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Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

Posted in News Roundup at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Software Commons

    In this sense, software commons make sense, and because these commons do not effectively exist in some village somewhere in Europe during the Middle Ages, but much rather all over the Internet, they are of primary importance for software and for the world we live in.

  • The real reason Facebook does open source

    On the third day of OSCON, I heard Facebook’s James Pearce deliver one of the convention’s many keynote presentations.

    Pearce explained how Facebook does open source at scale. And according to him, Facebook launches several open source projects every month and has hundreds of engineers supporting those projects on an ongoing basis—all while they’re engaging with communities around the world to make software experiences better.

    But more interesting than how Facebook does this is the question of why they use, support, and release open source projects at a

  • IBM moves open-source business software to the cloud

    IBM has set up a new code repository that aims to foster collaborative development of enterprise open source software — and it may also drum up interest in its own Bluemix platform services.

  • 10 open source storage solutions that might be perfect for your company

    The right storage solution is critical for business, but the price tag can put many options out of reach. Luckily, there’s a host of powerful, scalable open source candidates to choose from.

  • The battle between open-source and proprietary software for drone development

    However, open-source software and hardware has become the platform of choice for developers for next-generation drone technology. Mature alternatives exist in the open-source realm. From OpenPilot to Dronecode, these projects emphasize customizability and offer ways to collaborate on development and support that are not possible with proprietary systems. For every layer of the drone, from flight code to firmware, to vision processing and collision avoidance, there are viable open-source options.

  • Creating The Open-Source Community Of Your Dreams

    When a company decides to embrace open-source software development, releasing the code under a suitable license is only the tip of the iceberg. The real challenge that companies face is learning how to attract and collaborate with contributors.

  • Monoid Is an Open Source Font That’s Perfect for Coders

    Monoid, designed by Andreas Larsen, is designed to be sleek and precise. Every single character in Monoid’s library has been designed by Larsen to be beyond easy to tell apart, so you don’t ever have to worry about confusing thetas, o’s, O’s, and 0’s (zeros). The font is also monospaced (each character takes up the same width), so it makes it easy to skim your code and spot any errors that might be fudging things up. The spacing between the characters is small, however, so you can fit as much as you need into a line of code. What makes Monoid even better is the fact that it’s alive. Since it’s an open source font, it can be adjusted and perfected over time by the very people that use it. You can check out Monoid at the link below.

  • A non-coder CAN contribute to open source

    Non programmers can write docs. They can design logos. They can help with user interface design. They can test fixes or new features. They can triage bugs by verifying that the submitted report can be recreated and adding additional details, logs, or config files. Larger projects need some infrastructure support that is more administration and security compliance than Java programmer. Many people who consider themselves non-programmers do have some pretty good scripting skills and can assist with packaging for distributions.

  • The Open Source Initiative Announces Linux Professional Institute Affiliate Membership

    Leading vendor-independent Linux certification organization extends commitment to furthering the adoption of Linux and Open Source.

  • Events

    • OSCON: Purism Respects Your Rights & Freedom

      At OSCON, Purism has on hand the Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops – the numbers designating the screen size (13-inch and 15-inch, respectively) — which are both designed, chip-by-chip and line-by-line to respect your rights to privacy, security and freedom, which is Purism’s philosophy.

    • OSCON: From the Expo Floor

      Like many of the Linux/FOSS events that dot the calendar year, OSCON resembles that — Bonnaroo without the mosh pit (though now that I’ve written that, let’s see if something like that appears in Austin next year) — but along with the camaraderie there’s also an element of “high school reunion” in the mix.

    • OSCON Report: Big Blue Goes Big for FOSS

      “Big Blue” unveiled a new platform for developers to collaborate with IBM on a newly released set of open source technologies. IBM plans to release 50 projects to the open source community to speed adoption in the enterprise sector and spur a new class of cloud innovations around mobile and analytics, among other areas.

    • Open Container Project Gets New Name, Sees Member Growth
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • MDN celebrates 10 years of documenting YOUR Web

        Today, Mozilla proudly celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Mozilla Developer Network, one of the richest and also one of the few multilingual resources on the Web for documentation. It started in February 2005, when a small team dedicated to the open Web took DevEdge (Netscape’s developer materials) and set out to create an open, free, community-built online resource for all Web developers. Just a couple of months later, on 23 July, 2005 the original MDN wiki site launched and has evolved steadily ever since for the convenience and the benefit of its users.

  • SaaS/Big Data


    • Founder of GNU bestows blessing upon open source crowdfunding site

      Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project known by many in the open source worlds as rms, is not the sort of person you’d expect to endorse a product. But Stallman and the FSF have formed a partnership of sorts with Crowd Supply, a crowdfunding company that has been largely focused on open source hardware and software projects.

  • Project Releases

    • Linux: man-pages-4.01 is released

      I’ve released man-pages-4.01. The release tarball is available on kernel.org. The browsable online pages can be found on man7.org. The Git repository for man-pages is available on kernel.org.

      This release resulted from patches, bug reports,and comments from nearly 50 contributors. As well as a large number of minor fixes to over 100 man pages, the more significant changes in man-pages-4.01 include the following.

  • Public Services/Government

    • France publishes free software procurement templates

      The French government has published templates to be used by procurement officers when requesting free software-based ICT solutions. The templates include intellectual property clauses, and clarify the specifics of the free software environment.

  • Licensing

    • QEMU is Conservancy’s Newest Member Project

      Today, Software Freedom Conservancy proudly welcomes QEMU, the generic machine emulator and virtualizer, as a member project. QEMU is now one of many free and open source software projects who call Conservancy their non-profit corporate home.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The missing discovery: CSIR’s open source drug development making waves everywhere except India

      It is an idea that has not set the country on fire, but has been noticed all over the world. For a few years now, it has been knocking at the doors of international technology awards, but losing out in the end to far more extraordinary innovations. It has also been among the few, if not the only, ideas from India to get an entire session at an American Chemical Society meeting. It is called the Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) model. With a bit of luck and commitment, it could break new ground in drug discovery and development.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The French want to BAN .doc and .xls files from Le Gouvernement

      Microsoft could get the boot from the French government if a new recommendation from an official advisor is adopted.

      DISIC (Direction interministérielle des systèmes d’information et de communication de l’État) has recommended that French authorities ditch Microsoft Office tools in favour of the Open Document Format (ODF).

      DISIC is responsible for harmonising and reducing the costs of all state computers, including government ministries, state and regional departments and local authorities, and sees ODF as the best way to make them all interoperable.

      According to sources, an initial draft of the report envisaged outlawing Microsoft’s Open XML altogether, although with some agencies using tools specifically developed for use with Open XML, DISIC relented.


  • President Obama says the European Union is stronger with the United Kingdom

    Barack Obama has urged the United Kingdom to stay with the European Union.

    The US President also said that the UK is his nation’s “best partner” during an interview with the BBC on Thursday.

    “Having the United Kingdom in the European Union gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union,” he said during an interview with the broadcaster before his visit to Kenya.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • “Funding Terror”: Fox News Baselessly Fearmongers About Seattle’s Home Loans For Muslims

      Co-host Steve Doocy later worried that the loans amounted to “discrimination” in favor of Muslims, while network analyst Peter Johnson, Jr, said that it “opens up a lot of questions” such as concerns about “legitimatizing a law that is really inimical to American values.”

    • Fox Cites Misleading Anecdotes About Workers On Welfare To Attack Minimum Wage Increases

      A Fox News report on the so-called “unintended consequences” of Seattle, Washington’s municipal minimum wage increase included the unsubstantiated claim that better pay is encouraging workers to work less so that they stay in poverty and continue receiving government benefits. This report fits the network’s anti-minimum wage, poor-shaming narrative, but ignores the many benefits of increasing the minimum wage.

    • Comcast Really Wants Me To Stop Calling Their Top Lobbyist A ‘Top Lobbyist’

      Comcast executive David Cohen is, by dictionary definition, a lobbyist. And not just any lobbyist; a gushing profile piece by the Washington Post in 2012 called him a “wonk rock star” and the company’s “secret weapon,” who uses “his vast network of high-powered contacts” to help craft Comcast-friendly regulations and apply pressure on DC policy makers. You know, a lobbyist. Unless you’re Comcast, which has now e-mailed me repeatedly to demand I stop calling him that.

  • Privacy

    • Empower consumers to control their privacy in the Internet of Everything

      As an Eisenhower Fellow, Dr. David A. Bray had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan and Australia in a personal capacity to discuss the burgeoning privacy and security challenges that the Internet of Everything era presents. Throughout his meetings, everyone asked: who is responsible for ensuring security? Answering as an Eisenhower Fellow in a personal capacity, Bray was always quick to answer: Everyone is.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Transcript Of Sandra Bland’s Arrest Is As Revealing As The Video

      During the traffic stop that led to her arrest and, ultimately, her death in a Texas jail, Sandra Bland repeatedly questioned the decisions of state Trooper Brian Encinia and asserted rights she said Encinia was violating.

      A close look at the police car dashcam video that recorded the exchange shows her questions had merit: Encinia at every occasion escalates the tension. He tells Bland, a Black Lives Matter activist, she’s under arrest before she has even left her car, shouts at her for moving after ordering her to move, refuses to answer questions about why she’s being arrested and, out of the camera’s view, apparently slams her to the ground. He gets testy with her — “Are you done?” — when she explains after he points out she seems irritated. And, contrary to a recent Supreme Court decision, he unconstitutionally extends the traffic stop, it appears, out of spite.

    • Guantanamo Prisoner Balks at Working With Defense Lawyers

      A Guantanamo prisoner balked at working with his defense lawyers due to a possible conflict of interest Wednesday, prompting an indefinite recess in his pretrial hearing in Cuba.

      Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi told the military judge Wednesday he wished to stop conferring with the two lawyers assigned to his case, at least temporarily. During the recess, prosecutors will try to arrange a meeting between al-Hadi and one of his former attorneys in hopes of resolving the issue.

    • Blame the Police

      Sandra Bland’s arrest and death are a national scandal. The police are responsible.

    • The Eroding Character of the American People

      Attorney John W. Whitehead opens a recent posting (see below) on his Rutherford Institute website with these words from a song by Bob Dylan. Why don’t all of us feel ashamed? Why only Bob Dylan?

      I wonder how many of Bob Dylan’s fans understand what he is telling them. American justice has nothing to do with innocence or guilt. It only has to do with the prosecutor’s conviction rate, which builds his political career. Considering the gullibility of the American people, American jurors are the last people to whom an innocent defendant should trust his fate. The jury will betray the innocent almost every time.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Is Amazon Liable For IP Violations By Its Marketplace Vendors?

      Animal-shaped pillows are cute and fluffy, except when they spur litigation. Recently, the Milo & Gabby brand sued Amazon for IP infringement because merchants allegedly sold knockoffs of its “Cozy Companion Pillowcases.” Amazon has successfully avoided IP liability for its marketplace, and a recent ruling rejected most of Milo & Gabby’s claims. However, a key piece of Milo & Gabby’s claim survived Amazon’s dismissal attempt, leaving the possibility that Amazon could be liable for merchants’ IP violations.

    • Copyrights

      • EU Starts Geo-Blocking Antitrust Case Against U.S Movie Studios

        The European Union has today launched an antitrust investigation against several large U.S. movie studios and Sky UK. The European Commission wants to abolish geographical restrictions and has sent a statement of objections over the geo-blocking practices of six major US film studios including Disney, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros.

      • Movie studios keep asking Google to remove pirated content on their own computers

        Google search results sometimes include a tiny message at the bottom that some sites have been removed for sharing pirated content.

        Those requests come from movie studios and other content rights holders who manually submit links to be taken down.

        What’s pretty hilarious is movie studios have been submitting takedown requests that include links to pirated content stored on their own desktop computers.


Links 23/7/2015: New RHEL Release, Capital One Releases Code

Posted in News Roundup at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Enjoy Your Romaine—While It Lasts

      The mighty Central Valley hogs the headlines, but California’s Salinas Valley is an agricultural behemoth, too. A rifle-shaped slice of land jutting between two mountain ranges just south of Monterey Bay off the state’s central coast, it’s home to farms that churn out nearly two-thirds of the salad greens and half of the broccoli grown in the United States. Its leafy-green dominance has earned it the nickname “the salad bowl of the world.” And while the Central Valley’s farm economy reels under the strain of drought—it’s expected to sustain close to $2.7 billion worth of drought-related losses—Salinas farms are operating on all cylinders, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

  • Finance

    • At Wall Street Journal, Government-Enforced Monopolies = ‘Free Market’

      Those folks at the Wall Street Journal are really turning reality on its head. Today it ran a column by Robert Ingram, a former CEO of Glaxo Wellcome, complaining about efforts to pass “transparency” legislation in Massachusetts, New York and a number of other states.

      This legislation would require drug companies to report their profits on certain expensive drugs, as well as government funding that contributed to their development.


      This would eliminate all the distortions associated with patent monopolies, such as patent-protected prices that can be more than 100 times as much as the free-market price. This would eliminate all the ethical dilemmas about whether the government or private insurers should pay for expensive drugs like Sovaldi, since the drugs would be cheap. It would also eliminate the incentive to mislead doctors and the public about the safety and effectiveness of drugs in order to benefit from monopoly profits.

    • What do Angela Merkel and Mitt Romney have in common?

      In May 2012, when Mitt Romney was campaigning for president, he made a statement that summed up his economic views — and came to define his run for office:

      “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he said. These people “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them … I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

      Germany’s current leaders — and most of Europe’s, as well — seem to fully agree with this philosophy. They treat Greece exactly as though the country fit Romney’s description of that lazy, greedy 47 percent of Americans. And Greece’s experience prefigures what looms elsewhere: like Romney, many European leaders appeal to their publics to embrace that perspective, often effectively. This involves leading the hard-working 53 percent to rise up and refuse to pay taxes that sustain the lazy and irresponsible, recipients of public support and overindulged public employees who deliver it. Romney’s portrayal of the 47 percent matches, in words and tone, many European leaders’ portrayal of Greeks (and also Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Irish and the peoples of whatever other country happens to be in an economic rut.)

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 20-year-old SNP MP Mhairi Black isn’t happy about Tony Blair calling her party ‘cave men’

      Tony Blair’s criticism of the SNP for having a “cave man” ideology is ridiculous considering his “primitive” policy on Iraq, one of the Scottish nationalists’ rising stars has said.

      The former prime minister said on Wednesday morning that Scottish nationalism was “reactionary” and consisted of “blaming someone else” for Scotland’s problems.

    • ALEC Admits School Vouchers Are for Kids in Suburbia

      School vouchers were never about helping poor, at-risk or minority students. But selling them as social mobility tickets was a useful fiction that for some twenty-five years helped rightwing ideologues and corporate backers gain bipartisan support for an ideological scheme designed to privatize public schools.

    • Donald Trump And Fox & Friends’ Symbiotic Relationship

      Fox & Friends has emerged as Donald Trump’s biggest cheerleader and defender in the media, a role the presidential candidate is rewarding with lavish public praise.

    • ‘Media Have Been Applying a False Narrative to the Entire Issue’ – CounterSpin interview with Gareth Porter on the Iran deal

      NBC’s David Gregory said the international community, divided on many things, are united on this: “They think Iran is up to no good and wants to build a nuclear weapon.”

      US corporate media have a habit when discussing Iran, though not only then, of presenting what are overwhelmingly US points of view as those of the whole world–a less-than-helpful quality as we try to understand the deal with Iran currently making headlines.

      Here to help us sort through it is investigative journalist Gareth Porter, author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare and a regular contributor to Middle East Eye.

  • Censorship

    • New Facebook video controls let you be sexist, ageist or secretive

      Videos on Facebook are big business. As well as drugged up post-dentist footage, there is also huge advertising potential. Now Facebook has announced a new set of options for video publishers — including the ability to limit who is able to see videos based on their age and gender.

    • New Censorship Bill Passed in Australia

      Having lived in Australia this Kat tries to turn his attention to the Land Down Under as often as he can. Although the Australian intellectual property law regime takes a lot from its UK and common law counterparts, they have often been a step ahead (or to the side, depending on your perspective) in one way or another. Recently the Australian Parliament passed the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, which aims to give the Australian courts more tools to combat online copyright infringement, or the facilitation thereof. While the provision is not necessarily hugely pertinent to those of us working here in the UK, it is still an interesting one.

  • Privacy

    • Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Accuses David Cameron Of ‘Technological Incompetence’ over Encryption Bill

      The founder of Wikipedia accused David Cameron of “technological incompetence” on Tuesday, telling the British Prime Minister the idea of banning encryption was “just nonsense.”

      Speaking on HuffPost Live in New York, Jimmy Wales responded to a question about the British government’s push to gain access to encrypted sites for reasons of security.

      He called increased online security of “critical importance” in the face of “real threats from cyber crime.”

      “That means end-to-end encryption everywhere. That’s what he [Cameron] should be campaigning for,” Wales said.

      “The idea that you could ban encryption… it is just nonsense, it’s impossible, it’s math, you can’t ban math,” he added.

    • [on Washington Post]

      The Washington Post again demanded that tech companies create special ‘golden keys’ for authorities to keep and use for access to private communication. Protected by a warrant, of course. For the benefit of this discussion (which is really getting old), I just put together the reasons why it is a dumb idea.

    • Is the NSA lying about its failure to prevent 9/11?

      On March 20, 2000, as part of a trip to South Asia, U.S. President Bill Clinton was scheduled to land his helicopter in the desperately poor village of Joypura, Bangladesh, and speak to locals under a 150-year-old banyan tree. At the last minute, though, the visit was canceled; U.S. intelligence agencies had discovered an assassination plot. In a lengthy email, London-based members of the International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, a terrorist group established by Osama bin Laden, urged al Qaeda supporters to “Send Clinton Back in a Coffin” by firing a shoulder-launched missile at the president’s chopper.

    • UK Court rules DRIPA unlawful

      The successful judicial review was brought by Liberty, represented by David Davis MP and Tom Watson MP, with ORG and PI acting as intervenors.

    • How to Create a Burner Account on Ashley Madison (And Other Sketchy Sites)

      In brief, these masked cards are burner card numbers that are linked to your real credit card—but the third-party site will have no access to your personal information (though Abine will have all your data stored—so, just hope they don’t ever get hacked). A masked card lets you use any name you want (e.g. Joe Smith, Kevin Bacon, Barack Bush—go nuts), and for the billing address, you just use Abine’s address in Boston. The cost on your real credit card will just show up as “Abine” on your card statement.

    • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg moves step closer to becoming world’s richest person
  • Civil Rights

    • Woman recruited by Google four times and rejected, joins suit
    • “Between the World and Me”: Ta-Nehisi Coates Extended Interview on Being Black in America

      We spend the hour with Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “Between the World and Me,” an explosive new book about white supremacy and being black in America. The book begins, “Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.” It is written as a letter to his 15-year-old son, Samori, and is a combination of memoir, history and analysis. Its publication comes amidst the shooting of nine African-American churchgoers by an avowed white supremacist in Charleston; the horrifying death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman in Texas who was pulled over for not signaling a lane change; and the first anniversary of the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson. Coates talks about how he was influenced by freed political prisoner Marshall “Eddie” Conway and writer James Baldwin, and responds to critics of his book, including Cornel West and New York Times columnist David Brooks. Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

    • ‘I will light you up!’: Texas officer threatened Sandra Bland with Taser during traffic stop

      According to newly released police video, a Texas trooper threatened Sandra Bland with a Taser when he ordered her out of her vehicle during a traffic stop on July 10, three days before she was found dead in a county jail.

      Bland — a 28-year old African American woman — was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes, but the routine traffic stop turned confrontational after the officer, Brian Encinia, ordered Bland to put out her cigarette.

    • In ‘White People,’ an Attempt to Break the Cycle of Ignorance

      It turns out, according to Vargas, that white students are eligible for 96 percent of scholarships and are more than 40 percent more likely to receive private scholarships. As Katy comes to terms with reality, she begins to see her frustrations for what they truly are: resentment about limited resources in the academic arena. The fact that these statistics were so readily available to Vargas also potentially points to Katy’s poor research abilities, which may be a factor in her inability to find scholarships. What is truly frightening—but not at all shocking—is the tendency for the white millennials in the film to place blame on minorities before engaging in critical research to substantiate their beliefs.

    • ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay says dashcam video of Sandra Bland arrest was doctored

      Ava DuVernay, who directed the Oscar-nominated civil rights movement film Selma, suggested on Tuesday that the dashboard camera footage of Sandra Bland’s arrest earlier this month was altered.

    • Bernie Sanders becomes the first candidate to speak out on Sandra Bland: “We need real police reform”
    • 1. Whisper to NYT 2. Demand Anonymity 3. Truth!

      Glenn Greenwald (The Intercept, 7/21/15) traces the transmission of a demonstrably false claim–that ISIS’s “top leaders now use couriers or encrypted channels that Western analysts cannot crack to communicate” as a result of “revelations from Edward J. Snowden”–from nameless “intelligence and military officials” to a front-page piece by the New York Times‘ Eric Schmitt and Ben Hubbard (7/20/15) to other journalists gleefully retweeting and reprinting the false claim as fact.

    • The Spirit of Judy Miller is Alive and Well at the NYT, and It Does Great Damage

      One of the very few Iraq War advocates to pay any price at all was former New York Times reporter Judy Miller, the classic scapegoat. But what was her defining sin? She granted anonymity to government officials and then uncritically laundered their dubious claims in the New York Times. As the paper’s own editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa about the role they played in selling the war: “We have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.” As a result, its own handbook adopted in the wake of that historic journalistic debacle states that “anonymity is a last resort.”

    • “Your Border War Stuff Is Ridiculous”: Fox’s Stossel Demolishes O’Reilly’s Anti-Immigrant Stats from CIS

      Stossel: “You’re Citing Statistics From The Center For Immigration Studies … They Spin Them”

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 22/7/2015: Kodi 15.0, MKVToolnix 8.2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • 6 Things You Learn Preserving America’s Past

    The sheer volume of paper out there means that there’s simply no way that archivists have been able to go through everything. Some boxes haven’t been opened since the 1800s, and we may never have any idea what these things are. See, archivists need permission to go through material like that. To do so, you need to tell the higher-ups specifically where you want to look and what you’re looking for. You can’t simply start randomly spelunking in piles of government papers — the files will get messed up even worse than they are now. Somewhere in our records are papers that could change what we know about the history of our country. Every archivist knows this. But we need to get through everything first, and with mundane governmental papers taking priority (looking at you, Veterans Affairs), archivists rarely get the chance to discover new things.

  • Science

    • Studies find genetic signature of native Australians in the Americas

      The exact process by which humanity introduced itself to the Americas has always been controversial. While there’s general agreement on the most important migration—across the Bering land bridge at the end of the last ice age—there’s a lot of arguing over the details. Now, two new papers clarify some of the bigger picture but also introduce a new wrinkle: there’s DNA from the distant Pacific floating around in the genomes of Native Americans. And the two groups disagree about how it got there.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Why DANE isn’t going to win

      1024 bit RSA keys are quite common throughout the DNSSEC system. Getting rid of 1024 bit keys in the PKI has been a long-running effort; doing the same for DNSSEC is likely to take quite a while. Yes, rapid rotation is possible, by splitting key-signing and zone-signing (a good design choice), but since it can’t be enforced, it’s entirely likely that long-lived 1024 bit keys for signing DNSSEC zones is the rule, rather than exception.

    • RealVNC: more open remote access protocols will increase security

      Yes but RFB 5 is new… and it’s a closed, secret, previously unpublished protocol (unlike earlier RFB 3.x versions).

      Hmm, still doesn’t sound very secure.

      Security in remote access solutions will always be a concern for some it’s true.

    • I worked at #HackingTeam, my emails were leaked to WikiLeaks and I’m ok with that

      Is radical transparency the best solution to expose injustice in this technocratic world, a world that is changing faster than law can keep up with?

      That question became even more relevant to me, a privacy activist, when I found myself in the Wikileaks archive, because I worked at Hacking Team 9 years ago.


      This is a leak in the public interest, and I really feel that the personal and corporate damage is smaller than the improvement our society can gain from it. But to reach such an improvement, we have to focus on the bigger picture rather than getting distracted by the juicy details.

    • Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It

      Immediately my accelerator stopped working. As I frantically pressed the pedal and watched the RPMs climb, the Jeep lost half its speed, then slowed to a crawl. This occurred just as I reached a long overpass, with no shoulder to offer an escape. The experiment had ceased to be fun.

      At that point, the interstate began to slope upward, so the Jeep lost more momentum and barely crept forward. Cars lined up behind my bumper before passing me, honking. I could see an 18-wheeler approaching in my rearview mirror. I hoped its driver saw me, too, and could tell I was paralyzed on the highway.

    • 470,000 Vehicles At Risk After Hackers “Take Control & Crash” Jeep Cherokee From A Sofa 10 Miles Away
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Mental Illness Doesn’t Explain Mass Violence–but Neither Does ‘Islamic Extremism’

      With the latest mass shooting in Chattanooga, corporate media followed the usual pattern of being ready and willing to label violence as “terrorism” so long as the suspect is Muslim—e.g., Time‘s report on the shooting, “How to Stop the Next Domestic Terrorist” (7/20/15)—despite questions occasionally raised about whether “terrorism” is the appropriate frame to describe attacks on military installations (e.g., Slate, 7/17/15).

  • Transparency Reporting

    • 800 years post Magna Carta: Why no equal justice for all whistleblowers?

      IN LIGHT OF the Magna Carta’s 800th birthday and what modern democracy is based on today, is there really equal justice for all?

      Whistleblowers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are wanted. Chelsea Manning and Jeffrey Sterling are in gaol. John Kiriakou recently released from gaol. Thomas Drake and David Petraeus free. Free? If they all leaked classified information why are two free?

      Let’s look at each case pertaining to these whistleblowers apart from the Assange and Snowden cases.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Toshiba CEO quits over accounting scandal

      Toshiba Corp’s (6502.T) chief executive Hisao Tanaka and a string of other senior officials resigned on Tuesday for their roles in the country’s biggest accounting scandal in years.

      Tanaka will be temporarily replaced by Chairman Masashi Muromachi after an independent inquiry found the CEO had been aware the company had inflated its profits by $1.2 billion over a period of several years.

    • Greek Prime Minister Asked Putin For $10 Billion To “Print Drachmas”, Greek Media Reports

      Back in January, when we reported what the very first official act of open European defiance by the then-brand new Greek prime minister Tsipras was (as a reminder it was his visit of a local rifle range where Nazis executed 200 Greeks on May 1, 1944) we noted that this was the start of a clear Greek pivot away from Europe and toward Russia.

    • Prof. Wolff joins The Big Picture RT’s Thom Hartmann: “Is China’s Bubble About To Burst? Look Out US!”

      Prof. Wolff joins The Big Picture RT’s Thom Hartmann to discuss the latest on China. China – the world’s second biggest economy – recently saw its stock market plummet 30 percent in a month. Does this mean that next big economic crisis is right around the corner?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Five Times Local Media Exposed ALEC’s Secretive Agenda

      On July 22, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual meeting will once again see corporations and state lawmakers gather to discuss and vote on model legislation meant for introduction in state legislatures across the country. On the eve of the three-day conference in San Diego, Media Matters looks back at five examples of great reporting by local news teams who pulled back the curtain and held ALEC accountable for hosting lobbyists and legislators in secret meetings — where they wrote corporate-supported bills blocking minimum wage hikes, attacking unions, and eliminating environmental regulations — and previews this year’s agenda.

  • Privacy

    • High Court Rules UK’s Surveillance Powers Violate Human Rights

      UK’s High Court found the rushed Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) to be illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights and EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, both of which require respect for private and family life, as well as protection of personal data in the case of the latter.

    • Snowden to the IETF: Please make an internet for users, not the spies

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has urged the world’s leading group of internet engineers to design a future ‘net that puts the user in the center, and so protects people’s privacy.

      Speaking via webcast to a meeting in Prague of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the former spy talked about a range of possible changes to the basic engineering of the global communications network that would make it harder for governments to carry out mass surveillance.

      The session was not recorded, but a number of attendees live-tweeted the confab. It was not an official IETF session, but one organized by attendees at the Prague event and using the IETF’s facilities. It followed a screening of the film Citizenfour, which documents the story of Snowden leaking NSA files to journalists while in a hotel room in Hong Kong.

    • The Biggest Mistake AshleyMadison Customers Made: Using Their Credit Cards

      Digital extortionists are holding the sexual profiles of potentially 37 million adulterers hostage after a breach of infidelity website AshleyMadison.com. In a ransom message published on the site’s homepage today, the hackers threaten to publish reams of private information unless AshleyMadison.com and its peer site, EstablishedMen.com, are taken offline. Among that information, the message states, are “all customer records” including “real names and addresses.”

    • Organizational Doxing of Ashley Madison

      The — depending on who is doing the reporting — cheating, affair, adultery, or infidelity site Ashley Madison has been hacked. The hackers are threatening to expose all of the company’s documents, including internal e-mails and details of its 37 million customers. Brian Krebs writes about the hackers’ demands.

    • Andrés Iniesta loses Instagram account to Andrés Iniesta, Instagram apologises to Andrés Iniesta

      Instagram has apologised after it handed control of a Spanish user’s account over to a Barcelona football player with the same name.

      Andrés Iniesta, from Madrid, is the holder of the @ainiesta Instagram account. Andrés Iniesta, from Fuentealbilla, is the captain of Barcelona football club. The former Iniesta woke up on Wednesday to find that access to his Instagram account was blocked.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • If The UK Wants People To ‘Respect’ Copyright, Outlawing Ripping CDs Is Probably Not Helping

        We had two separate stories late last week about copyright issues in the UK, and it occurred to me that a followup relating one to the other might be in order. The first one, from Thursday, was about the UK’s plan to try, once again, to push a new “education campaign” to teach people that “copyright is good.” We’ve seen these campaigns pop up over and over again for decades now, and they tend to lead to complete ridicule and outright mockery. And yet, if you talk to film studio and record label execs, they continually claim that one of the most important things they need to do is to teach people to “respect” copyright through education campaigns.


Links 21/7/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Kdenlive 15.08

Posted in News Roundup at 7:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Dell Temporarily Suspends XPS 13 Developer Edition Sales to Fix Issues

      Some very keen eyes from the Linux community noticed that the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition was no longer available for purchase. Being just a community with no available information, the rumors quickly got out of hand, but it turns out that Dell is just making some changes. Sure, they could have handled this situation a lot better and informed the users about their plans before implementing them, but that didn’t happen.

    • Linux without Flash: User Tips

      Adobe Flash has been both a gift and a curse wrapped up in the same package. It’s a sluggish, often insecure and horribly bloated way to watch a video and play games on your computer. For years, Flash for Linux users was even worse: audio was out of sync with the video and you needed a special wrapper to play Flash videos on 64-bit Linux distributions. Even though things have gotten better in terms of compatibility, security still remains poor.

    • Should there be a $99 Chromebook?

      Chromebooks have been big sellers on Amazon for a long time now, with prices running from $150 on up. But one Chrome OS redditor recently wondered if it was time for there to be a $99 Chromebook. He got some interesting answers from his fellow redditors.

  • Server

    • No Agents Needed to Monitor Containers, Says Sysdig, Just Linux Kernel Changes

      Advocates of conventional VM environments have touted this as a key disadvantage of containers. If it is, then both VMs and containers share the problem. Virtual components are intended to be self-contained. Docker has begun to break through this barrier with its latest exploration of a plugins ecosystem. But even this may underscore the need for containers to report their health, and the opportunity for containers to one-up VMs yet again by beating them to a standard approach.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Which Linux Chrome OS Clone is Right For You?

      Which route you take to Chrome OS depends on your needs. If you’re looking for Pure Chrome OS, you’ll want to go with Chromium OS. If you’re looking for a nearly-identical Chrome OS experience, with an additional boost from the Linux desktop, go with Solus. If you want the best of both worlds, give Chromixium a try.

    • Reviews

      • A solid experience with SolydXK

        SolydXK is a desktop distribution based on Debian’s Stable branch. SolydXK originally began as an unofficial spin of the Linux Mint project, but has since grown into its own distribution with its own repositories. SolydXK is available in two editions, Xfce and KDE. While both editions strive to offer complete desktop solutions out of the box, the Xfce edition offers a faster, more resource friendly approach. The KDE edition provides more features and configuration options. At the time of writing, both editions of SolydXK appear to be offered as 64-bit x86 builds exclusively. I decided to try the project’s Xfce edition (SolydX) and found the distribution’s ISO was 1.4GB in size.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Gets Its Fifth Update with Latest MATE and Cinnamon

        The Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 distro has received its fifth update and it looks like we’re getting new versions for various desktop environments, not to mention the upgrades for the supported Linux kernels.

      • Review: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 “Ascella” KDE

        That’s where my time with Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 “Ascella” KDE ended. Overall, this distribution is quite polished, it seems to cater to newbies well, and I can’t find much that is wrong with it. Of course, if I were to use it on a daily basis, there are other things that I’d have to get used to, such as the way KDE and its applications do things compared to MATE/Xfce, the way the KDE Kickoff menu is best used (because the KDE Lancelot menu does not appear to be available for KDE 5), and so on. In any case, though, I can heartily recommend it to newbies and more experienced users alike, and I would seriously consider using this on a daily basis.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Ratings Watch: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Fedora

        • Doing Fedora Snapshots/Rollbacks With Btrfs & Snapper

          All the way back to Fedora 13 has been work on supporting Btrfs system snapshots / rollbacks using this Linux next-generation file-system’s CoW snapshot abilities. Those abilities were tied into a Yum plug-in for making a Btrfs snapshot whenever a Yum transaction would take place. Another alternative for Btrfs system snapshots on Fedora is by using Snapper.

        • Intel’s Braswell NUC Trips On Fedora 22 But Runs Fine On Ubuntu 15.04

          This week I started testing Intel’s new NUC5CPYH NUC as the first device with a Braswell SoC (not to be confused with Broadwell). The tests are progressing but the out-of-the-box experience hasn’t been one of the best for Intel.

        • Intel’s Broadwell i7-5775C Runs Much Happier On Fedora 22 Than Ubuntu Linux

          With using the MSI Z97-G45 GAMING motherboard that doesn’t require any BIOS/UEFI tweaks to run better on Ubuntu, it still was locking up some times as noted in the article yesterday, but it was better than the other Intel Z97 motherboards tested with this socketed Broadwell processor. On Ubuntu these problems persisted with various versions of the Linux kernel tried from Linux 3.19 through Linux 4.2 Git. Interestingly, these kernel panics have vanished when switching to Fedora 22.

        • Telegram in Fedora

          Recently, there has been a new wave of instant messaging services focused on the mobile world. Examples include Whatsapp, Messenger, Hangouts, and Viber. However, these are all closed and don’t have the best record of security and privacy. A new service with a different approach is Telegram. It’s developed and run by a non-profit organization, has an open API and protocol, provides open source clients, and stresses privacy.

    • Debian Family

      • dgit 1.0, available for all users

        I am pleased to announce dgit 1.0, which can be used, as applicable, by all contributors and downstreams.

      • Dgit 1.0 Released: Making A Debian Archive Like A Git Repository

        Dgit allows users to treat Debian archives as Git repositories and to provide a “Git view” of any package. Dgit also allows building and uploading from Git. Dgit 1.0 adds anonymous read-only access support, among other changes.

      • Derivatives

        • Neptune 4.4 Release

          This version features a new LTS Kernel 3.18.16 which delivers better and more modern hardware support. We also did the biggest update in the graphicsstack since Neptune 4.0 by upgrading to XServer 1.17 and Mesa 10.5.8. This brings in support for modern graphiccards and better 3D performance. Old chips like voodoo or sis however aren’t supported anymore. We updated the Hplip driver to support newer hp printers.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Amazon Echo plus Wink hub equals smarthome simplicity [Ed: runs Linux]

      Adding a $50 Wink hub and a few connected LED bulbs just made Alexa our home’s newest addition. And we’re just getting started.

    • Installing Anything Else on Intel Compute Stick Voids Warranty

      Intel announced two models of the Intel Compute Stick, one with Windows and one with Ubuntu. For unknown reasons, Intel decided to make the Linux version a little less powerful, so people are thinking of buying the Windows version and just install Linux on it. As it turns out, it’s not that simple.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Get a 13.3-inch Android tablet and keyboard for $109.99

          Some tablet deals can’t wait for Tuesday, so I hereby give you Tablet Monday…

          Ending Friday, and while supplies last, Staples has the refurbished NuVision TM1318 13.3-inch Android tablet for $109.99 shipped (plus tax). It’s available in your choice of black, blue or pink, and it comes with a matching carrying case/stand and a Bluetooth keyboard.

        • I Regret My iPhone 6, Now I Want Android

          I never thought I needed an iPhone, until I did — until all my friends had them and I listened to music all day, every day, everywhere. But that was three years ago, and now I’m thoroughly bored and almost stifled by Apple smartphones. After about a month of owning my iPhone 6, I found myself loathing iOS’s lack of freedom, limiting hardware and software, and boring ecosystem. Here’s why my next smartphone will run Android.

        • A secret option in your Android phone can help make it work faster

          Whether you have the newest, fastest Android phone available or an older device that’s starting to show its age in its declining performance, there’s a neat little trick that should speed up the overall feel of your Android phone.

        • $30 Remix Mini aims to be the first serious Android PC

          The Remix Mini, which is expected to ship in October, is Jide Tech’s second Android device launched on Kickstarter, following an 11.6-inch Remix Ultratablet running its Remix OS version of Android on an Nvidia Tegra 4. The China-based Jide Tech, which was started by three ex Google staffers, had some trouble with distribution, but it appears that the funders have finally received their tablets, according to Android Police. The story suggests that the higher new worldwide shipping fees, which now range from a $15 to $30, are designed to ensure that users can get their Minis in a more timely fashion.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Where are the Women and Minority Open Source Programmers?

    Open source culture—in theory and largely in practice—is about as meritocratic as can be. Yet it’s also nearly as dominated by white males as can be. Why is that? It’s a question worth asking, especially in the wake of the Washington Post’s observations a few days ago regarding Silicon Valley’s “diversity problem.”

  • Succeed in open source, change the world

    Growing a project means eventually having to change a culture, and making a culture where people are already happy change is a challenge. Harvard Business School professor John P. Kotter has developed a set of eight steps for change and transforming an organization with it. Peters recommended a subset of these for growth of open source projects.

  • Democratizing Open Source Technology to Empower Innovators

    Innovation is the new currency in today’s Idea Economy. In recognition of the leaders who are disrupting our tech-driven world, the editors at thought leadership site PSFK.com partnered with HP Matter to create the Innovators Index, a roster of digital pioneers making a global impact. This week we’ve featured Peter Semmelhack for designing open source tools that empower the next generation of innovators.

  • Huawei Bears Open Source Gifts From China

    Chinese technology giant Huawei has frequently been the subject of suspicion and sanction, particularly in the United States. But it’s also a company that produces key pieces of technology infrastructure, and an active contributor to various international open source initiatives. This week, at OSCON in Portland, Huawei announced the release of a new open source project, Astro. Astro tightly integrates the database capabilities of Apache HBase with the online query and analytics power of Apache Spark, potentially bringing Spark-powered data science a step closer to the huge structured data stores locked up inside many global enterprises.

  • An Intimate View: Standards vs. Open Source

    One person with intimate knowledge of those key differences is Heather Kirksey, director of NFV for the Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. , the Linux Foundation -backed open source effort. As someone directly involved in developing a recent and enduring telecom standard, TR-69, Kirksey has seen firsthand how both processes work and knows why open source is faster, as the result of a different kind of cooperation.

  • The Open Source Initiative Welcomes Mifos Initiative

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) this week welcomed The Mifos Initiative as the latest Affiliate Member to join the global non-profit focused on promoting and protecting open source software, development and communities.

  • Pixar Presents A Blender To Renderman Plugin

    Earlier this year pixar released a free, non-commercial version of Renderman, their photo-realistic 3D rendering software used within the company’s animated movies. Coming out now thanks to work by Pixar and the community is a Blender-to-Renderman exporter plug-in.

  • Haiku OS Working On A Systemd-Inspired Boot Daemon

    Haiku OS, the BeOS-inspired open-source operating system, has reached the point of being feature-complete for launch_daemon, their new boot/service manager partially inspired by systemd.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • What is open science?

      In his autobiography, Just for Fun, Linux creator Linus Torvalds argues that the open source process tends to mirror the scientific enterprise. “Science was originally viewed as something dangerous, subversive, and antiestablishment—basically how software companies sometimes view open source,” he writes. And like science, Torvalds suggests, open source drives innovation: “It is creating things that until recently were considered impossible, and opening up unexpected new markets.”

    • Open Hardware

      • 5 human-powered open hardware projects

        Thanks in large part to open hardware platforms like BITalino, biosignals are no longer bound to the walls of a medical practice; whether you’re looking for the next cool project or to learn something new over summer vacation, physiological computing has plenty to offer. This article highlights a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Programming


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Swedish capital to go car free in September

      Cars will be banned from Stockholm city centre for the first time on September 19th as the Swedish capital takes part in a Europe-wide initiative to encourage greener travel.

    • California Drinking Water: Not Just Vanishing, But Also Widely Contaminated

      In normal years, California residents get about 30 percent of their drinking water from underground aquifers. And in droughts like the current one—with sources like snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada mountains virtually non-existent—groundwater supplies two-thirds of our most populous state’s water needs. So it’s sobering news that about 20 percent of the groundwater that Californians rely on to keep their taps flowing carries high concentrations of contaminants like arsenic, uranium, and nitrate.

    • Jeremy Hunt Petition Calling For Health Secretary’s Resignation Prompts Thousands Of Signatures

      More than 60,000 people have signed a petition calling for Jeremy Hunt to resign or be removed as health secretary over his seven-day NHS comments, less than 24 hours after it was set up.

      On Sunday Harry Leitch, a research fellow at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, launched a petition on Change.org saying the document should act as “a vote of no confidence in his leadership from the NHS and from the public”.

      On the website Mr Leitch said that Mr Hunt’s “out of touch policies” and “flippant remarks” about the NHS had “angered” NHS workers for a long while, but his recent speech on seven day working was the “last straw”.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Florida man dislikes sea turtles, shoots a volunteer protecting their nest

      A 72-year-old Marine veteran who volunteered to protect a sea turtle nest got beaten and shot in the butt for his troubles. Turtle-hater Michael Q. McAuliffe was arrested.

    • The Horrors of John McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?

      The top war-monger in Congress has been Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona, seeker of the Republican presidential nomination. In one rhetorical bombing run after another, McCain has bellowed for “lights out in Belgrade” and for NATO to “cream” the Serbs. At the start of May he began declaiming in the US senate for the NATO forces to use “any means necessary” to destroy Serbia.

    • It’s Simple, Face the Nation: Iran Doesn’t Trust US Inspectors–and Shouldn’t

      These efforts are not exactly a secret to US corporate media; the Washington Post and Boston Globe jointly broke the news that the UN’s UNSCOM inspection program in Iraq had been used for US military espionage on January 6, 1999 (written up by Seth Ackerman in FAIR’s Extra!, 3-4/99, 11-12/02). In the Globe‘s words, UNSCOM concealed “an ambitious spying operation designed to penetrate Iraq’s intelligence apparatus and track the movement of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.”


      So it wasn’t considered debatable at the time—though a few years later, when the US was gearing up for an invasion of Iraq, US media started treating it as an allegation made by Iraq rather than an actual operation that had been exposed by leading US papers (as Ackerman documented—Extra!, 11-12/02).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Obama Is Secretly Amassing Sensitive Personal Data On Americans For An Orwellian Race Database [Report]

      Paul Sperry, a fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, has raised alarm that the Obama administration is secretly amassing a database of sensitive personal information about Americans broken down by race for the purpose of engineering what the administration describes as “racial and economic justice.”

      Agents of the administration, according to the report published by the New York Post, are mining sensitive personal data — health, housing, financial, and employment — for the purpose of documenting and analyzing social, cultural, political, and economic “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

    • A Fascinating New Interview with Wikileaks’ Julian Assange

      SPIEGEL: Who uses these methods?

      Assange: The British GCHQ has its own department for such methods called JTRIG. They include blackmail, fabricating videos, fabricating SMS texts in bulk, even creating fake businesses with the same names as real businesses the United Kingdom wants to marginalize in some region of the world, and encouraging people to order from the fake business and selling them inferior products, so that the business gets a bad reputation. That sounds like a lunatic conspiracy theory, but it is concretely documented in the GCHQ material allegedly provided by Edward Snowden…

      SPIEGEL: What does this “colonization” look like?

      Assange: These corporations establish new societal rules about what activities are permitted and what information can be transmitted. Right down to how much nipple you can show. Down to really basic matters, which are normally a function of public debate and parliaments making laws. Once something becomes sufficiently controversial, it’s banned by these organizations. Or, even if it is not so controversial, but it affects the interests that they’re close to, then it’s banned or partially banned or just not promoted.

    • The weak case against strong encryption

      I used to think that the idea of banning encryption was too absurd for discussion. Whenever a politician or government official suggested it, I figured it to be a ploy covering the real desire, which was not to ban encryption, but to require backdoors that would allow encrypted content to be accessed by government agencies.

      So it goes in the United Kingdom, where the government of Prime Minister David Cameron seemed to be pushing for an outright ban. But now we hear from Cameron’s spokespeople that they don’t really want to ban encryption; instead, they would like to be able to decrypt anything they want at any time.

    • I’ll Put My Name On This Piece Declaring It Idiotic To Argue Against Anonymity Online

      This happens every few months — whenever there’s a flare up of “bad behavior” on the internet. Some genius thinks he can solve everything by just “getting rid of online anonymity.” The latest to step into this well trodden, widely debunked, canyon of ridiculousness… is Lance Ulanoff over at Mashable. He seems to think that he’s the first person to seriously consider the idea of doing away with online anonymity, and it only serves to show that he’s barely thought through the issue at all. First off, it’s simply wrong to associate anonymous comments with trollish comments. Yes, some anonymous comments are trollish, but most are not. And, in fact, many trollish, harassing comments come from people who have their real names attached to them. This has been studied widely, but Ulanoff doesn’t even bother to look for evidence, he just goes with his gut. The largest single platform for harassment online… has been Facebook, which famously requires “real names.” That hasn’t stopped harassment, and nor would it do so on Reddit.

  • Civil Rights

    • Slingbox Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Unwanted Ads

      Last week, a class action lawsuit was filed against Sling Media Inc., the maker of a device called Slingbox that streams digital TV, alleging the company streamed advertisements without permission from consumers.

    • UK parents to get power to cancel children’s passports over Isis fears

      Cameron said that parents would in effect have the right to cancel the passports of their children under 16 to prevent them from travelling to war zones.

    • NSA Helped CIA Outmanoeuvre Europe on Torture

      Today, Monday 20 July at 1800 CEST, WikiLeaks publishes evidence of National Security Agency (NSA) spying on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier along with a list of 20 target selectors for the Foreign Ministry. The list indicates that NSA spying on the Foreign Ministry extends back to the pre-9/11 era, including numbers for offices in Bonn and targeting Joschka Fischer, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister from 1998 to 2005.

    • The Making of a Republican Snowdenista

      Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., hands me a copy of a letter from James Clapper in which the director of national intelligence complains to two members of the House Intelligence Committee about Massie’s recent attempts to reform one of the NSA’s massive surveillance programs.

      On the top right, in curly script, Massie has written his response: “Get a warrant.” It’s in red ink. He’s underlined it.

      “If you assume the worst” about the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices, Massie tells me, “it’s not a bad position to take, given what we’ve found out.”

      Indeed, for Massie, as with so many others, the information NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden gave journalists two years ago about the extraordinary sweep of U.S surveillance programs was a huge eye-opener.

      Prior to the Snowden revelations, Massie says, he knew almost nothing about the NSA’s implementation of the tools Congress gave it to protect national security.

    • EU Proposes To Reform Corporate Sovereignty Slightly; US Think Tank Goes Into Panic Mode

      Back in May, we wrote about the European Commission’s sharing “concerns” about corporate sovereignty chapters in trade agreements. The Commissioner responsible for trade, Cecilia Malmström, even went so far as to say that the present investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system was “not fit for purpose in the 21st century.” But rather than removing something that is unnecessary between two economic blocs with highly-developed and fair legal systems, she instead proposed to “reform” it, and to start working towards an international investment court.

      That idea was dismissed almost immediately by the US Undersecretary for International Trade at the Commerce Department, Stefan Selig. Despite that, the EU seems set on replacing today’s corporate sovereignty with some kind of court. In a non-binding but important set of recommendations to the European Commission regarding TTIP, the European Parliament called for the following…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Links 20/7/2015: Red Star Linux Serial Content Tracker, Linux 4.2 RC3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Embarrassing Pasts

    The royal family were of course German themselves – completely so. Since George I every royal marriage in line of succession had been conducted in strict accordance with the Furstenprivatrecht, to a member of a German royal family. The Queen Mother, who was of course not expected to feature in promulgating the line of succession, was the first significant exception in 220 years. She was evidently trying hard to fit in. But I am not sure German-ness has much to do with it. Nazi sympathies were much more common in the aristocracy than generally admitted. Their vast wealth and massive land ownership contrasted with the horrific poverty and malnutrition of the 1930’s, led the aristocracy to fear a very real prospect of being stood against a wall and shot. Fascism appeared to offer social amelioration for the workers with continued privilege for the aristocrats. It is completely untrue that its racism, totalitarianism and violence was unknown in 1933-4. They knew what they were doing.

    Happily fascism was defeated. The royal family is of course only the tip of the iceberg of whitewashed fascist support – without even starting on industrialists, newspaper proprietors, the Kennedys, etc. etc. But the Buckingham Palace option of outrage that anybody should ever remember is very sad – still more sad that such a position gets such popular support.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Serbia sentences Balkan drug trafficker to 20 years in jail

      A court in Belgrade on Monday sentenced Darko Saric, for years one of the most wanted crime figures in the Balkans, to 20 years in jail for trafficking cocaine from Latin America to Europe and laundering 22 million euros, the Tanjug news agency reported.

    • Continued Food Shortages in Venezuela Spark Social Media Outcry

      Venezuela has been suffering from food shortages for a while now. Shortages of basic needs have become the norm in Venezuela over the past few years, but as images from citizens continue to swarm social media sites it only seems to be getting worse. The government has reportedly taken control of all major television stations, leaving only social media as one of the few ways to see what’s going on inside the country.

    • In Flint, Michigan, Overpriced Water is Causing People’s Skin to Erupt in Rashes and Hair to Fall Out.

      On a Saturday afternoon in early May, Gertrude Marshall stood on a sidewalk in front of Flint City Hall holding a hand-printed sign that declared, “We Need Affordable Water.” A 48-year-old grandmother with a kind face and determined eyes, she had come alone to protest the city’s skyrocketing water rates. In the month of April, the city had issued shutoff notices to 378 customers who could not afford to pay their bills.

    • Prison food bill to go up $13.7M with new vendor

      Michigan’s new prison food vendor got a sweeter contract that includes higher meal prices, potentially higher annual increases, and a waiver of experience requirements for kitchen workers.

  • Security

    • Online Cheating Site AshleyMadison Hacked

      Trevor Stokes, ALM’s chief technology officer, put his worst fears on the table: “Security,” he wrote. “I would hate to see our systems hacked and/or the leak of personal information.”

    • doas – dedicated openbsd application subexecutor

      Talking with deraadt and millert, however, I wasn’t quite alone. There were some concerns that sudo was too big, running too much code in a privileged process. And there was also pressure to enable even more options, because the feature set shipped in base wasn’t big enough. Hurray, tension. It wasn’t the problem I was trying to solve, but it was an opening from which to launch my diabolical plan.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Countering the neo-Cold Warriors

      Shortly, the «gruesome twosome» of U.S.-Russian relations, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and NATO Supreme Commander General Philip Breedlove, will be joined by a third neo-Cold Warrior, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the prospective Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to become the «terrible troika» of American officials clamoring for a military showdown with Moscow.

    • Palantir goes from CIA-funded start-up to big business

      So when Peter Thiel, the billionaire Silicon Valley investor and a fan of JRR Tolkein’s fiction, first envisaged a company that could find answers in the deluge of “big data” available in the digital age, he thought Palantir was an apt name.

    • Report: CIA backed Big Data analytics firm Palantir, raising $500m Series I on $20b valuation

      According to reports, the new round of funding apparently reflects investors’ eagerness to gain access to a startup seen as one of the most successful in the world, although many probably haven’t even heard of it.

    • CIA-funded spy data safe Palantir doubles in value in 18 months

      CIA-backed Big Data analytics outfit Palantir is about to embark on a fundraising round that will value the biz at $20bn (£13bn), according to reports.

    • Judge: CIA, Pentagon May Still Neither Confirm Nor Deny Records Exist on US Citizens Killed by Drones

      A federal judge has ruled the CIA and Defense Department (DOD) do not have to confirm or deny whether they have records on the “factual basis for the killing” of either Samir Khan or Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who were killed in two separate drone strikes in September and October of 2011.

    • CIA and OLC Must Release More “Secret” Documents on Aulaqi Drone Strike
    • Suicide Bomber Kills At Least 18 Near CIA Base in Afghanistan

      A suicide bomber killed at least 18 people in Afghanistan on Sunday near a CIA-operated military base where US troops are stationed.

    • Vietnam POW Records Block Was a Bust for CIA

      Forced to divulge Vietnam War records on prisoners of war or soldiers missing in action, the CIA must now pay more than $400,000 in attorneys’ fees, a federal judge ruled.

      Roger Hall, Accuracy in Media and Studies Solutions Results brought the challenge 11 years ago after the CIA rejected their request under the Freedom of Information Act.

      A federal judge in Washington issued two slam-dunk decisions for the record seekers over the years.

      After ordering the CIA in 2009 to divulge all nonexempt records, to search its database for 1,700 names, and to explain its reasons for nondisclosure, the CIA attempted to look for just 31 of the files because it said searching for 1,700 names without additional identifying information would be unduly burdensome.

    • Secret Document Shows CIA Reaction to Finding No WMD in Iraq

      The fact that Duelfer states quite clearly that he found none of the alleged WMD stockpiles cannot be repeated enough, with 42 percent of Americans (and 51 percent of Republicans) still believing the opposite. A New York Times story last October about the remnants of a long-abandoned chemical weapons program has been misused and abused to advance misunderstanding. A search of Iraq today would find U.S. cluster bombs that were dropped a decade back, without of course finding evidence of a current operation.

    • CIA reaction to finding no WMD in Iraq

      The National Security Archive has posted several newly available documents; one of them an account by Charles Duelfer of the search he led in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, with a staff of 1,700 and the resources of the U.S. military.

    • Endless enemies – how the US is supporting the Islamic State by fighting it

      Geopolitics is a murky game. Precisely how murky is reflected in the well-worn phrase, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

      What happens, though, when you follow that ancient proverb with the faith of a religious believer?

      Now that the war on the “Islamic State” (IS) is, ostensibly, in full-swing, the US is making “friends” out of enemies, old and new. Among our new friends is al-Qaeda.

      Except they are supposedly not “our” friends, but friends of our allies.

    • Tehran embassy re-opening will test troubled UK-Iran relations

      Tehran’s Ferdowsi Avenue commemorates Iran’s national poet. It is also home to the British Embassy, still shuttered and closed after the attack on it four years ago – at a low point in relations between the Islamic Republic and the country Iranians have often called the Little Satan – alongside the Great American one.

    • Ron Paul Backs Iran Nuclear Deal: “It’s To The Benefit Of World Peace”

      Ron Paul expressed support for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran in two interviews this week, saying in one that the agreement was “to the benefit of world peace.”

      The former Texas congressman’s position stands in contrast to that of many Republicans, including his son, Kentucky senator and current presidential candidate Rand Paul.

      Speaking to Ed Berliner of Newsmax TV’s “The Hard Line” on Wednesday, elder Paul said that “[o]ur foreign policy is basically driven by the military industrial complex, and if they can sell something, they will keep stirring the pot.”

    • 25 years later: Did Kuwait invasion doom Iraq?

      In 1990 and 1991, the United States deployed a huge army to Saudi Arabia and then fought and destroyed much of Iraq’s army. After the war, US military forces stayed in the kingdom and in Kuwait in significant numbers. More bases came in Qatar and the UAE. In 2003, President George W. Bush launched another war with Iraq and US military forces, except for a brief interruption, have been in Iraq since. What had been a backwater for the US military has become since 1990 the principal arena of conflict. This shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

    • The Case of Ecuador: Where Sovereignty is Serious Business

      But Agee was no Edward Snowden, Private Manning or Ray McGovern, three good liberals who stuck their necks out, publishing secret information and making public criticism with the aim of making the military and intelligence services less politicized and more professional. Agee was not looking to improve the CIA’s functioning but to undermine it every step of the way and even destroy the Agency if that were possible, and so deal a blow to US imperialism. That was his calling until the end of his days. He died in Cuba in 2008 at the age of 72, surrounded by the affection and appreciation of the Cuban revolution, which always thanked him for his courage.


      As you can see, Latin America’s jealous defense of its sovereignty is no whim, and it is certainly not a populist gimmick. Here in the South, our sovereignty is under constant threat and protecting it requires our never ending vigilance.

    • ‘US interest in Kyrgyzstan: Strategy of global dominance’

      Washington has given a human rights award to a Kyrgyz man who was arrested for instigating ethnic strife in his country, in yet another example of the US exerting its strategy of full spectrum global dominance, political experts tell RT.

      The US State Department has decided to hand its Human Rights Defenders Award to Kyrgyz national, Azimzhan Askarov, who, in 2010, played an active role in ethnic riots between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in his country. Askarov was arrested during the violence and convicted of taking part in the murder of a Kyrgyz police officer.

    • Seven conspiracy theories that turned out to be real

      Known as Plan W, it was intended as a response to Nazi Germany’s plan to invade Ireland and use it as a staging area for the Luftwaffe’s attacks on Britain. Churchill had made several offers to DeValera to give back the Six Counties if Ireland joined the Allied effort against the Nazis, however DeValera believed it would cause another civil war in Ireland. There was a real belief in British political and military circles that Nazi Germany could invade Ireland quite easily, with some believing that DeValera could side with the Nazis if an advantageous offer was made to them. The Abwehr, Nazi Germany’s intelligence service, had several contacts with the IRA and were using them for information on the ground.

    • Richard Nixon’s Blueprint for Twenty-First Century America
    • Richard Nixon – Hero or Villain? (Author Interview with Tim Weiner)

      Nixon’s administration gave men like future Defense secretaries Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, future Supreme Court justices William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, future CIA director Bill Casey, and many more of their first real tastes of power. These men became central to American conservative policies and politics in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

    • Nixon was least bothered with 1971 genocide: Tim Weiner

      Weiner discounted Nixon’s fear of communism as being responsible for turning his back on the Bangladesh genocide .

      “Nixon repeatedly calls the people of India savages and cannibals. He repeatedly mourns the fact that Yahya is going down and Indira Gandhi will emerge stronger.

      “He didn’t give a fig for the genocide that was being committed in present-day Bangladesh, for which people are still being tried and convicted. The origin of this is simply loyalty for Yayha for smuggling Kissinger to China.”

    • The Nixon Legacy

      As a bonus, you also get a preview of the kinds of money machinations that, with the backing of the Supreme Court four decades later, would produce our present 1% democracy. The secret political funds Nixon and his cronies finagled from the wealthy outside the law have now been translated into perfectly legal billionaire-funded super PACs that do everything from launching candidate ad blitzes to running ground campaigns for election 2016.

    • ‘Being Nixon’ portrays a president divided against his better self

      Richard Nixon once told an administration adviser that African-Americans were “just down out of the trees.” Our 37th president also, without fanfare and without credit, oversaw a peaceful transition from segregated schools to integration in the old Confederacy.

    • Iran’s Favorite Midwesterner

      How the long-forgotten story of a minister’s son from Nebraska could remind Tehran and Washington of a common heritage.

    • “Obama’s War” in South Sudan

      The genocidal war being waged in South Sudan today is “Obama’s War”. Why? Because the Obama regime is paying for it.

      Thanks to Wikileaks we know that the CIA began paying the salaries of what is today the South Sudanese “rebel army” led by Reik Machar in 2009. And the CIA is still paying them today. We know this because

    • Why Is Iran’s Refusal to Allow No-Notice Inspections Legit? U.S. History With Iraq

      Americans and Israelis who hate the new nuclear agreement with Iran are already focusing on one part in particular: It doesn’t authorize snap, no-notice inspections of all locations. Israel’s hard-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett claims the accord is a “farce” because “in order to go and make an inspection, you have to notify the Iranians 24 days in advance.”

      This is not exactly right, but close enough. (Iran’s declared nuclear sites will be under continuous monitoring. If the International Atomic Energy Agency wants to inspect a non-declared site and Iran refuses, Iran has 14 days to convince the IAEA it’s doing nothing wrong without providing access. If it can’t, the commission governing the agreement has seven days to vote on whether to force Iran to provide access, and if it does Iran has three more days to comply. The exact procedure is established in paragraphs 74-78 of the agreement text.)

      For people unfamiliar with the history of arms control generally and in the Middle East in particular, this might seem like a bad deal. If Iran doesn’t have anything to hide, why wouldn’t it allow the IAEA to go anywhere at anytime?

    • NATO’s War on Africa [Ed: this piece is a bit whacky and weak on evidence]

      But another terrorist attack by the group Al Shabaab on an African Union military base in Lego, Somalia, received little attention and no widely publicized official condemnation by Western governments. Fifty Burundian troops were killed and dozens were injured after the Somali terrorist group stormed the African Union military base, which is currently occupied by troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). It was one of the worst attacks against a military target in Somalia since the collapse of that country in 1991.

    • Chad: 25-Year Fight to Put Former U.S.-Backed Habré On Trial

      “An interminable political and legal soap opera” is how South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu described 25 years of back and forth in the quest to bring former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré (1982-1990) to trial for crimes against humanity.

    • For The First Time, An African Country Prosecutes Another’s Ex-Leader

      Former leader of Chad is going on trial Monday on charges of crimes against humanity. He’s been living in exile in Senegal since he was driven from power in 1990. Human rights campaigners and survivors of alleged torture have been trying to get him to court ever since. NPR’s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

    • Iran deal: A new vision of American foreign policy?

      Traditionally, military force emanated the ultimate form of power as the strong subjugated and proselytized the weak; this is how empires were formed. This profound emphasis on military force was conceived during a time when war was more acceptable, rights to self-determination were not enshrined in international law, nuclear threats were a nonissue and globalization did not exist.

      Today, as the world grows increasingly interdependent with each passing minute, the foundations of power have shifted. While war still exists, its allure that marked earlier eras has been undermined by its costs in the contemporary world. America had to learn this the hard way.


      Multilateral diplomacy captures the essence of the world we live in far better than unilateral coercion (e.g. Iraq invasion). The United States led the P5+1 in this unprecedented diplomatic effort, effectively recognizing the limitations of American power and demonstrating strong leadership in resolving a major geopolitical issue.

    • AEI Expert: Iranians Think “Very Differently” From Us Because They’re “Nationalists”

      Iranians: are they normal human beings like us, or are they weirdos whose foreign, mysterious thought processes can only be understood by highly trained experts?

      Michael Rubin, a mideast expert at the American Enterprise Institute, says it’s the latter. (Rubin previously worked from 2003-4 for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, which is benefitting to this day from his applied expertise.)

      The reason this matters right now, obviously, is that the U.S. and Iran are trying to come to an agreement on limiting Iran’s enrichment of uranium. So Rubin wants us to know that we can’t allow “political correctness to trump accuracy” by assuming “that everyone shares our values.” No, he explains, “different peoples can think in very different ways.” And certainly Rubin isn’t alone in this: varieties of his perspective suffuse the Wall Street Journal, Time, and pretty much every prestigious U.S. news outlet.

    • Islamist batallions against Donetsk and Lougansk

      According to the New York Times, they are the Cheikh Manour and Djokhar Doudaïev batallions , mainly composed of Chechens from Georgia and Ouzbekistan, and the Crimée battalion, composé of Tatars [1], the CIA has been coordinating the Nazis and the Islamists since the end of the Second World War. Concerning Ukraine, the CIA organised an « anti-Imperial Congress » (meaning anti-Russian), on the 8th May 2007, in Ternopol (western Ukraine), in which the Ukrainian Nazis and the Islamists from the Caucasus were already participants. The coordination which was created on that day lifted Dmytro Yarosh (head of Pravy Sektor) to the Presidency, and received the blessing of Dokou Oumarov (the fifth President of the Islamic Emirate of Ichkeria, then Emir of the Caucasus).

    • Touchy Issue: Talking with ‘Terrorists’

      Official Washington often exacerbates foreign conflicts by shoving them into misshapen narratives or treating them as good-guy-vs.-bad-guy morality plays, rather than political disputes that require mediation. The problem is particularly tricky with “terrorist” groups, writes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • America’s drone program is a travesty — and a mystery even to its executors

      The myth of the lone drone warrior is now well established and threatens to become as enduring as that of the lone lawman with a white horse and a silver bullet who rode out into the Wild West to find the bad guys. In a similar fashion, the unsung hero of Washington’s modern War on Terror in the wild backlands of the planet is sometimes portrayed as a mysterious Central Intelligence Agency officer. Via modern technology, he prowls Central Asian or Middle Eastern skies with his unmanned Predator drone, dispatching carefully placed Hellfire missiles to kill top al-Qaeda terrorists in their remote hideouts.

    • History of the Relationship Between Iran and the West

      In 1953 Iran’s democratically elected premier, Mohammad Mossadeq, sought to nationalise the country’s hugely lucrative oil industry. From his appointment in 1951 he quickly turned on British oil concerns in the country, calling for their expropriation.

      Both British and US intelligence services watched the developing situation with concern. In the middle of the Cold War period, there were genuine fears that Mossadeq could lead Iran into the sphere of the Soviet Union. Just as importantly, both countries relied on Iranian oil fields for a cheap supply of the increasingly precious commodity.

      The CIA and British intelligence services began to form alliances with pro-Western and pro-Shah elements in Iran in the hope of usurping Mossadeq. A first attempt at a coup d’etat was thwarted in 1952 when Iranian citizens took to the streets to protest the overthrow of their democratically elected Premier. The intelligence services continued to build their influence in Iran through dubious means, and in 1953 the country’s military, with financial and political support from the CIA, overthrew Mossadeq.

      It wasn’t until 1953 that the CIA publicly admitted to the role it had played in the coup d’etat. The British Foreign Office, at least officially, continues to deny any involvement.

    • Dark Hours

      Sifton’s project at the outset is to see violence objectively, as a human phenomenon. One aspect is its sheer difficulty: killing other people is no easy business, and it’s hardest at close range, when you can look into the other’s face. Even if a killer is untroubled by conscience, the deed itself may put him in a state of physical exhaustion, as if it required a tremendous effort to overcome an instinctive aversion. “People are not wired for unfettered violence,” Sifton writes. For theoretical support he turns to “On Aggression,” by the Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz, who proposed that intraspecies violence, while innate in human beings and animals, is held in check by the impulse to submit or retreat.

    • Poetry and Politics in Iran

      In 1965, after a trip through China and Japan, the Iranian modernist Sohrab Sepehri found his voice. It could be heard in a new poem he had written, called “The Sound of Water’s Footsteps.” Sepehri puzzles over his identity as a writer, as a Muslim, as a widely travelled painter, and as a man from Kashan, where, in the seventh century, according to legend, Arab invaders intent on spreading Islam subdued the poet’s home town by throwing scorpions over the walls. Sepehri muses on the space race and “the idea of smelling a flower on another planet,” and he writes in free verse, inspired by Nima Yushij, a kind of Ezra Pound figure in the history of modern Persian poetry, who was inspired by the poetic notions of French Symbolists. Reflecting on a country with centuries of bumpy foreign contact, he draws out figures of confusion and displacement:

    • Army’s Anthropology Experiment Ends in Defeat

      It was probably doomed from the start: the battlefield marriage of a left-wing academic discipline and the hidebound U.S. Army. The military has now confirmed that the Human Terrain System program, which sent anthropologists into the Afghan combat zone, has been terminated. Yet with no shortage of asymmetric conflicts and foreign insurgencies in America’s future, it’s worth examining why the Pentagon’s foray into the social sciences failed in order to see how it can do better.

    • Hammarskjold crash needs more scrutiny: UN report

      Who killed UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold is a mystery as murky as any penned by a Swedish thriller writer.


      But documents that may be vital to solving the mystery are still being withheld by countries like the U.S. and Britain, who had deep interests in Congo during its turbulent transition to independence. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he will ask them to share any “relevant information.”

    • Another Chance at Fair Play for Cuba

      Stake out a corner in Miami’s Little Havana, and you can observe Luis Posada Carriles walking around freely, despite his blowing up a Cuban airliner in mid-air in 1976 and killing 73 people, according to declassified CIA and FBI documents. And Posada is only one of dozens of old men living in South Florida who freely admit planting bombs and machine-gunning beaches in Cuba to discourage foreign tourists, plus bombings carried out on U.S. soil and never punished.

    • Pro-Israel groups in U.S. waste no time attacking Iran deal

      The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement it was “deeply concerned” that the deal “would fail to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.”

    • Despite deal, better U.S. relations with Iran not a sure thing

      Seated on a dais above thousands of cheering loyalists and the country’s elite, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei restated a key tenet of his late predecessor and the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution: relentless, uncompromising opposition to “America and its political and intelligence system.”

    • Killing by Committee in the Global Wild West

      The myth of the lone drone warrior is now well established and threatens to become as enduring as that of the lone lawman with a white horse and a silver bullet who rode out into the Wild West to find the bad guys. In a similar fashion, the unsung hero of Washington’s modern War on Terror in the wild backlands of the planet is sometimes portrayed as a mysterious Central Intelligence Agency officer. Via modern technology, he prowls Central Asian or Middle Eastern skies with his unmanned Predator drone, dispatching carefully placed Hellfire missiles to kill top al-Qaeda terrorists in their remote hideouts.

    • No Lone Rangers in Drone Warfare
    • Only “Lone Wolves” Commit Terror?

      History has shown us, however, that acts of violence, with or without declared sponsorship, are not the exclusive province of crazy loners or renegade regimes. In fact, we know from experience that, as horrendous as it sounds, those in power have sometimes terrorized their own populace while blaming the violence on others. The reasons for this vary widely, but include justifying retributive acts abroad or domestic repression.

    • It’s been 20 years since Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II

      On July 11, 1995, over three years into the civil war in Bosnia, Bosnian Serb militants overran a UN-established safe zone in the eastern town of Srebrenica, separated about 8,000 Muslim men and boys from the women who had sought shelter in the area, led them into fields and warehouses in surrounding villages, and massacred them over the course of three days. It was the worst single atrocity in Europe since the end of World War II and is generally considered to be an act of genocide.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Legacy: Coups, Dictators, Corruption, Chaos, Executions and Assassination

      Hillary Clinton has on her liberal mask. She is all smiles and is trying hard to “out Bernie” Bernie Sanders. She is hitting all the populist talking points about helping others: Immigration, campaign finance reform, voting rights, gay marriage, economic equality, and middle class families. But she has accumulated a lot of baggage over her political career of 40 years. Hillary and the main stream media have forgotten early scandals such as Whitewater, cattle futures trading, and trying to take the White House dishes when she and Bill moved out in 2001.

    • Washington Post runs article by Ahrar al-Sham

      In its quest to not support radical groups, American policy has so narrowly defined the term “moderate” that it excludes most opposition groups in the country, including Ahrar al-Sham, Nahhas said.

    • Syria is caught between bombs and butchery

      Consider two heart-wrenching scenes that recently emerged from Syria. The first one is of children lining up behind 25 soldiers in the historic city of Palmyra, pointing pistols at the soldiers’ heads. The second is of a child killed in his Aleppo home by a barrel bomb that failed to explode.

    • Downhill All the Way?

      “The U.S. is going the way of Rome!” has become practically a catchphrase among so-called “declinists” of all stripes. The parallels are so legionary (so to speak) and the general feeling of malaise so prevalent, you’d think our version of 476 AD — the year the last Roman emperor abdicated — is just around the corner. Another decade, and we’re done for.

    • France Decorates a Moroccan Facing Justice on Bastille Day: A Portrait of Abdellatif Hammouchi

      Morocco quickly became one of the United States’ “partners” in their “war against terrorism.”

    • B-52s’ BAAD message to China

      Two B-52 bombers conducted a nonstop, long-range simulated mission to Australia recently that is part of the Pentagon’s effort to bolster allies in Asia against a growing Chinese threat.

    • JFK and the unspeakable

      There have been many books written about the assassination of President Kennedy, so many, generating so much bewildering debate, in fact, that many people have given up trying to understand the event and its significance. But despite all that, I want to recommend without reservation this book by a Catholic theologian and peace activist, which is unique in many respects and provides an education that all supporters of peace and progress need as we struggle to overcome the danger of right-wing extremism.

    • Remembering Gary Mack, JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theorist Turned Historian

      Aynesworth was a newspaper man who dismissed conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination. Mack worked in radio and TV and felt differently. One day, sometime in the 1980s, Aynesworth and Mack had lunch, and everything changed.

      “We suddenly became friends. And we kicked around a lot of different things and investigated a lot of things together and he became quite a historian,” says Aynesworth. “He did so much for the Sixth Floor Museum.”

      Mack joined the staff there in 1994 and became curator six years later. Wednesday, his colleagues were reeling.

    • New Documents May Be Damaging In Arpaio Contempt Case

      Montgomery has a history working with federal agencies as an outside contractor and now calls himself a CIA and National Security Agency whistleblower. He also has been the subject of high-profile media accounts alleging that he conned the federal government into buying bogus counter-terrorism technology he had created. Montgomery denies those allegations.

    • Can President Obama Sell Iran Nuclear Deal to Congress and the Public?

      We go to Vienna for an update on what could be the final stages of a historic deal between Iran and six world powers that would limit Tehran’s nuclear ability for more than a decade in exchange for sanctions relief. Negotiators are still smoothing over key details, including what limits to set on Iran’s nuclear research, the pace of sanctions relief and whether to lift a United Nations arms embargo on Iran. If a deal is brokered, Congress will have 60 days to review it, keeping US sanctions in place in the meantime. An extra 22 days are set aside for voting, a possible presidential veto and then another vote to see if opponents can muster 67 Senate votes to override the veto. We speak to Flynt Leverett, who is following the talks. He is author of “Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran” and is a professor of International Affairs at Penn State. He served for over a decade in the US government as a senior analyst at the CIA, Middle East specialist for the State Department, and as senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council.

    • Christian teachers impact a new generation in Guatemala

      From the mid- to late 19th century, Guatemala endured the chronic instability and civil strife that was endemic to the region. Beginning in the early 20th century, it was ruled by a series of dictators backed by the United Fruit Co. and the U.S. government. From 1960-96, Guatemala underwent a bloody civil war fought between the U.S.-backed government and leftist rebels, resulting in massacres of the indiginous Mayan population. Since then, the country has witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections, though it continues to struggle with high rates of crime, the drug trade and political instability.

    • Washington Accelerates Terror Attacks

      Are Washington’s relentless bombings and military immersions in sectarian battles within Arab and neighboring regions accelerating the spread of terrorist attacks? Yes. The recent rash of terror attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia, Somalia, France, and other countries are tragic examples of the strategic failures of our government and its very heavy reliance on military interventions, including the omnipresent drones that terrorize civilians.

      From the first bombings of al-Qaeda’s small band of fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan to the toppling of the Taliban government there by President George Bush in 2001, all Washington’s weaponry, soldiers, and trillions of dollars have accomplished is to spread al-Qaeda’s numerous offshoots into over a dozen countries.

      The CIA calls this “blowback.” For fourteen years this “blowback” has destabilized countries, initiated civil wars costing millions of mostly civilian lives and leaving others sickened and injured, and caused many families to be driven out of their homes as masses of weeping refugees.

    • Army killed civilians to boost body count

      The US-backed Colombian government has presided over what now appears to be one of the worst cases ever of mass atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilian populations. According to new reports as many as 6,000 civilians may have been killed under the orders of generals and colonels seeking to boost their reputations as rebel-killers.

    • PETITION: NYT, Washington Post: Provide Sustained Coverage of US-Backed Civilian Deaths in Yemen

      The New York Times and Washington Post should expand their coverage of civilian deaths in Yemen caused by a US-backed military campaign.

    • The Law and the Robot

      In a paper titled “Robotics and Lessons of Cyberlaw,” Calo explores how the development of cyberlaw starting in the 1990s could provide a foundation regarding how the law deals with the transformative technology of robotics.

      It’s time to start building an expertise among lawmakers in the relevant technology, Calo said.

      “This particular article represents my most current thinking,” and “I’ve been thinking about the concepts for a few years now,” he added.

    • Drones – terror from the skies

      There was commotion in Tokyo this April when a drone with traces of radioactive material, a bottle with unspecified contents and mounted with a camera was discovered on the roof of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office. The 50cm diameter drone had a symbol that warned of radioactive material. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said the incident was a wakeup call to the potential dangers of drones including possible terror attacks. Earlier in January 2015, a drone had crashed on the White House grounds, raising questions about safe use commercial and consumer drones in the US. Significantly, Japanese aviation laws have had no restrictions for unmanned drones flying at or below 250 metres above ground except along flight routes. But now with a drone landing on the roof of the Prime Minister’s office, a comprehensive review is underway. The magnitude of terror that drones can unleash may can be gauged from the fact that the Aum Shirikyo cult that executed multiple Sarin Gas bombings on Tokyo subway in 1995 was later found to have possessed two remote controlled helicopters and enough Sarin Gas to kill one million people. It was just providence that during practice, both helicopter drones crashed and the cult went had to execute the bombings nn foot. But why to talk of a cult or group of people, a recent study in the US brings home the chilling conclusion that one single disciple of ‘Lone Wolf Terrorism’ is capable of killing millions.

    • Is Terrorism Like a Cult?

      It seems apparent to me that the counterterrorism strategy employed by the U.S. is a strategy of decapitation. Kill the leaders and the phenomenon of terrorism will cease to exist. The government views terrorist leaders similar to leaders of a cult (as defined by Weber). The leaders have omnipotent control over members and followers, and inspire them to act in ways that, without such leadership, they would not undertake. Therefore, if one kills the charismatic leader, the members and followers will cease to undertake terrorist operations, lacking inspiration from the charismatic figure, similar to a cult.

      The current drone strategy as well as the continued emphasis on special ops teams, such as the one that killed Osama Bin Laden, reflect the fact the U.S. counter-terrorism strategy as one of decapitation. However, terrorism continues to proliferate even in the wake of Bin Laden and countless other high profile terrorists’ deaths. Al-Qaeda branches flourish in the Maghreb and Yemen; ISIS continues to besiege towns in Syria and Iraq; and Boko Haram stalks northern Nigeria looking for prey. The world is more threatened by terrorism now than in 2011 when Osama Bin Laden was killed. The U.S. counter-terrorism strategy of decapitation has unsurprisingly failed; unfortunately it was never much of a strategy.

    • Drone shot down by Pak Army does not belong to India: Foreign Secy S Jaishankar

      The shelling occurred in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir and the border villages near the eastern Pakistani city of Sialkot, a Pakistani army statement said.

    • Pakistan Complains to UN Body Alleging Ceasefire Violations by India

      Pakistan has lodged a complaint against India with the UN military observer group for “ceasefire violations” along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

      “United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was asked to use its good offices to investigate Indian ceasefire violations,” the Pakistan army said, claiming the Indians were using heavy mortars and machine guns on civil population living along the Working Boundary and the LoC, resulting in casualties.

    • Pakistan summons Indian envoy after ‘spy drone’ shot down
    • Kashmir firing: Five civilians killed after drone downed

      At least five civilians were killed as India and Pakistan exchanged fire in the disputed Kashmir region, days after a meeting between leaders of the two countries in Russia.

    • Air Force Struggles to Recruit Pilots for Job of Killing Strangers With Computer

      Being a drone pilot (if you’re flying a drone used to deploy weapons) is about the most unhappy profession imaginable. You carry the weight of knowing you are responsible for killing people, but you’re doing it from a darkened room halfway around the world while looking at a screen, relying on others’ judgments that what you’re doing is morally acceptable or strategically useful, deprived of even the sensory experience, physical challenge, and danger that a pilot of a manned craft might be distracted by.

    • Drone operators need time to unwind after missions, McCaskill says

      While sitting at a computer terminal on U.S. soil, troops operating combat drones do not have to imagine killing Islamic State targets thousands of miles away in the afternoon and that evening sitting down to dinner with their families, they do so.

    • State of the Nation needs improvement

      The costs of America’s wars have been enormous, in dead and injured American soldiers and wasted resources. The results, including the ignominious defeat in Vietnam, have left the U.S. and the world in worse shape. Wounded veterans from each of these extended wars have returned home, with many ending up homeless or suicidal.

    • The Virtue of Defiance

      Lately, child defiance has even been pathologized. “Official” psychiatry’s diagnostic manual now lists a “condition” called “Oppositional Defiant Disorder,” or “ODD.” ODD is defined as an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” and its symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, and argumentativeness.


      Children who resist this regimentation, or defy the orders given them by teachers, principles, and other school authority figures, are punished with detention or extra work. They may even be given solitary confinement, or arrested and sent to juvenile hall. Students who are independently boisterous and vocal are also punished and frowned upon as “disruptive.” Rewards are meted out to “star students” who exceed their fellows in deference, obsequiousness, and the vigor with which they undertake their given assignments.

    • Cameron says Britain needs more drones to combat IS threat
    • David Cameron Wants To Increase Spending On RAF Drones
    • Cameron Demands Increased Defence Spending On Special Forces And Drones To Combat Islamic Extremism
    • Analysis: Spy Planes, Drones And The Special Forces
    • Britain’s drones: The RAF’s unmanned aerial war-machines explained
    • Cameron says Britain needs more drones to combat Islamic State threat
    • Missiles ‘fall off’ RAF fighter jet as it lands at Akrotiri base in Cyprus

      An air force official has confirmed that two missiles fell off an RAF Tornado fighter jet as it landed at a base in Cyprus.

      Two Brimstone missiles, which cost around £105,000 each and are designed to destroy ground targets, fell from the aircraft as the jet went in to land at RAF Akrtoiti in Cyprus.

      Fortunately, the missiles did not explode, and no-one was injured in the incident.

      RAF Akrotiri is one of two British military bases on Cyprus, both of which are currently of major strategic importance due to their proximity to Isis-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq – the Syrian coast is only around 80 miles from Cyprus.

    • Time to end secrecy surrounding SAS and drones

      David Cameron said on Monday he had tasked Britain’s defence chiefs to see how they could do more to counter terrorism.

      That, he added, “could include more spy planes, drones and special forces. In the last five years, I have seen just how vital these assets are in keeping us safe.”

      He may have seen, we have not.

      Operations involving Britain’s special forces are shrouded in official secrecy. The rules of engagement covering the RAF’s use of drones are far from clear, something former senior intelligence officials themselves say they are worried about.

      Greater roles for the SAS and drones reflect closer links between the armed forces and intelligence agencies – something that will allow ministers to widen the scope of what can be included in the “defence budget” (see below).

    • Ex-Afghan president Karzai and aides question U.S.-backed government and its allies

      A sampling of statements from Hamid Karzai and his aides critical of the U.S.-brokered coalition government and its allies.

      1. May: A statement from Karzai’s office on the memorandum of understanding between Afghan and Pakistani spy agencies.

      “Former president Hamid Karzai expresses his deep concerns over MOU between [the two agencies]. He asks the leaders of government to immediately cancel the MOU and to avoid the signature of any document that is against national interests in the future.”

    • More on Licensed to Kill

      In the old days, an enemy combatant was someone wearing a uniform on a field of battle.

    • Rockridge: Code Pink activists speak on militarization, drones

      Levine spoke mostly about militarization, which she considers to be state terrorism. She said state terrorism challenges citizens’ constitutional rights, puts an overwhelming number of people in jail for minor offenses, promotes surveillance of individuals and groups and arms local police forces with military-style weapons.

    • Why you’ll always lose wars with drones alone

      But the official statistics are meaningless. Because U.S. pilots are flying blind. To a great extent, they don’t know what — if anything — they’re hitting.

    • Retired US general: Drones cause more damage than good

      US President Barack Obama’s former top military intelligence official has launched a scathing attack on the White House’s counter-terrorism strategy, including the administration’s handling of the ISIL threat in Iraq and Syria and the US military’s drone war.

      In a forthcoming interview with Al Jazeera English’s Head to Head, retired US Lt. General Michael Flynn, who quit as head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in August 2014, said “there should be a different approach, absolutely” on drones.

    • Obama’s Drone Program Creating More Terrorists Than Killing, Suggests Retired DIA Director

      “When you drop a bomb from a drone … you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good,” Flynn told Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan. When Hasan pressed Flynn on whether drone strikes are creating more terrorists than they kill, Flynn said, “I don’t disagree with that” and described President Obama’s approach to using drones “an overarching … failed strategy.”

    • Top U.S. General: Drones are “Failed Strategy” That “Cause More Damage”

      President Obama’s former top military intelligence official has described the administration’s reliance on drones as a “failed strategy” that creates more terrorists. In an interview with Al Jazeera, retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said, “When you drop a bomb from a drone … you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good.” Flynn served as head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency up until last August. Meanwhile, the U.S. reportedly carried out another drone strike in Somalia Thursday targeting militants with al-Shabab.

    • Drones do ‘more damage than good’ in war against terror, says Obama’s ex-spy chief

      US President Barack Obama’s former spy chief has admitted that drones are causing “more damage than good” and that US prisons in Iraq “absolutely” helped in radicalising young Iraqis who later joined al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

    • Somalia:”Drones cause more damage than good”
    • White House silent on possible anti-ISIS drone base in Africa

      The White House confirmed reports Monday that the Obama administration is working closely with countries in Northern Africa to try to combat threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other extremist activity in Libya, but declined to say specifically whether the U.S. is trying to establish a drone base to improve surveillance capabilities.

    • Video: Teenager Builds a Drone that Can Kill

      The video shows what appears to be a homemade drone with a gun attached to it. The trigger is attached to a remote activating mechanism which allows the drone pilot to fire a gun from his remote location. The video also shows that drone can compensate for recoil just fine, and quickly reset on position to fire again at the same target.

    • A drone firing a gun: so this is what all the regulation is about
    • Fact Check: Grijalva correct on drone strikes

      There are eight documented cases of American citizens killed in drone strikes since 2002.

    • The Chattanooga Killings Aren’t Terrorism

      But not every act of political violence is terrorism. Terrorism has a specific legal meaning. Some definitions, such as the one in Title 18, Section 2331 of the U.S. Code (dangerous crimes intended “to influence the policy of a government”), are so absurdly broad that they could cover almost any politically motivated crime. The tightest and best definition is the one in Title 22, Section 2656 of the U.S. Code: “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets.” That’s the definition our government applies when documenting terrorism overseas.

    • Tunisia’s Terrorism Problem Goes Beyond Islamic State

      IS has become a convenient catch-all explanation, just as al-Qaida was in the first decade of the 2000s.

    • Death From Above

      Emily Schneider reviews two new books about the U.S. drone program, Sudden Justice and Kill Chain, that, read together, inform our understanding of U.S. drone policy in new ways.

    • Robot soldiers

      Are we entering an era of robotic war? The rise of the machines raises both technical and moral challenges

    • Malala Yousafzai Is Not a Scapegoat

      Yousafzai has made it clear that she misses her homeland and she even told Obama that sending drones into Pakistan is not a good idea because it can perpetuate terrorism. Otherwise, her rhetoric focuses on the power and importance of education.

    • Theater review: B Street’s ‘Grounded’ a sensitive look at war

      The Pilot grins, struts and swaggers in those ways we’ve come to expect flyboys to behave. Only the flyboy in “Grounded” is a woman with the confident, knowing temperament of an Air Force fighter pilot. Alicia Hunt’s Pilot speaks in curt declarative sentences that nearly become annoying in their cocky cadence. Is there anything that can knock down that bravado just a bit? There will be. In George Brant’s lean one-woman play, what comes at The Pilot are unpredictable and mostly fascinating events that change her forever.

    • Terminating Our Terminators?

      These repetitive headlines should signal the kind of victory that Washington would celebrate for years to come. A muscular American technology is knocking off the enemy in significant numbers without a single casualty to us. Think of it as a real-life version of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heroic machine in certain of the Terminator movies. If the programs that have launched hundreds of drone strikes in the backlands of the planet over these years remain “covert,” they have nonetheless been a point of pride for a White House that regularly uses a “kill list” to send robot assassins into the field. From Washington’s point of view, its drone wars remain, as a former CIA director once bragged, “the only game in town” when it comes to al-Qaeda (and its affiliates, wannabes, and competitors).

    • Update on ‘Operation Ghetto Storm,’ Part 2

      This is the second of a three-part series investigating the forces behind the unending war waged primarily by police against Black people.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Images of Google Earth can be used as Evidence in a Court Trial

      The court of federal appeal confirmed that the images supported by Google Earth or any other satellite imagery will be considered as an evidence in the trials of any court prosecution.

    • Pat Flanagan: “It’s bad when Mick Wallace is only one to keep us right.”

      Deputy Wallace blew the lid on a deal which saw nearly €10million diverted to an Isle of Man account which he claims was “earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician”.

    • Freedom of Information review panel open-minded, says Jack Straw

      A review of the Freedom of Information Act will be “open-minded”, former Home Secretary Jack Straw has said.

      Mr Straw introduced the act in 2000 but his place on a panel examining its work has been criticised by campaigners.

      The ex-Labour MP has said inquiries about ministerial communications and the formulation of government policy should not be allowed any more.

      But he told the BBC the review would weigh the evidence carefully including that from groups opposed to the act.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Hydraulic Fracturing Linked to Increases in Hospitalization Rates in the Marcellus Shale Region, According to Penn Study

      Hospitalizations for heart conditions, neurological illness, and other conditions were higher among people who live near unconventional gas and oil drilling (hydraulic fracturing), according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University published this week in PLOS ONE. Over the past ten years in the United States, hydraulic fracturing has experienced a meteoric increase. Due to substantial increases in well drilling, potential for air and water pollution posing a health threat has been a concern for nearby residents.

  • Finance

    • The end of capitalism has begun

      The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

    • Other countries’ Donald Trumps

      Trump is a product of American society, but he’s not unique. His mixture of murky wealth, extreme arrogance and vulgar chauvinism can be found all over the world, albeit with local spins. Here are just a handful of the world’s other Donald Trumps:

    • For Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump is a godsend

      Donald Trump drew 9,000 people to a rally in Phoenix on Saturday. He is placing first or second among Republican primary candidates in some polls, including those in early voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

    • Wandering Eye: Batts and the policing elite, economic disparity in the US, and more

      A former Gannett reporter, Brendan O’Shaughnessy, has linked the downturn in the news industry into something workers in all industries are feeling: the disparity between the very rich and everyone else. In an article for Notre Dame Magazine, O’Shaughnessy details how Gannett employees agreed to a 10 percent pay cut, only to see that money given to executives in the form of bonuses.

    • ‘We can only achieve a political union if we have a crisis’ [Ed: not in English]
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Scott Walker’s delusion our downfall?

      When I heard the news about the nuclear deal with Iran, I decided to seek out the sage wisdom of Scott Walker. Because surely, with his vast national security experience — fighting unionized workers, lobbying for a Milwaukee Bucks arena, running a state that ranks 38th in the nation in job creation — he would know what’s best for America on the world stage.

    • How the hallucinations of an eccentric KGB psychic influence Russia today

      A number of pithy foreign quotes circulate in the Russian political language as common currency. But turn to the original language and no one can find them. There is the Dulles Doctrine (a supposed plan by the CIA to destroy the Soviet Union) and Churchill’s apparent claim that “Stalin came to power when Russia had only a wooden plow, and left it in possession of atomic weapons”. There’s Margaret Thatcher allegedly saying that the Russian population could happily be cut in three, and there is Albright’s quote about Siberia and the Far East not lawfully belonging to Russia.

    • Kissing the Asses Good-bye

      So what’s a poor boy to do? After kissing the asses of the two authorized political parties good-bye, what do I do with all this energy? Americans are, for the most part, living in a bubble of illusion. They’ve been poisoned by their owners. Not enough to kill most of them outright, but poisoned in mind and body. Brains filled with corporate media doubletalk and nonsense. Bellies filled with corporate fast foods until most of them look like cartoon caricatures of themselves. Veins filled with Monsanto’s glyphosate, poisonous ink from head to toe tattoos, and untold dozens of other carcinogenic chemicals. Souls filled with false hopes of a heavenly home in the sky at the end of the bumpy road of their meaningless lives.

    • Why Rapper Killer Mike’s Endorsement of Bernie Sanders Spells Trouble for Hillary Clinton

      Polls are ever-changing, but Americans will never long for a king or queen. When Run the Jewels rapper Killer Mike tweeted “I cannot support another Clinton or bush ever,” he echoed the sentiments of Americans throughout the country tired of entrenched political factions in Washington. As for why political dynasties are ruinous to any democracy, the Atlanta rapper says, “I am beginning to see American political families like monarchs and I have no affection for monarchs.” This sentiment, in addition to the reasons Killer Mike has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, can’t be accurately assessed by opinion polls or political wonks.

    • The line between the state and the public broadcaster

      The world has not been short of really big, consequential stories the past few weeks, from the volatility of China’s markets to the drama of Greece in the eurozone and the endgame of negotiations to ring-fence Iran’s nuclear program from weapons. Meanwhile in Australia, a royal commission into union shenanigans has come close to ensnaring Bill Shorten, leader of the opposition Labor Party. With impeccable timing and questionable judgment, Prime Minister Tony Abbott distracts attention from these stories and keeps alive the controversy over government meddling in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

  • Privacy

    • Baloney Meter: With new powers, is CSIS simply catching up to allies?

      In introducing its sweeping security bill earlier this year, the government said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada’s spy agency, did not have a legal mandate to take action concerning threats. Rather, CSIS was limited to collecting and analyzing information as well as advising the government.

      The government characterized the bill’s proposed new powers — which have since received royal assent — as a means of bringing the spy service’s capabilities in line with those of allied counterparts.

      How accurate were the government’s claims?

      Spoiler Alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney” (complete methodology below).

      This one earns a rating of “a lot of baloney.”

    • ProxyHam anti-surveillance router terminated under mysterious circumstances, likely under gag order

      Privacy advocates have something new to complain about. ProxyHam, a router that can hide your location, has been terminated under mysterious circumstances. ProxyHam is equipped with a 900 MHz radio, allowing it to connect to Wi-Fi as far as two miles away and then broadcast the signal to your device.

      Rhino Security Labs’ Benjamin Caudill, the proprietor of the anonymizing router, was set to present and sell ProxyHam at this year’s DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas, but his presentation was abruptly cancelled without explanation. Additionally, Rhino Security Labs Tweeted they’ll be destroying all their ProxyHam routers and won’t release any more of its source code or details.

    • Proxyham Wi-Fi relay SUPPRESSED. CONSPIRACY, yowl tinfoilers

      The device acted as a point-to-point bridge using 900 MHz signals to distance a user from the access point they’re logged into. This would prevent cops or feds from noting the location of a hotspot used by a person of interest – say in a Starbucks – and arresting them at that location.

    • Police Scotland silence on whether it spied on journalists

      POLICE Scotland is refusing to deny that it is one of the forces which has breached a new law designed to clampdown on officers spying on journalists.

      A watchdog criticised two unnamed forces last week for failing to get judicial approval before obtaining “communications data” such as phone records to flush out journalists’ sources.

      Asked if Police Scotland was behind one of the breaches, a spokesman repeatedly declined to answer the question.

    • FBI Tracked Chattanooga Shooter’s Family for Years

      Once again, another convenient shooting has helped supercharge anger, hatred, fear, and division across the Western World after an alleged “Islamist extremist” opened fire on and killed 4 US Marines at a recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

      Without any knowledge of how the US has in fact created Al Qaeda and its many global affiliates, including vicious terrorist groups plaguing Southeast Asia, and the most notorious to date, the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), the American public will predictably react in a manner that will simply further justify America’s meddling across the globe amid its self-created and perpetuated “War on Terror.” It will also help in efforts to further tighten control over the American public itself, with increased justifications for expanding police state measures and future pushes to disarm the American people.

    • US and Chinese presidents both have problems with ‘bedbugs’

      CHINA claims to have found almost 30 surveillance bugs, including one in the headboard of the presidential bed, on a Boeing 767 that had just been delivered from America to serve as President Jiang Zemin’s official aircraft.

    • Fair reporting; New Superfood; Beware of Facebook

      Facebook users beware! Not only does this media giant know almost everything about you, the company now has an algorithm that can identify you from a photo even if your face is covered. Thanks to a new software breakthrough, a computer can identify you by hair style, body shape or pose. Facebook developed this algorithm in its artificial intelligence lab. Although presently banned in Europe for privacy reasons, the technology can be used in the U.S. For more info on this development, visit www.newscientist.com/article/dn27761-facebook-can-recognise-you-in-photos-even-if-youre-not-looking/. Hello George Orwell. Good bye privacy. Yikes! This is scary.

    • The changing face of espionage since Cold War

      In his book, a British journalist argues that modern surveillance is no substitute for old-fashioned spying

    • Apple Using Your Bank For Targeted Ads

      Apple has patented new technology which checks your bank account to target ads. No, you didn’t misread that. Maybe Fox’s popular animated sitcom Futurama were onto something when they showcased the great lengths some companies are willing to go to try to sell you something. A new pair of red space briefs probably aren’t in your immediate future, but something else more affordable may be.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Green J quashes UK private copying regulations

        Green J accepted the claimants’ application, however he did not expressly rule on the actual compatibility of UK exception for personal copies for private use with EU law, and actually envisaged the possibility of a reference for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’).

      • UK considers punishing online pirates with 10-year jail sentences

        As police forces up and down the country turn the screw on sellers of illegal streaming boxes, the government is now considering whether pirates in general should receive tougher sentences. Currently, infringers face up to two years in prison, but an amendment to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act could increase that punishment to 10 years. Government ministers have launched a consultation and are calling for feedback on tougher penalties. They argue that the “vast majority” of copyright offenders, focusing more on those who control the distribution of illegal content in the first place, have links to “further criminality” and tougher punishments could “have a deterrent effect” on criminals seeking to make money from file-sharing.

      • UK Wants 10 Year Prison Sentence For Online Pirates

        The UK Government has announced a new proposal to increase the maximum jail term for online piracy from two to ten years. According to the authorities longer prison sentences are needed to deter large-scale and commercial copyright infringement on the Internet.


Links 18/7/2015: Android PC, Chromixium 1.5

Posted in News Roundup at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 big reasons to contribute to Opensource.com

    Opensource.com runs like other open source projects. The content collected and shared with you on this site is the result of the time, energy, and contributions from people all over the world. The writers you see published here, the community you see engaged with us on social media, and our readers keep Opensource.com going.

  • Visualizing flux: Time travel, torque, and temporal maps

    Open source is so important to our mission to make maps more accessible, and it’s been essential for our stack development as we progressively learn from community requests and contributions. Our software is engineered for ease-of-use, and our GUI Editor interface is an effort to make mapping projects more accessible to non-GIS experts. Everyone should be able to map found, open, and personal data, easily. At the same time, we have almost all of the functionality accessibility in our editor, available via our open source libraries and APIs. We have Carto.js for making maps, Torque.js for time-series data mapping, Odyssey.js for building chapterized narratives on maps, Vecnik.js for vector rendering, as well as our Import, Map, and SQL APIs to facilitate easy and open map-building in code.

  • What’s next for open source question answering technologies

    Grant Ingersoll is CTO at Lucidworks, provider of Fusion, but his claim to the open source community are his contributions to Apache Lucene, Solr, and Mahout. (He co-founded Apache Mahout in 2008 with the goal to build an environment for quickly creating scalable machine learning applications.) This year, Grant will be speaking at OSCON 2015 about building a next generation QA system with open source tools and about how to use Apache Solr for data science.

  • Bright Future & Strong Growth for Open Source Web Development According to Opace

    “Open source software is the way forward and has been since day one for us here at Opace” says David Bryan, Managing Director at Birmingham-based digital agency, Opace. The company, which specialises in web design and eCommerce development, proudly bases their entire business model and delivery around open source, believing it offers the best opportunities for both innovation and ground breaking developments. With 78% of companies now running some kind of open source software (according to the 2015 Future of Open Source survey), it’s looking like they could be onto something great.

  • Follow the Open Source Road

    This spring, I attended my first OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. As usual, there was a room reserved for media and analysts to hold meetings, but this one had only a curtain to separate two seating areas. I thought that it was strange, since it offered no privacy, and indeed, one company I met with was quite unhappy about it.

    A few weeks later, I recounted this story to my colleague, Caroline Chappell, who thought the setup was, in fact, perfectly appropriate for an open source conference. We talked about how a “curtain test” could be used to gauge a company’s true seriousness about openness — the theory being that there should be no secrets when it comes to open source, so who cares if there’s only a curtain for separation?

  • Google

  • Web Browsers

    • The New Metasploit Browser Autopwn: Strikes Faster and Smarter – Part 1

      Today, I’d like to debut a completely rewritten new cool toy for Metasploit: Browser Autopwn 2. Browser Autopwn is the easiest and quickest way to explicitly test browser vulnerabilities without having the user to painfully learn everything there is about each exploit and the remote target before deployment. In this blog post, I will provide an introduction on the tool. And then in my next one, I will explain how you can take advantage of it to maximize your vuln validation or penetration testing results.

    • Mozilla

      • Time for a brutal TELLY-OFF: Android TV versus Firefox OS

        Breaking Fad The battle for Smart TV dominance continues to ratchet up, with Google and Firefox now both wading into the same connected space. The former has reignited its living room ambitions via Android TV, while open source rival Firefox has partnered with Panasonic.

      • Firefox OS fork “H5OS” gets a $100 million boost

        Acadine, founded by former Mozilla execs, has received a $100 million investment from China’s Tsinghua Unigroup, to launch a Firefox OS fork called “H5OS.”

        In March, former Mozilla president Li Gong left to form a startup code-named Gone Fishing, with a mission to build a web-oriented mobile OS partially based on Firefox OS. The company is now called Acadine Technologies, and the OS is dubbed H5OS, according to a report from CNET. Acadine has received $100 million in funding from a Hong Kong-based Chinese state-controlled company called Tsinghua Unigroup International, says the story.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Mitaka will Rise in the Land of the Rising Sun after Liberty

      Ok, so the OpenStack Foundation stumbled a little with its first attempt at an ‘M’ name for the first OpenStack release of 2016. Originally chosen to be ‘Meiji’ that name turned out to be a political hot potato and so the Foundation went back to the polls and chose – Mitaka.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice GTK3 On Wayland Starts To Work

      The recent efforts of the LibreOffice GTK3 port is starting to pay off with this open-source office suite beginning to run on Wayland.

      Caolán McNamara who has been hacking on the GTK3 VCL plug for LibreOffice shared todayt that it can now launch on Wayland, displays the interface, and the interaction is mostly all functionality. However, there isn’t yet window resizing support and there are some other issues to still work through.

    • LibreOffice on wayland

      Hacked LibreOffice a bit more today towards wayland support via the gtk3 vclplug. Good news is that it launches, displays and you can interact with it mostly as expected.

  • BSD


  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Not Impossible Labs Creates Open-Source Technology for Transformational Good
    • Linux on supercomputers, Google’s Eddystone, and more news
    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • New generation of robotics are industry-agnostic, open-source

        In 1961, a robotic arm nicknamed Unimate joined the General Motors assembly line to perform basic welding tasks that were unpleasant and particularly dangerous for humans. The 4000-pound, six-axis robot ran off of magnetic tape.


        Fetch Robotics, founded in 2014, represents a generation of companies developing adaptable platforms that are designed for use beyond the specific industries for which they were initially conceived. Not surprisingly, the company’s approach has largely been informed by the impressive open-source robotics pedigree of Wise, who got her start at Willow Garage, developer of the now-ubiquitous open-source Robotic Operating System (ROS).

        The Fetch system comprises a self-guiding robotic picker that can navigate a warehouse floor, identify products, and pick them off a shelf. Used in conjunction with Fetch’s autonomous cart, nicknamed “Freight,” the system can automate pick and place processes in fulfillment warehouses without requiring costly reconfiguration or setup.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Document Format (ODF) 1.2 published as International Standard 26300:2015 by ISO/IEC

      The Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) Version 1.2, the native file format of LibreOffice and many other applications, has been published as International Standard 26300:2015 by ISO/IEC. ODF defines a technical schema for office documents including text documents, spreadsheets, charts and graphical documents like drawings or presentations.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • NSA document: Israeli special forces assassinated top Syrian military official

      Evidence has emerged from leaked US signals intelligence intercepts that Israeli special forces were responsible for assassinating a senior Syrian military official who was a close adviser to President Bashar al-Assad.

    • NSA leak: Israeli commandos killed Syrian general attending dinner party

      According to a National Security Agency (NSA) document leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden, Israeli naval commandos killed a top Syrian General during a dinner party at his beach house in 2008.

      According to the document, an Israeli special forces unit known as Shayetet 13 landed near the northern Syrian port of Tartus, located General Muhammad Suleiman and shot him in the head and neck.

    • Israeli commandos ‘assassinated Syrian general in 2008’ – NSA leaks

      Israel’s naval commando unit shot and killed Muhammad Suleiman, a top military advisor to the Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2008, according to a leaked National Security Agency file, published by The Intercept.

    • Greece Deal, James Bamford on NSA, Honduras Coup 6 Years Later — 07/14/15

      Plus, 6 years after the US-backed coup in Honduras, we’ll examine how democracy has been subverted and the ways in which people are fighting back.

    • Retired General: Drones Create More Terrorists Than They Kill, Iraq War Helped Create ISIS

      Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, a top intelligence official in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, says in a forthcoming interview on Al Jazeera English that the drone war is creating more terrorists than it is killing. He also asserts that the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped create the Islamic State and that U.S. soldiers involved in torturing detainees need to be held legally accountable for their actions.

      Flynn, who in 2014 was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has in recent months become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy, calling for a more hawkish approach to the Islamic State and Iran.

    • Another “Terror” Arrest; Another Mentally Ill Man, Armed by the FBI

      U.S. law enforcement officials announced another terror arrest on Monday, after arming a mentally ill man and then charging him with having guns.

      ABC News quoted a “senior federal official briefed on the arrest” as saying: “This is a very bad person arrested before he could do very bad things.”

      But in a sting reminiscent of so many others conducted by the FBI since 9/11, Alexander Ciccolo, 23, “aka Ali Al Amriki,” was apparently a mentally ill man who was doing nothing more than ranting about violent jihad and talking (admittedly in frightening ways) about launching attacks—until he met an FBI informant. At that point, he started making shopping lists for weapons.

      The big twist in this story: Local media in Massachusetts are saying Ciccolo was turned in by his father, a Boston Police captain. The FBI affidavit says the investigation was launched after a “close acquaintance … stated that Ciccolo had a long history of mental illness and in the last 18 months had become obsessed with Islam.”

    • Misunderstood word may have led to catastrophic outcome

      In August 1945 the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan’s Hiroshima followed by another on Nagasaki, resulting in the death of more than 135,000 people.

    • German Missile Hack
  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Elizabeth Warren Pushes To Slow Revolving Door Between Business and Government

      A new bill that would ban private-sector bonuses to executives entering public service got a rousing endorsement on Friday from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, as she delivered a much-anticipated keynote address to the annual Netroots Nation convention.

      Warren not only praised the bill – “No more paying people off to remember their Wall Street friends while they run our government,” she said – she also issued what was widely seen as a challenge to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

      “It’s a bill any presidential candidate should be able to cheer for,” Warren told the gathering of progressives in Phoenix.

    • Prof. Wolff discusses Greece and European Union on CPR
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Five Things to Know About the Scott Walker John Doe Ruling

      The Wisconsin Supreme Court has single-handedly rewritten the state’s limits on money in politics, rendering the state’s disclosure laws and contribution limits meaningless, and opening the door to unlimited funds directly from corporations and foreign firms.

      In a 4-2 decision that broke along ideological lines, the Court’s conservative majority ended the John Doe probe into whether Governor Scott Walker illegally coordinated with supposedly “independent” dark money groups during the recall elections. The Court declared that any coordination that did occur didn’t violate the law, since it only involved so-called “issue ads” that stopped short of expressly saying “vote for” or “vote against” a candidate.

    • Hannity Apologizes For Wrongly Attributing Chattanooga Shooting To ISIS Tweet
  • Censorship

    • Press Explains First Amendment To Florida Judge, Who Rescinds Questionable Photography Ban

      About a week ago, we wrote about Judge Mark Mahon in Florida who originally issued an order barring people from protesting outside of the courthouse if they were “questioning the integrity of the court.” After it started making national news, Judge Mahon rescinded part of the order, but kept part that banned photography around the courthouse — which was interesting given that the issue in particular had to do with a reporter for PINAC: Photography Is Not A Crime (who is now suing).

    • Cameron opens new front in war on porn
    • Vodafone outlines government efforts to censor telecoms networks

      Governments regularly block content, engage in censorship on telecoms networks and restrict freedom of expression, according to a report by Vodafone that details the number of lawful interception and communications demands the company received in 28 countries.

      The telecoms group said that governments used a number of justifications to block internet services, including national security or emergencies. In such situations, some forms of internet content infringed on a country’s laws or a government wanted to restrict access to information that they considered harmful to social order.

    • SA bookstore raided for selling novel

      CENSORSHIP has proved to be alive and well after an Adelaide bookstore was raided by police for selling unwrapped copies of the cult novel American Psycho.

    • Censorship in Adelaide

      The more things change, the more they stay the same in all their decaying tedium. And so, the censors in Australia have been busying themselves through the not so intelligent arm of the law by insisting that copies of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, the Wall Street, psycho dramatic examination of 1980s “Gecko” culture that can only be damned for its disservices to art rather than censorship, be placed under plastic wraps.

    • Former Reddit CEO explains “what the racist-sexist neckbeards don’t understand”

      Reddit’s users thought they’d won victory for their values of free speech absolutism and resistance against the political correctness culture of oppression.

    • Former Reddit chief accuses founders of pressuring Ellen Pao into censorship

      The former chief executive of Reddit has accused the online community’s co-founders of pressuring recently-departed chief Ellen Pao into censoring the website.

      Yishan Wong, who left Reddit last year and was replaced by Pao before her departure last week, said that his successor had defended the site’s free speech credentials against the company’s board.

    • What is Voat, the anti-censorship alternative to Reddit that trolls have flocked to?

      Thousands of Reddit users are now migrating to Voat, a Swiss-hosted clone with a layout that is almost identical to Reddit, which is slowly rising in popularity.

    • Conflict erupts in Green Party after censorship of Sanders supporters
    • Uber censorship on Chinese social media a system ‘blip’

      A technical ‘malfunction’ has caused a block on Uber-related searches and posts on Chinese mobile messaging platform WeChat, according to a spokesperson [Chinese] for the Tencent-owned company on Thursday.

    • WeChat blocks the word “Uber”, claims it’s a technical glitch

      On Thursday afternoon, Chinese WeChat users discovered something weird: searches for the word “Uber” on WeChat wouldn’t turn up any posts related to or mentioning the company in their circles. Searches for any other term seemed to work fine. Moreover, anyone who shared an Uber-related post could still see the article in their own feed – meaning they were unaware of the censorship – but if anyone else looked, the Uber articles wouldn’t be there.

    • Abbott’s desire to impose guidelines on Q&A is censorship, says Labor MP

      Joel Fitzgibbon describes prime minister’s letter to the ABC chairman as the ‘greatest attack on the independence of the public broadcaster in its history’

    • “Whose side are you on?” Public broadcasters and counter-terrorism

      On June 22, Zaky Mallah appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC’s) program “Q&A” – a show following the same (often wooden and tired) format as the BBC’s “Question Time.” Sitting among the audience, Mallah posed a question to Steven Ciobo, MP, of the ruling conservative Coalition:

    • Internet censorship reaching dangerous levels in Turkey

      internet censorship is reaching dangerous levels in limiting freedom of expression, especially concerning critical matters in Turkey, information technology legal expert and lawyer Burçak Ünsal states in his article published in the European Magazine Media Association’s (EMMA) 2014-2015 issue.

    • Censorship doesn’t keep Vietnam’s rappers from speaking their piece

      Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party continues to suppress sensitive information and tightly control freedom of assembly. It also cracks down on Internet users who disagree with the government or peddle sexually explicit or violent content.

    • EU “Police” Will Censor Internet to Fight “Extremism”

      Under the guise of battling the Islamic State (ISIS) and jihadists on the Internet, the European Union’s self-styled “police” force, dubbed “Europol,” is launching a new bureaucracy to supposedly combat “online propaganda” and “extremism” with censorship. The so-called EU “Internet Referral Unit” (IRU) will be charged with monitoring the World Wide Web, taking down and flagging “extremist” material, providing information and analysis to EU member governments, and looking forward to the future. While details of the unit remain hazy, critics are expressing concerns — both about the EU usurpation of the awesome power to unilaterally censor the Internet, and with the constantly changing definition of “extremism” to cover increasingly broad swaths of the population.

    • UK freezes bank account of Russian news agency, gives no reason
    • Russia Considers Rossiya Segodnya Bank Accounts Closure in UK ‘Censorship’
    • Russian news agency furious as Barclays closes its account
    • Barclays Bank Freezes Russian News Agency Rossiya Segodnya’s Account
    • Russian Social Networks Start Courting Russian Users Sick of Censorship on Facebook

      In the latest episode of Facebook’s drama with users in Russia and Ukraine, the network suspended accounts and deleted several posts belonging to a handful of prominent pro-Kremlin bloggers, as well as a high-ranking Russian state official. After a wave of complaints from Russian liberal oppositionists and Ukrainian users (including an appeal from Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko himself), it’s now the other side’s turn to protest Facebook’s apparent political bias.

    • Bahraini king pardons rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab

      Index welcomes King Hamad’s pardoning of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, but calls for the release of all political prisoners in Bahrain

    • Action against MRT bully? What about man who threatened Amos Yee?

      On Tuesday, Law Minister K Shanmugam posted on his Facebook page about the incident involving a Caucasian on the MRT train who was verbally abusing a younger man for wearing a t-shirt the former somehow disagreed with.

      The bully had also made threats against the youth, threatening to “throw you off” the train when it pulled into Ang Mo Kio station.

      Later, a Malay man, now known as Elfy, stepped forth to defend the youth from the abuse.

      The police were called in and both men (the Caucasian and Elfy) got off the train.

    • The shame of how Singapore treated Amos Yee

      The clip making its rounds online is heart-breaking. Sixteen-year-old Amos Yee is exiting court, clutching a plastic bag, his mother by his elbow, his father clearing the way cluttered by pushy cameramen and this boy — he is shaking.

      He is free — the judge having sentenced him to four weeks in jail for “obscenity” and “wounding religious feelings” ordered him released on account of his already having spent over a month in prison — but he looks trapped.

      I’ve since read sensational summaries of his 55 days in remand which allege he was shackled to his bed and denied access to a toilet.

      For 23 hours a day, he was kept in a cell with closed-circuit security cameras and with the lights always on. He usually spent the one hour each day he was allowed to leave his cell undergoing psychiatric assessment, reports Amnesty International.

  • Privacy

    • MPs win legal challenge as rushed UK surveillance powers ruled as “unlawful”
    • High Court rules that DRIPA is unlawful

      Open Rights Group welcomes today’s High Court Judgment that the key parts of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) are inconsistent with European Union law.

    • Snooping Law Found Illegal

      DRIPA was in response to the Court of Justice of the EU ruling that the directive on data retention interfered with an individual’s right to privacy. The then coalition government rushed through DRIPA claiming an “emergency”. DRIPA allows the Home Secretary to order communications data be stored by a company for up to a year.

    • New German law to protect critical infrastructure, but has privacy caveats

      Certain sectors will have additional tasks, with telecommunications providers required to warn customers when their connection has been abused. More controversially, they will also be required to store traffic data for up to six months for investigatory purposes. This is only slightly shortened on the expectations of the proposed Draft Data Communications Bill in the UK – or ‘Snooper’s Charter’ as named by privacy advocates.

    • ‘Encryption fears’ over UK security

      Britain’s security services are “increasingly concerned” that they could be locked out from the communications of potentially dangerous suspects because of sophisticated encryption techniques, a major report has disclosed.

    • Another Reason Adopting ‘Collect It All’ Was A Bad Idea: China May Now Be Applying It To US Citizens’ Personal Data

      At the start of the year, we wrote about an important point made by Bruce Schneier and Edward Snowden concerning information asymmetry in the world of spying — the fact that the US and the West in general have far more to lose by undermining security in an attempt to gain as much information as possible about other countries, than they have to gain. A fascinating analysis from Bloomberg indicates that this also applies to the “collect it all” mentality. The article raises the troubling possibility that both the huge OPM data breaches were not only the work of Chinese state actors, but part of a much larger plan:

    • How IT can spy on your smartphone

      I recently applauded MobileIron for providing a tool in its mobile device management (MDM) client app that lets users see what IT is monitoring on their iOS and Android devices. User privacy is as important as corporate security, and the spy culture epitomized by the NSA, GCHQ, China, Google, Facebook, and so on has gotten way out of hand.

    • Senator uses clever response to bash the NSA using emojis

      On Friday, the National Security Agency posted a tweet highlighting its role surveilling the internet for signs of foreign threats.

    • A font that automatically censors NSA “spook” words as they are written
    • New Font Automatically Censors ‘Spook Words’ Monitored by the NSA
    • This spooky typeface automatically redacts NSA trigger words
    • A man created a font that tells you if the NSA might think you’re a terrorist
    • NSA sponsors cybersecurity camp at SCSU [Ed: recruitment. Get 'em while they're young!]
    • N.S.A. Summer Camp: More Hacking Than Hiking

      The dozen or so teenagers staring at computers in a Marymount University classroom here on a recent day were learning — thanks to a new National Security Agency cybersecurity program that reaches down into the ranks of American high school and middle school students — the entry-level art of cracking encrypted passwords.

    • Students study online hacking defenses
    • NSA funds FSU STARTALK initiative

      The National Security Agency (NSA) has provided FSU’s Dr. Wenxia Wang, assistant professor of Foreign and Second Language Education, with just under 90,000 dollars to initiate a STARTALK program here at FSU. The STARTALK initiative seeks to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not widely taught in the US.

    • NSA holding cybersecurity seminars for area teachers
    • Artists Blow the Whistle on Their NSA Whistleblower Project

      On Friday artists Jeff Greenspan and Andrew Tider walked away from We Are Always Listening (WAAL), a National Security Agency (NSA) subcontractor, DIY surveillance program, satirical prank, or new media art project, depending on your interpretation. The artists, who anonymously scored a viral hit earlier this year when they clandestinely installed their sculpture bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in a Brooklyn park, secretly taped the conversations of strangers in New York and Berlin and posted the audio files online.

    • Latest Snowden Leak Devastating To Defenders Of NSA

      The agency collected and stored intimate chats, photos, and emails belonging to innocent Americans—and secured them so poorly that reporters can now browse them at will.

    • Court asked to kill off NSA’s ‘zombie dragnet’ of Americans’ bulk phone data

      The leading civil liberties group in the United States has requested a federal court to stop the National Security Agency from collecting Americans’ phone data in bulk through the end of the year.

      While the surveillance dragnet was phased out by Congress and Barack Obama last month, an American Civil Liberties Union suit seeks to end a twilight, zombie period of the same US phone records collection, slated under the new law to last six months.

    • ACLU asks 2nd Circuit appeals court to stop NSA collection of Americans’ phone records
    • ACLU challenges NSA phone surveillance program

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [official website] on Tuesday brought a lawsuit [press release] asking a federal appeals court to review a National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] phone data surveillance program. The motion filed by the ACLU state stated that “today the government is continuing – after a brief suspension – to collect Americans’ call records in bulk on the purported authority of precisely the same statutory language this court has already concluded does not permit it.” The ACLU’s major argument in support of the requested injunction is that although the Freedom Act [backgrounder] is in the middle of a transition period, the underlying law allowing for bulk surveillance includes the same Patriot Act [text, PDF] provisions that the second circuit held do not warrant the NSA’s phone-records collection activities. The same activities that Edward Snowden [BBC profile] had exposed. The ACLU goes on to say that “there is no sound reason to accord this language a different meaning now than the court accorded it in May. [The Patriot Act] did not authorize bulk collection in May, and it does not authorize it now.”

    • ACLU asks court to shut down NSA surveillance ‘for good’
    • ACLU sues to block extension of NSA dragnet program
    • ACLU wants to end NSA mass spying forever – good luck with that
    • ACLU asks court to immediately kill NSA phone snooping
    • ACLU asks appeals court to bar NSA bulk collection of data
    • ACLU to appellate court: Please halt NSA’s resumed bulk data collection
    • A.C.L.U. Asks Court to Stop Part of N.S.A.’s Bulk Phone Data Collection
    • ACLU Asks Appeals Court to Halt NSA Phone Record Collection
    • NSA Data Collection ‘Grace Period’ Violates Constitution – ACLU Attorney
    • ACLU Moves to Shut Down NSA’s Ongoing Bulk Phone Data Collection
    • ACLU Demands End to NSA Mass Surveillance
    • Civil liberties groups push to end NSA bulk collection of phone records
    • Civil Liberties Groups Call On Court To Stop NSA Phone Record Collection
    • ACLU Sues National Security Agency to End Bulk Phone Spying
    • NSA Dragnet Fight Will Return to Second Circuit
    • ACLU Sues to Stop Bulk Phone-Data Collection, Even if it’s Only Temporary
    • NYCLU Asks Court To Halt NSA Call Record Collection
    • Activists ask US court to stop phone record collections by government – report
    • The world’s first hack: the telegraph and the invention of privacy

      John Tawell had money worries. The £1 weekly child allowance he had to give his mistress Sarah Hart was the last straw, and on New Year’s Day 1845 he travelled to her house in Slough, poisoning her beer with a potion for varicose veins that contained prussic acid.

      After the murder, Tawell made his escape on a train headed to London’s Paddington station. He wasn’t known in Slough and expected to slip through the hands of the law. But he was travelling along one of the only stretches of railway in the world to have telegraph wires running beside the railway lines.

      Tawell was a Quaker and had been dressed in a distinctive dark coat. A witness, Reverend ET Champnes, had seen Tawell leaving the crime scene and followed him to Slough station, but not in time to stop the train. Champnes found the stationmaster and together they sent a message to the police in Paddington. Pre-dating morse code, only 20 letters could be covered by the early telegraph system, and Q wasn’t one of them.

    • CIA documents raise questions about spy agency’s domestic data collection

      …CIA is hoovering up mass amounts of data on Americans as it conducts foreign surveillance operations.

    • Assange Offers to Release Unredacted List of German NSA Spy Targets

      WikiLeaks posted a trove of redacted NSA spying lists; Assange claims he has full copies of these lists and would share them with German lawmakers.

    • Wikileaks Revelations Expose US NSA Tentacles Reaching into Allied Governments Around the World

      CCR’s Michael Ratner breaks down how documents expose United States economic and political spying as CCR calls on UN to protect publishers as well as whistleblowers

    • NSA Surveillance of Schroeder Confirms Spying Assets Used for Business

      Experts claim that NSA surveillance of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder after he left office confirms electronic intelligence assets are being used to gain economic advantage.

    • Schroeder, Gazprom Case Reveals Business Motives Behind US Spying

      US experts claim that NSA continued to spy on former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder because it was interested in tracking the business deals of the Russian energy giant Gazprom for economic gain.

    • NSA spied on former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder: Media

      The US National Security Agency spied on former German Chancellor and Kremlin-ally Gerhard Schröder, after he left his post in 2005. That’s according to reports published on Sunday by German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

    • Kremlin Aware of NSA Spying on Gerhard Schroeder Over Friendship With Putin

      Russian leadership knew that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on Germany’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder because of his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

    • Report: Evidence of 2011 US cyberattack on defense giant EADS in Germany

      According to German newspaper “Bild am Sonntag,” evidence linking an attack on European defense group EADS from American soil has surfaced. The news outlet claims it is the first of its kind.

    • Germany’s YouTube star LeFloid takes on Merkel

      From here LeFloid had very few hits against the Chancellor – getting the usual appeasing lines regarding the NSA scandal and a categorical “no” to the legislation of cannabis. Publicist and viewer Gunnar surmised the general public sentiment by expressing frustration at the unusual lack of aggressiveness from LeFloid.

    • WikiLeaks says NSA spied on French business

      According to the WikiLeaks report, “NSA has been tasked with obtaining intelligence on all aspects of the French economy, from government policy, diplomacy, banking and participation in worldwide bodies to infrastructural development, business practices and trade activities”.

    • 20-plus security vendors that NSA targeted
    • It’s Still 2+2=4 for NSA and ISIS

      L. Gordon Crovitz is puzzled that Silicon Valley can’t stop terrorists from using strong encryption (“Why Terrorists Love Silicon Valley,” Information Age, July 6). The reason is simple. Encryption methods are nothing more than mathematics. Silicon Valley companies cannot make mathematics work differently for terrorists.

    • Publicly Shaming the US’s Top Surveillance Officials with Street Art

      Ever since Edward Snowden leaked top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents that revealed the extent of the US government’s surveillance program, the response from the art world has been vast and varied. In the past year alone a large statue of the whistleblower was erected in Manhattan and a controversial bust of Snowden — crafted by the same artists who recently revealed themselves as the masterminds behind We Are Always Listening — was featured in a surveillance-themed art fair. In another recent and ongoing project, New York-based artist Paolo Cirio is chastening key NSA, CIA, and FBI officials involved in the agencies’ surveillance programs by finding and disseminating across the world snapshots of them in informal or intimate contexts.

    • Former girlfriend of undercover spy sues corporate security firm

      An environmental campaigner who had an intimate relationship with an undercover spy is suing a corporate security firm in what is believed to be the first legal action of its kind.

      The woman is taking legal action against Global Open, a commercial firm hired by companies to monitor protesters. She alleges in the high court case that Mark Kennedy pursued her to start the relationship, while, she says, he worked undercover for Global Open.

      Kennedy had previously worked for the police as an undercover officer and used a false identity to infiltrate environmental groups for seven years. He maintained his fake persona after he left the police.

    • Glenn Greenwald’s Latest Has Us Wondering Who Watches the Watchers?

      Of course, Snowden’s story is far from over. However, as Greenwald details in his latest work, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, this story isn’t meant to be about the leaker, it’s about the leak itself. Snowden is emphatic that the focus remain on the information he revealed to Greenwald and other journalists. And this has been somewhat successful, given the whistleblower’s evasion of interview or comment.

    • Privacy advocate Caspar Bowden dies after cancer battle

      Caspar Bowden, the privacy advocate who was warning about the activities of the NSA before Edward Snowden, has died. The co-founder of the Foundation for Information Policy Research lost his battle with cancer, and tributes have been paid by the world of technology.

    • Trust in UK politics at all time low as half of citizens believe they’re spied on

      Trust in politics is at an “all time low” with 56% of UK citizens believing that their government is spying on them.

      That’s according to new research from secure server provider Artmotion, which questioned more than 2200 people on their levels of trust in politics following the recent NSA and GCHQ privacy scandals.

      According to the findings of this research, concerns over government snooping are highest amongst young voters, with 62% of 18-24 year olds believing that the UK government is spying on their activities.

      Interestingly, despite the furore around the NSA’s involvement in mass surveillance, trust in politicians is even lower in the UK than it is in the US. According to additional research from Artmotion, 52% of US citizens believe that their government is spying on them – 4% less than within the UK.

    • Richard Nixon’s Blueprint for the 21st Century US

      Still, think about the illegal break-in (or black-bag job) at the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist committed by a group of Nixon White House operatives dubbed “the Plumbers”; the breaking into and bugging of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate office complex; the bugging, using warrantless wiretaps, of the phones of administration aides and prominent media figures distrusted by the president and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger; the slush funds Nixon and his cronies created for his reelection campaign; the favors, including ambassadorships, they sold for “donations” to secure a second term in office; the privatized crew of contractors they hired to do their dirty work; the endemic lying, deceit, and ever more elaborate cover-ups of illegalities at home and of extra-constitutional acts in other countries, including secret bombing campaigns, as well as an attempt to use the CIA to quash an FBI investigation of White House activities on “national security grounds.” Put it all together and you have something like a White House-centered, first-draft version of the way the national security state works quite “legally” in the twenty-first century.

    • US spy agency targeted top Brazilian officials

      The list of those selected for intensive interception includes not only President Dilma Rousseff but also her assistant, her secretary, her chief of staff, her Palace office and even the phone in her presidential jet.

    • Snowden is a Russian, or Chinese spy?

      Such a paranoia generated by the US fevered imagination suggests that there may be a secret ‘driving force’, as a common employee could hardly get access to such a quantity of secret documents.

    • US Might Let Snowden Come Home, If He Pleads Guilty To A Felony & Serves Time

      Recent interviews with Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general, have spurred rumors that the U.S. government might offer Edward Snowden, the exiled NSA whistleblower, a plea bargain. Yet there’s little evidence such a deal actually exists and even less indication that Snowden would be interested if it did.

    • Senate, Once Again, Looks To Bring Back CISA: Surveillance Expansion Bill Pretending It’s A Cybersecurity Bill

      We’ve discussed the “cybersecurity” bill, CISA, that’s been making its way through Congress a few times, noting that it is nothing more than a surveillance expansion bill hidden in “cybersecurity” clothing. As recent revelations concerning NSA’s surveillance authorities have made quite clear, CISA would really serve to massively expand the ability of the NSA (and other intelligence agencies) to do “backdoor searches” on its “upstream” collection. In short, rather than protecting any sort of security threat, this bill would actually serve to give the NSA more details on the kind of “cyber signatures” it wants to sniff through pretty much all internet traffic (that it taps into at the backbone) to collect anything it deems suspicious. It then keeps the results of this, considering it “incidental” collections of information.

      In an incredibly cynical move, supporters of the surveillance state have seen OPM hacks as a ridiculous excuse to push to pass this bill. Senator Mitch McConnell tried to include it in the defense appropriations bill by pointing to the OPM hack. That gambit, thankfully, failed.

    • ‘Not only can the state intercept your communication, it does’

      In June 2013, the biggest act of mass surveillance in the Internet age was exposed by Edward Snowden, a security analyst; Glenn Greenwald, a legal blogger; and Laura Poitras, a filmmaker. They collaborated to release the National Security Agency (NSA) files in The Guardian. The revelations raised a huge public debate, both about the ethics of the surveillance as well as the ethics of publishing the story. Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian, spoke to Hari Narayan about one of the most important journalistic projects undertaken by the publication. Excerpts:

      It’s been a little more than two years since the Snowden revelations. Has there been enough debate since then? The USA Freedom Act has done away with some provisions of the Patriot Act. But have the laws gone far enough?

      Well, I think the penny has dropped that this is a very complex thing; that this is not just about decisions made by security chiefs without anybody else having a say. Has there been enough debate? No, not enough, but at least there has been some debate. We’ve moved from a world in which the security services didn’t want any of this discussed to one in which they say, ‘We feel we can discuss it’.

      Is the Freedom Act enough? Well, I think it is up to each country to decide what its rules are. America has moved from a position of ‘The state will collect all this information’ to ‘It is not alright for the state to hold all the information. The telecom companies can hold it. We can establish a procedure by which we can ask for information’. That, to me, is an improvement. Whether that answers all the questions that Edward Snowden has raised… I doubt it. And technology is moving so fast that it is quite hard for the laws to keep up.

    • Why government-mandated encryption backdoors are bad for US businesses

      Cybersecurity experts once again issue a stern warning about repercussions of adding US government-accessible backdoors.

  • Civil Rights

    • Torture, Impunity and the American Psychological Association

      It has been almost a year since President Barack Obama admitted, “in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. … we tortured some folks.” The administration of Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush, carefully crafted a legal rationale enabling what it called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which is no more than a euphemism for torture. From the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay to the dungeons of Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram air base in Afghanistan, countless hundreds, if not thousands, of people were subjected to torture, all in the name of the “Global War on Terror.” With the exception of a few low-level soldiers at Abu Ghraib, not one person has been held accountable. The only high-level person sent to prison over torture was John Kiriakou—not for conducting torture, but for exposing it, as a whistleblower.

    • How the CIA Really Won Hearts and Minds

      One night, shortly after she moved there, Paget met two men who informed her they were working for the CIA. And, it turned out, so too was her husband, because the agency entirely funded the NSA’s international program.

      This meant the CIA was paying for the apartment where Paget was living. And the money coming into her joint bank account? Well, that was secretly deposited by the organization, too. So, technically, Paget was on the CIA’s payroll.

      Then a naïve 20-year-old, she was promptly told to sign a document swearing complete secrecy about the information to which she had just been exposed. She willingly put pen to paper. But before the ink was even dry, Paget realized she was part of a security oath that was covered under the Espionage Act. This meant she could face up to 20 years in prison if she spoke out.

    • Royals told: open archives on family ties to Nazi regime

      Buckingham Palace has been urged to disclose documents that would finally reveal the truth about the relationship between the royal family and the Nazi regime of the 1930s.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Public Revolts Against Plan to Kill Domain Name Privacy

        A new ICANN proposal currently under review suggests various changes to how WHOIS protection services should operate.

        The changes are welcomed by copyright holders, as they will make it easier to identify the operators of pirate sites, who can then be held responsible.

      • Reddit’s Unenforceable “No Copyrighted Material” Rule

        Following an extended period of controversy, Reddit has just rolled out a list of rules for the site. One of those rules bans the posting of illegal content such as copyrighted material. While the posting of such content has never been explicitly permitted, it’s going to prove impossible to stop moving forward.

      • Ripping CDs and movies for personal use is once again illegal in UK

        Making copies of copyrighted music and videos for personal use is again illegal in the UK because of a ruling by the High Court issued today.

        Today’s ruling quashes the 2014 regulation that made it legal to make personal copies of performances for private use as long as the person doing so has lawfully acquired the content and doesn’t distribute it to anyone else. That regulation allowed people to make backups or play songs or movies in different formats but didn’t allow selling copies or sharing them with family and friends.


Links 17/7/2015: Linux Mint 17.2 RC, Google Joins OpenStack

Posted in News Roundup at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Facebook and Twitter on the rise as sources of news in the US

    Pew Research Center study finds that 63% of each social network’s American users are getting their news from these services

  • Why Epic’s market dominance could stifle EHR and health IT innovation

    “As a country we get nervous when any company in any sector has a market share in the range of 40% because we know that companies will use their market dominance to limit consumer options and hold back technological advancement,” wrote Paul Levy, former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, on his “Not Running a Hospital” blog.

  • Security

    • And finally, Adobe’s afterthought

      Adobe must think Linux users are a bunch of retards.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Once-theoretical crypto attack against HTTPS now verges on practicality

      Almost a third of the world’s encrypted Web connections can be cracked using an exploit that’s growing increasingly practical, computer scientists warned Wednesday. They said the attack technique on a cryptographic cipher known as RC4 can also be used to break into wireless networks protected by the Wi-Fi Protected Access Temporal Key Integrity Protocol.

    • Estonia to host first international cyber summer school

      The first international cyber security summer school will be held in Estonia next week.

      IT experts from the US, the UK and Estonia will investigate information security, and discuss, among other topics, how to keep data safe, how to safely share it and anonymize it.

      Speakers will come from Oxford University, Columbia University, UC Berkeley, the University of Tartu and the Tallinn-based NATO Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • We’ve created an open source database of every company flying drones in the US

      Last week we published a story about the first 500 companies given permission by the FAA to fly drones for commercial purposes over the US. The number of exemptions granted by the FAA has been growing quickly. Today we added all the data from the month of June, increasing the grand total by nearly 50 percent to 711. We also added this data set to the newly created collection of open-source projects from Vox Media, meaning you can dig into these numbers and use them to create stories, charts, or apps of your own.

    • Sadegh Zibakalam: Anti-Americanism at a ‘dead end’ in Iran

      Sadegh Zibakalam is a professor of political science at the University of Tehran, and one of the most prominent public intellectuals and political analysts in the country. He is the author of a number of bestsellers in Persian, including How Did We Become What We Are, Hashemi without Polish, Tradition and Modernity, and An Introduction to the Islamic Revolution. In a telephone interview, he discusses how the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers will change the dynamics in the country – at least in the long run.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Government makes ‘outrageous’ U-turn over fracking in precious wildlife sites

      The government has made a U-turn on its promise to exclude fracking from Britain’s most important nature sites, arguing that the shale gas industry would be held back if it was excluded from them.

      Campaigners accused ministers of putting wildlife at risk and reneging on their pledge earlier this year to ban fracking in sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), which cover about 8% of England and similar proportions of Wales and Scotland.

    • For Tony Abbott, it’s full steam ahead on coal, ‘the foundation of prosperity’

      If, as the environment movement contends, fossil fuels are the new tobacco, then Australia has cast itself as a sort of swaggering Marlboro man, puffing away contentedly as the rest of the world looks on quizzically.

    • Climate change seen as greatest threat by global population

      Climate change is what the world’s population perceives as the top global threat, according to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, with countries in Latin America and Africa particularly concerned about the issue.

  • Finance

    • The Minimum Wage–and Other Left Ideas Washington Post Might Find ‘Lame’

      There are a few points worth noting here. First, “the left” has many ideas for helping workers other than just the minimum wage. For example, many on the left have pushed for a full-employment policy, which would mean having a Federal Reserve Board policy that allows the unemployment rate to continue to fall until there is clear evidence of inflation, rather than preemptively raising interest rates to slow growth.

      It would also mean having trade policies designed to reduce the trade deficit (i.e., a lower-valued dollar), which would provide a strong boost to jobs. It would also mean spending on infrastructure and education, which would also help to create jobs and have long-term growth benefits.

      The left also favors policies that allow workers who want to be represented by unions to organize. This has a well-known impact on wages, especially for less educated workers.

    • Blame the Banks

      One of the first lessons I was taught on Wall Street was, “Know who the fool is.” That was the gist of it. The more detailed description, yelled at me repeatedly was, “Know who the fucking idiot with the money is and cram as much toxic shit down their throat as they can take. But be nice to them first.”

      When I joined in Salomon Brothers in ‘93, Japanese customers (mostly smaller banks and large industrial companies) were considered the fool. My first five years were spent constructing complex financial products, ones with huge profit margins for us—“toxic waste” in Wall Street lingo—to sell to them. By the turn of the century many of those customers had collapsed, partly from the toxic waste we sold them, partly from all the other crazy things they were buying.

      The launch of the common European currency, the euro, ushered in a period of European financial confidence, and we on Wall Street started to take advantage of another willing fool: European banks. More precisely northern European banks.

      From ‘02 until the financial crisis in ‘08, Wall Street shoved as much toxic waste down those banks’ throats as they could handle. It wasn’t hard. Like the Japanese customers before them, the European banks were hell bent on indiscriminately buying assets from all over the globe.

      They were so willing, and had such an appetite, that Wall Street helped hedge funds construct specially engineered products to sell to them, made of the most broken and risky subprime mortgages. These products—the banks called them “monstrosities” and later the media dubbed them as “rigged to fail”—only would have been created if they had reckless buyers, and the European banks were often those buyers.

      When a bank buys an asset it is lending money; the seller is the borrower.In buying various assets European banks were doing what banks are supposed to do: lending. But by doing so without caution they were doing exactly what banks are not supposed to do: lending recklessly.

    • European Court of Justice Official Proposes Bitcoin VAT Exemption

      Bitcoin operations should be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT), the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice said in an opinion document published today.

    • European Commission opens antitrust investigations against Qualcomm—again

      The European Commission has opened two formal antitrust investigations against the US company Qualcomm concerning possible “abusive behaviour” in the field of baseband chipsets used in consumer electronic devices. The first investigation will examine whether the company abused its dominant market position by offering financial incentives to customers on the condition that they buy baseband chipsets exclusively, or almost exclusively, from Qualcomm. The second will explore whether it used “predatory pricing”—that is, charged prices below costs in order to drive competitors from the market.

  • Censorship

    • Shocking: Software Used To Monitor UK Students Against Radicalization Found To Be Exploitable

      Well, that didn’t take long. It was only a month or so ago that we brought to you the delightful news that software for monitoring the UK youth in classrooms was being recommended to comply with the UK’s insane policy that conscripts teachers to watch out for scary future-Muslim-terrorists. The idea was that the software, from American company Impero Software, would report back to teachers should the children under their watchful gaze search around for terms deemed to be terrorist related. The teachers were then supposed to involve school admins, law enforcement, or parents as deemed necessary. Because, see, possible-might-be-future-terrorists sprouting up from our own children is a very scary, albeit not-yet-existing threat to something something.

    • Security flaw found in school internet monitoring software

      Firm releases temporary fix to Impero Education Pro after researcher says fault could leave pupils’ information exposed to hackers

    • Roya Nobakht: British woman imprisoned in Iran over anti-government Facebook comments is ‘being physically tortured’, say campaigners

      A British woman who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2013 for posting derogatory comments about the country’s government on Facebook has been subjected to “physical and psychological torture” in jail, according to campaigners working for her release.

      Roya Nobakht, 48, was arrested while visiting family in Iran and accused of “insulting Islamic sanctities” through comments posted on a Facebook group. She was put on trial alongside seven other people without legal representation and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

      She has since been given a retrial at which she was allowed to speak in her defence for the first time. She was later told that her sentence had been reduced to seven years, but she was given no legal papers to confirm this and her family remain deeply concerned about her welfare.

    • Researcher Receives Copyright Threat After Exposing Security Hole

      A researcher who exposed security flaws in tools used to monitor the Internet usage of UK students has been hit with a copyright complaint. ‘Slipstream’ discovered flaws in Impero Education Pro which could reveal the personal details of thousands of pupils but in response Impero has sent in its legal team.

    • Canadian Court Ponders If A Disagreement On Twitter Constitutes Criminal Harassment

      ree speech debates can often get tiresome online (for fairly obvious reasons), but it continues to astound me how people seem to think that there should be some sort of obvious exception to free speech rights for speech they don’t like — and that there won’t be any unintended or dangerous consequences from simply outlawing the speech that they dislike. To me, that belief is dangerous, though obviously people should be allowed to make their arguments for it. Up in Canada — where they don’t have a First Amendment like we do here in the states — there’s a fascinating and very troubling case happening that shows the dangerous path that you go down when you start saying things like “offensive speech” should be illegal. The determination of “offensive” is incredibly subjective.

      The case here appears to be over a Twitter spat between a few individuals, who clearly don’t much like each other. That said, the spat appears to be not dissimilar from the many, many Twitter spats that happen each and every day. I’m pretty sure I’ve had Twitter debates as bad, if not worse, than what happened here, and the idea that such a debate could lead to possible criminal charges and jail time is fundamentally crazy.

    • Underage pornography measures backed by new poll [Ed: A Christian Action Research and Education ‘poll’ on decency/nudity is like liberal ‘poll’ on torture]

      A survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted earlier this month for Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), the social policy charity, found overwhelming support for strict regulation.

  • Privacy

    • UK Confuses Gullible Reporter Into Believing It Changed Its Position On Encryption

      We’ve talked a few times about how UK Prime Minister David Cameron has made it abundantly clear that he wants to backdoor encryption to make sure law enforcement and intelligence agencies can read private communications. Back in January, he made it clear that the UK “must not” allow there to be any “means of communication [that] isn’t possible to read [by the government].” Just a few weeks ago, he once again made it clear that there should be no “safe space” where anyone can communicate without the government being able to spy on you (that there already is the ability for two people to converse in person without being spied upon is left ignored).

    • Public bodies are releasing confidential personal data by accident, activists say

      Public bodies are unintentionally releasing confidential personal information on a regular basis, research reveals.

      Freedom of information website WhatDoTheyKnow.com, which automates FOI requests and publishes responses, says it has recorded 154 accidental data leaks made by councils, government departments, police, the NHS and other public bodies since 2009. This amounts to confidential data being wrongly released on average once every fortnight.

    • Cryptology research potentially a criminal activity

      Australia’s obsession with national security continues to have unintended consequences, with the academic exchange of information about cryptography now in danger.

      Internet freedom group Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has supported a call by the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) for amendments to Australia’s Defence Trade Controls Act to include exemptions for scientific research and for education.

    • High court rules data retention and surveillance legislation unlawful

      A judicial challenge by the Labour MP Tom Watson and the Conservative MP David Davis has overturned the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (Dripa) 2014. The judges ruled that data retention powers in the legislation were inconsistent with EU laws.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality: Improvements Are Still Possible

      European Parliament’s ITRE commission endorses the compromise adopted during the trialogue on 30 June regarding the regulation on telecommunications. Despite the improvements brought to the text compared to the Council’s version, the regulation still contains loopholes and inaccuracies that could violate people’s and SME’s rights.

    • Breaking up BT should only be the end of the line

      Sky and TalkTalk want Ofcom to force BT to split off the infrastructure division Openreach but the case for such radical action is weak and it might do nothing

  • DRM

    • JPEG Looking To Add DRM To Images… Supposedly To Protect Images From Gov’t Surveillance

      You may recall the mess a few years ago when, under pressure from the movie studios, along with Netflix and Microsoft, the W3C agreed to add DRM to HTML5. This resulted in lots of debates and reasonable anger from people who found that the idea of building DRM into HTML5 went against the idea of an open internet. And, now it appears that the organization behind the JPEG standard for images is heading down a similar path.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sinead O’Connor declares ‘music is dead’ after Rolling Stone puts Kim Kardashian on cover

        Music has officially died, according to Sinead O’Connor.

        The outspoken musician has called for a boycott on Rolling Stone magazine after it placed Kim Kardashian on its front cover.

        O’Connor wrote on her Facebook page: “What is this c*** doing on the cover of Rolling Stone? Music has officially died. Who knew it would be Rolling Stone that murdered it?

      • Kim Dotcom’s Seized Data Could Soon Be in U.S. Hands

        Kim Dotcom’s battle to stop more of his seized data being sent to the U.S. has suffered a setback. Three Court of Appeal judges today set aside earlier High Court rulings meaning that the Attorney-General can now issue new directions to police enabling the devices to be shipped to the United States.

      • Reda Report: Watch out for last minute amendments!

        On Thursday 9 July, the European Parliament will vote on its own-initiative report on copyright reform, proposed by MEP Julia Reda. The report has been widely picked apart due to pressure from industry lobbies and right-holders, but is set to go forward without any major change. La Quadrature du Net calls on MEPs to be on their guard concerning certain points that could be raised during the vote, especially the right to hyperlink, the right of panorama, or public domain.


Links 15/7/2015: Linux in Prison, Canonical ‘IP’ Dispute

Posted in News Roundup at 8:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why you need Open Source

    At the recent Red Hat Summit, Red Hat CEO James Whitehurst talks with Network World about new IT processes and why companies should focus on open source.

  • Xerte Project Joins Open Source Initiative

    Xerte Project’s Open Source Initiative membership furthers both organization’s commitment to growing open source community and collaboration within institutions of higher education.

  • NSA releases Linux-based open source infosec tool

    The US National Security Agency has offered up one of its cyber security tools for government departments and the private sector to use freely to help beef up their security and counter threats.

  • NSA’s new open source project is a cyber security tool
  • 10 outstanding open source server tools

    Not sure which tools belong in your open source server toolkit? Here are 10 solid go-to tools to get you started.

  • Events

    • Obsidian’s August Free Beer Session to toast open source

      Open source software supplier Obsidian Systems invites OS enthusiasts, developers, geeks and friends to the next ‘Free Beer Session’ on 27 August 2015. This session, the 17th in the series, will offer delegates fresh insight into the open source industry, challenges and opportunities.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 10 things I want Firefox OS to do for me

        I’ve dogfooded Firefox OS since its early beginnings and have some of the early hardware (hamachi, unagi, One Touch Fire, ZTE Open, Geeksphone Keon, Flame and ZTE Open C). It was good to hear some of the plans for Firefox OS 2.5 that were discussed at Whistler, but I wanted to take the time and model of this post and remix it for Firefox OS. Firefox OS you are great and free but you are not perfect and you can be the mobile OS that I need.

      • Mozilla Disables Flash in Firefox

        As the zero days in Adobe Flash continue to pile up, Mozilla has taken the unusual step of disabling by default all versions of Flash in Firefox.

        The move is a temporary one as Adobe prepares to patch two vulnerabilities in Flash that were discovered as a result of the HackingTeam document dump last week. Both vulnerabilities are use-after-free bugs that can be used to gain remote code execution. One of the flaws is in Action Script 3 while the other is in the BitMapData component of Flash.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Teradata’s Configurable Hadoop Appliances Could Find a Niche

      Recently, all-in-one appliances have been much in the news. A few days ago, I covered Mirantis Unlocked Appliances, which deliver OpenStack and all the hardware resources you need for a deployment in one hardware/software entity. Then, Cloudera, which focuses on Apache Hadoop, and Teradata, a big data analytics and marketing tools company, announced the Teradata Appliance for Hadoop with Cloudera.

    • SafeStack attacks with a purpose

      Laura is the founder and lead consultant for SafeStack, a security training, development, and consultancy firm. What does that mean exactly? SafeStack helps organizations choose the right kind of security best practices for them. Then, Laura’s team shows them how to implement those new-found security protocols. This usually calls for a strong dose of workplace culture change, which might sound like a tall order, but Laura tells me in this interview “we want security to be any empowering tool for growth rather than a costly hindrance to innovation.”

    • SwiftStack Founder Plots a Path Forward for Cloud Storage [VIDEO]

      In the beginning of the open source OpenStack cloud effort, there were two projects – Nova Compute and Swift Storage. Swift is an integrated part of most OpenStack distributions but it is also the focus for a standalone company called SwiftStack, which was founded by Joe Arnold.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Drupal 8 Nears Finish Line

      After over four years of development, including missed deadlines on general availability, the open source Drupal 8 content management system (CMS) finally appears to be nearing the finish line.

      Drupal, one of the world’s most popular CMS technologies, is used by many high-profile organizations, notably Whitehouse.gov, the flagship website of the U.S. government. While Drupal founder Dries Buytaert in 2012 announced Drupal 8 would be generally available in December 2013, that date passed with no release.

    • Building open source e-commerce sites with PrestaShop

      Why is being open source so important to us? At its most basic, being open source means users have access to and can manipulate PrestaShop code to make improvements or develop technical answers to address specific business needs. But more importantly, open source represents accessibility and flexibility. It’s an open-door policy versus the private club mentality of proprietary software. Our community is built around this open source ethos; it’s the source of our strength and it’s how we’re contributing to a more democratic e-commerce market.

    • Drupal early adoption at Memorial Sloan Kettering

      At Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, our researchers and clinicians have pushed boundaries to generate new knowledge in patient care and cancer research for more than 130 years. This culture of innovation allows our scientists to continually develop new methods for treatment and work tirelessly to discover more effective strategies to prevent, control, and ultimately cure cancer.

  • Education

    • First open source school management software developed in Haiti

      SIGES is a free, open source, available in French, Haitian Creole, and English. It is customizable to suit the schools: primary and secondary; professional and technical; private and public; in urban and rural areas, the school networks, sponsorship organizations, educational projects, etc…

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Container and Cloud Firm Sysdig Gets $10.7 Million Funding

      If you need further evidence that container technology is all the rage, just follow the money. Sysdig, focused on bringing infrastructure and application monitoring to the world of containers and microservices, has announced a $10.7 million Series A funding round led by Accel and Bain Capital Ventures (BCV). In conjunction with the funding, Sysdig announced the general availability of Sysdig Cloud, which it bills as “the first monitoring, alerting, and troubleshooting platform specializing in container visibility, which is already used by more than 30 enterprise customers.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD Releases Lumina Desktop 0.8.5

      The PC-BSD crew has released version 0.8.5 of their Lumina desktop.

      Lumina 0.8.5 has a speed boost for the user button, desktop icons have improved styling and appearance, a new desktop plug-in is present for monitoring system hardware sensors, and there’s a desktop plugin container for custom QML/QtQuick scripts. There are also updated translations, new PC-BSD/FreeBSD packages, etc.


    • ​Canonical and Free Software Foundation come to open-source licensing terms

      Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, has often rubbed other free software groups the wrong way when it came to open-source licenses. On July 15, Canonical, with support from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), have changed Ubuntu’s licensing terms. The FSF states that Canonical’s new intellectual property (IP) policies “unequivocally comply with the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) and other free software licenses.”

    • Ubuntu Policy Complies With GPL But Fails To Address Other Important Software Freedom Issues
    • Statement on Canonical’s updated licensing terms for Ubuntu GNU/Linux
    • Canonical’s Ubuntu IP policy is garbage

      Canonical have a legal policy surrounding reuse of Intellectual Property they own in Ubuntu, and you can find it here. It’s recently been modified to handle concerns raised by various people including the Free Software Foundation[1], who have some further opinions on the matter here. The net outcome is that Canonical made it explicit that if the license a piece of software is under explicitly says you can do something, you can do that even if the Ubuntu IP policy would otherwise forbid it.

    • Free software fans land crucial punch in Ubuntu row – but it’s not over

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) have been bickering with Canonical since 2013 over concerns that certain clauses of the Ubuntu IP rights policy seemed to claim to override provisions of the GNU General Public License (GPL) – something the GPL explicitly forbids.

    • Conservancy & the FSF Achieve GPL Compliance for Canonical, Ltd. “Intellectual Property” Policy

      Today, Canonical, Ltd. announced an updated “Intellectual Property” policy. Conservancy has analyzed this policy and confirms that the policy complies with the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL), but Conservancy and the FSF believe that the policy still creates confusion and possible risk for users who wish to exercise their rights under GPL.

    • Compilation Copyright Irrelevant for Kubuntu

      Compilation copyright is an idea exclusive to the US (or North America anyway). It restricts collections of items which otherwise have unrelated copyright restrictions. A classic example is a book collection of poetry where the poems are all out of copyright but the selection and ordering of poems is new and has copyright owned by whoever did it.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Electronic Public Records in Norway

        OEP is part of the Norwegian Government’s work to promote transparency and democracy within the public sector. OEP aims to make the Norwegian public sector more open and accessible to citizens. OEP is based upon the Freedom of Information Act and related regulations.

  • Programming

    • Zend Server 8.5 Announced as PHP 7 Release Nears

      Zend, the PHP company, is updating its namesake PHP application server to version 8.5 providing new features and performance for users. The Zend Server 8.5 release builds on the Zend Server 8 milestone which debuted with the Z-Ray application insight technology.

    • Interview: Larry Wall

      Perl 6 has been 15 years in the making, and is now due to be released at the end of this year. We speak to its creator to find out what’s going on.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Embargo on the Truth About the Iranian Arms Embargo

      The corporate media in both the UK and US are attempting to portray the Iranian desire to have the arms embargo lifted, as a new and extraneous demand that could torpedo the nuclear deal. This is an entirely false portrayal.

    • Iran Breakthrough

      There is a parallel danger in Iran. The Iraq War was totally unjustified and illegal, but Saddam Hussein might nonetheless have evaded it had he boxed a bit more cleverly and allowed some foolish inspectors to wander around his palaces prodding at the teaspoons. Yes the inspections regimes will be galling, even humiliating. But patience will have its rewards. There is real danger though that the hardliners on the Iranian side will be able to muster sufficient local points of power to hamper inspections, thus giving the US and Israeli hardliners an opportunity.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • U.S. firm sues Canada for $10.5 billion over water

      An American-owned water export company has launched a massive lawsuit against Canada for preventing it from exporting fresh water from British Columbia.

      Sun Belt Water Inc. of California is suing Canada for $10.5 billion US, the Canadian foreign ministry said Friday.

      The suit has been filed under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Sun Belt says it has been “mistreated” by the B.C. government.

    • Ted Cruz at Secret Koch-Backed Fracking Lobby Group Meeting

      Senator Ted Cruz, raising cash for a 2016 presidential bid, was to meet privately Monday in Denver, Colorado with executives from major oil and gas corporations, all members of the pro-fracking lobby group Western Energy Alliance (WEA), according to details of the secret meeting shared with the Center for Media and Democracy.

      The Republican presidential candidate, a climate change denier, is also a leading proponent of opening up federal lands in the west–in fact virtually all lands everywhere–to energy development, and for scrapping regulations on oil and gas development.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • The Mainstream Discovers Mhairi Black

      Having spoken alongside Mhairi at a few meetings, and much admired her, it is rather strange to find her in danger of becoming an object of cult veneration. Just as with Nicola Sturgeon, it seems the shock of seeing the coherent and intelligent articulation of views outside the narrow consensus manufactured by the corporate media and political class, really does strike home to people. They almost never get to hear such views put; Mhairi is being given a hearing because of her youth in her position, but the marginalisation and ridicule will soon kick back in. Above all, Mhairi should remind us of how the Labour Party has completely sold out those they used to represent, and abandoned the task of proposing an intellectually compelling alternative to trickledown.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Email addresses as a trade secret; email addresses as a Trojan Horse?

      What exactly is of trade secret concern here? The answer is: the aggregate email addresses of the subscribers. Anyone who wants to show the broad scope of what is protectable as a trade secret will likely mention a customer list. What could be further from patentable subject matter, yet still be of value to its owner as a trade secret, than a customer list? Email addresses of subscribers can be likened in this respect to the classic customer list. Thus misappropriation of the email addresses might be a concern.

    • Copyrights

      • Mega Threatens Legal Action Against Search Engine

        Mega.co.nz has lodged legal threats against a New Zealand based search engine. MegaSearch.co.nz allows users to search Mega.co.nz for content but has attracted the attention of the file-hosting company after using its logos and trademarks without permission. Mega.co.nz is demanding a full shutdown.

      • FBI Assists Overseas Pirate Movie Site Raids

        Romanian authorities and the FBI have reportedly coordinated to shut down three sites involved in the unauthorized distribution of movies and TV shows. Several men were detained and various domains were seized amid allegations of criminal copyright infringement, tax evasion and money laundering.

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