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Links 4/2/2017: Tails for 64-bit Processors, Wine 2.1 Development

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Librem 13 coreboot report – February 3rd, 2017: It’s Alive!
      It’s been 3 weeks since I wrote my last blog post but this is going to be a short update, in big part because I’ve spent the first two weeks sick in bed and thus wasn’t able to do much at all. However, in the last week I did manage to make some big progress, and the result represents such a great milestone that it warrants a blog post of its own. And, well, I doubt many will complain about not having to read through a wall of text for today’s blog post 🙂

      So the good news is: coreboot is working on the Librem 13. The laptop boots into Linux and most things are working! The only issue I have found so far is that the M.2 SATA port doesn’t seem to work properly yet (see below for more info).

    • Obsidian-1 Icon Theme Based On Faenza And It Revives Desktop
      Obsidian-1 icons are based on Faenza icon theme which is around from some years but the development of Faenza is almost stopped, hope creator again give some time to his popular icons. Obisidian-1 icon theme offers icons for panels, toolbars and buttons and colourful squared icons for devices, applications, folder, files and menu items, there are two version included to fit with light or dark themes. It is in active development which means if you find any missing icon or problem with this icon set then you can report it via linked page and hopefully it will be fixed in the next update. Arc theme suite used in the following screenshots and you can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool to change themes/icons.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • OpenGL Shader Cache Support For RadeonSI Is Making Progress
        Last week we reported that Collabora developer Timothy Arceri would be trying to support Mesa's OpenGL shader cache with RadeonSI while since then work has begun to materialize.

        For RadeonSI Gallium3D users engaging in Linux gaming with shader-intensive workloads like Shadow of Mordor, the on-disk GLSL shader cache is taking shape. Follow this GitHub repository to stay updated with the latest shader cache developments pertaining to the open-source RadoenSI Gallium3D driver.

      • Mesa has a patch from a Valve developer to help ARK Survival Evolved run on the open source drivers
        Samuel Pitoiset from Valve has sent in yet another patch to Mesa, this one focuses on the ARK games: ARK Survival Evolved and Survival Of The Fittest to to run without overrides.

        Essentially, Samuel is arguing that overrides to force Mesa to use specific OpenGL versions should be mainly a developer-option, and that games which require it should auto-set it for users. I completely agree, it's less hassle for us and many people likely aren't aware that specific games need these hacks to run.

      • Enlightenment Wires In Wayland's Pointer Constraints & Relative Pointer Support
        It's been a while since we last had anything to report on Enlightenment's Wayland compositor work, but that changed as we begin February.

        Landing on Friday in Enlightenment Git is support for pointer constraints within their Wayland compositor. This protocol support is about adding constraints to the motion of pointer, such as limiting it to a given region or to its current position.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Plotinus and the quest for searchable menus

      For something that dramatically alters the UX, Plotinus is technically very clean. There is no fork of Gtk+ (the gui toolkit on GNU/Linux) or similarly hacky techniques. It uses the built-in GTK3_MODULES system to extend Gtk+.

      But this brings a downside - compatibility. Plotinus only supports Gtk+ 3 applications. While some in the GNU/Linux community would like to see all applications use Gtk+ 3, this is not the case. Some of the apps with the worst menus, like Inkscape or the GIMP, are written in the older Gtk 2 library.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • New QtLabs PDF module
        A couple of years ago during a hackathon, a couple of us wrote a Qt wrapper around PDFium, the open-source PDF rendering engine which is used for viewing PDFs in Chromium. There have been a few fixes and improvements since then. Now we (finally) have made this module available under the LGPLv3 license.

      • Vaults - Encryption in Plasma
        Five years ago (I’m completely shocked how the time flies), we were working on Plasma Active, and one of the ideas was to allow the user to create private activities in which all the data would be encrypted.

        Now, while the idea itself was solid, there were big problems with its realization. There was no way to force applications to separate the configuration and other data based on whether the user is in the encrypted activity or not. Especially since the same application can run in multiple activities.

      • KDE Applications in Ubuntu Snap Store
        Following the recent addition of easy DBus service snapping in the snap binary bundle format, I am happy to say that we now have some of our KDE Applications in the Ubuntu 16.04 Snap Store.

      • Simple Menu launcher on KDE Store
        Quite a while ago already I wrote a launcher menu widget named Simple Menu. It's using the same backend I wrote for our bundled launchers, and it's a little bit like Application Dashboard scaled down into a small floating window, plus nifty horizontal pagination. It's also really simple and fast.

      • [Video] Spring-loading functionality in Plasma 5.10's Folder View
        Folder View in Plasma 5.10 allows you to navigate folders by hovering above them during drag and drop.

      • [Video] Plasma 5.9

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 20.3 STABLE released.
        This is a minor maintenance release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel. The release ships with the Linux kernel 4.4.44. Additionally, some popular programs (Audacious, Dropbox, FileZilla, Firefox, Java RE, LibreOffice, PeaZip, Thunderbird, WinSCP) have been updated, too.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The February 2017 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine
        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the February 2017 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Calculate Linux 17 Cinnamon released
        Calculate Linux Calculate Linux 17 was launched back at the very end of last year in KDE and MATE editions, You can check Calculate Linux 17 Released.Now it is time to taste the new flavour, Cinnamon. Calculate Linux Team has announced the release of Calculate Linux 17 Cinnamon.

        Well, Calculate Linux Desktop Cinnamon(CLDC) must be having key and basic features and packages just like other DE flavoured Calculate Linux variants.Apart from that CLDC is released with Cinnamon 3.2.7.Other than that Firefox, RythomBox, Gimp, Pidgin, Totem and many more packages are updated and pre-installed in CLDC.

    • Slackware Family

      • Chromium 56, LibreOffice 5.2.5
        I had rebuilt the libreoffice-5.2.4 packages for Slackware -current last week, because library updates in Slackware had broken the spreadsheet application ‘localc‘. And voila… not long afterwards the Document Foundation blog announced 5.2.5: “all users are invited to update to LibreOffice 5.2.5 from LibreOffice 5.1.6 or previous versions“. Today on the first of february, we can even witness the 5.3 release.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Next major Tails release will require a 64-bit processor
          The popular Linux distribution, Tails OS, carries the following slogan on its website “privacy for anyone anywhere”. It seems, though, following some of the latest news from the project, this slogan isn’t exactly true. Beginning with Tails 3.0, users will need a 64-bit processor powering their computer.

        • Privacy-focused Linux-based operating system Tails 3.0 will drop 32-bit processor support
          If you find yourself needing an operating system that respects your privacy, you cannot go wrong with Tails. The live Linux-distro can be run from a DVD which is read-only, meaning there is less of a chance of files being left behind. Heck, Edward Snowden famously used it to protect himself when shining a light on the overreaching US government.

          Unfortunately for some users, Tails will soon not work on their computers. The upcoming version 3.0 of the operating system is dropping 32-bit processor support. While a decline in compatibility is normally a bad thing, in this case, it is good. You see, because there are so few 32-bit Tails users, the team was wasting resources by supporting them. Not to mention, 64-bit processors are more secure too.

        • Tails 3.0 will require a 64-bit processor
          Tails 3.0 will require a 64-bit x86-64 compatible processor. As opposed to older versions of Tails, it will not work on 32-bit processors.

          We have waited for years until we felt it was the right time to do this switch. Still, this was a hard decision for us to make. Today, we want to explain why we eventually made this decision, how it will affect users, and when.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • [Video] Ubuntu Testing Day - Ubuntu Core and QEMU

          • [Video] Ubuntu Unity 8 - Phone, Tablet, Desktop

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Needs Testers, Build Your Own PC
              Jeff Hoogland today posted that time has come to polish up Swami and asked for his bravest users to install the newest to give it a go. Tails is the latest distribution to deprecate their 32-bit architecture and GIMP 2.8.20 was released. Liam Tung reported on a new self-assembled laptop able to run Linux and Rick Broida suggested some light-weight distros for such cases. Just in case you actually take that route, Jamie McKane shared some tips for first time computer assemblers.

            • Conky Alternative Weather Widget "Cumulus" Available For Ubuntu/Linux Mint
              We have many conky versions with super easy installation, you can check conky collection. Cumulus is a free, open source and elegant weather widget for Ubuntu, based on Stormcloud, It was formerly known as 'Typhoon', it stays on the desktop just like conky. Unlike conky it offers customization which includes weather metrics 'Celsius' 'Fahrenheit' 'Kelvin' and 'mph' 'kph' 'm/s', and widget color can be changed directly from settings, depending on user needs. It can be setup to show in all Workspaces, we will show you below how to setup.

            • Looking for Swami Control Panel Testers
              Last time I really talked about our control panel rewrite for Moksha, Swami, was over a year ago. Because last year was a new major release, most of my Bodhi team went into preparing that and making sure it was functional (we are just volunteers after all). This year however, not only do we not have a major release to work on, but I am traveling less for work. This gives me a bit more time to work on Bodhi related things. Today I am happy to share there is a new version of Swami in the repositories ready for some testing. It contains four modules:

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IoT gateway runs Ubuntu on Apollo Lake
      Gigabyte’s “EL-30” IoT gateway offers a Pentium N4200, 8GB DDR3L, 32GB eMMC, dual GbE and HDMI, wide-range power, plus WiFi, BT, and optional 3G and ZigBee.

      Gigabyte has unveiled an IoT gateway that taps Intel’s new 14nm fabricated “Apollo Lake” chips, in this case the quad-core, 1.1/2.5GHz Pentium N4200 with 6W TDP. The EL-30 follows a series of Intel Braswell-based EL-20 IoT gateways, which are primarily promoted as being Windows and Android devices, but also support Ubuntu. By contrast, the EL-30, which is due to ship in the second quarter, gives Ubuntu 16.04 LTS equal billing with Windows 10 IoT, Windows 10, and Android Nougat (7.0).

    • BeagleBone Black gains $50 4.3-inch cap touchscreen Cape
      Element14 and Adafruit have launched a 4.3-inch, 480 x 272 capacitive touchscreen for the BeagleBone Black at an unprecedented price of only $50.

      Adafruit has launched an Element14 made, 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen for only $50, making it the only cap touchscreen for the SBC we’ve seen that sells for under $100. The Element 14 LCD Display Cape, also referred to by Adafruit as the 4.3” LCD Capacitive Touchscreen Display Cape for BeagleBone, is a full-color, backlit TFT touchscreen with 480 x 272-pixel resolution. The “high luminance,” 105.5 x 67.25 x 4.75mm display comes with a 69 x 67.5 x 17mm Cape interface board.

    • Billy Bass, Alexa and a Raspberry Pi
      I really wanted to use a Raspberry Pi and an instance of Alexa installed on the Raspberry Pi rather than commandeer my Echo Dot. My project ended up using: 1) A Raspberry Pi with an Adafruit Motor HAT to drive the mouth and head, 2) Alexa installed on the Raspberry Pi, 3) the speaker inside Billy Bass for Alexa and 4) the battery pack inside Billy Bass to power both the Billy Bass Speaker and Motors. A sound sensor taped down on the speaker inside Billy Bass provided the triggers to move the mouth and head when Alexa spoke. Everything but the Pi fit neatly into Billy Bass and I drilled a hole in the back to thread the wires out to the Raspberry Pi. I also remixed/made a 3D printed case to house the Raspberry Pi and Motor HAT.

    • LMP Asks #22: An interview with Gianfranco Ceccolini
      This time we talk to Gianfranco Ceccolini, the brains behind multi effects pedal, MOD, which runs on Linux and other FLOSS software.

    • You can build a laptop out of open source components if you want a bad laptop
      I'm typing this on a unibody MacBook Pro, probably the most infamous laptop on the planet when it comes to lack of repairability and modularity. But in the drawer next to my desk is a Raspberry Pi and a loose LCD I bought from Adafruit. My heart is in that drawer. Figuratively. In every way, a MacBook is a superior computer, but a Raspberry Pi is more than a computer: it's an invitation to do something new and different with computers.

    • Linux-based IoT microcomputer is only 76x37x18mm
      Launching what it describes as a ‘virtually anything’ microcomputer, Australian design house SRKH Designs is confident its Virtualette V1 dual stack microcomputer will find plenty of use cases from the maker community.

      Measuring only 76x37x18mm, the dual board stack supports Linux/Android operating systems and is deployable "as is", either as an individual controller for a drone or a robot, as M2M nodes in a distributed intelligent security system or as a peer-to-peer, machine-to-machine network in applications such as display information systems in airports or train stations.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Opening up ECOMP: Our Network Operating System for SDN

    Harmonizing SDN and NFV technologies benefits all communications industry members. It takes unnecessary friction out of the system. It gives service providers more control of their network services. It also enables both developers and operators to create effective services at speeds never before possible.

  • TM Forum finds lack of ‘glue’ challenging telecom’s open source efforts
    Has the rash of new open source-focused organizations hindered the deployment of open source solutions or is it just a lack of cohesion?

    One issue facing the telecommunication industry’s move towards greater use of open source software platforms is the dizzying array of organizations that have sprung up over the past couple of years focused on trying to help that transition. While the help is appreciated, it would seem that too much help could be confusing the process.

  • Events

    • A look back at the WikiToLearn India conference, 2017
      The first ever WikiToLearn India conference was a 2 day single track event held on the 18th and 19th of January, 2017 in Jaipur, India. The event welcomed talks from all domains of technology, but admittedly, talks around KDE and MediaWiki were preferred.

    • Almost at FOSDEM. Video volunteers?
      The Desktops DevRoom will be a blast again this year. While I have been in charge of it for 6? years already, the last two (since my twins) were born I had organized remotely and local duties were carried on by the Desktops DevRoom team (thank you Christophe Fergeau, Philippe Caseiro and others!).

    • Kube at FOSDEM 2017
      I haven’t talked about it much, but the last few months we’ve been busy working on Kube and we’re slowly closing in on a first tech preview.

    • Share Apache Mesos Best Practices, Lessons Learned, and More at MesosCon Events in 2017
      MesosCon is an annual conference held in three locations around the globe and organized by the Apache Mesos community in partnership with The Linux Foundation. The events bring together users and developers of the open source orchestration framework to share and learn about the project and its growing ecosystem.

      The MesosCon program committee is now seeking proposals from speakers with fresh ideas, enlightening case studies, best practices, or deep technical knowledge to share with the Apache Mesos community at MesosCon North America, Asia, and Europe in 2017.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • It's Become Much Easier To Run Steam On FreeBSD-Derived TrueOS
      There have been ways to get Steam running on FreeBSD using Wine and efforts as well with using the operating system's Linux binary compatibility layer, but now it's become much easier for users of TrueOS, formerly known as PC-BSD.

    • Freenas 10 Beta 2 released

    • [Older] [was paywalled] The trouble with FreeBSD
      Benno Rice, a member of the FreeBSD core team, might be expected to feel out of place at, but it was not his first time there. While at the 2016 event in Geelong, he saw a presentation on Rust community automation [YouTube] by Emily Dunham and wondered: why can't FreeBSD have such nice things? The 2017 conference, held in Hobart, chose "the future of open source" as its theme but, Rice said, he was there to speak about the past; by looking at how FreeBSD ran into trouble, perhaps we can all learn something useful about how we run our projects.

      He got involved with open source in the 1990s; he actually started with Linux, but somebody told him that "Linux is rubbish" and he should use FreeBSD instead. So he bought an iMac computer and got FreeBSD running on it; the project then punished him by giving him commit access. It is a great project, but it does have some problems relating to three factors in particular: FreeBSD is big, it's old, and its leadership can be slow to act.

      How big is FreeBSD? The project's Subversion repository is currently about 3.1GB in size; a checked-out tree takes about 600MB. It consists of 71,100 files, about 32 million lines of code. It takes 20-30 minutes to build the whole thing, which is a big improvement from the old days, when it could take several hours.


    • [Video] Richard Stallman Explains Everything
      Richard Stallman, Founder and Leader of the free software movement, joins David to discuss his creation of the computer operating system "GNU"...

    • From free software to liberal software
      Robert M. "r0ml" Lefkowitz was the fourth and final keynote speaker at 2017 in Hobart, Tasmania. He immediately served notice that his talk was going to differ from those of his predecessors; they offered "deep insightful questions", while he had answers. Also, the first three were nice people. What followed was an energetic event that left many in the audience wondering what they had just witnessed. The future of free and open-source software is grim, he said, but maybe we can make something better to replace it.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • OGP unveils catalogue of open government tools
      The Open Government Partnership has published the OGP Toolbox, aggregating the digital tools developed and used by organisations across the globe to improve democracy and promote openness. So far, it lists 1,266 tools, 189 use cases and 515 organisations.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Chrome for iOS goes open source, a KDE-branded laptop, and more open source news

    • Open Data

      • New Dataset: Five Years of Longitudinal Data from Scratch

        Scratch is a block-based programming language created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group (LLK) at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch gives kids the power to use programming to create their own interactive animations and computer games. Since 2007, the online community that allows Scratch programmers to share, remix, and socialize around their projects has drawn more than 16 million users who have shared nearly 20 million projects and more than 100 million comments. It is one of the most popular ways for kids to learn programming and among the larger online communities for kids in general.

  • Programming/Development

    • Clear Linux's Latest Performance-Optimizing Effort: Greater PHP Performance
      Developers working on Intel's Clear Linux distribution have taken to performance tuning of their stock PHP packages during their migration from PHP5 to PHP7.

      As we've shown in other Clear Linux benchmarks, this Intel Open-Source Technology Center project aims for delivering maximum out-of-the-box performance via tuning and patches where needed to their Linux kernel, aggressive GCC/Clang compiler defaults, and other steps for trying to deliver the best possible Intel x86_64 Linux performance. With the recent builds of this rolling-release distribution they are optimizing PHP 7.1.1 via PGO (Profile Guided Optimizations).

    • Git v2.12.0-rc0

    • Git 2.12.0-rc0 Released With Various Improvements
      Coincidentally on the same day as Microsoft announcing the Git Virtual File-System, upstream Git developers have announced their first release candidate of the upcoming Git 2.12 milestone.

      Git 2.12-rc0 has 441 commits since v2.11 including Cygwin build updates, git p4 updates, GitLFS integration updates, additions to various Git sub-commands, some performance improvements, and a range of fixes and other smaller technical updates.

    • GitLab Data Loss Incident Prompts a Review of its Restore Processes
      On Tuesday, a GitLab administrator had accidentally erased a directory of live production data during a routine database replication. In the process of restoring from the last backup, taken six hours prior, the company had discovered that none of its five backup routines worked entirely correctly. The incident report, which GitLab posted online, noted that erasure affected issues and merge requests but not the git repositories themselves.

    • luckily found lost data on a staging server, the wannabe GitHub alternative that yesterday went down hard and reported data loss, has confirmed that some data is gone but that its services are now operational again.

      The incident did not result in Git repos disappearing. Which may be why the company's PR reps characterised the lost data as “peripheral metadata that was written during a 6-hour window”. But in a a prose account of the incident, GitLab says “issues, merge requests, users, comments, snippets, etc.” were lost. The Register imagines many developers may not be entirely happy with those data types being considered peripheral to their efforts.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is chlorinated chicken about to hit our shelves after new US trade deal?
      Those of us who want to eat safe, healthy food awoke to a nightmare on Tuesday, a chilling interview on Radio 4’s Today programme. Bob Young, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, made it crystal clear that any US trade deal struck by Theresa May would be contingent on the UK public stomaching imports of US foods that it has previously rejected: beef from cattle implanted with growth hormones, chlorine-washed chicken, and unlabelled genetically modified (GM) foods.

      Wiping the sleep from our eyes, we hoped it was just a bad dream, but the grim reality worsened. Martin Haworth, director of strategy at the National Farmers Union (NFU), was up next. Surely our own farmers, who have worked for decades to stricter EU standards shaped by consumers’ demand for safe, natural food, would reiterate their commitment to keeping them? Not a bit of it. Haworth’s only concern was that if such controversial American products were allowed into the country, British farmers should be able to use the same production techniques to ensure “an even playing field”. Do you find it credible that British farmers could beat the US’s vast industrial feedlots, hi-tech poultry plants and vast GM prairies at their own game? No matter, the NFU does.

      Later, at prime minister’s questions, the Scottish National party MP Angus Robertson pressed May for the reassurance that everyone who cares about food quality and safety badly wants to hear. Would she tell Trump she wasn’t prepared to lower our food safety standards? Judging from May’s evasive reply – she would improve trade through prosperity, growth, jobs, putting UK interests and values first – it seems entirely possible that she would bin existing food rules in order to clinch a deal.

  • Security

    • Friday's security updates

    • Exploit for Windows DoS zero-day published, patch out on Tuesday?
      It is a memory corruption bug in the handling of SMB traffic that could be easily exploited by forcing a Windows system to connect to a malicious SMB share. Tricking a user to connect to such a server should be an easy feat if clever social engineering is employed.

      The vulnerability was discovered by a researcher that goes by PythonResponder on Twitter, and who published proof-of-exploit code for it on GitHub on Wednesday.

    • Important Kernel Updates Patch 7 Vulnerabilities in All Supported Ubuntu OSes
      Canonical announced a few hours ago the availability of new kernel updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, patching a total of seven security issues across all of them.

    • Netgear router vulnerability and critical bug in Linux app: Security news IT leaders need to know

    • Hosted S/MIME by Google provides enhanced security for Gmail in the enterprise [Ed: It’s not end-to-end but end-to-Google i.e. end-to-NSA PRISM]
      We are constantly working to meet the needs of our enterprise customers, including enhanced security for their communications. Our aim is to offer a secure method to transport sensitive information despite insecure channels with email today and without compromising Gmail extensive protections for spam, phishing and malware.

    • Razer Core on Linux with Razer Blade Stealth and BIOS Mod
    • How Did Cybersecurity Become So Political?
      Less than a month before he was elected president, Donald Trump promised to make cybersecurity “an immediate and top priority for my administration.” He had talked about technology often on the campaign trail—mostly to attack Hillary Clinton for using a private email server when she was Secretary of State. But less than two weeks into his presidency, it’s Trump and his team who have struggled to plug important security holes, some of which are reminiscent of Clinton’s troubles.

    • New zero-day exploit affects current Windows versions

      A new zero-day exploit that affects current versions of Windows has been released on Github, according to an announcement from the Internet Storm Centre.

      Johannes Ullrich of the ISC said the exploit implemented an SMBv3 server and clients connecting to it would be affected.

      He said he had tested it with a fully patched Windows 10 machine and experienced a blue screen of death.

      "An attacker would have to trick the client to connect to this server. It isn't clear if this is exploitable beyond a denial of service," he wrote.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • For the Protesters at Standing Rock, It’s Back to Pipeline Purgatory
      On Tuesday evening, Kevin Cramer, a Republican congressman from North Dakota, announced in a video statement that completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which had been indefinitely delayed since December 4th, “now has its final green light.” The Department of the Army had confirmed to him, he said, that it would soon issue the permit required to dig the pipeline’s last segment, under Lake Oahe, on the Missouri River, half a mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Cramer did not mention the tribe, even though the pipeline crosses sacred tribal lands and could, if it ever ruptured, contaminate the reservation’s water supply. Instead, he focussed on his admiration for the President, who signed a directive last week expediting the pipeline’s completion. “I am so, so grateful to Donald Trump,” Cramer said, beaming into the camera, a vanity license plate reading “BAKKEN” perched on the shelf behind him. “He is a man of action.”

      Cramer, for all his enthusiasm, got one significant detail wrong. As the Standing Rock Sioux quickly noted in a written response, the Dakota Access permit has not been granted. “The congressman jumped the gun,” Jan Hasselman, the attorney representing the tribe, told me. The acting Secretary of the Army, Robert Speer, had only instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to grant the permit, beginning the process outlined in the Presidential directive. “These initial steps do not mean the easement has been approved,” an Army spokesman told the Washington Post. The Corps will now conduct its own analysis to decide whether it can approve the permit “in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted,” as the directive states. Then it will notify Congress of its decision before actually granting the permit to Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s parent company.

    • Why Congress just killed a rule restricting coal companies from dumping waste in streams
      With everything that Republicans want to do — repeal Obamacare, overhaul the tax code — it might seem odd that one of Congress’ very first acts would be to kill an obscure Obama-era regulation that restricts coal companies from dumping mining waste into streams and waterways.

      But that is indeed what’s going on. On Thursday, the Senate voted 54-45 to repeal the so-called “stream protection rule” — using a regulation-killing tool known as the Congressional Review Act. The House took a similar vote yesterday, and if President Trump agrees, the stream protection rule will be dead. Coal companies will now have a freer hand in dumping mining debris in streams.

    • What Will Rex Tillerson Inherit at the State Department?
      As Secretary of State, what will Rex Tillerson inherit at the State Department?

      The media has been aflame recently trying to stretch the facts — personnel changes and some unhappy employees in the midst of a major governmental transition — to fit the narrative of a State Department on the verge of collapse. But while rumors of the State Department’s demise are largely exaggerated, the organization may yet find itself shunted aside into irrelevance.

      There has been a lot of hot-blooded talk about Donald Trump and the federal workforce. The media once claimed Trump would not be able to fill his political appointee positions, and then suggested employees might resign en masse before he even was inaugerated. Another round of stories fanned panic that Trump had dumped his existing ambassadors, when in fact it was only the Obama-appointed ones who tendered resignations by tradition, as happens every four years.

    • 76 water protectors arrested at Standing Rock
      Just one day after federal officials greenlighted the Dakota Access pipeline, North Dakota police arrested 76 water protectors camped out at the site. Hundreds of activists had established a new camp at Standing Rock after it became clear that the Trump administration planned to move ahead with the project, but local police claim that “rogue” protestors were trespassing on private property.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Fight: Veterans Vow It ‘Will Not Get Completed’
      A group of U.S. military veterans has vowed to block completion of the hotly disputed Dakota Access pipeline, despite the secretary of the Army giving the project the green light.

      "We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected. That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch," said Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for Veterans Stand.

      Diggs added that the group hopes to raise enough funds "to have a larger, solid boots-on-the-ground presence."

    • US veterans vow to block Dakota Access pipeline construction

      A group of US military veterans have vowed to block construction of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

      On the fourth day of his presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order to expedite the construction of the pipeline.

      "We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected," Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for Veterans Stand, told CNBC.

      "That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch."

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Stanford study examines fake news and the 2016 presidential election
      Fabricated stories favoring Donald Trump were shared a total of 30 million times, nearly quadruple the number of pro-Hillary Clinton shares leading up to the election, according to Stanford economist Matthew Gentzkow. Even so, he and his co-author find that the most widely circulated hoaxes were seen by only a small fraction of Americans.

    • Green Party: Democrats abdicating their role as the "resistance" to Trump
      Green Party leaders said today that Democrats in Congress are retreating from their claim to be an opposition party during Donald Trump's presidency.

    • EU leaders round on Trump and reject May's bridge-building efforts
      European leaders launched a series of attacks on Donald Trump over his anti-EU rhetoric on Friday, accusing him of a lack of respect, as Theresa May’s attempts to position herself as a bridge with the new US president were roundly rejected at a summit in Malta.

      Trump’s conduct was scorned by prime ministers and presidents, with the French leader, François Hollande, warning there would be no future for Europe’s relations with the US “if this future isn’t defined in common”.

      At a working lunch at the talks in the Maltese capital, Valletta, the British prime minister appealed to other leaders to work “constructively and patiently” with the American president. Addressing reporters, however, Hollande said: “Of course it is not about asking one particular country, be it the UK or any other, to represent Europe in its relationship with the United States.

    • How to talk about Trump using trumpspeak (and why you should)
      "Impeach the guy. He’s an unstable person. Yemen? Disaster. Everyone knows it’s true. Even he knows it. Awful. Everyone agrees."

      Heather Havrilesky argues that Trump has changed the political landscape and the most hardy forms of information are those that adopt his protective coloration. Keep the nuance for the longer, thinkier pieces, but go viral with this kind of thing: "Bowling Green Massacre? Total lie. An embarrassment. Kellyanne Conway is an unstable person. Let the mentally ill buy guns? Are you crazy? Terrible! Let Putin bomb Ukraine? Bad idea, very bad. Incredibly dangerous."

    • In His Own Words
      In just two short weeks, President Donald Trump has destabilized the globe and quickly eroded even our most trusted alliances. This is exactly what his likely sponsor Putin wants, of course. This is exactly what his white supremacist advisor Bannon wants — he’s said so on the record (“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too.”). And if sowing fear in the populace offers the GOP an excuse to pump up military spending, so be it. Most Americans, however, prefer to sleep well at night. And if we’re going to take a clear, resounding stand against this unthinkable menace, we have to use his own tricks against him.

    • How President Trump is bad for the gun industry

      Now that a Republican endorsed by the National Rifle Association is in the White House, those supposed villains have disappeared. Sales of guns and ammo are falling, right along with the stocks of gun makers.

      "I think the entire gun industry was planning on, and I think the entire country was thinking, that Hillary was going to win," Brian Skinner, the CEO of Kalashnikov USA, said in a recent interview with CNNMoney.

      "And I know there was huge demand, all the manufacturers had huge orders, and then the day after the election, distributors were canceling orders left and right just because they realized Trump's coming in now."

    • Is Sweden's deputy PM trolling Donald Trump in Facebook photo?
      Sweden's deputy PM is causing a stir after posting an image appearing to parody Donald Trump's signing of an anti-abortion executive order.

      Isabella Lovin, who is also the country's climate minister, published a photo that shows her signing a new law surrounded by female colleagues.

      The image has drawn comparisons with Mr Trump's photo in which no women were present.

    • Federal judge halts Trump’s immigration order
      A Seattle-based federal judge on Friday dealt a major blow to President Trump’s executive order on travel and refugees, ordering a nationwide ban on enforcement of the controversial order.

      The temporary restraining order from U.S. District Judge James Robart blocks the federal government from enforcing portions of the executive order that include a ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens from seven Muslim-majority and an indefinite halt of resettlement of Syrian refugees in the country.

      The White House issued a statement late Friday saying the Justice Department “intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President.”

    • Dump Trump, Says Court

      Of course, this is a temporary restraining order but it was only granted because the judge believed the attorney general of Washington was likely to be successful in getting a permanent order. That’s a high standard and might even be respected by the appellate court. Perhaps Trump won’t be able to suspend the stay pending appeal. It’s all good. It’s very likely that this matter will soon reach SCOTUS where the GOP has blocked the ninth justice from deciding the matter in many cases, and the result from Washington will stand by default. What goes around, comes around… Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Trump.

    • Judge in Seattle halts Trump’s immigration order nationwide

    • 'Unprecedented': Trump Adds Bannon to National Security Council, Kicks Out Intelligence Officials
      President Donald Trump signed memorandums on Saturday that kicked the nation's top military and intelligence advisers off the National Security Council's (NSC) Principals Committee and elevated his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, in their place.

      The memorandum gives Bannon, former executive chair of the rightwing website Breitbart News, a regular seat at some of the most sensitive meetings at the highest levels of government, along with other NSC meetings.

      The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—who need to be confirmed by the Senate—will now only attend the meetings when discussions pertain to their "responsibilities and expertise," the memo states.

    • Trump’s Bluntness Unsettles World Leaders
      President Donald Trump’s blunt, win-the-deal approach to diplomacy has U.S. adversaries and some allies struggling to assess its impact for their countries and puzzling over how to react if they land in the new American leader’s crosshairs next.

    • Media Need to Treat Presidential Lawbreaking as a Matter of Fact
      A recent edition of “The Interpreter” (1/30/17), a New York Times column by Amanda Taub and Max Fisher aimed at “exploring the ideas and context behind major world events,” was devoted to Donald Trump’s immigration ban—and one of the questions it attempted to answer, appropriately enough, is “Is the Order Legal?”

    • Should Your Boss’s Religious Beliefs Dictate Your Health Insurance Coverage? Supreme Court Nominee Judge Gorsuch Thinks So
      One of the most popular components of the Affordable Care Act is the requirement that health insurance companies cover birth control without a co-pay. Over 55 million women have benefitted from the coverage. Nevertheless, over the last several years there has been an onslaught of court challenges to the birth control benefit by employers with religious objections to including the coverage in their employees’ health plans.
    • 30 Washington Post Articles on Gorsuch’s Nomination–Not a Single One Opposed
      A review of The Washington Post’s coverage of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch over the past two days reveals overwhelmingly positive coverage of the right-wing jurist. The Post, which prides itself on being a molder of Beltway conventional wisdom, has published 30 articles, op-eds, blog posts and editorials in the 48 hours since his nomination was announced live by Trump—and not a single one has been overtly critical or in opposition to Gorsuch.

    • About That Kissinger Quote Neil Gorsuch Likes…
      Shortly after Donald Trump announced the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, it was revealed that Gorsuch had picked a Henry Kissinger quotation to caption his 1988 Columbia yearbook photograph: “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

      It’s an odd remark for someone whose primary credential is his supposed textual fidelity to the Constitution. But it makes sense, when one considers that Gorsuch hails from a family of political hacks, including a mother, Anne, who was Ronald Reagan’s first director of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA, signed into law by Kissinger’s boss, Richard Nixon, was but a decade old when Anne Gorsuch took over and, through a combination of corruption, mismanagement, and Trump-style vindictiveness, nearly destroyed it. “Anne Gorsuch inherited one of the most efficient and capable agencies in government,” The New York Times wrote in early 1983. “She has turned it into an Augean stable, reeking of cynicism, mismanagement and decay.”

      The EPA recovered, somewhat, after Gorsuch’s mom’s tenure, but it might not survive the twin blows of Scott Pruitt at its head and Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Patience, patience, as Kissinger counseled. All good things in time.

    • Tories Tread a Dangerous Path

      The SNP as an institution is doing very nicely out of the status quo, and that is why there are so many siren voices within the SNP arguing that it is too early for a referendum; “we might lose it”, “leaving the EU is not such a disaster”, “there are a lot of anti-EU Independence supporters anyway”.

      There is a lot of self-fulfilling prophesy here. As there has been virtually no actual campaigning for Independence since 2014 and the media still spew anti-Independence propaganda daily, it is hardly surprising Independence support is not rising in the polls. It is a miracle it is holding steady.

    • To Build an Autocracy, First Build an Oligarchy

      Personally, I’ll be surprised if there is strong wage growth over the next few years; putting economic policy in the hands of Goldman Sachs, and appointing a secretary of Labor who opposes minimum wage increases and objects to paying for overtime, do not bode well.

      But Frum suggests Trump could raise wages for workers without hardly trying, implying that any halfway competent administration could do as well or better—if it wanted to. That wages have instead stagnated over a series of Republican and Democratic administrations makes Frum’s scenario an unconscious indictment of the political establishment that he belongs to.

    • Inside the White House-Cabinet battle over Trump’s immigration order

    • Trump Muslim Ban Executive Order Violated Executive Order About Executive Orders
      There’s not a lot that’s funny about President Trump’s January 27 executive order temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from seven majority Muslim countries.

      But you have to admit this is a little funny: Trump’s executive order appears to brazenly violate another executive order about how the government should issue executive orders.

      It’s sort of like the Supreme Court declaring the Constitution to be unconstitutional.

      Presidential executive orders have ranged in history from piddling (giving the executive branch workforce a half day on Christmas Eve) to monumental (the Emancipation Proclamation). Somewhere nearer the piddling end of the spectrum is Executive Order 11030, signed by President Kennedy in 1962 and titled “Preparation, presentation, filing, and publication of Executive orders and proclamations.”

    • Trump Denounced “Broken System” of Big Money Politics. Neil Gorsuch Could Make It Worse.
      Trump later went on many similarly thrilling rants; it was a big part of what first distinguished him from the GOP pack. And his critique of a system rigged for the rich helped make him president.

      But that was then, and this is now. The appointment of Trump’s choice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court would take the broken campaign finance system and, rather than fixing it, potentially smash it with a sledgehammer.

      There are not a whole lot of restrictions left on the power of money in politics in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which struck down any limits on spending by individuals, corporations or unions advocating for a candidate — as long as it’s purportedly “independent” and not directly coordinated with the candidate’s campaign.

    • The Face of the Enemy: Dupes, Deplorables, Opportunists and Democrats
      A nightmare is unfolding: a stench envelops the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

      It comes from an executive branch in the hands of malevolent incompetents, a House and Senate controlled by miscreants, and from totalitarian modes of thought exuding from out of the bowels of the White House.

      That is the bad news.

      The good news is that the election season from hell is over and a Resistance is being born.

      Other positive changes, affecting media and the duopoly party system, may be afoot as well, though it is too soon to tell for sure.

    • A Reprise of the Iraq-WMD Fiasco?
      Official Washington’s new “group think” – accepting evidence-free charges that Russia “hacked the U.S. election” – has troubling parallels to the Iraq-WMD certainty, often from the same people, writes James W Carden.

    • Potential side effects of the drug Trump reportedly takes for hair loss
      President Trump’s personal physician recently revealed that the president takes finasteride, a drug used to combat male-pattern baldness. The medication has potential side effects.

      In fact, approximately 1,370 lawsuits have been filed against Merck, which markets finasteride. A class-action lawsuit against the company will examine the pharmaceutical giant’s culpability in the multitude of reported sexual side effects potentially associated with the drug. Merck did not respond to a request for comment.

      Merck sells finasteride under the brand name Propecia, a 1-milligram formulation of the medication. It is available as a prescription for treatment of male-pattern hair loss. Its big brother, Proscar, is a 5 mg preparation commonly prescribed for the treatment of symptoms associated with enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, and has been prescribed to more than 1 million American men since its introduction to the market. Together, finasteride and a closely related compound dutasteride (sold under the brand name Avodart) are a class of drugs called 5-alpha-reductase-inhibitors (5-ARIs) which work by blocking the conversion of testosterone to its more potent form, dihydrotestosterone.

    • Trump's Muslim Ban Flies in the Face of International Law and Treaties the US Has Ratified
      The day after US President Donald Trump signed his now notorious Muslim ban, he spoke with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. Over the phone, she reportedly "explained" to Trump the United States' obligations under international refugee law, which requires the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds.

      It's hardly surprising that President Trump had to learn about the United States' responsibilities towards refugees from a foreign head of state. But it's clear that after only a week in office his administration's lack of familiarity with and respect for refugee and human rights law is already charting a dangerous course for the country and the world.

      While the exact scope and meaning of the executive order continues to be deciphered, on its face and as applied to date, Trump's order appears to violate several international treaties ratified by the US, some provisions of which have been incorporated into US law and cited as binding by the US Supreme Court.

    • Howard Stern: Trump wants to be loved, presidency will be 'detrimental' to his mental health
      Howard Stern said on his program Wednesday that Trump will hate being president and the role will be detrimental to his mental health.

      Stern and Trump are long-time friends, with Trump making numerous appearances on Stern's radio show over the years.

      "I personally wish that he had never run, I told him that, because I actually think this is something that is gonna be detrimental to his mental health too, because, he wants to be liked, he wants to be loved," Stern said. "He wants people to cheer for him."

      "I don't think it's going to be a healthy experience. And by the way, he's now on this anti-Hollywood kick. He loves Hollywood. First of all, he loves the press. He lives for it. He loves people in Hollywood. He only wants hobnob with them. All of this hatred and stuff directed towards him. It's not good for him. It's not good. There's a reason every president who leaves the office has grey hair."

    • Man Who Claimed His Mother Died After Trump’s Travel Ban Reportedly Lied [Updated]
      Mike Hager, a Michigan business owner who fled Iraq during the Gulf War, claimed he was traveling with his niece, two nephews, and his 75-year-old mother, Naimma, over the weekend when Donald Trump signed an executive action barring citizens and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. They’d been in Iraq visiting family but planned to return to the U.S. when Naimma, a U.S. green-card holder, fell ill and passed away.

      Hager originally told Fox 2 Detroit that his mother died a day after the travel ban started, when she was kept from boarding a plane back to the U.S, and said he blamed Trump for her death. But a new story from Fox 2 Detroit found that Hager lied about the timing of her passing.

    • Foreign policy insider: ‘Curious’ that White House didn’t publish detailed readout of Trump-Putin call
      Ilan Berman, vice president of the conservative American Foreign Policy Council think tank, said it was curious that the White House had not provided a readout of President Donald Trump’s call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      Following the call with Putin on Saturday, the Kremlin published a readout of the hour-long conversation that suggested the Russian president was pleased with Trump’s tone.

    • Trump’s Nightmare: Women Opposing Him
      It must be galling for a man who has been so open about his disregard for women to find that the strongest pushback to his administration so far has come from a bunch of women who appear more than a little unimpressed by President Trump, his appointees, and his executive orders. On his first day in office, there was the Women’s March, the largest global political protest in America’s history, led by women of color. The march did many remarkable things, establishing a culture of protest and setting a determined, exuberant tone for the dozens of spontaneous demonstrations that have occurred since — many of which have also been populated and led by women.

      But women’s leadership extends beyond the grass-roots revival. In Congress, where many Democrats began the new administration short a spine, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand emerged as the only senator to so far vote no on all but one of Trump’s picks (she voted for Nikki Haley for U.N. ambassador). In the House, California congresswoman Barbara Lee was among the first to announce that she was boycotting Trump’s inauguration. New York congresswoman Nydia Velázquez was early to John F. Kennedy Airport on Saturday where she demanded the release of refugees being held at the airport after Trump signed an executive order that prevented travelers with valid visas and green cards from entering the U.S. Velázquez, along with Gillibrand, Women’s March leaders Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, and New York City public advocate Tish James, was among those receiving the biggest cheers at Sunday’s anti-wall, anti-ban rally in Battery Park. And on Tuesday morning, California representative Maxine Waters is having a press conference about Trump’s ties to Russia.

    • Former Norway PM held at Washington airport over 2014 visit to Iran
      A former prime minister of Norway has spoken of his shock after he was held and questioned at Washington Dulles airport because of a visit to Iran three years ago.

      Kjell Magne Bondevik, who served as prime minister of Norway from 1997-2000 and 2001-05, flew into the US from Europe on Tuesday afternoon to attend this week’s National Prayer Breakfast.

      He was held for an hour after customs agents saw in his diplomatic passport that he had been to Iran in 2014. Bondevik said his passport also clearly indicated that he was the former PM of Norway.

      “Of course I fully understand the fear of letting terrorists come into this country,” he told ABC7. “It should be enough when they found that I have a diplomatic passport, [that I’m a] former prime minister.

    • The rise of the printed tweet in American politics
      At the beginning of January, during a Senate discussion about the future of Obamacare, Bernie Sanders brought a visual aid to the floor. It wasn’t a pie chart or health insurance statistics. It was a tweet.

      In the missive from May 2015, Donald Trump announced that under his presidency, there would be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. Appealing to other Senators, Sanders read the tweet aloud as a direct quote from Trump like a lawyer presenting evidence. “[Trump] didn’t say it once in the middle of the night,” Sanders said. “He didn’t say it in an interview. This was a central part of his campaign.”

    • Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World?
      Most modern Presidents chart their opening moves with the help of a friendly think tank or a set of long-held beliefs.

      Donald Trump's first steps had the feel of a documentary film made by his chief strategist and alter ego Stephen K. Bannon, a director who deploys ravenous sharks, shrieking tornadoes and mushroom clouds as reliably as John Ford shot Monument Valley.

      Act I of the Trump presidency has been filled with disruption, as promised by Trump and programmed by Bannon, with plenty of resistance in reply, from both inside and outside the government. Perhaps this should not be surprising. Trump told America many times in 2016 that his would be no ordinary Administration. Having launched his campaign as a can-do chief executive, he came to see himself as the leader of a movement--and no movement is complete without its commissar. Bannon is the one who keeps the doctrine pure, the true believer, who is in it not for money or position, but to change history. "What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order," Bannon wrote in an email to the Washington Post.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Hate speech is free speech
      ‘The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech.’ So said Vera Jourová, the EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, as she unveiled a new EU code to tackle illegal ‘hate speech’ on the internet. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have all lined up with the EU to remove hate speech from the web, with a particular focus on racism and xenophobia.

      Jourová’s claim that hate speech doesn’t qualify as free speech echoes the rallying cry of today’s agitators for more controls on what they view as wicked speech. ‘Hate speech is not free speech’, they say. Isn’t it, though? If we are serious about freedom of speech, and about trusting people to make up their own minds about what they hear, shouldn’t even the foulest speech enjoy freedom?

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Now’s Probably the Time to Consider One of These Burner Phones

      We’re living in a new era of political unpredictability. Who knows what race, religious group, or professional sector will be scrutinized tomorrow? If you’re concerned that your devices will be targeted for confiscation and search, heed caution now. Start carrying a burner phone—a handset you can wipe clean and destroy without much thought. We’ve rounded up some good options.

      One note: The point of using a burner is to avoid leaving a trace of your phone activity. Our list of recommended phones (and one app!) comes with links to online retailers so you can read more about the devices, but if you’re trying to stay private, you should buy both the phone and a pre-paid data allotment with cash. Most of these handsets (and the prepaid cards) are available at big-box stores here and abroad.

    • California Bills to Safeguard Privacy from the Federal Government Advance
      New state bills that would create a database firewall between California and the federal government passed out of their respective Senate committees on Tuesday. Both are headed to the Appropriations Committee and then could soon see votes by the full California Senate. If passed, these critical bills would help prevent Muslim registries and mass deportations in California and would send a strong message to the Trump administration that Californians will resist his attacks on digital liberty.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Who Is Gina Haspel? 5 Facts About Trump's CIA Deputy Director Pick
      President Donald Trump picked Gina Haspel as the deputy director of the CIA, making her the second woman to hold the position. She will be second in command behind Mike Pompeo, who made the announcement Thursday on Haspel's new role, which does not require Senate confirmation.

      Haspel's selection drew praise from former senior intelligence officials, with ex-National Intelligence Director James Clapper saying: “[Haspel] has the broad-gauged experience from both foreign and domestic assignments to serve as the right-arm for Director [Mike] Pompeo.”

      Mike Morrell, a former deputy director and former acting director at CIA, said in a statement: "She is widely respected throughout the agency and she will be welcomed in the new job by both current and former employees. I worked closely with Haspel from 2006 until my retirement from the Agency in 2013. During that time, I found her to be simply exceptional. She gets things done in a quiet, yet effective way, and she is calm under fire."


      Here are five facts about Haspel:

      Haspel has been linked to the CIA’s "enhanced" interrogation program, which was highlighted in the 6,000-page report by the Senate Intelligence Committee detailing the agency’s use of techniques widely considered as torture. In 2002, she ran a CIA prison in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded and underwent other interrogation techniques. She oversaw brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, at the black site in Thailand. Haspel's name was in the cable carrying the orders to destroy video tapes of the sessions carried out at the CIA station in Thailand. She was also the chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez, who headed the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.

    • The CIA’s New Deputy Director Ran a Black Site for Torture
      In May, 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of “a management shake-up” by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official – whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time – was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime.

      As Miller put it, she was “directly involved in its controversial interrogation program” and had an “extensive role” in torturing detainees. Even more troubling, she “had run a secret prison in Thailand” – part of the CIA’s network of “black sites” – “where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques.” The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture also detailed the central role she played in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah.

    • Former Senior FBI Counterterrorism Agent Slams Trump on Torture and Muslim Ban
      A veteran U.S. counterterrorism agent says that President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from seven majority Muslim countries will harm the fight against terrorist organizations and make it more difficult for intelligence agencies to maintain partnerships with foreign partners in the battle against ISIS and al Qaeda.

      “Any kind of blacklisting countries like this will probably ruin effective local partnerships that are already in place,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent who served as one of the central U.S. officers targeting al Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. “When you’re operating in conflict zones in places like Yemen or in places like Iraq or Syria or Libya, you need local support,” he told The Intercept in an interview. “You need local help. You need people to assist you, to translate for you, to show you the lay of the land. Unfortunately, if this ban is seen as an anti-Muslim ban, or if this ban is blacklisting a whole entire population, that will end up fighting back on the much-needed, local cooperation that we depend on.”

    • Intelligence Community Doc 'A Good American' Should Kill Any Nostalgia for the Bush Years
      In 2017, even some American liberals are looking back fondly on the presidency of George W. Bush. The documentary A Good American eviscerates that temptation by detailing how a swamp of cronyism protected intelligence failures at the National Security Agency, even though longtime eggheads there had nailed down predictive algorithms that could have forecast the terrorist attacks on 9-11.

      Friedrich Moser's film features NSA cryptologist and analyst-turned-whistleblower Bill Binney, who, like a chess master, sees meaning in streams of data: "Everything is human behavior — human behavior is extremely patterned." He recognized patterns of interactions among agents of foreign governments and terrorist organizations that went undetected by traditional data-gathering, and developed a sophisticated program that also protected ordinary people's privacy.

    • House Hearing On Whistleblower Protection Highlights Trump’s Illegal Gag Orders
      A House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing called attention to gag orders issued by President Donald Trump’s administration against federal government employees, which run afoul of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) and other laws.

      The hearing was convened around the fifth anniversary of the WPEA in order to consider progress made on whistleblower protection and reforms that are sorely needed. The WPEA was an expansion of the Whistleblower Protection Act passed in 1989.

      Democratic Representative Gerald E. Connolly raised the issue of gag orders noting the acting secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services sent a memo on the very first day in office that read, “No correspondence to public officials, that is members of Congress, governors and the like, unless specifically authorized by me or my designee, shall be sent between now and February 3.”

    • Meadows, Chaffetz want clarification on Trump's agency gag orders
      The House Subcommittee on Government Operations’ Feb. 1 hearing was scheduled to focus on the fifth anniversary of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

      But as with everything in Washington these days, the focal point soon shifted to the Trump administration.

      Democrats — itching for a fight in the wake of reports that White House officials had ordered federal agencies not to communicate with Congress — came out of the gate blasting the Trump administration for what it characterized as illegal gag orders.

    • The Real Controversy Over The Non-Existent 'Bowling Green Massacre' Is That It Was The FBI's Own Plot

      We've already made our views clear on the horrible nature of the Trump administration's ban on travelers who were born in seven predominantly Muslim countries. The administration has been trying to defend the program, but its talking points are (once again) falling apart. For example, the idea that this only "inconvenienced" a tiny percentage of people and was only temporary — government lawyers have now revealed that over 100,000 visas were permanently revoked. Permanently.

      But the story that's gotten a lot more attention is how Trump aide Kellyanne Conway went on TV last night and tried to back up another talking point: that this is no different than what President Obama did with Iraqi visas. That's not true, but we'll get to that. Even if it were true, Conway seemed to literally make up a terrorist attack that didn't happen, calling it the "Bowling Green Massacre."

    • The New C.I.A. Deputy Chief’s Black-Site Past
      From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior official overseeing a top-secret C.I.A. program that subjected dozens of suspected terrorists to savage interrogations, which included depriving them of sleep, squeezing them into coffins, and forcing water down their throats. In 2002, Haspel was among the C.I.A. officers present at the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an Al Qaeda suspect who was tortured so brutally that at one point he appeared to be dead.

      On Thursday, the Trump Administration announced that Haspel would become the C.I.A.’s new deputy director.

      It appears that the debate about torture in the President’s mind, if there ever was one, is over.
    • Georgia: FGM Criminalised Following IWPR Investigation
      Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been criminalised in Georgia following an IWPR investigation that revealed the practice was ongoing in an area in the east of the country.

      The Georgian government and human rights groups said that they had all been previously unaware that ethnic Avars living in three villages of the Kvareli district, which borders Russia’s Dagestan republic, routinely carried out the procedure.

    • Don’t Let Trump Normalize Guantánamo
      There has been much talk lately about the dangers of normalizing President Trump’s extreme policy ideas and behavior. As a third presidential administration takes over Guantánamo, the idea that men will be imprisoned forever without charge or trial is also at risk of becoming “normal.” That is something that we cannot let happen because it is completely at odds with the American values of justice, fairness, and the rule of law.

      President Obama transferred 198 detainees out of Guantánamo and President Bush transferred out many more, 532 to be exact. There are now 41 men left, only 10 of whom have been charged with a crime. The rest are facing indefinite detention in the Trump administration — including five detainees who have already been cleared for release by a panel of national security officials.
    • Young Indian girls sold to sex tourists for sham marriages
      "That night he took me with him. He forced himself on me. I was crying. [He said] I've bought you, I can do whatever I want. I've given your parents money, I can use you for as long as I like. Keep your mouth shut." Muneera Begum, now aged 19, lives in Hyderabad, India. She says she was just 12 years old when her parents sold her into a forced marriage with a man from Oman. He was aged 70.

      She calls the so-called wedding night "torture." "I wasn't educated and I couldn't understand anything that was going on," she said. I had a childishness in me." She says that for two months, he kept her locked in a room, using her repeatedly for sex.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC rescinds claim that AT&T and Verizon violated net neutrality
      The Federal Communications Commission's new Republican leadership has rescinded a determination that AT&T and Verizon Wireless violated net neutrality rules with paid data cap exemptions. The FCC also rescinded several other Wheeler-era reports and actions.

      The FCC released its report on the data cap exemptions (aka "zero-rating") in the final days of Democrat Tom Wheeler's chairmanship. Because new Chairman Ajit Pai opposed the investigation, the FCC has now formally closed the proceeding.

  • DRM

    • Windows DRM Files Used to Decloak Tor Browser Users
      Downloading and trying to open Windows DRM-protected files can deanonymize Tor Browser users and reveal their real IP addresses, security researchers from Hacker House have warned.

      Attacks using DRM-protected multimedia files in Windows have been known since 2005, but until recently, they've only been used to spread malware.

      Past attacks tried to lure users into opening and playing DRM-protected files. In default scenarios, these files would open in the Windows Media Player, and users would see a popup that asked them to visit a URL to validate the file's license.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • EU Representative: Ukraine Must Tighten Noose on Internet Pirates

        According to the head of the trade section of the European Commission's delegation to Ukraine, the country risks damaging relations with the EU over Internet piracy. Nicholas Burge says that legal action against the operators of pirate sites must be supported by ISPs bearing responsibility for hosting them.

      • We Want a Copyright Office that Serves the Public
        The Copyright Office, and those who lead it, should serve the public as a whole, not just major media and entertainment companies. That’s what we told the leadership of the House Judiciary Committee this week. If Congress restructures the Copyright Office, it has to put in safeguards against the agency becoming nothing more than a cheerleader for large corporate copyright holders.

        In December, after more than three years of hearings and discussions on copyright law, House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, and ranking Democrat John Conyers released their first suggestions for possible changes to copyright law in a short whitepaper [PDF]. While light on details, the paper proposed “restructuring” the Copyright Office. EFF responded, urging the lawmakers to make sure that any reforms to the Copyright Office help to curb that office’s bias in favor of large copyright industries.

      • Another Loss for Perfect 10, Another Good Day for Copyright Law
        In case you missed it, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed (yet another) crushing defeat to the adult website and serial copyright litigant Perfect 10, this time in its lawsuit against Usenet access provider Giganews. The Ninth Circuit soundly rejected each of Perfect 10’s claims – clarifying that yes, direct copyright infringement still requires some volitional conduct on the part of the defendant, and no, Giganews could not be held liable for contributory or vicarious copyright infringement either. We filed a brief arguing as much, and we’re happy the court agreed.

      • A day in court challenging seizure of for #domstolkontroll
        On Wednesday, I spent the entire day in court in Follo Tingrett representing the member association NUUG, alongside the member association EFN and the DNS registrar IMC, challenging the seizure of the DNS name It was interesting to sit in a court of law for the first time in my life. Our team can be seen in the picture above: attorney Ola Tellesbø, EFN board member Tom Fredrik Blenning, IMC CEO Morten Emil Eriksen and NUUG board member Petter Reinholdtsen.

Recent Techrights' Posts

The "D" in Debian Stands for Dictatorship That Extends to Censorship at DNS Level
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[Meme] Next Target: Sub Domains
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Links for the day
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Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer
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Links for the day
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The Real Reason Censorship is Attempted Against Us (and Against Others Too)
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You Are Not The Only One
Reprinted with permission from Cyber Show (C|S)
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Governments That Fail Journalism
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Windows Has Fallen From 'Grace'
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