October 31, 2014

The GNU project

FSF Blogs: Recap of Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: October 31

In today's Friday Free Software Directory (FSD) IRC Meeting -- which was the both the Halloween Edition as well as the 10th Anniversary of the Software Freedom Law Center Celebration Edition -- we approved updates to several entries; we added a new category, UI Toolkit; and we added a few new entries, including:

  • Notepadqq, a source code editor, licensed under the terms of GNU GPLv3.

There was also a lot of very interesting and exciting things I could share with you about this meeting, but it is getting late and I need to get started on my Trick-or-Treating!

However, if you join us next week, you can join in our discussions directly while helping to improve the Free Software Directory every Friday! Find out how to attend the Friday Free Software Directory IRC Meetings by checking our blog or by subscribing to the RSS feed.




Publicamos aquí la carta de doña María Micaela Hernández, madre del normalista desparecido Abel García Hernández, porque la dictó a su hija en mixteco para que su hijo conozca su sentir donde sea que esté:

“Hoy que no estás conmigo siento un dolor tan grande que no puedo explicar con palabras, creo que mi corazón cada vez se hace más pequeño y poco a poco siento cómo se va desgarrando dentro de mí.

“Cada día que miro tu foto recuerdo aquel día en que naciste, un 15 de junio de 1995, hoy ya un joven de 19 años con una gran ilusión por delante para ser un gran maestro que siempre soñaste.

“Recuerdo que cuando partiste y con esa alegría en tu cara te fuiste a la Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos de Ayotzinapa, para hacer realidad tu sueño de darnos una vida mejor a nosotros tus padres.

“Desde aquel día de tu partida te sigo esperando, hijo, y sé que estas lágrimas que lloro al final será el precio por verte de vuelta, hijo, para verte comer tu comida favorita, la cocolmeca, que subías al cerro por ella para que yo te la guisara…

“Desde que no estás aquí tu padre no ha dejado de buscarte y a gritos pide y exige que regreses con vida.

“No existe dolor más grande como el que yo siento, y si alguien cree que por ser pobre y humilde no tenemos sentimientos, yo les digo que este dolor me está matando lentamente.

“Quisiera saber dónde estás para ir corriendo y salvar tu vida, no importando quitarme la mía.

"Por último, hijo, quiero decirte que tu pueblo te está buscando. Tu pueblo te reclama y vivimos con la esperanza de volver a verte."


Telebasura es #propaganda en el #Mexico del terrorismo de estado

Telebasura es #propaganda en el #Mexico del terrorismo de estado

Extracto de la crónica de Arturo Cano acerca del dolor de madres de estudiantes desaparecidos de #Ayotzinapa #Guerrero :

(...)"En el noticiario de televisión, el Presidente de la República habló siete minutos, los actos de violencia contra la casa del gobernador hablaron tres y los padres de los desaparecidos apenas 45 segundos"

fuente : http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/10/31/politica/005n1pol

#AmericaLatina #periodismo #massmedia #derechoshumanos

The GNU project

denemo @ Savannah: Release 1.2 is imminent - please test.

Palette Shortcuts
Execute Palette Commands from Keyboard
Label is typed in
Label truncation allowed
Switch active palette
Works even on hidden palettes
Automatic Cues
Install Reference to Cued Part
Automatically detects difference in clef
Changes are automatically reflected in cue
Fret Diagrams
Can be placed in any score
Can be embedded in text
Can be re-positioned by dragging
Accidental Styles
16 styles available
Apply across entire score
Lyrics Improvements
Choose Font Face
Choose Font Size
Chord Chart Improvements
Interface for Customized Chord Symbols
Page size and measures per line control
One-off arbitrary chord symbol creation
Tailored shortcuts for fast keyboard entry.
MIDI information on double-click
Timing information
Volume (velocity) information.
Default Font Faces
Choose from system installed fonts
Titles, Lyrics etc
Chord Names and other sans serif text
Mono-spaced font
General Improvements
More checks for user errors
Better flow of notes into new measures.

October 30, 2014

The GNU project

FSF Blogs: Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: October 31

Join the FSF and friends on Friday, October 31, from 2pm to 5pm EDT (18:00 to 21:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on freenode.

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Free Software Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world over the past decade, it has the potential of being a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

If you are eager to help and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today!


Cofundador de The...

Cofundador de The Pirate Bay es declarado culpable por hackeo | Partido Pirata Chile - http://www.partidopirata.cl/cofundador-de-the-pirate-bay-es-declarado-culpable-por-hackeo/

The GNU project

FSF Blogs: The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Jessica Tallon of PyPump

In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Jessica Tallon, the lead developer PyPump, a simple but powerful and pythonic way of interfacing with the pump.io API, which is licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3 or, at your option, any later version.

What inspired you to create PyPump?

I began working on PyPump when Evan Prodromou launched the first pump.io servers. Although Status.net had existed before pump.io, I wasn't a user and the only social networks I used were centralized, proprietary ones which really clashed with my views on software freedom and the federated web. I wanted to be able to interact with pump without having to use a browser. The API was easy to understand, so I tried to see if I could put together a basic library.

How are people using it?

There are several interesting projects out there which use PyPump. With my day job as a GNU MediaGoblin developer, we're going to be using it as a way of communicating between servers as a part of our federation effort. A great use I've seen is PumpMigrate, which will migrate one pump.io account to another. Another little utility that I wrote over the course of a weekend is p, which was made to be an easy way of making a quick post, bulk uploading photos, or anything you can script with the shell.

What features do you think really sets PyPump apart from similar software?

One thing PyPump does particularly well is being pythonic. We've written PyPump to be as natural for the python developer to work with as possible. Hopefully, that will lower the bar of entry for developers, as they won't have to read through the pump.io API documentation or be intimately familiar with Activity Streams in order to write great applications that can interact with pump.io.

Why did you choose the GNU GPLv3 as PyPump's license?

This is actually something I get asked a lot and something which I have spent a lot of time thinking about. PyPump is a library and most people expected me to release it under the GNU LGPLv3. The reason I went with the GNU GPLv3 is that I believe that all software, regardless of size, should be free - so that we can all learn, build, fix, and use the software in whatever way we see fit. GPLv3 gives everyone the protection against someone coming along and using all that great work and writing proprietary code against it.

How can users (technical or otherwise) help contribute to PyPump?

There is so much people can do to help. We would love to get help both on the library, as we're currently working towards our 0.6 release, as well as on documentation. With PyPump being a library, we want to make sure that we have accessible, good quality documentation so that the people who want to use PyPump can. Writing software that uses it is also a great way of contributing!

What's the next big thing for PyPump?

The next big thing is our 0.6 release, in which we're aiming to provide much better documentation, better storage interaction, and a much more stable API to write against. I think some of the most exciting things won't be what we add to PyPump, but, rather, what other developers will create with it. I'm really looking forward to it being used in more ways.

Enjoyed this interview? Check out our previous entry in this series featuring Alan Reiner of Bitcoin Armory.


#Twitter already ...

#Twitter already using #Verizon, AT&T, #Cisco header injection tech

Even security researchers who went through the 4-step process to opt-out of these programs are finding carrier-level tracking code being injected into their traffic.


#malware #tracking #mobile #surveillance

This Cannot Be Happening!

Thomas Friedman Comes In From the Cold War

Vietnam Was About Liberation!

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has discovered that the Vietnam War was not really about stopping communism. That was an emotional delusion. The Vietnam War, he writes, was about anti-colonial nationalism, what the Vietnamese called liberation from a French/American military yoke. When the Vietnamese beat the French, its patron, the United States of America, took up that militarist yoke. Then it took the Vietnamese 21 more years of terrible slaughter before the Americans gave it up.

That’s the narrative Friedman has recognized. The pathetic irony is that the Vietnamese admired America and loved the Americans they fought with during World War Two against the Japanese. The 1945 decision to turn against our WWII ally has to be one of the saddest betrayals in world history.

Recently "love-bombed by Vietnamese," Thomas Friedman (insert) and modern Saigon, AKA Ho Chi Minh CityRecently "love-bombed by Vietnamese," Thomas Friedman (insert) and modern Saigon, AKA Ho Chi Minh City

I’m a Vietnam veteran. I was a young radio direction finder in the military operations in the mountains west of Pleiku along the Cambodian border. My job was to locate radio operators so our forces could use all available means of mechanized death to destroy entire Vietnamese units and anyone else who got in the way. I didn’t discover what Friedman has discovered until the late seventies, after maturing and reading a host of highly respected books of history. Before that, I had been a good American and had dutifully accepted the national narrative lie that the evil North Vietnamese had without provocation invaded the innocent nation of South Vietnam.

As a good, pliant soldier I learned to hate the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong guerrillas. We called them gooks, dinks, zips and slopes. We treated all Vietnamese like dogs. We killed them up close and in great numbers. We killed between two and three million of them. They managed to kill 58,000 of us. More on both sides were maimed; families were destroyed; and in Vietnam many thousands simply went missing, doomed to wander as improperly buried ghosts. We destroyed without a thought; we ecologically poisoned much of the land. The legacy is horrible.

read more

by grant

Riccardo Orioles

Milazzo, il petrolio e le ‘Ilve’ d’Italia: il problema è la cattiva pubblicità, no?

“Quello che ci vorrebbe è una bella campagna pubblicitaria nazionale, per far conoscere a tutti le bellezze della nostra bella città! La gente deve smetterla, appena si dice Milazzo, di pensare alla raffineria! Il cielo, il sole, il mare, questo bisogna dire per il turismo!”.

Già. Il fatto è che una certa ora in poi Milazzo è praticamente isolata dal resto del mondo e d’estate, di notte, c’è pieno di turisti che bivaccano alla stazione di Messina, in attesa dei primi treni del mattino. Neanche ripartire da Milazzo via treno è tanto facile, con la stazione a casa del diavolo, un paio d’impiegati superstiti che s’arrabbattano alla meno peggio, il bar della stazione sbarrato e sostituito da un paninaro e un clima da film giapponese dopo il passaggio di Godzilla.

Ci sono vari pezzi di spiaggia ancora liberi (a pochi metri da uno hanno appena costruito un magnifico palazzone da cinque piani) e il mare, se non sei un perito chimico con le tue provette appresso, ti sembra buono. Sul lungomare, una robusta statua di Luigi Rizzo (l’eroe cittadino, con Garibaldi) minaccia col pugno alzato la Raffineria: è l’unico milazzese che osa farlo. “E’ successo qualcosa?”, dicono, riluttanti, tutti gli altri.

Dicevamo Godzilla: e anche qui, stando attento, senti l’aria del mostro. Lo sanno tutti, in realtà, non c’è bambino o vecchio milazzese che non sappia benissimo che cosa stia dormendo là sotto. Ma è meglio non sfruculiarlo. Casomai si risveglia…

Il mostro s’è risvegliato varie volte in passato, la peggiore è stata il 4 giugno del ’93, all’ora della pausa-pranzo aziendale. Il pranzo arrivò con quindici minuti di ritardo, quel giorno, alla mensa della Raffineria, così invece dei soliti 200 operai alle 13.20 ne uscirono solo sette. L’esplosione del Topping 5 li disintegrò in un baleno: qualche scheggia d’acciaio fu ritrovate a cento metri.

Perciò ora, quando la notte fra il 27 e il 28 settembre le fiamme hanno raggiunto il cielo, i milazzesi non hanno perso un istan te a catapultarsi dal tetto e fiondarsi mezzo vestiti per la strada. Per andare dove? Il piano d’emergenza della raffineria, chi ha la fortuna di conoscerlo, prevede che in caso di guai bisogna chiudere ermeticamente le finestre e non fare mosse sbagliate. E poi? Te ne scappi? Scappi dove? Quali vie? Quali istruzioni? Non ce n’è.


Così, mentre i coraggiosissimi pompieri e operai lottavano per salvare il paese da una mezza Fukushima, i milazzesi che non erano imbottigliati negli ingorghi pregavano tutti i santi che conoscevano e bestemmiavano tutte le autorità esistenti. A San Filippo, a poche decine di metri dai serbatoi (gli puoi tirare un sasso dalla finestra di casa, se ti va: ma non ti consiglio di farlo) bestemmie e preghiere erano più tremanti e più forti.

“La Madonna ci ha salvato, la nostra Madonna della Catena!” disse poi padre Peppe, il buon parroco che da anni lotta contro l’inquinamento di questo e degli altri mostri. La Sacelit, con l’amianto, ne ha fatti fuori centoventi, fra operai e mogli e figli: l’ultimo, Giuseppe Gitto, è morto pochi giorni fa; e ancora (denunciano Maio e Ginatempo di Zero Waste) qua non hanno ancora fatto il Piano Protezione Amianto!

Sono un sacco le cose che non hanno fatto: per l’amianto, per la raffineria, per la centrale a carbone, per tutto. Ma perché?

La migliore risposta l’ha data un candidato sindaco locale, più lucido – involontariamente – dello stesso Carlo Marx. “La raffineria è un’azienda, ha detto nel comizio, e lo scopo delle aziende è fare profitti. Dire alle aziende di riconvertire è idiota! Le aziende restano finché fanno un euro di profitto, poi chiudono e se ne vanno”.

Ecco perché l’idea diffusa qui è di non disturbare Godzilla. Se si arrabbia, chiude e se ne va… In realtà, tutti i ‘Godzilli’ d’Europa  – ramo raffinerie – hanno chiuso o stanno chiudendo a uno a uno. Non è più un affare, raffinare petrolio da questo lato del ciclo: meglio farlo laggiù. Perciò un bel giorno anche qui, nella terra bruciata, non resteranno che gli escrementi di Godzilla: “Io so’ io, dirà Godzilla andandosene, e voi non siete un c***. Perciò, affari vostri!”.

Ma non sarebbe meglio cominciare a organizzarsi subito, i lavoratori di Godzilla, e cominciare finché s’è in tempo a legarlo, ad accordarsi coi contadini, a imbavagliargli il fiato? Eh, facile a dirsi.

Poi, chi lo sa, forse è anche peccato. Al povero prete di qua, quello che ce l’ha con l’inquinamento, sta arrivando – dicono – qualche “benedizione” non tanto benevola dalla Curia… Don Camillo aveva un vescovo di buon senso, ai tempi suoi, e  poteva contare su Peppone. Ma ora…


by Riccardo Orioles


Verizon is getting into the news business. What could go wrong?

Verizon is getting into the news business. What could go wrong?



The most-valuable, second-richest telecommunications company in the world is bankrolling a technology news site called SugarString.com. The publication, which is now hiring its first full-time editors and reporters, is meant to rival major tech websites like Wired and the Verge while bringing in a potentially giant mainstream audience to beat those competitors at their own game.

There’s just one catch: In exchange for the major corporate backing, tech reporters at SugarString are expressly forbidden from writing about American spying or net neutrality around the world, two of the biggest issues in tech and politics today.

Unsurprisingly, Verizon is deeply tangled up in both controversies.

The first revelation from Edward Snowden’s leaks showed that Verizon gave the National Security Agency (NSA) all of its customers’ phone records. Later leaks showed that virtually every other major phone and credit card company in America was doing the same thing.

Verizon has been snarled in U.S. government surveillance for years. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, USA Today reported, Verizon gave the NSA landline phone records without customer consent or a warrant. Just this week, it was revealed that Verizon is tracking all of its wireless customers movement throughout the Web.

Verizon has also led the charge to kill net neutrality—the principle that Internet service providers, like Verizon, should treat all Internet traffic equally—earning its place as the most vocal, aggressive, and well-funded opponent the so-called open Internet movement faces.

Curiously, Verizon’s self-censorship applies only to surveillance conducted by the United States. SugarString reporters are allowed to write, and have already written about, spying in other countries. Chinese surveillance, for instance, is fair game, as made evident in this article about anonymizing hardware, which mentions Chinese dissidents who risk their lives against state surveillance.


Virtually every story currently on the front page of SugarString—articles about GPS being used by law enforcement, anonymity hardware enabling digital activists, and artists on the Deep Web—would typically include information on American surveillance of the Internet or net neutrality to give the reader the context to make sure she’s fully informed.

But none of the current articles do that. At best, they dance around the issue and talk about how other countries aside from the U.S. conduct surveillance. That self-censorship puts blinders on the reader, never giving her all the information she should have—information that, not coincidentally, tends to make Verizon and other powerful interests look very, very bad.

#verizon #corporatespying #netneutrality #corporatemedia #corporatemotherfuckers #censorship #propaganda

October 29, 2014

Annamaria Monteverdi

Call for papers: Art and Freedom of Expression Seismopolite Journal of Art and Politics

Seismopolite Journal of Art and Politics issue 8 will shed light on how different artistic forms and strategies may advance freedom of expression and be used to confront censorship in contexts worldwide. Contributors from diverse disciplinary backgrounds are invited to submit articles, reviews or interviews that address this theme through a high variety of possible […]

by annamaria monteverdi

Da dove sto chiamando. Festival di performing art, video e danza a Cagliari

Cagliari.SpazioDanza e TiConZero presentano Da dove sto chiamando Festival di performing art, musica, danza, video (26 ottobre – 29 novembre 2014) presso Il Lazzaretto, Auditorium Comunale, Palazzo di Città.   Ritorna  il festival cagliaritano dedicato a musica, arti performative, danza e video.  In calendario spettacoli, installazioni, laboratori con artisti in arrivo da tutto il mondo    Raccontare […]

by annamaria monteverdi

Uscito il volume sul Teatro di Jeton Neziraj (Kosovo) per Cut up edizioni

E’ uscito per Cut up edizioni della Spezia il volume La distruzione della Torre Eiffel del drammaturgo kosovaro Jeton Neziraj. La traduzione è di Giancarla Carboni (autrice e drammaturga) e Monica Genesin (studiosa di lingua e letteratura albanese dell’Università del Salento). La supervisione a la curatela è di Anna Maria Monteverdi che ha curato diversi […]

by annamaria monteverdi

Festival INTERIORA-Cinema arti visive performance ispirate a Danse Macabre al Forte Prenestino

Roma. Ad Halloween torna l’appuntamento più atteso dell’horror indipendente: INTERIORA Mostra ciò che hai dentro, Festival giunto alla V edizione, che si terrà al Forte Prenestino il 31 Ottobre e 1 Novembre 2014. Due giorni di Cinema, Arti visive, Musica, Performance e Letteratura ispirate alla “Danse Macabre”, tema di questa edizione. C.A.R.M.A. (Centro di Arti e Ricerche Multimediali Applicate) anche quest’anno collabora […]

by annamaria monteverdi


Feed the machine ...

Feed the machine brain, you will be assimilated.....

Twitter teams with IBM to feed user data into Enterprise & Watson.

IBM, Twitter form data partnership | ZDNet

This Cannot Be Happening!

With a Government this Vile and This Secretive We Need to Ask Questions

Prof. Boyle may be wrong, but he may be right


A few days ago, I published a short story linking to a PRN.fm radio interview I did with noted international law attorney Francis Boyle, whom I pointed out was a drafter of the US Biological Weapons and Anti-Terrorism Act passed into law in 1981, which act supposedly barred the United States from continuing to keep or to develop new germ warfare weapons.

Boyle told me, on last Wednesday’s radio program “This Can’t Be Happening!,” that he believes the Zaire Ebola strain that is wracking Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea in west Africa, originally came from one of several BSL4-level bio-research labs operated in those countries and funded by a combination of the Center for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the US Defense Department, perhaps because of testing of Ebola being conducted there, or because of some containment breach.

Boyle pointed out the oddity that the epidemic is the Zaire strain, which has in the past been limited to Zaire in central Africa, and not a local strain found in fruit bats in west Africa -- the alleged vector that news reports have claimed is being suspected of initiating the outbreak of the disease. As he noted, fruit bats don’t migrate, and certainly didn’t fly 2200 miles from central Africa to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

For running this alarming interview with Boyle, I have received some criticism from readers who suggest that Boyle’s facts are weak.

Since then I have been checking out some of his claims and suspicions.

One particularly interesting one is his claim that a BSL4 lab handling Zaire Ebola in Kenema, Sierra Leone, was shut down in July by order of the Sierra Leone government.

Ebola virusEbola virus

read more

by lindorff

The GNU project

freeipmi @ Savannah: FreeIPMI 1.4.6 Released


FreeIPMI 1.4.6 - 10/29/14
o In ipmi-fru, support output of DDR4 SDRAM modules.
o Fix EFI probing on non IA64 systems.
o Fix corner case in ipmi-raw w/ standard input or --file and empty lines.
o Fix parsing corner case in ipmi-chassis.
o Support SSIF bridging.

October 28, 2014

The GNU project

gcl @ Savannah: GCL 2.6.12 is released

Greetings! The GCL team is happy to announce the release of version
2.6.12, the latest achievement in the 'stable' (as opposed to
'development') series. Please see http://www.gnu.org/software/gcl for
downloading information.

This release was largely motivated to accelerate closure construction
and compiler hash table performance for ACL2(h). Along the way,
support was added for ACL2 static-consing, making GCL at present one
of two lisps offering this optimization for very large and heavy jobs.
This release also features a TAGS target in make, a variety of
compiler speed improvements, an overhaul and standardization of the
error, conditions, and restart systems, protection of system and fork
from SIGPROF, and getc/putc from SIGINT, faster l2 list functions and
nani/address, proper handling of missing objdump and generic TMP
environment variables, processing of mismatched fast-link calls slowly
without error, ppc64le and aarch64 fixes, support for the
si::link-list fast-linking diagnostic, more robust segfault
trapping, and full pathname fixes to the unradomize/re-exec

guile-ncurses @ Savannah: guile-ncurses 1.6 released

I am pleased to announce version 1.6 of GNU Guile-ncurses. Guile-ncurses is a library for the creation of text user interfaces in the GNU Guile dialect of the Scheme programming language. It is based on the ncurses project's curses, panel, form, and menu libraries.

The web page for GNU guile-ncurses is

Its canonical download location is

Or you can download it from a mirror at

This release adds a couple of new features and changes

- Two more ncurses functions have been wrapped: 'unctrl' and 'resizeterm'
- 'form-driver' now handles Unicode if a recent version of ncurses is being used
- '%is-form-driver-wide' is a new constant that indicates if 'form-driver' can handle Unicode
- 'newterm' now operates only on file ports. Other port types never worked correctly.
- the configure script no longer ignores LIBS and LDFLAGS specified on the command line


Mike Gran

October 27, 2014

Annamaria Monteverdi

Digital Life 2014 – Un viaggio per scoprire e per creare un nuovo mondo sonoro

Articolo di Vincenzo Sansone ROMA – Per il quinto anno consecutivo il Roma Europa Festival scommette sulle tecnologie digitali e sulla loro capacità di trasmutarsi in arte. Dal 9 ottobre al 30 novembre 2014 si svolge infatti Digital Life, l’evento che ospita diverse installazioni in cui le tecnologie si coniugano con l’arte. Il filo che […]

by annamaria monteverdi

Belling Cat

Countering Violent Extremism

Humera Khan comes on the show to discuss countering violent extremism (CVE) and de-radicalisation. We talked about CVE strategies, how CVE differs from counter-terrorism, the role of social media in CVE, and much more.MEW Logo2


Scrivener – a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

by Karl Morand

The GNU project

libtool @ Savannah: GNU libtool 2.4.3 released [stable]


The Libtool Team is pleased to announce the release of libtool 2.4.3.

GNU Libtool hides the complexity of using shared libraries behind a
consistent, portable interface. GNU Libtool ships with GNU libltdl, which
hides the complexity of loading dynamic runtime libraries (modules)
behind a consistent, portable interface.

This is an interrim release with a few known small regressions, as yet
unfixed due to a lack of man-power. But rather than make you wait any
longer to enjoy the new features and cleaner build using the latest
autotools, gnulib, config.guess, config.sub and bootstrap scripts, with
support for several new systems and system revisions, we're releasing
it now in anticipation of your patches for the remaining nits and

Here are the compressed sources:
http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/libtool/libtool-2.4.3.tar.gz (1.7MB)
http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/libtool/libtool-2.4.3.tar.xz (928KB)

Here are the GPG detached signatures[*]:

Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth:

[*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the
.sig suffix) is intact. First, be sure to download both the .sig file
and the corresponding tarball. Then, run a command like this:

gpg --verify libtool-2.4.3.tar.gz.sig

If that command fails because you don't have the required public key,
then run this command to import it:

gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 151308092983D606

and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command.

This release was bootstrapped with the following tools:
Autoconf 2.69
Automake 1.14.1
Gnulib v0.1-234-g8415b67


  • Noteworthy changes in release 2.4.3 (2014-10-27) [stable]
    • New features:

- Moved to gnulib release infrastructure.

- M4 is now used for scanning the M4 macros in your configure.ac that
'libtoolize' looks at to determine what files you want, and where you
would like them installed. This means that you can compose your
version number or any other argument that Libtoolize needs to know at
M4 time using git-version-gen from gnulib, for example.

- Invoking 'libtoolize --ltdl' no longer maintains a separate autoconf
macro directory in the libltdl tree, but automatically adjusts the
installed libltdl configuration files to share whatever macro
directory is declared by the parent project. (Note: if you were
already sharing a macro directory with AC_CONFIG_MACRO_DIR(ltdl/m4)
or similar, that still works as does any other directory choice).

- Invoking 'libtoolize --ltdl' no longer maintains a separate auxiliary
scripts directory in the libltdl tree, but automatically adjusts the
installed libltdl configuration files to share whatever auxiliary
scripts directory is declared by the parent project. (Note: if you
were already sharing an auxiliary directory with subproject libltdl
using AC_CONFIG_AUX_DIR(ltdl/config) or similar, that still works as
does any other directory choice).

- The legacy tests have all been migrated to the Autotest harness.

- The Autotest testsuite can be run without the especially time consuming
tests with:

make check-local TESTSUITEFLAGS='-k "!expensive"'

    • Bug fixes:

- Fix a long-standing latent bug in autom4te include path for autotests
with VPATH builds.
- Fix a long-standing latent bug in libtoolize that could delete lines
from libltdl/Makefile.am in recursive mode due to underquoting in a
sed script.
- Fix a long-standing bug in libtoolize, by outputting the 'putting
auxiliary files in' header with 'libtoolize --ltdl --subproject'.
- Fix a long-standing bug in libtoolize subproject installation, by not
installing a set of autoconf macro files into the parent project if
there is no configure.ac present to use them.
- The libtoolize subproject mode selector is now named '--subproject'
and is equivalent to the implied '--subproject' mode when no other
mode is selected; '--standalone' never worked, and is no longer
- Libtool and libtoolize no longer choke on paths with a comma in them.
- In the case where $SHELL does not have the same enhanced features
(e.g. the ability to parse 'var+=append') as $CONFIG_SHELL, libtool
will now correctly fallback to using only vanilla shell features
instead of failing with a parse at startup.
- Correctly recognize import libraries when Microsoft dumpbin is used
as the name lister and extend the dumpbin wrapper to find symbols
in import libraries using the -headers option of dumpbin. Also fix a
bug in the dumpbin wrapper that could lead to broken symbol listings
in some corner cases.
- Use the improved Microsoft dumpbin support to mend preloading of
import libraries for Microsoft Visual C/C++.
- No longer mangle module-definition (.def) files when feeding them to
the Microsoft Visual C/C++ linker via the -export-symbols argument to
the libtool script, thus matching how .def files are handled when
using GNU tools.
- Recognize more variants (e.g. those starting with a LIBRARY statement)
of module-definitions (.def) files when using them instead of a raw
list of symbols to export.
- Fix a long-standing bug when using libtoolize without automake; we
no longer remove install-sh with --force, since it's not a file
libtoolize will reinstall without --install..

    • Important incompatible changes:

- GNU M4 is required to run libtoolize in a directory with a
'configure.ac' (or 'configure.in') that needs tracing to determine
what modes and directories have been specified.

- The use of the idiosyncratically named 'Makefile.inc' in nonrecursive
libltdl builds is deprecated, although it will be supported for one
more year or until the next release, whichever takes longer. Please
upgrade to the more standard naming of 'ltdl.mk' in keeping with other
GNU projects.

- libtoolize now behaves consistenty in respect of multiple directory
arguments to ACLOCAL_AMFLAGS and multiple invocations of AC_CONFIG-
_MACRO_DIRS, where the first directory is always selected. Previous
releases took the first ACLOCAL_AMFLAGS argument, but the last
invocation of AC_CONFIG_MACRO_DIRS.

- The libtoolize program now advises use of the new Autoconf
AC_CONFIG_MACRO_DIRS declaration. If you follow that advice, all
your developers will need at least autoconf-2.70 and automake-1.13
to rebootstrap your probject. If you still need to support
bootstrap with older Autotools, then you should add the following
to your configure.ac file:


- Overhead of probing for a non-backslash crippled echo equivalent
during initialization of every script has been removed in favor of
trusting that "printf %s\n" works out of the box on all non-museum
host architectures. Manually setting ECHO appropriately in the
build environment will be necessary on some ancient architectures.

    • Changes in supported systems or compilers:

- Support for bitrig (--bitrig*).

- Solaris 7 and earlier requires ECHO=/usr/ucb/echo in the build
environment, to build and use libtool.


FSF Events: Walter Bender - "Learning to Change the World" (Cambridge, MA)

Join us as Walter Bender presents "Learning to Change the World: How the Technology and Culture of Free Software Can Fuel a Learning Revolution One Teacher and One Child at a Time."
Walter Bender is founder and executive director of Sugar Labs. Sugar Labs is a member project of the non-profit foundation Software Freedom Conservancy. Sugar Labs develops educational software used by more than three-million children in more than forty countries.
In 2006, Bender co-founded the One Laptop per Child, a non-profit association with Nicholas Negroponte and Seymour Papert. As director of the MIT Media Laboratory, Bender led a team of researchers in fields as varied as tangible media to affective computing to lifelong kindergarten. In 1992, Bender founded the MIT News in the Future consortium, which launched the era of digital news.

Registration or RSVP'ing, while not required, is always appreciated, as it will help us ensure there is enough space and food for all. You can RSVP by e-mailing Will Rico (willrico@gmail.com).

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Cambridge.

Annamaria Monteverdi

Al via il seminario su videmapping, visual theatre e videart di Lino Strangis e Anna Monteverdi al Dams di Imperia

Prende il via domani martedì 28 ottobre con cadenza bisettimanale (ogni martedì e mercoledì per 5 settimane) il seminario sulle tecnologie applicate allo spettacolo dal vivo coordinato dalla prof.ssa Anna Monteverdi che ha voluto con sé il videoartista Lino Strangis che illustrerà alcune tecniche di video live per il teatro. Il seminario si svolge all’interno del Corso di Regia […]

by annamaria monteverdi

The GNU project

wget @ Savannah: GNU wget 1.16 released

  • Noteworthy changes in Wget 1.16
    • No longer create local symbolic links by default. Closes CVE-2014-4877.
    • Use libpsl for verifying cookie domains.
    • Default progress bar output changed.
    • Introduce --show-progress to force display the progress bar.
    • Introduce --no-config. The wgetrc files will not be read.
    • Introduce --start-pos to allow starting downloads from a specified position.
    • Fix a problem with ISA Server Proxy and keep-alive connections.

Download it here:


and verify with GPG:


Annamaria Monteverdi

Hakanaï di Adrien M/Claire B: quando le tecnologie effimere rendono concreti sogni e fragilità

Articolo di Vincenzo Sansone con intervista a Claire Bardainne ROMA – Il 24 e 25 ottobre 2014, “La Pelanda” (ex mattatoio Testaccio in Roma), in occasione del Roma Europa Festival 2014, ha accolto Hakanaï, l’ultima creazione di Adrien Mondot e Claire Bardainne. La compagnia Adrien M/Claire B nasce nel 2004, operando nel campo delle arti […]

by annamaria monteverdi

October 24, 2014

This Cannot Be Happening!

Why is This Ebola Pandemic in West Africa so Virulent and Hard to Contain?

Expert traces outbreak to a US bio-weapons lab

International law professor Francis Boyle is not just an expert on germ warfare. He wrote the book on it (Biowarfare and Terrorism, Clarity Press, 2005). But Boyle also drafted the US Biological Weapons and Anti-Terrorism Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1989. That's important, because as Boyle tells Dave Lindorff, host of the Progressive Radio Network program "This Can't Be Happening!" associated with this news site, the Ebola epidemic that is wracking countries in west Africa, is a product of US three BSL-4 level bio-weapons labs that operate in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Boyle says that his research shows that the Pentagon, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have for years been developing weaponized Ebola virus variants and other dread diseases, using genetic modification techniques -- including even merging Ebola germs with the virus for the common cold!. He also says that the initial outbreak of Ebola in west Africa occurred in the environs of one of those US bio-weapons labs located in Kenema, Sierra Leone, a situation which led the government of that country to actually shut down the US-owned facility.

Why, you might ask, would the US, which with the passage of the 1989 law banning bio-weapons research, put the US in compliance with the Biological Weapons Geneva Convention banning germ warfare, be then setting up and germ warfare labs in African countries? Boyle explains that Liberia, a former US colony still dominated by the US, and Guinea, are conveniently not signatories of the convention.
Boyle points that the particular strain of the disease that has struck in west Africa is Zaire Ebola, which occurs naturally in Zaire, a full 2200 miles away. He calls official reports claiming it may have come from bats in the West African jungle "twaddle," and says that the virus could not, on its own, have jumped from a non-outbreak in Zaire to cause an outbreak in west Africa.

To hear Professor Boyle's full half-hour interview, as broadcast this past Wednesday on PRN.fm, please click here.

On the same program, during the second half of the one-hour, TCBH!'s own Linn Washington talks about how the state of Pennsylvania has passed, with no debate, a law that bars the state's prisoners -- both inmates and those who have completed their jail sentences and returned to society -- from talking or writing about their cases if a "victim" of their crime complains to a state or county prosecutor that doing so is causing that person "mental anguish."

Ft. Detrick, MD, the US military's main site for researching germ warfare. Attorney Frances Boyle says the US uses the excuseFt. Detrick, MD, the US military's main site for researching germ warfare. Attorney Frances Boyle says the US uses the excuse of needing to produce weaponized viruses in order to create vaccines for them as a way to continue developing ever more dangerous bio-weapons, like the virulent Ebola strain now decimating west African communities.

read more

by lindorff

The Next Layer

Fly Freifunk Fly! (Chapter 2, part 2, draft)

The Copenhagen Interpolation had induced confidence into the very small number of participants, including a delegation of three from Berlin. In Berlin, the Domain Freifunk.net was registered in January 2003. The name was coined by Monic Meisel and Ingo Rau over a glass of red wine. Their initial impulse, according to Monic Meisel, was to create a website to spread the idea and make the diverse communities that already existed visible to each other. They wanted a domain name that should be easily understood, a catchy phrase that transported the idea.

Early Map of Berlin Backbone, courtesy Freifunk

Freifunk is a good name. It carries the idea of freedom and the German word “funk” has more emotional pull than “radio.” Funk is funky. The German word “Funke” means spark. The reason is that early radios actually created sparks to make electromagnetic waves. “Funken” thus means both, to create sparks and make a wireless transmission. Meisel, who at the time worked for a German web agency, also created the famous Freifunk Logo and the visual identity of the website.

 Freifunk Logo by Monic Meisel, image courtesy Freifunk

It seems that Freifunk took off because of a combinaton of reasons. It quickly found support among activists all over Germany, not just Berlin. It had people, who had a good understanding of technology and made the right decisions. And Freifunk did very good PR from the start. Jürgen Neumann quickly emerged as a spokesperson for the fledgling movement. However, he could always rely on other people around him to communicate the idea through a range of different means. Freifunk from the start was more like a network of people than Consume has ever been. When James Stevens decided to stop promoting Consume, it ceased to exist as a nationwide UK network of networks.

In spring and summer 2003 the Freifunk germ was sprouting in Berlin. I was writing my German book and started to put draft chapters into the Freifunk Wiki. Freifunk initially grew quickly in Berlin, in particular in areas that had the OPAL problem and thus could not get broadband via ADSL. AS the Wayback Machine shows

In June 2003 the Open Culture conference, curated by Felix Stalder in Vienna, brought together a number of wireless community network enthusiasts. There, Eben Moglen, the lawyer who had helped write the GPL, gave a rousing speech. His notes consisted of a small piece of paper on which he had written:

free software – free networks – free hardware.

Eben Moglen at OpenCultures conference 2003; Image courtesy t0 / WorldInformation.org

The holy trinity of freedom of speech and participatory democracy in the early 21st century. His speech was based on the Dotcommunist Manifesto which he had published earlier that year. Moglen skillfully paraphrased the communist manifesto by Marx and Engels, writing “A Spectre is haunting multinational capitalism--the spectre of free information. All the powers of “globalism” have entered into an unholy alliance to exorcize this spectre: Microsoft and Disney, the World Trade Organization, the United States Congress and the European Commission.“ Moglen argued that advocates of freedom in the new digital society were inevitably denounced as anarchists and communists, while actually they should be considered role models for a new social model, based on ubiquitous networks and cheap computing power. His political manifesto posited the digital creative workers against those who merely accumulate and hoard the products of their creative labour.

While sharply polemical and as such maybe sometimes a bit black and white in its argumentation, Moglen's Dotcommunist Manifesto is correct insofar as it outlays a social conflict which characterizes our time and is still unresolved. The new collaborative culture of the Net would in principle enable a utopian social project, where people can come together to communicate and create cultural artifacts and new knowledge freely. This world of producers he juxtaposes with another world which is still steeped in the thinking of the past, which clings on to the notion of the production of commodities and which seeks to turn into commodities things that simply aren't. This is the world of governments, of corporations and lobbyists who make laws in their own interest which curtail the freedom and creative potential of the net.

There is no reason why a network should be treated as a commodity. The notion of access to the Internet is, as the free network community argues, a false one. The Internet is not a thing to which one gets sold access by a corporation. As a network of networks, everybody who connects to it can become part of it. Every receiver of information can also become a producer and sender of information. This is realized on the technical infrastructural layer of the net, but it has not yet transpired to mainstream society.

Freifunk Summer Convention 2003

In September 2003 the first Freifunk Summer Convention FC03 happened in Berlin at c-base. This self-organised memorable event, from September 12 to 14, brought together a range of people and skills which gave some key impulses to the movement to build the network commons. Among the people who had joined by their own volition were activists from Djurslands. This is a district in the north east of Denmark, a rural area with economic and demographic problems. Djurslands.net demonstrated for the first time that you could have a durable large scale outdoor net with a large number of nodes. The guys from Djurslands.net brought a fresh craftsman approach to free networking, with solidly welded cantennas (antenna made from empty food can). At the Freifunk convention it was decided to have the next community network meeting in Djursland in 2004, which turned out to become a major international meeting of community networkers in Europe.

Julian Priest at Summer Convention 2003

According to conflicting reports at FC03 Bruno Randolf showed the mesh-cube, a technology he developed for a company in Hamburg. However, according to a recent entry on the timeline it was only after FC03 that the development of the Meshcube began in serious. At the time, Julian Priest wrote in the Informal Wiki:

"Bruno Randolf ran mesh routing workshop. After a good discussion covering the main mesh protocols and solutions, aodv, mobile mesh, scrouter, and meshap, around 10 - 15 linux laptops were pressed into service as mesh nodes using the mobile mesh toolset. Tomas Krag crammed a couple of wireless cards into his laptop, (which kind of fitted), and ran the border router and others stretched the network around the buildings. Many discussions about how to assign ip addresses in the mesh followed, maybe ipv6 mobile ip and zero conf can be ways forward here. Bruno demoed the jaw dropping 4G mesh cube.. 4 cm cube sporting up to 4 radios, smc type antenna connectors, a 400 Mhz mips 32Mb flash 64M ram, with power over ethernet and usb, currently running debian. A space to watch for sure."

The Meshcube made use of industrial small chips optimized for running an embedded Linux distribution. It worked with the AODV routing protocol (CHECK). Another early protocol was OLSR developed by Andreas Tønnesen as a master thesis project at the university graduate center in Oslo. However, it seems at FC03 Mobile Mesh which was discussed and tested. See this entry on Mesh, probably by Elektra, on meshing on the early Freifunk Wiki.

Thus it is confirmed that on a mild day in September 2003 in Berlin, a couple of dozen of geeks could be seen walking around the streets with laptops making, to the ordinary passers-by, incomprehensible remarks about pings and packets. This was the beginning of a long and fruitful engagement of free network communities with mesh routing protocols. (see also This report from 2003.

Shortly after FC03, the Förderverein Freie Netzwerke was founded, a not-for-profit organisation whose aim was the furthering of wireless community networks. The convention had also mobilized a television crew, who made this short film (in German) Real Video-Stream Polylux TV http://brandenburg.rbb-online.de/_/polylux/aktuell/themen_jsp.html

It shows a number of free network advocates including this author at a slightly more youthful age.

As the video makes evident, Freifunk from the start advertised itself as a social project which is about communication and community. Freifunk created an efficient set of tools to be picked up as a kind of community franchise model, as Jürgen Neumann calls it. There is the Freifunk Website with a strong visual identity, and the domain name, which also works as an ESSID of the actual networks. Everybody can pick up a Freifunk sub-domain and start a project in a different locality. Freifunk initially grew out of Berlin's creative new media scene, so that from the very start interesting videos and other new media content was produced.

Another decision that should proof beneficial was that early on Freifunk started to build a Berlin Backbone, long-distance connections between high-rise buildings with reliable radio links. Freifunk was really good at choosing buildings – and getting access to them – with suitable roofs where weather-proof installations could be made. This idea with the Berlin Backbone was a good one from the start, it gave the community something to experiment with. In an interview with radio journalist Thomas Thaler, Sven Wagner advocated the Berlin Backbone as a network linking Berlin's big alternative culture centers such as "Tacheles, CCCB, bootlab, Lehrter Kulturfabrik and c-base and a few other projects". Wayback Machine Link: Thomas Thaler, ORF Matrix Nov 19.2003, Transcript

I belief that for those early long distance connections mesh-cubes were used. Those links however, did not mesh, as they were set up on fixed routes. But from those points then bandwidth was redistributed. Thus, from early on a Berlin Backbone grew, such as shown in this image which appears to be from July 2003. (Meanwhile, Berlin Backbone receives financial support from the rehional government – more about that in a future installment of this story).

Berlin Backbone Summer 2003

In London, if you look at an early map of East End Net, the dots are there but they are not connected. Between Cremer street and Free2air.org and Limehouse there was never a connection. This has partly to do with the urban topology of London, partly with the social structure. Everyone is much more commercially minded, even the church.

In May 2002 there was a Consume workshop in Limehouse Town Hall, where networkers discovered the spire of the adjacent church as an ideal antenna mounting point for a long distance connection. The Vicar, however, had already sold access to the spire of his church to a mobile telephone company.

It seems significant that today's Berlin Backbone uses quite a few churches. Another aspect of the social side is that in Berlin it is easier to find people who have time to engage in voluntary labour. The combination of lower costs of living and the remainder of a welfare state make it easier for socially motivated techies to devote unpaid labour time to such projects. In London, that capitalist behemoth, everybody is under permanent pressure to make money, unless one is very privileged or young enough to live in insecure squats. Such comparisons, however, should not make us conduct false comparisons. At around 2003-04, Consume was still very innovative and dynamical, while Freifunk was also developing rapidly.

If we follow this list of links from the Wayback Machine https://web.archive.org/web/20030723203256/http://freifunk.net/wiki/FrontPage then we can see that in autumn 2003 there were already quite many initiatives. The timeline which has recently began as a cooperative work, shows similar results. http://pad.freifunk.net/p/ff-timeline

In spring 2003 also the early beginnings of Funkfeuer in Austria were made. Funkfeuer, which means radio beacon, was initially built by the artist Franz Xaver for Silverserver. When the provider decided that this was commercially not viable, the network was taken over by a group of volunteers, among whom was Aaron Kaplan. He had already, together with Austrian digital civil rights initiative Quintessenz, made an open WLAN hotspot in Viennas Museum District (Museumsquartier). Funkfeuer has since successfully branched out to Graz and a number of rural locations.

In above mentioned interview, Elektra also made a strong statement in support of meshing technology, expressing confidence that the Free Software community would solve this. The confidence should proof to have been justified. In autumn 2003 Elektra spoke about joining together a Linux distribution such as Knoppix with everything a wireless community node should be capable of, especially meshing. The protocol under deliberation was still mobile mesh, but this would change soon.

[Next ... The Social Technologies of the Network Commons]

by Armin Medosch

October 22, 2014


Your password doesn't suck, the server does


I read an article the other day that outlined the exact issue with passwords nowadays. Every website or application that requires a password always talks about the user creating a complex password. You know the routine:

    1 capital letter
    1 number
    1 special character
    no repeating characters

In this article I will outline why it's not your password that is insecure but rather admins not securing their code and/or servers well enough.

What complex passwords protect against

There are only two things a complex password actually helps protect against.

    Brute force attacks
    Dictionary attacks
Brute force attacks are pretty easily circumvented by adding a maximum password attempt before locking the account out. This is assuming that it is not an offline brute force attack, but we'll get to this later in the article. As for Dictionary attacks, that's easy circumvented by adding just an alpha/numeric into the password. So essentially a password as simple as password123 is a "secure" password; albeit it's something that could be easily guessed.

Offline brute force attacks

Offline brute force attacks are done by the attacker either having physical access to the server or the sever was not secure and the user was able to extract the password file. Which back to the title would tell me your password doesn't suck because the attacker should have never gotten to the point of getting the password file. Which leads me to my next point

Hybrid Attacks

Hybrid attacks complicate the "complex password" again by using standard dictionary attacks and adding numbers and symbols to them. And while this can take longer to crack, with the given technology even with a 15 character password can take less than an hour to crack offline.

Password Mangling attacks

If you've ever dealt with end users you know their passwords are very basic. Usually something simple that they add a number to the end, typically the current year or month. Password mangling is taking a dictionary attack, and adding rules to those lists. For instance adding a number to the end of basic password (i.e. - Summer to Summer14). Which can make cracking most typical user passwords very easy to crack. Again this can be circumvented by having strong server side security.


If servers are saving your password on the server in plaintext, there's absolutely zero reason to have a password. Which is a huge indication that the administrator has no idea what security is let alone how to use it.

End user problems

Saving your password on a piece of paper, or a text file. This is a no-no but with how many different passwords we need these days, and all have different requirements it's almost become impossible to remember all passwords. If there was more security on server side, there could be a standard for passwords that would make it easier to remember, especially if using common password for multiple websites/applications.

Other issues end users can face are a bit tougher to tackle such as spyware/malware/keyloggers. However going to back to server security we could see at least a 25% drop in drive-by malware/spyware if servers were more secure. While I'm a big advocate of "If it can be built it can be broken", I still believe we can get rid of at minimum 25%.

Virus definitions or signatures are what the anti-virus program looks at to determine if it's malicious piece of code or not. These definitions are so easy to get around based on how the programmer codes it. By reverse engineering and looking at both virus signature definitions and actual code of the virus we can easy stop more and more malicious software; albeit the more signatures there are the more false positives can be had as well.

Sever hardening

So what can be done server side to prevent having to have strong complex passwords?

Password attempt rules

Adding the security of locking out an account after x amount of failed password attempts fixes the issue with brute forcing the server. However it can't start and stop at the surface. There are many components especially server side that will need to be locked down the same. SQL server, Web App, Web Server root account, SSH, Telnet, etc. Anything that requires a log on for the server needs to be locked down with a lockout rule.

Default Accounts

This is one of my pet peves and something that is often over looked. Far to often a system gets compromised because of default username/password not being changed. I believe it was Target that was a victim of their SQL database being compromised due to default password being used on the server side. All default accounts should be disabled or removed and a new one created.


I could go into a lot more depth of how to properly secure a server but this article is not a how-to but rather an insight as to what common problems are with password security and why it's not your password that is horrible but instead the server and admins that are. Following best practices and learning basic server hardening can circumvent a lot of security breaches, and need for complex passwords.

by k0ncepts (noreply@blogger.com)

This Cannot Be Happening!

Exclusive: Gary Lindorff, resident poet for ThisCantBeHappening, interviews Gaia.

New Poem:


GL: Well, here we are. I don’t know where to start. What should I call you? Mother? Earth?

Gaia: Either one. Mother is fine. Or Gaia.

GL: OK Gaia. I was going to start by asking if you are really alive but I guess you’ve already answered that. But my guess is that people are anxious to hear it directly from you. So, are you alive?

Gaia: Yes. I know that is hard for your kind to grasp. I am more alive than you because your life depends upon my aliveness. You partake of my aliveness.

GL: Wait a second. So, if the human race migrated to another world, we wouldn’t survive?

Gaia: Well, not exactly, but you would eventually metamorphose into something different than you are now.

GL: So what you are saying is, if we colonized Mars, and those colonists stayed on Mars in isolation, after a certain number of generations, those settlers would start to become Martians?

Gaia: If Mars came back to itself and was able to support human life, their DNA would gradually become Martian DNA.

GL: Oh, our scientists will have fun with that! So, how do you feel about the human race? What we have done to you.

read more

by glindorff

How I Became Radicalized

It Can Happen To Anyone

      I saw the masked men
      Throwing truth into a well.
      When I began to weep for it
      I found it everywhere.

           -Claudia Lars

I’m not exactly sure when I became radicalized, but it was sometime in the mid 1980s. I purposely use the term radicalize because, with the rise of globalized insurgency in general and al Qaeda and now ISIS in particular, the word has become a favorite in the media, especially for those on the right, though the New York Times uses it as does Chris Mathews. Sean Hannity at Fox likes to talk fast, and he uses the term over and over like a mantra that sounds good to him.

The problem is they all misuse the word. When it pops up these days, it’s in reference to young American or European "lone wolves" recruited on-line by violent Muslims to join a jihadi organization or, specifically, to be recruited to work for ISIS in Syria or Iraq. The more accurate word for this behavior would be to use the term extremist. Radical refers more to ideas and how someone thinks, while extremist refers to behavior, what someone does.

Dick Cheney, the radical author and Henry KissingerDick Cheney, the radical author and Henry Kissinger

I’m a radical; but I’m not an extremist. Using myself, I'd distinguish the terms this way: I think Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney should be in prison for mass murder, but since this is obviously not in the cards I don't advocate violent actions be taken against either man. My understanding of the history of the Vietnam and the Iraq Wars is radical in that I refuse to go along with selective propaganda about those wars; I choose not to willfully forget the damning facts about those wars. In this country, that’s a radical frame of mind. The word radical comes from the Latin word radix, which means root. The roots of both those wars are damnable and, if there was real justice, men like Kissinger and Cheney would be prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned.

The facts are clear that the roots of the Iraq war are tangled with premeditated dishonesty and misuse of power; there's plenty of criminal malfeasance if there was a prosecutor to prosecute. Bringing this radical view right up to the moment, I guarantee (I'm confident saying this) that without that war and the horrors it unleashed in Anbar Province there would be no such thing as ISIS. What the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld war did was extremisize the people now unleashing violence and fury in Anbar Province and surrounding areas. (Don't bother looking up extremisize in your dictionary, because I just made it up.)

So how did I become radicalized? And why wasn't I extremisized?

What radicalized me was ending up in the mid-1970s a very frustrated young man in inner city Philadelphia. This followed a childhood in rural, redneck south Dade County, Florida, a transplant from New Jersey. There was an influential tour in Vietnam, then an English degree from Florida State University. I came to Philadelphia for graduate school in Journalism at Temple University and ended up staying to work for local inner city newspapers. I had never lived in a city before.

read more

by grant

October 21, 2014

This Cannot Be Happening!

New Pennsylvania Legislation Sucker Punches Inmate Speech

Law Shreds Rights


Part II of II

The serious injustice endured by Pennsylvania prison inmate Lorenzo ‘Cat’ Johnson, detailed yesterday in Part I of this series, is the subject of a website and numerous other postings on the Internet. Those Internet postings detail gross misconduct by police and prosecutors that have kept Johnson imprisoned for a murder that evidence indicates he neither committed nor had anything to with.

Johnson served 16-years of a life sentence before a federal appeals court ordered his release in October 2011 after ruling insufficient evidence existed to maintain his conviction. Prosecutors never claimed Johnson was the killer only that he was present when the killing occurred.

However, a perverse appeal by Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office prosecutors forced Johnson’s return to prison in June 2012 –- following six-months of freedom.

Those websites supporting Johnson’s release, which contain documents and other evidence detailing Johnson’s wrongful conviction, are in danger of being wiped under terms of legislation recently approved by Pennsylvania’s Republican-dominated House and Senate.

That legislation, fast-tracked through the legislature in an election-timed attempt to boost the hugely unpopular Republican Gov. Corbett's flagging re-election bid, allows victims of crime to go to court for an injunction against the conduct of convicts “which perpetuates the continuing effects of the crime on the victim.” This new law applies to all convicts: those currently incarcerated and even those who have completed their sentences.

This law gives prosecutors (state and country) the power to act on behalf of victims who simply claim they are suffering “mental anguish.”

In the case of Lorenzo Johnson, the state AG’s office whose misconduct perpetuates his unjust incarceration is empowered under this new law to silence the websites that detail the misconduct of AG office prosecutors.
Successful pressure by the Fraternal Order of Police to get Pennsylvania's Republican-led government to pass legislation gaggingSuccessful pressure by the Fraternal Order of Police to get Pennsylvania's Republican-led government to pass legislation gagging imprisoned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, threaten the First Amendment rights not just of all prisoners and ex-prisoners, but of all Americans

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by washington

October 20, 2014

This Cannot Be Happening!

The Scandal Hidden Inside a State's Porn Email Scandal

Pennsylvania's for lovers...of convictions


(Part I of II)

Obscured by a current scandal involving pornographic emails currently rocking the top reaches of Pennsylvania’s state government, a scandal that has cast a shadow over embattled Pennsylvania Governor and former state's attorney general Tom Corbett and the state’s judiciary, including a state Supreme Court member, is another explosive scandal.

That hidden scandal involves the persecution of Lorenzo ‘Cat’ Johnson. a Pennsylvania inmate, by prosecutors from the state's attorney general’s office -– the same office that has exposed the chain of pornographic emails dating from Corbett's tenure as AG.

The Johnson had won a court-ordered release from a deeply flawed murder conviction after having wrongfully served 16-years of a life sentence. But he was nonetheless forced to return to prison due to actions by state’s current Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, a Democrat who succeeded Corbett in that office.

Gov. Corbett had headed the state AG’s office when that office handled initially handled Johnson's prosecution in this badly tainted murder trial. Corbett later served as AG when that office vigorously opposed Johnson's appeal of that his verdict and sentence..

This hidden scandal exposes a pattern of state government officials who blithely tolerated this and other outrageously unjust criminal convictions. This hidden scandal also exposes the penchant of prosecutors to fight to preserve convictions they know to have been tainted by official misconduct.

Too many false convictions in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the US involve documented misconduct by police and/or prosecutors –- misconduct often covered-up for decades by courts and prosecutors. This misconduct includes authorities improperly withholding evidence of innocence at trial –- a gross violation of constitutional fair trial rights as well as professional conduct standards. Withheld evidence is a core issue in the case of this particular inmate persecuted by the AG's office.

The porn scandal, initiated by AG Kane's office, and now rocking state government in Pennsylvania, involves emails containing sexually explicit images (often accompanied by raunchy commentary by email senders and recipients) exchanged over state-owned computers by then ranking members of the state’s Attorney Generals office as well as several state judges, including one member of the state's Supreme Court.

Conservative Republican Gov. Corbett headed the AG’s office when ranking subordinates in that office engaged in enthusiastic exchanges of those pornographic emails. (No evidence released to date links Corbett himself to the pornographic emails.)

Two Pennsylvania Attorneys General, Tom Corbett and Kathleen Kane, have conspired to unjustly keep Lorenzo Johnson in jailTwo Pennsylvania Attorneys General, Tom Corbett and Kathleen Kane, have conspired to knowingly keep prisoners like Lorenzo Johnson (left), wrongfully convicted by AG's office prosecutors, unjustly locked up and facing life sentences

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by washington

October 17, 2014

The Next Layer

Consume the Net: The Internationalisation of an Idea (chapter 2, part 1, draft)

Wireless Community Networkers

This chapter starts out with a summary of the achievements of Consume.net, London and then traces the development of this idea, how it was spread, picked up, transformed by communities in Germany, Denmark and Austria. The internationalisation of the free network project also saw significant innovations and contributions, developing a richer and more sustainable version of the network commons through groups such as Freifunk.

In London, Consume had developed a model for wireless community networks. According to this idea, a wireless community network could be built by linking individual nodes which would together create a mesh network. Each node would be owned and maintained locally, in a decentralized manner, by either a person, family, group or small organisation. They would configure their nodes in such a way that they would link up with other nodes and carry data indiscriminately from where it came and where it went. Some of those nodes would also have an Internet connection and share it with everybody else on the wireless network. Technically, this would be achieved by using ad-hoc mesh network routing protocols, but those were not yet a very mature technology. Socially, the growth of the network would be organised through workshops, supported by tools such as mailinglists, wikis and a node database, a website where node owners could enter their node together with some additional information, which was then shown on a map. Within the space of two years, this proposition had become a remarkable success.

Consume nodes and networks popped up all over the UK. Consume had made it into mainstream media such as the newspaper The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2002/jun/20/news.onlinesupplement1 . The project also successfully tied into the discourse on furthering access to broadband in Britain. The New Labour government of Tony Blair was, rhetorically at least, promising to roll out broadband to all as quickly as possible. This was encountering problems, especially on the countryside. The incumbent, British Telecom, claimed that in smaller villages it needed evidence that there was enough demand before it made the local telecom exchange ADSL ready. ADSL is a technology that allows using standard copper telephone wire to achieve higher transmission rates. The Access to Broadband Campaign ABC occasionally joined forces with Consume. The government could not dismiss this as anarchist hackers from the big city. These are “good” business people from rural areas who needed Internet to run their businesses and BT was not helping them. Consume initiator James Stevens and supporters traveled up and down the country, doing workshops, advocating, talking to the media and local initiatives.


In 2002 the opportunity arose to bring Consume to Berlin. Although living in London, I had been working as co-editor in chief for the online magazine Telepolis for many years, so I knew the German scene quite well. After quitting Telepolis in spring 2002, I traveled to Berlin to renew my contacts. The curator of the conference Urban Drift, Francesca Ferguson, asked me to organize a panel on DIY wireless and the city. This gave me the opportunity to bring James Stevens and Simon Worthington to Berlin, as well as nomadic net artist Shu Lea Cheang.

The idea emerged, to combine our appearance at Urban Drift with a workshop that should bring together wireless free network enthusiasts from London and Berlin. Taking inspiration from Robert Adrian X early art and telecommunication projects, we called this workshop BerLon, uniting the names Berlin and London. Robert Adrian X had connected Wien (Vienna, Austria) and Vancouver, Canada through four projects between 1979 and 1983, calling the project WienCouver http://kunstradio.at/HISTORY/TCOM/WC/wc-index.html.

Our organisational partner in Berlin was Bootlab, a shared workspace in Berlin Mitte, where a lot of people had a desk who were interested in unconventional ideas using new technologies. Some Bootlabers were running small commercial businesses but most of them constituted the critical backbone of Berlin's network culture scene. Bootlab was a greenhouse for new ideas, a little bit like Backspace had been in the late 1990s in London. Our hosts at Bootlab were Diana McCarthy, who did the bulk of organisational work, and Pit Schultz, who had, together with Dutch network philosopher Geert Lovink, invented the notion of net-critique and initiated the influential mailinglist nettime.

A little bit of additional money for travel support from Heinrich Böll Foundation, the research and culture foundation of the German Green Party, enabled us to fly over some more networkers from London, such as electronics wizard Alexei Blinov and free2air.org pioneer Adam Burns. And as is often the case with such projects, it developed a dynamics of its own. Julian Priest came from Denmark, where he lived at the time, and brought along Thomas Krag and Sebastian Büttrich from Wire.less.dk. Last not least, there were people from Berlin who had already experimented with wireless networking technology, among them Jürgen Neumann, Corinna “Elektra” Aichele and Sven Wagner, aka cven (c-base Sven).

The rest is history, so to speak. I would be hard pressed to recall in detail what happened. Luckily, the Austrian radio journalist Thomas Thaler was there. His report for Matrix, the network culture magazine of Austrian public radio ORF Ö1 gives the impression that it was a bit chaotic, really. There was no agenda, no time-table, no speakers list. Sometimes somebody grabbed the microphone and said a few words. As Thaler wrote, “London was clearly in the leading role” in what will have to be accounted for under “informal exchange.” Most things happened in working groups.

One group was discussing the networking situation in Berlin. There had already been initiatives to create community networks in Berlin, one called Prenzelnet, another one Wlanfhain (Wlan Friedrichshain). As an after effect of re-unification of Germany, there were areas in the eastern side of Berlin that had OPLAN, a fiber-optical network, which made it impossible to use ADSL. What also needs to be accounted for is the special housing structure of Berlin.

As an after effect of Berlin having been an enclave of Western “freedom” first, then having a wild East right in its center of occupied houses and culture centers in Berlin Mitte and neighboring areas, a relatively large number of people live in collective housing projects. These are not small individual houses but large apartment blocks, collectively owned. Freifunk initiator Jürgen Neumann lives in such a housing project which was affected by the OPLAN problem, so that 35 people shared an expensive ISDN connection. After learning about WLAN, he built a wireless bridge to an ISP for his housing association and spread it around the block. Other people who were already experimenting with wireless networks before BerLon were c-base and Elektra.

Another working group dealt with the question of how to define the wireless networking equivalent to the licensing model of Free Software, the General Public License (GPL). From Berlin, Florian Cramer, an expert on Free Software topics, joined this discussion. This issue about a licensing model for Free Networks caused us quite some headache at BerLon, and we did not really find a solution there, but managed to circle in on the subject enough to finish the Pico Peering Agreement at the next meeting in Copenhagen.

At BerLon, Krag and Büttrich also reported about their engagements in Africa. There, well meaning initiatives trying to work with Free and Open Source technology often meet socially difficult and geographically rugged environments.

I can't claim to know in detail what happened in the other working group, the one on networking in Berlin, but the result is there for everyone to see. This was the moment of the inception of Freifunk, the German version of wireless community networking. Freifunk (which, in a word-by-word translation means simply “free radio transmission”) is today one of the most active wireless community networking initiatives in the world. Ironically, while today Consume is defunct, Freifunk became a fantastic success story. With German “Vorsprung durch Technik” Freifunk volunteers managed to contribute significantly to the praxis of wireless community networks. In particular, the Freifunk Distribution and the adoption and improvement of mesh networking technology contributed significantly to inter-networking technology. Freifunk's existence, vibrant and fast growing in the year 2014, is testimony also to the social viability of the Consume idea.

However, I am not claiming that Freifunk simply carried out what Consume had conceived. This would be a much too passive transmission model. Freifunk, just like Guifi, contributed significant innovations of its own. I am also not claiming that Freifunk jumped out of the BerLon meeting like the genie out of the bottle. A number of significant steps were necessary. However, it is also undeniably the case that BerLon provided the contact zone between Berlin and London. This set into motion a process which would eventually lead to a large and successful community network movement.

Jürgen Neumann and a few other people from Berlin decided to hold a weekly meeting, WaveLöten (wave soldering), every Wednesday at c-base starting at 23.10.2002, which was very soon after BerLon. WaveLöten was an important ignition for Freifunk in Berlin. As Neumann said, the lucky situation was that there was a group of people who understood the technical and social complexity of this and each started to contribute to the shared project of the network commons – Bruno Randolf, Elektra, cven (c-base Sven), Sven Ola Tücke and others on the technical side, Monic Meisel, Jürgen, Ingo, and Iris on the organisational and communicative side.

What are the reasons that Freifunk could thrive in Berlin and Germany and while Consume lost its dynamic in the UK? The answer is not simple, so I am just pointing at this question here. Which will pop up throughout this book. What makes a wireless community network sustainable? Why do some communities thrive and grow while others fall asleep?

Copenhagen Interpolation and the Pico Peering Agreement

BerLon was followed, on March 1st and 2nd 2003, by the Copenhagen Interpolation. On this occasion the Pico Peering Agreement was brought to a satisfactory level. I am happy, because I contributed to writing it, and as this story has developed since, it has found some implementation. The Denmark meeting was also quite small. There were people from Locustworld, the Wire.Danes, Malcolm Matson and Jürgen Neumann, Ingo Rau and Iris Rabener from Berlin. They decided in Copenhagen to hold the first Freifunk Summer Convention in Berlin in September 2003.

At BerLon we had discussed the social dimensions of free networking. What were the “social protocols” of free networking? The answer was to be given by the Pico Peering Agreement, a kind of rights bill for wireless community networking.

It had all begun with discussions how to improve the NodeDB. James Stevens expressed his desire a node owner could also choose a freely configurable license – to create a bespoke legal agreement on the fly for his network on the basis of a kind of licensing kit. The node owner should be able to choose from a set of templates to make it known to the public what their node offered at which conditions. This work should be done with the help of lawyers so that node owners could protect themselves. This seemed a good idea but was way to complicated for what our group was able to fathom at the time. We needed something much simpler, something that expressed the Free Network idea in a nutshell.

The success of Free Software is often attributed to the “legal hack,” the GPL. This is a software license which explicitly allows it to run, copy, use and modify software, as long as the modified version is again put under the GPL. This “viral model” is understood to have underpinned the success of Free Software. Today, I am not so sure anymore if this is really the main reason why Free Software succeeded.

Maybe there were many other reasons, such as that there was a need for it, that people supported it with voluntary labour, or that the development model behind Free Software, the co-operative method, simply resulted in better software than the closed model of proprietary software with its top-down hierarchical command system. Anyway, we thought that Free Networks needed an equivalent to the GPL in order to grow. But how to define such an equivalent?

With software, there is one definitive advantage: once the first copy exists, the costs of making additional copies and disseminating them through the net is very low. Free Networks are an entirely different affair: they need hardware which costs money, this hardware is not just used indoors but also outdoors and is exposed to weather and other environmental influences. Free Networks can not really be free as in gratis. They need constant maintenance and they incur not inconsiderable cost.

The crib to get there was the sailing boat analogy. If there are too many sailing boats at a marina, so that not all of them can berth at the pier, boats are berthed next to each other. If you want to get to a boat that is further away from the pier, you necessarily have to step over other boats. It has become customary that it is allowed to walk over other boats in front of the mast. You don't pass at the back, where the more private areas of the boat are – with the entrance to the cabins and the steering wheel – but in front of the mast. In networking terms that would be the public, non-guarded area of a local network, also known as the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

We agreed that it was conditional for participation in a free network that every node owner should accept to pass on data destined for other nodes without filtering or discriminating. We can claim that we defined what today is called network neutrality as centerpiece of the Copenhagen Interpolation of the Pico Peering Agreement: http://www.picopeer.net/PPA-en.html.

While it is important, and I am happy to have contributed to it, I see things slightly different today. I think the real key to Free Networks is the understanding of the network as commons. The freedom in a network cannot be guaranteed by any license but only by the shared understanding of the network commons. The license, however, is an important additional device.

by Armin Medosch

October 16, 2014

Belling Cat

The South Sudanese Civil War: A Witness Account

On December 2013, two years after its independence, South Sudan plunged into civil war. Rooted in a political rivalry between the President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar, the conflict soon separated the country along ethnic lines as both belligerents used their ethnic origins (respectively Dinka and Nuer) to rally supporters. Political situations are grave, but the human cost has been even more tremendous: millions of people displaced and thousands killed. To make matters worse, the country is now on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.

With no end in sight, the media has grown tired of reporting the killings and the situation on the ground is now fading in the minds of those around the world. The McGill International Review (MIR) exclusively interviewed a teacher of the Loyola Secondary School located in Wau (northern part of the country). His words offer unique insight into the running and impacts of the war at a local level. He has however decided to remain anonymous due to security reasons: two priests working in Wau Diocese have recently been abducted by the South Sudanese Intelligence Services. The McGill International Review supported this decision to guarantee the personal safety of the interviewee.

MIR: What is the Loyola Secondary School and how long has it been running for?

The Loyola Secondary School (LSS) is a co-ed day school. With the request of Bishop Joseph Nyekindi, it was founded in 1982 with the aid of the Detroit Province and other Jesuit Provinces. The real first admission of students began in 1984. However, the turmoil in the Southern Sudan  (prior to South Sudan’s secession) forced the school to close only a year after it opened. The escalating war in the Southern Sudan became unpredictable and the suspension that most people thought would be short-lived lasted for approximately 22 years. With the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005 and the stabilization of the region, LSS reopened once again in April 2008. Currently LSS has a student population of about 436 [268 boys and 168 girls] under the supervision of 28 teachers.

How would you describe the current political situation?

After the chaos of the 15th December 2013, Republic of South Sudan never managed to get back on its feet. What was bad is now turning worse; so many issues with alliances based on tribal lineage is eating away our social fabric like cancer. Truth be told, the war of the tribe is now here with us, with the Nuer and the Dinka being the top players on the ground. The other tribes have been timid and dormant and have been on the spectators’ side.

The two main actors (President Kiir and former Vice President Machar) have blamed each other for the conflict until now, leading to a stalemate with unforeseeable end. What is your opinion?

I personally have been so displeased with the way the President and his own team has been handling the matter. For instance, students who have their relatives on the frontlines said in school that the government soldiers were using other locals in the Bentiu and Bor regions, such as the Darfurians, to fight the war on their behalf. They have been supplying them with weapons to try and fight the Nuers [led by Machar] in their own region. This did not go down very well. The Nuers retaliated by an attempted extermination of the Darfurians. The Darfurians were pursued, by the “White Army’ [the Nuer batallions] in all corners of the the Bentiu and Bor, be it a child or an adult. They were shot and slaughtered in broad daylight. To make matters worse, President Kiir “reshuffled” the top Government Army leaders on April 23rd along ethnic lines. The incoming officers are all Dinkas and apparently people from his own home area; the outgoing officers are Nuers.

Let us shift away from the political rivalry and focus on the local context. Was Wau caught in the crossfire over the past few months?

Here in Wau the situation is not that good. Mapel is 2 hours drive from Wau and they train soldiers there. It is believed that the night of 22nd April 2014, an Army General arrived at the military camp and pulled all the Dinka recruits out, leaving behind the Nuer recruits with nothing but sticks. That very night, there was a serious “cleansing” of the Nuer recruits in the camp. From what we heard, there were 196 bodies lying around the compound. The media was locked out and the families of those who managed to run away from Mapel are currently in the UN camp here in Wau, seeking refuge along with many other Nuers living around Wau town. But just before the dust of the killings settled, the Army in the nearest barracks here in Wau [Grindi] went berserk and divided themselves along the tribal line! Then, the Nuers mysteriously disappeared into the bush on the night of 26th April 2014. How a batch of 4 brigades of the Nuers could just disappear into thin air at once without leaving any trace is still a question that nags and needs an answer! No one knows where they are or if they’re gone. Their wives and children and those others who are not soldiers are now sheltered and protected by the UN soldiers at the UNMISS camp.

Is the school still open despite the violence, or did it close down as of 1985?

Here at the school, parents have been worried and so are the students. The Loyola administration and the Jesuits have nevertheless decided to continue running the school. However, paying the teachers and workers is becoming increasingly difficult. They completely rely on the school tuition to pay these teachers and workers but without students paying the fees, running the school has become very difficult. The administration there has also been very worried about the number of students who drop out from school because their parents had to move to safer place. Some, especially girls, are getting into early marriages or given family responsibilities. It denies the students their basic right to education.

After intense regional and international pressure, the two warring parties have agreed to open peace talks that are currently being held in Addis-Ababa in Ethiopia. Do you regards this as a viable solution to end the conflict?

Things are not working in Ethiopia. The peace talks are currently stalled due to lack of commitment from the participating parties. The IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the organization mediating the negotiations] has given them 45 days to figure things out, but little has been accomplished what I have heard. The first 90 days went by, then they were given 30 additional days, and now 45 days! Would this really bear any fruits? For peace to return, President Kiir needs to allow for the formation of a transitional government. But so far, it is on this issue that he has totally refused to give in.

One last question before we end this interview: What is, in your opinion, the future of the school?

In all the situations we must remain very optimistic. We keep hoping. The schools are going on and all the people concerned carry on. The ministries struggle with the limited budgets but nevertheless they keep going. For the students of Loyola Secondary School, there is hope. They work hard and keep their motto “Light to the Nations” real. We hope they continue without losing focus.

The McGill International Review would like to thank this teacher for taking the time to answer these questions and hopes that peace will return to Wau.

by Aliaume Leroy

October 15, 2014

Belling Cat

Qatar and Turkey: How did it go so wrong so fast?

Turkey Wonk LogoAs the Arab Spring got underway, Turkey and Qatar came together on what seemed to be the right side of history. Now, all their regional bets have all but collapsed, after both adopted a policy of unabashed support for the Muslim Brotherhood. This support, however, has impacted Turkish and Qatari interests in the Middle East more generally, and in Syria specifically. Where did it all go wrong? And how did this policy help undermine both countries’ efforts to topple Bashar al Assad?

Today, Aaron is joined by Michael Stephens, the Director of RUSI Qatar, to discuss Turkish and Qatari policy in the Middle East.

Scrivener – a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.

Download this episode

by Aaron Stein

ZShaolin 1.0

… – Changes: Stable 1.0 release! Adds: dcraw to edit raw photo formats jhead to manipulate image metadata (exif) ncdu to explore directories by size occupation Usability is improved by: tmux console manager Scrolling history is now the only touch gesture (no more fling mess!). Fixes to: LUA and Cu

by Jaromil

October 14, 2014

Belling Cat

Islamic State Takes Former FOB in Anbar

DG (Jan 2012) Hit FOB, Iraq

Islamic State has now taken over the Iraqi military outpost on the outskirts of Hit, a former forward operating base (FOB) which previously housed the US military in Anbar province.

Despite US-led airstrikes, Iraqi forces have found it difficult defending against Islamic State advances and recently abandoned one of the few remaining government outposts in Iraq’s largest province. In an embarrassing setback, an Iraqi military spokesman has called the action a “tactical retreat.” Worse yet, the US has spent more than $20 billion training the Iraqi military, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The latest capture of the former FOB represents the third Iraqi military position to fall in the last several weeks. Such advances continue to support Islamic State’s reach deep into Iraqi territory helping secure important ground lines of communication.


The FOB, located approximately four miles to the northwest of Hit, is also less than 20 miles southeast of the al Asad airbase, the Iraqi Army’s 7th Division Headquarters. Perhaps more importantly, the FOB sits along Highway 12 which connects nearby to Freeway 1, a short jaunt 20 miles to the south. Freeway 1, Iraq’s longest running road, connects to Syria and Jordan in the west via the Al Walid and Tarbil border crossings, both previously under Islamic State control. [1] Running east, it links to Ramadi, the province’s capital which appears to be the next target on Islamic State’s list. The militant group took Camp Saqlawiyah in late September, possibly in preparation.

However, US Special Forces and advisors are already on the ground in Ramadi which may suggest Islamic State will be met with increasing amounts of resistance. In fact, recent reports suggest that Iraqi forces, probably with the help of US advisors, successfully cleared parts of western Ramadi in mid-September. Ramadi has become by all accounts more important as Islamic State attacks closer to Baghdad and seeks resupply and/or reinforcements.

As we heard last month from Ahmed Abu Risha, a prominent tribal sheik who commands pro-government fighters, “If Ramadi falls, all of Anbar falls. Ramadi is the head. If you cut the head, the rest of the body will die, too.” His words echoed loudly earlier this month when Anbar’s top police commander, General Ahmad Sadak al Dulaymi was killed in an IED attack.

In the meantime, the fighting in Anbar province has sent at least 180,000 people from their homes, according to a statement from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The rise of internally displaced persons goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic State offensive as well as increasing US airstrikes in the desert province.

Militants took the town of Hit on Oct. 2 and nearby Kubaisa (Kubaysah) on Oct. 4. Attacks on the 7th Division Headquarters at al-Asad have also been reported—though the airbase still remains under Iraqi control, at least for now. Satellite imagery from 2013 shows the airbase with at least four helicopters for air support. However, with the way Islamic State has been taking them out, they may provide little help.

According to Iraqi officials, Islamic State controls 80% of Anbar province.


[1] Both crossings were at one point reported to be under Islamic State control. The Iraqi Army claimed to have retaken the crossings on 22JUN14.

by Chris Biggers

Is it Mustard or Not? Guidelines for Assessing Claimed Use of the Mustard Family of Blister Agents

There have been a number of alleged incidents claiming to involve “Mustard Gas” (i.e. Sulfur Mustard or one of its variants) in the last year. Some are more credible than others, but it seems that allegations of Mustard usage are becoming more commonplace. Some examples of claimed use include the following:

Venezuela: In February 2014, it was alleged that the Venezuelan government was using “Mustard Gas” against student demonstrators.

Ferguson Missouri: Numerous tweets and posts alleged use of “Mustard Gas” by police in August 2014. Most are now deleted.

Gaza: Several people alleged that Mustard was used in Gaza in July 2014.

Kobane, Syria: It is alleged that some sort of blister agent, possibly Mustard, was used in at least one incident by ISIS against Kurdish forces.

The MERIA Journal report noted that the type of chemical agent used on the Kurdish fighters in Kobane has been verified by its Israeli experts, who after analysing the blisters formed on the bodies on several Kurdish soldiers found that it was caused by mustard gas.
The bodies of three Kurdish fighters showed no signs of damage from bullets. Rather “…burns and white spots on the bodies of the dead indicated the use of chemicals, which led to death without any visible wounds or external bleeding,” said Kurdish health minister Nisan Ahmed.

The apparent willingness with which people jump to announce that Mustard has been used, in some cases quicker than the onset of signs and symptoms would be for actual Mustard, means that there is a definite need for a basic guideline to assess claims of Mustard use. My own experience in the last year is that very few people understand the basic facts about the Mustard-series of blister agents. The following guideline is to help assess as to whether a situation might involve Mustard. There are several minor sub-variants of Mustard, but the form generally known to have been in Syrian, Iraqi, US, and Soviet stockpiles is overwhelmingly Sulfur Mustard. Importantly, none of the sub-variants cause rapid effects.

Physical Properties:

What are the physical properties of the material that caused the problem? Sulfur Mustard or Distilled Mustard (often referred to somewhat erroneously as “Mustard Gas”) is an oily liquid, not a gas.  The volatility of liquid Mustard (i.e. its propensity to give off fumes) is actually quite low except at very high temperatures.   Mustard is considered It is a solid at lower temperatures.

Might Be Mustard:

  • Encountered as a clear, pale yellow, or brown-ish liquid
  • The liquid will be thicker and more viscous than water
  • Strong odour similar to garlic or horseradish
  • Dispersed in combat as either a liquid or a mist of droplets
  • Liquid that takes time to evaporate
  • Vapours heavier than air
  • Solid below 14 deg C
  • Does not dissolve easily in water

Likely Not Mustard:

  • Opaque liquid or colours other than above
  • Liquid is runny like water, not thick or oily
  • Visible cloud of gas or vapour
  • Cloud or fog with any perceptible colour. (Mustard is not yellow)
  • Vapours lighter than air
  • Liquid at temperatures below 14 deg C
  • Liquid that evaporates quickly
  • Dissolves easily in water

Rate of Effects:

Perhaps the most important question to ask if assessing a potential Mustard incident:  How quickly were people affected by the unknown substance?  Although smell will be noticed immediately, and minor eye irritation within a few minutes are possible, the effects of Mustard take hours, in some cases many hours, to develop.   The following table shows the likely signs/symptoms and their rate of onset for Mustard.


Might Be Mustard:

  • Any of the above effects within the designated timeline
  • Blistering of  affected skin after 4 to 12 hours. Blisters will be filled with clear fluid.

Likely not Mustard:

  • Effects faster than the chart above
  • Serious immediate pain or effects, upon exposure
  • Rapid painful irritation of the eyes (like tear gas)
  • Charring or singing
  • Any indirect sign of thermal burns, such as charred or singed clothing or hair
  • Seizures, muscle spasms, or convulsions
  • Rapid suffocation and asphyxiation.
  • Vomiting

The bottom line is: if there are serious immediate effects the causative agent is not likely to be Mustard.


The lethality of Mustard is actually quite low compared to many other chemical warfare agents.  Although Mustard was used prolifically in the First World War, it was responsible only for a minority of the chemical warfare fatalities during the conflict.  Only 3% of Mustard injuries were fatal in World War 1, despite the general lack of modern medicine.  However, Mustard is theoretically capable of killing.  The important thing to note is that Mustard does not kill quickly.  Mustard generally kills from respiratory complications, after some days of illness.  The statistics about how quickly someone died after Mustard exposure during World War 1 are shown below:


As can be seen from the table, only a total of 8% of the fatalities occurred within the first three days after exposure.

There are some loose rules of thumb, based largely on WW1 and Iran-Iraq war experiences, about how to estimate if someone has received a possibly lethal dose of Mustard:

  • Redness and swelling over 50% or more of body surface
  • Difficulty breathing if the onset time is as fast 4 to 6 hours after exposure

Once again, the bottom line: if there are serious fatalities it isn’t Mustard that is the killer.  Mustard might indeed be there, but it doesn’t kill that quickly.

The information in this document and the data tables are reproduced from the US government’s reference book, Medical Aspects of Chemical Warfare, available freely here.

by Dan Kaszeta

The Next Layer

Die post-anthropologische Kondition? (Ankündigung)

Immer mehr Bereiche der menschlichen Kultur werden von technologischen Entwicklungen erfasst, die man der Automatisierung zurechnen kann. Die Technowissenschaften haben ein Niveau erreicht, das es ihnen ermöglicht, Natur nicht nur zu erforschen oder zu verstehen, sondern aktiv zu gestalten. Der Salon Technopolitics macht die post-anthropologische Kondition zum Thema, im Rahmen von Vienna Open.

Technopolitics Salon @ Vienna Open
Samstag 18.10. 19:00 – 23:00 Uhr
Mobiles Stadtlabor am Karlsplatz

„Die post-anthropologische Kondition?“

Immer mehr Bereiche der menschlichen Kultur werden von technologischen Entwicklungen erfasst, die man der Automatisierung zurechnen kann. Die Technowissenschaften haben ein Niveau erreicht, das es ihnen ermöglicht, Natur nicht nur zu erforschen oder zu verstehen, sondern aktiv zu gestalten. Der Salon Technopolitics macht die post-anthropologische Kondition zum Thema (siehe theoretischer Hintergrundttext).

Den Herausforderungen der neuen Entwicklungen stellen sich die feministische Science-Studies-Autorin Jutta Weber (Paderborn), der Künstler und Forscher Gerald Nestler (Wien/London) und Netzkultur-Theoretiker Felix Stalder (Zürich/Wien) durch Keynote-Vorträge. In der zweiten Hälfte des Abends werden die Themen diskutiert, unter Beteiligung des Technopolitics-Arbeitskreises, von Freunden, Bekannten und Publikum. Eingeführt und moderiert wird der Abend von Technopolitics-Gründer Armin Medosch.

Technopolitics ist eine transdisziplinäre Forschungsplattform, die es sich zur Aufgabe gesetzt hat, die in kritischen Diskursen zu sozio-ökonomischen und politischen Themenfeldern gemeinhin zu wenig beachtete Bedeutung technologischer Entwicklungen, Perspektiven und Paradigmenwechsel genauer zu untersuchen, ohne dabei einem kurzsichtigen technologischen Determinismus zu erliegen. Mit dem Technopolitics Salon im Rahmen von Vienna Open wenden wir uns an eine größere Öffentlichkeit.

Abstracts und theoretischer Hintergrund

Felix Stalder, University of the Arts, Zurich

Politik der Algorithmen

Vor dem Hintergrund einer umfassenden sozialen Mobilisierung haben sich neue Muster der Kultur herausgebildet. Selbst-organisierenden Gemeinschaften wurden zu den eigentlich Subjekten der
Bedeutungsgenerierung in einer Welt, die immer mehr von Algorithmen mit-konstruiert ist.

Die Rolle der Algorithmen lässt sich aber nicht technologisch bestimmen, sondern wird wesentlich durch das institutionelle Umfeld, in denen sie realisiert werden bestimmt. Sie können gegen diese Gemeinschaften arbeiten und Tendenzen der Postdemokratie befördern, oder auch zu einer Revitalisierung der Demokratie durch die Commons beitragen.

Zu neueren Kontrollformen der Technoscience

Jutta Weber, Univ. Paderborn


Bis heute ist uns die Bedeutung der modernen Technowissenschaften und der ihnen zugrundeliegenden Rationalität(en) kaum gegenwärtig. Während die Rede von der Informations-, Wissens- oder Netzgesellschaft Konjunktur hat, bleibt ein Verständnis unseres technowissenschaftlichen Weltzugangs eher randständig. Über die biokybernetische Wende der Technoscience nachzudenken, heißt, prägnant die Verschiebungen unserer Wissensordnung, ihre Epistemologien und Ontologien zu verstehen. Zentrale Bausteine dieser neuen Wissensordnung sind nicht nur das wirkmächtige Blackboxing und die Analogisierung von Organismus/Mensch und Maschine, sondern auch die Fokussierung auf das beobachtbare Verhalten von Systemen sowie das Ressourcing von Unordung, Rauschen und Unvorhersehbarem.

In meinem Beitrag werde ich auf die aktuell erweiterten, flexibilisierten und prinzipiell unabschließbaren Denkformen und Kontrollmechanismen der Technoscience eingehen, denn: „Weder zur Furcht noch zur Hoffnung besteht Grund, sondern nur dazu, neue Waffen [und Wege] zu suchen“ (Deleuze), um alternative Optionen der 'post-anthropologischen' Kondition verwirklichen zu können.

Gerald Nestler, Abstract Technopolitics Salon

Die Netzwerkgesellschaft wird zunehmend durch die Generierung und das Design eines neuen Wissens geprägt, das ältere, humanistisch geprägte Definitionen des Begriffs obsolet erscheinen lässt. Dieses Wissen, das als Technowledge bezeichnet werden kann, wird nicht aus dem Verhältnis menschlicher Sinne in das Erfahrungsregister der Menschen übergeführt, es speist sich aus spekulativ angelegten Operationen automatisierter Bots. Das Sehen als privilegierter Sinn der Erkenntnis in der Moderne gerät in eine Krise, da technologisch konstruiertes Wissen dem Sehnerv keine Reize zur Verfügung stellt. Maschinenwissen und seine Auflösungsleistung entsteht jedoch nicht nur jenseits direkt sinnlicher Wahrnehmungsschwellen – und damit jenseits klassischer Formen der Repräsentation – es akkumuliert durch delegierte Handlungs- und Entscheidungskompetenz. Während einerseits neue Dimensionen von Komplexität extrudiert werden, löst sich andererseits der kohärente Zusammenhang immanenter Zeiterfahrung. Die Vergangenheit wird zu einem Reservoir von Daten, deren Analyse Zukunft nicht mehr nur antizipiert, sondern produziert, und zwar in einer Geschwindigkeit, die mit dem in den Finanzmärkten bekannten Schlagwort einer „future-at-present“ perfekt beschrieben ist. Hier ist die Zukunft weder ein auf lange bzw. kurze Sicht prognostiziertes „dann“, vielmehr kolonisiert sie mittels automatisierter, referenzialisierter Verhandlung einen Zeit-Raum, in dem die Pole der Handlungsperspektive umschlagen: Zukunft ist Präsenz und Ausgangspunkt der Transaktion, Gegenwart verschmilzt zum Nicht-Ort politischer Handlungsfähigkeit, indem ihre Registrierung der derivativen Evaluation (Verwertung) durch Preise vorbehalten ist, die im Moment ihrer Entstehung bereits historisch, d.h. impotent, sind. Diese Entwicklung wird anhand eines Beispiels aus den Finanzmärkten konkretisiert und einer kritischen Analyse unterworfen.


Von Axel Stockburger auf Basis von Diskussionen der Technopolitics Arbeitsgruppe

Der Begriff der postanthropologischen Kondition ist für uns von besonderer Bedeutung, weil er uns erlaubt, einen adäquaten und gemeinsamen Forschungsansatz für die oft fragmentiert und zusammenhanglos erscheinenden Schlüsselmomente und Konfliktorte des gegenwärtigen gesellschaftlichen Umbruchs zu entwickeln. Dieser Begriff ermöglicht uns, eine kritische Distanzierung zu Diskursen über den Post- oder auch Transhumanismus einzunehmen. Anders als diese lenken wir den Blick weniger auf die philosophische Auseinandersetzung mit den Traditionen des Humanismus, und auch nicht auf die technowissenschaftliche Hybridisierung des menschlichen Körpers.

Das Moment des Anthropologischen wird von uns gerade deshalb ins Zentrum gerückt, weil spezifische Transformationen in der Informationstechnologie auch neue Episteme mitproduziert haben, die nicht nur den Zugang zum Wissen über das “Menschliche” mit verändert haben, sondern auch weil es erlaubt einen breiteren Rahmen von Praktiken von der Politik über die Ökonomie bis hin zur Kunst zu eröffnen. Dabei geht es uns ganz explizit nicht darum, innerhalb der Disziplin der Anthropologie zu operieren sondern die zunehmend prekärer werdenden Handlungssphären und Entscheidungsspielräume der Subjekte in gegenwärtigen biopolitisch-kybernetischen Regimes, anhand konkreter Situationen mit den Mitteln der Kunst und der Wissenschaft zu erforschen.

Im Sinne dieses Interesses am Konkreten schließt unser Verständnis der postanthropologischen Kondition zum Teil an die Überlegungen der von Manuel de Landa1 und Rosi Braidotti2 in den 1990er Jahren skizzierten “New Materialism” an. New Materialism postulierte, dass Bewusstsein immer eine materielle Dimension habe (Bewusstsein als Idee des Körpers), dass Materie immer auch in die Dimension des Denkens reiche (Das Denken hat den Körper als sein Objekt) und vor allem, dass Natur und Kultur nicht scharf voneinander getrennt existieren können, so dass wir mit Donna Haraway immer von “nature cultures”3 sprechen müssen. Viele der klassischen Dichotomien lassen sich innerhalb dieses Ansatzes überwinden, um sich verstärkt auf die wesentlichen Fragestellungen nach einer angemessenen Ethik und Politik im Angesicht der techno-wissenschaftlichen Umwälzungen konzentrieren zu können.

Auch in der Arbeit Bruno Latours4 taucht die Frage nach den Verbindungen und Vermischungen, menschlicher und nicht-menschlicher Akteure jenseits klassischer Kategorienbildung auf. Dabei ist es für die Technopolitics Arbeitsgruppe von zentraler Bedeutung die Theoriebildung im Feld feministischer, posthumanistischer und transspiezistischer Zugänge wie sie etwa von Haraway oder Butler vorgestellt wurden, im Hinblick auf ihre emanzipatorische und kapitalismuskritische Dimension zu überprüfen. Hier geht es vor allem darum die dezentrierende und anti-essentialistische Stoßrichtung dieses Denkens aufzunehmen ohne sich jenen Differenzierungs- und Subjektivierungslogiken zu ergeben, die sich bereits als perfekter Motor für neoliberale Konsumgesellschaften gezeigt haben. Vor diesem Hintergrund erscheint uns die Untersuchung der “algorithmischen Einhegung” vielfältigster menschlicher Praktiken, von der Ökonomie (Automated Trading), über Biopolitik (Personal Biofeedback) bis zu Politik (Simulationsszenarien) und Wissensproduktion (Search Algorithms und Big Data) als zentraler Konfliktort der postanthropologischen Kondition, dessen Geschichte, Funktionen, Bedingungen und Möglichkeiten wir besser verstehen wollen.

  • 1. De Landa, (2006) M. A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity. Continuum, London.
  • 2. Braidotti, R. (2013) The Posthuman, Polity, Oxford
  • 3. Butler, J. (2004) The Companion Species Manifesto, Prickly Paradigm Press, Chicago.
  • 4. Latour, B. (2009) Das Parlament der Dinge, für eine politische Ökologie, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a. M.

by drupaladmin

Belling Cat

Iran Nuclear Negotiations

Jeffrey Lewis comes on the show to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. We cover many arms control issues related to the ongoing negotiations.


Scrivener – a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.

Subscribe to the podcast:



Download this episode

by Karl Morand

This Cannot Be Happening!

Default Encryption: Apple and Google's Latest Marketing Ploy

It won't protect you at all

A couple of weeks ago, the mere mortals who lead the voracious giants of technology -- Google and Apple -- announced that they were striking a blow for protection against NSA spying by making "encryption" the default on Google cell phone software (which is used on most cell phones) and THEY software used on Apple mobile devices.

This affects equipment like the ubiquitous cell phone, although it is also relevant to some handheld computers and similar portable equipment.

The idea would be that your data on these devices would always be encypted -- appearing as unintelligble nonsense to anyone looking at it without a key to "decrypt" it. You use a password and, bingo!, you can read what you stored. Without the password, it looks like a bunch of bizarre symbols. This would now be the "default". While you could encrypt if you chose to up to now, you will now have to consciously choose not to; encryption will be automatic unless you turn it off.

They are still connected!They are still connected!

The point of all this is that, since these companies would not be able to read your encrypted data, they can't turn over legible data when the government orders them to. Since the government orders them to turn over data constantly, that's a pretty big change.

But how real is it? Such concern for user data seems to conflict with the history of both behemoths. For exampple, the National Security Agency has long taken advantage of Google's remarkable policy of reading its users' email and data, purportedly for marketing purposes and to "make users' experience easier". That stored data has been a plum for the NSA which gets it with the company's cooperation via court order or by using sneaky programs to intercept messages and search data on-line.

Although not a data storage company, Apple's programs move data and interact with storage services. Its iPhone, one of the world's most popular hand-held devices, uses a lot of Google software as well as much of its own programming. Through cell phone technology, these two companies are the major sources of NSA-gathered information. Google gives the government copious information stored on most cell phones and Apples does the same for its powerhouse iPhone.

So savvy critics are wondering if this latest announcement is really a pledge to privacy or the latest in the long string of cynical marketing ploys that have made these outfits the powerhouses they are.

read more

by alfredo

October 13, 2014

Readers Digest

Re: [Air-L] Berkman Center Accepting Fellowship Applications for

I think this would be a wonderful opportunity for many people, but I also feel like it’s useful to point out how academia works to exclude many marginalised perspectives:

The application page for this includes a statement about ‘Commitment to diversity’. It also notes that: “Fellowships awarded through the open call for applications are rarely stipended. Some fellows receive partial stipends –the award of such a stipend is based on the nature of the responsibilities the applicant would assume while a fellow, and their relation, relevance, and application to Berkman’s funded projects. Most fellows receive no direct funding or stipend through the Berkman Center, but rather have obtained funding through other means, such as an outside grant or award, a home institution, or other forms of scholarship. … Fringe benefits do not routinely accompany Berkman fellowships. Fellows must make their own housing, insurance, childcare, and transportation arrangements. … At present, we do not routinely provide remote access to the University’s e-resources, however access is available within the libraries. Fellows do not have the ability to purchase University health insurance or get Harvard housing.”

The contradiction involved there should be clear. What are the impacts of this on women and other economically marginalised groups?

As the list of former fellows shows, this doesn’t completely exclude women or people of colour. But I do wonder how many important voices are excluded because there’s no way they can afford to relocate to Cambridge (remote fellowships aren’t allowed), and no way they can afford to work for a year without any funding.

It’s not enough to state a ‘commitment to diversity’ if there’s no economic commitment to diversity.

On Fri, 2014-10-10 at 10:41 -0400, Rebecca Tabasky wrote:

Good morning AoIR friends,

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University has opened its annual call for fellowship applications. This opportunity is for those who wish to spend the 2015-2016 academic year in residence in Cambridge, MA as part of Berkman’s community of pioneers, and who seek to deeply engage in the collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and cross-sectoral exploration of some of the Internet’s most interesting, challenging, and compelling issues.

Applications will be accepted through Friday December 12, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, and applications will be submitted online through our Application Tracker tool at: http://brk.mn/1516app

We invite applications from folks around the globe working on a broad range of opportunities and challenges related to Internet and society, which may overlap with ongoing work at Berkman or will expose us to new opportunities and approaches. We encourage applications from a diverse group of scholars, practitioners, innovators, engineers, artists, and others committed to understanding and advancing the public interest who come from – and have interest in – countries industrialized or developing, with ideas, projects, or activities in all phases on a spectrum from incubation to reflection.

More information about this call for applications may be found below and at http://brk.mn/fellows1516.

More information about the Berkman Center Fellowship Program may be found at http://brk.mn/fellows.

A Fellowship Program FAQ may be found at http://brk.mn/fellowsfaq.

Through this annual open call, we seek to advance our collective work and give it new direction, and to deepen and broaden our networked community across backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and nations. We welcome you to read more about the program below, to share this announcement with your networks, and to apply!

With thanks, Becca

** * http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/opencall20142015">http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/opencall20142015'>http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/opencall20142015Open Call for Fellowship Applications, Academic Year 2015-2016 https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/opencall20152016">https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/opencall20152016'>https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/opencall20152016**

About Berkman’s Fellowship Program*

“The Berkman Center’s mission is to explore and understand cyberspace; to study its development, dynamics, norms, and standards; and to assess the need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions.

We are a research center, premised on the observation that what we seek to learn is not already recorded. Our method is to build out into cyberspace, record data as we go, self-study, and share. Our mode is entrepreneurial nonprofit.”

Inspired by our mission statement, the Berkman Center’s fellowship program provides the opportunity for some of the world’s most innovative thinkers and changemakers to hone and share ideas, find camaraderie, and spawn new initiatives. The program aims to encourage and support fellows in an inviting and rigorous intellectual environment, with community activities designed to foster inquiry and to identify and expose the common threads across fellows’ individual activities.

Fellows actively participate in exchanges through a weekly fellows hour, fellows-run working groups, and a wide-range of Berkman Center events and interactions. While engaging in both substance and process, much of what makes the fellowship program rewarding is created each year by the fellows themselves to address their own interests and priorities. These entrepreneurial, collaborative ventures – ranging from goal-oriented to experimental, from rigorous to humorous – are what ensure the dynamism of the fellows, the fellowship program, and the Berkman community.

Additionally, with Berkman faculty, students, staff, and other affiliates, fellows help to develop and advance their own work and Berkman Center projects, and they learn and teach through courses, skill sharing, hacking and development sessions, cultural productions, and other gatherings.

Fellows are essential to the Berkman Center as nodes of intelligence, insight, energy, and knowledge-sharing. From their diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging physical and virtual travels, Berkman Center fellows bring fresh ideas, skills, passion, and connections to the Center and its community, and from their time spent in Cambridge help build and extend new perspectives and initiatives out into the world.

Current fellows have shared reflections on their experiences here, and provide great insights and specifics from an insider’s view. Sara Watson writes http://www.saramwatson.com/blog/the-year-at-berkman">http://www.saramwatson.com/blog/the-year-at-berkman'>http://www.saramwatson.com/blog/the-year-at-berkman, “Berkman became a supportive community of people I can count on to a read a draft of something I write before I post it, or to talk through a difficult decision and urge me to find my own voice. Parts of my work this year were challenging in unexpected ways, and I’m thankful to have had the support of this inspiring and encouraging group.” Nathan Matias says https://civic.mit.edu/blog/natematias/why-you-should-apply-to-be-a-berkman-fellow">https://civic.mit.edu/blog/natematias/why-you-should-apply-to-be-a-berkman-fellow'>https://civic.mit.edu/blog/natematias/why-you-should-apply-to-be-a-berkman-fellow, “As a fellow, you’ll be part of an amazing, supportive network of people who will help you, challenge you, and work with you to make your work more socially conscious, more visible, more effective, and more awesome.”*

About Berkman Fellowships*

An appointment that defies one-size-fits-all description, each Berkman fellowship carries a unique set of opportunities, responsibilities and expectations. All fellows engage issues related to the fairly limitless expanse of Internet & society issues, and are committed to the intellectual life of the Center and fellowship program activities. Some fellows work as researchers directly on Berkman Center projects. Other fellowships consist of independent work, such as the research and writing of a manuscript or series of papers, the vision and planning of an action-oriented meeting, or the development and implementation of an initiative or a study on issues related to the Berkman Center’s areas of inquiry.

Fellowship terms typically run the course of the academic year, roughly from the beginning of September through the end of May. In some instances, fellows are re-appointed for consecutive fellowship terms.

While we embrace our many virtual connections, spending time together in person remains essential. In order to maximize their engagement with the community, during their fellowship terms fellows are expected to routinely spend time in and conduct much of their work from Cambridge, in most cases requiring residency. Tuesdays hold particular importance as it is the day the fellows community meets for a weekly fellows hour, in addition to it being the day Berkman hosts our public luncheon series; as such, we ask that fellows commit to spending as many Tuesdays at the Center as is possible.*


We do not have a defined set of requirements for the fellows we select through our open call; we welcome applications from a wildly diverse range of people.

Fellows come from across the disciplinary spectrum and different life paths, and are at all stages of career development. Some fellows are academics, whether students, post-docs, or professors. Others come from outside academia, and include lawyers, philosophers, activists, technologists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and other types of practitioners.

The commonality among all Berkman fellows is an interest in the intersections of the Internet and related emergent technologies, social change, and policy and regulatory developments, as well as a commitment to spending their fellowship exploring those dynamics in concert with others.

To learn more about the work and interests of our current community of fellows, you can read their bios http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/fellows">http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/fellows'>http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/fellowsand find links to their outstanding work, check out their blogs http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/planet/current/">http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/planet/current/'>http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/planet/current/, and https://twitter.com/berkmancenter/current-people-projects">https://twitter.com/berkmancenter/current-people-projects'>https://twitter.com/berkmancenter/current-people-projectsfind them on twitter https://twitter.com/berkmancenter/lists/current-people-projects">https://twitter.com/berkmancenter/lists/current-people-projects'>https://twitter.com/berkmancenter/lists/current-people-projects.*

Commitment to Diversity*

The work and well-being of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society are strengthened profoundly by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We actively seek and welcome applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and persons with disabilities, as well as applications from researchers and practitioners from across the spectrum of disciplines and methods. The roots of this deep commitment are many and, appropriately, diverse. We welcome your inquiries, comments, and ideas on how we may continue to improve.*

Stipends, Benefits, and Access to University Resources/

Stipends/: Fellowships awarded through the open call for applications are rarely stipended. Some fellows receive partial stipends –the award of such a stipend is based on the nature of the responsibilities the applicant would assume while a fellow, and their relation, relevance, and application to Berkman’s funded projects. Most fellows receive no direct funding or stipend through the Berkman Center, but rather have obtained funding through other means, such as an outside grant or award, a home institution, or other forms of scholarship./

Benefits/: Fringe benefits do not routinely accompany Berkman fellowships. Fellows must make their own housing, insurance, childcare, and transportation arrangements./

Office Space/: Most Berkman fellows work out of the greater-Boston area and spend a significant amount of time at the Berkman Center. There are many desks and workspaces available for flexible use at the Berkman Center, though few fellows are given their own permanent desk or office. We endeavor to provide comfortable and productive spaces for fellows to work, even if it is not the same space each day. Fellows are welcome to host small meetings and gatherings at the Center and on the Harvard campus./

Access to University Resources/: Fellows are allowed physical access into Langdell Library (the Harvard Law School Library), and fellows are able to acquire a Special Borrower Card http://hcl.harvard.edu/info/admittance/#special_borrower">http://hcl.harvard.edu/info/admittance/#special_borrower'>http://hcl.harvard.edu/info/admittance/#special_borrowerfor privileges with the Harvard College Libraries. At present, we do not routinely provide remote access to the University’s e-resources, however access is available within the libraries. Fellows do not have the ability to purchase University health insurance or get Harvard housing. Berkman fellows often audit classes at Harvard University, however must individually ask for permission directly from the professor of the desired class.*

Additional Information about the Berkman Center*

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Center is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between cyberspace, technology, and society. To learn more about Berkman’s current activities and interests, consider watching a video of a Fall 2014 lunch talk http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/luncheon/2014/09/openhouse">http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/luncheon/2014/09/openhouse'>http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/luncheon/2014/09/openhouse led by Berkman’s Faculty Director Jonathan Zittrain. *

Frequently Asked Questions*

More information about fellows selection and the application process can be found on our Fellows Program FAQ http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/faq">http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/faq'>http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/faq.*

Required Application Materials*

  1. ) A current resume or C.V.

  2. ) A personal statement which should a) frame your motivation for applying for a Berkman Center fellowship and b) outline the work you propose to conduct during a fellowship. This statement should be roughly 1,000 – 1,500 words or should be a multi-media equivalent.

  3. ) A copy of a recent publication or an example of relevant work. For a written document, for instance, it should be on the order of a paper or chapter - not an entire book or dissertation - and should be in English.

  4. ) Two letters of recommendation, sent directly from the reference.

In addition to the above materials, we ask applicants to share some additional information in a form as part of the application.

  1. ) Disciplinary background: Up to three disciplines in which you have been trained and/or have worked.

  2. ) Tags: Five tags that describe or represent the themes, issues, or ideas you know about and on which you propose to conduct work during a fellowship at Berkman; and five tags that represent work, themes, issues, or ideas that you do not currently know much about, but would like to explore and learn more about during a fellowship year. Each tag should be one- to three- words or terms.

  3. ) Berkman projects of interest. *

To Apply for a 2015-2016 Academic Year Fellowship Through Our Open Call*

Applications will be submitted online through our Application Tracker tool at: http://brk.mn/1516apphttps://cyber.law.harvard.edu/apply/jobs/11?apptracker_id=3">https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/apply/jobs/11?apptracker_id=3'>https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/apply/jobs/11?apptracker_id=3

Applications will be accepted through Friday December 12, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Instructions for creating an account and submitting an application through the Application Tracker may be foundhere https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/9392">https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/9392'>https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/9392.

Note related to recommendation letters: Recommendation letters will be captured through the Application Tracker, and will require applicants to submit the names and contact information for references in advance of the application deadline. References will receive a link at which they can upload their letters. We recommend that applicants create their profiles and submit reference information in the Application Tracker as soon as they know they are going to apply and have identified their references - this step will not require other fellowship application materials to be submitted. _______________________________________________ The Air-L@listserv.aoir.org mailing list is provided by the Association of Internet Researchers http://aoir.org Subscribe, change options or unsubscribe at: http://listserv.aoir.org/listinfo.cgi/air-l-aoir.org

Join the Association of Internet Researchers: http://www.aoir.org/

Due to security concerns with Gmail and other Google services, I’m switching over to Riseup. From now on, please email me at: skyc@riseup.net _______________________________________________ The Air-L@listserv.aoir.org mailing list is provided by the Association of Internet Researchers http://aoir.org Subscribe, change options or unsubscribe at: http://listserv.aoir.org/listinfo.cgi/air-l-aoir.org

Join the Association of Internet Researchers: http://www.aoir.org/

by sky

This Cannot Be Happening!

Dickensian US Working Conditions Almost Guarantee Ebola Catastrophe

Karmic payback for selfish Americans


Ebola is coming! Ebola is coming! America is doomed!

That, in essence, is the message of the US corporate news media, always on the lookout for the next sensational story with which to stir up hysteria among the public in the interest of higher ratings.

But the thing is, this time, unlike Saddam Hussein’s supposed nuclear weapons and poison-gas-spewing drone aircraft, Al Qaeda’s non-existent “sleeper cells,” and now ISIS and its supposed army of infiltrators coming to separate our heads from our shoulders, the threat is real.

True to form though, the threat is not what the media are claiming it is.

Ebola is a certainly terrible scourge in poor countries in Africa, where a handful of doctors are expected to provide care to thousands of people and to keep persons who contract the disease isolated so that the infection doesn’t spread. Ebola has spread so rapidly in the war-ravaged little nation of Sierra Leone that doctors there have decided they have to surrender the high ground of bringing all infected people into medical facilities for treatment, and to fall back to advising families who have a member who contracts Ebola to treat them at home as best as they can.

In the US, we have plenty of doctors, and plenty of hospitals with the ability to initiate steps to avoid the spread of disease.

But we do not have universal access to health care -- especially to the kind of front-line health care that an epidemic calls for: access to a physician at the first sign of illness, access to affordable medication to treat disease, and even in many cases access to an emergency room.

Worse yet, are US labor policies, which are as if designed by some evil villain to hasten the spread of contagious disease.

Consider this: Most, if not virtually all waiters, busboys, chefs and cleaning staff at restaurants in the US do not get paid sick days--with the exception of those few who have union contracts and have managed to negotiate sick days in their contracts. If they feel like they are getting sick workers with no paid sick leave must do their best to hide their symptoms and go to work. Ditto for the maids and housekeepers who tend to the homes of the wealthy. And the same is true for the majority of the low-paid staff at privately run daycare centers.
Would madam like some Ebola with that order? (Without sick pay, many waiters have to come to work sick in the US)Would madam like some Ebola with that order? (Without sick pay, many waiters have to come to work sick in the US)


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by lindorff

October 12, 2014

Belling Cat

RIPA, Caryatid, and the News of the World Newsdesk

The current press outrage about police using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIPA) makes for interesting debate. Many are surprised. But it isn’t a new police tactic. It was used at least as far back as Operation Caryatid – the original MPS investigation into phone hacking by Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire.

Acquiring newspaper newsdesk phone records is neither a recent nor secret use of RIPA.  It did not start with the Mail newsdesk over the Chris Huhne matter. Nor did acquiring individual journalist’s phone records start with the Sun, Tom Newton Dunn and Plebgate.

As Nick Cohen put it in the Spectator,

In private, the police now tell journalists that they have pulled reporters’ phone records in every single leak inquiry in the last ten years. I believe them.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) used RIPA to access News of the World newsdesk phone data in 2006. This use of RIPA was authorised internally without recourse to the scrutiny of a judge – and was openly addressed in public at the Leveson Inquiry.


Much confusion (consciously or unconsciously) has been enabled by the deployment of RIPA legislation during the phone hacking scandal.  So it is important to clarify the TWO different ways in which RIPA is relevant to Operation Caryatid.

Firstly, the more well known facet is how RIPA section 1 offences were selected for the prosecution of Goodman and Mulcaire. A questionable interpretation of RIPA section 2 – the analogy of the unopened envelope – also severely constrained the scope of the investigation.  This is what Nick Davies calls the ‘RIPA bollocks’ in his book Hack Attack.

Secondly, the less well known Caryatid deployment of RIPA was section 22. This is the RIPA provision that grants police and other authorities to demand phone records and data from telephone service providers, subject to certain conditions.  It is this use of RIPA section 22 that can be authorised internally thus evading judicial scrutiny. RIPA section 22 makes no exception for and offers no protection to journalists or the confidentiality of their sources.

This Bellingcat post will focus predominantly on the lesser known section 22, and how the MPS in 2006 were harvesting phone data from the News of the World.


Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Peter Clarke tasked Phil Williams as Senior Investigating Officer (SIO). The first phase of Caryatid (from Dec 05 – May 06)  relied heavily on one MPS Intelligence officer from Specialist  Operations (SO13) Telephone Intelligence Unit – Kevin Southworth.  His role was close liaison with mobile telephone service providers to support identifying the scope of suspected ‘rogue numbers’ which might be illegally accessing voicemails. Thousands of lines of telephone data were obtained for at least two suspected journalistic numbers – Clive Goodman and the News of the World newsdesk hub number.  Police obtained a year’s worth of phone data for call and traffic analysis. (here)

O2  later reciprocally provided information that another suspect ‘rogue number’ was that of ‘Paul Williams’ aka Glenn Mulcaire.  It was O2 that discovered Mulcaire’s complicity, not the police.

And it wasn’t just O2. “Orange simply responded to a valid Section 22 RIPA notice…. Orange supplied communication data pursuant to RiPA.  The communications data supplied related to searches of our call records to identify incoming calls related to particular telephone numbers (supplied to us by the MPS)” (see here)

This clearly identifies that RIPA was used to obtain phone communications data.

Section 22 includes the detail on who may authorise obtaining communications data. (RIPA here)

Authorisation can be granted internally by a police force without reference externally for a judge’s scrutiny and approval.  A designated ‘authorised person’ may approve Section 22 notices ex officio, “by reference to an office, rank or position with a police force.”   The scrutinising ‘authorised person’ must not be connected to the relevant investigation. Evidence to the  Leveson Inquiry describes the process as

an application setting out the necessary justifications for why this information is needed.  It would then be referred to an independent Superintendent who would then assess the merits of the application before it could be implemented.

This authorisation application and approval is required to be in writing in a retrievable form and the records retained.

Clearly this raises questions:

– What were the RIPA-compliant specified grounds for authorisation?
– Who exactly authorised these Caryatid RIPA  section 22 notices?
– What was their office, rank and position?
– Were they also situated in Specialist Operations or a different MPS Directorate?
– Was knowledge and/or authorisation of the RIPA Section 22 notices escalated to higher ranks of the MPS, security services or Home Office?


In April-May 06, Caryatid took stock.  DAC Peter Clarke directed maintaining a narrow, ring-fenced investigation focused on Royal family staff only, Clarke’s motivations for that decision were resourcing limitations and, arguably, MPS reputation damage limitation. (see here)

Phil Williams (SIO) effected a narrow interpretation of RIPA section 1 and 2 (aka RIPA bollocks) offences and the evidence-gathering phase investigation therefore became focused on technical evidence only.  This determined a second wave of RIPA section 22 notices (again with internal MPS authorisation) to mobile phone service providers.  Rather than historical phone data these new section 22s sought solely fresh illegal voicemail interceptions.

Yet Williams’ briefing paper to the Attorney General (Lord Goldsmith) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in May 06 demonstrated that the previous historic Sec. 22 phone data harvesting from Goodman, Mulcaire, and the News of the World phone hub had revealed

a vast number of unique voicemail numbers belonging to high-profile individuals (politicians, celebrities) have been identified as being accessed without authority. These may be the subject of wider investigation.

Resources, as we’ve been told repeatedly, were scarce for Caryatid. But they were innovative, perhaps uniqely.  Or perhaps not.  Phil Williams’ witness statement to Leveson tells how the telephone services providers were persuaded not only to provide RIPA section 22 raw data but also to process it.

Caryatid could not even resource the admin necessary legally to obtain the data (p18 here):

Equally as we secured data based on the phones used by Goodman and subsequently Mulcaire, we would not have been able to resource the administrative process of lawfully applying for information on every piece of phone data we had secured. To that end we needed the service providers’ cooperation with us providing the ’rogue numbers’ (as we identified them) and the service provfders then trying to establish which of their voicemail numbers may have been compromised.

So service providers appear to have been investigating and analysing phone data FOR Caryatid as the MPS could not resource the specialist analytical work. This was a neat legal segue.


The final arrests-to-prosecution phase were further narrowed down only to Goodman and Mulcaire, despite the seizures on arrest of extensive evidence from their homes and places of business.

Very soon after those August 06 arrests, DAC Peter Clarke made the decision to close down any further investigations by Operation Caryatid.  Unfortunately Clarke’s rationale for curtailing Carayatid, endorsed by Phil Williams, failed to be documented.

At least one of the Caryatid team was disappointed.  Mark Maberly said (p89-91 here),

There were still lines of enquiry that I would have been keen to follow. In particular, I’d identified three names who, if I had the sufficient evidence, I would have liked to have spoken to…
Q. And these were three journalists within News of the
World, were they?
A. That’s correct, yes.

Q. Had you detected a pattern in relation to Mr Mulcaire’s activity, whereby he would telephone someone within the News of the World before accessing a voicemail, accessing a voicemail and then phoning that person back?
A. Certainly we believe that to be the case.

A. In the billing data for Mr Mulcaire, there were calls by him to other journalists. We were aware in the material he had written down those journalists’ mobile numbers on bits of paper.
Q. Right.
A. So from that point of view, I could identify, for example, one of these three journalists, I had his mobile number, and I was aware that that mobile number appeared in billing data.
Q. This is — yes, well. This is arguably extremely interesting circumstantial evidence, isn’t it?
A. I mean, call pattern analysis, which is the police term that we would refer to it by, it can be very good circumstantial evidence.

The indictment of Goodman and Mulcaire excluded all the wealth of evidence of offending prior to November ’05.  So even the dates to be considered at trial were narrowed considerably.

What was the upshot of all this narrowing of investigative strategy, narrowing of victim pool, restriction to RIPA Sec 1 offences, interpretation of RIPA (RIPA  bollocks), and narrowed indictment period?  Crucially, the net effect was to deftly sidestep any obligation for prior disclosure or public scrutiny at trial of the initial RIPA sec22 strategy of journalistic and newsdesk telephone data acquisition.


The fallout from Caryatid decision-making are well documented.  However, some subsequent details deserve a closer look.

In July ’09 DAC John Yates was tasked to ‘establish the facts’ around a Guardian story on phone hacking. A few hours later, Yates rushed to judgement in announcing there was no need to re-open the News of the World phone hacking investigation. Of course, the original Caryatid team had long since dispersed to other duties.  None of the Caryatid team were readily available to help Yates manage the developing criticism of the MPS. Except one, who was well-placed and close to Yates.

During 2009 and 2010 Kevin Southworth was a member of Yates’ Gold Group dealing with responses to phone hacking revelations.  Southworth was the designated officer and single point of contact (SPoC) dealing with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on phone hacking.  He was also responsible for managing responses to victims such as John Prescott and Chris Bryant, and to Tom Watson. (here)

In addition, Kevin Southworth coordinated MPS evidence and appearances before both Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Affairs Select Committees (here)

By the time that Operation Weeting commenced in January ’11, Kevin Southworth was Staff Officer to John Yates (p15  here).


Internally authorised RIPA section 22 requisitions can be shown to have been actioned over an extended period of time, pre-dating even Operation Caryatid.  In 2003/4, Operation Motorman/Glade – where journalists were suspected of offences  – seems to have acquired phone data too. A retired MPS officer and a MPS civilian worker were investigated “…. for the offence of conspiracy to corrupt.  The reason for this was that evidence from communications data and analysis indicated that King had been communicating with Marshall shortly before and after the PNC checks were being conducted.” (p9 here)

Seven journalists were interviewed under caution by Operation Glade.  No information is available as to whether or not RIPA sec 22 was considered in order to access those journalists’ phone data.

Operations Motorman, Glade, and Caryatid each were investigations where journalists were suspected of illegality.  And there have been other Ops in the last decade when various journalists names have surfaced – for example, Operation Kalmyk, and Operations Abelard I (2002) and Abelard II (2006) investigations into the murder of Daniel Morgan.  Hopefully the MPS have kept all their relevant RIPA section 22 authorisations in written and retrievable form, safe and securely stored.

Last  Thursday on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Ian Blair said, “We need to look at what use has been made of it [RIPA] over the last 15 years. Had it been considered that they were likely to go after journalistic sources I think that would have been in the code in a particular way in the same way as it is in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. The codes of practice of RIPA need to be re-written.”

It’s almost as if he was unaware his own officers used RIPA powers in Operation Caryatid whilst he was MPS Commissioner in 2006. Or that they sidestepped legal authorisation to allow service providers to undertake investigative analysis.

By contrast current Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey, the same day, seemed surprised that anybody else was surprised RIPA sec 22 had been habitually used to access telephone communications data. (here)

by The Regular Contributor