Standard Life (Phoenix Group Holdings): Three Weeks to Merely Start Investigating Pension Fraud (and Only After Repeated Reminders From the Fraud’s Victims)

Posted in Deception, Finance, Fraud, Free/Libre Software at 1:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 2b863a00d74ee7980569100f280fc404
Delaying and Stalling Tactics After Fraud
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: As the phonecall above hopefully shows (or further elucidates), Standard Life leaves customers in a Kafkaesque situation, bouncing them from one person to another person without actually progressing on a fraud investigation

THE above recording is of a phonecall received from a Standard Life manager after I had requested a callback. It hopefully makes it clear that Standard Life is not progressing a case of pension fraud perpetrated by my my former employer. As I explain to the manager, this isn’t in the interest of Standard Life as it may culminate in a lawsuit soon (colleagues are speaking about it already).

“Some remaining (existing) and former clients of Sirius have contacted me last week, expressing support for me.”As it turns out, as per Wikipedia at least, Standard Life has its share of controversies (see screenshot below) and even a lot of layoffs. If this is the level of service provided by the company, then why trust this financial institution with one’s money?

This case isn’t a personal case, as I’m informally speaking ‘on behalf’ of other people as well. Some remaining (existing) and former clients of Sirius have contacted me last week, expressing support for me. They’re very unhappy about what’s going on at Sirius, which dodges accountability. It runs away from the law, not just metaphorically.

“Standard Life cannot simply ignore this because it’s part of it and if it’s not actively enabling the fraud, looking the other way would be regarded as “passive corruption” (formal, legal term).”What remains unknown, based on the processes and protocols, is whether Standard Life can be held legally accountable for effectively facilitating the company’s fraud by issuing official paperwork that serves to legitimate if not validate what was going on for over 5 years. They need to keep checks and balances in case of such embezzlement, which in this case impacted a lot of people for a very long time (in secret). We were meant to assume that the pension provider’s credibility was on the line, so when Sirius refused to respond to queries about the plan we thought, “OK, well, Standard Life would not allow this to be rogue, would it?”

Standard Life cannot simply ignore this because it’s part of it and if it’s not actively enabling the fraud, looking the other way would be regarded as “passive corruption” (formal, legal term). They make money by letting companies create accounts (they had a Sirius account) by which to mislead and embezzle staff, even for more than half a decade in the case of Sirius. The reputation is exploited to pacify people who are concerned they don’t receive any statements/updates.

“They make money by letting companies create accounts (they had a Sirius account) by which to mislead and embezzle staff, even for more than half a decade in the case of Sirius.”It’s no secret that right now people increasingly (and already) lack confidence in financial institutions, even the Swiss ones. Why would anyone trust Standard Life in light of the experiences I’ve been having since January?

I am putting a lot of effort into it and I’ve been spending lots of time on the whole pension thing; from the appearance of things (thus far at least) it may turn out to be a scandal for 2 pension funds in the UK, not just one. By extension, this might be a problem/crisis of reputation for just any pension fund in the UK or — given the inter-connectivity of accounts across nations — in the world at large. They’re all connected; my recordings hopefully serve to demonstrate/show their apathy towards perfectly legitimate fraud reports. They already bounce me between departments in vain (“complaints”). Nothing gets done. There’s not even a reference/number.

Standard Life: In January 2006, Standard Life were accused of smearing a policy-holder, Michael Hogan, who was not happy with the way the company was being run. An e-mail sent to Standard Life executives and advisors (which was disclosed under the Data Protection Act) revealed an attempt to discredit him.[26] In January 2007, the head of Standard Life's life and pensions business, Trevor Matthews, used the racist phrase 'nigger in the woodpile' while giving a presentation at one of the company's Edinburgh offices. After issuing an apology, Mr Matthews remained in his job and no disciplinary action was taken.[27] In March 2007 the company announced it would cut 1,000 jobs in an attempt to save an additional £100 million per year in costs.[28] One month later it was highlighted in the company's annual report that three of Standard Life's top executives (Sandy Crombie, Keith Skeoch and Trevor Matthews) were awarded more than £5 million in pay.[29] A Standard Life spokesman defended the awards, citing the leadership's efforts in turning round the company's fortunes.[29] In February 2014, Standard Life announced that it may move parts of their operations outside Scotland in the event of Scottish independence, if it was necessary to do so.[30]

Standard Life Paper Mills in Edinburgh

Posted in Deception, Finance, Fraud, Free/Libre Software at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Standard Life (Phoenix Group Holdings): Will issue paperwork; won't deposit money

Summary: Standard Life is issuing official-looking financial papers for companies that then use that paperwork to embezzle staff

Pension Fraud Investigation Not a High Priority in Standard Life (Phoenix Group Holdings)

Posted in Deception, Finance, Fraud, Free/Libre Software at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum f1eb8aa87974df65f6c70839b5e0645f
Too Busy to Investigate Fraud
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The ‘Open Source’ company where I worked for nearly 12 years embezzled its staff; despite knowing that employees were subjected to fraud in Standard Life’s name, it doesn’t seem like Standard Life has bothered to investigate (it has been a fortnight already; no progress is reported by management at Standard Life)

Tuesday a week ago was when I last spoke to Standard Life after the prior Tuesday I had been given false promises regarding progress in a case of pension fraud perpetrated by my my former employer, a company that has ‘Open Source’ in its name and was one of the earliest sponsors of the Free Software Foundation, even of KDE.

It’s quickly becoming rather frustrating to see that pension providers in the UK (maybe elsewhere too, but I cannot verify this for myself using first-hand experience) prefer to not deal with serious fraud, instead delaying, stonewalling and tiring the complainants. Today I contacted Laura, a Standard Life manager, about 2 weeks after we first spoke. She said she would redirect this to a fraud investigation team, but today she says it has not really started and may take another week with another team — a subject that will be covered in the next video.

This morning we covered (also see my personal blog) how Standard Life had failed to respond to a fraud report, instead issuing false assurances that it would investigate. It’s an eye-opening ordeal.

Links 20/03/2023: Tails 5.11 and EasyOS 5.1.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux in the Ham ShackLHS Episode #500: 500th Episode Spectacular

        Hello and welcome to the 500th episode of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts cut loose and let it all hang out.

      • GNU World Order (Audio Show)GNU World Order 504

        **plasma-wallpapers** , and the rest of **plasma-workspace** ( **ksmserver** ,

        **ksplashqml** , **plasma-apply-colorscheme** , **plasma-apply-cursortheme** ,

        **plasma-apply-desktoptheme** , **plasma-apply-lookandfeel** , **plasma-apply-

        wallpaperimage** , **plasma-interactiveconsole** , **plasma-shutdown** ,

        **plasma_session** , **plasma_waitforname** , **plasmashell** ,

        **plasmawindowed** , **startkwayland** , **startplasma-wayland** ,

        **startplasma-x11** , **systemmonitor** , **xembedsniproxy** ) from the

        Slackware **kde** package set.

        shasum -a256=ef7ba21087cf774b6d50ef80d19bceb240a68ebb59b000cd48463f586734a593

    • Applications

      • Net2The Best Spreadsheet Software for Linux

        As more people switch to Linux as their operating system, it’s important to find alternatives to Microsoft Excel. Although Excel is popular for spreadsheets, there are other programs available for Linux that offer similar or better functionality. This article explores some top alternatives to Microsoft Excel on Linux that can enhance your spreadsheet experience.

      • Michael Ablassmeier: small standalone sshds in go

        Been looking into some existant sshd implementations in go. Most of the
        projects on github seem to use the standard x/crypto/ssh lib.

        During testing, i just wanted to see which banner these kind of ssh servers
        provide, using the simple command: [...]

      • Ubuntu HandbookShow Live Scores in Ubuntu Panel for NBA, EPL, or Other Sports Teams

        For sports fans who want to keep a watchful eye on live scores for favorite teams, here’s an indicator applet for Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux with GNOME.

      • Linux LinksMachine Learning in Linux: Stable Diffusion web UI

        Machine learning is about learning some properties of a data set and then testing those properties against another data set. A common practice in machine learning is to evaluate an algorithm by splitting a data set into two. We call one of those sets the training set, on which we learn some properties; we call the other set the testing set, on which we test the learned properties.

        Stable Diffusion is a deep learning text-to-image diffusion model capable of generating photo-realistic images given any text input. In seconds you can create stunning artwork. Stable Diffusion uses a kind of diffusion model, called a latent diffusion model.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Linux BuzzInstall Single Node Openstack using Devstack on Ubuntu 22.04

        OpenStack is a free and open-source software platform that provides a cloud computing infrastructure. It provides a set of services for building and managing cloud environments, including compute, storage, networking, and identity management.

      • Linux CapableLinux TAR vs TAR.GZ Files: Key Differences

        If you’ve ever had to manage files on a Linux system, you’ve likely encountered TAR and TAR.GZ files. Both formats are used for archiving and compressing files but differ in key aspects. This article will explore the differences between TAR and TAR.GZ files and help you understand when to use each format.

      • Linux Capablehttpx Library in Python: How to get started

        HTTPX is a modern, high-performance, asynchronous HTTP client library for Python 3.6+ that provides sync and async APIs. It aims to provide a simple, intuitive, and Pythonic way to make HTTP requests while still being versatile enough to support complex use cases.

      • Linux CapableHow to Display Last Updated Date in GeneratePress Theme

        GeneratePress is a popular, lightweight, and customizable WordPress theme that has gained popularity for its performance and flexibility. One feature that many website owners appreciate is the ability to display both the original post date and the last updated date on their blog posts.

      • Linux HandbookEverything You Need to Know About UFW Logs

        UFW firewall comes pre-installed in Ubuntu and as the name suggests UFW logs can offer inside-out information on how your firewall deals with incoming and outgoing requests.

      • Linux BuzzInstall Single Node Openstack using Devstack on Ubuntu 22.04

        OpenStack is a free and open-source software platform that provides a cloud computing infrastructure. It provides a set of services for building and managing cloud environments, including compute, storage, networking, and identity management.

      • ID RootHow To Install Smartctl on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Smartctl on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

      • nftables basic configuration

        Introduction Nftables is a firewall and packet filtering system that replaces iptables in Linux. It provides a clean and organized way to manage your network security and traffic filtering. Nftables was introduced in Linux Kernel 3.13 and has been included in all major Linux distributions since then.

      • Configuring nftables

        Introduction The world of networking and firewalls is constantly changing and evolving, with new tools and technologies being developed every day. One such tool that has recently gained popularity is nftables, a powerful, yet flexible firewall management system.

      • The mangle table

        Introduction The mangle table is a unique and practical piece of furniture that has been around for centuries. It’s a table with a built-in wringer, and it was once a common household item used to wring out clothes and linens.

      • The NAT table

        Have you ever wondered how internet service providers (ISPs) manage to connect multiple devices to the internet using just one public IP address? The answer lies in a concept called Network Address Translation (NAT).

      • Configuring iptables

        What is iptables? iptables is a powerful firewall tool for Linux, it is the firewall that is pre-installed in most Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Fedora.

      • UNIX CopHow To Install CPU-X on Ubuntu 20.04 | 22.04 LTS

        In this guide, we will show you how to install CPU-X on Ubuntu systems. CPU-X is a free and open-source utility for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems that displays information about the system’s CPU and other hardware components. It is a free software that collects information about CPU, motherboard and more.

      • UNIX CopOpen-Source Backup Made Easy with Deja Dup: A Step-by-Step Tutorial in Ubuntu

        Introduction Data loss can occur for various reasons, such as hardware failure, software bugs, malware attacks, or human error. To prevent data loss and ensure the safety of your essentials, it is crucial to have a reliable backup system in place.

      • TecAdminSecuring Your Website Using .htaccess: Best Practices

        .htaccess is a powerful configuration file used by web servers such as Apache to control and customize their behavior. While it can be used for a variety of purposes, one of the most important is securing your website.

      • TecAdminUsing .htaccess to block IP addresses and prevent unwanted visitors

        One of the most important aspects of website security is preventing unwanted visitors from accessing your site.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install SmartCTL on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

        Smartctl is a command-line utility that is part of the smartmontools package. It is a powerful tool that enables you to monitor and manage the Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) system built into most modern hard and solid-state drives.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install WHOIS on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

        Whois is a widely used tool that allows users to query domain registration information, such as the registrar, contact information, and registration and expiration dates. It benefits administrators, developers, and security researchers who must gather details about domain ownership and network resources.

      • UNIX CopBecoming a Linux Power User: Tips, Tricks, and Productivity Hacks

        In this tutorial, we will explore a range of tips, tricks, and productivity hacks that can help you become a Linux power user. Also, We will cover various topics such as file and directory management, package management, process management, system monitoring, shell scripting, and more.

      • UNIX CopHow To Install QOwnNotes on Ubuntu 20.04 | 22.04 LTS

        In this guide, we will show you how to install and configure QOwnNotes on Ubuntu systems. QOwnNotes is a free open source (GPL) plain-text notepad. The program has support for markdown, and includes a to-do list manager that works on FreeBSD, Linux, MacOS and Windows. It can optionally work together with the notes application of ownCloud or Nextcloud.

      • UNIX CopDeploying a Multi-Node Kubernetes Cluster on Linux

        Introduction Kubernetes is a powerful container orchestration platform that enables developers to manage and deploy containerized applications at scale. In order to take full advantage of Kubernetes’ capabilities, you can deploy a multi-node cluster on Linux. A multi-node cluster allows you to distribute your applications across multiple nodes, ensuring high availability and scalability.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Krita on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

        Krita is a powerful, open-source digital painting application that has rapidly gained popularity among artists, illustrators, and graphic designers worldwide. Developed by the Krita Foundation, this feature-rich software is designed to cater to the needs of creative professionals and enthusiasts alike.

      • Trend OceansHow to Install a Non-Snap/.deb Version of Firefox on Ubuntu 22.04

        Having issues with Snap based Firefox? Then read the mentioned steps to ditch the Snap version of Firefox for the classic/regular Firefox on your Ubuntu 22.04 system.

    • Games

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • David RevoyLightwork

      A speedpainting inspired by Devin Townsend’s 2022 music album. I’ll go to his concert tomorrow in Toulouse! Lightwork Tour. I listen to his music since 2000. I can’t wait!

    • Libre ArtsLibreArts Weekly recap — 19 March 2023

      Week highlights: DreamWorks Animation releases source code of MoonRay renderer, new beta and final releases of Siril, HDRView, MFEKglif, QGIS, major
      changes coming to FreeCAD.


      CmykStudent is proposing to start working on real non-destructive editing in GIMP this summer within the GSoC program. Here is their proposal. All projects ideas for GSoC and generally for internships are here.

      Meanwhile, mr.fantastic continues hacking on the on-canvas alignment feature when moving layers.

    • Luis Villa: Writing elsewhere; the pain of moving platforms

      I’ve been doing a lot of writing elsewhere of late. Some links:

      • I’ve written a fair amount in the past year for the Tidelift blog, most recently on the EU’s Cyber Resiliency Act and what it might mean for open source.
      • I wrote last week at opensource.com; the latest in a now multi-year series on board candidates in elections for the Open Source Initiative.
      • I have a newsletter on the intersection of open and machine learning at openml.fyi. It is fun!
      • I’ve moved to the fediverse for most of my social media—I’m social.coop/@luis_in_brief (and you can subscribe to this blog via the fediverse at @lu.is/@admin).

      I don’t love (mostly) leaving Twitter; as I’ve said a few times, the exposure to different people there helped make me a better person. But one of my primary political concerns is the rise of fascism in the US, and that absolutely includes Elon and the people who enable him. I can’t quit cold-turkey; unfortunately, too many things I care about (or need to follow for work) haven’t left. But I can at least sleep well.

    • Web Browsers/Web Servers

      • Daniel Stenbergtwenty-five years of curl

        Time flies when you are having fun. Today is curl’s 25th birthday. The curl project started out very humbly as a small renamed URL transfer tool that almost nobody knew about for the first few years.

      • Daniel StenbergFossified: curl 25 years

        Over in our podcast Fossified, we did an entire episode dedicated to curl’s 25th birthday. Enjoy!

    • Content Management Systems (CMS)

      • OpenSource.comCreate accessible websites with Drupal

        As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s more important than ever to ensure that websites are accessible to everyone. Accessibility is about designing websites that can be used by people with disabilities, such as visual or hearing impairments, as well as those who rely on assistive technology like screen readers. In this article, I’ll explore recommendations for creating accessible websites with Drupal, a popular open source content management system.

    • Education

      • Bert HubertEuropean Innovation & Technical Capabilities

        Over the past few years I’ve been writing a lot about innovation, and specifically, the lack thereof in Europe. I also touch on how we’ve outsourced a ton of operational capabilities, leaving us relatively helpless.

        By now this is such a huge amount of words, audio and video that it is in dire need of a summary, if only to see if it makes any kind of sense taken together.

    • GNU Projects

      • Amin Bandali: LibrePlanet 2023: What’s new in Jami

        has won this year’s Award for Project of Social Benefit
        , presented
        by the Free Software Foundation “to a project or team responsible for
        applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, to
        intentionally and significantly benefit society. This award stresses
        the use of free software in service to humanity.”

        Today I gave a talk at
        LibrePlanet 2023 on what’s
        new in and about Jami since my
        Jami and how it empowers users
        talk for LibrePlanet 2021.

      • GNUa2ps @ Savannah: a2ps 4.15.2 released [stable]

        GNU a2ps is an Any to PostScript filter. Of course it processes plain text
        files, but also pretty prints quite a few popular languages.

        More detailed web pages about GNU a2ps is available at
        This release is a minor bug-fix release. It fixes a long-standing but rare
        crash, makes a minor fix to the build system, and finally puts the manual
        online; see:
        Here are the compressed sources and a GPG detached signature:
        Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth:
        Here are the SHA1 and SHA256 checksums:
        b02c9f4066ebb2899f7615b93b354fb77192377c  a2ps-4.15.2.tar.gz
        7FKQSp+sEmQWsyrJokBfPWF92pfWUpnhpBVVT+Az0iU  a2ps-4.15.2.tar.gz
        The SHA256 checksum is base64 encoded, instead of the
        hexadecimal encoding that most checksum tools default to.
        Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the
        .sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file
        and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this:
          gpg –verify a2ps-4.15.2.tar.gz.sig
        The signature should match the fingerprint of the following key:
          pub   rsa2048 2013-12-11 [SC]
                2409 3F01 6FFE 8602 EF44  9BB8 4C8E F3DA 3FD3 7230
          uid   Reuben Thomas <rrt@sc3d.org>
          uid   keybase.io/rrt <rrt@keybase.io>
        If that command fails because you don’t have the required public key,
        or that public key has expired, try the following commands to retrieve
        or refresh it, and then rerun the ‘gpg –verify’ command.
          gpg –locate-external-key rrt@sc3d.org
          gpg –recv-keys 4C8EF3DA3FD37230
          wget -q -O- ‘https://savannah.gnu.org/project/release-gpgkeys.php?group=a2ps&download=1′ | gpg –import -
        As a last resort to find the key, you can try the official GNU
          wget -q https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-keyring.gpg
          gpg –keyring gnu-keyring.gpg –verify a2ps-4.15.2.tar.gz.sig
        This release was bootstrapped with the following tools:
          Autoconf 2.71
          Automake 1.16.5
          Gnulib v0.1-5853-ge0aefd96b6
        * Noteworthy changes in release 4.15.2 (2023-03-19) [stable]
         * Bug fixes:
           – Fix old crash when using –stdin=””.
         * Build
           – Make configure stop if libpaper is not found.
           – Enable building the manual for gnu.org.

    • Programming/Development

      • OpenSource.comDevelop on Kubernetes with open source tools [Ed: 'Former' Microsofter shilling Azure (proprietary) in opensource.com]

        Over the last five years, a massive shift in how applications get deployed has occurred. It’s gone from self-hosted infrastructure to the world of the cloud and Kubernetes clusters. This change in deployment practices brought a lot of new things to the world of developers, including containers, cloud provider configuration, container orchestration, and more. There’s been a shift away from coding monoliths towards cloud-native applications consisting of multiple microservices.

        While application deployment has advanced, the workflows and tooling for development have largely remained stagnant. They didn’t adapt completely or feel “native” to this brave new world of cloud-native applications. This can mean an unpleasant developer experience, involving a massive loss in developer productivity.

        But there’s a better way. What if you could seamlessly integrate Kubernetes and unlimited cloud resources with your favorite local development tools?

      • Python

        • Why Python Replaced Perl

          Both Perl and Python are powerful scripting languages that are used extensively in software development, system administration, and data analysis. Here are some key differences between the two languages: In recent years, Python has become the preferred language for many tasks, particularly in the areas of data science, machine learning, and web development.

      • Java

        • Common Mistakes When Using Optional in Java

          Optional in Java is a container object that is used to represent the presence or absence of a value. It is a powerful tool that can help to avoid null pointer exceptions and make code more robust.

        • How to Use Efficiently Generics in Java

          In Java, generics provide a way to specify a type parameter for a class, method, or interface. A type parameter is a placeholder for a type that is specified at runtime, allowing code to be written that works with a variety of different types.

        • What are the Benefits of the Diamond Operator in Java

          The diamond operator in Java, also known as the empty angle bracket (<>) syntax, was introduced in Java 7 and provides several benefits: Overall, the diamond operator in Java provides a cleaner, safer, and more efficient way to work with generic types, improving the readability and maintainability of code.

        • Why should You Use Method References in Java

          In Java, a method reference is a shorthand notation for referring to a method as a lambda expression. Method references provide a way to pass a reference to a method without actually invoking the method, which can be useful in functional programming contexts where methods are treated as first-class objects.

        • How to Create Custom Annotations in Java

          In Java, annotations are a form of metadata that provide additional information about program elements such as classes, methods, fields, and parameters.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • DragonFly BSD DigestUTF-8’s creation

        “UTF-8 was designed, in front of my eyes, on a placemat in a New Jersey diner one night in September or so 1992.”  Also why Windows had poor UTF-8 support for so long.

  • Leftovers

    • Counter PunchMissing Dr. Strangelove

      Bosley Crowther, chief film critic for the New York Times, didn’t quite know what to make of Dr. Strangelove at the time of its release in January 1964. Stanley Kubrick’s dark antiwar satire was “beyond any question the most shattering sick joke I’ve ever come across,” he wrote. But if the film had its hilarious moments, Crowther found its overall effect distinctly unnerving. What exactly was Kubrick’s point? “When virtually everybody turns up stupid or insane — or, what is worse, psychopathic — I want to know what this picture proves.”

      We may find it odd for an influential critic to expect a movie to “prove” anything. Kubrick’s aim was manifestly not to prove, but to subvert and discomfit.

    • Science

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Tom’s HardwareChinese Customs Busts Man Smuggling 84 SSDs in a Scooter

        Customs agents in China report they have caught a man attempting to hide drives inside of an electric scooter.

      • CNX SoftwarexTool D1 Pro 20W Review – Mandala Art with a 20W laser engraver and cutter

        Hey Karl here. I am going to be sharing my experience with the xTool D1 Pro 20W. It is a 20W laser cutter/engraver with a 340x390mm working area. It has been heavily reviewed and I will comment on a few points I have not seen spoken about. I join a lot of Facebook groups for these reviews to get real-world feedback and ideas to write about.

      • HackadayA Look At Zweikanalton Stereo Audio And Comparison With NICAM

        With how we take stereo sound for granted, there was a very long period where broadcast audio and television with accompanying audio track were in mono. Over the decades, multiple standards were developed that provide a way to transmit and receive two mono tracks, as a proper stereo transmission. In a recent video, [Matt] over at [Matt’s Tech Barn] takes a look at the German Zweikanalton (also known as A2 Stereo) standard, and compares it with the NICAM standard that was used elsewhere in the world.

      • HackadayThe $50 Pen Plotter

        [Arca] sets out to build himself a low-cost pen plotter that doesn’t require access to a 3D printer. The plotter uses a coreXY arrangement, powered by 28BYJ-48 stepper motors, which he overdrives with +12 VDC to increase the torque. Pen up and down control is done using a stepper motor salvaged from a DVD reader. The frame is constructed using PVC electrical conduit and associated fittings, and [Arca] uses the hot glue gun quite liberally. Steppers were driven by A4988 modules with heatsinks, and motion control is provided by GRBL running on an Arduino UNO.

      • Ruben SchadeWhy are they called du Pont connectors?

        You know those tiny header connectors that computers use to attach power buttons and speakers to motherboards? I’ve always known them as du Pont connectors. I never really thought why, though I assumed it was for the same reason they’re called Molex connectors.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

    • Security

      • I ProgrammerSurveying Software Supply Chain Security

        Chainguard, the co-creator of Sigstore, has conducted a survey to better understand if and how software supply best practices are utilized by the industry. We take a look at the findings.

        With the title, SLSA++ A Survey of Software Supply Chain Security, it was actually run by a consortium comprising Chainguard, the Eclipse Foundation, the Rust Foundation and the OpenSSF. Suffice to say that these resounding names put some weight behind it.

      • Medevel10 Cyber threats for Healthcare Systems

        Protection against cyber threats is crucial for healthcare services because they handle sensitive patient information and rely on computer systems to support critical operations. Cyberattacks on healthcare organizations can result in the compromise of patient data, disruption of services, and even the potential harm of patients.

      • Silicon AngleFBI arrests alleged owner of popular hacking forum BreachForums

        The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested a New York man on Wednesday on suspicion of running BreachForums, the popular internet forum that has become a favorite among hackers to share their exploits on the regular internet.

      • IT WireOwner of site that hosted Optus, Medibank data arrested

        Conor Brian Fitzpatrick was arrested on Wednesday [15 March], according to a report published by Bloomberg.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • AntiWarIraq Daily Roundup: Seven Killed

        Five more were wounded.

      • RFERLIran’s Foreign Minister Says He Has Agreed To Meet Saudi Counterpart

        Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on March 19 that he had agreed to meet his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Adel Al-Jubeir, proposing three locations during a news conference.

      • RFERLRussia’s FSB Raids Moscow Bar After Owners Held Fund-Raising Event For Ukrainian Group

        Officers from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) raided two Moscow bars, temporarily detaining dozens of workers and customers, after its owners last year allegedly held a fund-raising event for a Ukrainian group.

      • RFERLSerbian President Says ICC Arrest Warrant For Putin Will Prolong The War

        Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has criticized an international arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court will prolong the war in Ukraine.

      • The Kent StaterDefiant Putin visits occupied Mariupol, symbol of Ukrainian resistance

        Vladimir Putin has made a surprise visit to Russian-occupied Mariupol, his first visit to territory captured by his forces in the year-long conflict.

      • NYPostNorth Korea: Latest missile simulated nuclear counterattack

        The North’s leader Kim Jong Un instructed his military to hold more drills to sharpen the war readiness of his nuclear forces in the face of “aggression” by his enemies, state media reported.

      • NYPostBBC tells employees to delete TikTok from work phones: report

        “We are currently reviewing the TikTok concerns and will provide further updates based on the government and National Cyber Security Centre guidelines.”

      • Press GazetteBBC advises staff against using Tiktok on work devices unless for ‘editorial and marketing’

        The BBC said staff should have a “justified business reason” to install Tiktok on work phones.

      • The StrategistThe enduring lessons of the Iraq War

        The US-led overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq marked the beginning of a series of events that reshaped the strategic environment of the Middle East.

      • YLEFinland may join Nato before Sweden, Niinistö says

        “We’ll walk hand in hand as long as it’s up to us,” the Finnish President told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

      • The Straits TimesNorth Korea leader Kim, with daughter in tow, leads drills ‘simulating nuclear counter-attack’

        The drills were the fourth show of force from Pyongyang in a week.

      • The Straits TimesTo combat food shortages, North Korea deploys the military

        South Korea is trying to use food shortages as leverage to coax Pyongyang back to dialogue.

      • The StrategistNuclear-powered submarines and Australia’s non-proliferation obligations

        The issue of nuclear non-proliferation is back in the headlines, thanks to details announced last week about Australia’s acquisition of nuclear submarines under the AUKUS pact.

      • Digital Music NewsJim Gordon, Drummer for Eric Clapton — And Convicted Murderer — Dies at 77

        Jim Gordon, drummer for Eric Clapton and George Harrison, convicted of murdering his mother in 1983, has died at 77. Jim Gordon, a top drummer for Eric Clapton’s Derek and the Dominos, George Harrison, and many others, has died at 77.

      • JURISTUNICEF report: children in central Sahel Region in urgent need of humanitarian aid

        The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Friday issued a report about the well-being of children in the central Sahel Region. The report claims that 10 million children in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, and an additional 4 million are in danger as a result of the conflict spreading to nearby nations.

      • AxiosManhattan DA reassures staff of their safety after Trump protest call

        Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg reassured staff in a memo Saturday that efforts to intimidate them or threaten the rule of law will not be tolerated.

      • Marcy WheelerPavlov’s Press Corps: Trump Once Again Got Journalists to Willingly Serve as His Incitement Mules

        Trump has once again expertly played journalists to get them to serve as data mules disseminating his tweet inciting violence in response to his expected indictment in New York.

      • Marcy WheelerJust for Perspective: Investigations Take Longer When Presidents Don’t Wiretap Themselves

        It has now taken longer to hold Trump accountable than it took to get Richard Nixon to resign after the Watergate break-in. Even assuming those were comparable timelines, a number of things distinguish the January 6 investigation from the far less complex Watergate one, starting with the fact that, unlike Nixon, Trump is not known to have wiretapped himself.

      • The StrategistRevisiting the Flood report on the anniversary of the Iraq War

        Today marks the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

      • Atlantic CouncilPolicy lessons from the Iraq War for those who wish to forget

        A retired US Marine Corps officer who served in Iraq reflects on what went wrong, what went right, and what today’s leaders can learn.

      • Atlantic CouncilPutin the Pariah: War crimes arrest warrant deepens Russia’s isolation

        The ICC decision to indict Putin for war crimes is a highly consequential step that will deepen Russia’s international isolation while weakening Putin’s personal position both at home and abroad, writes Anders Åslund.

      • Hong Kong Free Press‘No other option’: Russia’s unequal economic marriage with China

        Russia has found itself in an unequal relationship with China since intensifying its pivot toward Beijing after the assault on Ukraine.

      • Modern DiplomacyIranian Strategic Patience: Israel and the Soft Wars

        Unfortunately, by tracking the pattern of strategies of many countries based on exaggerated interest in human rights, women’s and democracy issues in Iran (such as the case of the death of the Iranian girl Mahsa Amini), it is no longer possible to ignore the extent of the political, security and cultural exploitation…

      • Modern DiplomacyICC’s Arrest Warrant Limits Putin’s External Visits

        The first simple interpretation of the warrant issued by International Criminal Court is that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be arrested in 123 member states around the world. These members are now legally bound to arrest, detain and hand him over to the court.

      • AntiWarThe Minsk Deception and the Planned War in Donbas

        There is a historically possible world in which the Minsk Agreement never needed to be made. In 2014, a US supported coup removed the democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, with his eastern base, and replaced him with a West leaning president who was handpicked by the US.

      • AntiWarIraq 20 Years: The Uses and Abuses of National Intelligence Estimates

        A New York Times Magazine article in July 2020 focused on then Secretary of State Powell and his U.N. speech of Feb. 5, 2003 and the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) upon which it is largely based.

      • AntiWar20 Years After the Invasion of Iraq, Will the Media’s Complicity Be Flushed Down the Memory Hole?

        “All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” — Viet Thanh Nguyen As mainstream U.S. media outlets pause to remember the US invasion of Iraq, it’s clear that there’s a lot they hope we’ll forget – first and foremost, the media’s own active complicity in whipping up public support…

      • AntiWarIraq War II – 20 Years Later

        Well it seems like only yesterday, though it was half a lifetime ago. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their men and women, especially the neoconservatives, knowingly and deliberately lied this country into starting an aggressive war against Iraq – a war they pretended was a “preemptive” attack against a nation…

      • MeduzaLife on the Chukchi Sea coast A film shot in Chukotka offers a glimpse of one of Russia’s Arctic Indigenous cultures — Meduza

        In the summer of 2020, a Russian film crew went to Russia’s autonomous Chukotka region, the north-easternmost part of the Russian Federation, to film the daily lives of the region’s inhabitants. Most of the resulting short film was shot in the villages of Inchoun and Uelen, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, where the majority of inhabitants are indigenous Chukchi, and nearly everyone lives on the spoils of subsistence marine hunting. The film’s title, Piblokto, refers to a culture-specific condition — sometimes called Arctic hysteria — which may occur in societies in the Far North. Those afflicted are said to perform dangerous, cruel, or apparently senseless acts. To outside observers, the behavior may resemble that of a shaman during a ritual trance. The term Piblokto does not exist in the Chukchi language, and it appears to have been invented by researchers. Indigenous people do not consider the condition a disease. Here, Meduza shares some clips and stills from Piblokto.

      • Meduza‘We forced these lowlifes to give in’ Evgeny Prigozhin flouts local ban on Wagner funerals and threatens the mayor responsible — Meduza

        According to estimates from U.S. officials, Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has lost more than 30,000 fighters since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine. Hundreds of those men have been buried in a cemetery in the small village of Bakinskaya, not far from the official Wagner Group chapel. This weekend, though, an attempt by Wagner’s founder, Evgeny Prigozhin, to hold a funeral ceremony at that graveyard was met with pushback from local officials, who cited public opinion among village residents. Not to be deterred, Prigozhin escalated the situation, threatening to prosecute village authorities, while Wagner fighters promised violence. Here’s what we know about Prigozhin’s latest refusal to take no for an answer.

      • HackadayThe Intricacies Of Starting A Rocket Engine

        Rockets are conceptually rather simple: you put the pointy bit upwards and make sure that the bit that will go flamey points downwards before starting the engine(s). Yet how to start each rocket engine type in a way that’s both safe and effective? Unlike in the Wile E. Coyote cartoons, real-life rocket engines do not have a fuse you light up before dashing off to a safe distance. Rather they use increasingly more complicated methods, which depend on the engine type and fuels used. In a recent article written by [Trevor Sesnic] with accompanying video featuring everyone’s favorite Everyday Astronaut [Tim Dodd], we’re taken through the intricacies of how flamey ends are made.

      • ScheerpostTaiwan Separatists Lose Key Ally, Honduras Recognizes China—Just 12 Small Countries Remain

        Honduras’ leftist President Xiomara Castro announced her government will recognize China. Now only 12 UN member states have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan separatists. They have a combined population of less than 39 million, or 0.49% of the planet.

      • TruthOut20 Years After Illegal US Invasion of Iraq, Its Architects Are Still Cashing In
      • The NationTrump Wants More Violence. That’s Fine With Kevin McCarthy.

        Donald Trump is a liar. So there is no reason to believe he’s going to be “arrested” Tuesday, as he claimed in a Truth Social post on Saturday morning. There has been reporting that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is close to indicting Trump, presumably on charges related to the hush money he paid porn star Stormy Daniels (we don’t know that for certain), possibly as early as this week. But we don’t know that for sure either.1

      • Counter PunchSpent Matters: The AUKUS Nuclear Waste Problem

        When Australia – vassal be thy name – assumed responsibilities for not only throwing money at both US and British shipbuilders, lending up territory and naval facilities for war like a gambling drunk, and essentially asking its officials to commit seppuku for the Imperium, another task was given.  While the ditzy and dunderheaded wonders in Canberra would be acquiring submarines with nuclear propulsion technology, there would be that rather problematic issue of what to do with the waste.  “Yes,” said the obliging Australians, “we will deal with it.”

        The Australian Defence Department has published a fact sheet on the matter, which, as all such fact sheets go, fudges the facts and sports a degree of misplaced optimism.  It promises a “sophisticated security and safety architecture” around the nuclear-powered submarine program, “building on our 70-year unblemished track record of operating nuclear facilities and conducting nuclear science activities.”

      • Counter PunchIn the 70s the USAF and RAF Were Both Tired, But RAF Pilots Were Better Off

        The 1970s were a disastrous decade for the USAF. Having failed to defeat North Vietnam, there were serious issues that persisted. In his 2022 book And I Lived To Tell The Tales: The Life of a Fighter Pilot, retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel Ed Cobleigh, who flew the F-4 in Vietnam, said: “By the mid-1970s, USAF F-4 Phantoms were tired, many were worn out. Years of combat missions in Vietnam coupled with intensive training missions in the US all had taken their toll. At Nellis, we flew the newest F-4Es in the fleet but even there the aircraft were often unavailable awaiting repairs or spare parts. As the SEA [South East Asia] conflict wound down the constant protests against that sorry-ass war and against the US military in general also affected our USAF personnel. Morale, particularly among the enlisted troops, measured lower than whale poop. Spare parts were hard to come by. Trained maintainers left the service in droves for greener and less controversial pastures. It was not uncommon to plan for a flight of four F-4s at 0600 and find out after the pre-mission briefing there were only enough serviceable aircraft for a flight of two, or a flight of none. At least we got briefing practice.” (pp. 124-125). In contrast, Colonel Cobleigh noted that when he trained pilots in the Imperial Iranian Air Force, then a staunch ally, “[it] was like being in a brand-new air force. The jets were pristine, right from the factory, and well-maintained by enthusiastic troops. Everything on the air base was shiny new, no expense had been spared.” (Ibid.)

        Like the USAF, the RAF went through hard times in the 70s, and Cobleigh knew all about it as an exchange pilot flying the Jaguar. He observed: “In the mid-1970s, the Royal Air Force experienced serious decline. The force’s point air defense interceptor, the English Electric Lightning, was obsolete as were its missiles. The most modern aircraft the RAF deployed, the F-4K Phantom, was wearing out and anyway wasn’t really up to the challenge.” (p. 190) So both the USAF and RAF were using worn out F-4s, so they had that in common. The new Jaguar had serious deficiencies at first, but eventually became a pretty good airplane. “Once the aerial refueling glitches were solved, RAF Jaguars deployed across the Atlantic, and clear across the US, to participate in Operation Red Flag at Nellis AFB. There they gained a reputation for expert low flying. During one full-scale exercise, [RAF pilot] Chris McCairns called, and was credited with, an air-to-air kill on a USAF F-15 Eagle, which pleased him to no end.” (p. 197) He concluded “What success the Jaguar achieved was due in large part to the dedication and professionalism of its RAF pilots.” (Ibid.)

      • Counter PunchWhy China’s Actions Toward Ukraine and Russia Could Shape the Course of Future Geopolitics

        Days before the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2023, U.S. officialsclaimed that China was considering providing Russia with lethal weaponry to support its military campaign. China denied the accusations, and on the anniversary of the invasion instead put forth its 12-point peace plan to end the conflict. These events followed after tensions between Beijing and Washington flared during the Chinese spy balloon scandal that began in early February 2023.

        Since the war’s inception, the U.S. has cautioned China not to support Russia. Following reports that Russia had asked China for military assistance in March 2022, Washington warned that countries providing “material, economic, financial [or] rhetorical” support to Russia would face “consequences.” The Biden administration also confronted China in January 2023 with “evidence that [suggested] some Chinese state-owned companies may be providing assistance” to the Russian military.

      • Counter PunchInternational Criminal Court: Sauce for the Goose …

        “Well, I think it’s justified,” US president Joe Biden said of news that the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Russian president Vladimir Putin and “children’s rights commissioner” Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova over their actions in Ukraine. “[The ICC’s jurisdiction is] not recognized internationally by us, either. But I think it makes a very strong point.”

        Here’s the thing about the ICC’s jurisdiction: It extends to crimes committed in countries which recognize that jurisdiction, even when the alleged criminals aren’t from those countries.

      • TruthOutWe Need to Talk About Gun Manufacturers
      • TruthOutFascists Are Attempting to Win Followers by Rebranding as Antiwar
      • MeduzaKGB of Belarus reports the death of a foreign national during an ‘anti-terrorism’ operation in Grodno — Meduza

        In Grodno, Belarus, employees of the country’s state security service (which uses the acronym KGB) shot and killed a foreign national. The person in question allegedly put up armed resistance to KGB officers, “using automatic weapons and detonating grenades.”

      • Meduza‘No one showed him the empty pits’ Putin visits Mariupol for the first time since Russia destroyed and then annexed the city — Meduza

        Late at night on March 18–19, Russian president Vladimir Putin paid an unplanned visit to Mariupol. The city was almost completely destroyed during a two-and-a-half-month siege by Russian troops in spring 2022, and was annexed by Russia in fall 2022. Russian state news networks ran approving video footage of Putin’s visit, including a meeting with residents of one of the city’s restored neighborhoods. Independent media outlets confirmed the trip and published the reactions of a few of the city’s other residents, who were less than thrilled with Putin’s drop-in visit.

      • MeduzaZelensky’s office on Putin’s visit to Mariupol: ‘The criminal is always drawn to the scene of the crime’ — Meduza

        Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, commented on Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to the annexed city of Mariupol:

      • LatviaLatvian ‘Red Fox’ sniper wounded in Ukraine

        A volunteer sniper from Latvia, nicknamed Red Fox, has been injured on the front in Ukraine, according to the aid association’s ‘SOS palīdzība Ukrainas armijai’ entry on social media on Sunday.

      • Federal News NetworkHigher cancer rates found in military pilots, ground crews

        A Pentagon study has found high rates of cancer among military pilots and, for the first time, shows that ground crews who fuel, maintain and launch those aircraft are also getting sick. The data had long been sought by retired military aviators who have raised alarms for years about the number of those they knew who had cancer.

    • Environment

      • Energy/Transportation

        • Michael West MediaGreens seek ‘bare minimum’ on carbon emissions scheme

          The Greens say they are asking the federal government for the “bare minimum” when it comes to cutting carbon emissions.

        • Michael West MediaCall for climate officers to help farmers cut emissions

          Farmers managing the effects of climate change must be considered in the upcoming federal budget, says an independent MP pushing for agricultural assistance.  As the lower house debates the government’s changes to the safeguard mechanism, independent crossbencher Helen Haines proposed her plan for a network of 200 agricultural extension officers.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Counter PunchAlliance for the Wild Rockies Scores Court Win for Grizzly Bears

          Of all remaining “unoccupied” grizzly bear habitat in the lower 48 States, the enormous Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness has the best potential for grizzly bear recovery. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies is thrilled and grateful to announce that a federal court in Montana recently ruled in our favor and has forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take action to restore grizzlies to this area after 22 long years of stalling.

          The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Record of Decision in 2000 that committed the agency to establish a Bitterroot Grizzly Recovery Area, form a committee to recommend land use management standards for the bears, implement an information campaign to prepare the public for the presence of grizzly bears in the area, and release a minimum of 25 grizzly bears into the Recovery Area over a period of five years as an “experimental non-essential population.” 

    • Finance

      • New YorkerThe Regulatory Breakdown Behind the Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank

        For more than a year, the Fed knew that the bank was headed toward a crisis. Why didn’t it intervene sooner?

      • Modern DiplomacyYanis Varoufakis in Geneva:Blowing the Cloud Capitalism

        “First time in history we all contribute to accumulation of a cloud capitalism, which became the production of a behavioral modification.” Yanis Varoufakis, Geneva, February 2023 His Excellency Yanis Varoufakis is a world renewed academic economist and politician, former finance minister of Greece, who was trying to renegotiate national depth within EU.

      • France24UBS agrees to buy Credit Suisse for more than $3bn to calm global markets

        UBS agreed to buy rival Swiss bank Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.23 billion) in stock and agreed to assume up to 5 billion francs ($5.4 billion) in losses, in a shotgun merger engineered by Swiss authorities to avoid more market-shaking turmoil in global banking.

      • CS MonitorBanking giant UBS is acquiring troubled rival Credit Suisse

        Banking giant UBS is acquiring smaller rival Credit Suisse in an effort to avoid further market-shaking turmoil in global banking, Swiss President Alain Berset announced.

      • The Age AURBA faces rate clash: Should they stay or should they go up?

        The Reserve Bank faces a clash of priorities over coming weeks: deal with banking turmoil in Europe and America, or drive down inflation?

      • The Age AUAussie bank funding costs tipped to rise on global turmoil

        After a tumultuous period in global banking, local experts say the most direct impact for Australian lenders could be more expensive funding.

      • YLEFinland may subsidise interest rates for thousands of first-time home buyers

        The state subsidises 70 percent of interest rate costs exceeding 3.8 percent on ASP loans.

      • Helsinki TimesRailway strike halts train services on Monday – VR reimburses tickets bought during strike

        The Finnish Railways Union (RAU) has announced that it will hold a strike from Monday, March 20th, which will affect all train services indefinitely. The strike by train drivers is in response to ongoing collective agreement negotiations, which have yet to be resolved. As a result, VR, the Finnish state railway company, will cancel all long-distance and commuter trains during the strike period. However, VR has also made clear that it will refund passengers who have purchased tickets for the duration of the strike.

      • YLERail shutdown stopping trains on Monday

        Finnish state railways VR says it will refund customers affected by the strike action.

      • Michael West MediaRBA says Australian banks strong despite global turmoil

        The comment by Reserve Bank of Australia assistant governor for financial markets Christopher Kent comes in the wake of UBS Group’s takeover of troubled rival Credit Suisse.

      • New York TimesInvestors Greet Emergency Credit Suisse Deal Warily

        Swiss regulators announced that UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, would take over the troubled Credit Suisse.

      • New York TimesFederal Reserve and Global Central Banks Act to Shore Up Dollar Access

        America’s central bank and its counterparts around the world are rushing to cushion markets against the impact of bank problems.

      • New York TimesUBS Agrees to Buy Rival Credit Suisse to Shore Up Global Market

        In a deal brokered by the Swiss government, Switzerland’s largest bank will buy its smaller rival for about $3.2 billion.

      • France24Pension protests pile pressure on Macron ahead of crucial vote for France

        French President Emanuel Macron faces a critical test on Monday when the National Assembly is due to examine no-confidence motions filed after his government bypassed parliament on Thursday to push through a deeply unpopular pension reform, sparking days of unrest.

      • France24New York Community Bank announces purchase of failed Signature Bank

        Signature Bank was the second bank to fail in this recent banking crisis, just 48 hours after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

      • AxiosMidsize banks want unlimited FDIC insurance for 2 years

        A coalition of midsize U.S. banks is calling on the government to insure all deposits for the next two years, in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s emergency rescue that insured all of the firm’s deposits regardless of size.

      • AxiosWarren calls for investigation into the Fed amid banking turmoil

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called for an independent investigation into the Federal Reserve and the banking regulatory system during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.

        Why it matters: The banking sector is poised to head into a third week of existential questions and whipsaw volatility, despite official efforts to stabilize markets and reassure depositors, Axios’ Pete Gannon writes.

        State of play: “I’m calling for an independent investigation of the Fed and the whole regulatory system here. The fed doesn’t just get to do its own investigation,” Warren told the program.

      • AxiosGlobal central banks announce joint action to combat crisis

        The world’s leading central banks jointly announced new action to try to keep U.S. dollars flowing easily through the global banking system, returning to a strategy used extensively in past crises.

      • AxiosCredit Suisse bought out by UBS as banking fears claim big victim

        UBS has struck a deal to purchase troubled Credit Suisse for $2 billion, as a maelstrom of higher interest rates and bank solvency fears continue to batter global markets.

      • AxiosNew York Community Bancorp to take over failed Signature Bank

        New York Community Bancorp is taking over the failed Signature Bank, which was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) a week ago.

      • Counter PunchThe Next Bomb to Go Off in the Banking Crisis Will Be Derivatives

        U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen finds herself in a very dubious position. Under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010, the U.S. Treasury Secretary was given increased powers to oversee financial stability in the U.S. banking system. This increase in power came in response to the 2008 financial crisis – the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. The legislation made the Treasury Secretary the Chair of the newly created Financial Stability Oversight Council (F-SOC), whose meetings include the heads of all of the federal agencies that supervise banks and trading on Wall Street. The legislation also required the Treasury Secretary’s authorization before the Federal Reserve could create any more of those $29 trillion emergency bailout programs for the mega banks – which had tethered themselves to casino trading on Wall Street since the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.

        Yesterday, after the Swiss banking behemoth Credit Suisse had traded at an all-time low of less than two bucks; blown out its credit default swaps to unprecedented levels; and tanked the Dow Jones Industrial Average by more than 700 points intraday, Bloomberg News ran this headline at 12:54 p.m. – “US Treasury Reviewing US Banks’ Exposure to Credit Suisse.” By “exposure,” the Treasury really means how many billions of dollars of underwater derivatives are U.S. banks on the hook for as a counterparty to Credit Suisse. The Treasury also has to worry about U.S. banks’ exposure to Credit Suisse’s other major counterparties that U.S. banks do business with, even if the banks are not direct counterparties to Credit Suisse itself.

      • Counter PunchHow Can Inflation be Out of Control with 3.6 Percent Wage Growth?

        We have been getting conflicting data on inflation in recent days. The February consumer price index was not great, showing a one-month rise of 0.4 percent in the overall index and 0.5 percent in the core. Combined with the last couple of months’ data, it indicates a modest acceleration over the rates seen in the fall.

        By contrast, the Producer Price Index came in somewhat better than expected, with the overall finished goods index declining 0.1 percent, driven by drops in food and energy prices. The core index rose a modest 0.2 percent. Most of the indices at earlier stages of production also showed a good picture. For example, the intermediate index for processed goods fell 0.4 percent in February and is now up just 2.1 percent over the last year.

      • Counter PunchWhat’s to be Done With Lawyers?

        Wow, “Former High-Profile Lawyer Is Charged With Embezzling More than $18 Million”! Who would have predicted a high-profile lawyer would behave so unethically? Turns out pretty much anyone, according to opinion polls that consistently rank lawyers near the bottom among professionals. A recent Gallup poll was celebrated in an article the title of which is classic damning with faint praise: “Good News! People Think Lawyers Have an Average Amount of Integrity Now.” In fact, only half the people polled thought that, but half is actually a significant improvement over earlier polls. 

        The headline about Tom Girardi, one of the attorneys who represented Erin Brockovich, being indicted on charges that he stole from clients reminded me of a joke about lawyers from the first season of  the television series “Frasier.”

      • QuartzThe venture-backed rocket industry is finally coming back to Earth

        Venture-backed rocket makers recently spent an anxious weekend waiting on the outcome of Silicon Valley Bank’s failure, but their latest troubles have no connection to with the lender’s collapse.

      • Michel Alexandre SalimOn recharge

        It’s been over 6 years since I started working at Meta (then known as Facebook). Not going to comment here about all the controversies surrounding our products, but as an employee, I have been lucky enough to work on interesting teams that, yes, don’t do anything that give me cause to be sleepless at night.

        One perk we have (that is no big deal to friends in Europe, but is a big deal in the US) is being able to take 30 calendar days of recharge leave (think of it as a short sabbatical) after each 5 years of employment (together with the 21 work days of PTO a year, this roughly brings us in line with what Europeans get courtesy of employment laws.


        … and then the layoffs began. After the first round I rushed to apply for my recharge, since… unlike more established benefits like parental leave, this likely won’t be cashed out in case the employee gets laid off. I’ll be back just in time to see if my position gets eliminated in the second round! (That is looking very unlikely, but you never know).

      • Federal News NetworkScottish independence at crossroads in testy SNP leader race

        The race to lead the Scottish National Party has cracked open fissures over political strategy, social issues and the legacy of departing leader Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon announced her resignation in February after eight years as party leader and first minster of Scotland’s semi-autonomous government.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Michael West MediaDeathly silence from Perrottet and Minns to Sydney’s burials crisis as state election looms

        As the NSW election looms, both major parties have buried a big problem, burials. Both Labor’s Chris Minns and Premier Dominic Perrottet have no answer to Sydney’s burial crisis. The city’s public cemeteries expect to run out of space in the next five years. The former boss of the government’s new cemetery manager speaks out in a scathing critique of the lack of accountability and leadership in Sydney’s $5 billion cemetery sector. Callum Foote reports.

        “Having had more than 20 years of experience in managing public cemeteries, I can only describe my four months experience as the CEO of OneCrown as highly unusual, if not bizarre, unprofessional, and an immensely frustrating experience” says Robert Pitt, former CEO of NSW’s public cemetery manager OneCrown.

      • Michael West MediaInformation Commissioner aiding and abetting the enemy

        In a David and Goliath battle in the Federal Court today, Rex Patrick takes on Information Commissioner, Angelene Falk to challenge to the lengthy delays that plague freedom of information (FOI) requests being reviewed by her. Rex Patrick gives us the inside word as he enters the courtroom.

        Delay is the enemy of FOI, and right now our Information Commissioner is aiding and abetting that enemy.

      • LatviaLTV’s De Facto: MEPs Ušakovs and Ameriks face graft accusations

        Memebr of the European Parliament and former long-standing Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) announced in mid-March that he has the status of a suspect in a new case. Latvian Television’s De Facto has found that Ušakovs and his colleague in Brussels, Andris Ameriks (Honor to Serve Rīga) are both accused of requesting bribes, the broadcast reported on March 19.

      • Off GuardianWATCH: Decentralized Communication – #SolutionsWatch

        As the internet clampdown begins, people are finally beginning to wake up to the need to find alternative communication platforms. But if the masses are just herded from one centralized platform to another, has anything really changed at all?

      • US News And World ReportDigital Literacy: Can the Republic ‘Survive an Algorithm?’

        Much of the debate about combating online misinformation and extremism revolves around government regulations and changes made by social media platforms

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • TruthOutAdvocates Call for Regulatory Change After Blocking Deportation of Woman in Coma
      • France24Saudi Arabia bets on cinema: A smokescreen for human rights violations?

        FRANCE 24 brings you a special full-length report on how the conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is investing in home-grown cinema. Making films in stunning Saudi locations is also a way of attracting foreign tourists to the country. Young people are now rushing to see films at multiplex cinemas and women make up a large proportion of the audience – a sign of the country’s liberalisation.

      • Hong Kong Free PressGov’t plan to curb overseas lawyers in national security cases ‘not blanket ban,’ says deputy justice minister

        >Hong Kong’s proposal to amend the law so that the chief executive can decide whether to allow overseas barristers to participate in national security cases does not amount to a blanket ban, the city’s deputy secretary for justice said on Sunday.

      • Papers Please9th Circuit upholds secret US monitoring of foreign airline reservations

        In a case we’ve been following closely, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that orders requiring the Sabre computerized reservation system to provide real-time reports to the FBI on any reservations made in or through Sabre associated with specific individuals can continue to be kept secret, at least as long as warrants for these individuals’ arrest remain outstanding, which could be indefinitely.

        The wanted individuals aren’t US citizens and aren’t believed to be in the US. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) already receives complete mirror copies 72 hours in advance of all international airline reservations (Passenger Name  Records) for flights to, from, or via the US. CBP has a well-established system of TECS alerts — which don’t even require a warrant — that it can use to generate a message to the FBI or other law enforcement agencies whenever planned travel to or from the US by a person of interest is detected.

        This is a much simpler process than going to court to get an order directing Sabre to maintain a lookout and report to the FBI on planned travel by a suspect.

      • ScheerpostA Comprehensive Report on Incarceration and Women Outlines the Gender Disparities

        The Prison Policy Initiative looks at a fast-growing group in the incarceration system and the challenges they are more likely to face.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Torrent FreakFilmmakers Want Owner of Defunct VPN Arrested in Piracy Case

          Last year, a group of independent filmmakers obtained a multi-million default judgment against VPN service LiquidVPN, which stood accused of facilitating piracy. Since the owner of the now-defunct service has paid nothing, the movie companies are calling for his arrest. Meanwhile, a waste company has been added to the dispute.

        • KOL407 | Fair Use Discussion with James Cox (2016)

          Kinsella on Liberty Podcast: Episode 407.

          This is a short conversation I had with James Cox about copyright and fair use back in 2016 (Feb. 26). We also talk about the safe harbor in the DMCA and the §230 safe harbor in the CDA.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

Links 20/03/2023: Amazon Linux 2023 and Linux Kernel 6.3 RC3

Posted in News Roundup at 3:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

    • Server

      • The Register UKAWS delivers delayed major release of its homebrew Linux • The Register

        Amazon Web Services (AWS) has delivered a major release of its home-spun Linux distribution – albeit rather later than it first promised.

        Amazon Linux debuted in 2010 and was promoted as optimized for AWS’s infrastructure. Seven years later, the cloud colossus delivered Amazon Linux 2.

        A successor dubbed AL 2022 was announced in November 2021, along with a promise of a major release every other year, plus quarterly tweaks.

      • NeowinAmazon Linux 2023, a cloud-optimized Linux distro, is now available

        Earlier this week, Amazon announced the availability of Amazon Linux 2023, its third-generation Linux distribution. With this distribution, Amazon is promising three benefits: a high-security standard, a predictable lifecycle, and deterministic updates.

        On the security front, Amazon says that its latest operating system comes with preconfigured security policies to help you set your system up to meet various common industry guidelines. The company says that these can be set during launch time or run time. Amazon Linux 2023 also comes with a hardened Linux kernel by default for added security.

      • Slashdot2023-03-18Amazon’s AWS Releases Fedora-Based, Cloud-Optimized ‘Amazon Linux 2023′
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Open Source Security (Audio Show)Episode 367 – Open source will never be the same

        Josh and Kurt talk about GitHub enforcing sanctions against an open source developer and Docker changing how their registry works. There’s a lot to unpack in this one. There’s a lot of happenings going on in the world of open source. We are seeing governments paying attention to open source like never before, change is coming and everything is going to change.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux mailing listsLinux 6.3-rc3
        So rc3 is fairly big, but that's not hugely usual: it's when a lot of
        the fixes tick up as it takes a while before people find and start
        reporting issues.
        And nothing here looks hugely worrisome. The diffstat looks a bit
        unusual in that there are relatively big changes to the scripts and
        selftest directories, but that's mainly due to the git-ignore script
        removal and some kvm selftest cleanups respectively. Nothing scary.
        If you ignore those parts, it's a fairly standard "two thirds drivers,
        one third rest" thing. The drivers are all over, but networking, gpu
        and sound are the usual big ones, with the fbdev code showing up
        mainly just because of a coding style fixup to the logo conversion
        scripting (mainly to use proper tab indentation). The qcom
        interconnect driver also shows up for major cleanup and fixes.
        Outside of those areas, it's a random collection of fixes: the usual
        arch updates (much - but not all - of it being kvm), some filesystem
        fixes (mainly cifs), core networking, tracing, and some core mm fixes.
        Anyway, it's early days still, but nothing here looks particularly odd.
        Please test and report any issues you find,
      • LWNKernel prepatch 6.3-rc3 [LWN.net]

        The 6.3-rc3 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “”So rc3 is fairly big, but that’s not hugely usual: it’s when a lot of the fixes tick up as it takes a while before people find and start reporting issues.””

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • University of TorontoEasily adjusting the minimum interval on panels in Grafana dashboards

        All of this is great and works fine right up until you do what I did, which is lengthen the scrape period and thus the necessary minimum query step for one set of metrics from our Prometheus data source. Since this is only one set of metrics, not all of them, I can’t just set a larger minimum interval for the datasource as a whole (and generally you can’t do this with Prometheus; in many configurations you’ll have different scrape speeds for different exporters). This required me to go through all of the panels and change ’30s’ to ’60s’, which was just as tedious as you’d expect in a GUI.

      • How to install NextCloud on Almalinux 9 | Rocky Linux 9

        In this article, we learn how to install and configure NextCloud on Almalinux 9 or Rocky Linux 9 for setting up your cloud.

        What Is NextCloud?

        Well, those yet don’t know NextCloud is a fork of popular OwnCloud but become more popular than that. It is also a free and open-source personal cloud solution with Enterprise solutions as well. The key benefit of using such open source software suite is it lets users store their data securely in the cloud but on a server owned by them physically or virtually. Hence, from the privacy point of view, it is an excellent alternative to proprietary cloud solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive because users have full control over their data.

      • SlashGearInstall Epic Games Store On Chromebook Easily With This App

        Though Chromebooks are best used for cloud gaming, it is possible to access the Epic Games Launcher on Chrome OS using a simple and free Linux app.

      • How To Perform Disk Check? [Mac, Windows - Linux] – Tech4Gamers

        We explain how to perform a disk check so you can keep your disk safe from various errors that can corrupt it.

      • Make Use OfView Your Webcam Feed in the Linux Terminal With asciicam

        Want a webcam app that displays your camera feed inside the Linux terminal? asciicam is what you need.

      • Make Use OfHow to Comment Out Lines in Linux Text Files

        Commenting out lines in configuration files affect how a Linux app or your system behaves. Learn how you can comment and uncomment lines on Linux.

      • How to Fix Error 522 in LibreOffice and OpenOffice

        LibreOffice is one of the most popular software applications used for data analysis, financial modelling, and reporting. It has some basic errors which are pre-defined. They are meant to tell you the reason for the error.

        This guide will see how to fix Error 522 (or Err:522) in LibreOffice.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Norbert PreiningTeX Live 2023 released

      Another interesting change is the inclusion of luametatex, a new engine which is used for ConTeXt. Development is fast in this area, so I expect that the binary will soon be out-of-date.

    • OpenBSDrpki-client 8.3 has just been released

      rpki-client is a FREE, easy-to-use implementation of the Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) for Relying Parties (RP) to facilitate validation of BGP announcements. The program queries the global RPKI repository system and validates untrusted network inputs. The program outputs validated ROA payloads, BGPsec Router keys, and ASPA payloads in configuration formats suitable for OpenBGPD and BIRD, and supports emitting CSV and JSON for consumption by other routing stacks.

      See RFC 6480 and RFC 6811 for a description of how RPKI and BGP Prefix Origin Validation help secure the global Internet routing system.

    • Undeadlyrpki-client 8.3 released

      One small but significant step for routing security on the Internet happened Sunday 19th of March 2023 with the release of version 8.3 of rpki-client.

    • FSF

      • LWNThe FSF’s Free Software Awards

        The Free Software Foundation has announced the recipients of this year’s Free Software Awards:

        – Eli Zaretskii (advancement of free software)
        – Tad (SkewedZeppelin) (outstanding new free software contributor)
        – GNU Jami (project of social benefit)

    • Programming/Development

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Open Source For UGoogle Launches A New Open Source Effort For Healthcare Welfare

        The Check Up with Google Health 2023 event was presented by Google yesterday on YouTube and featured some of the company’s key personalities, including Dr. Karen DeSalvo, chief health officer. The new Open Health Stack programme was one of the topics covered by the participants. With the use of the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards, it intends to enable developers to create health-related applications. It is the most recent HL7 standard for creating cutting-edge, patient-focused healthcare applications.

      • GhacksGoogle takes on healthcare with new open-source initiative

        Yesterday, Google held “The Check Up with Google Health 2023″ event on YouTube, featuring some of the important faces of the company, including the chief health officer, Dr. Karen DeSalvo. The participants went through multiple subjects, one of them being the new Open Health Stack program. It aims to let developers build health-related apps centered around the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards. It is the latest version of the HL7 standard for building modern patient-centered healthcare applications.

  • Leftovers

    • Glyn Moody2023-03-172023 Bilbao
    • Connor TumblesonWritten by a Human

      From the ones I selected here – you can quickly see how content to consume will get more and more difficult to discern human generated vs machine. Imagine a company or business that writes a new post/blog weekly to stay relevant on searches. I’m guessing with a simple prompt of that week’s content – the entire post may be generated.

      This may not be a terrible thing as these tools continue to evolve, but I’m also nervous that much like SPAM dominates the amount of emails we get – that AI generated content will dominate our media consumption.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • You just can’t win on the internet

        I listen to this fairly popular podcast, Blocked and Reported with Jessie Singal and Katie Herzog. Both of the hosts have gotten in their fair share of controversy and cancellations over pieces of journalism they have published on the transgender youth subject, with Jessie receiving the majority out of the two due to his incessant responses on twitter, trying to respond to people as if they are rational actors. Well following a recent twitter blow-up, Jessie decided to deactivate his twitter, which naturally got a huge response because the twitter trans activists viewed this as a victory over one of their favorite enemies. Jessie and Katie were discussing this on their most recent subscriber-only episode when the two came to a point of disagreement. Jessie viewed his departure from twitter as a ultimately insignificant and personal decision that would have no real impact on his career. His reasoning was that no matter how careful he was about what he said or what actions he took, it would always be used, twisted, or fabricated to paint him in the worst light possible. He admits that he has a negative relationship with how he uses twitter and compulsively tries to defend himself and others from the drivel in the form of arguments that spurs from the toxic environment of twitter. I, as a fan of both his journalism and his show, can attest that this man should have left twitter a long time ago because it poisons his mind. Katie disagreed and said that Jessie was doing exactly what his detractors wanted him to do, to back down, shut up, and let them get the last word. She said that his presence on twitter was at least somewhat beneficial as an archive showing exactly which tweets and replies got twisted and amplified through a cruel game of telephone that resulted in false rumors being spread about him online. Furthermore she said that with a large percentage of journalists and editors being active twitter users that it in fact could hurt his career by not being brought into the spotlight every few months in the form of another twitter pile-on.

      • on hrt and dysphoria

        I am a cis woman. However, when I grew up, I never felt woman enough, girly enough. I personally feel like my autism made me come off boy-ish when I opened my mouth or in my mannerisms (and still kind of does), but even more importantly, I felt terrible about my body.

        It was decidedly different than feeling like you’re not pretty enough as a girl, wanting to turn heads or feel beautiful. I simply did not feel like the outside matched the inside. The other people around me usually confirmed this. Girls didn’t want anything to do with me past kindergarten and I was treated like one of the boys by the boys. In the changing rooms after school sports, the girls noticed my intense hair growth over my body and laughed and told me to shave. When I was 12, people in my grade used “it” pronouns for me to make fun of me and drive home that I am not a girl. But I wanted to be a girl so bad. I wanted to be like all the other girls. Their mannerisms, their look, the way they dress, their interests. It was more than just wanting to fit in, I fit in well with the boys already and only had male friends. This wasn’t about trying to reach an unattainable girl standard. I just felt like no one was seeing what I truly am and wanted to be, and I hated my body and how it developed, that it wasn’t feminine enough. No, this wasn’t about tomboy acceptance, I didn’t wanna be a tomboy, I wanted to be a girly girl.

    • Technical

      • Programming

        • aliases

          For something more advanced, you can have an alias call a script to check a conditition before allowing the command to run. This is helpful in my git sandbox where the index.html file is sometimes a dummy file, since it faces the internet. I don’t want to check that in by accident – I want to swap the dummy for the real one before git ever executes anything.

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 19, 2023

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:38 am by Needs Sunlight

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An Update on Sirius ‘Open Source’ Pensiongate: It’s Looking Worse Than Ever

Posted in Deception, Finance, Fraud at 12:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


  1. Sirius ‘Open Source’ and the Money Missing From the Pension
  2. Sirius Finished
  3. Sirius ‘Open Source’ Pensiongate: An Introduction
  4. When the Pension Vanishes
  5. Sirius ‘Open Source’ Pensiongate (Sirius Financial Crisis): Company May Have Squandered/Plundered the Pensions of Many People
  6. Sirius ‘Open Source’ Pensiongate: Pension Providers That Repeatedly Lie to the Clients and Don’t Respond to Messages
  7. NOW: Pensions Lies to Its Customers and Protects Abusers
  8. Sirius ‘Open Source’ Pensiongate: It’s Beginning to Look Like a Criminal Matter and Sirius is in Serious Trouble
  9. Sirius ‘Open Source’ Pensiongate: A Long Story Merits Many Videos

Standard Life Logo
Official ‘Standard Life’ paperwork (issued by Standard Life) was used to legitimise fraud for over half a decade

Summary: It’s starting to look more and more like pension providers in the UK, including some very major and large ones, are aiding criminals who steal money from their workers under the guise of “pensions”

THIS site, unlike my personal blog, isn’t about my work colleagues at Sirius ‘Open Source’. As explained this past month, this supposedly “Open Source” (not anymore!) company that was one of the FSF’s early sponsors stole a lot of money from employees, myself included. This is now a criminal matter. Several managers knew what was happening; they stole money from many of us and we will put them behind bars if possible (one of them has fled to the United States already).

The pension providers are culpable too, as we shall explain in the habitual updates (maybe once or twice per week).

Former colleagues also chase the matter. “Any progress on this?” I asked this month. “Did you file for review or something to that effect?”

As it turns out, pension providers are stonewalling. They try hard to not get involved in these crime investigations. As if ignoring the victims is a wise strategy. It’s not. It just makes them look complicit in cover-up. The person I blame the most is Leah Brown at Standard Life. For many weeks she kept saying “my hands are tied”, refusing to tell me what had actually happened. She’s a manager, so one cannot just report her to a manager. Leah Brown has made Standard Life look like part of the crime and there might be a class action lawsuit on the way. We just try to gather a list of people willing to participate in it (sharing the cost of litigation).

“Do you have contact details of other past workers?” I asked. “I’m sure quite a few had this pension and haven’t been keeping up with its status.”

Over the past month I spoke to more former workers than I can count. Some aren’t surprised by this corruption; their view of the company was already mostly negative. Most of them left years ago.

We recently found out that the exisiting CEO of Sirius (last man standing so to speak) now tries to do the job of the engineers… and is failing at it… as they left. The former CEO left too. This cheats the customers of the company as they paid for actual engineers to look after their servers. I find that situation similar to Mozilla. Maybe Madame Baker can try to develop Mozilla Firefox, but she never even did a “hello world!” program and she’s almost hitting pension age. Just like the CEO who has just left…

Did the Sirius ‘US’ (no such thing) CEO bag bribes from Bill Gates with one hand while plundering the pensions of past staff with his other hand? Stay tuned to find out… we shall get to the bottom of this. Famous last words for Sirius: we don’t need no stickin’ engineers, just some slush funds from a criminal like Bill Gates under an NDA!

Earlier this month I published “How Poorly Standard Life Has Dealt With Pension Fraud” and it cannot be stressed strongly enough that it seems like many pension companies are the same. I contacted Standard Life managers 3 times already (by phone) and I am being obstructed; colleagues tried to do the same, several times in fact, and report that they never receive a reply. They cannot even speak to anyone!

The CEO has just left the company. So who’s going to be held accountable for theft? Sirius is now, in effect, run 100% by a financial fugitive who escapes many liabilities. Any questions asked about the past are obstructed and met with stonewalling; any questions about the present, or even those who sought reassurances about the pension, are going unanswered or people are being lied to, respectively. This is a severe systemic failure.

I spoke to the company (Sirius) and so did colleagues; the company refuses to even answer very simpler questions! I still have all the paperwork from Standard Life and all the payslips to show money was ‘paid’ to Standard Life every month for over 5 years (or so they told me; it was embezzled). Recently, someone who knows Standard Life very well told me this is “theft” and my money is “stolen” by Standard Life (or in their name). I’ve already contacted the media and spoke among former colleagues about a class action lawsuit against Standard Life. It was only at that point that Standard Life started to become more cooperative. Nothing bothers Standard Life except its public image.

For several of us, some legally-savvy (I have access to an uncle who is a judge and who advised me to enroll when he heard of the Standard Life pension in 2011; back when I had lengthy discussions with him about it), the matter won’t end due to stonewalling. They cannot tire us down. My uncle feels betrayed too; it is him who convinced me to join, unlike other people whom I asked.

A the moment I am told the case is being chased by a manager called Laura Johnston (Standard Life) after escalation from Karen Liddle, who works below her level.

For the sake of transparency, here’s the latest on this:

Laura Johnston wrote on 14/03/2023 20:07:

Good Afternoon Dr. Schestowitz.

Apologies that I have not reached out before now.

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to report so far but have reached out to the team who are dealing with this for an update.

Once I have an update from them I will be in touch.

Thank you for your patience,

I responded:

I waited for you to get back to me till 5PM yesterday and then recorded a video on this issue (as I had not heard back): http://techrights.org/2023/03/14/pension-fraud-standard-life/
More in http://techrights.org/wiki/Crimes_of_Sirius_Open_Source
and http://techrights.org/wiki/Sirius_Open_Source

I look forward to hearing of any progress. Clients of the company are contacting me, this week expressing sympathy. The company will soon have no clients and no business to even track down, so you must hurry. This really should have progressed months ago when I first contacted Mrs. Brown several times (a manager at your company). Or when colleagues sent detailed E-mails to you (those always went unanswered).

She has not responded since then (5 days have passed). She wrote “good afternoon” at 7 minutes past 8PM, so there’s a certain sense or feeling that she’s not being too honest. As if to pretend it was done within the reasonable timeframe. Remember she already failed to respond to me “today” (as she said she would 7 days earlier).

This does not look good at all for Standard Life. What should have been a trivial case of fraud (with papers and everything to prove it) isn’t progressing. Or barely (nearly 3 months already!).

Minutes ago I followed up:

Can I please have an update on this? I cannot stress strongly enough that this is a matter of great urgency, implicating many people, and we have already lost 2 months due to your slow response. Your delays have given time for fraudsters to adapt and curtail prosecution. We have evidence to prove this.

When people come to think of it, if she phoned before 5PM as she said she would, a lot of this escalation would not be needed. For instance, no person at Standard Life would be named and Standard Life itself would never be mentioned here. The bottom line is, Standard Life increasingly seems unwilling to deal with crime done in its name.

So the pattern that emerges is, pension providers lie, obstruct, and even cover up for people who abuse their system. This is really awful. On a separate day we’ll get back to NOW:Pension, another pension provider that provided awful service and isn’t progressing in the fraud investigation.

One day they may have to compensate us for all this trouble — us as in past workers who were plundered… like people who already have some other job, needing to spend weeks if not months chasing this rogue/criminal nonsense. Some former workers are very angry and some might lose sleep over it. More so knowing and seeing that the pension providers are mostly apathetic and only respond when the reputation is on the line. They don’t truly mind this ‘underworld’ as long as the media doesn’t report/talk about it.

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