Why I care when people with ‘something to hide’ are hacked


“Privacy” by Melanie Feuerer used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 United States License

By Spocko

It’s all about the Privacy.

Do some people deserve it less than others? Who decides?

Online Cheating Site AshleyMadison Hacked
— Brian Krebs, @briankrebs Krebs on Security July 19, 2015

When people who are supposed to protect someone’s privacy fail, what should their responsibility be following the failure? How do you make “someone whole,” as they say in the insurance biz, following a privacy breach?

Hacks of OPM databases compromised 22.1 million people, federal authorities say — Ellen Nakashima, @nakashimae, The Washington Post, July 9, 2015

What are the valid reasons someone’s privacy is violated? National Security? Public safety? Potential violence? Donating to the wrong cause? Who gets permission? Who oversees this?

“I don’t care if the government listens to me, I don’t have anything to hide. If you don’t have anything to hide, what are you worried about?”

— US citizen comment I read in response to Snowden revelations

Are there standards and regulations that organizations should meet? Who enforces them? What are the penalties if they don’t? (more…)

Late Night FDL: Company Man

Warren Haynes – Company Man

Warren Haynes’ new album, Ashes & Dust, will be released this Friday…

The Gov’t Mule and ex-Allman Brothers Band man recorded the work in collaboration with the band Railroad Earth, after a successful jam session led him to want to do more.

Haynes recently said of the material: “I’ve been compiling songs that didn’t necessarily fit in with Gov’t Mule or the Allmans, or even my last solo album. This record was really a chance to bring a lot of that music to fruition. It’s given me the opportunity to take a lot of songs I love, that didn’t have a home, and build a home for them.”

Additional guests include Grace Potter, Shawn Colvin and Mickey Rephael, plus Allmans bassist Oteil Burbridge and percussionist Marc Quinones.

Ashes & Dust is released on July 24 via Provogue and it’s available for pre-order now.

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Your Move, US Congress: EU and UN Back Iran Nuclear Accord

Iran resolution at the UN headquarters in New York on July 20, 2015.

International bodies back diplomatic agreement, agree to lift punishing economic sanctions

By Lauren McCauley

Sending a strong signal to the U.S. Congress to follow suit, both the European Union and United Nations Security Council on Monday endorsed the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

As part of the accord, both bodies agreed to end crippling economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for new limits to its domestic nuclear program.

Representatives from each of the 15 countries within the Security Council unanimously voted to back the landmark deal reached last week between Iran and the so-called P5+1 Nations, which include the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the European Union.

Following the Security Council vote, U.S. President Barack Obama said he hoped the move would “send a clear message that the overwhelming number of countries” recognize that diplomacy is “by far our strongest approach to ensuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.”

According to the text, in exchange for Iran’s compliance, seven UN resolutions passed since 2006 to sanction Iran will be gradually terminated. However, BBC reports, “The resolution also allows for the continuation of the UN arms embargo on Iran for up to five years and the ban on sales of ballistic missile technology for up to eight.”

The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is charged with the “verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear commitments.”

Meeting in Brussels, EU Foreign Ministers also formally committed to lift economic sanctions against Iran. The lawmakers, though, also elected to maintain the EU’s ban on the supply of ballistic missile technology and sanctions related to human rights, in accordance with the agreement.

The votes mark another step forward within a major worldwide agreement, reached after years of arduous negotiations.

The onus now falls on the U.S. Congress to also approve the accord, which was formally given to both Houses on Sunday, beginning a 60-day deliberation period. Conservative U.S. lawmakers and other warhawks, echoing the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have tried to thwart the international agreement.

“There is broad international consensus around this issue,” Obama continued in his address. Then speaking beyond the agreement’s critics, he added: “My working assumption is that Congress will pay attention to that broad basic consensus.”

More than 150,000 people have so far signed a petition calling on Congress to back the deal and take us off “the path to confrontation and war with Iran.”


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Late Night FDL: Rattle That Lock

David Gilmour – Rattle That Lock

David has a new solo album due out in September…

David GIlmour has released a stream of his track Rattle That Lock, taken from his solo album of the same name.

The follow-up to 2006’s On An Island is released on September 18.

The title track was inspired by a chime that precedes announcements at French train stations. Gilmour says “Every time I heard it, it made me want to start dancing.” He recorded it on his phone, and a sample based on it can be heard in the song.

He’s also released a video in which he and wife Polly Samson, who wrote the lyrics, explain more of the inspiration and creation process.

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Endless Enemies – How the US is Supporting the Islamic State by Fighting it

From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State to Assad, the US is fighting terrorists of its own creation by partnering with other terrorists of its own creation

By Nafeez Ahmed

Geopolitics is a murky game. Precisely how murky is reflected in the well-worn phrase, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

What happens, though, when you follow that ancient proverb with the faith of a religious believer?

Now that the war on the “Islamic State” (IS) is, ostensibly, in full-swing, the US is making “friends” out of enemies, old and new. Among our new friends is al-Qaeda.

Except they are supposedly not “our” friends, but friends of our allies.

Al-Qaeda, freedom fighters for Gulf monarchies

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are now working to support al-Qaeda’s official arm in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, to re-take Syrian territory from Bashir al-Assad. The strategy resulted in a coalition of rebel groups, led by the al-Qaeda faction, conquering Idlib in April.

The three regional powers claim they are hoping to compel al-Nusra to renounce its relationship to al-Qaeda – but the reality is they are funding the al-Qaeda affiliate without any meaningful guarantee of control.

“Nusra will stay with al-Qaeda unless the other rebel forces are able to unify into one force,” said one al-Nusra member. “[Al-Qaeda leader Ayman] al-Zawahiri says the unification of Muslims is more important than membership in any group.”

According to Rami Abdelrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, al-Nusra is “not so different from IS. They want to make an emirate but are looking for the right opportunity.”

Publicly, the official line is that the Saudi-Qatari-Turkish strategy is not directly funding al-Nusra, although the geopolitical coalition is aware that al-Nusra will benefit from the support to Islamist rebel groups.

Privately, a source in the Saudi royal family involved in security policy said that 90 percent of the rebels receiving military and other aid were members of al-Nusra and rival jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham, whose founding member Mohamed Bahaiah is also a senior al-Qaeda operative. As much as 40 percent of the rebels’ requirements are supplied by the Saudis, Turks and Qatar, the remainder being self-financed.

The strategy was, according to journalist Gareth Porter, rubber-stamped at the Camp David summit in May. The Gulf states and Turkey would acquiesce to the US-Iran nuclear deal, as along the US would guarantee containing Iranian influence in the region – part of which would involve turning a blind eye to Saudi, Qatari and Turkish support for al-Nusra and other Sunni jihadist factions.

Al-Qaeda, our new ‘moderate’ rebels (more…)

Disrupting Speeches, Protesters Challenge Sanders and O’Malley: Say ‘Black Lives Matter!’

Tia Oso of the National Coordinator for Black Immigration Network joins moderator Jose Antonio Vargas and Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley onstage. ||| twitter

Raising the profile of Black women killed by police violence, demonstration forces candidates to address racial injustice

By Lauren McCauley

Demanding that pervasive racial injustice and police brutality against people of color be addressed on the campaign trail, protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement interrupted speeches by Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley Saturday evening.

Cutting off O’Malley’s prepared remarks during the annual Netroots Nation convention in Phoenix, Arizona, activist Patrisse Cullors described the urgency driving the protest. “Let me be clear—every single day people are dying, not able to take another breath,” she said. “We are in a state of emergency. If you do not feel that emergency, then you are not human. I want to hear concrete action plans.”

Protesters said they were galvanized by this week’s one year anniversary of the police killing of Eric Garner and the suspicious and tragic death of Sandra Bland. During the event, they chanted and challenged the candidates to “Say her name,” referring to Bland and other women killed while in police custody, and to “Say that black lives matter.”

The action made it clear that the minority vote should not be taken for granted by candidates on the left.

The Guardian reports:

O’Malley was eventually forced offstage, after the protest and his attempts to respond delayed the appearance of Sanders.

O’Malley, who stood patiently throughout the interruption, which was led by Tia Oso, national coordinator for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration in Phoenix, attempted to answer questions from activists. He eventually left the stage clapping and saying rhythmically: “Black lives matter, black lives matter, black lives matter.”

Sanders began a prepared introduction – as had been delivered by O’Malley – talking about policies, including media bias and the need for a raised minimum wage. Chants of “black lives matter” and either “save our men” or “say her name” then broke out again.

“Black lives of course matter,” Sanders said. “I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and dignity, but if you don’t want me to be here that’s OK. I don’t want to out-scream people.”

Speaking with Buzzfeed after the event, Angela Peoples, co-director of LGBTQ rights group Get Equal, said the activists wanted to hear specific steps from the candidates on how they’re going to address the issue of police violence as well as the overarching issue of institutional racism. The minority community wants to hear the demands and principles of “black lives matter” reflected in their campaign, she said.

Peoples added that Sanders talking about income inequality isn’t enough.

“We can not talk about income inequality as if that’s going to be the silver bullet that protects black and brown lives when they’re in police custody or when they’re being profiled and killed by the police,” she said.

In an interview with journalist David Dayen, protest organizer Ashley Yeats echoed those same ideas. When asked how a candidate can bridge the divide between racial and economic justice when speaking to the progressive community, she said:

When you talk about economic justice, who’s the poorest of the poor? Talk about gentrification, talk about mass displacement. Talk about the things that actually lead to poverty. Who is affected by that? Talk about whose neighborhoods are flooded with really harmful drugs. Talk about who’s denied access to resources. Talk about who [isn’t]? that is all in black and brown neighborhoods. So if you’re doing economic justice but you’re not talking to black and brown people, you’re not actually doing economic justice. So that’s the challenge I pose and that’s how you bridge the gap, get people to realize that if you’re talking about economic issues, black people are part of every category.

Yeats also said she wants to hear “actual steps that show you’re thinking about something,” using “simple and clear language.”

Saturday’s protest specifically aimed to raise the profile of Black women victims and challenge presidential hopefuls to respond to these issues in “real time.” The candidates, Yeats continued, “claim that they represent all of America, but then you get up there and you see when they’re pressured on issues that are specifically black they fumble.”


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Fight Big Money in Politics & Win a Year’s Supply of Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen is freezing out big money’s corrosive influence in U.S. politics. This summer, he’s recruiting more people to join the fight for campaign finance reform by giving away a year’s worth of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with his #StampMoreTipMore Photo Contest.

Ben’s grassroots campaign, known as the Stamp Stampede, involves legally rubber-stamping your tip money with anti-corruption messages like “Not 2 B Used 4 Buying Elections” and “Stamp Money Out of Politics.” Thus far, over 50,000 people and growing have joined the campaign, and they’re together creating a mass visual protest against big money in politics all across the country.

Since many people use their cash to pay tip or they earn cash through making tips, Ben’s #StampMoreTipMore Photo Contest encourages people to stamp their tip money and take a photo of it.

If you need a stamp to enter the contest, here’s some good news: The Stampede is hosting a Pay What You Can Month right now so you can order their rubber-stamps from StampStampede.org for free or at whatever price you choose for the rest of July. The photo contest ends on August 31. Find out more information about the #StampMoreTipMore contest here.

Fighting Evil Corp. There’s an App For That!

“Robot Fight” by Ariel Waldman used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license 2.0 United States

By Spocko

I’m a crappy chess player. This became clear to me when my 8 year-old nephew beat me while explaining, “The horsey piece can only move in an “L” way Uncle Spocko!”

One of the things they say you learn from chess is thinking several moves ahead, anticipating your opponent’s responses and acting accordingly. I learned this skill from life experience.

Right now I’m watching Mr. Robot. They are looking at the personal reasons people fight big institutions, as well as the human cost of those fights. That’s the part people don’t see, and it can be exhausting.

When I went about the process of defunding RW talk radio, I knew I needed to anticipate how they would respond to my actions. Then, how they would respond to my responses.

When I started alerting advertisers to the violent rhetoric, sexism and bigotry coming from the RW radio hosts I knew the radio station would use multiple excuses to keep the advertisers. First they discredited me, and then the information. Next, threats of arrest from law enforcement agencies, then hints of exposure of my identity. Finally legal threats, which they carried out. They threw around phrases like libel, tortuous interference with contract and copyright violation before they settled on a bogus copyright violation action.

I had read some books on the topics to prepare, but the smartest move I made was talking to a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Following that conversation, I made sure what I wrote and posted on my blog would meet the four factors of Fair Use.

Even though I met both the spirit and the letter of the law, ABC/Disney lawyers still sent an cease and desist letter to my ISP, 1&1 Hosting, who folded like a cheap umbrella.

Lawsuits: PR Gifts, Personal Nightmares or Both?

People who have money and power have easy access to lawyers and “fixers.” They see lawsuits and threats of lawsuits all the time. They use them as tools. They know when to dismiss them as “saber rattling” or when to use them as opening shots in a longer game.

But for normal people getting threatened with a lawsuit from one of the largest media corporations in the world is the stuff of stress nose bleeds and very un-Vulcan like floods of tears.

Following my victory over KSFO/ABC/Disney I made sure everyone I talked to who wanted to use the Spocko Method understood the law, how it might be used against them and how to prepare for the attacks. (Right now my friends in #stoprush are seeing personal attacks vs. legal attacks. He doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on so uses other methods. Power players don’t like it when you interfere with their revenue streams. Corporate bullies don’t always back down when they are wrong. They will play dirty.)

The good news is that for advocates who want to use copyrighted material to educate, critique, challenge or parody powerful groups, there are new tools.

Today I spotted a great app, The Fair Use App it was made by an organization called New Media Rights. It helps you figure out if your content meets the four factors of Fair Use.

“The Fair Use App”, by New Media Rights, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States

I would have liked to have had that when I was planning my action and preparing for the reaction, but I still would have needed the help of actual human lawyers.

I thought my case was clear cut fair use, but that didn’t mean I still wouldn’t be threatened with a suit. It means little to them to send a threatening legal letter, but it was a huge deal to me. That is why someone having your back is so important.

Big institutions and ideological groups use multiple tools to stay in power and enforce their will. These days, the corporations use automated tools to protect themselves and take action. It’s hard to reason with a DCMA take down bot. You need to understand its criteria before the fight because if you try to fight it during a hot issue, the opportunity might pass.

Activists need all the help they can get. If you donate to groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation or New Media Rights you might just be helping the next Mr. Spocko battling Evil Corp.

Fracking Whirl

“Nature Is Speaking: Edward Norton Is The Soil,” from Conservation International

By Kate Lanier

__2,000+ scientists met in Paris over global warming. Adviser to Germany and Pope Francis, Han Joachim Schellnhuber, argued there must be an “‘induced implosion’ of the fossil fuel industry.” Joseph Stiglitz, US Nobelist economist argued for a “green economy [since] it can promote economic growth.” Schellnhuber again: “We need a global society movement and it is already happening.” Much more.

__In Bolivia, Pope Francis called “for a ‘structural change’ to a global economy.” Capitalism is “the dung of the devil” for all the pain and suffering it causes; “land, lodging, and labor are ’sacred rights’”; true revolution must come from the people—soon. Can’t wait for September when he addresses the US Congress. His Holiness the Dalai Lama lends support to the pope.

__Good news or what? “Denmark’s Wind Energy Output Just Exceeded National Demand.” They’re exporting the extra to Norway, Germany and Sweden.

__As the great Krugman underscores, consumption of green energy (solar and wind power) has taken off, tripling from December 2009 to March 2015. Neat graph.

__US electric power generation comes mainly from natural gas (31%) and coal (30%). Natural gas is “cleaner,” but finite, so shouldn’t we be thinking ahead? On that “thinking ahead (or not)” theme: Republicans in the House have vowed to block a new rule, the Clean Power Plan, “intended to cut earth-warming pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.” Blocking environment-related rules is definitely a trend.

__The US National Park Service planned to “stop selling disposable [plastic] bottles and let visitors refill reusable ones with public drinking water.” But the 200-corporations-strong International Bottled Water Association swung into action and an amendment to stop the NPS’ plan was added to a House budget bill, courtesy of Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA).

__Major drought in British Columbia, with consumers cutting water use. Nestle and other water companies, however, continue bottling British Columbia drinking water at a fraction of what the water costs BC consumers, and selling it for profit. Petition in circulation. h/t Mike Hudema

__Birds are magnificent creatures. US House politicians, however, voted to cut funding for bird protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Without the Treaty, BP would have escaped “prosecution for the killing of millions of birds” as a result of their 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf. More from Audubon.

__King salmon have made a come-back in Anchorage, Alaska. From 330 caught in 2012 to 1300 in 2013, and this year likely even more. Fish & Game installed a $100-million hatchery in 2011. These things can be done.

__While many species are moving northward as global warming continues, there is one exception: the bumblebee. In North America and Europe, bumblebees’ ranges are shrinking, some “completely disappearing.”

__42,000+ people in Millvale, Pennsylvania “received inaccurate and/or delayed water bills for months on end.” Class-action lawsuit now underway to remedy the situation and make the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority more “transparent.” Water is provided by a for-profit French company, Veolia Environment.

__Monsanto “has arranged for an outside scientific review of a World Health Organization finding that the weed killer [Roundup]’s key ingredient probably causes cancer.” They’ve hired Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy which has “subject-matter experts who can optimize your company’s success and minimize risk.” Hmmmm.

__Australia “has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation” to stop future investments in wind power, and instead focus on ‘emerging technologies’” (solar and “native wood waste”). Heated controversy erupted—including charges this was simply an attack on renewables.

__This just in: “Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists.” (more…)

The Fire Next Time: On the Next Gaza War

Families walk through the heavily-bombed area of Shujaiya in eastern Gaza on July 27, 2014. (Photo: Iyad al Baba/Oxfam/flickr/cc)

Before Homes Are Even Rebuilt in the Ruins of the Gaza Strip, Another War Looms

By Max Blumenthal

“A fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, just as a third Lebanon war is inevitable,” declared Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in February. His ominous comments came just days after an anti-tank missile fired by the Lebanon-based guerrilla group Hezbollah killed two soldiers in an Israeli army convoy. It, in turn, was a response to an Israeli air strike that resulted in the assassination of several high-ranking Hezbollah figures.

Lieberman offered his prediction only four months after his government concluded Operation Protective Edge, the third war between Israel and the armed factions of the Gaza Strip, which had managed to reduce about 20% of besieged Gaza to an apocalyptic moonscape. Even before the assault was launched, Gaza was a warehouse for surplus humanity — a 360-square-kilometer ghetto of Palestinian refugees expelled by and excluded from the self-proclaimed Jewish state. For this population, whose members are mostly under the age of 18, the violence has become a life ritual that repeats every year or two. As the first anniversary of Protective Edge passes, Lieberman’s unsettling prophecy appears increasingly likely to come true. Indeed, odds are that the months of relative “quiet” that followed his statement will prove nothing more than an interregnum between Israel’s ever more devastating military escalations.

Three years ago, the United Nations issued a report predicting that the Gaza Strip would be uninhabitable by 2020. Thanks to Israel’s recent attack, this warning appears to have arrived sooner than expected. Few of the 18,000 homes the Israeli military destroyed in Gaza have been rebuilt. Few of the more than 400 businesses and shops damaged or leveled during that war have been repaired. Thousands of government employees have not received a salary for more than a year and are working for free. Electricity remains desperately limited, sometimes to only four hours a day. The coastal enclave’s borders are consistently closed. Its population is trapped, traumatized, and descending ever deeper into despair, with suicide rates skyrocketing.

One of the few areas where Gaza’s youth can find structure is within the “Liberation Camps” established by Hamas, the Islamist political organization that controls Gaza. There, they undergo military training, ideological indoctrination, and are ultimately inducted into the Palestinian armed struggle. As I found while covering last summer’s war, there is no shortage of young orphans determined to take up arms after watching their parents and siblings be torn limb from limb by 2,000-pound Israeli fragmentation missiles, artillery shells, and other modes of destruction. Fifteen-year-old Waseem Shamaly, for instance, told me his life’s ambition was to join the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. He had just finished recounting through tears what it was like to watch a YouTube clip of his brother, Salem, being executed by an Israeli sniper while he searched for the rest of his family in the rubble of their neighborhood last July.

Anger with Hamas’s political wing for accepting a ceasefire agreement with Israel in late August 2014 that offered nothing but a return to the slow death of siege and imprisonment is now palpable among Gaza’s civilian population. This is particularly true in border areas devastated by the Israelis last summer. However, support for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas that carries the banner of the Palestinian armed struggle, remains almost unanimous.

Palestinians in Gaza need only look 80 kilometers west to the gilded Bantustans of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to see what they would get if they agreed to disarm. After years of fruitless negotiations, Israel has rewarded Palestinians living under the rule of PA President Mahmoud Abbas with the record growth of Jewish settlements, major new land annexations, nightly house raids, and the constant humiliation and dangers of daily interactions with Israeli soldiers and fanatical Jewish settlers. Rather than resist the occupation, Abbas’s Western-trained security forces coordinate directly with the occupying Israeli army, assisting Israel in the arrest and even torture of fellow Palestinians, including the leadership of rival political factions.

As punishing as life in Gaza might be, the West Bank model does not offer a terribly attractive alternative. Yet this is exactly the kind of “solution” the Israeli government seeks to impose on Gaza. As former Interior Minister Yuval Steinitz declared last year, “We want more than a ceasefire, we want the demilitarization of Gaza… Gaza will be exactly like [the West Bank city of] Ramallah.”

Keeping Gaza in Ruins