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Links 9/4/2015: SalentOS, Semplice Releases

GNOME bluefish



  • NCR Launches Android-Based Thin Client ATMs
    A few years ago NCR took a fresh look at ATM operations. Cloud computing was becoming more powerful and NCR decided that banks could achieve significant efficiency by moving to a thin client ATM. It chose Android as its first operating operating system but may consider others in the future.

  • Dell will sell a bigger version of its flagship Android tablet
    You might not think of Dell as a big name in tablets -- not on the level of, say, Apple or Samsung. In fact, though, the once-stodgy PC maker sells one of our favorite Android tabs, the Venue 8 7000, which won a Best of CES award and earned a strong score of 84 in our review. Now, the company is back with a 10-inch edition (the Venue 10), and it's basically a blown-up version of the original, just with some improved ergonomics.
  • Dell & Red Hat revamp open stack private cloud solution

  • Linux Users’ Group will hear about new software
    On Monday, April 20, the Linux Users’ Group of Davis will offer a presentation on KDE Connect, software that lets a phone and computer easily share files, control each other and more.

    For example, users can receive their phone notifications on their computer, use their phone as a remote control for their desktop, and easily share photos and other files between devices without using cables.

  • Snoop Dogg Using Linux While Being Chased by a Stormtrooper Is Real
    The Instagram account of Snoop Dogg is a mishmash of ideas and various aspects of the artist's life, but it's also a personal account. This is where he decided to post a screenshot from a game (GTA IV most probably) of him using a Linux-powered laptop.

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • New Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Patched in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
      Canonical, through John Johansen, announced today, April 8, that new kernel updates for the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) are available to users via the default software repositories of the respective distributions.

    • Linux Foundation to Host Open Encryption Project
      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, today announced it will host the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) and its Let's Encrypt project, a free, automated and open security certificate authority for the public's benefit. Let's Encrypt allows website owners to obtain security certificates within minutes, enabling a safer web experience for all.

    • Linux Foundation Adopts Website Security and Encryption Platform

      The Linux Foundation will now host the Internet Security Research Group and its Let's Encrypt platform, which provides secure, open SSL encryption for websites.

    • The Linux Foundation Starts Open Source Encryption Project
      As part of an effort to make encryption a standard component of every application, the Linux Foundation launched its open source Let’s Encrypt project along with its intention to provide access to a free certificate management service.

    • Linux Foundation to host open encryption project
      The Linux Foundation is to host an open encryption project aimed at providing a free and easy way to protect the huge amount of data passed over the internet every day.

      This data includes usernames and passwords, credit card data, cookies, and other types of sensitive or personal information.

    • Linux Foundation's new mission: Cheap, easy Web encryption
      The Linux Foundation is lending support to the Let's Encrypt project, to make it both free and simple for any Web server to encrypt connections
    • 'Let's Encrypt' Will Try To Secure The Internet
      The Linux Foundation has lined up financial support for a group producing an easier way to encrypt Web site and mobile device traffic.

    • Linux Foundation Takes Web Security and Encryption Platform Under its Wing

    • Open Source Encryption For Everyone [Ed: but to make encryption work one must use it on top of a Free software stack]
      This version of the software is designed for Windows desktop computers, but further versions for other operating systems and mobile devices are in the pipeline. The research team is also working on various add-ons, including one that supports ad hoc encryption.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Foundation + SPI Merger Fails
        After almost two years of the X.Org Foundation's Board of Directors pursuing a merger with SPI, the 2015 X.Org Elections have ended and the results were sent out to X.Org members last night.

      • Catalyst 15.3 Beta Backported To Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
        While AMD has yet to make the Catalyst 15.3 Beta Linux graphics driver available for download from their web-site, they released the driver to Canonical and as such this new AMD Linux driver has been available in Ubuntu 15.04 for a few weeks. Canonical is now back-porting this proprietary driver back into Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Calligra 3.0 Is Being Ported to Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5, Here's What It Looks Like
        A Calligra developer wrote an interesting post on his blog informing users about the progress made on porting the KDE's number one office suite to the next-generation KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 technologies that are being used in the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment.

      • First success in Calligra’s 2nd port to Qt5 & KF5
        Last month, in March, with the 2.9.0 release done, we Calligra developers followed our plans and started a branch named “frameworks”, to work on version 3.0, to be the first version based on Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5. Calligra 3.0 should not see any new features, the focus is purely on getting the port to the new platform done without any regressions.

      • KDE Plasma 5.3 Beta to Be Released Next Week, Adds Powerful New Features
        The great team of developers behind the KDE Project met in February 2015 in the Blue Systems office in Barcelona, Spain, to discuss and plan the upcoming features that will be implemented in the highly anticipated KDE Plasma 5.3 release.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Partner Conference 2015: Day 1 Roundup
        Open Source software developer Red Hat (RHT) is hosting its annual North American Partner Conference this week in Orlando, where more than 350 partners are gathered to hear company executives discuss the past fiscal year and to learn more about what is in store for resellers in 2015.

      • Red Hat reveals opens source challenges and opportunities
        Red Hat senior manager, Colin McCabe, has laid out the opportunities and possibilities businesses should consider when deciding on implementing and open source solutions.

        “Open source is a great fit for any organisation that is looking to innovate more rapidly and effectively, and to save costs and increase the bottom line," he said.

        “At Red Hat, we’ve been working for over two decades to maintain the open source model. It’s in Red Hat’s DNA to unravel complex technology challenges ranging from Cloud applications to content management using open source solutions. Red Hat is part of different open source communities and works on a variety of projects.

      • Red Hat Announces Winners of Red Hat North American Partner Awards
        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the winners of its annual Red Hat North American Partner Awards. The winners were announced last night at an event held during the Red Hat North American Partner Conference in Orlando, Fla.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 22 Beta To Be Delayed By One Week
          While Fedora developers did a good job getting out the Fedora 22 Alpha on time, the beta release of Fedora 22 will come at least one week late.

          At today's Go/No-Go meeting it was decided F22 Beta isn't ready to ship next week but will have to be delayed by one week at least to take care of unresolved blocker bugs. This beta delay pushes back all future F22 milestones -- including the release of F22 final expected to take place in May.

    • Debian Family

      • DPL elections for 2015 are going on
        The Debian Project Leader electsions are going on. This is the yearly election for the leader, where members of the project vote for a new leader for a year. The debate this year seemed to me to be quite quiet, and voting activity seems to not be very high, either. Pity. Many years ago, the election period used to be quite energetic, bringing up some quite good viewpoints.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • DigiKam 4.9.0 Released With Bug Fixes, Install In Ubuntu/Linux Mint
            digiKam is an Open-Source project Photos management software, specially for KDE but you can use it on Ubuntu or others distros too. In digiKam photos are organized in albums which can be sorted chronologically, by folder layout or by custom collections. Developers recently released digiKam 4.9.0 with 33 bug fixes. Developers main focus is on digiKam 5.0 release, as it is supposed to be a major release of digiKam.

          • Linux AIO Ubuntu Updated to Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, Adds Ubuntu MATE
            We were recently informed by Željko Popivoda, the developer of the Linux AIO project that builds all sorts of Live DVDs with multiple editions of an operating system, that there's an update for the Linux AIO Ubuntu Live DVD.

          • Canonical and Bq Set Up Automated Power Testing to Improve Battery Life for Ubuntu
            Canonical has a series of automated testing methods for Ubuntu Touch which helps them weed out most of the bugs and problems before publishing updates for the operating system, and now they have set up a new lab that should find apps that are draining the battery.

          • Interview with Elizabeth K. Joseph of the Ubuntu Community Council
            I work as a systems administrator and frequently write and speak about my work in that role. My current position is with HP on the OpenStack Project Infrastructure where we maintain dozens of static systems that developers interface with for their work on OpenStack and a fleet of hundreds of worker servers that run all of the tests that are done against the code before it’s merged. This infrastructure is fully open source, with all of our system configurations, Puppet tooling and projects we used available via git here. Since I have a passion for both systems administration and open source, it’s been quite the dream job for me as I work with colleagues from around the world, across several companies.

          • Ubuntu OSes Patched Against Libtasn1 Exploit
            Details about a Libtasn1 vulnerability that was affecting Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS have been published in a security notice by Canonical.

          • Ubuntu Web Browser Shows Just How Well Convergence Is Working - Video
            Canonical has been talking about convergence for a while now, but it's still difficult to explain it to new users without some visual aid. A new video has been posted showing the Ubuntu web browser, an application developed initially for the phone OS, running in the desktop edition Ubuntu 15.04.

          • Dueling NUC mini-PCs run Ubuntu on Broadwell
            ZaReason and System76 have each launched Intel NUC style mini-PCs running Ubuntu on 5th Gen. Intel Core “Broadwell” processors, starting at about $500.

          • Meizu MX4 Ubuntu hands-on review
            The Ubuntu MX4 is yet to receive an official price or release date, but our opening impressions of it are very positive.

            Featuring a premium design, innovative operating system, and decent internal specifications the MX4 looks like a great smartphone.

            We also have to praise Canonical for the great work it's done over the past year to improve Ubuntu mobile's stability and performance, and can't wait to test the OS more thoroughly.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • SalentOS 14.04.2 Is Based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS and Offers a Modern Openbox Desktop
              Gabriele Martina announced on April 8 the immediate availability for download of the SalentOS 14.04.2 Linux distribution based on the upstream Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system from Canonical.

            • Linux Mint 17.2 Codenamed A Religious Name ‘Rafaela’
              After a successful release of Linux Mint 17 'Qiana' and Linux Mint 17.1 'Rebecca' here is a preparation for another successful release Linux Mint 17.2. On April, 8 Clem posted news on saying the next release Linux Mint 17.2 has been codenamed 'Rafaela'. Here is what Rafaela means. Tell us Is it religious?

            • Linux Mint 17.2 Will Be Named “Rafaela”
              Recently, the developers have announced that Linux Mint 17.2 (based on Ubuntu Trusty) will be named “Rafaela”, the tradition being to use feminine names. The codenames of major releases use the next letter, from the alphabet, while the point releases’ names start all with the same letter.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New Atom SoC will target IoT devices, says Intel
      At IDF Shenzhen, Intel announced plans for a rugged IoT version of the Intel Atom x3 SoC, with built in cellular radios, and both Linux and Android support.

      At the Intel Development Forum (IDF) in Shenzhen, China, Intel announced a future Internet of Things version of its new Atom x3 (Sofia) system-on-chips, some of which are built by China-based Rockchip. Intel announced the Atom x3 at Mobile World Congress in early March along with the more powerful, 14nm fabricated “Cherry Trail-T” Atoms, the Atom x5 and x7.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • NEW Native WhatsApp clients hits the Tizen Store, Goodbye ACL WhatsApp Messenger
          We were overjoyed to see a high profile messaging app like WhatsApp available on the Tizen Store at launch for the Samsung Z1. Now it seems the WhatsApp Android App, which used Open Mobile’s ACL technology to run on Tizen, has served its purpose and a Native App has launched today with WhatsApp Messenger being replaced.

        • Samsung 2015 Tizen TV range now available at Curry’s in the UK
          Currys electronics, a UK online and In-store retailer has now got the Tizen based Samsung 2015 TV range In stock and available to buy right now!!! It seems it is only the larger branches that currently have some stock of the UE65JS9000 65″ at €£3,999 and UE55JS9000 55″ at €£3,099.

        • [Application] Application SecretVault Samsung Z1 Tizen Smart Phone
          Have you ever passed your phone to someone for them to use, only to see them going through your private pictures? This is something that seems more common in the Indian sub-continent and it is VERY annoying. To the rescue we have the SecretVault App that allows you to easily hide your pictures, Videos, Audios, and any other files that you do not want others to see.

      • Android

        • Google, Intel vow to speed up delivery of Android updates
          It usually takes months for mobile devices to get Android updates, but Intel and Google want to slash the wait time.

          Tablets and smartphones made as part of a new Intel mobile-device development program will be able to receive new Android versions and features in two weeks via over-the-air upgrades.

        • AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S5 gets Android 5.0 Lollipop

        • Exclusive: Google is close to making Android Wear work on the iPhone

        • Which smartwatch sucks least? Apple Watch, Android Wear, Pebble, Samsung Gear?
          Reviews of Tim's Apple Watch are pouring in, mixing like oil and water. Most reviewers agree that Apple's new shiny timepiece isn't fully perfected. That being said, the chief contention among reviews relate to degree and magnitude of imperfection. In other words, many reviewers can't agree on (if or by) how much the Apple Watch sucks.

        • Google Boasts Android Wear Watch Bands Available From Clockwork Synergy, E3 Supply Co., And Worn & Wound
          Apple has spared no opportunity to advertise how customizable its debut smartwatch is, thanks to the promised number of bands wearers will be able to swap in and out. Unsurprisingly Google wants to take some of the wind out of those sails. The company has taken this moment to highlight a set of straps available for various Android Wear devices from the likes of Clockwork Synergy, E3 Supply Co., and Worn & Wound.

        • Watch Wars: Apple Watch vs. Android Wear
          The Apple Watch hits stores in just two weeks, and based on the reviews, it’s both an impressive bit of modern technology and a beautiful piece of jewelry. But the Apple Watch isn’t the only smartwatch on the market.

          Apple’s nemesis, Google, already has its own watch operating system, Android Wear, and companies like Samsung, LG, and Motorola make smartwatches that run it. What’s more, these Google watches are less expensive than the Apple Watch and come in a host of different styles.

        • Android 5.1 Lollipop Update For Nexus 5 Rolls Out To More Users; Nexus 4, 7, 9 Confirmed Next By Google
          The Android 5.1 Lollipop update for the Nexus 5 is finally starting to roll out to additional owners of the smartphone almost a month after being initially announced by Google.

        • Sony Begins Xperia Z2 And Z2 Tablet Android Lollipop Global Rollout
          As previously announced, Sony has started pushing Android Lollipop out to Xperia Z2 and Z2 tablet devices all over the world. These updates are going out in phases and vary according to your region and carrier, so you still may have to exercise patience a bit longer.

        • Google is bringing back month view to its Calendar app for Android
          As it turns out, Google has been listening to your feedback and has decided to reintroduce month view to its Calendar app. Since Google updated the Calendar app alongside the jump to Android 5.0 Lollipop, many users have been begging the company to bring back the month overview so they can see more events at one time.

        • New Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Release Imminent
          A new Nexus 7 Android 5.1 update has been confirmed thanks to Google’s Android Open Source Project and it’s probably not the one that many Nexus 7 users were expecting.

        • Logitech Keys-To-Go now available for Android, Windows

        • Sony Xperia Z Ultra GPe now receiving OTA update for Android 5.1
          While Sony is gearing up to release its fourth Xperia Z phone, some phablet fans are still sitting pretty with the original’s larger-than-life cousin, the Xperia Z Ultra. For those who opted to keep things pure, the GPe variant was the way to go. Fortunately, Google hasn’t forgotten about the largest phone to have been offered with stock Android, as the just a few days after Android 5.1 hit LG’s G Pad 8.3 GPe, it’s now time for the Z Ultra GPe to receive the latest Lollipop build.

        • This brilliant free Android app will change the way you use your phone
          Multitasking is great, but smartphones will never offer a multitasking experience on par with desktop devices because they just don’t have enough screen real estate. That doesn’t mean switching back and forth from app to app is the only way to go on mobile phones, however, and a great Android app called Flynx has come up with a simple and elegant solution that you really have to check out.

        • Firefox for Android passes 100 million downloads four years after launch
          Mozilla announced Firefox for Android hit a big milestone today: 100 million downloads. The figure is confirmed on Google Play, where the app now shows the installs category is in the “100,000,000 – 500,000,000″ range.

        • Amazon Prime Instant Video finally comes to Android tablets
          For the longest time, Amazon enticed users to choose the Fire tablet with exclusive access to Prime Instant Video; despite the fact that Fire devices run a version of Android, purely Android tablets were denied the benefits of their modified brethren. Yesterday, though, that finally changed — Amazon unceremoniously made the Prime Instant Video app available to all Android tablets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ScrollBack, a refreshing new community management tool
    ScrollBack is a new, open source community management tool that offers the extensive reach of social media, the engagement and archival abilities of forums, and the interactive and real time experience of chat.

  • Google open-sources Santa Claus
    For those of you who are more “bah humbug” than “pass the eggnog”, Santa Tracker offers an online method of tracking Santa's fictional progress through the logistical chore of stuffing soon-to-be-ignored amusing plastic tat down the chimneys of the world's best-fed and most-privileged children.

  • Open source won, so what’s next?
    Twenty years ago, open source was a cause. Ten years ago, it was the underdog. Today, it sits upon the Iron Throne ruling all it surveys. Software engineers now use open source frameworks, languages, and tools in almost all projects.

  • Does open source contribute to a more open society?
    Many companies say they love open source, but what does that actually mean? Does it mean they use a lot of software other people have written? Does it mean they like that they don't have to pay for things? Or do they understand that loving open source also means contributing back to the community the code came from?

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Git Success Stories and Tips from Drupal Core Committer Angie Byron
      The Git revision control system is “at the center” of Drupal's hyper-collaborative community says Drupal core committer Angie Byron. The open source content management platform has 37,802 developers with Git commit access, and about 1,300 actively committing each month, she says.

    • Open source is key to the future of CMS development
      Open source will remain the best way to achieve a better developer experience, and as it grows in popularity, engaging with neighbor technology will become easier. Reusing existing components and becoming more distributed will be less complex. Thanks to open source, developers are able to work faster and more efficiently, which is good for business. But this is just the beginning. Open source has taken the CMS development experience to a whole new level, and it doesn't look like it's slowing down anytime soon.

    • FBI Warns That WordPress Faces Terrorist Attack Risk
      The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an alert on April 7 about the potential danger of Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists abusing vulnerabilities in the open-source WordPress blog and content management system software.

  • Funding

    • What's so special about Google Summer of Code?
      Google has a program for their employees called 20% time that allows them to work on a side project one day a week. It's how Carol Smith came to manage their Google Summer of Code (GSoC) program over 5 years ago. That, and learning about the job from the program manager at the time, Leslie Hawthorn, who later left Google in 2010, opening up the job for Smith.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Updates Its ACPICA Implementation
      DragonFlyBSD developers have updated their ACPI power management implementation against Intel's ACPICA code as of yesterday.

      With this commit pushed out today, it syncs the ACPICA code in the DragonFlyBSD kernel against Intel's newest reference code. This contains the first part of upstream DragonFlyBSD support, the Windows 10 _OSI string was added, printf issue fixes, and other changes.

      Details on the ACPI Component Architecture can be found at

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Greece holds public consultation on re-opening of national TV network
      The Greek government has held a three-day public consultation on the re-opening of the public TV channel ERT. The consultation was opened on the national open government portal,, on March 9 and closed on March 12 at 10.00. In total, 583 comments were added by Greek citizens.


  • Security

    • New South Wales Attacks Researchers Who Found Internet Voting Vulnerabilities
      A security flaw in New South Wales’ Internet voting system may have left as many as 66,000 votes vulnerable to interception and manipulation in a recent election, according to security researchers. Despite repeated assurances from the Electoral Commission that all Internet votes are “fully encrypted and safeguarded,” six days into online voting, Michigan Computer Science Professor J. Alex Halderman and University of Melbourne Research Fellow Vanessa Teague discovered a FREAK flaw that could allow an attacker to intercept votes and inject their own code to change those votes, all without leaving any trace of the manipulation. (FREAK stands for Factoring RSA Export Keys and refers to the exploitation of a weakness in the SSL/TLS protocol that allows attackers to force browsers to use weak encryption keys.) But instead of taking the researchers’ message to heart, officials instead attacked the messengers.

    • as always bundling fixes is bad
      I figure 24 hours is about the amount of time it takes from a security patch to be released until weaponized exploits show up. After that, if you’re not patched, you’re living dangerously, depending on the nature of the bug. Bundling new features with a high risk of regression with security fixes means users wait to upgrade.

      The iOS 8.3 update is 280MB. It can’t even be downloaded over the air, only via wifi. Security patches are important enough that they should always be made available separately. Then I could download them, even OTA, without fear of regression.

      What aggravates me most is that this is business as usual. As always. We’re training people not to patch. Users should be embarrassed to admit they’re running unpatched software; instead it’s regarded as the prudent choice.

    • Google Lets SMTP Certificate Expire
      The certificate was issued by Google Internet Certificate Authority G2, which issues digital certificates for Google web sites and properties.

    • Data security warning after conference breach
      Experts have repeated conference data security warnings after it was revealed the personal details of thousands of conference delegates may have been leaked in Australia after a data breach.

    • Linux Australia gets pwned, rooted, RATted and botted
      Linux Australia had a bit of a nightmare Easter Weekend.

      While the rest of us were loafing at the beach, the Penguinistas from Down Under were owning up to a pretty extensive cyberintrusion.

      The team has published a decent document setting out what happened, and it went something like this:

      Crooks broke into the organisation's Conference Management server. Crooks got root on the server. Crooks installed a remote access Trojan (RAT) for later. Crooks rebooted the server and activated the RAT. Crooks "logged in" again and installed zombie malware, also known as a bot. While the crooks had access, a conference database backup took place to the server.

      Ironically, the backup that was intended to deliver one leg of the "security trinity" (availability) ended up hurting one of the other legs (confidentiality).

    • 2FA with (Free) IPA. The good, the bad and the ugly
      All your systems are Fedora 21, RHEL 7.1 or Ubuntu 14.02 all is working fine as the included SSSD is new enough to handle 2FA. All kerberized services can be used with 2FA w/o logging in again during the validity of your Kerberos ticket. Very convenient, very secure.


      2FA works well, convenient and secure in a datacenter and office environment. Notebooks are fine as well as long as there is a network connection available. The mobile world (Smartphones and Tablets) is not yet ready for 2FA. Some issues can be worked around (with some drawbacks) while others render 2FA not usable at all (offline usage).

      Hopefully there will be some smart solutions available for mobile usage soon, as mobile usage causes the most of the security headaches.

    • Thursday's security updates

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Real Nuclear Threat in the Middle East
      This is something out of Alice in Wonderland. The Islamic Republic of Iran, born in 1979, has not attacked another country. (With U.S. help, Iraq attacked Iran in 1980.) In contrast, Israel has attacked its Arab neighbors several times its founding, including two devastating invasions and a long occupation of Lebanon, not to mention repeated onslaughts in the Gaza Strip and the military occupation of the West Bank. Israel has also repeatedly threatened war against Iran and engaged in covert and proxy warfare, including the assassination of scientists. Even with Iran progressing toward a nuclear agreement, Israel (like the United States) continues to threaten Iran.

    • NRA Annual Meeting To Enmesh Gun Extremism With GOP Presidential Hopefuls

    • Pakistan court says former CIA station chief will face charges over drone strike
      The former head of the CIA in Pakistan should be tried for murder and waging war against the country, a high court judge ruled on Tuesday.

      Criminal charges against Jonathan Banks, the former CIA station chief in Islamabad, were ordered in relation to a December 2009 attack by a US drone which reportedly killed at least three people.

    • Pakistani Court Orders Ex-C.I.A. Officials Charged Over 2009 Drone Strike
      A Pakistani court on Tuesday ordered criminal charges to be filed against a former C.I.A. station chief and a former C.I.A. lawyer over a 2009 drone strike that killed two people.

    • 560 dead amid fears of humanitarian collapse in Yemen
      As tons of desperately needed medical supplies await clearance to be flown into Yemen, aid workers warned Tuesday of an unfolding humanitarian crisis, saying at least 560 people, including dozens of children, have been killed, mostly in a Saudi-led air campaign and battles between Shiite rebels and forces loyal to the embattled president.

      More than 1,700 people have been wounded and another 100,000 have fled their homes as fighting intensified over the past three weeks, the World Health Organization said.

    • Al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen exploits chaos to rebuild, officials say
      The CIA’s drone base in the rippled surface of the Saudi Arabian desert has undergone major renovations over the past few years. Satellite imagery shows dozens of additions that appear to include living quarters, a new clamshell hangar for hiding aircraft and neat rows of freshly planted palm trees.

    • The Unreal Secrecy About Drone Killings
      Last year, after concluding that many passages in the document “no longer merited secrecy,” the Second Circuit published a redacted version of the Justice Department’s July 2010 Office of Legal Council memo that approved the “targeted killing” of Anwar al-Aulaqi. The court’s view was that government officials had already disclosed much of the information they were trying to withhold. In speeches, media interviews, and congressional testimony, officials had acknowledged the government’s role in the strike that killed al-Aulaqi, explained the purported legal basis for the strike, and invoked still-secret OLC memos to reassure the public that the strike was lawful. Having done all of this, the court said, the government couldn’t plausibly claim that the entirety of the July 2010 memo was still secret, and it couldn’t lawfully withhold the entirety of the memo under the Freedom of Information Act.

      From one perspective, the Second Circuit’s ruling was a victory for transparency. Human rights groups and media organizations had been calling for the release of the legal memos underlying the targeted-killing program; thanks to the Second Circuit’s ruling, one of those memos — arguably the most important one — was made public. From another perspective, the court’s ruling wasn’t very significant at all. The ruling didn’t expose secrets. By its own terms, it exposed facts and legal analysis that had already been disclosed.

    • Government’s Assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki Used “Significantly Different” EO 12333 Analysis
      Jameel Jaffer has a post on the government’s latest crazy-talk in the ongoing ACLU and NYT effort to liberate more drone memos. He describes how — in the government’s response to their appeal of the latest decisions on the Anwar al-Awlaki FOIA — the government claims the Court’s release of an OLC memo does not constitute official release of that memo. (Note, I wouldn’t be surprised if the government is making this claim in anticipation of orders to release torture pictures in ACLU’s torture FOIA suit that’s about to head to the 2nd Circuit.)

      But there’s another interesting aspect of that brief. It provides heavily redacted discussion of the things Judge Colleen McMahon permitted the government to withhold. But it makes it clear that one of those things is a March 2002 OLC memo that offers different analysis about the assassination ban than the analysis used to kill Anwar al-Awlaki.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange on the NSA, Edward Snowden and the Fight Against Government Surveillance
      The AMA saw Assange fielding questions alongside Sarah Harrison, Renata Avila and Andy Müller-Maguhn, who were all representing the Courage Foundation, an organization which runs the official defense funds of whistleblowers. Assange spoke of how he believes the NSA leaks impacted society and its relationship with the government, along with outlining his thoughts on how the public can help protect whistleblowers, and offering his opinion on whether or not the average Joe’s and Jane’s can have any influence on how the government operates in regards to the privacy of its citizens.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Gatwick oil find 'could produce billions of barrels'
      An oilfield near Gatwick airport could hold up to 100bn barrels of oil, according to a British exploration firm, in possibly the biggest onshore oil discovery in England since the 1980s.

      UK Oil and Gas Investments revealed it had found a “world-class potential resource” after drilling 3,000ft below ground in West Sussex. However, UKOG said only 3-15% of the total would be recovered, based on similar finds in the US.

    • As Colombian Oil Money Flowed To Clintons, State Department Took No Action To Prevent Labor Violations
      For union organizers in Colombia, the dangers of their trade were intensifying. When workers at the country’s largest independent oil company staged a strike in 2011, the Colombian military rounded them up at gunpoint and threatened violence if they failed to disband, according to human rights organizations. Similar intimidation tactics against the workers, say labor leaders, amounted to an everyday feature of life.

  • Finance

    • Hollywood Swinging Hard for Trans-Pacific Partnership
      Hollywood moguls and the vast majority of leftist entertainers have joined forces in a last-ditch effort to bully wavering Democratic lawmakers into backing President Obama’s fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as the centerpiece of what he calls his “pro-trade agenda.”

    • WikiLeaks Disclosure Shows U.S. Airlines Received Billions in Subsidies
      WikiLeaks did more than expose governmental eavesdropping and foreign policy blunders: A 2009 data dump is shedding new light on the spat between Delta, United, and American and the three largest Gulf carriers over government subsidies and Open Skies agreements.

      The Business Travel Coalition, which backs retaining Open Skies agreements and is seeking to counter the U.S. carriers’ charges that Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad received $42 billion in unfair government subsidies, uncovered a U.S. congressional report, disclosed by WikiLeaks in 2009, that documents how U.S. aviation, including commercial airlines, the FAA, and airports, received $155 billion in federal direct spending from 1918 to 1998.

    • Op-Ed: What you don't know about the Transpacific Partnership

    • What happens to democracy in a cashless society?
      Last month I was asked to speak at a conference in the City of London on the ethical issues surrounding new payment systems. The audience was packed with people working on innovative things like payment apps for smart phones and ‘contactless payments,’ where you can just wave a card or a phone over a terminal.

      Their new financial technologies are rapidly changing the way we pay for everything. This may be convenient, but as wand-waving and other high-tech alternatives to cash become the only ways to pay for anything, what happens if the wand loses its magic? What are the costs of becoming entirely dependent on technology in a cashless society?


      This uncertainty is related to a second issue—that of anti-competitive practices. Visa and Mastercard already account for over 80 percent of the credit card market worldwide, and well over 90 per cent in many countries. The Financial Times refers to this situation as “a well-protected oligopoly” and so, for them, a good investment. Yet it also represents a hitherto unimaginable degree of control over the means of payment. Even if policies are adopted to diversify this market or—if that doesn’t work—to break up these oligopolies directly, such unprecedented levels of control raise a third area of concern in the form of peoples’ rights to privacy.

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

      • Three Fake Myths–and Two Actual Ones–About TPP Trade Pact
        The proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are doing everything they can to try to push their case as they prepare for the fast-track vote before Congress this month. Roger Altman, a Wall Street investment banker and former Clinton administration Treasury official, weighed with a New York Times column, co-authored by Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

        They begin by giving us three “myths”–all of which happen to be accurate depictions of reality. The first “myth” is that trade agreements have hurt US manufacturing workers and thereby the labor market more generally. Altman and Haas cite work by MIT economist David Autor showing that trade with China has reduced manufacturing employment by 21 percent, but then assert that the problem is trade not trade agreements.

      • Hillary Clinton hires a Google exec as the first woman to manage technology for a presidential campaign
        Hillary Clinton is betting that if Stephanie Hannon can handle natural disasters, she can certainly handle a controversial presidential campaign.

        Hannon, Google's director or product management, has left the Internet giant to take over as the chief technology officer for Clinton's still unannounced presidential campaign.

      • Clinton Hires Google Exec As Chief Tech Officer - WikiLeaks Shows Us Why
        Hillary Clinton has hired Stephanie Hannon, Google’s director of product management for civic innovation and social impact, as chief technology officer for her potential presidential campaign, fueling accusations from Julian Assange that Google is in bed with the US government.

  • Privacy

    • The FBI used to recommend encryption. Now they want to ban it
      The FBI wants to make us all less safe. At least that’s the implication from FBI director Jim Comey’s push to ban unbreakable encryption and deliberately weaken everyone’s security. And it’s past time that the White House makes its position clear once and for all.

      Comey was back before Congress this week - this time in front of the House Appropriations Committee - imploring Congressmen to pass a law that would force tech companies to create a backdoor in any phone or communications tool that uses encryption.

    • U.S. directs federal agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
      A DEA official said, "Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day. It's decades old, a bedrock concept."

    • Facebook’s Deepface Software Has Gotten Them in Deep Trouble
      In a Chicago court, several Facebook users filed a class-action lawsuit against the social media giant for allegedly violating its users’ privacy rights to acquire the largest privately held stash of biometric face-recognition data in the world.

      The court documents reveal claims that “Facebook began violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (IBIPA) of 2008 in 2010, in a purported attempt to make the process of tagging friends easier.”

    • A chat client which protects you from NSA’s snooping
      Have you been trying to convince friends and family to use encryption in light on the NSA revelations and had little success? is a newly released web based chat client that requires no installation and offers OTR encryption via JavaScript libraries. With no installs necessary, sending encrypted messages to your least technical friends should be a lot less challenging.

    • Ajusto app that watches your driving habits leads to privacy concerns
      Desjardins Insurance has launched a smartphone app that tracks driver behaviour in return for the promise of substantial savings on car insurance, the first of its type in Canada, the company says.
    • The Woman Who Hacked Hollywood
      It’s been almost ten years since Laura Poitras’ name has been on the NSA Watch List. Every time she returns to her home country, security agents wait for her, somewhere between the gate of the plane and the US Immigration booth. They take her away to a room, confiscate her gear, her notebooks, and her videos. They question her and copy her hard drives. This has happened to her at least forty times since 2006.

    • Aboard Flights, Conflicts Over Seat Assignments and Religion
      Francesca Hogi, 40, had settled into her aisle seat for the flight from New York to London when the man assigned to the adjoining window seat arrived and refused to sit down. He said his religion prevented him from sitting beside a woman who was not his wife. Irritated but eager to get underway, she eventually agreed to move.
    • John Oliver’s interview with Edward Snowden: Pseudo-satire in defense of NSA surveillance
      Comedy host John Oliver conducted an interview with National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden in Moscow recently that was broadcast Sunday on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” In the process, Oliver exposed his solidarity with the American state and its vast, illegal spying operations. He took the opportunity of the conversation to come out harshly against Snowden’s decision to leak large quantities of NSA documents.

      Pushing for a confession that his actions were potentially “harmful,” the British-born Oliver demanded to know whether Snowden had personally read every single document contained in the files that the former NSA employee transferred to journalists beginning in the summer of 2013.

      “I have evaluated all of the documents that are in the archive. I do understand what I turned over,” Snowden replied.

      “There’s a difference between understanding what’s in the documents and reading what’s in the documents. Because when you’re handing over thousands of NSA documents, the last thing you’d want to do is read them,” Oliver retorted sarcastically. He went on, “You have to own that. You’re giving documents with information that could be harmful.”

      Oliver repeated the favored arguments of the Obama administration and intelligence establishment to the effect that the preservation of “national security” required the elimination of civil liberties, such as Fourth Amendment protections against arbitrary searches and seizures.

    • CISA Hack of the Day: White House Can Already Share Intelligence with the State Department
      In about 10 days, Congress will take up cyber information sharing bills. And unlike past attempts, these bills are likely to pass.

      That, in spite of the fact that no one has yet explained how they’ll make a significant difference in preventing hacks.

      So I’m going to try to examine roughly one hack a day that immunized swift information sharing between the government and the private sector wouldn’t prevent.

    • The US Gov Can Download the Entire Contents of Your Computer at Border Crossings
      Hundreds of thousands of travelers cross US borders every day. And none of them—save the precious few with diplomatic immunity—have any right to privacy, according to Department of Homeland Security documents recently obtained by MuckRock.

      The US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Privacy Impact Assessment for the Border Searches of Electronic Devices outlines the finer points of border officials’ authority to search the electronic devices of citizens and non-citizens alike crossing the US border. What becomes clear is that this authority has been broadly interpreted to mean that any device brought into or out of the country is subject to the highest level of scrutiny, even when there is no explicit probable cause.

      Based upon little more than the opinion of a single US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer, any device can be searched and its contents read. With approval from a supervisor, the device can be seized, its contents copied in full, or both.
    • Fixing the FISA Court by Fixing FISA: A Response to Carrie Cordero
      Finally, we must briefly push back on Carrie’s statement that “changing FISA’s standard to a ‘significant purpose’ . . . has been overwhelmingly understood as an important substantive correction.” We may be traveling in somewhat different circles, but that hasn’t been our experience. Rather, among colleagues in our field, this change is widely viewed as the moment in which FISA became an existential threat to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in ordinary criminal cases. The “correction” that’s needed is to restore the primary purpose test.

    • Stop making the NSA the bogeyman of privacy
      I mention this because a lot of people seem concerned that the "cyber threat sharing" bills in congress (CISA/CISPA) will divulge private information to the NSA. This is nonsense. The issue is private information exposed to the FBI and other domestic agencies. It's the FBI, ATF, or DEA that will come break down your door and arrest you, not the NSA.
    • U.S.: Azano Is a Supervillain … Who We Let Deal Surveillance Equipment
      Federal prosecutors have portrayed wealthy Mexican businessman José Susumo Azano Matsura as a supervillain who was always one step ahead of the law. For two decades, prosecutors said, federal agents investigated Azano for drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion and tax fraud to no avail before he was popped last year on charges he illegally donated to San Diego politicians.

      But the relationship between Azano and the U.S. government is more complicated than the Justice Department has let on.

    • Senate creating secret encyclopedia of US spy programs following Merkel eavesdrop disclosure
      Trying to get a handle on hundreds of sensitive, closely held surveillance programs, a Senate committee is compiling a secret encyclopedia of American intelligence collection. It's part of an effort to improve congressional oversight of the government's sprawling global spying effort.

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein launched the review in October 2013, after a leak by former National Security Agency systems administrator Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA had been eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. Four months earlier, Snowden had revealed the existence of other programs that vacuumed up Americans' and foreigners' phone call records and electronic communications.

      "We're trying right now to look at every intelligence program," Feinstein told The Associated Press. "There are hundreds of programs we have found ... sprinkled all over. Many people in the departments don't even know (they) are going on."

      Feinstein and other lawmakers say they were fully briefed about the most controversial programs leaked by Snowden, the NSA's collection of American phone records and the agency's access to U.S. tech company accounts in targeting foreigners through its PRISM program. Those programs are conducted under acts of Congress, supervised by a secret federal court.
    • Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
      A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

      Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

    • Baltimore police often surveil cellphones amid US secrecy
      The Baltimore Police Department has used secretive cellphone surveillance equipment 4,300 times and believes it is under orders by the U.S. government to withhold evidence from criminal trials and ignore subpoenas in cases where the device is used, a police detective testified Wednesday.

      The unusual testimony in a criminal case marked a rare instance when details have been revealed about the surveillance devices, which the Obama administration has aggressively tried to keep secret. Citing security reasons, the government has intervened in routine state public-records cases and criminal trials, and has advised police not to disclose details.
    • Why Don't Surveillance State Defenders Seem To Care That The Programs They Love Don't Work?
      He also details some of the over-inflated claims of other surveillance programs in the past -- all of which were later shown to be false. But, the article doesn't really attempt to answer the question -- just raise it. In the past, we've noticed that the entire concept of a cost-benefit analysis seems antithetical to the way the surveillance state does business. But why is that?

    • Baltimore PD Has Deployed Stingray Devices Over 4,300 Times, Instructed By FBI To Withhold Info From Courts
      Say what you will about the Baltimore PD and its cell tower spoofers (like... "It would rather let accused criminals go than violate its [bogus] non-disclosure agreement with the FBI…" or "It hides usage of these devices behind pen register/trap and trace warrants and then argues the two collection methods are really the same thing…"), but at least it's making sure the hundreds of thousands of dollars it's spent on the technology isn't going to waste.

  • Civil Rights

    • To Catch a Torturer: My 28-Year Pursuit of Racist Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge
      On February 13, 2015, former Chicago Police Commander Jon G. Burge was released from federal custody, having served a little less than four years of his four-and-a-half year sentence for lying under oath about whether he tortured scores of African-American men during his time as commander. Less than a week before, I sat across from him in a small room in Tampa, Florida, questioning him, pursuant to a court order, yet again about his role in a torture case—this time, the case of Alonzo Smith, who was repeatedly suffocated with a plastic bag and beaten with a rubber nightstick in the basement of the Area 2 police station by two of Burge’s most violent henchmen after Burge informed him that they “would get him to talk, one way or another.”

    • Media Were Already Running With Police Fantasy When Video Exploded It
      The New York Times (4/7/15) released a video of a black South Carolina man Walter Scott being shot, casually and without apparent mercy, eight times in the back by white police officer Michael T. Slager. The media’s outrage after the video’s publication was righteous and swift. The state of South Carolina followed suit, filing murder charges against Slager. Indeed, the video offers no ambiguity whatsoever:

    • South Carolina Officer Is Charged With Murder of Walter Scott
      A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder on Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him shooting in the back and killing an apparently unarmed black man while the man ran away.

      The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, said he had feared for his life because the man had taken his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man, Walter L. Scott, 50, fled. The North Charleston mayor announced the state charges at a news conference Tuesday evening.

    • O'Reilly Cherry-Picks Debunked Statistics To Downplay Racial Disparities In Police Shootings
      Bill O'Reilly cited debunked statistics to claim that more white than black Americans are killed by police officers in the wake of the fatal South Carolina police shooting of an unarmed black man.

      A police officer was charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black man in North Charleston, South Carolina on April 7, as reported by The New York Times. The Times noted that "the shooting came on the heels of high-profile instances of police officers' using lethal force in New York, Cleveland, Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere. The deaths have set off a national debate over whether the police are too quick to use force, particularly in cases involving black men."

    • Time Peddles Old Stereotypes With Op-Ed on Iranian ‘Carpet Merchants’
      This series of ethnic stereotypes becomes Oren’s whole prism for interpreting the negotiations, which are “an ideal example of how not to buy a Middle Eastern carpet.” He argues: “The Security Council’s five permanent members plus Germany could have offered the lowest possible price as their final bid—take it or leave it. Iran would have had little choice but to sell the carpet.”

      When the US and its negotiating partners “recogniz[ed] the Islamic Republic’s right to enrich and to maintain its nuclear facilities,” Oren scolds: “The haggling had scarcely begun and already the merchant profited.” Actually, the right to a peaceful nuclear program was guaranteed to Iran when it signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (FAIR Blog, 4/8/13), but there isn’t really a stereotype that involves the customers of a “merchant” agreeing to respect international law.

    • Violated At The Airport By TSA Thug Sharonda Juana Walker (not sure on the spelling of "Sharonda")
      There's not an ounce of probable cause to search me at the airport -- as I was today at LAX. To violate my body. To touch my breasts. To grope my hair. To have the blue latex-gloved hand of Sharonda Juana Walker, feel inside my turtleneck.

      And no, I don't go through the scanners, and the metal detector line wasn't an option at just before 7 a.m., when I got to the airport to leave, not an ISIS meet-and-greet but an evolutionary psychology conference in Boston. Apparently, the sparse traffic at the airport at this hour leaves them plenty of time to feel up travelers.

    • Walter Scott shooting witness Feidin Santana reveals how he captured the video that saw police officer Michael Slager arrested
      The witness hailed as a hero for capturing the shooting of Walter Scott on camera has come forward to speak publicly about the incident for the first time.

      Identified by NBC News as Feidin Santana, the man whose video made headlines around the world described the “emotional” moment he handed his vital evidence over to the Scott family.

      Mr Santana’s video showed 33-year-old Officer Michael Slager shooting Mr Scott in the back as he runs away, and the witness said he only came forward when the police’s version of events – that Mr Scott had seized control of the officer’s Taser – appeared in the media.

    • Don't ask why Walter Scott ran, ask why he was killed in cold blood: opinion
      Anyone with a sliver of vision and a shred of morality can see this.

      South Carolina Patrolman Michael Slager cowardly hid behind his badge when he claimed he felt threatened by Scott after pulling him over for a faulty brake light. Slager alleged that Scott reached for the officer's stun gun and his life was in danger - Slager said he had no other option but to kill Scott.

      Slager lied. Video evidence does not.

      That video showed the world that the real victim was Scott, who was shot in the back as he attempted to run from Slager. And the real criminal is Slager, a man who resorted to lethal force after a mere traffic stop.

      The facts are clear-cut and the video evidence is undeniable. So why do I keep hearing this statement?

    • Video of Shooting Caught Police Propaganda Machine in Action
      A video supplied to The New York Times, showing the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott at the hands of a South Carolina police officer, appears on first viewing to be the latest example of an unarmed black person killed unnecessarily by a white cop.

      But it’s so much more than that. Because three days elapsed between the shooting and the publication of the video of the shooting, the Scott incident became an illuminating case study in the routinized process through which police officers, departments and attorneys frame the use of deadly force by American cops in the most sympathetic possible terms, often claiming fear of the very people they killed. In the days after the shooting, the police version of events — an utterly typical example of the form — was trotted out, only to be sharply contradicted when the video surfaced. In most cases like this, there is no video, no definitive, undisputed record of much of what happened, and thus no way to rebut inaccurate statements by the police.

    • DEA Global Surveillance Dragnet Exposed; Access to Data Likely Continues
      Secret mass surveillance conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration is falling under renewed scrutiny after fresh revelations about the broad scope of the agency’s electronic spying.

    • Former F.B.I. Agent Sues, Claiming Retaliation Over Misgivings in Anthrax Case
      When Bruce E. Ivins, an Army microbiologist, took a fatal overdose of Tylenol in 2008, the government declared that he had been responsible for the anthrax letter attacks of 2001, which killed five people and set off a nationwide panic, and closed the case.

      Now, a former senior F.B.I. agent who ran the anthrax investigation for four years says that the bureau gathered “a staggering amount of exculpatory evidence” regarding Dr. Ivins that remains secret. The former agent, Richard L. Lambert, who spent 24 years at the F.B.I., says he believes it is possible that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax mailer, but he does not think prosecutors could have convicted him had he lived to face criminal charges.

      In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tennessee last Thursday, Mr. Lambert accused the bureau of trying “to railroad the prosecution of Ivins” and, after his suicide, creating “an elaborate perception management campaign” to bolster its claim that he was guilty. Mr. Lambert’s lawsuit accuses the bureau and the Justice Department of forcing his dismissal from a job as senior counterintelligence officer at the Energy Department’s lab in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in retaliation for his dissent on the anthrax case.
    • Times Of Israel Scrubs Another Pro-Genocide Post Against Palestinians

      It was a nasty kind of deja vu at the Times of Israel on Thursday after the website caused an uproar by publishing and then removing an op-ed calling for the mass murder of Palestinians.

    • How St. Louis Police Robbed My Family of $1000 (and How I’m Trying To Get It Back)
      On a late spring evening eight years ago, police pulled over my mother’s 1997 Oldsmobile Aurora, in the suburb of St. Ann, Missouri, as she raced to pick up a relative from St. Louis’s Lambert International Airport. “Do you know why I stopped you?” the officer asked. “No I don’t,” my mother answered. The police charged her with speeding, but she did not receive a mere ticket. Instead, an officer ran my mother’s name and told her that since she had failed to appear in court for driving without a license, there was a six-year-old warrant out for her arrest. “I just started crying. I couldn’t believe it,” my mother said. The police arrested her and hauled her off to St. Louis County Jail, where authorities eventually allowed her one phone call, which she placed to my stepfather. He said, shaking his head, “I was surprised because I knew she didn’t have no warrants.”

    • Sweden keeps ban on spontaneous dancing
      Spontaneous dancing remains outlawed in Sweden except in venues with special “dance licences” after a majority in parliament voted down a move to free the feet.
    • Dick Cheney Gets Judy Miller to Serve as His Cut-Out, Again
      Particularly given that the only question of those I posed for my book that Miller did not answer was whether she saw Cheney on the trip to Aspen that she used to explain Scooter Libby’s Aspen letter, I find her admission that she did and does speak to Cheney — though had not, about the war — telling. (Remember, too, that Cheney did not release journalists he had spoken to to reveal him as a source in the way everyone else in the Executive Branch did.)

      Miller goes on to present a nonsense story about how Fitzgerald misled her and caused her to testify incorrectly, falsely testifying to the grand jury that Libby had told her Plame was at the CIA back in June. It doesn’t make sense — and doesn’t do anything to undermine the other evidence that would have been sufficient to convict Libby, notably Libby’s own notes and David Addington’s testimony as well as a second, far more important, meeting between Libby and Miller just days before Novak outed Plame.

      Maybe Miller just has no fucking clue what got presented at the trial?

      But having presented a flimsy excuse to question the verdict against Libby, Miller has presented others with an opportunity to point to another detail she includes in her book: that Fitzgerald offered to drop the charges against Libby if he would testify against Cheney. Again, that’s not surprising. Libby’s lies served to cover up Cheney’s orders to leak stuff to Judy Miller (not in the meeting she newly focuses on, but in the meeting during the week of Novak’s article).

    • America’s glaring double standard on terror: Why the Tsarnaev conviction is another black eye for Gitmo
      “Did the use of pressure cooker bombs,” the jury in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial was asked in several different ways on Wednesday afternoon, “cause the death of Martin Richard?”

      “Yes,” the jury declared Tsarnaev’s guilt in the murder of Richard, the 8-year old boy watching the race from the finish line killed in Tsarnaev’s attack on the Boston Marathon two years ago. “Yes,” the jury said, over and over. The jury gave the same response when asked about Tsarnaev’s responsibility for killing Lingzi Lu, a Boston University statistics student; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year old restaurant manager; and Sean Collier, an MIT cop, all of whom he and his brother killed. The jury found Tsarnaev guilty of all 30 counts against him.
    • Desmond Tutu Calls for Justice for Jeffrey Sterling, Citing Petraeus Deal
      Last month, Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote a letter to Leonie Brinkema, the judge in the Jeffrey Sterling trial, calling on her to prove cynicism wrong in her sentencing of Sterling. The letter was docketed this week.

    • Whistleblower Watchdogs Ask President to Remove Zinsler
      We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to urge you to remove the Department of Commerce’s Inspector General, Todd Zinser. Through his actions both before his appointment as IG and since, Mr. Zinser has proven that he is not fit for the position.

      IGs are supposed to root out fraud, waste, and abuse—a job they would not be able to do without whistleblowers. If there is anyone in government who should understand the importance of utilizing and protecting whistleblowers, it is an IG.

      This is why it is particularly worrisome that there have been multiple allegations and investigations of Mr. Zinser’s own retaliation against whistleblowers. A 2013 report by the Office of Special Counsel found that Mr. Zinser had shielded two top deputies charged with threatening two employees with retaliation if they blew the whistle on mismanagement at the Commerce IG’s office.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Big Media Companies Insist That VPN Services Violate Copyright Law
        Back during the SOPA fight, in a discussion with someone who was working with the politicians pushing SOPA, I pointed out that such a law would encourage much more encryption -- and the response was "that's no problem, because we'll just ban encryption next." As stupid and impossible as such a statement is, it shows the mindset of some copyright extremists. Thus, it should be no surprise that they're actually starting down just such a path in New Zealand. As we noted last year, Kiwi ISPs, frustrated that their users kept running up against geoblocks, have started offering VPN services that get around geoblocks as a standard feature there. Basically, this is nothing more than a recognition that the internet really is global and attempts to pretend otherwise are pretty fruitless.

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