EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.05.14

Bill Gates Deeply Corrupt Not Just in Education Sector

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Knight

Summary: Bursting the bubble or shattering the illusion that Gates is merely a misguided well-meaning person when it comes to education ‘reform’

THE Gates Foundation continues to swindle the world.

GMO (e.g. Monsanto) monopoly is still on the agenda based on reports from CNET (part of CBS) and other CBS sites that highlight more patents on bananas, with investments from Bill Gates. They are of course pretending it’s about feeding hungry Africans, which is a common PR strategy, but it is really about profit. A lot of Gates-bribed media companies and blogs (bribed for silencing Gates criticism, plus the occasional grooming) might be able to keep the lies going some of the time (watch the Gates-funded Guardian publishing a disgraceful puff piece and other whitewash from the plutocrats’ fan press, Forbes), but they can’t keep the world from knowing that’s rather obvious to more and more people over time.

Well, “for a modest profit,” note reports, Bill Gates has just sold shares in private thugs. So only after public pressure and some profit Bill Gates distances self from G4S [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s a shame that this did not receive even more media attention. It highlights the way Gates continues to rapidly increase his wealth while pretending to be giving it all away. It should be easy to see that he does this everywhere, essentially bribing to profit where it’s more challenging a task. He would bribe officials who stand in the way of his corporate ambitions. A common mistake to be made is assuming that Bill Gates ‘screwed up’ only with education when the reality of the matter is that he’s hardly any different from the Koch brothers, he just has better PR.

Here is some recent coverage about Gates’ “Common Core” crusade (privatising what’s public, for a profit). This coverage comes from a paper (Washington Post) whose board used to include Bill's wife Melinda and his close friend Warren Buffett. It says:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.

[...]

The Gates Foundation spread money across the political spectrum, to entities including the big teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, and business organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — groups that have clashed in the past but became vocal backers of the standards.

Money flowed to policy groups on the right and left, funding research by scholars of varying political persuasions who promoted the idea of common standards. Liberals at the Center for American Progress and conservatives affiliated with the American Legislative Exchange Council who routinely disagree on nearly every issue accepted Gates money and found common ground on the Common Core.

One 2009 study, conducted by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute with a $959,116 Gates grant, described the proposed standards as being “very, very strong” and “clearly superior” to many existing state standards.

Gates money went to state and local groups, as well, to help influence policymakers and civic leaders. And the idea found a major booster in President Obama, whose new administration was populated by former Gates Foundation staffers and associates. The administration designed a special contest using economic stimulus funds to reward states that accepted the standards.

The result was astounding: Within just two years of the 2008 Seattle meeting, 45 states and the District of Columbia had fully adopted the Common Core State Standards.

We recently covered Ravitch's views, which the same paper gave a platform to, despite the infamous Gates ties.

Here we have a Gates-funded newspaper covering a “Rush-hour protest by teachers to target the Gates Foundation” and another Microsoft-linked (and at times — in a previous incarnation — Gates-funded) folks covering this protest against Bill Gates (some GeekWire staff came from Microsoft-funded circles). To quote:

Bill Gates has poured millions of dollars into public education reform in the U.S., and some teachers aren’t too thrilled about that.

About 150 instructors from the Badass Teacher Association marched through downtown Seattle toward the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday evening to demonstrate their disdain for the Common Core standards that have been implemented in 45 states, thanks largely to support from the Gates Foundation.

[...]

But as detailed in this Washington Post article from earlier this month, there’s been more and more pushback recently from both teachers and politicians on the standards. Some accuse Gates for supporting Common Core not for the benefit of students, but rather for corporate interest and to help Microsoft’s bottom line because the standards support technology and data.

The most important point we wish to highlight is that not only in education does Gates do this. Perhaps the fact that teachers are smart led to the quick realisation that Gates was selfishly doing harm and there was a triumph over Gates’ well-funded PR operation, which includes bribing politicians and newspapers. We hope that in the coming years it will become a regular thing in the press to cover Gates’ abuses in many other areas, not just obvious ones like investment in oil giants, ALEC, G4S, tobacco, and GMO. Gates is a sociopath just like the Kochs, and one with pockets so deep that he can bribe a lot of people to bamboozle the majority and ridicule (at times even suspend/fire) his opposition.

Publicly-funded NHS Would Enjoy Symbiotic Relationship With Free — as in Freedom — Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Public services should use Free/libre software

Medical equipment

Summary: Some of the latest attacks on FOSS and how these relate to the uprise of the affluent (seeking to privatise everything which is public and profit by domination over the state)

WE NOW KNOW and have evidence to prove that proprietary software is used for spying. The NHS should be especially moved by this as privacy in the health sector (patients’ data) is a sensitive matter. Some nations shrewdly move their health sector over to Free software, assuring security, privacy, and domestic control over function, not only data. It ought to have become abundantly clear that the NHS cannot secure patients’ data with Microsoft because both GCHQ (domestic) and NSA (foreign) use Windows back doors and can dig ‘dirt’ on people, even medical ‘dirt’ (with which to punish or marginalise people). New evidence [1-5] teaches us that even GNU/Linux users are specifically targeted (all they have to do is just casually step on a Linux-centric domain name), so this has nothing to do with national security (or even espionage) and everything to do with domination over society.

There is this report right now about Microsoft struggling to get money out of the NHS, which is incidentally adopting more and more FOSS (I know this because of my job). To quote The Register:

Microsoft is finding out that it doesn’t always pay to play nasty with large government customers: NHS procurement bosses are telling authorities and bodies to hold firm against a wave of licensing compliance threats.

As exclusively revealed by The Channel last week, Microsoft wrote to all 160 healthcare bodies across England in early June to warn them they had until the end of the month to cough up for extra licences, via the discounted PSA12 framework, or be charged private sector prices to settle their bills.

Someone new at TechDirt had the following take on it:

As is the case almost every time you let a subscription lapse, the entity on the other hand will cut you a deal just to get you back on the ledger. And like everyone else everywhere, the government — even with all its [well, not really its] money and power — is no different. Microsoft delivers bold pronouncements and dire warnings and the NHS hits the “remind me later” button and goes back to what it was doing.

For [corrupt 78278 agencies like the IRS faulty proprietary software may have worked well] (hiding evidence of misconduct), but the NHS cannot afford this. Sometimes loss of data causes loss of many lives. And speaking of the IRS, it should really tax the rich more, not run after the poor. The rich should contribute more towards services such as the NHS (the US does not have an equivalent yet).

The IRS seems to have gone totally rogue and its attack on FOSS could open the floodgate to trouble. The IRS recently signed a Microsoft deal/contract (we covered it at the time) and now it is making FOSS-hostile decisions which were not made before. This is reminiscent of the FOSS-hostile BBC (also taxpayers-funded), which was made this hostile after many executives from Microsoft UK had taken positions of power over there and Bill Gates paid the BBC numerous times.

“The public sector, and especially the NHS (for high impact on lives), must gradually move to Free/libre software.”Mr. Robert Pogson says that “IRS Attacks FLOSS” and asks: “When will the beast of bureaucracy figure out what it’s left and right hands are doing? I think this is a case where Obama should immediately sign an executive order declaring FLOSS organizations are charitable, educational, and scientific organizations contributing to the public good, rich or poor, a huge net benefit to society. Read the GPL! Is there anything not charitable about it?”

The rich are waging war on the poor, war on public healthcare (welfare of the poor), and war on citizens-funded media (sources of information for the masses), not just Free software that’s often developed by and for the less privileged (financially). While most of these are beyond the scope of this site, it is worth noting the role of FOSS and the impact on it.

The public sector, and especially the NHS (for high impact on lives), must gradually move to Free/libre software. It is imperative because of obligation to taxpayers and also autonomy/security.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. More NSA Fallout, Linux Time Warp, and the Ultimate OS

    In tonight’s news, the Linux Journal publishes more on the NSA surveillance of Linux users and the Electronic Frontier Foundation throws in their thoughts too. Wired.com has a look back at Linux including a funny video. And finally, Gary Newell asks if you want to help fund the ultimate operating system.

  2. Linux Journal is under NSA survillance as ‘extremist’ forum

    If you ever visited websites such as the Tor Project’s home page and even Linux Journal, there is a good chance that the National Security Agency (NSA) added you to its surveillance list. Well, this is according to top-secret source code for the NSA surveillance program called X-Keyscore.

  3. NSA targets Linux Journal as ‘extremist forum’: Report

    The NSA is targeting the Linux Journal as an “extremist forum” and flagging its readers as ‘extremists’, according to source code leaked to German public broadcaster, ARD.

  4. Are you an extremist?

    Since the news broke yesterday that we are an extremist publication according to the NSA, we at Linux Journal have thought a lot about what that might mean to our readers.

    I am one of our readers, and I know many of our readers personally. That said, I can certainly describe many of us as “extreme” in a variety of ways. We’re extremely passionate about our hobbies and professions, extremely excited by innovative technology, and extremely supportive of the open source software community. So maybe we are extremists.

    With these things in mind, we thought perhaps our readers might like to join us in letting our extremist flags fly by “stamping” your online profile pictures with our Linux Journal reader extremist seal of approval.

  5. Dear NSA, Privacy is a Fundamental Right, Not Reasonable Suspicion

    Learning about Linux is not a crime—but don’t tell the NSA that. A story published in German on Tagesschau, and followed up by an article in English on DasErste.de today, has revealed that the NSA is scrutinizing people who visit websites such as the Tor Project’s home page and even Linux Journal. This is disturbing in a number of ways, but the bottom line is this: the procedures outlined in the articles show the NSA is adding “fingerprints”—like a scarlet letter for the information age—to activities that go hand in hand with First Amendment protected activities and freedom of expression across the globe.

07.04.14

Links 4/7/2014: E19 Alpha 2, KDevelop 4.7.0 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Land of the Free, or Home on the Open Range?

    Here in the Linux community, there’s never any shortage of opportunities to wax philosophical about the success of our favorite operating system. After all, the traditional (read: proprietary) model had nothing to do with it, strictly speaking, so FOSS fans can’t be blamed for wanting to extol the virtues of the free and open source model instead.

  • Netflix goes open-source with AWS security tool

    Known as one of the biggest customers of Amazon Web Server (AWS), Netflix’s use of custom tools aimed at enhancing its AWS capabilities – known as the Simian Army – are well-known, and now they’re going open-source with one aimed at security monitoring.

  • Netflix open sources its Amazon cloud security enforcer
  • Managing passwords the open source way

    At this point, I have more usernames and passwords to juggle than any person should ever have to deal with. I know I’m not alone, either. We have a surfeit of passwords to manage, and we need a good way to manage them so we have easy access without doing something silly like writing them down where others might find them. Being a fan of simple apps, I prefer using pass, a command line password manager.

  • Old school: I work in DOS for an entire day

    Hall’s “PD-DOS” project eventually became FreeDOS, which today supports an ecosystem of developers, retro gamers, and diehards who will give up their WordStar when you pry the floppies from their cold, dead fingers.

  • Bitcoin ATMs Beef Up Their Financial Services
  • Lamassu Releases Open Source Software For Their Bitcoin ATM Network

    New Hampsire-based Lamassu — the manufacturer of one of the leading bitcoin ATMs available today — has announced the release of something they are calling Rakía, a brand-spanking-new open source back-end system that will redefine how the company’s network of ATMs in use around the world are utilized by customers.

  • Lamassu Introduces Open-Source Software for Bitcoin ATM Network
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Rust programming language at critical stage

        At this year’s Great Wide Open conference, Steve Klabnik gave a talk about Mozilla’s Rust programming language. Klabnik previously authored an introductory Rust tutorial entitled Rust for Rubyists, and this talk serves a similar purpose. However, instead of being Ruby focused, this talk was aimed at programmers in general. Hence the talk’s title: Rust for $LANGUAGE-ists.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Getting everyone on the same open-source cloud page

      At June 2014′s Linux Enterprise User Summit on Wall Street, Alan Clark, SUSE’s director of industry initiatives and open source and chairman of the OpenStack Foundation, explained why and how to deploy open-source clouds in your business.

    • Survey: Hadoop Not the Answer for Big Data Diversity

      The problem with Big Data today is not its scope, but rather the diverse forms it takes. That’s according to a survey out this week from database vendor Paradigm4, which also said Hadoop may not be as useful as all the hype suggests.

    • Opposites attract: The necessary marriage of open source and enterprise software

      The Map-Reduce batch jobs take time. Hadoop works best with long-running batch jobs – a 20 second start-up time on a 5 hour batch run is immaterial, but a 20 second start-up time on a 5 second query is a serious disadvantage. Hadoop really is not the right technology for real-time analysis.

    • Creating an OpenStack community locally

      Learning is easier with a community of practice. For some in the open source world, community is something that takes only a virtual form, but there’s still a lot of value in good old fashioned face-to-face communities to share and learn together. Taking a page out of the book of Linux User Groups (LUGs), several advocates for open source projects have found the population of interested users in their area to have reached the critical mass necessary to build and sustain local user groups of their own.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • BSD

    • Intel Is Trying To Support The x32 ABI For LLVM/Clang

      While adoption of the Linux x32 ABI hasn’t really taken off with most developers and end-users doing just fine with x86_64-compiled software, Intel is trying to get things back on track for supporting x32 by LLVM and Clang.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Apache open source enhancements for Dutch government

      Auckland consulting company Sosnoski Software Associates Limited is please to announce the completion of enhancements to ApacheTM CXFTM open source software as commissioned by the government of the Netherlands. These enhancements have fixed several errors in the Apache CXF implementation of Web Services Reliable Messaging (WSRM), brought it into compliance with the latest WSRM 1.2 version, and also corrected long-standing problems in how the Apache CXF implementation combines WS-Security with WSRM. The changes provide greatly enhanced interoperability for exchanging messages with other software packages.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Local Motors Working on Open-Source Lightweight Sports Car
    • Open Data

      • Is open data living up to the hype? One data journalist weighs in

        Journalism is one profession that has embraced open source. Open source enables smaller organizations with little or no budget to effectively extend their news gathering capabilities. It’s not just smaller news organizations who’ve been adopting open source—The New York Times recently unveiled a new open source content management system.

      • Study: Open Data Produces Twice the Growth of TTIP

        Open data has been discussed here on Open Enterprise for years, and it’s probably true to say that it has entered the mainstream, at least as far as the readership of Computerworld UK is concerned. Nonetheless, it’s always good to have more studies of its impact, and of its potential for wider use in the future. A new report commissioned by the Omidyar Network from Australian researchers is particularly welcome because it focuses not on the wishy-washy virtues of sharing, or even its efficiency, but on the economic benefits of open data.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Doctors unite to increase access to quality health information

        Six years ago, Dr. James Heilman was working a night shift in the ER when he came across an error-ridden article on Wikipedia. Someone else might have used the article to dismiss the online encyclopedia, which was then less than half the size it is now. Instead, Heilman decided to improve the article.

    • Open Hardware

      • The Novena Open Hardware Laptop: A Hacker’s Dream Machine

        That said, the Novena laptop’s experimental technology has the potential to offer new options to a sluggish computer industry. Novena is an open-hardware computing platform that is flexible and powerful. It is designed for use as a desktop, laptop or standalone board.

        Two engineers cofounded Sutajio Ko-usagi, an operations-oriented company focused on the manufacturing and sales of hardware to OEMs and hobbyists.

        Since Sutajio Ko-usagi is difficult to pronounce in English, the Novena developers shortened it to “Kosagi,” noted cofounder Andrew “Bunnie” Huang. Huang also runs the IP-oriented Bunniestudios…

  • Programming

    • Python Foundation uncoils as membership opens up

      By relaxing its rather constrictive membership process, The Python Software Foundation is starting to uncoil. And Nick Coghlan, Provisioning Architect in Red Hat Engineering Operations, couldn’t be happier.

Leftovers

  • 220 People Attend David Cameron “Rally for the Union”.

    That the Prime Minister of the UK cannot fill a hall, at least to not embarrassingly empty, at an event billed as a “rally” to “save” his country, at which he stated that to lose the referendum would “break his heart”, is astonishing.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • PhRMA Wants US To Use TAFTA/TTIP To Stop EU Releasing Basic Drug Safety Information

      What’s worrying is that there’s already been one attempt to water down these requirements. Der Tagesspiegel suggests this may have been as a result of pressure from the European Commission, concerned about US reaction to them. It will be interesting to see how the Commission reconciles any US demands during the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations to remove the requirement to publish drug safety information with the new EU regulation that requires it.

    • Domino’s Pizza staff pictured buying 59p Aldi potato wedges to sell as their own for £3.49

      Domino’s Pizza staff have been caught buying potato wedges from Aldi and fobbing them off as their own.

      A worker at the Domino’s branch in Linlithgow, West Lothian, was photographed buying bags of wedges for 59p each from a nearby branch of the budget supermarket.

      Domino’s then sold these to their customers for a massively marked-up £3.49 a portion

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Israeli Settlers Blamed for Murder of Abducted Palestinian Teen; Dozens Wounded in West Bank, Gaza
    • Polish-American alliance worthless

      The publication of Radoslav Sikorski’s comments in the Polish weekly magazine Wprost will not help his bid to become the European Union’s foreign policy chief, but there are senior foreign policy officials elsewhere who might be tempted to make similar remarks (though perhaps not in alcohol-fuelled conversations in well-known restaurants where they might be overheard). And there are those in Washington who are saying the same thing.

    • Permanent War

      A bipartisan panel of high-profile figures from the national security establishment recently completed its report on the United States’ policy surrounding drones. Of the panel’s several conclusions, the one that understandably received the most attention in the media was the concern that the ease with which the U.S. is able to conduct drone operations creates a “slippery slope” that could lead to a state of permanent war. In this scenario, no longer will there be clearly defined periods of war and peace, but rather a vague, endless conflict, whereby the U.S. Government can and will assert the right to target and kill anyone, anywhere, with virtually no meaningful legal, political, or ethical constraints. The panel also criticized the “secret rationales” behind this “long-term killing” and the “lack of any cost-benefit analysis” conducted by the government regarding the entire enterprise.

    • The Errant Drone and Other Tales

      One camera operator gave a chronically nervous pilot of a predator drone a helpful piece of advice while the pilot was waiting to take off: “Stop saying ‘uh oh’ while you’re flying. It’s never good. Like going to the dentist or a doctor. . .oops. What the f—you mean oops?” According to the Post report, shortly after this exchange the drone “rammed a runway barrier and guardhouse. “Whoa” the pilot said. “I don’t know what the hell just happened.”

      It would be interesting to know what the pilots who have accidentally killed civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and other places say when they realize their mistakes. Probably something more than “oops” or “I don’t know what the hell just happened.” We will probably find out as the number of drones continues to climb and kill.

    • An Eye for An Eye

      Interesting. Seems Obama’s forgotten Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the teenager and US citizen on his Kill List, incinerated in a CIA-led drone strike. Obama can’t imagine the indescribable pain that this young man’s parent (singular) feels. That’s singular because the boy’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki also was on Obama’s Kill List and droned two weeks before the death of his son. The attack in Yemen on Oct 14, 2011 that killed the young al-Awalaki also killed his teenage cousin and at least five other civilians as they sat in a restaurant. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was 16, the same age as two of the Israelis, but the murder of al-Awlaki was, well, sensible, to Obama.

    • From Bannu: Writing the saddest lines…

      These children have seen beheadings, target killings, drone attacks, bombings, shelling and the closure of their schools. I pondered upon how these innocent children have spent their entire lives witnessing terrible violence that adults my age have not seen.

    • Trial venue for military killing sparks outrage

      An American soldier charged by the military with the murder of a 26-year-old woman in Panama will be tried in the United States, sparking protests by women’s groups and outraged family members.

    • Chilean court rules US played key role in Pinochet murder of Americans

      A Chilean court issued a ruling Monday that the commander of US military forces in Chile played a pivotal role in the murder of two US citizens following the September 1973 coup that overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende and installed General Augusto Pinochet as dictator.

    • The U.S. National-Security State’s Murder of Two Americans

      A Chilean court ruled this week that the U.S. national-security state conspired to murder American citizens Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi in Chile in 1973. The brutal act occurred during the violent military coup in which the Chilean military, with the full support of the U.S. government, ousted the democratically elected president of the country, Salvador Allende, and replaced him with an unelected brutal military dictatorship headed by Chilean General Augusto Pinochet.

    • Modern Terrorism: An American ‘Success’ Story

      In 2000, terrorism – at least as we know it today – didn’t exist in the Middle East, particularly not in Iraq and Syria. However, the American invasion of ancient Mesopotamia absolutely changed the existing order. In addition to its introduction into the region, it has transformed into a radicalizing cross-border scourge. That was only possible, and is this really a paradox? – through the logistical and strategic support of the United States, to what would become al-Qaeda, to Islamist movements operating in Afghanistan from 1980-1990, and for movements trained by the CIA and financed by Saudi Arabia. If we don’t go back to the origins of what is now a global scourge, and if we fail to properly define this phenomenon, we can neither understand its international expansion let alone eradicate it.

    • About Iraq

      You do not fix history with a drone. What we are witnessing today in Iraq is the slow collapse of a century-long geopolitical partition drawn up in a secret document by United Kingdom and France, in one of their last acts as imperial powers.

    • Iraq: Policy failure, not intelligence failure

      Declassified portions of both National Intelligence Estimates on Iraq in 2007 highlighted concerns about stability, violence and the Iraqi army. In November, the intelligence community noted, “However, the level of overall violence, including attacks on and casualties among civilians, remains high; Iraq’s sectarian groups remain unreconciled; AQI retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks; and to date, Iraqi political leaders remain unable to govern effectively.”

    • On US TV, Israel is ‘Striking Back’

      It should go without saying that the killings of the Israeli youths do not justify the killing of innocent Palestinians, any more than the six Palestinian children killed by the Israeli military so far this year legitimize the murder of the Israeli teens.

    • Right-Wing Mythology Creeps Into Washington Post Benghazi Timeline

      The Washington Post misleadingly described the timeline of the Obama administration’s response to the 2012 Benghazi attacks by privileging the conservative media myth that President Obama did not immediately identify the attacks as an act of terror.

    • German defence minister backs ‘European armed drone’

      Procurement of so-called fighter drones to protect German armed forces remains controversial, but Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has finally disclosed her plans for the aircraft: The German military should receive drones, she said, but these can only be deployed with parliamentary approval. EurActiv Germany reports.

    • NYC Bar Association Releases Report on Legality of Drones

      Interested readers can access the report and the executive summary from the NYC Bar Association’s website. The press release accompanying the report’s release is also copied below the fold.

    • Blair embodies corruption and war. He must be sacked

      Now he’s advising the Egyptian dictatorship, his removal as Middle East peace envoy is a moral and democratic necessity

    • The Battle Behind the Lens

      Almost 5,000 American troops were killed in the Iraq War, and it’s estimated that from 100,000 to more than 600,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, died. Many more combatants and noncombatants alike were physically or emotionally wounded.

    • OP-ED: Pay No Attention to the Apocalypse Behind the Curtain

      In 8 days, on July 10th Mary Ann Grady-Flores, a grandmother from Ithaca, NY, is scheduled to be sentenced to up to one year in prison. Her crime is violating an order of protection, which is a legal tool to protect a particular person from the violence of another particular person. In this case, the commander of Hancock Air Base has been legally protected from dedicated nonviolent protesters, despite the protection of commanding his own military base, and despite the protesters having no idea who the guy is. That’s how badly the people in charge of the flying killer robots we call drones want to avoid any questioning of their activity entering the minds of the drone pilots.

    • Kurdistan

      An independent Kurdistan is a difficult sell because it is supported by such horrible people – Benjamin Netanyahu and every far right Republican in the US you can think of. Tony Blair is probably holding back on his endorsement until offered a huge consultancy fee or preferential access to “commercial opportunities” in the country.

    • Why Is The Media Taking These ISIS World Domination Maps So Seriously?

      In a rush to sensationalize growing violence in Iraq at the hands of religious extremists, media have circulated dubiously sourced maps which purport to illustrate plans for a future Islamic caliphate that extends from Spain to the southern and easternmost reaches of India.

    • Drones, Accidents, and Secrecy

      The Washington Post recently ran some amazing articles on the safety record of drones. The three-part series focuses on the more than 400 large U.S. military drones that have crashed overseas, domestic U.S. crashes of military drones inside and outside military airspace, and the record of incidents of small drones coming dangerously close to civilian aircraft within the United States. Fortunately nobody has been killed in any crashes yet, but it all makes for gripping reading.

    • Secret U.S. memo suggests no legal basis to charge Omar Khadr with war crimes
    • Drone memo should reverse Guantanamo Bay convictions

      Omar Khadr was only 15 years old when he was captured by American forces in Afghanistan in 2002 and taken to the Bagram Air Base, then Guantanamo, where he later pleaded guilty to murder in violation of the laws of war — according to military prosecutors, Khadr tossed a grenade that killed Sgt. Christopher Speer.

    • Omar Khadr war crimes charges lack legal basis, U.S. memo suggests
    • Secret memo on CIA drone killings reveals U.S. had no legal basis to charge Omar Khadr with war crimes: lawyers

      A previously secret memo on CIA involvement in drone killings is casting new doubt on whether the American government had any legal basis to prosecute Canada’s Omar Khadr for war crimes.

      In fact, Khadr’s lawyers argue in new filings to the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review, the document by the Dept. of Justice emphatically rejects any such legal foundation, and say his convictions at Guantanamo Bay should be set aside immediately.

    • US drone policy: Little prospect of rethink

      A new report on the consequences of America’s increasing use of drones as a counter-terrorism tool caused quite a stir in US national security circles last week, largely because it was written by a task force made up of many individuals who formerly reported to the Obama Administration.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Intel Report Targets Green Groups

      India’s intelligence agency has targeted an adviser to the Prince of Wales as well as British environmental activists in a campaign against foreign groups that it claims are a threat to its economy.

  • Finance

    • Income and Wealth Inequality in England

      First of all, there are some advantages to living in the U.K. that people at all income levels share. One can be outside in the summer time without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes (but bring an umbrella!). Restrictions on architecture and building mean that a lot of towns are beautiful and/or charming. Consider the value of a stroll around Paris compared to a stroll around a typical U.S. city. Due to a more or less free market in air travel and short distances, flights to interesting locations in Europe are affordable to everyone.

    • Fox Business Host: Jobs Report Might Be “Too Good”

      Fox Business host Charles Payne tried to put a negative spin on the news that the unemployment rate fell in June, tweeting that it might be “too good for the stock market.”

    • The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats

      You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

    • More Abuse Of Presidential Power-Operation Choke Point

      This is the type of political corruption we would expect from a banana republic

    • Meet the CEO Bold Enough to Kill Thousands of Jobs

      And what about the workers who are shown the door? Well, there’s no nightly newscast report about them.

    • Bitcoin quietly goes legit

      The US Marshals Service doesn’t normally make economic policy but this week they apparently did so by auctioning 30,000 Bitcoins, a crypto currency I have written about before. This auction effectively legitimizes Bitcoins as part of the world economy. Am I the only one to notice this?

      My first column on this subject was a cautionary tale pointing out the two great areas of vulnerability for Bitcoin: 1) the US Government might declare Bitcoins illegal, and; 2) someone might gain control of a majority of Bitcoins in which case their value could be manipulated. While number two is still theoretically possible it becomes less likely every day. And number one seems to have been put to rest by the U.S. Marshals.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Public Service

      I had an impeccable source that Obama’s anti-Scottish statement was orchestrated not only with him, but with the BBC who planted the question. I have no doubt it is true. I want to take this further with the Electoral Commission and the BBC Trust, but to do that I need confirmation of my whistleblower’s account.

    • Liquid Lies Revisited

      There never was a liquid bomb plot. It was proven in court not to exist. It was a fabrication of the minds governing a Pakistani torture chamber.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Air travellers need targeted protection

      As we face tightened security at airports, it is questionable whether mass screening is a sensible use of resources

    • Hike in airport security may be permanent, says Nick Clegg

      Increase in security measures are not a ‘blip’ but reflect the evolving threat of terrorists and extremist groups from around the world, says Deputy Prime Minister

    • NYPD brutally arrest man on subway ‘for sleeping on way from work’ (VIDEO)

      A video has recorded a violent altercation erupting between a man on a New York City subway and police officers, who apparently arrested him for the crime of nodding off while commuting home for work.

    • UK airport security stepped up after new US bomb terror threat

      Airport security is being increased at British airports after the United States called for heightened precautions amid reports two terror networks are working together on a bomb that could evade existing measures.

    • Open government is vital, but beware the deep state

      On the other hand, the currency of the anti-surveillance movement is distrust: it sees governments as adversaries, and thus it fights not just for greater disclosure of what the surveillance state is doing, but rallies the public to fight back by hardening themselves against spies. The problem is that we actually appear to have two governments under one roof. There is the one we elect and the one that does its best to ignore elections.

    • Independence Day, 2014
    • This Independence Day, America Again Has a Monarch

      Then the government shot itself in the foot when it surreptitiously released a portion of its secret memo to NBC News. This infuriated the panel of federal appellate judges hearing the Times’ appeal, and they ordered the entire memo released. Either it is secret or it is not, the court thundered—and the government, which is bound by the transparency commanded by the First Amendment, cannot pick and choose which parts of its work to reveal to its favorite reporters and which to conceal from the rest of us.

    • Reflecting on the History of America’s Wars, Trying to Feel Patriotic on the Fourth of July

      My high school textbooks totally ignored the real histories of the conquistadores, the genocide of Native Americans and their cultures, and the truth about the actual brutality of the enslavement of Black Africans. My history books glorified America’s wars, and never mentioned America’s use of propaganda or how it was involved in fascist movements world-wide. The cold realities of sexism, militarism, poverty, corporate abuse, the banking system, etc. were glossed over. Sadly, my relative ignorance about the (obviously censored out of our consciousness) painful and unwelcome truths about what really happened in history is probably the norm.

    • Guest Opinion: Independence Day should celebrate liberty, not government overreach

      The mainstream media and opportunistic politicians have turned Independence Day into the opposite of what was intended.

    • NAPOLITANO: From an inherited tyrant to an elected one

      The Obama administration had successfully resisted the efforts of The New York Times and others to induce a judge to order the release of the memo by claiming that it contained state secrets. The judge who reviewed the memo concluded that it was merely a legal opinion, and yet she referred to herself as being in “Alice in Wonderland”: The laws are public, and the judicial opinions interpreting them are public, so how could a legal opinion be secret? Notwithstanding her dilemma, she accepted the government’s absurd claims, and The New York Times appealed.

    • ACLU’s Report on Police Militarization Finds Weapons and Tactics of War Used Disproportionately Against People of Color
    • Highly Placed Media Racists

      For his part, Brooks praised a Sailer article in the American Conservative (12/20/04) promoting a movement that saw white people, as Brooks would have it, flouting Western trends toward declining birth rates by having lots of children and leaving behind the “disorder, vulgarity and danger” of cities to move to “clean, orderly” suburban and exurban settings where they can “protect their children from bad influences.”

    • Street Talk: Celebrating the Farce of July with illumination

      But what are we celebrating, exactly? We’re living in a time when the government spies on us without abandon. They listen to our calls, read our emails and watch us with drones. We’ve got our NSA, your DHS, your NDAA and your Patriot Act nudging us toward a police state and what lies beyond. Your government, the one you celebrate with firecrackers and 12-packs of beer, can jail you any time, without reason and for as long as they’d like, thanks to the mother of all un-American laws passed quietly, with very little protest or discussion, at the start of 2012.

    • Thailand deports ex-resistance leader to Laos
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EFF Changes Position On Net Neutrality: Recognizes FCC Must Act, But Narrowly

      For years, the EFF has pushed back against the FCC’s attempts to preserve net neutrality, reasonably worrying that it might open the door to the FCC further meddling in the internet where it had no real mandate. We here at Techdirt have been similarly concerned. As we’ve noted, net neutrality itself is important, but we were wary of FCC attempts to regulate it creating serious unintended consequences. However, over the past few years, the growth in power of the key broadband internet access providers, and their ability to degrade the internet for profit, has made it quite clear that other options aren’t working.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The European Commission Wants to Bring Back ACTA Through the Back Door!

      As the current European Commission sees out its last days following the European elections, it has just published an “Action Plan to address infringements of intellectual property rights in the EU” reusing some of the major concepts of the ACTA agreement that was rejected by the European Parliament in 2012 following an important citizen mobilisation. Its contents are also inspired by proposals pushed by France at the European level1, letting fear an increased implication of technical intermediaries in the enforcement of copyright and their progressive transformation into a private copyright police force.

      By reusing the objective of fighting against “commercial scale” counterfeiting, the Commission has chosen to reactivate one of the worst mechanisms of the anti-counterfeiting agreement ACTA. This vague expression threatens to include non-commercial online sharing activities and introduces the same legal uncertainty which was at the heart of the citizen mobilisation against ACTA, right up to its final rejection by the elected representatives of the Parliament.

      The same commissioners who pushed ACTA, Karel de Gucht and Michel Barnier, now seem to be considering bypassing the European Parliament to implement this fight against “commercial scale” counterfeiting. They are in fact planning to introduce “non-legislative measures” implying the signature of simple agreements between representatives of the cultural industries and technical providers, like advertising agencies and online payment services.

      These measures are directly inspired from the May 2013 Lescure Report and from the Imbert-Quaretta Report [fr] recently published in France, which La Quadrature has already denounced as potentially leading to an exra-judicial application of copyright law, converting these intermediaries in a private copyright law police force [fr]. The Commission wishes that such a system be generalized in the European Union through “Memoranda of Understanding”, providing a framework for contractual agreements negociated by private players.

      Such methods will lead to the bypass of democratic procedures of control. But the Commission also proposes to reinforce the protection of intellectual property at an international level with multilateral negociations. Such statements give good reason to fear that, once again, as with the ACTA agreement, or as foreseen for the CETA and TAFTA agreements, “intellectual property” questions will be treated in an opaque way during free trade agreements, leaving elected representatives with hardly any leeway.

    • Airbus submits patent application for windowless jet cockpit

      An article published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer yesterday evening describes a patent application from European aerospace company Airbus in which pilots fly aircraft entirely through electronic means. The patent application, number US20140180508 A1, is titled “Aircraft with a cockpit including a viewing surface for piloting which is at least partially virtual” and notes that while an aircraft’s cockpit must be located in its nose to afford its pilot forward visibility, the physical requirements of the cockpit’s shape and the amount of glass required are aerodynamically and structurally non-optimal.

    • Copyrights

      • One-Percent Authors Want To End Destructive Conflict, Bring Order to the Galaxy

        Amazon is not boycotting anyone. All books by all Hachette authors are available in the Amazon store. In the face of this, to claim there’s a “boycott” is either ignorance or propaganda.

      • Hollywood Goes After Korean Fans Subtitling Soap Operas, Pressing Criminal Charges

        We’ve written a few times in the past about the movie and TV industries irrationally freaking out over fans in other countries providing subtitles for works that aren’t being released locally in that language. These are always labor-of-love efforts by fans who want to share the work more widely by providing the subtitles that the studios themselves refuse to offer. And yet, because of standard copyright maximalism, these efforts almost always end up leading to legal action.

07.03.14

US System Manipulated to Financially Punish Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Law at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

Summary: The Yorba Foundation is denied tax exemptions while the world’s biggest thief, who increases his wealth by lobbying and investing under the guise of ‘charity’, receives tax exemptions

THIS is a major story that, unlike some stories (e.g. the No-IP takeover scandal which we’ll cover soon), has not received sufficient press coverage. The other day in our daily links we included a link that my wife had found and was made rather furious by. We linked to the original just hours after it was published (in June) and it took days until some sites — small sites — covered it very briefly. Susan Linton said: “The top story in today’s Linux news is the IRS denial of nonprofit status for Open Source projects.”

This was hardly the top story. It didn’t receive much attention and it took days for it to get any press coverage at all. Here is what Boing Boing wrote only yesterday:

In a disturbing precedent, the Yorba Foundation, which makes apps for GNU/Linux, has had its nonprofit status application rejected by the IRS because some of projects may benefit for-profit entities.

Will Hill said that there is “[a]n interesting comment from a lawyer on the pluss“:

If ICANN can be a 501(c)(3), and pull in around $400,000,000 in 2013 while benefiting pretty much every intellectual property protection agent in the world, I don’t see how someone who produces code that they give away for free can be refused similar status.

Thankfully, this issue has been getting some more coverage in some technology news sites very recently [1,2], but nothing else as far as we can tell. Apparently it’s OK for an investment and Microsoft lobbying body to get tax exemptions (that’s Gates Foundation), but it is not okay for a bunch of programmers who work without a salary to receive tax-free donations. This is how US ‘justice’ works, apparently. Rich people pay next to nothing to their government and diligent poor people are portrayed as some kind of “parasites” and forced to pay part of the meager donations they receive to the government.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IRS Rejects Non-Profit Status For Open Source Organization, Because Private Companies Might Use The Software

    Last year, as the IRS scandal blossomed over the IRS supposedly targeting “conservative” groups for extra attention concerning their non-profit status, we noted that the IRS had also been told to examine “open source software” projects more closely as well. We found that to be a bit disturbing — and it appears that for all that focus on the scandal, the IRS hasn’t quite given up on unfairly targeting open source projects. The Yorba Foundation, which makes a number of Linux apps for GNOME, has been trying to get declared a 501(c)(3) non-profit for over four years now… and just had that request rejected by the IRS for reasons that don’t make any sense at all. Basically, the IRS appears to argue that because there might be some “non-charitable” uses of the software, the Foundation doesn’t deserve non-profit status, which would make it exempt from certain taxes (and make donations tax deductible).

  2. IRS policy that targeted Tea Party groups also aimed at open source projects

    The IRS denied a proposal to grant 501(c)(3) status to Yorba, a nonprofit organization that develops open source software for the Linux desktop. In a blog post yesterday, Yorba spokesperson Jim Nelson disclosed the full text of the IRS rejection letter. He fears that IRS policy has evolved to broadly preclude nonprofit open source software developers from obtaining 501(c)(3) tax exemptions.

‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ in Reverse: USPTO Gets Even More Extremist With New White House Appointment

Posted in Patents at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Philip Johnson, a “patent extremist”, becomes the new head of the monopolies office, showing that nothing is going to improve any time soon

IF YOU thought David Kappos (software patents booster) was bad, wait until you meet the new head of the USPTO. The White House has just defended the USPTO from SCOTUS (against patents on “abstract” ideas) by putting what one writer called “patent extremist” in charge (not to be confused with the judge):

The selection of Philip Johnson, the head of intellectual property at Johnson & Johnson, is being resisted by tech industry groups as he is best known for spending years to halt against any effort to change the way patents are submitted and approved. The appointment of Johnson contradicts Obama’s stand against lobbyist in Washington as well as his promise to bring patent reforms. Appointment of Johnson would be the same kind of mistake that Obama made by appointing lobbyists for the cable industry Tom Wheeler as the head of FCC. Wheeler is all determined to kill the Internet and give the cable companies unprecedented control of the internet.

The USPTO was bad enough as it was, approving almost every patent application. The new leadership is against any kind of reform:

White House poised to name patent reform opponent as new head of Patent Office

The Obama Administration’s expected choice to lead the Patent Office is a Johnson & Johnson lawyer who has been a key figure in blocking attempts to reform the patent system.

‘Hope’ for the protectionists and ‘Change’ for no-one other than corporations, which the high US court now deems “people”. Welcome to crony patent regime. It’s getting worse over time.

Symptoms of Injustice: Biggest Software Patents Proponent, CAFC, Superseding Supreme Court Decisions on Patents

Posted in Courtroom, Law, Patents at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Justice gone backwards

Randall R. Rader
Photo from Reuters

Summary: A patent case in the United States gets sent from SCOTUS to CACF, showing a rather odd hierarchy of justice (top-to-bottom, back to notorious patent boosters)

THE Rader corruption and the impact on CAFC was mentioned here just weeks ago, noting that the Court had been put under mortal danger (some people call for its abandonment/abolishment). This is the court which was responsible for software patents in the United States, home of software patents (universally). According to this update from the EFF, CAFC may actually have a go at overriding SCOTUS. As the EFF put it: “The Ultramercial case has been bouncing around the federal courts for years. In 2010, a trial court held the patent invalid on the grounds it claimed an abstract idea. On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed, finding the patent non-abstract because it “clearly require[s] specific application to the Internet and a cyber-market environment.” The Supreme Court then sent the case back to the Federal Circuit for reconsideration. In a remarkable decision by former Chief Judge Randall Rader, the lower court thumbed its nose at Supreme Court authority and upheld the patent for a second time. The defendants returned to the Supreme Court. EFF filed an amicus brief urging the Court to take the case and find the patent abstract.”

The US patent system seem to favour those with money (for more motions and appeals), not those with original ideas. It is a real problem. Watch how the USPTO, led by corporate masters like IBM, stops beneficial products from reaching their full potential:

We’ve seen this many times before, how patents can hold back very useful developments. Notice how 3D printing is suddenly a big thing? It’s not because of any new miraculous breakthroughs, but because some key patents finally started expiring, allowing real innovation to move forward. We saw something similar in the field of infrared grills, which were put on the… uh… back burner (sorry) until key patents expired. Derek now points us to a similar example.

This article goes on to showing how microwaves got retarded by patents, and there’s no exception here. Patents just tend to harm innovation and those who promote them (usually lawyers) do a great disservice to society.

One day the patent system (if it still exists in its current form) might actually be reshaped by people representative of society, not patent lawyers.

07.02.14

Links 2/7/2014: GNU/Linux up in Steam, New GCHQ Lawuit

Posted in News Roundup at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 things to consider when building an open source community

    At Kaltura, we took the open source road partly because of curiosity and passion, and partly because we entered a market where competition was already getting fierce and there was a clear lack of an open source and standards oriented solution.

  • Exclusive: Leaked ‘Inception’ Document Fleshes Out Open-Source NFV Plans

    Plans for an open-source NFV platform are moving forward, as leading carriers and vendors in the NFV movement were scheduled to hold an “inception meeting” Monday and Tuesday.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox and Gtk+ 3

        Folks from Collabora and Red Hat have been working on making Firefox on Gtk+ 3 a thing. See Emilio’s blog post for some recent update. But getting Firefox to build and run locally is unfortunately not the whole story.

        I’ve been working on getting Gtk+ 3 Firefox builds going on Mozilla build infrastructure, and I’m proud to announce today that those builds are now going through Mozilla continuous integration on a project branch: Elm, and receive the same automated testing as mozilla-central.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • 6 fresh guides for managing OpenStack

      Looking for a guide to walk you through the creation, care and upkeep of your open source cloud running OpenStack? We’ve collected some of our favorite tutorials and technical how-tos from the past month all here in one place. Be sure to visit the official documentation for OpenStack if you need further guidance.

    • BYO-LHC: Bring Your Own Large Hadron Collider

      Rackspace’s involvement with OpenStack and CERN at the Large Hadron Collider surfaced again late last month when the cloud hosting provider staged a London-based gathering to discuss what, when and where its cloud hosting intelligence is being deployed.

    • How a little open source project came to dominate big data
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 3 open source tools to make your presentations pop

      Love them or hate them, presentations are a major part of life in both academia and business. Traditionally, creating a presentation meant using Microsoft’s PowerPoint, but Apple’s Keynote and LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org’s Impress are solid alternatives. The problem with all those applications (aside from the closed source nature of the first two) is that you need those applications installed in order to view the presentations you’ve created. You can try your luck opening the file in Google Drive or the like, but your success will vary.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • ARM Jumps on Open-Source Sensors

        ARM Semiconductors announced last week it would jump into the open-source sensor hubs game by teaming with sensor algorithm company Sensor Platforms to produce an open-source software for sensor hub applications. Sensor Platform’s Open Sensor Platform (OSP) is designed to simplify the use of sensors in applications and hardware by providing a flexible framework for more sophisticated interpretation and analysis of sensor data.

      • Creating an Open-Source Multiband RC Transmitter
  • Programming

    • Big data influencer on how R is paving the way

      Revolution Analytics supports the R community and the ever-growing needs of commercial users. Recently named a top 10 influencer on the topic of Big Data, I asked David Smith, the Chief Community Officer at Revolution Analytics, to share with me what keeps this programming language ticking. Though R has been around since the 90s, released in 1995 as under GPLv2 by two statistics professors looking to develop a new language for statistical computing, a new breath of life has energized a rowdy team of innovators around R.

    • SparkR is an R package that enables the R programming language to run inside of the Spark framework in order to manipulate the data for analytics.

      SparkR is an R package that enables the R programming language to run inside of the Spark framework in order to manipulate the data for analytics.

    • Trying out Julia

      This is a fairly quick post, though I previously considered making it longer and more trollish. A handful of my friends have told me about Julia, the amazing programming language made for numerical computations and other scientific computing uses.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Serverless WebRTC, continued

      Around a year ago, in WebRTC without a signaling server, I presented an simple app that can start a chat session with another browser without involving a local file server (i.e. you just browse to file:///) and without involving a signaling server (instead of both going to the same web page to share “offers”, you share them manually, perhaps via IM).

Leftovers

  • Who Goes to an Azov Battalion Charity Concert? Here’s 10.

    The Azov Battalion was formed on May 5th, 4 days later they were involved in still one of the most shocking actions of this Ukraine crisis, the Mariupol massacre. They were the battalion sent out of the Mariupol police hq first, into the streets, shooting, killing unarmed civilians. Since then, involvement in further atrocities across the former east of Ukraine has had them labelled ‘men in black’ (their uniform is all black, unmarked), even a ‘death squad‘. Part of their funding reportedly comes from oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. How many of them are there? Some have reported 70, but the group itself are secretive about exact numbers, with speculation it could be in the hundreds. Their official Facebook page has over 8000 ‘likes’.

  • The Risk of a Ukraine Bloodbath

    Pressured by neocons and the mainstream U.S. media, the Obama administration is charting a dangerous course by seeking a military solution to Ukraine’s political crisis and possibly provoking Moscow to intervene to protect ethnic Russians, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern warns.

  • Asylum seekers in standoff with police at Berlin protest

    Kreuzberg, the heart of countercultural Berlin, is no stranger to protests. But a tense standoff between police and protesters over the past six days has set a new standard.

    Since last Wednesday, hundreds of police officers have been surrounding a former school building in which a group of mainly African asylum seekers are protesting against their treatment in Germany.

    On Monday morning, around 20 officers lined up behind barricades on the junction of Ohlauer and Reichenberger Strasse, some of them deep in conversation with locals who wanted to get trolleys full of food and medicine through to the protesters.

    The press are refused entry to the school building, allegedly because of a fire hazard.

    While some local politicians are trying to negotiate an agreement that would allow the asylum seekers to permanently remain in the building while their cases are being processed, Germany’s police union is advocating an evacuation of the building.

    In a call from the roof of the building, a 32-year-old Sudanese refugee who would only give his name as Adam said: “The police try to give the impression that we are criminals and crazy people, but we only want to fight for our rights.”

  • Mobile roaming charges halved as EU introduces new caps

    Call, text and data charges in more than 40 EU countries are slashed by European leaders

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Assault on Organics

      The New York Post loves a good villain, but you’d think it would be hard to cast a bad light on the group of people profiled in an April 19 story: moms who feed their kids organic food.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Intimidated by Its Own Mercenaries

      Even the mightiest have their come-uppance when their internal logic spews out destructiveness returning on the self—“blowback” in a way perhaps not seen before. I refer to James Risen’s extraordinary article in the New York Times, “Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater,” (June 30), in which the customary meaning of “blowback” refers to policies, e.g., the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, the “pivot” of military power to the Pacific intent on the encirclement, containment, isolation of China, produce unintended, or if intended, still unwelcome, consequences for the initiator of the policy or action.

    • Blackwater Iraqi chief threatened to kill US govt. inspector – newspaper
    • The Return of Ahmad Chalabi

      Back in 2004, US troops in Iraq raided Chalabi’s headquarters. The accusation: he had leaked classified US intelligence to the Iranians, letting them in on the secret that we had cracked Tehran’s interagency code. For years, Chalabi had been on the CIA payroll, but now it looked like he was in reality a double-agent acting on behalf of Iran. The real shocker, however, was that Chalabi had access to this kind of closely-guarded intelligence in the first place. The FBI wanted to know how the wily Iranian exile leader got his hands on the information.

    • Iraq invasion was a huge mistake: US Secretary of State

      US Secretary of State John Kerry has admitted that the US-led invasion of Iraq eleven years ago was a serious mistake.

    • U.S.-Jihadist Relations (Part 1): Creating the Mujahedin in Afghanistan

      To President Carter and Brzezinski, the end justified the means. The end goal was the collapse of the Soviet Union, and to achieve it, Islamist fundamentalists had to be used. Osama bin Laden and people like him were dispatched to Afghanistan to fight the “godless” communists. It was during this time that the Quran’s surah on jihad attracted attention.

    • So, You Think You Know Iraq? – OpEd

      Such is the absence of quality in the current debate on Iraq, that absent is the presence of British observers in the first elections, to nominate a Government for the Kurdish Autonomous Region, after the 1991 failed US/UK backed uprising to remove Saddam Hussain from power.

      The clear absence of such minor details, which any self respecting sociologist or politician would describe as vital, to the “cause and affect” of the current situation, has now resulted in a political narrative, which has excluded the internal and external Iraqi community.

    • Filing vague on Benghazi suspect’s role

      A legal filing prosecutors submitted in advance of a hearing set in federal court in Washington on Wednesday for Libyan militia leader Ahmed Abu Khatallah is vague about his role in the 2012 attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

      Abu Khatallah was captured in Benghazi last month by U.S. military special forces and FBI personnel. He was brought across the Atlantic in a Navy ship before being helicoptered into Washington on Saturday morning for an arraignment in federal court on an indictment charging him with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists in connection with the assault on the U.S. compound two years ago.

    • Abu Khattala, suspect in Benghazi attacks, held without bond

      A suspected ringleader of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans was ordered held without bond during a Wednesday hearing in D.C. federal court.

    • Repeal the Bill Kristol Permanent Punditry Act!

      The only other possibility is that ABC is being forced to comply with a law that requires Bill Kristol appear on national television. If that’s not the excuse, then what is?

    • Crazed Bombers Support Bombs Shock

      Why “Establishment figures endorse status quo” is news beats me. The only news is that the estrangement of ordinary people from the moribund political establishment means nobody cares what these old troughers and sycophants think. In Scotland the referendum has given an impetus to a popular will to take back the power kidnaped by an unrepresentative political class. These old fogeys may need to have the power (with American permission) to kill billions of their human beings, in order to feel potent and important. But if they want to keep these appalling devices, they are going to have to look for somewhere new to keep them. The Pool of London?

    • Court Tells DOJ To Cough Up The Other Secret Memos That Justify Killing People By Drone

      Last week, we wrote about how the DOJ finally released (a heavily redacted) copy of its memo authorizing drone use for killing Americans (though, some have pointed out that the memo was written well after the US started trying to kill Americans with drones). More importantly, we noted that the memo actually pointed to another secret memo as part of the justification. It’s secret memo on top of secret memo, all the way down. The ACLU went back to court to see about getting its hands on that other memo, and the court has now ordered the DOJ to cough up any such memos related to killing people with drones. Specifically, the judge has ordered the DOJ to provide…

    • A Band-Aid Approach to Fixing the V.A.

      Despite promises from the Bush-43 administration that the Iraq War would pay for itself, the price tag keeps soaring with the predictable impact on V.A. hospitals struggling to care for wounded warriors. But the political solution has been to make a change at the top, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

    • Iraqi ‘Caliph’ on U.S. Kill List

      Currently, several hundred U.S. troops are providing security in Baghdad and assessing Iraq’s security needs, Dempsey said on NPR on June 28. The military is preparing “additional options” including the targeting of “high-value individuals,” he said.

    • McCain meets Syrian rebels, presses for military aid to fight ISIS

      Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pressed for increasing aid to moderate rebel groups after meeting Syrian opposition leaders in Turkey Wednesday, warning that delays would “fuel the growing danger” to U.S. security.

      McCain said pro-Western Syrian forces were fighting a “two-front war” against both Syrian strongman Bashar Assad and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a Sunni militant group that has captured huge swaths of both countries.

    • US Court: Mexicans Can Sue Border Patrol Agent Who Killed Their Rock-Throwing Son

      The US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the parents of Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old Mexican teenager who was shot and killed by Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa on June 7, 2010, could sue Mesa in U.S. civil court for alleged excessive use of force. This was a reversal of the initial judgment made in Mesa’s favor in the lower Western District Court in El Paso, TX.

    • Germany considers introducing armed drones
    • The era of American drone supremacy is fading – but the threat of drone multipolarity is real – and potentially endless

      However, though America has only deemed the UK fit to buy their UAVs, others, including Iran, whose drones patrol the same Iraqi skies as their US counterparts, have reverse engineered the unmanned aerial vehicle with relative ease.

    • Intel chairman: Drone strikes on Americans abroad ‘legitimate’

      Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said al Qaeda affiliated fighters targeting the U.S. should not be handled by the court system, regardless of whether they are American citizens.

    • America needs a rulebook

      Americans are troubled by the lack of accountability surrounding US use of targeted strikes far from traditional battlefields

    • Peace talks failure led to drone strikes: Report

      The London-based Bureau of Investigating Journalism quoting a source close to peace talks between the government and TTP said Islamabad had asked the US to stop drone strikes during the peace deal.

    • Win Mott: Deja Vu all over again for U.S. in Iraq

      7. We are still lost. The gates of hell are still wide open. You now understand what is happening. You are ahead of our leaders, of both parties, who in attempting to protect economic interests have lost any sense of foreign policy direction, or of the costs to America in blood and dollars. It is hard to believe that future U.S. leaders could make it worse, but it is possible.

    • Rachel Marsden: Is US being duped into funding jihadist startup?

      Unless the end goal is to foment Islamic terrorism from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, what exactly is this administration hoping to achieve? It’s getting its backside handed to it by the jihadist version of a startup, and Obama risks becoming its venture capitalist in chief.

    • US plans to increase airport security after new threat

      The US is reportedly planning to overhaul security at its airports and to demand its overseas partners do the same, after receiving intelligence that militant groups in the Middle East are preparing a new generation of non-metallic explosives that could be carried undetected on to commercial flights.

    • Rights activists protest ‘Human Rights Watch’

      Human rights activists marched from the New York Times offices to the Empire State Building — which houses Human Rights Watch — to protest both institutions as tools of the CIA, specifically in their role attacking the Bolivarian government of Venezuela.

    • Cuba Cooperated with US in Search for Missing Americans

      Starting 1998, the Cuban government provided the United States with intelligence to help it track down US citizens who had disappeared in the field during the Cold War, a former CIA agent revealed.

      Chip Beck, a retired CIA agent and former Department of State official, revealed that, between 1998 and 2001, he traveled to Cuba officially on five separate occasions to look for information on US citizens who had disappeared during missions in Indochina, Africa and Central America during the years of confrontation between the West and the communist bloc headed by the Soviet Union.

    • Cuba – down but not out

      The US still does not have formal diplomatic relations with Cuba and maintains an embargo that makes it illegal for US corporations to do business with Cuba.

    • EDITORIAL: Close loopholes, open documents

      Earlier this year, the CIA blocked the release of a decades-old internal report on the Bay of Pigs. It is hard to imagine why such information on a 1960s operation would not be public information now.

    • The death by drone memo: a throwback to U.S. terrorism in Nicaragua

      While the Contras claimed responsibility, to the Sandinistas such actions bore all the hallmarks of the CIA. Immediately, they lodged a formal complaint before the International Court of Justice.

      For its part, the State Department assured it had “no further information on the incident,” adding: “We have received a protest from the Soviet Union charging U.S. responsibility, and we reject that charge.”

      On April 8, unauthorized leaks revealed that the CIA (specifically, its so-called Unilaterally Controlled Latino Assets or UCLAs) had in fact been directly involved in laying these mines. As shown by a March 2, 1984 secret memorandum written by Oliver North, the agency had made prior arrangements asking the Contras to “take credit for the operation” to cover up its involvement.

    • Mercury News: Drones need better justification

      Thirteen months ago, during a speech at the National Defense University, President Barack Obama promised greater transparency and new guidelines for drone use as part of his counterterrorism strategy.

    • Thailand deports ex-resistance leader to Laos

      Thailand deported a former ethnic Hmong resistance leader whose group fought for the US in Laos in the 1960s, Thai officials and rights groups said Wednesday, raising concerns that he will face persecution in his homeland.

      Moua Toua Ter and fellow Hmong led a desperate existence on the run in the jungles of Laos for more than two decades. He had been sheltering in Thailand for eight years while seeking resettlement in a third country.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • How Business Media Covered “Risky Business” Climate Report

      Refusing to act on climate change will be bad for business, according to a major recent report assessing the alarming risks of unchecked global warming on the U.S. economy. But while some top business media outlets recognize global warming as a serious issue for their audience, others are still stuck in denial.

  • Finance

    • The AP’s Newest Business Reporter Is an Algorithm

      Journalistic earnings stories can feel robotic, even when written by a news organization as prestigious as the Associated Press. Acknowledging this fact, the AP has decided that it will just have robots produce stories on companies’ earning reports.

    • New Haven boy, 12, takes mission to end homelessness to Detroit’s streets

      The young boy smiles and looks into the eyes of the homeless man with bent shoulders and worn shoes.

      He carefully places a scoop of potato salad next to the grilled hot dog and beans on the man’s plate.

    • Editorial: Mentally ill, chronically homeless

      Even the most sequestered suburbanite visiting downtown Detroit can see that cuts in mental health services have pushed mentally ill people onto the street. During the day, more and more of them share the sidewalks with nicely dressed people who walk by them, often without a glance, on their way to the offices, lofts, condos, restaurants and clubs that signal Detroit’s downtown revival.

    • Neoliberalism’s Slippery Slope

      Freidman, as one of the founders of neoliberal thought, and theory, in the late 1940s, became synonymous with “monetarism” and eventually with “neoliberalism,” and as follows, significantly, very significantly, his theory spread all across the earth from the shores of Melbourne to Sri Lanka to Cape Town to Cape Horn to Tokyo; it’s a neoliberal world.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • 238 Years Later, Would Americans Still Choose Freedom Over Slavery?
    • Land of the free? Not so much. Americans’ sense of freedom drops, poll finds.

      This Independence Day, Americans will celebrate the nation’s core values, especially freedom. But according to a new international poll, Americans have become significantly “less satisfied with the freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives.”

      Seventy-nine percent of US residents are satisfied with their level of freedom, down from 91 percent in 2006, according to the Gallup survey, released Tuesday.

      That 12 point drop pushes the US from among the highest in the world in terms of perceived freedom to 36th place, outside the top quartile of the 120 countries sampled, trailing Paraguay, Rwanda, and the autonomous region of Nagarno-Karabakh.

    • The One-Sided Culture War Against Children

      Have a look at the unsigned editorials in left-of-center newspapers, or essays by columnists whose politics are mostly progressive. Listen to speeches by liberal public officials. On any of the controversial issues of our day, from tax policy to civil rights, you’ll find approximately what you’d expect.

    • Colleges are slowly taking away your First Amendment rights

      September 17 last year was a pretty bad day for the Constitution on our campuses. Robert Van Tuinen of Modesto Junior College in California was prevented from passing out copies of the Constitution outside of his college’s tiny “free speech zone.” Near Los Angeles, Citrus College student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle was threatened with removal from campus for the “offense” of collecting signatures for a petition against NSA domestic surveillance outside his college’s tiny free speech area.

    • Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush Totaled 672 Executive Orders. Obama has 182. Boehner’s Lawsuit is Frivolous.

      In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Ted Cruz accused the president of breaking the law by claiming, “Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.” Unfortunately for Sen. Cruz and like-minded citizens, there’s nothing unprecedented about Obama’s recent activities. According to C-Span’s Congressional Glossary, an executive order is defined as, “a presidential directive with the force of law. It does not need congressional approval.” While many conservatives have labeled Obama’s unilateral decisions as imperial, or the actions of a “monarch,” the truth is that U.S. history is filled with Republican presidents who have been far more willing to take matters into their own hands.

    • Why Congress and the CIA Are Feuding
    • CIA and Congress Clash Over Classified Report on Interrogation Program

      Partly as a result, relations between the CIA and Congress are more fraught than at any point in the past decade. The source of the tension is the Senate intelligence committee’s classified report on the CIA’s controversial post-9/11 interrogation program—and the agency’s response to it.

      [...]

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and chairman of the committee, was angry. The document was part of the committee’s investigation of the CIA interrogation program. Mr. Brennan’s investigation, she felt, was an affront to the Constitution’s separation of powers. She wanted an apology.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Nobody cares about the future of the Internet

      John Oliver told us that “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something that sounds incredibly boring,” and there’s no domain in which that is more true than the world of Internet governance.

    • Will a more powerful FCC ensure net neutrality? EFF thinks so!

      EFF has taken a U-turn from its stand on giving FCC too much power to regulate the internet services. Now EFF is recommending that FCC reclassify internet services as Title II services which will give the commission more power to regulate the industry.

    • The FCC and Net Neutrality: A Way Forward

      EFF has long been critical of the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to regulate digital technologies and services. We’ve warned against FCC rules and strategies that threatened to (or actually did) give the agency too much power over innovation and user choice. And with good reason: the FCC has a sad history of being captured by the very industries it’s supposed to regulate. It also has a history of ignoring grassroots public opinion. In the early 2000s, for example, the commission essentially ignored the comments of hundreds of thousands of Americans who opposed media consolidation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom Encryption Keys Can’t Be Given to FBI, Court Rules

        In 2012, New Zealand police seized computer drives belonging to Kim Dotcom, copies of which were unlawfully given to the FBI. Dotcom wants access to the seized content but the drives are encrypted. A judge has now ruled that even if the Megaupload founder supplies the passwords, they cannot subsequently be forwarded to the FBI.

      • The Pirate Bay Now Blocked in Argentina

        Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to block The Pirate Bay on copyright grounds. A court order obtained by the country’s leading recording labels compels eleven ISPs to block 256 Pirate Bay IP addresses and 12 domains. According to early reports from the region, some ISPs have already implemented the ban.

      • The Troubling Truth of Why It’s Still So Hard to Share Files Directly

        It’s not always easy to spot the compromises in the technology we use, where we’ve allowed corporate interests to trump public ideals like privacy and press freedom. But sometimes new developments can cast those uneasy bargains into relief—and show that the public may not have even been at the table when they were made.

07.01.14

Links 1/7/2014: CoreOS and Blackphone in Headlines

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source support gives older software a fighting chance

    It would be difficult to find someone who could provide more insight into what is happening in the world of the Eclipse IDE than Wayne Beaton, the director of open source projects at The Eclipse Foundation. So what is new with Eclipse, beyond the obvious excitement surrounding the latest Eclipse Kepler release and the recently announced support for Java 8?

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ownCloud Client 1.6.1

      The recommendation is to update your installation to this version. The previous version 1.6.0 had great new features, first and foremost the parallel up- and download of files and a way more performant handling of the local sync journal. That required a lot of code changes. Unfortunately that also brought in some bugs which are now fixed with the 1.6.1 release.

    • A path to OpenStack contributions, bug reporting, and more

      Interested in keeping track of what’s happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for what’s happening right now in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

  • Databases

    • MongoDB: A showcase for the power of open source in the enterprise

      Big trends in the No Design Database era and other takeaways from MongoDB’s first user conference.

    • The day I finally drank the open source Kool-Aid

      The combination of the Internet, Moores Law and hyper fast commoditization changed that, but not as quickly as you might imagine. At least not until the most recent times (perhaps the last five years) when vendors emerged who upended the old models and presented us with a fresh way to look at everything compute related. Infrastructure, Database, Software, Platform…Pretty Much Everything is rapidly being converted to a Service. Witness Citi recently talking MongoDB as a Service.

  • CMS

    • 3 open source content management systems compared

      Whether you need to set up a blog, a portal for some specific usage, or any other website, which content management system is right for you? is a question you are going to ask yourself early on. The most well-known and widely used open source content management system (CMS) platforms are: Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal. They are all based on PHP and MySQL and offer a wide range of options to users and developers alike.

  • Healthcare

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Quality Software Costs Money – Heartbleed Was Free

      About the only thing GNU Project founder Richard Stallman and I can agree on when it comes to software freedom is that it’s “Free as in free speech, not free beer.”

      I really hope the Heartbleed vulnerability helps bring home the message to other communities that FOSS does not materialize out of empty space; it is written by people. We love what we do, which is why I’m sitting here, way past midnight on a Saturday evening, writing about it; but we are also real people with kids, cars, mortgages, leaky roofs, sick pets, infirm parents, and all kinds of other perfectly normal worries.

      The only way to improve the quality of FOSS is to make it possible for these perfectly normal people to spend time on it. They need time to review patch submissions carefully, to write and run test cases, to respond to and fix bug reports, to code, and most of all, time just to think about the code and what should happen to it.

    • base Raises $60 Million to Fuel NoSQL Database Effor

      It takes a lot of money to build a database company in an industry dominated by a giant like Oracle. It’s a lesson that open-source NoSQL database startup Couchbase know well as it continues to raise funding to build its business.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Introducing Alex Patel, our summer Campaigns intern

      My name is Alex Patel, and I’ll be working as an intern with the campaigns team at the Free Software Foundation this summer. This fall, I will be a sophomore at Harvard College in Cambridge, MA, at which I’m pursuing a joint degree in computer science and philosophy.

    • Learn How to Protect Your Email Communication in Less Than 30 Minutes

      Email Self-Defense, a beginner’s guide and infographic to email encryption by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), was released in six new languages [fr, de, jp, ru, pt, tr] on June 30, 2014. More languages are underway.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Governance for the GitHub generation

      In software, this is epitomized by the GitHub generation, but I believe it’s a characteristic of any aspect of culture touched by the Internet. For those still trapped in the worldview of the Industrial Age, a hierarchy of mediators collects dues in return for providing permission to pass. But the Internet connects everyone to everyone else, peer to peer without discrimination…

    • The D Language LLVM Compiler Updated With Numerous Changes

      LDC that’s the LLVM-based D language code compiler has been updated. LDC 0.13.0 was released last week with new features.

Leftovers

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

Further Recent Posts

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts