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01.31.15

Links 30/1/2015: CERN Adopts 64-bit GNU/Linux, Inkscape 0.91 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 12:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • SCALE Prep Continues; Will Dell Get It Right?

      So whenever I’m told the key to Linux’s success is tied to big manufacturers offering distros on their hardware, my response is always, “You mean like Dell?”

    • Dell’s line of Linux laptops expands to include new MacBook Pro competitor

      Dell’s Precision M3800 mobile workstation launched recently, and rejoice Linux lovers! The powerful, flexible MacBook Pro competitor is also available with Ubuntu Linux thanks to Dell’s Project Sputnik endeavor.

      If you’d prefer a sleeker Linux laptop, you can still pick up an XPS 13 Ultrabook with Linux, and yes, the latest, super-sleek version of the XPS 13—which PCWorld hardware editor Gordon Mah Ung called a MacBook Air killer—will get a “developer edition” with Ubuntu preinstalled soon, according to Project Sputnik lead Barton George.

    • Linux-Powered Librem 15 Laptop Crowdfunding Campaign Is a Major Success

      Librem 15 is a new Linux-powered laptop that will ship with completely free applications, drivers, and kernel. The crowdfunding campaign for this laptop is almost over and it has been a resounding success.

  • Server

    • NI to help CERN adopt 64bit Linux

      European lab CERN is working to standardise 64bit Linux as the operating system for all if its control systems, according to test firm National Instruments (NI).

    • Supercomputing the 1000 MPH Car at HPC Wales

      In a bid to break the world land speed record of 1000 miles an hour, the UK’s largest distributed general supercomputing network is challenging schools in Wales with the ultimate science project.

    • Installing and using Git and GitHub on Ubuntu: A beginner’s guide

      GitHub is a treasure trove of some of the world’s best projects, built by the contributions of developers all across the globe. This simple, yet extremely powerful platform helps every individual interested in building or developing something big to contribute and get recognized in the open source community.

    • CoreOS Co-Founder Alex Polvi Talks Containers, Rocket vs. Docker, and More

      CoreOS has gained notoriety over the past few years as the creator of a new Linux distribution designed for massive, Google-scale server deployments. The company’s star has risen along with the popularity of Linux containers — a key component of CoreOS — and their open source components are being widely incorporated by companies on the bleeding edge of distributed computing.

    • Plex Media Server Review – The Ultimate Steaming Server

      Plex Media Server is a media center application that allows users to stream video and audio content to local and remote clients, such as mobile devices or smart TVs. We now take a closer look at this powerful server and client and see what’s the fuss all about.

  • Kernel Space

    • Online Linux designer certification gets easier

      According to the Linux Foundation, over the last year 300,000 students signed up for the free Introduction to Linux Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) created by The Linux Foundation and offered through the edX platform.

    • Linux Foundation’s AllSeen IoT Alliance Opens up IP Policy

      The Allseen Alliance, which is an Internet of Things (IoT) Linux Foundation Collaboration project, was launched in December of 2013. But it was missing one key element — a definitive patent policy. Now at long last in January 2015, the AllSeen Alliance has defined a patent policy for Intellectual Property (IP), which will come into effect in April.

    • Libinput 0.9 Adds Support For Hovering Fingers On Touchpads

      The libinput 0.9.0 release adds support for hovering fingers on touchpads, click methods are now configurable, and there’s support for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Broadwell model with regard to the physical buttons above the touchpad area.

    • Graphics Stack

      • New Mesa Patch To Improve CPU-Bound Applications

        For those wondering what else Kristian Høgsberg is working on in his post-Wayland days, after tackling initial Skylake enablement in Mesa his latest achievement is a new Mesa performance patch.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Broadwell: GCC 4.9 vs. LLVM Clang 3.5 Compiler Benchmarks

        GCC 4.9.2 and LLVM Clang 3.5.0 were benchmarked using the packages provided on Fedora 21 x86_64. The same Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon was used for all of the benchmarks, the first Broadwell laptop/ultrabook at Phoronix and it features the Core i7 5600U that’s dual-core with Hyper Threading and tops out at 3.20GHz. Fedora 21 was running with the Linux 3.17.8 kernel while testing each of the provided compilers.

      • Ubuntu vs. Fedora Linux On Lenovo’s X1 Carbon With Core i7 Broadwell

        The latest distribution I tried on the X1 Carbon (and the OS I’ll ultimately use for running the X1 Carbon in a production capacity as my main system) is Fedora 21. Fedora 21 booted up on the X1 Carbon wonderfully without any issues aside from the trackpoint button clicks being wonky (though the button clicks in the corner of the trackpad works fine). Fedora 21 with Wayland also ran fine on this system with Intel HD Graphics 5500. Overall, it was a pleasant experience without any major problems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A small note on window decorations

        If you have updated to the recently released GNOME development version, you may have noticed that some window decorations look slightly different. Of course it is quite normal for the theme to evolve with the rest of GNOME, but in this case the visual changes are actually the result of some bigger changes under the hood which deserve some more explanation.

        It is well-known that GTK+ gained support for client-side decorations a while ago – after all, most GNOME applications were quick in adopting custom titlebars, which have become one of the most distinguished patterns of GNOME 3 applications. However it is less well-known that client-side decorations may also be used for windows with no custom decorations, namely when using GDK’s wayland backend.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Receives “Positive” Rating in Gartner’s Vendor Rating Report
      • OpenShift by Red Hat Named InfoWorld Technology of the Year Award Winner

        Red Hat is among the only technology vendors to offer a full family of open PaaS solutions: OpenShift Origin, the open source PaaS project; OpenShift Online, a commercial public PaaS offering; and OpenShift Enterprise, an on-premise private PaaS product. OpenShift delivers to developers a cloud application platform with a choice of programming languages, frameworks and application lifecycle tools to build and run their applications. The platform provides built-in support for Node.js, Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl, and Java and the capability for developers to add their own languages. OpenShift also supports many popular frameworks, including Java EE, Spring, Play and Rails.

      • Fedora

        • Corebird 0.9 now in Fedora for testing

          Version 0.9 of Corebird is now in the updates-testing repo for Fedora 21 and Rawhide.

        • Inkscape 0.91 built and ready for testing in Fedora 21

          Earlier this week, the Inkscape upstream made the final tarballs available for the long-awaited new 0.91 version of Inkscape. This version has not been announced by upstream yet, but thanks to the awesome Fedora Inkscape package maintainer Limb, this version is now available for testing on Fedora 21. Please try it out, and give karma to the package in Bodhi.

    • Debian Family

      • Going selfhosting: Installing Debian Wheezy in my home server
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Survey Highlights Private Cloud Popularity

            A survey by Canonical of cloud and server trends among Ubuntu Linux users shows that public clouds are declining in popularity as a result of security and privacy concerns, while private cloud adoption is on the rise.

          • Ubuntu Users See Private, Hybrid Cloud Expansion

            Canonical, the company behind the open source cross-platform operating system Ubuntu, released its annual cloud and server survey this week that seeks to cast more light on the makeup of cloud infrastructure, how it is managed, and what is driving cloud adoption.

          • Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey Highlights Private Clouds, OpenStack

            Canonical is out with findings from its sixth annual Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey, which went out to respondents at the end of 2014. The survey aims to provide an overview of the enterprise cloud market, including emerging and changing trends, current challenges and technology preferences. It also tracks the adoption of OpenStack and Ubuntu as well as public cloud usage.

          • Seeing the cloud through Ubuntu-colored glasses

            In Canonical’s sixth annual Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey, the company found — no surprise — that the enterprise is rapidly adopting the cloud. Further, the cloud is moving from “mostly development and testing to more production-grade workloads”.

            What kind of cloud? It’s still heavily weighted to private clouds, which has 35 percent of users. The most popular platform for private cloud is OpenStack, which is used by 53 percent of users. At the same time, hybrid clouds are on the rise, at 20 percent, up from 15 percent last year. Indeed, the survey found that hybrid clouds are now almost as popular as public cloud, which is at 23 percent.

          • Bill Gates Inadvertently Shows Off Ubuntu on His Facebook Page

            Bill Gates is much more involved in philanthropy than Microsoft these days and he’s done some great work regarding the eradications of certain diseases and to improve the quality of life in a number of third world countries. He’s also inadvertently promoted Ubuntu, which is a Linux system.

          • Camera App for Ubuntu Touch Gets Major Improvements – Gallery

            Ubuntu Touch is almost ready, but some of the core apps are still updated. The camera app recently received an upgrade and numerous features have been added.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • CAMdrive is an Open Source Time-lapse Photography Controller

      The system can be controlled using an Android app.

    • Rugged Type 6 COM runs Linux on 5th Gen Intel Core
    • Black Swift, the tiny wireless computer is on Kickstarter

      Another beautiful board is coming to kickstarter: it’s tiny and powerful. Black Swift runs on OpenWRT Linux, and it can be programmed in a bunch of languages, ranging from C/C++ to PHP, Python, Perl, and Bash scripting (there’s also a Node.js port).

    • Phones

      • Jolla Tablet running Linux-based Sailfish OS enters second round on Indiegogo with 64GB model

        Finnish startup Jolla is looking to crowdsource a new 64GB version of its tablet on Indiegogo, following the original campaign a few months ago.

        For those unfamiliar with this project, Jolla aims to bring a new platform to the market with its tablet, which runs a Linux-based operating system called Sailfish OS.

      • ​Jolla takes second bite at crowdfunding with a 64GB Sailfish OS tablet

        Finnish mobile startup Jolla has announced a fresh crowdfunding campaign, returning to Indiegogo to offer a new 64GB version of its Sailfish OS tablet.

        Jolla initially took to Indiegogo earlier this year, seeking funds to allow it to build its first tablet. The company went on to raise $300,000 over its original $1.5m target, enabling it to start manufacturing the 32GB slate and hitting its stretch goal of offering the device with microSD card support up to 128GB.

      • Android

        • OnePlus Will Reveal Details Of Its ‘Oxygen’ Android ROM On February 12

          OnePlus introduced its own version of Android for its One smartphone earlier this month in response to its standoff with Cyanogen, and now the company has revealed that it will unveil its own ROM which can be installed on third-party Android devices on February 12.

          Correction: OnePlus tells us that, in fact, it won’t launch the ROM on the 12th. This is a tease-of-a-tease, and instead we can expect to see “more information about the ROM” not an actual download for third-party Android devices.

        • Android is suddenly surrounded by enemies

          Cyanogen is one of these forks. It has just raised $70 million from a number of investors including Microsoft to continue producing its own version of Android that it can position as a direct competitor to Google’s.

        • Working New Android 5 Lollipop Features into Your Apps
        • Major Blackphone Security Flaw Discovered

          You might want to think twice before sending that sensitive text message over your supposedly secure Blackphone. A security flaw discovered by an Australian communication security expert could have allowed attackers to decrypt a Blackphone user’s messages, gather location information, and run additional code of the attacker’s choosing.

        • World’s most ‘NSA-proof’ phone vulnerable to simple SMS hack

          A smartphone marketed as the most anti-surveillance, NSA-proof personal device – the BlackPhone – has been found vulnerable to a simple SMS attack that allows the hacker to steal contacts, decrypt messages, and even take full control of the device.

        • Google’s Project Ara Open Source Smartphone to Debut in Puerto Rico This Year

          In Oct. 2013 when Google’s Motorola subsidiary announced Project Ara, for building an open source, modular smartphone, the consensus was that it would fail on both the technical and business levels. Today, however, the odds have tilted in the project’s favor.

          Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, but retained the Advanced Research and Projects (ATAP) R&D group that runs the project. ATAP recently showed off a second generation prototype of the Ara phone, and earlier this month, Google announced plans to launch a 2015 pilot program in Puerto Rico. Project Ara has also recently attracted some interesting technology partners, including battery maker SolidEnergy, audio experts Sennheiser, and health accessory designer Lapka.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How I landed a job in open source

    I have been working in the computer business for over 40 years, but the best years have been the last 17 or so working with Linux and open source software. I got into the computer business unintentionally and kind of sideways, but that is a whole other story. I’ll tell you about how I got into open source and Linux semi-intentionally and also kind of sideways.

  • Sphinx: An outstanding open source documentation platform

    Sphinx is a free, open source project written in Python and, not surprisingly, is really well suited for documenting Python projects. Now, before you harrumph “Meh, I code in which isn’t at all like Python!” be aware that Sphinx supports several other languages (C and C++ support is in development).

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL, the NoSQL Database

      One of the most interesting trends in the computer world during the past few years has been the rapid growth of NoSQL databases. The term may be accurate, in that NoSQL databases don’t use SQL in order to store and retrieve data, but that’s about where the commonalities end. NoSQL databases range from key-value stores to columnar databases to document databases to graph databases.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Major Release LibreOffice 4.4 Announced

      The Document Foundation today announced the latest and “most beautiful” LibreOffice ever. LibreOffice 4.4 is the ninth major release for the project and brings with it lots of design and functionality improvements. Redesigned toolbars, menus, status bars, rulers and new theme selector are among the goodies for users. Michael Meeks said today that this release not only improves the visible features but also the foundations underneath.

    • LibreOffice 4.4, the most beautiful LibreOffice ever

      The Document Foundation is pleased to announce LibreOffice 4.4, the ninth major release of the free office suite, with a significant number of design and user experience improvements.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Is out! GREAT!!!

      You can find out what’s new, from the technical viewpoint, about this suite here . Let’s see…it comes with a nice sidebar…it has better OOXML support (I don’t care about that as I use ODF), and it even added textboxes. Well, texboxes are something I never needed and I actually find them annoying, but others may think they’re handy… Still, I am more interested in knowing if this new release could meet my needs.

    • LibreOffice under the hood: progress to 4.4.0

      Today we release LibreOffice 4.4.0, packed with a load of new features for people to enjoy – you can read and enjoy all the great news about the user visible features from so many great hackers, but there are, as always, many contributors whose work is primarily behind the scenes in places that are not so easy to see. That work is, of course, still vitally important to the project. It can be hard to extract those from the over eleven thousand commits since LibreOffice 4.3 was branched, so let me expand:

    • LibreOffice 4.4 released, How to Install/Upgrade In Ubuntu/Linux Mint

      LibreOffice and open source office suit released LibreOffice 4.4 that is said to have the most beautiful changes ever. LibreOffice is a must app that has lots of features that makes office work in Linux easier. Let’s see the new features and how we can Install/Upgrade to LibreOffice 4.4 in Ubuntu Vivid Vervet, Trusty Tahr etc. and Linux Mint Rebecca, Qiana etc.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Is Out And It’s Beautiful
    • LibreOffice 4.4 is more than just a pretty face

      LibreOffice (aka LO) is among the best and the most used free (of cost) and open source office suites. The just-announced, brand new version 4.4 boasts some new features and a much needed design overhaul.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Released With Major UI Revamp

      A new version of open-source office suite LibreOffice is now available for download and the hands behind it are calling it ‘the most beautiful’ release ever.

    • LibreOffice gets a streamlined makeover, native alternatives for major Microsoft fonts

      The Document foundation announced availability of the latest version of LibreOffice on Thursday, which it says is the most beautiful version of the open source productivity suite yet. LibreOffice 4.4 also fixes some compatibility issues with files that are saved in Microsoft’s OOXML formats.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Released With Better OOXML Support, UI Improvements

      LibreOffice 4.4 is now available as the newest version of this leading open-source, cross-platform office suite.

    • Does VirtualBox VM Have Much A Future Left?

      It’s been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox, the VM software managed by Oracle since their acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Is there any hope left for a revitalized VirtualBox?

  • BSD

    • HAMMER2 File-System Is Still Slowly Coming Together

      Back when DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER2 file-system development began being publicized, it was believed it wasn’t going to be ready until at least 2013. Fast forward two years, HAMMER2 isn’t yet used by default on this BSD operating system and it’s still being actively developed.

    • PfSense 2.2 Open Source Firewall Receives Important Security Update

      PfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD that has been built to be used as a firewall and router. A new iteration has been released and the distro now sports the 2.2 version number.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • ESA implements open source based private cloud infrastructure

      The European Space Agency (ESA) has implemented a private cloud infrastructure to offer IT services to its user communities. The datacentre in Frascati, Italy, is already operational, while a second datacentre in Darmstadt, Germany, has just been completed.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Why Flash sucks

      You might have noticed that a new Apple product launched recently. I’m not going to name it here, because the presstitutes have already flooded the Web with coverage of it to the point where people are suffering from the-Apple-device-that-must-not-be-named fatigue.

      [...]

      I decided recently to see what the modern Web was like without Flash, so I uninstalled it from one of my systems.

      The first thing I noticed was that the Flash ads were gone. I still saw ads on Web pages I visited, but without most of the irritating animation. (Some pages used animated GIFs, but there were a lot fewer of those.) This meant that I also missed out on some parts of Web sites that used Flash—things like interactive slide shows and games weren’t viewable in my browser.

Leftovers

  • Mitt Romney Won’t Run in 2016 Presidential Election
  • Spain plane crash death toll rises

    The death toll from the crash of a Greek F-16 at a Spanish military base rose to 11 after one of the French airmen who suffered serious burns died at a Madrid hospital.

    The death came as Spanish investigators were trying to determine what caused the jet to lose thrust as it took off and crash into five parked planes at the Los Llanos air base in south eastern Spain.

    The crash triggered a series of explosions and a fire that took about an hour to put out.

    Two pilots aboard the Greek F-16 were killed along with eight French air force members on the ground and the French airman who died on Tuesday.

    Eleven Italians and nine French were injured. Three French jets and two Italian jets were damaged.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Why “American Sniper” Chris Kyle’s defenders are so misguided

      That’s an important distinction because, as American Sniper continues t obreak box office records, many of its fans are having trouble separating the flesh-and-blood human being from his celluloid counterpart. This was perhaps best embodied by Kid Rock’s response to the public criticisms of the film made by Seth Rogen and Michael Moore on Twitter. “F*** you Michael Moore, you’re a piece of s*** and your uncle would be ashamed of you,” he wrote. “Seth Rogen, your uncle probably molested you. I hope both of you catch a fist to the face soon. God bless you, Chris Kyle. Thank you for your service.”

    • U.S. Suddenly Goes Quiet on Effort to Bolster Afghan Forces

      The United States has spent about $65 billion to build Afghanistan’s army and police forces, and until this month the American-led coalition regularly shared details on how the money was being put to use and on the Afghan forces’ progress.

      But as of this month, ask a question as seemingly straightforward as the number of Afghan soldiers and police officers in uniform, and the military coalition offers a singularly unrevealing answer: The information is now considered classified.

    • U.S. military cited for increasing classification of information on Afghan forces

      The top U.S. general in Afghanistan is increasingly classifying information about the Afghan military and police that had previously been released, an “unprecedented” decision that keeps it from the American public, according to a new watchdog report.

    • ‘Kill our pilot and we’ll execute ALL your prisoners’: Jordan ‘says it will hang its ISIS captives’ if airman hostage is dead

      Jordan has threatened to fast-track the execution of a would-be suicide bomber the Islamic State…

    • Lebanon to complain to UN over Israeli border shelling

      Two IDF soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the Wednesday attack, when Hezbollah launched an anti-tank missile at an IDF convoy traveling near the Israe-Lebanon border. The IDF responded to the attack with heavy artillery fire, which killed a Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper.

    • Marwan leaves behind 300 bomb makers in Mindanao

      Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” may be dead, but the government still has a huge task ahead: To locate the whereabouts of some 300 bomb makers he trained in Central Mindanao over the past two years.

    • News Analysis: Deadly clash in Mindanao could derail passage of Bangsamoro law

      The deadly clash in southern province of Maguindanao between government forces and Muslim rebels could derail the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

      A series of clashes occurred in the early hours yesterday in Mamasapano town between the Special Action Force of the Philippines National Police (PNP) and the alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    • What next for Yemen as death toll from confirmed US drone strikes hits 424, including 8 children

      A confirmed US drone strike that hit Yemen in the midst of one of the country’s worst ever crises this week means at least 424 people, including eight children, have now been killed in such missions since the start of operations in 2002, Bureau research shows.

      Monday’s attack south of Yemen’s capital Sanaa was ordered by the CIA and killed three people, one of whom was reported to be a child aged between 12 and 15.

    • Exclusive: U.S. armed drone program in Yemen facing intelligence gaps

      The United States is facing increasing difficulty acquiring intelligence needed to run its stealth drone program in Yemen, undermining a campaign against the most lethal branch of al Qaeda after Houthi rebels seized control of parts of the country’s security apparatus, U.S. officials say.

      Gaps in on-the-ground intelligence could slow America’s fight against a resurgent al Qaeda in Yemen and heighten the risk of errant strikes that kill the wrong people and stoke anti-U.S. sentiment, potentially making the militants even stronger in areas where al Qaeda is already growing.

    • Police Brutality, Colonial Violence and the War on Terror

      As the new year unfolds, the Western and Muslim worlds are now subject to the renewed hysteria over Salafist Islamists who have assassinated the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in their offices, and others have been killed, arrested and accused of impending operations in Belgium and Cueta (a Spanish colony on the Mediterranean coast, in Morocco). The wars in Syria and Iraq are said to have spread to new front lines in Europe (according to Jim Sciutto, of CNN), xenophobes rally in Dresden and Leipzig, and counter-terrorism ideologues claim new urgency and relevance. The public is being warned of the increasing need for vigilance, border control, and law and order across the West, as the freedom of speech and public safety is declared to be yet again under threat by heavily armed and professionally trained “religious fanatics”and “extremists”of radical Islam. As the Arab Rebellions continue to unravel a century of Western designs on the region, dangerous women, hidden by their notorious veils (hijab, niqab, chador, burqa, et al) are thought to mysteriously slip through dragnets and across borders to plot and finance further attacks! Gaza has been wrecked and Iraq remains a smoldering ruin, but the adolescent proclivity to insult the religious and engineer hyper-security for shopping must be our abiding preoccupations!

    • American role in the botched SAF operation

      That’s the name given to the operational plan to arrest or “neutralize” (meaning, kill) Malaysian Zulkifli bir Hir, alias Marwan – for whose capture, dead or alive, the US government had offered a $6-million reward, he being in its list of “most wanted terrorists.”

      The covert operation, carried out at dawn last Sunday in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by the US-trained PNP Special Action Force, reportedly succeeded in killing Marwan. But it tragically ended up with 44 SAF officers and men dead in firefights with forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

      Something went terribly wrong in the execution of the operation, although there was plenty of time to prepare, if the latest reported details prove to be true. Who botched it?

    • CIA and Mossad killed senior Hezbollah figure in car bombing

      The device was triggered remotely from Tel Aviv by agents with Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, who were in communication with the operatives on the ground in Damascus. “The way it was set up, the U.S. could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” said a former U.S. intelligence official.

    • Islamic State – Confused battle against terrorism won’t help

      For many in the Middle East collaboration with America is a betrayal. And their presence spawns more terrorists than the drones can kill.

    • Full text: Zeman’s speech at Holocaust event

      Czech president compares current crisis with Islamic State to lack of resistance to the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936

    • Hostage in Sydney siege ‘killed by police bullet ricochet’

      One of the hostages held during a siege at an Australian cafe last month was killed by a ricochet of at least one police bullet that also injured three other hostages, an inquest into the deaths was told on Thursday.

      Jeremy Gormly, counsel assisting the New South Wales state coroner, said lawyer Katrina Dawson, 38, was hit by six fragments of a police bullet, or bullets, with one striking a major blood vessel.

    • Column: Fear in Our Times, and Overcoming It

      We resist the power of fear partly by acknowledging our own vulnerability and reaching out to victims. Instead of building more walls along the Rio Grande, we can use our resources to combat the poverty, injustice and violence that send desperate people away from their homes and across our borders. The money we spend to operate drones would be more likely to diminish fear if we used it instead to help care for the millions of people displaced and impoverished by hatred and violence in Syria and Iraq.

    • The US’ Dark Empire Has Secret Operations in Over 100 Countries
    • Confessions of a U.S. drone pilot

      Mr. Bryant worked on U.S. military bases in Nevada and New Mexico. From those bases, he remotely controlled drones that flew over the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan approximately 10,000 kilometers away. He worked over 10 hours every day and accumulated a total flight time of over 6,000 hours. Mr. Bryant also participated in about 4,300 missions ranging from surveying objective points or specified personnel, escorting U.S. convoys from above, and additionally assisting forces on the ground and conducting actual strikes. He mentions the number of targets he hit with a direct missile attack is 13 and that the total number of people killed in the missions that he participated in is 1,626.

    • U.S. drone strategy in trouble as Yemeni al Qaeda gathers support

      Schoolboy Mohammed Taeiman died this week on a remote Yemeni road, a casualty of a U.S. drone campaign against the local branch of al Qaeda that seems to be sliding into disarray.

      The sixth-grader’s death as he returned home with a family friend aroused the kind of anger that has long helped Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to recruit fighters.

    • 12-year-old Yemeni boy killed in U.S. drone strike

      A US drone strike targeting al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen on Monday killed a 12-year-old boy, whose father and 14-year-old brother were killed in a previous American aerial attack.

    • Drones, by the numbers

      As this Reuters graphic shows, according to data compiled by the New America Foundation, drone and cruise missiles have been a part of the global anti-militant campaign since 2002, with 396 total strikes taking place in Pakistan and 118 occurring in Yemen. The frequency of strikes increased in late 2008, and then rose substantially once President Obama took office, peaking in 2010, when they killed at least 609 in Pakistan. Since then the frequency has somewhat abated, and the majority of monthly strikes have shifted to targets in Yemen. Drones killed 411 Yemenis in 2012, the worst year for deaths in that country.

    • Yemeni Family Wiped Out In Two Separate Drone Attacks

      A U.S drone strike this week that killed two suspected Al Qaeda militants also led to the death of a sixth-grade boy whose brother and father were killed by drone strikes in 2011, according to Yemeni officials and a human rights group.

    • Intelligence Gaps Mount as US Continues Yemen Drone Strikes

      Since officials can’t tell the different between a 12-year-old student and “al-Qaeda,” that’s an understatement, and they are trying to blame this on the recent Houthi takeover in Sanaa.

    • The Demonized and the Lionized

      A young Chris is told by his father, “You got a gift. You gonna make a fine hunter some day.” Indeed. In 1999, Kyle joined the US Navy and became a Navy Seal, hunting Arabs, Muslim men, women, and children. He loved his work. And so many Americans love that he loved it. You know the story. A gun culture. Testosterone. Nationalism.

    • CIA Tried to Give Iraq Nuclear Plans, Just Like Iran

      If you’ve followed the trials of James Risen and Jeffrey Sterling, or read Risen’s book State of War, you are aware that the CIA gave Iran blueprints and a diagram and a parts list for the key component of a nuclear bomb.

      The CIA then proposed to do exactly the same for Iraq, using the same former Russian scientist to make the delivery. How do I know this? Well, Marcy Wheeler has kindly put all the evidence from the Sterling trial online, including this cable.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Justice Department Confirms WikiLeaks Investigation Continues as Google Claims It Fought Gag Orders

      The spokesperson for Eastern District of Virginia has confirmed that the United States Justice Department’s investigation into WikiLeaks continues. The confirmation came when asked to comment on search warrants that were served against Google for data associated with three of the media organization’s staff members. And, in an interview for The Washington Post, a lawyer for Google explained that the company had fought the gag orders, which prohibited them from informing WikiLeaks staff about the search warrants.

      Sarah Harrison, investigations editor, Kristin Hrafnsson, spokesperson and Joseph Farrell, section editor, each had search warrants served against them in March 2012.

    • Google Says It Fought Gag Orders Over WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks is demanding answers after it was notified by Google that it handed over staff emails to the FBI almost three years after it was served with search and seizure warrants. But Google says it fought the gag orders throughout this time.

    • Court Views State Secrets Too Narrowly, Govt Says

      The scope of the state secrets privilege is again a matter of contention, as government attorneys in an ongoing lawsuit told a judge last week that he had construed the privilege too narrowly.

      Is the state secrets privilege applicable only to discrete items of evidence whose disclosure can be shown to harm the Nation? Or can the privilege be invoked more broadly based on the “context” in which litigation occurs? The proper parameters of the state secrets privilege have never been defined in statute, and so these questions recur.

      In a pending lawsuit concerning the constitutionality of the “no fly” list (Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder), the presiding judge has taken a distinctly skeptical view of the government’s use of the state secrets privilege.

    • Fury over BBC writer’s ‘kill Assange’ tweet

      The writer of the BBC’s new comedy inspired by Julian Assange once called for the police to publicly shoot the Wikileaks founder in the head.

      Supporters of Assange say tweets Thom Phipps posted about him were ‘shocking’ and ‘dangerous’ – and make him unfit to write about the issue.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Something Really, Really Terrible Is About to Happen to Our Coral

      Coral reefs cover just 0.1 percent of the ocean floor, but provide habitat to 25 percent of sea-dwelling fish species. That’s why coral scientist C. Mark Eakin, who coordinates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch program, is surprised that the warning he has been sounding since last year (PDF)—that the globe’s reefs appear to be on the verge of a mass-scale bleaching event—hasn’t drawn more media attention.

  • Finance

    • How Democrats killed Obama’s college savings plan

      Pelosi insisted that Obama drop the plan, scuttling what had been quickly labeled a disastrous policy that would hurt the middle class.

    • We Have No Money, So Central Banks Give More Money to Banks

      It’s unanimous! The European Central Bank confirms that the only possible solution to falling wages and depressed spending is to throw more money at the banks and inflate another stock-market bubble.

      The ECB thus joins the world’s other most important central banks in the hope that “quantitative easing” — a form of “trickle-down” economics — will somehow work despite having never achieved anything other than the inflation of asset bubbles, a benefit primarily to the one percent. Then again, perhaps that might explain it.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • House of Cards: A DC Real Estate Column

      In October of 2014, former Democratic Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle and his wife sold their seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom house on Foxhall Road for $3.25 million.

      It was not an unusually large haul for a member of Washington’s political elite, but it was a big step up from his financial circumstances in 2003. Daschle’s financial disclosure form—filed a year before he lost a race to John Thune, marking the first time in more than half a century that a Senate party leader failed to win reelection—showed his net worth to be between $400,000 and $1.2 million. It was a pitiful amount by congressional standards and led CNN to disparage him as a senator of “modest means.”

      After leaving office, however, Daschle immediately began making millions by advising corporations. During the two years prior to his failed nomination to head Health and Human Services he netted $5.2 million, mostly from healthcare, energy, private equity and telecommunications companies. That included big compensation for speaking appearances (he is, according to his speakers’ bureau profile, “a tireless fighter for the common man”) and for authoring such works as, Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform, which was subsequently found to induce narcolepsy in laboratory rats.

    • How Roy Cohn Helped Rupert Murdoch

      In a photograph of the Jan. 18, 1983 meeting, Cohn is shown standing and leaning toward Reagan who is seated next to Murdoch. Following that meeting, Murdoch became involved in a privately funded propaganda project to help sell Reagan’s hard-line Central American policies, according to other documents. That PR operation was overseen by senior CIA propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. and CIA Director William Casey, but the details of Murdoch’s role remain sketchy partly because some of the records are still classified more than three decades later.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Honoring NSA’s Binney and Amb. White

      In our age of careerism, it’s rare for high-ranking officials to sacrifice their powerful posts for principle, but that was what NSA’s William Binney and the late U.S. Ambassador Robert White did. Their sacrifices and integrity were honored by likeminded former government officials, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern describes.

      [...]

      As a CIA analyst, MacMichael encountered similar attempts to conceal human rights crimes by U.S.-backed forces in Central America, an early example of the “politicized” intelligence pushed by Reagan’s CIA Director William Casey and his deputy, Robert Gates. MacMichael quit his senior CIA position and testified at The Hague to the truth about the Reagan administration’s secret war to overthrow Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

    • Why Alice has a problem if Bob can’t encrypt

      More open-source initatives are working towards an encrypted future than ever before. This is a good thing! This shows a stronger level of interest and activity anyone would have expected prior to June 2013.

    • IT vendors cry foul at new Chinese security rules requiring built-in backdoors

      Last year, the Chinese government started laying out new rules for technology products used by government agencies and banks, in part as a response to revelations about the National Security Agency’s exploitation of Chinese networks. Now, new rules for selling products to China’s financial sector have drawn a protest from North American and European technology vendors because of how intrusive they are—including demands for back-doors into hardware and complete source code.

    • Seven things we learned from Facebook’s latest financial results

      The financial reports also tell us how much each person on Facebook is worth to the company, which varies by country.

      A user in the US or Canada was worth $9 in the final quarter of 2014, but Europeans were only worth $3.45 and users in Asia-Pacific $1.27. Users in the rest of the world including Africa and Latin America – which is the big potential growth area – were only worth 94 cents.

      Of course, as advertising revenue grows, each person outside the US might be worth more, though users themselves are unlikely to benefit: the time has not yet come when they can cash out their work to Facebook.

    • European Commission Wants Collection And Retention Of Passenger Data For Everyone Flying In And Out Of Europe

      Another day, another shameless exploitation of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. We’ve just reported on an EU call for Internet companies to hand over their crypto keys; now the European Commission is trying to push through a requirement for wide-ranging information about everyone flying in and out of Europe to be collected and stored for years.

    • Drug Dealers Swapping Down To Old Cellphones To Stay One Step Ahead In The ‘Tech Arms Race’

      The FBI, along with seemingly every law enforcement agency in the country, wants a backdoor into every new, encrypted-by-default cellphone, arguing that without this, the “bad guys” will win the “tech arms race.” The DOJ cited this same “arms race” in its (losing) argument against a warrant requirement for cellphone searches. To hear law enforcement tell it, today’s criminals are racing far ahead of today’s under-equipped cops, who are stymied by their billions of federal drug-chasing dollars, automatic license plate readers, warrantless GPS tracking, building interior-scanning radar devices and cell tower spoofers.

    • Nobody Saw This Coming: Now China Too Wants Company Encryption Keys And Backdoors In Hardware And Software

      Although there is a clear protectionist element to many of these, as well as a desire to take a look at Western source code, the boldest demands — those for backdoors and encryption keys — are identical to what the US and EU are implicitly calling for. And so, once again, there is no way for the West to claim the moral high ground here, which inevitably undermines any protestations it might make about China’s decision to follow its example.

    • A Year After Reform Push, NSA Still Collects Bulk Domestic Data, Still Lacks Way to Assess Value

      The presidential advisory board on privacy that recommended a slew of domestic surveillance reforms in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations reported today that many of its suggestions have been agreed to “in principle” by the Obama administration, but in practice, very little has changed.

      Most notably, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board called attention to the obvious fact that one full year after it concluded that the government’s bulk collection of metadata on domestic telephone calls is illegal and unproductive, the program continues apace.

      “The Administration accepted our recommendation in principle. However, it has not ended the bulk telephone records program on its own, opting instead to seek legislation to create an alternative to the existing program,” the report notes.

    • Democratic congressman calls to put GOP. Sen. Marco Rubio under NSA surveillance

      One of the more controversial issues during the Obama administration has been the National Security Agency (NSA) and its handling of domestic spying. While many Republicans have been in an agreement with the president, other members of Congress from both parties aren’t too happy.

    • No, Mass Surveillance Won’t Stop Terrorist Attacks

      The recent terrorist attack on the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo generated a now-familiar meme: Another terrorist attack means we need more surveillance.

    • Why Google made the NSA

      INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

    • NSA Bears Ability to Compromise and Re-use Intermediate Malicious Programs

      By utilizing numerous servers NSA maintains worldwide, the agency keeps track of botnets comprising innumerable contaminated PCs. When required, it resorts to those botnets’ features for injecting more malware created at NSA into the already-hijacked PCs via certain methodology codenamed Quantumbot, published Der Spiegel a news magazine in Germany.

      A confidential document, which Edward Snowden an erstwhile contractor of NSA exposed as also which Der Spiegel published, has a thorough description of stealthy software from NSA known as DEFIANTWARRIOR which’s utilized for compromising botnet PCs that are then utilized as “throw-away computer network attack (CAN) source points of non-attributable nature” and “all-encompassing vantage points for network analysis.”

    • Surveillance Board Pressures Obama on NSA

      A government-appointed group of privacy watchdogs is again calling on President Barack Obama to end the National Security Agency’s domestic phone data collection, in a reminder that it views the spying program as illegal and ineffective at stopping terrorism.

    • Review group says Obama can stop NSA phone surveillance ‘at any time’

      Review group says Obama can stop NSA phone surveillance ‘at any time’​A review group assembled by the White House to recommend changes concerning the United States’ intelligence gathering operations is calling out the Obama administration for not yet halting the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records.

    • Obama must finally end NSA phone record collection, says privacy board

      White House could take action ‘at any time’, says Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board chair as key Patriot Act measure is poised to expire

    • Regin malware and NSA’s QWERTY tool exposed as part of the same platform
    • Researchers link QWERTY keylogger code to NSA and Five Eye’s Regin espionage malware

      Kaspersky Lab researchers analyzed source code released via Snowden documents and found ‘solid proof’ that links the QWERTY keylogger plugin to the Regin cyber-attack platform used by the NSA for espionage.

    • EFF prevails in legal battle over government spying

      The case was filed back in 2011, demanding disclosure of information on secret interpretations, using the Freedom of Information Act as its basis in the argument.

    • States Move to Curb NSA Spying by Shutting Off Water & Power Supply

      With Congress unable to curtail the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance programs, privacy-minded lawmakers in eight states are pushing bills they hope will either boot NSA facilities or ban the agency from setting up shop.

    • Washington Bills Would Ban “Material Support or Resources” to NSA
    • Mississippi Bill Would Ban “Material Support or Resources” to NSA
    • Oklahoma Bill Would Ban NSA Activity Called the “Biggest Threat Since the Civil War”
    • Mississippi Bill Would Help Stop How NSA Uses Some of its Data
    • NSA’s Water, Power Supply Under Threat in State Legislatures

      With federal reform elusive, state lawmakers and activists resume back-up plan to shut down mass surveillance.

    • Deutsche Telekom’s Answer For Germans Spooked by NSA Spooks

      Deutsche Telekom is stepping up data protection on its networks to soothe Germans spooked by international surveillance.

      Germany’s leading telecommunications group said this week it keeps domestic Internet traffic within the country and sources key equipment from at least two suppliers.

    • Michael Hayden’s Hollow Constitution

      Attentive viewers will also notice that at the beginning of the speech he treats the NSA’s dragnet surveillance on millions of innocent Americans as a response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks—whereas near the end of the speech, he characterizes such practices as a pragmatic, pre-9/11 response to technological trends. To me, the distinction hardly matters. As I see it, the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and mass surveillance always qualifies. I’d argue that this makes my Constitution more resilient to terrorism than his.

    • Section 215 of the Patriot Act Expires in June. Is Congress Ready?

      You may have heard that the Patriot Act is set to expire soon. That’s not quite the case. The Patriot Act was a large bill, as were the reauthorizations that followed in 2005 and 2006. Not all of it sunsets. But three provisions do expire on June 1st: Section 215, the “Lone Wolf provision,” and the “roving wiretap” provision.

    • DOJ Scraps Fight Over Grab of Census Records

      The Justice Department has dropped its bid to keep secret a legal analysis of how the Patriot Act justifies law enforcement and intelligence access to census records, watchdog group EFF said Thursday.

    • nternet of things needs global privacy push, says UK regulator

      The U.K. telecommunications regulator Ofcom has called for international industry standards on privacy in the internet of things.

      On Tuesday the regulator published an outline of its approach to the developing internet of things, largely based on responses to a call for input that it made last year. It noted that “stakeholders” had identified data privacy and consumer literacy as their primary areas of concern.

    • Dropbox received 275 government requests for user data in the past six months

      With increasing concerns about government access to user data, tech companies try to appease us with reports on how frequently they’re asked to turn over information on users. Dropbox today released its own semiannual transparency report.

    • ‘A law meant for spies is being used against whistleblowers’

      Whistleblowers from the US and the EU recounted the problems they faced in trying to expose what they believed to be wrongdoing in the organisations they worked for, testifying this week at a hearing of PACE’s Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee.

      Jesselyn Radack, an attorney and former ethics adviser to the US Department of Justice who revealed ethics violations in the FBI’s interrogation of John Walker Lindh, known as the “American Taliban”, told parliamentarians via video-link of her experience of being prosecuted for revealing state secrets. “A law meant for spies is being used against whistleblowers. No distinction is made between selling secrets to our enemies and revealing public interest information.”

      She also communicated a statement to the hearing from former CIA agent John Kiriakou, who is currently in prison in the US after a conviction for revealing state secrets.

      Maria Bamieh, a British former prosecutor at EULEX, the EU’s Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, went public after she felt that her evidence of possible corruption in the mission was not being properly investigated internally. “I have no problem with abiding by secrecy laws for genuine national security reasons, but I have a problem when they are used to cover up crimes,” she told the hearing.

    • Canada’s spy agency tracks file-sharing websites worldwide – Snowden docs

      Millions of pictures, videos, and other files downloaded online globally are being watched by Canada’s electronic spy agency CSE, says the latest mass surveillance report based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

      Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), an equivalent to the US National Security Agency (NSA), focuses on electronic surveillance. It can access data from over 100 global free upload sites, monitoring downloaded content in countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America, suggests a covert operation revealed by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept journalist Glen Greenwald.

    • What I learned watching the Lords try to sneak the snooper’s charter through the back door

      Fans of The Simpsons might recall an episode entitled Mr Spritz Goes to Washington. Krusty the Clown gets elected to Congress and the family receives an education in the activities required to get things done in the political capital. Against the ever-decent Lisa’s better judgement, they surreptitiously attach a change to air traffic control law to a bill giving US flags to orphans. The provisions get passed, thereby curing the Simpsons’ recent air traffic noise pollution problem created by Mayor Quimby.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Lies Hidden Inside the Torture Report

      “Waterboarding is torture. . . . And thus, illegal,” Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch said during her confirmation hearing Wednesday.

      Lynch is not the first AG nominee to definitively label waterboarding as such; Eric Holder made the same declaration during his 2009 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

      [...]

      In the days after the Senate torture report was released, John Yoo, the architect of the original Department of Justice memos, said that the report indicated some of the CIA officers involved went beyond the strict guidance they were given and engaged in acts that “were not approved by the Justice Department at the time.” However, as the dust has settled from the report’s release, a closer, detailed reading of the report makes clear that the program’s legality was undermined because of how the agency misled the Justice Department lawyers looking over their shoulders.

    • Cops Arrest Public Defender For Attempting To Do Her Job

      The public defender, Jami Tillotson, was charged with the one-size-fits-all-who-give-us-any-lip crime of “resisting arrest.” This charge doesn’t work the way people expect it would, much to their anger, dismay and surprise. One would think that the police would need to be arresting you for a different crime and, after encountering some resistance, add “resisting arrest” to the charges. But no, apparently “resisting arrest” simply means not doing what cops say to do, no matter the legality of the request.

    • French Police Question Boy, 8, After Remarks on Paris Attacks

      Police officials in the southern French city of Nice questioned an 8-year-old boy who is believed to have made comments in school defending the gunmen who killed 17 people in terrorist attacks in and near Paris this month, a senior regional police official confirmed on Thursday.

      The questioning of the boy, which occurred Wednesday, grabbed headlines across the country and spurred a debate on social media and elsewhere about whether France’s desire to combat terrorism was tipping over into hysteria. Since the attacks, France has moved to enforce tough new laws against the incitement of terrorism, fueling tensions between free speech and public order.

    • Police Union: You Can Have Safe Neighborhoods Or Be Free Of Flashbang-Burned Toddlers, But Not Both

      A Georgia state senator has announced a bill to limit the use of no-knock warrants. These warrants have gone from the exception to the rule over the past several years, as our nation’s drug warriors apparently labor under the assumption that drug dealers keep banker’s hours.

      Of course, no-knock raids have resulted in plenty of collateral damage — both to cops and civilians — as the element of surprise tends to be bullet-and-flashbang heavy. It’s the use of flashbang grenades that has prompted this new legislation, which unfortunately puts it into the category of “Laws Named After Victims,” most of which are written badly and hastily.

    • Former Top Spy Calls CIA Leak Verdict an ‘Injustice’

      But the government failed to produce any proof that Sterling talked with Risen about the Iran operation, Lang and other close observers of his trial have noted. Prosecutors could show only that Risen and Sterling, an African-American, talked and traded emails after an appeals court rejected a race discrimination suit by Sterling against the CIA in 2005.

    • If I were Prime Minister: I would make Britain a true champion of human rights

      I would champion human rights at home and abroad. The prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment, the right to free speech and peaceful protest, equality before the law, the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial – these are not alien to British values and constitutional traditions. They go to the heart of what it means to call Britain a free society.

      So I would strengthen, not scrap, the Human Rights Act and support, not withdraw from, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The Act has brought very real benefits to people living in Britain: preventing the separation of elderly couples, securing accommodation for survivors of domestic violence, and tackling discrimination against the homeless.

      The ECHR – which British lawyers helped create – has greatly advanced human rights across Europe: helping to end torture in custody, promoting equal treatment for women and for gays and lesbians, ending corporal punishment in schools and protecting press freedom. The suggestion that Britain should ignore rulings from the Court that it doesn’t like would gravely damage the institution and set a dreadful precedent for abusive governments elsewhere in Europe, for example in Russia and Turkey.

    • Document reveals that U.S. military knows force-feeding Gitmo detainees violates medical ethics

      VICE News FOIA’d the first disclosure by the US government that force-feeding war-on-terror detainees who are capable of making informed decisions about their own health is a violation of medical ethics and international law.

    • The Military Admitted Force-Feeding Gitmo Detainees Violates International Law and Medical Ethics

      A two-page document recently obtained by VICE News contains the first disclosure by the US military that force-feeding people who are capable of making informed decisions about their own health is a violation of medical ethics and international law.

    • Book Review: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, Updated Edition, by William Blum

      In Killing Hope, William Blum aims to provide a comprehensive account of America’s covert and overt military actions in the world, all the way from China in the 1940s to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and – in this updated edition – beyond. Julia Muravska is disappointed by some shallow characterizations and concludes that academic readers may not be satisfied by Blum’s analysis.

    • CIA ‘used Diego Garcia to interrogate terror suspects’
    • CIA ‘used Diego Garcia to interrogate terror suspects’

      CIA terror suspects were interrogated on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia, an official in the Bush administration claimed yesterday.

      Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was US secretary of state , said that the island was used for “nefarious activities” after 9/11 when other sites were too full or insecure.

    • America’s terror suspects WERE interrogated on British territory: Pressure on PM as Bush aide tells of ‘nefarious activities’ on Diego Garcia
    • CIA ‘used British island to interrogate terror suspects for weeks at a time,’ says former White House aide

      The CIA used a remote British island to interrogate terror suspects for weeks at a time, it has been claimed.

      A former aide to the Bush administration claims Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean was used as a transit site and as a site for interrogations.

      The island – which is nearly 1,800km to the south of India, was used by the CIA to carry out “nefarious activities”, Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s ex-chief of staff, claimed.

    • CIA did use United Kingdom territory for secret terror interrogations, says top US official

      Terror suspects held by the CIA were interrogated on the British‑owned island of Diego Garcia despite the repeated denials of London and Washington that any such incidents took place, a senior American official said today.

    • CIA interrogated suspects on Diego Garcia, says Colin Powell aide

      The UK government is facing renewed pressure to make a full disclosure of its involvement in the CIA’s post-9/11 kidnap and torture programme after another leading Bush-era US official said suspects were held and interrogated on the British territory of Diego Garcia.

    • Exclusive: CIA Interrogations Took Place on British Territory of Diego Garcia, Senior Bush Administration Official Says

      Interrogations of US prisoners took place at a CIA black site on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia, a senior Bush administration official has told VICE News.

      The island was used as a “transit location” for the US government’s “nefarious activities” post-9/11 when other places were too full, dangerous, insecure, or unavailable, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff.

    • If you are an unmarried Pakistani, you cannot visit Sweden

      Apparently, even ‘tourism’ related purposes are not permitted. Obviously, none of this makes a part of their official press release; they wouldn’t want bad press attention for this racist policy, now would they? This brings me to the purpose of my blog today.

    • USA Today columnist calls for arrest and imprisonment of vaccine skeptics

      Now we finally come to the real agenda of the vaccine industry. After vaccines have been repeatedly documented by the Natural News Lab to contain neurotoxic chemicals such as mercury, formaldehyde and MSG; after vaccine shots have been repeatedly shown to kill people who take them; and after flu shots have been exhaustively shown to be based on no science whatsoever — with vaccine manufacturers openly admitting there are no clinical trials to show they even work — the rabid vaccine pushers are unveiling their end game: throw vaccine resistors in prison.

    • MI5 says rendition of Libyan opposition leaders strengthened al-Qaida

      A secret UK-Libyan rendition programme in which two Libyan opposition leaders were kidnapped and flown to Tripoli along with their families had the effect of strengthening al-Qaida, according to an assessment by the UK security service, MI5.

      Prior to their kidnap, Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi had ensured that their organisation, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), focused on the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi, the classified assessment says. Once handed over to the Gaddafi regime, their places at the head of the LIFG were taken by others who wanted to bring the group closer to al-Qaida.

    • Supreme Court pauses 3 Oklahoma executions

      The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered stays of three Oklahoma executions as it considers a case challenging the state’s current lethal injection regimen.

    • World leaders put aside differences to pay respects to Saudi’s King

      David Cameron’s government only a week ago raised its voice to slightly above its customary whisper to condemn Saudi Arabia’s public flogging of a liberal writer, Raif Badawi.

    • CIA torture report: An interactive timeline of who’s who in government

      The Bureau has constructed a timeline showing all the people in charge of US national defence and intelligence agencies during the years from 2002 to 2007, the period when the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme was operating.

      The interactive timeline also includes the changes in leadership and the people at the top of the CIA (formerly Central Intelligence), Defense Intelligence Agency, Secretary of State, National Counterterrorism Center, and the Senate intelligence committee.

    • Compensation claim against the CIA

      Kamil Shah is demanding compensation for the mistreatment he says he suffered at the Hands of the CIA whilst imprisoned in the military detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan

    • Will the Obama administration finally bring the CIA’s torturers to justice?

      The woman who will probably be the nation’s top lawyer opened the door to prosecuting the men and women responsible for the CIA’s torture program on Wednesday. And whether the President who nominated her likes it or not, she should act on it as soon as she’s in office.

    • NLA president: CIA intervention worse

      Mr Pornpetch said that he was not surprised Mr Russel had met in Thailand with groups of people in a way that violated appropriate diplomatic practice because the US State Department often acted this way.

    • Spy named new director of National Clandestine Service once jumped to save Hamid Karzai before he became Afghanistan’s president

      The officer, a former Marine who is under cover and whose first name is Greg, was recently the head of the Special Activities Division, the CIA’s elite paramilitary force. He has twice been station chief in Afghanistan, where in December 2001 he jumped to shield Karzai when the U.S. military accidentally bombed the position of the man who would become Afghanistan’s president. He earned Karzai’s trust, and the Obama administration asked him to troubleshoot the fraught relationship with the Afghan leader in 2012, when he again served as station chief in Kabul.

    • CIA Taps Undercover ‘Spider’ as Its Top Spy

      The Central Intelligence Agency has selected a new top spy, tapping an undercover veteran who played a central role in developing personal relationships with Afghan leaders after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • One in five online scholarly articles affected by ‘reference rot’

      While the immediacy of publishing information on the Internet dramatically speeds the dissemination of scholarly knowledge, the transition from a paper-based to a web-based scholarly communication system has introduced challenges that Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are seeking to address.

      “For more than 70 percent of papers that link to web pages, revisiting the originally referenced web content proved impossible,” said Herbert Van de Sompel, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library. “These results are alarming because vanishing references undermine the long-term integrity of the scholarly record.”

    • Copyright Law Is Eating Away At Our Cultural History: And It’s Time To Fix That

      This, of course, was only the latest in an ongoing effort by the Internet Archive, led by Jason Scott (who has been involved in all sorts of archival efforts of internet content and video games and made a documentary about text adventure games called Get Lamp). Andy Baio has a great post up discussing this work and how important it is that it’s being done by the Internet Archive, rather than a giant corporation. As he notes, while Google used to really focus on similar archival projects, in the recent past, it seems to have let that focus fade, which is quite disappointing.

      Of course, in discussing the possible reasons why Google’s archival efforts have stagnated, Baio tosses out a few suggested reasons, including the lack of profitability, but also, the potential legal liability. After all, Google is still fighting in court about the Google book scanning project, and the focus of that project seems much more about pushing people to buy books, rather than being able to do useful searches through that huge corpus of knowledge.

  • DRM

    • You Don’t Own What You Bought: Drone Maker Updates Firmware On All Drones To Stop Any Flights In DC

      You may have heard the news recently about how a drunk employee of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (can’t make this crap up) accidentally flew a DJI Phantom II drone onto White House property, leading to a general collective freakout over the security implications of these personal helicopters. In response to this, President Obama has called for more drone regulations — which may or may not make sense — but it needs to be remembered that the FAA has been refusing to actually release any rules for quite some time.

01.29.15

Links 29/1/2015: Android Shipments in 2014 Exceed 1,000,000,000, LibreOffice 4.4 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • The 5 best open source email clients for Linux

      Windows users have Outlook; Mac users have Mail. What options are there for Linux users? As it turns out, Linux land is rich with email clients. I have chosen five of the best, fully open source email clients (with two exceptions) for Linux users.

  • Kernel Space

    • As simple As That

      The challenge of the Internet of Everything is that it needs to be just that – an Internet of everything, a global ecosystem of billions of interoperable products, applications and services all speaking the same language, all working together regardless of manufacturer, industry or platform. AllJoyn is the open source software project built by the AllSeen Alliance’s thriving technical community of over 110 companies that is delivering on this challenge, creating simple and open technology that connects everything and enables the Internet of Everything.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • New Releases

      • GParted Live Now Supports Microsoft’s New Filesystem, ReFS

        GParted Live is a small bootable GNU/Linux distribution that has a lot of features and that can be used in operations like creating, reorganizing, and deleting disk partitions on a variety of filesystems. A new stable update has been made available and the operating system is now at version 0.21.0.

      • Papyros Is a Linux OS That Follows Google’s Material Design and It Looks Stunning

        Papyros is a new Linux distribution in the making that will use the Material Design style from Google. There is nothing to test so far, but the progress made by the developers is impressive and it’s very likely that this will become one of the most interesting distros available.

      • BackBox Linux 4.1 released!

        The BackBox Team is pleased to announce the updated release of BackBox Linux, the version 4.1!

        This release includes features such as Linux Kernel 3.13, EFI mode, Anonymous mode, LVM + Disk encryption installer, privacy additions and armhf Debian packages.

    • Red Hat Family

      • CoreOS Releases Building Block For Distributed Systems

        Hyperscale Linux operating system specialist CoreOS said it is releasing its latest open source component for sharing and managing configuration data and other functions used in distributed systems.

        San Francisco-based CoreOS announced its first stable release of etcd, or “etc distributed,” an open-source distributed key value store that provides the backbone of CoreOS clusters and the etcd clients that run on each machine in a cluster. “Our goal with etcd has been to make building and using distributed systems easier,” CoreOS CTO Brandon Philips said Wednesday (January 28) in announcing the release.

      • Fedora

        • DNF Plugins Extend The Functionality Of Fedora’s Yum Successor

          With the upcoming Fedora 22 release due out in May, DNF is positioned to replace Yum as the default package manager.

          While there’s been many DNF articles on Phoronix in past months, one of the aspects not covered much to this point is the dnf-plugins-extra package that’s in its very early stages. Version 0.0.3 of dnf-plugins-extras was released today as a collection of DNF plugins done by the community.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 7 reasons why I prefer elementary OS Freya over Ubuntu 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn”

            When we laid out our featured article on things you need to do after installing Ubuntu 14.10, we shared a few little issues we have had with the latest Ubuntu release. Well things got worse, and I decided to try something else for a change. I’ve been using elementary OS Freya as my daily driver since then. And I have to say, I’m mighty impressed so far. And the fact that Freya is still very much in beta makes the whole affair all the more interesting. A list of reasons why I prefer elementary OS Freya over Ubuntu 14.10 at the moment.

          • Don’t Use Ubuntu, Use Mint – or elementary

            Tech Drive-in today listed seven reasons he prefers elementary OS over Ubuntu. Despite all that, Michael Larabel today reported on the improved performance of Ubuntu 15.04 on newer machines.

          • OpenJDK 7 Vulnerabilities Closed in Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 14.10

            Canonical published details about a new OpenJDK 7 version has been pushed to the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 14.10 repositories. This update fixes a number of problems and various vulnerabilities.

          • Ubuntu Touch Apps Can Now Be Launched In A New Windowed Mode

            A new Ubuntu smartphone OS feature has been created by developer Michael Zanetti, who has created a way to run Ubuntu Touch apps in windows rather than full screen, allowing them to be dragged , shrunk, maximised, or minimised, just like they were desktop applications but on your smartphone.

          • Ubuntu Users See Private, Hybrid Cloud Expansion

            Canonical, the company behind the open source cross-platform operating system Ubuntu, released its annual cloud and server survey this week that seeks to cast more light on the makeup of cloud infrastructure, how it is managed, and what is driving cloud adoption.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Now Based on Linux Kernel 3.18.4, Devs Are Tracking the 3.19 Branch
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Introducing BodhiBuilder

              If you follow me on GitHub then you likely noticed I have added a few projects in the last few days. One of these projects has been on my TODO list for awhile – cleaning up the old remastersys script I have always used to create the Bodhi Linux ISO images for the last few years. Today I am pleased to announce you can find my fork of remastersys dubbed “BodhiBuider” on GitHub here.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tough multi-display controller runs Linux on i.MX6

      MEN Micro unveiled the “CC10S,” a Linux-ready i.MX6 based multi-display controller board for touchscreens deployed in harsh, -40 to 85° C environments.

      Imagine a humongous earth-moving rig prepping an oil shale site in North Dakota in the middle of January. You’re going to want a touchscreen with that, and it better be tough. The MEN Micro CC10S single board computer is designed for controlling 7- to 15-inch LCD touchscreens that must deal with the rough, tough stuff on a daily basis.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Airdroid – Transfer files between Android Phones/Tablets and Linux (Any Distribution)

          We often need to transfer large amount data in the form of mp3 Songs, Video Songs, Movies and most importantly, large Games between android phones/tablets and Linux machine. Transferring via USB cable takes time, so let’s do it with ‘Airdroid’ easily and quickly.

        • Android shipments in 2014 exceed 1 billion for first time

          For the first time ever, worldwide shipments of smartphones packing Android exceeded 1 billion units in 2014, a significant gain from the 780.8 million units that shipped around the world in 2013, researcher Strategy Analytics announced Thursday. Android dwarfed its second-place competitor, Apple’s iOS, which mustered 192.7 million worldwide shipments in 2014.

        • 1B Android phones shipped in 2014, but they don’t all help Google

          When Android first arrived in 2007, it was (and still is) a key part of the OHA, or Open-Handset Alliance. OHA partners — which include Samsung, LG, Dell, HTC, Huawei and ZTE, to name a few — all loosely work together to help improve Android, while competing against one another by using Android on their respective hardware products. Android is the commonality between all of the OHA partners. And then there’s Google.

        • Android beats iOS for app downloads, but revenues are still a different story

          There are plenty of caveats to this line of reasoning, though. First, Google Play is not the only Android app store – Amazon and Samsung run their own stores, while in countries like China there are dozens of stores offering Android apps.

        • HTC One M8 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update: What U.S. Owners Can Expect

          When Google announced Android 5.0 Lollipop back in October many smartphone owners like those with the HTC One or HTC One M8 instantly started waiting for details regarding the Android 5.0 Lollipop update. It has arrived for a few devices already, including the HTC One and HTC One M8 Google Play Edition handsets, but below we’ll go over what regular HTC One owners need to know about the Android 5.0 update.

        • Samsung Galaxy S4 Updated To The Android Lollipop 5.0 OS

          The Android Lollipop 5.0 update is finally available for the Samsung S4. The operating system is also available for the Samsung Galaxy S5, Note 4, Note 3, and Note Edge. Samsung Galaxy and Note users will be happy to hear that the long waited update is coming in the near future. But should Galaxy S4 users take advantage of the Android Lollipop update?

        • Don’t wait for Android 5.0, this app makes your phone look like Lollipop for free

          Android 5.0 Lollipop is a huge upgrade for Google’s mobile operating system. The only problem with it, of course, is that it’s only available for a handful of devices. Most Android smartphone users still have plenty more waiting to do before Lollipop is finally available for their handset, but now there’s a terrific app that will make your older version of Android look just like Lollipop — and it’s free!

        • Is this Apple’s secret weapon that could force Android users to buy an iPhone?

          There are many reasons why Android users switch to iPhone, and vice-versa, but Apple may have a secret (or not-so-secret) weapon that could pressure some Android fans to considering a move to the other side. No, it’s not Apple Pay, an exclusive iPhone 6 feature that’s heavily marketed by various banks in the U.S., further helping Apple market its 2014 iPhones. It’s actually a stock iOS app that has been hiding in plain sight for years.

        • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop Problems Frustrating Nexus Users

          Google rolled out its Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update to fix Nexus Lollipop problems. And while it did fix some of the bigger issues, Android 5.0.2 Lollipop problems continue to frustrate Nexus users.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • From Opera to… Vivaldi!

      Yes, the name is familiar. Vivaldi was that KDE tablet that never saw the light of day, but now Vivaldi is the name of a beautiful browser that runs on Linux.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Hortonworks Spreads its Open Source Wings to Bring Governance to Hadoop

      We all know Hortonworks is committed to open source, insisting that it’s the way to innovate on Hadoop and deliver the best enterprise-grade technology to the marketplace. And though its main competitor, Cloudera (or at least a member of its management team) may have taunted that Hortonworks’ business model is “undependable,” Wall Street certainly didn’t agree — its shares soared 65 percent above the opening price on Dec. 12, 2014, its first day of trading as a public company.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Released as the Most Beautiful LibreOffice Ever

      The Document Foundation has just announced that a new major update has been released for LibreOffice and it brings important UI improvements, enough for them to call this the most beautiful version ever.

    • The best open-source office suite, LibreOffice 4.4, gets new release

      Who says you can’t have fast, good and cheap? The Document Foundation’s latest release of the most popular open-source office suite, LibreOffice 4.4 is quite fast on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows; it works well on all three desktop operating systems, and it won’t cost you a penny.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Released With Major UI Revamp

      A new version of open-source office suite LibreOffice is now available for download and the hands behind it are calling it ‘the most beautiful’ release ever.

      Jan Holesovsky, leader of the LibreOffice design team, says “LibreOffice 4.4 has got a lot of UX and design love, and in my opinion is the most beautiful ever.”

      The productivity suite, which was spun out of the slow moving OpenOffice project back in 2010, has certainly upped its game in the design department over the past few years, with each release of the 4.x series adding finesse.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guix 0.8.1 released

      We are pleased to announce the next alpha release of GNU Guix, version 0.8.1.

      The release comes both with a source tarball, which allows you to install it on top of a running GNU/Linux system, and a USB installation image to install the standalone Guix System Distribution.

    • Libreboot X200 laptop now FSF-certified to respect your freedom

      This is the second Libreboot laptop from Gluglug (a project of Minifree, Ltd.) to achieve RYF certification, the first being the Libreboot X60 in December 2013. The Libreboot X200 offers many improvements over the Libreboot X60, including a faster CPU, faster graphics, 64-bit GNU/Linux support (on all models), support for more RAM, higher screen resolution, and more. The Libreboot X200 can be purchased from Gluglug at http://shop.gluglug.org.uk/product/libreboot-x200/.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Your Open Source 3D Printed Designs Could Save the 3D Printing Community Millions

        In an article published in Modern Economy by Dr. Joshua Pearce, of Michigan Technological University, titled “Quantifying the Value of Open Source Hardware Development” one of the challenges of Open Source Hardware has been addressed: Creating a real world value for community developed creations. Three methods for quantifying the value of free and open source hardware designs were used, including “1) downloaded substitution valuation; 2) avoided reproduction valuation and 3) market savings valuation along with additional benefits related to market expansion, scientific innovation acceleration, educational enhancement and medical care improvement.”

  • Programming

    • LLVM Adds Options To Do Fuzz Testing

      LLVM/Clang developers have begun work on adding fuzz testing capabilities, the providing semi-random test data in an automated manner to test functions for potentially unchecked scenarios using malformed data, etc. Fuzzing helps developers avoid potential crashes, security issues, and uncovering other possible pitfalls.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • YouTube flushes Flash for future flicks

      Adobe would need to have buried its head under many metres of sand, and strapped many layers of black tape about its head, not to see this coming. So there can’t be too much gnashing of teeth and wailing down San Jose way, not least because the masses who use YouTube probably don’t care how their video is delivered*.

    • YouTube ditches Adobe Flash for HTML5 on most browsers

      GOOGLE’S YOUTUBE video portal has made the switch to HTML5 as a default renderer, marking yet another milestone in the downfall of the Adobe Flash format.

      Historically, Adobe Flash has been the renderer of choice despite its buggy limitations because it offered a number of tangible benefits over early HTML5 implementations.

    • 10 capabilities we want to see in HTML6

      The buzzword “HTML5” came and went a few years ago, but the standard itself wasn’t made final until the end of 2014. In the five-plus years it took the “second coming of this Web stuff” to be fully realized and ratified, we got deep into the changes, examined how early adopters pushed HTML5 to its limits, and surfaced more than a few hard truths about the limitations of the spec.

Leftovers

  • Looks like those IBM layoffs have started

    Reports of big layoffs to come this week at IBM were correct, at least with regard to timing. Starting Wednesday, the message board at Alliance@IBM, a site manned by former IBM employees, was full of posts from people saying (anonymously) that they had been laid off. More accurately, most said they had been “RA’d,” which is IBM parlance for Resource Action, but which means — you got it — laid off.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Have we reached ‘peak food’? Shortages loom as global production rates slow

      The world has entered an era of “peak food” production with an array of staples from corn and rice to wheat and chicken slowing in growth – with potentially disastrous consequences for feeding the planet.

    • NHS – Calling for a minor change in Policy..

      There are arguments made all the time as to why privatisation is beneficial. The more cynical, and those led entirely by a fundamental belief in free market solutions for everything, simply see the potential economic gains as being too great to pass up. After all, in the US, health care spending makes up a significant portion of GDP, one that has been rising providing profit and opportunity for companies and investors. The impact on patients? Well, that’s collateral damage – you should be working harder, or better insured.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • The FTC Calls for Lockdown Security on the Internet of Things

      The Internet of Things (IoT) was big news at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and many large tech companies had related announcements. Apple wan’t demonstrating, but partners had the first set of devices that are HomeKit certified, which is Apple’s protocol for allowing smart home devices to work with the iOS platform. And, Google announced 15 new partners in “Work With Nest,” its developer program for adding third-party devices to Nest devices and networks. Meanwhile, The Linux Foundation oversees one of the biggest Internet of Things initiatives: The AllSeen Aliance, which is rapidly gaining members.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Drone Strike in Yemen Killed 12-Year-Old Student

      Officials Had Previously Identified Him as ‘Al-Qaeda Militant’

    • CIA operations to aid Syrian rebels go bad

      CIA operations to aid moderate fighters battling Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime has gone badly as rebel forces keep shifting loyalties, says a Wall Street Journal reports.

    • Covert CIA Mission to Arm Syrian Rebels Goes Awry

      It didn’t take long for rebel commanders in Syria who lined up to join a Central Intelligence Agency weapons and training program to start scratching their heads.

    • Exclusive: Obama Cuts Off Syrian Rebels’ Cash

      In the past several months, many of the Syrian rebel groups previously favored by the CIA have had their money and supplies cut off or substantially reduced, even as President Obama touted the strategic importance of American support for the rebels in his State of the Union address.

      The once-favored fighters are operating under a pall of confusion. In some cases, they were not even informed that money would stop flowing. In others, aid was reduced due to poor battlefield performance, compounding already miserable morale on the ground.

    • Should The U.S. Military Be Educators?

      Military academies have always been funded by taxpayer dollars & revered for their traditional and all-American ways. But one Naval Academy professor says the money is wasted and the standards for entrance are low. Is the end of West Point in sight?

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Open Letter in Defence of WikiLeaks Journalists

      We, the undersigned journalists and human rights defenders cannot remain silent while our colleagues and profession are under attack.

      We deplore the actions taken the US Government against WikiLeaks journalists Sarah Harrison, Joseph Farrell and Kristin Hfaffnsson. We believe they represent political persecution of journalists and journalism.

      Free societies everywhere are best served by journalism and publishing that holds governments and corporations to account and guarantees citizens’ right to know. Such work is not espionage or terrorism; it is journalism.

  • Finance

    • Germans Are in Shock As New Greek Leader Starts With A Bang

      One senior German official described Tsipras as part of a brash new generation of European leaders, including Italy’s Renzi, who weren’t afraid to stand up to Merkel and challenge the assumptions that have shaped policy in the eurozone and Ukraine crises in recent years. – See more at: http://portside.org/2015-01-29/germans-are-shock-new-greek-leader-starts-bang#sthash.U8rGKwEr.dpuf

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • The Tsarnaev trial and the rest of us
    • Seth Rogen and Michael Moore banned from steakhouse over American Sniper
    • Here’s what moviegoers in Baghdad think of ‘American Sniper’

      The film, set during the US-led occupation of Iraq and released on Christmas Day, hit nerves in the United States immediately. Some critics and commentators lauded it as patriotic and unflinching; others dismissed it as reductionist and racist.

      Many people also objected to the film’s portrayal of Kyle — a man who described Iraqis as “savages” in his memoir — as a hero.

    • 7 heinous lies “American Sniper” is telling America

      One way to get audiences to unambiguously support Kyle’s actions in the film is to believe he’s there to avenge the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The movie cuts from Kyle watching footage of the attacks to him serving in Iraq, implying there is some link between the two.

    • Killing Ragheads for Jesus

      “American Sniper” lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society—the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a “Christian” nation to exterminate the “lesser breeds” of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.

    • S.F. public defender detained outside court; office outraged

      A San Francisco deputy public defender was handcuffed and arrested at the Hall of Justice after she objected to city police officers questioning her client outside a courtroom, an incident that her office called outrageous and police officials defended as appropriate.

      The Tuesday afternoon arrest of attorney Jami Tillotson as she denied police officers’ attempts to take photos of her client without explanation raised questions about police intimidation and harassment, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said at a Wednesday news conference.

      But police said the five officers, led by a plainclothes sergeant, were investigating a burglary case in which Tillotson’s client and his co-defendant were considered persons of interest. Tillotson was cited for misdemeanor resisting or delaying arrest because she obstructed a police investigation, officials said.

    • Sterling Conviction a Victory for Government’s Right to Hide
    • This is how a police state protects “secrets”: Jeffrey Sterling, the CIA and up to 80 years on circumstantial evidence

      The participants in the economy of shared tips and intelligence in Washington D.C., breathed a collective sigh of relief when, on January 12, the government announced it would not force James Risen to testify in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. “Press freedom was safe! Our trade in leaks is safe!” observers seemed to conclude, and they returned to their squalid celebration of an oppressive Saudi monarch.

      That celebration about information sharing is likely premature. Because, along the way to the conviction of Sterling this week on all nine counts – including seven counts under the Espionage Act — something far more banal yet every bit as dear to D.C.’s economy of secrets may have been criminalized: unclassified tips.

    • Eric Holder plugs his legacy on leak cases

      A federal jury’s decision Monday to convict a former CIA officer for leaking top-secret information to a New York Times reporter was a big win for prosecutors — and for Attorney General Eric Holder’s new approach to handling sensitive cases involving journalists.

      [...]

      The attorney general’s action was consistent with a series of moves over the past year and a half in which he sought to demonstrate greater sensitivity to the concerns of journalists. The recalibration was prodded not by Risen’s predicament or a sudden bout of introspection, but by a political firestorm that broke out in 2013 over prosecutors’ aggressive investigations of leaks to the Associated Press and Fox News.

      [...]

      Holder’s decision to drop demands for Risen’s testimony about his sources could help dampen concern about the treatment of journalists, but it won’t extinguish complaints that the unprecedented flurry of nine leak-related prosecutions during the Obama administration has chilled whistleblowers from taking their concerns to the media. In fact, Sterling’s conviction on every count sent to the jury — and the prospect of a lengthy prison term for the ex-CIA officer — might embolden prosecutors intent on stamping out leaks.

    • VIDEO: CIA Whistle Blower Found Guilty Proves That Using “Proper Channels” Doesn’t Work

      Monday’s guilty verdict for former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is another example of whistleblowers attempting to go through proper channels to expose wrongdoing, and then being “flagged as troublemakers” and facing severe retaliation from the government, according to transparency advocate Norman Solomon.

    • CIA Officer’s Conviction to Discourage More Intelligence Leaks

      The conviction of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for leaking classified information about a covert plan to derail Iran’s nuclear program to a journalist, sends a message that intelligence leaks will not go unpunished while reducing the risk of encouraging more leaks, former CIA official Paul Pillar told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    • CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling found guilty on all counts

      Sterling was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information about a mission meant to slow Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who then wrote about the CIA’s Iranian plot in his 2006 book, “State of War.” The plan’s goal was to learn more about the country’s controversial nuclear program and impair its progress, and the schematics were reportedly funneled to the Iranians via a Russian scientist with the codename “Merlin.”

    • The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling

      The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling — after his conviction Monday afternoon as a CIA whistleblower.

    • ACLU asks judge to block attempt to repossess copies of CIA torture report

      The American Civil Liberties Union is turning to federal court to stop the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee from repossessing the secret copies of a landmark inquiry into CIA torture.

    • ACLU: Don’t Let Senate Block Full CIA ‘Torture Report’ Release

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a motion in federal court on Tuesday night in an effort to block the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from retrieving all the copies of the committee’s full, unredacted report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program.”

    • Meet the CIA’s secret protector: Why Sen. Richard Burr is its favorite “overseer”

      One of the newest pieces of conventional wisdom among the political commentariat is the idea that under the influence of the Tea Party and the libertarians, the Republicans are no longer the national security hawks they once were. They are going back to their old isolationist ways, the thinking goes, because Rand Paul is running for president and he doesn’t support military adventurism overseas (except when he does) and the right wing of the GOP is uninterested in national security.

    • Editor of major newspaper says he planted stories for CIA

      Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a “propagandist,” an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

    • CIA: A spy agency gone rogue?

      American author and journalist Charles Glass joined Shainin with anecdotal references where he first talked about the origins of the CIA and the failures from its very conception. He said that from its very formation in 1947, the agency had agents in the field “torturing people or bribing foreign officials”. He talked about CIA’s role in overthrowing an elected parliamentary government in Syria in 1949, on behalf of an Arabian oil company “to have a dictator who would then allow an oil line to go through Syria.” The country never really had a democracy again, the effects of which can be seen today.

    • US Incarceration System Facilitates Breakdown of Society

      What we’re doing isn’t working, justice-wise, order-wise, sanity-wise. The state of Illinois is bankrupt and yet its jails are full to bursting, at a cost, per occupant, equal to or greater than the cost of luxury suites at its ritziest hotels. And 90 percent of the teenagers who enter the system come back within three years of their release. This is no surprise: The system is a spiral of entrapment, especially for young men of color.

    • US Spy Agency CIA Heading For A Shake Up: Top Spy To Step Down

      The Central Intelligence Agency–the spy agency of United States of America, is reportedly heading for a shake up. In the run up to that, the chief of secret intelligence operations will shortly step down. The office of the secret intelligence wing has announced that “the director soon plans to retire after a long and distinguished career at CIA.”

    • Spy panel shakeup will add focus on cyber, CIA

      The House Intelligence Committee is shaking up its structure to put a new focus on cybersecurity and the CIA, among other areas.

    • LoBiondo named chairman of House CIA subcommittee
    • LoBiondo named chairman of the House Subcommittee on Central Intelligence Agency

      LoBiondo takes the chairmanship at a time when the CIA has come under scrutiny. A report released in December by the Senate Intelligence Committee found the agency’s interrogation techniques to be more brutal and used more extensively than the agency had portrayed.

    • Former CIA spies come in from the cold as Hollywood players

      The place in Brooklyn looks like a CIA safehouse. Red brick office building with peeling metal awning. No sign. Inside, writers are plotting out popular cold war espionage show The Americans – one of an assortment of Hollywood spy or national security dramas being driven by ex-spies.

      The show’s creator and co-head writer Joe Weisberg is a former CIA officer who never fathomed he would one day sit in an office with Soviet propaganda posters and a cut-out figure of President Ronald Reagan, concocting television fiction.

    • Feinstein Slams CIA Report as Error-Riddled

      In the waning months of her tenure as head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein transformed into a tireless critic of the CIA’s torture program and the measures the agency is accused of taking to avoid scrutiny.

    • Feinstein Disputes CIA Report on Spying on Senate

      Her office provided a list of 15 items where Feinstein takes issue with the Accountability Board review. Some of them relate to an apparent dispute over the scope of the investigation. Among them, Feinstein says the claim that the CIA and investigators did not have a “common understanding” about access is simply false.

      “This is a serious matter and has been acknowledged by the CIA inspector general and the CIA Accountability Board. Regardless of the extent of the violation or intent of those involved, someone should be held accountable,” Feinstein said.

    • Feinstein offers 15 point rebuttal to report on CIA
    • Egypt’s War on Atheism
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Drone maker DJI will disable its units over Washington, DC, after White House crash

      Following the crash of one of its Phantom drones at the White House on Monday and a response from President Obama that more regulation of drones was needed, Chinese drone maker DJI will reportedly be disabling its units from flying over the DC area. According to the FAA, it was already against federal regulations to fly in that region, not to mention the fact that the pilot told the Secret Service he was drinking.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Government Spies on Millions of File-Sharers

        New revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that Canada’s main electronic surveillance agency spied on millions of file-sharing downloads from some of the world’s most popular sites. More than 100 sites including Dotcom’s Megaupload were routinely monitored in a search for extremists.

01.28.15

Links 28/1/2015: Ubuntu Touch Windowed Mode, NVIDIA Linux Legacy Drivers Updated

Posted in News Roundup at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • These Are the Hottest New Open Source Projects Right Now

    Gobs of new open source projects are released every year, but only a few really capture the imaginations of businesses and developers.

    Open source software management company Black Duck tries to spot these, measuring which projects attract the most contributors, produce the most code, and garner the most attention from the developer world at large.

  • Confessions of a systems librarian

    These are just two examples of serious flagship projects, but even on a day-to-day level there are plenty of opportunities for systems librarians to interact with open source software. A large amount of vendor software runs on Linux, so there’s plenty of systems administration to do. I work in a relatively small library, and even here we run five Drupal websites: one as a portal for library services, one as the primary repository for our archive, another provides the public interface for an aboriginal research center, and one to manage safety information for our bio sciences lab.

  • 7 reasons asynchronous communication is better than synchronous communication in open source

    Traditionally, open source software has relied primarily on asynchronous communication. While there are probably quite a few synchronous conversations on irc, most project discussions and decisions will happen on asynchronous channels like mailing lists, bug tracking tools and blogs.

  • 5 Reasons Your Company Should Open Source More Code

    Given intense competition for the world’s best engineering talent, can your company really afford to lock up its code behind proprietary licenses? Sure, if you’re in the business of selling software, giving it all away may not make sense. But the vast majority of companies don’t sell software, and should be contributing a heck of a lot more as open source.

  • Square tries to make open source “welcoming and inspiring” to women

    What is open source? Simply put, it is source code (used to develop software programs) that is freely available and modifiable on the Internet. Open source developers from all over the world contribute to various projects, which are hosted on various websites—GitHub, a popular code hosting site, has over 8 million users and over 19 million code “repositories.”

  • 7 communities driving open source development

    Not so long ago, the open source model was the rebellious kid on the block, viewed with suspicion by established industry players. Today, open initiatives and foundations are flourishing with long lists of vendor committers who see the model as a key to innovation.

  • Events

    • Embedded Linux Conference hijacked by drones

      The Embedded Linux Conference + Android Builders Summit on Mar. 23-25 in San Jose is about “Drones, Things, and Automobiles,” but drones get the most love.

      Maybe it’s just our imagination, but the Linux Foundation’s Embedded Linux Conference seems to be getting more interesting than ever. The program increasingly reflects new opportunities for Linux in areas such as drones, robots, automotive computers, IoT gizmos, 3D sensing, modular phones, and much more. For those of you worried that ELC North America is skimping on the basics as it explores the more colorful sides of Linux, rest your mind at ease. There are still plenty of sessions on booting, trace analysis, NAND support, PHY frameworks, power management, defragmenting, systemd, device tree, and toolchain. Geeks still rule!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Get Smart On International Data Privacy Day

        Today is International Data Privacy Day. It is a day designed to raise awareness and promote best practices for privacy and data protection. It is a day that looks to the future and recognizes that we can and should do better as an industry. It reminds us that we need to focus on the importance of having the trust of our users. At Mozilla, we start from the baseline that privacy and security on the Web are fundamental and not optional. We are transparent with our users about our data practices and provide them options for choice and control. We seek to build trust so we can collectively create the Web our users want – the Web we all want. Still, we are working to do better.

      • Deploying tor relays

        On November 11, 2014 Mozilla announced the Polaris Privacy Initiative. One key part of the initiative is us supporting the tor network by deploying tor middle relay nodes. On January 15, 2015 our first proof of concept (POC) went live.

      • mozilla-requestpolicy extension and IceCat

        RequestPolicy is an extension for Mozilla browsers that requestpolicyincreases your browsing privacy, security, and speed by giving you control over cross-site requests.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Building a cloud career with OpenStack

      What can OpenStack do for you? How about helping you along your career? OpenStack is a growing space and there are more than enough jobs still to go around for qualified seekers. So how do you go about getting one of those jobs?

      In this video from the Kilo OpenStack Summit in Paris, Niki Acosta, Ryan Yard, Shamail Tahir, Kenneth Hui, Eric Wright, and Aaron Delp offer their perspectives on a variety of topics around creating and building a career in cloud software through the OpenStack community.

    • MapR Delivers Free, On-Demand Hadoop Courses

      When the topic turns to job market opportunities these days, hardly any technology trend is drawing more attention than Big Data. And, when talking Big Data, the subject of Hadoop inevitably comes up, as it remains the star open source framework for drawing insights from large data sets. Big tech companies like Yahoo and eBay use Hadoop extensively, but it’s also used by smaller companies these days, and we’ve reported before that the job market is very healthy for people with Hadoop skills.

    • The earnestness of being important

      Despite all these challenges, exceptions, and subtleties, we’ve made good strides in separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to identifying important data, in no small part thanks to open source. In particular, gains made in search engine technology like Apache Lucene and Solr have revolutionized our ability to deal with multi-structured content at scale, rank it and return it in a timely manner. Search engines have evolved significantly in recent years to seamlessly collect, collate, and curate data across a wide variety of data types (text, numeric, time-series, spatial, and more) and are no longer about just doing fast keyword lookups. Combined with large scale data processing frameworks (Hadoop, Spark, et. al), R for statistical analysis, machine learning capabilities like Apache Mahout, Vowpal Wabbit, MLlib and NLP libraries like Stanford’s NLP libraries, Apache OpenNLP, NLTK and more, it is now possible to build sophisticated solutions that take in your data, model it, serve it up to your users and then learn from their behavior.

    • VMware OpenStack Customers Growing Faster than Overall Business

      VMware announced its own OpenStack distribution in August of 2014. Gelinsger said that the market will be hearing more this quarter about the VMware OpenStack product and he’s very excited about what’s coming.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4 the beautiful

      We are very close to release LibreOffice 4.4 and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the work that has been put into this new branch and what the general idea is about it. LibreOffice 4.4 is unusual; as a major release you may expect some important underlying change in its architecture, or the inclusion of a set of major features. The 4.4 does include several important features and improvements, most notably for Impress and the much forgotten HTML editor (the comprehensive release notes may be found here). But the most important details are not to be found in this area. If you want to understand where the 4.4 branch is headed, I think it is useful to keep two fundamental trends in mind.

    • LibreOffice for Android coming soon

      The next major LibreOffice desktop release is just around the corner and now the developers behind the open source productivity suite are preparing to extend it to Android.

    • LibreOffice for Android coming soon

      The Document Foundation on Tuesday announced it had assigned the work necessary to build the Android apps to two companies. The Document Foundation is hoping the result will be a “compelling, elegant and full-featured experience of LibreOffice on Android”, Ital Vignoli, one of its founders, said.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • IceCat 31.4.0 release

      GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Citizens call on Dortmund to use free software

      Four citizens of the German city of Dortmund have started a citizens’ initiative, asking the city council to seriously consider the use of free and open source software. “The city needs to recognise free software as a topic in the public interest”, the DO-FOSS initiators write.

    • Political parties favour openness to reconstruct Greek productivity

      Ahead of the parliamentary elections in Greece last week, the Greek Free/Open Source Software Society (GFOSS) contacted all political parties to ask about their positions [in Greek] with regard to open software, open data, open hardware and open government. The four parties to respond all came out generally in favour of openness. Some of them were even able to present very detailed planning on how to improve the current institutional and legislative framework and outlined how openness could help reconstruct Greek productivity.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • YouTube says HTML5 video ready for primetime, makes it default

      Everyone hates Flash, right? You have to install a plug-in, it’s resource intensive, it doesn’t work on mobile, and it causes all sorts of security problems. YouTube has been working on ridding itself of Adobe’s ancient Web plug-in for several years now, and while the whole site has been slowly transitioning away from Flash, today YouTube announced that it finally serves HTML5 video by default. Users of Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8, and “beta versions of Firefox” will all have a Flash-less experience.

      YouTube’s transition seems to have been pretty straightforward. Four years ago, YouTube laid out a laundry list of problems it had with HTML5, and today it has a blog post explaining how it has worked with the Web community to solve each issue.

    • YouTube dumps Flash for HTML5
    • YouTube Says Goodbye to Flash, HTML5 Is Now Default

      It’s been a long time coming, but YouTube has finally made the switch from Flash to HTML 5 and no one seems to really care about that.

      [...]

      Basically, you can mark this day in the calendar as the official date for the death of Flash, or at least as the culmination of its decline.

Leftovers

  • Philippines moved homeless people to luxury resort for pope’s visit

    The Philippines government came under fire on Friday after admitting that hundreds of homeless people were taken off Manila’s streets and put into luxury accommodation during Pope Francis’s recent visit, when he preached compassion for the poor.

  • Security

    • FTC to Internet of Stuff: Security, motherf****r, do you speak it?

      US regulator the FTC says now is not the time for new laws on the “Internet of Things” – but security needs to be improved as we enter the era of always-on, always-connected gadgets, sensors and machines embedded in homes, streets and pockets.

      In a report [PDF] published today, the commission’s staff make a number of policy recommendations for the wave of new devices that collect and transmit data on our everyday lives.

      From the camera that posts pictures online with a click, to automated home lighting and heating, to FitBits and Apple Watches, the Internet of Things (IoT) was the focus of this year’s Consumer Electronic Show, as well as a speech by FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez.

    • SE Linux Play Machine Over Tor

      I work on SE Linux to improve security for all computer users. I think that my work has gone reasonably well in that regard in terms of directly improving security of computers and helping developers find and fix certain types of security flaws in apps. But a large part of the security problems we have at the moment are related to subversion of Internet infrastructure. The Tor project is a significant step towards addressing such problems. So to achieve my goals in improving computer security I have to support the Tor project. So I decided to put my latest SE Linux Play Machine online as a Tor hidden service. There is no real need for it to be hidden (for the record it’s in my bedroom), but it’s a learning experience for me and for everyone who logs in.

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

    • White House Drone Crash Described as a U.S. Worker’s Drunken Lark

      It was 42 degrees and raining lightly around 3 a.m. on Monday when an inebriated off-duty employee for a government intelligence agency decided it was a good time to fly his friend’s drone, a 2-foot-by-2-foot “quadcopter” that sells for hundreds of dollars and is popular among hobbyists.

      But officials say the plan was foiled, perhaps by wind or a tree, when the employee — who has not been named by the Secret Service or charged with a crime — lost control of the drone as he operated it from an apartment just blocks from the White House.

    • White House Threatened by Drones

      The official said the White House is taking urgent steps to protect itself from its association with the murderous state terror of the drone campaign. “We’re going to be stepping up the number of happy, peppy events we have at the White House,” he said, “and making sure they all have a very prominent ‘White House’ label. In the next few weeks, we’ll be having the ‘White House Sweet Ole Granny Quilting Bee’ featuring photogenic grannies from all over the country, and the ‘White House ‘Smores and More Weekend,’ where the President and Mrs. President will gather with kindergarten kids from across this great land of ours to make some simple, tasty picnic treats.

    • Drone crash at White House hints at worry

      So when a man said he was flying a drone for fun just after 3 a.m. in downtown Washington, D.C., and had an accidental crash-landing into a tree on the wrong side of one of the world’s most highly protected fences, he didn’t merely touch the famous property at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    • Of drone strikes: “Did we just kill a kid?”

      Brandon Bryant’s recent exposé of drone operations killing hundreds of innocent civilians during his service, which led to his post-traumatic stress and retirement, explains the dark side of the CIA led US drone operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

      Adding to Bryant’s shock and surprise, his peers believed that they had killed a dog and not a kid that day, and thus it was nothing to worry about.

      Bryant worked as a drone sensor operator for the USAF from 2006 to 2011, mainly operating from a dark container at a facility in New Mexico. But his oversight of these operations, where he became directly and indirectly responsible for the death of more than 1,000 people, nagged at his conscience forcing him to call it quits.

    • A conference considers the morality of drones

      A Notre Dame University law professor says the legal and moral issues related to the U.S. government’s use of unmanned drones to kill individuals in war zones could be more difficult than similar issues on torture.

    • Trust Reality Rather Than President Obama’s Words on Drones

      A message to President Obama: saying something does not make it so. How does killing people, so many of them innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever, with missiles launched from drones by “pilots” thousands of miles away, demonstrate respect for human dignity and the application of “proper” constraints?

      Let’s consider all the ways in which Obama’s drone assassination program undermines “human dignity” and lacks proper constraints. To do so, one need only consider the many reports that have been entered into the public record by United Nations Special Rapporteurs, human rights organizations, and academic institutions.

      In May 2010, Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council. In his report, Alston noted that some states, including the U.S., had adopted targeted killing policies, which they have justified as necessary for fighting terrorism. According to Alston, “In the legitimate struggle against terrorism, too many criminal acts have been re-characterized so as to justify addressing them within the framework of the law of armed conflict.”

    • Drones and the New Ethics of War

      Over the past decade, the United States has manufactured more than 6000 drones of various kinds. 160 of these are Predators, which are used not only in Afghanistan but also in countries officially at peace with the US, such as Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. In Pakistan, CIA drones carry out on average of one strike every four days. Although exact figures of fatalities are difficult to establish, the estimated number of deaths between 2004 and 2012 vary from 2562 to 3325.

    • Kathy Kelly: My Future In Prison

      The Bureau of Prisons contacted me Friday, assigning me a prison number and a new address: for the next 90 days, beginning Saturday I’ll live at FMC Lexington, in the satellite prison camp for women, adjacent to Lexington’s Federal Medical Center for Men. Very early Saturday morning, Buddy Bell, Cassandra Dixon, and Paco and Silver, two house guests whom we first met in protests on South Korea’s Jeju Island, traveled with me to Kentucky and deliver me to the prison gates.

      In December, 2014, Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three months in federal prison after Georgia Walker and I had attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander of Whiteman Air Force Base, asking him to stop his troops from piloting lethal drone flights over Afghanistan from within the base. Judge Whitworth allowed me over a month to surrender myself to prison; but whether you are a soldier or a civilian, a target or an unlucky bystander, you can’t surrender to a drone.

    • Jordan Agrees to Prisoner Swap with the Islamic State

      The Jordanian government has agreed to release a female prisoner in exchange for the freeing of an air force pilot captured by militants in Syria a month ago. The Islamic State had threatened to kill the pilot and a kidnapped Japanese journalist if the prisoner, Sajida al-Rishawi, was not released. She had been facing a death sentence for her role in a 2005 attack on three hotels in Amman that killed more than 57 people.

    • Grade 6 student killed by U.S. drone strike in Yemen, rights group says
    • Suspected US Drone Strikes On Al Qaeda In Yemen Continue After President Hadi’s Resignation

      The U.S. reportedly killed three al Qaeda members in a drone strike Monday, the first strike on militants since Yemen’s U.S.-backed president resigned last week, according to Reuters. The strike is a sign that the U.S. air campaign in Yemen will continue without the blessing of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was a leading U.S. partner against the militant group.

    • The Ghastly, Remotely Piloted, Robotic Reaper Drone

      The MQ9 Reaper – now deployed 24/7 over Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere – makes killing too easy. It makes war easier to initiate and perpetuate. US drone wars are started with little or no public awareness or support – and with little apparent stake in the game. The weaponized drone cheapens honor. It cheapens life.

    • Disillusioned by War, Israeli Soldiers Muted in 1967 Are Given Fuller Voice

      A young Israeli soldier, fresh from the front, bluntly recounts the orders from above. “They never said, ‘Leave no one alive,’ but they said, ‘Show no mercy,’ ” he explains. “The brigade commander said to kill as many as possible.”

      Another recalls encountering Arabs on rooftops. “They’re civilians — should I kill them or not?” he asks himself. “I didn’t even think about it. Just kill! Kill everyone you see.” And a third makes it personal: “All of us — Avinoam, Zvika, Yitzhaki — we’re not murderers. In the war, we all became murderers.”

    • Attack on Israeli Soldiers ‘Most Serious Flare-Up in Years’–if Arab Deaths Aren’t Taken Seriously

      More details come in the 12th paragraph: The January 18 airstrike “killed five fighters from Hezbollah, including the son of the group’s slain military commander, Imad Mughniyeh, and an Iranian general.” So that’s a more serious flare-up, right? Assuming that we’re not defining the seriousness of an attack based on the nationality of those killed, that is.

      But the New York Times is seemingly able to forget about the Israeli attack moments after it mentions it: “The flare-up shattered a fragile calm that has mostly held along the frontier since the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.” Mostly–aside from that Israeli airstrike that killed six people ten days ago.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • How to Leak to The Intercept

      People often tell reporters things their employers, or their government, want to keep suppressed. But leaking can serve the public interest, fueling revelatory and important journalism.

    • FBI: Give Me Back My Email to WikiLeaks

      Back in the solidarity movements of the 1980s, activists were encouraged to apply for our FBI files under the Freedom of Information Act.

      Nobody expected the FBI to tell the truth about what it had. It was intended as a protest of the FBI’s spying on activists.

      I applied. Eventually, I got back a letter from the FBI, saying: “We have no records responsive to your request.” Everybody said, that doesn’t mean anything, the FBI lies.

    • Though Feds Allegedly Embarrassed by Wikileaks Case, Ongoing Probe Means Journalism Could Still Be Indicted

      “The US attorney’s office thought the notice and the resulting publicity was a disaster for them,” Gidari said. The Perkins Coie partner added that federal prosecutors at the US Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Va. “went through the roof” after the name of assistant US Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick was published.

      A spokesperson for the federal prosecutor’s office did not respond to The Post’s request for comment because the investigation of Wikileaks is ongoing, the spokesperson said. Gidari said that Google is still fighting gag orders on subpoenas “to the present.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Good News! US Corporations Won’t Have to Pay for Nuclear Disasters in India

      “US, India Move Forward on Nuclear Energy Deal” read the headline at the top of USA Today’s front page (1/26/15). Moving forward–that sounds good, doesn’t it? The subhead was “Obama makes progress on the 1st day of his 3-day visit”–making progress also generally being seen as a good thing.

    • STUDY: How Broadcast Networks Covered Climate Change In 2014

      Broadcast Networks Provided The Most Climate Coverage In Five Years. During 2014, the major broadcast networks’ evening and Sunday news programs aired a total of 154 minutes of coverage of climate change. This was an increase from the previous year’s 129 minutes and was significantly above the six-year average of about 108 minutes, but remained below the 205 minutes of coverage in 2009.

  • Finance

    • Yanis Varoufakis: Greece’s finance minister is no extremist

      Syriza, a hard left party, that outrightly rejects EU-imposed austerity, has given Greek politics its greatest electoral shake-up in at least 40 years.

      You might expect the man who now occupies the role of finance minister to be a radical zealot, who could throw Greece into the fire.

      He is not.

      Yanis Varoufakis, the man at the core of the coalition Syriza has forged, is obviously a man of the left.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Calls for ISPs to filter content could be illegal, EU council documents suggest

      Last week justice ministers from across the European Union called on ISPs to conduct voluntary censorship of online content—but documents in preparation for a meeting of telecoms ministers suggest such a move could be illegal.

      The documents, prepared by the Latvian presidency of the Council of the EU, note that calls to allow Internet service providers to block or filter content in the “public interest” as part of a proposed net neutrality law could violate privacy laws that protect the confidentiality of communication.

    • Two weeks after Zuckerberg said ‘je suis Charlie,’ Facebook begins censoring images of prophet Muhammad

      Only two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a strongly worded #JeSuisCharlie statement on the importance of free speech, Facebook has agreed to censor images of the prophet Muhammad in Turkey — including the very type of image that precipitated the Charlie Hebdo attack.

    • Facebook Is Said to Block Pages Critical of Muhammad
    • The Petulant Entitlement Syndrome of Journalists

      Blogs, and online political activism generally, changed all of that. Though they tried – hard – these journalists simply could not ignore the endless stream of criticisms directed at them. Everywhere they turned – their email inboxes, the comment sections to their columns, Q-and-A sessions at their public appearances, Google searches of their names, email campaigns to their editors – they were confronted for the first time with aggressive critiques, with evidence that not everyone adored them and some even held them in contempt (Chait’s bizarre belief that “PC” culture thrived in the early 1990s and then disappeared until recently is, like his whole grievance, explained by his personal experience: he heard these critiques while a student at the University of Michigan, then was shielded from all of it during most of the years he wrote at The New Republic, and now hears it again due to blogs and social media).

  • Privacy

    • EU’s ‘Counter-Terrorism Co-ordinator’ Finally Says It: Force Internet Companies To Hand Over Their Crypto Keys

      Although calls to ban or backdoor encryption have been made in the past, David Cameron’s rather vague threats against crypto clearly mark the start of a new, concerted campaign to weaken online privacy. Thanks to a leaked paper, written by the EU Counter-Terrorism Co-ordinator and obtained by Statewatch, we now have a clear statement of what the European authorities really want here (pdf)…

    • Facebook and Instagram are down right now

      A Facebook spokesperson said, “Earlier this evening many people had trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram. This was not the result of a third party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems. We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100% for everyone.”

    • No, Lizard Squad Was Not Responsible For Facebook Outage

      Contrary to suggestions hacker group Lizard Squad took out Facebook, there was almost certainly no attack on the social network and its photo sharing property Instagram, which both went down late last night. According to a source with knowledge of the matter, the downtime was the result of a technical foul up. Facebook is now confirming this in statements to media.

    • Secret ‘BADASS’ Intelligence Program Spied on Smartphones

      British and Canadian spy agencies accumulated sensitive data on smartphone users, including location, app preferences, and unique device identifiers, by piggybacking on ubiquitous software from advertising and analytics companies, according to a document obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The document, included in a trove of Snowden material released by Der Spiegel on January 17, outlines a secret program run by the intelligence agencies called BADASS. The German newsweekly did not write about the BADASS document, attaching it to a broader article on cyberwarfare. According to The Intercept‘s analysis of the document, intelligence agents applied BADASS software filters to streams of intercepted internet traffic, plucking from that traffic unencrypted uploads from smartphones to servers run by advertising and analytics companies.

    • CSE tracks millions of downloads daily: Snowden documents

      Harper government plans to introduce new legislation increasing the powers of Canada’s security agencies.

    • Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads

      Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents.

      The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files.

    • Canada’s electronic spy agency takes the lead on internet surveillance

      It’s never been clear exactly how Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC does its work. What kind of information does it gather? Who does it target? CBC’s Dave Seglins joins us to give us a rare glimpse into the operations of a part of the Canadian Government we know little about.

    • Canada Joins World Powers in Spying on Smartphone and Download Data

      In North America, the Canadians have long had to play country mouse to the flashier city mouse of the U.S. It’s the latter that gets all the attention, while the former sits quietly in a corner.

      But recent stories have shown just how big a player the Canadians are becoming—at least in the surveillance realm.

    • European counter-terror plan involves blanket collection of passengers’ data

      A new European commission counter-terror plan will require the blanket collection and storage for up to five years of personal data records of all passengers flying in and out of Europe, the Guardian can reveal.

      Civil liberty campaigners say the revised European passenger name record plan – in the aftermath of the Paris attacks – breaches a recent European court of justice ruling that blanket collection of personal data without detailed safeguards is a severe incursion on personal privacy.

    • BlackPwn: BlackPhone SilentText Type Confusion Vulnerability

      Privacy is a hot topic at the moment – it continues to dominate the headlines as news of new NSA incursions, celebrity phone hacks, and corporate breaches are being reported on an increasingly regular basis. In response to this, a number of products have been brought to market that attempt to provide consumers with a greater level of privacy than typical devices allow for. In the phone market, one of the premier products to be released in recent years is undoubtedly the BlackPhone (http://www.blackphone.ch), which has been cited numerous times in tech publications as being one of the best available defenses against mass surveillance, as it provides full end-to-end encryption facilities for voice calls and text/MMS messaging.

    • Everything we know of NSA and Five Eyes malware

      Several documents released by Der Spiegel and The Intercept in the last year demonstrate that the exploitation and infiltration of computers often complements the “passive” collection by providing entrance into systems and networks that would otherwise be invisible to the mass surveillance infrastructure. The separation between mass and targeted surveillance is becoming blurry as we learn of attacks against Internet Service Providers, of targeting of system administrators and systematic compromise of Internet routers.s

    • Infamous Regin malware linked to spy tools used by NSA, Five Eyes intelligence
    • Experts Unmask ‘Regin’ Trojan as NSA Tool

      Earlier this month, SPIEGEL International published an article based on the trove of documents made available by whistleblower Edward Snowden describing the increasingly complex digital weapons being developed by intelligence services in the US and elsewhere. Concurrently, several documents were published as well as the source code of a sample malware program called QWERTY found in the Snowden archive.

      For most readers, that source code was little more than 11 pages of impenetrable columns of seemingly random characters. But experts with the Russian IT security company Kaspersky compared the code with malware programs they have on file. What they found were clear similarities with an elaborate cyber-weapon that has been making international headlines since November of last year.

    • Report: Mass surveillance is counter-productive and “endangers human rights”
    • Google says it fought gag orders in WikiLeaks investigation

      Google has fought all gag orders preventing it from telling customers that their e-mails and other data were sought by the U.S. government in a long-running investigation of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which published leaked diplomatic cables and military documents, an attorney representing the tech firm said this week.

    • NSA Was Not the Only Government Agency to Spy on You

      A spokesman for the Justice Department claimed that the DEA’s data collection program was suspended in September 2013, has been terminated, and the data deleted. If true, that is rare good news in the field of civil liberties preservation; however, citizens should still be alert for other unconstitutional or illegal government behavior originating from bureaucratic incentives to exploit people’s excessive fear of being killed by the rare terrorist attack.

    • America’s surveillance state, part 3 – the press versus the NSA

      We begin at The New York Times, widely considered America’s most powerful newspaper. Its office near Manhattan’s Times Square is a symbol of the power of the influential media outlet, which often sets the political agenda and tells us what’s important.

    • Former FBI assistant director: to keep budgets high, we must ‘Keep Fear Alive’

      In the context of an interview about a case in which a paid FBI informant is alleged to have offered destitute men a quarter of a million dollars to execute an attack, a former assistant director of the FBI admits it’s in the bureau’s best interest to inflate the supposed terror threat. That’s remarkably candid, and profoundly disturbing.

    • Source code reveals link between NSA and Regin cyberespionage malware

      Keylogging malware that may have been used by the NSA shares signficant portions of code with a component of Regin, a sophisticated platform that has been used to spy on businesses, government institutions and private individuals for years.

      The keylogger program, likely part of an attack framework used by the U.S. National Security Agency and its intelligence partners, is dubbed QWERTY and was among the files that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked to journalists. It was released by German news magazine Der Spiegel on Jan. 17 along with a larger collection of secret documents about the malware capabilities of the NSA and the other Five Eyes partners—the intelligence agencies of the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    • NSA ‘suspected of spying on European Commission’

      Computer malware used in cyber attacks on European Commission and International Atomic Agency developed by the US National Security Agency, Germany’s Spiegel magazine claims

    • NSA gunning for Google, wants cop-spotting dropped from Waze app

      The US National Sheriffs’ Association wants Google to block its crowd-sourced traffic app Waze from being able to report the position of police officers, saying the information is putting officer’s lives at risk.

      “The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action,” AP reports Sheriff Mike Brown, the chairman of the NSA’s technology committee, told the association’s winter conference in Washington.

    • EFF details plan to end NSA online surveillance once and for all
    • The EFF outlines how to bring the NSA to its knees
    • Edward Snowden Wins ‘Debate’ With NSA Lawyer

      At a public event last week, Edward Snowden argued that the NSA has developed a “culture of impunity,” that its people “are not villains, but they think they can do anything because it is for a just cause.” John DeLong, an NSA Director, responded that “the idea that NSA activities were unauthorized is wrong, it’s wrong in a magnificent way.”

    • New Rules in China Upset Western Tech Companies

      The Chinese government has adopted new regulations requiring companies that sell computer equipment to Chinese banks to turn over secret source code, submit to invasive audits and build so-called back doors into hardware and software, according to a copy of the rules obtained by foreign technology companies that do billions of dollars’ worth of business in China.

    • Happy Data Privacy Day From The NSA! Twitter Users Respond To Agency’s Wishes
    • Documents Show N.S.A.’s Wiretap Moves Before Congress’s Approval

      A federal judge ruled in 2007 that the U.S.A. Patriot Act empowered the National Security Agency to collect foreigners’ emails and phone calls from domestic networks without prior judicial approval, newly declassified documents show.

      The documents — two rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — fill in a chapter in the history of the N.S.A.’s warrantless surveillance program. They show the agency’s secret moves in the months before Congress authorized the spying by enacting the Protect America Act in August 2007.

      The disclosure also brought into public view a previously unknown example of how the surveillance court, which hears arguments only from the government before issuing secret rulings, sometimes accepts novel interpretations of the law to bless government requests for spying powers.

    • No, Department of Justice, 80 Percent of Tor Traffic Is Not Child Porn

      “Tor obviously was created with good intentions, but it’s a huge problem for law enforcement,” Caldwell said in comments reported by Motherboard and confirmed to me by others who attended the conference. “We understand 80 percent of traffic on the Tor network involves child pornography.”

      That statistic is horrifying. It’s also baloney.

      In a series of tweets that followed Caldwell’s statement, a Department of Justice flack said Caldwell was citing a University of Portsmouth study WIRED covered in December. He included a link to our story. But I made clear at the time that the study claimed 80 percent of traffic to Tor hidden services related to child pornography, not 80 percent of all Tor traffic.

      That is a huge, and important, distinction. The vast majority of Tor’s users run the free anonymity software while visiting conventional websites, using it to route their traffic through encrypted hops around the globe to avoid censorship and surveillance. But Tor also allows websites to run Tor, something known as a Tor hidden service. This collection of hidden sites, which comprise what’s often referred to as the “dark web,” use Tor to obscure the physical location of the servers that run them. Visits to those dark web sites account for only 1.5 percent of all Tor traffic, according to the software’s creators at the non-profit Tor Project.

    • Marco Rubio Wants to Permanently Extend NSA Mass Surveillance

      Republican Rep. Justin Amash, in reference to this story, tweeted “disqualified.” His office would not clarify what the Michigan libertarian meant by the tweet.

    • Congressman Calls For 24-Hour NSA Surveillance of Marco Rubio

      Colorado Congressman: if Marco Rubio wants to declare permanent surveillance of Americans forever, he should be the first volunteer

    • Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, Berlin 2015

      Last week in Ber­lin the 2015 Sam Adams Award for Integ­rity in Intel­li­gence was presen­ted to the former Tech­nical Dir­ector of the NSA, whis­tleblower and tire­less pri­vacy advoc­ate, Wil­liam Bin­ney.

      A 36-year intel­li­gence agency vet­eran, Bill Bin­ney resigned from the NSA in 2001 and became a whis­tleblower after dis­cov­er­ing that ele­ments of a data-monitoring pro­gramme he had helped develop were being used to spy on Amer­ic­ans. He explained that he “could not stay after the NSA began pur­pose­fully viol­at­ing the Constitution”.

  • Civil Rights

    • Five Years After: Long Live Howard Zinn

      Today—Jan. 27—marks five years since the death of the great historian and activist Howard Zinn. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what Howard would say about something—the growth of the climate justice movement, #BlackLivesMatter, the new Selma film, the killings at the Charlie Hebdo offices. No doubt, he would be encouraged by how many educators are engaging students in thinking critically about these and other issues.

      Zinn is best known, of course, for his beloved A People’s History of the United States, arguably the most influential U.S. history textbook in print. “That book will knock you on your ass,” as Matt Damon’s character says in the film Good Will Hunting. But Zinn did not merely record history, he made it: as a professor at Spelman College in the 1950s and early 1960s, where he was ultimately fired for his outspoken support of students in the Civil Rights Movement, and specifically the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); as a critic of the U.S. war in Vietnam, and author of the first book calling for an immediate U.S. withdrawal; and as author of numerous books on war, peace, and popular struggle. Zinn was speaking and educating new generations of students and activists right up until the day he died.

    • Prosecutors promise thorough probe of police killing of teen

      Jose Castaneda, center, speaks about his cousin who was killed in an incident with Denver Police as activists Rev. Patrick Demmer, left, and Anthony Grimes lsten before heading into a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, with officials from the office of the Denver District Attorney. The activists are calling for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old girl who allegedly hit and injured a Denver Police Department officer while driving a stolen vehicle early Monday in a northeast Denver alleyway. Photo: David Zalubowski, AP

    • Cop who stole nude pics off arrested women’s phones gets no jail time

      A now-former California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who was charged with criminal felony charges after seizing and distributing racy photos copied from arrestees’ phones has pleaded no contest and will serve no jail time.

      Sean Harrington’s plea deal, which was finalized on Tuesday, means that he receives a 180-day suspended sentence, three years of felony probation, and according to local media accounts “must also speak at a community violence solutions class to tell everyone what he did.” Harrington resigned from the CHP last year after the charges were filed.

    • Police Department Refuses To Release Use Of Force Policies Because ‘Criminals Might Gain An Advantage’

      Last month, dashcam video of a 23-year-old (Victoria) Texas cop throwing a 76-year-old man to the ground and tasing him emerged, leading to plenty of outrage across the web. The imagined “crime” was the lack of an inspection sticker on the vehicle the elderly man was driving. Of course, had the officer known the law, he would have known that inspection stickers aren’t needed on vehicles with dealer plates — something that could have been confirmed by anyone inside the car dealership where the incident occurred.

    • Ecuador recommends Sweden to advance on human rights: Assange case

      The Ecuadorian government recommended Sweden in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Human Rights to advance in the defense and protection of human rights, particularly in the case of Australian computer expert Julian Assange, asylee over two years in his diplomatic mission in London.

    • CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Convicted of Espionage

      Investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler says Sterling faces decades in prison for leaking details of a botched CIA operation against Iran’s nuclear program

    • Senator slams CIA panel conclusions on Hill spying

      The former chair of the Senate Intelligence committee excoriated a report on the CIA’s searches of computers used by her staff as riddled with “mistakes and omissions.”

      In a statement Tuesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein rejected the CIA accountability board’s conclusions that five agency personnel shouldn’t be penalized for searching computers used by her staff to compile a scathing report on the torture of detainees.

      “The bottom line is that the CIA accessed a Senate Intelligence Committee computer network without authorization, in clear violation of a signed agreement…,” said Feinstein, reiterating an assertion that the searches violated “the constitutional separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch.”

    • Torture If You Must, But Do Not Under Any Circumstances Call the New York Times

      Monday’s guilty verdict in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on espionage charges — for talking to a newspaper reporter — is the latest milepost on the dark and dismal path Barack Obama has traveled since his inaugural promises to usher in a “new era of openness.”

      Far from rejecting the authoritarian bent of his presidential predecessor, Obama has simply adjusted it, adding his own personal touches, most notably an enthusiasm for criminally prosecuting the kinds of leaks that are essential to a free press.

      The Sterling case – especially in light of Obama’s complicity in the cover-up of torture during the Bush administration – sends a clear message to people in government service: You won’t get in trouble as long as you do what you’re told (even torture people). But if you talk to a reporter and tell him something we want kept secret, we will spare no effort to destroy you.

      There’s really no sign any more of the former community organizer who joyously declared on his first full day in office that “there’s been too much secrecy in this city… Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but those who seek to make it known.”

    • Horizon scanners cannot save Jeremy Heywood from MPs’ well-aimed flak

      Head of civil service questioned about delays to Chilcot inquiry and accused of letting prime minister pressurise him

    • Noam Chomsky discusses terrifying “American Sniper” mentality

      Noam Chomsky discussed the film “American Sniper” at an event held by the Baffler, last week in Cambridge, Mass. The noted linguist, philosopher and political commentator discussed the film, and drew comparisons with the mentality of Chris Kyle (the American sniper whose memoirs are the basis of the film), that of drone operators, and the American public for ignoring the drone war.

      “In the memoirs he describes what the experience was like, so I’ll quote him,” Chomsky said. “His first kill was a woman, who walked into the street with a grenade in her hand as the Marines attacked her village. Chris Kyle killed her with a single shot, and he explains how he felt about it.”

    • ‘American Sniper’ – Evidence of the Swamp of Moral Depravity in Which America Is Sinking

      The swamp of moral depravity in which America is sinking is illustrated by a movie glorifying the exploits of a racist killer, American Sniper, receiving six Oscar nominations, while a movie depicting the historic struggle against racism led by Martin Luther King, Selma, has been largely overlooked.

      Directed by Clint Eastwood, American Sniper tells the story of Chris Kyle, a US Navy Seal who served four tours of duty in Iraq and was credited with 160 confirmed ‘kills’, earning him the honour of being lauded the most lethal sniper in US military history

    • American Sniper illustrates the west’s morality blind spots

      Say what you like about the film American Sniper, and people have, you have to admire its clarity. It’s about killing. There is no moral arc; no anguish about whether the killing is necessary or whether those who are killed are guilty of anything. “I’m prepared to meet my maker and answer for every shot I took,” says Bradley Cooper, who plays the late Chris Kyle, a navy Seal who was reputedly the deadliest sniper in American history. There is certainly no discursive quandary about whether the Iraq war, in which the killing takes place, is either legal or justified. “I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the Iraqis,” wrote Kyle in his memoir, where he refers to the local people as “savages”.

    • Ventura won’t see ‘American Sniper’; says Kyle is no hero

      Ventura also dismissed the movie as propaganda because it conveys the false idea that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. “It’s as authentic as ‘Dirty Harry,’” he said, referring to fictional movie series starring Clint Eastwood, the director of “American Sniper.”

    • Arab-American Group Asks ‘American Sniper’ Star And Director To Denounce Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

      A pro-Islam group says that Clint Eastwood’s new film “American Sniper” is partially responsible for a recent rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric online since the film premiered.

      Members of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee penned a letter to director Clint Eastwood and the film’s star Bradley Cooper to express their concern that the war film has lead to an increase in threats against Muslim people.

      In the letter, members of the ADC claim that the “majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper.” The organization also says they’ve collected “hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers” on social media since the film’s release.

    • Does ‘American Sniper’ take aim at the truth?

      It is easy to understand how these movies were denied any support from the Pentagon. Besides showing the determination of the enemy, they also showed American soldiers committing suicide, fratricide and mass killings of civilians. Aeschylus said, “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

    • Lay down war toys

      No more drones sent to slaughter whoever happens to be the target, and then some.

    • Stop Flipping Out Because Old People Have Sex

      For years now we’ve heard about randy grandparents getting nasty in the old folks home. Yet studies of septuagenarian sex continue to make the news as if it’s weird, shocking or gross.

      It’s blatant ageism against the canasta class.

      Yet another study, reported on by the Huffington Post, confirms what we already know: The elderly continue to have sex. This particular study claims significance because it’s the “first piece of research of its kind to include people over the age of 80.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XLIX

      New leaks show how transatlantic regulatory bodies will undermine EU and national sovereignty

01.27.15

Links 27/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Dell Precision With GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 7:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Finland’s million dollar list: an open source guide to the country’s startup investors

    As a result, Finland’s government has invested heavily in the country’s startup scene, resulting in some major post-Nokia success stories such as billion dollar startups Rovio and Supercell.

  • Security

    • Facebook denies outage due to Lizard Squad hack

      The Lizard Squad hackers’ group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s outage on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook officials, however, denied it was a hack attack, saying it occurred after they introduced a change affecting configuration systems.

    • Why screen lockers on X11 cannot be secure

      Today we released Plasma 5.2 and this new release comes with two fixes for security vulnerabilities in our screen locker implementation. As I found, exploited, reported and fixed these vulnerabilities I decided to put them a little bit into context.

      The first vulnerability concerns our QtQuick user interface for the lock screen. Through the Look and Feel package it was possible to send the login information to a remote location. That’s pretty bad but luckily also only a theoretical problem: we have not yet implemented a way to install new Look and Feel packages from the Internet. So we found the issue before any harm was done.

    • Now-Closed KDE Vulnerabilities Remind Us X11 Screen Locks / Screensavers Are Insecure
    • Tuesday’s security updates
  • Transparency Reporting

    • Google Secretly Gave WikiLeaks Data To US Government

      Incident happened almost three years ago but gag order on Google kept the search giant silent

      Google handed over data belonging to WikiLeaks to the US Government, but was not allowed to tell the group for almost three years.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • ‘Profiteering’ care agency ‘took money’ from workers

      A “profiteering” care agency took hundreds of pounds from low-paid carers who were desperate for work, a BBC London investigation has found.

      HCA Professionals, based in Barking, east London, promised carers jobs if they paid for unnecessary and “highly unprofessional” training.

      Criminal record checks were charged for but not submitted and work did not materialise, but cash was not returned.

      The company, run by Chris Rigland, denies all wrongdoing.

    • Improbable as It May Seem to WaPo, Greek Voters Doubt Austerity Is Required

      Witte ends his article with Greek economist George Pagoulatos warning that Syriza’s voters “are not ready to accept the kind of compromise that the situation requires.” Witte describes Pagoulatos as “a former government adviser,” but doesn’t note that the governments he advised presided over some of the worst economic performance in Greece’s history, from November 2011 to June 2012. Perhaps voters might be forgiven for being skeptical of the benefits of the kind of compromises that Pagoulatos thinks are required (Beat the Press, 1/25/15).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Race For Rupert Murdoch’s Endorsement

      The race for Rupert Murdoch’s endorsement is on as potential presidential candidates line up to seek political support from the owner of Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.

      Murdoch has long been a major political player whose media companies play a substantial role shaping the debate. Last year he declared that Fox News had “absolutely saved” the Republican Party by giving “voice and hope to people who didn’t like all that liberal championing thrown at them on CNN.” Prominent politicians on the national and international stage regularly seek out Murdoch’s opinion and approval.

    • The Kochs Will Spend $1 Billion on the 2016 Elections, but Deny It

      The political network organized by Charles and David Koch plans to spend an incredible $889 million to capture the White House in 2016 and deepen the Koch party’s bench in Congress. But that’s not what they’ll tell federal regulators.

  • Censorship

    • Facebook complies with Turkey page block order

      The BBC has learned that Facebook has complied with a Turkish court order demanding the blocking of a page it said offended the Prophet Muhammad.

      If the social media platform had refused, the court had threatened to block access to the entire site.

      The site is believed to have around 40 million members in Turkey.

    • TalkTalk forces porn filter choice

      TalkTalk says customers who have not yet chosen whether to activate net filters must opt out of its safety system if they wish to continue viewing adult material online.

  • Privacy

    • FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers

      The Drug Enforcement Administration has initiated a massive national license plate reader program with major civil liberties concerns but disclosed very few details, according to new DEA documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act.

      The DEA is currently operating a National License Plate Recognition initiative that connects DEA license plate readers with those of other law enforcement agencies around the country. A Washington Post headline proclaimed in February 2014 that the Department of Homeland Security had cancelled its “national license-plate tracking plan,” but all that was ended was one Immigrations and Customs Enforcement solicitation for proposals. In fact, a government-run national license plate tracking program already exists, housed within the DEA. (That’s in addition to the corporate license plate tracking database run by Vigilant Solutions, holding billions of records about our movements.) Since its inception in 2008, the DEA has provided limited information to the public on the program’s goals, capabilities and policies. Information has trickled out over the years, in testimony here or there. But far too little is still known about this program.

    • WikiLeaks threatens legal action against Google and US after email revelations

      WikiLeaks is fighting back in an escalating war with both Google and the US government, threatening legal action the day after demanding answers for the tech giant’s wholesale handover of its staffers’ Gmail contents to US law enforcement.

      The targets of the investigation were not notified until two and a half years after secret search warrants were issued and served by the FBI, legal representatives for WikiLeaks said in a press conference on Monday.

    • Argentine president seeks to dissolve spy agency after murky death of state prosecutor

      President Cristina Fernandez plans to disband Argentina’s intelligence agency amid suspicions that rogue agents were behind the mysterious death of a state prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.

      In her first televised address since Alberto Nisman was found dead with a single bullet to the head, Fernandez said on Monday night she would send Congress a bill creating a new security body that would be more transparent.

    • The TSA Wants To Read Your Facebook Posts And Check Out Your Purchases Before It Will Approve You For PreCheck

      The TSA is disappointed that so few Americans have opted out of its bottle-tossing, package-groping screenings by signing up for its PreCheck program. For a few years now, the TSA has been selling travelers’ civil liberties back to them, most recently for $85 a head, but it’s now making a serious push to increase participation. The TSA can’t do it alone, so it’s accepting bids on its PreCheck expansion proposal.

    • [tor-talk] surveillance discussion in Finland

      Here is a very short summary of the surveillance discussion in Finland.

      Ministry of Defence of Finland published a report that proposes internet intelligence activities. The problem is that they also propose (Swedish FRA style) MITM to cross-border communication.

    • In Response to EFF Lawsuit, Government Ordered to Release Secret Surveillance Court Documents Today

      The government released two new FISC opinions this evening, both of which concern the transition of NSA surveillance to the oversight of the FISC in 2007. Neither of the two documents, available here and here, is the Raw Take order or the 2008 FAA order. The government has one additional production deadline in this case on March 2, 2015.

    • Lords should drop the Snooper’s Charter and let the parties set out their views at the election

      Yesterday’s Lords debate ended up with the future of the Snooper’s Charter amendments uncertain, after considerable criticism of both the process and the principle of reintroducing the Communications Data Bill into the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill. Further debate on the amendments may come back at the report stage of the Bill.

    • EFF’s Game Plan for Ending Global Mass Surveillance

      We have a problem when it comes to stopping mass surveillance.

      The entity that’s conducting the most extreme and far-reaching surveillance against most of the world’s communications—the National Security Agency—is bound by United States law.

    • Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report

      Europe’s top rights body has said mass surveillance practices are a fundamental threat to human rights and violate the right to privacy enshrined in European law.

      The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe says in a report that it is “deeply concerned” by the “far-reaching, technologically advanced systems” used by the US and UK to collect, store and analyse the data of private citizens. It describes the scale of spying by the US National Security Agency, revealed by Edward Snowden, as “stunning”.

    • U.S. Spies on Millions of Cars

      The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.

  • Civil Rights

    • Dwindling group of survivors to mark Auschwitz 70 years on

      A decade ago, 1,500 Holocaust survivors traveled to Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the death camp’s liberation. On Tuesday, for the 70th anniversary, organizers are expecting 300, the youngest in their 70s.

    • Auschwitz 70th anniversary: Survivors mark camp liberation

      About 300 Auschwitz survivors have gathered at the site of the former Nazi death camp to mark the 70th anniversary of its liberation.

      The commemoration will be held at the site in southern Poland where 1.1 million people, the vast majority Jews, were killed between 1940 and 1945.

      It is expected to be the last major anniversary event that survivors are able to attend in considerable numbers.

      [...]

      On the eve of the anniversary, German Chancellor Angela Merkel drew attention to discrimination against Jews in contemporary Europe, saying it was a “disgrace” that Jews faced insults, threats and violence in Germany.

      “We’ve got to fight anti-Semitism and all racism from the outset,” she said at a memorial event in Berlin.

      “We’ve got to constantly be on guard to protect our freedom, democracy and rule of law.”

    • Jury Convicts Former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling of Leaking to Journalist & Violating Espionage Act

      Jesselyn Radack, a Justice Department whistleblower, attorney and director of the Government Accountability Project’s National Security and Human Rights Division, reacted, “It is a new low in the war in whistleblowers and government hypocrisy that CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling was convicted in a purely circumstantial case of ‘leaking.’ It shows how far an embarrassed government will go to punish those who dare to commit the truth.”

    • C.I.A. Officer Is Found Guilty in Leak Tied to Times Reporter

      The conviction is a significant victory for the Obama administration, which has conducted an unprecedented crackdown on officials who speak to journalists about security matters without the administration’s approval. Prosecutors prevailed after a yearslong fight in which the reporter, James Risen, refused to identify his sources.

    • Jeffrey Sterling, ex-CIA officer, convicted of leaking secrets to reporter

      A former CIA officer was convicted Monday of leaking classified details of an operation to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions to a New York Times reporter.

      Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/26/deliberation-to-reach-third-day-in-cia-leak-case/#ixzz3Q1X5Pwhm
      Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

    • Jury convicts CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling on all nine counts including espionage

      I’m not surprised the jury found Sterling guilty of some of the charges: of leaking Risen information on Merlin and the operation he was involved in, and of retaining and then leaking Risen a document involved in that. The government multiplied the charges for both the 2003 New York Times story (at which point, Sterling and Risen had only spoken for two minutes and 40 seconds) and the 2006 book (by which point they had had more lengthy discussions), such that each leak amounted to multiple charges. In addition, the jury convicted Sterling of passing government property worth over $1,000, and of obstruction of justice.

    • Bad week for press freedoms in North America

      Also this week, reports emerged showing that a Mexican mayor ordered a cop to kill a journalist he didn’t like; the “officer said they decapitated the journalist, mutilated his body and abandoned it in a ravine.” The journalist and social justice activist had been reporting about government corruption and killings. Now he’s dead and so cannot report on his own death at the hands of his government.

    • NUJ condemns US government’s communications data grab

      British citizen and investigations editor of Wikileaks, Sarah Harrison, has had all her emails and digital data handed over to the US government by Google. It took two and a half years to provide the details and the delay has potentially limited her ability to challenge the communications data grab.

    • ‘Attack on journalism’: WikiLeaks responds to Google’s cooperation with US govt

      Google’s willingness to surrender the private emails of WikiLeaks staffers to the United States government amounts to an “attack on journalism,” a representative for the whistleblower group says.

      Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic journalist who joined WikiLeaks as the group’s spokesman in 2010, said he’s “appalled” that Google gave up his personal correspondence and other sensitive details to the US government in compliance with a search warrant served to the tech giant, apparently in an effort to bring charges against the anti-secrecy organization and its editor, Julian Assange.

    • Single rose left at station in memory of teen shot by Longview police

      A single rose was left in front of the Longview police station on Cotton Street in memory of the teenager shot Thursday night.

      Investigators say the woman, identified as Kristiana Cognard, 17, of Longview, walked in the front doors of the empty lobby and made her way to the after-hours assistance phone.

      “We don’t know how she got here,” said Longview police officer Kristie Brian.

      After hours the police lobby is closed and all the windows are shut down. Police say Coignard came up to the courtesy phone and was connected to dispatch who then sent officers out to her.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • More Than Three Billion People Worldwide Now Have Broadband

      We Are Social report shows 20 percent increase in broadband Internet users throughout 2014

    • Tomorrow Is Move Your Domain Day: Support The EFF And Get A Year For Free

      If you’ve been a Techdirt reader since the days of SOPA/PIPA, you probably know that Namecheap is a big supporter of a free and open internet, and was one of the first registrars to speak out against the bills. More recently, they’ve been big supporters of Techdirt directly, providing matching funds to our crowdfunding campaign for net neutrality reporting and sponsoring our sitewide switch to HTTPS. In October, they were one of only two companies that got a perfect score on the EFF’s ranking of service providers that stand up to copyright and trademark bullies, and many of us here at Techdirt use them for all our personal domain registration needs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Get Ready For Classic Songs Of The 50s & 60s To Disappear From Internet Streaming Thanks To Copyright Lawsuits

        Say goodbye to the musical hits of the 50s and 60s, if you like that sort of thing and listen via online services. Chances are they may start to disappear, as the places where you now get your streaming music realize they need to protect themselves against a possible massive liability. As we’ve covered for some time, there have been a few lawsuits filed recently over the licensing status of pre-1972 sound recordings. There’s a lot of history here, but a short explanation is that in 1909, when Congress redid copyright law, it didn’t think that sound recordings (then a relatively new concept) were copyrightable subject matter. Of course, in the years following that, as the “music business” turned into the “recording industry” pressure mounted by that industry led to a bunch of state regulations and common law creating copyright or copyright-like rights for sound recordings.

01.26.15

Links 26/1/2015: Debian 8.0 “Jessie” RC1, Linux Kernel 3.19 RC6

Posted in News Roundup at 4:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • OEMs Adapt To The Decline In The Market For PCs

      ACER, for instance, is even diversifying ChromeBooks, cranking out small, medium and large sizes.

      Meanwhile, Qualcomm is rumoured to be shipping a 14nm, 8-cored, LPDDR4 RAMed monster “for mobiles”, and other processors with clocks in the 2-2.5gHz range, in late 2015. If you don’t think desktops/notebooks/tablets/smartphones will all shine with such power, you are living in a deep hole. OEMs will find a way to integrate ARM into every aspect of IT. We are no longer living in a time when */Linux or ARM were just “barely good enough”. They are perfect for many purposes. Consumers want them. OEMs will supply them. Shipped by the millions, these new solutions will cost much less than Wintel’s monopolistic prices.

    • Intel’s Education Content Access Point for Schools Runs Ubuntu

      It’s been a long time since Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux has made big headlines in the education market. Thanks to Intel (INTC), however, the open source operating system may soon have a new presence in classrooms as part of the Intel Education Content Access Point.

    • Intel readying first NUC mini-desktop PC with Core i7 Broadwell processor
  • Server

    • CERN and NI Collaborate to Define the Future of LabVIEW Support for Linux 64-Bit

      NI (Nasdaq: NATI), the provider of solutions that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, announced a collaboration with CERN, an intergovernmental research organization building the world’s largest and most advanced scientific instruments. The objective is to push the standardization of all CERN control systems to Linux 64-bit OSs, with goals to boost system performance, design cost-effective distributed control systems and enlarge opportunities for small and medium enterprises with expertise in NI and open-source technologies.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE battery monitor

        In loosely related news, this old status is still valid. UMTS is stable-ish now but even though I saved the SIM’s PIN, KDE always displays a “SIM PIN unlock request” prompt after booting or hibernating. Once I enter that PIN, systemd tells me that a system policy prevents the change and wants my user password. If anyone knows how to get rid of that, I would also appreciate any pointers.

      • KDE Frameworks 5 based apps available in copr

        I have built RPM packages of some KDE applications frameworks branch, such as Konsole, Dolphin which are available in my copr. It is based on the Plasma-5.2 beta copr from Dan Vratil, you’d need to enable it first to pull dependencies. Packages are available for Fedora 20 and 21, i686 and x86_64 architectures.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MatchStick Hands-On: A Cheap Open Source Chromecast? Yes Please.

      Chromecast has largely caught on as a way to easily use services like Netflix on your computer. MatchStick is an open source HDMI stick for everyone who wants to use there TV for more than just watching movies.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Why I prefer Samsung Gear’s Tizen to Android Wear

          A few months ago our US Senior Editor Andrew Grush offered his praise of the Moto 360, having spent a month with it. Despite the quality of the writing itself, I took issue with the core of the content: that Android Wear is a suitable platform for wearables. I have to disagree, at least as things now stand. Android Wear seems fundamentally broken due to its being chained to Google Now and a smartphone, something not so true of Samsung’s Gear products, which run on Tizen.

      • Android

        • Google Project Ara Modules Will Be Compatible with BLOCKS Modular Smartwatch

          A while ago we talked about the BLOCKS modular smartwatch platform, which is built according to rules similar to Google’s Project Ara, an initiative that aims to build a smartphone made out of swappable modules.

        • Microsoft, Adobe beat open source developers to Android
        • Cyanogen CEO says he wants to ‘take Android away from Google’

          Cyanogen is one of the most popular open source Android variants, running on the OnePlus One and and available for all to tinker with on their own phone.

          But CEO Kirt McMaster has bigger plans. He hopes to build it into a full-fledged Android rival with its own app store and a more “open” structure that recalls the early days of Android.

        • Sony SmartWatch 3 Review: Android Wear’s First Generation Champion

          Sony is both early to the smartwatch game, and late at the same time. The SmartWatch 3 puts aside some of the lessons of Sony’s previous wearables, but manages to learn some valuable lessons from the competition.

        • Conjuring Android’s best features

          GOOGLE’S LATEST ANDROID mobile operating system is incredibly powerful. Many of us don’t come close to touching its potential capabilities.

        • Google Updates Its Android Compatibility Definition Document For Lollipop

          Google’s compatibility definition document (CDD) is meant to provide guidelines, requirements, and recommendations to Android device manufacturers who want their devices to be “compatible” with the latest release of Android, allowing them to pass Google’s Compatibility Test Suite.

        • Android Lollipop UK release date, new features and upgrades: When will my phone get Android Lollipop?

          When will your phone get Android Lollipop? The final version of Android 5.0 Lollipop was unveiled only in October, yet Android 5.1 Lollipop is rumoured to be on its way. Here’s what you need to know about Android Lollipop’s release date, design and new features – plus when your phone will get the upgrade. Also see: When will my phone get Android Lollipop?

        • Galaxy S5 Android Lollipop update coming to the U.S. as early as next week

          Proud (or otherwise) owners of the Samsung Galaxy S5 are lucky enough to be among the first ones with Samsung phones to get Android 5.0 Lollipop on a carrier device. The update has started rolling out about a week ago, and people all over the world, except in America, are reporting that the OTA is hitting their phones. Good for you! It seems that only European and some Asian countries are getting the Galaxy S5 Android Lollipop update as of yet, but that means that the U.S. should follow soon.

        • This man wants to be Google’s new worst nightmare

          Android is the most popular operating system in the world, but can it be freed from Google’s clutches? Android Authority reports that Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster last week spoke at a special event dedicated to the “Next Phase of Android” and he revealed that his company has a plan to decouple Android from Google and make it the truly open-source mobile platform the world has been waiting for.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source software for quantum information

    NIST is a world leader in quantum information research, harnessing the strange properties of quantum mechanics (nature’s instruction book for atoms, photons, and other microscopic systems) to vastly improve computational power, make secure communications systems, and affect many other applications. Quantum information products are already coming to market, with much greater impacts expected in the future.

  • What leadership and community look like at Opensource.com

    Our team celebrated during an afternoon last week that focused on the growth our readership has seen since 2010, but most importantly, an afternoon that recognized the tremendous work of the publication’s Project Lead and Community Manager, Jason Hibbets.

  • 30 community managers in open source to follow on Twitter

    Here, I’ve compiled a list of 30 community managers in open source you should follow on Twitter. All of them have tremendous experience. And there’s a good chance, if you’re going to this year’s Community Leadership Summit, you’ll get to meet many of them in person.

  • How open source can be a gateway to your next job

    By my observation, the demand for people in open source is at an all-time high. Open source technologies such as programming languages, libraries, and tools are now mainstream. Participating in an open source community can help you learn those tools, and when you go on job interviews you can not only discuss your shiny new degree, but you can point to things you’ve actually done that made a difference.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why Security May Be the Key Issue in the OpenStack Race

      Still. the competition going on between the remaining players is fierce, and it is becoming increasingly clear that security may be a giant differentiator in the OpenStack race. In fact, Red Hat’s Vice President of Customer Engagement and Experience, Marco Bill-Peter, recently made that issue plain in a blog post.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Portugal engineering lab: facts favour open source

      Open source should win. This type of software is more reliable, more stable and provides more flexibility than proprietary software, says João Marcelino, an engineer working for Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (National Laboratory for Civil Engineering, LNEC), a state-owned research and development institution. On top of that, the software lets organisations inspect and audit the code without restriction.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Time for IT jobs to be set aside for women

    With women accounting for only a fraction of people studying computer science, there have been calls for gender-related quotas for IT roles.

  • IT Jobs More Lucrative, but Wage Satisfaction Dips

    U.S. technology professionals earned an average salary of $89,450 last year, up two percent from 2013, according to IT jobs portal Dice’s annual salary survey.

  • Security

    • David Cameron says hoax call did not breach security

      David Cameron has said a hoax call he received from someone claiming to be taking part in a high level conference call, did not “breach security”.

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Digital Democracy? – Yes, Please; but Not Online Voting

      It is a sign of the times that the Speaker of the House of Commons – not the first person that comes to mind as being part of the digital age – has established a Digital Democracy Commission to look into ways to re-imagine democracy for the connected world. With one important exception – that concerning online voting – its recommendations are sensible and to be welcomed. What follows is a selection of some of the more relevant areas for the world of openness.

      [...]

      For what it is worth, this is my view too, and I regard it as deeply regrettable that an otherwise welcome report should choose to ignore such a clear and strongly-worded warning to avoid online voting completely until its many problems are sorted out. In particularly, setting a specific and imminent date for its introduction is premature and extremely foolish. I hope others join me in urging the authorities to ignore this particular recommendation, while accepting the others.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Google hands data to US Government in WikiLeaks espionage case

      The alleged offences are:

      Espionage: 18 U.S.C. § 793(d) – imprisonment up to 10 years
      Conspiracy to commit espionage: 18 U.S.C. § 793(g) – imprisonment up to 10 years
      The theft or conversion of property belonging to the United States government: 18 U.S.C. § 641 – imprisonment up to 10 years
      Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: 18 U.S.C. § 1030 – imprisonment up to 10 years
      (general) Conspiracy: 18 U.S.C. § 371 – imprisonment up to 5 years

    • The war on leaks has gone way too far when journalists’ emails are under surveillance

      The outrageous legal attack on WikiLeaks and its staffers, who are exercising their First Amendment rights to publish classified information in the public interest—just like virtually every other major news organization in this country—is an attack on freedom of the press itself, and it’s shocking that more people aren’t raising their voices (and pens, and keyboards) in protest.

    • Search Warrants Against WikiLeaks Staff: Justice Department, Google & US Media Silence Threaten Press Freedom

      The United States government served search warrants on Google in March 2012 and demanded that the company hand over data from WikiLeaks staff members for the purpose of an investigation into violations of the Espionage Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a larceny statute and a “conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States” statute.

      Sarah Harrison, investigations editor, Kristin Hrafnsson, spokesperson and Joseph Farrell, section editor, each had their accounts targeted.

      The warrants required the disclosure of: all contents of emails associated, “including stored or preserved copies of emails sent to and from the account, draft emails and deleted emails; all records or other information related to the identity of the account (associated phone numbers, IP addresses, types of services utilized, account status, log files, any credit or bank account numbers associated); all records or other information “stored at any time by an individual using the account; any communications the person had with Google.

    • [A bit older] Barrett Brown statement: ‘This is not the rule of law, it is the rule of law enforcement’
    • Where Are Silicon Valley’s Surveillance Whistleblowers?

      Last week, following the terrorist attacks in Paris, British Prime Minister David Cameron said—surprise!—that his government needed more power to monitor online communications. He went so far as to imply that encryption itself was a problem, and later said that American tech firms “have a social responsibility to fight the battle against terrorism.”

      There was an immediate backlash from tech commentators, who pointed out that Cameron’s “snoopers’ charter” makes little sense in light of recent high-profile data breaches. But the tech industry itself was noticeably quiet. Silicon Valley appears to be at a kind of crossroads: will it continue to be a silent (and occasionally paid-up) partner in government dragnet surveillance? Or will some of the people helping to facilitate this surveillance finally speak up?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • China’s 2015 GDP growth forecast at 6.8 pct: UBS

      China’s 2015 GDP growth forecast has been maintained at 6.8 percent, as further policy support and export recovery is expected to help bolster the sluggish economy, said UBS on Monday.

    • Greece, London, Scotland and Europe

      The citizens of the United Kingdom gave 45,000 pounds each, every man woman and child of them, direct to the bankers in bailouts. We will be paying off that money in taxes – with vast sums in interest to the same bankers, from whom we borrowed virtual money they did not have, to give to them as real money – for generations to come. Quantitive easing gives yet more money to the bankers, cash in place of risky bonds they wish to dump.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Saudi Dictator’s Death Shows NYT as Pawn of Power

      As Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept (1/23/15) observed, in addition to fomenting religious extremism and sectarianism, King Abdullah participated in various US crimes throughout the Middle East and encouraged the United States to commit more. George W. Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq relied upon secret, extensive Saudi military assistance (AP, 4/24/04). And a classified cable from the US embassy in Riyadh (Wikileaks, 4/20/08) noted “the king’s frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran.”

  • Censorship

    • Internet filters block websites of sex abuse charities

      The adult content filters being rolled out by some internet providers under a scheme championed by David Cameron are blocking the websites of businesses and charities and are a “distraction” for parents seeking to protect children from online pornography, claim campaigners.

      TalkTalk announced this weekend that it would follow Sky and become the second of the UK’s four major internet providers to roll out automatic filters for all its customers unless they specifically ask for them to be turned off. It plans to begin applying the blocks to all users’ accounts next month.

  • Privacy

    • UK Legislators Hoping To Rush Through New ‘Snooper’s Charter’ In The Wake Of The Charlie Hebdo Attacks

      The UK legislators, law enforcement agencies and intelligence services looking to expand the government’s surveillance programs got a big boost from the attack on Charlie Hebdo. This violent attempt to place extremist religious ideology ahead of free speech was twisted by many into justification for expanded government powers. Prime Minister David Cameron even went so far as to suggest that no citizen’s communications should be beyond the government’s reach.

    • New Measures Against Terrorism: No Doublespeaking On Liberties!

      After the attacks of 7 and 9 January, French Prime Minister Valls announced this morning a series of measures to “fight against terrorism”. Given this long speech evoking increased information retention and surveillance, La Quadrature du Net recalls that many recent announcements prepare a further decline of civil liberties on the Internet, and calls for greater political and citizen alertness on the measures to be implemented.

    • ‘A very real violation of privacy,’ WikiLeaks editor says of Google email release

      WikiLeaks has accused Internet giant Google of handing over emails of the whistleblowing website’s senior staff to the US authorities – and keeping the release silent. DW talked to one of those staff about the release.

    • Chaos Computer Club contradicts EU, demands full encryption

      The leading German computer club has rejected EU anti-terror plans to tap online chatter, instead calling for all online communication to be encrypted. Politicians, meanwhile, are seeking ways to read encoded messages.

    • Counter-terrorism is supposed to let us live without fear. Instead, it’s creating more of it

      People think that catching terrorists is just a matter of finding them – but, just as often, terrorists are created by the people doing the chase.

      While making our film (T)ERROR, which tracks a single counter-terrorism sting operation over seven months, we realized that most people have serious misconceptions about FBI counter-terrorism efforts. They assume that informants infiltrate terrorist networks and then provide the FBI with information about those networks in order to stop terrorist plots from being carried out. That’s not true in the vast majority of domestic terrorism cases.

    • Tell Britain’s Lords: Don’t Let the Snooper’s Charter Sneak Past You!

      Their eighteen pages of amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill would grant the UK government sweeping new powers to compel telecommunications companies to harvest and store data collected on their users, and for police and intelligence companies to obtain and analyze that data without warrants or effective oversight.

      The Lords’ proposals were introduced at short notice, without the usual explanatory notes that would let other peers decide for themselves whether they are appropriate. Britain’s House of Lords are expected to consider the new amendments on Monday, leaving them only this weekend to find out just how bad these amendments are.

  • Civil Rights

    • Top Tory Leon Brittan ‘photographed entering underage sex den during police investigation’

      Leon Brittan was photographed entering an underage sex den during a police investigation, it has been claimed.

      The Tory Lord, who died on Wednesday, is said to have been snapped by officers on a 1986 surveillance operation focusing on rent boy orgies run in North London buildings.

    • Rupert Murdoch and the police treat journalists like terrorists

      Murdoch’s great fear was that the hacking scandal would lead to a corporate prosecution of News International. As the journalists who hacked the phone of Milly Dowler and made Sienna Miller’s life a misery worked for News International, and as the executives of News International justified their princely incomes by saying that they were responsible for the organisation, a corporate prosecution was indeed essential. It would show that the Crown Prosecution Service wanted to punish the powerful, not just the hired help.

      At the trial of six Sun journalists, which ended last week with the jury acquitting two and failing to reach a verdict on the other four, defence lawyers quoted Gerson Zweifach, News Corp’s general counsel. He feared a corporate prosecution of News International in the UK would destroy its American interests. (The US authorities are a little more willing to punish wrongdoing than the indolent Brits.) He had emergency talks with the Met in 2012. According to Scotland Yard, he told the police: “The downstream effects of a prosecution would be apocalyptic. The US authorities’ reaction would put the whole business at risk.” If you can get past his atrocious jargon – why can’t the managers of communications business communicate? – you will hear the panic in his voice.

      He need not have worried. Murdoch cut a deal to save his wizened hide. The police had no more right to go into his offices on a fishing expedition than they have to come into your home. They would have needed a reasonable suspicion and a search warrant. Murdoch spared them the inconvenience. The team behind his clean-up campaign went through company records and threw out journalists and journalist sources to keep the cops happy.

    • Gaza in Arizona: How Israeli High-Tech Firms Will Up-Armor the US-Mexican Border

      It was October 2012. Roei Elkabetz, a brigadier general for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), was explaining his country’s border policing strategies. In his PowerPoint presentation, a photo of the enclosure wall that isolates the Gaza Strip from Israel clicked onscreen. “We have learned lots from Gaza,” he told the audience. “It’s a great laboratory.”

    • Jewish outrage as ship named after SS war criminal arrives in Europe

      Leaders of Jewish communities and Holocaust memorial groups in Britain and the Netherlands have reacted with rage and despair at the arrival in Rotterdam of the world’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, named after a Dutch officer in the Waffen-SS.

      The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: “Naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. We urge the ship’s owners to reconsider and rename the ship after someone more appropriate.”

      Esther Voet, director of the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (Cidi), based in The Hague, said that the timing of the ship’s arrival, shortly before Jews were targeted and killed in Paris and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was “a coincidence, I’m sure, but a sign of the times. We lost our battle to have the ship’s name changed, and we are left eating dust.”

    • American student arrested for Arabic flash cards in airport after TSA freaked out settles lawsuit

      “Five years ago, the Philadelphia police thought that carrying Arabic-language flashcards was enough to warrant the arrest of an innocent traveler,” writes that traveler, Nick George.

      With help from the American Civil Liberties Union, he reached a settlement today in a lawsuit brought against the Philadelphia police department. America is safe once again for people who like to study foreign languages and read books on foreign policy in airports.

    • The No-Go Zone Myth Comes To America

      The rhetoric around the debunked right wing media meme about the existence of “no-go zones” throughout France, the United Kingdom, and the rest of Europe, ratcheted up last week. Driven by politics, viewers, listeners, and page views, even the multiple mea culpas from Fox News just last weekend haven’t stopped the myth.

      By the conservative telling, in these supposed “Muslim only” enclaves the population has “take[n] over parts of the country, entire portions, towns,” (allegedly more than 700 in France alone!), and outside police are forbidden as extremism and Sharia Law flourish. And now, they present an active threat to the United States and our American values.

    • Protectors or Offenders?

      Jerry Maynard is reported to have been assaulted by a responding officer after calling paramedics. Maynard had called the paramedics after experiencing some chest pains while consuming liquor. The responding paramedics checked him over and determined that he was fine, so they left. A short time later the chest pains returned to Maynard causing him to call for a second dispatch of paramedics. This time, two county sheriffs accompanied the ambulance. The two deputies proceeded to yell at Maynard telling him that if he called again, they were going to kill him. One of the deputies then is seen by a neighbor’s surveillance camera shoving Maynard onto to the ground. The officer was put on administrative leave while the incident was investigated, but there has been no comment on whether actions or reprimands will be taken against him.

    • Sexual Abuse of Children by Ministers and Youth Pastors

      A pastor named Albert Young, who had been a minister for nine years in Philadelphia, was accused of fondling his 15-year-old, mentally challenged niece, all during his time in his office while running the ministry. This reverend who is a wolf clothed in a sheep disguise at Total Deliverance Ministries, was charged with using his leadership as the pastor of the church to be able to sexually abuse his niece. Allegedly, Young was placed into custody a week prior after being accused of enticing this young girl into his lap while in his office. On that night, once the girl was on top of him, young touched her, putting his hands inside the girl’s pants, kissing her neck, and fondling her buttocks as well as pressing his genitals against her and guiding her hands to his penis. As officials reported, the minor did report him and even stated to the police that he threatened her and ordered her to keep silent. Young eventually was arrested on the following Thursday afternoon, and was charged with unlawful sexual contact with a minor, corruption of minors, and indecent assault of a child. Yet he was released on $50,000 bail on Friday and his next court issue was on November nineteenth.

    • Open source empowers city archive Hospitalet

      Open source has modernised the archive of the Catalan city of Hospitalet de Llobregat (Spain). The software helps manage the administrative records, but also allows easy access to historical records. This facilitates research and education, and enables public information dissemination. For its historical records, the Hospitalet city archive implements ICA-Atom, a web-based and open source archive solution.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Reform: The European Parliament Must Follow the Reda Report!

        Yesterday, MEP Julia Reda presented in the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament a report on the harmonization of copyright in Europe. She tables modest but welcome proposals for a reform of copyright, several of which have been supported by La Quadrature du Net.

01.25.15

Links 25/1/2015: Android Wear 5.0, Tizen in Bangladesh

Posted in News Roundup at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Google makes it easier to run Linux on a Chromebook via a USB drive…sort of…

      I have to give Google a lot of credit here. I noted in my earlier post how Chromebooks were all over , but now Google has potentially added even more value to them with these changes. The ability to easily run a Linux distribution would certainly add even more appeal to Chromebooks, particularly given their low price compared to the cost of some Linux-based laptops sold by certain vendors.

    • Forums Have Matured

      In craigslist people actually suggest installing GNU/Linux to fix things in the computer forum. No longer are they shooed away to the Linux forum. Well, there are some rude people but they don’t seem to get their way. It’s seems GNU/Linux is much more accepted than five years ago.

    • Completely open source, high-end laptop gets closer to reality

      If you’ve wanted a laptop where all the software is free and open source (FOSS), you’ve usually had to settle for mediocre hardware. Even FOSS champion Richard Stallman is making do with a ThinkPad that’s several years old. At last, though, it looks like you won’t have to compromise your ideology for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses. Purism has successfully crowdfunded the Librem 15, a portable PC that combines modern parts (such as a 3.4GHz Core i7 and an optional 4K display) with software that’s accessible from head to toe. The operating system (a variant of Trisquel GNU/Linux), hardware drivers and included apps are all free and open — Purism is even trying to loosen up the BIOS and firmware.

  • Kernel Space

    • Adventures in Embedded UEFI with Intel Galileo

      At one of the Intel Technology Days conferences a while ago, Intel gave us a gift of a Galileo board, which is based on the Quark SoC, just before the general announcement. The promise of the Quark SoC was that it would be a fully open (down to the firmware) embedded system based on UEFI. When the board first came out, though, the UEFI code was missing (promised for later), so I put it on a shelf and forgot about it. Recently, the UEFI Security Subteam has been considering issues that impinge on embedded architectures (mostly arm) so having an actual working embedded development board could prove useful. This is the first part of the story of trying to turn the Galileo into an embedded reference platform for UEFI.

    • Linus Torvalds diversity gaffe brings out the best (and worst) of the open source world

      Diversity is going to characterize a lot of the conversations about technology in 2015. The arrow of history is pointing towards greater inclusiveness, and the participatory nature of the open-source world places it in an excellent position to lead the way. But there’s a lot of friction, and a lot of pushback. It’s really up to the community to decide what it wants to be — and who it wants to represent its ideals to the world.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500: Windows 8.1 vs. Linux

        Linux graphics tests of Intel’s Broadwell hardware are finally here! Going back to November of 2013 is when Intel began putting out open-source Broadwell HD Graphics code. Since the initial Broadwell code drop, I’ve written dozens of articles to date covering the Linux kernel work, Mesa DRI OpenGL driver progress, Beignet OpenCL compute support, and other key Linux components work on Intel Broadwell support. A few days ago I received the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Core i7 Broadwell CPU to finally see how the Linux support has panned out for this next-generation line-up succeeding Haswell.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Help test KDE Bomber game

        As Laurent mentioned we are moving some KDE games from kdelibs4-based to kf5-based for the next KDE Applications 15.04 relase.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 11.0 Allinone Edition FINAL released.

        The status of the 4MLinux 11.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Major changes in the core of the system, which now includes GNU C Library 2.20 and GNU Compiler Collection 4.9.2. The development of some of the 4MLinux editions has been dropped, but at the same time new 4MLinux spins have been announced. The most important one is 4MRescueKit, which has started its journey to become a lightweight alternative to other system rescue live CDs (there’s a detailed description on the 4MLinux Blog).

      • [IPCop Release]

        The latest stable IPCop version is 2.1.8, released on 2015-01-25.

      • IPFire 2.15 – Core Update 86 released

        This is the official release announcement of IPFire 2.15 – Core Update 86 which brings various security fixes across several packages. Hence we recommend installing this update as soon as possible and to execute a reboot afterwards.

      • Netrunner 14.1 OS Features a Different and Cool KDE Experience – Gallery

        Netrunner 14.1, a GNU/Linux distribution based on Kubuntu, featuring KDE as the default desktop environment, is now available for download and it comes with a number of important improvements.

    • Screenshots

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen Samsung Z1, made in India and soon to be available in Bangladesh

          As we have reported Samsung has been sending the parts for its Samsung Z1 SM-Z130H/DS to be assembled at its Noida plant in India, which has the capacity to produce over 4 million handsets per month. The Samsung Z1 was launched in India as the first Tizen based commercial handset at a competitive price of 5,700 INR.

      • Android

        • Signs of progress: One month with Android Wear 5.0

          We take a look at how Android Wear works, and even manage to break some stuff.
          Android Wear 5.0 came out last month—it was the third noteworthy update to the wearable OS, following versions 4.4W.1 and 4.4W.2. It’s not a significant enough update to merit its own standalone review, but it’s been a while since our last check-in with the platform. Plus, the launch of the Apple Watch is just a few months away at most.

        • Which Android device works with Now TV?

          If you want to explore the world of TV streaming you may be better off spending a little more on a budget Android tablet with an HDMI output, says Rick Maybury

        • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop to roll out for Samsung Galaxy Note 4
        • Cyanogen Wants to Wrestle Android Away From Google

          Cyanogen, the company behind the popular open source operating system and the OS of choice for last year’s OnePlus One, wants to be even more independent from the Google-based software that lies at its foundation. According to Cyanogen’s CEO, Kirt McMaster “We’re attempting to take Android away from Google.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Your simple guide to Open Source technology

    What does this mean in practice? First and foremost, it means that unlike traditional software development that is done behind closed doors and with the windows barred and by a small team, Open Source software development by its nature has many eye balls on it all of the time. Anyone can submit bug fixes or improvements and this generally translates into fixes and improvements happening at a much faster rate. Security vulnerabilities and exploits are usually fixed quickly too, which is good for everyone.

  • LZHAM 1.0 Lossless Data Compression Codec Released

    Version 1.0 of LZHAM has been released, the lossless data compression codec spearheaded by Rich Geldreich, the former Valve developer involved in their Linux and OpenGL activities.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Linux Users Upset By Chromium’s Busted HiDPI Support

        While Chromium is usually quick to advance technology-wise and the Chrome/Chromium developers tend to be caring toward Linux, the support for HiDPI displays with the web-browser on Linux appears to be in bad shape.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • Rcpp 0.11.4

      A new release 0.11.4 of Rcpp is now on the CRAN network for GNU R, and an updated Debian package will be uploaded in due course.

      Rcpp has become the most popular way of enhancing GNU R with C++ code. As of today, 323 packages on CRAN depend on Rcpp for making analyses go faster and further; BioConductor adds another 41 packages, and casual searches on GitHub suggests dozens mores.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Build Your Own Open-Source SmartWatch

        If you’re not up for spending your money on one of the less advanced smart watch models, you may want to check out maker Jonathan Cook’s DIY Open-Source SmartWatch, part of which is 3D printed, something the prognosticators of future tech surely didn’t forecast. Cook shared instructions for making his SmartWatch on the webzine “Make:” and also on his own website, DoNothingBox. You can download the STL files on the DNB site, too. For around $125 or less you can make your own smart phone and you can customize it, something that you wouldn’t be able to do with a store-bought version.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Harper’s Planned Military Splurge Comes At The Expense Of Health Care

      Ottawa’s deficit is soon to be turned into a surplus, which could be used for a number of important purposes. For instance, some such purpose is to help bring tax relief or to help make their unaffordable health care more affordable. However, Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has decided that instead of spending the surplus money on health care, this extra money will be used for military purposes. Even though Canadians would prefer that this additional money be funded towards their health care. This plan that Harper has laid out was not announced until he secured his majority to be elected as Prime Minister again. The plan will cut in half Canada’s rate of growth of federal health transfers to the provinces at an estimated amount of thirty-six billion dollars in over ten years. Thus, it will make Canadians pay more for their health care, when health care could instead be made affordable for all people regardless of their income status. This is true notwithstanding that the Canadian health care system is the second most expensive in the world. Considering all this, chances are that not every Canadian knows or even heard about Prime Minister Harper’s plan due to other irrelevant subjects clogging the media pipeline such as the new iPhone or another future royal baby.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL 1.0.2 Released

      OpenSSL 1.0.2 features Suite B support for TLS 1.2 / DTLS 1.2, support for DTLS 1.2, TLS automatic EC curve selection, TLS Brainpool support, ALPN support, CMS support for more ciphers, and a number of other changes.

    • OpenSSL 1.0.2 Branch Release notes

      The major changes and known issues for the 1.0.2 branch of the OpenSSL toolkit are summarised below. The contents reflect the current state of the NEWS file inside the git repository.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • After Long Legal Fight, Inquest Is Set to Begin in Death of Putin Critic

      It has consumed more than eight years of maneuvering, obstruction and a widow’s dogged legal campaign, fought often on a shoestring. But finally, on Tuesday, a public inquiry is set to begin its quest for an answer to the question that has driven the whole process: Why did Alexander V. Litvinenko have to die?

    • Germany halts arms exports to Saudi Arabia

      Germany has decided to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia because of “instability in the region,” German daily Bild reported on Sunday.

      Weapons orders from Saudi Arabia have either been “rejected, pure and simple,” or deferred for further consideration, the newspaper said, adding that the information has not been officially confirmed.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Cyber questions for Obama’s AG nominee [attack on truth itself]

      Edward Snowden and perhaps co-conspirators in the conversion of 1.7 million classified government files for his use and that of his associates, or the media internationally, are also beyond the reach of the criminal law. Snowden remains in Russia and other infamous media figures associated with him, scattered around the globe. Wikileaks and Julian Assange have remained a menace to the United States over unauthorized disclosure of classified information also beyond the realm of a criminal prosecution. Ditto North Korea’s involvement with the Sony hacking incident.

      Worse is the chain of custody and control of stolen government property which is at best uncertain in the international cyber world. Last summer, FISA Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled that the NSA can’t keep metadata more than 5 years. However, no such injunction exists for Snowden, Assange, North Korea, the PLA, and the media in possession of stolen government information.

    • Google hands data to US Government in WikiLeaks espionage case

      Today, WikiLeaks’ lawyers have written to Google and the US Department of Justice concerning a serious violation of the privacy and journalistic rights of WikiLeaks’ staff. Investigations editor Sarah Harrison, Section Editor Joseph Farrell and senior journalist and spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson have received notice that Google had handed over all their emails and metadata to the United States government on the back of alleged ‘conspiracy’ and ‘espionage’ warrants carrying up to 45 years in prison.

    • Google provided Wikileaks journalists’ metadata in Julian Assange investigation

      Google secretly gave the emails of WikiLeaks journalists to the US government in response to an espionage investigation targeting Julian Assange, according to documents disclosed by the internet giant.

    • WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government

      Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge.

      WikiLeaks has written to Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, to protest that the search giant only revealed the warrants last month, having been served them in March 2012. In the letter, WikiLeaks says it is “astonished and disturbed” that Google waited more than two and a half years to notify its subscribers, potentially depriving them of their ability to protect their rights to “privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • ‘It’s like a ghost town’: lights go out as foreign owners desert London homes

      Racine had everything a west London restaurant could ask for: beaming reviews, great cooking and an enviable location opposite the V&A on the Brompton Road. For 12 years it served immaculate French standards to discerning diners and from the outside it looked like an institution to last a century.

      But two weeks ago owner Henry Harris announced that Racine had moutarded its last lapin and would close. Qu’est-ce qui s’est passé?

      “It was inevitable. The site had become unsustainable,” says Harris. “A rent renewal was the catalyst, but the main cause was the shrinking residential population in what should be a saturated area. My original clients, who were 50 or 60 when we opened, were that bit older. Some of them couldn’t afford to eat out as often after the recession, but others saw what their houses were worth and decided to realise that asset. They were replaced by non-doms who didn’t live there. In some apartment blocks 20% were unoccupied – one in five of my potential client base. It makes a big difference. In the block behind the restaurant it even became easier to park. You never expect to hear that in Knightsbridge.”

    • London needs homes, not towers of ‘safe-deposit boxes’

      London is gloriously un-plannable and horribly unplanned. From the Romans to the Romanians, the immigrant tribes who now call themselves English have been drawn to our uniquely cosmopolitan capital. This heterogeneous cultural mixture may help to explain the lack of appetite for plan-led “improvements” or urban reshaping. There is no common cultural foundation upon which to create a formal grand plan.

      On my bedroom wall hangs an artist’s perspective of the plan Wren touted for the City after the Great Fire of 1666, fleshed out with buildings of classical design, looking like a beaux arts continental city. It is the first thing I see when I wake every morning andprovides a constant reminder of the dangers of “master-planning”. If Wren, or any other planner, had had their way London would have ended up like Paris, Bath or Milton Keynes – architecturally inspired, but difficult to adapt to changing and unforeseeable future needs. Paris is formally planned, lacking in cultural diversity and inward-looking – no one can become a Parisian. London is unplanned, culturally diverse and a world business centre – anyone can become a Londoner.

    • Syriza stood up to the money men – the UK left must do the same

      ‘When you study the successful experiences of transformative movements,” said Pablo Iglesias of Podemos, the new party of the Spanish left, “you realise that the key to success is to achieve a connection between the reality you have diagnosed and what the majority actually feels.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • When Calculus of Loss Doesn’t Add Up

      IF you start from the premise that every human life is of equal importance, then the judgments of news organizations will often be confounding.

      Because when it comes to coverage, some violent deaths — to misquote Orwell — are more equal than others.

      Such was the case earlier this month, when the Western news media, including The Times, was fixated on the attacks that left 17 victims and three gunmen dead in Paris. Coverage was wall to wall: In The Times, not a day went by, for 10 consecutive days, without at least one front-page story, usually two.

      Meanwhile, in a much more remote part of the world, the radical group Boko Haram had devastated the town of Baga in rural Nigeria. Early reports said that as many as 2,000 had been slain.

    • Ex-spies infiltrate Hollywood as espionage TV shows and movies multiply

      The place in Brooklyn looks like a CIA safehouse. Red brick office building with peeling metal awning. No sign. Inside, writers are plotting out the popular Cold War espionage show “The Americans” — one of an assortment of Hollywood spy and national security dramas being driven by ex-spies.

      The show’s creator and co-head writer, Joe Weisberg, is a former CIA officer who never fathomed that he would one day sit in an office with Soviet propaganda posters and a cutout figure of President Ronald Reagan, concocting television fiction.

    • Major Media Outlets Fail To Accurately Tell the Entire Story

      Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who was terminally ill decided to terminate her life on November 1, 2014. Maynard was diagnosed with brain cancer on January 1, 2014 and was told she still had some years left to live. When Maynard started getting more headaches that kept getting more severe over time, she went to get another check up and found out she had Glioblastoma multi forma which is the most severe type of brain cancer and only gave her about six months to live.

  • Censorship

    • Charlie Hebdo Chief on Censorship of Controversial Cartoons: ‘They Blur Our Democracy’

      Appearing on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Charlie Hebdo Editor-in-Chief Gerard Briard claimed media who censor his satirical magazine’s cartoons are part of the problem.

      “This cartoon is not just a little figure. It’s a symbol. It’s the symbol of freedom of speech, of freedom of religion, of democracy and secularism,” he told Chuck Todd. “When they refuse to publish this cartoon, when they blur it out, when they decline to publish it, they blur out democracy, secularism, freedom of religion and they insult the [citizenry].”

    • Military censorship is serving Likud

      UN observers on Sunday noticed two drones crossing the border from Israel into Syria, and shortly afterward saw columns of smoke rising from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. It turned out those drones had attacked a convoy, killing Hezbollah commanders and fighters and a general from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

      Israel took responsibility via messages conveyed by semiofficial sources — government mouthpiece Israel Hayom, which praised the “precise and surprising action by our forces,” and a half-apology by a “security source” for the killing of the Iranian officer, delivered to a foreign media outlet.

    • Sky to censor customers’ broadband by default

      Sky will censor the internet connections of its 5.3 million broadband customers, unless they specifically choose to switch off the company’s Broadband Shield. The company, like all of Britain’s major broadband providers, has been offering the network-level content filters as an optional extra to customers since last year.

    • Sky Is The Limit For Pornography

      Internet provider TalkTalk is to block pornographic sites, leaving BT and Virgin as the only major internet service providers not to have filters for adult material turned on by default. UK Internet giant blocks porn by default to protect children, but IT security firms warn the move could create a new set of problems…

    • Freedom of speech campaigners claim automatic porn blocking ‘censorship by default’

      Freedom of speech campaigners and independent internet firms have issued a stark warning that the automatic blocking of pornographic websites is “censorship by default” and constitutes a “blunt tool” for dealing with inappropriate content.

      On Tuesday it was revealed that Sky had become the first major internet service provider (ISP) to start automatically blocking pornographic websites by default.

      The move, which has been condemned as a danger to freedom of expression by campaigners, was prompted by pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron for ISPs to make online filtering mandatory, saying that it was the best way to protect children online.

      According to Sky its customers will see a message reminding them to make a choice about filtering when they visit a page deemed unsuitable for children under the age of 13. At this point they can choice to accept the current setting or turn the filter off to visit the page.

    • Censorship is more dangerous than offence

      Twelve people were shot allegedly because of a picture of Mohammed. Much of the horror and outrage that we have since seen in the media comes from the horrific nature of the shooting. Yet much can also be attributed to the idea that just because people disagree with you, they can silence you – that just because you have spoken freely and offended somebody, your voice can be taken away. Vast crowds have come together – including more than a million in Paris, to condemn this assault on one of the most hard-won and treasured values in our society.

    • Self-censorship is biggest threat to free speech in Japan
    • Instagram Admits Pube Censorship Was a Mistake; Women’s Bodies Continue to Confound Them
    • Instagram pubic hair ‘censorship’ ignites sexism row
    • China blocks VPN services that skirt online censorship amid wider crackdown
    • China blocks VPN services that skirt online censorship
    • Guantanamo’s Detainee Library Won’t Carry a Guantanamo Detainee’s Acclaimed New Book

      A Guantanamo detainee who just published a critically acclaimed book about his life in captivity won’t get the opportunity to see his own book. Nor will 121 of the detainee’s fellow inmates.

      Guantanamo spokesman Captain Tom Gresback told VICE News that “at this time” the detainee library has no intention of purchasing Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir Guantanamo Diary, which cracked Amazon’s top 100.

    • Air Force Maj. Gen. Attempts to Prevent Officers from Communicating with Congress

      Some in Congress are calling for an investigation into an Air Force major general who reportedly attempted to prevent officers from communicating with Congress and told them they are committing treason by doing so, according to the Air Force Times.

    • Censorship at the highest ranks of the U.S. military and the growing divide between the military and civilians
    • Inspector general rips TSA over redaction of JFK airport audit

      The Transportation Security Administration abused its authority to classify information as too sensitive for release when it blocked sections of a recent audit report from being published, according to the agency’s independent watchdog.

      Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth protested TSA’s actions on Friday, saying in a statement that he suspects that agency officials wanted to “conceal negative information.”

    • V&A in row over self-censorship after Muhammad image is taken down

      The Victoria and Albert museum has attempted to conceal its ownership of a devotional image of the prophet Muhammad, citing security concerns, in what is part of a wider pattern of apparent self-censorship by British institutions that scholars fear could undermine public understanding of Islamic art and the diversity of Muslim traditions.

    • V&A removes depiction of Prophet Mohamed from website amid ‘severe security alert’

      The Victoria & Albert museum has removed a depiction of the Prophet Mohamed from its website amid security concerns just three weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

      The gallery mistakenly claimed not to have had any depictions of the prophet in its collection following the violence by extremists in Paris earlier this month.

      But after a US expert drew attention to a poster with an Iranian artist’s view of the prophet in the V&A’s collection it was quickly removed.

  • Privacy

    • Even When Sharing Top Billing with Edward Snowden, the NSA Is Unrepentant

      The only testy moment came during the question period, when a student forced the issue with DeLong and asked him whether he thought the public debate triggered by Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing had social merit. As DeLong responded, “With regard to Snowden, all I will say is that we need to let the wheels of justice turn in his case.”

    • Who Can Control N.S.A. Surveillance?

      Since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the N.S.A.’s activities in the summer of 2013, there have been a number of official reports on the troubled relationship between surveillance and privacy—one from the President’s Review Group, two from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and another, last week, from the National Academy of Sciences. In August, 2013, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence started a Tumblr, on which they’ve posted many interesting and useful documents, including redacted orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

    • NIST pledges transparency in NSA dealings over crypto standards
    • Kim Dotcom’s NSA-Dodging MegaChat is HERE And It Wants To DESTROY Skype

      Kim Dotcom is BACK and he’s got a new Skype-killing tool for the masses. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mega Chat

    • ‘Anti-NSA’ messaging service MegaChat debuts in beta version

      Registered Mega users can try the platform for free at mega.

    • Shut it Down: Utah Bill Would Turn Off Water to NSA Data Center

      A bill filed in the Utah state house yesterday would deny critical resources – like water – to the massive NSA data center there should it pass.

    • Indiana Action Alert: Help Stop NSA Spying, Support SB458
    • Utah Bill Would Turn Off Water to NSA Data Center

      House Bill 150 (HB150), introduced by Rep. Marc Roberts, would require that the water being supplied to the NSA’s data center in Bluffdale be shut off as soon as the city’s $3 million bond is paid off.

    • Netherlands not the NSA’s lapdog: Interior Minister

      The Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD are not the whipping boys of the American intelligence community, in particular the NSA, states the Dutch Minister of Interior, Ronald Plasterk. The statement is a response to an accusation made by former NSA employee and US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who said Dutch intelligence services walk on an American leash and are “extremely docile.”

    • China to look at Apple products, fears NSA tampering

      China is concerned about the potential for NSA backdoors in Apple devices. To address that possibility, the Chinese government plans to scan products when they are imported. Apple has agreed to let China look at a device’s security, as Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly been more than willing to accommodate the Chinese government.

    • China will screen all Apple products for NSA backdoor

      Apple has agreed to accept the Chinese government’s demands to run network safety evaluations on all Apple products before they can be imported into the country.

    • The Many Problems with the DEA’s Bulk Phone Records Collection Program

      Think mass surveillance is just the wheelhouse of agencies like the NSA? Think again. One of the biggest concerns to come from the revelations about the NSA’s bulk collection of the phone records of millions of innocent Americans was that law enforcement agencies might be doing the same thing. It turns out this concern was valid, as last week the government let slip for the first time that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had also been collecting the phone records of Americans in bulk since the 1990s.

    • Gormley: Nothing to fear but all those fearful things

      More terrifying than hackers, and only slightly less terrifying than terrorists, are investigative journalists.

    • Congressman Submits Bill To Prevent Police and Spy Agency From Tracking Americans Via Phone Locations

      The location function on smartphones is surprisingly strong. Having the ability to track an individual’s location via a pocket-sized is a tempting tool for police and other agencies, but a new bill from Congress could change that.

    • DOJ Pays $134,000 To Settle Case Of DEA Agents Impersonating A Woman On Facebook

      Back in the fall, we wrote about how the DEA impersonated a woman on Facebook, even posting photographs of her young children (which they had taken off of her phone), in order to try to track down drug dealers. The woman, Sondra Arquiett, had dated a guy who was convicted of drug dealing, and had herself been charged with letting her boyfriend store some drugs in her apartment, leading to a sentence of probation. DEA agent Timothy Sinnegen then took the photos off of her phone, set up a fake Facebook page pretending to be Arquiett and tried to “friend” people she knew, in trying to track down other drug dealers. Arquiett was totally unaware of this until a friend brought it up, leading her to sue the DEA.

    • How the CIA made Google

      Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet

    • Former Head of GCHQ Warns Of ‘Ethically Worse’ Kinds Of Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

      That’s remarkable for its implied threat: if you don’t let us ban or backdoor strong encryption, we’re going to start breaking into your homes. And it’s striking that Omand regards eavesdropping on all the Internet traffic flowing in to and out of the UK, or collecting thousands of sexually-explicit webcam pictures, as less reprehensible than a tightly-targeted operation against a few suspects. His framing also implies that he thinks those pesky civil liberties groups will protest more about the latter than the former. In fact, what defenders of privacy and liberty generally want is simply a proportionate response with judicial oversight — something that is straightforward with targeted “close access” work, but impossible with the blanket surveillance currently employed.

    • ​Web encryption leads to ‘unethical’ spy practices – ex-GCHQ chief

      The increased use of encryption technologies, particularly in everyday services such as email, will lead spy agencies to commit “ethically worse” behavior, such as hacking individual computers, a former GCHQ boss has warned.

      Speaking at the London School of Economics (LSE), Sir David Omand said increasingly secure encryption technologies, which currently allow users to message and email in private, mean agencies are unable to intercept mail, and could be forced into more direct spying methods, report the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    • UK government sneaks surveillance laws inside Counter Terrorism bill

      The UK government has been trying to impose new surveillance laws on the internet at large, but for the past four years privacy activists have thwarted attempts by Labour and the Conservatives.

      In a recent push, the government secretly added 18-pages to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB), including a mirror image of the Communications Data Bill, rejected in 2012 for the potential of national surveillance on every person.

    • GOP faces Patriot Act choice

      Critics of the spy agency were quick to question Boehner’s take on the Capitol plot.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Jindal-Hate Group Relationship You Won’t Hear About This Weekend

      Louisiana Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal is the keynote speaker for a rally funded and organized by an anti-LGBT group that has blamed gay people for causing the Holocaust and advocated imprisoning homosexuals. So why isn’t his appearance garnering national media attention?

    • Standing Up for Secularism

      In Saudi Arabia this week, doctors advised that the next phase of the punishment of liberal blogger Raif Badawi be postponed until he has healed from the first. Badawi has been sentenced to ten years in prison, and 1,000 lashes, for openly advocating secularism on his blog “Free Saudi Liberals.” Badawi has received only 50 of those lashes so far, and it has already put his life in danger.

    • High court protects federal whistleblowers in case that had broad implications

      Winning a Supreme Court case can be like winning a championship football game without cheating.

      It’s exciting and thrilling, but Robert MacLean said he isn’t planning on visiting Disneyland anytime soon.

    • Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Federal Air Marshal Whistleblower & Upholds Whistleblower Law

      “Federal air marshal whistleblower Robert MacLean’s 7-2 victory means that, after defending his rights for more than eight years, he will have a chance to achieve justice. The only issue left is whether MacLean was reasonable to believe that the government’s decision to remove air marshals from targeted flights endangered the public, since the Department of Homeland Security had planned to go AWOL in the face of a more ambitious rerun of 9/11.”

    • Supreme Court: Feds can’t fire whistleblowers for preserving public safety

      In the 7-2 decision in DHS v. MacLean, the court ruled that Robert MacLean, a former federal air marshal, shouldn’t have been fired from the Department of Homeland Security for revealing that marshals were being pulled from flights in 2003. Due to budget concerns, for nearly two months the law enforcement agents were kept off flights deemed high-risk targets for terrorist attacks.

    • Justices Rule Dismissal of Air Marshal Unlawful

      The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in favor of a fired air marshal, saying he was covered by a federal law protecting whistle-blowers.

      Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 7-to-2 decision, said that the ruling might create security problems by entrusting the confidentiality of sensitive security information to “the idiosyncratic judgment” of each of the Transportation Security Administration’s employees, but that Congress could address the issue by amending the law. The president could also prohibit disclosure of the information by executive order.

    • High court sides with whistle-blowing ex-air marshal

      Robert MacLean was an air marshal on commercial flights whose job was to protect passengers and crew from terrorism. When the government reduced overnight flights to save money, MacLean took his objection to supervisors who took no action. So he leaked the information to the media out of concern for passenger safety.

    • In Victory for Gov’t Whistleblowers, Supreme Court Sides with Fired TSA Air Marshal Who Spoke Out
    • BBG’s Andrew Lack ‘should be fired from his job’ – WikiLeaks spokesperson

      Comparing RT to a terrorist organization is “absurd” and “shameful” for a person in a position like BBG’s Andrew Lack, WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson told RT, adding that its “understandable” given how WikiLeaks was treated.

      Hrafnsson was refereeing to comments made earlier this week by the CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Andy Lack.

    • Introducing Mrs. Merlin: To Prosecute Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Exposed an Asset

      The government engaged in a great deal of security theater during the Jeffrey Sterling trial, most notably by having some CIA witnesses — including ones whose identities weren’t, technically, secret — testify behind a big office divider so the general public couldn’t see the witness.

      But along the way, the government revealed a great number of secrets, including a number of secrets about how its counterproliferation programs work.

      Perhaps most ironically, in a trial aiming to convict Jeffrey Sterling for revealing that the Russian scientist referred to as Merlin during the trial was a CIA asset, the government revealed that Merlin’s wife was also an asset.

    • David Hicks: US government agrees former Guantanamo Bay detainee is innocent, lawyer says

      The United States has agreed that former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Australian David Hicks, is innocent, his lawyer has said.

      Mr Hicks pleaded guilty in 2007 to providing “material support for terrorism” but his legal team claimed that he did so under duress and filed an appeal last year.

      Mr Hicks’s lawyer was confident his name was set to be cleared after the change of position by the US government.

    • Kippa-wearing Swedish reporter assaulted in Malmo

      A Swedish reporter who walked around Malmo while wearing a kippa to test attitudes toward Jews was hit and cursed at by passersby before he fled for fear of serious violence.

    • New Utah Law Instructs Cops To Seize Uninsured Vehicles

      Does the government really even need excuses to seize the assets of its citizens, especially for relatively minor crimes? Apparently it does, at least according to the state of Utah.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why We Still Can’t Really Put Anything In The Public Domain… And Why That Needs To Change

        More than five years ago, we wrote about just how difficult it was to actually put something into the public domain legally. For years, we’ve said that all of our Techdirt posts (where we have the right to do so) are subject to a public domain dedication, but there’s nothing specifically in the law that says how or if you can really put something into the public domain. While you can make a public domain dedication or (more recently) use the Creative Commons CC0 tool to do so, there’s no clear way within the law to actually declare something in the public domain. Instead, the public domain declarations are really more of a promise not to make use of the exclusionary rights provided under copyright.

      • Zombie Pirate Bay Tracker Fuels Chinese DDoS Attacks

        On November 2009 The Pirate Bay announced that it would shut down its tracker for good.

        Trackers were outdated according to the site’s owners. Instead, they encouraged BitTorrent users to rely on DHT, PEX and other trackerless technologies.

        Despite the fact that the tracker is no longer functional, many old and some new torrents still include the tracker.thepiratebay.org announce address.

        While the tracker hasn’t responded to these calls for five years, for some server admins it has now risen from the dead.

01.24.15

Links 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Oracle Goes After Cisco UCS, with the ‘Whole Megillah’

      Oracle CTO Larry Ellison wants a bigger piece of the server market and is taking direct aim at Cisco’s UCS to grow share. Oracle’s new X5 Engineered Systems portfolio is a bid by the company to provide lower-cost two-socket converged infrastructure systems running Linux at very competitive price points.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Zenwalk Linux – A Walk on the Quirky Side

        Fancy is not a part of Zenwalk Linux. Functionality and workable lightweight infrastructure are. As the developer states in his postings, only usability matters. I like the philosophy behind Zenwalk. I am less impressed with its lackluster desktop environment. Also, I ran out of patience trying to find a solution to the password-not-working issue. The developer needs to provide a quick response.

      • Zenwalk and Chakra Reviews, Another 32-Bit Voice

        zenwalkToday in Linux news, Jack Germain has a review of Zenwalk and Dedoimedo.com tries to review Chakra. With the pro-32 bit architecture folks seemingly winning the argument, Bruce Byfield weights in saying what’s surprising is that it’s taken so long to deprecate. Elsewhere, Softpedia.com is reporting that Linus Torvalds patched the kernel to fix a Witcher 2 issue.

    • New Releases

      • Netrunner 14.1 – Main Edition (Frontier)

        The “14.1” indicates an updated and polished release of Netrunner 14 LTS on the same underlying base. Since 14.1 is using the same base “trusty” like Netrunner 14, there is no need for users of 14 to migrate: Simply updating from the shared backports ppa of the Frontier release cycle should give the same result, while keeping customizations in place.

      • GParted Live 0.21.0 Beta 1 Is Now Based on Linux Kernel 3.16.7

        GParted Live, a small bootable GNU/Linux distribution for x86-based computers that can be used for creating, re-organizing, and deleting disk partitions with the help of tools that allow managing file systems, has been upgraded to version 0.21.0 Beta 1.

    • Slackware Family

      • Slack integration for Django

        I recently started using the Slack group chat tool in a few teams. Wishing to add some vanity notifications such as sales and user growth milestones from some Django-based projects, I put together an easy-to-use integration between the two called django-slack.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet Alpha 2 release date, features and where to download it

            The next version of the ever-popular Ubuntu Linux distribution is in development and it will be called Vivid Vervet. There are only a few letters left in the alphabet before Canonical will have to come up with a new naming convention, but for now, the alliteration can continue.

          • Meizu M1 Mini will have three OS versions, 5″ screen after all

            Meizu has already outed the first member of its new M1 family, the M1 Note. But the phablet has long been rumored to get a smaller sibling, ever since the M1 project was known just by its codename – Blue Charm.

            And Meizu is now quite close to unveiling the M1 Mini. The official introduction will take place on January 28 at a special event. In the meantime more details about the upcoming smartphone have been leaked.

          • Meizu M1 Mini Poses Next To The MX4 And M1 Note Handsets

            Meizu leaks and rumors were rather quiet for a while, but not anymore. Meizu’s January 28 event is getting closer and closer by the day, and we’re getting more and more information about Meizu’s upcoming products, well, alleged products. We’ve reported earlier today that Meizu might offer the upcoming M1 Mini handset in three different OS variants, running Flyme, YunOS and Ubuntu (Touch) OS. This leak actually sounds really interesting, as I already mentioned, and I’d love to see an Ubuntu-powered Meizu handset, which will happen sooner or later because Canonical and Meizu signed a partnership agreement a while back.

          • Ninja Blocks prepares to begin shipping, announces major Ubuntu IoT deal

            Ninja Blocks has begun shipping the Ninja Sphere and announced it has signed up as a key partner for Canonical’s Ubuntu Core embedded device operating system, as it opens its first office in the US.

            The startup launched in 2012, when it was selected to participate the Startmate accelerator program, and also smashed a Kickstarter campaign for its first product, which was also called Ninja Blocks.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-enabled sit/stand smart desk nudges you into action

      A Linux-based desk with WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 5-inch touchscreen automatically adjusts between sitting and standing, and tells you when it’s time to move.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • How to set up a VPN on Android – and why you should do it right now

          Surfing the web privately is something many web users are interested in, whether they’re doing it on a desktop, laptop or mobile device, but not many people know how to do it. Recently, a detailed WhoIsHostingThis infographic showed you how to secure your connection using a VPN — a virtual private network created on top of a public network to anonymize web traffic — on Windows, Mac and iOS, assuming the user already has access to a VPN service. Phone Arena has put together a similar step-by-step guide of enabling VPN connectivity on Android devices.

        • MakerBot Mobile 1.0 for Android Just Released — Luxuriate in Controlling 3D Printing From Afar

          It’s not enough to be able to come up with a concept, digitally or 3D design it, and then 3D print it. It’s not enough to be able to replicate and prototype items nearly out of thin air. It’s not enough to have sleek, mind-boggling technology. The question that nearly always follows is, “Yeah, cool — but can I do it from my phone?” It’s the obvious contemporary question that everyone has for the most part, including the guys who make these fantastical products.

        • Find the IMEI number for a lost or stolen Android device

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tata Elxsi joins Frog by Wyplay open source community

    Frog by Wyplay is an independent open source software platform for pay-TV operators. The initiative brings together a growing ecosystem of almost 80 companies across the entire digital TV technology value chain including chipset vendors, device manufacturers, independent software vendors, software development and integration services providers and operators.

  • New open source project to add virtual networking to Open vSwitch

    Some of the folks behind the development of Open vSwitch (OVS) are now working on a new project to add virtual networking for OVS users.

  • Open-Xchange Partners with ExtendASP on Open Source SaaS

    Open source SaaS vendor Open-Xchange gained another partner ally this week in its quest to offer an open source alternative to Microsoft Exchange. The partner, ExtendASP, will integrate the company’s OX App Suite into its customer and product manager solutions.

    The move, which the companies announced Jan. 21, promises to increase OX App Suite’s customer base. In that way, it strengthens the position of Open-Xchange as it competes with entrenched proprietary foes in the office-productivity suite market.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Unlock a Game Hidden in Chrome on Android or PC

        You’ve probably seen the cute little dinosaur that appears when Chrome can’t establish a network connection. Well he’s actually the star of his own endless runner game that you can play on PC and Android.

    • Mozilla

      • Get a free U2F Yubikey to test on Firefox Nightly

        Passwords are always going to be vulnerable to being cracked. Fortunately, there are solutions out there that are making it safer for users to interact with services on the web. The new standard in protecting users is Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) authentication which is already available in browsers like Google Chrome.

  • CMS

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The CIA Haitian Connection and the Cocaine Smuggling Operation

      The following articles on the CIA Haiti sponsored narcotics smuggling by Dennis Bernstein, Howard Levine and Jim Lobe were published in the 1990s and republished by Global Research 25 February 2004. They shed light on the history of US interventionism in Haiti, focusing on the 1991 CIA led military coup. The coup was led coup by general Raul Cedras, resulted in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Aristide.

    • Anti-Vaxxers Brought Measles to the Happiest Place on Earth

      A measles outbreak has sickened 70 people at Disneyland, and could be the spark that brings the once-eradicated disease back in force.

    • How Fat The World Is, Visualised

      Obesity has hit Australia hard in recent years — but how do our waistlines compare to those around the world? This map, put together from recent obesity data obtained by the CIA, shows that Australia is not alone.

      The map, put together by Clinic Compare, shows that the percentage of the population that is clinically obese. Sure, a quarter of Australians are obese, so too Britons. But there are some surprises on the map: 33 per cent of Saudi Arabians, 32 per cent of Mexicans and 30 per cent of Argentinians and are dangerously overweight, for instance.

  • Security

    • Internet attack could shut down US gas stations

      A device used to monitor the gasoline levels at refueling stations across the United States—known as an automated tank gauge or ATG—could be remotely accessed by online attackers, manipulated to cause alerts, and even set to shut down the flow of fuel, according to research to be published on Thursday.

    • Cyber warfare: Capitol staffers aren’t ready

      The Hill’s networks are under constant attack. In 2013 alone, the Senate Sergeant at Arms’ office said it investigated 500 potential examples of malicious software, some from sophisticated attackers and others from low-level scammers. And that’s just the serious cases — in a different measurement, the House IT security office said in 2012 it blocked 16.5 million “intrusion attempts” on its networks.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Genocides, Not Wars

      Yes, the Empire’s leaders really believe that they have become gods. And now we only hear their twisted propaganda slogans, and their self-glorifying lies. They have become like those preachers and priests of the bygone eras: sadistic but constantly frightened, brutal and suspicious.

    • CIA on Trial in Virginia for Planting Nuke Evidence in Iran
    • Freedom Rider: Jeffrey Sterling: A Black Man and the CIA

      “Everything changed for Sterling when he filed a discrimination complaint in 2000.”

    • “Operation Merlin”: Another self-serving CIA project

      The jury is still out in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for allegedly having leaked the story of “Operation Merlin” – the covert CIA effort to lure Iran into working on phony plans for a key component of a nuclear weapon – to New York Times reporter James Risen.

    • CIA Found No Magic in Operation Merlin

      The jury is still out in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for allegedly having leaked the story of “Operation Merlin” – the covert CIA effort to lure Iran into working on phony plans for a key component of a nuclear weapon – to New York Times reporter James Risen.

      But “Operation Merlin” itself was also on trial. The CIA was hoping that testimony by prosecution witnesses and a series of declassified CIA cables introduced as evidence would show that Risen’s account was wrong in recounting that the CIA’s human asset “Merlin” had immediately spotted a flaw in the plans to be turned over to Iran that Iranian engineers might be able to spot as well.

    • What’s Driving the CIA Leak Trial?

      Six days of testimony at the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling have proven the agency’s obsession with proclaiming its competence. Many of the two-dozen witnesses from the Central Intelligence Agency conveyed smoldering resentment that a whistleblower or journalist might depict the institution as a bungling outfit unworthy of its middle name.

    • CIA pursues ‘damage control’ amid whistleblower trial over flawed Iranian nuclear designs

      In a trial that whistleblower advocates have called “damage control” for the CIA, federal prosecutors are pursuing espionage charges against whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling. The case stems from the agency’s attempts to feed Iran flawed nuclear schematics.

    • The CIA in Latin America: From Coups to Torture and Preemptive Killings

      Thus they are plotting revenge by simultaneously destabilizing «populist» states and inciting civil war in Venezuela. The fresh troops arriving at the CIA stations are already diving into these new jobs.

    • Channel 4 Regrets Letting Ex-CIA Agent Claim Baghdad Massacre Would Have Been ‘Ideal’

      Channel 4 News has admitted it could have “challenged more strongly” the views of an ex-CIA officer, who told the programme the best solution to violence in the Middle East was for Muslims to kill each other until they “bleed each other white”.

      Michael Scheuer, who was in the CIA from 1982 and 2004 and was involved in the hunt for Bin Laden, said Sunni and Shia Muslims should be left to fight each other, adding the situation was “ideal” when the brutal Islamic State (IS) was advancing on Baghdad and poised to carry out a massacre.

    • Sterling Prosecution Long on Rhetoric, Short on Evidence
    • Prosecutors: Ex-CIA man had motive to leak classified info
    • CIA’s Spying Chief Plans to Retire
    • Head of Operations Division of the CIA resigns
    • Head of CIA’s Spy Division Calls It Quits
    • The CIA’s Top Spy Is Stepping Down

      Frank Archibald, the director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, plans to retire from his position within the CIA. Archibald was 57 when he took the position in 2013.

    • Exclusive: CIA’s Top Spy Steps Down

      The secretive head of the agency’s National Clandestine Service is retiring amid reports of infighting over a reorganization of the intelligence service.

      The director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, the storied home of the agency’s most secretive intelligence operations, has announced that he plans to retire, The Daily Beast has learned.

      CIA spokesman Dean Boyd confirmed that the director announced his retirement “after a long and distinguished career at CIA. We thank him for this profound and lasting contributions to both CIA and to our nation’s security.”

      As a practice, the CIA doesn’t identify the head of the clandestine service by name. But Frank Archibald was outed in a Twitter post in 2013, and details of his biography were known to some journalists. Archibald, who was 57 when he took the job that year, reportedly served tours in Pakistan and Africa and also headed the CIA’s Latin America division. The Associated Press reported that Archibald “once ran the covert action that helped remove Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic from power.”

    • Litvinenko inquiry: the proof Russia was involved in dissident’s murder

      American spies secretly intercepted communications between those involved in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko and provided the key evidence that he was killed in a Russian-backed “state execution”, The Telegraph can disclose.

      The National Security Agency (NSA) obtained electronic communications between key individuals in London and Moscow from the time that the former spy was poisoned with radioactive material in central London. The evidence was passed to the British authorities.

    • Alexander Litvinenko inquiry: NSA intercepts provide ‘proof’ Russia ordered London murder

      As the start of the public inquiry into the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London approaches, an investigation has claimed to reveal “proof” Russia was behind the dissident’s murder.

      Scotland Yard found the former Russian spy had consumed a fatal dose of polonium-210 during a meeting with two former KGB contacts at the Millennium Hotel eight years ago but Russia denied any involvement and refused to extradite the suspects.

    • Fort Hood Could Not Have Foreseen 2014 Gun Attack, Army Says

      Officials at the Fort Hood Army base in central Texas could not have prevented a shooting rampage last year in part because the troubled soldier behind the attack gave no clear warning that he posed a threat, according to an Army report released Friday.

    • The CIA Dipped Our Flag into the Dirt

      If you think this is too harsh, please remember that anyone convicted could be freed by presidential pardon. But the world would know Americans are against torture and our flag can go back up the pole to the top.

    • The Hidden Hand Behind American Foreign Policy

      Mr. Kissinger hired Mr. Marshall away from Rand, telling him that the intelligence the White House was receiving was “lousy” and “even worse than what one could find in the national press.” He asked the 48-year-old analyst to study the problem.

    • Did Nixon blow off his daily CIA reports?

      In their new book “The Last Warrior,” defense analysts Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts detail the career and legacy of Andrew Marshall, who recently retired as director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment after four decades in the job. (See my review.) Early on, they explain why Marshall left his longtime job at the Rand Corp. and moved to Washington in late 1969. President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger had decided that the information they were receiving from the intelligence agencies was “sorely lacking” — and they brought in Marshall to take a look at the problem.

      [...]

      Nixon didn’t believe CIA analyses of Soviet military capabilities and intentions…

    • Morocco Crushed Dissent Using a U.S. Interrogation Site, Rights Advocates Say

      After landing at the Rabat airport in 2010, Zakaria Moumni, a former kickboxing world champion, was distressed when he was taken aside by security agents, arrested, blindfolded and taken on a ride under a blanket in the back seat of a car to a secret facility. He says he was held there for four days, during which he was deprived of food and water.

      “There is no worse feeling than this hopelessness of being blindfolded and handcuffed naked without being able to control anything,” said Mr. Moumni, 34, who spoke from Paris, where he now lives. “They told me that I was in a slaughterhouse and that I was going to leave in small pieces.”

    • White House says drone strikes in Yemen continue despite Houthi coup

      The Pentagon and the White House are pushing back on reports that the Obama administration is pausing drone strikes and other counterterrorism operations in Yemen, amidst the abrupt collapse of a critical partner government.

    • US halts some counterterror efforts in Yemen

      The Obama administration has been forced to suspend certain counterterrorism operations with Yemen in the aftermath of the collapse of its government, according to U.S. officials, a move that eases pressure on al-Qaida’s most dangerous franchise.

    • LETTER: ‘Torture report’ exposed brutality of our leaders

      What is revealed is the ways that the highest-ranking officials in America sanctioned actions that we usually think of as occurring under brutal dictators and leaders who are brought up on charges of war crimes at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

    • Mark Mansfield, the (almost) public face of a secretive agency, dies at 56

      As the chief spokesman for the CIA, Mark Mansfield was not the first to refer to his position as “the ultimate oxymoron.” He became the not-quite-public face of a secretive agency, tasked with the job of neither confirming nor denying anything publicly.

    • Truth Revealed: McCain’s ‘Moderate Rebels’ in Syria ARE ISIS

      Poor John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Washington’s original first couple. They only wanted to arm the ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria. Three years on, how come their master plan isn’t working, while ISIS has grown so strong?

    • Drone Theory by Grégoire Chamayou review – a provocative investigation

      In using drones in this way, the Americans seemed to sacrifice the very “precision” that supporters of drone warfare have always argued is one of its principal advantages: after all, there is nothing “targeted” about a “signature strike”. And in any case, “precision” is a rather elastic term when employed in this context. The Hellfire missiles fired by Predator drones, for example, have a “kill zone” of 15 metres (in other words, nothing inside a 15-metre radius survives), whereas the successor to the Predator, the Reaper, is able to fire something called the “Small Smart Weapon”, which can kill an individual while leaving the people in the next room unscathed. Chamayou reports that American strategists expect that in 25 years’ time they will be using “nano-drones”, tiny robotic insects capable of operating in very confined spaces with unimaginable precision.

    • Indian press: Obama skipping Taj Mahal because he couldn’t use The Beast

      The site said the provincial government refused special permission for Obama’s car, called the Beast, as well as his motorcade, inside the gates of the famous Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

    • Obama to travel to Saudi Arabia

      Just before Obama left Washington for New Delhi, the White House announced that he will no longer travel to the Taj Mahal on Tuesday. Instead, he will stop in Riyadh on his way home.

    • Admiral: U.S. could have ousted Gadhafi peacefully

      As the allied bombing of Libya began in 2011, the Obama administration rejected an offer by Moammar Gadhafi to engage in negotiations to abdicate, according to a retired U.S. Navy officer who says he was prepared to broker the deal.

    • Fox News apologises for claiming Birmingham is ‘no-go zone’ for non-Muslims

      Emerson’s comments drew widespread ridicule, and led to prime minister David Cameron describing him as “a complete idiot.”

      The pundit formally apologised and donated £500 to a Birmingham children’s hospital.

    • 5 Ways the US is Interfering in Venezuela

      There is hard evidence that the United States government has been trying to destabilize Venezuela since the election of socialist President Hugo Chavez in 1998 to the current government of President Nicolas Maduro. Let’s count down the top 5 ways.

    • Tomgram: Engelhardt, Washington’s Walking Dead

      More tax dollars consumed, more intrusions in our lives, the further militarization of the country, the dispatching of some part of the U.S. military to yet another country, the enshrining of war or war-like actions as the option of choice — this, by now, is a way of life. These days, the only headlines out of Washington that should surprise us would have “narrowing” or “less,” not “broadening” or “more,” in them.

    • U.S. Drone Strikes Killed at Least 874 People in Hunt for 24 Terrorists

      U.S. drone strikes that hit their intended targets only 21% of the time have resulted in the killings of hundreds of civilians, including children, in America’s hunt for terrorists in Yemen and Pakistan.

      According to a data analysis by human rights group Reprieve, CIA drone strikes in Pakistan killed as many as 221 people, including 103 children, in the hunt for just four men on President Barack Obama’s secret Kill List, the Express Tribune reported. The Kill List is a covert program that selects individual targets for assassination and requires no public presentation of evidence or judicial oversight.

    • US counts enemy dead and it’s not reassuring

      The armed forces seem to be reassuring themselves that the violence they inflict — and the violence the enemy inflicts in return — is definitely worth it, according to David Axe

    • Drones And The New Ethics Of War – OpEd

      If Guantanamo was the icon of President George W. Bush’s anti-terror policy, drones have become the emblem of the Obama presidency. Indeed, Chamayou maintains that President Barak Obama has adopted a totally different anti-terror doctrine from his predecessor: kill rather than capture, replace torture with targeted assassinations.

    • Review: Prescient professor Chomsky more right than wrong

      If North Americans were asked, “Which country do you think is primarily responsible for supporting terrorism in the Middle East?” the answers would most probably be Iran, or Syria, or maybe Pakistan.

      In fact, it is U.S. ally Saudi Arabia which is “the primary source for the funding of radical Islamist groups,” as Noam Chomsky has recently pointed out. (In fact, the U.S. government has itself reached the same conclusion.)

      When it comes to the rise of the fanatical terrorist group, ISIS, Chomsky says that it “is a natural result” of the invasion of Iraq ordered by George W. Bush and Tony Blair: “One of the grim consequences of U.S.-U.K. aggression was to inflame sectarian conflicts … that have spread over the whole region.”

    • Is the Concept of Terrorism Still Useful?

      The invocation of terrorism is a relatively recent phenomenon, even if the practice of politically-oriented violence is not. A Google Ngram search of the keyword ‘terrorism’ shows that the word virtually did not exist before the 20th century:

    • The Troops Are Destroying Our Country

      The truth is that the troops, through what they’re doing over there, are indirectly destroying our country, our rights and freedoms, our safety and security, and our economic well-being.

    • Air Force Turns to Supersonic Mercenaries

      The U.S. Air Force fleet of planes and pilots is stretched so thin, the service is considering hiring private military corporations flying supersonic jets to train its fighter jocks in mock air combat.

    • Rand Paul Doubles Down on Anti-ISIS Strikes

      The likely presidential candidate is doubling down on on his support for anti-ISIS air strikes, despite new evidence that they aren’t working.

    • Big Pharma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): The Deadly Toll that Permanent War Takes on US Soldiers, Awaits the Rest of Us

      My own father, a decorated Navy war hero on US submarines during World War II and Korea, was tortured by his post-war “sins” that he carried for over 70 years all the way to his grave. His particular war sins were the result of being forced at gunpoint by US naval command to comply with America’s racist war policy to kill every Asian man, woman and child in Pacific waters during World War II, even innocent non-Japanese civilian families peacefully eking out a modest living in their small fishing boats. At one point when my machine gunner father couldn’t bear committing any more of his racist nation’s sins, after defiantly throwing his .50 caliber bullet belt to the deck and retreating down below deck to his bunk, his submarine captain charged after him with his revolver drawn ready to murder my father until several of my father’s shipmates talked the raging Medal of Honor winning skipper out of it. For the next seven decades my father agonized over the haunting images of gunning down little children and their mothers laying lifeless in their slowly sinking boats, turning the Pacific blue red with white man’s inhumanity toward yellow race people. But this is what the last “justified,” red, white and blue American war did to my father’s fragile human psyche. Rather than placing the blame squarely on United States war policy in the Pacific theater, he always blamed himself for murdering those innocent families whose only crime was being born with slanted eyes. His PTSD symptoms persisted the next 70 years, countless times suddenly jarred awake in the middle of the night in cold sweat moaning in agony over his nightmares of those haunting, indelible images from so many years before. Then on weekends he would regularly put on his treasured “Victory At Sea” records, and the lilting music like a trance would morosely place him right back into reliving his war trauma, wrestling with his inner demons hundreds of times over while drowning himself in alcohol, futilely self-medicating numbness amidst his lingering, unshakable pain. This is what war does. From any end of the gun, war is always wrong.

    • Who are the Terrorists?
  • Transparency Reporting

    • ‘Plight for whistleblowers in US a lot worse now’ – Snowden’s lawyer

      Despite public perception of whistleblowers changing for the better, the plight of those who choose to expose wrongdoings “has gotten a lot worse” in the US, former ethics adviser to Justice Department and Edward Snowden’s lawyer, Josselyn Radak, told RT.

      [...]

      JR: Public perception of whistleblowers is changing. You see both Edward Snowden and Bill Binney featured in the documentary Citizenfour by Laura Poitras, which has now been nominated for an Oscar award. People are beginning to realize the public value of the information brought forward by whistleblowers who were being persecuted and prosecuted for exposing illegality.

    • Sam Adams Award 2015: Whistleblowers Warn of Dangers to Democracy

      Binney is probably the most senior intelligence whistleblower in recent history. To give you an idea of his seniority – he designed most of the programmes that Edward Snowden leaked details about. So when William Binney talks about the dangers of mass surveillance, it pays to listen. It’s a bit like hearing Josef Goebbels talk about the risks of propaganda. The guy knows his stuff.

  • Finance

    • ‘Poor,’ ‘Middle Class’–What’s the Difference to the 1 Percent?

      But the Times piece, by Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker, seems to treat the poor and middle class as almost interchangeable. Thus “Mitt Romney, vowing a campaign to ‘end the scourge of poverty’ if he runs for president a third time,” is presented as an example of the same phenomenon as “Mitch McConnell…encourag[ing] the Republican troops to refocus policy on the stagnant middle class.”

      Yet these are very different political approaches, with different policy implications. The “middle-class tax cuts” Obama is said to favor wouldn’t do much for the poor, whereas the earned-income tax credit, whose expansion Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) advocates, is designed to help the working poor rather than middle-income families.

      Indeed, traditionally, the Republicans have accused Democrats of favoring the poor at the expense of the middle class (a charge that has led the Democrats for decades to declare their allegiance to the middle class).

    • Prof. Wolff Explains Our Staggering Level of Inequality on The Big Picture RT

      The wealthy elite are getting even richer, and a new report says that by 2016, the top 1% will control more than half of the world’s wealth. What explains this staggering level of inequality, and is there any way to buck this trend? Prof. Wolff explains.

    • GOP senator who boasted about her family’s self-reliance received $460K in federal subsidies

      Iowa Republican senator Joni Ernst gave her party’s official response to the State of the Union address by boasting self-righteously about her humble origins and how her self-reliant, heartland-state family pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, but conveniently failed to mention that her family’s farm was the beneficiary of nearly half a million dollars in federal subsidies.

    • Independent Greeks emerge as Syriza coalition option

      Tsipras has unnerved financial markets with a pledge to overturn austerity and demands a debt write-off from European partners. But his message has resonated with Greeks struggling with unemployment over 25 percent and wage and pension cuts.

    • Greek political parties for a Commons-oriented society

      With the chance of the oncoming Greek elections EEL/LAK, an Athens-based NGO focused on the promotion of FLOSS and the Commons, has recently asked the political parties about their agenda in relation to Open Governance and the Commons. In total, four political parties replied -according to the polls three of them will succeed in electing MPs- proving that there has been a growing interest over the Commons discourse in Greece.

    • Tory Government betrays our elderly with £1bn social care cuts

      Vital services such as meals on wheels and home visits have been hit particularly badly since the ConDems came to power in 2010

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Media Ethicists Savage Wash. Post’s “Troubling” And “Dishonest” Disclosure Standard For Writer/Lobbyist

      The Washington Post claims that broadly disclosing that one of its opinion writers is a Republican lobbyist is sufficient even when he is advocating for positions that specifically benefit his firm’s unmentioned clients, a standard media critics say is “troubling” and “dishonest.”

    • Distorted reality in American TV series

      On the one hand, in a fictional universe there is the Pakistani government that collaborates with the Taliban to attack the U.S. Embassy; on the other hand, in real life, there are children who are killed by the Taliban on the grounds that the Pakistani government organizes attacks in collaboration with Western powers. Here is the difference between fiction and reality for the U.S.

    • Every movie rewrites history. What American Sniper did is much, much worse.

      That’s not a story that’s limited to Clint-Eastwood-directed warsploitation movies. You’ll hear the same thing on Fox News, where this month Jeanine Pirro delivered a bloodthirsty rant calling for mass murder as a solution to the problem of Muslim extremism, and the network repeatedly made the false claim that radical Islamists had taken over parts of European cities, turning them into Muslim-only “no-go” zones.

      That’s its own form of dangerous extremism. Its premises are wrong, and its results are dangerous. By feeding that narrative, American Sniper is part of the problem.

  • Privacy

    • NHS: Big Brother Knows Best, Your Decisions Mean Nothing.

      In yet another act sure to increase the speed of George Orwell’s rotations in his grave, the NHS has decided that the opt-out forms I pointed out to many of you a year ago are not worth the paper they are printed on or emails they are sent in. Because, you see, you might have not understood fully the implications of opting out of your data being shared with private companies.

    • Why Mass Surveillance is Different

      In the wake of the Paris murders, and the subsequent arrests in Belgium, the question of cyber-security and surveillance has again risen to the top of the news agenda. I’m not going to add to the debate here, beyond pointing out that I have a libertarian viewpoint on this; I’ll leave it for others more articulate than myself to make the argument for me.

      [...]

      A more realistic analogy is this: the government simply tell the Post Office (the UK national delivery service) to steam open every letter, from anyone to anywhere, photocopy the contents, file them away, and then send the letter on. Keeping the contents so that they can refer back to them retrospectively. And whilst the Post Office are busy filing your records, BT (UK national landline carrier) is busy recording every single phone conversation you make. It’s the equivalent of having that message “Your call may be recorded for training purposes” built in to the telephone network.

    • Encryption will lead to ‘ethically worse’ behaviour by spies, says former GCHQ chief

      The increasing use of encryption technologies in everyday emails and messaging services will lead to “ethically worse” behaviour by the intelligence agencies, a former head of GCHQ has predicted.

      Sir David Omand warned there would be greater intrusion on individuals’ privacy, not less, if agencies are unable to intercept communications – because they will be forced into more direct spying methods.

    • Bill would underscore warrant requirement for Stingray use

      Fifteen state representatives have signed onto a bill that would require police to get a warrant before using surveillance technology that mimics cellphone towers to identify nearby phones.

      David Taylor, R-Moxee, introduced House Bill 1440 this week to promote electronic privacy, he said.

      His legislation doesn’t appear to propose changes for the Tacoma Police Department, the only Washington police agency known to possess the device commonly called a Stingray. The device finds suspects by the cellphones they carry. Once connected, the police can capture precise locations of a suspect’s phone and metadata — who he or she calls or texts, when and for how long.

    • Alabama School System Spies on Black Students

      This story has been posted on other social media. Its main focus is on how an Alabama school system (Huntsville city schools) paid a former FBI agent the sum of $157,000 to direct security of their schools but the main purpose was to actually spy on the social media activity of the black students in the schools. The agent was brought in to oversee the Students Against Fear program (SAFe). This program allows students and teachers to submit anonymous tips to security personnel. According to the paperwork provided by the school administration system, the SAFe program does not work directly for the school system. Instead, it is employed by T&W Operations. T&W Operations, which is a service-disabled, veteran-owned, small business in Huntsville, Alabama, provides labor and support services for logistics operations with government and commercial clients. Over 600 students attending these schools had their social media monitored in the year 2013. Students who were expelled due to certain social media issues were mostly African-Americans.

    • Europe is wrong to take a sledgehammer to Big Google

      It is the continent’s favourite hobby, and even the European Parliament cannot resist: having a pop at the world’s biggest search engine. In a recent and largely symbolic vote, representatives urged that Google search should be separated from its other services — demanding, in essence, that the company be broken up.

      [...]

      The problem with Google is not that it is too big but that it hoovers up data that does not belong to it.

    • ​Oakland cops’ license cams follow drivers everywhere

      EFF obtained and analyzed records from the Oakland Police Department’s secretive automatic license plate readers, showing that the department has mounted a program of incredibly intrusive, highly racialized secret surveillance of an entire city.

    • NSA whistleblower William Binney wins 2015 Sam Adams award

      William Binney, former technical director of the NSA turned whistleblower, last night received the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.

      The ceremony in Berlin featured a powerful line-up of fellow whistleblowers and former intelligence officers, who honoured Binney for “shining light into the darkest of corners of secret government and corporate power”.

      Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who won the Sam Adams Award in 2013, joined the event via video link from Moscow, to congratulate and thank Binney. “Without Bill Binney, there would be no Edward Snowden,” he said.

      Snowden spoke of the “civic duty to say something” that he felt when he saw unlawful surveillance programs in action. Programs that, as technical director of the NSA, Binney himself helped to build.

      In accepting the award, Binney said that he resigned from the NSA back in 2001 after he realised the agency was “purposefully violating the Constitution” with its “bulk acquisition of data against US citizens… first against US citizens by the way, not foreigners”.

    • Spying in the German Banana Republic

      The incident involving a CIA spy uncovered within the BND ranks was perceived by most Europeans as total nonsense: a total of 218 top secret documents were stolen from BND by a 31-year-old employee Marcus R. over a period of two years while he was cooperating with the ”friendly” CIA. The White House was paying “the loyal agent” according to the “banana republic,” rates up to and including 25 thousand euros, omitting glass beads and colored feathers.

    • Urgent: Please Help Stop Underhand Attempt to Sneak in the Snooper’s Charter

      In an act of extraordinary contempt for both the public and democracy, four lords are attempting to insert the bulk of the Snooper’s Charter in the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill in a way that means there will be almost no opportunity to debate it. We have only two days to stop this disgraceful move by writing to members of the House of Lords, and asking them to object to this disturbing attempt to circumvent the proper procedures “because terrorism”.

    • Illinois schools can demand students’ social media logins

      A new anti-cyberbullying law in Illinois effectively allows schools to force students to hand over their social media passwords if they are suspected to have been the victim of or otherwise involved in cyberbullying. While the law doesn’t explicitly say schools can request passwords, it gives school officials broad scope to act even when alleged bullying occurs using “technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school.”

    • Bruce Schneier and Edward Snowden @ Harvard Data Privacy Symposium

      Bruce Schneier, Harvard Berkman Center Fellow, talks with Edward Snowden about government surveillance and the effectiveness of privacy tools like encryption to an audience at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

  • Civil Rights

    • These are the 12 worst ideas religion has unleashed on the world

      Some of humanity’s technological innovations are things we would have been better off without: the medieval rack, the atomic bomb and powdered lead potions come to mind. Religions tend to invent ideas or concepts rather than technologies, but like every other creative human enterprise, they produce some really bad ones along with the good.

    • Offense for Offense’s Sake

      Many of the world leaders who came to Paris for the event were among the world’s worst violators of the principles the masses of demonstrators were there to defend. But even their hypocrisy, revolting as it was, could not deflect the demonstration’s positive impact.

    • Fetus Lawyers, Baby Daddies and ‘Legitimate Rape’: America’s Craziest Abortion Bills

      Lawmaking officially began last week in most states, and it should surprise no one that abortion is again high on the list of priorities for a number of legislatures going into 2015.

      Since the 2010 election tipped statehouses Republican, states adopted 231 new abortion restrictions. Last year alone, 15 states enacted 26 new abortion controls, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

      With all those news laws on the books, one might ask, just what’s left to curb? Yet armed with hundreds of pre-written bills—drawn up by model legislation organizations Americans United for Life and the National Right to Life Committee—state lawmakers are finding new ways to make an abortion even harder to get in the new year.

    • Op-Ed: The analysis of questioning torture

      Contrary to the spirit of the Enlightenment, torture had gradually disappeared in the West since the eighteenth century, and only the Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism have reintroduced it in Europe. Once that door opened, it managed to infiltrate the heart of the French Republic. A few years after the end of the Second World War, torture was practiced during the wars in Indochina and Algeria, even if the rulers did never publicly admitted it. To intellectuals like Pierre Vidal-Naquet (The Torture in the Republic, Minuit, 1972) or the Communist Henri Alleg, who had himself suffered to torture (La Question, Minuit, 1958) protested, with others, against this process.

    • The Terrifying Reality Of The US Torture Program And Why It Matters To You

      Now that the world is done stating “Je suis Charlie,” it’s time to turn its collective gaze back to the US government’s torture program. One of the beautiful things about the world having such a short attention span is that it is possible to refocus after a distracting event.

    • US Torture Tactics Go Global: Is Gitmo Just The Tip Of The Iceberg?

      Closing Gitmo while not tackling the root problem of its associated archipelago and the ‘exceptional’ US mindset that set it into force would be nothing but a symbolic victory. As is seen by the CIA black sites, barely any information has emerged about each location except for a few notable ones like in Poland. This means that it is unknown exactly what kind of human rights abuses may have been carried out there, demonstrating that the US government has actually done a particularly good job at covering its tracks in these cases. This should serve as a dire warning, however, even if Gitmo is closed, other more secretive ‘detention facilities’ may be opened to replace it, given the ‘need’ that certain influential members of the national and military spheres say there is for keeping it open in the first place. Just as one weed can quickly spread throughout an entire garden, it may be that Gitmo’s final legacy will be that it spread a network of near-identical camps all throughout the world.

    • Guantanamo lawyer: be careful after Paris attacks

      The lawyer for a Guantanamo inmate says fear after the Paris attacks risks giving governments a licence to implement the sort of anti-terror legislation that saw her client wrongly detained.

      [...]

      In the book the 44-year-old documents how he was subjected to brutal treatment, including being kept in a “frozen room” for hours on end, forced into group sex with prison guards and repeatedly tortured.

    • College dean recounts plight in former Czechoslovakia as Senate report likens CIA interrogations to torture

      With the recent release of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report affirming aggressive post-911 CIA interrogations that many critics liken to torture, Mikula, a professor of Eastern European History and acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Benedictine University, has been reliving her harrowing childhood experiences in the dual context of an expatriate and American citizen.

      She finds it ironic today that the same agency which helped her family escape communism is accused of using some of the same harsh interrogation tactics as the totalitarian regime.

      “The idea that you would torture people who you didn’t know were enemies or not – that you would torture (innocent) people in order to identify suspects – it makes me think of all we went through to get away from that,” Mikula said.

      Mikula, named Zuzana in her native country, is the daughter of Edith Martonik and Jozef Mikula. Her father, who was an outspoken critic of communism, left Czechoslovakia for Austria when it was clear the communists were going to assume control. His hope was to fight communism from afar and foment a change that would allow his return.

    • Thatcher Protégé Leon Brittan Was a Pedophile Suspect

      One of Margaret Thatcher’s most senior ministers died Thursday amid a swirl of accusations that he was personally involved in the abuse of children and the subsequent coverup of a Westminster pedophile ring.

      Lord Leon Brittan, who was appointed Home Secretary in 1983, always denied the allegations, some of which can be published for the first time now that he has died. Police sources also confirm that at the time of his death, he was being investigated over allegations that he had raped a woman as a young man. Brittan died in his sleep at home with his family at the age of 75. He had suffered from cancer and heart problems.

    • Here Is Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book

      An annotated copy of the address book, which also contains entries for Alec Baldwin, Ralph Fiennes, Griffin Dunne, New York Post gossip Richard Johnson, Ted Kennedy, David Koch, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, and all manner of other people you might expect a billionaire to know, turned up in court proceedings after Epstein’s former house manager Alfredo Rodriguez tried to sell it in 2009. About 50 of the entries, including those of many of Epstein’s suspected victims and accomplices as well as Trump, Love, Barak, Dershowitz, and others, were circled by Rodriguez. (The existence of the book has been previously reported by the Daily Mail. Gawker is publishing it in full here for the first time; we have redacted addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and the last names of individuals who may have been underage victims.)

    • Guantanamo Diary Takes Readers Inside Life in the Detention Center

      Slahi had fought alongside the mujahadeen in Afghanistan in the 1990s. This was a war in which the United States aided and even armed members of the mujahadeen against the Soviet-controlled government that had been installed in Afghanistan. However, by working with the mujahadeen, and even pledging support to a then-grassroots Al Qaeda, Slahi later found himself a wanted man.

    • A voice from Guantanamo: ‘I can’t breathe…’

      Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been detained in Guantanamo for 13 years without ever facing trial. From his cell, he wrote “Guantanamo Diary,” a unique account of the conditions in the US detention centre.

    • Lawyer: US ‘will clear’ Australia ex-Guantanamo man David Hicks

      The United States has accepted that the former Guantanamo inmate, Australian citizen David Hicks, is innocent, his lawyer says.

      Lawyer Stephen Kenny told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that he expected Hicks’s 2007 conviction “to be set aside”.

      Hicks’s lawyers appealed his conviction last month, saying it was unsound.

      Hicks had pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in a deal that allowed him to complete his sentence in Australia.

    • The case for a judicial inquiry into Libyan rendition is now undeniable

      The evidence is clear that MI5 and MI6 were involved in the abduction and torture of Gaddafi’s opponents – someone must be held to account

    • Exonerating The CIA: Establishment Investigates Itself

      Exonerating spooks for improper conduct is a regular feature of the establishment. After all, you don’t convict your own, turning your nose at activities pursued under the grand, catch-all term of national security. From the start, the CIA review, established to investigate its own activities into spying on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was always predictably constituted, with predictable outcomes.

    • Terrorist extradition to US blocked after CIA kidnapping, torture

      Andre Seebregts, K.’s lawyer, wanted the judge to prohibit the extradition because the role played by the US secret service (CIA) in the arrest and torture of K. in Pakistan has not been clarified. The judge agreed with him.

    • How Animal Experiments Paved the Way for the CIA’s Torture Program

      Fact: The CIA’s torture program was directly inspired by animal experiments.

      In the 1960s, dogs were subjected to random electric shocks from which they could not escape. Eventually the dogs gave up trying to avoid the painful shocks, not even escaping when a path to escape was finally presented to them.

      [...]

      What concerns me most as a medical doctor is the fact that two psychologists hired by the CIA, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, directed these human torture experiments. The psychologists were curious about whether the theories of animal “learned helplessness” might work on humans.

    • Bad, Bad Barrett Brown

      The sentencing of someone who couldn’t hack his way out of a paper bag is the latest sign that we’re in the middle of a nerd scare.

    • We Should All Step Back from Security Journalism

      I started studying the computer underground back when I worked in tech, as an early web developer, in the mid 1990s. I found the world fascinating, and I interviewed people and wrote about it, initially for myself. I never participated much. At first this was because I didn’t have much to contribute, but in time I came to understand that I wanted to remain on the disinterested side of law enforcement. This was not only because of what it meant for my own long-term prospects, but because it would let me build more understanding of the culture I was studying, and ultimately let me share what I learned of that culture with more people.

    • Autistic schoolboy hanged himself after falling for scam ‘police’ email saying he had looked at indecent websites

      An autistic schoolboy hanged himself after receiving a bogus “police” email claiming he had been looking at illegal websites and must pay a £100 fine.

      Joseph Edwards was more susceptible to believing the scam was genuine because of his disability, a coroner heard today.

      The 17-year-old A-level student was found hanged at his home by his mum, who has since launched a campaign to make children more aware of the dangers from internet scams.

      Joseph received the online spam message, claiming to be from Cheshire Police, which said he had been visiting illegal websites with indecent images on his computer and would have to pay a large sum of money to avoid officers taking action.

    • WTF! It Should Not Be Illegal to Hack Your Own Car’s Computer

      I spent last weekend elbow-deep in engine grease, hands tangled in the steel guts of my wife’s Mazda 3. It’s a good little car, but lately its bellyachings have sent me out to the driveway to tinker under the hood.

      I regularly hurl invectives at the internal combustion engine—but the truth is, I live for this kind of stuff. I come away from each bout caked in engine crud and sated by the sound of a purring engine. For me, tinkering and repairing are primal human instincts: part of the drive to explore the materials at hand, to make them better, and to make them whole again.

      Cars, especially, have a profound legacy of tinkering. Hobbyists have always modded them, rearranged their guts, and reframed their exteriors. Which is why it’s mind-boggling to me that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) just had to ask permission from the Copyright Office for tinkerers to modify and repair their own cars.

    • Barrett Brown Went to Jail for My Sins

      This– THIS LINK– could have sent me to jail. Another link came very, very close to sending Barrett Brown to jail. Brown was just sentenced to five years in jail on other charges that the government could make stick, in another step towards the criminalization of everything.

    • Barrett Brown Sentenced to 63 Months in Prison, Looks Horrible in Mustard Yellow Jail Togs

      Yesterday at the Earle Cabell Federal Building, in the fine city of Dallas, Texas, a fellow named Andrew Blake wore a curious t-shirt to Judge Sam Lindsay’s court for a hearing to determine how much longer Barrett Brown ought to stay in prison. Blake got his shirt while covering the trial of Chelsea Manning. It was black, with one word, in white, printed across its chest: “truth.” Before things got started yesterday, a federal marshal approached Blake and told him he had to cover up the word. In case you missed that: he had to cover up “truth.” In a courtroom. That’s how it went for much of yesterday, like a script for a bad movie that any reasonable studio executive would read and reject because no way could the plot transpire in real life.

    • Barrett Brown Sentenced to Five Years, Vows to Keep Investigating Government Wrongdoing

      But first, Brown expressed regret. He regretted having recorded and posted videos in which he threatened an FBI agent who was investigating Brown, calling the videos “idiotic” and the product of a “manic state” brought on by a withdrawal from drugs used to control his heroin addiction. He admitted that he “stupidly” tried to hide laptop computers from FBI agents when they arrived at his mother’s home with a search warrant. He said he had crossed the line from journalist to collaborator when he contacted security firm, Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) with an offer to redact sensitive material from a major 2011 hack, diverting attention from hacker Jeremy Hammond. “I have never denied I was involved with Anonymous,” Brown said. “But that means different things at different times.”

    • Barrett Brown’s Prison Time Raises Cybersecurity, Journalism Concerns

      But critics of the sentence, including Brown himself, say he has done nothing that many mainstream journalists haven’t also done in their work and that he is being persecuted because he does not have the protection of a large media organization. Reporters for outlets like the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Guardian, for example, have not faced the same prosecution efforts from the government for their part in publishing documents stolen from the National Security Agency by former contractor Edward Snowden.

    • King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabia: Slavery, Terror & Women as Property

      Abby Martin speaks with Ali al-Ahmed, Director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs about the death of Saudi Arabian monarch, King Abdullah, and why the media is covering him as a ‘reformer’.

    • Our Ally Saudi Arabia Beheaded 10 People This Month

      American diplomats pay lip service to human rights while tens of billions of dollars in arms are shipped to the Kingdom of Hate, where you can be executed for ‘sorcery’ or tweeting about Islam.

    • Civil and Human Rights Coalition Troubled by Deletion of “Civil Rights and Human Rights” from Senate Constitution Subcommittee

      Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to the Senate Republican Majority’s decision to remove the words “Civil Rights and Human Rights” from the name of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. This subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over civil rights oversight:

    • The obscenity of calling Saudi King Abdullah a “reformer”

      Saudi Arabia’s deceased King Abdullah, according to just about every obituary in major Western publications, was a reformer. The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, and NPR all describe Abdullah as a ruler committed to reforming Saudi Arabia’s notoriously repressive practices. Sen. John McCain called Abdullah an advocate for peace; IMF head Christine Lagarde called him a “strong advocate for women.”

      But Abdullah did not, in fact, make any fundamental reforms to the Saudi state, which remains one of the most oppressive and inhumane on earth. It punishes dissidents, including currently with multiple rounds of publicly lashing a blogger, amputates hands and legs for robbery, and enforces a system of gender restrictions that make women not just second-class citizens, but in many ways the property of men. Abdullah’s reputation as a reformer comes from some relatively limited policy shifts he made. Praising Abdullah as a reformer, in addition to being misleading, seems to imply that Saudi Arabia should be held to a lesser standard than the rest of humanity, and that its citizens should be somehow grateful for Abdullah’s minor adjustments to a system that remains cruelly unjust.

    • King Abdullah, a feminist? Don’t make me laugh

      The constraints and restrictions on Saudi women are too notorious and too numerous to itemise. Right now, two women are in prison for the offence of trying to drive over the border in to Saudi Arabia. It is not just the ban on driving. There is also the ban on going out alone, the ban on voting, the death penalty for adultery, and the total obliteration of public personality – almost of a sense of existence – by the obligatory veil. And there are the terrible punishments meted out to those who infringe these rules that are not written down but “interpreted” – Islam mediated through the conventions of a deeply conservative people.

    • North Korea seeks U.N. probe of ‘CIA torture crimes’

      North Korea called on Thursday for the top United Nations human rights body to investigate allegations of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture in the George W. Bush era, that were contained in a recent Senate report.

      The move, announced by So Se Pyong, ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the U.N. in Geneva, puts more strain on ties with Washington, following U.S. accusations that Pyongyang was behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures. North Korea denies those accusations.

    • North Korea seeks U.N. probe of “CIA torture crimes”

      So Se Pyong, ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the U.N. in Geneva, said that the issue of the “CIA torture crimes” should be put on the agenda of the U.N. Human Rights Council which meets from March 2-27

    • NKorea asks top UN rights body to probe CIA torture

      “This morning … I sent a letter to the president of the Human Rights Council … requesting that the council take up the issue of CIA torture crimes committed by the United States,” said So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva.

    • CIA torture report architect denounces Republican attempt to claw back copies

      The architect of the Senate’s landmark inquiry into Central Intelligence Agency torture is denouncing an unusual demand from her successor to return all classified copies of the investigation.

    • This is what happens when you put a CIA apologist in charge of CIA oversight

      When it comes to the CIA’s torture of innocent people, or unconstitutional dragnet surveillance, or assassination of American citizens, Republicans are eager to enable the executive branch. No fiddling with immigration regulations, because tyranny. But go ahead and kill whoever you want. We trust you.

      Witness Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the brand-new chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Instead of carrying out the oversight functions that are the very reason the committee exists, he is being every bit the CIA lickspittle that I said he was going to be last March.

    • Open thread for night owls: Sen. Richard Burr is acting more like a CIA asset than as its overseer
    • CIA Torture Report Sinks A Little More, As Agencies Don’t Bother To Read It

      When the new Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), announced that, allegedly unbeknownst to him, the former chairwoman had widely distributed the panel’s study of CIA torture, he said he was perturbed. A sensitive document — one whose validity he has vehemently challenged — now being spread within the executive branch? Concerning, Burr said, to say the least.

      Except most of the recipients that Burr is concerned about never even opened their copy.

      In response to a Freedom of Information Act request for the full, still-classified 6,900-page torture report, government lawyers wrote that most of the executive agencies that had been copied on the transmission of the full report to the White House from then-Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) hadn’t opened their sealed copy — and in one case, never even picked it up.

    • Burr’s CIA stumble

      With this petty action, Burr signals that his time in this important chairmanship will be stridently partisan. It’s not a promising sign for a tenure that ought to be marked by constructive debate.

    • NEW: Sen. Wyden: Foolish to Return CIA Torture Report
    • GOP Senator Wants to Make Sure the Full CIA Torture Report Never Sees the Light of Day

      The new Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to make sure that a scathing 6,900-page report about the CIA’s torture of terrorism suspects captured after 9/11 is never publicly released.

    • Europeans should come clean on CIA torture

      Nearly 10 years ago, allegations were raised against some European states for colluding with the CIA in post-9/11 anti-terror measures. Amnesty International is now calling on these nations to come clean.

    • Report: Torture is a European problem too
    • Amnesty: Europe must admit to co-operation in CIA torture

      Rights group Amnesty International urged European countries on Tuesday to come clean on alleged co-operation with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in torture, and to help bring those responsible to justice.

      “Governments can no longer rely on unsubstantiated ‘national security’ grounds and claims of state secrecy to hide the truth about their roles in the torture and disappearance of people,” said Amnesty counter-terrorism and human rights expert Julia Hall.

    • Europe Must Face Up to Its Role in CIA Torture, Campaigners Say

      When the US Senate released the report on CIA torture in December, the world reacted with shock and outrage. The document detailed the “program of indefinite secret detention and the use of brutal interrogation techniques” that the agency embarked upon in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. These techniques included mock executions, waterboarding, and “rectal rehydration,” along with threats to family members, sleep deprivation, and forced nudity. One detainee is thought to have died from excessive cold.

    • Amnesty calls on European countries to admit CIA cooperation

      Rights group Amnesty International urged European countries on Tuesday to come clean on alleged cooperation with CIA operations involving torture and help bring those responsible to justice.

    • Amnesty Int’l Insists Those Responsible for CIA Torture Must Be Punished
    • Moscow Calls on European Countries to Investigate CIA Torture Practices

      Earlier on Tuesday, Amnesty International published its report outlining Europe’s role in secret CIA torture operations. The governments cited in the report include Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Germany, Macedonia and the UK, the last has been described as the “most important US ally” in CIA operations.

    • Europe Complicit With CIA ‘War On Terror’ Says Amnesty International

      European governments that cooperated with the CIA’s secret detention, interrogation, and torture operations as part of the USA’s global “war on terror” must act urgently to bring those responsible to justice following a US Senate report containing new details said Amnesty International in a new briefing paper.

    • Why is Hollywood Rewarding Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin for Glamorizing the CIA?

      The Screen Actors Guild has nominated Claire Danes of “Homeland” for its Best Actress Award. It has also nominated Danes, Mandy Patinkin and the rest of the “Homeland” cast for the Outstanding Ensemble Award.

    • Exonerating the CIA

      Exonerating spooks for improper conduct is a regular feature of the establishment.

    • A Former FBI Special Agent Says The CIA Kept Him From Helping To Stop 9/11

      An FBI special agent who lost his job in 2008 told Newsweek columnist Jeff Stein his story about how the 9/11 hijackers slipped through the cracks at the FBI and CIA more than a decade ago.

      Mark Rossini said the CIA prevented him from going to FBI headquarters with the information that two known terrorists, who later went on to carry out the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, had entered the US.

      Government reports on 9/11 blame a vague “intelligence failure” for the terrorist attack that killed about 3,000 people in 2001 and provide little clarity on why the CIA didn’t communicate crucial information about the hijackers to the FBI. This information, in theory, could have helped the US to prevent the attacks.

      Rossini said that after 9/11, when congressional investigators started asking him questions about his work with the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, he and another FBI agent stayed quiet at the direction of CIA officers.

    • CIA report indicates value of brutal torture was inflated

      That internal review found that the CIA had consistently overstated the value of intelligence gained during the cruel and brutal interrogations of some of its detainees, The New York Times reports.

    • CIA report: The CIA repeatedly exaggerated the effectiveness of torture
    • CIA Knew Torture Claims Were Inflated

      While the CIA and former members of the Bush administration have been waging a campaign in defense of the spy agency’s actions, its own internal report found that they were overstating how helpful torture had been. According to The New York Times, an internal review commissioned by former Director Leon Panetta found that the agency continuously exaggerated the intelligence it obtained during the brutal interrogations of detainees. According to the review, the CIA knew that information used to track down operatives from al Qaeda and stop terror plots did not come from interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times.

    • Case Against CIA’s Jeffrey Sterling Raises Concerns of Press Freedom and Whistleblower Rights

      A major trial is underway in a federal courtroom in Virginia that, at its heart, is tackling issues of CIA interference in other countries, but also the Espionage Act, and the sanctity of journalists’ secret sources. Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling is on trial for several violations of the Espionage Act, that involves revelations of a bizarre secret operation called the Merlin Project.

    • Murder in Guantanamo

      The deaths of Yasser Al Zahrani, Salah Ahmed Al Salami, and Mani Shaman Al Utaybi were never accepted as suicides by their families, two in Saudi Arabia and one in Yemen, or by former prisoners who knew them, especially as autopsies showed the men’s necks had been removed. But the official narrative prevailed. It was “an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us,” Rear Admiral Harry B Harris Jr, the commander of the camp, told a press conference about the deaths. He described a “mystical belief” at Guantanamo that three men had to die at the camp for all of the prisoners to be released.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google boss predicts that the internet will ‘disappear’

      GOOGLE CEO Eric Schmidt has predicted that the internet as we know it today will disappear in the future.

      Schmidt said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the internet could become a thing of the past as online connections become ever smarter and personalised thanks to the growth of the Internet of Things.
      When quizzed as to his views on the future of the web, Schmidt said: “I will answer very simply that the internet will disappear.”

      “There will be so many IP addresses, so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it,” Schmidt said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

    • Google Chairman Expects Internet To ‘Disappear’ Soon

      Google chairman Eric Schmidt expects the internet as we know it to ‘disappear’ in the next few years as our online connections become ever more smarter and personalised.

      “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear,” Schmidt said at the Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland when asked about his predictions for the future of the web.

      “There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Men Tried for Extortion After Porn Download Threats

        Six men went on trial this week accused of blackmail and extortion after thousands were sent threats demanding cash payments for alleged adult video downloads. Former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde hopes for a conviction, but wonders if Hollywood content would’ve been handled differently.

01.23.15

Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 7:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • MediaFire Launches Open Source Toolkit for Linux
  • ‘Windows Must Go Open Source’: What Happened?

    It was a bold prediction in 2009 that Microsoft would take its Windows operating system open source. The advent of Windows 10 says it hasn’t come true — yet.

  • It’s Windows *10*, Because It’s 10 Years Behind Open Source

    I don’t write about Microsoft much here. That’s largely because, as I noted recently, open source has won. Well, it’s won in the field of supercomputers, cloud computing, Web servers, mobile systems, embedded systems and the Internet of Things. Of course, it hasn’t won on the desktop – although there are some interesting indications that even there things may be changing. That means Wednesday’s launch of Windows 10 is still important, since it affects the daily lives of many people – far too many. Here, I want to focus on a few key aspects that emerged.

  • Events

    • Weekend Viewing: Catch up on LCA 2015

      With many of the videos from linux.conf.au now available, and a three-day weekend about to hit Australia, there’s no excuse not to watch the best talks from last week.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Platform9 Claims its OpenStack Private Clouds Can Spin Up in Minutes

      Platform9, which many people have taken note of as a virtualization-focused startup, is making news this week after it announced the availability of Platform9 Managed OpenStack, a SaaS solution that leverages an organization’s existing servers into an AWS-like agile, self-service private cloud. Platform9 claims it can allow organizations to spin up an OpenStack private cloud deployment within minutes.

    • Hortonworks’ Hadoop Platform Now on Google Cloud Platform

      On the heels of its introduction as a hot new publlic company a few weeks ago, Hortonworks, which focuses on the open source Big Data platform Hadoop, is expanding its reach. Recently, Hortonworks extended its technology partner program with the addition of three new certifications it offers. Hadoop-related certification is a very hot commodity in the tech job market at the moment.

    • Federal Agencies Cautious of Cloud Commitment

      Meritalk’s new report, Cloud without Commitment, underwritten by Red Hat and Cisco, examined federal barriers to cloud adoption including migration, data portability, integration and future agility.

    • Federal Agencies Using Open Source Solutions More Satisfied with Cloud Security: MeriTalk

      Seventy-five percent of federal IT workers want to move more services to the cloud, but are held back by data control concerns, according to a survey released this week by MeriTalk. According to “Cloud Without the Commitment,” only 53 percent of federal IT workers rate their cloud experience as very successful, the same number as are being held back by fear of long-term contracts.

  • Healthcare

    • Living near more trees means fewer antidepressants

      Trees are incredibly smart. They run on sunshine, provide shade in summer and ever so kindly drop their leaves to allow the winter sun through. And now a team from the University of Exeter has determined that they are good for our mental health, too. Londoners who had more trees on their street popped fewer antidepressant pills.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 10.1.1 To Bring New System Updater, Qt5 Utilities

      The PC-BSD crew that base their desktop-focused BSD operating system off of FreeBSD put out their 10.1.1. release candidate this week.

      This quarterly update to PC-BSD (v10.1.1) is set to bring a new system updater that supports automatic background updating, improvements to the boot environments / GRUB support, GPT partition installation improvements, all PC-BSD desktop utillities have been converted to Qt5, OVA files for virtual machines, and various other improvements over the original PC-BSD 10.1 release.

    • PC-BSD Releases Updated Lumina Desktop Environment

      Besides working toward PC-BSD 10.1.1′s release, the PC-BSD crew have also been working on improving their Lumina Desktop Environment.

      Nearly a year ago I wrote about PC-BSD developing its own desktop environment and months later it was out in alpha form. The new PC-BSD desktop is called Lumina and it’s a homegrown environment catered toward the BSDs. The Lumina desktop is FreeDesktop.org/XDG-complaintand they’re hoping for it to be an alternative to GNOME or KDE.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Linus Torvalds on security, AI tools by Facebook, and more
    • Powering the Open-Source Cloud: What Tesla Motors Can Teach IT

      Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk posted a blog entry on June 12 that was far from typical, but not unexpected for those who know him. He discusses the “wall of patents” his company owns for the manufacturing of electric cars and argues that “these days they serve merely to stifle progress.” The result? Tesla has made all of its patents public, paving the way for an open-source electric car. There’s a similar movement underway in IT: The open-source cloud. What can IT professionals learn from Musk’s recent move?

    • Open Access/Content

      • Find a greater audience for your creative work

        There was a time not long ago when publishing was difficult and expensive. Thanks to services like Lulu.com and Lulujr.com, that’s changing. Open source and Creative Commons licensing has also opened the door for teachers and students to inexpensively and easily find a new and authentic audience for their work.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • ‘It just works’? Not so for too many Apple users

    Apple’s journey from ‘it just works’ to ‘it just needs more work’ may undermine the company’s reputation for quality

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Ebola Was Only A Warm-Up: The Measles Outbreak Is For Real

      Nearly 80% of Americans — 80%! — even wanted doctors and nurses that treated Ebola patients to be locked into quarantines, despite lack of medical evidence.

      Of course, a mass Ebola outbreak in the United States never materialized.

      But a major measles outbreak is already here. And it’s only going to get worse.

  • Security

    • UK Firms’ Faith In Security Tools And Policies Is Misplaced

      Less than half of firms regularly take basic measures like installing patches and updating software, Cisco research finds

      Cisco has warned that many businesses’ faith in their security tools and policies is misplaced, as just 42 percent of UK firms have highly sophisticated measures in place – less than India, the US and Germany.

      The networking firm’s Annual Security Report found that 75 percent of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) believe their tools are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ effective yet less than half take standard steps like patching and updating software to the latest versions, increasing their protection.

    • Adobe fixes Flash flaw in Windows, Mac and Linux

      Adobe has rushed out an emergency fix for a flaw that was affecting users of its Flash Player tool on Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

      Adobe said in a notification about the fix that it was aware that the flaw was being abused by criminals to carry out attacks against Flash Player.

      “Adobe is aware of reports that an exploit for CVE-2015-0310 exists in the wild, which is being used in attacks against older versions of Flash Player,” the firm said.

    • Friday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘We Were Arrogant’: Interview with New York Times Editor Baquet

      SPIEGEL: One of the reasons Snowden didn’t approach the New York Times was that the paper had refused to publish the initial research about the NSA’s bulk collection in 2004. The story was only published almost a year later. Was it a mistake to have held back on that reporting?

      Baquet: I wasn’t even at the New York Times then and I don’t know what the discussions were like. It’s easy to look at it now and say, “how could the New York Times not have published the story,” but I won’t judge them because I wasn’t here, and I don’t know what the discussions were like. Bill Keller, the former editor in chief, has said the story was not as good as the one they published.

      SPIEGEL: There are other cases where the New York Times showed a lot of consideration for the US government. In 2011, for example, you didn’t print a story about drone bases in Saudi Arabia. Can you give us an insight into what your criteria are for not publishing those kinds of stories?

      Baquet: It was my decision not to publish the drone research — and it was a mistake. The circumstance was that the American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki had been killed by a drone strike. We were writing a story on deadline. A high-ranking CIA official called me up and made the case to leave out where the drone base was. It was Saudi Arabia. I accepted it. And I was wrong. I made a decision on deadline that I regretted almost the next day. We then published the information later. It taught me a lesson. But there are instances where I think you do have to hold things back, and I can think of some instances where I don’t regret it.

      SPIEGEL: For example?

      Baquet: During WikiLeaks, there was one specific instance in which there was a really remarkable cable. Moammar Gadhafi was still in power and it was a greatly detailed cable, which clearly came from somebody with firsthand knowledge of Gadhafi’s activities. It felt like a great thing to publish, but the government made the case that if we published it, it would be very clear to Gadhafi where it came from, and that the source would be killed. Once I reread that cable in light of that, I think it was pretty clear that the government was making a compelling case not to publish it. As I recall, everybody involved agreed not to use that particular cable.

    • Hollywood uses ‘American Sniper’ to destroy history & create myth

      The moral depravity into which the US is sinking is shown by the movie American Sniper glorifying the exploits of a racist killer receiving six Oscar nominations, whereas ‘Selma’ depicting Martin Luther King’s struggle against racism has received none.

      American Sniper is directed by Clint Eastwood, and tells the story of Chris Kyle, a US Navy Seal who served four tours of duty in Iraq as a sniper credited with 160 confirmed “kills”, and earning him the dubious honor of being lauded the most lethal sniper in US military history.

      [...]

      Anything resembling balance and perspective is sacrificed in American Sniper to the more pressing needs of US propaganda, which holds that the guys who served in Iraq were the very best of America, men who went through hell in order to protect the freedoms and way of life of their fellow countrymen at home. It is the cult of the soldier writ large, men who in the words of Kyle (Bradley Cooper) in the movie “just want to get the bad guys.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Memo To The Media: GOP-Led Senate Is Still Denying Climate Science

      On January 21, 98 U.S. senators voted to affirm that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” But the media should not misconstrue that vote as evidence that the Republican-led Senate is now seeing eye-to-eye with scientists on the issue. Moments later, 49 senators voted to deny that “human activity significantly contributes to climate change” – the position held by the vast majority of climate scientists.

    • A small Australian town hit with ridiculously hot temperatures

      The town, with a population in the low hundreds, was forecast to swelter through a whopping 49 degrees Celsius (120.2 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). By 1:30 p.m., Marble Bar had reached a high of 48.4 degrees Celsius. At 2:30 p.m. local time, the mercury dropped a measly point to 48.3 degrees Celsius, while by 4 p.m. it had only slid to 48.2 degrees Celsius.

    • Benzene found in Montana water supply after Yellowstone oil spill

      A cancer-causing component of oil has been detected in the drinking water supply of an eastern Montana city downstream from a crude oil spill

    • Montana Oil Spill Renews Worries

      Oil spill into Yellowstone River renews concerns about pipeline safety.

    • Big Coal Destroys the Great Barrier Reef and Caley Wetlands

      Instead of protecting it, the Queensland and Australian federal government have traded the crown jewel of the Seven Wonders of the World for exporting more heat-trapping gas and coal and more poisonous mercury vapor.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Muslim-Bashing Not a No-Go Zone for Bobby Jindal

      But Iftikhar was merely suggesting that there is prejudice based on skin color in our political culture–hardly a far-fetched claim–and that non-white politicians like Jindal may tend to bash other minorities (in this case, Muslims) in order to avoid the consequences of this prejudice. (Iftikhar’s use of the skin-scrubbing metaphor indicates that he finds this a futile endeavor.)

    • A Cheat Sheet For Obama’s 2015 State Of The Union Speech

      On the other hand, it’s equally hard to argue that Obama has done much to slow the boom down. The administration has resisted pressure from environmental groups to regulate hydraulic fracturing, and Obama’s current energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, has been a fairly outspoken defender of the technique. If anything is holding back drilling, it’s falling prices, not administration policies.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Privacy is dead, Harvard professors tell Davos forum

      That is the terrifying dystopian world portrayed by a group of Harvard professors at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, where the assembled elite heard that the notion of individual privacy is effectively dead.

      “Welcome to today. We’re already in that world,” said Margo Seltzer, a professor in computer science at Harvard University.

      “Privacy as we knew it in the past is no longer feasible… How we conventionally think of privacy is dead,” she added.

    • Abuse of Parliamentary procedure: introducing the Comms Data Bill into the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill

      Laying eighteen pages of clauses before the Lords to insert the Snoopers’ Charter into an already complicated bill is an abuse of procedure. The Lords cannot have time to properly consider the bill, and would deny the Commons the opportunity to consider the clauses as well.

    • Snooper’s Charter – the Zombie Bill that just won’t go away

      Four members of the House of Lords have attempted to bring back from the dead the Communications Data Bill – otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter. The entirety of the bill that had previously been rejected (or at least put on hold) by Parliament – some 18 pages in all – was added as a late ‘amendment’ to the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill currently passing through the Lords. This is utterly cynical at best, and a total abuse of parliamentary procedure at worst.

    • “Is this 21st Century farming?”

      The Technological boom has touched nearly every industry; it may now be taking over the farming industry. Monsanto and John Deere, two big Agribusiness giants, have started services that allow them to collect minute by minute data from farms as crops are being planted and harvested. Currently available to Midwestern farmers, both companies pledge that the data will benefit the farmers by increasing profits.

    • Wyden, Chaffetz Stand Up for Privacy with GPS Act

      In order to create clear rules about when law enforcement agencies can access and track Americans’ electronic location data Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, reintroduced the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act) today.

      The bipartisan, bicameral bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and in the House by Reps. Peter Welch, D-VT and Jon Conyers Jr., D-MI.

  • Civil Rights

    • Anonymous hackers turn fire on global paedophile menace

      They are best known for hacking government and corporate websites, but in the wake of the Westminster child abuse scandal and allegations of establishment cover-ups, the Anonymous internet collective has a new target: exposing international paedophile networks.

    • US reporter jailed for linking to stolen data

      A journalist with connections to the hacking collective Anonymous has been sentenced to five years in jail after posting online links to stolen data.

      Barrett Brown originally faced charges punishable by more than 100 years in prison, but the sentence was reduced after he pleaded guilty last year.

      He said he broke the law to reveal details of illegal government activity.

      The case drew criticism from advocates of free speech and media rights organisations.

    • British Spy Agency Considers Journalists a Threat, Vacuums Up Their Emails

      Terrorists, hackers, and journalists. According to a recent Guardian article covering new Snowden documents, British spy agency GCHQ considers all of these individuals threats—various levels of threats, but threats nonetheless. One intelligence report goes so far as to say, “Of specific concern are ‘investigative journalists’ who specialise in defence-related exposés either for profit or what they deem to be of the public interest.”

      [...]

      It shouldn’t need to be said, but journalists’ communications need to be safe from government hands. And yet, we see example after example of the British government going after this important check to power. (The US has done its fair share of targeting journalists as well.) The Guardian, for example, was forced by GCHQ to destroy their hard drives containing Snowden documents. That was soon after David Miranda, partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained and interrogated at Heathrow for nine hours. England has notoriously abused its surveillance laws to spy on journalists, prompting over 100 editors to sign a letter to the British prime minister calling for a stop to the spying and passage of a strong freedom of expression law.

    • US government faces fine after spoofing a citizen’s Facebook profile

      THE US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DoJ) will pay $134,000 to a woman who was the victim of a spoof Facebook page that featured her in varying states of dress.

      The fine relates to a case from 2010 when a waitress called Sondra Arquiett was arrested as part of a drugs bust.

      The BBC reports that Arquiett complained after she realised that images, including some with her in short shorts, had been posted online by a third party.

      She sued the government for its actions and the DoJ set about considering it. The DoJ has admitted what it did, but has not accepted that it acted improperly.

    • Sotomayor to Justice Department Lawyer: ‘We Can’t Keep Bending the Fourth Amendment to the Resources of Law Enforcement’

      The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the Fourth Amendment case Rodriguez v. United States. At issue is whether an officer “unnecessarily prolonged” an otherwise legal traffic stop when he called for backup in order to safely walk a drug-sniffing dog around the stopped vehicle. According to a previous Supreme Court ruling, the use of drug dogs during routine traffic stops poses no constitutional problems so long as the traffic stop is not “prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete that mission.”

    • Sen. Burr is wrong to recall CIA torture report

      It didn’t take long for North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr to stir up his Democratic colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee he now chairs. He has sent the White House a letter, The New York Times reports, demanding that copies of an internal CIA report on torture be “returned immediately.”

      Burr and some other Republicans didn’t like the report released under the previous Intelligence Committee chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. In it, the CIA’s use of torture was detailed and documented, and it embarrassed the agency and, for that matter, the country.

    • SSCI Chairman to CIA: We’ll Hide Your Documents if You Hide Ours

      Shortly after he became chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in January, Senator Richard Burr told reporters in his home state that he had no intention of trying to rewrite the committee’s 6700-page, $40 million torture report. Burr said that despite his disagreements with the report, he wanted to “look forward and do oversight in real time.”

      It turns out that Burr’s statement was half true: he doesn’t want to rewrite the torture report. But he does want to help the CIA slip it into a memory hole—along with the Panetta Review, an internal CIA study that confirms the Senate report’s conclusions.

    • Saudi Arabia: King’s Reform Agenda Unfulfilled

      King Abdullah’s reign brought about marginal advances for women but failed to secure the fundamental rights of Saudi citizens to free expression, association, and assembly.

    • Greek leftists Syriza extend poll lead two days before election

      Greece’s anti-bailout Syriza party has widened its lead over the ruling conservatives to 6.7 percentage points from six points previously, a survey showed on Friday, two days before a national election.

    • The lesson of the Charlie Hebdo murders is to double down on the Bill of Rights

      The British, forever bragging about how attuned to irony they are, are responsible for some of the most hilariously ironic free speech and privacy violations in the world. There was the man charged with a “Racially Aggravated Crime” because he made a statement criticizing Islam—which turned out to be a direct quote from Winston Churchill. There’s the flat in London surrounded by 32 CCTV cameras—it once belonged to George Orwell.

    • FBI Agent: No Direct Evidence Ex-CIA Man Leaked to Reporter

      There is no direct evidence that an ex-CIA officer leaked details of a classified mission to a journalist, but phone and email records show the two were in frequent contact, an FBI agent testified Wednesday.

      Prosecutors wrapped up their case with a web of circumstantial evidence based on the phone and email contacts.

      Former CIA man Jeffrey Sterling, 47, of O’Fallon, Missouri, is charged with leaking information about a purportedly botched operation to thwart Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who wrote about the mission in the 2006 book “State of War.” Risen has refused to disclose his sources.

    • Compare and Contrast: Obama’s Reaction to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez

      Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela four times from 1998 through 2012 and was admired and supported by a large majority of that country’s citizens, largely due to his policies that helped the poor. King Abdullah was the dictator and tyrant who ran one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.

      The effusive praise being heaped on the brutal Saudi despot by western media and political figures has been nothing short of nauseating; the UK Government, which arouses itself on a daily basis by issuing self-consciously eloquent lectures to the world about democracy, actually ordered flags flown all day at half-mast to honor this repulsive monarch.

    • Saudi Arabia’s Tyrant King Misremembered as Man of Peace

      It’s not often that the unelected leader of a country which publicly flogs dissidents and beheads people for sorcery wins such glowing praise from American officials. Even more perplexing, perhaps, have been the fawning obituaries in the mainstream press which have faithfully echoed this characterization of Abdullah as a benign and well-intentioned man of peace.

      Tiptoeing around his brutal dictatorship, The Washington Post characterized Abdullah as a “wily king” while The New York Times inexplicably referred to him as “a force of moderation”, while also suggesting that evidence of his moderation included having had: “hundreds of militants arrested and some beheaded”. (emphasis added)

      While granting that Abdullah might be considered a relative moderate within the brazenly anachronistic House of Saud, the fact remains that he presided for two decades over a regime which engaged in wanton human rights abuses, instrumentalized religious chauvinism, and played a hugely counterrevolutionary role in regional politics.

      Above all, he was not a leader who shied away from both calling for and engineering more conflict in the Middle East.

    • The best story about the Queen and King Abdullah you will read today

      King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died yesterday aged 90, and there has been some controversy over the tributes paid by world leaders to the ruler of a repressive regime that carries out public beheadings and bans women from driving.

      [...]

      You are not supposed to repeat what the Queen says in private conversation. But the story she told me on that occasion was one that I was also to hear later from its subject – Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia – and it is too funny not to repeat. Five years earlier, in September 1998, Abdullah had been invited up to Balmoral, for lunch with the Queen. Following his brother King Fahd’s stroke in 1995, Abdullah was already the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. After lunch, the Queen had asked her royal guest whether he would like a tour of the estate. Prompted by his Foreign Minister, the urbane Prince Saud, an initially hesitant Abdullah agreed. The royal Land Rovers were drawn up in front of the castle. As instructed, the Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the front Land Rover, with his interpreter in the seat behind. To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. Women are not – yet – allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen. His nervousness only increased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime, accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.

    • Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes

      Documents published online for the first time Thursday indicate that the FBI opened an inquiry into New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez on August 1, 2012, focusing on repeated trips he took to the Dominican Republic with longtime campaign contributor and Miami eye doctor Salomon Melgen. TheDC reported in November that Menendez purchased the service of prostitutes in that Caribbean nation at a series of alcohol-fueled sex parties.

    • Saudi Arabia: Activist Raif Badawi ‘may not serve whole 10-year prison sentence’

      Saudi Arabian activist blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for advocating free speech, may not have to serve the full decade in prison.

      Badawi family’s spokesperson, Dr Elham Manea, who is also an associate professor specialising in the Middle East at University of Zurich, said on Facebook that the news was delivered by a Saudi ambassador in Germany.

      She wrote: “Saudi ambassador in Germany informed NDR-TV that flogging will not continue and ‪#‎RaifBadawi‬ maybe not have to serve the whole time in prison.”

    • Barrett Brown Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison After Reporting on Hacked Private Intelligence Firms

      A journalist and activist accused of working with Anonymous has been given a five-year prison term and ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in restitution and fines. Barrett Brown was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty last year to charges of transmitting threats, accessory to a cyber-attack, and obstruction of justice. Supporters say Brown has been unfairly targeted for investigating the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors. After his sentencing on Thursday, Brown released a satirical statement that read in part: “Good news! — The U.S. government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.” We discuss Brown’s case with Kevin Gallagher, a writer, activist and systems administrator who heads the Free Barrett Brown support network. He says that the public should not believe what the government says about Brown.

    • Families of disabled men slam Legoland in the Trafford Centre for decision to ‘ban’ adults without children

      Campaigners blast policy as ‘discrimination’ but attraction cites ‘child protection’ rules after turning away adults and their carers

    • In Victory for Gov’t Whistleblowers, Supreme Court Sides with Fired TSA Air Marshal Who Spoke Out

      A major U.S. Supreme Court decision has upheld the right of federal employees to become whistleblowers. The case centers on former Transportation Security Administration Federal Air Marshal Robert MacLean. In July 2003, MacLean revealed to an MSNBC reporter that the Department of Homeland Security had decided to stop assigning air marshals to certain long-distance flights in order to save money, despite warnings of a potential plot to hijack U.S. airplanes. MSNBC’s report on the story sparked outcry, and the policy was quickly reversed. MacLean was fired three years later after admitting to being the story’s source. He filed a lawsuit over his dismissal, sparking a multi-year legal battle that ended earlier this week when the Supreme Court ruled on his behalf in a 7-to-2 decision. At issue was whether MacLean’s actions could be protected by the U.S. Whistleblower Protection Act, a law that protects employees if a disclosure exposes unlawful conduct, gross mismanagement or threats to public safety. We speak to Robert MacLean and attorney Neal Katyal, who argued MacLean’s case before the Supreme Court. Katyal is the former acting solicitor general of the United States.

    • Lagarde calls King Abdullah ‘advocate of women’ – despite ban on driving

      Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has praised King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as a “strong advocate of women”, but human rights campaigners said his reign only brought marginal advances for women, while failing to secure fundamental rights of free expression, association, and assembly.

      In paying tribute to the king who died on Thursday aged 90, Lagarde – who has expressed her concerns over gender inequality – described the monarch as a great leader who implemented many reforms.

      “In a very discreet way, he was a strong advocate of women. It was very gradual, appropriately so probably for the country. I discussed that issue with him several times and he was a strong believer,” said Lagarde, who is attending the Davos economic forum in Switzerland.

    • Louise Mensch Just Told David Cameron And The Queen To ‘F**k Off’ Over Saudi King Abdullah

      Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch has unleashed an extraordinary tirade on Twitter, instructing both David Cameron and the Queen to “fuck off”.

      Mensch became enraged after the British Government declared all UK flags be flown at half mast to mourn the death of King Abdullah on Thursday.

      She began by criticising US President Barack Obama for paying tribute to the late royal, whom Mensch said “whipped women for driving & is currently starving his daughters.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Apple must make BlackBerry apps under net neutrality laws, claims BlackBerry CEO

      The chief executive of BlackBerry has claimed that Apple should be forced to make apps for BlackBerry users under net neutrality laws currently being debated in the US.

    • The Cobweb

      Two weeks before the crash, Anatol Shmelev, the curator of the Russia and Eurasia collection at the Hoover Institution, at Stanford, had submitted to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit library in California, a list of Ukrainian and Russian Web sites and blogs that ought to be recorded as part of the archive’s Ukraine Conflict collection. Shmelev is one of about a thousand librarians and archivists around the world who identify possible acquisitions for the Internet Archive’s subject collections, which are stored in its Wayback Machine, in San Francisco. Strelkov’s VKontakte page was on Shmelev’s list. “Strelkov is the field commander in Slaviansk and one of the most important figures in the conflict,” Shmelev had written in an e-mail to the Internet Archive on July 1st, and his page “deserves to be recorded twice a day.”

    • Blogger who uncovered GOP leader’s white supremacist ties had home Internet lines cut

      Earlier this month, Lamar White, Jr. woke up to discover his Internet connection wasn’t working. He had just gotten a new cable box installed at his Dallas, Texas, home and figured his lines should still be in ship shape because it hadn’t been long since they were last checked.

      Rather than just assume he had crappy Internet service, like you or I might, he thought his home computer system was on the receiving end of a denial of service attack. White, you see, is something of a major figure in the political media. And there are a good many people who may want revenge for the things he’s dug up.

    • Media Shouldn’t Be Fooled By Fake Neutrality Bill Backed By Broadband Industry

      What The Media Should Know About The GOP Bill That Is Net Neutrality In Name Only

    • Net Neutrality: the Member States and Commission about to turn their back on the Parliament’s Vote!

      On January 20th, La Quadrature du Net along with other European organisations co-signed an open letter [pdf] calling once more the EU’s Member States to adopt clear and strict rules to protect Net Neutrality. However, a negociation document shows that at the same moment, Member States were one towards the end of a free Internet. It is time for the European Parliament to get back to work on this issue and defend a real protection of Net Neutrality, against oligopolistic strategies of the large Internet actors backed by governments.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Torrent Site Blockades Are Disproportional, Greek Court Rules

        A Greek anti-piracy group has lost its bid to have various torrent sites blocked by local Internet providers. The Athens Court ruled that barring access to torrent sites such as KickassTorrents and The Pirate Bay is disproportionate and unconstitutional, while hindering the ISPs’ entrepreneurial freedoms.

      • Bomber Tries Copyright Troll Argument to Unmask Critic

        A man jailed for 50 years in the United States for multiple bombings, drug smuggling and felony perjury, is attempting to leverage copyright troll cases to his advantage. Brett Kimberlin says that since a court has already revealed the identities of BitTorrent users, it should also unmask his critics.

      • Transparency is Necessary to Ensure the Copyright Industry Won’t Sneak Policies Through the Back Door

        Policy makers intending to promote creativity have always overemphasized the importance of “copyright protection” without addressing the wide range of other concerns that are necessary to consider when making comprehensive innovation policy. In an era where everyone, with the use of their computer or mobile device, can easily be a consumer, creator, and a critic of art, we can not afford to ignore this digital ecosystem of artistry and innovation. Yet copyright remains completely out of touch with the reality of most creators today, while the rules that do pass seem to stray even further from addressing their needs.

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