stay in line...
reshared from: [Marlon](/people/13f69d4e61bc4f8f) 01/10/2014 06:23:21
GNU Parallel 20141022 ('Shellshock') has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parallel/
Shellshock has also hit GNU Parallel. It is not a security issue, per se (the security issue was in Bash), but Bash's solution affects --env when exporting a function.
Haiku of the month:
Shellshock pain hits us.
Dash dash env is affected.
-- Ole Tange
(Last month's haiku was by Malcolm Cook)
New in this release:
GNU Parallel - For people who live life in the parallel lane.
GNU Parallel is a shell tool for executing jobs in parallel using one or more computers. A job is can be a single command or a small script that has to be run for each of the lines in the input. The typical input is a list of files, a list of hosts, a list of users, a list of URLs, or a list of tables. A job can also be a command that reads from a pipe. GNU Parallel can then split the input and pipe it into commands in parallel.
If you use xargs and tee today you will find GNU Parallel very easy to use as GNU Parallel is written to have the same options as xargs. If you write loops in shell, you will find GNU Parallel may be able to replace most of the loops and make them run faster by running several jobs in parallel. GNU Parallel can even replace nested loops.
GNU Parallel makes sure output from the commands is the same output as you would get had you run the commands sequentially. This makes it possible to use output from GNU Parallel as input for other programs.
You can find more about GNU Parallel at: http://www.gnu.org/s/parallel/
You can install GNU Parallel in just 10 seconds with: (wget -O - pi.dk/3 || curl pi.dk/3/) | bash
Watch the intro video on http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL284C9FF2488BC6D1
Walk through the tutorial (man parallel_tutorial). Your commandline will love you for it.
When using programs that use GNU Parallel to process data for publication please cite:
O. Tange (2011): GNU Parallel - The Command-Line Power Tool, ;login: The USENIX Magazine, February 2011:42-47.
If you like GNU Parallel:
If you use GNU Parallel for research:
If GNU Parallel saves you money:
GNU sql aims to give a simple, unified interface for accessing databases through all the different databases' command line clients. So far the focus has been on giving a common way to specify login information (protocol, username, password, hostname, and port number), size (database and table size), and running queries.
The database is addressed using a DBURL. If commands are left out you will get that database's interactive shell.
When using GNU SQL for a publication please cite:
O. Tange (2011): GNU SQL - A Command Line Tool for Accessing Different Databases Using DBURLs, ;login: The USENIX Magazine, April 2011:29-32.
GNU niceload slows down a program when the computer load average (or other system activity) is above a certain limit. When the limit is reached the program will be suspended for some time. If the limit is a soft limit the program will be allowed to run for short amounts of time before being suspended again. If the limit is a hard limit the program will only be allowed to run when the system is below the limit.
Here's a new bugfix release of the GNU FreeDink game :)
- Never recreate an empty hard.dat in the game, even if there's a problem opening it (avoids corruption when running both the game and an editor at the same time).
(thanks CocoMonkey for the report)
- DinkC: load_palette() now searches for palette in the right place
(thanks scratcher for the report)
- DinkC: Dink position is updated after a new screen is loaded
(thanks metatarasal for the report)
- New translations for the engine strings in Russian (thanks Yuri Kozlov) and Hungarian (thanks Balázs Úr).
About GNU FreeDink:
Dink Smallwood is an adventure/role-playing game, similar to Zelda,
made by RTsoft. Besides twisted humor, it includes the actual game
editor, allowing players to create hundreds of new adventures called
Dink Modules or D-Mods for short.
GNU FreeDink is a new and portable version of the game engine, which
runs the original game as well as its D-Mods, with close
compatibility, under multiple platforms.
"Los cerros se convirtieron en tumbas.
Todos estos días he leído una noticia tras otra sobre Iguala. El caso Iguala inundado de Hashtags, el caso Iguala inundado en sangre y más sangre que se acumula. Reportan sobre las acusaciones de Abarca y sus nexos con el narco, la suegra hablando sobre los negocios sucios, la esposa pavoneándose por el asesinato, el lavado de dinero en la Plaza. Todo lo que ya se sabía en Iguala desde hace dos o tres años. Sabíamos que ese candidato de la “izquierda” que salió de la nada para gobernar tenía negocios negros detrás. Ese que salió por la puerta de Galerías Tamarindos de la mano de Ángeles Pineda maquillada de vestido y tacones perfectamente combinados. Un orero, el que puso el cine en Iguala. Muchos lo apoyaron, los que ahora bajan la cabeza, piden perdón y dicen que jamás imaginaron quien era en realidad.
Desde los primeros meses de establecerse en su cargo, poco a poco nos dimos cuenta como las cosas iban cambiando. El zócalo de la ciudad se remodeló y también los uniformes de la policía que ahora vestían armados hasta los dientes, incluso parecían Federales. En los eventos públicos no sólo asistía el, con su sonrisa y su coche del año, estaba además siempre su esposa a su lado. Ella mandaba, eso no es secreto. Incluso era su representante en las reuniones, juntas y apariciones públicas. Nadie ignoraba que ella iba tras la presidencia. Los rumores de las muertes ejecutadas por ellos se hicieron verdades y tuvieron su velorio justo en el centro del Palacio Municipal. Esos años fueron denunciados, se gritaron y nadie volteó a ver, Iguala no existía más allá de su nombre.
Cada fin de semana sabíamos de alguna fosa encontrada, levantones, ejecuciones y secuestros ¿Cuántos amigos murieron por una lluvia de balas? ¿De cuantos hasta hoy no sabemos nada? Me da pavor recordar cuantas veces pasamos al lado de los policías municipales, cuantas veces los vimos pasar en las camionetas del año que la administración local compró para “la seguridad de todos los Igualtecos”. Pienso en todos esos días, pienso en cuántos muertos más cargaron hasta sus patrullas y enterraron en los cerros.
Los cerros se convirtieron en tumbas sin nombre.
Vivimos en condiciones de guerra, vivimos en el caos constante. Defenderte o morir, morir en la defensa o alzar las manos y que disparen entre los ojos. El narco, el sicario, el “presunto delincuente”. Lo que ocurrió el 26 de Septiembre visibilizó ante el país el horror que se vivía en la ciudad desde hace años, aunque muchos escogieron la vía de la venda negra. Negar que en su casa, en su hogar, en el lugar en el que nacieron pasara eso.
Ese día seis personas murieron, seis familias quedaron incompletas. 43 estudiantes han desaparecido, y nada justifica su desaparición forzada. 43 estudiantes que fueron levantados por la misma policía, 43 estudiantes de los que no se sabe nada. No quiero hablar de sus muertes, aún espero creer que regresaran a su cama en Ayotzinapa.
En la escuela mis alumnos me preguntan por qué pasa todo esto. Trató de explicarles sin que la voz se parta. Tienen menos de 15 años, y crecen en un país del que es probable que no salgan vivos. Estamos en guerra. Lo dijo Calderón, lo dijo la Tuta, lo dijo Aguirre, lo dijeron Guerreros Unidos. Mis alumnos se saben más los nombres de los carteles de la droga que artículos de la Constitución.
“Maestra, sabe que en México caen 17 balas perdidas cada minuto” me dice uno de mis alumnos. Tal vez una de esas 17 balas caerá en la cabeza de alguno de ellos. En mi cabeza también. ¿Cuántos de ellos morirán en un “enfrentamiento”?, ¿Cuántos serán sicarios al servicio del estado o de los narcos? ¿Cuántas de ellas podrían llegar a ser violadas?
Pero en este país esas cosas se olvidan. Los sueños duran seis años y se estrellan contra una pared pintada de colores nuevos. El color en turno rematado con la frase apabullante del sexenio. Iguala y Ayotzinapa se han convertido en el centro de las noticias. En las dos se ciernen manchas de sangre que son difíciles de quitar. En Guerrero la sangre corre por los ríos.
El ejército, la Marina, la Federal, la Ministerial y ahora la Gendarmería vienen al rescate, ¿Nos pueden rescatar de ellos mismos?"
The Free Software Movement campaigns for computer users' freedom to cooperate and control their own computing. The Free Software Movement developed the GNU operating system, typically used together with the kernel Linux, specifically to make these freedoms possible.
Richard Stallman's speech will be nontechnical, admission is free of charge, and the public is encouraged to attend.
Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Houston.
LibreJS 6.0.3 contains a few bugfixes. You can get it here: http://www.gnu.org/software/librejs/
Changes since the 6.0.1 release:
browser. This fixes a bug reported by Rubén Rodríguez.
* Updated the Google Analytics regex to block recent versions of
* Reduced file size of the add-on executable.
GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the
GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical
one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from
the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend
non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license
restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0.
Source tarballs, binaries for generic GNU/Linux systems and translations
are available at http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gnuzilla/31.2.0/
New gpg key ID:D7E04784 GNU IceCat releases
Fingerprint: A573 69A8 BABC 2542 B5A0 368C 3C76 EED7 D7E0 4784
This is a new iteration of the IceCat project, based on new build
scripts and with an extra focus on privacy.
The new maintainer is Ruben Rodriguez.
IceCat will continue to stick to the ESR (Extended Support Release)
cycle (https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/faq/) because
it provides security updates over a stable base. That will also allow to
port privacy features from TorBrowser, which is now following v31ESR.
== Changes since v24 ==
about crashes or security related events).
before browsing them.
- A blacklist of trackers that is used in any browsing mode.
Self-served, privacy-friendly advertising is preserved.
- A filter for all third-party requests while in private browsing.
- Autoupdate for filter lists is optional.
documentation and the possibility to disable them quickly if needed.
- Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/31.0
- Plugins like java or flash: these are disabled by default in
IceCat, requiring the user to enable them in a per-site basis. Also
Gnash doesn't work for fingerprinting.
- JS probing: the custom homepage allows to disable custom fonts.
The attack, the illegal execution and forced disappearance perpetrated in Iguala against the Ayotzinapa normalistas students are neither the result of the State’s absence nor an isolated fact nor the outcome of bad functionaries.
In this case, the crime perpetrated can be defined as forced disappearance because the students were arrested by State police agents, who then refused to acknowledge this fact and concealed the whereabouts of the students.
These facts can be defined as illegal executions because State agents –or people related to the State- committed an illegal deprivation of life, which is “an intentional homicide, commited or permitted by individuals whose ilegitimate action is supported, mediately or immediately, by the powers of the State”.
Unifont version 7.0.05 is now available for download at ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/unifont/unifont-7.0.05/.
Unifont is part of the GNU Project. It is a dual-width font,
with TrueType and other versions created from an underlying pixel
map. Glyphs are composed on either an 8-by-16 pixel grid or
a 16-by-16 pixel grid. Its goal is to provide a low-resolution font that covers all of Unicode's Basic Multilingual Plane, Plane 0.
This version includes over 5,400 glyphs in the Unicode Supplemental Multilingual Plane (Plane 1), in addition to complete coverage of the Basic Multilingual Plane and several scripts in Michael Everson's ConScript Unicode Registry (CSUR).
Zou Hu (thank you!) has completed a Chinese translation of TFTI (starting from earlier work by others). The sources are available from https://bitbucket.org/zohooo/impatient and a PDF is at http://zoho.is-programmer.com/user_files/zoho/epics/tex-impatient-cn.pdf ...
In today's Friday Free Software Directory (FSD) IRC Meeting we approved updates to several entries; we added a new category, System-administration/virtualization; and we also sent emails to the maintainers of two different programs asking them if, in addition to publishing their source code, they would consider making it free software. We also added a new entry that I am looking forward to trying out this weekend:
In addition to all this good work, we also also had some discussions related to Respects Your Freedom computer hardware certification, which makes me think that we should make RYF a theme for an upcoming meeting!
You can join in our discussions and help 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.
La ciencia moderna es incomprensible si no la miramos como un proyecto público, urbano y popular antes que como una empresa exclusiva, palaciega y elitista. Estamos asistiendo a un renacimiento de las culturas de amateurs.
via Antonio Lafuente :
No es sólo que reconozcamos la naturaleza informal de la mayor parte de lo que sabemos, sino que los necesitamos para remontar las crisis de la representación, la que encarnan los políticos (los electos) y la que encarnan los expertos (los selectos). Abundan los textos que glosan las excelencias del crowdsourcing y que nos animan a pensar que, sin incorporar la inteligencia de las masas (el saber profano), nuestro mundo no encontrará soluciones sostenibles para los problemas que enfrenta.
Cada vez más, lo normal es ser más raro.
los hackers no son el último rostro del buenismo, sino que son excelentes ingenieros, campesinos esforzados, gestores transparentes, críticos honestos, investigadores militantes, mecánicos divertidos y artesanos honrados
The Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free Software is presented annually by FSF president Richard Stallman to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.
Last year, Matthew Garrett was recognized with the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his work to keep "Secure Boot" free software compatible, as well as his other work to make sure that so-called security measures do not come at the expense of user freedom. Garrett joined a prestigious list of previous winners including Dr. Fernando Perez, Yukihiro Matsumoto, Rob Savoye, John Gilmore, Wietse Venema, Harald Welte, Ted Ts'o, Andrew Tridgell, Theo de Raadt, Alan Cox, Larry Lessig, Guido van Rossum, Brian Paul, Miguel de Icaza, and Larry Wall.
Nominations are also open for the 2014 Award for Projects of Social Benefit.
The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life.
We look to recognize projects or teams that encourage people to cooperate in freedom to accomplish social tasks. A long-term commitment to one's project (or the potential for a long-term commitment) is crucial to this end.
This award stresses the use of free software in the service of humanity. We have deliberately chosen this broad criterion so that many different areas of activity can be considered. However, one area that is not included is that of free software itself. Projects with a primary goal of promoting or advancing free software are not eligible for this award (we honor individuals working on those projects with our annual Award for the Advancement of Free Software).
We will consider any project or team that uses free software or its philosophy to address a goal important to society. To qualify, a project must use free software, produce free documentation, or use the idea of free software as defined in the Free Software Definition. Projects that promote or depend on the use of non-free software are not eligible for this award. Commercial projects are not excluded, but commercial success is not our scale for judging projects.
Last year, the GNOME Foundation's Outreach Program for Women (OPW) received the award, in recognition of its work to involve women (cis and trans) and genderqueer people in free software development. OPW's work benefits society more broadly, addressing gender discrimination by empowering women to develop leadership and development skills in a society which runs on technology. OPW does this critical work using the ideals and collaborative culture of the free software movement.
Other previous winners have included OpenMRS, GNU Health, Tor, the Internet Archive, Creative Commons, Groklaw, the Sahana project, and Wikipedia.
In the case of both awards, previous winners are not eligible for nomination, but renomination of other previous nominees is encouraged. Only individuals are eligible for nomination for the Advancement of Free Software Award (not projects), and only projects can be nominated for the Social Benefit Award (not individuals). For a list of previous winners, please visit https://www.fsf.org/awards.
Current FSF staff and board members, as well as award committee members, are not eligible.
The tentative award committee members are: Marina Zhurakhinskaya, Matthew Garrett, Rob Savoye, Wietse Venema, Richard Stallman, Suresh Ramasubramanian, Vernor Vinge, Hong Feng, Fernanda G. Weiden, Harald Welte, Vernor Vinge, Jonas Oberg, and Yukihiro Matsumoto.
After reviewing the eligibility rules above, please send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org, on or before Sunday, November 16th, 2014 at 23:59 UTC. Please submit nominations in the following format:
In the email message subject line, either put the name of the person you are nominating for the Award for Advancement of Free Software, or put the name of the project for the Award for Projects of Social Benefit.
Please include, in the body of your message, an explanation (forty lines or less) of the work done and why you think it is especially important to the advancement of software freedom or how it benefits society, respectively.
Please state, in the body of your message, where to find the materials (e.g., software, manuals, or writing) which your nomination is based on.
Information about the previous awards can be found at https://www.fsf.org/awards. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the LibrePlanet conference, March 21-22 2015, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
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?
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.
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. And indeed, 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.
It seems that Freifunk took off because it 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 is more like a network of people than Consume has ever been. When James Stevens decided to stop promoting Consume, it broke apart. What was left was OWN or Boundless, a network in Lewisham and Greenwich in the Southeast of London which still exists. But Consume as a nationwide UK network of network ceased to exist since about 2006.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At FC03 Bruno Randolf showed the mesh-cube, a technology he developed for a company in Hamburg. He could use industrial small chips optimized for running an embedded Linux distribution. He worked with the AODV routing protocol. Another early protocol which was discussed and tested at FC03 was OLSR developed by Andreas Tønnesen as a master thesis project at the university graduate center in Oslo. Thus, 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.
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) http://www.junes.eu/downloads/polylux_tv_sc03_20030915.avi
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. 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).
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.
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.
[Next ... The Social Technologies of the Network Commons]
Mexico City Universities Strike in Support of Escalating Ayotzinapa Protests
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.
As 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.
A partir de esa fecha, en Guerrero se desata el periodo más crítico del conflicto armado, se intensifican los choques entre batallones del Ejército y unidades del Partido de los Pobres en la Costa Grande guerrerense. Es el lapso en el que se ubica el mayor número de detenidos, desaparecidos, de presos en cárceles clandestinas, de casos de tortura, narrados todavía con dolor por los sobrevivientes.
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.  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.
 Both crossings were at one point reported to be under Islamic State control. The Iraqi Army claimed to have retaken the crossings on 22JUN14.
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.
— petra (@1954candanga) February 16, 2014
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.
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:
Likely Not Mustard:
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:
Likely not Mustard:
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:
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.
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.
Felix Stalder, University of the Arts, Zurich
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jeffrey Lewis comes on the show to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. We cover many arms control issues related to the ongoing negotiations.
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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*
) A current resume or C.V.
) 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.
) 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.
) 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.
) Disciplinary background: Up to three disciplines in which you have been trained and/or have worked.
) 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.
) 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: email@example.com _______________________________________________ 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
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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.
RIPA BOLLOCKS AND RIPA CONFUSION
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.
THE START OF OPERATION CARYATID
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?
THE SECOND PHASE OF CARYATID
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 THIRD PHASE OF CARYATID
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.
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).
WIDER RIPA DATA HARVESTING?
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)
Anyone who has been following the debate over the downing of MH17 will know one point of contention is which weapon was used to down MH17. On one side you have people who say it was mostly likely a missile launched by a Buk missile launcher, and on the other people claiming it was cannon fire from a jet. Generally the former claim is used to link the separatists to the downing of MH17, while the latter is used to claim the Ukrainian government was responsible.
Russian television will today broadcast a special report, previewed on Dmitry Kiselyov‘s Вести недели (News of the Week) programme on October 5th. Dmitry Kiselyov is very well known in Russia, and was last year appointed by Vladimir Putin as head of the new official Russian government owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya.
Presented by Arkady Mamontov, a Russian journalist who last year linked the Chelyabinsk Meteorite incident to gay activism, it promises to explore the downing of MH17 in depth, and in the preview they demonstrate the lengths they’ve gone to in their investigation by arranging to have a live fire exercise to test out cannon fire on aircraft.
First we’re shown the entry holes created by the cannon fire, several holes of a consistent size and shape.
Next, the other side of the aircraft, where along with the larger exit holes we also have much smaller holes of various shapes and sizes.
So here we have a pattern of damage established, consistently shaped and sized entry holes and the same shaped exit holes surrounded by smaller exit holes of various shapes and sizes. There’s even a comparison shot of the MH17 wreckage to demonstrate how closely the damage matches.
However, there’s been many photographs of the wreckage of MH17 posted online, and some of these show clear examples of the initial damage done to MH17 when it was first hit. This panel, from above and behind the flight deck windows (discussed here at length), shows clear examples of entry holes coming from outside the aircraft.
It’s clear that unlike the entry holes in the Russian video, these holes are a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This image shows the full panel with many more points of penetration.
It’s also worth noting that many of the 30mm cannon scenarios involve the attacking aircraft coming from below, generally from behind, yet the above images clearly show the impacts coming from above the flight deck.
Another example of MH17 entry holes comes from ANNA News, a Russian language news channel embedded with separatists in Ukraine. In this video they are given a tour of the wreckage by separatists, where they are shown part of the aircraft it isclaimed was hit by cannon fire. Here’s a image from the video showing the entry holes.
We get a sense of the size of these holes in this image.
This is what’s claimed to be entry holes from cannon fire, but as we can see, compared to the Russian TV piece on the damage done to MH17 there’s a significant size difference.
It’s been possible to ascertain that the panel in the ANNA News video was positioned above the flight desk windows, on the starboard side of the aircraft (details here), so, as with the earlier example, this shows cannon fire from below and/or behind the aircraft could not have caused this damage.
Thanks to the Russian channel’s work we now have a rare chance to compare the damage from cannon fire on aircraft to the damage done to MH17. Based on the Russian channel’s own tests it seems clear that the entry holes visible in the above examples do not match what’s shown in the Russian channel’s own tests. It seems that rather than prove MH17 was shot down by cannon fire as they claim, they’ve inadvertently provided evidence that it wasn’t.
This is a page for the permanent presentation of Technopolitics content.
[English version to follow soon]
Technopolitics ist der Titel eines ursprünglich gemeinsam von Armin Medosch und Brian Holmes entwickelten Projekts zur Erforschung und Vermittlung von Paradigmenwechseln in Kunst, Technologie und Gesellschaft. Seit 2011 hat sich daraus ein Kreis in Wien gebildet, der sich regelmäßig zu Vortrags- und Diskussionsabenden trifft. Im Zentrum steht die Beschäftigung mit techno-ökonomischen und -politischen Paradigmen, deren Entstehen und Dynamik. Dabei geht es nicht um Paradigmen als Selbstzweck, sondern als Weg, um miteinander verbundene soziale, ökonomische, technische und künstlerische Prozesse untersuchen zu können. Sie finden auf dieser Seite eine Timeline Technopolitics mit assoziierten Links und Medien.
The outline of a Technopolitics Book with selected key contributions.
Alle postings in der Gruppe Technopolitics | All postings in the Technopolitics Group:
Sommer 2009 Erster Austausch von Texten, Notizen und Lesehinweisen zwischen BH und AM über thenextlayer.org
Februar 2010 Besuch von Brian Holmes in Wien; intensiver interner Workshop über zwei Tage zwischen AM and BH; Felix Stalder kommt für einen halben Tag dazu.
06.02.2010 Workshop mit Brian Holmes Halb-öffentliches Meeting bei Theories in MInd (TIM) Atelier Eckermann und Nestler, ca 20-25 TeilnehmerInnen, Talkshop - mit Brian Holmes am Samstag dem 6.2. um 20.00 Uhr bei TIM, Neulinggasse 9, 1030 Wien. Projekt Technopolitics erstmals öffentlich vorgestellt, ein mehrjähriges Researchprojekt zum Thema techno-ökonomischer Paradigmenwechsel und Kulturtheorie/Kritik.
Frühling/Sommer 2010 - Winter 2011: Entwicklungsphase, Forschung zum Paradigmenwechsel und Erarbeitung von visuellen Elementen; Beginn Entwicklung von Timelines.
26-27.11.2010 „The Artistic Device: Brian Holmes Symposium“, Armin Medosch: „Techno-economic paradigms and the art of New Tendencies“, Vortrag, Samstag 27.11.2010, Vanabbe Museum, Eindhoven
Freitag, 04. März 2011: intensiver Workshop zu Technopolitics in Wien in geschlossener kleiner Arbeitsgruppe, mit Brian Holmers (USA), Fahim Amir (Wien, Akademie der bildenden Künste) und Kristian Lukic (Novi Sad/Bratislava).
Samstag, 05. März 2011: Weiterführung interner Workshop und öffentliche Präsentation “Technopolitics at Boem, Smelling the Rat” 20.00 Uhr bei Kulturverein Boem, Koppstr. 26, 1160 Wien. Ankündigung: http://thenextlayer.org/node/686
April 2011: Gründung der Arbeitsgruppe Technopolitics in Wien; Termine, Orte, Vortragende und Themen:
06. Mai 2011: Armin Medosch, Technopolitics, Vorstellung der Themen und Problemstellungen, bei Theories in Mind /TIM), 3., Neulinggasse 9
06. Juni 2011: Axel Stockburger und Felix Stalder: Zum Begriff des techno-ökonomischen Paradigmas
30.Juni 2011: Christian Lauk, Ökologische Krisenszenarien
27. September 2011: Technopolitics at Coded Cultures, Urania Saal 2, 19.30 - 23.00 Uhr
Kurzbeschreibung: Ein Abend mit Vorträgen und Podiumsdiskussion, moderiert und gestaltet von Armin Medosch, mit Christian Lauk, Brian Holmes, John Barker; Axel Stockburger, Alex Nikolic, Konrad Becker, Beate Firlinger, John Barker, Christian Lauk;
Hintergrundartikel: Die Grenzen der Informationsgesellschaft sprengen
Donnerstag 10.11.2011 Vortrag Fahim Amir Zoopolitics in Chandigar, Ort Theories in MInd TIM, 3., Neulinggasse 9
08.12.2011 Vortrag/Diskussion/Gespräch Katja Mayr: Technopolitics Kategoriensystem aus Sicht der Science Studies, Ort: Costagasse
13.04.2012 Brian Holmes, Auftakt von Weekend mit Brian Holmes, TIM, 3., Neulinggasse 9
14.04.2012 Brian Holmes, Armin Medosch zu Gast im Kunstraum Bernsteiner; Round table mit Eli Ayache und Karin Knorr Cetina
15.04.2012 Continental Drift Derivé: Ausflug mit Brian Holmes, Thomas Thaler, Ina Zwerger, Felix Stalder, Andrea Mayer und Kindern zur Gasstation Baumgarten, via Carnuntum und Süd-Wien; gefolgt von Marchegg und Haugsdorf
01.06.2012 Francesca da Rimini, File-sharing and Disorderlyness, bei TIM, Eckermann und Nestler
WORKSHOP 17.06.-21.06.2012 Three Crisis Seminar at Berlin Biennale, Kunstwerke, Workshop
04.09.2012 Monka Halcourt, „Counting versus Narration. Betrachtungen zur
Datenbank als politische Form aus einem palästinensischen Flüchtlingslager im Libanon“ bei TIM, Eckermann und Nestler
11.12.2012 John Barker, "Bloody Taylorism and Cognitive Capitalism" (internal link: http://thenextlayer.org/node/704)
Lecture and Discussion; BOEM, Tuesday 11th of December 2012, 8 pm, Koppstrasse 26, 1160 Wien; John Barker presents results of his and Ines Doujak’s recent research Loomshuttles Warpaths
23.01.2013 Kristian Lukic "Technological Singularity – Eschatology of Machinic Capitalism" bei TIM, Sylvia Eckermann and Gerald Nestler, Neulinggasse 9, 1030 Vienna.
04.04.2013 Thomas Thaler, bei TIM, Eckermann und Nestler, Neulinggasse 9, 3.Bezirk "12 Billion People - Counting Population And Calculating Rations"
17.06.2013 Michel Bauwens, P2P Gesellschaft, Studio Eckermann und Nestler, Neulinggasse 9, 3. Bezirk
27.02.2014 Gerald Nestler "Mayhem in Mawhaw. The Case of the Flash Crash; or, Forensic Reperformance In Deep Time". studio of Gerald and Silvia, 20 Uhr, Neulinggasse 9, 3.
03.04. 2014 Axel Stockburger „Quantitative Easing for the Street“, Neulinggasse 9, 3. Bezirk
30.04. 2014 Felix Stalder: Buchprojekt "Kultur der Digitalität" Das Spezifische an der Kultur der Digitalität
29.05.2014 Armin Medosch „The Broken Mirror“, Zusammenfassung der Thematik der Fields Ausstellung, Riga, Neulinggasse 9, 3. Bezirk
18.10.2014 Technopolitics Salon at Vienna Open ab 19 Uhr, Karlsplatz
Does Turkey view the Islamic State as a threat? Do Turkish government officials embrace the idea of a Kurdish-Turkish alliance against a shared enemy: The Islamic State? Do the unfolding clashes portend the end of the peace process, or do both sides have an interest in sustaining the on-going negotiations? And do the the on-going clashes resemble similar unrest in Turkey during the 1990s?
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Since 2001 free2air has provided open community network access in east end London, nestled in the Regents Canal borderlands of Bethnal Green and Hackney.
With a move to Berlin, this September marks the decomissioning of the last remaining host node of East End Net - GroundZero.
GroundZero sported a billard cue sized omnidirectional antenna mounted on the chimney post of a home office above a Hackney Road shop outside a busy bus stop.
In its early days, with little other wireless devices in the country, its range would stretch over 500 metres in most directions, despite urban difficulties.
Towards the end of its life, the pure massive number of WiFi units placed in almost every household in the area raised the radio noise floor and reduced its effective range to about 200 metres or so.
This is a draft placeholder to start to document the many projects of creative locals that used East End Net in innovative ways, from temporary FM radio stations to robotic art video installations and ambient microphones transmitted to London's Resonance FM.
Please excuse sometimes slow updates, as relocation to Berlin is still taking a toll on available time.
Comments and Reminders and Recollections of events and projects by one and all are welcome here as this documentation evolves.
is the colour of
their skins and
their deserts weave
a billow of tears an
oasis of blood and
I weep of the spears
stabbed into their flesh
by the soldiers of
The Great Country
a slaughter of yearlings
the Campaign of Subversion
the voice of
the False Prophet
the children dream of
locusts in the night and
they lose their teeth to
the yellow cakes of the
valley, their skins to
the stellar winds and the
frangible stars, they will
cry because of the pain
because of the rumour
of their faecal birth
of the corpses of the
women of the plains
Look to the sky and imagine, your soul rests upon the waters of a meandering river, relax your soul and feel the tired earth’s axis of symmetry, align yourself to meet the solar wind, to ease the migration of your soul, there is a country hidden impenetrable by the armour-piercing bullets of your enemy, where the locusts cannot navigate, where your children will laugh again
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
On the 5th of October 2014, the Free Syrian Army captured the Центр С – المركز س – Center S SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) facility (logo on top) jointly operated by the Russian Osnaz GRU radio electronic intelligence agency (logo on the right) and one of the Syrian Intelligence Agencies (logo on the left). Situated near Al Hara, the facility was of vital importance for the Assad regime as it was responsible for recording and decrypting radio communications from every rebel group operating inside Syria, making it likely the Russian-gathered information at this facility was at least partially responsible for the series of killings of rebel leaders by airstrikes.
Translation from 3:08; ”A directive issued by the surveillance office on May 31 to eavesdrop and record all radio communications of the terrorist groups, directive signed by brigadier-general Nazir Fuddah, commander of the first center”
The facility was recently upgraded and expanded by Russia to provide Syria and Iran with situational awareness of the Middle East. After the upgrade, which took from January to mid-February, it reportedly covered the whole of Israel and Jordan and a large part of Saudi Arabia. According to the report, the upgrade was a reaction to Iranian concern of the facility being too much focused on the Syrian Civil War, neglecting espionage on Israel. New equipment and additional personnel was thus added to the base. As only static and worn out looking sensors were captured  , the more modern equipment and Russian personnel were undoubtedly evecuated days or weeks before.
It is unknown if the facility is named Center S (‘S’ for Syria or special), it is known there’s at least one other Russian-Syrian SIGINT facility around, named Center S-2. A badge commemorating the ten year anniversary of this other spy facility can be seen below.
The Russian operator of Center S was the Osnaz GRU, responsible for radio electronic intelligence within Russia’s Armed Forces. Although not much is known about this unit, its logos can be seen below. “Части особого назначения” – Osnaz GRU and “Военная радиоэлектронная разведка” – Military Radio Electronic Intelligence.
Various photos on the wall inside the captured facility once again emphasise the Russian involvement in the Middle East, showing even a map of Israeli Armed Forces bases and units. Other photos detail Russian personnel working at and running the center, as well as highlight a visit by Kudelina L.K., Counselor to the Minister of Defence of Russian Federation.
”Совместная обработка информации российскими и сирийскими офицерами” and ”معالجة مشتركة للمعلومات بين الضباط السوريين والروس” – Joint processing of information by Russian and Syrian officers.
”Начальники “Центра-С” – Chiefs of Center S. The six lines beneath reveal the ranks of the Russian chiefs, their names and dates when they commanded the Center. All six seem to have rank of Полковник – ‘Colonel’. Surnames are not readable.
”Визит советника МО РФ Куделиной Л.И. в Центр” and ”زيارة مستشار وزارة الدفاع الروسية كوديلني لي للمركز” – Counselor to the Minister of Defence of Russian Federation Kudelina L.I. visiting the Center. ‘Kudelina L.I.’ is likely an error as the name should be ‘Kudelina L.K’.
”Рабочий визит начальника ГУ МВС ВС РФ” – Visit by the chief of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation.
”Объекты и источники северного военного округа ВС Израиля” – Bases and sources of Northern Military District of Israeli Armed Forces. ‘Sources’ indicates sources of radio signals.
“Карта радиоэлектронной обстановки” – Radio electronic situation map.
Recent video published by Amak News Agency shows Islamic State taking up position on Mount Mishtenur a little over a mile outside of Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town on Turkey’s border.
Despite reports of a US Predator flying overhead possibly collecting intelligence for strikes, the Islamic State continues to advance on key areas of interest.
Kobane, also known as the Syrian Kurdish town of Ayn al-Arab, has been under siege since 15SEPT14, with Islamic State (IS) militants clashing with Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The most recent reports put IS militants just 1 mile away, surrounding the city on all three sides and slowly getting closer.
Just today (05OCT14), Amak News Agency published video showing the militants making their way along Mount Mishtenur. This elevated location overlooking Kobane provides an advantageous position to conduct overwatch as well as maintain a view of the Turkish border. The latter may be more important now that Turkey has authorized military force, deployed troops, and stationed tanks nearby.
As of yesterday, YPG forces had reported that their snipers had managed to keep IS from this key position. Today’s video suggests that is no longer the case.
Looking closely at the video suggests filming occurred at several locations to the south and southeast of the town. At least 3 points were geolocated by using several screengrabs. The points briefly examined today are shown in the above map. The video starts out depicting at least six IS fighters taking cover behind a T-62 main battle tank as the they approach an open area with two structures. This is shown in the title image. These structures are located at point one on the map at 36.8608 38.3457. While the video clearly shows the structures on a slight incline, the outskirts of the town can still be observed to the left (or west).
As the IS fighters make their way up the mount, they come to the radio towers and electrical transmission lines shown above and as point two on the map. This location can be found at 36.8758 38.3641. Interestingly, the video wasn’t shot in sequence and image 2 shows the fighters walking back from the edge of their overwatch position. This is suggested by the structure near the radio towers on the left (or east). Once on the mount, the T-62 can no longer be heard and the video is unable to confirm the tank’s position. However, the video did manage to capture another person beyond the six fighters walking in the distance. This could be the tank driver or perhaps another fighter suggesting IS has firmly secured this strategic position.
And lastly, point three is located in a rocky area of the mountain top overlooking the town. The video shows fighters taking up a couple of different positions. The first is behind some stones which litter the mountain top and the second at a bermed trench. The latter was constructed sometime in 2012 according to satellite imagery. From this position our IS camera man zooms in looking over the town and we get to see the words “Hudut Namustur” written on a hill across the border. This roughly translates from Turkish as “Border is Honor” and is a common sight near the Turkish and Syrian border crossings.
From the IS overwatch position, the fighters should be able to keep an eye on Turkey’s tanks which are now reported to be at Mürşitpınar, less than a mile away from the Syrian Turkish town. While current media reports say over a dozen are present, more may not be far away if satellite imagery is any indicator. Imagery from October 2012 show about three Turkish tank companies deployed in the area.
In the meantime, Turkey’s Parliament voted 298-98 endorsing a measure to allow the Turkish military to intervene in both Iraq and Syria. What a potential Turkish intervention may look like is difficult to say. But if it involves putting Turkish troops on the ground, the Kurdish militants will unlikely be pleased. Since announcing their autonomy in July 2012, it’s more likely they’ll see the Turkish military as occupiers, according to sources on the ground.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said he would help the Kurdish fighters defend Kobani from IS. “We wouldn’t want Kobani to fall,” Davutoglu said. “We welcomed our brothers who came from Kobani. We’ll do whatever we can to prevent this from happening.” In the last week, more than 160,00 Syrian nationals have fled to Turkey.
Deplungerst Plundeterre (fatima ex machina)
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Monday, October 6, 2014
Asurablé, levita: Conversariandus Intimatus (fatima ex machina)
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Saturday, October 2, 2014
fling my swineredge
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Friday, October 3, 2014