2007, they came down on me like a ton of bricks.

      It’s not necessarily news that these former CIA heavyweights believe in torture, even if they refuse to call it what it is. Many television news outlets still run clips of George Tenet’s 2007 appearance on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in which he repeats “We do not torture! We do not torture!” as though he were unhinged and living in a dream world.

    • Leadership: Change Not Welcome Here

      Since the 1990s there have been increasingly open (public) complaints from users about poor quality work from the U.S. Department of Defense intelligence agencies. This all began in the late 1940s when the CIA was established to coordinate all of the U.S.’s intelligence gathering activities. At that point there began a low level war between the CIA and the Department of Defense.

    • What do Don Rumsfeld and others identified with the Pollard Affair fear from his release?
    • ProPublica and John Kiriakou to receive freedom of speech awards

      PEN Center USA, one of two American branches of the international human rights organization, will honor the investigative journalism non-profit ProPublica and the former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who became an inadvertent whistleblower, on November 16 in a ceremony hosted by Aisha Tyler. Though more award winners are yet to be named, these two choices illustrate the wide range of pressures that news organizations currently face.

    • Dodging Torture (Again)

      Last Thursday, Jeb Bush declared to an Iowa audience that he wouldn’t rule out resuming torture practices by the United States government. “I don’t know,” he hedged. “I’m just saying if I’m going to be president of the United States, you take this threat [Islamic State group] seriously.”

      Two Thursdays ago, during Fox’s highly watched GOP debate, Megyn Kelly asked presidential candidate Ben Carson whether he would bring back waterboarding. A retired neurosurgeon, Carson replied in the subjunctive, coyly saying that if he were to reinstate torture methods, he wouldn’t broadcast this and “tell everybody what we’re going to do.” As a doctor (think: first do no harm), Carson must have seen countless patients in pain over his career. Even for him to say he might torture is alarming. More appalling is that his polls have since surged, and as of this week, Carson has been statistically named the winner of the Fox debate.

      A few days before this debate, Donald Trump told ABC that he thinks “waterboarding doesn’t sound very severe.” This statement would shock us had Trump not already demonstrated his poor understanding of what torture entails, as evidenced by his disparaging remarks about John McCain’s status as a war hero.

    • ‘Each one of us can make a difference,’ Ban declares as UN marks World Humanitarian Day
    • Louis Stokes, first black U.S. congressman from Ohio, dies at 90

      In 1967, in a campaign that helped change racial politics in the United States, Carl Stokes was elected to the first of two terms as Cleveland mayor. The next year, Louis Stokes, a lawyer who had brought several cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, won the congressional seat that he would hold until his retirement in 1998.

    • Bruce Elfant says U.S. about 100th in voter turnout, Texas near bottom too

      A Travis County official declared the United States and Texas lag far behind other countries and states in voting.

      On Aug. 5, 2015, Democrat Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector, was interviewed by Dick Ellis of the KOKE-FM Austin Radio Network about the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act.

      Johnson, Elfant said, “would be very disappointed by the number of Americans who choose to use that right. The United States is about 100th in voter turnout among the industrialized nations and Texas is near the bottom in terms of voter registration and voter turnout,” he said.

    • ‘Guantanamo Diary’ details appalling injustice

      I am reading “Guantanamo Diary,” the appalling story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who has been unjustly imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base for 12 years.

      How was Slahi ever arrested in the first place? Likely because he was an early member of Al-Qaida during the days we conveniently forget, when the CIA channeled funds to the Afghan mujahideen to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In other words, Mr. Slahi effectively fought as an ally of the U.S. in 1991-92, after which he left Afghanistan and broke off all relations with Al Qaida.

    • Justice Department: Appeals Court Wrong To Revive Lawsuit Brought By Immigrants Abused After 9/11

      The Justice Department has requested a federal appeals court revisit and reverse its decision to revive a lawsuit against former Justice Department officials, who allegedly violated the rights of Arab or Muslim immigrants when they were detained in the immediate months after the terrorist attacks.

      Attorneys for the Justice Department argue, regardless of whether immigrants had their rights violated, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and former Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) James W. Ziglar adopted reasonable policies “in an effort to protect the nation during a turbulent time.” The former officials should not be liable for rights violations.

    • Jimmy Carter’s Legacy. Human Rights in the Abstract versus “Shameful and Indefensible Foreign Policy Positions”

      “Carter was the least violent of American presidents but he did things which I think would certainly fall under Nuremberg provisions,” said Noam Chomsky. Much like Nobel Peace-prize winner Barack Obama 30 years later, Carter was an advocate of human rights in the abstract, but of repression and imposition of power through violence in practice.

      Like the current occupant of the White House, Jimmy Carter entered office with a promise to respect human rights, but failed miserably when given the opportunity to do so.

    • DOJ Highlights Media Subpoenas From 2014

      …Department of Justice highlighted its attempts at forcing testimony from New York Times reporter James Risen.

    • Thumbs-down to another Bush in the White House

      Recently Jeb Bush said he had a solution to defeat ISIS. He blamed troubles in the Middle East on presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

      He didn’t say anything about his father or brother. These men were presidents and took us to war in the Middle East.

    • Letter to Jeb Bush: Torture is Never Justifiable

      Mr. Bush — or Jeb if you don’t mind — I was greatly disturbed to hear that if you became president you won’t rule out the resumption of the use of torture arguing that brutal questioning methods might be justifiable and necessary in some circumstances. Torture is never justifiable.

      President Obama banned CIA torture by executive order in January 2009. I urge you to reconsider your statement concerning torture and agree to leave President Obama’s executive order in place. I don’t want a president who would use tortur

    • Free Chelsea Manning!

      Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the heroic WikiLeaks whistleblower and transgender activist currently jailed in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, is now being threatened with “indefinite solitary confinement.”

      While on active duty in Iraq as an intelligence analyst, Manning released 700,000 classified and sensitive military and diplomatic documents. They revealed details about modern imperialist wars never before made public. This included the infamous “Collateral Murder” tape of a U.S. “Apache” attack helicopter firing on civilians in Baghdad in 2007, killing 11 adults, including two Reuters journalists. Two children were seriously hurt. Manning also exposed previously hidden facts about the torture of U.S. detainees at the U.S. Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp.

      A U.S. military judge sentenced Manning to 35 years on charges of “aiding the enemy” — a treasonable offense under the 1917 U.S. Espionage Act. Awaiting trial, she suffered torturous conditions, first held in a cage inside a tent in the Kuwaiti desert, threatened by guards with being “disappeared” to Guantánamo. Then Manning was held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps Brig at Quantico, Va., where she was under 24-hour guard and subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.

    • John M. Crisp: The conversation of torture should be prominent in the 2016 campaign

      Two interesting stories appeared in the same edition of my local newspaper last week.

      The first involves an awkward problem that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush faces: His brother, former president George W. Bush.

      Many Republicans have managed to hold their noses when they consider George W. Bush’s administration, especially his unprovoked and ill-advised invasion of Iraq. Jeb Bush has stumbled over this issue several times, looking for ways to put the best face on a huge foreign policy error.

      He has admitted that “mistakes were made” and relied on the dubious proposition that “taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal.” But this simplistic notion – Saddam Hussein is easy to demonize – depends on the electorate’s failure to notice the chaos that the Iraq War unleashed.

    • Clerics gather in Egypt to counter extremist fatwas

      Top Muslim clerics gathered in Egypt on Monday to address extremist religious edicts in the face of an unprecedented threat from Islamic State group jihadists who have declared a “caliphate”.

    • The Quiet Demise of the Army’s Plan to Understand Afghanistan and Iraq

      The Army created the Human Terrain System — at the height of the counterinsurgency craze that dominated American strategic thinking in Iraq and Afghanistan late in the last decade, with much fanfare — to solve this problem. Cultural training and deep, nuanced understanding of Afghan politics and history were in short supply in the Army; without them, good intelligence was hard to come by, and effective policy making was nearly impossible. Human Terrain Teams, as Human Terrain System units were known, were supposed to include people with social-science backgrounds, language skills and an understanding of Afghan or Iraqi culture, as well as veterans and reservists who would help bind the civilians to their assigned military units.

    • Ship Transfers Over 1,300 Migrants From Greek Island to Mainland City Port

      A ship with 1,308 refugees has left the Greek island of Kos bound for the port city of Thessaloniki, to process the asylum-seekers, the press office of the Greek Ministry of Shipping and the Aegean told Sputnik.

    • Drones, police violence protest comes through Baraboo

      A 90-mile walk to protest drones and racial profiling is scheduled to begin from the Dane County Jail on Tuesday and go through Baraboo on its way to Volk Field, organizers say.

      The “Let It Shine!” walk will take place over the course of a week, ending Aug. 25 in the village of Camp Douglas. Volk Field is home to a shadow drone training program and has been the site of numerous protests, including one in 2014 in which a Diocese of Madison priest was arrested for distributing fliers critical of the military’s use of drones.

    • Black Lives Matter videos, Clinton campaign reveal details of meeting

      Throughout the 15-minute conversation, Clinton disagreed with the three activists from Black Lives Matter who had planned to publicly press the 2016 candidate on issues on mass incarceration at an event earlier this month in Keene, New Hampshire.


Links 22/8/2015: Chromebook Gains, GNOME 3.18 Clues

Posted in News Roundup at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • John Oliver Exposes the Racket of the Christian Megachurch Industry

    On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver took on the fraudulent behind-the-scenes (and occasionally, not so behind-the-scenes) practices of America’s mega-televangelist ministries — specifically, those that have exploited people’s faith for monetary gain with the promise that “donations will result in wealth coming back to you.” It’s called “The Prosperity Gospel,” and is built on the idea that every donation a congregant gives its pastor is a “seed” that will one day be harvested. “Wealth is a sign of God’s favor,” after all.

  • Hardware

    • Your Toner Is No Good Here: Region-Coding Ink Cartridges… For The Customers

      Everyone likes buying stuff with a bunch of built-in restrictions, right? The things we “own” often remain the property of the manufacturers, at least in part. That’s the trade-off we never asked for — one pushed on us by everyone from movie studios to makers of high-end cat litter boxes and coffee brewers. DRM prevents backup copies. Proprietary packets brick functions until manufacturer-approved refills are in place.

  • Security

    • LinuxCon: CII Program Will Give Badges to Open Source Projects With Strong Security

      Amid this week’s LinuxCon in Seattle, SecurityWeek reported that the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), which funds open source projects, will give the badge to those that meet a set of standard criteria. This includes an established bug reporting process, an automated test suite, vulnerability response processes and patching processes. A self-assessment will determine whether the project owners merit the badge.

    • Why every website should switch to HTTPS

      HTTPS protects both website owners and users from interference by network operators. It provides three protections: data authentication, integrity, and confidentiality. HTTPS makes sure that the website you loaded was sent by the real owner of that website, that nothing was injected or censored on the website, and that no one else is able to read the contents of the data being transmitted. We are seeing more and more evidence of manipulation of websites to inject things that the website owners and users didn’t intend. Additionally, browsers are starting to deprecate HTTP as non-secure, so in the coming years non-HTTPS websites will start throwing warnings by both Chrome and Firefox.

    • Embargoed firmware updates in LVFS

      The new embargo target allows vendors to test the automatic update functionality using a secret vendor-specific URL set in /etc/fwupd.conf without releasing it to the general public until the hardware has been announced.

    • Security updates for Friday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Two Candidates Surge in 2016 Polling–but Only Trump, Not Sanders, Fascinates Media

      The two big surprises of the 2016 presidential race so far are Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Two dark horse candidates opposed by party insiders, each began a substantial surge in campaign polls around the beginning of July. In Real Clear Politics‘ average of polls, Sanders has gone from 12.7 percent to 25.0 percent since July 1, while Trump has gone from 6 percent to 22 percent.

      Yet corporate media show a fascination with just one of these characters. Is it the self-described socialist senator from Vermont, who has focused his campaign on combating the US’s rising inequality? Or is it the billionaire real-estate developer who blames America’s economic troubles on foreigners and calls for massive deportations?

    • Louise Mensch takes swipe at Corbyn campaign – and hits herself

      Mensch was unbowed by the criticism and continued to post examples of abuse she said had come from Corbyn supporters. She did not respond to a request for comment.

    • Louise Mensch Roundly Mocked For Twitter Search Faux Pas In Corbyn Row

      Users of the micro-blogging site were quick to point out the mistake, mocking the former MP for her monstrous faux-pas.

      While anti-Semitism is rife on social media, and Mensch and others has raised concerns regarding Corbyn’s alleged links to high-profile anti-Semites, the gaffe itself was widely appreciated.

  • Censorship

    • Indonesia Blocks The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt, Others

      After promising a strong response to piracy for several years, Indonesia has finally taken action against The Pirate Bay. Along with fellow torrent index IsoHunt.to, the site is among almost two dozen others now ordered by the Ministry of Communications to be blocked at the ISP level.

    • Google ordered to remove links to ‘right to be forgotten’ removal stories

      Google has been ordered by the Information Commissioner’s office to remove nine links to current news stories about older reports which themselves were removed from search results under the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling.

      The search engine had previously removed links relating to a 10 year-old criminal offence by an individual after requests made under the right to be forgotten ruling. Removal of those links from Google’s search results for the claimant’s name spurred new news posts detailing the removals, which were then indexed by Google’s search engine.

      Google refused to remove links to these later news posts, which included details of the original criminal offence, despite them forming part of search results for the claimant’s name, arguing that they are an essential part of a recent news story and in the public interest.

    • Google ordered to remove links to stories about Google removing links to stories

      The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ordered Google to remove links from its search results that point to news stories reporting on earlier removals of links from its search results. The nine further results that must be removed point to Web pages with details about the links relating to a criminal offence that were removed by Google following a request from the individual concerned. The Web pages involved in the latest ICO order repeated details of the original criminal offence, which were then included in the results displayed when searching for the complainant’s name on Google.

    • London ‘Draw Mohamed’ exhibition cancelled due to ‘real possibility people could be killed’

      A planned ‘Draw Mohamed’ exhibition has been cancelled in London after counter-terrorism police warned that people could be killed if it went ahead.

      Organiser Anne Marie Waters, Sharia Watch director and former UKIP candidate, revealed that security services had reason to believe the event might be attacked, with a “very real possibility that people could be hurt or killed – before, during and after”.

      Organisers asked more than 200 galleries to host the exhibition but their requests were almost universally refused, with even the gallery that eventually agreed later pulling out.

    • UK Piracy Police Asked Domain Registrars to Shut Down 317 Sites

      Since its launch two years ago, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has requested domain name registrars to suspend 317 pirate sites. A lot of requests were denied, but police say they don’t know how many. The numbers were made available in response to a Freedom of Information request by TF, which also reveals more interesting details.

    • Boston Public Broadcaster WGBH Files Bogus DMCA Notice On Public Domain Video Uploaded By Carl Malamud

      It’s amazing the kind of trouble that Carl Malamud ends up in thanks to people not understanding copyright law. The latest is that he was alerted to the fact that YouTube had taken down a video that he had uploaded, due to a copyright claim from WGBH, a public television station in Boston. The video had nothing to do with WGBH at all. It’s called “Energy — The American Experience” and was created by the US Dept. of Energy in 1974 and is quite clearly in the public domain as a government creation (and in case you’re doubting it, the federal government itself lists the video as “cleared for TV.”

    • The biggest threat to comedy? Self-censorship

      ‘A powerful declaration of the primacy of freedom of expression, not always the most fashionable view at a liberal arts festival.’ It’s lines like this that prove we live in strange times. This caught my eye in a review of character comic Sarah Franken’s new Fringe show Who Keeps Making All These People?, a searing satire of the Islamic State, political correctness and the gutlessness of modern Western culture. I wonder if the reviewer recognised the irony.

    • A showgirl’s story of sequins and censorship in Shanghai

      If the strangeness of opening a burlesque club in China had not occurred to Amelia Kallman and Norman Gosney as a Buddhist cleansing ceremony took place in their future venue, it certainly did when they found themselves submitting Frank Sinatra lyrics to be vetted by the local cultural department.

    • China’s official response to emergencies is ‘censorship’

      As Tianjin residents struggle to find answers, China has imposed heavy restrictions on independent media trying to cover the deadly explosions that rocked the port city. DW spoke to China expert Isabel Hilton.

    • How did the Chinese media react to the Tianjin explosions?

      It has now been more than a week since the explosions in Tianjin occurred. Discussions on online social networks such as Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) show Chinese netizens are angry. The incident has been Weibo’s top trending topic for a week, with combined posts gaining more than 3 billion views.

    • FPB unmoved by R2K on ‘censorship’ policy

      The Film and Publication Board (FPB) will not publish public comment on its Draft Online Regulation Policy, which has been heavily criticised as Internet censorship legislation.

      This after the Right2Know Campaign called for records of the FPB’s public hearings and written submissions to do with the controversial draft policy to be made public.

      “We believe the record of public comment will confirm that the majority of South Africans want a free Internet,” says R2K in a statement.

    • Erdogan Enhances Censorship Ahead of Snap Polls

      As predicted, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had absolutely no intention of abiding by the results of the June 7, 2015 when, for the first time in more than 12 years, his Justice and Development lost its majority in parliament. Joining a coalition means compromising with opposition parties rather than continuing his own tyranny of the plurality.

      Hence, Erdoğan has called snap-elections for November 1. Erdoğan is no gambler, however, and he will not trust his fate to the voters determining their party pick on an even playing field.

    • Ongoing censorship blocks Kurdish, critical, data-based media during time of crisis

      A black curtain has been preventing the public from receiving news since certain media outlets’ websites have had all access to their sites from within Turkey blocked since July 25, just as the cease-fire between Turkey and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) ended and the country enters a war against radical terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    • Writers slam ‘censorship by bullet’ in Mexico

      Demanding an end to “censorship by the bullet” in Mexico, more than 500 international writers and intellectuals called on President Enrique Peña Nieto to do more to prevent the murder of journalists in a country they say has “no safe haven for the profession”.

    • Censorship by bullet

      It’s hard to know which is worse: the deadly conditions that threaten critical journalists in Mexico or the government’s feeble response to recent deadly attacks. The intolerable situation has produced a letter from 500 global writers and thinkers to Mexico’s president urging him to address his country’s terrible record on protecting news professionals. Among the signers: novelists Salman Rushdie, Junot Diaz, Margaret Atwood and news figures Christiane Amanpour and Tom Brokaw.

    • Europe’s Latest Export to America: Internet Censorship

      American Web users’ access to Internet content may soon be limited, thanks to a recent decision by French regulators. France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberties (known by its French acronym CNIL) ordered Google to apply the European Union’s bizarre “right-to-be-forgotten” rules on a global basis in a June ruling. The search engine announced at the end of July that it would refuse to comply. If it is nevertheless forced to do so, the result could be unprecedented censorship of Internet content, as well as a dangerous expansion of foreign Web restrictions on Americans.

    • India’s Government Censorship

      Since his election in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has trumpeted India’s open society and vibrant democracy when he speaks to foreign heads of state and business leaders. But, at home, his government is seeking to restrict freedom of expression, including recent attempts to limit access to the Internet and the freedom of Indian television networks to report the news.

    • Age ratings enforced for UK-produced music videos on YouTube and Vevo

      Videos made in the UK by artists signed to major labels will be classified before release, in measures meant to protect children from unsuitable online content

    • Profile: Are age ratings on music videos and video games appropriate?
    • Mark Latham, censorship and free speech

      Does Mark Latham’s parting of ways with the Australian Financial Review amount to censorship? Has political correctness gone mad? Are commentators not allowed to be provocative? Should we not tolerate a wide array of views – popular or not? Do ‘frightbat’ feminists on Twitter have too much power?

    • How UC can respond to bigoted speech without censorship

      Second, parents should insist on workable procedures for students to report instances of bigotry (and also for allegations that faculty members are failing in their duty to evaluate student work based on its quality, rather than a divergent political view).

      Third, they should ask the regents to ensure that each campus has a plan so that when a significant instance of bigotry occurs, there are clear and immediate communications from the chancellor, campus police and campus administrators.

      Fourth, parents should ask the regents to stress a core principle without which the university cannot function: that attempts to outlaw or chill speech are more dangerous than hateful speech itself. Unless the speech is illegal, such as threats against a person or a group coupled with a clear call for immediate unlawful action, it must be answered with other speech that argues why what was advocated or articulated was not only wrong, but also bigoted. This, not censorship or “trigger warnings,” will tell the students that people of goodwill are speaking out with and for them.

    • Bloggers need to exercise self-censorship

      Bloggers need to exercise ethical self-censorship, one of the organizers of NeForum for Bloggers 2015, LiveJournal head marketing officer Ivan Kalyuzhny told reporters.

    • UK Orders Google to Censor Links to Articles About “Right to Be Forgotten” Removals

      The “right to be forgotten” has always been a double whammy of a disaster: an awful policy based on terrible ideas. Under the right, implemented in 2014 by the European Court of Justice, private citizens can petition search engines to hide results that pertain to their pasts. As a policy, the right to be forgotten is bad because companies like Google have legitimate free speech interests in presenting their results as they see fit. As an idea, it’s bad because it bars search engines from publishing truthful information about matters of public concern—a troubling precedent which, taken to its logical end, could lead to serious censorship.

    • Google to Remove Links on EU Censorship

      On Thursday, a UK court ordered Google to remove links to some stories about the right to be forgotten.

    • Africa: Stand Up Against Unaccountable Net Censorship

      When ISPs and social media platforms are held legally responsible for all content passing through them, we all lose out.

    • Ecuadoran government imposes censorship of media due to volcano crisis outside Quito
    • Why is Ecuador censoring coverage of volcano’s activity?

      The Ecuadorean authorities have imposed “preventive censorship” on all media coverage of Cotopaxi, a volcano 50 km south of the capital that became active again on 14 August after 73 years of inactivity. The government’s communiqués are now the only permitted source of information on the subject.

    • Campus censorship feeds false fears, stifles learning

      The new language of campus censorship cuts out the middleman and claims that merely hearing wrong, unpleasant or offensive ideas is so dangerous to the mental health of the listener that people need to be protected from the experience.

    • Fighting Back Against Internet Censorship in Australia

      Look at a move back in 2014 with proposed legislation that would give more powers to a government regulatory body to say what they want taken offline – all in the name of ‘protecting children.’

    • Dozens of journalists stop reporting following intimidations and censorship

      The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) backs the protest of journalists working in central Somalia due to increasing pressure, intimidations and censorship by armed religious group.

    • Comedian’s take on University campus censorship
    • The little-known history of secrecy and censorship in wake of atomic bombings

      The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago, is one of the most studied events in modern history. And yet significant aspects of that bombing are still not well known.

      I recently published a social history of US censorship in the aftermath of the bombings, which this piece is based on. The material was drawn from a dozen different manuscript collections in archives around the US.

      I found that military and civilian officials in the US sought to contain information about the effects of radiation from the blasts, which helps explain the persistent gaps in the public’s understanding of radiation from the bombings.

    • Censorship By Remote Control

      The recent show-cause notice by the government to three television channels on Yakub Memon’s hanging, and its temporary ban on 857 porn sites, have rekindled apprehensions about overt and covert censorship, and of the kind of coercive constraints on free and fearless expression that is a fundamental right guaranteed to every Indian.

    • New routing method promotes censorship-free internet

      Computer scientists have developed a novel method for providing concrete proof to internet users that their information did not cross through certain undesired geographic areas.

      The new system, called “Alibi Routing”, offers advantages over existing systems as it is immediately deployable and does not require knowledge of the internet’s routing hardware or policies.

      Recent events such as censorship of internet traffic, suspicious “boomerang routing” where data leaves a region only to come back again, and monitoring of users’ data have alerted the researchers.

    • Western Mainstream Media Censor Green Left Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si’” Message For Urgent Action On Climate Change

      Censorship, lying by omission and lying by commission will doom the planet.

    • Don’t censor anti-Semites, argue with them

      Chiming in with the outraged individual who wrote to the Fringe, Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said in a statement that Chabloz’s presence should be ‘of grave concern’ to Fringe organisers and urged Scottish premier Nicola Sturgeon to step up and enforce her pledged ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on anti-Semitism.
      Related categories
      Free speech

      But as dodgy, detestable and potentially anti-Semitic as Chabloz may be, the ease with which people are trying to run her out of the festival, and, potentially, out of the country, is a complete disgrace. In a free society, we must all be free to speak, discuss and salute however we like.

    • Who is policing the word police? Github’s retarded move causes user backlash.

      Currently a controversy is brewing over at Github, which can be described as “the facebook of programmers”. That’s one heck of an elevator pitch, and made Github the darling of VC-funders and happy users alike. It’s a web-based Git repository hosting service, where you can upload your projects and if anyone takes a liking to your repo they can fork it and work on it too.

      Git in this context is a free software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, and every Git working directory is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full version-tracking capabilities. A fork is a copy of a repository. Forking a repository allows you to freely experiment with changes without affecting the original project, and the original project doesn’t affect yours. Just making that clear so that Adria Richards doesn’t come around in case I make any forking-jokes.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google joins Facebook in trying to prevent IAMAI from taking strong anti-Zero Rating stand

      Google joined hands with Facebook to try and prevent the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which represents some of the largest Internet companies in India, from taking a stand that counters Zero Rating. According to emails exchanged between IAMAI’s Government Relations committee members, of which MediaNama has copies, Vineeta Dixit, a member of Google’s Public Policy and and Government Relations team, strongly pushed for the removal of any mention of Zero Rating from the IAMAI’s submission, as a response to the Department of Telecom’s report on Net Neutrality. Please note that Google hasn’t responded to our queries, despite multiple reminders.

    • Two Important Speeches: The Threats To The Future Of The Internet… And How To Protect An Open Internet

      Last week, I came across two separate speeches that were given recently about the future of the internet — both with very different takes and points, but both that really struck a chord with me. And the two seem to fit together nicely, so I’m combining both of them into one post. The first speech is Jennifer Granick’s recent keynote at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. You can see the video here or read a modified version of the speech entitled, “The End of the Internet Dream.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Once Again, Megaupload User Asks Court for His Files Back

        Three years ago now, EFF’s client Kyle Goodwin, a sports videographer, asked the court to allow him to retrieve the files he stored in an account on the cloud storage site Megaupload. When the government seized Megaupload’s assets and servers in January 2012, Mr. Goodwin lost access to video files containing months of his professional work. Today, EFF filed a brief on behalf of Mr. Goodwin asking, once again, for the return of the files.

        We originally asked the court for help back in 2012. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia took briefing, and even held a hearing. Unfortunately, since that time not much has happened. The U.S. government has continued pursuing a criminal case and a civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and its owners, but the data stored by millions of Megaupload customers, including material like Mr. Goodwin’s sports videos that had nothing to do with the alleged copyright infringement that Megaupload is accused of, languished in a warehouse on hundreds of servers owned by Carpathia Hosting, Megaupload’s former contractor.

      • Appeals court: Prenda lawyer who drained cash from his law firm must pay up

        A Minnesota court has ordered Paul Hansmeier, one of two lawyers considered the creators of the Prenda Law copyright-trolling scheme, to pay sanctions in a case where he and his colleague John Steele were accused of trying to collude with a defendant.

        An order published Monday by a Minnesota appeals court describes how Hansmeier tried to dodge a $64,000 judicial sanction in the Guava LLC v. Spencer Merkel case by moving money out of his Alpha Law Firm then dissolving it. A district court previously found that Hansmeier’s actions and inconsistent explanations warranted a piercing of the “corporate veil,” and that court ruled that Hansmeier should be held personally responsible for the debt. Now, an appeals court has agreed (PDF) with that conclusion.


Links 20/8/2015: Fedora 24 Plans, Ubuntu Phones in India

Posted in News Roundup at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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