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Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

Posted in News Roundup at 9:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Drones kill any chance of peace in Afghanistan

      The use of unmanned US drones in Afghanistan has stepped up since January. With the launch of the new US counterterrorism mission, Freedom Sentinel, the ongoing and intensifying drone campaign has reportedly killed around 400 people in Afghanistan over the last six months.

    • Two secret US drone bases found in Somalia

      Foreign Policy correspondent Ty McCormick found out that about 120 US military men deployed there strike Al-Shabab terrorists and reportedly cooperate with African Union peacekeepers.

    • US Running Drone Bases In Somalia
    • US Operates Top Secret Drone Bases Inside Somalia

      Already receiving fierce criticism for operating drone bases on foreign soil – sometimes without the host country’s knowledge – the US has begun expanding its operations in Africa. But according to reports, the Pentagon has been running a base in Somalia, completely in secret, to conduct drone missions and train elite Somali forces.


      Copying an earlier CIA operation to create an elite Somali commando force, US contractors are currently using Baledogle to train a new squadron known as the Danab, or “Lightning.” The project is being overseen by Bancroft Global Development, according to Foreign Policy, but that company has denied any links with the US government.

      “We have nothing to do with the Americans,” an employee told Foreign Policy. “We’re in charge of training Danab. We have nothing to do with the Americans, and the Americans have nothing to do with us.”

      That’s because, on paper, Bancroft is responsible for training soldiers with the Somali National Army on behalf of the Ugandan government. Uganda is, in turn, reimbursed by Washington, to avoid a direct paper trail.

    • US elite forces operate a secret base in Somalia 24 years after they left the country
    • Exclusive: US Operates Drones From Secret Bases in Somalia
    • Somalia Is Home to Two Secret U.S. Drone Bases – Report
    • Somalia is home to two secret US drone bases – report

      Somali officials have confirmed a secretive US presence in the southern port city of Kismayo, according to Foreign Policy correspondent Ty McCormick. Another base, at the airfield of Baledogle near Mogadishu, is being used for both drone strikes and for contractors training Somali security forces.

    • Drones: A double edge sword in the fight against terrorism

      The U.S. Military has used drones in combat operations and counter-terrorism as early as 2002. Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV), commonly known as drones, and their operation have been shrouded in secrecy. The U.S. government refused to acknowledge the existence of a drone program until last year. The U.S. government argued that this was a matter of national security. Drones have proven to be a successful tool in eliminating high-value terrorist targets but their impact in combating insurgency and eliminating terrorism remains murky at best.

    • Shedding light on American drone attacks

      I’ve never lived in a place that was attacked in a drone strike. Never seen my parents or children blown to bits or had to collect their scattered, bloody body parts for a proper burial.

    • Drone war report, January – June 2015: controversial ‘signature strikes’ hit Yemen and Pakistan

      US drone and air strikes killed at least 207 people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen so far in 2015, according to data collected by the Bureau.

    • Why People of Faith Oppose Drones

      From a range of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish perspectives, we jointly signed a letter urging the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress to halt its policy of lethal drone strikes. Despite the range of our different belief systems and ideas about warfare, we found that we shared many of the exact same questions and concerns about the drones program that led us to send this letter. Here are a few of those concerns.

    • Bomb Syria, and recruits will be rolling up to join Isis

      Michael Fallon thinks military action should be back on the table. But the past 15 years suggests use of force wouldn’t be just ineffective, it would make things worse

    • Machine ethics: The robot’s dilemma
    • 5 questions (and answers) about robots that kill people

      After sharing a story on Twitter about a robot who killed a man in Germany, Ryan Calo, professor of robotics and cyberlaw at the University of Washington School of Law, replied that it is not that unusual for robots to kill people. Naturally, I had a few questions. Here they are with Calo’s answers, including why robots aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    • Volkswagen worker crushed to death in robot maintenance accident

      A MAN HAS DIED in Germany after being crushed by an industrial robot. The 22 year-old worker at the Volkswagen factory in Baunatal, north of Frankfurt, was killed while a team of contractors was installing the robot.

    • Obama’s counterterrorism policy facing mounting criticism
    • New report claims F-35 outclassed by 40 year-old F-16, government disagrees

      The report, courtesy of War is Boring, describes a January 15 encounter between a single-seat F-35A in an older configuration and an F-16D Block 40. The Block 40 variant of the F-16 is newer than stock model, but still dates to 1989 — not exactly a spring chicken. The test in question was designed to measure the F-35’s ability to dogfight at high angles of attack and with aggressive maneuvering. The F-35 was flying clean, with no weapons in its bomb bays or mounted on the fuselage, while the F-16 was carrying a pair of external fuel tanks. This significantly impacts drag and limits the airplane’s overall maneuverability.

    • Presidential Follies: Torture and Drones

      My deep belief is that Presidents Obama and George W. Bush have done exactly this to our military. American taxpayer dollars have been used to encourage our intelligence officers to torture free from any risk of judicial or other consequences. If you question this assertion, you must read the Senate Intelligence Report on Torture and read for yourself what your money paid for. And as promised, no high-ranking intelligence officers have gone to prison for violating national and international laws.

    • Talking to terrorists

      Richard Jackson speaks to MEMO: “Once you listen to what their grievances are and try and address them terrorism subsides.”

    • Will your car decide to kill you?

      Imagine a fancy new autonomous luxury car is cruising down an Australian freeway at 110km, carrying a sole occupant playing Candy Crush on her smartphone.

      Meanwhile a beat-up people-mover with mum and six kids onboard blows a tyre, loses control and careers over the median strip into the path of said autonomous car.

    • Toward a Rational US Strategy (Part 1)

      The process of continuous alienation has shaped the world in which today we must live: clans gave rise to tribes; then to cultural and ethnic groups that coalesced into town and cities and in recent centuries merged into nations, of which in our times many have been hammered into states.

    • ‘Not This Clinic’: VA Calls Alleged Mistreatment of Veteran ‘Unacceptable’

      Dorsey then walks away from the counter, saying, “Wonder why 22 veterans kill themselves every day.”

    • War Crimes? Us???

      War is the business of killing the “enemy”, in order to impose your will on them.

      Therefore, “humane war” is an oxymoron.

      War itself is a crime. There are few exceptions. I would exempt the war against Nazi Germany, since it was conducted against a regime of mass murderers, led by a psychopathic dictator, who could not be brought to heel by any other means.

      This being so, the concept of “war crimes” is dubious. The biggest crime is starting the war in the first place. This is not the business of soldiers, but of political leaders. Yet they are rarely indicted.

    • Activists use court hearing to continue drone protest

      Activists cited with trespassing and interfering with traffic earlier this year at Creech Air Force Base used a court appearance today to continue their protest against U.S. armed drone strikes.

      “What do we want? Ground the drones. When do want it? Now,” protesters shouted outside the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas.

      Thirty-four people were cited March 6 at the base as protesters urged Air Force drone operators to refuse to participate in the overseas strikes.

    • The future of aerial warfare in South Asia

      To complicate matters further, the legality of the US’s aerial offensive is also highly questionable. Since 2004, only 4 per cent of all UAV strikes have resulted in Al Qaeda related casualties, whereas 76 per cent of deaths caused by drone attacks fall into a suspiciously termed legal grey area.

    • On Gaza attack anniversary; UK protesters to shut down Israeli drone factory

      A Staffordshire arms factory making engines for drones exported to Israel will be shut down by protesters on Monday 6 July, to mark the one year anniversary of Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza.

    • Minute’s Silence For Tunisia Shooting Victims Is ‘Bulls**t’ Says Russell Brand

      Russell Brand has described the scheduled minute’s silence for the victims of the Tunisia massacre as “a minute of bullshit”.


      A minute’s silence will be held in memory of the victims at noon on Friday, marking a week since the outrage. Flags are expected to be flown at half-mast over Government departments and Buckingham Palace.

      Brand, however, believes the move is: “An empty futile gesture part of a general policy of bullshit that our government can continue selling arms around the world and perpetuating a cycle where its own needs are met at the expense of its own citizens lives.”


      Brand aired comments from David Cameron on BBC Radio 4 in the aftermath of the attacks, and accused the Prime Minister of propaganda, criticising him for refusing to link terror attacks with government foreign policy including bombings and drone attacks.

    • Russell Brand criticises ‘futile’ minute of silence for Tunisia shooting victims

      Brand said the source of the problem was British foreign policy, including drone attacks, arms sales to countries that abused human rights and “foreign activity in Muslim countries which obviously provokes this kind of response”.

    • Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a ‘minute of bulls**t’

      …many countries had been identified as a threat by David Cameron, yet were still able to buy arms from the UK.

    • Paul Rogers: Don’t mention the war – silence over strikes on IS

      In the days after 52 people were killed in the 7/7 attacks, the Blair government was insistent that the war in Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the appalling massacre. That argument had to be rolled back eight weeks later when al-Jazeera screened a “martyr video” recorded by one of the bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan.

    • Peace Convergence questions use of Heron drones usage

      THE Rockhampton Peace Convergence has condemned the use of Heron drones by the Australian Defence Force.

    • Delegates oppose drone warfare, debate Israel divestment

      Update: Delegate session leaders announced July 2 that the motion to table the Israel-Palestine divestment resolution for two years passed by a vote of 418 to 336, or 55 percent support.

    • Veterans Urge Drone Operators to Refuse Orders to Fly

      An increasing number of United States military veterans are counseling United States military drone operators to refuse to fly drone surveillance/attack missions – the veterans are even helping sponsor prime time television commercials urging drone operators to “refuse to fly.”

      In a letter released recently by KnowDrones.com, 44 former members of the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines whose ranks range from private to colonel and whose military service spans 60 years, “urge United States drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/assassination missions. These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.”

    • On the US ‘Sensitivity’ to Civilian Deaths

      The only thing wrong with the Pentagon checking under its boots to see what and who all has been trod upon is the dishonesty of it. Two words that should not go together are “military” and “sensitivity” when speaking of dead and injured civilians. Sensitivity about the dead is for people who don’t know the victims, who had nothing to do with their demise. Does anyone require sensitivity of mass murderers, especially if they don’t appear to be interested in rehabilitation – that is, not repeating their crimes? How about stop killing people instead of being sensitive when you do?

    • Power Transitions In Saudi Arabia Spell Changes In Middle East – Analysis

      It will be deeply ironic if Yemen is the source of another king’s fall from grace.

    • Human rights in America: claims and reality

      Main concept of human rights is that all human beings have equal rights and these rights apply to everyone without interpretation.

    • Gulf News: United Nations envoy hopeful for pause in fighting despite deadly Aden clashes

      It comes after rebel rocket fire on a residential district of Aden killed 31 civilians on Wednesday and left more than 100 others wounded, according to a medical official.

    • Gulf News: United Nations envoy hopeful for pause in fighting despite deadly Aden clashes

      Rebel fire on a residential district of Yemen’s second city Aden killed more than 30 civilians Wednesday, as the UN declared its highest level humanitarian emergency in the war-torn country.

    • Inside Toronto’s secret Cold War History

      At the height of the Cold War, Toronto was the site of an elaborate game of espionage played between the U.S and the Soviet Union, declassified CIA documents show.

      The records provide new details about how the CIA and the KGB spied on the city’s growing community of eastern European immigrants.

    • The CIA’s Creation of “Islamic Terrorism” on American Soil

      The origin of these compounds for would-be jihadis dates back to 1979, when the Agency sent hundreds of radical Islamic clerics to the United States in an effort to recruit African American Muslims for the holy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

    • How a Dogged L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA’s Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena

      In January 1989, Hector Berrellez reported to Los Angeles, handpicked by the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to get to the bottom of a 4-year-old murder investigation that was a top agency priority. This wasn’t just another killing in the seemingly endless bloodshed in the Mexican drug wars; the victim, like Berrellez, was a DEA agent. Enrique “Kiki” Camarena had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered at the hands of a Mexican drug cartel four years earlier. The identity of the killers was clear enough; two cartel bosses had been convicted of the killings and were imprisoned in Mexico. But the DEA had reason to believe there were many more guilty parties in addition to the two capos behind bars.

    • CIA has paid millions to a consulting firm to help with reorganization

      The CIA has paid more than $10 million to a management consulting firm advising senior U.S. intelligence officials on a broad reorganization that agency Director John O. Brennan began earlier this year, current and former U.S. officials said.

      The agency also is requiring some of its departments to surrender portions of their annual budgets in an effort to collect enough money to cover other costs associated with the restructuring, officials said.

    • What I Signed on to

      We are not winning here — there is not even a promise of victory. Instead, ancestral ghosts are in formation for review. Is this still a beginning, or is it maybe a last hurrah for America? The spirit-soldiers are as stone-faced and grim as the winters at Valley Forge and the mountain fastness of the Wachtung had made them.

    • Guess How Many ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Trained With Congress-Approved $500 Million?

      As with most foreign policy moves sold by the neocons and interventionists, grandiose promises of success have found themselves at odds with reality. Advocates of the program claimed that it would produce 5,400 US-trained and armed fighters per year. In fact since the money was approved last May, less than 100 are actually being trained and none has yet completed the course.

    • US Training for ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Fails, CIA Can’t Find ‘Moderates’

      A crucial part of the United States’ plan to train moderate Syrian rebels to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group is locating those so-called “moderates.” The problem: those are becoming harder and harder to find.

    • Scott: The CIA can’t be trusted with unchecked power

      And surely it would be completely unreasonable to suggest that unlimited power might tempt our protectors to engage in things like abduction, torture and political assassination. Oh wait — the CIA has already done all those things.

    • Blowing the whistle in a war zone

      Hatley’s 2007 trial drew national attention because he was the highest-ranking service member at the time to be found guilty of premeditated murder. His investigation, arrest and conviction came to define military service for me. In the wake of the accusations, a kind of tribal mentality — “herd mentality” isn’t dynamic enough a phrase — connected many of the soldiers with whom I served. They came out strong in their defense of a leader who can best be described as a cross between legendary college football coach Bear Bryant and the Judge from Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian.” He’s huge, affable, violent, driven, competent and absolutely sure of himself.

    • Video of polygraph exam sought in Green Beret case

      The board deciding whether to remove a Fort Bragg Green Beret from service is attempting to obtain a CIA video of a polygraph exam that apparently details the 2010 killing of an Afghan bomb maker.

    • Panel urges ex-Green Beret hero out of Army with VA benefits

      An Army officer who was accused of tracking down and killing an unarmed bomb-making suspect in Afghanistan is being recommended for an honorable discharge even though a military panel that looked into the case determined his conduct was unbecoming an officer.

      The military panel at Fort Bragg reached the finding late Sunday concerning Maj. Mathew Golsteyn. Army Special Forces Command spokeswoman Maj. Allison Aguilar said Monday that if the decision is upheld by a review board Golsteyn would be discharged under honorable conditions allowing him to keep nearly all veteran’s benefits.

    • Former Russian spy who defected describes what it’s like to be broke and living in Oregon

      “I f—– up because I trusted the FBI,” Neumann told the Guardian about his past decisions. “Do not trust anything to do with the US government because they will lie to you. They promise but they don’t deliver. There is no sense in cooperating.”

    • Absolute Power

      Serving the nation means no more than doing what you’re told.

      God bless America. Flags wave, fireworks burst on the horizon. Aren’t we terrific? But this idea we celebrate — this nation, this principled union of humanity — is just a military bureaucracy, full of dark secrets. The darkest, most highly classified secret of all is that we’re always at war and we always will be. And war is an end in itself. It has no purpose beyond its own perpetuation.

    • Survivor of Israeli Attack on USS Liberty: It Could Not Have Been a Mistake (2/2)

      TRNN speaks to survivor Sgt. Bryce Lockwood and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern about the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty

    • WATCH: A Brief History of US-Iran Relations
    • Death to America?

      As the deadline for a nuclear deal between Iran and the United States looms, plenty of Americans are understandably skeptical. Many of them have probably watched images of Iranian mobs burning US flags and chants of “Death to America” at mass rallies in Tehran and wondered to themselves: “Why do they hate us?”

      Well, the good news is “they” don’t. According to the Atlantic Monthly, “A 2009 World Public Opinion poll found that 51 percent of Iranians hold a favorable opinion of Americans, a number consistent with other polls, meaning that Americans are more widely liked in Iran than anywhere else in the Middle East.”

    • Both Major U.S. Parties are Plagues on Humanity

      The two corporate parties have collaborated in knocking off countries targeted for invasion and regime change.

    • Review: The Nazis Next Door

      In the main, his book is about the CIA and FBI using and protecting ex-Nazis or former Eastern European collaborators who came to the United States, and the subsequent investigations of those people by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The latter was formed in 1979 specifically to pursue Nazi perpetrators in view of the inadequacy of earlier efforts.

    • Ukrainian Govt. Acknowledges Some of Its Leaders Are Nazis

      On July 3rd, the Ukrainian newspaper Vesti headlined “The Ministry of Justice Acknowledges UNA-UNSO Collaborated with Nazis,” and reported that, “Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice has officially recognized that the members of the Ukrainian nationalist organization UNA-UNSO fought on the side of Nazi Germany during the Great Patriotic War.” It went on to note that, “On May 22 of last year, the State Registration Service renamed the party of UNA-UNSO as the Right Sector Party, which is led by Dmitriy Yarosh.”

    • Pentagon Calls Russia, China, Iran and North Korea Threats to Global Peace

      US military strategy includes “press(ing) forward with the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, placing our most advanced capabilities and greater capacity in that vital theater.” It remains committed to NATO allies and Israel’s security.

      Ashton Carter replacing Chuck Hagel as defense secretary in mid-February signaled more war besides ones America was waging before his appointment.

      Obama’s naked aggression on Yemen followed weeks later. So did greater numbers of US combat troops operating in Iraq, continued bombing of its economic infrastructure on the pretext of attacking ISIS, and the same strategy ongoing in Syria – plus the Pentagon’s latest military strategy signaling endless US-initiated conflicts.

    • Secret CIA Heart Attack Gun Declassified

      As you’ll learn from the video above, the CIA has been using a heart attack gun for years. What you see in the video is a congressional meeting dating back to 1975. In it, politicians discuss the CIA’s use of the secret heart attack gun. Only recently did this information become declassified, and Your News Wire somehow dug up this video all about it.

      The way the gun works is that it shoots a tiny dart that can pierce through clothing and leaves no trace. But it causes a heart attack only seconds later. No, this is real life, not a James Bond flick!

    • Dirty tricks and regime change in nuclear-free Palau

      Thirty years ago today, Haruo Remeliik, the president of the world’s first nuclear-free state Palau, was assassinated. Investigative journalist Ed Rampell asks serious questions about a mysterious reign of terror in the Micronesian nation.

    • The Bushes, dirty tricks and regime change in nuclear-free Palau

      On June 30, 1985, 30 years ago today, Haruo Remeliik, the president of anti-nuclear Palau, had his brains blown out. What – if anything – did former CIA Director George H.W. Bush have to do with this and what does it say about who the Bushes really are?

    • Colombia: Top generals implicated in ‘false positive’ killings

      Declassified United States documents show the CIA knew about the practice since 1994 and was aware the Colombian army worked in coordination with paramilitary forces.

      The report shows that the false positive killings happened while US troops were deployed within Colombia, working together with the Colombian army. HRW demanded Washington explain if US troops knew of the killings.

    • Ecuador Reviews CIA Documents, Death of Late President

      The office of the attorney general in Ecuador is investigating if the death of former President Jaime Roldos was an assassination of Operation Condor.

    • ‘Historic step:’ Obama announces full diplomatic relations with Cuba

      Casting aside more than a half century of hostilities, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the United States and Cuba would restore full diplomatic relations and open respective embassies.

      Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, he called the rapprochement “a historic step” in efforts to bring the two countries and their people together. The president said Secretary of State John Kerry would soon travel to Havana to “proudly raise the U.S. flag over our embassy.”

    • Gülen’s lawyer refutes pro-government media claims that FBI, CIA trained him

      Nurullah Albayrak, the lawyer representing Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, in a series of tweets on Wednesday slammed stories in pro-government media reports that claimed Gülen and his followers were trained by the CIA and FBI on how to overthrow the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

    • CIA station chief made mark in Indonesia

      Mr. Tovar, a native of Bogata, Colombia, and World War II veteran, became what Stein calls “a measured critic” of U.S. efforts to overthrow foreign governments.”

    • Hugh Tovar, CIA Operative at the Center of Cold War Intrigues, Dies at 92

      But it was Tovar’s tenure in Indonesia in 1965 that has drawn the most scrutiny. At the time, the country’s president, Sukarno, was leading a global “anti-imperialist” movement with the support of the Soviet Union and Communist China. Tovar, who had earlier worked against Communist guerrillas in the Philippines, was the CIA’s Jakarta station chief. In September 1965, a coup attempt by the Indonesian Communist Party, or PKI, failed, and the military unleashed a genocidal campaign against the PKI’s mostly ethnic Chinese followers. With the rebellion crushed and the military-backed Suharto regime now fully in power, the U.S. and other Western powers hailed the outcome as “the West’s best news for years in Asia,” as Time magazine put it.

    • Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks in Israeli spy expo

      Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks and mini-drones were among the gadgets on display Tuesday at an exhibition of Israeli surveillance technology, offering a rare peek into the secretive world of Israeli espionage.

    • 9/11 Terrorists Deserve Fair Trial With Evidence Access – HRW

      Human Rights Watch Senior National Security Counsel Laura Pitter claims that the September 11, 2001 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon deserve a fair trial in which they should have access to the evidence used against them.

    • Anti-Iran Lobby Steps Up Game Before Deadline For P5+1 Talks – OpEd

      The U.S. and Iranian nuclear negotiators have just announced a one week extension of their nuclear talks. If, as expected, there is an agreement next week, it will open a new stage of tension in the process leading to its final formal ratification by all parties. For then, the U.S. Congress will have 30 days to vote the agreement up or down. This vote, forced on an unwilling president by his own party’s Senate members several weeks ago, poses a new threat. For the Israel Lobby, it offers a new opportunity to sabotage the deal.

    • The Iranian George Washington

      On August 19, 1953, the US and UK overthrew Mohammed Mossadegh through an operation codenamed TPAJAX or Boot. Sections declassified in 2013 of the CIA’s internal Iran study admit the agency used false propaganda to undermine Mossadegh, induced the Shah to cooperate and paid demonstrators to ransack Tehran. In his 1954 report, Donald Wilber, the project executor, revealed how Iran’s lukewarm Islamists were galvanised against the PM. According to Wilber, local CIA operatives posing as pro-Mossadegh nationalists threatened the Shia clergy with “savage punishment” if they opposed him and thus fuelled anger in the religious community. The Shah, for his part, had already fled Iran after signing a royal decree dismissing Mossadegh.

    • Gary Borders: Is America the greatest nation? Check the numbers

      And he proceeds to profanely and succinctly enumerate why he thinks so. Rather than rely on fictional television, I decided to search online. I found a site called Ranking America, maintained by a respected academic.


      We do rank first in a number of categories. At $619 billion, the United States spends more on defense than the next eight countries combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. China ranks second, far behind this country with defense expenditures of $171.4 billion.

    • An Honest Evaluation of the War on Terror

      I have a new piece in Foreign Policy that proposes a The National Commission on the War on Terrorism, which would consist of ten former officials, diplomats, and experts—with no personal or financial interest in the outcome—who would comprehensively review, evaluate, and offer new policy recommendations. Such commissions are rarely meaningful or impactful. However, current government officials and congressional members are too personally and professionally vested to objectively evaluate current strategies, demonstrate strategic learning, or implement any new policies. In short, U.S. counterterrorism strategy is both failing and frozen. The National Commission on the War on Terrorism would cost less than $4 million, and could be included in an authorization bill today. It would then be formed in the fall, with its conclusions and recommendations made publicly available in January 2017, just in time to inform Obama’s successor and the 115th Congress. It is a low-cost initiative to rethink the war on terrorism, and one that this Congress should pursue.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • As Walker Announces, WI GOP Moves to Gut Open Records Law

      On the same day that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced his run for president, the Wisconsin GOP has proposed a virtual gutting of Wisconsin’s open records law, long considered one of the best in the nation. The drastic changes were proposed in a last-minute, anonymous budget motion, with zero public input on the eve of a holiday weekend. The motion will be rolled into the state’s massive budget bill and voted on in the coming weeks.

    • WikiLeaks founder: A hero for many – asylum request in France rejected

      For many Americans, he is a hero; for the US government, he is a criminal. This is after leaking secret US government documents exposing anything from torture to illegal NSA wiretaps by United States authorities to the public.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has now asked for political asylum in France. It came after the French government indicated that such asylum may be granted in the wake of revelations of alleged NSA surveillance of senior French officials.

    • Executing Justice: WikiLeaks Unmasks Saudi Arabia

      Saudi Arabia’s status as an oil-fueled U.S. ally is a major reason why the dire human rights situation in the country is of little concern to Washington.

    • Saudis jail Pakistani who allegedly criticized Yemen airstrikes

      A controversial Pakistani commentator has been jailed in Saudi Arabia and reportedly sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes for allegedly criticizing the Saudi government while on a religious pilgrimage.

      Saudi authorities have so far denied consular access to Zaid Hamid, who was arrested last month in the holy city of Medina while traveling with his wife.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Greece has missed a $1.8 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund

      Greece has missed a $1.8 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund as it stands on the brink of a financial meltdown. The deadline coincided with the end of Greece’s international bailout, leaving it without an infusion of the money it needs to meet its obligations. On Tuesday, European creditors rejected a last-minute proposal from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for a new financial lifeline. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, said a new bailout program could be negotiated, but only if the Greek government backs down from its rejection of austerity demands.

    • A Moment of Great Decisions

      Despite media misinformation and EU blackmail, anti-austerity forces in Greece remain strong ahead of Sunday’s referendum.

    • Newman government acted ‘like the KGB’ in mine bid, say traditional owners

      The former Newman government in Queensland acted “like the KGB, the FBI and the CIA all rolled into one” as it secretly drove a multinational mining bid now subject to a high court challenge, a senior Cape York figure has said.

      The Wik people of Cape York have asked the high court to overturn laws that allowed the former Liberal National government to favour Glencore’s proposal to gain a bauxite mining licence on their traditional land in Aurukun.

    • Rumbles of military coup as Greek workers demand end to EU austerity

      Just 24 hours before anti-austerity demonstrators flooded the streets of central Athens on Friday, a number of retired Greek military officers publicly called for a “yes” vote in Sunday’s referendum on the European Union’s demands, defying Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s call for a “no” vote.

      The contrast between masses of workers denouncing EU austerity and the pronouncements of prominent military figures could not have been starker. Retired General Fragkoulis Fragkos, a former defense minister and one-time head of the Greek army general staff, called for a “loud yes on Sunday.” In 2011, Fragkos was cashiered by then-Prime Minister George Papandreou amid rumors of a coup.

    • As Referendum Looms, Troika Charged with Plotting ‘Regime Change’ in Greece

      On Thursday, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis made the strength of his convictions known by saying he would “prefer to cut off his arm” than sign an agreement without debt relief. Meanwhile, the institutions representing the interests of foreign creditors—the European Commission, the IMF, and the European Central Bank—have indicated a ‘Yes’ victory would likely force Tsipras and Varoufakis to resign and the current government to dissolve.

      Some of the latest polling out on Friday shows that the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps are virtually tied going into Sunday’s vote. Both factions also plan to hold large rallies in Athens on Friday night, but the stakes of the vote—whichever way it falls and presuming it takes place as planned—are now seen to reach far beyond the immediate outcome.

      Considering developments in Greece since the financial crisis began in 2008, alongside the behavior of the so-called Troika since the Syriza party came into power earlier this year, analysts suggest that powerful financial interests and elite political forces in Greece are executing a slow-yet-coordinated effort to push a democratically-elected government from power and smash populist opposition to corporate rule and austerity policies that have spread across the continent in recent years.

    • 9 myths about the Greek crisis

      As soon as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the referendum, François Hollande, David Cameron, Matteo Renzi, and the German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told the Greeks that a No vote would amount to Greece leaving the euro. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, went further: he said “No” means leaving the European Union. In fact the Greek government has stated many times that — Yes or No — it is irrevocably committed to the Union and the euro. And legally, according to the treaties, Greece cannot be expelled from either.

    • Why Won’t Greece Take a Deal?

      It may be ugly for a while: Stock markets will slide, Greece will have to re-invent its currency, and the economic depression Greece has endured may last several years longer. But the Greeks will survive, and so will everybody else.

      And despite their pain, the poor will know that their government did this for them. The Greek people will know that they weren’t beholden to the Germans or to the International Monetary Fund.

      It’s not just about the money. It’s about pride.

    • Greece – Risk of False-flagging Greece into Submission and Chaos?

      The weapon is finance; the instruments are the mega-banksters of Europe and Washington. They are like dehumanized missiles. The fight is no-holds-barred – all out, no scruples. The savages of Brussels have the audacity to call for Mr. Tsipras’ resignation in case the Greek referendum rejects the austerity package. – Can you imagine!

    • The Latest: 25,000 supporters of ‘no’ vote rally in Athens

      Greek police used pepper spray Friday evening to deter several dozen anti-establishment protesters…

    • ‘No more looting’: Thousands rally across EU to express solidarity with Greece

      Thousands of people have flooded the streets of EU cities in mass demonstrations expressing solidarity with Greece ahead of this weekend’s referendum on a cash-for-reform deal with its Troika of creditors.

    • South Korea unveils $14.3 billion stimulus package to support economy

      South Korea proposed on Friday a stimulus package worth 16.1 trillion won ($14.31 billion) to jump-start Asia’s fourth-largest economy as it fights to overcome the twin challenges of weak domestic and global demand.

    • South Korea unveils $19.3b stimulus package to support Mers-hit economy

      South Korea proposed on Friday a stimulus package worth 16.1 trillion won (S$19.3 billion) to jump-start Asia’s fourth-largest economy as it fights to overcome the twin challenges of weak domestic and global demand.

    • Famous Rothschild Banking Dynasty Facing Fraud Charges In France

      One of Europe’s wealthiest bankers faces questioning for fraud in France as part of a years-long case that accuses him of defrauding retirees.

      Baron David de Rothschild, one of the wealthy members of the famous Rothschild banking dynasty, was indicted last month over allegations that his company, Rothschild Financial Services Group, offered a fraudulent equity release loan program to about 130 retirees between 2005 and 2008. 20 British retirees living in Spain brought the fraud lawsuit, according to Olive Press, an English-language newspaper published in that country, but it’s taken five years of legal maneuvering to successfully force the Baron into court.

      Rothschild Financial Services Group is accused of falsely advertising the scheme, under which retirees were told they could reduce the value of their French homes in order to reduce the inheritance tax that their descendents would for those properties. According to the report, France’s “Tax Agency ruled that such a scheme constitutes fraud.”

  • Censorship

    • Russian censorship official is censored by Facebook — reports

      Facebook has removed an incendiary status posted by a high-ranking Kremlin official, Russian media has reported.

      According to Lenta.ru, deputy head of Roskomnadzor Maxim Ksenzov’s social media status was taken down over his use of the word ‘crest’ — a pejorative term for ethnic Ukrainians.

      Ksenzov, whose department is tasked with “supervision of telecom, information technologies and mass communications,” complained on his Facebook profile that he had been censored.

    • Wikipedia to battle EU over planned censorship of photos of public places

      Wikipedia, the world’s biggest public and free encyclopaedia, is preparing to challenge Europe over plans to revoke the right to use photographs of public spaces without restriction.

      It estimates that tens of thousands of images embedded in articles about buildings, art and other public places will need to be taken down.

      It is urging the public to act now and contact MEPs by email, phone or visit their constituencies to preserve what is known as the Freedom of Panorama.

  • Privacy

    • Theresa May named internet villain of the year

      The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has been named the UK internet industry’s villain of the year for pursuing “snooper’s charter” legislation without fully consulting the sector.

      The gong, part of the annual ISPA awards, was given for “forging ahead with communications data legislation that would significantly increase capabilities without adequate consultation with industry and civil society”.

      “With an investigatory powers bill due before parliament in the coming months, it is essential that ISPs are consulted,” the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) added.

    • WikiLeaks docs show NSA’s 10-year economic espionage campaign against France

      Franco-American relations have taken a further hammering on Monday after WikiLeaks revealed new documents showing that the NSA has been collecting the details of commercial deals in the Land of Brie for over a decade and sharing them with its allies.

    • Steinmeier hopes for swift clarity from US on fresh NSA allegations

      Germany’s foreign minister has called on Washington to swiftly clarify what is and is not true regarding the latest NSA snooping allegations. There are reports that it spied on several cabinet ministers.

    • Arthur I. Cyr: U.S. intelligence blunders go on, and on

      Last July, no-nonsense German police searched the home and office of a military employee accused of passing sensitive secrets to the U.S. At about the same time, a member of German BND intelligence was arrested and accused of selling an estimated two hundred documents to the CIA. They reportedly contained details of investigations by a German parliamentary panel into the vast electronic surveillance of European populations by the NSA.

    • WikiLeaks claims NSA targeted German ministers beyond Merkel

      WikiLeaks has published a list of German phone numbers that it claimed showed the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on senior German officials beyond Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

      Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations.

    • U.S. NSA also spied on several German ministers, media reports say

      The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has spied not only on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but also on numerous high-ranking government members such as the economy and finance ministers, German media reported on Wednesday.

    • Germany summons US ambassador over new spying claims

      Angela Merkel’s chief of staff has summoned the US ambassador to a meeting over allegations that the National Security Agency spied on German ministers.

    • Germany wants quick clarification of new NSA spy allegations

      Germany’s foreign minister said Friday that new allegations of U.S. eavesdropping on senior German government officials’ telephones need to be clarified “as quickly as possible” and that he hoped Washington would be forthcoming with information.

    • NSA’s spying on UN and others detailed in newly published documents

      A cache of documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden details spying targets, including the UN’s general secretary, according to a new report.

    • How the NSA searches the world’s intercepted private communications

      In a thorough, fascinating followup published in the Intercept, Greenwald and colleagues present a detailed look at the system as it stood in 2013, when it consolidated data from 150 field sites. The service uses your Google cookies and cookies from other services to link your activities across multiple sites and forums, making it possible to search for individual users who use different online identities for different purposes.

    • NSA Xkeyscore surveillance tool makes spying on someone as easy as Googling their name

      The US National Security Agency’s (NSA) infamous XKeyscore mass surveillance tool, first brought to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden, makes tracking people as easy as Googling their name, according to newly published documents.

      Details of XKeyscore were published on Wednesday (1 July) by The Intercept in one of the largest releases of NSA documents to date. The 48 top-secret documents relating to XKeyscore detail how around 150 field sites in the US and abroad sweep up people’s internet searches, emails, documents, usernames and passwords, and other private communications.

    • Revealed: The NSA’s tracking database

      If you thought that the National Security Agency needed warrants, proof and reason to look at your online history, you’re mistaken. It might be as easy as entering your name or email into a database much like Google.

    • It turns out the NSA was collecting voice calls, photos, passwords, documents, and much more
    • NSA’s hacking tool is apparently as easy to use as a Google search
    • Privacy Reforms among NSA XKeyscore Spy Chronicles
    • Snowden Documents Reveal New Details of “NSA’s Google”
    • XKEYSCORE global spy system detailed in new Snowden leaks
    • Who Will Watch The Watchmen?

      According to NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a covert program called XKEYSCORE allows the US government to see almost everything you do online.

    • NSA’s Covert Tool for ‘Easy’ Sensitive Data Spying Revealed
    • NSA spied on German press, says report
    • NSA Accused of Spying on German Press
    • Obama administration spied on German media as well as its government
    • Report: NSA spied on German news outlets
    • Germany’s Spiegel weekly says it was spied on by US intelligence

      German news weekly Der Spiegel charged Friday that it was spied on by US secret services and said it had filed a criminal complaint with the country’s chief prosecutor.

    • US government allegedly spied on journalists in Germany

      Der Spiegel has filed a criminal complaint

    • CIA Outed Suspected Leaker to Retaliate Against Journalists

      In the summer of 2011, the CIA station chief in Berlin asked one of the most powerful intelligence officials in Germany to go on a private walk with him, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reports. The American spy had an important message to convey: one of Germany’s own senior officials was leaking information to the press.

      The suspected leaker, Hans Josef Vorbeck, had been in contact with Spiegel, the station chief told the German official, Günter Heiss. Head of Division 6, Heiss is responsible for coordinating Germany’s intelligence services. Vorbeck was his deputy.

    • Our view: Right to know

      Is Congress ready to recognize that protecting reporters’ sources protects the public’s right to know

    • Der Spiegel: US ousted our source in German govt, chancellery hushed up the spying

      In 2011 the US had a top German counterterrorism official sidelined over his contacts with the media, and the German government failed to act in response to illegal surveillance on home turf, Der Spiegel reports.

      The official was Hans Josef Vorbeck, deputy director of Department 6 in the German Chancellery. The department is responsible for coordinating the country’s intelligence services, and Vorbeck was responsible for counterterrorism.

      In summer 2011 Vorbeck’s superior, Günter Heiss, was called to a meeting with the CIA station chief in Berlin, who told him that Vorbeck had been leaking information to Der Spiegel. After the issue was also raised in June 2011, when Heiss visited CIA headquarters in Langley, Vorbeck was quietly transferred, sidelined to work in the archive section dealing with the history of the BND, the German national intelligence agency.

    • US Officials Defend Spying on German Media

      CIA Used Intercepts to Press Germany Over Officials

    • An American Tip to German Spies Points to a More Complex Relationship

      In the summer of 2011, American intelligence agencies spied on a senior German official who they concluded had been the likely source of classified information being leaked to the news media.

      The Obama administration authorized the top American spy in Germany to reveal to the German government the identity of the official, according to German officials and news media reports. The decision was made despite the risk of exposing that the United States was monitoring senior national security aides to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • Court Revives Defunct NSA Mass Surveillance Program
    • Secret court approves NSA bulk collection one last time: ‘Plus ça change …’
    • ‘Snowden’ Being Released on Christmas Day [Video]

      Snowden, a film by Oliver Stone, will be released Christmas Day 2015. With Stone running the show, the film is likely to be controversial. Open Road Films recently made a trailer available which showed the intensity of the movie. Based on the book, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, by Luke Harding, the film follows Edward Snowden from his time in the military to when he joined the CIA two years later.

    • Here’s the First Trailer for Oliver Stone’s Snowden Movie

      The Edward Snowden whistleblowing story has already been covered with the thrilling 2014 documentary Citizenfour, but now Oliver Stone has chose to take a crack at it as well. And all of it is set to a slowed-down cover of a familiar song, because that seems to be the thing to do these days. On that front, mission accomplished.

    • Haunting First ‘Snowden’ Trailer Released

      The sometime conspiracy theorist and master at shining a light on government hypocrisy, tragic irony and media manipulation is the director behind “Snowden,” about former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the NSA’s wiretapping program and has not been back to the United States since.

    • Project Whale Tale: the story of how the U-2 became an embarked reconnaissance aircraft.

      Still, none of these carrier-capable spyplane ever entered active service, being replaced by cheaper spy satellites.

    • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Flip-Flop on NSA Spying

      Two years after she cancelled her state visit to Washington in outrage over revelations that the U.S. had spied on her, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is back in Washington, taking a decidedly more friendly approach to President Barack Obama.

    • Brazilians’ views of U.S. rebound as wounds of NSA scandal heal

      Revelations in September 2013 that the U.S. government had monitored the private communications of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff had strained relations between the two countries. But Rousseff’s arrival in the U.S. this week for a meeting with President Barack Obama comes at a time when public sentiment about the U.S. in Brazil has almost fully returned to the overwhelmingly positive opinions held before the surveillance controversy.

    • Two years after Snowden, NSA revelations still hurting US tech firms in China: report

      Revelations of digital surveillance by American spy agencies could end up costing US firms billions of dollars in lost business and lawmakers in Washington are falling short in their duty to address the issue, a US think tank has said.

      Tech firms, in particular, have underperformed in foreign markets following the leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to a paper published by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

    • ACLU to fight FISA court’s OK to NSA bulk data collection

      You thought bulk metadata collection had been quashed? Think again: Despite what looked like a last-minute reprieve, the secret court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has approved the NSA to continue. Judge Michael W. Mosman says things should stay the same, despite the shifting legal landscape.

      So the NSA gets another 180 days to slurp up phone records, and then it becomes the telcos’ job. The American Civil Liberties Union ain’t impressed, to put it midly.

    • US Senator Wyden Blasts ‘Unnecessary Resumption’ Of NSA Phone Records Dragnet

      US Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon) criticized this week a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision allowing the NSA to resume collecting millions of Americans’ phone records.

    • Non-governmental organisations welcome the appointment of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

      Privacy International and twenty-two other organisations from around the world welcome the appointment of Mr Joseph Cannataci as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy.

      Today, the President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Mr Cannataci to fill the post that was created by the Council in March 2015 to address the rising concerns about the enjoyment of right to privacy, particularly in the context of new communications technologies.

      Mr Cannataci’s appointment marks a significant step in the strengthening of the protection of the right to privacy at international level. It is also the culmination of a campaign by Privacy International and other NGOs to establish an independent expert on privacy within the UN human rights mechanisms.

    • NIST formally chops NSA-tainted random number generator

      The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has revised its recommendations for methods used to generate random numbers, and formally removed an algorithm suspected to contain a National Security Agency (NSA) backdoor.

      Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents in 2013 that suggested the NSA wrote the dual elliptic curve deterministic random bit generator (Dual_EC_DRBG) algorithm which became part of a NIST standard in 2006.

      Cryptographers feared that the involvement of the US spy agency in developing the algorithm meant encryption technology using Dual_EC_DRBG could be compromised.

    • NSA data gathering too big to be efficient: ‘Like having to drink ten liters of water at once’

      Bulk data collection has a very limited use and the US intelligence agencies’ problem is that they are gathering too much information to be able to use it effective, says former CIA and State Department official Larry Johnson.

      The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the bulk collection of American citizen’s data could be resumed. Earlier the court passed a bill which ended bulk collections of telephone metadata – the Freedom Act – which also assumed a six month transition period to let the NSA move to the new rules.

    • Germany appoints senior judge to inspect list of NSA targets

      Critics have accused Chancellor Angela Merkel’s staff of giving the German BND foreign intelligence agency the green light to help the NSA spy on European firms and officials, triggering a scandal that has dented Merkel’s popularity.

    • Former judge to see NSA target list

      The Bundestag (German parliament) inquiry into spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has chosen a former judge to examine lists of targets given to German spies by the Americans.

    • WikiLeaks says NSA spied on top French companies

      The US wiretapped two of France’s economy ministers and spied on the country’s largest companies, French media reported citing WikiLeaks documents, just days after it emerged the US had spied on three of the country’s leaders.

    • WikiLeaks Says NSA Spied On 2 French Finance Ministers, Top French Companies

      WikiLeaks alleged that François Baroin and Pierre Moscovici, who headed the finance ministry between 2011 and 2014, were targeted by the NSA. Pictured: French President Francois Hollande (R) and Moscovici — then the French Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade Minister — take part in a meeting about economical relations with the Netherlands at the Parliament building in The Hague, on January 20, 2014.

    • Tougher encryption guidelines close a back door for NSA spies

      The US’ National Institute of Standards and Technology is more than a little worried that its encryption guideilnes have been creating back doors for spies, and it’s changing its tune in order to plug those security holes. The agency is no longer recommending an NSA-backed number randomization technique that made it relatively easy to crack and monitor encrypted data. In theory, software developers who heed the new advice won’t have to worry that they’re laying down a welcome mat for government surveillance agents.

    • Think it’s cool Facebook can auto-tag you in pics? So does the government

      State-of-the-art facial recognition technology, which had been the stuff of hypothetical privacy nightmares for years, is becoming a startling reality. It is increasingly being deployed all around the United States by giant tech companies, shady advertisers and the FBI – with few if any rules to stop it.

      In recent weeks, both Facebook and Google launched facial recognition to mine the photos on your phone, with both impressive and disturbing results. Facebook’s Moments app can recognize you even if you cover your face. Google Photos can identify grown adults from decades-old childhood pictures.

      Some people might find it neat when it’s only restricted to photos on their phone. But advertisers, security companies and just plain creepy authority figures have also set up their own systems at music festivals, sporting events and even some churches to monitor attendees, which is bound to disturb even those who don’t give a second thought to issues like the NSA’s mass surveillance programs.

    • Canadian Surveillance Agency Says Snowden Leaks Were Damaging, Because We Say So

      But what’s most interesting about the document is the part where Bossenmaier is advised on how to deal with any questions she might be asked by her overseers, should they request evidence to support her assertions.

      The section is headed: “IF PRESSED ON THIS OR ANY OTHER DISCLOSURE.”

    • 20-Plus Security Vendors On The NSA Target List (And Those Who Weren’t)

      This week, the latest documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in an Intercept report that the National Security Agency had targeted security vendors, reverse engineering their systems to learn about their capabilities and gain access to user data. According to the report by the Intercept, the documents revealed that, in addition to repeated-target Kaspersky Lab, the agency also targeted more than 20 other anti-virus vendors under Project Camberdada. From there, the agency could possibly learn the vulnerabilities of the solutions included in its “More Targets” list and exploit them for its own use.

    • NSA and GCHQ Exploit Anti-Virus Software to Snoop on Citizens, According to Leak
    • nowden Docs: GCHQ and NSA Hacked Antivirus Software, Spied on Emails
    • NSA’s Betrayal of America’s Oldest Ally (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany)

      France is the oldest ally of the United States; the French provided assistance to the colonists as far back as the Revolutionary War. This has not, over the centuries, led to a relationship similar to the intimate bond Washington maintains with Anglo-Saxon countries like Great Britain or Australia.

    • WikiLeaks: what Australia got from the NSA’s commercial spying
  • Civil Rights

    • Bahrain: Free Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace

      Police arrested Dr Al-Singace for his participation in the peaceful Arab Spring protests in 2011.

    • To Singapore, With Love DVD and streaming available outside Singapore

      Singapore filmmaker Tan Pin Pin’s controversial film about the country’s political exiles, which was given a “not allowed for all ratings” (NAR) classification by the Media Development Authority, is now available outside of Singapore.

      After touring the international festival circuit, the documentary To Singapore, With Love is now available on DVD and through video-sharing website Vimeo to viewers outside the country. Due to the classification, which amounts to a ban, the DVD cannot be sold and the film cannot be streamed in Singapore.

    • How China stopped its bloggers

      For a brief Chinese ‘spring’, the country’s bloggers exposed corruption, cheating and other abuses of power, writes Angus Grigg. Then the Party bosses took back the internet.

    • Singapore activists condemn treatment of anti-Lee teen

      Prominent Singaporean intellectuals, artists and activists Saturday criticised the government’s “harsh” treatment of a teenage boy behind online attacks on the late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

      In an open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the former leader’s son, the 77 signatories said they were “aware of the negative aspects” of 16-year-old Amos Yee s pronouncements in a YouTube video and on his blog.

    • 55 days in remand for S’pore’s youngest prisoner of conscience

      “Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression,” the human rights organisation says in a statement released on Friday, 3 July, with regards to the case of Singaporean video-blogger, Amos Yee.

    • Is Singapore becoming a shamelessly hypocritical society?

      The highly opportunistic PAP-run government has repulsively destroyed many vocal critics and opposition members over the decades and it has brazenly used public-funded resources like the People’s Association grassroots network to promote and protect the Party and its MPs.

      Yet they have the audacity to prosecute powerless ordinary citizens and children (including sending teenager Amos Yee to a mental hospital) for defamation and even accuse them of being insincere and opportunistic?

      Click here to read how the lawyer for PM Lee, in the ongoing court case against blogger Roy, has framed his attack by accusing the writer of being an opportunist.

      Our government has launched Character building courses for students purportedly to teach them moral values. Yet the government leaders have time and again shown their own lack of integrity by twisting facts and telling half-truths and even lies just to make themselves look good (One big lie is calling Lee Kuan Yew our country’s Founder when Singapore was founded centuries before he was born).

    • Amos Yee’s Mom’s Heartbreaking Apology: “Sorry Son. Mummy is Wrong.”

      This is Mdm Mary Toh’s Facebook post in full:

      “Sorry Son.
      Sorry for telling you that you are in the safest country. You are feeling so insecure and scared now.
      Sorry for urging you to be a law-abiding citizen. The laws are doing you more harm than good now.
      Sorry for assuring you that you will be well-protected. You are being threatened and ill-treated now.
      Sorry for saying that our government provides us the best welfare. You are not even allowed to sleep at home now.
      Sorry for telling you that home is best. It is where you were arrested from.
      Sorry for encouraging you to be creative and expressive. You are regarded as crazy and rebellious instead.
      Sorry for not teaching you well. You could have been taught otherwise.
      Sorry Son. Mummy is wrong.”

    • Amnesty International calls for “immediate and unconditional” release of Amos Yee

      “Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression,” the human rights organisation says in a statement released on Friday, 3 July, with regards to the case of Singaporean video-blogger, Amos Yee.

      “As he is a minor, authorities must also ensure that his treatment is consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Singapore is a State party.”

      Regarding the possibility of the teen being sent to reformative training, which entails a minimum 18-month detention, Amnesty said:

      “According to the Office of the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, reformative training is ‘akin to detention and usually applied to juvenile offenders involved in serious crimes’ and was referred to in a recent Singapore district court decision as ‘incarcerative in nature and should be imposed cautiously’.”

      “Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Amos Yee.”

      It added that the authorities in Singapore “must also ensure that Amos Yee is safe from any security threats and is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated.”

    • S’pore authorities unnecessarily harsh with Amos Yee

      Suaram says Yee’s lawyers and family members have said that the teenager is deteriorating both physically and psychologically in Changi Prison.

    • Suaram calls on Singapore government to release Amos Yee

      Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has called on Singapore authorities to release 16-year-old blogger Amos Yee Pang Sang and drop all charges against him.

      Its executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the blogger was currently being assessed on his suitability for the Reformative Training Centre (RTC) in the island republic.

    • Urgent appeal filed to release Amos Yee on bail, but is unsuccessful

      The Online Citizen (TOC) has learned that an urgent appeal was filed on Friday with the courts to request that Amos Yee be released on bail.

      The appeal was unsuccessful for administrative reason, TOC understands.

      The request was made after the mother of the 16-year old teenager, who is being remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for psychiatric assessment, felt that conditions in the ward had become worrying for her son.

    • Release Singaporean teen blogger Amos Yee, Hong Kong student group Scholarism urges
    • Hong Kong students protest outside Singapore consulate, urge release of Amos Yee

      The 16-year-old was convicted on May 12 for uploading an obscene image in which the faces of Singapore’s late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and former British premier Margaret Thatcher were superimposed. He was also found guilty of deliberately hurting the feeling of Christians in a YouTube video criticising Mr Lee.


      On why Hong Kong students were concerned about the issue, he said: “Our core value in Hong Kong is human rights, and we believe in freedom of speech and expression. We have a moral obligation to speak up especially for those who can’t do it themselves.”

      The HKU, along with the Lingnan University student union and the student group Scholarism, had earlier announced the plans for a petition in a Facebook post, saying: “Any act of trampling human rights and manipulating the freedom of thought must be condemned.”

    • Hong Kong students protest near Singapore consulate urging Amos Yee’s release

      University students in Hong Kong protested near the Singapore consulate in Hong Kong today (June 30), urging the Singapore government to release teen blogger Amos Yee.

      According to Hong Kong media reports, about 50 students from the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan and Hong Kong Polytechnic were part of the protest. Singaporean blogger Han Hui Hui was also spotted at the protest.

    • About 60 demonstrate outside S’pore Trade Office in Taipei; call for Amos Yee’s release

      About 60 people demonstrated outside the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei on Friday morning, calling for teenage blogger Amos Yee to be freed.

    • Amos Yee concerned about rape threat made against him

      The mother of 16-year old video blogger, Amos Yee, says she is relieved that her son is eating once again while being held at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

      The teenager was ordered by the court to undergo a two-week assessment for possibly being within the range of autism spectrum disorder.

      A prior three-week assessment while being held at the Changi Prison saw Amos Yee being assessed as suitable for reformative training. However, the psychiatrist who conducted the assessment, Munidasa Winslow, also said the teen may be suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    • Being a leader to bring light to this gloomy situation for Amos Yee

      Amos has succeeded in getting the world’s attention about the darker side of your father, and the more Amos suffers from unjust treatments, the more the government has helped Amos succeed in a more phenomenal way.

    • A Struggle without Borders: Charleston a Uniter or Divider?

      The fact is that according to the FBI, white people, not Black people, kill white people. In 2011, the perpetrators of 83% of white murder victims were Caucasian. An article entitled “9 Facts That Show White-on-White Crime Far Exceeds Black-on-Black Crime and How Media Outlets Conceal It,” said, “At the heart of an increasingly violent society is not a subculture among Blacks, but the violence and criminality of many Americans, and whites in particular.”

    • Plundering Our Freedom with Abandon – Robert Scheer on Reality Asserts Itself (8/10)

      PROF. ROBERT SCHEER, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: But why are they snooping? They’re snooping because they say we have enemies everywhere. And why do we have enemies everywhere? Because we put ourselves up as this nation that can determine everything for everyone. Okay? And we lost sight of the essential wisdom of the American experiment, you know, which was our framers, which is do it here, do it for your own people, and if it’s good, others will follow it. If we have a way of respecting each other, of solving our problems, if we can develop cohesion, right, it’s what everyone who ever came and intelligently observed our society, de Tocqueville most famously, and said, they care about each other or they know how to work with each other.

    • Prisons Without Walls: We’re All Inmates in the American Police State

      Stop and frisk searches are taking place daily across the country. Some of them even involve anal and/or vaginal searches. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved strip searches even if you are arrested for a misdemeanor—such as a traffic stop. Just like a prison inmate.

    • Former UK ministers urge Obama to free Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo Bay

      Boris Johnson has placed himself at the head of cross-party group, including a former Tory attorney general and a Labour leadership contender, who are calling on Barack Obama to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in Guantánamo Bay.

    • Open letter to Barack Obama requesting the return of Shaker Aamer to the UK

      More than 90 signatories including politicians, celebrities and activists – such as Boris Johnson, Russell Brand and Natalie Bennett – challenge the US president to release last British Guantánamo prisoner

    • Despite White House pledges, Gitmo closure remains long-term goal

      The newly appointed Special Envoy for Guantánamo Closure is “under no illusions” that closing the U.S. prison “is going to be easy.”

      Lee Wolosky is filling a State Department position that has been vacant for the last six months. He served in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations — working on the National Security Council staff.

      Wolosky understands the difficulty of the task ahead of him. The status of the controversial facility, along with its inhabitants, remains mired in delays, appeals and political dramas that make shutting the prison increasingly difficult to imagine.

    • David Swanson: Human experimentation is a CIA habit

      At Guantanamo, the CIA gave huge doses of the terror-inducing drug mefloquine to prisoners without their consent, as well as the supposed truth serum scopolamine.

    • Despite setbacks, international justice makes headway

      The recent hurried departure of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from South Africa, where African Union heads of state were convening, spared him arrest, for now. But the Pretoria High Court order that he defied, which enforced a warrant from the International Criminal Court charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity, marked a step forward in the fight against impunity.

    • CIA lagging in recruiting, promoting minorities, study finds

      The Central Intelligence Agency is falling behind in recruiting racial and ethnic minorities and promoting them to its highest ranks, according to an internal study the agency released Tuesday.

      Minorities make up less than 24% of the CIA workforce, and only 10.8% of its top Senior Intelligence Service. Among the most experienced employees whose ranks feed into the leadership jobs, known as GS-15s in the parlance of government pay scales, minorities make up 15.2%.

    • ‘The CIA Is Not Committed to Diversity,’ Says the CIA’s Own Diversity Study

      There are too many white people working for the CIA, according to the results of a CIA-commissioned study released Tuesday — and the lack of racial diversity has contributed to past intelligence failures.

    • CIA Lags in Recruiting Diverse Workforce, Reports Finds

      The Central Intelligence Agency’s efforts to bring more minorities into its workforce haven’t been as effective as hoped, according to a new internal report.

    • New Evidence on CIA Medical Torture: Injection “to the Bone” on Former Black Site Prisoner Majid Khan

      Quite recently, U.S. authorities allowed the declassification of notes from Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) attorney Wells Dixon that described what his client, high-value detainee Majid Khan, told him about his torture at the hands of the CIA. Khan, a Pakistan citizen, is currently at Guantanamo, and awaits trial by military commission.

    • Guantánamo Defense Lawyers Ask for Access to 14,000 CIA Photos of Secret Prisons

      Attorneys representing terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay have asked judges overseeing the military tribunals for their clients to see an enormous cache of photographs taken of “black sites” operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      The images, which total about 14,000, show both the interiors and exteriors of CIA secret locations where detainees were held and interrogated last decade. The photographs reportedly do not show detainee interrogations, “including the torture of some suspects who were subjected to waterboarding and other brutal techniques,” according to The Washington Post. But they do include images of detainee cells, bathrooms, naked prisoners at the time of transport, confinement boxes that held detainees for hours at a time, and a waterboard in the “Salt Pit,” the largest CIA detention facility in Afghanistan.

    • CIA photos of ‘black sites’ demanded for 9/11 trials
    • Torture in Our Own Backyard: Chicago’s Story, America’s Dilemma

      As June ushered in rising temperatures, the month also brought about focus to a unique and controversial topic: torture. June was Torture Awareness Month and in light of this, Chicagoland held major events to advocate and encourage an end to its use in any form and on any governmental level. Amnesty International, the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, hosted a rally on Friday, June 26 at Federal Plaza, which brought together individuals to celebrate recent victories in the fight against torture’s use and created an open space to highlight different narratives of torture, both international and domestic.

    • Embarrassing reputation of US prisons

      Criminals remain unpunished …

      If we look at the statistics provided by “Washington Post”, we can see yet another interesting fact. Forty percent of victims of police violence were unarmed. Criminal proceedings were instituted only in three out of 385 cases. Experts believe that this is a testament to a biased attitude of the US judiciary to the rights of the black population.

      Embarrassing “reputation”

      The fact that the situation in US prisons is far from ideal is understandable. Human rights in US prisons are grossly violated and black inmates are faced with a campaign of prejudice. This results in serious revolts in prisons. One such revolt took place in a Kentucky prison two years ago, as 250 people were injured.

    • Torture ‘not okay’: Former FBI agent

      “Just because somebody murdered, somebody raped, does not mean it is okay to torture that individual,” says ex FBI agent Ali Soufan in an interview with Channel NewsAsia’s Conversation With.

    • There’s No Reason to Hide the Amount of Secret Law

      Whether the government may keep some legal interpretations secret from the public is a debate that is certain to continue for some time. But there is no justification for keeping the public in the dark about how much secrecy exists. After all, we’re no less safe as a nation for knowing that there’s a PPD-29, and we’re able to have an informed discussion about whether too many presidential directives are kept secret. We should be able to have the same informed discussion about OLC memoranda, FISC opinions, and other manifestations of secret law.

  • DRM

    • Some Apple Music Users Report iCloud Music Library Deleted iTunes Content

      Apple Music rollout seems to have been hit by glitches that are causing the deletion of songs and playlists from the iTunes library of several users. The problems seem to occur only when users turn on iCloud Music Library (a feature introduced in iTunes 12.2 and iOS 8.4) with Apple Music, an option that is meant to provide features like offline caching. Other users report problems like the substitution of bad artwork and metadata, apart from the replacement of files with DRM-protected ones.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay founders: FBI has Prenda Law under investigation

        A federal judge referred the lawyers behind the Prenda Law “copyright trolling” scheme to investigators in 2013. Since then, there’s been no indication of what stage an investigation is at, or if it’s happening at all.

        Now, two co-founders of The Pirate Bay have said they have reason to believe that an investigation is underway. Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij each independently told the website TorrentFreak that Swedish authorities questioned them during their recent imprisonment.

      • Police Let Seized ‘Pirate’ Domains Expire, Some Up For Sale

        A range of domains seized from ‘pirate’ sites by the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit have been released back into the wild. After displaying a banner declaring them criminal operations and racking up millions of hits, many domains are up for grabs once more while others display ads.

      • Rumblefish claims it owns “America the Beautiful” by United States Navy Band?

        Ok, so we posted a video of an Arduino rotating in front of an American flag with the public domain “America the Beautiful” by United States Navy Band as the music. We immediately received this from YouTube.


Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

Posted in News Roundup at 3:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Q&A: Zipcar founder Robin Chase on open source and the collaboration economy

    Robin Chase is a transportation entrepreneur known for founding the transportation related companies such as Zipcar, Buzzcar and Veniam. She wears many hats and is an inspiration to women all around the globe. She is also a strong supporter of Open Source and Open Collaborative technologies. She recently authored a book called Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism. Chase will be delivering a keynote at the upcoming LinuxCon event.

  • Exclusive interview with Hans de Raad

    In my daily life (both personal and professional) I use open source for just about anything, from LibreOffice to Drupal, Kolab, Piwik, Apache, KDE, etc.

    Being part of the communities of these projects for me is a very special extra dimension that creates a lot of extra motivation and satisfaction.

    For me, open source isn’t so much of a choice it is simply the standard.

  • 7 stories that make you feel good about open source in 2015 (so far)

    One of the great things about open source is its reach beyond just the software we use. Open source isn’t just about taking principled stands, it’s about making things better for the world around us. It helps spread new ideas by letting anyone with an interest modify and replicate those ideas in their own communities.

    In this collection, let’s take a look back at some of the best articles we’ve shared this year about the ways that open source is making an impact on communities and improving the lives of people across the world.

  • Project Ascension: Reddit-born open source game launcher unveils user interface for ‘better gaming’

    Forget about having multiple game launcher clients slowing down your computer – a community born on Reddit wants to unify all the popular game launchers into one multi-platform launcher.

    Project Ascension started as a community discussion on social bookmarking website Reddit in April, when users complained that they were tired of having many different game launcher ecosystems, such as Steam, Origin, GOG and uPlay.

  • Google makes deep learning AI software open-source
  • Google open-sources its software for making trippy images with deep learning
  • Google opens up Deep Dream software, terrifies world
  • Google Opens Up its Deep Dream Code to Let People Create Hallucinogenic Images
  • Google’s trippy project DeepDream project goes public
  • Open source platform security considerations

    In the enterprise, open source software can be a great benefit for those who take the time to weigh the risks and select the right platform.

  • How Open Source Drives IBM’s Systems Unit

    “Fifteen years ago, we made the decision to bring Linux into the mainframe. In fact, this was the first $1 billion commitment IBM made to Linux back in the year 2000. And I’d like to think, in some small way, we helped bring Linux to the enterprise with that commitment of over 15 years ago,” Balog said.

  • Where are they now? 5 open source projects
  • SourceForge forming Community Panel

    SourceForge has begun outreach to Open Source developers and end-users in an effort to form a Community Panel to help guide future development of our products and policies.

    We expect to have ongoing communications with members of our Community Panel in coming weeks, to be followed by an in-person event at summer’s end on the east coast of the US.

  • Events

    • OSI at OSCON 2015

      Once again the OSI and our Board of Directors will be at OSCON. Just like in years past, the OSI will again be strongly represented with presentations form our Board Directors, Affiliate Members and Individual Members, a booth in the Expo Hall and even a dedicated session on how to use OSI’s resources to change the open source world.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • 5 Best Enterprise Apps and Extensions for Google Chrome

        We have already covered a lot of enterprise applications on our site before. However, one would never expect apps in this genre to exist on a browser like Google Chrome. But, nothing could be further from the real truth. Google’s effort to outsmart even the biggest players in the enterprise market are gradually paying off. Slowly spreading its wings into the business world, Google is venturing into arenas where Microsoft once reigned supreme. While the competition doesn’t concern us much, but what has happened, in effect, is that the rivalry is bringing out the best in both companies.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 39 Arrives After a Three-Day Delay

        Mozilla has finally released the stable version of Firefox 39 after it delayed the launch for a couple of days. It’s not a major release, but it does have a few interesting features and quite a few bug fixes.

      • New Sharing Features in Firefox

        Whichever social network you choose, it’s undeniable that being social is a key part of why you enjoy the Web. Firefox is built to put you in control, including making it easier to share anything you like on the Web’s most popular social networks. Today, we’re announcing that Firefox Share has been integrated into Firefox Hello. We introduced Firefox Share to offer a simple way of sharing Web content across popular services such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Google+ and other social and email services (full list here) to help you share anything on the Web with any or all of your friends.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

  • BSD

    • finding bugs in tarsnap

      Some people were hanging around Michael Lucas’s table at BSDCan, and the topic of conversation turned to Tarsnap. (Lucas has a book about it.) Each person went round the circle and said they were happy to pay Colin for his service, but when it was finally my turn I was forced to admit that while I would pay for Tarsnap, I found a bug and so, thanks to the bounty, it may be more accurate to say I get paid to use it.

    • bsdtalk 254 [Ogg]
    • Pfmatch, a packet filtering language embedded in Lua

      Greets, hackers! I just finished implementing a little embedded language in Lua and wanted to share it with you. First, a bit about the language, then some notes on how it works with Lua to reach the high performance targets of Snabb Switch.

    • OPNsense 15.7 Released As Fork Of Pfsense

      The OPNsense 15.7 release added i386 and NanoBSD support, LibreSSL support, re-based to FreeBSD 10.1, added OpenDNS support, intrusion detection support, new local/remote backlist options, some security fixes, and added many other new features.

    • OPNsense 15.7 ‘Brave Badger’ is Released, The Next Step in Open Source Security

    • Teaching Email Self-Defense: Campaigns intern leads a workshop at PorcFest

      My workshop on Email Self-Defense took place at the 12th annual Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Around eight people attended, which was a few more than I expected. Christopher Waid and Bob Call of ThinkPenguin joined me in helping everyone who brought a laptop to set up GnuPG properly. Those who didn’t bring a laptop participated by observing the process on the system most similar to their own and asking questions about particular steps, so as to enable them to achieve the same configuration when they returned home.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Q&A: Why Congress is Jumping on the Open Source Bandwagon

      Members of the House, committees and staff have officially received the green light to obtain open source software for their offices, and to discuss software code and policy with developers, citizens and other legislators in communities such as GitHub, according to the Congressional Data Coalition advocacy group.

      The White House joined open source code repository site GitHub in 2012. But it wasn’t until this May a sitting congressman, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., first joined the site. Connolly used it to make edits to guidance on implementation of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Grateful Dead Open Source Business Model One of the Most Successful

      The Dead was one of the first and most successful open source business models. They never felt their albums captured their true sound and musical depth. This could only come through their live performances. And yet, because they were very experimental and bold risk takers, any particular show could fall flat or even spontaneously combust. Thus, it was important to see many shows because magic would inevitably transpire and they wanted all of their fans to know what that was like and have a hunger for more once it had been experienced. A true natural high for anyone that has experienced it. As it’s been said, there is nothing like a Grateful Dead show.

    • Atom 1.0 from GitHub, the new R consortium, and more news
    • Open Hardware

      • Long live ROS: Why the robotics revolution is being driven by open source development

        The 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) wrapped up last month, and while teams from Korea and the U.S. took away $3.5M in prize money, the real winner was the open source robotics movement. Of the 23 teams competing in the DRC, 18 utilized the open-source Robotic Operating System (ROS) and 14 used Gazebo, an open source robot simulator that allows developers to test concepts in robust virtual environments without risking valuable hardware.

  • Programming


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Bill Gates’ Temporary Sterilization Microchip In Beta Female Testing By End of Year

      The same developers who are bringing wireless remotely controlled microchip implants are actually focusing on their first flagship product: Gates Foundation-funded birth-control microchip implants. Wireless technology allows the remotely controlled chip to turn a woman’s ability to conceive off or on at will – temporary sterilization.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Bernie Sanders and the Rebirth of Socialism in the US?

      Yes, it may be unlikely that Sanders will win the nomination. In national polls for the primaries Hillary Clinton, the favorite, did not poll less than 50 percent since April. Bernie Sanders has not polled over 25 percent since June 2014. But recent polls seem to suggest growing support for Sanders, particularly in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. Regardless of the results, however, Sanders’ bid for the candidacy has led to a discussion around socialism.

    • Beware Greeks Bearing Rifts

      The Euro project will continue to be extremely strong. New money will be funnelled into the pockets of bankers. It is important to recall that 100% of these bailout funds go to bankers, none of it goes to the Greek people and none of it stays in Greece. The same bankers will become the beneficiaries of servicing of new loans provided to vast corporations to buy up Greek public assets, cheap.

    • Europe is heading towards constitutional crisis, with or without Greece

      As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stands off against the so-called Troika, questions abound about the future of his country.

      But there should also be pressing questions about the future of the European Union. The shaky legal foundations of the EU have been laid bare by this crisis.

    • Lidl has received almost $1bn in public development funding

      Supermarket chain owned by one of Germany’s wealthiest families given money over past decade by World Bank and others as it expands into eastern Europe

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NPR Ombud Responds on ‘All-Corporate Lobbyist’ Alert – Report not as one-sided as FAIR claimed, Jensen said–but opposition voice would have strengthened it

      NPR ombud Elizabeth Jensen wrote a column (7/1/15) responding to a FAIR Action Alert, “NPR Celebrates Fast-Track Victory With an All-Corporate Lobbyist Segment” (6/27/15).

      Jensen acknowledges that the report in question (Morning Edition, 6/25/15), which featured three executives from business lobbies talking about Congress’s passage of corporate-backed Fast-Track legislation, “would have been stronger and more complete if it had included a voice representing the opponents.”

    • National Plutocrat Radio – Corporate One-Percenters dominate NPR affiliates’ boards

      For a public radio service, NPR is notoriously known for its lack of diversity within its staff, audience and guests invited onto their shows—problems that NPR has itself acknowledged (6/30/14).

      A new FAIR study finds that NPR’s diversity problem also extends into the board of trustees of its most popular member stations: Two out of three board members are male, and nearly three out of four are non-Latino whites. Fully three out of every four trustees of the top NPR affiliates belong to the corporate elite.

    • James Loewen on Racism and US History

      He’s the author of the classic book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, which assesses the textbooks used in US classrooms, turning up falsehoods, elisions and distortions. He explains some of the reasons students say they hate history–and non-white students hate it most of all.

  • Censorship

    • Reddit moderators in revolt, Reddit on lockdown

      Reddit has been in the news a lot in recent months, and not for any positive reasons. Now the site is again making headlines as its moderators go on a strike and put Reddit in a virtual state of lockdown.

    • Reddit rebellion: huge chunks of the site have gone down following a staff member’s departure

      Reddit is in revolt. This week, Victoria Taylor, director of talent and coordinator of the site’s popular “Ask me Anything” (r/IAmA) subreddit, left reddit, apparently against her will. In response, a group of the site’s coordinators have pulled the shades on some of the site’s most popular sections.

    • BEL MOONEY: Why does my alma mater have one rule for hate preachers and another for scientists who make daft jokes?

      People may wonder why this issue has attracted so much attention. After all, a speech made by an eminent scientist — a Nobel Prize-winner, no less — to a small group of journalists in South Korea in a previous age would have received no attention at all.

      But after the 72-year-old Prof’s weak jokes about how ‘girls’ are a distraction in laboratories — which made some listeners titter and others roll their eyes — just three people tweeted shock-horror, and the storm began.

      Sir Tim quickly found his career and reputation, built up over 50 years, all but ruined. Although he apologised for his error, he was still unceremoniously hounded out of honorary positions at UCL, the Royal Society and the European Research Council.

      That response was, in my view, hasty and disgraceful —and out of all proportion to his alleged ‘crime’.

    • David Cameron Promises To Do Away With ‘Safe Spaces’ On The Internet

      Earlier this year, there were some questions raised when it appeared that UK Prime Minister David Cameron was suggesting that he wanted to undermine all encryption on the internet. Later, some suggested he was looking more at undermining end point security. However, after being re-elected, and apparently believing that this gave him the mandate to go full Orwell, Cameron is making it clear that no one should ever have any privacy from government snoops ever.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ did spy on Amnesty International, secret tribunal admits

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which provides oversight for UK intelligence services, admitted yesterday that its judgement made on 22 June wrongly failed to declare that Amnesty International had been subject to unlawful surveillance by GCHQ. The IPT revealed this in an e-mail sent to the ten NGO claimants involved in the earlier legal challenge to UK government surveillance. As Amnesty International explained: “Today’s communication makes clear that it was actually Amnesty International Ltd, and not the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) that was spied on in addition to the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa.”

    • GCHQ did illegally spy on Amnesty International, Investigatory Powers Tribunal admits

      The IPT said in its original judgement that communications by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the South African non-profit Legal Resources Centre had been illegally retained and examined.

      However, the tribunal made it clear in the email sent on Wednesday that it was Amnesty International and not the Egyptian organisation that had been spied on, as well as the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa.

      The IPT email made no mention of when or why Amnesty International was spied on, or what was done with the information obtained. The organisation is calling for an independent inquiry into how and why a UK intelligence agency has been spying on human rights organisations.

    • Harvard University admits to IT systems data breach

      THE PRESTIGIOUS HARVARD UNIVERSITY has revealed that it was the victim of a security breach in June affecting eight schools and administrative organisations at the university.

      The intrusion in the IT systems of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Central Administration was discovered on 19 June, and is thought to have exposed various log-in credentials, including for Office 365, which were stored on the compromised networks.

      “At this time, we have no indication that research data or personal data managed by Harvard systems (e.g. Social Security numbers) have been exposed,” said the university IT team in an advisory on its website.

    • A Look at the Inner Workings of NSA’s XKEYSCORE

      The sheer quantity of communications that XKEYSCORE processes, filters and queries is stunning. Around the world, when a person gets online to do anything — write an email, post to a social network, browse the web or play a video game — there’s a decent chance that the Internet traffic her device sends and receives is getting collected and processed by one of XKEYSCORE’s hundreds of servers scattered across the globe.

    • XKEYSCORE: NSA’s Google for the World’s Private Communications

      One of the National Security Agency’s most powerful tools of mass surveillance makes tracking someone’s Internet usage as easy as entering an email address, and provides no built-in technology to prevent abuse. Today, The Intercept is publishing 48 top-secret and other classified documents about XKEYSCORE dated up to 2013, which shed new light on the breadth, depth and functionality of this critical spy system — one of the largest releases yet of documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Privacy Is Personal

      Linux would not be here without the Net. Nor would countless other building materials and methods that support networked life and the institutions that rely on networks, which now include approximately everything.


      All these things need to be as casual and easily understood as clothing and shelter are in the physical world today. They can’t work only for wizards. Privacy is for muggles too. Without agancy and scale for muggles, the Net will remain the Land of Giants, who regard us all as serfs by default.

  • Civil Rights

    • Amnesty International Responds to U.K. Government Surveillance

      A British tribunal admitted on Wednesday that the U.K. government had spied on Amnesty International and illegally retained some of its communications. Sherif Elsayed-Ali, deputy director of global issues for Amnesty International in London, responds:

      Just after 4 p.m. yesterday, Amnesty International received an email from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which hears cases related to U.K. intelligence agencies. The message was brief: There had been a mistake in the tribunal’s judgment 10 days earlier in a case brought by 10 human rights organizations against the U.K.’s mass surveillance programs. Contrary to the finding in the original ruling, our communications at Amnesty International had, in fact, been under illegal surveillance by GCHQ, the U.K.’s signals intelligence agency.

    • No Craig Newmark Did Not Donate To EFF; He Helped Make CFAA Worse Instead

      There’s been a bunch of fuss online over the “news” that Craigslist is supposedly donating $1 million to EFF when the money is not actually from Craig. It’s from a startup that Craigslist has sued out of business, under a dangerous interpretation of the CFAA that harms the open internet. Obviously, EFF getting an additional $1 million in resources is really great. But it’s troubling to see so many people congratulate Craigslist and Craig Newmark for “supporting EFF.” Craig himself has contributed to this misleading perception with this tweet implying he’s giving his own money to EFF…


      And yet Craigslist sued these companies under a tortured definition of the CFAA, arguing that the mere scraping of its data to provide value on top of it (none of which took away any value from Craigslist) was “unauthorized access.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • IPv4 address stock dwindles as North American database runs dry

      The number of available IPv4 address spaces has fallen so low that the US organisation responsible for handing out addresses has rejected a request because there was not enough stock.

      The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) posted a note on its website confirming the move, although it did not say from where the request had come.

      “ARIN activated the IPv4 Unmet Requests policy this week with the approval of an address request that was larger than the available inventory in the regional IPv4 free pool,” said ARIN chief executive John Curran.

  • DRM/Restriction

    • iOS 8.4 kills Home Sharing for music and people aren’t happy about it

      APPLE QUIETLY KILLED OFF Home Sharing for music in iOS 8.4, and has pissed off its customers in the process.

      Home Sharing for music launched in 2011 as part of iOS 4.3, and allowed iPhone, iPad and iPod users to stream music from a computer running iTunes, as long as the devices were connected to the same WiFi network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Appeals to Reclaim ‘Mega Millions’ from U.S.

        In an effort to reclaim an estimated $67 million in assets, Megaupload’s legal team has appealed the forfeiture the U.S. Government won earlier this year. The filing refutes the claim that Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues are fugitives, and warns of the dangerous precedent the District Court ruling will set.

      • The battle to reform 300-year-old copyright law for the digital age

        The Internet is built on copying. That’s true at a purely technical level: as packets of data move around the world, they are copied from network to network, and finally to the end-user’s device. But it’s also true in terms of how people use the Internet: they are constantly sending copies across the network, whether partial snippets or entire works. That’s a big problem, because once a creation is in a fixed form, it is automatically subject to copyright, an intellectual monopoly that gives creators the power to prevent copies being made of their work. Quite simply, this situation ensures that almost everyone using the Internet is also breaking the law multiple times every day.


Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

Posted in News Roundup at 12:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • NHS IT failures mount as GP data system declared unfit for purpose

    The towering scrapheap of NHS IT failures may about to rise further, with the increasingly expensive GP Extraction Service IT system deemed not fit for purpose by the government’s spending watchdog.

    Costs for the GPES IT system, which is supposed to extract data from all GP practices in England, have ballooned from £14m to £40m, with at least £5.5m wasted on write-offs and delay costs, said the National Audit Office.

    The GPES has so far managed to provide data for just one customer – NHS England – who received four years later than originally planned.

    The NAO said the need for the service remains and further public expenditure is required to improve or replace it.

  • Alton Towers apologises for taking up to an hour to evacuate passengers from monorail in searing heat
  • Science

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • What We Call Security Isn’t Really Security

      Well, it’s probably no shock to you that the security industry can’t agree on a definition of security. Imagine if the horse industry couldn’t agree on what is a horse. Yes, it’s like that.

    • UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends’ friends

      Those contacts include their Outlook.com (nee Hotmail) contacts, Skype contacts and, with an opt-in, their Facebook friends. There is method in the Microsoft madness – it saves having to shout across the office or house “what’s the Wi-Fi password?” – but ease of use has to be teamed with security. If you wander close to a wireless network, and your friend knows the password, and you both have Wi-Fi Sense, you can now log into that network.

    • Former L0pht man ‘Mudge’ leaves Google for Washington

      L0pht co-founder and CTO of Veracode Chris Wysopal told Security Ledger software remains among “the last products that has no transparency to what the customer is getting, adding that the “pseudo-monopolies” in the industry can simply refuse to co-operate with third-party testers.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Economic Update: Pope Questions Capitalism

      We have fun with why US govt leaving Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York and we celebrate rising UK movement against austerity. Second half of show interviews veteran reporter Bob Hennelly on the Pope’s statement about ecology, environment, and a failing economic system.

    • Socialism Means Abolishing the Distinction Between Bosses and Employees

      Regulated private capitalism. State capitalism. Socialism. These three systems are entirely different from each other. We need to understand the differences between them to move beyond today’s dysfunctional economies. With confidence waning in whether modern private capitalism can truly be fixed, the debate shifts to a choice between two systemic alternatives that we must learn to keep straight: state capitalism and socialism.

  • Privacy

    • WikiLeaks: New intelligence briefs show US spied on German leader

      On Wednesday, WikiLeaks published two new top-secret National Security Agency briefs that detail American and British espionage conducted against German leaders as they were discussing responses to the Greek economic crisis in 2011.

      The organization also published a redacted list of 69 German government telephone numbers that were targeted for snooping. That list includes Oskar Lafontaine, who served as German finance minister from 1998 to 1999, when the German government was still based in Bonn—suggesting that this kind of spying has been going on for over 15 years at least.

    • VPNs are exposing sensitive user data due to IPv6 leakage vulnerability

      A STUDY has found that 11 out of 14 virtual private network (VPN) providers are exposing personal information through a vulnerability known as IPv6 leakage.

      This is damning for such privacy services, many of which have seen increased use since the Edward Snowden PRISM revelations of 2013.

    • Orfox Is The Guardian Project’s Latest App For Bringing The Tor Browser Experience To Android, First Alpha Release Is Available

      The Guardian Project, the group behind previous efforts to bring Tor and other privacy-preserving software to Android, is working on a Tor-friendly browser built on the desktop equivalent’s codebase. This app, named Orfox, will replace its WebView-based predecessor Orweb.

  • Civil Rights

    • TSA Asks America To LOL At Traveler Who Had $75,000 Taken From Him By Federal Agents

      The TSA runs a fairly entertaining Instagram account, if you’re the sort of person who is impressed by pictures of weapons seized from stupid passengers. That would be the extent of its social media prowess. Its blog is pretty much a 50/50 mix of Yet Another Thing You Can’t Take Onboard and Blogger Bob defending the TSA’s latest gaffe.

      One of the TSA’s official Twitter flacks tried to loft a lighthearted “hey, look at this thing we came across!” tweet. She couldn’t have picked a worse “thing” to highlight, considering the ongoing outrage over civil asset forfeiture.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Europe to end mobile roaming charges by June 2017

      Lawmakers agreed a final proposal to scrap roaming charges and introduce rules based on “net neutrality”. Roaming charges are a part of life when you travel abroad and customers are penalised that just have to use their mobile phone for data. The good news now is that nonsense will come to end in June 2017, there will however be the usual fair use policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK police seize thousands of Android streamers modded for piracy

        Set-top boxes help deliver streaming services like Netflix and Now TV into our homes, but they’re also giving rise to less-than legal methods of watching films, TV shows and sport. As manufacturers have embraced the open nature of Android, enterprising users have found ways to install apps that facilitate piracy, which has become a business in its own right. This week, a number of police forces conducted raids on sellers of “pirate” Android streamers, confiscating thousands of units in the process.

      • Supreme Court won’t weigh in on Oracle-Google API copyright battle

        The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Google’s appeal of the Google-Oracle API copyright dispute. The high court’s move lets stand an appellate court’s decision that application programming interfaces (APIs) are subject to copyright protections.

      • Supreme Court Won’t Hear Oracle v. Google Case, Leaving APIs Copyrightable And Innovation At Risk

        This is unfortunate, even if it was somewhat expected: the Supreme Court has now rejected Google’s request to hear its appeal over the appeals court decision that overturned a lower court ruling on the copyrightability of APIs. The lower court decision, by Judge William Alsup (who learned to code Java to understand the issues), noted that APIs were not copyrightable, as they were mere methods, which are not subject to copyright.


Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

Posted in News Roundup at 2:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 things technical leaders should consider around open-source software

    Many organisations have a wide array of open-source applications and code in use today – whether it be at the infrastructure and application layers, or in development frameworks and GitHub repositories.

    However, the applications developer and infrastructure teams come under increasing pressure as organisations rush to develop new services for customers, comply with growing amounts of industry regulation, or simply strive to meet the needs of the information generation.

  • Navigating through an open-source world
  • Open Source to power financial services innovations
  • AWS security looks to avoid cloud reboots with s2n
  • ​Amazon introduces new open-source TLS implementation ‘s2n’
  • Amazon Web Services Delivers Open Source Cryptographic Tool
  • Amazon Releases S2N TLS Crypto Implementation to Open Source
  • Amazon releases open source cryptographic module

    The software, s2n, is a new implementation of Transport Layer Security (TLS), a protocol for encrypting data. TLS is the successor of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), both of which AWS uses to secure most of its services.

  • Engineers at Etsy play by their own rules

    Etsy, the leading marketplace for handmade goods, has grown by leaps and bounds over the past five years. During that time they’ve iterated on their model, their strategy, and their mission. One thing that’s driven the success of those changes is their open workplace culture.

    I talked to senior engineering manager John Goulah about what it means to fail faster at Etsy, and he shared with me some interesting insights into the communication techniques Etsy uses to empower their associates and improve the experience of buyers and sellers on the site.

  • Altera, Brain4Net and CertusNet Join the OPNFV Project to Accelerate Open Source NFV
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • NoSQL and the next generation of big data

      Ingo is a senior solutions architect at MongoDB. He is active in many open source projects, and is the author of Open Life: The Philosophy of Open Source, a book on open source community ethics and business models.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4.4 Released

      The Document Foundation today announced LibreOffice 4.4.4, the latest update to the 4.4 branch. Today’s release brings 74 bug fixes including several crashes and import/export bugs. The announcement today also brought news of version 5.0 as well as reminders for the LibreOffice Conference in September.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 10.2 Gets Ready For Release, 11.0-CURRENT For Testing

      The PC-BSD development team today announced their 10.2 pre-release, which continues to be derived from FreeBSD. Additionally they’ve also announced new 11.0-CURRENT images for those wishing to get a look ahead at FreeBSD/PC-BSD 11.0.

      The PC-BSD 10.2 pre-release / 11.0 current announcement didn’t offer many details about all of the changes in store, but once PC-BSD 10.2 and PC-BSD/FreeBSD 11.0 are officially out, you can expect lengthy write-ups on Phoronix.

      More details via the PCBSD.org blog.


  • Public Services/Government

    • It’s 2015 And Congress Is Now, Finally, Allowed To Use Open Source Technologies

      First, the good news: members of the House of Representatives in the US Congress are now allowed to use open source technology in their offices, rather than the very limited list of proprietary offerings they were given in the past. Second, the bad news: how the hell is it 2015 and this is only becoming an option now? I guess we can’t change the past, and so let’s celebrate the House of Reps finally getting to this point — which just happens to coincide with the upcoming launch of the House Open Source Caucus (led by Reps. Blake Farenthold and Jared Polis).

    • The House opens up to open source

      Traditionally, members of the House of Representatives have been presented with a limited plate of options when choosing technology to run their offices and manage their web presences. Members that wanted to take advantage of open source solutions — which are restriction-free, reusable and frequently more cost-effective — faced significant uncertainty and were pushed towards a small selection of proprietary options.

    • Extremadura schoolboard’s software deal protested

      Advocates of free software are protesting a tender by the school board of the Spanish region of Extremadura requesting proprietary software licences. The advocacy group, Extremadura Focus Initiative, is supported by the new, incoming government of the region and by several of Extremadura’s school teachers.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • The Problem With Putting All the World’s Code in GitHub

      The ancient Library of Alexandria may have been the largest collection of human knowledge in its time, and scholars still mourn its destruction. The risk of so devastating a loss diminished somewhat with the advent of the printing press and further still with the rise of the Internet. Yet centralized repositories of specialized information remain, as does the threat of a catastrophic loss.

    • R, Matey: Hoisting the Sails for a Programming Language

      So what is R? The R programming language is a free and open source programming language for statistical computing and provides an interactive environment for data analysis, modeling and visualization. The language is used by statisticians, analysts and data scientists to unlock value from data.

    • A Code Boot Camp for Underprivileged Kids

      A science center in Johannesburg, South Africa, has opened the doors to a five-month course in Linux-based Web apps and entrepreneurial skills. The training is available free of charge to underprivileged students from nearby townships; if it’s successful, it will be rolled out nationwide.

    • MIT develops donor ‘transplants’ for buggy code without access to the source

      A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a way to use ‘donor’ programs to improve the functionality and reduce system errors and flaws in open-source programs.

      Outlined in a paper dubbed “Automatic error elimination by horizontal code transfer across multiple applications,” MIT researchers describe the Code Phage system, which automatically transfers code from donor programs to other applications which have buggy code and errors.

    • PHP for Non-Developers
    • PHP SIG – Autoloader

      The Fedora PHP SIG (Special Interest Group) is back / working.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Op-ed: Safari is the new Internet Explorer

      Last weekend I attended EdgeConf, a conference populated by many of the leading lights in the Web industry. It featured panel talks and breakout sessions with a focus on technologies that are just now starting to emerge in browsers, so there was a lot of lively discussion around Service Worker, Web Components, Shadow DOM, Web Manifests, and more.

      EdgeConf’s hundred-odd attendees were truly the heavy hitters of the Web community. The average Twitter follower count in any given room was probably in the thousands, and all the major browser vendors were represented—Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, Opera. We had lots of fun peppering them with questions about when they might release such-and-such API.


  • Walmart Apologizes for Making ISIS Cake for Man Denied Confederate Flag Design

    A man in Louisiana is asking for an explanation from Walmart after his request for a Confederate flag cake at one of its bakeries was rejected, but a design with the ISIS flag was accepted.

    Chuck Netzhammer said he ordered the image of the Confederate flag on a cake with the words, “Heritage Not Hate,” on Thursday at a Walmart in Slidell, Louisiana. But the bakery denied his request, he said. At some point later, he ordered the image of the ISIS flag that represents the terrorist group.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Everyone Gets Cosmetic Procedures, Says Time–and by ‘Everyone,’ They Mean Almost No One

      Even by the standards of newsweekly hyperbole, this is ridiculous. In the piece, Stein writes that “in the US, doctors performed over 15 million cosmetic procedures in 2014, a 13 percent increase from 2011 and more than twice as many as in 2000.”

      The population of the United States is now 319 million, so 15 million is about 5 percent per capita.

      Even that overstates how big “everyone” is, since most of those procedures are injections like Botox–a muscle relaxant that has to be readministered as often as four times a year. Coupled with the fact that Botox can be used on multiple parts of the body—each of which may be considered a different “procedure”—the “everyone” who “gets work done” turns out to be a tiny fraction of the population.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Kirsty’s Story

      I knew with certainty that the BBC and official line of a lone gunman being responsible for the Tunisian attacks was a lie, because one of the victims of one of the “other” gunmen was my dear niece Kirsty.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Greeks are rushing to Bitcoin

      With bank doors slammed shut, frantic Greeks are turning to online trading platforms to see if the digital money Bitcoin is a better bet than the euro.

    • Confusing Lending and Spending at the New York Times

      In fact, central banks have not spent this money, they have lent this money, mostly by buying government bonds. This matters hugely, because lending is a much more indirect way to boost the economy than spending.

      Lending by central banks is supposed to boost growth by lowering interest rates. This encourages borrowing in the public and private sectors. This helps to explain the growth in debt in recent years: Rather than indicating a troubling situation, this was actually the point of the policy.

      Rather than focus on the amount of debt countries, companies and individuals have incurred, it would be more reasonable to examine their interest burdens. These are mostly quite low.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Feds Awarded Colorado Charter Schools $46 Million because of “Hiring and Firing” Rules

      Between 2010 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded Colorado $46 million under the Charter Schools Program. Part of the reason the state landed the competitive grant was that charters are free to hire unlicensed teachers and then fire them at will, documents reviewed by CMD show.

      Designed to create and expand “high-quality” charter schools, the quarter-billion-dollar-a-year program has been repeatedly criticized by the watchdogs at the department’s Office of the Inspector General watchdog for suspected waste and poor financial controls.

    • Jeb Bush dogged by decades of questions about business deals

      In early 1989, seven weeks after his father moved into the White House, Jeb Bush took a trip to Nigeria.

      Nearly 100,000 Nigerians turned out to see him over four days as he accompanied the executives of a Florida company called Moving Water Industries, which had just retained Bush to market the firm’s pumps. Escorted by the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Bush met with the nation’s political and religious leaders as part of an MWI effort to land a deal that would be worth $80 million.

    • STUDY: How The Media Is Covering Presidential Candidates’ Climate Science Denial

      43 Percent Of Newspaper Coverage Failed To Note That Candidates’ Climate Statements Conflict With Scientific Consensus. From March 23 — when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) became the first candidate to announce his presidential bid — to June 22 of this year, newspapers and wire services surveyed by Media Matters published 54 news stories (in print and online) that included a presidential candidate denying either that climate change is occurring or that human activity is largely responsible for it. But the newspapers and wires failed to indicate that the candidate’s position conflicts with the scientific consensus in 23 of those stories, or 43 percent of the coverage.

  • Censorship

    • Banned Books Week Celebrates Young Adult Books in 2015

      Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by encouraging read-outs, displays, and community activities that raise awareness of the ongoing threat of censorship. Last year, tens of thousands of people participated in Banned Books Week online. More than 500 videos were posted in a virtual read-out, and thousands participated in hundreds of events in bookstores, libraries, and schools and universities across the country.

  • Privacy

    • If You Can’t Beat ’Em: France, Up In Arms Over NSA Spying, Passes New Surveillance Law

      Yet also today, the lower house of France’s legislature, the National Assembly, passed a sweeping surveillance law. The law provides a new framework for the country’s intelligence agencies to expand their surveillance activities. Opponents of the law were quick to mock the government for vigorously protesting being surveilled by one of the country’s closest allies while passing a law that gives its own intelligence services vast powers with what its opponents regard as little oversight. But for those who support the new law, the new revelations of NSA spying showed the urgent need to update the tools available to France’s spies.

    • Surveillance Court Rules That N.S.A. Can Resume Bulk Data Collection

      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled late Monday that the National Security Agency may temporarily resume its once-secret program that systematically collects records of Americans’ domestic phone calls in bulk.

    • Secret US court allows resumption of bulk phone metadata spying

      A secret US tribunal ruled late Monday that the National Security Agency is free to continue its bulk telephone metadata surveillance program—the same spying that Congress voted to terminate weeks ago.

      Congress disavowed the program NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed when passing the USA Freedom Act, which President Barack Obama signed June 2. The act, however, allowed for the program to be extended for six months to allow “for an orderly transition” to a less-invasive telephone metadata spying program.

    • Cloudflare Reveals Pirate Site Locations in an Instant

      According to an announcement from the site, Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén recently approached Cloudflare in an effort to uncover Sparvar’s email address and the true location of its servers. The discussions between Rights Alliance and Cloudflare were seen by Sparvar, which set alarm bells ringing.

    • Snoopers’ Charter: Lobby your MP in Parliament

      The Government’s planning to publish a draft of a new law that’s likely to extend the surveillance powers of the police and GCHQ in early autumn.

  • Civil Rights

    • Fox News vs. Fox News Latino: NBC Dumps Trump Edition

      Fox News Latino’s coverage of NBC’s decision to sever ties with Donald Trump differed dramatically from Fox News’ rush to defend the presidential candidate’s incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants. While Fox hosts praised Trump’s stance and reticence to apologize, Fox News Latino characterized NBC’s move as a victory for Latino media advocacy leaders.

      NBCUniversal announced Monday that it would sever ties with Trump after he characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” explaining in a statement: “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”

    • O’Reilly Gives Donald Trump A Platform To Continue Calling Latin American Immigrants Rapists And Criminals
    • Judge Orders Lying, Cheating Government To Return $167,000 To The Man They Stole It From

      A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California. The officers really wanted that money, too. They used two consecutive stops to jerry-rig some probable cause… even though at that point they thought they were only dealing with $2000. From the original stop forward, the entire situation was deplorable, indisputably showing that everyone involved was more interested in taking (and keeping) a bunch of cash than enforcing laws or pursuing justice.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Cisco to buy cybersecurity firm OpenDNS in $635m deal

      Announced on Tuesday, the tech giant said the move will accelerate the development of the Cisco Cloud Delivered Security Portfolio, and OpenDNS will prove a boost to advanced threat protection services for Cisco clients.

    • EU plans to destroy net neutrality by allowing Internet fast lanes

      A two-tier Internet will be created in Europe as the result of a late-night “compromise” between the European Commission, European Parliament and the EU Council. The so-called “trilogue” meeting to reconcile the different positions of the three main EU institutions saw telecom companies gaining the right to offer “specialised services” on the Internet. These premium services will create a fast lane on the Internet and thus destroy net neutrality, which requires that equivalent traffic is treated in the same way.

    • Net Neutrality: Trialogue betrayed European Parliament’s vote

      After months of negotiations behind closed doors between the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament (trialogue), the very positive text on Net Neutrality adopted by the European Parliament in April 2014 has become more ambiguous and weaker. Net Neutrality deserves more guarantees and La Quadrature du Net is regretting a third-rate agreement.

    • Court sets schedule for net neutrality case

      A federal court has set a schedule for the legal case over the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial net neutrality rules.

      The telecom companies, trade groups and individuals suing the FCC must submit briefs to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by July 30. Their supporters have until August 6 to submit their own filings.

    • Net Neutrality: Europe Slips Into Reverse

      Following a mammoth negotiating session that ended in the early hours of this morning, the European Union (EU) has released their long awaited rules on Net Neutrality.

      The EU Commissioner’s tweet and an accompanying press release proclaimed the rules as strong protection for net neutrality, but we’re not so sure. In fact, our initial response is one of disappointment. As others have pointed out, the proposals are unclear. At best they will lead to disputes and confusion, and at worst they could see the creation of a two-tier Internet. If enacted, these rules would place European companies and citizens at a disadvantage when compared to countries such as Chile and the USA.

    • The EU Could Kill Net Neutrality With a Loophole

      It seems the European Union has learned little from the hard-won fight in the United States to preserve net neutrality. Today, the European Commission announced an agreement between the European Parliament and EU Council that—on the surface—claims to promise to protect net neutrality, while simultaneously allowing for exceptions that would threaten its very existence.

    • Data roaming charges to be phased out within EU by 2017

      Data roaming charges associated with using your mobile phone while travelling abroad within the 28 member countries of the European Union will be a thing of the past as soon as June 2017. After that, consumers will pay the same price for calls, text messages and internet surfing throughout the EU.


      The commission said it would also reserve the right to control traffic if it was in the public interest, for example, to combat child pornography or a terrorist attack.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

Posted in News Roundup at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Node.js and Docker realigned

    It’s not really a surprise, but after just over six months since the “forking” of both Node.js and Docker, the two different projects have ended up back in some sort of alignment. For Node.js, it was the reunification with io.js under the Node.js Foundation, which was officially launched under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella. The Node.js and io.js technical development is now driven by a technical committee and hopefully this will all work out well for all.

  • Libreboot Now Supports An AMD/ASUS Motherboard

    The Libreboot “fork” of Coreboot now has support for its first AMD motherboard — or more broadly, its first desktop motherboard.

  • IBM Insists It’s Open to Open Source

    So it’s interesting when a senior IBM exec turns up in a keynote slot. Big Blue’s heritage, at least at the high end, had for years been dominated by proprietary architecture. No longer, said Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems. The founding of OpenPOWER roughly two years ago, sale of IBM’s x86 business, and the sprint away from the formidable but proprietary Blue Gene (and re-embrace of the battle-tested mainframe) are all part of IBM’s about-face.

  • The Open Information Security Foundation Joins Open Source Initiative as Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) today announced that The Open Information Security Foundation (OISF) has been accepted as an Affiliate Member. “The OSI is excited to welcome OISF,” said Patrick Masson, General Manager and Director at the OSI. “Just as we’re seeing with open source software projects, more and more organizations are looking for support from mature, robust and relevant security communities. The OISF and the open source technologies they support are ready to help and we’re happy to promote their good work.”

  • The evolution of the big data platform at Netflix

    I caught up with Eva to get a bit of a background on her, Netflix, and how open source is being used to improve services at Netflix. Not only has Netflix used and contributed to existing open source projects, but they have released their own projects like Genie as open source. To learn more about Netflix’s open source projects you can pursue their GitHub.

  • Events

    • ATO Opens Reg – Releases Partial Speakers List

      The All Things Open conference today pushed out a notification to recipients on its mailing list announcing that registration for the event, slated for October 19th and 20th. has begun. For the first time ever, event organizers are offering something of a super early bird special: Buy a ticket before July 7th and get admission for both days for only $99 — which is a deal since that’s what a single day will cost once the Early Bird Special kicks-in next Tuesday.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Can LibreOffice successfully compete with Microsoft Office?

      Michael Meeks, a leading LibreOffice developer, says the open source suite is currently being used by about 20 million Linux users. (LibreOffice is included in many Linux distributions.) He adds that update requests are also regularly received from 120 million different IP addresses – with one million new ones appearing every week — and suggests that in total there may be 80 million LibreOffice users around the globe.

    • LibreOffice 5.0 to Bring More DOCX Improvements

      The Document Foundation has released the second RC for the upcoming LibreOffice 5.0 version, and it looks like the developers are making a final push for the new version of the office suite that is scheduled to land in July.

    • The job is not done until the documentation is complete

      And yet there is a lot of really good documentation out there. For example, the documentation for LibreOffice is excellent. It includes several documents in multiple formats including HTML and PDF that range from “Getting Started” to a very complete user’s guide for each of the LibreOffice applications.

  • Funding

    • Roundcube Next crowdfunding success and community

      A couple days ago, the Roundcube Next crowdfunding campaign reached our initial funding goal. We even got a piece on Venture Beat, among other places. This was a fantastic result and a nice reward for quite a bit of effort on the entire team’s part.

  • BSD

    • DragonFly BSD 4.2 Gets Improvements for i915 and Radeon, Moves to GCC 5

      DragonFly BSD is a distribution that belongs to the same class of operating systems as other BSD-derived systems and UNIX. The developers have released a new version of the distro, and they have integrated quite a few changes and improvements.

    • OpenBSD from a veteran Linux user perspective

      For the first time I installed a BSD box on a machine I control. The experience has been eye-opening, especially since I consider myself an “old-school” Linux admin, and I’ve felt out of place with the latest changes on the system administration.

      Linux is now easier to use than ever, but administration has become more difficult. There are many components, most of which are interconnected in modern ways. I’m not against progress, but I needed a bit of recycling. So instead of adapting myself to the new tools, I thought, why not look for modern tools which behave like old ones?

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.2 Released: Brings Improved Graphics & New Compiler

      DragonFlyBSD 4.2 was released this morning as the next major release to this popular BSD operating system. For end-users there are a lot of notable changes with this update.

    • Call for Testing: Valgrind on OpenBSD

      The editors are certainly salivating over the possibility of valgrinding our way to victory.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Galicia publishes open source tools

      The government of Galicia (Spain) has made available three open source solutions over the past year, one for PC classrooms, one for land-management, and a third for computer network enhancement. The tools are available at Galicia’s software repository, and information about the solutions is now also available at Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer (CTT).

    • Aragon publishes updates of eGovernment software

      The government of Aragon (Spain) has published updates of the open source software it uses for 25 eGovernment services. The updates have been available at the repository of Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer since late last month.

    • House gets green light for open source

      The House of Representatives has officially jumped on the open source bandwagon. A June 25 announcement declared that U.S. representatives, committees and staff would be able to procure open source software, participate in open source software communities and contribute code developed with taxpayer dollars to open source repositories.

    • Cracking the Code: U.S. House of Representatives Allows Use Of Open Source Software

      As the executive branch of the United States government quietly works on creating an official open source policy, the legislative branch is also moving into the 21st century: Open source software is now officially permitted in the U.S. House of Representatives. That means software developed in the People’s House with taxpayer funds will eventually be available to the people. According to the nonpartisan OpenGov Foundation, there will soon be an Open Source Caucus in Congress.

  • Programming


      The Simplon course was developed in France to teach skills in Linux, Ruby on Rails, CSS, Javascript, Meteor.js and other web development langauges. Co-founder Andrei Vladescu-Olt attended the opening of the SAP-funded laboratory, and explained that there’s more to the course than coding.


  • Science

    • Matti Makkonen, inventor of the SMS text message, died on Friday

      It is a sad day in tech. This is such a young industry in mobile that most who built it are still alive. One of the biggest pioneers, however, died this past Friday. Matti Makkonen, the inventor of the SMS text message, was a former Telecoms Finland (later known as Sonera) exec and then Nokia VP and later Finnet Group boss and ended his career as Managing Director of Anviva before he retired from active business management work. He still continued on some part-time jobs in telecoms in Finland. In 2008 Matti received the Economist Innovation Award for inventing the SMS and we celebrated that occasion here on this blog at the time.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Serbia fetes Franz Ferdinand’s assassin 101 years later

      Serbia unveiled a statue on Sunday of the man whose killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand 101 years ago lit the fuse for the First World War, feting an assassin who still divides his native Balkans.

      Many Serbs regard Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, as a pan-Slavic hero, the shot he fired in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 marking the death knell for centuries of foreign occupation over the various nations and faiths that would make up the Yugoslavia that emerged.

      To others he is a terrorist, a nationalist fanatic whose act triggered a war in which 10 million soldiers died and the world order was rewritten.

    • Is more war abroad with troops on the ground what’s needed to defeat ISIS?

      It’s too early to say whether yesterday’s ‘day of terror’ was coordinated, or whether it was a random convergence of events whose perpetrators share the same commitment to ‘leaderless resistance’ jihad which makes it equally possible to murder ‘apostate’ Shia worshippers in a mosque or ‘kufar’ tourists in Tunisia.

      Whoever they are, their broader intentions are not difficult to fathom. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Kuwait and Tunisia attacks. Both are acts of ‘strategic’ terrorism.

      The attack in Kuwait is clearly intended to foment the sectarian war that IS believes it can exploit for its own purposes.

    • Killer drones raise new moral questions

      Technologies are making humans who remote-control drones more and more like children playing video-games. That is the main problem. When deaths or killings seem to be happening so far away, the “combat mentality” can combine with the comfort zone to highly murderous effect. When it’s so easy to kill without risking your own life, will you be merciful or shoot them up?

    • Killer robots are coming next: The next military-industrial complex will involve real-life Terminators
    • The human rights crisis is about domination, not perception

      When Israel is criticized about its rights-abusive policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the refrain most often heard among local politicians is that the government’s hasbara—the Israeli propaganda machine—is inadequate. The problem, in other words, is not what Israel actually does to the Palestinians, but rather the inability to get its positive message across to the international community. This is usually referred to as “rebranding Israel”. The underlying assumption here is that the merchandise is fine, and only the packaging needs to be replaced.

    • Operation Hannibal

      Here’s how Israel deals with hostages. The results aren’t pretty.


      The war in Gaza, which had raged for three weeks by then and claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis and some 1,500 Palestinians, seemed to be tapering off. The ambush near Rafah would have gone down as one more skirmish. But as the surviving Palestinians retreated, they did something that would turn that Friday into the bloodiest day of the summer and embroil Israel in a possible war-crimes ordeal that reverberates even now: They dragged the third Israeli, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, with them underground.

    • AP withdraws photos in row over gun pointing at senator’s head

      Conservatives immediately turned on the news agency, which released a statement saying the five photos it issued “were not intended to portray Senator Cruz in a negative light”.

      After “consideration”, said the statement, “we have decided to remove those photos from further licensing through AP Images”.

    • Black churches taught us to forgive white people. We learned to shame ourselves
    • Barack Obama to deliver eulogy for Charleston church victims
    • Is the FBI Ignoring White Violence by Refusing to Call Dylann Roof a Terrorist?

      Civil rights activist Kevin Alexander Gray and Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, discuss whether the shooting in Charleston was an act of domestic terrorism. “Dylann Roof was a human drone, and every Tuesday morning the Obama administration uses drones to kill people whose names we don’t even know and can’t pronounce,” Kevin Alexander Gray says. “So I don’t know if I feel comfortable with the idea of expanding this word ‘terror.’” But Richard Cohen calls the shooting “a classic case of terrorism.” “It’s politically motivated violence by a non-state actor and carried out with the intention of intimidating more persons than those who were the immediate victims,” Cohen says. “I think in some ways it’s important to talk about terrorism in that way, not so we can send out drones, not so we can deny people their due process rights, but so we can understand the true dimensions of what we’re facing.”

    • “A Classic Case of Terrorism”: Is FBI Ignoring White Violence by Refusing to Call Roof a Terrorist?
    • White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States

      White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States, according to a study by the New America Foundation. The Washington-based research organization did a review of “terror” attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001 and found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists.

    • The question is: Will war ever end?

      I don’t rate any of our wars since to have been justified morally. I am morally shaken by our U.S. war these days involving drone use. Innocent civilians are being killed. We call it “collateral damage,” which I believe actually means “unintended murder.” How have we come to justify that? We claim to be doing it for the right reason. We have identified terrorists in these locations. When our drones strike, there are too often innocent civilians caught in the hell fire. It was not our intention to kill innocent people, but there are too many unanticipated consequences.

    • Let’s Not Forget Our Own Extremism

      To deem behavior or opinion as extremist depends on a particular point of view.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill Nine ‘Suspects’ in Yemen

      A pair of US drone strikes over the past 48 hours have killed at least nine people, none of them identified by name but all of them labeled “al-Qaeda suspects” by local officials on the ground in Yemen.

    • UK faces calls for intelligence-sharing guidance over drone attacks

      Ex-chief of navy Lord West says Britain must protect covert relationships but must also clear up grey areas over involvement in non-war zone killings

    • New Details About Drone Attacks Reported From Documents Leaked by Snowden

      The New York Times on Wednesday reported details about American counterterrorism officials’ use of drone strikes in countries such as Yemen, as well as the working relationship between intelligence agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.

    • Snowden papers suggest possible UK role in US drone strike

      The documents are said to show the extremely close cooperation between the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters better known as GCHQ, in regards to the controversial drone program.

    • US and British Wild West Spying…and the Entertainment Business

      Britain’s murky operations against the United Nations were first made public in 2004 when government minister Clare Short stated she “had read transcripts of some of Mr Annan’s conversations. She said she recalled thinking, as she talked to Mr Annan: “Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying”.” She admitted in a BBC interview that British intelligence agencies had recorded conversations of the UN Secretary General in his office in New York. This astonishing revelation attracted an intriguing reaction from her own government, with prime minister Blair declaring her statement to be “deeply irresponsible” rather than taking any action about this manifestly irresponsible and illegal operation. It was obvious that the British government was up to its neck in a program of espionage against the leader of the organization that is intended to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person,” and there was no possibility that the prime approver of such funtime capers was going to admit his culpability.

    • New York Times, ACLU Make Case For Access To Drone Strike Memos

      The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times continued their fight in court Tuesday as they try to secure nine Department of Justice memos they believe outline the federal government’s legal justification for tactical drone strikes that have killed hundreds — including U.S. citizens — across the world.

      Attorneys on both sides presented their arguments to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday — the latest round of courtroom discussions that date back four years.

      In 2011, the ACLU submitted a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the targeted killings of U.S. citizens Anwar Al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, and Sameer Khan earlier that year in September.

    • Civil Liberties Union Takes Court Action over US Drone Strikes

      The appealing parties want the public to know who and why the U.S. is killing in drone strike operations.

    • Drone strike kills 5 militants in E. Afghanistan

      Five militants have been killed following a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, a source said on Sunday.

    • Drone strike kills five militants
    • Wars killed 149,000 in Pakistan, Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014

      Wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan have killed at least 149,000 people between 2001 and 2014, says a recent report by a US think-tank.

    • Wars killed 149,000 in Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2001: report
    • South Asian tensions and the fight against militancy

      Recent escalation in tension between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India figured high among US international concerns last week, with Secretary John Kerry cautioning against implications of South Asian hostilities, amidst tenuous search for Afghan stability.

    • Drone protesters vow to close down Staffordshire factory

      Protesters from 25 UK-based campaign groups are expected to take part in the latest rally on July 6 outside the Lynn Lane factory which they claim supplies arms to Israel.

    • Smart Talk: Legality of military drones on trial

      The U.S. actually trains more unmanned pilots than traditional fighter pilots today.

    • U.S. Army Begins Training Ukrainian Soldiers

      Fighting surged again this week in eastern Ukraine, where government troops are battling separatist militias and their Russian allies.

      NATO is responding by sending troops and equipment to eastern Europe, and it’s also giving defensive training to Ukraine’s beleaguered army.

    • Moving ever closer to a new Cold War

      Nato defence ministers are meeting in Brussels to agree their next steps in dealing with the renewed threat from Russia.

    • Under the rubble of drones

      It is harder for eyes from the sky or those pushing the drone buttons from the other end of the world to see precisely what lies wasted under the rubble of mud houses in the tribal regions of Pakistan. The loud claims of ‘successfully’ targeting wanted al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists have drowned the cries of the local populations for about a decade over their children, women and men having been killed. Over 2,000 civilian casualties must not disappear from the human radar after being termed collateral damage. True, we cannot escape human tragedies for larger ends of the war on terror, but we also need to take responsibility for errors of judgment.

    • Israel Bombs Lebanon

      Sunday reports indicate an Israeli warplane bombed a remote Lebanese Bekaa region to destroy one of its drones apparently downed.

      An IDF spokeswoman declined to comment. A Lebanese security source said it’s not entirely clear what happened “but most probably it was an Israeli airstrike to destroy its downed drone” – whether because of mechanical failure or by Hezbollah isn’t known.

      America, its rogue NATO partners and Israel unilaterally or together bomb other nations in blatant violation of international law.

    • Jared Keyel: It’s time to end US military interventions

      The Obama administration is contemplating setting up bases in Iraq and sending hundreds of additional American troops there. And a few months ago, President Barack Obama announced that nearly 10,000 American troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of the year. This is in spite of US interventions in the two countries that have left hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced and continuing instability all over the region.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World’s Aquifers Losing Replenishment Race, Researchers Say

      From the Arabian Peninsula to northern India to California’s Central Valley, nearly a third of the world’s 37 largest aquifers are being drained faster than they are being replenished, according to a recent study led by scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The aquifers are concentrated in food-producing regions that support up to two billion people.

    • Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

      An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

      Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool.

      Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

    • Fracking plans rejected by council in shock result after worries about environment

      Plans to frack for shale gas in Lancashire have been rejected by county councillors.

      Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to undertake exploratory drilling and fracking at a site between Preston and Blackpool.

      Planning officials recommended approval of the operation subject to a number of conditions – but councillors rejected the advice and voted against.

    • US supreme court strikes down Obama’s EPA limits on mercury pollution

      Justices invalidate new rules in move that could make Environmental Protection Agency more vulnerable to challenges to new regulations on carbon emissions

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin poker site founder takes plea deal to avoid jail time

      A man who ran a Bitcoin-based online poker site and then fled to Antigua after being raided earlier this year has pleaded guilty to a lesser gambling violation in Nevada as a way to stay a near-free man.

      According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Bryan Micon accepted probation on Thursday and will also pay a $25,000 fine, surrender the computers, 3.0996 bitcoins ($750) and the $900 that were seized from him during the raid. Once complete, his charge will be reduced to a gross misdemeanor of operating an unlicensed interactive gaming system.

    • Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional ‘basic income’

      The Dutch city of Utrecht will start an experiment which hopes to determine whether society works effectively with universal, unconditional income introduced.

      The city has paired up with the local university to establish whether the concept of ‘basic income’ can work in real life, and plans to begin the experiment at the end of the summer holidays.

      Basic income is a universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs. The concept is to allow people to choose to work more flexible hours in a less regimented society, allowing more time for care, volunteering and study.

    • Greek PM makes plea to voters as debt deadline nears

      Tsipras asks voters to reject austerity proposals offered by creditors as thousands of his supporters rally in Athens.

    • Greek Investigator’s Report Finds Evidence of Plot Against Former PM’s Life, ‘Silver Drachma’ Plan

      Evidence pointing to international espionage, a plot to murder former Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and a 2012 plan for Greece’s exit from the euro code-named the “Silver Drachma” are just some of the sensational findings unveiled in a report by Greek Anti-Corruption Investigator Dimitris Foukas, released on Friday and sent to the Justices’ Council for consideration.

      The report outlines the findings of three converging judicial investigations spanning several years, initiated after the notorious phone-tapping scandal in 2005 and revelations that the mobile phones of then Prime Minister Karamanlis and dozens of other prominent Greeks were under surveillance.

    • ‘Nein Danke’ – smaller German firms see U.S. trade deal as threat

      Martina Roemmelt-Fella, who owns a small, family-run turbine manufacturer in Bavaria, should be a cheerleader for a trade deal between Europe and the United States that promises to ease the flow of goods and services across the Atlantic.

      But instead she fears the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being hammered out between Brussels and Washington will give too much power to big multinationals at the expense of small companies like hers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • George Will Won’t Throw Out a Perfectly Good Column Just Because Its Premise Is Completely Wrong

      At some point, Will either noticed, or someone pointed out to him, that Roberts’ decision did the opposite of what Will’s column says it did: It did not defer to the executive branch’s interpretation of the ACA, but instead produced its own definitive interpretation of the law. This makes most of Will’s criticism–starting with the first paragraph, which denounces “decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches”–irrelevant to the opinion Roberts actually wrote.

  • Privacy

    • Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

      Anyone who has been freaked out by the robots in Channel 4’s new hit drama Humans knows what life in the Uncanny Valley feels like. The same goes for those who have met or seen footage of Aiko Chihira, a realistic humanoid who has just started welcoming visitors to a department store in Japan. She’s creepy, in the extreme.

    • Two keys to rule them all: Cisco warns of default SSH keys on appliances

      Cisco revealed a security vulnerability in a number of the company’s network security virtual appliances that could give someone virtually unlimited access to them—default, pre-authorized keys for Secure Shell (SSH) sessions originally intended for “customer support” purposes. As Threatpost’s Dennis Fisher reported, Cisco has released software patches that correct the problem, but there’s no temporary workaround for systems that can’t immediately be patched.

      Cisco released an advisory on the vulnerability on June 25. There are two separate SSH key vulnerabilities for the Cisco Web Security Virtual Appliance (WSAv), Cisco Email Security Virtual Appliance (ESAv), and Cisco Security Management Virtual Appliance (SMAv).

    • Default SSH Key Found in Many Cisco Security Appliances

      Many Cisco security appliances contain default, authorized SSH keys that can allow an attacker to connect to an appliance and take almost any action he chooses. The company said that all of its Web Security Virtual Appliances, Email Security Virtual Appliances, and Content Security Management Virtual Appliances are affected by the vulnerability.

      This bug is about as serious as they come for enterprises. An attacker who is able to discover the default SSH key would have virtually free reign on vulnerable boxes, which, given Cisco’s market share and presence in the enterprise worldwide, is likely a high number. The default key apparently was inserted into the software for support reasons.

    • When a Company Is Put Up for Sale, in Many Cases, Your Personal Data Is, Too

      That respect could lapse, however, if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. At that point, according to a clause several screens deep in the policy, the host of details that Hulu can gather about subscribers — names, birth dates, email addresses, videos watched, device locations and more — could be transferred to “one or more third parties as part of the transaction.” The policy does not promise to contact users if their data changes hands.

    • Nissan shuns cloud for physical communications infrastructure

      While this project is separate from the ongoing developments in Nissan’s connected vehicle technology, Deacon said that there were “huge developments” ongoing in bringing customer service to the car dashboard and more automated systems.

      Last year Renault also revealed a major overhaul of its internal and customer-facing interactions through a Europe-wide Salesforce rollout that would link its systems to its dealerships, allowing it to claw back valuable customer data.

    • Online Data Policies … in Plain English

      Clauses in privacy policies that enable online services to transfer or sell personal data about consumers as part of a merger, bankruptcy or other transaction are becoming common practice, an examination by The New York Times of the top 100 websites in the United States has found. The prevalence of these data-transfer clauses illustrates how little control people typically have over the dissemination of information about them. Details from privacy policies of five companies offer a sampling of the information that may be collected and how companies may handle the data in the event of a sale or bankruptcy. — Natasha Singer

    • Warrantless phone tapping, e-mail spying inching to Supreme Court review

      In 2013, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a once-clandestine warrantless surveillance program that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications—a project secretly adopted in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks on the United States. Congress legalized the surveillance in 2008 and again in 2012 after it was exposed by The New York Times.

      Human-rights activists and journalists brought the Supreme Court challenge amid claims that the FISA Amendments Act was chilling their speech. But the Supreme Court tossed the case, telling the challengers’ lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union to bring proof by real targets of the warrantless e-mail and phone surveillance. In a 5-4 ruling (PDF) by Justice Samuel Alito at the time, the court said the case was based on “assumptions” and that the plaintiffs “merely speculate” that they were being spied upon.

      Fast forward to the present day: a US resident of Brooklyn, New York, accused of sending $1,000 to a Pakistani terror group has won the right to become the nation’s second defendant to challenge the surveillance at the appellate level. This could mean a Supreme Court bid is likely several months or more away.

    • The most dangerous data breach ever known

      But the true nature and scope of the information required by the government and subsequently collected by the government on an employee is massive. Take a look at Standard Form 86. This is a 127-page form that usually takes a week or more to complete and requires the entry of the applicant’s Social Security number on each page. The data included on this form is not just enough for identity theft, but enough to allow a person to literally become another person. Each Standard Form 86 fully documents the life of the subject. The only thing missing is the name of your first crush, though that might be in there somewhere too.

    • Why Facebook Is Opening An Office In Africa

      Facebook is to open a new office in Africa, a region with more than one billion people but only 120 million Facebook users.

  • Civil Rights

    • Bernie Needs To Speak Truth To Power (and try to stay alive)

      One thing I was obsessed with was campaign finance reform. I almost cut my throat when Citizens United was allowed to participate in financing political campaigns because corporations have the same rights as people. I believe that decision absolutely destroyed our so-called democracy. I also observed the Democrats that stood by and let that happen. What that showed me was how corrupt and devious our elected officials are. I stand with Bernie on this issue on overturning Citizens United.

    • China Issues Report on Human Rights Violation by the United States

      China’s State Council Information Office on Friday issued a list of human rights violations committed by the United States government. The annual report is intended to counter US allegations of human rights abuses in China.

    • China criticizes United States’ human rights record
    • US Police Killings Violate International Law

      Amnesty International finds all 50 states and Washington, DC, fail to comply with international law and standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers

    • Don’t expect rhetoric to match reality

      The transition from Bush to Obama was much less dramatic than one imagined and the transition from Obama to someone else is likely to be more nuanced

    • EU launches navy operation against migrant-traffickers

      More than 100,000 migrants have entered Europe so far this year, with some 2,000 dead or missing during the perilous quest to reach the continent. Dozens of boats set off from lawless Libya each week, with Italy and Greece bearing the brunt of the surge.

    • Australia’s New Law Would Strip Citizenship For Possessing A ‘Thing’ Connected With Terrorism, Or Whistleblowing
    • ‘Australians fighting in Syria will lose citizenship’ says PM Tony Abbott

      Australians who engaged in terrorism will be stripped of their citizenship, under new laws aimed at preventing militants fighting overseas from returning home.

    • Coalition defends proposed citizenship laws – as it happened

      The prime minister announces an expansion of powers ‘to reflect modern conditions’ and says laws could be applied retrospectively; Julie Bishop can’t confirm deaths of two Australians reportedly killed in drone strikes; and the ABC is under attack for allowing a former terrorism suspect to appear on Q&A. As it happened

    • Terror suspects to lose citizenship: PM
    • BBC News: Australia prepares new citizenship laws

      The laws would also strip citizenship from dual nationals who engage in terrorism inside Australia.

    • An Open Letter to the NRA and Its Trolls

      When are we going to have an honest conversation about guns in America? While I vigorously disagree with the Supreme Court’s most recent interpretation of the Second Amendment, I’ll concede that the right of individuals to bear arms is, for now, the law of the land.

    • First Texas abortion clinic closes, more to follow barring Supreme Court involvement

      Operation Rescue has confirmed that the Routh Street Women’s Clinic in Dallas, Texas, halted abortions earlier this month, beginning what is expected to be a series of clinic closures in the wake of a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That ruling upheld a 2013 law, HB2, that requires abortion clinics to meet minimum safety standards.

      In addition, Planned Parenthood has apparently abandoned its efforts to open a larger clinic to replace its outdated facility located at 104 Babcock Road in San Antonio. Pro-life supporters with the Stop Planned Parenthood SA Coalition sued and successfully blocked a planned opening in January 2015, citing deception and zoning violations.

    • Destruction of Evidence

      David Cameron, echoed by the corporate media, calls upon the millions of law-abiding Muslims in the UK to denounce and distance themselves from a few terrorist nutters with whom 99.99% of British Muslims have no connection anyway. That apparently is acceptable. But to ask that the Zionist and Jewish organisations denounce the long term criminal activities of the man who actually led those organisations, is portrayed as unacceptable racism.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Charter: We won’t impose data caps after buying Time Warner Cable

      Charter yesterday promised that it won’t impose any data caps or overage charges on customers for at least three years if the Federal Communications Commission allows it to buy Time Warner Cable.

    • EU Parliament must defend Net Neutrality against pressure from Member States

      The Council of the European Union is looking to remove all reference to Net Neutrality in the regulation of telecommunications. While the Council has always refused to take a step towards a compromise, it has been looking for several weeks to put the responsibility for the failure of the negotiations on the European Parliament. Thus, it is with bad faith that the Council is taking on this 4th trialogue today ; with their aim to make the Parliament to give in.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sad day for developers: SCOTUS denies Google’s appeal on APIs

        Supreme Court’s decision is bad news for developers targeting the U.S. market, who will now have to avoid any API not explicitly licensed as open

      • US Supreme Court denies Google’s request to review API Copyright decision

        A week after making the US LGBTQI community happy last week by ruling gay marriage legal across all the states, the US Supreme Court made the decision to not review the Google v. Oracle API Copyright decision made by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The Federal Circuit have been accused for misunderstanding both computer science and copyright law.

      • Pirate Bay Founder Still Wants to Clear His Name

        Last week Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm lost his appeal against his hacking conviction in Denmark. With an August release potentially on the horizon but an unexpected situation still to be resolved in Sweden, Gottfrid is longing to get in front of a computer and back into the world of IT. But before then he wants to set the record straight.


Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Enterprise DevOps, open source hit Target’s bull’s-eye

    No matter how many times we say DevOps is a culture and a mindset, it’s hard to deny that it is also a fairly sizeable chest of tools.

    Target operates two main data centers to support its retail locations as well as distribution centers. The retail giant moved to an enterprise DevOps model to empower the backend IT team to provide technology services in an entrepreneurial way.

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source project grows & prunes trees into furniture (Video)

      Eight years sounds like a long time to make a chair, but Munro insists that this method is the “faster, cheaper and more efficient” than the conventional method of mass production. Munro estimates that his grove of furniture has offset 5,000 kilograms of carbon since its initial planting, and only uses the equivalent energy consumed by ten 60-watt lightbulbs burning for eight hours per day, for a year. Full Grown furniture is estimated to have only one-quarter of the carbon footprint of conventionally mass-made furnishings.

    • Open Hardware

      • Italian makers unveil the Felfil, an open source 3d printing filament extruder

        Among other interesting parts of the open source project – which has been released under the Creative Commons license for non-commercial use and can be downloaded over at Felfil.com – is that the design team has incorporated a number of commonly found objects into their final design. Among others include a bicycle chain and a windshield wiper motor. The decision to use these found parts certainly falls in line with the team’s dedication towards “giving new life to unused components”.


  • Computers are Bullshit

    Not really, no. Computers are exciting, liberating technology that are doing wonderful things in the world. I’m a technologist who is saddened by the state of computing, the things we’ve given up in an effort to digitize the world. We’ve given up privacy for the ability to show people what we’re eating, we’ve traded the ability to live without needing corporate overlords for the ability to always know if someone at work needs to get a hold of us. Technologists can be more closed minded and insular than anyone else while claiming to be liberal and open-minded. Tech culture and Silicon Valley culture make me sad.

  • Map shows where world’s oldest and youngest populations live

    Using data from the CIA Factbook, Global Post created graphics to visualize the median age of every country in the world. The world’s 15 youngest countries are all in Africa.

  • Security

    • Drupal Core – Critical – Multiple Vulnerabilities – SA-CORE-2015-002

      A vulnerability was found in the OpenID module that allows a malicious user to log in as other users on the site, including administrators, and hijack their accounts.

      This vulnerability is mitigated by the fact that the victim must have an account with an associated OpenID identity from a particular set of OpenID providers (including, but not limited to, Verisign, LiveJournal, or StackExchange).

    • Legendary hacker: We tapped into Nixon’s phone to warn him of toilet paper crisis in L.A.

      As the world dives deeper and deeper into the digital depths of technology, with most civilizations dependent on computers and networks, with phone lines kept under the scrutiny of spy agencies – isn’t it time to talk to those, who were in on things at the beginning? Today’s special guest was a pioneer of digital technologies. The man, who hacked into phone lines from the White House to Vatican – and did it just for fun. Today we talk to John “Captain Crunch” Draper – the legendary hacker is on Sophie&Co.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • With Its French NSA Leak, WikiLeaks Is Back

      Classified documents appear on WikiLeaks.org, revealing that the American government is spying on its allies. American officials rush to deal with a sudden diplomatic crisis while publicly refusing to comment on leaked materials. And WikiLeaks proclaims that it’s just getting started.

    • Assange, Snowden Asylum in France Doubtful – Wikileaks Spokesman

      Wikileaks spokeswoman Kristinn Hrafnsson said that France will most likely not offer political asylum to whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange regardless of the French Justice Ministry’s predictions.

    • France may offer asylum to Snowden, Assange

      After the reveal of the scandal, France summoned the U.S. ambassador while the U.S. said there will be more cooperation between the two countries. Moreover, White House wanted Hollande to be sure that he is not wiretapped. However, France gave a political response to the U.S. through saying that asylum may be offered to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

    • French minister: It’s possible asylum will be offered to Snowden, Assange

      French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said Thursday she “wouldn’t be surprised” if France decided to offer asylum to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

      Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been holed up in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for more than two years to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about 2010 allegations that he raped one woman and sexually molested another.

    • French Newspaper Cites U.S. “Contempt” as Reason to Offer Snowden Asylum

      France should respond to the U.S.’s “contempt” for its allies by giving Edward Snowden asylum, the leftist French daily newspaper Libération declared on Thursday.

      France would send “a clear and useful message to Washington, by granting this bold whistleblower the asylum to which he is entitled,” editor Laurent Joffrin wrote (translated from the French) in an angry editorial titled “Un seul geste” — or “A single gesture.”

    • French Asylum For Snowden And Assange Would Send ‘Clear Message’ To US

      French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira would “absolutely not be surprised” if whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received asylum in France.

      “It would be a symbolic gesture,” Taubira told French news channel BFMTV on Thursday, adding that it would not be her decision to offer asylum, but that of the French Prime Minister and President.

    • New NSA Whistleblower behind French presidential surveillance leak

      American and European security agencies are reportedly investigating a possible new whistleblower behind the WikiLeaks publication that exposed alleged NSA spying on top French officials, including three presidents.

      The website on Tuesday released what appear to be classified NSA documents alleging the US agency spied on three successive French presidents: Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and incumbent François Hollande.

    • WikiLeaks: France plays the victim in the intelligence game

      French officials have reacted with outrage to new WikiLeaks revelations that the US spied on French presidents. But some analysts say the response is just an act of political theatre from a nation that does some significant spying of its own.

    • 5 things we’ve learned from the Saudi Arabia Wikileaks documents

      Friday’s document drop consisted of around 60,000 different files. Almost all of these documents are scanned pieces of paper, written in Arabic.

      Wikileaks claim they have more than half a million files, and they’re going to be released in batches of tens of thousands over the next few weeks.

      Naturally, with this many documents, there’s a lot of inconsequential memos that don’t give too much away. However, only around 12 per cent of the documents have been released so far, and they contain some very important information.

    • WikiLeaks exposes Saudi liquor runs, Clinton’s passport

      WikiLeaks’ publication of more than 60,000 Saudi documents has set pens racing across the Middle East with disclosures about the secretive Arab monarchy’s foreign affairs. But lost amid the torrent of revelations are offbeat memos showing the underbelly of Riyadh’s diplomacy, including candid accounts of booze runs and pork smuggling.

    • Saudi Arabia has bailed out failing Middle East media organizations in exchange for pro-Saudi coverage

      A financially troubled Lebanese TV network received a $2 million Saudi bailout in return for adopting a pro-Riyadh editorial policy.

      A news agency in Guinea got a $2,000 gift, while small publications across the Arab world received tens of thousands of dollars in inflated subscription fees.

    • WikiLeaks: Saudis tried to shield students from US scandal

      A group of Saudi students caught in a cheating scandal at a Montana college were offered flights home by their kingdom’s diplomats to avoid the possibility of deportation or arrest, according to a cache of Saudi Embassy memos recently published by WikiLeaks and a senior official at the school involved.

    • A Cheating Scandal With Diplomatic Dimensions

      That scandal came back to life this week when the Associated Press reported on Saudi Arabian embassy memos released by WikiLeaks suggesting that almost all of the students who were involved were Saudis studying in the U.S. on government scholarships and that their government attempted to shield them from potential criminal liability.

    • Chancellor says no conspiracy in flying out Saudi students

      Montana Tech’s chancellor said Tuesday that he did not conspire to fly students involved in a grade-changing scandal out of the U.S., despite recently published Saudi Embassy memos saying he suggested removing them from the country to avoid deportation or arrest.

    • Blackketter: Audit techniques now safeguard Tech transcripts

      Documents published by WikiLeaks recently revealed that many of the students who had their grades changed were Saudis, and that they gave tokens of appreciation to a college employee who changed their transcripts.

    • After WikiLeaks scandal, Montana college chancellor says transcripts safe
    • How Saudi funded Rs 1,700 crore for Wahabi influence in India

      Last year violence broke out near a Mosque in Bommanhalli, Bengaluru and what was being termed as minor tiff was in fact a case of some youth trying to impose the Wahabi preachings.

    • Why the CIA isn’t covering up a Saudi-9/11 connection in their declassified commission report

      It’s no secret that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi nationals, and speculation has long existed as to whether the oil-rich country had a hand in aiding al-Qaeda’s actions on that fateful day. Conspiracy theorists have long speculated that the U.S. is hiding a Saudi connection to 9/11 due to their high reliance on their petroleum.

    • WikiLeaks Reveals Saudi Arabia”s Plans against Syria

      Damascus, Jun 25 (Prensa Latina) Documents revealed by WikiLeaks show the Saudi government”s commitment to the terrorist groups al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

      International media and several websites on Thursday published letters and documents that confirm Saudi Arabia’s financial, logistic and military support for the armed extremist groups that operate in Arab countries, mainly in Syria.

    • France attempted to restart Israel-Palestinian talks behind US’s back: WikiLeaks

      France sought to go ahead with a bid to restart direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in 2011, and even considered keeping other world powers out of the effort and issuing an ultimatum to the United States, according to a leaked cable released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday.

    • IT tools can help declassification backlog, but is there funding?

      The federal government is facing a mounting pile of electronic documents and other material that are due to be reviewed for declassification. But there just aren’t enough people and enough budget to meet the statutory deadlines.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Why the Saudis Are Going Solar

      Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad Al Saud belongs to the family that rules Saudi Arabia. He wears a white thawb and ghutra, the traditional robe and headdress of Arab men, and he has a cavernous office hung with portraits of three Saudi royals. When I visited him in Riyadh this spring, a waiter poured tea and subordinates took notes as Turki spoke. Everything about the man seemed to suggest Western notions of a complacent functionary in a complacent, oil-rich kingdom.


      Such talk sounds revolutionary in Saudi Arabia, for decades a poster child for fossil-fuel waste. The government sells gasoline to consumers for about 50 cents a gallon and electricity for as little as 1 cent a kilowatt-hour, a fraction of the lowest prices in the United States. As a result, the highways buzz with Cadillacs, Lincolns, and monster SUVs; few buildings have insulation; and people keep their home air conditioners running—often at temperatures that require sweaters—even when they go on vacation.

    • What Do You Do When Your Land Sinks Into the Earth?

      Slowly, the earth began moving. The ground underneath buildings started to sink as the water supporting it was pumped to the surface. One family reported a quarter-inch crack that started in the kitchen floor and began creeping throughout the house.

    • Emerging Israel gas deal ignites fierce debate

      When natural gas was discovered a few years ago off the shores of resource-poor Israel, it was heralded as nothing short of a miracle, but an emerging deal with developers has been plagued by criticism, with opponents accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of caving to a monopoly.

      After long negotiations, a government committee has struck a deal with the firms, which aims to break up their monopolistic control of Israel’s gas reserves and introduce competition while maintaining incentives for fresh investment. But liberal lawmakers and environmentalists say the deal would squander a national treasure.

  • Finance

    • IMF and USA set to ruin Ghana

      Just ten years ago, Ghana had the most reliable electricity supply in all of Africa and the highest percentage of households connected to the grid in all of Africa – including South Africa. The Volta River Authority, the power producer and distributor was, in my very considerable experience, the best run and most efficient public utility in all of Africa. Indeed it was truly world class, and Ghana was proud of it.

      Obviously the sight of truly successful public owned and run enterprise was too much of a threat to the neo-liberal ideologues of the IMF and World Bank. When Ghana needed some temporary financial assistance (against a generally healthy background) the IMF insisted that VRA be broken up. Right wing neoliberal dogma was applied to the Ghanaian electricity market. Electricity was separated between production and distribution, and private sector Independent Power Producers introduced.

      The result is disaster. There are more power cuts in Ghana than ever in its entire history as an independent state. Today Ghana is actually, at this moment, producing just 900 MW of electricity – half what it could produce ten years ago. This is not the fault of the NDC or the NPP. It is the fault of the IMF.

    • NYT Warns Greece to Accept Endless Depression–Because Default Might Be Painful

      First, it is difficult to describe the default in Argentina as a disaster. The economy had been plummeting prior to the default, which occurred at the end of the year in 2001. The country’s GDP had actually fallen more before the default than it did after the default. (This is not entirely clear on the graph, since the data is annual. At the point where the default took place in December of 2001, Argentina’s GDP was already well below the year-round average.) While the economy did fall more sharply after the default, it soon rebounded, and by the end of 2003 it had regained all the ground lost following the default.

      Argentina’s economy continued to grow rapidly for several more years, rising above pre-recession levels in 2004. Given the fuller picture, it is difficult to see the default as an especially disastrous event, even if it did lead to several months of uncertainty for the people of Argentina.

      In this respect, it is worth noting that Paul Volcker is widely praised in policy circles for bringing down the US inflation rate. To accomplish this goal, he induced a recession that pushed the unemployment rate to almost 11 percent. So the idea that short-term pain might be a price worth paying for a longer-term benefit is widely accepted in policy circles.

    • The 1% are changing America. It’s our move.

      The moment approaches when every American sees that the 1% are taking it away. Then we each make a choice to go with the flow or resist. Here are a few events that show this time is close. I’ve predicted the events leading to this point, but have no idea how we’ll react. Much depends on our choice.

    • The Real Reason Russia and China Are Dumping U.S. Debt

      You see, when the dollar reigns supreme, countries like China and Russia unwittingly find themselves paying for U.S. military expansion.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • ACTION ALERT: NPR Celebrates Fast-Track Victory With an All-Corporate Lobbyist Segment

      After the Senate joined the House of Representatives in granting President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade agreements, National Public Radio aired one report (Morning Edition, 6/25/15) on the legislative action that paves the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other corporate-friendly international deals.

    • Europe Seeks to Counter Kremlin Success Pushing World View

      Larry King’s back on the air, beaming his high-octane brand of talk to households around the world. Where can you catch him? Kremlin-backed television.

      Moscow wants you to pay better attention to what it’s saying, and to better reach your eyes and ears it’s spending around a half-billion dollars a year and carrying top-name talent like King and former governor and professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

    • Europe seeks to counter Kremlin ‘success’ world view
    • Department Of Homeland Security Still Controls What You Read

      With all of the establishment media owned by just a handful of corporations, six to be exact, it’s never been easier for the U.S. government to manipulate the news. A diversity of outlets, from websites to traditional newspapers, repeat the same stories to create an illusion of choice that allows propaganda to take root in the American imagination.

      Infiltration of the media by intelligence agencies has been standard practice since at least the 1950s, as exposed by watchdog journalist Carl Bernstein in a landmark 1977 report for Rolling Stone.

      “The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence‑gathering employed by the CIA,” wrote Bernstein.

  • Censorship

    • List of BBC web pages which have been removed from Google’s search results

      Since a European Court of Justice ruling last year, individuals have the right to request that search engines remove certain web pages from their search results. Those pages usually contain personal information about individuals.

      Following the ruling, Google removed a large number of links from its search results, including some to BBC web pages, and continues to delist pages from BBC Online.

      The BBC has decided to make clear to licence fee payers which pages have been removed from Google’s search results by publishing this list of links. Each month, we’ll republish this list with new removals added at the top.

      We are doing this primarily as a contribution to public policy. We think it is important that those with an interest in the “right to be forgotten” can ascertain which articles have been affected by the ruling. We hope it will contribute to the debate about this issue. We also think the integrity of the BBC’s online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.

    • Tim Cook takes Apple down the dark road of censorship

      A couple of days ago, I wrote about the difficulties Apple would face if it tried to censor the Confederate flag in its online stores. Unfortunately, the company – under Tim Cook’s leadership – wasted no time in engaging in reactionary censorship of the Confederate flag in its app store.

    • Confederate Flag Purge Goes Nuts Almost Immediately, Hits Harmless Strategy Games
    • Apple reinstates removed Civil War game with the Confederate flag
    • Kanye West’s Glastonbury slot causing BBC censorship headache amid fears of sweary set
    • Julian Assange: Mainstream Media Rife With Censorship

      Julian Assange (JA): We have contracts with more than a hundred media organizations around the world, still. But it varies among mainstream press outlets. For example, the one in Pakistan can be great on issues outside of Pakistan. Issues inside Pakistan are different. It’s the same for Russia Today, outside Russia and Ukraine, it can be great, but inside Russia is a different story and through this we need to understand the political and economic dynamics that mean the organization might be trustworthy on one matter and not trustworthy on another matter.

    • Australian senate passes controversial anti-piracy, website-blocking laws

      In the eyes of at least one intellectual property academic, the passing of controversial anti-piracy website-blocking legislation in the senate on Monday night represented “a very dark day for the internet in Australia”.

      But for the film and TV industry, which has been battling online piracy at record levels, it was a watershed moment. Finally they could seek a remedy in the courts to block access to sites offering their content for free.

    • Users Betrayed as Australia Adopts a Copyright Censorship Regime

      Since our report last week on Australia’s Internet censorship bill, the bill did indeed pass the Senate yesterday, and will become the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015. The new law provides an accelerated process for rightsholders to obtain court orders for ISPs to block sites that have the primary purpose of infringing copyright, or “facilitating” its infringement—a term that the law does not define.

    • Copyright industry buys its very own censorship regime

      The Pirate Party condemns the passage of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 through both Houses of Parliament. The legislation means that Australia now joins a list of countries that allows individuals and companies to seek orders to censor websites they allege infringe copyright.

    • Australian Senate Give The Green Light To Anti-Piracy And Website-Blocking Laws
    • Google’s Struggle Against Censorship Heats Up

      Google, once a global bastion against censorship, is having a pretty tough time of it these days. From being forced to comply with Right To Be Forgotten legislation in the EU to pressure from numerous industries to censor results which may violate copyright, Google’s defenses against censorship are crumbling. Even Google themselves — arguably in a very positive move — is taking steps to censor their own results when it comes to “revenge porn” and hacking victims, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.

    • Hard choices for Google as judges grow bold on censorship

      Google is in a tough spot. For years, it has met censorship demands in different countries by offering a local workaround. But now some judges have caught on and are asking the company to rip out search listings worldwide – a trend that is likely to embolden more courts to do the same.

    • Citing Ben Affleck’s ‘Improper Influence,’ PBS Suspends ‘Finding Your Roots’

      PBS said on Wednesday that it was postponing a future season of “Finding Your Roots” after an investigation revealed that the actor Ben Affleck pressured producers into leaving out details about an ancestor of his who owned slaves.

      PBS will not run the show’s third season until staffing changes are made, including hiring a fact checker, it said.

    • PBS’ ‘Finding Your Roots’ Suspended Over Allegations Of Ben Affleck Censorship

      PBS has suspended the ancestry-finding program Finding Your Roots following allegations that actor Ben Affleck used his clout to get the network to censor information about a slave-owning ancestor, the Washington Post is reporting.

      Affleck appeared in a 2014 episode of Finding Your Roots that the actor had hoped would reveal information about his ancestors that would give credibility toward the actor’s interest in activism in progressive causes, says Post writer Sarah Kaplan. And, in fact, the show did turn up some ancestors that made Affleck look good, including an ancestor who had fought in the Revolutionary War.

    • PBS Has Buried Finding Your Roots After Ben Affleck’s Slave-Owning Ancestry Cover-Up!
    • Ben Affleck’s Genealogy Kerfuffle Might Have Cost ‘Finding Your Roots’ A Fourth Season
    • Affleck Roots show broke standards

      An episode of Finding Your Roots which omitted references to Ben Affleck’s ancestor as a slave owner violated PBS standards, the public TV service has said.

    • Alhambra Unified School District denies censorship; Students stage protest at board meeting

      Others reiterated a previous demand that the district should release to the public the reason for Nguyen’s dismissal. They also asked for accessible video recordings of future board meetings, as well as meeting minutes written in various languages to accommodate the surrounding population.

    • State GOP Chair defiant in face of coup attempt
    • State GOP Chair defiant in face of coup attempt
    • A teen whose YouTube video tested Singapore’s censorship limits has been remanded at a mental health institute

      Last month Singapore teenager Amos Yee was found guilty of circulating obscene imagery and “wounding religious feelings,” after posting a YouTube rant in which he criticized the recently deceased Lee Kuan Yew, the nation’s widely revered first prime minister. Today Yee was scheduled to receive his sentence.

      Instead, he has been remanded at a mental health institute for a few weeks.

      A district judge said that because Yee possibly suffers from an autism spectrum disorder, she’ll explore other sentencing options besides the up to three years in prison Yee faced.

    • Blogger in Singapore faces financial ruin following defamation suit

      “If we want our freedom, we have to fight for it,” wrote blogger Roy Ngerng last year after he was sued for defamation by Singapore’s prime minister. The case was sparked by a blog post in which Ngerng allegedly suggested Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had misappropriated funds in a state pension system. In November, the court ruled in favor of the prime minister.

    • Singapore Blogger Faces ‘Financial Ruin’

      Criticizing the leaders of Singapore can come with a high price.

      Last year, blogger Roy Ngerng was sued for defamation by Singapore’s current Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong. Ngerng had suggested that the leader had misappropriated funds in a state pension system.

    • Singapore teen in anti-Lee video to undergo mental tests

      A Singapore court on Tuesday ordered psychiatric tests for a teenager who made online attacks on late former leader Lee Kuan Yew as international rights advocates sought his release.

      Amos Yee, 16, will be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks to undergo further examination after previously being declared mentally and physically fit for an 18-month stint in a reformatory.

    • UN Urges Singapore To Release 16-Year-Old Blogger Amos Yee: UPDATED

      16-year-old Singaporean blogger Amos Yee is facing up to three years in prison for uploading remarks and images critical of the late Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore.

      Now, the UN Human Rights Office calls for the immediate release of Amos Yee in line with its commitment under the UN Convention on the Rights of Child.

      Amos was remanded on Jun. 2 for three weeks after he refused probation and is currently detained in Changi prison where, according to his lawyer, his physical and psychological status is deteriorating, the United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) said in a statement.

    • Poland: Journalist Lukasz Masiak fatally beaten

      Journalist Lukasz Masiak, founder of news site NaszaMlawa.pl, was attacked and killed in Poland on 14 June 2015. Masiak, who had been subject to numerous threats believed to be connected to his work, died of traumatic brain injury after being assaulted, according to TVN24.

      Launched in 2010, NaszaMlawa.pl covers Mlawa, a town of about 30,000 in the north central part of Poland. Masiak’s site reported on several controversial issues, including the dealings of local businessmen, drug use involving participants of the local mixed martial arts league, incidents involving Roma citizens in the area and the botched investigation into the death of a young woman. He received death threats following the latter story.

      The attack on 31-year-old Masiak took place in the bathroom of a local establishment at about 2am on 14 June. Police have issued an international arrest warrant for Bartosz Nowicki, a 29-year-old mixed martial arts fighter. Two people who were earlier detained have now been released. Police consider them witnesses to the incident.

    • Oppose political censorship at the University of Western Sydney!

      The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) calls on all students to oppose the political censorship imposed on the IYSSE student club at the University of Western Sydney (UWS), Bankstown campus.


      Significantly, IYSSE supporters were first forced to shut down a campaign in April, amid a deluge of militarist propaganda by the entire political establishment, including the universities, to glorify the centenary of the “Anzac Day” British-led invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli.

      On April 23, IYSSE supporters distributed statements advertising a Socialist Equality Party public meeting entitled “Anzac Day, the glorification of militarism and the drive to World War III.” The leaflets called on students, workers and young people to oppose the political censorship of that meeting by the Labor Party-controlled Burwood Council, which cancelled a booking for the event, and the University of Sydney, which refused to permit the meeting to be held on its campus.

    • What is Facebook not telling us about machiavellian censorship?

      Take a browse through the data that’s presented for each country, and you’ll eventually come to the USA. While ‘Content Restrictions’ in Turkey are justified (“We restricted access to items primarily reported by the Turkish courts (and Access Providers Union) and Telecommunications Authority under local law 5651, which covers a range of offenses including defamation of Ataturk, personal rights violations, and personal privacy”) as are those in Russia, the Content Restrictions section is notable by its absence from the United States’ page.

    • Israel Culture Minister Booed as Censorship Debate Escalates

      Culture Minister Miri Regev, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party who has been unabashed in her disdain for artistic projects that criticize the Israeli occupation, was at Tel Aviv’s Einav Theater on Friday to present an award. She was booed by the protesters as she entered the theater, and heckled by several audience members as she took the stage.

    • Al-Midan theater: We’ll turn to European Union for funding

      In reaction to culture minister’s decision to freeze funds to Arab theater which staged play about Israeli-Arab terrorist, a meeting of Arab artists and MKs says it will seek funds from the EU.

    • Israeli artists fear political censorship from government

      The newly appointed Minister of Culture Miri Regev sparks strong criticism. A series of recent statements lead to believe freedom of expression could be threatened by the government’s policies.

    • Israel’s Minister of Culture Miri Regev vows to withhold funds from artists who ‘defame’ the state

      Miri Regev, the hard-right Israeli Minister of Culture, has accused the country’s artists and performers of being “tight-assed” hypocrites after they raised vocal objections to her policies, which many consider a threat to freedom of expression.

    • Note to Minister Regev: No Israeli film has delegitimized the state

      With her ‘delegitimization’ obsession, the minister has to realize her paranoia is shaking the foundations of local culture.

    • With each headline, Miri Regev grows stronger

      Two words have been embedded in the consciousness of millions of Israelis recently: Miri Regev, Miri Regev and again Miri Regev. Compared to her, who is the immigrant absorption minister, the housing minister, or even the finance minister?

    • Culture Minister Regev gets mix of heckling, silent treatment at award ceremony

      Demonstrators protest ‘atmosphere of dictatorship’ created by Likud pol day after she calls artists ‘ungrateful tight-asses’

    • Leftists Protest ‘Being Silenced’ at Theater Award Ceremony

      Twenty leftist protestors have gathered outside the Israeli Theater Awards ceremony at the Einav center in Tel Aviv on Friday, to protest alleged censorship from current Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud).

      The activists carried blank signs and bandages on their mouths to say they are “being silenced,” so to speak.

    • ‘NYT’ focuses on fears of Hamas censorship but leaves out Israeli government’s threats

      Today’s New York Times has an interesting story about a satirical political show in Gaza inspired by Jon Stewart. Headlined, “A Show Finds Humor in Gaza’s Headlines. Will Hamas Get It?” the article says the Gaza comics have screened their political show for hundreds at a theater, and aim to put the episodes on Youtube.

    • Octogenarian Arrested for Questioning WWII History on TV

      Ursula Hedwig Meta Haverbeck-Wetzel, an 86-year-old German woman who was ethnically cleansed from her home following WWII, has been arrested following her appearance on a public television program in Germany. There, she openly disputed the state-sanctioned-and-enforced “Holocaust” narrative of WWII, describing it as “the biggest and most persistent lie in history.” In many countries in Europe, including Germany, it is a crime to dispute, question or openly challenge the official narrative of the Holocaust specifically and WWII generally.

  • Privacy

    • What could the United States do to regain the trust of Brasil?

      During the approach to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s re-scheduled visit to the United States there has been much talk about what Brasil can do to improve relations between two of the Western Hemisphere’s largest countries. The majority of reporting focuses on Brazilian failures but most of the problem lies in Washington.

      Decades of weak engagement by the United States combined with a willful blindness towards why the Brazilian government is suspicious of the their northern neighbour’s intentions in the region have left relations near stagnant.

      As Brasil Wire discussed in Chasing the Dragon the United States has too often confused its own interests with those of Brasil. Brasil is a friend to the United States, but Brazilian leaders, especially those on the left, have had little interest in engaging with Washington as anything but equals. The Brazilian leadership did not pursue closer relations with China, and to a much more limited extent Russia out of an ideological position, but a cold pragmatism that would make Henry Kissinger proud.

    • James Risen, Obama, Holder and the NSA

      Earlier this year I did an hour long interview with James Risen. We discussed his case with the Department of Justice, where he was being threatened with incarceration for refusing to reveal his source who gave him insights about NSA activities. This was before Obama and Eric Holder decided to drop the prosecution against him. I saw him give the keynote speech at the luncheon for the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2015 conference and after his talk, in which he lambasted former Attorney General Eric Holder, I asked him to do a brief interview, based on his comments on Obama, Eric Holder and their legacies.

    • My name is only real enough to work at Facebook, not to use on the site

      I always knew this day would come. The day that Facebook decided my name was not real enough and summarily cut me off from my friends, family and peers and left me with the stark choice between using my legal name or using a name people would know me by. With spectacular timing, it happened while I was at trans pride and on the day the Supreme Court made same sex marriage legal in the US.

    • CIA director talks of spying on House members, June 25, 1975

      On this day in 1975, William Colby, director of the CIA, told members of a House subcommittee that they and their congressional colleagues were not “immune” from surveillance by the agency during their travels abroad.

      Testifying before the House Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights, Colby said “if a congressman appeared abroad with some group that was a legitimate target of this agency that name would undoubtedly appear in the files of that group” and would show up in the CIA’s computer system.

    • Facebook Recruits Yahoo’s Alex Stamos As New Security Chief
    • Facebook nabs Yahoo’s chief information security officer
    • Facebook! Exfiltrates! Yahoo! Security! Boss!
    • Why Facebook Poached Yahoo’s NSA Hating Chief Security Officer [VIDEO]
    • CIA-backed tech company finds stolen government log-ins all over Web

      A CIA-backed technology company has found logins and passwords for 47 government agencies strewn across the Web — available for hackers, spies and thieves.

      Recorded Future, a social media data mining firm backed by the CIA’s venture capital arm, says in a report that login credentials for nearly every federal agency have been posted on open Internet sites for those who know where to look.

      “The presence of these credentials on the open Web leaves these agencies vulnerable to espionage, socially engineered attacks, and tailored spear-phishing attacks against their workforce,” the company says.

      The company says logins and passwords were found connected with the departments of Defense, Justice, Treasury and Energy, as well as the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence.

    • US government log-ins, passwords easy to find on the open Web, researcher says
    • Passwords From 47 Government Agencies Leaked Online
    • WikiLeaks: NSA eavesdropped on the last 3 French presidents

      WikiLeaks published documents late Tuesday that it says show the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on the last three French presidents, releasing material which appeared to capture officials in Paris talking candidly about Greece’s economy, relations with Germany – and, ironically, American espionage.

    • NSA’s high-level spy targets
    • WikiLeaks says documents show NSA eavesdropped on French presidents

      Angry and embarrassed, France summoned the U.S. ambassador Wednesday to respond to the revelations by WikiLeaks that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on three successive French presidents and other top officials.

    • How France could get revenge for the NSA spying

      I told you yesterday about the leaked files showing that the NSA wiretapped three French presidents since 1995. France is understandably upset, what with being an ally and all.

    • UPDATE: France says US must repair damage from NSA spying reports
    • French Prime Minister: US Must Act Fast to Repair Damage From NSA Spying Revelations
    • Tactless courtship—NSA’s espionage in France

      On June 23rd, WikiLeaks unveiled a number of documents from the National Security Agency’s “Espionnage Elysée” program, that demonstrated the NSA’s targeted espionage against high level French government officials, including ministers and three presidents of the French Republic. This espionage against U.S. allies is tactless and is likely to fray relations with U.S. allies and must be reformed.

    • Two Overlooked Aspects Of Those Leaks About NSA Spying On French Presidents

      Of course, Mr Crypto himself, Bruce Schneier, did spot it, and pointed out it could be one of his “other” US intelligence community leakers, listed a couple of months ago, or even a completely new one. As that post shows, there are now a few people around that are leaking secret documents, and that’s a pretty significant trend, since you might expect enhanced security measures taken in the wake of Snowden’s leaks would have discouraged or caught anyone who attempted to follow suit.

    • New NSA whistleblower suspected behind French president surveillance leak

      American and European security agencies are reportedly investigating a possible new whistleblower behind the WikiLeaks publication that exposed alleged NSA spying on top French officials, including three presidents.

      The website on Tuesday released what appear to be classified NSA documents alleging the US agency spied on three successive French presidents: Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and incumbent François Hollande.

    • Obama calls Hollande to promise NSA is no longer spying on French president

      Barack Obama has assured the French president, François Hollande, that American intelligence services are no longer tapping his phone. During a brief telephone call, the American leader was reported to have reiterated a pledge made two years ago to stop spying on his French counterpart, according to Hollande’s office.

    • Obama reassures France after ‘unacceptable’ NSA spying

      U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed in a phone call with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Wednesday Washington’s commitment to end spying practices deemed “unacceptable” by its allies.

    • French ministers flock to US despite ‘unacceptable’ NSA phone-tap revelations

      French ministers seemed keen to resume business as usual with the US on Thursday, even though Paris the day before declared American wiretaps on President François Hollande and others “unacceptable”. Despite WikiLeaks’ revelation of the snooping, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron continued his visit to the US, while promising to raise the question in Washington.

    • NSA: connecting people
    • NSA, GCHQ Excesses Stem From Their Role as Secret Guardians and Protectors

      On Tuesday, WikiLeaks published documents revealing that the NSA had secretly spied on former French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and current President Francois Hollande over a period of at least six years.


      In another revelation, GCHQ spied on South African Legal Resources Centre and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Britain’s official Investigatory Powers Tribunal revealed.

    • Still Funny? Paris Diplomats Joke About NSA Spying Before WikiLeaks Release

      During the meeting of the Normandy group in Paris, Russia’s Foreign Ministry noticed how the microphones were operating “strangely”, turning on and off by themselves; the blinking lights caused the diplomats to joke that the US is probably up to its usual tricks again. One however should give it a thought in light of WikiLeaks recent revelations.

    • Q&A: All you need to know about WikiLeaks claims that NSA spied on French leaders

      WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said he was confident the documents were authentic, noting that WikiLeaks’ previous mass disclosures — including a large cache of Saudi diplomatic memos released last week — have proven to be accurate.

    • No friends or enemies in spying game

      Despite the furious protests of France over the latest U.S. spying claims, experts say that in the intelligence game there are no friends or enemies — only interests — and all means are justified to pursue them.

    • The progressive roots of NSA’s privacy violations

      The NSA’s actions have roots in progressive New Deal ideology, with its contempt for the constitutional separation of powers and private property rights. More specifically, this debate is traced to the New Deal-era erosion of the centuries-old rule of law that only judges may issue warrants, and after a showing of probable cause.

    • Steinmeier: NSA spying activities to affect relations

      The NSA’s spying activities in France will have an impact on transatlantic relations, Germany’s foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier told DW in an interview. He also called for new approaches in the attempt to stem violence in Ukraine.

    • Privacy is awesome, in theory: Column

      When it comes to intrusions on their privacy, Americans don’t care as much as they think they should. Most of us feel the same way about privacy as we do about African children: We care just enough to say we care.

      According to a Pew Research Center survey last month, 90 percent of Americans consider their privacy to be “important,” but 10 percent or less take significant steps to safeguard it. Lots of people (59 percent) clear their cookies and browser histories — probably because they would be divorced if they didn’t — but only 10 percent bother to encrypt their phone calls, texts or emails. Our privacy is important, but not so important as to require more than three seconds of effort.

    • How the NSA Started Investigating the New York Times’ Warrantless Wiretapping Story

      Three days after the New York Times revealed that the U.S. government was secretly monitoring the calls and emails of people inside the United States without court-approved warrants, the National Security Agency issued a top-secret assessment of the damage done to intelligence efforts by the story. The conclusion: the information could lead terrorists to try to evade detection. Yet the agency gave no specific examples of investigations that had been jeopardized.

    • Google’s ‘listening network’ could be vulnerable to US govt, NSA – Falkvinge to RT

      Voice recognition technologies are part of the future, but should trigger concern that IT companies are essentially building “listening networks” which can be exploited by the likes of the NSA, Swedish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge told RT.

    • Google-NSA Nexus: New Chromium Browser Installs Eavesdropping Tool on Your PC

      By now, most experts will admit that Google is one giant data and intelligence gathering operation. This latest browser revelation (see full story below) only confirms what we already suspected.

    • Google is Worse Than the NSA.

      If you’re running Google Chrome as your browser – and we used to – you might want to reconsider it. The bottom line is that Google has built a “feature” into Chrome that, without your knowledge and without your permission, turns the microphone of your computer (and phone?) on and listens to everything you say.

    • Has the CIA Asked the FISC to Restart Its Bulk Collection Program?

      There’s a curious gap in the documents currently posted on the FISC’s public docket — one that suggests the NSA call records program isn’t the only type of bulk collection the government has asked the FISC to reauthorize following the USA Freedom Act’s passage on June 2. It’s an exercise in reading tea leaves at this point, but the gap raises important and unanswered questions about bulk collection programs we still know little about.

      In the weeks since the USA Freedom Act became law, the FISC has published a series of filings and orders on its website. Those documents indicate that the government has submitted at least four applications for orders under the post-USA Freedom version of Section 215. One of them, docketed as BR 15-75, is the government’s application to restart the NSA’s bulk call records program. (The “BR” stands for FISA’s “business records” provision, while “15” stands for the year.) Two others, numbered BR 15-77 and BR 15-78, are addressed by Judge Saylor’s opinion concerning the appointment of an amicus curiae and the question of whether Section 215’s brief expiration made gibberish of Congress’ effort to renew the law in the USA Freedom Act. Based on the description in the opinion and the scope of the issues addressed, one can fairly surmise that these are targeted applications for records under Section 215.

    • NSA and GHCQ targeting antivirus developers, say Snowden documents

      New documents provided by former American secret service employee-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden claim that the U.S. and UK security services have been carrying out attacks against antivirus developers around the world, including Russian company Kaspersky Lab.

    • Kaspersky says NSA, GCHQ tracking its activities

      Popular antivirus company, Kaspersky has made a controversial announcement declaring that it is being attacked by hackers, who have been tracking the activities of the Russian company. A report from Engadget reveals that a few of these unwarranted activities are also sourced from major intelligentsia like the American NSA and UK’s GCHQ.

    • NSA, British counterpart targeted cybersecurity firms

      The U.S. and United Kingdom have been trying to find ways around anti-virus and security software by surreptitiously studying the products and the companies that make them, according to various published reports.

    • GCHQ and NSA broke antivirus software so that they could spy on people, leaks indicate

      The British and American spy agencies deliberately broke anti-virus software so that they could read the messages of their citizens, according to new leaks.

      Both the NSA and GCHQ have long been said to have deliberately reversed engineer software so that they could find weaknesses in software and exploit them to read communications. But new documents show that the agencies did so to some of the most popular antivirus software, potentially exposing hundreds of millions of people to dangerous viruses, according to a report from The Intercept.

    • After NSA Targeting, Google Researcher Exposes ‘Trivial’ Antivirus Hacking

      Earlier this week, fresh Edward Snowden leaks showed how the National Security Agency (NSA) targeted a range of foreign antivirus firms. It was no surprise intelligence agencies were interested in exploiting antivirus; such security software has access to most files across operating systems, from Windows to Macs.

    • NSA Leaker Edward Snowden To Stay In Russia For Now

      Apparently former NSA contractor and secret document leaker Edward Snowden is not planning on leaving Moscow anytime soon. According to Snowden’s attorney Anatoly Kucherena, who was recently interviewed by Interfax, he can’t go back to the U.S. right now given the various legal charges against him are politically motivated.

    • Disturbing Video Incites Police Rebellion Against Ecuador’s President Correa

      The video, which appears to incite rebellion among the ranks of the Ecuadorean police department, is particularly alarming due to the role of the police in a 2010 coup attempt against President Rafael Correa.

    • On the Trail of Turkey’s Terrorist Grey Wolves

      Turkey, as a NATO country near Russia’s border, developed a powerful “deep state” where intelligence operatives, terrorists and gangsters crossed paths and shared political alliances, a grim reality that author Martin A. Lee explored in 1997 and a dark legacy that reaches to the present.

    • US, NATO powers intensify preparations for nuclear war
    • Luxembourg scholar explodes myths about Tibet independence

      Now we know that the separatists in Tibet have been in touch with the US government since the 1950s. The CIA and the Dalai Lama have always held hands. His brother, especially his oldest brother Thubten Jigme Norbu, was recruited by the CIA’s “Radio Free Asia.” Gyalo Dondrub was recruited as CIA’s anti-Communism terrorist.

    • America’s U.N. Ambassador Continues Standing Up for Nazis

      Recently, President Barack Obama’s friend whom he appointed to represent this Vcountry at the United Nations visited Ukraine and used the Ukrainian-language translation and variant of the German Nazi Party’s “Deutschland über alles,” or “Germany above all,” to honor Ukraine’s own racist fascists, that nation’s ideological nazis, whom the U.S. had used in February 2014 for overthrowing Ukraine’s neutralist democratically elected President. This was not our U.N. Ambassador’s first foray into international nazi political pandering.

    • Ukraine’s Pres. Poroshenko Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was a Coup

      Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko requests the supreme court of Ukraine to declare that his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown by an illegal operation; in other words, that the post-Yanukovych government, including Poroshenko’s own Presidency, came into power from a coup, not from something democratic, not from any authentic constitutional process at all.

    • Georgia’s Former President Lobbied US Senator

      Lobbyists representing former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with staffers from US Senator Marco Rubio’s office just months before Rubio called for integrating Georgia into the NATO alliance as a way of punishing Russia, a US campaign finance watchdog group said in a blog post.

    • ‘Stalin’s daughter’ delves into the life of a tyrant’s child
    • ‘Stalin’s Daughter’: The extraordinary life of a Soviet defector

      “Wherever I go, whether to Australia or some island, I will always be the political prisoner of my father’s name.” Such was the lament of Svetlana Alliluyeva, whose life sentence it was to be the only daughter of Joseph Stalin.

    • Russian defectors living the dead end of the American dream in distant Oregon

      But their dreams of living the life they imagined defectors enjoy – having the run of Europe with new identities, invented histories and flush with money – are long gone. Instead they get to live like so many Americans, struggling to make ends meet, fighting off the debt collectors and worrying about the immigration service banging on the door.

    • Ongoing weekly demo, Tuesday evenings at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill

      Menwith Hill is the largest US spy base outside the USA. Run by the National Security Agency (National Reconnaissance Office also present), it is situated in the Yorkshire dales, approximately 8 miles from Harrogate adjacent to the A59.

    • How USA Freedom Impacts Ongoing NSA Litigation

      Digital liberties groups across the country have both celebrated and criticized the recent passage of the USA Freedom Act. Here at EFF, we did a little bit of both. While USA Freedom will undoubtedly impact the court cases challenging the NSA’s mass surveillance, the full scope of this law and how the courts and even the government will interpret it remains unclear.

      However, we do know that the government believes it can renew its daily bulk collection of telephone records during the 180-day “transition period” in which USA Freedom’s amendments to the phone records authority goes into effect. This is particularly troubling given the Second Circuit’s ruling in ACLU v. Clapper that this sort of dragnet surveillance is illegal.

    • NSA Not Yet Pointing Finger at China as Suspect in OPM Data Theft (UPDATED)
    • US to raise breach of government records at talks with China

      China has openly denied involvement in the break-in. Obama administration officials have said they are increasingly confident that China’s government, not criminal hackers, were responsible.

    • NSA Chief: Don’t Assume China Hacked OPM

      The U.S. military’s top cyber warrior says it’s merely an “assumption” that the Chinese government was behind the recent hack at the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM — and not necessarily one he shares. That puts Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, in opposition to unnamed sources within the U.S. government who blamed Beijing in June 4 interviews with the New York Times and Washington Post.

    • NSA’s Rogers Won’t Say China Did OPM Hack
    • Reports: NSA Chief Michael Rogers Declines to Attribute OPM Hack
    • Rogers mum on OPM attribution, but says hack shows value of data
    • Intercept – an account of a revolution in spying

      Gordon Corera, the BBC’s security correspondent – a difficult assignment – has written a most readable account (Intercept, Weidenfeld & Nicolson) of how computers and the internet have transformed spying, a term I use in this context to include all ways of intercepting communications, including hacking and cyber attacks, whatever the motive.

    • Will Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard be released in November?

      The Obama administration refuses to say if Pollard will be released on his scheduled parole date. Pollard can blame himself and Benjamin Netanyahu for the sorry state of affairs.

    • NSA/Surveillance: Damning new revelations and still no judicial inquiry

      FIDH and LDH recall that they filed a complaint in July 2013 aimed at the NSA, the FBI and their surveillance practices under the PRISM programme. After more than 18 months since the opening of the preliminary investigation into the case, the Paris Prosecutor had still not made clear how it would procede with this affair.

      Confronted with the Prosecu’s inaction, our organisations filed a new complaint as civil parties before the same court on 8 April 2015, hoping to shed light on the alleged violations of individual freedoms.

      FIDH and LDH deplore the fact that the French justice system has not moved forward with this complaint implicating the NSA as well as the companies that provided access to their networks, thereby contributing to the installation of the surveillance programme called PRISM. The lack of progress is all the more unacceptable considering damning new revelations showing the NSA tapped the telephones of three French presidents.

    • Rousseff Seeks U.S. Reconciliation Two Years After NSA Spying

      Brazil is seeking a rapprochement with the U.S. as the Western Hemisphere’s two largest economies try to realign interests after a decade of diplomatic skirmishes.

      Brazil president Dilma Rousseff will arrive in New York on Saturday for a five-day tour including San Francisco. It is her first official travel to Washington since she canceled a state visit in 2013 after allegations the U.S. had spied on her.

    • Congresswoman Esty voted wrong on NSA bill

      Privacy is a non-partisan issue. In the final vote, 88 Members of the House, almost equally divided between the two parties, voted against this pyrite bill.

    • NSA Chief Wants to Watch, as Well as Listen and Read

      The National Security Agency, while primarily occupied by sweeping up billions of phone calls, emails, texts and social media messages each day, wants better visual information about the earth and its residents, too, Admiral Michael Rogers said Wednesday.

      “Signals intelligence … ain’t enough, you guys,” the NSA chief told a gathering of contractors in the geospatial intelligence business. “We gotta create a much broader picture.”

      We need “the ability to visualize,” he explained, because “man is fundamentally a visual creature.”

    • NSA to crunch big data in AWS C2S

      The National Security Agency is moving some of its IT operations to Amazon’s cloud.

      The National Security Agency (NSA) was represented by Alex Voultepsis, chief of the engineering and planning process for the NSA’s Intelligence Community Special Operations Group, at a session during the AWS Public Sector Symposium here this week. Voultepsis said during a panel discussion the agency plans to migrate some of its infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

  • Civil Rights

    • Hastings’ Lessons From the Grave—Have We Learned Anything?

      Hastings was known for challenging conventional wisdom and investigating authority at the highest levels. With a Polk Award-winning article in Rolling Stone, he brought down General Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and US Forces-Afghanistan.

      At the time of his death, Hastings had been working on a story about CIA Director John Brennan. The president of Strategic Forecasting Inc. (“Stratfor”), a CIA contract global intelligence firm, has described Brennan in secret emails as someone on a “witch hunt” of investigative journalists. Brennan, of course, has denied these claims: a CIA spokesperson told reporter Kimberly Dvorak in an email that notwithstanding WikiLeaks, “any suggestion that Director Brennan has ever attempted to infringe on constitutionally-protected press freedoms is offensive and baseless.”

      Is it possible that Brennan felt threatened by the content of Hastings’ would-be story? If yes, how would the CIA have responded to such an expose ?

    • Detention centres and State censorship

      Australia’s detention centres have become propaganda tools of terror.

    • Leaked Damage Assessment Shows Government Mostly Interested In Investigating Leakers, Withholding Information From Public

      The Intercept has just released an interesting document from its Snowden stash: an unredacted damage assessment of the New York Times’ 2005 exposure of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program — a program that saw the agency monitoring the emails and phone calls of US citizens.

    • Trial Starts Tuesday for Diego Gomez, Colombian Student Facing Prison Time for Sharing a Paper Online

      Fundación Karisma is continuing to support Gomez in his case to fight against these excessive criminal charges. The organization says that he has good standing for a strong legal defense for two reasons. First, there was no malicious intent behind his sharing the paper online. Second, there was no actual harm to the author’s economic interests as Gomez made no profit off of the paper. Under Colombian criminal law, the court must weigh both of these factors, and it would take a significant misrepresentation of facts to paint Gomez as a criminal who posted the paper online for private profit.

    • Gitmo briefing: prisoners use attorneys, media to “discredit the U.S. government”
    • CIA photos of ‘black sites’ could complicate Guantanamo trials

      Military prosecutors this year learned about a massive cache of CIA photographs of its former overseas “black sites” while reviewing material collected for the Senate investigation of the agency’s interrogation program, U.S. officials said.

      The existence of the approximately 14,000 photographs will probably cause yet another delay in the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as attorneys for the defendants demand that all the images be turned over and the government wades through the material to decide what it thinks is relevant to the proceedings.

    • Photos of CIA ‘black sites’ come to light

      Military prosecutors earlier this year learned about a massive cache of CIA photographs of its former overseas “black sites” while reviewing material collected for the Senate investigation of the agency’s interrogation program, according to US officials.

      The existence of the approximately 14,000 photographs will probably cause yet another delay in the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as attorneys for the defendants demand all of the images be turned over to them and the government wades through the material to decide what it thinks is relevant to the proceedings.

    • Anti-torture day: speakers call for an end to custodial torture

      Speakers at a seminar on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims on Friday demanded to end the custodial torture by the state institutions and urged the government to Pakistan to form the anti-torture law in the country to provide justice to the victims, their families and punish the preparatory.
      Pakistan had ratified the Convention against Torture (UN CAT) in 2010 but despite passage of five years, no legislation is made against torture in Pakistan, said the speakers at a seminar on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture jointly organized by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi.

    • EIPR supports call for CIA torture ‘accountability’

      The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) supported a call from international rights groups on “the need to ensure accountability for the United States CIA torture programme”.

    • United States: Coalition Statement to U.N. Human Rights Council Demanding Accountability on CIA Torture Program – HRC29

      Last December, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the summary, findings and conclusions of its four-year investigation into the Detention and Interrogation Program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Since then, the international human rights community has reiterated the call for full transparency about and accountability for this unlawful program, in which systematic human rights violations, including the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance were committed. Last March, more than 20 human rights groups called on the Council to take action and demand that the United States fulfill its international human rights obligations on truth, accountability and remedy, including by appointing a special prosecutor to conduct a comprehensive and credible criminal investigation of alleged serious crimes described in the report and to establish a special fund to compensate victims.

    • The Myth of the Bamboo Pentagon: The Vietnam War’s Phantom Enemy Headquarters

      The Vietnam War had any number of controversial battles, but the invasion of Cambodia stands out—an unnecessary, bloody move that cost the lives of hundreds of U.S. soldiers on the ground and led to widespread rioting at home, including the Kent State tragedy.

      Remarkably, a new book based on information from recently released documents confirms that one of the key rationales for this act was a mirage, a conspiracy theory. President Nixon had embarked on a mad hunt for the “Bamboo Pentagon,” a shadowy headquarters and command center from which the Communist forces were directing their side of the fighting.

    • The Honduran meltdown: Made in USA

      In May 2005, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick appeared at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington to rally support for CAFTA, a free trade agreement between the US, the Central American countries, and the Dominican Republic.

      In his remarks, Zoellick played up the notion that, for Central America and the DR, the agreement would “strengthen democracy through economic growth and open societies based on the rule of law”, while also entailing various perks for the gringos; a T-shirt reading “Made in Honduras”, he enthused, would likely contain over 60 percent US content.

    • Robert Kennedy Jr.’s 25 Truths on the Secret Negotiations between Fidel Castro and President Kennedy

      More than half a century ago, Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy conducted secret negotiations aimed at normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba. Robert Kennedy Jr., nephew of the assassinated President, recounts these events and praises Obama’s policy of rapprochement, which is making his uncle’s “dream” a “reality(1)”.

    • Obama: U.S. Will No Longer Threaten To Prosecute Families Who Pay Terrorists Ransom

      President Barack Obama announced several changes to U.S. hostage policy on Wednesday, including that the government will no longer threaten to criminally prosecute families who pay terrorists for the release of loved ones.

    • US ransom policy shift undermines UK’s hardline stance

      Barack Obama’s decision to relax Washington’s blanket ban on paying ransoms to free hostages will be seen as belated American acceptance of an unpleasant but unavoidable necessity by west European countries criticised in the past for buying off terrorist kidnappers with cash.

    • White House imposes order on often confused ransom policy

      Following months of pressure from grieving families, President Barack Obama unveiled a slate of new policies on Wednesday intended to bring some level of standardization to how the federal government deals with international hostage situations.

    • Human rights record of U.S. criticized by China
    • US, China Exchange Criticisms on Human Rights

      The U.S. State Department has accused China of wide-ranging and routine human rights violations, prompting Beijing to shoot back with its own report slamming Washington’s “increasingly grave” rights record.

    • China says US kettle calling pot black. No kidding … Printer friendly page Print This
    • China Slams US Human Rights Record in New Report
    • China trolls U.S. on ‘arbitrary police killing of African-Americans’ after U.S. human rights rebuke

      On Thursday, the U.S. State Department released its annual report on human rights around the world, finding fault with the records of Cuba, Iran, Russia, Myanmar, and China, among other nations. In China, the report said, “repression and coercion were routine” against journalists, dissidents, ethnic minorities — Uigurs and Tibetans, especially — and lawyers that took on sensitive cases, and censorship was rampant.

    • China slams US with counter human rights report

      A day after the US released its country report, China answers back with its own, calling the US ‘a country with grim problems’

    • US Foreign Policy: A Reflection of the Legacy of Racism and National Oppression

      At the same time there is almost no debate over the redeployment of military forces in Iraq. There is almost no information about the ongoing war in Syria. Most people in the U.S. who watch the news originating from inside the country are barely aware of the war in Yemen and the role of Washington in this genocidal process.

      Consequently, we need to intensify our activism aimed at ending racism domestically and imperialist militarism around the world. These two imperatives merge when we look at the growing militarization of the police in the U.S. and the vast prison industrial complex.

    • China Lashes Out at US for ‘Terrible Human Rights Record’ Citing Police Brutality and Racism

      After the United States released a report on human rights in China on Thursday, the communist country hit back with its own report on the “terrible human rights record” in the US.

      In a scathing report, titled ‘Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014′, China rebuked the US over its problems of “rampant use of guns, frequent violent crimes and the excessive use of force by police”.

      “Plenty of facts show that, in 2014, the US, a self-proclaimed human rights defender, saw no improvements in its existent human rights issues, but reported numerous new problems,” the report said.

    • Full text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014 (9)
    • Full text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014

      On June 25 local time, the State Department of the United States released its country reports on human rights practices once again, making comments on the human rights situations in many countries while showing not a bit of regret for or intention to improve its own terrible human rights record. Plenty of facts show that, in 2014, the U.S., a self-proclaimed human rights defender, saw no improvements in its existent human rights issues, but reported numerous new problems. While its own human rights situation was increasingly grave, the U.S. violated human rights in other countries in a more brazen manner, and was given more “red cards” in the international human rights field.

    • How an eastern Idaho farm boy became a contract torturer

      Bruce Jessen has been called a war criminal. A torturer. An “American Mengele.” The retired Air Force colonel and trained psychologist was, according to a 2014 report from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, an architect of the “brutal,” “inherently unsustainable” and “deeply flawed” detainee-interrogation program that “damaged the United States’ standing in the world” in the years following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    • Obama Should Close Gitmo to End Torture of Detainees – Advocacy Group

      US President Barack Obama needs to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention facility to end the suffering of detainees victimized by CIA torture techniques, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Advocacy Program Manager Aliya Hana Hussain told Sputnik during a rally in Washington, DC.

    • CIA Whistleblower On Threats DOJ Should Target

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou speaks out on the threats the Justice Department should be targeting and how the FBI’s warning of white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement has been forgotten. Alyona cuts through the spin on Free Speech Zone.

    • Megyn Kelly Moment: Fox’s “Rising Star” Invites Anti-LGBT Hate Group Leader To Discuss Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

      Megyn Kelly invited anti-LGBT hate group leader Tony Perkins to respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality. Kelly’s insistence on inviting Perkins highlights the host’s cozy relationship with the ardent anti-gay group.

    • Washington Post Reserves Dignity in Death for Some Women

      How do you know that the women whose murders the Washington Post is reporting were sex workers or dealing with substance abuse?

      Because if they weren’t, they would not be unfeelingly described as “washing up dead.”

    • CIA Engaged In Human Experimentation Torture

      They would also be wise to pay attention to the news. A few days before this vote, a new report from The Guardian explained how our use of torture against detainees in the war on terror occasionally crossed the line into human medical experimentation. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins talks about this story with attorney Michael Burg.

    • Human Experimentation

      Non-consensual experimentation on institutionalized children and adults was common in the United States before, during, and even more so after the U.S. and its allies prosecuted Nazis for the practice in 1947, sentencing many to prison and seven to be hanged. The tribunal created the Nuremberg Code, standards for medical practice that were immediately ignored back home. Some American doctors considered it “a good code for barbarians.”

    • Majority Around the World Say US Torture Methods ‘Not Justified’ – Poll

      A vast majority of people around the world say they are opposed to the US government’s enhanced interrogation techniques following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and consider them torture, according to a new poll released by Pew Research Center on Tuesday.

    • Italy denies role in CIA’s extraordinary rendition of Egyptian imam

      Omar, also known as Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, brought the case after kidnapping convictions against top Italian spies were overthrown on appeal last year.

    • Italy denies role in CIA rendition of imam

      Italy denied any involvement on Tuesday in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” of an Egyptian imam kidnapped in Milan in 2003 on charges of terrorist connections.

    • Italy Denies Role in CIA Plot to Abduct Egyptian Imam

      Italy has denied having any involvement in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” of an Egyptian imam who was kidnapped by US officials in Milan in 2003 on charges of having terrorist connections.

    • Italy denies role in CIA extraordinary rendition of imam

      Italy denied any involvement on Tuesday in the CIA s “extraordinary rendition” of an Egyptian imam kidnapped in Milan in 2003 on charges of terrorist connections.

    • I Was Tortured. I Know How Important It Is to Hold the CIA Accountable.

      More than once, I begged my torturers to kill me. Years later, I think about it and wonder if I really meant it. I think I did, at the time.

      I was tied up, nude and blindfolded, and electrically prodded all over my body. Twice they pretended they were executing me by placing a gun to my head or in my mouth and clicking the trigger.

      To my abusers, who interrupted this torture with question after question, this was merely “enhanced interrogation.”

      That was decades ago, in Argentina. But today, U.S. political figures — including presidential candidate Rick Perry — are using this same euphemism to describe the CIA’s torture and ill treatment during its secret detention operations from 2002 to 2008. And earlier this month, John Oliver’s HBO show “Last Week Tonight” reported that of 14 declared U.S. presidential candidates, only four said they would keep an executive order put in place by President Barack Obama in his first days in office that seeks to ensure the U.S. does not commit torture.

      When U.S. media and political figures repeat the euphemism enhanced interrogation, they reframe the debate in a way that implicitly downplays the pain and inhumanity of torture. Instead, torture becomes a matter of rational decision making and calibrated legality.

    • ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch Urge DOJ to Appoint Special Prosecutor for CIA Torture
    • Rights groups call on US Justice Department to probe CIA torture

      Three major rights groups called on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the CIA for alleged torture and other rights violations of prisoners in the agency’s custody.

    • Over 100 International Groups Call on US to Prosecute Torture
    • Rights groups petition US to create special prosecutor for torture claims
    • Human rights groups ask attorney general to order new CIA torture probe
    • CIA Torture Report: Human Rights Groups Write Letter Urging Attorney General Loretta Lynch To Pursue Criminal Investigations

      A joint letter sent by human rights groups to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques revealed by a Senate report released late last year. The letter, signed by Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International, asked Lynch’s office to investigate “torture and other violations of U.S. law” in connection to the programs.

    • Ethiopia’s election insult to the people and democracy

      “Won” is not really an accurate description of the election result; as the chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, Merera Gudina, put it, this “was not an election, it was an organised armed robbery”.

    • South Koreans sentenced to hard labour in North Korea

      Two South Korean citizens arrested in North Korea in March on charges of spying have been sentenced to hard labour for life, South Korea said.

    • Rape culture and Rolling Stone

      Behind all the manifestations of rape-skeptic journalism lie the interests of the 1%, who want to preserve the exploitative, oppressive relations that exist under capitalism and prop them up.

    • CIA torture is only part of medical science’s dark modern history

      The controversy over the CIA torture is very similar to another debate raging within the US medical community – that over doctor involvement in the death penalty.

    • USA Senate passes ban on torture
    • Senate passes amendment to ban torture as US policy

      The amendment would require USA government interrogators to adhere strictly to techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual, which would have to be updated every three years to ensure it complies with USA law and “reflects current evidence-based best practices for interrogation that are designed to elicit reliable and voluntary statements and don’t involve the use or threat of force”.

    • Two grilled at CIA black site in Afghanistan freed after more than a decade

      The Pentagon secretly repatriated two Tunisians who were interrogated at a CIA black site in Afghanistan and imprisoned by the U.S. military in that country for more than a decade, U.S. officials said.

      A U.S. military cargo plane flew Lutfi al-Arabi al-Gharisi and Ridha Ahmad al-Najjar from Afghanistan to Tunisia on June 15, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a detainee transfer that had not been made public.

    • Two Tunisians interrogated at CIA black site in Afghanistan secretly flown home

      The Pentagon secretly repatriated two Tunisians who were interrogated at a CIA black site in Afghanistan and imprisoned by the U.S. military in that country for more than a decade, U.S. officials said.

      A U.S. military cargo plane flew Lutfi al-Arabi al-Gharisi and Ridha Ahmad al-Najjar from Afghanistan to Tunisia on June 15, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a detainee transfer that had not been made public.

    • Putting a Stop to US and International Torture

      Today is the UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

    • Major rights groups beg DOJ to prosecute CIA
    • US Justice Department Must Expose CIA Use of Torture – Amnesty Int’l

      The US Department of Justice must speak out against Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture practices, Amnesty International Director of Security with Human Rights Naureen Shah told Sputnik in an interview.

    • 100 Groups From Around the World to UN: Demand Accountability for CIA Torture

      This Friday, the world will mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This day is commemorated every year to reaffirm the universal commitment to the total eradication of torture, which is categorically prohibited under international law.

    • US: Joint Appeal to Investigate Torture

      Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International called on United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a June 23, 2015 letter to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate torture and other violations of US law in connection with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s detention and interrogation program. The letter was attached to petitions signed by 111,788 concerned individuals supporting appointment of a special prosecutor.

    • Rights groups call to probe CIA torture

      “If our laws have meaning, we can’t accept that some of our country’s most senior officials authorized criminal conduct and were never held accountable. Torture is a crime,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “We know it happened. The Senate torture report documented it in excruciating detail. It’s up to Attorney General Lynch to uphold the laws of our land and ensure that a criminal investigation of the U.S. torture program is conducted.”

    • Remember the Time the CIA Bugged a Cat to Spy on the Soviets?

      My favorite story about American spying is one I’ve never been able to verify with the Central Intelligence Agency, and not for lack of trying.

      At the height of the Cold War, the story goes, officials in the United States hatched a covert plan to keep tabs on Russians in Washington, D.C. They would, they decided, deploy surveillance cats—yes, actual cats surgically implanted with microphones and radio transmitters—to slip by security and eavesdrop on activity at the Soviet Embassy. The project went by the thinly disguised code name “Acoustic Kitty.”

    • Healing and Hope for Torture Survivors

      It is also a day to stand up to prevent torture from occurring. For years, I have been advocating for New York State legislation to prevent health professionals from participating in the torture and mistreatment of detainees. We know from the release of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Summary that U.S. health professionals played a central role in the design and implementation of the CIA’s torture program, making this legislation timelier than ever.

    • Statement by the President on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
    • Minneapolis Rally Protests Government Torture

      A human rights organization hosted demonstrations in nine cities Friday to raise awareness about government torture, including a rally in Minneapolis.

      Amnesty International wants to pressure the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute torture committed by people working in the name of the United States government.

      A spokesman for Amnesty International says the department’s stance on the Senate report on CIA torture is contradictory.

    • Amnesty blasts alleged torture tactics in protest
    • Letter from more than 100 groups to UN demanding accountability for US torture and other abuses

      Last December, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the summary, findings and conclusions of its four-year investigation into the Detention and Interrogation

    • Group urging action on torture report

      They held signs in Raleigh on Friday stating: “Take a moral stand vs. torture,” “No to government secrecy,” “Like genocide & slavery, torture is always wrong,” and “North Carolina hosts CIA torture planes.”

    • Protesters want to put an end to torture

      Amnesty International is holding rallies across the nation, including Amherst, to shed light on a senate report on C-I-A torture.

      Thousands of people have been tortured all around the world. According to a senate report, the C-I-A is ALSO responsible for carrying out torture tactics.

    • Why is the CIA Being Let off the Hook on torture?

      More than 6 months ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the Executive Summary of its investigation into CIA torture practices during the Bush Presidency. The process of producing the report itself was highly controversial with the CIA doing everything in its power to stymie the investigation, including spying on Senate members of the committee.

      The actual report itself remains classified but there is now enough information in the public that questions are arising about why there has been no legal action taken. If the CIA has been documented as having tortured detainees captured during the so-called War on Terror in the report, then why has the Obama Administration and its Justice Department, not built on the Senate report? That question troubled human rights organizations so much that several of them signed onto a letter this week calling on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct a truly independent investigation and push for accountability for what was done.

    • CIA Torture Report, Cost of War, and Ecuador Protests
    • How CIA torture goes unpunished

      Soon after I was tortured, in the late 1970s, I joined a worldwide Amnesty International campaign against torture premised on the notion that, with a consistent, determined effort by democratic governments and international organizations supported by common men and women across borders, torture could be abolished in our time just as the African slave trade had been abolished a century earlier.We have come far. Today, laws against torture are in place almost everywhere.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • ISPs do throttle traffic — and the FCC can’t stop it

      Lots of attention was paid this week to a study showing that major ISPs are throttling traffic. At first glance, it seems a clear test case for the FCC’s Net neutrality rules, which prohibit blocking, throttling, or creating special “fast lanes” for content. The problem is, this is not the throttling you’re looking for, Obi-Wan.

      The new rules went into effect a fortnight ago, and aside from scattered accounts of consumers who wrangled price breaks from their cable companies after filing complaints with the FCC about unfair billing practices, and news that Sprint stopped slowing traffic for customers who use a lot of data, very little has changed for Internet users — or is likely to anytime soon.

    • Internet access “not a necessity or human right,” says FCC Republican

      Federal Communications Commission member Michael O’Rielly yesterday argued that “Internet access is not a necessity or human right” and called this one of the most important “principles for regulators to consider as it relates to the Internet and our broadband economy.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canada Saves Public From Public Domain, Extends Copyright On Sound Recordings Another 20 Years

        Lest it be left behind by other countries bullied into submission by US trade agreements, the Canadian government has now expanded copyright terms for recording artists from 50 years to 70 years. (It was previously passed, but has now received the Official Royal Assent.) While not as obnoxiously long as the terms afforded to songwriters (life plus 50 years… which will probably be life plus 70 before too long…), it’s still a needless expansion that does little for living artists while carving another 20-year hole in the public domain.


Links 27/6/2015: Wine 1.7.46, SparkyLinux 4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Coreboot Adds Intel Braswell SoC Support
  • OSI Welcomes Summer Interns

    Recognizing successful open source projects need a variety of “developers” to create everything from code to community, the OSI Internship Program seeks participants from across academic disciplines–Business, Communications, Sociology, Informatics, and of course Computer Science to name a few–the program seeks to provide real life experiences common across open source projects and the communities that support them, giving students first hand experiences as well as opportunities to work with some of the most influential projects and people in open source software and the technology sector.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • BlueData Massages Data for Hadoop and Spark to Leverage

      BlueData Software Inc., an infrastructure startup focused on Big Data, is working on solutions to the problem. The company recently announced that it is adding support for Docker containers on its BlueData EPIC platform. BlueData was founded by VMware veterans, and is focused on making Hadoop and Spark easy to deploy in a lightweight container environment.

  • BSD

    • Open Source History: Why Didn’t BSD Beat Out GNU and Linux?

      If you use a free and open source operating system, it’s almost certainly based on the Linux kernel and GNU software. But these were not the first freely redistributable platforms, nor were they the most professional or widely commercialized. The Berkeley Software Distribution, or BSD, beat GNU/Linux on all of these counts. So why has BSD been consigned to the margins of the open source ecosystem, while GNU/Linux distributions rose to fantastic prominence? Read on for some historical perspective.

    • out with the old, in with the less

      Notes and thoughts on various OpenBSD replacements and reductions. Existing functionality and programs are frequently rewritten and replaced for the sake of simplicity or security or whatever it is that OpenBSD is all about. This process has been going on for some time, of course, but some recent activity is worth highlighting.

  • Project Releases

    • Oz 0.14.0 Release

      Oz is a program for doing automated installation of guest operating systems with limited input from the user.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Why the government needs to renew its public commitment to open source software

      The government has played an important role as champion of open source in the public sector and this has been essential to the great progress that has been made to date. As the new government lays out its strategy, it should publicly reaffirm its commitment to open source software. This will add impetus to those in the public sector considering open source if the government acknowledges its value in relation to its agile vision.

    • NRO jumps on open source bandwagon

      Given the growing need for advanced databases with multiple levels of security to store geospatial intelligence, NRO contractor Lockheed Martin along with partners like Red Hat and Crunchy Data Solutions rolled out an open source relational database at a geospatial intelligence symposium in Washington this week that is billed as supporting multilevel security.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Introducing Felfil: An Italian Open Source 3D Printing Filament Extruder

        It’s an open source project designed for home use, and Felfil is an extruder for plastic 3D printing filament, designed by a team of young makers from the Politecnico of Turin.

        They say the device was built in answer to a desire by users of 3D printers to produce their own plastic filament. It’s all about reducing the cost of printing, saving on materials, and being able to experience the potential of 3D printing.

  • Programming

    • Google creates cloud code cache

      With an uncharacteristic lack of fanfare, Google has decided to hang around the kitchen at the code repository party.

    • 6 time-consuming tasks you can automate with code

      Literacy used to be the domain of scribes and priests. Then the world became more complicated and demanded that everyone read and write. Computing is also a form of literacy, but having it only understood by a priesthood of programmers is not going to be enough for our complex, online world. “Learn to code” has become a mantra for education at all ages. But after clearing away the hype, why do people need to learn to code? What does it get us exactly?

      Not everyone needs to become a software engineer, but almost every office worker uses a laptop as a daily tool. Computers are such a huge productivity booster because they support a large market of programs and apps designed for these workers. But commercial and open source software have a “last mile” problem: that they don’t automate every conceivable task. There are still computing chores that require a lot of repetitive (and fairly mindless) typing and clicking. Even if you have an intern to push these tasks on, they’re tasks that require a human because there’s no software to automate it. These tasks are too small-scale or specific to your organization’s workflow for it to be economical for a software company to create a custom solution.

    • libnice is now mirrored on GitHub

      libnice, everyone’s favourite ICE networking library, is now mirrored on GitHub (and GitLab), to make contributing to it easier — just submit a pull request. The canonical git repository is still on freedesktop.org.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Terror Attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia

      Friday’s attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait came at roughly the same time, and days after the Islamic State terror group called for such operations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. But there was no immediate indication that they had been coordinated.

  • Privacy

    • Hated Care.data scheme now ‘unachievable’, howls UK.gov watchdog

      The hated Care.data programme is one of four government IT projects progressing so poorly its delivery has been deemed “unachievable”, according to a government watchdog report.

      The scheme has been flagged with the highest “red” risk rating by the Major Projects Authority, along with the NHS choices website, the Health and Social Care Network, and the Ministry of Justice’s National Offender Management Services ICT programme.

      The scheme has encountered serious delays, following an outcry from the public who largely objected to the idea of their personal information being shared with world+dog without their consent.

      So far, 700,000 individuals have requested to opt out of having their data shared with third parties. However, concerns have been raised that the Health and Social Care Information Centre has been unable to implement those objections.

    • Yet Another Leaker — with the NSA’s French Intercepts

      Wikileaks has published some NSA SIGINT documents describing intercepted French government communications. This seems not be from the Snowden documents. It could be one of the other NSA leakers, or it could be someone else entirely.

      As leaks go, this isn’t much. As I’ve said before, spying on foreign leaders is the kind of thing we want the NSA to do. I’m sure French Intelligence does the same to us.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Europe: The Next Front in the Battle for Net Neutrality

      Americans won big on net neutrality in February, when the FCC voted to adopt new rules that would allow it to rein in the abusive and discriminatory practices of big telecommunications operators, such as blocking or throttling of Internet data, and charging content providers for access to an Internet “fast lane.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Freedom of panorama: what is going on at the EU level?

        It is the so called freedom of panorama, which of course has its roots in a beloved piece of EU legislation, the InfoSoc Directive, more specifically its Article 5(3(h). This provision allows Member States to introduce into their own national copyright laws an exception to the rights of reproduction, communication/making available to the public and distribution to allow “use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture, made to be located permanently in public places”.

Links 26/6/2015: Ardour 4.1, GNOME 3.17.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • BMW: ‘Our competitor is not Audi, Jaguar Land Rover or Mercedes but consumer electronics players’

    BMW is bringing software back in-house so it can deliver seamless digital experiences for its customers – something more valued than horsepower or engines in today’s market, its digital business models lead said.

  • Science

    • 10 Reasons Tape Backup Remains Important to the Enterprise

      Digital tape is about the hardest-to-kill storage IT there is, unless you count carving out data onto rocks, the way it was done hundreds of thousands of years ago. Tape technology celebrated its 63rd birthday on May 21; IBM first made available its IBM 726 Magnetic tape reader/recorder in 1952. Strangely, unlike later IBM tape drives, the original 726 could read tape backward and forward. Tape has managed to get better with age. When tape first went to market, the media itself weighed 935 pounds and held 2.3MB of data. In 2015, that much tape weighs closer to 12 pounds, and 2.3MB would comprise one large photo or a short pop song. Tape storage densities are broken regularly; IBM’s tape team recently demonstrated an areal recording density of 123 billion bits of uncompressed data per square inch on low-cost, particulate magnetic tape. The breakthrough represents the equivalent of a 220TB tape cartridge that could fit in the palm of your hand. Companies such as Iron Mountain, Spectra Logic, IBM and others maintain large installed bases of tape storage around the world. Here are some key facts about tape storage.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Charleston Massacre Media Coverage: Recognizing the Crime, Downplaying the Causes

      When a white male kills people in a mass shooting in the US, the corporate media follow an algorithm not unlike the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief.

      First, media deny that the attack constitutes terrorism. In their view, acts of political violence carried out against civilians are indisputably terrorism when they are committed by a Muslim, but this is not necessarily the case when they are committed by a white person.

      This is the stage in which most media coverage of shootings by white Americans remains stuck. When Elliot Rodger massacred six people and injured 14 more in May 2014, he was not classified as a terrorist–even though he explicitly stated that his attack was motivated by an intense hatred of women, and that he sought to “punish” women, collectively, for “rejecting” him in the past.

      Yet because of mounting pressure and criticism from independent media, activists and social media, in the wake of mass shooting after mass shooting carried out disproportionately by white men, corporate media are no longer able to remain in a state of such denial.

    • That Most Terrorists Aren’t Muslim May ‘Come as a Surprise’–if You Get Your News From Corporate Media

      The “surprise” is that more people are killed by “white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims”: 48 vs. 26 since 9/11, according to a study by the New America Foundation. (More comprehensive studies cited in a recent New York Times op-ed–6/16/15–show an even greater gap, with 254 killed in far-right violence since 9/11, according to West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, compared to 50 killed in jihadist-related terrorism.)

      The Times suggests that “such numbers are new to the public”–but they won’t come as much of a surprise to those familiar with FAIR’s work. In articles like “More Terror, Less Coverage” (Extra!, 5/11) and “A Media Microscope on Islam-Linked Violence” (Extra!, 8/13), FAIR’s Steve Rendall has debunked the claim that terrorism is mostly or exclusively a Muslim phenomenon, pointing out that white, right-wing Christians are responsible for the bulk of political violence in the United States.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • With Its French NSA Leak, WikiLeaks Is Back

      Classified documents appear on WikiLeaks.org, revealing that the American government is spying on its allies. American officials rush to deal with a sudden diplomatic crisis while publicly refusing to comment on leaked materials. And WikiLeaks proclaims that it’s just getting started.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • What’s Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?

      Every night, Donna Young goes to bed with her pistol, a .45 Taurus Judge with laser attachment. Last fall, she says, someone stole onto her ranch to poison her livestock, or tried to; happily, her son found the d-CON wrapper and dumped all the feed from the troughs. Strangers phoned the house to wish her dead or run out of town on a rail. Local nurses and doctors went them one better, she says, warning pregnant women that Young’s incompetence had killed babies and would surely kill theirs too, if given the chance.


      Then there’s pollution of the eight-wheeled sort: untold truck trips to service each fracking site. Per a recent report from Colorado, it takes 1,400 truck trips just to frack a well — and many hundreds more to haul the wastewater away and dump it into evaporation ponds. That’s a lot of diesel soot per cubic foot of gas, all in the name of a “cleaner-burning” fuel, which is how the industry is labeling natural gas.

  • Finance

    • Unregulated Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet

      We are in the middle of the first great mass extinction since the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

      That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study published Friday in a journal called Science Advances.

      The study, which was conducted by a group of scientists from some of the United States’ leading universities, found that over the past century-plus, vertebrate species have gone extinct at a rate almost 114 times faster than average.

      See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

      That’s right – not one, not two, not 50, but 114 times faster than average!

      The study also found that as many 477 different vertebrate species have disappeared since 1900, a mind-boggling statistic because it usually takes between 800 to 10,000 years for that many species to disappear.

    • The Senate Passes Fast Track—But We Can Still Prevent the TPP Train Wreck

      The U.S. Senate has paved the way for the passage of Fast Track legislation, to give the White House and the U.S. Trade Representative almost unilateral power to negotiate and finalize secret anti-user trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yesterday a “cloture” vote was held—this was a vote to end debate on Fast Track and break any possibility for a filibuster, and it passed by the minimum votes needed—60 to 37. Today, the Senate voted to pass the legislation itself. TPP proponents only needed 51 votes, a simple majority, to actually pass the bill, and they got it in a 60 to 38 vote. Following months and months of campaigning, Congress has ultimately caved to corporate demands to hand away its own constitutional mandate over trade, and the President is expected to the sign the bill into law as early as tonight or later this week.

    • Senate approves fast-track, sending trade bill to White House

      he Senate voted Wednesday to approve fast-track authority, securing a big second-term legislative win for President Obama after a months-long struggle.

      The 60-38 Senate vote capped weeks of fighting over the trade bill, which pitted Obama against most of his party — including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

      Passage of the bill is also a big victory for GOP leaders in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The Republican leaders worked closely with an administration they have more frequently opposed to nudge the trade bill over the goal line.

    • Network Rail upgrade delayed by government

      The government says it will delay or cut back a number of modernisation projects planned for Network Rail.

      Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says rising costs and missed targets make the £38.5bn plan untenable.

      He blamed Network Rail, saying it should have foreseen the improvements would cost more and take longer.

      Labour said it had warned the government needed to change how the railways were run but had “dithered” over taking action.

      Network Rail said the plan, which was launched last year as the “largest modernisation of the railways since Victorian times”, was too ambitious.

      Network Rail controls 2,500 stations as well as tracks, tunnels and level crossings.

    • Why Catholic Americans are rejecting the Pope: They worship the free market now

      Pope Francis’ much-anticipated climate change encyclical, released last week, is every bit as strong as environmentalists and other proponents of dramatic action on climate change had hoped. The pontiff affirms the scientific consensus that climate change is largely the result of human activity, calls for “urgent action” to develop renewable energy alternatives, and slams global development paradigms that create an “ecological debt” between the Global South and the wealthier North.

      Many are predicting that the encyclical will be a game changer that will mobilize religious groups and galvanize lagging western nations, particularly the United States, to address climate change. And the encyclical will undoubtedly give the cause a huge moral push, especially at the upcoming international climate negotiations. But there are ominous warning signs already that a significant percentage of American Catholics — the very faith constituency that should be most receptive to the pope’s message — may turn a deaf ear to Francis. This means that not only are they unlikely to give up their SUVs, but also to support policies to address climate change or the candidates that back them.

    • Divide-and-Conquer Walker Thinks Equal Pay Is Divisive

      Scott Walker is taking heat for claiming that supporting equal pay for women “pit[s] one group of Americans versus another.”

      Here in Wisconsin, howls of laughter could be heard echoing through the marble walls of the state capitol: after all, this is a governor whose divisive approach has helped make his state one of the most bitterly polarized in the country.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Federal Documents Debunk Baltimore ‘Gang Threat’ Narrative

      This fact—that there are always young kids at Mondawmin (it’s a major transportation hub, and the only way thousands of kids can get home)—is erased entirely from the equation. The use of the term “juveniles” is meant to prejudice the reader and criminalize otherwise legal and peaceful assembly. From the beginning of the Baltimore Uprising, in other words, it’s been evident the Baltimore Police Department was far more interested in manipulating the press and hyping the threat than they were protecting First Amendment activity and people’s property.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Dropbox Is Struggling and Competitors Are Catching Up

      Dropbox made itself a household name by giving away cloud storage. The eight-year-old company, valued at $10 billion, had 300 million registered users a year ago; now it’s got 400 million. Its two-year-old effort to make money from business users has been less impressive. While Dropbox led the $904 million global market for business file-sharing last year with about a 24 percent share, No. 2 Box and No. 3 Microsoft each took about 21 percent and doubled their slice of the pie, growing almost twice as fast, according to researcher IDC.

    • The NSA, Windows & Antivirus

      Poor Microsoft. The beleaguered company just can’t catch a break. We’ve already told you about how Snowden’s revelations have forced the pride of Redmond to spend who knows how many millions opening two “transparency centers” to allow government IT experts to pore through source code to prove there’s no back doors baked into Windows or other Microsoft products. Trouble is, while its engineers have been busy plastering over all traces of old back doors, they’ve left a side door standing wide open, waiting to be exploited.


      The spooks have been reverse engineering. They’ve been dismantling Karpersky’s software, searching for weaknesses. They’ve been mining sensitive data by monitoring the email chatter between Kaspersky client and server software. In other words, while IT security folks outside the U.S. have been keeping a wary eye on their Windows servers while trusting their antivirus to be a tool to help them secure the unsecurable…well, their antivirus software has been being a Trojan in the truly Homeric sense of the word.


      In the meantime, Windows becomes less safe by the minute for corporations and governments hoping to keep private data private. I’m certain that Red Hat, SUSE, and even Ubuntu are taking advantage.

    • Norway needs more digital border surveillance, spy agency says
    • Commission proposal on new data protection rules to boost EU Digital Single Market supported by Justice Ministers

      On the 16 of June, Ministers in the Justice Council have sealed a general approach on the Commission proposal on the Data Protection Regulation. Modern, harmonised data protection rules will contribute to making Europe fit for the digital age and are a step forward to the EU Digital Single Market. Trilogue negotiations with the Parliament and the Council will start in June; the shared ambition is to reach a final agreement by the end of 2015.

    • French Surveillance Bill: LQDN Files an Amicus Brief to the Constitutional Court

      La Quadrature du Net, French Data Network and the FDN Federation are publishing an essay to accompany their legal action before the French Constitutional Court against the French Surveillance Bill. The three associations, opposed to the French Surveillance Bill since its introduction in the Council of Ministers on 19 March, continue their mobilisation against this unjust law, in spite of its adoption in the National Assembly1 and the Senate2. Citizens are invited to support this approach by sharing and commenting on this essay by Thursday 7am to bring their thoughts or suggestions for improvement before sending it to the Constitutional Council.

    • Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory

      Would you change what you said on the phone, if you knew someone malicious was listening? Whether or not you view the NSA as malicious, I imagine that after reading the NSA coverage on Linux Journal, some of you found yourselves modifying your behavior. The same thing happened to me when I started deploying servers into a public cloud (EC2 in my case).

      Although I always have tried to build secure environments, EC2 presents a number of additional challenges both to your fault-tolerance systems and your overall security. Deploying a server on EC2 is like dropping it out of a helicopter behind enemy lines without so much as an IP address.

      In this article, I discuss some of the techniques I use to secure servers when they are in hostile territory. Although some of these techniques are specific to EC2, most are adaptable to just about any environment.

  • Civil Rights

    • France proposes empty ISDS reforms

      The French proposal would grant for-profit arbitrators, working in a system that creates perverse incentives, vast discretionary powers. This creates a serious risk on expansionist interpretations. Foreign investors would be able to use this biased system to challenge governments. As it is practically impossible to withdraw from trade agreements, the EU would be locked in.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • BT aims to shut down traditional phone network to help it battle US tech giants

      BT is calling on the communications watchdog to let it scrap the traditional telephone network, as part of a campaign to loosen regulations that it says will help telecoms companies compete better with US internet companies such as Apple and Facebook.

      The telecoms giant is planning to move all domestic and business customers to internet-based voice calls within a decade, but under current Ofcom rules must continue to provide a traditional phone service.

    • Major internet providers slowing traffic speeds for thousands across US

      Study finds significant degradations of networks for five largest ISPs, including AT&T and Time Warner, representing 75% of all wireline households in US

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Cox Wants Rightscorp’s Piracy Tracking Source Code

        Cox Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, has asked the court to order anti-piracy firm Rightscorp to hand over its tracking source code. The ISP describes the company’s settlement scheme as extortion and hopes to punch a hole in its evidence gathering techniques.

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