The Very Political Background of António Campinos, Allegedly a Forefront Candidate to Lead the European Patent Office Next Year

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jorge Campinos book

Summary: A look into the background of António Campinos, why he was born in France, and why his father (Jorge Campinos, who published the above book) left Portugal

EARLIER today we (re)published SUEPO's translation of an article that claims António Campinos may be the next President of the EPO. This fits numerous predictions made here last year, based on informed circles. Inside and outside the EPO many people expect Campinos to receive the ‘crown’, along with a pay rise.

“Inside and outside the EPO many people expect Campinos to receive the ‘crown’, along with a pay rise.”Campinos is described as Portuguese, but he was born in France. He is believed to be a French national. Looking at public information about the past of the Campinos family, one of our readers prepared the following report. The main riddle/question was, does Mr. Campinos have dual citizenship (Portuguese and French)?

The short answer to this question is: we don’t know.

It’s an interesting proposition and it’s certainly plausible.

But there is no definite proof either way.

Jorge Campinos and groupIt’s not uncommon for those in the upper echelons of international organisations like the EPO to have dual citizenship.

For example Pantelis “Paul” Kyriakides who served as a Vice-President of the EPO under Ingo Kober and Alain Pompidou is known to have dual British and Cypriot citizenship. Kyriakides was was born in Kyrenia, Cyprus, in 1949, grew up in Cyprus and completed his education in Britain. He joined the UK Patent Office in 1976 and was transferred to the EPO in 1981. After being Principal Director in the technical fields of mechanics and electricity/physics, he was appointed Vice-President of the EPO at the end of 1999. Due to his British citizenship he had to resign as Vice-President when Alison Brimelow took over because EPO Vice-Presidents are excluded from having the same nationality as the President.

“During his period in exile Jorge Campinos was the international secretary of the Portuguese Socialist Action and a co-founder of the Portuguese Socialist Party in 1973.”
Another example is the current Vice-President of DG4, Željko Topić, who is rumoured to have dual Croatian and Bosnian citizenship because he was born and educated in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Getting back to António Campinos of the EUIPO, the following is known for certain:

António-Serge de Pinho Campinos, to give him his full name, was born in Poitiers (France) on 24 October 1968. This is confirmed by the record of his appointment as President of the EUIPO (formerly OHIM) published in the Official Journal of the EU in June 2010.

His father was Joaquim Jorge de Pinho Campinos (usually shortened to Jorge Campinos) who was a prominent figure in Portuguese politics from the 1960′s until his untimely death in a motor accident in 1993. [photo at the top/left is of António Campinos's father, Jorge]

Jorge CampinosIn the course of his political activities as a student, Campinos Senior came into conflict with the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal and was forced into political exile.

He lived in France for 14 years until his return to Portugal in 1974 following the “Carnation Revolution”.

During his period in exile Jorge Campinos was the international secretary of the Portuguese Socialist Action and a co-founder of the Portuguese Socialist Party in 1973.

The following translation of a Portuguese biographical note gives more information about Campinos Senior. Original Portuguese is at casacomum.org.

Jorge Campinos

Joaquim Jorge de Pinho Campinos was born in Lobito (Angola) on June 30, 1937.

After completing his secondary studies at the Liceu de Sá da Bandeira in Angola, he joined the Faculty of Law of Lisbon.
He was leader of the student organisation “Home of the Students of the Empire” (1959-1960) and a militant member of the MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola).

He was exiled in Morocco and then in Poitiers, where he completed his law and political science courses.

As Doctor and Professor of Law in Poitiers, he also coordinated various courses of comparative political systems and Public International Law, at the universities of Tours, Limoges and the Sorbonne. He was also director of the International Center and International Relations at The Hague Academy of International Law.

He joined the Portuguese Socialist Action and became one of the founders of the Socialist Party (PS) in Germany in 1973.

Following the 25 of April of 1974, having been in constant contact with Mário Soares, he returned to Portugal.

In the PS, besides being a member of the National Commission and the Political Commission, he was a member of the National Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Organization.

He was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the Second, Third and Fourth Provisional Governments, Minister of Foreign Trade in the Sixth Provisional Government, and Minister without portfolio in the First Constitutional Government.

He joined the Portuguese delegation in the negotiations with PAIGC, with a view to recognizing the independence of Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe. [Note: PAIGC = African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde]

He was a Member of the Constituent Assembly, the Assembly of the Republic and the European Parliament (1987).
He was also Judge Counselor of the Constitutional Court (1982-1985), Member of the European Commission on Human Rights in the Council of Europe (1984-1990) and Director of the Legal Service of the European Parliament.

He died in a car accident in Mozambique in 1993.

Jorge Campinos was married to Maryvonne Campinos who is the mother of António-Serge de Pinho Campinos.

Not much is known about Maryvonne Campinos but it is understood that she is French.

“Jorge Campinos was married to Maryvonne Campinos who is the mother of António-Serge de Pinho Campinos.”
It is reported that she was a student of the controversial French philosopher, resistance fighter and communist author, Roger Garaudy (1913 – 2012).

Garaudy taught at the University of Poitiers from 1969-1972 during the time that Jorge Campinos was based there.

All of this makes it plausible that Campinos Junior could have dual Portuguese-French citizenship. But so far there is no definite proof of this.

“Being born in France would presumably entitle him to French citizenship.”
In an official resume from 2014 Antonio Campinos claims to be “a native of Portugal”. However, this does not tally with the information published in the Official Journal of the EU which shows that he was actually born in Poitiers in France.

Being born in France would presumably entitle him to French citizenship. He may even have acquired this automatically if his mother was also born in France.

But it’s important to emphasise that this is just speculation because there is no documented proof that he does have French citizenship.

EPO, Lufthansa, and the German Government – Part VII: Immunity for Topić (EPO VP4) Just When He Really Needed It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Running to Munich, then not showing up for trials (in spite of summons)

EPO, Lufthansa, and the German Government

Summary: The relevance and possible implications for Željko Topić (Vice-President at the European Patent Office) amid various lawsuits over corruption in Croatia, his home country

THIS series has thus far (see parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 if still new to this series) described the nature of Croatian corruption that seemingly benefited Lufthansa at the expense of Croatians. The scandal is well known in Croatia; television networks and newspapers have long covered that. Today we continue to explain, both in English and German, the role of the EPO and the resultant questions that must arise. German media — just like the German government — is reluctant to touch this subject and it’s easy to see why. It may signal systemic corruption which goes all the way up to the top.

We finally arrive at the part about immunity/impunity — an aspect made particularly precarious at the EPO due to Battistelli and his cohorts.

ENAlthough Željko Topić, who is facing very serious accusations at this very moment, claims to enjoy international immunity along with his accomplices, on account of his present position at the EPO, legal experts are of the opinion that not only could he be arrested by the German police but that he could be permanently deported from Germany and subjected to legal proceedings. The experts justify this by reference to UN conventions on diplomatic immunity according to which the employees of EPO have no claim to such immunity.

In the event of a court case being opened against Željko Topić and a possible final verdict against him, he could eventually be called upon to repay all the funds acquired at the EPO. It is estimated that this could run to a total of as much as one million Euros on the basis of his employment contract of May 2012.

DEObwohl sich der in diesem Augenblich schwer angeklagte Željko Topić genau wie seine Komplizen auf internationale Immunität beruft, welche seine jetzige Arbeitsstelle bei EPO berücksichtigen soll, sind Juraexperten der Meinung, daß ihm nicht nur eine Verhaftung durch die deutsche Polizei, sondern auch eine dauerhafte Abschiebung aus Deutschland und ein Gerichtsverfahren drohen. Die Experten begründen dies damit, daß laut UN-Konventionen die Angestellten von EPO kein Recht auf die geforderte Immunität haben.

Im Falle der Eröffnung eines Gerichtsverfahrens gegen Željko Topić und einer möglichen rechtskräftigen Verurteilung kann er zur Rückerstattung aller bei der EPO erworbenen Finanzmittel aufgefordert werden. Nach Schätzungen handelt es sich hierbei um einen Betrag von einer Million Euro, welcher sich aus dem Arbeitsvertrag vom Mai 2012 ergibt.

German Media Names António Campinos as Likely Successor of Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli’s days are numbered

Battistelli leaving

Summary: Translation of one among several recent articles in which António Campinos is named as a likely successor of Battistelli

THE OTHER DAY SUEPO linked to this article about the EPO, so we considered it quite likely that a translation was on its way. Well, that has indeed just happened and new/important details emerge in the article — facts or views we have highlighted (in yellow) in the translation below:

Wanted: European Patent Office boss with social skills

By Thomas Magenheim, 31 July 2017 – 15:03

The mood at the European Patent Office is bad. The successor to the President in office, Benoit Battistelli must be one thing above all else: Someone who can approach the staff – and come to terms with them.

Frenchman Benoit Battistelli stays at the top of the European Patent Office until the middle of next year. Photo: dpa

Munich – Job offers like these do not normally appear in newspapers. The European Patent Office in Munich is looking for a new President to succeed controversial Frenchman Benoit Battistelli, whose contract runs out in mid-2018. Applications can be made to the Administrative Council, as the highest supervisory body at the Office, until 14 September. The hunt for a new leader at the authority is on – by way of adverts in leading European newspapers and journals, with rather striking wording for the job description. It casts a spotlight on the conditions that have come about under Battistelli’s autocratic reign in office. The new President must come with a marked ability to enter into and maintain a social dialogue, cited as one of the main criteria for the appointment. Other decisive requirements are negotiating skills and a talent for communication and public relations. Also of advantage would be some practical experience in patent affairs. But that requirement actually seems to take something
of a back seat in comparison with those referred to first.

Wanted above all: A peacemaker

The way things look, what the supreme protector of intellectual property in Europe needs above all is a peacemaker, who can restore calm to the Office. And this international authority, with headquarters in Munich, really could use someone like that. Battistelli is not exactly known for his peaceful approach. The Frenchman, now 67, was appointed as head of the Patent Office in March 2010, and since then there have been moments when it looked far from certain that he would last until the end of his time in office. The specialist Website for jurists, Juve, recently conducted a survey among 168 international technology concerns and major patent applicants involved with the European Patent Office, and the result was hardly flattering for Battistelli. More than half of the big Patent Office clients wanted the Frenchman to resign. Large sections of the workforce and the in-house union Suepo, which he has forced to its knees, have been pushing for this for years. Among other things, the 67-year-old has fired three leading union members and a patent judge, under questionable circumstances, as well as having staff monitored by using spyware. Staff members have even been prohibited from holding a demonstration.

A former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court has found Battistelli’s behaviour illegal, as too did a Dutch court, but Battistelli ignored them both, citing the independence of his Office. Fear of being thrown out means that now no-one dares speak up on behalf of the staff any longer. The same applies to being ready to undertake union organization. Anyone who wishes to communicate with the in-house union Suepo must do so through a lawyer. A new Office boss with social skills is urgently needed.

Christoph Ernst from the Federal Ministry of Justice is new Administrative Council leader

One indicator that a peacemaker is being sought is also the choice of the new leader of the Administrative Council. This position has just been awarded to Christoph Ernst, jurist and head of a ministerial department at the Federal Ministry of Justice. Ernst is regarded as a moderate Battistelli critic and intimately familiar with the situation within the Office. It will be October when he takes over from the still serving leader of the Council, Jesper Kongstad, who is seen as a close Battistelli confidante. It seems then that the course is already set for a new management style in the organizational body which selects the new Patent Office President.

When the administrative councils of the 38 European Member States meet in October, they want to be able to produce a list of candidates. By December, the new Office boss should then also be chosen. But this will not be easy, because it needs a three-quarters majority. Moreover, the Council itself has recently not really been unified when it comes to management style. Until recently a majority backed Battistelli, and every country, regardless of how large or important, has only one vote. The Battistelli appointment took a total of 30 rounds of voting, as some of those involved remember.

Antonio Campinos from Portugal has a good chance of being Battistelli’s successor

Being touted as a front runner is Antonio Campinos, if he casts his hat into the ring. The Portuguese is the executive in office of the European Union Intellectual Property Office in Alicante, and he knows what may be waiting for him. An annual salary of some 300 000 Euro could tip the scales, even if the job does not promise to be any easier. Among the staff, in any event, hopes are being nurtured of a more socially compatible management style, even if at present nobody dares say so out loud.

Campinos is apparently French, not just Portuguese.

EPO, Lufthansa, and the German Government – Part VI: The Complaint to Merkel

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO, Lufthansa, and the German Government

Summary: A look at what was involved in passage of a Croatian trademark to Lufthansa as explained several years ago

THE EPO may be in the midst of a serious scandal. It may, in fact, be a facilitator of that scandal. For the uninitiated, here are previous parts in this series:

Now start the parts about the ‘monkey business’.

ENAs already mentioned, the suspected criminal duo Topić – Matijević unlawfully colluded to change the entry for the internationally protected trademark of Air Plus in the official state register on March 3, 2009 (as shown by the annexed document #8). This was done by a preliminary administrative decision of the DZIV. After the first media reports, a complaint relating to the alleged offences was filed with the DORH (Croatian Public Prosecutor’s Office) and out of fear of prosecution, the duo Topić – Matijević reversed the unlawful change of the trademark in the state register. This action was revealed by an inspection on 30 July 2009 in the official register of DZIV (as shown by the annexed document #9).

For all the above reasons, and also because of the evident criminal activity having an international dimension, the owner of the Air Plus trademark wrote to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, via the German embassy in Zagreb (annexed document #10).

DEWie bereits angeführt, hat das kriminelle Duo Topić – Matijević gesetzwidrig das offizielle Staatsregister des international geschützten Markenzeichens von Air Plus am 3. März 2009 geändert (#8. Nachweis in der Beilage des Textes). Dies geschah durch einen nicht rechtskräftigen Bescheid des DZIV. Nach ersten Veröffentlichungen in Medien, erhobener Klage wegen der Straftat bei DORH RH (Staatsanwaltschaft der Republik Kroatien) und aus Angst vor Strafverfolgung, hat das Duo Topić – Matijević die gesetzwidrige Änderung des Markenzeichens im Staatsregister in den Urzustand gebracht. Erkennbar wurde dieser Vorgang durch eine am 30. Juli 2009 vorgenommene Einsichtnahme ins offizielle Register von DZIV (#9. Nachweis in der Beilage des Textes).

Aus allen genannten Gründen und auch wegen der offensichtlichen Kriminaltat von internationaler Größe, hat sich der Inhaber des Markenzeichens Air Plus über die deutsche Botschaft in Zagreb an die deutsche Bundeskanzlerin Frau Angela Merkel gewendet (#10. Schreiben im Anhang).

Document #8 (full version)

Trademark AirPlus

Document #9 (full version)

Trademark AirPlus

Document #10 (full version)

Complaint to Merkel

Links 7/8/2017: PHP 7.2.0 Alpha, OpenSSL Disables TLS 1.0 and 1.1

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • The Price of Freedom — A Review of the Librem 15 v3

      Purism is a wild startup located in South San Francisco. Their mission? Providing a superior hardware experience for people who love privacy and software freedom. Purism is building and shipping GNU/Linux laptops, and is interested in developing a phone as well.

      The Purism campaign originally launched on CrowdSupply late 2014. Since then, the company has shipped two revisions, and now offers three different models to choose from: an 11-inch convertible tablet, a 13-inch laptop, and a 15-inch powerhouse.

      For a few years, I have strongly desired having a quality Linux laptop that has great hardware. So, I’ve taken the plunge on getting the latest 15-inch Librem model from Purism.

    • [Video] Desktop Trend: Linux dominant in 2053. Mac dead in 2020.

      It’s math. In 2053, Linux will break 50% desktop marketshare. Beating out Windows for the first time in desktop usage. On the flip-side MacOS will have dwindled to 0% usage by 2020.

  • Kernel Space

    • 832 TB – ZFS on Linux – Project “Cheap and Deep”: Part 1

      When looking to store say, 800 terabytes of slow-tier/archival data my first instinct is to leverage AWS S3 (and or Glacier). It’s hard – if not impossible – to beat the $/GB and durability that Amazon is able to provide with their object storage offering. In fact, with the AWS Storage Gateway you can get “block storage” access to AWS for a decent price within your data center. However, sometimes AWS is not an option. This could be due to the application not knowing what to do with AWS API calls or maybe there is some legal or regulatory reason that the data cannot sit there. After ruling out cloud storage options your next thought might be to add as much capacity as required, with overhead, to your existing storage infrastructure. Hundreds of terabytes, however, can result in $500k – $1M+ of expensive depending on what system you’re using. In fact, a lot of the big players in the storage arena who support this kind of scale do so by licensing per terabyte (think Compellent, NetApp, EMC, etc.). So while the initial hardware purchase from EMC or NetApp may seem acceptable the licensing fees will surely add up. In this example, however, the requirement is literally “as much storage as possible, with some redundancy, for as little cost as possible…” Let’s do it!

    • Graphics Stack

      • RadeonSI Gets Memory Objects Support In Mesa Git, Last Bit For SteamVR

        Valve developers Andres Rodriguez and Timothy Arceri have landed their enablement of EXT_memory_object and EXT_memory_object_fd within Mesa 17.3-dev Git.

        The developers have been working on the changes for core Mesa and RadeonSI going back more than one month while this morning the nearly 50 commits landed for enabling these newer OpenGL extensions. The OpenGL memory object extensions are used by Valve’s SteamVR compositor on Linux as a notable user so far.

    • Hardware Flaws

      • Ryzen Linux Users Are Still Facing Issues with Heavy Compilation Loads

        It was originally reported that Linux users were facing segmentation faults and, at times, crashes when running concurrent compilation loads on Ryzen CPUs, and these issues don’t appear to be fixed: Phoronix has run additional tests and found that heavy workloads remain problematic, as of Linux 4.13. These problems did not occur when tested using Intel CPUs.

      • 50+ Segmentation Faults Per Hour: Continuing To Stress Ryzen

        In direct continuation of yesterday’s article about easily causing segmentation faults on AMD Zen CPUs, I have carried out another battery of tests for 24 hours and have more information to report today on the ability to trivially cause segmentation faults and in some cases system lock-ups with Ryzen CPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Random Wallpaper GNOME Extension

        A week or so ago we mentioned a neat Bing Wallpaper changer extension for GNOME — and boy did you make it known that Bing isn’t your preferred source of desktop wallpapers!

        And so we’re back for another stab at satisfying your want for fuss-free, auto-changing desktop backgrounds — and we’ve found a doozy.

      • GSoC part 11: all large features are done!

        From the much too abstract list of features in the beginning of this post, the only items that aren’t linked to are the welcome and error screens. No, I didn’t forget about those; I just saved those for last. To me, it was the least essential feature as owning more than one device, let alone using them simultaneously, is a niche case. As it turns out, however, the changes I made while implementing these screens also pave the way for eventual keyboard support. Let me explain!

        The welcome and error screen both provide a different “view” into the same application window. If we add the configuration screen, that gives three such different views. To allow for these different views, I added the concept of a “perspective”, which I define as a certain view into Piper.

      • Libratbag’s Piper Mouse GUI Interface Had A Successful GSoC

        While this year’s Google Summer of Code isn’t done for a few more weeks, the Piper mouse control user-interface for libratbag has now seen all of its major features completed.

        Piper is designed to be a universal interface for easily configuring gaming mice on Linux with a GTK3 interface to libratbag/ratbagd. GSoC student developer Jente Hidskes has been working on the project this summer and this week announced he completed all of his key planned features.

      • SystemActions are almost done!

        In total, there are 5 actions that have been added: Power off, Suspend, Lock screen, Switch user and Log out (only three of them are available in the picture, but trust me, all five of them are added).

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • A Quick Look At Ubuntu MATE 17.04

        ​Ubuntu MATE is a stable, easy-to-use operating system with a configurable desktop environment. It is ideal for those who want the most out of their computers and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor. With modest hardware requirements, it is suitable for modern workstations, single board computers and older hardware alike. Ubuntu MATE makes modern computers fast and older computers still usable.

      • SwagArch GNU/Linux 2017.06

        SwagArch GNU/Linux is a relatively new addition to the DistroWatch database. The distribution is based on Arch Linux and is developed for 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. Like its parent, SwagArch is a rolling release distribution. Unlike its parent, SwagArch’s installation media ships with a live desktop environment and a graphical system installer which should make it a lot easier to set up the distribution quickly.

        I downloaded the distribution’s sole edition which is available as a 1.1GB download. Booting from the downloaded image launches the Xfce desktop environment. The desktop is arranged with a panel at the top of the screen which holds an application menu and system tray. At the bottom of the screen is a panel containing quick-launch buttons and icons representing open windows. Once the Xfce desktop finishes loading, the distribution automatically launches the Calamares system installer to assist us in setting up our new copy of SwagArch.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • August 2017 Issue of The PCLinuxOS Magazine Released

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the August 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. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • A look at OpenSUSE based Gecko Linux

        I was sitting at home writing future articles for Ghacks and I decided on a spur of the moment whim that I wanted to try out a distribution I had never touched before.

        I’ve tried countless systems over the years, from the typical Ubuntu and Debian based systems, to Arch based systems like Manjaro, even Gentoo based systems like Sabayon.

        However, I was thinking about it and OpenSUSE used to be one of my favourite distributions to use but I’ve never actually sat down and tried a respin of an OpenSUSE based system; so I started digging around into what some popular ones were…And Gecko Linux caught my eye.

    • Slackware Family

      • Pale Moon update fixes high CPU usage for HD video playback

        Some people had reported choppy playback and/or a high CPU load when using the 27.4.0 release of the Pale Moon browser – for instance when playing HD videos on Youtube. See these topic posts on the LQ Slackware forum. A bugfix update of Pale Moon was released a few days ago and according to the releasenotes, the new Pale Moon 27.4.1 addresses these issues. I have uploaded fresh packages for palemoon-27.4.1 to my package repository so that you can check that this is true.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • SteamOS 2.121 Update Hits Stable Channel with Flatpak Support, Linux 4.11.12

          Valve’s SteamOS engineers have pushed earlier today the SteamOS 2.121 update to the stable “brewmaster” channel, bringing users a newer kernel and all the latest security updates from the upstream Debian GNU/Linux repositories.

          Two weeks ago, Valve promoted the SteamOS 2.121 update to the brewmaster beta channel, announcing that it upgraded the kernel packages to Linux kernel 4.11.8 to fix a crash with the PlayStation 4 Dual Shock controller when used with the Steam for Linux client.

          SteamOS 2.121 Beta also shipped with all the latest security updates from the Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” software repositories, as well as support for the Flatpak open-source Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework and its dependencies, making possible for users to install third-party apps easier.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • A quick look at the decline of Ubuntu Membership

            An Ubuntu Membership is best described as recognition of significant and sustained contribution to Ubuntu or the Ubuntu community. Back in January 2015 when I was successful in being granted an Ubuntu Membership there were, according to https://launchpad.net/~ubuntumembers, around 750 Ubuntu Members. As I write this, just over two and a half years later, the number has unfortunately reduced to 706.

            With a little time to spare on a rainy Saturday afternoon here in the UK, I thought I would take a quick look at that Launchpad group by copying the membership information into a spreadsheet. I sorted the entries by joining date and then grouped them by year. In order to keep things simple I only included those members that had secured their membership directly through the Ubuntu Membership Boards and ignored those users that had made their applications through other means such as the Ubuntu Forums, the Kubuntu Council or the IRC Council. I was left with just 452 members that I was most interested in looking at, that is the “general users” of Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Will Have an Always Visible Dock, Wayland Session by Default

            GNOME Project’s GUADEC (GNOME Users And Developers European Conference) developer conference is now over, and Canonical’s Didier Roche was there to collaborate with the GNOME team for the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 release.

          • Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch

            When Canonical announced in April that the company, which supports the development of the Ubuntu distribution, would cease work on the Unity desktop environment and its Ubuntu Touch technologies, it created a good deal of confusion. Over the past few months I have encountered many people who are unclear on what this change means, particularly for Ubuntu desktop users and the Ubuntu GNOME project. There are also unanswered questions about the current status of Unity 7, Unity 8, Mir and the mobile version of Ubuntu. In this column I will try to clear up some of the common misunderstandings about these technologies and their futures.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Give Generously! Seven Ways To Help Open Source

    Your business most likely depends on open source software. But are you playing your part to make sure it will still be there in the future? For that to happen, the projects where it is both maintained and improved need to flourish.

    How can you contribute to that goal? The first thought most of us have — donate money — is unlikely to be the best way to support the open source projects that are most important to you. While proprietary software companies want your money in huge quantities to pay their shareholders, executives and staff, in open source communities most of the people who develop the code are paid elsewhere. As a consequence, there’s only a modest need for cash and a little goes a long way.

  • BiglyBT: A ‘New’ Open Source Torrent Client Launched By Former Vuze Developers

    Original Vuze developers create a new torrent client ‘BiglyBT’

    Two of the core original developers of the once very famous BitTorrent client, Vuze (originally known as Azureus), have come together to start a new open source torrent client.

  • Events

    • Hacker Summer Camp 2017: DEF CON
    • DebConf17 Open Day

      Today, the day preceeding the official start of the annual Debian Conference, is the Open Day at DebConf17, at Collège Maisonneuve in Montreal (Canada).

    • Google Platinum Sponsor of DebConf17

      We are very pleased to announce that Google has committed support to DebConf17 as a Platinum sponsor.

    • DebConf17 starts today in Montreal

      DebConf17, the 18th annual Debian Conference, is taking place in Montreal, Canada from August 6 to August 12, 2017.

      Debian contributors from all over the world have come together at Collège Maisonneuve during the preceding week for DebCamp (focused on individual work and team sprints for in-person collaboration developing Debian), and the Open Day on August 5th (with presentations and workshops of interest to a wide audience).

    • Post-GUADEC Write-Up

      Besides getting to hear about great new ideas and developments, getting to see and meet (and play Monopoly with) the people who make up GNOME was really exciting and I finally feel like I’m a part of this great community.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • The latest challenge to Google’s AI dominance comes from an unlikely place — Firefox

        Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox internet browser, has begun testing a feature that lets you enter a search query using your voice instead of typing it in. The move could help Mozilla’s efforts to make Firefox more competitive with Google Chrome.

        If you’re using Firefox in English on Mac, Windows or Linux, you can turn on the experimental “Voice Fill” feature and then use it on Google, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. Support for other websites will come later.

        Alphabet’s Google offers speech recognition on its search engine when accessed through Chrome on desktop — it became available in 2013 — and Yahoo, Microsoft’s Bing and Google all let you run search queries with your voice on mobile devices. But searching with your voice on Google while using Firefox on the desktop, for example, has historically been impossible. Now Mozilla wants to make its desktop browser more competitive.

      • Fedora 26 – Firefox Test Pilot send large files.

        This tool from Firefox team let you to send you upload and encrypt large files (up to 1GB) to share online.

      • Firefox May Be Getting a New Logo

        Firefox 57 is shaping up to be one of the browser’s biggest and most important releases in its history.

        Projects, technologies and changes like Quantum Flow, Quantum Compositor, Stylo, Photon, WebRender, and WebExtensions sees almost every inch of the browser benefit from a refit or refresh.

      • NoScript’s Migration to WebExtensions APIs

        We asked Giorgio Maone, developer of the popular security extension NoScript, to share his experience about migrating to WebExtension APIs. Originally released in 2005, NoScript was developed to address security vulnerabilities in browsers by pre-emptively blocking scripts from untrusted websites. Over the time it grew into a security suite including many additional and often unique countermeasures against various web-based threats, such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) and Clickjacking.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Hortonworks hails open source’s growing relevance to enterprises

      Hortonworks has praised the open source community for helping it achieve such positive revenue figures, with its work on the Hadoop distribution helping more vendors introduce an open source ecosystem to customers.

      Thanks to growing interest among enterprise customers, the company signed ten deals worth over $1 million during the second quarter of 2017, compared to six similar deals during Q2 2016.

    • New report highlights OpenStack’s gender diversity and retention

      Communities are strengthened through environments that encourage open dialogue and invite a diversity of ideas, experiences, and talent. Knowing this, technology companies have strived to increase diversity within their ranks; however, the numbers remain troublesome, and this disparity becomes even more pronounced within the open source world.

      An Intel-sponsored report from Bitergia published last month examines gender diversity and retention within the OpenStack community, studying female contributions in both leadership and governance as well as technical projects. Promisingly, the number of women in OpenStack leadership and governance well exceeds that of women in the broader technology industry. Not surprisingly, the report highlights that women often contribute more heavily in non-technical areas. What’s great to see within the report is recognition of the importance of all contributions—both technical and non-technical.

  • BSD

    • CMake 3.9 on FreeBSD

      The KDE-FreeBSD team also maintains the CMake packages on FreeBSD — mostly because KDE was the first big consumer of CMake. The meta-buildsystem is now used by hundreds of packages on FreeBSD. We recently switched the backend — the build system that is generated by CMake — from make to ninja, which gives us small-but-measurable build-time improvements.


    • RFC: integrated 3rd-party static analysis support
    • GCC Working On 3rd Party Static Analysis Support

      Red Hat’s David Malcom has posted a series of patches for implementing third-party static analysis support within the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

    • The structure of a GCC back end

      The GCC back end is configured in gcc/config.host and the implementation is placed in directories machine under gcc/config and gcc/common/config where “machine” is the name of the back end (for example, i386 for the x86 architecture).

      The back end places some functionality in libgcc. For example, architectures that do not have an instruction for integer division will instead generate a call to a function __divsi3 in libgcc. libgcc is configured in libgcc/config.host and target-specific files are located in a directory machine under libgcc/config.

    • Glibc’s Per-Thread Cache Is Helping Out Some Benchmarks

      Released this week was the shiny new glibc 2.26 GNU C Library with the notable new feature being the per-thread cache for malloc.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Grsecurity don’t seem to have a clue about Open Source

      First, Bruce Perens is someone I happen to know, and deeply respect. He has been a pillarof the Open Source and Linux Community for decades. He’s one of those people who helped build it. I first met him about 20 years ago, and from personal direct expereience can tell you that Bruce is a careful, considered and intelligent person. Also if there is one thing he REALLY knows, it’s about Open source. Licenses and Community. Bruce is the kind of guy that God himself turns to when looking for advice about Open Source license issues.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • OU to begin using Open Textbook Network, a free textbook resource

        Textbook prices can drastically affect a student’s bank account, but faculty members at Ohio University Libraries are looking to reduce those costs.

        Open Textbook Network, or OTN, a resource for peer-reviewed academic textbooks, will start being used on campus come fall semester.

        Kelly Broughton, the assistant dean for research & education services at OU, said, as a member of OTN, OU Libraries now has access to a suite of materials to adapt to the faculty at OU in support of efforts to reduce the costs of course materials to students.

        “These materials include information and guides on adopting, modifying and authoring open textbooks, data collection tools and instructional support,” Broughton said in an email.

  • Programming/Development

    • SQLite Release 3.20.0
    • SQLite 3.20 Released With New Extensions, Command Line Shell Improvements

      SQLite 3.20 was released earlier this week with many improvements to this widely-used, embedded database library.

      New extensions with SQLite 3.20 include the SQLITE_STMT virtual table, COMPLETION to provide suggested tab-completions via the interactive interface, and UNION virtual table.

    • Changes To Look Forward To With LLVM/Clang 5.0

      LLVM 5.0 and its sub-projects like Clang 5.0 are due to be released in two weeks, so here’s a look back at the features added to this innovative open-source compiler stack over the past half year.

      Among the many changes coming for LLVM 5.0 and Clang 5.0 include:

      - “Vega” (GFX9) GPU support within the AMDGPU compiler back-end. LLVM 5.0 is among the components needed for Vega driver support on Linux as well as for Raven Ridge (the Zen + Vega APU coming out in some months).

    • PHP 7.2.0 Alpha 3 Released

      The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 7.2.0 Alpha 3. This release contains fixes and improvements relative to Alpha 2. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs and incompatibilities in the bug tracking system.

    • PHP 7.2 Beta 2 Released

      The second beta is now available for the upcoming PHP 7.2, which will be officially released at the end of November.

    • Why you should always do documentation before development

      Programmers and project managers sometimes think the phrase “doc-driven development” means putting a lot of comments in code or working closely with doc writers as development happens. That’s because it’s hard to imagine how development can possibly happen after documentation, because surely documentation can’t happen until there’s something to actually document.

      Documentation traditionally is seen as a sort of journalistic endeavor. Doc writers are given some software, and they take it into the lab and poke it and prod it until they’ve figured it all out, then they write it down for everyone else to never read.


  • Science

    • We know Vikings as infamous raiders—was that merely a response to climate change?

      Beneath their still surfaces, the lakes of some Arctic islands may hide the story of the rise and fall of Viking chiefdom.

      Historians still aren’t sure exactly what led to the centuries of Viking raiding and expansion, a period politely known as the Scandinavian Diaspora that ran from the late eighth century to the mid-11th. Population pressures and political rivalries probably played a role, but changing climate around the North Atlantic may also have given the Scandinavians a push.

      So far, paleoclimate researchers have mostly focused on warmer climates in the Vikings’ destinations, like Iceland, which might have drawn people to settle there. But those who set sail may have been facing trouble with the crops back home thanks to changing temperatures. A team of researchers hope to find some answers in a new series of sediment cores from ancient lakebeds in a remote Norwegian island chain.

    • China built the world’s largest telescope, but has no one to run it

      During the second season of The Big Bang Theory, the aspiring actress Penny borrows money from Sheldon. Without a second thought, the theoretical physicist grabs a peanut brittle can in which he stores his extra money, and urges Penny to borrow as much as she wants. “This is money I’m not using,” Sheldon explains.

      Nick Suntzeff, an astronomer at Texas A&M University, recalled this episode when asked why no astronomers had yet taken a lucrative position to run the world’s largest radio telescope, in China. The job pays about $1.2 million annually. “Now, that is an exaggeration,” Suntzeff said of the TV show. “But I know many astronomers who would do such a thing. They want to be paid well, yes, but the money does not buy you telescope time, or access to supercomputers, or fund postdocs and graduate students.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Scandinavia in Maryland?

      You may have noticed that quite a few of the formerly united states of America have been choosing to go their own way. My own state, Massachusetts, now blooms with sanctuary cities sworn to protect residents from federal intrusion. Its attorney general, Maura Healey, was among the first to raise the legal challenge to President Trump’s Muslim bans. She also sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education for abandoning rules meant to protect students from exploitation by private for-profit schools. (Think Trump University, for instance.) Even my state’s Republican governor, Charlie Baker, announced well before the presidential election that he wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump.

      It’s been like the Boston Tea Party all over again, with citizens and public officials refusing to abide by the edicts of their supposedly lawful rulers. And Massachusetts is not alone. Hawaii, Washington State, New York, Minnesota, and Oregon all joined the legal battle against Muslim bans, while many other states have denounced federal policies that threaten the nation’s international reputation, the environment, or what’s left of democracy itself. So far at least 10 states (as well as Puerto Rico) and more than 200 cities have committed themselves to work toward the environmental goals of the Paris Accord, just as the United States as a nation had promised to do before Trump trashed the deal.

    • Accreditors Can Keep Their Hospital Inspection Reports Secret, Feds Decide

      Federal health officials have backed down from a controversial proposal that would have required private accreditors to publicly release reports about errors, mishaps and mix-ups in the nation’s hospitals and health care facilities.

      The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had proposed in April that accreditors publicly detail problems they find during inspections of hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as the steps being taken to fix them. Nearly nine in 10 hospitals are directly overseen by these accreditors, not the government.

      But in a notice released Wednesday afternoon, the government withdrew the proposal. CMS said that federal law prohibits the agency from disclosing the results of inspections performed by the accrediting organizations and that the proposal — though it required accreditors, not the agency, to release the reports — “may appear as if CMS was attempting to circumvent” the law.

  • Security

    • US mulling complete federal ban on Kaspersky products

      Things are about to get worse for Kaspersky Lab in the US with the US Senate set to consider banning the use of its software in all federal agencies, using a provision in the National Defence Authorisation Act.

    • If Hutchins is at fault, then the NSA needs to be pulled up too

      If American judicial authorities are going after British security researcher Marcus Hutchins for allegedly writing malware, then they will also have to indict people at the NSA who were responsible for creating Windows exploits that then leaked and led to massive ransomware attacks.

      Those attacks have left some companies incapable of returning to full production even now, with a case in point being the pharmaceutical giant Merck.

    • Protect the White Hat Hackers Who Are Just Doing Their Jobs

      Some lawmakers and regulators hope to protect security analysts who research, develop, and share tools across borders. The Wassenaar Arrangement, a voluntary agreement between 41 countries (including the US) that sets standards and licensing expectations for weapons export, specifically nods toward “intrusion software.” But many security experts worry that vague language within the agreement could do more to hinder than support international digital defense research.

    • Endgame for WebKit Woes

      In my original blog post On WebKit Security Updates, I identified three separate problems affecting WebKit users on Linux:

      Distributions were not providing updates for WebKitGTK+. This was the main focus of that post.
      Distributions were shipping a insecure compatibility package for old, unmaintained WebKitGTK+ 2.4 (“WebKit1”).
      Distributions were shipping QtWebKit, which was also unmaintained and insecure.

      Let’s review these problems one at a time.

    • Hackers breach dozens of voting machines brought to conference

      One of the nation’s largest cybersecurity conferences is inviting attendees to get hands-on experience hacking a slew of voting machines, demonstrating to researchers how easy the process can be.

      “It took me only a few minutes to see how to hack it,” said security consultant Thomas Richards, glancing at a Premier Election Solutions machine currently in use in Georgia.

      The DEF CON cybersecurity conference is held annually in Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, the conference is hosting a “Voting Machine Village,” where attendees can try to hack a number of systems and help catch vulnerabilities.

    • OpenSSL disables TLS 1.0 and 1.1

      I’ve just uploaded a version of OpenSSL to unstable that disables the TLS 1.0 and 1.1 protocol. This currently leaves TLS 1.2 as the only supported SSL/TLS protocol version.

    • Man jailed for role in spreading Linux malware

      OpenSSH is an implementation of the secure shell protocol; it runs on UNIX and Linux systems and is developed by the OpenBSD project.

      The malware in question is known as Ebury and is a backdoor that is used to steal OpenSSH credentials and keep access to a compromised server open.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Daily Caller: McMaster Opposes Trump’s Every Move on Foreign Policy

      National security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster opposes President Donald Trump on every foreign policy position, The Daily Caller reports.

      The website reported it talked to two former National Security Council officials, one of whom said, “Everything the president wants to do, McMaster opposes.”

      “Trump wants to get us out of Afghanistan — McMaster wants to go in. Trump wants to get us out of Syria — McMaster wants to go in. Trump wants to deal with the China issue — McMaster doesn’t.

    • ‘We have to provide all options’ on North Korea: NSA HR McMaster

      White House National Security Advisor HR McMaster has said that North Korea possessing nuclear weapons capable of reaching the United States would be “intolerable” and could lead to a US military response.

      McMaster, in an interview to MSNBC, said, “If they had nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States, it’s intolerable from the President’s perspective. Of course, we have to provide all options to do that, and that includes a military option.”

    • US President Donald Trump comes in support of NSA HR McMaster, says both working very well together

      United States President Donald Trump has come to the defence of his National Security Advisor, HR McMaster, in the wake of a sustained attack on the army general from the far-right.

    • Trump wants Pakistan’s ‘paradoxical’ policies to change: NSA

      US National Security Adviser Gen H.R. McMaster said on Saturday that President Donald Trump wants Pakistan to change its ‘paradoxical’ policy of supporting the militants who are causing the country great losses.

      In an interview to a conservative radio host, Hugh Hewitt, Mr McMaster also defended President Trump’s strategy on winning the war in Afghanistan by giving unrestricted powers to the US military based in the war-torn country.

    • High Court Judges Defy Reason to Protect Tony Blair

      There were a number of errors (by me) in this original posting and therefore I have decided to remove it now I have seen the judgement itself. That these errors were in large part caused by erroneous mainstream media reports is a fact, but not an excuse for my being so outraged I rushed in without checking.

      In fact, the judgement does accept there is a longstanding crime of waging aggressive war as part of international law, and does not (contrary to the Guardian’s report) argue at all that the international law only came into existence recently.

    • Appetite for War: the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia v. Iran

      Iran complains that the U.S. has already violated the spirit of the JCPOA. In May, at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) Brussels headquarters, and in July, at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Trump asked his European allies to stop doing business with Iran. This was done privately. When she was asked about it, Trump’s White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders affirmed that Trump had told European leaders “to stop doing business with nations that sponsor terrorism, especially Iran”. The JCPOA, however, clearly prohibits “any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran”. These are “sanctions” of a new kind.

    • Trump Signals Cuts to Unpopular “Countering Extremism” Programs, But Worse Could Be Coming

      Since being rolled out under the Obama administration, “Countering Violent Extremism” programming (CVE) has been a contentious subject in the United States. Pitched as a way of working with local communities to prevent “radicalization,” such programs have existed for years in European countries, where they have also been controversial. In 2015 former President Barack Obama held a CVE Summit at the White House to announce that the U.S. would be introducing similar measures, an announcement that was met with trepidation from many sides. While rightwing activists derided the programs for advocating partnerships with American Muslim organizations, many of those organizations were themselves suspicious of ill-defined “outreach initiatives” that often seemed more like covert surveillance and intelligence-gathering activities.

      In an interview earlier this week with The Atlantic, George Selim, the Department of Homeland Security’s top official for domestic CVE, confirmed that he was resigning from his role — news that was first reported with celebratory tones on the website Conservative Review. In his comments to The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart, Selim said, “There were clearly political appointees in this administration who didn’t see the value of community partnerships with American Muslims” — a change in approach that would make it impossible for him to do his job. Earlier this May, it was also reported that the CVE Task Force Selim headed would have its funding eliminated by 2018, fulfilling a promise by Trump administration officials.

    • Body Count Comeback

      Corporate media routinely repeat Pentagon kill estimates that defy reality


      Reading through that media coverage, though, one finds little skepticism about the figures or historical context about how these killed in action numbers line up with the official estimates of ISIS’s overall size, which have stayed stubbornly consistent year after year (Fox News, 2/4/16). In fact, the official estimated size of ISIS in 2015 and 2016 averaged 25,000 fighters, which means the US coalition had supposedly wiped out the equivalent of its entire force over both years without making a dent in its overall size.

    • August 6: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

      We did it twice (the Nagasaki bomb was on August 9) and we did it on two civilian targets. There is no use arguing that the two cities had significant military value; if there had been, they would have already been firebombed to tinder the way Tokyo and other cities in Japan had been. Nagasaki was a port, but not far away was the major naval base at Sasebo, which some say was not bombed because the U.S. planned to take possession of it after the war for our own navy (we did.) Both cities had some defense industry, but pretty much any place in Japan larger than a village also did.

      Civilians were not, in today’s language, collateral damage. They were the targets. The image above shows what one child victim then looked like as an adult.

      Please think of him when you hear some American say the Japs deserved it.

    • ‘Wars Are Not Fought to Liberate Women’

      Peter Hart: As the US war in Afghanistan began, the cover of Time magazine on December 3, 2001, announced: “Lifting the Veil: The Shocking Story of How the Taliban Brutalized the Women in Afghanistan. How Much Better Will Their Lives Be Now?” Almost nine bloody years later, with the war grinding on, the cover of Time magazine features a disfigured Afghan woman and the text, “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan?”

      The political context for both of these statements is fairly clear: One a hopeful signal that the war has been launched to liberate women in Afghanistan. And now, more recently, this week’s Time comes amidst growing doubts about that war, and the release of tens of thousands of classified documents that portray the violence and confusion of the US war.

      As the Obama White House tries to craft a coherent defense of the war amidst talk of “timelines” and “benchmarks,” Time magazine is signaling that the original defense of the war should still hold up. But does their argument make sense?

    • How Media Spread CIA’s Sectarian, Anti-Iran ‘Mideast Cold War’ Narrative

      Kenneth Pollack, the only person featured in Vox‘s video, is identified simply as a “former Persian Gulf military analyst, CIA.” After several years as an Iran/Iraq military analyst at the CIA, Pollack went on to direct Persian Gulf affairs and Near East and South Asian affairs for the Clinton administration’s National Security Council. Pollack’s bio at the Brookings Institution notes “he was the principal working-level official for US policy toward Iraq, Iran, Yemen and the Gulf Cooperation Council States at the White House.”

      The man around which the entire video is framed is also a resident scholar at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute—although Vox does not disclose this in the video. AEI, a conservative bastion that has received generous funding from large corporations and the ultra-right Koch brothers, clearly appreciated Vox‘s work: the think tank posted the video on its website, and its official YouTube account even wrote to Vox in the comments, “Thanks for featuring our scholar Ken Pollack in your video!”

    • Syria: The Road to Nowhere

      When I lived in rural Ireland years ago, a favorite joke started with an American tourist stopping a local farmer and asking for directions to Cork. The farmer pondered a moment before answering, “Well, if I was you, I wouldn’t be going there from here.” Anyone advising Washington on where to go in Syria has little choice but to admit that he’s as bewildered as that tourist in the Emerald Isle.

      One place to start, though, is Lebanon. For the past week, Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah has been fighting to remove jihadists belonging to the Islamic State and the former Jabhat al-Nusra from the Syrian side of the border. Within Lebanon, the army, with British assistance, has sealed the border against incursions of the kind witnessed in 2014 when the Islamic State captured the largely Sunni village of Arsal and kidnapped more than 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen. This month, the Lebanese army and, over the border, the allied forces of Hezbollah and the Syrian military have caught the jihadists in a pincer. Whether or not the Lebanese and Syrian armies colluded in the venture, it appears to be removing the jihadists from the region.


      Since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011, the United States has pursued policies that can only be called schizophrenic. On one hand, CIA-trained rebels opposed al Assad. On the other, the United States did not want jihadists to prevail in Syria and turn Damascus into a base for worldwide subversion. The jihadists, however, were the best fighters in the battle against al Assad. If Washington wanted the Syrian president out, it had to back them – as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey did – or send more American troops, as George W. Bush did in Iraq in 2003. And no one wanted another American invasion of an Arab country.

    • You Cannot Begin a Crime in Good Faith

      Regardless of whether you think that war is — as some forms of violence pretty clearly are — diminishing, we need to recognize a particular problem and identify creative tools for dealing with it. I’m speaking of the U.S. government’s addiction to war. Since World War II, the U.S. military has killed some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in at least 82 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries. This extravaganza of criminal killing is documented at DavidSwanson.org/WarList. In last year’s Republican primaries a debate moderator asked a candidate if he would be willing to kill hundreds and thousands of innocent children. Last weak U.S. media voices were outraged by a White House announcement that henceforth it would fight on only one side of the war in Syria, a war that the head of U.S. “special operations” last week said was clearly illegal for the U.S. to be in.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Talking About a Revolution

      It’s long been clear that if we want to avoid catastrophic climate disruption on a scale that threatens human civilization, we need to leave vast amounts of fossil fuels in the ground. Environmental writer Bill McKibben pointed out the math in a crucial 2012 article for Rolling Stone: To avoid disaster, 80 percent of the carbon already discovered by private and state-owned energy companies has to be left alone—to be treated as useless rock, not precious resources.

    • EPA Staffers Are Being Forced to Prioritize Energy Industry’s Wish List, Says Official Who Resigned in Protest

      EPA staffers are spending their days addressing an industry wish list of changes to environmental law, according to Elizabeth Southerland, a former senior agency official who issued a scathing public farewell message when she ended her 30-year career there on Monday.

      Southerland, who most recently served as director of science and technology in the EPA’s Office of Water, said that agency staffers were now devoted to regulatory rollback based on the requests from industry. Companies and trade groups have directly asked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for some changes. Other requests have come in through public comments in response to executive order 13777, which the White House issued in February. That executive order directed federal agencies including the EPA to suggest regulations to be changed, repealed, or replaced.

  • Finance

    • Media’s Grim Addiction to Perseverance Porn

      These stories are typically shared for the purposes of poor-shaming, typically under the guise of inspirational life advice. “This man is proof we all just need to keep walking, no matter what life throws at us,” insisted Denver ABC7 anchor Anne Trujillo, after sharing one of those stories of a poor person forced to walk thousands of miles a year to survive.

    • Austerity in one country: The case of Britain

      When the Guardian reported that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne had been appointed Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester, it seemed like an April fools joke or perhaps some fake news. But it turns out to be true, despite the objections from many of the economics students at the university who have for many years railed against the neoclassical teaching they have to endure. Luckily Professor Osborne is not being paid for his endeavours, whatever these may be.

      George Osborne is the person responsible for the appalling state of the public finances as a result of policy decisions taken when in office during the period 2010-2016. Of course his policies were also those of the coalition government between 2010 and 2015 and thus the Liberal Democrats bear part of the responsibility for what happened during those years.

      But the core responsibility for economic policy in the period since 2010 lies with the Tories, and they are now faced by a storm of problems which have their origins in their doctrinaire and misguided strategies for Britain. What they have done over the past 7 years has resembled Thatcherism on steroids, and the rest of us have had to bear the costs. These have been huge, and focused on the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. As always it is worth recalling what Thatcher said – “there is no such thing as society” – so who cares whether social and economic policies create further divisions, add to income and wealth inequality, and make the poor poorer.

      Indeed, a basic mantra of the Tory government continues to be that inequality is good for economic growth and for the health of society, despite the clear evidence that this is untrue. This has been demonstrated by the experience of the Nordic countries and is fully documented in ‘The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone’ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. They concluded that, “there is a strong tendency for ill-health and social problems to occur less frequently in the more equal countries….Health and social problems are indeed more common in countries with bigger income inequalities, The two are extraordinarily closely related”.


      A WATCHDOG ORGANIZATION has asked the Justice Department to investigate Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for allegedly making repeated false statements to Congress about the conduct of OneWest Bank, where he served as CEO and later chair between 2009 and 2015.

      In the letter, the Campaign for Accountability writes, “Even today, Americans have a right to expect that those who seek and hold top government positions will not lie to their elected representatives and that if they do, the consequences will be swift and severe.”

      On three separate occasions, both in written testimony and in live hearings, Mnuchin has denied that OneWest engaged in robosigning of foreclosure documents, when copious evidence exists to the contrary. Most recently, Mnuchin appears to have lied about robosigning while under oath last week in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

    • ‘Father of the House’ Ken Clarke vows to fight against Brexit

      Ken Clarke, the longest-serving member of the House of Commons, has said he is bewildered by Britain’s “mad” political landscape, which stands in stark contrast to the centrist consensus of the past.

      In a recent interview with the Financial Times, 77-year-old Mr Clarke — a Conservative former chancellor of the exchequer, home secretary, health secretary and education secretary — vowed to continue resisting Brexit.

      The sentiments sum up two of the key themes of Mr Clarke’s parliamentary career, which has spanned nearly half a century. The MP for Rushcliffe is known for his enthusiasm for the EU and his straight style of speaking.


      Why are you travelling, where are you staying and how is your health? After Brexit, these are some of the online questions British travellers will have to answer online before they travel to Europe.

      The onerous post-Brexit travel rules are revealed in the draft legislation for dealing with “visa-exempt third country nationals”, which is what British travellers are likely to become after the UK leaves the EU.

      The new regulations will increase the cost and complexity of holidays and business trips to the Schengen Area, which includes 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Red tape for travellers will be more tangled, with UK passport holders forced to pay for an online permit even for a “booze cruise” to Calais, a weekend in Amsterdam or a Northern Lights trip to the Arctic.

    • John Nichols: Scott Walker’s crony capitalism

      If Scott Walker were a fiscal conservative, he would be ashamed of himself.

      But Walker is not a fiscal conservative. And he has no shame, as Wisconsinites who know how their tax dollars are spent are rapidly discovering.

      Walker, who has claimed over the years that the state is too impoverished to adequately fund public education, public services and roads, has suddenly determined that Wisconsin has an extra $3 billion to hand off to a controversial multinational corporation that is famous for making big promises to nations and states and then failing to deliver.

      How is this possible?

      Easy. Walker is running for re-election and, as a career politician, he is perfectly happy to sacrifice fiscal responsibility on the altar of his own ambition. Never mind that, in doing so, he embraces precisely the sort of crony capitalism that sincere conservatives have long decried.

      It could be that the Taiwanese technology firm Foxconn really will build a sprawling factory in Wisconsin and hire thousands of workers. But the deal that Walker wants Wisconsin taxpayers to fund — a $3 billion giveaway package in return for the promise that a $10 billion plant will be developed in the southeastern corner of the state — is so bad that the Bloomberg View business editors label Walker’s approach “generally an awful way to lure jobs.”

    • Still, at this dark hour, the right rewards failure

      Before Brexit destroyed her, Theresa May and her Rasputinish adviser Nick Timothy promised to end the rigged game of British public life. “Rewards for failure”, that bleak phrase that covers so much ground, would vanish. Executives would not be able to demand bonuses for delivering profit in the good times and managing losses in the bad. May would teach all of us, whether we were bankers, tax-avoiding corporations or just petty criminals, that her Britain was a land of “fairness and opportunity where everyone plays by the same rules”. From the point of view of the best interests of their party and country, May and Timothy have been miserable failures. Yet both are rewarded. May remains prime minister, presiding over a brawling government like the landlady of a dilapidated boarding house who can’t stop the tenants smashing the furniture. Meanwhile, the rightwing press is falling over itself to revive Timothy’s failed career.

      I accept that the audience that cares about the best interests of the Conservative party is diminishing by the day. But historians as yet unborn will gaze on what May has done to it with astonishment. They will ask how she threw away a lead that promised a landslide majority and ended up with no majority at all. Last week, the British Election Study concluded voters fled to Labour because they thought Jeremy Corbyn was offering a soft Brexit. A day of judgment will come when gullible Labour supporters realise that the far left is more concerned with defending the power of tyrants in Venezuela than the jobs of British workers in the single market.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump’s Buffoonish Presidential Act

      Donald Trump is not a president but he plays one on TV. And a terrible one at that.

      Watching him last week during what were, arguably, the worst of many horrible days of this presidency, was to see pure, rampaging id. Aggressive, needy, without logic or reason, Trump continues to rule with ignorance and incoherence, seemingly oblivious to the havoc he causes or maybe just thoroughly enjoying it. Whether his new chief of staff John Kelly, a career Marine officer, can bring order and discipline — drop and give me 20, Trump — remains to be seen.

    • Bernie Sanders aims to inspire revolution among young adult readers
    • Bernie Sanders writing teen guide to political revolution

      The book, designed as a how-to guide for students eager to begin work as political activists, is out on August 29th, The Guardian reported.

    • Democratic Socialists of America Celebrate Record Membership in Chicago. Now What?

      The Democratic Socialists of America are meeting there this week as part of the group’s biannual convention. In the wake of a surge of new interest over the past year, the organization announced earlier this week that it now has 25,000 dues-paying members — a historic peak for the group that makes it the largest socialist organization in the country since World War II.

      David Duhalde, DSA’s Deputy Director, was brought on by the organization in 2015. He told The Intercept that shortly before the November election, the organization had between 7,000 to 8,000 members. On November 9, they started seeing supporters of Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential run and others flooding into DSA.

    • Stone on Growing Up Republican and What Changed His Views (Video)

      Oliver Stone sees choosing political affiliations as a “growing-up process where you have to educate yourself out of some old beliefs.”

    • Trump Can No Longer Make Recess Appointments Thanks to Alaska Republican He Attacked
    • Trump is Guilty, of Something

      This is not to say that “Russiagate” investigations should be opposed; quite to the contrary, there is every reason to support them fully.

      If nothing else, investigations like Robert Mueller’s and the ones underway in the House and Senate help keep Trump and the people he has brought into his administration from executing their nefarious agendas. Better yet, they are likely, before long, to bring Trump himself down – in ways that would make it harder for Trump’s appointees and, when the times comes, for Mike Pence to turn many of the progressive gains of the past hundred or so years around.

      But the fact remains: the election meddling furor is, at best, a red herring – about which all one can honestly say, for now, is: Who knows? Who cares?

      Who knows – because the only reason to think that there was Russian meddling is that “the intelligence community” says there was. But, as everybody knows or ought to know, they are inveterate liars. Lying is in their genes and in their job descriptions.

    • The War on WikiLeaks and Assange

      Helping government authorities discredit Julian Assange and destroy WikiLeaks, mainstream media outlets twisted a recent interview to make Assange look like a Donald Trump backer, write Randy Credico and Dennis J Bernstein.


      Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who now reports for La Repubblica and has worked on WikiLeaks’ releases of secret documents, complains that her recent interview with Julian Assange was distorted by the Guardian, the Washington Post and others to assign Assange a pro-Trump agenda.

    • Trump Will Win In 2020

      Sounds familiar? Change names and dates and you’re in a foreplay of the Trump administration. Nixon went on to win reelection three years later in the fourth biggest landslide in American history, with a 23 percent margin over George McGovern and 49 of 50 states.

      Liberals have been writing off Donald Trump’s presidency since before it began. But the way it’s going, he’s heading for reelection. Maybe not on a Nixonian scale, but at least with Nixonian flair.

    • Unity With the Right? A Deplorable Idea

      Donald, Trump, the United States’ first fully sub-human president, is a rolling atrocity. Tracking the Insane Clown President’s idiocies and outrages on and off Twitter is a full-time job.


      Future historians are going to have a hard time finding a worse U.S. chief executive. That’s saying quite a bit when you consider the sickening and squalid records of James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Warren Harding, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan (who was already crippled by Alzhiemers in his second term), and George W. Bush, an open moron who thought that God told him to invade Iraq.

    • A Blacklisted Film and the New Cold War

      Why is the U.S. mainstream media so frightened of a documentary that debunks the beloved story of how “lawyer” Sergei Magnitsky uncovered massive Russian government corruption and died as a result? If the documentary is as flawed as its critics claim, why won’t they let it be shown to the American public, then lay out its supposed errors, and use it as a case study of how such fakery works?

    • What’s Worse: Trump’s Campaign Agenda or Empowering Generals and CIA Operatives to Subvert it?

      Hank Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO and George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary, went to the pages of the Washington Post in mid-2016 to shower Clinton with praise and Trump with unbridled scorn, saying what he hated most about Trump was his refusal to consider cuts in entitlement spending (in contrast, presumably, to the Democrat he was endorsing). “It doesn’t surprise me when a socialist such as Bernie Sanders sees no need to fix our entitlement programs,” the former Goldman CEO wrote. “But I find it particularly appalling that Trump, a businessman, tells us he won’t touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

      Some of Trump’s advocated assaults on D.C. orthodoxy aligned with long-standing views of at least some left-wing factions (e.g., his professed opposition to regime change war in Syria, Iraq/Libya-style interventions, global free trade deals, entitlement cuts, greater conflict with Russia, and self-destructive pro-Israel fanaticism), while other Trump positions were horrifying to anyone with a plausible claim to leftism, or basic decency (reaffirming torture, expanding GITMO, killing terrorists’ families, launching Islamophobic crusades, fixation on increasing hostility with Tehran, further unleashing federal and local police forces). Ironically, Trump’s principal policy deviation around which elites have now coalesced in opposition – a desire for better relations with Moscow – was the same one that Obama, to their great bipartisan dismay, also adopted (as evidenced by Obama’s refusal to more aggressively confront the Kremlin-backed Syrian government or arm anti-Russian factions in Ukraine).

    • Scottish government agencies move to block expansion of Trump’s unprofitable golf courses

      Trump’s Scottish golf courses are hemorrhaging money (they lost $1.8M in 2015) and the only way they can be profitable is if they’re allowed to expand, but that’s almost certainly not going to happen.

      That’s because Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage have said they’ll officially object to the planning variances that Trump would need to expand the businesses. Trump bought his plots of land without bothering to understand the planning restrictions that governed them, and then just tried to doze his way through the rules to get what he wanted.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’s CBFC woes: Will censorship soon be a thing of the past?

      The film fraternity has been chronically suffering from censorship controversies, with films being at the mercy of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and being subjected to its whimsical decisions for a long time now. In the wake of a fresh controversy, wherein the Board ordered a whopping 48 cuts, including the removal of certain ‘bold’ scenes and cuss words for Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s new film Babumoshai Bandookbaaz despite giving it an ‘A’ certificate, veteran director and screen writer, Shyam Benegal has turned proactive. The producer of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, who is a woman, had to listen to not just the cuts ordered but she was also subjected to shockingly misogynistic comments after she had submitted the film to the CBFC.

    • Facebook Apologizes To Black Activist For Censorship

      Her tweet prompted several racist attacks on both Twitter and Facebook. Twitter swiftly removed the hateful posts and suspended the accounts associated with them, the outlet reports. After Oluo posted images of the derogatory tweets on her Facebook page, her account was suspended.

    • Americans urge censorship of terror content amid Qatar media row

      Most American citizens believe that the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera TV network promotes a negative image of the US abroad, with many saying it also acts as a platform for terror groups linked to Osama bin Laden, according to an Arab News/YouGov poll.

    • Can Cambodia’s censors keep a lid on its steamy social media?

      When Cambodian actress Denny Kwan was banned from making films by the government, she faced an ultimatum: dress in a more traditional manner, or risk losing your career. In late April, the 24-year-old was barred from appearing in movies for a year after Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts deemed that her style of dress had violated a 2010 code of conduct relating to “virtue” and “ethics” in the Southeast Asian country. Kwan, who has appeared in many movies and has more than 300,000 Facebook followers, had also been called into the ministry a year earlier to be scolded by officials over her style of dress.

    • Israel Will Ban Al Jazeera and Censor Its Cable and Satellite Transmissions, Comms Ministry Says
    • Al Jazeera threatens legal action over Israeli censorship
    • This Coal Baron’s Lawsuit Against John Oliver Is Plain Nuts
    • Four years in prison for utopia

      Russian journalist and economist Alexander Sokolov is facing prison time for his activist and journalist investigations. Source: Rot Front. Since November 2016, the corridors of Moscow’s Tverskoy district court have been filled with elderly citizens, loudly discussing conspiracy theories, the fate of the Soviet Union and the significance of Stalin. Waiting outside the courtroom, they exchange comments with officers of the court before finally being allowed inside, when they promptly occupy all the seats. Two tall women, dressed in their prosecutor blues, follow them into the court, where three men — Kirill Barabash, Valery Parfyonov and Alexander Sokolov — are standing trial. Yuri Mukhin sits next to them, and this is the case against “Army of the People’s Will”.

      Mukhin is a prominent political writer, who began his career back in the early 1990s. In 1995, he began publishing the Duel newspaper, which, in its various iterations, took Stalinist and anti-Zionist approaches to Russia’s political and social problems. Later, Mukhin’s most active followers joined his organisation “Army of the People’s Will” (AVN), which sought to, among other tasks, enforce the direct responsibility of Russia’s politicians to the people: AVN tried to conduct a referendum on changes to Russia’s Constitution permitting public officials and parliamentarians to be punished, should the people wish it. It’s completely legal to want a referendum, but in 2010 AVN was declared an extremist organisation and banned. In effect, this court decision meant that any further activity by AVN was subject to criminal prosecution.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook: Your Face Belongs to Us

      Angered this was done without his knowledge, Licata sued Facebook in 2015 as part of a class action lawsuit filed in Illinois state court accusing the company of violating a one-of-a-kind Illinois law that prohibits collection of biometric data without permission. The suit is ongoing.

      Facebook denied the charges, arguing the law doesn’t apply to it. But behind the scenes, the social network giant is working feverishly to prevent other states from enacting a law like the one in Illinois.

    • Scuttlebiz: Separating Cyber from NSA could speed private-sector development in Augusta

      One of those experts is Bill Leigher, director of government cybersecurity solutions for defense contractor Raytheon, which has an office in Augusta. Leigher will be one of nearly 3,300 attendees at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s TechNet show in Augusta later this week.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Jeff Sessions Promises to Crack Down on Leaks, Threatening to Subpoena Reporters

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a dramatic escalation in the U.S. government’s crackdown on leaks on Friday, threatening to subpoena news organizations for information about their sources even more frequently than the Obama administration.

      Sessions described the Trump administration’s plans at a press conference just a day after the Washington Post published embarrassing transcripts of phone calls between Donald Trump and two foreign leaders, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

      Sessions said that the Justice Department was reviewing Obama-era policies that set limits on its ability to subpoena journalists.

    • Sikhs in America: A History of Hate

      At the time, the U.S. was suffering through deep economic distress, a panic-filled recession that had begun the year before. Angry anti-immigrant sentiment was ascendant. And hundreds of Sikh men who had traveled from India to Bellingham to toil in the lumber mills paid the price.

    • 50 Years Ago, All Americans Won the Right to Vote. Today That Right Is Under Attack.

      On the shoulders of my grandfather Dilmus Agnew, my mother watched Martin Luther King, Jr. give his renowned “I Have a Dream” speech in our nation’s capital in 1963. “We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote,” exclaimed Dr. King, as my mother watched on. “No, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

      Because of the work of Dr. King and other civil rights advocates, two years later the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ushered in a new era for the rights of people of color. The road to passing the VRA was not an easy one. But it was the product of the blood, sweat, and tears of many fighting for basic civil rights, culminating in the events of March 7, 1965. The painful sting of tear gas and the piercing sounds of guns from Alabama State troopers turned a peaceful protest in Selma organized by Dr. King into what we know today as Bloody Sunday.

    • Texas Police Say “Show Me Your Papers” Law Is Damaging Public Safety — Before Even Taking Effect

      On a sweltering July afternoon, Houston police officer Jesus Robles slowed his squad car as he passed a pushcart vendor hawking popsicles called paletas in a park named after the father of Mexican independence.

      “This is the heart of Magnolia,” he explained, using an affectionate term for the longtime immigrant community served by the Houston Police Department’s Eastside Division. “These are humble people who don’t ask for much other than to be left alone to work and take care of their families.”

      Robles himself is a Mexican immigrant whose mother swam across the Rio Grande with him in her arms. She was granted amnesty under Ronald Reagan, allowing Robles to eventually gain citizenship two decades later. Now he says undocumented residents who used to seek his help are alarmed by a Texas law that will let police check the immigration status of anyone they detain.

    • Donald Trump Continues His Assault on the Most Vulnerable Among Us

      The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division was created 60 years ago “to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society.” Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the department is now signaling its intent to use civil rights laws as a cudgel against racial minorities.

    • Trump Is Locking Up and Threatening to Deport Children Based on Mere Suspicion of Gang Affiliation

      Last week, flanked by police officers in Long Island, President Trump told a crowd of supporters his administration was getting rid of immigrant “animals” who were causing gang violence in their communities. “They’re going to jails,” Trump yelled, “and then they’re going back to their country. Or they’re going back to their country, period.”


      Children from Suffolk County report being falsely labeled a gang member for wearing clothing with a Chicago Bulls logo, for playing soccer with suspected gang members, and for displaying the flag of their home country, El Salvador. This labeling appears to be the first step in a process that results in minors being snatched and whisked away to detention.

    • https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/what-ive-always-loved-mischief-creating-change

      When Steve Crawshaw wrote his book about creative protests in totalitarian regimes, “Street Spirit: The Power of Protest and Mischief,” he never thought it would be all that relevant to the United States.

      Crawshaw has been researching protests since 1989 when he covered the East European Revolutions for the British newspaper, The Independent. He witnessed decades of single-party communist rule crumble amidst protests led not by politicians or figures of stature, but by everyday citizens wanting to make a difference.

    • Videos of Baltimore Cops Allegedly Planting Evidence Test Body Camera Programs

      Baltimore has been wrestling with yet another police scandal. Last month, the city public defender’s office discovered body camera footage showing a local cop placing a bag of heroin in a pile of a trash in an alley. The cop, unaware he was being filmed, walked out of the alley, “turned on” his camera, and went back to “find” the drugs. The cop then arrested a man for the heroin, placed him in jail. The man, who couldn’t afford to post the $50,000 bail, languished there for seven months. He was finally released two weeks ago, after the public defender’s office sent the video to the state attorney.

      The officer, Richard Pinheiro, has been suspended with pay, while two other cops in the video have been placed on administrative duty as the investigation pends. More than thirty other cases the three officers were to serve as witnesses for are now being dismissed. On Monday night, the Baltimore Sun reported that the public defender’s office found a second video that appeared to show different cops “manufacturing evidence.” (The second video has not been released.)

    • How Do Chicago Police Treat Mental Health? With SWAT Raids

      Since 2013, Chicago police have deployed SWAT teams at least 38 times to respond to mental health incidents and suicide attempts, according to deployment logs obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

      Such deployments are picking up pace. In the four months after Donald Trump won the election last November, SWAT teams were deployed at least 10 times in response to suicide threats or attempts. As of this spring, 2017 is on track to see more than twice as many mental health-related SWAT raids as the annual average over the past four years. The figures in the documents likely undercount the number of SWAT deployments in response to mental health crises, because not all cases are logged as such in police records.

    • Jailed for Journalism: A Profile of Detained Reporters in Myanmar

      The arrest of esteemed investigative reporter Ko Swe Win at Yangon International Airport on the evening of Sunday July 30, 2017, temporarily raised the total number of journalists detained in Myanmar for doing their job since June to five.

      Out of the five, Ko Swe Win, the chief editor of news agency Myanmar Now, is the only one who is not being sued by the military—instead, a follower of the banned nationalist group Ma Ba Tha is prosecuting him for posting on Facebook an article which criticized ultranationalist monk U Wirathu.

    • Making Police Truly ‘Protect and Serve’

      As President Trump suggests police should be rougher with suspects, other voices from the police community say the behavior should go in the opposite direction, treating the public with more respect, reports Dennis J Bernstein.
      By Dennis J Bernstein

      Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, who laments that many Americans have experienced police as “an overly aggressive, militarized enemy of the people,” believes “the police in America [should] belong to the people — not the other way around.”

      In a recent interview Stamper asserted that “Policing is the public’s business, and the public has the full right and responsibility to work collaboratively with local law enforcement.”

    • As White House Ramps Up Attacks on Free Press, NRA Issues Warning to New York Times

      The National Rifle Association (NRA) drew attention this weekend after its newest ad went viral.

      The New York Times was the focus of the video, which was released weeks after an ad that showed images of protesters and left-leaning cities including New York and Chicago, as the narrator warned viewers against liberal indoctrination by public school system, the news media, and other institutions.

      Both videos have featured conservative talk radio hots Dana Loesch. In the most recent video, Loesch wages an attack on the Times, implying that the paper’s reporting does not reflect the views of most Americans.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Pirate Bay Co-founder: We’ve Lost the Internet to Capitalists

      In an interview with The Next Web, Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde got really pessimistic about the future of the World Wide Web. Sunde says that we’ve taken power from those who should have it — the users — and given it to companies who now dictate our digital destiny. And the kicker? Sunde thinks there’s no way to fix it.

      “Everything has gone wrong,” he says.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The anonymous letters that started a decade-long stoush

      Gurry called the Swiss police. In a mysterious overnight raid, innocuous objects were lifted from the desks of three of Gurry’s colleagues without their consent – a lipstick and lollies, a stapler and sticky tape, cigarettes. Stripped of diplomatic immunity, 10 staffers were ordered to present themselves for police interviews – but instead of being questioned they were fingerprinted, cheek-swabbed and sent on their way.

      Forensic experts at the prestigious Hopitaux Universitaires de Geneva were engaged to run tests – did DNA recovered from the purloined desk items and staff swabs match traces of DNA extracted from stamps on the letters? Did fingerprints lifted from the envelopes implicate any of Gurry’s colleagues?

      It was 2007 and much was at stake. Kamil Idris, a Sudanese diplomat, had just been drummed out as director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, a United Nations agency little known beyond the arcane world of patents and trademarks. Amidst a long-running brouhaha over alleged corruption, Idris finally was nailed, but only for misstating his age on joining the UN 20 years earlier – a charge that originated in another round of anonymous letters.


      So began the tumultuous reign of Francis Gurry at WIPO. Maybe there could have been entente between the director-general and his staff of 190 nationalities. But then separate new complaints were filed by the other two Australians at WIPO – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade veteran Miranda Brown and IT specialist Wei Lei.

      Gurry recruited them both. In 2011 Brown took leave without pay from DFAT at the end of a stint as deputy at the Australian embassy in Geneva – where she had first met Gurry while working on his WIPO election campaign. In 2009 Lei joined from the Asia Development Bank, for which be had been based in Manila as the bank’s director of technology.

      Gurry embraced both, appointing Brown as his personal strategic adviser and Lei as WIPO’s chief information officer.

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