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03.08.14

Links 8/3/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 1:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

03.07.14

Political News That Matters

Posted in News Roundup at 12:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Privacy

NSA

Torture

Militarism

  • Navy will deploy first ship with laser weapon this summer

    After successful testing last year, the Navy is preparing to deploy its first directed energy weapon to the fleet. When it puts to sea this summer, the afloat forward staging base ship USS Ponce will be equipped with the Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS).

Drones

  • Friendly Fire: US Drone Strike Kills Five Afghan Soldiers

    The Pentagon has confirmed launching a drone strike against the Logar Province of Afghanistan today, hitting their allies in a case of mistaken identity. The strike kill five Afghan National Army soldiers, and wounded eight others.

  • The Drone Debate: Has President Obama Stretched the Limits of Constitutional Power?

    In order to frame last night’s Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate, moderator John Donvan invited Georgetown University constitutional law professor Nick Rosenkranz on stage to give the audience a jumpstart on their thinking as to why this event was distinct from the previous debate on drones. He explained that while the first debate looked at policy–which invariably brings politics into the equation–this argument, “The President Has the Constitutional Power to Target and Kill Americans,” focuses solely on the question of constitutionality.

  • America’s Longest, Dirtiest War

    This past week, I had to write a paper on the psychological determinants of the United States’ response to the attacks on September 11, 2001. I clarify the year because if y’all never noticed, the Benghazi attacks happened on the same exact day ten years later … eerie. Like most political science papers I write, I dove headfirst into the topic and justified my watching of movies before bedtime because I chose ones that had to do with 9/11. First, it was United 93. Very bad choice. Quite similar to the night I came home from going out and thought “I’ll just watch a short rom com and fall asleep while it’s playing.” I chose Hotel Rwanda. Three hours later, I was alone in bed bawling my eyes out because why is the world such a horrible place?!

    [...]

    In 2011, a so-called terrorist threat, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was targeted and successfully removed from the picture, much like many other covert operations led out by top American military forces. The only thing that made this different from the assassination of Osama bin Ladin was that Anwar al-Aulaqi was an American citizen, as was his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, whose death was officially stated as a “mistake” by the United States government. There were outcries from journalists and social justice groups following the two separate incidents; what happened to innocent until proven guilty? The response of the government was that the reasons for assassinating these two men — well, really one boy and one man — were too dangerous to let the public in on. So basically, we should really just trust the military and let them kill whomever they want, regardless of citizenship. Because the government is always looking out for the people, right? Except when they unlawfully assassinate us … it’s a cycle of complete bullshit.

Ukraine

  • EU freezes Ukraine’s missing billions, but if it was corrupt why did the banks accept it in first place?

    The EU has just announced that it’s going to freeze the suspect assets of 18 Ukrainian politicians, including former president Viktor Yanukovych. This comes after Switzerland and Austria froze assets earlier in the week. Quite apart from the criticism that the EU’s delay gives plenty of time for Ukraine’s missing billions to be shifted further afield, there is a bigger problem here.

    If there are concerns that this money is corrupt, why did any of the EU’s banks accept it in the first place? Banks are supposed to obey anti-money laundering laws that require them to check out their customers and their source of funds. Then they’re supposed to turn down money that has been earned through crime – including the sort of state looting that seems to have been happening in Ukraine. And governments are supposed to hold banks that fail to do all this to account.

  • The 160-Year Christian History Behind What’s Happening in Ukraine

    In recent days, the Crimean peninsula has been at the heart of what some have described as the greatest international crisis of the 21st century. But this is not the first time the region has been so critical to international affairs. Many educated people have at least heard of the great struggle known as the Crimean War (1853-56), although its causes and events remain mysterious to most non-specialists.

  • US, European Union impose sanctions against Russia
  • Cyberwar hits Ukraine

    While the Kremlin denied any involvement, Georgian officials accused Russia of being behind the attacks.

03.06.14

Privacy, Spying on Congress, Drones, Ukraine Intervention, and More

Posted in News Roundup at 1:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Privacy

  • Careless.data

    The authorities must take the necessary time to remedy the slapdash introduction of a database containing the medical records of the entire population of England.

  • Care.data is in chaos. It breaks my heart

    Medical data has huge power to do good, but it presents risks too. When leaked, it cannot be unleaked. When lost, public trust cannot be easily regained

  • Why you should delete your Facebook account

    Facebook still gets a lot of press these days, and it supposedly has more than a billion users. But I’ve pretty much given up on it for business and personal use. Over the last couple of years I’ve found that Facebook just wasn’t worth the effort and time that I was putting into it.

    First I deleted the Facebook pages for my blogs, and then I eventually deleted my Facebook account altogether.

Illegal Surveillance on Surveillance Oversight

Drones

  • Karzai, Corruption, and CIA Bags of Cash

    You’ve got to hand it to Hamid Karzai. He is nothing if not brazen. Other world leaders might be embarrassed if caught accepting bags of cash from the CIA. Not Karzai. Instead, he is bragging to reporters that the CIA money was “an easy source of petty cash” and reassuring anyone who will listen that he will continue on the CIA payroll.

    The question is: What is the CIA getting for its (read: our) money? I am not opposed in principle to the CIA paying off the leaders of other countries; it has certainly done so before. If intelligently used, cash can be a valuable part of an influence operation; it can be a vital source of support for strong pro-American leaders such as Ramon Magsaysay, the president of the Philippines from 1953 to 1957.

  • Karan Casey Concert to Support Anti-Drone Protests

    Have you heard about the Ithacans in Dewitt court battles, sentenced to jail for peaceful demonstrations against drone warfare at Hancock Field? And wondered if there was any way you could help?

  • Civilian fatalities caused by US-drone attacks significantly higher than estimated

    Concretely, the figures did not include injured individuals that died after been transported as wounded to other localities, such as hospitals or camps. The demise occurring after, even long afterwards, and as consequence of injures received in the combats or air strikes. In other words, media reports on “war casualties”– in the context of the given combat or air-strike event which is the subject in the report – invariably refer as fatalities only to those who perished in situ and at that very occasion.

Civil Rights

  • Attorneys for Barrett Brown want case on linking to hacked material dismissed
  • Journalist Barrett Brown Wins a Victory in His Case as Government Dismisses Charges Related to Link-Sharing
  • Ed: iophk commented on this saying that “The rationale for the arrest, the hyperlink, is interesting in the context of the EU consultation which ended today. Some of the questions pertained to possible changes to copyright law disallowing hyperlinking to external objects.”
  • Feds Dismiss Charges Against Barrett Brown For Linking After Realizing They Had No Case

    Well, well, well. We were about to put up the post below, describing the arguments that Barrett Brown’s lawyers filed about why the criminal charges against him for sharing a link (which they claimed was trafficking in stolen credit card details) were completely bogus… and it appears that the DOJ itself was convinced. Just hours after Brown’s lawyers filed their comprehensive argument, the DOJ has filed a motion to dismiss the criminal charges that stem from the cutting and pasting of the link. The other charges, concerning threatening acts (described below) and “obstruction of justice” (for hiding his laptop in a cabinet) remain, meaning that he is still facing significant jail time. But the core charge, concerning cutting and pasting a link, is now being dismissed. Of course, it’s still a travesty that the DOJ ever included that in the indictment in the first place.

  • A Few Surprises in the New Guantánamo Prisoner List

    This latter category, comprising 48 of the prisoners, was profoundly troubling to those of us who had looked closely at what purported to be the evidence against the prisoners, and had concluded, with good reason, that it was profoundly unreliable. This is because it consisted, to an alarming degree, of self-incriminating statements made by the prisoners themselves, often in circumstances in which coercion, or other forms of pressure were used, or of statements made by other prisoners, even though many of these prisoners had been identified as unreliable by personnel at Guantánamo, and also, in some cases, by judges reviewing the supposed evidence in the prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions.

NSA vs. Privacy

Nobel Peace Prize is a Joke

Ukraine

Assange

  • Nick Mutch talks journalism and Julian Assange with Chris Hedges

    Chris Hedges is among the last of a dying breed: the war correspondent that has spent his life with society’s outcasts and the faceless victims of conflcit. I ask how he came into journalism and what he thinks are the crucial attributes for a journalist. “I originally came to journalism through the priesthood actually. I was studying at Harvard Divinity school, originally intending to become a minister when I met a fantastic guy named Robert Cox. Robert had been editor of the Buenos Aires Herald during the dirty war in the late 70’s. He was a very brave man. The government at the time’s way of disposing of its enemies was ‘disappearing them’; they’d simply vanish into the night, usually never to be seen again. Bob used to print the names of those who had been disappeared the previous day above the fold in his newspaper.

    “Eventually, he himself was disappeared, although his life was saved by the intervention of the British and American governments. He really opened my eyes to the possibility of journalism, and what journalism can do.”

    He emphasises a balanced approach. “One of the most important things you can do as a journalist is have a strict sense of objectivity and wish to stick to the truth. Orwell is the absolute epitome of this aspect of our profession, particularly in books such as Homage to Catalonia. I’ll illustrate with an example from my own career. When I covered the war in Kosovo, I spent the vast majority of my time covering the atrocities of the Serbian security forces, who, if they hadn’t been stopped by a NATO intervention, would have committed murder, massacre and rape on a huge scale. But when they withdrew, their role was replaced by that of Albanian thugs who instead starting beating and murdering elderly Serb couples who had nothing whatsoever to do with Milosevic and his crimes

Police

  • Senate rejects Obama nominee who defended cop killer

    Seven Democrats voted against moving forward with President Obama’s nomination of Adegbile, which the Fraternal Order of Police and other groups opposed because of his involvement in the defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.

  • Video Shows Man Suffering Deliverance-Style Treatment by Small-town Texas Cops (Video)

    That’s when Electra police officers Matt Wood and Gary Ellis approached Nesin, setting off a series of actions that will leave your blood boiling. The pair engaged in unethical police behavior starting off with asking Nesin for his identification even though he had broken no laws, all the way to Electra city attorney Todd Greenwood admitting that they do not follow the Constitution in their town, with a lot of strong-armed bullying taking place in between.

Links 6/3/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 6/3/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 6/3/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

03.05.14

An Android World: Limitless Expansion in Tablets, Smaller Devices, and New Hardware

Posted in News Roundup at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Android Domination in Tablets

Beating Proprietary

  • Android/Linux Overtakes XP on Weekends

    The title says it all. Folks are using their Android/Linux smartphones a lot everywhere, even at work. Same with tablets. The personal computer has been redefined by consumers, employees, everyone but the sycophants of Wintel. The small cheap computers flooding the markets are computers and people, real people, love them. They are personal. Since “7″ is on borrowed time and declining while Android/Linux usage shows higher growth than M$’s other offerings, it looks like in a year or two, Android/Linux will be the top dog in a sea of “others”.

  • Android 4.4 vs. iOS 7: Which is the Best Mobile OS?

    When it comes to mobile operating systems, iOS and Android are still the frontrunners. Despite the brilliant and not-so-brilliant efforts of Microsoft to topple the two giants, the mobile market space is dominated by Cupertino and Mountain View. iOS, which made its beginnings in an era where touch-screen smartphones was a relatively new concept. With the late Steve Jobs at the helm, Apple was instrumental in starting what we now call the smartphone revolution. iOS with its brilliant and shiny design wowed many users thus catapulting the company into the role of a technology giant. As iOS was soaring at a breathtaking pace, a little-known open-source operating system was making its presence felt ever so slightly. Neither Steve Jobs nor the open-source community could guess how the mobile market space would change in the next few years.

  • The Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came to Rule the World

    This is a story about ARM Holdings (ARMH), the mobile technology company.

Ballnux (Microsoft-taxed)

‘Embrace’ and ‘Extend’

  • Microsoft: Repeating IBM’s OS/2 Mistakes With Windows, Android?

    It sounds like Microsoft is working on a dual-boot smartphone strategy that would cover both Google Android and Windows Phone. Um… this strategy sounds a bit like the 1990s, when IBM launched a dual-boot initiative involving OS/2 and Windows. Anybody else remember how that story turned out?

  • Nokia X app store ported to Android and Sailfish

    For those who do not know, Nokia uses its own proprietary fork of Android, rather than stock Android, in its X-series devices. It also removes all Google services and replaces them with its own. Therefore, these devices ship with Nokia Store in lieu of Google Play. However, ports have been made in both directions, i.e., Google apps on Nokia X, and Nokia Store on other Android devices.

  • Will Microsoft replace Windows Phone with Android?

    The end of Windows Phone?

    ZDNet thinks that Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia may indicate an embrace of Android and the possible end of Windows Phone.

Deception and FUD

Embedded

  • Daimler hints at Android-powered telematics in future cars

    The aim is to integrate smartphone functions such as playing media content, phone calls, messaging and navigation with the vehicle’s control system, the ad continues. “You [will] develop one of the most significant technological innovation in the field of telematics, which should be used in all Mercedes-Benz vehicles and in all markets worldwide,” it adds.

  • SODIMM-style COM runs Linux or Android on 2W

    The module is available in an industrial temperature version. It ships with a Yocto Project-certified Linux Linux 3.12 or 3.2 BSP that offers a choice of several distributions, including Arago and Ubuntu. Board support packages are also available for Android 4.x and WEC7.

  • Linux group could hasten 64-bit Android for ARM mobile devices

    The release of 64-bit Android will depend on Google, whose current Android 4.4 version code-named KitKat is 32-bit. But 64-bit Android adoption will be swift if software, drivers and tools are ready ahead of the OS release, said George Grey, speaking Sunday at the Linaro Connect Asia 2014 developer conference in Macau.

New Hardware

  • YunTab S5 Android phone uses 3D infrared for secure face unlock

    Found on the company’s $135 S5 Android-powered smartphone (not to be confused with Samsung’s Galaxy S5), the 5.5-inch handset uses two infrared emitters, a secondary infrared camera to map a 3D image of your facial features.

  • Google brings KitKat launcher to all Nexus devices

    Google has published the app which turned the Android home screen into a ‘Google Search’ screen by tightly integrating search features with the search box. The feature is however not part of the base-OS, thanks to crazy patent claims by Apple.

  • Sony launches Xperia Z2 tablet at MWC14

    Under the hood Xperia Z2 tablet has a Qualcomm’s latest top of the line Snapdragon 801 2.3Ghz quad core processor with Adreno 330 GPU, making it one of the most powerful Android tablet at the moment. Along with that it contains 3GB RAM enough for multitasking and internal memory options of 16GB or 32GB. The tablet also has support for expandable storage using microSD card upto 64GB.

  • Motorola MWC announcements: Smartwatch, Moto X in India, Motomaker in Europe

    Motorola believes that it will be a compromise if they try to include other OS ecosystems in their products. “We’d have to compromise if we spread across ecosystems.” When asked if they have any plans for a Windows Phone, now that they are free from Google, the reply was simple : “We are committed to Android.” Also Motorola is looking to keep the UI clean and add as less customisations as possible. “This approach allows us to create, simple, meaningful experiences – like provide software updates quicker than competitors.”

  • HTC announces Desire 816 and 610 at MWC14

    The phablet carries a massive 5.5 inch screen, but no fancy 1080p stuff, but rather sports a respectful 720×1280 pixel resolution display. It is powered by a quad core Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.6GHz. There is 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB internal memory which is expandable upto 128GB. There’s no ultra pixel camera but HTC has managed to put in a 13 megapixel snapper, along with a decent 5 MP front camera for better selfies. The battery is non-removable and has a capacity of 2600 mAh.

Blackphone and Boeing

Ara

  • Google moves Moto’s modular phone mojo forward

    Google is in the process of selling Motorola to Lenovo, but it’s keeping Motorola’s Advanced Research and Projects (ATAP) R&D group. ATAP announced Project Ara in October, and a week ago tipped its Project Tango 3D sensing phone prototype. Now, Google has confirmed it’s moving ahead with Project Ara, and announced an Ava Developers’ Conference, along with a more details on the project and images of a phone prototype.

  • Chief of Google’s Project Ara talks modular smartphones
  • Google’s first Ara developers kits and conference are coming soon

    Developers interested in creating their own features for Google’s Ara customizable phone project will soon get their chance: the company revealed today that developers kits and conferences are on their way.

  • Google may start selling Ara phones for $50

    In the long run it may change the market dynamics and break the unibody Apple shell where even battery is locked out from user’s reach and popularize device which are user-upgradable. If I have to choose, I will definitely choose a device which can be upgraded over time unlike devices which become obsolete in 2 years just because you can’t even upgrade the RAM. Google’s approach with Ara is a complete U-turn from what Apple is trying to do with their devices.

  • Google Issues Clarion Call for Project Ara Devs

    Google’s Project Ara promises not only to give consumers control over the features and functionality they want in a smartphone, but also to reduce the volume of e-waste dumped into landfills. A smartphone with interchangeable parts theoretically could live forever. “Like other Google moon shot projects, [its success] depends on enticing and exciting developers,” said tech analyst Charles King.

Apps

  • 35 Android Apps to Help You Stay Up to Date

    Having a good selection of Android apps is pretty well essential: there’s so much happening in the world that it’s tough to keep up with everything without a little help.

  • App Converter Bridges Tizen-Android Divide

    Infraware appears to be counting its chickens before they’re hatched. Its Polaris App Generator can turn a lot of Android eggs — um, apps — into Tizen apps, but there’s not yet a Tizen phone to use them on. At a rumored cost of $5K, the generator might be a good deal for developers once a Tizen phone actually sees the light of day, but it’s a big chunk of change to gamble on an as yet unfulfilled promise.

This Week’s News: Civil Rights, Politics and War

Posted in News Roundup at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Civil Rights

  • Suspicionless Searches at the US Border: A Growing Problem for Press Freedom

    On The Media’s coverage of the subject started when US Customs and Border Protection detained their own producer Sarah Abdurrahman, her family, and her friends for hours on their way home from Canada last year. But this week’s program expanded on her experience to document, as they put it, some of the “countless stories of inhumanizing intrusions and detentions at the border that would seem to be unconstitutional anywhere else.”

    Ms. Abdurrahman is far from the only journalist this has happened to in recent years. Huffington Post journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin wrote a powerful piece last month about his experiences repeatedly being detained while going over the border for the crime of having a Muslim name.

Drones

  • Drone War in Yemen: Three Killed in Latest Strike, UN Report Demands Facts on Civilian Deaths

    While United States leaders lecture Russian President Vladimir Putin on respecting sovereignty and international law by not waging a war of aggression on Ukraine, the sovereignty of Yemen continues to be undermined by US drone strikes.

    Reportedly, at least one drone strike, the first in over a month, occurred in Yemen early in the morning on March 3 or in the night on March 2. It killed three people, including an alleged al Qaeda fighter.

  • Three US Drone Strikes Kill Four ‘Suspects’ in Yemen

    A US drone strike was confirmed against the Shabwa Province of Yemen today, destroying a car and killing three people, wounding two others. All were labeled “terrorist suspects,” though none were identified.

  • Yemen: At Least 3 Killed by U.S. Drone Strike
  • How Droning American Citizens Damages Our Laws

    So far as we know, Al-Shami isn’t on the verge of a suicide bombing or self-immolation. If he dies in the coming weeks, it will likely be at the hand of another. Well, hand might be putting it strongly, since the hand that presses the button that looses the missile from the drone that kills him may be halfway across the globe. But if the bomb lands true, al-Shami will be the fifth American citizen assassinated by his government in the War on Terror.

  • Death Without Due Process

    This extrajudicial killing program should make every American queasy. Based on largely secret legal standards and entirely secret evidence, our government has killed thousands of people. At least several hundred were killed far from any battlefield. Four of the dead are Americans. Astonishingly, President Obama’s Justice Department has said the courts have no role in deciding whether the killing of U.S. citizens far from any battlefield is lawful.

  • Sacramento Veterans for Peace Anti-Drone Demonstration

    Members of the Sacramento group Veterans for Peace demonstrated quietly outside the federal courthouse in downtown Sacramento this morning ahead of an arraignment hearing for Shirley Osgood of Nevada County. She is being charged with trespassing onto Beale AFB property during an anti-drone protest.

CIA and Torture

NSA

Privacy in the UK

Russia and Ukraine

  • Lawmakers probe CIA failure in Ukraine

    There are many on both the left and right who see the CIA as a monolithic, all knowing, all powerful entity. Many overseas see the agency in more apocalyptic terms – an evil force capable of mind control and other flights of fancy.

  • CIA reportedly says Russia sees treaty as justifying Ukraine moves
  • Ukraine was coup d’état by the CIA – David Shayler

    What has occurred in Ukraine was not a popular revolution, it was a carefully orchestrated coup d’état. The “demonstrators” with the metal barricades, bullet proof vest, army helmets, weapons, shield and masks were very well organized and trained. The whole affair was orchestrated by the West in an attempt to bring Ukraine into NATO and split Russia. Mr. David Shayler a former MI5 officer spoke to the Voice of Russia on the activities of the intelligence services and on what the forces behind the scenes are doing. He says President Putin is merely protecting his country and his people and is in a strong position.

  • US ‘plotted, abetted’ ouster of Ukraine’s president: Retired CIA officer

    The Obama administration “plotted” and “abetted” the ouster of Ukraine’s Russian-backed president to install a “puppet regime,” a retired CIA officer and political activist says.

    “Never before in my 50 years in Washington has it been so clear that the United States has plotted, has aided and abetted and tried to put in the new premier or the new prime minister of the Ukraine,” said Ray McGovern.

  • Double-Think over Ukraine

    Secretary of State Kerry, who voted for George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion in 2003 and wanted to bomb Syria last year, and President Obama, who’s crossed borders regularly to kill enemies, are outraged that Russia has intervened in Ukraine, a case of double-talk and double-think, says Norman Solomon.

  • Security and State Power

    A leading principle of international relations theory is that the state’s highest priority is to ensure security. As Cold War strategist George F. Kennan formulated the standard view, government is created “to assure order and justice internally and to provide for the common defense.”

    The proposition seems plausible, almost self-evident, until we look more closely and ask: Security for whom? For the general population? For state power itself? For dominant domestic constituencies?

  • Heard the One About Obama Denouncing a Breach of International Law?
  • Obama issues Ukraine statement from an alternative universe
  • Putin and International Law
  • The Fashion for Hypocrisy

    Hypocrisy seems to be massively in fashion. This from William Hague renders me speechless: “Be in no doubt, there will be consequences. The world cannot say it is OK to violate the sovereignty of other nations.”

    Then today we have the British Establishment at a closed event in Westminster Abbey in memory of Nelson Mandela. Prince Harry, David Cameron, all the toffs. I was never more than a footsoldier in the anti-apartheid movement, but I trudged through the rain and handed out leaflets in Dundee and Edinburgh. I suspect very few indeed of the guests at this posh memorial service did that. David Cameron was actively involved in Conservative groups which promoted precisely the opposite cause.

Venezuela

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