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Links 19/6/2014: New Mir, Dalvik Changes, Turns 30

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Free Software/Open Source


  • Kerala govt all prepared to keep Padmanabhaswamy temple wealth in museum
    Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy is apparently okay with the suggestion of converting the massive holding of the treasures, discovered in the cellars of the famous Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, into a museum.

  • Health and OBL

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The absurdities of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan: Siddiqui
      More than a decade after the beginnings of George W. Bush's two wars, bombs are still falling in the invaded countries.

    • A Note on Fawning and US-Australian Ties
      The most grotesque spectacle in recent years has been that of an Australian prime minister on tour in the United States. The bib has to be procured to capture the drool. Fawning admiration accompanies unqualified assertions of promise and valour in the face of common enemies and those who do not share the “values” of each country.
    • A Brief History of Iraq for Westerners
      Supporting and arming a brutal dictator in Saddam Hussein and his catastrophic war against Iran, then bombing Iraq and imposing the most murderous sanctions in history, and then newly bombing Iraq and occupying it for 8 years while arming and training death squads and torturers and imposing sectarian segregation, creating 5 million refugees, and killing a half-million to a million-and-a-half people, while devastating the nation's infrastructure, and then imposing a puppet government loyal to one sect and one neighboring nation. That, plus arming the new government for vicious attacks on its own people, while arming mad killers in neighboring Syria, some of whom want to combine parts of Syria and Iraq: that was all it took, and suddenly, out of nowhere, ignorant Arabs are killing each other, just out of pure irrationality, just like in Palestine.

    • Clinton: I Wanted to Arm Syrian Rebels
      If Hillary Clinton had had her way, the US would have armed Syrian rebels "two-plus years ago," she says. The former secretary of state told CNN that she, the defense secretary, and the head of the CIA sought to arm moderates, but the president disagreed. "We pushed very hard. But as I say in my book, I believe that Harry Truman was right, the buck stops with the president." Would that have affected the current crisis in Iraq? "It's very difficult, in retrospect, to say that would have prevented this," she noted, per Reuters.

    • US Poised to Strike Iraq, But CIA Has No Idea Who They’re Aiming At
      US officials are all set to launch air strikes against ISIS-controlled parts of Iraq, but are warning of a major “intelligence gap” in the CIA regarding where potential targets might conceivably be.

    • Green Party LogoGreen Party: No new U.S. military action in Iraq
      The Green Party of the United States is calling for no new U.S. military action in Iraq, including on-the-ground troop deployment and airstrikes.

      Greens are urging President Obama to resist demands by belligerent politicians and pundits for a U.S. assault in Iraq against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

    • ISIS “Made in USA”. Iraq “Geopolitical Arsonists” Seek to Burn Region
      When a fire is raging, firefighters are called – not the arsonist who started it, especially if they return to the scene of the crime dragging a barrel of gasoline behind them. Yet, this is precisely what the US proposes – that they – the geopolitical arsonists – be allowed to return to Iraq to extinguish the threat of heavily armed sectarian militants streaming from NATO territory in Turkey and edging ever closer to Baghdad.

    • US flying F-18 surveillance missions over Iraq, Obama reviews options with lawmakers
      The United States is flying F-18 surveillance missions over Iraq from an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, officials confirm to Fox News, as President Obama weighs options for “increased security assistance” in the country.
    • The Worst Effect of the Afghan War
      Although few in the United States dare say it, the U.S. military lost the war in Afghanistan a long time ago. As in Vietnam, if the weaker insurgents don’t lose, they win by just keeping an army in the field and hoping the stronger foreign occupier will tire of the conflict and go home. The American colonists used the same strategy to win their independence from Britain. After the U.S. forces leave Afghanistan at the end of 2016, the Taliban will likely be resurgent, and eventually most U.S. political and economic development efforts in Afghanistan likely will be reversed. Thus, unfortunately, much of what U.S. service personnel died or were wounded for will have been lost.

    • US shifts focus away from Iraq airstrikes
      President Barack Obama has shifted his focus away from airstrikes in Iraq as an imminent option for slowing a fast-moving Islamic insurgency, in part because there are few clear targets that U.S. could hit, officials said.

    • New Rep Unveils Drone Strikes’ ‘Pattern Of Life’ — And Death
      On the face of it, “Pattern of Life” mines predictable territory, going back and forth between an American drone operator and a Pakistani villager, skillfully portrayed by Lewis Wheeler and Nael Nacer. Wheeler’s Carlo starts off as a callow macho man, but becomes more and more wary of what he’s doing.

    • THEATER REVIEW Grounded

    • Artist shows suffering caused by brainless killing machines
      British-Iraqi artist Athier Mousawi has fused these natural and man-made phenomena to create pictures that show the helplessness and despair of the countless, nameless people crushed or enmeshed by the tentacles of war.

    • Ten years on: Eyewitnesses describe the aftermath of the first Pakistan drone strike
      Ten years ago today, the first CIA drone strike hit Pakistan, starting a bombing campaign that would span two US presidencies and three Pakistani administrations.

      On the evening of June 17 2004, a drone targeted Nek Mohammed, a senior Taliban figure. But it also killed five other people - two of whom were children. While Nek Mohammed received detailed obituaries in major Pakistani newspapers, the children were not even identified by name. And 10 years after their deaths, details of what happened that evening are only just starting to emerge.

    • More US bombs and drones will only escalate Iraq's horror
      Nothing has exposed the delusionary disaster of the war on terror like the past week's eruption of its mutant progeny across Iraq. David Cameron declared today that the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, rejected as too extreme and sectarian by al-Qaida itself, is now the most serious threat to Britain's security.
    • Pezz: Punk with a Conscience
      "It's a walk against drone warfare. The slogan is 'Ground the Drones.' We're here to highlight that the drones kill primarily civilian noncombatants and create enmity among the countries where we're using them. And if there's one thing that will create more terrorists, it's to keep using these drones."
    • Drones Kill 5 as Pakistan and U.S. Target Tribal Belt
      An American drone strike killed at least five people in North Waziristan on Wednesday, Pakistani officials said, as the Pakistani military continued its offensive against militants in that tribal district.

      The officials said that two drones fired at least six missiles on a compound near Miram Shah, the main town in North Waziristan, as tens of thousands of civilians fled in anticipation of intense fighting.

    • Pepper spray and laser-armed drone receives first orders
      A mining company has ordered 25 Desert Wolf Skunk unmanned aerial vehicles for breaking up riots with pepper spray and "blinding lasers."

    • 'Riot control drone' that shoots plastic bullets with 'real stopping power' goes on sale
    • Mining company buys armed drones for 'riot control'
      The supplier, South African-based Desert Wolf, describes the 'Skunk' as a "riot control copter" – but there are concerns it breaks international treaties on the use of torture, lasers and even the Geneva Convention.

    • African firm is selling pepper-spray bullet firing drones

    • This drone shoots crowds with pepper spray paintballs

    • Against Intervention in Iraq
      American military involvement would inflame, not ease, Iraq’s sectarian divisions.
    • Obama considering 'selective" air strikes: Report
      President Barak Obama has not yet announced a decision on the shape and extent of US military intervention in Iraq, but he may be considering targeted and selective air strikes.

    • Chelsea Manning Speaks–But Who Listened?
      chelsea-manningUS Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning wrote a remarkable piece for the Sunday edition of the New York Times (6/15/14), one of the most prestigious venues in the corporate media. It represents an extraordinarily clear statement from someone who is certainly one of the country's most important political prisoners.

    • Impeach Blair: As Iraq burns, parliament should put this deluded liar on trial
      Tony Blair's deceit over Iraq still contaminates British politics and continues to have the most shocking and lethal consequences. Time to lance this boil says Daily Mail's Simon Heffer.

    • 'Drawn Back Into War' in Iraq
      The United States was not "drawn" into Iraq in 2003; it made a conscious decision to launch a war. Thus it cannot be "drawn back" into the conflict either. It is nonetheless quite revealing that journalists employ this language, making US warmaking sound like a reaction–not an action.

    • Further military intervention by the west in Iraq? The very idea beggars belief
      The yearning to intervene, to bomb someone even if just to "send a message", shows how thin is the veneer of sanity cloaking great power aggression.

    • Iraq: The US Sponsored Sectarian “Civil War” is a “War of Aggression”, The “Supreme International Crime”
      The great command of the Nuremberg Tribunal convened after the Second World War to punish the evil that had shaken Europe was to abolish the “supreme international crime” – the planning and waging of wars of aggression. “War is essentially an evil thing,” the Tribunal held as it passed judgment on German leaders. “Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world.”

    • The Russia as "Imperialist" Thesis Is Wrong and a Barrier to Solidarity With the Ukrainian and Russian People
      The violent coming to power of a rightist regime in Kyiv, Ukraine in late February 2014 has opened an exceptionally dangerous political period in Europe. For the first time since World War II, a European government has representatives of fascist parties as ministers. These are the ministers of the armed forces, prosecution service and agriculture, and deputy ministers of national security (police), education and anti-corruption.

    • US appetite for European market responsible for Ukrainian crisis - experts
      The US is keen to take a tighter grip on the Ukrainian energy sector, and the new government in Kiev is eager to help it do so. On Tuesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced that the country’s gas transportation system was being handed over to US and European partners. Moreover, US Vice-President Joe Biden’s son is now a board director at the Ukrainian private oil and gas company Burisma.

    • ‘No chance to survive’: Rossiya TV journalists Kornelyuk and Voloshin killed in Ukraine shelling
      Born and raised in Ukraine, Igor Kornelyuk worked as a journalist for over 15 years. He went to Ukraine to cover bloodshed there, but never returned home. His colleague sound engineer Anton Voloshin was killed alongside him in Ukraine’s army shelling.

      Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin both worked for Rossiya TV channel. They are the first Russian journalists to have died while on professional duty in Ukraine since the coup in Kiev and the beginning of civil unrest in eastern regions.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The bottom line is: Will we be better or worse off under this agreement?
      The Trade in Services Agreement document WikiLeaks has obtained is arcane, but it shows that Australia, the US, the European Union and 20 other large and small countries are talking about unprecedented mutual access to their financial service sectors.

    • Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) - Financial Services Annex
      This memorandum provides a preliminary analysis of the leaked financial services chapter of the Trade in Services Agreement dated 14 April 2014. It makes the following points:

      The secrecy of negotiating documents exceeds even the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and runs counter to moves in the WTO towards greater openness. The TISA is being promoted by the same governments that installed the failed model of financial (de)regulation in the WTO and which has been blamed for helping to fuel the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The same states shut down moves by other WTO Members to critically debate these rules following the GFC with a view to reform. They want to expand and deepen the existing regime through TISA, bypassing the stalled Doha round at the WTO and creating a new template for future free trade agreements and ultimately for the WTO. TISA is designed for and in close consultation with the global finance industry, whose greed and recklessness has been blamed for successive crises and who continue to capture rulemaking in global institutions. A sample of provisions from this leaked text show that governments signing on to TISA will: be expected to lock in and extend their current levels of financial deregulation and liberalisation; lose the right to require data to be held onshore; face pressure to authorise potentially toxic insurance products; and risk a legal challenge if they adopt measures to prevent or respond to another crisis.

      Without the full TISA text, any analysis is necessarily tentative. The draft TISA text and the background documents need to be released to enable informed analysis and decision-making.

    • Julian Assange's Life Inside A Converted Women's Toilet At The Ecuadorian Embassy
      "And the quietest room is the women’s bathroom, the only room that’s easy to sleep in. So I thought I’d try and somehow get hold of it and renovate it. Eventually, somewhat reluctantly, the staff relented. They ripped out the toilet. They’ve been very generous."
    • Hope and anger: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange marks two years in Ecuador’s London embassy

    • Assange marks two years in legal limbo
      ​Julian Assange, a modern day hero and enemy of state, is preparing to mark two years in captivity inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with another major leak of state secrets and a fresh challenge to escape legal limbo.

    • Wikileaks' Julian Assange: I'm still here
      Two years after he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, lawyers for the controversial Wikileaks honcho rally for another attempt to secure his freedom.

    • How WikiLeaks opened our eyes to the illusion of freedom
      We remember anniversaries that mark the important events of our era: September 11 (not only the 2001 Twin Towers attack, but also the 1973 military coup against Allende in Chile), D-day, etc. Maybe another date should be added to this list: 19 June.

      Most of us like to take a stroll during the day to get a breath of fresh air. There must be a good reason for those who cannot do it – maybe they have a job that prevents it (miners, submariners), or a strange illness that makes exposure to sunlight a deadly danger. Even prisoners get their daily hour's walk in fresh air.

    • Assange’s Anniversary: Two Years Cornered, but Still World-Changing
      Julian Assange. Well, it's not happy per se, but tomorrow marks two years that he has spent stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, which is surrounded at all hours by police. It is a good day to look back on the accomplishments of his information-leaking organization and reflect on how large an impact Assange has had and continues to have on issues of government, journalism, and whistle-blowing.

    • Assange calls for US to drop investigation into WikiLeaks
      Julian Assange calls for US Attorney General Eric Holder to drop WikiLeaks investigation or resign.

    • Julian Assange calls on US to drop Wikileaks investigation after two years in Ecuador embassy

    • Julian Assange: Life in Ecuadorian Embassy 'May Never End'
      Julian Assange – the Australian journalist, editor-in-chief and co-founder of WikiLeaks whistle-blower website – has now spent two years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      He went to live in the embassy after the UK Supreme Court had ordered his extradition to Sweden, where he awaits investigations of sexual assault allegations.

    • WikiLeak’s Julian Assange tries to end deadlock with Swedish legal challenge

    • Embassy life cramped, quiet for Julian Assange
      A room, shower, and the Internet - such is daily life for Julian Assange. For two years, the controversial and enigmatic co-founder of the whistleblower site WikiLeaks has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • Policing Assange Embassy Has Cost €£6.5m
      The money spent on policing the embassy would be enough to keep 325 bobbies on the beat for a year, while the €£9,000 daily cost is the same as it costs to put a child through state school for a year.

  • Finance

    • The New Brazil: the continuation of imperialism by other means
      Zibechi’s new book forcefully exhibits how the insatiable drive for capital accumulation continues to dispossess and repress Brazil’s marginalized poor.

    • China says it wants to back major UK infrastructure projects and has signed €£14bn in trade deals.
      The news comes on the first full day of a visit by its leader.

      The BBC understands the projects the state-owned China Development Bank (CDB) wants to invest in include High Speed 2 and the next generation of nuclear power stations.

      A major deal between BP and China National Offshore Oil Corporation is worth about $20bn (€£11.8bn).

    • The NSA now owns Bitcoin
      Satochi Nakamoto (the nom de guerre of the mind behind Bitcoin) designed this flaw into the software because of one false assumption. What was that assumption? He believed that it was possible to build an open and free economic system built purely on simple self-interest (selfishness). Lots of people make this mistake (famously, Greenspan believed that selfish decision making would prevent the banking crisis of 2008).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • We finally gave Congress email addresses

    • Taking American leadership back from political elites
      Ever since the Supreme Court removed corporate spending limits on political campaigns via Citizen United, the field of American politics has become overwhelmingly dominated by the messaging of corporate donors and wealthy individuals. And two months ago, the situation got much worse. McCutcheon v. FEC removed limits on the total amount any one person can contribute. Now individuals can give more than $3.5 million over two years, instead of the previous $123,200 limit.

      Who can afford to spend that kind of money on politics other than the very rich? And what, exactly, are they getting in return for their million-dollar donations? A lot more than a campaign t-shirt.

    • Bradley Foundation Bankrolled Groups Pushing Back on Scott Walker John Doe Criminal Probe
      The Bradley Foundation and its directors have given nearly $18 million to groups that are now connected to individuals involved in the John Doe investigation and the campaign against it. That high-profile probe is examining possible campaign finance violations during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections as Wisconsin Club for Growth and other nonprofit "dark money" groups spent tens of millions trying to protect the seats of Scott Walker and Republican legislators.

  • Censorship

    • Putin Goes After Bloggers, Not Profits
      At a highly anticipated meeting last week, President Vladimir Putin spoke to Yandex's Arkady Volozh and Mail.Ru's Dmitry Grishin, both Internet industry leaders who stand to lose huge sums of money if the Kremlin's Internet crackdown causes Russian consumers to take their business to foreign competitors like Google.

    • Anonymous Browser Mass Hit as Russians Seek to Escape Internet Censorship
      The government's campaign for online censorship has created a backlash, with the number of Russia-based users of anonymous web surfing software Tor more than doubling in the past three weeks.

  • Privacy

    • Demand your ISP stops retaining your data

    • Data retention: why we have to keep the pressure on ISPs
      In the last four hours, over 400 ORG supporters have contacted their ISPs to demand that they stop retaining customers' email, SMS, web and phone data. It's crucial that we keep up the pressure.

    • Possible hidden Latin warning about NSA in Truecrypt's suicide note
      When the anonymous authors of the Truecrypt security tool mysteriously yanked their software last month, there was widespread suspicion that they had been ordered by the NSA to secretly compromise their software. A close look at the cryptic message they left behind suggests that they may have encoded a secret clue in the initials of each word of the sentence ("Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues"), the Latin phrase "uti nsa im cu si" which some claim can be translated as a warning that the NSA had pwned Truecrypt.

    • TrueCrypt probably didn't leave a Latin message alerting users to NSA spying
      When popular security software TrueCrypt closed its doors, many users simply couldn't believe that the stated reason – that the developers had decided to stop work because Microsoft had rendered their software obsolete – was true.

    • TrueCrypt – a matter of assurance
      For example, the audit raised serious questions about code quality and the antediluvian build environment. But this is a bit like criticising a donkey for not being a horse. The groundwork was laid when Microsoft was only just waking up to the need for a secure development methodology.

    • Lawmakers Skeptical on Emails and I.R.S.
      Six additional Internal Revenue Service workers lost emails sought by congressional investigators when their computers crashed, investigators announced Tuesday, escalating Republican suspicions that the employees may have been trying to cover up political targeting of Tea Party organizations.

    • Lawmakers Sound Alarm Over Wider Internal Surveillance
      Lawmakers on Wednesday voiced concern over the Obama administration's plans for monitoring individuals who hold security clearances as part of a crackdown in the wake of leaks by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

      Sens. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) said in a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that the stated possibility of "continuous evaluation" of legislative officials would raise constitutional questions and that extensive employee monitoring could inhibit people from coming forward to point out fraudulent or illegal activities. These concerns suggest growing worries among lawmakers about the extent to which the government's monitoring capabilities will be turned on the legislative branch.

    • Facebook down, people take to Twitter to poke fun
      Facebook, the world's most popular social media website, crashed for a brief while on Thursday. "We're working on getting this fixed as soon as we can," said an message on the website when users tried to log in.

    • NSA Turned Germany Into Its Largest Listening Post in Europe

    • ​Germany is NSA’s primary host of surveillance architecture in Europe – report

    • Snowden's German NSA dossier leaks online
      The so-called "German NSA dossier" leaked on the Internet. According to Edward Snowden, over 50 files in the dossier contain information about the locations, where NSA agents stay in Germany.

    • NSA using third-party countries to tap into broadband cables worldwide
      According to new documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency (NSA) is using third-party countries to gain access to thousands of fibre-optic cables in their jurisdictions.

    • How Secret Partners Expand NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet
      Huge volumes of private emails, phone calls, and internet chats are being intercepted by the National Security Agency with the secret cooperation of more foreign governments than previously known, according to newly disclosed documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Let's end the NSA dragnet
      One year ago this month, Americans learned that their government was engaged in secret dragnet surveillance, which contradicted years of assurances to the contrary from senior government officials and intelligence leaders.

    • Germany is NSA's largest listening post, according to new report based on Snowden leaks
      Using documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel reports that the NSA has turned Germany into its most important base of operations in Europe. "NSA is more active in Germany than anywhere else in Europe," reports the paper, "And data collected here may have helped kill suspected terrorists."

    • Top European court to rule on NSA Facebook data privacy challenge
      Europe’s top court is to rule on a case that seeks to force data protection authorities to investigate allegations that Facebook passes personal data to the US National Security Agency.

      The case, brought by Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrem, was referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg by the high court in Dublin.

    • Data sharing deal with U.S. referred to EU's top court
    • Facebook privacy case sent to Europe
    • Irish court raises questions on Facebook's relationship with NSA
      Leaks from the NSA's Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which US technology companies were cooperating with intelligence agencies. Many at the time claimed that their hands were forced.
    • US data sharing deal referred to EU's top court
      Ireland's High Court has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to review a European Union-US data protection agreement in light of allegations that Facebook shared data from EU users with the US National Security Agency.
    • Europe v Facebook: higher court to decide on giving data to spies
      THE European Court of Justice will be asked to examine the law governing data protection, following a student's legal challenge over the mass transfer of data by Facebook to the US intelligence services.

    • Congress Decides This Week Whether to Shut the NSA Backdoor: Here’s How You Can Help
      The NSA may seem like an intimidating giant, but it has a serious Achilles' heel— the enormous budget it claims from taxpayer dollars every year. While change to the actual words of the laws that govern NSA surveillance seems to be a difficult task, a group of representatives have decided to take the battle to the bank.

    • Stop The NSA's Backdoor: Call Congress Today To Support Key Amendment

    • Funding Amendment To Curtail Warrantless Surveillance Proposed In House
      A bipartisan group of Congress members have proposed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Act aimed at reining in government surveillance. The amendment would ban the funding of government to either demand or request a “backdoor” into products built by technology companies. It would also ban the funding of searches of the data of US persons under the authority of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

      If you call your Congressional rep today, we can stop NSA mass surveillance in its tracks. Today, Congress will vote on a critical amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill: under this amendment, the NSA will be prohibited from using its prodigious budget to conduct mass, warrantless surveillance and to sabotage security standards and technology. This doesn't solve all the surveillance problems, but it's the cleanest, quickest and most plausible way to hamstring NSA spying. The last time this happened, Congress came within seven votes of passing it. The chances are even better now. CALL.

    • Hail hackers for reverse-engineering NSA bugs
    • Hackers reverse-engineer NSA's leaked bugging devices

      RADIO hackers have reverse-engineered some of the wireless spying gadgets used by the US National Security Agency. Using documents leaked by Edward Snowden, researchers have built simple but effective tools that can be attached to parts of a computer to gather private information in a host of intrusive ways.

      The NSA's Advanced Network Technology catalogue was part of the avalanche of classified documents leaked by Snowden, a former agency contractor. The catalogue lists and pictures devices that agents can use to spy on a target's computer or phone. The technologies include fake base stations for hijacking and monitoring cellphone calls and radio-equipped USB sticks that transmit a computer's contents.

    • Gmail Encryption May Stop NSA Snooping, Not Google’s

    • German minister rules out Google breakup
      The European Union has to rely on antitrust and privacy rules to curb Google's search-engine dominance and can't just break up the company, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

    • Over-intrusive government surveillance
      One of my primary responsibilities as your representative in Congress is to ensure that the privacy and civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution for every American remain protected. Revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies have been collecting phone records, e-mails, credit card transactions and other private communications in the name of national security are breathtaking in their potential ramifications for the rights of our citizens. While law enforcement and the intelligence community should have all the resources necessary to combat terrorism, they should be held within the bounds of the Constitution.

    • Opinion: An agency of questionable intelligence
      A year after the Snowden revelations, Germany's domestic spy agency has so little to say about the NSA surveillance scandal it calls into question the intelligence of the intelligence agency, says DW's Marcel Fürstenau.

    • Your Local Police May Be Collecting Metadata
      When talking of freewheeling domestic spying, it would behoove us to remember that it’s not just the National Security Agency (NSA) that needs reform and a tight leash. Hell, it’s not even just federal agencies who are disinterested in your Fourth Amendment rights. Like the war toys that move from the Pentagon down to myriad local law enforcement agencies, dragnet spying is happening at the state and city level, too.

    • Time to end NSA’s secret dragnet surveillance
      One year ago this month, Americans learned that their government was engaged in secret dragnet surveillance, which contradicted years of assurances to the contrary from senior government officials and intelligence leaders. - See more at:

    • Government Defends Social Media Spying As Perfectly Legal

    • VMware: NSA revelations have been the single biggest issue for cloud clients
      The impact of Edward Snowden’s leaks about NSA spying have been the single biggest issue that has changed the conversation for VMware’s cloud clients, said Bill Fathers, VMware’s SVP of hybrid cloud services, at Gigaom’s Structure conference on Wednesday. “It’s been absolutely fascinating,” Fathers said in a conversation about making the enterprise comfortable with the public cloud. Currently just two or three percent of work loads are in the public cloud, but Fathers expects that to move to 20 percent over the years.

    • Brazil reinvents optical fiber encryption to foil NSA

    • U.S. seeks to repair relations with Brazil after NSA surveillance fallout
      U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who cheered Team USA onto victory over Ghana at Monday's World Cup match in Rio de Janeiro, is on a mission of soccer diplomacy to repair relations with Brazil.

    • US VP Biden meets Brazilian leader Rousseff in effort to thaw relations, offers no details
      U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden briefly met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday in a bid to thaw stalled relations between the two nations

      Biden, speaking to reporters in the U.S. Embassy after the abrupt cancellation of a joint statement he was expected to make with Brazil's vice-president, said he reassured Rouseff that the U.S. had changed espionage tactics that previously led to direct spying of the Brazilian leader's communications.

    • Joe Biden, Dilma Roussef Meeting: Brazil's President and American VP Have First Meeting Since NSA Scandal

    • Biden visits Colombia as part of regional tour to repair ties, address immigration
      Speaking to reporters after the abrupt cancellation of a joint statement he was expected to make with Brazil’s vice president, Biden said he reassured Rousseff that the U.S. had changed espionage tactics, since it emerged last year that the NSA had spied on her personal communications.

    • Biden assures Rousseff that NSA activities are 'under review'
      The meeting was part of a diplomatic drive to improve relations between the two countries, which were damaged after Brazilian companies and Rousseff herself appeared among the alleged targets of espionage activities conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

    • It’s perfectly legal for us to rummage in your cloud data, states UK’s top spy boss

    • Government defends its Facebook snooping

    • UK spy agency says to share cyber threat data with private firms
      Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency said on Tuesday it would start to share classified cyber threat information with private companies amid concerns over increasingly sophisticated targeting of businesses by hackers.

    • GCHQ boss attacks British media over Snowden leaks
      Iain Lobban, the UK spy chief, has defended GCHQ in light of the British media's publication of the Snowden documents

    • UK admits to spying on citizens via Google, Facebook

    • Facebook updates, Twitter posts and Google searches spied on by Government
      Facebook status updates and Twitter posts are being intercepted by the UK Government because they are regarded as external communications from countries based overseas, it has been revealed.

    • NSA’s Data Center Back in the Shadows After Government Maneuver
      Local officials in Bluffdale, Utah, have voted to help keep the NSA’s new data center hidden from public view.

      Back in March, we introduced you to Nate Carlisle, a Salt Lake Tribune reporter who was waging war with local officials to learn a simple fact about the NSA’s sprawling data center, just completed in nearby Bluffdale.

    • 3 ways Glenn Greenwald changed how I look at privacy
      The government is “truly devoted to the elimination of privacy in the digital age,” the lawyer and journalist told a sold-out crowd of 850 at Town Hall Seattle Tuesday night. “That’s not hyperbole.”

    • How GCHQ Justifies the Mass Surveillance of UK Social Media Users
      GCHQ has given itself legal justification for sweeping up the Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube data of UK citizens, without warrant, by labelling that kind of information "external communications."

    • House Supports Bill Requiring Warrants For Email Searches
      A majority of lawmakers in the House of Representatives now support a bill requiring agencies like the National Security Agency to get warrants before accessing private emails.

    • Ralph Fiennes interview: Logging Google searches like ‘getting inside people’s brains’
      Actor and director Ralph Fiennes has described as “profoundly frightening” the idea that internet companies such as Google and Facebook hold data on their users that can be used by governments.

    • How the NSA may be using games to encourage digital snooping
      German magazine Der Spiegel on Wednesday posted a new cache of documents related to National Security Agency surveillance activities within Germany. Among the trove is a report that sheds new light on how the U.S. government may be using games to motivate analysts using XKeyscore, a tool for searching through online data that the agency collects that was revealed last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    • More Than Half Of The House Co-Sponsoring Email Privacy Reform; So Why Isn't It Moving?
      For quite some time we've talked about the importance of ECPA reform. ECPA -- the Electronic Communications Privacy Act -- is woefully outdated. Passed in the 1980s, when the internet was just a small network that connected a few universities, it has allowed law enforcement and other government officials to snoop on your email based on some very outdated definitions and assumptions. As we've discussed in the past, one very obvious example, is the idea that, under the law, emails stored on a server for over 180 days are considered "abandoned" and that there's no need to get a warrant to view those emails. Of course, that was back when people expected old emails to be either deleted or downloaded. No one predicted "cloud" computing with virtually unlimited storage.

    • Call to open RAF base for investigation into NSA tapping of Merkel's phone
      Britain should grant Germany's federal prosecutor access to an RAF base which is alleged to have acted as a relay station for data intercepted from Angela Merkel's mobile phone by the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Labour MP Tom Watson has said.

    • “H4CKERS WANTED” report: NSA not having trouble filling cybersecurity jobs
      Demand for cybersecurity skills in general began rising within the last five years, the report says, not because hackers are attacking networks more but because the defenders of those networks are far more aware of the hackers and are eager to employ someone who can set up ways to detect and stop them. In addition, the rise of state-sponsored stealthy cyber-espionage—and in some cases, even hard-hitting attacks suggestive of cyberwar--is heightening concerns.

    • Secret Collaboration Between the Power of Force and the Pursuit of Profit
      At the front of the room, under a swag of the heavy red draperies and the American flag, sat the panel. The lineup was peculiar. The speakers, waiting for the audience to settle in, included a number of very big names from the intelligence community, including General Michael Hayden, by this time the former director of both the CIA and the NSA; James Woolsey, former CIA director; and Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General for George W. Bush.

      And then there were the others. First among them was the facilitator and director of the Economic Warfare Institute herself. Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld was a relative unknown who, throughout the long afternoon, would aggressively use her academic title at every opportunity, an unusual practice in this company. According to the available brochure, one of the other panelists would argue that jihadists were setting the wildfires ravaging Colorado that summer. Another, a former alternate director for the United States at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), would present a memorable anecdote involving complex terror scenarios not even Hollywood had ever produced.

    • Senators: No 'watered down' NSA reform
      Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) pledged on Tuesday to fight against “limited” and “watered down” legislation to reform the spy agency, which they said includes the bill that passed the House last month.

    • Afghanistan’s journalists betrayed
      NSA's mass surveillance may unfairly implicate the country'€™s courageous reporters for communicating with insurgents

    • Automatic license plate scanners ‘just like’ NSA surveillance, congressman says
      John Fleming sees plenty of parallels between police departments’ use of automatic license plate scanning technology and widespread electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency.

    • NATO's Jamie Shea reflects on the balance between security and participation
      Cyber attacks are "not just about trying to paralyze people's networks," says senior NATO official Jamie Shea. "It's also about trying to use cyberspace for propaganda." Shea recently spoke to Deutsche Welle.

    • Germany Seeks Criminal Prosecution of NSA Snoops
      Germany’s top federal prosecutor has opened a criminal probe into espionage operations by the U.S. National Security Agency, particularly focused on the NSA snooping directed against German Chancellor Angela Merkel (shown).The goal, he said at a press conference, is to bring to justice specific individual U.S. government agents who were allegedly involved in the unlawful snooping operations against German officials. Prosecutions for spying on everyday citizens, while a violation of German law, will not be forthcoming — at least not yet.

    • Inspired by Edward Snowden, Lawmakers Want Missouri to Stand Against NSA Surveillance
      The "Snowden effect" has hit the Show-Me State, and two state lawmakers hope the feds will take notice.

      Sen. Rob Schaaf and Rep. Paul Curtman, both Republicans, have added a ballot to the August 5 primary that will allow Missourians to vote on whether the government shall be allowed to access their electronic communications without a search warrant.

    • Missourians To Vote On Updated Fourth Amendment Against NSA
    • Why Facebook and the NSA love graph databases
      Is there a benefit to understanding how your users, suppliers or employees relate to and influence one another? It's hard to imagine that there is a business that couldn't benefit from more detailed insight and analysis, let alone prediction, of its significant relationships.

    • Treating Snowden as a ‘Personality’
      The mainstream U.S. media prefers personalities over substance, so it was perhaps not a surprise that its focus at the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks was on his alleged peculiarities, not the frightening prospect of a Big Brother state, says ex-State Department official William R. Polk.

    • Privacy groups ask Obama not to renew NSA powers
      A coalition of more than two dozen privacy and digital rights groups is asking President Obama not to renew a contested National Security Agency program when its legal authority expires this week.

    • Is General Motors Working with the NSA to Snoop on Auto Owners?
      Mary Barra, the embattled CEO of General Motors, currently embroiled in a recall scandal, is also on the Board of NSA surveillance contractor General Dynamics. Specifically, General Dynamics is the contractor helping the NSA process recorded phone calls going in and out of the Bahamas...

    • VC funding for European cyber security firms
      The London-based asset manager has already made its first two investments, investing US$ 8 million (€£5 million) in Balabit, a Luxembourg-based company which specialises in detecting insider threats. The company does this with its technology which monitors normal and unusual behaviour, using algorithms to discover the latter.

    • Court: Terror suspect can’t get NSA evidence gathered against him
      The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled against terrorism suspect Adel Daoud, saying that he and his attorneys cannot access the evidence gathered against him. The Monday ruling overturns an earlier lower district court ruling that had allowed Daoud and his lawyers to review the legality of digital surveillance warrants used against him.

    • Brothers who worked for the NSA and George W. Bush now defend against snoops
    • Bank of England CIO: "cloud opens UK data to CIA spies"
      The Bank of England's CIO has advised businesses to be aware that partnering with US-based cloud suppliers could result in confidential data being accessed by government agencies such as the FBI and CIA.

    • FBI And CIA Have A Sense Of Humor?
      The FBI released its 83-page "Twitter Shorthand" dictionary this week in order to give you a laugh or perhaps finally discern what that person you follow was getting on about in their last tweet.

  • Civil Rights

    • Pakistan's parallel justice system proves Taliban are 'out-governing' the state
      While Islamabad's authority does not extend to the tribal areas, Taliban's unofficial court in Waziristan rules on cases in Karachi

    • How an FBI Informant Helped Orchestrate the Hack of an FBI Contractor
      Weeks after he started working quietly as an FBI informant, Hector Xavier Monsegur, known by his online alias "Sabu," led a cyber attack against one of the bureau's very own IT contractors.

    • NSA Aftershocks: Businesses in the wake of Snowden
      Len Padilla, Vice President Product Strategy, NTT Communications Europe discusses how ICT decision-makers have responded to PRISM allegations

    • Alleged Benghazi Mastermind Enters Obama’s Hybrid Terrorism Justice System

      A White House badly in need of some good news on the international front got some today with the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, a senior leader of the militant group Ansar al-Sharia and one of the primary suspects in the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Abu Khattala’s capture may also show that the administration, which has been criticized for its reliance on lethal drone strikes and its failure to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, has settled on a preferred method for dealing with senior terrorist leaders.

    • Guantánamo Detainee Arraigned in Case That Could Help Decide Fate of Tribunals
      An Iraqi detainee at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was arraigned Wednesday on war-crimes charges before a military commission, setting in motion a case that could help determine whether the tribunals system will be used extensively in the future or wither away after the handful of cases before it are completed.

    • Government told to renegotiate with US over use of Diego Garcia for rendition flights

      Britain must renegotiate the deal which allows a key American military base on Diego Garcia to demand that any use of the Indian Ocean island for “extraordinary rendition” can only take place with London’s prior approval, MPs warn today.

    • MPs demand control over CIA activity on British territory of Diego Garcia
      Detainee and combat operations by US on Chagos island must have cooperation of Britain, says Commons defence committee

    • US commitments sought over base
      The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said public confidence had been "dented" by the disclosure in 2008 that the US had secretly used the island as part of its "extraordinary rendition" programme without informing British ministers - in contravention of previous assurances.

    • “We are now a blood-ridden country”: Margaretta D’Arcy rounds on TDs over Shannon…
      A PANEL OF TDs and senators have pledged to consider a petition asking for the Government to set up an investigation into US Military and CIA use of Irish airspace and Shannon Airport in particular.

    • Shannonwatch raises concerns over suspected rendition planes
      Shannonwatch made a number of recommendations to the Oireachtas Committee, including that the government should establish an independent and impartial inquiry into the possible use of Shannon in the CIA’s illegal renditions programme.

    • Sending Benghazi suspect to Gitmo would be obstruction of justice
      Within hours of the Pentagon’s announcement that the key suspect in the Benghazi attack on the U.S. mission had been apprehended, the usual suspects came out to denounce the Obama administration.

    • Book Review – Surviving Evil: CIA Mind Control Experiments in Vermont
      While the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control research, and associated experimental programs concerned with interrogation, torture, and use of incapacitating agents and lethal weapons, involved many dozens, if not hundreds of top U.S. researchers, and cost many millions of dollars, actual testimony from its victims is extremely difficult to find.

      Publishers, news agencies, and mainstream bloggers have shunned such stories, while most victims have been either too psychologically and physically damaged, or too frightened, to come forward. Others have been written off as “crazy.” Indeed, CIA stories about “mind control” have sometimes brought out persecutory delusions in the purely mentally ill.

    • Boston’s most vicious gangster profiled in Whitey
      Born just before the big crash of 1929, the brutal, charismatic James “Whitey” Bulger worked his way up through Beantown’s notorious Winter Hill Gang. This was after stints in juvenile hall, army stockades, and Alcatraz. The movie doesn’t mention it, but Bulger claims he was also forced into a CIA experiment with LSD. If so, his mind didn’t expand much past murder, mayhem, and vast extortion rackets. He was sharp enough to take advantage of the early-’60s crackdown on the Italian Mafia—something FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover once claimed did not exist.

    • The Story of a Reformed Drug Kingpin - 'Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography'
      The eagerly awaited autobiography of 'Freeway' Rick Ross has just been released. A notorious drug kingpin reigning over Los Angeles, California and operating across numerous other states, Rick was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996. But following the discovery his drug source was linked to the CIA and he had been used as a pawn in the Iran-Contra scandal, he received a reduced sentence.

    • U.S. Rendition Records May Face Disclosure
      A British parliamentarian can sue the CIA, Pentagon and other intelligence agencies for information on the United Kingdom's complicity in the extraordinary rendition of terrorism suspects, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
    • Cop Burns the Body of a 3-yr-old Child for “Not Letting Him Sleep”
      Cody Marrone, a Hernando County cop, was taken into custody over the weekend after it was discovered that he used the hot end of a hairdryer to repeatedly scorch the body of a 3-yr-old toddler.
    • Parents of toddler injured by flash bang grenade during raid on Georgia home call for justice after meeting with feds
      The parents of a 19-month-old severely injured when police threw a flash bang grenade into his playpen during a raid met with federal authorities in Georgia Tuesday to plead for justice.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Life begins at 50: keeping the Internet unified, open, and inclusive
      I and many others recently met to discuss the future of global Internet governance at the NETmundial conference in Brazil. Next week is the next milestone in the roadmap we set out there: the 50th meeting of ICANN, and the High Level Governmental Meeting of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee on Monday 23rd. I thank the UK government and Minister Ed Vaizey for hosting such significant events in Europe, and would like to remind you all – colleagues, friends, stakeholders and Internet users of all kinds – why this is important.

    • Democrats unveil legislation forcing the FCC to ban Internet fast lanes
      Democratic lawmakers will unveil a piece of bicameral legislation Tuesday that would force the Federal Communications Commission to ban fast lanes on the Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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