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Links 28/10/2018: Ubuntu Touch OTA-6 Plans, a Look at Lubuntu 18.10 Release

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Samsung Open-Source Group Reportedly Shuts Down

    If you are looking for new open-source talent for your organization, check out LinkedIn but it’s under unfortunate circumstances for the availability of a sudden surplus in skilled Linux/FLOSS developers… Samsung has apparently shut down the Samsung Open-Source Group (Samsung OSG) as a blow to the wider free software ecosystem considering the group’s prolific contributions over the years from low-level open-source projects to desktop/user-facing code-bases.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • A Quick Benchmark Of Mozilla Firefox With WebRender Beta vs. Chrome

        Now that WebRender has reached beta within Firefox Nightly, I decided to run some fresh web-browser benchmarks to see how this GPU-accelerated web rendering is working out for Firefox and how it compares to that of Google Chrome in some popular browser benchmarks.

        Within Firefox 65 Nightly builds, WebRender is now considered to be of beta quality though it will likely be a few release cycles before it hits the release population.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Programming/Development

    • Why Take Part In Open Source?

      In honor of the 20th anniversary of the open source movement, DigitalOcean dedicated the latest edition of its quarterly developer survey to the state of open source.

      The report has findings from over four thousand respondents on their involvement with open source, as well as how they and their companies are using open source technologies.

      Looking at the demographics, of 4,349 survey respondents, 58% self-identified as developers, 22% as students and 10% as systems administrators. There rest identified as managers, technical support or “Other.” The survey was open to those 18 and over and 40% were between 18 and 24, the largest group (42%) were 25 to 34, 14% were 35 to 44 and only 4% were 45 and over. In terms of gender, 88% were men, 11% were women and 2% identified as non-binary/other.

    • RcppRedis 0.1.9

      A new minor release of RcppRedis arrived on CRAN earlier today. RcppRedis is one of several packages to connect R to the fabulous Redis in-memory datastructure store (and much more). RcppRedis does not pretend to be feature complete, but it may do some things faster than the other interfaces, and also offers an optional coupling with MessagePack binary (de)serialization via RcppMsgPack. The package has carried production loads for several years now.

      This release adds a few functions for the hash data structure thanks to Whit. I also relented and now embed the small hiredis C library as I got tired of seeing builds fail on macOS where the CRAN maintainer was either unwilling or unable to install an external hiredis library. Some packaging details were also brushed up.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • More Than 3.6 Million US Children Don’t Have Affordable Health Care

      Five days a week, Michaela Randle, 27, prepares her two daughters for school and then picks them up from her mother’s care after work while juggling her many other parental obligations. She executes these responsibilities, however, with an exhausting cloud of anxiety hanging over her: Her oldest daughter, 8, does not have health insurance.

      Every day, as her oldest daughter runs headlong into life, she unknowingly navigates a world where her mother cannot afford for her to break a bone, contract a virus or need a surgery — realities common to the lives of children.

      Michaela is my younger sister, and her daughters are my nieces. While Michaela knows, in the event of a moderately expensive medical tab, she can depend on our family for financial support, millions of other parents lack a built-in familial safety net.

    • How Can You Talk to Kids About Factory Farming? These Books Can Help.

      Many children play with toys that evoke the bucolic life on a farm. And many will likely visit a small local farm, where animals have space and access to sunlight and the outdoors. But most kids are probably not aware that, for the vast majority of farmed animals, life is anything but happy.

      Consider the life of a chicken trapped on a factory farm. If she is one of the 9 billion chickens who suffer and die on US factory farms for their meat, she is committed to a life of unending misery, fed an unnatural diet to spur abnormally rapid and painful growth. Perhaps she is one of the 26 to 30 percent of chickens raised for their meat who can’t even walk normally because their skeletons are not able to support their rapidly growing bodies. She will live an average of just 42 days. If she is one of more than 300 million chickens raised in factory farms every year for their eggs, most of her beak was cut off with a scalding hot blade when she was just hours or days old. As a hen, she lives her entire life in a tiny wire “battery” cage, with up to 10 other hens. She may be sick or injured, but she will receive no medical care. She is forced to live alongside dead and dying cagemates. After about two years of this unimaginable suffering, she is considered “spent,” and sent to a slaughterhouse. After her brief life, she must endure a terrible death as she is stunned in an electrified water bath before her throat is slit. (There is no law requiring chickens to be rendered unconscious before slaughter.)

  • Security

    • Systemd is bad parsing and should feel bad

      Systemd has a remotely exploitable bug in its DHCPv6 client. That means anybody on the local network can send you a packet and take control of your computer. The flaw is a typical buffer-overflow. Several news stories have pointed out that this client was rewritten from scratch, as if that were the moral failing, instead of reusing existing code. That’s not the problem.

      The problem is that it was rewritten from scratch without taking advantage of the lessons of the past. It makes the same mistakes all over again.

    • Linux systems vulnerable to privilege escalation and file overwrite exploit in X.Org server

      An “incorrect command-line parameter validation” vulnerability in X.Org server makes it possible to escalate privileges as well as overwrite files. The problem affects Linux and BSD distributions using the open source X Window System implementation.

      The vulnerability has been present for a couple of years, but has been brought to light by security researcher Narendra Shinde. Unpatched system can be exploited by non-root users if X server is running with elevated privileges.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Leicester City owner ‘on board crashed helicopter’
    • Leicester City owner’s helicopter crashes leaving stadium

      The Leicester City owner’s helicopter has crashed in a car park outside the club’s ground, shortly after taking off following a match.

      It is not known if Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was in the helicopter at the time.

      Leicester City had been playing West Ham United in the Premier League at their King Power stadium.

      One witness said he saw Leicester’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel run out towards the crashed helicopter.

    • Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha: Author of Leicester’s football fairytale

      Mr Vichai rose from relative obscurity, flourishing during the recent years of political upheaval in Thailand, a country where big contracts follow political loyalties.

      King Power hit the jackpot in 2006 when it won the duty-free concession at Bangkok’s cavernous new Suvarnabhumi airport, and with it a captive market of tens of millions of travellers.

      In 2007, a year after ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, Manchester City’s former owner, was dumped from office in a coup, Mr Vichai saw off legal moves to break his duty-free monopoly.

      In a kingdom where connections count, he now firmly belongs to the royalist establishment that turfed out Thaksin. His family received its royal surname in 2013.

      Before football, his first sporting love was polo, the sport beloved of the international elite, and both he and Top are accomplished players.

      Mr Vichai boasts a lifetime membership at London’s Ham Polo Club, frequented by the British royals, and has a stable of horses and players on retainer in Bangkok.

    • Book Review: Beirut Rules: The Murder of a CIA Station Chief and Hezbollah’s War Against America”

      With the benefit of hindsight, most of these tragedies appear to have been predictable and preventable. Burton and Katz lay out the remarkable lack of personal security that Buckley and Higgins had available to them. It is possible, perhaps likely, that both thought this was the price of doing business and a necessary component of doing their jobs. But what a price it was.

    • “It’s Zero-Sum”: The CIA May Have Found a Silver Lining in the Khashoggi Debacle

      Insiders say that Trump’s response to the crisis will make it harder for intelligence sources to trust us—and exposes the deep dysfunction of the U.S. foreign-policy apparatus.


      The watch subterfuge also hints at the complex dynamics set in motion by Khashoggi’s killing. The aftermath is rippling through intelligence circles in ways that could take years to fully play out, with particular consequences for American counterterrorism efforts. One impact is internal, and it is compounded by Trump’s previous hostility toward the intelligence community’s work on Russian election interference and on Iran’s compliance with the nuclear-weapons deal. “The chances are that the White House has been told from the very beginning that this situation was not as the Saudis described it,” says Cindy Otis, a former C.I.A. analyst who served in the Middle East and Europe. “So there’s been a willful ignoring of the I.C. and an attempt to find anything to defend the White House’s position on this. . . . The backbone of the agency is a hardened bunch. But it’s really a demoralizing thing.”

      Trump seems to finally be absorbing his own intelligence community’s findings—sort of, and perversely, with his recent criticism of the Saudis for poorly executing the execution of Khashoggi. That shift in tone coincided with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, flying to Ankara, in part to assess the evidence the Turks say they have developed. “Remember the anonymous op-ed that said there are two tracks of national security? I think that’s what we’re seeing here,” says Juliette Kayyem, a Homeland Security assistant secretary in the Obama administration. “For the first weeks, I kept saying, ‘Where is Haspel? Where is Dan Coats?’ They clearly knew that whatever was being said publicly by the administration was not accurate. It’s good they are out there now. . . . The adults are running the response, and the unsophisticated president is being ignored.”

      Haspel also needs to grapple with larger issues radiating from recent events in the region. Last year, Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, pushed aside Mohammed bin Nayef, the heir apparent to the throne, who for years had been one of the most important Middle East counterterrorism officials and who had worked closely with the United States. “The problem is that we are now taking an approach to foreign policy that focuses on personalities and not principles,” says Colin Clarke, a Middle East expert at the Soufan Center and the author of After the Caliphate. “Personalities leading these countries came and went, but as long as we knew what we stood for, we were O.K. Now we’re working through Jared Kushner, and we bet on M.B.S. big time, who is turning out not to be the liberal reformer he promised he’d be. Huge surprise, right?”

    • Fmr. FBI & CIA analyst Phil Mudd’s emotional response to threat
    • Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fights back tears discussing threats he got from MAGAbomber on Twitter
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Victor Marchetti, disillusioned CIA officer who challenged secrecy rules, dies at 88
    • Donald Trump Is Putting Every Journalist in Every Country at Risk

      The globally renowned journalist was writing about the circumstances in his homeland, and in other Arab states. But he could have been writing about much of the world, where freedom of expression, and the democratic promises that extend from it, are under murderous assault. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calculates that 57 journalists who were employed by media outlets around the world have been killed so far this year—including four editors and writers who died in a targeted shooting attack on a Maryland newspaper office in June. The global toll also included 10 citizen journalists, along with four media assistants. Additionally, 167 journalists, 150 citizen journalists, and 19 media assistants have been imprisoned—including 28 Saudi Arabians.

    • WikiLeaks’ Legacy of Exposing US-UK Complicity

      Twelve years ago this month, WikiLeaks began publishing government secrets that the world public might otherwise never have known. What it has revealed about state duplicity, human rights abuses and corruption goes beyond anything published in the world’s “mainstream” media.

      After over six months of being cut off from outside world, on 14 October 14 Ecuador has partly restored Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world from its London embassy where the founder has been living for over six years. (Assange, however, later rejected Ecuador’s restrictions imposed on him.)

      The treatment – real and threatened – meted out to Assange by the U.S. and UK governments contrasts sharply with the service Wikileaks has done their publics in revealing the nature of elite power, as shown in the following snapshot of Wikileaks’ revelations about British foreign policy in the Middle East.


      A week before the “marine reserve” proposal was made to the U.S. in May 2009, then UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband was also conniving with the U.S., apparently to deceive the public. A cable reveals Miliband helping the U.S. to sidestep a ban on cluster bombs and keep the weapons at U.S. bases on UK soil, despite Britain signing the international treaty banning the weapons the previous year.

      Miliband approved a loophole created by diplomats to allow U.S. cluster bombs to remain on UK soil and was part of discussions on how the loophole would help avert a debate in Parliament that could have “complicated or muddied” the issue. Critically, the same cable also revealed that the U.S. was storing cluster munitions on ships based at Diego Garcia.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Ghostwriter Explains How the President is ‘Obsessed’ With Violence

      The ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s 1987 autobiography explained the racial aspect behind the commander-in-chief’s “rage” during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC.

      Tony Schwartz was credited as co-author the 1987 book, “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” alongside the real estate developer.

      “Given the time you’ve spent with him, what do you see as his relationship with the specter of violence?” MSNBC anchor Ari Melber asked. “Explain what you understand to be his fascination of violence and the way he’s infused that in his politics.”

    • The Kochs’ new super PAC sets its sights on midterms

      Though the Koch brothers’ political network is still active and influential, interest in the group has waned in the Trump-era. Google searches for the wealthy mega-donors are less than a quarter as frequent they were at their peak in February 2011. President Trump himself has said the Kochs are no longer relevant.

      But according to Politico, the network is “big enough and wealthy enough to rival the Republican Party itself.” They recently announced their intent to embark on a $400 million political spending spree in advance of the 2018 midterms and launched a gargantuan new super PAC, Americans for Prosperity Action. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Kochs’ flagship group, Americans For Prosperity, shares its name.

      But Americans for Prosperity is technically a nonprofit, which limits its ability to be explicitly political and restrains it from endorsing candidates. As a super PAC, AFP Action faces no such restrictions as long as it does not directly collaborate with campaigns.

      Although AFP Action is just over a month old, it already appears to be fully operational and testing its firepower.

    • ‘That Sends a Shiver Down My Spine!’: CNN Panel Destroys Trump over His History of Anti-Semitic Pandering

      While the brutal killing of 11 people at a synagogue on Saturday is making clear the vivid dangers of American anti-Semitism, many political observers pointed out the not-too-subtle role President Donald Trump has had in stoking this animus.

      On CNN Sunday morning, Jonathan Weisman, author of “((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump,” pointed out that the president has often failed to stand up forcefully to the factions of right-wing bigotry in the country. In fact, he has even indulged some of the tropes and imagery that underlies this bigotry, essentially giving it his endorsement.

      “The last advertisement of President Trump’s campaign for president talked about ‘global special interests’ as the Jewish faces of Janet Yellen, George Soros, and Lloyd Blankfein went by,” he said. “That’s not a dog whistle! That’s a vuvuzela, as somebody said.”

    • Far-Right Terrorism Is a Feature — Not a Bug — of Donald Trump’s Presidency

      President Donald Trump is a terrorism-generating machine. In one week, America has been hit by three separate terrorist attacks directly connected to his sowing of division and promotion of violence.

      The most recent attack took place on October 27. Robert Bowers allegedly shot up the The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing eleven. Leading up to the massacre, Bowers ranted against Jews for bringing in “hostile invaders to dwell among us,” which would lead to “certain extinction.”

      Bowers echoed the right’s talk that George Soros was funding “caravans” of refugees full of ISIS terrorists. Trump reinforced this with ravings about the “onslaught” and “assault” of a few thousand refugees hiding DRUGS and “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners.” Bowers’ talk of extinction followed Trump mainstreaming the myth of “white genocide” recently, amplifying Tucker Carlson who had dredged the lie from the sewers of the far right.

    • Could Trump Bring Down the American Empire?

      More than any other presidency in the modern history of the United States, Donald Trump’s has been a permanent threat of socio-political shipwreck. He has deliberately excited and fuelled conflicts, involving xenophobic and racist currents in society, with an always nasty political discourse. Trump’s eccentricities have been widely highlighted by the press, but his attacks on the U.S. military presence in the world and its commitments to that end have received far less attention.

      Such is the essence of an essay by journalist and historian Gareth Porter, published on the website TRUTHDIG.

      Trump had come to the White House with a commitment to end U.S. military interventions. This was based on a worldview in which wars for military domination have no place. In the last speech of his victory tour in December 2016, Trump promised: “Let’s stop tearing down foreign regimes that we shouldn’t have been involved with. Instead of investing in wars, we will invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure…”.

      At a meeting in the summer of 2017, where Defense Secretary James Mattis defended new military measures against the Islamic State in North Africa, Trump expressed his displeasure at the endless wars and Mattis claimed that “we are doing it to prevent a bomb from exploding in Times Square,” to which Trump replied, furiously, that the same could be said about anything that happened in any country on the planet.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • “The Ghost Script” Explores the Inside Story of Hollywood’s Blacklist

      Thereby, he arrives at the Hollywood Blacklist, its perpetrators, its victims and some who could be described as a combination of all these. From the late 1940s until well into the ‘60s, individuals identified by congressional investigators and the FBI as suspiciously pro-Communist were effectively barred from the film industry; even foreign productions with their names prevented from showing in the US. Those “friendly” witnesses who named their own friends managed to escape, and the “social” or progressive film genre effectively disappeared for a time, along with some of the most creative figures in the business. Some managed to continue their work, in films or television, by writing under the names of other writers or pen names. Feiffer fits in strangely here. He has often described himself as a member of the “non-Communist Left,” or more simply, “anti-Stalinist,” a looser category that has historically included socialists and liberals leaning toward Cold War enthusiasms and even neo-conservatism.

    • Clearing the Black Smoke of Fake News

      A 1938 radio broadcast, “The War of the Worlds,” dramatized an invasion by Martians whose technological powers vastly surpassed those of Earth’s human defenders. At the program’s climax, an “eyewitness” described the desperate scene as Martian machines attacked New York: “This is the end now… black smoke, drifting over the city. People in the streets see it now. They’re running towards the East River… thousands of them, dropping in like rats. Now the smoke’s spreading faster… People trying to run away from it, but it’s no use.”

      October 30th marks the eightieth anniversary of the broadcast, which is legendary for having supposedly led to mass panic throughout the United States. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the most famous episode of CBS’s “Mercury Theatre on the Air” is often invoked as a cautionary example of media’s mighty influence and the public’s vulnerability to media-induced hysteria. Revisiting the historic broadcast provides an opportunity to revise our shared understanding of what actually happened on the night of October 30, 1938, yielding insights relevant to contemporary concerns about “fake news.”

      Confronted by proprietary algorithms that covertly shape our news feeds, disingenuous pundits such as Alex Jones, and opportunistic political leaders including a president who consistently villainizes the press as “the enemy of the people,” many of us may conclude that “it’s no use” trying to find news worth trusting. Pervasive distrust of formerly respected information sources is paralleled by a glut of disinformation and propaganda that threatens, much like Martian black smoke, to suffocate our democracy.

      The popular understanding that “War of the Worlds” caused public chaos is at odds with the facts. Media scholars Jefferson Pooley and Michael J. Socolow have identified two factors that explain enduring tall tales about the broadcast. First, it took place when radio, a newly-developing medium, had begun to compete successfully with print for audience attention and advertising revenues. Newspaper editors sensationalized the panic in hopes of undermining trust in radio and encouraging government regulation of it. Second, the publication in 1940 of Hadley Cantril’s “The Invasion from Mars,” one of the first empirical studies of media effects on audiences, helped to reinforce the broadcast’s reputation as a prime example of mass hysteria.

      Professional conflicts and financial motives led Cantril to overstate his study’s findings.

    • I Called Out a Counterfeit Item on Amazon. Then They Banned Me.

      Two years ago, I got scammed by a counterfeiter on Amazon. I left a review on the product warning others about my experience. Eventually, Amazon deleted my review and banned me from leaving reviews for “violating Community Guidelines.”

      Has Amazon banned you for leaving a bad review? You probably think Amazon hasn’t—but are you sure? Amazon doesn’t even email you to let you know that they’ve banned you and deleted all your reviews. It does it silently.

    • Dodging censorship, thanking 4-H and more

      This past week, we received a couple of calls from a reader and critic convinced that an advertisement we ran was offensive and we should not have run it. We’ve run into this before. I’ve written on the topic before. To be clear, I have asserted the same position even when an ad that we published was diametrically opposed to my own personal principles.

      That’s because there is a greater principle at play, and I will explain this again. You don’t want us in the job of deciding what advertisers can appear in the paper and which ones can’t. It isn’t textbook censorship but it’s the same foul premises. If media products begin to determine who can and can’t advertise in the outlet, then they control the flow of almost all information to you. Media could deny you exposure to an entire party’s campaign information. We don’t filter news espousing ideas with which our editorial board disagrees, much less filter advertising.

    • Australia considers reform of its website blocking regime, including possibility to target search engines and new types of injunctions

      As readers will know, over the past few years, Australia has considered or has introduced a number of changes to its copyright law. The latest news concerns online piracy and how to tackle copyright infringements occurred via the internet more effectively by means of enhanced website blocking orders.

      Katfriend Fiona Philiips (Fiona Phillips Law) explains the background to and content of a bill that was introduced a few days ago.

    • America’s ‘Free Speech Crisis’ Just Took a Very Dark Turn For the Worse

      During the 2015-16 academic year, when explosive packages and political street violence weren’t on our minds, a lavishly funded, brilliantly orchestrated “free speech” campaign drew sensation-hungry media into dramatizing the grave danger to Americans’ freedoms of expression and inquiry posed by petulant, censorious “cry-bully” college students, their coddling campus mentors and parents, and an ideology of racial and sexual “political correctness” enveloping our society.


      Wrong though the politically correct are to celebrate or excuse catapulting so many men into expulsion from their careers and into Orwellian silence and virtual non-personhood before accusations meet real due process, on campus or off, some corporate directors and managers have been even more wrong to do just that. #MeToo supporters shouldn’t expect much from a power shift between the sexes that at the same time tightens corporate image control and workplace control. Breaking a company’s glass ceiling while failing to reconfigure its walls and foundations can empower a Margaret Thatcher or a Carly Fiorina, but not most women or men. Maybe that’s why conservative “free speech” crusaders who’ve condemned university tribunals so loudly have been eerily quiet about analogous boardroom decisions.

      Yet even before most Americans could see why the “free speech” crusade was wrong to blame so much on college kids and their deans, the crusade itself was hijacked in 2016 by candidate Donald Trump. He took up its cry against political correctness just as his own sexist, racist and other abuses were exposing his moral and political bankruptcy. He got away with posing as a champion of free speech while vowing action against free speech in the press — and by his critics and opponents — partly because, as some retired New York police officers who resented their “diversity” training and “sensitivity” sessions told me, they believed the free-speech crusade’s deceptions and think that Trump “speaks his mind” about what they’ve had to put up with while in uniform.

    • Our Divided Society: One Author’s Experience of Censorship

      Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, award-winning author, dynamic professor, and engaging public speaker will give a presentation entitled, “Our Divided Society: One Author’s Experience of Censorship” on October 30 at 7 p.m. at the Valley City State University Science Center Auditorium in Valley City. The event is sponsored by What in the World Is Going On?, a campus-community group jointly sponsored by VCSU’s Departments of Science and Social Science.

    • Not An Act Of Censorship – Melanie Finn
    • As Predicted, Australian Government Looks To Creep Site Censorship Into Search Censorship
    • Radical expansion of Australia’s national firewall will censor search results and websites
    • China’s Former Internet Chief, a Censorship Hardliner, Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges
    • China’s Internet Gatekeeper Pleads Guilty to Bribery
    • Real Reason Why China Doesn’t Want Blockchain: Strict Censorship
    • China’s Internet Censor Releases Draft Rules to Regulate Blockchain Startups
    • Briefing: Blockchain companies in China may have to censor content, state says
    • New Chinese Blockchain Regulations Raise Censorship Concerns
    • China’s Internet Censorship Agency Publishes Draft Regulations For Blockchain Startups
    • China requires blockchain-based information service providers to register users using real names, censor postings and store user data
    • Letter: Censorship in Caliente
    • Watchdog Looks to Expand Internet Censorship Powers
    • South Korean war on ‘fake news’ raises concern of censorship
    • Prominent Neocon Promises More Censorship of Social Media
    • Artist sends caps to Google for collaborating with ‘China’s censorship’
    • Former Google Engineer Says China Search Engine Would Be ‘Stain’ On Company’s Reputation
    • Google and the Great Internet Wall of China
    • Big Tech Snuffing Free Speech; Google’s Poisonous ‘Dragonfly’
    • Should internet platforms censor too much or too little?
    • Aesthetic journalism: Overcoming censorship and documenting Syrian conflict with a sketchbook
    • Last chance to back the Kickstarter for our interdisciplinary seminar series on censorship today and in the Renaissance
    • Is “Statistics Shadowbanning” the Latest Big-Tech Salvo Against Conservatives?
    • Breitbart’s Misleading Claims of Google “Censorship”

      Most people won’t bother to read the eighty-five-page Google presentation for themselves. But the Breitbart report didn’t pass my personal “sniff test” for news: the idea that a major publicly-traded information tech company would come out against the First Amendment strained credulity. So I took a careful look at the entire Google presentation for myself. Of course it is impossible to know how these slides were presented by the speaker. But if we go only by the slides, it appears that the Breitbart reporter has cherry-picked quotations and dropped their context in a way that seriously misrepresents the message of the presentation. As I read the Google presentation, much of what Breitbart highlights is crafted not to clarify Google’s message but to inflame the sensitivities of Breitbart’s audience. Especially given the largely uncritical reception of the report by the “right wing” media, this should raise red flags for the idea that Breitbart’s crusade against bias in Silicon Valley is somehow motivated by a genuine concern for the truth.

    • Politics, Censorship & Museums Part of Upcoming Community Conversation

      Burchfield talked about why she wanted to show Mavor’s work in the context of what she sees as the role of museums in a time of division. In Burchfield’s view, museums can be places where civil discourse can take place.

      Both Mavor and Burchfield will be part of a panel for a Community Conversation taking place Wednesday, October 24, from 6 to 7:30pm at the Falmouth Art Center, which is located at 137 Gifford Street in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

      Beginning as the Falmouth Artists Guild back in 1965, the Falmouth Art Center, where Mavor has been a longtime member and where Mavor’s mother, Mary Mavor, was one of the founders, has long been a place where artists could gather and exchange ideas.

    • Censorship and the Male Gaze: Let Batman Jr. Be Free!

      There’s been some controversy with the latest series in the Batman comics, “Batman: Damned,” in its first issue. In some of the first few pages, Batman is shown to be walking around his hideout naked, and a faint outline of his junior can be seen. The horror!

      “Batman: Damned” is one of the latest releases under DC Comics’ Black Label, the newest imprint designated for mature readers. Despite this imprint, however, readers have reacted to the news in a variety of ways best summarized in a couple of tweets made on Twitter. Hilarious as Batman’s penis picture is, the general consensus among comic fans was distaste. Some fans were so uncomfortable that it caused DC to apologize. The company stopped circulation of the issue and instead began solely producing a censored version.

    • National group against censorship looking into Carlsbad HS controversy

      The student artists say now their rights are being trampled.

      KRQE News 13 has learned the Youth Free Expression Program, a national coalition against censorship, is looking into the case.

    • China continues to block Naver blogs, cafes in internet censorship boost

      China-based access to South Korean internet giant Naver’s online blogs and cafes has been cut off for a week now, raising speculation that China’s censorship of foreign websites has effectively extended to Korea’s top portal website.

      Internet users in China have been unable to access Naver blogs (blog.naver.com) and cafes (cafe.naver.com) since Oct. 16. The block still appeared to be in place as of Tuesday.

      Users in China can still access Naver’s search engine and email services without issue. Given this, it appears that China has blocked only the community-building and opinion-sharing services on the portal.

    • Naver’s services still inaccessible in China

      “The latest connection issues in China have nothing to do with internal technical problems,” said a spokesperson from the Korean internet firm. “It is hard to verify the reasons.”

      The web portal company has reported the disconnection to state-run Korean internet agencies.

      The exact cause of the incident has not been verified yet, but it is speculated that China’s Great Firewall censorship initiative is what blocks access to the Korean services.

    • Media censorship under Museveni

      The world watched in outrage recently as Reuters photojournalist, James Akena, was clobbered by three soldiers on the streets of Uganda’s capital Kampala in full view of television cameras. Akena was covering the demonstrations for the release of Robert Kyagulanyi, a member of parliament and pop singer also known as Bobi Wine.

      Yoweri Museveni, who has been the East African country’s president for the past 32 years, tried to explain away the attack. He said he had been informed that it was a case of mistaken identity – Akena had been mistaken for a camera thief.

    • Amicus Briefs Flood Supreme Court in Prison-Censorship Case

      Urging the Supreme Court to lift a ban it faces in Florida correctional facilities, Prison Legal News found support for its censorship appeal this month from more than 100 groups across the political spectrum.

      A monthly magazine put out by the Human Rights Defense Center, Prison Legal News brought its petition for certiorari last month after the 11th Circuit found that security concerns justified a blanket ban on the publication across Florida jails and prisons.

    • College Council’s Censorship is Anti-Democratic

      Do you know where your $92 Student Activities Fee (SAF) is going? A Wheel reporter tried to find out by attending a recent College Council (CC) session, but he was removed because CC went into an “executive session.” When the reporter asked to read copies of the bills passed during the session, he received versions with financial information redacted.

      Student government institutions like CC are meant to give students a voice in how their SAF is spent. The procedure described above completely negates that purpose by closing off meetings that determine funding. Though CC claims to be protecting clubs’ financial privacy, they are destroying the necessary mechanisms of transparency and accountability. These claims are unfounded: Student Government Association (SGA) publicizes funding requests they receive, and the Wheel has published student government budgets in the past. CC should follow the lead of SGA, their parent organization, by holding legislative meetings open to the student body and releasing financial documentation.

    • Censorship is not amusing

      At first I read with some amusement all the letters concerning the need to censor (or restrict) the reading materials available to our students. Unfortunately, amusement is no longer how I feel when I read these letters.

      The problem with censorship is, whose “values” do we choose? How do you determine whose religious leanings are right or wrong? The answer is you can’t. They are opinions, and as such they can’t be right or wrong.

    • Iranian Leaders Use Social Media Freely Despite Censorship

      Iranian leaders use social media freely without censorship, yet the people are banned from doing so.

      Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is known for being a moderate politician. He tweets regularly on world politics and expresses his opinion freely via social media. Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, is also active on Twitter, which he uses to communicate with the rest of the world without censorship.

      But there’s just one thing. Almost all social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, are blocked in Iran despite people finding ways around this. Yes, Iranian leaders are allowed to use social media, but the people are banned from doing so. Why? Because, for the regime, Iranians cannot distinguish right from wrong and if they use social media it will cause them harm.

      The Islamic Republic not only blocks social networks, but also many news websites, including Fair Observer, to prevent people from knowing the truth and gaining a deeper insight into the political situation of their country and the world. The regime also jams satellite signals to prevent people from watching foreign TV channels, as well as blocking many opposition websites.

    • Kurdish filmmakers caught in ‘chess game’ of power, war, censorship

      The history of cinema has been closely tied to the history of war, but while Kurdistan has a lot of experience with conflict, its filmmakers have struggled to bring that to the screen, experts argued at the Duhok International Film Festival (DIFF).

      “Since the beginning of cinema, we’re showing the movies on war,” said Professor Kristian Feigelson during a panel discussion titled Filmmaking in War Time.

      Fiegelson is president of DIFF’s world cinema jury and a professor in Sociology of Cinema and Audiovisual Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.

      He traced films through history, looking at how American “created a new kind of hero” in the 1930’s and 40’s with the cowboys and Indians genre.

      During World War II, film began to be used as a tool for resistance.

    • Scottish Libertarianism: Brexit, Censorship, and Independence

      Rory: With the Libertarian Party being the party of the disenfranchised, it also seems to be the misunderstood party. You had mentioned the hard right, which many in the States mistakenly consider as being Libertarian. Some have associated the Alt-Right with Libertarianism and the Liberty message is harder to get across to a larger audience. Is there a similar misunderstanding between the Scottish public and the Scottish Libertarian Party?

      A large number of Americans were enamored with the recent arrest of Scottish comedian Mark Meechan, confused by how a joke, albeit tasteless, could be considered an arrestable offense, let alone a crime at all. You mentioned that many Americans don’t realize how blessed we are to have an established framework of personal liberty and I think you are correct in your assertion. Given the volatile nature of our current political situation, we’re now seeing a large youth movement to silence their opponents through legislation and even force, instead of debate. Even the ACLU, a longtime supporter of the First Amendment, including the vilest speech, seems to be starting to waver on whether the organization is willing to support all speech. Many parts of the Constitution seem to now be up for debate or far looser interpretations.

    • Neutrality or censorship? RT’s look at AfD’s tool for students to report ‘biased’ teachers (VIDEO)
    • Falmouth Art Center to Host Community Conversation on Art & Censorship

      Organizers say that the Community Conversation on Art and Censorship is meant to add constructive conversation to the dialogue.

    • War, censorship, and the invention of “fake news”

      Under conditions of mounting social opposition and escalating plans for military conflict, the US political establishment is moving ever more brazenly to implement internet censorship.

      On Saturday, the two principal newspapers of the political establishment, the New York Times and the Washington Post, published editorials demanding an intensification of political censorship on social media. The Times, in “The Poison on Facebook and Twitter Is Still Spreading,” cited a supposed proliferation of “misinformation” on social media, including “homegrown campaigns spread[ing] partisan lies in the United States,” to demand much more aggressive action.

      The Times praises journalists (that is, itself) along with “self-taught vigilantes” for forcing social media companies to act to take down content. However, much more fundamental action is required, it concludes. “[A]t this stage of the internet’s evolution, content moderation can no longer be reduced to individual postings viewed in isolation and out of context. The problem is systemic, currently manifested in the form of coordinated campaigns both foreign and homegrown.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Anas, former CIA Boss Snowden in Sweden to speak on privacy

      Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, together with former CIA Boss, Edward Snowden is in Sweden to address a conference on privacy.

      The event “What is your privacy worth? with Edward Snowden” organised by Klarity, a non-profit organisation, will take place on October 24, Norrsken House, Birger Jarlsgatan 57c in Sweden.

      The event is organised to explore what privacy is really worth and how far some people are willing to go to protect the privacy of others.

      Anas Aremeyaw Anas is known for hiding his face from the general public to protect his identity and work without being noticed.

    • As many feared, Google’s ambitious Sidewalk Toronto “smart city” project turns out to be a “surveillance city”

      The idea of “smart cities” – the application of digital technologies to the urban environment – is much in vogue. But as this blog has noted, although potentially powerful, the approach does raise serious issues for privacy. Perhaps the most ambitious “smart city” project so far is one involving a sister company of Google, Sidewalk Labs. After looking at over 50 possible partners it choose to work with the Canadian city of Toronto. Sidewalk Toronto was announced in October last year, and involves the redevelopment of a publicly-owned space of more than 800 acres, one of North America’s largest areas of underdeveloped urban land. The initial project involves just 12 acres, on which Sidewalk Labs says it will spend $50 million.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Brazil: 1964 X 2018. A parallel

      Brazilian society supported the military coup of 1964.

      The media claimed that the intervention was necessary to stop a coup by President João Goulart. The fears may or may not have founded. Since Goulart did not attempt to carry one out, we will never know. What we do know is that Brazilian society allowed the military to intervene, calling it a necessary tactic to protect its beloved democracy, and the result was 21 years of dictatorship.

      “Democracy returns!” announced a headline on the front page of the newspaper O Globo, one of the country’s most important outlets. “The nation is living glorious days,” continued the article printed on April 2, 1964, a day after the new government was instated. “That’s thanks to all the patriots, regardless of political affiliations and opinions about isolated problems, that banded together to save what is essential: Democracy, law, and order.”

    • Brazil’s military dictatorship leaves a paper trail in the CIA archives

      On October 28th, polls show Brazil will likely elect a candidate who openly praises the country’s military dictatorship – the period from 1964 to 1985 marked by censorship, extrajudicial killings, and torture of political opponents. Former army captain Jair Bolsonaro is not subtle in his pining for a time when Brazil was governed by force and ruled by fear, especially for leftists, Afro-Brazilians, and the poor.

    • A broad new coalition is rising to block Brazil’s far right from the presidency

      The election results, announced on Oct. 6, surprised most analysts. Far-right fascist-leaning Jair Bolsonaro, who has an army general as vice president on his ticket, won the first round with 46 percent of the valid votes. Bolsonaro is known for his homophobic comments — including once saying he would rather have a dead son than a gay one — has been described as a Brazilian Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte. Among Bolsonaro’s latest international supporters is white supremacist former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, who declared his enthusiasm over the potential win once the first round results were announced.

      Although his domination of the presidential election in Brazil didn’t come as a complete surprise, he did outperform polling ahead of the vote. For the second round of voting, which will take place on Oct. 28, Bolsonaro will face Fernando Haddad, the candidate from the Workers’ Party. The former mayor of São Paulo, Haddad is a professor with a Ph.D in philosophy. His running mate is Manuela D’Avila, a former student movement leader who has been a congresswoman since 2007 for Brazil’s Communist Party.

    • Showing fear in Brazil

      Fear, anxiety and depression currently plague human rights defenders in Brazil. Not only because it is the country that kills the most defenders in the world, according to data from Global Witness, but because this terrible scenario could be worsened by the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.

      The leading candidate, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, a retired army captain who praises the military dictatorship, is openly pro-torture, and has professed an agenda for the harassment of minorities and the devaluing of human rights.

      On several occasions, the candidate stated that the “mistake of the dictatorship was to torture, not kill.” while also maintaining an arsenal of homophobic, misogynist and racist statements. Bolsonaro has already declared himself openly homophobic and said he would prefer a “dead son to a homosexual son.”

    • Brasil: the day after

      Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

      The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them.


      Brazil is undergoing an insurmountable wave of verbal and symbolic violence, and hateful speeches that are already yielding their first victims have become the norm.

    • Trump’s NLRB Just Quietly Ruled to Make Union Pickets Illegal

      An all-Republican panel of President Trump’s National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) recently ruled that janitors in San Francisco violated the law when they picketed in front of their workplace to win higher wages, better working conditions and freedom from sexual harassment in their workplace. The ruling could result in far-reaching restrictions on picketing that limit the ability of labor unions to put public pressure on management.


      In this case, the NLRB overturned an administrative law judge’s ruling that because the second company had significant control over the employment relationship, it constituted a joint employer. The judge based her conclusion on evidence that Preferred Building Services was involved in the hiring, firing, disciplining, supervision, direction of work, and other terms and conditions of the janitors’ employment with Ortiz Janitorial Services. Therefore, both Ortiz and Preferred acted as joint employers to the janitors.

      This matters because if the various companies were joint employers, there were no prohibited secondary activities. But the NLRB held that the janitors worked for the subcontractor, and any actions aimed at any other company was illegal under the law.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Defending Decentralization, Like a Twice in a Millennium Chance

      That’s Amir Taaki speaking on a closing panel at the Web3 Summit in Berlin Wednesday, and his statement was greeted with breathless applause by the audience. An early bitcoin developer, Taaki addressed a crowd of more than a thousand coders that had gathered to discuss “Web 3.0″ – or the restructuring of internet infrastructures with an emphasis on decentralization.


      Web 3.0 is intended to replace the existing online infrastructure with software that is decentralized from the start. To this end, much of the discussion over the three-day conference echoed Taaki’s sentiment – that with the right combination of technology and vision, Web 3.0 can usher in a new era of digital emancipation.

      And while that may sound idealistic – several attendees remarked that the event seemed to tip into naïveté at times – it was met with a wave of technological advances that reinforced this positivity.

      “It’s different this time around, and we have a chance to use these tools in a way that empowers and protects people,” Patrick Nielsen, CTO of Web 3.0 startup Clovyr, said. “But it won’t build itself, and just because the tools exist does not mean it’s going to get used.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • How Cool: Using Bankruptcy to Upset Intellectual Property Licenses

        In bankruptcy, the debtor is permitted to reject exectory contracts in order to improve the business position of the debitor (and its creditors). The question at issue here is whether a debtor-licensor is permitted to terminate a trademark license that was granted prior to the bankruptcy — and what would the impact be of such a termination.


        One way to look at the basic background here to begin with the 4th Circuit in Lubrizol Enters., Inc. v. Richmond Metal Finishers, Inc., 756 F.2d 1043 (4th Cir. 1985). In that decision, the court held that a bankrupt licensor could use bankruptcy to unilaterally revoke the rights of a technology licensee (patent license). Other Circuits rejected the Lubrizol approach, but Congress still acted to clear-up the disputes with the creation of 365(n). However, as mentioned, 365(n) does not cover trademark licenses.

    • Copyrights

      • What Happens When Telecom Companies Search Your Home for Piracy

        When 30-year-old web developer Adam Lackman heard loud knocking on his Montreal apartment door around 8 AM, he thought he was about to be robbed.

        On that morning on June 12, 2017, Lackman looked through the peephole and saw men he didn’t recognize. They called out his name. He didn’t answer. “Scared for his life,” he called the police and, he said, hid in a closet holding a knife while he waited for the cops to arrive.

        When the police showed up after about 20 minutes, according to Lackman, he opened the door and was met by lawyers, a bailiff, and, rather ominously, a locksmith. Seeing that he wasn’t about to be mugged, the police left.

        One of the lawyers represented some of Canada’s most powerful telecommunications and media companies: Bell, Rogers, Vidéotron, and TVA. The other was there to be an independent observer on behalf of the court. Lackman was told that he was being sued for copyright infringement for operating TVAddons, a website that hosted user-created apps for streaming video over the internet. The crew was there with a civil court order allowing them to search the place.

        The search was only supposed to go from 8 AM to 8 PM but it ended at midnight. The team copied laptops, hard drives, and any other devices they found, and demanded logins and passwords. Lackman, who called a lawyer in to represent him, was questioned for nine hours by the opposing counsel. They presented him with a list of names of people suspected of being digital pirates in Canada and asked him to snitch. He didn’t recognize the names, he told me, and said nothing.

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DecorWhat Else is New

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  2. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission

  3. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

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  4. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region

  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)

  6. Links 23/10/2021: FreeBSD 12.3 Beta, Wine 6.20, and NuTyX 21.10.0

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  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

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  8. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

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  9. Links 23/10/2021: Star Labs/StarLite, Ventoy 1.0.56

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  10. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

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  11. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli

  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates

  13. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

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  14. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?

  15. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

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  16. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

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  17. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day

  18. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.

  19. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)

  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

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  21. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

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  22. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)

  23. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity

  24. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses

  25. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial

  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)

  27. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

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  28. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

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  29. [Meme] Strike Triangulations, Reception Issues

    Financial strangulations for Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations”? The EPO will come to regret 2013…

  30. [Meme] Is Saying “No!” to Unlawful Proposals Considered “Impolite”?

    A ‘toxic mix’ of enablers and cowards (who won’t vote negatively on EPO proposals which they know to be unlawful) can serve to show that the EPO isn’t a “social democracy” as Benoît Battistelli liked to call it; it’s just a dictatorship, currently run by the son of a person who actually fought dictatorship

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