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Links 23/6/2015: Cinnamon 2.6.9, Red Hat Summit

Posted in News Roundup at 4:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The Third Platform: The Time for Open Source Is Nigh

    The main purposes of open source are overt in the name itself. The biggest differentiator of open source is its innate openness, or transparency. Not only is the source code available, but so too are the other aspects. This characteristic contrasts with the often clandestine processes of proprietary vendors. Open-source products are thus easier to evaluate to determine whether they are right for a specific enterprise.

  • Business


    • Introducing Adam Leibson: summer Campaigns intern

      Hello free software supporters, my name is Adam Tobias Leibson. I’ve been an avid GNU/Linux user since my first year of high school. Around that time, I read Cory Doctorow’s book Little Brother. That book challenged me to think more deeply about the effects of mass surveillance on society, and brought about my interests in privacy and cryptography.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Russia to replace proprietary software with open source

      The Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications has announced a plan to replace proprietary software with open source and locally produced software. The plan is one of the measures aimed at promoting sustainable economic development and social stability announced earlier this year.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Security

  • Censorship

    • Australia passes controversial anti-piracy web censorship law

      A controversial bill to allow websites to be censored has been passed by both houses of the Australian parliament. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 allows companies to go to a Federal Court judge to get overseas sites blocked if their “primary purpose” is facilitating copyright infringement.

      Dr Matthew Rimmer, an associate professor at the Australian National University College of Law, points out that there is a lack of definitions within the bill: “What is ‘primary purpose’? There’s no definition. What is ‘facilitation’? Again, there’s no definition.” That’s dangerous, he believes, because it could lead to “collateral damage,” whereby sites that don’t intend to hosting infringing material are blocked because a court might rule they were covered anyway. Moreover, Rimmer told The Sydney Morning Herald that controversial material of the kind released by WikiLeaks is often under copyright, which means that the new law could be used to censor information that was embarrassing, but in the public interest.

    • Australia Passes ‘Pirate’ Site Blocking Law

      A few minutes ago Australia passed controversial new legislation which allows for overseas ‘pirate’ sites to be blocked at the ISP level. Despite opposition from the Greens, ISPs and consumer groups, the Senate passed the bill into law with a vote of 37 in favor and 13 against. Expect The Pirate Bay to be an early target.

    • Germany Says You Can’t Sell Adult Ebooks Until After 10 PM

      Why is it that many efforts made “for the children” are so stupid most tweens could point out the obvious flaws? Back during the discussion of the UK’s now-implemented ISP porn filtration system, Rhoda Grant of the Scottish Parliament wondered why the internet couldn’t be handled the same way as television, where all the naughty “programming” isn’t allowed to take to the airwaves until past the nationally-accepted bedtime.

    • Google follows Facebook and Reddit with ‘revenge porn’ crackdown

      GOOGLE HAS STARTED accepting takedown requests for so-called revenge porn, following in the footsteps of Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

      Google announced that users can now request that sexually explicit images shared without their consent are removed from search results, despite the firm having generally resisted efforts to limit what is viewable in search.

  • Privacy

    • US, UK Intel agencies worked to subvert antivirus tools to aid hacking [Updated]

      Documents from the National Security Agency and the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the two agencies—and GCHQ in particular—targeted antivirus software developers in an attempt to subvert their tools to assure success in computer network exploitation attacks on intelligence targets. Chief among their targets was Kaspersky Labs, the Russian antivirus software company, according to a report by The Intercept’s Andrew Fishman and First Look Media Director of Security Morgan Marquis-Boire.

    • US and British Spies Targeted Antivirus Companies

      When the Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab disclosed recently that it had been hacked, it noted that the attackers, believed to be from Israel, had been in its network since sometime last year.

      The company also said the attackers seemed intent on studying its antivirus software to find ways to subvert the software on customer machines and avoid detection.

      Now newly published documents released by Edward Snowden show that the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, were years ahead of Israel and had engaged in a systematic campaign to target not only Kaspersky software but the software of other antivirus and security firms as far back as 2008.

      The documents, published today by The Intercept, don’t describe actual computer breaches against the security firms, but instead depict a systematic campaign to reverse-engineer their software in order to uncover vulnerabilities that could help the spy agencies subvert it. The British spy agency regarded the Kaspersky software in particular as a hindrance to its hacking operations and sought a way to neutralize it.

    • Popular Security Software Came Under Relentless NSA and GCHQ Attacks

      The National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, have worked to subvert anti-virus and other security software in order to track users and infiltrate networks, according to documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The spy agencies have reverse engineered software products, sometimes under questionable legal authority, and monitored web and email traffic in order to discreetly thwart anti-virus software and obtain intelligence from companies about security software and users of such software. One security software maker repeatedly singled out in the documents is Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, which has a holding registered in the U.K., claims more than 270,000 corporate clients, and says it protects more than 400 million people with its products.

    • GCHQ Dinged For Illegally Holding Onto Human Rights Groups Emails Too Long, Not For Collecting Them In The First Place

      Following on a ruling nearly two months ago, where the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal — for the very first time — found that GCHQ had broken the law with its surveillance of client/attorney communications, now the IPT has ruled against GCHQ again. The IPT says that GCHQ held emails of human rights activists for too long — but found that the initial collection of those emails was no problem at all.

    • GCHQ’s spying on human rights groups was illegal but lawful, courts find

      GCHQ’S SPYING on two international human rights groups was illegal, according to a ruling by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) which is responsible for handling complaints against the intelligence services.

      The court case was raised by a number of privacy groups and challenged how GCHQ surveys similar groups. It found that the government body operated in breach of its own rules.

      The decision in the High Court on Monday followed concerns raised by groups including long-time snooping critics Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union.

      The IPT ruled that British spies had breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that GCHQ had retained emails for longer than it should and violated its own internal procedures.

    • Supreme Court declares warrantless searches of hotel registries illegal

      The Supreme Court gave a big boost to privacy Monday when it ruled that hotels and motels could refuse law enforcement demands to search their registries without a subpoena or warrant. The justices were reviewing a challenge to a Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotels to provide information to law enforcement—including guests’ credit card number, home address, driver’s license details, and vehicle license number—at a moment’s notice. Similar ordinances exist in about a hundred other cities stretching from Atlanta to Seattle.

      Los Angeles claimed the ordinance (PDF) was needed to battle gambling, prostitution, and even terrorism, and that guests would be less likely to use hotels and motels for illegal purposes if they knew police could access their information at will.

    • Supreme Court Says Motel Owners Must Be Allowed To Challenge Warrantless Searches Of Guest Registries

      A smallish victory for Fourth Amendment protections comes today as the Supreme Court has struck down a Los Angeles ordinance that allowed police warrantless, on-demand access to hotel/motel guest records. This win is very limited, and the court’s discussion of the issue at hand pertains solely to the Los Angeles statute and doesn’t address the potential unconstitutionality of other, similar records sweeps granted by the Third Party Doctrine. Nor does it address the potential Fourth Amendment violations inherent to “pervasive regulation” of certain businesses — like the records legally required to be collected and handed over on demand to law enforcement by entities like pawn shops, junk yards and firearms dealers.

    • Texas Dept. Of Public Safety Forced To Admit Its Stratfor-Crafted Surveillance Tech Isn’t Actually Catching Any Criminals

      Concerns over pervasive surveillance are often shrugged off with “ends justify the means” rationalizing. If it’s effective, it must be worth doing. But as more information on domestic surveillance programs surfaces, we’re finding out that not only are they intrusive, but they’re also mostly useless.

      TrapWire — software produced by Stratfor and used by security and law enforcement agencies around the world — utilizes facial and pattern recognition technology to analyze CCTV footage for “pre-attack patterns,” meshing this information with other law enforcement databases, including online submissions from citizens reporting “suspicious behavior.”

  • Civil Rights

    • 4-year-old struck by officer’s bullet in Ohio

      A 4-year-old child was struck by a bullet fired from a Columbus Police Officer’s gun, reports CBS affiliate WBNS.

      According to the station, a patrol officer was answering a call Friday afternoon when a family in the area started screaming for help because of a medical emergency.

    • Florida mail man who landed gyrocopter at US Capitol rejects plea offer that would have involved prison time

      A Florida postman who flew a gyrocopter through some of America’s most restricted airspace before landing at the US Capitol said he rejected a plea offer on Monday that would have involved several years in prison.

      Douglas Hughes, 61, of Ruskin, Florida, said he rejected the offer because no one got hurt during his stunt.

      Hughes was arrested on April 15 after he took off in his gyrocopter from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and landed on the Capitol’s West Lawn in his bare-bones aircraft.

    • Los Angeles police shoot unarmed man in the head who ‘waved at them for help with a towel’

      A Los Angeles Police Department officer shot a man in the head after he attempted to flag down officers for help with a towel in his hand.

      Officers responded to the scene following an officer-needs-help call in the area, CBS Los Angeles reported.

      The officers believed the man was holding a gun and, after ordering him to drop the alleged weapon, officers fired four shots. One of the rounds appeared to shoot the suspect in the head. A motorist posted graphic video of the scene online — which was widely shared on social media — showing the man rolled over and cuffed by police.

      “The officers stopped to investigate and see what was needed,” LAPD spokesman John Jenal told NBC Los Angeles. “This person then extended their arm, which was wrapped in a towel.”

      LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times that the officers were following standard procedure for cuffing the man who seemingly had a gaping gunshot wound to the head with blood pouring from it.

      Mr Smith said the man was standing on the side of the road asking for the officers’ help yelling: “Police, police.”

      However, police said no weapons were found and only a towel was recovered from the scene.

    • Two British teenagers arrested over Auschwitz theft

      The unnamed pair were held by guards at the site, now a museum, on Monday and are in custody, police told AFP.

      They took artefacts belonging to prisoners held there during World War Two, including buttons and pieces of glass, a museum spokesman told AFP.

      The UK Foreign Office confirmed two British nationals had been arrested.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality will prove as evil as the VCR

      An interesting and melancholy event is taking place not far away from me. An honest-to-goodness independent movie rental store is closing its doors with much fanfare and a going-out-of-business sale.

      This is a small business that has been around almost since the advent of the VCR and rolled right through the dawn of the Internet and into the era of widespread streaming content — by renting videos. If you wanted to watch a movie, you drove down to the store, hoped there was a copy on the shelf, rented it on the contract you’d signed possibly decades ago, and returned it within a day or two.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Alleged Dallas Buyers Club Pirates To Be Asked For Employment, Income And Health Details

        In the previous instalment of the long-running saga involving alleged pirates of the Dallas Buyers Club film in Australia, the court agreed that Australian ISP iiNet should hand over information about its customers. But it added an important proviso: the letter and telephone script to be used to contact and negotiate with them had to be approved by the court first in an effort to prevent “speculative invoicing” of the kind all-too familiar elsewhere.

      • Taylor Swift vs Apple: nobody wins

        So why did Apple think for one second that it could get away with not paying Taylor Swift?

      • Libgen Goes Down As Legal Pressure Mounts

        Libgen, the largest online repository of free books and academic articles, has pretty much vanished from the Internet. Earlier this month the site’s operators were sued by academic publishing company Elsevier, who asked a New York federal court for a preliminary injunction hoping to keep the site down for good.


Links 22/6/2015: Linux 4.1, Red Hat’s New CFO

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 Reasons Open Source Software is Good For Your Business

    In recent years, open source software has become more frequently used by businesses and individuals alike. Why is this, and what makes open source solutions so increasingly popular? Below I list five reasons why open source software can be good for your business.

  • Pulp Friction: SourceForge brings out too much GIMP

    The site is reported to have been ‘inserting’ advertisements and other forms of third-party offers into downloads for projects that are no longer currently actively maintained.

    While some would argue that this is fairly inoffensive and comparatively legitimate monetisation of what is still essentially free software, the community has not been happy with the process.


    As wider reaction to this story, SourceForge is said to be generally losing ground to GitHub and other sites that exist to perform code repository and download functions such as FossHub.

  • Events

    • Fossetcon Call for Papers

      The Second Annual Fossetcon Conference, which is scheduled to be held at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida on November 19-21 has announced its Call for Papers on the conference website. According to the site, the call is officially open until August 17, but might be extended if certain conditions, such as “speaker diversity, relevant content and or lack of submissions” are not met.

    • New speakers announced for PGDay

      The UK’s only dedicated Postgres user event has two new speakers, along with a great line up of technology and other experts

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent, say Chromium users

        Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent before the bug was fixed, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party has claimed.

        Writing on the website Privacy Online News, Falkvinge alleged that Google listened into the conversations of users of Chromium without consent, through a ‘black box’ of code.

        The ‘black box’ code was downloaded to enable a feature that activates a search function when you say “Ok, Google,” however the code appears to have enabled eavesdropping on conversations prior to this – in order to hear the phrase.

      • A Chromebook replaced the MacBook Pro on my desk

        The Acer Chromebook 13 so impressed me when I reviewed it months ago that I bought one. After using it for months it has replaced the 13-inch MacBook Pro as my daily work system in the office.

    • Mozilla

      • Interview with Gervase Markham of Mozilla

        I’ve been with Mozilla, as a volunteer or employee, since 2000. I got involved when I read a Slashdot comment (!) from an existing Mozilla contributor called Matthew Thomas. It said that if Mozilla failed, then Microsoft would get control of the web. I thought that the web was too awesome, even then, to be controlled by a single company, so I decided to help Mozilla out. Sixteen years later, I’m still here. I’ve done many things in my time, but I currently work mainly on Public Policy, which I tend to summarise as “persuading governments not to make unhelpful laws about the Internet”. My current focus is copyright reform in the EU; you can read our policy positions on the Mozilla Policy blog.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Open Source Initiative Extends Affiliate Program to Higher Education

      Driven by the promise of reduced costs, increased pace of innovation, community-driven development and shared services, institutions of higher education are increasingly moving to open source software solutions. In order to help colleges and universities across the globe maximize their opportunities through participation in both the development of open source software as well as the communities of practice which support those projects, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) announced at the 2015 Open Apereo Conference, the extension of the non-profit’s popular Affiliate Member Program.

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • BleachBit 1.8 Open Source System Cleaner Out Now for Linux and Windows

      On June 19, Andrew Ziem had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the BleachBit 1.8 open-source and cross-platform system cleaner application for GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

    • digiKam Software Collection 4.11.0 released…

      The digiKam Team is proud to announce the release of digiKam Software Collection 4.11.0. This release is the result of huge bugs triage on KDE bugzilla where more than 250 files have been closed as duplicate, invalid, or upstream states. Thanks to Maik Qualmann who maintain KDE4 version while KF5 port and GSoC 2015 projects are in prgress. Both are planed to be completed before end of year.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can Wikipedia Survive?

      This is a challenge for Wikipedia, which has always depended on contributors hunched over keyboards searching references, discussing changes and writing articles using a special markup code. Even before smartphones were widespread, studies consistently showed that these are daunting tasks for newcomers. “Not even our youngest and most computer-savvy participants accomplished these tasks with ease,” a 2009 user test concluded. The difficulty of bringing on new volunteers has resulted in seven straight years of declining editor participation.

    • Open Data

      • The rise of creativity propels open data forward

        Private enterprises began to find ways to boost creativity of their employees and academic research expanded phenomenally on the subject. The government sector was also not oblivious to the obvious. One of the vital developments in the technology sector in the recent past has been the opening up of data. Open data, as it is termed, is available for everyone to use and republish as they wish without any restrictions from the clutches of patents, copyrights, and any other mechanism of control. Open data gives an autonomy to people with ideas to contribute in a significant manner in various areas of development. These initiatives to open up data fortifies the initiatives to enhance creativity.

    • Open Hardware

      • How to build a DIY heart and activity tracking device

        As this project may be of interest for others, I wrote this tutorial explaining the making of CubiKG, a Holter monitor-like device for heart and activity tracking. Also, to fit everyone’s attention span, I provided the highlights, and a more detailed how-to that walks through each step to guide you through the building process.


  • What Is Next for China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign?

    Recently, former Chinese security chief Zhou Yongkang was tried on corruption charges. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

    Zhou Yongkang was once one of the most powerful officials in China’s government. In addition to his position as chief of public security, he served as head of the Communist party’s legal and political commission. He was also a member of the politburo standing committee, the party’s most-powerful decision-making agency.

  • The dictator’s DAUGHTER

    Leo Tolstoy wrote that all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. However, even he would have been hard-pressed to imagine the family of Svetlana Stalin.

    Svetlana’s father, Josef Stalin, drove her mother to suicide, exiled her first love to Siberia and had her aunts and uncles imprisoned or shot — not to mention being responsibile for the massacre of countless millions, including those in the Ukrainian Holodomor.

  • Why Iranians are lapping up Shah memorabilia
  • House OKs resolution urging Iran to release jailed Americans

    The House has unanimously passed a resolution urging Iran to release three Americans jailed in that country and provide information on a fourth who is missing.

  • The beginning of the end of white rule in southern Africa

    Instead, he starts at what Winston Churchill would have called the beginning of the end – April 25, 1974 and, in the author’s words, “the military coup that toppled the dictatorship in Portugal and with it, the world’s last colonial empire. This single event would result in 16 years of mounting strife that would wreck much of southern Africa, ruin entire countries, stain it with the blood of hundreds of thousands, create widespread hunger, poverty and anger and leave a legacy of problems that hang still like a hail cloud over the future stability of the sub-continent.”

  • Science

    • Bread leavening proves useful for energy storage

      Just like bread, hierarchically porous carbons (HPCs), are judged on their texture; so researchers in China have called on their baking know-how to cook up a sustainable method for producing these supercapacitor components.

      HPCs could prove useful in energy storage because of their high surface area and short ion transport pathway. But existing synthetic methods for producing HPCs, including nanocasting and soft-templating, are unfeasible for industrial application as they require complex, expensive processes.

  • Security

    • 1 in 3 data center servers is a zombie

      A new study says that 30% of all physical servers in data centers are comatose, or are using energy but delivering no useful information. What’s remarkable is that that percentage hasn’t changed since 2008, when a separate study showed the same thing.

      The latest research was reported in a paper by Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University, who has done data center energy research for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Jon Taylor, a partner at the Athensis Group, a consulting firm.

    • John Kiriakou: DOJ misguided amid U.S. hacking

      I don’t much care if the Chinese know that I’m a former CIA officer. It’s no secret. I published a bestselling book about my years at the CIA. I give interviews in the press and on TV speaking out against torture. I lecture at colleges and universities about ethics in intelligence operations.

      But the information the Chinese stole included my original application to the CIA — my Standard Form 86. That form included information on my family members, friends, neighbors and references. That means their information was probably compromised too.

    • Opening up a can of worms: Why won’t Conficker just die, die, die?

      The Conficker worm is now nearly seven years old but remains the most detected piece of malware on the internet. Despite a massive effort to squash it, why does it keep popping up again?

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Senate Attempts To Arm Kurds Directly, Reform Military Justice Fall Short
    • Saudi Arabia Mulls Russian Arms Deal

      Saudi Arabia sees no obstacles for purchasing Russian weapons and defense systems, the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister told Russian media on Friday.

    • Actually, Saudi Arabia could get a nuclear weapon

      Now that the Obama administration has largely given up its resistance to Iran’s development of some kind of nuclear program, the Middle East is poised to see a change in the balance of power. As the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom recently stated, should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, “all options” could be on the table when it comes to the Saudi response. That could include an indigenous nuclear program. And although some commentators remain skeptical about the Kingdom’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, I would argue that it actually has the will and the ability to do so.

    • Saudi Arabia and Russia Sign Major Nuclear Energy Deal

      Saudi Arabia and Russia on Friday signed a series of agreements to cooperate on nuclear energy development.

      The deal came amid a visit to Russia by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

    • Saudi Arabia resumes air strikes in Yemen as talks fail

      Since then they have expanded their control to other parts of Sunni-majority Yemen, including Aden in the south, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his government to flee to Saudi Arabia.

    • FBI Agent: The CIA Could Have Stopped 9/11

      Mark Rossini, a former FBI special agent at the center of an enduring mystery related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, says he is “appalled” by the newly declassified statements by former CIA Director George Tenet defending the spy agency’s efforts to detect and stop the plot.

      Rossini, who was assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) at the time of the attacks, has long maintained that the U.S. government has covered up secret relations between the spy agency and Saudi individuals who may have abetted the plot. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a failed effort to crash into the U.S. Capitol, were Saudis.

      A heavily redacted 2005 CIA inspector general’s report, parts of which had previously been released, was further declassified earlier this month. It found that agency investigators “encountered no evidence” that the government of Saudi Arabia “knowingly and willingly supported” Al-Qaeda terrorists. It added that some CIA officers had “speculated” that “dissident sympathizers within the government” may have supported Osama bin Laden but that “the reporting was too sparse to determine with any accuracy such support.”

    • Saudi Foreign Ministry allegedly supported Muslim Brotherhood figures

      Wikileaks published Friday 61,205 official documents by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, some of them classified as top secret. The documents revealed texts, emails, signed and stamped documents between the ministry and its embassy in Cairo.

    • Obama, CIA Returning to Controversial Drone ‘Signature Strikes’

      Reports that the U.S. did not intentionally target Nasir al-Wahishi in a recent drone strike in Yemen highlights a troubling trend in America’s counterterrorism operations, and signals Obama administration policies of limiting U.S. warfighting abroad may now force it into using a controversial and dangerous tactic known as “signature strikes.”

    • CIA did not know Yemen drone strike would kill al-Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi
    • ‘Lucky’ drone strike killed al-Qaeda’s number two

      The CIA drone strike that killed al-Qaeda’s second in command last week was a lucky hit aimed at a random group of militants, say US officials.

    • The open secret of targeted killings

      Obama’s revelations once again prompted myriad questions about the legality of US counter-terrorism operations, the accuracy of intelligence used for drone strikes, the near complete secrecy surrounding them, and the consequences of the program both for US reputation and security. These issues have been raised for years both inside and outside the national security establishment, and by human rights groups, and representatives of victims abroad.

    • The open secret of targeted killings
    • The CIA Can’t Keep Its Drone Propaganda Straight

      On Thursday, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller, also relying on information provided by anonymous officials, supplied the second narrative. In this version, al-Wuhayshi was dead not because the CIA had tracked him down but because the Obama administration had “eased” certain drone-strike guidelines in Yemen and permitted the CIA to carry out “signature strikes” — strikes that take place without the agency’s specific knowledge of the identities of the individuals marked for death.

    • America’s drone policy is all exceptions and no rules

      The Obama administration is again allowing the CIA to use drone strikes to secretly kill people that the spy agency does not know the identities of in multiple countries – despite repeated statements to the contrary.

      That’s what we learned this week, when Nasir ­al-Wuhayshi, an alleged leader of al-Qaida, died in a strike in Yemen. While this time the CIA seems to have guessed right, apparently the drone operators didn’t even know at the time who they were aiming at – only that they thought the target was possibly a terrorist hideout. It’s what’s known as a “signature” strike, where the CIA is not clear who its drone strikes are killing, only that the targets seem like they are terrorists from the sky.

    • We saw the tank Fidel Castro used during the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion

      The CIA later called the Bay of Pigs the “perfect failure.”

      In Cuba, the battle is referred to as the “invasion de Playa Giron.”

      Castro directed a counterattack from a tank that reportedly shot the US vessel Houston with a 100 mm cannon.

      Here is a photo of Castro directing his tank during the Bay of Pigs.

    • A Castro son rises in Cuba

      When Raul Castro, 84, met with U.S. President Barack Obama in a historic encounter at a regional summit in Panama in April, Alejandro Castro Espin was part of the small group in the room. It was unknown what role the son may have played in the 18 months of secret negotiations leading up to the announcement of detente by both presidents last December.

    • Romero’s Beatification and the CIA’s Assassination Attempts on Castro

      The Catholic Church’s beatification of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was gunned down at the altar while celebrating mass at a small hospital chapel in El Salvador in 1980, provides a helpful reminder to us of how much the US national-security state warped and perverted the values of the American people, in the name of its anticommunist crusade during the Cold War.

      In the eyes of Cold War anti-communists, Romero was guilty of three things: believing in and preaching liberation theology, which they considered to be a communist doctrine, aligning himself with the poor, and opposing the brutal U.S.-supported Salvadoran military dictatorship that came to power in 1979.

    • US-Attempted Color Revolution in Ecuador?

      On Saturday, Correa announced a right-wing opposition coup plot. He urged Ecuadoreans to stay strong against their attacks.


      In Ecuador from 1960 – 1963, it ousted two presidents, infiltrated key political parties and organizations, and caused disruptive actions blamed on leftist groups.

    • From the archive, 16 June 1975: A clasp of lethal friendship for de Gaulle

      The CIA reveals it was asked to help kill the French president in 1965

    • CIA’s NGOs: After India, Pakistan wakes up

      Pakistan has accused the CIA of infiltrating its agents through these NGOs. NGOs such as Save the Children are funded by the CIA and under the garb of humanitarian work they have been sending in their agents.

      To make matters worse for the CIA, Afridi who had been tasked with collecting DNA samples of the Bin Laden family in Abottabad told investigators that he was called in by female CIA officers and briefed.

    • Pakistan Halts Plan to Ban Save the Children

      Because of his fake program and collusion with the CIA, medical workers have been routinely targeted as spies in Pakistan, some even murdered while doing their job. This program was also blamed for a rise in Polio in Pakistan. Because local communities, especially those in hostile zones, no longer trust those administering the vaccinations, it means that a disease, once almost entirely eradicated, is making a comeback within the nation.

    • Pakistan allows global NGOs for 6 months; re-registration must
    • Save the Children Pakistan still shut
    • PM Nawaz instructs INGOs to register within three months
    • US Admits Difficulties in Syria Recruitment Amid Al-Nusra Gains

      The United States admitted Wednesday that it is facing growing difficulties to recruit Syrian rebels for their training program.

      “We have enough training sites and so forth. For now, we don’t have enough trainees to fill them,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional hearing.

    • Where Does ISIS Get Those Wonderful Toys?

      The Pentagon and the CIA, as well as Britain and France, have been training Syrian rebels in neighboring Jordan since at least October 2012, as reported by The Guardian.

    • CIA’s Largest Covert Operation In Syria Could Face Large Funding Cuts

      Washington Post– Key lawmakers have moved to slash funding of a secret CIA operation to train and arm rebels in Syria, a move that U.S. officials said reflects rising skepticism of the effectiveness of the agency program and the Obama administration’s strategy in the Middle East.

    • New Pentagon War Law Manual Is Totally Cool With CIA-Style Drone Attacks

      Last week, the Department of Defense published a gigantic, boring, and tremendously important book. The “Department of Defense Law of War Manual” is 1204 pages of rules for war. Since World War II, various branches of the military have published service-specific manuals, and a few of the more recent ones mentioned unmanned vehicles. The Navy manual addresses underwater robots, the Air Force manual included drones as military aircraft. The new Pentagon manual–which applies to the whole of America’s military–provides the clearest, most comprehensive vision yet of how the military understands drones within the laws of war.

    • Psst. The Benghazi committee’s only interested in taking down Hillary Clinton.
    • Gowdy identifies author of Benghazi memos
    • Blumenthal says ex-CIA officer gave him Benghazi memos
    • Clinton Friend Says Former CIA Official Wrote Benghazi Memos
    • Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Sidney Blumenthal testifies to Benghazi panel
    • Who shot Bob Marley?

      As for his screenplay for A Brief History…, he says, “It will turn out to be an international story. You can’t tell a story about Jamaica in 1976, without telling the story of Ecuador in 1976, Washington in 1976, London in 1976.” The attempted assassination of the biggest reggae star in the world will still be at its heart, though. “There were seven, eight, nine people involved, but only two or three have names. Nobody talks about the others, but the impact of what they did goes on.”

    • US Was Afraid of Annoying Indira During Emergency

      In spite of its avowed commitment to democracy, the role of the US in India during the Emergency had many self-imposed contradictions, reveal WikiLeaks cables between the US Ambassador to India at the time William B Saxbe and the American government. The most powerful country on the planet believed that it was essential to maintain a good relationship with the government even when civil liberties were curtailed between 1975-1977, for fear of the balance tilting heavily towards the Soviets when China was “on the prowl”. Ambassador Saxbe met Indira twice immediately after the Emergency was clamped. The US chose to crawl when it wasn’t even asked to bend by censoring its own correspondents and directing embassy officials to avoid meeting leaders from opposition parties.

    • Smiles and F-35s do not change U.S. policy on settlements

      Visit by Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey shows that the U.S. is fully committed to defending Israel, but not to preserving its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

    • Lebanon: Israel behind crashed aircraft in Bekaa region

      An aircraft crashed near the town of Saghbein in a remote area of Lebanon’s western Bekaa region on Sunday, with Lebanese security sources claiming it might be an Israeli drone.

    • Watch: Hezbollah says Lebanon blast was Israel destroying its own crashed drone

      An Israeli war plane struck a remote area in Lebanon’s western Bekaa region on Sunday to destroy a downed Israeli drone, al-Manar television, which is run by Hezbollah, said.

    • US war planes bomb alleged militants in Libya, killing dozens

      In the name of killing Al Qaeda leaders, the Obama administration authorized a further expansion of the CIA and Pentagon’s “kill lists” and targeted assassination operations in February 2013. Previously focused largely on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, the US government’s targeted murder operations have since expanded to include new areas throughout North Africa.

    • The Great War, the Great Lie – all about greed

      Seventeen million people were killed during the Great War. Seventeen million were killed so the multinationals – robber barons – could take control of the oil fields.

      Ten million soldiers died. Seven million civilians died. Twenty million people were wounded.

      The Gallipoli campaign, the Somme, the campaign in Palestine, and so on, none were about democracy, none were about protecting borders or colonies, none were about any tinderbox of ethnic groups seeking nationhood. It was all about greed.

    • U.S. policy: Courting disaster in Ukraine?
    • This Is What the Ukraine War Looks Like: 8 Days on the Front Line
    • Obama Responsible For Many “Charleston’s” in Middle East

      President Obama was, of course, right to denounce the massacre in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and to call for an end to such violence.

      But this begs the question of whether he will stop his own illegal drone strikes in the Middle East that are just as deadly and a hundred times more numerous than the attack in South Carolina.

    • Unpredictable Kim Jong-un launches underwater nukes

      North Korea now has an estimated 10-20 small nuclear devices according to foreign intelligence estimates. Some of them are believed to be fitted to the North’s medium-ranged Rodong missiles pointed at South Korea, Japan and the major US Pacific base on Guam.

    • Secret bases? What is the situation now as Syria is targetted?

      Amidst European criticism of America’s targeted killing program, U.S. and German government officials downplayed Ramstein’s role in lethal U.S. drone operations, but slides show that the facilities at Ramstein enable lethal drone strikes conducted by the CIA and the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa.

      Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a relative of men killed in a drone strike in the Yemen, testified in a German court, alleging that Germany is violating a constitutionally enshrined duty to protect the right to life by allowing the United States to use Ramstein Air Base as part of its lethal drone operations. His case was dismissed at the end of may, but he has leave to appeal.

    • Judge OKs executive privilege in drone FOIA case

      Despite a federal appeals court ruling two years ago ordering the Central Intelligence Agency to be more forthcoming about what records it has related to the use of armed drones to kill terror suspects, a federal judge ruled again Thursday that the spy agency could keep secret nearly all information related to its drone activities and the legal basis for them.

    • Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics

      A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm

    • A question of ethics and morality

      Garry Kasparov, the world-famous chess champion, had conveyed similar comments in 2010 when he said after his matches with the chess machine, known as Big Blue, that he had come away from the series feeling less secure about the future of the human enterprise if machines were to take over from humans. He said the machines would lead to a denial of the human experience that worked on surprises and emotions.

    • The Pentagon is researching how to create drones that target and kill without human oversight

      Within a few decades, perhaps sooner, robotic weapons will likely be able to pick and attack targets – including humans – with no human controller needed.

    • Russia Reportedly Developing A Microwave Gun That Can Kill Missiles
    • Russia Says Its New Microwave Cannon Can Kill Drones and Warheads with Ease
    • Russia to kill drones, missiles with 10km-range super-high frequency cannon
    • Air Force struggles to keep pace with explosion in the use of combat drones
    • Drone pilots go to war in the Nevada desert, staring at video screens
    • As Stress Drives Off Drone Operators, Air Force Must Cut Flights

      After a decade of waging long-distance war through their video screens, America’s drone operators are burning out, and the Air Force is being forced to cut back on the flights even as military and intelligence officials are demanding more of them over intensifying combat zones in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

    • The Air Force Is Slowing Drone Strikes Because Pilots Are Getting Burnout

      The military is becoming more and more reliant upon drone strikes, which is creating a new problem for the U.S. Air Force: Its pilots are burning out.

    • Veterans Urge Drone Operators to Refuse Orders to Fly

      In a letter released today 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.”

    • Group urges drone operators to refuse orders to fly

      A group that helped sponsor commercials urging drone pilots not to fly missions has launched a new effort to persuade drone operators to disobey their orders.

    • Drone pilots urged to refuse deadly missions by US veterans as ‘burned out’ operators quit in droves

      A group of 45 US military veterans have signed a letter appealing to pilots responsible for carrying out deadly aerial military drone strikes in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to stand down and deliberately refuse to carry out their orders.

      The veterans that signed the letter include a retired high-ranking US army colonel, Ann Wright, who resigned in 2003 over the invasion of Iraq, as well as former members of a range of ranks from the US Navy, Air Force, Marines and Army.

    • 45 veterans sign letter urging drone pilots to stand down

      A group of 45 former American military members have issued a jointly signed letter pushing drone operators to step away from their controls and refuse to fly any more lethal missions.

    • How America Broke Its Drone Force

      All told, the Air Force employs nearly 11,000 drone operators and can keep 65 Predators and Reapers at a time in the air over Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other war zones. All at a cost of around $4 billion a year.

    • Jon Stewart on Charleston Shooting: This is a Terrorist Attack

      Stewart remarked how he already heard a reporter on the news say that tragedy has visited the church. “This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist. This was a guy with a Rhodesia badge on his sweater,” Stewart said.

      “In South Carolina, the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from driving freely on that road. That’s insanity. That’s racial wallpaper. You can’t allow that,” he concluded. “Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some civil war. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina and the roads are named for Confederate generals and the white guy’s the one who feels like his country’s being taken away from him.”

      “We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing. Al Qaeda, ISIS – they’re not shit compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.”

    • Letter: Consider humanitarian costs of drone warfare

      People of Battle Creek are being told that having a drone base here will create jobs and improve our local economy. Here are some facts to consider:

      •Drones are not precise. Bystanders, including women and children, are killed alongside often misidentified and completely innocent targets.

      •Drones are not effective against individuals as they employ high explosives rather than projectiles. These explosives destroy a target and everything and everyone around it.

    • Ralph Nader brings out the knives, says Obama is worse than Bush: “More drones, more intruding into sovereign nations, more killings”

      Ralph Nader may have run against George W. Bush twice, but he’s even more down on Bush’s successor. While W. started two protracted wars, Nader says in a new interview that he doesn’t fault Bush’s foreign policies as much as he does President Obama’s.

    • A New Internationalism

      This final proviso has special application today, as governments have extended practices of long-distance killing during wartime (via bombing, shelling, and the use of snipers) into practices of assassination (via electronically-guided missile strikes and the use of drones) that conflate actual combatants with those who are political leaders and activists but not combatants. In this context, it is imperative to re-state the laws of war to clarify that political assassination outside of actual combat is not a tool of war, but a special form of murder, whomever carries it out. Legitimating the murder of one’s political opponents on the basis of realpolitik is an extremely dangerous and destabilizing move, with enormous potential for blowback. It erodes respect for human rights, for the law, and for the rights of civil society, all of which should matter greatly to a 21st century left.

    • Learning the lessons: 11 years of drones in Pakistan

      Beyond terror attacks, drones are having a broader and more profound impact on Pakistani society in other ways too. A report last year from Dr Wali Aslam (University of Bath) found that drone strikes, whist pursuing some “high value” targets and decreasing the number of fighters in the tribal areas, has caused militants to relocate to other parts of the country, thus displacing rather than eliminating terrorists.

    • 6,000 have unjustly been killed in US drone strikes

      The US drone strikes carried out across the world including in Pakistan have left at least 6,000 persons dead without having any justification, said a joint letter issued by 45 former US military personnel.

    • Legitimacy of law

      The impact of their deaths on the militant groups they headed will not be known for some time. But judging from the death or capture of dozens of other such prominent leaders in the past two decades, the answer is “probably not very much”.


      3. In Israel, the government barred a UN-appointed official who monitors Palestinian rights from entering the country.

      Israel also did this last year because it said its side of the story on Palestinian rights and living conditions was not adequately heard.

    • Charleston Murders Commonplace in Middle East

      Mr. Obama, (who happens to be a former CIA employee,) according to RealClearPolitics is “In Thrall to CIA Killing Machine.” Writer Toby Harnden wrote of him on April 16, 2013: “The man who ran as a liberal, anti-war candidate has brushed away concerns about the (drone) attacks. During one meeting he responded to a request for an expansion of America’s drone fleet by saying: ‘The CIA gets what the CIA wants!’”

      In his comments about the church murders, Mr. Obama said, “once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.” (Much less directing America’s trillion-dollar-a-year killing machine!)

    • All US Hostages in Pakistan Could Have Been Saved, Green Beret Says

      A combat-decorated Green Beret told Congress right now that he fell below criminal investigation by the Army this year immediately after informing Congress about a scuttled deal he tried to cut with the Taliban to no cost Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl along with all of the American and Canadian civilian hostages held by terrorists in Pakistan.

    • No mission accomplished in war on terror

      Amid the chaos, refugees and economic migrants from across northern Africa are converging on the Libyan coast, where smugglers offer access by boat to Europe. European Union officials say half a million people may try to cross the Mediterranean this summer, and thousands have already died en route.

    • U.S. Needs to Stay Out of Iraq and Afghanistan

      Given the pervasive use of U.S. military force throughout the world, it should not be surprising that a 2013 Gallup poll in 65 countries saw the United States topping the list of greatest threats to world peace.

    • Refusal to Call Charleston Shootings “Terrorism” Again Shows It’s a Meaningless Propaganda Term

      The New York Times’s report on the incident stated that while the attack “initially inspired fears of a terrorist attack” — before the identity of the pilot was known — now “in place of the typical portrait of a terrorist driven by ideology, Mr. Stack was described as generally easygoing, a talented amateur musician with marital troubles and a maddening grudge against the tax authorities.”

      As a result, said the Paper of Record, “officials ruled out any connection to terrorist groups or causes.” And “federal officials emphasized the same message, describing the case as a criminal inquiry.” Even when U.S. Muslim groups called for the incident to be declared “terrorism,” the FBI continued to insist it “was handling the case ‘as a criminal matter of an assault on a federal officer’ and that it was not being considered as an act of terror.”

      By very stark contrast, consider the October 2014, shooting in Ottawa by a single individual, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, at the Canadian Parliament building. As soon as it was known that the shooter was a convert to Islam, the incident was instantly and universally declared to be “terrorism.” Less than 24 hours afterward, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared it a terror attack and even demanded new “counter-terrorism” powers in its name (which he has now obtained). To bolster the label, the government claimed Zehaf-Bibeau was on his way to Syria to fight with jihadists, and the media trumpeted this “fact.”

    • It’s Hard to Protect the President

      Remember when George W. Bush was sitting in the White House and almost choked on a pretzel? In the weeks following, the Secret Service did a vast months-long investigation about how to stop something like that from ever happening again. And do you know what their solution was? A small button that looks like a doorbell. They installed a push-button alarm system in the residence of the White House, as well as an alarm that he can knock over on his desk if something goes wrong. If a president feels like he’s getting sick, he pushes the button. But it still doesn’t stop someone from choking on a pretzel.

    • ISI held Osama Bin Laden prisoner for 6 years, handed over to United States

      Citing Hersh, who spoke to Corbin about his article published in the London Review of Books last month, the report says the ISI was holding Osama prisoner for nearly six years in the garrison town of Abbottabad and just handed him over to the Americans in a staged raid. Hersh’s article had created a lot of flurry as it, among other things, claimed that the al-Qaeda chief’s body may have been torn to pieces by rifle fire with some parts tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains. He had also said that a former Pakistani intelligence officer disclosed Osama’s hideout to CIA in exchange of USD 25 million bounty on his head.

    • The Forgotten Costs of War in the Middle East

      I’m sure that you’ve heard about the three bare-bones “staging outposts” or, in the lingo of the trade, “cooperative security locations” that the U.S. Marines have established in Senegal, Ghana, and Gabon. We’re talking about personnel from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, a unit at present garrisoned at Morón, Spain. It would, however, like to have some bases — though that’s not a word in use at U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which oversees all such expansion — ready to receive them in a future in which anything might happen in an Africa exploding with new or expanding terror outfits.

      Really? You haven’t noticed anything on the subject? Admittedly, the story wasn’t on the nightly news, nor did it make the front page of your local paper, or undoubtedly its inside pages either, but honestly it was right there in plain sight in Military Times! Of course, three largely unoccupied cooperative security locations in countries that aren’t exactly on the tip of the American tongue would be easy enough to miss under the best of circumstances, but what about the other eight “staging facilities” that AFRICOM now admits to having established across Africa. The command had previously denied that it had any “bases” on the continent other than the ever-expanding one it established in the tiny nation of Djibouti in the horn of Africa and into which it has already sunk three-quarters of a billion dollars with at least $1.2 billion in upgrades still to go. However, AFRICOM’S commander, General David Rodriguez, now proudly insists that the 11 bare-bones outposts will leave U.S. forces “within four hours of all the high-risk, high-threat [diplomatic] posts” on the continent.

    • Chagos islanders go to supreme court in battle to be allowed home

      Former residents of the Chagos Islands who were forcibly removed from their homeland more than 40 years ago will take their long legal battle to the UK’s highest court on Monday.

      They are going to the supreme court in London to challenge a decision made six years ago by the House of Lords which dashed their hopes of returning home to their native islands in the Indian Ocean.

    • The Truth About the U.S. Military Base at Diego Garcia
    • The Truth About Diego Garcia: 50 Years of Fiction About an American Military Base

      The U.S. military facility on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean represents a horrific example of the human costs of war and imperialism.

      First, they tried to shoot the dogs. Next, they tried to poison them with strychnine. When both failed as efficient killing methods, British government agents and U.S. Navy personnel used raw meat to lure the pets into a sealed shed. Locking them inside, they gassed the howling animals with exhaust piped in from U.S. military vehicles. Then, setting coconut husks ablaze, they burned the dogs’ carcasses as their owners were left to watch and ponder their own fate.


      While the grim saga of Diego Garcia frequently reads like fiction, it has proven all too real for the people involved. It’s the story of a U.S. military base built on a series of real-life fictions told by U.S. and British officials over more than half a century. The central fiction is that the U.S. built its base on an “uninhabited” island. That was “true” only because the indigenous people were secretly exiled from the Chagos Archipelago when the base was built. Although their ancestors had lived there since the time of the American Revolution, Anglo-American officials decided, as one wrote, to “maintain the fiction that the inhabitants of Chagos [were] not a permanent or semi-permanent population,” but just “transient contract workers.” The same official summed up the situation bluntly: “We are able to make up the rules as we go along.”


      During the same period, Diego Garcia became a multi-billion-dollar Navy and Air Force base and a central node in U.S. military efforts to control the Greater Middle East and its oil and natural gas supplies. The base, which few Americans are aware of, is more important strategically and more secretive than the U.S. naval base-cum-prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Unlike Guantánamo, no journalist has gotten more than a glimpse of Diego Garcia in more than 30 years. And yet, it has played a key role in waging the Gulf War, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, and the current bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

      Following years of reports that the base was a secret CIA “black site” for holding terrorist suspects and years of denials by U.S. and British officials, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic finally fessed up in 2008. “Contrary to earlier explicit assurances,” said Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband, Diego Garcia had indeed played at least some role in the CIA’s secret “rendition” program.

    • Nearing the end of the Erdoğan system

      In December 2014, Thierry Meyssan announced the fall of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while almost all other international commentators still persisted in believing that he would win the legislative elections. Mr. Meyssan returns here to examine the career of the Turkish President. In this synthesis, he highlights the links between the AKP and the Muslim Brotherhood and the role played by Mr. Erdoğan in the coordination of international terrorism after the attack on Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan.

    • An American pattern: Seeking elusive enemies with unreliable allies

      On Mar. 19, 1970, Nixon’s national-security adviser, Henry Kissinger told a trusted colleague about a brutal telephone conversation he had just held with the president. Kissinger told Nixon that “there wasn’t much we could do militarily” to force North Vietnam to settle or surrender. The president “went through the roof.” He demanded a new set of war plans — a “hard option” — and he wanted it that day. Kissinger became frantic. The nation’s military and intelligence chiefs had no hard options or new ideas.

      Then, suddenly, came a coup out of nowhere: a right-wing military junta took power in Cambodia. In reaction, battle-hardened North Vietnamese forces started moving toward the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, 200 miles northwest of U.S. military headquarters in Saigon.

    • That Time the Middle East Exploded—and Nixon Was Drunk

      The Nixon administration began disintegrating—the president unable to play his role as the leader of the nation and the free world—at 7:55 p.m. on October 11, 1973.

    • Fueled By Fear, How Richard Nixon Became ‘One Man Against The World’

      Richard Nixon’s presidency has always been one surrounded by questions and controversy: Why did he wiretap his own aides and diplomats? Why did he escalate the war in Vietnam? Why did he lie about his war plans to his secretary of defense and secretary of state? What were the Watergate burglars searching for, and why did Nixon tape conversations that included incriminating evidence?

    • Fueled By Fear, How Richard Nixon Became ‘One Man Against The World’
    • TIME magazine’s take on Watergate in the ’70s

      It started with a burglary attempt at the offices of the Democratic National Committee in Washington’s Watergate building. Five men wearing business suits and surgical gloves were caught by a security guard and arrested by police. The question became: who were these men and who orchestrated the break-in?

    • Opinion: Great mystery of the 1970s

      The most significant phases of the investigation into the abuses of government power under the umbrella term “Watergate” — the Church Committee, the Rockefeller Commission, and U.S. vs. Gray, Felt, and Miller — did not occur until after Nixon resigned in disgrace. These led to landmark reforms that changed the relationship between the government and the governed, including passage of the Presidential Records and Materials Preservation Act, the Presidential Records Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as well as the creation of standing intelligence oversight committees in Congress.

    • The Many Layers of Militarism

      Like all arms races, once a weapon is developed, there is no turning-back.

    • Drones Take Over America’s War on ISIS

      Since launching Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS militants last August, the United States military and its allies have conducted more than 3,800 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, dropping or firing no fewer than 15,000 bombs and missiles, according to Defense Department statistics from late May.

      Predator drones and their larger cousins the Reapers, carrying 100-pound Hellfire missiles and 500-pound precision-guided bombs, have accounted for 875 of those airstrikes, officials at the Air Force’s main drone base in Nevada tell The Daily Beast. And on the raids where manned planes hauled the weapons, the Predators and Reapers have played a vital supporting role.

    • Saudi-led strikes on civilians fleeing Yemen unrest kill 31

      Meanwhile Wednesday, airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi struck a convoy of civilian vehicles in the southern city of Aden, killing at least 31 people, authorities said.

    • Perils of covert operations

      Implicit here are three assumptions: first, covert operations are usually successful in neutralising asymmetrical threats from insurgents or terrorists; second, it’s legitimate for states to use extreme/inhuman methods like summary execution in special circumstances; and third, democratic states know where to draw the line; once the moment of crisis has passed, they can return to normal political-social negotiation processes.
      All three assumptions are open to question. Take India’s own experience. In the 1950s, India collaborated with the CIA in training and arming Tibetan guerrillas to instigate the so-called Khampa Rebellion against China. The CIA abandoned the operation in 1969 after sacrificing thousands of Tibetans. India earned China’s hostility, with dire consequences, revealed in 1962.

    • Gauging America’s Decapitation War Against Terrorism

      The Obama administration is fighting an idea with assassinations. One falls. Another takes his place. Welcome to the long war.

    • Private-Public Collusions in our Lives?

      Just before leaving office as president over fifty years ago, Dwight D. Eisenhower cautioned against the potential power of the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces. In the 1950s, Eisenhower saw retired generals, heroes of WWII, moving into industry board of director slots: for example, Douglas MacArthur went to Remington Rand, Lucius Clay, Continental Can, and Jimmy Doolittle, Shell Oil. Eisenhower saw the potential corrupting influence and the lack of accountability private contracting brought to the military endeavor.

      The world was vastly different in early 1961. Shared sacrifice had been common in the 1940s and 1950s, especially during WWII and the Korean War. Almost ten percent of Americans were in military uniform during WWII, rationing was common, weaponry and war materials had supplanted consumer goods, and many worked in war-goods-related factories. Shouldering hardship together for the sake of victory in war was a common theme.

    • Letter: Who’s running the asylum?

      Does it seem improbable to most of us that we release up to a hundred from Guantanamo, and then we spend millions on intelligence to relocate bad guys?

      Then we spend a million more on remote controlled drones to locate and destroy or kill them, often killing some innocent bystanders. We also spent millions to provide these bad guys at Gitmo all the comforts, then turn them loose to attack us again.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea pleaded for financial assistance from Saudi Arabia

      The document, a letter from Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri to the kingdom’s then-foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal dated March 17, 2012, recounted a meeting between Faisal and a representative sent by Geagea.

    • CIA releases formerly top secret documents relating to the lead up to the 9-11 terrorist attacks

      In an unprecedented disclosure the Central Intelligence Agency has released to the public declassified versions of five internal documents related to the Agency’s performance in the lead-up to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

    • Top Ten Findings of the CIA Inspector General’s Report on 9/11

      Most attention on the OIG report has focused on the now-declassified finding about allegations of Saudi Arabia’s support for al-Qaeda. Those who believed that the CIA had intentionally hid evidence of Saudi Arabia-al-Qaeda connections were surely disappointed by this key passage…

    • Documents show bitter CIA dispute over pre-9/11 performance
    • 9/11 Report Redacts Saudi Intelligence Role in Attacks

      It concludes that the IG’s 9/11 Review Team “encountered no evidence that the Saudi Government knowingly and willingly supported al-Qa’ida terrorists,” however it stated that it “defers consideration” of any alleged ties to the Department of Justice and the FBI.

      “Many of the points of this finding relate to the investigative efforts on the Saudi intelligence presence in the United States and of Saudi officials’ contacts with terrorists in the country . . . The Team lacks access to the full range of investigative materials in FBI possession and is therefore unable to either concur or dissent on those points,” it stated.

    • Purported Saudi Documents Published by WikiLeaks Show Tensions with Iran

      Saudi Arabia tried to stoke unrest in Iran and undermine its interests in the region, according to a trove of documents purportedly obtained from the kingdom’s foreign ministry and published by WikiLeaks.

    • Saudi-led coalition air raids kill 15 across Yemen

      The dead included five women and two children in attacks on Saada and Marib provinces, the agency said.

    • Saudi air strikes kill 15 in Yemen, Houthi-run media reports

      More than 2,800 people have been killed since 26 March. The United Nations says more than 21 million people, or 80% of the population, need some form of humanitarian aid, protection or both.

    • Saudi Cables Reveal How Saudi Arabia Saw Bahrain’s February 14 Uprising

      Saudi Arabia’s meddling in Bahrain’s internal affairs has been revealed in top secret documents released by whistle blowing site WikiLeaks from June 20.

      Wikileaks published the Saudi Cables which contain about half a million confidential documents and correspondence between the Saudi government and its embassies worldwide.

    • WikiLeaks reveals Saudi intrigue

      Saudi officials have not explicitly challenged the authenticity of the documents and Saudi Foreign Ministry has not returned repeated messages seeking comment. The only public response has been a Twitter message warning its citizens away from “leaked information that could be untrue and aims to harm the nation.”

    • The Intercept’s National Security Team Expands

      Matthew Cole, one of the most intrepid reporters on the national security beat, is joining The Intercept. With his deep knowledge, sources and storytelling talents, Cole will be a powerful addition to our reporting team as we continue to trace the tentacles of the national security state.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Earth enters sixth extinction phase with many species – including our own – labelled ‘the walking dead’

      The planet is entering a new period of extinction with top scientists warning that species all over the world are “essentially the walking dead” – including our own.

      The report, authored by scientists at Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley universities, found that vertebrates were vanishing at a rate 114 times faster than normal.

    • Saudi Arabia to raise production to maximum levels, escalating oil market share battle

      Not content with the blow it’s dealt to U.S. oil drillers, Saudi Arabia is set to escalate the battle for market share by raising production to maximum levels.

      The world’s largest oil exporter has already increased output to a 30-year high of 10.3 million barrels a day in a bid to check growth from nations including the U.S., Canada and Brazil. It will add even more to the global glut, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Citigroup Inc. predicts the kingdom will push toward its maximum daily capacity, which the bank estimates at about 11 million barrels, in the second half of 2015.

    • Saudi Arabia Pumps Oil Flat Out in Citi, Goldman’s New Oil Order

      The world’s largest oil exporter has already increased output to a 30-year high of 10.3 million barrels a day in a bid to check growth from nations including the U.S., Canada and Brazil. It will add even more to the global glut, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Citigroup Inc. predicts the kingdom will push toward its maximum daily capacity, which the bank estimates at about 11 million barrels, in the second half of 2015.

    • GOP Candidates Bound to Feel ‘Climate Shock’ on the Campaign Trail

      Of the 12 declared Republican presidential candidates, only two have acknowledged climate-related problems.

    • OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Pope to call climate change a ‘principal’ challenge

      Climate change is “one of the principal challenges now facing humanity,” Pope Francis will say in his highly anticipated climate change encyclical this week.

      In the encyclical, Francis will blame human activity for increasing temperatures around the globe and ask readers to change their “styles of life, of production and consumption” to reduce its impact.

    • Managing goose population along Rideau River

      The city of Ottawa is looking for some new ways to manage the Canada goose population along the Rideau River. One possible solution: shaking the eggs to sterilize them.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: U.S. foreign policy is to buy off politicians and media

      On June 20, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, gave an address to the Conference on the European/Russian Crisis in Delphi, Greece. During his assessment of U.S. foreign policy and interactions between Russia, Europe, and the Far East, Dr. Roberts stated that Washington’s primary objectives are complete U.S. hegemony over world affairs, and in accomplishing this they will demonize, usurp, and even overthrow any nation that stands in opposition, using the post Cold War strategy known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

    • Jeb Bush Slams Washington’s Pampered Elites…But Enlists Them for His Campaign

      Jeb Bush launched his campaign on Monday with a sharp jab at the Washington establishment. “We don’t need another president who merely holds the top spot among the pampered elites of Washington,” huffed this member of a political dynasty that has often held power in DC. “We need a president willing to challenge and disrupt the whole culture in our nation’s capital.” Yet, as Bush embarks on his presidential bid, he has surrounded himself with Beltway insiders who have long been part of what he calls the “mess in Washington.” Many of his advisers served in the presidential administrations of his father and brother. Others were senators and representatives. Of course, several are lobbyists.

  • Censorship

    • Don’t change Constitution regarding the flag

      Nevertheless, I believe it would be wrong to amend the Constitution to ban burning the flag or insulting it. Not only would it damage the right of free expression and private property, but also it might start a trend toward destroying other constitutional rights, including the right to act the fool occasionally. For most of us, that is a right worth protecting.

    • Google Announces Plan to Block Revenge-Porn From Results

      Google’s decision to scrub revenge-porn from their searches marks a rare instance in which the company censors the internet content that appears on the search engine. However, “We’ve heard many troubling stories of ‘revenge-porn’: an ex-partner seeking to publicly humiliate a person by posting private images of them, or hackers stealing and distributing images from victims’ accounts. Some images even end up on ‘sextortion’ sites that force people to pay to have their images removed,” Singhal wrote.

  • Privacy

    • What the CIA and Silicon Valley have in common

      Wolfe, a 30-year veteran of the CIA, was trying to explain the intelligence agency’s interest in a hot technology for data-processing called Spark that’s the current rage for big data nerds. It lets businesses sift and analyze data much quicker than they could just a decade ago. It should be noted that the new CIA cloud is built on Amazon Web Services, which also just announced that it’s supporting Spark.

    • CIA Still Acting Like A Domestic Surveillance Agency, Despite Instructions Otherwise

      The ACLU has received another document dump from the government as a result of its FOIA lawsuits, with this bundle dealing with the CIA’s activities. This isn’t directly related to the late Friday evening doc dump announced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which dealt more with the CIA’s counterterrorism activities leading up to the 9/11 attacks, but there is some overlap.

      Most of what the ACLU is highlighting from this pile of documents is the CIA’s domestic surveillance activities. Ideally — and according to the agency’s own directives — the amount of domestic surveillance it should be performing is almost none at all. It is charged with collecting and disseminating foreign intelligence and counterintelligence. It is allowed to track certain activities of Americans abroad, but for the most part, it is not supposed to be a domestic surveillance agency.

    • Documents Raise Concerns About Extent of CIA Spying Inside the United States

      What can be gleaned from the documents is that the agency has a secret definition of “monitoring” as it relates to surveillance of US persons that the public is not allowed to know…

    • Frequently asked questions about the USA Freedom Act

      Q. What remains the same?

      A. Pretty much everything. The NSA is still able to collect data and conduct surveillance on all the numbers and people that contact anybody on their list of suspected bad guys. And collect data on the numbers that contact those numbers and the numbers contacting those numbers, etc.

    • The Good, Bad, and the Ugly of the EU’s Proposed Data Protection Regulation

      Nearly all economists from across the political spectrum agree: free trade is good. Yet free trade agreements are not always the same thing as free trade. Whether we’re talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the European Union’s Digital Single Market (DSM) initiative, the question is always whether the agreement in question is reducing barriers to trade, or actually enacting barriers to trade into law.

    • Battle to win £2bn deal to replace Britain’s Nimrod spy planes

      Defence groups call for a fair fight in race to land expected contract to replace Nimrod jets that were controversially scrapped

      Defence companies are lining up to offer a replacement for the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft, with the Government expected to announce a deal for a new fleet of jets by the end of the year.

    • Super-private social network launched to take on Facebook with support of Anonymous

      A new social network, backed by Anonymous, hopes to take on Facebook and the other social media giants with a commitment to privacy, security and transparency about how posts are promoted.

    • Reddit to Move to HTTPS-Only
    • Free encryption project ‘Let’s Encrypt’ to issue first digital certificates next month

      Let’s Encrypt, the first free and open certification authority, will launch to the general public in September, with its first digital certificates issued over the next month.

      The project is funded by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), a new Californian public-benefit group backed by leading tech firms including Mozilla, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Cisco.

      The platform was announced by the consortium last year with the goal of offering SSL certificates free of charge, promoting the importance of encryption and HTTPS for a secure cyberspace.

    • Google Reveals It Was Forced to Hand Over Journalist’s Data for WikiLeaks Grand Jury Investigation

      Google released another legal disclosure notice related to the United States government’s ongoing grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. It informed journalist and technologist Jacob Appelbaum, who previously worked with WikiLeaks, that Google was ordered to provide data from his account.

      The disclosure suggests the grand jury investigation may have sought Appelbaum’s data because the US government believed data would contain details on WikiLeaks’ publication of State Department cables.

    • Comcast ordered to unmask anonymous online newspaper commenter

      The attorney for the anonymous commenter on a Freeport (Ill.) Journal Standard article said he was mulling an appeal to the US Supreme Court. But it would be a tough sell. Most of the nation’s state courts have ruled that when it comes to defamation, online anonymity is out the door. (Comcast had refused to release the IP address account information, demanding a court order. Litigation ensued.)

      The anonymous defendant claimed that there were insufficient facts to support a claim of defamation to begin with, so the identity shouldn’t be unmasked over the 2011 comment. When trying to unmask an anonymous online commenter for defamation, there must be enough evidence to justify that whatever was said online was defamatory, the court said.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Blasts WhatsApp in Annual Report

      In an annual report evaluating how well Internet companies safeguard their users’ data against government snooping, the Electronic Frontier Foundation blasted WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app bought by Facebook last year, for not requiring a warrant from governments seeking user information, for not disclosing its policies on turning over data, and for other issues.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why the music industry is fighting the wrong copyright battle

        High court ruling highlights inconsistencies between UK copyright law on physical and digital content – and how consumers might foot the bill


        It took until 2014 for the UK to have a private copying exception, legalising what everyone assumed to be possible: making copies of content you have legally bought for purposes such as backups, cloud storage and format-shifting.

        But even then, the UK exception is ridiculously narrow. You must have acquired the content lawfully and on a permanent basis (even though the world is moving to rental and streaming). Your use must be private, personal and exclusive. You cannot share the content with anyone else and you must not use it for any commercial purpose.

      • The Entire Copyright Monopoly Idea is Based on a Colossal Lie

        The copyright monopoly is based on the idea of an exchange. In exchange for exclusive rights, the copyright industry supplies culture and knowledge to the public. It turns out that the entire premise is a lie, as untethered creators are racing to provide culture and knowledge anyway.

      • Freedom of Panorama is under attack

        On 9 July 2015, the European Parliament will vote on whether to abolish our right to freely take and share photographs, videos and drawings of buildings and works of public art.

      • Popular Torrents Being Sabotaged by IPv6 Peer Flood

        Unknown attackers are sabotaging popular TV and movie torrents by flooding swarms with IPv6 peers. The vulnerability, which affects the popular uTorrent client, makes it nearly impossible for torrent users to download files. It’s unclear who’s orchestrating the attacks but it could be a guerrilla anti-piracy move.


Links 20/6/2015: Mageia 5, Saudi Leaks

Posted in News Roundup at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Plane stowaway falls to his death from British Airways flight as another survives

    A man is in hospital recovering after clinging onto a flight from South Africa for 11 hours while another has died after he landed in south west London

  • Science

    • Russia, US competing for space partnership with Brazil

      The United States and Russia are competing for a strategic role in Brazil’s plan to launch commercial satellites from its base near the equator, opening up a new theatre in their rivalry for allies and influence.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • NSA Contributes Security Tools For Puppet

      Puppet Labs said Friday (June 19) that NSA is releasing to the open source community a set of tools based on Puppet Labs’ technologies called Systems Integrity Management Platform, or SIMP. The framework is intended to automatically enforce compliance with various profiles called the Security Content Automation Program.

    • Does NSA Spying Leave the U.S. Without Moral High Ground in China Hack?

      All signs point to China being responsible for one of the worst hacks in U.S. history, exposing sensitive records of millions of federal employees.

      But the U.S. is an awkward position in deciding how to respond to the humiliating blow. That’s partially because in the two years since Edward Snowden’s leaks about U.S. surveillance, the Obama administration has repeatedly argued that hacking into computer networks to spy on foreigners is completely acceptable behavior.

    • Experts: NSA Spying May Leave the U.S. Without Moral High Ground in OPM Hack
    • OPM Official: Agency Has History of Problems with Security

      By exposing the names and addresses of foreign relatives, the cybertheft of private information on U.S. security clearance holders by hackers linked to China will complicate the deployment and promotion of American intelligence professionals with special language skills and diverse backgrounds, current and former U.S. officials say.

    • Sex, lies and debt potentially exposed by U.S. data hack

      When a retired 51-year-old military man disclosed in a U.S. security clearance application that he had a 20-year affair with his former college roommate’s wife, it was supposed to remain a secret between him and the government.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • MEPs back changes to proposed EU trade secrets rules

      Disclosing a trade secret on public interest grounds would not be an offence under new laws backed by a committee of MEPs.

    • Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media

      On Monday, Saudi Arabia celebrated the beheading of its 100th prisoner this year. The story was nowhere to be seen on Arab media despite the story’s circulation on wire services. Even international media was relatively mute about this milestone compared to what it might have been if it had concerned a different country. How does a story like this go unnoticed?

      Today’s release of the WikiLeaks “Saudi Cables” from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs show how it’s done.

    • WikiLeaks ‘Saudi Cables’ reveal secret Saudi government influence in Australia

      WikiLeaks has revealed secret Saudi Arabian influence in Arabic media and Islamic religious groups in Australia as well as covert monitoring of Saudi students studying at Australian universities.

      More than 61,000 leaked Saudi diplomatic documents have been released by WikiLeaks in what the international transparency group says will be the first instalment of the publication of more than half a million secret papers in batches over coming weeks.

      “The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself,” WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said in a statement released on Saturday.

    • The Injustice Handed out to Julian Assange Must End

      Julian Assange, founder and editor of WikiLeaks, has now been a refugee in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for three years. The key issue in his extraordinary incarceration is justice. He has been charged with no crime. The first Swedish prosecutor dismissed the misconduct allegations regarding two women in Stockholm in 2010. The second Swedish prosecutor’s actions were and are demonstrably political. Until recently, she refused to come to London to interview Assange. Finally, when the British government almost pleaded with her to come, she agreed. She has now cancelled her trip. It is a farce, but one with grim consequences for Assange should he dare step outside the Ecuadorean embassy.

    • Assange ‘was to be quizzed this week’

      Julian Assange has accused Swedish prosecutors of being “reckless” by cancelling plans to interview him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London this week.

    • #3years2long Message From Christine Assange

      Welcome!…and many thanks to supporters old and new for being here today, to stand up for justice for Australian journalist Julian Assange, and his work as Editor in Chief of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

      Although uncharged with any crime, anywhere in the world, at the request of the US , the UK Govt has detained Julian for nearly 5 years now, under constant 24 hour surveillance and house arrest.

      Today marks 3 yrs of his refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Ecuador granted Julian political asylum due to threats on his life and liberty by the US Govt and its agencies.

    • Julian Assange: Swedish prosecutor cancels appointment to interview Wikileaks founder

      The Swedish prosecutor has cancelled an appointment to interview Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, according to the WikiLeaks founder.

      Speaking on the third anniversary of his entering the embassy to avoid extradition over allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, Mr Assange said that the move by Marianne Ny was “reckless”.

    • Frustrated Assange marks three years in Ecuadoran embassy

      The Australian activist said a long-awaited interview with the prosecutors fell through in what he labelled a “public relations exercise”, although the prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

    • London: WikiLeaks founder Assange marks three years in Ecuador’s embassy, as new cables released

      Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have gathered outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, to mark the third anniversary of the 43-year-old Australian seeking refuge there.

      Assange has been in the building since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault against two women in 2010. He denies the accusations.

    • Ecuador to Reply to Swedish Prosecutors’ Assange Interview Request in Weeks

      Ecuador will reply in the coming weeks to the Swedish prosecutors’ request to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who today marked his third year in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the country’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said Friday.

    • Assange™ celebrates third year in Ecuadorian embassy broom closet

      Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa said Assange hadn’t overstayed his welcome, but that the situation could easily be resolved if Assange was granted immunity. Correa was scathing about the police guard that is keeping Assange inside the London embassy’s grounds.

    • WikiLeaks: Julian Assange releases Saudi diplomatic cables to mark third year in London embassy

      WikiLeaks has published more than half a million secret documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry to mark Julian Assange’s third year of asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy on 19 June.

    • WikiLeaks marks three years since Assange’s flight to Ecuador’s UK embassy

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will on Friday mark three years stuck in Ecuador’s London embassy where he took refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes and what he believes would be his eventual handover to U.S. authorities.

    • Leaks from Saudi ministry appear to show extent of influence over regional media

      A new cache of documents reportedly leaked from Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry appears to reveal the extent of the Gulf giant’s funding of regional media outlets. The documents also disclose information about Saudi Arabia’s external affairs and could prove embarrassing to the kingdom and its allies.

      WikiLeaks, the transparency advocacy website responsible for publishing leaked documents from various world powers, said on Friday that the 61,000-plus documents published on Friday were the first of around half a million to be released over the coming weeks.

    • WikiLeaks documents provide insight into Saudi diplomacy

      One of the most inflammatory memos carries the claim that Gulf countries were prepared to pay $10 billion to secure the freedom of Egypt’s deposed strongman, Hosni Mubarak. The memo, written on a letterhead bearing only a single palm tree and crossed scimitars above the words “top secret,” quotes an unnamed Egyptian official as saying that the Muslim Brotherhood would agree to release Mubarak in exchange for the cash “since the Egyptian people will not benefit from his imprisonment.”

    • Wikileaks: Saudi top secret memo says Iran bombed South Sudan

      Another top secret memo says Gulf countries were prepared to pay $10 billion to secure freedom of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

    • Bin Laden Son Asked U.S. For Father’s Death Certificate, Wikileaks Says
    • Saudi Arabia WikiLeaks: US refused Osama bin Laden’s son certificate for father’s death

      The son of the late al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden sent a letter to the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia to ask for his father’s death certificate – a request that was refused by the diplomatic mission.

    • Wikileaks: US ‘refused to give’ Osama Bin Laden’s son his death certificate

      Osama Bin Laden’s son reportedly asked the US for his death certificate and was refused, it has been reported.

      A letter addressed to Abdullah bin Laden, claiming to be from a US embassy official in Saudi Arabia, was published online by Wikileaks.

    • Bin Laden’s son asked US for father’s death certificate – WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks has released a letter revealing how one of Osama bin Laden’s sons had asked Washington for a death certificate after US Navy SEALS said they had taken him out.

    • Wikileaks: Bin Laden’s son ‘asked for father’s death certificate’

      A son of Osama Bin Laden reportedly asked the US for a death certificate for his father, according to the whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks.

    • Julian Assange and Wikileaks on news again

      “The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself,” WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said in a statement.

    • Hillary’s passport info released by Wikileaks

      Saudi Arabia was one of the countries that contributed to the Clinton Foundation, which came under recent scrutiny amid Clinton’s 2016 presidential run.

      The documents published Friday include reports from Saudi Arabia’s interior and intelligence arms, as well as emails between the diplomatic branch and other foreign entities.

    • WikiLeaks follows up its Sony post with Saudi cables
    • WikiLeaks publishes diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia

      More than 60,000 diplomatic messages from Saudi Arabia have been published by WikiLeaks. It said it would release half a million more in the coming weeks. The group also released additional Sony Pictures documents.

    • WikiLeaks publishes Saudi documents

      WikiLeaks is in the process of publishing more than 500,000 Saudi diplomatic documents to the internet, the transparency website says.

      In a move that echoes its famous release of US State Department cables in 2010, WikiLeaks said it had already posted about 60,000 files. Most of them appear to be in Arabic.

    • WikiLeaks is about to release a mammoth load of new secret files

      And another document from the same year, sent from the Saudi embassy in Abu Dhabi, said the United Arab Emirates was putting ‘heavy pressure’ on the Egyptian government not to try former president Hosni Mubarak.

    • WikiLeaks spills ‘Saudi secrets’

      The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately return repeated messages seeking comment.

    • WikiLeaks posts Saudi cables

      WikiLeaks is in the process of putting more than 500,000 Saudi diplomatic documents online, in a move that echoes its infamous release of US State Department cables in 2010.

      WikiLeaks said in a statement that it had already posted roughly 60,000 files. Most are in Arabic and they are now being examined by The Associated Press.

    • Saudi Arabia warns citizens against sharing “faked” documents after Wikileaks release

      Saudi Arabia on Saturday urged its citizens not to distribute “documents that might be faked” in an apparent response to WikiLeaks’ publication on Friday of more than 60,000 documents it says are secret Saudi diplomatic communications.

      The statement, made by the Foreign Ministry on its Twitter account, did not directly deny the documents’ authenticity.

      The released documents, which WikiLeaks said were embassy communications, emails between diplomats and reports from other state bodies, include discussions of Saudi Arabia’s position regarding regional issues and efforts to influence media.

    • Sony execs worried about stars spreading herpes

      In new leaked emails released on June 19, it seems Sony executives were worried about the spread of herpes.

    • Wikileaks: Sony Asked Stars About Herpes During Film Productions
    • Wikileaks’ new batch of Sony files reveals a survey asking stars if they’ve had oral herpes

      Following the Sony hack last winter, Wikileaks has uploaded a second batch of files containing 276,000 more documents obtained from the incident this week. Although most of the documents are related to legal and financial affairs, Radar Online uncovered a set of unusual questionnaires asking whether or not stars have had oral herpes.

    • WikiLeaks spills second huge cache of Sony docs

      Sony is yet to comment on the latest revelations, and it’s likely to take some time before details from the huge stack of digitized documents begin to make headlines.

    • WikiLeaks Drops More Sony Documents

      WikiLeaks has published a second giant cache of documents — 276,394 in all — that it claims hackers stole from the studio in one of the most devastating corporate computer breaches in history.

    • WikiLeaks Unloads Second Batch Of Sony Files Into Its Database
    • Sony hack: WikiLeaks releases new batch of 270,000 documents
    • WikiLeaks Dumps More Sony Docs, Include Secret Apple Deal
    • National security suppression order lifted after uploaded by WikiLeaks

      A SUPREME Court judge has revoked a suppression order made to protect Australia’s national security and international relations after it was published by WikiLeaks.

      But Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth today granted a temporary stay on lifting the orders until next month to give the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade time to consider whether it will appeal the decision.

    • Revealed: How DOJ Gagged Google over Surveillance of WikiLeaks Volunteer

      Newly unsealed court documents obtained by The Intercept reveal the Justice Department won an order forcing Google to turn over more than one year’s worth of data from the Gmail account of Jacob Appelbaum (pictured above), a developer for the Tor online anonymity project who has worked with WikiLeaks as a volunteer. The order also gagged Google, preventing it from notifying Appelbaum that his records had been provided to the government.

    • Should Julian Assange face “justice”?

      Anyone stupid enough to think Assange has actually committed a crime should hang his head in shame. You are a dog, a slave, a puppet, a fool. You are utterly, deplorably, insane.

      Yes, more interesting than the details of any charges accusations against Assange, is the fact that they were invented for the sole purpose of arresting a dissident. It is a story that has been heard so many times that I don’t know why everyone can’t recognize this farce immediately. Dissident criticizes government, dissident suddenly has some strange and elusive criminal charges like embezzlement or sexual assault to answer for.

      Should we, even for a brief moment, overlook our scumbag politicians – who consorted with pedophiles and tried to cover up their crimes – and instead look at the supposed moral deviations of one dissident who tried to subject them to greater scrutiny? If someone accuses a top politician of being the pedophile he is, the result will be libel charges being brought against the accuser. If some liar accuses of Assange of rape, the result is a case being brought against Assange.

      In reality, the only ones who deserve to be on trial are not Assange but his accusers and, ultimately, the regime that has fabricated this case against an innocent man. They are, each and every one of them, liars, fabricators, and vicious enemies of democracy who deserve to suffocate in their own filth and hypocrisy just for consenting to be part of this offensive spectacle.

    • Ecuador Accuses Sweden of Violating Assange’s Human Rights

      Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño says someone in Sweden must be held responsible for human rights violations.

    • WikiLeaks Decries UK Media’s Eyes Wide-Shut in Trident Safety Leaks

      In a 18-page report posted by WikiLeaks earlier this month, William McNeilly, a 25-year-old former engineer employed at the Trident facility in Scotland, described the nuclear deterrent’s safety procedures and general state as a “disaster waiting to happen.”

    • ‘Thank goodness for Wikileaks’: Greens

      Greens Co-Deputy Larissa Waters slams the secrecy surrounding the Trade In Services agreement, and says important details have only been made public because of Wikileaks.

    • Greens senator urges support for Assange

      Greens senator Scott Ludlam says Julian Assange’s work needs support, three years after the WikiLeaks founder sought asylum in a London embassy.

    • Greens condemn Coalition and Labor hostility towards Julian Assange as the WikiLeaks publisher marks three years in Ecuador’s embassy
    • WikiLeaks trolls Alan Rusbridger on last day as The Guardian editor

      Assange has been unable to leave Britain, living in the Ecuadorean embassy’s quarters in central London over fear of extradition to Sweden or the United States, where authorities are investigating his disclosures of secret information.

      Sarah Tisdall, a former Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) clerical officer, was jailed after she leaked classified British government documents to The Guardian.

      WikiLeaks also posted the link to an article written by Assange titled “How The Guardian Milked Edward Snowden’s Story”. The website did not immediately respond to Hindustan Times’ request for a comment on its tweets.

      The Guardian newspaper has appointed Katharine Viner, currently editor of Guardian US, its 12th editor-in-chief after Rusbridger.

    • WikiLeaks Releases 500K U.S. Cables from 1978 on Iran, Sandinistas, Afghanistan, Israel & More

      On Wednesday, WikiLeaks added more than half a million U.S. diplomatic cables from 1978 to its Public Library of US Diplomacy database. The documents include diplomatic cables and other diplomatic communications from and to U.S. embassies and missions in nearly every country. “1978 actually set in progress many of the geopolitical elements that are playing out today,” Assange said. “1978 was the beginning of the Iranian revolution … the Sandinista movement started in its popular form … the war period in Afghanistan began in 1978 and hasn’t stopped since.”

    • Wikileaks releases 7000 new cables on Colombia

      Wikileaks released 500,000 US diplomatic cables from during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, more than 7,000 of which are related to Colombia.


      In Colombia, the US at the time was concerned about the 1978 presidential election race, kidnapping and drug trafficking.

    • WikiLeaks founder still in limbo

      Ecuador granted him political asylum, but the United Kingdom refuses to grant him safe passage to leave the country. Instead, the U.K. wants to extradite him to Sweden to answer questions about allegations of sexual misconduct, although charges have never been filed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • CBS Evening News Provides False Balance On Climate Science In Report On Pope’s Encyclical
    • Energy Storage Is The Real Target Of Spain’s New Tax On The Sun

      The Spanish government wants to impose new fees on consumers that use batteries to store electric power produced by their own solar panels.

      In early June, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism released a draft of proposed legislation designed to discourage the use of solar charged batteries by people who produce their own electricity.

    • A child born today may live to see humanity’s end, unless…

      Humans will be extinct in 100 years because the planet will be uninhabitable, according to Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, one of the leaders of the effort to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. He blames overcrowding, denuded resources and climate change.

      Fenner’s prediction is not a sure bet, but he is correct that there is no way emissions reductions will be enough to save us from our trend toward doom. And there doesn’t seem to be any big global rush to reduce emissions, anyway. When the G7 called on Monday for all countries to reduce carbon emissions to zero in the next 85 years, the scientific reaction was unanimous: That’s far too late.

    • How Pope Francis just destroyed the GOP’s religious con artists

      Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard the initial cannon volleys from the parapets of the GOP hurled in the direction of Pope Francis. But as of yesterday, when the Pope delivered a major encyclical on the climate crisis, there was a thermonuclear freakout, from not just Fox News and AM talk radio, but nearly every Republican with internet access. Already, Greg Gutfeld from Fox News Channel’s The Five referred to the Pope as the “most dangerous man in the world.”

    • Washington State’s Oil Train Traffic Is Shrouded In Secrecy

      Derailments and explosions have occurred around North America since the oil boom began, including a 2013 catastrophe that killed 47 people in rural Quebec.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why Carly Fiorina can’t lose

      Misleading headline alert: Carly Fiorina is not going to be the GOP presidential candidate. She’s polling at 1.8 percent in the most recent Fox News poll. That puts her in a solid 13th place. It would take every Sherpa in Nepal to guide her to the top against those odds.

      But she will win, in one sense, because she’s positioned herself perfectly for the right side of the slash. As in, Rubio/Fiorina, Walker/Fiorina or Bush/Fiorina.

    • The Parallel Universes of the Cuban Press

      In several countries in the region, there are groups that control most of the local press and attack governments when these undertake social programs. There, digital media and networks have become the only hope of countering the propaganda of the Right.

  • Censorship

    • Censorship helped create environment that allowed collusion to flourish

      THE revelations contained in RTÉ’s Collusion documentary aired on Monday – which highlighted yet more widespread and systemic collusion between British military and RUC forces with unionist death squads – will not have come as a surprise to most An Phoblacht readers or Sinn Féin activists.

    • Podcast: Are religious freedom and free speech intertwined?

      Does freedom of religion and freedom of speech come as a package or can you pick and choose? Do those suggesting freedom of expression should be “civilised” and that we should be wary of causing offence to people’s religious sensibilities have a point? Or are there too many people who are easily offended? Are our attempts to be polite actually significant obstructions to the discussion of important issues? These were just some of the questions tackled at “The new civility: are religious freedom and freedom of speech intertwined?” the 10 June event organised as part of the Leeds Big Bookend festival.

    • Why Facebook Failed Our Censorship Test

      If you click around Facebook’s “Government Request Report,” you’ll notice that, for many countries, Facebook enumerates the number of “content restrictions” the company has fulfilled. This is a sanitized term for censorship.

    • U.K. Newspaper Tries To Silence Glenn Greenwald Criticism With Copyright Claim

      Accused of publishing government propaganda against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Sunday Times is using copyright to hit back at its strongest critic.

    • Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics

      The Sunday Times has apparently sent a copyright complaint to critics of its article that claimed British and American overseas spies have had their covers blown by Edward Snowden.

      The London-based newspaper unquestioningly parroted the UK government’s spin at the weekend, claiming that classified files obtained by the NSA whistleblower and leaked to journalists had somehow made their way into the hands of China and Russia. The piece quoted anonymous government sources in Blighty.

    • Sunday Times levels copyright charges at Greenwald after he debunks Snowden report

      The UK newspaper Sunday Times is accusing US journalist Glenn Greenwald of copyright violations after he debunked the paper’s report on Russian and Chinese spies allegedly accessing Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks.

    • Art of diplomacy: how French schools abroad cope with censorship

      It is one of the great allegorical paintings celebrating the French revolution: Liberty Leading the People, by Eugène Delacroix, shows a barefoot, bare-breasted woman – representing Marianne, the female symbol of the republic – brandishing a tricolour in one hand and a bayonetted musket in the other, leading the people over the bodies of the fallen.

    • France Wants Google To Target French Citizens Worldwide & Censor Their Search Results

      The French data privacy regulator CNIL wants Google to somehow identify French citizens wherever they are in the world and block them from seeing material removed under the Right To Be Forgotten.

    • Australian Lawmakers Rush Through Copyright Censorship Bill That Won’t Work, And Will Do Harm

      Scarcely a week after the release of a legislative committee report on Australia’s copyright censorship bill, the bill is gathering speed on its roll through Parliament. Although reports that the law has already passed are premature—it has only passed the lower house so far, and is scheduled to be debated in the Senate on Thursday, Australian time—it is clear that the bill is being rushed through, in an effort to get it out of the way ahead of the Parliament’s mid-winter break.

      We addressed some of the serious shortcomings of the bill, which would allow courts to block overseas websites that either infringe copyright, or are merely judged to be “facilitating” infringement…

    • Censorship tourism in British Columbia?

      But the real problem, of course, lies with the courts’ attempt to control, by application of its view of the law, the content that appears on websites operated by a US corporation outside the boundaries of the court’s lawful jurisdiction. [Google actually offered to remove offending sites from searches that were viewable at Google.ca, but the plaintiffs were not satisfied with that outcome].

    • Canadian Court asks Google to block its Websites Globally

      It all began a year ago where a lower court ruled that Google needed to block access to a website globally in a troublesome lawsuit filed against them. The case involved one company charging another of selling copied equipment or counterfeit, and even though Google was not even a party to the case, was directed by the court to make sure no one could find the site in question via Google anywhere in the world.

    • Canadian Court Forces Google to Take One Step Closer to Internet Censorship

      A dangerous precedent has been set in Canada where a court rejected Google’s appeal in a case the company has been fighting for years, and now it has to remove links to particular pages from its worldwide search results.

    • This Unbelievable Nurse Sex Story Is Causing A Lot Of Trouble At Northwestern

      In response to the school’s meddling, Atrium’s editors took down all of Atrium’s online content, initiating a yea-long standoff. The controversy remained in the shadows until recently, when another censorship controversy erupted at Northwestern. Prof. Laura Kipnis faced a formal Title IX investigation over an essay she wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the sexual politics of American universities. Following this incident, Dreger threatened to go public, and Northwestern allowed all of Atrium’s content to go back online. According to Dreger, though, the school says future issues of Atrium will have to be approved by a group of administrators and public relations staff to make sure they are acceptable.

    • Northwestern Faculty Magazine Censored Over Article About Nurse Blow Job
    • Story of sex with nurse prompts censorship claims at Northwestern
    • Censoring ISIS’s online propaganda isn’t working out very well

      As Fidler indicates politely, this has created a terrible mess. There is very little transparency around government requests for censorship (by coincidence, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has just published a short piece complaining that Facebook does not provide any information on U.S. government censorship requests). In addition, different private actors, with different codes and standards, engage in private forms of censorship on their own behalf that generate confusion and inconsistency. Companies have to make complicated judgment calls. For example, I’m aware from my own conversations that YouTube initially censored footage from pro-democracy protests in Iran in 2009 showing the violence perpetrated against the protesters, on the grounds that this violated its code of conduct. After thinking through the political implications of this censorship, YouTube changed its mind — but it could (with different leadership) have opted for the opposite choice.

    • 2,000 Israeli Artists Sign Petition Accusing National Government of Censorship

      Signatories of the petition said the government’s actions in withdrawing funding from the school play A Parallel Of Time, by the al-Midan Theatre, are anti-democratic. The play tells the story of the Palestinian Walid Daka’s time in prison for torturing and murdering the Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.

    • Israeli artists sign petition against ‘anti-democratic’ censorship

      Pledging to fight for artistic freedom, cultural figures defiantly offer their names for a government ‘blacklist’


      It concludes with the hope that Israel will not stoop to becoming a state that blacklists artists who express their opinions. “But should that happen,” the petition defiantly states, “here is the list.”

    • Why is a festival of Israeli film fighting for censorship in London?

      Its screening had been due to take place at the Odeon Swiss Cottage. But the director, Rechy Elias, insisted that only women could attend. Elias is from the ultra-conservative Haredi sect of Judaism, which, like extreme movements in all the world’s major religions, is flourishing with a depressing vigour. As with so many other fundamentalist creeds and cults, sex is an obsessive source of interest to the Haredis. A Haredi school in Stamford Hill recently announced that, Saudi–style, it would not allow women to drive children to its gates. With similar reasoning, Ms Elias said her film was controversial because it contained scenes of women dancing. No man could see them, for lord knows what they would do if they did.

    • Wikipedia official criticizes increasing censorship against Turkish Vikipedi

      A high-ranking official from the world’s largest free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has criticized Turkey over increasing censorship that its Turkish version — Vikipedi – has been exposed to, vowing to take legal action to stop this censorship.

    • Wikipedia releases warning on Turkey’s censorship, monitoring

      Wikipedia has warned its users that Turkey “blocks” a number of its articles and is also monitoring contributors to the site.

      “Did you know that some articles on Turkish Vikipedi have been blocked to users in Turkey?” Wikipedia’s Turkish homepage warns, giving a list of censored articles.

      As of June 19, Turkey blocks a total of five Wikipedia articles: “Human penis,” “Female reproduction organs,” “Scrotum,” “Vagina” and “Opinion polling for the Turkish general election, 2015.”

    • Why Facebook Failed Our Censorship Test

      If you click around Facebook’s “Government Request Report,” you’ll notice that, for many countries, Facebook enumerates the number of “content restrictions” the company has fulfilled. This is a sanitized term for censorship.

    • ‘This Week In Unnecessary Censorship’ Takes Aim At Donald Trump
    • How Facebook Is Censoring Content In The United States

      Facebook vows to be transparent, and yet the Electronic Frontier Foundation discovered that the company is hiding all the ways that it blocks access in the United States, on behalf of law enforcement.

    • If Facebook wants our trust, it needs to explain when and why it censors things

      Almost every major digital platform, including Google and Twitter, publishes a so-called “transparency report,” in which the company in question lists the number of requests it has gotten from government authorities and legal entities to take down information. Facebook does this too, except that its version isn’t nearly as forthcoming on what exactly it has been asked to remove, and by whom.

    • Reddit refugee camp Voat dropped by German webhost for ‘political incorrectness’

      It is interesting to note the reasons for the termination of the contract. There is no mention of illegal content, just content which has been deemed politically incorrect. This is clearly a very subjective matter, and Atko says that the hosting provider shut down the server “without issuing a warning or trying to talk to us”. It is something of a blow for freedom of speech if webhosts start to police the content of the sites they power not because they are breaking the law, but because they just don’t like the content.

    • Reddit-clone Voat booted by its German webhost

      The Reddit-clone Voat announced Friday that its hosting provider shut off its servers and terminated its contract.

    • Amid censorship brouhaha, Reddit clone Voat has its servers closed by hosting provider

      Switzerland-based Reddit clone Voat says its servers have been closed down and contracts terminated by its hosting provider, which comes less than two weeks after it saw a surge in signups following a clampdown in online harassment by Reddit.

    • Anti-censorship community Voat dropped by hosting service over ‘political correctness’

      European hosting service hosteurope.de recently terminated its contract with Voat, a Reddit clone that promises not to censor users. Voat managed to move its database to an unnamed cloud platform hours ahead of the shutdown to avoid service interruption.

  • Privacy

    • John McAfee: NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden is a man of soft character

      Even the most casual observer must see that the Sunday Times anonymous leak is an effort to distract attention from the utter failure of the US government, as a government, to act responsibly in the task of protecting it’s citizens and the citizens of its allies. It is an attempt to shift blame – pure and simple.

      Is Snowden a good man or a bad man? I have no clue and even less interest. Are we as citizens of this new cyber age, ever going to get a clue? That is the real question.

    • ‘No evidence’ Snowden was working for foreign power says ex-NSA boss

      When asked if Snowden was working for a foreign power, Hayden replied that, thinking inductively as intelligence operatives are supposed to do, there was “no evidence” Snowden had defected.

    • Hayden Mocks Extent of Post-Snowden Reform: “And This Is It After Two Years? Cool!”

      Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden on Monday marveled at the puny nature of the surveillance reforms put in place two years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a vast expansion of intrusive U.S. government surveillance at home and abroad.

    • VIDEO: Former NSA Director Hayden Dismisses Snowden’s Impact

      At The Wall Street Journal’s CFO conference, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden disparaged the idea that the leaking of data collection documents by Edward Snowden was a two-year “nightmare” for the agency.

    • Ex-NSA chief celebrates two years of failed reform after Snowden leaks
    • Even former NSA chief thinks USA Freedom Act was a pointless change

      The former director of the National Security Agency isn’t particularly concerned about the loss of the government’s bulk metadata collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

    • Fight the snoopers’ charter

      “We kill people based on metadata” said General Michael Hayden, former director of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.

      A government commissioned report says that UK intelligence agencies should be allowed to keep their powers to gather bulk communications data on a massive scale – records of emails, phone calls and social media (metadata).

      This is in addition to eavesdropping and reading of the content of communications.

      David Anderson QC, the report’s author, has, however, argued that the power to authorise surveillance warrants should be removed from government ministers and given to a new judicial body. The government is resisting this proposal.

    • Spy court clears path to renewing NSA powers

      The secretive federal court that oversees the nation’s spies is laying the groundwork for temporarily reauthorizing the National Security Agency’s (NSA) sweeping collection of U.S. phone records.

      In an order released on Friday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said that a brief lapse in some Patriot Act provisions would not bar the court from renewing the NSA’s powers. Although the court asserted its ability to renew the controversial NSA program, it has yet to issue an order giving a green light to the spy agency.

    • Secretive Surveillance Court Skips Talking to Privacy Advocates

      The secretive court that oversees U.S. spying programs selected to not consult a panel of privacy advocates in its first decision made since the enactment earlier this month of major surveillance reform, according to an opinion declassified Friday.

    • Surveillance court moving toward renewal of NSA spying program for 6 months

      The secretive court that oversees US government spying requests has indicated that it will temporarily renew the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records collection authority despite a new reform law that ended the dragnet.

      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) – often seen as a compliant “rubber stamp” for US government spying requests – released an order on Friday positing that lapsed spying powers vested in the Patriot Act – which expired without renewal on June 1 — would not restrict the court from reauthorizing for six months the phone metadata collection program. The FISC order, though, is not yet an official revival of the NSA’s surveillance program.

    • The Gov’t Really, Really Wants You to Visit These Websites (Op-Ed)

      In a campaign that’s received nearly as much effort and funding as presidential elections themselves, the U.S. federal government is trying to steer people toward visiting sites that give step-by-step instructions on how to encrypt digital communications.

      The passage of the USA Freedom Act, the declassified documentation about the NSA’s secret sister agency NSAC, and the passage of “net neutrality” have all been cleverly orchestrated to deliver one resounding message: “Just a friendly reminder, citizen: it’s time to protect yourself from our fascist predations.”

    • ‘Sunday Times’ story branded ‘journalism at its worst’

      An exposé claiming that the top-secret files leaked by Edward Snowden have been obtained by Russia and China has come under fire.

      The story in ‘The Sunday Times’ claimed Western intelligence agencies were “forced into rescue operations” to mitigate the damage, and one UK government source claimed that Mr Snowden had “blood on his hands”.

      But Snowden confidante Glenn Greenwald has attacked the report as “journalism at its worst”.

    • Greenwald Says the Sunday Times Report on Snowden’s Files is a Lie
    • Britain pulls out spies as Russia, China crack Snowden files – report

      Describing the report as “the very opposite of journalism” Miranda’s partner and the man who was central to the publication of the Snowden documents, Glenn Greenwald, has written a scathing review of the Sunday Times report.

    • “Reporter” who wrote ridiculous story about Snowden leaks in China admits he was just acting as a government stenographer

      Tom Harper wrote the ridiculous cover story in the Sunday Times in which anonymous government sources claimed that the Russians and Chinese had somehow gained the power to decrypt copies of the files Edward Snowden took from the NSA, depite the fact that these files were never in Russia and despite the fact that the UK government claims that when criminals use crypto on their communications, the state is powerless to decrypt them.

    • Sunday Times reporter tells CNN everything you need to know about Snowden story

      There has been a fair amount of criticism of last weekend’s Sunday Times story claiming that sensitive NSA files taken by Edward Snowden have ended up in the hands of the Russian and Chinese governments – and that British intelligence staff have been put at risk as a result.

    • CNN interview with author of discredited Sunday Times story on Snowden is painful to watch

      If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. It’s CNN’s George Howell interviewing Sunday Times buffoon Tom Harper about his now-discredited report that said the governments of Russia and China have decrypted files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Op-Ed: The govt. made me do it: Reporter defends anti-Snowden story
    • ‘We Just Publish What We Believe to Be the Position of the British Government’

      Harper made that statement during a CNN interview during which he was pressed on why British authorities believe that their Chinese and Russian counterparts have accessed the files. It was an ugly defense for what was always going to be a thinly-sourced story. Since the Snowden story first broke two years ago, press reporting about his revelations have been riddled with claims by various officials — both named and not — claiming that the leak had undermined vital intelligence powers and cost lives. These reports share a common characteristic: a lack of hard evidence.

    • This interview encapsulates why everyone is outraged about the controversial Sunday Times’ Snowden story

      In case you missed it, a front page story in the UK-based Sunday Times magazine generated a furor this weekend. It covered the purported repercussions of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks for western intelligence agencies. The report—which relied heavily on unnamed “senior officials” and “senior government sources”—parroted a number of unsubstantiated claims, according to its critics, hammering home a single point of view: that of the British government.

    • “Sunday Times” Reporter On Source For His Snowden Story: “We Just Publish What We Believe To Be The Position Of The British Government”

      CNN’s George Howell speaks with Sunday Times correspondent Tom Harper about reports that Russia and China have decrypted files stolen by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Harper explains the process of how he and his paper source news stories based on what the British government tells them, without independently checking facts; they even submitted the final draft of the story to the Home Office for approval.

    • Snowden files ‘read by Russia and China’: five questions for UK government

      The story is based on sources including “senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services”. The BBC said it had also also been briefed anonymously by a senior government official.

      Anonymous sources are an unavoidable part of reporting, but neither Downing Street nor the Home Office should be allowed to hide behind anonymity in this case.

    • Bruce Schneier: Russia hacked NSA for Snowden docs

      China and Russia have copies of Edward Snowden’s leaked documents by hacking the NSA itself before the whistleblower even arrived in Russia, according to security expert Bruce Schneier.

      He believes lax security controls at the US spy agency, rather than Snowden residing in Russia, being responsible for allowing foreign countries to get their hands on top secret documents.

    • Bruce Schneier: China and Russia had top secret files long before Snowden stole them
    • Russia and China have cracked encrypted Snowden files, report says
    • Bruce Schneier: China and Russia do have Snowden docs

      Bruce Schneier has claimed that China and Russia have laid hands on the intelligence documents leaked by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in a further twist to a controversial story run by the Sunday Times last weekend.

    • Russians and Chinese Got Snowden Documents the Old-Fashioned Way

      British surveillance functionaries placed a story over the weekend in the Sunday Times (London) claiming that the Russians and Chinese had gotten hold of the documents that Edward Snowden sneaked out of the NSA computers and had broken their encryption. As my colleague Scott Shackford points out the Sunday Times offered nothing more than the assertions of unnamed British spy agency sources as evidence. He noted that one of the Sunday Times’ reporters actually admitted on CNN: “We just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government at the moment.”

    • China and Russia had Snowden docs before he took them – Schneier

      The Edward Snowden documents were in China and Russia’s possession before he even took them and went on the run, believes renowned security specialist Bruce Schneier.

      Writing in Wired, the cryptographer, entrepreneur and former chief technology officer of BT Counterpane, part of telecoms giant BT, added that the documents were already “certainly” in the possession of China and Russia – but not due to Snowden, who has become a convenient scapegoat for security services’ failings.

    • Journalist who met Snowden in Hong Kong rebuts claim that files were breached

      A journalist who published the first reports from Edward Snowden’s leaked documents offered a detailed rebuttal Monday to allegations that Russian and Chinese spies accessed the former intelligence contractor’s files.

      Glenn Greenwald, writing on the online news website The Intercept, said the reports by the Sunday Times and BBC were based on the false premise that Snowden kept possession of the files he took from the US National Security Agency.

    • Snowden’s lawyer slams Times story claiming leaks ‘betrayed’ British spies

      Robert Tibbo could not be more straightforward. “There was no possibility of interception. Zero,” says the Canadian lawyer from Montreal who has represented Edward Snowden in Hong Kong since June of 2013. That was when the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor leaked classified documents on America’s mass surveillance programs to members of the press. Mr. Tibbo’s client came under pressure after British sources revealed last weekend that spies were pulled out of operations because China and Russia have cracked Mr. Snowden’s files.

      “He left this place [Hong Kong] with no data on him”, Mr. Tibbo claimed in a telephone interview from Hong Kong on Monday. He was one of the only two people, along with solicitor Jonathan Man, who had any knowledge of Mr. Snowden’s whereabouts in the city at the time. In an interview Mr. Tibbo was with Mr. Snowden when the whistleblower left Hong Kong for Russia.

    • Glenn Greenwald denies reports Russia, China accessed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s files

      The American journalist said the Sunday Times had “quietly deleted” from its online report the claim that Mr Miranda had met with Snowden in Moscow before being detained.

      Greenwald also said the Sunday Times “mindlessly” repeated a claim that Snowden downloaded 1.7 million documents, when there was no evidence to support the number.

    • Norway denies Snowden entry for freedom prize

      Norway’s government has refused to allow the NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden to cross over the border from Russia to to collect a freedom of speech prize, warning that he may be at risk of arrest.

    • Surveillance Reform: The Congressional-Intelligence Complex Strikes Back

      House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) clearly hates being on the end of a losing vote. He is now working overtime to reverse his most recent policy and legislative loss.


      Clapper also claimed that the ban on mandating that American tech companies build in encryption “back doors” to their products would prevent the FBI and the Intelligence Community from working with tech companies “even with their consent”. Also false. The amendment simply prohibits the government from forcing companies to make defective products. Nowhere does the amendment prohibit voluntary cooperation with federal law enforcement agencies.

    • Why Mass Surveillance Violates International Law

      Around the world repressive governments are trying to stop Internet users from either posting anonymously or using encryption to communicate securely. Russia requires bloggers with more than 3,000 visitors to register with the state and identify themselves; pseudonyms are outlawed in Vietnam; Ecuador requires commenters on websites to use their real name; Pakistan’s government must grant approval for the use of encryption; and Ethiopia convicted members of the dissident blogging collective Zone 9 on terrorism charges based in part on participation in an online encryption workshop.

    • Germany Warns Of Cyber-Attack Threat

      Cyber-threats ‘one of the biggest challenges’ in the coming years, according to Germany’s defence minister, as Bundestag reportedly hacked

    • ​Germany BND chief to restructure agency following NSA spying scandal – report

      The head of Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service is reportedly aiming to bring more oversight to the agency and hire external advisers, in an effort to prevent a repeat of the NSA spying scandal that engulfed it this year.

    • German intelligence ‘to be reorganised in response to spy scandal’

      German intelligence is reportedly facing a major overhaul in response to a damaging scandal after it emerged it had spied on European partners at the request of the US.

      Gerhard Schindler, the head of the BND intelligence service, wants to bring all 6,500 of its field officers back under central control, according to Süddeustche Zeitung newspaper.

    • Spy chief seeks to bring field officers to heel

      The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has decided to reorganize the agency to stop a repeat of the US National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal that has engulfed it this year.

    • Germany’s Spy Agency Monitored Own Branch Tied to US

      Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND spied on its own branch, gathering information at the US request, the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday.

    • German Investigation Into NSA Surveillance Of Angela Merkel Dropped

      Moreover, as Techdirt noted back in 2013, the refusal by the US authorities to address these and other allegations of surveillance is contributing to the German public’s jaundiced view of the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations, which are increasingly in trouble. That skepticism is reflected by the fact that among the 2 million signatures gathered so far by the pan-European Stop TTIP online petition, fully one half come from Germany. The decision to drop the investigation into claims that the NSA listened in on Merkel’s phone calls is unlikely to make things better.

    • Probe Against Alleged NSA Wiretapping of Merkel’s Phone Calls Dropped
    • Merkel’s office suggests special investigator see U.S. spy list
    • German BND Reform Should Reduce Agency’s Dependence on NSA – Lawmaker

      German member of the European Parliament Udo Voigt claims that the reform of the German intelligence service BND should make the body less dependent from NSA.

    • German parliament’s NSA probe enters ‘neutral’ stage

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed that a third-party investigator be appointed to inspect a list of targets that German intelligence tracked on behalf of the US National Security Agency.

    • Congress seeks to block U.S. intel from German NSA probe

      President Obama wants to share U.S. secrets with a German parliamentary committee investigating the National Security Agency’s spying in Germany. The move is in direct opposition to Congressional restrictions, which were added to the fiscal 2016 intelligence authorization bill that would block intelligence sharing.

      In a notice sent to Congress Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget outlined a series of objections to the current House intelligence bill, including a section of the bill that would prevent sharing classified U.S. intelligence in response to requests by foreign governments.

    • Congressional Intel Sharing Ban Would Prevent German NSA Probe

      A new notice from the Office of Management and Budget is objecting strongly to language in the newest intelligence funding bill which would ban any intelligence sharing with foreign countries, saying the language imperils foreign relations on several fronts.

    • Senate rejects US ruling on metadata, Snowden investigation

      The federal government has refused to recognise a decision by a US appeals court which ruled that mass collection of telecommunications metadata.

      Parliament today rejected a motion by Greens communications spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam that the senate take note the ruling and recognise that “Australians and the global community have legitimate and ongoing concerns about the erosion of privacy caused by the unchecked growth of government electronic surveillance programs”.

    • Oregon Bill to Take on Warrantless Collection of Cellphone Data Passes State House

      A bipartisan Oregon bill that would prohibit law enforcement from obtaining information from electronic devices without a warrant in most cases overwhelmingly passed the state House last week. The proposed bill would not only protect privacy in Oregon, but would also address a practical effect of NSA spying.

      Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland), Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), Sen. Tim Knopp (R – Bend) and Rep. John Huffman (R-The Dalles) introduced Senate Bill 641 (SB641) in February. The bill prohibits state and local law enforcement officers from using forensic imaging to obtain information contained in a portable electronic device except with a warrant, or by consent. “Forensic imaging” means “using an electronic device to download or transfer raw data from a portable electronic device onto another medium of digital storage,” but does not include photographing or transcribing information “observable from the portable electronic device by normal unaided human senses.”

    • U.S. losing battle for top tech talent in wake of Snowden revelations

      The government agencies that defend America are in the midst of a charm offensive — trying to win the hearts and minds of Silicon Valley’s tech workers.

      The move is evoking considerable skepticism from the U.S. tech community.

      In recent months, the U.S. Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security have announced the opening of Silicon Valley offices as part of an effort to mend fences.

    • Where’s Cromwell? Edward Snowden has been neutralized

      While ensconced in safety and security in Russia, the likelihood of Snowden being the spark that lights the fuse for real change in governments’ accountability around the globe dims with each passing day. Still, Snowden’s role in exposing the villainous plot in charge of Washington was a pivotal decision; on his part, a real personal sacrifice; but for the rest of the West, a good starting point.

    • Editorial: Freedom Act should make you shake your head

      The USA Freedom Act is literally as much an oxymoron as its parallel predecessor — the Patriot Act.

    • Will the “Freedom Act” Bring Real Freedom to Americans?

      To sum it up, be it a real move or a temporary fix to keep up appearances, the fact is that monitoring and tracking activities by US intelligence services are continuing at full speed. Furthermore, these laws pertain only to the intelligence activities regarding US citizens and do not include any articles on restricting intelligence activities regarding non-US citizens or US citizens abroad.

    • Privacy fight far from finished

      The cost to the tech industry as a result of NSA spying is estimated to reach $200 billion by 2016…

    • The USA Freedom Act: what it changes and (mostly) doesn’t for cloud services–and is it really the issue

      The recent showdown over renewal of certain provisions of the USA Patriot Act (often called simply the Patriot Act) and the subsequent enactment of the USA Freedom Act have raised a number of questions about the ongoing impact of these laws on data traversing or being stored in the United States. While the new law takes the NSA out of the direct business of maintaining metadata (which includes phone number called, the time and duration of the call, and location information) on all phone calls originating or terminating in the US (with a declared intent of transitioning instead to a program that will allow court-moderated access to phone company data) and reinstates provisions that enable so-called “roving wiretaps” and monitoring of “lone wolves,” it essentially leaves unchanged the underlying laws that govern the US authorities access to data stored in the cloud.

    • Spy law looks the same

      Libertarians and constitutionalists feel betrayed by the long hated extreme surveillance measures implemented in the misnamed Patriot Act (should be named Surveillance of Americans Act) of October 2001, six weeks after 9/11. Authors of the bill knew at the time such measures meant an unprecedented expansion of government and loss of privacy for most Americans — hence the five year renewal provisions of the more Draculan parts. Both recent presidents have requested its continuance in 2005 and again in 2010.

      Sen.Rand Paul’s heroic June 1 Senate filibuster helped prevent the Senate from extending the Patriot Act, as wanted by most Republicans, and as had happened twice before. Thank God, Paul and the Democrats for its defeat. The five-year renewal of the Patriot Act did not have the votes. Instead, we got virtually the same thing in the so-called USA Freedom Act, again misnamed. How can freedom be enhanced by the government’s enhanced surveillance of its own citizens? Thanks to President Barack Obama and the Republicans, government’s unwarranted and indefinite storage of private records and communications continues.

    • Will GOP stop NSA? Well, that depends

      A former U.S. Justice Department attorney predicts some Republicans seeking the White House would continue the controversial collection of Americans’ information.

    • NSA Celebrates Passage of USA ‘Freedom’ Act, While Skype Keeps Its Spying Eyes on You

      Both privacy advocates and the NSA are celebrating the USA Freedom Act that passed the Senate on June 2. The act legalized and simplified the collecting of phone metadata for the NSA. Meanwhile Skype continues to collect voice, chat, video and other data, and deliver it to the Five Eyes international spy coalition.

      The passage of the USA Freedom Act — penned by General Keith Alexander, director of the NSA — was followed by general celebration over what is considered a small victory for privacy advocates, and the biggest surveillance reform since the 1970s.

    • NSA Surveillance: Things to know about newly approved USA Freedom Act
    • French Surveillance Bill: a Major Defeat for Liberties

      The Commission Mixte Paritaire — a joint parliamentary committee responsible for reaching a compromise between the lower and upper house — met on 16th June to reach an agreement on the final version on the Surveillance Bill, between the version approved by the National Assembly on 5th May, and the one approved by the Senate on 9th June. However, a last minute change modified deeply the spirit of the Bill and its application on French territory. La Quadrature du Net regrets this umpteenth anti-democratic procedure and renews its call to French representatives to reject this text during the final vote on the 23rd and 24th June.

    • Assange: Google’s dominant position should be broken up

      Assange: In some ways the higher echelons of Google always seemed more distant and obscure to me than the halls of Washington. When my colleague told me the executive chairman of Google wanted to make an appointment with me I was intrigued that the mountain would come to Muhammad. But it was not until well after Schmidt and his entourage had gone that I came to understand who had really visited me.

    • Julian Assange: ‘Western Civilization Has Produced a God, the God of Mass Surveillance’

      Now finally, Western civilization has produced a god, the god of mass surveillance. How is it like a god? It’s a little bit Abrahamic. If you look at most definitions, a god is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. In particular, god knows when you are doing something that you shouldn’t be doing and whether you are playing according to god’s rules. The conception of national security agencies and mass surveillance is that the overwhelming majority of communications are surveilled upon. Even conversations happening in person may be recorded through an Android phone, or through other electronic gadgets that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Maybe your friend, although you just talked to them in person, can gossip over electronic media about what you said.

    • Obama Asks for 6 more Months of NSA Bulk Surveillance Collection

      It’s the oldest trick in the book—when Dad tells you no, ask Mom if you can do it. Now President Barack Obama is playing that game with the surveillance of Americans’ phone records.

      The Obama administration, on the same day the USA Freedom Act became law on June 2, went to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court) with a request (pdf) to continue sweeping up phone records during a six-month “transition” period before the Freedom Act provisions take effect.

      The USA Freedom Act specifies that call records be maintained by the phone companies, and the government may access them only with a warrant from the FISA court. That’s evidently not good enough for the Obama administration.

    • Under the radar, secret NSA database open for business

      NSA isn’t commenting on its plans for retaining these phone call records.

      But with nothing forcing the Corporate Store to close for business, ACLU attorney Patrick Toomey said, “This NSA database may grow even more quickly than ever before.”

    • New Snowden documents show NSA has expanded U.S. web spying

      Most of the Snowden disclosures have shed light on the NSA’s basic mission of gathering foreign “signals intelligence”, but the way the agency does its job in the Internet age by necessity involves exploiting weaknesses in the same technology the rest of United States use. He also cited laws in Europe and in South America protecting citizens from mass surveillance. Until now, this program was never disclosed to the public. What gives this protocol another layer of security is the fact that Apple has no access to all the encryption keys which means that the company can’t produce any data stored on their own devices even if issued by a warrant from a government agency. In the wake of 9/11, the government dismantled this protection, arguing that it would impede the investigation of terrorists.

    • As Senate rejects cyber bill, privacy trumps security concerns

      Taken together, those measures could amount to a new backdoor for government surveillance, according to some experts. The revelation earlier this month that the NSA monitors Americans’ Internet traffic in its hunt for foreign cybersecurity threats has only heightened those fears, according to Jennifer Granick of Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society.

    • Shami Chakrabarti: Let me be clear – Edward Snowden is a hero

      The hyperbole that followed yesterday’s story was astonishing – Professor Anthony Glees reportedly branded Snowden “a villain of the first order” – Darth Vader eat your heart out.

      So let me be completely clear: Edward Snowden is a hero. Saying so does not make me an apologist for terror – it makes me a firm believer in democracy and the rule of law. Whether you are with or against Liberty in the debate about proportionate surveillance, Anderson must be right to say that the people and our representatives should know about capabilities and practices built and conducted in our name.

      For years, UK and US governments broke the law. For years, they hid the sheer scale of their spying practices not just from the British public, but from parliament. Without Snowden – and the legal challenges by Liberty and other campaigners that followed – we wouldn’t have a clue what they were up to.

    • Encrypted email service with MIT ties opens to general public

      Protonmail, the easy-to-use encrypted mail service that launched in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying and was built in part by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, opened to the general public Sunday evening.

      The founders of the Switzerland-based service announced the news on its website and released a link for easy sign-up. They also said Protonmail now has 500,000 users. Financial contributors have been able to get accounts for about a year.

    • [Reposted] NSA whistleblower speaks in Eden Prairie
    • Anonymous Carries Out Massive Cyber-Attack In Retaliation Of NSA Style Canadian Bill C-51

      The hacker collective Anonymous is taking credit for a massive cyber-attack on the federal government that made multiple government websites go dark this afternoon — apparently in protest against the Harper government’s controversial security legislation, C-51.

  • Civil Rights

    • German police arrest Al Jazeera journalist in Berlin: lawyer
    • Nicola Corbyn and The Myth of the Unelectable Left

      There was only any public enthusiasm for Blair in 97 – and to put that in perspective, it was less than the public enthusiasm for John Major in 1992.

    • The Invasion Of Privacy

      Radack was not part of the original criminal defense team that represented Drake during 2010 and 2011, and she has said that she found out about the alleged destruction of records relating to Drake’s case via the OSC. The information she has comes from secret complaints that were filed by officials from the Pentagon inspector general’s office, some of whom still work there. It is not known who they are as they formally requested the OSC respect their anonymity for fear of retaliation.

      It is understood that the Justice Department claimed prior to Drake’s impending 2011 trial that some documents had been destroyed, but that this has been done according to “a standard document destruction policy.” Radack maintains that there is no such policy, and that rather the inspector general’s office has a Records Management Program that demands documents are kept on file.

      Drake has been quoted as saying these allegations are his last chance to hold the NSA accountable for “illegal retaliation” against whistleblowers.

    • Possible Pentagon destruction of evidence in NSA leak case probed

      Two government watchdog agencies are investigating whether the Pentagon inspector general destroyed evidence improperly during the high-profile leak investigation of former National Security Agency senior official Thomas Drake.

      The Justice Department acknowledged the probes in a letter last week to a federal magistrate judge who recently received the allegations from Drake’s lawyers. The judge is determining whether she should take further action in a case that ended in 2011 when Drake pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

    • Destroyed Documents In NSA Surveillance Case Under Investigation

      Government watchdog agencies are looking into whether officials at the Pentagon improperly destroyed evidence documenting whistleblower cases, McClatchy reported Monday. The documents in question involve the 2011 prosecution of Thomas Drake, who was charged under the espionage act with leaking documents about National Security Agency surveillance to the media.

      The investigation centers on whether Pentagon officials were right to destroy documents related to Drake’s case in 2011. At the time, officials said they were destroyed “pursuant to a standard document destruction policy.” Most federal agencies are required to keep schedules that detail which documents should be retained and which can be destroyed.

    • Has the U.S. Learned Anything From Edward Snowden’s NSA Revelations?

      For instance, a draft Inspector General report found that CIA Director Leon Panetta disclosed such information about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. Similarly, former CIA director David Petraeus provided classified information to his biographer. Panetta was never charged, and Petraeus was let off with a misdemeanor.

    • America hates its whistle-blowers: The tortured legacy of Edward Snowden

      Snowden, meanwhile, sits in exile — a fugitive for exposing his own government’s unprecedented system of surveillance. While Snowden’s critics say he should come back to the United States to air out his grievances in open court, journalist Glenn Greenwald notes: “He’s barred under the Espionage Act even from arguing that his leaks were justified; he wouldn’t be permitted to utter a word about that.”

    • Bureau of Prisons Puts CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling in Prison Around 900 Miles from Wife & Family

      CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling was notified at the end of last week that he will serve his prison sentence of three and a half years at Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, a medium-security facility in Littleton, Colorado, that is around 900 miles away from where his wife and family live in St. Louis. That is at least a 12-hour drive.

    • Potential Impact, Reprisal Called Foremost to Whistleblowers

      In addition, agencies “are motivated to continue retaliation indefinitely because it creates a chilling effect that silences others,” testimony said.

    • Why Are Persons Unknown More Likely to Be Called ‘Terrorist’ Than a Known White Supremacist?

      In the wake of mass violence, a nation struggling to understand turns to its news outlets to see how they frame events. The language journalists use in the immediate aftermath of a bloodbath helps form public attitudes and has a major impact on official reactions.

      When two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three and injuring hundreds, it was inevitably a huge story: A search of the Nexis news database for US newspapers on the next day turns up 2,593 stories mentioning the marathon, virtually all of them about the bombing. Of these, 887, or 34 percent, used the word “terrorism” or a variant (“terrorist,” “terroristic” etc.)–even though the bombers, let alone the bombers’ motivations, would not be known until days later.

    • Despite Soaring Popularity, Women’s Sports Got More Coverage a Generation Ago

      If someone told you that there is less coverage of women’s sports on televised news programs today than there was in 1989, would you believe them? It would be reasonable if your response was “no.”

      Certainly, girls and women’s participation in sport has dramatically increased over the past 25+ years, and there are a number of professional women’s leagues today that did not exist in 1989. There’s also been a tremendous growing interest in and fan base for women’s sports over the last quarter century.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Music industry wins against UK government over private copying of music

        The UK’s music industry has successfully landed a significant judgement from the UK’s High Court, countering a copyright exception that was brought in by the UK government last year. Since last October, there was a law that allowed you to make private copies of your own music; now the future of that law is uncertain.

        The exception finally legalised what everyone has been doing for decades: making copies for personal, private use of copyright works they had bought, including format-shifted versions. Despite the marginal nature of the exception—it did not extend to making copies for family and friends, for example—the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, the Musicians’ Union, and UK Music successfully applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the change to UK law.

      • UK’s Legalization of CD Ripping is Unlawful, Court Rules

        Several music industry organizations in the UK have won a judicial review which renders the Government’s decision to allow copying for personal use unlawful. According to the High Court, there’s insufficient evidence to prove that the legislation doesn’t hurt musicians and the industry at large.

      • Lack of fair compensation requirement in UK private copying exception not supported by sufficient evidence, High Court rules

        What may happen now is that a reference to the CJEU is made, seeking further clarification about questions yet to be determined.


Links 19/6/2015: ‘Rebasing Ubuntu on Android’ Suggestion, Red Hat Profit Rises 28%

Posted in News Roundup at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Go beyond Bootstrap with PatternFly

    Design and user experience (UX) can often be an afterthought for open source projects. But that’s changing. PatternFly is a project helping to bridge the gap between developers and designers.

    PatternFly is an open source project that promotes design commonality and improved user experience. It’s a place where open source developers and designers can collaborate, create, and share user interface (UI) components and widgets. PatternFly is based on Bootstrap, a mobile-first front-end framework for creating web sites and applications.

  • Advancements in Open Source Assistive Technologies

    Open source software (OSS) positively impacts many large industries from healthcare to education—these effects are now being felt at the individual level as well. The speed of delivery and cost efficiency of OSS enables developers to provide multi-use, flexible and readily available software as opposed to proprietary options. OSS allows software developers to create assistive technologies using open source interfaces that directly improve the day-to-day lives of members of the special needs community or individuals who have physical disabilities.

  • The UX of open source content management

    I have to solve this issue for the user. We make a point to distinguish PencilBlue from the competition through our user experience, even if we have no control over who uses our product.

    Ultimately, that’s what makes UX in open source content management such a daunting task. The limitless, unpredictable variance in use cases, combined with an ever-increasing demand for multi-language, “easy to understand” interfaces is difficult to keep up with.

  • AT&T to Open Source Network Hardware, NFV Software
  • AT&T open sourcing gigabit network components
  • AT&T talks ‘disaggregation,’ going open source

    AT&T (NYSE: T) says the future of its network is all about software, and it’s blazing a trail to virtualize 75 percent of its network by 2020. This week, John Donovan, senior EVP for technology and operations at AT&T, said the operator’s engineers have figured out how to turn complex appliances into software running on commodity servers and other hardware.

  • Jenkins All-In With Docker Containers to Enhance DevOps Workflow

    CloudBees is leading the Docker integration effort with plug-ins that enable the use of containers as part of a Jenkins continuous integration workflow.

  • Project mirroring policies will be revisited with our Community Panel, existing mirrors removed

    Recent community concerns have triggered an extensive internal review of our mirroring program and how mirrored content is used on SourceForge. In light of this review, third-party bundling of mirrored content was discontinued May 27th. As of June 18th, we have taken a further step in removing SourceForge-maintained mirrored projects, and are engaging our newly-formed Community Panel to discuss site features and program policies including a redesigned mirror program.

  • New open-source platform for building corporate PBX networks

    A new open-source, Web-based platform for building corporate PBX (private branch exchange) telephone networks has been released by Duxbury Networking.

  • Major Contributor To Open Source Technologies, Julian Shapiro, Pulls Back the Curtains on SAAS Usage

    Julian Shapiro is a leading web developer and a major contributor to open source technologies. He is the creator of Velocity.js, the most popular open source Web animation engine that powers the user interface animations for WhatsApp, Tumblr, Yahoo!, HTC, and thousands of other companies.

  • Linux, the most popular open source project of all time and widely used in just about every data center there is, got its start in 1991 when creator Linus Torvalds decided to write an operating system just for fun.

    Linux, the most popular open source project of all time and widely used in just about every data center there is, got its start in 1991 when creator Linus Torvalds decided to write an operating system just for fun.

  • Google

    • Watch This Open Source AI Learn to Dominate Super Mario World in Just 24 Hours

      Recently, Google’s DeepMind—an artificial intelligence firm acquired for over $400 million in 2013—has been widely featured for demonstrations of an algorithm that teaches itself to play video games. In a paper, the DeepMind team said the software had learned to play Atari Breakout, and some 48 other games, as well as any human gamer.

    • GSOC: new unified KCM for mouse and touchpad

      This year I’m participating in Google Summer of Code with a project called “Pointing Devices KCM”. It is about creating new unified KCM for both mouses and touchpads (and maybe some other devices like ThinkPad’s pointing stick later).

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • WebAssembly

        I’m happy to report that we at Mozilla have started working with Chromium, Edge and WebKit engineers on creating a new standard, WebAssembly, that defines a portable, size- and load-time-efficient format and execution model specifically designed to serve as a compilation target for the Web.

      • WebAssembly LLVM Backend Being Discussed

        A WebAssembly back-end has been proposed for LLVM. WebAssembly is a new virtual ISA designed to run compiled code within web browsers.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ClusterHQ Ships Flocker 1.0, Strikes Partnership with EMC

      Container technology remains very big news, and if you bring up the topic almost everyone immediately thinks of Docker. But there are tools arriving that can compete with Docker, and tools that can extend it and make it more flexible. We’ve covered Rocket, which comes from the CoreOS team, and is a command line tool for running app containers. And then there is ClusterHQ which has an open source project called Flocker that allows developers to run their databases inside Docker containers and make them highly portable.

    • ClusterHQ picks EMC as friend with benefits for Flocker release

      ClusterHQ has inked an agreement that will see its Flocker container management code integrate with EMC’s flashy fare.

    • Breqwatr Offers Cloud Appliance Based on OpenStack

      Throughout the history of networking, appliances that bundle key components of the network stack have helped make network configuration and deployment easier. Now, a company called Breqwatr, which focuses on making private clouds more accessible to the enterprise, has announced that it is pursuing the appliance path with OpenStack.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • Healthcare trade group to validate open source solutions

      The Dutch Association of Research Quality Assurance, a trade group representing about 600 health care institutions and suppliers, is to assist in validating open source software solutions for use in health care. Approved solutions will be given so-called vendor compliance statements, asserting compliance with European and global health care ICT standards.

  • Business

    • Open source, third party codes on the rise

      Many programmers are not writing their own original source code anymore because of market pressure to produce software quickly and cheaply.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Secrets of the vault: Backblaze open-sources key sections of its data preservation software

        Of all the various backup companies on the market, few have documented their work and research as thoroughly as Backblaze. The company has previously made headlines for open-sourcing both the underlying hardware design that it uses for its Storage Pods and its hard drive reliability data (the latter early this year). Now, Backblaze is opening up another facet of its operation — the implementation of its Reed-Solomon error-correcting codes.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • signify shortcomings

      Secret key files contain a 64-bit hash (truncated SHA512) of the secret key data which is used to verify the user’s password. You wouldn’t want to enter the wrong password and accidentally sign something with a bogus key. Unfortunately, this creates something of an oracle. If you steal somebody’s secret key, instead of guessing passwords which will be terribly slow because of the KDF, you can just guess keys and compute hashes until you get a match. The good news is that the key space is fairly large; you won’t have much luck guessing one. Harmless as this may be, it’s bothered me quite a bit because it’s plainly wrong. (The rationale for this decision was that encrypting the hash as well would require another iteration of the KDF.)

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Tux Paint’s Birthday, RMS Keynotes SeaGL & More…
    • Who will build the Government-as-a-Service platform?

      There is much to be said about open government. While there are many different open government movements, I’ve not yet seen a “platform” that is available for local governments to use. There is a company called OpenGov which does address local government financial transparency, and that is a start, but falls woefully short if you want a fully transparent local government.

    • Open Hardware

      • Razer and Valve Boost Open Source Virtual Reality at E3

        At this week’s E3 show in Los Angeles, virtual reality took another step toward becoming the real deal as companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Facebook’s Oculus showed off VR headsets. More significantly for the never-say-die Linux gaming community, as well as others looking for an open VR platform for immersive applications, up-and-comer Razer announced upgrades for its own Linux-compatible, fully open source VR Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) headset. In addition, Valve had updates on its SteamVR platform, and HTC showed off its SteamVR-based Vive headset, which can similarly be controlled from a Linux desktop.

      • Open Source Wireless LED Strip Controller (video)

        Michiel Brink based in Almelo, Netherlands has created a new wireless LED strip controller called EspLight, that is capable of using both analog and digital strips.

        The wireless LED strip control board is perfect for makers, developers or hobbyists that would like to control their projects via smartphones or computers.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Heinz forced to apologise after QR code on ketchup bottle linked to hardcore porn site

    When a German man scanned the QR code on a bottle of ketchup, he expected to land on a page about designing his own label. Instead, he was taken to a hardcore porn website.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Scapegoating Labor for Fast Track’s Defeat

      Corporate media have a storyline ready to explain the defeat (for the time being, anyway) of the Trans Pacific Partnership : Big Labor is to blame.

    • David Brooks Declares War on ‘Democratic Tea Party’–Unarmed With Facts

      The Washington chattering class is really upset that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) looks like it’s going down. David Brooks pulled out all the stops, using his New York Times column (6/16/15) to yell at “Tea Party” Democrats for not supporting the fast-track authority that would facilitate passage of the TPP.

    • How TTIP, TPP, TISA, CETA and other trade deals should be negotiated

      A lot has been written on what is bad about TTIP, CETA, TISA, TPP, etc. Some people accuse us about being opposed to any trade deal at all. To repute this let us imagine for a moment on how such trade deal would ideally look like and how they should have been negotiated.

    • Charter Program Expansion Looms Despite Probes into Mismanagement and Closed Schools

      As Congress stands poised to increase funding for the quarter-billion-dollar-a-year federal Charter Schools Program by a whopping 48 percent, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has uncovered that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General has major nationwide probes underway into closed charter schools and suspected waste and financial mismanagement within the program.

    • Robert Reich: Elites are waging war on public education

      It’s no secret that former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich has some misgivings about the direction of the American economy. But the prolific writer, radio commentator and longtime University of California, Berkeley professor isn’t thrilled about how we are educating our kids, either.

      As part of a new project with the activist group MoveOn.org, Reich recently released a video that described our education system as “squashing passion for learning, eroding the love of teaching and grinding up generations of young people.” The critique is accompanied by a set of proposals to reinvent American education – one of 10 planks in a broader agenda titled “10 Ideas to Save the Economy.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Apotheosis of Murdochian Corporatism – Martin Ivens

      When called out on the lie that David Miranda had been arrested at Heathrow after visiting Snowden in Moscow – a lie crucial to the fabric of deceit they had twisted into a story to justify the “snoopers’ charter” – Ivens did not apologise or explain, he merely had the lie excised from the online edition with no explanation. The print edition was already out, and despite the fact that the online “story” which had already been full of holes, now made no sense at all, they continued with it.

  • Privacy

    • Encryption “would not have helped” at OPM, says DHS official

      During testimony today in a grueling two-hour hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta claimed that she had recognized huge problems with the agency’s computer security when she assumed her post 18 months ago. But when pressed on why systems had not been protected with encryption prior to the recent discovery of an intrusion that gave attackers access to sensitive data on millions of government employees and government contractors, she said, “It is not feasible to implement on networks that are too old.” She added that the agency is now working to encrypt data within its networks.

    • Promote Strong Encryption and Anonymity in the Digital Age

      The undersigned civil society organizations (including La Quadrature du Net) and independent experts work to promote human rights and press freedom online. We welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression on the use of encryption and anonymity in digital communication (A/HRC/29/32), which was presented at the UN Human Rights Council on June 17.

    • Belgium sues Facebook over illegal Privacy Violations of Users and Non-Users

      The Belgian government will be suing Facebook. The Commission for the Protection of Privacy states that Facebook violates Belgian and EU law by tracking systems that target both Facebook users as well as non-Facebook users. Facebook is known for cooperating with the U.S.’ National Security Agency.


      Facebook failed to comply, and the Commission has no power to enforce the law; hence the decision to sue Facebook to attain a a court ruling.

    • Merkel NSA phone tapping

      My interview today for RT about the German prosecutor’s decision to stop the investigation of the NSA tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, and much more…

    • Let’s Encrypt Launch Schedule

      We will issue the first end entity certificates under our root under tightly controlled circumstances. No cross-signature will be in place yet, so the certificates will not validate unless our root is installed in client software. As we approach general availability we will issue more and more certificates, but only for a pre-approved set of domains. This limited issuance period will give us time to further ensure that our systems are secure, compliant, and scalable.


      In the past year, a conflict has erupted between technology companies, privacy advocates, and members of the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence communities over the right to use and distribute products that contain strong encryption technology. This debate between government actors seeking ways to preserve access to encrypted communications and a coalition of pro-encryption groups is reminiscent of an old battle that played out in the 1990s: a period that has come to be known as the “Crypto Wars.” This paper tells the story of that debate and the lessons that are relevant to today. It is a story not only about policy responses to new technology, but also a sustained, coordinated effort among industry groups, privacy advocates, and technology experts from across the political spectrum to push back against government policies that threatened online innovation and fundamental human rights.

    • Free SSL/TLS certificate project moves closer to launch

      Let’s Encrypt, a project aimed at increasing the use of encryption across websites by issuing free digital certificates, is planning to issue the first ones next month.

      Digital certificates are used to encrypt data traffic between a computer and a server using SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) and for checking that a website isn’t a spoof.

    • The Dark Web as You Know It Is a Myth

      Read nearly any article about the dark web, and you’ll get the sense that its name connotes not just its secrecy but also the low-down dirty content of its shadowy realms. You’ll be told that it is home to several nefarious things: stolen data, terrorist sites, and child porn. Now while those things may be among what’s available on the dark web, all also are available on the normal web, and are easily accessible to anyone, right now, without the need for any fancy encryption software.


      Terrorist forums are also hiding in full view of anyone with an Internet connection. Regular websites allow extremist supporters and prominent jihadis alike to communicate with one another and post brutal propaganda videos. Al Qaeda’s first forum was launched way back in 2001, and although that site was shut down, a handful of other violent Islamic extremist sites continue to exist on the normal web and are used heavily today. Shutting these sites down is “like a game of whack-a-mole,” Evan Kohlmann from Flashpoint, an intelligence company, told me last year.


      And yes, child porn is accessible on the normal web. In fact, it is rampant when compared with what’s available from hidden sites. Last year, the Internet Watch Foundation, a charity that collates child sexual abuse websites and works with law enforcement and hosting providers to have the content removed, found 31,266 URLs that contained child porn images. Of those URLs, only 51 of them, or 0.2 percent, were hosted on the dark web.


      Instead, the dark web is a small collection of sites that reflect the limited number of good, bad, and downright weird humans that use it. Doctors can give impartial advice to drug users, who come out of the woodwork because of the anonymity awarded to them by Tor; Chinese citizens can discuss whatever they like and circumvent The Great Firewall, and, yes, the dark web is also used to host some seriously depraved sites, such as extreme pornography. At the moment, the space is probably used mostly for criminal purposes, but its relevance to the world of cybercrime and other domains has been grossly exaggerated.

    • Surprising EFF privacy report gives Apple and Dropbox a clean bill of health

      THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) has published its annual league table of tech companies and their use of customer data.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Domains No Longer Accessible Through ‘WWW’

        The Pirate Bay has dropped the www prefix for all of its domains. The changes occurred earlier this week and were made without a redirect, which is causing some visitors to believe that the site is currently offline.

      • OFE Press Release – A big step ahead in the EU Copyright reform

        The long awaited own initiative report of the European Parliament, on the evaluation of the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC), has passed the vote in JURI committee today, with 23 votes in favour and 2 against. All 30 compromise amendments have been adopted with a rather large majority every time, showing both the ongoing effort of the rapporteur to find a suitable wording for all political parties, and the MEPs’ willingness to find a common ground for the ongoing EU copyright reform. OFE welcomes this milestone in the reform process, while waiting for the Commission’s legislative proposal later in 2015. Although the final report is less ambitious than the initial proposal, it still goes further than the proposals made by the Commission in its Digital Single Market strategy.


Links 18/6/2015: Red Hat Results Imminent, Tor Browser 4.5.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Small is beautiful – free software column

    Free software, like the web, is promoted by corporations when it is useful to their profit margins. Many disparate organisations collaborate and contribute to GNU/Linux and other free and open source software projects, because they are beneficial to their bottom lines and seldom for altruistic reasons. Contributing to GNU/Linux reduces development costs and encourages open standards. open standards are useful because they reduce barriers to entry for technologies that were ‘not invented here’.

  • Server

    • Mi Amiga: One Michigan School District’s Three-Decades-Old Hero Computer That Still Manages HVAC Today

      As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve worked most of my professional life in the tech industry, specifically working for a managed services consultant in Chicago. One of the things we do is advise our clients on hardware rotations. Client machines, like desktops and laptops for instance, are typically recommended on a four to five year rotation. Because, let’s face it, a five year old computer is either functionally worthless or is probably hanging onto a single strand of twisted copper before crapping out entirely, amirite?

    • 1980s computer controls GRPS heat and AC

      A 30-year-old computer that has run day and night for decades is what controls the heat and air conditioning at 19 Grand Rapids Public Schools.

    • 5 steps to becoming a quality Docker contributor

      But getting started on a new codebase can be daunting. Docker has many, many lines of code. Fixing even the smallest issue can require reading through a lot of that code and understanding how the pieces all fit together.

    • LUCI4HPC

      The software described in this article is designed for a Beowulf-style cluster. Such a cluster commonly consists of consumer-grade machines and allows for parallel high-performance computing. The system is managed by a head node and accessed via a login node. The actual work is performed by multiple compute nodes. The individual nodes are connected through an internal network. The head and login node need an additional external network connection, while the compute nodes often use an additional high-throughput, low-latency connection between them, such as InfiniBand.

    • Linbit Launches New Synchronous Server Storage Software

      DRBD9 provides enterprise Linux users with synchronous server storage replication including support for native remote direct memory access, or RDMA, and OpenStack integration.

    • Linode introduces KVM to help it move away from Xen

      The upgrade to KVM is very easy to carry out, on a Xen Linode’s dashboard, there is a link on the right sidebar titled ‘Upgrade to KVM’. Once you do the upgrade you should then be switched over to KVM. If you want to set your account to default to KVM for new Linodes just go to your Account Settings and set the ‘Hypervisor Preference’ to KVM, any new Linodes you create will be KVM. On a 1GB instance, one user reported the downtime to be between 8-9 minutes while he switched to KVM.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Creator of Linux on the Future Without Him

      The conversation, combined with Linus Torvalds’s aggression behind the wheel, makes this sunny afternoon drive suddenly feel all too serious. Torvalds—the grand ruler of all geeks—does not drive like a geek. He plasters his foot to the pedal of a yellow Mercedes convertible with its “DAD OF 3” license plate as we rip around a corner on a Portland, Ore., freeway. My body smears across the passenger door. “There is no concrete plan of action if I die,” Torvalds yells to me over the wind and the traffic. “But that would have been a bigger deal 10 or 15 years ago. People would have panicked. Now I think they’d work everything out in a couple of months.”

    • Linus Torvalds: Linux Kernel Would Be OK in a Couple of Months If I Die
    • Linux Kernel 3.12.44 LTS Brings Many Updated Drivers, EXT4 and x86 Improvements

      On June 16, Jiri Slaby informed us about the immediate availability for download of the forty-fourth maintenance release of the Linux 3.12 kernel, a long-term supported (LTS) branch.

    • The Linux Foundation opens scholarship program — will you apply?

      Are you happy with your life? Maybe you are stuck in a dead-end job. Maybe you are unemployed and living on your mom’s couch. Hell, maybe you just need to enhance your skills for your current job. You know you need to make a change, but you keep putting it off. What is a smart path to take?

      Linux. Yes, careers involved in Linux are in high demand. Getting certified in some way is not only personally rewarding, but also improves your employment potential by bolstering your resume. If you do not have money for such a thing, I have good news — you could get a scholarship from The Linux Foundation. In other words, you can get a free education and certification. Will you improve your life by applying?

    • Learn KVM and Linux App Development with Linux Foundation Instructor Mike Day

      Linux Foundation instructor Mike Day is an expert in Linux hypervisors and led IBM’s work on the Xen and KVM hypervisors as a Distinguished Engineer. But he came upon his calling almost by accident, having been “thrown into the project with colleagues who had worked on hypervisors for more than a decade,” he said.

      “It was a real challenge for me but not too long after that I became viewed as an expert on the subject,” said Day, who now teaches KVM and Linux developer courses for Linux Foundation Training.

    • diff -u: What’s New in Kernel Development

      When you run a program as setuid, it runs with all the permissions of that user. And if the program spawns new processes, they inherit the same permissions. Not so with filesystem capabilities. When you run a program with a set of capabilities, the processes it spawns do not have those capabilities by default; they must be given explicitly.

    • Linux Foundation Beefs Up Scholarship Program

      The Linux Foundation Training Scholarship Program provides funds to applicants who otherwise would not have the ability to attend Linux Foundation training courses. It attempts to help developers, IT professionals, and promising students to build Linux careers and contribute to shaping the future of the operating system and the enterprise.

    • Linux Foundation Calls for Submissions for Expanded 2015 Linux Training Scholarship Program
    • 2015 Linux Training Scholarship Program is now Accepting Applications
    • Who’s Afraid of Systemd?

      Last year, the free software community was full of debates about systemd, the system manager that replaces init, the process that boots a Linux system. Now that systemd is uneventfully running the latest releases of major distributions like Debian, Fedora, and Ubuntu, you might imagine that opposition to it is melting away — but you’d be wrong.

      Instead, casual references on social media show that the rumors are as common as ever. And while you don’t hear much recently about Devuan, the anti-systemd fork of Debian, it is still trudging towards a release while making the same arguments as ever.

      The situation is not unique. Some free software circles have always seemed to require an enemy. For instance, in the first decade of the millennium, it was Mono, an adaptation for Linux of Microsoft’s .Net. Hundreds of thousands of words were written denouncing Mono, yet today it attracts no attention, although it is still available in repositories.

      Perhaps, too, free software users are becoming conservative as they age, as indicated by the user revolts against GNOME and KDE. Yet no precedent comes close to the viciousness of attacks on systemd, or had so little foundation, either.

    • Understanding Systemd
    • What will be the future of Linux without Linus?

      Linus: I’ve never been much of a visionary — instead of looking at huge plans for the future, I tend to have a rather short time frame of ‘issues in the next few months’. I’m a big believer in that the ‘details’ matter, and if you take care of the details, the big issues will end up sorting themselves out on their own.

    • [Reposted] The creator of Linux OS is calm about the future
    • If I get hit by a bus, Linux will go on just fine says Linus Torvalds

      Just a few days after asking the Linux community to let him take a break, Linus Torvalds has said the project he kicked off 1991 can now get along without him.

      He was, characteristically, blunt in his recent interview with Bloomberg, saying Linux would survive his death.

    • Another angle… Linux: a future without Torvalds [reposted in Ireland]
    • Will Linux survive the death of Linus Torvalds?
    • Linus Torvalds Says Linux Can Move On Without Him
    • Linux Top 3: Linux 4.1 delayed 1 Week, Kaos and Clonezilla Update

      Linux 4.1 is going to take a little longer than some of its predecessors, with Linus Torvalds release a rare eighth release candidate on June 14.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Cinnamon 2.6 – a Linux desktop for Windows XP refugees

      Cinnamon is best known as one of the two default desktops for Linux Mint, which is fast approaching its next major update. Mint 17.2 will include the brand new Cinnamon 2.6, just released, when delivered later this year.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s Music Is Getting Some Major New Features

        There is more to GNOME than just the desktop environment. GNOME is a stack of apps, and many of those applications are constantly improved and worked on. Allan Day, one of GNOME’s designers and developers, detailed some of the changes that are being made to the Music app.

      • Examining the design patterns

        I wanted to share a brief update on the Outreachy project that Gina and I are working on, where Gina is preparing for a usability test in GNOME.

        So far, we’ve been in an “information gathering” mode, where she has been learning about some of the basics of usability testing. In our next step, Gina will now start doing an analysis in preparation for a usability test.

      • Plans for GNOME’s apps

        I’ve been a bit quiet about GNOME’s applications of late. This isn’t because nothing has been happening, though – quite the opposite. We’ve been steadily working away behind the scenes, and our application designs have evolved considerably.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Further Adventures in Calculate Linux

        I’ve been experimenting in Calculate Linux lately because it offered a modern KDE without systemd or selinux installed by default, and perhaps a bit because of my nostalgia for Gentoo. Things got off to a rocky start, but after ironing out most of wrinkles and I’m finding myself right at home. I think you could too.

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • Why I use Gentoo Linux (and if you develop software you should too)

        I first discovered Gentoo Linux when I left Oracle/Sun in 2010, gave up my Mac and decided to experiment with creating a mac-like desktop experience on Linux. The initial reason was the optimizations you can do to squeeze every bit of performance out of your hardware (I’d bought a cheap Lenovo laptop).

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • OpenSUSE Tumbleweed Switching Over To GCC 5.1.1

        The current stable version of GCC 5, GCC 5.1.1, has been added to openSUSE Factory and in turn will see all packages rebuilt against this new compiler and this will become the default compiler in the openSUSE Tumbleweed snashot due out later in the week.

      • Default compiler for Tumbleweed updating to GCC 5

        The newest GNU Compiler Collection was checked in today to openSUSE Factory, which is the rolling development code base for Tumbleweed, as the default compiler, so all packages will be rebuilt against GCC 5 and the next Tumbleweed snapshot will include GCC 5.1.1

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Linux Switches to GCC 5 as Default Compiler

        On June 16, the openSUSE Project, through Douglas DeMaio, had the great pleasure of announcing that the Tumbleweed version of the openSUSE Linux operating system has moved to the 5.x branch of GCC (GNU Compiler Collection).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Minio Lands $3.3M Seed Round To Build Out Open Source Storage Project

        When venture capitalists open their wallets and hand out $3.3 million for a seed round, you have to figure the new company has some industry veterans with startup experience, and such is the case with Minio, an open source cloud storage product being built by veterans from Gluster.

        Gluster was purchased by Red Hat in 2011 for $136 million.

      • Ravello Empowers Open Source Community With Free Smart Labs on AWS and Google for Red Hat Certified Engineers
      • Rackspace’s Carl Thompson Named 2015 Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year
      • Red Hat (RHT) to Release Quarterly Earnings on Thursday
      • Rite Aid, Red Hat, Smith & Wesson earnings in focus
      • Red Hat Earnings Expected to Rise

        Optimism surrounds Red Hat, as it gets ready to report its first quarter results on Thursday, June 18, 2015. Analysts are expecting the company to book a profit of 27 cents a share, up from 24 cents a year ago.

      • Is Red Hat’s (RHT) Q1 Earnings Likely to Surprise Estimates?

        Red Hat reported strong results in the last quarter with both earnings and revenues surpassing the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

      • Fedora

        • antiX, Debian, Fedora, and More

          The Fedora Wiki got a new entry last month that makes one wonder if Fedora really wants users at all. If folks complain it’s because they didn’t read the information provided or don’t understand what they’re reading. Users are too dumb or lazy to file bugs reports and would rather complain than test “every possible feature and/or configuration switch.” Hardly anyone bothers to read the source code or its license and, if they do, they’d rather complain than write the code to fix whatever their complaint is themselves. If they do write the fix and it’s not committed, then they’ll complain rather than learn from it. Folks are going to complain, so just ignore it.

        • Fedora 22 review – Fiascoed

          And so, without any application testing, any customization, desktop effects, resource usage testing, and some other bits and pieces, we must bring the Fedora Twenty-Two KDE review to a halt. Because the distro is dead, and it can’t cope with some simple updates and installs. Really a shame. It reminds me that Fedora is a testbed. But it used to be quite stable recently, and now, we’re back in 2010.

          I really am disappointed. I wish I had some better news for you, but this release simply doesn’t cut it. It’s riddled with bugs, even when it works, and then it stops working. Slow, laggy, average hardware compatibility including Nvidia problems, a less than ideal presentation layer, all in all, a rushed edition with no soul or passion. You can’t fake those. Grade we must, and so Fedora 22 gets a very feeble 2/10. See you around.

        • A Quick Look At Fedora 22 “XFCE” | What’s New
        • Fedora 22 – workstation – Gnome – Do not disturb

          Fedora 22 comes with the newest version of Gnome – 3.16. You’ve probably heard about this already. The new version brought quite a few shiny changes, a major one of which was a brand new notification area. You don’t have a notification bar at the bottom any more, your notifications now come up at the top with the calendar. It’s really neat! More information can be found in the release notes here.

        • Testing rawhide apps using xdg-app

          An important aspect of xdg-app is application sandboxing, which will require application changes to use sandbox-specific APIs. However, xdg-app is also a good way to deploy and run non-sandboxed (or partially sandboxed) regular applications.

        • Contribute to pkgdb2

          Pkgdb2 is the application managing in Fedora, who is allowed to access which git repo containing the files necessary to build the packages present in the distribution.

        • IRC on Hubs

          Still, since the idea for hubs is also to help new contributors get integrated more smoothly into the Fedora community, an effective way to message people did seem like it would be valuable. Since the team/project hubs will have the ability to include an embedded IRC channel, using IRC to send private messages seemed logical. But Fedora Hubs is not an IRC client – it will use IRC to send private messages between users and to enable the channel discussions, but every channel must be directly associated with a hub and the messaging interface will only support messages between Hubs users, not to anyone external. This is an active design choice that Mo and I made, based on the concept of keeping the hub as the central organizing principle of this app in order to help fend off scope creep.

    • Debian Family

      • Chrome, Debian Linux, and the secret binary blob download riddle

        “Anyway, I haven’t said that banning such software from Debian would be the only solution… but at least these incidents come far too frequent recently, so apparently something needs to be done at Debian level to pro-actively prevent future cases/compromises like this.”

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Portable wireless speakers run Linux on a Raspberry Pi

      Axiom’s portable wireless 150W speakers stream music from the web, mobile devices, or USB, and include a WiFi access point and a 9- or 18-hour battery pack.

      Speaker and home theater manufacturer Axiom has found Kickstarter success with its AxiomAir wireless speaker system, which has surpassed its $75,000 goal to reach $121,000, with 25 days to go before the July 12 deadline. Two dozen $475 packages were still available at publication time. Other packages go for $497, said to be more than $300 under the retail price, or $950 for a two-pack, among other discounted combo packs.

    • PowerPC based IoT gateway COM ships with Linux BSP

      The rugged Arcturus “uCP1020″ COM for IoT/M2M gateways runs Linux on Freescale’s QorIQ P1020, with up to up to 64GB eMMC, three GbE ports, and a baseboard.

    • Official Raspberry Pi Case starts at $8.59

      The Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the first official case for the Raspberry Pi, which exposes all ports and features a clip-on lid for adding HATs.

      A variety of third-party enclosures for the Raspberry Pi have become available over the years, but the vendors no doubt realized the Raspberry Pi Foundation would eventually build one of their own. The time has come, with the unveiling of the “Official Raspberry Pi Case.”

    • Linux-based Sierra Wireless IoT module has 3G or 4G radios

      Sierra Wireless unveiled a Cortex-A5 based “AirPrime WP” IoT module with 3G or 4G radios, plus a modularly expandable, open-source “mangOH” carrier board.

      We’ve seen plenty of low-power, Linux-ready Internet of Things computer-on-modules, mostly based on Qualcomm’s MIPS-based Atheros SoCs. The Linux-based AirPrime WP modules from Sierra Wireless instead tackle IoT and industrial M2M with integrated cellular radios. A 3G HSPA+/EDGE/GPRS/GSM version called WP75xx is due in the fourth quarter while a WP8548 version that adds 4G LTE is due in Q1 2016.

    • Finally, an official Raspberry Pi case has been released!

      Rejoice Pi fans! The team behind Raspberry Pi have announced an official case for the Pi 2 Model B and the Pi Model B+. The case was announced today on their blog and is available from all the main Pi retailers for a cheap £6 (which works out to about $9).

    • Raspberry Pi Open Source Wireless Speakers Hit Kickstarter (video)

      Axiom Audio has this week unveiled a new range of wireless speakers they have added to their existing range that are powered by the awesome Raspberry Pi mini PC.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source


  • Stockmann to sell Academic Bookstore

    Stockmann announced on Thursday a plan to sell off its Academic Bookstores to Swedish media conglomerate Bonnier Books. In accordance with the newly inked letter of intent to sell, the bookstore will continue to operate in connection with the department store chain after the acquisition.

  • UK Anti-Doping agency to issue statement over Mo Farah

    UK Anti-Doping are to issue a statement on Thursday, which will respond to newspaper claims that Mo Farah missed two drugs tests leading up to the London Olympic Games in 2012.

    A report in the Daily Mail says the double Olympic champion missed one test in 2010 and another after joining forces with coach Alberto Salazar the following year.

    Salazar, who manages the Nike Project in Oregon, is currently under suspicion after a TV documentary made allegations against the 56-year-old with regards to doping abuse.

  • Science

    • The 100-year-old scientist who pushed the FDA to ban artificial trans fat

      No one was more pleased by the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Tuesday to eliminate artificial trans fats from the U.S. food supply than Fred Kummerow, a 100-year-old University of Illinois professor who has warned about the dangers of the artery-clogging substance for nearly six decades.

      “Science won out,” Kummerow, who sued the FDA in 2013 for not acting sooner, said in an interview from his home in Illinois. “It’s very important that we don’t have this in our diet.”

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • US Navy Soliciting Zero Days

      The National Security Agency may find and purchase zero days, but that doesn’t mean it’s sharing its hoard with other government agencies such as the U.S. Navy, which apparently is in the market for some unpatched, undisclosed vulnerabilities of its own.

      A request for proposal posted last Wednesday—which has since been taken down—to FedBizOpps.gov was a solicitation by the Naval Supply Systems Command seeking a CMMI-3 (Capability Maturity Model Integration) contractor capable of producing operational exploits that integrate with commonly used exploitation frameworks, the RFP said.

    • Tuesday’s security advisories
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Your data is at risk if you are running iOS or Mac OS X

      Six university researchers from Indiana University have revealed that Apple’s password manager, Keychain, is susceptible to hackers. If exploited, the flaw would give a hacker access to the users passwords. The really worrying thing here is that Apple has known about the issue for months and still hasn’t managed to issue a fix.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Superabundant bird decline mirrors Passenger Pigeon

      One of Eurasia’s most abundant bird species has declined by 90% and retracted its range by 5000 km since 1980 a new study shows.

      Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola was once distributed over vast areas of Europe and Asia, its range stretching from Finland to Japan. New research published in the journal Conservation Biology suggest that unsustainable rates of hunting, principally in China, have contributed to not only a catastrophic loss of numbers but also in the areas in which it can now be found.

  • Finance

    • Jeb Bush: Next President Should Privatize Social Security

      Jeb Bush thinks the next president will need to privatize Social Security, he said at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Tuesday — acknowledging that his brother attempted to do so and failed. It’s a position sure to be attacked by both Republicans and Democrats.

    • RBS payment failure could last days

      About 600,000 payments that failed to enter the accounts of RBS customers overnight may not be completed until the end of the week, the bank has said.

      Payments of wages, tax credits and disability living allowance were among those that failed to be credited to accounts.

      RBS initially said some payments were “missing”, but it had now identified and fixed the underlying problem.

      Delayed payments would be processed “no later than Saturday”, it said.

    • Why Obama’s Trade Deal May Come Back From the Dead | Interview with Richard Wolff

      Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace from Watching the Hawks interview Professor Richard Wolff about the House vote to reject the Trans Pacific Partnership and where this massive trade deal will go from here.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Truth Avoided by Mainstream Media Liars

      So here is a challenge to the Sunday Times, BBC and rest of the mainstream media.

    • Typography Is Why Jeb’s Logo Is Worse Than a Piece of Crap

      Jeb! is fine, as far as logos go. It’s uninspired, sure, but it gets the job done. But as a piece of typography, it’s crap.

    • British attack on Edward Snowden foiled by real journalists

      I woke up on Sunday and checked the news as I usually do. “British spies ‘moved after Snowden files read’” exclaimed the BBC, probably hoping to whip up anti-Russian/Chinese sentiment, immediately I rolled my eyes, surely revealing mass spying to the billions being spied upon is more important than a few spies having to be moved.

      After reading the headline, I was left puzzling, I was sure that Snowden handed everything he had over to journalists. A day later my understanding of the issue had been confirmed, Glenn Greenwald said that Snowden doesn’t have access to the documents anymore and hasn’t been able access them since they were handed over in 2013.

  • Censorship

    • European Court strikes serious blow to free speech online

      The Estonian courts had found that Delfi AS, the news portal, should have prevented clearly unlawful comments from being published in the portal’s comments section, even though Delfi had taken down the offensive comments as soon as it had been notified about them. When Delfi lodged a complaint with the European Court, the Court concluded unanimously that the domestic courts’ findings were a justified and proportionate restriction on Delfi’s right to freedom of expression.

    • Shock European court decision: Websites are liable for users’ comments

      In a surprise decision, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has ruled that the Estonian news site Delfi may be held responsible for anonymous and allegedly defamatory comments from its readers. As the digital rights organisation Access notes, this goes against the European Union’s e-commerce directive, which “guarantees liability protection for intermediaries that implement notice-and-takedown mechanisms on third-party comments.” As such, Peter Micek, Senior Policy Counsel at Access, says the ECHR judgment has “dramatically shifted the internet away from the free expression and privacy protections that created the internet as we know it.”

    • UAE man faces $68,000 fine for swearing on WhatsApp

      Swearing at someone via WhatsApp in the UAE could land you with a $68,000 (£45,000) fine, under a new law.

      Those living in the country could also face jail, and foreigners deportation.

      The new law was brought to light when the UAE’s supreme court ordered the retrial of a man fined $800 for the offence, arguing the fine was too lenient.

  • Privacy

    • Belgian privacy watchdog sues Facebook ahead of summit

      Privacy will be on the docket at a Belgian court on Thursday — and Facebook will be the defendant.

      The Belgian Privacy Commission has sued Facebook and will take the world’s largest social network to court on Thursday for allegedly violating privacy laws both in Belgium and in the European Union. Speaking to Belgian news outlet DeMorgen, the country’s chairman of the Privacy Commission William Debeuckelaere said that Facebook’s behavior “cannot be tolerated.” He added that he hopes the court will force Facebook to change its privacy practices.

    • Adjusting to a World Where No Data Is Secure

      Imagine a piece of information that would be useful to store digitally if it could be kept secure, but that would do more harm than good if it ever fell into the wrong hands. With Friday’s news that “hackers have breached a database containing a wealth of sensitive information from federal employees’ security background checks,” just that sort of fraught information has arguably been exposed to hackers.

    • UK Police Carry Out Facial Scans Of 100,000 People Attending Music Festival

      The ostensible reason for this massive surveillance is to catch people who steal mobile phones, but that really doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The database that the 100,000 faces were matched against was “custody images from across Europe”, but it seems improbable that criminals would travel all the way across Europe to this particular music festival in the hope that they might be able to relieve a few spaced-out musicgoers of their phones. Nor was general criminal behavior an issue: apparently, last year there were just 91 arrests with 120,000 people attending. It’s more likely that the facial scans were born of a desire to see if the hardware and software were capable of capturing such large numbers and comparing them with the pan-European database.


      It’s easy to see this kind of technology being rolled out ever-more widely. First at other music festivals — purely for safety reasons, you understand — and then, once people have started to get used to that, elsewhere too. Eventually, of course, it will become routine to scan everyone, everywhere, all the time, offering a perfect analog complement to the non-stop, pervasive surveillance that we now know takes place in the digital world.

    • Strong Encryption and Anonymity Are The Guardians Of Free Expression

      EFF has signed on to a joint civil society statement welcoming the groundbreaking report supporting encryption and anonymity by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye. The Special Rapporteur will present the report on June 17th at the 29th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    • Bruce Schneier: Sure, Russia & China Probably Have The Snowden Docs… But Not Because Of Snowden

      Given all the fuss over the ridiculous article this past weekend — which has since been confirmed as government stenography rather than actual reporting — security maven Bruce Schneier has written up an article making a key point. It’s quite likely that the underlying point in the article — that Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies have access to the documents that Snowden originally handed over to reporters — is absolutely true. But, much more importantly, he argues, the reason likely has almost nothing to do with Snowden.

    • China and Russia Almost Definitely Have the Snowden Docs

      Last weekend, the Sunday Times published a front-page story (full text here), citing anonymous British sources claiming that both China and Russia have copies of the Snowden documents. It’s a terrible article, filled with factual inaccuracies and unsubstantiated claims about both Snowden’s actions and the damage caused by his disclosure, and others have thoroughly refuted the story. I want to focus on the actual question: Do countries like China and Russia have copies of the Snowden documents?

      I believe the answer is certainly yes, but that it’s almost certainly not Snowden’s fault.

    • Government faces call to review ‘self-destruct’ email policy

      The Government is facing calls to review a little-known policy under which Downing Street emails “self-destruct” after three months.

      Any messages which David Cameron’s aides fail to save and store are automatically deleted – a practice that campaigners claim is designed to thwart later freedom of information requests.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Amazon Bans Kodi/XBMC App Over Piracy Concerns

      Amazon has removed the popular media center Kodi from the app store claiming it facilitates piracy. The software, formerly known as XBMC, doesn’t link to or host any infringing content, but third-party add-ons are giving the software a bad reputation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Big changes coming to IKEAHackers

        Some months ago I received a Cease and Desist (C&D) letter from the agent of Inter IKEA Systems B.V., citing that my site IKEAhackers.net has infringed upon its intellectual property rights. In that letter they asked that I agree to voluntarily transfer the domain name IKEAhackers.net to them, failing which they reserve the right to take any legal action it deems necessary against me.

    • Copyrights

      • BMI song lawsuits make rounds in Jersey bars

        That mistake could cost this restaurant to the tune of several thousands of dollars for each of the four songs that Broadcast Music Inc. claims the venue played one Friday night in May 2014.

      • Publisher Strips Hergé’s Heirs of Millions of Dollars in Rights to Tintin Drawings

        The heirs of Hergé, the creator of the popular Tintin comics, were dealt a crushing blow in Dutch court this week. In a shocking decision, the court ruled that they do not have the rights to the iconic boy reporter character.

        The ruling hinged on the unexpected production of a long-lost 1942 document in which Hergé, whose real name was Georges Remi, transferred the Tintin rights to his publisher, Casterman.

      • MPAA: Google Assists and Profits from Piracy

        The MPAA is refusing to hand over documentation discussing the legal case it helped Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood build against Google. According to the Hollywood group, Google is waging a PR war against Hollywood while facilitating and profiting from piracy.

      • Pirate Bay’s Gottfrid Svartholm Loses Hacking Appeal

        Following the largest case of its type in Denmark, in October 2014 Gottfrid Svartholm was found guilty of hacking IT company CSC. The Pirate Bay founder immediately appealed but after a technically complex hearing a jury at the High Court today unanimously upheld the decision of the lower court.

      • Neil Young, Donald Trump Spar Over ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ Use

        When Neil Young released his anthemic track “Rockin’ in the Free World” off 1989′s Freedom, the song quickly became a rallying cry in post-Reagan America for “American values” and the fall of communism. With George H. W. Bush still settling into his presidency, Young criticized the president’s ideology, specifically referencing Bush’s “thousand points of light” comment and blasting Republicans for what he felt was a disregard toward the lower-class.


Links 16/6/2015: Cinnamon 2.6 Released, Chromixium OS 1.0 Review

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Is there a civic hacker in you?

    There is a civic hacker in you! He or she is in there… I promise! Today, technology has evolved into a perfect storm of open source tools, code, social networks, and lots of data. Civic technologists thrive on all of these getting together with like-minded hackers and turning all these sources into useful applications, websites and visualizations.

  • DevOps is 90% change and 10% technology

    Jen Krieger used her first computer in the early 80s and maintained a strong interest in technology ever since. She started her career as a financial analyst and eventually moved into IT where she gained expertise in software development and releases. Jen has worked with many development methods, from waterfall to Agile.

  • Open Source Initiative & LibreItalia Partner to Raise Adoption of Free and Open Source Software

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) announced today that Associazione LibreItalia, a non-profit organization working to reduce the digital divide and tear down barriers to digital citizenship throughout Italy, has joined the internationally recognized steward of open source as an Affiliate Member.

  • Struggling With Facebook Organic Reach Decline? Try This New Open Source Social Networking App

    If you have been burnt by the decline of the organic reach of your Facebook pages, you may consider trying something different, although of course it’s hard to replace a website that has become such an integral part of our lives.

  • Events

    • Deutsche OpenStack Tage 2015

      The presentations are conducted in German, so it’s mainly interesting for German people. There are several OpenStack and also Ceph related talks on the schedule, including a work shop on Ceph. As far as I know there are still tickets available for the conference.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why open source cloud is ready for prime time

      With open-source cloud endeavours, it’s not so much a question of maturity as it is figuring out which offering is the best fit for your organisation. As Amanda McPherson, chief marketing officer at the Linux Foundation points out, “Open source and collaboration are clearly advancing the cloud faster than ever before. Just consider the many OpenStack distributions and ecosystem emerging around Linux containers that didn’t even exist a year ago. Yet, as the open source cloud evolves so quickly, it can sometimes be difficult for enterprises to identify the technologies that best fit their needs.”

    • Nutanix: The Move From a VM to a Container is Unnatural, a Challenge of New Platforms

      If a new stack is to take root in the modern enterprise, then something has to give. Not only must an old infrastructure make room for a new way of work, but the new stack must open itself up to the prospect of interoperability and co-existence with something that, at least in our frame of reference, is no longer new.

    • Mesosphere and Typesafe Align Behind New Spark Distribition for DCOS
    • How to have a successful OpenStack project

      It’s no secret that OpenStack is becoming the de-facto standard for private cloud…

    • Datto SIRIS customers can now use ownCloud

      Datto, a company that offers data backup and recovery solutions are teaming up ownCloud which will allow Datto customers to securely sync and share enterprise files. Initially the ownCloud secure file sync and share capabilities will come to Datto’s SIRIS product line.

    • What you missed in Big Data: Open-source power

      The central role of the open-source movement in analytics rose back to the surface last week after LinkedIn Inc. released another one of its internally-developed data crunching technologies under a free license to help promote emerging use cases. And in particular, performing real-time business intelligence at the kind of scale where the traditional databases typically used for the task fall short.

  • Databases

    • Open Source No Threat To Oracle Corporation, Deutsche Bank Says

      Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) won’t experience a risk any time soon from open-source software vendors, an analyst said Monday.

      Deutsche Bank’s Karl Keirstead said vendors, like privately held MongoDB Inc., “don’t represent a near-term threat” to Oracle, which is set to post results Wednesday.

    • How open source is eating into Oracle et al revenue pie

      Bloomberg recently reported how Oracle is heavily leaning on its existing customers as it sees a slump in new product sales. Not just the smaller companies, big players are also moving away from fancy products with big price tags and choosing open source software. As open source becomes increasingly reliable, the threat looms large for Oracle and the likes. The report shows that Oracle’s sales of new software licenses have declined for seven straight quarters compared with the same period a year earlier. It heavily relies on revenue from update and maintenance contracts more than from new business.

  • Licensing

    • Why Greet Apple’s Swift 2.0 With Open Arms?

      Apple announced last week that its Swift programming language — a currently fully proprietary software successor to Objective C — will probably be partially released under an OSI-approved license eventually. Apple explicitly stated though that such released software will not be copylefted. (Apple’s pathological hatred of copyleft is reasonably well documented.) Apple’s announcement remained completely silent on patents, and we should expect the chosen non-copyleft license will not contain a patent grant. (I’ve explained at great length in the past why software patents are a particularly dangerous threat to programming language infrastructure.)

    • I Do Not Agree To Your Terms

      Let me get this straight, Apple: you send me an e-mail outlining the terms under which you will redistribute my content, and you will just assume that I agree to your terms unless I opt out?

      This makes typical clickwrap EULA nonsense look downright reasonable by comparison. You’re going to consider me bound to terms you just declared to me in an e-mail as long as I don’t respond? That’s completely crazy. You don’t even know if I received the e-mail!

      I’m conflicted about this. On one hand, the whole reason I have an RSS feed for this blog is to make it easy to access it in a variety of ways. The RSS feed exists precisely so it can be used by programs like this, which take the content and display it to the user. I don’t like the idea of showing ads next to my content in this situation, but I’m pretty sure I have no right to control that. If I didn’t want people taking my blog and putting it in an app and showing it to people that way, I wouldn’t have a feed.

      On the other hand, Apple isn’t just taking my feed and displaying it. They’re shoving terms and conditions at me, and unilaterally assuming that I agree to them unless I take explicit steps to respond and say that I don’t.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Best practices to build bridges between tech teams

      Robyn Bergeron makes life awesome for people participating in the Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana communities. Passionate about improving ease of development and deployment of infrastructure and applications, she tirelessly advocates for end-users of open source projects, which why her current title is Operations Advocate at Elastic.

      She has been a sysadmin, program manager, and business analyst, and has an ongoing role as mother of two stellar kids. Her most recent gig was as the Fedora Project Leader at Red Hat, where she herded cats through several releases of the Linux distribution.

    • #BIO2015: Open-source biopharma R&D improves late-stage success

      The open-source model for biopharma R&D yields better results when it comes to late-stage success, according to a new report released by Deloitte at this week’s BIO convention in Philadelphia. Collaboration, even with competitors, helps usher a drug into successful development.

    • Open Data

      • High hopes for open web portal for NY State

        On March 11, 2013 New York State launched open.ny.gov which is dedicated to increasing public access to data. The state hopes to spark innovation, foster research, provide economic opportunities, and increase public participation in state government. Officials hope this increase in transparency will better inform decision making throughout the state.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • NY Times Disregards Times Staffers’ Advice On Avoiding Term “Climate Change Skeptic”

      A June 13 New York Times article about the pope’s forthcoming climate change encyclical failed to follow leading Times staffers’ recommendations by using the term “climate skeptic” to refer to those who blatantly deny established climate science.

      The Times article stated that the Vatican’s stance on climate change has “rankled … climate change skeptics, who have suggested that Francis is being misled by scientists[.]” It added that “a group of self-described climate skeptics, led by the Heartland Institute” organized a protest of the Vatican’s position in Rome, and described Marc Morano, a member of the Heartland delegation to Rome, as a former “aide to Senator James M. Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and climate change skeptic.”

  • Finance

    • The American middle class isn’t coming back — it’s going to die with the Baby Boomers

      It’s no secret that the American middle class has been on the ropes for a while now. The problem isn’t just a crippling recession and an economic “recovery” that has mostly gone to the richest one percent, but the larger shifting of wealth from the middle to the very top that’s taken place since the late ‘70s. Add in things like the dismantling of unions that has accelerated apace since Ronald Reagan crushed the air-traffic controllers, and we’ve seen the middle class more solid in places like Canada, Germany, and Scandinavia, and begin to grow in a number of nations even while it shrinks here. Economists like Thomas Piketty thinks the process is inevitable with global capitalism, while others – the equally wise Joseph Stiglitz, for example – think the balance can be restored if we can find the political will.

  • Censorship

    • ‘Sunday Times’ Files DMCA Takedown Against ‘The Intercept’

      The Rupert Murdoch controlled Sunday Times of London finds itself embroiled in controversy today, over both a front page article that appeared in the paper yesterday and a related DMCA Notice it issued against the U.S. based political website The Intercept.

      The Sunday Times article, with the headline “British Spies Betrayed to Russian and Chinese,” carries the byline of Tom Harper, Richard Kerbaj and Tim Shipman and expands on a news story spreading across the UK on the pulling of some intelligence operators from Russia and China by the UK government over fears that they might have been compromised by information leaked by Edward Snowden.

      This article prompted an article published last night on The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald: “The Sunday Time’ Snowden Story is Journalism at It’s Worst — and Filled With Falsehoods.”

      The Intercept article, which attempts to detail alleged inaccuracies in The Sunday Times article, has prompted Times Newspapers Ltd., the owner of the Times, to circle the wagons and issue a DMCA takedown notice in the U.S. The notice indicates that The Times takes exception to the posting of a photograph of yesterday’s Times front page, as well the inclusion of a handful of quotes from the Times article — all of which would appear to be covered under U.S. “fair use” copyright provisions.

  • Privacy

    • Mega Publishes First Transparency Report

      After 2.5 years of operations the Mega cloud storage service has published its first transparency report. Aimed at inspiring confidence in how the company deals with complaints and protects privacy, the document reveals that Mega takes content down faster than Google and a maximum of 0.165% of users have been suspended.

    • The Pulitzer Prize In Bullshit FUD Reporting Goes To… The Sunday Times For Its ‘Snowden Expose’

      None of it was true, but it was part of a concerted effort by administration officials to smear Ellsberg as a “Soviet spy” and a “traitor” when all he really did was blow the whistle on things by sharing documents with reporters.

      Does that sound familiar? Over the weekend, a big story supposedly broke in the UK’s the Sunday Times, citing anonymous UK officials arguing that the Russians and Chinese got access to all the Snowden documents and it had created all sorts of issues, including forcing the UK to remove undercover “agents” from Russia. That story is behind a paywall, but plenty of people have made the text available if you’d like to read the whole thing.

      There are all sorts of problems with the report that make it not just difficult to take seriously, but which actually raise a lot more questions about what kind of “reporting” the Sunday Times actually does. It’s also worth noting that this particular story comes out just about a week or so after Jason Leopold revealed some of the details of the secret plan to discredit Snowden that was hatched in DC. Even so, the journalism here is beyond shoddy, getting key facts flat out incorrect, allowing key sources to remain anonymous for no reason, and not appearing to raise any questions about the significant holes in the story.

    • Reporter Who Wrote Sunday Times ‘Snowden’ Propaganda Admits That He’s Just Writing What UK Gov’t Told Him

      So we’ve already written about the massive problems with the Sunday Times’ big report claiming that the Russians and Chinese had “cracked” the encryption on the Snowden files (or possibly just been handed those files by Snowden) and that he had “blood on his hands” even though no one has come to any harm. It also argued that David Miranda was detained after he got documents from Snowden in Moscow, despite the fact that he was neither in Moscow, nor had met Snowden (a claim the article quietly deleted). That same report also claimed that UK intelligence agency MI6 had to remove “agents” from Moscow because of this leak, despite the fact that they’re not called “agents” and there’s no evidence of any actual risk. So far, the only official response from News Corp. the publisher of The Sunday Times (through a variety of subsidiaries) was to try to censor the criticism of the story with a DMCA takedown request.

      Either way, one of the journalists who wrote the story, Tom Harper, gave an interview to CNN which is quite incredible to watch. Harper just keeps repeating that he doesn’t know what’s actually true, and that he was just saying what the government told him — more or less admitting that his role here was not as a reporter, but as a propagandist or a stenographer.

    • The Police Are Scanning the Faces of Every Single Person at Download

      For most of us, festivals are a way to escape our invisible prisons of technology. “I’m not taking my iPhone to Glasto,” you mutter to your pal, “I’m going off the grid.” Who can blame you? For just a few days, you want to enjoy yourself in a priceless disconnected moment of Gaymers fuelled euphoria. Up until very recently, you could be granted that small civil liberty, but this weekend at Download, new technology is being trialled by Leicestershire Police that could change the way your carry yourself at major events.

    • I read all the small print on the internet and it made me want to die

      So why do we spend so much of our time ignoring the thousands of words of legally binding “end-user licence agreements” (EULAs, if you like) legally-binding contracts we agree to every day? Is it even possible to read the T&Cs for everything a typical person does? Is there any value in reading all this anyway?

      “The biggest lie on the internet is ‘I have read and agree to the terms and conditions’,” says security expert Mikko Hyppönen. Setting out to prove his point, Hyppönen’s company F-Secure set up a free WiFi hotspot in the heart of London’s financial district in June 2014.

    • White House’s internal encryption struggle is hypocrisy at its finest

      Ask any two people in government today their stance on encryption and you’ll almost certainly get very different (and often opposing) answers.

      As the White House pushes for greater encryption across federal sites to help better protect data flowing between a user’s computer and the federal agency, other factions in government want to weaken the encryption used by installing “backdoors” for law enforcement uses.

    • Encrypted connections coming soon for all Wikipedia readers

      As of right now, the data that moves between Wikipedia.com and most users is unencrypted, which increases the chances that someone else may be eavesdropping on you. That, however, is about to change: On Friday, the Wikimedia Foundation announced that it’s moving its sites toward HTTPS by default, so that all data transferred between you and its servers will be encrypted.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • From Piracy to Prosperity: Inside the New Artist’s Toolbox

        For years artists had grumbled about record labels, cable networks and distributors controlling them, restricting their artistic freedom, and taking more than their fair share of the coffers. Napster offered a new way for artists to reach their fans. While the labels and networks condemned this as “piracy,”many artists detected the first ripple of a new revolution.

      • Innocent Cox Subscribers Dragged into Piracy Lawsuit

        As the result of a rather broadly interpreted court order, many innocent Cox Communications subscribers have been dragged into a piracy lawsuit. The account holders are involved because their current IP-addresses were used to download infringing content in the past, but some weren’t even a Cox subscriber at the relevant time.


Links 15/6/2015: Linux Final RC, Kodi Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source



Links 13/6/2015: IPFire 2.17 is Out, OpenMandriva Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 5:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Top 5 Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Exchange

    Choosing an open source messaging server can save you money and admin time without losing out on features. Take a look at what our favorite alternatives to Microsoft Exchange have to offer.

  • Enterprises Flocking to Open Source Software

    Open source software is not a trend; it is here to stay. Debating the value of open source software (OSS) on technical considerations is a moving target. Determining the costs of implementing and using open source makes for a more stable argument. The initial software may be free, but learning, implementing, improving, connecting to, and operating it is not free. When you acquire OSS you will have more responsibilities than if you acquired closed product software from a vendor.

  • We Is Us — OPNFV & ETSI Accelerate NFV Adoption

    One question increasingly raised throughout the SDN/NFV community is, “Why are there so many groups associated with NFV/SDN?” While the answer is subject to debate, no one should be surprised that NFV and SDN are far too pervasive for any single organization and/or industry body to control.

  • How OPNFV and ETSI NFV are Advancing NFV Adoption

    ETSI was the birthplace of the NFV concept in 2012, and OPNFV was launched just two years later with many of the same members to help bring NFV from specs to reality using open source methodologies. Marc Cohn, who is an active participant in many open communities including OPNFV, OpenDaylight and the Open Networking Foundation, recently published an article for SDxCentral about how OPNFV and ETSI continue to work in tandem to accelerate NFV adoption.

  • LinkedIn Open Sources “Pinot” for Powerful Data Analytics

    When it comes to new open source tools that can make a difference, it’s wise to look to some of the tech companies that regularly open source their own in-house platforms and tools. Just witness Netflix, which has open sourced troves of useful cloud utilities. Facebook and Google have release a lot of useful tools as well.

  • Los Angeles County voting to shift from inkblots to open source

    Los Angeles County is home to a burgeoning technology industry. It boasts a roster of high-profile companies including Hulu, Snapchat, and Tinder. As of 2013, it offered more high-tech jobs than other major markets in the country, including Silicon Valley and New York City. Come election time, however, its residents cast their votes by marking inkblots on ballots that resemble Scantron forms.

  • Events

    • CFP Jam & LinuxFest Northwest Goes Hollywood

      Linux and FOSS make cameo appearances throughout the TV and film world, and lately we’ve been treated to the GNOME vs. KDE tête-à-tête in the USA Network’s pilot of a show called “Mr. Robot.” This scene piqued my interest enough to watch the pilot, which was a mix of downright scary and mildly interesting portrayals of tech types at various levels in the overt and covert tech-company hierarchy, wrapped in painfully mediocre dialog (why can’t Aaron Sorkin just write everything? Is that too much to ask?). SPOILER ALERT: The subtext of a psychologically wrecked, socially castrated hacker protagonist — the one using GNOME — is grating enough, but this stereotype is far and away eclipsed by the world domination seemingly at the fingertips of the suit using KDE, which he displayed at the end of the pilot. And we though it was Redmond seeking to take over the world when it’s really…KDE?

    • In Search of SELF in the Queen City

      Right away I ran across Brian Proffitt, whom many of you will remember from his days covering Linux and FOSS for news sites or from the time he spent at Linux Today. These days he’s all but given up journalism for real work, at Red Hat. However, the presentation he’s giving on Sunday here at SELF has a writerly ring to the title: “It’s Metaphors All the Way Down.”

      I also had a chance to talk with Deb Nicholson with the Open Invention Network, who’ll be giving a talk on Saturday about software patent litigation. Funny thing, patents were hardly mentioned in our conversation. Mainly we talked about tech corporations under the headings: the good, the bad and the pure evil. If anyone sees Clint Eastwood, tell him I have a movie idea…

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • My Frustration with Mozilla

        I recently decided to stop using Firefox as my main Browser. I’m not alone there. While browser statistics are notoriously difficult to track and hotly debated, all sources seem to point toward a downward trend for Firefox. At LQ, they actually aren’t doing too badly. In 2010 Firefox had a roughly 57% market share and so far this year they’re at 37%. LQ is a highly technical site, however, and the broader numbers don’t look quite so good. Over a similar period, for example, Wikipedia has Firefox dropping from over 30% to just over 15%. At the current rate NetMarketShare is tracking, Firefox will be in the single digits some time this year. You get the idea. So what’s going on , and what does that mean for Mozilla? And why did I choose now to make a switch personally?

      • Get bug squashing, Mozilla increases bounty payments: Linux Wrap

        Mozilla have decided to shake up the way they make payments with regard to bug squashing, in the statement they said “The bounty for valid potentially exploitable critical and high security rated client security vulnerabilities will be between $3000 and $7500 (USD) cash reward. The bounty program encourages the earliest possible reporting of these potentially exploitable bugs. A bounty may be paid for some moderate rated client security bugs at the discretion of the Bug Bounty Committee. If a bounty is paid for a moderate rated security issue, the amount will be between $500 and $2000 (US), depending on the severity of impact for the issue as determined by Bug Bounty Committee.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Building a platform

      From the very beginning ownCloud has had bigger ambitions then just being a file sync and share tool. This is apparent from the name ownCloud. Today, we have more than our documents and photos online. Our social networks and shared thoughts, our appointments and shopping lists, audio and video conversations all happen and are stored somehwere ‘in the cloud’, all connected. You can comment on a song you like for others to see or share an appointment with co workers. ownCloud means to give you a chance to bring all that back under your control!

  • Databases

    • Oracle’s rising open source problem

      While a number of factors are at play in Oracle’s stumbles, one of the most persistent is the rise of open-source databases, both relational and non-relational (NoSQL), as a recent Bloomberg article posits. As Powa Technologies CEO says, “They scale and operate extremely well, and they don’t cost anything.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • Securing OpenBSD From Us To You

      I’m going to talk today about signify, a tool I wrote for the OpenBSD project that cryptographically signs and verifies. This allows us to ensure that the releases we ship arrive on your computer in their original, intended form, without tampering.

    • Smallwall 1.8.2 Released To Let Monowall Live On

      This past February, Monowall announced the end of development as one of the most popular FreeBSD-based network/firewall focused distributions. For those still searching for a new replacement, Smallwall 1.8.2 has been released as the successor to Monowall 1.8.1.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Swift 2.0 is open source, ApacheCon: Big Data, and more open source news
    • 3DPrinterOS Goes Open Source for Their Cloud Client

      If you’re that kind of development monster, you can now find the source code for the cloud client here on GitHub.

      This cloud client already sports support for the majority of desktop 3D printers, and through the GNU Affero General Public License, it’s being shared.

    • Create a ‘soft’ 3D printer with the open source Circular Knitic

      While the uses for additive manufacturing at home seem to be increasing on a seemingly daily basis, there are still some items in the home that haven’t been able to be created due to the lack of suitable technologies. Among others is the ability to fabricate soft objects using digital fabrication tools.

    • Bristol creatives create an open source, portable, WiFi-enabled Kinect
    • Ouya’s potential acquisition, Steam’s Summer Sale, and more open gaming news
    • Open Data

      • The Citadel reveals open data findings

        The United Nations has proactively researched and promoted open government data across the globe for close to five years now. The Open Data Institute maintains that open data can help “unlock supply, generate demand, and create and disseminate knowledge to address local and global issues.” McKinsey & Company report that “seven sectors alone could generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional value as a result of open data.”

        There is no doubt that open data is an important public policy area—one that is here to stay. Yet, for all the grand promises, scratch beneath the surface and one finds a remarkable paucity of hard empirical facts about what is and isn’t happening on the ground—in the real world of cities where most of us increasingly live and work.

      • “Dutch government hampers re-use of Chamber of Commerce data”

        The Dutch government has prepared a new Trade Register Law that will effectively forbid free re-use of the register data of its Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KvK). In response to an internet consultation, Stefan de Konink, open data proponent and founder of the OpenGeo Foundation, wrote an open letter to the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Security and Justice, asking the Dutch government to reconsider its new policy.

  • Programming


  • Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo to step down

    Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo is to step down after coming under pressure following lacklustre results.

    Mr Costolo will remain on the social network’s board after the move on July 1, the company said on Thursday night.

    Twitter’s shares jumped 7.8pc in after-hours trading following the announcement, after closing flat at $35.84 during the day.

    Mr Costolo will be replaced in the interim by co-founder Jack Dorsey, chairman of Twitter and chief executive of Square, the mobile payments company he founded in 2009. He will also continue in both those roles.

  • Twitter’s Strategy Remains Unclear Even After CEO Resigns

    Investors applauded Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s resignation. But did they jump the gun?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto and the Subjugation of India

      After a study of GMOs over a four-year plus period, India’s multi-party Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture recommended a ban on GM food crops stating they had no role in a country of small farmers. The Supreme Court appointed a technical expert committee (TEC), which recommended an indefinite moratorium on the field trials of GM crops until the government devised a proper regulatory and safety mechanism. As yet, no such mechanism exists, but open field trials are being given the go ahead. GMO crops approved for field trials include rice, maize, chickpea, sugarcane, and brinjal.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL Patches Logjam Flaw to Foil NSA Snoopers
    • OpenSSL releases seven patches for seven vulns
    • Who’s afraid of DNS? Nominet’s new ‘turing’ tool visualises hidden security threats

      UK domain registry Nominet has shown off a striking new visualisation tool called ‘turing’ that large organisations can use to peer into their DNS traffic to trace latency issues and spot previously invisible botnets and malware.

    • “Don’t Hack Me! That’s a Bad Idea,” Says Eugene Kaspersky to APT Groups
    • Russian Software Security Lab Hacked, Indirectly Links Attack To NSA
    • Israel, NSA May Have Hacked Antivirus Firm Kaspersky Lab

      Moscow-based antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, famous for uncovering state-sponsored cyberattacks, today dropped its biggest bombshell yet: Its own computer networks were hit by state-sponsored hackers, probably working for Israeli intelligence or the U.S. National Security Agency. The same malware also attacked hotels that hosted ongoing top-level negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

    • The Massive Hack on US Personnel Agency is Worse Than Everyone Thought

      Last week, the human resources arm of the US government, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) admitted that it had been victim of a massive data breach, where hackers stole personal data belonging to as many as 4 million government workers.

    • Feds Who Didn’t Even Discover The OPM Hack Themselves, Still Say We Should Give Them Cybersecurity Powers

      We already described how the recent hack into the US federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) appears to be much more serious than was initially reported. The hack, likely by Chinese state hackers, appear to have obtained basically detailed personal info on all current and many former federal government employees.

    • China-linked hackers get data on CIA, NSA personnel with security-clearance: report

      China-linked hackers appear to have gained access to sensitive background information submitted by US intelligence and military personnel for security clearances that could potentially expose them to blackmail, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

      In a report citing several US officials, the news agency said that data on nearly all of the millions of US security-clearance holders, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA) and military special operations personnel, were potentially exposed in the attack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

    • Second OPM Hack Revealed: Even Worse Than The First

      And yet… this is the same federal government telling us that it wants more access to everyone else’s data to “protect” us from “cybersecurity threats” — and that encryption is bad? Yikes.

    • Dossiers on US spies, military snatched in ‘SECOND govt data leak’

      A second data breach at the US Office of Personnel Management has compromised even more sensitive information about government employees than the first breach that was revealed earlier this week, sources claim. It’s possible at least 14 million Americans have chapter and verse on their lives leaked, we’re told.

      The Associated Press reports that hackers with close ties to China are believed to have obtained extensive background information on intelligence-linked government staffers – from CIA agents and NSA spies to military special ops – who have applied for security clearances.

      Among the records believed to have leaked from a compromised database are copies of Standard Form 86 [PDF], a questionnaire that is given to anyone who applies for a national security position, and is typically verified via interviews and background checks.

    • Officials: Second hack exposed military and intel data
    • Senate Quickly Says ‘No Way’ To Mitch McConnell’s Cynical Ploy To Add Bogus Cybersecurity Bill To NDAA

      Earlier this week, we noted that Senator Mitch McConnell, hot off of his huge flop in trying to preserve the NSA’s surveillance powers, had promised to insert the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill CISA directly into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). As we discussed, while many have long suspected that CISA (and CISPA before it) were surveillance bills draped in “cybersecurity” clothing, the recent Snowden revelations that the NSA is using Section 702 “upstream” collection for “cybersecurity” issues revealed how CISA would massively expand the NSA’s ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans’ communications.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Protocols of the Hackers of Zion?

      When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Google chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday afternoon, he boasted about Israel’s “robust hi-tech and cyber industries.” According to The Jerusalem Post, “Netanyahu also noted that ‘Israel was making great efforts to diversify the markets with which it is trading in the technological field.’”

      Just how diversified and developed Israeli hi-tech innovation has become was revealed the very next morning, when the Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky Labs, which claims more than 400 million users internationally, announced that sophisticated spyware with the hallmarks of Israeli origin (although no country was explicitly identified) had targeted three European hotels that had been venues for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

      Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, one of the first news sources to break the story, reported that Kaspersky itself had been hacked by malware whose code was remarkably similar to that of a virus attributed to Israel. Code-named “Duqu” because it used the letters DQ in the names of the files it created, the malware had first been detected in 2011. On Thursday, Symantec, another cyber-security firm, announced it too had discovered Duqu 2 on its global network, striking undisclosed telecommunication sites in Europe, North Africa, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. It said that Duqu 2 is much more difficult to detect that its predecessor because it lives exclusively in the memory of the computers it infects, rather than writing files to a drive or disk.

    • US wronging of China for cyber breaches harm mutual trust

      Out of ulterior motives, some US media and politicians have developed a habit of scapegoating China for any alleged cyber attack on the United States. Such groundless accusations would surely harm mutual trust between the two big powers of today’s world.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • WaPo Thinks if You Knew What You Wanted, You’d Want Lindsey Graham

      In a column headlined “The most interesting presidential candidate you’re not paying any attention to,” Cillizza bemoans the fact that “Graham is an asterisk—or close to it—in polling in every early state (except for his home state of South Carolina) and nationally.” Graham, he writes, is “generally regarded as a cause candidate, with that cause being to represent the most hawkish views on foreign policy and national security against attacks by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.”

    • Germans conflicted about the Bush brand

      Jeb Bush, kicking off a six-day European tour, will pay tribute on Tuesday to America’s alliance with Western Europe, calling it “as relevant as the day it was founded” and arguing that our long-time allies want a more engaged United States.

      Only here in Germany, that is not exactly so.

      Germans are conflicted about the Bush brand. While Jeb’s father is still lionized for helping to unify the country after the Cold War, his brother remains tremendously unpopular due to the Iraq War, viewed by most here as a singly American disaster.

      But more than that, Germany is increasingly indifferent to the United States as a whole; uncertain whether these two world powers have much in common any more or even still really need one another.

    • Report: CIA Director Secretly Briefed Israeli Intelligence Officials on Iran Nuclear Deal

      Relations between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been increasingly chilly, with Netanyahu appearing in March before Congress in Washington D.C. to denounce U.S. negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Making tiny earthquakes to understand fracking-driven quakes

      In some places, notably Ohio and Oklahoma, the injection of used fracking fluid in deep disposal wells appears to have produced a significant uptick in earthquake activity. The earthquakes are mostly much too small to be felt at the surface, but a magnitude 5.6 quake in Oklahoma was large enough to cause some damage in 2011.

      This has made lots of news because of its scale, but it’s not our first experience with injection-triggered earthquakes. It’s a concern for geothermal power designs that inject water to depths where it can turn to turbine-driving steam, for example. And in the future, it could be a concern for efforts to store carbon dioxide in underground reservoirs.

    • California drought: Largest water cuts in state’s history ordered by state regulators

      California state regulators have ordered farmers and others to reduce their water consumption, with the largest cuts in the state’s history.

      The State Water Resources Control Board ordered over 100 water rights holders to stop all pumping from three major waterways in one of the country’s prime farm regions.

      Economists and agriculture experts say that the cuts are expected to have little immediate impact on food prices, with the growing of some crops to shift to regions with more water in the short-term.

  • Finance

    • Why Does Obama Want This Trade Deal So Badly?

      The political battle over the enormous, twelve-nation trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership keeps getting stranger. President Obama has made the completion of the deal the number-one legislative priority of his second term. Indeed, Republican opponents of the T.P.P., in an effort to rally the red-state troops, have begun calling it Obamatrade. And yet most of the plan’s opponents are not Republicans; they’re Democrats.

      Obama’s chief allies in his vote-by-vote fight in the House of Representatives to win “fast-track authority” to negotiate this and other trade deals are Speaker John Boehner and Representative Paul Ryan—not his usual foxhole companions. The vote may come as soon as Friday. The House Republican leaders tell their dubious members that they are supporting Obama only in order to “constrain” him. Meanwhile, Obama is lobbying members of the Black Congressional Caucus, whose support he can normally count on, tirelessly and, for the most part, fruitlessly. “The president’s done everything except let me fly Air Force One,” Representative Cedric Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana, told the Christian Science Monitor this week. Nonetheless, Richmond said, “I’m leaning no.”

    • What Big Pharma wants from the big trade deal

      On Wednesday, a few pages from the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement were published by Wikileaks and reported on by the New York Times. They seemed to indicate changes that go against the wishes of the pharmaceutical industry, eliminating language that sought to guarantee drug companies “competitive market-derived prices” when they sell overseas.

      But the pharmaceutical industry has been lobbying lawmakers on the TPP since the beginning, and shaping far more than this one section of the agreement, according to Lee Drutman, senior fellow at the New America foundation and author of “The Business of America Is Lobbying.”

    • Revealed: The true scale of Tony Blair’s global business empire

      The scale of Tony Blair’s globe-trotting is exposed for the first time in secret documents that suggest the taxpayer is paying up to £16,000 a week to help the former prime minister build his business empire.

      Documents seen by The Telegraph contain details of Mr Blair’s travels around the world, accompanied by a squad of police bodyguards, flying on private jets and staying in five-star hotels.

      The files suggest Mr Blair has used identical trips to carry out both private business meetings and talks in his capacity as Quartet Representative to the Middle East – leaving him open to accusations of a potential conflict of interest.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Murdochs’ Generational Culture Of Corruption

      In announcing that his sons James and Lachlan will be largely taking control of his sprawling media company, press baron Rupert Murdoch did what observers always knew he wanted to do: pass on to his children the worldwide conglomerate that he’s built over the last five decades. In the United Sates, of course, that means handing over to his sons one of most important and influential voices in right-wing media and far-right politics, Fox News.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Israel exonerates itself over Gaza beach killings of four children last year

      Israeli investigation says missile attack that killed boys aged between nine and 11 was ‘tragic accident’ in findings contradictory to journalists’ reports from scene

    • The Killing of Children

      This denial of the truth and claim of victimhood extends to the accusation of anti-Semitism trumpeted at every critic, including this one, despite the fact that I have the highest respect for the immense cultural and scientific achievements of the Jewish people. Israel is a different question entirely.

      It is this absolute divorce of propaganda from reality that makes Tony Blair an ideal figurehead. Blair has now become head of a Council of Europe (loosely) linked body which claims to exist to promote tolerance, but in fact exists entirely to promote extreme Islamophobia and to shut down criticism of Israel. And it is a further sign of the estrangement from reality of the influential Israelis behind Blair’s appointment that they believe Tony Blair will influence public opinion positively in their favour. A remarkable example of confirmation bias.

    • Criminally Yours: Safety, But At What Cost?

      For years, just being a young African-American or Hispanic male in New York meant getting stopped randomly. Most of the people stopped not only had committed no crime to justify the stop, but, once frisked, had no contraband, weapons, drugs, etc. A few fish may have been caught in this over-inclusive net, but (to extend the metaphor), of the ones thrown back, how many were affected by the intrusion? My guess — all of them.

      Getting stopped by police for no reason hurts. Not only your time, but your sense of security. Bad feelings well up, suspiciousness of cops, a sense of insecurity when you walk down the street, a feeling that anything can happen at any time by the people posted there to protect you.

    • Trouble Not Over for Florida Parents of 11-Year-Old Taken in CPS Dispute

      Yesterday I ran an interview with the Florida mom whose children were removed from their home for a month after a neighbor reported the family to Child Protective Services because their 11-year-old son was left outside by himself for 90 minutes.

    • Court: Iowa Residents Have Right to Be Drunk on Front Porch

      The right to be drunk on the front porch of a private home was endorsed Friday by the Iowa Supreme Court, which said a woman can’t be convicted of public intoxication while standing on her front steps.

      Patience Paye, 29, of Waterloo based the appeal of her 2013 case on the contention that her front steps are not a public place so she can’t be charged with public intoxication.

    • Fast Track

      I am delighted that a judge yesterday ruled that the Fast Track asylum appeals system is illegal. It is the most appalling abuse, specifically designed to limit the capacity of individuals in life threatening circumstances to properly develop and present their legal case and put it before a judge. The system of putting law-abiding people, often families, into detention harsher than our harshest maximum security prisons, allowed just one hour a day out of a tiny cell for exercise, is a minor inconvenience compared to the fundamental denial of proper right to justice. The recent unjust deportation of Majid Ali was just the latest of a series of fast track cases I have encountered. Nadira has finished the script of a short film about a tragic couple, based on substantial research of true stories of fast track detention, and is developing the production.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Court Denies Requests to Keep New Net Neutrality Rules From Taking Effect on Friday

      In the months since the Federal Communications Commission voted to regulate the Internet like a public utility, opponents of the new rules have clamored to keep them from taking effect this Friday.

      On Thursday, those opponents were disappointed as a federal judge denied their requests to stay the rules while litigation proceeds against them. The court did grant an expedited hearing of the case, meaning it could be argued as soon as the fall or early winter.

    • Sneak attack! Congress’ plan to kill Net neutrality

      The FCC’s Net neutrality rules are slated to go into effect today, but the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday launched a sneak attack that could strip the agency of its ability to actually enforce the regulations that protect an open Internet.

      The rules approved by the FCC in February and published to the Federal Register in April reclassify broadband as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act and prohibit ISPs from throttling content or implementing paid prioritization schemes that would create Internet fast lanes.

    • Facebook will favor posts in News Feed based on time friends spend looking at them

      Facebook is about to get a much better idea of what you do and don’t like in your News Feed — even if you don’t click the like button. The company is about to start measuring how long you look posts, photos, and comments in your feed. The thinking is, if you linger on a status update and read a couple of comments, you probably are interested in that content. And if you’re interested in that update, your friends would probably like to see it as well.

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