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02.18.14

Links 17/2/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME 3.12, GNOME 3.11.5, KDE Frameworks 5 Alpha, Kubuntu 14.04 Alpha 2, Kubuntu Derivatives, Desktop Poll

Posted in News Roundup at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News about desktop environments and frameworks for GNU/Linux

GNOME

  • Upcoming Features of GNOME 3.12

    We are getting closer to the first Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.12 desktop environment, so I thought that it would be a very good idea to drop here some of the major features that will be implemented in this release of GNOME.

    Therefore, GNOME 3.12 will be the first release to fully support the modern Wayland display server, as well as the first release with a fully working version of the GNOME Software app that was introduced in GNOME 3.10 as a preview.

  • This Is the Default Wallpaper of the GNOME 3.12 Linux Desktop

    The GNOME Project has released a new milestone version of the package that contains the default icon theme and wallpapers for the upcoming and highly anticipated GNOME 3.12 desktop environment.

  • GNOME 3.11.5 Released with Updated Apps and Many Bugfixes

    The GNOME Project, through Matthias Clasen, has announced that the fifth milestone of the upcoming and highly anticipated GNOME 3.12 desktop environment is now available for testing, featuring many updated applications, bugfixes, and updated translations.

KDE

  • KDE Frameworks 5 enters Alpha stage

    KDE Frameworks 5 entered alpha stage on 14th this month. The Frameworks 5 is the foundation for the next generation KDE interface. The tech preview of Frameworks 5 was released a month back. The next alpha is scheduled to be released on March 1st.

  • KDE Frameworks 5 Alpha Is Out

    Today KDE released the first alpha of Frameworks 5, part of a series of releases leading up to the final version planned for June 2014. This release includes progress since the Frameworks 5 Tech Preview in the beginning of this year.

  • Qt on Android London and Berlin Dates fixed – Sign up now!
  • Videos from Qt DevDays 2013 – Berlin

    You can also access the program here, with links to the awesome set of slides used during the presentations at DevDays 2013.

  • What future holds for KDE’s Nepomuk?

    A recent post by Phoronix predicted that Nepomuk would stop being supported and be obsolete by this year. The article claimed, “It appears there isn’t much of a future left to KDE‘s Nepomuk framework that was developed at a cost of 17 million Euros… It’s going to be replaced going forward in the KDE land.”

  • Kubuntu 14.04 Alpha 2 Released with Improved USB Creator

    The Kubuntu 14.04 Alpha 2 release introduces KDE Applications 4.12.1, an improved version of the buggy USB Creator application, Mozilla Firefox 25, on-demand installation for Gwenview’s plugins, and automatic crash reporting.

  • No Licence Needed for Kubuntu Derivative Distributions
  • No License Needed For Kubuntu Derivatives

    After it came out some months ago that Canonical was trying to charge Linux Mint for its usage of Ubuntu as a base for the Linux distribution, the lead Kubuntu developer has made it clear that anyone is free to base off their KDE-focused Ubuntu distribution without fear of being charged.

  • KDE Tops Desktop Poll

    According to the results of our FOSS Force Desktop Poll, our readers prefer KDE over any other desktop environment by a wide margin. In fact, all other desktops were practically left at the gate.

    The poll accompanied Ken Starks’ article Those Krazy Kids & KDE, which talked about the preference his Reglue kids express for the KDE desktop. Because Starks’ article focused on KDE, GNOME 3 and Cinnamon, we focused our poll on those same three desktops. However, we included an “Other” category, under which another desktop could be entered. The poll asked the question, “Which desktop environment do you prefer?”

Hawaii

  • Hawaii Is Looking Great As A Wayland Desktop

    The Enlightenment Wayland Compositor wasn’t the only Wayland desktop project seeing attention at FOSDEM earlier this month, but the Qt5-based Hawaii desktop also received some stage time.

Enlightenment

Linux in the News: New RC, Steve Jobs’ Offer to Torvalds Recalled, OpenDaylight Summit…

Posted in News Roundup at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Kernel-centric news items from the past few days

Kernel Space

Graphics Stack

  • Wayland’s Libinput Gets New Multi-Touch Touchpad

    This new multi-touch touch-pad implementation presents support for one / two / three finger tapping, two-finger scrolling, clickfinger, drag-n-drop on clickpads, and single-touch touch-pad support. There’s also work underway in the clickpad software button support and better timeout handling. Other possible features include trackstick mode support, disable-while-tapping, pinch/rotation support, and other features.

  • Formerly Confidential SGI Tapes Now Freed To The Public

    An SGI fan and Phoronix reader happened to have an old set of SGI tapes dating back to the 90′s regarding “Tech Talk” and “KGSI Radio” on SGI wares. The Phoronix reader, Steven Hill, digitized these recordings and obtained permission to release them from SGI after formally being marked confidential.

  • What It Takes To Port An X11 Application To Wayland
  • AMD Publishes New Code For Open-Source VCE Video Encode

    AMD has published a second version of their open-source Linux driver code for exposing the “VCE” video engine on modern Radeon GPUs under Linux via OpenMAX for accelerated H.264 video encoding.

  • Another OpenGL 4.1 Extension Comes To R600 Gallium3D

    The Radeon R600 Gallium3D driver has picked up support for another OpenGL extension that’s mandated by the OpenGL 4.1 specification.

  • 9-Way AMD Radeon Comparison On Ubuntu With Catalyst 14.1 Beta

    For those curious how AMD’s Catalyst Linux performance is doing as we get 2014 underway with the first Catalyst 14.1 beta, here are benchmarks from nine different AMD Radeon graphics cards under Ubuntu Linux and running this latest publicly available driver when looking at both the OpenGL graphics and OpenCL compute performance.

02.17.14

Latest Headlines About Surveillance and Drone Strikes

Posted in News Roundup at 11:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Sunday’s and Monday’s coverage of surveillance matters and foreign policy that’s connected to it

Unity

  • What can unite liberals and tea partyers? The NSA

    Who or what could get them thinking the same?

    Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

    By exposing the NSA’s vast surveillance web, Snowden created a link between tea partyers and liberals — two tribes camped on opposite sides of the nation’s political chasm.

  • The History of Surveillance and the Black Community
  • Academics and Researchers Against Mass Surveillance

    Academics have joined the fight against mass surveillance. Two open letters were published last month from the academic and research communities. One is signed by U.S. information security and cryptography researchers, and the other is signed by over one thousand scholars from a wide range of disciplines who work in universities all over the world.

Europe

Reform

  • NSA Reform Bill Stuck in Committee

    The big blow is in the Senate, where chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT) was the author of the legislation and has loudly pushed the reforms for months. Yet he too is suddenly in the “wait and see” camp, apparently content to give the Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt on reforms that will likely never come.

  • NSA reform stalls in committee

    Legislation to rein in the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs has stalled in the House and Senate.

Lawyers

Journalism

Surveillance

  • Gmail’s new tracker tells when, where users open email

    Google’s found a new tracking tool, and it’s called the Streak plugin, an email watchdog that allows users to tell just when their sent messages were opened — and where the recipients were when they read them.

  • How NSA spying disclosures influence security strategies

    How has whistleblower Edward Snowden’s exposés affected the ways organisations deal with internal and external security threats?

    Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass internet surveillance conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s GCHQ has caused consternation around the world, particularly in Europe.

Human Rights (Foreign Policy)

Civil Rights (Police)

02.16.14

Programming News Picks: Focus on Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 6:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: 2014 news picks that focus on programming and development, especially of Free software or using Free software tools

Demise of Proprietary

  • Developer survey: HTML5 gaining, Windows slipping

    HTML5 developers queried recently by tools vendor Sencha remain dedicated to building apps via Web technologies, even as doubts have been cast on how effective HTML5 is vis à vis native development. Many of those same developers, however, have dropped support for the classic Microsoft Windows platform.

    Surveying 2,128 business application developers from the HTML5 development community, including users of its own tools, Sencha found that 70-plus percent of developers planned to do more with HTML5 in the 2013 timeframe than they had done the previous year. And 75 percent will work further with HTML5 in 2014. More than 60 percent of developers have migrated to HTML5 and hybrid development for primary applications. For the coming year, just 4 percent of HTML5 developers plan to cut back on HTML5.

  • The Enterprise Strikes Back On Open Source Contributions

    I still remember IBM’s provocative announcement in 2001 that it was putting $1 billion toward the development and promotion of Linux. While such billion-dollar commitments from IBM are now so routine as to be unremarkable, back then a billion dollars meant a lot. I was working for an embedded Linux vendor at the time, and most of our sales cycle was spent explaining why GPL-licensed Linux wasn’t the technology equivalent of terminal cancer. (Thanks in part to Microsoft’s contribution.)

Google

GitHub

  • Is Bitbucket or GitHub the host with the most?

    GitHub’s position as the repository of choice for open source community projects is today one of dominance, most would argue.

    Officially often referred to as a “web-based revision control service” (rather than simply a software code repository), this classification is an obvious nod to the site’s inherent level of active community involvement as open projects are continuously developed, refined and augmented.

  • FOX News Explaining GitHub is the Funniest Thing You’ll See Today

    So, what’s the problem? Well, that’s simple. It seems that Fox News’ technology department –run by a motley crew of half-witted quick-study-types– failed to explain GitHub, and also disregarded both spelling and punctuation in favor of adopting what I would describe as a rogue journalistic style; a style that exists far beyond the confines of traditional English language rules. It is now with great pleasure that I flog the holy-hell out of the following screen capture in an attempt to make them cry.

  • How to deal with a difficult programmer on an open source project?

    I have an open source script for a specific site (I’m trying not to call anything by name here) that a few other developers and I recently moved to GitHub. We’ve been joined by several new developers since we moved to the new system, including one very active one in particular. However, this active one has started changing a lot of the project.

    First of all, he deleted our versioning system (not like Git, but like that—we called it versions v4.1.16) and said it would be better to simply push the code to the site when we think it’s ready. Now there’s no centralized place to put release notes, which has become annoying.

  • Video interview with GitHub co-founder Scott Chacon on a future beyond code

    GitHub has become the de facto repository for open source projects. So, we were excited for the opportunity to sit down with GitHub’s co-founder and CIO Scott Chacon during the All Things Open Conference in Raleigh, NC.

Python

  • Zato—Agile ESB, SOA, REST and Cloud Integrations in Python
  • Puerto Rico Python User Group Celebrates First Anniversary

    One year ago the Puerto Rico Python Interest Group (prPIG) was founded on one purpose; to create a sustainable user community based on software development in Puerto Rico. On February 20, 2014 we will celebrate our first anniversary with an open format meeting with lightning talks from the community.

  • 10 Best Programming Languages For 2014

    Programming languages are crucial to a programmer as they boosts their productivity. Keeping in mind the fact that programmers may not be comfortable with all the coding languages around, we thought of compiling a list of programming languages set to make it big in 2014.

  • About Python 3

    Python community, friends, fellow developers, we need to talk. On December 3rd, 2008 Python 3.0 was first released. At the time it was widely said that Python 3 adoption was going to be a long process, it was referred to as a five year process. We’ve just passed the five year mark.

  • Why Python is perfect for startups
  • Will Python Kill R?

    In an article entitled “Python Displacing R As The Programming Language For Data Science,” MongoDB’s Matt Asay made an argument that has been circulating for some time now. As Python has steadily improved its data science credentials, from Numpy to Pandas, with even R’s dominant ggplot2 charting library having been ported, its viability as a real data science platform improves daily. More than any other language in fact, save perhaps Java, Python is rapidly becoming a lingua franca, with footholds in every technology arena from the desktop to the server.

  • Read and Write Video Frames in Python Using FFMPEG

Git

LLVM

Ruby

  • Ruby 2.1.0 is released

    Ruby 2.1 has many improvements including speedup without severe incompatibilities.

  • Ruby 2.1 Brings Faster Performance

    The Ruby project has done a new major release on Christmas for their popular programming language. Ruby offers performance speed-ups but without severe incompatibilities, according to the release announcement.

Misc.

  • Statistical computing and graphics begin with R
  • Rails and PostgreSQL

    Regular readers of this column won’t be surprised to hear that I love both Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL. Rails has been my primary server-side Web development framework for about eight years, and it has managed to provide solutions for a large number of consulting and personal projects. As for PostgreSQL, I’ve been using it for about 15 years, and I continue to be amazed by the functionality it has gained in that time. PostgreSQL is no longer just a relational database. It’s also a platform supporting the storage and retrieval of many types of data, built on a rock-solid, ACID-compliant, transactional core.

  • Open Source PHP 5.5 and 5.4 Updated
  • What open source means to a young programmer

    In the sometimes dark and mysterious world of computers, I see open source programming and community around it as a force of good. Open source sparks and kindles a connection between people that I think is hard to find elsewhere in programming. Working with open source, a programmer builds important and powerful collaboration skills. This is significant because many of us (programmers and self-proclaimed nerds) are rather antisocial. Open source programming helps us cultivate social behaviors like sharing, improved communication, and collaborating towards a common goal.

  • The Rise And Fall of Languages in 2013
  • Your kids’ chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

    So by the mid-1980s, programming in schools was surging…

  • Compojure
  • Want to Pitch a Silicon Valley VC? It’s Your Time to Shine!
  • Recipes from open source thought leaders
  • Autovala: Auto-Generating CMake Files For Vala Code
  • Checkpoint-Restore Hits v1.0: Freeze Your Linux Apps

    The Checkpoint-Restore Tool has reached version 1.0 as part of the CRIU project. Checkpoint/Restore In Userspace allows for users to freeze running applications and checkpoint it to the hard drive as a file and that checkpoint can then be restored to a running process later on. CRIU is different from suspend-and-resume with the Linux kernel in that this is a tool for handling individual programs and it is implemented in user-space.

  • Clutter 1.16.2 Adds Wayland and X11 Improvements

    The development team behind the Clutter software, a library for creating compelling, portable, dynamic and fast graphical user interfaces (GUI), has announced a few days ago that the second maintenance release of the stable Clutter 1.16 branch is available for download.

  • Intel Makes Major Zlib Performance Improvements

    Jim Kukunas of Intel OTC published the set of 13 patches on Monday that include medium and quick deflate strategies, a faster hash function with SSE 4.2 support, PCLMULQDQ-optimized CRC folding, SSE2 hash shifting, and other changes/tuning.

Weekend News: Surveillance, Espionage, Foreign Policy, and Assassination Debate

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Surveillance revelations, European and Indonesian reactions to espionage, drone protesters arrested and abducted

Surveillance and NSA

  • Since Spying to Benefit Monsanto Is Not Industrial Espionage, It’s Okay

    One of the examples I often raise to show how our government likely uses SIGINT to advantage specific businesses is the way the government helps Monsanto budge into markets uninterested in its products.

    One WikiLeaks cable showed the US embassy in Paris planned a “military-style trade war” to benefit Monsanto.

  • Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm

    The list of those caught up in the global surveillance net cast by the National Security Agency and its overseas partners, from social media users to foreign heads of state, now includes another entry: American lawyers.

    A top-secret document, obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States. The disclosure offers a rare glimpse of a specific instance in which Americans were ensnared by the eavesdroppers, and is of particular interest because lawyers in the United States with clients overseas have expressed growing concern that their confidential communications could be compromised by such surveillance.

  • NSA spied on U.S. law firm amid trade dispute, report says
  • US law firm was ‘caught in NSA surveillance net’ in Indonesia – report

    An unnamed US law firm was caught up in surveillance involving the National Security Agency and its Australian counterpart, according to a report released on Saturday.

    The New York Times reported that a top-secret document obtained by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed the firm was monitored “while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the US”.

    According to the Times, the government of Indonesia retained the law firm for trade talks which were under surveillance by the Australian Signals Directorate. The Australian agency offered to share information with the NSA.

  • Indonesia: Australia and US need to clean up their mess

    Presidential adviser responds to ‘perplexing revelation’ that ASD spied on a law firm representing Indonesia in a trade dispute

  • US law firm ensnared in spying by NSA ally
  • ‘I always wonder if someone is listening’: NSA spied on American lawyers but sometimes got other governments to do the work for them
  • Snowden leak: NSA snooped on Chicago law firm

    Chicago-based law firm Mayer Brown may have found itself snared by the National Security Agency’s wide-reaching surveillance program.

    The New York Times reports an American law firm representing a foreign government in trade disputes was monitored by the spy agency, possibly including “information covered by attorney-client privilege.”

  • U.S. law firm ensnared in NSA surveillance: NYT report

    An unnamed U.S. law firm was caught up in the global surveillance of the National Security Agency (NSA) and its overseas partners in Australia, according to a newspaper report on Saturday.

    A top secret document obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows the firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States, according to The New York Times.

  • Aust-Indo ties worsening: Plibersek

    Australia and Indonesia are now in “open conflict”, and repairing the “worsening” relationship is imperative, deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek says.

    In the week Australia’s ambassador to Jakarta, Greg Moriarty, was reportedly called into the country’s foreign affairs ministry for a “dressing down” over the Abbott government’s border protection policies, Ms Plibersek said it was crucial the government act now to settle the rocky relationship.

    “It’s absolutely vital that Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop get on with repairing the relationship with Indonesia,” Ms Plibersek told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

    “It’s of enormous concern that a huge nation, a growing democracy a nation that’s vital to our security but also to our economic prosperity is now in open conflict and calling the Australian ambassador in for a dressing down.”

  • Intel not for commercial use: Abbott

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia would never use its intelligence gathering for commercial purposes, after reports one of its spy agencies offered US counterparts information on trade talks with Indonesia.

    The New York Times says the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) offered to share with the US National Security Agency (NSA) its surveillance of an American law firm that was representing Indonesia in trade disputes with the US.

  • The Privacy Worm Turns: Now You Can Spy On The NSA
  • Video: US artist films NSA headquarters

    Artist Trevor Paglen has taken aerial photographs of the National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to illustrate the scale of the secret state in the United States.

  • NSA protest results in tens of thousands of phone calls, emails
  • Russia’s Olympic Spying, Comcast Weds Time Warner & More…

    You needn’t wonder why we haven’t heard protests about this coming from Obama, Harper or Cameron. It’s long been established that the pot hasn’t the right to point a finger at the kettle. All three of these gentlemen might be well advised to keep quiet, lest they bring even more attention to their own online intelligence operations. Indeed, Bloomberg reports that recent revelations about the NSA are having a disastrous effect on the U.S. tech sector.

  • Samsung Enterprise Mobility Push Receives Boost From NSA And US Army

    Samsung’s enterprise plans are reportedly given the seal of approval from the US military and security agencies

  • NSA Drone Attacks Not What You Think: Scahill
  • So why aren’t young Americans spooked by NSA surveillance?

    Young people are very aware of privacy. But they seem to worry more about what their teachers, parents, coaches and peers know about their online activities than what the US government might have on them.

  • Former German Chancellor Surprised That NSA Continued to Spy on Merkel
  • Ex-German chancellor Schroeder surprised at NSA spying on Merkel

    Gerhard Schroeder, a former German Chancellor, now says he was surprised to hear that the United States National Security Agency, or NSA, spied on his country’s current head of government after he left office almost a decade ago.

  • Data protection: Angela Merkel proposes Europe network

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel is proposing building up a European communications network to help improve data protection.

  • EPIC Receives A Settlement For Legal Fees From The NSA In Its FOIA Lawsuit Targeting Presidential Cybersecurity Directives

    Some semi-good news to report here. EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) has received a settlement from the NSA in its long-running lawsuit (dating back to late 2012) against the agency for its withholding of documents related Presidential Directive 54, a national security directive on cybersecurity.

  • Privacy group reaches NSA settlement, appeals case
  • NSA Spying Poses “Direct Threat to Journalism,” Watchdog Group Warns
  • NSA’s mass surveillance of NZers online

    Part of my TEDx Queenstown talk next week is about mass surveillance online. How governments are building the modern Panopticon.

    I was therefore quite surprised yesterday when Prime Minister John Key said he has no reason to believe the NSA has undertaken mass surveillance on New Zealanders. To help the prime minister, let’s look at what we know about it and whether an objective person should come to the same conclusion.

    At the same time, let’s not overlook the FBI’s (NarusInsight) and GCHQ’s (Tempora) sterling efforts in collecting and making the data available to the NSA. In fact, the GCHQ collects even more metadata off international cables than the NSA.

  • Utah – Achilles’ Heel of the Surveillance State

    What do they need all that water for? To cool the mega-computers housing the NSA’s huge store of intercepted data – virtually all the emails transmitted in the country and beyond, including phone calls and our all-important “meta data.” The heavily fortified Data Center will store all this purloined information in four halls, each 25,000 square feet, with an additional 900,000 square feet for bureaucratic high mucka-mucks and their administrative and technical peons. The electricity bill alone is estimated at $40 million annually.

  • Former NSA Counsel Stewart Baker vs. Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg

    Former National Security Agency lawyer Stewart Baker and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg join us for a debate on Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the NSA’s massive spying apparatus in the United States and across the globe. Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian and other media outlets have generated a series of exposés on NSA surveillance activities — from its collection of American’s phone records, text messages and email, to its monitoring of the internal communications of individual heads of state. Partly as a consequence of the government’s response to Snowden’s leaks, the United States plunged 13 spots in an annual survey of press freedom by the independent organization, Reporters Without Borders. Snowden now lives in Russia and faces possible espionage charges if he returns to the United States. Baker, a former NSA general counsel and assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, is a partner at the law firm Steptoe & Johnson and author of “Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism.” Ellsberg is a former Pentagon and RAND Corporation analyst and perhaps the country’s most famous whistleblower. Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, exposing the secret history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, prompting Henry Kissinger to call him “the most dangerous man in America.”

  • How The NSA Is Turning Your Apps Against You

    According to reports, spy organizations are looking to so-called “leaky apps” to gather information. It’s a term we’ve used quite often in our Mobile Threat Monday stories, one that Lookout’s Principal Security Researcher Marc Rogers defines as “Any app which is passing any kind of sensitive information without encryption.”

  • Dutch Minister of Interior Ronald Plasterk misled parliament by blaming NSA

    On Thursday, Dutchnews.nl reported that the Dutch Minister of Interior, Ronald Plasterk was asked by his political counterparts to explain why he supplied them with misleading information concerning the Dutch intelligence agencies illegal data collection practices. Dutch political party, Democrats 66 even went as far as filing a motion of no-confidence against Plasterk.

  • NSA Protest Garnered “Substantial” Support, Organizers Say

    Tuesday’s protest against the National Security Agency resulted in “substantial support” according to official numbers released by organizers.

  • World of surveillance is our responsibility

    Privacy should not have to be defended

  • Ex-CIA agent Edward Snowden posters damaged by vandals at university

Surveillance and the UK

Surveillance and CIA

Foreign Policy

  • 5 Examples of US Government Efforts to Destabilize Black Nations

    Kwame Nkrumah helped Ghana gain its independence from its British colonizers in 1957. Nkrumah became the country’s first prime minister (1957) and first president (1960). As a Pan-Africanist, Nkrumah was eager to unite Africa, and specifically, help Ghana become completely independent from the colonial trade system by reducing its dependence on foreign capital, technology and material goods.

  • Did CIA Official Suppress Benghazi Attack Narrative?
  • Did CIA official suppress Benghazi narrative? Accounts raise new questions

    New information about the intelligence available in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack raises questions about whether the former No. 2 at the CIA downplayed or dismissed reporting from his own people in Libya that it was a coordinated attack and not an out-of-control protest over an anti-Islam video.

  • The Shortsighted Presidency

    America’s foreign policy is now trending on Twitter.

  • War is business

    The successful Star Wars franchise captivated generations of worldwide audiences not only because it was – and still is – an enthralling science fiction drama, but also because it touches upon timeless social issues about the use and abuse of power, greed and humility, love and hate, trust and betrayal, domination and compassion, honour and envy.

    A movie like Revenge of the Sith can reveal much about what we value in our society because it can raise questions about the world that we live in now. For example, under what conditions do people change from being agents of peace and justice to being agents of death and destruction? Why does the wielding of absolute power end up corrupting people absolutely? And more importantly, what can we do as a people to right the wrongs committed from the abuse of such power?

  • Syria at the Edge of ‘Shock Doctrine’

    Disappointed that President Obama didn’t bomb Syria last year, the neocons and other war hawks are using the frustrations over initial peace talks in Geneva to ratchet up pressure for a “humanitarian” military assault now, as Rob Prince explains.

  • US hired Nazis to test CIA interrogation techniques

Drones

Links 16/2/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

02.14.14

Skynet Watch in the Media (Friday)

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Unwise policies that breed mistrust and even hatred continue to receive scrutiny from the media

Surveillance

  • U.S. Tech’s Costly Trust Gap

    Since the intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began exposing surveillance programs by the National Security Agency last June, trust overseas in U.S. technology companies has plummeted. In some cases, sales have slowed. And foreign regulators have been licking their chops in anticipation of a crackdown. Estimates of the cost to these companies have ranged from $21.5 billion to $180 billion by 2016.

  • The Pauls Are Leading the Way on Snowden, NSA

    Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced this week that he is suing the Obama administration in a class-action lawsuit over the surveillance excesses of the NSA, as revealed by documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Specifically, he is challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata.

  • Technology Firms Urge Changes to NSA Spying

    Top execs from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, LinkedIn and Twitter have formed a coalition known as Reform Government Surveillance, and are urging changes to the NSA spying programs that would include a government agreement not to collect bulk data from Internet communications. Tumblr, Mozilla and Reddit also support the effort.

  • NSA spying undermines checks and balances

    As the Framers conceived it, our system of government is divided into three branches — executive, legislative and judicial — each of which is designed to serve as a check on the others. If the president gets out of control, Congress can defund his efforts, or impeach him, and the judiciary can declare his acts unconstitutional. If Congress passes unconstitutional laws, the president can veto them, or refuse to enforce them, and the judiciary can declare them invalid. If the judiciary gets carried away, the president can appoint new judges, and Congress can change the laws, or even impeach.

  • Wyden doesn’t support Paul’s NSA lawsuit

    Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) on Thursday said he doesn’t support Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) lawsuit against President Obama and the National Security Agency.

    “I believe that legislation, not a Senate-brought lawsuit is the only effective way to stop this behavior of the NSA,” Wyden said in a statement provided to The Hill.

  • The Day We Fought Back: by the numbers

    Thanks to everyone who participated on Tuesday. Together we demonstrated that activists, organizations, and companies can work in unison to fight mass surveillance, and laid a foundation for escalation over months to come.

  • ARTHUR CYR: NSA lacks human touch

    Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has become prominent in the debate. This reflects not only the extent of continuing public alarm about the activity, but also the fact that Congress is exercising growing policy leadership in this realm as in others, including fiscal and budgetary matters.

  • Obama DOJ’s New Abuse of State-Secrets Privilege Revealed

    For nine years, the U.S. government refused to let a Stanford PhD student named Rahinah Ibrahim back in the country after putting her on the no-fly list for no apparent reason. For eight years, U.S. government lawyers fought Ibrahim’s request that she be told why. Last April, despite his promise in 2009 to do so only in only the most extreme cases, Attorney General Eric Holder tried to block Ibrahim’s case by asserting the state secrets privilege, declaring under penalty of perjury that the information she wanted “could reasonably be expected to cause significant harm to national security.”

  • You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

    The East German secret police, known as the Stasi, were an infamously intrusive secret police force. They amassed dossiers on about one quarter of the population of the country during the Communist regime.

    But their spycraft — while incredibly invasive — was also technologically primitive by today’s standards. While researching my book Dragnet Nation, I obtained the above hand drawn social network graph and other files from the Stasi Archive in Berlin, where German citizens can see files kept about them and media can access some files, with the names of the people who were monitored removed.

Ethics

  • Pete Seeger: Troubadour of Truth and Justice

    Pete Seeger’s life, like the arc of the moral universe famously invoked by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., bent toward justice. He died this week at 94. Pete sang truth to power through the epic struggles of most of the last century, for social justice, for civil rights, for workers, for the environment and for peace. His songs, his wise words, his legacy will resonate for generations.

  • ‘Don’t Mess with My Drone Junk’: Bezos Has It All, A to Z, CIA Included

    That’s right, Bezos bought the grey Lady, that Washington Post-pone, and, alas, you think the WP is going to cover the Amazon contract with the guys and gals who take contracts out on us, them, anyone, with that drone thing, the favorite toy of Bezos’ Prozac mind – he wants drones all over Seattle first, to try out his 30 minute or you get it free delivery idea for orders for his useless shit, the upside down world of Maslow’s hierarchy of misneeds/deeds.

Drones

  • The Terrible Toll of Secrecy

    xhaustive independent studies by the British Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the New America Foundation and the Long War Journal have documented that civilian casualties are endemic – the latest count is at least 440 since the drone campaigns began, according to the BIJ.

    And countless journalistic accounts have described how the strikes are counterproductive, increasing civilians’ sympathy for al Qaeda and its allies in Yemen today as in Pakistan and Afghanstan before, and as in Somalia next.

  • Columnist: Obama’s Secret Drone War Is a Threat to National Security

    Every time you think the war on terror can’t get any weirder, it does.

  • On the drone campaign in Pakistan

    Zara Shahid a student at Lahore University of Management Science in Pakistan, on why she values student activism on unofficial drone warfare

  • Students join debate on drones

    A Cambridge student has launched a campaign to encourage British universities to cease investment in companies that produce drones.

    Sara Aslam, a Masters student in Modern South Asian studies, has started a petition which calls for higher education institutions to consider the human costs of the use of drones and to divest from drone technologies.

  • Anti-drone activist picked up by his backers?

    In an interesting turn of events which indicate a visible policy change on the part of the agencies, Karim Khan, an anti-drone campaigner from North Waziristan, seems to have been picked up by the same people who had been accused of blowing off the security cover of three previous CIA station chiefs in Islamabad who used to supervise the US drone campaign, writes Amir Mir.

    [...]

    But hardly a few days before he was due to travel to Britain to brief parliamentarians from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands about the impact of the drone strikes in the tribal belt of Pakistan, up to 20 armed men stormed into his home in Rawalpindi on the night of February 4, 2014 and took him away without even telling his family members who they were and what they actually wanted.

War

  • In the Darkness of Dick Cheney

    What are these words, after all, next to the iron realities of the post–September 11 world? The defense budget has more than doubled, including a Special Operations Command able to launch secret, lethal raids anywhere in the world that has grown from 30,000 elite troops to more than 67,000. The drone force has expanded from fewer than 200 unmanned aerial vehicles to more than 11,000, including perhaps 400 “armed-capable” drones that can and do target and kill from the sky—and that, following the computer directives of “pilots” manning terminals in Virginia and Nevada and elsewhere in the United States, have killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia an estimated 3,600 people.

  • In Security Cases, Feds No Longer Get Benefit Of The Doubt

    And I’m Renee Montagne. Good morning. We have been hearing for months about how disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have shaken the intelligence community and spurred Congress to try to impose new limits on surveillance. In recent weeks, after-shocks from those leaks have been rippling through the courts as well. NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports some judges have signaled they’re no longer willing to take the government’s word when it comes to national security.

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