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01.13.15

EPO Misdirections Debunked: Refuting Battistelli’s Nonsense and Bogeyman Theory

Posted in Site News at 1:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can a President who lies ever be trusted?

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

Summary: Battistelli’s ‘media strategy’ is getting ugly but potentially effective when it comes to silencing opposition, or in other words those who speak about his abuses

THIS SHORT article makes an important observation about the media strategy of Battistelli and his EPO thugs. Unlike the USPTO, the EPO has many violations in its hands and these need to be explained. Moreover, the thugs need to be ousted, potentially with legal action against them. Battistelli realises the severity of this issue (he could lose more than his job but also his career and maybe his freedom), hence the ham-fisted approach.

“Two months later it is easy to show that Battistelli talks utter nonsense because many groups from many countries, including some of his stakeholders (not just staff), speak out against him and make formal complaints.”People in the EPO are afraid but determined to oust the thugs. Across the whole board we hear from people inside and outside the EPO who are afraid of retribution and try hard to dodge Battistelli’s ‘stasi’. Watch how the Investigation Unit is perceived inside the EPO. Watch how people cover their face when they go out protesting against their employer. Is this a democracy? Is this a functioning facility that serves the European public (as in public servant)? Clearly something has gone wrong and Battistelli’s tyranny is about as undemocratic as it can get.

Earlier today we noticed that one site that protests against Battistelli and his thugs went dark. Maybe its operator is afraid of someone; it’s hard to think of other explanations for this. After quite a long time online it now states:

Sorry, the blog at icsfight4yourrights.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

How odd.

We don’t know who runs that blog. It might be someone from the EPO, but it’s likely to be someone who is not. In Battistelli’s mind, however, all can be blamed on just ‘disgruntled’ employees (as if being disgruntled over a tyrant is in itself wrong). Sometimes Battistelli and Topić even use the race and nationality card, claiming to be victims of racism or international hostilities. That’s just bunk. They’re bonkers.

Let is be said that our sources range widely and Battistelli’s claim that the sources are EPO staff is patently false. Even some lawyers, not to mention proponents of software patents, have expressed concern. Judges too. Battistelli is cornered by a large number of groups, let aside his own staff. Standing next to him is a thug with notoriety, Željko Topić [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], whose alleged crimes (many of them!) we are going to write about another day. The many criminal charges on which we will elaborate in the future ought to show just what standards Battistelli really has. He needs “protection”, not “professionals”, and this makes the EPO look like a corrupt laughing stock that no lawyer will wish to take seriously.

Back in November Battistelli ‘struck back’ as follows:

Battistelli responded by claiming that there was a “defamation campaign” against him. As WIPR had by then run a series of stories on its website based on the EPO staff’s complaints, it appeared he was referring to us.

However, Battistelli said no. His complaint was broader. The EPO staff union, he said, was organising the campaign and had been “contacting the media throughout Europe” to complain about issues such as a perceived lack of transparency at the EPO and poor governance.

We explained that the complaints sent to us appeared to have come from individual staff members, who for obvious reasons had asked us to protect their identities, rather than from the union, although we couldn’t be sure. Battistelli dismissed this.

Two months later it is easy to show that Battistelli talks utter nonsense because many groups from many countries, including some of his stakeholders (not just staff), speak out against him and make formal complaints.

01.06.15

A Thank-You to Techrights Supporters

Posted in Site News at 8:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A somewhat belated call for support and a thank-you to existing supporters

Christmas tree

Summary: How to support Techrights and why we plan to become more active in 2015

HALF a decade ago Techrights published a lot of articles, at most around 30 per day (requiring well over 100 hours of research and writing per week). We have published 27 articles in the past week in an effort to bring the site back to pace after a relatively slow 2014.

“The more tips we receive, the more resilient we can make the site in the face of DDOS attacks (we suffered several last year) and the more motivated we become to write articles here.”As always, we welcome contributions in the form of guest articles, links (either suggested links sent to us or promotion of our articles in so-called ‘social’ media) and for those who have money to spare in support of the site there is the tip jar. The more tips we receive, the more resilient we can make the site in the face of DDOS attacks (we suffered several last year) and the more motivated we become to write articles here. Enough tips also leave us less dependent on external employment and therefore increase the amount of time spent on this site. It is 2 AM where I am at the moment (Manchester) and I stayed up late in an effort to justify the tips left to us just before Christmas. I have been doing that since New Year’s Eve. My wife and I don’t live lavishly and our main passion in here; most of our time is spent writing in our sites, notably Techrights and Tux Machines.

There are many ways to support this site and those who appreciate what we do and have done for nearly a decade are strongly encouraged to ‘give back’, to to speak, even by just promoting the articles or recommending the site to peers/colleagues. Supporting Techrights also means supporting Tux Machines, which advances GNU/Linux and reaches a broad (and still expanding) audience.

12.21.14

Links 21/12/2014: China and Linux, GNOME Shell 3.15.3

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Imitate Fake Hollywood Terminal Hacking Melodrama with This Amazing App for Ubuntu

    We all know that Hollywood movies are the worst place to see some accurate depiction of anything from real life and that includes computer terminals. Well, there is a solution for that now and we can only hope that some misguided producer will see the new “hollywood” package made for this exact purpose.

    Hollywood movie producers invest a lot of time and money in custom interfaces and GUIs that don’t really do anything, but they think they’re nice and interesting on film. Most of the time, someone is hacking away by typing frenetically while windows with crazy stuff open and close. This is why this kind of image is now seared into the public’s consciousness and hacking looks more exciting than in real life. It isn’t.

  • China is Planning to Purge Foreign Technology and Replace With Homegrown Suppliers

    The orders from Chinese banking and military commissions coincided with the trial of domestic computer systems in Siping, a city of 3.4 million people in Jilin province. Other cities and agencies in Jilin will now begin testing whether NeoKylin, a Linux-based operating system from China Standard Software Co., can substitute for Windows and servers made by Inspur can replace IBM’s, the two people familiar with the plan said. The trial will then expand across the country, they said.

  • Microsoft and Google in a Post-Snowden World
  • Server

    • Why Docker, Containers and systemd Drive a Wedge Through the Concept of Linux Distributions

      The announcement of Rocket by CoreOS was perceived by many to be a direct challenge to Docker, particularly as it came on the eve of DockerCon Europe and threatened to overshadow news coming out at the event. Docker, Inc. CEO Ben Golub was quick to fire back with his ‘initial thoughts on the Rocket announcement’. This piece isn’t about the politics of ecosystems and VC funded startups, which I’ll leave to Colin Humphreys (and note an excellent response from Docker Founder and CTO Solomon Hykes). It also isn’t about managing open source community, which I’ll leave to Matt Asay. Here I want to look at systemd, which lies at the heart of the technical arguments.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.19: ThinkPad Muting Redone, New Dell Backlight Support, Acer Is Banging

      The x86 platform driver changes for the Linux 3.19 kernel have been submitted and they include some noteworthy improvements for many Linux laptop owners.

    • Intel Skylake Audio Support For Linux 3.19

      Intel’s next-generation Skylake processors are starting to take shape with the Linux 3.19 kernel.

      Linux 3.19 lands initial Skylake graphics support within the Intel DRM drivers (there’s already initial support on the user-space side too within Mesa) and there’s Skylake MPX support among other Skylake related work that’s been merged for 3.19.

    • Linux 3.19 Merge Window Closes Ahead Of Schedule

      Linus announced on Friday night that he’s closing the merge window early for 3.19. Torvalds said that he’s pulling the last of the pull requests on Saturday — related to KBuild and the READ_ONCE split-up — but is planning to then close the merge window.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.16.3 Released To Fix Security Issues

        Julien Cristau of Debian announced the X.Org Server 1.16.3 release on Saturday morning. The primary focus of this release is on correcting the security issues within the GLX, DIX, XV, DRI3, RENDER, and other areas of the xorg-server code-base affected by outstanding security problems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • kdepim 4.14 + unittest

        As you saw I continue to work on 4.14 branch, in parallel I work on KF5 porting.

      • On Domain Models and Layers in kdepim

        Each application has a “domain” it was created for. KOrganizer has for instance the calendar domain, and kmail the email domain, and each of those domains can be described with domain objects, which make up the domain model. The domain model of an application is essential, because it is what defines how we can represent the problems of that domain. If Korganizer didn’t have a domain model with attendees to events, we wouldn’t have any way to represent attendees internally, and thus couldn’t develop a feature based on that.

      • nOS Infinity Is a Unique-Looking OS Powered by KDE – Gallery

        nOS Infinity is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that uses the KDE desktop environment. It’s built for old and new computers and it’s quite different from what you might expect.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro 0.8.11 Brings Support for Linux Kernel 3.18

        Manjaro 0.8.11 is a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux, which is also 100% compatible with the repositories of the base system. It’s been out for a short time, but developers have already pushed a second major update for it.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat claims the ‘grinch’ issue isn’t a Linux vulnerability

        The official reply noted that “this report incorrectly classifies expected behavior as a security issue,” through a Red Hat Bulletin released on Wednesday just one day after the report being made public. This was in response to Alert Logic claiming that this Grinch issue may be as large as the previously seen Heartbleed bug, noting that they believe it is a serious design flaw in how Linux handles user permissions.

      • Red Hat’s success aside, it’s hard to profit from free

        Red Hat, which just reported a profit of $47.9 million (or 26 cents a share) on revenue of $456 million for its third quarter, has managed to pull off a tricky feat: It’s been able to make money off of free, well, open-source, software. (It’s profit for the year-ago quarter was $52 million.)

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 21 Desktop Installation Steps with Screenshots

          Fedora is an open source Linux based operating system. As Fedora is free so end users can use it , modify it as per their requirements and distribute it. Fedora Operating system is available for Desktops, Servers and cloud. Fedora project is supported by RedHat. Most of the new softwares and technologies are developed and tested by Redhat in Fedora and then later on these softwares are used in Redhat Stable Versions.

          In this post we will discuss Fedora 21 Desktop or workstation (64 bit) Installation Steps with Screenshots. Below are the minimum requirements to install Fedora 21.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.5.0 beta released

          The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.5.0

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Phone launch delayed until early 2015

            Earlier this year, I reported on the forthcoming release of Ubuntu phones. Ubuntu for phones had just hit “release to manufacturer” status and phones were supposed to launch before the end of 2014.

            Bad news: The phones clearly won’t be here this year. But good news! Canonical told me they’ll be out in early 2015, after a slight delay to clean up some lingering interface and manufacturing snags.

          • Can Ubuntu Click Address Linus Torvalds’ Binary Problems?

            Linux is a dominant player in almost every industry segment, minus one: desktop. We heard Linus Torvalds’ pain when he uttered these words at LinuxCon North America this year, “I still want the desktop”.

          • UNITY TO GET AN OPTION TO ALWAYS SHOW THE MENUS [UBUNTU 15.04 VIVID VERVET]

            Marco’s work involves adding an option to always show the Unity menus (in Unity, the menus are currently displayed on mouse over). Furthermore, this option will work with both the regular Appmenu / global menu, displayed on the top Unity panel, as well as LIM (locally integrated menus), displayed in the application titlebar:

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha, Tanglu 2 Review, and More Red Hat

            Just when you thought you couldn’t get anymore Red Hat news, it once again was the talk of the techtown. An interest blog post from Hanno Böck today says quit using NTP if you care about security. Jack M. Germain discusses the work of Open Invention Network and Jamie Watson reviews Debian-derivative Tanglu 2. Dedoimedio.com shares their best distro of 2014 and Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 was released.

          • Ubuntu Touch to Land with Bq Aquaris e4.5 Phones in February

            The first two companies that have been confirmed to release phones with Ubuntu Touch are Meizu and Bq. Until now, only Meizu showed any kind of involvement with Ubuntu Touch and they were the first to announce a launch window. On the other hand, Bq has been silent, but it seems to have been very busy and to be the first one out the door.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Gets Linux Kernel Regression Fix

            A Linux kernel regression for Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) has been identified by Canonical and the developers have issued a patch that should be available through regular channels.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Google building full Android IVI stack, says report

      If Android M is for real, the technology would go far beyond its Android Auto initiative announced earlier this year. Android Auto offers Apple CarPlay-like extensions to existing Android apps for customized interactions with a wide variety of IVI navigation and multimedia systems. IVI systems that support Android Auto should begin to appear in cars sometime in 2015.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen IVI 3.0 Gains GENIVI 7.0 Compliance

          It’s not news that open source is rolling through many industries like a well-oiled machine, so of course automotive is no exception. Organizations like GENIVI are helping to move this along, by creating specifications for open source platforms that provide a consistent foundation for the use of open source for In-Vehicle Infotainment systems.

      • Android

        • The best Android phones, tablet, and watch of 2014

          The best thing about Android is that there are lots of choices. The worst thing about Android is that there are lots of choices. There are just too many damn phones to choose from!

        • This is the world’s most stunning new Android phone – and it’ll only cost you $5,000

          While there’s no question that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are beautiful smartphones, some might argue that Apple’s 2012 iPhone 5 and last year’s iPhone 5s feature an overall look that is more sleek and sophisticated. Now, imagine that sophisticated design was given harder lines, darker tones and a 5-inch full HD display, and it was built out of titanium and 18k gold instead of aluminum.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Most important open source news of the year

    In 2014, we have seen continued growth for both use and adoption of open source software in the enterprise software market. Cloud takes a big part of that obviously, with project likes Docker and OpenStack who have been in the news frequently. But growth wasn’t limited to increased use and adoption. We also noticed a lot of big names open sourcing their own solutions. Facebook announced a new branch of MySQL built for scalability, NASA released source code for many software projects, GitHub released the Atom text editor under a MIT license, and Google open sourced an email encryption tool and it’s Chrome PDF engine. The biggest news this year when it comes to open sourcing software has been Microsoft with .Net. This list of new open source releases goes on, with companies like LinkedIn, organizations such as DARPA, and more. If this trend continues, we can expect a lot more to be released under an open source license in 2015.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.1 for Debian

      Release 4.1 of WordPress came out on Friday so after some work to fit in with the Debian standards, the Debian package 4.1-1 of WordPress will be uploaded shortly. WordPress have also updated their themes with a 14-day early theme called twentyfifteen. This is the default theme for WordPress 4.1 on-wards.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF’s High Priority Project List Now Has A Committee

      The Free Software Foundation has now built up a committee to review their “High Priority Projects” list and they’re looking for more feedback from the community.

      Nearly ten years ago is when the Free Software Foundation began listing what they viewed as the High Priority Free Software Projects in a list. This list has over time contained some definite high-priority projects related to freeing Java and Adobe PDF support and open graphics drivers to some more obscure projects of high priority like a free version of Oracle Forms, a replacement to OpenDWG libraries for CAD files, automatic transcription software, etc. I’ve personally called out many of the FSF HPP for what they’re worth with my thoughts over the years.

    • GnuCash 2.6.5 released
  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Uganda Adopts Free And Open Source Software For E-Governance

      The population in Uganda has been growing rapidly. The country now has 35 million people. In order to provide quality services to its citizens and to improve the national competitiveness through administration innovation, the government has adopted free and open source software as the preferred mode of operation for electronic government (e-government) services and platforms.

  • Licensing

    • As Hollywood Funds a SOPA Revival Through State Officials, Google (And The Internet) Respond

      Almost three years ago, millions of Internet users joined together to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a disastrous bill that would have balkanized the Internet in the name of copyright and trademark enforcement. Over the past week, we’ve been tracking a host of revelations about an insidious campaign to accomplish the goals of SOPA by other means. The latest development: Google has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of an overbroad and punitive subpoena seeking an extraordinary quantity of information about the company and its users. The subpoena, Google warns, is based on legal theories that could have disastrous consequences for the open Internet.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Librarians Are Continuing To Defend Open Access To The Web As A Public Service

        Librarians have built up quite a reputation for activism in all the right ways. Whether taking a stand against DRM, expanding libraries’ catalogs to include new digital media and art, or embracing indie authors, librarians come off as much more of a hip crowd than you might expect. These stances occasionally put them at odds with some in the community that they serve, perhaps most notably with parents who have pushed for restrictions on internet access within libraries. It gets all the more unfortunate when a subsection of the citizenry sees fit to ramp up the rhetoric against an institution simply attempting to serve the greatest public good. This typically, unfortunately, devolves into the supposed accusation of librarians “defending” the right for visitors to view “pornography.”

      • Libraries ‘Need To Be More Like Coffee Shops’, Says Government Report

        Better Wi-Fi connectivity, alongside hot drinks and comfier seating, could be the key to saving Britain’s libraries

        A government inquiry has called for a “complete reinvigoration” of the UK’s library network, including plans to make the facilities more welcoming by offering free Wi-Fi and hot drinks.

  • Programming

    • Google Announces Open-Source Availability of Cloud Dataflow SDK

      The goal is to let developers integrate applications more easily with its managed data analytics service.

    • Libscore Promises Easy Open Source Code Tracking

      Open source software theoretically ensures that the best code becomes the most widely shared and used code. But how can open source developers know how many other projects are actually making use of their handiwork? An interesting new tool called Libscore aims to provide an answer — at least for Web developers.

    • MIPS R6 Architecture Now Supported By GCC

      As of yesterday, there’s MIPS32R6 and MIPS64R6 support in GCC. The new MIPS R6 CPU architecture support was contributed by Imagination Technologies themselves. MIPS Release 6 features new instructions aimed for enhancing performance for JIT, JavaScript, browsers, PIC for Android, and large workload applications. The MIPS R6 architecture was announced a few months ago and the first products based on the updated MIPS ISA are their new Warrior processors.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google Drive now supports ODF

      What a brilliant end of the year for ODF, Google have decided to add support for the file type to it’s Drive service. The new update allows users to edit and save documents on Drive and also import ODF files and edit them from Drive. Prior to this you could only import ODF files to the service but you would have to edit download and edit them locally.

Leftovers

  • Calls growing for referendum on Greater Manchester having elected mayor

    Salford mayor Ian Stewart has already said he is ‘inclined’ towards favouring a public vote on the issue, with his council voting in favour of a motion calling for residents to have their say

  • Security

    • Hackers hit OPM background investigations contractor

      Hackers have gone after KeyPoint Government Solutions and its main customer, the Office of Personnel Management, is issuing a warning that nearly 50,000 people may have had their information compromised.

      An OPM spokeswoman said that the agency has concluded an investigation of the breach and is notifying 48,439 people whose personally identifiable data may have been breached.

      The agency is taking the action “out of an abundance of caution,” the spokeswoman said.

    • Lessons from the Sony Hack

      Earlier this month, a mysterious group that calls itself Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer systems and began revealing many of the Hollywood studio’s best-kept secrets, from details about unreleased movies to embarrassing emails (notably some racist notes from Sony bigwigs about President Barack Obama’s presumed movie-watching preferences) to the personnel data of employees, including salaries and performance reviews. The Federal Bureau of Investigation now says it has evidence that North Korea was behind the attack, and Sony Pictures pulled its planned release of “The Interview,” a satire targeting that country’s dictator, after the hackers made some ridiculous threats about terrorist violence.

      Your reaction to the massive hacking of such a prominent company will depend on whether you’re fluent in information-technology security. If you’re not, you’re probably wondering how in the world this could happen. If you are, you’re aware that this could happen to any company (though it is still amazing that Sony made it so easy).

    • OpenHardware Random Number Generator

      Before I spend another night reading datasheets; would anyone be interested in an OpenHardware random number generator in an full-size SD card format? The idea being you insert the RNG into the SD slot of your laptop, leave it there, and the kernel module just slurps trusted entropy when required.

    • New fear: ISIS killers use ‘digital AK-47′ malware to hunt victims

      Malware has emerged from war-torn Syria targeting those protesting the rule of ISIS (ISIL, Islamic State, whatever the murderous humanity-hating fanatics are calling themselves these days.)

      The trivial Windows spyware, analyzed by University of Toronto internet watchdog Citizen Lab, was sent out in a small number of emails aimed squarely at members of the group Raqqah is being Slaughtered Silently (RSS) – which is holed up deep in ISIS-controlled territory and campaigning against the medieval terror bastards.

    • North Korea Calls BS on Sony Hacking Scandal

      The offer comes as the FBI formally accused Pyongyang of the attack on Friday and US President Barack Obama promised to “respond proportionally” to the online breach.

    • Obama: North Koreans did it

      US President Barack Obama has declared that Sony “made a mistake” in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, and he pledged that the United States would respond “in a place and manner and time that we choose” to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US drone attack kills at least five Taliban fighters in Pakistan – report

      A US drone fired two missiles at a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least five Taliban fighters, two security officials said.

    • Six Militants Killed in US Drone Attacks in Pakistan
    • Drone strikes counterproductive, says secret CIA report

      Drone strikes and other “targeted killings” of terrorist and insurgent leaders favoured by the US and supported by Australia can strengthen extremist groups and be counterproductive, according to a secret CIA report published by WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks Reveals CIA Admitted Drone Strikes Ineffective

      The Taliban hasn’t broken a sweat replacing leaders killed by drones, according to a secret CIA report.

      Controversial U.S. drone strikes may be helping rather than hindering the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to a leaked CIA document released by Wikileaks Thursday.

    • Yemen: Whose Law?
    • Drone explosion kills volunteer in Lviv region

      “The drone exploded during its demonstration at the Yavoriv firing ground at around 09.00 on December 18. The blast fatally wounded a volunteer from Kyiv region, which was in the area [of the explosion],” the head of the media center, Oleksandr Poroniuk, said. The causes of the incident are being established. Law enforcers and members of the military prosecutor’s office are working at the scene.

    • In revenge, Pakistani Taliban strike school, killing at least 141

      Pakistan suffered the worst terrorist attack of a seven-year Taliban insurgency Tuesday when militants rampaged through an army-run high school in the northern city of Peshawar, killing at least 141 people, mostly students, in what the militants described as revenge for months of airstrikes on their tribal-area strongholds by Pakistan warplanes and CIA drones.

    • Yemen: Whose Law?

      Yemen’s transitional government, according to analysts and human rights groups, continues to condone extrajudicial killings of people it could arrest, detains people without due process and turns to tribal law to cover up its mistakes.

    • Judge Vacates Order Hushing Up Drone Strike

      A federal judge vacated as moot an order that prevented government disclosure of information about the targeted drone strike that killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011.

    • COMMENTARY: People of faith have legitimate questions about use of lethal drones

      These “targeted” killings are conducted remotely in countries against which we have not declared war. Lethal drone strikes occur without warning, target for death specific individuals who are secretly selected, and are operated remotely by individuals thousands of miles away.

    • The Senate Drone Report of 2019

      Though it was a Friday afternoon, normally a dead zone for media attention, the response was instant and stunning. As had happened five years earlier with the committee’s similarly fought-over report on torture, it became a 24/7 media event. The “revelations” from the report poured out to a stunned nation. There were the CIA’s own figures on the hundreds of children in the backlands of Pakistan and Yemen killed by drone strikes against “terrorists” and “militants.” There were the “double-tap strikes” in which drones returned after initial attacks to go after rescuers of those buried in rubble or to take out the funerals of those previously slain. There were the CIA’s own statistics on the stunning numbers of unknown villagers killed for every significant and known figure targeted and finally taken out (1,147 dead in Pakistan for 41 men specifically targeted). There were the unexpected internal Agency discussions of the imprecision of the robotic weapons always publicly hailed as “surgically precise” (and also of the weakness of much of the intelligence that led them to their targets). There was the joking and commonplace use of dehumanizing language (“bug splat” for those killed) by the teams directing the drones. There were the “signature strikes,” or the targeting of groups of young men of military age about whom nothing specifically was known, and of course there was the raging argument that ensued in the media over the “effectiveness” of it all (including various emails from CIA officials admitting that drone campaigns in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen had proven to be mechanisms not so much for destroying terrorists as for creating new ones).

    • Are drone strikes more defensible than torture?

      There are lots of hypocrisies surrounding the recently released executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. But they pale in comparison to the current Democratic silence about President Barack Obama’s policy of targeted drone assassinations.

    • Impunity will persist on CIA torture, killings

      1) CIA director John Brennan vehemently defends the agency – lauding the interrogators as “patriots” and refusing to call their methods torture;

      2) President Obama backs up Brennan (his previous chief counter-terrorism adviser, his choice to head the CIA); and

      3) His administration has desisted from filing charges against those responsible for the torture.

    • To Improve Assassination Operations, CIA Studies Failures of Colonial Powers to Combat Resistance

      In other words, according to the CIA, the white South African apartheid government may have fared better against the struggle for equality and justice if it had assassinated Mandela. Governments, including the US, should murder inspirational leaders if they want to defeat insurgencies.

    • US prepared to veto UN plan for Israeli occupation

      The U.S. is prepared to veto a United Nations Security Council proposal that calls for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands in 2017.

      State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the resolution, offered by Jordan and pushed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, is unlikely to face an immediate vote.

    • World War II bomb defused in German city

      A World War II bomb has been successfully defused in an eastern German city after some 9,700 people were evacuated from the surrounding area and a meeting of a state legislature was interrupted.

    • John Prescott: Torture by Bush regime is shocking but not surprising

      Former deputy prime minister John Prescott says there’s more to the UK and US “special relationship” than meets the eye

    • Saudi says oil decisions not linked to politics

      Saudi Arabia’s oil chief said in comments published Thursday that there are no links between the kingdom’s decision to oppose production cuts and political objectives – an apparent response to accusations last week from Shiite powerhouse Iran.

      Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency as saying that there are “incorrect information and analyses … linking petroleum decisions with political objectives.”

    • CIA report reveals failure of Israel’s targeted killing policy

      A secret CIA review published recently by WikiLeaks reveals that Israel has been among the least successful countries regarding the targeted killing of opponents, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on Thursday. The review shows that the killings carried out by the US and its ally Israel have been the least successful among a list of eight countries; the American and Israeli authorities usually laud such assassinations.

    • UK drone net got torture-grade CIA comms

      A computer network that the US Central Intelligence Agency began using a decade ago to conduct the kidnap and torture of terrorist suspects has become an integral part of the system now operating drone strikes in the Middle East and Africa.

      The means to send ‘above top secret’ intelligence communications around the globe without exposure empowered the CIA’s Rendition and Detention Program to snatch and interrogate suspects in the US ‘war on terror’. The same network system became the principal mechanism behind the intelligence-led “targeted killing” of suspected enemies using drone strikes today.

      The technological link between the two sinister programmes, signposted in passing detail by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program last week, further confirms that a US military network routed via the UK carried intelligence vital to the US targeted killing programme, and presents evidence that may sway officials deciding whether contractor British Telecommunications Plc should be held to account for building a part of the network used to transmit drone targeting intelligence since 2012.

    • Journalist Robert C. Koehler says: Abolish the CIA!

      BK: The U.S. launched its disastrous war on Iraq based largely on the false intelligence the CIA produced via torture.This intelligence was, of course, what the neocon cabal, which had a pre-9/11 interest in invading Iraq, wanted. So yes, the CIA was just doing its job, but its job wasn’t, and isn’t, to keep American citizens safe.The torture techniques detailed in the report are horrific to read about. They include beatings and waterboarding and something called “rectal rehydration.” They include sleep deprivation, hideous stress (one detainee was chained to the wall in a standing position for 17 days.) They include threats to harm or murder the detainees’ children or wife or mother. As I say, the Senate Intelligence Committee report makes clear that the information extracted by these techniques had no accuracy, belying all justification of them. But more to the point, torture and murder are utterly immoral acts, which rouse fury and hatred that come back to haunt the perpetrators: the American people.

    • Fox News hosts use Sydney siege to defend CIA

      Fox News has plunged itself into the centre of controversy once again for referencing the Sydney siege in an apparent justification for the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation”.

    • Wikileaks Releases CIA Report on High Value Targeting

      Wikileaks has released a CIA document from 2009 analyzing the positive and negative effects of strikes against high value targets.

    • Secret CIA report: Drone strikes and targeted killings ‘boost support for terror groups’

      Drone strikes and “targeted killings” of terror targets by the United States can be counterproductive and bolster the support of extremist groups, the CIA has admitted in a secret report released by WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks: Classified report detailed assassination shortcomings
    • Leaked report reveals CIA terror strategy
    • Leaked CIA report: Targeting Taliban leaders ‘ineffective’

      he removal of senior Taliban leaders has had little impact on the organisation, a CIA report released by Wikileaks has said.

      The 2009 report analyses “high value targeting” in a number of conflicts – the assassination of senior insurgents.

      It said the Taliban’s ability to replace lost leaders has hampered the effectiveness of coalition operations against its leadership.

      The CIA would not comment on the leaked documents.

    • CIA report reveals setbacks in ‘high value’ targeted assassinations
    • Leaked CIA report says targeted killing programs could backfire
    • The CIA’s Secret Killers

      Some time in early or mid-1949 a CIA officer named Bill (his surname is blacked out in the file, which was surfaced by our friend John Kelly back in the early 1990s) asked an outside contractor for input on how to kill people. Requirements included the appearance of an accidental or purely fortuitous terminal experience suffered by the Agency’s victim.

    • Obama taps CIA No. 2 Haines for White House job

      President Barack Obama is naming the CIA’s second-ranking official to a top White House national security post.

      Obama says Avril Haines is a “model public servant” who is respected across the government. He says that as deputy national security adviser, she will play a critical role in keeping the country save and promoting American interests around the world.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • ISIS Leaders Killed as WikiLeaks Publishes Docs on CIA Doubts About “High-Value” Assassinations

      U.S. military leaders say three top figures from the Islamic State have been killed by U.S. airstrikes, including a military chief and a deputy of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The news comes as the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has published an internal CIA document which reveals the agency’s doubts about the effectiveness of such killings. The document, which is from 2009, describes both the positive and negative impacts of assassinating so-called high-value targets. It warns that such operations can “[increase] the level of insurgent support,” “[strengthen] an armed group’s bond with the population,” “[radicalize] an insurgent group’s remaining leaders.” WikiLeaks notes, “After the report was prepared, U.S. drone strike killings rose to an all-time high.”

    • Freedom under US arrest

      The US policy exposed by Julian Assange and Edward Snowden through the dissemination of classified information gained vital importance for the entire world.

    • Assange: US prosecuting Barrett Brown for quoting assassination threats against me

      The charges against journalist and activist Barrett Brown, accused of threatening an FBI agent, are partially based on his quoting another person’s threat to assassinate the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange said.

      Brown, 33, whose sentencing was delayed until January on Tuesday, faced federal charges including computer-related crimes, obstruction of justice and publicly threatening an FBI agent performing his duty. He’s now looking at up to eight years in prison for aiding hackers in breaching corporate computers, after pleading guilty in April to being an accessory.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange Expresses Support for US Journalist Accused of Hacking

      Julian Assange wrote in a statement that the case of Dallas journalist Barrett Brown involves him personally and the work of WikiLeaks.

    • Brought to You by Wikileaks: Mandela Shows Better to Kill Than Imprison

      A study by the Central Intelligence Agency that evaluated the pros and cons of assassination programs has revealed significant insights into the agency’s thinking about targeted killings, including potential backlash. The study was published by Wikileaks on Thursday.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange weighs in on Barrett Brown sentencing delay

      Brown has been in federal custody since his arrest more than two years ago.

    • Wikileaks pins accused spy Rolando ‘Roly’ Sarraff Trujillo as Cuban political prisoner

      Rolando “Roly” Sarraff Trujillo was arrested on espionage charges in Cuba in 1995.

  • Finance

    • China proposes broadening use of Yuan for trade with Russia: report

      China’s trade minister proposed more use of China’s currency in settling trade with Russia in the face of a falling rouble to ensure safe and reliable trade, Hong Kong broadcaster Phoenix TV reported on Saturday.

    • Foreign Bankers Rape Ukraine

      If it were not for the fact that the lives of some 45 million people are at stake, Ukrainian national politics could be laughed off as a very sick joke. Any pretenses that the October national elections would bring a semblance of genuine democracy of the sort thousands of ordinary Ukrainians demonstrated for on Maidan Square just one year ago vanished with the announcement by Victoria Nuland’s darling Prime Minister, “Yat” Yatsenyuk, of his new cabinet.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Sailing through a scandal

      Why the phone-hacking affair has left Rupert Murdoch better off

      IT MUST all seem like a distant nightmare now. After the revelations of phone-hacking at the News of the World emerged in 2011, Rupert Murdoch was hauled before Parliament, calling it “the most humble day of my life”. Executives and journalists were arrested. The scandal prompted Mr Murdoch’s News Corp to drop a cherished plan to buy out the other investors in BSkyB, a satellite broadcaster (since renamed Sky). Some predicted that the affair, which included the hacking of a murdered schoolgirl’s voicemails, could be Mr Murdoch’s and his firm’s undoing.

    • Pew Admits Flaw In Poll Being Used To Attack Stronger Gun Laws

      The research group whose misleading poll question was heavily touted by the media to suggest “growing public support for gun rights” has acknowledged that the question was flawed.

      Last week, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that asked respondents whether it is more important to “control gun ownership” or to “protect the right of Americans to own guns.” The poll showed increased support for the gun rights answer and a drop in support for regulating guns. The results were reported by numerous media outlets, especially by the conservative press.

    • eBay Becomes 100th Company to Cut Ties to “Controversial” ALEC

      The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) had joined the climate change awareness group Forecast the Facts, Credo Action, and others in asking eBay to leave what Reuters called the “controversial political group ALEC” in recent weeks. A Twitterstorm on December 17 was followed by the delivery of a petition containing nearly 100,000 petitions to eBay’s headquarters in San Jose, California on December 18. eBay’s announcement came shortly after.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Pew: Internet privacy is a fantasy, will merely be a ‘fetish’ by 2025, according to experts

      If you’re still holding out hope for the preservation of “Internet privacy,” you may need to adjust your ideals a bit. The future of online privacy is cloudy, and policymakers and technology innovators have a weighty task on their hands – one they’re likely to fumble. This is one of the overarching findings of a recent canvassing of more than 2,500 experts by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

    • Judge questions evidence on whether NSA spying is too broad

      Judge Jeffrey White heard oral arguments by attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the suit, and the government, during a hearing in a federal district court in Oakland, California. The EFF says its suit is the first challenge in public court to the government’s upstream data program, which copies online data from the main cables connecting Internet networks around the world.

    • NSA to defend Internet collection in court
    • Privacy Advocates Battle DOJ in NSA Spying Case

      The National Security Agency is illegally searching and seizing Americans’ Internet communications, privacy advocates told a federal judge at a hearing on Friday.

    • It’s a Big Day in Court for Privacy and Surveillance

      On Friday, privacy advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are attempting a new strategy in their six-year-old lawsuit against the National Security Agency. Filed in 2008, Jewel v. NSA is a suit calling for the end of the surveillance of millions of AT&T customers’ internet traffic and emails. Despite evidence provided by an AT&T whistle-blower, the US district court, under pressure from the federal government defendants, has delayed and avoided judgment, suggesting that the case raises issues too secret for the federal courts even to rule upon and too important for national security to shut down anyway.

    • Global Privacy Fears Increase After NSA Leaks

      An international survey shows a growing demand for privacy and Internet access.

    • Digital Rights Group Goes After NSA

      In its ongoing public relations struggle, the NSA will soon have to defend itself in court. A digital rights group, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is bringing forth a motion against the National Security Agency on Friday over the agency’s Internet data collection program.

    • NSA’s internet surveillance faces constitutional challenge in court

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation says the government’s upstream data collection violates the Fourth Amendment

    • NSA and EFF to square off in court over internet surveillance

      ​A digital rights group in the United States plans to argue in federal court this week that the National Security Agency’s internet surveillance operations violate the US Constitution’s ban against unlawful searches and seizures.

    • Google Says 2015 Will Be the ‘Moment’ To Reform NSA Spying

      Google is already beginning to lay the groundwork for another push next year to rein in government spying ahead of a crucial summer deadline to some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance authority.

    • Snowden’s surveillance disclosures helping change user behaviors

      Millions of Internet users have changed their Internet behavior and are doing more to keep their own personal data secure from possible surveillance, according to a survey from the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The survey revealed 64 percent of respondents have increased privacy worries over just one year ago, as the NSA, GCHQ, and other organized surveillance programs target Web users.

    • After the Snowden leaks, 700m act to avoid NSA spying

      Nearly 700 million people worldwide have taken steps to protect their privacy from NSA surveillance, according to an international internet security survey

    • More people may be dodging NSA surveillance than you think – Open thread

      In November, a study released by the Canadian Centre for International Governance claimed that while 60% of internet users had heard of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, only 39% of those people had taken additional steps to protect their online privacy as a result.

    • Snowden spying leaks prompt millions to protect data

      Recent revelations about government-backed surveillance have prompted millions of people to do more to keep their data private, suggests a survey.

      Many people now regularly change passwords or avoid certain websites or apps, said the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

      It also found that 64% of the 23,000 people questioned are more worried about their privacy than a year ago.

    • Congress expands NSA domestic spying programs and nobody cares

      While the media was busy lining up to congratulate Obama for lawlessly granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and cuddling up to one of the six state sponsors of terrorism in the world, Congress passed legislation that, according to one House Republican, “grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.” Republican leadership in the House inserted language into the Intelligence Authorization bill at the very last minute which includes a phrase to allow for “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of U.S. phone and Internet data.

    • In 2007, One Judge Said No to the NSA

      Last week, the government quietly released a new cache of court filings and orders from late 2006 and early 2007 that together reveal a watershed moment in the government’s effort to secretly expand its authority to conduct surveillance on American soil—without ever asking Congress or the public. Instead, the government once again asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to belatedly bless certain aspects of the President’s Surveillance Program, which was initiated by President Bush without judicial or legislative approval in 2001.

    • Edward Snowden and the NSA Disclosures

      Disclosures from the vast trove of NSA documents obtained by Edward Snowden were first published in The Guardian exactly 560 days ago, and it’s worth asking ourselves whether we have gained anything from the revelations since then. The answer to that question increasingly seems clear: no.

    • Looking for a Hoodie With NSA Documents on It? This Is Your Store
    • Edward Snowden gets human rights award in Berlin

      The trio responsible for breaking last year’s NSA spying scandal have been honored for defending human rights. Prominent Germans praised the work of Edward Snowden, journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.

    • Troubled Ties: Snowden, Germany and the NSA

      The government argued by way of contrast that allowing Snowden onto German soil would hamper international relationships, notably with the United States. It would also corner the government in Berlin: extradite Snowden, or face the unpleasant transatlantic music.

    • The CIA Probably Won’t Get Punished For Spying On The Senate
    • CIA unlikely to penalise staff over search of Senate computers – report

      A panel investigating the CIA’s search of a computer network used by Senate staff will not recommend disciplining the agency officials involved in the incident, according to the New York Times.

      The review panel is looking into the search by agency officials of staffers from the Senate intelligence committee who were investigating the CIA’s use of torture in interrogations of detainees after the 9/11 attacks on the US.

      The Times, citing current and former government officials, said the panel was likely to fault the CIA for missteps. But the newspaper said the decision not to recommend anyone for disciplinary action was likely to anger members of the intelligence committee, who have accused the agency of interfering with its investigation of agency wrongdoing.

    • Missouri seeks to block NSA

      A bill filed today in Missouri would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah….

    • Interview: ‘Citizenfour’ Director Laura Poitras on Storytelling in Docs
    • Are Electronic ‘Back Doors’ Unintentionally Helping Hackers?

      For global insurance firms, cyberattacks have become the most threatening of all emerging risks, according to a survey conducted recently by Guy Carpenter & Co., the risk and reinsurance specialists. Over the past two years, hackers have infiltrated major airlines, energy companies and defense firms, among many other businesses.

    • The Global Cell Network Is Wildly Insecure. Anyone Could Be Listening To Your Calls.
    • German Researchers: Cellphone Calls, Messages Easy to Crack
    • German researchers discover a flaw that could let anyone listen to your cell calls.

      German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale – even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Bureaucratic Nightmare That Cost Matt DeHart His Liberty — And His Family $10,000 CAD

      Matt DeHart faces a very depressing and lonely Christmas in jail this year for reasons that are at best down to an extreme bureaucratic SNAFU, and at worst (and more likely) down to collusion between the Canadian and American authorities to stop the whistleblower talking to the press.

    • FBI investigates suspicious death of North Carolina teen Lennon Lacy

      People who knew Lacy don’t think he committed suicide. Others are unsure what to believe. But many here say the possibility that Lacy, a popular high school senior who moved easily between black and white social circles, was the victim of a racially motivated killing demands more investigation.

    • The FBI told their story about North Korea attacking Sony. Before we retaliate, read what they didn’t tell you.

      While most journalists report official government statements, and cite only approving voices, there are a few who quote dissenters. We should pay attention to these few, considering the long list of government lies attributing evil deeds to designated foes. Learning from experience is the beginning of strength.

    • Is Torture a ‘Conservative’ Value?

      Conservatives who usually hail individual liberties are leading the televised defense of the U.S. government’s torture of terror suspects, including many who were completely innocent. But some conservatives are troubled by this knee-jerk defense of the Bush administration, as Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains.

    • The ‘Exceptionalism’ of US Torture

      Americans like to think of themselves as the ultimate “good guys” and anyone who gets in their way as a “bad guy.” Under this theory of U.S. “exceptionalism,” whatever “we” do must be moral or at least morally defensible, from sponsoring coups around the world to torture, as William Blum describes.

    • Torture scraps values US once held dear

      American exceptionalism has always maintained a moral imperative. The conduct of the world’s foremost liberal democracy is guaranteed by a fierce commitment to liberty and the security of individual rights.

    • US-Cuba thaw shows power of talking

      The world has often seemed on fire of late. There has been a horrific massacre in a Pakistani school. A cyber-hacking apparently organised by North Korea, which might come to look very familiar in years to come. The Sydney siege. The barbarians of Isis unbowed. Ebola continuing to spool out. Russia’s economy tumbling.

      So it’s well to note a milestone of huge positive significance when it occurs. The United States’ detente with Cuba, announced all of a sudden by the presidents of both countries late last week, was such a moment.

    • North Korea proposes joint investigation with U.S. into hacking attack against Sony

      Pyongyang warns of ‘serious’ consequences if Washington rejects a probe that it believes will prove North Korea had nothing to do with the cyberattack. An unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman said North Korea knows how to prove it’s not responsible for the hacking, so the U.S. must accept its proposal for the joint investigation.

    • CIA torture report: Europe must come clean about its own complicity

      As the world awaited the US Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme under the George W Bush administration, there was very little introspection in Europe. As if European countries had nothing to do with what went on in the hunt for al-Qaida in the years after 9/11. In fact, many of America’s European allies were deeply involved in the CIA programme. And they have managed to stay very quiet about it. Could this change now?

    • Victims of Diego Garcia base: Islanders forcibly evicted by UK plead to return home

      Residents of the Chagos Islands who were kicked out of their homes in the 1960s by the British government to make way for a US military base fear they may never return home, despite politicians’ promises, RT’s Polly Boiko reports.

      “You have to go back where you belong. That’s me, as a Chagossian,” says Bernard Nourrice, a former resident of Diego Garcia, one of the Chagos Islands, now a closed US military base.

      Diego Garcia has recently made headlines after the CIA torture report revealed the US used the so-called “black sites” based in other countries for detention. Though the report did not mention the names of the locations, it’s been alleged Diego Garcia could be one such site.

    • Torture’s Time for Accountability

      America’s reputation for cognitive dissonance is being tested by the Senate report documenting the U.S. government’s torture of detainees and the fact that nothing is happening to those responsible. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says the nation must choose between crossing the Delaware or the Rubicon.

    • Why must we tolerate police spies in our midst?

      When you are in a radical movement, it’s wise to assume that the person arguing for the most extreme action is an agent provocateur. The question for opponents of fracking is on whose behalf are the agents provocateurs provoking.

      Nato and the Romanian and Lithuanian governments have alleged that Russia is urging on opponents of the new technology. Not because Putin gives a damn about global warming, but because he wants Europe to remain dependent on Russian gas. They have no conclusive proof. But the prominence the Kremlin’s apparatchik journalists on RT, the state-funded television channel, give to fracking protests suggests Russian agents may be seeking to manipulate the green movement.

    • Barrett Brown: why his sentencing hearing was sabotaged; his case should now be thrown out

      On Tuesday the sentencing of Barrett Brown, a US journalist, was delayed for a second time and postponed until January 22 of next year. At the hearing the prosecution dramatically presented 500 pages of new evidence, seemingly unrelated to the charges to which Brown was awaiting sentencing. The only explanation for this is that it was a clumsy attempt by the prosecution to provide the judge with a basis for awarding a maximum sentence at the January hearing. But the behaviour of the prosecution at the hearing revealed several important ambiguities that can only be described as (unintended) prosecutional sabotage. (See also video at end.)

    • Judge: Boy, 14, Shouldn’t Have Been Executed

      More than 70 years after South Carolina sent a 14-year-old black boy to the electric chair in the killings of two white girls in a segregated mill town, a judge threw out the conviction, saying the state committed a great injustice.

      George Stinney was arrested, convicted of murder in a one-day trial and executed in 1944 – all in the span of about three months and without an appeal. The speed in which the state meted out justice against the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century was shocking and extremely unfair, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen wrote in her ruling Wednesday.

    • Cops’ last hope at credibility: Why an American crisis is teetering on the edge

      Police are killing unarmed teens, and demanding apologies from critics. Here’s the only way they will ever change

    • Incendiary footage emerges of NYPD officer repeatedly punching a 16-year-old black suspect in the back during street arrest as onlookers beg him to stop

      Footage has emerged of a plain-clothed New York police officer punching a teenage boy repeatedly in the back as he was being handcuffed by four other police on Monday.

      Witnesses claim the suspect was just 12. The NYPD says he is actually 16 years old and has a history of arrests.

      The case has been referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau for investigation and the NYPD is saying very little about the details of the arrest.

      Scene caused outrage on the streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan on Monday afternoon. The NYPD has come under increasing scrutiny for its use of force in the wake of the Eric Garner case.

    • Clueless cop targets liberal: NYPD union chief says mayor thinks he’s running “a f**ing revolution”

      If you thought nothing could top Cleveland police union chief Jeff Follmer’s brazen defense of police authority – “the nation needs to realize, when we tell you to do something, do it” – you need to read this story about New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch’s meltdown in the wake of criticism over the NYPD’s killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island.

    • Officer Put On Leave For Tweeting To Bait Public Into Violence

      It seems like there are so many police-behaving-badly stories that have come out recently, it’s no longer all that noteworthy. Mind you, I don’t know that the policing situation is generally actually getting worse, as it might seem, or if there is just simply a greater willingness to shine a spotlight in some very uncomfortable places within our own society. That said, what does remain interesting is watching how police around the country react to this spotlight. Watching the unfortunate reactions to athletes showing support for protesters, for instance, would be hysterical if it weren’t so sad. Those stories appear to indicate that some within law enforcement appear to think that protecting some members of the population is a task with which they can be selective.

    • Deputies: Woman, 72, slapped over Facebook snub

      A 27-year-old woman is accused of slapping a 72-year-old woman who denied her friend request on Facebook.

      The Tampa Bay Times reports Rachel Anne Hayes became angry on Wednesday when the woman said the Facebook name she uses is inappropriate.

    • Ex-detectives who claimed VIP paedophiles were protected in cover-ups to present dossier to inquiry

      Ex-cops who claim VIP paedophile investigations were axed in a cover-up are to hand a dossier to Britain’s most senior police officer.

      They have agreed to ­compile formal statements on what they knew of ­operations being shut down.

      The file will be presented to Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

    • Finnish Police fired a gun only six times in 2013

      Chief Inspector Jukka Salminen says that the Finnish Police use guns very infrequently on a comparative scale. Last year in Finland, the police fired their weapons in an official capacity a total of six times.

    • Protesters Mass at Mall of America on Busy Shopping Day

      Parts of the massive Mall of America were temporarily closed Saturday following a demonstration against racial profiling and police brutality at one of the nation’s largest shopping centers. A large crowd gathered in the Bloomington, Minnesota, mall rotunda just before 2 p.m. local time and staged a “die-in,” despite warnings from mall officials that the protest was not permitted and could lead to arrests.

    • #BlackLivesMatter is shutting down the Mall of America

      “Join us at the Mall of America in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter,” read a Facebook invitation to protest a year of police brutality this afternoon at the massive Bloomington, Minn., shopping center that bills itself as “the place for fun in your life.”

    • Police brutality protesters rally at Mall of America

      The group Black Lives Matter Minneapolis had more than 3,000 people confirm on Facebook that they would attend. Official crowd estimates weren’t immediately available, but pictures posted to social media by local news organizations showed the rotunda was full. Organizer Mica Grimm estimated about 3,000 people participated.

    • 15 reasons America’s police are so brutal

      Tamir Rice and Eric Garner aren’t anomalies. Cops aren’t properly trained and now routinely use maximum force

    • Nothing Changes: Cops Still Threatening Citizens, Breaking Laws To Shut Down Recordings

      The NYPD should know better. In August, it handed a $125,000 settlement to a man it arrested for recording officers performing a stop-and-frisk. A month earlier, the ACLU sued the NYPD in federal court to prevent the NYPD from arresting the people recording them. It’s even clearly stated in the NYPD policy manual that “bystanders are allowed to film [officers] as long as they’re not interfering with the officers’ duties and/or police operations.”

    • Should Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & CIA Officials Be Tried for Torture? War Crimes Case Filed in Germany

      A human rights group in Berlin, Germany, has filed a criminal complaint against the architects of the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has accused former Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of war crimes, and called for an immediate investigation by a German prosecutor. The move follows the release of a Senate report on CIA torture which includes the case of a German citizen, Khalid El-Masri, who was captured by CIA agents in 2004 due to mistaken identity and tortured at a secret prison in Afghanistan. So far, no one involved in the CIA torture program has been charged with a crime — except the whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed it. We speak to Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and chairman of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, and longtime defense attorney Martin Garbus.

    • Obama asks US Congress to work for closure of Guantanamo base
    • Will a GOP Senate Let Obama Close Guantanamo?
    • Obama Wants to Close Guantanamo. Will a GOP Senate Let Him Do It?
    • Will Obama close Gitmo alone?

      President Obama is unlikely to go against the will of Congress and unilaterally shutter the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, lawmakers from both parties predict.

      “I don’t know that he can,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said. “I know that there are enough congressional restrictions on the books that limit his options.”

    • Fears build as CIA’s ‘ghost prisoners’ vanish into Afghan jails

      A CIA prisoner whose treatment set the torture template in the agency’s notorious Salt Pit jail outside Kabul, and another known as a “ghost prisoner” – held in such secrecy that for years even his name was classified information – have disappeared into Afghanistan’s prison system, where they are once more at risk of torture.

    • CIA interrogators didn’t just break detainees’ bodies — they also attacked their souls

      When reports about abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison first came out more than a decade ago, Michael Peppard started researching every account of mistreatment and torture he could find. He soon noticed a pattern missed by most journalists: American interrogators were using the religious faith of Muslim detainees as a weapon to abuse them.

    • John Yoo: If the Torture Report Is True, CIA Officers Are at Legal Risk

      The debate over the CIA interrogation program pits critics who insist illegal torture took place against defenders who say the treatment of prisoners was legal. These defenders cite guidance that the spy agency got from the Bush Administration. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden phrased it this way: “It needs be said that on multiple occasions all of the techniques were determined lawful by the Department of Justice and judged appropriate for the circumstances.”

    • Torture memo author John Yoo admits CIA may have gone too far

      John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who authored a series of notorious memos cited by the Bush administration to justify the torture of terrorism detainees, acknowledged on Sunday that the CIA may have broken the law.

    • Jailed Former CIA Officer Thinks Interrogators Should Be Prosecuted
    • Why CIA torturers won’t be punished
    • Obama decision to withhold ‘thousands’ of pictures of prisoner torture abuse to be challenged in court

      Thousands of images depicting U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan may be released this week following the Senate’s ‘torture report’.

    • Whitewashing the CIA torture regimen

      The logic that torture is a “stain” on U.S. history is the heart of the problem, since it blocks an honest reading of whatever “values” Washington actually stands for.

    • The CIA’s Covert War Against Fidel Castro

      Released in 1975 and 1976, the Church Commission report revealed that the CIA had been secretly trying to assassinate foreign leaders, including Fidel Castro, for years. It’s a murky chapter in American history that’s worth looking back at this week, as America prepares for an epochal shift in its relationship with the Cuban leader and Cuba itself.

    • Letters: CIA violations must not be ignored
    • Sturgeon backs calls for inquiry into Scots and UK part in CIA flights

      The First Minister has backed calls for a judicial inquiry into the possibility of Scottish and British involvement in the torture or rendition of terror suspects.

      The UK Government is facing pressure for a judge-led inquiry after new revelations in a US Senate report on CIA interrogation.

    • Nick Clegg: Tony Blair should face charges if he collaborated in CIA torture
    • Tony Blair said to be prepared to face inquiry over CIA torture report
    • ​Blair whitewash? Ex-PM prepared to face CIA torture inquiry into UK complicity
    • Thailand Says It Was Unaware Of CIA ‘Black Site’ On Its Soil

      Thailand’s prime minister says his government had no knowledge of a secret location inside the country where the CIA is said to have waterboarded top al-Qaida operatives in 2002.

      Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was responding to the so-called “torture report” released by the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that detailed the treatment of terrorism suspects at secret locations — black sites– around the world.

    • Not just the CIA: special forces in Iraq fought a shadow war that led to rise of IS

      The controversy over the CIA torture report has moved on to calls for the UK government to be open about its own involvement. The arguments have also been widened to include other elements of CIA activities, especially in Iraq.

    • Former US Army psychiatrist says CIA questioning was driven by pressure link Saddam to 9/11 to justify invasion of Iraq
    • CIA ‘torture report’: Agency conduct was driven by pressure to link Iraq to al-Qaeda following 9/11

      The CIA tortured al-Qaeda suspects because it wanted evidence that Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11 in order to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The agency was under intense pressure from the White House and senior figures in the Bush administration to extract confessions confirming co-operation between the Iraqi leader and al-Qaeda, although no significant evidence was ever found.

    • Outsourced Terror

      The horrific stories of CIA-sponsored torture that aren’t in the Senate report.

    • The CIA torture report: through Arab eyes

      The fear that the US has lost its moral compass is vastly exaggerated, for the simple reason that the US – at least in the Arab World – never possessed this moral legitimacy in the first place.

    • Torture program linked to discredited, illegal CIA techniques

      Torture methods employed by the CIA under the guise of its “enhanced interrogation techniques” program can be traced back — through personnel and decades of research — to human experiments designed to induce the subjugation of prisoners through use of isolation, sleep and sensory deprivation, psychoactive drugs and other means, according to details contained in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report, a summary of which was released last week.

    • MFÍK Urges Investigation Of Iceland’s Role In CIA Torture

      “Being an accomplice to torture is a war crime,” says MFÍK Chair Þórhildur Sunna Sævarsdóttir

    • White House oversight of CIA program lacking

      In July 2004, despite growing internal concerns about the CIA’s brutal interrogation methods, senior members of George W. Bush’s national security team gave the agency permission to employ the harsh tactics against an al-Qaida facilitator whom the agency suspected was linked to a plot to disrupt the upcoming presidential election.

    • CIA interrogation report: Just what did the UK know?

      In March 2004, a Boeing 737, registration number N313P, lifted off from Baghdad International Airport with two prisoners on board – captured by the SAS after a shoot-out in the city.

    • Romania agreed to host CIA ‘black sites’ to be accepted into NATO – ex spy chief

      Romania allowed the CIA to use a number of sites on its territory, a former head of the country’s intelligence confessed. He added that Bucharest’s bid to join NATO at the time prevented it from asking the US about the purposes of the sites.

    • Romanian ex-spy chief acknowledges CIA had ‘black prisons’ in country

      A top official from Romania has for the first time confirmed that the CIA had “at least” one prison in the country.

      Ioan Talpes, the former head of the country’s intelligence service said the CIA had “centres” in Romania, including a transit camp or compound, where prisoners were kept before being moved to other locations. He is the first Romanian official to confirm the information in the CIA torture report last week, which stated the existence of at least one “black site” in which prisoners were held and probably tortured.

    • The CIA tortured Abu Zubaydah, my client. Now charge him or let him go

      Abu Zubaydah has now been held incommunicado for 12 years without trial. This is gross injustice

    • CIA torture report: UK intelligence agencies questioned over redactions

      The British parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) has started to question intelligence agencies over whether they requested redactions in the explosive US Senate report on CIA torture.

      The ISC has already been investigating broader allegations of UK agencies’ involvement in torture or mistreatment.

    • UK torture inquiry could summon Blair and Straw
    • North Korea Calls for U.N. Probe of CIA ‘Torture Crimes’
    • Accused of rights abuses, N.Korea urges UN meeting on CIA torture
    • North Korea asks UN to ‘urgently’ investigates CIA torture claims
    • North Korea asks United Nations to investigate CIA torture ‘crimes’
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • It Doesn’t Matter Who Does the Lobbying: Trade Agreements Aren’t the Place for Internet Regulations

      The Associated Whistleblowing Press released portions of draft text proposed by the United States for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) this week, revealing some alarming provisions that indicate how tech companies have been involved in influencing a secret international deal. The language of the leaked treaty shows provisions that could impact privacy online, and net neutrality—with no public consultation or opportunities for open debate. What is dispiriting is some of the language of these Internet regulations almost certainly comes from tech companies, who have joined the many other lobbyists fighting for their special interests behind closed doors.

  • DRM

    • Be Cautious About ‘Digital Handcuffs’, Says Stallman

      Cautioning the tech-savvy people about the universal snooping propaganda of the technology giants, president of Free Software Foundation Richard Stallman spoke about the unholy nexus of the states with the corporates, in the city.

      Stallman, a reputed cyberspace activist and a champion of the free software movement, lashed out at the malpractices of technology giants like Apple and Microsoft, who, according to him, take the users hostage using ‘digital handcuffs’.

      Advocating freedom of computing and the Internet, he said that the apparent technology providers often exercise ‘Orwellian Justice’, which peeps into the privacy of users. “Amazon’s Kindle, the e-reader application, is infamous for remotely erasing the purchased copies of the book ‘1984’,” said Stallman.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XLV

      The TTIP negotiations are in trouble. After 18 months of talks, the EU and US have precious little to show for all their jetting to and fro across the Atlantic. And external factors such as the imminent Presidential race in the US means that time is running out to get the deal signed and sealed. Against that background, there are signs of a (rather feeble) attempt to put “rocket boosters” under the negotiations, as David Cameron likes to phrase it – although he forgets that rocket boosters can also explode on take-off, destroying their cargo completely.

    • EU-Canada Trade Agreement May Be Incompatible With EU Law

      Of course, this is just one legal opinion, and doubtless the European Commission would beg to differ. But it does indicate that the very ambition of CETA — and therefore also TAFTA/TTIP, which is very similar in this respect — may be its downfall. By seeking to move “behind the borders”, tackling “non-tariff barriers” that are actually regulations protecting health, safety, the environment, etc., these agreements may interfere with too many core functions of how a democracy works, and be struck down by the courts as a result.

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay alternatives

        As you may have heard, the Pirate Bay was raided and is down as I write this post. The closure of the Pirate Bay has generated a lot of discussions online, and many people have been looking for alternative torrenting sites. Fortunately, there was an interesting thread on Reddit about that very topic and one redditor was kind enough to post a list of alternative torrent sites:

      • Hollywood v. Goliath: Inside the aggressive studio effort to bring Google to heel

        To get the same results in a post-SOPA world, MPAA has hired some of the nation’s most well-connected lawyers. The project is spearheaded by Thomas Perrelli, a Jenner & Block partner and former Obama Administration lawyer. Perrelli has given attorneys general (AGs) across the country their talking points, suggesting realistic “asks” prior to key meetings with Google. Frustrated with a lack of results, Perrelli and top MPAA lawyers then authorized an “expanded Goliath strategy” in which they would push the AGs to move beyond mere letter writing. Instead, they would seek full-bore investigations against Google.

      • Update On Ten-Year Campaign To Give Copyright Industry Another Monopoly: WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty

        Say what you will about the copyright industry, but it certainly doesn’t give up. No matter how many times a bad idea is fought off, sooner or later, it comes back again. The best example of this is probably WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty, which Techdirt has been covereing for a decade: in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2013.

12.12.14

Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

Posted in Site News at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Canadian flag

Summary: Canada’s patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers

THE case of i4i was a reminder of the fact that Canada is not a software patents-free zone. There is actually evidence to the contrary and also a new article in patent lawyers-leaning press about the subject (see “Computer And Software Related Innovation – Is There A Rationale For Filing Software Patent Applications In Canada?”). It serves to show that Canada more or less follows the neighbours to the south (not the UK or France, which also have profound impact on Canadian politics), especially when it comes to patent practices. This includes patents on software, genetics, etc. These breeds of patents, which originate from rulings in the US, are spreading to other nations including Canada [via], despite the severe implications for practitioners, let alone public interests. To quote The Star:

Canadian courts have not yet ruled on whether genes can be patented. A lawsuit filed Monday over cardiac disorder Long QT aims to clear that up.

In recent years we became increasingly worried about a Canada-based company that had joined Rockstar (Apple- and Microsoft-backed, against Linux/Android) and it is now turning into a patent troll. We are talking about BlackBerry here as “the company also owns a stake in Rockstar – which may itself come up for sale in the near future, based on recent events.”

“Software patents are not only a threat to Free/libre software but to all software developers, except conglomerates that are essentially business entities.”BlackBerry’s transformation into patent troll has been covered here before and there is a chance that negative publicity will discourage it from attacking FOSS (as it already seems to be heading in that direction).

The bottom line is, Canada — like many Five Eyes nations — is silently a supporter of software patents. Our Canadian readers need to contact their politicians in an effort to change that. Software patents are not only a threat to Free/libre software but to all software developers, except conglomerates that are essentially business entities.

09.29.14

More Good News About Demise of Software Patents and Along With Them, Consequently, Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Site News at 2:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A weekly roundup of news about patents in the United States and elsewhere, with special focus on software patents

Free/libre software has much less to worry about now that software patents are getting weaker if not fewer, too. There are changes that affect not only software patents but patents as a whole. In the US, for example, patents on genes/genetics were ruled illegal not too long ago. Here is an explanation of why Australia might soon follow suit. Titled “Australian Court Disagrees With US: Claim Genes Are Totally Patentable”, the article reminds us that “Last year, the Supreme Court made an important ruling in the Myriad Genetics case, effectively saying that genes aren’t patentable, even if you can separate them out from the rest of a strand of DNA. Myriad Genetics had isolated two key genes related to breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 and argued that only it could test for those genes, because of its patent. The Supreme Court soundly rejected that, noting that you cannot patent something in nature, and clearly Myriad did not “make” the genes. Unfortunately, as we’d noted just a few months earlier, a court in Australia had come to the opposite conclusion, saying that Myriad Genetics had legitimate patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2. That case was appealed, and there was some hope that after the US’s ruling, higher courts in Australia might see the light. Not yet apparently. An appeals court has agreed that genes are patentable Down Under, which means that such important genetic tests there are likely to be much more expensive and limited.”

Australia, quite infamously as we pointed out before, was one of the countries that succumbed to US lead on software patents, so on genetics too there might be changes afoot. Here is a timely reminder that India still wrestles with software patents, having done so for years. India is famous for its heroic opposition to patents on medicine where life is at stake.

One new article from the Indian press quotes a few people who follow this closely. One of them “said that many of the companies that work on open source software and related segments have raised their opposition while the originator companies are demanding for a patent.”

Actually, many proprietary software patents are also against software patents. It is not a FOSS issue but a CS issue (computer science, not closed source).

“Currently,” continues this article, “software is not patentable under the existing Act and it needs to be registered under copyright. Many experts think that a patent would be stringent than a copyright is and would be advisable for the innovators to protect their software from infringement.

“The draft has been issued in the public domain for comments and the government has to consult every stakeholder on it. The issuance of the guideline is in final stage, he said.

“As per the Intellectual Property Office report, about 80% of patent applications at the Indian Patent Office are filed by foreign global technology companies. In the past decade the number of applications by foreign applicants has risen from about 8,221 to 34,276, said industry leaders.”

So these patents have a strong correlation to and with digital colonialism. Why would Indians ever accept them? The multinational corporations surely want these, but what’s in it for India itself? India has fantastic software engineers of its own. It need never be dependent on multinational entities, especially for software.

Here is a US-based pro-software patents site (run by patent lawyers) saying that “Big Banks Get Software Patents Despite Alice”. It is selective and selection-centric spin. The reality, on the whole, is the very opposite. The pro-business, News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal very recently published “Hard Times for Software Patents” followed by the detailed report titled “Courts Nix More Software Patents” and “Federal Courts Reject More Software Patents”. It says what one ought to expect.

Speaking of large corporations and software patents, watch what BMC is doing. The British press said that “BMC has accused ServiceNow of violating seven of its patents (5,978,594, 6,816,898, 6,895,586, 7,062,683, 7,617,073, 8,646,093 and 8,674,992), spanning incident management, performance analytics, configuration management, discovery, orchestration and change release management.

“The company lodged its suit on Tuesday in the generally litigant-friendly US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.”

BMC is acting like a patent troll and attacks small rivals. Witness the glory of software patents! The weapon of abuses indeed, injustice galore!

Contrariwise, Van Lindberg from Rackpace (very large company) says that they have killed a software patent and potentially a troll. The title says “Another Patent Troll Slain. You Are Now Free To Rotate Your Smartphone.”

Here is more on that: “Over the last few years it’s been great to see companies like Newegg and Rackspace decide that they’re not going to give in to bogus patent troll lawsuits. As we’ve discussed, it’s almost always easier, faster and cheaper to just settle and pay up whatever the troll is asking for. That’s part of why trolling works. Fighting a patent lawsuit — even a totally bogus one (i.e., not infrigning) — on a clearly invalid patent will still cost many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. If the troll is offering to settle for tens of thousands of dollars, many, many companies will do the obvious short-term cost-benefit analysis and settle. It’s hard to directly fault them for this — but it only makes the problem worse for everyone else. Not only does it fund the patent trolls to keep suing others, often they’ll use some of that money to buy more bogus patents and shakedown companies over that new ones as well. On top of that, settling patent threats just puts a big “sucker” sign on your company, meaning that more trolls will start circling. Making a stand and saying that you will not compromise or deal with trolls actually helps in the long run by scaring off some trolls. Both Newegg and Rackspace have been getting a lot of publicity (and goodwill) for their anti-troll efforts.”

Here is a somewhat comical take on a troll that decided to attack the government. The headline says it all: “Patent Troll Told That It Can’t Sue The FTC For Merely Investigating Its Shakedown Scam”

Well, “just when US starts correcting them,” writes Dr. Glyn Moody, Europe, with the corrupt EPO, decides to “Repeat US’s Past Mistakes”:

Back in May, I wrote about a very interesting paper discussing some potential pitfalls of the new Unified Patent Court. Given the magnitude of the change that it and the unitary patent system will bring, it is extraordinary that we still don’t really know how things will work out in practice. That makes another paper called “The Unified Patent Court (UPC) in Action – How Will the Design of the UPC Affect Patent Law? ” particularly welcome, since, as its title suggests, it explores how the new UPC is likely to shape the contours of patent law in Europe.

[...]

Since the new paper appeared, there has been a further US Supreme Court ruling, Alice v. CLS Bank, that has already led to no less than 11 software patents being thrown out by lower courts. Indeed, there is every indication that the era of completely insane software patents is drawing to a close in the US. It is therefore deeply ironic – and rather frustrating – that at precisely the moment when sanity starts to break out in the US, the EU incomprehensibly decides to take exactly the same path of madness that produced so many problems across the Atlantic.

[...]

Those are all good ideas, but it’s rather depressing that we must already be thinking of ways to minimise the damage the new UPC is likely to cause Europe’s economy in general – and the world of software in particular.

In the coming weeks we will continue to show how the EPO turned rogue and corrupt. It would be foolish to adopt software patents when the US relents.

Here comes another smackdown of a troll. As Mike Masnick put it: “We recently noted that a bunch of courts had been killing off bad software patents thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank. And now, that ruling is even leading the trolls themselves to give up. Notorious patent troll Lumen View recently dropped its appeal in its case against the website FindTheBest, saying that the ruling in Alice made it clear it wouldn’t win…”

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote about this trend as a whole, saying that patent trolls are starting to get trampled. He also quotes OIN:

First, the Open Invention Network (OIN), whose members include Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony, now has more than a thousand licensees in its Linux and open-source, defensive patent pool. In an e-mail , Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO said, “The OIN license is becoming part of a broader set of community norms and is increasingly being integrated into the culture of open source/Linux-centric companies. It is for many the foundation around which their IP [intellectual property] strategy is built and a critical enabler of patent non-aggression and freedom to operate.”

We recently wrote about the podcasting troll winning against CBS, but this is definitely not over. As TechDirt put it: “The trial (in East Texas, of course) for CBS came first and the jury sided with Personal Audio, because that’s how East Texas patent juries typically roll. In a moment of semi-kindness, the jury awarded Personal Audio $1.3 million, rather than the nearly $8 million they supposedly requested. This story is really just a stepping stone, however. CBS has made it clear that it will appeal the case to CAFC, and given how software/business method patents are getting tossed out left and right these days, the company has a decent chance of prevailing. Meanwhile, the EFF reminds us that it’s still working hard to invalidate the patent at the Patent Office, which would help accelerate the process of killing off these bogus lawsuits.”

CBS is a bad company, but hopefully it will win on appeal.

Here is Matt Levy quoting the partly pro-software patents Michael Risch while saying: “We cannot continue the excesses of the past. Invalid patents don’t benefit innovation, they block innovation. And we have a patent system where a substantial portion of the issued patents, if not most, are invalid. And the patents in the software area are even worse.”

At the end of the day we will hopefully see patents on software universally invalidated. Until then we will have rumour mills and speculations (e.g. about prices) telling us that Free software is not free, thanks in part to lack of comprehension of what patents really are for and how they affect the industry (it’s a poor article which reveals its author’s ignorance on this subject). We have already covered this issue before (it’s about Samsung and Microsoft).

09.27.14

Tux Machines Under DDOS Attack

Posted in Site News at 2:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Most of Tux Machines continues to work as usual, but some parts are temporarily restricted to keep the server running

Windows botnets have been hammering on Tux Machines for nearly a week. It got a lot of worse yesterday and the site became unaccessible much of the time. We don’t know who the attacker is and what the motivations are, but in the mean time the site can be read via the RSS feed. The RSS feed links to all the latest news and the pages ought to work as usual. We apologise for this issue and we are working hard to find a permanent solution.

09.06.14

Links 6/9/2014: Core OS at DigitalOcean, Women in Xorg

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source player-tracking project kicks off

    “Coming from a scientific background, where transparency is a key part of doing repeatable research, makes me very skeptical of anything proprietary,” he said. “How can you trust the analysis if you can’t see the raw data?”

  • Open Xchange Launches Simple Email Encryption

    German developer of open source productivity software, Open Xchange, has launched an email encryption product that can secure messages with a single click.

    Called OX Guard, the new tool is an integral part of the OX App Suite – a carrier-grade cloud platform that includes OX Text, OX Spreadsheet and OX Drive, as well as email server, calendar and social network feeds.

    Open Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna told TechWeek that one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of wider adoption of encryption is complexity, so OX Guard was designed to be as simple to use as possible – users just need to click the padlock icon, set the password and their messages will be protected by AES encryption.

  • Events

    • Call for organizers: 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Each year, the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board seeks an organizing committee for the annual Linux Plumbers Conference. That process has now begun for the 2015 event, which will be held during the week of August 17-21 in Seattle, Washington, alongside the LinuxCon North America event. This is your chance to put your stamp on one of our community’s most important gatherings.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • HP offers OpenStack services offerings

      So, you think OpenStack is perfect for your company’s cloud-needs, but you just discovered that finding OpenStack-savvy architects, designers, or even just administrators is like looking for the perfect New York style pizza… in San Diego.

  • CMS

    • What’s New in September for Open Source CMS

      There are plenty of free and open source content management systems (CMS). But no platform is as big or as common as WordPress. WordPress powers more than 12.7 million websites — an astounding 47.38 percent of the World Wide Web, according to BuiltWith, which monitors such things.

  • BSD

Leftovers

  • Suburban Express Wants Round 4: Re-Files Lawsuits It Had Previously Dropped

    Jeremy Leval, the Redditor who got this whole saga started after being sued and harrassed by Toeppen simply for sticking up for a foreign exchange student who a bus driver was mocking, is of course among those Toeppen is re-re-filing against. One begins to get the impression that Toeppen and Suburban Express are masochistic, getting some kind of perverse joy out of getting blasted in the media and online. I’m at a loss as to what other forces could be at work here. Though, judging by some of the other customers’ stories from those being attacked legally by Suburban Express, the simple answer may be that Toeppen is simply a jerk.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Three more to be charged for Victor Jara’s murder

      MARTYRED Chilean communist folk singer Victor Jara’s widow Joan Jara welcomed the announcement yesterday that three more people have been charged over his murder during the country’s 1973 CIA-backed military coup.

    • The Other 9/11

      Ten days after the Salvador Allende government was overthrown in a Sept. 11, 1973, coup in Chile, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jack Kubisch told the House Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs: “Gentlemen, I wish to state as flatly and as categorically as I possibly can that we did not have advance knowledge of the coup.”

      [...]

      “Make the economy scream…”

      When the 1970 Chilean presidential election rolled around, Salvador Allende was still a major player and, despite another wave of U.S.-funded propaganda, he was elected president of South America’s longest functioning democracy on Sept. 4, 1970.

      However, he had a new and powerful enemy: Dr. Henry Kissinger.

      The 40 Committee was formed with Kissinger as chair. The goal was not only to save Chile from its irresponsible populace but to yet again stave off the Red Tide™.

      “Chile is a fairly big place, with a lot of natural resources,” explains Noam Chomsky, “but the United States wasn’t going to collapse if Chile became independent. Why were we so concerned about it? According to Kissinger, Chile was a ‘virus’ that would ‘infect’ the region.”

      At a Sept. 15, 1970, meeting called to halt the spread of infection, Kissinger and President Nixon told CIA Director Richard Helms it would be necessary to “make the [Chilean] economy scream.” While allocating at least $10 million to assist in sabotaging Allende’s presidency, outright assassination was also considered a serious and welcome option.

      The respect held by the Chilean military for the democratic process led Kissinger to pick as his first assassination target not Allende himself, but General Rene Schneider, head of the Chilean Armed Forces. Schneider, it seems, had long believed that politics and the military should remain discrete. Despite warnings from Helms that a coup might not be possible in such a stable democracy, Kissinger urged the plan to proceed.

      When the killing of Schneider only served to solidify Allende’s support, a CIA-sponsored media blitz similar to that of 1964 commenced. Citizens were faced with daily “reports” of Marxist atrocities and Soviet bases supposedly being built in Chile. U.S. threats to sever economic and military aid were also used to help cultivate a “coup climate” among those in the military. These two approaches represented the hard and soft lines outlined by Nixon and Kissinger.

    • Ethan Hawke’s ‘Good Kill’: A Searing Indictment of America’s Drone Warfare Obsession

      In Andrew Niccol’s devastating character study, Hawke plays a drone pilot who’s ordered by the CIA to off terrorists—as well as civilians—in a series of targeted strikes.

    • Irresponsibly Blaming Russia for US-Led Western Crimes

      Washington is public enemy No. 1. It’s the real evil empire. It’s a longstanding serial aggressor. Rogue Western partners share blame.

      On September 2, Wall Street Journal editors echoed the same narrative. They headlined “Deterring a European War.”

      They called this week’s NATO summit meeting “one of the most important in its 65-year

      Southeastern Ukraine’s conflict is Obama’s war. Behind the scenes US manipulation controls things. Kiev is infested with CIA and FBI operatives. Blackwater USA (now Academi) type mercenaries operate in Southeastern Ukraine. Perhaps alongside covert US special forces.

      Since conflict erupted in April, Russia went all-out for diplomatic resolution. It has no ongoing military campaign.

      It didn’t invade Ukraine. It’s not shelling cross-border. Or from inside Ukrainian territory.

      Its troops aren’t involved in fighting. It’s not out to seize Ukrainian territory. Western sources lie claiming otherwise.

    • CIA-linked Libyan General Haftar’s helicopters bomb Benghazi

      Several mysterious night bombings attacks were launched on Islamist positions in Libya while they were in the process of defeating Haftar allies there and driving them out of the city.

      Haftar claimed these attacks were joint operations with the international community.

    • Fox Changes Meaning Of “Stand Down” Order To Keep The Benghazi Hoax Alive

      After multiple investigations concluded that no “stand down” order was given to security personnel responding to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Fox News alleged that the delay security personnel took to enlist support amounted to a “stand down” order.

      On the September 5 edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier once again hyped the asked-and-answered question from his Fox News special, “13 Hours at Benghazi,” based on the accounts of three CIA security personnel who alleged they were delayed in responding to the diplomatic facility under attack in Benghazi, Libya. Baier criticized the “semantics” used by deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, who during a press briefing explained that “there was no stand-down order” but there was a short delay “for very good security reasons to get additional backup and additional weapons” for the security personnel before responding to the attack.

    • Fox’s Latest Benghazi Hoax Used As Justification For Wasteful Select Committee
    • Selling Fear and Lies to Control the Public

      The media is selling fear of beheadings to the public.

    • The Imperial Rot of Armchair Warriors

      An occasional misconception of history is the contention that geo-political outcomes are the result of rational calculation. Or put differently, local rationalities don’t always, or even most of the time, aggregate to global rationalities. The Obama administration used the CIA to organize a neo-nazi putsch in Ukraine after NATO spent the last twenty years squeezing (heavily) nuclear-armed Russia and immediately involved the IMF and Western oil company executives in Ukrainian ‘government’ affairs? At about the same time part of the Syrian ‘opposition’ that the U.S. had armed and financed morphed into IS (Islamic State) and promptly marched into Iraq to confiscate and use the weapons the U.S. had supplied leading Mr. Obama to once again bomb the country while re-committing combat troops. Given that there is no conceivable ‘good’ outcome to any of this, just what local ‘rationalities’ could be driving the serial disasters of U.S. foreign policy?

    • ISIS Atrocities and US Imperialism

      The murder, following that of James Foley last month, is a further demonstration of both the reactionary character of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the terrible consequences of a half-century of intervention in the Middle East by US imperialism.

    • How to Decode the New York Times

      So what, then, is the “more nuanced picture”? Kershner writes that the legal documents “depict the plot as more of a family affair, a local initiative organized and carried out by members of a clan in Hebron.” That was what many analysts had been saying all along, offering a very different interpretation than the one being put forth by Israel–though it was the Israeli line, not the one offered by independent analysts, that made its way into US media (FAIR Blog, 7/2/14, 7/28/14). Kershner speaks to one Israeli source who, she reports, still thinks it “was fair to blame Hamas, as an organization, for the kidnappings.” The source added that “it is still possible that we will find evidence of a direct connection.”

    • When Fox News Didn’t Blame The (GOP) President For Beheadings

      After terrorists kidnapped and beheaded two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, while releasing gruesome videos of the act, Fox News focused much of its ire on President Obama, portraying him as a source of troubling weakness.

    • Have You Watched This Airstrike in Iraq?

      CENTCOM has been helpfully posting declassified footage to YouTube for the past three weeks.

    • NZ director’s attack of the drones at Venice

      Don’t be fooled. Unmanned aerial vehicles have changed the way wars are fought, turning some forms of combat into a computer game with flesh-and-blood victims.

    • Legal basis for Iraq troop deployment called into question as days wear on

      The legal basis for the recent introduction of more than 1,000 US ground troops in Iraq was called into question on Friday, after the White House confirmed that it does not consider itself bound by time limits that usually constrain such deployments.

    • First Controversial Drone Movie Strikes, Questions U.S. Policy

      The first movie examining the morality of drone warfare has arrived and it’s sure to add fuel to the debate over the growing use of the controversial technology by the Obama administration and the concern that too many innocent civilians are being killed.

      Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill, starring Ethan Hawke as a troubled U.S. Air Force pilot grappling with the ethical consequences of attacking from afar, makes its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival Sept. 5 before playing at the Toronto Film Festival Sept. 9.

    • Epiphanies From Teju Cole

      The Nigerian-American novelist discusses the pitfalls of hashtag activism, the destructiveness of U.S. foreign policy, and that time he dreamed about meeting Obama at a Brooklyn house party.

    • The warrior and moral injury

      -One effect of the rise of remote-controlled warfare will be that moral injury will assume an increased share of war’s psychological injuries. Remote-control warriors do not suffer life-threatening duress in combat, and they don’t vicariously experience extreme stress via the experiences of individuals they know and love (such as their witnessing a fellow platoon member being shot and killed). This means they’re immune from most forms of PTSD, as this condition is currently defined. They’re also immune from Traumatic Brain Injury (unless they spill their coffee and slip on it). They’re not immune, however, from moral injury. The potential for moral injury in combat veterans will only grow as sensors on “drones” and other remote-controlled machines improve. Soon, there will be little subjective difference between a WWI infantryman bayoneting an enemy soldier and what a drone pilot/sensor operator experiences when they kill someone.

    • The Fatal Flaw in American Foreign Policy

      The American definition of “murder” in the midst of war now seems to depend upon the technical methodology for the homicide, not the deliberate intentions of the killers. Beheading is barbaric. High-tech bombing picking off individual “bad guys” is okay. In fact, US leaders claim to be conscientiously selective, though the innocent bystanders killed by drones are dismissed as “collateral damage.”

    • All God’s Children Got Drones

      The Convention’s other goal is nonproliferation. The danger here is that a “Geneva Convention” for drones may turn drone proliferation into a distraction. Yes, drone proliferation is real. We’ve already remarked that some 80 countries now have drones. And according to Medea Benjamin of CODE PINK, 10 to 15 countries are working to produce drones that can kill. Naturally, we should be concerned about this. But shouldn’t our first concern be states which already possess killer drones? Medea Benjamin writes that there have been 350 lethal drone strikes on Pakistan since 2004 which have killed from 2,500 to 3,500 people. Those strikes weren’t launched by Burundi.

    • ‘Good Kill’ meant to start debate, director says

      Ethan Hawke stars as a drone pilot near Las Vegas who has a mental breakdown while killing targets 7,000 miles away (11,000 km) in “Good Kill,” a Venice Film Festival entry shown yesterday and meant to spark debate.

    • Open thread for night owls: Los Angeles Times reporter cleared stories about CIA with the CIA
    • Emails: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories with CIA, Promised Positive Coverage
    • CIA Emails Expose Access Journalist at Work
    • LA Times reporter Ken Dilanian worked with CIA to cover up drone program casualties

      A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

      The reporter, Ken Dilanian, appears to compromise any honest representation in the stories, even submitting revised drafts to appease the CIA.

    • Ken Dilanian sent CIA drafts of stories
    • National security reporter shared drafts with CIA press office, emails reveal
    • LA Times Says It’s ‘Disappointed’ In Former Reporter Who Shared Stories With CIA
    • L.A. Times Disowns Reporter Outed as a CIA Collaborator

      Recently released emails indicate that prominent national security reporter Ken Dilanian — formerly with the Los Angeles Times, currently with the Associated Press (and from 1997-2007 the Philadelphia Inquirer) — shared stories prior to publication with CIA press office seeking their approval, according to a story up on The Intercept. Now, it is not uncommon for national security reporters to vet facts with government functionaries, but the emails indicate Dilanian went much further than that, not only sharing stories prior to publication (a big no-no in almost every newsroom) but he also entered into discussions about how the CIA could bend public opinion of drone strikes their way.

    • Ex-Tribune reporter said to have ‘collaborative’ relationship with CIA

      A website cofounded by journalist Glenn Greenwald has published emails suggesting that a former Tribune Washington bureau national security reporter submitted some of his work to CIA officials prior to publication, a practice banned by many media outlets, including Tribune.

    • Former LA Times Reporter Submitted Drafts For Approval By CIA
    • NatSec Reporter Allegedly Had ‘Closely Collaborative Relationship’ with CIA
    • The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication

      Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.

    • Roboski Villagers Condemn US Hand, but Still Hold Turkey Responsible

      For the people of Roboski it does not matter that the deadly 2011 Turkish air attack may have been due to bad US intelligence. It still does not absolve the Turkish government, whose planes killed the 34 Kurdish villagers, they said.

      “The United States shares responsibility in the massacre, but we also hold Turkey responsible because in the end it was they who bombed us,” said Ferhat Encu, who lost his 15-year-old brother in the attack.

    • Rand Paul’s Strategic Slipperiness on Foreign Policy

      As Senior Editor Jacob Sullum notes below, there has been a lot of chatter this week about the apparent flip-floppery, or at least slipperiness, of Sen. Rand Paul’s ideas about what the United States should do to the Islamic State. (In addition to Sullum’s strong critique, see Leon H. Wolf, Steve Benen, and the indefatigable Jennifer Rubin, as well as the senator himself.)

    • Anti-Interventionism and Its Discontents

      Polls showing Rand Paul as the frontrunner in the GOP presidential sweepstakes have the neocons in a lather, with their online media phalanx frantically attacking him at every opportunity. It’s kind of funny to watch: the first fusillades were aimed at labeling him an “isolationist,” while more recently they’ve pointed out how he deviates from his father’s more angular policy positions. If you can’t smear and marginalize, then there’s always the strategy of cutting him off from his base.

    • Hamas Emerges Buoyant Despite Bloodshed and Devastation in Gaza

      Ismail Haniya, the top Hamas leader in Gaza, worked the crowd in what used to be the Boura neighborhood of this battered northern border town, kissing the cheeks of elders and the foreheads of masked fighters. He waved at the women standing in front of makeshift huts next to the homes flattened in Israeli attacks, as children watched from atop concrete piles where green Hamas flags were planted as though on conquered lands.

    • Ukraine Retracts Ceasefire Claim; U.N. Says Displaced Top 1 Million

      Ukraine has retracted an earlier claim to have reached a ceasefire with Russia. The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko initially said he agreed with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on steps toward a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. But the Kremlin then denied a ceasefire agreement, saying it is not in a position to make a deal because it’s not a party to the fighting. Ukraine has accused Russia of direct involvement in the violence amidst a recent escalation. The confusion comes as President Obama visits the former Soviet Republic of Estonia ahead of a major NATO summit in Wales. More than 2,600 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since April, the majority by Ukrainian forces. The United Nations says more than one million people have been displaced, over a quarter of them internally.

    • Inside Jobs and Israeli Stooges: Why Is the Muslim World in Thrall to Conspiracy Theories?

      Did you know that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis, was trained by Mossad and the CIA? Were you aware that his real name isn’t Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai but Simon Elliot? Or that he’s a Jewish actor who was recruited by the Israelis to play the part of the world’s most wanted terrorist?

      If the messages in my email in-box and my Twitter timeline and on my Facebook page are anything to go by, plenty of Muslims are not only willing to believe this nonsensical drivel but are super-keen to share it with their friends. The bizarre claim that NSA documents released by Edward Snowden “prove” the US and Israel are behind al-Baghdadi’s actions has gone viral.

      There’s only one problem. “It’s utter BS,” Glenn Greenwald, the investigative journalist who helped break the NSA story, told me. “Snowden never said anything like that and no [NSA] documents suggest it.” Snowden’s lawyer, Ben Wizner, has called the story a hoax.

    • US Boots in Iraq and Baltics, Authorization to Attack Syria…and US Troops in Ukraine!

      The peace president is clearly on war footing. US bombs are also going off in Africa and Pakistan. No one at home is talking about NSA spying anymore. NATO has a new mission.

  • Finance

    • How to screw tech workers and get away with it

      It wasn’t only eBay that got off scandalously light for such anticompetitive collusion. In a separate class-action suit against Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel, the four companies agreed to a collective settlement of $324 million.

      That might sound like a reasonable numbers until you do a little math. The class-action suit represented 64,000 workers, which means each would receive the munificent sum of $5,062; subtracting lawyers’ fees shrinks that amount further. Plaintiffs had sought $3 billion in damages in lost wages, which under antitrust laws could have tripled to a $9 billion reward had they won in court — $140,625 each, or about $102,780 after the lawyers’ cut.

    • Koch Operative: Raise the Wage, Totalitarianism and Terrorism Follow?

      Leaked audio from the latest Koch summit shows Charles Koch’s “intellectual sounding board,” Richard Fink, drawing a direct line between increasing the minimum wage and the rise of fascism, totalitarianism, and terrorist suicide bombers.

    • One in Four Americans With College Degrees Shouldn’t Have Bothered

      Roughly 25% of those with bachelor’s degrees in the US derive no economic benefit from their diplomas.

    • Fast food workers stage national sit-ins and walk-outs

      Fast food workers across the U.S. went on strike Thursday, staging sit-ins and walk-outs to bring attention to a years-long campaign to raise industry wages to $15 an hour and allow workers to join unions. The demonstrations spurred several arrests and the disruption of business at fast food restaurants in many major cities. Ashley Westerman reports from Washington, D.C.

    • Over 400 Arrested in National Fast-Food Workers’ Strike for Living Wage, Unionization

      More than 400 fast-food workers and their supporters have been arrested in a national day of action for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Workers staged a one-day strike in 150 cities across the country Thursday, from Las Vegas to Chicago and Detroit, to Little Rock, Arkansas, and here in New York City.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Huffington Post And The View From Bogustan: Standing Behind Blatantly False Claims Isn’t Journalism

      Ayyadurai has waged an incredibly bizarre public relations campaign, and the more you look at it, the more bizarre it becomes. However, anyone who looks over any of the primary documentation (much of which we’ve linked to in our previous posts) can only conclude that while Ayyadurai may have independently come up with some ideas, he most certainly did not invent email. It was widely in use. The key arguments in his claim are obviously false, and prey on (1) a misunderstanding or misrepresetation of copyright law and (2) an almost fraudulent misquoting of Dave Crocker, a guy who really was heavily involved in early email efforts. Again, all of that is discussed in the earlier posts.

      What I still cannot fathom is how the Huffington Post can stand behind this “reporting.” I’ve now heard from three different HuffPost reporters on the news side who all say that they’re horrified that no one at the company has done anything about this. The only official response I got stood by the stories, but actual reporters at the company recognize that their own credibility has been absolutely destroyed by this. It’s been pointed out that the five part series is on HuffPo’s “blogging” side — which gives a platform to PR folks with no editorial oversight.

    • Huffington Post Finally Responds, Stands By Its Completely Bogus, Totally Debunked ‘History Of Email’ Series
  • Censorship

    • Harrop: Stopping the ‘spiral of silence’

      The “spiral of silence” is a theory that people hesitate to say things they believe others in their group won’t agree with. It predates the Internet age.

      Let me add that the “spiral of silence” disproportionately affects the shy, the thoughtful and the female.

      Social media were supposed to free these cooped-up opinions by offering new venues for speaking one’s piece. But this high-minded promise of a vast online town hall for pensive argument has fallen flat, according to a new report by Pew Research Center and Rutgers University.

    • Automattic Rejects Series Of Bogus Janet Jackson Takedown Attempts By Using Janet Jackson Song Titles

      As you can clearly see that’s using a photo of Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction” from the Superbowl many years ago, and applying the Things Tim Howard Could Save meme to it. Marginally funny. But not copyright infringement. Not only does Jackson not hold the copyright on that image, it’s obvious fair use for whoever does hold the copyright.

    • UN holds Internet Governance Forum in a country known for digital censorship
    • ‘Hypocrite’ Turkey Holds Internet Governance Forum While Twitter Users Face Trial
    • Internet Governance Forum: A missed opportunity for human rights
    • Protecting the open internet: the Internet Governance Forum in Turkey

      Let me be clear, while Turkey has made good progress in some areas of digital development and education, and done more in recent years to integrate the Kurdish community and language into the Turkish nation, there are still too many worrying steps with regard to freedom of speech. That freedom must exist equally online and offline. Not only are around 51,000 websites blocked at the moment, but dozens of journalists are in jail or on trial: one female journalist I met, Fusun Erdogan, was sentenced to 789 years in jail!

    • Forbes Praises YouTube Censoring Steven Sotloff Beheading Video

      Following the horrific actions of ISIS/ISIL, in which the group beheaded American journalist James Foley and plastered the video in online forums like Twitter and YouTube, I argued that it is important that the American Public be given the chance to repudiate the aim of the video: paralyzing us with fear. Adding to that thought, Glenn Greenwald argued that the reason one must fight against censorship in the most egregious of speech cases is that such cases are often where the limitation of speech is legitimized. While this may not be a First Amendment consideration, since those sites are not affiliated with the government, it would be a mistake to suggest that free speech is limited as a concept to that narrow legal definition. Free and open speech is an ideal, one that is codified into law in some places, and one which enjoys a more relaxed but important status within societal norms.

    • Austrian ISPs Sued For Actually Wanting A Court Order Rather Than Just Blocking Websites Based On Entertainment Industry’s Requests

      Furthermore, the industry seems to believe that everyone else has a legal responsibility to carry out its wishes once it declares a site as bad. It thinks hosts should take down sites, search engines should stop linking to them, advertisers should block ads, registrars should pull domain names and ISPs should block access. You’d think that maybe actually adapting to new technologies and giving people more of what they want might be a more compelling strategy, but the legacy entertainment industry prefers demanding that everyone else go out of their way to protect the legacy industry’s obsolete business model, without the industry itself doing anything more than pointing at sites (often incorrectly).

    • Record Labels Issue Takedown To Take Kim Dotcom’s Album Down From His Own Site

      We’ve heard some folks claim that all these bogus takedown notices we write about are just “anomalies” rather than a pattern of abuse of the law for the purpose of censorship. And yet, there are more and more examples every day. The latest one is particularly bizarre. IFPI (the international version of the RIAA) has apparently been issuing a series of bogus takedown notices to get Kim Dotcom’s album “Good Times” taken down off of his own site, Mega. That’s… quite incredible. This does not appear to be a strange attempt to hide Dotcom’s music, but it looks to just be pure sloppiness on the part of the IFPI issuing misguided takedowns. That is, the IFPI takedown notice lists a totally different song (and it turns out this is the second time this has happened to Dotcom’s album in the past month). As short-sighted as the IFPI is, it would take an other wordly level of stupidity to directly target Dotcom’s music with a bogus takedown. Even the IFPI must know that that would backfire badly. The story that it’s an “accident” makes much more sense.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Ferguson Police Department tactics will be focus of federal investigation

      The U.S. Justice Department is getting ready to launch an investigation into the practices and training of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, a Missouri official and a federal official told CNN.

    • Meeting at University of Michigan connects police violence to imperialist war

      Dozens of students, workers, and youth attended a meeting at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Thursday night to discuss the significance of the August 9 police killing and subsequent repression of protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

      Titled “Military-police violence in Ferguson, Missouri: The war comes home” and hosted by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), the meeting took up the interconnections between increasing police brutality and attacks on living conditions and democratic rights in the US and the escalating geopolitical tensions and military predations of American imperialism internationally.

    • The Miraculous Works Of The Criminal Justice System

      So, apparently White, with his hands cuffed behind him, shot himself in the chest.

    • Authorities claim handcuffed man shot himself in the chest, ruled ‘suicide’

      Authorities claim that a man committed suicide via gunshot while handcuffed and unattended in the back of a police cruiser. However, an autopsy report states that the man — who had his handcuffed behind his back, and was already searched for weapons — was shot in the chest.

    • Ferguson Police Chief Lied About Why He Released Alleged Michael Brown Robbery Tape: Report

      Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson lied when he said he had received “many” specific requests for the videotape that allegedly shows Michael Brown robbing a convenience store, according to a new report.

      “All I did — what I did was — was release the videotape to you, because I had to,” Jackson told reporters on Aug. 15 when asked why he released the robbery footage. “I’d been sitting on it, but I — too many people put in a [Freedom of Information Act] request for that thing, and I had to release that tape to you.”

      Writing for The Blot, Matthew Keys reports that the police department did not receive any specific requests for the videotape.

      “A review of open records requests sent to the Ferguson Police Department found that no news organization, reporter or individual specifically sought the release of the surveillance tape before police distributed it on Aug. 15,” Keys writes.

    • Guy Blouin ID’d as cyclist run over by Quebec City police car

      Witness says he saw cruiser run over man twice; bicycle and police car moved from scene by officers

    • This Week in Transparency: Shenanigans at the CIA, open-source FOIA reform, and more
    • CIA Redacted ‘Off The Record, No Comment’ From Released Documents

      Over at The Intercept, there’s an article claiming that the AP’s national security reporter Ken Dilanian had a too cozy relationship with the CIA while he was at the Tribune Company. It’s an interesting read, based on pages upon pages of emails between reporters and the CIA that were released under a FOIA request. However, what caught my attention, more than the full story, was something in all of those emails, spotted by Katherine Hawkins. And it’s that, on page 363, it seems clear that the CIA, when releasing these emails, redacted the line “Off the record, no comment.” It’s rather obvious, because Dilanian immediately repeats that line right back, somewhat angrily at the ridiculousness of it.

    • Militarization, Surveillance, and Profit: How Grassroots Groups are Fighting Urban Shield

      In the San Francisco Bay Area, the answer is yes. A coalition of community groups has come together to call attention to Urban Shield, a four-day long “preparedness” exercise for law enforcement and other agencies that will take place from September 4-8. They’ve organized a week of education, including a march and demonstration outside of the event on Friday, September 5. To these community groups, Urban Shield represents state violence and political repression, not public safety.

    • You Can’t Say Something Like That And Not Do Something About It

      Amnesty International also calls attention to how wrong Obama was to characterize torture as an understandable error of judgment in the immediate wake of 9/11, by people who meant well. (“He even called us patriots!” John Rizzo, former CIA acting general counsel, kvelled afterwards.)

      By contrast, the extensive paper trail that has emerged over the years is clear: The Bush/Cheney torture regime was “a chillingly detailed, planned and resourced operation incorporating systematic unlawful and criminal conduct stretching over years.”

      If Obama really wants to prevent this from happening again some other time, Amnesty says, he needs to start by releasing the full Senate intelligence committee report on torture — not just the executive summary, but the whole thing, and without the redactions the White House proposed in early August.

      As I wrote on Wednesday, Senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein expects that she will be able to release the approximately 500-page executive summary of the 6,000-plus page report within two to four weeks — redacted, but not so redacted it isn’t “readable and understandable.”

    • New York’s Shield Law Protects Reporter From Subpoena

      Risen fought the subpoena all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices declined to review a lower court’s ruling affirming the subpoena’s legality. Having exhausted his options, Risen’s day of judgment may be coming soon, forcing him either to be jailed for his convictions or to tell the government what it wants to hear.

    • Holder: No Jail for NYT Reporter

      During a press conference to announce a broadened probe of the Ferguson, Mo. police department, Holder was asked whether he stood by statements he has reportedly made in private meetings insisting that Risen is not at risk of being jailed for contempt despite prosecutors’ success in defeating his legal effort to avoid testifying against his alleged source, Jeffrey Sterling.

    • Up to 2,100 Photos of US Soldiers Abusing Prisoners May Soon Be Released

      Would the release of 10-year-old detainee abuse photographs, such as one depicting US soldiers pointing a broom handle at a hooded detainee’s rectum, incite terrorist organizations and threaten national security?

      That’s a question government attorneys will have to answer next week when they explain to a federal court judge why as many as 2,100 unclassified photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqi and Afghan captives should continue to be concealed from the public.

    • UK records undermine Government’s claims over damaged CIA rendition documents

      Last month, FCO Minister Mark Simmonds told MPs that records of flights passing through Diego Garcia had suffered “water damage” as a result of “extremely heavy weather in June 2014.”

      However, weather records for Diego Garcia obtained from the FCO under Freedom of Information have cast doubt on this explanation: official logs for the island show that the total rainfall for June 2014 was just 3.25 inches (83mm). This is a low figure, considering the average annual rainfall is 102 inches (2591mm) – or 8.5 inches (216mm) per month.

      Ministers have previously admitted that Diego Garcia, part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), was used by CIA planes carrying detainees as part of the ‘extraordinary rendition’ programme, which saw prisoners flown to countries where they could be subjected to torture. However, the UK Government has so far refused to make documents relating to such flights public.

    • Diego Garcia: Heavy Rain That ‘Destroyed’ Flight Logs in CIA Rendition Row Wasn’t So Heavy
    • Compare North Korea’s Judicial System to Gitmo

      The inmates at Guantanamo are treated no differently from the way suspects are treated in North Korea. As most everyone knows, some of the prisoners at Gitmo have been there for 12 years, without charges, trials, or even the semblance of due process of law. If they were ever to be given trials, the proceedings would be kangaroo in nature, in that the outcomes of the trials would be preordained by the president and Pentagon officials. Much of the trials would be in secret and evidence acquired by torture and hearsay evidence could be used to buttress the preordained verdict, just like in North Korea. Meanwhile, prisoners at Gitmo have been brutally tortured and have no hope of ever securing justice. It’s not surprising that many of them have gone on hunger strikes in the hopes of killing themselves.

    • What the CIA is attempting to keep under wraps
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s Tom Wheeler Admits There Isn’t Really Broadband Competition

      The big broadband providers have all been spinning a yarn for a while now pretending that there’s widespread competition. A key partner in this has been the FCC, which for years has helped spread this myth by pushing out totally bogus broadband data. If you want a good laugh, go over to BroadbandMap.gov and type in your address — and discover a bunch of bogus claims about broadband which you really don’t have. The speeds are inflated. The services are inflated. It includes mobile data broadband, despite it being priced much, much higher and with very low caps and limits — and speeds that no one truly considers to be broadband but, that doesn’t stop the big broadband players from using that bogus data to claim there’s tons of competition.

    • The Neutered Net: Why the FCC Can’t Save the Internet

      There’s no question that Net Neutrality has been this year’s most hotly debated and passionately defended political issue regarding the internet. It has often been painted as the next no-brainer that every internet user should hop on the bandwagon in support of—the next SOPA, PIPA, or NSA scandal. Opposition to shocking revelations such to these controversies sent a shockwave through the status quo of corporate government power. It was a signpost that the millennial generation can and will rise up to resist the oppression of personal liberties—at least when the fabric of their daily lives are at risk.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Corporate Sovereignty Debate Heats Up In Australia

      As Techdirt has reported, so far corporate sovereignty has emerged as the most contentious issue in the TTIP/TAFTA negotiations. In response to the growing public concern in Europe, the European Commission held a consultation on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), although that proved largely a sham, with the desired outcome clearly signalled by the choice of questions and how they were framed. Indeed, Karel De Gucht, the EU Commissioner with overall responsibility for TTIP, even went so far as to call the unprecedented 150,000 public responses an “outright attack” — which is an interesting way to characterize democracy in action.

    • Copyrights

      • How Canada Shaped the Copyright Rules in the EU Trade Deal

        In late December 2009, Wikileaks, the website that publishes secret government information, posted a copy of the draft intellectual property chapter of the Canada – European Trade Agreement (CETA). The CETA deal was still years from completion, but the leaked document revealed that the European Union envisioned using the agreement to mandate a massive overhaul of Canadian law.

      • Leak Of Complete CETA Text Shows Canada Fought Off EU Demands For More Extreme Copyright Rules

        As we wrote back in July, it seems that the trade agreement between Canada and the EU, generally known as CETA, is finally nearing completion, after premature claims to that effect. One reason why we might believe so is that thanks to some public-spirited whistleblower(s), we now have both CETA’s main text (pdf) and the annexes (zip). This has permitted Michael Geist to perform an analysis of how the copyright provisions in CETA have evolved since the first leak of the chapter covering intellectual monopolies, posted by Wikileaks back in 2009.

      • U.S. Government Wants Kim Dotcom’s Cash and Cars

        The U.S. Government is going after Kim Dotcom’s bank accounts, cars, art and other property. In a complaint filed at a Virginia federal court the Department of Justice argues that the property of the Megaupload and its founder should be forfeited as it was obtained through criminal means.

08.16.14

Links 16/8/2014: Microsoft Linux, US Government Turns to Free Software

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to crack an open source community

    This can be hard for developers new to a project, because “many would-be devs are intimidated by the perception of an existing ‘in-crowd’ dev group, even though it may not really be true,” ActiveState vice president Bernard Golden told me. Developer Tony Li echoes this, suggesting, “There is often a intimidation factor when thinking about submitting code to the maintainers (even though it is not on purpose).”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The why and how of becoming a cloud architect

      It’s certainly not news. We’ve talked before about how learning OpenStack is a great way to kickstart an IT career. But just how valuable is it? And if you want to make the transition from doing traditional IT infrastructure administration to becoming a cloud architect, how do you get there?

    • Running Hadoop as a Cloud Service is on the Rise

      For a while there, working with Big Data–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–meant leveraging the open source Hadoop platform in on-premise fashion. Typically, enterprises deployed Hadoop in-house as a platform tool.

    • Deciding on the Right Cloud for Your Organization
    • Scott Sanchez on OpenStack: Shifting a Mindset

      “I often stand in front of audiences filled with people who use storage servers. I ask them if they still name their servers. Inevitably, two-thirds of the people raise their hands. Their servers have names. … It is definitely a mindset. … You are not yet building quality applications. All of the innovation in the world is not going to solve that from an infrastructure perspective.”

    • Could fundamental open cloud freedom die?

      Balkan claims he is working to create independent technologies that protect our fundamental freedoms & democracy.

      Trust in the cloud forms the cornerstone of the Summit agenda with topics covered including:

      • the surveillance state,
      • the encryption economy,
      • honest business models and,
      • keeping trust amongst customers.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Organs of democracy

      Oh, yes, creation of human organs no longer requires divine oration, just a walk to the laboratory.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Gaza Strip Crisis: Melbourne Palestine Action Group Shuts Down Israeli Arms Factory

      Sam Castro, spokesperson for the Melbourne Palestine Activist Group, claims drones produced in the factory are being used in the current conflict in Gaza.

      She said: “By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”

    • U.S. arms for Iraq’s Kurds could backfire, as similar aid has in the past

      The U.S. decision to arm Iraqi Kurds shows a dangerous and deplorable disregard for the lessons of history. The move is understandably tempting, given the threat Islamist extremists pose to civilians and the integrity of the Iraqi state, especially when the redeployment of U.S. troops is all but off the table.

    • Iraq crisis: US launches fresh drone strikes

      Fresh airstrikes have been launched by US drones against Isis forces close to a village where there were reports that dozens of civilians had been massacred.

    • Anger Over Missouri Police Shooting Resonates Across Bay Area and Nation
    • To Draw A Line

      There have been other disquieting trends too in recent times. Osama bin Laden was, of course, a Saudi and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. We have it on testimony by ex-CIA director James Woolsey that Saudi Wahabism is “the soil in which Al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organisations are flourishing”.

    • With Friends Like These: NATO and the Afghan Leadership

      On 12th June 2011 Ahmed Wali Karzai (AWK), a key ally of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s mission in Afghanistan was assassinated. His fate was sealed by his own security chief of many years Mohmad Sardar, who shot him at point-blank range in his own home. Recent years in the conflict have seen a rise in such attacks by inside men, usually members of the Afghan National Army and police forces. It is rarer that that such a high level figure is killed at the behest of the Taliban in this way, since these attacks are usually carried out to create fear in the ranks of these forces. It is rarer still that the victim is none other than the President’s half brother. As if to add insult to injury, the Taliban detonated a suicide bomb at AWK’s funeral.

    • Americans can expect escalation of Iraq airstrikes

      The president’s authorization was confined to protecting American personnel and preventing the genocide of the Yazidis religious group. But it also suggested increased military involvement if the Iraqi government replaced Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a Shiite widely seen as responsible for implementing sectarian policies that have severely alienated Sunni Iraqis. Al-Maliki resigned this week in favor of another Shiite, and Americans can expect to see an escalation of the airstrikes.

    • Elite commandos train for mission

      The men included Green Berets from the 10th Special Forces Group headquartered at Fort Carson, Colo., and an unidentified Navy crew who are training together for a classified mission somewhere in Africa.

    • US, NATO And The Destruction Of Libya: The Western Front Of A Widening War – OpEd

      NATO claimed that its intervention in Libya was a historic success. But three years later, Libya is in complete chaos. Some 1700 militias have a combined total of 250,000 men under arms. Another external intervention seems necessary to stabilize the country. But the US and NATO must never be involved

    • Libya’s new parliament asks for UN intervention
    • The Clintons, Duvalier, Martelly and Haiti

      If you vote and you live in the USA, you should try to become educated about the multiple recent and ongoing misdeeds of the Clintons in Haiti.

      So far, they’ve managed to hide their hands cleverly using the puppets (Martelly, Duvalier, Lamothe…) they have imposed upon the people of Haiti.

    • Nepal must be Stand against the CIA & EU’s Conspiracies

      Since 2006, due to the traitors’ regime, Nepalese society is suffering due to inflation, shortage, insecurity and indefinite pain. The leaders of Nepal only listen to foreign powers and do what they are told. That is why Nepal is facing such dire consequences. Anarchy prevailed in the country after Hindu status and royal institution were removed forcibly. The leaders of NC and UML are hostage to indecision. Most of the intellectuals of the country can be bought for money. Maoist leader Mohan Vaidya led group have not abandoned Leninism that is 88 years old date expired formula. A man unable to swim will drown. We must show commitment for progress of Nepal. To save our nation we must get rid of prejudice and support constitutional monarchy and Hindu and Buddhist status of the country.

    • Top 10 Fidel Castro assassination attempts
    • CIA Records: They Wanted to Kill, Using Chemical, Biological Substances

      By analyzing CIA documents from earlier days, we can understand the programs of the Agency and its government cousins.

      Given the fact that the CIA’s umbrella research program, MKULTRA, went completely dark in 1962, and given the technological advances that have been made in the intervening years, we can draw inferences about present-day covert ops.

    • Washington Staged Egypt’s “Arab Spring” Revolution, U.S. Knew About 9/11 Warning, Former Egypt Interior Minister Reveals

      One of these claims was that the United States was behind the 2011 Egyptian revolution which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. The other, however, was that the Egyptian intelligence agencies and Interior Ministry received information regarding a developing terrorist operation against the United States in September, 2001 and that the Egyptians warned the United States twice ahead of time. According to El-Adly, these warnings were completely ignored.

    • Nixon believed CIA involved in Kennedy assassination

      A new book, to be released Sept. 2, discloses a previously unknown connection between Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and the CIA. In fact, author Roger Stone, a former Nixon aide, asserts that Nixon “knew the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination” and was so pesky in his attempts to get them to disclose all their records that the CIA contemplated the assassination of Nixon as well. Nixon believed CIA involved in Kennedy assassination

    • Top 10 Fidel Castro assassination attempts

      Cuba celebrated Castro’s 88th birthday yesterday and he famously survived 638 assassination attempts – the Americans tried so many ways that they had to get creative. Here are his top 10 assassination attempts

    • Washington: Plans against Cuba lay bare

      The most recent leaks about Cuba reveal the hiring of young Costa Ricans, Peruvians, and Venezuelans whose goals were to recruit possible dissidents in Cuban universities. These activists would later play the role of organizers of a “velvet” revolution. The AP has released the names of their top agents. When this project is linked to the mission of USAID contractor Alan Gross, currently serving a prison sentence in Cuba, and the so-called Zunzuneo, and Piramideo —Twitter-like social networks to unite thousands of Cuban people to carry out destabilization actions— it takes shape a very-well orchestrated plan to boost up a future rebellion in Cuba.

    • ISI, CIA aiding northeast Indian militants: Tripura CM

      Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has alleged that Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and America’s CIA are in constant touch with anti-India militants, a section of whom are still using Bangladesh to operate.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • More Trans-Pacific Partnership details leaked

      The United States and other countries in the Americas and Asia are involved in secretly negotiating a Free Trade Agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, much of the news about the deal comes from leaks as none of the details are publicly published. In the latest leak, activists reveal Certification which allows the US to withhold the the final steps that are necessary to bring a trade and investment treaty into force until the other party has changed it’s relevant laws to meet US expectations.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • Anonymity and Censorship

      How far can government go in forcing people to reveal their identities, or protecting people from being forced to reveal their identities? The issues of anonymity, free speech, and privacy are once again central topics of debate, made so by the refusal of the police department in Ferguson, Missouri to reveal the identity of the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager Saturday night, based on fears for the officer’s safety. The decision to keep his identity secret has been a factor in the violent protests in the St. Louis suburb.

    • Google: We must reverse the new tide of censorship sweeping Europe

      You may have heard of the DA-Notice. This is a formal request, from the government of the day to the editors of newspapers such as this, to kill a story on the grounds of national security. The DA-Notice system is voluntary, and it works because it is not deployed as a method of censorship. Tiny numbers of DA-Notices are issued. Tiny numbers of stories are killed. But, in our internet age, in which communication is supposed to be easier, and freer, than ever before, that is changing, and not for the better. Welcome to the world of the G-notice.

    • The problem with censorship in social media

      When it comes to social media, and the Internet in general, censorship is a sensitive topic. You probably didn’t read the small print when you signed up to Facebook or Twitter but all your favourite sites have rules, and with so many users posting so much content daily it can be difficult to police them – especially without pissing people off. Free speech is pretty popular after all.

    • Crowdfunding Lantern, a P2P anti-censorship tool
    • CIA security luminary: ‘Right to be forgotten is not enough’

      The EU’s so-called “right to be forgotten” laws have not gone far enough to protect citizens’ privacy, according to Dan Geer, one of the world’s best-known security experts.

    • Essay: Censorship, police intimidation at missile defense conference

      Upon exiting the room he was immediately surrounded by four to six armed police officers in uniform, two of whom identified themselves as members of the Huntsville Police Department.

    • Bulgaria: Disputed sections of “bank censorship” proposal axed

      Bulgarian journalists covering the financial beat can breathe freely as the most controversial parts of the so-called “bank censorship” amendment to the criminal code have been removed by the legal committee of the national assembly.

    • Draw the Line: Do wars justify censorship?

      The British government established the War Office Press Bureau 100 years ago this month to censor reports from the British Army before they were issued to the press. Colonel Ernest Swinton, the first man to be appointed the Army’s official journalist, wrote later: “The principle which guided me in my work was above all to avoid helping the enemy… I essayed to tell as much of the truth as was compatible with safety, to guard against depression and pessimism, and to check unjustified optimism which might lead to a relaxation of effort.”

    • Erdoğan brought censorship, chilling effects on journalism

      Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is preparing to assume the office of president on Aug. 28 following his election to the state’s top post on Aug. 10, has left a legacy on journalism which is filled with confrontation and rebuke of journalists, attempts at censorship, prosecution and even deportation of critical journalists.

  • Privacy

    • Blogging History: NSA audit shows 1000s of privacy violations; RECAP for US law launches; Wiretapping the Web
    • Hillary Clinton’s phone ‘hacked by German intelligence’

      Hillary Clinton’s phone was hacked during her time as US Secretary of State, German media reports. Allegations are set to question US-German relations just months after Merkel hacking scandal.

    • German secret service ‘spied on Hillary Clinton’as NSA spied on Merkel
    • Pro Hackers Could Be Spying On You Through YouTube

      Morgan Marquis-Boire, a celebrated hacker turned security researcher, just published a lengthy and rather scary paper on so-called “network injection appliances”. The NSA-calibre hacking tool is sold by companies like Hacking Team and FinFisher for as little as $US1 million and can crack into your hard drive any time unencrypted data is exchanged with a server. YouTube videos, by the way, are not encrypted.

    • You Can Get Hacked Just By Watching This Cat Video on YouTube
    • Former NSA Director Doesn’t Remember Taking A Photo With Edward Snowden

      Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden says a picture of him with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the September issue of Wired magazine wasn’t a memorable experience because he doesn’t remember taking the photo.

    • Your Cellphone’s Tiny Motion Sensor Could Be Eavesdropping on You

      Researchers just found yet another reason to be paranoid: Even if hackers or the NSA are locked out of your cellphone’s microphone, camera and data, they might still be able to snoop on you through the tiny chip that tracks the device’s orientation. Gyroscopes in modern phones, unlike the spinning gyroscopes of old, work by a method that also allows it to detect vibrations in the air at certain frequencies — including some that overlap with the human voice. And worse still, Android apps don’t have to alert the user that they’re accessing the gyro, meaning practically any game or website could be listening in on you (neither do iPhone apps, but the technique doesn’t work as well on iOS).

    • Gyroscope In Your Phone Acts As A Microphone
    • A chance to limit spying on Americans

      When Congress returns from its August recess, surveillance reform will be high on the agenda. In May, the House passed the USA Freedom Act, a measure aimed at ending bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under the Patriot Act. And in July, a much stronger version of the bill was introduced in the Senate.

    • How US Government Surveillance Threatens Attorney-Client Privilege

      Documents leaked to the press over the past year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the US government is sweeping up vast amounts of private data and communications, including confidential information related to ongoing legal matters and privileged communications between attorneys and their clients.

    • Russia Denies Asking Snowden About Intelligence Secrets
    • ICYMI: Data breach disclosure, European privacy & internet outages

      Data breach disclosure is a legal necessity in the US and will soon be in the EU too, what with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (still awaiting legislative approval) stipulating that breaches must be reported within 72 hours of the initial incident.

      This is – by and large – being actively encouraged in an era of escalating data breaches and post-NSA transparency. Simply hiding the bad news can no longer be tolerated and has too many business repercussions (legal fines, brand damage) anyway.

    • Questioning Edward Snowden’s Cure-All

      Such a mindset no doubt serves the interests of an entrepreneur like Pierre Omidyar, a billionaire who plans to generate income by peddling security products. Products that will address the very scandals that his new media venture unearths.4 Isn’t that convenient? To be able to present a problem with one hand and then proffer a solution with the other? Problem-Reaction-Solution; also known as the Hegelian dialectic. By the way this tactic has also been employed, to the hilt, by a Pentagon carpetbagger named Keith Alexander.5

    • Cybersecurity’s History Provides Lessons for the Future

      In 2003-2004, deploying wireless networks was hot. Government IT executives were eager to offer wireless Internet access in conference rooms, but I was against it. Armed with white papers from three-letter agencies in D.C. and scary headlines describing “war driving” with breaches, I declared, “No wireless!”

    • FBI Snooping on Attorneys for 9/11 Suspects Has ‘Sown Chaos,’ Team Says

      The lead counsel for the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks claimed Thursday that an FBI investigation of the defense attorneys has “sown chaos” in the proceedings, as another week of pretrial hearings drew to a close.

    • The FBI Spied on the Wrong People Because of Typos

      The FBI unintentionally spied on the communications data of some Americans who were not targets of investigations because of typographical errors, according to a government watchdog.

    • Government Invokes ‘Privacy’ Exemption To Conceal Secrets

      When the National Security Agency wanted to block the public release of former contractor Edward Snowden’s emails, it found an unlikely ally: His privacy.

      The government cited a federal law protecting privacy rights to deny journalist Matthew Keys’ request for Snowden’s messages. Experts said Snowden is far from an exception. From Osama bin Laden to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, “privacy” claims are the government’s latest excuse to keep its secrets secret.

      “For an agency whose core mission is the violation of our privacy, privacy is an especially Orwellian rationale for the NSA to invoke in justifying its non-compliance” with the Freedom of Information Act, said Ryan Shapiro, an MIT graduate student who frequently files public records requests with the NSA and other agencies. “That it’s Edward Snowden’s privacy the NSA now claims to defend only heightens the irony.”

    • Meet the Man Who’s Gauging the Damage From Snowden

      Tapped in May 2014 by James Clapper, director of the Office of National Intelligence, Evanina is now immersed in coordinating multi-agency efforts to mitigate the risk of foreign infiltration, assess damage from intelligence leaks and tighten the security clearance process.

    • The surveillance debate, continued: Another response to the ACLU

      In a nutshell, I argued that the bill contained some problematic language that could actually allow more access to data by NSA; Rottman agreed that scrutiny was warranted but suggested the situation was not so bad — and certainly better than the status quo; Wheeler suggested the ACLU was too optimistic and pointed to other parts of the bill as potentially open to abuse.

    • New “TCP Stealth” tool aims to help sysadmins block spies from exploiting their systems

      The draft, authored by Tor’s Jacob Appelbaum and others, aims to standardize a technique called TCP Stealth, for keeping servers safe from mass port-scanning tools like GCHQ’s HACIENDA.

    • FTC Urged To Crack Down On Tech Firms’ Privacy Violations
    • New From 500-Year-Old Deutsche Post: Self-Destructing Encrypted Chats

      Deutsche Post offers the messenger, also available for Android phones, in eight languages and is targeting the global market, according to Mr. Edenhofer.

    • Apple slings fanbois’ data at Chinese servers in China Telecom deal

      In an effort to woo buyers in China, Apple has inked a deal to store Chinese customer data in Chinese servers for the first time.

    • Apple using China Telecom servers to store iCloud data
    • Understanding the Implications of Tor’s latest hack

      The security world got itself worked up in late July about an attack on the Tor network. The exploit, which ran from January to July, enabled the attackers to identify users looking for hidden services on Tor. Hidden services are typically web sites operated anonymously using Tor.

    • US must remedy NSA’s 2012 Syrian internet shutdown

      In this case, however, it turns out that the Syrian government was not to blame. Rather, the NSA caused the disruption by destroying a key router connecting the country to international networks.

      According to Snowden, the NSA’s aim was to spy on all Syrians. In the course of attempting to hack into the router for surveillance purposes, the NSA broke the equipment; rather than violating privacy, the NSA directly violated international law and policy on freedom of expression. Syrians lost the ability to communicate during a time when users at risk most needed access to accurate information, open media, and social networks.

  • Civil Rights

    • LAPD Officers Fatally Beat Father During Traffic Stop a Week Before Ezell Ford Shooting, Family Says

      Omar Abrego, a 37-year-old father of three, was driving home in an Amtrak truck in his work uniform on Aug. 2 when he was pulled over by officers right in front of his house in the 6900 block of South Main Street (map), which is just four blocks from where Ford was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department officers nine days later.

      Two sergeants from the Newton Division, which was also involved in the Ford shooting, pulled over Abrego because he was allegedly driving erratically, speeding and had almost hit a pedestrian, according to LAPD officials. When they attempted to pull him over, he kept going.

    • Has the Right Really Shifted on Police Militarization and Abuse?

      It would be a great thing if politicians were more critical of the obvious trend towards militarization of police forces. And there’s no doubt that some voices have been more critical of overzealous police practices than one might expect. But is it actually a widespread trend?

    • DoJ Memo Justifies Killing Anwar al-Awlaki by Citing US Law Enforcement’s Right to Use Deadly Force

      As a result of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times, President Barack Obama’s administration has released the first memo authored by federal appeals court judge and former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer David Barron to justify the killing of US citizen and terrorism suspect Anwar al-Awlaki.

      The Justice Department memo is dated February 19, 2010, a few months after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to bomb a Detroit-bound plane on December 25, 2009. This memo was later superseded by a second memo that addressed issues the administration had overlooked, according to the Times.

    • The Secret US Drone Program that Killed JFK’s Eldest Brother

      Everything it seems. Over the course of 15 mission flown between August 4, 1944 and January 1, 1945 Operation Aphrodite managed to kill four American crewmen, including Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.—eldest son of the politically powerful Kennedy family and older brother to the future-35th president—while failing to damage any of their intended targets and, in most cases failing to even reach their target. Most were shot down, ran out of fuel, or just randomly fell out of the sky in a fiery ball of wreckage.

    • The Militarization of Law Enforcement in America: Blowback in Ferguson

      This is a short call from informing the mainstream media that the country has been living under pseudo martial law for decades.

    • More than 100 Cities Join Moment of Silence for Michael Brown
    • Blowback in Ferguson

      The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager and the ensuing protests in Ferguson, Missouri has rocked America. Even the mainstream media with its aversion to the truth has been forced to address the militarization of the police in America – albeit years too late.

      This is a short call from informing the mainstream media that the country has been living under pseudo martial law for decades.

      On April 13, 2013, the ACLU (Shasta Chapter) invited me to be their keynote speaker to talk about government secrecy, drones, and the militarization of America. The Ferguson shooting and its coverage it the media prompted me to highlight some of the points made during that talk as they relate to today’s events.

    • Anger Over Missouri Police Shooting Resonates Across Bay Area and Nation

      To many observers in Oakland, the scenes in Ferguson of militarized police officers and clouds of tear gas are reminiscent of local clashes, including skirmishes between police and Occupy protesters and the protests that followed the 2009 BART police killing of Oscar Grant.

    • From Boston to Ferguson: Have We Reached a Tipping Point in the Police State?

      As journalist Benjamin Carlson points out, “In today’s Mayberry, Andy Griffith and Barney Fife could be using grenade launchers and a tank to keep the peace.”

      This is largely owing to the increasing arsenal of weapons available to police units, the changing image of the police within communities, and the growing idea that the police can and should use any means necessary to maintain order.

      To our detriment, local police – clad in jackboots, helmets and shields and wielding batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, and assault rifles – have increasingly come to resemble occupying forces in our communities. “Today,” notes Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, “17,000 local police forces are equipped with such military equipment as Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicles. Some have tanks. ”

      Unfortunately, whatever the threat to so-called security – whether it’s rumored weapons of mass destruction, school shootings, or alleged acts of terrorism – it doesn’t take much for the American people to march in lockstep with the government’s dictates, even if it means submitting to martial law, having their homes searched, and being stripped of one’s constitutional rights at a moment’s notice.

    • There’s no punishment for lying to Americans?

      Last April at a Senate hearing, National Security Agency Director James Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden whether the NSA was spying on the American people. He said no, but he admitted later that it was a lie.

      This lie is a felony offense.

    • Pop Music Needs to Be More Political. Here’s Why.

      By the beginning of the 1990s, that kind of opinionated, black-power-inspired hip-hop had morphed into gangster rap. Of course, it was easier for media and government to represent the likes of Tupac as a danger to society, indoctrinating America’s youth, black and white, with violent fantasies, flaunting the thug life as something to aspire to.

    • CHAPMAN: Fast facts on John Brennan

      A diplomat was once defined as someone whose job is to lie for his country. That’s apparently what makes them different from intelligence officers, whose function is to lie to their country.

    • Disappearing People and Disappearing the Evidence: The Deeper Significance of the SSCI Report

      When the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) report on the CIA’s torture program is finally released, it is likely to discredit a story that defenders of “enhanced interrogation” have been telling for years. The narrative first appeared in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos that authorized the CIA program. President Bush repeated it in his September 2006 speech acknowledging the existence of CIA prisons, and in 2008 when he vetoed a bill outlawing waterboarding. Slightly different versions appear in Bush’s memoirs, and defenses of the CIA program by George Tenet, Michael Hayden, Michael Mukasey, Jose Rodriguez, John Yoo, Dick Cheney, and others.

    • CIA director should be fired
    • Media advocates hand Justice Dep’t. a petition supporting subpoenaed New York Times reporter
    • NY Times reporter honoured for fight to protect source
    • Reporter for New York Times honored for source protection
    • Petitioners Call on US to Stop Legal Action against James Risen
    • James Risen: ‘Happy to carry on the fight’
    • US reporter vows to ‘keep fighting’ to protect source
    • Press Freedom Groups Ramp Up Campaign For James Risen

      Press freedom organizations submitted a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the US Department of Justice Thursday in support of New York Times reporter James Risen.

      The petition demanded that the government stop all legal action against Risen, who has been involved in a six-year battle for press freedom, McClatchy DC reported Friday.

    • 100,000 sign up to support New York Times reporter facing jail
    • 100,000-petition urges US to drop legal action vs Pulitzer-winning journalist
    • Is President Obama About to Send a ‘New York Times’ Reporter to Jail?
    • The CIA’s shameful secrets
    • Guest: CIA spying on Senate is the constitutional equivalent of Watergate
    • It’s logical to say torture doesn’t work

      Contrary to the claims of Debra Saunders in “DiFi’s tortured logic on interrogations” (Insight, Aug. 12), it is not illogical to think that torture is ineffective. It is instead, the consensus of interrogation experts at the FBI and British Intelligence, and has been for decades. The issue is not that torture victims don’t talk, but rather that they will say anything they think will make the pain stop, regardless of its accuracy.

    • America’s Real Patriots Fought to Expose and End Torture
    • Telecom petition calls on Obama to fire Brennan

      A telecom company and tens of thousands of supporters are calling on President Obama to fire CIA Director John Brennan over a report that showed his agency hacked into Senate computers.

    • Americans Should Be Ashamed Of Torture And CIA Cover-Up

      As a person of faith and as an American, the United States committing torture in my name and the subsequent CIA actions around torture are especially disturbing. It is against the very core of who I am as a Catholic and as a human being and is the antithesis as to who we are as a nation.

    • 5 Muslim Americans File Lawsuit over Terrorist Watchlist

      Five Muslim Americans have filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the U.S. government of unjustly placing them on the terrorist watchlist. One plaintiff in the suit, Yaseen Kadura, says a federal official tried to pressure him into becoming a government informant in Libya, using removal from the no-fly list as an incentive. The Intercept news site revealed last month the Obama administration has expanded the watchlist system by approving broad guidelines over who can be targeted. Hundreds of thousands of watchlisted individuals are recognized as having no ties to terrorist groups.

    • My Turn: Torture is a crime, so why don’t we treat it like one

      President Obama has now acknowledged America’s use of torture. “We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.” Obama went on to try and place the use of torture in context. Recalling the desperation of law enforcement to prevent further attacks post-9/11, Obama said, “It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job those folks had.”

      Although I am glad Obama acknowledged the fact of torture and did not try to call it a phony euphemism, I am disappointed in his response. Torture is a crime. It is not a public relations embarrassment that needs to be managed.

    • FBI Urged to Purge Anti-Muslim Material

      US civil rights and religious groups have voiced their concerns over federal agencies of anti-Muslim training material, demanding an urgent audit of federal law enforcement training material.

      “The use of anti-Muslim trainers and materials is not only highly offensive, disparaging the faith of millions of Americans, but leads to biased policing that targets individuals and communities based on religion, not evidence of wrongdoing,” a letter signed by 75 groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Auburn Seminary and the NAACP, reads, Religion News Services reported on Thursday, August 14.

    • Come clean on torture by the military and CIA

      Ten years ago, the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib thrust the issue of torture onto the front page. While some tried to employ the few-bad-apples defense, it was clear then and it is even clearer now that the horror at Abu Ghraib grew out of problems at the top. Torture by U.S. military personnel and intelligence officers was, at its core, a failure of leadership.

    • New York Oath Keepers claim accusations by state intelligence agency to be false

      Is NYSIC suggesting that it is extreme and threatening to encourage our officials to honor their oath and refuse to obey unconstitutional orders?

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