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Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

Posted in News Roundup at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Node.js and Docker realigned

    It’s not really a surprise, but after just over six months since the “forking” of both Node.js and Docker, the two different projects have ended up back in some sort of alignment. For Node.js, it was the reunification with io.js under the Node.js Foundation, which was officially launched under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella. The Node.js and io.js technical development is now driven by a technical committee and hopefully this will all work out well for all.

  • Libreboot Now Supports An AMD/ASUS Motherboard

    The Libreboot “fork” of Coreboot now has support for its first AMD motherboard — or more broadly, its first desktop motherboard.

  • IBM Insists It’s Open to Open Source

    So it’s interesting when a senior IBM exec turns up in a keynote slot. Big Blue’s heritage, at least at the high end, had for years been dominated by proprietary architecture. No longer, said Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems. The founding of OpenPOWER roughly two years ago, sale of IBM’s x86 business, and the sprint away from the formidable but proprietary Blue Gene (and re-embrace of the battle-tested mainframe) are all part of IBM’s about-face.

  • The Open Information Security Foundation Joins Open Source Initiative as Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) today announced that The Open Information Security Foundation (OISF) has been accepted as an Affiliate Member. “The OSI is excited to welcome OISF,” said Patrick Masson, General Manager and Director at the OSI. “Just as we’re seeing with open source software projects, more and more organizations are looking for support from mature, robust and relevant security communities. The OISF and the open source technologies they support are ready to help and we’re happy to promote their good work.”

  • The evolution of the big data platform at Netflix

    I caught up with Eva to get a bit of a background on her, Netflix, and how open source is being used to improve services at Netflix. Not only has Netflix used and contributed to existing open source projects, but they have released their own projects like Genie as open source. To learn more about Netflix’s open source projects you can pursue their GitHub.

  • Events

    • ATO Opens Reg – Releases Partial Speakers List

      The All Things Open conference today pushed out a notification to recipients on its mailing list announcing that registration for the event, slated for October 19th and 20th. has begun. For the first time ever, event organizers are offering something of a super early bird special: Buy a ticket before July 7th and get admission for both days for only $99 — which is a deal since that’s what a single day will cost once the Early Bird Special kicks-in next Tuesday.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Can LibreOffice successfully compete with Microsoft Office?

      Michael Meeks, a leading LibreOffice developer, says the open source suite is currently being used by about 20 million Linux users. (LibreOffice is included in many Linux distributions.) He adds that update requests are also regularly received from 120 million different IP addresses – with one million new ones appearing every week — and suggests that in total there may be 80 million LibreOffice users around the globe.

    • LibreOffice 5.0 to Bring More DOCX Improvements

      The Document Foundation has released the second RC for the upcoming LibreOffice 5.0 version, and it looks like the developers are making a final push for the new version of the office suite that is scheduled to land in July.

    • The job is not done until the documentation is complete

      And yet there is a lot of really good documentation out there. For example, the documentation for LibreOffice is excellent. It includes several documents in multiple formats including HTML and PDF that range from “Getting Started” to a very complete user’s guide for each of the LibreOffice applications.

  • Funding

    • Roundcube Next crowdfunding success and community

      A couple days ago, the Roundcube Next crowdfunding campaign reached our initial funding goal. We even got a piece on Venture Beat, among other places. This was a fantastic result and a nice reward for quite a bit of effort on the entire team’s part.

  • BSD

    • DragonFly BSD 4.2 Gets Improvements for i915 and Radeon, Moves to GCC 5

      DragonFly BSD is a distribution that belongs to the same class of operating systems as other BSD-derived systems and UNIX. The developers have released a new version of the distro, and they have integrated quite a few changes and improvements.

    • OpenBSD from a veteran Linux user perspective

      For the first time I installed a BSD box on a machine I control. The experience has been eye-opening, especially since I consider myself an “old-school” Linux admin, and I’ve felt out of place with the latest changes on the system administration.

      Linux is now easier to use than ever, but administration has become more difficult. There are many components, most of which are interconnected in modern ways. I’m not against progress, but I needed a bit of recycling. So instead of adapting myself to the new tools, I thought, why not look for modern tools which behave like old ones?

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.2 Released: Brings Improved Graphics & New Compiler

      DragonFlyBSD 4.2 was released this morning as the next major release to this popular BSD operating system. For end-users there are a lot of notable changes with this update.

    • Call for Testing: Valgrind on OpenBSD

      The editors are certainly salivating over the possibility of valgrinding our way to victory.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Galicia publishes open source tools

      The government of Galicia (Spain) has made available three open source solutions over the past year, one for PC classrooms, one for land-management, and a third for computer network enhancement. The tools are available at Galicia’s software repository, and information about the solutions is now also available at Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer (CTT).

    • Aragon publishes updates of eGovernment software

      The government of Aragon (Spain) has published updates of the open source software it uses for 25 eGovernment services. The updates have been available at the repository of Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer since late last month.

    • House gets green light for open source

      The House of Representatives has officially jumped on the open source bandwagon. A June 25 announcement declared that U.S. representatives, committees and staff would be able to procure open source software, participate in open source software communities and contribute code developed with taxpayer dollars to open source repositories.

    • Cracking the Code: U.S. House of Representatives Allows Use Of Open Source Software

      As the executive branch of the United States government quietly works on creating an official open source policy, the legislative branch is also moving into the 21st century: Open source software is now officially permitted in the U.S. House of Representatives. That means software developed in the People’s House with taxpayer funds will eventually be available to the people. According to the nonpartisan OpenGov Foundation, there will soon be an Open Source Caucus in Congress.

  • Programming


      The Simplon course was developed in France to teach skills in Linux, Ruby on Rails, CSS, Javascript, Meteor.js and other web development langauges. Co-founder Andrei Vladescu-Olt attended the opening of the SAP-funded laboratory, and explained that there’s more to the course than coding.


  • Science

    • Matti Makkonen, inventor of the SMS text message, died on Friday

      It is a sad day in tech. This is such a young industry in mobile that most who built it are still alive. One of the biggest pioneers, however, died this past Friday. Matti Makkonen, the inventor of the SMS text message, was a former Telecoms Finland (later known as Sonera) exec and then Nokia VP and later Finnet Group boss and ended his career as Managing Director of Anviva before he retired from active business management work. He still continued on some part-time jobs in telecoms in Finland. In 2008 Matti received the Economist Innovation Award for inventing the SMS and we celebrated that occasion here on this blog at the time.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Serbia fetes Franz Ferdinand’s assassin 101 years later

      Serbia unveiled a statue on Sunday of the man whose killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand 101 years ago lit the fuse for the First World War, feting an assassin who still divides his native Balkans.

      Many Serbs regard Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, as a pan-Slavic hero, the shot he fired in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 marking the death knell for centuries of foreign occupation over the various nations and faiths that would make up the Yugoslavia that emerged.

      To others he is a terrorist, a nationalist fanatic whose act triggered a war in which 10 million soldiers died and the world order was rewritten.

    • Is more war abroad with troops on the ground what’s needed to defeat ISIS?

      It’s too early to say whether yesterday’s ‘day of terror’ was coordinated, or whether it was a random convergence of events whose perpetrators share the same commitment to ‘leaderless resistance’ jihad which makes it equally possible to murder ‘apostate’ Shia worshippers in a mosque or ‘kufar’ tourists in Tunisia.

      Whoever they are, their broader intentions are not difficult to fathom. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Kuwait and Tunisia attacks. Both are acts of ‘strategic’ terrorism.

      The attack in Kuwait is clearly intended to foment the sectarian war that IS believes it can exploit for its own purposes.

    • Killer drones raise new moral questions

      Technologies are making humans who remote-control drones more and more like children playing video-games. That is the main problem. When deaths or killings seem to be happening so far away, the “combat mentality” can combine with the comfort zone to highly murderous effect. When it’s so easy to kill without risking your own life, will you be merciful or shoot them up?

    • Killer robots are coming next: The next military-industrial complex will involve real-life Terminators
    • The human rights crisis is about domination, not perception

      When Israel is criticized about its rights-abusive policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the refrain most often heard among local politicians is that the government’s hasbara—the Israeli propaganda machine—is inadequate. The problem, in other words, is not what Israel actually does to the Palestinians, but rather the inability to get its positive message across to the international community. This is usually referred to as “rebranding Israel”. The underlying assumption here is that the merchandise is fine, and only the packaging needs to be replaced.

    • Operation Hannibal

      Here’s how Israel deals with hostages. The results aren’t pretty.


      The war in Gaza, which had raged for three weeks by then and claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis and some 1,500 Palestinians, seemed to be tapering off. The ambush near Rafah would have gone down as one more skirmish. But as the surviving Palestinians retreated, they did something that would turn that Friday into the bloodiest day of the summer and embroil Israel in a possible war-crimes ordeal that reverberates even now: They dragged the third Israeli, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, with them underground.

    • AP withdraws photos in row over gun pointing at senator’s head

      Conservatives immediately turned on the news agency, which released a statement saying the five photos it issued “were not intended to portray Senator Cruz in a negative light”.

      After “consideration”, said the statement, “we have decided to remove those photos from further licensing through AP Images”.

    • Black churches taught us to forgive white people. We learned to shame ourselves
    • Barack Obama to deliver eulogy for Charleston church victims
    • Is the FBI Ignoring White Violence by Refusing to Call Dylann Roof a Terrorist?

      Civil rights activist Kevin Alexander Gray and Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, discuss whether the shooting in Charleston was an act of domestic terrorism. “Dylann Roof was a human drone, and every Tuesday morning the Obama administration uses drones to kill people whose names we don’t even know and can’t pronounce,” Kevin Alexander Gray says. “So I don’t know if I feel comfortable with the idea of expanding this word ‘terror.’” But Richard Cohen calls the shooting “a classic case of terrorism.” “It’s politically motivated violence by a non-state actor and carried out with the intention of intimidating more persons than those who were the immediate victims,” Cohen says. “I think in some ways it’s important to talk about terrorism in that way, not so we can send out drones, not so we can deny people their due process rights, but so we can understand the true dimensions of what we’re facing.”

    • “A Classic Case of Terrorism”: Is FBI Ignoring White Violence by Refusing to Call Roof a Terrorist?
    • White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States

      White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States, according to a study by the New America Foundation. The Washington-based research organization did a review of “terror” attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001 and found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists.

    • The question is: Will war ever end?

      I don’t rate any of our wars since to have been justified morally. I am morally shaken by our U.S. war these days involving drone use. Innocent civilians are being killed. We call it “collateral damage,” which I believe actually means “unintended murder.” How have we come to justify that? We claim to be doing it for the right reason. We have identified terrorists in these locations. When our drones strike, there are too often innocent civilians caught in the hell fire. It was not our intention to kill innocent people, but there are too many unanticipated consequences.

    • Let’s Not Forget Our Own Extremism

      To deem behavior or opinion as extremist depends on a particular point of view.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill Nine ‘Suspects’ in Yemen

      A pair of US drone strikes over the past 48 hours have killed at least nine people, none of them identified by name but all of them labeled “al-Qaeda suspects” by local officials on the ground in Yemen.

    • UK faces calls for intelligence-sharing guidance over drone attacks

      Ex-chief of navy Lord West says Britain must protect covert relationships but must also clear up grey areas over involvement in non-war zone killings

    • New Details About Drone Attacks Reported From Documents Leaked by Snowden

      The New York Times on Wednesday reported details about American counterterrorism officials’ use of drone strikes in countries such as Yemen, as well as the working relationship between intelligence agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.

    • Snowden papers suggest possible UK role in US drone strike

      The documents are said to show the extremely close cooperation between the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters better known as GCHQ, in regards to the controversial drone program.

    • US and British Wild West Spying…and the Entertainment Business

      Britain’s murky operations against the United Nations were first made public in 2004 when government minister Clare Short stated she “had read transcripts of some of Mr Annan’s conversations. She said she recalled thinking, as she talked to Mr Annan: “Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying”.” She admitted in a BBC interview that British intelligence agencies had recorded conversations of the UN Secretary General in his office in New York. This astonishing revelation attracted an intriguing reaction from her own government, with prime minister Blair declaring her statement to be “deeply irresponsible” rather than taking any action about this manifestly irresponsible and illegal operation. It was obvious that the British government was up to its neck in a program of espionage against the leader of the organization that is intended to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person,” and there was no possibility that the prime approver of such funtime capers was going to admit his culpability.

    • New York Times, ACLU Make Case For Access To Drone Strike Memos

      The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times continued their fight in court Tuesday as they try to secure nine Department of Justice memos they believe outline the federal government’s legal justification for tactical drone strikes that have killed hundreds — including U.S. citizens — across the world.

      Attorneys on both sides presented their arguments to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday — the latest round of courtroom discussions that date back four years.

      In 2011, the ACLU submitted a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the targeted killings of U.S. citizens Anwar Al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, and Sameer Khan earlier that year in September.

    • Civil Liberties Union Takes Court Action over US Drone Strikes

      The appealing parties want the public to know who and why the U.S. is killing in drone strike operations.

    • Drone strike kills 5 militants in E. Afghanistan

      Five militants have been killed following a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, a source said on Sunday.

    • Drone strike kills five militants
    • Wars killed 149,000 in Pakistan, Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014

      Wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan have killed at least 149,000 people between 2001 and 2014, says a recent report by a US think-tank.

    • Wars killed 149,000 in Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2001: report
    • South Asian tensions and the fight against militancy

      Recent escalation in tension between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India figured high among US international concerns last week, with Secretary John Kerry cautioning against implications of South Asian hostilities, amidst tenuous search for Afghan stability.

    • Drone protesters vow to close down Staffordshire factory

      Protesters from 25 UK-based campaign groups are expected to take part in the latest rally on July 6 outside the Lynn Lane factory which they claim supplies arms to Israel.

    • Smart Talk: Legality of military drones on trial

      The U.S. actually trains more unmanned pilots than traditional fighter pilots today.

    • U.S. Army Begins Training Ukrainian Soldiers

      Fighting surged again this week in eastern Ukraine, where government troops are battling separatist militias and their Russian allies.

      NATO is responding by sending troops and equipment to eastern Europe, and it’s also giving defensive training to Ukraine’s beleaguered army.

    • Moving ever closer to a new Cold War

      Nato defence ministers are meeting in Brussels to agree their next steps in dealing with the renewed threat from Russia.

    • Under the rubble of drones

      It is harder for eyes from the sky or those pushing the drone buttons from the other end of the world to see precisely what lies wasted under the rubble of mud houses in the tribal regions of Pakistan. The loud claims of ‘successfully’ targeting wanted al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists have drowned the cries of the local populations for about a decade over their children, women and men having been killed. Over 2,000 civilian casualties must not disappear from the human radar after being termed collateral damage. True, we cannot escape human tragedies for larger ends of the war on terror, but we also need to take responsibility for errors of judgment.

    • Israel Bombs Lebanon

      Sunday reports indicate an Israeli warplane bombed a remote Lebanese Bekaa region to destroy one of its drones apparently downed.

      An IDF spokeswoman declined to comment. A Lebanese security source said it’s not entirely clear what happened “but most probably it was an Israeli airstrike to destroy its downed drone” – whether because of mechanical failure or by Hezbollah isn’t known.

      America, its rogue NATO partners and Israel unilaterally or together bomb other nations in blatant violation of international law.

    • Jared Keyel: It’s time to end US military interventions

      The Obama administration is contemplating setting up bases in Iraq and sending hundreds of additional American troops there. And a few months ago, President Barack Obama announced that nearly 10,000 American troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of the year. This is in spite of US interventions in the two countries that have left hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced and continuing instability all over the region.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World’s Aquifers Losing Replenishment Race, Researchers Say

      From the Arabian Peninsula to northern India to California’s Central Valley, nearly a third of the world’s 37 largest aquifers are being drained faster than they are being replenished, according to a recent study led by scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The aquifers are concentrated in food-producing regions that support up to two billion people.

    • Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

      An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

      Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool.

      Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

    • Fracking plans rejected by council in shock result after worries about environment

      Plans to frack for shale gas in Lancashire have been rejected by county councillors.

      Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to undertake exploratory drilling and fracking at a site between Preston and Blackpool.

      Planning officials recommended approval of the operation subject to a number of conditions – but councillors rejected the advice and voted against.

    • US supreme court strikes down Obama’s EPA limits on mercury pollution

      Justices invalidate new rules in move that could make Environmental Protection Agency more vulnerable to challenges to new regulations on carbon emissions

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin poker site founder takes plea deal to avoid jail time

      A man who ran a Bitcoin-based online poker site and then fled to Antigua after being raided earlier this year has pleaded guilty to a lesser gambling violation in Nevada as a way to stay a near-free man.

      According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Bryan Micon accepted probation on Thursday and will also pay a $25,000 fine, surrender the computers, 3.0996 bitcoins ($750) and the $900 that were seized from him during the raid. Once complete, his charge will be reduced to a gross misdemeanor of operating an unlicensed interactive gaming system.

    • Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional ‘basic income’

      The Dutch city of Utrecht will start an experiment which hopes to determine whether society works effectively with universal, unconditional income introduced.

      The city has paired up with the local university to establish whether the concept of ‘basic income’ can work in real life, and plans to begin the experiment at the end of the summer holidays.

      Basic income is a universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs. The concept is to allow people to choose to work more flexible hours in a less regimented society, allowing more time for care, volunteering and study.

    • Greek PM makes plea to voters as debt deadline nears

      Tsipras asks voters to reject austerity proposals offered by creditors as thousands of his supporters rally in Athens.

    • Greek Investigator’s Report Finds Evidence of Plot Against Former PM’s Life, ‘Silver Drachma’ Plan

      Evidence pointing to international espionage, a plot to murder former Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and a 2012 plan for Greece’s exit from the euro code-named the “Silver Drachma” are just some of the sensational findings unveiled in a report by Greek Anti-Corruption Investigator Dimitris Foukas, released on Friday and sent to the Justices’ Council for consideration.

      The report outlines the findings of three converging judicial investigations spanning several years, initiated after the notorious phone-tapping scandal in 2005 and revelations that the mobile phones of then Prime Minister Karamanlis and dozens of other prominent Greeks were under surveillance.

    • ‘Nein Danke’ – smaller German firms see U.S. trade deal as threat

      Martina Roemmelt-Fella, who owns a small, family-run turbine manufacturer in Bavaria, should be a cheerleader for a trade deal between Europe and the United States that promises to ease the flow of goods and services across the Atlantic.

      But instead she fears the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being hammered out between Brussels and Washington will give too much power to big multinationals at the expense of small companies like hers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • George Will Won’t Throw Out a Perfectly Good Column Just Because Its Premise Is Completely Wrong

      At some point, Will either noticed, or someone pointed out to him, that Roberts’ decision did the opposite of what Will’s column says it did: It did not defer to the executive branch’s interpretation of the ACA, but instead produced its own definitive interpretation of the law. This makes most of Will’s criticism–starting with the first paragraph, which denounces “decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches”–irrelevant to the opinion Roberts actually wrote.

  • Privacy

    • Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

      Anyone who has been freaked out by the robots in Channel 4’s new hit drama Humans knows what life in the Uncanny Valley feels like. The same goes for those who have met or seen footage of Aiko Chihira, a realistic humanoid who has just started welcoming visitors to a department store in Japan. She’s creepy, in the extreme.

    • Two keys to rule them all: Cisco warns of default SSH keys on appliances

      Cisco revealed a security vulnerability in a number of the company’s network security virtual appliances that could give someone virtually unlimited access to them—default, pre-authorized keys for Secure Shell (SSH) sessions originally intended for “customer support” purposes. As Threatpost’s Dennis Fisher reported, Cisco has released software patches that correct the problem, but there’s no temporary workaround for systems that can’t immediately be patched.

      Cisco released an advisory on the vulnerability on June 25. There are two separate SSH key vulnerabilities for the Cisco Web Security Virtual Appliance (WSAv), Cisco Email Security Virtual Appliance (ESAv), and Cisco Security Management Virtual Appliance (SMAv).

    • Default SSH Key Found in Many Cisco Security Appliances

      Many Cisco security appliances contain default, authorized SSH keys that can allow an attacker to connect to an appliance and take almost any action he chooses. The company said that all of its Web Security Virtual Appliances, Email Security Virtual Appliances, and Content Security Management Virtual Appliances are affected by the vulnerability.

      This bug is about as serious as they come for enterprises. An attacker who is able to discover the default SSH key would have virtually free reign on vulnerable boxes, which, given Cisco’s market share and presence in the enterprise worldwide, is likely a high number. The default key apparently was inserted into the software for support reasons.

    • When a Company Is Put Up for Sale, in Many Cases, Your Personal Data Is, Too

      That respect could lapse, however, if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. At that point, according to a clause several screens deep in the policy, the host of details that Hulu can gather about subscribers — names, birth dates, email addresses, videos watched, device locations and more — could be transferred to “one or more third parties as part of the transaction.” The policy does not promise to contact users if their data changes hands.

    • Nissan shuns cloud for physical communications infrastructure

      While this project is separate from the ongoing developments in Nissan’s connected vehicle technology, Deacon said that there were “huge developments” ongoing in bringing customer service to the car dashboard and more automated systems.

      Last year Renault also revealed a major overhaul of its internal and customer-facing interactions through a Europe-wide Salesforce rollout that would link its systems to its dealerships, allowing it to claw back valuable customer data.

    • Online Data Policies … in Plain English

      Clauses in privacy policies that enable online services to transfer or sell personal data about consumers as part of a merger, bankruptcy or other transaction are becoming common practice, an examination by The New York Times of the top 100 websites in the United States has found. The prevalence of these data-transfer clauses illustrates how little control people typically have over the dissemination of information about them. Details from privacy policies of five companies offer a sampling of the information that may be collected and how companies may handle the data in the event of a sale or bankruptcy. — Natasha Singer

    • Warrantless phone tapping, e-mail spying inching to Supreme Court review

      In 2013, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a once-clandestine warrantless surveillance program that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications—a project secretly adopted in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks on the United States. Congress legalized the surveillance in 2008 and again in 2012 after it was exposed by The New York Times.

      Human-rights activists and journalists brought the Supreme Court challenge amid claims that the FISA Amendments Act was chilling their speech. But the Supreme Court tossed the case, telling the challengers’ lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union to bring proof by real targets of the warrantless e-mail and phone surveillance. In a 5-4 ruling (PDF) by Justice Samuel Alito at the time, the court said the case was based on “assumptions” and that the plaintiffs “merely speculate” that they were being spied upon.

      Fast forward to the present day: a US resident of Brooklyn, New York, accused of sending $1,000 to a Pakistani terror group has won the right to become the nation’s second defendant to challenge the surveillance at the appellate level. This could mean a Supreme Court bid is likely several months or more away.

    • The most dangerous data breach ever known

      But the true nature and scope of the information required by the government and subsequently collected by the government on an employee is massive. Take a look at Standard Form 86. This is a 127-page form that usually takes a week or more to complete and requires the entry of the applicant’s Social Security number on each page. The data included on this form is not just enough for identity theft, but enough to allow a person to literally become another person. Each Standard Form 86 fully documents the life of the subject. The only thing missing is the name of your first crush, though that might be in there somewhere too.

    • Why Facebook Is Opening An Office In Africa

      Facebook is to open a new office in Africa, a region with more than one billion people but only 120 million Facebook users.

  • Civil Rights

    • Bernie Needs To Speak Truth To Power (and try to stay alive)

      One thing I was obsessed with was campaign finance reform. I almost cut my throat when Citizens United was allowed to participate in financing political campaigns because corporations have the same rights as people. I believe that decision absolutely destroyed our so-called democracy. I also observed the Democrats that stood by and let that happen. What that showed me was how corrupt and devious our elected officials are. I stand with Bernie on this issue on overturning Citizens United.

    • China Issues Report on Human Rights Violation by the United States

      China’s State Council Information Office on Friday issued a list of human rights violations committed by the United States government. The annual report is intended to counter US allegations of human rights abuses in China.

    • China criticizes United States’ human rights record
    • US Police Killings Violate International Law

      Amnesty International finds all 50 states and Washington, DC, fail to comply with international law and standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers

    • Don’t expect rhetoric to match reality

      The transition from Bush to Obama was much less dramatic than one imagined and the transition from Obama to someone else is likely to be more nuanced

    • EU launches navy operation against migrant-traffickers

      More than 100,000 migrants have entered Europe so far this year, with some 2,000 dead or missing during the perilous quest to reach the continent. Dozens of boats set off from lawless Libya each week, with Italy and Greece bearing the brunt of the surge.

    • Australia’s New Law Would Strip Citizenship For Possessing A ‘Thing’ Connected With Terrorism, Or Whistleblowing
    • ‘Australians fighting in Syria will lose citizenship’ says PM Tony Abbott

      Australians who engaged in terrorism will be stripped of their citizenship, under new laws aimed at preventing militants fighting overseas from returning home.

    • Coalition defends proposed citizenship laws – as it happened

      The prime minister announces an expansion of powers ‘to reflect modern conditions’ and says laws could be applied retrospectively; Julie Bishop can’t confirm deaths of two Australians reportedly killed in drone strikes; and the ABC is under attack for allowing a former terrorism suspect to appear on Q&A. As it happened

    • Terror suspects to lose citizenship: PM
    • BBC News: Australia prepares new citizenship laws

      The laws would also strip citizenship from dual nationals who engage in terrorism inside Australia.

    • An Open Letter to the NRA and Its Trolls

      When are we going to have an honest conversation about guns in America? While I vigorously disagree with the Supreme Court’s most recent interpretation of the Second Amendment, I’ll concede that the right of individuals to bear arms is, for now, the law of the land.

    • First Texas abortion clinic closes, more to follow barring Supreme Court involvement

      Operation Rescue has confirmed that the Routh Street Women’s Clinic in Dallas, Texas, halted abortions earlier this month, beginning what is expected to be a series of clinic closures in the wake of a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That ruling upheld a 2013 law, HB2, that requires abortion clinics to meet minimum safety standards.

      In addition, Planned Parenthood has apparently abandoned its efforts to open a larger clinic to replace its outdated facility located at 104 Babcock Road in San Antonio. Pro-life supporters with the Stop Planned Parenthood SA Coalition sued and successfully blocked a planned opening in January 2015, citing deception and zoning violations.

    • Destruction of Evidence

      David Cameron, echoed by the corporate media, calls upon the millions of law-abiding Muslims in the UK to denounce and distance themselves from a few terrorist nutters with whom 99.99% of British Muslims have no connection anyway. That apparently is acceptable. But to ask that the Zionist and Jewish organisations denounce the long term criminal activities of the man who actually led those organisations, is portrayed as unacceptable racism.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Charter: We won’t impose data caps after buying Time Warner Cable

      Charter yesterday promised that it won’t impose any data caps or overage charges on customers for at least three years if the Federal Communications Commission allows it to buy Time Warner Cable.

    • EU Parliament must defend Net Neutrality against pressure from Member States

      The Council of the European Union is looking to remove all reference to Net Neutrality in the regulation of telecommunications. While the Council has always refused to take a step towards a compromise, it has been looking for several weeks to put the responsibility for the failure of the negotiations on the European Parliament. Thus, it is with bad faith that the Council is taking on this 4th trialogue today ; with their aim to make the Parliament to give in.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sad day for developers: SCOTUS denies Google’s appeal on APIs

        Supreme Court’s decision is bad news for developers targeting the U.S. market, who will now have to avoid any API not explicitly licensed as open

      • US Supreme Court denies Google’s request to review API Copyright decision

        A week after making the US LGBTQI community happy last week by ruling gay marriage legal across all the states, the US Supreme Court made the decision to not review the Google v. Oracle API Copyright decision made by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The Federal Circuit have been accused for misunderstanding both computer science and copyright law.

      • Pirate Bay Founder Still Wants to Clear His Name

        Last week Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm lost his appeal against his hacking conviction in Denmark. With an August release potentially on the horizon but an unexpected situation still to be resolved in Sweden, Gottfrid is longing to get in front of a computer and back into the world of IT. But before then he wants to set the record straight.


Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Enterprise DevOps, open source hit Target’s bull’s-eye

    No matter how many times we say DevOps is a culture and a mindset, it’s hard to deny that it is also a fairly sizeable chest of tools.

    Target operates two main data centers to support its retail locations as well as distribution centers. The retail giant moved to an enterprise DevOps model to empower the backend IT team to provide technology services in an entrepreneurial way.

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source project grows & prunes trees into furniture (Video)

      Eight years sounds like a long time to make a chair, but Munro insists that this method is the “faster, cheaper and more efficient” than the conventional method of mass production. Munro estimates that his grove of furniture has offset 5,000 kilograms of carbon since its initial planting, and only uses the equivalent energy consumed by ten 60-watt lightbulbs burning for eight hours per day, for a year. Full Grown furniture is estimated to have only one-quarter of the carbon footprint of conventionally mass-made furnishings.

    • Open Hardware

      • Italian makers unveil the Felfil, an open source 3d printing filament extruder

        Among other interesting parts of the open source project – which has been released under the Creative Commons license for non-commercial use and can be downloaded over at Felfil.com – is that the design team has incorporated a number of commonly found objects into their final design. Among others include a bicycle chain and a windshield wiper motor. The decision to use these found parts certainly falls in line with the team’s dedication towards “giving new life to unused components”.


  • Computers are Bullshit

    Not really, no. Computers are exciting, liberating technology that are doing wonderful things in the world. I’m a technologist who is saddened by the state of computing, the things we’ve given up in an effort to digitize the world. We’ve given up privacy for the ability to show people what we’re eating, we’ve traded the ability to live without needing corporate overlords for the ability to always know if someone at work needs to get a hold of us. Technologists can be more closed minded and insular than anyone else while claiming to be liberal and open-minded. Tech culture and Silicon Valley culture make me sad.

  • Map shows where world’s oldest and youngest populations live

    Using data from the CIA Factbook, Global Post created graphics to visualize the median age of every country in the world. The world’s 15 youngest countries are all in Africa.

  • Security

    • Drupal Core – Critical – Multiple Vulnerabilities – SA-CORE-2015-002

      A vulnerability was found in the OpenID module that allows a malicious user to log in as other users on the site, including administrators, and hijack their accounts.

      This vulnerability is mitigated by the fact that the victim must have an account with an associated OpenID identity from a particular set of OpenID providers (including, but not limited to, Verisign, LiveJournal, or StackExchange).

    • Legendary hacker: We tapped into Nixon’s phone to warn him of toilet paper crisis in L.A.

      As the world dives deeper and deeper into the digital depths of technology, with most civilizations dependent on computers and networks, with phone lines kept under the scrutiny of spy agencies – isn’t it time to talk to those, who were in on things at the beginning? Today’s special guest was a pioneer of digital technologies. The man, who hacked into phone lines from the White House to Vatican – and did it just for fun. Today we talk to John “Captain Crunch” Draper – the legendary hacker is on Sophie&Co.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • With Its French NSA Leak, WikiLeaks Is Back

      Classified documents appear on WikiLeaks.org, revealing that the American government is spying on its allies. American officials rush to deal with a sudden diplomatic crisis while publicly refusing to comment on leaked materials. And WikiLeaks proclaims that it’s just getting started.

    • Assange, Snowden Asylum in France Doubtful – Wikileaks Spokesman

      Wikileaks spokeswoman Kristinn Hrafnsson said that France will most likely not offer political asylum to whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange regardless of the French Justice Ministry’s predictions.

    • France may offer asylum to Snowden, Assange

      After the reveal of the scandal, France summoned the U.S. ambassador while the U.S. said there will be more cooperation between the two countries. Moreover, White House wanted Hollande to be sure that he is not wiretapped. However, France gave a political response to the U.S. through saying that asylum may be offered to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

    • French minister: It’s possible asylum will be offered to Snowden, Assange

      French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said Thursday she “wouldn’t be surprised” if France decided to offer asylum to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

      Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been holed up in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for more than two years to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about 2010 allegations that he raped one woman and sexually molested another.

    • French Newspaper Cites U.S. “Contempt” as Reason to Offer Snowden Asylum

      France should respond to the U.S.’s “contempt” for its allies by giving Edward Snowden asylum, the leftist French daily newspaper Libération declared on Thursday.

      France would send “a clear and useful message to Washington, by granting this bold whistleblower the asylum to which he is entitled,” editor Laurent Joffrin wrote (translated from the French) in an angry editorial titled “Un seul geste” — or “A single gesture.”

    • French Asylum For Snowden And Assange Would Send ‘Clear Message’ To US

      French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira would “absolutely not be surprised” if whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received asylum in France.

      “It would be a symbolic gesture,” Taubira told French news channel BFMTV on Thursday, adding that it would not be her decision to offer asylum, but that of the French Prime Minister and President.

    • New NSA Whistleblower behind French presidential surveillance leak

      American and European security agencies are reportedly investigating a possible new whistleblower behind the WikiLeaks publication that exposed alleged NSA spying on top French officials, including three presidents.

      The website on Tuesday released what appear to be classified NSA documents alleging the US agency spied on three successive French presidents: Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and incumbent François Hollande.

    • WikiLeaks: France plays the victim in the intelligence game

      French officials have reacted with outrage to new WikiLeaks revelations that the US spied on French presidents. But some analysts say the response is just an act of political theatre from a nation that does some significant spying of its own.

    • 5 things we’ve learned from the Saudi Arabia Wikileaks documents

      Friday’s document drop consisted of around 60,000 different files. Almost all of these documents are scanned pieces of paper, written in Arabic.

      Wikileaks claim they have more than half a million files, and they’re going to be released in batches of tens of thousands over the next few weeks.

      Naturally, with this many documents, there’s a lot of inconsequential memos that don’t give too much away. However, only around 12 per cent of the documents have been released so far, and they contain some very important information.

    • WikiLeaks exposes Saudi liquor runs, Clinton’s passport

      WikiLeaks’ publication of more than 60,000 Saudi documents has set pens racing across the Middle East with disclosures about the secretive Arab monarchy’s foreign affairs. But lost amid the torrent of revelations are offbeat memos showing the underbelly of Riyadh’s diplomacy, including candid accounts of booze runs and pork smuggling.

    • Saudi Arabia has bailed out failing Middle East media organizations in exchange for pro-Saudi coverage

      A financially troubled Lebanese TV network received a $2 million Saudi bailout in return for adopting a pro-Riyadh editorial policy.

      A news agency in Guinea got a $2,000 gift, while small publications across the Arab world received tens of thousands of dollars in inflated subscription fees.

    • WikiLeaks: Saudis tried to shield students from US scandal

      A group of Saudi students caught in a cheating scandal at a Montana college were offered flights home by their kingdom’s diplomats to avoid the possibility of deportation or arrest, according to a cache of Saudi Embassy memos recently published by WikiLeaks and a senior official at the school involved.

    • A Cheating Scandal With Diplomatic Dimensions

      That scandal came back to life this week when the Associated Press reported on Saudi Arabian embassy memos released by WikiLeaks suggesting that almost all of the students who were involved were Saudis studying in the U.S. on government scholarships and that their government attempted to shield them from potential criminal liability.

    • Chancellor says no conspiracy in flying out Saudi students

      Montana Tech’s chancellor said Tuesday that he did not conspire to fly students involved in a grade-changing scandal out of the U.S., despite recently published Saudi Embassy memos saying he suggested removing them from the country to avoid deportation or arrest.

    • Blackketter: Audit techniques now safeguard Tech transcripts

      Documents published by WikiLeaks recently revealed that many of the students who had their grades changed were Saudis, and that they gave tokens of appreciation to a college employee who changed their transcripts.

    • After WikiLeaks scandal, Montana college chancellor says transcripts safe
    • How Saudi funded Rs 1,700 crore for Wahabi influence in India

      Last year violence broke out near a Mosque in Bommanhalli, Bengaluru and what was being termed as minor tiff was in fact a case of some youth trying to impose the Wahabi preachings.

    • Why the CIA isn’t covering up a Saudi-9/11 connection in their declassified commission report

      It’s no secret that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi nationals, and speculation has long existed as to whether the oil-rich country had a hand in aiding al-Qaeda’s actions on that fateful day. Conspiracy theorists have long speculated that the U.S. is hiding a Saudi connection to 9/11 due to their high reliance on their petroleum.

    • WikiLeaks Reveals Saudi Arabia”s Plans against Syria

      Damascus, Jun 25 (Prensa Latina) Documents revealed by WikiLeaks show the Saudi government”s commitment to the terrorist groups al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

      International media and several websites on Thursday published letters and documents that confirm Saudi Arabia’s financial, logistic and military support for the armed extremist groups that operate in Arab countries, mainly in Syria.

    • France attempted to restart Israel-Palestinian talks behind US’s back: WikiLeaks

      France sought to go ahead with a bid to restart direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in 2011, and even considered keeping other world powers out of the effort and issuing an ultimatum to the United States, according to a leaked cable released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday.

    • IT tools can help declassification backlog, but is there funding?

      The federal government is facing a mounting pile of electronic documents and other material that are due to be reviewed for declassification. But there just aren’t enough people and enough budget to meet the statutory deadlines.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Why the Saudis Are Going Solar

      Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad Al Saud belongs to the family that rules Saudi Arabia. He wears a white thawb and ghutra, the traditional robe and headdress of Arab men, and he has a cavernous office hung with portraits of three Saudi royals. When I visited him in Riyadh this spring, a waiter poured tea and subordinates took notes as Turki spoke. Everything about the man seemed to suggest Western notions of a complacent functionary in a complacent, oil-rich kingdom.


      Such talk sounds revolutionary in Saudi Arabia, for decades a poster child for fossil-fuel waste. The government sells gasoline to consumers for about 50 cents a gallon and electricity for as little as 1 cent a kilowatt-hour, a fraction of the lowest prices in the United States. As a result, the highways buzz with Cadillacs, Lincolns, and monster SUVs; few buildings have insulation; and people keep their home air conditioners running—often at temperatures that require sweaters—even when they go on vacation.

    • What Do You Do When Your Land Sinks Into the Earth?

      Slowly, the earth began moving. The ground underneath buildings started to sink as the water supporting it was pumped to the surface. One family reported a quarter-inch crack that started in the kitchen floor and began creeping throughout the house.

    • Emerging Israel gas deal ignites fierce debate

      When natural gas was discovered a few years ago off the shores of resource-poor Israel, it was heralded as nothing short of a miracle, but an emerging deal with developers has been plagued by criticism, with opponents accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of caving to a monopoly.

      After long negotiations, a government committee has struck a deal with the firms, which aims to break up their monopolistic control of Israel’s gas reserves and introduce competition while maintaining incentives for fresh investment. But liberal lawmakers and environmentalists say the deal would squander a national treasure.

  • Finance

    • IMF and USA set to ruin Ghana

      Just ten years ago, Ghana had the most reliable electricity supply in all of Africa and the highest percentage of households connected to the grid in all of Africa – including South Africa. The Volta River Authority, the power producer and distributor was, in my very considerable experience, the best run and most efficient public utility in all of Africa. Indeed it was truly world class, and Ghana was proud of it.

      Obviously the sight of truly successful public owned and run enterprise was too much of a threat to the neo-liberal ideologues of the IMF and World Bank. When Ghana needed some temporary financial assistance (against a generally healthy background) the IMF insisted that VRA be broken up. Right wing neoliberal dogma was applied to the Ghanaian electricity market. Electricity was separated between production and distribution, and private sector Independent Power Producers introduced.

      The result is disaster. There are more power cuts in Ghana than ever in its entire history as an independent state. Today Ghana is actually, at this moment, producing just 900 MW of electricity – half what it could produce ten years ago. This is not the fault of the NDC or the NPP. It is the fault of the IMF.

    • NYT Warns Greece to Accept Endless Depression–Because Default Might Be Painful

      First, it is difficult to describe the default in Argentina as a disaster. The economy had been plummeting prior to the default, which occurred at the end of the year in 2001. The country’s GDP had actually fallen more before the default than it did after the default. (This is not entirely clear on the graph, since the data is annual. At the point where the default took place in December of 2001, Argentina’s GDP was already well below the year-round average.) While the economy did fall more sharply after the default, it soon rebounded, and by the end of 2003 it had regained all the ground lost following the default.

      Argentina’s economy continued to grow rapidly for several more years, rising above pre-recession levels in 2004. Given the fuller picture, it is difficult to see the default as an especially disastrous event, even if it did lead to several months of uncertainty for the people of Argentina.

      In this respect, it is worth noting that Paul Volcker is widely praised in policy circles for bringing down the US inflation rate. To accomplish this goal, he induced a recession that pushed the unemployment rate to almost 11 percent. So the idea that short-term pain might be a price worth paying for a longer-term benefit is widely accepted in policy circles.

    • The 1% are changing America. It’s our move.

      The moment approaches when every American sees that the 1% are taking it away. Then we each make a choice to go with the flow or resist. Here are a few events that show this time is close. I’ve predicted the events leading to this point, but have no idea how we’ll react. Much depends on our choice.

    • The Real Reason Russia and China Are Dumping U.S. Debt

      You see, when the dollar reigns supreme, countries like China and Russia unwittingly find themselves paying for U.S. military expansion.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • ACTION ALERT: NPR Celebrates Fast-Track Victory With an All-Corporate Lobbyist Segment

      After the Senate joined the House of Representatives in granting President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade agreements, National Public Radio aired one report (Morning Edition, 6/25/15) on the legislative action that paves the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other corporate-friendly international deals.

    • Europe Seeks to Counter Kremlin Success Pushing World View

      Larry King’s back on the air, beaming his high-octane brand of talk to households around the world. Where can you catch him? Kremlin-backed television.

      Moscow wants you to pay better attention to what it’s saying, and to better reach your eyes and ears it’s spending around a half-billion dollars a year and carrying top-name talent like King and former governor and professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

    • Europe seeks to counter Kremlin ‘success’ world view
    • Department Of Homeland Security Still Controls What You Read

      With all of the establishment media owned by just a handful of corporations, six to be exact, it’s never been easier for the U.S. government to manipulate the news. A diversity of outlets, from websites to traditional newspapers, repeat the same stories to create an illusion of choice that allows propaganda to take root in the American imagination.

      Infiltration of the media by intelligence agencies has been standard practice since at least the 1950s, as exposed by watchdog journalist Carl Bernstein in a landmark 1977 report for Rolling Stone.

      “The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence‑gathering employed by the CIA,” wrote Bernstein.

  • Censorship

    • List of BBC web pages which have been removed from Google’s search results

      Since a European Court of Justice ruling last year, individuals have the right to request that search engines remove certain web pages from their search results. Those pages usually contain personal information about individuals.

      Following the ruling, Google removed a large number of links from its search results, including some to BBC web pages, and continues to delist pages from BBC Online.

      The BBC has decided to make clear to licence fee payers which pages have been removed from Google’s search results by publishing this list of links. Each month, we’ll republish this list with new removals added at the top.

      We are doing this primarily as a contribution to public policy. We think it is important that those with an interest in the “right to be forgotten” can ascertain which articles have been affected by the ruling. We hope it will contribute to the debate about this issue. We also think the integrity of the BBC’s online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.

    • Tim Cook takes Apple down the dark road of censorship

      A couple of days ago, I wrote about the difficulties Apple would face if it tried to censor the Confederate flag in its online stores. Unfortunately, the company – under Tim Cook’s leadership – wasted no time in engaging in reactionary censorship of the Confederate flag in its app store.

    • Confederate Flag Purge Goes Nuts Almost Immediately, Hits Harmless Strategy Games
    • Apple reinstates removed Civil War game with the Confederate flag
    • Kanye West’s Glastonbury slot causing BBC censorship headache amid fears of sweary set
    • Julian Assange: Mainstream Media Rife With Censorship

      Julian Assange (JA): We have contracts with more than a hundred media organizations around the world, still. But it varies among mainstream press outlets. For example, the one in Pakistan can be great on issues outside of Pakistan. Issues inside Pakistan are different. It’s the same for Russia Today, outside Russia and Ukraine, it can be great, but inside Russia is a different story and through this we need to understand the political and economic dynamics that mean the organization might be trustworthy on one matter and not trustworthy on another matter.

    • Australian senate passes controversial anti-piracy, website-blocking laws

      In the eyes of at least one intellectual property academic, the passing of controversial anti-piracy website-blocking legislation in the senate on Monday night represented “a very dark day for the internet in Australia”.

      But for the film and TV industry, which has been battling online piracy at record levels, it was a watershed moment. Finally they could seek a remedy in the courts to block access to sites offering their content for free.

    • Users Betrayed as Australia Adopts a Copyright Censorship Regime

      Since our report last week on Australia’s Internet censorship bill, the bill did indeed pass the Senate yesterday, and will become the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015. The new law provides an accelerated process for rightsholders to obtain court orders for ISPs to block sites that have the primary purpose of infringing copyright, or “facilitating” its infringement—a term that the law does not define.

    • Copyright industry buys its very own censorship regime

      The Pirate Party condemns the passage of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 through both Houses of Parliament. The legislation means that Australia now joins a list of countries that allows individuals and companies to seek orders to censor websites they allege infringe copyright.

    • Australian Senate Give The Green Light To Anti-Piracy And Website-Blocking Laws
    • Google’s Struggle Against Censorship Heats Up

      Google, once a global bastion against censorship, is having a pretty tough time of it these days. From being forced to comply with Right To Be Forgotten legislation in the EU to pressure from numerous industries to censor results which may violate copyright, Google’s defenses against censorship are crumbling. Even Google themselves — arguably in a very positive move — is taking steps to censor their own results when it comes to “revenge porn” and hacking victims, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.

    • Hard choices for Google as judges grow bold on censorship

      Google is in a tough spot. For years, it has met censorship demands in different countries by offering a local workaround. But now some judges have caught on and are asking the company to rip out search listings worldwide – a trend that is likely to embolden more courts to do the same.

    • Citing Ben Affleck’s ‘Improper Influence,’ PBS Suspends ‘Finding Your Roots’

      PBS said on Wednesday that it was postponing a future season of “Finding Your Roots” after an investigation revealed that the actor Ben Affleck pressured producers into leaving out details about an ancestor of his who owned slaves.

      PBS will not run the show’s third season until staffing changes are made, including hiring a fact checker, it said.

    • PBS’ ‘Finding Your Roots’ Suspended Over Allegations Of Ben Affleck Censorship

      PBS has suspended the ancestry-finding program Finding Your Roots following allegations that actor Ben Affleck used his clout to get the network to censor information about a slave-owning ancestor, the Washington Post is reporting.

      Affleck appeared in a 2014 episode of Finding Your Roots that the actor had hoped would reveal information about his ancestors that would give credibility toward the actor’s interest in activism in progressive causes, says Post writer Sarah Kaplan. And, in fact, the show did turn up some ancestors that made Affleck look good, including an ancestor who had fought in the Revolutionary War.

    • PBS Has Buried Finding Your Roots After Ben Affleck’s Slave-Owning Ancestry Cover-Up!
    • Ben Affleck’s Genealogy Kerfuffle Might Have Cost ‘Finding Your Roots’ A Fourth Season
    • Affleck Roots show broke standards

      An episode of Finding Your Roots which omitted references to Ben Affleck’s ancestor as a slave owner violated PBS standards, the public TV service has said.

    • Alhambra Unified School District denies censorship; Students stage protest at board meeting

      Others reiterated a previous demand that the district should release to the public the reason for Nguyen’s dismissal. They also asked for accessible video recordings of future board meetings, as well as meeting minutes written in various languages to accommodate the surrounding population.

    • State GOP Chair defiant in face of coup attempt
    • State GOP Chair defiant in face of coup attempt
    • A teen whose YouTube video tested Singapore’s censorship limits has been remanded at a mental health institute

      Last month Singapore teenager Amos Yee was found guilty of circulating obscene imagery and “wounding religious feelings,” after posting a YouTube rant in which he criticized the recently deceased Lee Kuan Yew, the nation’s widely revered first prime minister. Today Yee was scheduled to receive his sentence.

      Instead, he has been remanded at a mental health institute for a few weeks.

      A district judge said that because Yee possibly suffers from an autism spectrum disorder, she’ll explore other sentencing options besides the up to three years in prison Yee faced.

    • Blogger in Singapore faces financial ruin following defamation suit

      “If we want our freedom, we have to fight for it,” wrote blogger Roy Ngerng last year after he was sued for defamation by Singapore’s prime minister. The case was sparked by a blog post in which Ngerng allegedly suggested Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had misappropriated funds in a state pension system. In November, the court ruled in favor of the prime minister.

    • Singapore Blogger Faces ‘Financial Ruin’

      Criticizing the leaders of Singapore can come with a high price.

      Last year, blogger Roy Ngerng was sued for defamation by Singapore’s current Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong. Ngerng had suggested that the leader had misappropriated funds in a state pension system.

    • Singapore teen in anti-Lee video to undergo mental tests

      A Singapore court on Tuesday ordered psychiatric tests for a teenager who made online attacks on late former leader Lee Kuan Yew as international rights advocates sought his release.

      Amos Yee, 16, will be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks to undergo further examination after previously being declared mentally and physically fit for an 18-month stint in a reformatory.

    • UN Urges Singapore To Release 16-Year-Old Blogger Amos Yee: UPDATED

      16-year-old Singaporean blogger Amos Yee is facing up to three years in prison for uploading remarks and images critical of the late Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore.

      Now, the UN Human Rights Office calls for the immediate release of Amos Yee in line with its commitment under the UN Convention on the Rights of Child.

      Amos was remanded on Jun. 2 for three weeks after he refused probation and is currently detained in Changi prison where, according to his lawyer, his physical and psychological status is deteriorating, the United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) said in a statement.

    • Poland: Journalist Lukasz Masiak fatally beaten

      Journalist Lukasz Masiak, founder of news site NaszaMlawa.pl, was attacked and killed in Poland on 14 June 2015. Masiak, who had been subject to numerous threats believed to be connected to his work, died of traumatic brain injury after being assaulted, according to TVN24.

      Launched in 2010, NaszaMlawa.pl covers Mlawa, a town of about 30,000 in the north central part of Poland. Masiak’s site reported on several controversial issues, including the dealings of local businessmen, drug use involving participants of the local mixed martial arts league, incidents involving Roma citizens in the area and the botched investigation into the death of a young woman. He received death threats following the latter story.

      The attack on 31-year-old Masiak took place in the bathroom of a local establishment at about 2am on 14 June. Police have issued an international arrest warrant for Bartosz Nowicki, a 29-year-old mixed martial arts fighter. Two people who were earlier detained have now been released. Police consider them witnesses to the incident.

    • Oppose political censorship at the University of Western Sydney!

      The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) calls on all students to oppose the political censorship imposed on the IYSSE student club at the University of Western Sydney (UWS), Bankstown campus.


      Significantly, IYSSE supporters were first forced to shut down a campaign in April, amid a deluge of militarist propaganda by the entire political establishment, including the universities, to glorify the centenary of the “Anzac Day” British-led invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli.

      On April 23, IYSSE supporters distributed statements advertising a Socialist Equality Party public meeting entitled “Anzac Day, the glorification of militarism and the drive to World War III.” The leaflets called on students, workers and young people to oppose the political censorship of that meeting by the Labor Party-controlled Burwood Council, which cancelled a booking for the event, and the University of Sydney, which refused to permit the meeting to be held on its campus.

    • What is Facebook not telling us about machiavellian censorship?

      Take a browse through the data that’s presented for each country, and you’ll eventually come to the USA. While ‘Content Restrictions’ in Turkey are justified (“We restricted access to items primarily reported by the Turkish courts (and Access Providers Union) and Telecommunications Authority under local law 5651, which covers a range of offenses including defamation of Ataturk, personal rights violations, and personal privacy”) as are those in Russia, the Content Restrictions section is notable by its absence from the United States’ page.

    • Israel Culture Minister Booed as Censorship Debate Escalates

      Culture Minister Miri Regev, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party who has been unabashed in her disdain for artistic projects that criticize the Israeli occupation, was at Tel Aviv’s Einav Theater on Friday to present an award. She was booed by the protesters as she entered the theater, and heckled by several audience members as she took the stage.

    • Al-Midan theater: We’ll turn to European Union for funding

      In reaction to culture minister’s decision to freeze funds to Arab theater which staged play about Israeli-Arab terrorist, a meeting of Arab artists and MKs says it will seek funds from the EU.

    • Israeli artists fear political censorship from government

      The newly appointed Minister of Culture Miri Regev sparks strong criticism. A series of recent statements lead to believe freedom of expression could be threatened by the government’s policies.

    • Israel’s Minister of Culture Miri Regev vows to withhold funds from artists who ‘defame’ the state

      Miri Regev, the hard-right Israeli Minister of Culture, has accused the country’s artists and performers of being “tight-assed” hypocrites after they raised vocal objections to her policies, which many consider a threat to freedom of expression.

    • Note to Minister Regev: No Israeli film has delegitimized the state

      With her ‘delegitimization’ obsession, the minister has to realize her paranoia is shaking the foundations of local culture.

    • With each headline, Miri Regev grows stronger

      Two words have been embedded in the consciousness of millions of Israelis recently: Miri Regev, Miri Regev and again Miri Regev. Compared to her, who is the immigrant absorption minister, the housing minister, or even the finance minister?

    • Culture Minister Regev gets mix of heckling, silent treatment at award ceremony

      Demonstrators protest ‘atmosphere of dictatorship’ created by Likud pol day after she calls artists ‘ungrateful tight-asses’

    • Leftists Protest ‘Being Silenced’ at Theater Award Ceremony

      Twenty leftist protestors have gathered outside the Israeli Theater Awards ceremony at the Einav center in Tel Aviv on Friday, to protest alleged censorship from current Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud).

      The activists carried blank signs and bandages on their mouths to say they are “being silenced,” so to speak.

    • ‘NYT’ focuses on fears of Hamas censorship but leaves out Israeli government’s threats

      Today’s New York Times has an interesting story about a satirical political show in Gaza inspired by Jon Stewart. Headlined, “A Show Finds Humor in Gaza’s Headlines. Will Hamas Get It?” the article says the Gaza comics have screened their political show for hundreds at a theater, and aim to put the episodes on Youtube.

    • Octogenarian Arrested for Questioning WWII History on TV

      Ursula Hedwig Meta Haverbeck-Wetzel, an 86-year-old German woman who was ethnically cleansed from her home following WWII, has been arrested following her appearance on a public television program in Germany. There, she openly disputed the state-sanctioned-and-enforced “Holocaust” narrative of WWII, describing it as “the biggest and most persistent lie in history.” In many countries in Europe, including Germany, it is a crime to dispute, question or openly challenge the official narrative of the Holocaust specifically and WWII generally.

  • Privacy

    • What could the United States do to regain the trust of Brasil?

      During the approach to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s re-scheduled visit to the United States there has been much talk about what Brasil can do to improve relations between two of the Western Hemisphere’s largest countries. The majority of reporting focuses on Brazilian failures but most of the problem lies in Washington.

      Decades of weak engagement by the United States combined with a willful blindness towards why the Brazilian government is suspicious of the their northern neighbour’s intentions in the region have left relations near stagnant.

      As Brasil Wire discussed in Chasing the Dragon the United States has too often confused its own interests with those of Brasil. Brasil is a friend to the United States, but Brazilian leaders, especially those on the left, have had little interest in engaging with Washington as anything but equals. The Brazilian leadership did not pursue closer relations with China, and to a much more limited extent Russia out of an ideological position, but a cold pragmatism that would make Henry Kissinger proud.

    • James Risen, Obama, Holder and the NSA

      Earlier this year I did an hour long interview with James Risen. We discussed his case with the Department of Justice, where he was being threatened with incarceration for refusing to reveal his source who gave him insights about NSA activities. This was before Obama and Eric Holder decided to drop the prosecution against him. I saw him give the keynote speech at the luncheon for the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2015 conference and after his talk, in which he lambasted former Attorney General Eric Holder, I asked him to do a brief interview, based on his comments on Obama, Eric Holder and their legacies.

    • My name is only real enough to work at Facebook, not to use on the site

      I always knew this day would come. The day that Facebook decided my name was not real enough and summarily cut me off from my friends, family and peers and left me with the stark choice between using my legal name or using a name people would know me by. With spectacular timing, it happened while I was at trans pride and on the day the Supreme Court made same sex marriage legal in the US.

    • CIA director talks of spying on House members, June 25, 1975

      On this day in 1975, William Colby, director of the CIA, told members of a House subcommittee that they and their congressional colleagues were not “immune” from surveillance by the agency during their travels abroad.

      Testifying before the House Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights, Colby said “if a congressman appeared abroad with some group that was a legitimate target of this agency that name would undoubtedly appear in the files of that group” and would show up in the CIA’s computer system.

    • Facebook Recruits Yahoo’s Alex Stamos As New Security Chief
    • Facebook nabs Yahoo’s chief information security officer
    • Facebook! Exfiltrates! Yahoo! Security! Boss!
    • Why Facebook Poached Yahoo’s NSA Hating Chief Security Officer [VIDEO]
    • CIA-backed tech company finds stolen government log-ins all over Web

      A CIA-backed technology company has found logins and passwords for 47 government agencies strewn across the Web — available for hackers, spies and thieves.

      Recorded Future, a social media data mining firm backed by the CIA’s venture capital arm, says in a report that login credentials for nearly every federal agency have been posted on open Internet sites for those who know where to look.

      “The presence of these credentials on the open Web leaves these agencies vulnerable to espionage, socially engineered attacks, and tailored spear-phishing attacks against their workforce,” the company says.

      The company says logins and passwords were found connected with the departments of Defense, Justice, Treasury and Energy, as well as the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence.

    • US government log-ins, passwords easy to find on the open Web, researcher says
    • Passwords From 47 Government Agencies Leaked Online
    • WikiLeaks: NSA eavesdropped on the last 3 French presidents

      WikiLeaks published documents late Tuesday that it says show the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on the last three French presidents, releasing material which appeared to capture officials in Paris talking candidly about Greece’s economy, relations with Germany – and, ironically, American espionage.

    • NSA’s high-level spy targets
    • WikiLeaks says documents show NSA eavesdropped on French presidents

      Angry and embarrassed, France summoned the U.S. ambassador Wednesday to respond to the revelations by WikiLeaks that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on three successive French presidents and other top officials.

    • How France could get revenge for the NSA spying

      I told you yesterday about the leaked files showing that the NSA wiretapped three French presidents since 1995. France is understandably upset, what with being an ally and all.

    • UPDATE: France says US must repair damage from NSA spying reports
    • French Prime Minister: US Must Act Fast to Repair Damage From NSA Spying Revelations
    • Tactless courtship—NSA’s espionage in France

      On June 23rd, WikiLeaks unveiled a number of documents from the National Security Agency’s “Espionnage Elysée” program, that demonstrated the NSA’s targeted espionage against high level French government officials, including ministers and three presidents of the French Republic. This espionage against U.S. allies is tactless and is likely to fray relations with U.S. allies and must be reformed.

    • Two Overlooked Aspects Of Those Leaks About NSA Spying On French Presidents

      Of course, Mr Crypto himself, Bruce Schneier, did spot it, and pointed out it could be one of his “other” US intelligence community leakers, listed a couple of months ago, or even a completely new one. As that post shows, there are now a few people around that are leaking secret documents, and that’s a pretty significant trend, since you might expect enhanced security measures taken in the wake of Snowden’s leaks would have discouraged or caught anyone who attempted to follow suit.

    • New NSA whistleblower suspected behind French president surveillance leak

      American and European security agencies are reportedly investigating a possible new whistleblower behind the WikiLeaks publication that exposed alleged NSA spying on top French officials, including three presidents.

      The website on Tuesday released what appear to be classified NSA documents alleging the US agency spied on three successive French presidents: Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and incumbent François Hollande.

    • Obama calls Hollande to promise NSA is no longer spying on French president

      Barack Obama has assured the French president, François Hollande, that American intelligence services are no longer tapping his phone. During a brief telephone call, the American leader was reported to have reiterated a pledge made two years ago to stop spying on his French counterpart, according to Hollande’s office.

    • Obama reassures France after ‘unacceptable’ NSA spying

      U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed in a phone call with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Wednesday Washington’s commitment to end spying practices deemed “unacceptable” by its allies.

    • French ministers flock to US despite ‘unacceptable’ NSA phone-tap revelations

      French ministers seemed keen to resume business as usual with the US on Thursday, even though Paris the day before declared American wiretaps on President François Hollande and others “unacceptable”. Despite WikiLeaks’ revelation of the snooping, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron continued his visit to the US, while promising to raise the question in Washington.

    • NSA: connecting people
    • NSA, GCHQ Excesses Stem From Their Role as Secret Guardians and Protectors

      On Tuesday, WikiLeaks published documents revealing that the NSA had secretly spied on former French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and current President Francois Hollande over a period of at least six years.


      In another revelation, GCHQ spied on South African Legal Resources Centre and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Britain’s official Investigatory Powers Tribunal revealed.

    • Still Funny? Paris Diplomats Joke About NSA Spying Before WikiLeaks Release

      During the meeting of the Normandy group in Paris, Russia’s Foreign Ministry noticed how the microphones were operating “strangely”, turning on and off by themselves; the blinking lights caused the diplomats to joke that the US is probably up to its usual tricks again. One however should give it a thought in light of WikiLeaks recent revelations.

    • Q&A: All you need to know about WikiLeaks claims that NSA spied on French leaders

      WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said he was confident the documents were authentic, noting that WikiLeaks’ previous mass disclosures — including a large cache of Saudi diplomatic memos released last week — have proven to be accurate.

    • No friends or enemies in spying game

      Despite the furious protests of France over the latest U.S. spying claims, experts say that in the intelligence game there are no friends or enemies — only interests — and all means are justified to pursue them.

    • The progressive roots of NSA’s privacy violations

      The NSA’s actions have roots in progressive New Deal ideology, with its contempt for the constitutional separation of powers and private property rights. More specifically, this debate is traced to the New Deal-era erosion of the centuries-old rule of law that only judges may issue warrants, and after a showing of probable cause.

    • Steinmeier: NSA spying activities to affect relations

      The NSA’s spying activities in France will have an impact on transatlantic relations, Germany’s foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier told DW in an interview. He also called for new approaches in the attempt to stem violence in Ukraine.

    • Privacy is awesome, in theory: Column

      When it comes to intrusions on their privacy, Americans don’t care as much as they think they should. Most of us feel the same way about privacy as we do about African children: We care just enough to say we care.

      According to a Pew Research Center survey last month, 90 percent of Americans consider their privacy to be “important,” but 10 percent or less take significant steps to safeguard it. Lots of people (59 percent) clear their cookies and browser histories — probably because they would be divorced if they didn’t — but only 10 percent bother to encrypt their phone calls, texts or emails. Our privacy is important, but not so important as to require more than three seconds of effort.

    • How the NSA Started Investigating the New York Times’ Warrantless Wiretapping Story

      Three days after the New York Times revealed that the U.S. government was secretly monitoring the calls and emails of people inside the United States without court-approved warrants, the National Security Agency issued a top-secret assessment of the damage done to intelligence efforts by the story. The conclusion: the information could lead terrorists to try to evade detection. Yet the agency gave no specific examples of investigations that had been jeopardized.

    • Google’s ‘listening network’ could be vulnerable to US govt, NSA – Falkvinge to RT

      Voice recognition technologies are part of the future, but should trigger concern that IT companies are essentially building “listening networks” which can be exploited by the likes of the NSA, Swedish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge told RT.

    • Google-NSA Nexus: New Chromium Browser Installs Eavesdropping Tool on Your PC

      By now, most experts will admit that Google is one giant data and intelligence gathering operation. This latest browser revelation (see full story below) only confirms what we already suspected.

    • Google is Worse Than the NSA.

      If you’re running Google Chrome as your browser – and we used to – you might want to reconsider it. The bottom line is that Google has built a “feature” into Chrome that, without your knowledge and without your permission, turns the microphone of your computer (and phone?) on and listens to everything you say.

    • Has the CIA Asked the FISC to Restart Its Bulk Collection Program?

      There’s a curious gap in the documents currently posted on the FISC’s public docket — one that suggests the NSA call records program isn’t the only type of bulk collection the government has asked the FISC to reauthorize following the USA Freedom Act’s passage on June 2. It’s an exercise in reading tea leaves at this point, but the gap raises important and unanswered questions about bulk collection programs we still know little about.

      In the weeks since the USA Freedom Act became law, the FISC has published a series of filings and orders on its website. Those documents indicate that the government has submitted at least four applications for orders under the post-USA Freedom version of Section 215. One of them, docketed as BR 15-75, is the government’s application to restart the NSA’s bulk call records program. (The “BR” stands for FISA’s “business records” provision, while “15” stands for the year.) Two others, numbered BR 15-77 and BR 15-78, are addressed by Judge Saylor’s opinion concerning the appointment of an amicus curiae and the question of whether Section 215’s brief expiration made gibberish of Congress’ effort to renew the law in the USA Freedom Act. Based on the description in the opinion and the scope of the issues addressed, one can fairly surmise that these are targeted applications for records under Section 215.

    • NSA and GHCQ targeting antivirus developers, say Snowden documents

      New documents provided by former American secret service employee-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden claim that the U.S. and UK security services have been carrying out attacks against antivirus developers around the world, including Russian company Kaspersky Lab.

    • Kaspersky says NSA, GCHQ tracking its activities

      Popular antivirus company, Kaspersky has made a controversial announcement declaring that it is being attacked by hackers, who have been tracking the activities of the Russian company. A report from Engadget reveals that a few of these unwarranted activities are also sourced from major intelligentsia like the American NSA and UK’s GCHQ.

    • NSA, British counterpart targeted cybersecurity firms

      The U.S. and United Kingdom have been trying to find ways around anti-virus and security software by surreptitiously studying the products and the companies that make them, according to various published reports.

    • GCHQ and NSA broke antivirus software so that they could spy on people, leaks indicate

      The British and American spy agencies deliberately broke anti-virus software so that they could read the messages of their citizens, according to new leaks.

      Both the NSA and GCHQ have long been said to have deliberately reversed engineer software so that they could find weaknesses in software and exploit them to read communications. But new documents show that the agencies did so to some of the most popular antivirus software, potentially exposing hundreds of millions of people to dangerous viruses, according to a report from The Intercept.

    • After NSA Targeting, Google Researcher Exposes ‘Trivial’ Antivirus Hacking

      Earlier this week, fresh Edward Snowden leaks showed how the National Security Agency (NSA) targeted a range of foreign antivirus firms. It was no surprise intelligence agencies were interested in exploiting antivirus; such security software has access to most files across operating systems, from Windows to Macs.

    • NSA Leaker Edward Snowden To Stay In Russia For Now

      Apparently former NSA contractor and secret document leaker Edward Snowden is not planning on leaving Moscow anytime soon. According to Snowden’s attorney Anatoly Kucherena, who was recently interviewed by Interfax, he can’t go back to the U.S. right now given the various legal charges against him are politically motivated.

    • Disturbing Video Incites Police Rebellion Against Ecuador’s President Correa

      The video, which appears to incite rebellion among the ranks of the Ecuadorean police department, is particularly alarming due to the role of the police in a 2010 coup attempt against President Rafael Correa.

    • On the Trail of Turkey’s Terrorist Grey Wolves

      Turkey, as a NATO country near Russia’s border, developed a powerful “deep state” where intelligence operatives, terrorists and gangsters crossed paths and shared political alliances, a grim reality that author Martin A. Lee explored in 1997 and a dark legacy that reaches to the present.

    • US, NATO powers intensify preparations for nuclear war
    • Luxembourg scholar explodes myths about Tibet independence

      Now we know that the separatists in Tibet have been in touch with the US government since the 1950s. The CIA and the Dalai Lama have always held hands. His brother, especially his oldest brother Thubten Jigme Norbu, was recruited by the CIA’s “Radio Free Asia.” Gyalo Dondrub was recruited as CIA’s anti-Communism terrorist.

    • America’s U.N. Ambassador Continues Standing Up for Nazis

      Recently, President Barack Obama’s friend whom he appointed to represent this Vcountry at the United Nations visited Ukraine and used the Ukrainian-language translation and variant of the German Nazi Party’s “Deutschland über alles,” or “Germany above all,” to honor Ukraine’s own racist fascists, that nation’s ideological nazis, whom the U.S. had used in February 2014 for overthrowing Ukraine’s neutralist democratically elected President. This was not our U.N. Ambassador’s first foray into international nazi political pandering.

    • Ukraine’s Pres. Poroshenko Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was a Coup

      Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko requests the supreme court of Ukraine to declare that his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown by an illegal operation; in other words, that the post-Yanukovych government, including Poroshenko’s own Presidency, came into power from a coup, not from something democratic, not from any authentic constitutional process at all.

    • Georgia’s Former President Lobbied US Senator

      Lobbyists representing former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with staffers from US Senator Marco Rubio’s office just months before Rubio called for integrating Georgia into the NATO alliance as a way of punishing Russia, a US campaign finance watchdog group said in a blog post.

    • ‘Stalin’s daughter’ delves into the life of a tyrant’s child
    • ‘Stalin’s Daughter’: The extraordinary life of a Soviet defector

      “Wherever I go, whether to Australia or some island, I will always be the political prisoner of my father’s name.” Such was the lament of Svetlana Alliluyeva, whose life sentence it was to be the only daughter of Joseph Stalin.

    • Russian defectors living the dead end of the American dream in distant Oregon

      But their dreams of living the life they imagined defectors enjoy – having the run of Europe with new identities, invented histories and flush with money – are long gone. Instead they get to live like so many Americans, struggling to make ends meet, fighting off the debt collectors and worrying about the immigration service banging on the door.

    • Ongoing weekly demo, Tuesday evenings at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill

      Menwith Hill is the largest US spy base outside the USA. Run by the National Security Agency (National Reconnaissance Office also present), it is situated in the Yorkshire dales, approximately 8 miles from Harrogate adjacent to the A59.

    • How USA Freedom Impacts Ongoing NSA Litigation

      Digital liberties groups across the country have both celebrated and criticized the recent passage of the USA Freedom Act. Here at EFF, we did a little bit of both. While USA Freedom will undoubtedly impact the court cases challenging the NSA’s mass surveillance, the full scope of this law and how the courts and even the government will interpret it remains unclear.

      However, we do know that the government believes it can renew its daily bulk collection of telephone records during the 180-day “transition period” in which USA Freedom’s amendments to the phone records authority goes into effect. This is particularly troubling given the Second Circuit’s ruling in ACLU v. Clapper that this sort of dragnet surveillance is illegal.

    • NSA Not Yet Pointing Finger at China as Suspect in OPM Data Theft (UPDATED)
    • US to raise breach of government records at talks with China

      China has openly denied involvement in the break-in. Obama administration officials have said they are increasingly confident that China’s government, not criminal hackers, were responsible.

    • NSA Chief: Don’t Assume China Hacked OPM

      The U.S. military’s top cyber warrior says it’s merely an “assumption” that the Chinese government was behind the recent hack at the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM — and not necessarily one he shares. That puts Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, in opposition to unnamed sources within the U.S. government who blamed Beijing in June 4 interviews with the New York Times and Washington Post.

    • NSA’s Rogers Won’t Say China Did OPM Hack
    • Reports: NSA Chief Michael Rogers Declines to Attribute OPM Hack
    • Rogers mum on OPM attribution, but says hack shows value of data
    • Intercept – an account of a revolution in spying

      Gordon Corera, the BBC’s security correspondent – a difficult assignment – has written a most readable account (Intercept, Weidenfeld & Nicolson) of how computers and the internet have transformed spying, a term I use in this context to include all ways of intercepting communications, including hacking and cyber attacks, whatever the motive.

    • Will Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard be released in November?

      The Obama administration refuses to say if Pollard will be released on his scheduled parole date. Pollard can blame himself and Benjamin Netanyahu for the sorry state of affairs.

    • NSA/Surveillance: Damning new revelations and still no judicial inquiry

      FIDH and LDH recall that they filed a complaint in July 2013 aimed at the NSA, the FBI and their surveillance practices under the PRISM programme. After more than 18 months since the opening of the preliminary investigation into the case, the Paris Prosecutor had still not made clear how it would procede with this affair.

      Confronted with the Prosecu’s inaction, our organisations filed a new complaint as civil parties before the same court on 8 April 2015, hoping to shed light on the alleged violations of individual freedoms.

      FIDH and LDH deplore the fact that the French justice system has not moved forward with this complaint implicating the NSA as well as the companies that provided access to their networks, thereby contributing to the installation of the surveillance programme called PRISM. The lack of progress is all the more unacceptable considering damning new revelations showing the NSA tapped the telephones of three French presidents.

    • Rousseff Seeks U.S. Reconciliation Two Years After NSA Spying

      Brazil is seeking a rapprochement with the U.S. as the Western Hemisphere’s two largest economies try to realign interests after a decade of diplomatic skirmishes.

      Brazil president Dilma Rousseff will arrive in New York on Saturday for a five-day tour including San Francisco. It is her first official travel to Washington since she canceled a state visit in 2013 after allegations the U.S. had spied on her.

    • Congresswoman Esty voted wrong on NSA bill

      Privacy is a non-partisan issue. In the final vote, 88 Members of the House, almost equally divided between the two parties, voted against this pyrite bill.

    • NSA Chief Wants to Watch, as Well as Listen and Read

      The National Security Agency, while primarily occupied by sweeping up billions of phone calls, emails, texts and social media messages each day, wants better visual information about the earth and its residents, too, Admiral Michael Rogers said Wednesday.

      “Signals intelligence … ain’t enough, you guys,” the NSA chief told a gathering of contractors in the geospatial intelligence business. “We gotta create a much broader picture.”

      We need “the ability to visualize,” he explained, because “man is fundamentally a visual creature.”

    • NSA to crunch big data in AWS C2S

      The National Security Agency is moving some of its IT operations to Amazon’s cloud.

      The National Security Agency (NSA) was represented by Alex Voultepsis, chief of the engineering and planning process for the NSA’s Intelligence Community Special Operations Group, at a session during the AWS Public Sector Symposium here this week. Voultepsis said during a panel discussion the agency plans to migrate some of its infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

  • Civil Rights

    • Hastings’ Lessons From the Grave—Have We Learned Anything?

      Hastings was known for challenging conventional wisdom and investigating authority at the highest levels. With a Polk Award-winning article in Rolling Stone, he brought down General Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and US Forces-Afghanistan.

      At the time of his death, Hastings had been working on a story about CIA Director John Brennan. The president of Strategic Forecasting Inc. (“Stratfor”), a CIA contract global intelligence firm, has described Brennan in secret emails as someone on a “witch hunt” of investigative journalists. Brennan, of course, has denied these claims: a CIA spokesperson told reporter Kimberly Dvorak in an email that notwithstanding WikiLeaks, “any suggestion that Director Brennan has ever attempted to infringe on constitutionally-protected press freedoms is offensive and baseless.”

      Is it possible that Brennan felt threatened by the content of Hastings’ would-be story? If yes, how would the CIA have responded to such an expose ?

    • Detention centres and State censorship

      Australia’s detention centres have become propaganda tools of terror.

    • Leaked Damage Assessment Shows Government Mostly Interested In Investigating Leakers, Withholding Information From Public

      The Intercept has just released an interesting document from its Snowden stash: an unredacted damage assessment of the New York Times’ 2005 exposure of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program — a program that saw the agency monitoring the emails and phone calls of US citizens.

    • Trial Starts Tuesday for Diego Gomez, Colombian Student Facing Prison Time for Sharing a Paper Online

      Fundación Karisma is continuing to support Gomez in his case to fight against these excessive criminal charges. The organization says that he has good standing for a strong legal defense for two reasons. First, there was no malicious intent behind his sharing the paper online. Second, there was no actual harm to the author’s economic interests as Gomez made no profit off of the paper. Under Colombian criminal law, the court must weigh both of these factors, and it would take a significant misrepresentation of facts to paint Gomez as a criminal who posted the paper online for private profit.

    • Gitmo briefing: prisoners use attorneys, media to “discredit the U.S. government”
    • CIA photos of ‘black sites’ could complicate Guantanamo trials

      Military prosecutors this year learned about a massive cache of CIA photographs of its former overseas “black sites” while reviewing material collected for the Senate investigation of the agency’s interrogation program, U.S. officials said.

      The existence of the approximately 14,000 photographs will probably cause yet another delay in the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as attorneys for the defendants demand that all the images be turned over and the government wades through the material to decide what it thinks is relevant to the proceedings.

    • Photos of CIA ‘black sites’ come to light

      Military prosecutors earlier this year learned about a massive cache of CIA photographs of its former overseas “black sites” while reviewing material collected for the Senate investigation of the agency’s interrogation program, according to US officials.

      The existence of the approximately 14,000 photographs will probably cause yet another delay in the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as attorneys for the defendants demand all of the images be turned over to them and the government wades through the material to decide what it thinks is relevant to the proceedings.

    • Anti-torture day: speakers call for an end to custodial torture

      Speakers at a seminar on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims on Friday demanded to end the custodial torture by the state institutions and urged the government to Pakistan to form the anti-torture law in the country to provide justice to the victims, their families and punish the preparatory.
      Pakistan had ratified the Convention against Torture (UN CAT) in 2010 but despite passage of five years, no legislation is made against torture in Pakistan, said the speakers at a seminar on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture jointly organized by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi.

    • EIPR supports call for CIA torture ‘accountability’

      The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) supported a call from international rights groups on “the need to ensure accountability for the United States CIA torture programme”.

    • United States: Coalition Statement to U.N. Human Rights Council Demanding Accountability on CIA Torture Program – HRC29

      Last December, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the summary, findings and conclusions of its four-year investigation into the Detention and Interrogation Program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Since then, the international human rights community has reiterated the call for full transparency about and accountability for this unlawful program, in which systematic human rights violations, including the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance were committed. Last March, more than 20 human rights groups called on the Council to take action and demand that the United States fulfill its international human rights obligations on truth, accountability and remedy, including by appointing a special prosecutor to conduct a comprehensive and credible criminal investigation of alleged serious crimes described in the report and to establish a special fund to compensate victims.

    • The Myth of the Bamboo Pentagon: The Vietnam War’s Phantom Enemy Headquarters

      The Vietnam War had any number of controversial battles, but the invasion of Cambodia stands out—an unnecessary, bloody move that cost the lives of hundreds of U.S. soldiers on the ground and led to widespread rioting at home, including the Kent State tragedy.

      Remarkably, a new book based on information from recently released documents confirms that one of the key rationales for this act was a mirage, a conspiracy theory. President Nixon had embarked on a mad hunt for the “Bamboo Pentagon,” a shadowy headquarters and command center from which the Communist forces were directing their side of the fighting.

    • The Honduran meltdown: Made in USA

      In May 2005, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick appeared at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington to rally support for CAFTA, a free trade agreement between the US, the Central American countries, and the Dominican Republic.

      In his remarks, Zoellick played up the notion that, for Central America and the DR, the agreement would “strengthen democracy through economic growth and open societies based on the rule of law”, while also entailing various perks for the gringos; a T-shirt reading “Made in Honduras”, he enthused, would likely contain over 60 percent US content.

    • Robert Kennedy Jr.’s 25 Truths on the Secret Negotiations between Fidel Castro and President Kennedy

      More than half a century ago, Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy conducted secret negotiations aimed at normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba. Robert Kennedy Jr., nephew of the assassinated President, recounts these events and praises Obama’s policy of rapprochement, which is making his uncle’s “dream” a “reality(1)”.

    • Obama: U.S. Will No Longer Threaten To Prosecute Families Who Pay Terrorists Ransom

      President Barack Obama announced several changes to U.S. hostage policy on Wednesday, including that the government will no longer threaten to criminally prosecute families who pay terrorists for the release of loved ones.

    • US ransom policy shift undermines UK’s hardline stance

      Barack Obama’s decision to relax Washington’s blanket ban on paying ransoms to free hostages will be seen as belated American acceptance of an unpleasant but unavoidable necessity by west European countries criticised in the past for buying off terrorist kidnappers with cash.

    • White House imposes order on often confused ransom policy

      Following months of pressure from grieving families, President Barack Obama unveiled a slate of new policies on Wednesday intended to bring some level of standardization to how the federal government deals with international hostage situations.

    • Human rights record of U.S. criticized by China
    • US, China Exchange Criticisms on Human Rights

      The U.S. State Department has accused China of wide-ranging and routine human rights violations, prompting Beijing to shoot back with its own report slamming Washington’s “increasingly grave” rights record.

    • China says US kettle calling pot black. No kidding … Printer friendly page Print This
    • China Slams US Human Rights Record in New Report
    • China trolls U.S. on ‘arbitrary police killing of African-Americans’ after U.S. human rights rebuke

      On Thursday, the U.S. State Department released its annual report on human rights around the world, finding fault with the records of Cuba, Iran, Russia, Myanmar, and China, among other nations. In China, the report said, “repression and coercion were routine” against journalists, dissidents, ethnic minorities — Uigurs and Tibetans, especially — and lawyers that took on sensitive cases, and censorship was rampant.

    • China slams US with counter human rights report

      A day after the US released its country report, China answers back with its own, calling the US ‘a country with grim problems’

    • US Foreign Policy: A Reflection of the Legacy of Racism and National Oppression

      At the same time there is almost no debate over the redeployment of military forces in Iraq. There is almost no information about the ongoing war in Syria. Most people in the U.S. who watch the news originating from inside the country are barely aware of the war in Yemen and the role of Washington in this genocidal process.

      Consequently, we need to intensify our activism aimed at ending racism domestically and imperialist militarism around the world. These two imperatives merge when we look at the growing militarization of the police in the U.S. and the vast prison industrial complex.

    • China Lashes Out at US for ‘Terrible Human Rights Record’ Citing Police Brutality and Racism

      After the United States released a report on human rights in China on Thursday, the communist country hit back with its own report on the “terrible human rights record” in the US.

      In a scathing report, titled ‘Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014′, China rebuked the US over its problems of “rampant use of guns, frequent violent crimes and the excessive use of force by police”.

      “Plenty of facts show that, in 2014, the US, a self-proclaimed human rights defender, saw no improvements in its existent human rights issues, but reported numerous new problems,” the report said.

    • Full text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014 (9)
    • Full text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014

      On June 25 local time, the State Department of the United States released its country reports on human rights practices once again, making comments on the human rights situations in many countries while showing not a bit of regret for or intention to improve its own terrible human rights record. Plenty of facts show that, in 2014, the U.S., a self-proclaimed human rights defender, saw no improvements in its existent human rights issues, but reported numerous new problems. While its own human rights situation was increasingly grave, the U.S. violated human rights in other countries in a more brazen manner, and was given more “red cards” in the international human rights field.

    • How an eastern Idaho farm boy became a contract torturer

      Bruce Jessen has been called a war criminal. A torturer. An “American Mengele.” The retired Air Force colonel and trained psychologist was, according to a 2014 report from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, an architect of the “brutal,” “inherently unsustainable” and “deeply flawed” detainee-interrogation program that “damaged the United States’ standing in the world” in the years following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    • Obama Should Close Gitmo to End Torture of Detainees – Advocacy Group

      US President Barack Obama needs to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention facility to end the suffering of detainees victimized by CIA torture techniques, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Advocacy Program Manager Aliya Hana Hussain told Sputnik during a rally in Washington, DC.

    • CIA Whistleblower On Threats DOJ Should Target

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou speaks out on the threats the Justice Department should be targeting and how the FBI’s warning of white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement has been forgotten. Alyona cuts through the spin on Free Speech Zone.

    • Megyn Kelly Moment: Fox’s “Rising Star” Invites Anti-LGBT Hate Group Leader To Discuss Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

      Megyn Kelly invited anti-LGBT hate group leader Tony Perkins to respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality. Kelly’s insistence on inviting Perkins highlights the host’s cozy relationship with the ardent anti-gay group.

    • Washington Post Reserves Dignity in Death for Some Women

      How do you know that the women whose murders the Washington Post is reporting were sex workers or dealing with substance abuse?

      Because if they weren’t, they would not be unfeelingly described as “washing up dead.”

    • CIA Engaged In Human Experimentation Torture

      They would also be wise to pay attention to the news. A few days before this vote, a new report from The Guardian explained how our use of torture against detainees in the war on terror occasionally crossed the line into human medical experimentation. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins talks about this story with attorney Michael Burg.

    • Human Experimentation

      Non-consensual experimentation on institutionalized children and adults was common in the United States before, during, and even more so after the U.S. and its allies prosecuted Nazis for the practice in 1947, sentencing many to prison and seven to be hanged. The tribunal created the Nuremberg Code, standards for medical practice that were immediately ignored back home. Some American doctors considered it “a good code for barbarians.”

    • Majority Around the World Say US Torture Methods ‘Not Justified’ – Poll

      A vast majority of people around the world say they are opposed to the US government’s enhanced interrogation techniques following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and consider them torture, according to a new poll released by Pew Research Center on Tuesday.

    • Italy denies role in CIA’s extraordinary rendition of Egyptian imam

      Omar, also known as Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, brought the case after kidnapping convictions against top Italian spies were overthrown on appeal last year.

    • Italy denies role in CIA rendition of imam

      Italy denied any involvement on Tuesday in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” of an Egyptian imam kidnapped in Milan in 2003 on charges of terrorist connections.

    • Italy Denies Role in CIA Plot to Abduct Egyptian Imam

      Italy has denied having any involvement in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” of an Egyptian imam who was kidnapped by US officials in Milan in 2003 on charges of having terrorist connections.

    • Italy denies role in CIA extraordinary rendition of imam

      Italy denied any involvement on Tuesday in the CIA s “extraordinary rendition” of an Egyptian imam kidnapped in Milan in 2003 on charges of terrorist connections.

    • I Was Tortured. I Know How Important It Is to Hold the CIA Accountable.

      More than once, I begged my torturers to kill me. Years later, I think about it and wonder if I really meant it. I think I did, at the time.

      I was tied up, nude and blindfolded, and electrically prodded all over my body. Twice they pretended they were executing me by placing a gun to my head or in my mouth and clicking the trigger.

      To my abusers, who interrupted this torture with question after question, this was merely “enhanced interrogation.”

      That was decades ago, in Argentina. But today, U.S. political figures — including presidential candidate Rick Perry — are using this same euphemism to describe the CIA’s torture and ill treatment during its secret detention operations from 2002 to 2008. And earlier this month, John Oliver’s HBO show “Last Week Tonight” reported that of 14 declared U.S. presidential candidates, only four said they would keep an executive order put in place by President Barack Obama in his first days in office that seeks to ensure the U.S. does not commit torture.

      When U.S. media and political figures repeat the euphemism enhanced interrogation, they reframe the debate in a way that implicitly downplays the pain and inhumanity of torture. Instead, torture becomes a matter of rational decision making and calibrated legality.

    • ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch Urge DOJ to Appoint Special Prosecutor for CIA Torture
    • Rights groups call on US Justice Department to probe CIA torture

      Three major rights groups called on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the CIA for alleged torture and other rights violations of prisoners in the agency’s custody.

    • Over 100 International Groups Call on US to Prosecute Torture
    • Rights groups petition US to create special prosecutor for torture claims
    • Human rights groups ask attorney general to order new CIA torture probe
    • CIA Torture Report: Human Rights Groups Write Letter Urging Attorney General Loretta Lynch To Pursue Criminal Investigations

      A joint letter sent by human rights groups to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques revealed by a Senate report released late last year. The letter, signed by Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International, asked Lynch’s office to investigate “torture and other violations of U.S. law” in connection to the programs.

    • Ethiopia’s election insult to the people and democracy

      “Won” is not really an accurate description of the election result; as the chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, Merera Gudina, put it, this “was not an election, it was an organised armed robbery”.

    • South Koreans sentenced to hard labour in North Korea

      Two South Korean citizens arrested in North Korea in March on charges of spying have been sentenced to hard labour for life, South Korea said.

    • Rape culture and Rolling Stone

      Behind all the manifestations of rape-skeptic journalism lie the interests of the 1%, who want to preserve the exploitative, oppressive relations that exist under capitalism and prop them up.

    • CIA torture is only part of medical science’s dark modern history

      The controversy over the CIA torture is very similar to another debate raging within the US medical community – that over doctor involvement in the death penalty.

    • USA Senate passes ban on torture
    • Senate passes amendment to ban torture as US policy

      The amendment would require USA government interrogators to adhere strictly to techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual, which would have to be updated every three years to ensure it complies with USA law and “reflects current evidence-based best practices for interrogation that are designed to elicit reliable and voluntary statements and don’t involve the use or threat of force”.

    • Two grilled at CIA black site in Afghanistan freed after more than a decade

      The Pentagon secretly repatriated two Tunisians who were interrogated at a CIA black site in Afghanistan and imprisoned by the U.S. military in that country for more than a decade, U.S. officials said.

      A U.S. military cargo plane flew Lutfi al-Arabi al-Gharisi and Ridha Ahmad al-Najjar from Afghanistan to Tunisia on June 15, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a detainee transfer that had not been made public.

    • Two Tunisians interrogated at CIA black site in Afghanistan secretly flown home

      The Pentagon secretly repatriated two Tunisians who were interrogated at a CIA black site in Afghanistan and imprisoned by the U.S. military in that country for more than a decade, U.S. officials said.

      A U.S. military cargo plane flew Lutfi al-Arabi al-Gharisi and Ridha Ahmad al-Najjar from Afghanistan to Tunisia on June 15, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a detainee transfer that had not been made public.

    • Putting a Stop to US and International Torture

      Today is the UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

    • Major rights groups beg DOJ to prosecute CIA
    • US Justice Department Must Expose CIA Use of Torture – Amnesty Int’l

      The US Department of Justice must speak out against Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture practices, Amnesty International Director of Security with Human Rights Naureen Shah told Sputnik in an interview.

    • 100 Groups From Around the World to UN: Demand Accountability for CIA Torture

      This Friday, the world will mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This day is commemorated every year to reaffirm the universal commitment to the total eradication of torture, which is categorically prohibited under international law.

    • US: Joint Appeal to Investigate Torture

      Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International called on United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a June 23, 2015 letter to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate torture and other violations of US law in connection with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s detention and interrogation program. The letter was attached to petitions signed by 111,788 concerned individuals supporting appointment of a special prosecutor.

    • Rights groups call to probe CIA torture

      “If our laws have meaning, we can’t accept that some of our country’s most senior officials authorized criminal conduct and were never held accountable. Torture is a crime,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “We know it happened. The Senate torture report documented it in excruciating detail. It’s up to Attorney General Lynch to uphold the laws of our land and ensure that a criminal investigation of the U.S. torture program is conducted.”

    • Remember the Time the CIA Bugged a Cat to Spy on the Soviets?

      My favorite story about American spying is one I’ve never been able to verify with the Central Intelligence Agency, and not for lack of trying.

      At the height of the Cold War, the story goes, officials in the United States hatched a covert plan to keep tabs on Russians in Washington, D.C. They would, they decided, deploy surveillance cats—yes, actual cats surgically implanted with microphones and radio transmitters—to slip by security and eavesdrop on activity at the Soviet Embassy. The project went by the thinly disguised code name “Acoustic Kitty.”

    • Healing and Hope for Torture Survivors

      It is also a day to stand up to prevent torture from occurring. For years, I have been advocating for New York State legislation to prevent health professionals from participating in the torture and mistreatment of detainees. We know from the release of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Summary that U.S. health professionals played a central role in the design and implementation of the CIA’s torture program, making this legislation timelier than ever.

    • Statement by the President on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
    • Minneapolis Rally Protests Government Torture

      A human rights organization hosted demonstrations in nine cities Friday to raise awareness about government torture, including a rally in Minneapolis.

      Amnesty International wants to pressure the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute torture committed by people working in the name of the United States government.

      A spokesman for Amnesty International says the department’s stance on the Senate report on CIA torture is contradictory.

    • Amnesty blasts alleged torture tactics in protest
    • Letter from more than 100 groups to UN demanding accountability for US torture and other abuses

      Last December, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the summary, findings and conclusions of its four-year investigation into the Detention and Interrogation

    • Group urging action on torture report

      They held signs in Raleigh on Friday stating: “Take a moral stand vs. torture,” “No to government secrecy,” “Like genocide & slavery, torture is always wrong,” and “North Carolina hosts CIA torture planes.”

    • Protesters want to put an end to torture

      Amnesty International is holding rallies across the nation, including Amherst, to shed light on a senate report on C-I-A torture.

      Thousands of people have been tortured all around the world. According to a senate report, the C-I-A is ALSO responsible for carrying out torture tactics.

    • Why is the CIA Being Let off the Hook on torture?

      More than 6 months ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the Executive Summary of its investigation into CIA torture practices during the Bush Presidency. The process of producing the report itself was highly controversial with the CIA doing everything in its power to stymie the investigation, including spying on Senate members of the committee.

      The actual report itself remains classified but there is now enough information in the public that questions are arising about why there has been no legal action taken. If the CIA has been documented as having tortured detainees captured during the so-called War on Terror in the report, then why has the Obama Administration and its Justice Department, not built on the Senate report? That question troubled human rights organizations so much that several of them signed onto a letter this week calling on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct a truly independent investigation and push for accountability for what was done.

    • CIA Torture Report, Cost of War, and Ecuador Protests
    • How CIA torture goes unpunished

      Soon after I was tortured, in the late 1970s, I joined a worldwide Amnesty International campaign against torture premised on the notion that, with a consistent, determined effort by democratic governments and international organizations supported by common men and women across borders, torture could be abolished in our time just as the African slave trade had been abolished a century earlier.We have come far. Today, laws against torture are in place almost everywhere.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • ISPs do throttle traffic — and the FCC can’t stop it

      Lots of attention was paid this week to a study showing that major ISPs are throttling traffic. At first glance, it seems a clear test case for the FCC’s Net neutrality rules, which prohibit blocking, throttling, or creating special “fast lanes” for content. The problem is, this is not the throttling you’re looking for, Obi-Wan.

      The new rules went into effect a fortnight ago, and aside from scattered accounts of consumers who wrangled price breaks from their cable companies after filing complaints with the FCC about unfair billing practices, and news that Sprint stopped slowing traffic for customers who use a lot of data, very little has changed for Internet users — or is likely to anytime soon.

    • Internet access “not a necessity or human right,” says FCC Republican

      Federal Communications Commission member Michael O’Rielly yesterday argued that “Internet access is not a necessity or human right” and called this one of the most important “principles for regulators to consider as it relates to the Internet and our broadband economy.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canada Saves Public From Public Domain, Extends Copyright On Sound Recordings Another 20 Years

        Lest it be left behind by other countries bullied into submission by US trade agreements, the Canadian government has now expanded copyright terms for recording artists from 50 years to 70 years. (It was previously passed, but has now received the Official Royal Assent.) While not as obnoxiously long as the terms afforded to songwriters (life plus 50 years… which will probably be life plus 70 before too long…), it’s still a needless expansion that does little for living artists while carving another 20-year hole in the public domain.


Links 27/6/2015: Wine 1.7.46, SparkyLinux 4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Coreboot Adds Intel Braswell SoC Support
  • OSI Welcomes Summer Interns

    Recognizing successful open source projects need a variety of “developers” to create everything from code to community, the OSI Internship Program seeks participants from across academic disciplines–Business, Communications, Sociology, Informatics, and of course Computer Science to name a few–the program seeks to provide real life experiences common across open source projects and the communities that support them, giving students first hand experiences as well as opportunities to work with some of the most influential projects and people in open source software and the technology sector.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • BlueData Massages Data for Hadoop and Spark to Leverage

      BlueData Software Inc., an infrastructure startup focused on Big Data, is working on solutions to the problem. The company recently announced that it is adding support for Docker containers on its BlueData EPIC platform. BlueData was founded by VMware veterans, and is focused on making Hadoop and Spark easy to deploy in a lightweight container environment.

  • BSD

    • Open Source History: Why Didn’t BSD Beat Out GNU and Linux?

      If you use a free and open source operating system, it’s almost certainly based on the Linux kernel and GNU software. But these were not the first freely redistributable platforms, nor were they the most professional or widely commercialized. The Berkeley Software Distribution, or BSD, beat GNU/Linux on all of these counts. So why has BSD been consigned to the margins of the open source ecosystem, while GNU/Linux distributions rose to fantastic prominence? Read on for some historical perspective.

    • out with the old, in with the less

      Notes and thoughts on various OpenBSD replacements and reductions. Existing functionality and programs are frequently rewritten and replaced for the sake of simplicity or security or whatever it is that OpenBSD is all about. This process has been going on for some time, of course, but some recent activity is worth highlighting.

  • Project Releases

    • Oz 0.14.0 Release

      Oz is a program for doing automated installation of guest operating systems with limited input from the user.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Why the government needs to renew its public commitment to open source software

      The government has played an important role as champion of open source in the public sector and this has been essential to the great progress that has been made to date. As the new government lays out its strategy, it should publicly reaffirm its commitment to open source software. This will add impetus to those in the public sector considering open source if the government acknowledges its value in relation to its agile vision.

    • NRO jumps on open source bandwagon

      Given the growing need for advanced databases with multiple levels of security to store geospatial intelligence, NRO contractor Lockheed Martin along with partners like Red Hat and Crunchy Data Solutions rolled out an open source relational database at a geospatial intelligence symposium in Washington this week that is billed as supporting multilevel security.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Introducing Felfil: An Italian Open Source 3D Printing Filament Extruder

        It’s an open source project designed for home use, and Felfil is an extruder for plastic 3D printing filament, designed by a team of young makers from the Politecnico of Turin.

        They say the device was built in answer to a desire by users of 3D printers to produce their own plastic filament. It’s all about reducing the cost of printing, saving on materials, and being able to experience the potential of 3D printing.

  • Programming

    • Google creates cloud code cache

      With an uncharacteristic lack of fanfare, Google has decided to hang around the kitchen at the code repository party.

    • 6 time-consuming tasks you can automate with code

      Literacy used to be the domain of scribes and priests. Then the world became more complicated and demanded that everyone read and write. Computing is also a form of literacy, but having it only understood by a priesthood of programmers is not going to be enough for our complex, online world. “Learn to code” has become a mantra for education at all ages. But after clearing away the hype, why do people need to learn to code? What does it get us exactly?

      Not everyone needs to become a software engineer, but almost every office worker uses a laptop as a daily tool. Computers are such a huge productivity booster because they support a large market of programs and apps designed for these workers. But commercial and open source software have a “last mile” problem: that they don’t automate every conceivable task. There are still computing chores that require a lot of repetitive (and fairly mindless) typing and clicking. Even if you have an intern to push these tasks on, they’re tasks that require a human because there’s no software to automate it. These tasks are too small-scale or specific to your organization’s workflow for it to be economical for a software company to create a custom solution.

    • libnice is now mirrored on GitHub

      libnice, everyone’s favourite ICE networking library, is now mirrored on GitHub (and GitLab), to make contributing to it easier — just submit a pull request. The canonical git repository is still on freedesktop.org.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Terror Attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia

      Friday’s attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait came at roughly the same time, and days after the Islamic State terror group called for such operations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. But there was no immediate indication that they had been coordinated.

  • Privacy

    • Hated Care.data scheme now ‘unachievable’, howls UK.gov watchdog

      The hated Care.data programme is one of four government IT projects progressing so poorly its delivery has been deemed “unachievable”, according to a government watchdog report.

      The scheme has been flagged with the highest “red” risk rating by the Major Projects Authority, along with the NHS choices website, the Health and Social Care Network, and the Ministry of Justice’s National Offender Management Services ICT programme.

      The scheme has encountered serious delays, following an outcry from the public who largely objected to the idea of their personal information being shared with world+dog without their consent.

      So far, 700,000 individuals have requested to opt out of having their data shared with third parties. However, concerns have been raised that the Health and Social Care Information Centre has been unable to implement those objections.

    • Yet Another Leaker — with the NSA’s French Intercepts

      Wikileaks has published some NSA SIGINT documents describing intercepted French government communications. This seems not be from the Snowden documents. It could be one of the other NSA leakers, or it could be someone else entirely.

      As leaks go, this isn’t much. As I’ve said before, spying on foreign leaders is the kind of thing we want the NSA to do. I’m sure French Intelligence does the same to us.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Europe: The Next Front in the Battle for Net Neutrality

      Americans won big on net neutrality in February, when the FCC voted to adopt new rules that would allow it to rein in the abusive and discriminatory practices of big telecommunications operators, such as blocking or throttling of Internet data, and charging content providers for access to an Internet “fast lane.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Freedom of panorama: what is going on at the EU level?

        It is the so called freedom of panorama, which of course has its roots in a beloved piece of EU legislation, the InfoSoc Directive, more specifically its Article 5(3(h). This provision allows Member States to introduce into their own national copyright laws an exception to the rights of reproduction, communication/making available to the public and distribution to allow “use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture, made to be located permanently in public places”.

Links 26/6/2015: Ardour 4.1, GNOME 3.17.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • BMW: ‘Our competitor is not Audi, Jaguar Land Rover or Mercedes but consumer electronics players’

    BMW is bringing software back in-house so it can deliver seamless digital experiences for its customers – something more valued than horsepower or engines in today’s market, its digital business models lead said.

  • Science

    • 10 Reasons Tape Backup Remains Important to the Enterprise

      Digital tape is about the hardest-to-kill storage IT there is, unless you count carving out data onto rocks, the way it was done hundreds of thousands of years ago. Tape technology celebrated its 63rd birthday on May 21; IBM first made available its IBM 726 Magnetic tape reader/recorder in 1952. Strangely, unlike later IBM tape drives, the original 726 could read tape backward and forward. Tape has managed to get better with age. When tape first went to market, the media itself weighed 935 pounds and held 2.3MB of data. In 2015, that much tape weighs closer to 12 pounds, and 2.3MB would comprise one large photo or a short pop song. Tape storage densities are broken regularly; IBM’s tape team recently demonstrated an areal recording density of 123 billion bits of uncompressed data per square inch on low-cost, particulate magnetic tape. The breakthrough represents the equivalent of a 220TB tape cartridge that could fit in the palm of your hand. Companies such as Iron Mountain, Spectra Logic, IBM and others maintain large installed bases of tape storage around the world. Here are some key facts about tape storage.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Charleston Massacre Media Coverage: Recognizing the Crime, Downplaying the Causes

      When a white male kills people in a mass shooting in the US, the corporate media follow an algorithm not unlike the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief.

      First, media deny that the attack constitutes terrorism. In their view, acts of political violence carried out against civilians are indisputably terrorism when they are committed by a Muslim, but this is not necessarily the case when they are committed by a white person.

      This is the stage in which most media coverage of shootings by white Americans remains stuck. When Elliot Rodger massacred six people and injured 14 more in May 2014, he was not classified as a terrorist–even though he explicitly stated that his attack was motivated by an intense hatred of women, and that he sought to “punish” women, collectively, for “rejecting” him in the past.

      Yet because of mounting pressure and criticism from independent media, activists and social media, in the wake of mass shooting after mass shooting carried out disproportionately by white men, corporate media are no longer able to remain in a state of such denial.

    • That Most Terrorists Aren’t Muslim May ‘Come as a Surprise’–if You Get Your News From Corporate Media

      The “surprise” is that more people are killed by “white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims”: 48 vs. 26 since 9/11, according to a study by the New America Foundation. (More comprehensive studies cited in a recent New York Times op-ed–6/16/15–show an even greater gap, with 254 killed in far-right violence since 9/11, according to West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, compared to 50 killed in jihadist-related terrorism.)

      The Times suggests that “such numbers are new to the public”–but they won’t come as much of a surprise to those familiar with FAIR’s work. In articles like “More Terror, Less Coverage” (Extra!, 5/11) and “A Media Microscope on Islam-Linked Violence” (Extra!, 8/13), FAIR’s Steve Rendall has debunked the claim that terrorism is mostly or exclusively a Muslim phenomenon, pointing out that white, right-wing Christians are responsible for the bulk of political violence in the United States.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • With Its French NSA Leak, WikiLeaks Is Back

      Classified documents appear on WikiLeaks.org, revealing that the American government is spying on its allies. American officials rush to deal with a sudden diplomatic crisis while publicly refusing to comment on leaked materials. And WikiLeaks proclaims that it’s just getting started.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • What’s Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?

      Every night, Donna Young goes to bed with her pistol, a .45 Taurus Judge with laser attachment. Last fall, she says, someone stole onto her ranch to poison her livestock, or tried to; happily, her son found the d-CON wrapper and dumped all the feed from the troughs. Strangers phoned the house to wish her dead or run out of town on a rail. Local nurses and doctors went them one better, she says, warning pregnant women that Young’s incompetence had killed babies and would surely kill theirs too, if given the chance.


      Then there’s pollution of the eight-wheeled sort: untold truck trips to service each fracking site. Per a recent report from Colorado, it takes 1,400 truck trips just to frack a well — and many hundreds more to haul the wastewater away and dump it into evaporation ponds. That’s a lot of diesel soot per cubic foot of gas, all in the name of a “cleaner-burning” fuel, which is how the industry is labeling natural gas.

  • Finance

    • Unregulated Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet

      We are in the middle of the first great mass extinction since the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

      That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study published Friday in a journal called Science Advances.

      The study, which was conducted by a group of scientists from some of the United States’ leading universities, found that over the past century-plus, vertebrate species have gone extinct at a rate almost 114 times faster than average.

      See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

      That’s right – not one, not two, not 50, but 114 times faster than average!

      The study also found that as many 477 different vertebrate species have disappeared since 1900, a mind-boggling statistic because it usually takes between 800 to 10,000 years for that many species to disappear.

    • The Senate Passes Fast Track—But We Can Still Prevent the TPP Train Wreck

      The U.S. Senate has paved the way for the passage of Fast Track legislation, to give the White House and the U.S. Trade Representative almost unilateral power to negotiate and finalize secret anti-user trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yesterday a “cloture” vote was held—this was a vote to end debate on Fast Track and break any possibility for a filibuster, and it passed by the minimum votes needed—60 to 37. Today, the Senate voted to pass the legislation itself. TPP proponents only needed 51 votes, a simple majority, to actually pass the bill, and they got it in a 60 to 38 vote. Following months and months of campaigning, Congress has ultimately caved to corporate demands to hand away its own constitutional mandate over trade, and the President is expected to the sign the bill into law as early as tonight or later this week.

    • Senate approves fast-track, sending trade bill to White House

      he Senate voted Wednesday to approve fast-track authority, securing a big second-term legislative win for President Obama after a months-long struggle.

      The 60-38 Senate vote capped weeks of fighting over the trade bill, which pitted Obama against most of his party — including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

      Passage of the bill is also a big victory for GOP leaders in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The Republican leaders worked closely with an administration they have more frequently opposed to nudge the trade bill over the goal line.

    • Network Rail upgrade delayed by government

      The government says it will delay or cut back a number of modernisation projects planned for Network Rail.

      Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says rising costs and missed targets make the £38.5bn plan untenable.

      He blamed Network Rail, saying it should have foreseen the improvements would cost more and take longer.

      Labour said it had warned the government needed to change how the railways were run but had “dithered” over taking action.

      Network Rail said the plan, which was launched last year as the “largest modernisation of the railways since Victorian times”, was too ambitious.

      Network Rail controls 2,500 stations as well as tracks, tunnels and level crossings.

    • Why Catholic Americans are rejecting the Pope: They worship the free market now

      Pope Francis’ much-anticipated climate change encyclical, released last week, is every bit as strong as environmentalists and other proponents of dramatic action on climate change had hoped. The pontiff affirms the scientific consensus that climate change is largely the result of human activity, calls for “urgent action” to develop renewable energy alternatives, and slams global development paradigms that create an “ecological debt” between the Global South and the wealthier North.

      Many are predicting that the encyclical will be a game changer that will mobilize religious groups and galvanize lagging western nations, particularly the United States, to address climate change. And the encyclical will undoubtedly give the cause a huge moral push, especially at the upcoming international climate negotiations. But there are ominous warning signs already that a significant percentage of American Catholics — the very faith constituency that should be most receptive to the pope’s message — may turn a deaf ear to Francis. This means that not only are they unlikely to give up their SUVs, but also to support policies to address climate change or the candidates that back them.

    • Divide-and-Conquer Walker Thinks Equal Pay Is Divisive

      Scott Walker is taking heat for claiming that supporting equal pay for women “pit[s] one group of Americans versus another.”

      Here in Wisconsin, howls of laughter could be heard echoing through the marble walls of the state capitol: after all, this is a governor whose divisive approach has helped make his state one of the most bitterly polarized in the country.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Federal Documents Debunk Baltimore ‘Gang Threat’ Narrative

      This fact—that there are always young kids at Mondawmin (it’s a major transportation hub, and the only way thousands of kids can get home)—is erased entirely from the equation. The use of the term “juveniles” is meant to prejudice the reader and criminalize otherwise legal and peaceful assembly. From the beginning of the Baltimore Uprising, in other words, it’s been evident the Baltimore Police Department was far more interested in manipulating the press and hyping the threat than they were protecting First Amendment activity and people’s property.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Dropbox Is Struggling and Competitors Are Catching Up

      Dropbox made itself a household name by giving away cloud storage. The eight-year-old company, valued at $10 billion, had 300 million registered users a year ago; now it’s got 400 million. Its two-year-old effort to make money from business users has been less impressive. While Dropbox led the $904 million global market for business file-sharing last year with about a 24 percent share, No. 2 Box and No. 3 Microsoft each took about 21 percent and doubled their slice of the pie, growing almost twice as fast, according to researcher IDC.

    • The NSA, Windows & Antivirus

      Poor Microsoft. The beleaguered company just can’t catch a break. We’ve already told you about how Snowden’s revelations have forced the pride of Redmond to spend who knows how many millions opening two “transparency centers” to allow government IT experts to pore through source code to prove there’s no back doors baked into Windows or other Microsoft products. Trouble is, while its engineers have been busy plastering over all traces of old back doors, they’ve left a side door standing wide open, waiting to be exploited.


      The spooks have been reverse engineering. They’ve been dismantling Karpersky’s software, searching for weaknesses. They’ve been mining sensitive data by monitoring the email chatter between Kaspersky client and server software. In other words, while IT security folks outside the U.S. have been keeping a wary eye on their Windows servers while trusting their antivirus to be a tool to help them secure the unsecurable…well, their antivirus software has been being a Trojan in the truly Homeric sense of the word.


      In the meantime, Windows becomes less safe by the minute for corporations and governments hoping to keep private data private. I’m certain that Red Hat, SUSE, and even Ubuntu are taking advantage.

    • Norway needs more digital border surveillance, spy agency says
    • Commission proposal on new data protection rules to boost EU Digital Single Market supported by Justice Ministers

      On the 16 of June, Ministers in the Justice Council have sealed a general approach on the Commission proposal on the Data Protection Regulation. Modern, harmonised data protection rules will contribute to making Europe fit for the digital age and are a step forward to the EU Digital Single Market. Trilogue negotiations with the Parliament and the Council will start in June; the shared ambition is to reach a final agreement by the end of 2015.

    • French Surveillance Bill: LQDN Files an Amicus Brief to the Constitutional Court

      La Quadrature du Net, French Data Network and the FDN Federation are publishing an essay to accompany their legal action before the French Constitutional Court against the French Surveillance Bill. The three associations, opposed to the French Surveillance Bill since its introduction in the Council of Ministers on 19 March, continue their mobilisation against this unjust law, in spite of its adoption in the National Assembly1 and the Senate2. Citizens are invited to support this approach by sharing and commenting on this essay by Thursday 7am to bring their thoughts or suggestions for improvement before sending it to the Constitutional Council.

    • Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory

      Would you change what you said on the phone, if you knew someone malicious was listening? Whether or not you view the NSA as malicious, I imagine that after reading the NSA coverage on Linux Journal, some of you found yourselves modifying your behavior. The same thing happened to me when I started deploying servers into a public cloud (EC2 in my case).

      Although I always have tried to build secure environments, EC2 presents a number of additional challenges both to your fault-tolerance systems and your overall security. Deploying a server on EC2 is like dropping it out of a helicopter behind enemy lines without so much as an IP address.

      In this article, I discuss some of the techniques I use to secure servers when they are in hostile territory. Although some of these techniques are specific to EC2, most are adaptable to just about any environment.

  • Civil Rights

    • France proposes empty ISDS reforms

      The French proposal would grant for-profit arbitrators, working in a system that creates perverse incentives, vast discretionary powers. This creates a serious risk on expansionist interpretations. Foreign investors would be able to use this biased system to challenge governments. As it is practically impossible to withdraw from trade agreements, the EU would be locked in.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • BT aims to shut down traditional phone network to help it battle US tech giants

      BT is calling on the communications watchdog to let it scrap the traditional telephone network, as part of a campaign to loosen regulations that it says will help telecoms companies compete better with US internet companies such as Apple and Facebook.

      The telecoms giant is planning to move all domestic and business customers to internet-based voice calls within a decade, but under current Ofcom rules must continue to provide a traditional phone service.

    • Major internet providers slowing traffic speeds for thousands across US

      Study finds significant degradations of networks for five largest ISPs, including AT&T and Time Warner, representing 75% of all wireline households in US

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Cox Wants Rightscorp’s Piracy Tracking Source Code

        Cox Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, has asked the court to order anti-piracy firm Rightscorp to hand over its tracking source code. The ISP describes the company’s settlement scheme as extortion and hopes to punch a hole in its evidence gathering techniques.


Links 25/6/2015: Docker Focus, NVIDIA Opening Slightly

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Different Types of Open Source End Users

    The use of open source software has become more and more commonplace as the technological world advances. It powers millions of devices many of which we depend on every single day. In fact this very web page you are reading this post on is powered by bits of open source code.

    Software would be useless if there were not people there to use it and there are many different types of people who use open source software every day.

  • Arno, the first open source platform for NFV

    The OPNFV Project, a carrier-grade, integrated, open source platform for accelerating the introduction of new Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) products and services. We recently issued our first community-led software release, OPNFV Arno. This foundational release is intended for anyone exploring NFV deployments, developing Virtual Network Functions (VNF) applications, or interested in NFV performance and use case-based testing. With developers in mind, Arno provides an initial build of the NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM) components of the ETSI NFV architecture.

  • Facebook open-sources Nuclide source code for Atom
  • Facebook Open Sources Nuclide, the Company’s Internal Code Editor
  • Facebook Nuclide Is Now Open Source
  • Facebook open-sources IDE based on GitHub Atom

    Facebook has begun opening up source code for its Nuclide IDE, which is designed to offer a unified experience for Web and native mobile development.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Cinder: Block storage on the open-source cloud platform

      The OpenStack platform is an open-source collaboration to develop a private cloud ecosystem, delivering IT services at web scale.

      OpenStack is divided into a number of discrete projects, each with a code name with parallels to the purpose of the project itself.

  • Education

    • 8 open source platforms for IT consideration

      Usually, the higher-ed industry has a reputation as being one of the slowest adopters of new technology. But when it comes to open source software (OSS), campus IT departments are ahead of other industry and consumer tech adoption curves, says Scott Wilson, service manager of OSS Watch at the University of Oxford.

      “On the face of it, higher education has been relatively quick to realize the benefits, notes Wilson. “Over 50 percent of higher education institutions use open source, both on the server and on the desktop. And one of the great open source success stories in higher education is the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).”

  • Funding

    • Massive open source email & collaboration platform Roundcube beats Indiegogo funding goal

      Simply put, Roundcube is the unsung work horse of web mail.

      But a decade is an eternity in technology. When Roundcube started, mobile devices were large, clunky affairs used by the few. Today they are the most commonly used communication device. Roundcube Next is today’s answer to that radical change. Instead of once more embarking alone on that ten year journey, Roundcube Next is about building a strong, healthy and diverse Open Source community to achieve that task within 12 to 18 months.


  • [OT] Manchester Storm reform and replace Hull in Elite League

    Manchester Storm are to reform and make a return to ice hockey’s Elite League next season.

    The will replace Hull Stingrays in the league following their liquidation.

  • No joke: Iceland’s Pirate Party surges into first place in the polls

    Iceland has long been one of the more right-leaning Nordic countries. In contrast to Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which all have a long tradition of electing Social Democratic governments, Iceland’s parliament has been dominated by right-of-center parties for all but four years since World War II. The only break in that streak came in 2009, when the left won for the first time ever—and elected the world’s first openly gay head of state. The unusual result came about because the global financial meltdown hit Iceland with particular ferocity, but tradition seemingly reasserted itself four years later when the right-leaning Independence and Progressive parties regained power in a landslide.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • GCHQ documents raise fresh questions over UK complicity in US drone strikes

      British intelligence agency GCHQ is facing fresh calls to reveal the extent of its involvement in the US targeted killing programme after details of a fatal drone strike in Yemen were included in a top secret memo circulated to agency staff.

      A leading barrister asked by the Guardian to review a number of classified GCHQ documents said they raised questions about British complicity in US strikes outside recognised war zones and demonstrated the need for the government to come clean about the UK’s role.

      The documents, provided to the Guardian by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported in partnership with the New York Times, discuss how a joint US, UK and Australian programme codenamed Overhead supported the strike in Yemen in 2012.

      The files also show GCHQ and Overhead developed their ability to track the location of individuals – essential for the targeted killing programme – in both Yemen and Pakistan. The legality of the US’s lethal operations in both countries has been questioned by international lawyers and human rights groups.

    • WaPo: Don’t Say ‘Terrorist’ About ‘White People Like Ourselves’

      Corporate media are demonstrably reluctant to use the word “terrorist” with regards to Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof–even though the massacre would seem to meet the legal definition of terrorism, as violent crimes that “appear to be intended…to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.”

      Generally, news outlets don’t explain why they aren’t calling Roof a terrorist suspect; they just rarely use the word. But the Washington Post‘s Philip Bump gave it a shot in a piece headlined “Why We Shouldn’t Call Dylann Roof a Terrorist” (6/19/15), and his rationale is worth taking a look at.

    • How One Outlet Covered the Charleston Massacre Right

      Yet there was at least one news item that ran the day after the shooting that was not afraid to refer to it as a terrorist attack: “US State Senator Killed by Terrorist With White Supremacist Sympathies, 8 Others Dead,” reads the headline of a news item that appeared on Sahara Reporters, a New York City-based news website that primarily covers government corruption in Africa, with a particular focus on Nigeria.

      The Sahara Reporters piece uses the word “terrorist” six times to describe Roof and his alleged action, including in the headline, the subhead and a photo caption. The words “mental illness,” “troubled” and “loner” do not appear — in fact, no speculation whatsoever is made regarding Roof’s mental state or stability. Instead, South Carolina’s “known hate groups” are mentioned to provide context for Roof’s alleged actions, and Roof’s white supremacist activities and the historic allusions made by the patches on his jacket are front and center in the piece. And the massacre is clearly contextualized as occurring at “a time where the persecution of black ethnic minorities in the United States has been making world headlines.”

    • For Media Factcheckers, It’s ‘Mostly False’ to Say Mass Violence Is More Frequent in US

      In theory, factchecking is one of the most important functions of journalism. In practice, systematic efforts by corporate media to “factcheck” political statements are often worse than useless.

      Take PolitiFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Tribune, and its recent offering “Is Barack Obama Correct That Mass Killings Don’t Happen in Other Countries?”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Netherlands loses landmark global warming case, ordered to cut emissions

      In a landmark case that may set a very important precedent for other countries around the world, especially within Europe, the Dutch government has been ordered by the courts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.

      The ruling came from a class-action lawsuit that was brought before the Dutch courts by Urgenda in 2012. The case, rather magnificently, was based on human rights laws. Specifically, Urgenda asked the courts to “declare that global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius will lead to a violation of fundamental human rights worldwide,” and that the Dutch government is “acting unlawfully by not contributing its proportional share to preventing a global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius.”

    • Royal Navy bomb explosions caused mass whale deaths, report concludes

      Four large bombs exploded underwater by the Royal Navy were to blame for a mass stranding which killed 19 pilot whales on the north coast of Scotland in 2011, government scientists have concluded.

      A long-delayed report released on Wednesday by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs says that the noise from the explosions could have damaged the hearing and navigational abilities of the whales, causing them to beach and die.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Coalitions of the willing are latest lobbying trend

      The single-minded groups are popping up on all manner of issues, including to lobby on rules regulating commercial drones that weigh less than 55 pounds, to rewrite the nation’s patent laws and to engage in the big legislative fight over the Export-Import Bank.

      Coalitions offer lobbyists a big advantage by allowing firms to collect combined fees from a number of corporations and interest groups that may not otherwise engage on an issue. For instance, a company may not consider an issue pressing enough on which to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the idea of spending a few thousand dollars — that’s then combined with similarly smaller fees from other coalition members — is more enticing.

    • Scott Walker’s Unprecedented Voucher Expansion

      In crafting the budget, Walker is taking his cues from the American Federation for Children (AFC), a major force for school privatization nationwide. It is funded and chaired by billionaire Betsy DeVos, and pushes its privatization agenda in the states with high-dollar lobbying and attack ads.

  • Censorship

    • Australia’s own Immortan Joe turns off the water, I mean, Internet

      In the documentary Mad Max: Fury Road, we learned how Australia is controlled by a psychotic strongman who believes in traditional gender roles, strict limits on immigration, and social control through imposed scarcity. This is why Tony Abbott, current Prime Minister of Australia, announced his new Internet censorship plan by warning Aussies, “Do not, my friends, become addicted to the Web.”

  • Privacy

    • Is the Council Selling Our Personal Data to Private Companies?

      Finally, no measures were agreed on on the anonymisation of data. Only the pseudonymisation is considered, which is totally insufficient to preserve the anonymity of a person. Pseudonymisation within the processing of personal data is not protection at all and is only another gift for private companies which will allow them to work, with complete impunity, on data whose the origin can be easily found. This gift is re-enforced by the will to authorise profiling person with their explicit agreement. Such an authorisation is necessary but insufficient if there is not a strict framework on the finalities of the profiling. The absence of a regulation of the issue of Safe Harbor in spite of the adoption of the Moraes 2014 report is making the breaches in the protection of personal data every time wider.

    • France in the Era of Mass Surveillance! We must resist!

      It’s a sad day for freedom! French representatives just adopted the French Surveillance Law. As an ironic echo to the recent WikiLeaks revelations about NSA spying on French political authorities, this vote calls for a new type of resistance for citizens.

    • François Hollande holds emergency meeting after WikiLeaks claims US spied on three French presidents

      The French president, François Hollande, is holding an emergency meeting of his country’s defence council after claims that American agents spied on three successive French presidents between 2006 and 2012. According to WikiLeaks documents published late on Tuesday, even the French leaders’ mobile phone conversations were listened to and recorded.

      The leaked US documents, marked “top secret”, were based on phone taps and filed in an NSA document labelled “Espionnage Elysée” (Elysée Spy), according to the newspaper Libération and investigative news website Mediapart. The US was listening to the conversations of centre-right president Jacques Chirac, his successor Nicolas Sarkozy, and the current French leader, Socialist François Hollande, elected in 2012.

    • French president holds emergency meeting over NSA intercepts
    • Revealed: how US tapped phones of three French presidents

      The United States has eavesdropped on at least three French presidents and a whole raft of senior officials and politicians in France for at least six years, according to secret documents obtained by WikiLeaks and revealed here by Mediapart. The top secret reports from America’s National Security Agency (NSA) show that the phones of presidents François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac were all tapped. But they also show that the espionage carried out on a supposedly key ally of Washington’s went even further and deeper, and that senior diplomats, top civil servants and politicians also routinely had their phones tapped. The documents seen by Mediapart reveal proof of the spying on the French state that took place from 2006 to 2012 but there is no reason to suggest that this espionage did not start before 2006 and has not continued since. The revelations are certain to spark a major diplomatic row and highlight once again the uncontrolled and aggressive nature of American spying on friends and foes alike, as first revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. Mediapart’s Fabrice Arfi and Jérôme Hourdeaux and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks report.

    • Espionnage Élysée

      Today, 23 June 2015, WikiLeaks began publishing “Espionnage Élysée”, a collection of TOP SECRET intelligence reports and technical documents from the US National Security Agency (NSA) concerning targeting and signals intelligence intercepts of the communications of high-level officials from successive French governments over the last ten years.

    • French president: Obama promises to stop US spying tactics

      Hollande said in a statement that the two spoke by telephone Wednesday after the release of WikiLeaks documents about NSA intercepts of conversations involving Hollande and his two predecessors between 2006 and 2012.

    • US embassy in Paris is ‘home to secret spy nest’

      Reports in France suggest the US spied on French presidents from a secret spy nest on the roof of its embassy in Paris, which stands just a stone’s throw from the Elysée palace.

    • The NSA, and America’s madness

      It’s hard to pretend to be surprised. Since Edward Snowden revealed, in June 2013, the planetary scope of the electronic surveillance and data collection programs carried out by American intelligence agencies, we have gone from surprise to surprise. We discovered, amongst other things, that this mass surveillance went as far as eavesdropping on the German chancellor’s phone conversations. It also enabled Airbus to be spied on by the German secret services on behalf of the American agencies. Nothing, therefore, should surprise us any more. Sooner or later, we were bound to have a confirmation that the French presidents and top-ranking officials were also spied on by the United States. We now have the proof, according to the WikiLeaks documents published, on June 23rd, by the French daily newspaper Libération and and the Mediapart investigative website

      Knowing is one thing, accepting is another. Such practices are obviously unacceptable! Nevertheless, we must not be naive. Intelligence is a crucial tool in the struggle against terrorism. The French parliament has recently approved a far ranging bill to reinforce its interception capabilities. Some provisions of the text have been vividly criticised by civil liberties campaigners, who point out French intelligence services could use them to bypass the right to privacy of French citizens – and even more so, the right to privacy of foreign nationals. In this fight, intelligence services across Europe do need to cooperate with the US, and they have to be able to keep doing so… But only within the framework of the law.

    • Obama reassures France after ‘unacceptable’ NSA spying

      U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed in a phone call with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Wednesday Washington’s commitment to end spying practices deemed “unacceptable” by its allies.

      The presidents’ conversation, announced by Hollande’s office, came after transparency lobby group WikiLeaks revealed on Tuesday that U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on the last three French presidents.

    • Uniquely Nasty: J. Edgar Hoover’s war on gays

      The directive was stern and uncompromising. In the depths of the Cold War, then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered his agents to undertake a new mission: Identify every gay and suspected gay working for the federal government.

      Only Hoover didn’t describe his targets as gays. He called them “sex deviates.”

    • GCHQ’s surveillance of two human rights groups ruled illegal by tribunal

      GCHQ’s covert surveillance of two international human rights groups was illegal, the judicial tribunal responsible for handling complaints against the intelligence services has ruled.

      The UK government monitoring agency retained emails for longer than it should have and violated its own internal procedures, according to a judgment by the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT). But it ruled that the initial interception was lawful in both cases.

    • Spies Hacked Computers Thanks to Sweeping Secret Warrants, Aggressively Stretching U.K. Law

      British spies have received government permission to intensively study software programs for ways to infiltrate and take control of computers. The GCHQ spy agency was vulnerable to legal action for the hacking efforts, known as “reverse engineering,” since such activity could have violated copyright law. But GCHQ sought and obtained a legally questionable warrant from the Foreign Secretary in an attempt to immunize itself from legal liability.

      GCHQ’s reverse engineering targeted a wide range of popular software products for compromise, including online bulletin board systems, commercial encryption software and anti-virus programs. Reverse engineering “is essential in order to be able to exploit such software and prevent detection of our activities,” the electronic spy agency said in a warrant renewal application.

    • GCHQ psychological operations squad targeted Britons for manipulation

      The once-secretive, now-notorious Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group ran its online propaganda and manipulation operations at home as well as abroad.

      JTRIG’s domestic operations used fake accounts to “deter,” “promote distrust” and “discredit” in political discussions on social media, uploaded fake book/magazine articles with “incorrect information,” hacked websites, set up ecommerce sites that were fraudulent operations designed to rip off their adversaries and so on. They relied on psychological research on inspiring “obedience” and “conformity” to inform their work.

    • Controversial GCHQ Unit Engaged in Domestic Law Enforcement, Online Propaganda, Psychology Research

      The spy unit responsible for some of the United Kingdom’s most controversial tactics of surveillance, online propaganda and deceit focuses extensively on traditional law enforcement and domestic activities — even though officials typically justify its activities by emphasizing foreign intelligence and counterterrorism operations.

      Documents published today by The Intercept demonstrate how the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), a unit of the signals intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is involved in efforts against political groups it considers “extremist,” Islamist activity in schools, the drug trade, online fraud and financial scams.

    • DoJ’s Gag Order On Reason Has Been Lifted — But The Real Story Is More Outrageous Than We Thought

      Last Friday the folks at Reason confirmed what I suggested on Thursday — that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, after hitting Reason with a federal grand jury subpoena to unmask anonymous hyperbolic commenters, secured a gag order that prevented them from writing about it.

      Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch describe how it all went down. Read it.

      So, the truth is out — and it’s more outrageous than you thought, even more outrageous than it appears at first glance.

      What, you might ask, could be more outrageous than the United States Department of Justice issuing a questionable subpoena targeting speech protected by the First Amendment, and then abusing the courts to prohibit journalists from writing about it?

      The answer lies in the everyday arrogance of unchecked power.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality in Europe in danger

      Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all data on the Internet equally. It’s about minimising the restrictions on which parts of the Internet you can access. And it’s about allowing startups to compete with big Internet firms and supporting innovation in the digital economy.

    • Letter to S&D and ALDE MEPs: Stand Up for Net Neutrality

      Negotiations on Net Neutrality between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union (trialogue) started on 11 March in order to settle an agreement on the final regulation. Political groups send few representatives to the trialogue but political groups do not necessarily adopt it and compromise with a text that does not respect main democratic values. Citizens shall urgently call all S&D and ALDE Members of European Parliament (MEPs), who are about to decide, in the next days, of their group positions, and urge them to resist against a text that would infringe fundamental rights and liberties of any European citizen. La Quadrature has sent MEPs the following letter.

Links 24/6/2015: Meizu MX4, Red Hat and Samsung Partner, Women in Open Source Awards

Posted in News Roundup at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • How I got eviscerated in front of the entire company (and why it was good)
  • Health/Nutrition

    • 7 reasons you should throw your chicken dinner in the garbage

      Could there be anything worse for the chicken industry than this month’s outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that hospitalized 42 percent of everyone who got it—almost 300 in 18 states?

      Yes. The government also announced that China has been cleared to process chickens for the US dinner plate and that all but one of arsenic compounds no one even knew they were eating have been removed from US poultry production. Thanks for that. Also this month, some food researchers have revealed the true recipe for chicken “nuggets”…just in time for Halloween.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • “EPIC” fail—how OPM hackers tapped the mother lode of espionage data

      Government officials have been vague in their testimony about the data breaches—there was apparently more than one—at the Office of Personnel Management. But on Thursday, officials from OPM, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of the Interior revealed new information that indicates at least two separate systems were compromised by attackers within OPM’s and Interior’s networks.

    • How encryption keys could be stolen by your lunch

      Israel-based researchers said they’ve developed a cheaper and faster method to pull the encryption keys stored on a computer using an unlikely accomplice: pita bread.

    • OS Security: Windows and Linux/UNIX

      For those new to Linux/UNIX command line interfaces, there are lots of Internet sources that provide cheat sheets for the most common commands you’ll need to navigate and perform actions. Here’s another option we like because it’s particularly handy.

    • Why are there still so many website vulnerabilities?

      The larger the site, the greater its functionality and visibility, and the more it uses third-party software, the more that the process of reducing inherent vulnerabilities in the site will be costly.

    • Breach Defense Playbook: Open Source Intelligence

      The Internet allows for information to be readily available at your fingertips. However, it also allows for the same information to be accessed by malicious threat actors who are targeting your organization with cyberattacks. The recent explosion of social media has only increased the information available, and with it the risks to your corporate data, intellectual property, and brand. Some organizations call the awareness of this risk “threat intelligence,” but we have found that organizations need to focus on more than just current threats. Organizations can leverage an emerging intelligence-gathering capability to determine data leakage, employee misbehavior, or negative brand exposure at a higher level than threat intelligence using Open Source Intelligence, or OSINT.

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • Software companies are leaving the UK because of government’s surveillance plans

      The company behind the open-source blogging platform Ghost is moving its paid-for service out of the UK because of government plans to weaken protection for privacy and freedom of expression. Ghost’s founder, John O’Nolan, wrote in a blog post: “we’ve elected to move the default location for all customer data from the UK to DigitalOcean’s [Amsterdam] data centre. The Netherlands is ranked #2 in the world for Freedom of Press, and has a long history of liberal institutions, laws and funds designed to support and defend independent journalism.”

      O’Nolan was particularly worried by the UK government’s plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, which he said enshrines key rights such as “respect for your private and family life” and “freedom of expression.” The Netherlands, by contrast, has “some of the strongest privacy laws in the world, with real precedents of hosting companies successfully rejecting government requests for data without full and legal paperwork,” he writes.

  • Civil Rights

    • Cop accused of exposing himself faces jail time for dashcam tampering

      A 37-year-old New Jersey cop accused of exposing his genitalia to the young male motorists he pulled over has accepted a plea deal in which the officer loses his job in exchange for pleading guilty to tampering with his patrol car’s dashcam “to conceal unprofessional and inappropriate conduct.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ISPs Dump VPN After Legal Threats From Big Media

        Providers who defied TV company demands to switch off their VPN services have caved in following legal threats. CallPlus and Bypass Network Services faced action from media giants including Sky and TVNZ for allowing their customers to access geo-restricted content. Their ‘Global Mode’ services will be terminated by September 1.


Links 23/6/2015: Cinnamon 2.6.9, Red Hat Summit

Posted in News Roundup at 4:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The Third Platform: The Time for Open Source Is Nigh

    The main purposes of open source are overt in the name itself. The biggest differentiator of open source is its innate openness, or transparency. Not only is the source code available, but so too are the other aspects. This characteristic contrasts with the often clandestine processes of proprietary vendors. Open-source products are thus easier to evaluate to determine whether they are right for a specific enterprise.

  • Business


    • Introducing Adam Leibson: summer Campaigns intern

      Hello free software supporters, my name is Adam Tobias Leibson. I’ve been an avid GNU/Linux user since my first year of high school. Around that time, I read Cory Doctorow’s book Little Brother. That book challenged me to think more deeply about the effects of mass surveillance on society, and brought about my interests in privacy and cryptography.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Russia to replace proprietary software with open source

      The Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications has announced a plan to replace proprietary software with open source and locally produced software. The plan is one of the measures aimed at promoting sustainable economic development and social stability announced earlier this year.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Security

  • Censorship

    • Australia passes controversial anti-piracy web censorship law

      A controversial bill to allow websites to be censored has been passed by both houses of the Australian parliament. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 allows companies to go to a Federal Court judge to get overseas sites blocked if their “primary purpose” is facilitating copyright infringement.

      Dr Matthew Rimmer, an associate professor at the Australian National University College of Law, points out that there is a lack of definitions within the bill: “What is ‘primary purpose’? There’s no definition. What is ‘facilitation’? Again, there’s no definition.” That’s dangerous, he believes, because it could lead to “collateral damage,” whereby sites that don’t intend to hosting infringing material are blocked because a court might rule they were covered anyway. Moreover, Rimmer told The Sydney Morning Herald that controversial material of the kind released by WikiLeaks is often under copyright, which means that the new law could be used to censor information that was embarrassing, but in the public interest.

    • Australia Passes ‘Pirate’ Site Blocking Law

      A few minutes ago Australia passed controversial new legislation which allows for overseas ‘pirate’ sites to be blocked at the ISP level. Despite opposition from the Greens, ISPs and consumer groups, the Senate passed the bill into law with a vote of 37 in favor and 13 against. Expect The Pirate Bay to be an early target.

    • Germany Says You Can’t Sell Adult Ebooks Until After 10 PM

      Why is it that many efforts made “for the children” are so stupid most tweens could point out the obvious flaws? Back during the discussion of the UK’s now-implemented ISP porn filtration system, Rhoda Grant of the Scottish Parliament wondered why the internet couldn’t be handled the same way as television, where all the naughty “programming” isn’t allowed to take to the airwaves until past the nationally-accepted bedtime.

    • Google follows Facebook and Reddit with ‘revenge porn’ crackdown

      GOOGLE HAS STARTED accepting takedown requests for so-called revenge porn, following in the footsteps of Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

      Google announced that users can now request that sexually explicit images shared without their consent are removed from search results, despite the firm having generally resisted efforts to limit what is viewable in search.

  • Privacy

    • US, UK Intel agencies worked to subvert antivirus tools to aid hacking [Updated]

      Documents from the National Security Agency and the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the two agencies—and GCHQ in particular—targeted antivirus software developers in an attempt to subvert their tools to assure success in computer network exploitation attacks on intelligence targets. Chief among their targets was Kaspersky Labs, the Russian antivirus software company, according to a report by The Intercept’s Andrew Fishman and First Look Media Director of Security Morgan Marquis-Boire.

    • US and British Spies Targeted Antivirus Companies

      When the Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab disclosed recently that it had been hacked, it noted that the attackers, believed to be from Israel, had been in its network since sometime last year.

      The company also said the attackers seemed intent on studying its antivirus software to find ways to subvert the software on customer machines and avoid detection.

      Now newly published documents released by Edward Snowden show that the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, were years ahead of Israel and had engaged in a systematic campaign to target not only Kaspersky software but the software of other antivirus and security firms as far back as 2008.

      The documents, published today by The Intercept, don’t describe actual computer breaches against the security firms, but instead depict a systematic campaign to reverse-engineer their software in order to uncover vulnerabilities that could help the spy agencies subvert it. The British spy agency regarded the Kaspersky software in particular as a hindrance to its hacking operations and sought a way to neutralize it.

    • Popular Security Software Came Under Relentless NSA and GCHQ Attacks

      The National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, have worked to subvert anti-virus and other security software in order to track users and infiltrate networks, according to documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The spy agencies have reverse engineered software products, sometimes under questionable legal authority, and monitored web and email traffic in order to discreetly thwart anti-virus software and obtain intelligence from companies about security software and users of such software. One security software maker repeatedly singled out in the documents is Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, which has a holding registered in the U.K., claims more than 270,000 corporate clients, and says it protects more than 400 million people with its products.

    • GCHQ Dinged For Illegally Holding Onto Human Rights Groups Emails Too Long, Not For Collecting Them In The First Place

      Following on a ruling nearly two months ago, where the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal — for the very first time — found that GCHQ had broken the law with its surveillance of client/attorney communications, now the IPT has ruled against GCHQ again. The IPT says that GCHQ held emails of human rights activists for too long — but found that the initial collection of those emails was no problem at all.

    • GCHQ’s spying on human rights groups was illegal but lawful, courts find

      GCHQ’S SPYING on two international human rights groups was illegal, according to a ruling by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) which is responsible for handling complaints against the intelligence services.

      The court case was raised by a number of privacy groups and challenged how GCHQ surveys similar groups. It found that the government body operated in breach of its own rules.

      The decision in the High Court on Monday followed concerns raised by groups including long-time snooping critics Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union.

      The IPT ruled that British spies had breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that GCHQ had retained emails for longer than it should and violated its own internal procedures.

    • Supreme Court declares warrantless searches of hotel registries illegal

      The Supreme Court gave a big boost to privacy Monday when it ruled that hotels and motels could refuse law enforcement demands to search their registries without a subpoena or warrant. The justices were reviewing a challenge to a Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotels to provide information to law enforcement—including guests’ credit card number, home address, driver’s license details, and vehicle license number—at a moment’s notice. Similar ordinances exist in about a hundred other cities stretching from Atlanta to Seattle.

      Los Angeles claimed the ordinance (PDF) was needed to battle gambling, prostitution, and even terrorism, and that guests would be less likely to use hotels and motels for illegal purposes if they knew police could access their information at will.

    • Supreme Court Says Motel Owners Must Be Allowed To Challenge Warrantless Searches Of Guest Registries

      A smallish victory for Fourth Amendment protections comes today as the Supreme Court has struck down a Los Angeles ordinance that allowed police warrantless, on-demand access to hotel/motel guest records. This win is very limited, and the court’s discussion of the issue at hand pertains solely to the Los Angeles statute and doesn’t address the potential unconstitutionality of other, similar records sweeps granted by the Third Party Doctrine. Nor does it address the potential Fourth Amendment violations inherent to “pervasive regulation” of certain businesses — like the records legally required to be collected and handed over on demand to law enforcement by entities like pawn shops, junk yards and firearms dealers.

    • Texas Dept. Of Public Safety Forced To Admit Its Stratfor-Crafted Surveillance Tech Isn’t Actually Catching Any Criminals

      Concerns over pervasive surveillance are often shrugged off with “ends justify the means” rationalizing. If it’s effective, it must be worth doing. But as more information on domestic surveillance programs surfaces, we’re finding out that not only are they intrusive, but they’re also mostly useless.

      TrapWire — software produced by Stratfor and used by security and law enforcement agencies around the world — utilizes facial and pattern recognition technology to analyze CCTV footage for “pre-attack patterns,” meshing this information with other law enforcement databases, including online submissions from citizens reporting “suspicious behavior.”

  • Civil Rights

    • 4-year-old struck by officer’s bullet in Ohio

      A 4-year-old child was struck by a bullet fired from a Columbus Police Officer’s gun, reports CBS affiliate WBNS.

      According to the station, a patrol officer was answering a call Friday afternoon when a family in the area started screaming for help because of a medical emergency.

    • Florida mail man who landed gyrocopter at US Capitol rejects plea offer that would have involved prison time

      A Florida postman who flew a gyrocopter through some of America’s most restricted airspace before landing at the US Capitol said he rejected a plea offer on Monday that would have involved several years in prison.

      Douglas Hughes, 61, of Ruskin, Florida, said he rejected the offer because no one got hurt during his stunt.

      Hughes was arrested on April 15 after he took off in his gyrocopter from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and landed on the Capitol’s West Lawn in his bare-bones aircraft.

    • Los Angeles police shoot unarmed man in the head who ‘waved at them for help with a towel’

      A Los Angeles Police Department officer shot a man in the head after he attempted to flag down officers for help with a towel in his hand.

      Officers responded to the scene following an officer-needs-help call in the area, CBS Los Angeles reported.

      The officers believed the man was holding a gun and, after ordering him to drop the alleged weapon, officers fired four shots. One of the rounds appeared to shoot the suspect in the head. A motorist posted graphic video of the scene online — which was widely shared on social media — showing the man rolled over and cuffed by police.

      “The officers stopped to investigate and see what was needed,” LAPD spokesman John Jenal told NBC Los Angeles. “This person then extended their arm, which was wrapped in a towel.”

      LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times that the officers were following standard procedure for cuffing the man who seemingly had a gaping gunshot wound to the head with blood pouring from it.

      Mr Smith said the man was standing on the side of the road asking for the officers’ help yelling: “Police, police.”

      However, police said no weapons were found and only a towel was recovered from the scene.

    • Two British teenagers arrested over Auschwitz theft

      The unnamed pair were held by guards at the site, now a museum, on Monday and are in custody, police told AFP.

      They took artefacts belonging to prisoners held there during World War Two, including buttons and pieces of glass, a museum spokesman told AFP.

      The UK Foreign Office confirmed two British nationals had been arrested.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality will prove as evil as the VCR

      An interesting and melancholy event is taking place not far away from me. An honest-to-goodness independent movie rental store is closing its doors with much fanfare and a going-out-of-business sale.

      This is a small business that has been around almost since the advent of the VCR and rolled right through the dawn of the Internet and into the era of widespread streaming content — by renting videos. If you wanted to watch a movie, you drove down to the store, hoped there was a copy on the shelf, rented it on the contract you’d signed possibly decades ago, and returned it within a day or two.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Alleged Dallas Buyers Club Pirates To Be Asked For Employment, Income And Health Details

        In the previous instalment of the long-running saga involving alleged pirates of the Dallas Buyers Club film in Australia, the court agreed that Australian ISP iiNet should hand over information about its customers. But it added an important proviso: the letter and telephone script to be used to contact and negotiate with them had to be approved by the court first in an effort to prevent “speculative invoicing” of the kind all-too familiar elsewhere.

      • Taylor Swift vs Apple: nobody wins

        So why did Apple think for one second that it could get away with not paying Taylor Swift?

      • Libgen Goes Down As Legal Pressure Mounts

        Libgen, the largest online repository of free books and academic articles, has pretty much vanished from the Internet. Earlier this month the site’s operators were sued by academic publishing company Elsevier, who asked a New York federal court for a preliminary injunction hoping to keep the site down for good.


Links 22/6/2015: Linux 4.1, Red Hat’s New CFO

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 Reasons Open Source Software is Good For Your Business

    In recent years, open source software has become more frequently used by businesses and individuals alike. Why is this, and what makes open source solutions so increasingly popular? Below I list five reasons why open source software can be good for your business.

  • Pulp Friction: SourceForge brings out too much GIMP

    The site is reported to have been ‘inserting’ advertisements and other forms of third-party offers into downloads for projects that are no longer currently actively maintained.

    While some would argue that this is fairly inoffensive and comparatively legitimate monetisation of what is still essentially free software, the community has not been happy with the process.


    As wider reaction to this story, SourceForge is said to be generally losing ground to GitHub and other sites that exist to perform code repository and download functions such as FossHub.

  • Events

    • Fossetcon Call for Papers

      The Second Annual Fossetcon Conference, which is scheduled to be held at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida on November 19-21 has announced its Call for Papers on the conference website. According to the site, the call is officially open until August 17, but might be extended if certain conditions, such as “speaker diversity, relevant content and or lack of submissions” are not met.

    • New speakers announced for PGDay

      The UK’s only dedicated Postgres user event has two new speakers, along with a great line up of technology and other experts

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent, say Chromium users

        Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent before the bug was fixed, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party has claimed.

        Writing on the website Privacy Online News, Falkvinge alleged that Google listened into the conversations of users of Chromium without consent, through a ‘black box’ of code.

        The ‘black box’ code was downloaded to enable a feature that activates a search function when you say “Ok, Google,” however the code appears to have enabled eavesdropping on conversations prior to this – in order to hear the phrase.

      • A Chromebook replaced the MacBook Pro on my desk

        The Acer Chromebook 13 so impressed me when I reviewed it months ago that I bought one. After using it for months it has replaced the 13-inch MacBook Pro as my daily work system in the office.

    • Mozilla

      • Interview with Gervase Markham of Mozilla

        I’ve been with Mozilla, as a volunteer or employee, since 2000. I got involved when I read a Slashdot comment (!) from an existing Mozilla contributor called Matthew Thomas. It said that if Mozilla failed, then Microsoft would get control of the web. I thought that the web was too awesome, even then, to be controlled by a single company, so I decided to help Mozilla out. Sixteen years later, I’m still here. I’ve done many things in my time, but I currently work mainly on Public Policy, which I tend to summarise as “persuading governments not to make unhelpful laws about the Internet”. My current focus is copyright reform in the EU; you can read our policy positions on the Mozilla Policy blog.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Open Source Initiative Extends Affiliate Program to Higher Education

      Driven by the promise of reduced costs, increased pace of innovation, community-driven development and shared services, institutions of higher education are increasingly moving to open source software solutions. In order to help colleges and universities across the globe maximize their opportunities through participation in both the development of open source software as well as the communities of practice which support those projects, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) announced at the 2015 Open Apereo Conference, the extension of the non-profit’s popular Affiliate Member Program.

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • BleachBit 1.8 Open Source System Cleaner Out Now for Linux and Windows

      On June 19, Andrew Ziem had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the BleachBit 1.8 open-source and cross-platform system cleaner application for GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

    • digiKam Software Collection 4.11.0 released…

      The digiKam Team is proud to announce the release of digiKam Software Collection 4.11.0. This release is the result of huge bugs triage on KDE bugzilla where more than 250 files have been closed as duplicate, invalid, or upstream states. Thanks to Maik Qualmann who maintain KDE4 version while KF5 port and GSoC 2015 projects are in prgress. Both are planed to be completed before end of year.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can Wikipedia Survive?

      This is a challenge for Wikipedia, which has always depended on contributors hunched over keyboards searching references, discussing changes and writing articles using a special markup code. Even before smartphones were widespread, studies consistently showed that these are daunting tasks for newcomers. “Not even our youngest and most computer-savvy participants accomplished these tasks with ease,” a 2009 user test concluded. The difficulty of bringing on new volunteers has resulted in seven straight years of declining editor participation.

    • Open Data

      • The rise of creativity propels open data forward

        Private enterprises began to find ways to boost creativity of their employees and academic research expanded phenomenally on the subject. The government sector was also not oblivious to the obvious. One of the vital developments in the technology sector in the recent past has been the opening up of data. Open data, as it is termed, is available for everyone to use and republish as they wish without any restrictions from the clutches of patents, copyrights, and any other mechanism of control. Open data gives an autonomy to people with ideas to contribute in a significant manner in various areas of development. These initiatives to open up data fortifies the initiatives to enhance creativity.

    • Open Hardware

      • How to build a DIY heart and activity tracking device

        As this project may be of interest for others, I wrote this tutorial explaining the making of CubiKG, a Holter monitor-like device for heart and activity tracking. Also, to fit everyone’s attention span, I provided the highlights, and a more detailed how-to that walks through each step to guide you through the building process.


  • What Is Next for China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign?

    Recently, former Chinese security chief Zhou Yongkang was tried on corruption charges. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

    Zhou Yongkang was once one of the most powerful officials in China’s government. In addition to his position as chief of public security, he served as head of the Communist party’s legal and political commission. He was also a member of the politburo standing committee, the party’s most-powerful decision-making agency.

  • The dictator’s DAUGHTER

    Leo Tolstoy wrote that all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. However, even he would have been hard-pressed to imagine the family of Svetlana Stalin.

    Svetlana’s father, Josef Stalin, drove her mother to suicide, exiled her first love to Siberia and had her aunts and uncles imprisoned or shot — not to mention being responsibile for the massacre of countless millions, including those in the Ukrainian Holodomor.

  • Why Iranians are lapping up Shah memorabilia
  • House OKs resolution urging Iran to release jailed Americans

    The House has unanimously passed a resolution urging Iran to release three Americans jailed in that country and provide information on a fourth who is missing.

  • The beginning of the end of white rule in southern Africa

    Instead, he starts at what Winston Churchill would have called the beginning of the end – April 25, 1974 and, in the author’s words, “the military coup that toppled the dictatorship in Portugal and with it, the world’s last colonial empire. This single event would result in 16 years of mounting strife that would wreck much of southern Africa, ruin entire countries, stain it with the blood of hundreds of thousands, create widespread hunger, poverty and anger and leave a legacy of problems that hang still like a hail cloud over the future stability of the sub-continent.”

  • Science

    • Bread leavening proves useful for energy storage

      Just like bread, hierarchically porous carbons (HPCs), are judged on their texture; so researchers in China have called on their baking know-how to cook up a sustainable method for producing these supercapacitor components.

      HPCs could prove useful in energy storage because of their high surface area and short ion transport pathway. But existing synthetic methods for producing HPCs, including nanocasting and soft-templating, are unfeasible for industrial application as they require complex, expensive processes.

  • Security

    • 1 in 3 data center servers is a zombie

      A new study says that 30% of all physical servers in data centers are comatose, or are using energy but delivering no useful information. What’s remarkable is that that percentage hasn’t changed since 2008, when a separate study showed the same thing.

      The latest research was reported in a paper by Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University, who has done data center energy research for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Jon Taylor, a partner at the Athensis Group, a consulting firm.

    • John Kiriakou: DOJ misguided amid U.S. hacking

      I don’t much care if the Chinese know that I’m a former CIA officer. It’s no secret. I published a bestselling book about my years at the CIA. I give interviews in the press and on TV speaking out against torture. I lecture at colleges and universities about ethics in intelligence operations.

      But the information the Chinese stole included my original application to the CIA — my Standard Form 86. That form included information on my family members, friends, neighbors and references. That means their information was probably compromised too.

    • Opening up a can of worms: Why won’t Conficker just die, die, die?

      The Conficker worm is now nearly seven years old but remains the most detected piece of malware on the internet. Despite a massive effort to squash it, why does it keep popping up again?

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Senate Attempts To Arm Kurds Directly, Reform Military Justice Fall Short
    • Saudi Arabia Mulls Russian Arms Deal

      Saudi Arabia sees no obstacles for purchasing Russian weapons and defense systems, the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister told Russian media on Friday.

    • Actually, Saudi Arabia could get a nuclear weapon

      Now that the Obama administration has largely given up its resistance to Iran’s development of some kind of nuclear program, the Middle East is poised to see a change in the balance of power. As the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom recently stated, should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, “all options” could be on the table when it comes to the Saudi response. That could include an indigenous nuclear program. And although some commentators remain skeptical about the Kingdom’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, I would argue that it actually has the will and the ability to do so.

    • Saudi Arabia and Russia Sign Major Nuclear Energy Deal

      Saudi Arabia and Russia on Friday signed a series of agreements to cooperate on nuclear energy development.

      The deal came amid a visit to Russia by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

    • Saudi Arabia resumes air strikes in Yemen as talks fail

      Since then they have expanded their control to other parts of Sunni-majority Yemen, including Aden in the south, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his government to flee to Saudi Arabia.

    • FBI Agent: The CIA Could Have Stopped 9/11

      Mark Rossini, a former FBI special agent at the center of an enduring mystery related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, says he is “appalled” by the newly declassified statements by former CIA Director George Tenet defending the spy agency’s efforts to detect and stop the plot.

      Rossini, who was assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) at the time of the attacks, has long maintained that the U.S. government has covered up secret relations between the spy agency and Saudi individuals who may have abetted the plot. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a failed effort to crash into the U.S. Capitol, were Saudis.

      A heavily redacted 2005 CIA inspector general’s report, parts of which had previously been released, was further declassified earlier this month. It found that agency investigators “encountered no evidence” that the government of Saudi Arabia “knowingly and willingly supported” Al-Qaeda terrorists. It added that some CIA officers had “speculated” that “dissident sympathizers within the government” may have supported Osama bin Laden but that “the reporting was too sparse to determine with any accuracy such support.”

    • Saudi Foreign Ministry allegedly supported Muslim Brotherhood figures

      Wikileaks published Friday 61,205 official documents by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, some of them classified as top secret. The documents revealed texts, emails, signed and stamped documents between the ministry and its embassy in Cairo.

    • Obama, CIA Returning to Controversial Drone ‘Signature Strikes’

      Reports that the U.S. did not intentionally target Nasir al-Wahishi in a recent drone strike in Yemen highlights a troubling trend in America’s counterterrorism operations, and signals Obama administration policies of limiting U.S. warfighting abroad may now force it into using a controversial and dangerous tactic known as “signature strikes.”

    • CIA did not know Yemen drone strike would kill al-Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi
    • ‘Lucky’ drone strike killed al-Qaeda’s number two

      The CIA drone strike that killed al-Qaeda’s second in command last week was a lucky hit aimed at a random group of militants, say US officials.

    • The open secret of targeted killings

      Obama’s revelations once again prompted myriad questions about the legality of US counter-terrorism operations, the accuracy of intelligence used for drone strikes, the near complete secrecy surrounding them, and the consequences of the program both for US reputation and security. These issues have been raised for years both inside and outside the national security establishment, and by human rights groups, and representatives of victims abroad.

    • The open secret of targeted killings
    • The CIA Can’t Keep Its Drone Propaganda Straight

      On Thursday, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller, also relying on information provided by anonymous officials, supplied the second narrative. In this version, al-Wuhayshi was dead not because the CIA had tracked him down but because the Obama administration had “eased” certain drone-strike guidelines in Yemen and permitted the CIA to carry out “signature strikes” — strikes that take place without the agency’s specific knowledge of the identities of the individuals marked for death.

    • America’s drone policy is all exceptions and no rules

      The Obama administration is again allowing the CIA to use drone strikes to secretly kill people that the spy agency does not know the identities of in multiple countries – despite repeated statements to the contrary.

      That’s what we learned this week, when Nasir ­al-Wuhayshi, an alleged leader of al-Qaida, died in a strike in Yemen. While this time the CIA seems to have guessed right, apparently the drone operators didn’t even know at the time who they were aiming at – only that they thought the target was possibly a terrorist hideout. It’s what’s known as a “signature” strike, where the CIA is not clear who its drone strikes are killing, only that the targets seem like they are terrorists from the sky.

    • We saw the tank Fidel Castro used during the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion

      The CIA later called the Bay of Pigs the “perfect failure.”

      In Cuba, the battle is referred to as the “invasion de Playa Giron.”

      Castro directed a counterattack from a tank that reportedly shot the US vessel Houston with a 100 mm cannon.

      Here is a photo of Castro directing his tank during the Bay of Pigs.

    • A Castro son rises in Cuba

      When Raul Castro, 84, met with U.S. President Barack Obama in a historic encounter at a regional summit in Panama in April, Alejandro Castro Espin was part of the small group in the room. It was unknown what role the son may have played in the 18 months of secret negotiations leading up to the announcement of detente by both presidents last December.

    • Romero’s Beatification and the CIA’s Assassination Attempts on Castro

      The Catholic Church’s beatification of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was gunned down at the altar while celebrating mass at a small hospital chapel in El Salvador in 1980, provides a helpful reminder to us of how much the US national-security state warped and perverted the values of the American people, in the name of its anticommunist crusade during the Cold War.

      In the eyes of Cold War anti-communists, Romero was guilty of three things: believing in and preaching liberation theology, which they considered to be a communist doctrine, aligning himself with the poor, and opposing the brutal U.S.-supported Salvadoran military dictatorship that came to power in 1979.

    • US-Attempted Color Revolution in Ecuador?

      On Saturday, Correa announced a right-wing opposition coup plot. He urged Ecuadoreans to stay strong against their attacks.


      In Ecuador from 1960 – 1963, it ousted two presidents, infiltrated key political parties and organizations, and caused disruptive actions blamed on leftist groups.

    • From the archive, 16 June 1975: A clasp of lethal friendship for de Gaulle

      The CIA reveals it was asked to help kill the French president in 1965

    • CIA’s NGOs: After India, Pakistan wakes up

      Pakistan has accused the CIA of infiltrating its agents through these NGOs. NGOs such as Save the Children are funded by the CIA and under the garb of humanitarian work they have been sending in their agents.

      To make matters worse for the CIA, Afridi who had been tasked with collecting DNA samples of the Bin Laden family in Abottabad told investigators that he was called in by female CIA officers and briefed.

    • Pakistan Halts Plan to Ban Save the Children

      Because of his fake program and collusion with the CIA, medical workers have been routinely targeted as spies in Pakistan, some even murdered while doing their job. This program was also blamed for a rise in Polio in Pakistan. Because local communities, especially those in hostile zones, no longer trust those administering the vaccinations, it means that a disease, once almost entirely eradicated, is making a comeback within the nation.

    • Pakistan allows global NGOs for 6 months; re-registration must
    • Save the Children Pakistan still shut
    • PM Nawaz instructs INGOs to register within three months
    • US Admits Difficulties in Syria Recruitment Amid Al-Nusra Gains

      The United States admitted Wednesday that it is facing growing difficulties to recruit Syrian rebels for their training program.

      “We have enough training sites and so forth. For now, we don’t have enough trainees to fill them,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional hearing.

    • Where Does ISIS Get Those Wonderful Toys?

      The Pentagon and the CIA, as well as Britain and France, have been training Syrian rebels in neighboring Jordan since at least October 2012, as reported by The Guardian.

    • CIA’s Largest Covert Operation In Syria Could Face Large Funding Cuts

      Washington Post– Key lawmakers have moved to slash funding of a secret CIA operation to train and arm rebels in Syria, a move that U.S. officials said reflects rising skepticism of the effectiveness of the agency program and the Obama administration’s strategy in the Middle East.

    • New Pentagon War Law Manual Is Totally Cool With CIA-Style Drone Attacks

      Last week, the Department of Defense published a gigantic, boring, and tremendously important book. The “Department of Defense Law of War Manual” is 1204 pages of rules for war. Since World War II, various branches of the military have published service-specific manuals, and a few of the more recent ones mentioned unmanned vehicles. The Navy manual addresses underwater robots, the Air Force manual included drones as military aircraft. The new Pentagon manual–which applies to the whole of America’s military–provides the clearest, most comprehensive vision yet of how the military understands drones within the laws of war.

    • Psst. The Benghazi committee’s only interested in taking down Hillary Clinton.
    • Gowdy identifies author of Benghazi memos
    • Blumenthal says ex-CIA officer gave him Benghazi memos
    • Clinton Friend Says Former CIA Official Wrote Benghazi Memos
    • Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Sidney Blumenthal testifies to Benghazi panel
    • Who shot Bob Marley?

      As for his screenplay for A Brief History…, he says, “It will turn out to be an international story. You can’t tell a story about Jamaica in 1976, without telling the story of Ecuador in 1976, Washington in 1976, London in 1976.” The attempted assassination of the biggest reggae star in the world will still be at its heart, though. “There were seven, eight, nine people involved, but only two or three have names. Nobody talks about the others, but the impact of what they did goes on.”

    • US Was Afraid of Annoying Indira During Emergency

      In spite of its avowed commitment to democracy, the role of the US in India during the Emergency had many self-imposed contradictions, reveal WikiLeaks cables between the US Ambassador to India at the time William B Saxbe and the American government. The most powerful country on the planet believed that it was essential to maintain a good relationship with the government even when civil liberties were curtailed between 1975-1977, for fear of the balance tilting heavily towards the Soviets when China was “on the prowl”. Ambassador Saxbe met Indira twice immediately after the Emergency was clamped. The US chose to crawl when it wasn’t even asked to bend by censoring its own correspondents and directing embassy officials to avoid meeting leaders from opposition parties.

    • Smiles and F-35s do not change U.S. policy on settlements

      Visit by Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey shows that the U.S. is fully committed to defending Israel, but not to preserving its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

    • Lebanon: Israel behind crashed aircraft in Bekaa region

      An aircraft crashed near the town of Saghbein in a remote area of Lebanon’s western Bekaa region on Sunday, with Lebanese security sources claiming it might be an Israeli drone.

    • Watch: Hezbollah says Lebanon blast was Israel destroying its own crashed drone

      An Israeli war plane struck a remote area in Lebanon’s western Bekaa region on Sunday to destroy a downed Israeli drone, al-Manar television, which is run by Hezbollah, said.

    • US war planes bomb alleged militants in Libya, killing dozens

      In the name of killing Al Qaeda leaders, the Obama administration authorized a further expansion of the CIA and Pentagon’s “kill lists” and targeted assassination operations in February 2013. Previously focused largely on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, the US government’s targeted murder operations have since expanded to include new areas throughout North Africa.

    • The Great War, the Great Lie – all about greed

      Seventeen million people were killed during the Great War. Seventeen million were killed so the multinationals – robber barons – could take control of the oil fields.

      Ten million soldiers died. Seven million civilians died. Twenty million people were wounded.

      The Gallipoli campaign, the Somme, the campaign in Palestine, and so on, none were about democracy, none were about protecting borders or colonies, none were about any tinderbox of ethnic groups seeking nationhood. It was all about greed.

    • U.S. policy: Courting disaster in Ukraine?
    • This Is What the Ukraine War Looks Like: 8 Days on the Front Line
    • Obama Responsible For Many “Charleston’s” in Middle East

      President Obama was, of course, right to denounce the massacre in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and to call for an end to such violence.

      But this begs the question of whether he will stop his own illegal drone strikes in the Middle East that are just as deadly and a hundred times more numerous than the attack in South Carolina.

    • Unpredictable Kim Jong-un launches underwater nukes

      North Korea now has an estimated 10-20 small nuclear devices according to foreign intelligence estimates. Some of them are believed to be fitted to the North’s medium-ranged Rodong missiles pointed at South Korea, Japan and the major US Pacific base on Guam.

    • Secret bases? What is the situation now as Syria is targetted?

      Amidst European criticism of America’s targeted killing program, U.S. and German government officials downplayed Ramstein’s role in lethal U.S. drone operations, but slides show that the facilities at Ramstein enable lethal drone strikes conducted by the CIA and the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa.

      Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a relative of men killed in a drone strike in the Yemen, testified in a German court, alleging that Germany is violating a constitutionally enshrined duty to protect the right to life by allowing the United States to use Ramstein Air Base as part of its lethal drone operations. His case was dismissed at the end of may, but he has leave to appeal.

    • Judge OKs executive privilege in drone FOIA case

      Despite a federal appeals court ruling two years ago ordering the Central Intelligence Agency to be more forthcoming about what records it has related to the use of armed drones to kill terror suspects, a federal judge ruled again Thursday that the spy agency could keep secret nearly all information related to its drone activities and the legal basis for them.

    • Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics

      A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm

    • A question of ethics and morality

      Garry Kasparov, the world-famous chess champion, had conveyed similar comments in 2010 when he said after his matches with the chess machine, known as Big Blue, that he had come away from the series feeling less secure about the future of the human enterprise if machines were to take over from humans. He said the machines would lead to a denial of the human experience that worked on surprises and emotions.

    • The Pentagon is researching how to create drones that target and kill without human oversight

      Within a few decades, perhaps sooner, robotic weapons will likely be able to pick and attack targets – including humans – with no human controller needed.

    • Russia Reportedly Developing A Microwave Gun That Can Kill Missiles
    • Russia Says Its New Microwave Cannon Can Kill Drones and Warheads with Ease
    • Russia to kill drones, missiles with 10km-range super-high frequency cannon
    • Air Force struggles to keep pace with explosion in the use of combat drones
    • Drone pilots go to war in the Nevada desert, staring at video screens
    • As Stress Drives Off Drone Operators, Air Force Must Cut Flights

      After a decade of waging long-distance war through their video screens, America’s drone operators are burning out, and the Air Force is being forced to cut back on the flights even as military and intelligence officials are demanding more of them over intensifying combat zones in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

    • The Air Force Is Slowing Drone Strikes Because Pilots Are Getting Burnout

      The military is becoming more and more reliant upon drone strikes, which is creating a new problem for the U.S. Air Force: Its pilots are burning out.

    • Veterans Urge Drone Operators to Refuse Orders to Fly

      In a letter released today by KnowDrones.com, 44 former members of the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines whose ranks range from private to colonel and whose military service spans 60 years, “urge United States drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/ assassination missions. These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.”

    • Group urges drone operators to refuse orders to fly

      A group that helped sponsor commercials urging drone pilots not to fly missions has launched a new effort to persuade drone operators to disobey their orders.

    • Drone pilots urged to refuse deadly missions by US veterans as ‘burned out’ operators quit in droves

      A group of 45 US military veterans have signed a letter appealing to pilots responsible for carrying out deadly aerial military drone strikes in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to stand down and deliberately refuse to carry out their orders.

      The veterans that signed the letter include a retired high-ranking US army colonel, Ann Wright, who resigned in 2003 over the invasion of Iraq, as well as former members of a range of ranks from the US Navy, Air Force, Marines and Army.

    • 45 veterans sign letter urging drone pilots to stand down

      A group of 45 former American military members have issued a jointly signed letter pushing drone operators to step away from their controls and refuse to fly any more lethal missions.

    • How America Broke Its Drone Force

      All told, the Air Force employs nearly 11,000 drone operators and can keep 65 Predators and Reapers at a time in the air over Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other war zones. All at a cost of around $4 billion a year.

    • Jon Stewart on Charleston Shooting: This is a Terrorist Attack

      Stewart remarked how he already heard a reporter on the news say that tragedy has visited the church. “This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist. This was a guy with a Rhodesia badge on his sweater,” Stewart said.

      “In South Carolina, the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from driving freely on that road. That’s insanity. That’s racial wallpaper. You can’t allow that,” he concluded. “Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some civil war. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina and the roads are named for Confederate generals and the white guy’s the one who feels like his country’s being taken away from him.”

      “We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing. Al Qaeda, ISIS – they’re not shit compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.”

    • Letter: Consider humanitarian costs of drone warfare

      People of Battle Creek are being told that having a drone base here will create jobs and improve our local economy. Here are some facts to consider:

      •Drones are not precise. Bystanders, including women and children, are killed alongside often misidentified and completely innocent targets.

      •Drones are not effective against individuals as they employ high explosives rather than projectiles. These explosives destroy a target and everything and everyone around it.

    • Ralph Nader brings out the knives, says Obama is worse than Bush: “More drones, more intruding into sovereign nations, more killings”

      Ralph Nader may have run against George W. Bush twice, but he’s even more down on Bush’s successor. While W. started two protracted wars, Nader says in a new interview that he doesn’t fault Bush’s foreign policies as much as he does President Obama’s.

    • A New Internationalism

      This final proviso has special application today, as governments have extended practices of long-distance killing during wartime (via bombing, shelling, and the use of snipers) into practices of assassination (via electronically-guided missile strikes and the use of drones) that conflate actual combatants with those who are political leaders and activists but not combatants. In this context, it is imperative to re-state the laws of war to clarify that political assassination outside of actual combat is not a tool of war, but a special form of murder, whomever carries it out. Legitimating the murder of one’s political opponents on the basis of realpolitik is an extremely dangerous and destabilizing move, with enormous potential for blowback. It erodes respect for human rights, for the law, and for the rights of civil society, all of which should matter greatly to a 21st century left.

    • Learning the lessons: 11 years of drones in Pakistan

      Beyond terror attacks, drones are having a broader and more profound impact on Pakistani society in other ways too. A report last year from Dr Wali Aslam (University of Bath) found that drone strikes, whist pursuing some “high value” targets and decreasing the number of fighters in the tribal areas, has caused militants to relocate to other parts of the country, thus displacing rather than eliminating terrorists.

    • 6,000 have unjustly been killed in US drone strikes

      The US drone strikes carried out across the world including in Pakistan have left at least 6,000 persons dead without having any justification, said a joint letter issued by 45 former US military personnel.

    • Legitimacy of law

      The impact of their deaths on the militant groups they headed will not be known for some time. But judging from the death or capture of dozens of other such prominent leaders in the past two decades, the answer is “probably not very much”.


      3. In Israel, the government barred a UN-appointed official who monitors Palestinian rights from entering the country.

      Israel also did this last year because it said its side of the story on Palestinian rights and living conditions was not adequately heard.

    • Charleston Murders Commonplace in Middle East

      Mr. Obama, (who happens to be a former CIA employee,) according to RealClearPolitics is “In Thrall to CIA Killing Machine.” Writer Toby Harnden wrote of him on April 16, 2013: “The man who ran as a liberal, anti-war candidate has brushed away concerns about the (drone) attacks. During one meeting he responded to a request for an expansion of America’s drone fleet by saying: ‘The CIA gets what the CIA wants!’”

      In his comments about the church murders, Mr. Obama said, “once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.” (Much less directing America’s trillion-dollar-a-year killing machine!)

    • All US Hostages in Pakistan Could Have Been Saved, Green Beret Says

      A combat-decorated Green Beret told Congress right now that he fell below criminal investigation by the Army this year immediately after informing Congress about a scuttled deal he tried to cut with the Taliban to no cost Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl along with all of the American and Canadian civilian hostages held by terrorists in Pakistan.

    • No mission accomplished in war on terror

      Amid the chaos, refugees and economic migrants from across northern Africa are converging on the Libyan coast, where smugglers offer access by boat to Europe. European Union officials say half a million people may try to cross the Mediterranean this summer, and thousands have already died en route.

    • U.S. Needs to Stay Out of Iraq and Afghanistan

      Given the pervasive use of U.S. military force throughout the world, it should not be surprising that a 2013 Gallup poll in 65 countries saw the United States topping the list of greatest threats to world peace.

    • Refusal to Call Charleston Shootings “Terrorism” Again Shows It’s a Meaningless Propaganda Term

      The New York Times’s report on the incident stated that while the attack “initially inspired fears of a terrorist attack” — before the identity of the pilot was known — now “in place of the typical portrait of a terrorist driven by ideology, Mr. Stack was described as generally easygoing, a talented amateur musician with marital troubles and a maddening grudge against the tax authorities.”

      As a result, said the Paper of Record, “officials ruled out any connection to terrorist groups or causes.” And “federal officials emphasized the same message, describing the case as a criminal inquiry.” Even when U.S. Muslim groups called for the incident to be declared “terrorism,” the FBI continued to insist it “was handling the case ‘as a criminal matter of an assault on a federal officer’ and that it was not being considered as an act of terror.”

      By very stark contrast, consider the October 2014, shooting in Ottawa by a single individual, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, at the Canadian Parliament building. As soon as it was known that the shooter was a convert to Islam, the incident was instantly and universally declared to be “terrorism.” Less than 24 hours afterward, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared it a terror attack and even demanded new “counter-terrorism” powers in its name (which he has now obtained). To bolster the label, the government claimed Zehaf-Bibeau was on his way to Syria to fight with jihadists, and the media trumpeted this “fact.”

    • It’s Hard to Protect the President

      Remember when George W. Bush was sitting in the White House and almost choked on a pretzel? In the weeks following, the Secret Service did a vast months-long investigation about how to stop something like that from ever happening again. And do you know what their solution was? A small button that looks like a doorbell. They installed a push-button alarm system in the residence of the White House, as well as an alarm that he can knock over on his desk if something goes wrong. If a president feels like he’s getting sick, he pushes the button. But it still doesn’t stop someone from choking on a pretzel.

    • ISI held Osama Bin Laden prisoner for 6 years, handed over to United States

      Citing Hersh, who spoke to Corbin about his article published in the London Review of Books last month, the report says the ISI was holding Osama prisoner for nearly six years in the garrison town of Abbottabad and just handed him over to the Americans in a staged raid. Hersh’s article had created a lot of flurry as it, among other things, claimed that the al-Qaeda chief’s body may have been torn to pieces by rifle fire with some parts tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains. He had also said that a former Pakistani intelligence officer disclosed Osama’s hideout to CIA in exchange of USD 25 million bounty on his head.

    • The Forgotten Costs of War in the Middle East

      I’m sure that you’ve heard about the three bare-bones “staging outposts” or, in the lingo of the trade, “cooperative security locations” that the U.S. Marines have established in Senegal, Ghana, and Gabon. We’re talking about personnel from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, a unit at present garrisoned at Morón, Spain. It would, however, like to have some bases — though that’s not a word in use at U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which oversees all such expansion — ready to receive them in a future in which anything might happen in an Africa exploding with new or expanding terror outfits.

      Really? You haven’t noticed anything on the subject? Admittedly, the story wasn’t on the nightly news, nor did it make the front page of your local paper, or undoubtedly its inside pages either, but honestly it was right there in plain sight in Military Times! Of course, three largely unoccupied cooperative security locations in countries that aren’t exactly on the tip of the American tongue would be easy enough to miss under the best of circumstances, but what about the other eight “staging facilities” that AFRICOM now admits to having established across Africa. The command had previously denied that it had any “bases” on the continent other than the ever-expanding one it established in the tiny nation of Djibouti in the horn of Africa and into which it has already sunk three-quarters of a billion dollars with at least $1.2 billion in upgrades still to go. However, AFRICOM’S commander, General David Rodriguez, now proudly insists that the 11 bare-bones outposts will leave U.S. forces “within four hours of all the high-risk, high-threat [diplomatic] posts” on the continent.

    • Chagos islanders go to supreme court in battle to be allowed home

      Former residents of the Chagos Islands who were forcibly removed from their homeland more than 40 years ago will take their long legal battle to the UK’s highest court on Monday.

      They are going to the supreme court in London to challenge a decision made six years ago by the House of Lords which dashed their hopes of returning home to their native islands in the Indian Ocean.

    • The Truth About the U.S. Military Base at Diego Garcia
    • The Truth About Diego Garcia: 50 Years of Fiction About an American Military Base

      The U.S. military facility on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean represents a horrific example of the human costs of war and imperialism.

      First, they tried to shoot the dogs. Next, they tried to poison them with strychnine. When both failed as efficient killing methods, British government agents and U.S. Navy personnel used raw meat to lure the pets into a sealed shed. Locking them inside, they gassed the howling animals with exhaust piped in from U.S. military vehicles. Then, setting coconut husks ablaze, they burned the dogs’ carcasses as their owners were left to watch and ponder their own fate.


      While the grim saga of Diego Garcia frequently reads like fiction, it has proven all too real for the people involved. It’s the story of a U.S. military base built on a series of real-life fictions told by U.S. and British officials over more than half a century. The central fiction is that the U.S. built its base on an “uninhabited” island. That was “true” only because the indigenous people were secretly exiled from the Chagos Archipelago when the base was built. Although their ancestors had lived there since the time of the American Revolution, Anglo-American officials decided, as one wrote, to “maintain the fiction that the inhabitants of Chagos [were] not a permanent or semi-permanent population,” but just “transient contract workers.” The same official summed up the situation bluntly: “We are able to make up the rules as we go along.”


      During the same period, Diego Garcia became a multi-billion-dollar Navy and Air Force base and a central node in U.S. military efforts to control the Greater Middle East and its oil and natural gas supplies. The base, which few Americans are aware of, is more important strategically and more secretive than the U.S. naval base-cum-prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Unlike Guantánamo, no journalist has gotten more than a glimpse of Diego Garcia in more than 30 years. And yet, it has played a key role in waging the Gulf War, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, and the current bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

      Following years of reports that the base was a secret CIA “black site” for holding terrorist suspects and years of denials by U.S. and British officials, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic finally fessed up in 2008. “Contrary to earlier explicit assurances,” said Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband, Diego Garcia had indeed played at least some role in the CIA’s secret “rendition” program.

    • Nearing the end of the Erdoğan system

      In December 2014, Thierry Meyssan announced the fall of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while almost all other international commentators still persisted in believing that he would win the legislative elections. Mr. Meyssan returns here to examine the career of the Turkish President. In this synthesis, he highlights the links between the AKP and the Muslim Brotherhood and the role played by Mr. Erdoğan in the coordination of international terrorism after the attack on Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan.

    • An American pattern: Seeking elusive enemies with unreliable allies

      On Mar. 19, 1970, Nixon’s national-security adviser, Henry Kissinger told a trusted colleague about a brutal telephone conversation he had just held with the president. Kissinger told Nixon that “there wasn’t much we could do militarily” to force North Vietnam to settle or surrender. The president “went through the roof.” He demanded a new set of war plans — a “hard option” — and he wanted it that day. Kissinger became frantic. The nation’s military and intelligence chiefs had no hard options or new ideas.

      Then, suddenly, came a coup out of nowhere: a right-wing military junta took power in Cambodia. In reaction, battle-hardened North Vietnamese forces started moving toward the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, 200 miles northwest of U.S. military headquarters in Saigon.

    • That Time the Middle East Exploded—and Nixon Was Drunk

      The Nixon administration began disintegrating—the president unable to play his role as the leader of the nation and the free world—at 7:55 p.m. on October 11, 1973.

    • Fueled By Fear, How Richard Nixon Became ‘One Man Against The World’

      Richard Nixon’s presidency has always been one surrounded by questions and controversy: Why did he wiretap his own aides and diplomats? Why did he escalate the war in Vietnam? Why did he lie about his war plans to his secretary of defense and secretary of state? What were the Watergate burglars searching for, and why did Nixon tape conversations that included incriminating evidence?

    • Fueled By Fear, How Richard Nixon Became ‘One Man Against The World’
    • TIME magazine’s take on Watergate in the ’70s

      It started with a burglary attempt at the offices of the Democratic National Committee in Washington’s Watergate building. Five men wearing business suits and surgical gloves were caught by a security guard and arrested by police. The question became: who were these men and who orchestrated the break-in?

    • Opinion: Great mystery of the 1970s

      The most significant phases of the investigation into the abuses of government power under the umbrella term “Watergate” — the Church Committee, the Rockefeller Commission, and U.S. vs. Gray, Felt, and Miller — did not occur until after Nixon resigned in disgrace. These led to landmark reforms that changed the relationship between the government and the governed, including passage of the Presidential Records and Materials Preservation Act, the Presidential Records Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as well as the creation of standing intelligence oversight committees in Congress.

    • The Many Layers of Militarism

      Like all arms races, once a weapon is developed, there is no turning-back.

    • Drones Take Over America’s War on ISIS

      Since launching Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS militants last August, the United States military and its allies have conducted more than 3,800 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, dropping or firing no fewer than 15,000 bombs and missiles, according to Defense Department statistics from late May.

      Predator drones and their larger cousins the Reapers, carrying 100-pound Hellfire missiles and 500-pound precision-guided bombs, have accounted for 875 of those airstrikes, officials at the Air Force’s main drone base in Nevada tell The Daily Beast. And on the raids where manned planes hauled the weapons, the Predators and Reapers have played a vital supporting role.

    • Saudi-led strikes on civilians fleeing Yemen unrest kill 31

      Meanwhile Wednesday, airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi struck a convoy of civilian vehicles in the southern city of Aden, killing at least 31 people, authorities said.

    • Perils of covert operations

      Implicit here are three assumptions: first, covert operations are usually successful in neutralising asymmetrical threats from insurgents or terrorists; second, it’s legitimate for states to use extreme/inhuman methods like summary execution in special circumstances; and third, democratic states know where to draw the line; once the moment of crisis has passed, they can return to normal political-social negotiation processes.
      All three assumptions are open to question. Take India’s own experience. In the 1950s, India collaborated with the CIA in training and arming Tibetan guerrillas to instigate the so-called Khampa Rebellion against China. The CIA abandoned the operation in 1969 after sacrificing thousands of Tibetans. India earned China’s hostility, with dire consequences, revealed in 1962.

    • Gauging America’s Decapitation War Against Terrorism

      The Obama administration is fighting an idea with assassinations. One falls. Another takes his place. Welcome to the long war.

    • Private-Public Collusions in our Lives?

      Just before leaving office as president over fifty years ago, Dwight D. Eisenhower cautioned against the potential power of the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces. In the 1950s, Eisenhower saw retired generals, heroes of WWII, moving into industry board of director slots: for example, Douglas MacArthur went to Remington Rand, Lucius Clay, Continental Can, and Jimmy Doolittle, Shell Oil. Eisenhower saw the potential corrupting influence and the lack of accountability private contracting brought to the military endeavor.

      The world was vastly different in early 1961. Shared sacrifice had been common in the 1940s and 1950s, especially during WWII and the Korean War. Almost ten percent of Americans were in military uniform during WWII, rationing was common, weaponry and war materials had supplanted consumer goods, and many worked in war-goods-related factories. Shouldering hardship together for the sake of victory in war was a common theme.

    • Letter: Who’s running the asylum?

      Does it seem improbable to most of us that we release up to a hundred from Guantanamo, and then we spend millions on intelligence to relocate bad guys?

      Then we spend a million more on remote controlled drones to locate and destroy or kill them, often killing some innocent bystanders. We also spent millions to provide these bad guys at Gitmo all the comforts, then turn them loose to attack us again.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea pleaded for financial assistance from Saudi Arabia

      The document, a letter from Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri to the kingdom’s then-foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal dated March 17, 2012, recounted a meeting between Faisal and a representative sent by Geagea.

    • CIA releases formerly top secret documents relating to the lead up to the 9-11 terrorist attacks

      In an unprecedented disclosure the Central Intelligence Agency has released to the public declassified versions of five internal documents related to the Agency’s performance in the lead-up to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

    • Top Ten Findings of the CIA Inspector General’s Report on 9/11

      Most attention on the OIG report has focused on the now-declassified finding about allegations of Saudi Arabia’s support for al-Qaeda. Those who believed that the CIA had intentionally hid evidence of Saudi Arabia-al-Qaeda connections were surely disappointed by this key passage…

    • Documents show bitter CIA dispute over pre-9/11 performance
    • 9/11 Report Redacts Saudi Intelligence Role in Attacks

      It concludes that the IG’s 9/11 Review Team “encountered no evidence that the Saudi Government knowingly and willingly supported al-Qa’ida terrorists,” however it stated that it “defers consideration” of any alleged ties to the Department of Justice and the FBI.

      “Many of the points of this finding relate to the investigative efforts on the Saudi intelligence presence in the United States and of Saudi officials’ contacts with terrorists in the country . . . The Team lacks access to the full range of investigative materials in FBI possession and is therefore unable to either concur or dissent on those points,” it stated.

    • Purported Saudi Documents Published by WikiLeaks Show Tensions with Iran

      Saudi Arabia tried to stoke unrest in Iran and undermine its interests in the region, according to a trove of documents purportedly obtained from the kingdom’s foreign ministry and published by WikiLeaks.

    • Saudi-led coalition air raids kill 15 across Yemen

      The dead included five women and two children in attacks on Saada and Marib provinces, the agency said.

    • Saudi air strikes kill 15 in Yemen, Houthi-run media reports

      More than 2,800 people have been killed since 26 March. The United Nations says more than 21 million people, or 80% of the population, need some form of humanitarian aid, protection or both.

    • Saudi Cables Reveal How Saudi Arabia Saw Bahrain’s February 14 Uprising

      Saudi Arabia’s meddling in Bahrain’s internal affairs has been revealed in top secret documents released by whistle blowing site WikiLeaks from June 20.

      Wikileaks published the Saudi Cables which contain about half a million confidential documents and correspondence between the Saudi government and its embassies worldwide.

    • WikiLeaks reveals Saudi intrigue

      Saudi officials have not explicitly challenged the authenticity of the documents and Saudi Foreign Ministry has not returned repeated messages seeking comment. The only public response has been a Twitter message warning its citizens away from “leaked information that could be untrue and aims to harm the nation.”

    • The Intercept’s National Security Team Expands

      Matthew Cole, one of the most intrepid reporters on the national security beat, is joining The Intercept. With his deep knowledge, sources and storytelling talents, Cole will be a powerful addition to our reporting team as we continue to trace the tentacles of the national security state.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Earth enters sixth extinction phase with many species – including our own – labelled ‘the walking dead’

      The planet is entering a new period of extinction with top scientists warning that species all over the world are “essentially the walking dead” – including our own.

      The report, authored by scientists at Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley universities, found that vertebrates were vanishing at a rate 114 times faster than normal.

    • Saudi Arabia to raise production to maximum levels, escalating oil market share battle

      Not content with the blow it’s dealt to U.S. oil drillers, Saudi Arabia is set to escalate the battle for market share by raising production to maximum levels.

      The world’s largest oil exporter has already increased output to a 30-year high of 10.3 million barrels a day in a bid to check growth from nations including the U.S., Canada and Brazil. It will add even more to the global glut, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Citigroup Inc. predicts the kingdom will push toward its maximum daily capacity, which the bank estimates at about 11 million barrels, in the second half of 2015.

    • Saudi Arabia Pumps Oil Flat Out in Citi, Goldman’s New Oil Order

      The world’s largest oil exporter has already increased output to a 30-year high of 10.3 million barrels a day in a bid to check growth from nations including the U.S., Canada and Brazil. It will add even more to the global glut, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Citigroup Inc. predicts the kingdom will push toward its maximum daily capacity, which the bank estimates at about 11 million barrels, in the second half of 2015.

    • GOP Candidates Bound to Feel ‘Climate Shock’ on the Campaign Trail

      Of the 12 declared Republican presidential candidates, only two have acknowledged climate-related problems.

    • OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Pope to call climate change a ‘principal’ challenge

      Climate change is “one of the principal challenges now facing humanity,” Pope Francis will say in his highly anticipated climate change encyclical this week.

      In the encyclical, Francis will blame human activity for increasing temperatures around the globe and ask readers to change their “styles of life, of production and consumption” to reduce its impact.

    • Managing goose population along Rideau River

      The city of Ottawa is looking for some new ways to manage the Canada goose population along the Rideau River. One possible solution: shaking the eggs to sterilize them.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: U.S. foreign policy is to buy off politicians and media

      On June 20, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, gave an address to the Conference on the European/Russian Crisis in Delphi, Greece. During his assessment of U.S. foreign policy and interactions between Russia, Europe, and the Far East, Dr. Roberts stated that Washington’s primary objectives are complete U.S. hegemony over world affairs, and in accomplishing this they will demonize, usurp, and even overthrow any nation that stands in opposition, using the post Cold War strategy known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

    • Jeb Bush Slams Washington’s Pampered Elites…But Enlists Them for His Campaign

      Jeb Bush launched his campaign on Monday with a sharp jab at the Washington establishment. “We don’t need another president who merely holds the top spot among the pampered elites of Washington,” huffed this member of a political dynasty that has often held power in DC. “We need a president willing to challenge and disrupt the whole culture in our nation’s capital.” Yet, as Bush embarks on his presidential bid, he has surrounded himself with Beltway insiders who have long been part of what he calls the “mess in Washington.” Many of his advisers served in the presidential administrations of his father and brother. Others were senators and representatives. Of course, several are lobbyists.

  • Censorship

    • Don’t change Constitution regarding the flag

      Nevertheless, I believe it would be wrong to amend the Constitution to ban burning the flag or insulting it. Not only would it damage the right of free expression and private property, but also it might start a trend toward destroying other constitutional rights, including the right to act the fool occasionally. For most of us, that is a right worth protecting.

    • Google Announces Plan to Block Revenge-Porn From Results

      Google’s decision to scrub revenge-porn from their searches marks a rare instance in which the company censors the internet content that appears on the search engine. However, “We’ve heard many troubling stories of ‘revenge-porn’: an ex-partner seeking to publicly humiliate a person by posting private images of them, or hackers stealing and distributing images from victims’ accounts. Some images even end up on ‘sextortion’ sites that force people to pay to have their images removed,” Singhal wrote.

  • Privacy

    • What the CIA and Silicon Valley have in common

      Wolfe, a 30-year veteran of the CIA, was trying to explain the intelligence agency’s interest in a hot technology for data-processing called Spark that’s the current rage for big data nerds. It lets businesses sift and analyze data much quicker than they could just a decade ago. It should be noted that the new CIA cloud is built on Amazon Web Services, which also just announced that it’s supporting Spark.

    • CIA Still Acting Like A Domestic Surveillance Agency, Despite Instructions Otherwise

      The ACLU has received another document dump from the government as a result of its FOIA lawsuits, with this bundle dealing with the CIA’s activities. This isn’t directly related to the late Friday evening doc dump announced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which dealt more with the CIA’s counterterrorism activities leading up to the 9/11 attacks, but there is some overlap.

      Most of what the ACLU is highlighting from this pile of documents is the CIA’s domestic surveillance activities. Ideally — and according to the agency’s own directives — the amount of domestic surveillance it should be performing is almost none at all. It is charged with collecting and disseminating foreign intelligence and counterintelligence. It is allowed to track certain activities of Americans abroad, but for the most part, it is not supposed to be a domestic surveillance agency.

    • Documents Raise Concerns About Extent of CIA Spying Inside the United States

      What can be gleaned from the documents is that the agency has a secret definition of “monitoring” as it relates to surveillance of US persons that the public is not allowed to know…

    • Frequently asked questions about the USA Freedom Act

      Q. What remains the same?

      A. Pretty much everything. The NSA is still able to collect data and conduct surveillance on all the numbers and people that contact anybody on their list of suspected bad guys. And collect data on the numbers that contact those numbers and the numbers contacting those numbers, etc.

    • The Good, Bad, and the Ugly of the EU’s Proposed Data Protection Regulation

      Nearly all economists from across the political spectrum agree: free trade is good. Yet free trade agreements are not always the same thing as free trade. Whether we’re talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the European Union’s Digital Single Market (DSM) initiative, the question is always whether the agreement in question is reducing barriers to trade, or actually enacting barriers to trade into law.

    • Battle to win £2bn deal to replace Britain’s Nimrod spy planes

      Defence groups call for a fair fight in race to land expected contract to replace Nimrod jets that were controversially scrapped

      Defence companies are lining up to offer a replacement for the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft, with the Government expected to announce a deal for a new fleet of jets by the end of the year.

    • Super-private social network launched to take on Facebook with support of Anonymous

      A new social network, backed by Anonymous, hopes to take on Facebook and the other social media giants with a commitment to privacy, security and transparency about how posts are promoted.

    • Reddit to Move to HTTPS-Only
    • Free encryption project ‘Let’s Encrypt’ to issue first digital certificates next month

      Let’s Encrypt, the first free and open certification authority, will launch to the general public in September, with its first digital certificates issued over the next month.

      The project is funded by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), a new Californian public-benefit group backed by leading tech firms including Mozilla, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Cisco.

      The platform was announced by the consortium last year with the goal of offering SSL certificates free of charge, promoting the importance of encryption and HTTPS for a secure cyberspace.

    • Google Reveals It Was Forced to Hand Over Journalist’s Data for WikiLeaks Grand Jury Investigation

      Google released another legal disclosure notice related to the United States government’s ongoing grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. It informed journalist and technologist Jacob Appelbaum, who previously worked with WikiLeaks, that Google was ordered to provide data from his account.

      The disclosure suggests the grand jury investigation may have sought Appelbaum’s data because the US government believed data would contain details on WikiLeaks’ publication of State Department cables.

    • Comcast ordered to unmask anonymous online newspaper commenter

      The attorney for the anonymous commenter on a Freeport (Ill.) Journal Standard article said he was mulling an appeal to the US Supreme Court. But it would be a tough sell. Most of the nation’s state courts have ruled that when it comes to defamation, online anonymity is out the door. (Comcast had refused to release the IP address account information, demanding a court order. Litigation ensued.)

      The anonymous defendant claimed that there were insufficient facts to support a claim of defamation to begin with, so the identity shouldn’t be unmasked over the 2011 comment. When trying to unmask an anonymous online commenter for defamation, there must be enough evidence to justify that whatever was said online was defamatory, the court said.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Blasts WhatsApp in Annual Report

      In an annual report evaluating how well Internet companies safeguard their users’ data against government snooping, the Electronic Frontier Foundation blasted WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app bought by Facebook last year, for not requiring a warrant from governments seeking user information, for not disclosing its policies on turning over data, and for other issues.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why the music industry is fighting the wrong copyright battle

        High court ruling highlights inconsistencies between UK copyright law on physical and digital content – and how consumers might foot the bill


        It took until 2014 for the UK to have a private copying exception, legalising what everyone assumed to be possible: making copies of content you have legally bought for purposes such as backups, cloud storage and format-shifting.

        But even then, the UK exception is ridiculously narrow. You must have acquired the content lawfully and on a permanent basis (even though the world is moving to rental and streaming). Your use must be private, personal and exclusive. You cannot share the content with anyone else and you must not use it for any commercial purpose.

      • The Entire Copyright Monopoly Idea is Based on a Colossal Lie

        The copyright monopoly is based on the idea of an exchange. In exchange for exclusive rights, the copyright industry supplies culture and knowledge to the public. It turns out that the entire premise is a lie, as untethered creators are racing to provide culture and knowledge anyway.

      • Freedom of Panorama is under attack

        On 9 July 2015, the European Parliament will vote on whether to abolish our right to freely take and share photographs, videos and drawings of buildings and works of public art.

      • Popular Torrents Being Sabotaged by IPv6 Peer Flood

        Unknown attackers are sabotaging popular TV and movie torrents by flooding swarms with IPv6 peers. The vulnerability, which affects the popular uTorrent client, makes it nearly impossible for torrent users to download files. It’s unclear who’s orchestrating the attacks but it could be a guerrilla anti-piracy move.

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