Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 1/6/2015: wattOS R9, Tanglu 3

GNOME bluefish



  • LightSail solar spacecraft gets back in touch with its ground crew
    The Planetary Society reports that the Carl Sagan-inspired spacecraft rebooted as predicted, and the ground team is once again in touch. There's already a software fix waiting in the wings, and there will be a decision on when to deploy it "very soon" -- if all goes according to plan, the Society will deploy the vehicle's namesake sails soon afterward.

  • Why Doesn't Everyone Love Linux and Open Source?
    If Linux is so great, why has it not replaced Windows, OS X and other closed-source operating systems completely? More generally, why do people still write and develop proprietary software, if open source is a more efficient, user-oriented and secure way to code? Those are important questions about the big-picture significance and future of free and open source software, and they're worth thinking more about.

    I do not mean those questions to sound pejorative, or dismissive of the idea that Linux and other open source software is actually good. Open source has distinct benefits for both users programmers and users, which make it superior in many ways to closed-source software.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • OpenDaylight is One of the Best Controllers for OpenStack — Here’s How to Implement It
      The integration of OpenStack and OpenDaylight (ODL) is a hot topic, with abundant, detailed information available; however, the majority of these articles focus on explaining usage aspects, rather than how the integration is implemented.

    • Docker Delivers Security Configuration Checking Tool
      The Docker Bench for Security script is packaged as a Docker container to make it easier to run and test. One of the CIS Benchmark's recommendations is to limit container privileges to only what is needed to run. Somewhat ironically, the Docker Bench for Security script is a very high-privilege container that has broad access to host resources—usually something a container should not be able to do. That said, as a security testing tool, the container does need the broad access to validate host configuration for container deployment properly.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.2 To Support The EFI System Resource Table
      The Linux 4.2 kernel cycle that will soon officially commence will be adding support for the EFI System Resource Table (ESRT) in order to allow the updating of UEFI/BIOS on modern systems from the Linux desktop.

    • Linux 4.0, Linux 4.1 Brings Performance Boosts For Some Intel Low-Power Hardware

    • Linux 4.1-rc6
      It's been a fairly normal week, although I can't say that the rc's have exactly started shrinking yet. No, the rc's haven't been all that big to begin with this release cycle, and things have been fairly calm, but I'd be happier if we didn't have noise in raid5 and device-mapper at this stage.

      That said, it's not like rc6 is a big rc, and things look normal. This is about half drivers (mainly scsi target, networking, and graphics, plus the aforementioned raid and dm changes, with other random fixes). The rest is fairly evenly split between architecture updates (alpha stands out), filesystem updates (xfs, cifs and overlayfs) and "misc" (networking, turbostat tool update, documentation).

      Most of the fixes are really quite small. Shortlog appended, skimming it gives a flavor of the kinds of things we have here.


    • Linux 4.1-rc6 Kernel Released

    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.1 Release Candidate 6
      It's Sunday, so guess what?! Linus Torvalds has just announced yet another Release Candidate (RC) version for the forthcoming Linux kernel 4.1, available for download and testing right now.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Broadwell HD Graphics Tests With Mesa 10.7 Git
        While Mesa 10.7 just recently entered development, the Git code is often benchmarked on Phoronix, and with not having delivered any Intel Broadwell Linux graphics tests in some time, here's the latest numbers as of this weekend.

      • Libav Adds H.264 & HEVC Encoders For NVIDIA's NVENC
        Following FFmpeg in supporting NVENC for NVIDIA's GPU-based video encoding on Linux systems, the forked Libav project has now written up their own NVENC support for H.264 and H.265/HEVC.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva : An obituary
        Mandriva is certainly a rather unique company; it has also been the company for which I was privileged enough to work two times, one in 2003 as an intern for several months. Back then I used to handle the national resellers’network. The second time was ten years afterwards in 2012 and 2013, this time as a consultant helping them with their Open Source strategy and their marketing activities. One can see how this company is rather special for me. During my last “tenure” there I got to know what we now know to be the “last” team of Mandriva, its last incarnation as a company. Last week, we learned that the company has been liquidated, which essentially means not just that the company filed for bankruptcy, but that the company as such exists no more. Mandriva went several times (three times?) into bankruptcy, but was never obviously liquidated. At this stage I have no idea what became of the assets, nor its subsidiaries.mandriva-logo-opt

    • Arch Family

      • Latest Manjaro Linux Update Patches the Nasty EXT4 RAID Data Corruption Bug
        On May 30, the Manjaro Development Team, through Philip Müller, informed all Manjaro Linux users about the immediate availability for download of the tenth update for the stable Manjaro Linux 0.8.12 distribution.

      • Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 RC2 Comes with KDE Plasma 5.3.1 and KDE Apps 15.04.1

      • Manjaro OpenRC 0.8.13 - reinventing init without systemd
        It would be an understatement to say that systemd's introduction as the dominant init system for modern Linux distros has stirred controversy. Both opponents and supporters of this new way of doing things have tended to get rather excited - to put it mildly - whenever the topic of systemd comes up on various tech blogs and forums. Defending one's choice of init systems from critics has become a sort of moral obligation, if not a way of life. Take the "wrong" side of the argument on your favourite tech forum, and you can expect a deluge of heated comments, frequently containing accusations of "troll" and even nastier descriptive words not suitable for publication.

        I suppose it's natural for geeks to get emotional about their operating system. In fact, if you've seen the 2013 movie Her, it's predicted that in the near future not only will we be able to love our own personal operating system, but also have sex with it. Indeed, I think we're already there, to judge by the way people have become attached to their mobile handsets.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 8.1 to Arrive on June 6
        Debian 8 (Jessie) was announced only a month ago, and now its developers are preparing the first point update for it and they even have a precise date in mind.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Goodbye, SourceForge.
    ourceForge, once a trustworthy source code hosting site, started to place misleading ads (like fake download buttons) a few years ago. They are also bundling third-party adware/malware directly with their Windows installer.

  • Google’s I/O 2015 Web App Released As Open Source
    Now that the weekend is here, the after effects of this year’s android extravaganza that is Google I/O is still being fully digested. The announcements that came through will have repercussions going forward for the rest of this year, not to mention well into next year and beyond as well. Although, this year did not as many mega announcements as there was last year, there was still quite a few notable ones on offer. A few of the big headline points included the unveiling and releasing of the developer preview of Android M, as well as the announcing and brief explanation of Google’s next mobile payment platform, Android Pay. Of course, one of the surprise hits of this year’s event was the announcement (and subsequent release) of Google’s new photo service, which is now known as Google Photos.

  • SourceForge Accused of Bundling GIMP with Adware
    If you’ve downloaded a copy of GIMP for Windows from SourceForge in recent days, you may want to double check to make sure you didn’t get other programs installed as well. Some copies of the “open source Photoshop” were apparently being offered with for-profit adware bundled with the installer.

  • Project Releases

    • GNU Octave 4.0 Released, Includes A GUI & OpenGL
      GNU Octave, a high-level programming language for numerical computations and an open-source alternative to MATLAB, is out this weekend with a huge release. Meet GNU Octave 4.0.

      The GNU Octave 4.0 release now uses a GUI by default when running interactively, defaults to using OpenGL graphics with Qt while having fallback support for Gnuplot and Fltk, adds new audio functions/classes, makes other language additions, and has a whole lot of other changes.

    • Brasero Review - Burning CDs Like It's the '90s
      Brasero is an application from the GNOME stack that is used to burn CDs and DVDs or to creates copies from other disks. It's been around for many years, and it's trusted implicitly, but it doesn't hurt if we analyze it a little bit more thoroughly.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Now, open-source platform emojidex offers emojis as service
      Washington: Now, a new project, named emojidex, is offering emojis as a service that allows developers to share new emojis with each other and add them to their apps and websites.

    • Indian Wikipedia page grows to 800K page views a month
      The Odia language is spoken by more than 40 million people in the Indian state of Odisha (the 9th largest Indian state by area) and its neighboring states, as well as, the Odia diaspora living outside India. With over 5000 years of literary heritage, the Odia language has been recognized as one of the oldest South Asian languages and has been given the status of a "classical language" by the Indian government.

    • Open Data

      • NU grad aids Nepal relief effort through open-source mapping
        When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, the world wanted to help the people, but few were as well-placed as 1998 NU graduate Neil Horning, who lives in Kathmandu.

        Already well-known to the open source mapping community for a human rights mapping website called, Horning had only to grab his laptop and make his way through the rubble to be tapped for a new assignment.

        He would be the new coordinator of, born the day after the quake in a high-tech workshop called Kathmandu Living Labs.

      • Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) Develops a Code Of Conduct
        Over the last decade there has been a gradual adoption of Code-Of-Conduct statements at events and within organisations, including at FOSS4G events and within OSGeo projects. Adopting a good Code-Of-Conduct consolidates expectations about respectful behaviour at events and forums, ensuring they are safe, welcoming and productive and helps communities discretely address indiscretions should they occur.

    • Open Hardware


  • After ‘One Year In Orbit,’ Russian Search Engine Sputnik Finds Few Users
    Russia's new search engine hasn't found many users.

    Created a year ago as part of a Kremlin effort to exert more control over the Internet, the search engine was given the high-flying name of the Soviet satellite that beat the United States into space in 1957: Sputnik.

  • Hardware

    • Tablet shipments lose momentum; Total PC unit forecast downgraded
      IC Insights will release its Update to the 2015 IC Market Drivers report in June. The Update includes revisions to IC market conditions and forecasts for the 2015 2018 automotive, smartphone, personal computer and tablet markets, as well as an update to the market for the Internet of Things. This bulletin reviews IC Insights’ 2015 unit shipment forecast for total personal computing unit shipments.

    • Fraunhofer study: software thin clients are both climate and wallet-friendly
      As part of a study commissioned by IGEL Technology, the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) carried out research into various different approaches for IT work stations in terms of their impact on the climate and cost effectiveness. The researchers compared new PCs and notebooks with older devices, which continue to be operated as software-based thin clients. The researchers found that over the entire life cycle of a three-year operating phase, software thin clients reduced global warming potential by up to 60%, and cut overall costs by up to 47%.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Tobacco industry accused of fueling cigarette smuggling to boost profits

      The tobacco industry has been accused of “appalling hypocrisy”, amid claims that it is fuelling the illicit trade in cigarette smuggling to bolster its arguments against tax increases and other anti-smoking measures.

      In a report published to coincide with World No Tobacco Day, the pressure group ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) claimed that some tobacco companies are flooding foreign markets with more products than there is demand.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Top Bush Era CIA Official Just Confirmed the Iraq War Was Based On Lies
      Michael Morell’s stint with the CIA included deputy and acting director, but during the time preceding the US invasion of Iraq, he helped prepare daily intelligence briefings for Bush. One of those briefings, from October 2002, is an infamous example in intelligence history as how not to compile a report. This National Intelligence Estimate, titled “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction”, was the ostensibly flawed intelligence cited continuously by Bush supporters as justification to pursue a war of aggression against Iraq. However, this claim is dubious at best, and serves more as a smokescreen to lend credence to a president who was otherwise hellbent on revenge against Saddam Hussein, as evidenced in his statement a month before the report, “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”

    • The New York Times calls for blood in Iraq-Syria war
      The New York Times published a major front-page critique Tuesday of the Obama administration’s military tactics in the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The article quotes several US and Iraqi military and intelligence officials, most of them unnamed, denouncing the supposed restraint on bombing due to excessive fears of killing civilians.

    • ‘Obama at War’ Shows How Syria Was Lost
      Meanwhile, Smith reports, “The administration’s training program has been severely delayed. Only 90 rebels have taken part so far. And the Pentagon now says the first 5,000 rebels won’t be vetted and ready until the end of this year at the earliest.”

    • Getting the CIA — and Secrecy — Out of the Drone Program
      President Barack Obama’s disclosure last month of the death of two hostages in a January drone strike offered the public a brief glimpse of the tragic consequences of the government’s clandestine drone killing program. We cannot know how commonplace these kinds of civilian casualties are because of the government’s selective secrecy on the program. But now, Congress has an opportunity to weigh in.

    • Pentagon report says West, Gulf states and Turkey foresaw emergence of ‘IS’
      A newly declassified Pentagon report provides startling high-level confirmation that the US-led strategy in Syria contributed directly to the rise of the Islamic State (IS).

    • Iran's military mastermind: Only Iran is confronting ISIS
      The general in charge of Iran's paramilitary activities in the Middle East said the United States and other powers were failing to confront Islamic State, and only Iran was committed to the task, a news agency on Monday reported.

    • Pentagon Report Predicted West's Support for Islamist Rebels Would Create ISIS
      A declassified secret US government document obtained by the conservative public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.

    • Obama ordered CIA to train ISIS jihadists: Declassified documents
      U.S. intelligence documents released to a government watchdog confirms the suspicions that the United States and some of its so-called coalition partners had actually facilitated the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an effective adversary against the government of the Syrian dictator President Bashar al-Assad. In addition, ISIS members were initially trained by members and contractors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at facilities in Jordan in 2012. The original goal was to weaken the Syrian government which had engaged in war crimes against their own people, according to a number of reports on Sunday.

    • The Benghazi outrage we actually should be talking about
      Newly revealed documents show how the CIA stood by as arms shipments from Libya enabled the rise of ISIS

    • Ex-CIA operative, author to speak to New Mexico graduates
      In 2003, Valerie Plame was exposed as a CIA operative by officials of the George W. Bush administration in an effort to discredit her husband, Joe Wilson, a former ambassador who had criticized the decision to invade Iraq.

    • Senior Al Shabaab Commander wanted by CIA dies in Somalia
      A Senior Al Shabaab commander wanted by CIA has died in Southern Somalia. Somalia based group, Al Shabaab said.

    • Sanders has been a longtime critic of CIA covert actions
      An interview televised by CSPAN in 1989, when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a stinging criticism of American covert actions to undermining socialist governments in Latin American countries.

      “If you trace the history of the United States vis a vis Latin America and Central America, there has never been a time where a country made a revolution for the poor people where it was not overthrown by the CIA or the United States government, or the marines,” Sanders said.

    • 'Sudden Justice' - an interview with Chris Woods on drone warfare.
      Much of Wood’s research has uncovered how the ‘war on terror’ has been a ‘tit-for-tat’ affair. Extraordinary rendition, began under Clinton, and resulted in alleged militants from Bosnia and Albania being taken to Egypt where they were tortured. One of these militants was the brother of the Al Qaeda Number Two El-Zawahiri, who subsequently ordered an attack on the US in Tanzania in revenge. In response, Clinton’s government put Osama bin Laden on the kill list. 9/11 soon followed, with the first US targetted drone strike happening a month later.

    • Drone Warfare
      With Chris Woods, investigative journalist and author of the book Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars.

    • Far from facing the truth, the US is telling new lies about Iraq
      A couple of weeks ago, the Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush was asked in an interview with Fox News whether, knowing what he knows now, he would have invaded Iraq. It’s the kind of predictable question for which most people assumed he would have a coherent answer. They were wrong. Jeb blew it. “I would have [authorised the invasion],” he said. “And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

    • American leadership should be like Putin - Iraq War veteran
      Iraq seems to be losing the war with Islamic State (IS). Its army is retreating as the jihadists speed up their advance, with reinforcements coming from all across the globe, volunteers bolstering the extremists’ ranks. Airstrikes don’t seem to halt the offensive – either in Iraq and Syria. Isn’t this the time for the world to act? Shouldn’t the US do something decisive on the matter – given some claims that it’s America’s fault IS even came into existence in the first place. What should be done, what could’ve been done, and what should never have been done in the War on Terror?

    • Do the Right Thing
      How can we foresee unexpected situations before the fact? Mr. Mudd suggests what he calls “right-to-left thinking,” or asking completely different questions related to what we don’t know about a problem, instead of what we do know— Donald Rumsfeld’s famous “known unknowns.” For example, current analysts at the CIA might ask: Where is ISIS going to strike next? We know that the Islamist group will attack somewhere, but the where and when are unknown.

      But what about the “unknown unknowns,” things that we don’t even know that we don’t know? For this problem, Mr. Mudd believes a good leader needs to call in a “fresh team” of renegade thinkers who will purposefully challenge prevailing ideas, popular leaders and establishment traditionalists locked into the known unknowns. The renegades aren’t just playing devil’s advocate, or joining the contemporary equivalent of President Lincoln’s “team of rivals,” because that means staying within the boundaries of what is known about the unknown. To get to the unknown unknowns (assuming that they’re knowable in principle, if not in practice), you need to think outside parameters of convention, and this usually means bringing in outsiders and giving them a chance to be heard.

    • Finding support for invasion of Iraq is stretch
      In her Wednesday letter “ Army should avoid politics, do right thing,” Sylvia Bower began and ended her comments that the government “should acknowledge that Bush was right and there were WMD.” The writer’s premise and conclusion don’t agree with history and miss the point of the article.

    • Bob Woodward: George W. Bush did not lie about WMDs to get into Iraq War
      Former President George W. Bush did not lie about weapons of mass destruction to justify a war with Iraq, journalist Bob Woodward said in a segment on "Fox News Sunday."

    • The Long, Long Fall of Bob Woodward
      This week many liberals gasped when Bob Woodward showed up on Fox News to defend George Bush and Dick Cheney’s prosecution of the Iraq War. Woodward told Chris Wallace that neither Bush nor Cheney lied about Iraq’s WMDs, that the intelligence on Iraq’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons wasn’t seriously flawed and that the disastrous war against Saddam Hussein was probably justified.

    • The Fox Political Cult
      Probably the most infamous cases of mass mind control involves religious cults, with the People’s Temple Jonestown Massacre in Guyana, South America being the most tragic. In 1978, Jim Jones, most likely suffering from megalomania, forced 912 followers into committing mass suicide. Attempts to rescue the followers, ultimately by a member of the US House of Representatives, ended in the representative’s murder and the deaths of all sect members.

      The totality of Jim Jones’ control was blamed on a religious extremism administered through a charismatic leader with a regimen of 24/7 control of mind and body. In today’s world, religious cultism is not dead, but is still a problem.

      There is a more extensive form of mind control involving millions of Americans, not in the religious sense but in the political sense. There is no immediate threat of death for humans but, in effect, a deadly threat to a democracy founded well over 200 years ago, the American experiment in democracy.

      We are speaking of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which has potential access to a global audience of 4.7 billion people, three-fourths of the world’s population. Its Fox News Channel acts as the ultimate political cult in the United States.

    • Judith Miller's Comeback
      Miller was renowned as a Times national-security reporter prior to 9/11, achieved stardom as the face of the pro-war propaganda effort prior to the Iraq invasion, and then became a household name all over the world once it was discovered she'd made the most impactful mistake the media business had ever seen.
    • Time for a frank discussion on the Iraq war
      There was a segment on America’s crumbling infrastructure on 60 Minutes last night. Congress, even Congress, recognizes the problem, if not its full gravity. They say, not without reason, that funding infrastructure overhaul is expensive and we can’t pay for it. With the Bush tax laws this is a problem. With the staggering cost of the American invasion of Iraq addressing America’s urgent domestic issues is a huge problem. Our inner cities fester and our bridges and highways are crumbling, to mention but two infrastructure problems.
    • Resurgence of the ‘Surge’ Myth
      Official Washington loves the story – the Iraq War was failing until President George W. Bush bravely ordered a “surge” in 2007 that won the war, but President Obama squandered the victory, requiring a new “surge” now. Except the narrative is dangerous make-believe, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
    • ISIS: An Inside Job?
      Poor Jeb! Being even less informed than his ambusher, he could only “respectfully disagree” and reiterate the neocon party line: if only we’d kept more troops in longer ISIS wouldn’t have coalesced. “You can rewrite history all you want,” he said, with a sigh, “but the simple fact is we’re in a much more unstable place because America pulled back.”
    • Why the Saudis just blacklisted two Lebanese militants
      This week, Saudi Arabia just sanctioned two senior Hezbollah members, Khalil Harb and Muhammad Qabalan, for "terrorist actions." Both operatives have long Hezbollah resumes, but they stand out for playing leadership roles overseeing Hezbollah's operations in one particular region: the Middle East. Tellingly, the decision to blacklist these two Hezbollah operatives comes in the wake of Hezbollah threats that Saudi Arabia would "incur very serious losses" and "pay a heavy price" as a result of its Yemen campaign. Given Hezbollah's recent investment in expanding its regional presence and operations, the Saudis are taking these threats seriously.

    • Heirs of the ‘Secret War’ in Laos
      On the morning of May 14, 1975, in a valley of limestone, sinkholes and caves, the end was drawing near. The discarded possessions of those who had fled were everywhere: suitcases, shoes, wrinkled blouses. This was Long Tieng, a secret military air base established by the Central Intelligence Agency from where it led clandestine operations in Laos during the Vietnam War.

    • Henry Kissinger Just Turned 92. Here's Why He's Careful About Where He Travels.
      As Henry Kissinger turns 92, the former uber-diplomat still enjoys international prestige for his many career accomplishments. Still, there are wide areas of the globe he steers clear of -- the better to avoid questioning in connection with war crimes.

      As National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon and then Secretary of State under President Gerald Ford, Kissinger was known for his realpolitik approach to foreign policy. In the context of the Cold War, that often meant employing ruthless means to undermine perceived U.S. enemies and bolster allies. It is perhaps no coincidence that Kissinger has gone to great lengths to argue that countries cannot prosecute a world leader for crimes against humanity committed in a third country.

      Below are some of the most glaring examples of foreign policy decisions Kissinger made -- from Vietnam to Chile -- that violated human rights.

    • U.S. defense chief to China: End South China Sea expansion
      As China rapidly builds new artificial islands in the South China Sea to expand its territory claim there, Washington is adamantly refusing to recognize those claims.

      On Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called for "an immediate and lasting halt" to the practice.

    • Bin Laden killing in 2011: a ‘Volcano of Lies’!
      In the May 21st 2015 issue of the London Review of Books, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh who, in 1969, first exposed the ghastly My Lai massacre by US forces during the Vietnam War, published an new account of the killing of Osama Bin Laden which exposed the story told by the Obama Administration to be, as he put it, "a blatant lie."

      Using sources inside the CIA and Pakistani intelligence, Hersh dismantled, plank-by-plank, the official narrative first paraded by President Obama in his public address a few hours after the raid in Abbottabad and later embellished by John Brennan.

      Hersh’s revelations establish that at the time of the raid Bin Laden was essentially an invalid. He was living under a sort of ‘house-arrest’ by the Pakistanis, who were monitoring him 24/7. US intelligence was alerted to Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad by a ‘walk-in’ informant who wanted to collect (and, in fact, did) a portion of the $25 million ‘reward’ that was on offer.

    • Judge Who Blocked Release of Osama bin Laden Death Photos Now Blocks Release of Senate Torture Report
      A federal judge has thwarted an attempt to force the release of the Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture program.

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s full report on the CIA interrogation program. The executive summary of the report was previously made public, albeit with numerous redactions.

      But U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg rejected the ACLU’s request, ruling the report remains a congressional record and thus isn’t subject to the FOIA. When Congress created FOIA in 1966, it made sure to exempt the legislative branch from its provisions.
    • Osama’s ghost comes back to haunt US
      Much as the U.S. did that night by projecting Osama's killing as an act of victory. By killing a terrorist who had long lost his relevance even in the eyes of his most serious backers, the only point U.S. President Barack Obama was trying to make was that killing an individual could compensate for not being able to address the circumstances that made his terror network flourish.


      The same narrative later played out in Libya, where the intervening nations were more intent on finishing off Qaddafi than stabilising the country. The same story is gaining traction in the case of Syria, where the West’s recalcitrance on dealing with Assad has led to Islamic State gaining greater foothold, to a point now where it controls almost half its territory. The farce that played out in Libya is being repeated now in Syria and Yemen. We wonder if Osama’s ghost has been wilfully kept alive.
    • White lies
      The investigative journalist Seymour Hersh takes apart several important pieces of the U.S. narrative on the death of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in Pakistan in 2011.


      Hersh alleges that Saudi Arabia paid for bin Laden’s accommodation. This is unverified but not improbable. More than anything, the Saudis wanted bin Laden silent, either under house arrest in Pakistan with no connection to the outside world, or dead. Their money got the former; the U.S. did the latter. The world did not get to hear of bin Laden’s account of who funded him and groomed him during the 1990s and early 2000s.

    • Celerier: Pandering to our enemies
      Meanwhile, we pander to our greatest enemies in the Middle East: Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which support terrorism and allow no human rights within their borders. This policy is both absurd and repugnant. Our policy should be to take sides with Assad before it is too late and help him destroy the terrorists. Then we must take Saudi Arabia to task for its contemptible acts against civilization.

    • "Death in the Congo" highlights obscure subject: African liberation
      The struggle for African liberation, often spearheaded by socialist, left-leaning national liberation movements, is an important part of African history. Many figures loom large as part of this history, including Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected prime minister of the Congo.

      Young and charismatic, Lumumba endeared himself to the emerging national liberation movement, while trying to balance conflicting needs and agendas in a country largely controlled by Belgium financial interests - even after independence.

    • Bangladesh Says Coca-Cola Unit Manager Tied to Islamic State
      Bangladeshi authorities arrested two men suspected of being recruiters for the Islamic State, police said, one of whom works for a local unit of the Coca-Cola Co.

    • Turkey says US agrees to provide air cover for anti-Assad “rebels” in Syria
      Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday that the US had agreed to provide air support for so-called “moderate rebels” being trained in Turkey, once they cross the border into Syria.

      Cavusoglu told the Daily Sabah that there was “a principle agreement” between the two governments for Washington to provide air cover for the proxy forces being trained in a US-funded program aimed at toppling the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    • Turkey, US to provide air protection for moderate Syrian opposition forces
      Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, speaking to Daily Sabah in an exclusive interview while attending the fifth MIKTA Foreign Ministers Meeting in Seoul, said the moderate Syrian opposition forces that will be part of the train and equip program in Kırşehir won't be abandoned once they are back in Syria. He said ignoring their plight once in Syria was against what the program wanted to achieve, adding that the U.S. and Turkey had agreed in principle to provide the trained and equipped moderate forces with air protection in Syria. He said that the air cover for trained Syrian forces was not part of the comprehensive plan put forward by Turkey that included setting up no-fly zones and safe zones in Syria. On the issue of Rohingya refugees, he said Turkey was in close contact with Indonesia and Malaysia, which are also MIKTA members, adding that the government had donated $1 million to help the refugees. The foreign minister also remarked on the start of the latest round of Cyprus unification talks, noting that Turkey was more determined than ever to resolve the issue. The current positive climate created by the resumption of talks needed to last, he said.

    • The American Mainstream Media – A Classic Tale of Propaganda
      The US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the NATO's 1999 Kosovo campaign was no accident.
    • The Bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999, Reconsidered
      When I was in Beijing during the protests in 1989, a middle-aged man came up to me and asked, “Couldn’t America send some B-52s here and…” and he made a swooping motion with his hand.

      Ten years later, on May 7, 1999, the American bombers did show up.

      Instead of showering freedom ordnance on China’s dictators, however, they dropped five bombs on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

      As to why this happened, the United States has always declared it was an accident.

    • Ted Yoho Leads a Coalition to Ensure Only DOD Handles Drones
      Teaming up with conservatives, libertarians and liberals, at the end of last week U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., continued his fight to ensure authority over armed drones remains solely with the Department of Defense (DOD), as he brought back the “Drone Reform Act (DRA)” on Friday.

    • Germany and US Drones
      Germany should make sure that Ramstein is not used for illegal attacks

    • German Court Turns Down Drone Lawsuit but Leaves Door Open to Others

    • Court rejects Yemenis' case against Germany over US drones
      A German court on Wednesday rejected a lawsuit against the government brought by three Yemeni men who lost two relatives in a U.S. drone strike.

      The men, who were unable to leave Yemen to attend the hearing, alleged in their suit that the German government let the United States use an air base in southern Germany to relay flight control data for lethal drone strikes, including the 2012 attack in which their relatives were killed.

    • Court hears Yemenis' case against Germany over US drone strike that killed 2 relatives

    • Yemeni Claim that Germany Helped US Drone Strikes Dismissed

    • Court rejects case against US drone strikes
    • German court to begin hearing in Yemen drone case
    • German court hears case into US drone killings in Yemen
    • Family Of American Drone Victims Vow To Fight German Court Ruling
    • German court set to hear testimony from family of Yemeni drone victim
    • Yemenis Are Taking Germany to Court Over US Drone Strikes
    • Court rejects Yemenis' case against Germany over US drone strike that killed 2 relatives
    • Court dismisses claim of German complicity in Yemeni drone killings
    • German court rejects Yemen drone case
    • Drone War: German Court Throws Out Case by Family of Slain Yeminis
    • German court rejects Yemenis' case over US drone killings
    • German court rejects complaint from Yemeni drone victims
    • German court case centers on Ramstein's possible role in drone attack
    • Yemeni Claim that Germany Helped US Drone Strikes Dismissed
    • 'US Can Do Whatever It Wants on German Soil': German MP on Ramstein Base
    • Court dismisses Yemenis' case over German role in US drone strikes

    • German Court Rejects Case Brought by U.S. Drone Strike Victims’ Family
      A German court in Cologne has rejected the lawsuit of a Yemeni family whose two relatives died in a U.S. drone strike.

    • Andrew Cockburn chronicles how U.S. drones complete Obama’s Kill Chain
      The United States military’s desire to kill without putting its soldiers at risk began earlier than many realize. In Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins, veteran Washington reporter Andrew Cockburn begins the story of America’s modern assassination program in the 1960s, on the Ho Chi Minh trail in North Vietnam.

    • The debate on lethal robots is starting too late
    • Beyond drone warfare: Prof warns of ‘automated killing machines’
    • Drones deciding on their own when to kill? No thanks
    • Who will police the killer robots?
    • DARPA’s Autonomous Robots might Do More Damage than Good
    • DARPA’s ‘killer robots’ technology can leave humans ‘utterly defenseless’
    • US Military Developing Killer Robots For War

    • US air force embraces sci-fi technology in a dynamic shift in advanced weaponry
      From Artificial Intelligence, drones and the Internet of Things - the US army also has something clever up their sleeves and it’s no messing around with this new weapon of defense.

    • DARPA tests laser weapon for fighters, drones
      The U.S military will come one step closer to its dream of arming fighter jets with ray guns this summer, as DARPA shifts one of its hottest laser projects onto White Sands Missile range for field tests.

    • Drone warfare gone awry...
      Victims of drones are living witnesses of the US' barbaric policies, brutalities and indiscriminate killing of civilians.

    • Casualties and Polls: Some Observations
      Ryan, who I don’t believe opposes drone technology per se, nevertheless criticizes the many surveys that consistently show solid U.S. support for drones because they “fail to seek information about public attitudes in the face of drone operations that, in reality, often cause civilian deaths.” He is right to conclude that, logically, public support declines when civilian casualties are involved, and he is also right to critique the polls. I do disagree, however, with the popular assumption (and not just Ryan’s) that “in reality” drone strikes “often” cause civilian casualties.

    • The Kill List: ICWatch Uses LinkedIn Account Info to Out Officials Who Aided Assassination Program
      WikiLeaks has begun hosting a new database called ICWatch, built by Transparency Toolkit. The site includes a searchable database of 27,000 LinkedIn profiles of people in the intelligence community. Organizers say the aim of the site is to "watch the watchers." WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks about how the database could be used to help identify individuals connected to the U.S. kill list, formally known as the Joint Prioritized Effects List, or JPEL.

    • ICWatch Uses LinkedIn Information to Out Officials Who Aided Assassination Program
    • Death From Above
      This formula is repeated throughout the rest of the book. That is 1) There is a military problem 2) Someone always tries to find a technological solution, and then 3) Spends a lot of money only to find out the U.S. has made the problem worse.

    • Why a Muslim Peace Hero May Not Be Welcome
      Speaking in my hometown, Oxford, on Tuesday, Qatar’s Shaikha Moza told an audience at the university that Muslims are being “dehumanised” by Western media coverage of violent Islamic extremism and identified as “something fearful and unknowable”.

      I have to agree and do not consider this phenomenon to be particularly new. The British tabloids have worked hard to present Muslims at home and abroad as backward and hostile. I imagine this makes it easier to kill them when we send bombs and armed drones into Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

    • American prisoner's fate unknown after deadly air strikes on Yemen jail
      Fears are growing over the fate of an American citizen trapped in a Yemeni military prison after a Saudi air strike bombed the compound where his lawyers believe he is held.

    • Podcast: The Case of Sharif Mobley, Detained American Possibly Killed in Saudi Attack in Yemen
      Sharif Mobley is a US citizen, who was kidnapped in Yemen and has been in detention for five years. The FBI is known to have interrogated him. His life has been increasingly endangered as war rages in Yemen, and this past week the military compound, where he has been held, was bombed.

    • Public Opinion, International Law, and Drone Strikes: Some Reflections
      We commend Professor Charles Dunlap for his excellent recent post on international law and public support for drone strikes. As he notes, there are many points of agreement between him, Professor Goodman, and ourselves, primarily that when it comes to drone strikes, the American public is interested not just in being safe, but in being compliant with international law. Of course, he points to a number of differences and we appreciate the opportunity to respond to what we take to be the main criticisms he raises.

    • Justice Department issues policy on domestic drone use
      The Justice Department is acknowledging that the FBI, DEA and other federal law enforcement agencies are likely to make increasing use of unmanned aerial drones in the United States.

    • NYT Trumpets U.S. Restraint against ISIS, Ignores Hundreds of Civilian Deaths
      The article claims that “the campaign has killed an estimated 12,500 fighters” and “has achieved several successes in conducting about 4,200 strikes that have dropped about 14,000 bombs and other weapons.” But an anonymous American pilot nonetheless complains that “we have not taken the fight to these guys,” and says he “cannot get authority” to drone-bomb targets without excessive proof that no civilians will be endangered. Despite the criticisms, Schmitt writes, “administration officials stand by their overriding objective to prevent civilian casualties.”

    • Humanizing War and the Dangers of Drone Warfare
      Though war is one of the greatest scourges of humanity, the Church has always sought to humanize war, as much as this is possible. This effort faces a new challenge with the rise of drone warfare, now in nascent stage. The USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace has just released its second letter in two years on the topic. What does it mean to humanize war? How has this challenge become more difficult? I will briefly examine these questions before introducing the important contribution of these two letters from the bishops.

    • The U.S. Navy’s Big Mistake — Building Tons of Supercarriers
      The Pentagon behaves as if aircraft carriers will rule forever … they won’t

    • Hawks of a Feather
      The glaring exception to all this hawkishness, of course, is Rand Paul, the libertarian senator who made his mark in 2013 with a filibuster protesting the American policy of using drones to kill Americans engaging in terrorism overseas. Paul was absent from Oklahoma City last month, busy with another filibuster to stop the National Security Agency’s metadata collection program. Days later, in an interview on MSNBC, the Kentucky senator lambasted the “hawks in our party” for policies that he said have allowed the terrorist group ISIS to “exist and grow.”

    • Dying in Vain at Home is No Different Than Abroad
      Just to round out this discussion of dying in vain and to give the concept a domestic feel, here is something to think about: Black men aged 20-34 died at a higher rate in Philadelphia in 2002 than in the military in Iraq from 2003-06 at the height of the US war there. Now that is real dying in vain, and a dying in vain that seems to grind on every day in America’s urban areas.

    • 30 Years Later: The Bombing Of MOVE Part 2
      Jared Ball and Bashi Rose continue their coverage of the May 13th Commemoration of the 1985 Bombing of MOVE

    • The weapons of war
      A century ago, the world witnessed the first use of weapons of mass destruction. On April 22, 1915, the German High Command launched their first chlorine attack with a bombardment of the trenches on the Western Front, sending a thick yellow cloud floating towards the French and Canadian lines. Its effects were horrific even by the standards of the trenches. Chlorine burnt the throat and destroyed the lining of the lungs. Many drowned in their own bodily fluids.

    • Activists condemn Swiss drone deal with Israel
      Swiss activists started a campaign on Tuesday against an official deal between their country and Israel through which Switzerland is to buy drones, Quds Press has reported. The first protest took place outside Switzerland's largest military base.

    • The Vocabulary of War Criminals
      In the land of American exceptionalism, bipartisan political leaders make “mistakes” in foreign policy; they do not commit war crimes. The invasion of Iraq offers a much needed case study; and the brother of the president who launched the invasion sets the stage.

    • Taking Responsibility For Drone Killings- President Obama And The Fog Of War
      When President Barack Obama apologized on April 23 to the families of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an American and an Italian, both hostages killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in January, he blamed their tragic deaths on the “fog of war.”

    • TV ads urge Syracuse drone pilots to refuse flying over Afghanistan
      A coalition of peace groups began airing TV ads in Syracuse this week urging pilots from the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field in Mattydale to stop flying their remotely-piloted drones over Afghanistan.

      The 15-second TV ads are critical of the attacks carried out by the New York Air National Guard's MQ-9 Reaper drones operated by the attack wing.

      "Drone pilots: Please refuse to fly," the ads say. "No one has to obey an immoral law."

    • Families Press for Changes in Policy on Hostages
      Mr. Obama, she said, also conceded that his administration had failed her. “That was the least he could do,” Mrs. Foley said in an interview this week. “That was hopeful. I recognize that the administration feels badly it was not handled well and it was not given the priority it should have had.”

    • The Foreign Policy Essay: Just How Effective is the U.S. Drone Program Anyway?
      While these announcements represent an uncommon acknowledgement of casualties from drones, notably absent from these remarks was the acknowledgement that Weinstein and Lo Porto were indeed killed by a drone strike, the specific location of the strike, and which government agency was responsible for conducting the strike. Even in a moment of apparent transparency, the U.S. government was opaque.

    • RAF Waddington drone protesters' trial put back until later this year
      The trial of four protesters who allegedly cut the perimeter fence at RAF Waddington and walked onto the base has been postponed until October.

      The defendants, members of the End The Drone Wars group, were arrested on January 5 following their protest against the use of unmanned Reaper 'drones' in the Middle East, remotely piloted from Waddington.

      Christopher Cole, 51, from Oxford, Gary Eagling, 52, from Nottingham, Dr Katharina Karcher, 31, from Coventry, and Penelope Walker, 64, from Leicester, all deny criminal damage.

    • The Interpreter on terrorism and dual citizenship
      Given yesterday's announcement by the Prime Minister that his Government would legislate within weeks to revoke Australian citizenship from dual-nationality terrorists, it is worth revisiting three Interpreter pieces on whether this is a useful weapon in the fight against terrorism.

    • Interactive map shows details of every bomb that hit Aberdeen in World War II
      Recalling historical dates in chronological order might not be everyone’s party trick, but a new online map has just made gathering World War II knowledge a little easier. Powered by Google, the digital tool highlights the areas of Aberdeen which fell victim to the air raids of the 1940s – and the dates of when they were hit.

    • Memorial Day Heroes: "Thank You For Your Service"...On Second Thought
      It is Memorial Day again. Some will celebrate. Some will drink too much. Some will march in parades. Some will rally around the flag. Some will go shopping. Some will mourn. I am among the mourners. I mourn mostly for those we have killed — and I mourn for those we haven’t killed yet, but will in the days ahead. I mourn for all of the mothers and fathers who put their children to bed at night and wonder if this will be the night that they are killed by a drone attack.

      I mourn for the 500,000 Iraqi children - dead because of U.S. foreign policy. The official policy as described by Madeleine Albright on 60 Minutes was 'that we think the price was worth it.' Worth it to whom? Not to the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandmothers and grandfathers of those children.

    • Gaza Strip: Israel to open investigation into Palestinian Bedouin sisters' death near Khan Younis
      The deaths of Hakema Abu Adwan, 66, and Nadjah Abu Adwan, 47, was first documented by soldiers in the report in early May, when it was claimed the sisters were shot dead on 22 July by Israeli forces who then listed them as terrorists despite knowing that they were civilians.

    • Catch 22 at the German Embassy
      In an aggressive move, one of the demonstrators repeatedly forced a list of children killed by U.S. drone strikes into the embassy “janitorial” staff’s view.

    • A Civilian Is A Combatant Is A Civilian Is A Combatant
      The researchers found that many people who have lived where wars are fought have taken part in those wars in one way or another, and that they have no clear understanding (not that anyone else does) of when they have been civilians and when combatants. Said one interviewee, highlighted as typical: "What I think is that there is no line at all. . . . Civilians can turn into fighters at any time. Anybody can change from a fighter to a civilian, all in one day, in one moment."

      The interviewees made clear that many are forced into participation in war, others have very little choice, and others join in for reasons not too different from those expressed by the Pentagon: primarily self-defense, but also patriotism, prestige, survival, civic duty, social standing, outrage at the targeting of peaceful protesters, and financial gain. Bizarrely, not a single interviewee said they joined in a war in order to prevent Americans from going shopping after church or otherwise continuing with their lifestyle or freedoms.

    • Albania and Serbia vow to work for Balkans’ stability
      At the heart of the mutual friction was Kosovo, the former Serbian province with an ethnic Albanian majority which unilaterally declared independence in 2008.

    • Neocons: The Men of Dementia
      So it happened also that when our modern heroes rode through the deserts of the Middle East, they saw a robust fellow (Iraq) mistreating a little fellow (Kuwait). When our heroes accosted him, the big fellow said that the little fellow was stealing his oil and not helping him protect his flock (the Arab nations) from the advancing Iranians. So Iraq, who had no money “with him” as Cervantes says of the lout Don Quixote encountered, said he could not pay Kuwait what it owed it.

    • Colorado theater shooting victims relive terror in courtroom
      From the witness stand, Christina Blache could finally do what she had most wanted and most feared: She looked for the first time at the man who shot her, who killed her friend, who ravaged so many lives.

      Her muscles tensed. Her nerves tingled. She fought back tears.

    • Kurdish women’s militia takes a stand for Ras al Ayn
      Nujaan, who is 27 and has been a soldier for four years, says that Isis’s “target is women”. She says: “Look at Shingal [in Iraq] where they raped the women and massacred the men. It is a matter of honour to defend ourselves first, and then our families and lands.” Sitting beside her is Zenya, 22, who adds that she also “is fighting for myself and my family”.

    • US Military and Civilians Are Increasingly Divided
      While the U.S. waged a war in Vietnam 50 years ago with 2.7 million men conscripted from every segment of society, less than one-half of 1 percent of the U.S. population is in the armed services today -- the lowest rate since World War II. America's recent wars are authorized by a U.S. Congress whose members have the lowest rate of military service in history, led by three successive commanders in chief who never served on active duty.

    • Chinese embassy in Pakistan verifying hostage video
      The Chinese embassy in Pakistan is attempting to verify reports of a video purporting to show a Chinese kidnapped by Taliban-allied fighters in Pakistan a year ago asking Beijing to help secure his release.

      Chinese in Pakistan have been told to be on the alert, despite the security situation improving this year.

    • Video surfaces of a kidnapped Chinese tourist in Pakistan
      A militant video released Sunday purported to show a Chinese tourist kidnapped by Taliban-allied fighters in Pakistan a year ago asking for his government to help him be released.

      A militant known to belong to a Taliban splinter group called Jaish Al-Hadeed, or the “Contingent of Steel,” gave the video to The Associated Press. While it could not be independently verified by the AP, the man in the video resembled other known photographs of Hong Xudong, kidnapped in May 2014.

    • Video of Chinese hostage could prove embarrassing for Pakistan
      An armed militia group in Pakistan with links to the Taliban released a video of a Chinese tourist they announced that they kidnapped last year, according to Hong Kong's Oriental Daily.

      In the video, the hostage asked the Chinese government to pay the ransom or his captors would execute him, but did not specify the sum of money. The hostage also criticized the Pakistani government, stating that they only care about money and had made no attempt to rescue him, the paper said.

    • The Global Elite’s Crimes Against Humanity
      Virtually every government in the world creates an illusion for its people. Take economic policy. Government policies might hurt us in the short term, but we are all on a one way route to the ‘promised land’ of happiness, or so we are told by the politicians, the corporate media and spokespersons for the ones who make us suffer to ensure they never have to – the privileged elite, the ruling class.

    • ISIS vs 3D printing
      Time and again, conflict has been bad news for historical artifacts and sculptures. There was the infamous burning of the Library of Alexandria, the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan by the Taliban, and the Nazi's battle to burn as much “degenerate art” as they could find. Swept up in a violent fervor, mobs and soldiers have been quick to destroy what took societies centuries to create; what museums and collectors spent decades collecting, preserving, and documenting for the public.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • CIA Hordes Climate Data from Scientists

      In other words, MEDEA was a program that scientists relied on to get accurate and classified climate data — and now it is gone. But why?

    • Awkward: CIA Shuts Down Climate Research Program After Obama Frames Climate Change as National Security Threat

    • CIA Stops Sharing Climate Change Info With Scientists
      In a recent speech, President Obama proclaimed that climate change “constitutes a serious threat to global security (and), an immediate risk to our national security,” and warned that it actually could exacerbate other menaces, such as terrorism and political instability.

      “Severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram,” Obama said. “It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East.”

      But even as the White House is affirming its focus, the CIA reportedly is ending a key program that shared the agency’s climate change data — some of it gathered by surveillance satellites and other clandestine sources.

    • The CIA shuts down program that gives scientists access to vital climate change data
      The CIA will no longer allow climate change scientists to access data from spy satellites and submarines in order to study global warming. Prior to the announcement, scientists could study global warming data in extreme detail thanks to a program, called MEDEA — Measurement of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis. Now the CIA is shutting down the program, saying that there is no longer a need to study the implications of climate change.

    • CIA Ends Information Sharing with Climate Scientists
      The CIA began the program in 1992 under President George H. W. Bush, whose son George W. Bush, as president, shut down MEDEA. In 2010, President Barack Obama revived the program along with establishing a new CIA office, Center for Climate Change and National Security. That office was shut down without explanation in 2012.

    • Gelderland uses ‘neck breaker’ to kill geese at €13.50 a bird
      Gelderland provincial council has given a €22,000 contract to a small pest control company to kill 1,600 geese using a controversial method of breaking the birds’ necks.

      Despite the cost of €13.75 per bird, no-one has seen if or how the method works and the province does not plan to check up on the work or animal welfare issues, the AD reports.

      The contract has been awarded to a company named V&T, based in Leerdam but details about how the neck breaker will work are sketchy.

      The method, known as cervical dislocation, involves snapping the birds’ necks one by one. According to the local broadcaster Omroep Gelderland, the bird’s neck is placed between two blocks and then broken, resulting in a ‘stress-free and painless death’.

    • What Will the Refugio Oil Spill Kill?
      Since last Tuesday’s oil spill, more than 20,000 gallons of death-dealing crude has sickened or killed pelicans, cormorants, grebes, dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals, bass, guitarfish, spiny lobsters, rock crabs, urchins, octopi, shrimp, mussels, sea hares, sponges, anemones, coral, and whole swaths of smaller sea life along the long-protected and once-pristine Gaviota Coast.

    • 4 more bodies found after Texas flooding
      Authorities said Friday they reclaimed four more bodies from Texas waters, adding to the growing death toll inflicted by record-setting storms that continue to submerge highways and flood homes.

    • Texas, Okla. Flooding Kills 19, More Rain Expected
      Floodwaters deepened across much of Texas on Tuesday as storms dumped almost another foot of rain on the Houston area, stranding hundreds of motorists and inundating the famously congested highways that serve the nation's fourth-largest city.

  • Finance

    • Germany: many strikes and a big scandal
      Was the German working class suddenly turning super-militant? Some may have been fearful, some hopeful that on the rail lines and elsewhere the old IWW-Wobbly song from 1915-USA, "Solidarity Forever" was literally coming true: "... without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn."

      The strike of locomotive engineers stopped freight cars May 19 and passenger traffic the next day. Unlike eight previous strikes by the same union, the strike was not for 30 hours, 42 hours or six days - but with no end date. Although the state-owned but largely independently-run railroad company tried to maintain a skeleton schedule, two-thirds of the wheels stopped turning; also city rail service was cut by 40 to 85 percent. In Berlin the crucial "S-Bahn" elevated system tried hard to achieve at least 20-minute intervals on main routes. Subway, bus and tram lines were unaffected - but overfilled.

    • Disgraced general David Petraeus is now being rolled out by private equity firm in a bid to impress potential new clients
      Former CIA director's name recognition has become way for company KKR to help attract big name clients from country's richest families

    • KKR rolls out ex-CIA director David Petraeus in hunt for family wealth
      Matthew McCarthy was asked by KKR to fly to New York from Ohio, where he manages money for the founders of a consumer-products company. First he had dinner with KKR's billionaire co-founder Henry Kravis. The next morning, he met David Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and current chairman of the KKR Global Institute at the company's headquarters.

    • Why would anyone want to buy shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland?
      Front and centre of these will be the settlement with US regulators for as much as $10bn (€£6.5bn) for the mis-selling of sub-prime mortgages and mortgage securities, the scale of which could provide a serious headache for chief executive Ross McEwan.

    • Acting for Your Life on LA’s Skid Row
      The more he researched, the more he was drawn into the population that most middle-class people would prefer to ignore. After raising some modest funds, he opened an office to begin recruiting Skid Row’s residents for a theater that would tackle their problems and those of society as a whole. As you can imagine, given the psychological wreckage and drug problems of those who he would be directing, this was not an easy task. McEnteer writes about Jim Beame, a talented but mentally ill member of Malpede’s company who riffed about baseball and other things that struck his fancy in a performance piece and as such was described as the company’s “star” by People magazine:

      But there was no Hollywood happy ending for Jim Beame. True, his association with LAPD appeared to calm him down somewhat. He had become more subdued and less overtly angry. But still, in his anger he hallucinated whoever he was with into his parents or his ex-wife, who was trying to control him. He had been kicked out of virtually all the shelters on Skid Row for his loud, abusive behavior. He interrupted long recitations of baseball or basketball statistics only to make lewd comments to any women who happened to be present. Conversation with him was impossible. By the time he joined LAPD he had been on the streets for six years, living in a vacant lot near Chinatown, eating out of the trash.

    • 5 Facts About The Cuban Economy
      Cuba was doing business with the U.S. even before the embargo was lifted.

    • In Shocking Move, Goldman Slashes America's Long-Run "Potential GDP" From 2.25% To 1.75%
      While Ben Bernanke will never agree that global economic growth has ground to a halt as a result of his monetary policies, a phenomenon which in the past year has been dubbed "secular stagnation" by the very serious weathermen (and will certainly never admit the reason for such stagnation), with every passing month one thing becomes clear: there can be no growth and certainly no prosperity for the broader population with a $200 trillion (and rising at over $10 trillion per year) overhang in global debt. And now, even Goldman gets it.

    • Proposals to extend marketplace subsidies would only delay damage
      Congressional proposals to temporarily extend federal health insurance subsidies if they’re lost in an upcoming Supreme Court decision would only delay, not avoid premium hikes, insurance market disruptions and potential coverage losses for millions of Americans.

    • Thousands of Ukrainians protest Kiev regime’s draconian utility price hikes

      Protests are mounting against decisions by the NATO-backed regime in Kiev to drastically increase prices for energy, water, and other basic necessities. Protesters reportedly set up a mock gallows near government buildings in downtown Kiev this weekend. The protests follow a march on May 16 of an estimated 5,000 people in Kiev to protest the price hikes.

      The right-wing government in Kiev is slashing spending on subsidies to basic goods to funnel the money to the Ukrainian regime’s Wall Street creditors and boosting military spending on the war against Russian-backed forces in east Ukraine. As a result, consumer prices for basic necessities are skyrocketing.

    • Elon Musk's growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies
      Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space.


      Tesla and SolarCity continue to report net losses after a decade in business, but the stocks of both companies have soared on their potential; Musk's stake in the firms alone is worth about $10 billion. (SpaceX, a private company, does not publicly report financial performance.)

      Musk and his companies' investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost.

  • Lobbying/Politics

    • Here's what's in Ben Bradlee's FBI file
      Ben Bradlee was a legendary editor, a man whose Washington Post brought down a president and whose swashbuckling style made him a celebrity and a hero to many an aspiring journalist.

      But according to J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s towering, autocratic leader for much of the postwar era, Bradlee was “a colossal liar” who was out to smear him.

    • Now open: The Clinton campaign store

    • Dredging Hanoi Lake for Life after McCain
      They have deranged smiles, hefty laughs, sometimes, like John McCain, seven homes, a cool twenty million in the bank, and that syphilitic grin.

      I was in Vietnam, 1994, talking with people in Hanoi. Saw the photos of children all lined up in the courtyard of an orphanage. Oh, maybe 20 in one shot, 10 in another, and the story was repeated through narratives, both visual and oral.

    • Dana Milbank: The clown car Republican field
      In the oversold Republican primary situation, a candidate is likeliest to get attention when there’s a screw-up, such as Jeb Bush’s five attempts last week to answer a simple question about Iraq, or the borderline racist questions posed to Cruz by Mark Halperin of Bloomberg News.

  • Censorship

    • Court Orders VPN, TOR & Proxy Advice Site to be Blocked
      The site, RUBlacklist, is an information resource aimed at users who wish to learn about tools that can be used to circumvent censorship. It doesn’t host any tools itself but offers advice on VPNs, proxies, TOR and The Pirate Bay’s Pirate Browser.

  • Privacy

    • WhatsApp and Google – Forced By MI5 to Hand Over Encrypted Messages
      New laws are about to take effect in the UK, where the Conservatives want to force Google, Apple and Facebook to hand over encrypted messages from suspects (criminals or terrorists) to unravel their plans and annihilate them. These encrypted messages might be analyzed by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

    • Inside the company that can predict the future by analyzing every piece of information on the web
      Even so, his company is likely to be clued in. That’s because Recorded Future doesn’t just mine open forums for information: it tries to scan every part of the open web. Hackers frequently talk to each other on chat platforms known as IRCs — and Recorded Future is able to pick up those conversations too.

    • PowerPoint should be banned. This PowerPoint presentation explains why.
      The indiscriminate and ingrained use of PowerPoint presentations threatens the military’s institutional integrity. Former defense secretary Robert Gates said he was terrified by the thought of promising young officers sitting in cubicles and reformatting slides in their prime working years. At the CIA, he was able to ban slides from briefings, but at the Pentagon, he couldn’t even cut down the number used. Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter banned PowerPoint presentations during a summit in Kuwait to encourage analysis and discussions, instead of the usual fixed briefings.

    • Athenians, lobby your lawmakers to let PATRIOT Act expire

    • Patriot Act reform: Senate debates NSA surveillance – live updates
      Controversial provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire tonight if the Senate doesn’t reach a compromise on government surveillance in a rare Sunday session. We are inside Congress with all the latest updates on the fate of the first major reform package since the Edward Snowden revelations – and what another marathon legislative session could mean for the future of intelligence.

      The USA Freedom Act, a bipartisan compromise that would ban the bulk collection exposed by Snowden and is overwhelmingly backed in the House of Representatives, fell three votes short of advancing in another marathon nine days ago. A two-month extension of government surveillance proposed by supporters of the status quo also fell short of the 60-vote supermajority needed to start debate on a bill in the Senate.
    • Orange schools to monitor social media posts of students, staff
      What Orange County students -- and staff -- post on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is now being monitored by their school district to "ensure safe school operations," the district announced this morning.

    • UK police requests to access phone calls or emails are granted 93% of the time
      Ministers are facing calls to curb the scale of police access to private phone and email records, after a report by privacy campaigners found officers were making a request every two minutes and getting access in 93% of cases.

      The figures, released to Big Brother Watch under freedom of information laws, found there were more than 730,000 requests for communications data between 2012 and 2014 from forces across the UK. There were annual increases in applications in each of those years, peaking at just under 250,000 last year, according to the report.

  • Civil Rights

    • Theater of the Absurd
      Elected in the brand name of peace, the Barack Obama has joked to his White House staff that he is “good at killing people.”

    • North Korea, Somalia top most corrupt countries’ list

    • Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: the Untold Story

    • Persecution of CIA’s Jeffrey Sterling
      The U.S. government’s successful prosecution of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for leaking secrets about a failed covert operation to the press followed a long campaign against him for protesting racial discrimination inside the spy agency, writes Norman Solomon.

    • Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: An Untold Story of Race and Retribution

    • Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: An Untold Story of Race and Retribution

      Jeffrey Sterling recently stood before a judge as his sentence was read. The former CIA officer, the judge declared, would spend 42 months — that’s three and half years — behind bars.

      The feds had convicted Sterling on nine felony charges, including seven counts of espionage.

      He didn’t sell secrets to the Russians. He didn’t trade intelligence for personal gain. He made no attempt to disrupt the American way of life.

      What did he do, then?

    • CIA Whistleblower Kiriakou Joins Anti-War Activists To Write Letters To Political Prisoners
      He spent 30 months in federal prison for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s government-sanctioned torture practices. Now John Kiriakou joins activists from the anti-war group Code Pink to write letters to other activists, dissenters and perceived political prisoners.

    • AUDIO: Whistleblower John Kiriakou to Robert Scheer: Whistleblowers ‘Are Not Alone’

    • Truthdigger of the Week: Whistleblower John Kiriakou
      As Kiriakou told Scheer, the DOJ stacks the cards in its favor by filing as many charges as it can against a defendant, burying the victim in legal fees and, even more important, in fear. And win it does. According to a ProPublica piece that Kiriakou references in the Truthdig interview, the Department of Justice is victorious in 98.2 percent of its cases.
    • Why the last of the JFK files could embarrass the CIA
      Shortly after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Chief Justice Earl Warren, who oversaw the first official inquiry, was asked by a reporter if the full record would be made public.

    • Top-Secret JFK Files Coming Soon—Maybe
      The 1992 JFK Records Act established that 40,000 documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy would be made public in October 2017. Now that the date is little more than two years away, seven archivists and technicians with top-secret security clearances have begun poring over the pages for processing at the National Archives, Politico reports. "Within our power, the National Archives is going to do everything we can to make these records open and available to the public," Martha Murphy, head of the archives' Special Access branch, says. "That is my only goal." However, the president-to-be will have the power to keep the records—including 3,600 documents that have never been made public—under lock and key, a move many fear will fuel lingering doubts about whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, whether US officials knew about the plot in advance, and if officials purposefully blocked a full investigation.

    • 3,600 unseen documents on JFK assassination to be released, website reports
      Was the assassination of John F. Kennedy engineered by a government agency? Did Lee Harvey Oswald work for the mob, or for communists? And just why was he in New Orleans in the summer before the assassination?

    • Remaining JFK Records Could Prove Controversial to Nation's Spy Agencies
      The remaining records concerning the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy are to be made public by October 2017, by law, but the release of those records is not guaranteed and may not happen if agencies such as the CIA and FBI appeal to the then-sitting president.

      "We have sent letters to agencies letting them know we have records here that were withheld," Martha Murphy, head of the National Archives' Special Access Branch, told Politico. While no agencies have requested a waiver quite yet, some have "gotten back to ask for clarification" while seeking more information.
    • The Kennedy files
      The JFK Records Act of 1992 ordered that all of the files related to the federal inquiry into John F. Kenney’s assassination be made public in 25 years. As the October 2017 deadline nears, POLITICO takes a look at what the files might tell us – if we actually get to see them.

    • Sen. Richard Burr: The Cloak and Dagger Senator
      No sooner had he become committee chairman this year when he staged an unheard of stunt in trying to reclaim from the executive branch copies of a classified report -- revealing new evidence of torture via "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the Central Intelligence Agency -- in order to bury it. It had been issued by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and the committee only weeks earlier.
    • Church Committee’s Fading Legacy
      In September 1975, CIA Director William E. Colby told Sen. Frank Church’s committee that 37 lethal poisons were discovered in an agency lab. Church, left, with Co-Chairman John G. Tower, R-Texas, displayed a poison dart gun for all to see.


      Schwarz, Fenn, Weiner and Wyden all agree that in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, many of the institutions spawned by the Church Committee’s investigations were seriously weakened.

      One blow to the power of the FISA court, Weiner said, came when President George W. Bush authorized warrantless NSA surveillance of American citizens without going to the court. It was an effective end-run, he said.

      “The system broke down after 9/11 on the direct orders of the president of the United States, who tried to bypass and countermand the court,” Weiner said.

      Fenn recalled a CIA official’s telling remark during a hearing.

    • Journalist's Spying Trial Starts In Iran
      Washington Post's Tehran reporter Jason Rezaian is accused of espionage and gathering classified information, among other charges.
    • Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian goes on trial in Iran for spying
      Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter imprisoned in Iran for nearly 10 months, is standing trial behind closed doors in Tehran on charges of espionage and at least three other major crimes.

    • Can you tell the difference between Bush and Obama on the Patriot Act?
      Dick Cheney and George W Bush were widely condemned by Democrats for their baseless fear-mongering to pressure members of Congress into passing expansive surveillance laws that infringed on American’s civil liberties. Unfortunately, with parts of their Patriot Act set to expire on Monday, the Obama administration is playing the very same game that its own party once decried hyperbolic and dishonest – even after a Justice Department report released last week concluded that the expiring section used to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk has never been vital to national security.

      See if you can tell the difference between the Obama administration’s statements about the renewal of the Patriot Act and those from the Bush administration when they wanted Congress to renew some of the controversial mass surveillance authorities they passed after 9/11.

    • Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez goes on hunger strike
      The jailed leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Leopoldo Lopez, has declared he is on a hunger strike and called for a protest march next weekend against the socialist government.

      Lopez, the best-known opposition activist in custody, was jailed more than a year ago for his role in instigating street protests against the president, Nicolás Maduro, that led to violence in which 43 people died and hundreds more were injured.

    • Facts About the Media Garbage Against Diosdado Cabello
      The CIA has been linked to each and every one of the conspiratorial and coup-making processes against the Bolivarian Revolution, call them coups, economic war, assassination attempts against the president, or barricades (guarimbas). (The CIA is) another sewer pipe that logically excretes pestilent water against the Revolution that it has been unable to overthrow. The CIA being used as a "journalistic sewer pipe" demonstrates what their intentions are.

    • Operation Condor: Cross-Border Disappearance and Death
      Operation Condor was a covert, multinational “black operations” program organized by six Latin American states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, later joined by Ecuador and Peru), with logistical, financial, and intelligence support from Washington.

    • An ex-spy whose cover is author
      Escaping surveillance is what Matthews used to do for a living. Officially he was a diplomat, in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, but his real job was recruiting and then managing foreign agents, often in places where such activity was forbidden.

    • The dirty truth about voting & How to be a billionaire by 40
      An extensive Princeton University study shows that the American people have no impact on which laws get passed.

    • Beauty queen fights racial bias in Japan
      Can a beauty pageant combat racial bias in one of the most homogeneous societies on Earth?

      Ariana Miyamoto, who is part African-American, thinks it can. And she has been enduring a lot of abuse to make that point.
    • Colossal Injustice Of Torture Victim Abu Zubaydah’s Ongoing Imprisonment
      It’s been some time since I wrote about Abu Zubaydah (Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn), one of 14 “high-value detainees” transferred from secret CIA prisons to Guantánamo in September 2006, beyond discussions of his important case against the Polish government, where he was held in a secret CIA torture prison in 2002 and 2003. This led to a ruling in his favor in the European Court of Human Rights last July, and a decision in February this year to award him — and another Guantánamo prisoner and torture victim, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — $262,000 in damages, for which, just last week, a deadline for payment was set for May 16, even though, as the Guardian noted, “neither Polish officials nor the US embassy in Warsaw would say where the money is going or how it was being used.”

    • "Incommunicado" Forever: Gitmo Detainee's Case Stalled for 2,477 Days and Counting
      Since being seized in a raid in Pakistan in 2002, Abu Zubaydah has had his life controlled by American officials, first at secret sites, where he was tortured, and since 2006 in a small cell in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And, thanks to one of the strangest, and perhaps most troubling, legal cases to grow out of the War on Terror, it appears he’s not going to be leaving anytime soon—which was exactly the plan the CIA always wanted. Not even his lawyers understand what’s transpired behind closed doors in a Washington, D.C., courtroom.
    • Enemies of the State: Beijing Targets NGOs
      Fear of foreign infiltration behind a draft law that turns civic groups into security risks

    • Report alleges border patrol engaged in abusive behavior
      An American Civil Liberties Union report alleges that border patrol agents have engaged in racial profiling and intimidation tactics along southern New Mexico's border with Mexico.
    • Confirm EU blacklist demands MP
      The EU has imposed sanctions and some travel bans on Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

    • The Cost of Secrecy
      Early last year, Pakistani anti-drone activist Kareem Khan received an unannounced visit at his Rawalpindi home from over a dozen unidentified men, some in police uniforms. He was subsequently abducted without being offered any explanation and, over the course of the next nine days, interrogated about his anti-drone work and tortured. After a local court ordered Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to produce Khan he was released and told not to speak to the media.

      Khan was due to travel to Europe to testify before parliamentarians about a December 2009 U.S. drone strike on his North Waziristan home that killed his brother and son along with a local stonemason staying with his family. He had also filed a case against the Pakistani government for its failure to investigate the deaths of his family members.

    • Why is this war hero being investigated?
      Lt. Col. Jason Amerine, a Special Forces war hero who played an instrumental role in the overthrow of the Taliban in the months after 9/11, is under investigation over a purported unauthorized disclosure relating to a U.S. hostage held overseas that was made to U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter's office.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Cloudflare: We’re Not Aiding and Abetting Piracy

        Popular CDN service CloudFlare has denied allegations from the RIAA that accuse the company of aiding and abetting piracy. Warning against a SOPA-like precedent, the company has asked the court not to include CloudFlare in the restraining order which aims to stop a reincarnation of music service Grooveshark.

      • Steve Albini: The music industry is a parasite… and copyright is dead
        Steve Albini is a renowned musician, record engineer, producer and songwriter. He’s also not shy of expressing a controversial opinion or two.

      • European Court To Explore If Linking To Infringing Material Is Infringing
        A couple of years ago in the Svensson case, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) made it clear (finally) that merely linking to content is not infringement. That was a case involving a news aggregator linking to official sources. However, in a new case that has been referred to the CJEU, the court will examine if links to unauthorized versions of content is infringing as well. The excellent IPKat has the details of the case which involves a blog that linked to some pre-publication Playboy photos in the Netherlands. A lower court had said that it wasn't copyright infringement, but still broke the law, by facilitating access.

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