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04.01.15

When Battistelli’s Defender, Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten, Attacked Europeans’ Right to Demonstrate

Posted in Europe, Fraud at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ivo Opstelten

Summary: The now disgraced (having just resigned) Ivo Opstelten played a role in helping Benoît Battistelli crush his staff

The European Patent Office (EPO) — especially its management as opposed to patent examiners– has indulged in relative calm this past week. What it does not know is that there is still have plenty of exclusive coverage coming and it’s not going to like it. These problems cannot be resolved with words but only with actions.

The EPO‘s management, namely Battistelli and his cronies, are on the retreat from EPO staff. The staff arguably has the upper hand now, so it will be getting its demands met one way or another.

Merpel from IP Kat delivered a sort of interlude at the end of last week, saying: “By recognising both the “social unease” that exists in the EPO and by timetabling the need to address it, this month’s Administrative Council Meeting appears to have provided at least a basis for the various interested parties — the President, Boards of Appeal, management, staff and unions, and also the members of the Administrative Council themselves if truth be told — to start afresh by building relationships that are founded on respect, on tolerance and understanding, on listening to one another, plus a leavening dose of humility.

“The outcome of the Administrative Council Meeting will certainly not be to everyone’s liking. For one thing, it approved the controversial healthcare reforms which, viewed from the standpoint of an objective bystander, appear to be one of the most significant causes of the “social unrest” and which will remain a permanent obstacle to its being remedied. Nor will its acceptance of the proposal for a Board of Appeal Committee, in the face of some sensible and constructive criticisms from the Praesidium and Board members, have done much to enhance respect or confidence for the Council itself. However, a door has been opened and a small step has been taken in the right direction. The question to ask now is whether, now that this opportunity has been created, it will be taken and built upon — or mocked and spurned.

“It is easy to be sceptical and to say that something won’t work, particularly if you can do it anonymously by penning comments on a blogpost. It’s also rather fun to be able to say to anyone who can be bothered to listen “See, it didn’t work. I told you so!” It’s far harder to swallow one’s pride, sit down with people you have not hitherto liked, trusted or respected, and talk through the problems that the EPO has to address, both those which it always has to face and those which it has recently created for itself. But that is what this Kat is calling for.”

EPO scandals should not be left in the past and treated as ‘old news’ because the core issues, including corruption, have not been addressed yet. Some recent articles from the Süddeutsche Zeitung serve to remind us of the profound issues at the EPO.

“We hope that you are enjoying your time in Singapore,” wrote to us a source some weeks ago when sending us translations of Süddeutsche Zeitung articles. “For your information just to keep you up to date with recent developments,” wrote this source, two recent articles from the Süddeutsche Zeitung (with English translations) were sent, accompanying the originals in Dutch.

The first one [PDF] (25th of February) is about the planned demonstration at the British Consulate in Munich (a demonstration which was called off following threats from Battistelli). Here is the English translation:

Süddeutsche Zeitung – Wednesday, 25 February 2015

An Inexorable Conflict

EPO staff call off an officially approved demonstration – because the President bans it

On one occasion, such a large number of staff – reportedly 2000 – arrived with their banners and placards that the police had to cordon off the street in front of the building with the
dark glass façade beside the Isar. They had taken to the streets to protest against the management style of the man who sits – some would say “resides” – on the top floor: Benoît Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office (EPO), an international organisation with its very own rules – “a state within a state”. A state which for quite some time now has been
in a virtual state of war.

All those who object to Battistelli’s new rules had planned to march again today. The route along the Isar would have brought them to the British Consulate General, just like previous actions which had taken place at the French and Danish Consulates. The EPO’s Staff Union SUEPO unexpectedly called off the officially approved demonstration: not of its own volition, however, but because the President had threatened the demonstrators with massive disciplinary consequences. This is confirmed by a document which the Süddeutsche Zeitung has seen. The Office management claimed that the demonstration was “contrary to the interests of the Office” and was likely to damage the EPO’s reputation. Staff members participating in the organisation of the demonstration were warned that they were in breach of the legal framework applicable to their contracts. In a letter to SUEPO, the President stated that the organisers would be held liable for their actions.

This de facto demonstration ban represents a new peak in a conflict whose intensity has been escalating during recent months. It is a conflict which has by now reached a point
where not even senior EPO representatives see any hope of a resolution. For quite some time now staff representatives have been fighting against the President and his plans for reform. The aim of these reforms is to provide a more efficient and cost-effective management of the Office – and one aspect of this involves tackling certain long-established “perks” which date from the early days of the EPO and which until now have contributed to attractive remuneration and working conditions. Time and time again, EPO staff have protested against what they consider to be the excessively brusque manner in which these reforms have been forced through. They have taken to the streets and in the weeks before Christmas they engaged in a strike action, albeit with diminishing participation towards the end. According to staff representatives this was due to increased internal surveillance and repression by management.

Photo Caption:

The Frenchman Benoit Battistelli will remain at the head of the European Patent Office until 2018. However, his management style has been the subject of harsh criticism.


The demonstrators have consistently emphasised that as far as they are concerned, this is not about money but rather about their fundamental rights, such as the freedom of expression. They consider that these rights have been increasingly curtailed by the President. Meanwhile, in attempting to justify the demonstration ban, Battistelli did not cite the attacks on his person and management style but referred instead to those directed against the two British delegates on the Administrative Council, the only supervisory body to which the President is subordinate. This body which is composed of delegates from the EPO member states is considered by its critics to be too much under the sway of the President. On a number of recent occasions, it has bolstered Battistelli, in particular by prematurely extending his term of office until 2018.

For this reason, the Staff Union wrote to the British Consulate General at the beginning of February and requested a discussion: not just about the President but also about what they considered to be the overly uncritical stance of the British delegation. Battistelli interpreted this as a personal attack on the two representatives of a member state. Moreover, discussions with member states are exclusively a matter for the Office – and by “Office” Battistelli means those at the top, i.e. himself. The EPO was unable to provide an answer to our question as to why Battistelli only decided to intervene now and why he did not raise any objection to previous demonstrations and letters to diplomatic representatives.

The second one [PDF] (27th of February) is about the Dutch court judgment and the intervention by the Dutch Justice Minister to prevent execution of the Judgment. There are more documents and comments about this on the public website of SUEPO. Here is the English translation:

Süddeutsche Zeitung – Friday, 27 February 2015

Being in the right is no guarantee of obtaining satisfaction

Following a reprimand by a Dutch court, the European Patent Office strikes back

Berlin – A Court of Appeal in the Netherlands has ordered the European Patent Office (EPO) to engage in collective bargaining with the Staff Union. In addition to this, the EPO is required to cease blocking emails from staff representatives and to desist from threatening Staff Union activists with disciplinary measures. With this development, the conflict between EPO staff and the President Battistelli has reached a new level of intensity. The Appeal Court (“Gerechtshof”) in the Hague has officially declared that the EPO violated the fundamental rights of its staff. The Staff Union known as “SUEPO” had no means of legal redress available to it.

The judgment opens up a new chapter of legal history because until now it was generally accepted that the EPO, as an international organisation, enjoyed immunity from the jurisdiction of national courts. Battistelli consistently emphasised this, in particular in connection with the reforms which he has been implementing in the Office during the last few years. He claimed
that he wanted to do away with long-standing privileges enjoyed by staff and that he had the support of the representatives of the 38 member states of the Organisation. Staff representatives and Union activists, however, complained that the changes led to restrictions of their fundamental rights, for example with respect to Union activities and industrial action. The headquarters of the EPO are in Munich and it also has large sub-offices in Berlin, Vienna and the Hague.

“It was quite an unusual decision”, the attorney representing the Staff Union, Prof. Liesbeth Zegveld, says about the judgment. “The EPO had, however, behaved badly because it did not recognise SUEPO as a social partner”. The EPO management on the other hand rejects the judgment of the Appeal Court as an encroachment. The judges had “decided not to respect the
fundamental principle of immunity” wrote the EPO President in a Communiqué to his staff. “This judgement is neither legally admissible nor practically enforceable”.

In order to ensure that its point of view prevailed, it would appear that the EPO Administration brought pressure to bear on the Dutch authorities. A spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of
External Affairs confirmed this version of events in response to a query from the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Dutch Government now takes the position that although the EPO is not immune from the jurisdiction of the courts in its conflict with the Staff Union, it nevertheless enjoys immunity from execution of the judgment. The Ministry of Justice ordered the Court Bailiff not to proceed with the execution. “The Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed to us that the judgment failed to take account of the international legal obligations of the [Dutch] State”, said the EPO press officer, Rainer Osterwalder.

What will happen next is unclear. On one hand, the EPO may refer the matter to the next instance, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. On the other hand, SUEPO attorney Liesbeth Zegveld is currently considering taking legal action against the [Dutch] State which, in her opinion, is obstructing its own justice system. It is possible that a similar lawsuit could succeed before the German courts.

“The European states, including Germany, should never have ratified the Convention relating to the European Patent Office,” says Siegfried Broß, a former judge of the German Constitutional Court, “because it places the fundamental and human rights of EPO employees at the disposition of the Office Administration.”

The Dutch Socialist Party has also issued a statement calling on the Dutch government not to tolerate human rights abuses at the EPO. To quote the summary alone: “The Court of Justice in The Hague last week ruled that the European Patents Organisation (EPO) is in conflict with important European fundamental rights, such as the right to strike. Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten is, however, refusing to give effect to the judgment, on the grounds that the EPO – not an EU institution, but one with thirty-eight member states, including all EU countries – is an independent organisation and therefore enjoys immunity. SP Member of Parliament Michiel van Nispen finds this reasoning absurd, he says. ‘The minister is thus approving the silencing of trade unions and the fact that workers can’t in the end enforce their rights,’ he points out. ‘Independent organisations should not be hampered in their functioning, but that doesn’t mean that they have carte blanche to transgress human rights and ignore judicial rulings.’”

In imminent articles we are going to show that even Battistelli’s defence, namely Opstelten, is itself corrupt. There is much that can be deduced from it.

Microsoft is Growing Desperate Trying to Destroy Linux While Not Publicly Appearing Anti-Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trojan horse tactics

Trojan horse

Summary: Microsoft continues to be a destructive company whose goal is to derail Linux and Android by means of infiltration and subversion, shrewdly disguised as being “nice”

MICROSOFT has already lost a lot of money failing to sell hardware; by some estimates, hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) have in fact been lost. It’s becoming a real problem for what used to be an arrogant monopoly. When I went to a computer store last night I saw that “Windows” had been relegated to a small corner with just two devices somewhere at the corner; it was Linux/Android almost everywhere. Apple was nowhere in sight. Microsoft is getting not only worried but rather desperate, so it is now claiming to be ‘open’ to dual boot [1] (Trojan horse strategy) — a lie so insincere that one must read [2] and recall how Microsoft is working to delete Android whilst also working prevent GNU/Linux from booting on future hardware. There are other speculations about what Microsoft is trying to do [3], not that they are novel; Microsoft has been trying to exploit Android apps like this for a number of years now; it is still hoping to “embrace and extend” Android with an ultimate goal of altogether removing Android or GNU/Linux. One of the latest plots is wiping Android and installing Microsoft spyware instead of Android apps from Google (using Cyanogen and patent extortion). Rupert Murdoch, a friend of Bill Gates and a sworn enemy of Google, personally invests in Cyanogen and is now using his newspapers for anti-Google propaganda [4]. John Dvorak does not believe that Microsoft stands a chance in devices [5] and we too, based on numerous years of Microsoft’s attacks on Android (from Facebook, Nokia and so on), don’t believe that Microsoft will succeed. But have no doubts; Microsoft will keep on trying. Microsoft is a destructive company.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft’s Surface 3 will dual boot with Android and Ubuntu

    However the most important feature of the tablet is its dual booting capability. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft Corporate VP Devices and Studios Marketing said during a press event, “It can run Microsoft Windows as well as Google’s Android, and it can also handle any Linux based distro without a hiccup. It’s also “a premium product at a premium price.”

    The move syncs with Microsoft’s effort to dual boot Android devices with Windows; the company is already working with some Android players to put Windows on their Android devices.

  2. Hands-On: Linux UEFI multi-boot part three, problem solving

    We’re in the home stretch now. In the first post of this series I looked at the general characteristics of Linux installations on systems with UEFI firmware – specifically how the disk is partitioned, and how multi-boot installations interact with each other.

    In the second post I looked at some details of the boot process, and how the GRUB configuration file was set up, first for a simple Linux-only installation and then for multi-boot with Linux only and Linux/Windows combinations. Whew. That’s a good bit of territory to cover, and I congratulate those who are still with me at this point.

    Now I want to look at a couple of exceptions, unusual or uncooperative situations.

  3. Microsoft Windows 10 Considering Emulator; Open Source Developer Kit To Build Its App Store

    Using an emulator to emulate all Android apps on Windows 10 was the first suggestion because Google’s operating system has a whole lot of apps and games to be utilized. It is still being considered a rumor but an interesting one that may change the way people see Windows. Besides, Microsoft wouldn’t mind taking such a route when compared to Apple, reports Venture Beat.

  4. Rupert Murdoch’s Media Empire Pushes Baseless Conspiracy Theory That Google “Controls The White House”

    Three of Rupert Murdoch’s largest and most powerful news outlets promoted baseless conspiracy theories that Google is using its alleged “close ties” with the Obama administration to receive favorable treatment and to push its policy agenda. Murdoch has a long history of attacking Google.

  5. Microsoft Doesn’t Understand the Smartphone

    Apparently, the next generation of computing is smartphones. They have been around for less than a decade and are generally replaced every two years, making them an incredible money maker for manufacturers that can keep up with demand.

    Although people have talked about the potential for an open smartphone, none of the current crop are truly open. Only Microsoft, which made its fortune on open ideas, has been making noise about creating versions of Windows 10 for the phone that could be ported to various Android phones.

    This idea would be great—if it actually worked, and if it improved the user’s phone experience. The problem is, the public has not warmed up to the Windows Phone OS itself. And you have to wonder why.

Links 1/4/2015: $149 Chromebook, Cinnamon 2.4.7

Posted in News Roundup at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 questions to determine if open source is a good fit for a software project

    A benefit of open source in general, and commercial open source in particular, is that you have the support of others as well as the ability to do the maintenance yourself.

  • Events

    • Registration for R/Finance 2015 is now open!

      The conference will take place on May 29 and 30, at UIC in Chicago. Building on the success of the previous conferences in 2009-2014, we expect more than 250 attendees from around the world. R users from industry, academia, and government will joining 30+ presenters covering all areas of finance with R.

    • Glimpse of FOSS ASIA
    • FUDCon Pune Planning Meeting – 31 Mar
    • Android/Mobile Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      As with 2014 and several years prior, 2015 is the year of the Linux smartphone. There are a number of mobile/embedded environments based on the Linux kernel, the most prominent of course being Android. One consequence of this prominence is a variety of projects derived from Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which raises the question of how best to manage them, and additionally if it is possible to run a single binary image of the various software components across a variety of devices. In addition, although good progress has been made upstreaming various Android patches, there is more work to be done for ADF, KMS, and Sync, among others. Migrating from Binder to KDBus is still a challenge, as are a number of other candidates for removal from drivers/staging. There are also issues remaining with ION, cenalloc, and DMA API. Finally, power management is still in need of improvement, with per-process power management being a case in point.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 37.0

        Firefox 37.0 has been released. This release features improved protection against site impersonation via OneCRL centralized certificate revocation, Bing search now uses HTTPS for secure searching, opportunistic encrypting of HTTP traffic where the server supports HTTP/2 AltSvc, and more. See the release notes for details.

      • Mozilla Firefox 37.0 Officially Released with Native HTML5 YouTube Playback, Firefox 40 Pushed to Nightly Channel

        As expected, Mozilla had the pleasure of unveiling today, March 31, the Mozilla Firefox 37.0 web browser for all supported computer operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, while pushing Firefox 40 to the nightly (unstable channel), Firefox 39.0 to the Dev channel, and Firefox 38.0 to the Beta channel.

      • Firefox 37 Coming Today With Heartbeat, HTTPS Bing

        Mozilla is today releasing Firefox 37.0 and with this open-source web-browser update comes many changes.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why DBaaS matters to OpenStack operators

      OpenStack Live attendees will have several opportunities to hear Amrith Kumar speak. Kumar, the founder and CTO of Tesora, will give three talks: Replication and Clustering with OpenStack Trove; Deploying, Configuring, and Operating OpenStack Trove; and An introduction to Database as a Service with an emphasis on OpenStack using Trove.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Development activity in LibreOffice and OpenOffice

      The LibreOffice project was announced with great fanfare in September 2010. Nearly one year later, the OpenOffice.org project (from which LibreOffice was forked) was cut loose from Oracle and found a new home as an Apache project. It is fair to say that the rivalry between the two projects in the time since then has been strong. Predictions that one project or the other would fail have not been borne out, but that does not mean that the two projects are equally successful. A look at the two projects’ development communities reveals some interesting differences.

  • BSD

  • FSF

    • LibrePlanet & the Sounds of Silence

      My sponsor for attending LibrePlanet was John Sullivan, the executive director of the Free Software Foundation, and I was surprised that he took the time to get me shown around. I wanted to kiddingly say to John, “Hey, you got people to do this, right?” I didn’t because I was afraid the humor would not have translated well…and I’m not sure it did here either.

    • Have You Decided Yet?

      On March 21st of this year, the Free Software Foundation presented our organization Reglue with the Award for Projects of Social Benefit. We share that announcement link with Sébastien Jodogne for being given the Award for the Advancement of Free Software. We’re specifically thankful that people like Sean “NZ17″ Robinson spearheaded this nomination campaign and got us into the running.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bringing open source to the NHS

      Malcolm Senior, director of informatics at the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, has been writing about the prospect of open source in the NHS.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • UK Ordnance Survey switches to Open Government Licence

        Ordnance Survey (OS), the British national mapping agency, has switched to version 3 of the Open Government Licence as the default for all of its open data products. This should make it easier for the open data community and other data publishers to re-use the OS mapping data, and for the data to be freely and easily mixed with other UK government sources.

      • Italy to implement its second OGP Action Plan

        Italy has published its second OGP Action Plan, covering the period 2014-2016. The central themes in the plan are participation, transparency, technological innovation, integrity, and accountability. Several online portals, including the Italian open data platform, will be extended with new functionality.

    • Open Hardware

      • Michigan Tech course to build your own 3D printer

        When engineering students start college, the high cost of proprietary tools can be a barrier to making their dreams become a reality. Recent advances in free and open source 3D printing have lowered rapid prototyping costs, making it accessible to everyone. The software industry already knows the force of open source, so now it’s time to start teaching free and open source hardware to all engineers.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Pac-Man Invades Ingress And Google Maps As Google Gets April Fools Started A Little Early

    You know what day it is. Yes, it’s March 31st, and that means the April Fools onslaught has commenced… because what’s better than one day when the internet becomes an annoying cacophony of fake news? Two of them, apparently. In fairness, Google’s pranks are usually less annoying than they are fun little games. Case in point, Pac-Man is invading Maps and Ingress.

  • OpenIndiana 2015.03 Updates Its Solaris/Illumos Environment

    The OpenIndiana crew responsible for this community-based OpenSolaris-derived operating system using the Illumos kernel is out with their first update in quite some time.

  • Hardware

    • Samsung, Google reportedly ink 3D NAND deal

      The Korea Times said Samsung had declined comment while Google was not available for its report. It noted that Samsung’s manufacturing plant in Xian, China, would grow its 3D NAND chips shipment to 960,000 wafers this year, up from 480,000 in 2014.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Honduras’ Unfolding Socioeconomic Nightmare

      A five-year neoliberal program in Honduras has contributed to the country’s far-reaching civic and economic deterioration. The increased privatization of Honduras’ economic activity and militarization of its police force has exacerbated the country’s rapid decline into inequality, violence, and lawlessness. The US has backed many of developments with $65 million in aid since 2008.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • After Snowden, The NSA Faces Recruitment Challenge

      After Snowden’s revelations, Swann’s thinking changed. The NSA’s tactics, which include retaining data from American citizens, raise too many questions in his mind: “I can’t see myself working there,” he says, “partially because of these moral reasons.”

03.31.15

Links 31/3/2015: New BlackArch Linux, Mozilla Firefox 37.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Writer on Linux philosopy opens up

    My favorite distributions are Fedora for my main workstation, laptop, and netbook. I generally use Centos for servers and firewalls. I have tried other distributions, but I prefer the Red Hat related ones because I started out with Red Hat 17 years ago, and I worked as a trainer for Red Hat for a while. It is what I know best.

    I also use Centos and, to a lesser extent, Fedora for teaching the classes I have written myself for the training portion of my business.

    I use LibreOffice Writer for writing documents like this article and the class lab projects, and I also keep records of the work I do for my customers; sort of a log of my activities. I use LibreOffice Calc for creating invoices, LibreOffice Impress for presentations, and GnuCash for my personal and business accounting needs.

    Thunderbird and Firefox provide for email and Internet browsing, respectively. I have added a few plugins to each to expand their capabilities to better meet my personal and business needs. For example, I use the Lightning calendar extension for Thunderbird and a Google extension to keep my calendar synchronized on multiple devices.

  • Desktop

    • Look Out World! China Is Giving Ubuntu GNU/Linux A Try

      For ages, China has been a world-leader in manufacturing and a tail-end-charlie in adoption of GNU/Linux on the desktop.

    • The Whole World Moves On To GNU/Linux
    • It’s Chrome OS’ turn for the Google Now upgrade

      Google has been increasingly pushing its Google Now virtual assistant and its “cards” convention across its different services and apps. The last one to get card-y was YouTube, where the cards will replace the older popups that relay additional information about videos. Now Google is teasing the next product to get a Google Now makeover, one that is probably long overdue anyway. The beta channel of its Chrome operating system has just gotten a new “Chrome Launcher 2.0″, and the most outstanding feature is the presence of Google Now.

    • Google Chrome OS Set to Get New Launcher

      Google is building a next generation interface for its Chrome OS operating system, which powers Chromebook laptop computers. Google is now offering users in its beta-channel the opportunity to preview features that are currently in development for Chrome OS, including a new launcher and a new look to the overall system.

    • Chromebook pilot tests open source learning resources

      Two teachers in Cumberland County are offering up their classrooms as testing ground for new technology. Students in Sarah Pharris’ seventh-grade language arts students and Jackie Hancock’s seventh-grade math students are using Chromebooks and a variety of Google learning tools to facilitate instruction in their classrooms.

  • Kernel Space

    • PulseAudio 7.0 To Enable LFE Remixing By Default

      Queued up in Git for the next version of PulseAudio, v7.0, is the enabling of LFE remixing by default after some upstream work was done by Canonical developers working on Ubuntu.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.37 Is One of the Most Advanced LTS Version Available

      The latest version of the stable Linux kernel, 3.14.37, has been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman, making this one of the most advanced long-term support version available for download.

    • Systemd Developers Did NOT Fork The Linux Kernel
    • Community Developments: The systemd Project Forks the Linux Kernel

      The systemd project began as an alternative implementation of init, the software which brings an operating system on-line when a computer boots. Traditionally, Linux distributions have used either the SysV init software or Upstart. While these older init systems had their benefits, systemd developers saw room for improvement and the chance to leverage several underutilized features available to modern Linux distributions. Using systemd, distributions are able to more easily start services in parallel, simplify service dependencies and make easier use of cgroups.

    • Systemd Developers Fork Kernel, Docker Package Management

      A wave of minor myocardial infarctions were reported today as Linux users read the news of a systemd kernel fork. Most were treated and released with only one admitted to the hospital with more severe symptoms. Elsewhere, folks are beginning to discuss the feasibility of Docker replacing Linux package management solutions. But there are several obstacles to container package utopia.

      Systemd continues to be distrusted by many in the Open Source world while others have uncomfortably accepted its presence in their everyday lives. However, when news broke this morning that systemd developers have forked the Linux kernel and plan on developing a whole distribution around it, repercussions were felt community-wide. As Distrowatch.com reporter Jesse Smith said this morning, “It appears as though the systemd developers have found a solution to kernel compatibility problems and a way to extend their philosophy of placing all key operating system components in one repository.” Smith quoted systemd developer Ivan Gotyaovich saying, “There are problems, problems in collaboration, problems with compatibility across versions. Forking the kernel gives us control over these issues, gives us control over almost all key parts of the stack. We will soon have GNU/systemd, [a] much simpler, unified platform.”

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Privacy and Tails 1.3

        Privacy and security are difficult to come by in our progressively connected world. Advertisers track our browsing habits, employers monitor productivity and government agencies monitor our communications. Most operating systems do not take steps to protect our privacy or our identities, two things which are increasingly difficult to guard. Tails is a Linux distribution that is designed to help us stay anonymous on-line and protect our identity. Tails is a Debian-based live disc that we can use to scrub our files of meta data, browse the web with some degree of anonymity and send private messages. According to the project’s website, “Tails is a live operating system, that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to: use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship; all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network; leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly; use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging.”

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Gentoo Family

    • Arch Family

    • Slackware Family

      • Long Term Support (LTS) for KDE 4

        Some folks asked whether the new KDE4-based packages in my KDE5 repository would also apply to KDE 4.14.3. The answer: no they probably won’t, so you better not try what happens.

    • Red Hat Family

      • SME Server 9.1 Beta 1 Is Now Available for Download, Based on CentOS 6.6

        The Koozali SME Server development team, through Terry Fage, was pleased to announce today, March 30, the immediate availability for download and testing of the SME Server 9.1 Beta 1 computer operating system, which is now based on the upstream CentOS distribution, which in turn is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

      • Red Hat Receives 2014 Global Partner of the Year: Technology Award

        Red Hat Inc(NYSE:RHT) announced that it was honored by Google for Work as the 2014 Global Partner of the Year: Technology. The award was presented to Red Hat at TeamWork 2015, the annual global partner summit of Google for Work, which took place in San Diego. The Technology partner of the year award that was awarded to the company emphasizes on the proven track record of Red Hat Inc(NYSE:RHT) of enabling the product adoption for its customers on Google Cloud Platform.

      • Fedora

        • Review: Lenovo X1 Carbon 3rd generation and Linux

          Considering that the fix for the first issue is widely available in most distributions and the second one is only a modprobe away, I’d say this laptop is pretty darned Linux compatible. I’m currently running Fedora 21 without any problems.

        • Fedora 22 Alpha Now Available For AArch64 & PowerPC64

          The alpha release of Fedora 22 was released a few weeks ago for the primary CPU architectures while finally coming out today is the F22 Alpha for 64-bit ARM and PowerPC architectures.

          Peter Robinson announced this afternoon the Fedora 22 Alpha release for AArch64 and Power64 architectures. These alternative architecture spins of the very promising Fedora 22 are primarily focused on the Server Edition of Fedora Linux.

          AArch64 and Power64 users of Fedora can learn more about this first Fedora 22 development release via the mailing list announcement. Fedora 22 is expected to be officially released in May.

        • Fedora 22 Alpha Is Now Available for the AARCH64 and POWER64 Architectures

          Peter Robinson, on behalf of the Fedora Project, has announced today, March 30, that the recently announced Fedora 22 Alpha Linux kernel-based operating system is now available for the AARCH64 and POWER64 (PPC64/PPC64LE) architectures.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Mint 18 Will Arrive in 2016, Linux Mint 17.2 and LMDE 2 Coming Very Soon

          The Linux Mint developers have announced today, March 30, in their monthly newsletter, that the team works hard these days to release the final version of the LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) 2 (codename Betsy), as well as to implement its awesome new features to the upcoming Linux Mint 17.2 update of the current stable distribution of the project, Rebecca.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition First-Time Boot – Video

            Today we take a quick look at the first time boot and configuration of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone. Those of you who watched our unboxing video of the first ever Ubuntu Phone device, would know that it takes some time for the operating system to start when used for first time.

          • Canonical Eyes Telecom, NFV Innovation with Ericsson Cloud Partnership

            Canonical and Ericsson have announced a partner deal that will bring Ubuntu Linux, in conjunction with OpenStack and OPNFV, to a new cloud platform for the telecom market.

          • Creating a Unified Ubuntu Experience

            On it’s own, Ubuntu is a solid desktop Linux experience. It offers ample application choices and it’s easy to use. But one area I would like to see greater focus is mirroring one desktop to another. That is, being able to find the same documents and other files I use on both desktop machines. In this article I’ll explore options I’ve found useful in creating a unified Ubuntu Experience.

          • The big lesson from Ubuntu, Windows and Coca Cola

            Parallels of the New Coke can be drawn with Microsoft’s efforts with Windows 8 and Ubuntu’s Unity desktop. Contrary to what has been said by some so-called technology blogs, both initiatives were not pulled out of the thin air and forced on unwitting users. They were both outcomes of research.

            Unity was a desktop that had previously shipped as part of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix flavor of the Ubuntu operating system for a while before it supplanted GNOME to become Canonical’s default user interface on the Ubuntu Desktop in Ubuntu 11.10. It is important to note that Unity was, just like New Coke, a result of “secret research” in computer user habits and an attempt to better serve the user based on these habits.

          • Here’s How to Create the Perfect Ubuntu Origami Unicorn – Video

            After announcing last week the Ubuntu Origami Unicorn contest, which can bring an awesome new BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition phone to a user that folds the best-looking Unicorn, today Canonical decided that it’s finally time to show the world how to make the perfect origami unicorn.

          • There Are Now More than 1,000 Apps and Scopes for Ubuntu Touch

            The Ubuntu Touch platform is still young and it’s only available “officially” on a single phone, that was made available only sporadically through flash sales, but the number of apps in the store has been increasing on a constant basis, so much so that there are now more than a 1,000 apps available.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Black Lab Linux Wants Ubuntu 10.04 Users to Upgrade to Their Professional Desktop

              Black Lab Software, the creator of the Black Lab Linux series of computer operating systems based on the world’s most popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu, announced earlier today, March 30, on their Twitter account, that they will offer customers who use Ubuntu 10.04 LTS a fully supported upgrade path to their Professional Desktop edition.

            • Cinnamon Developers Working to Improve Loading Times for the Desktop

              The Linux Mint developers are also working on the Cinammon desktop environment, so the distribution is not their entire focus. They are now trying to make it load faster and they say they already had some success.

            • Monthly News – March 2015

              The release candidate for LMDE 2 “Betsy” was announced. Bugs were fixed and we’re now getting ready for a stable release. Working on Betsy was very exciting and it paved the way for some of the work planned for Linux Mint 18 (in 2016). It also highlighted a few areas where things could be improved further, so some of Betsy’s improvements will also find their way into Linux Mint 17.2. I’d like to thank all the people who helped us test Betsy and who sent us their feedback.

            • Linux Mint Needs a Huge, Modern Overhaul, More Artists and Web Developers Are Needed

              We’ve announced earlier today, March 30, that the Linux Mint developers have released their monthly newsletter where they’ve reported the changes implemented in the upcoming releases of the LMDE 2 (Linux Mint Debian Edition), dubbed Betsy, as well as the Linux Mint 17.2 (Rebecca) operating systems.

            • Pre-order Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu 15.04

              You can pre-order your own copy of Ubuntu 15.04 (or Xubuntu, or Lubuntu, or Kubuntu), including Ubuntu 15.04 GNOME and Ubuntu 15.04 MATE right now. It means that a DVD with your favourite OS will be burnt to you as early as possible, and dispatched on the 23rd of April 2015, or soon after. Dispatched to anywhere in the world.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Netflix has more than 50 open source projects

    We’ve released over 50 open source projects, with several more in the pipeline. We also host regular public NetflixOSS meetups in the Bay Area.

  • Will voting systems adopt open source?

    In my recent interview with Brent Turner, from the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), we heard about the public interest case for making voting machines open source. In this article, I further explore the unfortunate trend for vendors in this space to “openwash” their offerings; that is, to misrepresent proprietary products as if they were open source, with the intent of making them more appealing.

  • OpenMRS joins Open Source Initiative as Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), recognized globally for their work in promoting and protecting open source software and development communities, announced today the Affiliate Membership of OpenMRS®, a free and open source health IT platform.

  • Q&A: Ulf Lundgren on how open source is just the ticket

    Transticket provides the ticketing and commerce platforms used by Sweden’s biggest sporting and entertainment events such as the ATP Tennis Tour, the Swedish Hockey League and SkyView, the rail system taking visitors to the top of Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, the world’s largest spherical building.

  • Will open source save the Internet of Things?

    To some degree, open source is already present throughout the Internet of Things value chain. Cloud apps that collect and analyze data are heavily dependent on open source software and standards, for example.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 37.0 Is Now Available for Download

        We’re happy to announced that the final builds of the popular Mozilla Firefox 37.0 web browser were published on Mozilla’s download servers for all supported computer operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Is Hadoop Replacing the Data Warehouse? Survey Says Not So Much

      Snowflake Computing, a cloud data warehousing company that only recently emerged from startup stealth mode, has announced the results of an independent, national survey of more than 315 technology and analytics professionals with responsibility for corporate data initiatives. Conducted by Dimensional Research, the goal of the research was to understand the state of the data warehouse and Big Data initiatives – including experiences, challenges and trends in data warehousing and data analytics.

    • Q&A: StackStorm’s Evan Powell Talks DevOps, Automation and OpenStack

      StackStorm’s toolset is 100 percent open source and used to tie together environments with the aid of a rules engine, workflows, audit and access controls, and more.

    • ​Apache Spark-based ClearStory ramps up its analytics software

      Silicon Valley startup ClearStory Data says the new release of its Apache Spark-based analytics software significantly speeds up complex analyses based on multiple sources.

  • Databases

    • Apple’s FoundationDB Deal Sends Waves of Concern Across Open Source World

      Apple’s recent acquisition of formerly open source FoundationDB has stirred a larger debate. Even before news of the acquisition went public, the startup reportedly turned off software downloads from its website and announced to users that it would no longer provide support for the NoSQL database software, leaving those who were using it and engaged in the open source project in a tight spot. FoundationDB didn’t have many known customers, but the open source world was upset.

  • Business

    • EspoCRM: A lightweight open source customer relationship manager

      Customer relationship management (CRM) tools come in many different flavors, though not every application can meet the need of every customer. Often, large and complicated tools are overkill for smaller businesses, while some smaller tools require customization to meet specific needs. I would like to share with you the open source tool EspoCRM, which is designed to meet the needs of small and medium businesses.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Brave GNU world

      WHEN I wrote about free software guru Richard Stallman last week, I didn’t realize I would have the opportunity to hear him speak just a few days later. Fortuitously, I got that chance when I attended the RightsCon Southeast Asia Summit at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria Hotel, where Stallman was a guest speaker.

      The summit, which drew 600 participants from over 50 countries, focused on protecting human rights online and fighting for an open Internet, which seemed to be a good fit for Stallman, who remains an activist at the age of 62.

      His talk, entitled “Brave GNU World,” was a play on the free operating system that became the centerpiece of his free (as in freedom, not as in zero-cost) software movement.

      Stallman began his talk with the four essential freedoms that computer users ought to have: the freedom to run a program; the freedom to study and change it in source code form; the freedom to redistribute exact copies of it; and the freedom to distribute modified versions of the program.

    • Excorporate 0.6.0: Exchange integration for Emacs
  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Use of Open Source Software Is Now Mandatory In Indian Government Offices

      According to a new policy issued by the Indian Government, all employees will have to use open-source software on their computers. The new policy encourages the adoption of open source software across all Indian Government offices, on both desktop and server stations, in order to reduce the costs for acquiring computer software.

  • Licensing

    • How the current intellectual property landscape impacts open source

      Meet Doug Kim. He’s a computer engineer-turned-lawyer who chairs the Intellectual Property Practice Group at McNair Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina. Doug’s practice includes patent preparation and prosecution, trademark, service mark preparation and prosecution, and securing copyright registrations in areas that include Geographical Information Systems (GIS), software, books, music, product packaging, and distribution. He has expertise in software, method, and mechanical patents as well as open source licensing.

    • The GitHub kids still don’t care about open source

      But rather than eschew the mountains of code being released on GitHub, would-be adopters of GitHub code need to start asking that code be licensed. It may be the only way to change the seemingly permanent shift toward completely open source.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open Data: Slovakia holds public consultation

        Slovakia has held a public consultation to build its Open Government Partnership’s Action Plan for 2015. The consultation, organized by the Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for the Development of Civil Society (ÚSVROS) and the National Agency for Network and Electronic Services (NASES), was opene to “the public, the business sector, non-profit organizations, public institutions and local government”, the organisers said in a statement. The public consultation is now closed (on March 17th).

  • Programming

    • GitHub Under Sustained DDoS Attack

      Since March 26, GitHub has been under attack, but users are likely not even noticing as the site continues to be highly available.

    • Open Source Github under Chinese attack

      Open source coding site GitHub said it was fending off a days-long DoS attack that had caused intermittent outages for the social coding site.

      China has been identified as the source of the attack and the software being hit is banned behind the bamboo curtain. It would appear that someone is taking pro-active censorship steps by taking down the entire site..

    • Why do web developers choose OS X instead of Linux?

      Apple’s OS X operating system for the Mac seems to be a very popular choice among web developers. But why have so many of them forsaken Linux in favor of OS X? A Linux redditor asked about this and got some interesting answers from fellow redditors.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • COIS, the UK arm of Open Forum Europe distributes ODF toolkit for Document Freedom Day week

      A new toolkit is being launched to target faster public sector adoption of Open Document Format. Released today by the Community for Open Interoperability Standards (the UK arm of Open Forum Europe), the toolkit contains a folder of principles and infographic for Government Technology leaders to use in educating public sector workers on the options and opportunities for ODF use. This publication joins global Document Freedom Day week celebrations of Open Standards, which numbers 58 events in 30 countries this year. The toolkit arrives as UK Government moves to comply with use of ODF 1.2 across departments, following a change in Cabinet Office policy in July last year.

    • “I’d Rather Not Rewrite All the HTTP Stuff Myself”

      Fascinating early posts from the founders of eBay, Amazon, Google, and others.

Leftovers

  • German pro basketball team relegated to lower division due to Windows update

    A second-tier German professional basketball team has been relegated to an even lower tier as a result of being penalized for starting a recent game late—because the Windows laptop that powered the scoreboard required 17 minutes to perform system updates.

  • Science

  • Security

    • “Black Box” brouhaha breaks out over brute forcing of iPhone PIN lock

      A bit of a brouhaha has broken out about a “Black Box” that can brute force your iPhone PIN by trying every possible combination, from 00..00 to 99..99.

      [...]

      Even if you only set a 4-digit PIN, that gives a crook who steals your phone just a 10 in 10,000 chance, or 0.1%, of guessing your unlock code in time.

      But this Black Box has a trick up its cable.

      Apparently, the device uses a light sensor to work out, from the change in screen intensity, when it has got the right PIN.

    • Security advisories for Monday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • One dead, two injured in incident outside NSA headquarters

      An unidentified car attempted to ram the entrance gate at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters this morning, with shots fired in the wake of the collision. Authorities say one person is dead and two men (a 20-year-old and 44-year-old) have been airlifted to a Baltimore trauma center with serious injuries. CNN is reporting that two assailants were involved in the attack — one killed, the other wounded — citing a federal law enforcement official who had been briefed on the matter.

    • Leading Papers Incite ‘Supreme International Crime’

      Advocating for war is not like advocating for most other policies because, as peace activist David Swanson points out, war is a crime. It was outlawed in 1928 by the Kellogg-Briand Pact, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Britain, Germany, France, Japan and 55 other nations “condemn[ed] recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce[d] it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.”

    • Muslim Terrorism a Result of Western Imperialism

      Corporate media typically portray Muslims as cruel monsters driven by unexplainable hate for the West…

    • US National Security Strategy Confirms Drive for World Domination

      Though widely reported in corporate media, the largely aggressive thrust of the text has been overlooked in most mainstream coverage. The text emphasizes, for example, that the US must continue to remain the world’s preeminent superpower, an ominous assertion particularly in light of the recent standoff with Russia concerning Syria and Ukraine.

    • A look at those involved in Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen

      A Saudi-led coalition is targeting Shiite rebels and their allies in Yemen in a campaign of airstrikes that began last week.

    • Strike on Refugee Camp in Yemen Kills 45

      An air strike killed at least 40 people at a camp for displaced people in north Yemen on Monday, humanitarian workers said, in an attack which apparently targeted a nearby base for Houthi fighters battling President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

      Yemen’s state news agency Saba, which is under the control of the Houthis, said the camp at Haradh was hit by Saudi planes. It said the dead included women and children, and showed the bodies of five children laid out on a blood-streaked floor.

    • Yemen: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Take Civilian Toll

      The airstrikes targeted Ansar Allah, the armed wing of the Zaidi Shia group known as the Houthis, that has controlled much of northern Yemen since September 2014. In January, the group effectively ousted the government of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. Human Rights Watch found that on March 26 warplanes struck populated urban neighborhoods in Sanaa and observed Ansar Allah forces who appeared to be firing anti-aircraft weapons from residential neighborhoods.

    • Euro Rights Blog: Defining the Word ‘Terrorism’ – A Classroom Experiment – by Sarah Kay

      Beyond legitimacy, the second most apprehended criterion was fear: inducing fear, manufacturing fear, exploiting and manipulating fear, and this, both present in the intent to commit the terrorist act and into the intended consequences of the terrorist action. The complexity of whether all political violence is terrorism, while all terrorism is political violence, was sometimes exhilarating to debate, sometimes frustrating to unravel. Most of them of European upbringing, the reference to ‘simple terrorism’ – ethno-political terrorism – was fast weighed against the current wave of religious extremism. This was not the only instance of questioning legitimacy of political action.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Pearson, ETS, Houghton Mifflin, and McGraw-Hill Lobby Big and Profit Bigger from School Tests

      School testing corporations have spent at least $20 million on lobbying along with wining and dining or even hiring policymakers in pursuit of big revenues from federal and state testing mandates under “No Child Left Behind” measures and the Common Core curriculum, according to a new analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

    • The ALEC-Backed War on Local Democracy

      After the town of Denton, Texas passed a ballot initiative banning fracking in November 2014, the oil and gas industry reacted with outrage and swiftly filed suit. Politicians in the state capitol responded with a fusillade of bills to preempt local authority over public health and safety and to subject local ballot initiatives to pre-approval by the state attorney general. There was even a bill to end local home rule altogether.

  • Privacy

    • Smart meters are a ‘costly mistake’ that’ll add BILLIONS to bills

      A report from the Institute of Directors (IoD) warns that the government’s rollout of smart meters “should be ‘halted, altered or scrapped’ to avoid a potentially catastrophic government IT disaster.”

      The report, entitled “Not too clever: will Smart Meters be the next Government IT disaster?” describes the £11bn scheme as “unwanted by consumers, over-engineered and mind-blowingly expensive.”

    • Warning to the Public: Your Smart Televisions are Listening
    • Europe’s law enforcement chief joins in crypto panic

      The director of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, has warned about the growing use of encryption for online communications. Speaking to BBC Radio, Rob Wainwright said: “It’s become perhaps the biggest problem for the police and the security service authorities in dealing with the threats from terrorism.” Wainwright is just the latest in a string of high-ranking government officials on both sides of the Atlantic that have made similar statements, including FBI Director James Comey, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

      Wainwright told the BBC that the use of encrypted services “changed the very nature of counter-terrorist work from one that has been traditionally reliant on having good monitoring capability of communications to one that essentially doesn’t provide that anymore.” What that overlooks is that the “good monitoring capability” was of very few channels, used sporadically. Today, by contrast, online users engage with many digital services—social media, messaging, e-mail, VoIP—on a constant basis, and often simultaneously. Although the percentage of traffic that can be monitored may be lower, the volume is much higher, which means that, overall, more information is available for counter-terrorism agencies.

    • Digital rights and freedoms: Part 1

      Under the rubric of state security on the one hand and commercial openness on the other, we are being lulled into an online world of fear and control where our every move is monitored in order to more efficiently manage us.

    • Who Knows What Evils Lurk in the Shadows?

      The story of the powerful spy agency most Canadians still don’t know, and the security bill that would expand its resources and reach

    • NSA Tried to Roll Out Its Automated Query Program Between Debates about Killing It

      None of that explains why the NSA wasn’t able to ingest some cell phone production. But it may explain why NSA accepts moving the phone dragnet to the telecoms.

  • Civil Rights

    • Watch A Fox News Anchor Debunk His Network’s Defense Of Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” Law

      Fox News anchor Bret Baier debunked the network’s defense of Indiana’s discriminatory “religious freedom” law, explaining that the law is broader than both federal law and similar measures in other states.

    • Whistleblower panel discussion at Logan Symposium

      Here is a panel discussion I did about whistleblowing at the Logan Symposium in London last November. With me on the panel are Eileen Chubb, a UK health care whistleblower who runs Compassion in Care and is campaigning for Edna’s Law, and Bea Edwards of the US Government Accountability Project. With thanks to @newsPeekers for filming this.

    • Inquiry of Silk Road Website Spurred Agents’ Own Illegal Acts, Officials Say

      On the so-called dark web, drug dealing and other illicit sales have thrived in recent years, the authorities have said, through hidden websites like Silk Road and hard-to-trace digital currencies like Bitcoins.

      On Monday, the government charged that in the shadows of an undercover investigation of Silk Road, a notorious black-market site, two federal agents sought to enrich themselves by exploiting the very secrecy that made the site so difficult for law enforcement officials to penetrate.

    • Spokesman found dead weeks after Missouri auditor Tom Schweich’s suicide

      The tragedy in the office of late Missouri state auditor Tom Schweich has deepened.

      A month after Schweich died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound amid an alleged political smear campaign focused on his faith, a top aide appears to have committed suicide by the same means, police said.

      Robert “Spence” Jackson, who served as Schweich’s media director, was found dead in his bedroom Sunday, Jefferson City police said in a statement. Police have not released any details about the timing of Jackson’s death, but they did say that there were no signs of a struggle or forced entry into the home.

    • Senators Disregard Security Agencies’ Calls to Close Guantanamo, One Says Prisoners Can ‘Rot in Hell’

      At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on policies related to the release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, a Pentagon official and an intelligence official testified on how closing the prison is a national security imperative. Yet, their expertise did not seem to matter.

      Senators rejected the expertise of military and intelligence agencies preferring to believe that releasing anyone from Guantanamo will endanger Americans and President Barack Obama’s administration is engaged in a conspiracy of mass deception that is putting the United States at great risk.

    • Intercept Reporter Files Suit Against Ferguson Police

      An Intercept reporter is suing the St. Louis County Police Department after he was shot with rubber bullets and arrested while reporting on protests in the suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown last August.

    • New Canadian Counterterrorism Law Threatens Environmental Groups

      Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, who campaigns for environmental protection on behalf of indigenous First Nations in Canada, wasn’t surprised when, in 2012, she found out that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been keeping tabs on her. The Toronto Star that year obtained documents showing that federal police had monitored private meetings held between her coalition and local environmental groups.

      Now she just laughs when asked whether she’s comforted by assurances from government officials that new surveillance and policing powers outlined under a proposed Canadian Anti-Terror Law wouldn’t be aimed at peaceful protesters.

03.30.15

Links 30/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC6, OpenELEC 5.0.7

Posted in News Roundup at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • ARM64 Improvements Piling Up In Coreboot

    While yesterday I was talking about many Intel Broadwell improvements landing in Coreboot, the new Git activity today for Coreboot is about 64-bit ARM.

  • Open Source Mandatory for Indian Government Projects

    I’ve written about the potential for open source in China several times, and the same can be said about India. Here’s some big news on that front, just announced by the Government of India’s Department Of Electronics & Information Technology [.pdf]:

  • India backs open source software for e-governance projects

    India has said it will use open source software in all e-governance projects, though it did not rule out the use of proprietary software to meet specialized requirements.

  • India doubles down on use of Open Source software

    The government on Sunday announced a policy on adoption of open source software, which makes it mandatory for all software applications and services of the government be built using open source software, so that projects under Digital India “ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs”.

  • Facebook Rolls Out 3 Open Source Tools for Mobile Developers

    In a move sure to delight iOS and Android developers, Facebook has launched React-Native, an open source, cross-platform JavaScript framework for building mobile applications. Announced Thursday at the company’s F8 developer conference, the framework is based on React, another open source JavaScript framework Facebook released two years ago to help developers build user interfaces for Web projects.

  • NASA Goddard Releases Open Source Core Flight Software System Application Suite to Public

    The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, announced the release of its core Flight System (cFS) Application Suite to the public. The cFS application suite is composed of 12 individual Command and Data Handling (C&DH) flight software applications that together create a reusable library of common C&DH functions.

  • Events

    • Development Tools Tutorial Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      In a departure from prior Plumbers tradition, we are pleased to announce not a Development Tools Microconference, but rather a set of Development Tools tutorials, including interactive tutorials, demos, and short presentations. Topics include Coccinelle (Julia Lawall), testing and debugging tools (Shuah Khan), issues with copying and pasting Linux kernel code (Michael Godfrey), and LLVM/clang and the Linux kernel (Behan Webster).

    • Open Source Conference Albania 2015

      OSCAL (Open Source Conference Albania) is the first annual international tech conference in Albania organized by the open source community in Albania to promote software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.2 Beta 3 Released, Final Version Around the Corner

      Version 4.2 of WordPress, the world’s most popular web software that allows anyone to create beautiful blogs and websites in minutes, is getting closer with the recently released Beta 3 version that brings over 65 changes. The new version is available for download here.

  • BSD

    • Running FreeBSD on the server: a sysadmin speaks

      For years now, Linux has been all the rage. But in recent times, there have been murmurings among some veterans — long-time users — after the introduction of systemd, the init system that seems to overstep its boundaries.

  • Public Services/Government

    • South-Tyrol finances open source eInvoicing tool

      Proxy FatturaPA [1], an eInvoicing software solution co-financed by the Autonomous Province of South-Tyrol (Italy), is made public using the GPLv3 free software licence. The software is developed by Link.it, a IT company based in Pisa.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Finance

    • PayPal agrees to pay $7.7 million for alleged sanctions violations

      On Wednesday afternoon, PayPal reached a settlement with the US Treasury Department, agreeing that it would pay $7.7 million for allegedly processing payments to people in countries under sanction as well as to a man the US has listed as involved in the nuclear weapons black market. The company neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, but it voluntarily handed over its transaction data to the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

    • How “standby” modes on game consoles suck up energy

      The Natural Resources Defense Council recently put out an alarming press release claiming the Xbox One is causing consumers to waste an aggregate of $250 million annually in energy costs. The culprit: the “instant on” mode that draws significant power 24 hours a day, even when the system is supposedly “off.”

      The NRDC put out the release in an effort to convince Microsoft to turn off this “instant on” setting by default, or to at least offer an option to turn it off on the system’s initial setup (as it does in Europe). Until Microsoft takes that step, though, we thought we’d bust out the old Kill A Watt power meter and confirm just how much energy our consoles are wasting when they’re not in use, and offer you some tips on how to avoid that potential waste.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Xinhua, AP presidents discuss cooperation in new media era

      President of the Xinhua News Agency Cai Mingzhao and his Associated Press (AP) counterpart Gary Pruitt discussed cooperation between the two news outlets in the new media era on Friday at the Xinhua head office in Beijing.

      Xinhua and the AP should forge a strategic cooperative relationship, Cai said, expressing the wish that the two news agencies will expand cooperation onto a wider range of areas.

      Xinhua has been turning out omni media products integrating texts, pictures and videos, and reducing costs through application of technologies to meet the new demand of its clients, Cai noted.

  • Censorship

    • Copyright crackdown: Government introduces website-blocking bill

      The government has introduced a bill that will allow copyright holders to apply for court orders forcing ISPs to block access to pirate websites.

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today introduced the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015.

      “Existing copyright law is not adequate to deter a specific type of infringing activity, which is the facilitation of the online infringement of copyright owners’ content… by online operators,” the minister said, introducing the bill into the lower house.

      “There are a number of foreign-based online locations that disseminate large amounts of infringing content to Australian Internet users.”

      If the bill becomes law rights holders will be able to apply to the Federal Court for an injunction that will force an ISP to block a site.

  • Privacy

    • The AP’s Recycled “We Don’t Need a Phone Dragnet” Story Lays the Groundwork for Swapping Section 215 for CISA

      The NSA in no way went “cold turkey” in 2011. Starting in 2009, just before it finally confessed to DOJ it had been violating collection rules for the life of the program, it rolled out the SPCMA program that allowed the government to do precisely the same thing, from precisely the same user interface, with any Internet data accessible through EO 12333. SPCMA was made available to all units within NSA in early 2011, well before NSA “went cold turkey.” And, at the same time, NSA moved some of its Internet dragnet to PRISM production, with the added benefit that it had few of the data sharing limits that the PRTT dragnet did.

      That is, rather than going “cold turkey” the NSA moved the production under different authorities, which came with the added benefits of weaker FISC oversight, application for uses beyond counterterrorism, and far, far more permissive dissemination rules.

      That AP’s sources claimed — and AP credulously reported — that this is about “cold turkey” is a pretty glaring hint that the NSA and FBI are preparing to do something very similar with the phone dragnet. As with the Internet dragnet, SPCMA permits phone chaining for any EO 12333 phone collection, under far looser rules. And under CISA, anyone who “voluntarily” wants to share this data (which always includes AT&T and likely includes other backbone providers) can share promiscuously and with greater secrecy (because it is protected by both Trade Secret and FOIA exemption). Some of this production, done under PRISM, would permit the government to get “connection” chaining information more easily than under a phone dragnet. And as with the Internet dragnet, any move of Section 215 production to CISA production evades existing FISC oversight.

    • Europol chief warns on computer encryption (propaganda against encryption)

      Mr Wainwright said that in most current investigations the use of encrypted communications was found to be central to the way terrorists operated.

    • Hacking the Nazis: The secret story of the women who broke Hitler’s codes

      Of the 10,000-plus staff at the Government Code and Cypher School during World War II, two-thirds were female. Three veteran servicewomen explain what life was like as part of the code-breaking operation during World War II.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Chairman Wheeler Predicts FCC Will Beat Legal Challenge To Net Neutrality

      Now that the FCC is the subject of several lawsuits, and its leader, Chairman Tom Wheeler, was dragged in front of Congress repeatedly to answer the same battery of inanity, it’s worth checking in to see how the agency is feeling. Is it confident that its recent vote to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act will hold?

    • A Growing Chorus Is Trying To Rewrite The History Of Net Neutrality — And Blame Absolutely Everything On Netflix

      With either an ISP lawsuit or a 2016 party shift the only way to kill our new net neutrality rules, neutrality opponents have some time to kill. As such, they’re in desperate need of somewhere to direct their impotent rage at the foul idea of a healthier Internet free from gatekeeper control. Step one of this catharsis has been to publicly shame the FCC for daring to stand up to broadband ISPs in a series of increasingly absurd and often entirely nonsensical public “fact finding” hearings. Step two is to push forth a series of editorials that tries to rewrite the history of the net neutrality debate — with Netflix as the villainous, Machiavellian centerpiece.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Once You Accept File-Sharing Is Here To Stay, You Can Focus On All The Positive Things

        When I grew up, file-sharing was already rampant. But we didn’t have any Internet. We had a so-called Sneakernet. And it was actually quite comparable in sharing efficiency – not just over large distances.

      • Copyright Bots Kill App Over ‘Potentially Infringing’ Images, Follow This Up By Blocking App For Use Of CC/Public Domain Images

        With bots performing all sorts of intellectual property policing these days, fair use considerations are completely off the table. Nuances that can’t be handled by a bot should theoretically be turned over to a human being in disputed cases. Unfortunately, dispute processes are often handled in an automated fashion, leading to even more problems.

      • MPAA Wanted Less Fair Use In Copyright Curriculum

        The MPAA and RIAA are backing a new copyright curriculum showing kids how to become “Ethical Digital Citizens.” After public pressure the curriculum was edited to include fair use principles, but a leaked MPAA email shows that there’s more fair use in the lesson plans than Hollywood wanted.

      • Block Pirate Bay in 72 Hours, Spanish Court Tells ISPs

        Infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay has a new European block to contend with after a judge in Spain handed down a ruling against the site today. Local ISPs now have 72 hours in which to block the site, the first instruction of its type under the country’s so-called Sinde Law.

      • City of London Police Make Piracy Fight Official

        City of London Police and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations underlined their relationship this week with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. Focusing on IP crime, the agencies collaborate to suspend domains, shut down file-sharing sites, and arrest uploaders.

      • “VPN Friendly” Aussie Pirate Site Blocking Draft Unveiled

        A draft of new legislation aimed at stopping Aussie consumers accessing ‘pirate’ sites has been made available this morning. The amendments, which contain criteria that could see hundreds of sites blocked by ISPs, is believed to have been reworded to ensure that VPN services don’t become caught in the dragnet.

03.29.15

Techrights Cited by European Politicians in Support of EPO Staff’s Causes

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amsterdam

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s right-hand man is characterised as suspected of corruption in European Parliament questions

THREE WEEKS ago, while I was still in southeast Asia, several people in Twitter and via E-mail told me that Techrights had been cited by European Parliament.

A link to a European Parliament question from MEP Dennis de Jong indeed cited Techrights. “For your information,” told us one person (among more who told us about it, including Florian Müller), “Techrights is referenced in footnote no. 2″ (see below).

Titled “Rights of staff and ethical standards at the European Patent Office,” the list of questions to the European Commission from MEP Dennis de Jong (whom we mentioned here before) could very well address some core issues; these need to be answered. “The footnotes contain a reference to an article by Techrights,” told us a source, noting that Benoît Battistelli’s right-hand man is “suspected of corruption” (Dennis de Jong’s words). Here is the English version of the questions:

E-002507/2015

Parliamentary questions

16 February 2015

Question for written answer to the Commission

Rule 130

Dennis de Jong (GUE/NGL)

Subject:
Rights of staff and ethical standards at the European Patent Office

Reports are emerging of an unpleasant working environment and staff intimidation at the European Patent Office (EPO). Further information can be found on the EPO Staff Union website[1]. Because of the importance of the EPO for EU patents legislation, the Commission cannot afford to ignore the problem.

1. Does the Commission still intend to work together with the EPO on the single European patent?

2. If so, what guarantees have been or will be given to the Commission regarding respect for the trade union and other rights of EPO staff?

In addition to the rights of staff members, a number of ethical issues are also arising within the EPO, including the recruitment and dismissal of senior officials. For example EPO President, Benoît Battistelli, has succeeded in dissolving the Audit Committee and replacing a number of executives with a team of his own choice that is suspected of corruption[2].

3. What guarantees has the Commission obtained to satisfy it regarding the integrity of the EPO?

_____________
[1] http://www.suepo.org/public/news

[2] See for example the ZAMP affair and controversies surrounding other questionable practices

http://techrights.org/2015/02/11/zeljko-topic-kopcic-and-sanader

For justice to be upheld corrupt officials need to be held accountable and staff needs to have its rights restored, then protected.

When the EPO Came Under Fire From the Netherlands and Before Systemic Corruption Was Revealed

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dutch landscape

Summary: Questions that targeted the Dutch Minister of Justice amidst EPO abuses against staff and a shameful failure to enforce a court’s decision

WE HAVE MISSED some very important developments due to absence (holiday), but fortunately enough we have loyal readers who sent us material in the interim, chronicling the earlier stages of the Dutch scandal which Battistelli had stepped into.

“For your information,” said one source, “[f]ollowing the attempt of the Netherlands Justice Minister to prevent execution of the recent judgment against the EPO, two members of the national parliament (Tweede Kamer) have now put a series of questions to the Minister (see here). The European Patent Office (EPO) sure paid attention to the following questions, put forth to the Netherlands’ Minister of Justice by Members of Parliament. As we shall soon find out (or at least cover later this week), there was a cover-up supported by crooks.

“An approximate translation,” said our source, “is given below.

“Both members are from the Labour Party (PvdA) that currently forms a coalition government with the Liberal Party (VVD).”

For context, based on our source (see the original PDF which is in Dutch): “In July 2014 they posed the earlier questions referred to in Question 2 which were answered in August. On that occasion, the answers mainly referred to the EPO’s immunity and the possibility for its employees to appeal to the ILOAT. Interestingly, the minister of social affairs answering those questions did seem to agree, referring to Art. 20 of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, that the EPO should comply with relevant Dutch legislation. However, the Dutch labour inspection could do nothing without permission of the EPO’s president.”

Here are the questions put to the Netherlands Minister of Justice by Members of Parliament:


Question 1. Are you aware of the article “Opstelten: Judicial ruling does not apply to European institution” ? (Volkskrant – 26 February 2015)

http://www.volkskrant.nl/politiek/opstelten-bureau-mag-vakbond-weren~a3873491/

Question 2. Do you remember the earlier questions regarding the working conditions at the EPO? Is it true that the tense situation continues to exist, including the restriction of the right to strike?

Question 3. Is it true that the EPO refuses to revoke the controversial measures in accordance with the appeal court’s judgment? If yes, what are the reasons therefor?

Question 4. Is it true that you are not willing to enable the judgment’s execution as is usual in The Netherlands? If yes, can you explain your position? What is the legal basis of your power to prevent the judgment’s execution? How often have you made use of this power in the last five years?

Question 5. On which legislation and international treaties does your decision to block the judgment’s execution rely? Have you considered a more dynamic application of the existing legislation?

Question 6. Can you give an overview of recent European and Dutch jurisprudence relating to conflicts between immunity of international organisations and judgments of domestic courts?

Question 7. What is your reaction to the opinion of experts that your position is at odds with the rule of law and that you prioritise immunity over human rights? What is your reaction to the statement that this erodes the authority of the courts? What is your reaction to the statement that this leads to a further worsening of the existing problem of international organisations that place themselves above the law?

Question 8. What do you mean when you say that the matter has “our attention” and “that of other member states”? What does this attention consist of and what is it aimed at?

Question 9. Is it possible that one of the parties appeals to the Hoge Raad (Dutch Supreme Court) or that “cassation in the interest of the law” is requested? Do you intend to request cassation in the interest of the law?

Question 10. Have you taken note of the recent ILO agreement between employers and employees regarding the right to strike and ILO Convention 87? Can you explain how the situation at the EPO relates to ILO Convention 87?


“Battistelli’s reaction to the Dutch court decision,” jokes our source (“just for fun”), would be something like the following:

  • “Je m’en fous!” which means “I don’t give a damn!”
  • “L’Office c’est Moi” which means “The Office, that’s ME.”

We eagerly wait to share some press articles (translations take time to produce and process) about embarrassing news that led the Battistelli and the EPO to a frantic retreat. Probably as means of saving face only — for we have no evidence of practical changes — they now acknowledge of some staff rights, at least the very least a right to organise. It wouldn’t have happened without political involvements across Europe.

Links 29/3/2015: Red Hat’s Stock Soars, Kodi 14.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • When you look at the science behind vaccination it all adds up to one conclusion … even at 21

      What did concern the young student was the amount of misinformation available on the internet, most of which he believes is fear-based and inaccurate.

      “For someone that doesn’t have a science background they would have a hard time vaccinating because there’s a lot of scary information. It’s fear mongering, no other way to put it and I’ll believe in vaccination while the weight of evidence is in favour of it, or someone proves otherwise,” he said.

    • CIA and drug running

      Webb reported that tons of cocaine were being shipped into San Francisco by supporters of the CIA backed Contras, then distributed down to LA to a Nicaraguan, who then on sold it to street vendors. He also alleged this epidemic was having a disproportionate affect on African Americans.

      Gary Webb’s career was destroyed as a result of these investigations, and is now the subject of a new DVD called “Kill the Messenger’.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • How to tell if you’ve been hacked

      Worried that you might get compromised by hackers? The bad news is that the rest of the internet might know before you do

    • Cyber Armageddon is a Myth

      Over the past several years mainstream news outlets have conveyed a litany of cyber doomsday scenarios…

    • More Than 1/3 of Americans Leave Phones Unlocked

      It turns out that American smartphone owners are not great at protecting their privacy. In a new report from security firm Lookout, 34 percent of American mobile users who claimed to be the most aware of privacy risks didn’t even set a pin or passcode on their phone. Another 35 percent downloaded apps from unofficial marketplaces, which is a great way to get malware on your phone. The results come from 1,012 U.S. respondents found through an online surve

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • New York Times Accidentally Undermines John Bolton “Bomb Iran” Op-Ed in Own Pages

      U.S. and Israeli politicians often claim that Israel’s bombing of Iraq in 1981 significantly set back an already-existing Iraqi nuclear weapons program. The truth is almost exactly the opposite. Harvard Physics Professor Richard Wilson, who visited the ruins of Osirak in 1982 and followed the issue closely, has said the available evidence “suggests that the bombing did not delay the Iraqi nuclear-weapons program but started it.” This evidence includes the design of the Osirak reactor, which made it unsuitable for weapons production, and statements by Iraqi nuclear scientists that Saddam Hussein ordered them to begin a serious nuclear weapons program in response to the Israeli attack.

    • Fear of Terrorism is Making Us Crazy, Especially in the US

      When I lived in China, there was a story going around about a China Airlines flight in which both the pilot and the co-pilot had left the cockpit and then, on their return, found the door locked. They reportedly got a fire ax, and with the whole planeload of freaked out passengers watching in horror, started wailing in the metal door. The co-pilot then turned, and seeing the panic developing, calmly drew the curtain across the aisle, hiding their work from view. The axe’s bashing continued until they broke the latch and got back to the controls.

    • US to Send Weapons to Kiev if Minsk Agreements Fail – Psaki

      The United States could supply Kiev with ‘not offensive’ weapons if the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian reconciliation fail, US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

    • Brazil’s Weapons Industry – Analysis

      Latin America does not depend solely on exports from extra-regional powers for military equipment. On the contrary, the region boasts its own thriving domestic weapons industry. The crown jewel of Latin America’s defense industries is arguably Brazil’s, which has made a name for itself by domestically producing military equipment for export. Case in point is the Super Tucano, a light military aircraft that can be utilized for either training or combat operations, which is produced by the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica (EMBRAER) and enjoys significant prominence in the field. According to the latest headlines, the Portuguese-speaking nation is predicted to have a good year in weapon sales, bolstering Brazil and Latin America in terms of capital and relevancy in the global arms market.

    • Immorality of drone warfare

      Almost all wars that are currently under way in the world are targeting Muslims. Just about every bomb, every drone, every prison, every cage, every orange jumpsuit are produced for Muslims. Look around carefully; all the world’s intelligence services target Muslims. Even more, Muslims are driven to war and destruction at the hands of other Muslims.

    • CIA’s Notorious Father of Drone Strikes Strategy Removed From Post
    • Architect of CIA’s drone campaign to leave post

      The head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, who presided over the agency’s drone campaign and directed the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is being removed from his post, officials said, a watershed moment as the CIA turns its focus to a new generation of extremist threats.

    • How Yemen’s US-backed ex-dictator is tearing his country apart

      For years, the Americans saw President Ali Abdullah Saleh a key ally in the fight against al-Qaeda. He allowed his air bases to be used by US drones to strike at the movement’s operatives, and gladly received Western aid in development cash and arms supplies.

      Yet according to claims in a United Nations report last month, one of the first things Mr Saleh did when his three-decade rule was threatened by the 2011 Arab Spring was strike a secret deal to give an entire southern province to al-Qaeda. The more he could portray Yemen as falling into militant hands, he calculated, the more the West want to keep him in office at all costs.

    • How Much Money Is Too Much for the Pentagon?

      General Dempsey and his colleagues may be right. Current levels of Pentagon spending may not be able to support current defense strategy. The answer to this problem is right before our eyes: cut the money and change the strategy. That would be acting in the name of a conception of national security that was truly strategic.

    • Trusting High-Tech Weapons of War

      The U.S. military insists its drones and other high-tech gadgets can kill “bad guys” with an unmatched precision. But these assassination weapons may just be the latest example of putting too much faith in the murderous technology of war, as Andrew Cockburn explains in a new book reviewed by Chuck Spinney.

    • Kill Chain: The Rise of the High Tech Assassins

      Bombs dropped by unmanned remote-controlled drones have become routine forms of warfare, allowing the US to pick off people it deems unworthy of life within a complex and secretive chain of command that has almost no public accountability. The ACLU just sued the Obama Administration to reveal the details of how and why people are targeted by drones. Particularly since some of those people are US citizens.

    • How does it feel to be a Muslim?

      I dread the morning news for it is as sure as the rising sun that the Muslim subject is everywhere: dead, maimed, bombed and bloody. Muslims are keeping the journalistic enterprise afloat by sheer madness of actions committed in the name of Islam. No news day is a good day but these are rare and far between for if it bleeds it leads and daily the Muslim wound is deepening and gushing profusely.

    • How the US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.

      The US military no longer does war. It does assassinations, usually of the wrong people. The main victims of the US assassination policy are women, children, village elders, weddings, funerals, and occasionally US soldiers mistaken for Taliban by US surveillance operating with the visual acuity of the definition of legal blindness.

    • ‘Graveyard of Empires’ looks at war by remote control

      It seems like a no-brainer: If we could win a war by having an engineer in the United States simply push a button rather than by putting thousands of troops in harm’s way, we should embrace the new technology, right? But in Elaine Romero’s drama “Graveyard of Empires,” the answer is more complicated than a simple affirmative.

    • Extending the mission into Syria
    • 10 Reasons Why Obama Should NOT Travel to Armenia on April 24
    • License To Kill

      Imagine a future in which a competitor assassinates you via a robotic spider. That’s one way to see new technology’s potential.

    • Will You Be Murdered By a Robot?

      Frightening but never fear-mongering, the information supplied by the authors of The Future of Violence posits a tomorrow full of techno-threats demanding discerning vigilance.

    • Making Enemies by Droning On and On

      Nowhere can I find any article in the corporate news media asking what role the US’s massively unpopular campaign of bombings and drone-fired missile attacks on alleged terrorists — attacks that have killed countless civilians, and that have also included wholly erroneous massacres of innocents such as wedding caravans — has played in the creation of a situation that is likely to become a bloody civil war. This in a country that already endured one such catastrophe lasting from roughly 1964 – 1994. We’re talking about a generation’s worth of bloodletting, both between tribes, and between a north dominated by the US-puppet Saudi monarchy, and a south supported by the Soviet Union and, for many years, its alley, Egypt. The idea that the US would casually take actions that could re-ignite such a horror in a place that had to be seen as a tinderbox is simply appalling.

    • U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen collapses as country descends into chaos

      Once hailed by President Barack Obama as a model for fighting extremism, the U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen has all but collapsed as the country descends into chaos, according to U.S. and Yemeni officials.

    • Chaos in Yemen undercuts US war against AQAP

      Yemen’s descent into chaos has undermined the US campaign against Al-Qaeda there, forcing Washington to abandon a strategy once touted as a model for counter-terrorism efforts.

    • My Lai Revisited: 47 Years Later, Seymour Hersh Travels to Vietnam Site of U.S. Massacre He Exposed

      Fifty years after the U.S. ground invasion of Vietnam began, we look back at the 1968 My Lai massacre, when American troops killed hundreds of civilians. Journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story of the massacre and cover-up, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work. But Hersh never actually went there — he interviewed soldiers stateside. Forty-seven years later, he recently traveled to My Lai for the first time, which he documents in a new article for The New Yorker, “The Scene of the Crime: A Reporter’s Journey to My Lai and the Secrets of the Past.” Hersh joins us to discuss how he exposed the massacre nearly five decades ago and what it was like to visit My Lai for the first time.

    • Ignorance Is Bliss

      Factual information is out of fashion. American society now devalues it.

    • From Washington to Riyadh, Britain is on bended knee

      Britain became known as America’s poodle.

    • A Liberal Lawyer Gives Up On Preventing Murder

      Rosa Brooks’ article in Foreign Policy is called “There is no such thing as peacetime.” Brooks is a law professor who has testified before Congress to the effect that if a drone war is labeled a proper war then blowing children apart with missiles is legal, but that if it’s not properly a war then the same action is murder.

      Rosa Brooks has apparently come to see the problem with that distinction. How can a secret presidential memo in a drawer somewhere, that she and her colleagues have empowered to determine whether of not an action is part of a war, actually decide on the legitimacy of sending hellfire missiles into houses and restaurants, the behavior of futuristic gangsters on steroids?

    • US to delay troops pullout from Afghanistan to aid drone strikes: NYT

      President Barack Obama’s decision to maintain troop levels in Afghanistan through 2015 is partly to bolster counterterrorism efforts in that war-torn country, including the CIA’s ability to conduct drone strikes, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

    • U.S. Delays Afghan Withdrawal Through Year’s End; Drone War to Continue

      President Obama has again delayed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Obama had vowed to remove half of the 10,000 troops currently in Afghanistan in the coming months. But following a request from visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Obama announced he will leave 9,800 soldiers at least through the end of 2015. Obama said the United States will still meet its goal to consolidate forces in Kabul and remove all but 1,000 forces by the end of his term in early 2017.

    • U.S. to Delay Pullout of Troops From Afghanistan to Aid Strikes
    • The war in Yemen and the American drive for global domination
    • Protests decry 12 years of U.S. wars abroad

      Antiwar actions called Spring Rising, focusing on the 12th anniversary of the criminal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and continued war in Afghanistan, were held in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis and other cities around the United States. Spring Rising was initiated by Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist and mother of U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq.

    • Militarism Abroad and Police Violence at Home

      Although most news outlets sanitize it, the United States is, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1967, the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. This is manifested by drone strikes, which in the last ten years have killed at least 5,000 people, only an estimated 150 of whom were the actual targets; the remainder were ‘collateral damage’; by the bombing of suspected ISIS sites in Iraq; bombing of Syria; financial and military support for the apartheid regime of Israel; continued war against Afghanistan, and several other examples. Nothing has changed in decades; the statement about violence was true when Dr. King said it, it had been true for years before and it remains true today.

    • Home front

      A number of recent studies have questioned the wisdom and effectiveness of drone strikes, yet the targeted bombings remain one of the central tools of the U.S. war on terrorism.

      The U.S. has recently shifted focus towards radical hotspots such as Yemen, but the vast majority of drone strikes have taken place in North Waziristan, a mountainous region on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

      A Stanford University study in 2012 undertook a thorough examination of the effect of drone strikes on the local population and found that, rather than reducing terrorist ranks by taking out top Taliban and al-Qaida leaders, drones tended to serve as a recruitment tool.

      In many cases, it turned neutral citizens into radicals.

      “Before the drone attacks, we didn’t know (anything) about America,” one Waziri told researchers. “Now everybody has come to understand and know about America. … Almost all people hate America.”

    • Stop Smoking the Democrack

      The top risk from war is nuclear holocaust. That danger continues to grow with active U.S. assistance. The second worst thing a U.S. president can do about war is grab more war powers and pass them on to all future presidents. In that regard, President Obama has outdone President Bush. Lying to Congress is now totally routine: Congress and the United Nations can simply be ignored. Secrecy has mushroomed. President Obama picks out men, women, and children to murder from a list on Tuesdays. The public, the Congress, and the courts have no say and often no knowledge. President Obama has dramatically increased U.S. weapons sales abroad — the U.S. being far and away the top supplier of weapons to regions that the U.S. public thinks of as inherently violent.

    • What the Amnesty International Report on Palestinian Violations in Gaza Tells Us

      If Amnesty International is seen as one of the “most prestigious” international NGOs, it is also thought to harbor “a consistent institutionalized bias against Israel.” It is particularly interesting, then, that Amnesty this week released a report blaming Palestinians for a much-publicized incident that resulted in the deaths of Palestinian children and other civilians during last summer’s war between Hamas and Israel.

    • Endless War: As U.S. Strikes Tikrit & Delays Afghan Pullout, “War on Terror” Toll Tops 1.3 Million

      As the United States begins bombing the Iraqi city of Tikrit and again delays a withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new report has found that the Iraq War has killed about one million people. The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other groups examined the toll from the so-called war on terror in three countries — Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The investigators found “the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around one million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware. … And this is only a conservative estimate.” The true tally, they add, could be more than two million. We are joined by two guests who worked on the report: Hans von Sponeck, former U.N. assistant secretary-general and U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, who in 2000 resigned his post in protest of the U.S.-led sanctions regime; and Dr. Robert Gould, president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

    • Nobel Prize-Winning NGO: US Wars in Last Decade Killed Estimated 2 Million

      Only days after President Obama announced that troops would remain in Afghanistan through 2015, a new study reveals the massive cost of war. Through its campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the US may be responsible for the deaths of millions.

    • Saudi bombs in Yemen kill 39 civilians, inflaming tensions

      Arab coalition warplanes bombed rebel camps in Yemen today in a second straight day of strikes led by Saudi Arabia, which accused Iran of “aggression” across the region.

    • The Vicious Circle of U.S. Military Involvement in Africa

      It seems that a day rarely passes without news of a new atrocity committed by an increasingly notorious terrorist group. And, without fail, this news is accompanied by an increase in U.S. military interventions around the world.

    • White House claims Yemen still a ‘template’ for counterterrorism success

      White House spokesman Josh Earnest told the press gaggle yesterday that the administration still considers Yemen a “template” for the success of its counterterrorism efforts.

    • Veteran suicides tell the truth

      Yet chief among the factors must be the mental flashbacks to some ghastly horror, perhaps long ago, and the question arises as to how the individual veterans view their participation in the horror.

    • Paying tribute without creating war narratives

      This is, unfortunately, the very goal of much spin and propaganda. We rightly hold public parades to honour those who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and to remember the dead and their families but ignore the plight of those who fled our enemies – on whose behalf our troops were supposedly there. Many of the children in detention whose plight was highlighted in the report of the Human Rights Commission, The Forgotten Children, were doubly victimised – once at the hands of our enemies the Taliban and again when they fled to us for safety.

      It should also be remembered that war has its victims on both sides. Whatever we think of the Taliban and their ethics, they suffer and bleed as we do. Afghan mothers will miss their sons and Afghan lovers be torn apart by lives tragically cut short in just the same way as American and Australian ones.

    • Killing With Military Equipment Disguised as Civilian Objects is Perfidy, Part II

      On Friday, I concluded that modifying a civilian-looking vehicle into a military object to attack an adversary could indeed amount to perfidy during an international armed conflict. This question was triggered by Ryan Goodman and Sarah Knuckey’s post on the 2008 killing of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah by the US and Israel where, among other things, they ask how using a car bomb differs from certain other means and methods of surprise attacks. I will briefly address them below.

    • U.S. Nerve Gas Hit Our Own Troops in Iraq
    • Can the US figure out which groups to support in Syria? Not easily

      As the US grapples with whether it should pursue a larger role in the Syrian War – and just how much military aid to give Iraqi troops battling the Islamic State – it is also trying to figure out how to avoid one of the most basic and nettlesome blunders of all: inadvertently creating a Frankenstein’s monster in the form of corrupt local power brokers.

    • Book Review – “This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since”

      There is no historical controversy as contentious or long-lasting as the North Korean and Chinese charges of U.S. use of biological weapons during the Korean War. For those who believe the charges to be false — and that includes much of American academia, but not all — they must assume the burden of explaining why the North Koreans or Chinese made up any bogus claims to attack the credibility of U.S. forces. Because they had no reason to do that.

      It is a historical fact that the United States carpet-bombed and napalmed North Korea, killing nearly 3 million civilians thereby.

      In other words, massive war crimes are already self-evident, and if there is any mystery, it is how historical amnesia and/or callous disregard for crimes such as those committed by the U.S. and its allies in Korea, or the millions killed by the U.S. in Southeast Asia, can go ignored today.

    • Exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky was murdered because he was about to hand Putin evidence of a coup plot, claims former head of security

      Sergei Sokolov says he doesn’t believe Russian tycoon took his own life

      The 67-year-old was found hanging at ex-wife’s Berkshire home in 2013

      Berezovsky had evidence of plot to topple President Putin, it is alleged

      Sokolov claims Russian tycoon was killed by Western security services

      An outspoken critic of Putin, Berezovsky had sent him ‘repentance’ letter

    • C.I.A. Officers and F.B.I. Agents, Meet Your New Partner: The Analyst

      Call it the revenge of the nerds, Washington-style. The gun-toting F.B.I. agent and the swashbuckling C.I.A. undercover officer are being increasingly called upon to share their clout, their budgets and even their Hollywood glamour with the humble, deskbound intelligence analyst.

    • FBI plays nice with other spooks, but needs to spy smarter – report

      FBI’s cooperation with the CIA and NSA is better than ever, but more is needed to make the Bureau a truly global intelligence and investigative agency, says a newly released US government report on agency’s post-9/11 transformation.

    • Ecuadorian President Says The CIA Is Attempting To Overthrow His Government

      The CIA has a history of contributing to coups in Ecuador. Back in 1963, the CIA led a coup which deposed President Carlos Julio Arosemena because he criticized the United States and supported Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba.

    • A CIA Spy’s Fantasy About Kurdistan!

      I don’t believe Kurdistan is a pipedream, but a real-life dream that can come true, and bring freedom to 40 million Kurds—just as the implosion of the Soviet Union ushered in freedom for fifteen nations. The Middle East is now imploding, and the possibility of a free Kurdistan looms even greater—to the chagrin of our well-meaning author, Graham Fuller, and his beloved Turkish friends.

    • CIA Refuses to Share Updated Intelligence on MH17 Crash – US Journalist

      The US Central Intelligence Agency will not release an updated assessment of the Malaysia MH17 flight crash because it would exonerate the Russian government from involvement, US journalist Robert Parry, known for helping expose the Iran-Contra affair, told Sputnik.

    • More on Menendez and the Mideast madmen – and other fun stuff on the nutty neocons

      Wow, they really think you’re stupid.

      I’m talking about all of those bought-and-paid-for radio talkers as well as the neocon nincompoops posing as conservative pundits.

      They’re trying to convince you that for some reason the Saudis – you know, those people who execute apostates and who funded the 9/11 attacks – are now our allies in the fight against the Houthis in Yemen.

      Do you even know who the Houthis are? Do you know where Yemen is?

    • The Irish Brigadista

      In Ireland there is a place called Morley’s Bridge and it is located on the border between County Cork and Kerry. At this remote spot there is a plaque in memory of a local man.

    • Dangers of warped patriotism
    • Once It was Anarchists Throwing Bombs …

      CIA director John Brennan said on March 13 that the US did not want the Assad regime to collapse. Three days later, secretary of state John Kerry called for discussions with Mr Al Assad rather than, as in the past, his resignation. This was anathema until the fanatics of ISIS unleashed their terror on the region. Apart from setting most of the world against it and bringing succour to the regimes in Damascus and Baghdad that ISIS wanted to destroy, ISIS provided a haven for insane youth from much of the world. If ISIS falls, where will they go?

    • Ron Paul: We Need to March Our Troops Home

      “Before the attack I was accused of exaggerating the potential costs of the war when I warned that it could end up costing as much as $100 billion,” Paul writes. Despite that criticism, Paul may have even been lowballing the total cost. Last March, Reuters estimated that the war continues to cost in excess of $1.7 trillion. And that’s not including the War in Afghanistan.

    • US Imperialism in Haiti. Criminality of the Michel Martelly Regime

      Eleven years after the UN mission began in Haiti, it brought dictatorship, a virulent cholera epidemic, tens of thousands of deaths, rapes of women, men and children and more jails than ever before in Haiti’s 200 year old history.

    • Yes There’s a Bush and a Clinton, but the 2016 Elections Represent Something Scary and New

      Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.

      And here’s what I find strange: the evidence of this, however inchoate, is all around us and yet it’s as if we can’t bear to take it in or make sense of it or even say that it might be so.

    • Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than in any other year since 1967

      Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than in any other year since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, a UN report has said.

    • Muslim Convert Who Helped Find Bin Laden Leaves Top CIA Terror Job

      The director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, a dark-suited, anonymous figure known as “Roger,” is leaving the post he has held since 2006.

      [...]

      He led the agency’s signature program, a relentless series of drone strikes against al-Qaida whose occasional imprecision and lack of legal transparency angered many civilians in the Muslim world. But Roger himself is, by all accounts, a practicing convert to Islam, a religion he embraced upon marrying his Muslim wife.

    • Leader of Iranian force fighting Isis is complicating US efforts, says CIA chief

      The role of the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force in directing Iraqi forces against the Islamic State is complicating the US mission against terrorism and contributing to destabilization in Iraq, the director of the CIA said Sunday.

    • A Conversation With CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou

      But a journalist must be careful too, and I wondered if Kiriakou still felt a romantic attachment to the CIA. In a recent interview with Ken Klippenstein, he acknowledged that the war on terror is as much a war of revenge as it is a paramilitary police and espionage action designed to protect Americans from harm. He acknowledged that drone strikes have killed “dozens” of innocent people at wedding celebrations and “do more to help recruitment for groups like al-Qaeda or ISIS than anything they could do.” He even equated the Al Qaeda fighters he captured with the average American prisoner or soldier – functionally illiterate, lacking job skills, propagandized and manipulated. “So these were not hardened terrorists,” he told Klippenstein, “these were just confused young men.”

    • CIA Document Reveals Ecuador Part of Operation Condor

      The office of the attorney general in Ecuador is investigating if the death of former President Jaime Roldos was an assassination of Operation Condor.

    • CIA report demonstrates the falsehoods propounded over Iraq

      AS we wait for the publication of the Chilcott Inquiry into our involvement in the illegal invasion of Iraq it would appear that events in the United States have provided the evidence that George W Bush and Tony Blair made statements to justify the invasion knowing they were false.

    • George W. Bush gets intelligence group award
    • Ecuador’s Correa Refutes AFP on CIA-Opposition Protest Link

      “If the opposition marches had been organized by the CIA, they wouldn’t have been such colossal failures,” Ecuador’s president said.

    • Ecuador’s Government Accuses AFP of Lying Regarding CIA Protest Link

      Ecuadorean government officials charged the AFP with taking President Rafael Correa’s remarks out of context and publishing a story based on lies.

    • Ecuador denies blaming US for ‘attrition campaign’

      Ecuador has denied that leftist president Rafael Correa had accused the United States of trying to destabilise his government by infiltrating it with spies, according to an official statement.

      Correa had said the US Central Intelligence Agency was trying to “wear down the government” and accused it of helping to organise opposition protests.

    • Ecuador’s President accuses the CIA of plotting against him
    • Correa accuses US of bid to destabilise govt
    • US ‘infiltrating’ Ecuador with spies
    • Agent Orange Funding Opens Door To US Militarism And Covert Action In Vietnam

      The use of Agent Orange constitutes a war crime with devastating effects on the people in Vietnam not only during the war but even today. The U.S. military knew that its use of Agent Orange would be damaging, but, as an Air Force scientist wrote to Congress “because the material was to be used on the enemy, none of us were overly concerned.”

      Ecocide was committed when “the U.S. military sprayed 79 million liters of herbicides and defoliants over about one-seventh of the land area of southern Vietnam.” The 2008-2009 President’s Cancer Panel Report found that nearly five million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in “400,000 deaths and disabilities and a half million children born with birth defects.”

    • Poroshenko Still at Risk? US Could Hedge Bets on Its Choice of Oligarchs

      While the majority of the internet media presume that the US had already made its choice of oligarchs in Ukraine and has opted to support the head of state, Petro Poroshenko, the German online newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten believes that Washington might still change its mind and shift the balance of power in favor of Ihor Kolomoiskyi.

    • ‘Why Do They Hate Us?’

      We can take this terrible example as a metaphor for the whole “war on terror,” which has created a self-serving political culture that allows us to silently evade our national responsibility while loudly projecting collective blame onto abstract “others.” If we want a better, saner, more just future, then the “war on terror” must come to an end—and for that to happen, we must become more critical and discerning about the full spectrum of horrors that have occurred (and are still taking place) during this war. “It is part of the mechanism of domination to forbid recognition of the suffering it produces,” the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote. Only when we face up to our delusions and actions and stop torturing others into silence will we be able to keep ourselves out of the darkness.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Federal CIO Council Named ‘Worst’ in Open Government

      The Federal Chief Information Officers Council is taking home this year’s Rosemary Award for giving the “worst open government performance of 2014.”

    • Secrecy And Democracy Are Incompatible

      It is obvious, almost by definition, that excessive governmental secrecy and true democracy are incompatible. If the people of a country have no idea what their government is doing, they cannot possibly have the influence on decisions that the word “democracy” implies.

    • White House least transparent in 50 years – Former CIA analyst

      McGovern was commenting on the Obama administration’s recent decision to cease accepting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which stands in stark contrast to the progressive platform Obama ran on as a candidate.

    • US Defends Anti-Iran Group in Defamation Suit, Citing State Secrets

      In a bizarre, first-of-its-kind decision, a US court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit between a Greek shipping magnate and an advocacy group against a “Nuclear Iran.” The reason? Despite the fact that the case involves no government agencies, an unknown official convinced the judge that a trial could reveal critical state secrets.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Slight of Slights: US Neocons Try to Rewrite History of WWII

      While NATO puppets in eastern and central Europe are involved in a propaganda war against Russia and its May 9 Victory Day event, three US ex-ambassadors to Ukraine – Steven Pifer, John Herbst, and William Taylor – have demanded that the leaders of the UK, Germany and France should participate in a WWII Victory in Europe ceremony in Kiev, “a city where neo-Nazis and skinhead mercenaries from around Europe enjoy political and military power,” the author stressed.

    • Clinton talks about a new relationship with the media

      Hillary Clinton has always had a tenuous relationship with the media. But that didn’t stop her from headlining a journalism awards ceremony Monday night.

      “Some of you may be a little surprised to see me here tonight,” Clinton acknowledged. “You know my relationship with the press has been at times, shall we say, complicated.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Are Today’s Spy Tools Tomorrow’s Privacy Invaders?

      The newest toy for children from Mattel is called Hello Barbie and it can converse with your child and record the answers in real time via wifi. It saves that information in the cloud.

    • Op-Ed: CIA-linked Haftar will probably sabotage any Libyan peace deal

      UN envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, proposed a unity government composed of a three-person presidential council but it also would incorporate the House of Representatives of the Tobruk-based internationally recognized government.

    • CIA Releases More Info on Project Corona

      In 1958, at the height of the Cold War and long before satellite photo reconnaissance was thought possible, President Dwight Eisenhower endorsed a project called Corona.

    • Senators raise new concerns about CIA-aided cellphone tracking

      A powerful bipartisan pair of senators is pressing the Obama administration over the development of spy tools that mimic cell towers in order to track people’s cellphones.

    • Senate Panel Concerned Over CIA Role in Domestic Cellphone Scanning

      The top two lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee are pressing the Justice Department with concerns the Central Intelligence Agency helped domestic law enforcement develop technology to scan U.S. cellphones.

    • One Does Not Simply Send An Email

      Getting one from Index On Censorship was different. This is a group people trust. They’re establishing norms for how we should all behave in the increasingly complicated and networked world of free expression. So I took them to task in a one-sided conversation for having such terrible security norms and endangering their users. They ignored me, which didn’t shock me. When you work in internet security you get used to the world ignoring you. But I figured, the least I owe Index On Censorship, and the many other NGO, newsrooms, small companies, freelancers, and people at home is some ideas on how to improve their security practices.

    • Hotel Wi-Fi not only hideously expensive – it’s horribly insecure

      A major security flaw in a network gateway popular among hoteliers can be exploited by hackers to launch attacks against guests by injecting malware into their downloads over unencrypted connections. Compromised gateways can also be used to infiltrate sensitive areas of a hotel’s network, such as its reservation systems, it’s claimed.

    • No Copies of Clinton Emails on Server, Lawyer Says

      An examination of the server that housed the personal email account that Hillary Rodham Clinton used exclusively when she was secretary of state showed that there are no copies of any emails she sent during her time in office, her lawyer told a congressional committee on Friday.

      After her representatives determined which emails were government-related and which were private, a setting on the account was changed to retain only emails sent in the previous 60 days, her lawyer, David Kendall, said. He said the setting was altered after she gave the records to the government.

    • PATRIOT Act axed, NSA spying halted … wake up, Neo, it’s just a dream in the US House of Reps

      A law bill introduced in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday seeks to abolish the Patriot Act, ban Uncle Sam from forcing backdoors into technology, and safeguard whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

      Ever since Snowden leaked top-secret files detailing the NSA and GCHQ’s global surveillance of innocent people, there have been calls for reforms – which have sparked little more than tinkering at the edges of the laws enabling the blanket snooping.

    • Silicon Valley spars with Obama over ‘backdoor’ surveillance

      One would be installing so-called “backdoors” in encryption — an access point known only to law enforcement agencies. Security experts find this concept abhorrent, since cyber crooks or foreign intelligence agencies would likely exploit it.

    • Tech Giants Call For “Clear, Strong And Effective End” To NSA’s Phone Metadata Surveillance
    • Tech giants demand end to NSA spying, as Patriot Act is set to expire

      A technology coalition headed by Apple, Microsoft, and Google urged President Barack Obama and other government officials to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone call “metadata.” In a letter addressed to the President and other key figures, the coalition, made up of privacy advocates, technology firms, and trade companies, called the NSA program “untenable,” and urged the House to move forward with reforms.

    • “The authorised information available on this building could be published in a single tweet”

      Under a programme called “Prism” they are keeping records of your phone’s geolocation, harvesting your metadata and tracking your browser history. They are filing and documenting your most intimate details, and as we know from whistleblower Edward Snowden, NSA workers routinely share your nude photos with their colleagues (in an office culture apparently closer to fraternity “bros” than intelligence specialists).

    • The Architects of the NSA’s Top Secret Headquarters Have Been Revealed
    • Quit Facebook to prevent NSA snooping, says EU attorney

      The Commission has also conceded before the European Court of Justice that the Harbour framework can’t ensure the data privacy of European citizens.

    • Lawyer at the European Court Say Facebook & NSA Work Together

      The European Commission Attorney Bernhard Schima has told the Court Of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) the US-EU Safe Harbor framework doesn’t work.

    • Don’t Use Facebook If You’re Worried About NSA Snooping

      “You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one,” European Commission attorney Bernhard Schima told attorney-general Yves Bot at the CJEU on Tuesday, suggesting that personal data transferred from Europe to the U.S. isn’t necessarily protected under the U.S.-EU pact, even though the Framework should ensure data privacy and security.

    • Quit Facebook to prevent NSA snooping, says EU attorney
    • Why Wikimedia Just Might Win Its Lawsuit Over NSA Surveillance

      Juliet Barbara, the senior communications manager for Wikimedia, agrees.

      “Mass surveillance is a threat to intellectual freedom and a spirit of inquiry, two of the driving forces behind Wikimedia,” she told Truthdig. “Wikipedia is written by people from around the world who often tackle difficult subjects. Very frequently they choose to remain anonymous, or pseudonymous. This allows them to freely create, contribute and discover without fear of reprisal. Surveillance might be used to reveal sensitive information, create a chilling effect to deter participation, or in extreme instances, identify individual users.”

    • This Is How NSA Spying Screws US Businesses

      According to a filing published by the World Trade Organization Thursday, the United States is outraged by China’s proposed restrictions on US-made information technology in the banking sector – by all accounts a reaction to the disclosure of secret documents by former NSA contractor Edwards Snowden.

    • New documents expose New Zealand surveillance of Solomon Islands
    • New Zealand used NSA data to spy on rival trade leader candidates

      Want to understand why far-reaching, poorly scrutinized spying programs are dangerous? Here’s why. The Intercept and the New Zealand Herald have obtained a document showing that New Zealand used the US National Security Agency’s XKeyscore surveillance system to spy on other countries’ candidates for the World Trade Organization’s director general role. The 2013 snooping campaign searched for keywords in communications that referenced New Zealand’s own candidate (Minister of Trade Tim Groser, above), the competition and the WTO itself. Any relevant results were passed on to a “trade team” within the country’s surveillance agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, which is rather alarming when the leadership run had nothing to do with national security.

    • Texas Action Alert: No Resources for NSA Spying, Support HB3916

      Texas is home to a massive physical NSA facility that relies on the independent Texas power grid to operate. That power is provided by the country’s largest public utility, and Texas can turn it off by passing HB3916. (learn more here) It has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee.

    • Which Apps Expose Your Data to the NSA’s Spying?

      A recent Pew Research Center report found that some Internet users have changed their use of social networking services, apps, email, and even search engines as a result of former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations about the government’s pervasive online surveillance. So how does your smartphone — the device that many of us find indispensable in our day-to-day lives — have the potential to expose your personal data and your online activity to government snooping? How does your mobile device protect your anonymity, and how does it leave your communications vulnerable to interception by the NSA and other intelligence agencies?

    • Rights groups call foul as French snooping bill gives state NSA-like powers

      The new law would give French spy agencies the power to hack into computers and spy on anyone linked to a “terrorist” inquiry – without having to obtain a judicial warrant first.

    • Key Democrat: Congress Won’t Tackle NSA Reform Before Cybersecurity

      “High-level” discussions on surveillance overhaul aren’t taking place, Rep. Adam Schiff said.

    • NSA and British Intelligence Squad Monitor Cell Phones for Data Hacking

      Of late, American and British hackers have maximized crime by encroaching to hack database of the largest SIM card selling company. They have collected million tons of data from these SIM cards and they distorted the facts. It is a well fabricated crime and it is also heinous. On the other hand, NSA and GCHQ agencies have upgraded an encrypted key to break the privacy of people. They collected the configuration of privacy codes used by Gemalto to upgrade the chips of mobile phones. So it is now easier for NSA to steal valuable information from people.

    • Austrian Lawmakers ‘Terminate Silence’ Over NSA Spying (Der Standard, Austria)

      “NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned of how U.S. intelligence works with a number of E.U. countries that filter out traffic belonging to their own citizens. However, because of the number of collaborating countries, the U.S. is ultimately able to obtain data on all E.U. citizens. … Parliament members are in broad agreement that it is unacceptable for foreign intelligence services to conduct legally baseless large-scale interception, storage and monitoring of the communications data of Austrian and European citizens. To prevent this from continuing, all legal and diplomatic measures will be taken.”

    • UN To Establish Rapporteur Role To Monitor Privacy Concerns In Wake Of Edward Snowden Leaks

      The United Nations human rights council said it will establish a special rapporteur position to cover privacy-related issues, a move that comes in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance programs by U.S. and U.K. agencies. The resolution, which was passed by the Geneva-based council on Thursday, was championed by Germany and Brazil, two of the countries that were allegedly most aggressively monitored by foreign espionage services.

    • UN sets up privacy watchdog

      The United Nations has agreed to set up a privacy watchdog in response to the growing concerns of the effects of digital technology on human rights.

      In a debate yesterday, the Human Rights Council adopted four resolutions to create the mandate for a special reporter for the next three year, as well as calling on all members of the UN to support the initiative and comply with requests for information and visits.

    • Cisco’s postal service needs some work

      Exact details about how this works in practice are thin on the ground, but we’re assuming Cisco briefs its customers about its delivery plans beforehand. At least you’d hope.

      It’s also not clear if other tech firms are following Cisco’s lead on this, but we have a sneaky suspicion Royal Mail might be, given how haphazard their deliveries seem to be these days.

    • Metadata and Privacy: Are We Letting the Terrorists Win?

      It is often argued that data retention is necessary to combat terrorism. However, data retention cannot prevent any terrorist attacks. At best it may, as its proponents claim, assist the police to find the culprits and their accomplices after an attack has already taken place.

    • Australia passes controversial new metadata law

      Australia has passed a controversial security law that will require its internet and mobile phone providers to store customer data for two years.

    • Not so simple to protect secret sources under data retention laws
    • Keen to evade data retention? Here’s how to choose a VPN
    • Your guide to the data retention debate: what it is and why it’s bad

      Crikey has been covering data retention for several years, and we’ve written tens of thousands of words in that time explaining what it is, why it’s important and the threat it poses to Australians. We know that a lot of people, especially in the media, have only started to focus on the issue in recent days, so we’ve further expanded this Q&A we prepared last year to take into account recent developments and give you a one-stop document for what will be Australia’s biggest ever mass surveillance regime.

    • Spookception: US spied on Israel spying on US-Iran nuke talks

      Israel spied on the recent US-Iran nuclear talks, alleges America. And the US knows enough about it to say it publicly because the NSA is spying on Israel, along with everyone else.

    • Allies spy on allies all the time. Did Israel do something worse?

      On some level, the reports that Israel spied on Iran-U.S. nuclear talks don’t come as a shock. Just last year, German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that Israel had eavesdropped on Secretary of State John Kerry during Middle East peace talks. Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in November 1985 after passing secret documents to Israel while working as a civilian analyst for the U.S. Navy, has become a cause celebre among some Israelis.

    • Security Conundrum lecture series to end with view from Congress and the courts

      Former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall gained notoriety for his vocal opposition to National Security Agency surveillance programs in the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures of June 2013.

    • Privacy Critics Go 0-2 With Congress’ Cybersecurity Bills

      Over the last month, privacy advocates have slammed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, arguing that it’s surveillance legislation hidden in a security bill’s clothing. But those protests didn’t stop a Senate committee from passing the bill by a vote of 14-1. And now they haven’t stopped the House’s intelligence committee from following in the Senate’s surveillance-friendly footsteps.

    • Why Doesn’t the Intelligence Community Care Whether Its Surveillance Programs Work?

      The House and Senate Intelligence Committee just passed a cybersecurity bill that critics argue isn’t likely to improve cybersecurity. In fact, because it undermines the privacy of electronic communications by encouraging companies to broadly share private data with the government and each other, it may actually damage cybersecurity.

    • Documents Reveal Canada’s Secret Hacking Tactics

      Canada’s electronic surveillance agency has secretly developed an arsenal of cyberweapons capable of stealing data and destroying adversaries’ infrastructure, according to newly revealed classified documents.

      Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, has also covertly hacked into computers across the world to gather intelligence, breaking into networks in Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa, the documents show.

    • Snowden dump details Canadian spies running false flag ops online

      While the NSA headlines most of Ed Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance, the latest leaked documents reveal the Canadians are a dab hand at cyber-stuff, both defensive and offensive.

      Top-secret files, published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Intercept, show that Canuck intelligence has developed its own technology to keep government servers secure. The EONBLUE system uses a mix of malware signatures and heuristics to identify network threats and maintain communications security.

      [...]

      Using its own infrastructure, the CSE claims it has the ability to process 125GB of internet communications metadata per hour for intelligence, and store 300TB at a time. In 2009 it collected an average of 112,794 blobs of interesting network traffic every day, in association with “allied sources.”

    • Sharing secrets: Britain & Israel launch £1.2mn cybersecurity project

      A group of British and Israeli academics are set to participate in a £1.2 million cyber security research venture as part of the government’s “long-term economic plan,” the Cabinet Office announced on Tuesday.

      The bilateral project will consist of three cross-border partnerships linking Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv with the University of Bristol and University College London, and Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology with the University of Kent.

    • NSA Phone Surveillance to End Unless Congress Acts
    • FBI Pleads For Crypto Subversion in Congressional Budget Hearing

      In a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing this morning on the FBI budget for the upcoming fiscal year, FBI Director James Comey was again critical of new encryption features from Apple and Google that he claims would make it impossible for law enforcement to access the contents of mobile device communications.

    • FBI told its cyber surveillance programs have actually not gone far enough

      An in-house review of the FBI has found the agency failing to go far enough in its expansion of physical and cyber surveillance programs, urging the bureau to recruit deeper networks of informants and bring its technological abilities up to pace with other intelligence agencies.

    • US Invites Brazil President to Reschedule Cancelled Visit

      Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s office says she has again been invited to make a state visit to Washington, two years after she declined a similar invitation to protest an American spy program.

    • Obama and Rousseff look to improved relations with a visit to the White House

      Rousseff had originally been scheduled to make a state visit, which involves a black-tie dinner at the White House and is considered the strongest expression of friendly ties between allies, in October 2013.

    • EXPOSED: Google, Obama caught doing it once a week

      Google and the White House manage to hook up more than the majority of married couples, having met up once a week for the past five years.

    • The State Is Spying On You Right Now. Where’s The Outrage?

      When Hillary Clinton learned that a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives had subpoenaed her emails as secretary of state and she promptly destroyed half of them—about 33,000—how did she know she could get away with it? Destruction of evidence, particularly government records, constitutes the crime of obstruction of justice.

    • Snowden under siege

      Citizenfour is a portrait of a one person who has chosen to resist the strong arm of the state

    • Robert Unger: Watch ‘Citizenfour’

      Being in the latter part of my life, I surmise that the consequences of my views will be minimally felt if at all. I worry, however, for the future of my two sons, both in their late 20s, as technology employed by the NSA and other government agencies tightens the grip on their every thought and action. As we know from history, increasing monitoring of its citizens (under the banner of security) is virtually always prelude to the establishment of a totalitarian state.

    • In Washington, the Real Power Lies With the Spooks, Eavesdroppers and Assassins

      There are two governments — a double government — operating today in the realm of national security. There’s the one the voting public thinks they control when they go to the polls — what Glennon refers to as the “Madisonian institutions.” Congress, the courts and the presidency.

      And there’s the “Trumanite network,” the labyrinthine national security apparatus that encompasses the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities that Pres. Harry Truman created when he signed the National Security Act of 1947.

    • NZ ambassador hauled before Brazilian foreign minister

      New Zealand’s ambassador to Brazil, Caroline Bilkey, has been called upon to explain leaked documents showing New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spied on rival candidates for the top job at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    • Brazil demands an explanation from NZ

      Brazil has demanded an explanation from New Zealand after reports New Zealand’s foreign intelligence agency the GCSB spied on its campaign to get Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo elected as Secretary General of the World Trade Organisation in 2013 – successfully.

      Brazil media have reported that New Zealand’s ambassador in Sao Paulo, Caroline Bilkey, was summoned by the Secretary General of Brazil’s foreign ministry (MRE), Sergio Danese, to explain.

    • Korean Media Uninterested in New Zealand Spying Revelations

      On Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key wrapped up a three-day visit to South Korea during which he signed a free trade agreement. As might be expected, the South Korean media covered the visit, focusing mainly on the removal of tariffs and New Zealand’s cooperation in denuclearizing North Korea.

    • ‘We The People Have A Lot Of Work To Do’ Says Schneier In A Must-Read Book On Security And Privacy

      An expert on computer security, Schneier has written over a dozen books in the last 20 years on the subject, some highly technical, but this one is a call to action addressed to a mainstream audience. The impetus for writing such a book, it seems, were the 2013 revelations of the NSA mass surveillance. Schneier worked with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, helping in the analysis of some of the more technical documents that were leaked by Edward Snowden.

    • From Big Brother to lots of Little Brothers

      Today the bigger threat is from lots of “Little Brothers,” a multitude of corporations, companies, and online mechanisms that want to track your every move.

    • Human rights left out of sight in UK’s new surveillance guidelines

      On Friday, Access and a coalition of civil society organizations, including the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and New America’s Open Technology Institute, called on the Home Office of the United Kingdom to address questions about the lack of human rights protections found in its surveillance authorities.

    • To protect our privacy, make the FISA court act like a real court

      When it comes to the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, however, the FISA court is not acting like a court at all. Originally created to provide a check on the executive branch, the court today behaves more like an adjunct to the intelligence establishment, giving its blanket blessing to mammoth covert programs. The court’s changed role undermines its constitutional underpinnings and raises questions about its ability to exercise meaningful oversight.

    • Cisco small business phones open to remote eavesdropping, calling

      You don’t need to be the NSA to tap calls on Cisco’s SPA 300 and 500 IP phones: An authentication flaw allows potential attackers to do that by default.

      An unpatched vulnerability in the firmware of the SPA 300 and 500 series IP phones, typically used by small businesses, could allow eavesdropping on calls.

    • Edward Snowden’s Smashed Laptop Displayed at the V&A

      Edward Snowden’s laptop and hard drive were destroyed by Guardian editors under pressure from the UK government’s secret services GCHQ

    • US Policies Divorced From Reality Since 9/11 – Edward Snowden
    • US spies feel ‘comfortable’ in Switzerland, afraid of nothing – Snowden

      US spies operate in Switzerland without much fear of being unmasked, because Swiss intelligence, though knowledgeable and very professional, poses no threat to them, former NSA contributor Edward Snowden told Swiss TV.

    • Snowden attorney warns of loss of privacy as law lags

      Wizner said the growth of technology has outpaced the creation of laws to regulate how the government protects the privacy of citizens. He said people don’t realize how much data they create each day when they send text messages, make phone calls, read news online or shop online.

    • ‘US threats’ either typical bullying or Berlin’s excuse not to give Snowden asylum

      Washington’s threat to stop sharing intelligence with Berlin if it offers asylum to Snowden is either US bullying, or a convenient excuse on Berlin’s part to shift the blame for not allowing him to go onto the US, believes former MI5 agent Annie Machon.

    • Snowden Urges Cloud Providers to Take Action Against Mass Surveillance

      If you attended the WHD.global 2015 keynote with former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden on Wednesday morning, it is very likely that you were being watched.

      “Unfortunately in many ways I am the X,” Snowden told the packed conference room at WHD.global. “I expect and accept that at this point I’m going to be scrutinized by every government and every bad actor in the world.”

    • Prince William makes secret trip to GCHQ spy base amid hacking fears

      The second in line to the throne was flown by helicopter to the headquarters of Britain’s elite spy agency for a secret visit amid fears members of the royal family could have their emails and social media hacked by spies.

    • As the Snowden leaks began, there was “fear and panic” in Congress
    • Welcome To Privacy Hell, Also Known As The Internet Of Things

      “There are more devices and more types of devices, so this just gives you more ways for people to track you or hurt you,” Corman, a long-time security expert and cofounder of I Am The Cavalry, says. “What we’ve done is blindly assume that [adding software and connectivity] is always good. And we’re making really horrible, horrible choices.”

    • HP near deal to sell 51% of Chinese networking unit

      HP (NYSE:HPQ) is close to selling a 51% stake in its H3C Technologies Chinese networking hardware unit to state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup, the WSJ reports. Echoing an October report about HP’s sale efforts, the paper states H3C is “worth roughly $5 billion in total.”

    • The Precise (and Narrow) Limits On U.S. Economic Espionage

      The United States’ limits itself in one very narrow context. After acknowledging that the United States engages in economic espionage, DNI Clapper said in 2013: “What we do not do . . . is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.” This very carefully worded statement is the only admitted U.S. limit on economic espionage. Note what it permits. It permits economic espionage of foreign governments and institutions. It even permits theft of trade secrets from foreign firms. It just doesn’t allow such theft “on behalf of” U.S. firms, and it doesn’t permit the government to give the stolen information to U.S. firms.

    • Is the GCSB ‘trade team’ spying on NZ’s TPPA ‘partners’?

      ‘The latest revelations about the GCSB pose a stark question: is the GCSB’s “trade team” spying on governments with whom New Zealand is negotiating international deals, especially th
      e Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)?’, asked University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

    • New Zealanders part of global opposition to USA big brother mass surveillance

      The United States’ mass surveillance of internet and phone use flies in the face of global public opinion, says Amnesty International as it published a major poll to launch its worldwide #UnfollowMecampaign.

      The poll, which questioned 15,000 people from 13 countries across every continent, including New Zealand, found that 71% of respondents were strongly opposed to the United States monitoring their internet use.

    • Can the U.S. – EU Safe Harbor Weather the Storm?

      On 24 March, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) heard argument on a case that could significantly impact, if not invalidate altogether, the Safe Harbor framework that facilitates the flow of personal data from the European Union (EU) to the US.

  • Civil Rights

    • Guantánamo’s Charade of Justice

      About 85 percent of the 779 men ever held at Guantánamo are no longer there. Most left during the Bush administration. While the number of transfers has been much smaller under the Obama administration, the pace accelerated in the latter part of 2014.

    • Exclusive: TSA’s Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists

      Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points.

      These are just a few of the suspicious signs that the Transportation Security Administration directs its officers to look out for — and score — in airport travelers, according to a confidential TSA document obtained exclusively by The Intercept.

    • Digital Citizenship: from liberal privilege to democratic emancipation

      Enshrined in both national constitutions and international treaties, these democratic precepts ensure that individual citizens can express their views and campaign for causes without fear of persecution or discrimination. Yet, when they were first codified during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries’ modernising revolutions which overthrew aristocratic and priestly despotism in western Europe and North America, these fundamental freedoms were initially restricted to a minority of the population: white male property-owners.

      [...]

      The recent revelations by Edward Snowden and other whistle-blowers about the American empire’s megalomaniac scheme to spy upon every inhabitant of the planet have discredited ‘the West’s’ self-identification as the global champion of human rights.

    • Whistleblowers and the prosecution loophole

      According to media reports Petraeus plead guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material for which he may face up to a year in prison. His paltry sentence is a far cry from the many years of prison time that many whistleblowers face when they disclose protected information in an attempt to further the public interest. Petraeus claimed no such motive. He seems only to have wanted to help his mistress and biographer, and Panetta and Vickers shared it with a producer from Hollywood – the common thread between the three stories is that these men both leaked information for purely personal gain and each received little more than a slap on the wrist.

    • Whistleblowers and the Press Heavyweights

      Following the late January guilty verdicts in the espionage trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, more proof emerged — if any more were needed — that many elite mainstream journalists abhor whistleblowers and think they should go to prison when they divulge classified information.

    • Are Leaked Docs Safe With Canadian Reporters?

      Thousands of people in Canada have access to top secret government documents, but if any of them are considering following in the footsteps of Edward Snowden and leaking records to journalists, they will find comparatively few reporters in this country who are capable of protecting them.

      Snowden, an NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower, leaked a massive trove of documents that revealed potentially illegal surveillance programs throughout the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Intelligence agencies in these countries not only monitor the communications of terrorists and foreign states, they also collect private and potentially compromising information from journalists and the public at large.

      However, since the Snowden leaks were made public, only a handful of reporters in Canada have taken steps to secure themselves and their sources. Many investigative reporters and even some national security reporters in Canada are not equipped with email encryption.

    • Beyond Homan Square: US History Is Steeped in Torture

      The fatal shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of White police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, not only sparked a nationwide social movement challenging police brutality, but it also amplified media scrutiny of the US legal system. One example is the recent Guardian investigation of a detention facility in Chicago’s Homan Square, where police take people for harsh, off-the-book interrogations without reading them their rights and denying access to attorneys. The facility is deemed “the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site” since suspects are effectively “disappeared.” While this is the first time Homan Square has been discussed in the mainstream press, it hardly represents anything new or unique in Chicago, or in the United States as a whole. If anything, Homan Square reflects a norm rather than a deviation from US legal and national security policy.

    • N.J. First State to Ban Police Militarization Without Local OK

      Last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into a law a bill (passed unanimously by both houses) that made his state the first to require local approval before any local law-enforcement agency can accept military equipment from the U.S. government. It won’t be the last.

      Even stronger bills banning the practice, under the so-called “1033 Program” of local law-enforcement agencies dealing directly with the Department of Defense for free military equipment, are pending in Montana, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.

    • The Frank Church Committee: A Fading Legacy

      The Church Committee’s investigation revealed more about the secret, sometimes illegal, work of the nation’s top intelligence agencies than any comparable effort before or since. And it led to reforms meant to rein in the agencies and protect civil liberties, though many of those reforms were weakened in the years following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

    • A Look at What’s Been Lost to History

      In June 2005, a federal judge ordered the Bush administration to safeguard “all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.” Five months later, the CIA destroyed hundreds of hours of interrogation videos of suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who were being held overseas in a network of secret CIA prisons. By the time President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of those prisons and the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo, the tapes were long gone.

    • Amy Goodman on Moving from Assessment to Accountability for “The Bush Doctrine” on Terrorism

      “If we really care about national security and being a model for the world of justice,” Goodman says of the George W. Bush administration’s actions after 9/11, we have “to move from assessment to an accounting and to accountability.” She also elicits responses from her fellow forum participants Porter Goss, former CIA director, and John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence, about the U.S.-led Iraq War, and its use of torture.

    • France should fully investigate Guantánamo torture claims

      On March 5, the New York–based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) urged a French Appeals Court to fully investigate claims by three French nationals that they were sexually and physically tortured during their detention at the Guantánamo Bay prison in 2002. But a lack of cooperation from U.S. authorities has stymied the French investigation.

    • Cuba: Not a Terrorist Threat

      As the Obama administration and Cuban negotiators examine the 54-year-old unilateral embargo (or “blockade” as the Cubans refer to it), one obstacle—particularly painful for Cubans and extremely important to American interests—must be addressed: Cuba’s continued presence on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

    • Remembering a Tragic Anniversary: Viola Liuzzo

      Fifty years ago tonight, following the end of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Viola Liuzzo, a 39-year-old Detroit homemaker and mother of five, was shot and killed by a carload of Ku Klux Klansmen. She was the only white woman to lose her life working for the civil rights movement. Her murder helped accelerate passage of the historic Voting Rights Act.

    • Where will anti-terrorism bill lead Canada?

      In the March 2015 edition of Harper’s, a U.S. magazine, Adam Hochschild reviews a book by Karen M. Pate in which she presents her research into the CIA’s secret infiltration of the National Student Association during the 1960s and ’70s.

      Hochschild, a staff writer with Ramparts at the time, became somewhat involved and confirms in his review Pate’s allegations of CIA’s involvement in the National Student Association.

    • Barack Obama to meet with Iraqi prime minister in April

      President Barack Obama will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House on April 14, the administration announced Monday.

      Al-Abadi has expressed frustration in what he called “slowness” of the U.S.-led international coalition in providing military support against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    • How crashing drones are exposing secrets about U.S. war operations

      A surveillance mission was exposed last week when a Predator drone crashed in northwest Syria while spying on the home turf of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. officials believe the drone was shot down, but they haven’t ruled out mechanical failure. Regardless, the wreckage offered the first hard evidence of a U.S. confrontation with Assad’s forces.

    • Some Disturbingly Relevant Legacies of Anticommunism

      The impact of Cold War anticommunism on our national life has been so profound that we no longer recognize how much we’ve lost.

    • Obama to welcome Japanese prime minister for state visit

      The leaders will celebrate the relationship between the nations developed during the 70 years since the end of World War II, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

    • U.S. offers Lebanon security training, equipment: Machnouk

      The U.S. is ready to provide Lebanese security services with equipment and training to help them fight terrorism, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said after holding talks with CIA director John O. Brennan.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • CIA director neither confirms nor denies U.S. role in N. Korea’s Internet outage

      CIA Director John Brennan declined Sunday to confirm or deny reports that the United States disrupted North Korea’s Internet system in December in retaliation for Pyongyang’s hack on Sony Entertainment.

      North Korea’s Internet connections suffered outages for a few days in late December after U.S. President Barack Obama blamed the communist nation for the massive hack on Sony and promised a “proportional response.”

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